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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.


Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. CHD is planning many strategies, including legal, in an effort to defend the health of our children and obtain justice for those already injured. Your support is essential to CHD’s successful mission.

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Awareness

CDC’s Recommendation for Hepatitis B Vaccination in Infants. Are There More Risks Than Benefits?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The CDC’s recommendation for universal hepatitis B vaccination of infants puts most children at unnecessary risk of harm from the vaccine. By Jeremy R. Hammond, Contributing Writer, Children’s Health Defense

  • Reflect On:

    How much do physicians really know about vaccines?

Parents are told by public health officials and the media that they should vaccinate their children strictly according to the schedule recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC’s routine childhood vaccine schedule is based on solid science, we are told, and it is imperative that all parents comply to reduce the societal disease burden. Anyone who dares to criticize or dissent from public vaccine policy is characterized as dangerously ignorant and irrational. A recent New York Times editorial, for example, characterized anyone who does so as “the enemy” and described all vaccines on the CDC’s schedule as “crucial shots”.

So is the HepB vaccine really necessary for all infants? Why does the CDC treat this vaccine as a one-size-fits-all solution when the vast majority of infants are not at significant risk of infection?

But is it really “crucial” for all children to be so vaccinated? To highlight the rationality and importance of this question, consider the example of the CDC’s recommendation that all newborn babies receive a hepatitis B (HepB) vaccine, typically on their very first day of life. Many parents naturally wonder why it is considered so necessary to vaccinate their baby against a virus that is primarily transmitted sexually or through sharing of needles among injection drug users. The hepatitis B virus (HBV) can also be transmitted to infants at birth if the mother is a carrier, but screening to identify infected pregnant women is done routinely, and an alternative effective treatment has long been available for infants born to carriers. So is the HepB vaccine really necessary for all infants? Why does the CDC treat this vaccine as a one-size-fits-all solution when the vast majority of infants are not at significant risk of infection?

To answer this question, we need look no further than the CDC’s own stated rationale for this policy, which was adopted in 1991. Close examination of the CDC’s reasoning and the evolution of this policy illustrates that, far from being based on science, the decision by the CDC’s vaccine advisory committee to adopt this policy was faith-based and concerned primarily not with the health of infants, but with the agency’s overriding goal of achieving high vaccination rates.Comparing the policy with the science reveals that parents are right to be concerned because the policy unnecessarily puts children who are not at risk of infection at risk of harm from the vaccine.

The Risk to Infants of Hepatitis B Infection

To place the CDC’s stated rationale for this policy into proper context, it’s important to understand a little bit about the nature of the virus and the risk it poses generally to the population and particularly to infants.

According to the CDC’s “Pink Book”, while most acute hepatitis B infections among adults are effectively dealt with by the host’s immune system, chronic infection is a known cause of liver disease, contributing significantly to the disease burden of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinomas. Most children and about half of adults with acute infection do not show any symptoms. Those with chronic infection may also be asymptomatic but are known as “carriers” since they still carry and can spread the virus.

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Subpopulations at highest risk therefore include sexually active individuals, injection drug users, health care workers, and children who are born to infected mothers…

Transmission of the virus occurs through infected blood or other bodily fluids. Subpopulations at highest risk therefore include sexually active individuals, injection drug users, health care workers, and children who are born to infected mothers or otherwise come into prolonged close contact with infected household members. Mother-to-infant transmission usually occurs during birth. If an environmental surface is contaminated, the virus can remain stable and infectious for seven or more days, so indirect transmission, while unlikely, is also possible. Replication of the virus occurs only in liver tissue.

Most adults completely recover from acute infection and come away with lasting immunity. However, 1 percent to 2 percent of acute cases result in fulminant disease. Among these cases, 63 percent to 93 percent will result in death. About 200 to 300 deaths occur each year in the US due to severe HBV disease.

Before routine childhood vaccination, more than 80 percent of acute infections occurred in adults, about 8 percent in adolescents, and about 4 percent in children infected through perinatal transmission. Although at lower risk of becoming infected, such children are at higherrisk of their infection becoming chronic, disproportionately accounting for about 24 percent of chronic infections. While chronic infection occurs in only about 5 percent of adult cases, the risk of an acute infection becoming chronic increases as the age of the host decreases. An estimated 30 percent to 50 percent of infections occurring in children aged one to five years become chronic, and for infants infected from their mothers, the rate is as high as 90 percent.

