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Is The FDA Trying to Ban Over-The-Counter Homeopathy?

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This article is from Greenmedinfo.com, printed here with their permission. It was written by Larry Malerba, DO, DHt,  a classical homeopath, osteopathic physician.  For more from Greenmedinfo, sign up for their newsletter here.

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Is the FDA acting out of malicious intent or willful ignorance in publishing a new draft guidance on homeopathics which would effectively treat them like pharmaceutical drugs, with similar regulatory requirements? 

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FDA’s Regulatory Overreach Reflects Poor Understanding of Homeopathy

When FDA announced a “draft guidance” in December 2017 stating its latest intentions regarding the regulation of homeopathic products, it became clear that the agency had paid little attention to the concerns of the homeopathic community of practitioners, consumers, patients, and manufacturers. It turns out that the FDA’s public hearing held in 2015—during which numerous representatives of homeopathic interests from across the U.S and around the globe gave overwhelmingly positive testimony as to the safety, efficacy, and unique nature of homeopathic medicines—was just a pretense designed to give the appearance that it was taking the public’s concerns into account.

Hiding behind rhetoric emphasizing concerns for the safety of consumers—“FDA is proposing a new, risk-based enforcement approach to homeopathic drug products that have the greatest potential to cause risk to patients”—FDA is intending to launch a two-pronged initiative that exaggerates the risks associated with homeopathic products and denies the existing evidence in support of their safety and effectiveness.

Regarding the Safety of Homeopathic Medicines

FDA has chosen to use a very small number of unsubstantiated accounts of adverse events supposedly associated with homeopathic products in order to justify overregulation of the industry as a whole. Failing to acknowledge that the current regulatory framework, Compliance Policy Guide 400.400 (adopted in 1988), is more than sufficient to accomplish its stated goal of protecting the public from potential harm, FDA appears bent on tearing that policy down in favor of either a new and unnecessarily stringent policy or no replacement policy at all.

No policy at all would likely result in confusion about FDA’s expectations of homeopathic manufacturers and could provide opportunity for FDA to exploit the lack of clear regulatory bounds. Ronald Whitmont, MD, President of the American Institute of Homeopathy (AIH), echoes this sentiment:

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“What is clear is that FDA has ignored the homeopathic community’s requests to update this guidance. By withdrawing CPG 400.400 the FDA is removing the only clear guidelines that have served to help the FDA, the homeopathic manufacturers, and the public to understand the policies surrounding the marketing and labeling of homeopathic products.  

The AIH is very concerned that the withdrawal of this document will create a situation where anything can be labeled “homeopathic” and muddy the waters around what actually is homeopathic. The AIH is also concerned that withdrawal of the guidance would allow the FDA to act capriciously and to interpret the new guidelines more broadly than they should be.

If the FDA is unhappy with the current CPG 400.400 we advise that they amend it to make it a better, more comprehensive guideline, not one with less clear instructions that could result in abuses from both manufacturers and regulators. Only the public will suffer when this happens.”

I have written previously about FDA’s trumped-up scare tactics regarding homeopathic teething tablets. For decades, homeopathic medicines have been subject to unrelenting criticism from mainstream science and conventional medicine. Critics contend that the quantities of ingredients used are too small to have any physiological effects and, all observed effects must, therefore, be written off as placebo effects. In other words, the predominating belief is that homeopathic doses are too small to be of any health concern.

Astonishingly, we are witnessing a suspicious about-face whereby homeopathic medicines have apparently morphed overnight in the minds of FDA officials from useless placebos to dangerous toxins. Although the scientific community is talking out of both sides of its mouth, it can’t have it both ways. Truth be told, any qualified homeopathic doctor will tell you that neither assertion is the case. While homeopathic medicines are clearly not placebos, they are also nothing like conventional pharmaceuticals.

Homeopathic medicines are in a class completely on their own, which is why when homeopathic physician and New York State Senator, Royal Copeland, MD, sponsored legislation creating the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938, it was abundantly clear to the U.S. Congress that homeopathic products did not pose a risk and did not warrant the type of scrutiny that the modern-day FDA now claims it deserves.

Although the safety profiles of homeopathic medicines are unparalleled, FDA wants you to believe otherwise. A handful of isolated and unproven cases of seizures supposedly caused by homeopathic Belladonna elicited a “warning against the use” of teething tablets and a thorough review of FDA’s oversight of the entire homeopathic industry.

