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Should I Be Worried About The Pill? 8 Things You May Have Never Heard About It Before

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It’s easy, it’s effective, and it’s harmless – at least, that’s what they tell us. But do we really understand what popping those small white pills day after day is doing to our body, behaviour, and self-confidence? I know I didn’t. I had to reach the brink of depression before digging into ‘The Pill’ and finding out some surprising facts, and stories from other women brave enough to tell me about their experiences, which made me realize I wasn’t crazy for wanting to come off it.

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Here are 8 things you might not have heard about The Pill:

1. It’s The Most Commonly Used Drug In The World

There are currently well over 100 million women on the Pill, and it has been used at some time by 300 million. Tens of millions more use injectables, patches, and implants which contain similar levels of hormones. Girls as young as 12 are prescribed the Pill, not only for contraception, but also for heavy periods, acne, or ‘hormone imbalances.’

Stacey’s story:

“I got put on the Pill at 16 for heavy periods. It helped make them more manageable, but my emotions became a roller coaster. I was up and down so much I started to think I was losing the plot. I came off a couple of years later and felt like myself again.”

2. It’s A Billion-Dollar Industry

In the U.S., the Pill makes pharmaceutical companies approx. 2.8 billion each year. Eyebrows have certainly been raised over how much they’re downplaying potential side-effects and issues with their products – for example, a recent study for the Inspector General’s Office of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services found that 7 out of 10 advertisements for contraceptive pills were “misleading or unbalanced.”

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3. The Pill Works By Keeping You In A Constant State Of Pregnancy

As women, our natural cycle is composed of rising and falling levels of estrogen and progesterone. What the Pill does is keep your levels at a constant high point – basically tricking your body into thinking that it’s already pregnant, so pregnancy can’t occur. These levels are approx. 3-4 times higher than they naturally occur at the peak of your cycle.

4. You Can’t Absorb Nutrients Properly When On The Pill

Taking the Pill every day places a really heavy load on your liver, which has to metabolize all the synthetic hormones. It affects your ability to absorb vitamins B2, B6, B12, C, riboflavin, thiamine, and folic acid – as well as depleting minerals zinc, copper, selenium, potassium, and magnesium. It can take months or years for the effects of this malnutrition to become apparent, but it’s amazing how many ‘small’ problems such as insomnia, cravings, skin infections, headaches, weight gain, anxiety, fatigue, constipation, and irritability can all be linked back to use of the Pill.

Melissa’s story:

“I never used to get headaches, or infections. I considered myself a really healthy person, but in my first year of being on the Pill, I got thrush three times and had headaches on and off. Only after I’d stopped taking it I connected the headaches to the days when I was on the sugar pills – basically in ‘withdrawal’ mode from the Pill. I had headaches coming off it too, but they’re over now.”

Sarah’s story:

“After going on the Pill, with no changes to my diet or exercise, I gained 7kgs in 2 months! I decided shortly after to stop taking it – and let me tell you, that weight took a lot longer to lose than it did to gain.”

5. The Pill Suppresses Testosterone – Bye-bye Sex Drive!

It’s been found that women on the Pill produce up to seven times more of a sex hormone-binding globulin; a protein which binds with testosterone and takes it out of circulation. Lack of testosterone leads to low libido and less fun in the bedroom. Australian Professor Lorraine Dennerstein, who specializes in researching female sex hormones, says that “The Pill flattens out natural estradiol highs and suppresses free testosterone, potentially delivering a double libido blow.”

Amanda’s story:

I started taking the pill when I was 19 as a means of birth control and also to help with really heavy periods. That was 9 years ago. It definitely improved my menstrual cycle (and I obviously did not get pregnant), so I just assumed it was now a permanent part of my routine. I never thought about it again, taking the pill was just a regular part of my life, as normal as breathing. 

A couple of years into it my sex drive started to flag. I had always maintained a very healthy sexual appetite, so it was very noticeable. I never attributed the problem to what I was doing to my hormones though. I assumed it was a part of getting a little older, being in a committed relationship, all the things you’re told will happen when you get comfortable with someone. Then I started noticing that my periods were becoming very irregular. If I missed a pill, or took it late (even by a couple of hours), my period would begin a week early and continue through its full duration – meaning I was menstruating for two weeks at a time. So I tried the pill where you only get your period every three months. That was followed by spotting at random times and intense stomach cramps. I quit that pretty quickly and tried a few other brands of the regular pill before settling on one and continuing on with my life. 

