Concerns about electromagnetic fields (EMF) are branded pseudoscientific conspiracy theories and relegated to the realm of tin-hat wearing quackery. However, a recent publication in the peer-reviewed journal Immunologic Research entitled “Electrosmog and Autoimmune Disease,” sheds new light on the validity of concerns about this so-called electrosmog with which we are constantly inundated.
Although we encounter natural microwave electromagnetic radiation in the form of cosmic radiation from outer space, the aurora borealis, and thunderstorms, the vast majority of electrosmog that we encounter is largely manmade (1). These atmospheric phenomena, however, emit electromagnetic radiation at lower radio frequencies and are negligibly weak in comparison to manmade sources, which have increased exponentially due to the emergence of television, cellular phone technologies, and WiFI, all of which utilize microwave frequency bands (1).
According to researchers Marshall and Heil (2017), for instance, “The recent release of WiGig and anti-collision vehicle radars in the 60 GHz region embody a 1000-fold increase in frequency, and photon energy, over the exposures mankind experienced up until the 1950s” (1).
How Electrosmog Interfaces with the Bioelectromagnetic Body
It is intuitive that electrosmog would interact with human biology, since human physiology operates in part via electromagnetic fields. Apart from physical information superhighways such as the blood, nervous, and lymphatic systems, the body uses electromagnetic forms of energy transmission and communication which are several orders of magnitude faster than chemical diffusion (2).
Called biophotonic emission (BPE), these quanta of electromagnetic energy have a visibility one thousand times lower than the sensitivity of our naked eye and are quintessential to cellular metabolism and to the powering of our energy-intensive nervous and immune systems (3). Harbored within our genetic material, biophotonsserve as a mode of instantaneous communication from one body part to another and to the extraneous world (4) and their emission is influenced by our global state of health (5). Research even suggests that mental intention and the fabric of our consciousnessis mediated by these quantum of light, which operate as highly coherent frequencies and generate an ordered flux of photons (4).
Thus, both the stuff of consciousness and the functioning of our cellular energetics is premised upon electromagnetism, which may be susceptible to distortion by electrosmog. Curtis and Hurtak describe the electromagnetic body as both “an entire body distinct from the chemical body that interpenetrates it” and “a light circulatory system operating on an energetic level in a markedly different manner from that of its molecular counterparts” (2). That there is “an incredible amount of activity at levels of magnification or scale that span more than two-thirds of the 73 known octaves of the electromagnetic spectrum” (6) in the human body is emblematic of our vulnerability to electromagnetic disturbances.
Potential Immune Disturbances due to Electrosmog Exposure
Although current public health laws are predicated on effects of short-term exposure, research suggests that dosage and repetitive exposures likely influence health risk of electrosmog (7). Two thirds of studies examined report ecological effects of electromagnetic radiation, and researchers state that, “current evidence indicates that chronic exposure to electromagnetic radiation, at levels that are found in the environment, may particularly affect the immune, nervous, cardiovascular and reproductive systems” (7).
Although the conventional mantra is that no harm is incurred from low-energy radio waves, low-level exposures to ionizing radiation are known to manifest profound effects upon human physiology (1). Ionizing radiation exposure, which occurs secondary to nuclear energy accidents, for example, produces immunosuppression, so much so that some scientists have even suggested radon exposure as a therapeutic treatment for rheumatoid arthritis due to its inhibition of inflammatory immune messengers such as the adipokine visfatin (8).
There is, however, often a substantial lag time between exposure and the materialization of symptomatology (1). The detriment to immune defense “often does not become apparent until the body catastrophically fails to overcome an acute challenge” (1). In addition, new science is overturning the previous assumption that immunosuppressive effects are exclusive to ionizing radiation exposure.
A research group headed by Lushinov, for example, found that repeated exposures to low-level non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation impaired the immune response in mice, negatively influencing immunogenesis, or the ability of the immune response to respond to an immune-provocating antigenic substance (9). The exposure to low-intensity electromagnetic radiation negatively influenced thymic and splenic cellularity, causing a statistically significant decrease in the immune cells generated by these lymphoid organs (9). The immunocompetence of the Aegean wall lizard was also significantly reduced upon daily exposure to radiofrequency resembling the amount of electrosmog emitted from cordless phones (10).
Moreover, Gapeev and colleagues (2006) elucidated that exposure to low-intensity non-ionizing electromagnetic waves exerted equivalent immunosuppressive effects to a single dose of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) diclofenac (11). In another experiment, exposure to low-intensity electromagnetic radiation reduce the footpad edema and local hyperthermia, also known as swelling and heat, that accompanied injection of zymosan, an agent that induces acute inflammation (12). This constitutes evidence that electrosmog exposure may impair the normal immune response to potential threats.