An estimated 25 percent of individuals with chronic infection will die prematurely from liver disease. About 3,000 to 4,000 people die from HBV-related cirrhosis each year, and another 1,000 to 1,500 die from HBV-related liver cancer.

It is primarily these fatal outcomes in adults—the few hundred deaths from fulminant disease and the few thousand deaths from liver disease—that public health officials have aimed to prevent through mass vaccination.

The hepatitis B virus has a number of different antigen components. (This gets a bit technical, but it’s important context, so bear with me.) The CDC defines an “antigen” as any foreign substance in the body, including but not limited to viruses or bacteria, which is capable of causing disease, and the presence of which triggers an immune response, including but not limited to the production of antibodies. As the CDC’s Pink Book explains, “Several well-defined antigen-antibody systems are associated with HBV infection.” These are the HBV core antigen (HBcAg), another protein contained in the viral core called the HBV e antigen (HBeAg), and a surface antigen (HBsAg).

The presence of HBsAg in the blood indicates infection, but only the complete virus is infectious, not individual antigen components. The presence in the blood of antibodies to this antigen, called “anti-HBs”, is considered indicative of immunity. Infection may also stimulate production of antibodies to HBcAg, or “anti-HBc”, the presence of which indicates past infection. The presence of anti-HBc of the immunoglobulin M class (IgM-anti-HBc) indicates recent infection. Chronic infection is determined by a positive result for HBsAg along with a negative result for IgM-anti-HBc.

The HepB vaccine contains just one viral antigen, HBsAg. Unlike natural infection, the vaccine does not stimulate production of anti-HBc.

For nearly three decades now, the CDC has treated vaccination during early childhood as a one-size-fits-all solution despite the variability in individual immune responses, individual risk from the virus, and individual risk from the vaccine.

Despite the advancements of modern science, much remains unknown about the human immune system and the full impact of viral infection or vaccination. And reading through the CDC’s Pink Book chapter on hepatitis B raises as many questions as it answers. Why do some individuals develop protective anti-HBs to fight off infection while others don’t and hence become carriers? What is the clinical significance of the development of anti-HBc in addition to anti-HBs versus the development only of the latter? In what other ways does natural immunity differ from vaccine-conferred immunity? Why would an individual’s immune system—and particularly children’s immune systems—fail to generate protective antibodies in response to the live virus, yet still be capable of doing so in response to the vaccine? Why do some individuals also fail to develop protective antibodies in response to the vaccine?

One would think that such questions would be relevant for understanding how to develop more effective methods of disease prevention, but answers to them cannot be found in the Pink Book. Indeed, answers to them are not readily found by perusing the broader scientific literature. The most obvious reason for this curiosity is the influence of the pharmaceutical industry and government policies on the direction of scientific research.

For nearly three decades now, the CDC has treated vaccination during early childhood as a one-size-fits-all solution despite the variability in individual immune responses, individual risk from the virus, and individual risk from the vaccine.

Summary

The vast majority of children in the US today are not at significant risk of hepatitis B infection, and yet the CDC nevertheless recommends universal infant vaccination.

Why?

To answer that question, in part two of this series, we will examine the evolution of the CDC’s HepB vaccine recommendations, revealing how the agency began recommending vaccination for pregnant women and infants at high risk of infection despite a complete lack of randomized, placebo-controlled trials demonstrating that these practices are safe.

Then in part three, we’ll examine the CDC’s stated rationale for its 1991 policy shift to recommending that infants be universally vaccinated, typically on the first day of their lives. Part three will show how the CDC itself concluded that its policy was a failure because of low vaccination rates among high-risk groups, as well as illuminate how the agency’s goal of achieving high vaccination rates overrode any considerations of individual risk-benefit analysis, thus placing millions of children at unnecessary risk of neurodevelopmental harm from the vaccine.

Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. CHD is planning many strategies, including legal, in an effort to defend the health of our children and obtain justice for those already injured. Your support is essential to CHD’s successful mission.

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Health

Juice Fasts: Hype-Driven Fad or Evidence-Based Health Habit?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    This article was originally written and published at Greenmedinfo.com, written by the GreenMedInfo Research Group and posted here with permission.

