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Why Not Smoking Weed On A Regular Basis Is Something You Should Consider (If You Do)

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Marijuana has been the subject of intense debate over these last few years. Now legal in multiple states in the U.S. and authorized for medicinal purposes in even more, an increasing number of people are recognizing how arbitrary the line is between legal substances, like alcohol and cigarettes, and illegal ones, like pot — particularly since both alcohol and cigarettes have been shown to be extremely detrimental to the human body, while marijuana has not.

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But what’s the reason for that? Getting marijuana to study has proven to be incredibly difficult for many researchers and therefore getting study results has been tough. [2]

So given that this natural substance is being used incredibly regularly, and yet doesn’t have a full scope of research behind it, we wanted to balance the scales and bring awareness to the fact that we should really think twice before using this substance daily for long periods of time and thinking it’s completely safe. Unless of course you have been prescribed the substance, but even at that, it’s good to be in the know.[2]

This article came in response to a recent article pointing out the sheer benefits of smoking cannabis without mentioning the other side of the coin. We feel any research that takes this approach is simply not beneficial to public awareness.

To be clear, we’re not saying this plant should be illegal. It’s a plant, but we don’t know as much about its safety in daily and long term use as we’d like.

We Can’t Blindly View It As Safe

The massive support for the legalization of marijuana does have its drawbacks, as it leads people to believe that smoking marijuana is completely harmless, and even good for you. While it can be quite therapeutic for dulling pain or alleviating anxiety, so can alcohol and even prescription drugs. It seems like people are willing to see the downsides of those substances but not cannabis. [1]

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In reality, research shows that smoking cannabis on a regular basis may still be hazardous. Many forget that the plant’s medicinal benefits are most readily taken advantage of when it is ingested, not smoked.

It is admittedly encouraging to see all of the support for the legalization of marijuana, and all of the evidence emerging that smoking it is not as harmful as it was originally said to be. The legalization of marijuana threatens many industries, so perhaps this is why it has taken so long to get the ball rolling.

That being said, more of a balance is needed: with so much support out there for marijuana, many people, especially young people, think there are no health consequences of smoking it. This is why we’ve decided to put together a list of 7 reasons why you should really consider not smoking marijuana on a regular basis.

We are very well aware of the other side of cannabis (articles). For example, we recently published an article showing how cannabis helped cure a girl from cancer. She is one of many examples of people who have benefited immensely from cannabis, and it’s important to raise awareness about how paediatric cannabis is saving lives. You can read that article here.

We have also published a number of articles on why marijuana should be legal, as well as reported on the dozens of health benefits it boasts, from helping people with pain and epilepsy to replacing prescription drugs and more.

A number of studies have been published that show cannabis completely annihilates cancer. We are talking about decades of research (a simple google search for scholarly articles on cannabis and cancer will show you this). Despite this fact, no human clinical trials have been conducted. Here is an article of a molecular biologist explaining how THC kills cancer.

It’s also important to mention that we are not against smoking weed, but based on the science, smoking weed regularly on a daily basis for a period that lasts more than a year could be harmful to your health.

“Really, the way to do these things, is to do them rarely so that your whole system can reassert itself and come to equilibrium. . . I think the real way to do cannabis is like, once a week. . . . ” — Terrence McKenna (source)

1. Most of the Medicinal Benefits of Marijuana Come From Different Methods of Ingestion, Not Smoking

Cannabinoids are any group of related compounds that include cannabinol and the active constituents of cannabis. They activate cannabinoid receptors that already exist in our body, and our bodies themselves actually produce compounds called endocannabinoids.  These play a vital role in the human body, helping to create a healthy environment. Cannabinoids themselves also play an important role in immune system regeneration. Studies have shown that multiple constituents of cannabis can kill cancer cells, repair damaged brain cells, and more.[3] The medical potential of this plant is truly miraculous, and it’s a shame that despite decades of research showing undeniable results, like its ability to completely annihilate cancer, human clinical trials are only n0w commencing, and only in conjunction with chemotherapy drugs.

It’s about being balanced and informed. Exploring the upsides and downsides to cannabis.

