How to Eat Low-Carb at Burger King
Burger King is the second largest hamburger fast food chain restaurant, so it’s often convenient. But how does it stack up in terms of offerings for those of use who are cutting carbs? Here’s how to find your way around the Burger King (BK) menu.
Find Information About Carbs
There is a nutritional information brochure at Burger King, but it won’t tell you about custom options such as ordering a burger without the bun.
But some of that information is available online:
Nutritional Information: Information, including carbohydrates, on all the standard Burger King menu items. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell about the individual components. McDonald’s does this, and it’s very helpful. You might be able to guess about the condiments by looking at the McDonald’s tool.
Obviously, ordering burgers without the bun is the way to go. You will get the burger in a plastic container with most of the condiments. As with many other places, mayo seems to be considered a condiment for the bun, not the burger, and you won’t get it unless you ask for it. You may have to ask for a knife and fork to go with it. Hamburgers have zero carbs, but some of the condiments have carbohydrate. Other than saying that the ketchup has 3 grams of carbohydrate and the mayonnaise zero, BK does not give information about the condiments.
The best bet on other sandwiches is the Tendergrill Chicken Sandwich without the bun at 3 grams of carbohydrate. If you get the Veggie Burger bunless, it will cost you 19 grams of carb, and the rest of the sandwiches go up from there.
Salads at BK are, unfortunately, a little disappointing.
In particular, the last time I checked them out the side salads were almost entirely iceberg lettuce. A thin slice of tomato and a few tiny carrots complete the “Garden Salad”. The base for the meal salads was a little better, as it had the more-nutritious romaine lettuce included.
The only low-carb meal salad option is the Tendergrill Chicken Garden Salad, at 8 grams of net carbohydrate (not counting dressing and skip the croutons). The Tendercrisp Chicken Salad has 23 grams of net carbs because the chicken is breaded.
The dressings, as always, contain a wide range of carbohydrate. The best one is the Ranch Dressing at 2 grams of carbohydrate per packet. Do NOT get the Fat Free Ranch Dressing, as it contains
15 grams of sugar! The Creamy Caesar and Light Italian dressings could also reasonable choices, at 4 and 5 grams, respectively. And you don’t have to use the whole thing, of course.
Sides and Desserts
The only real possibility is the Fresh Apple Fries (which aren’t fried, BTW) at 5 grams net carbs. Skip the caramel sauce of course.
If you just want a Chicken Tender or two, they are a little over 2 grams of carb apiece. Choose the Ranch dipping sauce at 1 gram per container.
There are a couple of omelet sandwiches that you could get without the bun, but there is no information about carb counts in that case.
Obviously water, diet sodas, and coffee are the zero carb options (or almost so). Don’t be tempted by the iced coffee, with a diet-busting 66 grams of carbohydrate. And believe it or not, the shakes go up to 154 grams of carbohydrate and 960 calories!!
With care, an occasional meal at BK won’t break your diet, but there isn’t enough nutrition available there to make it a habit
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr P Carrothers
Statins are Dangerous! Educate Your Doctor.
The idea that saturated fat is bad for your heart and should be avoided to prevent heart disease is misguided to say the least.
There’s no telling how many people have been harmed by this dangerous advice, as scientific evidence shows that a lack of healthy fat actually increases your cardiovascular health risks, but the number is likely significant.
Adding insult to injury, cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) have become the go-to “preventive medicine,” despite ever-mounting evidence showing that these drugs can do far more harm than good as well.
Taken together, a low-fat diet and statins is a recipe for chronic health problems, and I cannot advise against falling into this trap strongly enough.
One in four Americans over the age of 45 currently take a statin drug, despite the fact that there are over 900 studies proving their adverse effects, which run the gamut from muscle problems to increased cancer risk—not to mention an increased risk for heart failure!
Questions have also been raised about statins’ potential to cause amnesia and/or dementia-like symptoms in some patients. According to Scientific American,1 hundreds of such cases have been registered with MedWatch, the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) adverse drug reaction database.
Statin Guidelines May Hurt Millions of Healthy People
In November 2013, the US updated its guidelines on cholesterol,2 focusing more on risk factors rather than cholesterol levels—a move estimated to double the number of Americans being prescribed these dangerous drugs.
According to the highly criticized new guideline, if you answer “yes” to ANY of the following four questions, your treatment protocol will call for a statin drug:
1.Do you have heart disease?
2.Do you have diabetes? (either type 1 or type 2)
3.Is your LDL cholesterol above 190?
4.Is your 10-year risk of a heart attack greater than 7.5 percent?
Your 10-year heart attack risk involves the use of a cardiovascular risk calculator, which researchers have warned may overestimate your risk by anywhere from 75 to 150 percent—effectively turning even very healthy people at low risk for heart problems into candidates for statins.
The guideline also does away with the previous recommendation to use the lowest drug dose possible.3 The new guideline basically focuses ALL the attention on statin-only treatment, and at higher dosages.
The UK followed suit in July 2014, recommending statins for otherwise healthy people with a 10 percent or greater 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). As in the US, this was a dramatic change in recommendation, raising the number of Britons eligible for statins by about 4.5 million.
Pediatric Statin Guidelines Dramatically Increase Number of Teens on These Dangerous Drugs
Even teens and young adults are now being placed on statins. In 2011, the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) issued new guidelines4,5 for reducing heart disease in children and adolescents, recommending statin treatment if cholesterol levels are at a certain level.
Meanwhile, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and American Heart Association (AHA) have far tighter restrictions on the use of statins in those under the age of 40.
According to a new study,6 if doctors follow the NHLBI’s guidelines, nearly half a million teens and young adults between the ages of 17-21 will be placed on statins. As reported by Medicinenet.com:7
“Gooding’s team found that 2.5 percent of those with elevated levels of ‘bad’ low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol would qualify for statin treatment under the NHLBI cholesterol guidelines for children, compared with only 0.4 percent under the ACC/AHA adult guidelines.
That means that 483,500 people in that age group would qualify for statin treatment under the NHLBI guidelines, compared with 78,200 under adult guidelines…
It’s common for abnormal cholesterol levels and other heart disease risk factors to start appearing when people are teens, but the two sets of recommendations offer doctors conflicting advice, the researchers said.
For now, they recommend that physicians and patients ‘engage in shared decision making around the potential benefits, harms, and patient preferences for treatment…’”
Statin Drugs Can Wreck Your Health in Multiple Ways
Ironically, while statins are touted as “preventive medicine” to protect your heart health, these drugs can actually have detrimental effects on your heart, especially if you fail to supplement with CoQ10 (or better yet, ubiquinol, which is the reduced and more effective form of CoQ10).
For example, a study published in the journal Atherosclerosis8 showed that statin use is associated with a 52 percent increased prevalence and extent of calcified coronary plaque compared to non-users. And coronary artery calcification is the hallmark of potentially lethal heart disease.
Statins have also been shown to increase your risk of diabetes via a number of different mechanisms, so if you weren’t put on a statin because you have diabetes, you may end up with a diabetes diagnosis courtesy of the drug. Two of these mechanisms include:
- Increasing insulin resistance, which contributes to chronic inflammation in your body, and inflammation is the hallmark of most diseases. In fact, increased insulin resistance can lead to heart disease, which, again, is the primary reason for taking a statin in the first place.
It can also promote belly fat, high blood pressure, heart attacks, chronic fatigue, thyroid disruption, and diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.
- Raising your blood sugar. When you eat a meal that contains starches and sugar, some of the excess sugar goes to your liver, which then stores it away as cholesterol and triglycerides. Statins work by preventing your liver from making cholesterol. As a result, your liver returns the sugar to your bloodstream, which raises your blood sugar levels.
Drug-induced diabetes and conventional lifestyle induced type 2 diabetes are not necessarily identical. If you’re on a statin drug and find that your blood glucose is elevated, it’s possible that what you have is just hyperglycemia—a side effect, and the result of your medication.Unfortunately, many doctors will at that point mistakenly diagnose you with “type 2 diabetes,” and possibly prescribe yet another drug, when all you may need to do is simply discontinue the statin.
