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I Was Poisoned By Mercury: The Silent Heavy Metal Pandemic That Could Be Affecting You

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*EDIT (September 5th 2018): In my original post I recommended following the Medical Medium Protocol for heavy metal detox. After careful and extensive research I no longer support using cilantro and spirulina for people who are mercury toxic. The reason being has to due with redistribution of mercury and the dangerous physical and psychological effects that can take place as a result. I am currently trying to Andy Cutler Chelation protocol and will give a proper update in the future. 

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I was six years old when my mouth first became a well of metallic poison.

I remember the screech of the drill as it carved into my lower molar. My hands clutched the arms of a reclining blue chair while my mother sat beside me in distress. I started crying and my dentist told me to be quiet, that it would all be over before I knew it—not the friendliest way to deal with a traumatized child— and afterwards I remember my mother saying that we’d never go back to him again.

I was relieved that I’d escaped the “pain monster” as I had deemed him, but the irony was that, little to my mother or I’s knowing then, the real monster had just taken root in my mouth, one that would soon wage a gradual, life-long war against my sanity.

Eventually I would discover the culprit of my mystery conditions (my depression, anxiety, brain fog, irritability, ADD)—a poisonous metal alloy cleverly guised under the name, “amalgam,” hiding in the shadowed craters of my mouth. But I wouldn’t discover the culprit before four other teeth were filled, and not before suffering for over two more decades.

I was poisoned by mercury, and I learned I’m not alone.

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Mercury and heavy metal toxicity is a silent pandemic that has found it’s way down through generations and generations of unlucky victims.

The problem with heavy metal toxicity is that it wrecks havoc on your system slowly. Over the years you experience various unpleasant symptoms such as allergies, memory and concentration problems, fatigue, depression, anxiety, digestion problems, mood disorders, etc., and while all of these symptoms are inconvenient, in the beginning they are not typically bad enough to seek outside assistance. Instead these symptoms fester and repeat day after day until you eventually accept the way you feel as normal.

And even if you were to go to the doctor, it would be extremely rare for any doctor to know that your symptoms are related to the fillings in your mouth or the seafood you eat every day. Heavy metal poisoning just isn’t talked about in the way that it should be, especially by the medical community who still hold onto the notion that mercury fillings are “safe and effective.”

A life plagued by mystery symptoms

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when my mercury symptoms began. That’s one of the problems with mercury toxicity, its effects are so damaging and varying that any physical or emotional symptom you experience could be related to the mercury. Looking back on my life I wonder how many of my emotional and cognitive struggles were due to the metal poisons seeping into my system.

Throughout my teenage years I remember constantly feeling fearful and depressed. I also found it difficult to retain and understand what I read in books. As I moved into adulthood I found it more and more difficult to concentrate on my school work. Studying in college was a game of torture. I would read over something I was trying to memorize and feel like the information was just vanishing out of my mind. Anytime I would try and read my textbooks my eyes would jump all over the page in a scrambled mess making it difficult to fully understand what I was reading.

Mercury and other heavy metals accumulate all throughout the body.

These cognitive challenges got worse after college. I got a writing job at a media company, which was my dream job in many ways, but every time I sat down to write an article I would have to fight my brain to stop jumping from one internet tab to the next. My productivity suffered immensely, and eventually I accepted that I was just one of those millennials plagued with technology-induced ADD.

My brain fog got worse over the years, as did my ADD, eventually sabotaging my life-long dream to write a novel. During this period of my life I moved through bouts of depression on a weekly basis. I felt like I was slipping deeper and deeper into a dark vortex that I couldn’t escape from. I was constantly irritable with my partner, and began losing motivation for most things in my life. The way I described it to others was that it was as if I was living with a cloud over my head while I watched others around me laugh and experience joy. All I wanted was to be able to experience those states of joy as well, yet I had no idea why I couldn’t.

For decades I had no idea my brain was under siege by mercury.

The same year I began experiencing pain in my joints which I likened to early-onset arthritis. I remember trying to get up from the couch and my hips and legs completely locking up for half-an-hour. I started experiencing constant injuries at the gym as if my bones had become brittle.

I wanted out of this mystery-symptom prison. I tried various modalities of healing, such as plant medicine retreats, sound healing, coaching, eating “healthy”, energy medicine, you name it. These only helped for a period of time before I would slip back into my depressive fog.

Medical Medium shines a light on my health issues

Soon my prayers for answers were granted when a friend of mine leant me a book called, “The Medical Medium.” In the book, the author (named Anthony Williams) tells his life story about how at a young age he started hearing a voice from a spirit who called itself the “Spirit of Compassion.” This spirit granted Anthony the ability to scan anyone near him and provide highly accurate information about their state of health. After helping thousands of people miraculously heal their mystery illnesses, Williams eventually compiled his knowledge in a book which called out the root cause of ‘chronic’ diseases such as Lupus, MS, Chronic Fatigue, ADD, and more.

Williams explained how there are four main factors contributing to most diseases today. He called them the “Unforgiving Four,” and they are: Viruses, DDT, radiation, and heavy metals.

All of this information struck a big chord in me. I quickly read through the book and stopped on the heavy metal section. Here Williams described how heavy metals accumulate throughout the body, mainly in the brain, causing a slew of neurological symptoms. As he listed them my body froze: ADHD, ADD, autism, depression, OCD, mood disorders, Alzheimer’s, focus, autoimmune diseases, allergies, food intolerances, gut dysbiosis, hormone imbalances, infertility, concentration and memory loss issues, and much more.

He then went on to reveal the main causes of heavy metal accumulation in the body. Seafood and vaccines were high up on the list. But the most devastating source? Mercury (Amalgam) fillings.

At this point I had a horrible feeling rising in my gut. I knew I was getting closer to the truth, so I typed ‘heavy metal toxicity’ into Google and discovered volumes of people’s real-life horror stories.

Mercury poisoning causes people to literally go ‘mad.’ For that reason many people call it “mercury madness.” Mercury and other heavy metals short circuit our neurotransmitters and cause a wide range of neurological issues such as depression, ADHD/ADD, anxiety, mood disorders, and the list goes on.

Some coined what they experienced as “mercury madness,” and in most cases the stories of what people went through were far worse than what I experienced.

Some people were pushed to the brink of insanity due to their mercury poisoning. What began as gradual physical and psychological symptoms eventually escalated into a complete psychosis, to the point that many lost their jobs, marriages, and everything else important to them.

Some people reported spending hundreds of thousands of dollars hopping from specialist to specialist, trying to understand why they were so sick but only to feel as if they were losing their minds because no one had answers for them. But just when all hope was lost, somehow an angel on their shoulder would whisper the words “heavy metals,” leading them in the last minute to discover the unsuspecting culprit to their sickness.

I thought back to all of my dental procedures as a child and the truth hit me like a fist in the gut. All these years I was being poisoned by the metal fillings in my mouth. All these years my quality of life was being disrupted, my happiness compromised, by mercury. This realization opened Pandora’s box as I began a deep dive into the history and damaging effects of mercury and other heavy metals.

Mercury passed down from generation to generation

As Anthony Williams the Medical Medium states, our exposure to mercury and other heavy metals began long before we were even born. Heavy metals are passed down the family line from our mothers and can be thousands of years old.