Human Proteins are Responsive to Electromagnetic Waves
Biomolecules, which are constantly undergoing molecular collisions and interacting on the scale of picoseconds, are subject to forces exerted by incident electromagnetic fields (1). According to researchers Marshall and Heil, “It seems likely that signals a million times lower than those currently being used in research may be sufficient to elicit a tangible change in human biology” (1).
Induction of Stress Proteins
Electrosmog at both an extremely low-frequency (ELF) or in the radio frequency (RF) range has been found to stimulate a cellular stress response, leading to expression of stress response genes including heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) (13). As a consequence, there is increased production of highly conserved stress proteins, which serve as chaperones by refolding and repairing damaged proteins (13). Heat shock proteins have likewise been observed to up-regulate an immune response, “transferring antigenic peptides to the class I and class II molecules of the major histocompatibility complexes” as well as increasing activity of a class of immune cells which perpetuate an immune reaction, such as macrophages and dendritic cells (14).
Aberrant Anti-Microbial Response
In addition, the function of another human protein, lysozyme, has been shown to be disrupted by electromagnetic radiation (15). Also called muramidase, lysozyme is an antimicrobial enzyme liberated from cytoplasmic granules of immune cells such as granulocytes and macrophages (16). Contained in human secretions such as mucus, tears, saliva, and breast milk, this bacteriolytic element degrades glycosidic bonds in peptidoglycan, a molecule prominent in the cell walls of gram-positive bacteria (17).
Lysozyme is a major contributor to bactericidal activity, facilitating elimination of inhaled airborne microorganisms to prevent their colonization in the respiratory passages, which would interfere with sterile gas exchange (17). Studies have indicated that depletion of lysozyme reduces bacteria-killing ability of human airway sections by approximately fifty percent (18). Animal studies also highlight how lysozyme is especially important in host pulmonary defense, since, “Increased concentration of lysozyme in the airspaces of transgenic mice enhanced bacterial killing whereas lysozyme deficiency resulted in increased bacterial burden and morbidity” (17).
Turton and colleagues (2014) published a study in Nature Communications showing that non-ionizing terahertz electromagnetic radiation altered the binding of lysolyme to its ligand, triacetylchitotriose, which in turn would affect the biological function of lysozyme (15). Although this represents a much higher frequency than normal background electrosmog, the implications are that human immune defenses against pathogen invasion and virulence may be adversely affected due to repeated and cumulative exposures to electrosmog (15).
Derangements in Vitamin D Pathways
Research shows that Vitamin D Receptor (VDR) pathways are susceptible to interference by electrosmog (1). Functionality of the vitamin D receptor, a transcription factor that translocates to the nucleus and influences gene expression when bound to vitamin D, is fundamental for immunomodulation. The cascade of effects that occur upon vitamin D binding to its receptor reinforce gut barrier integrity, establish oral tolerance, and suppress autoimmune responses by enabling the immune system to differentiate self from non-self.
According to researchers, the shape of the VDR molecule transforms with electrosmog exposure within the frequency range of WiFi routers: “Groups of hundreds of atoms which form the helical “backbone” of the VDR…shift together at the lower frequencies present in electrosmog” (1). Sophisticated molecular dynamics software, which illustrates the lock-and-key interaction between the vitamin D receptor and its native ligand, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin-D (1,25-D), have shown that so-called Lorentz forces act upon charged oxygen atoms in carboxyl groups of the vitamin D receptor (1). These Lorentz forces may either promote or hinder activation of the vitamin D receptor, depending on both the frequency of the “molecular interactions, and that of the impinging electromagnetic waves” (1).
Electrosmog Affects Human Brain Activity and Behavior
As far back as 1987, Bise published a pilot study wherein electrosmog exposure at levels dramatically lower than that observed in urban areas elicited transient changes in human brain waves and behavior (19). He reports, “Constructive and destructive interference patterns from standing waves within the skull possibly interact with the bioelectric generators in the brain, since electroencephalogram wave amplitudes and frequencies increased or decreased respectively at different radio wavelengths” (19).
What’s more, the literature reveals that neuroimaging and electroencephalography studies demonstrate enhanced cortical excitability with EMF exposure, particularly in the front-temporal regions, which is paradoxically correlated with faster reaction times, but may also interfere with sleep (20).
Alarmingly, the patterns observed in human electroencephalograms (EEG) was altered by wave amplitudes as low as -100 dBm (19). Bise was able to induce an immediate frontal headache at a level of -60 dBm (19). Unfortunately, barring use of a Faraday cage, these experiments are impossible to replicate since electrosmog background levels in cities are now 100,000 times stronger at -50 dBm (19).