Statins also interfere with other biological functions. Of utmost importance, statins deplete your body of CoQ10, which accounts for many of its devastating results Therefore, if you take a statin, you must take supplemental CoQ10 or ubiquinol. Statins also interfere with the mevalonate pathway, which is the central pathway for the steroid management. Products of this pathway that are negatively affected by statins include:
- All your sex hormones
- The dolichols, which are involved in keeping the membranes inside your cells healthy
- All sterols, including cholesterol and vitamin D (which is similar to cholesterol and is produced from cholesterol in your skin)
Refined Carbs—Not Fat—Are Responsible for Heart Disease
As noted by the Institute for Science in Society,9 Ancel Keys’ 1963 “Seven Countries Study” was instrumental in creating the saturated fat myth. He claimed to have found a correlation between total cholesterol concentration and heart disease, but in reality this was the result of cherry picking data.
When data from 16 excluded countries are added back in, the association between saturated fat consumption and mortality vanishes. In fact, the full data set suggests that those who eat the most saturated animal fat tend to have a lower incidence of heart disease:
“Nevertheless, people were advised to cut fat intake to 30 percent of total energy and saturated fat to 10 percent. Dietary fat is believed to have the greatest influence on cardiovascular risk through elevated concentrations of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. But the reduction in LDL cholesterol from reducing saturated fat intake appears to be specific to large, buoyant type A LDL particles, when it is the small dense type B particles – responsive to carbohydrate intake – that are implicated in cardiovascular disease.” [Emphasis mine]
We’ve long acknowledged that the Western diet is associated with increased rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Yet the conventional paradigm is extremely reluctant to accept that it is the sugar content of this diet that is the primary culprit. When you eat more non-vegetable carbohydrates than your body can use, the excess is converted to fat by your liver. This process occurs to help your body maintain blood sugar control in the short-term, however it will likely increase triglyceride concentrations, which will increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Excessive consumption of refined grains and added sugars will also elevate your insulin and leptin levels and raise your risk of insulin/leptin resistance, which is at the heart of many chronic health problems. High insulin levels also suppresses two other important hormones — glucagons and growth hormones — that are responsible for burning fat and sugar and promoting muscle development, respectively.
So elevated insulin from excess carbohydrates promotes fat accumulation, and then dampens your body’s ability to lose that fat. Excess weight and obesity not only lead to heart disease but also a wide variety of other diseases.So, while whole grains are allowed to make health claims saying they’re heart healthy, and low-fat foods are conventionally recognized as healthy for your heart, please remember that replacing saturated fats in your diet (like those from grass-fed beef, raw organic butter, and other high-quality animal foods) with carbohydrates (like breakfast cereal, bread, bagels, and pasta) will actually increase your risk of heart disease, not lower it.
Studies Show Saturated Fat Is Not Associated with Increased Heart Disease Risk, But Sugar Is
In one 2010 study,10 women who ate the most high glycemic foods had more than double the risk of developing heart disease as women who ate the fewest. Previous studies, including an excellent one published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,11 have also linked high-carb diets to heart disease. Contrary to popular belief, the scientific evidence also shows that saturated fat is in fact a necessary part of a heart healthy diet, and firmly debunks the myth that saturated fat promotes heart disease.
- In a 1992 editorial published in the Archives of Internal Medicine,12 Dr. William Castelli, a former director of the Framingham Heart study, stated:
“In Framingham, Mass., the more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the more calories one ate, the lower the person’s serum cholesterol. The opposite of what… Keys et al would predict… We found that the people who ate the most cholesterol, ate the most saturated fat, ate the most calories, weighed the least and were the most physically active.”
- A 2010 meta-analysis,13 which pooled data from 21 studies and included nearly 348,000 adults, found no difference in the risks of heart disease and stroke between people with the lowest and highest intakes of saturated fat.
- Another 2010 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition14 found that a reduction in saturated fat intake must be evaluated in the context of replacement by other macronutrients, such as carbohydrates. When you replace saturated fat with a higher carbohydrate intake, particularly refined carbohydrate, you exacerbate insulin resistance and obesity, increase triglycerides and small LDL particles, and reduce beneficial HDL cholesterol.The authors state that dietary efforts to improve your cardiovascular disease risk should primarily emphasize the limitation of refined carbohydrate intake, and weight reduction.
- A 2014 meta-analysis15 of 76 studies by researchers at Cambridge University found no basis for guidelines that advise low saturated fat consumption to lower your cardiac risk, calling into question all of the standard nutritional guidelines related to heart health. According to the authors: “Current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats.”
Simple Lifestyle Changes Can Effectively Protect Your Heart Health
Contrary to what pharmaceutical PR firms will tell you, statins have nothing to do with reducing your heart disease risk. In fact, this class of drugs can actually increase your heart disease risk—especially if you do not take ubiquinol (CoQ10) along with it to mitigate the depletion of CoQ10 caused by the drug.Poor lifestyle choices are primarily to blame for increased heart disease risk, such as eating too much refined sugar and processed foods, getting too little exercise and movement, lack of sun exposure and rarely, or never grounding to the earth. These are all things that are within your control, and don’t cost much (if any) money to address.
It’s also worth noting that statins can effectively nullify the benefits of exercise, which in and of itself is important to bolster heart health and maintain healthy cholesterol levels. In fact, one of the best ways to condition your heart is to engage in high-intensity interval exercise.16,17 Taking a drug that counteracts your personal efforts to improve your health seems like a really questionable tactic. If you’re currently taking a statin drug and are worried about the excessive side effects they cause, please consult with a knowledgeable health care practitioner who can help you to optimize your heart health naturally, without the use of these dangerous drugs.
Health and WELLness Associates
Dr J Jaranson
Can a Common Spice Treat Depression?
If you find yourself grappling with depression, you are—for better or worse—not alone. However, if you do suffer from depression, you do feel alone.
As of 2012, diagnoses of depression are growing at an alarming rate and, as if depression alone weren’t enough, states that report high rates of depression also report accompanying physical manifestations of stress with greater obesity rates and incidences of heart disease.
Perhaps you have tried talking with a therapist or counselor, which is an effective way to tackle this often desperation-inducing condition, but it often works even better when you treat the chemical side of the issue. Doctors often prescribe a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) such as Fluoxentine, Sertraline and Citalopram, and they are often effective but they sometimes come with side effects that may complicate treatment, at the very least.
Another option you might consider is looking into natural treatments for depression. You might even ask your physician or psychiatric professional what experience and information they have regarding natural approaches to treating depression.
Some of the most common treatments include St. John’s Wort, 5HTP, SAMe, L-Theanine, Vitamin D3, B-vitamins and Fish Oil.
Treatment with Turmeric
Lurking in your spice rack is a potentially powerful component of your depression treatment. Something as delightful and delectable as turmeric that adds the beautiful yellow color to your curry dishes and mustard can actually become an integral part of your wellness. Turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for a wide range of conditions, illnesses and disorders for more than 4,000 years and in China from 700 A.D.
Curcumin and Neurogenesis
Curcumin, which is turmeric’s active ingredient, has been tested on animals and has shown effective improvement over depression in the animals. According to Dr. Weil, curcumin spurs nerve growth in the frontal cortex and hippocampal portions of the brain. One line of thinking attributes depression to damage to the hippocampal neurons, so anything that serves to repair that area might serve as the secret weapon against depression. Along with high impact exercise, bright light and learning, Curcumin has the potential to increase neurogenesis to decrease the negative effects of depression, if not the depression itself.
Curcumin and Turmeric Increase Serotonin and Dopamine in the Brain
Similar to the benefits of SSRIs, turmeric and curcumin increase serotonin levels, which help regulate sleep, learning, memory and mood. To a lesser degree, curcumin increases the level of dopamine in the brain, which controls emotional responses to situations and movement.
Turmeric On Its Own for Treating Depression?
While turmeric is effective in conjunction with SSRIs, it is not yet certain whether you could eschew your antidepressant prescription quite yet. Your doctor might have more information about the synergistic effects of taking turmeric or curcumin as a complement to your SSRI prescription or any other medication you might take to help with depression.
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr G Carney
Cheese really is crack. Study reveals cheese is as addictive as drugs
For years you have been telling people how much you love cheese. Cheese on everything at every meal if you could. Now, will you listen that you’re addicted to cheese. It’s a part of every meal or snack, and you think about it constantly. A new study suggests food addiction is a real thing.
