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Reproduced from original article:
- The primary danger of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) — and what drives the processes of chronic disease — is the mitochondrial damage triggered by peroxynitrites
- Peroxynitrites are potent reactive nitrogen species associated with systemic inflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction, and are thought to be a root cause for many of today’s chronic diseases
- You cannot see, hear or smell EMF, and most do not feel it. Still, biological effects are taking place whether you’re able to sense it or not
- The number of people reporting pathological hypersensitivity to EMFs is rising. Between 1994 and 2008, prevalence of electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome in Austria rose from 2% to 3.5%. In 2011, Taiwan reported an incidence rate of 13.3%
- The possibility of large portions of the population being unable to work or live as free individuals due to incessant, elevated exposure to EMF is a very real threat to society as we know it. There are very few EMF-free zones left on the planet, and such zones will further shrink with the global implementation of 5G
Over the past decade, I’ve written many articles discussing the evidence of biological harm from nonionizing electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation.
While the wireless industry is built on the premise that the only type of radiation capable of causing harm is ionizing — X-rays being one example — researchers have for a long time warned that even nonionizing and non-heating radiation can jeopardize your health. This includes not only human health, but also that of plants and animals.
Over time, I became so convinced of the deleterious effects of EMF, I took three years to write “EMF*D,” which is slated to be released in February 2020. In it, I review the now overwhelming evidence showing EMFs are a hidden health hazard that simply cannot be ignored any longer, especially seeing how the rollout of 5G will exponentially increase exposures.
Scientists Now Understand How EMFs Impact Your Health
Over the years, I’ve interviewed several experts who have shared their in-depth knowledge about the poorly understood mechanisms behind EMF harm. Among them:
•Martin Pall, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of biochemistry and basic medical sciences at Washington State University, has published research1,2,3,4 showing that the primary danger of EMFs — and what drives the processes of chronic disease — is the mitochondrial damage triggered by peroxynitrites, one of the most damaging types of reactive nitrogen species.
Low-frequency microwave radiation activates the voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) in the outer membrane of your cells, causing them to open, thus allowing an abnormal influx of calcium ions. This activates nitric oxide, which is a precursor for peroxynitrite.5
These potent reactive nitrogen species are associated with an increased level of systemic inflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction, and are thought to be a root cause for many of today’s chronic diseases.
For an in-depth understanding of peroxynitrites and the harm they inflict, see “Nitric Oxide and Peroxynitrite in Health and Disease”6 by Dr. Pal Pacher, Joseph Beckman and Dr. Lucas Liaudet. It’s one of the best reviews I’ve ever read and free to download.
One of its most significant downsides of peroxynitrite is that it damages DNA. While your body has the capacity to repair that damage through a family of enzymes collectively known as poly ADP ribose polymerases (PARP), PARP require NAD+ for fuel, and when they run out of NAD+ they stop repairing your DNA, which can lead to premature cell death.
•Dr. Sam Milham, a physician and epidemiologist, wrote the book, “Dirty Electricity: Electrification and the Diseases of Civilization.” In his interview, he explains the biological mechanisms of high-frequency electric transients (electromagnetic interference patterns), and details some of the lesser-known household sources of this “dirty electricity.”
•Magda Havas, Ph.D., associate professor at Trent University in Canada, has written research including the effects dirty electricity can have on children’s behavior, and helpful remediation techniques.
EMF Pollution Is Likely Taking a Hidden Toll on Your Health
The problem with EMF radiation is that you cannot see it, hear it or smell it, and most do not feel it. Still, researchers assure us that biological effects are taking place whether you’re able to sense it or not. For most, it’s simply a matter of time and overall exposure load.
Here, it’s important to realize that we’re not just talking about radiation from your cellphone. The electromagnetic frequencies emitted from your Wi-Fi router, computer, home appliances, all manner of wireless “smart” technology, and even the wiring inside your walls are all capable of inflicting serious biological harm to your body and mind. And with 5G, it’s bound to get far worse.
Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome Is on the Rise
For some, the effects of EMFs are unmistakable and undeniable, and the number of people reporting pathological hypersensitivity to EMFs is rising. In 2008, an Austrian study7 noted that actual prevalence of electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome in Austria had risen by 1.5% since 1994, from 2% to 3.5%.
In 2006, Germany had an electrosensitivity incidence rate of 9%, and Taiwan reported an incidence rate of 13.3% in 2011.8 The RT documentary “Wi-Fi Refugees,” featured in “Documentary Explore Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome,” investigates the struggles reported by these “canaries in the coal mine.”
While symptoms may vary from one individual to another, commonly reported symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome include:
- Skin itch/rash/flushing/burning and/or tingling — Many describe a “burning pins and needles” kind of pain, especially in the head and chest area
- Confusion/poor concentration and/or memory loss
- Fatigue and muscle weakness
- Chest pain and heart problems
Other reported symptoms include:
|Ear pain||Panic attacks|
|Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)||Feeling a vibration in the body|
One 2015 study9 pointed out that electromagnetic hypersensitivity is becoming an increasing challenge to the medical profession, which has yet to fully understand its implications, let alone its remedies.