Then last year I started noticing that almost every period was turning into the two week irregularity, with plenty of water retention and PMS to boot. My sex drive was also as low as it had ever been. I started doing some research into birth control and discovered not only that it was likely causing my low sex drive, but could lead to a whole host of health problems I had never considered before.

So in January I stopped taking the pill, and the difference was like night and day. I lost a couple of pounds, my periods went back to normal (though heavy again), and best of all, my sex drive had returned. I felt like a teenager again (which makes sense considering I started taking the pill when I was 19). Now, several months later, I can still feel my body readjusting to a natural cycle. My sex life has done nothing but improve steadily these last few months.” 

6. Your Chances Of Depression Double

You might have seen depression listed as a possible side-effect on your Pill packet. It may be more serious than we’re lead to believe though – one study conducted by women’s mental health specialist Professor Jayashri Kulkarni on a large group of women over 18 years old, with no clinical history of depression, found that the women on the Pill were twice as likely to suffer from depression as the others. In another on-going study of 23,000 women on the Pill, one third stopped taking it because of depression.

Aimee’s story:

“I tried about 6 different contraceptive pills over 4.5 years, hoping I’d find one that worked. I had horrible mood swings and long ‘low’ times on all of them, eventually gave up on the Pill and switched to a non-hormonal method. My friends said that they’d missed me and it was good to have me back again.”

7. You Risk Breast Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Stroke, Bone Density Depletion, Blood Clots, & Ovarian Cancer 

You’ve probably heard about some/most of these warnings before, but we all have a tendency to think, “Oh, that wouldn’t happen to me.” Studies have found that the hormonal changes the Pill produces in our bodies (which leads to the previously mentioned nutrient absorption issues) increase risks significantly in these areas – even though it may not become an issue for some time.

Taylor’s story:

I went on the pill in my late teens to deal with periods so painful that for one day a month, all I could concentrate on was lying on the couch clutching a hot water bottle. When I figured out that amounted to 12 days a year — almost two week of lying around and groaning! — I went to my doctor for advice and was told the pill was the best solution. The pain vanished immediately, my periods became much, much lighter, and I didn’t experience any of the side effects I was warned about. Ten years later, I’ve just been told by my doctor that I’ll need to take a break from the pill because long-term use raises the risk of ovarian cancer. I had no idea this was a side effect.”

8. It’s Linked To Infertility

When you think about the fact that the Pill creates a state of permanent pregnancy in your body and therefore the inability to become pregnant, it’s not so surprising that women who have been on it for many years then struggle to have a baby when they want one. Interestingly, it doesn’t just make women infertile – Britain is dealing with an expensive problem of fish dying off due to pollution in the water-ways, thought to be mainly from pill excretions. The Guardian reported: “More than 2.5 million women take birth control pills in the UK. Their EE2 [Ethinyl estradiol, the synthetic form of estrogen in contraceptive pills] content is excreted and washed into sewage systems and rivers. Even at very low concentrations, this chemical has harmful effects on fish. Males suffer reduced sperm production, with severe effects on populations. In one recent trial, in a Canadian lake, researchers added EE2 until levels in the water reached five parts per trillion, a minute concentration. Yet fish populations suffered severe problems with one species, the fathead minnow, collapsing completely.”

The Pill changes your cervical mucus production, which over time can cause the mucus-producing cells to atrophy… effectively aging your cervix and narrowing the cervical canal. A study conducted in 2004 found that “time to pregnancy” following long-term pill use was two to three times longer than after condom use.

Fast Facts

  • The Pill alters 150 bodily functions, and affects all your organs
  • Over 100 million women are currently taking the Pill
  • Only one third of 147 countries recently surveyed by a medical journal require a prescription for getting the Pill
  • There are new, ‘no period’ pills being released in the U.S that have no break intervals – the long-term affects of these have not yet been properly tested
  • Women on the pill do not secrete couplins – a volatile fatty acid in the vagina that stimulates male sexual interest

If Not The Pill, Then What Are My Options?

