- 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).
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.
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
Black Seed: The Ultimate Mediterranean Powerhouse
Black seed or Nigella sativa, the seeds from a plant of the buttercup family, has been used since ancient times as both food and medicine. No one seems to be familiar with Mentioned in the Bible it was the Prophet Muhammad who stated that it was, essentially, a “cure for all diseases, except death.” A traditional herbal medicine, it has been used for a vast array of conditions. Ancient Egyptians relied upon as an aid to respiratory complaints, also for digestive conditions and as a worm-killer. Because of the Prophet’s dictates it became highly popular in early Islamic societies.
Al-Jawaziyya of the 13th century recommended it for gasping and difficult breathing. Ibn Sina held it effective for all types of shortness of breath and for halting phlegm. It continues to be a highly recommended remedy in the Middle East for a wide range of respiratory complaints, including asthma. Other conditions for which it was proven valuable over the centuries include bronchitis, laryngitis, tonsillitis, colds, flu, and pneumonia.
Black seed is available as the whole seed itself and also the expressed oil. Both have been shown to help enhance immune function, while also acting specifically as antihistamines and as broncho-dilators. There have been at least 8 clinical studies showing that the seed and the oil are active against any form of respiratory distress, with the focus being on asthmatic conditions. In conditions of respiratory distress it has been found to aid greatly, reducing histamine reactions, minimizing allergic responses, and easing inflammation of the bronchial tubes.
The positive response to lung and bronchial function from the ingestion of black seed is immense. Nigella sativa and its astoundingly powerful active ingredients truly are whole food, natural bronchial and respiratory support aids. These foods/supplements are certainly highly preventive for lung/chest support yet can even be given in a respiratory crisis, along with standard medical treatment, with effectiveness. After all, it is a food, used, for instance, on nan bread and in stews.
All people with respiratory challenges should consider consuming this God-blessed complex. It is available as the cold-pressed oil in both the whole oil and also in gelcap, the latter, ideally, being combined with Mediterranean fennel and cumin oils. Expect any such supplements to offer major protective powers for respiratory health.
As far as antihistaminic actions it is no minor player. In at least four studies it was demonstrated to reduce the excessive output of histamine from immune cells. All tendency towards allergic reactions in both the lungs and intestinal canal were reduced. This was to such a degree that the researchers determined that it should be included to aid anyone with allergic reactions in the gut. For lung function there is strong data, with the freshly crushed seed extract causing a significant improvement in clinical symptoms and pulmonary function test in adult asthmatics. The findings were highly significant in this double blind, placebo-controlled study and demonstrate that the oil works as well, if not superior, to any drug for this condition.
Saudi investigators have done highly thorough studies regarding its protective and curative powers. In their assessment they reviewed a double-blinded study, which showed a positive effect even in a single dose, with the black seed inducing measurable bronchial dilation. The active ingredient thymoquinone, which is similar to coenzyme Q-10, is thought responsible for these powers. In fact, all the key active ingredients, thymoquinone, nigellone, carvone, carvacrol, and thymol, are all potent agents for respiratory health.
Black seed is also an important natural medicine for fighting immune system excesses. It has the potency to even reverse the more serious immune consequences such as the potentially massively destructive cytokine storm. Apparently, black seed interferes with the genes responsible for inducing these potentially noxious chemicals. They are surely made by the body for a positive purpose. However, in germ overload an excessive production can develop, which can prove dangerous. Spicy food-like substances, like black seed, oregano, fennel, cumin, and sage, are all potent for halting cytokine productions. It is highly advisable to consume such spices or their oil extracts on a regular basis. especially if a person has chronic respiratory complaints, including asthma, bronchitis, and sinus disorders.
In one study mice treated with thymoquinone had a significant drop in what are known as markers of inflammation, all within the cytokine family. The investigators concluded that human studies must be done, since the results were so favourable. They actually determined that black seed would be effective in those suffering from sepsis or blood poisoning, the extreme in cytokine-related toxicity.
