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Depression: It’s Not Your Serotonin

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This article was written by Dr. Kelly Brogan, posted here with permission.

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Millions believe depression is caused by ‘serotonin deficiency,’ but where is the science in support of this theory?

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“Depression is a serious medical condition that may be due to a chemical imbalance, and Zoloft works to correct this imbalance.”

Herein lies the serotonin myth.

As one of only two countries in the world that permits direct to consumer advertising, you have undoubtedly been subjected to promotion of the “cause of depression.” A cause that is not your fault, but rather; a matter of too few little bubbles passing between the hubs in your brain! Don’t add that to your list of worries, though, because there is a convenient solution awaiting you at your doctor’s office…

What if I told you that, in 6 decades of research, the serotonin (or norepinephrine, or dopamine) theory of depression and anxiety has not achieved scientific credibility?

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You’d want some supporting arguments for this shocking claim.

So, here you go:

The Science of Psychiatry is Myth

Rather than some embarrassingly reductionist, one-deficiency-one-illness-one-pill model of mental illness, contemporary exploration of human behavior has demonstrated that we may know less than we ever thought we did.  And that what we do know about root causes of mental illness seems to have more to do with the concept of evolutionary mismatch than with genes and chemical deficiencies.

In fact, a meta-analysis of over 14,000 patients and Dr. Insel, head of the NIMH, had this to say:

“Despite high expectations, neither genomics nor imaging has yet impacted the diagnosis or treatment of the 45 million Americans with serious or moderate mental illness each year.”

To understand what imbalance is, we must know what balance looks like, and neuroscience, to date, has not characterized the optimal brain state, nor how to even assess for it.

A New England Journal of Medicine review on Major Depression, stated:

” … numerous studies of norepinephrine and serotonin metabolites in plasma, urine, and cerebrospinal fluid as well as postmortem studies of the brains of patients with depression, have yet to identify the purported deficiency reliably.”

The data has poked holes in the theory and even the field of psychiatry itself is putting down its sword. One of my favorite essays by Lacasse and Leo has compiled sentiments from influential thinkers in the field – mind you, these are conventional clinicians and researchers in mainstream practice – who have broken rank, casting doubt on the entirety of what psychiatry has to offer around antidepressants:

Humble Origins of a Powerful Meme

In the 1950s, reserpine, initially introduced to the US market as an anti-seizure medication, was noted to deplete brain serotonin stores in subjects, with resultant lethargy and sedation. These observations colluded with the clinical note that an anti-tuberculosis medication, iproniazid, invoked mood changes after five months of treatment in 70% of a 17 patient cohort. Finally, Dr. Joseph Schildkraut threw fairy dust on these mumbles and grumbles in 1965 with his hypothetical manifesto entitled “The Catecholamine Hypothesis of Affective Disorders” stating:

“At best, drug-induced affective disturbances can only be considered models of the natural disorders, while it remains to be demonstrated that the behavioral changes produced by these drugs have any relation to naturally occurring biochemical abnormalities which might be associated with the illness.”

Contextualized by the ripeness of a field struggling to establish biomedical legitimacy (beyond the therapeutic lobotomy!), psychiatry was ready for a rebranding, and the pharmaceutical industry was all too happy to partner in the effort.

Of course, the risk inherent in “working backwards” in this way (noting effects and presuming mechanisms) is that we tell ourselves that we have learned something about the body, when in fact, all we have learned is that patented synthesized chemicals have effects on our behavior. This is referred to as the drug-based model by Dr. Joanna Moncrieff. In this model, we acknowledge that antidepressants have effects, but that these effects in no way are curative or reparative.

The most applicable analogy is that of the woman with social phobia who finds that drinking two cocktails eases her symptoms. One could imagine how, in a 6 week randomized trial, this “treatment” could be found efficacious and recommended for daily use and even prevention of symptoms. How her withdrawal symptoms after 10 years of daily compliance could lead those around her to believe that she “needed” the alcohol to correct an imbalance. This analogy is all too close to the truth.

Running With Broken Legs

Psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Carlat has said:

“And where there is a scientific vacuum, drug companies are happy to insert a marketing message and call it science. As a result, psychiatry has become a proving ground for outrageous manipulations of science in the service of profit.”