In the seventeen and eighteen hundreds, doctors would prescribe patients mercury elixirs which caused horrible side-effects. Many people went insane because of it. The worst part is that mercury and other heavy metals are passed down from mother to child and can stay in family lines for over a thousand years; many of us are still dealing with the impact of our ancestor’s mass poisoning today.

Anthony states that the older metals are the most dangerous because each succeeding generation becomes more intolerant to their oxidizing effects. This oxidation of the surrounding tissues causes inflammation, inflicting damage on virtually every system and organ, including our brain, liver, digestive system, and other parts of our nervous system. These metals also put an immense burden on our immune system, leaving us vulnerable to a variety of illnesses.

One of the most insidious ways that heavy metals made their way into our bodies happened during the seventeen and eighteen hundreds. Doctors would give mercury elixirs to patients suffering from anything as mild as a stomach ache to something more severe such as a broken leg. The effects were devastating, with many patients losing their families, their jobs, and their sanity. Today we are still suffering from the impact of our ancestor’s mass poisoning.

Mercury exposure today

The two primary sources of mercury exposure today are dental amalgams (mercury-based fillings) and seafood consumption, followed by thimerosal-containing vaccines and mercury pollution from coal-burning power plants.

Dental amalgams are comprised of 50 percent elemental mercury. This form of mercury evaporates from the surface of the amalgam and is inhaled, absorbed into the blood, and then converted to inorganic mercury, the most toxic form of mercury to cells. Inorganic mercury builds up far more in your organs of elimination — it’s 100 times as high in your kidneys and liver than in your brain. But when it does make its way into your brain, it’s far more damaging than any other form.

Below is a chart showcasing other sources of mercury and heavy metal exposure:

        * Amalgams (silver mercury fillings) * Vaccines, flu shots
        * Contaminated fish (especially tuna, shark, swordfish) * Tattoo dyes
        * Lipstick, cosmetics, personal care products * Paint, plastics and enamels
        * Many Rx and OTC drugs including antacids * Baby formula and breast milk
        * Foods sprayed with fertilizers, pesticides & glyphosate * Some protein powders
        * Industrial exposure from coal burning * The water supply
        * Household cleaning products * HFCS and processed foods
        * Foods cooked in aluminum cookware, aluminum foil * Some chocolates (high in lead)
        * Metal stints inserted in a surgical procedure * Dust, exhaust and air pollution
        * Non-organic foods, GMO foods * Hair dyes
        * Grains, baked goods, candy, soda, beer, wine * Heavy alcohol consumption
        * Copper IUD * Cigarettes, e-cigarettes
        * Costume jewelry, batteries, ceramics * Electronics, lamps & light bulbs

 

Mercury binds to important trance minerals in our body

Mercury’s toxicity stems from its affinity for binding to other molecules in our body. Sulfur groups and their reduced forms known as ‘thiols’ are particularly under siege from mercury. Some important thiols in our body include cysteine and the super-antioxidant glutathione.

Mercury also binds to important trace minerals in our body such as zinc; this causes a depletion of nutrients crucial for proper cellular function. As the mercury leeches to available nutrients in the body, the body must then take important minerals from our own stores (such as our bones) to try and maintain homeostasis.

This is why most people suffering from mercury or heavy metal poisoning are severely malnourished.

The brain and digestive tract under siege

In his article, Revised Protocol for Detoxifying Your Body from Mercury Exposure , Dr. Mercola explains the damaging effects of what happens when mercury enters our system:

“Mercury vapour emitted from amalgams passes readily through our cell membranes, across our blood-brain barrier, and into our central nervous system where it causes immunological, neurological, and psychological distress.

Mercury destroys the cells in our gut, and since the gut is the frontline of our immune system, mercury toxicity almost always leads to digestive issues and autoimmune disorders.

At the same time, mercury is leaching into our saliva and being swallowed, making its way down our digestive tract where it causes inflammation and damages our immune system — because the frontline of our immune system is in our gut. 

Additionally, mercury shuts off the ability of our liver and kidneys to move mercury into our gut for elimination. So, if you have amalgams in your mouth, you are bathing your digestive tract and your brain in mercury every day, poisoning your brain while at the same time blocking its route out of the body.”

For this reason detoxing mercury and heavy metals is a long, sensitive and strategic process. Committing to a complete heavy metal detox will never be a quick fix solution. It is a lifestyle change in its entirety. It requires cleaning out our eliminative pathways, nourishing our body with raw, whole foods, and gently chelating the metals from your body over a long period of time. Later in this article I share my recommended protocol for the safe and effective removal of heavy metals from your system.

Detoxing mercury: How I learned the hard way

Heavy metal toxicity is not to be taken lightly. These elements are powerful antagonists which during their removal can cause more damage than good if the proper protocols aren’t followed.

I learned this the hard way.

Once I had read other people’s stories and knew that mercury fillings were the root cause of my suffering, I immediately found a holistic dentist to have them taken out. I had five fillings taken out within a month and half (which I would recommend doing slower), and soon after I jumped into a chelation protocol. It was a big mistake to rush the process, because immediately after I experienced a detox crisis that rocked my world.

Detoxing heavy metals can be dangerous is not done carefully. I learned this the hard way when I tried a chelating supplement after my amalgams were removed. I experienced a detox crisis that rocked my world. I was ridden with anxiety, depression, and insomnia for a few weeks after. In the end it was a humbling experience which taught me not to underestimate the heavy metal detox process. 

I tried taking a few supplements recommended by others called DMSA and alpha-lipoic acid, both of which are manmade supplements known for their powerful chelating abilities. These were recommended by those following the Andy Cutler protocol. Andy Cutler was a chemist who suffered from mercury poisoning and who went on to study mercury extensively and developed a chemical chelation protocol which he called “frequent-low-dose chelation.”  I went about the process incorrectly and had a terrible reaction.

Severe brain fog, headaches, anxiety, insomnia—these were the symptoms that hit me over the head when I tried chelating mercury without a plan. I remember thinking how strange I felt during this period, like someone had taken over my body and mind. Soon after I fell into a terrible spiral in which I felt too depressed and unmotivated to try and help myself.

A few days later I was able to regain my bearings, but it was a humbling experience to say the least. After moving through my first acute mercury crisis I recognized that removing this ancient poison from my body was going to be a long process that required a deeper and more strategic commitment to my health.

The complete guide to detoxing mercury & other heavy metals

Step 1: Cleanse to open your eliminative pathways

Luckily for me, right around the time I had my amalgams taken out I had already been detoxing my body for about a month and a half.

I had just began my journey with the Mucusless Diet Healing System, a way of living that involves periods of fasting while eating primarily raw fruits and vegetables, as well as having regular enemas. (You can read more about the Mucusless Diet Healing System in my articles HERE and HERE.)

Before mercury detox can begin it’s imperative that you prepare the body through deep cellular cleansing. This should be done for at least a few months before getting your amalgam fillings removed. A diet high in fruit and raw vegetables is essential to open up your eliminative pathways. You will also want to eliminate all animal products as they will only further clog your eliminative organs.

So in short I had already begun the work of opening my eliminative pathways, especially my kidneys, liver, and colon, but even with having nearly two months of dedicated detox under my belt my body still struggled to remove the mercury without experiencing unpleasant symptoms.

