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Reproduced from original article:
December 05, 2019
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that occurs seasonally, typically ramping up in the fall and winter months and disappearing come spring
- Helpful treatments include optimizing your vitamin D and omega-3 levels, light therapy (including blue light exposure in the morning, but not later in the day), optimizing your sleep, the Emotional Freedom Techniques and exercise
- Your health and mood are intricately tied to exposure to sunlight. For example, your serotonin levels (the hormone typically associated with elevating your mood) rise when you’re exposed to bright light. Your melatonin level also rises and falls (inversely) with light and darkness
- Vitamin D deficiency is very common, and should be a top consideration when you’re looking for a solution to flagging mood and energy — especially if it occurs during fall and winter months
- While light therapy can take up to four weeks before you notice improvement, it was shown to be more effective than antidepressants for moderate to severe depression in a 2015 study
The loss of daylight hours during winter is a common cause of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that hits seasonally and lifts as spring and summer rolls back around.
The fact that SAD occurs when the days begin to darken and sunlight is at a minimum is not a coincidence. Your health and mood are intricately tied to exposure to sunlight. For example, your serotonin levels (the hormone typically associated with elevating your mood) rise when you’re exposed to bright light.
Your melatonin level also rises and falls — inversely — with light and darkness. When it’s dark, your melatonin levels increase, which is why you may feel tired when the sun starts to set, and in the heart of winter, this may be at as early as 3 p.m. if you live far from the equator. Light and darkness also control your biological clock, or circadian rhythm, which impacts hormones that regulate your appetite and metabolism.
As explained in the paper, “Seasonal Affective Disorder: An Overview of Assessment and Treatment Approaches,” published in the journal Depression Research and Treatment in 2015:1
“… SAD is a recurrent major depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern usually beginning in fall and continuing into winter months. A subsyndromal type of SAD, or S-SAD, is commonly known as ‘winter blues.’ Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.
Symptoms center on sad mood and low energy. Those most at risk are female, are younger, live far from the equator, and have family histories of depression, bipolar disorder, or SAD … Typical treatment includes antidepressant medications, light therapy, vitamin D, and counselling.”
Considering the many health risks associated with antidepressants, and the fact that their efficacy is right on par with placebos, my recommendation is to avoid them if at all possible.
Aside from light therapy and vitamin D, other drug-free treatment options include optimizing your omega-3 level, exercise, the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and normalizing your circadian rhythm, all of which will be reviewed here.
The Role of Vitamin D
People with SAD tend to have lower serotonin and higher melatonin levels, which can account for the fatigue, tiredness and depressed mood typically associated with this condition. According to the Depression Research and Treatment paper:3
“A systematic review and meta-analysis concluded that low levels of vitamin D are associated with depression … During the winter months of November through February, those living about 33 degrees north or 30 degrees south of the equator are not able to synthesize vitamin D.
Many people with SAD and S-SAD have insufficient or deficient levels of vitamin D, and although no further studies have confirmed the findings, research investigating this association suggests that taking 100,000 IU daily may improve their symptoms.
Taking vitamin D before winter darkness sets in may help prevent symptoms of depression. Adverse reactions or intoxication is rare but could occur from doses of more than 50,000 IU per day.”
Vitamin D deficiency is very common, and should be a top consideration when you’re looking for a solution to flagging mood and energy — especially if it occurs during fall and winter months.
Ideally, you’ll want to get your vitamin D level tested twice a year, in summer and winter, when your levels are highest and lowest. This will help you fine-tune your dosage over time. While regular sun exposure is the best way to optimize your vitamin D level, this isn’t possible in many areas during the winter, thus necessitating the use of oral supplements instead.
GrassrootsHealth has a helpful calculator that can help estimate the dose required to reach healthy vitamin D levels based upon your measured starting point. The optimal level you’re looking for is between 60 and 80 ng/ml, and for all-around health, you’ll want to maintain this level year-round.
Omega-3 Fats Are Important Too
Another nutrient that can be helpful is marine-based omega-3. As noted in a 2009 review4 of three studies looking at the impact of omega-3 supplementation on patients with unipolar depression, childhood major depression and bipolar depression:
“Twelve bipolar outpatients with depressive symptoms were treated with 1.5-2.0 g/day of EPA for up to 6 months. In the adult unipolar depression study, highly significant benefits were found by week 3 of EPA treatment compared with placebo.
In the child study, an analysis … showed highly significant effects of omega-3 on each of the three rating scales. In the bipolar depression study, 8 of the 10 patients who completed at least one month of follow-up achieved a 50% or greater reduction in Hamilton depression scores within one month.”
In another study5 published that same year, people with lower blood levels of omega-3s were found to be more likely to have symptoms of depression and a more negative outlook while those with higher blood levels demonstrated the opposite emotional states.
A more recent review,6 published in 2015, pointed out that “Cell signaling and structure of the cell membrane are changed by omega-3-fatty acids, which demonstrates that an omega-3-fatty acid can act as an antidepressant.”
Importantly, this paper also points to research showing that the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 is an important factor that can influence your depression risk. People with severe symptoms of depression have been found to have low concentrations of omega-3 in conjunction with considerably higher concentrations of omega-6.
You can learn more about the importance of this ratio in “Getting Your Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio Right Is Essential For Optimal Health.” The key, really, to normalizing this ratio is to increase your omega-3 intake while simultaneously lowering your omega-6 consumption. This means you’ll need to ditch processed and fried foods, as they’re typically loaded with omega-6-rich vegetable oils.
Get Tested Today
GrassrootsHealth, which is conducting consumer-sponsored research into both vitamin D and omega-3, is one of your most cost-effective alternatives when it comes to testing.
Their vitamin D testing kit enrolls you into the GrassrootsHealth D*Action project, where your anonymized data will help researchers to provide accurate data about the vitamin D status in the population, the level at which disease prevention is obtained, and guidance on dosing to achieve optimal levels.
Their vitamin D, magnesium and omega-3 test kit is another option that will allow you to check the status of several vital nutrients at once. Each kit contains instructions for how to collect your blood sample. You then mail in your sample and fill out a quick online health questionnaire through GrassrootsHealth. A link to your test results will be emailed to you about a week after your blood samples have been received.
Light Therapy Is More Effective Than Antidepressants
Light therapy,7 using full-spectrum nonfluorescent lighting that has blue light to artificially mimic sunlight, is among the most effective treatment options for SAD. You want to avoid fluorescents as they emit large amounts of dirty electricity. Ideally, have the light exposure in the morning, well after sunrise. As noted in the Depression Research and Treatment paper:8
“Knowing the difference decreased daylight can make in triggering SAD and S-SAD, approaches seeking to replace the diminished sunshine using bright artificial light, particularly in the morning, have consistently showed promise …
Light boxes can be purchased that emit full spectrum light similar in composition to sunlight. Symptoms of SAD and S-SAD may be relieved by sitting in front of a light box first thing in the morning, from the early fall until spring …
Typically, light boxes filter out ultraviolet rays and require 20–60 minutes of exposure to 10,000 lux of cool-white… light daily during fall and winter.
This is about 20 times as great as ordinary indoor lighting … Light therapy should not be used in conjunction with photosensitizing medications such as lithium, melatonin, phenothiazine antipsychotics, and certain antibiotics.”
While light therapy can take up to four weeks before you notice an improvement, it was shown to be more effective than antidepressants for moderate to severe depression in a 2015 study.9,10 In it, the researchers evaluated the effectiveness of light therapy, alone and in conjunction with the antidepressant fluoxetine (sold under the brand name Prozac).
The eight-week trial included 122 adults between the ages of 19 and 60, who were diagnosed with moderate to severe depression. The participants were divided into four groups, receiving:
- 30 minutes of light therapy per day upon waking, using a 10,000 lux Carex brand day-light device, classic model, plus a placebo pill
- Prozac (20 mg/day) plus a deactivated ion generator serving as a placebo light device
- Light therapy plus Prozac
- Placebo light device plus placebo pill (control group)
In conclusion, the study found that the combination of light therapy and Prozac was the most effective — but light therapy-only came in at a close second, followed by placebo. In other words, the drug treatment was the least effective of all, including placebo.
The mean changes in the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale from baseline to the eight-week end point was 16.9 for the combination therapy (active light- and drug therapy), and 13.4 for light therapy alone.
Blue Light During Daytime Hours May Improve Your Mood
In addition to the bright white light used in light therapy, blue light has also been shown to be useful. According to a 2010 study,11 blue light appears to play a key role in your brain’s ability to process emotions, and its results suggest that spending more time in blue-enriched light could help prevent SAD.
Blue light is prevalent in outdoor light, so your body absorbs the most during the summer and much less in the winter. Because of this, the researchers suggested that adding blue light to indoor lighting, as opposed to the standard yellow lights typically used, may help boost mood and productivity year-round, and especially during the winter.
Keep in mind, however, that blue light after sunset or before sunrise should be avoided, as it can disrupt your circadian rhythm. In fact, one of the reasons for insomnia and poor sleep is related to excessive exposure to blue light-emitting technologies such as TV and computer screens, especially in the evening.
The blue light depresses melatonin production, thereby preventing you from feeling sleepy. So, to be clear, you only want to expose yourself to blue light in the morning, and possibly afternoon, but not in the evening.
In “How the Cycles of Light and Darkness Affect Your Health and Well-Being,” researcher Dan Pardi explains the peculiar effect blue light has on your brain, which sheds further light on why it’s so important to expose yourself to blue light during daytime hours only, and why you need to avoid it at night:
“[R]ods and cones in the eye… are specialized cells that can transduce a photo signal into a nerve signal… In the mid-90s, a different type of cell was discovered… [called] intrinsically photosensitive Retinal Ganglion Cells (ipRGC).
It does the same thing as rods and cones: it transduced light to a nerve signal. But instead of the signal going to your visual cortex, it goes to your master clock. Those cells are most responsive to blue light. If you can block blue light, you can actually create something called circadian darkness or virtual darkness.
What that means is that you can see, but your brain doesn’t think that it’s daytime; your brain thinks that it’s in darkness. That is actually a practical solution for living with artificial light in our modern world…
With more awareness, future digital devices will adjust lighting in the evening to automatically dim and emit amber/red light [instead of blue]. This is much better for healthy circadian rhythms and sleep quality.”
As you can tell by Pardi’s explanation above, the blue light issue is closely related to your sleep quality and circadian rhythm maintenance, and this too is an important component of mental health.
Historically, humans went to sleep shortly after sunset and woke up when the sun rose. Straying too far from this biological pattern will disrupt delicate hormonal cycles in your body, which can affect both your mood and your health. Indeed, the link between depression and lack of sleep is well established, and sleep disturbance is one of the telltale signs of depression.12
Sleep therapy has also been shown to significantly improve depression. While there are individual differences, as a general rule, you’ll want to aim for about eight hours of sleep per night.
For many, this will require going to bed earlier, which can be difficult if you’ve been watching TV or using electronics beforehand, as the blue light from the screen suppresses your melatonin production.
So, an important part of the solution is to avoid screen-time for a couple of hours before bed. Alternatives to not watching TV or using electronics is to install a blue light modulating software such as Iris,13 or using blue-blocking glasses.
Just make sure you don’t wear blue blocking glasses during the daytime, which is when you need the blue light exposure. Also, make sure the glasses filter out light between 460 to 490 nanometers (nm), which is the range of blue light that most effectively reduces melatonin. You can easily tell this by looking at a blue light and if it doesn’t disappear with the glasses, it is not blocking that frequency.
Exercise Helps Prevent Depression
Like sleep, exercise can impact your risk of depression. Even a minimal amount of exercise may be enough to combat depression in some people — as little as one hour a week could prevent 12% of future cases of depression, according to one study.14
Participants were followed for 11 years in this study, during which time it was revealed that people who engaged in regular leisure-time exercise for one hour a week, regardless of intensity, were less likely to become depressed. On the flipside, those who didn’t exercise were 44% more likely to become depressed compared to those who did so for at least one to two hours a week.
Exercise benefits your brain and mood via multiple mechanisms, including creating new, excitable neurons along with new neurons designed to release the GABA neurotransmitter, which inhibits excessive neuronal firing, helping to induce a natural state of calm15 — similar to the way anti-anxiety drugs work, except that the mood-boosting benefits of exercise occur both immediately after a workout and on in the long term.
Exercise also boosts levels of potent brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which may help buffer some of the effects of stress. What’s more, anandamide levels are known to increase during and following exercise.16 Anandamide is a neurotransmitter and endocannabinoid produced in your brain that temporarily blocks feelings of pain and depression. It can also be activated with CBD products.
