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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.

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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Awareness

The “Inconvenient Truth” About Mental Illness & Prescription Medications

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Prescription drug sales and deaths are at an all time high. With side effects and dangers, and a lack of safety testing in some cases, are they always the best and only option for mental health treatment?

  • Reflect On:

    Why are alternative treatments for mental health lacking? Is it because they are not as effective as prescription medication or do not turn a profit?

A worrisome trend has emerged in the last few decades that many physicians are choosing to ignore: As the amount of psychiatric drug prescriptions increase, our mental health declines. It’s time we swallow the hard pill and ask ourselves, are psychiatrists doing more harm than good?

I know that, to some of you, this question seems absurd. Why would licensed medical practitioners purposefully harm their patients? But that isn’t really what’s happening here, as the issue relates more to the over-prescription and misuse of mental health drugs, and the corporately funded miseducation that prompts this behaviour, than any malicious intentions on the part of individual people.

The “Inconvenient Truth” About Mental Illness and Prescriptions

In 2013, approximately 17% of Americans were prescribed at least one mental health drug, in comparison to only 10% in 2011. The amount of people on psychiatric prescription drugs has drastically increased over the past 10 years and now 12% of adult Americans are taking some form of antidepressants alone (source).

It’s not just adults affected by the over-prescription of these drugs; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 11% of children between the ages of 4 and 17 were diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011. However, the American Psychiatric Association maintains that even though only 5% of American children suffer from the disorder, the diagnosis is actually given to around 15% of American children. This number has been steadily rising, jumping from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007. The simple reason for this increase? Profit.

However, despite the fact that the number of mental health drugs prescribed increases every year, our mental health has actually decreased. The amount of people who are considered to be so disabled by mental illness that they require Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) has increased by almost two and a half times between 1987 and 2007, from one in 184 Americans to one in seventy-six. Not surprisingly, the rise in the number of children affected by this is even worse, with a thirty-five-fold increase in that same timeframe (source). So, if the number of prescriptions are increasing, why is our mental health declining?

This phenomenon is what Thomas Insel, former Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, refers to as the “inconvenient truth” of mental illness. Suicide rates per 100,000 people have reached a 30-year high and substance abuse, especially with opiates, has become a national epidemic.

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Edmund S. Higgins, MD and Professor of Psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina, explains, “More people are getting treatment and taking medications today than ever before, so what is going on? I would argue that a lack of precision and objectivity in diagnosing and treating mental illness has stalled our progress.” Furthermore, Big Pharma has played a crucial role in creating the mental health drug epidemic.

Big Pharma’s Role in Increasing Prescriptions

This seems to be the general consensus of the North American population: If an advertisement or a misinformed MD says, “There’s a pill for that,” you take it. Our reliance on pharmaceutical drugs didn’t form by accident, however; it was carefully planned and funded by Big Pharma. The pharmaceutical industry manufactured it by heavily advertising drugs, bribing physicians, and funding health studies.

Big Pharma has done an excellent job of feeding the public propaganda through advertisements and education, as the more pills you take, the more money they make. The pharmaceutical industry has played a substantial role in increasing the amount of prescriptions and overall diagnoses of A.D.H.D. in the U.S. (read an article I wrote about this here) and other mental health illnesses. As Dr. Irwin Savodnik of UCLA explains, “The very vocabulary of psychiatry is now defined at all levels by the pharmaceutical industry.”

Doctors typically use the knowledge from the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to diagnose and treat mental illness. But the DSM has had its fair share of criticism, as it favours the use of pharmaceutical drugs over therapy and other healing modalities. Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine and Editor-in-Chief of The Carlat Psychiatry Report Daniel J. Carlat, M.D, criticized the DSM, stating, “In psychiatry, many diseases are treated equally well with medication or therapy, but the guidelines tend to be biased toward medication.”