By contrast, here is a list of 200 drugs admittedly known to be able to produce seizures as possible side effects. I don’t see FDA clamoring to warn people against using these drugs. And I certainly don’t see them undertaking an audit of the entire pharmaceutical industry. When the safety of homeopathic products is compared against the track records of almost all conventional pharmaceuticals, FDA’s egregious double standard becomes unavoidably apparent.

If you understand homeopathy and you’ve seen it work, you know that safety is a virtual non-issue. If a remedy is manufactured according to standards of the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States (HPUS), there is no reason for concern and no need for FDA to think it would need greater oversight. Therefore, the only way a homeopathic medicine can cause harm is if it has been manufactured recklessly in a manner that does not follow proper protocol. A properly made homeopathic dilution, by definition, cannot be toxic because the degree of dilution is too great. For FDA to believe otherwise is unscientific and disingenuous.

Another completely specious contention that FDA makes in its draft guidance is that homeopathic treatment “may cause users to delay or discontinue medical treatments that have been found safe and effective.” This is a classic anti-homeopathy activist talking point, one that makes a number of bogus assumptions, and one that is inherently defamatory of the homeopathic medical profession. It implies that homeopathic treatment is inferior, that it does not constitute safe and effective treatment, and that turning to conventional allopathic drug therapy is always the superior, safe, and effective thing to do.

There is no possible justification for such a statement given that one Johns Hopkins study concluded that medical error is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., a number that represents more than 250,000 deaths per year. And FDA wants to ratchet up regulation of homeopathy due to a few uncorroborated case of seizures from one homeopathic product? Something smells very fishy, indeed.

The Homeopathic Industry Agrees That Safety Standards Are Needed

Now, it is true that unscrupulous parties have been known to market so-called homeopathic products that don’t follow proper manufacturing guidelines as set out by the HPUS or don’t adhere to “current good manufacturing practices” (cGMP). If and when that happens, FDA already has the regulatory authority to effectively handle such infractions. As such, there is no need to make any changes in regulatory policies regarding homeopathic products. Nevertheless, FDA appears ready to jump the shark, giving the clear but erroneous impression that homeopathic products have suddenly become a safety concern.

The homeopathic industry does not disagree with FDA regarding the need for safety standards. However, it objects to the need for revised standards that place homeopathic products at risk for overzealous and punitive regulatory actions. Current FDA policy as stated in Compliance Policy Guide 400.400 is both adequate and effective. Eric L. Foxman, R.Ph., Secretary of the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists, is rightfully concerned, and has this to say about FDA’s proposed actions:

“In its apparent zeal to address problematic products, the FDA has decided to do away with the existing regulatory framework under which the industry and the agency have worked together for over 25 years. This is poorly considered and ill advised. In fact, without some of the aspects of the existing Compliance Policy Guide, many more problematic homeopathic products could conceivably be brought to market. This could lead to the marketing of more adulterated, misbranded or fraudulent products masquerading as homeopathic. That would be an abdication of FDA’s role as a public heath agency, and would be a giant step backwards for homeopathy and, especially, the American consumer.”

Although the homeopathic manufacturing industry has tried to maintain a good faith relationship with FDA, the agency, in my opinion, has not acted in kind. Historically speaking, the two parties once did have a good working relationship, but this has not been the case for decades.

Regarding the Purported Lack of Evidence in Support of Homeopathy

FDA’s announcement and its new draft guidance statement make repeated references to the “unproven” nature of homeopathic medicines. Emboldened by another agency that also has little knowledge of homeopathic medicines, FDA makes reference to FTC’s claim that, “companies must have competent and reliable scientific evidence for health-related claims, including claims that a product can treat specific conditions.”

Here, in direct violation of the spirit of an act of Congress that created the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the modern FDA appears to be setting the stage for the possibility of removing the special status of homeopathic medicines. This would give them the same status as conventional drugs, potentially subjecting them to the same regulatory approval process.

This would likely bankrupt the industry, since homeopathic drugs would not be able to command the same outlandish prices that conventional pharmaceuticals have used to gouge the public and to pay for the exorbitant costs of the drug approval process. It amounts to a form of organized governmental crime that only the most obscenely wealthy companies can afford.

(I would like to make clear that this is not the opinion of the homeopathic manufacturers. They do not interpret FDA’s intent in the same conspiratorial way as do I and some others. They are of the opinion that FDA is looking to do its job to protect the public, and not out to undermine homeopathy. It is also important to note that while FDA’s actions could impact the manufacture and marketing of certain homeopathic products, it has no jurisdiction over those who practice homeopathic medicine.)