Still, the complaints of modern-day hypersensitivities match those reported in the 1970s and ’80s by those working with radio and radar equipment and cathode ray tube monitors, which tells us that this is not a brand-new phenomenon. According to the authors:10
“In population-based surveys, the prevalence of EHS has ranged from 1.5% in Sweden to 13.3% in Taiwan. Provocation studies on EMF have yielded different results, ranging from where people with EHS cannot discriminate between an active RF signal and placebo, to objectively observed changes following exposure in reactions of the pupil, changes in heart rhythm, damage to erythrocytes, and disturbed glucose metabolism in the brain.”
As early as 2005, the World Health Organization warned that people have “for some time” reported health problems attributed to EMF exposure, and that some are “so severely affected that they cease work and change their entire lifestyle.”11
The possibility of large portions of the population being unable to work or live as free individuals due to incessant, elevated exposure to EMF is a very real threat to society as we know it. The reality is that there are very few EMF-free zones left on the planet, and such zones will further shrink with the global implementation of 5G.
I believe EMF exposure is one of the greatest challenges to public health facing us today. If we go back in time to the end of World War I, around 1918 or so, and use that timeframe as a baseline of EMF exposure among the general public, you come to the astonishing conclusion that EMF exposure has increased about 1 quintillion times over the past 100 years.
Knowing the impact EMFs can have, it’s completely irrational to assume that this radical increase won’t have adverse effects. My new book, “EMF*D,” is an attempt to inform you about the hidden harms of EMF and what you need to do to protect yourself and those you love. In it, you’ll learn:
- How EMFs are impacting your body and mind
- Where you can find them in your daily life
- How they can cause disease and speed up aging
- How to repair the damage done by EMFs at the cellular level
- Practical strategies to protect yourself and your loved ones from EMFs
In my book, I also reveal the reasons why you’ve been left in the dark about this serious health threat. “EMF*D” comes out February 18, 2020, but you don’t need to wait. Preorder your copy today and receive these five bonus gifts immediately:
- Early access to a chapter from the book
- $10 discount on a Mercola order
- 30-page Sneak Peak PDF Book
- 7 strategies to help reduce EMF exposure
- 5 tips to minimize your cellphone risk (SMS exclusive bonus)
Brain Cancer Is Not the Only, Nor the Major, Concern
While a number of studies have shown that cellphone radiation can trigger brain cancer this is not the greatest cause for concern. Your brain does have a far greater density of VGCCs than other organs, but so does your nervous system and heart, as well as male testes.
As a result of the elevated density of VGCCs in these areas, EMFs are likely to contribute to neurological and neuropsychiatric problems,12 as well as heart and reproductive problems, including but not limited to cardiac arrhythmias, anxiety, depression, autism, Alzheimer’s and infertility13,14 and miscarriage15,16,17,18 — and these conditions are far more prevalent than brain cancer.
That said, studies have also linked radiofrequency radiation equivalent to that emitted by 2G and 3G cellphones to other forms of cancer, including heart tumors. This includes U.S. government-funded animal studies19 published in 2018 that were further corroborated by the Ramazzini Institute that same year.20
As early as 2011, the evidence was strong enough for the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the cancer research arm of the WHO, to declare cellphones a Group 2B “possible carcinogen.”21
I’ve already mentioned one of the primary mechanisms by which EMFs harm your biology — i.e., the creation of peroxynitrites, which are potent oxidant stressors — but EMFs also damage your health in other ways.
For example, the enzyme ATP synthase — which passes currents of protons into the mitochondrial intermembrane space, similar to current passing through a wire — powers the generation energy of the creation of ATP from ADP, using this flow of protons.
Magnetic fields can change the transparency of the flow of protons to the mitochondrial intermembrane space, thereby reducing the current. As a result, you get less ATP, which can have system wide consequences, from promoting chronic disease and infertility to lowering intelligence.
EMFs may also alter your microbiome, turning what might otherwise be beneficial microbes pathogenic or toxic. This too can have far-ranging health effects, since we now know your microbiome plays an important role in health.
5G Rollout Will Significantly Magnify Health Risks
Any and all health ramifications attributed to previous generations of wireless technologies will be exponentially magnified with the rollout of 5G, which is simply being added on top of the already existing wireless infrastructure. This 5th generation technology may also present additional health risks.
A main concern with 5G is that it relies primarily on the bandwidth of the millimeter wave (MMW), which is known to penetrate 1 to 2 millimeters of human skin tissue.22 There’s also evidence suggesting sweat ducts in human skin act as antennae when they come in contact with MMWs.23
Many can feel the impact of MMWs as a burning sensation and/or pain, which is precisely why it’s used in nonlethal crowd control weapons.24 MMW has also been linked to eye problems, suppressed immune function and altered heart rate variability (an indicator of stress) and arrhythmias.25
In 2015, more than 230 scientists engaged in the study of biological and health effects of nonionizing EMFs in 41 nations signed an international appeal to the United Nations, calling for protection from nonionizing EMF exposure due to evidence of health effects even at low levels.26
Two years later, more than 180 doctors and scientists from 35 countries signed a petition27 to enact a moratorium on the rollout of 5G due to the potential risks to wildlife and human health.
