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How To Do A Proper Heavy Metal Detox

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In an age where millions of people are flocking to the internet and seminars to discover the latest about health because they feel doctors may not be up to date, The Medical Medium stands out as a popular go to for many.

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With a radio show on Hay House, Anthony William draws from his astounding connection to a ‘high-level’ spirit, as he calls it, and shares incredible health information to many. In his book Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal Anthony talks about the unknown reasons behind some of the many popular illnesses that plague people today. He also provides great insight into how one can treat and heal their bodies back to a healthy state – something that is rather refreshing in this day and age.


Written by Anthony William, Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal 

Do you suffer from chronic health problems and have yet to find the answers you seek? If you feel that you have been searching for answers for far too long, you are not alone.

You may already be doing everything you can think of to keep yourself healthy. You stick to your organic diet. You get as much exercise as you can tolerate. You meditate. You take your daily supplements. You take time for yourself. As far as you can tell, you’re doing everything right, and yet, your symptoms persist. Fatigue. Migraine headaches. Joint pain. Brain fog. Sluggishness. Inflammation. Constipation and other digestive disturbances. Susceptibility to infections. Nervousness and anxiety. Insomnia. Poor memory. Yeast and bacterial overgrowth. Skin eruptions. Attentional deficits. Mood dysregulation.

Sadly, these types of symptoms are becoming more and more commonplace. If you suffer from any one of these on a regular basis, odds are you have been to countless health professionals, scoured the internet, and read everything you can get your hands on, awaiting relief that never comes, or lasts only a short while. You may even have been told that it’s “all in your head,” that it’s “hormonal,” or “it’s just stress.” Yet as your symptoms continue, you keep asking yourself “What have I missed? Why does my body still feel this way?”

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In this modern era, we are bombarded by toxins of every kind imaginable. Our bodies are subjected to an onslaught of dangerous chemicals on a daily basis from things like air pollution, plastics, and industrial cleaning agents, not to mention the thousands of new chemicals introduced into our environment every year.

Toxins also saturate our water reservoirs, fall down from the sky, and hide out in our homes and workplaces. This has become an unfortunate reality of modern life. However, if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, there’s a good chance that a particular class of toxins are to blame. They are known as toxic heavy metals. Heavy metal toxicity—from metals such as mercury, aluminum, copper, cadmium, nickel, arsenic, and lead—represents one of the greatest threats to our health and well-being. While heavy metal toxicity is quite common, it is not commonly diagnosed. This is because heavy metal toxicity is an elusive adversary. It stays well-hidden within our bodies, never revealing itself unless you are actively looking for it.

“Heavy metal toxicity—from metals such as mercury, aluminum, copper, cadmium, nickel, arsenic, and lead—represents one of the greatest threats to our health and well-being.”

Toxic heavy metals are virtually everywhere, and are present in things we come in contact with every day, such as aluminum cans and aluminum foil, batteries, metal cookware, old paint, and even the foods we eat. For instance, pesticides and herbicides (which are hard to completely avoid even on a strict organic diet), are a common source of heavy metals. As a result, most of us are carrying around heavy metals that have been with us for almost our whole lives and which have burrowed deep inside our tissues. Unfortunately, it is these “old” metals, the ones that have been lurking in our system for prolonged periods of time, that pose the greatest threat.

For example, over time toxic heavy metals can oxidize, causing damage to surrounding tissue and promoting inflammation. They literally poison our bodies, and can inflict damage on virtually every system and organ, including our brain, liver, digestive system, and other parts of our nervous system. Toxic heavy metals put an immense burden on our immune system, leaving us vulnerable to a variety of illnesses.

While toxins of every kind are harmful, heavy metals pose a unique threat. Not only are they damaging in their own right, they are also a form of neurotoxin (a poison that disrupts nerve function and confuses your immune system). Heavy metal neurotoxins can inflame and irritate our central nervous system (especially our brain), causing multiple symptoms such as memory loss, brain fog, fatigue, and depression. Toxic heavy metals can also promote inflammation in the digestive tract, releasing poisons into our gut as well. As if this isn’t bad enough, heavy metals also serve as a source of food for viruses, bacteria, parasites, and other pathogens in our body.

For example, heavy metals can serve as a feeding ground for Streptococcus A or B, E. coli, C. difficile, H. pylori, and yeast cells. This can create an overgrowth of multiple bacteria in our gut, resulting in a condition known as SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), which is characterized by bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation (or both), and can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Additionally, when viruses such as Epstein-Barr and shingles feed off toxic heavy metals, this can produce symptoms such as tingling, numbness, fatigue, anxiety, heart palpitations, ringing in the ears, dizziness and vertigo, as well as neck pain, knee pain, foot pain, pain in the back of the head, and a variety of other aches and pains that are often attributed to other causes.

“Over time toxic heavy metals can oxidize, causing damage to surrounding tissue and promoting inflammation.”

When pathogens such as Epstein-Barr, shingles, and many others feed on heavy metals, they transform the metals into an especially aggressive form of neurotoxin. This secondary neurotoxin is the by-product and waste of these pathogens, and has the ability to travel throughout the body and wreak even greater havoc on the central nervous system. This phenomenon can throw medical communities off track, leading to incorrect diagnoses such as Lyme disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and many other autoimmune disorders, because blood tests start to lose their accuracy when the bloodstream becomes full of neurotoxic by-product and pathogen waste. These neurotoxins can even cross the blood-brain barrier, where they short circuit our neurotransmitters (the chemicals our brain cells use to communicate with each other). In turn, this can trigger depression and other mood disorders, memory loss, and a variety of other cognitive impairments.

It is therefore no surprise that heavy metals play a prominent role in our current epidemics of “mystery illnesses” and degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Despite all of this, heavy metal toxicity remains a relatively unexplored (and untreated) phenomenon—for everything we know about the dangers of heavy metals, there is a great deal more that has yet to be discovered. Heavy metals just may be the premier “hidden antagonizer” and mystery illness trigger in so many of us, contributing to all of the aforementioned symptoms—and more.

Mercury

While all toxic heavy metals wreak havoc on the body, mercury is an especially insidious beast, responsible for untold suffering throughout human history. Once touted as a cure-all for every disease imaginable, we now know the exact opposite is true. Mercury toxicity can be responsible for countless disorders and symptoms, including anxiety, ADHD, OCD, autism, bipolar disorder, neurological disorders, epilepsy, tingling, numbness, tics, twitches, spasms, hot flashes, heart palpitations, hair loss, brittle nails, weakness, memory loss, confusion, insomnia, loss of libido, fatigue, migraines, endocrine disorders, and depression. In fact, mercury poisoning is at the core of depression for a large percentage of people who suffer from it.

Historically, before its toxic effects were known (and acknowledged), mercury was believed to be a fountain of youth and a source of eternal wisdom. In ancient Chinese medicine, mercury was so revered that countless emperors died from mercury elixirs that healers vowed would end all their problems. Mercury elixirs (known as “quicksilver”) were also popular in the Western world. In the 1800s, medical students in the U.S. and England were taught to give a glass of mercury water to any patient who was ill, regardless of age, gender, or symptoms. Even after the medical community abandoned the practice of dispensing this misguided remedy, opportunities for mercury exposure were (and are) still plentiful: Industries were dumping mercury into rivers, lakes, and other waterways, and dentists were using mercury amalgam fillings (and some still are).

