- The Facts:
Alcohol related deaths are the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the US.
- Reflect On:
Should we be glamorizing the consumption of alcohol in the media and in advertisements? Is it time to get real about the potentially life threatening risks of this drug?
In recent years, we have been hearing a lot about the opioid epidemic that is sweeping the nation. The Center for Disease Control reported that over 47,000 people died in the United States alone from an opiate overdose in 2017, that is almost 5 times the amount of deaths caused by opiates in 1999. This is important, and yes it is good this is getting the attention that it deserves. However, in the same year, an estimated 88,000 people died from alcohol related causes — Did anyone hear about that?
Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States, the first is tobacco and the second is poor diet and minimal physical activity. Given this, why aren’t we talking about it? And why don’t we see warning labels on alcoholic beverages? Why are we promoting such a harmful substance? We certainly don’t see huge billboards with people in bikinis popping oxycontin or injecting heroin, because we are well aware that these substances are addictive and can cause harm, so again, why are we openly promoting alcohol? Especially to young people?
Is It Because It’s Legal?
Is it possible that alcohol related deaths do not garner as much of a cause for concern because it is legal, easily available and socially acceptable? Most likely. Alcohol sales reached $253.8 billion in the US in 2018 — this might also have something to do with it.
I’m not suggesting that criminalizing alcohol is a solution to this issue or anything, the same way I don’t see how it’s still against the law to use any drugs at all, regardless of how bad they are for you. I believe that we should have the say in how we treat ourselves and what we put into our bodies, not the government or a legal system. But instead of being portrayed as a harmful substance, like opiates, crystel meth, and crack are — alcohol is glamorized by the media; often being portrayed as sophisticated, fun, sexy and generally just the cool thing to do.
Alcohol Is Basically Encouraged In Our Society
There is no doubt about it, the use of alcohol is deeply ingrained in our culture. So much so, that choosing not to drink is often the more odd thing to do. People will always ask, oh, how come you’re not drinking? As opposed to other drugs, people won’t typically ask, oh why aren’t you smoking meth tonight? Or whatever it may be.
Binge drinking is practically expected on the weekends, and for many people it is a way to unwind, let loose and have fun after a long workweek. Many people justify their consumption this way insisting that it’s fine, because, I don’t drink every day. The thing about alcohol abuse is that it doesn’t have to be every day to be considered a problem or for the person to be considered an alcoholic.
There are many ways we tend to justify our use, because the thought of giving it up entirely or admitting that we even have a problem can be extremely overwhelming — especially if our entire livelihoods are centered on it.
How Much Is Too Much?
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) created a web site called “Rethinking Drinking” to highlight the amount of misconceptions about what is considered “low-risk” and “high-risk” alcohol consumption. It turns out, more than three drinks in a day or more than seven drinks per week for women and four drinks per day or 14 drinks per week for men are considered “high-risk,” and these patterns can be detrimental both in the short and long-term.
Some people might have an attitude of, I don’t drink at all during the week, so I have all of my allotted alcoholic beverages on the weekend — however, for men consuming 5 or more drinks and for women consuming 4 or more drinks in about a 2 hour period is considered binge drinking.
Is It Time To ‘Rethink That Drink’?
Should we have more campaigns aimed to raise awareness about the potential harm caused by alcohol? Because it is legal it seems to have this view of also being safe, because our government officials and lawmakers always have our best interest at heart, right? 😉 But if we aren’t educating young people effectively on the potential risks associated with alcohol consumption, then perhaps there should be more of an effort to make the risks known on the packaging and even eliminating ads. In my opinion, it simply does not make sense to be legally allowed to advertise something that is so harmful — especially in such a glamorized way.
I don’t know what it’s like now for teens and if it is still considered “cool” to drink and if there is a ton of peer pressure around the whole thing. My hope is that this view will shift, young people will be made more aware of the risks and more people will find the courage to step away from what is no longer serving them or what’s not in their best interest.