Dr. Mercola Answers Your EMF Questions
I believe that the risk of EMFs is so important that I’ve decided to answer your questions on this topic in an upcoming video. Please submit any EMF questions you may have by clicking on the button below.
The earlier I get the questions, the greater the likelihood I will have a chance to include them in my response. Looking forward to answering your questions!
Protect Yourself From Excessive EMF
There’s no doubt in my mind that EMF exposure is an important lifestyle component that needs to be addressed if you’re concerned about your health, which is why I spent three years writing “EMF*D.”
My aim was to create a comprehensive and informative guide, detailing not only the risks, but also what you can do to mitigate unavoidable exposures. To get you started, see the tips listed in my previous article, “Top 19 Tips to Reduce Your EMF Exposure.”
If you know or suspect you might already be developing a sensitivity to EMFs (full-blown hypersensitivity can often strike seemingly overnight), mitigating your exposures will be particularly paramount. Many sufferers become obsessed with finding solutions, as the effects can be severely crippling. My book can be a valuable resource in your quest for relief.
The EMF Experts website28 also lists EMF groups worldwide, to which you can turn with questions, concerns and support, and EMFsafehome.com29 lists a number of publications where you can learn more about the dangers of EMFs.
Should you need help remediating your home, consider hiring a trained building biologist to get it done right. A listing can be found on the International Institute for Building-Biology & Ecology’s website.30
- 1 Rev Environ Health. 2015;30(2):99-116
- 2 International Journal of Innovative Research in Engineering and Management, September 2015; 2(5)
- 3 J Cell Mol Med. 2013 Aug;17(8):958-65
- 4 Current Chemical Biology 2016; 10(1): 74-82
- 5 American Journal of Physiology 1996 Nov;271(5 Pt 1):C1424-37
- 6 Physiol Rev. 2007 Jan; 87(1): 315–424
- 7 BMC Public Health 2008; 8: 310
- 8 Physicians for Safe Technology, Electrohypersensitivity Overview, Prevalence of Electrosensitivity
- 9 Rev Environ Health. 2015;30(4):209-15
- 10 Rev Environ Health. 2015;30(4):209-15, Results
- 11 World Health Organization December 2005
- 12 Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy 2016 Sep;75(Pt B):43-51
- 13 Environ Int. 2014 Sep; 70C:106-112
- 14 Central European Journal of Urology 2014; 67(1): 65–71
- 15 Scientific Reports 2017; 7 Article number 17541
- 16 American Journal of Epidemiology 1992 Nov 1;136(9):1041-51
- 17 Bioelectromagnetics 1993;14(3):229-36
- 18 PLoS ONE 8(12): e82113
- 19 National Toxicology Program, Cellphone Radio Frequency Radiation Final Report
- 20 Environmental Research March 7, 2018
- 21 World Health Organization, Fact Sheet #193, October 2014
- 22 Telecom Power Grab, 5G Fact Sheet
- 23 Phys Med Biol. 2011 Mar 7;56(5):1329-39
- 24 Environmental Health Trust 20 Facts About 5G Wireless
- 25 Electric Sense May 12, 2017
- 26 EMFScientist.org International Appeal to the UN May 11, 2015, updated January 1, 2019
- 27 Scientists Warn of Potential Serious Health Effects of 5G, September 13, 2017
- 28 EMF-experts.com, EMF Groups Worldwide
- 29 EMFsafehome.com, Publications
- 30 International Institute for Building-Biology & Ecology, Find an Expert
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, typically very painful, especially in response to pressure, and sometimes patients have symptoms like stiff muscles, joints and connective tissues.
Other symptoms often include depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, difficulty swallowing, bowel and bladder problems, numbness and tingling, muscle spasms or twitching, weakness, nerve pain, palpitations,
cognitive dysfunction (“foggy thinking”).
Around 2% of the population are affected, usually between the ages of 20 and 50, although not all patients have all symptoms.
Women are nine times more likely than men to suffer from the condition, giving weight to the theory that hormones play a big part in the cause and treatment.
Diagnosis is difficult because there is no formal test. Symptoms are vague and similar to many other conditions.
Often patients with celiac disease are mistakenly diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, and do better on a gluten-free diet.
In fact, nearly everyone will do better on a gluten-free diet, or even better, a diet free from all grains, flour and any other product of grains, regardless of refined, wholemeal or any other form.
Some medical specialists say it is “all in the head” but few patients would agree with this!
