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Depression Is Not A Prozac Deficiency & Other Fallacies of Western Medicine

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This article was written by Ali Le Vere for Greenmedinfo.com. It’s republished here with their permission. For more information from Greenmedinfo, you can sign up for the newsletter here.

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When people come to me for holistic health advice, my main objective is to provide evidence-based health information supported by the scientific literature. One of the quintessential pillars of my mission is to share those practices with empirical validation in order to elevate therapeutic nutrition to the same perceived mainstream legitimacy as any other science-based discipline.

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Oftentimes, however, people thank me and say that they will see what their primary care physician, or worse yet, their specialist, has to say about it. Although I always advocate that you run any intervention or modality past a licensed physician for contraindications and medical advice, I can’t help but flat-out cringe when they tell me they will solicit natural health advice from their allopathic doctor, due to the shortcomings of biomedical education in true lifestyle- and diet-based preventative medicine.

Truth be told, anything other than the provision of surgery or drugs is simply not the wheelhouse of a conventional provider. More often than not, an endocrinologist will not be versed in the use of selenium with myo-inositol to return TSH to normal concentrations in Hashimoto’s patients with subclinical hypothyroidism (Nordio & Raffaella, 2013). It is similarly unlikely that a neurologist will prescribe cannabis, which is supported by the literature for migraine headaches, before resorting to more dangerous triptans, muscle relaxants, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Baron, 2015). Nor will a cardiologist be familiar with the use of berberine from goldenseal to lower cholesterol, reduce hypertension, mitigate oxidative stress, and improve cardiometabolic parameters (Hunter & Hegele, 2017).

A rheumatologist is unlikely to be acquainted with the literature demonstrating that fasting ameliorates the manifestations of systemic lupus erythematosus by enhancing populations of regulatory T cells, which invoke peripheral immune tolerance (Liu, Yu, Matarese, & La Cava, 2012). Likewise, most dermatologists will be unfamiliar with findings that high dose vitamin D in concert with a calcium-restricted diet results in dramatic clearance of skin lesions and significant re-pigmentation in psoriasis and vitiligo, respectively (Finamor et al., 2013). You would also be hard pressed to find a psychiatrist aware that a multi-center double-blind human study elucidated that passionflower extract reduces anxiety in generalized anxiety disorder as well as mexazolam, a benzodiazepine, or that rose oil exerts anxiolytic properties comparable to diazepam in an animal model (Mori et al., 1993; de Almeid et al., 2004).

Over the years, before my foray into functional medicine, I saw a revolving door of specialists, each compartmentalized into their respective silos, as a consequence of the Cartesian dualism and reductionism that prevails in conventional medicine. This isn’t my first time at the rodeo.

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I have been dismissed, demeaned, and downright disparaged when I have implicitly questioned the culturally constructed authority of the man in the white coat, who we anoint with almost religious reverence as the guardian of a sacred body of privileged knowledge. When I have brought abstracts from the scientific literature to their attention, I have at times been greeted with frank hostility if the findings presented contradicted their pre-existing beliefs, formulaic treatment algorithms, and literal indoctrination.

I have heard medical physicians attempt to masquerade misinformation as fact, stating that autoimmune disease is just luck of the draw and that it is un-related to diet and lifestyle variables, when in fact the scientific literature, such as an article published in the prestigious Public Library of Science One (PLoS One) entitled “Genetic factors are not the major causes of chronic diseases,” directly contradicts this claim. In fact, research has revealed that chronic disease is only 16.4% genetic, and 84.6% environmental (epigenetic and exposome-related) (Rappaport, 2016).

I have witnessed gastroenterologists tell patients with severe inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to eat whatever they want, and claim that ulcerative colitis is unrelated to the commensal gut flora, when studies have demonstrated that high potency, multi-strain probiotics such as VSL #3 used in conjunction with standard therapies result in remission in 93% of subjects compared to 36% of controls (Miele et al., 1999). I have had neurologists tell me straight-faced that Lyme disease is exceedingly rare, when in actuality, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the number of new cases each year is approaching 300,000, a number rivaling that of breast cancer (CDC, 2013).

Although medical doctors worship at the altar of evidence-based standards of care, they frequently engage in cognitive dissonance and confirmatory bias, as the mantle of science upon which they hang their hats and derive their legitimacy is anything but objective fact (Morris, Wooding, & Grant, 2011). This is underscored by studies which have demonstrated that there is an average 17 year lag time between what is illuminated in scientific research to be translated into clinical practice (Morris, Wooding, & Grant, 2011).

​​As catalogued in psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan’s seminal book, A Mind of Your Own, a 2013 article from the Mayo Clinic Proceedings advocated that 40 percent of current medical practices should be completely discarded (Prasad et al., 2013; Brogan, 2016). Similarly, she cites how an analysis of Cochrane reviews, one of the highest forms of research, arrived at the conclusion that 62 percent of medical treatments were negative or had no evidentiary support for efficacy (Berman et al., 2001).

Likewise, Dr. Brogan (2016) highlights how a 2011 meta-analysis performed by theBritish Medical Journal of 2,500 medical treatments found that only 36 percent of treatments were likely to be beneficial (Garrow, 2007). Thus, when you receive care from a licensed medical physician, there is a 64 percent chance that you will receive a treatment that is neither scientifically supported to be beneficial nor likely to be beneficial (Garrow, 2007).

The flawed premise of the allopathic model is exemplified by a public statement Dr. Brogan unearthed from Dr. Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of the esteemed scientific journal, the Lancet, who stated, “The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness” (Horton, 2015; Brogan, 2016).