  • Reflect On:

    Juice fasts, formerly relegated to groups on the fringes of society, are now embraced by mainstream culture. Once only a ritual rite of passage for those embedded in natural medicine circles, juice fasts have now become ubiquitous, marketed by health gurus, infomercials, and integrative medical doctors alike.

Juice fasts, formerly relegated to groups on the fringes of society, are now embraced by mainstream culture. Once only a ritual rite of passage for those embedded in natural medicine circles, juice fasts have now become ubiquitous, marketed by health gurus, infomercials, and integrative medical doctors alike.

Despite an abundance of anecdotal evidence and the testimonies of countless juicing enthusiasts, well-designed controlled studies on the subject have remained scant (1).

Gut Microbiota: The Gateway to Good Health

The gut microbiota, or the one hundred trillion commensal bacteria that inhabit our gastrointestinal tracts, may be the vehicle through which juice fasts elicit their beneficial effects. Not only is a disturbed microbiota implicated in the pathogenesis of obesity and metabolic disorders, but weight reduction has been reported to engender improvements in levels of bacterial species that contribute to inflammatory processes (2). In particular, “Obesity is associated with lower bacterial diversity, phylum and genus-level changes, and altered representation of bacterial genes and metabolic pathways involved in nutrient harvest” (2, p. 394).

One study performed by Remely and colleagues (2015) examined the effects of a traditional diet in an Austrian monastery, comprised of small amounts of soup, cereal, fruit and vegetable juices, and herbal teas (2). This intervention, implemented in obese subjects, significantly increased microbial diversity as well as numbers of Bifidobacteria, Akkermansia, and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii. Mucin-degrading Akkermansia, which have high mucosal adherence and are correlated with a healthy gut microbial community, are depleted in inflammatory disorders such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (3, 4).

The researchers also reported that populations of Enterobacteria and Lactobacilli associated with inflammation declined after the intervention (2). The authors concluded, “Our results show that caloric restriction affects the gut microbiota by proliferating mucin-degrading microbial subpopulations,” demonstrating that juice fasts may operate through this mechanism (p. 394). Other models of caloric restriction have similarly yielded decreases in Streptococcacae, which incite mild inflammation, and increases in Lactobacillus species, which competitively inhibit pathogens and produce declines in inflammatory cytokine levels (5).

Polyphenol-Induced Microbiome Changes Favorably Influence Health

Fruits and vegetables represent the richest reservoir of phenolic compounds, which resist absorption in the small intestine and instead are metabolized by the colonic bacteria into compounds which modulate populations of gut flora. Researchers speculate that the microbiota may be a previously under-recognized avenue through which polyphenols promote health, improve metabolic parameters, and mitigate inflammation (6).

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For instance, when rats are given quercetin, a flavonoid found in plant foods such as apples and onions, microbial dysbiosis induced by a high-fat high-sucrose diet is inhibited (7, 8). The rats in this experiment likewise exhibited suppressed growth of bacterial species correlated with diet-induced obesity, such as Erysipelotrichaceae, Eubacterium cylindroides, and Bacillus, alongside an attenuated ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes (7). Further, when administered in concert, quercetin and trans-resveratrol prevented weight gain in a rodent model, whereas individually, they each improved insulin resistance (7). In isolation, supplementation with trans-resveratrol also modified expression of tight-junction proteins and inflammatory gene profiles, influencing intestinal permeability in ways likely mediated by the microbiota (7).

In another study, mice receiving Concord grape polyphenols with a high-fat diet exhibited improved profiles of glucose tolerance, adiposity, and weight gain, and had enhanced expression of fasting-induced adipocyte factor, which restricts triglyceride storage (6). The mice receiving grape polyphenols similarly displayed reduced levels of inflammatory markers, such as the inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interleukin (IL)-6, the endotoxin released from gram-negative bacteria called lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) (6). In addition, grape polyphenols improved intestinal barrier function by up-regulating the genes for occludin and proglucagon, the former of which is a tight junction architectural protein, and the latter of which is a precursor to proteins that maintain mucosal barrier integrity and promote insulin production (6).

Importantly, grape polyphenols induced dramatic alterations in the community of commensal microbes. This botanical reduced the ratio of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes, which is significant since an increased ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes, which is induced by a high-fat, high sugar diet, has been shown to increase host adiposity when transplanted into germ-free mice (9, 10, 11). The grape polyphenols also significantly augmented populations of Akkermansia muciniphila, an obligate anaerobic species which blooms after gastric bypass surgery and promotes weight loss when transplanted into germ-free recipients (11, 12). In addition, cross-sectional studies have underscored that higher levels of A. municiphila appear in lean individuals relative to obese individuals (13). Because A. muciniphila is vulnerable to reactive oxygen species, the free radical scavenging capacity of grape polyphenols can create a more hospitable environment for this species and other obligate anaerobes that benefit health (6).