So, what happens when we let drug companies tell doctors what science is? We have an industry and a profession working together to maintain a house of cards theory in the face of contradictory evidence.

We have a global situation in which increases in prescribing are resulting in increases in severity of illness (including numbers and length of episodes) relative to those who have never been treated with medication.

To truly appreciate the breadth of evidence that states antidepressants are ineffective and unsafe, we have to get behind the walls that the pharmaceutical companies erect. We have to unearth unpublished data, data that they were hoping to keep in the dusty catacombs.

A now famous 2008 study in the New England Journal of Medicine by Turner et al sought to expose the extent of this data manipulation. They demonstrated that, from 1987 to 2004, 12 antidepressants were approved based on 74 studies. Thirty-eight were positive, and 37 of these were published.  Thirty-six were negative (showing no benefit), and 3 of these were published as such while 11 were published with a positive spin(always read the data not the author’s conclusion!), and 22 were unpublished.

In 1998 tour de force, Dr. Irving Kirsch, an expert on the placebo effect, published a metaanalysis of 3,000 patients who were treated with antidepressants, psychotherapy, placebo, or no treatment and found that only 27% of the therapeutic response was attributable to the drug’s action.

This was followed up by a 2008 review, which invoked the Freedom of Information Act to obtain access to unpublished studies, finding that, when these were included, antidepressants outperformed placebo in only 20 of 46 trials (less than half!), and that the overall difference between drugs and placebos was 1.7 points on the 52 point Hamilton Scale.  This small increment is clinically insignificant, and likely accounted for by medication side effects strategically employed (sedation or activation).

When active placebos were used, the Cochrane database found that differences between drugs and placebos disappeared, given credence to the assertion that inert placebos inflate perceived drug effects.

The finding of tremendous placebo effect in the treatment groups was also echoed in two different meta-analyses by Khan et al who found a 10% difference between placebo and antidepressant efficacy, and comparable suicide rates. The most recent trial examining the role of “expectancy” or belief in antidepressant effect, found that patients lost their perceived benefit if they believed that they might be getting a sugar pill even if they were continued on their formerly effective treatment dose of Prozac.

The largest, non-industry funded study, costing the public $35 million dollars, followed 4000 patients treated with Celexa (not blinded, so they knew what they were getting), and found that half of them improved at 8 weeks. Those that didn’t were switched to Wellbutrin, Effexor, or Zoloft OR “augmented” with Buspar or Wellbutrin.

Guess what? It didn’t matter what was done, because they remitted at the same unimpressive rate of 18-30% regardless with only 3% of patients in remission at 12 months.

How could it be that medications like Wellbutrin, which purportedly primarily disrupt dopamine signaling, and medications like Stablon which theoretically enhances the reuptake of serotonin, both work to resolve this underlying imbalance? Why would thyroid, benzodiazepines, beta blockers, and opiates also “work”? And what does depression have in common with panic disorder, phobias, OCD, eating disorders, and social anxiety that all of these diagnoses would warrant the same exact chemical fix?

Alternative options

As a holistic clinician, one of my bigger pet peeves is the use of amino acids and other nutraceuticals with  “serotonin-boosting” claims. These integrative practitioners have taken a page from the allopathic playbook and are seeking to copy-cat what they perceive antidepressants to be doing.

The foundational “data” for the modern serotonin theory of mood utilizes tryptophan depletion methods which involve feeding volunteers amino acid mixtures without tryptophan and are rife with complicated interpretations.

Simply put, there has never been a study that demonstrates that this intervention causes mood changes in any patients who have not been treated with antidepressants.

In an important paper entitled Mechanism of acute tryptophan depletion: Is it only serotonin?, van Donkelaar et al caution clinicians and researchers about the interpretation of tryptophan research. They clarify that there are many potential effects of this methodology, stating:

“In general, several findings support the fact that depression may not be caused solely by an abnormality of 5-HT function, but more likely by a dysfunction of other systems or brain regions modulated by 5-HT or interacting with its dietary precursor. Similarly, the ATD method does not seem to challenge the 5-HT system per se, but rather triggers 5HT-mediated adverse events.”