The study, published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, examines why certain foods are more addictive than others. Researchers identified addictive foods from about 500 people who completed the Yale Food Addiction Scale, designed to measure if someone has a food addiction.
Pizza, unsurprisingly, came out on top of the most addictive food list. Besides being a basic food group for kids, college students and adults, there’s a scientific reason we all love pizza, and it has to do with the cheese.
The study found certain foods are addictive because of the way they are processed. The more processed and fatty the food, the more it was associated with addictive eating behaviors.
Cheese happens to be especially addictive because of an ingredient called casein, a protein found in all milk products. During digestion, casein releases opiates called casomorphins. Casomorphins are created from chemicals that are in the milk, and work with the processing of cheeses.
“[Casomorphins] really play with the dopamine receptors and trigger that addictive element,” registered dietitian Cameron Wells told Mic.
There are new studies ahead of how eating cheese as a child will have an effect on their ability to resist addictions in adulthood. In a quick study in Los Angeles CA., college students went to people on the street and in shelters and asked the residents “If you could have any food right now, what would you ask for?” Almost 100% said cheese.
So there you have it. Your cheese addiction has been validated by science.
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr G Carney
Italian Turkey Sausage
1 pound ground turkey
2 teaspoons fennel seed, crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more if you like things spicy!)
In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients. Using your hands, mix well. Wrap in plastic wrap or place in a tightly sealed container and refrigerate overnight before using.
Use as patties, in meatballs, pizza toppings, or any other of your favorite recipes!
Yields: 8 servings | Serving Size: 2 ounces | Calories: 90 | Total Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 137mg | Carbohydrates: 1g | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 0g | Protein: 11g | SmartPoints: 2
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr. J Jaronson
Black Cohosh : Benefits and Uses
Fever, pneumonia, menstrual issues and even musculoskeletal pain – these are just some health problems that Native Americans believe the black cohosh plant may be good for.1 After discovering it over two centuries ago,2 these civilizations are still relying on this perennial plant to address certain illnesses. But how exactly does black cohosh work, and can it really offer benefits for your health?
What Is Black Cohosh?
A member of the buttercup plant family, black cohosh (Actaea racemose – it was previously known as Cimicifuga racemosa3) is a flowering perennial plant that grows in certain parts of the U.S. and Canada.4 From June to September, the plant produces white flowers, but take a look at its roots, and you’ll see that they’re black. This is where the plant gets its name. The rootstock and roots are also knotty and rough, which is why the plant is called “cohosh” – this is actually a Native American word for “rough.”5
The black cohosh plant thrives best in moist and rich soil, and can be seen growing on hillsides and in open woods. It can grow up to 8 feet tall, with pinnate leaves and irregular tooth leaflets.6 The root is believed to be the most beneficial part of the plant. Black cohosh root has a long history of being used medicinally.7 Its rhizomes, which also grows underground, may have healing uses, too.8
Black cohosh is known by other names as well, such as black snakeroot, baneberry, bugwort, rattlesnake root, squaw root and Sheng Ma, to name a few.9 However, remember that black cohosh and blue cohosh should not be confused with each other, as they’re very different plants.10 Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) has been historically used to induce labor or miscarriage, but eventually it was found to be dangerous for the fetus.11
Black Cohosh Uses for Women’s Health
Aside from Native Americans, Europeans have also been using black cohosh for over four decades now. Specifically in Germany, it’s actually approved for alleviating pain associated with premenstrual syndrome, dysmenorrhea and menopause.12 In fact, black cohosh achieved its popularity because of claims stating that it can help control menopause symptoms, including:13,14
Sleep issues and night sweats
Decreased sex drive
Ringing in the ears
Bone density loss (among postmenopausal women)
Reduced mental performance (among postmenopausal women)
This is mainly due to the estrogen-like response in black cohosh, which helps increase low levels of estrogen that are prevalent in most menopausal women. It’s even said that black cohosh may work as a natural hormone replacement.15
Do the Studies Support Black Cohosh’s Purported Claims?
Black cohosh’s potential for easing menopause symptoms has been known since the 1950s, and individual studies are said to support these claims,16 such as:
- A review published in 2010 found that menopausal women had a 26 percent reduction in hot flashes and night sweats when using black cohosh supplements.17
- Published in the journal Gynecological Endocrinology in 2013, a review found that women who took black cohosh had, on average, more reduced menopausal symptoms compared to women who were given a placebo.18
- A 2017 study published in the Neuroscience journal found that black cohosh potentially helped regulate the body temperature of female rats that had no ovaries.19
However, please note that currently there’s still no final and conclusive scientific evidence of black cohosh’s effectiveness for this condition. In addition, most studies that show the positive benefits did not exceed six months to one year of use, which is why long-term use of this supplement is never recommended.20 Therefore, as much as possible, exercise extreme caution before supplementing with black cohosh.
Other Potential Health Benefits Linked to Black Cohosh
In addition to its potential for alleviating menopause symptoms, black cohosh is also believed to help ease other conditions. In fact, Native Americans used it to treat fever, musculoskeletal pain, pneumonia, cough, and even aid in sluggish labor.21 Other possible benefits linked to black cohosh include:22
- Preventing digestive issues: Black cohosh may help improve nutrient uptake, assist in removing waste products, and even reduce constipation and risk of gastric ulcers.
- Easing sleep problems: It’s said to be a natural sedative that can help ease stress, anxiety and insomnia.
- Alleviating premenstrual symptoms: This herb is said to help muscles to relax, easing tension that may lead to painful cramps. It may be useful for women who have irregular cycles as well.23
Again, there’s no conclusive evidence confirming these potential effects of black cohosh, so make sure to consult a physician prior to using this herbal supplement.
Black Cohosh Dosage: What’s the Typical Amount for Supplementation?
Black cohosh supplements are available in different forms, such as capsules or liquid extracts. The roots are also dried and transformed into tea. In some cases, the herb is used as an ingredient in herbal mixtures. You can buy it in drug or health stores, or through online sellers.24
There’s no set dose for this supplement, although in studies, 20 to 40 milligram tablets, taken twice a day, are typically used to ease menopausal symptoms. Do not take over 900 milligrams of black cohosh a day, and do not take it for long periods of time.25 This supplement is ill-advised for children and teenagers. There are also groups of people who should not take black cohosh at any costs, such as:
- People who are allergic to aspirin
- People who have liver disease, seizure disorders or have a high risk of blood clots and stroke
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women
- Women with uterine or breast cancer
- Women suffering from endometriosis
Furthermore, while black cohosh may have positive effects for hot flashes during menopause, please note that women who experience hot flashes as a side effect of cancer therapy (such as chemotherapy or radiation) and cancer medications like tamoxifen (Nolvadex), should not take this herbal supplement.
Not only can this herb interfere with cancer drugs, but there are also concerns stating that its plant-based estrogens (phytoestrogens) may actually stimulate breast tumor growths.26
Black Cohosh May Have Unpleasant Side Effects as Well
The side effects linked to black cohosh usually occur when high doses of this supplement are ingested. Headaches and upset stomach are two common examples. In some people, more severe complications like liver injury have also occurred.
Thus, if you’re using any medication that affects the liver, consult your healthcare provider prior to using black cohosh. People who use hormone replacement therapy, sedatives, birth control pills and blood pressure medicine should also refrain from using this supplement without their physician’s approval.27
Remember: Use Black Cohosh as a Last Resort
While black cohosh may offer potential for easing menopausal symptoms and other hormone-related conditions, I do not recommend it as your first go-to option. Instead, try addressing your diet and see if this may have positive effects on your symptoms. Other strategies include optimizing your vitamin D levels and getting sufficient levels of high-quality omega-3 fats.
Frequently Asked Questions About Black Cohosh
Q: How long does it take for black cohosh to work?
A: According to scientific evidence, black cohosh may help relieve hot flashes and other menopause symptoms after about a month of treatment.28 However, keep in mind that there are no studies confirming its effects after long-term use, so refrain from taking it for long periods of time.
Q: Is black cohosh safe?
A: While black cohosh may be generally safe for healthy people, there are certain individuals who are advised not take this supplement. It can also come with unpleasant side effects like stomach upset and headaches. If you experience these, stop taking it immediately.
