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The Impact of Vaccines on Mortality Decline Since 1900—According to Published Science

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Article written by JB Handley, Children’s Health Defense Director and Co-Founder of Generation Rescue.

  • Reflect On:

    How come we never hear about this information? It's well sourced and factual. Why are vaccines marketed by pharmaceutical companies as life savers and completely safe when the data shows otherwise?

Since 1900, there’s been a 74% decline in mortality rates in developed countries, largely due to a marked decrease in deaths from infectious diseases. How much of this decline was due to vaccines? The history and data provide clear answers that matter greatly in today’s vitriolic debate about vaccines.

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CHICAGO, Illinois —Since 1900, the mortality rate in America and other first-world countries has declined by roughly 74%, creating a dramatic improvement in quality of life and life expectancy for Americans.

The simple question: “How did this happen?”

Why did the mortality rate decline so precipitously? If you listen to vaccine promoters, the answer is simple: vaccines saved us. What’s crazy about this narrative is how easy it is to disprove, the data is hiding in plain sight. The fact that this easily-proven-false narrative persists, however, tells us a lot about the world we live in, and I hope will encourage parents to reconsider the veracity of many of the narratives they’ve been fed about vaccines, and do their own primary research.

1970, Dr. Edward H. Kass

Standing before his colleagues on October 19, 1970, Harvard’s Dr. Edward H. Kass gave a speech to the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America that would likely get him run out of this same profession today. At the time, Dr. Kass was actually the President of the organization, which made the things he had to say about vaccines and their impact on the reduction in American mortality rates even more shocking, at least by today’s standards. Forty-eight years after Dr. Kass’ speech, vaccines have taken on a mythological status in many corners of our world, hyped up by the people who benefit the most from their use. Of course vaccines saved the world. Of course every child should get  every vaccine. If you don’t vaccinate, you will enable the return of deadly childhood diseases. If you don’t vaccinate, your child will die. If you question vaccines, even a little, you’re an “anti-vaxxer” who should be shunned and dismissed!

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But what if most of the history about the role vaccines played in declining mortality isn’t even true?

In his famous speech, Dr. Kass took his infectious disease colleagues to task, warning them that drawing false conclusions about WHY mortality rates had declined so much could cause them to focus on the wrong things. As he explained:

“…we had accepted some half truths and had stopped searching for the whole truths. The principal half truths were that medical research had stamped out the great killers of the past —tuberculosis, diphtheria, pneumonia, puerperal sepsis, etc. —and that medical research and our superior system of medical care were major factors extending life expectancy, thus providing the American people with the highest level of health available in the world. That these are half truths is known but is perhaps not as well known as it should be.”

Dr. Kass then shared some eye-opening charts with his colleagues. I’m trying to imagine a President of the Infectious Diseases Society of America sharing one of these charts today at a meeting of public health officials. I picture someone turning the power off for the room where he’s presenting and then he gets tackled and carried off the stage…here’s the first example of a chart Dr. Kass shared in 1970:

But wait a minute, Dr. Kass’ chart doesn’t even include the measles vaccine…what gives? Well, in 1970, the measles vaccine was just beginning to be rolled out, and as you can clearly see, measles had long since experienced a dramatic decline in mortality. With Pertussis (Whooping Cough), he produced a similar chart:

In this case, you can actually see when the Pertussis vaccine was introduced. He also showed a chart for Scarlett Fever, which furthers the confusion about the role of vaccines, because there’s never been a Scarlett Fever vaccine, and yet the chart of a huge decline in mortality from Scarlett Fever looks very similar to measles and pertussis:

What’s the point?

Dr. Kass was trying to make a simple point to his colleagues, but one with profound implications for public health. His point was so important, I’m going to quote him in really big font to try and drive it home:

“This decline in rates of certain disorders, correlated roughly with socioeconomic circumstances, is merely the most important happening in the history of the health of man, yet we have only the vaguest and most general notions about how it happened and by what mechanisms socioeconomic improvement and decreased rates of certain diseases run in parallel.”

Dr. Kass pled with his colleagues to be open to understanding WHY infectious diseases had declined so dramatically in the U.S. (as well as other first world countries). Was it nutrition? Sanitary methods? A reduction in home crowding? (We’ve since learned the answer to all three questions is, “Yes.”) He encouraged his colleagues to be careful not to jump to conclusions prematurely and to maintain objectivity and “devote ourselves to new possibilities.”

Luckily for us, Dr. Kass’ speech that day has been saved for posterity, as it was printed in its entirety in a medical journal. In fact, it’s a journal that Dr. Kass himself founded, The Journal of Infectious Diseases, and his speech is called, “Infectious Disease and Social Change.” There are a number of things about Dr. Kass’ speech that I found breathtaking, especially given that he was the President of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Namely:

  1. He never referred to vaccines as “mankind’s greatest invention” or one of the other many hyperbolic ways vaccines are described all the time by vaccine promoters in the press today. Vaccines weren’t responsible for saving “millions of lives” in the United States, as Dr. Kass well knew.
  2. In fact, he never gave vaccines much credit AT ALL for the developed world’s dramatic mortality decline. Which makes sense, because none of the data he had would have supported that view. Which made me wonder, “has anyone tried to put the contribution of vaccines to the decline in human mortality in the 20th century in context?” Said differently, is there any data that measures exactly how much impact vaccines had in saving humanity? Yes, indeed there is. Read on.