Silver-Threaded EMF-Blocking Caps Improve Autoimmune Disease
In a recent case series, patients wore shielding clothing and tenting consisting of silver-coated polyester threads interspersed with bamboo fibers that were partially capable of blocking penetration of microwave electrosmog (1). Due to anecdotal testimonies of improvement, researchers decided to distribute standardized garments that would shield the brain and brain stem in order to systematically analyze the results (1).
In this study, 64 patients with assorted autoimmune diagnoses such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), multiple sclerosis (MS), Sjogren’s syndrome, and celiac disease, many of whom were disabled and house-bound, were recruited (1). Subjects wore the silver-threaded cap for four hours at night and for four hours during the day, and patient-reported outcomes were collected (1). Impressively, 90% of patients indicated a “definite” or “strong” change in their symptomatology, which is at variance with the 3% of the population that is estimated to be sensitive to electrosmog (1).
Some researchers have attributed this so-called electro-hypersensitivity (EHS) or idiopathic environmental intolerance (IEI) to the nocebo effect. However, Dieudonné explores the possibility of a psychosomatic mechanism in the journal Bioelectromagnetics, and concludes, “Overall, symptoms appear before subjects start questioning effects of EMF on their health, which is not consistent with the hypothesis that IEI-EMF originates from nocebo responses to perceived EMF” (21).
In this groundbreaking study, it is also telling that the researchers found the therapeutic efficacy of the silver-coated caps to be so theoretically plausible that they decided the idea of using a control group was unethical. These authors concluded that autoimmune patients exhibit a pronounced susceptibility to electrosmog at levels normally encountered in home and occupational environments, and hypothesized that the exposure may be contributing to their disease etiology (1).
Electrosmog and Mitochondrial Dysfunction
Because electric fields result from voltage differences, whereas magnetic fields from the flow of electric current, EMFs may be capable of disrupting the finely orchestrated proton gradient and flow of electrons within the inner mitochondrial membrane upon which the process of oxidative phosphorylation is contingent (13). Oxygen-dependent aerobic respiration, which relies upon oxidative phosphorylation, is the process that drives production of the cellular energy currency adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in our cellular energy factories, the mitochondria.
These organelles are fundamental to every energy-dependent process in the body but especially quintessential for the energy-demanding nervous system. Thus, EMF-mediated changes in mitochondrial function may affect cognition and even perpetuate development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s in which mitochondrial dysfunction has been demonstrated. In fact, EMF-induced disruption of mitochondria may play a role in many diseases in which mitochondrial collapse is implicated, including psychiatric disorders, autoimmune diseases, migraine headaches, ataxia, stroke, diabetes, heart disease, neuropathic pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and liver disease (22, 23).
It has also been proposed that EMFs can interact directly with electrons in DNA, so it is not a stretch that EMFs could interact with the electron transport chain (ETC) in mitochondria (24). This concept is supported by a study where pulsed electromagnetic radiation (EMR) resulted in alterations in the ETC, leading to adverse metabolic changes, cellular hypoxia, and increased generation of oxidative stress inducing free radicals such as the superoxide anion (25).
Electrosmog and Cancer
Although the undoubtedly industry-influenced mainstream consensus is that EMFs do not play a role in the development of childhood cancers, “Kheifets and Shimkhada  stated that epidemiologic studies of ELF-EMFs and childhood leukemia are difficult to design, conduct, and interpret due to the fact that EMFs are imperceptible, ubiquitous, have multiple sources, and can vary greatly over time and short distances” (13). Also, in an animal study, a correlation between ELF-EMF radiation and development of malignant tumors, specifically gliomas and schwannomas of the heart, was discovered (26).
These findings led the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to revise their criteria for EMF exposure in children, and include recommendations such as using hands-free and wired headsets, holding the phone away from the head, limiting television watching, and texting when possible (13). Currently, a 14-country study called MOBI-Kids is being conducted to examine the carcinogenic effects of RF-EMFs from mobile telephones on the central nervous system in children and adolescents (27).
Further upstream, electrosmog has also been shown to induce DNA strand breakages, such that “Any extensive damage or changes to DNA that need repair may increase the risk of developing cancerous cells” (13). Studies also suggest that electrosmog causes genome-wide alterations in methylation (28), or the attachment of one-carbon tags to DNA sequences which modulate gene expression, affecting everything from neurotransmitter production to detoxification.
Mitigating Electrosmog Exposure
Although more data is needed, the science warrants exercising the precautionary principle and taking simple steps to minimize EMF exposure. To remediate electrosmog, renowned doctor Dietrich Klinghardt recommends removing cordless phones from the house, turning off WiFi, switching off fuses at night, considering an EMF-reducing sleep sanctuary or canopy, and grounding.