Although there is no formal testing for fibromyalgia, the following tests should be arranged by the doctor to eliminate some factors that may indicate or aggravate Fibromyalgia:
- Ferritin (Iron Study) – A serum ferritin level under 50 ng/ml means a 650% increased risk for Fibromyalgia
- Thyroid Function – If autoimmune hypothyroidism is present, it should be treated first to see if Fibromyalgia symptoms subside
- Other autoimmune conditions – Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and others can resemble Fibromyalgia symptoms and should be treated first
- CRP (C-Reactive Protein) – An inflammation marker. Source of any inflammation should be treated first
- The FM/a blood test (plasma and PBMC (Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells) – Tests cytokine concentration. Low cytokines may indicate Fibromyalgia
Doctors say there is no known cause or cure. However, some approaches can be very effective in reducing symptoms, including:
- Prescription medications may help, including DHEA (“mother of all hormones”), Pregabalin, duloxetine, thyroxine, and milnacipran (most effective), however many patients found zero benefit from any medications
- Acetyl L-carnitine
- DIM (diindolylmethane)
- Magnesium Glycinate
Fibromyalgia patients typically have lower magnesium levels than others
- Zinc with Copper
- D-Ribose. Studies show a 66% benefit for patients of Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome
- Coconut oil
- Active Folate
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D3 deficiency is common in fibromyalgia patients, especially those with anxiety and depression
- B-group vitamins
- Astaxanthin (powerful antioxidant, 500 times better than vitamin E)
- CoQ10 (Co-Enzyme Q10) 40% lower levels of Coenzyme Q10 are found in fibromyalgia patients, indicating probable benefit by supplementation, plus discontinuance of any statin medication
- Glutathione or
NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) precursor to glutathione
- Digestive enzymes
- Baking soda
- Krill Oil
- Fish Oil
- MSM – Methylsulfonyl Methane reduces pain as well as improving tolerance to pain
- Apple cider vinegar
- Dark Chocolate (with at least 70% cocoa)
- Black Pepper
- Cayenne pepper
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Acupuncture – Acupressure or a TENS machine can help on the “hot spots” which can help de-sensitise those areas
- Physical Therapy. Often a Physiotherapist or even a Massage Therapist can help de-sensitise nerves and reduce tight muscles. Some Physiotherapists are aslo Acupuncturists
- Exercise will usually help relieve symptoms, even though this is the last thing that sufferers want to do
- Weight loss often helps, as the condition is more prevalent in overweight people
- Deep breathing – increases oxygen, decreasing inflammation and pain
- Mindfulness Training reduces psychological distress and depression
- Yoga, Tai-Chi and other stretching exercises are helpful as they stimulate the lymph glands, increasing our HDL (good cholesterol), improving waste product and toxin removal, also reducing pain, fatigue, mood, cortisol levels and improves coping ability
- Raw Food has been shown in studies to significantly improve the majority of fibromyalgia patients
- Vitamin C and Broccoli consumption in a study found that the combination of 100mg of vitamin C from food, plus a 400mg broccoli supplement reduced pain by 20% and decreased 17% in Fibromyalgia impact scores
Things to avoid
Exposures to toxins definitely increase fibromyalgia risk:
- Breast Implants have been linked to cancer, autoimmune disease, fibromyalgia and chronic pain
- Aspartame (an artificial sweetener) should be eliminated from the diet, as it turns into formaldehyde in the body, which can aggravate fibromyalgia.
Natural sweeteners such as Erythritol, Xylitol and pure Stevia are healthy alternatives
- MSG (MonoSodium Glutamate) should be eliminated from the diet. Known to cause headaches and fibromyalgia
- Vaccine Adjuvants containing mercury or aluminium have been shown to cause musculoskeletal pain conditions like fibromyalgia
- Fluoride comes from fluoridated tap water, foods irrigated with fluoridated water, toothpaste, dental treatments and antibiotics, and must be avoided. A fluoridated water supply should be switched to rainwater and/or install a Reverse Osmosis water system for all drinking and cooking. Ordinary water filters do not remove fluoride, and even boiling water makes little difference
Prescription Medications increase risk
Many prescription medications increase risk of fibromyalgia, or actually cause it.
- Statin Drugs reduce CoQ10 and vitamin D3, causing hundreds of health problems, including fibromyalgia and muscle pain, vastly outweighing any benefit in many cases
- Prescription antidepressants like Celexa (Citalopram), Paxil (Paroxetine) and Prozac (Fluoxetine) include fluoride which makes fibromyalgia even worse, and causes weight gain.