Tap for Symptoms of Depression
Last but not least, EFT, a form of psychological acupressure, is a noninvasive way that can help treat symptoms of depression, whether related to seasonal light differences or not.
Some people avoid energy psychology, believing it’s an alternative form of New Age spirituality. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is merely an advanced tool that can effectively address some of the psychological short circuiting that occurs in emotional illnesses.
It is not associated with any religion or spiritual outlook at all, but merely an effective resource you can use with whatever spiritual belief you have. In the video above, EFT practitioner Julie Schiffman demonstrates how you can use EFT to relieve your symptoms.
It’s the Season To Be Glad, Not SAD
Since SAD is triggered by the loss of light, it makes sense that light therapy is among the most effective treatments. Vitamin D and/or omega-3 deficiency, as well as lack of sleep and exercise, can also play a significant role, so addressing these basic lifestyle factors could also be what you need to avoid the winter blues.
In closing, it may be worth noting that it’s natural for your body to want to slow down somewhat in the wintertime. While this can be difficult when your work and personal life dictate otherwise, allowing yourself to slow down a bit and surrender to the overwinter process may ultimately help you to respect your body’s circadian rhythm, and recharge.
That said, this doesn’t mean you should plant yourself on the couch for the winter and not venture outdoors. On the contrary, staying active and spending time outdoors during the day are among the best “cures” for SAD.
- 1 Depression Research and Treatment 2015; 2015: 178564
- 2 Depression Research and Treatment 2015; 2015: 178564, 2. An explanation of Seasonal Affective Disorder
- 3 Depression Research and Treatment 2015; 2015: 178564, 3.3 Vitamin D
- 4 CNS Neurosci Ther. 2009 Summer;15(2):128-33
- 5 Psychother Psychosom 2009;78:125–127
- 6 Integrative Medicine Research 2015 Sep; 4(3): 132–141, 2. Omega-3 fatty acids and depression
- 7 Live Science February 12, 2019
- 8 Depression Research and Treatment 2015; 2015: 178564, 3.2 Light therapy
- 9 JAMA Psychiatry November 18, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2235
- 10 Reuters November 19, 2015
- 11 Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Nov 9;107(45):19549-54
- 12 Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2008 Dec; 10(4): 473–481
- 13 Iris Blue Blocking Software
- 14 American Journal of Psychiatry October 3, 2017, DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.16111223
- 15 The Journal of Neuroscience May 1, 2013; 33(18):7770-7
- 16 Transl Psychiatry. 2014 Jul 8;4:e408.
Reproduced from original article:
November 26, 2019
- Ali and Orooba Hamideh’s disabled 9-year-old son, Ameer, lost his vaccine exemption after the passage of New York’s Senate Bill S2994A in June 2019, which removed all non-medical exemptions to school vaccination requirements
- Ameer was born prematurely and suffered a stroke at birth. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at age 3, and has a rare seizure disorder called Lennox Gastaut syndrome
- Ameer’s seizures began after his first round of vaccines at 5 months of age. His parents, who attributed the seizures to the complications at his birth, dutifully followed the recommended vaccine schedule. It wasn’t until he got a flu shot at the age of 2 that they started asking questions
- After getting a medical exemption from his neurologist, Ameer was again denied school access after the New York Department of Health denied the exemption, stating his seizure condition was not a contraindication to vaccination
- The Hamideh family sued the school, and November 12, 2019, the Erie County Supreme Court judge presiding over the case issued a temporary restraining order to allow Ameer to attend his classes at the CHC Learning Center for the duration of the court proceedings. The case is still ongoing
The global vaccine market was valued at $35.8 billion in 2018, and it’s predicted to nearly double by 2024.1,2 One major reason for this exponential growth has to do with the fact that more vaccines are being mandated as a condition for school attendance, while vaccine exemptions are being eliminated.3
After a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2011, vaccine manufacturers are also the only corporations selling products in the U.S. that cannot be sued, even when there is evidence the company could have made a product safer.4,5
After Congress amended the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act at the end of 1987, doctors and medical workers who administer federally recommended vaccines that injure or kill children can’t be sued either.6 In 2016, Congress expanded vaccine manufacturer liability protection to include federally recommended vaccines that injure or kill pregnant women or their unborn infants in the womb.7
This blanket protection from liability is part and parcel of what makes vaccines so profitable — and potentially hazardous.
Making matters worse, state legislatures in California8 and New York9 have passed laws that remove the legal right for doctors to exercise professional judgment and conscience when granting children a medical exemption to vaccination.10,11,12
A recent case highlighted by The Highwire demonstrates just how difficult it has become to obtain a vaccine exemption — even when a child’s life is clearly at high risk for suffering harm from vaccination — and the disastrous ramifications it can have for families whose children are denied school access simply because they’re not willing to roll the dice when it comes to protecting their child from harm.
Vaccination Laws Sacrifice the Vulnerable
In the video above, Del Bigtree, CEO of the Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN), a nonprofit he founded in 2017, interviews Ali and Orooba Hamideh, who live in New York. Their disabled 9-year-old son, Ameer, lost his vaccine exemption after the passage of New York’s Senate bill S2994A13 in June 2019, which removed all non-medical exemptions to school vaccination requirements.14
Weeks later, the New York health department issued a new rule that denied New York physicians the legal right to grant a child a medical exemption to vaccination unless the reasons given strictly conform to vaccine contraindications approved by public health officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).15,16
Ameer was born prematurely and suffered a stroke at birth. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at age 3, thought to be the result of the brain damage he suffered from his stroke. Ameer also has a rare seizure disorder called Lennox Gastaut syndrome (LGS17).
His seizures began after his first round of vaccines at 5 months of age. His parents, who attributed the seizures to the complications at his birth, dutifully followed the recommended vaccine schedule. It wasn’t until he got a flu shot at the age of 2 that they started asking questions.
As with previous vaccines, his seizures and other symptoms worsened directly after the shot. After researching the matter, and finding others whose stories mirrored their own, they decided to not give Ameer any more vaccines.
They opted to file a religious vaccine exemption for Ameer, simply because it was easier, but the new law meant Ameer could no longer attend school, and he ended up missing months of education and therapy over the summer while his parents turned to Ameer’s neurologist, who has treated him for nine years. She issued a medical exemption, stating:
“Patient carries a diagnosis of Lennox Gastaut with refractory seizures. Patient has a history of hospitalization following immunizations in the past for seizure activity triggered by those immunizations.”
Seizure Disorder Not a Valid Contraindication to Vaccination
With the medical exemption in place, Ameer was allowed back to school. But then, September 12, 2019, the Hamidehs received a copy of a letter from the New York Department of Health sent to Ameer’s school, recommending his medical exemption should be denied. Dr. Elizabeth Rausch-Phung, director of the New York Bureau of Immunization, wrote:
“I have reviewed the documentation submitted by Sarah Finnegan, MD with regard to the medical exemption request for the student in your school …
Lennox Gastaut with refractory seizures is not a valid contraindication to this student receiving MMR, varicella, polio, or Tdap vaccines pursuant to Public Health Law (PHL) 2164 and the accompanying regulations at 10 NYCRR Subpart 66-1. Therefore, I recommend against accepting this medical exemption.”
Ameer was again kicked out, for while the health department didn’t forbid the school to accept the exemption, the school refused to go against the health department’s recommendation, saying it would be “foolish” of them to do so.
“You feel awful,” Ali says. “You have no choice over your child. No choice at all.” Seizure disorders are serious medical conditions, and Ameer’s parents fear that any additional vaccines could cause uncontrolled seizure activity leading to his death.
Since the family started him on a ketogenic diet and CBD oil, Ameer has gone from 20 to 30 seizures a day to none. He’s making progress that simply isn’t worth risking. Yet, as noted by Bigtree, New York state essentially delivered a potential death sentence to this child — all because he’s missing his fifth Tdap booster.
Justice for Ameer — For Now
In desperation, Ali vented his frustration on Facebook, asking for help. The story went viral, being shared more than 100,000 times, eventually making headlines on local news.
As noted by Bigtree, one of the official justifications for removing non-medical vaccine exemptions and mandating certain vaccines is to protect immunocompromised children who cannot be vaccinated.
Yet here we have a child whose history clearly shows he is at grave risk for vaccine damage, whose neurologist agrees vaccination could compromise his health and worsen his already serious condition, and he’s somehow not worthy of that same protection.
Ameer, by the way, is not an isolated case — 26,000 children in New York lost their rights to public education with the passing of S2994A.18
In The Highwire video above, the Hamidehs mention they would take legal action if the school did not allow Ameer back in. Since the airing of that episode, Ameer’s case has been brought to court, resulting in a temporary legal victory.
November 12, 2019, the Erie County Supreme Court judge presiding over the case issued a temporary restraining order to allow Ameer to attend his classes at the CHC Learning Center for the duration of the court proceedings.19 But first, Ali had to present to the court a signed affidavit from the neurologist, confirming the signature on the medical exemption wasn’t a fraudulent one.
This request was so out of the ordinary and the neurologist was so surprised and confused by the request that she initially refused. Fortunately, by the time Ali and his attorney reached the court house, she’d emailed them the signed affidavit. No school representative from the school or state education department attended the hearing. The case goes back to court in December. As reported in an ICAN press release:20
“Because of Ameer’s previous severe reaction to the DTaP vaccine — most recently a grand mal seizure that sent him, uncontrollably screaming, to the hospital — his parents Ali and Orooba Hamideh followed the advice of Ameer’s physician to not give him an additional dose.
ICAN took up the family’s cause and turned its team of attorneys to the case, which pointed out — among other things — New York state law allows any doctor to provide a valid medical exemption, and does not provide the Department of Health the authority to overrule that exemption.
‘This is so satisfying because of what it means for the Hamideh family,’ says Del Bigtree … ‘The State thought they could steamroll the Hamideh family. Their bureaucratic decision regarding Ameer’s medical treatment, made without ever even talking to his doctor, could have seriously injured him.’”
‘Nothing Is Working the Way It’s Supposed To’
At the end of the November 12, 2019, video update above, Bigtree says:
“I will tell you my experience today, in watching how the courts were dealing with this issue, and watching the hoops having to be jumped through that lawyers don’t normally see in any other case … — doctors being forced to sign [an affidavit confirming] their own signature — this is just a bizarre world we are living in right now.
And it’s extremely distressing that in almost every department of our government … nothing is acting or working the way it’s supposed to work. This is not how our system is designed. This vaccine issue is putting everything on tilt. There’s something really wrong here.”
As for how it will all end, only time will tell, but for now, Ameer is allowed to receive the therapy and education he needs and deserves. But what about the tens of thousands of other children in New York and around the nation who have been ruthlessly stripped of their right to a public education?
Some families are making plans to move out of the state because their children are already vaccine injured or have brain and immune system disorders that do not qualify for medical exemptions under narrow federal vaccine use guidelines.
Others say they will quit their jobs and move in order to avoid having to vaccinate their unvaccinated children. One such couple, featured in an August 29, 2019, article21 on Syracuse.com, stopped vaccinating their children after their eldest son developed autoimmune encephalitis after getting the HPV vaccine and was hospitalized for 31 days.
Like the Hamidehs and so many others, this family does not consider themselves “anti-vaxxers” but “ex-vaxxers.” They’ve “been there, done that,” and realized the risks were real and very serious, and weren’t worth taking.
Approved Vaccine Contraindications Are Almost Nonexistent
The fact that a serious seizure disorder isn’t a valid contraindication for vaccination should set off warning bells, especially since febrile seizures is a possible side effect of most vaccines.
Ameer’s case clearly demonstrates just how dangerously narrow the vaccine contraindications really are, and how it’s nearly impossible to get a medical exemption under the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) rules.
Vaccine contraindications are the health conditions ACIP agrees are valid reasons for not getting vaccinated. The problem is, under ACIP guidelines, there’s virtually no health condition or vaccine reaction history that is an absolute contraindication to vaccination, and this is what your doctor has been taught to believe as well.22
For example, ACIP tells doctors that pregnancy or severe immunodeficiency are contraindications to getting live virus vaccines like MMR and varicella zoster — but inactivated vaccines are not an absolute contraindication for either of these groups.23
This is a very important point, because we’re often told that ACIP-recommended vaccines must be mandated for children in order to protect pregnant women and the severely immune compromised24,25 who cannot be vaccinated. Yet clearly, this is not true.
According to the CDC’s ACIP, there are only two types of vaccine reactions that are absolute contraindications to getting revaccinated and thus warrant a medical exemption:26
- A life-threatening allergic anaphylactic reaction that occurs within minutes of vaccination.
- Development of encephalopathy, such as prolonged seizures, coma and other brain dysfunction, within seven days of receiving pertussis-containing vaccines — but only if the doctor believes the encephalopathy is “not attributable to another cause.”
