According to media reports, COVID-19 "cases," meaning positive PCR test results, are soaring across the U.S. and around the world, leading to the implementation of measures that in some cases are stricter than what we endured during the initial wave.
However, as detailed in several recent articles, including "Why COVID-19 Testing Is a Tragic Waste," PCR tests are being used incorrectly, resulting in the false appearance of widespread transmission.
In reality, the vast majority of people who end up with a positive test will not develop symptoms and aren't infectious. Needless to say, if you're not infectious, you pose no health risk to anyone, and being placed under what amounts to house arrest is nothing but cruel and unusual punishment for no reason whatsoever.
In The Highwire report above, Del Bigtree breaks down how excessively high test sensitivity leads to falsely elevated "case" numbers that in reality tell us nothing about the situation at hand. As noted by Bigtree, what's missing from the COVID-19 conversation is the actual death rate.
"If COVID is a deadly virus, what should we see when cases increase?" he asks. The answer, of course, is an increase in deaths. However, that's not what's happening.
Aside from a small bump at the beginning, when doctors were unsure of the appropriate treatment and some states recklessly and irresponsibly sent infected patients into ill equipped nursing homes, the death rate has remained relatively flat while positive test rates have dramatically risen and fallen in intervals.
In the video, Bigtree features a November 4, 2020, tweet1 by White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Scott Atlas showing the number of positive tests (aka "cases") in blue and COVID-19 related deaths in red, since the start of the pandemic up until the end of October 2020. As you can see, there's no correlation between the positive test rate and subsequent deaths.
One of the explanations for why positive test rates and mortality do not go hand in hand is the simple fact that a vast majority of those testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 are asymptomatic. They simply aren't sick. The PCR test is merely picking up inactive (noninfectious) viral particles.
In one study,2 which looked at pregnant women admitted for delivery, 87.9% of the women who tested positive for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 had no symptoms. Another study3 looked at a large homeless shelter in Boston. After a cluster of COVID-19 cases was observed there, researchers conducted symptoms assessments and testing among all guests residing at the shelter over a two-day period.
Of 408 people tested, 147, or 36%, were positive, yet symptoms were conspicuously absent. Cough occurred in only 7.5% of cases, shortness of breath in 1.4% and fever in 0.7%. All symptoms were "uncommon among COVID-positive individuals," the researchers noted.
During a June 8, 2020, press briefing, Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization's technical lead for the COVID-19 pandemic, made it very clear that asymptomatic transmission is very rare, meaning an individual who tests positive but does not exhibit symptoms is highly unlikely to transmit live virus to others.
"We have a number of reports from countries who are doing very detailed contact tracing. They're following asymptomatic cases, they're following contacts, and they're not finding secondary transmission … it's very rare, and much of that is not published in the literature," Van Kerkhove said.
Just one day later, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO's emergencies program, backpedaled Van Kerkhove's statement, saying the remarks were "misinterpreted."4 Needless to say, when you're trying to justify the implementation of a vast surveillance network, it's no good to admit a vast majority of people are having their privacy infringed upon for no good reason whatsoever.
Most recently, a study5 in Nature Communications assessed the risk posed by asymptomatic people by looking at the data from a mass screening program in Wuhan, China.
The city had been under strict lockdown between January 23 and April 8, 2020. Between May 14 and June 1, 2020, 9,899,828 residents of Wuhan city over the age of 6 underwent PCR testing. In all, 92.9% of the entire city population participated in the testing. Of these, 9,865,404 had no previous diagnosis of COVID-19 and 34,424 were recovered COVID-19 patients.
In all, there were zero symptomatic cases and only 300 asymptomatic cases detected. (The overall detection rate was 0.3 per 10,000.) Importantly, not a single one of the 1,174 people who had been in close contact with an asymptomatic individual tested positive.
Additionally, of the 34,424 participants with a history of COVID-19, 107 individuals (0.310%) tested positive again, but none were symptomatic. As noted by the authors:6
"Virus cultures were negative for all asymptomatic positive and repositive cases, indicating no 'viable virus' in positive cases detected in this study … The 300 asymptomatic positive persons aged from 10 to 89 years …
The asymptomatic positive rate was the lowest in children or adolescents aged 17 and below (0.124/10,000), and the highest among the elderly aged 60 years and above (0.442/10,000). The asymptomatic positive rate in females (0.355/10,000) was higher than that in males (0.256/10,000)."
Interestingly, when they further tested asymptomatic patients for antibodies, they discovered that 190 of the 300, or 63.3%, had actually had a "hot" or productive infection resulting in the production of antibodies. Still, none of their contacts had been infected.
In other words, even though asymptomatics were (or had been) carriers of apparently live virus, they still did not transmit it to others. As noted by the authors, "there was no evidence of transmission from asymptomatic positive persons to traced close contacts." They further added:7
"Compared with symptomatic patients, asymptomatic infected persons generally have low quantity of viral loads and a short duration of viral shedding, which decrease the transmission risk of SARS-CoV-2.
In the present study, virus culture was carried out on samples from asymptomatic positive cases, and found no viable SARS-CoV-2 virus. All close contacts of the asymptomatic positive cases tested negative, indicating that the asymptomatic positive cases detected in this study were unlikely to be infectious."
The same held true for people who tested positive a second time after having recovered from an active infection.
"Results of virus culturing and contract [sic] tracing found no evidence that repositive cases in recovered COVID-19 patients were infectious, which is consistent with evidence from other sources," the authors said.8
The researchers also pointed out that virus cultures and genetic studies have shown the virulence of SARS-CoV-2 appears to be weakening over time, and that newly infected individuals are more likely to be asymptomatic and have a lower viral load than the cases seen earlier in the outbreak.
What does all of this tell us? It tells us there's no reason to panic simply because the number of positive tests are on the rise. Remember, the more people you test using a PCR test that is set to an excessive cycle threshold, the more false positives you'll get.
As explained in "Asymptomatic 'Casedemic' Is a Perpetuation of Needless Fear," by using an excessive cycle threshold that amplifies the viral RNA to the point that it detects inactive (noninfectious) particles is at the heart of this so-called pandemic. It's what keeps the pandemic narrative going, when in fact it's long since over.
Interestingly, the same day the China study came out, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance9,10 on mask wearing, claiming asymptomatic people account for more than half of all transmissions. Where did they get that from?
The two references listed as support for that claim include a study11 from July 2020, and CDC data that haven't even been published yet.12 It just says it was "submitted" for publication sometime in 2020, therefore, we are unable to provide any source link. The CDC makes no mention of the China study, which included nearly 10 million individuals.
CNN, which reported the CDC's update, parroting the idea that asymptomatic spread is why it's so important to wear a mask, also made no mention of the landmark study from China. Curious, don't you think? It's almost as though the CDC doesn't want us to know we have nothing to fear from healthy people.
Many doctors, scientists and lawyers have now become wise to the fact that it is these flawed tests, and their fraudulent use, that is keeping the fear narrative alive — and they're taking action.
In the video above, Ben Swann talks to Dr. Reiner Fuellmich,13 a consumer protection trial lawyer14 and founding member of the German Corona Extra-Parliamentary Inquiry Committee (Außerparlamentarischer Corona Untersuchungsausschuss15),16,17 which is seeking to expose how fraudulent testing has been and continues to be used to engineer the appearance of a dangerous pandemic when in fact there is none.
The committee is now filing the first of many lawsuits to come, this one against so-called fact checkers on social media. They opted to file a defamation lawsuit on behalf of Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg, a former member of the German Congress and the Council of Europe who has been an outspoken critic of PCR testing, as it cannot be used to diagnose infection.
Social media companies have labeled Wodarg's statements as "false," and by filing a defamation suit, the burden of proof now falls on the fact checkers to prove that they are correct. In other words, to win, the fact checkers must prove that PCR tests diagnose active infection. The scientific evidence proves they don't, so this case could turn out to be pivotal in the fight against the big tech censorship that keeps the fearmongering alive.
While Fuellmich and his team make no claims about WHY the pandemic is being kept alive using fraudulent science, they are unequivocal in their assertion that it is in fact a fake pandemic and that it has had devastating health and economic consequences around the world.
For the why, we have to turn to the geopolitical scene to see what narratives have rolled out in tandem with the pandemic. What we find is that leaders across the world are now calling for a "reset" of the global economy in the wake of the destruction brought by the pandemic. In reality, of course, it is the global response to the pandemic that created the economic devastation, not the virus itself.
Either way, the call to "build back better" is being heard around the world, and such plans include the elimination of conventional capitalism, free enterprise and private ownership, replacing them with a technocratic resource-based economic system in which energy and social engineering run the economy rather than pricing mechanisms such as supply and demand.
Leaders are also calling for invasive health surveillance, and there appear to be plans in place to use biometric surveillance via vaccines, all of which feed into the technocratic system in which this kind of mass surveillance is not only paramount but also foundational.
The reason surveillance is so crucial is because the functioning of this system hinges on artificial intelligence-driven social engineering and manipulation of the masses. Unless people are locked into what could be described as a digital prison, they won't comply with what's coming.
Hook everyone up to a digital centralized banking system, a digital ID and a social credit score, however, and few will have the fortitude to object or speak out against the unelected rulers. Your entire life could easily be upended with the push of a button.
We've already seen how many people have not only been deplatformed for speaking out against one thing or another this past year, they've also had their digital payment accounts closed down, effectively destroying their ability to earn a living. Imagine if there were nothing but a centralized digital currency system and your accounts got shut down. How would you live?
No person in their right mind would agree to this Great Reset plan if they were aware of all the details and its ultimate implications for humanity as a whole. So, to roll it out, they had to use psychological manipulation, and fear is the most effective tool there is.
As explained by psychiatrist Dr. Peter Breggin, there's an entire school of public health research that focuses on identifying the most effective ways to frighten people into accepting desired public health measures.
By adding confusion and uncertainty to the mix, you can bring an individual from fear to anxiety — a state of confusion in which you can no longer think logically — and in this state, you are more easily manipulated. The following graphic illustrates the central role of fearmongering for the successful rollout of the Great Reset.
In closing, testing asymptomatic people and isolating people who test positive even when they have no symptoms is a key strategy that keeps the fear level high. There simply aren't enough hospitalized COVID-19 patients to keep the ruse going, and far too few actually die to make the narrative work. That's why we hear nothing about those statistics anymore.
Instead, all we hear about are the "cases" — the positive tests which have no bearing on mortality rates. Fear of asymptomatics also drive the narrative that we must all wear face masks everywhere we go, because you don't know who might be infected and not know it. It instills fear of others, as even seemingly healthy people might make you deathly ill.
The featured study from Wuhan demonstrates the fallacy of such fears. People who test positive but have no symptoms are not infectious and pose no risk to others. They don't need to wear masks and they don't need to be isolated. In short, we don't need to fear each other.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a primary liver cancer and a leading cause of death from cancer worldwide. In the U.S. in 2016, liver cancer was the ninth leading cause of cancer-related deaths.1 In 2020, it's the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and the seventh leading cause of cancer deaths in women.2 A recent study in mice concluded that restricting calories could reduce cellular stress, improve insulin signaling and prevent steatosis-associated hepatocarcinogenesis.3
Your liver is located under your right ribs below the lung. It's the largest internal organ and performs several vital functions. The liver metabolizes some nutrients absorbed from the intestines so they can be used by the body. It also manufactures clotting factors, delivers bile to the intestines and metabolizes alcohol, drugs and waste products.4
Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common form of primary liver cancer. It has two main growth patterns. In some cases, it starts as a single tumor and only spreads late in the disease. The second type starts as many nodules throughout the organ and is found more often in people with cirrhosis. Without adequate liver function, you will die.
Common conventional treatment approaches include radiation, immunotherapy, chemotherapy and surgical removal of the primary tumor. Current research shows restricting calories helps reduce your risk of HCC. To fully appreciate the results of the study, it’s helpful to know how circadian rhythms affect your liver function.
Your body runs on an internal clock system known as your circadian rhythm. Light exposure to photosensors in your eyes relays a signal to your suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) located in the part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The function of your SCN is to synchronize your internal clock, which in turn regulates sleep-wake cycles and other physiological activities.
These include your core body temperature, neuroendocrine function, memory and psychomotor activity. Essentially, the SCN functions as a small pacemaker and is made of multiple circadian oscillator neurons.5 The most important trigger to your SCN is exposure to light.6
The SCN produces an electrical output that uses a specific rhythm, which influences optimal behavioral and physiological mechanisms.7 Several factors can have a negative effect on this, including aging and sleep deprivation.
The SCN is also affected by temperature, food and socialization. Another recent discovery is that your liver has rate-limiting enzymes that are controlled by circadian rhythm.8 Researchers refer to the master clock as the function of your SCN, which regulates your sleep-wake cycles.
However, in the liver, the circadian clock is affected by feeding and fasting to the point where researchers believe it is not connected to your SCN. Animal studies have revealed the metabolic pathways swing independently of other circadian clocks in the body. It affects processes such as NAD+ salvage and glycogen turnover.9
The featured study, published in the journal Liver Cancer, revealed a protective effect from calorie restriction against the development of HCC in animals with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The rodents were genetically manipulated so they spontaneously developed fatty liver and tumors.10
They were broken into two groups. The control group was allowed to eat as much as they liked, and the experimental group had their diet limited to 30% fewer calories for 15 months. At the end of the intervention period, the experimental group showed less oxidative stress, downregulation of procancer mediators, improved autophagy and fewer and smaller tumors than the control group. The researchers wrote:11
“Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the common malignancies and leading causes of cancer-related death worldwide. Persistent infection of hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus (HCV), ethanol consumption, and genetic metabolic disorders, such as hemochromatosis, Wilson’s disease, glycogen storage disease, and citrin deficiency, are conventional risk factors for HCC.
Recently, worldwide increases in obesity and metabolic syndrome have raised the prevalence of HCC derived from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), indicating a close relationship between overnutrition and liver tumorigenesis.
These findings support the notion that persistent 30% reduction of daily food intake is beneficial for preventing steatosis-associated hepatocarcinogenesis caused by HCV core protein.”
The results of the current studies supported past research, which also found dawn-to-dusk fasting yielded a significant improvement on serum lipid profiles, oxidative stress and body mass index.12 Researchers called the combination of metabolic syndrome, NAFLD and hepatocellular carcinoma a “rapidly emerging epidemic,” which requires a cost-effective preventive strategy.
Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine analyzed the data from an animal study finding that the body responded to dietary changes that linked to the circadian system.13 Past research showed how the circadian clock and gut microbiome had independent effects of metabolism. In this study the researchers found, "Disrupting the circadian clock in mouse liver alters the gut microbiome."14
The change meant the subjects lost less weight. These and other studies have demonstrated the significance of circadian clock control on your liver function. Researchers have found the pathways are affected by eating habits, which can contribute to the development of NAFLD.15
NAFLD is an umbrella term for a range of conditions in the liver that are not associated with alcohol consumption. The main characteristic found with NAFLD is a high amount of fat stored in the liver cells. In some individuals, NAFLD leads to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), characterized by inflammation and progression to advanced scarring (cirrhosis) and liver failure.16
Although the condition happens in those who do not drink alcohol, the damage is similar to that seen with heavy alcohol use. NAFLD often causes no symptoms but may be associated with fatigue or discomfort in the right upper abdomen. The primary complication of both NAFLD and NASH is cirrhosis.
The scarring and fibrotic lesions happen as the liver tries to stop the inflammatory process. As this continues, the fibrosis spreads, leading to swelling of the veins in the esophagus, end-stage liver failure and liver cancer.
Although many people with HCC have cirrhosis, up to 20% develop cancer without liver cirrhosis. These cancers are generally found late, in an advanced stage, since many physicians do not use routine screening in people without cirrhosis.17
Dr. Amit Singal, liver cancer program medical director at the University of Texas, spoke at the 2020 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium calling for more routine screening in people with NAFLD or NASH, with or without cirrhosis. He called for consistent monitoring since finding people at an early stage places the median survival time over five years.18
One headline in the American Journal of Managed Care calls NASH and liver cancer "The New Cancer Headline."19 It is one of several obesogenic cancers driven by "our fat-promoting environment, nutritional policies, and lifestyle" and "is still relatively unfamiliar outside medical literature."
Statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that in 2014, 40% of all cancer diagnoses in the U.S. were from obesogenic cancers.20 The rising rate of weight gain appears to run parallel with the rising rate of weight-related cancer, which increased 7% from 2005 to 2014.