In the 1800s and the first half of the 1900s, hat production relied on a mercury-based solution designed to expedite the felting process, putting hat-makers at extreme risk. In fact, the average hat-maker had about three to five years to live after starting work at a factory before madness and death set in. This is where the term “mad as a hatter” comes from: almost all mental illness of the time was from mercury poisoning (and the terrible irony is that for a long time the “treatment” for mental illness was—you guessed it—mercury!). And it wasn’t just hat-makers who suffered; anyone of that era who wore a felt hat got an infusion of mercury every time their brow sweated!

“Mercury poisoning is at the core of depression for a large percentage of people who suffer from it.”

Although the practice of using mercury as a life-giving elixir has long since been abandoned, we are currently still subject to its damaging effects. Due to the aforementioned practices, it is extremely likely that your great-great grandparents and other ancestors were exposed to high levels of mercury—and mercury literally gets passed down from one generation to the next! (Yes, this means that we have mercury in our systems because we inherited it from our quicksilver-drinking ancestors.) It is virtually guaranteed that most, if not all of us have some level of mercury inside our bodies. Some of us may even have mercury in our bodies that is over a thousand years old!

As a result of this mercury legacy, as a human race we are actually more intolerant to mercury than ever before. This is because, with each passing generation, the older mercury gets a little less concentrated, and a little more diluted. This might sound like a good thing, but this actually results in a “reverse strengthening” of the mercury: the more diluted the mercury becomes, the stronger it gets when it comes to being passed down generationally from parent to child (this is similar to the laws of homeopathy, in which successive dilutions of a compound result in increased potency). And in addition to this old mercury that we come into the world with, we collect new forms of mercury as we go along. Thus, for optimal health, we need to eliminate not only the mercury we’ve accumulated in our own lifetime, but the mercury we inherited from our ancestors as well. Otherwise, as a human race we will become increasingly sensitive and intolerant to mercury and other heavy metals inside us.

The Alloy Complication

An important aspect of heavy metal toxicity is the fact that each of us has a unique signature blend, our own personal combination of heavy metals that creates an alloy. In the industrial sense, metals are blended to make them stronger and to give them broader applications. For example, a bicycle has various parts that are made from different alloys/blends of metal, to give it unique flexibility and strength; the same goes for rims on a car or even a pan for cooking. While this might be good news for the lifespan of your bicycle, it does nothing to enhance human life. For instance, one person’s signature blend of heavy metals might consist of high levels of mercury and lead, while the next person has large amounts of aluminum and nickel in her signature blend. Or perhaps two people both have extensive mercury and aluminum deposits, but have very different amounts of the two metals. Another variable contributing to a person’s individual alloy is the locations of the heavy metals in the body. For example, one person may have mercury deposits in her or his brain and central nervous system, while in the next person the metals have infiltrated her or his liver and intestines.

“An important aspect of heavy metal toxicity is the fact that each of us has a unique signature blend, our own personal combination of heavy metals that creates an alloy.”

Regardless, these highly individual alloys are part of why we see so much depression, anxiety, and other neurological symptoms that people are faced with every day. It is also one of the reasons why no two people with the same diagnosis have precisely the same symptoms. No one person diagnosed with depression, for example, has the exact same case of depression as the next person. The fact that everyone has a unique heavy metal signature blend is also part of why various treatments and methods can work for one person, but not for the next. Furthermore, there tends to be an interaction effect between one’s emotional history and her or his signature heavy metal blend. For example, if a person has undergone emotional trauma at some point and has high levels of heavy metal toxicity, she or he will tend to have a more difficult time processing the trauma she or he has experienced. Medical research and science is decades away from uncovering the signature heavy metals and alloys that create so many of our symptoms.

Your Delicate Central Nervous System

As indicated, heavy metals have the capacity to infiltrate the brain. While heavy metal deposits are damaging regardless of where they are in the body, the brain is especially vulnerable. Electrical nerve impulses are constantly passing through the neurons (nerve cells) in our brains; this is how our brain cells communicate with each other, and govern the bodily processes controlled by the brain. In healthy brains, this system runs smoothly and efficiently. If, however, the neurons are surrounded by brain tissue saturated with mercury or other heavy metals, this results in an electrical short circuiting. The metals draw on the electrical impulses, like draining a battery, much like when you leave your car’s headlights on all night.

When the electrical activity of our brain is “drained” by heavy metals in this manner, it disrupts the continuity of our nerve impulses. If, for example, a person has a lot of mercury in the brain, the spike of electricity running through a neuron doesn’t reach its intended destination (the adjacent neuron)—it slams into a mercury deposit instead! This is when we start to see things like depression and cognitive impairment, including confusion, overstimulation, disorientation, etc. Another issue is the interaction between the minerals involved in the nerve impulses, such as sodium, potassium, and chloride, and the heavy metals. These minerals have the ability to oxidize heavy metals, literally causing them to corrode (this is akin to the heavy metals in your brain getting rusty!).

This can spread to other areas of the brain, allowing more electrical impulses to come in contact with the heavy metal oxidation, leading to even more short-circuiting, and perpetuating a vicious cycle that contributes to anxiety, depression, memory loss, emotional upheaval (e.g., flying off the handle), migraines, mood swings (i.e., extreme highs and lows), being emotionally hypersensitive, having multiple chemical sensitivities, and so on. Additionally, our neurotransmitters (the chemical substances released by nerve cells) take a huge hit, depleting our supply of important neurochemicals such as serotonin or dopamine (contributing, again, to things like anxiety and depression).

“If the neurons are surrounded by brain tissue saturated with mercury or other heavy metals, this results in an electrical short circuiting. The metals draw on the electrical impulses, like draining a battery, much like when you leave your car’s headlights on all night.”

Heavy metals may already be on your radar. If so, perhaps you have tried chelation therapy (a procedure involving the administration of substances designed to remove heavy metals from the body; chelation means “to grab” or to “bind”), or you may have experimented with supplements or foods renowned for their ability to remove heavy metals. If the latter approach didn’t seem to work for you, it may be because you were using only one or two supplements or foods to try to remove the heavy metals. The truth is, most foods that can help get heavy metals out of your body need a helping hand, and work better as a team. This is why the best approach for heavy metal detox is to use not one but several different detoxifying foods together.

The process is a lot like passing a football (the heavy metals are the football, metal-grabbing foods are the teammates, and the finish line represents elimination of waste). Even the fastest running backs can’t take the football to the finish line on their own—they need their teammates to block for them along the way. Because heavy metals have a long and intricate path to traverse before they get expelled from the body, a team of one simply won’t cut it. With a team effort, if the ball gets dropped along the way (i.e., the toxic heavy metals get dropped during the lengthy trip out of your body), the other team members are ready and waiting to pick it up and continue the journey toward the finish line. All the teammates have to work together, passing the ball to the next player, for the process to work.

How To Detox From Heavy Metals

In the modern world, the accumulation of heavy metals and other toxins, along with inherited mercury deposits, is inevitable—that’s the bad news. The good news is that it is relatively easy to get rid of the heavy metals that you may have already accumulated (both generational and recent), and there are steps you can take to minimize your future exposure. Adding the following all-star team of foods to your diet and being diligent in your efforts to consume them will go a long way toward ridding your body of heavy metals:

Spirulina (preferably from Hawaii): This edible blue-green algae draws out heavy metals from your brain, central nervous system, and liver, and soaks up heavy metals extracted by barley grass juice extract powder. Take 2 teaspoons mixed in water, coconut water, or juice.