Likewise, cranberry polyphenols induced similar anti-diabetic effects in mice fed a high-fat, high sucrose (HFHS) diet (14). Administration of cranberry extract improved insulin sensitivity and glucose handling, lowering intestinal, plasma, and hepatic triglyceride levels, and reduced intestinal and hepatic inflammation and oxidative stress (14). Cranberry extract similarly attenuated circulating levels of LPS, effectively preventing the HFHS-induced metabolic endotoxemia that contributes to the pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease (14). Moreover, like grape polyphenols, treatment with cranberry extract led to dramatic elevations in A. muciniphila, which confers protection against metabolic syndrome features (14).

Other studies have elucidated that dealcoholized red wine polyphenols and cocoa-derived flavanols elicit similar effects on the gut microbiota (15). Collectively, polyphenols “modulate the human gut microbiota by decreasing the abundance of Firmicutes and increasing Bifidobacteria, Lactobacillus and Verrucomicrobia, which is also a key difference in the gut microbiota found in obese and lean individuals” (15, p.1).

Based on the aforementioned findings, researchers suggest that myriad distinct polyphenols and bioactive compounds may exert similar effects, both directly and indirectly, on the gut microbiome. They propose that diverse classes of dietary antioxidants may engender health benefits by conferring a survival advantage for certain commensal species (6). According to Roopchand and colleagues (2015), “We propose that this altered gut microbiota is, in part, responsible for the altered intestinal gene expression, epithelial integrity, and inflammatory markers, which then leads to decreased fat deposition and glucose absorption, along with increased insulin secretion” (6, p. 2857).

Changes in Gut Microbiota After a Juice Fast

Based on the premise that changes in microbial composition influence health, researchers designed a study to examine whether a three-day juice fast, followed by reversion to a customary diet for two weeks, would favorably influence the microbiota composition of twenty healthy subjects with low fruit and vegetable consumption (15). A root juice mix was blended from beet, apple, ginger, and lemon, whereas a citrus juice mix consisted of apple, pineapple, mint, and lemon, and the green juice mixes contained romaine lettuce, apple, cucumber, celery, lemon, and small fractions of kale, parsley, and spinach (15). Also included was a mix consisting of filtered water, lemon, cayenne, almond, vanilla bean, dates, and sea salt (15).

Whereas proportions of certain intestinal bacteria, such as Fusobacteria, Actinobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, and Proteobacteria remained consistent, a significant decrease in Firmicutes and increases in both Cyanobacteria and Bacteroidetes were observed in subjects undergoing the juice fast compared to baseline (15). Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes represent the two most abundant bacterial phyla in human populations, representing 40-60% and 20-40% of the microbiota, respectively (16).

Increased Firmicutes in relation to Bacteroidetes has been correlated with obesity and body mass index (BMI) in some human studies (17). According to researchers, “Comparisons of the distal gut microbiota of genetically obese mice and their lean littermates, as well as those of obese and lean human volunteers have revealed that obesity is associated with changes in the relative abundance of the two dominant bacterial divisions, the Bacteroidetes and the Firmicutes” (18, p.1027). The microbiome characteristic of the obese phenotype, in turn, has been correlated with increased harvesting of energy from the diet, and produces obesity when germ-free mice are colonized with the obese microbiota (18).

This trend, which has been supported by some studies and refuted by others, was reinforced by the present juice fast, where a significant positive correlation between weight at day four and Firmicutes proportion, and a significant negative correlation between weight at day four and Bacteroidetes proportion was observed (13, 15, 18). These changes in microbiota may mitigate or perpetuate metabolic syndrome features by regulating gut barrier function, as animal models have confirmed that a compromised gut barrier enables translocation of bacteria and antigens, which evokes inflammation from the gut-associated sub-mucosal lymphoid system (13).

