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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
- Children are being used as guinea pigs and virtual poison detection devices. Oftentimes, it’s only after decades of toxic exposure that effects become apparent, at which point countless children have already paid the price with their health
- Research has shown elevated fluoride exposure from drinking fluoridated water can contribute to a seven-point drop in a child’s IQ score, on average, and that’s just one of the thousands of chemicals children are exposed to on any given day
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates as many as 24 million U.S. residences built before 1978 still contain lead, a potent neurotoxin known to cause cognitive and behavioral deficits
- Our food supply has become a notorious source for toxic exposures, ranging from herbicides and pesticides to antibiotics and food additives of questionable safety
- Other common sources of toxic exposures include cosmetics and personal care products, furniture and other household items treated with flame-retardant chemicals, nonorganic clothing, toys, car seats, household cleaning products, sunscreen and nonorganic diapers and tampons
Children experience greater exposure to chemicals pound-for-pound than adults and have an immature and porous blood-brain barrier, which allows greater chemical exposures to reach their developing brain. As a result, early exposures can have devastating, lifelong ramifications.
For example, as noted in the scientific review,1 “Neurobehavioral Effects of Developmental Toxicity,” published in the March 2014 issue of The Lancet, elevated fluoride exposure from drinking fluoridated water can contribute to a seven-point drop in a child’s IQ score,2 on average, and that’s just one of the thousands of chemicals children are exposed to on any given day.
As reported by c&en in 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lists more than 85,000 chemicals found in the marketplace,3 and the list keeps getting longer. Of those, a mere 1% have been tested for safety.4
The Lancet paper identified 11 industrial chemicals known to disrupt brain development and cause brain damage, neurological abnormalities, reduced IQ and aggressiveness in children and, according to the authors:5
“We postulate that even more neurotoxicants remain undiscovered. To control the pandemic of developmental neurotoxicity, we propose a global prevention strategy.
Untested chemicals should not be presumed to be safe to brain development, and chemicals in existing use and all new chemicals must therefore be tested for developmental neurotoxicity. To coordinate these efforts and to accelerate translation of science into prevention, we propose the urgent formation of a new international clearinghouse.”
Despite legislation, EPA weakens stance on toxic chemicals
Alas, to this day, a truly comprehensive global prevention strategy to protect children from toxic chemicals has yet to be implemented. Ditto for efforts to increase protections within the U.S. In 2010, then-U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg announced he would introduce a safer chemicals bill to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).6 As reported by Safer Chemicals at the time:7
“In opening remarks, Senator Frank Lautenberg said ‘the American public is a living breathing repository for chemical substances,’ and that as a result of inadequate testing of toxic chemicals, children have become test subjects.
‘Our children should not be used as guinea pigs,’ said Senator Lautenberg … Senator Lautenberg said his new bill would give the EPA the tools it needs to protect the public from unsafe chemicals by requiring testing of all chemicals in commerce and collecting data about harm to human health before chemicals can be added to consumer products.”
The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act8 was signed into law June 22, 2016,9 thereby amending the TSCA. It requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to perform risk-based chemical assessments and “evaluate existing chemicals with clear and enforceable deadlines.”
EPA is not protecting you and your family
Alas, by the time 2018 rolled around, it became clear the updated TSCA had accomplished nothing. As reported in an Environmental Defense Fund blog post, dated February 5, 2018:10
“Last August, Scott Pruitt announced that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would reverse course in its conduct of risk reviews of new chemicals under the reforms made in 2016 to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) by the Lautenberg Act.
The changes will effectively return the program to its pre-Lautenberg state — under which few chemicals were subject to any conditions and even fewer to any testing requirements — or make it even weaker.”
The blog describes some of the political wranglings that led the EPA to reverse course under the influence of the American Chemistry Council. A December 19, 2017, article in The New York Times also reported on the rollback, stating:11
“The Environmental Protection Agency will indefinitely postpone bans on certain uses of three toxic chemicals found in consumer products, according to an update of the Trump administration’s regulatory plans.