Moreover, fundamental to neutralizing the toxic effects of electrosmog is spending time in nature and grounding in order to scavenge free radicals and engender antioxidant effects. Direct contact with the surface of the earth precipitates an influx of electrons, which are absorbed and distributed throughout the ground substance of extracellular tissue as well as intracellular biopolymers, neutralizing oxidative stress in the body (29).
Studies have elucidated that grounding decreases the voltage imposed on the body by a factor of seventy upon exposure to alternating current (AC) electric potential (30). This transfer of electrons that occurs as a result of grounding, therefore, can minimize electrosmog-induced derangements in the electrical activities of our bodies, which is meaningful since researchers state that, “There is no question that the body reacts to the presence of environmental electric fields” (30).
1. Marshall, T.G., & Heil, T.J.R. (2017). Electrosmog and autoimmune disease. Immunology Research.
2. Curtis, B.D., & Hurtak, J.J. (2004). Consciousness and quantum information processing: Uncovering the foundation for a medicine of light. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 10(1), 27-39.
3. Schwabl, Herbert, and Herbert Klima. “Spontaneous Ultraweak Photon Emission from Biological Systems and the Endogenous Light Field.” Forschende Komplementärmedizin / Research in Complementary Medicine 12, no. 2 (2005): 84-89. doi:10.1159/000083960.
4. Bonilla, E. (2008). [Evidence about the power of intention] [Article in Spanish]. Investigación Clínica 49, 4, 595-615.
5. Hossu, M., & Rupert, R. (2006). Quantum Events of Biophoton Emission Associated with Complementary and Alternative Medicine Therapies: A Descriptive Pilot Study. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 12(2),119-124. doi:10.1089/acm.2006.12.119.
6. Rosch, P.J. (2014). Bioelectromagnetic and Subtle Energy Medicine. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
7. Balmori, A. (2014). Electrosmog and species conservation. Science of the Total Environment, 496, 314-316.
8. Shreder, K. et al. (2016). Low-dose ionising radiation inhibits adipokine induced inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. Annals of Rheumatological Disease, 75, A64. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2016-209124.151.
9. Lushnikov, K.V. et al. (2001). Effect of extremely high frequency electromagnetic radiation of low intensity on parameters of humoral immunity in healthy mice. Biofizika, 46, 753–760.
10. Mina, D. et al. (2016). Immune responses of a wall lizard to whole-body exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation. International Journal of Radiation Biology, 92,162–168. doi: 10.3109/09553002.2016.1135262.
11. Gapeev, A.B. et al. (2006). Pharmacological analysis of anti-inflammatory effects of low-intensity extremely high-frequency electromagnetic radiation. Biofizika, 51, 1055–1068.
12. Gapeyev, A.B., Mikhailik, E.N., & Chemeris, N.K. (2008). Anti-inflammatory effects of low-intensity extremely high-frequency electromagnetic radiation: frequency and power dependence. Bioelectromagnetics, 29(3), 197-206.
13. Miah, T., & Kamat, D. (2017). Current understanding of the health effects of electromagnetic fields. Pediatric Annals, 46(4), e172-e174. doi: 10.3928/19382359-20170316-01.
14. Li, Z., & Srivastava, P. (2004). Heat-shock proteins. Current Protocols in Immunology, Appendix 1, Appendix 1 T.
15. Turton, D.A. et al. (2014). Terahertz underdamped vibrational motion governs protein-ligand binding in solution. Nature Communications, 5, 3999. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4999
16. Afzal Mir, M. (1977). Lysozyme: a brief review. Postgraduate Medical Journal, 53, 257-259.
17. Nash, J.A. et al. (2006). The peptidoglycan-degrading property of lysozyme is not required for bactericidal activity in vivo. Journal of Immunology, 177(1), 519-526.
18. Dajani, R. et al. (2005). Lysozyme secretion by submucosal glands protects the airway from bacterial infection. American Journal of Respiratory and Cellular Molecular Biology, 32, 548-552.
19. Bise, W. (1978). Low power radio-frequency and microwave effects on human electroencephalogram and behavior. Physiological Chemistry and Physics, 10(5), 387-398.
20. Zhang, J., Sumich, A., & Wang, G.Y., (2017). Acute effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic field emitted by mobile phone on brain function. Bioelectromagnetics, 38(5), 329-338. doi: 10.1002/bem.22052.
21. Dieudonné, M. (2016). Does electromagnetic hypersensitivity originate from nocebo responses? Indications from a qualitative study. Bioelectromagnetics, 37(1), 14-24.
22. Neustadt, J., & Pieczenik, S.R. (2008). Medication-induced mitochondrial damage and disease. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, 52, 780-788.
