How to Spot and Treat a Heart Attack – Health News
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How to Spot and Treat a Heart Attack

In the U.S., a heart attack occurs every 40 seconds, impacting approximately 805,000 people annually. Among them, 605,000 experience their first heart attack. Further, in about 1 in 5 cases, the heart attack is “silent,” meaning heart damage has occurred, but the person isn’t aware of it.1 Knowing the symptoms of a heart attack — […]

In the U.S., a heart attack occurs every 40 seconds, impacting approximately 805,000 people annually. Among them, 605,000 experience their first heart attack. Further, in about 1 in 5 cases, the heart attack is “silent,” meaning heart damage has occurred, but the person isn’t aware of it.1

Knowing the symptoms of a heart attack — and the related but different cardiac arrest — is important so you can get emergency medical care without delay.

What Is a Heart Attack — and What Are the Symptoms?

A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction, occurs when blood flow to the heart becomes suddenly blocked. Without enough oxygen, the heart muscle becomes damaged and may begin to die, which is why restoring blood flow quickly is essential.

Most often, there’s a complete or partial blockage in an artery near the heart that causes the heart attack. Coronary heart disease, which involves plaque building up in the arteries, is often a contributing factor. The plaque buildup can narrow the arteries, blocking blood flow. Common symptoms of a heart attack include:2

  • Chest pain, including feelings of pressure, squeezing or fullness
  • Feeling lightheaded or weak
  • Pain in the jaw, neck or back
  • Pain in arms or shoulders
  • Shortness of breath

These symptoms may come and go and can vary in intensity. Low levels of oxygen in the blood, known as hypoxemia, can also occur, as can pulmonary edema, which is fluid accumulation in the lungs. If the heart is unable to supply blood to the body, a sudden drop in blood pressure, or cardiogenic shock, can also occur.3

Men and Women May Experience Different Heart Attack Symptoms

Keep in mind that not every heart attack comes along with the “textbook” symptoms of chest pain or shortness of breath. Women are more likely to experience unconventional heart attack symptoms such as fatigue and nausea, in contrast to men who commonly manifest classic signs, including chest pain. This may be why, despite a greater incidence of heart attacks in men compared to women, females have an elevated one-year mortality rate post-attack.4

Researchers with Nova Southeastern University in Florida conducted a systematic review of 74 studies examining differences in heart attack symptoms among women and men, revealing certain parallels. Both genders commonly reported chest pain and chest tightness or pressure as prevalent symptoms upon hospital arrival, as indicated in the findings published in Cureus.5

However, men reported chest pain as their primary symptom 13% to 15% more frequently than women and displayed a higher propensity for experiencing burning or pricking pain and sweating. Shared symptoms among both genders included chest, arm or jaw pain with sensations of dullness, heaviness, tightness or crushing. Women, on the other hand, were prone to atypical symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, dizziness and fear of death.

Noteworthy variations were observed in the location of pain, with women more frequently experiencing discomfort in the jaw, neck, upper back, left arm, left shoulder, left hand and abdomen. Additionally, women exhibited a broader spectrum of symptoms, with a higher prevalence. In comparison to men, women aged 18 to 55 reported 10% more symptoms during a heart attack, while those aged 75 and above had 17% more symptoms.

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Further, some people experience subtle symptoms in the days and weeks leading up to a heart attack. In some cases, symptoms may begin a year in advance. Known as prodromal symptoms, these occur more often in females than males and include, in order of prevalence:6

  • Feeling tired or with unusual fatigue
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Anxiety
  • Shortness of breath
  • Arm, back or chest pain

What Is Cardiac Arrest?

Cardiac arrest occurs suddenly due to a malfunction in the heart that causes it to stop beating. Some cases of cardiac arrest have no symptoms. In other instances, the following symptoms may occur prior to the event:7



Shortness of breath


Chest pain

Heart palpitations (fast or pounding heart beat)

Loss of consciousness

While blood loss, lack of oxygen and high levels of potassium and magnesium — which can cause arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat — can lead to cardiac arrest, there are three primary causes:8

1. Arrhythmia — An electrical signal in the heart may lead to an irregular heartbeat known as ventricular fibrillation, which is the No. 1 cause of cardiac arrest. It describes a heartbeat so rapid that the heart trembles instead of pumping blood.

2. Cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart) — This leads to abnormal heart contractions.

3. Coronary artery disease — If coronary arteries become blocked by plaque, it restricts blood flow to the heart. Left untreated, this may lead to heart failure or arrhythmia, which can trigger cardiac arrest.

While cardiac arrest often occurs without warning or a known underlying cause, there are certain risk factors known to increase the risk, which include:9

Alcohol or drug abuse

Family history of heart disease or cardiac arrest

Heart disease

High blood pressure

Low potassium or magnesium



What’s the Difference Between Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest?

Unlike a heart attack, which occurs due to obstructed blood flow to the heart — typically with the heart maintaining its rhythm — a cardiac arrest results in loss of consciousness and absence of a pulse.10 As noted by the American Heart Association (AHA), “A heart attack is a ‘circulation’ problem and sudden cardiac arrest is an ‘electrical’ problem.”11

The most immediate and recognizable difference is that a heart attack sufferer remains conscious with a beating heart, whereas an individual experiencing sudden cardiac arrest loses consciousness and lacks a detectable heartbeat. While a heart attack disrupts the heart muscle’s oxygen supply, cardiac arrest interferes with its electrical impulses.

During a heart attack, reduced blood flow may deprive part of the heart of oxygen, yet other segments of the muscle continue contracting.

Conversely, physical ailments such as cardiomyopathy, heart failure or arrhythmias affect the heart’s electrical system during cardiac arrest. Notably, experiencing a heart attack heightens the risk of sudden cardiac arrest due to the impact on the heart’s electrical system caused by oxygen deprivation.12 In essence, insufficient oxygen supply to the heart muscle during a heart attack impairs its electrical impulses, potentially precipitating cardiac arrest.

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What to Do in the Event of a Heart Attack or Cardiac Arrest

Both a heart attack and cardiac arrest are life-threatening conditions that need emergency medical attention. Call 911 and get to an emergency room as soon as possible. If you have access to an automated external defibrillator (AED), it should be immediately used to assist a person in cardiac arrest, in which the person is unresponsive and not breathing.

AEDs are required in certain public spaces in many U.S. states, including schools, athletic facilities, casinos and public golf courses.13 When emergency medical personnel arrive to help a person in cardiac arrest, they will use a defibrillator immediately. After the shock is delivered, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or chest compressions immediately, continuing for two minutes before checking to see if another shock is needed.

If you don’t have access to an AED, CPR or chest compressions should be given to the person in cardiac arrest while you wait for emergency personnel. For people with health care experience or those proficient in CPR, AHA advocates for traditional CPR, involving chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing, in a 30-to-2 ratio — 30 compressions followed by two breaths, repeating this sequence.

But for the general populace, AHA recommends and emphasizes the efficacy of hands-only CPR, also known as compression-only CPR. The gist is to push hard and fast in the center of the chest.14 Acting fast is crucial, as each minute that CPR is delayed, the person’s chance of survival goes down by 10%.15 So doing something, even if it isn’t perfect, is usually better than doing nothing. Fortunately, hands-only CPR is straightforward and involves the following steps:16

  • Perform chest compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 per minute. This is about the same beat as the song “Stayin’ Alive,” which is 100 beats per minute17
  • The compressions must be done with enough force, to a depth of about 2 inches for an average adult18
  • Don’t stop; minimize interruptions in chest compressions
  • Avoid leaning on the patient between compressions

Sadly, about 90% of people who experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital setting die. However, if CPR is administered immediately, the person’s chance of survival can double or triple.19

Methylene Blue and Melatonin — Two Must-Haves in Case of Heart Attack

I recommend having methylene blue — the precursor molecule for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine — and melatonin readily available at home in case of a heart attack. While sudden death is the most common symptom of heart disease, surviving individuals face the serious threat of reperfusion injury, where cellular dysfunction and death may worsen following the restoration of blood flow.

Methylene blue administration can significantly mitigate tissue damage; however, proper dosage is crucial to avoid overdose. Use a microspoon for precise measurement, as discussed in my interview with Francisco Gonzalez-Lima, Ph.D., an expert on methylene blue.