Critics said the reversal demonstrated the agency’s increasing reluctance to use enforcement powers granted to it last year by Congress under the Toxic Substances Control Act.
E.P.A. Administrator Scott Pruitt is ‘blatantly ignoring Congress’s clear directive to the agency to better protect the health and safety of millions of Americans by more effectively regulating some of the most dangerous chemicals known to man,’ said Senator Tom Carper, Democrat of Delaware and the ranking minority member on the Senate Environment and Public Works committee.”
Neurotoxicity remains overlooked
Unfortunately, neurotoxicity tends to be largely overlooked because the effects are not as readily and visibly demonstrable as birth defects, for example. As noted in The Lancet paper:12
“David P Rall, former Director of the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, once noted that ‘if thalidomide had caused a ten-point loss of intelligence quotient (IQ) instead of obvious birth defects of the limbs, it would probably still be on the market.’
Many industrial chemicals marketed at present probably cause IQ deficits of far fewer than ten points and have therefore eluded detection so far, but their combined effects could have enormous consequences.”
To put it bluntly, children are being used as guinea pigs and virtual poison detection devices. Oftentimes, it’s only after decades of exposure that the effects become apparent, at which point countless children have already paid the price with their health.
While some sources of toxic exposure may be readily apparent, a vast majority is not. Most parents don’t consider the possibility of children’s toys, nursing pillows or car seats being a source of continuous toxic exposure, for example. Just how pervasive are the toxic exposures to our children? Read on to find out.
Lead exposure still rampant
Most recently, a June 26, 2019, article13 in The Guardian reports that “hundreds of thousands of children in the U.S. remain at risk of exposure to lead, which causes cognitive and behavioral deficits.” Of the 31 states that have reported statistics on the percentage of children with elevated lead levels, Louisiana and Kentucky are among the worst.14
As noted in this article, many older homes still contain lead-based paint. Anna Almendrala tells the story of a young mother whose 2-year-old son developed the habit of gumming the window sills.
Initial blood testing revealed her son, who was already diagnosed with autism, had a lead level of 24 micrograms per one-tenth liter of blood, “almost five times higher than the reference point the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses to recommend a lead intervention,” Almendrala writes.15
Further testing revealed his blood level was 49 mcg, nearly 10 times higher than the recommended intervention threshold. Lead abatement inside the home revealed “lead hotspots on the door frames, window sills, and in her son’s bedroom closet.”
This story may sound like an anomaly, as lead-based paint was banned for use in housing in 1978.16 However, there are many older homes, and few families ever consider it might contain toxic remnants from years past.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates as many as 24 million U.S. residences built before 1978 still contain lead hazards, and in June 2019 announced $330 million in grants will be distributed to clean up lead and other safety hazards in low-income housing communities.17 Almendrala writes:18
“When it comes to lead exposure in America, we still don’t have a clear picture of how many children are being exposed to the neurotoxin and where they are.
This leaves hundreds of thousands of children vulnerable to the dangers of lead, and compounds inequality in the form of cognitive and behavioral deficits that can hamper communities for generations. Experts say that it’s possible to eradicate lead from American infrastructure, but that we don’t prioritize it.
‘We are currently doing things backwards [by] using children’s blood as detectors of environmental contamination,’ said Dr Mona Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who famously uncovered elevated levels of lead in her pediatric patients and linked it to a new water source in Flint, Michigan. ‘The screening that needs to happen is in the environment before children are ever exposed.’”
Nonorganic food supplies daily dose of poison
Our food supply has also become a notorious source for toxic exposures, ranging from herbicides and pesticides to antibiotics and food additives of questionable safety (having never undergone safety testing). For a list of some of the most common food additives to avoid, see “What Chemical Cocktail Is in Your Food?”