Barley grass juice extract powder: This nutritive grass has the ability to draw heavy metals out of your spleen, intestinal tract, pancreas, thyroid, and reproductive system. Barley grass juice extract prepares the mercury for complete absorption by the spirulina. Drink 1-2 teaspoons mixed into coconut water or juice.

Cilantro: Goes deep into hard-to-reach places, extracting metals from yesteryear (so it’s great for that mercury inheritance you’re carrying around!). Blend one cup in a smoothie or juice, or add to salad or guacamole.

Wild blueberries (only from Maine): Draw heavy metals out of your brain tissue, healing and repairing any gaps created by oxidation when the heavy metals are removed. It is important to use wild blueberries, as they possess unique phytonutrients with special detoxifying capabilities. The potent antioxidants in wild blueberries help reverse any oxidative damage left behind by the heavy metal removal. This is especially important for your brain tissue—in fact, wild blueberries are the most powerful food for halting or in some cases reversing Alzheimer’s and dementia. Eat at least one cup daily. Note: while cultivated blueberries are nutritious, they lack the metal-drawing ability of the wild blueberries.

Atlantic dulse: In addition to mercury, this edible seaweed binds to lead, aluminum, copper, cadmium, and nickel. Unlike other seaweeds, Atlantic dulse is a powerful force for removing mercury on its own. Atlantic dulse goes into deep, hidden places of the digestive tract and gut, seeking out mercury, binding to it, and never releasing it until it leaves the body. Eat two tablespoons of flakes daily, or an equal amount of strips if it’s in whole-leaf form. Note: As it comes from the ocean, if you are concerned about the dulse itself having mercury, be aware that Atlantic sea dulse will not release any mercury it might possess into the body. It holds on to the mercury as it works its way through, and even grabs onto other metals along the way and drives them out as well. Atlantic dulse is a critical part of the team because it can hang out near the finish line (i.e., our colon), waiting for the other foods that have been grabbing on to heavy metals along the way. It serves as emergency backup, helping ensure that all the heavy metals that made it as far as the colon actually leave the body.

These five foods constitute your best offensive action against heavy metals, and as you can see, they each have their strengths, performing slightly different roles in the detoxification process. On its own, each individual player isn’t 100 percent effective, but as a team, they are your anti-heavy metal secret weapon! At some point in the removal process, metals get “dropped” or dispersed back into the organs, at which point another member of the team will swoop in, grab the metal, and continue the journey toward the finish line.

You don’t need to eat all the foods in one sitting, but this is why it is important to consume these foods within 24 hours of each other for optimal effect. If you can’t fit them all in, try to eat at least two or three of the foods every day. While this is still helpful, this approach won’t be as effective in terms of results and symptom relief. In addition to helping draw metals out of the body, all of these powerful foods leave behind critical nutrients for repairing heavy metal damage and restoring the body. Another point in favor of this regimen is that it is effective regardless of your unique heavy metal signature—no matter the type, quantity, or location of the heavy metals, the five foods still help. This is truly the most effective way to rid your body of toxic heavy metals that could be causing so many of the symptoms and labels of conditions that you and your loved ones may be living with.

If the concept of heavy metal detoxification is already on your radar, or you have already tried similar detoxification methods, you may be wondering why chlorella (another popular algae often used for heavy metal detox) is not part of the team. Chlorella is a bit like a carpenter’s irresponsible apprentice, one who has good references, yet just isn’t reliable. If you are a carpenter, and you hire a carpenter’s apprentice to help you build some furniture, no matter how good the apprentice’s reputation, if she or he is clumsy and keeps dropping the hammer (i.e., mercury) at precisely the wrong moment, you aren’t going to keep the apprentice around for long. While chlorella is nutritious, it just doesn’t have the dexterity that is needed to get the job of heavy metal detox done. In this way, it is an irresponsible supplement—so it didn’t make the team.

The above recommendations are extremely effective for removing metals already in your system. However, we are constantly coming in contact with heavy metals and other toxins—the exposure is ongoing. While complete avoidance of toxins is impossible, there are many things you can do to minimize your risk and bolster your detox efforts.

Tips to Minimize Toxic Load and Supercharge Your Heavy Metal Detox Efforts

Dietary Fat
Even if you eat the five heavy metal detoxifying foods religiously, if the rest of your diet is off-kilter, the process will be less effective. In the process of eliminating heavy metals, it is very beneficial to keep your blood fat ratio lower than usual. If you are trying to remove mercury and other heavy metals from your body, extra fats from the foods you eat can slow down or even halt the removal process, because the fat tends to soak up the metals you’re trying to get rid of. You don’t need to completely remove fat from your diet, just scale it back a bit. If you eat a vegan diet, reduce the amount of fat you take in from nuts, seeds, oil, avocadoes, and so on. If you are lacto-ovo-vegetarian, cut back on fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, seed oils, avocado, etc.

If your diet is Paleo and/or includes animal protein, try to cut back to about one or two servings of meat per day (one serving is optimal, if you can swing it). With each of these dietary approaches, scaling back your usual fat intake by about twenty-five percent should be sufficient in most cases. This has nothing to do with whether or not dietary fat is good for you. This is a blood fat reduction technique that helps expedite the toxic heavy metal removal process. Decreasing your fat intake by about twenty-five percent reduces the amount of fat circulating in your bloodstream, helping prevent blood fats from taking up mercury and other metals that are on their way out. If you don’t make any changes to your diet during the metal detox, you will still receive benefits over time, but you will get better, quicker results by keeping your fat intake a bit lower than is typical for you.

Lemon Water
When performing a heavy metal detox, it is absolutely essential that you are sufficiently hydrated for the duration. Performing a detox without drinking enough water is like taking out the trash without trash service. Imagine if you gather up your household trash, put it all in a big garbage can, and put the garbage can out to the curb, but no one ever comes to take it away. Eventually this becomes a huge problem, because the trash doesn’t go anywhere—it just sits on the curb, becoming more toxic with each passing day. The same goes for detoxifying your body! Detoxification efforts help draw the “junk” out of your cells and tissues, but if you aren’t eliminating properly and frequently, eventually those toxins will just settle back in.

A highly effective means of detoxifying the body is to drink two 16-ounce glasses of water on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, squeezing half of a freshly cut lemon into each glass. The lemon is critical here, because most water has lost its living factor by the time it makes it to your glass due to filtering and processing. Fresh lemon juice helps breathe life back into your “deadened” water, because the water that resides in the lemon is alive. The fresh lemon juice enhances the water’s ability to latch onto toxins in your body and help flush them out. This practice is especially effective for cleansing your liver, which works while you sleep to gather and purge toxins from your body. When you wake up, it is primed to be hydrated and flushed clean with activated water. After you drink the water, give your liver half an hour to clean up, then go ahead and eat breakfast. If you make this a regular part of your routine, your health can improve dramatically. For an extra boost, you can add one teaspoon each raw honey and freshly grated ginger to the lemon water. Your liver will draw in the honey to restore its glucose reserves, purging deep toxins at the same time to make room.