Obesity and metabolic syndrome are two risk factors for NAFLD. While researchers are not sure why some with NAFLD go on to develop NASH and others don't, they have identified risk factors for the progression. Data reveal people with Type 2 diabetes, high levels of triglycerides, metabolic syndrome or obesity have a higher likelihood of progressing from NAFLD to NASH.21
Experts estimate that 25% of adults in the U.S. have NAFLD and of those 20% go on to develop NASH.22 In the Latino community, this percentage is much higher. One study found 45% of Hispanics tested in Dallas, Texas, had hepatic steatosis,23 which is diagnosed when at least 5% of the liver weight is fat.24
More children are also being diagnosed with NAFLD, setting them up for a lifetime of health problems. Before 2006, few people knew children could develop NAFLD. That was the year Dr. Jeffrey Schwimmer, professor of pediatrics at the University of California San Diego, published his findings of 742 pediatric autopsies finding an incidence of 13% with fatty liver disease.25
He found the highest rate of fatty liver disease was in obese children and teens. A subsequent study in 2008 found a gene variant called PNPLA3 could increase the risk of fatty liver disease.26
Michael Goran, Ph.D., director of the diabetes and obesity program at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, demonstrated children as young as 8 who had two copies of PNPLA3 and were exposed to high amounts of sugar had 2.36 times more fat in their livers than children without the gene.27
In his current clinical trial, Goran’s team is measuring the impact that education of the child and family has on the development of fatty liver through MRI measurements before and after the intervention.28
Yet, it isn't just the foods children are consuming that increase their risk of NAFLD. As Goran discovered, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) from sweetened beverages is passed through breast milk. The team discovered this was positively associated with higher body mass of the infant at 6 months and potentially can predispose the child to obesity and fatty liver disease.29
Metabolic inflexibility is one symptom of metabolic syndrome and poor metabolic health. In the current climate, metabolic inflexibility has been associated with poor outcome from COVID-19.30 Symptoms of metabolic syndrome include:
The link between poor metabolic health and disease is not new, but it is rising to the forefront in the current pandemic. In my recent interview with Dr. Paul Saladino, he stresses the association between metabolic health and your immune function.
He believes immunometabolism — the connections between metabolism, metabolic health and the immune system — is easily one of the most important, if not the most important, field in emerging medicine. In my interview with Dr. Aseem Malhotra, British cardiologist and author of “The 21 Day Immunity Plan,” he said:
“The real pandemic is poor metabolic health, or metabolic inflexibility. I had become aware, as early on as March, when we were getting data from China and Italy, that there was a clear link between conditions related to excess body fat, in simple terms defined as poor metabolic health, [and] worse outcomes from COVID-19.
We're talking about conditions like Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and, of course, obesity. And that data kept emerging. That link was so clear, and it wasn't just out of the blue."
The top recommendations Saladino uses to improve your metabolic health, and subsequently lower your risk of infectious disease, obesity and obesogenic cancers, include:
Eliminate processed carbohydrates, sugars, grains and vegetable oils — “I think that from a food perspective, those are the key evils that are really wreaking havoc on our metabolism,” Saladino said in our interview. The worst culprit of them all is probably vegetable oils. “Polyunsaturated vegetable oils are highly oxidizable and very metabolically damaging. So, start with them,” he advises.
For more information about this, see “New Study Tells Why Chicken Is Killing You and Saturated Fat Is Your Friend,” which features Saladino’s interview with science journalist and author Nina Teicholz. Saladino also reviews the mechanisms by which vegetable oils wreck health in greater detail in this interview, so be sure to listen to it in its entirety or read through the transcript.
Eat grass fed animal foods — As noted in a paper published in Nutrients, deficiencies that can compromise immune function include vitamins, A, C, D, E, B2, B6, B12, folate, iron, selenium and zinc.31 These vitamins are primarily found in animal foods, which is why shunning animal foods tends to lead to nutrient deficiencies.
If you can’t stomach the idea of organ meats, consider using a desiccated supplement, such as those Saladino sells.32
Time-restricted eating — Compressing the window of time in which you eat down to six to eight hours a day, eating your last meal at least three hours before bedtime, is another powerful strategy to improve your insulin sensitivity.
Be more physically active — This can ameliorate and reduce metabolic disease risk markers. Be mindful not to go overboard, since excessive exercise will lower your immune function and put you at increased risk of respiratory infections.
Optimize your sleep.
Reduce your stress.
Astaxanthin is a naturally occurring carotenoid with a wide variety of nutraceutical applications in the fight against diseases. Data now reveal astaxanthin has significant promise as a geroprotector, helping to slow brain aging.1 Astaxanthin is responsible for the pink or red color of salmon, trout, lobster and other seafood.2
According to Science Direct, “when compared to other antioxidants such as lycopene, vitamin E and vitamin A,” astaxanthin comes out on top and is often referred to as the “king of antioxidants.”3 It is derived from Haematococcus microalgae, which produce astaxanthin as a protective mechanism to shield from harsh ultraviolet (UV) light.4
In your body, it works as an antioxidant to help protect against reactive oxygen species and oxidation. These processes play a role in aging, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.5 Data show astaxanthin can protect your skin against free radical damage from UV light from the inside out.6
In 2015, NASA presented at the 66th International Astronautical Conference and shared information showing that a supply of astaxanthin from natural sources could potentially prevent the negative effects of radiation exposure, damage to the eyes and other health effects known to occur to astronauts in space.7,8
Researchers writing in the journal Marine Drugs recognize the challenge of maintaining brain function and well-being as human life expectancy lengthens.9 Recent studies have evaluated the neuroprotective effect astaxanthin has on preserving brain aging in experimental models.
In their review of the literature, the scientists identified several pathways astaxanthin may take in slowing brain aging. They evaluated the results of clinical trials where the endpoint measure was disease and disability.
They found several studies where astaxanthin modulated biological mechanisms, including transcription factors and genes directly related to longevity. One of the main relevant factors modulated by astaxanthin is the forkhead box 03 gene (FOXO3). This is one of only two genes with a significant impact on human longevity.
Additionally, in their search of the literature, they found astaxanthin increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels in the brain and can attenuate oxidative damage to DNA, lipids and protein.10
They concluded that it was possible astaxanthin can promote longevity and slow the rate of aging. The neuroprotective properties appear to be attributed to astaxanthin’s ability to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation as well as improve mitochondrial function and the dysregulation of gene expression that occurs with aging.
The data showing astaxanthin may help slow brain aging is significant since the neurological aging process is directly tied to cognitive function. Cognitive changes that can occur, but are not necessarily normal, include finding it difficult to remember words, recall names, having difficulty with multitasking or having more difficulty paying attention.11
According to the National Institute on Aging, some of the common changes that can occur in the brain include loss of brain volume, decreased blood flow, inflammation and reduced effectiveness in communication between neurons. Each of these changes affect cognitive function.
After age 40, data show the volume of the brain can decline at a rate of 5% for every decade. This rate can increase as a person reaches 70 and older.12 The primary factor for this shrinking is unclear but scientists suggest there is a decline in volume rather than in the number of neurons that may have a relationship to gender.
Although experts find there are common changes in thinking abilities that decline with age, they also find reading, vocabulary and verbal reasoning may improve as a person ages.13 With abnormal aging changes, there may be severe cognitive impairment that affects memory, problem solving and behavior, associated with dementia.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, there are more than 5 million in the U.S. who have Alzheimer's and that number is expected to nearly triple to 14 million by 2050.14 The cost of these dementias is projected to be $305 billion in 2020 and estimated to rise as high as $1.1 trillion by 2050.
Although astaxanthin is related to beta-carotene, lutein and canthaxanthin, the molecular structure is unique and more potent than other carotenoids. One of the key differences is that astaxanthin has a surplus of electrons to donate as it neutralizes free radicals.15
Antioxidants work by donating one of their electrons to a free radical in order to stabilize it. However, in donating an electron the antioxidant may then become unstable. Astaxanthin has a surplus of electrons and so can donate many times without becoming unstable itself.16
One of the more unique features of astaxanthin is that it's able to protect both water- and fat-soluble parts of the cell. This feature makes astaxanthin powerful. In one study analyzing several antioxidants and their effectiveness, data show astaxanthin had antioxidant power greater than alpha-lipoic acid, green tea catechins, CoQ10 and vitamin C.17
Most antioxidant carotenoids are either water-soluble or fat-soluble, but astaxanthin can interface between water and fat, which makes it more effective. Astaxanthin also can cross the blood-brain barrier, where it can exert a strong protective effect on your neurological health.18
Lastly, astaxanthin cannot function as a prooxidant,19 which are molecules that cause rather than combat oxidation.20 Other antioxidants can be prooxidants when there is a sufficient concentration, which is one reason you don't want to take too many antioxidant supplements. However, astaxanthin will not function as a prooxidant, even when present in large amounts.
Evidence shows astaxanthin benefits your whole body. Multiple studies demonstrate the beneficial effect it has on skin health and the protection it offers against UV sun damage, increasing skin elasticity and reducing the appearance of fine wrinkles.21,22,23 Unlike topical sunblock, astaxanthin does not block UV rays so you get the benefit of your skin producing vitamin D from UVB light.
The effect is so potent it can protect against total body irradiation24 and burn wound progression.25 As effective as it is on the tissue you see, astaxanthin also has a significant impact on your internal organs and tissues.
In one double-blind, placebo-controlled study, people who took 12 milligrams (mg) of astaxanthin daily for eight weeks had a 20.7% decrease in C-reactive protein, a marker for heart disease.26 In another study published in Atherosclerosis, participants were randomly selected to take a placebo or a daily dose of astaxanthin for 12 weeks at 6 mg, 12 mg or 18 mg per day.27
In before and after testing, those taking astaxanthin experienced a positive effect on their triglyceride and HDL levels that correlated with increased adiponectin, a protein that regulates glucose found in fat tissue.28 Astaxanthin is also a potent preventive and treatment for age-related macular degeneration, which is the most common cause of blindness in the elderly.29
Astaxanthin demonstrates the ability to protect retinal cells from oxidative stress in lab studies.30 A review of the literature suggests astaxanthin may be effective in the prevention and treatment of several ocular diseases, “including diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataract.”31
Studies have also delved into astaxanthin's effects on cancer. Both in vivo and in vitro preclinical antitumor effects have been demonstrated in various cancer models. According to a study published in 2015, astaxanthin:32
"… exerts its anti-proliferative, anti-apoptosis and anti-invasion influence via different molecules and pathways including signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ). Hence, [astaxanthin] shows great promise as chemotherapeutic agents in cancer."
The extent of the benefits of this powerful antioxidant are still being discovered. In the recent COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have found indications that justify the potential for including natural astaxanthin in combination with other treatments to benefit people with COVID-19.
A recent paper published on the research library website SSRN found the unique molecular structure of astaxanthin allows it to penetrate cell membranes and quench reactive oxygen species and free radicals on the inner and outer layer of the membrane. This provides superior protection against oxidative stress. The scientists wrote:33
“Clinically, natural astaxanthin has shown diverse benefits with excellent safety and reported to block oxidative DNA damage, lowered C-reactive protein (CRP) and other inflammation biomarkers. Previous studies reported that natural astaxanthin exert positive effects in alleviating cytokine storm, acute lung injury, acute respiratory syndrome, etc …
Current understandings based on accumulated evidences suggest that SARS-CoV-2 induces a potential amplified inflammatory response to sequential consequences of ALI [acute lung injury], ARDS [acute respiratory distress syndrome] to a life-threatening dire consequence of potential septic shock with elevated expression of inflammatory related genes along with inevitable secondary infections, rather than increased viral load …
… the attenuation of the cytokine storm by targeting key steps in the process may deliver improved outcomes … Shi et al. suggested a two-phase approach for potential treatments of COVID-19 patients: the first immune defense-based protective phase for non-severe COVID-19 cases and the second, inflammation-driven damaging phase for severe COVID-19 patients.”
According to the authors, astaxanthin may be uniquely suited for the task of protecting cells against SARS-CoV-2. The scientists list multiple pathways astaxanthin is known to work that could effectively inhibit a cytokine storm in severe COVID-19. They wrote that astaxanthin:34
“… with its proven anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activity backed by multiple preclinical and human trials and with its extraordinary safety profile can be one of the most promising candidates to be tried against COVID-19.
Taken together, we speculate that implications of astaxanthin as adjunctive countermeasure in the treatment of COVID-19 may exert dual purpose of both as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound with beneficial outcome of reduce fatality and rapid recovery …"
In short, astaxanthin ticks many important boxes to ameliorate COVID-19, including immune response regulation and the enhancement of both cell-mediated and humoral immune responses. You’ll find more in my article, “Astaxanthin Helps Alleviate Cytokine Storm.”
The first randomized controlled trial1,2 to assess the effectiveness of surgical face masks against SARS-CoV-2 infection specifically — which journals initially refused to publish — is finally seeing the light of day.
The so-called “Danmask-19 Trial,” published November 18, 2020, in the Annals of Internal Medicine,3 included 3,030 individuals assigned to wear a surgical face mask and 2,994 unmasked controls. Of them, 80.7% completed the study.
To qualify, participants had to spend at least three hours per day outside the home and not be required to wear a mask during their daily work. At the end of the study, participants reported having spent a median of 4.5 hours per day outside the home.
For one month, participants in the mask group were instructed to wear a mask whenever they were outside their home. Surgical face masks with a filtration rate of 98% were supplied. In accordance with recommendations from the World Health Organization, participants were instructed to change their mask after eight hours.
Antibody testing was performed before the outset and at the end of the study period. At the end of the month, they also submitted a nasal swab sample for PCR testing.
The primary outcome was a positive PCR test, a positive antibody test result (IgM or IgG) during the study period, or a hospital-based diagnosis of COVID-19. Secondary end points included PCR evidence of infection with other respiratory viruses.
Based on the adherence scores reported, 46% of participants always wore the mask as recommended, 47% predominantly as recommended and 7% failed to follow recommendations. So, what did they find? As you might expect, there’s a reason why the researchers had such a hard time getting this study published:
All in all, this landmark COVID-19-specific study failed to deliver good news to those who insist face masks are a crucial component of the pandemic response. Masks may reduce your risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection by as much as 46%, or it may increase your risk by 23%. In other words, the preponderance of evidence still shows that masks have virtually no impact on viral transmission.
Another take-home point that you get from this study, which Del Bigtree points out in The Highwire video report above, is that the vast majority — 97.9% of those who didn’t wear masks, and 98.2% of those who did — remained infection free.
So, we are destroying economies and lives around the world, for what, exactly? To protect a small minority from getting a positive PCR test result which, as detailed in “Asymptomatic ‘Casedemic’ Is a Perpetuation of Needless Fear,” means little to nothing. As reported by the authors:4
“Although no statistically significant difference in SARS-CoV-2 incidence was observed, the 95% CIs are compatible with a possible 46% reduction to 23% increase in infection among mask wearers.
These findings do offer evidence about the degree of protection mask wearers can anticipate in a setting where others are not wearing masks and where other public health measures, including social distancing, are in effect …
Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 may take place through multiple routes. It has been argued that for the primary route of SARS-CoV-2 spread — that is, via droplets — face masks would be considered effective, whereas masks would not be effective against spread via aerosols, which might penetrate or circumnavigate a face mask. Thus, spread of SARS-CoV-2 via aerosols would at least partially explain the present findings …
The present findings are compatible with the findings of a review of randomized controlled trials of the efficacy of face masks for prevention (as personal protective equipment) against influenza virus …
Our results suggest that the recommendation to wear a surgical mask when outside the home among others did not reduce, at conventional levels of statistical significance, the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in mask wearers in a setting where social distancing and other public health measures were in effect, mask recommendations were not among those measures, and community use of masks was uncommon.”
The researchers point out that results could potentially turn out differently if everyone were wearing a mask. At the time of the study, Danish authorities did not recommend universal mask use and most Danes did not wear them. Hence “participants’ exposure was overwhelmingly to persons not wearing masks.”
That possibility, however, is a big “if,” and not sufficient to mandate universal mask wearing. Any claim to such effect is nothing but a wholly unscientific guess. Despite that, many local leaders are now doubling down on mask mandates, some even requiring them to be worn inside your own home when anyone outside the family is present and even if physical distancing can be maintained.5
As an example of extremes, a June 2020 Harvard University paper6,7 even suggested couples should wear face masks during sex. Others are tripling down on masks, recommending you wear two or even three at the same time.8 Former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb is urging Americans to wear N95 surgical masks whenever possible.9
Missing entirely from most recommendations is common-sense health guidance known to improve your immune function and lower your infection risk naturally, such as supplementing with vitamin D, NAC, melatonin, quercetin and zinc.
As noted by Angela Rasmussen, a virologist and affiliate of the Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security, in a November 15, 2020, op-ed in The Guardian,10 our immune systems know how to handle the virus; it’s our politicians who have failed to cope with it. She writes:11
“Most of the evidence in both COVID-19 patients and animal models shows that the immune response to this is quite typical for an acute viral infection. Initially, the body ramps up high levels of IgG antibodies, but after the infection is cleared, those antibodies drop to a baseline level, which may be below the limit of detection of some serological tests.