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr J Mercola
Dr A Sullivan
Loaded Cauliflower Casserole
This is a start to a heart healthier way of eating!
6 slices bacon, cut 1/2-inch thick
2 medium heads cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets (3 to 4 pounds total)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups shredded Cheddar
4 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
2/3 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Cook the bacon in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until brown and crispy, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings.
Put the cauliflower florets in a 3-quart casserole dish. Toss with the reserved 2 tablespoons bacon drippings, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast until the florets are soft and begin to brown, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix together the cream cheese and 1 cup of the Cheddar in a medium bowl until well combined. Dollop over the cauliflower, then sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup Cheddar and bake until the cauliflower is tender when poked with a knife and the Cheddar is melted and bubbly, 5 to 7 minutes more.
Dollop the sour cream evenly over the casserole and sprinkle with the scallions and reserved bacon pieces.
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr A Sullivan
Vitamin C Doubles Effectiveness of Chemotherapy and Radiation
Each day, more than 1,600 people prematurely die from cancer in the United States. Worldwide, an estimated 20,000 succumb to cancer on a daily basis. For a time, the war on cancer initially waged by Richard Nixon in the ’60s, and the promise of targeted cancer drugs, gave hope.
Alas, they’ve all failed to live up to expectations, and have done nothing to improve cancer death rates. Globally, $91 billion was spent on cancer treatments in 2013. In 2014, no cancer drug was approved costing less than $100,000 for a course of treatment.
Yet, despite their exorbitant price tags, they offer little in terms of survival. Tarceva, for example, increases the median survival for pancreatic cancer patients by a mere 10 days. Meanwhile, there are inexpensive, non-patentable therapies available that could be truly game changing.
One such therapy is high-dose vitamin C. Another is nutritional ketosis — and oncologists in Turkey have presented evidence showing the combination of these two strategies have the ability to “turbo charge” conventional chemo protocols, making them incredibly effective, and far safer to boot.
Vitamin C Improves Effectiveness of Chemo and Radiation
Research has shown vitamin C is selectively cytotoxic to cancer cells when administered intravenously (IV) or in liposomal form in high doses. The mechanism behind vitamin C’s ability to selectively target cancer cells has to do with the generation of hydrogen peroxide, which is ultimately what kills the cancer cells.1
Normal tissues remain unharmed by the high levels of hydrogen peroxide generated because healthy cells have several ways to remove it, thereby preventing buildup to toxic levels.2
One of the primary pathways of removal is the enzyme catalase, and cells with reduced catalase activity — such as cancer cells — are more prone to die from excess reactive oxygen species and secondary free radicals when exposed to high amounts of vitamin C.3,4,5
Recent research6 also shows high-dose vitamin C administration in combination with chemotherapy and radiation significantly improves the effectiveness of these treatments.
Cancer cells have unstable iron particles (also known as redox active iron molecules), which makes them more vulnerable to oxidative damage caused by high-dose vitamin C.
When redox active iron reacts with vitamin C, hydrogen peroxide and associated free radicals are generated, which damage the cancer cells’ DNA and weaken them, thereby making them more vulnerable to the effects of chemo and radiation. As noted by one of the study’s co-authors, Garry Buettner, Ph.D.:7
“This paper reveals a metabolic frailty in cancer cells that is based on their own production of oxidizing agents that allows us to utilize existing redox active compounds, like vitamin C, to sensitize cancer cells to radiation [therapy] and chemotherapy.”
Vitamin C Doubles Survival Rate of Brain Cancer Patients Treated With Radiation
To evaluate the safety of vitamin C, 11 patients with glioblastoma (a highly malignant and aggressive type of brain cancer) received high-dose vitamin C IV treatments three times a week for two months while undergoing radiation therapy, followed by two weekly infusions for another seven months. As reported by Time Magazine:8
“[S]o far, half of the people in the study were alive nearly two years later. The average survival for the disease is generally around a year.
In a separate study designed to get an early sense of the vitamin’s effectiveness, the researchers also tested the high-dose vitamin C in a group of 14 people with non-small cell lung cancer.
So far, 93 percent of the people receiving the vitamin C infusions are responding to chemotherapy and radiation, compared to 40 percent who usually do.
In an encouraging finding, more than 30 percent of the people getting the vitamin C also showed signs of their tumors shrinking. Usually, only 15 percent to 19 percent of people receiving chemo and radiation see their tumors get smaller.”
In the second phase of the trial, the researchers will investigate vitamin C’s effects on patients with stage 4 lung cancer and other aggressive cancers.
Other Ways Vitamin C Benefits Cancer Patients
Aside from the mechanisms already mentioned, vitamin C also benefits cancer by lowering inflammation.9,10,11
As a general rule, chronic inflammation is a hallmark of cancer, and research shows IV vitamin C treatment lowers pro-inflammatory cytokines and C-reactive protein, and that these improvements correlate with a reduction in tumor size.
It also lowers the risk of metastasis. A study done by scientists at the Riordan Clinic (the successor to Linus Pauling and his work on vitamin C) noted a positive response in 75 percent of patients.
Other research12,13 done by scientists at the Lewis Cantley of Weill Cornell Medicine in New York found high doses of vitamin C help kill and eliminate colorectal cancer cells with certain genetic mutations. Other studies14 have shown high-dose vitamin C can help slow the growth of prostate, pancreatic, liver and colon cancer cells.
Human studies also show IV vitamin C can help improve symptoms associated with cancer and cancer treatment, such as fatigue, nausea, vomiting, pain, loss of appetite and overall quality of life.
While the above studies and most protocols use IV vitamin C, there is compelling research and anecdotal clinical evidence to support the use of liposomal vitamin C. It may be nearly as effective, or even more effective, than IV vitamin C.
It certainly is far easier and less expensive to administer. I personally think liposomal C should be in everyone’s medicine cabinet and travel kit, as high doses (such as 2 to 5 grams every hour) can obliterate most infections.
Vitamin C and Nutritional Ketosis Is a Winning Combination
While the featured research is certainly on the right track, an oncology center in Turkey has taken it a step further, showing that vitamin C in combination with nutritional ketosis improves the effectiveness of chemotherapy to such a degree that a minimal dose can be used to treat even the most aggressive and advanced cancers.
I recently interviewed Dr. Abdul Kadir Slocum from the ChemoThermia Oncology Center in Turkey about this research. If you missed it, you’d be well advised to watch it now, because this metabolically supported therapy is truly groundbreaking, offering hope where previously there was none.
In summary, metabolically supported chemotherapy involves applying chemotherapy with a variety of interventions to support its effectiveness. This includes the use of high-dose vitamin C, a ketogenic diet, hyperthermia, glycolytic inhibitors and hyperbaric oxygen therapy, just to name a few.
All oncology patients at the center are put on a ketogenic diet, which creates metabolic stress on the cancer cells.
Then, prior to administering the chemo, the patient will do a minimum 14-hour fast (Slocum recommends fasting as long as possible, but a minimum of 14 hours is required), which further increases the metabolic stress on the cancer cells.
At this point, the patients will typically have a blood glucose level around 80 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). They then apply glycolytic inhibitors to inhibit the glycolysis pathway in the cancer cells, which creates a terrific amount of metabolic stress, as the cancer cells are already starved of glucose.
Insulin is then applied to lower the blood glucose levels to around 50 or 60 mg/dL, inducing mild hypoglycemia. At that point, when the cancer cells are maximally stressed and weakened, the chemotherapy drug is applied. An added boon of this metabolic approach is that a far lower dose of chemotherapy can be effectively used, thereby lowering the risk of side effects.
In the days following chemotherapy, hyperthermia and hyperbaric oxygen therapy is applied, plus a daily infusion of glycolytic inhibitor therapies with high-dose vitamin C (50 grams) and dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO).
Metabolically Supported Chemotherapy Successfully Treats Aggressive Cancers
Two years ago, Slocum’s oncology team published its first paper,15 reporting complete response for stage 3 rectal cancer. The standard of care for rectal cancer and the only curative option has been surgery or chemo-radiotherapy followed by surgery. In this case, they used metabolically supported chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hyperthermia. No surgery was necessary.