This brings me to my first point.

Before anyone is to have their amalgams taken out, it is crucial that they do the work to prepare the body for the process. Mercury is insidiously toxic to our organs and cells. If we are already running with a toxic and overburdened system, then our body will not be able to safely pass these metals through our various eliminative channels. Instead they get stuck in places like our brain, liver, kidneys, and gut, where they will damage these organs and potentially make you very sick (and also crazy).

So the first order of business is to clean out your body.

For me, there is no better system of detoxification and regeneration than the Mucusless Diet Healing System. This system returns us to eating in the way our body was designed to consume food.

Seafood is one of the highest contamination sources of mercury today. The reason being is that mercury released from industrial processes or mercury circulating through our water supply finds its way into the ocean food chain, starting with plankton and working its way up to larger fish like tuna and swordfish.

It cleans out your eliminative channels, all the way down to the cellular level, and restores you back to a level of vitality and vibrancy you only experienced as a child. This lifestyle will quickly prepare your body for the safe removal of mercury and other toxins. Additionally, during this initial cleansing process you will naturally begin chelating heavy metals in your system, the only difference being that your body is doing it at a much slower and controlled pace.

It’s imperative to stop eating contaminated seafood in this period of cleansing as well. Larger fish such as tuna and swordfish are notoriously known to contain high levels of mercury and other heavy metals. The amalgam fillings need to be dealt with strategically, but cutting out seafood is a step that you can take right away.

I recommend being on a deep cleansing protocol (involving minimal to no animal products, high amounts of raw fruits and vegetables, regular enemas, and periods of dry fasting) for at least two to three months before getting your amalgam fillings removed. This will ensure your organs are ready to handle the toxic load that is inevitably released during the process.

If you are interested in learning more about living Mucus-Free or would like support in making this lifestyle change, email me at info@jeffrobertswrites.com.

Step 2: Remove the source of your heavy metal toxicity

Once you’ve prepared the body by cleaning up your diet and removing obstruction in your organs, the next imperative step is to have your amalgam fillings removed.

Amalgam removal must be done by a trained dentist. It requires special equipment to ensure the patient is exposed to the least amount of mercury as possible. I worked with a holistic dentist to have all five of my fillings removed and I was thankful to be in good hands. Even the smallest vapour of mercury can have detrimental effects on our system.

This should be done by a dentist experienced in amalgam removal. The process requires things like special suction equipment, an oxygen mask, and a cotton/rubber damn setup, all of which ensure the least amount of mercury exposure as possible.

As a side note, it’s also important that your dentist does a full set of dental x-rays to ensure there is no amalgam hidden underneath crowns or other fillings. Trying to chelate mercury from your body while still having amalgam fillings is only a way to torture yourself.

The day before and after your amalgams are to be removed, increase your fat intake by eating foods like avocado, tahini, brazil nuts, etc., as this will help bind excess mercury being released during the procedure.

Furthermore, consuming a special toxin binder is an absolute must during the amalgam removal process. My favourite toxin binder is from the Master Fast System. It’s composed of activated charcoal, psyllium husk, bentonite clay, and some water or grape juice to mix. This plasma pudding sucks up toxins as it moves through your GI tract and will help unpleasant symptoms (headaches, mood swings, brain fog) brought on by the dislodged metals.

I recommend taking the pudding a few times a day around the time of your amalgam removal and then once in the evenings from there on out.

Step 3: Chelation and the ongoing detox process

Once your amalgams have been safely removed, give your body a grace period to deal with any mercury that may have been dislodged during the procedure.

Even a skilled dentist can’t prevent mercury from entering your system during the amalgam removal. Remember that mercury is toxic in extremely minute amounts, even a micro-vapour can cause substantial damage to the surrounding tissues. I recommend waiting at least 3 months while practicing the Mucus-Free diet before beginning the more direct chelation protocol. Avoid being too eager and jumping into chelation right away, I did this and experienced serious physical and psychological consequences.

Once your grace period is over and you’ve given the body time to naturally chelate any excess metals, then it’s time to dive into a more focused chelation protocol.

The Andy Cutler Chelation Protocol: 

After extensive research I’ve concluded that the Andy Cutler low-dose-frequent-chelation protocol (ACC method) is the most effective method for safely removing mercury from the body. Developed by Dr. Andy Cutler, a PhD. chemist, the process makes use of a powerful group of binding agents known as alpha-lipoic-acid (ALA), dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA), and 2,3-Dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid (DMPS). These binding agents pull mercury out from hard to reach places such as our fatty organ tissues (liver, kidneys, brain, spleen, etc.) and move them to our various excretory pathways (colon, kidneys, skin) to be eliminated.

I normally would not recommend chemical supplements, however, mercury is an extremely toxic substance that requires special measures. Using chelators like cilantro and spirulina can cause mercury to be picked up and then dropped again which can lead to serious physical and psychological reactions. I experienced this myself and nearly went insane with crippling anxiety, depression, and brain fog.

Although the ACC method is a bit more complex and individualized for each person, the method can be summed up as follows:

  • After your amalgams have been safely removed, you can begin chelating immediately with either DMSA or DMPS only. ALA can only start being taken 3 months after amalgam removal, and is the only chelating agent that will cross the blood brain barrier and pull mercury out of the brain.
  • Chelation is done in rounds. Each round is a minimum of 3 days/3 nights. Rounds can be extended to your personal preference (4-7 days), however, chelating mercury is very taxing on the adrenal glands and shorter rounds have been found to be less taxing.
  • You must the take breaks between rounds to recover the body’s energy reserves. The length of break is equal to the number of days you were on round. (i.e., 3 days on, 3 days off.)
  • Doses are taken every 3 hours for ALA (this includes at night), every 4 hours for DMSA, and every 8 hours for DMPS. If you miss a dose you must stop the round and wait to begin a new round. This must be followed due to the half-lives of these chelating agents.
  • When beginning chelation, start with a very low dose to see how you respond to the chelating agents. The recommended starting dosage is about 5mg for each chelating agent. If you don’t react negatively and you don’t feel taxed by the end of the round, up your dosage by 50% and repeat the process.
  • Supplements are also needed (vitamin C, magnesium, zinc, adrenal glandular herbs and extracts) to support the body during chelation.
  • The goal is to get to taking high levels of ALA (200mg+) without any chelation symptoms for a number of months.

This only a summary of the process. To learn more and to ask questions to those who have gone through this process fully, I would highly recommend joining the Andy Cutler Chelation: Safe Mercury and Heavy Metal Detox group on Facebook. This is a group of nearly 50,000 members, people who have successfully chelated mercury from their body and people are who are going through the chelation process currently.

The ACC method takes patience and determination. Depending on your level of toxicity it may take several years before your body is fully ridden of mercury. But there are thousands of people who have found their only success in this protocol, people who were completely bed ridden and near the point of suicide.

From my research and experience there is no other safe way to get mercury out of the body. It must be done slowly, consistently and in small amounts using the proper chelating agents while taking into consideration their half-lives.

Additional detox tools

I also recommend lemon enemas once a day for the first month of chelation. Lemon enemas strip toxins from the colon wall and help maintain regular bowel movements during detox.