We’ve reported a ton on the benefits of cannabis and its potential in medical applications, but what about the other side of the coin? Is it fair to say cannabis comes with no downsides? When treating people and seeing positive benefits, what negative effects might also come?

It’s important to know that contrary to popular belief, smoking cannabis does not assist a great deal in treating disease within the body, as therapeutic levels cannot be reached through smoking. Creating oil from the plant or eating the plant is the best way to absorb cannabinoids. Smoking also alters the plant molecules; when cannabis is heated and burnt it changes the chemical structure and acidity of the THC, which in turn negates its therapeutic value. The smoke from marijuana is toxic to the body, just as the smoke from any other substance would be. (I will discuss this further on in the article.) Furthermore, anytime you burn something and inhale it, you create oxidation within the body, which is unhealthy and can lead to many issues.

None of the health benefits of marijuana come from smoking it. When one says “cannabis cures cancer,” that doesn’t mean smoking it.

2. Heavy Marijuana Use Is Linked To Lower Dopamine Levels In The Brain

Researchers in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University have found that heavy smokers of marijuana could have a compromised dopamine system. When studying heavy smokers, they discovered lower dopamine release in one region of the brain, the striatum, which is the part of the brain that’s involved in working memory, impulsive behaviour, and attention. Several other studies have shown that addiction to other drugs can have similar effects on dopamine release, but this is the first evidence of its kind linking it to smoking cannabis.[4]

The study examined 11 adults between the ages of 21 and 40 who were heavily dependent on cannabis against 12 healthy control subjects. 16 was the average age these individuals started smoking, and they had not stopped since.

Their press release outlines how the study was conducted, and the methods used:

Using positron emission tomography (PET) to track a radiolabelled molecule that binds to dopamine receptors in the brain, the scientists measured dopamine release in the striatum and its subregions, as well as in several brain regions outside the striatum, including the thalamus, midbrain, and globus pallidus. The cannabis users in this study stayed in the hospital for a week of abstinence to ensure that the PET scans were not measuring the acute effects of the drug. Participants were scanned before and after being given oral amphetamine to elicit dopamine release. The percent change in the binding of the radiotracer was taken as an indicator of capacity for dopamine release.

Compared with the controls, the cannabis users had significantly lower dopamine release in the striatum, including subregions involved in associative and sensorimotor learning, and in the globus pallidus. (source)(source)

Anissa Abi-Dargham, MD, a professor of psychiatry (in radiology) at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and a lead author of the paper, said that “the bottom line is that long-term, heavy cannabis use may impair the dopaminergic system, which could have a variety of negative effects on learning and behaviour.” She also went on to emphasize that “these findings add to the growing body of research demonstrating the potentially adverse effects of cannabis, particularly in youth, at the same time that government policies and laws are increasing access and use.” (source)

Here is another study that was done two years ago that examines the same thing.

We all know correlation does not mean causation, but we all know that it doesn’t either. You have to make your own judgements, use the Bradford Hill Criteria, and look at a number of different studies from both sides.

Based on everything I’ve looked at, in my opinion, marijuana smoking does have some sort of effect on the brain in multiple ways, differing from person to person. Whether it’s ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ I’m not sure.

3. Smoking Marijuana Linked To Schizophrenia, But It’s Complicated

A number of studies have linked smoking cannabis to schizophrenia and psychosis.[5] For example, a fairly recent study found that schizophrenia plays a role in a person’s likelihood of smoking weed. The study showed that genetic variants predicting schizophrenia  can also be used to predict a person’s tendency to smoke pot. The study showed that the same genes that predispose people to enjoying smoking cannabis might also predispose some to develop schizophrenia.

Lead author of the study, Robert Power, a genetic psychiatrist at King’s College London stated that “there is a well-established link between people who use cannabis and schizophrenia.” (source)

Based on the scientific literature, it’s quite clear that there is a link, and at the same time, it seems to be clear that there isn’t. Mathew Hill, a cell biologist at the University of Calgary, tells us “the relationship is an ongoing debate in the scientific world — at least what the nature of the association is.” He also told us that “there is little evidence that, at a population level, cannabis use during adolescence is a primary contributing factor in the development of psychiatric illness. (source)

Just because some studies show an associative link does not mean there is one. At the same time, it doesn’t mean that there’s not one. This is the key! Some studies have shown that people who are in the early stages of schizophrenia that also smoke weed experience much larger brain modifications, like changes in white matter, compared to those who are not susceptible to schizophrenia.