In addition, Bacteroides species such as B. ovatus, B. thetaiotaomicron, and B. uniformis can ferment a wide array of indigestible complex polysaccharides, such as fruit- and vegetable-based xylan and pectin (19). These carbohydrates serve as fermentable substrates or prebiotics, which are metabolized into health promoting, gut sealing, cardioprotective short chain fatty acids. According to Flint and colleagues (2012), “Certain dominant species, notably among the Bacteroidetes, are known to possess very large numbers of genes that encode carbohydrate active enzymes and can switch readily between different energy sources in the gut depending on availability” (19, p. 289). The enrichment in Bacteroides species after the juice fast reinforces the prebiotic effects of juice, since similar increases in Bacteroides species such as B. acidifaciens, B. ovatus, and B. xylanisolvens were witnessed in studies of subjects with metabolic syndrome who included resistant starch in their diets (20).

In one particular study, flourishing of Bacteroides species was accompanied by significant decreases in fasting glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin, cholesterol levels, body fat, waist circumference, and pro-inflammatory markers, which speaks to the metabolic benefits incurred with strategies that augment Bacteroides populations (20). In addition, another rodent study showed that B. thetaiotaomicron combined with probiotics decreased mean body weight and reduced levels of postprandial triglycerides in rats fed a high fat diet, further illustrating the benefit of these specific microbes (21).

After the juice fast, populations of Bacteroides, Odoribacteri, Paraprevotella, Barnesiella, and Halospirulina were all enhanced at day four compared to baseline, whereas Eisenbergiella, Dialister, Ruminiclostridium, Subdoligranulum, and Streptococcus were all suppressed at day four compared to baseline, illuminating the immediate and dramatic effect that fruit and vegetable polyphenols can elicit on the microbiota (15). These other genera, however, besides Streptococcus, returned to baseline levels at day seventeen, indicating the need for regular polyphenol consumption to maintain favorable microbiome changes (15).

Effect of a Juice Fast on Inflammation

Although plasma antioxidant capacity remained unchanged after the juice fast, lipid peroxidation, as measured by urine malondialdehyde (MDA), significantly decreased by 40% at day four compared to baseline (15). The researchers attribute this to either the low-fat nature of the juice fast, such that fewer lipids are available for oxidative degradation, or the antioxidant protection conferred by juice polyphenols for lipids during digestion (15).

This latter hypothesis is supported by research demonstrating that polyphenol-rich juices containing cyanidin glycosides and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) supplemented for two weeks led to decreases in plasma MDA (22). In addition, red wine polyphenols have been shown to completely prevent the rise in plasma MDA that occurs due to oxidized fats (23). Similarly, rosmarinic acid, a polyphenol in oregano, significantly reduces MDA concentration in plasma and urine after burger consumption (24). Thus, the high polyphenol content in juices may protect against the carcinogenic and atherosclerotic effects of lipid peroxidation.

In addition, after the juice fast, day four nitric oxide (NO) concentrations were increased by five-fold and three-fold, in urine and plasma, respectively, compared to baseline, indicating the vasodilatory effect of fruit and vegetable nitrate content (15). Optimizing NO levels may prevent cardiovascular disease, since disturbed activity of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) is implicated in the pathophysiology of endothelial dysfunction, impaired arterial compliance, and hypertension. This is consistent with prior work which elucidated that nitrate-rich beet juice improves vascular function in hypercholesterolemic patients, as illustrated by increases in flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) and aortic pulse wave velocity and by decreases in platelet-monocyte aggregates compared to placebo (25). These changes may also be mediated by the microbiome, and nitrate-reducing bacteria specifically, since in one study, nitrate treatment modified the proportions of 78 bacterial taxa in the salivary microbiome compared to placebo (25).

Lastly, during the juice intervention, significant decreases in body weight and body mass index (BMI) occurred which persisted after the two-week follow-up period (15). Well-being scores remained consistent with baseline at day three, but there was a significant increase in well-being at the conclusion of the study (15). However, both NO and MDA concentrations returned to initial baseline values at day seventeen, suggesting that continued consumption of polyphenols is required to maintain anti-inflammatory benefits (15).

Although the fiber is largely removed from juice, this study highlights that juicing still elicits a prebiotic effect due to its polyphenol content, and that it can therefore favorably modify the microbiome by selectively stimulating the growth of beneficial commensal bacteria. Thus, juicing, with an emphasis on lower glycemic vegetables, may be both a prudent adjunctive strategy for people with gastrointestinal distress who cannot tolerate large quantities of fiber, and for individuals with metabolic derangements.