Aloe Vera Leaf Juice
Consuming fresh aloe vera leaf juice is another great addition to your heavy metal detox toolkit. Aloe is very adept at helping flush metals out of your body. For optimal results, cut off a four-inch section of a fresh aloe leaf (if it is large, as is typically the case for store-bought aloe. If you’re using a homegrown aloe plant, it will likely have smaller, skinnier leaves, so you will need to cut off more). Filet the leaf like a fish, trimming away the green skin and spikes. Scoop out the clear gel, taking care not to include any from the bitter base of the leaf. Blend it into a smoothie or eat as-is. Get some here.

Infrared Sauna
You can give your heavy metal detox an additional boost with infrared sauna sessions. Infrared saunas emit infrared light on your skin for the purpose of healing. The rays deeply penetrate the body, providing benefits such as increased blood flow and oxygenation of the blood, removal of toxins from the skin, elimination of aches and pains, and enhanced immunity. Infrared sauna sessions assist the body’s innate detoxification efforts, which expedites the heavy metal removal process. You can often find an infrared sauna at local gyms, massage therapy centers, and/or sauna centers. Recommended usage: 15- to 20-minute sessions twice per week. If you do it right, you should feel an immediate change for the better after each session. Be sure to drink plenty of water after your session to facilitate the removal of toxins from the body.

Juice Fasting
If you want to take things up a notch, consider the practice of one-day “fasts” in which you consume nothing but juices. Your juice should consist of celery, cucumbers, and apples. If you want, add in a bit of spinach or cilantro for variety; however, the core ingredients must remain celery, cucumbers, and apples. This combination has the proper balance of mineral salts, potassium, and natural sugar to keep your glucose levels stable as your body cleanses itself of toxic heavy metals. Make each juice 16- to 20-ounces, and drink one every two to three hours. Consume nothing in between except water—preferably a 16-ounce glass of it an hour after each juice. Your goal is to drink six juices and six glasses of water over the course of the day. When trying this for the first time, it is highly recommended to do it on a weekend when you can stay at home. If you’ve never detoxed before, the poisons it brings out of your body may make you feel uncomfortable. If so, lie down and rest. After you’ve gone through this detox a few times and feel comfortable with it, you can optionally expand it to a two-day juice fast. Plan on being home for at least the second day, though, in case your energy dips. For many people, however, energy actually increases.

You can experiment with the juice and add other ingredients—e.g., kale instead of spinach, or an occasional pinch of ginger for taste, or some extra cilantro, but don’t overdo it. The celery, cucumber, and apple all help flush toxic heavy metals out of you. If you put in too much of anything else, you take away space from these key ingredients. If you do this juice fast every two weeks, over time you should achieve impressive detox results and really feel the difference.

All of the above techniques are very effective at helping flush your system of heavy metals that are already on their way out thanks to your heavy metal detox team players.

Conclusion

Modern life has its upsides and downsides—and you no doubt see proof of this every day. While today’s technology means that, for example, we’re plugged in and reachable 24/7, it also means that, well, we’re plugged in and reachable 24/7. We have incredible resources today that our ancestors couldn’t even have imagined—societal advancements have made our lives easier in so many ways—and yet we’re suffering. Never before in our history have we been exposed to so many poisonous substances. On top of which, we are still bearing the brunt of our ancestors’ heavy metal toxicity.

While avoiding the daily onslaught of heavy metals and other toxins is tough, protecting your body from these threats is not. You can take a stand against your personal blend of toxic heavy metals! The truth is, your body wants to heal, and it is working for you every day. All you need to do is give it the tools and resources it needs to begin the healing process. Start by assembling your all-star team of heavy metal detoxifiers, and incorporating a few of the lifestyle practices. By taking advantage of these simple tips, you can assume an active and powerful role in reclaiming the vibrant health that you deserve—and are meant to have.


Check out Anthony William’s entire book Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal

The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

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Awareness

Epigenetic Memories Are Passed Down 14 Successive Generations, Game-Changing Research Reveals

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    It's amazing how much information can be passed on to our offspring. Scientist have discovered that our DNA has memories, and these can also be passed down. We are talking about thoughts, feelings, emotions and perceptions.

  • Reflect On:

    Biological changes are shaped by our environment, as well as our thoughts, feelings, emotions and reaction to that environment. Our DNA can be changed with belief, the placebo is a great example. Thoughts feelings and emotions are huge in biology.

This article was written by the Greenmedinfo research group, from Greenmedinfo.com. Posted here with permission.

Until recently, it was believed that our genes dictate our destiny. That we are slated for the diseases that will ultimately beset us based upon the pre-wired indecipherable code written in stone in our genetic material. The burgeoning field of epigenetics, however, is overturning these tenets, and ushering in a school of thought where nurture, not nature, is seen to be the predominant influence when it comes to genetic expression and our freedom from or affliction by chronic disease.

Epigenetics: The Demise of Biological Determinism

Epigenetics, or the study of the physiological mechanisms that silence or activate genes, encompasses processes which alter gene function without changing the sequence of nucleotide base pairs in our DNA. Translated literally to mean “in addition to changes in genetic sequence,” epigenetics includes processes such as methylation, acetylation, phosphorylation, sumolyation, and ubiquitylation which can be transmitted to daughter cells upon cell division (1). Methylation, for example, is the attachment of simple methyl group tags to DNA molecules, which can repress transcription of a gene when it occurs in the region of a gene promoter. This simple methyl group, or a carbon bound to three hydrogen molecules, effectively turns the gene off.

Post-translational modifications of histone proteins is another epigenetic process. Histones help to package and condense the DNA double helix into the cell nucleus in a complex called chromatin, which can be modified by enzymes, acetyl groups, and forms of RNA called small interfering RNAs and microRNAs (1). These chemical modifications of chromatin influence its three-dimensional structure, which in turn governs its accessibility for DNA transcription and dictates whether genes are expressed or not.

We inherit one allele, or variant, of each gene from our mother and the other from our father. If the result of epigenetic processes is imprinting, a phenomenon where one of the two alleles of a gene pair is turned off, this can generate a deleterious health outcome if the expressed allele is defective or increases our susceptibility to infections or toxicants (1). Studies link cancers of nearly all types, neurobehavioral and cognitive dysfunction, respiratory illnessesautoimmune disorders, reproductive anomalies, and cardiovascular disease to epigenetic mechanisms (1). For example, the cardiac antiarrhythmic drug procainamide and the antihypertensive agent hydralazine can cause lupus in some people by causing aberrant patterns of DNA methylation and disrupting signalling pathways (1).

Genes Load the Gun, Environment Pulls the Trigger

Pharmaceuticals, however, are not the only agents that can induce epigenetic disturbances. Whether you were born via vaginal birth or Cesarean section, breastfed or bottle-fed, raised with a pet in the house, or infected with certain childhood illnesses all influence your epigenetic expression. Whether you are sedentary, pray, smoke, mediate, do yoga, have an extensive network of social support or are alienated from your community—all of your lifestyle choices play into your risk for disease operating through mechanisms of epigenetics.

