Antidepressants and Gun Violence
- Created on Sunday, 13 January 2013 14:23
Here is a link which presents 4800+ stories about people on antidepressants who went ballistic and started killing. As you know, the killings have been very much in the news lately. But even the link to antidepressants has been getting some coverage.
Last night, I was watching Geraldo, and he included a segment which featured a debate between a man who has started a new 2nd Amendment group and a woman who is involved in a group advocating gun controls. And to account for the recent wave of murderous gun violence, the man listed several causes, and one of them, which he kept saying over and over, was "pharmaceuticals."
I'm sure the execs at Fox News didn't like that. As you know, pharmaceutical companies are big sponsors of television, and particularly, news programs. Every night on the evening news- whichever channel- at least a third of the ads are for drugs, and it may be closer to half. And many of them are for prescription drugs. They are spending billions of dollars a year to advertise prescription drugs to the general public. Does that mean that in medical practice, it's common for patients to call the shots? To some extent, yes, but don't forget: doctors watch tv too. And today, more than ever before, Medicine is all about conformity.
But, here is what Dr. Peter Breggin says, a non-conforming psychiatrist.
"First, there is no evidence that antidepressants prevent violence and a great deal of evidence that they cause it.
Second, antidepressants almost never cure depression and instead they frequently worsen depression.
Third, antidepressants never cure biochemical imbalances. Instead, they always cause them. There are no known biochemical imbalances in the brains of depressed people until they start taking toxic psychiatric drugs and every person who takes one of these drugs end up with a significant biochemical disturbance in the brain. That's how the drugs work--by disrupting normal biochemical processes in the brain.
Fourth, when all antidepressant studies are examined as a group, rather than cherry-picked by the drug companies, antidepressants are no better than placebo.
FDA approval for an antidepressant requires that the drug companies produce only two positive clinical trials showing that the drug performs better than a sugar pill. So the drug companies carry out numerous studies using their more reliable paid hacks. Back at company headquarters, they then manipulate the data until they can make two studies look positive. Meanwhile, when all the studies are examined in what's called a meta-analysis, the antidepressants are no better than a sugar pill. And of course, they are extraordinarily more dangerous.
Conclusion? Antidepressants are a hoax--in this case, a hoax that is getting people killed."
Here is the link, and I thank Linda Hadley for sending it to me.
Marijuana and Health
- Created on Monday, 24 December 2012 04:56
I have been asked by a reader to address the health effects of Marijuana. Several states are close to passing laws decriminalizing marijuana, including not just for medical marijuana but also for recreational marijuana, and it is certain to lead to a showdown with the federal government. States rights died in the USA a long time ago.
But, in any case, I wish these states all the luck. I fervently support legalized marijuana. After all, why not? People can smoke tobacco, and that's bad. They can drink alcohol in many forms, and that's bad. Look how many fatal road accidents occur because of alcohol. It's a lot more than for marijuana. And look how much violence, including violence to women and children, occurs because of alcohol. You don't hear about pot smokers going on rampages.
So, I want there to be legalized pot. And that's because I am a libertarian, and I believe that every person has dominion over their own body and should be able to decide what goes into it.
However, on a personal level, I am not the least bit interested in smoking marijuana, and I would not do it even it were legal. It is not a healthy thing to do- legally or otherwise.
First, you have to realize that all forms of smoke are bad for you. The only gas that was ever meant to enter human lungs is pure, fresh air. Smoke- of any kind- is toxic. Even burning incense is toxic.
Smoke is a collection of particles that are emitted in the process of burning, where the particles are suspended in the air. Some of the particles are solid, while others are in a gaseous state. These particles include carcinogenic hydrocarbons- and that's true of all kinds of smoke. But, it varies in quantity, and it so happens that marijuana smoke contains more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke. And, because marijuana smokers typically inhale deeper and hold the smoke in their lungs longer than tobacco smokers, their lungs are exposed to those carcinogenic hydrocarbons longer,
Overall, marijuana smoke contains 50% more carcinogens than tobacco smoke. However, marijuana smoke contains a whopping 3X more tar than tobacco smoke. And there are no low-tar reefers the way there are low-tar cigarattes.