Antibodies are produced by B-cells, a specialized type of immune cell that recognizes a specific antigen, or viral target. When an infection is cleared, B-cells producing antibodies convert from being plasma cells, which are specialized to pump out massive quantities of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies, to being memory B-cells.
These cells produce lower levels of IgG antibody; but, importantly they persist in the body for years. If they are re-exposed to SARS-CoV-2, they rapidly convert to plasma cells and begin producing high levels of antibody again.
There is no indication that most COVID-19 patients are not developing immune memory, and animals experimentally infected with SARS-CoV-2 are protected against rechallenge with high doses of virus …
Furthermore, antibodies are not the only important part of the immune system. T-cells are also a key component to the immune response. They come in two flavors: helper T-cells, which coordinate immune responses and facilitate immunological memory, and killer T-cells, which kill infected cells. Previous studies have shown that SARS-CoV-2 infection induces robust T-cell responses.”
As noted by Rasmussen, the data collected on the responses of T-cells to SARS-CoV-2 infection “underscore that SARS-CoV-2 is not an anomalous virus capable of miraculous feats of immune evasion.”
In other words, provided your immune function is normal, the virus is as vulnerable as any other virus and you’re not destined to die just because you develop symptoms. So, the reason we’re in the situation we’re now in, Rasmussen says, is not because SARS-CoV-2 is somehow different or more lethal than anything that has come before. We’re in this situation due to political failures.
Other data analyses that add support to the Danish study’s results include Yinon Weiss’ work presented in his article12 “These 12 Graphs Show Mask Mandates Do Nothing to Stop COVID.” In it, he shows that states’ mask rules appear to have had nothing to do with infection rates, which is what you’d expect if masks don’t work.
Weiss points out that “No matter how strictly mask laws are enforced nor the level of mask compliance the population follows, cases all fall and rise around the same time.” To see all of the graphs, check out Weiss’ article13 or Twitter thread.14 Here are just a select few to bring home the point:
What everyone needs to come to terms with is that we have a new respiratory virus in town — one that may stay with us indefinitely. The question then becomes, just how long do we lock ourselves in our homes and shun all social relationships?
How long do we neglect our children’s education and social development by keeping schools closed? How long do we leave our elderly family members to languish in isolation? A better part of the global population has essentially stopped living altogether, and for what? For fear of an illness that 99.7% of people recover from15 — an illness that is as likely to kill you as the seasonal influenza if you’re under 60.16
Data clearly show that COVID-19 has not resulted in excess mortality, meaning the same number of people who die in any given year, on average, have died in this year of the pandemic.17,18 Several studies19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26 also suggest immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection is far more widespread than anyone imagined.
In an October 28, 2020, Wall Street Journal opinion piece,27 Joseph Ladapo, an associate professor at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, points out that we really must accept reality and move on with life, unpredictable as it may be. He writes:
“By paying outsize and scientifically unjustified attention to masking, mask mandates have the unintended consequence of delaying public acceptance of the unavoidable truth.
In countries with active community transmission and no herd immunity, nothing short of inhumane lockdowns can stop the spread of COVID-19, so the most sensible and sustainable path forward is to learn to live with the virus.
Shifting focus away from mask mandates and toward the reality of respiratory viral spread will free up time and resources to protect the most vulnerable Americans ...
Until the reality of viral spread in the U.S. … is accepted, political leaders will continue to feel justified in keeping schools and businesses closed, robbing young people of the opportunity to invest in their futures, and restricting activities that make life worthwhile.”
Hopefully, if you’ve been reading this newsletter, you’re no longer incapacitated with fear and are capable of making more level-headed decisions based on the data at hand rather than the fear porn published in the daily papers. For the latest news and top tips for combating COVID-19, check out my Coronavirus Resource Page.
Everything really points to this pandemic being overblown and prolonged for purposes that have nothing to do with saving lives and everything to do with “resetting” the global financial and power structures — none of which will benefit us.
The lockdowns are essentially just conditioning you to accept a radically new way of life — one in which we have limited ability to travel or work, one in which we’re conditioned to being partially or wholly dependent on a government handout, one in which we must submit to being tracked and surveilled with little or no right to privacy, one in which the government dictates how you can spend your time, where you can go, who you can spend time with and for how long.
Eventually, once the global economies are in irreparable shambles, the central banks will roll out a debt erasure program to solve all our problems. The price will be your humanity, your freedom. Will you pay it? Or will you resist the whole deviled scheme while you still can?
The evidence continues to accumulate that avoiding toxic industrially processed seed oils, often referred to as “vegetable oils,” is essential to protecting your health, and recent research adds dietary iron to the increased health risks as well, particularly for those with Type 2 diabetes.1
Examples of seed oils high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) include soybean, cottonseed, sunflower, rapeseed (canola), corn and safflower.2 Omega-6 is considered to be proinflammatory because of the most common variety, linoleic acid, which will radically increase oxidative free radicals and cause mitochondrial dysfunction.3
But all seed oils have linoleic acid, even “healthy” ones like avocado and olive oil, both of which have the majority of commercially available products adulterated with other seed oils that have even higher levels of linoleic acid. So, only purchase trusted and tested brands and once you have them put the oil in the fridge. The linoleic acid will remain liquid. Simply pour that oil in the trash and your olive or avocado oil will be healthier.
The intake of omega-6 seed oils may also promote inflammation through arachidonic acid by increasing the production proinflammatory compounds. Further, as researchers noted in the journal Nutrients, “In addition, a few studies suggested that omega-6 PUFA is related to chronic inflammatory diseases such as obesity, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and cardiovascular disease.”4
Iron, meanwhile, while necessary for oxygen delivery, mitochondrial electron transport, DNA synthesis and more, can generate oxidative stress that leads to tissue damage, and previous research has found dietary iron intake may be associated with the risk of diabetes. Now, researchers have demonstrated a connection between the intake of iron and PUFAs with diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) in people with Type 2 diabetes.5
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is a form of nerve damage that may occur in people with diabetes. The damage occurs, most often, in your legs and feet and is a significant cause of falls and fractures in this population. In addition to long-term diabetes, other risk factors for DPN include insulin resistance, high blood pressure, obesity and high blood sugar, and oxidative stress is believed to be a key contributing factor.6
For the featured study, Korean researchers looked into the association of iron intake and the ratio between iron intake and PUFA intake (iron/PUFA) with DPN in 147 people with Type 2 diabetes. Both high dietary iron intake and an elevated iron/PUFA ratio were associated with DPN, suggesting “the importance of the dietary pattern of iron and PUFA intake in individuals with type 2 diabetes.”7
Iron overload has previously been found to make oxidative stress injury in neurons worse in the presence of high sugar concentrations, and the researchers suggested that insulin resistance and pancreatic beta cell dysfunction, which are caused by oxidative stress, could be behind the association between iron and DPN.8
The study had limitations, however, particularly in regard to PUFAs, as it did not interpret the study results in relation to omega-6 and omega-3 separately. Omega-3s have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory role that’s been linked to many health benefits.
Most people get far too much omega-6 and too little omega-3, thus ending up with a lopsided ratio, and this ratio is what impacts health. Ideally, this ratio would be close to 1-to-1. The key, however, is not to necessarily increase omega-3, but to decrease omega-6 to improve the ratio. The featured study evaluated PUFA intake of omega-6 and omega-3 together, but noted that it was the ratio of iron/omega-6 that showed a significant association with DPN:9
“Considering the PUFA-related antioxidant effect observed in an iron-related, pro-oxidant environment, we calculated the iron/PUFA ratio and found that a higher iron/PUFA ratio was associated with a higher OR (odds ratio) of DPN. This finding suggests that the ratio of iron to PUFA might be an important marker of DPN and can be used as an indicator to screen for or prevent DPN in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
In addition, even though the ratio iron/omega-6 PUFA, rather than the ratio iron/omega-3 PUFA, showed a statistically significant association with DPN after adjusting for confounders, we need to be cautious in interpreting these data. A relatively small amount of omega-3 PUFA compared with omega-6 PUFA might bring about these non-significant results.”
One way to help stop the oxidative damage caused by iron intake in the presence of too many omega-6s is to take carnosine or its primary precursor, beta-alanine. Carnosine is a dipeptide composed of two amino acids: beta-alanine and histidine. It's a potent antioxidant, the highest concentrations of which are found in your muscles and brain.
If you're a vegetarian or vegan, you will have lower levels of carnosine in your muscles. This is one reason why many strict vegans who do not properly compensate for this and other nutritional deficiencies tend to have trouble building muscle. Carnosine itself is not very useful as a supplement as it is rapidly broken down into its constituent amino acids by certain enzymes. Your body then reformulates those amino acids back to carnosine in your muscles.
A more efficient alternative is to supplement with beta-alanine, which appears to be the rate limiting amino acid in the formation of carnosine. Eating beef is known to efficiently raise carnosine levels in your muscle,10 which is why if you’re a vegetarian or vegan this supplement may be particularly important.
Many chronic diseases appear to be the result of a catastrophic cascade of health declines triggered by the long-term consumption of seed oils (omega-6). For instance, Dr. Chris Knobbe, an ophthalmologist and the founder and president of the Cure AMD Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to the prevention of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), believes age-related macular degeneration (AMD) should be called diet-related macular degeneration instead.
Knobbe has studied the toxic aldehydes that result from omega-6 fats. When you consume an omega-6 fat, it first reacts with a hydroxyl radical or peroxide radical, producing a lipid hydroperoxide.
This lipid hydroperoxide then rapidly degenerates into toxic aldehydes, of which there are hundreds, which in turn lead to cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, mutagenicity carcinogenicity and more, along with being obesogenic, at very low doses. Knobbe explained the complex process in his presentation at the ALLDOCS annual 2020 meeting:11
“Here's what excess omega-6 does in a westernized diet: induces nutrient deficiencies, causes a catastrophic lipid peroxidation cascade, is what this does … This damages … a phospholipid called cardio lipid in the mitochondrial membranes. And this leads to electron transport chain failure … which causes mitochondrial failure and dysfunction.
And this leads first to reactive oxygen species, which feeds back into this peroxidation cascade. So, you're filling up your fat cells and your mitochondrial membranes with omega-6, and these are going to peroxidize because of the fact that they are polyunsaturated.
All right, next thing that happens, insulin resistance, which leads to metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. When the mitochondria fail you get reduced fatty acid, beta oxidation, meaning you can't burn these fats properly for fuel.
So now you’re … carb dependent and you're heading for obesity. So, you're feeling tired. You're gaining weight. Your mitochondria are failing to burn fat for fuel … this is a powerful mechanism for obesity.
So, the energy failure at the cellular level leads to nuclear mitochondrial DNA mutations, and this leads to cancers. Three weeks on a high-PUFA diet causes heart failure in rats — three weeks. And this also leads to apoptosis and necrosis. And of course, that's how you get disorders like AMD, Alzheimer's.”
At the root of the harmful biochemical reactions triggered by seed oils is linoleic acid, which is an 18-carbon omega-6 fat. As mentioned, linoleic acid is the primary fatty acid found in PUFAs and accounts for about 80% of the fatty acid composition of vegetable oils. Omega-6 fats must be balanced with omega-3 fats in order not to be harmful, but this isn’t the case for most Americans.
To make matters even worse, most of the omega-6 people eat has been damaged and oxidized through processing. "Most of this linoleic acid, when it oxidizes, it develops lipid hydroperoxides and then these rapidly degenerate into … oxidized linoleic acid metabolites," says Knobbe.12
OXLAMs (oxidized linoleic acid metabolites) create a perfect storm, as they are cytotoxic, genotoxic, mutagenic, carcinogenic, atherogenic and thrombogenic, according to Knobbe. Their atherosclerosis and thrombogenic actions are especially concerning because they can produce strokes and clots, however metabolic dysfunction can also occur.
During the lipid peroxidation cascade caused by the excess consumption of omega-6 seed oils, PUFAs accumulate in your cell membranes, leading to a peroxidation reaction. As mentioned, because there are so many reactive oxygen species it leads to the development of insulin resistance at the cellular level.
Dr. Paul Saladino, a physician journalist, in a podcast, also explained that linoleic acid "breaks the sensitivity for insulin at the level of your fat cells,”13 essentially making them more insulin sensitive — and, since your fat cells control the insulin sensitivity of the rest of your body by releasing free fatty acids, you end up with insulin resistance.
Unfortunately, even eating conventionally raised chicken, which is fed corn, is problematic, as the meat becomes high in omega-6 linoleic acid.14 As Saladino points out, eating a lot of chicken adds to your vegetable oil consumption and further skews your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.
To protect your health, it is vital that you reduce your intake of industrially processed seed oils as much as you can. This means eliminating all of the following oils:
Even too much organic, biodynamic olive oil can shift your ratio in the wrong direction, as olive oil is also a source of omega-6 linoleic acid, so be sure you use the trick I described above to lower the LA content of olive oil. It’s also important to avoid nearly all processed foods and fast foods, as virtually all of them contain these toxic oils. The easiest way to do this is to prepare the majority of your food at home so you know what you are eating.
If you want to know how much linoleic acid you’re eating, simply go to cronometer.com and enter your food, making sure that it is accurately weighed. For optimal health, try to get your intake under 10 grams per day.
In a study published in The Lancet Oncology, scientists analyzed the effectiveness of breast cancer screening in Great Britain.1 The researchers concluded that mammograms beginning at age 40 or 41, as opposed to the recommended age 50 by the NHS, were associated with a relative reduction in breast cancer mortality.
They noted that a 2010 study2 found that early screening in ages 40 or 41 to 48 resulted in an 18.1% false positive rate which resulted in cytology and surgical and nonsurgical biopsies in women who ended up not actually having cancer. Even so, they still reported that their own study showed a statistical reduction of mortality in the first 10 years.
Other experts found the data from this study showed no statistical differences, and even the study’s researchers noted, “the absolute reduction remained constant.”3 They also admitted that “after more than 10 years of follow-up, no significant reduction was observed” and that “overall, there was no significant difference” in breast cancer deaths — just as their critics said.
According to the American Cancer Society, 73% of women over 45 had a screening mammogram within the past two years.4 In the U.S., these percentages add up to an overwhelming number of women. There were 61.91 million women from age 40 to 70 in July 2019.
Assuming a woman stops having mammograms at age 70, there may have been 45.19 million women who have had a mammogram in the past two years.5 When you consider the average cost of a mammogram is $100,6 the total revenue generated may be close to $4.5 billion. Although your out-of-pocket expense may not be $100 per test, someone is paying the charges.
This may be one explanation for why women continue to get recommendations for screening mammograms, despite a lack of evidence these tests can reduce mortality and mounting evidence they may in fact cause harm.
The UK Age trial was designed to compare annual mammograms in women who begin getting the test at age 40 to those beginning them at age 50, against cancer mortality. The first results of the trial were published in The Lancet in 2015 after 17 years of follow-up.7
The study enrolled 160,921 women from October 1990 to September 1997. Of these women 53,883 joined the intervention group in which they received a mammogram nearly every year until age 48. Another 106,953 women were in a control group who received usual medical care, in which they did not receive their first mammogram until at least age 50.
The results published after a median follow-up of 17 years were similar to those published five years later in the final results.8 While the participants were randomly assigned to the intervention or control group, the researchers chose to include 33.5% in the intervention group and 66.5% in the control group.
From the start of the study until February 28, 2017, the women were followed for a median of 22.8 years. During this time, the researchers believe their statistics showed a reduction in breast cancer mortality at 10 years of follow-up but no significant reduction after age 50.
Yet, not every expert interpreted the results the same. One paper, titled “Breast Cancer: Study Claiming That Screening Women in Their 40s Saves Lives ‘Found the Opposite,’ Say Critics,” was published behind a paywall in the BMJ.9 A second opinion was published in The Lancet, in which the author said:10
“No difference in mortality from breast cancer was found between the group that began yearly mammography screening at age 39-41 years until they entered the National Health Service (NHS) Breast Screening Programme at age 50-52 years, and a group that did not begin mammography screening until they entered the NHS Breast Screening Programme.
… overall there was no mortality reduction in the intervention group compared to the control group by the end of follow-up.
One surprising aspect of the report by Duffy and colleagues is the conclusion that no overdiagnosis of breast cancer occurred in either group beyond that which would occur when screening those aged 50 years and older. Because overdiagnosis appears to increase with age, it is possible that overdiagnosis occurred in both groups after the age of 50 years, but could not be detected because of the design of the trial.”