Holistic mental health practitioner Dr. Tyler Woods further explains:

The DSM tends to pathologize normal behaviors. For instance, the label “Anxiety Disorder” can be given as a result of some kinds of normal and rather healthy anxieties but the DSM will have experts view it and treat it as mental illness. In addition simple shyness can be seen and treated as “Social Phobia”, while spirited and strong willed children as “Oppositional Disorder”. Consequently, many psychotherapists, regardless of their theoretical orientations, tend to follow the DSM as instructed. (source)

In fact, Big Pharma has played a significant role in manufacturing our very definitions of mental illnesses and how they form in the first place. For example, the U.S. considers A.D.H.D. a neurological disorder whose symptoms are the result of biological disfunction or a chemical imbalance in the brain, much like many other mental disorders. However, other countries such as France see these mental disorders, including A.D.H.D., as a social context issue rather than a biological one, with many contributing factors and recommended treatments other than drugs. Dr. Marcia Angell, a physician, author, and the Editor-in-Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, states:

When it was found that psychoactive drugs affect neurotransmitter levels in the brain, as evidenced mainly by the levels of their breakdown products in the spinal fluid, the theory arose that the cause of mental illness is an abnormality in the brain’s concentration of these chemicals that is specifically countered by the appropriate drug. For example, because Thorazine was found to lower dopamine levels in the brain, it was postulated that psychoses like schizophrenia are caused by too much dopamine. . . .

That was a great leap in logic . . . It was entirely possible that drugs that affected neurotransmitter levels could relieve symptoms even if neurotransmitters had nothing to do with the illness in the first place (and even possible that they relieved symptoms through some other mode of action entirely).

Why Pills Cannot Solve All of Our Problems

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t take prescription medication for mental illness; that’s something that you and your doctor should decide. However, if your doctor fails to address any other means of dealing with your mental health, always choosing pills first rather than as a last or even second resort, then perhaps you should think about finding a doctor who understands the benefits of at least considering alternative options.

It’s important to note that even if prescription drugs are the reason our mental health is worsening, they’re certainly not the only reason. We’ve increased our amount of time spent using technology, staying indoors, and being sedentary, as well as worsened our diets and overall physical health with fast food, chemicals, toxins, animal products, and more — all of which may contribute to this decline in mental health.

However, there’s no denying the fact that Big Pharma has had a tangible and worrisome role in the psychiatric drug epidemic. Medical journalist and Pulitzer Prize nominee Robert Whitaker addresses this “inconvenient truth” by using depression as an example. Depression used to be considered a self-limiting illness that, even in severe situations where a patient requires hospitalization, could be cured within six to eight months. Very rarely would patients relapse, and if they did it would typically be many years later.

When antidepressants hit the market, our outlook on depression completely shifted. Even though antidepressants may have been created with good intentions, the reality is that patients taking these drugs are relapsing more quickly and more often. Whitaker explains that many patients on antidepressants will only recover partially in comparison to the full recoveries he’s seen in people who never took them in the first place.

In fact, only around 15% of those treated with antidepressants actually go into remission and maintain their mental health long-term. The other 85% are continuously relapsing or experience chronic depression.

It is clear that in many cases, we need to stop looking for outside help when it comes to our mental health. Our mental health is just that — it’s ours. It’s controlled by us, whether we like it or not. Many mental illnesses don’t stem from biological issues, contrary to what Big Pharma wants you to think, but are rather the result of different stressors in our lives. So, if we were able to connect with ourselves on a deeper level and actually get to the root of the problem, perhaps some of these disorders wouldn’t be so severe.

Related CE Content:

Study Finds Turmeric Is As Effective As Prozac For Treating Depression

Almost No Children In France Are Medicated For ADHD: Here’s How They Define & Treat It

Professor Outlines The “Surprisingly Dramatic” Role That Nutrition Plays In Treating & Curing Mental Illness

Picture source. 

 

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Awareness

Fact-Checking The Fact Checkers About Coronavirus & Vitamin C Treatment – Is It Really “Fake News”?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The idea that vitamin C can have some potential in treating and preventing the new coronavirus is being invalidated and even labelled as 'fake news' by some. If this was true, why are clinical trials for intravenous vitamin C underway in China?