1977: McKinlay & McKinlay: The most famous study you’ve never heard of

t won’t be the world’s easiest read, but I hope you take the time to read every word. In 1977, Boston University epidemiologists (and husband and wife) John and Sonja McKinlay published the seminal work on the role vaccines (and other medical interventions) played in the massive decline in mortality seen in the twentieth century, that 74% number I talked about in my opening paragraph. Not only that, but their study warned against the very behavior we are now seeing in the world of vaccines. Namely, they warned that a group of profiteers might take more credit for the results of an intervention (vaccines) than the intervention deserves, and then use those fake results to create a world where their product must be used by everyone. Seriously, they predicted that this would happen. (It’s worth noting that the McKinlay Study used to be required reading at every medical school.)

You can read the document pictured below below, HERE. 

…they warned that a group of profiteers might take more credit for the results of an intervention (vaccines) than the intervention deserves, and then use those fake results to create a world where their product must be used by everyone.

Published in 1977 in The Millbank Memorial Fund Quarterly, the McKinlay’s study was titled, “The Questionable Contribution of Medical Measures to the Decline of Mortality in the United States in the Twentieth Century.” The study clearly proved, with data, something that the McKinlay’s acknowledged might be viewed by some as medical “heresy.” Namely:

“that the introduction of specific medical measures and/or the expansion of medical services are generally not responsible for most of the modern decline in mortality.”

By “medical measures,” the McKinlay’s really meant ANYTHING modern medicine had come up with, whether that was antibiotics, vaccines, new prescription drugs, whatever. The McKinlay’s 23-page study really should be read cover to cover, but in a nutshell the McKinlay’s sought to analyze how much of an impact medical interventions (antibiotics, surgery, vaccines) had on this massive decline in mortality rates between 1900 and 1970:

Here are some of the major points their paper made:

  • 92.3% of the mortality rate decline happened between 1900 and 1950 [before most vaccines existed]
  • Medical measures “appear to have contributed little to the overall decline in mortality in the United States since about 1900–having in many instances been introduced several decades after a marked decline had already set in and having no detectable influence in most instances.”

And, here’s the two doozies…

The paper makes two points that I really want to highlight, because they are so important. The first one concerns vaccines. They write:

“Even if it were assumed that this change was entirely due to the vaccines, then only about one percent of the decline following interventions for the diseases considered here could be attributed to medical measures. Rather more conservatively, if we attribute some of the subsequent fall in the death rates for pneumonia, influenza, whooping cough, and diphtheria to medical measures, then perhaps 3.5 percent of the fall in the overall death rate can be explained through medical intervention in the major infectious diseases considered here. Indeed, given that it is precisely for these diseases that medicine claims most success in lowering mortality, 3.5 percent probably represents a reasonable upper-limit estimate of the total contribution of medical measures to the decline in mortality in the United States since 1900.”

In plain English: of the total decline in mortality since 1900, that 74% number I keep mentioning, vaccines (and other medical interventions like antibiotics) were responsible for somewhere between 1% and 3.5% of that decline. Said differently, at least 96.5% of the decline (and likely more than that since their numbers included ALL medical interventions, not ONLY vaccines) had nothing to do with vaccines.

You don’t get to say you saved humanity if, at most, you were responsible for 3.5% of the decline in mortality rates since 1900 (and probably closer to 1%).

And then the McKinlay’s wrote something that made me laugh out loud, because it’s the thing we are seeing every day in today’s vaccine-hyped world:

“It is not uncommon today for biotechnological knowledge and specific medical interventions to be invoked as the major reason for most of the modern (twentieth century) decline in mortality. Responsibility for this decline is often claimed by, or ascribed to, the present-day major beneficiaries of this prevailing explanation.”

Sound familiar?

2000: the CDC puts the final nail in the coffin

In 1970, Dr. Kass raised the idea that public health officials need to be careful to not give the wrong things credit for the twentieth century’s massive mortality rate decline in the developed world. In 1977, Drs. McKinlay & McKinlay put data around Dr. Kass’ ideas, and showed that vaccines (and other medical interventions) were responsible for between 1-3.5% of the total decline in mortality since 1900. In 2000, CDC scientists reconfirmed all this data, but also provided more insight into the things that actually have led to declines in mortality.

Published in September 2000 in the journal Pediatrics and titled, “Annual Summary of Vital Statistics: Trends in the Health of Americans During the 20th Century,” epidemiologists from both Johns Hopkins and the Centers for Disease Control reaffirmed what we had already learned from McKinlay and McKinlay:

“Thus vaccination does not account for the impressive declines in mortality seen in the first half of the century…nearly 90% of the decline in infectious disease mortality among US children occurred before 1940, when few antibiotics or vaccine were available.”