Antidepressants increase risk of cancer by over 40%, and most of the time do not work any better than a placebo
- Many drugs contain bromide, which is even worse than fluoride, and more easily displaces iodine from the thyroid gland
- Antibiotics destroy many bad bacteria, but also much of the good bacteria as well, compromising our immune system, which can take up to two years to rebuild
- Paracetamol, Panadol, Tylenol and other names for acetaminophen should be avoided as studies show them to start causing liver issues even at the recommended dose two 500 mg tablets four times a day (4000 mg) for a few days. Unfortunately, patients who experience a lot of pain invariably over-dose, and just a 50% increase starts causing severe liver damage. The advertising slogan “safe and effective” is one of the biggest lies of the drug industry, and the most common cause of liver poisoning in the Western world. The majority of all patients on the liver transplant waiting list are there because of Panadol overdose. Panadol also reacts with an enzyme in the body to destroy our natural glutathione, which is one of the body’s main defenses against pathogens, often called the “master antioxidant”. Less glutathione means more Fibromyalgia
Here is a list of some drugs commonly prescribed that contain Fluoride or Bromide, two halogens that displace iodine from the thyroid and cause hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease, depression, weight gain, hair loss, cancer, and will aggravate Fibromyalgia:
- Advair (fluticasone) – fluoride
- Alphagen (brimonidine) – bromide
- Atrovent (Ipratropium) – bromide
- Avelox (moxifloxacin) – fluoride
- Adovart (dulasteride) – fluoride
- Celebrex (celecoxib) – fluoride
- Celexa (citalopram) – fluoride and bromide
- Cipro (ciprofloxacin) – fluoride
- Clinoril (sulindac) – fluoride
- Combivent (from the ipratropium) – bromide
- Crestor (rosuvastatin) – fluoride
- Diflucan (fluconazole) – fluoride
- DuoNeb (nebulized Combivent) – fluoride
- Enablex (darifenacin) – bromide
- Flonase (fluticasone) – fluoride
- Flovent (fluticasone) – fluoride
- Guaifenex DM (dextromethorphan) – bromide
- Lescol (fluvastatin) – fluoride
- Levaquin (levofloxacin) – fluoride
- Lexapro (escitalopram) – fluoride
- Lipitor (atorvastatin) – fluoride
- Lotrisone topical cream – fluoride
- Paxil (paroxetine) – fluoride
- Prevacid (lansoprazole) – fluoride
- Protonix (pantoprazole) – fluoride
- Prozac (fluoxetine) – fluoride
- Pulmicort (budesonide) – fluoride
- Razadyne (galantamine) – bromide
- Risperdal (risperidone) – fluoride
- Spiriva (tiotropium) – bromide
- Tobra Dex (from dexamethasone) – fluoride
- Travatan (travoprost) – fluoride
- Triamcinolone – fluoride
- Vigamox (moxifloxacin) – fluoride
- Vytorin (from eztimibe) – fluoride
- Zetia (eztimibe) – fluoride
An immune response to intestinal bacteria may cause some symptoms, so an alkaline diet with plenty of enzyme-rich raw vegetables and fresh fruit may help, along with a little cheese, yogurt, whey, fermented vegetables such as Sauerkraut, and/or supplemental probiotics such as Acidophilus
to build up beneficial intestinal bacteria. 75% of our immune system is in the gut, and this is where the immune system often first breaks down.
MSG (monosodium glutamate) has been shown to aggravate symptoms, so most processed food, which contains MSG, often hidden in the ingredients list by being called other names or chemicals, should be eliminated.
Eliminating yeast from the diet may also help. Yeast is a raising agent found in most breads and other flour-based baked foods, also Vegemite. Changing to a fresh food diet of vegetables and fruit can eliminate yeast, lose excess weight, build immunity and improve general health.
Casein from milk and other milk products may also help, although some people are sensitive to dairy products and do better with no milk or other dairy products.
Food allergies can be a problem and I would start by eliminating wheat, flour, bread, cakes, anything made from flour, sugar, soy, milk, corn, eggs and nuts for at least a week or two.
If that helps, introduce them back into the diet one at a time (except sugar, which should be omitted forever, and all flour products), until the culprit is found.
If that is not enough, see my Vaccinations article and read about the relationship between Panadol, Vaccinations, Glutathione and Autism.
Many Fibromyalgia patients also suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) and SLE or Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), but the above treatments can improve all of these conditions.
While these natural alternatives may not work for everyone, nearly all patients report improvement in their condition, and of course, these are all good for weight loss, fighting diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, better sleep, improved mood, reduced pain, better pain tolerance, building muscle and reduced cancer risk. Many patients are deficient in GH (growth hormone) so high-intensity exercise and weight loss will help by increasing natural production of Growth Hormone.
Updated 24th January 2020, Copyright © 1999-2020 Brenton Wight and BJ&HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285
Reproduced from original article:
- Abnormal hormonal exposures in pregnancy can influence fetal brain development, and research published in 2014 warned acetaminophen is in fact a hormone disruptor
- According to that 2014 study, use of acetaminophen during pregnancy was associated with a 37% increased risk of the child being diagnosed with hyperkinetic disorder, a severe form of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- A 2019 study found that, compared to children of mothers with the lowest acetaminophen burden, children of mothers with the greatest exposure had a 286% higher risk for ADHD and a 362% higher risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by the time they were about 9 years old
- Findings published in 2016 revealed use of acetaminophen at 18 and 32 weeks of pregnancy were associated with a 42% higher risk of conduct problems and a 31% higher risk of hyperactivity symptoms in the child
- Another 2016 investigation found children of both sexes whose mothers used acetaminophen during pregnancy were 41% more likely to present with ADHD symptoms at age 5. Boys were also more likely to have ASD
Many view over-the-counter (OTC) drugs as safe because they don’t require a prescription. Nothing could be further from the truth. Acetaminophen, for example, (also known as paracetamol and sold under the brand name Tylenol among others) is actually one of the more dangerous drugs you can get your hands on.