23. Pieczenik, S.R., & Neustadt, J. (2007). Mitochondrial dysfunction and molecular pathways of disease. Experimental and Molecular Pathology, 83, 84-92.
24. Blank, M.M., & Goodman, R. (2009). Electromagnetic fields stress living cells. Pathophysiology, 16(2–3), 71–78. doi:10.1016/j.pathophys.2009.01.006
25. Burlaka, A., Selyuk, M., Gafurov, M., Lukin, S., Potaskalova, V., & Sidorik, E. (2014). Changes in mitochondrial functioning with electromagnetic radiation of ultra high frequency as revealed by electron paramagnetic resonance methods. International Journal of Radiation Biology, 90(5), 357-362.
26. National Toxicology Program, Public Health Services, National Institutes of Health, & US Department of Health and Human Services. (2004). NTP technical report on the toxicology and carcinogenesis studies of Elmiron (Cas No. 37319–17-8) in F344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice (Gavage Studies). National Toxicology Program Technical Report Series, 512, 7–289.
27. Sadetzki, S.S., Langer, C.E., & Bruchim, R. (2014). The MOBI-Kids study protocol: challenges in assessing childhood and adolescent exposure to electromagnetic fields from wireless telecommunication technologies and possible association with brain tumor risk. Frontiers in Public Health, 2, 124. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2014.00124
28. Liu, Y. et al. (2015). Effect of 50 Hz Extremely Low-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields on the DNA Methylation and DNA Methyltransferases in Mouse Spermatocyte-Derived Cell Line GC-2. BioMed Research International.
29. Oschman, J.L. (2009). Charge transfer in the living matrix. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapy, 13(3), 215-218.
30. Chevalier, G. et al. (2012). Review article: Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons. Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 1-8.
30-Year Study Finds Weekly Use Of Disinfectants Greatly Increases Your Chances Of Lung Disease
- The Facts:
A 30-year study conducted by Harvard researchers and the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research determined that people who use disinfectants just once a week have a 22-32% of developing lung disease.
- Reflect On:
There are many other natural alternatives out there these days. Some are listed in the article, be sure to do your research!
One of the most versatile cleaning supplies in the home, bleach disinfects anything it comes into contact with and can not only clean every surface but remove stains from fabrics, too. Despite its cleaning power, we’ve also long heard of the effects such chemicals can have on our health and wellbeing. The labels on such products make some of these clear, explaining they are corrosive and can irritate eyes, skin, and respiratory tract, often through simple inhalation. Despite these warnings signs, people continue to buy into this corporate propaganda.
As previously stated in an article of ours from 2013:
It is important to note that there is no FDA-type organization that regulates the cleaning products that are brought into your home. Instead groups such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) make warnings of the use of Chlorine Bleach publicly available. Under the assumption that consumers will continue to use Chlorine Bleach within their households, the following safety precautions are widely recommended:
- Dilute the chlorine bleach with water. The lower concentration poses a potentially lesser risk of unwanted exposure.
- Wear a safety mask and rubber gloves when working with bleach as a preventative measure.
- Only use chlorine bleach in a well ventilated area to allow for sufficient air flow and to prevent the unwanted gasses from remaining stationary in the working space.
- Never mix chlorine bleach with any other household cleaners.
It’s unlikely people exercise these precautions when dealing with this chemical, and it’s also interesting to note that even more studies have come forward since then confirming these risks.
A new study has found that people who use disinfectants just once a week have a 22-32% increased chance of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
“COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States. More than 11 million people have been diagnosed with COPD, but millions more may have the disease without even knowing it. COPD causes serious long-term disability and early death. At this time there is no cure, and the number of people dying from COPD is growing,” according to the American Lung Association.
The 30-year study was conducted by Harvard University and the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research. This new study could potentially link COPD to specific cleaning chemicals, as two other studies in European populations showed that “working as a cleaner was associated with a higher risk of COPD,” according to Orianne Dumas, a researcher at Inserm. Dumas goes on to say, “Earlier studies have found a link between asthma and exposure to cleaning products and disinfectants at home, such as bleach and sprays, so it is important to investigate this further.”
In 1989, the Harvard researchers found 55,185 working female nurses in the U.S. who did not have COPD, then analyzed those who were still working in 2009 over the next eight years. Participants were given a questionnaire to determine which disinfectants they used most frequently and why they used them. The disinfectants included glutaraldehyde (a strong disinfectant used for medical instruments), bleach, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, and quaternary ammonium compounds (known as “quats”). In addition to the questionnaire, they took into account factors such as age, weight and ethnicity.