Our colon is one of the primary pathways through which heavy metals eliminate, so if we aren’t having regular bowel movements, the toxins sit in the gut and recirculate through our blood. It may sound intimidating to do enemas regularly but I can attest that once you find your groove you will love them. They are an important tool to use during any detox period.

Tinctures offer glandular and organ support during detox. They will take your detox to an entirely new level.

Next on your ally list are tinctures. Herbal tinctures offer support for our organs during detox. Once we open Pandora’s box, toxins begin flooding our system and our organs can take a beating if it’s all happening too quickly.

Herbs purify our blood and lymph, and they support our various endocrine glands as well as our nervous system. I personally recommend Dr. Morse’s tinctures, especially the tinctures for liver support, kidney support, adrenal support, lymphatic support, and the brain and nervous system. He also carries a heavy metal detox tincture that can be used to dive deeper into the chelation process.

Remember that mercury and other heavy metals are buried all throughout the body, not just in the mouth. Over decades of exposure these heavy metals leech into our brain tissue, our gut, our bones, organs, hair, etc. Once we remove the primary source of mercury and heavy metal exposure, our body begins pulling the metals hidden in our deep tissues.

Breaking your fast with a juice gets your lymph fluid moving and opens up your eliminative channels for the day.

Breaking your morning fasts with a green juice or citrus juice is also a great way to open your detox pathways for the day. I usually do a citrus juice that includes grapefruit, orange, and lemon, which is amazing for moving the lymph and cleansing the liver and kidneys. Citrus fruits are also high in vitamin C which increases glutathione production. Glutathione is the master antioxidant; it protects the body from oxidation by binding to heavy metals. My green juices will usually include celery, lemon, cilantro and pineapple, all of which are amazing chelation allies.

Another important component to chelation is sweating. Our skin is another major eliminative pathway for heavy metals, so ensuring that we are sweating regularly will help speed up the healing process. Hot yoga, saunas (infrared or traditional), running, and rebounding are great ways to get your sweat on.

I’ve been applying all of these principles and protocols for the last three months and I’m feeling better everyday. One of the biggest factors to accept about this process is that there is no quick fix; you have to walk through the fire one step at a time and allow the body to purge its toxicity at a safe pace.

So for this reason and so much more, detoxification has become a way of life for me, and so much more than the physical aspects has unfolded since taking this journey. You can read more about this in my article, 5 Ways Your Life Transforms When You Go Mucus-Free.

Detoxing is an opportunity to heal your body in its entirety

All of what I’ve written about might seem like a lot to take in at once. You might be thinking, “I just want to get rid of the heavy metals, isn’t there an easier way?”

Again, from my experience there isn’t a better method I’ve discovered as of yet (you let me know if you have.)

Using the Living Mucus Free protocols combined with the Andy Cutler safe chelation method is the most powerful way to chelate while supporting the entire body.

The key is to treat the body as a whole during this process. Detoxification isn’t just going in with an ice pick and hacking away at one specific poison.

Detoxification involves a complete preparation of mind, body and spirit for the birth of a new you. It is a regeneration on a cellular level.

I speak for nearly every person on the planet when I say that we are a degenerate species. We’ve stepped so far away from nature that our cells have mutated, our organs have become obstructed, our nervous system weakened to the point that we no longer have the capacity to detox in the way we were designed to detox environmental poisons. For this reason we can’t expect to remove these heavy metals without addressing all aspects of our health at the same time. Cellular detoxification, the process which I’ve outlined in this article, is the only foundation for true healing in my opinion.

I always say, if you aren’t ready to make the changes necessary to heal your body, then you haven’t suffered enough. You haven’t suffered enough to let go of the things that are causing you pain and suffering, otherwise you would take the leap.

Many of us are attached to our disease label or story; it’s become a part of our identity to the point that we don’t want to let go of it. If this is where you are, honour your choice and know that you will be ready eventually. But if you are ready to let go of your suffering once and for all and experience new heights of living, then get ready for the joy and bliss you’ve been waiting for your whole life.

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Awareness

Epigenetic Memories Are Passed Down 14 Successive Generations, Game-Changing Research Reveals

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    It's amazing how much information can be passed on to our offspring. Scientist have discovered that our DNA has memories, and these can also be passed down. We are talking about thoughts, feelings, emotions and perceptions.

  • Reflect On:

    Biological changes are shaped by our environment, as well as our thoughts, feelings, emotions and reaction to that environment. Our DNA can be changed with belief, the placebo is a great example. Thoughts feelings and emotions are huge in biology.

This article was written by the Greenmedinfo research group, from Greenmedinfo.com. Posted here with permission.

Until recently, it was believed that our genes dictate our destiny. That we are slated for the diseases that will ultimately beset us based upon the pre-wired indecipherable code written in stone in our genetic material. The burgeoning field of epigenetics, however, is overturning these tenets, and ushering in a school of thought where nurture, not nature, is seen to be the predominant influence when it comes to genetic expression and our freedom from or affliction by chronic disease.

Epigenetics: The Demise of Biological Determinism

Epigenetics, or the study of the physiological mechanisms that silence or activate genes, encompasses processes which alter gene function without changing the sequence of nucleotide base pairs in our DNA. Translated literally to mean “in addition to changes in genetic sequence,” epigenetics includes processes such as methylation, acetylation, phosphorylation, sumolyation, and ubiquitylation which can be transmitted to daughter cells upon cell division (1). Methylation, for example, is the attachment of simple methyl group tags to DNA molecules, which can repress transcription of a gene when it occurs in the region of a gene promoter. This simple methyl group, or a carbon bound to three hydrogen molecules, effectively turns the gene off.

Post-translational modifications of histone proteins is another epigenetic process. Histones help to package and condense the DNA double helix into the cell nucleus in a complex called chromatin, which can be modified by enzymes, acetyl groups, and forms of RNA called small interfering RNAs and microRNAs (1). These chemical modifications of chromatin influence its three-dimensional structure, which in turn governs its accessibility for DNA transcription and dictates whether genes are expressed or not.

We inherit one allele, or variant, of each gene from our mother and the other from our father. If the result of epigenetic processes is imprinting, a phenomenon where one of the two alleles of a gene pair is turned off, this can generate a deleterious health outcome if the expressed allele is defective or increases our susceptibility to infections or toxicants (1). Studies link cancers of nearly all types, neurobehavioral and cognitive dysfunction, respiratory illnessesautoimmune disorders, reproductive anomalies, and cardiovascular disease to epigenetic mechanisms (1). For example, the cardiac antiarrhythmic drug procainamide and the antihypertensive agent hydralazine can cause lupus in some people by causing aberrant patterns of DNA methylation and disrupting signalling pathways (1).

Genes Load the Gun, Environment Pulls the Trigger

Pharmaceuticals, however, are not the only agents that can induce epigenetic disturbances. Whether you were born via vaginal birth or Cesarean section, breastfed or bottle-fed, raised with a pet in the house, or infected with certain childhood illnesses all influence your epigenetic expression. Whether you are sedentary, pray, smoke, mediate, do yoga, have an extensive network of social support or are alienated from your community—all of your lifestyle choices play into your risk for disease operating through mechanisms of epigenetics.