Their second paper,16 published in January 2016, was a case series of 33 patients with stage 3 and 4 pancreatic cancer — one of the most aggressive and deadly cancers known. Eighty-one percent of these patients had stage 4 disease when the treatment began, and many of them also had large scale liver metastasis. The typical life expectancy of someone with stage 4 pancreatic cancer is six to 10 months. Most die within weeks or months once they have large-scale liver metastasis.
The center treated them with a standard conventional protocol using chemotherapy applied in a metabolically supported fashion (which included the ketogenic diet, fasting prior to chemo administration, high-dose vitamin C, plus hyperthermia, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, supplements and glycolysis inhibitors).
The expected median survival time for the conventional chemotherapy protocol alone is between six and 11 months, depending on the drug used. But when given in combination with these other metabolic supports, the median survival time shot up to 20 months, and over 50 percent of the patients are still alive today!
Nutritional Ketosis Appears to Be a Key Component of Successful Cancer Treatment
Maintaining nutritional ketosis and fasting for a minimum of 14 hours before the chemotherapy treatment appears to be key for the overwhelming success rate achieved by ChemoThermia Oncology Center. A number of other researchers have verified the remarkable ability of a ketogenic diet to prevent and suppress cancer, and when you combine that with fasting and high-dose vitamin C, you end up creating a very hostile environment for cancer cells.
My new book, “Fat for Fuel” — which has been peer-reviewed by over two dozen medical and scientific experts — details how to implement nutritional ketosis for optimal health and disease prevention. Besides the information presented in “Fat for Fuel,” you’ll also find many collaborative supports, including a nine-hour-long free video series that we hope to launch in early May.
Credentialed nutrition professional Miriam Kalamian is also developing a certification course to go along with it through the American College of Nutrition.
This certification will teach any qualified clinician — primarily certified clinical nutritionists but also physicians — how to practically implement nutritional ketosis. Eventually, I expect there will be a virtual army of clinicians available to assist patients with this kind of protocol. Hopefully, at that point we’ll finally start making a dent in cancer statistics.
An important but often overlooked aspect of nutritional ketosis is “feast and famine cycling.” Meaning, you don’t actually want to stay in ketosis indefinitely. The real magic actually happens during the refeeding phase, so one or two days a week, you’ll want to increase your carb and protein intake, and then cycle back into nutritional ketosis again.
ChemoThermia Oncology Center uses this kind of cycling as well, although under far stricter conditions. When you’re dealing with late-stage cancer, you cannot break your ketosis that frequently. However, on the days patients receive chemotherapy, which is once every two or three weeks, they’re allowed to eat as many carbohydrates as they want.
Health Wellness Associates
Dr. Anna Sullivan
Gardasil Death Confirms Presence of HPV DNA Fragments
Oncology Dietitian Exposes Fraud in CDC’s HPV Vaccine Effectiveness Study
There are currently two HPV vaccines on the market, but if there was any regard for sound scientific evidence, neither would be promoted as heavily as they are. The first, Gardasil, was licensed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006. It is now recommended as a routine vaccination for girls and women between the ages of 9-26 in the US.
On October 25, 2011, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices also voted to recommend giving the HPV vaccine to males between the ages of 11 and 21. The second HPV vaccine, Cervarix, was licensed in 2009.
Most recently, an oncology dietitian pointed out significant discrepancies1 in a new HPV vaccine effectiveness study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases2, which evaluated data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), 2003-2006 and 2007-2010.
The study pointed out that HPV vaccine uptake among young girls in the US has been low but concluded that:
“Within four years of vaccine introduction, the vaccine-type HPV prevalence decreased among females aged 14–19 years despite low vaccine uptake. The estimated vaccine effectiveness was high.”
Assessing the Overall Impact of the HPV Vaccine
In her article3, Sharlene Bidini, RD, CSO, points out that the study’s conclusion was based on 740 girls, of which only 358 were sexually active, and of those, only 111 had received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine. In essence, the vast majority was unvaccinated, and nearly half were not at risk of HPV since they weren’t sexually active.
“If the study authors were trying to determine vaccine effectiveness, why did they include the girls who had not received a single HPV shot or did not report having sex?” she writes.
“Table 1 from the journal article compares 1,363 girls, aged 14-19, in the pre-vaccine era (2003-2006) to all 740 girls in the post-vaccine era (2007-2010) regardless of sexual history or immunization status.”
In the pre-vaccine era, an estimated 53 percent of sexually active girls between the ages of 14-19 had HPV. Between 2007 and 2010, the overall prevalence of HPV in the same demographic declined by just over 19 percent to an overall prevalence of nearly 43 percent.
As Bidini points out, this reduction in HPV prevalence can NOT be claimed to be due to the effectiveness of HPV vaccinations. On the contrary, the data clearly shows that it was the unvaccinated girls in this group that had the best outcome!
“In 2007-2010, the overall prevalence of HPV was 50 percent in the vaccinated girls (14-19 years), but only 38.6 percent in the unvaccinated girls of the same age.
Therefore, HPV prevalence dropped 27.3 percent in the unvaccinated girls, but only declined by 5.8 percent in the vaccinated group. In four out of five different measures, the unvaccinated girls had a lower incidence of HPV,” she writes.
Furthermore, in the single instance where unvaccinated girls had a 9.5 percent higher prevalence of HPV, a note stated that the relative standard error was greater than 30 percent, leading Bidini to suspect that “the confidence interval values must have been extremely wide. Therefore, this particular value is subject to too much variance and doesn’t have much value.”
Another fact hidden among the reported data was that among the 740 girls included in the post-vaccine era (2007-2010), the prevalence of high-risk, non-vaccine types of HPV also significantly declined, from just under 21 percent to just over 16 percent.
So, across the board, HPV of all types, whether included in the vaccine or not, declined. This points to a reduction in HPV prevalence that has nothing to do with vaccine coverage. Besides, vaccine uptake was very LOW to begin with.
All in all, one can conclude that there were serious design flaws involved in this study—whether intentional or not—leading the researchers to erroneously conclude that the vaccine effectiveness was “high.” Clearly the effectiveness of the vaccine was anything but high, since the unvaccinated group fared far better across the board.
Case Report of a Gardasil Death Confirms Presence of HPV DNA Fragments
Earlier this year, a lab scientist, who discovered HPV DNA fragments in the blood of a teenage girl who died after receiving the Gardasil vaccine, published a case report in the peer reviewed journal Advances in Bioscience and Biotechnology4. The otherwise healthy girl died in her sleep six months after receiving her third and final dose of the HPV vaccine. A full autopsy revealed no cause of death.
Sin Hang Lee with the Milford Molecular Laboratory in Connecticut confirmed the presence of HPV-16 L1 gene DNA in the girl’s postmortem blood and spleen tissue. These DNA fragments are also found in the vaccine. The fragments were protected from degradation by binding firmly to the particulate aluminum adjuvant used in the vaccine.
“The significance of these HPV DNA fragments of a vaccine origin found in post-mortem materials is not clear and warrants further investigation,” he wrote.
Lee suggests the presence of HPV DNA fragments of vaccine origin might offer a plausible explanation for the high immunogenicity of Gardasil, meaning that the vaccine has the ability to provoke an exaggerated immune response. He points out that the rate of anaphylaxis in girls receiving Gardasil is far higher than normal—reportedly five to 20 times higher than any other school-based vaccination program!
HPV Vaccine Is Associated with Serious Health Risks, Including Sudden Death
Many women are not aware that the HPV vaccine Gardasil might actually increase your risk of cervical cancer. Initially, that information came straight from Merck and was presented to the FDA prior to approval5. According to Merck’s own research, if you have been exposed to HPV strains 16 or 18 prior to receipt of Gardasil vaccine, you could increase your risk of precancerous lesions, or worse, by 44.6 percent.
Other health problems associated with Gardasil vaccine include immune-based inflammatory neurodegenerative disorders, suggesting that something is causing the immune system to overreact in a detrimental way—sometimes fatally.