  • Condoms are affordable and have a high success rate when used properly – between 95-98%
  • Natural fertility – practiced carefully, this has a 97% success rate and requires no devices – although some very smart tools such as the “Lady-Comp” and newly released “Leaf” necklace from Bellabeat are beginning to make tracking your ovulation down to the exact day really easy
  • Barrier methods such as diaphragms/cervical caps are reusable, and can be worn in advance to allow some spontaneity
  • Spermicides – best used with condoms or other barrier methods
  • Sterilization (i.e., getting your ‘tubes tied) – must be considered very carefully as it is very difficult and costly to reverse

Sources

 
 
Infertility:

Study in Human Reproduction journal about how condom users get pregnant faster than pill users –http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/humber/3446403.stm
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.3109/00016346809156845/abstract

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Awareness

Johnson & Johnson Found To Have Knowingly Allowed Asbestos In Their Baby Powder

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Johnson and Johnson have recently lost lawsuits for negligence in knowingly allowing carcinogenic substances in their talc-based hygiene products.

  • Reflect On:

    Are we starting to turn the page on an era where human health and safety are not the prime considerations in the manufacturing of consumer products?

We are starting to awaken to the fact that it seems to be the rule, and not the exception, that large Western corporations put profits above human health considerations. The only time they seem to give any regard to human health concerns is when their forecasts of potential lawsuits down the road would likely exceed the cost measures needed to ensure the safety of their product.

Johnson & Johnson is just one of a long line of corporate perpetrators who believed that covering up and lying about known health concerns would make better business sense than taking the time and resources to actually address those health concerns within their products.

Contaminated Baby Powder: The Height Of Indignity

One would think, regardless of an understanding that the bottom line is a priority for most private companies, that the health and safety of a nursing mother and her newborn child would be sacrosanct for any industry. The reality is that this is simply not the case, even though J&J could have mitigated this problem from the start.

Companies that mine talc are required to take extra steps to ensure the absence of asbestos in their talc. Instead, J&J allegedly went to great lengths to fake it.

Not only did the company know about the asbestos contamination, evidence suggests, but J&J also failed to warn its customers about the link between Baby Powder and cancer or replace its talc with a safer alternative. As a result, J&J guaranteed its customers’ exposure to asbestos.

And regardless of their size or numbers, asbestos fibers are lethal at any capacity. As the World Health Organization (WHO) has stressed repeatedly, there is no safe level of exposure. (source)

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The Testimony of Scientist James Webber

Baby Powder’s contamination with asbestos (a mineral that naturally occurs near talc) has long been the subject of lawsuits. But only in recent years has evidence begun to unravel J&J’s defense – that the company had no idea – and threatened its success in lawsuits to come.

In March, a California jury awarded $29 million to Terry Leavitt, a woman who said that asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s talcum-powder-based products caused her terminal mesothelioma. Environmental scientist James Webber testified in her high-profile California trial and made these observations:

During several hours on the stand, Webber explained how he ran tests that showed “clear” evidence of asbestos contamination in the mines from which J&J sourced talc.

“The testing I have seen [shows] that it was present at least as early as 1971 and up through the late 1990s,” said Webber, who ran an asbestos laboratory in New York state.

Despite denying it publicly, J&J had observed this contamination in internal memos. Its notes dismissed the amount of asbestos in its talc as “but a trace,” Webber alleged. But that was just an optimistic interpretation of superficial testing, he said: the tests used methods too weak to detect microscopic asbestos fibers. Webber insisted the actual tests results revealed there could be millions of asbestos fibers per gram of talc.

And J&J’s inaccurate reports were allegedly only the tip of the iceberg. In some instances, Webber said, photos attached to J&J’s reports revealed that “they had been seeing it and not reporting it.”  (source)

And It’s Getting Worse

The $29 million verdict, in California Superior Court in Oakland, was the latest defeat for the healthcare conglomerate facing more than 13,000 talc-related lawsuits nationwide. And things may be getting even worse for J&J, according to ZeroHedge:

Johnson & Johnson shares are down over 5% after Bloomberg reports that, according to people with knowledge of the matter, the U.S. Justice Department is pursuing a criminal investigation into whether Johnson & Johnson lied to the public about the possible cancer risks of its talcum powder…

Now, a grand jury in Washington is examining documents related to what company officials knew about any carcinogens in their products, the people said.