The third response to this research paper, also published in the BMJ, was written by Hazel Thornton, honorary visiting fellow, department of health sciences at the University of Leicester. In it, she also finds the statistics do not support the conclusion reached and reports on her testimony before the House of Commons Health Committee on breast cancer services as a witness.11
She was asked why she thought the NHS Breast Screening Programme was “a costly trawl of an asymptomatic public group … creating huge costly psychological and physical morbidity”? To which part of her answer was that it:
“… focuses on the women who benefit, in other words, the one life that is saved, and it overlooks the hundreds of women that go through the process and in some cases suffer psychological harm for that one. It is unbalanced and disproportionate and should be reviewed, in my opinion, at the moment.”
There are critics who claim arguments like Thornton's overestimate the potential harm associated with overscreening for breast cancer.12 Yet their arguments have no answer for the numerous studies that demonstrate overscreening and overdiagnosis of breast cancer is a significant emotional and financial issue.13
In 2014, the BMJ published a 25-year follow up from the Canadian National Breast Screening Study in which the researchers found 22% of the screening-detected invasive breast cancers were overdiagnosed and they concluded:14
“Annual mammography in women aged 40-59 does not reduce mortality from breast cancer beyond that of physical examination or usual care when adjuvant therapy for breast cancer is freely available.”
In a Cochrane review of the literature to analyze the efficacy of screening mammograms, researchers found eight trials that met the criteria, which included 600,000 women from ages 39 to 74.15 After an analysis of the data they discovered — as Thornton testified — for every 2,000 women screened over 10 years, one avoids dying of breast cancer, and 10 will be treated unnecessarily.
Additionally, over 200 women will undergo psychological distress and uncertainty for years after receiving false-positive findings. A cohort study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine engaged participants in Denmark from 1980 to 2010.16
They also found screening did not lower the incidence of advanced tumors and concluded it was likely ”that 1 in every 3 invasive tumors and cases of DCIS [ductal carcinoma in situ] diagnosed in women offered screening represent overdiagnosis (incidence increase of 48.3%).”17
In 2012, The New England Journal of Medicine published a research paper by two scientists who examined over 30 years of data trends looking at the incidence of early- and late-stage breast cancer in women 40 years and older.18 What they found caused some controversy, which led one of the authors to produce this short video explaining the results.
The expectation that doctors would find a greater number of early-stage cancers should have been accompanied by a comparable reduction in the number of women who presented with advanced cancer. This was not the case, suggesting there is a substantial number of women who are overdiagnosed, and “… that screening is having, at best, only a small effect on the rate of death from breast cancer.”19
In this video, the presenter makes the point that nearly “half of screen-detected breast cancer now represent overdiagnosis.” The harm from overdiagnosis does not stop with the psychological distress it causes a woman and her family. It also leads to overtreatment, and treatment often begins with a biopsy.
The most common type of biopsy for breast cancer is a needle biopsy. The doctor has a choice between a fine needle aspiration (FNA) or a core needle biopsy of the breast tissue. According to the American Cancer Society, a core needle biopsy is the preferred type when breast cancer is suspected since it removes more tissue than an FNA without needing surgery.20
However, research published in their journal in 2017 concluded that core needle biopsies increase the risk of distant metastasis five to 15 years after breast cancer had been diagnosed.21 This happened at higher rates than in women undergoing an FNA. A second study published earlier concluded both types of biopsies put a woman at risk for metastasis, concluding:22
“Manipulation of an intact tumor by FNA or large-gauge needle core biopsy is associated with an increase in the incidence of SN [sentinel node] metastases, perhaps due in part to the mechanical disruption of the tumor by the needle.”
False-positive mammograms cost the U.S. $4 billion23 each year when treatment has started after a misdiagnosis,24 including chemotherapy and mastectomies, only to find the tumor is benign.25 This places an extraordinary emotional, mental and financial burden on the woman and her family.
The mammogram itself does not come without risk. Mammograms use ionizing radiation in relatively high doses, which contributes to the development of breast cancer. In a 2016 study, the authors write, “… ionizing radiation as used in low-dose X-ray mammography may be associated with a risk of radiation-induced carcinogenesis.”26
According to one study, annual screening using digital or screen-film mammography on women aged 40 to 80 years is associated with a lifetime risk of increased induced cancer and a fatal breast cancer rate of 20 to 25 cases per 100,000 mammograms.27 In other words, for every 100,000 women who get an annual mammogram, there will be 20 to 25 cases of fatal cancer in their lifetimes as a result.
Although mammography is most often recommended, women have choices for diagnostic tests that do not use radiation. Women should be provided with information to make informed decisions and be allowed to use their choice. Other potentially safer options include self and clinical breast exams, thermography, ultrasound and MRI.
Thermography and ultrasound use no radiation and can detect abnormalities that mammograms may miss, especially in women who have dense breast tissue. While effective, these tests can be difficult to access in the U.S. since the billion-dollar mammography industry prevents their widespread use.
It's also important to understand that screening does not prevent breast cancer. Instead, prevention involves healthy lifestyle choices, avoiding toxins and paying attention to certain nutritional factors. Vitamin D is a vital nutritional factor that can radically reduce your risk of breast cancer.
It's crucial you know your vitamin D level, which is vital to several health conditions, and optimize it to protect your health. Conventional medicine may have led women to believe that simply getting an annual test will protect them from breast cancer. However, leading a healthy lifestyle and getting informed of your screening options can help you avoid this potentially deadly pitfall.
Operation Warp Speed (OWS), a joint operation between U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense, continues to be shrouded in secrecy, but little by little information is emerging that long-term monitoring of the U.S. public is part of the plan.
At face value, OWS is a public-private partnership tasked with producing therapeutics and a fast-tracked COVID-19 vaccine1 — 300 million doses' worth that are intended to be made available starting in January 2021.2
But it appears the involvement doesn't end there. Rather than just ensuring a vaccine is produced and made available for those who want it, Moncef Slaoui, the chief scientific adviser for Operation Warp Speed, dubbed the coronavirus vaccine czar,3 said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that the rollout will include "incredibly precise … tracking systems."4,5
Their purpose? "To ensure that patients each get two doses of the same vaccine and to monitor them for adverse health effects."6 In an interview with The New York Times, Slaoui described it as a "very active pharmaco vigilance surveillance system."7
This is the No. 1 question, and one that hasn't been answered, at least not officially. "While Slaoui himself was short on specifics regarding this 'pharmacovigilance surveillance system,'" news outlet Humans Are Free reported, "the few official documents from OWS that have been publicly released offer some details about what this system may look like and how long it is expected to 'track' the vital signs and whereabouts of Americans who receive a Warp Speed vaccine."8
One of the documents, titled "From the Factory to the Frontlines: The Operation Warp Speed Strategy for Distributing a COVID-19 Vaccine," was released by HHS.9 It also mentions the use of pharmacovigilance surveillance along with Phase 4 (post-licensure) clinical trials in order to assess the vaccines' long-term safety, since "some technologies have limited previous data on safety in humans."10
The report, which lays out a strategy for distributing a COVID-19 vaccine, from allocation and distribution to administration and more, continues:11
"The key objective of pharmacovigilance is to determine each vaccine's performance in real-life scenarios, to study efficacy, and to discover any infrequent and rare side effects not identified in clinical trials. OWS will also use pharmacovigilance analytics, which serves as one of the instruments for the continuous monitoring of pharmacovigilance data.
Robust analytical tools will be used to leverage large amounts of data and the benefits of using such data across the value chain, including regulatory obligations. Pharmacovigilance provides timely information about the safety of each vaccine to patients, healthcare professionals, and the public, contributing to the protection of patients and the promotion of public health."
Similar language was reiterated in an October 2020 perspective article published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), written by Slaoui and Dr. Matthew Hepburn.12
Hepburn is a former program manager for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), where he oversaw the development of ProfusA,13 an implantable biosensor that allows a person's physiology to be examined at a distance via smartphone connectivity. ProfusA is also backed by Google, the largest data mining company in the world.
Writing in NEJM, the duo writes, "Because some technologies have limited previous data on safety in humans, the long-term safety of these vaccines will be carefully assessed using pharmacovigilance surveillance strategies."14
Humans Are Free also references an OWS infographic,15 which details the COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration process. One of the four key tenets is "traceability," which includes confirming which of the approved vaccines were administered regardless of location (public or private), reminding recipients to return for a second dose and ensuring that the correct second dose is administered.
That word — pharmacovigilance — is used again, this time as a heading inferring that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be involved in "24-month post trial monitoring for adverse effects/additional safety feature." Pharmacovigilance, also known as drug safety, generally refers to the collection, analysis, monitoring and prevention of adverse effects from medications and other therapies.16
Passive reporting systems for adverse events, like the Vaccines Adverse Event Reporting System, already exist and are managed by the FDA and CDC.
However, a report released by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Health Security suggests that passive systems that rely on people to send in their experiences should be made into an "active safety surveillance system directed by the CDC that monitors all vaccine recipients — perhaps by short message service or other electronic mechanisms — with criteria based on the World Health Organization Global Vaccine Safety Initiative."17,18
What's more, according to Humans Are Free, "Despite the claims in these documents that the 'pharmacovigilance surveillance system' would intimately involve the FDA, top FDA officials stated in September that they were barred from attending OWS meetings and told reporters they could not explain the operation's organization or when or with what frequency its leadership meets."19 STAT News further reported:20
"The Food and Drug Administration, which is playing a critical role in the response to the pandemic, has virtually no visibility into OWS — but that's by design … The FDA has set up a firewall between the vast majority of staff and the initiative to separate any regulatory decisions from policy or budgetary decisions.
FDA officials are still allowed to interact with companies developing products for OWS, but they're barred from sitting in on discussions regarding other focuses of OWS, like procurement, investment or distribution."
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Health Security, by the way, has ties to Event 201, a pandemic preparedness simulation for a "novel coronavirus" that took place in October 2019, along with Dark Winter, another simulation that took place in June 2001, which predicted major aspects of the subsequent 2001 anthrax attacks.
Hepburn also reportedly "ruffled feathers" during a June 2020 presentation to the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices because he offered no data-rich slides, which are typically part of such presentations, and, STAT News reported, "Several members asked Hepburn pointed questions he pointedly did not answer."21
Google and Oracle, a multinational computer technology corporation headquartered in California, in the heart of Silicon Valley, have been contracted to "collect and track vaccine data" as part of OWS' surveillance systems,22 a partnership Slaoui reportedly revealed in his Wall Street Journal interview.23 According to Humans Are Free:24
"If the Warp Speed contracts that have been awarded to Google and Oracle are anything like the Warp Speed contracts awarded to most of its participating vaccine companies, then those contracts grant those companies diminished federal oversight and exemptions from federal laws and regulations designed to protect taxpayer interests in the pursuit of the work stipulated in the contract.
It also makes them essentially immune to Freedom of Information Act requests. Yet, in contrast to the unacknowledged Google and Oracle contracts, vaccine companies have publicly disclosed that they received OWS contracts, just not the terms or details of those contracts. This suggests that the Google and Oracle contracts are even more secretive."
In an interview with investigative journalist Whitney Webb (see Mercola hyperlink above under "Dark Winter"), it's also revealed that Slaoui, a long-time head of GlaxoSmithKline's vaccine division, is a leading proponent of bioelectronic medicine, which is the use of injectable or implantable technology for the purpose of treating nerve conditions.
The MIT Technology review has referred to it as hacking the nervous system. But it also allows you to monitor the physiology of the human body from the inside.
Slaoui is also invested in a company called Galvani Bioelectronics, which was cofounded by a Google subsidiary. "So, you have Google being contracted to monitor this pharmacovigilance surveillance system that aims to monitor the physiology and the human body for two years," Webb says.
"And then you have the ties to the ProfusA project," she adds, "which oddly enough is supposed to work inside the human body for 24 months — the exact window they've said will be used to monitor people after the first [vaccine] dose."
The conflict of interest is massive, in part because Google owns YouTube, which has been banning our videos, a majority of which are interviews with health experts sharing their medical or scientific expertise and viewpoints on COVID-19, since June 2020. As noted by Humans Are Free:25
"With Google now formally part of OWS, it seems likely that any concerns about OWS's extreme secrecy and the conflicts of interest of many of its members (particularly Moncef Slaoui and Matt Hepburn) as well as any concerns about Warp Speed vaccine safety, allocation and/or distribution may be labeled 'COVID-19 vaccine misinformation' and removed from YouTube."
OWS, rather than being directed by public health officials, is heavily dominated by military, technology companies and U.S. intelligence agencies, likening it to a successor for Total Information Awareness (TIA), a program managed by DARPA that sprang up after the 9/11 attacks.
At the time, TIA was seeking to collect Americans' medical records, fingerprints and other biometric data, along with DNA and records relating to personal finances, travel and media consumption.26 According to Webb (again, refer to the Mercola hyperlink earlier, "Dark Winter"):
"We now know, for example, that the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security are directly involved in Operation Warp Speed, but they won't really say exactly what parts they're doing. But there are some indications as to what they could be involved with.
And the fact that Silicon Valley companies that have been known to collaborate with intelligence [agencies] for the purpose of spying on innocent Americans — Google and Oracle, for example — are going to be involved in this surveillance system … for everyone that gets the vaccine.
It's certainly alarming, and it seems to point to the fulfillment of an agenda that was attempted to be pushed through or foisted on the American public after 9/11, called Total Information Awareness, which was managed, originally, by DARPA.
It was about using medical data and non-medical data — essentially all data about you — to prevent terror attacks before they could happen, and also to prevent bioterror attacks and even prevent naturally occurring disease outbreaks.
A lot of the same initiatives proposed under that original program after 9/11 have essentially been resurrected, with updated technology, under the guise of combating COVID-19."
A key difference is that TIA was quickly defunded by Congress after significant public backlash, including concerns that TIA would undermine personal privacy. In the case of OWS, there's little negative press and media outlets are overwhelmingly supportive of the operation as a way to resolve the COVID-19 crisis.
But what if it's not actually about COVID-19 at all, but represents something bigger, something that's been in the works for decades? As Humans Are Free puts it:27
"The total-surveillance agenda that began with TIA and that has been resurrected through Warp Speed predated COVID-19 by decades.
Its architects and proponents have worked to justify these extreme and invasive surveillance programs by marketing this agenda as the 'solution' to whatever Americans are most afraid of at any given time. It has very little to do with 'public health' and everything to do with total control."
I’ve been warning you about the seeming inevitability of mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for several months now, and have discussed the ever-tightening grip of media and online censorship even longer. As an independent source of health news, Mercola.com has been in the crosshairs of globalist interests for years, and the attacks are intensifying with each passing day.
While, on the surface, health recommendations and geopolitics may appear to have nothing in common, they are in fact intertwined.
As more and more information about the Great Reset and the 4th Industrial Revolution is starting to surface, we can clearly see that eliminating medical freedom is a central part of the plot, and mandatory vaccination will be used as a tool to usher in biometrical surveillance and enslavement through a centrally-controlled all-digital finance and identification system.
While censorship has reached new heights this year, that’s likely only the tip of the iceberg. According to recent media reports,1,2,3 intelligence agencies are now collaborating to eliminate “anti-vaccine propaganda” from public discussion using sophisticated cyberwarfare tools.
As reported by independent investigative journalist Whitney Webb in an article for Unlimited Hangout:4
“British and American state intelligence agencies are ‘weaponizing truth’ to quash vaccine hesitancy as both nations prepare for mass inoculations, in a recently announced ‘cyber war’ to be commanded by AI-powered arbiters of truth against information sources that challenge official narratives …
Cyber tools and online tactics previously designed for use in the post-9/11 ‘war on terror’ are now being repurposed for use against information sources promoting ‘vaccine hesitancy’ and information related to COVID-19 that runs counter to their state narratives …
The UK’s GCHQ [Government Communications Headquarters5] ‘has begun an offensive cyber-operation to disrupt anti-vaccine propaganda being spread by hostile states’ and ‘is using a toolkit developed to tackle disinformation and recruitment material peddled by Islamic State’ to do so.6
In addition, the UK government has ordered the British military’s 77th Brigade, which specializes in ‘information warfare,’ to launch an online campaign to counter ‘deceptive narratives’ about COVID-19 vaccine candidates.
The newly announced GCHQ ‘cyber war’ will not only take down ‘anti-vaccine propaganda’ but will also seek to ‘disrupt the operations of the cyberactors responsible for it, including encrypting their data so they cannot access it and blocking their communications with each other.’
The effort will also involve GCHQ reaching out to other countries in the ‘Five Eyes’ alliance (U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Canada) to alert their partner agencies in those countries to target such ‘propaganda’ sites hosted within their borders.”
According to a November 9, 2020, report in The Times,7 the British “government regards tackling false information about inoculation as a rising priority as the prospect of a reliable vaccine against the coronavirus draws closer.”
In July 2020, chief executive of the Centre for Countering Digital Hate, Imran Ahmed, told The Independent8 he considers anti-vaxxers “an extremist group that pose a national security risk,” because “once someone has been exposed to one type of conspiracy it’s easy to lead them down a path where they embrace more radical world views that can lead to violent extremism.”