For nonacute, longer-term treatments, including dementia prevention and treatment, post-stroke care, cognitive enhancement and overall health optimization, low doses of 0.5 milligram (mg) to 1 mg per kilogram of body weight are recommended.

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Additionally, keep melatonin on hand in a 10 mg sublingual dose. This potent antioxidant can minimize reperfusion injury if taken immediately after a heart attack or stroke. Administer methylene blue within minutes of the cardiac event as well to meet the critical time threshold, underscoring the importance of keeping these items in your emergency medical kit.20

Heart Attack Treatment, Recovery and Prevention

Once you are in the hospital, doctors will work to stabilize your condition by providing oxygen and medications to dissolve blood clots. Interventions to help restore blood flow, including coronary angioplasty and coronary artery bypass, may also be needed. Many people not only survive heart attacks but go on to live long, healthy lives post-attack.

Cardiac rehabilitation is often recommended and involves a supervised program of physical activity, dietary changes and stress relief. For many, normal activities can be resumed within a few weeks of the event. Keep in mind that once you’ve had a heart attack, your risk of another increases.

This is why lifestyle changes are so important, not only for building a healthy heart, but for keeping it that way. This includes eating right, avoiding excess linoleic acid from seed oils, exercising, dealing with stress and getting proper sleep. For instance, women with low fitness levels have a higher risk of dying from any cause, including cardiac arrest.21 While cardiac arrest often occurs unexpectedly, leading an ongoing heart-healthy lifestyle is the best approach to prevention.

With that in mind, many conditions, including heart disease, appear to be rooted in mitochondrial dysfunction.22

Ubiquinol — the reduced, electron-rich form of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) that your body produces naturally — plays an important role in the electron transport chain of your mitochondria, where it facilitates the conversion of energy substrates and oxygen into the biological energy (adenosine triphosphate, or ATP) needed by your cells for life, repair and regeneration.

If you don’t get enough of this important compound, your heart health could suffer, as CoQ10 is a key player in heart health. In fact, 75% of ischemic heart disease patients have low levels of CoQ10.23

Depending on your age and health status, supplementation may be necessary to keep your CoQ10 levels high enough for optimal health. Young people are able to use CoQ10 supplements quite well, but older people do better with ubiquinol, as it’s more readily absorbed.

The suggested dose is usually between 30 mg to 100 mg per day if you’re healthy, or 60 to 1,200 mg daily if you’re sick or have underlying health conditions.24 If you have an active lifestyle, exercise a lot or are under a lot of stress, you may want to increase your dose to 200 to 300 mg per day. If you take a statin drug, you need at least 100 mg to 200 mg of ubiquinol or CoQ10 per day, or more. Ideally, you’ll want to work with your physician to determine your ideal dose.


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Nanoplastics Linked to Heart Attacks and Stroke

Nanoplastics — particles less than 1 micrometer in size, or 1,000th the average width of a human hair — have emerged as a significant environmental concern due to their widespread prevalence and potential health hazards to humans and wildlife alike. These microscopic fragments result from the degradation of larger plastic debris and can also be […]

Nanoplastics — particles less than 1 micrometer in size, or 1,000th the average width of a human hair — have emerged as a significant environmental concern due to their widespread prevalence and potential health hazards to humans and wildlife alike. These microscopic fragments result from the degradation of larger plastic debris and can also be manufactured directly for various applications.

Nanoplastics have become ubiquitous in ecosystems around the world, from urban waterways to remote oceanic and terrestrial environments. Their pervasive presence is attributed to the widespread use and disposal of plastic materials globally.

Environmental Hazards

Nanoplastics pose several environmental hazards, including:

  • Biodiversity loss — Nanoplastics can harm aquatic and terrestrial organisms, leading to reduced biodiversity. They have been found to cause physical and chemical stress in marine life, affecting growth, reproduction, and survival rates.
  • Ecosystem disruption — Their presence in water bodies and soil can alter the chemical composition and physical properties of these environments, disrupting ecosystems’ balance.
  • Food chain contamination — Nanoplastics can accumulate in the food chain, potentially leading to higher concentrations in top predators, including humans.