During this period they found that 663 were diagnosed with the condition. “In our study population, 37% of nurses used disinfectants to clean surfaces on a weekly basis and 19% used disinfectants to clean medical instruments on a weekly basis,” says Dumas.
The study aims to highlight the lack of health guidelines when it comes to cleaning and disinfectants, especially in healthcare settings, and researchers hope their results will prompt further investigation and better safety precautions.
We need more people like these researchers, who dedicate their time to ensuring our safety when it comes to items we have incorporated into our lifestyle and assume are safe, doing this kind of work. This information isn’t meant to scare anyone, especially those of us who actively use these materials, but rather to bring more awareness so that we can educate ourselves and make healthier choices. There are countless healthy and safe alternatives when it comes to what we clean with, what we wear, and what we eat. You have to play the role of researcher in your own life if you expect to make positive change, and by having an open mind, you allow yourself to accept opportunities that can further your growth, mentally, physically, and spiritually.
Alcohol Is Killing More People Than The Opioid Epidemic. So Why Aren’t We Talking About It?
- The Facts:
Alcohol related deaths are the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the US.
- Reflect On:
Should we be glamorizing the consumption of alcohol in the media and in advertisements? Is it time to get real about the potentially life threatening risks of this drug?
In recent years, we have been hearing a lot about the opioid epidemic that is sweeping the nation. The Center for Disease Control reported that over 47,000 people died in the United States alone from an opiate overdose in 2017, that is almost 5 times the amount of deaths caused by opiates in 1999. This is important, and yes it is good this is getting the attention that it deserves. However, in the same year, an estimated 88,000 people died from alcohol related causes — Did anyone hear about that?
Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States, the first is tobacco and the second is poor diet and minimal physical activity. Given this, why aren’t we talking about it? And why don’t we see warning labels on alcoholic beverages? Why are we promoting such a harmful substance? We certainly don’t see huge billboards with people in bikinis popping oxycontin or injecting heroin, because we are well aware that these substances are addictive and can cause harm, so again, why are we openly promoting alcohol? Especially to young people?
Is It Because It’s Legal?
Is it possible that alcohol related deaths do not garner as much of a cause for concern because it is legal, easily available and socially acceptable? Most likely. Alcohol sales reached $253.8 billion in the US in 2018 — this might also have something to do with it.
I’m not suggesting that criminalizing alcohol is a solution to this issue or anything, the same way I don’t see how it’s still against the law to use any drugs at all, regardless of how bad they are for you. I believe that we should have the say in how we treat ourselves and what we put into our bodies, not the government or a legal system. But instead of being portrayed as a harmful substance, like opiates, crystel meth, and crack are — alcohol is glamorized by the media; often being portrayed as sophisticated, fun, sexy and generally just the cool thing to do.
Alcohol Is Basically Encouraged In Our Society
There is no doubt about it, the use of alcohol is deeply ingrained in our culture. So much so, that choosing not to drink is often the more odd thing to do. People will always ask, oh, how come you’re not drinking? As opposed to other drugs, people won’t typically ask, oh why aren’t you smoking meth tonight? Or whatever it may be.
Binge drinking is practically expected on the weekends, and for many people it is a way to unwind, let loose and have fun after a long workweek. Many people justify their consumption this way insisting that it’s fine, because, I don’t drink every day. The thing about alcohol abuse is that it doesn’t have to be every day to be considered a problem or for the person to be considered an alcoholic.
There are many ways we tend to justify our use, because the thought of giving it up entirely or admitting that we even have a problem can be extremely overwhelming — especially if our entire livelihoods are centered on it.
How Much Is Too Much?
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) created a web site called “Rethinking Drinking” to highlight the amount of misconceptions about what is considered “low-risk” and “high-risk” alcohol consumption. It turns out, more than three drinks in a day or more than seven drinks per week for women and four drinks per day or 14 drinks per week for men are considered “high-risk,” and these patterns can be detrimental both in the short and long-term.
Some people might have an attitude of, I don’t drink at all during the week, so I have all of my allotted alcoholic beverages on the weekend — however, for men consuming 5 or more drinks and for women consuming 4 or more drinks in about a 2 hour period is considered binge drinking.
Is It Time To ‘Rethink That Drink’?
Should we have more campaigns aimed to raise awareness about the potential harm caused by alcohol? Because it is legal it seems to have this view of also being safe, because our government officials and lawmakers always have our best interest at heart, right? 😉 But if we aren’t educating young people effectively on the potential risks associated with alcohol consumption, then perhaps there should be more of an effort to make the risks known on the packaging and even eliminating ads. In my opinion, it simply does not make sense to be legally allowed to advertise something that is so harmful — especially in such a glamorized way.