Tests have indeed confirmed that those who eat nonorganic foods as a general rule have far higher levels of toxins in their system.19 In 2015, Joseph E. Pizzorno, founding president of Bastyr University, told The Sydney Morning Herald that toxins appear to be a primary culprit in most chronic diseases, and that “Pesticides used on the food people eat are a better predictor of Type 2 diabetes than any other factor we have today.”20
David Bellinger, a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, has expressed similar concerns. According to his estimates, published in 2012, based on a population of 25.5 million American children, 16,899,488 IQ points have been lost due to exposure to organophosphate pesticides. Another 22,947,450 IQ points have been lost to lead exposure, and an additional 284,580 IQ points have been lost from methylmercury exposure.21,22
Of these, pesticides and methylmercury are both found in our diet (fish and seafood being the primary route of exposure for mercury23), while drinking water is an increasingly common source of lead.
In 2015, a report24 by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics25 warned that mounting chemical exposures now represent a major threat to human health and reproduction, stating that “prenatal exposure to chemicals and poor health outcomes are increasingly evident.”
The CHAMACOS Study26,27 is among those showing that very small amounts of pesticides may be harmful, in this case to children’s brains. It followed hundreds of pregnant women living in Salinas Valley, California, an agricultural mecca that has had up to a half-million pounds of organophosphates sprayed in the region per year.
The children were followed through age 12 to assess the impact the pesticides had on their development. It turns out the impact was quite dramatic. Mothers’ exposure to organophosphates during pregnancy was associated with:28
- Shorter duration of pregnancy
- Poorer neonatal reflexes
- Lower IQ and poorer cognitive functioning in children
- Increased risk of attention problems in children
Brenda Eskenazi, chief investigator of the CHAMACOS study, also noted that the effects of combined chemical exposures need further attention, as we still know very little about the synergistic effects of different chemicals.29
Endocrine disrupting chemicals are everywhere
In 2015, an Endocrine Society task force also issued its second scientific statement30 on endocrine-disrupting chemicals, noting that the health effects of hormone-disrupting chemicals are such that everyone needs to take proactive steps to avoid them. The statement also calls for improved safety testing to determine which chemicals may cause problems.
As far back as 2002, a paper31 in Environmental Science & Technology warned that endocrine disrupting 4-nonylphenols (NPs) “are ubiquitous in food,” but that’s certainly not the only source. As noted by the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences:32
“A wide range of substances, both natural and man-made, are thought to cause endocrine disruption, including pharmaceuticals, dioxin and dioxin-like compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls, DDT and other pesticides, and plasticizers such as bisphenol A. Endocrine disruptors may be found in many everyday products — including plastic bottles, metal food cans, detergents, flame retardants, food, toys, cosmetics, and pesticides.”
One class of endocrine disrupting chemicals, per- and poly- fluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS),33 commonly used in a wide variety of products, including nonstick food wrappers and containers, are also pervasive in the U.S. food supply, and at levels far exceeding the advisory limit for PFOA and PFAS in drinking water (there are currently no limits in food).
The testing, conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, was performed in 2017 as part of its Total Diet Study34 and presented35 at the 2019 meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. PBS reported the findings, noting:36
“The levels in nearly half of the meat and fish tested were double or more the only currently existing federal advisory level for any kind of … PFAS. The level in the chocolate cake was higher: more than 250 times the only federal guidelines, which are for some PFAS in drinking water …
PFOS, an older form of PFAS no longer made in the U.S., turned up at levels ranging from 134 parts per trillion to 865 parts per trillion in tilapia, chicken, turkey, beef, cod, salmon, shrimp, lamb, catfish and hot dogs. Prepared chocolate cake tested at 17,640 parts per trillion of a kind of PFAS called PFPeA.
The FDA presentation also included what appeared to be previously unreported findings of PFAS levels — one spiking over 1,000 parts per trillion — in leafy green vegetables grown within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of an unspecified eastern U.S. PFAS plant and sold at a farmer’s market.”
Other common sources of daily toxic exposures
In truth, to create a comprehensive list of common toxic exposures, let alone a listing of all potential ones, would require far more space than can be afforded here. That said, here’s a sampling of toxic exposure routes you may not have thought of before.