Despite statistics showing acetaminophen is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the U.S.,1 most people don’t think twice before downing those pills. Acetaminophen is also found in a wide variety of products designed to treat headache, fever and cold symptoms, as well as in prescription pain medications mixed with codeine or hydrocodone.2 And, most households have more than one of the over-the-counter products, which could easily lead to overdosing.
Although it was initially hailed as a safe drug for pain, by 2013 lawsuits were piling up, citing 50,000 trips to the emergency room every year, all due to Tylenol causing liver and kidney failure.3 The grim truth is that as early as 2005 scientists already knew that “severe acetaminophen hepatotoxicity leads to acute liver failure.”4
Not only that, reports also showed that unintentional overdoses accounted for hundreds of suicide attempts, deaths and liver transplants. Along that line, statistics from national database analyses in 20065 showed that acetaminophen accounted for an estimated 56,000 emergency room visits and 26,000 hospitalizations annually. The average annual death toll from acetaminophen overdose was 458.
A number of studies have also linked acetaminophen use during pregnancy with lifelong repercussions for the child, raising their risk of developing conduct disorders, hyperactivity and autism.
Acetaminophen Use Linked to Hyperactivity in Offspring
In 2014, a study in the journal JAMA Pediatrics6 revealed that “Research data suggest that acetaminophen is a hormone disruptor, and abnormal hormonal exposures in pregnancy may influence fetal brain development.” This is a significant concern, considering many pregnant women are likely to reach for an OTC pain reliever at some point during their pregnancy.
According to that 2014 study, use of acetaminophen during pregnancy was associated with a 37% increased risk of their child being diagnosed with hyperkinetic disorder, a severe form of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Their children were also 29% more likely to be prescribed ADHD medication by the time they were 7 years old. The strongest associations were observed in mothers who used acetaminophen in more than a single trimester, and the greater the frequency of use, the more likely their child was to experience behavioral problems. As reported by Forbes at the time:7
“Acetaminophen can cross the placenta, making its way to the fetus and its delicate developing nervous system. The drug is a known endocrine (hormone) disrupter, and has previously been linked to undescended testes in male infants.
Since the maternal hormone environment plays a critical role in the development of the fetus, the authors say that it’s ‘possible that acetaminophen may interrupt brain development by interfering with maternal hormones or via neurotoxicity such as the induction of oxidative stress that can cause neuronal death.’”
Similar findings were published in 2016. This study,8 also published in JAMA Pediatrics, found use of acetaminophen at 18 and 32 weeks of pregnancy was associated with a 42% higher risk of conduct problems and a 31% higher risk of hyperactivity symptoms in the child.
When the mother used acetaminophen at 32 weeks of pregnancy, the child also had a 29% higher risk of having emotional problems and a 46% higher risk of “total difficulties.”
Tylenol in Pregnancy May Double or Triple Risk of Autism
A study9,10,11 published online October 30, 2019, in JAMA Psychiatry further strengthens the link between acetaminophen use and ADHD, while also noting an increased risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). According to the authors:12
“Prior studies have raised concern about maternal acetaminophen use during pregnancy and increased risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in their children; however, most studies have relied on maternal self-report …
In this cohort study of 996 mother-infant dyads from the Boston Birth Cohort, cord plasma biomarkers of fetal exposure to acetaminophen were associated with significantly increased risk of childhood attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder.”
Compared to children of mothers with the lowest acetaminophen burden (first tertile, based on cord plasma biomarkers for acetaminophen), children of those in the second tertile had a 226% higher risk of being diagnosed with ADHD, and a 214% higher risk for an ASD diagnosis by the time they were about 10 years old (average age 9.8 years).
Those with the greatest (third tertile) acetaminophen burden had a 286% higher risk for ADHD and a 362% higher risk for ASD. As noted by the authors,13 their findings “support previous studies regarding the association between prenatal and perinatal acetaminophen exposure and childhood neurodevelopmental risk.”
More Evidence Against Taking Acetaminophen During Pregnancy
In addition to the studies already mentioned, a number of others have also documented this disturbing link between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and neurological problems in the children. Among them:
•A 2013 study14 published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found “children exposed to [acetaminophen] for more than 28 days during pregnancy had poorer gross motor development, communication, externalizing behavior, internalizing behavior and higher activity levels” than unexposed children at age 3. Use of ibuprofen was not associated with these neurodevelopmental effects.
•A 2016 Spanish investigation15,16 published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found children of both sexes whose mothers used acetaminophen during pregnancy were 41% more likely to present with ADHD symptoms at age 5. Boys were also more likely to have ASD. As noted by the authors:
“Prenatal acetaminophen exposure was associated with a greater number of autism spectrum symptoms in males and showed adverse effects on attention-related outcomes for both genders. These associations seem to be dependent on the frequency of exposure.”