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In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that genetics account for only 10% of disease, with the remaining 90% owing to environmental variables (2). An article published in the Public Library of Science One (PLoS One) entitled “Genetic factors are not the major causes of chronic diseases” echoes these claims, citing that chronic disease is only 16.4% genetic, and 84.6% environmental (3). These concepts make sense in light of research on the exposome, the cumulative measure of all the environmental insults an individual incurs during their life course that determines susceptibility to disease (4)

In delineating the totality of exposures to which an individual is subjected over their lifetime, the exposome can be subdivided into three overlapping and intertwined domains. One segment of the exposome called the internal environment is comprised of processes innate to the body which impinge on the cellular milieu. This encompasses hormones and other cellular messengers, oxidative stress, inflammation, lipid peroxidation, bodily morphology, the gut microbiotaaging and biochemical stress (5).

Another portion of the exposome, the specific external environment, consists of exposures including pathogens, radiation, chemical contaminants and pollutants, and medical interventions, as well as dietary, lifestyle, and occupational elements (5). At an even broader sociocultural and ecological level is the segment of the exposome called the general external environment, which may circumscribe factors such as psychological stress, socioeconomic status, geopolitical variables, educational attainment, urban or rural residence, and climate (5).

Transgenerational Inheritance of Epigenetic Change: Endocrine Disruptors Trigger Infertility in Future Generations

Scientists formerly speculated that epigenetic changes disappear with each new generation during gametogenesis, the formation of sperm and ovum, and after fertilization. However, this theory was first challenged by research published in the journal Science which demonstrated that transient exposure of pregnant rats to the insecticide methoxychlor, an estrogenic compound, or the fungicide vinclozolin, an antiandrogenic compound, resulted in increased incidence of male infertility and decreased sperm production and viability in 90% of the males of four subsequent generations that were tracked (1).

Most notably, these reproductive effects were associated with derangements in DNA methylation patterns in the germ line, suggesting that epigenetic changes are passed on to future generations. The authors concluded, “The ability of an environmental factor (for example, endocrine disruptor) to reprogram the germ line and to promote a transgenerational disease state has significant implications for evolutionary biology and disease etiology” (6, p. 1466). This may suggest that the endocrine-disrupting, fragrance-laden personal care products and commercial cleaning supplies to which we are all exposed may trigger fertility problems in multiple future generations.

Transgenerational Inheritance of Traumatic Episodes: Parental Experience Shapes Traits of Offspring

In addition, traumatic experiences may be transmitted to future generations via epigenetics as a way to inform progeny about salient information needed for their survival (7). In one study, researchers wafted the cherry-like chemical acetophenone into the chambers of mice while administering electric shocks, conditioning the mice to fear the scent (7). This reaction was passed onto two successive generations, which shuddered significantly more in the presence of acetophenone despite never having encountered it compared to descendants of mice that had not received this conditioning (7).

The study suggests that certain characteristics of the parental sensory environment experienced before conception can remodel the sensory nervous system and neuroanatomy in subsequently conceived generations (7). Alterations in brain structures that process olfactory stimuli were observed, as well as enhanced representation of the receptor that perceives the odor compared to control mice and their progeny (7). These changes were conveyed by epigenetic mechanisms, as illustrated by evidence that the acetophenone-sensing genes in fearful mice were hypomethylated, which may have enhanced expression of odorant-receptor genes during development leading to acetophenone sensitivity (7).

The Human Experience of Famine and Tragedy Spans Generations

The mouse study, which illustrates how germ cells (egg and sperm) exhibit dynamic plasticity and adaptability in response to environmental signals, is mirrored by human studies. For instance, exposures to certain stressors such as starvation during the gestational period are associated with poor health outcomes for offspring. Women who undergo famine before conception of her offspring have been demonstrated to give birth to children with lower self-reported mental health and quality of life, for example (8).

Studies similarly highlight that, “Maternal famine exposure around the time of conception has been related to prevalence of major affective disorders, antisocial personality disorders, schizophrenia, decreased intracranial volume, and congenital abnormalities of the central nervous system” (8). Gestational exposure to the Dutch Famine of the mid-twentieth century is also associated with lower perceived health (9), as well as enhanced incidence of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and obesity in offspring (8). Maternal undernourishment during pregnancy leads to neonatal adiposity, which is a predictor of future obesity (10), in the grandchildren (11).

The impact of epigenetics is also exemplified by research on the intergenerational effects of trauma, which illuminates that descendants of people who survived the Holocaust exhibit abnormal stresshormone profiles, and low cortisol production in particular (12). Because of their impaired cortisol response and altered stress reactivity, children of Holocaust survivors are often at enhanced risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression (13).

Intrauterine exposure to maternal stress in the form of intimate partner violence during pregnancy can also lead to changes in the methylation status of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) of their adolescent offspring (14). These studies suggest that an individual’s experience of trauma can predispose their descendants to mental illness, behavioral problems, and psychological abnormalities due to “transgenerational epigenetic programming of genes operating in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis,” a complex set of interactions among endocrine glands which determine stress response and resilience (14).

Body Cells Pass Genetic Information Directly Into Sperm Cells

Not only that, but studies are illuminating that genetic information can be transferred through the germ line cells of a species in real time. These paradigm-shifting findings overturn conventional logic which postulates that genetic change occurs over the protracted time scale of hundreds of thousands or even millions of years. In a relatively recent study, exosomes were found to be the medium through which information was transferred from somatic cells to gametes.

This experiment entailed xenotransplantation, a process where living cells from one species are grafted into a recipient of another species. Specifically, human melanoma tumor cells genetically engineered to express genes for a fluorescent tracer enzyme called EGFP-encoding plasmid were transplanted into mice. The experimenters found that information-containing molecules containing the EGFP tracer were released into the animals’ blood (15). Exosomes, or “specialized membranous nano-sized vesicles derived from endocytic compartments that are released by many cell types” were found among the EGFP trackable molecules (16, p. 447).

Exosomes, which are synthesized by all plant and animal cells, contain distinct protein repertoires and are created when inward budding occurs from the membrane of multivesicular bodies (MVBs), a type of organelle that serves as a membrane-bound sorting compartment within eukaryotic cells (16). Exosomes contain microRNA (miRNA) and small RNA, types of non-coding RNA involved in regulating gene expression (16). In this study, exosomes delivered RNAs to mature sperm cells (spermatozoa) and remained stored there (15).

The researchers highlight that this kind of RNA can behave as a “transgenerational determinant of inheritable epigenetic variations and that spermatozoal RNA can carry and deliver information that cause phenotypic variations in the progeny” (15). In other words, the RNA carried to sperm cells by exosomes can preside over gene expression in a way that changes the observable traits and disease risk of the offspring as well as its morphology, development, and physiology.

This study was the first to elucidate RNA-mediated transfer of information from somatic to germ cells, which fundamentally overturns what is known as the Weisman barrier, a principle which states that the movement of hereditary information from genes to body cells is unidirectional, and that the information transmitted by egg and sperm to future generations remains independent of somatic cells and parental experience (15).

Further, this may bear implications for cancer risk, as exosomes contain vast amounts of genetic information which can be source of lateral gene transfer (17) and are abundantly liberated from tumor cells (18). This can be reconciled with the fact that exosome-resembling vesicles have been observed in various mammals (15), including humans, in close proximity to sperm in anatomical structures such as the epididymis as well as in seminal fluid (19). These exosomes may thereafter be propagated to future generations with fertilization and augment cancer risk in the offspring (20).

