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The Flu Vaccine: Why It’s Completely Useless & Potentially Dangerous

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A recent New York Times article urging readers to follow the CDC’s flu shot recommendation provides a useful case study of how the mainstream media manufacture consent for public vaccine policy by systematically deceiving the public about what the science says.

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By Jeremy R. Hammond, Guest Contributor, World Mercury Project 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone aged six months and up, including pregnant women, get an annual flu shot to protect against the influenza virus. The mainstream media characterize this recommendation as being firmly grounded in science. The demonstrable truth of the matter, however, is that what the government and media say science says and what science actually tells us are two completely different things.

By deceiving the public about what the science says, the media serve to manufacture consent for public vaccine policy. A useful illustration of how the media serve this function is a New York Times article published in January and written by Aaron E. Carroll, a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine and regular Timesblogger. The article is titled “Why It’s Still Worth Getting a Flu Shot”, and Carroll’s purpose in writing was to persuade his readers that, even though this season’s influenza vaccine was “particularly ineffective”, everyone should still get it.

Details and Deceptions

The argument Carroll presents is that, even in flu seasons like this past one when the vaccine is not well-matched to the predominant circulating strain of the influenza virus, since the vaccine is so extraordinarily safe, it still confers a great benefit to society.

To support his argument, Carroll cites two studies from the prestigious Cochrane collaboration, a global independent organization specializing in meta-analysis that does not accept any industry funding. (A meta-analysis is a kind of study in which researchers search the literature for relevant studies and review the body of evidence available by combining the results of studies that meet the inclusion criteria.)

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According to Carroll, a 2010 Cochrane review of influenza vaccination in healthy adults found that 37 people need to be vaccinated in order for one person to see the benefit, which represents “a big payoff in public health.” Mistakenly describing it as having been published in 2016, Carroll also cites a subsequent 2012 Cochrane review of vaccine effectiveness in healthy children that found “an astonishing payoff in medical terms”: just six children aged six or younger had to be vaccinated in order to prevent one case of influenza. Carroll further claims that the science shows us that harms from the flu vaccine are “almost nonexistent”.

Carroll could have made his case stronger by citing the actual number from the 2010 Cochrane review, which is 33, not 37. This was an error Carroll evidently carried over from a secondary source, which is perhaps an indication that he never read the actual Cochrane review, which might also help explain how he could so grossly mischaracterize that review’s actual findings, as you’re about to see.

For starters, it is curious why Carroll would cite the estimated effectiveness of the vaccine “under ideal conditions”—which is to say when the vaccine completely matches the circulating virus—in order to support his argument that it’s worth getting even in poorly matched years. Why didn’t he instead cite the study’s more relevant estimate of vaccine effectiveness under “average conditions”, when the vaccine only partially matches the circulating strains?

The most obvious answer is that relaying the review’s finding that “100 people need to be vaccinated to avoid one set of influenza symptoms” would be counterproductive to his purpose.

And yet their review turned up ‘no evidence that vaccines prevent viral transmission or complications’

But that’s just the start of Carroll’s deception. Whereas he characterizes the 2010 review as though the science fully vindicates public policy, in fact the Cochrane researchers were highly critical of the CDC’s recommendation and challenged the fundamental assumptions underlying it. They observed that the primary rationales the CDC has offered are that mass vaccination will (1) reduce transmission of the virus and (2) reduce the risk of potentially deadly complications from influenza. And yet their review turned up “no evidence that vaccines prevent viral transmission or complications” (emphasis added).

In fact, none of the studies they looked at even presented any results “evaluating the ability of this vaccination to interrupt the spread of the disease”. Likewise, none bothered to report “any evidence of effect on complications.” In other words, none of the studies the Cochrane researchers looked at in their comprehensive review of the literature even seemed to consider the question of whether the central assumptions underlying the CDC’s recommendation were actually true.

This is a remarkable illustration of the institutional myopia that exists when it comes to the politically sensitive issue of vaccines.

Ignoring the Warnings

Once recent study, however, did bother to look at the question of whether the vaccine prevents transmission. Published on January 18, 2018, in the journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of AmericaPNAS, the study’s authors screened volunteers with confirmed cases of influenza and took breath samples. And among their findings was “an association between repeated vaccination and increasedviral aerosol generation” (emphasis added).

In fact, subjects who had received the influenza vaccine in both the current and the previous season were found to shed over six times more aerosolized virus than those who did not get a flu shot during either season.