So if we cannot confirm the role of serotonin in mood and we have good reason to believe that antidepressant effect is largely based on belief, then why are we trying to “boost serotonin”?

Causing imbalances

All you have to do is spend a few minutes on http://survivingantidepressants.org/or http://beyondmeds.com/ to appreciate that we have created a monster. Millions of men, women, and children the world over are suffering, without clinical guidance (because this is NOT a part of medical training) to discontinue psychiatric meds. I have been humbled, as a clinician who seeks to help these patients, by what these medications are capable of. Psychotropic withdrawal can make alcohol and heroin detox look like a breeze.

An important analysis by the former director of the NIMH makes claims that antidepressants “create perturbations in neurotransmitter functions” causing the body to compensate through a series of adaptations which occur after “chronic administration” leading to brains that function, after a few weeks, in a way that is “qualitatively as well as quantitatively different from the normal state.”

Changes in beta-adrenergic receptor density, serotonin autoreceptor sensitivity, and serotonin turnover all struggle to compensate for the assault of the medication.

Andrews, et al., calls this “oppositional tolerance,” and demonstrate through a careful meta-analysis of 46 studies demonstrating that patient’s risk of relapse is directly proportionate to how “perturbing” the medication is, and is always higher than placebo (44.6% vs 24.7%). They challenge the notion that findings of decreased relapse on continued medication represent anything other than drug-induced response to discontinuation of a substance to which the body has developed tolerance. They go a step further to add:

“For instance, in naturalistic studies, unmedicated patients have much shorter episodes, and better long-term prospects, than medicated patients. Several of these studies have found that the average duration of an untreated episode of major depression is 12–13 weeks.”

Harvard researchers also concluded that at least fifty percent of drug-withdrawn patients relapsed within 14 months. In fact:

“Long-term antidepressant use may be depressogenic . . . it is possible that antidepressant agents modify the hardwiring of neuronal synapses (which) not only render antidepressants ineffective but also induce a resident, refractory depressive state.”

So, when your doctor says, “You see, look how sick you are, you shouldn’t have stopped that medication,” you should know that the data suggests that your symptoms are withdrawal, not relapse.

Longitudinal studies demonstrate poor functional outcomes for those treated with 60% of patients still meeting diagnostic criteria at one year (despite transient improvement within the first 3 months). When baseline severity is controlled for, two prospective studies support a worse outcome in those prescribed medication:

One in which the never-medicated group experienced a 62% improvement by six months, whereas the drug-treated patients experienced only a 33% reduction in symptoms, and another WHO study of depressed patients in 15 cities which found that, at the end of one year, those who weren’t exposed to psychotropic medications enjoyed much better “general health”; that their depressive symptoms were much milder”; and that they were less likely to still be “mentally ill.” 

I’m not done yet. In a retrospective 10-year study in the Netherlands, 76% of those with unmedicated depression recovered without relapse relative to 50% of those treated.

Unlike the mess of contradictory studies around short-term effects, there are no comparable studies that show a better outcome in those prescribed antidepressants long term.

First Do No Harm

So, we have a half-baked theory in a vacuum of science that that pharmaceutical industry raced to fill. We have the illusion of short-term efficacy and assumptions about long-term safety. But are these medications actually killing people?

The answer is yes.

Unequivocally, antidepressants cause suicidal and homicidal behavior. The Russian Roulette of patients vulnerable to these “side effects” is only beginning to be elucidated and may have something to do with genetic variants around metabolism of these chemicals.  Dr. David Healy has worked tirelessly to expose the data that implicates antidepressants in suicidality and violence, maintaining a database for reporting, writing, and lecturing about cases of medication-induced death that could make your soul wince.

What about our most vulnerable?

I have countless patients in my practice who report new onset of suicidal ideation within weeks of starting an antidepressant. In a population where there are only 2 randomized trials, I have grave concerns about postpartum women who are treated with antidepressants before more benign and effective interventions such as dietary modification and thyroid treatment. Hold your heart as you read through these reportsof women who took their own and their childrens’ lives while treated with medications.