Microplastics Found in Food, Including Infant Formula

The environmental contamination is so severe, many foods now contain them, including chicken, pork, seafood, beef and plant-based meat alternatives, whether processed, minimally processed or unprocessed.1 The more processing a food has undergone, however, the more plastic it contains.

Researchers estimate that Americans consume up to 3.8 million pieces of micro- and nanoplastics per year from protein alone.2 The reason for this is because meats are packaged in plastic.

Recent research has also confirmed the presence of microplastics in all samples of infant formula tested (30 in all).3 The most frequently identified plastics were polyamide, polyethylene, polypropylene and polyethylene terephthalate. According to the authors, children fed exclusively infant formula likely consume an average of 49 microplastic particles per day.

Nanoplastics Linked to Heart Attacks and Stroke

The potential health impacts of micro- and nanoplastics on humans have long been debated, but a recent study4 published in the New England Journal of Medicine marks a significant step in understanding the health implications of microplastic and nanoplastic exposure.

Microplastics and nanoplastics, defined by their minuscule size, can migrate through body tissues, potentially causing oxidative stress, tissue damage and inflammation.

The study in question analyzed tissue from 257 individuals undergoing carotid endarterectomy to identify plastics in arterial plaques, revealing the presence of polyethylene (associated with asthma, hormone disruption, reproductive issues and dermatitis5) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC, linked to liver and reproductive damage6), among others. As reported by the authors:7

“Polyethylene was detected in carotid artery plaque of 150 patients (58.4%), with a mean level of 21.7±24.5 μg per milligram of plaque; 31 patients (12.1%) also had measurable amounts of polyvinyl chloride, with a mean level of 5.2±2.4 μg per milligram of plaque.

Electron microscopy revealed visible, jagged-edged foreign particles among plaque macrophages and scattered in the external debris. Radiographic examination showed that some of these particles included chlorine.”

Disturbingly, individuals with microplastics or nanoplastics in their carotid artery tissues were found to have fourfold higher risk of suffering a cardiovascular event such as heart attack or stroke over the next three years compared to those without such plastics. They were also more likely to die from any cause. As reported by the authors:

“Patients in whom MNPs [microplastics and nanoplastics] were detected within the atheroma were at higher risk for a primary end-point event than those in whom these substances were not detected (hazard ratio, 4.53).”

A hazard ratio (HR) of 4.53 means that people with microplastics in their arteries have a 353% higher risk of suffering a potentially lethal cardiac event than those without microplastics.

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Should Microplastic Exposure Be Considered a Cardiovascular Risk Factor?

Lead author Raffaele Marfella emphasized the need for further research to confirm these findings,8 although the study already suggests a strong association between plastics and cardiovascular events in people with atherosclerosis.

The study’s implications are significant, according to pediatrician Dr. Philip Landrigan, who stressed the importance of addressing the potential cardiovascular risks posed by microplastics and nanoplastics in an accompanying editorial:9,10

“Although we do not know what other exposures may have contributed to the adverse outcomes among patients in this study, the finding of microplastics and nanoplastics in plaque tissue is itself a breakthrough discovery that raises a series of urgent questions.

Should exposure to microplastics and nanoplastics be considered a cardiovascular risk factor? What organs in addition to the heart may be at risk? How can we reduce exposure?”

Nanoplastics Pose Severe Hazards for Animals and Humans

CNN, which reported the findings, also highlighted research linking nanoplastics and microplastics to other potential harms, such as:11

Chronic inflammation — The presence of microplastics and nanoplastics in arterial plaques was linked to increased inflammation. Chronic inflammation, in turn, is a hallmark of most chronic diseases, not just cardiovascular disease, suggesting that plastic exposure could exacerbate or increase susceptibility to a wide variety of conditions.

Dysfunction of cells, organs and endocrine system — Nanoplastics, due to their small size, can migrate through tissues of the digestive tract or lungs into the bloodstream, invading individual cells and tissues in major organs. This can potentially interrupt cellular processes and deposit endocrine-disrupting chemicals, affecting the body’s normal functions.

Oxidative stress and tissue damage — Studies in animals have shown that exposure to micro- and nanoplastics may cause oxidative stress, tissue damage, and inflammation in cells. These effects could lead to various health issues, depending on the extent and duration of exposure.