Everything I've mentioned so far pertains to the simple burning of the hemp plant and not to the active ingredient of marijuana, which tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. Notwithstanding any pleasurable buzz people get from THC, we know that it impairs the immune system, increasing the risk of infection and cancer. And the effects on the brain include hallucinations, delusions, disorientation, and impaired memory- and it hardly needs stating that none of that can be considered wholesome or healthy.
THC increases the heart rate- typically about 20 beats per minute but as high as 50! And that's bad for you. You don't want a fast heart rate. Guess what the heart does between beats? It feeds itself. It also clears away its own waste products. Nutrition and Drainage: that is what the heart accomplishes during its resting phase. But when the heart rate speeds up, guess what gets reduced? The resting phase- the interval between beats. Therefore, marijuana is no friend to the heart.
We know that to the lungs, marijuana is every bit as bad as tobacco, increasing the risk of infections, abcesses, and lung cancer.
The bottom line is: unless you're dying, you've got no good reason to smoke marijuana. If you're dying of cancer, and you find that smoking marijuana relieves your nausea and improves your appetite, then far be it from me to want to deny it to you. And I say the same for those who are in the final stages of AIDS.
But, if you've got some life ahead of you, you'd be a damn fool to smoke marijuana, and an even bigger fool to think that it's good for you.
But hey, I defend the rights of people to be damn fools if they so choose. As long as they don't smoke their weed around me, I could care less. Like Ralph Kramden said, "Do I mind if you smoke? I don't care if you burn. Just don't do it around me."
But yes, I would rather that there be potheads galore than for all of us to have live in a Gestapo state. And that is what the War on Drugs is really all about: turning the USA into a Gestapo state.
Statin drug lies and propaganda continue
- Created on Monday, 17 December 2012 19:53
I would like to share this latest edition of Dr. Uffe Ravnskov's newsletter. Dr. Ravnskov is a Swedish clinician, professor, and researcher with vast knowledge and experience, and he is also a true medical hero for standing up to the medical establishment. Here, he discusses the phony claim that statin drugs protect against cancer. If anything, they increase the risk of cancer, which multiple studies have shown. The demonization of cholesterol is surely one of the biggest rackets the medical establishment has ever engaged in for the sake of selling billions of dollars worth of cholesterol-lowering drugs, and nobody has called them on it better than Dr. Uffe Ravsnkov.
Does statin treatment prevent cancer?
Of course not. In my October newsletter I told you how it is possible to manipulate our minds to think that statins protect against almost everything. Here is another example.
Last month Danish researchers published a paper in New England Journal of Medicine entitled Statin use and reduced cancer-related mortality. They had studied how many people who had got cancer in Denmark between 1995 and 2007, how many who had died from cancer and how many of them who had been treated with statins before the cancer was discovered. What they found was that fewer had died among those who had got a statin prescription some time during this period. Therefore they concluded that statin treatment protects against cancer.
What they have ignored is, that at least four studies have shown that people with low cholesterol had a greater risk of getting cancer 20-30 years later, and that people with familial hypercholesterolemia has a lower risk of cancer.
What they also have ignored is that three statin experiment resulted in more cancer in the treatment group an with statistical significance.
What they also have ignored is that several studies of cancer patients and patients without cancer have shown that the cancer patients had been treated much more often with statins than the control individuals.
What they also have ignored is the Japanese study the authors of which treated more than 40,000 patients with a low dose simvastatin. Seven years later three tomes more among those whose cholesterol had been lowered the most had died from cancer compared with those whose cholesterol was unchanged.
Those who advocate statin treatment deny the cancer risk by referring to reviews of the statin trials, which have found no increase of cancer. There is a serious error in these reviews because they have excluded skin cancer from the calculations, although skin cancer is the first cancer type we should expect to see, if statin treatment is carcinogenic, because it is easy to diagnose at an early stage. Indeed, in the two first simvastatin trials 4S and HPS skin cancer was seen more often in the treatment groups, and if the figures from the two trials are calculated together the increase was statistically significant. Since then the number of skin cancer has not been recorded in any statin trial.