  • Reflect On:

    Can we rely on our medical system to provide the best possible solutions, or will profit always come first? How much trust have they lost among the general population over the years?

An article published by LiveScience, a mainstream science website, states that “Vitamin C is extremely unlikely to help people fight off the new coronavirus.” Mainstream media has been attacking the idea that vitamin C could have some potential to prevent or even treat the new coronavirus. This rhetoric follows statements that have come out from government health regulatory agencies. Take Health Canada, for example, who recently tweeted that there are no natural health products “that are authorized to protect against” the new coronavirus. They go on to state that “any claims otherwise are false.”

This is a problem that’s plagued our world since the introduction of the mainstream medical industry. Arnold Seymour Relman, a former Harvard professor of medicine and former Editor-in-Chief of The New England Medical Journal, states this problem clearly: 

“The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.” (source)

The question people need to be asking is, where does government loyalty lie? Perhaps it’s with the industry that spends two times more than any other lobby in congress. This is why nothing can be used as a treatment, for any disease, unless it’s patented and presented to us by a pharmaceutical company. “Alternative” treatments are always branded as ‘fake’ and even ‘dangerous’.

Vitamin C Trials and Treatment

This recent coronavirus outbreak might provide the latest insight into this matter. Going back to the statement above from LiveScience that states “Vitamin C is extremely unlikely to help people fight off the new coronavirus”: if this is really the case, then why would China start multiple clinical trials to examine whether or not intravenous vitamin C can be helpful in treating people with coronavirus?

The article in LiveScience did not acknowledge this originally, but they added an update stating that researchers at Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University had launched a clinical trial with 140 patients in February to test whether ultrahigh doses of vitamin C, delivered intravenously, could treat the viral infection more effectively than a placebo. The test group will receive infusions twice a day for seven days, with each infusion containing 12g of vitamin C. (The daily recommendation for an adult man is only 90mg.) The trial will be completed in September, and no results are yet available, according to ClinicalTrials.gov.

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That being said, Dr. Richard Cheng, MD, has been updating everyone via his YouTube channel about vitamin C treatment cases out of China. We have been covering his updates as he is in direct contact with this treatment and isn’t simply an armchair scientist at the moment. We feel at this time this is a very important detail as he is seeing and hearing results first hand, not simply theoretically. Dr. Cheng is a US board-certified anti-aging specialist. He claims that vitamin C is now in the Shanghai Government treatment plan.

Dr. Cheng was paramount in bringing high-dose vitamin C to the table as part of potential treatment and prevention measures. Unfortunately in the West, this option is still being denied by much of mainstream media and governments are not talking about it. Instead, it’s fear and chaos which we do not feel helps anyone to stay healthy or get better.

According to Cheng, 50 moderate to severe cases of Covid-19 infection were treated with high-dose IVC. Dosing of IVC ranged from 10,000 – 20,000 mg a day for 7-10 days, with 10,000 mg for moderate cases and 20,000 for more severe cases. The first bit of good news was that all patients who received IVC improved and there has been no mortality. Secondly, as compared to the average of a 30-day hospital stay for all Covid-19 patients, those patients who received high dose IVC had a hospital stay of about 3-5 days shorter than the other patients.

In one particularly severe case where the patient was deteriorating rapidly, an extra dose of 50,000 mg IVC was given over a period of 4 hours and it caused the patient’s pulmonary (oxygenation index) status to stabilize and improve as the critical care team observed in real time. You can watch all of the updates from Cheng via his Youtube Channel.

Related CE Articles: Good Coronavirus News: High Dose Vitamin C Shows Good Results In China Hospital

How To Take Vitamin C Orally. It MAY Help Protect Against Viruses

Enjoy This Free Conscious Breathing Course To Bring Peace & Heightened Immunity

So, at the very worst we can officially say that we don’t know, but there are some positive signs thus far, which again, is obvious due to the fact that they would even begin a clinical trial, and the explanation as to why such a hypothesis exists is explained within the clinical trial website listed earlier. To say that it’s false or extremely unlikely is, in fact, the false news.

Looking For Some Vitamin C?