Vaccine Precautions, Another Short List
The CDC also publishes a very short list of health conditions that warrant “precaution,” as they “might increase the risk of a serious adverse reaction, cause diagnostic confusion, or might compromise the ability of the vaccine to produce immunity.”27
Only one CDC-approved universal precaution applies to all vaccines: Having a “moderate or severe acute illness with or without fever.” But this is not a total contraindication, which means a doctor could still decide to vaccinate an acutely and severely ill patient, as it’s up to his or her discretion what “moderate or severe acute illness” is.
The CDC also recommends that hospitalized patients should be vaccinated as long as they’re “not acutely, moderately or severely ill” — as if hospitals are filled with people who are only mildly ill from chronic conditions.
The core message the CDC sends to doctors is that 99% of the U.S. population are candidates for vaccination 100% of the time.28 It’s not surprising then that most doctors, pharmacists and other vaccine providers — who cannot be sued if a vaccine injures or kills — simply ignore any listed precautions.
What Role Have Conflicts of Interest Played?
At the end of the day, what all of this means is that most vaccine damaged children have no chance of getting approved for a medical exemption, and are forced to play Russian Roulette with their lives if they want a public education. It really shouldn’t be this way.
It’s wrong. And it’s so clearly wrong that it’s not hard to understand why people like the Hamidehs conclude that it’s really all about making a profit at any cost, even if the cost is the life of a child. Indeed, evidence of financial conflicts of interest are all around.
A U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform investigation published in 2000 found serious conflicts of interest between the pharmaceutical industry and voting members of two of the most important federal vaccine advisory committees in the U.S:29,30
- The ACIP, which reviews and votes on the quality of scientific evidence used to make national vaccine policy
- The FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, which reviews and votes on the quality of scientific evidence used to license new vaccines
Yet, to this day, government-appointed members of both ACIP and FDA vaccine advisory committees can receive conflict of interest waivers by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which allows them to vote on the licensing of vaccines and make national vaccine policy that is turned into public health law.31,32,33,34
We Are Not All the Same
Emerging science reveals we are not all the same and do not respond the same way to infectious diseases or vaccines. Responses to infectious diseases and the risk for complications can vary depending upon genes, environment, age and health at the time of infection.35,36
That is why malnourished, vitamin-deficient children living in poverty, for example, are at higher risk for complications from measles and other infections.37,38,39
Your risk of having a vaccine reaction can also range from zero to 100%. It again depends on genetic influences, your epigenetic history, microbiome, environmental factors, your age and current state of health, the type and number of vaccines you get, and how much time has elapsed between them if you’re getting more than one.40,41,42,43
Research has also confirmed that vaccinated individuals can still get infected with and transmit infections like measles, pertussis and influenza to other people, sometimes without showing any symptoms at all.44,45,46
With that evidence, the vaccine acquired herd immunity argument really falls apart, yet like so many other medical myths, it keeps being repeated long after its been disproven.
- 1 Vivoxa Market Analytics, Global Vaccines Market/Market Size, Growth, Analysis and Forecast 2019-2024, March 2019
- 2 Market and Markets. Vaccines Market worth $66.45 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 6.7%.
- 3 National Vaccine Information Center. State Law and Vaccine Requirements. 2019.
- 4 Fisher BL, Williams K, Wrangham TK. July 11, 2014.
- 5 BusinessWire February 23, 2011
- 6 NVIC. May 2018
- 7 Business Wire December 8, 2016
- 8 NVIC Newsletter August 5, 2015
- 9 The Vaccine Reaction June 14, 2019
- 10 Associated Press September 10, 2019
- 11 YouTube, ABC10 (Sacramento) September 9, 2019
- 12 Lohud August 18, 2019
- 13 New York Senate Bill S2994A
- 14 Politico June 13, 2019
- 15 Associated Press. Aug. 17, 2019.
- 16, 26, 27 CDC.gov, Vaccine Recommendations and Guidelines of the ACIP: Contraindications and Precautions. Aug. 20, 2019.
- 17 Rarediseases.org LGS
- 18 Syracuse.com August 19, 2019
- 19 The Highwire November 12, 2019
- 20 PR Newswire, ICAN, November 12, 2019
- 21 Syracuse.com August 28, 2019
- 22 CDC. Vaccine Recommendations and Guidelines of the ACIP: Contraindications and Precautions. Aug. 20, 2019.
- 23 General Principles and Table. 4-1: Contraindications and precautions to commonly used vaccines. Aug. 20, 2019.
- 24 Alliance for Human Research Protection (AHRP). May 16, 2015. Immunocompromised children: what are the infectious risks from the unvaccinated?
- 25 The Vaccine Reaction May 21, 2017. Quit Using Immunocompromised People to Push Your Agenda
- 28 NVIC. Sept. 17, 2019.
- 29 U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Government Reform Majority Staff Report June 15, 2000
- 30 ICIS Aug. 23, 2000
- 31 Bionity. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
- 32 CDC.gov. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Policies and Procedures December 2018, Pg. 1
- 33 Public Availability of Advisory Committee Members’ Financial Interest Information and Waivers. March 2014.
- 34 Vaccine 2018; 36(49): 7439-7444.
- 35 British Medical Bulletin 1999; 55(2): 401-413 (PDF)
- 36 Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet 2013; 14: 215-243.
- 37 Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2000; 78: 1207-1221.
- 38 Nutr Rev 2008; 66(9): 487-505.
- 39 N Engl J Med 1990; 323: 160-164.
- 40 Evaluating Biological Mechanisms of Adverse Events: Increased Susceptibility
- 41 Expert Opin Biol Ther 2010; 8(11): 1659-1667.
- 42 Braz J Med Biol Res 2012; 45(5): 376-385.
- 43 Complex Child E-Magazine June 2009 (PDF)
- 44 NVIC Newsletter May 25, 2019.
- 45 NVIC Newsletter Sept. 12, 2018.
- 46 Epidemiol Infect 2019; 147.
Reproduced from original article:
- Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks and destroys the pancreatic cells that produce insulin, which is why it’s also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes
- Type 1 diabetics require a steady supply of insulin for their survival, as their bodies produce little or no insulin at all
- As prices of insulin have skyrocketed, many Type 1 diabetics are now risking their lives by rationing insulin
- The price of insulin tripled between 2002 and 2013, and has doubled again since then. The three dominant makers of insulin, Eli Lilly, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk, all sell their insulin for approximately the same prices, and have raised them in lockstep, raising suspicions of price fixing
- Your lifestyle will have an impact on your blood sugar control. Ways to help manage your glucose levels include limiting your net carb intake, timing your meals appropriately, eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly
Conventional medicine still has Type 2 diabetes misidentified as a blood sugar problem. In reality, the condition is rooted in insulin resistance and faulty leptin signaling, caused by chronically elevated insulin and leptin levels. In other words, it’s a diet-derived condition that can be reversed using a cyclical ketogenic diet and fasting.
This is why the medical community’s approach to Type 2 diabetes treatment, which typically involves the administration of insulin, is fatally flawed and professionally irresponsible. Treating Type 2 diabetes with insulin is actually one of the worst things you can do, as it simply accelerates dying from the disease.
Type 1 diabetics, on the other hand, do require a steady supply of insulin for their survival, as their bodies produce little or no insulin at all. Previously called juvenile diabetes, there are actually more adults with Type 1 diabetes than there are children with the condition, with an estimated 1 million to 1.5 million Type 1 diabetics in the U.S. alone.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks and destroys your pancreatic cells that produce insulin, which is why it’s also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes. Tragically, as prices of insulin have skyrocketed, many Type 1 diabetics are now risking their lives by rationing their insulin use.1
Skyrocketing Costs Force Type 1 Diabetics to Risk Their Lives
In a recent article,2 The Washington Post tells the story of Alec Raeshawn Smith, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2015, just shy of his 24th birthday. Two years later, his health insurance coverage under his mother’s policy expired, leaving him with two expensive options: Get his own insurance, which would cost about $450 per month with a $7,000 deductible, or pay for his diabetic supplies out of pocket. The Washington Post continues:
“What Alec soon learned was just how much his insulin would end up costing… The price of insulin — once modest — has skyrocketed in recent years, making the lifesaving medication a significant, even burdensome, expense, especially for the uninsured and underinsured.
The costs are so heavy that they have driven some patients to ration their supplies of the drug in a dangerous gamble with life-threatening consequences. At the time Alec discussed skipping insurance coverage, he told his mother, ‘It can’t be that bad.’ Within a month of going off her policy, he would be dead …
As Nicole [Alec’s mother] cleaned out his cluttered blue car, littered with old prescription receipts, she started to cobble together just how much his insulin and blood sugar testing supplies cost without insurance or discounts. The total, by her count, was nearly $1,300 per month …
That $1,300 was almost $200 more than Alec’s biweekly paycheck. Nicole now believes that Alec was rationing his insulin because of the cost … ‘We realized that he had been taking less insulin and less often than he should, trying to make it stretch until he got his next paycheck.’ He was found dead three days before payday.”
Price Gouging Insulin Should Be a Crime
As noted in the featured article,3 the three researchers (Frederick Banting, Charles Best and James Collip4) who in 1921 discovered insulin — thereby transforming diabetic treatment and offering hope for a more or less normal life for Type 1 diabetics, who were previously doomed to die young — sold their patent to the University of Toronto for $1 each.
According to historian Michael Bliss,5 these researchers were trying to provide a great humanitarian gift to the world. In the hands of drug companies, however, insulin has become a guaranteed profit center totally isolated from the inventors’ benevolent intentions for the use of their discovery.
The price of insulin tripled between 2002 and 2013,6,7 and has doubled again since.8 At present, the three dominant makers of insulin, Eli Lilly, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk — which control 96% of the insulin market9 — all sell their insulin for approximately the same prices, and have raised them in lockstep, raising suspicions of price fixing.10
Drug makers also continue fine-tuning their formulas to prevent low blood sugar episodes, and while that’s good, it also ensures the drug patents don’t expire, preventing generics from being introduced.11
“For decades, manufacturers improved formulas, first using animal parts, then producing human insulin using bacteria and recombinant DNA. The 1990s saw the advent of insulin analogs, synthetic drugs made to better mimic the body’s own insulin production,” The Washington Post writes.12
“Today, critics argue that the price of insulin has far outpaced any innovations … In 1996, when Eli Lilly debuted its Humalog brand of insulin, the list price of a 10-milliliter vial was $21. The price of the same vial is now $275. Those costs can be compounded by the multiple vials that diabetics may require to survive each month.”
Price Hikes Threaten Insulin-Dependent Americans’ Lives
The Washington Post13 cites IBM Watson Health data showing Sanofi’s Lantus brand went from $35 per vial when introduced in 2001 to about $270 today, and Novolog, by Novo Nordisk, which started out at $40 per vial when released in 2001, now sells for around $289.
According to a 2016 JAMA study,14,15 the nondiscounted price for Lantus in the U.S. in 2015 was as high as $372.75, and the discounted price $186.38. Meanwhile, that same drug sold for $67 in Canada, $60.90 in Germany and $46.60 in France.
Even more telling is a 2018 study16 showing the estimated cost of manufacturing a 12-month supply of analog insulin is between $78 and $133 per patient, and $48 to $71 per patient per year for biosimilars. Why are patients having to pay as much as $24,000 a year for insulin that costs less than $133 to manufacture?
In response to growing outcry and lawsuits over insulin prices, Eli Lilly introduced Lispro, a less expensive generic version of its insulin Humalog, in May 2019.17,18 Lispro is said to sell at about half of the list price of Humalog.
According to a company statement,19 “The people who are most likely to benefit from Insulin Lispro Injection are Medicare Part D beneficiaries, people with high-deductible health plans and the uninsured who use Humalog.”
Lack of Competition, Payment Incentives Drive Prices
Why the dramatic increase in insulin prices? A November 2018 congressional caucus report,20,21 “Insulin: A Lifesaving Drug Too Often Out of Reach,” sought to identify the reasons behind these literally life threatening price hikes. As noted in this report:22
“Every day 7.5 million Americans rely on insulin [my note: over 6 million of these are Type 2 diabetics and should not be taking insulin] to manage their blood sugar levels and prevent debilitating, even deadly complications.
This lifesaving drug, however, has become increasingly unaffordable. Its average price has nearly doubled since 2012, putting an enormous financial burden on millions of patients.
For more than a year, Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Tom Reed (R-NY), the co- chairs of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus, have conducted a bipartisan inquiry to uncover the sources of this dramatic price increase.