The reason why cancer was seen less often among statin-treated people is probably because they have lived most of their life with high cholesterol, which, as I mentioned, protects against cancer, whereas the untreated have lived most of their life with normal or low cholesterol, and low cholesterol is, as I mentioned, a risk factor for cancer. Furthermore, nobody knows how many of the statin-treated patients who really took the drug. A Canadian study found for example that most people who have been prescribed statin treatment have stopped the treatment after two years.
That the lowest cancer mortality among the statin-treated patients was seen among those who had been prescribed the lowest dose is another argument against a cancer-protecting effect. It should of course have been the opposite.
Texas Ruby Reds are in!
- Created on Sunday, 25 November 2012 02:14
I hope that, like me, you are going to take advantage of the new crop of Texas Ruby Red grapefruit that have started. I've been buying mine at Costco, and the quality has been excellent. There is no doubt in my mind that Texas Ruby Red grapefruit is the best grapefruit in the world, and I have eaten grapefruit from California, Arizona, Florida, and several foreign countries including Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Australia. None of them compare to Texas Ruby Reds.
Actually, there are two varities of Texs red grapefruit: Ruby Reds and Star Rubys. The latter are actually redder than the former. They're about as red as red can be- and oh so juicy and sweet. Both were developed at and by Texas A&M University for production in the Texas Rio Grande Valley. Why this grapefruit grows so much better there than anywhere else, I just don't know, but it does. And the red color is due to lycopene. So, it provides the same carotenoid as tomatoes and watermelon. Bear in minds that not all red foods contain lycopene. For instance, neither beets nor strawberries contain lycopene; it's some other red pigment in those foods. And lycopene is a very good thing to get. It's very protective to the lungs, and it has a specific effect to deter prostate cancer. That's why they put it in prostate protection formulas, including ours.
The interesting thing is that grapefruit, itself, is a mutant fruit, an accident of Nature. It's believed to be an accidental cross between an orange and a pomelo, which is the largest citrus fruit. And it reportedly happened in the Bahamas in the 1800s. They noticed that, unlike other citrus fruits, grapefruits grew in clusters- like a bunch of grapes. And that's why they named it grapefruit. The citrus family originated in Southeast Asia.
It's a popular notion that grapefruit is slenderizing, and I think there is some truth to it. Nobody ever got fat eating grapefruit- that is for sure. And it's interesting that grapefruit has the tendency to interfere with the metabolism of certain drugs, either to slow down their breakdown or to speed it up. More often to slow it down, so the idea is that grapefruit increases the concentration of drugs, with possible dangerous effects. For instance, it applies to statin drugs. But from my outlook, and keep in mind that I am only speaking generally and not offering specific advice to anyone, I am inclined to think that most people would be better off keeping the grapefruit and ditching the drugs, rather than vice-versa.
We need to celebrate the simple joys of life, and for me, at this time of year, it means enjoying Texas red grapefruit. So, keep it in mind when you shop, and as far as I'm concerned: the redder the better.
Prescriptoin sleep drugs deadly
- Created on Wednesday, 31 October 2012 16:16
A new study shows prescription sleeping pills increase the risk of early death—and of getting cancer. 60 million prescriptions for sleeping pills—technically called hypnotic drugs—were filled in 2011, up from 47 million in 2006.
It is well known that lack of sleep causes all kinds of havoc, including raising the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and even obesity. But, this new study published in the British Medical Journal says that people taking a prescription sleeping pill—even when taking fewer than eighteen pills per year—have nearly four times the mortality rate of those who don’t take the drugs. And patients who take higher doses of sleeping pills have a 35% increased cancer risk.
This study was prompted by earlier studies showing that hypnotic drugs are often deadly when mixed with alcohol or other drugs, are linked to an increased risk of car accidents and falls, may raise risk of suicide, and may damage chromosomes in cells which could lead to cancer.
What was significant about this study is that it was long-term, keeping track of 10,529 people who had at least one prescription for a sleeping pill between 2002 and 2007, compared with a control group. While the study doesn’t demonstrate causation, it did adjust for confounding factors such as age, smoking, weight, and other health conditions.