Then there is the use of these medications in children as young as 2 years old. How did we ever get the idea that this was a safe and effective treatment for this demographic? Look no further than data like Study 329, which cost Glaxo Smith Klein 3 billion dollars for their efforts to promote antidepressants to children. These efforts required ghost-written and manipulated data that suppressed a signal of suicidality, falsely represented Paxil as outperforming placebo, and contributes to an irrepressible mountain of harmdone to our children by the field of psychiatry.

RIP Monoamine Theory

As Moncrieff and Cohen so succinctly state:

“Our analysis indicates that there are no specific antidepressant drugs, that most of the short-term effects of antidepressants are shared by many other drugs, and that long-term drug treatment with antidepressants or any other drugs has not been shown to lead to long-term elevation of mood. We suggest that the term “antidepressant” should be abandoned.”

So, where do we turn?

The field of psychoneuroimmunology dominates the research as an iconic example of how medicine must surpass its own simplistic boundaries if we are going to begin to chip away at the some 50% of Americans who will struggle with mood symptoms, 11% of whom will be medicated for it.

There are times in our evolution as a cultural species when we need to unlearn what we think we know. We have to move out of the comfort of certainty and into the freeing light of uncertainty. It is from this space of acknowledged unknowing that we can truly grow. From my vantage point, this growth will encompass a sense of wonder – both a curiosity about what symptoms of mental illness may be telling us about our physiology and spirit, as well as a sense of humbled awe at all that we do not yet have the tools to appreciate. For this reason, honoring our co-evolution with the natural world, and sending the body a signal of safety through movement, diet, meditation, and environmental detoxification represents our most primal and most powerful tool for healing.


Learn more by taking Dr. Kelly Brogan’s E-Course Vital Mind Reset.

GreenMedInfo LLC. . This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC.  Where it first originally appeared. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.”


Dr. Brogan is boarded in Psychiatry/Psychosomatic Medicine/Reproductive Psychiatry and Integrative Holistic Medicine, and practices Functional Medicine, a root-cause approach to illness as a manifestation of multiple-interrelated systems. After studying Cognitive Neuroscience at M.I.T., and receiving her M.D. from Cornell University, she completed her residency and fellowship at Bellevue/NYU. She is one of the nation’s only physicians with perinatal psychiatric training who takes a holistic evidence-based approach in the care of patients with a focus on environmental medicine and nutrition. She is also a mom of two, and an active supporter of women’s birth experience. She is the Medical Director for Fearless Parent, and an advisory board member for GreenMedInfo.comVisit her website.

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World Doctors Alliance: “We Do Not Have A Medical Pandemic.” Fake News?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Formed under the “Corona Extra-Parliamentary Inquiry Committee,” an alliance of hundreds of doctors and scientists, the "World Doctors Alliance recently held a press conference sharing their views about the coronavirus.

  • Reflect On:

    Why are tens of thousands of doctors and scientists all over the world being ridiculed and in many cases censored for sharing their research and opinions?

What Happened: Once again, doctors and scientists are and have been sharing the opinion that COVID-19 should not be classified as a pandemic virus due to the fact that it’s, in their opinion, nowhere near as dangerous as big media is making it out to be.

An organization made up of well over 500 German doctors and scientists called “Corona Extra-Parliamentary Inquiry Committee” who share the same perception discussed in this article have also created the “World Doctors Alliance.” Not long ago they held a press  sharing their perspective.

Below is a clip of one of the members, Dr. Elke De Klerk, founder of Doctors for Truth from the Netherlands sharing her thoughts. Below that you will find the press conference recently held by the alliance.

Many expert have been emphasizing that we are dealing with something no more dangerous than the flu. For example, approximately 40,000 scientists, doctors and more than half a million concerned citizens have now signed The Great Barrington Declaration. The declaration explains that “Covid-19 is less dangerous than many other harms, including influenza.”

The CDC also released new infection/fatality estimates that show numbers on par with seasonal flu. This recent release also has many people and experts calling into question the severity of the virus, this was well after John P. A. Ioannidis, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Stanford University  said that the infection fatality rate is close to 0 percent for people under the age of 45 years old.