What is clear is that people who already show signs of psychotic illness do experience adverse effects from smoking marijuana.

“There is definitely some kind of genetic basis to increased vulnerability to these adverse effects (in people with schizophrenia) that go beyond the correlational association.” — Mathew Hill (source)

Again, it’s well-known that marijuana smoking by people with schizophrenia only worsens the disease, and a number of studies have shown that smoking marijuana actually increases the development of schizophrenia in those who might be genetically predisposed to it. So, if you have a family history of psychotic illness, smoking weed is something you might not want to partake in, or if you suffer from any other ailment that’s classified as a mental illness for that matter.

One thing seems to be certain: cannabis smoking does affect the brain in various ways, especially at crucial stages of brain development in adolescents.

Below is a great publication and a good summary to find out more information about this topic and why it’s so confusing. Again, this connection (between schizophrenia and marijuana smoking) is still up for debate in the scientific world, and there are conflicting studies that continue to contradict each other every single year. This suggests that we simply don’t know enough and therefore should be careful with our habits.

So, next time someone tells you that there is a link between schizophrenia and marijuana smoking, they’re wrong, and next time someone tells you there is no link, they are also wrong! The best way to avoid any risk is to just avoid smoking marijuana all together.

Clearing the smoke: What do we know about adolescent cannabis use and schizophrenia?

4. Smoking Marijuana Changes Your Brain

One recent study found that using marijuana daily for at least four years or longer can create certain anatomical changes in the brain. In this particular study, researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine the brains of approximately 50 adults who were chronic marijuana users, compared to more than 60 people who didn’t use marijuana at all.

Researchers found that the people who had been smoking daily for at least four years had a smaller volume of gray matter in their orbitofrontal cortex, which is usually associated with addiction.

Lead author of the study, Francesca Filbey, an Associate Professor in the School of Behavioural Brain Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas said, “not only is there a change in structure but there tends to be a change reflected in connectivity…all we can say is that we do see these [differences].” (source)

This is concerning, especially given the fact that grey matter is a major component of the central nervous system. Not only is it associated with addiction, it’s also associated with muscle control, sensory perception, memory, emotions, speech, decision making and self-control. A smaller amount of grey matter has also been implicated in a number of psychiatric disorders, including depression. There is a widespread reduction of gray matter in people who suffer depression, and yes, smoking marijuana may give temporary relief from depression, but when one doesn’t have it, they might feel depressed.  Marijuana could contribute to depression, and the fact that one feels better when one smokes it might make them think that it helps with their depression. This could be dangerous as they could be constantly depleting their gray matter.

Again, there are a number of studies that show smoking marijuana recently can drastically change the brain, and also disrupt brain development.

Another recent study also found that marijuana smokers showed signs of damage in the corpus callous, which is a major white matter tract that connects the left side of the brain to the right side. However, the study did mention that the people examined could have had deviant brain structures prior to their use.

A study published a few years ago showed that people who constantly smoke marijuana have abnormal brain structures, but multiple studies have also shown that marijuana smokers show no difference in brain structure.

The list goes on and on, but one thing is for certain: the effects on the brain are unclear. Further research is needed to identify what smoking marijuana does to the brain because there are still a number of studies that are contradictory. That being said, there is no doubt that it does something, but the way it interacts with our biology can vary for each individual.

5. Smoking Harms The Lungs

Regardless of what you are smoking, smoke is harmful to lung health; this is a no-brainer. Whether it’s burning wood, tobacco or marijuana, toxins and carcinogens are released from the combustion of materials. Smoke from marijuana combustion is no different. According to the American Lung Association:

Smoking marijuana clearly damages the human lung. Research shows that smoking marijuana causes chronic bronchitis and marijuana smoke has been shown to injure the cell linings of the large airways, which could explain why smoking marijuana leads to symptoms such as chronic cough, phlegm production, wheeze and acute bronchitis. 