To protect yourself and your family — especially your little ones — consider addressing some of these exposures; replacing them with nontoxic alternatives. You can read more by following the hyperlinks to previous articles, where I also provide suggestions for replacements.
|Cosmetics and personal care products||Household cleaning products|
|Furniture, mattresses and upholstery containing flame-retardant chemicals||Nonorganic diapers, menstrual pads and tampons|
- 1, 5, 12 The Lancet March 1, 2014; 13(3): 330-338
- 2 The Lancet March 1, 2014; 13(3): 330-338, Newly recognized developmental neurotoxicants
- 3 c&en February 27, 2017; 95(9): 23-24
- 4, 6 CNN October 26, 2010
- 7 Safer Chemicals February 4, 2010
- 8 Govtrack.us HR 2576: Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act
- 9 EPA.gov Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act
- 10 Environmental Defense Fund February 5, 2018
- 11 New York Times December 19, 2017 (Archived)
- 13, 14, 15, 18 The Guardian June 26, 2019
- 16 CDC.gov Lead
- 17 HUD.gov June 27, 2019
- 19 Environmental Health Perspectives May 1, 2015 DOI:10.1289/ehp.1408197
- 20 Sydney Morning Herald April 16, 2015
- 21 Environmental Health Perspectives April 1, 2012, DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1104170, Table 2
- 22 The Atlantic March 18, 2014
- 23 Journal of Toxicology 2011; 2011: 983072
- 24 FIGO.org October 1, 2015
- 25 FIGO.org
- 26 Environmental Health Perspectives 2011 Aug; 119(8): 1189–1195
- 27 Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health, CHAMACOS Cohort Exposure Studies
- 28 Health Research for Action UC Berkeley, The CHAMACOS Cohort Study Project Summary
- 29 The Nation March 31, 2014
- 30 Endocrine Reviews December 1, 2015; 36(6): E1-E150
- 31 Environmental Science & Technology 2002; 36: 1676-1680
- 32 Niehs.nih.gov Endocrine Disruptors
- 33 The Endocrine Disruption Exchange PFAS Resources
- 34 FDA.gov Total diet study
- 35 EWG.org June 3, 2019
- 36 PBS June 3, 2019
Reproduced from original article:
Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola
July 20, 2019
This video unavailable here: To view video, go to original article above.
- Over half of U.S. adults now have chronic health conditions like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and stroke
- Prevention of chronic health conditions is not a priority of traditional medicine
- Statins only address one risk factor of heart disease and pose serious health risks
- The herbicide glyphosate has been linked to liver, bile duct and thyroid cancers
- High fructose corn syrup is correlated with metabolic syndrome and nonalcoholic liver disease
- Fluoride acts as an endocrine disrupter and lowers IQ in children
Six in 10 U.S. adults now have chronic health conditions like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and stroke, and 4 in 10 have two or more of these diseases, according to the CDC.1,2
While many of these diseases can be blamed on drinking, smoking or overeating — in other words, “lifestyle” choices, most people don’t realize that much of their health care and subsequent wellness depends solely on corporations that value their profits over your well-being –– corporations like insurers, health benefit managers and food and drug makers.
It’s a sad fact that prevention of chronic health conditions is not a priority of these organizations –– healthy people do not need medical care, so no money is made by getting or keeping the population healthy.
According to the documentary, “The Big Secret,” unethical profiteering on the public’s health can be traced back to John D. Rockefeller, (1839–1937) a wealthy U.S. industrialist credited with creating much of our current medical system. Specifically, Rockefeller’s foundations along with the Carnegie foundation, revamped medical schools to emphasize the use of drugs made by companies they owned, instead of a less-drug intensive model that had been in use in schools.3
This “drugs first” approach to health care continues today at medical schools and in traditional medical practice, both of which are enmeshed with Big Pharma. The “patent medicines” Rockefeller pushed have simply been replaced by brand name drugs.