This culminating report provides an overview of the insulin supply chain, discusses the drivers behind rising insulin prices, and recommends policy solutions to lower costs …
Many of the complicating reasons will be detailed further in this inquiry, including the myriad steps that insulin takes from manufacturer to patient, the perverse payment incentives and methodologies, the lack of transparency in pricing and outdated patent regulations, among other things.
These market failures have allowed a handful of players along the insulin distribution pipeline from manufacturers to health insurers to capitalize on their strategic positions, driving up the price of insulin and minimizing competition.
Congress should pursue a handful of legislative actions to increase price transparency, promote competition among insulin makers, and encourage the use of value-based contracts. Congress should also consider working on targeted patent reforms to prevent anti-competitive practices and streamline the drug approval process at the Food and Drug Administration for biosimilar insulins.”
While 1 in 4 patients gambles with their lives by rationing their insulin supplies by what they can afford,23 others have taken to illegally importing insulin from other countries where prices are more reasonable.
The Washington Post24 recounts testimony from one father who told senators a 90-day supply of insulin for his son costs $1,489.46 through insurance with a high deductible. He’s resorted to buying insulin from a Canadian pharmacy, from which he can get the same amount of insulin for $350 including shipping.
According to the article, while this is technically illegal, “the Food and Drug Administration generally doesn’t prosecute individuals if it’s a short-term supply for personal use.”25 Many others have turned to GoFundMe to raise donations for their insulin purchases.
Why Rationing Your Insulin Is a Dangerous Gamble
For Type 1 diabetics, whose bodies can’t make insulin, getting a steady supply is crucial for their health. Taking lower doses, or skipping doses, can be immediately life threatening and in the long term can result in even more costly health problems. As noted in the featured article:26
“Poor glycemic control can lead to blindness, kidney failure, amputation, heart disease and stroke. In the short term, patients who stop taking enough insulin can lapse into diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition where blood sugars get too high and the body’s blood becomes acidic. It can become fatal in just hours or a few days.”
While not an ideal solution, The Washington Post points out an alternative solution: older versions of insulins, available at Walmart for approximately $25 per vial.
While there’s some evidence showing these older formulas, which came out in the 1980s, are more likely to trigger dangerously low blood sugar and are typically thought to be safer for Type 2 diabetics than Type 1 diabetics, the doctors interviewed by The Washington Post agree it’s better than nothing.
Similarly, in the information sheet, “Diabetes Meds on a Budget,”27 Beverly Thomassian, a registered nurse and president of Diabetes Education Services, points out:
“The older insulins are regular and NPH. They are available as Humulin R and N (Eli Lilly) and Novolin R and N (Novo Nordisk). These biosynthetic insulins take longer to start working and the NPH peaks at 4 – 10 hours.
ReliOn Brand — Walmart sells Novolin insulin Regular, NPH and 70/30 (biphasic insulin) under the ReliOn label at discounted prices … Newer insulins are referred to as analogues. The amino sequence of these insulins has been slightly rearranged through genetic engineering to make them more rapidly available or take longer to absorb …
Given these pricing disparities, please consider reading this article28 published in Diabetes Care, 2009 — that describes the effective use of NPH and Reg to manage Type 2 diabetes.
The authors research shows that for type 2s, NPH and Regular insulins are as effective as the newer analogues in getting glucose to goal. The main drawbacks are well known; the peak of NPH slightly increases risk of hypoglycemia and patients will get better post prandial glucose control by taking regular insulin 30 minutes before meal (vs at meals with the analogs).”
Insulin Makers Sued
As mentioned, the surprisingly similar price hikes by all three makers of insulin have raised suspicions that the companies are in collusion. It wouldn’t be the first time. In February 2010, Mexico fined Eli Lilly and three Mexican drug companies $1.7 million each for colluding to eliminate competition by agreeing to take turns in placing winning bids for insulin, thereby artificially raising prices.29
In January 2017, a class action lawsuit30 was filed against Sanofi, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly in Massachusetts federal court, claiming the companies are in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.31 The New York Times reported:32
“The lawsuit … accuses the companies of exploiting the country’s opaque drug-pricing system in a way that benefits themselves and the intermediaries known as pharmacy benefit managers.
It cites several examples of patients with diabetes who, unable to afford their insulin treatments, which can cost up to $900 a month, have resorted to injecting themselves with expired insulin or starving themselves to control their blood sugar.
Some patients, the lawsuit said, intentionally allowed themselves to slip into diabetic ketoacidosis — a blood syndrome that can be fatal — to get insulin from hospital emergency rooms.”
In October 2018, the attorney general of Minnesota, Lori Swanson, also filed a lawsuit against the three insulin makers, charging them with deceptive and misleading price increases.33 As reported by The Hill:34
“The lawsuit alleges that there is a deceptive difference between the sticker price of these insulins and the actual price that insurers pay after negotiators known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) get discounts.
The attorney general says drug companies are raising the sticker price ever higher so that they can give larger discounts to the PBMs, which helps them secure more favorable coverage of their products relative to their competitors in insurance plans.
The problem, Swanson says, is that the spiking sticker prices hurt people who don’t have insurance or who have high deductibles they have to pay before insurance kicks in.
‘The lawsuit alleges that the list prices the drug companies set are so far from their net prices that they are not an accurate approximation of the true cost of insulin and are deceptive and misleading,’ the attorney general’s office says.”
Biohackers Make Their Own Insulin
Aside from rationing, extended fasting, insulin sharing, using expired insulin, setting up GoFundMe campaigns or illegally importing insulin from other countries, some Type 1 diabetics are taking insulin production into their own hands.
In a recent Elemental Medium article,35 Dana Smith talks about the Open Insulin Project, “a biohacker collective that is trying to produce the lifesaving drug and provide it to people with diabetes for free, or close to it.” She writes:
“The group was founded in 2015 by Anthony Di Franco, a computer scientist with Type 1 diabetes, and a longtime member of the California hacker scene … He and his collaborators think one solution to the pricing crisis lies in enabling patients and hospitals to create insulin themselves.
The group works out of Counter Culture Labs in the trendy Temescal neighborhood of Oakland … ‘If we can make this stuff in our janky lab on a $10,000 a year budget, there’s no way it should cost this much,’ says Thornton Thompson, a molecular biologist who is part of Open Insulin.
‘One of the big goals of the project is just to demonstrate that.’ Scientists make insulin by inserting a gene that codes for the insulin protein into either yeast or bacteria. These organisms become mini bio-factories and start to spit out the protein, which can then be harvested, purified, and bottled.
Scientists at Genentech were the first to synthesize insulin this way back in 1979 from the bacterium E. coli, and drug manufacturers have been using the method ever since. Open Insulin’s goal is to develop a similar way to generate insulin that doesn’t infringe on any patents and can be made publicly available.”
The Open Insulin Project
To produce insulin, the group uses yeast rather than E. coli. A French biochemist named Yann Huon de Kermadec joined the Open Insulin Project about a year-and-a-half ago. He took charge of the manufacturing process and obtained the appropriate insulin gene, which is then inserted into the DNA of the yeast, thereby producing a small amount of insulin protein.
They’ve not yet been able to extract high-enough amounts to move on to the purification stage, so at present they’re still working on increasing the yield. “If they succeed, they will go through the final steps of purifying and testing the protein. Once they’re confident that what they’ve produced really is pure insulin, Di Franco will serve as the group’s first guinea pig,” Smith writes.
According to Open Insulin, 10 liters of yeast culture are enough to make insulin for 10,000 individuals, with a startup cost as low as $1 per person. Indeed, as noted earlier, insulin manufacturing is pretty darn inexpensive — at most around $133 per person per year for an analog, and as low as $48 per person per year for a biosimilar.
Once a well-working insulin has been developed, the group hopes to make the recipe open-source, allowing hospitals and other patient groups make it for themselves. Thompson told Smith:
“What we’re interested in medium- and long-term is to try to organize networks of production and distribution centers that work by a fundamentally different model. We want to partner with hospitals, free health care clinics, patient organizations, diabetes groups. What if you could set up a small-scale production center in the back of a hospital?”
Di Franco adds, “Economically, I think it’s much better to do it in this decentralized way. A very small investment from each patient could fulfill the patient’s needs and make insulin very close to free for everyone who needs it with this kind of technology.”
As you’d expect, others are less than excited about such a prospect, not because it would create much-needed competition, but because of safety concerns. For example, Dr. Eric Topol, chair of innovative medicine and executive vice president at the Scripps Research Institute, told Smith:
“There are so many things that could go wrong in the process: the sterilization, the efficacy, the safety. It’s like Murphy’s law, here. These are potent drugs that can have serious side effects. I just don’t see that that is a safe or practical route.”
Millions of Americans Get Their Medications Outside the US
At present, there are no easy solutions for insulin-dependent diabetics. What’s clear is that it shouldn’t cost thousands of dollars a month for an essential drug required to keep these people alive.
If you’re in this boat, consider talking to your doctor about the possibility of using the older biosynthetics, Humulin R and N, or Novolin R and N, available for about $25 at Walmart. It may not be ideal (you can read about some of the concerns in this Insulin In Nation article36) but it’s probably still better than nothing. Even better, however, especially for Type 1 diabetics, is getting your insulin from overseas — or even just next door, north or south of the U.S. border.
Research published in 2015 shows that 952,000 Californians cross into Mexico every year for lower-priced health care, including prescription drugs.37 From the northern border, a random survey of Americans showed that 8% of respondents or someone they knew had imported their medications from Canada.
In numbers, that adds up to 19 million individuals — with estimates that the numbers are probably much higher — crossing into Canada just to be able to afford medications they may very well not be able to live without.38 But is this legal? And if it is, how do you do it? And if you’re not near the southern or northern U.S. borders, is there anywhere else to go? According to the FDA:
“In most circumstances it is illegal for individuals to import drugs or devices into the U.S. for personal use because … [they] have not been approved for use or sale in the U.S. … The FDA cannot ensure the safety and effectiveness of medicine purchased over the internet from foreign sources, storefront businesses that offer to buy foreign medicine for you, or during trips outside the U.S.”
The FDA does make exceptions for certain medications under specific situations, but even so, the amounts can’t be for more than a three-month supply. That said, Kaiser Health Network39 reports that personal use purchases for drugs not considered a risk by the FDA — such as insulin — in 90-day supplies are not being prosecuted.
And just how much are Americans saving by crossing the border? Kaiser Health gave an example of a woman vacationing in Canada who visited a local pharmacy for an emergency insulin refill for her daughter: The pack of insulin pens, which cost $700 in the U.S., was a mere $65.
The same box costs $73 in Germany; $57 in Israel; $51 in Greece; $61 in Rome and $40 in Taiwan. It’s no wonder millions of Americans are getting prescriptions by mail order overseas! Yet, even though they’re not prosecuting people for it, the FDA is clamping down on mail orders by going after them at international mail facilities.
According to online journalism group Tarbell,40 the FDA intercepted 10,731 prescription drug packages in 2017; by May 2018, they’d confiscated 19,318. Their goal is to intercept 100,000 a year.
So, what can you as a consumer do, if you can’t afford the outrageous — bordering on criminal — pricing and you’re not brave enough to test the system and try to take a vacation out of the country or order by mail? One way to begin could be to study the FDA’s personal importation guidelines to see if there is some way you can qualify for an exception so you can get your insulin from out of the country legally.
Guidelines for Insulin-Dependent Diabetics
Also remember that your lifestyle will have an impact on your blood sugar control. Ways to help manage your glucose levels include the following. Just be sure to consult your physician before making any drastic changes to your lifestyle habits and dietary plan, to avoid wild blood sugar fluctuations.
- Limiting your net carb intake (total carbs minus fiber) — When you eat high-carb foods, your body converts the starches and sugars into glucose, which will enter your bloodstream and increase your blood glucose levels. Make sure you monitor your carbohydrate intake to avoid hyperglycemia.
- Timing your meals appropriately — Meal timing is crucial to the treatment and management of Type 1 diabetes, since it may affect the efficiency of your insulin intake. The best time to eat your meal depends on the type of insulin that you’re taking. For example, regular insulin should be taken 30 minutes before a meal.41
- Eating only nutritious foods — Avoid eating foods that contain sugar, preservatives, trans fat, refined flour and other unhealthy ingredients. Rather, fill your plate with wholesome foods rich in vitamins and minerals. You should also consume foods that are high in healthy fats and probiotics, since these may help you gain better control of your blood glucose levels.