Many health advocates and people that are very cautious with regards to what they are putting into their body are still completely overlooking alcohol as a harmful substance. Now, there is no judgment to anyone who chooses to drink, but I think it’s time to take a good hard look at these things and at least have the awareness behind it. Surely, it can be fun from time to time to relax, to loosen up, to be silly, but when we are relying on it to escape our unhappiness from our current situation, well then maybe it’s time to face these situations head on, rather than escape them and change whatever is encouraging us to reach for that glass of wine, whiskey or beer in the first place.
How Can We Support Others?
The fact of the matter remains, many people who drink can do so sparingly, not in excess and not very often. They have a handle on it and it doesn’t interfere with their lives in a negative way. However, for the ones who have struggled — with drinking too much, too frequently, with black outs, it can be difficult to even know if it’s a problem because of how acceptable it is in our society.
If someone says, no thanks I’m not drinking, don’t ask why, and instead try, right on! And no peer pressure. I’ve had problems with drinking, have quit and relapsed twice, currently I’m sober. Before I stopped drinking this time around I would open up to some people about it, questioning my use and whether or not it was harmful, many people would tell me, ahh don’t be so hard on yourself! We are allowed to enjoy life, or shut down from time to time if we need to. If someone is expressing to you that they are concerned they might have a drinking problem, don’t make them second guess themselves, if they are opening up about it please try to support them. We don’t always know what others are going through — apparently even if they flat out tell us. This may also challenge our own relationship with alcohol, but if you can keep that separate.
Do You Have A Problem?
If you are concerned that you might have a drinking problem, you probably do. Keeping in mind that having a problem with alcohol doesn’t necessarily make you an alcoholic. You may have a problem with alcohol if you can identify with any of the following scenarios:
- Spending a lot of time obtaining, using, and recovering from the effects of alcohol.
- Cravings, or a strong desire to use alcohol.
- Being unable to cut down on alcohol use despite a desire to do so.
- Continuing to abuse alcohol despite negative interpersonal or social problems that are likely due to alcohol use.
- Using alcohol in physically dangerous situations (such as driving or operating machinery).
- Drinking more or for a longer time than originally intended.
- Continuing to abuse alcohol despite the presence of a psychological or physical problem that is probably due to alcohol use.
- Being unable to fulfill major obligations at home, work, or school because of alcohol use.
- Giving up previously enjoyed social, occupational, or recreational activities because of alcohol use.
- Having a tolerance (i.e. needing to drink increasingly large or more frequent amounts of alcohol to achieve the desired effect).
- Developing symptoms of withdrawal when efforts are made to stop using alcohol.
A great way to get things in check is to commit to a period of time without any alcohol consumption and monitor how you feel, what you accomplish, and if you feel uplifted. You may need to ask your friends to support you during this time and have some sober activities prepared! Board games, cards, movies, sports, hiking — all these things can be great sober fun!
If your problem is more severe than this, or you are needing help in any way, reach out to a trusted friend or family member or you may benefit from your local Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for a whole slough of support and resources. If that’s not your jam, check out Hello Sunday Morning for assistance in moderating your use.
My hope is that in the near future it will be more common not to drink and doing so will be more like taking a drug, or having an experience that is typically out of the ordinary.
It is never too late to make a change, first step is to get really honest with yourself…
Alternatives To Viagra That May Treat Erectile Dysfunction
- The Facts:
Erectile dysfunction is something that affects man men. It seems the only solution is medication, but their maybe other alternatives available.
- Reflect On:
Why is there such a lack of resources when it comes to the research of alternatives methods for treat certain health problem?
For many men experiencing erectile dysfunction, a little blue pill known as Viagra can be a quick fix thanks to modern medicine. However, like many other quick fixes developed by the pharmaceutical industry, those benefits don’t come without some added risks. Pharmaceuticals often impose the “bandaid effect” on our bodies, covering up the problem rather than actually solving it through addressing the root cause of the health issue.