The Fallacy of the Serotonin Theory of Depression

Especially culpable are the oncologists, profiteering off of the carcinogenic therapies of radiation and chemotherapy in the cancer industrial complex; however, the vast majority of allopathic physicians with whom I have interacted are peddling the silver bullet wares of Big Pharma and demonstrate little receptivity to deviance from their uniformly applied, algorithmic treatment approaches. I have encountered doctors within the medical fraternity with open minds, but by and large, due to the protocols and lenses through which they are trained to operate, medical doctors do not stray from their quick fix philosophies and magic bullet approaches.

For example, although there is no scientific validity to the serotonin deficiency hypothesis of depression, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac and Zoloft are administered like candy, with flagrant disregard for their long-term ramifications and adverse side effects (Brogan, 2016). In 2010 alone, 254 million prescriptions were written for antidepressants, and according to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 10 Americans over age 12 takes antidepressants (Insel, 2011).

But everyone knows that depression is a chemical imbalance, right? Wrong. If you are wondering why everybody mindlessly repeats this mantra, engendering an echo chamber where everyone is thinking alike, yet no one is thinking—look no further than Big Pharma direct-to-consumer marketing.

According to Lacasse and Leo (2015), “Such advertisements [do] not accurately reflect the scientific status of the serotonin theory in the psychiatric research community” (p. 206). For instance, psychiatrist and historian Healy (2004), states, “Indeed, no abnormality of serotonin in depression has ever been demonstrated” (p.12). Instructor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Joseph Glenmullen, similarly articulates, “A serotonin deficiency for depression has not been found” (Glenmullen, 2000, p.197).

Further, biochemist and Nobel Prize Winner Julus Axelrod concluded that, “Whatever was wrong in depression, it was not lowered serotonin” (Healy, 2004, p. 12). Another Nobel Prize winner, Avrid Carlson, likewise advocates abandonment of the over-simplified theory where a neurotransmitter excess or deficiency leads to mental illness given the lack of evidence to this effect (Shorter, 2009). In fact, as Dr. Brogan underscores in A Mind Of Your Own, animal studies, imaging studies, and human studies have never confirmed a link between neurotransmitter levels and depression (Brogan, 2016).

Northwestern University hospital psychiatrist David Kaiser states this most eloquently with, “…Patients have been diagnosed with ‘chemical imbalances’ despite the fact that no test exists to support such a claim, and there is no real conception of what a correct chemical imbalance would look like…Yet conclusions such as ‘depression is a biochemical imbalance’ are created out of nothing more than semantics and wishful thinking of scientists/psychiatrists and a public that will believe anything now that has the stamp of approval of medical science” (Kaiser, 1996).

In 2011, Ronald Pies, psychiatrist at Tufts University and former editor of the prestigious trade journal Psychiatric Times, explained that over-booked psychiatrists employ the chemical deficiency explanation to justify their dispensation of medication, knowing full well the inaccuracy of this theory (Lacasse & Leo, 2015). Pies states, “In truth, the ‘chemical imbalance’ notion was always a kind of urban legend—never a theory seriously propounded by well informed psychiatrists” (Lacasse & Leo, 2015). In 2014, Levine named this phenomena, “Psychiatry’s Manufacture of Consent”.

“My impression is that most psychiatrists who use this expression feel uncomfortable and a little embarrassed when they do so. It’s kind of a bumper-sticker phrase that saves time, and allows the physician to write out that prescription while feeling that the patient has been ‘educated'” (Pies, 2011).

The pharmaceutical industry has taken advantage of this erroneous serotonin deficiency theory in order to promote patient compliance with antidepressant medication regimens and to acquire lifetime users. Studies have shown that when depressed individuals are told that they have a confirmed deficiency of serotonin underlying their depression, they find the idea of antidepressant medication more credible than psychotherapy and also anticipate its effectiveness, ushering in a placebo effect (Deacon & Baird, 2009). However, outcomes suffer, as “They also had more pessimism about their prognosis and a lower perceived ability to regulate negative mood states, yet experienced no reduction in self-blame” (Lacasse & Leo, 2015, p. 208).

From a medical anthropology perspective, when you lift the veil on psychiatry, you discover the irreproducibility of diagnoses and their arbitrary nature, in that they are not based on objective biochemical biomarkers. The famous Rosenhan experiment, where subjects feigned hallucinations and then were admitted into psych wards, concluded that we cannot differentiate the sane from the insane in psychiatric hospitals, revealed the subjective nature of psychiatric diagnostic categories, and also illuminated the dehumanization produced by psychiatric labels (Rosenhan, 1973).

A Novel Model of Depression

Instead of being a discrete disease entity, depression is a symptom, like nausea, tremors, sweating, or a cough. The evidence points to an inflammatory cytokine model of depression, whereby inflammatory intercellular signaling molecules like interleukin-1 (IL-1), IL-6, interferon (IFN) gamma, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, produced by the innate immune system, penetrate the blood brain barrier and create mood disorders including anxiety, panic attacks, and depression—which are symptomatic of systemic inflammatory processes (Dantzer, 2008).

In fact, elevations in inflammatory cytokines are observed in subjects with major depressive disorder, and a concomitant “resolution of a depressive episode is associated with normalization of levels of circulating inflammatory cytokines” (Hannestad, DellaGioia, & Bloch, 2011). Likewise, administration of the cytokines, such as IFN-gamma, which is given as a treatment for hepatitis C, induces a predictable major depressive episode in one fourth of patients (Udina et al., 2012).

The inflammatory model of depression is further buttressed by studies demonstrating that the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-alpha are significantly higher in depressed patients compared to controls (Dowlati et al., 2010). Further, inflammation, as indicated by elevations in serum high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), is an independent risk factor for de novo major depressive disorder in women, which researchers posit, “supports an aetiological role for inflammatory activity in the pathophysiology of depression” (Pasco et al., 2010, p. 372).

Another line of evidence is that the intravenous injection of Salmonella abortus equi endotoxin is accompanied by increased circulating levels of cytokines such as IL-6 and TNF-alpha, the levels of which are significantly correlated with transient escalations in anxiety and depression (Reichenberg et al., 2001.