This brings us to the critically important issue of what it is that actually constitutes scientific evidence. First and foremost, I must state with unequivocal certainty that any claim that there is a lack of research evidence to support homeopathy is an absolute falsehood. Those who make such claims are either deliberately lying, are repeating bogus talking points that they have read or heard elsewhere, or do so out of pure ignorance. There are literally thousands of research trials, many of which shine favorably upon homeopathy. To examine the evidence and then deny its existence is to be deliberately obtuse.

Dr. Samuel Hahnemann developed his system of treatment by similars 200 years ago by studying the effects of his diluted medicines on healthy test subjects. FDA acknowledges this methodology, which Hahnemann called “proving.” It is an inherently safe process that involves using highly diluted medicines that are incapable of producing toxic effects. Diluted medicines are made, they are proven on test subjects, and the resulting information is used as a guide to treat people with symptoms that match the symptom patterns of the remedy provings. There is good reason to believe that it was Hahnemann himself who conducted the very first placebo-controlled, blinded research trials.

In addition to provings and modern research trials, homeopathy also has a vast body of clinical literature that dates back 200 years. Included in the literature, which was written almost exclusively by experienced physicians, are thousands upon thousands of clinical case studies. Physicians painstakingly documented the patients they encountered, the symptomatic presentation of their complaints, the remedies administered to them, and the short and long term outcomes of treatment. This process continues to this day, with countless case histories having been published in numerous international homeopathic journals both new and old.

What happens when we try to evaluate homeopathic products according to conventional pharmaceutical research standards? What all homeopathic practitioners understand—and FDA does not—is that successful homeopathic treatment is critically dependent upon context. It is not possible to get reliable results by choosing a target symptom or two to treat in isolation from all other symptoms of the patient. This type of symptomatic focus is the very thing that defines allopathic medicine. In contrast to a conventional cough suppressant drug, for example, there is no such thing as a homeopathic remedy that can be used to treat coughs in general. Each cough is unique and must be treated accordingly.

For example, Drosera is a well-known remedy for coughs of a specific type. It is especially suited to violent coughing paroxysms that can result in vomiting and even nosebleeds. The attacks are more likely to flare up after midnight. Pulsatilla, on the other hand, suits coughs that are much less aggressive. The cough gets worse when lying down, forcing the person to sit up to get relief. The person who needs Pulsatilla also complains of feeling worse in a warm room, needs fresh air to feel better, and experiences a noticeable decrease in thirst. Spongia is a remedy suited for hoarse, dry coughs. There is often tickling in the throat, which can be quieted by drinking warm drinks.

This is just a small sample of potential homeopathic cough remedies and their unique characteristics. While these types of details have little to no bearing on conventional drug therapy choices, they are crucial factors that determine successful homeopathic prescriptions.

Now imagine what would happen if FDA required a study to “prove” the value of Drosera in treating coughs. Of 100 test subjects, how many do you think would fit the criteria to justify a prescription of this particular homeopathic medicine? Very few, indeed. How long would it take to find 100 test subjects that do have symptom patterns that match Drosera? I suspect it would take years even under the best of circumstances.

Furthermore, although Pulsatilla is well-indicated for certain types of coughs, it can also be used it to successfully treat a wide spectrum of health problems, including hot flashesear infectionsgallbladder attackseczemadepression, and many more. Unlike most pharmaceutical drugs, homeopathic medicines do not have single indications. They have many uses. This basic truth adds even further confusion to FDA’s already poor understanding of homeopathic products.

So when FDA demands proof of homeopathic effectiveness according to conventional medical standards, the deck is already stacked against any prospect of success. Conventional drug trials are very poorly suited to understanding the benefits of homeopathic medicines. Each homeopathic medicine has many potential therapeutic indications, and there are many potential homeopathic remedies that can help the various individuals diagnosed with the same illness.

The irony here is that FDA requires a homeopathic label to include a specific indication for its use, and then asks for proof that it can help that condition. FDA is under the false impression that it can treat homeopathic products as if they are no different from allopathic drugs. Furthermore, FDA’s latest draft guidance states the following:

Generally, a drug, including a homeopathic drug, is considered a “new drug” if it is not generally recognized as safe and effective (GRAS/E) by qualified experts for use under the conditions prescribed.

Although this guidance clearly implies that FDA should consult qualified experts when making judgments regarding homeopathic medicines and their uses, there are no such experts on FDA’s staff. Neither does FDA have any ongoing official working relationships with outside experts in spite of requests from the homeopathic community that FDA fulfill this obligation. FDA lives in an allopathic bubble with no conception of the true nature of homeopathic products, how they work, or how they should be regarded. It is clear that FDA just doesn’t get it; it has little understanding of how homeopathy works or how it should be evaluated.