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In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that genetics account for only 10% of disease, with the remaining 90% owing to environmental variables (2). An article published in the Public Library of Science One (PLoS One) entitled “Genetic factors are not the major causes of chronic diseases” echoes these claims, citing that chronic disease is only 16.4% genetic, and 84.6% environmental (3). These concepts make sense in light of research on the exposome, the cumulative measure of all the environmental insults an individual incurs during their life course that determines susceptibility to disease (4)

In delineating the totality of exposures to which an individual is subjected over their lifetime, the exposome can be subdivided into three overlapping and intertwined domains. One segment of the exposome called the internal environment is comprised of processes innate to the body which impinge on the cellular milieu. This encompasses hormones and other cellular messengers, oxidative stress, inflammation, lipid peroxidation, bodily morphology, the gut microbiotaaging and biochemical stress (5).

Another portion of the exposome, the specific external environment, consists of exposures including pathogens, radiation, chemical contaminants and pollutants, and medical interventions, as well as dietary, lifestyle, and occupational elements (5). At an even broader sociocultural and ecological level is the segment of the exposome called the general external environment, which may circumscribe factors such as psychological stress, socioeconomic status, geopolitical variables, educational attainment, urban or rural residence, and climate (5).

Transgenerational Inheritance of Epigenetic Change: Endocrine Disruptors Trigger Infertility in Future Generations

Scientists formerly speculated that epigenetic changes disappear with each new generation during gametogenesis, the formation of sperm and ovum, and after fertilization. However, this theory was first challenged by research published in the journal Science which demonstrated that transient exposure of pregnant rats to the insecticide methoxychlor, an estrogenic compound, or the fungicide vinclozolin, an antiandrogenic compound, resulted in increased incidence of male infertility and decreased sperm production and viability in 90% of the males of four subsequent generations that were tracked (1).

Most notably, these reproductive effects were associated with derangements in DNA methylation patterns in the germ line, suggesting that epigenetic changes are passed on to future generations. The authors concluded, “The ability of an environmental factor (for example, endocrine disruptor) to reprogram the germ line and to promote a transgenerational disease state has significant implications for evolutionary biology and disease etiology” (6, p. 1466). This may suggest that the endocrine-disrupting, fragrance-laden personal care products and commercial cleaning supplies to which we are all exposed may trigger fertility problems in multiple future generations.

Transgenerational Inheritance of Traumatic Episodes: Parental Experience Shapes Traits of Offspring

In addition, traumatic experiences may be transmitted to future generations via epigenetics as a way to inform progeny about salient information needed for their survival (7). In one study, researchers wafted the cherry-like chemical acetophenone into the chambers of mice while administering electric shocks, conditioning the mice to fear the scent (7). This reaction was passed onto two successive generations, which shuddered significantly more in the presence of acetophenone despite never having encountered it compared to descendants of mice that had not received this conditioning (7).

The study suggests that certain characteristics of the parental sensory environment experienced before conception can remodel the sensory nervous system and neuroanatomy in subsequently conceived generations (7). Alterations in brain structures that process olfactory stimuli were observed, as well as enhanced representation of the receptor that perceives the odor compared to control mice and their progeny (7). These changes were conveyed by epigenetic mechanisms, as illustrated by evidence that the acetophenone-sensing genes in fearful mice were hypomethylated, which may have enhanced expression of odorant-receptor genes during development leading to acetophenone sensitivity (7).

The Human Experience of Famine and Tragedy Spans Generations

The mouse study, which illustrates how germ cells (egg and sperm) exhibit dynamic plasticity and adaptability in response to environmental signals, is mirrored by human studies. For instance, exposures to certain stressors such as starvation during the gestational period are associated with poor health outcomes for offspring. Women who undergo famine before conception of her offspring have been demonstrated to give birth to children with lower self-reported mental health and quality of life, for example (8).

Studies similarly highlight that, “Maternal famine exposure around the time of conception has been related to prevalence of major affective disorders, antisocial personality disorders, schizophrenia, decreased intracranial volume, and congenital abnormalities of the central nervous system” (8). Gestational exposure to the Dutch Famine of the mid-twentieth century is also associated with lower perceived health (9), as well as enhanced incidence of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and obesity in offspring (8). Maternal undernourishment during pregnancy leads to neonatal adiposity, which is a predictor of future obesity (10), in the grandchildren (11).

The impact of epigenetics is also exemplified by research on the intergenerational effects of trauma, which illuminates that descendants of people who survived the Holocaust exhibit abnormal stresshormone profiles, and low cortisol production in particular (12). Because of their impaired cortisol response and altered stress reactivity, children of Holocaust survivors are often at enhanced risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression (13).

Intrauterine exposure to maternal stress in the form of intimate partner violence during pregnancy can also lead to changes in the methylation status of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) of their adolescent offspring (14). These studies suggest that an individual’s experience of trauma can predispose their descendants to mental illness, behavioral problems, and psychological abnormalities due to “transgenerational epigenetic programming of genes operating in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis,” a complex set of interactions among endocrine glands which determine stress response and resilience (14).

Body Cells Pass Genetic Information Directly Into Sperm Cells

Not only that, but studies are illuminating that genetic information can be transferred through the germ line cells of a species in real time. These paradigm-shifting findings overturn conventional logic which postulates that genetic change occurs over the protracted time scale of hundreds of thousands or even millions of years. In a relatively recent study, exosomes were found to be the medium through which information was transferred from somatic cells to gametes.

This experiment entailed xenotransplantation, a process where living cells from one species are grafted into a recipient of another species. Specifically, human melanoma tumor cells genetically engineered to express genes for a fluorescent tracer enzyme called EGFP-encoding plasmid were transplanted into mice. The experimenters found that information-containing molecules containing the EGFP tracer were released into the animals’ blood (15). Exosomes, or “specialized membranous nano-sized vesicles derived from endocytic compartments that are released by many cell types” were found among the EGFP trackable molecules (16, p. 447).

Exosomes, which are synthesized by all plant and animal cells, contain distinct protein repertoires and are created when inward budding occurs from the membrane of multivesicular bodies (MVBs), a type of organelle that serves as a membrane-bound sorting compartment within eukaryotic cells (16). Exosomes contain microRNA (miRNA) and small RNA, types of non-coding RNA involved in regulating gene expression (16). In this study, exosomes delivered RNAs to mature sperm cells (spermatozoa) and remained stored there (15).

The researchers highlight that this kind of RNA can behave as a “transgenerational determinant of inheritable epigenetic variations and that spermatozoal RNA can carry and deliver information that cause phenotypic variations in the progeny” (15). In other words, the RNA carried to sperm cells by exosomes can preside over gene expression in a way that changes the observable traits and disease risk of the offspring as well as its morphology, development, and physiology.

This study was the first to elucidate RNA-mediated transfer of information from somatic to germ cells, which fundamentally overturns what is known as the Weisman barrier, a principle which states that the movement of hereditary information from genes to body cells is unidirectional, and that the information transmitted by egg and sperm to future generations remains independent of somatic cells and parental experience (15).

Further, this may bear implications for cancer risk, as exosomes contain vast amounts of genetic information which can be source of lateral gene transfer (17) and are abundantly liberated from tumor cells (18). This can be reconciled with the fact that exosome-resembling vesicles have been observed in various mammals (15), including humans, in close proximity to sperm in anatomical structures such as the epididymis as well as in seminal fluid (19). These exosomes may thereafter be propagated to future generations with fertilization and augment cancer risk in the offspring (20).