- Exercising regularly — Following an active lifestyle will help regulate your blood sugar levels, as it allows your body to use insulin more efficiently, and can help you avoid long-term complications associated with Type 1 diabetes, such as heart disease.42
- 1, 11 Click2Houston.com March 13, 2019
- 2, 3, 10, 12, 13, 23, 24, 25, 26 Washington Post January 7, 2019
- 4, 31, 35 Elemental Medium May 30, 2019
- 5 Washington Post October 31, 2016
- 6, 14 JAMA 2016;316(8):858-871
- 7 JAMA 2016;316(8):858-871 (Full Study PDF)
- 8, 21 Congressional Caucus on Diabetes November 1, 2018
- 9, 16 BMJ Global Health 2018; 3(5)
- 15 JAMA 2016;316(8):858-871 (Full Study PDF) page 859
- 17, 19 Eli Lilly May 22, 2019
- 18 CNN May 22, 2019
- 20, 22 Congressional Caucus on Diabetes, Insulin: A Lifesaving Drug Too Often Out of Reach (PDF)
- 27 Diabetes Meds on a Budget Beverly Tomassian, Diabetes Education Services (PDF)
- 28 Diabetes Care 2009 Nov; 32(suppl 2): S253-S259
- 29 Reuters February 23, 2010
- 30 US District Court District of Massachusetts, Class Action Complaint No. 1:17-cv-10158, January 30, 2017 (PDF)
- 32 New York Times January 30, 2017
- 33 STAT News October 16, 2018
- 34 The Hill October 16, 2018
- 36 Insulin In Nation September 16, 2016
- 37 USITC Trends in U.S. Health, August 2015
- 38 CMAJ 2017 Jun 19; 189(24): E817–E818.
- 39 Kaiser Health Network February 12, 2019
- 40 Tarbell June 14, 2018
- 41 MedicineNet, Type 1 Diabetes Diet
- 42 Endocrine Web Type 1 Diabetes and Exercise
Reproduced from original article:
To view video, please go to original article above.
- In “Cancer and the New Biology of Water,” Dr. Thomas Cowan explains why cancer is not a problem of oncogenes but rather a problem involving the cytoplasm — the structured water — of the cell
- Mitochondrial defects are an integral part of the breakdown of the structure in the water, which then triggers the formation of cancer
- Lifestyle strategies that will help restructure the water in your cells, thereby helping prevent cancer include eating a ketogenic diet and exposing your body to sunlight and near-infrared light such as near-infrared sauna
- Other strategies include grounding to the earth by walking barefoot, posing yourself to the biofields of other biological entities, such as the touch of other humans and animals, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy
- Mistletoe therapy stimulates your fever response. It’s an immunostimulating medicine that also works like a chemo drug
Dr. Thomas Cowan is a practicing physician, founding board member and vice president of the Weston A. Price Foundation.
I’ve previously interviewed Cowan on a number of different topics, including the link between vaccines and autoimmune disease, the use of low-dose naltrexone for autoimmune disease and novel treatments for heart disease. Here, we discuss his latest book, “Cancer and the New Biology of Water.”
“I wrote a series of three books. The first one on the heart, the second one on vaccines and autoimmunity and then this one on cancer. As I got into it, I realized it was all about water,” Cowan says.
“The first book was basically two premises: One is that the heart doesn’t pump the blood. The reason for the movement of the blood in your body is not because there’s a propulsion by the heart [but] because of the dynamics of water …
Then I got into the vaccine book and what childhood illness means. That took me deeper into what cells are made of. Somehow it hit me that the whole problem of cancer is a cytoplasmic, i.e., water problem.
It became like the culmination of this series of writing and thinking about human biology, biology in general, and how wrong we have the whole thing, basically.”
Cancer and the Biology of Water
In 1971, President Nixon declared war on cancer. As noted by Cowan, we had just discovered the oncogene at that time, which was thought to be the reason for why people had cancer.
In the decades since, vast sums of money have been spent on cancer research. Were oncogenes the correct target, the war on cancer should have been won by now, yet we’re no closer to a cure today than we were back then. Cowan cites research by the Australian government, which concluded that improvement in cancer statistics as a result of chemotherapy is 2.3%.
“That’s an abysmal return on a $500 billion investment … Probably the costliest endeavor humans have ever undertaken, except maybe war,” Cowan says. “What’s the problem? The problem I submitted in the book is that cancer is not a problem of oncogenes. It isn’t even a problem of the DNA. It isn’t even a problem of the nucleus …
There have been a number of studies over the years where they transplant the nucleus from a healthy cell into another healthy cell and the progeny are normal, as you would expect.
But then they take the nucleus out of a cancer cell, where these oncogenes [are], the DNA that supposedly cause cancer, and put that into a healthy cytoplasm, the progeny are normal. When they take a normal nucleus and put it into the cytoplasm of a cancer cell, it turns the progeny cancerous.
That simple experiment tells you exactly where in the cell the problem of cancer lies, which is in the cytoplasm. The cell has two parts. Basically, it’s a lipid biomembrane that has a nucleus and a cytoplasm. The cytoplasm is basically structured water or a gel.
Now we know that the cytoplasm is the site of cancer. The events in the nucleus are a consequence of degeneration of the cytoplasm, not the other way around.
When these researchers did this, and identified clearly that the site of the cancer problem is in the cytoplasm, they postulated that something in healthy cytoplasm must be able to heal the mutations of the DNA in the nucleus, which there’s no evidence for.”
The Cytoplasm’s Role in Cancer
Cowan argues that the real problem in cancer lies in the structured water of the cell, i.e., the cytoplasm. Similarly, Thomas Seyfried, Ph.D., whom I’ve interviewed on this topic as well, believes the studies Cowan mentioned above reveal the problem is rooted in the mitochondria, which also reside in the cytoplasm.
Mitochondrial dysfunction is certainly one aspect, Cowan admits, but more specifically, he believes mitochondrial defects are an integral part of the breakdown of the structure in the water, which then triggers the formation of cancer.
“When you look at what the function of the mitochondria is — which is essentially to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) — and you see what the role of ATP is and how integral ATP is to the structuring of the water in the cytoplasm, then you begin to see the connections between the mitochondrial dysfunction … [and the] deterioration of the cytoplasmic water that leads to cancer.”
Oftentimes, cancer can be palpated (provided the tumor is large enough). The tumor turns into a palpable lump because the density of the cells is too high, Cowan says. The cells are essentially clumped together, and they’ve lost their normal spatial orientation.
All cells have a certain spatial orientation because there’s an electrical charge around the cell. When two cells start coming together, the charge repels them apart. This allows all the cells to remain at an appropriate distance from each other. This distance varies depending on the cells and organs in question, but all tissues have a spatial orientation that allows the tissue to remain healthy and normal.
Structured Water Is Responsible for Cellular Charge
Conventional medicine says that the charge around each cell comes from the distribution of sodium and potassium across the cell membrane. However, Cowan points out that experiments by cell physiologist and biochemist Gilbert Ling, performed more than three decades ago, showed that for the sodium-potassium pump to be responsible for the creation of this charge, the cell would need about 30 times the energy at its disposal.
So, according to Cowan, this belief, while being a cornerstone of modern biology, is little more than a myth. Something else causes the charge, but what? Cowan answers that question with the following explanation:
“It comes about because in the cytoplasm is a mesh network of water, which, by some genius of nature, is so constituted that it, by itself, it traps potassium and excludes sodium … The proper healthy grid, mesh or structuring of the water, in itself, is the pump. No energy needed, just like the heart.
The whole idea of a stupid pump pushing is ridiculous. It’s done by the miracle of water. The charge distribution, the spatial orientation of a cell, is because of the structuring of the water. That’s one.
The second thing is the other hallmark of cancer cells: They all have an abnormal number of chromosomes. It’s called aneuploidy, as opposed to a diploid cell, which means humans have 46 chromosomes. If you get an abnormal number, that’s an abnormal cell we call cancer.
How does that happen? It happens because of events in the cytoplasm, which pulls the two chromosomes apart and makes new copies of mitosis. It doesn’t happen properly because the milieu in the cytoplasm, that structured water, is disturbed.
Therefore, you get all these errors of mitosis, and the energy used for mitosis is deficient. That’s because of the mitochondrial problem. You get errors in chromosome replication called aneuploidy. When you get an aneuploid cell that has an abnormal spatial orientation, that’s called a cancer cell.”
How to Restructure the Water in Your Cells
Once you understand the importance and influence of the cytoplasm, the structured water inside your cells, in the development of cancer, the next question becomes: How do you restructure that water? A significant portion of Cowan’s book covers this important topic.
To illustrate how structured water is made, he compares it to Jell-O. Jell-O is made by mixing gelatin proteins with water and then adding heat. The heat unfolds the proteins, exposing their hydrophilic surfaces, which then grab onto the water.
As the mixture cools, it forms a gel, “which is basically identical to the state that the cytoplasm is in,” Cowan says. To structure the water in your cells and basically mimic this Jell-O making procedure, you can:
- Eat a cyclical ketogenic diet — When fats are metabolized in your mitochondria, they create deuterium depleted water (DDW), which is hydrogen-rich. The more hydrogen you get, the more ATP your cells generate, which in turn allows your cells to create more structured water
- Regularly expose much of your skin to sunlight
- Regularly expose your skin to near-infrared light, such as a near-infrared sauna or a heat lamp bulb. Not only does it restructure water, but it also detoxifies your cells by creating sweating, which purifies the cytoplasm
- Expose yourself to the biofields of other biological entities, such as the touch of other humans and animals
Now, ATP is instrumental for protein unfolding — which is an integral part of the process of creating structured water — and if you have an ATP deficiency, “as happens when you have mitochondrial disease, it’s like trying to make Jell-O without heat,” Cowan says.
“You get clumps of dysfunctional proteins with water that can’t be structured. That’s what you see with cancer cells … If you want to have properly structured water, which then creates healthy cell division and healthy spatial orientation in the cells, you need sunlight, earth and human touch — the biofields of other biological entities, especially those who wish you well, so to speak, like your dog.”
Another alternative is hyperbaric oxygen therapy, although this is not something most people will be able to do at home. By providing more oxygen to the tissues at increased partial pressure, the oxygen is pushed into the mitochondria, allowing them to generate more ATP, which in turn allows your cells to create more structured water.
In his book, Cowan also discusses mistletoe therapy, which he recommends almost universally for his cancer patients. He expounds on the benefits of this therapy as follows:
“Cancer is growing and parasitizing you, sucking your nutrients, just like the mistletoe sucks the nutrients from the oak tree. But there’s a central difference, which is the mistletoe has learned to cooperate with the oak tree, and so each do better together than they would do alone, whereas in cancer, the tumor has parasitized you and you do worse.
What we need is a situation where we bring back that cooperation … This is not a survival of the fittest … That’s not how it works in nature. Nature is a cooperative venture … Mistletoe tells you to see it like that. Now, that’s the metaphor.
[Mistletoe] stimulates fever response, so it is an immunostimulating medicine. It stimulates white blood cells. It stimulates all these aspects of immune response. It stops cells from growing, so it works like a chemo drug, as well … We want the simulation, the purification, the detoxification that happens with fever therapy. Mistletoe does that.”
The idea that fever is a healing aid goes back to a cancer treatment developed in the 1890s by William Coley, a bone surgeon. The treatment, which involves giving isolated proteins from the erysipelas bacteria at a specific dose to induce a fever, is known as “Coley’s toxin.”1
“Around 1989, for I don’t know what reason, I get in the mail a book from Coley’s granddaughter about 2,000 cases he treated and the results — about 60% of them, stage 4. All different kinds of cancer were cured by Coley’s toxins. It’s very well documented.
It was the main adjunct of cancer therapy in the United States for a couple of decades. It was used up until the ’60s. Many, many papers written about it, peer-reviewed journals. There’s no doubt that it was more effective than any adjunctive therapy for cancer we have today.
In a sense though, it’s a blueprint. When you talk about hyperthermia, the problem is it doesn’t work as well as Coley’s toxins. I think the reason for that is [hyperthermia] doesn’t turn on your innate cellular immune system. It’s just heating up your cells.
I’m not saying that something good doesn’t happen from heating up your cells, but it’s not the same. Coley’s was a way of internally generating the temperature, and so is mistletoe, although mistletoe isn’t as dramatic as Coley’s toxins …
[Today, Coley’s toxin] is not available anywhere. It’s very sad. There should be a way of stimulating fever. I had occasion to use it a little bit years ago. You could basically generate any temperature you want. It’s pretty rigorous therapy. You get shakes and chills and not everyone wants to do that. But if you do that, you have a dramatic detoxification-purification response …
None of these strategies are a magic bullet. The point I’m trying to make is that healthy cytoplasm, which is basically a structured water gel, that’s the key focus … All those [factors discussed earlier] contribute to the quality of the gels that you’re going to produce. That’s what good health is.”
Cowan’s book ends with the story of Sleeping Beauty. “It’s what we tell children to teach them how the world works,” he says. Sleeping Beauty, a princess, is bewitched by an evil witch, which in fairytales always illustrates the materialistic side of life.