Again, marijuana smoke contains a similar range of harmful chemicals to that of tobacco smoke, and there is no shortage of research suggesting that long-term marijuana smoking is associated with an increased risk of some respiratory problems. Despite this proven correlation, there is no association between smoking marijuana and lung cancer.

There are other alternatives to smoking marijuana, such as vaporizing or eating it.

6. Smoking Marijuana Can Increase Your Risk of Serious Cardiovascular Disorders

Multiple studies have connected smoking marijuana with potential cardiovascular disorders. One recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association noted that:

Several striking cardiovascular complications following cannabis use raised the issue of possible implications of cannabis in cardiovascular outcomes…The rate of cannabis-related cardiovascular complications reported steadily rose during the past 5 years.  Cardiovascular disorders represented 2 percent of the reports related to cannabis, classified into cardiac, cerebral, and peripheral arteriopathies. This result is consistent with previous findings and strengthens the idea that cannabis may be responsible for serious complications, in particular on the cardiovascular system. (source)

Another recent study, published last year concluded that:

The evidence reported in this article point toward an undisputed linkage between cannabis consumption and potentially lethal cardiovascular complications. (source)

Something to Consider:

Trouble Living Life Without Smoking

As with so many of our other favourite habits, smoking is a vice, and many people who smoke weed have difficulty stopping. Life often feels boring without it; smoking becomes a need and almost a mental addiction (we know there is no physical addiction involved.) And this is obviously problematic. It is rare to find someone who will be able to smoke a joint a couple of times a month, which is the amount many experts in the field of “mind-altering”‘ drugs propose. It’s a substance that is abused and not given the respect it deserves, often being used as an escape — helping the person avoid asking themselves why they feel the need to alter their state so often. If you are a regular smoker and notice that without smoking for a night or two you become bored, anxious, or depressed, or have certain feelings come up because you don’t have a joint in your hand, it may be time to consider reducing your usage, and perhaps facing those negative feelings head-on.

If you have a hard time going without smoking a joint, that in itself is a problem. Alternatively, if you are a regular marijuana smoker but can easily stop for weeks at a time, without any desire to smoke, perhaps you don’t have a problem. The main point here is that smoking shouldn’t be used to escape one’s problems because it just prolongs the process of facing them.

How Is It Grown?

These days, it’s hard to find ‘pure weed.’ Most people are not aware of the original source, and marijuana can be grown with harmful pesticides. In fact, it wasn’t after the legalization of marijuana in Colorado when authorities found dangers pesticides in most of the marijuana that was being sold. You can read more about that here.

Where do the seeds come from? When Big Pharma takes over, what type of seeds will they be, and how will it be grown? Are they genetically modified? There are still many questions to be asked.

Concluding Comments

So what can you take from all of this? We simply don’t know enough about this plant and smoking it to do it everyday and expect nothing bad will happen. There has been a very misleading culture spread about how safe this is to use in all forms and that simply isn’t the case.

Many natural substances are harmful to you if you have too much of it and too regularly. Even natural medicinal botanicals are things like this are not meant to be used everyday.

Again, we hope this helps to clear up the negative stigma around marijuana and also the blind-faithed positive stigma around it. Balance is important in this case and what we strive to convey in this report.

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Awareness

Alternatives To Viagra That May Treat Erectile Dysfunction

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Erectile dysfunction is something that affects man men. It seems the only solution is medication, but their maybe other alternatives available.

  • Reflect On:

    Why is there such a lack of resources when it comes to the research of alternatives methods for treat certain health problem?

For many men experiencing erectile dysfunction, a little blue pill known as Viagra can be a quick fix thanks to modern medicine. However, like many other quick fixes developed by the pharmaceutical industry, those benefits don’t come without some added risks. Pharmaceuticals often impose the “bandaid effect” on our bodies, covering up the problem rather than actually solving it through addressing the root cause of the health issue. 