In other words, Ahmed implies that people who question the safety and necessity of a COVID-19 vaccine might be prone to violent extremism. His statement is no small matter, considering Ahmed is also a member of the Steering Committee on Countering Extremism Pilot Task Force under the British government’s Commission for Countering Extremism.
“It seems that, from the perspective of the UK national-security state, those who question corruption in the pharmaceutical industry and its possible impact on the leading experimental COVID-19 vaccine candidates (all of which use experimental vaccine technologies that have never before been approved for human use) should be targeted with tools originally designed to combat terrorist propaganda,” Webb writes.9
U.S. intelligence is also part of this campaign. According to Webb, the U.S. government will help the GCHQ determine whether a website is part of a foreign disinformation operation or not. While the GCHQ claims that only foreign state actors will be targeted, and not “ordinary citizens,” there’s little evidence to suggest citizens won’t be swept up in this information blackout operation.
For example, November 4, 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it had seized 27 online domains — including that of the American Herald Tribune — suspected of being founded by Iranian interests.10,11 The domain seizures are said to be part of the U.S. enforcement of sanctions against Iran.
In early September 2020, 92 online domains suspected of belonging to Iraqi government-backed militia were similarly seized.12 All of these DOJ seizures were done in collaboration with the FBI, Google, Facebook and Twitter.13 As reported by Webb:14
“The U.S. government made this claim about the American Herald Tribune after the cybersecurity firm FireEye, a U.S. government contractor, stated that it had ‘moderate confidence’ that the site had been ‘founded in Iran’ …
It is certainly plausible that GCHQ could take the word of either an allied government, a government contractor, or perhaps even an allied media organization such as Bellingcat or the Atlantic Council’s DFRLab that a given site is ‘foreign propaganda’ in order to launch a cyber offensive against it.
Such concerns are only amplified when one of the main government sources … bluntly stated that ‘GCHQ has been told to take out antivaxers [sic] online and on social media. There are ways they have used to monitor and disrupt terrorist propaganda,’ which suggests that the targets of GCHQ’s new cyber war will, in fact, be determined by the content itself rather than their suspected ‘foreign’ origin.
The ‘foreign’ aspect instead appears to be a means of evading the prohibition in GCHQ’s operational mandate on targeting the speech or websites of ordinary citizens.”
Clues that U.S. intelligence supports this cyberwar against the public can also be found in a white paper15 published in the InfraGard Journal in June 2019. InfraGard, founded in 1996, is a nonprofit national security group affiliated with the FBI.16 They collaborate on a variety of educational and information-sharing initiatives “that help mitigate threats.”17
The InfraGard paper18 claims the American anti-vaccine movement is being orchestrated by Russian government-aligned organizations seeking to “sow discontent and distrust in topics and initiatives that serve U.S. interests,”19 and that “The biggest threat in controlling an outbreak comes from those who categorically reject vaccination.”20
Does InfraGard speak for the FBI? Not directly, but considering it serves as “a public-private partnership among U.S. businesses, individuals, and the FBI,” according to an FBI spokesperson,21 it’s bound to have some degree of influence.
According to The Guardian, the unnamed FBI spokesperson noted that “It is important to distinguish among the statements, views and comments made by official FBI representatives and InfraGard Members.” He or she declined to comment on or clarify the FBI’s stance on whether vaccine safety advocates might be classified as a national security threat.
Five sites specifically targeted by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate as promoting extremism that poses a national security risk to the U.K. are:
In fact, the organization specifically named yours truly as being one of just two people responsible for funding the “anti-vaxx nonprofits” that have the greatest reach. Financier Bernard Selz is the other. Selz allegedly finances The HighWire and Physicians for Informed Consent, as well as “some of the tech giants that make the modern anti-vaxx movement possible.”22
It was really entertaining to read what the Centre for Countering Digital Hate wrote about me in their report, as I consider their disparagement a badge of honor. I encourage you to read it.23 For example, they commented that we have a decreasing Facebook following. Well that isn’t surprising at all as we haven’t posted for 18 months as a part of our “Forget Facebook” campaign. As noted by Webb in her article:24
“It is worth pointing out that many so-called ‘anti-vaxxers’ are actually critics of the pharmaceutical industry and are not necessarily opposed to vaccines in and of themselves, making the labels ‘anti-vaxxer’ and ‘anti-vaccine’ misleading.
Given that many pharmaceutical giants involved in making COVID-19 vaccines donate heavily to politicians in both countries and have been involved in numerous safety scandals, using state intelligence agencies to wage cyber war against sites that investigate such concerns is not only troubling for the future of journalism but it suggests that the UK is taking a dangerous leap toward becoming a country that uses its state powers to treat the enemies of corporations as enemies of the state.”
Indeed, it certainly appears as though the U.K. and U.S. are now lumping enemies of the state and enemies of private companies into the same category. If you criticize one you criticize the other. In short, if you impede or endanger the profitability of private companies, you are now viewed as a national security threat.
Importantly, the right and freedom to critique one’s government is a hallmark of democracy, so this state-sponsored war against truthful information is in turn evidence of a radical detour from democratic rule. Technocratic totalitarianism is quite literally banging at our front door. As reported by Webb:25
“Similar efforts are underway in the United States, with the U.S. military recently funding a CIA-backed firm — stuffed with former counterterrorism officials who were behind the occupation of Iraq and the rise of the so-called Islamic State — to develop an AI algorithm aimed specifically at new websites promoting ‘suspected’ disinformation related to the COVID-19 crisis and the U.S. military-led COVID-19 vaccination effort known as Operation Warp Speed …
In early October, the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Special Operations Command announced that they had awarded a multimillion-dollar contract to the U.S.-based ‘machine intelligence’ company Primer. Per the press release,26 ‘Primer will develop the first-ever machine learning platform to automatically identify and assess suspected disinformation …
Primer’s ultimate goal is to use their AI to entirely automate the shaping of public perceptions and become the arbiter of ‘truth,’ as defined by the state …
According to Primer’s director of science, John Bohannon, ‘Primer will be integrating bot detection, synthetic text detection and unstructured textual claims analysis capabilities into our existing artificial intelligence platform currently in use with DOD … This will create the first unified mission-ready platform to effectively counter COVID-19-related disinformation in near-real time …
Given that the Covid-19 vaccine candidate produced by Pfizer is expected to be approved by the end of November, it appears that the U.S. national-security state, which is essentially running Operation Warp Speed, along with ‘trusted messengers’ in mass media, is preparing to enter the second phase of its communications strategy, one in which news organizations and journalists who raise legitimate concerns about Warp Speed will be de-platformed to make way for the ‘required’ saturation of pro-vaccine messaging across the English-speaking media landscape.”
As mentioned at the beginning, health and geopolitics are far from separate issues. One is feeding into the other, as mass vaccination is being used as a way to implement a whole host of “new world order” directives, including the introduction of an all-digital centralized currency model tied to digital IDs and a social credit system.
Together, all of these bits and pieces will allow an unelected technocratic elite to dictate every facet of your life, from where you live to what you own (which according to the World Economic Forum will be nothing). For an introduction to this globalist takeover, which is now being rolled out at a rapid clip, see James Corbett’s report featured in “What You Need to Know About the Great Reset.”
As for the sharing of information, it seems inevitable that the attacks on Mercola.com will intensify. Already, Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have either throttled down or banned our online presence, making it very difficult to find and share our content.
So, if you find value in these articles, be sure to subscribe, encourage your friends and family to subscribe, and share articles via email. At the bottom of each page, you’ll find an “Email Article” button that makes it easy to share. Also consider eliminating Facebook and all Google-based services from your life to cut down on their data mining of your personal information.
Remember, your personal data is being used against you. It’s fed into machine learning programs that train artificial intelligence, which is then used to manipulate you and shape your perception of the world. This technology is so sophisticated, most don’t even realize it’s happening in general, let alone that it’s happening to them specifically.
To say that we’re living in extraordinarily dangerous times would be an understatement, but if we keep our wits about us and continue to share the facts and coordinate our resistance, we still have a chance to turn away from the dystopian future that has been planned for us. For some encouragement, listen to Kennedy Jr.’s speech in “Hope Despite Censorship.”
1 Which of the following enhances vitamin D signaling and works synergistically with vitamin D to enhance your mitochondrial function?
2 What is CommonPass?
3 Looking at total mortality statistics, the COVID-19 pandemic has:
4 Which of the following emotions has been shown to reduce stress and improve sleep, heart health and immune function?
5 Opioids control moderate to severe pain:
6 Which of the following has a healthy success record when used for conditions such as chronic pain, autoimmune diseases and opioid dependence?
Researchers from Cleveland Clinic in Ohio reviewed health records of more than 570,000 people from four large studies and found, as compared to those who rarely or never ate chili peppers, that those who ate them on a regular basis reduced their risk of death from heart-related sources by 26%, from cancer by 23% and from all-cause mortality by 25%.1
This reduction in the potential risk of death is significant and could make an impact on the number of people with heart disease and cancer. An American Heart Association report released in January 2019 found 48%, or 121.5 million, adults in America had cardiovascular disease.2
The 2020 statistical update showed cardiovascular disease continues to be the No. 1 cause of death, accounting for 859,125 deaths in 2017 and claiming more lives every year than chronic lower respiratory disease and all forms of cancer combined.3
According to the National Cancer Institute, there will be an estimated 1.8 million people diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. and an estimated 606,520 people will die in 2020.4 The sheer number of people who may experience an impact on their longevity by making simple changes to their nutritional intake is overwhelming.
While chili peppers are not the answer for everyone, it is important to note that scientific evidence continues to mount supporting the hypothesis that you can take control of your health by making consistent changes in your lifestyle choices.
You may find chili peppers in your favorite Tex-Mex foods or Indian curry. Preliminary data presented at the American Heart Association virtual conference titled “Scientific Sessions 2020”5 suggest that those who regularly eat chili peppers could have a longer life.6
The researchers hypothesize this is a result of the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer and blood glucose mediating properties known to be present in chili peppers. Each of these factors may play a role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer.
To reach this determination, the team analyzed 4,729 studies and included four large studies with health outcomes from China, the U.S., Iran and Italy. They were surprised that past published studies demonstrated that regularly eating chili peppers could reduce the overall risk of all-cause mortality.
Senior author Dr. Bo Xu commented, “It highlights that dietary factors may play an important role in overall health.”7 Xu, a cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic, went on to say in a press release:8
“We were surprised to find that in these previously published studies, regular consumption of chili pepper was associated with an overall risk-reduction of all-cause, CVD (cardiovascular disease) and cancer mortality. The exact reasons and mechanisms that might explain our findings, though, are currently unknown.
Therefore, it is impossible to conclusively say that eating more chili pepper can prolong life and reduce deaths, especially from cardiovascular factors or cancer. More research, especially evidence from randomized controlled studies, is needed to confirm these preliminary findings.”
Xu cautioned there were several limitations, including that the four studies only had limited information on health data and confounding factors that may have influenced the results. He also noted the amounts and types of chili pepper the participants ate during the studies were also different.9 The researchers are continuing to analyze the data and plan to publish the literature review.10
Capsaicin is the bioactive compound in chili peppers responsible for the hot and spicy kick,11 and the likely compound researchers named as a potential explanation for the benefits they found.12
Chili pepper is a fruit pod belonging to the nightshade (Solanaceae) family. Other members of the Solanaceae family include tomato, potato, eggplant, cayenne pepper and paprika.13 The plant is a perennial shrub that grows up to 1 meter (3.2 feet) in height and is native to Central America.14
Capsaicin is concentrated in the seeds and the inner white membrane found when you cut the pod open. The plant produces capsaicin as a protection against fungal attack.15 Peppers with more capsaicin are spicier and hotter. While it's colorless and odorless, it tricks your brain into perceiving heat where it touches your body.
This burning sensation is what you experience when you eat the peppers, as it is not a taste. Instead, the compound stimulates nerves that send two messages to the brain of warmth and intense stimulation. The burning sensation is a combination of these two messages.16
Although the benefits of foods that contain capsaicin are plentiful, as I discuss below, eating chili peppers is not a cure-all and some people cannot tolerate the compound or the flavor. As with many other things, too much of a good thing is not always a better thing. Eating too much capsaicin can trigger nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and a burning sensation in your gastrointestinal tract.17
Many of the health benefits from chili peppers come from the compound capsaicin. There are hundreds of varieties of peppers that come in different shapes, sizes, colors and degrees of hotness. How the heat is measured is based on the work of Wilbur Scoville in 1912. He developed a test to measure chili peppers’ pungency and heat that is now called Scoville heat units.18
Different factors can affect the perception of heat and the units are used to measure anything that's made from chili peppers. Scoville’s first tests depended on a panel of taste testers and the units were based on how dilute the pepper mixture must be before it lost the sensation of heat.
The test now uses high-performance liquid chromatography and measures the concentration of capsaicin in the product. The scale ranges from zero to 2.2 million. For example, the common bell pepper has zero Scoville heat units (SHU). Popular banana peppers range from zero to 500 SHU and Anaheim peppers can go as high as 2,500 SHU. Jalapeno peppers range from 2,500 to 8,000 SHU and serrano peppers top out at 23,000 SHU.
If you're looking for more heat, Komodo dragon peppers range from 1.4 million to 2.2 million SHU and the supreme hot chili pepper, the Carolina Reaper, is measured at 2.2 million plus SHU. When scientists measure pure capsaicin, they find it contains 16 million SHU.
Capsaicin is the active ingredient used in self-defense pepper spray. The spray burns the skin on contact and has an SHU ranging from 2 million to 5.3 million, depending upon the brand. Yet, it’s this same compound chili makers use to create their spicy concoctions that has health benefits for those who partake regularly.
In the 1980s Paul Rozin, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, studied chili and the people who ate it, describing a form of “benign masochism.”19 The term was used to describe how some people enjoy negative emotions when there is no real threat to their safety, like riding a roller coaster or watching a scary movie.
Later, another team of researchers from Penn State set out to discover if there were personality traits that drew some people to love spicy foods and found those who liked the burn weren’t as sensitive to the heat.20
“They don’t rate it as intense. And again we’re not sure if that means that biologically they’re not getting as much of a response, or if they’re desensitized, or if they are the type of person who went skydiving the day before, so the burn of capsaicin in relation to the rush of adrenalin doesn’t rate that high.
We expected the sensation-seekers to rate spicy meals higher, for example, and they did. But there was variation in their responses depending on the type of spicy meal. Some people like Asian cooking — which may include capsaicin but has other chemesthetic ingredients, too, like ginger and Wasabi — yet they don’t like chili barbecue. Why do they like one type of spicy and not another?”
Capsaicin has been studied extensively and it may surprise you how many health benefits have been associated with the compound. For instance, capsaicin may help promote long-term heart health. In one animal study involving rodents with high blood pressure, the animals experienced relief after eating food mixed with capsaicin.21
The researchers suggested the compound activated the transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1), which contributes to vasorelaxation and lowered blood pressure. Capsaicin may also help promote healthy functioning of the digestive tract.
In one study researchers suggested capsaicin could be a gastroprotective agent in those with Helicobacter pylori mucosal damage or who use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).22 Capsaicin may participate in the fight against cancer by attacking cancer cell growth.23
The results of one study presented at the 2019 Experimental Biology meeting in Orlando, Florida, showed capsaicin could reduce metastasis in lung adenocarcinoma, which is the majority of all non-small cell lung cancers.24
While it can act on its own, in combination with 6-gingerol, a compound found in raw ginger root, evidence shows it has greater potential. In one animal study using mice prone to lung cancer, researchers found that when fed a combination of capsaicin and 6-gingerol, they had a reduced risk of lung cancer.25
While under observation, all the mice that received capsaicin developed lung tumors; half the mice that received 6-gingerol developed lung tumors, but only 20% of the mice given the combination developed cancer.
Capsaicin plays a role in pain relief, in part by depleting your body’s supply of substance P. This is a chemical component of nerve cells involved in transmitting pain signals to your brain. Capsaicin also works by desensitizing sensory receptors in your skin.26
That's why capsaicin is used in topical creams and patches, which deliver an intense burning sensation that ultimately relieves pain. In one case study, scientists acknowledged that capsaicin was most often analyzed for relieving postherpetic neuralgia after shingles and in HIV-associated neuropathy.27
In an effort to determine if it had efficacy in other forms of neuropathic pain, capsaicin was used in a man who had persistent wound pain after a bomb explosion. He experienced an 80% reduction in symptoms after using a capsaicin patch.
The compound also may play a role in weight loss when added to your diet. In a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, participants were given 10 grams of red pepper during a meal.28
After eating, the researchers monitored the participants' energy expenditure and learned that chili peppers increased carbohydrate oxidation for as much as 150 minutes after the meal. Scientists found your body can burn an extra 50 calories per day when you consume capsaicin regularly and:29
“… would produce clinically significant levels of weight loss in 1-2 years. While capsaicinoids are not a magic bullet for weight loss, the evidence is that they could play a beneficial role, as part of a weight management program.”