There are only two plausible explanations for FDA’s misguided attitude toward homeopathy. One is that it is acting with malicious intent to undermine the homeopathic industry, and to subvert an act of Congress, in which case it would not be far-fetched to assume that they are being encouraged to do so by Big Pharma, which is the one party that stands the most to gain from this fiasco. Given FDA’s multiple references to the recent growth of the homeopathic market, this is not an unreasonable conclusion.

The other explanation is that FDA is acting out of willful ignorance. They act like they are listening but their minds are closed. Notwithstanding the possibility of good intentions to guard the public safety, FDA’s actions reveal that it has a very poor grasp of homeopathy, and it does not seem interested in learning from true homeopathic experts.

So what is the best way to study the effects of homeopathic medicines? In terms of conventional research methodology, the protocol most suited to studying homeopathy is one that treats each individual according to his or her unique symptom pattern. It would involve treating a particular disease category, such as ear infections for example, with as many different remedies as are needed to treat the various individuals involved in the study. Each case of ear infection would receive the single remedy that best matches its symptomatic expression. It might require 10, 15, 20 or more different remedies in order to properly treat all of of kids in the study. Of course, this does not satisfy FDA’s conception of a properly conducted research trial. Nevertheless, it is the only way to give homeopathy a fair shake.

As far as homeopaths are concerned, the types of evidence best suited to homeopathy are provings and case studies as previously described. Ironically, and perhaps conveniently for disbelievers, this is the type of evidence that modern medicine now derisively calls “anecdotal.” Medical science has devolved to a point where it trusts the statistical trickery of research trials that evaluate only a few limited parameters (such as the ability to suppress a cough) more than it trusts the first-hand experiences of patients and their doctors (case studies).

Modern standards of medical evidence are badly out of kilter. The first step in rectifying the imbalance will be for medicine to acknowledge the truth of the safety and effectiveness of homeopathy and the many lessons that it has to teach about health and healing.

We Must Continue to Stand for Freedom of Medical Choice

Here’s what you can do…

1. One way to help right now is to submit positive comments (not criticisms of FDA) to FDA in support of homeopathy. Tell FDA that its current regulatory guidelines (Compliance Policy Guide 400.400) for homeopathic products are more than adequate and that any further changes place your right to choose in jeopardy. The period for public comment before FDA makes its final decisions about this critically important policy closes on March 20, 2018. (Comment here)

2. The Homeopathic Pharmacists of the United States also urge those who live in certain states (CO, NM, PA, TN, WA, UT) to urge their legislators to tell FDA not to scrap the current guidelines regarding the regulation of homeopathic products. All you have to do is sign your name to the letter. Even better if you add your own personal story of homeopathic success. (Take Action Here)

About the author:

Larry Malerba, DO, DHt is a classical homeopath, osteopathic physician, and educator whose mission is to build bridges between holistic healing, conventional medicine, and spirituality. He is the author of Green Medicine and Metaphysics & Medicine. His new book, Dynamic Medicine: The World According to Homeopathy, offers an insightful introduction to the best kept secret in the holistic health world. Dr. Malerba is board certified in Homeotherapeutics and past president of the Homeopathic Medical Society of the State of New York.
www.DrMHomeopathy.com
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Boosting Your Mood and Improving Your Health With Vitamin D

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Vitamin D is essential for proper immune functioning and alleviation of inflammation.

  • Reflect On:

    Are you or someone you love suffering from depression or an autoimmune disorder? When is the last time you checked your Vitamin D levels?

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Are you or someone you love suffering from depression or an autoimmune disorder? It appears vitamin D deficiency may be to blame.

Vitamin D is essential for proper immune functioning and alleviation of inflammation. The beneficial effects of vitamin D on protective immunity are due in part to its impact on the innate immune system and has numerous effects on cells within the immune system. Vitamin D is also involved in maintaining the proper balance of several minerals in the body. And, it helps to ward off the flu and many viruses and treat them. The latest research links vitamin D deficiency to many disease states. These disease states include cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, depression, arthritis, and just about every other degenerative disease.

 “Vitamin D reduces depression. In a randomized, double-blind study, People with depression who received vitamin D supplements noticed a marked improvement in their symptoms.” – Journal of Internal Medicine

According to the Nutrition Research Journal, as many as 80% of people are deficient in vitamin D. Inadequate exposure to sunshine, poor eating habits, malabsorption, the VDR genetic mutation, and accelerated catabolism due to certain medications, dark skin pigment color, and too much sunscreen can be to blame. 