Impaired cardiac function — Animal studies have also indicated that micro- and nanoplastics can alter heart rate and impede cardiac function, posing additional risks to cardiovascular health.

Risks to fetuses and young infants — Research in pregnant mice has found plastic chemicals in the brain, heart, liver, kidney, and lungs of the developing fetus within 24 hours after the mother ingested or inhaled plastic particles. This suggests that plastics can cross the placental barrier, potentially affecting fetal development.

Previous studies have also found microplastics in the human placenta12 and human breast milk13 — clear evidence that a mother’s plastic exposure can be directly transferred to her child both before and after birth.

Microbiome alterations — Studies have also found that microplastics can alter the makeup of microbial communities, reducing diversity14 and increasing the exchange of antibiotic-resistant and metal-resistant genes.15

Progesterone Counteracts Xenoestrogen Exposure From Plastics

In the featured video at the top of this article, best-selling author and high-performance coach Siim Land reviews the research linking arterial nanoplastics to a near-fourfold higher risk of cardiovascular events.

As noted by Land, microplastics contain xenoestrogens, which have been linked to obesity, infertility, cancer and more. Indeed, estrogen is a known carcinogen,16 and plastics is perhaps one of the most ubiquitous sources of estrogen for men and women alike.

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Estrogen is also antimetabolic and radically reduces the ability of your mitochondria to create cellular energy in a form of ATP by depending on aerobic glycolysis (the Warburg effect) which radically impairs oxidative phosphorylation.

To counteract the hazards of this estrogenic exposure you can use progesterone, which is a natural estrogen antagonist. Progesterone is one of only four hormones I believe many adults can benefit from. (The other three are thyroid hormone T3, DHEA and pregnenolone.)

As a general recommendation, most adult males and non-menstruating adult women would benefit from taking 25 to 50 mg of bioidentical progesterone per a day, taken in the evening one hour before bed, as it can also promote sleep. For optimal bioavailability, progesterone needs to be mixed into natural vitamin E. The difference in bioavailability between taking progesterone orally without vitamin E and taking it with vitamin E is 45 minutes versus 48 hours.

Pre-menopausal women can also take progesterone but it is the last half of their cycle, approximately 14 days after the last day of their period and stopping when period returns. Another good reason for taking progesterone with vitamin E is because it binds to red blood cells, which allows the progesterone to be carried throughout your body and be distributed to where it’s needed the most.

Simply Progesterone by Health Natura is premixed with vitamin E and MCT oil. You can also make your own by dissolving pure USP progesterone powder into one capsule of a high-quality vitamin E, and then rub the mixture on your gums. Fifty milligrams of powdered progesterone is about 1/32 teaspoon.

Do not use synthetic vitamin E (alpha tocopherol acetate — the acetate indicates that it’s synthetic). Natural vitamin E will be labeled “d alpha tocopherol.” This is the pure D isomer, which is what your body can use. There are also other vitamin E isomers, and you want the complete spectrum of tocopherols and tocotrienols, specifically the beta, gamma, and delta types, in the effective D isomer.

I do not recommend transdermal progesterone, as your skin expresses high levels of 5-alpha reductase enzyme, which causes a significant portion of the progesterone you’re taking to be irreversibly converted primarily into allopregnanolone and cannot be converted back into progesterone.

Preventing Exposure Is Key

Of course, prevention — minimizing your exposure — really needs to be your first line of defense against microplastics. While that sounds easy enough, it can be tricky business, for the simple reason that micro- and nanoplastics are all around us, in our food, water, household dust, clothing, household and personal care items and even the air we breathe.

That said, making a concerted effort to rid your household of plastic can go a long way toward minimizing your and your children’s exposure. Here are a few pointers to get you started:

Filter your tap water and avoid water bottled in plastic — If you need to buy bottled water, opt for glass bottles. Also make sure the filter you use to purify your tap water can filter out microplastics.

Boil hard tap water — If you have hard tap water, consider boiling it before using it for cooking or drinking, as hard water traps more microplastics. Recent research shows boiling hard tap water for five minutes removes up to 90% of the microplastics in the water.17

Choose alternatives to plastic packaging — Opt for products packaged in glass, metal, or paper instead of plastic. This can significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste that potentially breaks down into microplastics. At home, use wax paper, parchment paper or paper bags to store foods rather than plastic wrap.