Beck et al. (2013) submits this and several other lines of evidence in his ground-breaking paper where he discusses that, “Depression is associated with a chronic, low-grade inflammatory response and activation of cell-mediated immunity… It is similarly accompanied by increased oxidative and nitrosative stress (O&NS), which contribute to neuroprogression in the disorder”. Rather than a Prozac or Zoloft deficiency, Beck (2013) provides scientific proof that depression is induced by systemic inflammation related to factors such as vitamin D deficiency, psychosocial stressors, smoking, obesity, nutrient-poor diets, a sedentary lifestyle, leaky gut, atopy, dental caries, and impaired sleep (Beck et al., 2013).

Cytokine induced sickness behavior—a more accurate description of clinical depression—is a phenomenon characterized by relapsing-remitting aches, pains, lethargy, apathy, loss of appetite, attenuation of parasympathetic tone, altered thermoregulation, flattening of diurnal rhythms (adrenal ‘fatigue’), and social withdrawal, which evolved as an adaptive mechanism to facilitate the retreat from society required for the body to slow down and heal (Dantzer, 2008).

This is the evolutionary reason behind the depression and self-imposed social isolation that frequently accompanies autoimmunity and other chronic illnesses. It is also one of the contributory factors behind the comorbidity of autoimmune disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and infection with depression, and the reason why depression often accompanies acute, inflammatory illnesses such as colds and flus (Dowlati et al., 2010; Reichenberg et al., 2011).

Cytokine induced sickness behavior leads to endocrine, autonomic, perceptual and behavioral changes which enable ill individuals to better cope with infections (Dantzer, 2001).

Depression is now being re-conceived of as a decompensation of the mechanisms that regulate sickness—and because a pathogen is often behind chronic, dysregulated immune responses in autoimmunity—some researchers such as Turhan Canli are suggesting depression be re-branded an infectious disease.

In the opinions of many researchers, however, a neuro-inflammatory model, with pathologic neural microglial activation in the brain, better characterizes depression (Brites & Fernandez, 2015).

​​The Implications of the Flexner Report for ‘Alternative’ Medicine

Most of us can acknowledge the historical malfeasance of psychiatry; however, limitations exist when it comes to diagnosis and treatment of traditionally somatic diseases as well. The knowledge deficit when it comes to anything other than pill-for-every-ill Big Pharma-driven, conflict of interest-ridden medicine is exemplified from a passage extracted from my recent piece, ‘How Functional Medicine can Reverse Your Autoimmune Disease’:

“Any historian of the evolution of medicine understands the inextricable marriage between the pharmaceutical industry and the conventional medical establishment.

Business magnate and philanthropist, John D. Rockefeller, funded the earliest American medical schools on the condition that synthetic, petroleum-based drugs from which his businesses would profit be the cornerstone of disease treatment.

He also hired Abraham Flexner to submit his famous early twentieth century report to Congress, which made illegal the practice of medicine by ‘itinerant healers’ such as hydropaths, chiropractors, naturopaths, and herbalists. This produced a climate of warring practitioners and fostered “sectarian antagonism,” “internecine hatreds,” and “mutual hostility” in the medical profession, and led to the concerted dissemination of propaganda dismissing their healing modalities as “quackery” (McKeown, 1979).

The American Medical Association sponsored a massive smear campaign such that natural medicine practitioners were marginalized and barred from inclusion in orthodox medical societies, forbidden from formal licensure, and stripped of prestige and legitimacy. For instance, “A committee of the AMA recommended that the Massachusetts Medical Society, which continued to harbor homeopaths among its members, lose representation until it purged itself of heretics” (McKeown, 1979).

Thus ushered in the era of chemotherapy and synthetic pharmaceutical drugs, the magic bullet solution to all of humanity’s ills.

As a consequence, here we stand today, in the largest chronic disease epidemic in human history, where only one third of medical doctors receive a single course in nutrition during their professional training (Adams et al., 2006). Among that third who receive nutrition instruction, the average time spent learning nutrition-related material is a mere 23.9 hours (Adams et al., 2006).

Thus, if you are seeking advice on therapeutic nutrition and holistic lifestyle interventions from your conventional physician, you’re barking up the wrong tree.”

Where Conventional Medicine Fails, Functional Medicine Succeeds

Dr. Sidney Baker, one of the founding fathers of the functional medicine paradigm, employed a metaphor of a tacks in one’s foot to describe how functional medicine removes the tacks, one by one, that are allowing disease to manifest, whereas biomedicine ignores the tacks and administers xenobiotic poisons, or prescription pharmaceuticals, in a symptom-suppressive manner to mask the ache. In another metaphor, functional medicine looks to the origins of the “check engine light” that appears on your dashboard, rather than putting masking tape over it to conceal the harbinger of malfunction.

Our health care system is, in at its essence, a disease management system, entangled and enmeshed with corporate agendas and conflicts of interest.  During one of my extended hospitalizations, during a massive health crisis, it struck me that one of the nurses attending to my care said, “You don’t go to the hospital to get better”. By the same token, I’ve learned over my three decades of escapades with chronic illness, that you don’t go to the [regular] doctor to get well.

This is revealed by studies which have found that at least 44,000 and up to 98,000 Americans die in hospitals each year as a result of medical errors. Deaths due to iatrogenesis, or harm inflicted by the medical establishment, kill more people than motor vehicle accidents (43,458), breast cancer (42,297) or AIDS (16,516), and exceed the number attributable to the 8th leading cause of death (Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Quality of Health Care in America, 2000). Moreover, the total national costs of adverse events are between $37.6 billion and $50 billion dollars (Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Quality of Health Care in America, 2000).