A doctor can check vitamin D levels with a simple blood test. Many mainstream doctors will suggest that you are within normal limits if your levels are 20-30ng/mL. However, for optimal health, the Endocrine Society and many functional medicine M.D.s and naturopaths will recommend levels of between 40-70 ng/mL for both children and adults. These doctors will also recommend a more aggressive replenishment program. For example, at age five, my son’s level was 24. The pediatrician recommended 500iu daily of supplementation, while our naturopath recommended 5,000iu daily for six months before retesting. Six months later, his levels were almost normal. 

“Through several mechanisms, vitamin D can reduce risk of infections. Those mechanisms include inducing cathelicidins and defensins that can lower viral replication rates and reducing concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines that produce the inflammation that injures the lining of the lungs, leading to pneumonia, as well as increasing concentrations of anti-inflammatory cytokines” – PubMed

How to Increase Your Vitamin D Levels

Get enough sun. Vitamin D3, “the sunshine vitamin,” is the only vitamin your body that is made, with the help of the sun. So be sure to get enough sun exposure to help the body make this essential nutrient. Hold off trying to protect ourselves from the rays of the sun at every turn by slathering sunscreen. Allow yourself to play outside, garden, and enjoy the rays in moderation.

If you must use some sunscreen, avoid chemical sunscreens made with toxic chemicals that cause thyroid dysfunction, endocrine disruption, allergies, organ toxicity, reproductive toxicity, skin cancer, development, brain, and metabolism problems. Shop for natural mineral-zinc-based certified products instead. When exposed to scorching climates or in the sun for extended periods, we use sunscreens by Babyganics, Badger, Babo Botanicals, and Goddess Garden products.

Eat a well-balanced diet, with foods higher in vitamin D. Although it is believed that we only get twenty percent from the foods we eat. Some foods higher in D include cod liver oil, fish, oysters, eggs, and mushrooms. 

Get checked for the VDR mutation. A blood test will determine if you have mutations in the vitamin D receptor. The consequence can be lower vitamin D levels and the inability to absorb vitamin calcium and many other minerals properly. According to a 2020 scientific report, supplementation of vitamin D can help improve VDR gene expression, so more supplementation may be necessary if you have this mutation.

“Something so simple. Vitamin D supplementation could improve the health status of millions and so becomes an elegant solution to many of our health problems today.” – Carol L. Wagner, MD – Medical University of South Carolina

Supplementation 101. Supplementation is often critical if you cannot properly metabolize or absorb enough vitamin D or not get enough sunshine. In areas with long winters and specific populations of people with darker skin color, supplementation may be even more critical. There are many supplements on the market. However, many tablet forms are not as bioavailable and harder to absorb. Therefore, it has been recommended that liquid forms are better. In addition, liquid D is often suspended in olive oil, which helps the vitamins to absorb more easily since it is fat soluble. One of my favorite brands is by Seeking Health. It does not contain any impurities or allergy-inducing ingredients. 

Final Thoughts

Boosting the immune system naturally works on your body’s innate wisdom. It supports the body to operate like a well-oiled machine, protects it from unwanted pathogens and disease, and helps ensure a healthy body and mind.

To receive more info on how you and your family can overcome ADHD, apraxia, anxiety, and more without medication SIGN UP HERE or purchase my book Healing without Hurting.

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Awareness

Most Diabetic, Heart Disease & Alzheimer’s Deaths Categorized As “Covid” Deaths (UK)

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    According to professor of evidence based medicine at Oxford Dr. Carl Heneghan , who is also an emergency GP, most diabetic, heart disease & alzheimer's deaths were categorized as COVID deaths in the United Kingdom.

  • Reflect On:

    How many deaths have actually been a result of COVID? Why is this pandemic surrounded with so much controversy? Why does mainstream media fail at having appropriate conversations about 'controversial' evidence/opinions?

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 Dr. Carl Heneghan has an interesting view on the pandemic, not only is he a professor of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University, he also works Saturday shifts as an emergency GP. This allows him to see healthcare from both the academic perspective as well as the healthcare experience, more specifically, it allows him to see COVID from both perspectives.