When it comes to Viagra, choosing to take this little blue pill is sort of like choosing the blue pill in the Matrix. Sometimes we can become so blinded by the advantages of something that we forget about its potential side effects, and ultimately fail to address the real issue at hand. So, in hearing that this blue pill could seemingly fix your sex life again, many men choose to take it, while simultaneously ignoring the risks.
In reality, there are some pretty serious health risks associated with Viagra. Like many other pharmaceutical products, by ‘fixing’ one area of the body, you could be harming another.
The Viagra website states it can potentially cause some serious side effects, including:
- Priapism, otherwise known as a long-term erection that can permanently damage your penis
- Loss of vision in one of both eyes
- Hearing loss, damage to hearing, or ringing in ears
- Upset stomach or nausea
- Back pain
- Muscle pain
- Heart attack or irregular heartbeat
Despite these potential risks, over 23 million men have been prescribed Viagra. This indicates there’s a huge number of men who experience erectile dysfunction, and it’s understandable they’d turn to Viagra given how normalized pharmaceuticals are in our society and how cruelly men who suffer from this problem are portrayed in the media.
Instead of going deeper and asking ourselves why our health problems occur, we tend to go to the pharmacy for a quick fix or ask our doctors to prescribe us some pills. However, just like any other health problem, erectile dysfunction is simply a symptom of your current state of being. Our health issues don’t just “happen to us,” they manifest as a result of our past and current health and wellbeing.
Erectile dysfunction can occur due to high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, high cholesterol, hormonal problems, alcohol abuse, smoking, cocaine use, pelvic injuries, spinal issues, radiation therapy around the pelvic region, obesity, and more.
These underlying causes of erectile dysfunction may explain why some of the side effects of Viagra can be so life-threatening in the first place. When men take those blue pills, they can get lost in the excitement of the experience and end up exerting themselves beyond their physical limitations. If these men already have preexisting conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure (which could all be the root causes of their erectile dysfunction), they could already be at risk of having a heart attack or a stroke.
Though the root problem could be considered more difficult to identify and treat than taking that little blue pill, it’s ultimately the only sustainable, long-term solution, and it could save your health (or even your life)!
However, if you are in need of a quick fix while you’re trying to figure out what that root cause could be, there are plenty of alternatives to Viagra that don’t pose the same health risks.
Here’s a list of all-natural alternatives to Viagra:
L-arginine and Pycnogenol
L-arginine is a non-essential amino acid that is important during times of trauma or stress. During these times, the body is unable to produce as much as it needs, and so taking this supplement while you’re stressed is often beneficial. What’s more, studies have found that taking this amino acid supplement can treat erectile function.
It has been found to perform well when taken in combination with pycnogenol. One study involving men experiencing erectile dysfunction found that taking these two supplements together restored participants’ sexual ability to 80% in about a month. After only a few months, 92.5% of the men experienced a normal erection.
This incredible herb has been used to improve erectile dysfunction for centuries, and as it turns out, there’s now science to support the herbal wisdom behind it.
A 2012 study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research concluded that red ginseng can be used as an alternative to erectile dysfunction medication, and another review published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) determined that red ginseng could improve erectile dysfunction and sexual performance, though further research is required.
Maca is well-known for being nature’s own powerful aphrodisiac. In a study on patients with mild erectile dysfunction, maca was found to produce a “small but significant effect” on both the participants’ general and sexual wellbeing.
You could try adding some maca to your morning smoothies or beverages, or even take a supplement. Plus, maca is an excellent source of vitamin C, iron, potassium, and copper, so you’ll be loading up on nutrients in addition to boosting your sex drive.
That’s right: That expensive member of your herbs and spices cabinet can also aid men who suffer from erectile dysfunction! One study found that saffron works surprisingly quickly, showing “a positive effect on sexual function with increased number and duration of erectile events seen in patients with ED even only after taking it for ten days.”