The Cochrane researchers found not only that ‘reliable evidence on influenza vaccines is thin’, but also that ‘there is evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions and spurious notoriety of the studies.

Another thing Aaron Carroll failed to disclose to Times readers is the rather important caveat that the Cochrane researchers attached to their findings about the vaccine’s effectiveness. And it’s not as though this caveat was easy for him to miss; it’s presented as an explicit “WARNING” right at the top of the review just below the abstract.

The authors’ warning notes that their review included numerous studies funded by the pharmaceutical industry, which independent studies have unsurprisingly shown to be biased in favor of their own products. The Cochrane researchers found not only that “reliable evidence on influenza vaccines is thin”, but also that “there is evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions and spurious notoriety of the studies. The content and conclusions of this review should be interpreted in light of this finding.” (Emphasis added.)

In other words, even the estimate of 100 people needing to be vaccinated for one person to receive a benefit may be overly optimistic.

Whereas the Times would have us believe that the Cochrane review found that the flu vaccine confers “a big payoff in public health”, in fact, the conclusion the review authors actually arrived at was that their findings “seem to discourage the utilization of vaccination against influenza in healthy adults as a routine public health measure” (emphasis added).

The Cochrane Collaboration in a 2014 update of their review even more bluntly concluded, “The results of this review provide no evidence for the utilization of vaccination against influenza in healthy adults as a routine public health measure.” (Emphasis added.)

And whereas the Times would have us believe that the science has been settled that harms from the vaccine are “almost nonexistent”, in fact, the 2010 meta-analysis expressed concern about the lack of safety data. “The harms dataset from randomized studies is small”, they observed, and the studies’ authors “appear to regard harms as less important than effectiveness assessment.” Even among the studies that weren’t funded by the industry, “the quality of the majority of influenza vaccines studies is low”.

Where’s the Payoff?

Turning to the second Cochrane study Carroll cites, the 2012 review did find that evidence from randomized controlled trials “shows that six children under the age of six need to be vaccinated with live attenuated vaccine to prevent one case of influenza”. However, they once again cautioned that this finding needs to be interpreted in light of the “evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions and spurious notoriety of the studies” tending to show favorable results.

While Carroll describes the finding of the vaccine’s effectiveness in children under six as “an astonishing payoff in medical terms”, he does not relay the review’s finding with respect to children aged two or younger, which was that the perceived benefit of the vaccine was “not significantly more efficacious than placebo.” In other words, there was no good evidence that the vaccine is effective at preventing influenza in children younger than three. One would think that information, too, would be worth relaying to the public; but, then, that disclosure would not align with his whole purpose for writing, so it is understandable why Carroll would choose not to mention it.

Perhaps the reason Carroll did not cite this number is that it wouldn’t have actually helped his case at all, since that result was “not significantly more efficacious than placebo.” In other words, there was no good evidence that the vaccine is effective at preventing influenza in children older than six. One would think that information, too, would be worth relaying to the public; but, then, that disclosure would not align with his whole purpose for writing, so it is understandable why Carroll would choose not to mention it.

While the Cochrane researchers had intended to examine the question of safety as well as effectiveness, the absence of good quality data meant that they could not even carry out safety comparisons. Furthermore, specific influenza vaccines were known to be “associated with serious harms such as narcolepsy and febrile convulsions.

Yet another fact the Times chose not to disclose to readers is that, far from science having established that harms from the vaccine are “almost nonexistent”, the 2012 review found that there was “no usable data” on the safety of the vaccine for children under two.

In other words, according to Carroll’s own source, the flu vaccine has not been properly studied for safety in children aged six months to two years, despite the CDC recommending routine vaccination of children in this age group.

In fact, while the Cochrane researchers had intended to examine the question of safety as well as effectiveness, the absence of good quality data meant that they could not even carry out safety comparisons. Furthermore, specific influenza vaccines were known to be “associated with serious harms such as narcolepsy and febrile convulsions.”

Especially in light of such known risks, the review authors remarked that “It was surprising to find only one study of inactivated vaccine in children under two years, given current recommendations to vaccinate healthy children from six months of age…. If immunization in children is to be recommended as a public health policy, large-scale studies assessing important outcomes, and directly comparing vaccine types are urgently required.” (Emphasis added.)