“When you’re bewitched by materialism … you fall into chaos and disrepair has happened in the story. Something has to come along to wake you up, not to a new way of seeing, as they say in the story, but to your true nature.
That’s where we’re at now. We’re living out the story of Sleeping Beauty. We’re bewitched by materialism and we can’t see our true nature. That’s become a real problem. [Getting out of that matrix involves] an interesting combination of all these techniques that we’re talking about …
Cyclical ketosis, sunlight, walking in the ocean, infrared saunas … fever therapy, bringing back therapies like Coley’s toxins. There’s another side too, which is to change our minds … Somehow, we have to change our mind and … see the world as it is.
I often tell people and patients, ‘If you see the world from a materialistic point of view and you realize that the matter we’re talking about is made of atoms, which are, themselves, 99% space, just empty, so how does that work? It’s an illusion.’ Once we see that we’re essentially crystallized energy, then you start to wake up.
The most hopeful thing I think I can tell people is that once you begin to open your mind, there’s more out there than was taught in school or that your doctors tell you. Somehow the world seems to feed you information or give you clues as to where to go next.
You don’t need me to tell you what to do or where to go next. Somehow it just happens. I don’t know if you would agree, but in my life, once you open yourself to this possibility, to me, it’s like the spiritual world comes in to offer a hand. The next thing you know, you meet this person. Next thing you know, you [learn] things that you didn’t know before.
You just keep opening your mind. If we keep doing that, we can build a different world. You don’t have to do anything. You just have to stop not doing things, believing that there’s nothing there.”
To learn more, be sure to pick up a copy of Cowan’s book, “Cancer and the New Biology of Water.” I definitely recommend it and all the resources in there. It’s a great read. Cowan tells a good story, which makes his books easy to digest. “I hope that it catalyzes some institution, some person — somebody — to say, ‘We’ve got to do things differently because this isn’t working,” Cowan says.
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- Functional genetics looks at the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, pronounced “snips”) of genes
- When you have SNPs (genetic variants or defects on the genes), enzymes may not be working effectively, or the gene may be upregulated or downregulated
- While traditional genetics often looks for potential disease states, functional genetics looks for potential impairment of function and helps find the best nutritional intervention to bring your body back into balance
- People with genetic weaknesses that hamper detoxification who are exposed to high amounts of environmental toxins can be struggling with health due to their limited ability to detoxify
- NutriGenetic Research Institute is devoted to functional genomic testing, training health professionals to help people understand the results and how to apply it to improve their health
Functional genomics is a gene testing modality with enormous value that many are completely unaware of. Bob Miller1 is a certified traditional naturopath specializing in genetic-specific nutrition. He’s the founder of the NutriGenetic Research Institute,2 devoted to testing and helping people understand the results of their functional genetic testing and how to apply it to improve their health.
“As a traditional naturopath, we’re not licensed medical doctors, so we don’t diagnose, treat or prescribe,” Miller explains. “We look at the functional approach of, ‘How is the terrain off in the body?’ … [W]hen the body is toxic or inflamed, that’s when pathogens have a better opportunity to thrive.
Many years ago, I learned about how homocysteine has pathways that clear it that may be impaired by genetic variants. I became very fascinated by it. I started looking at the enzymes that clear it, and then the genetics behind it.
My whole naturopathic and holistic practice is [now] dedicated to helping clients measure their functional genomics, which is quite a bit different than traditional genetics that looks for disease patterns, and trying to find out how we can make interventions to bring the body back into balance …
Our goal is to be able to make a contribution to functional practitioners, so they can do their job a lot better and improve the lives of those who are suffering with some of those things that nobody can seem to figure out …
To sum up what we’re finding is that those with genetic weakness in detox pathways are exposed to environmental factors we weren’t dealing with 50 to 75 years ago; their ability to detox is overwhelmed. I think this is a whole new paradigm that we have to look at in wellness.
Those who don’t have a specific disease, so to speak, but are just totally overwhelmed by all of the epigenetic factors, such as pesticides, electromagnetic fields (EMFs) … excess iron … plastics … mold … [and] sometimes even oversupplementation with things like folate and glutamine … that no matter what they try, it doesn’t work …
That’s why we need to move to personalized care, based upon the individual. Fortunately, we now have tools to do that.”
What Is Functional Genetics?
Certain genes are known to predispose you to, or raise your risk of, certain diseases. That’s not what we’re talking about here. Functional genetics looks at the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, pronounced “snips”) of genes related to function.
You’ve probably seen representations of the DNA ladder. On the end of each rung is a molecule from each of your parents. These molecules can either make your DNA optimal or, if you have a SNP, meaning a defect, that gene will not work at optimal efficiency. Miller explains:
“To make this simple, we eat fats, carbohydrates and proteins. We drink water, breathe air and are exposed to sunlight. What an absolute miracle it is that all of that turns into us: our blood, our skin, our nails, our organs and our thought processes. All of that is one enzymatic process after another.
So, an enzyme takes substance A; pulls in what we call cofactors and makes substance B. That continually happens throughout your body — one process after another. It’s your genetic makeup that [provides] the instructions on how to make these enzymes.
When we have genetic variants, SNPs, on the genes, sometimes those enzymes either aren’t as effective … or might be upregulated or downregulated. Therefore, that substance A to substance B [conversion] may not occur as it should.
Now, people get all excited about whether they have genetic variants or not, but there’s something else just as important. That’s the cofactor. Remember, substance A plus cofactors turns into substance B. You could have absolutely perfect genetics, that enzyme is made perfectly, but if you’re missing the cofactors, that A to B [conversion] is not going to work …
Where people really get hit hard is when they’ve got genetic weakness and cofactor weakness. Then there’s a third piece. Sometimes there are things that interfere. For example, lead, mercury and other things may suppress that enzymatic function …
Now, interestingly, we have all kinds of backups. One pathway may not be working, but another one might kick in. But what we’re observing … is that those who are struggling usually have multiple pathways blocked. Plus, they get multiple epigenetic exposures … When you get those epigenetic and genetic factors going together, that’s when things really start going awry.”
The Relationship Between mTOR Pathway and Autophagy
Autophagy means “self-eating” and refers to your body’s process of eliminating damaged and defective cellular parts that are targeted for lysosome, which then digests them. The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a molecular signaling pathway responsible for either growth or repair, depending on whether it is stimulated or inhibited.
I’ve often stated that to upregulate maintenance and repair (which will boost longevity and reduce your risk for cancer), you need to suppress the mTOR pathway. One of the most efficient ways to do this is to limit your protein intake, but it’s not the only way. Autophagy and mTOR are two processes that work together, but are inverse to each other. Miller likens mTOR to a construction crew, whereas autophagy refers to the cleanup crew.
“One of the ways you can tell if your autophagy is not working is when you get those age spots, sun spots, liver spots, whatever you’d like to call them,” Miller says. “That’s when the old cell is not cleared away and it becomes oxidized, it becomes senescent. It actually becomes a free radical-giving reactive oxygen species.
Now, we need a balance between [mTOR and autophagy]. We need a time to build and we need a time to clean. One of the things our research institute [found] in some of our studies on those with chronic Lyme disease [is] that we are being exposed to more epigenetic environmental factors that stimulate mTOR … ”
Factors That Activate mTOR Versus Those That Support Autophagy
Examples of environmental factors that activate mTOR include:
|Xenoestrogens (chemicals in plastic)||EMFs|
|Excess iron||Excess folic acid, folate or methyl folate|
|Excess glutamate||Amino acids such as leucine, isoleucine and valine|
When mTOR is activated, it inhibits autophagy and, according to Miller, many of the health challenges people face these days appear to be related to excess mTOR activation.
This is also one way by which a cyclical ketogenic diet helps improve your health, as it inhibits mTOR and activates autophagy. When mTOR is chronically activated, it will not only inhibit autophagy but also impair apoptosis (cell death), and if that’s impaired, your risk for cancer will significantly increase as well.
“We have identified the genes that are involved with autophagy,” Miller says. “They’re called Unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1 (ULK1), serine/threonine-protein kinase (ULK2), 5’ AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and AuTophaGy related 1 (ATG1).
Those all stimulate autophagy. We’re finding that when people have a lot of genetic variants, especially when they inherit it from both parents, this is where their autophagy’s weakened. They’re 45 years old and covered with age spots. They can’t detox.
Ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting and nutrients [such as] lithium and berberine support autophagy. Resveratrol and curcumin slow down mTOR.
When you put the three together — the caloric restriction mimetics (CRM) [editor’s note: supplements that mimic the antiaging effects of calorie restriction] … along with the keto diet, along with some form of intermittent fasting — you’re able to bring balance to mTOR and autophagy.”
If Ketogenic Diet or Intermittent Fasting Fails for You, This Could Be Why
While intermittent fasting is an excellent strategy for a majority of people, it doesn’t work as expected for everyone. As explained by Miller, members of his research team have discovered having a functional heme pathway is extremely important when you’re on a ketogenic diet and/or intermittently fasting.
Heme protein is created through an eight-step process beginning with succinyl coenzyme A (succinyl CoA), glycine and amino acids. Heme protein in turn is a component of hemoglobin, but it’s also involved in the making of nitric oxide, catalase, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and sulfite oxidase (SUOX), which is your sulfide to sulfate conversion.
“It’s involved in so many processes that I didn’t even realize until we started to research,” Miller says. “This [heme] pathway may be impaired by … glyphosate [which impacts glycine] … lead … and genetic variants in the heme pathway.
If any of those happen, you don’t make adequate heme, so you’re going to be a very poor detoxer. Now, what’s interesting … [is that] if porphyrins [glycoproteins responsible for pore formation in cell membranes] are not transferred one to another, they will block the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor sites. GABA is the ‘Don’t worry. Be happy. Sleep. Relax’ [neurotransmitter]. Clearly, there are problems with anxiety in the world today.
If this heme pathway gets disturbed, people oftentimes crave carbohydrates. If they try to go keto, it doesn’t work. If they try to do intermittent fasting, it doesn’t work … It’s a small amount of people, but for some individuals who just crave carbohydrates, they’ll get hangry if they don’t have their carbohydrates. They’re actually feeding that heme pathway.
If someone’s ever tried keto and is like, ‘This just does not work for me,’ there’s a potential that the heme pathway could be impaired. You have to keep those carbohydrates coming in on a regular basis to feed it, or else you feel horrible. I remember in the past people telling me, ‘Whenever I try to eat healthy, I feel horrible. When I eat junk, I feel better.’
I used to think, ‘Yeah. I’m not sure I buy that.’ But now that you understand this heme pathway and how carbohydrates and simple sugars can feed it, it starts to make sense that that is a potential scenario for some people.”
Even if You’re Anemic, You May Be Overabsorbing Iron
As mentioned earlier, iron stimulates mTOR. Clearly, iron is crucial for optimal health. Without sufficient amounts of iron, you cannot make sufficient amounts of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen through your body. However, in excess, iron is incredibly destructive.
“Here’s one of the interesting things we found through our research. There are many people who have genetic predisposition to overabsorbing iron, yet they’re told all their life they’re anemic. It just seems like such a dichotomy; how can you be anemic if you’re overabsorbing iron?
One of the things that we … find in many who are struggling and can’t get answers anywhere else is that they overabsorb iron. There’s an enzyme called ferroportin, [which] is what takes iron out of the cells. SNPs there, or genetic defects, inhibit the removal of the iron. Through something called the Fenton reaction … iron may combine with hydrogen peroxide to make hydroxyl radicals.
This can then go on to make another nasty free radical called peroxynitrite. Consequently, the person is anemic because they are measuring what’s in the blood, but the iron can be in excess and inside the cells, causing massive inflammation.
As that iron bangs around inside the cell, it creates fatigue, because the mitochondria are having a hard time making energy. These are the people who if someone gives them iron, many times, they feel considerably worse, because they’ve just fed the fire.
In our consulting, one of the things we probably do the most is identifying the Fenton reaction going on and taking remedial action to, for example, help turn the hydrogen peroxide into water through an enzyme called catalase; supporting enzymes and antioxidants called glutathione and thioredoxin that turn the hydrogen peroxide into water, [and] using homeopathics to make the iron behave itself.”
Hydrogen water can be helpful here, Miller notes, because it helps decrease the excess hydroxyl radicals. “Quite simply, H2O2 plus iron equals hydroxyl free radical (OH-), which is one of the most highly reactive and damaging free radicals,” Miller explains.
I’ve previously interviewed Tyler LeBaron, one of the leading experts on molecular hydrogen, and he believes the benefits may be related more to the upregulation of antioxidant pathways, such as the nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2). Either way, whatever the mechanism, it seems clear hydrogen water has the ability to neutralize free radicals.