The study went on to explain the things that actually were responsible for a massive decline in mortality:

“water treatment, food safety, organized solid waste disposal, and public education about hygienic practices.” Also, “improvements in crowding in US cities” played a major role. Clean water. Safe food. Nutrition. Plumbing. Hygiene. These were the primary reasons mortality declined so precipitously. At least according to the data and published science.

Recent history

I get really strong reactions when I share this chart, compiled from CDC data:

This chart is compiled from this dataset provided by the CDC. You can see that nine vaccines we give children today didn’t even exist in the mid-1980s. Moreover, the vaccination rates for the three vaccines that did exist were hovering near 60% or less as late as the mid-1980s. Today, vaccination rates are all well north of 90% for American children. I think it’s fair to ask, “why so much panic”? If you think about this chart for long enough, it makes you realize how silly the oft-invoked notion of “herd immunity” really is, since we obviously couldn’t have been anywhere near vaccine-induced herd immunity in the mid-1980s. In fact, we’re really no closer today, because adult vaccination rates remain so low, and vaccines wane over time.

As McKinlay and McKinlay warned, if the wrong intervention (like vaccines) is singled out as the reason Americans and the rest of the first world experienced such a dramatic decrease in mortality in the 20th century, that misinformation can be abused to do things like:

  • Rapidly expanding the number of vaccines given to children
  • Browbeating parents who chose to follow a different vaccine schedule and making them feel guilty
  • Making vaccines mandatory
  • Speaking about vaccines in such reverential terms that even questioning them (like I’m doing in this article) is viewed as sacreligious and irresponsible.
  • And, denying that vaccines injuries happen at high rates, to keep the whole machine moving in the right direction. (By the way, the best guess of vaccine injury rate is about 2% of people who receive vaccines, according to this study commissioned and paid for by the CDC when they actually automated the tracking of vaccine injuries. The “one in a million” figure thrown around by vaccine promoters is simply an unsupportable lie.)

Africa, and other third world countries

Vaccine promoters will often quote statistics about present-day deaths from infectious diseases that sound deeply alarming. Using examples of a disease like measles, they might explain how many children still die from measles every year, and therefore its gravely important that EVERY American parent vaccinate their child for measles. Of course, what they don’t mention is that these infectious disease deaths are happening in places that still have quality of life conditions akin to American children of the early 1900s. Poor nutrition. No plumbing or refrigeration. Bad hygiene practices. Crowded living conditions. All the things that ACTUALLY impacted the mortality rate the most haven’t yet been addressed in certain parts of Africa and other third world countries, and JUST implementing vaccines won’t change the facts. This was Dr. Kass’ point in the first place: know what actually led to the mortality rate decline, and do more of that!

In fact, we now have some data that shows vaccinating children living in situations where they have poor nutrition and lack of sanitation can actually do more harm than good:

The “Aaby Study”

Published in the peer-reviewed journal EBioMedicine in 2017, the study is titled, “The Introduction of Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis and Oral Polio Vaccine Among Young Infants in an Urban African Community: A Natural Experiment.” Researchers from the Research Center for Vitamins and Vaccines, Statens Serum Institut (Denmark), and Bandim Health Project looked closely at data from the West African nation of Guinea-Bissau. The scientists in this study closely explored the concept of NSEs, “nonspecific effects” of vaccines, which is a fancy way of saying vaccines may make a child more susceptible to other infections. They found that the data for African children who had been vaccinated with the DTP vaccine:

“was associated with 5-fold higher mortality than being unvaccinated. No prospective study has shown beneficial survival effects of DTP. . . . DTP is the most widely used vaccine. . . . All currently available evidence suggests that DTP vaccine may kill more children from other causes than it saves from diphtheria, tetanus, or pertussis. Though a vaccine protects children against the target disease, it may simultaneously increase susceptibility to unrelated infections.”

In lay terms, this means that giving an African child the DTP vaccine may make the child sick from other infections. It appears that in Africa, the living conditions are more important than the vaccine (as you would very much expect from Dr. Kass’ and the Drs. McKinlay’s work), and the DTP vaccine did indeed do more harm than good. (It’s worth noting that Dr. Aaby was a highly regarded vaccine researcher until he published this study in 2017. It’s my understanding that he has since lost his funding sources. Welcome to today’s world of vaccine “science.”)

Every Second Child

We have another real world example of this phenomenon from the late 1970s. Dr. Archie Kalokerinos made a simple discovery, as he explains:

At first it was just a simple clinical observation. I observed that many infants, after they received routine vaccines like tetanus, diphtheria, polio, whooping cough or whatever, became ill. Some became extremely ill, and in fact some died. It was an observation, It was not a theory. So my first reaction was to look at the reasons why this happened. Of course I found it was more likely to happen in infants who were ill at the time of receiving a vaccine, or infants who had been ill recently, or infants who were incubating an infection. Of course in the early stages of incubation there is no way whatsoever that anyone can detect the disease. They turn up later on. Furthermore, some of the reactions to the vaccines were not those that were listed in the standard literature.