Worse yet, is that conventional medicine belittles nutraceuticals as unsafe and unproven and relegates natural medicine to realm of make-believe, despite the litany of high quality peer-reviewed literature supporting their use. Of the 136 million emergency room (ER) visits each year, only 23,000 (0.019%) are attributed to dietary supplements, whereas 731,000 (thirty one times that number) are associated with adverse events resulting from the correct, prescribed use of medical drugs—not overdoses (Geller et al., 2015).

Of these ER visits resulting from supplement use, 20% were owing to accidental ingestion by children under the age of four, and 60% of the 3000 visits attributed to people over age 65 were due to swallowing issues (Geller et al., 2015). Products responsible for 42% of the total ER visits were supplements advertised for energy and weight loss, many of which contained stimulants and ingredients that were undeclared active pharmaceuticals rather than dietary supplements (Geller et al., 2015). Hence, authentic, high-quality, professional-grade nutraceutical supplements have excellent safety profiles, whereas the medical use of pharmaceuticals is a major source of morbidity and mortality.

In addition, whereas Western medicine excels at acute, emergency care, it fails when it comes to the burden of non-communicable disease, with an infant mortality rate higher than 27 other developed countries, and a fifth-time ranking as the worst health care system among all industrialized nations (Helman, 2014; Ingraham, 2014). Although the United States has the most expensive health care system in the world, it ranks lowest in terms of “efficiency, equity and outcome” (Helman, 2014).

Further, the marriage between the pharmaceutical companies, insurance carriers, and medical system dictates the treatments offered to patients, which are patentable and profitable pharmaceutical drugs. The file drawer phenomenon, where publication bias favors the reporting of positive findings, means that negative drug trials which yield unfavorable results can be permanently shelved and never revealed to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the process of drug approval.

For example, a 2008 article published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed how 37 out of 38 positive studies on antidepressants were published, whereas only 3 of 36 negative studies, demonstrating no benefit, were published as such (Turner et al., 2008; Brogan, 2016). The author states, “Selective publication of clinical trials, and the outcomes within those trials, can lead to unrealistic estimates of drug effectiveness and alter the apparent risk–benefit ratio” (Turner et al., 2008).

Thus, for those who can afford it, I recommend embarking on your healing journey with a functional medicine practitioner for a revolutionary operating system in which antecedents, or predisposing factors, triggers, or instigating factors, and mediators, also known as perpetuating factors, are systemically addressed in order to remove each proverbial tack that is contributing to dysfunction and pathology. Contrary to my dismal experience within Western medicine, all of the functional medicine doctors I have encountered have had a genuine desire to engage in an egalitarian therapeutic partnership and to systematically unearth the root causes of my diseases.

Anyone with training through the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) should be well acquainted with the root cause resolution, bio-individualized approach that can help you reverse your autoimmune condition, mood disorder, or other chronic illness.

Related CE Article: Study Finds That Big Pharma Completely Lied About Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) For Depression

Ali Le Vere (the author) holds dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Human Biology and Psychology, minors in Health Promotion and in Bioethics, Humanities, and Society, and is a Master of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine candidate. Having contended with chronic illness, her mission is to educate the public about the transformative potential of therapeutic nutrition and to disseminate information on evidence-based, empirically rooted holistic healing modalities. Read more at @empoweredautoimmune on Instagram and at www.EmpoweredAutoimmune.com: Science-based natural remedies for autoimmune disease, dysautonomia, Lyme disease, and other chronic, inflammatory illnesses.

References

Adams et al. (2006). Status of Nutrition Education in Medical Schools. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 83(4), 941S–944S.

Baron, E.P. (2015). Comprehensive review of medical marijuana, cannabinoids, and therapeutic implications in medicine and headache: What a long strange trip its been. Headache, 55(6), 885-916. doi: 10.1111/head.12570.

Beck et al. (2013). So depression is an inflammatory disease, but where does the inflammation come from? BMC Medicine, 11. doi: 10.1186/1741-7015-11-200

Berman et al. (2001). Reviewing the reviews. International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care, 17, 456-466.

Brogan, K. (2016). A Mind Of Your Own: The Truth about Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives. New York, NY: Harper Wave.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Press Release: CDC provides estimate of Americans diagnosed with Lyme disease each year. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2013/p0819-lyme-disease.html

de Almeida et al. (2004). Anxiolytic-like effects of rose oil inhalation on the elevated plus-maze test in rats. Pharmacology and Biochemistry of Behavior, 77(2), 361-364.

Dowlati et al. (2010). A meta-analysis of cytokines in major depression. Biological Psychiatry, 67(5), 446-457. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2009.09.033.

Finamor, D., Sinigaglia-Coimbra, R., Neves, L.C.M., Gutierrez, M., Silva, J., Torres, L.D.,… Coimbra, C. (2013). A pilot study assessing the effect of prolonged administration of high daily doses of vitamin D on the clinical course of vitiligo and psoriasis. Dermato-Endocrinology, 5(1), 222-234.

Garrow, J.S. (2007). What to do about CAM: How much of orthodox medicine is evidence based? British Medical Journal, 335(7627), 951.

Geller et al. (2015). Emergency department visits for adverse events related to dietary supplements. New England Journal of Medicine, 373, 1531-1540

Glenmullen, J. (2000). Prozac backlash. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Hannestad, J., DellaGioia, N., & Bloch, M. (2011). The effect of antidepressant medication treatment on serum levels of inflammatory cytokines: a meta-analysis. Neuropsychopharmacology, 36(12), 2452-2459. doi: 10.1038/npp.2011.132.

Healy, D. (2004). Let them eat Prozac: The unhealthy relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and depression. New York: New York University.

Helman, M. (2014). U.S. Health Care Ranked Worst in the Developed World. Time Magazine. Retrieved from http://time.com/2888403/u-s-health-care-ranked-worst-in-the-developed-world/

Horton, R. (2015). Offline: What is Medicine’s 5 Sigma? Lancet, 385, 1380.