What Happened: In a recent article he wrote for The Spectator, he writes the following,

It’s hard to imagine, let alone measures, the side effects of lockdowns. The risk with the government’s ‘fear’ messaging is that people become so worried about burdening the NHS that they avoid seeking medical help. Or by the time they do so, it can be too late. The big rise in at-home deaths (still ongoing) points to that. You will be familiar with the Covid death toll, updated in the papers every day. But did you know that since the pandemic, we’ve had 28,200 more deaths among diabetics that we’d normally expect? That’s not the kind of figure they show on a graph at No. 10 press conference. For people with heart disease, it’s 17,100. For dementia and Alzheimer’s, it’s 22,800. Most were categorised as Covid deaths: people can die with multiple conditions, so they can fall into more than one of these categories. It’s a complicated picture. But that’s the problem in assessing lockdown. you need to do a balance of risks.

Evidence-based medicine might sound like a tautology — what kind of medicine isn’t based on evidence? I’m afraid that you’d be surprised. Massive decisions are often taken on misleading, low-quality evidence. We see this all the time. In the last pandemic, the swine flu outbreak of 2009, I did some work asking why the government spent £500 million on Tamiflu: then hailed as a wonder drug. In fact, it proved to have a very limited effect. The debate then had many of the same cast of characters as today: Jonathan Van-Tam, Neil Ferguson and others. The big difference this time is the influence of social media, whose viciousness is something to behold. It’s easy to see why academics would self-censor and stay away from the debate, especially if it means challenging a consensus.

This is something that’s been a concern since the beginning of the pandemic. For example, a report published during the first wave in the British Medical Journal  titled Covid-19: “Staggering number” of extra deaths in community is not explained by covid-19″ 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 months of April and May.

According to the data, COVID-19, at the time of publication, only accounted for 10,000 of the 30,000 excess deaths that have been recorded in senior care facilities during the height of the pandemic. The article quotes British Health officials stating that these unexplained deaths may have occurred because quarantine measures have prevented seniors from accessing the health care that they need.

Fast forward to more recent research regarding lockdowns, and these concerns have grown. Professor Anna-Mia Ekström and Professor Stefan Swartling Peterson have gone through the data from UNICEF and UNAIDS, and came to the conclusion that at least as many people have died as a result of the restrictions to fight COVID as have died of COVID. You can read more about that here.

These are just a few of many examples. You can read more about the hypothesized “catastrophic” impacts of lockdown, here.

When it comes to what he mentions about academics shying away from debate, especially if their research goes against the grain, we’ve a seen a lot of that too. Here’s a great example you can read about from Sweden regarding zero deaths of school children during the first wave despite no masks mandates or lockdown measures. Jonas F Ludvigsson, a paediatrician at Örebro University Hospital and professor of clinical epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute is quitting his work on COVID-19 because of harassment from people who dislike what he has discovered.

Why This Is Important: Heneghan’s words are something that many people have been concerned about when it comes to the deaths that are attributed to COVID-19. How many of them are actually a result of COVID? The truth seems to be that we don’t really know. But one thing we do know is that total death toll caused by COVID doesn’t seem to be quite accurate.

That being said, we do know that people with comorbidities are more susceptible to illness and death from COVID, and that’s something to keep in mind. For people with underlying health conditions, covid, just like flu or pneumonia, can be fatal.

Ontario (Canada) Public Health has a page on their website titled “How Ontario is responding to COVID-19.” On it, they clearly state that deaths are being marked as COVID deaths and are being included in the COVID death count regardless of whether or not COVID actually contributed to or caused the death. They state the following:

Any case marked as “Fatal” is included in the deaths data. Deaths are included whether or not COVID-19 was determined to be a contributing or underlying cause of death…”

This statement from Ontario Public Health echoes statements made multiple times by Canadian public health agencies and personnel. According to Ontario Ministry Health Senior Communications Advisor Anna Miller:

As a result of how data is recorded by health units into public health information databases, the ministry is not able to accurately separate how many people died directly because of COVID versus those who died with a COVID infection.

In late June 2020, Toronto (Ontario, Canada) Public Health tweeted that:

“Individuals who have died with COVID-19, but not as a result of COVID-19 are included in the case counts for COVID-19 deaths in Toronto.”

It’s not just in Canada where we’ve seen these types of statements being made, it’s all over the world. There are multiple examples from the United States that we’ve covered since the start of the pandemic.

For example, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health stated the following during the first wave of the pandemic:

If you were in hospice and had already been given a few weeks to live and then you were also found to have COVID, that would be counted as a COVID death, despite if you died of a clear alternative cause it’s still listed as a COVID death. So, everyone who is listed as a COVID death that doesn’t mean that was the cause of the death, but they had COVID at the time of death.

Also during the first wave, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment had to announce a change to how it tallies coronavirus deaths due to complaints that it inflated the numbers.