The Takeaway

It seems as though corporations have long been willing to take the calculated risk of short-cuts and denials instead of ensuring that their products are safe for public use. My suspicion is that a part of our collective awakening process will be issuing in a new business paradigm in which human health and safety become paramount.

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Awareness

Prescription Infant Formulas Found To Be Contaminated With Aluminum

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Multiple brands of prescription infant formula were found to contain high levels of aluminum.

  • Reflect On:

    Should we be questioning the quality of products that come from pharmaceutical production? Do we veer away from natural methods of raising children more than we should? At what cost?

You may not think aluminum is a big deal, but it is. For anybody who has looked into aluminum toxicology, it’s quite clear and apparent that it has no place inside of any living biological organism. Putting it simply, it wreaks havoc on our biology. High amounts of aluminum have been found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, with experts in the field believing that aluminum brain accumulation may be one of the main causes of Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s also been discovered within the brains of MS patients, and some of the highest aluminum content ever recorded in brain tissue has also been discovered in people with autism. Aluminum is associated with several diseases. But an adult body can do a great job of flushing out aluminum.

Despite the fact that aluminum has no place within earth’s biota, it’s still present in many of our medications, our food, and even in the water that we drink due to contamination since the industrial revolution. Aluminum inside the body is a new phenomenon and still understudied. Again, there is a threshold, and aluminum that is injected via vaccines doesn’t exit the body–there is strong evidence that it remains inside the body and ends up in distant organs and eventually inside of the brain. If you want to access more studies on that topic, you can read this article I published that provides them and goes into more detail. You can also watch this interview with Christopher Exley, where he also points to that fact.

A new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health has shown that multiple popular infant prescriptions are contaminated with aluminum. You may be asking how much aluminum, but the authors make it a point to stress that there are no safe amounts of aluminum levels that can be inside of a human body, let alone a newborn baby. That being said, the amounts found are listed within the abstract of the study:

Historical and recent data demonstrate that off-the-shelf infant formulas are heavily contaminated with aluminium. The origin of this contamination remains to be elucidated though may be imported via ingredients, packaging and processing. Specialised infant formulas exist to address health issues, such as low birth weight, allergy or intolerance and medical conditions, such as renal insufficiency. The aluminium content of these prescription infant formulas is measured here for the first time. We obtained 24 prescription infant formulas through a paediatric clinic and measured their total aluminium content by transversely heated graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry following microwave assisted acid/peroxide digestion. The aluminium content of ready-to-drink formulas ranged from 49.9 (33.7) to 1956.3 (111.0) μg/L. The most heavily contaminated products were those designed as nutritional supplements for infants struggling to gain weight. The aluminium content of powdered formulas ranged from 0.27 (0.04) to 3.27 (0.19) μg/g. The most heavily contaminated products tended to be those addressing allergies and intolerance. Prescription infant formulas are contaminated with aluminium.

Another very important point made right off the bat by the authors:

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Human exposure to aluminium is a serious health concern. Aluminium exposure in infants is understandably a burgeoning issue. While infant exposure to aluminium continues to be documented, its consequences, immediate and in the future, have received only scant attention and research is required to understand the biological availability of aluminium through formula feeding. For example, how much aluminium is absorbed across the neonate gut and its subsequent fate, including excretion.

There is already too much aluminium in infant formulas and herein we have measured its content in a large number of prescription formulas, products which are fed to vulnerable infants in their first months of life. Many of these products are heavily contaminated with aluminium.

As for the specific infant formulas, you can refer to the study. The researchers obtained 24 prescription infant formulas via the Paediatric Clinic of Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, United Kingdom. The ready-to-drink and powdered products were new, ready-to-be used and unopened samples. These formulas are for babies with some sort of growth restriction, like for preterm infants or infants who have poor weight gain. There were also powdered formulas for allergies and intolerances and powdered formulas with additional amino acids.