Tribulus terrestris is a plant often used in Ayurvedic medicine, as the root and fruits are said to benefit both male virility and general wellbeing. A study published in NCBI suggests that tribulus terrestris can be beneficial in treating men who experience erectile dysfunction.
Studies in primates, rabbits, and rats have yielded some promising results, with Tribulus terrestris being found to increase some sex hormones and effectively treating mild and moderate cases of erectile dysfunction.
Reduced Intake of Meat and Fried Foods
Some of the worst foods for your heart include meat and fried foods. Foods high in animal fat, sodium, and unhealthy oils pose serious risk to your heart and can also worsen your blood circulation, a necessary aspect of getting an erection in the first place.
As it turns out, erectile dysfunction could signify underlying heart problems, so eating “heart healthy” foods is a necessary component of good sexual health as well. Try swapping the animal protein for some plant-based protein, cutting the dairy, and ditching the fast food!
There are a number of essential oils that can be used to reduce stress, increase sex drive/libido, and lower blood pressure, all of which could potentially affect erectile function. Ylang ylang, rose, and lavender essential oils are all really great at reducing stress and in some cases lowering blood pressure, too.
Spicier scents like cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove can aid in increasing sex drive and improving sexual function, and nutmeg can also improve blood circulation, an important part of getting an erection.
As with many other pharmaceuticals, taking Viagra clearly has its advantages and disadvantages. Sure, it might improve your sex life in the short term, but at what cost? Maybe you’ll take Viagra and never experience any negative side effects, but at the end of the day, there’s no guarantee of that.
Any ailment or disease that manifests in the body is always a sign of sickness or stress, and this includes erectile dysfunction; if everything is operating well in your body, then you will not run into any operational issues.
This applies for many health issues, and I encourage you to continue on your journey in searching for the root cause of all of your health problems!
Scientists Share Facts About Vaccines At World Health Organization Conference For Vaccine Safety
- The Facts:
Many scientists presented facts about vaccines and vaccine safety at the recent Global Health Vaccine Safety summit hosted by the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.
- Reflect On:
Why are so many people fighting against each other? Why are there "pro-vax" and "anti-vax" groups? Are these terms not useless? Do they prevent us from having discussions that need to be had and moving forward appropriately?
According to organizations like the American Medical Association as well as the World Health Organization, vaccine hesitancy among people, parents, and, as mentioned by scientists at the World Health Organization’s recent Global Vaccine Safety Summit, health professionals and scientists continues to increase. This is no secret, as vaccines have become a very popular topic over the past few years alone. In fact, the World Health Organization has listed vaccine hesitancy as one of the biggest threats to global health security.
The issue of vaccine hesitancy is no secret, for example, one study (of many) published in the journal EbioMedicine outlines this point, stating in the introduction:
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.
At the conference, this fact was emphasized by Professor Heidi Larson, a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project. She is referenced, as you can see, by the authors in the study above. At the conference, she emphasized that safety concerns among people and health professionals seem to be the biggest issue regarding vaccine hesitancy.
She also stated,
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… 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.
She also brought up her belief that safety studies are incomplete, and that to continue to refer people to the same old science on safety is not adequately addressing their new concerns because better studies need to be done. Furthermore, she recommended that doctors and professionals forego name-calling with ‘hostile language’ such as “anti-vax”. She recommended encouraging people to ask questions about vaccine safety. 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. After all, that’s just good science, and it’s in everyone’s best interest.
Another interesting point that caught my attention was brought up by Dr. Martin Howell Friede, Coordinator of Initiative For Vaccine Research at the World Health Organization. He brought up the topic of vaccine adjuvants like thimerosal or aluminum, for example. In certain vaccines, without these adjuvants the vaccine simply doesn’t work. Dr. Friede mentioned that there are clinical studies that blame adjuvants for adverse events seen as a result of administering vaccines, and how people in general often blame adverse reactions to vaccines being the result of the vaccine adjuvant. He mentioned aluminum specifically.