The researchers concluded that sperm cells can act as the final repositories of somatic cell-derived information, which suggests that epigenetic insults to our body cells can be relayed to future generations. This notion is confirmatory of the evolutionary theory of “soft inheritance” proposed by French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, whereby characteristics acquired over the life of an organism are transmitted to offspring, a concept which modern genetics previously rejected before the epigenetics arrived on the scene. In this way, the sperm are able to spontaneously assimilate exogenous DNA and RNA molecules, behaving both as vector of their native genome and of extrachromosomal foreign genetic material which is “then delivered to oocytes at fertilization with the ensuing generation of phenotypically modified animals” (15).

Epigenetic Changes Endure Longer Than Ever Predicted

In a recent study, nematode worms were manipulated to harbor a transgene for a fluorescent protein, which made the worms glow under ultraviolet light when the gene was activated (21). When the worms were incubated under the ambient temperature of 20° Celsius (68° Fahrenheit), negligible glowing was observed, indicating low activity of the transgene (21). However, transferring the worms to a warmer climate of 25°C (77° F) stimulated expression of the gene, as the worms glowed brightly (21).

In addition, this temperature-induced alteration in gene expression was found to persist for at least 14 generations, representing the preservation of epigenetic memories of environmental change across an unprecedented number of generations (21). In other words, the worms transmitted memories of past environmental conditions to their descendants, through the vehicle of epigenetic change, as a way to prepare their offspring for prevailing environmental conditions and ensure their survivability.

Future Directions: Where Do We Go From Here?

Taken cumulatively, the aforementioned research challenges traditional Mendelian laws of genetics, which postulate that genetic inheritance occurs exclusively through sexual reproduction and that traits are passed to offspring through the chromosomes contained in germ line cells, and never through somatic (bodily) cells. Effectively, this proves the existence of non-Mendelian transgenerational inheritance, where traits separate from chromosomal genes are transmitted to progeny, resulting in persistent phenotypes that endure across generations (22).

This research imparts new meaning to the principle of seven generation stewardship taught by Native Americans, which mandates that we consider the welfare of seven generations to come in each of our decisions. Not only should we embody this approach in practices of environmental sustainability, but we would be wise to consider how the conditions to which we subject our bodies—the pollution and toxicants which permeate the landscape and pervade our bodies, the nutrient-devoid soil that engenders micronutrient-poor food, the disruptions to our circadian rhythm due to the ubiquity of electronic devices, our divorce from nature and the demise of our tribal affiliations—may translate into ill health effects and diminished quality of life for a previously unfathomed number of subsequent generations.

Hazards of modern agriculture, the industrial revolution, and contemporary living are the “known or suspected drivers behind epigenetic processes…including heavy metals, pesticides, diesel exhaust, tobacco smoke, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, hormones, radioactivity, viruses, bacteria, and basic nutrients” (1, p. A160). Serendipitously, however, many inputs such as exercise, mindfulness, and bioactive components in fruits and vegetables such as sulforaphane in cruciferous vegetables, resveratrol from red grapes, genistein from soy, diallyl sulphide from garlic, curcumin from turmeric, betaine from beets, and green tea catechin can favorably modify epigenetic phenomena “either by directly inhibiting enzymes that catalyze DNA methylation or histone modifications, or by altering the availability of substrates necessary for those enzymatic reactions” (23, p. 8).

This quintessentially underscores that the air we breathe, the food we eat, the thoughts we allow, the toxins to which we are exposed, and the experiences we undergo may persevere in our descendants and remain in our progeny long after we are gone. We must be cognizant of the effects of our actions, as they elicit a ripple effect through the proverbial sands of time.

You can join the Greenmedinfo newsletter here for updates and more information about the world of health

References

1. Weinhold, B. (2006). Epigenetics: The Science of Change. Environmental Health Perspectives, 114(3), A160-A167.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Exposome and Exposomics. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/exposome/

3. Rappaport, S.M. (2016). Genetic factors are not the major causes of chronic diseases. PLoS One, 11(4), e0154387.

4. Vrijheid, M. (2014). The exposome: a new paradigm to study the impact of environment on health. Thorax, 69(9), 876-878. doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2013-204949.

5. Wild, C.P. (2012). The exposome: from concept to utility. International Journal of Epidemiology, 41, 24–32. doi:10.1093/ije/dyr236

6. Anway, M.D. et al. (2005). Epigenetic transgenerational actions of endocrine disruptors and male fertility. Science, 308(5727), 1466-1469.

7. Dias, B.G., & Ressler, K.J. (2014). Parental olfactory experience influences behavior and neural structure in subsequent generations. Nature Neuroscience, 17(1), 89-98.

8. Stein, A.D. et al. (2009). Maternal exposure to the Dutch Famine before conception and during pregnancy: quality of life and depressive symptoms in adult offspring. Epidemiology, 20(6), doi:  10.1097/EDE.0b013e3181b5f227.

9. Roseboom, T.J. et al. (2003). Perceived health of adults after prenatal exposure to the Dutch famine. Paediatrics Perinatal Epidemiology, 17, 391–397.

10. Badon, S.E. et al. (2014). Gestational Weight Gain and Neonatal Adiposity in the Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome Study-North American Region. Obesity (Silver Spring), 22(7), 1731–1738.

11. Veenendaal, M.V. et al. (2013). Transgenerational effects of prenatal exposure to the 1944-45 Dutch famine. BJOG, 120(5), 548-53. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.

12. Yehuda, R., & Bierer, L.M. (2008). Transgenerational transmission of cortisol and PTSD risk. Progress in Brain Research, 167, 121-135.

13. Aviad-Wilcheck, Y. et al. (2013). The effects of the survival characteristics of parent Holocaust survivors on offsprings’ anxiety and depression symptoms. The Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences, 50(3), 210-216.

14. Radke, K.M. et al. (2011). Transgenerational impact of intimate partner violence on methylation in the promoter of the glucocorticoid receptor. Translational Psychiatry, 1, e21. doi: 10.1038/tp.2011.21.

15. Cossetti, C. et al. (2014). Soma-to-Germline Transmission of RNA in Mice Xenografted with Human Tumour Cells: Possible Transport by Exosomes. PLoS One, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0101629.

16. Zomer, A. et al. (2010). Exosomes: Fit to deliver small RNA. Communicative and Integrative Biology, 3(5), 447–450.

17. Balaj, L. et al. (2011) Tumour microvesicles contain retrotransposon elements and amplified oncogene sequences. Natural Communications, 2, 180.

18. Azmi, A.S., Bao, B., & Sarkar, F.H. (2013). Exosomes in cancer development, metastasis, and drug resistance: a comprehensive review. Cancer Metastasis Review, 32, 623-643

19. Poliakov, A. et al. (2009). Structural heterogeneity and protein composition of exosomes-like vesicles (prostasomes) in human semen. Prostate, 69, 159-167.

20. Cheng, R.Y. et al. (2004) Epigenetic and gene expression changes related to transgenerational carcinogenesis. Molecular Carcinogenesis, 40, 1–11.

21. Klosin, A. et al. (2017). Transgenerational transmission of environmental information in C. elegans. Science, 356(6335).