In addition to recommending the vaccine for infants as young as six, the CDC also advises pregnant women to get the flu shot, even during their first trimester. The aforementioned 2014 Cochrane review looked at the science specifically with this recommendation in mind. And what they found in their systematic review of the literature was that the number of randomized controlled trials assessing the effects of vaccinating pregnant women was zero.

The absence of proper safety studies is also noted right on the package inserts that the manufacturers include in the box with their products. For example, the insert for GlaxoSmithKline’s inactivated influenza vaccine, Fluarix, discloses that “Safety and effectiveness of FLUARIX have not been established in pregnant women or nursing mothers.” While limited studies have been done on reproductive and developmental toxicity in rats, there are “no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.” Furthermore, “caution should be exercised” when vaccinating breastfeeding mothers since “It is not known whether FLUARIX is excreted in human milk.” Medical practitioners are advised to inform patients “that safety and efficacy have not been established in pregnant women.”

Mercury Menace

The CDC’s recommendation that pregnant women get the flu shot is all the more disturbing given the fact that multi-dose vials of the flu vaccine contain the preservative Thimerosal, which is half ethylmercury by weight. Ethylmercury is a known neurotoxinthat can cross the blood-brain barrier and accumulate in the brain. It can also cross the placental barrier and enter the brain of the developing fetus.

While Thimerosal-free single-dose versions of the vaccine are available, the CDC does notspecify in its recommendation to pregnant women that they should opt for this version in order to avoid unnecessarily exposing their fetus to the toxic effects of mercury.

As a review published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in December 2017 noted, “there are no safe blood-level values for any of the heavy metals during pregnancy”, particularly since “the placenta is incapable of protecting a human fetus with regards to neurotoxicants or most other heavy metals.” The review stated that the practice of including known neurotoxins among vaccine ingredients “has to be considered dangerous, irresponsible, and certainly should be ended.”

The authors further commented that the use of mercury as a vaccine ingredient could explain the finding of a CDC-funded study published last September in the journal Vaccine that found an association between the influenza vaccine and spontaneous abortion. The CDC researchers looked at the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 flu seasons and found that women who received a flu shot had twice the risk of having a miscarriage within 28 days of receipt than women who did not get the vaccine. Looking just at the 2010-2011 season, vaccinated women had a 3.7 times greater risk of having a spontaneous abortion. Moreover, since the 2009 Influenza A(H1N1) pandemic, seasonal influenza vaccines have included a varying pandemic H1N1 (or pH1N1) antigen component; and most alarmingly, the CDC researchers found that vaccinated women who had also received a pH1N1-containing influenza vaccine in the prior season had a 7.7 times higher risk of spontaneous abortion.

…the Cochrane researchers actually went so far in their criticism of the agency as to accuse the CDC of deliberately misrepresenting the science in order to support their policy.

Toeing the CDC Line

In sum, whereas the New York Times would have us believe the science is settled that the influenza vaccine confers “a big payoff in public health” and carries “almost nonexistent” risk, even its own sources from the medical literature found no scientific evidence to support the CDC’s recommendation and highlighted the alarming lack of good quality safety studies despite the known serious harms associated with the vaccine.

In fact, whereas the New York Times characterizes the 2010 meta-analysis as though it vindicated public policy, the Cochrane researchers actually went so far in their criticism of the agency as to accuse the CDC of deliberately misrepresenting the science in order to support their policy.

Previous versions of their review, they noted, “have been extensively misquoted especially in public policy documents.” The specific example they presented of how their findings were being deceptively manipulated by public health officials was a 2009 CDC policy document outlining its rationale for universal influenza vaccination. As the Cochrane researchers stated, “The CDC authors clearly do not weight interpretation by quality of the evidence, but quote anything that supports their theory.”

It is perhaps not too surprising, therefore, that the New York Times would so deceptively mischaracterize the science regarding the effectiveness and safety of the influenza vaccine, given the fact that, by doing so, it was simply following the CDC’s example.

This article is a condensed adaptation of part one of a multi-part exposé on the influenza vaccine. Click here to read the full original essay. Click here to sign up for the author’s newsletter to stay updated with his work on vaccines and receive his free downloadable report, “5 Horrifying Facts about the FDA Vaccine Approval Process”.

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Some Doctors Claim Babies Should Share Their Mother’s Bed Until The Age Of 3

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A study involving 16 infants monitored the babies while they slept in their mother's bed. It's not the only study examining the benefits of close contact between mother and child shortly after birth.