Aside from a higher risk of neurodevelopmental problems, studies have also shown:
•Use of acetaminophen during pregnancy may increase your risk of pre-eclampsia and thromboembolic diseases17
•Taking the drug for more than four weeks during pregnancy, especially during the first and second trimester, moderately increases the risk of undescended testicles in boys18
•Using acetaminophen in the third trimester increases your risk of preterm birth19
Acetaminophen After Birth Also Linked to Autism
The use of acetaminophen after birth may also lead to problems. In fact, some argue the increased risk of autism we see following childhood vaccinations may in fact be due to the inappropriate use of acetaminophen after the shots are given — not the vaccines.20
In my view, it seems irrational to give toxic injections a free pass, but acetaminophen administration could certainly make matters worse. A small preliminary study21 published in 2008 concluded “acetaminophen use after measles-mumps-rubella vaccination was associated with autistic disorder.”
Debunkers of the vaccine-autism connection point to statistics showing that, in the early 1980s, when the autism trend began its precipitously steep incline, vaccines were not only being added to the vaccination schedule, but pediatricians were also told to start using acetaminophen instead of aspirin, as aspirin had been linked to Reye’s syndrome.22
A 2017 study23 even claims “The use of acetaminophen in babies and young children may be much more strongly associated with autism than its use during pregnancy, perhaps because of well-known deficiencies in the metabolic breakdown of pharmaceuticals during early development.”
While parents give babies and infants Tylenol for numerous reasons, one instance in which Tylenol is routinely used is after childhood vaccinations, and according to research24 published in the journal Lancet in 2009, acetaminophen might actually render vaccinations less effective when administered together, which is yet another reason to avoid giving acetaminophen to your baby.
Infants who received acetaminophen right after getting a vaccination experienced lowered immune response, developing significantly fewer antibodies against the disease they were vaccinated against.
The vaccines used in the study were for pneumococcal disease, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, polio and rotavirus. The authors concluded that:
“Although febrile reactions significantly decreased, prophylactic administration of antipyretic drugs at the time of vaccination should not be routinely recommended since antibody responses to several vaccine antigens were reduced.”
Understand the Risks Associated With Acetaminophen
Pregnant women are not the only ones that need to be careful in their use of this common pain reliever and fever reducer. Acetaminophen overdose is responsible for nearly half of all acute liver failure cases in the U.S.,25 and its use has also been linked to three serious skin reactions; two of which typically require hospitalization and can be fatal.
These problems can happen to anyone. A major problem is that while acetaminophen is considered safe when taken as recommended, the margin between a safe dose and a potentially lethal one is very small.
Provided you have a healthy liver and do not consume more than three alcoholic beverages a day, the recommended oral dose of acetaminophen is up to 1,000 milligrams (mg) every four to six hours, not to exceed 3 grams (3,000 mg) per day.26 As noted by U.S. San Diego Health:27
“To appreciate how easy it is to exceed the safe limit, consider that one extra strength Tylenol tablet contains 500 mg of acetaminophen. Take two tablets at a single dose three times a day and you are at the maximum recommended dose.
If you then inadvertently consume an acetaminophen-containing allergy medication or cold medication in addition, you risk damaging your liver … The key is to be aware of how much acetaminophen you are consuming.”
What’s more, research28 has shown taking just a little more than the recommended dose over the course of several days or weeks (referred to as “staggered overdosing”) can be riskier than taking one large overdose. So, in summary, please be aware that your risk of severe liver injury and/or death increases if you:
- Take more than one regular strength (325 mg) acetaminophen when combined with a narcotic analgesic like codeine or hydrocodone.
- Take more than the prescribed dose of an acetaminophen-containing product in a 24-hour period.
- Take more than one acetaminophen-containing product at the same time — Make sure to read the list of ingredients on any other over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription drug you take in combination.
- Drink alcohol while taking an acetaminophen product — Research29,30 suggests acetaminophen increases your risk of kidney damage by 123% if taken with alcohol, even if the amount of alcohol is small.
Why You Should Keep NAC in Your Medicine Cabinet
Given their health risks, I generally do not recommend using acetaminophen-containing drugs for minor aches and pains. There are many other ways to address acute and chronic pain that do not involve taking a medication. For a long list of pain-relieving alternatives, please see this previous article.
That said, pain relievers like acetaminophen do have their place. Post-surgical pain, for example, or other severe pain may warrant its temporary use. For those instances, I recommend taking it along with N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), which is the rate-limiting nutrient for the formation of the intracellular antioxidant glutathione.
It is believed that the liver damage acetaminophen causes is largely due to the fact that it can deplete glutathione, an antioxidant compound secreted by your liver in response to toxic exposure. Glutathione also helps protect your cells from free radical damage.
NAC is the standard of care in cases of acetaminophen overdose, approved in 1985 by the FDA as an antidote for acetaminophen toxicity.31 Mortality due to acetaminophen toxicity has been shown to be virtually eliminated when NAC is promptly administered. So, whether you are taking Tylenol in prescription or over-the-counter form, I strongly suggest taking NAC along with it.