The seeds are particularly powerful for immune health. If there is flu or other virus attack, these seeds can be chewed on repeatedly; they offer significant antiseptic actions. The oil also can be taken for this benefit. Ideally, black seed oil gelcap’s with fennel and cumin should be consumed. Such a supplement can be taken on the hour or two, if necessary. The white cells are more biologically active as a result of the black seed oil and seed therapy.
Supplements are typically available as such fortified capsules, the pure oil itself, the crushed seed in capsules with other synergists, like cumin and red sour grape, and the raw seeds themselves. For more information see the book, The Black Seed Oil Miracle.
Ingram, C. 2018. The Black Seed Miracle. Lake Forest, IL: Knowledge House Publishers
This article was written by Dr. Cass Ingram, a nutritional physician who received a B.S. in biology and chemistry from the University of Northern Iowa (1979) and a D.O. from the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences in Des Moines, IA (1984). Dr. Ingram has since written over 25 books on natural healing. He has given answers and hope to millions through lectures on thousands of radio/TV shows. His research and writing have led to countless cures and discoveries. Dr. Cass Ingram presents 100’s of health tips and insights in his many books on health, nutrition, and disease prevention. Dr. Ingram is one of North America’s leading experts on the health benefits and disease fighting properties of wild medicinal spice extracts. A popular media personality, he has appeared on over 5,000 radio and TV shows. He now travels the world promoting perfect health – the natural way.
Updates On The New Coronavirus Vaccine – Are You Going To Take It? Will It Be Mandatory?
- The Facts:
Multiple companies have started clinical trials and testing of potential vaccines for the new coronavirus.
- Reflect On:
Vaccine hesitancy is at an all time high, will the coronavirus be mandatory, and what will be the penalty for those who refuse?
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The coronavirus is taking the world by storm, and many pharmaceutical companies are in a race to develop the vaccine that will be put into circulation for the public. Obviously, it takes some time to develop a vaccine, usually just over a year, but there have been some initiatives put in place to potentially fast-track the coronavirus vaccine. We will have to wait and see.
As of now, media outlets are reporting on multiple developments. For example, tests in mice of a potential vaccine for the new coronavirus have shown that it does indeed induce an immune response against it, at levels that could possibly prevent infection. According to Global News,
A team at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in the United States said they were able to move quickly in developing a potential COVID-19 vaccine after working on other coronaviruses that cause Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
Forbes is reporting that the second phase of human trials for a new vaccine from Moderna may start this spring. Moderna’s cofounder and chairman Noubar Afeyan told CNBC that, while it’s challenging to put a timetable on the vaccine’s progress, “We expect [phase two trials] to happen in the spring, perhaps early summer.”
The second phase involves expanding to hundreds of people in different groups based on certain characteristics like age and physical health. The third phase is potentially the last with the vaccine being given to thousands of people to test its efficacy and safety. Many vaccines also go through a fourth phase after they’ve been approved and licensed.
And President Donald Trump had this to say:
We’re working with the best scientists, doctors and researchers anywhere in the world, we’re racing to develop new ways to protect against the virus, as well as therapies, treatments, and ultimately a vaccine and we’re making a lot of progress. (source)
The Big Questions
So, it seems to be coming. The big questions are: When? Will it be mandatory? Will You Take it?
According to organizations like the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization, vaccine hesitancy continues to increase among people, parents, and yes, even health professionals and scientists. The latter was a big concern for some high-profile speakers at the World Health Organization’s recent Global Vaccine Safety Summit.