The sham of statins
A good example of our current medical system’s misplaced preference of drugs over prevention can be seen with statins. Statins have been a blockbuster for Big Pharma since they were first introduced, with4 Lipitor being the best-selling drug in the history of the pharmaceutical industry.5 Today, more than 1 in 4 Americans over age 45 are on a statin.6
Since statins lower cholesterol, it’s assumed they lower the risk of heart disease, yet cholesterol levels are only one risk factor in heart disease and, therefore, statins are much less effective than touted. In fact, studies show that less than half of those on statins actually ever reach the cholesterol goals intended.7
The real truth is cholesterol is found in every cell in your body, where it helps to produce cell membranes, hormones (including the sex hormones testosterone, progesterone and estrogen) and bile acids that help you digest fat. It’s also important for the production of vitamin D.
Additionally, as experts point out in “The Big Secret,” cholesterol serves positive functions in the brain, hormone systems and many other parts of the human body, Moreover, there are negative effects from lowering it too much.
As I have written in my newsletters many times, statins are also associated with many dangerous side effects, from muscle aches and damage to inhibiting the enzyme that produces CoQ10 and ketones, which are crucial nutrients to feed your mitochondria. Statins also inhibit the synthesis of vitamin K2 which protects your arteries from calcification and plaque.
Doctors speak out against statins
Dr. Barbara H. Roberts, author of “The Truth About Statins,” served as director of the Women’s Cardiac Center at the Miriam Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, and associate clinical professor of medicine at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She also spent two years at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where she was involved in statin clinical trials. This is what she had to say in 2012 about the use of statins in clinical practice:8
“Every week in my practice I see patients with serious side effects to statins, and many did not need to be treated with statins in the first place. These side effects range from debilitating muscle and joint pain to transient global amnesia, neuropathy, cognitive dysfunction, fatigue and muscle weakness.
Most of these symptoms subside or improve when they are taken off statins. There is even growing evidence of a statin link to Lou Gehrig’s disease.
There is no question that many doctors have swallowed the Kool-Aid. Big Pharma has consistently exaggerated the benefits of statins and some physicians used scare tactics so that patients are afraid that if they go off the statins, they will have a heart attack immediately.
Yet high cholesterol, which the statins address, is a relatively weak risk factor for developing atherosclerosis. For example, diabetes and smoking are far more potent when it comes to increasing risk.”
Rather than statins, simply donating blood reduces the risk of stroke by 70%, says Dr. Jonathan Wright in “The Big Secret.” For more information on how this could be true, I encourage you to watch the video accompanying this article — you’ll be shocked at how something as simple as a blood donation can work as well as or better than a drug.
Food that doesn’t nourish
In 1971, President Richard Nixon’s secretary of agriculture, Earl Butz, debuted a dangerous method of farming that continues today, in the form of the use of heavy synthetic fertilizers. With the advent of chemicals to “feed” it, farmland was no longer given a rest but tilled incessantly, resulting in serious mineral depletion.9
As a result studies show that fruits and vegetables today have less nourishing nutrients, thanks to this emphasis on size and quick growth of produce that Butz instituted. Of course, GMOs were to follow. Not surprisingly, Butz served as a board member on agribusiness companies that made the chemicals he promoted.
The drop in nutritional values in crops stems from widely used pesticides and herbicides which kill the bacteria that would otherwise predigest minerals and make them available to crops, says Peter Glidden, a naturopathic doctor featured in “The Big Secret” documentary.
What’s worse, glyphosate, the ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, is highly correlated with liver, bile duct and thyroid cancers and stroke. And now, thanks to subpoenaed evidence produced in lawsuits against Roundup’s manufacturer Monsanto, it’s been proven that Monsanto (now Bayer) buried negative studies and attacked whistleblowers who tried to expose the danger of its popular herbicide.
The farmers are suffering too: Thanks to contracts forced on them by Monsanto and other agribusiness giants like DuPont and Syngenta, farmers can no longer save their seeds for planting or buy unpatented seeds, says farmer Paul Porter.