For anyone looking for a high-quality vitamin C, we have been using and recommending liposomal vitamin C. There are many brands out there. We are using this one from PuraThrive as it is very high quality and has an incredible clinically proven absorption rate.

The Takeaway

Is it really safe and truthful to make the claim that “Vitamin C is extremely unlikely to help people fight off the new coronavirus”? This is the rhetoric we’ve been hearing from mainstream media sources for quite a while, and articles posted on social media providing evidence that it may show some promise are being flagged by fact checkers as fake news. Again, if it was extremely unlikely, why use so many resources that are required to start a clinical trial in the first place? Why are we getting a completely different perspective from an MD in China that’s providing the world with updates? These are important questions to ask, as this example simply highlights one of the biggest problems that plagues the mainstream medical industry, which is a complete denial of the potential of natural treatments. Because these treatments cannot be patented and turned a profit, they are ridiculed, ignored and brushed off.

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Alternative News

Coronavirus Will Slow Down & Humanity Will Survive, Says Biophysicist Michael Levitt

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Biophysicist Michael Levitt explains his coronavirus predictions and why he thinks the spread will slow down quite rapidly.

  • Reflect On:

    With so much hysteria floating around, what can you do to keep your self calm and at peace?

There are so many theories floating around about the coronavirus right now and what’s going to happen. The truth is, nobody knows. It’s quite clear that a large majority of the population have lost their trust in government, which is why people continue to search for alternative sources of information with regards to the origin of this virus, potential treatments and what could be in the cards for humanity next. At this point, it seems that nobody really knows what happens, and at the deepest levels, collective consciousness determines our path, nothing else. How we perceive, act, and react to what is happening right now determines our future.

I do believe there is a lot of unnecessary hysteria going on right now. That doesn’t mean precautions shouldn’t be taken, but what’s happening right now may be going a little overboard. Situations like this are often taken advantage of politically, economically and financially, and some people have proposed that the ones who ‘created the problem’ are going to ‘sell the pill.’  I don’t want to get into so called ‘conspiracy theories’ with this article, but there is definitely lots to think about when it comes to the virus.

Right now, it seems that the majority of people who have the virus are recovering quite well, and that there is greater concern for elderly people and those who already have underlying health issues. For example, a recent article in Bloomberg titled, “99% of Those Who Died From Virus Had Other Illness, Italy Says,” illustrates that the state of one’s immune system and overall health determines morbidity and mortality, and likely your susceptibility to infection in the first place.

More than 99% of Italy’s coronavirus fatalities were people who suffered from previous medical conditions, according to a study by the country’s national health authority…The Rome-based institute has examined medical records of about 18% of the country’s coronavirus fatalities, finding that just three victims, or 0.8% of the total, had no previous pathology. Almost half of the victims suffered from at least three prior illnesses and about a fourth had either one or two previous conditions. More than 75% had high blood pressure, about 35% had diabetes and a third suffered from heart disease.”

Some Good News

According biophysicist Michael Levitt, a Nobel laureate who teaches structural biology at Stanford University, the virus will pass, and all will be as it was. Levitt became quite a popular name across China. He offered the Chinese public some reassurance during the peak of the outbreak there, as he had determined, after investigating and crunching some numbers, that the virus will come to a halt.

Obviously, it’s spreading quite rapidly right now, so seeing how it may slow down might be hard for some people, but according to what Levitt saw from the numbers in China, other countries should also follow the same trend.

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The calming messages Levitt sent to his friends in China were translated into Chinese and passed from person to person, making him a popular subject for interviews in the Asian nation. His forecasts turned out to be correct: the number of new cases reported each day started to fall as of February 7. A week later, the mortality rate started falling as well….Levitt avoids making global forecasts. In China, he said, the number of new infections will soon reach zero, and South Korea is past the median point and can already see the end. Regarding the rest of the world, it is still hard to tell, he said. “It will end when all those who are sick will only meet people they have already infected. The goal is not to reach the situation the cruise ship experienced.”

Levitt pointed out that the rate of infection of the virus in the Hubei province in China increased by 30 percent each day. According to him, the entire world should have been infected within 90 days, but obviously this didn’t happen, and hasn’t happened.