Several studies have demonstrated that capsaicin may help reduce hunger as well.30,31 According to a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, including capsaicin during the meal had no effect on satiety but did reduce the production of ghrelin, the hormone responsible for triggering hunger, within 15 minutes after the meal.32
In another study, after 12 weeks of supplementation, participants were found to eat less and had a reduction in their waist-to-hip ratio.33 While not a magic bullet, chili peppers may be one weapon you can add to your arsenal of healthy food and lifestyle choices that help you take control of your health.
Enzymes catalyze many biological reactions in your body. They regulate the rate of these chemical reactions, speeding them up so necessary functions like digestion, muscle contractions and other aspects of cellular metabolism can occur.1
Enzymes are also emerging as key players in COVID-19, as studies suggest damage to the endothelium, which are cells covering blood vessels, is contributing to the development of blood clots, or thrombosis, in the blood vessels of severely ill COVID-19 patients.2 Enzymes may turn out to be the missing link in helping to break up clusters of clotting proteins involved in this dangerous thrombosis.
After noticing blackened fingers and toes — signs of what appeared to be microvascular thrombosis, or tiny blood clots in small blood vessels — in COVID-19 patients in advanced stages of the disease, physicians at the Yale School of Medicine began running clotting tests on their patients.3
Levels of Von Willebrand factor (VWF), a clotting protein released by endothelial cells, were found to be significantly elevated, which suggested to hematologist Alfred Lee that damaged endothelial cells may be releasing large quantities of VWF, leading to clots.4 This prompted the team to screen for additional markers of endothelial cell and platelet activation in critically and noncritically ill COVID-19 patients.
The study, which was conducted in April 2020, included 68 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and 13 asymptomatic controls. VWF antigen was significantly elevated in COVID-19 patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) compared to non-ICU COVID-19 patients,5 as was soluble platelet selectin (sP-selectin), which is sometimes used as a biomarker for infection and mortality.6
Specifically, mean VWF was 565% among ICU patients and 278% among non-ICU patients while soluble P-selectin was 15.9 ng/mL compared to 11.2 ng/mL.7 "Our findings show that endotheliopathy is present in COVID-19 and is likely to be associated with critical illness and death. Early identification of endotheliopathy and strategies to mitigate its progression might improve outcomes in COVID-19," the researchers concluded.8
Likely not coincidentally, endothelial dysfunction is also associated with insulin resistance and plays a role in the vascular complications of diabetes,9 as well as being involved in obesity and high blood pressure,10 conditions that raise the risk of severe COVID19.
Even mild obesity may raise the risk of COVID-19 severity — COVID-19 patients with mild obesity had a 2.5 times greater risk of respiratory failure and a five times greater risk of being admitted to an ICU compared to nonobese patients. Those with a BMI of 35 and over were also 12 times more likely to die from COVID-19.11
Another study looking into the impact of coexisting health conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes on COVID-19 outcomes found they're linked to "poorer clinical outcomes," such as admission to an intensive care unit, a need for invasive ventilation or death.12
It's possible that the endothelial damage in all of these conditions plays a role in worsening COVID-19 outcomes, but it's unclear which comes first — endothelial damage or COVID-19.
Imperial College London cardiologist Thomas Lüscher told The Scientist that the endothelium is the main target of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.13 Under healthy conditions, blood cells can pass through the endothelium lining blood vessels, but when exposed to viral infections and other inflammatory agents, the endothelium becomes sticky and releases VWF.
The end result is a cascade of clotting and inflammation, both characteristics of severe COVID-19. According to a case report published April 8, 2020, "A hallmark of severe COVID-19 is coagulopathy, with 71.4% of patients who die of COVID-19 meeting … criteria for disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) while only 0.6% of patients who survive meet these criteria."14
Writing in the European Heart Journal, Lüscher argues, "COVID-19, particularly in the later complicated stages, represents an endothelial disease,"15 which may help explain why multiple organ systems, including the lungs, heart, brain, kidney and vasculature, may be affected.
An additional study by Canadian researchers, published in Critical Care Explorations in September 2020, also revealed elevated VWF and soluble P-selectin levels in COVID-19 patients, along with higher glycocalyx-degradation products,16 a sign of damage to the glycocalyx, which envelops the endothelium.17 This can also be a sign of sepsis. Taken together, the research suggests that therapies targeting the endothelium may be useful for COVID-19, which is where enzymes come in.
With the role of coagulopathy in severe COVID-19 becoming clearer, researchers have experimented with enzymes in the treatment of the disease. Fibrinolytic therapy, which uses drugs or enzymes to break up blood clots, has been used in a Phase 1 clinical trial that showed the treatment reduced mortality and led to improvements in oxygenation.18 Further, researchers wrote in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis:19
"There is evidence in both animals and humans that fibrinolytic therapy in acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) improves survival, which also points to fibrin deposition in the pulmonary microvasculature as a contributory cause of ARDS.
This would be expected to be seen in patients with ARDS and concomitant diagnoses of DIC on their laboratory values such as what is observed in more than 70% of those who die of COVID‐19."
The researchers reported three case studies of patients with severe COVID‐19 respiratory failure who were treated with tissue plasminogen activator (TPA), a serine protease enzyme found on endothelial cells that's involved in fibrinolysis, or the breakdown of blood clots.20
All three patients benefited from the treatment, with partial pressure of oxygen/FiO2 (P/F) ratios, a measure of lung function, improving from 38% to 100%.21 While it should be noted that several of the authors have patents pending related to both coagulation/fibrinolysis diagnostics and therapeutics, the results suggest such treatments deserve further evaluation in certain COVID-19 patients.
An evaluation of organ tissues from people who died from COVID-19 also revealed extensive lung damage, including clotting, and long-term persistence of virus cells in pneumocytes and endothelial cells.22
The findings indicate that virus-infected cells may persist for long periods inside the lungs, contributing to scar tissue. In an interview with Reuters, study co-author Mauro Giacca, a professor at King's College London, described "really vast destruction of the architecture of the lungs," with healthy tissue "almost completely substituted by scar tissue,"23 which could be responsible for cases of "long COVID," in which symptoms persist for months.
"It could very well be envisaged that one of the reasons why there are cases of long COVID is because there is vast destruction of lung (tissue)," he told Reuters. "Even if someone recovers from COVID, the damage that is done could be massive."24 Dissolving scar tissue is another area where enzymes, particularly proteolytic enzymes, may be useful.
Holistic prophylactic alternatives that might be beneficial against blood clots include proteolytic enzymes such as lumbrokinase, serrapeptase and nattokinase, all of which act as natural anticoagulants by breaking down the fibrin that forms the blood clot. Fibrin is a clotting material that restricts blood flow, found both in your bloodstream and connective tissue such as your muscles. Fibrin accumulation is also responsible for scar tissue.
It is important to understand that when using these enzymes for fibrinolytic therapy they need to be taken on an empty stomach, at least one hour before or two hours after meals. Otherwise these enzymes will be wasted in the digestion of your food and will be unable to serve their fibrinolytic purpose.
As noted in Scientific Reports, some of the key mechanisms by which proteolytic enzymes exert their anticoagulant effect include "defibrinogenation, inhibition of platelet aggregation, and/or interference with components of the blood coagulation cascade."25 Here's a closer look at these important enzymes, all of which are available in supplement form or, in the case of nattokinase, via the food natto.
1. Lumbrokinase — This enzyme is about 300 times stronger than serrapeptase and nearly 30 times stronger than nattokinase,26 making it my strong personal preference and recommendation if you are using a fibrinolytic enzyme. Extracted from earthworms, lumbrokinase is a highly effective antithrombotic agent that reduces blood viscosity and platelet aggregation27 while also degrading fibrin, which is a key factor in clot formation.
2. Serrapeptase — Also known as serratiopeptidase, serrapeptase is produced in the gut of newborn Bombyx mori silkworms, allowing them to dissolve and escape from their cocoons. Research has shown it can help patients with chronic airway disease, lessening viscosity of sputum and reducing coughing.28 Serrapeptase also breaks down fibrin and helps dissolve dead or damaged tissue without harming healthy tissue.29
3. Nattokinase — Produced by the bacteria Bacillus subtilis during the fermentation of soybeans to produce natto,30 nattokinase is a strong thrombolytic31 comparable to aspirin but without the serious side effects.32
It's been shown to break down blood clots and reduce the risk of serious clotting33 by dissolving excess fibrin in your blood vessels,34 improving circulation and decreasing blood viscosity. Interestingly, in one in vitro study, the thrombolytic activity of equivalent amounts of nattokinase and TPA were found to be identical35 — TPA, remember, is the enzyme that led to improvement in the three COVID-19 case studies.36
Dr. Mercola Interviews the Experts
This article is part of a weekly series in which Dr. Mercola interviews various experts on a variety of health issues. To see more expert interviews, click here.
Dr. Peter Breggin, a psychiatrist, has written more than a dozen bestselling books on psychiatry and the drug industry. He's frequently referred to as "the conscience of psychiatry" because he was able to successfully reform the psychiatric profession, abolishing lobotomies and other harmful experimental psychosurgeries.
This past year, he's homed in on COVID-19 and the fears around it, which is the topic of this interview. He also started researching the history of Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been the face of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, learning more than he bargained for in the process.
"He just looked like this kindly gentleman, until I started to listen to what he was saying and to look into what he was doing," Breggin says. "In early April, [my wife] Ginger brought this scientific article to me and said, 'Honey, this looks like it's impossible, it's fake or something.'
It was a 2015 article by a big team from North Carolina [led by] Ralph Baric,1 He's the final author on it and the power behind it, although the lead author is Vineet D. Menachery.2 This article is talking about making a coronavirus that's going to be a new epidemic agent. They're talking about it. They've actually accomplished it — and it's a SARS coronavirus.
It's a virus that will infect the lungs that comes from bats … And they're checking it out and they find that it will infect human lung epithelium. They give it to mice and the older mice are getting very sick and ones that are compromised die.
It sounds … [like] the precursor of SARS-CoV-2. They even tried, by the way, to make a vaccine for it and they couldn't. And I'm thinking, 'My God, what's going on here?' And then I look down the line of all these authors. There are [two] Chinese names there … and they list themselves as being from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
And then I look who's funding it. Well, China is funding it. And Fauci is funding it from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. I'm thinking to myself, 'My God, we're giving the Chinese a biomedical weapon' … [The two Chinese authors] turn out to be two of the very, very top Chinese people in this, what is essentially a military lab. The Wuhan Institute, nothing like that is anything but military in China."
Breggin claims he was able to share the information with someone close to President Trump, and three days after sharing this finding, the president canceled the U.S.-Chinese research collaboration that was working on coronavirus gain-of-function research.
However, Fauci quickly took hold of the American research efforts and in October 2020 injected additional funding. Some of that funding will surely still end up in China, Breggin says, by way of the EcoHealth Alliance, which for years has subcontracted research work to the Wuhan Institute. Fauci also gave additional money to the University of Texas. Breggin explains:
"In Galveston, there is a Level 4 biosafety lab that can work with the most dangerous viruses. So, I decided to look into this. It's not great magic to it, you have to use some search engines like DuckDuckGo. I [searched for] 'China' and 'the Galveston Institute,' and I got … a press release ... bragging about their relationships with the Wuhan Institute, working on viruses.
So, no wonder he's sending them money. I start digging deeper and I come across a letter from the education department to the University of Texas, saying they've not been forthcoming about their connections to China and the Communist Party (CCP), and in particular from the institute in Galveston.
So, I'm looking at this network of connections with China. They list them all. We have a blog out about that too now. And I realized there's nothing stopping Fauci. Absolutely nothing is stopping him. He is going to carry on his assault on the world. And Fauci knew that the Wuhan Institute was unsafe."
Breggin delves into some of the backstory that helps explain what's been happening. In 2014, then-President Obama called for a moratorium on gain-of-function research [making harmless viruses virulent] in the U.S. He did not, however, mention collaborations with the CCP. To get around Obama's moratorium, Fauci outsourced the gain-of-function research to the Wuhan Institute.
Based on the evidence, which Breggin details in a recent report featured in "Fauci's Treacherous Ties to China and Globalists," Fauci appears to play an important role in the global takeover by technocrats.
Technocracy is an economic system in which the world is ruled not by democratically elected politicians but by technocrats — a conglomerate of ultra-wealthy elites, scientists and technicians whose aim is to rule the global population and the allocation of resources through the use of technology.
Breggin was asked to be the medical legal expert in a lawsuit to put a stop to the never-ending emergency edict by the governor of Ohio. In his medical legal brief,3 Breggin detailed why shutdowns aren't working, and the harm they inflict on the population.
This lawsuit has also stirred up other anti-lockdown projects around the U.S. You can find more information about all of this on Breggin.com. It's important to recognize that the primary tool that enables local and state leaders to implement unconstitutional mandates such as universal mask wearing, business shut-downs and draconian stay-at-home orders is fear.
Unless people are terrified, they won't agree to such freedom-robbing edicts. This is a well-known fact, and as noted by Breggin, there's an entire school of research within public health on how to frighten people, known as "fear appeal."
"What an odd name: Fear appeal. It's a euphemism for scaring people to death. That's how you 'appeal' to them. And it's a very long standing [field of research].
The particular article [Ginger and I] studied together made several points. It said, first, you have to not only create something or have something that people are afraid of in order to get your public health measures imposed, but you have to make it personal to them, you have to make them afraid personally.
Then you have to give them something immediate to do to begin cooperating with the plans that you have. We have many examples of that. Things to immediately do [are]: Don't leave the house; wear a mask; stay 6 feet apart; start closing down businesses and so on. Don't let your kids go to school and on and on …
That got me into looking more deeply at the whole question of public health. And public health, sad to say, is essentially a totalitarian model. It does not raise issues of collateral damage, it doesn't raise issues of the Bill of Rights, the constitution, of liberty, the right to people to die with their boots on, the American tradition of individuals and their own communities making decisions.
There is no such concept. It starts with the assumption that what public health officials think is true and must be applied regardless of the context. And we see this with this globalism.
It doesn't matter whether you're working in Africa or in Communist China, North Vietnam or America, these are the principles, they're about politics above everything. It's quite astounding. So, [public health] became something that was perfectly usable by the most extreme totalitarianism …
At the top is extraordinarily wealthy and powerful people and organizations. I see it as a kind of a cooperative but competing group that welcomed Communist China, which shows how little these people — like Fauci and the World Bank and our governments in the Western world —worry about anything except wealth and power.
Once they invited Communist China into this circle, China became a big, big player along these world predators and let each other be. Until Trump came along, no major figure stood up and said, 'No, no, we're going to go back to the [way things were]."
Fear is undoubtedly one of the most powerful motivating emotions for individuals, and the single most powerful intervention capable of controlling an entire population. It's certainly hard to miss that fear has been used to control the masses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governments now have access to incredibly sophisticated technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, which is being used for all it's worth to push this fear propaganda. The end goal is to push us into a state of helplessness, so that they can come in and "rescue" us. For decades, Breggin has studied learned helplessness and its remedies.
"When we're born, we're fundamentally helpless. All we can do to be taken care of is to express pain, we can cry, we can wiggle, we can express suffering. But we have no ability to take control of the environment other than by hopefully attracting our caregivers that cuddle us or look for a thorn in the side or whatever.
And that remains an aspect of humanity. That never leaves us. All of us can at some point be made to feel helpless again. And when we feel helpless, we become like the infant. We feel we have to be saved, basically. We look to other people, we look to drugs, alcohol, we look to authoritarian religions, we look to leaders of all kinds."
As explained by Breggin, by adding confusion to the mix, you can bring an individual from fear to anxiety, a state of confusion in which you cannot think straight anymore. One of the characteristics of a panic attack or an anxiety attack is the loss of the ability to think. You become helpless and confused. Eventually, desperation sets in, at which point people are willing to do just about anything to get relief.
"So this, folks, is a web of fear," Breggin says. "It's all about scaring us, confusing us, making us helpless. I recently wrote a chapter that I may or may not put it in the book about my 85 years of looking at fear, because I was alive during World War II. I went down to the beach when I was 4 or 5 years old and would find remnants of our sailors' life rafts where they sunk right off the water's edge.
We were afraid of bombs called blockbusters, we hid under the tables and chairs and whatever we could find in school desks for fear of blockbusters. I went through the horrors of the polio [epidemic]. My closest friend died of polio two days after I was wrestling with him. I know fear, I know epidemics … the Vietnam War … 9/11.
And never until Fauci … have I seen leaders say 'Be afraid.' I couldn't believe it when they found a comment made in private by Trump that he wanted to reassure and not scare the people. That was his supposed villainousness — not wanting to scare people.