Hunter, P. & Hegele, R. (2017). Functional foods and dietary supplements for the management of dyslipidaemia. National Reviews in Endocrinology, [Epub ahead of print].

Ingraham, C. (2014). Our infant mortality rate is a national embarrassment. Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/09/29/our-infant-mortality-rate-is-a-national-embarrassment/?utm_term=.f28b433b478d

Insel, T. (2011). Post by Former NIMH Director Thomas Insel: Antidepressants: A complicated picture. National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/directors/thomas-insel/blog/2011/antidepressants-a-complicated-picture.shtml#_edn2

Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Quality of Health Care in America. (2000). To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System. Washington D.C.: National Academies Press (US). Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK225187/

Kaiser, D. (1996). Against biologic psychiatry. Psychiatric Times, 8(12).

Lacasse, J.R., & Leo, J. (2015). Antidepressants and the chemical imbalance theory of depression: A reflection and update on the discourse. The Behavior Therapist, 206-266.

Lan, J., Zhao, Y., Dong, F., Yan, Z., Zheng, W., Fan, J., & Sun, G. (2015). Meta-analysis of the effect and safety of berberine in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus, hyperlipemia and hypertension. Journal Of Ethnopharmacology, 69. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2014.09.049

Liu, Y., Yu, Y., Matarese, G., & La Cava, A. (2012). Cutting edge: fasting- induced hypoleptinemia expands functional regulatory T cells in systemic lupus erythematosus. Journal Of Immunology, 188(5), 2070-2073. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1102835

Mori et al. (1993). Clinical evaluation of Passiflamin (passiflora extract) on neurosis – multicenter double blind study in comparison with mexazolam. Rinsho Hyoka (Clinical Evaluation), 21, 383-440.

Morris, Z.S., Wooding, S., & Grant, J. (2011). The answer is 17 years, what is the question? Understanding time lags in translational research. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 104(12), 510-520.

Nordio, M., & Raffaella, P. (2013). Combined treatmetn with myo-insoitol and selenium ensures euthyroidism in subclinical hypothyroidism patients with autoimmune thyroiditis. Journal of Thyroid Research. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/42/4163

Pasco et al. (2010). Association of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein with de novo major depression. British Journal of Psychiatry, 197(5), 372-377. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.109.076430.

Prasad et al. (2013). A decade of reversal: An analysis of 146 contradicted medical practices. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 88(8), 790-798.

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

Reichenberg et al. (2001). Cytokine-associated emotional and cognitive disturbances in humans. Archives of General Psychiatry, 58(5), 445-452.

Rosenhan, D.L. (1973). On being sane in insane places. American Association for the Advancement of Science, 179(4070), 250-258.

Shorter, E. (2009). Before Prozac: The troubled history of mood disorders in psychiatry. New York: Oxford.

Turner et al. (2008). Selective publication of antidepressant trials and its influence on apparent efficacy. New England Journal of Medicine, 358, 252-260

Udina et al. (2012). Interferon-induced depression in chronic hepatitis C: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 73(8), 1128-1138. doi: 10.4088/JCP.12r07694.

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Alternative News

World Doctors Alliance: “We Do Not Have A Medical Pandemic.” Fake News?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Formed under the “Corona Extra-Parliamentary Inquiry Committee,” an alliance of hundreds of doctors and scientists, the "World Doctors Alliance recently held a press conference sharing their views about the coronavirus.

  • Reflect On:

    Why are tens of thousands of doctors and scientists all over the world being ridiculed and in many cases censored for sharing their research and opinions?

What Happened: Once again, doctors and scientists are and have been sharing the opinion that COVID-19 should not be classified as a pandemic virus due to the fact that it’s, in their opinion, nowhere near as dangerous as big media is making it out to be.

An organization made up of well over 500 German doctors and scientists called “Corona Extra-Parliamentary Inquiry Committee” who share the same perception discussed in this article have also created the “World Doctors Alliance.” Not long ago they held a press  sharing their perspective.

Below is a clip of one of the members, Dr. Elke De Klerk, founder of Doctors for Truth from the Netherlands sharing her thoughts. Below that you will find the press conference recently held by the alliance.

Many expert have been emphasizing that we are dealing with something no more dangerous than the flu. For example, approximately 40,000 scientists, doctors and more than half a million concerned citizens have now signed The Great Barrington Declaration. The declaration explains that “Covid-19 is less dangerous than many other harms, including influenza.”

The CDC also released new infection/fatality estimates that show numbers on par with seasonal flu. This recent release also has many people and experts calling into question the severity of the virus, this was well after John P. A. Ioannidis, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Stanford University  said that the infection fatality rate is close to 0 percent for people under the age of 45 years old.

The Physicians For Informed Consent (PIC) recently published a report titled  “Physicians for Informed Consent (PIC) Compares COVID-19 to Previous Seasonal and Pandemic Flu Periods.” According to them, the infection/fatality rate of COVID-19 is 0.26%. You can read more about that and access their resources and reasoning here.

Then there is the controversy surrounding the PCR tests and the idea that a large majority of cases may actually be false positives. You can read more about that here and here. This as been coupled with the fact that many COVID deaths may not have actually been the result of COVID. You can read more about that here and here.

These groups are made up of veteran experts in the field, Nobel Laureates, Professors of Medicine, Doctors and more, yet all it takes is for an Anthony Fauci like figure to oppose their opinion, and this is the perspective that gets beamed across mainstream media outlets, radio and television while the opposing view is nothing but ridiculed and “debunked.” This is very bizarre to say the least, mainstream media alone has the power to make the majority seem like the minority, and the minority seem like the majority. They have a huge reach when it comes to regulating the perception of the masses.

The exampels listed above are a few of many.