22. Lim, J.P., & Brunet, A. (2013). Bridging the transgenerational gap with epigenetic memory. Trends in Genetics, 29(3), 176-186. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2012.12.008

23. Choi, S.-W., & Friso, S. (2010). Epigenetics: A New Bridge between Nutrition and Health Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal, 1(1), 8-16. doi:10.3945/an.110.1004.

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Brain Imaging Shows Autistic Brains Contain HIGH Amounts of Aluminum

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A study published early in 2018 identified very high amounts of aluminum lodged in the brains of multiple people with autism.

  • Reflect On:

    We know little about where the heavy metals used as adjuvants in vaccines end up in the body. We now know that injected aluminum doesn't exit the body like aluminum intake from other sources. When injected, it ends up in the brain.

A study published earlier in 2018 should have made headlines everywhere, as it discovered historically high amounts of aluminum in autistic brains. The study was conducted by some of the worlds leading scientists in the field.

Five people were used in the study, four males and one female, all between the ages of 14-50. Each of their brains contained unsafe and high amounts of aluminum compared to patients with other diseases where high brain aluminum content is common, like Alzheimer’s disease, for example.

Of course, this caused people to downplay the study, citing a low sample group, but that’s not entirely a valid argument given the reason why this study was conducted. As cited in the study above, recent studies on animals, published within the past few years, have supported a strong connection between aluminum, and aluminum adjuvants used in human vaccinations, and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD.)

Studies have also shown that injected aluminum does not exit the body, and can be detected inside the brain even a year after injection. That being said, when we take aluminum in from sources such as food, the body does a great job of getting it out, but there is a threshold. It’s important to acknowledge that the aluminum found in the brain, could be due to the presence of aluminum adjuvants in vaccines. This latest study also identified the location of aluminum in these tissues, and where they end up. This particular study was done on humans, which builds upon, and still supports, the findings of the animal studies.

This is also important because the majority of studies that previously examined human exposure to aluminum have only used hair, blood and urine samples. The study also makes a clear statement regarding vaccines, stating that “Paediatric vaccines that include an aluminum adjuvant are an indirect measure of infant exposure to aluminum and their burgeoning use has been directly correlated with increasing prevalence of ASD.”

 Aluminum, in this case, was found in all four lobes of the brain.

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The aluminum content of brain tissues from donors with a diagnosis of ASD was extremely high (Table 1). While there was significant inter-tissue, inter-lobe and inter-subject variability the mean aluminium content for each lobe across all 5 individuals was towards the higher end of all previous (historical) measurements of brain aluminium content, including iatrogenic disorders such as dialysisencephalopathy[13][15][16][17][18][19]. All 4 male donors had significantly higher concentrations of brain aluminum than the single female donor. We recorded some of the highest values for brain aluminum content ever measured in healthy or diseased tissues in these male ASD donors

We Know, And Have Known, Aluminum Is Not Safe, Yet We Ignore It

When we talk about the ‘safe’ amount of aluminum here, there is no such thing. Aluminum is extremely toxic to any biological process, it’s not meant for us which is why it stayed deep within the Earth until we took it out. It has no place within us, and that’s simply due to the fact that it causes nothing but havoc. This makes it odd that we would put them in vaccinations despite the fact that for 100 years there has been no appropriate safety testing.

Aluminum is an experimentally demonstrated neurotoxin and the most commonly used vaccine adjuvant. Despite almost 90 years of widespread use of aluminum adjuvants, medical science’s understanding about their mechanisms of action is still remarkably poor. There is also a concerning scarcity of data on toxicology and pharmacokinetics of these compounds. In spite of this, the notion that aluminum in vaccines is safe appears to be widely accepted. Experimental research, however, clearly shows that aluminum adjuvants have a potential to induce serious immunological disorders in humans.

The quote above comes from a study published in 2011, it’s 2018 now and we’ve come along way in our understanding. We are starting to see even more research confirming the statement above.

Almost every study you read regarding previous studies on aluminum adjuvants within vaccines emphasized how the nature of its bioaccumulation is unknown, and a serious matter. We now know that it goes throughout the body, into distant organs eventually ends up in the brain.

Another fairly recent study from 2015 points out:

Evidence that aluminum-coated particles phagocytozed in the injected muscle and its draining lymph notes can disseminate within phagocytes throughout the body and slowly accumulate in the brain further suggests that alum safety should be evaluated in the long term.(source)

The pictures below come from the recent 2018 study and show ‘bright spots’ that indicate heavy metals in the brain.

 

The more recent study discussed in this article is adding to that evidence. Below you can watch one of the most recent interviews with Dr. Eric Exly, one of the world’s foremost leading authors on the subject, and one of the authors of this most recent study. He is a Biologist (University of Stirling) with a Ph.D. in the ecotoxicology of aluminum. You can read more about his background here.

Take Away

People need to understand that despite media bullying, it’s ok to question vaccine safety, and there is plenty of reason to. There are many concerns, and heavy metals are one of them. In fact, the persistence and abundant presence of heavy metals in our environment, foods and medications is a concern, one that has been the clear cause for a variety of health ailments, yet it’s one that’s hardly addressed by the medical industry.

You can detox from this with items such as Spirulina, and waters that contain a high Silica content. There are studies that show various methods of detoxing can be used to get this lodged aluminum, or some of it, out of your body, organs and brain. This is where educating yourself regarding the medicinal value of food and nutrition is a key Perhaps this can be a motivation to better your diet, especially if you have, are someone, or know someone with an ASD diagnosis.

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The CDC’s Influenza Math Doesn’t Add Up: Exaggerating the Death Toll to Sell Flu Shots

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The flu shot is irresponsibly marketed, unnecessary and in some cases dangerous. This perspective comes from many people and health professionals, yet it's a narrative that's constantly ignored.

  • Reflect On:

    Is a flu shot really necessary? Are our immune systems suffering from a lack of real immunity? Are vaccines doing more harm than good?

Every year at about this time, public health officials and their media megaphones start up the drumbeat to encourage everyone (including half-year-old infants, pregnant women and the invalid elderly) to get a flu shot. Never mind that more often than not the vaccines don’t work, and sometimes even increase the risk of getting sick.

To buttress their alarmist message for 2018-2019, representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health agencies held a press conference and issued a press release on September 27, citing a particularly “record-breaking” (though unsubstantiated) 80,000 flu deaths last year. Having “medical experts and public health authorities publicly…state concern and alarm (and predict dire outcomes)” is part and parcel of the CDC’s documented playbook for “fostering public interest and high…demand” for flu shots. CDC’s media relations experts frankly admit that “framing” the current flu season as “more severe than last or past years” or more “deadly” is a highly effective strategy for garnering strong interest and attention from both the media and the public.

If accurate, 80,000 deaths would represent an enormous (and mystifying) one-year jump—tens of thousands more flu deaths compared to the already inflated numbers presented for 2016 (and every prior year).

Peter Doshi (associate editor at The BMJ and a MIT graduate) has criticized the CDC’s “aggressive” promotion of flu shots, noting that although the annual public health campaigns deliver a “who-in-their-right-mind-could-possibly-disagree message,” the “rhetoric of science” trotted out each year by public health officials has a “shaky scientific basis.” Viewed within the context of Doshi’s remarks, the CDC’s high-flying flu numbers for 2017-2018 raise a number of questions. If accurate, 80,000 deaths would represent an enormous (and mystifying) one-year jump—tens of thousands more flu deaths compared to the already inflated numbers presented for 2016 (and every prior year). Moreover, assuming a roughly six-month season for peak flu activity, the 80,000 figure would translate to an average of over 13,300 deaths per month—something that no newspaper last year came close to reporting.