Situations in Which NAC or Methyl Folate May Backfire
I’ve previously written about the benefits of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), the rate-limiting factor for glutathione, which is a master antioxidant made by your body. However, in order for this to work, you must have the required enzymes. What’s more, if you have an iron problem, the cysteine you take can combine with the iron to create hydroxyl radicals — essentially worsening your situation.
“It goes back to the fact that we’ve got to get away from the cookie cutter, ‘Oh, you’re inflamed. Take NAC.’ NAC can be the perfect thing for you, or it can make you worse, depending on your genomic make up,” Miller says.
Miller has developed a hierarchical pyramid of different variables and his approach to treating them. Interestingly, many who superficially look at functional genomics think that the methylation defect is one of the most important. It is important, but according to Miller there are many others that supersede it in terms of importance.
“[Methylation] is about how we take folic acid or folate from our diet and turn it into methyl folate, which is a very important molecule. For a woman who’s pregnant, you’ve got to have it for a good pregnancy. We’re not saying it’s not a good thing … Now, one of the interesting things about methyl folate is you need it for pregnancy because it supports mTOR.
If someone’s already in mTOR dominance and they take methyl folate, they’re going to get more anxious and more inflamed. I’ve talked to so many people who’ve said, ‘Oh, yeah. I have MTHFR. Somebody put me on methyl B12, methyl folate. I felt great for two weeks, and then I crashed.’
The reason they may have crashed is because they started to stimulate mTOR, weakening their autophagy even more, driving more inflammation … As we dug deeper, we realized that methyl folate is important, but it has to be done at the right time. That’s why I developed my pyramid.
At the very bottom we have things we have to address first, such as, is iron becoming a free radical? Is hydrogen peroxide not being cleared? Is there nitric oxide synthase (NOS) uncoupling? — where rather than making nitric oxide, we make more peroxynitrite.
And then we look at how we’re making antioxidants. How’s our glutathione pathways? How’s our superoxide dismutase? How are we making NADPH? … For the most part, I believe that when people are massively inflamed, you need to address that first.
If someone is massively inflamed, if their iron is creating hydroxyl radicals, if they have weakness in their antioxidants … and you throw methyl folate in there … there’s a very good chance it will make the situation worse.
By and large, if someone’s massively inflamed, I’d like to think about methyl folate six to eight months down the road, two to three days a week. We tend to think, ‘If a little’s good for us, a lot must be good for us.’ I’m now thinking need to be pulsing things.”
I totally agree pulsing is a key component that should not be overlooked, whether you’re taking supplements, fasting or doing a ketogenic diet. It’s important to go through cycles of buildup and tear-down.
For example, during a partial fast, you’re stimulating autophagy through caloric restriction. At that time, you would not want to take anything that stimulates mTOR (such as methyl folate or any of the other items listed above), as by stimulating mTOR you effectively interrupt the autophagy process.
Mast Cells Could Be Wreaking Havoc With Your Health
Glutathione rapidly loses electrons, making it useless unless recharged by nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate hydrogen (NADPH). As explained by Miller, the “NADPH steal,” a term he coined, may also be at play in many of the health issues people face today.
It’s becoming more widely known that you can have excess mast cells. Miller estimates about 80 percent of his clients have excess mast cell activation triggering histamine reactions. One of the signs of this is redness of the face due to heat intolerance. Sensitivity to touch is another, as are frequent, red, raised rashes.
Mast cells are white blood cells that come to the rescue when there’s a pathogen or a foreign invader that needs to be eliminated. While overfiring mast cells can cause problems, they’re not inherently bad, and strategies that inhibit them can backfire. Instead, Miller recommends determining why your mast cells are overactive.
His team presented research at the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society’s 19th Annual Conference in November last year, identifying epigenetic factors that stimulate mast cells. He explains the relationships between mast cells, NADPH, NOX and glutathione:
“In simple terms, glutathione … has one chance to give a free radical an electron. Once it does that, it becomes oxidized. Then we need to donate that electron back. There’s this substance called NADPH that donates that electron back.3 It takes that oxidized glutathione and turns it back into reduced. That’s a good thing.
Now, NADPH has a dual role. There’s also an enzyme called NOX (NADPH oxidase). Its only purpose is to take this NADPH and turn it into a free radical … Now, they’ve done studies on animals. When they knock out that NOX enzyme, the animal dies from infection because it doesn’t have the ability to kill the pathogen.
Again, NOX and free radicals are not bad. But there are multiple factors that are now overstimulating NOX. One of them is sulfite. Sulfite needs to turn into sulfates. If we have deficiency of heme, we may not turn sulfites in sulfates … If sulfites don’t turn into sulfates, the sulfites may tell the NOX enzyme, ‘You need to make inflammation.’
Dopamine stimulates it [NOX], so stress will cause it. Glutamate stimulates it. Iron stimulates the NOX enzyme, and so does excessive mTOR … The NADPH steal is when NADPH gets stolen away from recycling glutathione, recycling thriodoxine, making nitric oxide, and potentially making excess mast cells.
There are a lot of people struggling with excess mast cells firing. They’re really sick. They don’t know what to do … Mold will also stimulate mast cells …
To sum it up, NADPH is critical for recycling your antioxidants. I believe the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) and the NADPH are some of the most important things we can have adequate levels of for longevity and good health. We’re using up a lot of it because we’re exposed to so many toxic substances. Then, if another set of substances are stealing it to stimulate NOX to make mast cells, then we’ve just doubled the problem.”
Molecular hydrogen serves a role here as well, as studies have shown molecular hydrogen is an effective inhibitor of NOX,4 and can increase your concentration of NADPH. Curcumin also inhibits NOX, as does luteolin, apigenin and olive leaf. Aldosterone, on the other hand, stimulates NOX, Miller says.
This interview is quite loaded with information, not all of which has been covered in this article. For even more side notes and fascinating tangents, I recommend listening to the interview in its entirety.
Health practitioners interested in learning more about functional genomic analysis and how to apply it in your own practice, see the NutriGenetic Research Institute’s website, where you can sign up for their 30-hour, 14-module online certification course to become a nutritional genetic consultant.
Webinars for health practitioners are held every other Thursday. They also hold an annual conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The next one is scheduled for November 2019. In September, they’re also holding a seminar on environmental toxicity, detoxification and methylation mapping.
Patients interested in more information are directed to the yourgenomicresource.com which includes a listing of doctors who have completed the training and are qualified to provide nutritional guidance based on your SNPs. Up until last year, Miller could guide patients based on the genetic data provided by companies such as 23andMe. Now, he has developed his own DNA testing, which is capable of identifying some 300,000 SNPs.
Importantly, NutriGenetic Research Institute will never sell your private DNA or health data to anyone, which is one of the reasons why 23andMe is so inexpensive — they make their money by selling your DNA results to drug companies.
“I have pledged to everyone in writing that this data will never be sold to anyone. The other thing people can do, if they’re still worried, you can just change your name. Just come up with a fake name. It doesn’t matter. We don’t care. You just have to remember what it is,” Miller says.
“The [DNA] data from Brooks at Rutgers gets loaded into my software, which is in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania — a huge database. Then it crunches the data and gives a report, including the pyramid …
If you’re sick, you’ve been everywhere and you’re not getting better, this is certainly an option … Our whole goal is to help people get well. And to make a little bit of a dent in functional medicine — to help functional practitioners have tools that they can help, because functional medicine doctors see the tough cases. We want to give them some tools so that they can do a better job …
One of my favorite sayings is, ‘Genetics is never a diagnosis, but it tells you where to start looking.’ It’s like shining a light. ‘Think about looking here. Investigate whether this is a problem.’ Sometimes the SNPs show a problem, sometimes they don’t, but it can really give you clues to look where you may never have thought to look before.”
- A recent case report of 100 patients diagnosed with cognitive decline using the ReCODE protocol show both subjective and objective improvements in all participants
- The ReCODE protocol, which involves identifying the drivers of cognitive decline (such as pathogens, toxins and metabolic changes), then targeting those in a personalized program that includes dietary and lifestyle changes, allows your brain to create and maintain synapses again, thereby treating the root of the problem
- A hallmark of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s is that proteins are aggregated and are typically misfolded
- By inducing ketosis, improving insulin sensitivity and supporting the mitochondria, you can often regain the ability to refold or proteolyze misfolded proteins
- Electromagnetic field exposures, such as that from cellphones and Wi-Fi, may play an important role in Alzheimer’s, as it triggers high amounts of oxidative stress and damage to proteins and DNA
Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia, eventually leads to the inability to carry out even the most basic of bodily functions, such as swallowing or walking. It is ultimately fatal, as conventional treatment options are few and universally ineffective.
Like autism among children, Alzheimer’s among seniors has reached epidemic proportions, with no slowdown in sight. On the contrary, evidence suggests the trend is worsening.
At present, Alzheimer’s affects an estimated 5.8 million Americans,1 and projections suggest the disease will affect 1 in 4 Americans within the next two decades. By 2050, Alzheimer’s diagnoses are projected to triple.2,3
And, while the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the disease as the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.,4,5 statistics published in the journal Neurology in 2014 revealed Alzheimer’s is vastly underreported on death certificates. In reality, the disease likely killed 503,400 American seniors in 2010,6 making it the third leading cause of death, right behind heart disease and cancer.7
The good news is that contrary to conventional claims, there are ways to prevent and even treat this tragic disease — not by drugs, but by diet and other lifestyle changes.
Dr. Dale Bredesen, professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine, and author of “The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline,” has identified a number of molecular mechanisms at work in Alzheimer’s, and created a novel program called ReCODE to treat and reverse it.8
100-patient case report sheds light on treatment options
Bredesen’s most recent publication is a case report9,10 of 100 patients using the ReCODE protocol. He has previously published three case reports, each involving just 10 patients. This fourth case report contains 100 patients treated at 15 different clinics across the U.S., all of which have documented pre- and post-cognitive testing.
Not only did all show improvement in symptoms, some of them also showed improvement in their quantitative electroencephalographs (EEGs). Others who underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with volumetrics also showed objective improvement.
“By all the criteria, these people showed improvement, subjective and objective,” Bredesen says. This is no small thing, as there is no conventional treatment that can reverse Alzheimer’s. There have been many drug trials to date, but all have failed to reverse the disease. As noted by Bredesen:
“There are a couple of medications, Aricept, Namenda … but these have a very, very modest impact. The most important thing is their improvement is not sustained. They don’t change the outcome of the disease. You get a little bump in improvement, then you go right back to declining.
The most important part of the [ReCODE] protocol … is that the improvement is sustained. You’re actually going after the root cause of what is causing the cognitive decline. That’s a big difference.”
Alzheimer’s is a protective response to inflammation
If one were to summarize Bredesen’s approach in one sentence, it would be “to improve the ratio between synaptoblastic and synaptoclastic activity, which is the brain’s ability to create new synapses versus destroying them.” In other words, the treatment allows your brain to create and maintain synapses again. Bredesen explains:
“The molecular biology of this disease shows that what we call Alzheimer’s disease is actually a protective response. It’s essentially a scorched-earth retreat.
You’re pulling back and saying, ‘We’re not going to let this insult kill us, so we’re going to scorch the earth so it (whether it’s bacteria or something else) cannot take advantage … of what’s there.’ You’re literally downsizing [your synapses]. As long as those insults are going on, you will be downsized.”
Beta-amyloid is a protein that is highly correlated with Alzheimer’s. However, all attempts at removing it have failed to improve the condition. Clearly, beta-amyloid in and of itself is not the primary cause, so simply getting rid of it is not the answer.
In Bredesen’s paper, he discusses the role of beta-amyloid as an antimicrobial peptide (AMP). Importantly, AMPs are critically important for host immunity. They target organisms such as bacteria, mycobacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa. He explains:
“Here is the trick. It turns out amyloid beta is really part of the innate immune system. Its antimicrobial effect was first discovered and published by professor Robert Moir and professor Rudy Tanzi at Harvard.
This thing actually has, again, a protective response. Not only is it an AMP, but it also binds some toxins. For example, mercury, other divalent metals like iron and things like that. [Amyloid beta] has multiple effects. It is part of your response to insult.
When you take that into account, you realize it’s fine to remove amyloid, but please don’t do it before you remove all the insults. We’ve seen numerous people now who have had the amyloid reduced and gotten worse because the ongoing insults are still there.”