The researchers concluded that sperm cells can act as the final repositories of somatic cell-derived information, which suggests that epigenetic insults to our body cells can be relayed to future generations. This notion is confirmatory of the evolutionary theory of “soft inheritance” proposed by French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, whereby characteristics acquired over the life of an organism are transmitted to offspring, a concept which modern genetics previously rejected before the epigenetics arrived on the scene. In this way, the sperm are able to spontaneously assimilate exogenous DNA and RNA molecules, behaving both as vector of their native genome and of extrachromosomal foreign genetic material which is “then delivered to oocytes at fertilization with the ensuing generation of phenotypically modified animals” (15).

Epigenetic Changes Endure Longer Than Ever Predicted

In a recent study, nematode worms were manipulated to harbor a transgene for a fluorescent protein, which made the worms glow under ultraviolet light when the gene was activated (21). When the worms were incubated under the ambient temperature of 20° Celsius (68° Fahrenheit), negligible glowing was observed, indicating low activity of the transgene (21). However, transferring the worms to a warmer climate of 25°C (77° F) stimulated expression of the gene, as the worms glowed brightly (21).

In addition, this temperature-induced alteration in gene expression was found to persist for at least 14 generations, representing the preservation of epigenetic memories of environmental change across an unprecedented number of generations (21). In other words, the worms transmitted memories of past environmental conditions to their descendants, through the vehicle of epigenetic change, as a way to prepare their offspring for prevailing environmental conditions and ensure their survivability.

Future Directions: Where Do We Go From Here?

Taken cumulatively, the aforementioned research challenges traditional Mendelian laws of genetics, which postulate that genetic inheritance occurs exclusively through sexual reproduction and that traits are passed to offspring through the chromosomes contained in germ line cells, and never through somatic (bodily) cells. Effectively, this proves the existence of non-Mendelian transgenerational inheritance, where traits separate from chromosomal genes are transmitted to progeny, resulting in persistent phenotypes that endure across generations (22).

This research imparts new meaning to the principle of seven generation stewardship taught by Native Americans, which mandates that we consider the welfare of seven generations to come in each of our decisions. Not only should we embody this approach in practices of environmental sustainability, but we would be wise to consider how the conditions to which we subject our bodies—the pollution and toxicants which permeate the landscape and pervade our bodies, the nutrient-devoid soil that engenders micronutrient-poor food, the disruptions to our circadian rhythm due to the ubiquity of electronic devices, our divorce from nature and the demise of our tribal affiliations—may translate into ill health effects and diminished quality of life for a previously unfathomed number of subsequent generations.

Hazards of modern agriculture, the industrial revolution, and contemporary living are the “known or suspected drivers behind epigenetic processes…including heavy metals, pesticides, diesel exhaust, tobacco smoke, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, hormones, radioactivity, viruses, bacteria, and basic nutrients” (1, p. A160). Serendipitously, however, many inputs such as exercise, mindfulness, and bioactive components in fruits and vegetables such as sulforaphane in cruciferous vegetables, resveratrol from red grapes, genistein from soy, diallyl sulphide from garlic, curcumin from turmeric, betaine from beets, and green tea catechin can favorably modify epigenetic phenomena “either by directly inhibiting enzymes that catalyze DNA methylation or histone modifications, or by altering the availability of substrates necessary for those enzymatic reactions” (23, p. 8).

This quintessentially underscores that the air we breathe, the food we eat, the thoughts we allow, the toxins to which we are exposed, and the experiences we undergo may persevere in our descendants and remain in our progeny long after we are gone. We must be cognizant of the effects of our actions, as they elicit a ripple effect through the proverbial sands of time.

You can join the Greenmedinfo newsletter here for updates and more information about the world of health

References

1. Weinhold, B. (2006). Epigenetics: The Science of Change. Environmental Health Perspectives, 114(3), A160-A167.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Exposome and Exposomics. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/exposome/

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

4. Vrijheid, M. (2014). The exposome: a new paradigm to study the impact of environment on health. Thorax, 69(9), 876-878. doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2013-204949.

5. Wild, C.P. (2012). The exposome: from concept to utility. International Journal of Epidemiology, 41, 24–32. doi:10.1093/ije/dyr236

6. Anway, M.D. et al. (2005). Epigenetic transgenerational actions of endocrine disruptors and male fertility. Science, 308(5727), 1466-1469.

7. Dias, B.G., & Ressler, K.J. (2014). Parental olfactory experience influences behavior and neural structure in subsequent generations. Nature Neuroscience, 17(1), 89-98.

8. Stein, A.D. et al. (2009). Maternal exposure to the Dutch Famine before conception and during pregnancy: quality of life and depressive symptoms in adult offspring. Epidemiology, 20(6), doi:  10.1097/EDE.0b013e3181b5f227.

9. Roseboom, T.J. et al. (2003). Perceived health of adults after prenatal exposure to the Dutch famine. Paediatrics Perinatal Epidemiology, 17, 391–397.

10. Badon, S.E. et al. (2014). Gestational Weight Gain and Neonatal Adiposity in the Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome Study-North American Region. Obesity (Silver Spring), 22(7), 1731–1738.

11. Veenendaal, M.V. et al. (2013). Transgenerational effects of prenatal exposure to the 1944-45 Dutch famine. BJOG, 120(5), 548-53. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.

12. Yehuda, R., & Bierer, L.M. (2008). Transgenerational transmission of cortisol and PTSD risk. Progress in Brain Research, 167, 121-135.

13. Aviad-Wilcheck, Y. et al. (2013). The effects of the survival characteristics of parent Holocaust survivors on offsprings’ anxiety and depression symptoms. The Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences, 50(3), 210-216.

14. Radke, K.M. et al. (2011). Transgenerational impact of intimate partner violence on methylation in the promoter of the glucocorticoid receptor. Translational Psychiatry, 1, e21. doi: 10.1038/tp.2011.21.

15. Cossetti, C. et al. (2014). Soma-to-Germline Transmission of RNA in Mice Xenografted with Human Tumour Cells: Possible Transport by Exosomes. PLoS One, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0101629.

16. Zomer, A. et al. (2010). Exosomes: Fit to deliver small RNA. Communicative and Integrative Biology, 3(5), 447–450.

17. Balaj, L. et al. (2011) Tumour microvesicles contain retrotransposon elements and amplified oncogene sequences. Natural Communications, 2, 180.

18. Azmi, A.S., Bao, B., & Sarkar, F.H. (2013). Exosomes in cancer development, metastasis, and drug resistance: a comprehensive review. Cancer Metastasis Review, 32, 623-643

19. Poliakov, A. et al. (2009). Structural heterogeneity and protein composition of exosomes-like vesicles (prostasomes) in human semen. Prostate, 69, 159-167.

20. Cheng, R.Y. et al. (2004) Epigenetic and gene expression changes related to transgenerational carcinogenesis. Molecular Carcinogenesis, 40, 1–11.

21. Klosin, A. et al. (2017). Transgenerational transmission of environmental information in C. elegans. Science, 356(6335).