And, the environment suffers: Despite farmers’ best efforts to avoid the harm of glyphosate and the many GMO seeds developed to survive the herbicide, glyphosate “drift” affects farmers who earnestly want to opt out of chemically produced food. Traces of glyphosate are now found everywhere, says the documentary –– in the soil, air, rain and even in most people’s urine.
A dangerous sweetener made from corn
Another point “The Big Secret” makes is that the ubiquity of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), used to sweeten soft drinks and many other processed foods, is also a result of an agriculture secretary’s decision-making. John Block, who served from 1981 to 1986 under President Ronald Reagan, abruptly ceased sugar imports when he took office, and boosted the use of HFSC, made from government subsidized corn.
One problem with HFCS, though, is that it’s highly correlated with metabolic syndrome –– the type of obesity in which fat is concentrated at the waist, resulting in more health risks than mere obesity –– and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
As an example, the documentary highlights a study of residents of a county in Texas where only soft drinks with real sugar were available. With no access to HFCS, these people had significantly less fatty liver disease, obesity and diabetes — highlighting the probable, deleterious effects of HFCS.
Next up on this revealing documentary’s list is the U.S. government’s campaign against fat, which began in 1980 and resulted in the low-fat craze — a move that got the science practically backward, says Dr. Robert Lustig. In this debacle, fat was blamed for the cardiovascular disease while fructose, the real culprit, was exonerated. “You would never think about giving your kid a beer, but you don’t think twice about giving them a Coke. They do the same thing,” he asserts.
The soft drink lobby has huge power
I know it’s hard to believe that governments would not protect their constituents from harmful food. But, time and again industry wins over any concern government may express for your health. For example, soft drink makers wield a huge amount of economic power. This is how Mother Jones described the conundrum in 2016:10
“Soda companies give big bucks to groups that promote public health — while at the same time lobbying against laws that are trying to do the same.
That’s the takeaway from a study [that showed] Coca-Cola and PepsiCo donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups like the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association and Save the Children from 2011-2015. The two companies, represented by American Beverage Association, also spent millions lobbying to defeat legislation aimed at reducing soda consumption across the country.
Coke gave the National Institutes of health nearly $2 million in recent years while also spending $6 million each year from 2011 to 2015 to fight efforts on implementing soda tax in cities like Philadelphia.”
The bottom line is, government is literally taking handouts from the very industries that are making you sick! When you consider that the chief agency in charge of your health — the CDC — has been caught in a cozy relationship with Coke, to the point of allowing the beverage giant to influencing research, it makes you wonder just who to trust when it comes to health and wellness.
Real food provides natural weight control
Here’s an interesting thought that “The Big Secret” poses: What happens when food still contains all the minerals and nutrients it was meant to have — foods that haven’t been depleted by chemical farming and genetic engineering? The answer is people stop eating when they have had enough and do not overeat, Glidden says.
You see, overeating and obesity are a direct result of consumers failing to receive the nourishment they crave. In other words, the body seeks nourishment that is not there and you just continue eating.
This “missing nutrient” effect may be seen, for example, with artificial sweeteners. Research in Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism suggests that artificially sweetened beverages may paradoxically cause people to gain, not lose, weight.11
“The negative impact of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages on weight and other health outcomes has been increasingly recognized; therefore, many people have turned to high-intensity sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin as a way to reduce the risk of these consequences.
However, accumulating evidence suggests that frequent consumers of these sugar substitutes may also be at increased risk of excessive weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.”
Artificial sweeteners also might be addictive unto themselves, according to a 2011 study conducted at the University of Bordeaux in France.12 Researchers found that rats, when they were given a choice between an artificial sweetener and cocaine, always picked the artificial sweetener. In fact, even cocaine-addicted rats chose the artificial sweetener.
Municipal fluoridation imperils public health
For many years I have warned against the dangers of fluoride in drinking water and its widespread use in municipal water systems, so you’re probably aware of how industry has overtaken the very water you drink. Fluoride is an endocrine-disrupting chemical13 and linked to the rising prevalence of thyroid disease which, in turn, is linked to obesity, heart disease, depression and other health problems.