Most recently, the drug company Biogen halted its Phase II clinical trial for aducanumab, a drug designed to remove beta-amyloid, and this is the typical story for these kinds of drugs. And then a major trial of yet another approach to amyloid removal, the BACE inhibitor CNP520, was halted because the drug was associated with increased cognitive decline and brain atrophy.11
The protein refolding process is impaired in Alzheimer’s
About one-third of the proteins your body makes on any given day are misfolded. Thankfully, your body has a mechanism by which those misfolded proteins are refolded. Heat-shock proteins play a central role in this process, and if the misfolding is too severe, the heat-shock proteins help remove them altogether.
In fact, heat-shock proteins are a corollary of autophagy, the process by which your body cleans out damaged organelles. This relates to Alzheimer’s, because the refolding process is one of several factors that need to work in order for your brain to function. As noted by Bredesen:
“In all of these different neurodegenerative diseases, whether you’re talking about Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease or Lewy body, they all feature proteins that are aggregated and that are typically misfolded. They are not degraded appropriately.
You lose not only the ability to fold but the ability to degrade these proteins. That is a critical piece. In fact, just recently, an article came out on a common neurodegenerative condition, newly described, which is called LATE, which is limbic-predominant, age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy.
In other words, this is a little bit like Alzheimer’s … [LATE] features TDP-43, which is a protein that is involved in numerous things, including protein folding … We lose that [protein-folding] ability as we start to downsize [synapses], as you don’t have an appropriate energy, you don’t have the appropriate trophic support.
You don’t have the appropriate hormonal and nutritional support … When we target ketosis, when we target insulin sensitivity, when we target mitochondrial support, that typically allows you to generate the appropriate ability to refold misfolded proteins …
You can induce the heat-shock response … by doing this combination of sauna and then [going] into the cold and then back to the sauna and then back to the cold …
You are recurrently activating this critical response [by doing that]. There’s no question it is going to be important, especially in ALS, but likely in all of the neurodegenerative conditions.”
The link between protein folding and cell death
As noted by Bredesen, there are three kinds of autophagy: macro-autophagy, micro-autophagy and chaperone-mediated autophagy. Each offers a slightly different way to repair, remove or recycle damaged organelles within the cell.
Specific proteins, for example, can be targeted for chaperone-mediated autophagy. Bredesen recounts findings of research he did to ascertain the linkage between protein folding and programmed cell death (apoptosis, where the entire cell is killed off and removed):
“If you fail to reform these [misfolded proteins], you literally activate an entire system that initially stops producing more protein. It’s basically saying, ‘We’re not keeping up with this. We’re going to shut this down.’ It attempts to refold. Then it attempts to destroy the proteins if it can’t refold them.
Then ultimately, if it cannot … keep up … it literally activates programmed cell death through specific caspases … This is something where you want to intervene upstream; understand why this is happening. And then if you’re unable to keep up with this, now, at least increase your heat-shock proteins so that you can refold. In this case, you prevent the induction of programmed cell death.”
Unfortunately, a vast majority of people do not have well-functioning autophagy, for the simple reason that they’re insulin-resistant. If you’re insulin-resistant, you cannot increase your adenosine 5’ monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) level, which prevents the inhibition of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), and mTOR inhibition is one of the primary drivers of autophagy.
The case for cyclical fasting
While autophagy is clearly of critical importance, you don’t want to be in continuous autophagy. You also need to cycle through the rebuilding phase. One of the ways in which you can control this is through cyclical fasting. Bredesen typically recommends an intermittent fasting approach.
“You want to use appropriate fasting and an appropriate diet to activate this autophagy,” Bredesen says. “We recommend … 12 to 14 hours [of fasting] if you are apolipoprotein E4-negative (ApoE4-negative) … If you are ApoE4-positive, you’d want to go longer — 14 to 16 hours. There’s nothing wrong with doing a longer fast …
The reason we suggest longer for the ApoE4-positives [is because] if you are ApoE4-positive, you are better at absorbing fat. It tends to take longer to enter autophagy …
Typically, we recommend it about once a week. But again, a longer fast once a month is a good idea. It depends a lot on your body mass index (BMI). What we found is people who have higher BMIs respond better to this fasting early on. They’re able to generate the ketones.
If you lose both the carbohydrates and the ketones, you end up [feeling] completely out of energy … We are very careful when people are down below 20 on their BMI, especially the ones 18 or below. We want to be very careful to make sure to cycle them [in and out of ketosis] once or twice a week …
These are the ones where, often, exogenous ketones can be very helpful early on … Measure your ketones. It’s simple to do. We want to get you into, ultimately, the 1.5 to 4.0 millimolar [range for] betahydroxybutyrate. That is the goal.”
Test your ketones
So, to recap, while dementia patients with excess weight tend to respond favorably to cyclical fasting, at least initially, underweight patients may experience cognitive decline, as they’re simply too underweight to produce ketones in response to the fasting. For those who are underweight, Bredesen recommends using a ketone supplement such as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil.
If that doesn’t bring you into the desired ketone level (1.5 to 4.0 mmol), or if it’s adversely affecting your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particle number, he might recommend exogenous ketones — either ketone esters or salts. “We’d like to look at your LDL particle number and use that to titrate, to make sure that your LDL particle number is not too high,” he says.
To test your ketones, I recommend KetoCoachX.12 It’s one of the least expensive testing devices on the market right now. Another good one is KetoMojo. KetoCoach, however, is less expensive, the strips are individually packed and the device is about half as thick as KetoMojo’s, making it easier to travel with.
Energy demands are not met in neurodegenerative diseases
Nutritional ketosis, in which your body produces endogenous ketones (water-soluble fats), is important for all neurodegenerative diseases, but it’s not a complete cure-all. Bredesen explains:
“What we’ve come to realize from the research over the years is that neurodegenerative diseases, whether Alzheimer’s … macular degeneration … Lewy body, Parkinson’s or ALS, they all have one thing in common. They are related to specific subdomains of the nervous system.
Each of these has a unique requirement for nutrients, hormones, trophic factors, et cetera … In each case, there is a mismatch between the supply and the demand. For most of your life, you’re keeping up with that demand. With all of these diseases, you have a repeated or a chronic mismatch between the support and the requirement.
In Parkinson’s disease, it’s quite clear. You can create Parkinson’s disease simply by inhibiting mitochondrial Complex I. That specific subdomain of motor modulation, which is what Parkinson’s is all about, is the thing that is the most sensitive to reductions in mitochondrial Complex I support.
Therefore, when people have this, you need to bring the supply back in line with the demand. A critical way to do that is to supply the appropriate ketosis — the appropriate energy.
Now, if the person is continuing to be exposed to whatever chemicals are inhibiting Complex I — and it’s typically … mold-related biotoxins or organic toxins such as paraquat or glyphosate — as long as these are ongoing, you’re going to get very temporary relief.
The goal here is both to get rid of what is inhibiting Complex I and to flood the system, to help the system by giving appropriate support for the energetics … With Alzheimer’s, we’re really talking about a mismatch in trophic support. You’ve got this ongoing need as you’re making neuroplasticity.”
Why late-night eating is ill advised
Although I am not ApoE4-positive, I prefer fasting for 16 hours a day, essentially narrowing my eating window to just four to six hours. I also make sure to eat my last meal three to six hours before bedtime. One of the reasons for this advice is because avoiding late-night eating will increase your nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) levels, which are important for a variety of bodily functions.
Importantly, it will also reduce nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH), which is essentially the true cellular battery of your cell and has the reductive potential to recharge your antioxidants. The largest consumer of NADPH is the creation of fatty acids.
If you’re eating close to bedtime, then you’re not going to be able to use the NADPH to burn those calories as energy. Instead, they must be stored some way. To store them, you have to create fat, so you’re basically radically lowering your NADPH levels when you eat late at night because they are being consumed to store your extra calories by creating fat.
Bredesen’s protocol includes this strategy as well. He calls his approach “KetoFlex 12/3,” because it generates mild ketosis and is flexible diet-wise. It can be done whether you’re a vegetarian or not. The 12/3 stands for a 12-hour minimum fast each day, and eating the last meal three hours before bedtime.
“Sirtuin-1 (SIRT1) was identified as a critical molecule, both for longevity and has been studied extensively for its effects on longevity, but also for its effects on Alzheimer’s disease …
ApoE4 actually enters the nucleus and downregulates the production of this critical molecule, so you can see one of its many effects on Alzheimer’s disease. Well, when SIRT1 is made, it is actually made in an autoinhibitory fashion. It’s just like having a gun in a holster. It’s not active … NAD activates the SIRT1.
So does resveratrol. This is why people take resveratrol [or] nicotinamide riboside. These are both activating this program, which is moving you from … more of a pro-inflammatory approach to a longevity approach — a change in your metabolic pattern. That includes activating things like autophagy and also having an anti-Alzheimer’s and a pro-longevity effect …
[Q]uercetin also has an interesting impact on senescent cells … I think that that’s going to turn out to be an important way to impact a number of age-related conditions, including neurodegeneration.”
The drawback, and the reason you cannot rely on supplements alone, is that the bioabsorption of these polyphenols, like quercetin for example, is quite low. Oftentimes, you cannot absorb enough to get the full benefits.
Limit electromagnetic field exposures
There’s also convincing evidence showing electromagnetic field exposures (EMFs) such as that from cellphones and Wi-Fi play an important role. Bredesen agrees, and recommends his patients limit such exposures. In summary, EMFs activate your voltage-gated calcium channels, allowing the release of excess nitric oxide and superoxide in the cell, resulting in the creation of peroxynitrite.
Peroxynitrite causes similar damage to your DNA as ionizing radiation. It also damages your stem cells, mitochondria, proteins and cell membranes. Poly-ADP ribose polymerase helps repair DNA damage by extracting an adenosine diphosphate (ADP) molecule from NAD. Approximately 100 to 150 NAD are required to repair a single DNA break.
While this process works quite well, problems arise when continuous DNA damage requiring continuous PARP activation occurs, as this ends up decimating your NAD+ level. Bredesen adds:
“This is a critical area. The big problem we’ve had with this so far is that we can measure your NF-κB activation; we can measure your status of hormones, nutrients, magnesium, on and on and on. Typically, with our approach, we measure 150 different variables.
There is no simple way to measure the effect of EMF on a given person’s nervous system. I look forward to the day when we can do a test and say, ‘Aha. This person has 27.2 on their effects on their voltage-gated calcium channels because of EMFs.’ Because then we’ll really be able to alter that.
For now, the best we can say is — just as we go after biotoxins and chemotoxins — [EMF] is a physical toxin. The best we can say is, ‘Minimize that to the extent you can.’ You can certainly measure the exposure. We just don’t have a good way yet to measure its effect on your brain.”
There’s no decline in sight for Alzheimer’s, at least in the foreseeable future, so it would behoove most people to just assume you’re headed for it and take action now, regardless of your age, to prevent it. When it comes to Alzheimer’s, prevention is surely far easier than trying to treat it once it has set in. As noted by Bredesen:
“This is all about prevention and early reversal. Those are the people where we see virtually 100% response. This is why I think there needs to be a global effort to decrease the burden of dementia. We’re just now starting a clinical trial. We’ve been trying to get institutional review board (IRB) approval for years …
It has finally been approved, so we’re starting a trial with Dr. Ann Hathaway, Dr. Deborah Gordon and Dr. Kat Toups, who are all seeing patients. We’re very excited to see what the trial will show with this approach. Because certainly, anecdotally, we’re hearing it all the time.
As you mentioned, we just published a paper a few months ago on 100 patients who showed documented improvement … I’m convinced we could, today, if everyone got an appropriate prevention, make this a very rare disease.”
Bredesen’s case report13 is open access, so you can download and read the full study. To learn more about Bredesen’s ReCODE protocol, see our previous interview, featured in “ReCODE: The reversal of cognitive decline.” In it, he reviews the various subtypes of Alzheimer’s, based on metabolic profiling, the influence of genetics, recommended screening tests and much more.
His book, “The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline,” also provides the details, and would be a valuable reference in anyone’s health library.
You can also learn more about Bredesen and his work by following him on Facebook, Twitter or visit his website, drbredesen.com. Last but not least, keep an eye out for his latest book, “The First Survivors of Alzheimer’s.” This book, scheduled to come out toward the end of 2019, will feature first-person accounts from patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s who beat the odds and improved.
- 1, 5 Alz.org, 2019 Disease Facts and Figures
- 2 CNN June 8, 2015
- 3 Nature 2014: 20; 415-418
- 4, 7 CDC.gov Leading causes of death in the US
- 6 Neurology March 5, 2014; 82(12)
- 8 AHNP Precision Health ReCODE, The Bredesen Protocol
- 9, 13 Journal of Alzheimers Disease & Parkinsonism 2018; 8(5): 450
- 10 Rezilir Health LLC, 100 Case reports for the reversal of cognitive decline
- 11 Alzforum July 12, 2019
- 12 KetoCoachX.com