References

1. Horne, B.D., Muhlestein, J.B., & Anderson, J.L. (2015). Health effects of intermittent fasting: hormesis or harm? A systematic review. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 102, 464–470, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.109553  (2015).

2. Remely, M. et al. (2015). Increased gut microbiota diversity and abundance of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Akkermansia after fasting: a pilot study. Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift, 127, 394–398, doi: 10.1007/s00508-015-0755-1

3. Png, C.W. et al. (2010). Mucolytic bacteria with increased prevalence in IBD mucosa augment in vitro utilization of mucin by other bacteria. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 105(11), 2420-2428.

4. Belzer, C., & de Vos, W.M. (2012). Microbes inside-from diversity to function: the case of Akkermansia. International Society of Microbial Ecology Journal, 8(8), 1449-1458.

5. Zhang, C. et al. (2013). Structural modulation of gut microbiota in life-long calorie-restricted mice. Natural Communications, 4, 2163.

6. Roopchand, D. E. et al. (2015). Dietary Polyphenols Promote Growth of the Gut Bacterium Akkermansia muciniphila and Attenuate High-Fat Diet-Induced Metabolic Syndrome. Diabetes 64, 2847–2858, doi: 10.2337/db14-1916

7. Etxeberria, U. et al. (2015). Reshaping faecal gut microbiota composition by the intake of trans-resveratrol and quercetin in high-fat sucrose diet-fed rats. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 26(6), 651-660. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2015.01.002. 41-46.

8. Lee, J., & Mitchell, A.E. (2012). Pharmacokinetics of quercetin absorption from apples and onions in healthy humans. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 60, 3874-3881.

9. Carmody, R.N. et al. (2015). Diet dominates host genotype in shaping the murine gut micorbiota. Cell Host Microbe, 2015, 72-84.

10. Turnbaugh, P.J. et al. (2008). Diet-induced obesity is linked to marked but reversible alterations in the mouse distal gut microbiome. Cell Host Microbe, 3, 213-223.

11. Liou, A.P. et al. (2013). Conserved shifts in the gut microbiota due to gastric bypass reduce host weight and adiposity. Science of Translational Medicine, 5, 178ra141.

12. Zhang, H. et al. (2009). Human gut microbiota in obesity and after gastric bypass. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), 106, 2365-2370.

13. Stenman, L. K., Burcelin, R. & Lahtinen, S. Establishing a causal link between gut microbes, body weight gain and glucose metabolism in humans – towards treatment with probiotics. Beneficial microbes 1–12, doi:10.3920/BM2015.0069 (2015).

14. Anhê, F.F. et al. (2015). A polyphenol-rich cranberry extract protects from diet-induced obesity, insulin resistance and intestinal inflammation in association with increased Akkermansia spp. population in the gut microbiota of mice. Gut, 64, 872-883.

15. Henning, S.M., et al. (2017). Health benefit of vegetable/fruit juice-based diet: Role of microbiome. Scientific Reports, 7. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-02200-6

16. Million, M. et al. (2013). Gut bacterial microbiota and obesity. Clinical microbiology and infection: the official publication of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, 19, 305–313, doi: 10.1111/1469-0691.12172

17. Koliada, A. et al. (2017). Association between body mass index and Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio in an adult Ukrainian population. BioMed Central Microbiology. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12866-017-1027-1

18. Turnbaugh, P.J. et al. (2006). An obesity-associated gut microbiome with increased capacity for energy harvest. Nature, 444, 1027–1031, doi:10.1038/nature05414

19. Flint, H.J. et al. (2012). Microbial degradation of complex carbohydrates in the gut. Gut Microbes, 3(4), 289-306.

20. Upadhyaya, B. et al. (2016). Impact of dietary resistant starch type 4 on human gut microbiota and immunometabolic functions. Scientific Reports, 6, 28797, doi: 10.1038/srep28797  (2016).

21. Olli, K. et al. (2016). Independent and Combined Effects of Lactitol, Polydextrose, and Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron on Postprandial Metabolism and Body Weight in Rats Fed a High-Fat Diet. Frontiers in Nutrition, 3, 15, doi: 10.3389/fnut.2016.00015

22. Bub, A. et al. (2003). Fruit juice consumption modulates antioxidative status, immune status and DNA damage. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 14(2), 90-98.