I don’t know what it’s like now for teens and if it is still considered “cool” to drink and if there is a ton of peer pressure around the whole thing. My hope is that this view will shift, young people will be made more aware of the risks and more people will find the courage to step away from what is no longer serving them or what’s not in their best interest.
Many health advocates and people that are very cautious with regards to what they are putting into their body are still completely overlooking alcohol as a harmful substance. Now, there is no judgment to anyone who chooses to drink, but I think it’s time to take a good hard look at these things and at least have the awareness behind it. Surely, it can be fun from time to time to relax, to loosen up, to be silly, but when we are relying on it to escape our unhappiness from our current situation, well then maybe it’s time to face these situations head on, rather than escape them and change whatever is encouraging us to reach for that glass of wine, whiskey or beer in the first place.
How Can We Support Others?
The fact of the matter remains, many people who drink can do so sparingly, not in excess and not very often. They have a handle on it and it doesn’t interfere with their lives in a negative way. However, for the ones who have struggled — with drinking too much, too frequently, with black outs, it can be difficult to even know if it’s a problem because of how acceptable it is in our society.
If someone says, no thanks I’m not drinking, don’t ask why, and instead try, right on! And no peer pressure. I’ve had problems with drinking, have quit and relapsed twice, currently I’m sober. Before I stopped drinking this time around I would open up to some people about it, questioning my use and whether or not it was harmful, many people would tell me, ahh don’t be so hard on yourself! We are allowed to enjoy life, or shut down from time to time if we need to. If someone is expressing to you that they are concerned they might have a drinking problem, don’t make them second guess themselves, if they are opening up about it please try to support them. We don’t always know what others are going through — apparently even if they flat out tell us. This may also challenge our own relationship with alcohol, but if you can keep that separate.
Do You Have A Problem?
If you are concerned that you might have a drinking problem, you probably do. Keeping in mind that having a problem with alcohol doesn’t necessarily make you an alcoholic. You may have a problem with alcohol if you can identify with any of the following scenarios:
- Spending a lot of time obtaining, using, and recovering from the effects of alcohol.
- Cravings, or a strong desire to use alcohol.
- Being unable to cut down on alcohol use despite a desire to do so.
- Continuing to abuse alcohol despite negative interpersonal or social problems that are likely due to alcohol use.
- Using alcohol in physically dangerous situations (such as driving or operating machinery).
- Drinking more or for a longer time than originally intended.
- Continuing to abuse alcohol despite the presence of a psychological or physical problem that is probably due to alcohol use.
- Being unable to fulfill major obligations at home, work, or school because of alcohol use.
- Giving up previously enjoyed social, occupational, or recreational activities because of alcohol use.
- Having a tolerance (i.e. needing to drink increasingly large or more frequent amounts of alcohol to achieve the desired effect).
- Developing symptoms of withdrawal when efforts are made to stop using alcohol.
A great way to get things in check is to commit to a period of time without any alcohol consumption and monitor how you feel, what you accomplish, and if you feel uplifted. You may need to ask your friends to support you during this time and have some sober activities prepared! Board games, cards, movies, sports, hiking — all these things can be great sober fun!
If your problem is more severe than this, or you are needing help in any way, reach out to a trusted friend or family member or you may benefit from your local Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for a whole slough of support and resources. If that’s not your jam, check out Hello Sunday Morning for assistance in moderating your use.
My hope is that in the near future it will be more common not to drink and doing so will be more like taking a drug, or having an experience that is typically out of the ordinary.
It is never too late to make a change, first step is to get really honest with yourself…
Joe Rogan May Take Down The Original Criticism Of “The Game Changers” Documentary
- The Facts:
Joe Rogan recently had James Wilks, the maker of "The Game Changers" documentary on to discuss the benefits of a plant base diet and to refute a previous episode where Chris Kresser debunked it.
- Reflect On:
When it comes to health, it's important sometimes to suspend what we believe and have been made to believe, and simply look at the information from a neutral perspective.
Joe Rogan has long ‘criticized’ vegans in various ways, and has also emphasized his belief that one cannot be optimally healthy on a vegan diet. He’s done this a number of times, which was hard for some onlookers to watch and listen to who have educated themselves on plant-based diets. Until recently, Rogan mainly focused on guests that were geared towards promoting meat-eating as optimal, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but a balance of understanding and information can go a long way to educating people.
One of the most recent examples of Joe Rogan and his guest ‘”debunking” a plant-based diet came from a critique of a recent documentary that is now airing on Netflix, called “The Game Changers,” made by filmmaker, James Wilks – a retired English mixed martial artist. The film was executively produced by James Cameron, and features interviews with the top scientists and doctors in their field who present an abundance of research and publications showing the benefits of a plant-based diet.