The Physicians For Informed Consent (PIC) recently published a report titled  “Physicians for Informed Consent (PIC) Compares COVID-19 to Previous Seasonal and Pandemic Flu Periods.” According to them, the infection/fatality rate of COVID-19 is 0.26%. You can read more about that and access their resources and reasoning here.

Then there is the controversy surrounding the PCR tests and the idea that a large majority of cases may actually be false positives. You can read more about that here and here. This as been coupled with the fact that many COVID deaths may not have actually been the result of COVID. You can read more about that here and here.

These groups are made up of veteran experts in the field, Nobel Laureates, Professors of Medicine, Doctors and more, yet all it takes is for an Anthony Fauci like figure to oppose their opinion, and this is the perspective that gets beamed across mainstream media outlets, radio and television while the opposing view is nothing but ridiculed and “debunked.” This is very bizarre to say the least, mainstream media alone has the power to make the majority seem like the minority, and the minority seem like the majority. They have a huge reach when it comes to regulating the perception of the masses.

The exampels listed above are a few of many.

Right now, the Great Barrington Declaration mentioned above and the idea of “heard immunity” is being heavily ridiculed in the mainstream, without any of the renowned scientists who support the declaration having an opportunity to share their opinion via mainstream media.

For the other side of the coin, here’s a perspective you can read from Health Feedback, a Facebook Fact-Checker, with regards to infection fatality rate. According to them it’s much higher than the flu, and COVID is very dangerous.

Below is a recent full press conference held by the alliance.

Is This Fake News? Nothing in this article is fake, these opinions are actually being shared by doctors and scientists around the world, and a lot of them. As far as what they are saying and the opinions expressed above, this is what’s come under the scrutiny of Facebook Fact-Checkers. It’s been emphasized during this pandemic that any type of information that does not come straight from federal health regulatory agencies and the World Health Organization is not to be trusted.

Here’s an article from Health Feedback, for example, explaining why low infection fatality numbers do not mean that the virus is not dangerous.

The organizations above have been speaking up regarding the censorship they’ve experienced from social media giants, and this has also been a common theme throughout this pandemic. Michael Levitt, a Biophysicist and a professor of structural biology at Stanford University, criticized the WHO as well as Facebook for censoring different information and informed perspectives regarding the Coronavirus. According to him, “the level of stupidity” going on here is amazing.

The Takeaway: It’s been quite intriguing to see so many scientists and doctors completely oppose the recommendations and claims made by the World Health Organization (WHO) since the beginning of this pandemic. What’s even more shocking for lots of people is the fact that many scientists and doctors have been completely censored for sharing their research and opinion regarding anything to do with COVID if it opposes the information and recommendations set out by the WHO.

It’s not hard to see why so many people are confused and so many of us have beliefs that completely differ from one another.

Should people not have the right to examine information and opinions and decide for themselves what is and what isn’t Should there be a digital fact checker patrolling the internet limiting peoples ability to see certain information? Do organizations like the WHO and our governments really make decisions that are in and for our best interests, or are there other interests being served here?

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Awareness

Our Body Makes Neurotransmitters, Should We Give It Nutrition Instead of Psych Meds?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    If our body is nutrient deficient or full of toxins, it can lead to cell death,  immunodeficiency, and physical and mental health illness. When diet and lifestyle is addressed remarkable changes can occur.

  • Reflect On:

    Have you ever tested your nutrient levels? How much time and care are you putting into your diet to ensure that your body is getting what it needs to thrive?

“Those with psychiatric symptoms aren’t missing certain chemicals. They are missing certain nutrients that make those chemicals.” – Healing Without Hurting

Our bodies are amazing machines. When we provide our cells with nutrient-dense whole food nutrition free of chemicals, additives, pesticides, and herbicides, our bodies flourish. If our body is nutrient deficient or full of toxins, it can lead to cell death,  immunodeficiency, and physical and mental health illness. According to the July 2017 edition of Nutrients, thirty-one to forty-five percent of the United States population has some nutritional deficiency. Before a psychiatrist prescribes a psychiatric medication, testing for levels of nutrients in the body is essential.