They were very strange reactions indeed. A third observation was that with some of these reactions which normally resulted in death I found that I could reverse them by giving large amounts of vitamin C intramuscularly or intravenously. One would have expected, of course, that the authorities would take an interest in these observations that resulted in a dramatic drop in the death rate of infants in the area under my control, a very dramatic drop. But instead of taking an interest their reaction was one of extreme hostility. This forced me to look into the question of vaccination further, and the further I looked into it the more shocked I became. I found that the whole vaccine business was indeed a gigantic hoax. Most doctors are convinced that they are useful, but if you look at the proper statistics and study the instance of these diseases you will realise that this is not so.”

Dr Kalokerinos also said something in 1995 that it appears Dr. Aaby’s study was able to corroborate in 2017:

“And if you want to see what harm vaccines do, don’t come to Australia or New Zealand or any place, go to Africa and you will see it there.”

We actually knew the truth in the early 1900s, even before the rapid decline in mortality Well ahead of his time, Englishman John Thomas Biggs was the sanitary engineer for his town of Leicester and had to actively respond to outbreaks of smallpox. He quickly learned that the public health outcomes from sanitation vastly outweighed the impact of vaccination (where he saw dramatic vaccine injury and ineffectiveness). He wrote a definitive work in 1912, Leicester: Sanitation versus Vaccination. More than one hundred years ago, Mr. Biggs discovered what the CDC reaffirmed in 2000: Nothing protects from infectious disease like proper sanitation. He explained:

“Leicester has furnished, both by precept and example, irrefutable proof of the capability and influence of Sanitation, not only in combating and controlling, but also in practically banishing infectious diseases from its midst. . . . A town newly planned on the most up-to-date principles of space and air, and adopting the “Leicester Method” of Sanitation, could bid defiance not to small-pox only, but to other infectious, if not to nearly all zymotic, diseases.”

Dr. Andrew Weil, the oft-quoted celebrity doctor, reenforces the point, explaining that “medicine has taken credit it does not deserve for some advances in health. Most people believe that victory over the infectious diseases of the last century came with the invention of immunizations. In fact, cholera, typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough, and the others were in decline before vaccines for them became available — the result of better methods of sanitation, sewage disposal, and distribution of food and water.”

Finally

Vaccines didn’t save humanity. Their impact was somewhere between 1-3.5% of the total decline in mortality rates. Improvement in sanitation and standards of living really did (nutrition, living conditions, etc.). Did vaccines contribute to a small decrease of certain acute illnesses? Yes, but their relative benefit is often exaggerated to an extreme, and then used to browbeat, guilt, and scare parents.

So am I saying no one should vaccinate? No, I’m not. Vaccines provide temporary protection from certain acute illnesses. Some matter more than others. I personally think we give way too many vaccines, and I think the risk/benefit equation of each vaccine is often obscured. Worse, the lie that vaccines saved humanity in the twentieth century has turned many vaccine promoters into zealots, even though their narratives are simply not supported by the facts. But, by all means, get as many vaccines as you want, I respect your right to make your own medical care choices.

In late 2017, it was reported that Emory University scientists were developing a common cold vaccine. Professor Martin Moore bragged that his research “takes 50 strains of the common cold and puts it into one shot” and that the monkeys who served as test subjects “responded very well.” You should expect to see this vaccine at your pediatrician’s office in the next five years, which will likely be rolled out soon after the stories start to appear in the media about the common cold causing childhood deaths, and that millions of lives will be saved, much as vaccines saved the world in the twentieth century…parents beware, and do your own research!

Author’s note:

There are two excellent resources that I would recommend if you are interested in diving down the rabbit hole of the true history of infectious disease. The first is the amazing book, Dissolving Illusions, by Suzanne Humphries. The second is a comprehensive article by Roman Bystriany titled, Measles: The New Red Scare. (If you read it, you will be deeply disillusioned by the media hype—don’t say I didn’t warn you!)

Journalist Lawrence Solomon has also written two excellent articles about measles: 1) Lawrence Solomon: The untold story of measles, and 2) Lawrence Solomon: Vaccines can’t prevent measles outbreaks.


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Awareness

Cancer is Now the Leading Cause of Death

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Cancer has surpassed heart disease as the No. 1 cause of death in high-income countries, highlighting the urgent need to change the way this disease is prevented and treated.

  • Reflect On:

    Rather than being a random result of DNA mutations, it's possible that cancer could have much deeper roots that would be better targeted with natural therapies than toxicity.

This article was written by the Greenmedinfo Research Group, originally published by Greenmedinfo.com. Published here with permission. 

Cancer has dethroned heart disease to earn the nefarious title of leading cause of death in high-income and certain middle-income countries.[i] While heart disease remains the No. 1 cause of death globally among adults aged 35 to 70, in high-income countries, which included Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Canada and Sweden, cancer caused twice as many deaths as heart disease.[ii]

Some middle-income countries, which included the Philippines, Iran, South Africa, Colombia, China, Brazil, Malaysia, Turkey, Poland, Argentina and Chile, also saw cancer become the leading cause of death.

While the U.S. was not included in the new analysis, research published in 2018 suggested, “the United States is in the midst of an epidemiologic transition in the leading cause of death,” moving from heart disease to cancer.[iii]

That study, too, found that cancer was quickly outpacing heart disease as the top killer, with high-income counties transitioning first. In fact, while only 21% of U.S. counties had cancer as the leading cause of death in 2003, this rose to 41% in 2015.