Use reusable containers — Replace single-use plastic bottles, cups, and containers with reusable alternatives made from safer materials like stainless steel or glass.

Never microwave plastics — Heat can cause plastics to leach chemicals into food. Use glass or ceramic containers for microwaving.

Avoid plastic cutting boards — Opt for wood or glass cutting boards instead.

Opt for natural fibers — Whenever possible, choose clothing and other textile products made from natural fibers like cotton, wool and linen, as synthetic fabrics such as polyester shed microfibers and leach xenoestrogens.

Wash synthetic clothes less frequently — When washing synthetic textiles, use a microfiber filter in your washing machine to trap synthetic fibers and prevent them from entering the water system.

Opt for food grade cosmetics and personal care products — Some cosmetics, toothpastes, and personal care products contain microbeads or other plastic particles. Look for products free of these materials. Ideally, opt for all-natural, food grade products.

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How to Detox Microplastics

Even if you’re diligent about avoiding plastics, some exposure will likely remain, so detoxing is another important strategy. Land cites research showing that blood donation can lower the levels of certain plastic chemicals in your blood, such as PFAS. If your iron levels are high, getting regular phlebotomy would help you kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, as blood donation is also the only way to lower your iron level.

One of the most effective ways to excrete microplastics from your tissues though is through sweating. I recommend using a near-infrared sauna with low EMFs for this purpose, as the near-infrared rays can penetrate far deeper into your body than far-infrared.

Other benefits of sauna use include improved cardiovascular fitness and reduced all-cause mortality, lower blood pressure, reduced dementia risk, improved mental health, strengthened immune function, improved athletic endurance, reduced inflammation, stem cell activation, improved insulin sensitivity and a reduction in stress hormones.

General Guidance for Sauna Use

Classical Finnish saunas are typically heated to 170 degrees F. or higher. An infrared sauna will rarely get that high, however, which means you may need to stay in a bit longer to get a good sweat. A benefit of SaunaSpace’s near- and mid-infrared bulbs is that you’re heating up from deeper within, so the air temperature doesn’t need to be as high as a traditional sauna for you to sweat.

As a general recommendation, stay in the sauna for 20 to 30 minutes, or until you reach subjective fatigue, which is a sign that you’ve maxed out the benefits you’re going to get. It’s not about reaching a point of suffering — just that point where you’re feeling mildly anxious and tired and want to get out.

As for the frequency, research has consistently shown that it’s dose-dependent, so the more often you do it, the greater the benefits. The sweet spot seems to be right around four times a week, because you’ll also be losing minerals along with toxins. So, you need to rehydrate and replenish those minerals to avoid mineral deficiencies.

For more details, including how to build your own near-infrared sauna, see “Near-Infrared Sauna Therapy — A Key Biohack for Health.”


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How to Avoid Being Fooled at the Supermarket

How and what you eat has radically changed over the past few decades with the all-consuming rise of the supermarket. But what price are you paying for this homogenized, cheap and convenient food? This video investigates how supermarkets have affected the food on your plate, and reveals the telltale signs that the food you buy may not have been grown in the way you think.
Articles : Aging, Food, Digestive Health, Fibromyalgia

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Consequences of Low-Carb Diets

A keto diet can provide almost instant relief for certain symptoms and sometimes can even lead to rapid weight loss. While many may experience short-term benefits, there are long-term consequences of low-carb diets that can make your health worse than before you started.

This article will address just two concerns of making your body rely on gluconeogenesis (the backup pathway to make the body produce its own carbs internally when we do not consume enough dietarily). But first — addressing some common arguments for low-carb.

Temporary Symptom Suppression Versus True Healing

The removal of an entire food group (like carbs) can certainly improve symptoms. For example — maybe there was a carb source you were consuming that was really aggravating your gut. Removing gut triggers will always make us feel better!

But there is a big difference between temporary symptom suppression and true healing — as restriction always comes with long-term costs. Running on stress hormones (which can occur in low-carb diets) may feel good at first, but they will quickly leave your body even more depleted than when you started.