The authors contacted each manufacturer and expressed that they denied knowing that there was any aluminum in their products, which means it’s still a mystery as to their source. The authors hypothesize on a number of ways that aluminum could be entering into the formulas.

In their conclusion, the authors emphasize that:

Where possible, breast milk feeding should be prioritised, as the aluminium content of breast milk is invariably an order of magnitude lower than in formula feeds. Where infant formulas are the only source of nutrition for many infants in their first weeks and months of life, aluminium ingested in formula feeds will be the major contributor to their body burden of aluminium. The last thing that vulnerable infants fed specialised formulas for their specific nutritional/medicinal need is additional aluminium in their diet.

Detoxing

There is a lot of information out there on how a person can detox from aluminum and other heavy metals. There are multiple studies, and based on what I’ve looked into, water with high amounts of Silica are effective in draining aluminum out of your body and brain. Herbs like cilantro and substances like chlorella and spirulina are also great for removing some metals. The information is out there, so be sure to do your research.

The Takeaway

It’s concerning to think about what these corporations are doing. Again, aluminum should hold no place in our society, it should’ve remained well below our surface as part of the Earth’s crust for a reason. It wasn’t until humans began digging it out and using it for a number of things, irresponsibly I might add, that we started to see the health implications which still go largely ignored by the medical community.

In fact, heavy metal accumulation and detoxification of aluminum haven’t been addressed at all, which is odd given the fact that heavy metal accumulation is linked to a variety of diseases.

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Awareness

9 Studies You Should Be Aware of Before Trying The Ketogenic Diet

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The Ketogenic diet is a popular fad diet that promotes quick weight loss and symptom management for bodies that are dealing with poor lymph, kidney and digestion health.

  • Reflect On:

    Based on the studies that are emerging, is our desire for quick weight loss more important than living a long and healthy life? Are we learning about these diets primarily through those with strong ties to upholding these diets?

The ketogenic diet has popped up as a popular approach to weight loss in the last few years. Is it successful at that? Sure, it is. I’ve experimented with the diet myself years ago when I was looking to lose some belly fat. I was entering into ketosis in a different way than most, as I was not eating any animal products, but it does in fact work.

But like any animal product based diet, what are the consequences of eating so much food that does not truly jive with our human bodies? Not only that, is fast weight loss more important than keeping our morality rate down?

In the last few years, we’ve reported a lot on the Keto diet and the various ways it can be done. We have explored the studies, the results and in some ways, we supported it. But lately, I have been thinking about how supporting this could actually be encouraging people to jump into these diets, including the paleo diet, when in reality these diets increase mortality rates and are not healthy for the human body.

It became a thought in the back of my mind, I have always strived to put the best information out that I can through this platform to promote good health. And so we must look at that, even if that means upsetting some people who currently are on paleo or keto and are seeing some good weight loss or symptom management. The truth is, like the many people I’ve seen crash on these diets after a few years, I want people to know the truth of what’s going on out there. And how we can get beyond diets that symptom manage, and instead get onto diets that truly heal.

Anytime we have fad diets, which paleo and keto are, we see products and bias pop up all over the place to support the continuation of these trends. It becomes less about health and more about upholding an identity or a business.

So as I recently looked into what experts are saying about these diets, I came upon two important videos I think everyone should check out. Both have been embedded below. Remember, it’s not that I care what you choose in your own life, or that I feel there is a right or wrong, it’s that I believe we should be informed and I wish to use this platform to promote as best a message as I can.

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The Videos

Thanks to Plant-Based News for creating such a good channel and resource of information on YouTube.

In this video, several plant-based health experts talk through 9 nutrition studies that would be of interest to low carb keto diet proponents. To read the 9 studies, click here.

Next up, Dr. Kim Williams (past President of the American College of Cardiology) shares his insights about the ketogenic.

Related Articles

Diabetic Shares Why He Quit ‘The Ketogenic Diet’

Doctor Explains Why She Never Recommends The ‘Ketogenic Diet’

The Biggest Misconception About The ‘Ketogenic Diet’…You Don’t Actually Have To Follow It

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