The brain is the greediest organ of our body, with some particular dietary requirements. It’s hardly surprising that nutritional deficiencies lead to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, memory deficiencies, attention, cognition issuessleep problems, and sensory processing disorders. The most common nutrient deficiencies leading to mental disorders are omega–3 fatty acids, B vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that are precursors to neurotransmitters.

When diet and lifestyle is addressed, and an intervention is put in place to correct for deficiencies, there is a remarkable change. In a 2016 study in the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, “patients reported multiple benefits across all conditions addressed and felt their emotional and or neurological symptoms diminished significantly.”

Other symptoms of nutritional deficiencies include weight gain due to a slower metabolism, fatigue, salt and sugar cravings, muscle weakness, diminished sex drive, hair loss, brittle hair and nails, and scaly skin. There are many causes of nutritional deficiencies including, eating a Standard American Diet (SAD) lacking essential nutrients, low absorption due to poor digestion, metabolic issues due to genetic mutations, lack of nutrients in our soil, and medications. And so, a vicious cycle ensues.

Common medications deplete vital nutrients essential to your health.” -Hyla Cass, MD.

The sad reality is that many people eat poorly-paying no attention to how their eating habits affect their mental health, and many are too quick to find the “quick fix” remedy. Our allopathic psychiatrists and doctors do not get training in a systems biology to treatment, nor are they encouraged to offer this advice. The lack of knowledge in this area is primarily because the pharmaceutical companies fund our medical schools. There is no money in good nutrition or healthy people.

Why We Need to Eat Enough Protein

Eating enough protein is vital. We can get adequate protein from many plant sources, as well as meat products. Everyone talks about how those with mental health issues need more dopamine or serotonin, which usually translates into more medication. However, if we look at the physiology behind how neurotransmitters are made in the first place, most of them depend on an adequate intake of protein. Protein is broken down into amino acids, and the amino acids are then converted to neurotransmitters with the help of other nutrients such as B vitamins and specific minerals.

Interestingly, medication does not increase the levels of these chemicals in the body; it only re-uptakes what is already there. So, if a person is deficient, the medication may do little to remedy the situation. If it recirculated back to the brain where there may be too much already, side-effects could occur.

Two of the most common brain chemicals involved with depression are dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals, called neurotransmitters, regulate mood. Serotonin deficiency can lead to depression. Hence why antidepressants known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are typically the go-to medication treatment.

Serotonin is actually created by an amino acid called tryptophan. Niacin (vitamin B3) is part of the metabolizing process of forming serotonin from tryptophan. Therefore, niacin deficiency can also directly impact mood by affecting your production of serotonin. Dopamine is produced from the amino acid tyrosine and phenylalanine, both of which can be obtained from protein-rich foods.

Melatonin is an important hormone that helps to regulate our sleep cycle. The conversion of serotonin to melatonin is controlled by the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus, the coordinator of the body’s circadian rhythms. Many doctors, both holistic and conventional, often recommend it for sleep problems. Although generally safe in lower doses and limited time, supplementing this powerful hormone may have some side effects. Some of them include nightmares, grogginess, seizures, tics, headaches, nausea, diabetes, small testicles, and depression. To avoid synthetic substitutes, we can provide the brain’s pineal gland what it needs to make melatonin. The necessary nutrients include tryptophan, GABA, fatty acids, B vitamins, zinc, and magnesium.

As one can see, proper nutrition and getting enough nutrients is essential to our mental well-being. Instead of running to get a script, perhaps it is time to address the many other root causes of mental health issues, including nutritional deficiencies. To learn more about how to help you or your family overcome ADHD, autism, and mental health conditions, while at the same time improving your overall health, I am offering a FREE downloadable PDF of an online presentation I recently gave containing these tips and much more. Learn why eating protein is essential and why microbiome diversity is critical. SIGN UP HERE to receive your free download today. And to purchase my award-winning book Healing Without Hurting, click here.

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WHO Estimates 35 Million Infected With COVID

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Executive director of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Health Emergencies Programme Dr. Michael Ryan recently stated that according to their best estimates, 10 percent of the world's population has been infected with Sars-Cov-2.