Not long ago, health coach and author Chris Kresser came on the “Joe Rogan Experience” after the documentary received a lot of attention, and the title of the podcast was titled: “Chris Kresser Debunks ‘The Game Changers Documentary.’
For someone like my self who has done a lot of research into the topic, it was frustrating to listen to it given the fact that it was quite clear, for me and others who had actually done thorough research from a neutral standpoint, that Kresser wasn’t really addressing all the facts, and was simply a big believer in what he was saying without even examining the information on the other side.
The challenge is, Rogan’s podcast was listened to by millions of people, and many came away actually believing the information that was said in the original debunking episode – information we later find out was completely incorrect. These types of episodes that massively mislead people are not just an issue with people who have large followings discussing vegan diets and health, but it’s a big issue with many other topics. This is why it was great that Rogan decided to have James Wilks on for a chance to defend his documentary, and the truth is he absolutely destroyed Kresser’s claims that were presented as facts in the previous podcast with Rogan. The best part was Kresser was on the show as well so he had a chance to truly make sure everyone was on the same page.
Wilks addressed every single criticism made by Kresser in the previous episode, from topics such as B12, protein amount, and protein quality, among many others. He also brought up the fact that we shouldn’t be listening to people like Kresser on such topics, but should be relying on properly published peer reviewed research that’s repeatable, non-industry conflicting research, as well as information that comes from the world’s leading scientists in the field of biology and nutrition, many of whom were presented in the Game Changers documentary. Or, people like Wilks, who have throughout done their research. This episode really exposes how Kresser is not accurate or factual in his position on this topic, an important note for his followers.
It’s important to keep in mind that not everything Kresser said previously had time to be addressed in this podcast, but it could have been. 100 percent of Kresser’s criticisms that were addressed were 100 percent completely debunked by Wilks, so much so that this is what Joe Rogan had to say via an Instagram post:
View this post on Instagram
Vegans, you’re gonna LOVE this one! @lightningwilks, one of the producers of “the game changers” came on to challenge some of the criticism that Chris Kresser presented about the movie, and to say he did well would be a tremendous understatement. James knocked it our of the park, and defended himself and the film quite spectacularly. So much so that I’m actually considering taking the original breakdown of the film offline. This podcast will be up today at noon PT.
If interested, you can watch The Game Changers documentary on Netflix, and check out the podcast in question below.
Some Quotes From The Game Changers Documentary
One of these experts is Dr. Christina Warinner, who earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2010 and received her postdoctoral training at the University of Zurich (2010-2012) and the University of Oklahoma (2012-2014). She became a Presidential Research Professor and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma in 2014, and is currently a Leader in Microbiome Sciences at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
Her work has led to some very interesting findings and conclusions:
“Humans do not have any specialized genetic anatomical or physiological adaptations to meat consumption. By contrast, we have many adaptations to plant consumption.” (The Game Changers documentary)
She goes deeper in her presentation at the 2016 International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine, and in this TEDX talk she gave a number of years ago.
Gradual increases in brain sizes of early humans have also been attributed to meat, but research is showing that “because there is not a very strong match between meat consumption and gradual increases in brain size, scientists have looked to other options. And given that plant foods are such an important part of modern humans that hunt and gather foods, the money is on plant foods and shift in the kinds of plant foods as being the major driving factor in increasing brain size.” – Nathaniel J. Dominy
“We have a brain, that just is desperate for glucose. It’s such a fussy organ, that’s the only thing it really takes in for energy. Well, meat is not a very good source of glucose, to have a big brain like this you need to eat something different. And the most efficient way to get glucose is to eat carbohydrates.” – Dr. Mark Thomas, geneticist, University College, London (The Game Changers documentary)
With overwhelming scientific evidence to many of the most common deadly diseases, I discovered that the meat, egg, and dairy industries have been engaged in a covert response, funding studies that deny this evidence while burying their involvement in the fine print. One of the hired guns paid to conduct these studies is Exponent, INC. A company whose research was used by the Tobacco industry to deny the connection between second hand smoke and cancer. For more than 50 years, Exponent has generated studies that challenge the health-risks of everything from asbestos, arsenic and and mercury, to animal foods.” – James Wilks, “The Game Changers” documentary
“The formula, works beautifully for people selling food, it works beautifully for people selling drugs to treat the diseases that bad food causes, and it works beautifully for the media, which can give us a new story about diet, everyday. But despite the appearance in our media of confusion, there’s massive global consensus about the fundamentals of a health-promoting, and it’s a diet that every time… In every population, every kind of research, it’s a plant food predominant diet, every time.” – Dr. David Katz, Founding Director of Yale University Prevention Research Center (The Game Changers documentary)
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