As you can see, we’ve struggled to find an accurate way to go about tallying COVID deaths since the start, creating more fear and hysteria around total numbers that are plastered constantly in front of citizens by news stations. That being said, a lot of people who are dying of COVID do have co-morbidities as well. But as the professor says, “it’s a complicated picture” and hard to figure out, and probably something we will never figure out.

There’s been a lot of “fear mongering” by governments and mainstream media, and some believe that lockdowns and masks are simply being used as a psychological tool to keep that fear constant, which in turn makes it easier to control people and make them comply.

Meanwhile, there are a lot of experts in the field who are pointing to the fact that yes, COVID is dangerous, but it does not at all warrant the measures that are being taken, especially when the virus has a 99.95 percent survival rate for people over the age of 70. There are better ways to protect the vulnerable without creating even more chaos that lockdown measures have created, and are creating throughout this pandemic.

That said, it’s also important to note that some calls for lockdown measures are focused on stopping hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. Why do some places with very restrictions see no hospital capacity issues? Why do some places with a lot of restrictions see hospital capacity issues? Why do we also see the opposite for both in some areas? These questions appear to be unanswered still. That being said. Hospitals have always been overwhelmed. This is not a new phenomenon.

The main issue here is not who is right or wrong, it’s the censorship of data, science, and opinions of experts in the field. The censorship that has occurred during this pandemic has been unprecedented.

Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. COVID-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health. Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science. –  Dr. Kamran Abbasi, recent executive editor of the prestigious British Medical Journal (source)

This censorship alone has been an excellent catalyst for people to question what we are constantly hearing from mainstream media, government, and political scientists. Any type of information that calls into question the recommendations or the information we are receiving from our government seems to be subjected to this type of censorship. Mainstream media has done a great job at not acknowledging many aspects of this pandemic, like clinically proven treatments other than a vaccine, and therefore the masses are completely unaware of it.

Is this what we would call ethical? When trying to explain this to a friend or family member, the fact that they are not aware of these other pieces of information, because they may be avid mainstream news watchers, has them in disbelief and perhaps even sometimes labelling such assertions as a “conspiracy theory.” This Brings me to my next point.

The Takeaway: As I’ve said in a number of articles before, society is failing to have conversations about “controversial” topics and viewpoints. This is in large part due to the fact that mainstream media does such a poor job at covering these viewpoints let alone acknowledging them. The fact that big media has such a stranglehold over the minds of many is also very concerning, because we are living in a time where independent research may be more useful. There seems to be massive conflicts of interest within mainstream media, and the fact that healthy conversation and debate is being shut down by mainstream media contributes to the fact that we can’t even have normal conversations about controversial topics in our everyday lives.

Why does this happen? Why can’t we see the perspective of another? To be honest, I still sometimes struggle with this. When it comes to COVID, things clearly aren’t as black and white as they’re being made out to be, and as I’ve said many times before when things aren’t clear, and when government mandates oppose the will of so many people, it reaches a point where they become authoritarian and overreaching.

In such circumstances I believe governments should simply be making recommendations and explaining why certain actions might be important, and then leave it to the people to decide for themselves what measures they’d like to take, if any. What do you think? One thing is for certain, COVID has been a catalyst for more and more people to question the world we live in, and why we live the way that we do.

To help make sense of what’s happening in our society today, we have released a course on overcoming bias and improving critical thinking. It’s an 8 module course and you can learn more about it here.

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Awareness

Lebanese Hospital Becomes The World’s First To Go 100 Percent Vegan (Food)

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CE Staff Writer 7 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A hospital in Lebanon has become the first in the world to adopt a completely vegan menu.

  • Reflect On:

    Are people aware of the physical and emotional torture the majority animals we eat go through? Are people aware that a diet free of animal products can be very beneficial for human health. Are people aware that animal agriculture is destroying Earth?

Before you begin...

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At the beginning of March, Hayek Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon became the first hospital in the world to serve 100 percent vegan only meals. Prior to this change, patients had a choice between animal based meals and vegan meals, and included with that was information about the health benefits of choosing plant-based foods versus the dangers of consuming animal products. The hospital made the announcement via their Instagram page, stating that “Our patients will no longer wake up from surgery to be greeted with ham, cheese, milk, and eggs…the very food(s) that may have contributed to their health problems in the first place.”