Right now, the Great Barrington Declaration mentioned above and the idea of “heard immunity” is being heavily ridiculed in the mainstream, without any of the renowned scientists who support the declaration having an opportunity to share their opinion via mainstream media.

For the other side of the coin, here’s a perspective you can read from Health Feedback, a Facebook Fact-Checker, with regards to infection fatality rate. According to them it’s much higher than the flu, and COVID is very dangerous.

Below is a recent full press conference held by the alliance.

Is This Fake News? Nothing in this article is fake, these opinions are actually being shared by doctors and scientists around the world, and a lot of them. As far as what they are saying and the opinions expressed above, this is what’s come under the scrutiny of Facebook Fact-Checkers. It’s been emphasized during this pandemic that any type of information that does not come straight from federal health regulatory agencies and the World Health Organization is not to be trusted.

Here’s an article from Health Feedback, for example, explaining why low infection fatality numbers do not mean that the virus is not dangerous.

The organizations above have been speaking up regarding the censorship they’ve experienced from social media giants, and this has also been a common theme throughout this pandemic. Michael Levitt, a Biophysicist and a professor of structural biology at Stanford University, criticized the WHO as well as Facebook for censoring different information and informed perspectives regarding the Coronavirus. According to him, “the level of stupidity” going on here is amazing.

According to Fact-Check.org:

A video posted by a European-based group called World Doctors Alliance falsely claims the novel coronavirus is “a normal flu virus” and there is no COVID-19 pandemic. Actually, COVID-19 is deadlier than the seasonal flu, and some European nations are combatting a second wave of cases.

According to the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we remain in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic, with an uptick in case numbers and hospitalizations straining the ability of medical centers in some areas to cope. Some European governments have imposed more restrictions to fight another wave of cases.

Yet on Oct. 10, Heiko Schöning, a German physician and head of a group known by the German acronym ACU2020, announced formation of an organization called World Doctors Alliance to challenge the veracity of the COVID-19 pandemic. The alliance website claims it is “abundantly clear that the ‘pandemic’ is basically over and has been since June 2020.”

An 18-minute video announcing the group’s formation was posted on the ACU2020 website but has since been taken down by YouTube for violating its terms of service. Still, portions of the video featuring two doctors challenging the science behind the pandemic are circulating on Facebook with false assertions and statistics.

Staking out the group’s position, Elke De Klerk, a Dutch general practitioner, says on the video, “We do not have a pandemic” and calls COVID-19 a “normal flu virus” – claims flatly rejected by the WHO, CDC, and other experts.

De Klerk claims the pandemic designation was based on poor testing, with the polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, molecular test returning false positive results in “89 to 94%” of the cases. That’s not true.

While the false positive rate remains an area of continued examination, preliminary studies show the test’s false positive rate is far less than De Klerk claims. A recent article in the British medical publication The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, said estimates in the U.K. place the false positive rate in the 0.8 to 4% range, while false negatives could run as high as 33%.

As for the virus that causes COVID-19, scientists universally agree it is a novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, not a strain of influenza.

While the death rate for COVID-19 remains uncertain, as we have reported, evidence suggests it is higher than for seasonal influenza.

In De Klerk’s own country, the Netherlands, there have been more than 6,800 deaths attributed to COVID-19 so far this year, compared to 2,900 due to flu and pneumonia in 2018-19.

In the U.S., where COVID-19 has caused more than 220,000 deaths, the worst flu season in the past decade killed an estimated 61,000 people in 2017-18, as we’ve reported. In fact, COVID-19 so far has killed more people in the U.S. than the past five flu seasons combined, and hundreds more die each day.

In addition, a CDC study released Oct. 20 found hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in the Veterans Health Administration had a five times higher risk of death than patients with the flu.

You can read more from them here.

The Takeaway: It’s been quite intriguing to see so many scientists and doctors completely oppose the recommendations and claims made by the World Health Organization (WHO) since the beginning of this pandemic. What’s even more shocking for lots of people is the fact that many scientists and doctors have been completely censored for sharing their research and opinion regarding anything to do with COVID if it opposes the information and recommendations set out by the WHO.

It’s not hard to see why so many people are confused and so many of us have beliefs that completely differ from one another.

Should people not have the right to examine information and opinions and decide for themselves what is and what isn’t Should there be a digital fact checker patrolling the internet limiting peoples ability to see certain information? Do organizations like the WHO and our governments really make decisions that are in and for our best interests, or are there other interests being served here?

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Awareness

Our Body Makes Neurotransmitters, Should We Give It Nutrition Instead of Psych Meds?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    If our body is nutrient deficient or full of toxins, it can lead to cell death,  immunodeficiency, and physical and mental health illness. When diet and lifestyle is addressed remarkable changes can occur.

  • Reflect On:

    Have you ever tested your nutrient levels? How much time and care are you putting into your diet to ensure that your body is getting what it needs to thrive?

“Those with psychiatric symptoms aren’t missing certain chemicals. They are missing certain nutrients that make those chemicals.” – Healing Without Hurting

Our bodies are amazing machines. When we provide our cells with nutrient-dense whole food nutrition free of chemicals, additives, pesticides, and herbicides, our bodies flourish. If our body is nutrient deficient or full of toxins, it can lead to cell death,  immunodeficiency, and physical and mental health illness. According to the July 2017 edition of Nutrients, thirty-one to forty-five percent of the United States population has some nutritional deficiency. Before a psychiatrist prescribes a psychiatric medication, testing for levels of nutrients in the body is essential.

The brain is the greediest organ of our body, with some particular dietary requirements. It’s hardly surprising that nutritional deficiencies lead to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, memory deficiencies, attention, cognition issuessleep problems, and sensory processing disorders. The most common nutrient deficiencies leading to mental disorders are omega–3 fatty acids, B vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that are precursors to neurotransmitters.