  • Reflect On:

    Are rising case numbers as much as a concern as they're being made out to be? Is COVID more dangerous than all other viruses that have been circling the globe before it, infecting hundreds of millions and killing tens of million a year?

This article has been updated and corrected.

What Happened: Dr Michael Ryan, a former trauma surgeon and epidemiologist who is now the executive director of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Health Emergencies Programme recently revealed that the WHO believes approximately 10 percent of the world’s population has been infected with COVID-19. This is their “best estimate” and far exceeds the number of officially recognized cases. The idea that more people are infected than we are aware of has been a common theme and the general consensus among the scientific community since early on in this pandemic. For example, a study published in April  by several academics from the Stanford School of Medicine suggested that COVID-19 has infected many more than what the tests were showing, driving the infection fatality rate on par with seasonal influenza.

Our current best estimates tell us that about ten percent of the global population may have been infected by this virus. This varies depending on country, it varies from urban to rural, it varies between different groups.” – Dr Ryan, “session 1” at 1:01:33 (source)

This latest estimate means approximately 780 million people have been infected, and the number will continue to grow according to the WHO. Although Dr. Ryan emphasized that “the vast majority of the world remains at risk” the number of people infected puts the estimated infection fatality rate at 0.14 percent, on par with seasonal flu and more than 24 times lower than the WHO’s original estimate of 3.4% back in March. This was the number used to justify lockdown measures, causing fear and hysteria amongst the general population. The global death toll attributed to COVID-19 is now 1,092,325, at the time of writing this article it was 1,061,539.

According to Facebook Fact Checker Health Feedback,

As Ryan clarified during a 12 October 2020 virtual press conference, he did not confirm that 10% of the global population had been infected, but that 10% was the upper bound of the estimated number of infections so far:

[W]hat I was actually trying to communicate was that the vast majority of human beings on this planet remain susceptible to the virus. I believe what I said was that many studies had demonstrated that 10% or less of people had been infected, although that was very variable with some slum areas, high-risk populations like health workers being much higher.

Maria Van Kerkhove, epidemiologist and COVID-19 technical lead for the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, stated that recent estimates of COVID-19’s IFR “all converge around a point estimate of around 0.6%. That may not sound like a lot, but that is a lot higher than influenza, and the infection fatality ratio increases dramatically with age.” Most recent studies estimate an overall COVID-19 IFR around 0.68%[1], which is consistent with the general scientific consensus that COVID-19 is at least ten times more deadly than seasonal flu.

As Christophe Fraser, an epidemiologist at Oxford University, explained in a Twitter thread, the overall IFR estimate for an average seasonal flu is around 0.04%. Thus, even if COVID-19’s IFR was indeed 0.14% as claimed, it would still be about four times higher than that of seasonal flu.

You can read more from them here.

If deaths attributed to COVID are not actually a result of COVID, then the rate would be even lower. You can read more about that here.

Why This Is Important: These numbers beg the question, does COVID really warrant mass global lockdowns and other preventative measures we’ve taken, or should it simply be treated as another virus like many others than have been circling the globe for decades, killing and infecting tens of millions of people every single year. Many people are asking how COVID is any different.

More than 34, 000 scientists and doctors, as well as more than 150,000 people have signed the Great Barrington Declaration, opposing a second COVID-19 lockdown because, according to them, it’s doing much more harm than good.

It’s called “The Great Barrington Declaration” and it states the following:

 “Covid-19 is less dangerous than many other harms, including influenza. As immunity builds in the population, the risk of infection to all – including the vulnerable – falls. We know that all populations will eventually reach herd immunity – i.e.  the point at which the rate of new infections is stable – and that this can be assisted by (but is not dependent upon) a vaccine. Our goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity.

The Physicians For Informed Consent (PIC) recently published a report titled  “Physicians for Informed Consent (PIC) Compares COVID-19 to Previous Seasonal and Pandemic Flu Periods.” According to them, the infection/fatality rate of COVID-19 is 0.26%. You can read more about that and access their resources and reasoning here.

A group of Canadian doctors in the province of Ontario have come together and written an open letter to Ontario premier Doug Ford. The letter is signed by 20 doctors and professors of medicine from faculties at the University of Toronto, McMaster University and the University of Ottawa and from hospitals such as Sick Kids. The letter was sent to ford on September 27th, and it argues against a return to lockdown measures as a way to tackle rising COVID-19 cases. You can read more about that here.