“The shift to cancer as the leading cause of death was greatest in the highest-income counties,” the researchers explained,[iv] echoing the current study, which also cited “a transition in the predominant causes of deaths in middle-age” in high-income countries.[v]

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“The world is witnessing a new epidemiologic transition among the different categories of noncommunicable diseases, with CVD [cardiovascular disease] no longer the leading cause of death in HIC [high-income countries],” lead author Dr. Gilles Dagenais, professor emeritus, Laval University, Quebec, Canada, said in a statement.[vi]

Why is Cancer a Top Killer?

The study suggested cancer is rising to the top because heart disease is better treated in high-income countries, saving more lives from heart disease and paving the way for cancer deaths to flourish. But perhaps a better question is why cancer continues to kill so many.

Even globally, cancer still comes in as the second leading cause of death behind heart disease, responsible for 26% of deaths worldwide.[vii] In the U.S., Americans have a 1 in 3 risk of developing cancer at some point in their lifetimes, along with a 1 in 5 risk of dying from the disease.[viii]

In early 2019, it was announced that cancer death rates in the U.S. declined 27% since 1991,[ix] a statistic that makes it seem as though we’re winning the “war on cancer.” But most of these declines can be attributed to reductions in smoking — and perhaps a limited measure of increased early detection and treatment — and are not a sign that conventional medicine’s model of surgerychemotherapy and/or radiation to treat cancer is, on the whole, working.

While death rates from certain cancer have declined, others have increased. Overall, cancer deaths in the U.S. in 2016 were similar to those in 1930[x] — despite all the “advances” in detection and treatment.

Changing the Way We Think About Cancer

It’s becoming increasingly clear that in order to conquer cancer, it’s necessary to change the way we think about it. Cancer is found in virtually all animals, suggesting it has evolutionary significance.[xi] It’s possible that cancer is an ancient survival program unmasked — even a process the body undergoes in order to survive nutrient deprivation and exposure to toxins.

Rather than being the result of an accumulation of DNA mutations that create rogue cells that multiply out of control, cancer could be cells that have flipped an epigenetic switch into survival mode in the form of a tumor. In the journal Physical Biology, researchers theorized:[xii]

“[C]ancer is an atavistic [primitive] condition that occurs when genetic or epigenetic malfunction unlocks an ancient ‘toolkit’ of pre-existing adaptations, re-establishing the dominance of an earlier layer of genes that controlled loose-knit colonies of only partially differentiated cells, similar to tumors.”

If this is true, it makes sense that conventional cancer treatments aimed to poison or “kill” the cancerous cells may only make the problem worse by creating an even more toxic environment, which could trigger the cancer to reach back into its “ancient toolkit” to find additional means of survival.

This explanation may be overly simplistic, as there are many factors that contribute to cancer, but there is evidence to suggest that natural substances and therapies that support the body’s overall health can be useful in the fight against cancer.

Nearly 1,000 Natural Substances Have Anti-Cancer Potential

GreenMedInfo has a database of 986 substances that have been researched as potential cancer prevention and treatment strategies. There are undoubtedly many more out there that have yet to be discovered. At the top of the list is curcumin, the active ingredient in the curry spice turmeric, which targets cancer stem cells while leaving normal stem cells unharmed.[xiii]

Another top contender is vitamin D, which you can get for free from adequate sun exposure. Higher vitamin D levels are not only known to lower your cancer risk but also to improve outcomes if you’ve already been diagnosed.[xiv] Fiberresveratrolsulforaphane and vitamin E — all substances you can get from your diet — also show anti-cancer promise, as does coffee, perhaps because it improves the body’s ability to efficiently repair DNA damage.[xv]

So if there was one silver lining to the news that cancer is now the leading cause of death in some countries, it would be that it’s a condition that has many promising natural avenues for prevention and treatment. Current conventional cancer treatments are failing, but that doesn’t mean cancer is unstoppable — it means it’s time to broaden our research into and usage of traditional therapies.

Many natural substances, like noni leaf,[xvi] have even been shown to work better than chemotherapy, highlighting why, if we’re going to win the war against cancer, we’re going to need to do it with nature on our side.

For more on how to naturally fight Cancer, visit the GreenMedInfo database on the subject.

Originally published: 2019-09-14

Article Updated: 2019-11-05

References

[i] The Lancet September 3, 2019

[ii] CNN September 3, 2019

[iii] Annals of Internal Medicine December 18, 2018

[iv] Annals of Internal Medicine December 18, 2018

[v] The Lancet September 3, 2019

[vi] Medscape September 3, 2019

[vii] Medscape September 3, 2019

[viii] American Cancer Society, Lifetime Risk of Developing or Dying From Cancer

[ix] CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians January 8, 2019

[x] CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians January 8, 2019

[xi] Front. Oncol., 10 January 2019

[xii] Physical Biology February 7, 2011

[xiii] Anticancer Res. 2015 Feb ;35(2):599-614.

[xiv] Br J Cancer. 2017 Mar 16. Epub 2017 Mar 16.