Keep in mind, however, that there’s no data showing whether taking NAC would ameliorate the autism or ADHD risk for pregnant women, so if you’re pregnant, I would recommend just avoiding acetaminophen. If you absolutely need an OTC pain reliever, ibuprofen appears to be a safer choice. The same caveat for lack of data goes for infants.
Tips for a More Toxin-Free Pregnancy
I believe it’s imperative to be aware of, and abstain from, as many potential neurotoxins as possible during pregnancy to protect the health of your child. Our environment is saturated with such a wide variety of toxins, and you may not be able to defend yourself against each and every one of them, but you do have a great degree of control within your own immediate household.
The food and drinks you ingest, and the household, personal care and medical products you opt to use during pregnancy can have a distinct impact on your child’s development and long-term health.
ADHD and autism have both skyrocketed in prevalence the past few decades, signaling that something is going terribly wrong. Our environment is becoming overly toxic, and children are paying the price for our chemical-laden lifestyles. OTC drugs like acetaminophen are part of this toxic burden that infants have to contend with.
Avoiding any and all unnecessary drugs is one aspect you have a large degree of control over. Below are several more. Rather than compile an endless list of what you should avoid, it’s far easier to focus on what you should do to lead a healthy lifestyle with as minimal a chemical exposure as possible. This includes:
|As much as you’re able, buy and eat organic produce and grass fed, pastured animal foods to reduce your exposure to agricultural chemicals like glyphosate. Steer clear of processed, prepackaged foods of all kinds. This way you automatically avoid pesticides, artificial food additives, dangerous artificial sweeteners, food coloring, MSG and unlabeled genetically engineered ingredients.
Also avoid conventional or farm-raised fish, which are often heavily contaminated with PCBs and mercury. Wild caught Alaskan salmon is one of the very few fish I still recommend eating, as well as small fatty fish like anchovies, sardines, mackerel and herring. If you don’t eat these on a regular basis, consider taking a krill oil supplement to optimize your omega-3 level.
|Store your food and beverages in glass rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap and canned foods to avoid exposure to plastic chemicals known to disrupt endocrine function.|
|Install an appropriate water filter on all your faucets (even those in your shower or bath).|
|Only use natural cleaning products in your home.|
|Switch over to natural brands of toiletries such as shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics. The Environmental Working Group has a great database32 to help you find safer personal care products. I also offer one of the highest quality organic skin care lines, shampoo and conditioner, and body butter that are completely natural and safe.|
|Avoid using artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners or other synthetic fragrances. Relinquish the idea that fragrance equals “clean.” It doesn’t. Clean laundry need not smell like anything at all.|
|Replace your nonstick pots and pans with ceramic or glass cookware to avoid toxic PFOA chemicals.|
|When redoing your home and/or shopping for baby items, look for “green” toxin-free alternatives. Avoid plastic toys, especially teething toys, and make sure items like mattresses, car seats and nursing pillows do not contain toxic flame retardant chemicals.|
|Replace your vinyl shower curtain with one made of fabric, or install a glass shower door. Most all flexible plastics, like shower curtains, contain dangerous plasticizers like phthalates.|
|Avoid spraying pesticides around your home or insect repellants that contain DEET on your body. There are safe, effective and natural alternatives.|
- 1 Mayo Clinic, Acute Liver Failure
- 2 DrugWatch.com
- 3 American Council on Science and Health September 11, 2017
- 4 Hepatotology November 29, 2005
- 5 Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2006 Jun;15(6):398-405
- 6 JAMA Pediatrics April 2014
- 7 Forbes February 24, 2014
- 8 JAMA Pediatrics 2016;170(10):964-970
- 9 JAMA Psychiatry October 30, 2019 DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.3259
- 10 Fox5 New York October 31, 2019
- 11 Daily Mail October 30, 2019
- 12 JAMA Psychiatry October 30, 2019 DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.3259, Abstract and Key Points
- 13 JAMA Psychiatry October 30, 2019 DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.3259, Conclusions and Relevance
- 14 International Journal Of Epidemiology December 2013; 42(6): 1702-1713
- 15 International Journal of Epidemiology 2016 Dec 1;45(6):1987-1996
- 16 Medical News Today August 19, 2016
- 17 J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2010 May;23(5):371-318
- 18 Epidemiology 2010 Nov;21(6):779-85
- 19 International Journal of Epidemiology 2009; 38: 706-714 (PDF)
- 20, 22 Real Clear Investigations April 13, 2018
- 21 Autism 2008 May;12(3):293-307
- 23 Int Med Res. 2017 Apr;45(2):407-438
- 24 Lancet 2009 Oct 17;374(9698):1339-50
- 25 Hepatology 2004 Jul;40(1):6-9
- 26, 27 US San Diego Health June 29, 2018
- 28 British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 2012 Feb;73(2):285-94
- 29 Medical News Today November 4, 2013
- 30 141st annual American Public Health Association Meeting, Online Program
- 31 Guidelines for the Management of Acetaminophen Overdose (PDF)
- 32 EWG Skin Deep Database