  • Reflect On:

    How much of what we do today in a conventional way, especially with regards to childbirth, is the best way to do it?

When it comes to parenting, everyone seems to have an opinion, and rightfully so, especially if you are yourself a parent. But what about controversial topics? Is there a right or wrong way to raise your children? Are there certain things that you should or should not be doing? Of course, some things are more important than others. But new advice given by a paediatrician suggests children should sleep in bed with their mothers until they reach the age of three. 

Dr. Nils Bergman, from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, argues that for optimal development, healthy newborns should sleep on their mother’s chest for at least their first few weeks. After that, he believes they should stay in bed with mom and dad until they are three or even four years old.

Because there has been a lot of fear propaganda created around the risk of cot death — the notion that a parent might roll over and suffocate their child — co-sleeping is generally not advised, and in fact, a recently published British study found that almost two-thirds of the cases of SIDS occurred when the bed was being shared.

But, according to Dr.Bergman, “When babies are smothered and suffer cot deaths, it is not because their mother is present. It is because of other things: toxic fumes, cigarettes, alcohol, big pillows and dangerous toys.”

A study involving 16 infants monitored the babies while they slept in their mother’s bed. It found that the baby’s heart was under three times as much stress when he or she slept alone. While sleeping in a cot, they had a more disrupted sleep and their brains were less likely to cycle and transition between the two types of sleep, called active and quiet.

In the cots, only 6 of the 16 babies had any quiet sleep at all, and their sleep quality was much worse.

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Dr. Bergman continued to explain how changes to the brain that are brought on by stress hormones can actually make it more difficult to form relationships and close bonds later in life.

Another study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry monitored results from 73 premature infants receiving Kangaroo Care, or skin-to-skin contact with their mothers, and another three premature infants received standard incubator care. The subjects of the study were monitored over a 10-year period, and the results were as follows:

KC increased autonomic functioning (respiratory sinus arrhythmia, RSA) and maternal attachment behavior in the postpartum period, reduced maternal anxiety, and enhanced child cognitive development and executive functions from 6 months to 10 years. By 10 years of age, children receiving KC showed attenuated stress response, improved RSA, organized sleep, and better cognitive control. RSA and maternal behavior were dynamically interrelated over time, leading to improved physiology, executive functions, and mother–child reciprocity at 10 years.

The National Childbirth Trust supports bed sharing provided the parents have not been drinking, smoking, or using drugs, or if they are obese, chronically ill, or suffer from chronic exhaustion, all of which could cause them to roll over onto the baby or otherwise impact their health.

Overall, it’s a very controversial issue. Many swear by bed sharing, and it certainly used to be standard practice before cribs became so common and affordable. There are many upsides to this, but it is also important to be aware of and consider the potential dangers.

We all know babies need to be snuggled and cuddled and given love; they need to feel safe and secure, and how could they possibly feel this all alone in another room in a crib? When you actually think about it, it seems pretty backwards.

Every parent is just doing what they feel is best for their baby, but the opinions of others tend to get in the way. We’ve all heard those comments like, Oh you shouldn’t pick up that baby, you need to let them cry, they are going to have attachment issues, how are they going to develop their independence? Well, they are babies; they can’t care for themselves and they need to be taken care of. It is a natural urge for the mother to take care of her child.

What are your thoughts on this? Did you co-sleep with your child? Did you ever feel it was unsafe? Do you prefer your child to sleep in a crib? Let us know!

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Yale Study Reveals 1 in 3 Drugs Have Safety Issues Even After FDA Approval

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association conducted by a team of researchers from Yale University discovered that nearly one in three drugs that the that the FDA tests and approves ends up having safety issues.

  • Reflect On:

    Are prescription drugs as safe as they're marketed to be?

In 2014, Harvard University stated that prescription drugs are the 4th leading cause of death, yet pharmaceutical companies continue to hide behind their profits and promote their products as safe. Doctors and even their patients are willing to turn a blind eye to many of the adverse side effects of drugs, opting for the “bandaid” effect they provide instead of seeking alternative treatments and preventative methods.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and conducted by a team of researchers from Yale University studied the effectiveness of the FDA’s drug approval process. The team discovered that nearly one in three drugs that the FDA tests and approves ends up having safety issues.