He showed concern given the fact that “without adjuvants, we are not going to have the next generation of vaccines.”
He also stated that,
When we add an adjuvant, it’s because it is essential. We do not add adjuvants to vaccines because we want to do so, but when we add them it adds to the complexity. And I give courses every year on ‘how do you develop vaccines’ and ‘how do you make vaccines’ and the first lesson is, while you are making your vaccine, if you can avoid using an adjuvant, please do so. Lesson two is, if you’re going to use an adjuvant, use one that has a history of safety, and lesson three is, if you’re not going to do that, think very carefully.
Furthermore, he criticized the assumption that if an adjuvant like aluminum appears to be safe for one vaccine, that it should be not be presumed to be safe for other vaccines. Dr. Friede said that current safety surveillance is quite effective at determining immediate effects (such as immediate injury to the arm at the injection site), but not as effective in identifying “systemic” long term adverse events.
When I heard him mention lesson two, that “if you’re going to use an adjuvant, use one that has a history of safety,” it instantly reminded me of aluminum because it’s an adjuvant used in multiple vaccines like the HPV vaccine, for example, but has no history of safety.
A study published as far back as 2011 in Current Medical Chemistry makes this quite clear, emphasizing that,
Aluminum is an experimentally demonstrated neurotoxin and the most commonly used vaccine adjuvant. Despite almost 90 years of widespread use of aluminum adjuvants, medical science’s understanding about their mechanisms of action is still remarkably poor. There is also a concerning scarcity of data on toxicology and pharmacokinetics of these compounds. In spite of this, the notion that aluminum in vaccines is safe appears to be widely accepted. Experimental research, however, clearly shows that aluminum adjuvants have a potential to induce serious immunological disorders in humans. (source)
The key sentence here is that “their mechanisms of action is still remarkably poor.” Based on what Dr. Friede said at the conference, it really makes you think.
A study published in BMC Med in 2015 found that “Evidence that aluminum-coated particles phagocytozed in the injected muscle and its draining lymph nodes can disseminate within phagocytes throughout the body and slowly accumulate in the brain further suggests that alum safety should be evaluated in the long term.”
This brings me to another point made at the conference by many scientists in attendance, which was that according to some of them, vaccines seem to lack the appropriate safety testing. This is another big reason why people are so confused and have voiced their concerns about safety, as mentioned above by Professor Larson.
Marion Gruber, PhD and Director of the FDA Office of Vaccines Research and Review, questioned the scope of vaccine safety surveillance and monitoring during pre-licensing vaccine trials as well during the conference.
One source of confusion might be that ‘high-ranking’ health authorities sometimes making conflicting statements. For example, Soumya Swaminathan, MD and Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization, stated at the conference,
I don’t think we can overemphasize the fact that we really don’t have very good safety monitoring systems in many countries and this adds to the miscommunication and the misapprehensions because we’re not able to give clear cut answers when people ask questions about deaths that have occurred due to particular vaccines… One should be able to give a very factual account of what exactly is happening, what the cause of deaths are, but in most cases there’s some obfuscation at that level and therefore there’s less and less trust then in the system.
Prior to this statement, in a promotional video released just days before the conference began, she stated that “we have vaccine safety systems, robust vaccine safety systems.”
She completely contradicted herself.
If you’d like access to the entire conference, you can do so at the World Health Organization’s website.
The scientific community should never stop questioning, especially when it comes to medication. Based on the information that’s come out at this conference, it’s quite clear that there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to the development of vaccines and vaccine safety overall. Discussion is always encouraging, as long as it’s peaceful and facts are presented like they were at this conference. It’s better to understand the reasons why a lot of people are hesitant about vaccination and appropriately respond, instead of simply using ridicule and hatred because that’s never effective and both parties cannot move forward that way. At the end of the day, scientists should never cease to question.