When it comes to Viagra, choosing to take this little blue pill is sort of like choosing the blue pill in the Matrix. Sometimes we can become so blinded by the advantages of something that we forget about its potential side effects, and ultimately fail to address the real issue at hand. So, in hearing that this blue pill could seemingly fix your sex life again, many men choose to take it, while simultaneously ignoring the risks.

In reality, there are some pretty serious health risks associated with Viagra. Like many other pharmaceutical products, by ‘fixing’ one area of the body, you could be harming another.

The Viagra website states it can potentially cause some serious side effects, including:

  • Priapism, otherwise known as a long-term erection that can permanently damage your penis
  • Loss of vision in one of both eyes
  • Hearing loss, damage to hearing, or ringing in ears
  • Headache
  • Upset stomach or nausea
  • Back pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Rash
  • Heart attack or irregular heartbeat
  • Stroke
  • Death

Despite these potential risks, over 23 million men have been prescribed Viagra. This indicates there’s a huge number of men who experience erectile dysfunction, and it’s understandable they’d turn to Viagra given how normalized pharmaceuticals are in our society and how cruelly men who suffer from this problem are portrayed in the media.

Instead of going deeper and asking ourselves why our health problems occur, we tend to go to the pharmacy for a quick fix or ask our doctors to prescribe us some pills. However, just like any other health problem, erectile dysfunction is simply a symptom of your current state of being. Our health issues don’t just “happen to us,” they manifest as a result of our past and current health and wellbeing.

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Erectile dysfunction can occur due to high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, high cholesterol, hormonal problems, alcohol abuse, smoking, cocaine use, pelvic injuries, spinal issues, radiation therapy around the pelvic region, obesity, and more.

These underlying causes of erectile dysfunction may explain why some of the side effects of Viagra can be so life-threatening in the first place. When men take those blue pills, they can get lost in the excitement of the experience and end up exerting themselves beyond their physical limitations. If these men already have preexisting conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure (which could all be the root causes of their erectile dysfunction), they could already be at risk of having a heart attack or a stroke.

Though the root problem could be considered more difficult to identify and treat than taking that little blue pill, it’s ultimately the only sustainable, long-term solution, and it could save your health (or even your life)!

However, if you are in need of a quick fix while you’re trying to figure out what that root cause could be, there are plenty of alternatives to Viagra that don’t pose the same health risks.

Here’s a list of all-natural alternatives to Viagra:

L-arginine and Pycnogenol

L-arginine is a non-essential amino acid that is important during times of trauma or stress. During these times, the body is unable to produce as much as it needs, and so taking this supplement while you’re stressed is often beneficial. What’s more, studies have found that taking this amino acid supplement can treat erectile function.

It has been found to perform well when taken in combination with pycnogenol. One study involving men experiencing erectile dysfunction found that taking these two supplements together restored participants’ sexual ability to 80% in about a month. After only a few months, 92.5% of the men experienced a normal erection.

Red Ginseng

This incredible herb has been used to improve erectile dysfunction for centuries, and as it turns out, there’s now science to support the herbal wisdom behind it.

2012 study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research concluded that red ginseng can be used as an alternative to erectile dysfunction medication, and another review published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) determined that red ginseng could improve erectile dysfunction and sexual performance, though further research is required.

Maca

Maca is well-known for being nature’s own powerful aphrodisiac. In a study on patients with mild erectile dysfunction, maca was found to produce a “small but significant effect” on both the participants’ general and sexual wellbeing.

You could try adding some maca to your morning smoothies or beverages, or even take a supplement. Plus, maca is an excellent source of vitamin C, iron, potassium, and copper, so you’ll be loading up on nutrients in addition to boosting your sex drive.

Saffron

That’s right: That expensive member of your herbs and spices cabinet can also aid men who suffer from erectile dysfunction! One study found that saffron works surprisingly quickly, showing “a positive effect on sexual function with increased number and duration of erectile events seen in patients with ED even only after taking it for ten days.”

Tribulus terrestris

Tribulus terrestris is a plant often used in Ayurvedic medicine, as the root and fruits are said to benefit both male virility and general wellbeing. A study published in NCBI suggests that tribulus terrestris can be beneficial in treating men who experience erectile dysfunction.