22. Lim, J.P., & Brunet, A. (2013). Bridging the transgenerational gap with epigenetic memory. Trends in Genetics, 29(3), 176-186. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2012.12.008

23. Choi, S.-W., & Friso, S. (2010). Epigenetics: A New Bridge between Nutrition and Health Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal, 1(1), 8-16. doi:10.3945/an.110.1004.

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Brain Imaging Shows Autistic Brains Contain HIGH Amounts of Aluminum

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A study published early in 2018 identified very high amounts of aluminum lodged in the brains of multiple people with autism.

  • Reflect On:

    We know little about where the heavy metals used as adjuvants in vaccines end up in the body. We now know that injected aluminum doesn't exit the body like aluminum intake from other sources. When injected, it ends up in the brain.

A study published earlier in 2018 should have made headlines everywhere, as it discovered historically high amounts of aluminum in autistic brains. The study was conducted by some of the worlds leading scientists in the field.

Five people were used in the study, four males and one female, all between the ages of 14-50. Each of their brains contained unsafe and high amounts of aluminum compared to patients with other diseases where high brain aluminum content is common, like Alzheimer’s disease, for example.

Of course, this caused people to downplay the study, citing a low sample group, but that’s not entirely a valid argument given the reason why this study was conducted. As cited in the study above, recent studies on animals, published within the past few years, have supported a strong connection between aluminum, and aluminum adjuvants used in human vaccinations, and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD.)

Studies have also shown that injected aluminum does not exit the body, and can be detected inside the brain even a year after injection. That being said, when we take aluminum in from sources such as food, the body does a great job of getting it out, but there is a threshold. It’s important to acknowledge that the aluminum found in the brain, could be due to the presence of aluminum adjuvants in vaccines. This latest study also identified the location of aluminum in these tissues, and where they end up. This particular study was done on humans, which builds upon, and still supports, the findings of the animal studies.

This is also important because the majority of studies that previously examined human exposure to aluminum have only used hair, blood and urine samples. The study also makes a clear statement regarding vaccines, stating that “Paediatric vaccines that include an aluminum adjuvant are an indirect measure of infant exposure to aluminum and their burgeoning use has been directly correlated with increasing prevalence of ASD.”

 Aluminum, in this case, was found in all four lobes of the brain.

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The aluminum content of brain tissues from donors with a diagnosis of ASD was extremely high (Table 1). While there was significant inter-tissue, inter-lobe and inter-subject variability the mean aluminium content for each lobe across all 5 individuals was towards the higher end of all previous (historical) measurements of brain aluminium content, including iatrogenic disorders such as dialysisencephalopathy[13][15][16][17][18][19]. All 4 male donors had significantly higher concentrations of brain aluminum than the single female donor. We recorded some of the highest values for brain aluminum content ever measured in healthy or diseased tissues in these male ASD donors

We Know, And Have Known, Aluminum Is Not Safe, Yet We Ignore It

When we talk about the ‘safe’ amount of aluminum here, there is no such thing. Aluminum is extremely toxic to any biological process, it’s not meant for us which is why it stayed deep within the Earth until we took it out. It has no place within us, and that’s simply due to the fact that it causes nothing but havoc. This makes it odd that we would put them in vaccinations despite the fact that for 100 years there has been no appropriate safety testing.

Aluminum is an experimentally demonstrated neurotoxin and the most commonly used vaccine adjuvant. Despite almost 90 years of widespread use of aluminum adjuvants, medical science’s understanding about their mechanisms of action is still remarkably poor. There is also a concerning scarcity of data on toxicology and pharmacokinetics of these compounds. In spite of this, the notion that aluminum in vaccines is safe appears to be widely accepted. Experimental research, however, clearly shows that aluminum adjuvants have a potential to induce serious immunological disorders in humans.

The quote above comes from a study published in 2011, it’s 2018 now and we’ve come along way in our understanding. We are starting to see even more research confirming the statement above.

Almost every study you read regarding previous studies on aluminum adjuvants within vaccines emphasized how the nature of its bioaccumulation is unknown, and a serious matter. We now know that it goes throughout the body, into distant organs eventually ends up in the brain.

Another fairly recent study from 2015 points out:

Evidence that aluminum-coated particles phagocytozed in the injected muscle and its draining lymph notes can disseminate within phagocytes throughout the body and slowly accumulate in the brain further suggests that alum safety should be evaluated in the long term.(source)

The pictures below come from the recent 2018 study and show ‘bright spots’ that indicate heavy metals in the brain.

 

The more recent study discussed in this article is adding to that evidence. Below you can watch one of the most recent interviews with Dr. Eric Exly, one of the world’s foremost leading authors on the subject, and one of the authors of this most recent study. He is a Biologist (University of Stirling) with a Ph.D. in the ecotoxicology of aluminum. You can read more about his background here.

Take Away

People need to understand that despite media bullying, it’s ok to question vaccine safety, and there is plenty of reason to. There are many concerns, and heavy metals are one of them. In fact, the persistence and abundant presence of heavy metals in our environment, foods and medications is a concern, one that has been the clear cause for a variety of health ailments, yet it’s one that’s hardly addressed by the medical industry.

You can detox from this with items such as Spirulina, and waters that contain a high Silica content. There are studies that show various methods of detoxing can be used to get this lodged aluminum, or some of it, out of your body, organs and brain. This is where educating yourself regarding the medicinal value of food and nutrition is a key Perhaps this can be a motivation to better your diet, especially if you have, are someone, or know someone with an ASD diagnosis.

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The CDC’s Influenza Math Doesn’t Add Up: Exaggerating the Death Toll to Sell Flu Shots

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The flu shot is irresponsibly marketed, unnecessary and in some cases dangerous. This perspective comes from many people and health professionals, yet it's a narrative that's constantly ignored.

  • Reflect On:

    Is a flu shot really necessary? Are our immune systems suffering from a lack of real immunity? Are vaccines doing more harm than good?

Every year at about this time, public health officials and their media megaphones start up the drumbeat to encourage everyone (including half-year-old infants, pregnant women and the invalid elderly) to get a flu shot. Never mind that more often than not the vaccines don’t work, and sometimes even increase the risk of getting sick.

To buttress their alarmist message for 2018-2019, representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health agencies held a press conference and issued a press release on September 27, citing a particularly “record-breaking” (though unsubstantiated) 80,000 flu deaths last year. Having “medical experts and public health authorities publicly…state concern and alarm (and predict dire outcomes)” is part and parcel of the CDC’s documented playbook for “fostering public interest and high…demand” for flu shots. CDC’s media relations experts frankly admit that “framing” the current flu season as “more severe than last or past years” or more “deadly” is a highly effective strategy for garnering strong interest and attention from both the media and the public.

If accurate, 80,000 deaths would represent an enormous (and mystifying) one-year jump—tens of thousands more flu deaths compared to the already inflated numbers presented for 2016 (and every prior year).

Peter Doshi (associate editor at The BMJ and a MIT graduate) has criticized the CDC’s “aggressive” promotion of flu shots, noting that although the annual public health campaigns deliver a “who-in-their-right-mind-could-possibly-disagree message,” the “rhetoric of science” trotted out each year by public health officials has a “shaky scientific basis.” Viewed within the context of Doshi’s remarks, the CDC’s high-flying flu numbers for 2017-2018 raise a number of questions. If accurate, 80,000 deaths would represent an enormous (and mystifying) one-year jump—tens of thousands more flu deaths compared to the already inflated numbers presented for 2016 (and every prior year). Moreover, assuming a roughly six-month season for peak flu activity, the 80,000 figure would translate to an average of over 13,300 deaths per month—something that no newspaper last year came close to reporting.