Gulf War Illness Tied To Cipro Antibiotics
Civilians suffering from Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome (an adverse reaction to a fluoroquinolone – Cipro/Ciprofloxacin, Levaquin/Levofloxacin, Avelox/Moxifloxacin, Floxin/Ofloxacin and others) have noted the similarities between Gulf War illness and Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome for years. It is beyond likely, it is probable, that they are one in the same.
The VA defines Gulf War Illness as “chronic, unexplained symptoms existing for 6 months or more” that are at least ten percent disabling. The CDC case definition of Gulf War Illness “requires chronic symptoms in two of three domains of fatigue, cognitive-mood, and musculoskeletal.”
Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome is a chronic, unexplained illness with symptoms lasting for months, years, or, as the updated warning label notes, permanently. The symptoms of Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome are too numerous to list, but a cursory glance at the warning label for Cipro/Ciprofloxacin will tell you that the effects include musculoskeletal problems and central nervous system issues. Additionally, as pharmaceuticals that damage mitochondria, the energy centers of cells, severe fatigue is often induced by Fluoroquinolones.
A 1998 study entitled, “Chronic Multisymptom Illness Affecting Air Force Veterans of the Gulf War,” found that the most commonly reported symptoms of Gulf War Illness are sinus congestion, headache, fatigue, joint pain, difficulty remembering or concentrating, joint stiffness, difficulty sleeping, abdominal pain, trouble finding words, (feeling) moody or irritable, rash or sores, numbness or tingling and muscle pain.
A 2011 study conducted by the Quinolone Vigilance Foundation found that the most commonly reported symptoms of Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome are tendon, joint, and muscle pain, fatigue, popping/cracking joints, weakness, neuropathic pain, paresthesia (tingling), muscle twitching, depression, anxiety, insomnia, back pain, memory loss, tinnitus, muscle wasting.
The symptoms are similar enough to raise a few eyebrows. It should be noted that when a chronic, multi-symptom illness suddenly sickens a patient or a soldier, and he or she goes from being healthy and active to suddenly being exhausted and unable to move or think, it is difficult to pinpoint and describe exactly what is going wrong in his or her body. Thus, even if the symptoms are identical, they may not be described in an identical way because of context and differing areas of focus.
For victims of fluoroquinolones, it is as if a bomb went off in the body of the victim, yet all tests come back “normal” so in addition to physical pain and suffering that the soldier/patient is going through, he or she has to suffer through dismissal and denial from medical professionals as well. Neither Gulf War Illness nor Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome are detected by traditional medical tests and thus both diseases are systematically denied. All blood and urine markers come back within the normal ranges, yet the patient or soldier is suddenly incapable of 90% of what he or she used to be able to do. When a large number of patients or soldiers (nearly 30% of the soldiers serving in the Gulf reported symptoms. Exact numbers of civilian patients suffering from Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome are unknown because of delayed reactions, misdiagnosing the illness, tolerance thresholds, etc.) experience adverse reactions that are undetectable using the tests available, there is something wrong with the tests. The patients and soldiers aren’t lying and their loss of abilities isn’t “in their heads.”
Exposure to the same Poison
Another glaring similarity between Gulf War Illness and Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome is that everyone with either syndrome took a Fluoroquinolone.
Per a Veteran of the Marines who commented on healthboards.com about the use of Ciprofloxacin by soldiers in the Gulf:
“The Ciprofloxacin 500 mg were ordered to be taken twice a day. The Marines were the only service that I know for sure were given these orders. We were ordered to start them before the air war, and the order to stop taking them was giver at 0645 Feb 28th 1991 by General Myatt 1st Marine div commander. We were forced to take Cipro 500mg twice a day for 40 plus days. so the Marines were given NAPP (nerve agent protection pills) or pyridiostigmine bromide to protect us from nerve agent, and We were ordered to take the Cipro to protect from anthrax. We were part of the human research trial conducted by the Bayer corporation in the creation of their new anthrax pills. At that time they had no idea of the side effects of flouroquinolones. That’s the class of medications that Cipro falls into. After the Gulf War the FDA and Bayer co. started releasing the list of side effects. You do need to know what was done to you so you will have to do your own research. Good luck to all of you and Semper Fi.”