No longer a secret, challenging vaccine safety has become a very popular topic over the past few years alone. In fact, the World Health Organization lists ‘vaccine hesitancy’ as one of the biggest threats to global health security. This is discussed in the introduction of this study (one of many) published in the journal EbioMedicine:
Over the past two decades several vaccine controversies have emerged in various countries, including France, inducing worries about severe adverse effects and eroding confidence in health authorities, experts, and science (Larson et al., 2011). These two dimensions are at the core of the vaccine hesitancy (VH) observed in the general population. VH is defined as delay in acceptance of vaccination, or refusal, or even acceptance with doubts about its safety and benefits, with all these behaviors and attitudes varying according to context, vaccine, and personal profile, despite the availability of vaccine services (Group, 2014,Larson et al., 2014, Dubé et al., 2013). VH presents a challenge to physicians who must address their patients’ concerns about vaccines and ensure satisfactory vaccination coverage.
This fact has been emphasized by Professor Heidi Larson, a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project. She is referenced by the authors in the study above.At the WHO conference, she emphasized that safety concerns among people and health professionals seem to be the biggest issue regarding vaccine hesitancy.
The other thing that’s a trend, and an issue, is not just confidence in providers but confidence of health care providers, we have a very wobbly health professional frontline that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. That’s a huge problem, because to this day any study I’ve seen–and we’re constantly looking on any studies in this space–still, the most trusted person on any study I’ve seen globally is the health care provider, and if we lose that, we’re in trouble.
So, the point is, vaccine hesitancy is increasing around the world. Given this fact, it’s safe to say that many people are not going to be interested in taking the coronavirus vaccine. This includes many scientists and doctors. Will it be mandatory as some vaccines are for children to attend public school?
The Greater Good?
The vaccine space right now is truly something else at the moment. Those who wish to maintain their freedom and keep informed consent in place are receiving a harsh backlash from Federal Health regulatory agencies who wish to take this freedom away, it seems, in the name of the ‘greater good.’
Scientists and doctors who are creating awareness and explaining why they don’t believe vaccines should be mandatory, or as safe as they’re marketed to be, receive a large amount of pushback and censorship. Platforms like Collective Evolution are having their social media platform distribution and reach completely cut. Physicians for Informed Consent is another one of many examples.
Because of all of the attacks and censorship of our ability to discuss vaccine safety concerns, the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons are suing Rep. Adam Schiff for “censoring vaccine debate.” You can read more about that here.
Again, we ourselves have also received a tremendous amount of backlash, demonitizaton and more as a result of sharing peer-reviewed research and expert opinion that questions the safety of vaccines. There are many examples, the latest one being presenting the work of Dr. Christopher Exley, a Professor in Bioinorganic Chemistry at Keele University. In our article, we explained why he believes aluminum is playing some sort of role in Autism. And no, he doesn’t mean that aluminum is directly causing autism, we made that quite clear. We also presented multiple other studies questioning the safety of the aluminum adjuvant in some vaccines. You can read that article here.
Why are we being censored for presenting such science? Why are scientists like Exley subjected to so much character assassination when his questions, concerns, and science is solid? This CE article about Exley was flagged by ‘fact-checkers’ as false news, despite the fact that it is scientifically sound and simply presents the opinion and research of multiple scientists and experts.
Since when is science supposed to stop asking certain questions? What was actually ‘false’ about the article cannot be adequately explained, and perhaps this is why Facebook or the fact checkers will not reply to us nor even have a discussion about it. They’ve simply flagged the article, one of many, and greatly reduced the reach of our social media platform without replying to our inquiries. We go into more detail about what we and others are experiencing, in the article Proof: Fact Checkers Are Misleading You.
We are actually worried that Facebook may delete our entire Facebook page, so we are encouraging all those who want to continue to receive and be able to find our content to sign up for our email list.
At the end of the day, I didn’t want to go too deep into the issues that are being brought up with regards to vaccine safety, as much as I wanted to outline that a coronavirus vaccine is coming, while simultaneously pointing out that vaccine hesitancy is still on the rise. This combination no doubt will spark even more controversy and censorship in the near future, when really, there should be full transparency of all sides and the concerns raised.
Terms and ‘hostile language’ such as “anti-vax” should not be used. Encouraging people to ask questions about vaccine safety is in everyone’s best interest. After all, it makes sense–in order to make our vaccines safer and more effective, you would think everybody would be on board with constant questioning and examination. That’s just good science.