Research Finds Serious Issues With FDA Drug Approval Process

In order to establish whether or not pharmaceutical drugs are safe for consumers, the FDA implements drug testing and clinical trials. These trials typically test fewer than 1,000 patients over a short timeframe, usually around six months or less. The Yale researchers suggested that safety issues could only truly be detected if more patients were studied over a longer period of time, speaking to the ineffectiveness of the FDA’s testing.

To identify how to effectively determine any safety issues with pharmaceutical drugs, the Yale researchers studied data on new drugs approved between 2001 and 2010, with follow up through 2017. Their findings proved that approximately 32% of new drugs approved by the FDA had notable safety issues.

A shocking 71 of the 222 drugs approved within this timeframe were withdrawn, had a “black box” warning regarding the side effects, or required a safety announcement to the public about newfound risks. This begs the question: Why are these drugs being approved in the first place if they warrant so many safety concerns?

“That is very rarely a drug withdrawal, but more commonly a black box warning, or drug safety communication issued by the FDA to let physicians and patients know that new safety information has been determined,” explained Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Health Dr. Joseph Ross, who led the research team.

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The researchers also specified characteristics of pharmaceuticals that were more likely to pose a higher risk of safety issues to patients, including biologic therapies and drugs that were approved through the FDA’s accelerated approval pathway. The accelerated approval process often uses surrogate endpoints, which means that the researchers measured a factor other than survival, such as tumour size, to figure out whether the drugs should be approved.

“This [finding on surrogate endpoints] has the greatest relationship to policy today,” Ross further elaborated. “In the 21st Century Cures Act, there’s a push to have the FDA move to further support the use of surrogate markers … [but] they’re more likely to have concerns in the post-market setting.”

“While the administration pushes for less regulation and faster approvals, those decisions have consequences,” Ross stated. The Yale team’s previous studies exposed that the FDA approval process for drugs is much faster than that of other government organizations in Europe, which is interesting given the nature of the business in both countries. Prices of drugs are far higher in America than they are abroad, and Americans take a lot more drugs, meaning U.S. pharmaceutical companies make a lot more money.

The timing of this study is interesting too, as the FDA has been facing increased pressure lately to quicken the drug approval process. “It shows that there is the potential for compromising patient safety when drug evaluation is persistently sped up,” said Ross. “At the very least, the study should inform ongoing debate about premarket drug evaluation,” the researchers concluded.

Dr. Caleb Alexander, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness, weighed in on the study, commending the researchers for their work. “It’s important to keep in mind that the post-approval safety issues cover the spectrum from relatively minor to serious,” Alexander said.

“A good next step would be to dig into the extremely serious safety problems, determine whether the FDA could have flagged them sooner and how they might have been missed,” he continued.

“All too often, patients and clinicians mistakenly view FDA approval as [an] indication that a product is fully safe and effective,” Alexander explained. “Nothing could be further from the truth. We learn tremendous amounts about a product only once it’s on the market and only after use among a broad population.”

Dr. Alexander makes a great point: Just because a drug is approved by the FDA, doesn’t mean it’s safe. In an ideal world, FDA approval would mean that the drug is entirely safe to use, but the reality is that the testing is not extensive enough to even determine the safety of the drug, let alone guarantee it.

Far too often, people place their doctors and health care practitioners on pedestals and fail to conduct their own research. Though I am not qualified to professionally advise anyone on their health, I certainly do not trust everything that my doctor recommends, which is largely because no doctor knows everything there is to know about health. It’s up to you to figure out your own health, not your doctor.

Though doctors can provide wonderful advice and can help immensely when diagnosing and treating illnesses, they can also drastically hinder your health. However, that’s not necessarily their fault, it’s often yours. The onus is on you to conduct your own research, get multiple professional opinions if need be, and ensure you are making informed decisions.

Further Proof of Misconduct at the FDA

In journalism, embargo refers to a “back-room deal” in which journalists and their sources agree not to publish an article prior to a specific date or time. The FDA goes one step further by implementing a “closely held embargo,” which gifts the organization complete control over all new FDA information privy to exposure for the American public.

The FDA’s use of the “close embargo” reveals that the institution likely wants to prevent reporters from leaking information. The biggest concern seems to be that, when officials begin giving the go-ahead for this special access, it makes it much easier for the agency to prevent stories they don’t like from being exposed.