By definition, everyone who suffers from Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome has taken a fluoroquinolone – Cipro/Ciprofloxacin, Levaquin/Levofloxacin, Avelox/Moxifloxacin or Floxin/Ofloxacin. Civilians are also part of the “human research trial conducted by the Bayer corporation” as well as Johnson & Johnson, Merck and multiple generic drug manufacturers who peddle fluoroquinolones as “safe” antibiotics.
The Case Against Fluoroquinolones
Of course, there were multiple chemicals and poisons that Gulf War Veterans were exposed to in the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War and thus it has been difficult to pinpoint an exact cause of Gulf War Illness. The ruling out of the following possible causes should certainly be questioned thoroughly, but “depleted uranium, anthrax vaccine, fuels, solvents, sand and particulates, infectious diseases, and chemical agent resistant coating” have been found not to cause Gulf War Illness. Other potential causes of Gulf War Illness include oil fires, multiple vaccines, pesticides, and, of course, fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Cipro). (It should be noted that non-deployed military personnel who served during the Gulf War period, but who were not deployed in the Middle East, have also been afflicted with Gulf War Illness and thus toxins that both deployed and non-deployed personnel have been exposed to should be the focus of investigations into the causes of Gulf War Illness.)
The Air Force Times article is one of the first official mentions of the relationship between Cipro and Gulf War Illness. Officially, the link hasn’t been examined (though some very smart researchers are building a case as you read this). Why Cipro hasn’t been looked at as a potential cause of Gulf War Illness is a question that I don’t know the answer to. Perhaps it’s because most people think that all antibiotics are as safe as penicillin. Perhaps it’s because most people have a tolerance threshold for fluoroquinolones and don’t react negatively to the first prescription that they receive. Perhaps it’s because even today, more than 30 years after Cipro was patented by Bayer, the exact mechanism by which fluoroquinolones operate is still officially unknown (1). Perhaps it’s because it is unthinkable that a commonly used antibiotic could cause a chronic syndrome of pain and suffering. Perhaps it’s because the tests that show the damage done by fluoroquinolones aren’t used by the VA or civilian doctors’ offices. Perhaps it’s because fluoroquinolones are the perfect drug – they take an acute problem – an infection, and convert it into a chronic disease-state that is systematically misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, an autoimmune disease, leaky gut syndrome, insomnia, anxiety, depression, etc. and turns formerly healthy people into lifetime customers of the medical establishment / pharmaceutical companies. Perhaps it is simply widespread ignorance about the way these dangerous drugs work.
The Cliffs Notes version of how fluoroquinolones work is as follows:
The fluoroquinolone depletes liver enzymes that metabolize drugs (CYP450) (2). When the enzymes are depleted sufficiently, the fluoroquinolone forms a poisonous adduct to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) (3, 4), which destroys and depletes mtDNA (5). While the mtDNA is being destroyed, the fluoroquinolone is also binding to cellular magnesium. (6, 7) The mitochondria reacts to being assaulted by producing reactive oxygen species (ROS) (8, 9). Some of the ROS, specifically hydrogen peroxide, combines with the excess calcium (there is a balance in cells of magnesium and calcium and the binding of the magnesium results in an excess of calcium) to induce the expression of CD95L/Fas Ligand (5) which then causes cell death (apoptosis) and immune system dysfunction (10) which leads the body to attack itself – like an autoimmune disease.
Damage is caused by every single step in the process. Additional damage may be done by the fluorine atom that is added to fluoroquinolones to make them more potent. It should be noted that the complexity of these cellular interactions is too vast to write up in this article.