When diet and lifestyle is addressed, and an intervention is put in place to correct for deficiencies, there is a remarkable change. In a 2016 study in the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, “patients reported multiple benefits across all conditions addressed and felt their emotional and or neurological symptoms diminished significantly.”

Other symptoms of nutritional deficiencies include weight gain due to a slower metabolism, fatigue, salt and sugar cravings, muscle weakness, diminished sex drive, hair loss, brittle hair and nails, and scaly skin. There are many causes of nutritional deficiencies including, eating a Standard American Diet (SAD) lacking essential nutrients, low absorption due to poor digestion, metabolic issues due to genetic mutations, lack of nutrients in our soil, and medications. And so, a vicious cycle ensues.

Common medications deplete vital nutrients essential to your health.” -Hyla Cass, MD.

The sad reality is that many people eat poorly-paying no attention to how their eating habits affect their mental health, and many are too quick to find the “quick fix” remedy. Our allopathic psychiatrists and doctors do not get training in a systems biology to treatment, nor are they encouraged to offer this advice. The lack of knowledge in this area is primarily because the pharmaceutical companies fund our medical schools. There is no money in good nutrition or healthy people.

Why We Need to Eat Enough Protein

Eating enough protein is vital. We can get adequate protein from many plant sources, as well as meat products. Everyone talks about how those with mental health issues need more dopamine or serotonin, which usually translates into more medication. However, if we look at the physiology behind how neurotransmitters are made in the first place, most of them depend on an adequate intake of protein. Protein is broken down into amino acids, and the amino acids are then converted to neurotransmitters with the help of other nutrients such as B vitamins and specific minerals.

Interestingly, medication does not increase the levels of these chemicals in the body; it only re-uptakes what is already there. So, if a person is deficient, the medication may do little to remedy the situation. If it recirculated back to the brain where there may be too much already, side-effects could occur.

Two of the most common brain chemicals involved with depression are dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals, called neurotransmitters, regulate mood. Serotonin deficiency can lead to depression. Hence why antidepressants known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are typically the go-to medication treatment.

Serotonin is actually created by an amino acid called tryptophan. Niacin (vitamin B3) is part of the metabolizing process of forming serotonin from tryptophan. Therefore, niacin deficiency can also directly impact mood by affecting your production of serotonin. Dopamine is produced from the amino acid tyrosine and phenylalanine, both of which can be obtained from protein-rich foods.

Melatonin is an important hormone that helps to regulate our sleep cycle. The conversion of serotonin to melatonin is controlled by the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus, the coordinator of the body’s circadian rhythms. Many doctors, both holistic and conventional, often recommend it for sleep problems. Although generally safe in lower doses and limited time, supplementing this powerful hormone may have some side effects. Some of them include nightmares, grogginess, seizures, tics, headaches, nausea, diabetes, small testicles, and depression. To avoid synthetic substitutes, we can provide the brain’s pineal gland what it needs to make melatonin. The necessary nutrients include tryptophan, GABA, fatty acids, B vitamins, zinc, and magnesium.

As one can see, proper nutrition and getting enough nutrients is essential to our mental well-being. Instead of running to get a script, perhaps it is time to address the many other root causes of mental health issues, including nutritional deficiencies. To learn more about how to help you or your family overcome ADHD, autism, and mental health conditions, while at the same time improving your overall health, I am offering a FREE downloadable PDF of an online presentation I recently gave containing these tips and much more. Learn why eating protein is essential and why microbiome diversity is critical. SIGN UP HERE to receive your free download today. And to purchase my award-winning book Healing Without Hurting, click here.

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Alternative News

WHO Estimates 35 Million Infected With COVID

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Executive director of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Health Emergencies Programme Dr. Michael Ryan recently stated that according to their best estimates, 10 percent of the world's population has been infected with Sars-Cov-2.

  • Reflect On:

    Are rising case numbers as much as a concern as they're being made out to be? Is COVID more dangerous than all other viruses that have been circling the globe before it, infecting hundreds of millions and killing tens of million a year?

This article has been updated and corrected.

What Happened: Dr Michael Ryan, a former trauma surgeon and epidemiologist who is now the executive director of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Health Emergencies Programme recently revealed that the WHO believes approximately 10 percent of the world’s population has been infected with COVID-19. This is their “best estimate” and far exceeds the number of officially recognized cases. The idea that more people are infected than we are aware of has been a common theme and the general consensus among the scientific community since early on in this pandemic. For example, a study published in April  by several academics from the Stanford School of Medicine suggested that COVID-19 has infected many more than what the tests were showing, driving the infection fatality rate on par with seasonal influenza.

Our current best estimates tell us that about ten percent of the global population may have been infected by this virus. This varies depending on country, it varies from urban to rural, it varies between different groups.” – Dr Ryan, “session 1” at 1:01:33 (source)

This latest estimate means approximately 780 million people have been infected, and the number will continue to grow according to the WHO.

According to Facebook Fact Checker Health Feedback,

As Ryan clarified during a 12 October 2020 virtual press conference, he did not confirm that 10% of the global population had been infected, but that 10% was the upper bound of the estimated number of infections so far:

[W]hat I was actually trying to communicate was that the vast majority of human beings on this planet remain susceptible to the virus. I believe what I said was that many studies had demonstrated that 10% or less of people had been infected, although that was very variable with some slum areas, high-risk populations like health workers being much higher.

Maria Van Kerkhove, epidemiologist and COVID-19 technical lead for the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, stated that recent estimates of COVID-19’s IFR “all converge around a point estimate of around 0.6%. That may not sound like a lot, but that is a lot higher than influenza, and the infection fatality ratio increases dramatically with age.” Most recent studies estimate an overall COVID-19 IFR around 0.68%[1], which is consistent with the general scientific consensus that COVID-19 is at least ten times more deadly than seasonal flu.