Between June 1, 2006 and December 31, 2008, there were 12,424 reported adverse events following Gardasil vaccination, including 32 deaths. The girls, who were on average 18 years old, died within two to 405 days after their last Gardasil injection
Between May 2009 and September 2010, 16 additional deaths after Gardasil vaccination were reported. For that timeframe, there were also 789 reports of “serious” Gardasil adverse reactions, including 213 cases of permanent disability and 25 diagnosed cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome
Between September 1, 2010 and September 15, 2011, another 26 deaths were reported following HPV vaccination
As of May 13, 2013, VAERS had received 29,686 reports of adverse events following HPV vaccinations, including 136 reports of death,6, as well as 922 reports of disability, and 550 life-threatening adverse events
Lawsuit Reveals Payouts of Nearly $6 Million to HPV Vaccine-Damaged Victims
On February 28, 2013 the government watchdog group Judicial Watch announced it had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to obtain records from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) related to the HPV vaccine7. The lawsuit was filed in order to force the DHHS to comply with an earlier FOIA request, filed in November 2012, which had been ignored. As reported by WND.com8:
“Judicial Watch wants all records relating to the VICP, any documented injuries or deaths associated with HPV vaccines and all records of compensation paid to the claimants following injury or death allegedly associated with the HPV vaccines… The number of successful claims made under the VICP to victims of HPV will provide further information about any dangers of the vaccine, including the number of well-substantiated cases of adverse reactions.”
On March 20, Judicial Watch announced it had received the FOIA documents from the DDHS, which revealed that the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has awarded $5,877,710 to 49 victims for harm resulting from the HPV vaccine. According to the press release9: “On March 12, 2013, The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of HHS, provided Judicial Watch with documents revealing the following information:
Only 49 of the 200 claims filed have been compensated for injury or death caused from the (HPV) vaccine. Of the 49 compensated claims, 47 were for injury caused from the (HPV) vaccine. The additional 2 claims were for death caused due to the vaccine.
92 (nearly half) of the total 200 claims filed are still pending. Of those pending claims, 87 of the claims against the (HPV) vaccine were filed for injury. The remaining 5 claims were filed for death.
59 claims have been dismissed outright by VICP. The alleged victims were not compensated for their claims against the HPV vaccine. Of the claims dismissed, 57 were for injuries, 2 were for deaths allegedly caused by the HPV vaccine.
The amount awarded to the 49 claims compensated totaled 5,877,710.87 dollars. This amounts to approximately $120,000 per claim.
This new information from the government shows that the serious safety concerns about the use of Gardasil have been well-founded,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Public health officials should stop pushing Gardasil on children.”
Review of HPV Vaccine Trials Conclude Effectiveness Is Still Unproven
Last year, a systematic review10 of pre- and post-licensure trials of the HPV vaccine by researchers at University of British Columbia showed that the vaccine’s effectiveness is not only overstated (through the use of selective reporting or “cherry picking” data) but also unproven. In the summary of the clinical trial review, the authors state it quite clearly:
“We carried out a systematic review of HPV vaccine pre- and post-licensure trials to assess the evidence of their effectiveness and safety. We found that HPV vaccine clinical trials design, and data interpretation of both efficacy and safety outcomes, were largely inadequate. Additionally, we note evidence of selective reporting of results from clinical trials (i.e., exclusion of vaccine efficacy figures related to study subgroups in which efficacy might be lower or even negative from peer-reviewed publications).
Given this, the widespread optimism regarding HPV vaccines long-term benefits appears to rest on a number of unproven assumptions (or such which are at odds with factual evidence) and significant misinterpretation of available data.
For example, the claim that HPV vaccination will result in approximately 70% reduction of cervical cancers is made despite the fact that the clinical trials data have not demonstrated to date that the vaccines have actually prevented a single case of cervical cancer (let alone cervical cancer death), nor that the current overly optimistic surrogate marker-based extrapolations are justified.
Likewise, the notion that HPV vaccines have an impressive safety profile is only supported by highly flawed design of safety trials and is contrary to accumulating evidence from vaccine safety surveillance databases and case reports which continue to link HPV vaccination to serious adverse outcomes (including death and permanent disabilities).
We thus conclude that further reduction of cervical cancers might be best achieved by optimizing cervical screening (which carries no such risks) and targeting other factors of the disease rather than by the reliance on vaccines with questionable efficacy and safety profiles.” [Emphasis mine]
Talk to Your Kids about HPV and Gardasil
There are better ways to protect yourself or your young daughters against cancer than getting Gardasil or Cervarix vaccinations, and it’s important you let your children know this. In more than 90 percent of HPV infections, HPV infection is cleared within two years on its own, so keeping your immune system strong is far more important than getting vaccinated.
In addition, HPV infection is spread through sexual contact and research11 has demonstrated that using condoms can reduce your risk of HPV infection by 70 percent, which is far more effective than the HPV vaccine. Because this infection is sexually transmitted, the risk of infection can be greatly reduced by lifestyle choices, including abstinence. In addition, there are high risk factors for chronic HPV infection including smoking, co-infection with herpes, Chlamydia or HIV and long-term birth control use. Women chronically infected with HPV for many years, who don’t get pre-cancerous cervical lesions promptly identified and treated, can develop cervical cancer and die.
So it is important to remember that, even if they get vaccinated, girls and women should get Pap test screening every few years for cervical changes that may indicate pre-cancerous lesions because there is little guarantee that either Gardasil or Cervarix vaccinations will prevent cervical cancer. After Pap test screening became a routine part of health care for American women in the 1960’s, cervical cancer cases in the U.S. dropped 74 percent and continued Pap testing is recommended for women who receive HPV vaccines.
Why We Must Protect Vaccine Exemptions
There can be no doubt that we are in urgent need of a serious vaccine safety review in the US. Quality science is simply not being done. And very few vaccine recommendations, which prop up state vaccine mandates, stand on firm scientific ground. Your right to vaccine exemptions is also increasingly under threat.
I urge you to get involved in the monumentally important task of defending YOUR right to know and freedom to choose which vaccines you and your child will use. The non-profit charity, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), has been preventing vaccine injuries and deaths through public education for more than 30 years and is leading the advocacy effort in the states to protect vaccine exemptions. Supporting NVIC is one way you can help, in addition to signing up for the free online NVIC Advocacy Portal so you stay informed about threats to vaccine exemptions in your state and contact your state legislators to make your voice heard.
All across the United States, people are fighting for their right not to be injected with vaccines against their will. These threats come in a variety of guises like California bill AB49912, which permits minor children as young as 12 years old to be vaccinated with sexually transmitted disease vaccines like Gardasil without parental knowledge or parental consent! In light of the evidence that HPV vaccines have not been proven safe or effective, how wise is it to allow doctors to give a minor child Gardasil or Cervarix vaccinations without informing and getting the consent of parents? How are parents supposed to monitor their children for signs of a vaccine reaction if they don’t even know their children have been given a vaccine? It’s nothing short of reprehensible.
I cannot stress enough how critical it is to get involved and stand up for your human right to exercise informed consent to vaccination and protect your legal right to obtain medical and non-medical vaccine exemptions. This does not mean you have to opt out of all vaccinations if you decide that you want to give one or more vaccines to your child. The point is, EVERYONE should have the right to evaluate the potential benefits and real risks of any pharmaceutical product, including vaccines, and opt out of any vaccine they decide is unnecessary or not in the best interest of their child’s health. Every child is different and has a unique personal and family medical history, which may include severe allergies or autoimmune and neurological disorders, that could increase the risks of vaccination.
It is your parental right to make potentially life-altering health decisions for your own children. Why wouldn’t you want to keep that right—even if you want your child to receive most or all vaccinations currently available? Tomorrow there might be a vaccine you don’t want your child to receive, but if you’ve failed to support strong informed consent protections in public health laws, which includes the legal right for all Americans to take medical and non-medical vaccine exemptions, you’ve given away your own freedom to choose in the future…
Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More
I encourage you to visit the following web pages on the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) website at http://www.NVIC.org:
NVIC Memorial for Vaccine Victims: View descriptions and photos of children and adults, who have suffered vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths. If you or your child experiences an adverse vaccine event, please consider posting and sharing your story here.
If You Vaccinate, Ask 8 Questions: Learn how to recognize vaccine reaction symptoms and prevent vaccine injuries.
Vaccine Freedom Wall: View or post descriptions of harassment by doctors, employers or school officials for making independent vaccine choices.
NVIC Advocacy Portal: Sign up today to be a user of this free online privacy-protected network of concerned citizens all working to educate legislators to protect vaccine exemptions in public health policies and laws.