The FDA hinders the public’s right to know about scientific fraud and misconduct as well. In an article for Slate wrote:

For more than a decade, the FDA has shown a pattern of burying the details of misconduct. As a result, nobody ever finds out which data is bogus, which experiments are tainted, and which drugs might be on the market under false pretenses. The FDA has repeatedly hidden evidence of scientific fraud not just from the public, but also from its most trusted scientific advisers, even as they were deciding whether or not a new drug should be allowed on the market. Even a congressional panel investigating a case of fraud regarding a dangerous drug couldn’t get forthright answers. For an agency devoted to protecting the public from bogus medical science, the FDA seems to be spending an awful lot of effort protecting the perpetrators of bogus science from the public.

You can read more about that in the following CE article:

FOIA Investigation Unearths Documents Showing How The FDA  Manipulates Media & Science Press

The FDA also works hand-in-hand with pharmaceutical companies, which you can read about in the following CE article:

Merck & The FDA Caught ‘Fast Tracking’ The Approval Of HPV Gardasil Vaccine Without Scientific Approval

To make matters worse, pharmaceutical companies also hold close ties to doctors, which you can learn about here:

This Website Tells You How Much Big Pharma Pays Your Doctor To Prescribe Drugs

To be clear, 128,000 people die every year in the U.S. from drugs prescribed to them, which is being done under the approval of the FDA and doctors. The reality is, drug companies make a lot of money from selling prescriptions, and so do those involved with them, including doctors.

At the end of the day, the medical industry is a booming business, one that thrives off sick people. These companies actually benefit when their drugs cause adverse effects, because they then have additional reasons to sell you even more drugs. The system is designed to help you in one way, and then disadvantage you in another. In essence, they want you healthy, but not too healthy, and until we educate ourselves and take control of our health, we will continue to perpetuate this cycle.

Free: Regenerate Yourself Masterclass

In this free 7-part masterclass, Sayer Ji, founder of GreenMedInfo, explains how revolutionary new developments in biology can be leveraged to help prevent and manage the most common health afflictions of our day: cancer, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases and metabolic syndrome.

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Intermittent Fasting Is Great, But Alternate-Day Fasting Is Having A Big Impact On My Body

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    I started alternate day fasting a few months ago. I've lost a healthy chunk of fat from my body and my weight has stabilized. Fasting is a great way to boost your health and help your body utilize its fat stores.

  • Reflect On:

    The science of fasting is very interesting, and it shows that fasting can be used as a therapeutic intervention for multiple diseases and/or to simply be healthier. Is it ignored by medicine because it doesn't generate a profit?

Several years ago I remember coming across an old study from 2013 about caloric restriction, emphasizing how it extends life span and prevents as well as helps to reverse several age-related diseases in a variety of species. This was very intriguing to me, especially given the fact that humans have been bombarded with the idea that we need to eat at least three meals a day, plus snacks in order to be healthy and fit. Fast forward to today, and fasting has become quite popular, and this is thanks to a wealth of research that’s emerged showing that not only caloric restriction, but fasting, has a number of health benefits.

Fasting has been shown to extend life, protect against neurodegenerative and age-related diseases, ‘starve’ certain cancer cells, reverse and manage type two diabetes, trigger new stem cell generation and help people lose weight. If done for a long enough time, although we don’t quite know exactly how long, fasting also actives autophagy, the body’s self-cleaning system, which allows the cell to get rid of old cell machinery, breaking them down into smaller parts to be reused by the cell. Fasting stimulates the production of ketone bodies in the blood, which have also been shown to have a number of benefits and is one of many mechanisms by which fasting benefits the body.

Fasting Is Beneficial

When you eat food, that food is converted into glycogen which your body then burns. When you fast, your body uses up stored fat for energy after its glycogen reserves are depleted, and the process of the body switching from burning glucose to efficiently burning fat is something that seems to have been built into our biology, meaning we are designed to go short, or even prolonged periods of time without any food, and that this ‘stress’ on the body actually benefits us in many ways.

There is absolutely no evidence that, for the average person, fasting can be dangerous. In fact, all evidence points to the opposite. If you’re on prescription medication, or experience other medical problems, then there are obviously exceptions. But it’s quite clear that the human body was designed to go long periods of time without food, and that it’s completely natural.

If you want to learn more about the science of fasting, there is plenty of research out there. Sifting through scholarly articles on the subject will yield many interesting results. You can find a number of lectures on Youtube as well. The main takeaway for me after studying fasting and its mechanisms for fifteen years now is that it’s an extremely healthy and safe practice with a number of health benefits, and I wanted to share my current experience instead of simply diving deep into the science of it all.