Every symptom of Gulf War Illness is consistent with mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress (11), both of which have been shown to be brought on by fluoroquinolones.
Though the tests used in typical medical practice show no reason for victims of fluoroquinolones to be ill, that fact simply shows that the wrong tests are being used. Tests of mitochondrial function, antioxidant/oxidant ratios and DNA will show the damage that is done by fluoroquinolones. The way to determine whether Cipro is the cause of Gulf War Illness is to conduct a DNA mass spectrogram analysis on afflicted Gulf War Veterans. If the DNA mass spectrogram analysis shows that quinolone molecules have adducted to the DNA of the Veterans, that’s a smoking gun of damage done by Cipro.
Millions of civilians have also been hurt by fluoroquinolones. I can connect fluoroquinolones to almost every chronic disease that has increased in prevalence since the introduction of fluoroquinolones to the mass population in the mid-1980s. Additionally, DNA is damaged and thus the effects are intergenerational and many of the chronic diseases that plague children can be linked to fluoroquinolone use by parents.
Some very well-respected researchers are working on more furthering the case that Cipro is responsible for Gulf War Illness. If any Gulf War Veterans want to take on Bayer before those studies are released, the way to do so is through obtaining a DNA mass spectrogram analysis and having it analyzed by a toxicologist. It is proof of damage and it is necessary. When that proof is obtained, I encourage all Gulf War Veterans to use it to fight those who poisoned them – Bayer and their corroborators in the DOD and the FDA.
To any Gulf War Veterans who read this – you are soldiers and you are warriors. I know that you have been weakened, but you are still alive and those of you who can fight, should, because a grave injustice has been done to you. It is an injustice that is also being inflicted on innocent civilians. There is nothing okay about the poisoning of our military men and women, or the American public, with chemotherapy drugs masquerading as antibiotics. I encourage you to fight Bayer and their corroborators like what they are – domestic terrorists. It is a fight that you can win. The truth, and a significant amount evidence, are on your side.
Post Script: The author’s web site, with more information about fluoroquinolones, is www.floxiehope.com. Further information about fluoroquinolones can be found through the Quinolone Vigilance Foundation – www.saferpills.org.
- Inorganic Chemistry, “New uses for old drugs: attempts to convert quinolone antibacterials into potential anticancer agents containing ruthenium.”
- FDA Warning Label for Ciprofloxacin
- The Journal of Biological Chemistry, “The Mechanism of Inhibition of Topoisomerase IV by Quinolone Antibacterials.”
- Findings of Toxicologist Joe King
- The Journal of Immunology, “Mitochondrial Reactive Oxygen Species Control T Cell Activation by Regulating IL-2 and IL-4 Expression: MechanismN of Ciprofloxacin Mediated Immunosuppression“
- Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, “Effects of Magnesium Complexation by Fluoroquinolones on their Antibacterial Properties”
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, Biochemistry, “Quinolone Binding to DNA Mediated by Magnesium Ions”
- Science Translational Medicine, “Bactericidal Antibiotics Induce Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Oxidative Damage in Mammalian Cells“
- Journal of Young Pharmacists, “Oxidative Stress Induced by Fluoroquinolones on Treatment for Complicated Urinary Tract Infections in Indian Patients“
- Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, “Ciprofloxacin Induces an Immunomodulatory Stress Response in Human T Lymphocytes“
- Nature Precedings, “Oxidative Stress and Mitochondrial Injury in Chronic Multisymptom Conditions: From Gulf War Illness to Autism Spectrum Disorder”
Prince Harry: “I Will Not Be Bullied Into Playing A Game That Killed My Mom”
Last week Prince Harry and Meaghan Markle announced that they would be stepping down from their royal duties, and ultimately...
Journalist Who Broke Story Of Mueller Deleting Text Messages Dies Suddenly
Editor Update Jan 3rd, 2019: We have made a slight change to the title of this article from ‘Mysteriously’ to ‘Suddenly’...