So why is FDA approving such dangerous drugs? First, the clinical trials required for FDA approval are grossly inadequate when it comes to hypnotic drugs. Many people take prescription sleeping pills for years, even though most are approved for only short-term use and their safety and effectiveness were only studied for several weeks in clinical trials. The longest tested one is Lunesta, which was tested for up to six months, and its list of known side effects is terrifying.
Let's compare it to the FDA’s standard for supplements: the NDI draft guidance requires "25 years of widespread use" in order to meet the "history of safe use" standard, which must be met even for grandfathered supplements. As the Life Extension Foundation points out, the safety testing required by FDA is wildly inappropriate for supplements, and is unnecessary for natural products with years of documented safe use. Yet despite their superb track record for safety, FDA and the media have cultivated an environment of fear around nutritional supplements—while maintaining a casual attitude toward dangerous prescription drugs.
If you are wrestling with a sleep problem, then wrestle with it! But, do not take prescription sleeping pills. There isn't one that is safe or any good. Do all the natural things to improve your sleep, such as eating well, exercising, getting sun, and reducing stress. Then, if you are going to take something, stick to safe natural supplements such as low-dose melatonin, theanine (the calming amino acid from green tea), taurine (another amino acid with calming effects) lemon balm (which I consider to be the best of the relaxing herbs) and magnesium. We now know that trying to secure sleep through prescription drugs is deadly.
Flu vaccines declared ineffective
- Created on Saturday, 20 October 2012 03:19
The highly respected Cochrane Collaboration reviewed 50 published studies of the flu vaccination, and the results were cataclysmic for the pharmaceutical industry. And, the timing was perfect because this is the time of year that Americans are bombarded with propaganda and pressure to get flu shots. "These results should discourage healthy people from getting a flu shot." However, I notice that the price of flu shots has gone up; they're charging $17 or $18 a pop now. But, even if you don't spring for one, you are still paying for it because a lot of taxpayer money goes to sponor flu shot production and distribution.
But what does the evidence show about the effectiveness of the flu vaccine when vaccinated and unvaccinated groups are compared ?
Well, the Cochrane Collaboration discourages all healthy people from getting the flu shot. They say that the evidence refutes the claim that vaccination prevents the flu in healthy adults. They also claimed that the vaccine does not prevent complications from the flu. And they said viral transmission of flu is not prevented by the vaccine either.
"The results of this review seem to discourage the utilisation of vaccination against influenza in healthy adults as a routine public health measure.
As healthy adults have a low risk of complications due to respiratory disease, the use of the vaccine may be only advised as an individual protection measure against symptoms in specific cases."
The bottom line was that theere is "little or no benefit for influenza vaccinations."
"This review includes 15 out of 36 trials funded by industry (four had no funding declaration). An earlier systematic review of 274 influenza vaccine studies published up to 2007 found industry funded studies were published in more prestigious journals and cited more than other studies independently from methodological quality and size. Studies funded from public sources were significantly less likely to report conclusions favorable to the vaccines. The review showed that reliable evidence on influenza vaccines is thin but there is evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions and spurious notoriety of the studies. The content and conclusions of this review should be interpreted in light of this finding."
I follow the advice of Dr. Donald Miller, a leading cardiovascular surgeon. What he does is skip the flu vaccine, but he takes high dose Vitamin D3, typically 5000 IUs. And it's been a long time since I've had the flu- many, many years.
Nut Wars, Part 4
- Created on Saturday, 13 October 2012 04:59
This will be our last installment of this series. I’m still wildly enthused about nuts. And since fat is the essence of the debate, I would like to address the advantages, the benefits you get from eating some fat, and nuts happen to be one of the best forms of fat.