The CDC’s statistics are impervious to independent verification because they remain, thus far, unpublished—despite the agency’s pledge on its website to base its public health pronouncements on high-quality data derived openly and objectively. Could the CDC’s disappointment with influenza vaccination coverage—which lags far behind the agency’s target of 80%—have anything to do with the opacity of the flu data being used to peddle the unpopular and ineffective vaccines?

Fudging facts

There are a variety of reasons to question the precision with which the CDC likes to imbue its flu statistics. First, although the CDC states that it conducts influenza mortality surveillance with its partner agencies, there is no actual requirement for U.S. states to report adult flu deaths to the CDC. (In public health parlance, adult influenza deaths are not “reportable” or “nationally notifiable.”) In fact, the only “flu-associated deaths” that the CDC requires states and other jurisdictions to report are deaths in children—180 last year.

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…when actual death certificates are tallied, influenza deaths on average are little more than 1,000 yearly.

How did the CDC reach its as-yet-unpublished conclusion—widely shared with the media—that 79,820 American adults in addition to 180 children died from the flu in 2017-2018? The agency states that it relies on death certificate data. However, members of the Cochrane research community have observed that “when actual death certificates are tallied, influenza deaths on average are little more than 1,000 yearly.”

Other knowledgeable individuals have also noted that the death records system in the U.S. is subjective, incomplete and politicized, and have suggested that citizens should adopt a “healthy skepticism about even the most accepted, mainstream, nationally reported CDC or other ‘scientific’ statistics.” This skepticism may be especially warranted for the influenza stats, which are so inextricably intertwined with the CDC’s vaccination agenda that the statistical techniquesand assumptions that the agency uses focus specifically on “project[ing] the burden of influenza that would have occurred in the absence of vaccination.”

skepticism may be especially warranted for the influenza stats, which are so inetricably intertwined with the CDC’s vaccination agenda.

Notwithstanding its incessant use of influenza statistics to justify its flu vaccine policies, the CDC tries to have it both ways, cautioning that because “influenza activity reporting…is voluntary,” influenza surveillance in the U.S. “cannot be used to ascertain how many people have become ill with influenza during the influenza season.” A larger problem is that the vital statistics that form the basis of the CDC’s surveillance data conflate deaths from pneumonia and influenza (P&I). The CDC concedes that this conflation complicates the challenge of specifically estimating flu deaths:

The system “tracks the proportion of death certificates processed that list pneumonia or influenza as the underlying or contributing cause of death. This system…does not provide an exact number of how many people died from flu” [emphasis added].

Curiously, the CDC presented its cause-of-death data slightly differently prior to 2015. Through 2014, the agency’s annual National Vital Statistics Reports included tables showing influenza deaths and pneumonia deaths as separate line items. Those reports made it abundantly clear that pneumonia deaths (at least as transmitted by death certificates) consistently and dramatically outstripped influenza deaths. The table below illustrates this pattern for 2012-2014.

Starting in 2015, the annual vital statistics reports began displaying P&I together and eliminated the distinct line items. At present, only one tool remains to examine mortality associated with influenza as distinct from pneumonia—the CDC’s interactive FluView dashboard—which provides weekly national breakdowns. The dashboard shows the same general pattern as in the annual reports—that is, lower numbers of influenza deaths and much higher numbers of pneumonia deaths. Bearing in mind all the shortcomings and potential biases of death certificate data, dashboard reports for the first week of March (week 9) for the past three years show 257 influenza deaths versus 4,250 pneumonia deaths in 2016, and 534 and 736 flu deaths (versus over 4,000 annual pneumonia deaths) in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

When clinicians in outpatient settings do order testing, relatively few of the “flu” specimens—sometimes as low as 1%—actually test positive for influenza.

Semantic shenanigans

Semantics also play a key role in the CDC’s slippery communications about “flu.” For example, CDC’s outpatient surveillance focuses on the broad category of “influenza-like illness” (ILI)—an almost meaningless term describing general symptoms (fever, cough and/or sore throat) that any number of non-influenza viruses are equally capable of triggering. Cochrane lists several problems with the reliance on ILI to make inferences about influenza:

  • There is “no reliable system to monitor and quantify the epidemiology and impact of ILI” and no way of knowing what proportion of ILI is caused by influenza.
  • There are almost no reliable data on the number of ILI-related physician contacts or hospitalizations—and no one knows what proportion of ILI doctor visits and hospitalizations are due to influenza.

“Pneumonia,” too, is a catch-all diagnosis covering lung infections caused by a variety of different agents: viruses (non-influenza as well as influenza), bacteriafungiair pollutants and many others. Interestingly, hospitalization is a common route of exposure to pneumonia-causing pathogens, and mortality from hospital-acquired pneumonia exceeds 60%. In a plausible scenario, an adult hospitalized for suspected (but unconfirmed) “flu” could acquire a lethal pneumonia bug in the hospital, and their death might be chalked up to “flu” regardless of the actual facts, particularly because clinicians do not necessarily order influenza testing. When clinicians in outpatient settings do order testing, relatively few of the “flu” specimens—sometimes as low as 1%—actually test positive for influenza. Over the past couple of decades, the proportion of specimens testing positive has averaged around 15%—meaning that about 85% of suspected “flu” specimens are not, in fact, influenza.

Roughly four-fifths of the vaccine injury and death cases settled through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program are flu-vaccine-related.

Propaganda with a purpose

It takes little subtlety to recognize that the principal reason for flu hyperbole is to sell more vaccines. However, more and more people—even infectious disease specialists—are realizing that flu shots are fraught with problems. Roughly four-fifths of the vaccine injury and death cases settled through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program are flu-vaccine-related. A University of Toronto-based expert recently stated, “We have kind of hyped this vaccine so much for so long we are starting to believe our own hype.”

Pro-flu-vaccination studies—through their skillful placement in prestigious journals—tend to drown out other influenza studies that should be ringing warning bells. Published peer-reviewed studies show that:

  • Previous influenza vaccination, particularly in those who get a flu shot every year, diminishes or “blunts” the already low effectiveness of flu shots.
  • Getting vaccinated against influenza increases susceptibility to other severe respiratory viruses and also to other strains of influenza.
  • Mothers who receive influenza vaccines during pregnancy face an increased risk of miscarriages and their offspring face elevated risks of birth defects and autism.

A systematic review of influenza vaccine trials by Cochrane in 2010 urges the utmost caution. Noting that “studies funded from public sources [have been] significantly less likely [than industry-funded studies] to report conclusions favorable to the vaccines,” and citing evidence of “widespread manipulation of conclusions,” the Cochrane reviewers’ bottom line is that “reliable evidence on influenza vaccines is thin.” We should all keep those words in mind the next time the CDC and the media try to mischaracterize flu facts and science.

CHD is planning many strategies, including legal, in an effort to defend the health of our children and obtain justice for those already injured.  Your support is essential to CHD’s successful mission. Please visit our crowdfunding page.

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