That's what Roosevelt did, that's what every single person has done in great moments of crisis — they have said 'Let us not be afraid,' because we all know that a country that is unafraid and is doing as much of its normal activity as possible, is the strongest possible country.
That's an actual public health principle — that we function best when we are living a normal life, unafraid, and we have ideals and goals like American liberty and freedom to strive for."
So, just what happens in your body when you experience fear? Importantly, it "quite literally scrambles our brains," Breggin says. The good news is you have the power to control your mind and to calm down. The bad news is you don't think you have any control over your mind.
"Anxiety overwhelms us, it makes us stupid, it makes us desperately want somebody to take over. But what we need is somebody who says you don't have anything to fear, the anxiety won't kill you; [someone who] will calm you down and tell you everything's going to be fine, you don't have to be helpless.
But we are getting the exact opposite message from Biden and Fauci … The pharmaceutical industry and the very wealthy need this fear because they're making a fortune on this fear … getting all their drugs and vaccines ready."
Realizing the depth of the scientific corruption was part of why Breggin and his wife, Ginger, decided to take on this whole new field of investigation.
"We knew we had the research expertise and the scientific expertise. And I've got so many published books and scientific articles that I don't think anybody can doubt I'm a researcher and a scientist," he says.
"It was so mind-blowing to see the degree of corruption. I actually imagined standing in front of God, explaining why I didn't do anything. That didn't fly very well. I think the best antidote to looking at all this corruption is, first of all, to know this world has always been a corrupt place …
So, we need to learn to keep our own free will intact, and to love. We need reason and love. We can reason, we can love and respect the liberty of other people. Those are my three key words in life: Reason, love and liberty … You want to overcome your helplessness, [and you] do that with reason."
Educating and supporting others are other strategies that can be helpful. Investigate things for yourself, and then share what you've learned with others. The way out of helplessness is to be of service to others, to contribute in some way. As noted by Breggin:
"We need to buckle up at this point and really see ourselves as an example of succeeding in the face of all this, and to spread it however far and wide we can … We weren't promised an easy life.
There's just no place that I know of that is a mammoth promise of an easy life. Life is difficult. Right now, I think the single most important thing is not the virus, it's saving freedom in America.
One of the things I want to say to the progressive folks — and for a good chunk of my life, I was a very strong progressive — most of you are idealists, most of you would like to see the improvement of mankind. But that is not what's going on in the world right now …
It is not about being a conservative, it is not about being a progressive. We are dealing with international predators that are just as happy to work with Iran, or North Korea, or North Vietnam or China. They are only interested in wealth and power. They have no real deep commitment to progressivism or capitalism. And … they haven't got the slightest interest in free enterprise. Bill Gates is not a figure of free enterprise.
You got to get this straight. These people are not for liberty. This entire powerful international movement that I'm calling predatory globalists are motivated by wealth and power. They have reached the pinnacles of power, which are always corrupting.
Bill Gates has three people on his board of trustees: Himself, his wife and Warren Buffett — the No. 2 and No. 4 wealthiest people in the world. This is power beyond imagination. They are not wedded to anything except power and wealth. Wealth is a way to [power] and they're using technocrats to do this."
I agree with Breggin that the most important thing right now is to recognize that what we're facing is an acute challenge to our society, our culture, that must be faced head-on. We need to aid our fellow human beings as best as we can with information, knowledge, that the conventional mainstream media is not telling them.
In fact, mainstream media are a significant part of the problem, because they're being used as a tool to implement the technocrats' agenda. For this reason, it has become imperative to seek out other channels of information, most of which are becoming progressively more censored and harder to find.
To stay on top of Breggin's investigations, be sure to sign up for newsletter alerts on his website, breggin.com. He also has a radio and TV show that airs once a week. On his website, you'll also find links to Breggin's report4 on Fauci's CCP connections, titled "Dr. Fauci's COVID-19 Treachery," and his legal report,5 "COVID-19 & Public Health Totalitarianism: Untoward Effects on Individuals, Institutions and Society."
Also see Dr. Breggin's YouTube Channel with many videos about COVID-19, including the September 2020 video, "US and China Collaborated to Make a Deadly Virus," with 56,600 views.6
In this interview, we review some of the remarkable benefits of low-dose naltrexone (LDN), including the surprising benefits of microdosed LDN. The two experts featured in this interview are Linda Elsegood, a Briton who founded the LDN Research Trust1 in 2004, and Dr. Sarah Zielsdorf, who has a medical practice in the Chicago area in the U.S.
Elsegood, who was diagnosed with MS in 2000, has been involved in LDN research and public education for 16 years. LDN is a powerful, safe and effective treatment for many autoimmune diseases, yet few, including most health care professionals, know anything about it. Remarkably, LDN may even be helpful in the fight against COVID-19, as it acts to normalize your immune system.2
Elsegood recently published a book on LDN called "The LDN Book, Volume Two: The Latest Research on How Low Dose Naltrexone Could Revolutionize Treatment for PTSD, Pain, IBD, Lyme Disease, Dermatologic Conditions and More." Each chapter is written by a medical professional with clinical knowledge of the drug’s use. Zielsdorf is one of the contributing authors. Elsegood also hosts a radio show called The LDN Radio Show.3
In the interview, she tells the story of how she discovered LDN and the dramatic benefits she has experienced from it. In summary, beneficial effects became apparent after about three weeks on the drug and, after 18 months, her condition had significantly improved.
Zielsdorf — who has an undergraduate degree in microbiology and a master's degree in public health microbiology and emerging infectious disease — also has a personal health story that brought her to LDN. She was diagnosed with hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) in 2003. Ten years later, she was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid.
"I learned about functional nutrition and triggers for autoimmunity, and started to do all of the things I needed to do to optimize my biomarkers, remove systemic inflammation, and was able to return to my [medical] training. I had been told that I could never have children and surprisingly became pregnant and had a daughter in my second year of training.
After having her, I [had a flareup]. It was then, in 2014, that a doctor put me on LDN. It changed my life … Once I graduated from residency, I started treating patients with a variety of issues with LDN. I've treated thousands of patients with LDN."
Naltrexone in low or even microdoses is one of the few pharmaceutical drugs I wholeheartedly endorse. Not only is it remarkably safe, it’s also a profound adjunctive therapy for a wide variety of conditions. As explained by Zielsdorf:
"Naltrexone is one of the few things that actually enables our own bodies, our own immune systems, to be able to function better and really restore function.
After World War II, they were looking for more opioid medications. By accident, scientists figured out how to block the opioid receptor. They did the exact opposite of what they were supposed to do, which is to find morphine analogs for soldiers.
[In] the 1960s, they were able to synthesize naloxone and naltrexone … FDA approved it in the 1980s for opioid addiction at a dose of 50 to 100 milligrams, and then in the 1990s for alcohol dependence.
But it was Dr. Bernard Bihari and Dr. Ian Zagon in the 1970s that had this amazing idea that if you took a very small dose of naltrexone, compounding it in a clean way [down] to a few milligrams, if would briefly block the opioid receptor in the central nervous system — very briefly kissing that receptor and then unblocking it.
This upregulates the body's immune system by increasing the opioid receptor's own production of beta-endorphin and met-enkephalins. Beta-endorphins help with mood, pain, sleep and the immune system, and met-enkephalins are also known as opioid-derived growth factor, and there are receptors for these on many different tissues, including the thyroid.
We now use it for nearly all autoimmune conditions, as an adjunct for cancer, and as a treatment for chronic pain. We also use ultra-low dose [microdosed] naltrexone, which I wrote about, to help potentiate pain relief for people who are on opioids and help them to be less dependent on opioid medications.
I've actually been able to get patients off of fentanyl patches and get them off chronic oxycodone or Norco use where their pain specialists said, 'You will never ever get off these pain medications.' It's been an incredible journey and I'm a huge advocate of it."
Naloxone (Narcan) is what is carried on ambulances and used in ERs and trauma bays as an antidote to an opioid overdose. When given at a high enough dose, naloxone or Narcan acts as a complete opioid blocker, which is why it's used acutely when someone has taken too high a dose of an opioid.
Naltrexone blocks the opioid receptor only briefly, and by a different mechanism. When used in low dosages as LDN, the chief benefit is actually in the rebound effect, after the opioid receptor has been briefly blocked.
With regard to autoimmune diseases, it's important to realize there are other, equally important, foundational strategies that will benefit most patients with a dysfunctional immune system. These include optimizing your vitamin D level and omega-3 index, for example.
It's also important to eliminate potential triggers. The reason why people have an autoimmune disease is because they're exposed to something in the environment which serves as an antigen that their body recognizes as a foreign invader, and as a result attacks it. If you can avoid those antigens, you can often suppress and frequently eliminate symptoms without anything, because you've removed the stimulus.
One common autoimmune trigger is lectins, found in many otherwise healthy vegetables. Zielsdorf will typically place her autoimmune patients on a Mediterranean-style paleo diet or an oligoantigenic elimination diet to optimize detoxification, liver and kidney function, and the microbiome.
Others may be placed on a nose-to-tail carnivore diet. As noted by Zielsdorf, it’s “a way of offloading and simplifying what antigens the body is seeing.” Other helpful diets in this respect include the autoimmune paleo diet and the low-histamine or low FODMAP diet.
"I am a microbiologist and I do a ton of advanced testing, and then we start looking deeper at triggers," she says. "I used to put everybody on LDN first, but now we know that certain patients will flair because their immune system is so suppressed due to co-infections.
We see it most with Lyme disease and with yeast overgrowth. If I suspect or I have tests confirming that a patient has one of these things, or their immune system is super suppressed … I'll work on their microbiome before I start LDN …
I test everybody's gut, and what I see universally is you get this hyper intense intestinal permeability in these cases … What's so interesting is a leaky gut equals a leaky brain, and we overwhelm our immune system. I do see this. The first step is getting them off the most common triggers, and sometimes I'll be testing for lectins too.
Universally, for all of my autoimmune patients, is that they can't eat wheat. There are over 150 antigens in wheat that you can be sensitive to … It is also desiccated with Roundup, glyphosate, right before processing, so we get that extra toxicity. I test my patients for their environmental toxic load, and I see a lot of patients with glyphosate toxicity.
The wheat that we used to eat 10,000 years ago at the beginning of agriculture is not the wheat [we now eat]. It's not even the same chromosome number as what our bodies ate in small amounts as hunter gatherers."
As mentioned by Zielsdorf, a nose-to-tail carnivore diet can be an excellent intervention in some cases, especially for those whose immune function is severely suppressed. However, you should avoid monogastric animals, meaning animals that have only one stomach.
Whereas cows have two, chickens and pigs have only one. The reason for this recommendation is because conventionally factory farmed chicken and pork will be very high in the omega-6 fat linoleic acid. This is because they are typically fed corn, which is high in this type of fat. And a high linoleic acid diet can metabolically devastate your health. So, a diet high in chicken and bacon is not doing your body any favors.
Animals with two stomachs are able to fully process omega-6-rich grains and other foods, as they are equipped with gut bacteria that can break it down into a healthier fat. Aside from cows and steer, this includes buffalo, beef and lamb.
Aside from autoimmune diseases, LDN is also used in the treatment of the following conditions. Bear in mind this is not a complete list. Some of these conditions have been featured in various documentaries4 produced by the LDN Research Trust. You can find links to those documentaries in the references.
Cancer5 — Research by professor Angus George Dalgleish and his colleague Dr. Wei Lou showed LDN could bring cancer cells into remission using pulse dosing.6 LDN also works synergistically with cannabidiol (CBD), and works well for cancer, autoimmunity and pain conditions
Opioid addiction, dependence and recovery7 — Using microdoses of 0.001 milligrams (1 microgram), long-term users of opioids who have developed a tolerance to the drug are able to, over time, lower their opioid dose and avoid withdrawal symptoms as the LDN makes the opioid more effective.
For opioid dependence, the typical starting dose is 1 microgram twice a day, which will allow them to lower their opioid dose by about 60%. When the opioid is taken for pain, the LDN must be taken four to six hours apart from the opioid in order to not displace the opioid's effects
Lyme disease and its coinfections8
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
Restless leg syndrome
Dosing will, of course, depend on the condition being treated, but there are some general guidelines that can be helpful. Downloadable guides can be found on the LDN Research Trust site, and are available in several languages. Keep in mind that LDN is a drug, not something you can buy over the counter, and you need to work with a knowledgeable physician who can prescribe it and monitor your health.
"With a general pain condition, we may use 1.5 to 3 or 4.5 mg. With Hashimoto's, we start lower and slower because patients with Hashimoto's may actually have to reduce their thyroid hormone medication if they're on it because they get reduction of that inflammation and they can produce more of their own thyroid hormone. So, we usually start at 0.5 mg.
For patients with mood conditions … 0.5 to 1 mg. There was an important paper that came out showing LDN is an important agent for depression, for patients who fail those meds or as an adjunct to antidepressants. PTSD patients may have to go higher. There are all sorts of strategies and you just need to find a doctor who's well-versed in that condition."
The LDN Research Trust's website is an excellent resource for all things LDN. It has a variety of resources to guide patients, prescribing doctors and pharmacists alike. It also has a page where you can find LDN-literate prescribers around the world.
Of course, to learn more, be sure to pick up a copy of "The LDN Book, Volume Two: The Latest Research on How Low Dose Naltrexone Could Revolutionize Treatment for PTSD, Pain, IBD, Lyme Disease, Dermatologic Conditions and More," and/or "The LDN Book: How a Little-Known Generic Drug ― Low Dose Naltrexone ― Could Revolutionize Treatment for Autoimmune Diseases, Cancer, Autism, Depression and More," which is the first of the two volumes.
Both books are also available on the LDN Research Trust website, along with videos featuring all of the doctors that contributed chapters to the books. You can also check out The LDN Radio Show.9 Last but not least, LDN Research Trust is a nonprofit that depends on public donations, so if you would like to contribute to the Trust's LDN research and education efforts, please make a donation.
The featured 2019 BBC documentary, “Addicted: America’s Opioid Crisis,” explores the depth of the nation’s addiction to opioid painkillers and the role played by Purdue Pharma and other makers of the drug.
As noted in the film, opioids kill more people than any other drug on the market, and it’s the only type of drug that can condemn a person to a life of addiction after a single week of use.
According to the BBC, “1 in 8 American children live with a parent who suffers from a substance abuse disorder,” and “every 15 minutes, a baby in America is born suffering from opioid withdrawal.” Middle school-aged children interviewed also say they have easy access to drugs, should they want them.
Many now blame the drug companies that make these drugs and have falsely promoted them as safe and nonaddictive for patients of all kinds, including children.
That includes one of the former addicts followed in the film, who says he thinks the drug companies need to be held responsible for their role in creating this epidemic, and made to help pay for the solution.
One of the most prominent drug companies involved in the creation of this opioid addiction crisis is Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin. At the end of October 2020, Purdue Pharma agreed to plead guilty to three federal criminal charges relating to its role in the opioid crisis, including violating a federal anti-kickback law, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and violating the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.1,2
To settle the charges, Purdue is supposed to pay $8.3 billion in fines, forfeiture of past profits and civil liability payments,3 but because it doesn’t have the cash, the company will instead be dissolved and its assets used to erect a “public benefit company” that both makes opioids and pays for addiction treatment.
While marijuana was long known as the gateway drug to other illicit drug use, that distinction now belongs to prescription opioids. According to data4 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, prescription opioid use is a significant risk factor for subsequent heroin use.
The incidence of heroin use is 19 times higher among those who have used opioids nonmedically than among those who have no history of opioid use, and 86% of young, urban injection drug users report using opioid pain relievers nonmedically before starting heroin. Overall, nearly 80% of heroin users now report using prescription opioids prior to heroin.
Similarly, data5 from the University of Michigan shows just under 1 in 3 people (31.8%) who misused opioids during their high school years ended up using heroin by age 35.
When it comes to children and teens, a major source of opioids are dentists, who wrote a staggering 18.1 million prescriptions for opioids in 2017.6 Opioids are frequently prescribed when extracting wisdom teeth, even though there’s no evidence to support this strategy.
This is especially true if you see a biological dentist who knows what they are doing. Earlier this year I had a periapical abscess and had to have the tooth extracted. I saw one of the best dentists in Florida, Dr. Carl Litano, just south of Tampa. He used platelet rich plasma (PRP) at the extraction site and I had zero pain and no swelling without any medication. Afterward, no one could tell I had an extraction the previous day.
Children are also recklessly prescribed addictive opioids for minor surgical procedures. For example, insurance claims data from 2016 and 2017 reveal 60% of children between the ages of 1 and 18 with private insurance filled one or more opioid prescriptions after surgical tonsil removal.7,8
Meanwhile, research9 shows opioids (including morphine, Vicodin, oxycodone and fentanyl) fail to control moderate to severe pain any better than over-the-counter drugs such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen.