[xv] J Nutrigenet Nutrigenomics. 2015 ;8(4-6):174-84.

[xvi] Mol Cell Biochem. 2016 Apr 22. Epub 2016 Apr 22.


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Awareness

Man Fasts For 382 Days Straight & Loses 276 Pounds

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Angus Barbieri, a man who, in June of 1965, began a fast under medical supervision for exactly 382 days. He remained completely healthy for the duration of the fast.

  • Reflect On:

    Today, it's firmly established in scientific literature that fasting can have tremendous benefits, if done correctly. It can also be used to treat a variety of diseases. Perhaps it's not emphasized because you can't make money off of not eating?

A study published in the Post Graduate Medical Journal in 1972 brought more attention to a gentleman by the name of Angus Barbieri, a man who, in June of 1965, began a fast under medical supervision for exactly 382 days and, at the time the study was published, had since maintained his ordinary weight. In his case, “prolonged fasting had no ill effects.” Barbieri’s weight decreased from 456 to 180 pounds during the fast.

This isn’t the only example that’s available in the literature, it’s similar to an earlier patient prior to Barbieri who reduced his weight from 432 to 235 pounds during 350 days of intermittent fasting (Stewart, Fleming & Robertson, 1966). Researchers have also fasted patients for 256 days (Collison, 1967, 1971), 249 and 236 days (Thomson et al., 1966) as well as  210 days (Garnett et al., 1969; Runcie & Thomson, 1970), all of which are cited in the 1972 study.

Since the publication of this time, there are many documented examples of prolonged fasting done by highly obese people. Here’s one recent example of a man who fasted for 50 straight days, while being medically supervised and tested the whole time.

When you fast, your body switches from burning glucose, to burning fat. Fasting lowers insulin levels which allows the body to access its fat stores for energy. When you eat, food is converted into glucose and that’s what we usually burn. This is why fasting has become a therapeutic intervention for many people with type two diabetes, and more doctors, like Dr. Jason Fung, a Toronto Based nephrologist, are having great success with utilizing fasting as an appropriate and necessary health intervention. Fung has many great articles regarding the science of fasting, you can access them here if you’re interested in learning more. This article references some of the leading scientists in the field so you can learn more by looking them up as well.

The graph below depicts what happens to your protein while fasting. Interesting isn’t it? People often believe that if you fast, you will experience a tremendous amount of muscle loss during fasting, but that’s simply not true. This graph is from Kevin Hall, from the NIH in the book “Comparative Physiology of Fasting, Starvation, and Food Limitation.”

“It seems that there are always concerns about loss of muscle mass during fasting. I never get away from this question. No matter how many times I answer it, somebody always asks, “Doesn’t fasting burn your muscle?” Let me say straight up, NO.”  – source Dr. Jason Fung

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But what about Angus Barbieri? Obviously we’re not saying long term fasts for this long are healthy, obviously for many people they will probably be unhealthy and unsafe unless medically supervised. In  the 1972 study doctors measured a number of concentrations within the body. For example, plasma potassium concentrations over the first four months decreased systematically. As a result, they provided a very small daily dose that increased his potassium level. After another 10 weeks, no potassium was given, and from there on in until the end of the fast, plasma potassium levels remained normal. Cholesterol concentrations also remained around 230 mg/ 100 ml until 300 days of fasting, but increased to 370 mg/100 ml during refeeding.

Plasma magnesium levels decreased over the first few weeks of the fast but then went up and stabilized. This is interesting to note as there is nothing going into the body, yet levels still stabilized after the initial decrease.

Normal plasma magnesium concentrations, despite magnesium ‘depletion’ in muscle tissue, have been described (Drenick et al., 1969) during short-term fasting (1-3 months). The only other relevant report is a remark (Runcie & Thomson, 1970) that one patient who fasted 71 days had a normal plasma magnesium level of 2-2 mEq/l at the time when she developed latent tetany. The decrease in the plasma magnesium concentration of our patient was systematic and persistent.

Furthermore:

The excretion of sodium, potassium, calcium and inorganic phosphate decreased to low levels throughout the first 100 days, but thereafter the excretion of all four urinary constituents, as well as of magnesium, began to increase. During the subsequent 200 days sodium excretion, previously between 2 and 20 mEq daily, reached over 80 mEq/24 hr, potassium excretion increased to 30-40 mEq daily and calcium excretion increased from 10-30 mg/24 hr to 250- 280 mg/24 hr. Magnesium excretion (which was not measured during the first 100 days) reached 10 mEq/ 24 hr between Days 200-300. Phosphate excretion, which had decreased to under 200 mg/24 hr, also increased to around 800 mg/24 hr, even exceeding 1000 mg/24 hr on occasion. Peak excretions of all these constituents were seen around Day 300, after which there was a marginal decrease, but excretion remained high.

Obviously, this is an extreme fast and such fasts have only been tested on people of tremendous obesity, and it shows that people with a high body fat percentage have the ability to fast longer simply because their body has more stores to pull from.