My Alternate-Day Fasting Experience

I have found that the research directly correlates with my experience of fasting on a regular basis, and it’s something I’ve been doing for fifteen years. I have done a lot of prolonged fasts in my life, weekly fasts, as well as many periods of intermittent fasting where I condense my eating period to a time of 5-8 hours. But only within the past few months have I tried alternate-day fasting, and so far it’s the fasting method that’s been the most successful for me. Everybody is different, and at the end of the day you just have to find what works for you.

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I’ve always put on weight quite easily, and have had no problem storing food. Perhaps it’s genetics, my family has a strong and long history of type two diabetes, hinting to the idea that insulin levels in my family can remain high, thus making it impossible to access my fat stores. Obviously, fasting drops your insulin levels, allowing your body to access and burn its fat reserves which, again, has been shown to have a tremendous amounts of benefits.

Alternate-day fasting has given me something consistent to go with when it comes to maintaining and stabilizing my weight. For me, intermittent fasting just wasn’t doing it, I found I could not eat what I enjoy without packing on extra fat and slowly increasing my weight. I also did many prolonged fasts, which helped me drop my extra fat, but then I’d put it back on. This was true for me even whilst eating a healthy, whole grain fully plant-based diet.

With alternate-day fasting, I do not gain weight, and my energy levels have increased to the point where I am now working out at the end of every fast. I’ve never experienced so much energy an I’ve never felt so alert. I had a glimpse of it with intermittent fasting, but the period without food just wasn’t long enough for me, I feel, to really tap into the benefits of fasting.

Simple Schedule

So what does alternate-day fasting look like? It’s when you eat one day, and then fast the next. Simple.

So, for example, what I do is I will eat on a Monday, and then have my last meal in the evening. Then, I wait until Wednesday morning to eat again. So, I am doing 36-40 hour fasts, quite often. What recommended alternate-day fasting looks like is eating on Monday, and then not eating until 24 hours after, or Tuesday night. Or, eating on Monday, and then restricting your calorie intake the next day to only 500 calories., and then repeat throughout the week.

I’ve been fasting for a quite a long time, so my body is quite fat adapted. It’s not difficult for me to fast and when I do I do not feel hungry at all, which means my body has adapted itself to ‘consuming’ it’s stored energy. I am at the point where alternate-day fasting for me usually means not eating for at least 40 hours and after a workout, and every now and then I will extend my fast to 72 or more hours and throw in a workout at the end those fasts as well. The food I eat during my eating periods is, again, a whole foods plant-based diet.

Related CE Article going into more detail: What Working Out In A Fasted State (Not Eating) Does To Your Muscles

Weight Loss

That’s how I do it, and doing it this way I dropped nearly 20 pounds before eventually stabilizing my weight. I usually do alternate-day fasting, but every now and then I will eat two days in a row here and there. So I am not extremely strict on myself, but then again, my fasting periods are longer and I believe it’s easier for me simply because I am well adapted to the practice, and my body type and perhaps my genetics helps me have an easier time with it.

If you’re looking to shed some fat from your body, it’s something I recommend you try, it’s great because it forces you to enter into a fat period for a longer state than intermittent fasting, and allows you to utilize more of your fat reserves.

You can look at alternate-day fasting as an ‘extreme’ form of fasting, although there is nothing extreme about it and it’s completely safe. If you’re someone who has never fasted before, I recommend you start off with intermittent fasting, as fasting alone for someone who has never practiced it can be quite difficult at first until your body gets used to it.

Resources

If you’re looking for some great resources on this topic beyond simply reading and searching for scholarly peer-reviewed publications on the subject via online journal databases (there are lots), you can visit Dr. Jason Fung’s website blog here. There are a lot of great informative articles on the subject there.

Another great resource is Krista Varady, PhD, a Professor of Nutrition at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Her research focuses on the efficacy of intermittent fasting for weight loss, weight maintenance, and cardio-protection in obese adults. Her work is funded by the NIH, American Heart Association, International Life Sciences Institute, and the University of Illinois. She has published over 70 publications on this topic, and is also the author of a book for the general public, entitled the “Every Other Day Diet”.

Her “book for the general public,” The Every-Other-Day Diet: The Diet That Lets You Eat All You Want (Half the Time) and Keep the Weight Off is a great place to start.

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