Research in Environmental Health also suggests a link between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adolescents in the United States, which has become epidemic, and exposure to fluoridated water.14
“State prevalence of artificial water fluoridation in 1992 significantly positively predicted state prevalence of ADHD in 2003, 2007 and 2011, even after controlling for socioeconomic status.
A multivariate regression analysis showed that after socioeconomic status was controlled each 1% increase in artificial fluoridation prevalence in 1992 was associated with approximately 67,000 to 131,000 additional ADHD diagnoses from 2003 to 2011.
Overall state water fluoridation prevalence (not distinguishing between fluoridation types) was also significantly positively correlated with state prevalence of ADHD for all but one year examined.”
Municipal fluoridation, says “The Big Secret,” saves local governments money by disposing of the neurotoxin while sparing the aluminum industry connected with its production, financial responsibility or harm.
There is also evidence that fluoride is an endocrine disruptor that can affect your bones, brain, thyroid, pineal gland and even your blood sugar levels.15 Importantly, it’s a known neurotoxin shown to lower IQ in children.16,17 It’s just another example of corporations and governments placing their profits over the public’s well-being –– many of which are well described in “The Big Secret.”
The message is clear: Many medicine practices, as well as popular foods and drugs are designed to make money, not protect public health.
About the Directors
I believe in bringing quality to my readers, which is why I wanted to share some information about the filmmakers, Dr. Susan Downs and Alex Voss, from “The Big Secret.” Here is a little more about them and what went in to making this film. Thank you, Susan and Alex, for sharing with us.
Susan Downs, MD
Susan is boarded in integrative medicine and in psychiatry in the U.S. and is on the consultant registry in the U.K. To further her goals of getting health information to the public, she hosts the radio show, “Occupy Health,” on Voiceamerica.com and is president of the cutting-edge Silicon Valley Health Institute.
Previously, she worked in 10 countries: for the NHS in the U.K.; as an assistant professor at INSEAD European School for Business Administration; and as a foreign service officer managing alternative energy projects in Asia. She has masters’ degrees in engineering from MIT and Stanford and a Master in Public Health from Loma Linda Medical Center. Her interests include medicine, economics, spirituality and making the world a better place.
Alex is a national and regional Emmy award-winning SBE-certified broadcast engineer, documentary film producer and video producer with more than 45 years’ experience in television and radio production. Some of his work includes PBS news and documentary programs, with topics on people and drugs and “The Big Secret” documentary. He is also a member of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
What was Voss’ and Downs’ inspiration for making this film?
“The Big Secret” is the latest work by five-time Emmy Award-winning producer Alex Voss and multi-award-winning filmmaker and integrative physician, Susan Downs. What started as a personal journey to regain his health, Alex came face to face with the sad reality concerning the influence that big money has on our health and well-being.
In looking at the history of medicine in the U.S., Voss and Downs were disappointed in the influence that wealth and power have on doctors’ decisions concerning medical care. This shocking documentary is the result of research and personal interviews with leading experts in the fields of medicine and nutrition.
“Our goal is to empower people with knowledge and start a conversation that will ultimately lead to life-saving changes to our personal health, and reform in our healthcare system,” they explained.
However, “The Big Secret,” Voss and Downs have been threatened online and targeted by U.S. thought police censors. “The Big Secret” was removed from Amazon Prime and health videos were removed from Voss’ YouTube channel and cited as spam. Their IMDB page and accounts were hacked. Downs and Voss remain committed to get health information to the public and question why “book burning” is condoned by our government.
What was their favorite part of making the film?
Our goals are to get health information out to the public as the allopathic model of a symptom management is not serving us well. We strongly believe that health information should not be censored.
Where do the proceeds of the film go?
As we have funded the film ourselves, any proceeds will be put into our next film, “Toxified,” which will cover the health effects of the toxic soup we all are exposed to, such as EMF and toxins in food.