The CDC also released new infection/fatality estimates that also has many people and experts calling into question the severity of the virus, this was well after John P. A. Ioannidis, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Stanford University has said that the infection fatality rate is close to 0 percent for people under the age of 45 years old. It turns out he was right.

A recent article published in the British Medical Journal  has suggested that quarantine measures in the United Kingdom as a result of the new coronavirus may have already killed more UK seniors than the coronavirus has during the peak of the virus. You can access that and read more about it here.

In Germany, more than 500 German doctors & scientists have signed on as representatives of an organization called the “Corona Extra-Parliamentary Inquiry Committee” to investigate what’s happening on our planet with regards to COVID-19 and express the same sentiments. You can read more about that here.

The list of medical and scientific experts opposing the measures being taken by multiple governments is quite long. The examples above simply represent a tidbit and I’ve used them in multiple articles, but I just wanted to get the point across with a few examples. .

Not long ago  I wrote about Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a Professor of Medicine at Stanford University who recently gave an interview stating “there is more harm from the lockdown than there is from COVID.” He’s one of many experts who feel this way, and explains why. In that article I put more examples of renowned doctors and scientists from around the world who do and have opposed lockdown measures.

Implementation of the current draconian measures that are so extremely restrict fundamental rights can only be justified if there is reason to fear that a truly, exceptionally dangerous virus is threatening us. Do any scientifically sound data exist to support this contention for COVID-19? I assert that the answer is simply, no – Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, a specialist in microbiology and one of the most cited research scientists in German history (source)

The Other Side of The Coin: According to Facebook fact-checker Health Feedback,

The claim that the COVID-19 pandemic response has been unwarranted has taken many forms. Some involved misleading comparisons with other respiratory diseases like the flu and tuberculosis, while others relied on misinterpretations of COVID-19 mortality reports and unsupported accounts of fabricated COVID-19 test results. In September 2020, numerous Facebook posts making the same claim emerged (see examples here and here), this time highlighting the age-specific infection mortality ratio (IFR) that was added to the website of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on 10 September 2020 (see archive of website with the update note). These posts have gone viral, receiving more than 37,000 shares.

They note that a low IFR does not equate to a virus that is not dangerous, and in fact point to the exact opposite.

They go on to explain that

Scientists have observed that some survivors suffer from damage to various organs, including the lungs and heart, as well as the nervous system. Such damage could lead to chronic health problems, as this news article in Science reported, although it is currently unclear exactly how long such damage persists and how often it occurs. However, the long-term health effects of COVID-19 can be so severe that physicians and researchers are preparing to provide rehabilitation services to patients to facilitate their return to a functional life[2,3].

Finally, even a small IFR can translate into a large number of deaths if the virus spreads among a large group of people. Indeed, in spite of COVID-19’s relatively small IFR, the U.S. has recorded more than 200,000 COVID-19 deaths at the time of this review’s publication while there have been more than 1 million COVID-19 deaths worldwide, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center by Johns Hopkins University.

You can read their full post here.

Why This Is Important:

The point is, the number of scientists and doctors around the world who are opposing actions taken by multiple governments, as well as recommendations from the WHO is quite overwhelming. What’s suspicious is the fact that none of these measures ever quite receive the mainstream media attention that they deserve, and one narrative/perception of COVID seems to dominate our television screens.

Is there a battle for our perception happening right now? Is our consciousness being manipulated? Why is there so much conflicting information if everything is crystal clear? Why are alternative treatments that have shown tremendous amounts of success being completely ignored and ridiculed?  What’s going on here, and how much power do governments have when they are able to silence the voice of so many people? Should we not be examining information openly, transparently, and together?

Is the new coronavirus, like 9/11, a catalyst for a shift in human consciousness. Are people ‘waking up’ as a result of what has, is and will transpire?

Why are so many doctors and scientists being censored and shadow banned on social media for simply sharing their research, evidence and opinions just because they contradict government health agencies and organizations like the WHO?

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