1 Dietary Fat helps you absorb nutrients from food. It includes fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, E, and K, and also carotenoids, including beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene. But, it also helps you absorb minerals. Realize that, overall, mineral absorption is poor. You absorb about 20% of the calcium in your food. You absorb 17% of the zinc. And under the best conditions, one absorbs about 10% of the iron. So, we are not very good at absorbing minerals. However, we absorb more minerals in the presence of fat, and that includes both macro-minerals and micro-minerals. The USDA tested this some years ago, and they found a straight-line correlation, meaning that the higher the diet was in fat, the more minerals got absorbed.
2 Dietary Fat helps your liver and gall bladder to release bile properly, and that aids your digestion, and it’s also good for those organs. There is a hormone called cholecystokinin that is released by your stomach when it receives fat, and that hormone tells your gall bladder to contract and empty. It’s also true that unhealthy fats are very bad for the gall bladder, and there are a lot of people who get in trouble that way. You probably realize how rampant gallstones are, affecting millions of people. However, the fact is that eating healthy fats in moderation is very healthy for gall bladder function, and it greatly prefers it over a low-fat diet.
3 Dietary Fat is the most satiating foodstuff. It is much more satiating than any kind of carbohydrate. And keep in mind that I am not opposed to carbohydrate. But the thing that really tells you that you have eaten and that you don’t have to eat any more for a while is fat. Fat hits the bullseye of your appetite like nothing else does. And it’s important to have the feeling of feeling satisfied. I meet people who tell me that as soon as they put their fork down at the end of a meal, they are already thinking about the next meal. That isn’t normal- especially not for a human being. There are plenty of animals that largely eat all day, but we are not one of them. We are definitely intermittent feeders. And just as it’s important to have a healthy appetite for food, it’s also important to have times where food is completely absent from your mind, where you are entirely focused on other things. It’s about balance, and I am absolutely sure that the best way to get to a healthy balance in your attitude towards food is to include some wholesome fats in your diet, and there are none better than nuts.
4 Dietary Fat, speaking of wholesome ones, tend to be thermogenic, where they tend to increase bodily metabolism and actually increase fat-burning. Extra virgin olive oil, for example, tends to be thermogenic. Loma Linda University has probably done the most research on nuts, and they found that nuts tend to be thermogenic. They found that the more servings of nuts that people ate, the lower their body fat. Some have tried to dispute this by saying that it was because they were eating nuts instead of other things that are worse. And my response to that is: I agree, and so what? The results still speak for themselves.
5 Dietary Fat, the good ones, are known to have specific therapeutic effects, which have reportedly included mood elevation, better sleep, improved immunity, and even cardio-protective effects. Yes, fat can protect your heart. It’s also well known that fatty acids are the preferred fuel of the heart. Your heart muscle has more mitochondria than any other muscle, and those little energy generators prefer fat for fuel.
And the body can run very well on fat. I have experience with fasting, and during fasting, the body is running largely on fat, and the longer a person fasts, the more the body steers its metabolism towards fat-burning: preferentially.
So, I think that Drs. McDougall and Esselstyn are wrong about fats in general, and they are wrong about nuts, in particular. I eat raw nuts every day and have for decades. And I will continue to eat nuts every day- for the rest of my life.
Nut Wars, Part 3
- Created on Tuesday, 25 September 2012 04:43
The Nut War continues on the McDougall forum, and I see that my friend Dr. Joel Fuhrman made a very polite posting. I tell you: he is a nice guy, truly a gentle, kind person- more so than myself, I'll admit. I wouldn't mince words with these people. I'll say that again that demonizing fats, and especially wholesome plant fats like nuts, is not just wrong, but insane. It's insane because there isn't a smidgen of evidence against nuts. The evidence shows that they are protective of health in every way, warding off disease, building strong bones, helping to maintain optimal weight, protecting the heart- including not just the arteries but even the heart rhythm, and more.
What it really comes down to among these people is a starch cult. They glorify starch. They really think that starch is the only thing you should eat- besides succulent fruits and vegetables. Starch for breakfast, starch for lunch, and starch for supper. And what is the basis for this starch worship? Mainly it comes to the idea that agrarian societies, past and present, have lived on starch-based diets. First, note that they exaggerate the extent to which it is true. For example, Dr. McDougall often refers to the Japanese eating rice and vegetables, and he doesn't mention the fact that they are, and always have been, big fish eaters. They are also the biggest egg eaters in the world- and by far. Japan is the only country in the world where per capita egg consumption is greater than 300 eggs per year. But, you would never know that from listening to Dr. McDougall.