These times also highlight how much trust the public has lost when it comes to trusting government and federal health regulatory agencies. Perhaps this is not a result of misinformation, but a shift in consciousness and so many examples of lies and deceit. Our world is starting to question measures and actions like it never did before. People are waking, people are thinking, people are becoming much more intelligent, not the other way around.
Articles From Collective Evolution That Go Into More Detail About The New Coronavirus.
The “Inconvenient Truth” About Mental Illness & Prescription Medications
- The Facts:
Prescription drug sales and deaths are at an all time high. With side effects and dangers, and a lack of safety testing in some cases, are they always the best and only option for mental health treatment?
- Reflect On:
Why are alternative treatments for mental health lacking? Is it because they are not as effective as prescription medication or do not turn a profit?
A worrisome trend has emerged in the last few decades that many physicians are choosing to ignore: As the amount of psychiatric drug prescriptions increase, our mental health declines. It’s time we swallow the hard pill and ask ourselves, are psychiatrists doing more harm than good?
I know that, to some of you, this question seems absurd. Why would licensed medical practitioners purposefully harm their patients? But that isn’t really what’s happening here, as the issue relates more to the over-prescription and misuse of mental health drugs, and the corporately funded miseducation that prompts this behaviour, than any malicious intentions on the part of individual people.
The “Inconvenient Truth” About Mental Illness and Prescriptions
In 2013, approximately 17% of Americans were prescribed at least one mental health drug, in comparison to only 10% in 2011. The amount of people on psychiatric prescription drugs has drastically increased over the past 10 years and now 12% of adult Americans are taking some form of antidepressants alone (source).
It’s not just adults affected by the over-prescription of these drugs; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 11% of children between the ages of 4 and 17 were diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011. However, the American Psychiatric Association maintains that even though only 5% of American children suffer from the disorder, the diagnosis is actually given to around 15% of American children. This number has been steadily rising, jumping from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007. The simple reason for this increase? Profit.
However, despite the fact that the number of mental health drugs prescribed increases every year, our mental health has actually decreased. The amount of people who are considered to be so disabled by mental illness that they require Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) has increased by almost two and a half times between 1987 and 2007, from one in 184 Americans to one in seventy-six. Not surprisingly, the rise in the number of children affected by this is even worse, with a thirty-five-fold increase in that same timeframe (source). So, if the number of prescriptions are increasing, why is our mental health declining?
This phenomenon is what Thomas Insel, former Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, refers to as the “inconvenient truth” of mental illness. Suicide rates per 100,000 people have reached a 30-year high and substance abuse, especially with opiates, has become a national epidemic.
Edmund S. Higgins, MD and Professor of Psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina, explains, “More people are getting treatment and taking medications today than ever before, so what is going on? I would argue that a lack of precision and objectivity in diagnosing and treating mental illness has stalled our progress.” Furthermore, Big Pharma has played a crucial role in creating the mental health drug epidemic.
Big Pharma’s Role in Increasing Prescriptions
This seems to be the general consensus of the North American population: If an advertisement or a misinformed MD says, “There’s a pill for that,” you take it. Our reliance on pharmaceutical drugs didn’t form by accident, however; it was carefully planned and funded by Big Pharma. The pharmaceutical industry manufactured it by heavily advertising drugs, bribing physicians, and funding health studies.
Big Pharma has done an excellent job of feeding the public propaganda through advertisements and education, as the more pills you take, the more money they make. The pharmaceutical industry has played a substantial role in increasing the amount of prescriptions and overall diagnoses of A.D.H.D. in the U.S. (read an article I wrote about this here) and other mental health illnesses. As Dr. Irwin Savodnik of UCLA explains, “The very vocabulary of psychiatry is now defined at all levels by the pharmaceutical industry.”