Connect with Your Doctor or Find a New One That Will Listen and Care
If your pediatrician or doctor refuses to provide medical care to you or your child unless you agree to get vaccines you don’t want, I strongly encourage you to have the courage to find another doctor. Harassment, intimidation, and refusal of medical care is becoming the modus operandi of the medical establishment in an effort to stop the change in attitude of many parents about vaccinations after they become truly educated about health and vaccination.
However, there is hope.
At least 15 percent of young doctors polled in the past few years admit that they’re starting to adopt a more individualized approach to vaccinations in direct response to the vaccine safety concerns of parents. It is good news that there is a growing number of smart young doctors, who prefer to work as partners with parents in making personalized vaccine decisions for children, including delaying vaccinations or giving children fewer vaccines on the same day or continuing to provide medical care for those families, who decline use of one or more vaccines.
So take the time to locate a doctor, who treats you with compassion and respect and is willing to work with you to do what is right for your child.
Health Wellness Associates
Dr. Anna Sullivan
1 in 6 Women Take This Nightmare Pill While Many Studies Suggest It’s Useless
Use of Antidepressants Continue to Rise
Major depression is one of the most common disorders in the U.S.,1 with 16 million adults reporting at least one major depressive episode in the past year.2,3 When you look at all forms of depression, that number goes even higher. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 24 million Americans experience some form of depression,4 which can interfere with personal and work relationships, reduce work or academic performance and affect physical health.
Depression reduces your ability to care for yourself properly and make adequate decisions about your health, including nutrition and sleep. Imbalances in nutrition, weight fluctuations and poor sleep habits may lead to compromised immune function.5
If ignored, depression can become chronic and can lead to self-harming behaviors such as drug or alcohol abuse6 and even be terminal if the person commits suicide. Up to 70 percent of people who commit suicide are clinically depressed,7 and 90 percent of people who struggle with suicidal thoughts experience a combination of depression and substance abuse.8
Antidepressant Use Continues to Rise
According to the latest statistics,9,10,11,12 use of antidepressants in the U.S. rose by 65 percent between 1999 and 2014. As of 2014:
- Nearly 1 in 8 Americans (13 percent) over the age of 12 reported being on antidepressant medication
- 1 in 6 women (16.5 percent) reported antidepressant use compared to 1 in 11 men (9 percent)
- About one-quarter of those who had taken an antidepressant in the past month reported being on them for 10 years or more
- Caucasians were more than three times more likely to use antidepressants than Blacks, Hispanics or Asians (16.5 percent compared to 5.6 percent, 5 percent and 3.3 percent respectively)
In Scotland, researchers also warn that antidepressant use among children under the age of 12 has risen dramatically.13 Between 2009 and 2016, use in this age group quadrupled. Use among children under 18 doubled in the same time frame.
Research Reveals Antidepressants Are Rarely the Right Answer
Unfortunately, the most widely used remedy for depression is also among the least effective. In addition to a long list of potential side effects14,15 (which include worsening depression and suicide), 40 percent of people with major depressive disorder treated with antidepressants do not achieve full remission.16
Perhaps more importantly, studies17,18,19 have repeatedly shown antidepressants work no better than placebo for mild to moderate depression, so you’re taking grave risks for a very small chance of benefit. As noted in a 2014 paper on antidepressants and the placebo effect:20
“Antidepressants are supposed to work by fixing a chemical imbalance, specifically, a lack of serotonin in the brain … But analyses of the published data and the unpublished data that were hidden by drug companies reveals that most (if not all) of the benefits are due to the placebo effect …
Analyzing the data we had found, we were not surprised to find a substantial placebo effect on depression. What surprised us was how small the drug effect was. Seventy-five percent of the improvement in the drug group also occurred when people were give dummy pills with no active ingredient in them.
The serotonin theory is as close as any theory in the history of science to having been proved wrong. Instead of curing depression, popular antidepressants may induce a biological vulnerability making people more likely to become depressed in the future.”
Placebo Effect Accounts for 82 Percent of Drug Response
The author of that 2014 study, Irving Kirsch, is a psychotherapist who has performed a number of analyses on antidepressants. In 2002, his team filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), asking for the trial data provided by drug companies as part of the drug approval process.
The FDA requires drug companies to provide data on all clinical trials they’ve sponsored, including unpublished trials. As it turned out, nearly half of all clinical trials on antidepressants remained unpublished. When both published and unpublished trials were included, 57 percent showed the drug had no clinical benefit over placebo. What’s more, the placebo response actually accounted for 82 PERCENT of the beneficial response to antidepressants!
These results were reproduced in a 2008 study21 using another, even larger set of FDA trial data. According to Kirsch, “Once again, 82 percent of the drug response was duplicated by placebo.” A major benefit of evaluating FDA trial data was that all of the trials used the same primary measure of depression, which made the drug-to-placebo effects very easy to identify and compare.
The primary measure of depression used in these studies was the Hamilton depression scale, a 17-item scale with a possible score of 0 to 53 points. The higher your score, the more severe your depression. Importantly, the mean difference between antidepressants and placebo was less than two points (1.8) on this scale, which is considered clinically insignificant.
To illustrate just how insignificant of a difference this is, you can score a 6-point difference simply by changing sleep patterns without any reported change in other depressive symptoms.
EMFs — A Not Well-Known Cause of Anxiety and Depression
About one year ago Dr. Martin Pall published a review22 in the Journal of Neuroanatomy showing how microwave radiation from cell phones, Wi-Fi routers and computers and tablets not in airplane mode is clearly associated with many neuropsychiatric disorders. I recently did an interview with him that will air on September 3. In the meantime, you can view my interview on EMFs that I discussed on my recent trip to visit with Dave Asprey, founder and CEO of Bulletproof.23
These microwave EMFs increase intracellular calcium through voltage gated calcium channels (VGCCs) and the tissue with the highest density of VGCCs is the brain. Once these VGCCs are stimulated they also cause the release of neurotransmitters and neuroendocrine hormones leading to not only anxiety and depression, but neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and brain cancer.
So, if you struggle with anxiety or depression, be sure to limit your exposure to wireless technology. Simple measures include turning your Wi-Fi off at night, not carrying your cellphone on your body and not keeping portable phones, cellphones and other electric devices in your bedroom.
Studies have also confirmed the therapeutic effects of spending time in nature. Ecotherapy has been shown to lower stress, improve mood and significantly reduce symptoms of depression.24 Outdoor activities could be just about anything, from walking a nature trail to gardening, or simply taking your exercise outdoors.
Breath work such as the Buteyko breathing technique also has enormous psychological benefits and can quickly reduce anxiety by increasing the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in your body. These three techniques are a perfect complement to each other, and cost nothing. Simply turn off your electronics, head outside and practice proper breathing.
America Struggles With Notable Decline in Mental Health
While prescriptions for psychiatric drugs keep increasing (when you include other drugs beside antidepressants, such as anti-anxiety drugs, nearly 17 percent of American adults are medicated25,26), several parameters show mental health in the U.S. is declining.
Suicide rates are at a 30-year high, mental disorders are now the second most common cause of disability, having risen sharply since 1980,27 and prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths have become a public health emergency. While opioid pain killers are among the most lethal, psychiatric drugs also take their toll. In 2013, anti-anxiety benzodiazepine drugs accounted for nearly one-third of prescription overdose deaths.28
All of these statistics suggest that far from being helpful, antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs are making the situation worse. Sure, these drugs may be helpful for a small minority of people with very severe mental health problems, such as schizophrenia, but clearly, the vast majority of people using these drugs do not suffer from severe psychiatric illness.
Most are struggling with sadness, grief, anxiety, “the blues” and depression, which are in many ways part of your body’s communication system, revealing nutritional or sunlight deficiencies and/or spiritual disconnect, for example. The underlying reasons for these kinds of troubles are manifold, but you can be sure that, whatever the cause, an antidepressant will not correct it.
Women also need to be mindful of the fact that use of antidepressants during pregnancy can significantly increase your chances of having a child with autism. One study found antidepressant use during the second or third trimester was associated with an 87 percent increased risk of autism.29 The use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors was associated with double the risk of autism in the child, while the use of two or more antidepressants increased the risk more than fourfold.