Studies in primates, rabbits, and rats have yielded some promising results, with Tribulus terrestris being found to increase some sex hormones and effectively treating mild and moderate cases of erectile dysfunction.

Reduced Intake of Meat and Fried Foods

Some of the worst foods for your heart include meat and fried foods. Foods high in animal fat, sodium, and unhealthy oils pose serious risk to your heart and can also worsen your blood circulation, a necessary aspect of getting an erection in the first place.

As it turns out, erectile dysfunction could signify underlying heart problems, so eating “heart healthy” foods is a necessary component of good sexual health as well. Try swapping the animal protein for some plant-based protein, cutting the dairy, and ditching the fast food!

Essential Oils

There are a number of essential oils that can be used to reduce stress, increase sex drive/libido, and lower blood pressure, all of which could potentially affect erectile function. Ylang ylang, rose, and lavender essential oils are all really great at reducing stress and in some cases lowering blood pressure, too.

Spicier scents like cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove can aid in increasing sex drive and improving sexual function, and nutmeg can also improve blood circulation, an important part of getting an erection.

Final Thoughts

As with many other pharmaceuticals, taking Viagra clearly has its advantages and disadvantages. Sure, it might improve your sex life in the short term, but at what cost? Maybe you’ll take Viagra and never experience any negative side effects, but at the end of the day, there’s no guarantee of that.

Any ailment or disease that manifests in the body is always a sign of sickness or stress, and this includes erectile dysfunction; if everything is operating well in your body, then you will not run into any operational issues.

This applies for many health issues, and I encourage you to continue on your journey in searching for the root cause of all of your health problems!

Improve Your Energy, Sleep & Clarity!

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Scientists Share Facts About Vaccines At World Health Organization Conference For Vaccine Safety

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Many scientists presented facts about vaccines and vaccine safety at the recent Global Health Vaccine Safety summit hosted by the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

  • Reflect On:

    Why are so many people fighting against each other? Why are there "pro-vax" and "anti-vax" groups? Are these terms not useless? Do they prevent us from having discussions that need to be had and moving forward appropriately?

According to organizations like the American Medical Association as well as the World Health Organization, vaccine hesitancy among people, parents, and, as mentioned by scientists at the World Health Organization’s recent Global Vaccine Safety Summit, health professionals and scientists continues to increase. This is no secret, as vaccines have become a very popular topic over the past few years alone. In fact, the World Health Organization has listed vaccine hesitancy as one of the biggest threats to global health security.

The issue of vaccine hesitancy is no secret, for example, one study (of many) published in the journal EbioMedicine outlines this point, stating in the introduction:

Over the past two decades several vaccine controversies have emerged in various countries, including France, inducing worries about severe adverse effects and eroding confidence in health authorities, experts, and science (Larson et al., 2011). These two dimensions are at the core of the vaccine hesitancy (VH) observed in the general population. VH is defined as delay in acceptance of vaccination, or refusal, or even acceptance with doubts about its safety and benefits, with all these behaviors and attitudes varying according to context, vaccine, and personal profile, despite the availability of vaccine services (Group, 2014,Larson et al., 2014Dubé et al., 2013). VH presents a challenge to physicians who must address their patients’ concerns about vaccines and ensure satisfactory vaccination coverage.

At the conference, this fact was emphasized by Professor Heidi Larson, a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project. She is referenced, as you can see, by the authors in the study above. At the conference, she emphasized that safety concerns among people and health professionals seem to be the biggest issue regarding vaccine hesitancy.

She also stated,

The other thing that’s a trend, and an issue, is not just confidence in providers but confidence of health care providers, we have a very wobbly health professional frontline that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. That’s a huge problem, because to this day any study I’ve seen… still, the most trusted person on any study I’ve seen globally is the health care provider, and if we lose that, we’re in trouble.

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She also brought up her belief that safety studies are incomplete, and that to continue to refer people to the same old science on safety is not adequately addressing their new concerns because better studies need to be done. Furthermore, she recommended that doctors and professionals forego name-calling with ‘hostile language’ such as “anti-vax”. She recommended encouraging people to ask questions about vaccine safety. After all, it makes sense–in order to make our vaccines safer and more effective, you would think everybody would be on board with constant questioning and examination. After all, that’s just good science, and it’s in everyone’s best interest.