23. Gorelik, S. et al. (2007). A novel function of red wine polyphenols in humans: prevention of absorption of cytotoxic lipid peroxidation products. The Official Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 22(1).

24. Li, Z. et al. (2010). Antioxidant-rich spice added to hamburger meat during cooking results in reduced meat, plasma, and urine malondialdehyde concentrations. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91, 1180–1184. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.28526

25. Velmurugan, S. et al. (2016). Dietary nitrate improves vascular function in patients with hypercholesterolemia: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 103, 25–38, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.116244

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“I Tried Every Diet & Nothing Worked” How Mucus Free Living Saved This Woman’s Life

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    After a year on a high-fat/high-protein lifestyle, Livia Macdonald nearly died. After adopting a 'mucus-free' lifestyle, a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, she cured her depression, anxiety, and health issues.

  • Reflect On:

    True healing takes time and commitment, and a willingness to face the emotions and trauma buried beneath our eating habits.

In 2011, Livia Macdonald was looking for answers to her health. At nearly 300 lbs and stuck in the despairs of chronic illness, she was ready to make a big change. The first step—divorcing allopathic medicine all together. Like many others stepping away from conventional medicine, Livia found herself enveloped by the siren of holistic healthcare, adopting the protocols laid out by natural-health celebrity and functional medicine doctor, Mark Hyman.

Following Hyman’s vitality guidelines, Livia cut out grains, starches, and processed sugars, while incorporating more vegetables, ‘healthy’ fats and animal products into her diet.

I was told that high protein and high fats is the way to go because our brain needs fat. I even made my own ghee and ate loads of coconut oil and eggs every day,” she told Collective Evolution.

At first the high-fat diet did wonders for Livia’s health. She felt more energized, had more mental clarity, and even began to drop weight. “I lost almost 80 lbs the first year on the [high-fat] diet,” she said.

But after twelve months of a high-fat lifestyle, Livia said her body began to shut down.

“I started to feel awful. Like everything turned on me. I got severe depression, anxiety, shaking, internal tremors, my organs started to really hurt, I had them checked and my pancreas had so many fat deposits all over it and my cholesterol was through the roof after being optimal. My entire body started to shut down and I became bed ridden for an entire year.”

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During this difficult time Livia came across the work of Dr. Robert Morse, a regenerative detoxification specialist well known in the natural health world. One of the foundations of Dr. Morse’s teachings is that man is a part of the primate family, and therefore we are primarily a frugivore species whose bodies thrive off of fruit, some vegetables and herbs. Livia says that a lightbulb went off in her head immediately upon reading Dr. Morse’s work.

My intuition was screaming that this was the missing piece of my puzzle, and that he speaks the absolute truth.”

Arnold Ehret wrote “The Mucusless Diet Healing System,” a resource for the chronically ill. Ehret’s protocols implement systematic fasting, as well as a diet of raw fruit and vegetables.

Next, Livia discovered the work of a 19th century natural health educator named Arnold Ehret. Ehret’s rise to fame came through his in depth knowledge about the body, specifically in healing chronic disease through systematic fasting and a diet similar to what Morse prescribes—raw fruit and vegetables.

His magnum opus, The Mucusless Diet Healing System, detailed his many years working in a clinic for the chronically ill while implementing his detox protocols to cure their diseases. Ehret’s work garnered a cult-following throughout the early 20th century and inspired the works of well-known detox specialists like Robert Morse himself, Paul Braggs, and Alfredo Bowman.

Adopting A Mucus-Free Lifestyle

But Livia said her biggest aha moment did not come until she discovered the work of South-African detox specialist  Alexandra Cousins. Inspired by the teachings of Robert Morse and Arnold Ehret, Cousins takes their healing principles and merges them with the shamanic and emotional work which she feels is the missing piece for those seeking full-bodied healing.

What I am witnessing is that trauma, PTSD, OCD, addictions are running everyone’s lives,” she writes in her Facebook group, Living Mucus Free. “The degree will vary but we all have it unless we have specifically addressed it. It is safe to say that all my clients, especially the chronically ill suffer from some form of unresolved trauma. If you have adrenal, hormonal, thyroid, or CFS issues, you are dealing with trauma residue. Living mucus free tends to bring up all our unresolved trauma. As we no longer consume foods that numb us or stimulate us, trauma rises to the surface so that it can be felt and dealt with.”