There is no country or geographical culture of people in the world that live exclusively on starches and fruits and vegetables. There hasn't been and there couldn't be, at least not until the latter half of the 20th century. And that's because Vitamin B12 wasn't even discovered until the 1950s- after my birth. And the special importance that Vitamin B12 has to vegetarians did not become fully known and disseminated until the 1970s. The only reason strict veganism is possible at all is becaues of technology: the availability of Vitamin B12 supplements.
Now keep in mind that I am still very enthused about a plant-based diet. I don't think there is any good reason- in this day and age, with all the plant food we have available yearround- to eat a lot of animal food. However, I also realize that in a state of nature, Man was not and is not a total vegetarian. And he is certanily not a natural granavore.
There is a mistake the McDougalites make which is similar to the one that the paleos make. The paleos point to the hunter/gatherer past (with an emphasis on the hunting) with the idea that we should continue to eat that way because of a biological mandate. But, the fact that some humans relied so heavily on meat back then had more to do with practical considerations than anything biological. For those in northern lattitudes, there was an ice age going. There was very little plant food, and for much of the year: none. You either ate meat or you died. And even in warm places, there wasn't always an abundance of plant food. I live in Central Texas, and we never had an ice age here. And the landscape never goes completely asleep here in the winter. There are trees and plants that never become dormant. But nevertheless, there isn't a whole lot of plant food that grows spontaneously. There are the native pecans. There are wild blackberries in the Spring. There is a wild mustang grape that grows profusely, though it's not very sweet. And there is a native Texas persimmon that is sweet, but there's not much to it- mostly pit and skin and just a thin layer of fruit. There may be some wild greens that a person could eat. I know we get dandelions, which are an edible green. But all in all, there isn't a lot of spontaneous plant food. Even though it's mostly warm here, you'd have a hard time getting by on plants alone. And all the native tribes relied heavily on animal foods, meaning that they ate much more animal food than plant food.
Again, I want to emphasize that the capacity to be a strict vegan exists only because of scientific knowledge and technology. Under primitive conditions, forget about it; it wasn't remotely possible. But even if it had been possible, there just wasn't that much plant food available. Throughout the natural world, there was much more plant food that prey animals could eat than what humans could eat directly. It was true then, and it's true now. You can complain to God if you want, but that's just the way it is and always has been.
But then agriculture came along, and that changed everything- for the worse, according to the paleos. They bemoan the very fact that starches, especially grains, became important in the human diet under agriculture. Why did starches take such a prominent place in agriculture? Why did starches take a larger place in agricuture than nuts? There were practical reasons:
Grains grow in a single season. It goes from planting to harvesting in a few short months.
But, if you plant a pecan in the ground, it could take 12 years or more to start bearing. And there is a whole lot that can go wrong in that 12 years: all kinds of diseases, insects, fungus, webworm, cankers, etc. It's a very iffy thing. And just think about the complexity of it economically. It takes a lot of accumulated capital to invest in pecan orchards because many years pass before you get any return. But,in primordial times, there was no accumulated capital. When did pecan orcharding start? Commercial propagation didn't begin until the late 1800s.
Grains also have the advantage of being storable. Nuts are high in oil, which can go rancid. And there was no refrigeration in the early days of agriculture. There was no refrigeration uuntil quite recently. For that reason, it was more practgical to grow grain than nuts.
And there were also accidents of fate. Wheat got started because it was a grass that animals could graze on. I used to live in Yorktown, Texas where farmers would grow wheat and rye all winter for livestock to graze on. It was some clever prehistoric person who figured out how to convert this grass seed into human food.
The point is that subsistence agriculture gravitated towards starches for practical reasons that had nothing to do with human nutrition. There was no biological mandate to rely heavily on starches, just as there was no biological mandate for the cavemen to rely heavily on meat. Both "evolved" out of practical necessity due to existing circumstances. We shall continue.