The study concluded in 1972 that:

We have found, like Munro and colleagues (1970), that prolonged supervised therapeutic starvation of the obese patient can be a safe therapy, which is also effective if the ideal weight is reached. There is, however, likely to be occasionally a risk in some individuals, attributable to failures in different aspects of the adaptative response to fasting. Until the characteristics of these variations in response are identified, and shown to be capable of detection in their prodromal stages, extended starvation therapy must be used cautiously. In our view, unless unusual hypokalaemia is seen, potassium supplements are not mandatory. Xanthine oxidase inhibitors (or uricosuric agents) are not always necessary and could even be potentially harmful (British Medical Journal, 1971) perhaps particularly in the long-term fasting situation.

It’s almost 2020, and the literature, studies and research that’s been published since 1972 is vast. We’ve learned a lot more about it and if done correctly it can be extremely beneficial. Shot term fasting  presents minimal to no health risks, and so does long term fasting that lasts more than 24 hours, that is unless a person already has an underlying condition. That being said, it’s not easy to start. Most people are used to eating three meals plus snacks every single day, therefore they are never adapted to burning their fat stores, something that appears the human body was meant to do.

“Why is it that the normal diet is three meals a day plus snacks? It isn’t that it’s the healthiest eating pattern, now that’s my opinion but I think there is a lot of evidence to support that. There are a lot of pressures to have that eating pattern, there’s a lot of money involved. The food industry — are they going to make money from skipping breakfast like I did today? No, they’re going to lose money. If people fast, the food industry loses money. What about the pharmaceutical industries? What if people do some intermittent fasting, exercise periodically and are very healthy, is the pharmaceutical industry going to make any money on healthy people?” – Mark Mattson (source)

Fasting has also been shown to be effective as a therapeutic intervention for cancer. Fasting protects healthy cells while ‘starving’ cancer cells, it’s now being used as an intervention that’s being combined with chemotherapy. Fasting has also been shown to greatly reduce the risk of age related diseases like Parkinson’s Disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Mark Mattson, one of the foremost researchers of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying multiple neurodegenerative disorders has shown through his work that fasting can have a tremendous effect on the brain, and can even reverse the symptoms of multiple neurodegenerative disorders. You can watch his interesting TED talk here.  Scientists have also discovered strong evidence that fasting is a natural intervention for triggering stem cell-based regeneration of an entire organ or system.

Fasting has actually long been known to have an effect on the brain. Children who suffer from epileptic seizures have fewer of them when placed on caloric restriction or fasts. It is believed that fasting helps kick-start protective measures that help counteract the overexcited signals that epileptic brains often exhibit.  (source)

The list goes on and is quite long. At the end of the day if you do your research, fasting, under proper medical supervision, can have tremendous health benefits that go far beyond what’s mentioned in the paragraph above. Every single study that has looked at fasting as a therapeutic intervention for several diseases has shown nothing but positive benefits. Even studies conducted regarding caloric restriction, something completely different than fasting, have shown promising results in all animal models.

According to a review of fasting literature conducted in 2003, “Calorie restriction (CR) extends life span and retards age-related chronic diseases in a variety of species, including rats, mice, fish, flies, worms, and yeast. The mechanism or mechanisms through which this occurs are unclear.” Since this study was published, a great amount of research has been conducted from many researchers, and the mechanisms are being discovered and have become more clear. If you want to further your research, apart from the names listed above, Dr. Valter Longo and his research is another great place to start.

The body has a tremendous amount of storage, and it hangs on to what it needs during a fast, and uses up ‘bad’ things, repairs damaged cells, and more. When you fast and deplete all your glycogen, your body is going to start using fat for energy, it’s going to use damaged cells for energy, it’s basically going to use all of the bad things first, before it gets to the good thing…Your body will not burn protein, as protein is not a fuel source while fasting.

I bring this up because it’s interesting to see what the body loses and hangs on to during a fast.

The Takeaway

The truth about fasting is that it’s not dangerous at all. Intermittent fasting and short term fasting can be done by just about anybody. From what we’ve seen with regards to prolonged fasting, it’s also not very dangerous when it comes to obese people doing it under medically supervised conditions. Theoretically, based on the science alone, any relatively healthy human being should be able to do a prolonged fast without any harmful consequences.

Obviously, prolonged fasts that are not medically supervised can be very detrimental. We are obviously not recommending this and you must do a lot of research and talk to your doctor if you’re interested in fasting, before trying it. For starters, a little bit of intermittent fasting here and there is a no brainer, and not dangerous at all if you have no underlying health conditions, but everybody’s body is different.

Fasting is making a lot of noise, and has been making a lot of noise within the health community, but it’s still not appropriately taught and used by the mainstream medical industry. Why is this so? The answer is simple, you can’t make money off of fasting.

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America’s Largest Milk Producer Files For Bankruptcy – Cow’s Milk Is Inhumane & Unhealthy

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Image by Erich Westendarp from Pixabay

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Dean foods, the largest milk producer in the United States has filed for bankruptcy.

  • Reflect On:

    Independent media and activists around the world do have the ability to make change, and this is one of many examples. The world is waking up, even in the face of massive censorship of information. We are more powerful than we know.