Another interesting point that caught my attention was brought up by Dr. Martin Howell Friede, Coordinator of Initiative For Vaccine Research at the World Health Organization. He brought up the topic of vaccine adjuvants like thimerosal or aluminum, for example. In certain vaccines, without these adjuvants the vaccine simply doesn’t work. Dr. Friede mentioned that there are clinical studies that blame adjuvants for adverse events seen as a result of administering vaccines, and how people in general often blame adverse reactions to vaccines being the result of the vaccine adjuvant. He mentioned aluminum specifically.

He showed concern given the fact that “without adjuvants, we are not going to have the next generation of vaccines.”

He also stated that,

When we add an adjuvant, it’s because it is essential. We do not add adjuvants to vaccines because we want to do so, but when we add them it adds to the complexity. And I give courses every year on ‘how do you develop vaccines’ and ‘how do you make vaccines’ and the first lesson is, while you are making your vaccine, if you can avoid using an adjuvant, please do so. Lesson two is, if you’re going to use an adjuvant, use one that has a history of safety, and lesson three is, if you’re not going to do that, think very carefully.

Furthermore, he criticized the assumption that if an adjuvant like aluminum appears to be safe for one vaccine, that it should be not be presumed to be safe for other vaccines. Dr. Friede said that current safety surveillance is quite effective at determining immediate effects (such as immediate injury to the arm at the injection site), but not as effective in identifying “systemic” long term adverse events.

When I heard him mention lesson two, that “if you’re going to use an adjuvant, use one that has a history of safety,” it instantly reminded me of aluminum because it’s an adjuvant used in multiple vaccines like the HPV vaccine, for example, but has no history of safety.

A study published as far back as 2011 in Current Medical Chemistry makes this quite clear, emphasizing that,

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. (source)

The key sentence here is that “their mechanisms of action is still remarkably poor.” Based on what Dr. Friede said at the conference, it really makes you think.

A study published in BMC Med in 2015 found that “Evidence that aluminum-coated particles phagocytozed in the injected muscle and its draining lymph nodes 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.”

This brings me to another point made at the conference by many scientists in attendance, which was that according to some of them, vaccines seem to lack the appropriate safety testing. This is another big reason why people are so confused and have voiced their concerns about safety, as mentioned above by Professor Larson.

Marion Gruber, PhD and Director of the FDA Office of Vaccines Research and Review, questioned the scope of vaccine safety surveillance and monitoring during pre-licensing vaccine trials as well during the conference.

One source of confusion might be that ‘high-ranking’ health authorities sometimes making conflicting statements. For example, Soumya Swaminathan, MD and Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization, stated at the conference,

I don’t think we can overemphasize the fact that we really don’t have very good safety monitoring systems in many countries and this adds to the miscommunication and the misapprehensions because we’re not able to give clear cut answers when people ask questions about deaths that have occurred due to particular vaccines… One should be able to give a very factual account of what exactly is happening, what the cause of deaths are, but in most cases there’s some obfuscation at that level and therefore there’s less and less trust then in the system.

Prior to this statement, in a promotional video released just days before the conference began, she stated that “we have vaccine safety systems, robust vaccine safety systems.”

She completely contradicted herself.

If you’d like access to the entire conference, you can do so at the World Health Organization’s website.

The Takeaway

The scientific community should never stop questioning, especially when it comes to medication. Based on the information that’s come out at this conference, it’s quite clear that there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to the development of vaccines and vaccine safety overall. Discussion is always encouraging, as long as it’s peaceful and facts are presented like they were at this conference. It’s better to understand the reasons why a lot of people are hesitant about vaccination and appropriately respond, instead of simply using ridicule and hatred because that’s never effective and both parties cannot move forward that way. At the end of the day, scientists should never cease to question.

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Gulf War Illness Tied To Cipro Antibiotics

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

The Symptoms

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exposure to the same Poison

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

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

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

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

The Case Against Fluoroquinolones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Numbered Sources:

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

 

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