As Christophe Fraser, an epidemiologist at Oxford University, explained in a Twitter thread, the overall IFR estimate for an average seasonal flu is around 0.04%. Thus, even if COVID-19’s IFR was indeed 0.14% as claimed, it would still be about four times higher than that of seasonal flu.

You can read more from them here.

If deaths attributed to COVID are not actually a result of COVID, then the rate would be even lower. You can read more about that here.

Why This Is Important: These numbers beg the question, does COVID really warrant mass global lockdowns and other preventative measures we’ve taken, or should it simply be treated as another virus like many others than have been circling the globe for decades, killing and infecting tens of millions of people every single year. Many people are asking how COVID is any different.

More than 34, 000 scientists and doctors, as well as more than 150,000 people have signed the Great Barrington Declaration, opposing a second COVID-19 lockdown because, according to them, it’s doing much more harm than good.

It’s called “The Great Barrington Declaration” and it states the following:

 “Covid-19 is less dangerous than many other harms, including influenza. As immunity builds in the population, the risk of infection to all – including the vulnerable – falls. We know that all populations will eventually reach herd immunity – i.e.  the point at which the rate of new infections is stable – and that this can be assisted by (but is not dependent upon) a vaccine. Our goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity.

The Physicians For Informed Consent (PIC) recently published a report titled  “Physicians for Informed Consent (PIC) Compares COVID-19 to Previous Seasonal and Pandemic Flu Periods.” According to them, the infection/fatality rate of COVID-19 is 0.26%. You can read more about that and access their resources and reasoning here.

A group of Canadian doctors in the province of Ontario have come together and written an open letter to Ontario premier Doug Ford. The letter is signed by 20 doctors and professors of medicine from faculties at the University of Toronto, McMaster University and the University of Ottawa and from hospitals such as Sick Kids. The letter was sent to ford on September 27th, and it argues against a return to lockdown measures as a way to tackle rising COVID-19 cases. You can read more about that here.

The CDC also released new infection/fatality estimates that also has many people and experts calling into question the severity of the virus, this was well after John P. A. Ioannidis, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Stanford University has said that the infection fatality rate is close to 0 percent for people under the age of 45 years old. It turns out he was right.

A recent article published in the British Medical Journal  has suggested that quarantine measures in the United Kingdom as a result of the new coronavirus may have already killed more UK seniors than the coronavirus has during the peak of the virus. You can access that and read more about it here.

In Germany, more than 500 German doctors & scientists have signed on as representatives of an organization called the “Corona Extra-Parliamentary Inquiry Committee” to investigate what’s happening on our planet with regards to COVID-19 and express the same sentiments. You can read more about that here.

The list of medical and scientific experts opposing the measures being taken by multiple governments is quite long. The examples above simply represent a tidbit and I’ve used them in multiple articles, but I just wanted to get the point across with a few examples. .

Not long ago  I wrote about Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a Professor of Medicine at Stanford University who recently gave an interview stating “there is more harm from the lockdown than there is from COVID.” He’s one of many experts who feel this way, and explains why. In that article I put more examples of renowned doctors and scientists from around the world who do and have opposed lockdown measures.

Implementation of the current draconian measures that are so extremely restrict fundamental rights can only be justified if there is reason to fear that a truly, exceptionally dangerous virus is threatening us. Do any scientifically sound data exist to support this contention for COVID-19? I assert that the answer is simply, no – Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, a specialist in microbiology and one of the most cited research scientists in German history (source)

The Other Side of The Coin: According to Facebook fact-checker Health Feedback,

The claim that the COVID-19 pandemic response has been unwarranted has taken many forms. Some involved misleading comparisons with other respiratory diseases like the flu and tuberculosis, while others relied on misinterpretations of COVID-19 mortality reports and unsupported accounts of fabricated COVID-19 test results. In September 2020, numerous Facebook posts making the same claim emerged (see examples here and here), this time highlighting the age-specific infection mortality ratio (IFR) that was added to the website of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on 10 September 2020 (see archive of website with the update note). These posts have gone viral, receiving more than 37,000 shares.

They note that a low IFR does not equate to a virus that is not dangerous, and in fact point to the exact opposite.

They go on to explain that

Scientists have observed that some survivors suffer from damage to various organs, including the lungs and heart, as well as the nervous system. Such damage could lead to chronic health problems, as this news article in Science reported, although it is currently unclear exactly how long such damage persists and how often it occurs. However, the long-term health effects of COVID-19 can be so severe that physicians and researchers are preparing to provide rehabilitation services to patients to facilitate their return to a functional life[2,3].

Finally, even a small IFR can translate into a large number of deaths if the virus spreads among a large group of people. Indeed, in spite of COVID-19’s relatively small IFR, the U.S. has recorded more than 200,000 COVID-19 deaths at the time of this review’s publication while there have been more than 1 million COVID-19 deaths worldwide, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center by Johns Hopkins University.

You can read their full post here.

Why This Is Important:

The point is, the number of scientists and doctors around the world who are opposing actions taken by multiple governments, as well as recommendations from the WHO is quite overwhelming. What’s suspicious is the fact that none of these measures ever quite receive the mainstream media attention that they deserve, and one narrative/perception of COVID seems to dominate our television screens.

Is there a battle for our perception happening right now? Is our consciousness being manipulated? Why is there so much conflicting information if everything is crystal clear? Why are alternative treatments that have shown tremendous amounts of success being completely ignored and ridiculed?  What’s going on here, and how much power do governments have when they are able to silence the voice of so many people? Should we not be examining information openly, transparently, and together?

Is the new coronavirus, like 9/11, a catalyst for a shift in human consciousness. Are people ‘waking up’ as a result of what has, is and will transpire?

Why are so many doctors and scientists being censored and shadow banned on social media for simply sharing their research, evidence and opinions just because they contradict government health agencies and organizations like the WHO?

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