Dean Foods, the largest milk company in the United States has recently filed for bankruptcy. The reason? Because Americans, and people all of the world for that matter, are not drinking as much cow’s milk as they used to. Brands that seem to be growing and having success are the ones who are now offering dairy free options.  Oat milk, for example, saw U.S. sales rise 636% to more than $52 million over the past year, according to Nielsen data. Sales of cow’s milk dropped 2.4% in that same time frame.

Chief Executive Officer, Eric Beringause stated: “We continue to be impacted by a challenging operating environment marked by continuing declines in consumer milk consumption.” He’s right, the demand for cow’s milk has dropped nearly 50 percent since 1975.

So, why are people doing this? Well, it’s happening for a number of reasons. First of all, the industry is full of animal cruelty. Cow’s are forcefully impregnated so they can produce milk, and their babies are taken from them for beef so the milk can be drained from the cow so humans can drink it. This causes tremendous heartache. Cows are living in poor conditions where they constantly suffer both emotionally and physically. Furthermore, they can often be abused by workers, but the conditions they live in on factory farms is already seen as abusive to many.

Not only are we starting to become aware that our milk-drinking habit is one of the most cruel industries that exists on Earth,  we are realizing waking up to the fact that 80 percent of the Amazon rainforest destruction is the result of grazing animals for meat and dairy production. It’s one of the main sources of environmental degradation and pollution on our planet. It is destroying our Earth, and the waste is polluting our environment and waterways at an alarming rate. 90 percent of soy used, which is also creating massive amounts of deforestation, is used for animal feed, not humans. So, animal product consumption is clearly the biggest factor when it comes to deforestation and environmental degradation, yet there doesn’t seem to be enough emphasis put on it like there is for C02. Why?

When it comes to the health aspects, I remember being in shock when I came to the realization that we were the only animal on the planet who drank the milk of another animal. Furthermore, we are the only species on the planet that drinks milk after weaning.

There are multiple studies showing that drinking milk from a cow leads to an increased mortality rate and actually makes bones more prone to fracturing, not less. One example would be this giant study from researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden. How ironic is this given the fact that milk has always been marketed to humans as necessary from strong bone health?  Calcium is available in high quantities in a number of planet, how come we weren’t marketed with that?

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One thing milk protein does is trigger metabolic acidosis. This happens when the body produces too much acid and becomes very acidic, which can be caused by multiple things, including the absorption of casein found in animal protein. Casein makes up almost 90 percent of the protein in a cow’s milk. When the body experiences this type of acidosis, it actually forces the body to compensate by leaching calcium from the bones to help neutralize the increased acidity. This became known to me through the work of Dr. Colin Campbell, an American biochemist who specializes in the effect of nutrition on long term health. He is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University. Scholars like Campbell are vital to the world, because they are among the few who actually examine and study nutrition and health, something that our modern day medical industry completely ignores. You can watch a video of him explaining, here.

Dr. Campbell also discovered that animal protein (casein) can accelerate and “turn on” cancer, while plant based protein has the opposite effect. You can read more about that and which him explain in this article.

If we look at all other animals who don’t consume the milk of another animal or after weaning, it is because they do not have the enzymes to break down the sugar found in milk. We are no different, and this explains why in some ethnic populations around the world, lactose intolerance is present in 90 percent of the population. A staggering 70 percent of the world’s population has some degree of lactose intolerance.

Humans actually never had this enzyme, and to digest the sugar in cow’s milk, we had to develop the LTC gene, which was acquired by mutation. This is the lactase gene, which allows us to process lactose as adults. Clearly, we are not doing what is natural and in accordance with our bodies. I first came across this information from Katherine S. Pollard, a PhD at the University of California, San Francisco, in this lecture.

That being said, some people might have evolved and developed on cows milk just fine, which is why this information may not apply to everybody but overall, it definitely appears we are doing something unnatural.

More doctors are waking up, The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) recently submitted a citizen petition with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to change labeling on cheese to include a cancer warning.

The petition states:

High-fat dairy products, such as cheese, are associated with an increased risk for breast cancer. Components in dairy such as insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) and other growth hormones may be among the reasons for the increased risk for cancer.

To ensure that Americans understand the potential significant risks, and resulting long-term costs, of consuming dairy cheese products, the FDA should ensure that the notice above is prominently placed on product packaging and labeling for all dairy cheese products.

The list goes on and on, what’s presented in this article is simply a tidbit with regards to why big milk is going out of business. People are waking up.

When it comes to health and cruelty, it’s not just dairy, it’s also meat-eating as well. It’s very in-humane, not all that healthy, and is also destroying our planet.

You can read this article for more information about that: Another Study Suggests That Human Beings Are Not Designed To Eat Meat

The Takeaway

It’s great to see the dairy industry forcing to transition, although there is still a long way to go, it’s quite clear through the efforts of various forms of activism around the world that more people are becoming more empathetic, compassionate, and caring about our treatment of animals and the planet. These are qualities our world certainly needs more of. In conjunction with  the massive amount of animal cruelty that’s being exposed, awareness with regards to the health and environmental consequences of consuming dairy are also skyrocketing.

We are more powerful than we know, and at any time, if we come together, we can change the game big time.

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