Which Treatments Actually Work?
If you’re at all interested in following science-based recommendations, you’d place antidepressants at the very bottom of your list of treatment candidates. Far more effective treatments for depression include:
- Exercise — A number of studies have shown exercise outperforms drug treatment. Exercise helps create new GABA-producing neurons that help induce a natural state of calm, and boosts serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which helps buffer the effects of stress.
Studies have shown there is a strong correlation between improved mood and aerobic capacity, but even gentle forms of exercise can be effective. Yoga, for example, has received particular attention in a number of studies. A study published this spring found 90-minute yoga sessions three times a week reduced symptoms of major depression by at least 50 percent.30
- Nutritional intervention — Keeping inflammation in check is an important part of any effective treatment plan. If you’re gluten sensitive, you will need to remove all gluten from your diet. A food sensitivity test can help ascertain this. Reducing lectins may also be a good idea. As a general guideline, eating a whole food diet as described in my optimal nutrition plan can go a long way toward lowering your inflammation level. Certain nutritional deficiencies are also notorious contributors to depression, especially:
◦ Omega-3 fats. I recommend getting an omega-3 index test to make sure you’re getting enough. Ideally, you want your omega-3 index to be 8 percent or higher.
◦ B vitamins (including B1, B2, B3, B6, B8 and B12). Low dietary folate can raise your risk by as much as 300 percent.31,32 One of the most recent studies33,34 showing the importance of vitamin deficiencies in depression involved suicidal teens. Most turned out to be deficient in cerebral folate and all of them showed improvement after treatment with folinic acid.
- Vitamin D — Studies have shown vitamin D deficiency can predispose you to depression and that depression can respond favorably to optimizing your vitamin D stores, ideally by getting sensible sun exposure.35,36 In one such study,37 people with a vitamin D level below 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) had an 85 percent increased risk of depression compared to those with a level greater than 30 ng/mL.
A double-blind randomized trial38 published in 2008 concluded that supplementing with high doses of vitamin D “seems to ameliorate [depression] symptoms indicating a possible causal relationship. “Recent research39 also claims that low vitamin D levels appear to be associated with suicide attempts. For optimal health, make sure your vitamin D level is between 40 and 60 ng/mL year-round. Ideally, get a vitamin D test at least twice a year to monitor your level.
- Probiotics — Keeping your gut microbiome healthy also has a significant effect on your moods, emotions and brain. You can read more in my previous article, “Mental Health May Depend on the Health of Your Gut Flora.”
- Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) — EFT is a form of psychological acupressure that has been shown to be quite effective for depression and anxiety.40,41,42,43 For serious or complex issues, seek out a qualified health care professional that is trained in EFT44 to guide you through the process. That said, for most of you with depression symptoms, this is a technique you can learn to do effectively on your own.
One of my new favorites. My mom passed away unexpectedly in July and I am very grateful she did not have cancer or struggles with any abuses from the conventional health system that many of our readers do. However, losing my mother was a major challenge in grief management for me.
I realize grief is not depression but the book “Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender”45 by Dr. David Hawkins, was one of the best books I have read this year and helped teach me the useful tool of how to free yourself of painful emotions. I have read many of Hawkins’ previous books but this was his last one as he also recently passed.
Other Helpful Treatment Strategies
Here are several other strategies that can help improve your mental health:46
Clean up your sleep hygiene
Make sure you’re getting enough high-quality sleep, as sleep is essential for optimal mood and mental health. A fitness tracker that tracks your sleep can be a useful tool. The inability to fall asleep and stay asleep can be due to elevated cortisol levels, so if you have trouble sleeping, you may want to get your saliva cortisol level tested with an Adrenal Stress Index test.
If you’re already taking hormones, you can try applying a small dab of progesterone cream on your neck or face when you awaken during the night and can’t call back to sleep. Another alternative is to take adaptogens, herbal products that help lower cortisol and adjust your body to stress. There are also other excellent herbs and amino acids that help you to fall asleep and stay asleep. Meditation can also help.
Optimize your gut health
A number of studies have confirmed gastrointestinal inflammation can play a critical role in the development of depression.47 Optimizing your gut microbiome will also help regulate a number of neurotransmitters and mood-related hormones, including GABA and corticosterone, resulting in reduced anxiety and depression-related behavior.48
To nourish your gut microbiome, be sure to eat plenty of fresh vegetables and traditionally fermented foods. Healthy choices include fermented vegetables, lassi, kefir and natto. If you do not eat fermented foods on a regular basis, taking a high-quality probiotic supplement is recommended.
Also remember to severely limit sugars, especially fructose, as well as grains, to rebalance your gut flora. As a standard recommendation, I suggest limiting your daily fructose consumption from all sources to 25 grams per day or less.
Visualization and guided imagery have been used for decades by elite athletes prior to an event, successful business people and cancer patients — all to achieve better results through convincing your mind you have already achieved successful results.49,50 Similar success has been found in people with depression.51
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT has been used successfully to treat depression.52,53 This therapy assumes mood is related to the pattern of thought. CBT attempts to change mood and reverse depression by directing your thought patterns.
Make sure your cholesterol levels aren’t too low for optimal mental health
You may also want to check your cholesterol to make sure it’s not too low. Low cholesterol is linked to dramatically increased rates of suicide, as well as aggression toward others.54 This increased expression of violence toward self and others may be due to the fact that low membrane cholesterol decreases the number of serotonin receptors in the brain, which are approximately 30 percent cholesterol by weight.
Lower serum cholesterol concentrations therefore may contribute to decreasing brain serotonin, which not only contributes to suicidal-associated depression, but prevents the suppression of aggressive behavior and violence toward self and others.
A number of herbs and supplements can be used in lieu of drugs to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. These include:
- St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum). This medicinal plant has a long historical use for depression, and is thought to work similarly to antidepressants, raising brain chemicals associated with mood such as serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline.55
- S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe). SAMe is an amino acid derivative that occurs naturally in all cells. It plays a role in many biological reactions by transferring its methyl group to DNA, proteins, phospholipids and biogenic amines. Several scientific studies indicate that SAMe may be useful in the treatment of depression.
- 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). 5-HTP is another natural alternative to traditional antidepressants. When your body sets about manufacturing serotonin, it first makes 5-HTP. Taking 5-HTP as a supplement may raise serotonin levels. Evidence suggests 5-HTP outperforms a placebo when it comes to alleviating depression,56 which is more than can be said about antidepressants.
- XingPiJieYu. This Chinese herb, available from doctors of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), has been found to reduce the effects of “chronic and unpredictable stress,” thereby lowering your risk of depression.57
Guidelines for Safe Drug Withdrawal
If you’re currently on an antidepressant and want to get off it, ideally, you’ll want to have the cooperation of your prescribing physician. It would also be wise to do some homework on how to best proceed. Dr. Joseph Glenmullen from Harvard has written a helpful book on how to withdraw called “The Antidepressant Solution: A Step-by-Step Guide to Overcoming Antidepressant Withdrawal, Dependence, and Addiction.”
You can also turn to an organization with a referral list of doctors who practice more biologically or naturally, such as the American College for Advancement in Medicine at http://www.ACAM.org. A holistic psychiatrist will have a number of treatment options in their tool box that conventional doctors do not, and will typically be familiar with nutritional supplementation.
Once you have the cooperation of your prescribing physician, start lowering the dosage of the medication you’re taking. There are protocols for gradually reducing the dose that your doctor should be well aware of. At the same time, it may be wise to add in a multivitamin and/or other nutritional supplements or herbs. Again, your best bet would be to work with a holistic psychiatrist who is well-versed in the use of nutritional support.
If you have a friend or family member who struggles with depression, perhaps one of the most helpful things you can do is to help guide them toward healthier eating and lifestyle habits, as making changes can be particularly difficult when you’re feeling blue — or worse, suicidal. Encourage them to unplug and meet you outside for walks. We should not underestimate the power of human connection, and the power of connection with nature. Both, I believe, are essential for mental health and emotional stability.
If you are feeling desperate or have any thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a toll-free number: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or call 911, or simply go to your nearest hospital emergency department. You cannot make long-term plans for lifestyle changes when you are in the middle of a crisis.
Health Wellness Associates
Dr. J Mercola
Dr. P Carrothers