When the World Health Organization classifies processed meat as a group 1A carcinogenic (causes cancer) same group as tobacco and red meat as group 2A carcinogenic, then serving meat in the hospital is like serving cigarettes in a hospital. When the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) declare that 3 out of 4 new or emerging infectious disease comes from animals. When adopting a plant based exclusive diet has been successfully proven not only to stop the evolution of certain diseases but it can also reverse them. We then, have the moral responsibility to act upon and align our beliefs with our actions. Taking the courage to look at the elephant in in the eye.

Their various statements also point to the role that animal agriculture plays in spawning infectious diseases, citing the Centers for Disease Control’s estimate that 3 out of 4 new or emerging infectious diseases come from animals. “We believe it’s well about time to tackle the root cause of diseases and pandemics, not just treat symptoms,” they note.

This was a great statement. The modern day medical industry only seems to be focused on medications, and only medications that can turn a hefty profit, to treat and cure disease instead of addressing root causes. It’s good to see things changing, but a big problem remains. If a plant that grows in abundance, for example, has the potential to cure a disease, will we ever hear about it? Will the medical industry be interested in it? Probably not, but when a drug is made and patented from that plant in a specific way, that’s when we will. This is not to say that modern day medicine is useless, but today now more than ever a big problem exists, and this problem may be killing more people than it’s helping.

Arnold Seymour Relman (1923-2014), a Harvard professor of medicine and also a former Editor-in-Chief of NEMJ, was frustrated that “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)

According to Forks Over Knives,

While Hayek is the first hospital to completely purge animal products from its menu, a number of hospitals have begun offering more plant-based options in recent years. Both New York and California have enacted laws requiring hospitals to offer a plant-based option with every meal. In 2018 NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue launched the Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program to help patients transition to a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle.

The American Medical Association passed a resolution in 2017 calling on U.S. hospitals to provide healthful plant-based meals to promote better health in patients, staff, and visitors. The American College of Cardiology has issued similar recommendations.

In my opinion, “veganism is a very fine form of nutrition” (Dr. Ellsworth Wareham, heart surgeon), and as mentioned above, there is plenty of science to back up that statement.  I’ve written about it many times before from a health perspective.

Here’s an article that goes into more detail and science if you’re interested, it also addresses history, and how our teeth and guts are designed and more. Here’s another one regarding a study that found a strong association between eating animal protein and a premature death from all causes, including multiple cancers and type 2 diabetes.

The studies cited in that article note that meat eating is strongly associated with up to a 75 percent increased chance of early mortality, and that protein from animals may cause harm, while protein from plants may help reverse disease and have a protective effect.

There are hundreds of these studies, and the ones I cite are just a few examples.

This is obviously a very controversial topic in the eyes of many, and it’s not hard at all to find conflicting information on the subject. I am no doubt bias in my beliefs and opinions here.

One thing is for certain, the way we treat animals on this planet is extremely heartbreaking and unnecessary. Animals are separated from their families, raised for slaughter and are kept in torturous conditions on a daily basis. It’s truly unbelievable and horrific. It’s the biggest genocide and example of both physical and emotional torture the world has ever seen. I don’t think anybody can witness what really goes on in most slaughterhouses can come out not being impacted.

On top of this, animal agriculture is one of, if not the greatest contributer to environmental degradation and pollution on our planet. Animal agriculture is actually the leading cause of deforestation. Every single day, close to 100 plant/animal/insect species are lost because of this practice.

Final Thoughts: At the end of the day it seems that, from a health perspective, processed meats, and other meats are no doubt harmful to human health. People can make the argument that other animal products may not be and that we are meant to consume them. People can also make the complete opposite argument. One thing that can’t be argued is, again, the torture, physical and emotional abuse that comprise the source of where animal products come from for the majority of people who eat them.

There is a big split, as with many other topics, amongst people on this issue. There are even vegan influencers who are creating splits within the ‘vegan community’ itself, which is unfortunate. I personally believe that, from a health perspective, animal products are not at all required for anybody and are again, overall, harmful to human health.

The more pressing issue, again, is the treatment of our animal brothers and sisters, and how we are constantly using and abusing them. It’s indicative of world that lacks empathy, compassion, understanding and love, as well as our inability to see ourselves in another. This can be seen in many aspects of the current human experience, be it war, human trafficking and more. That being said, it’s great to see human consciousness shifting towards a more compassionate, empathetic type of awareness. This is evident by the “vegan” movement alone, as it’s become quite large over the past few years and will continue to grow. Some of the biggest animal food producers have already gone out of business, and it’s great to see more people in the health community as well recognize that it’s a win for health, a win for environment, and most importantly, a win for the very emotional, intelligent, animals, who are similar to us in so many ways. We have so much to learn from them.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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