The CDC’s statistics are impervious to independent verification because they remain, thus far, unpublished—despite the agency’s pledge on its website to base its public health pronouncements on high-quality data derived openly and objectively. Could the CDC’s disappointment with influenza vaccination coverage—which lags far behind the agency’s target of 80%—have anything to do with the opacity of the flu data being used to peddle the unpopular and ineffective vaccines?

Fudging facts

There are a variety of reasons to question the precision with which the CDC likes to imbue its flu statistics. First, although the CDC states that it conducts influenza mortality surveillance with its partner agencies, there is no actual requirement for U.S. states to report adult flu deaths to the CDC. (In public health parlance, adult influenza deaths are not “reportable” or “nationally notifiable.”) In fact, the only “flu-associated deaths” that the CDC requires states and other jurisdictions to report are deaths in children—180 last year.

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…when actual death certificates are tallied, influenza deaths on average are little more than 1,000 yearly.

How did the CDC reach its as-yet-unpublished conclusion—widely shared with the media—that 79,820 American adults in addition to 180 children died from the flu in 2017-2018? The agency states that it relies on death certificate data. However, members of the Cochrane research community have observed that “when actual death certificates are tallied, influenza deaths on average are little more than 1,000 yearly.”

Other knowledgeable individuals have also noted that the death records system in the U.S. is subjective, incomplete and politicized, and have suggested that citizens should adopt a “healthy skepticism about even the most accepted, mainstream, nationally reported CDC or other ‘scientific’ statistics.” This skepticism may be especially warranted for the influenza stats, which are so inextricably intertwined with the CDC’s vaccination agenda that the statistical techniquesand assumptions that the agency uses focus specifically on “project[ing] the burden of influenza that would have occurred in the absence of vaccination.”

skepticism may be especially warranted for the influenza stats, which are so inetricably intertwined with the CDC’s vaccination agenda.

Notwithstanding its incessant use of influenza statistics to justify its flu vaccine policies, the CDC tries to have it both ways, cautioning that because “influenza activity reporting…is voluntary,” influenza surveillance in the U.S. “cannot be used to ascertain how many people have become ill with influenza during the influenza season.” A larger problem is that the vital statistics that form the basis of the CDC’s surveillance data conflate deaths from pneumonia and influenza (P&I). The CDC concedes that this conflation complicates the challenge of specifically estimating flu deaths:

The system “tracks the proportion of death certificates processed that list pneumonia or influenza as the underlying or contributing cause of death. This system…does not provide an exact number of how many people died from flu” [emphasis added].

Curiously, the CDC presented its cause-of-death data slightly differently prior to 2015. Through 2014, the agency’s annual National Vital Statistics Reports included tables showing influenza deaths and pneumonia deaths as separate line items. Those reports made it abundantly clear that pneumonia deaths (at least as transmitted by death certificates) consistently and dramatically outstripped influenza deaths. The table below illustrates this pattern for 2012-2014.

Starting in 2015, the annual vital statistics reports began displaying P&I together and eliminated the distinct line items. At present, only one tool remains to examine mortality associated with influenza as distinct from pneumonia—the CDC’s interactive FluView dashboard—which provides weekly national breakdowns. The dashboard shows the same general pattern as in the annual reports—that is, lower numbers of influenza deaths and much higher numbers of pneumonia deaths. Bearing in mind all the shortcomings and potential biases of death certificate data, dashboard reports for the first week of March (week 9) for the past three years show 257 influenza deaths versus 4,250 pneumonia deaths in 2016, and 534 and 736 flu deaths (versus over 4,000 annual pneumonia deaths) in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

When clinicians in outpatient settings do order testing, relatively few of the “flu” specimens—sometimes as low as 1%—actually test positive for influenza.

Semantic shenanigans

Semantics also play a key role in the CDC’s slippery communications about “flu.” For example, CDC’s outpatient surveillance focuses on the broad category of “influenza-like illness” (ILI)—an almost meaningless term describing general symptoms (fever, cough and/or sore throat) that any number of non-influenza viruses are equally capable of triggering. Cochrane lists several problems with the reliance on ILI to make inferences about influenza:

  • There is “no reliable system to monitor and quantify the epidemiology and impact of ILI” and no way of knowing what proportion of ILI is caused by influenza.
  • There are almost no reliable data on the number of ILI-related physician contacts or hospitalizations—and no one knows what proportion of ILI doctor visits and hospitalizations are due to influenza.

“Pneumonia,” too, is a catch-all diagnosis covering lung infections caused by a variety of different agents: viruses (non-influenza as well as influenza), bacteriafungiair pollutants and many others. Interestingly, hospitalization is a common route of exposure to pneumonia-causing pathogens, and mortality from hospital-acquired pneumonia exceeds 60%. In a plausible scenario, an adult hospitalized for suspected (but unconfirmed) “flu” could acquire a lethal pneumonia bug in the hospital, and their death might be chalked up to “flu” regardless of the actual facts, particularly because clinicians do not necessarily order influenza testing. When clinicians in outpatient settings do order testing, relatively few of the “flu” specimens—sometimes as low as 1%—actually test positive for influenza. Over the past couple of decades, the proportion of specimens testing positive has averaged around 15%—meaning that about 85% of suspected “flu” specimens are not, in fact, influenza.

Roughly four-fifths of the vaccine injury and death cases settled through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program are flu-vaccine-related.

Propaganda with a purpose

It takes little subtlety to recognize that the principal reason for flu hyperbole is to sell more vaccines. However, more and more people—even infectious disease specialists—are realizing that flu shots are fraught with problems. Roughly four-fifths of the vaccine injury and death cases settled through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program are flu-vaccine-related. A University of Toronto-based expert recently stated, “We have kind of hyped this vaccine so much for so long we are starting to believe our own hype.”

Pro-flu-vaccination studies—through their skillful placement in prestigious journals—tend to drown out other influenza studies that should be ringing warning bells. Published peer-reviewed studies show that:

  • Previous influenza vaccination, particularly in those who get a flu shot every year, diminishes or “blunts” the already low effectiveness of flu shots.
  • Getting vaccinated against influenza increases susceptibility to other severe respiratory viruses and also to other strains of influenza.
  • Mothers who receive influenza vaccines during pregnancy face an increased risk of miscarriages and their offspring face elevated risks of birth defects and autism.

A systematic review of influenza vaccine trials by Cochrane in 2010 urges the utmost caution. Noting that “studies funded from public sources [have been] significantly less likely [than industry-funded studies] to report conclusions favorable to the vaccines,” and citing evidence of “widespread manipulation of conclusions,” the Cochrane reviewers’ bottom line is that “reliable evidence on influenza vaccines is thin.” We should all keep those words in mind the next time the CDC and the media try to mischaracterize flu facts and science.

CHD is planning many strategies, including legal, in an effort to defend the health of our children and obtain justice for those already injured.  Your support is essential to CHD’s successful mission. Please visit our crowdfunding page.

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