As noted in the film, this is an epidemic caused by greed within the medical system. Purdue Pharma was exceptionally skilled at marketing its product, cleverly disguising its advertisements as educational material. (The same can clearly be said about many other drug companies and their wares today.)
There can be no doubt that false advertising played a central role in the opioid epidemic,10 and for doctors, it highlights the importance of staying on top of published research rather than relying on drug company sales reps for their education.
The fraud has its roots in a short letter to the editor11,12 published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1980. The letter — which was simply commenting on a cursory examination of patient files in a Boston hospital — stated that narcotic addiction in patients with no history of addiction was very rare.
Purdue built its marketing of OxyContin on this letter, for years falsely claiming that opioid addiction affects less than 1% of patients treated with the drugs. According to Purdue’s marketing material, featured in the film, “the most serious risk with opioids is respiratory depression.”
In reality, opioids have a very high rate of addiction and have not been proven effective for long-term use.13 A number of court cases in recent years have demonstrated how Purdue systematically misled doctors about OxyContin’s addictiveness to drive up sales.
As noted by David Powell, a senior economist at Rand, to produce the most lethal drug epidemic America has ever seen “you need a huge rise in opioid access, in a way that misuse is easy, but you also need demand to misuse the product.”14
According to the documentary, Purdue made more than $1 billion a year from its sales of OxyContin. OxyContin’s success also quickly led to other drug companies mimicking Purdue’s tactics. Other companies being called to account include Allergan, Cephalon, Endo International, Egalet Corporation, Insys Therapeutics, Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Mallinckrodt plc and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.
In the final analysis, it’s clear that unconscionably deceitful marketing tactics have resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of Americans; 46,802 Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2018 alone.15 As of June 2017, opioids became the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50.16
That said, the BBC also rightfully points out that we need stronger regulations and more effective checks and balances to prevent this kind of situation from happening again in the future. Merely making drug companies pay is not enough.
Steven May, a former Purdue sales rep, also highlights yet another scandal. The company came up with a plan to help doctors to better document their treatment of pain. Sales reps were taught how to instruct doctors to use these tools.
When those same doctors eventually got in trouble for overprescribing opioids, using Purdue’s tools, the company walked away and offered no support. Many doctors lost their medical licenses. Some ended up doing jail sentences and some committed suicide. “And they were doing exactly what [Purdue] taught us to teach them to do,” May says.
Adding insult to injury, when it became clear that people were dying in droves from opioid overdoses, Purdue launched an extensive damage-control operation that included the suggestion that those dying from opioids were already addicts, and that this wouldn’t happen to patients who were not already addicted to drugs. It was basically just a variation on the original lie.
According to lawsuits filed against Purdue, the company knew as early as the 1990s that OxyContin was one of the most abused drugs in the country, yet they did nothing to change their marketing and sales strategies.
That the Sacklers, the owners of Purdue, had no remorse and didn’t care about the societal effects that overprescription of their drug was having is illustrated in a 2001 email exchange between then-Purdue president Richard Sackler and an acquaintance.
In the documentary, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong reads this exchange, which begins with the unnamed acquaintance stating: “[Drug] abusers die, well that is the choice they made. I doubt a single one didn’t know the risks,” to which Sackler replied, “Abusers aren’t victims; they are the victimizers.”
“It’s hard to stomach that someone would write that about people who are suffering, people who are in real distress and people who have died,” Tong says, “and that is the kind of thing that powered this company during a period and led to deceptive, fraudulent, misleading product development and marketing … [They] made money off people’s misery and I think that is what these emails show.”
Many of the opioid and heroin abusers featured in “Addicted” live on the streets. Desperation and despair are evident in all. Several investigations seeking to gain insight into the causes fueling the opioid epidemic have been conducted in recent years.
Among them is a 2019 study17 in the Medical Care Research Review journal, which looked at the effects of state-level economic conditions — unemployment rates, median house prices, median household income, insurance coverage and average hours of weekly work — on drug overdose deaths between 1999 and 2014. According to the authors:18
“Drug overdose deaths significantly declined with higher house prices … by nearly 0.17 deaths per 100,000 (~4%) with a $10,000 increase in median house price. House price effects were … only significant among males, non-Hispanic Whites, and individuals younger 45 years …
Our findings suggest that economic downturns that substantially reduce house prices such as the Great Recession can increase opioid-related deaths, suggesting that efforts to control access to such drugs should especially intensify during these periods.”
Similarly, an investigation published in the International Journal of Drug Policy19 in 2017 connected economic recessions and unemployment with rises in illegal drug use among adults. Seventeen of the 28 studies included in the review found that the psychological distress associated with economic recessions and unemployment was a significant factor:20
“The current evidence is in line with the hypothesis that drug use increases in times of recession because unemployment increases psychological distress which increases drug use. During times of recession, psychological support for those who lost their job and are vulnerable to drug use (relapse) is likely to be important.”
Another 2019 study21 published in Population Health reviewed the links between free trade and deaths from opioid use between 1999 and 2015, finding that “Job loss due to international trade is positively associated with opioid overdose mortality at the county level.” Overall, for each 1,000 people who lost their jobs due to international trade — commonly due to factory shutdowns — there was a 2.7% increase in opioid-related deaths.
Abuse-related trauma is also linked to unemployment and financial stress, and that too can increase your risk of drug use and addiction. As noted in The Atlantic,22 when the coal mining industry in northeastern Pennsylvania collapsed, leaving many locals without job prospects, alcohol use increased, as did child abuse.
Many of these traumatized children, in turn, sought relief from the turmoil and ended up becoming addicted to opioids. All of this is particularly pertinent today, as many parts of the U.S. have been shut down for extended periods of time over fears of COVID-19.
Not being allowed to work, being forced to stay at home for weeks or months on end, maintaining an unnatural distance even to your loved ones and not being able to see people’s faces when out in public — all of these things can contribute to fear, anxiety and, ultimately, despair that fuels addiction. Indeed, reports23 warn that substance abuse is on the rise as a result of pandemic measures, as is domestic violence.24
It's vitally important to realize that opioids are extremely addictive drugs that are not meant for long-term use for nonfatal conditions. If you've been on an opioid for more than two months, or if you find yourself taking a higher dosage, or taking the drug more often, you may already be addicted. Resources where you can find help include the following. You can also learn more in “How to Wean Off Opioids.”
I also urge you to listen to my interview with Dr. Sarah Zielsdorf, which is being published in tomorrow’s newsletter. In it, she explains how low-dose naltrexone (LDN), used in microdoses, can help you help combat opioid addiction and aid in your recovery.26
Using microdoses of 0.001 milligrams (1 microgram), long-term users of opioids who have developed a tolerance to the drug are able to, over time, lower their opioid dose and avoid withdrawal symptoms as the LDN makes the opioid more effective.
For opioid dependence, the typical starting dose is 1 microgram twice a day, which will allow them to lower their opioid dose by about 60%. When the opioid is taken for pain, the LDN must be taken four to six hours apart from the opioid in order to not displace the opioid’s effects.
Many types of pain can be treated entirely without drugs. Recommendations by Harvard Medical School27,28 and the British National Health Service29 include the following. You can find more detailed information about most of these techniques in “13 Mind-Body Techniques That Can Help Ease Pain and Depression.”
Physical therapy or occupational therapy
Distracting yourself with an enjoyable activity
Maintaining a regular sleep schedule
Mind-body techniques such as controlled breathing, meditation, guided imagery and mindfulness practice that encourage relaxation. One of my personal favorites is the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)
Yoga and tai chi
Practicing gratitude and positive thinking
Hot or cold packs
In “Billionaire Opioid Executive Stands to Make Millions More on Patent for Addiction Treatment,” I discuss several additional approaches — including helpful supplements and dietary changes — that can be used separately or in combination with the strategies listed above to control both acute and chronic pain.
Loss of sense of smell, a condition known as anosmia, has emerged as a hallmark symptom of COVID-19. It’s estimated that 33.9% to 68% of COVID-19 patients1 — and as high as 98%, according to one study2 — experience some type of olfactory dysfunction, which is often regarded as more of an inconvenience than an actual health threat. In reality, however, you may not realize how important your sense of smell is until it’s gone.
When you lose your sense of smell, you also lose your normal sense of taste. In the case of COVID-19, anosmia often occurs alongside dysgeusia, an altered or impaired sense of taste.3 In fact, the combination of anosmia/dysgeusia was a far better predictor of COVID-19 than other common symptoms like fever/chills or respiratory difficulty.4
“It’s mentally tough knowing the foods you used to love now simply taste like sewage. I no longer crave food or enjoy eating. It’s a chore,” Lucy Packman, a university student who developed COVID-19 along with anosmia in March 2020, told Medium.5
Beyond that, cutting off your sense of smell detaches you from the environment in ways that can be isolating — like an inability to smell your partner or your baby — or dangerous, such as missing the scent of something burning.
The silver lining in COVID-19 is that 89% of those with an altered sense of smell had complete resolution or improvement in severity after four weeks.6 For those whose smell impairment is ongoing, or caused by one of the many risk factors beyond COVID-19, smell training may be the key to regaining this invaluable asset.
COVID-19 aside, there are many reasons why you may lose your sense of smell. The common cold is among the most common, along with other illnesses like influenza, sinus infections, hay fever and nonallergic rhinitis.7
Virtually anything that causes your nasal passageways to become obstructed, including tumors, nasal polyps or nasal deformity, can also interfere with your sense of smell, as can conditions that impair your olfactory pathways, which transmit messages between your nasal passages and brain.
A variety of neurological conditions, certain medications and even advancing age can also affect your sense of smell. As you age, especially beyond age 70, loss of nerve endings and less mucus production in your nose may diminish smell, in part because mucus plays a role in keeping odors in the nose longer, so they can be detected by the nerve endings there.8
It’s estimated that 62.5% of 80- to 97-year-olds have some type of olfactory impairment,9 while even about 12% of people over the age of 40 may have some trouble smelling, along with close to 25% of men in their 60s.10
One important side note: Those with vitamin D deficiency are more likely to have smell impairment, and researchers believe this deficiency may play a significant role in age-related smell and taste impairment.11 This is especially relevant since vitamin D deficiency is also linked to COVID-19. The following health conditions can also cause a dulling or diminishment of the sense of smell:12
Chemical exposures to insecticides or solvents
Multiple system atrophy (MSA)
Traumatic brain injury
As mentioned, when you lose your sense of smell, your taste goes along with it. Ann-Sophie Barwich, a cognitive scientist and assistant professor in the department of history and philosophy of science and medicine at Indiana University Bloomington, explained in STAT:13
“Many people don’t immediately recognize they’ve lost their sense of smell, but instead report they’ve lost their sense of taste. Most of what you think of as the taste of your food and drink, however, is actually due to smelling. When you chew, aromatic molecules are released from your food. These molecules travel up to your nose via the pharynx, the opening at the back of the throat that connects the mouth with the nasal cavity.
Think about it for minute. Your tongue detects salty and sweet, bitter and sour, umami (savory) and, according to recent research, fatty. There are no taste buds for mint or strawberry or vanilla. These flavors are created via ‘mouth-smelling,’ a process known as retronasal olfaction. It acts as a second sense of smell.”
This is one reason why anosmia is far more than an inconvenience or minor annoyance. Not only can you no longer detect if you’ve eaten something spoiled, which would prompt you to quickly spit it out, you can no longer enjoy your favorite foods and the scents that go along with them.
Odor-evoked memories also come along with powerful emotions and are known to activate the “neurolobiological substrates of emotional processing,” according to neuroscientist Rachel S. Herz, an adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University.14
Research published in Learning and Memory even suggests that odors may modulate the dynamics of memory consolidation,15 and, by boosting mood, lowering stress and reducing inflammation, it’s likely that the powerful emotions elicited by positive odor-evoked memories can influence psychological and physiological health.16
Without your sense of smell, however, you miss out on experiencing those powerful, odor-evoked memories. “Two of the great joys in people’s lives are the sensations of smell and taste,” says Dr. R. Peter Manes, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Yale Medicine. “When these senses are altered or absent, people lose that pleasure and can feel isolated from those around them who are not afflicted.”17
In a study of 3,005 community-dwelling adults, those who had a dysfunctional sense of smell were more likely to die in the next five years than those with a good sense of smell. Olfactory function was deemed to be one of the strongest predictors of five-year mortality, and researchers suggested it may “serve as a bellwether for slowed cellular regeneration or as a marker of cumulative toxic environmental exposures.”18
Another study of adults aged 71 to 82 also found those with “poor olfaction had a 46% higher cumulative risk for death after 10 years” compared to those with a good sense of smell, and poor olfaction was associated with a higher risk of death from neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases.19
An inability to identify odors is also an early symptom of neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.20 Beyond the physical risks, losing your sense of smell can cause psychological distress. People with smell and taste disorders often report a negative emotional impact, including feelings of isolation and problems with relationships and day-to-day functioning.21
Among COVID-19 patients, smell and taste loss were associated with depressed mood and anxiety, while fever, cough and shortness of breath were not, even though the latter may be harbingers of more dire COVID‐19 outcomes,22 highlighting the power that these senses have over your emotional well-being. In a Harvard Health Blog post detailing his own experience with loss of smell and taste, Leo Newhouse, LICSW noted:23
“Our senses — smell, vision, hearing, taste, and touch — are bridges that connect us to the world we live in, to life itself. Knock out two of the five bridges, and 40% of our sensory input is gone. Senses add richness and texture to everyday life; they are intricately tied in with our emotions.”
Treating anosmia involves identifying its underlying cause and addressing it at the foundational level. Loss of smell due to a cold or influenza, for instance, should resolve along with the viral infection. In some cases, however, the cause of the olfactory dysfunction is unknown, making treatment difficult.
AbScent, an organization providing support to those affected by anosmia and other smell disorders, has developed the Sense of Smell Project in collaboration with patients with smell disorders and scientists.24 They’ve developed a smell training app for members of the project, and also a simple smell training protocol designed to help those who have lost their sense of smell for two weeks or more to regain the sense.
The training is based on the protocol first described by professor Thomas Hummel of the Universitätsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus in Dresden, Germany.25 He published research in 2009 showing that olfactory training involving exposure to four intense odors (rose, eucalyptus, lemon and clove) twice daily for 12 weeks led to an increase in olfactory function.26
To try it, all you need is four different fragrances, such as those Hummel used — rose, lemon, clove and eucalyptus essential oils. Essential oils are ideal for scent training due to their highly concentrated scents. Once you’ve gathered your fragrances, actively sniff each scent for about 20 seconds a couple of times a day, such as immediately after waking up and before going to bed. AbScent explains:27
“Open a jar and hold it close to your nose. Take some gentle sniffs for 20 seconds. During this time, concentrate on what you are doing. Keep your mind on lemon for instance, or one of the other smell training smells. Try to block out any intrusive thoughts. Be as attentive as you can and try to recall what your experience of lemon was. Close the jar after 20 seconds and take a few breaths. Then go on to the next jar.”
The basis for smell training is that using a neural pathway, such as that used by your olfactory nerve cells, reinforces and strengthens it.
According to cell biologist Nancy Rawson, associate director at the Monell Center in Philadelphia, in an interview with AbScent founder Chris Kelly, “… Not only is smell training helping the olfactory receptor cells, but it also is helping to create pathways in the brain that will be better able to receive, interpret and remember the information that it is getting.”28
Research trials suggest smell training is beneficial in many cases,29 and, when used in people with a normal sense of smell, can enhance the sense to the level of a high-performing group of wine professionals. This suggests “the olfactory system is highly responsive to training,” according to researchers in the journal Chemical Senses.30
In another study involving 10 anosmic patients and 14 healthy controls, a 12-week smell training session significantly increased the sensitivity to detect odors in the anosmic group, and modifications in the functional connections of networks used to process chemosensory input were also noted.31
Another study in adults aged 50 to 84 found significant improvement in olfactory function after olfactory training (OT), along with improved verbal function and well-being, and decreased depressive symptoms, with researchers concluding, “OT may constitute an inexpensive, simple way to improve quality of life in older people.”32
Even if you feel it’s too soon to try retraining your sense of smell, it’s important to give the training a try. AbScent notes that “the earlier you begin, the greater the benefit to you in the long run.”33
Considering there’s no risk involved to giving it a try, and the process takes only a few minutes a day using scents that are easily accessible, there’s every reason to give scent training a try if you’re experiencing any level of anosmia.
Also, as noted, since vitamin D deficiency is associated with smell and taste impairment, be sure to get your vitamin D levels tested and optimized. An overall healthy lifestyle will also support healthy olfaction, and exercising even one time a week — long enough to break a sweat — may reduce your risk of losing your sense of smell as you age.34