When Levitt started analyzing the data on February 1, Hubei had 1,800 new cases each day and within six days this number reached 4,700, he said. “And then, on February 7, the number of new infections started to drop linearly and did not stop. A week later, the same happened with the number of the deaths. This dramatic change in the curve marked the median point and enabled better prediction of when the pandemic will end. Based on that, I concluded that the situation in all of China will improve within two weeks. And, indeed, now there are very few new infection cases.”

Levitt compared the situation to bank interest—if on the first day a person receives an interest rate of 30% on their savings, the next day of 29%, and so forth, “you understand that eventually, you will not earn very much.”

Originally Levitt said that coronavirus patients in China infected on average 2.2 people a day, which would be exponential growth that would lead to nothing but disaster. But then the rates started dropping and China has recently reported that new daily infections are now close to zero. “The fact that the infection rate is slowing down means the end of the pandemic is near,” he said. You can read more about why he feels the way he does, and his entire explanation here.

Basically, self-quarantine and social distancing really helps, as well as keeping our social circles to those who we usually interact with the same. All of the measures that are currently in places are no doubt bound to ‘flatten the curve,’ so there is no doubt that humanity is heading in the right direction and has hopefully already weathered the worst part of the storm.

More Good News

It looks like a treatment program of about 50 patients in China has shown positive results from high dose Vitamin C treatment of COVID-19. Last month, the US National Library of Medicine posted the information about their clinical trials on their website. The title of one of the trials is “Vitamin C Infusion for the Treatment of Severe 2019-nCoV Infected Pneumonia.” The sponsor is ZhiYong Peng, and the responsible party is Zhongnan Hospital in Wuhan University (ZNWU).

Dr. Richard Cheng has been updating everyone via his YouTube channel about vitamin C treatment cases out of China. We have been covering his updates as he is in direct contact with this treatment and isn’t simply an armchair scientist at the moment. We feel at this time this is a very important detail as he is seeing and hearing results first hand.

Dr. Cheng was paramount in bringing high dose vitamin C to the table as part of potential treatment and prevention measures in China. Unfortunately in the West, this option is still being denied by much of mainstream media and governments are not talking about it. Instead, it’s fear and chaos which we do not feel serves anyone to stay healthy or get better. I believe this is a great aspect of this journey to reflect on, as it tells us where loyalties lie when it comes to government and pharma. It also illustrates the agenda for creating a fear and separation culture as opposed to unity.

A group of medical doctors, healthcare providers and scientists met online March 17, 2020, to discuss the use of high dose intravenous vitamin C (IVC) in the treatment of moderate to severe cases of Covid-19 patients. Dr. Enqian Mao was in attendance. He is the chief of emergency medicine department at Ruijin Hospital, a major hospital in Shanghai, affiliated with the Joatong University College of Medicine. Dr. Mao is also a member of the Senior Expert Team at the Shanghai Public Health Center, where all Covid-19 patients have been treated. You can read more about that and watch Dr. Cheng’s video, here.

For anyone looking for a high-quality vitamin C, we have been using and recommending liposomal vitamin C. There are many brands out there. We are using this one from PuraThrive as it is very high quality and has an incredible clinically proven absorption rate.

Some Thoughts on Diet & Nutrition

It’s quite a head-scratcher why media in the West mentions nothing about vitamin C, and when they do, they simply ridicule the idea that it has any potential to be effective. Furthermore, there is no mention about the importance of diet and nutrition and the role nutrition can play when it comes to boosting the immune system. It truly makes no sense. It really goes to show how close of a relationship government has with industry, which now spends twice as much as any other lobby does in congress.  When it comes to health care, is it really about the best possible way to heal people, or the best possible way to heal people that provides profit?  It would be great to see health leaders come on the news and provide information on how one can strengthen their immune system through the use of foods, herbs etc. This would also contribute to lessening anxiety instead of constantly hearing “there is no treatment.” Based on what we are seeing happen in China, this statement is simply not true.

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