Having endured years of ill-health herself and having tried almost every diet trend out there, Cousins eventually found solace through a lifestyle termed Living Mucus Free (LMF). Mucus, for those wondering, is the residue which builds in the body from eating non-species-specific food, i.e., animal products, grains, or most cooked food. This mucus putrefies and plaques to the intestinal walls, eventually causing acids to build up in the body and damage our organs and glands.

LMF does away with mucus-causing foods while utilizing fruit, vegetables, herbs, systematic fasting, lymphatic movement, and various trauma-release therapies. Today, Cousins teaches what she’s learned at detox retreats around the globe and inspires thousands through her fierce social media presence.

Alexandra Cousins; founder ‘Living Mucus Free’. Cousins teaches people how to heal their chronic illness through the principles of cellular detoxification.

Sweet potato pizza via Living Mucus Free.

Photo by Livia Macdonald.

Livia says she has dedicated herself to the Living Mucus Free principles with great results, incorporating daily intermittent fasting, herbal tinctures, movement and breathing practices targeted at draining the lymphatic system, as well as raw food diet.

“I have been vegan one year and living mucus free for 10 months now. My anxiety and depression cleared up within two months, never to return. I have so much more clarity and mental focus now and that is getting better with time, not worse. I am slowly healing my endocrine system and gaining more energy back, I am no longer bed ridden since the first couple of months on this lifestyle.. all my spiritual and emotional stuff has surfaced to be healed and it’s truly a fascinating and incredible journey to learn the truth and realize just how wrongly we have been conditioned in such a deep way.”

The emphasis in Living Mucus Free is elimination—getting out of the body’s way and allowing it to do its job of eliminating acids, toxins, undigested food material and mucoid plaque. This is primarily achieved through daily dry fasting and eating watery, astringent fruit, which pulls out toxins as it transits the digestive tract.

Another principle to the Living Mucus Free lifestyle is eating little to no fat while detoxing, a principle that goes against many of the high-fat diet trends of today. But as Alexandra Cousins explains, in the case of those who are cellularly degenerate, fats only serve to cover up their issues. Fats are anti-inflammatory, buffering the acidity in the body but never pulling the acids out. A temporary bandaid for true healing.

Livia feels this is what happened in her case, and it is why she thinks so many initially feel great adopting a high-fat diet.

“I feel the high fat diet works for some because it suppresses and clogs their lymphatic system so naturally they will feel instant relief. But now that I understand how the body actually works, of course you are going to show improvement at the beginning if you remove junk food, sugars/grains, dairy etc.”

Cousins also speaks much to the notion that fats, salts, animal products, and processed foods are stimulating to our nervous system which cover up our emotional wounds, so when we begin to remove these foods and focus on detoxifying the body, we are suddenly faced with old emotions or traumatic memories, and this, Alex says, is mostly what Living Mucus Free is about.

“When we detox on a cellular level, we are consistently clearing old information, old cellular memory in the form of emotion which is held in physical waste stored in the body, replacing it with new cellular information,” Alex Cousins, Living Mucus Free.

For those looking for a quick fix, Living Mucus Free probably isn’t the right fit. Those living the Mucus Free lifestyle don’t make false promises that you will be healed after a 30 day detox. The journey is slow and steady, one with bumps along the way known as healing crises. During a healing crisis any number of uncomfortable symptoms can arise as the body expels old debris and toxins. But as Livia says, walking through the discomfort is the only way towards true healing.

I believe that our society has everything so backwards,” says Livia. “We are taught to chase feeling good, and run away from feeling bad, and Living Mucus Free isn’t going to feel good in the beginning as it brings up our weaknesses for healing.”

The reward, as promised by Cousins, Morse, Ehret, and thousands of others who have healed through regenerative detox principles, is beyond anything we can imagine:

Unimaginable health and vitality, weight loss and reversed ageing, improved energy levels, mental clarity and confidence, liberation from anxiety, mood swings and self-doubt, resolution of stored trauma and a deeper connection to source, vastly improved sex life and orgasms.”

Is Living Mucus Free really the key to such incredible feats? The answer, it seems, is to be discovered only by those willing to walk through the fire to find out.

For more information about Living Mucus Free, visit Alexandra Cousins’ website, Living Mucus Free.

For amazing mucus free recipes and to continue following Livia’s journey, check her out Instagram or Facebook, or her website, LiveAlittleRaw.

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In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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