Doctors typically use the knowledge from the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to diagnose and treat mental illness. But the DSM has had its fair share of criticism, as it favours the use of pharmaceutical drugs over therapy and other healing modalities. Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine and Editor-in-Chief of The Carlat Psychiatry Report Daniel J. Carlat, M.D, criticized the DSM, stating, “In psychiatry, many diseases are treated equally well with medication or therapy, but the guidelines tend to be biased toward medication.”
Holistic mental health practitioner Dr. Tyler Woods further explains:
The DSM tends to pathologize normal behaviors. For instance, the label “Anxiety Disorder” can be given as a result of some kinds of normal and rather healthy anxieties but the DSM will have experts view it and treat it as mental illness. In addition simple shyness can be seen and treated as “Social Phobia”, while spirited and strong willed children as “Oppositional Disorder”. Consequently, many psychotherapists, regardless of their theoretical orientations, tend to follow the DSM as instructed. (source)
In fact, Big Pharma has played a significant role in manufacturing our very definitions of mental illnesses and how they form in the first place. For example, the U.S. considers A.D.H.D. a neurological disorder whose symptoms are the result of biological disfunction or a chemical imbalance in the brain, much like many other mental disorders. However, other countries such as France see these mental disorders, including A.D.H.D., as a social context issue rather than a biological one, with many contributing factors and recommended treatments other than drugs. Dr. Marcia Angell, a physician, author, and the Editor-in-Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, states:
When it was found that psychoactive drugs affect neurotransmitter levels in the brain, as evidenced mainly by the levels of their breakdown products in the spinal fluid, the theory arose that the cause of mental illness is an abnormality in the brain’s concentration of these chemicals that is specifically countered by the appropriate drug. For example, because Thorazine was found to lower dopamine levels in the brain, it was postulated that psychoses like schizophrenia are caused by too much dopamine. . . .
That was a great leap in logic . . . It was entirely possible that drugs that affected neurotransmitter levels could relieve symptoms even if neurotransmitters had nothing to do with the illness in the first place (and even possible that they relieved symptoms through some other mode of action entirely).
Why Pills Cannot Solve All of Our Problems
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t take prescription medication for mental illness; that’s something that you and your doctor should decide. However, if your doctor fails to address any other means of dealing with your mental health, always choosing pills first rather than as a last or even second resort, then perhaps you should think about finding a doctor who understands the benefits of at least considering alternative options.
It’s important to note that even if prescription drugs are the reason our mental health is worsening, they’re certainly not the only reason. We’ve increased our amount of time spent using technology, staying indoors, and being sedentary, as well as worsened our diets and overall physical health with fast food, chemicals, toxins, animal products, and more — all of which may contribute to this decline in mental health.
However, there’s no denying the fact that Big Pharma has had a tangible and worrisome role in the psychiatric drug epidemic. Medical journalist and Pulitzer Prize nominee Robert Whitaker addresses this “inconvenient truth” by using depression as an example. Depression used to be considered a self-limiting illness that, even in severe situations where a patient requires hospitalization, could be cured within six to eight months. Very rarely would patients relapse, and if they did it would typically be many years later.
When antidepressants hit the market, our outlook on depression completely shifted. Even though antidepressants may have been created with good intentions, the reality is that patients taking these drugs are relapsing more quickly and more often. Whitaker explains that many patients on antidepressants will only recover partially in comparison to the full recoveries he’s seen in people who never took them in the first place.
In fact, only around 15% of those treated with antidepressants actually go into remission and maintain their mental health long-term. The other 85% are continuously relapsing or experience chronic depression.
It is clear that in many cases, we need to stop looking for outside help when it comes to our mental health. Our mental health is just that — it’s ours. It’s controlled by us, whether we like it or not. Many mental illnesses don’t stem from biological issues, contrary to what Big Pharma wants you to think, but are rather the result of different stressors in our lives. So, if we were able to connect with ourselves on a deeper level and actually get to the root of the problem, perhaps some of these disorders wouldn’t be so severe.
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