Eating low-carb does not improve metabolic flexibility. Removing carbs doesn’t fix a damaged glucose metabolism — as being low-carb for a long period of time actually induces physiological insulin resistance.

“The reduction of glycemia seen in low-carb dieting is not a sign of increased insulin sensitivity, but simply a removal of the challenge” – Mamounis, Ph.D.1

It’s like skipping leg day since you don’t have strong leg muscles. But you don’t experience any pain since the leg muscles were not worked! If you don’t use it, you lose it! (Don’t worry — this can be fixed! But avoiding carbs isn’t what fixes your glucose metabolism machinery — it just avoids the trigger).

Endogenous Glucose Production Is Not Optimal

Others may argue that carbs aren’t even needed in the first place with statements along the lines of — “But the body can make all the carbs it needs! Carbs are a non-essential nutrient!” Yes, this is true. The body can make its own carbs since carbs are essential for survival. But is it optimal to force our body to do this? No!

A counter to this “our body can make all the carbs it needs” is that our body can also make fat inside of our body2 if we don’t consume any dietarily. Is this optimal? Of course not. Certain parts of our body require carbohydrates to function and cannot use fatty acids or ketones for energy. Some examples include:

Red blood cells

CNS cells

Reproductive organs

Kidney medulla

Tissues in the eye

Muscles during strength training

At least part of the brain (yes, ketones can fuel ~70% of its energy demand on a low-carb diet. Otherwise, 100% of the energy is made from glucose)

Thus, it is essential that the body maintains a minimum blood glucose concentration to supply at least these cells with glucose. If we do not eat enough carbs, our body will make them inside of us because they are vital for our survival.

So, someone on a low-carb diet will thus rely more on a process called gluconeogenesis — a metabolic pathway that turns non-glucose substrates (dietary protein, dietary fat, and our own precious muscle tissue) into glucose.3 There is always some level of gluconeogenesis happening in the background. But this process gets upregulated when restricting dietary carbs.

Long-Term Consequences of Low-Carb Dieting

Are there long-term consequences to rely on this pathway excessively? Long-term consequences to make our bodies generate carbs rather than consume them dietarily? I think so, yes.

Whether or not excessive gluconeogenesis is a good or bad thing depends on how you define health. Under the “pro metabolic” (aka bioenergetic) lens, a healthy body is really good at converting the food we eat into energy to maximize ATP (cellular energy) production.

A sign of a strong and robust metabolism is a high body temperature, as heat is generated as a byproduct of generating energy. The more energy (ATP) our body produces from the food we eat, the more functions our body can run. The more we will thrive, not just survive.

dr ray peat quote

My personal “light bulb moment” that made me realize low-carb was not serving me well was when I first measured my body temperature — my temp was 96.5 degrees Fahrenheit! (Humans should reach 98.6 deg F mid-day) So my low body temperature was a clear sign that I was surviving in a low energy state, not thriving.

The less ATP our body has, the more “non-essential tasks” (like hair growth, a healthy libido, etc.) will need to be down regulated in order to prioritize the essential tasks to keep us alive.

Characteristics of a Thriving Body

A thriving body will thus have the following characteristics:

High body temps (waking temps high 97s/low 98s – reaching 98.6 deg F. mid-day)

Daily poop(s)

Strong libido and hormone production

Good sleep

Strong hair and nails

High T3, low TSH and low rT3 (reverse T3)

Good energy

If you have these things, GREAT! Don’t change a thing! But many people on low-carb diets DO NOT and their thyroid hormone status is hindered. And this is not always due to the thyroid gland itself. The thyroid actually produces very little of the active thyroid hormones. It mainly produces the precursors.

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The liver is responsible for producing most of the active thyroid hormone (T3) by converting T4 into T3. Cortisol, which can be chronically elevated on a low-carb diet, blocks that conversion.4 And even without cortisol, not consuming many carbs leads to low T3 production5 since T3 production is dependent on liver glucose and glycogen status.6 In clinical studies a calorie restricted, low-carb diet depresses T3 levels similar to starvation, where a calorie restricted diet with carbs does not.7

And some low-carb advocates will argue that you don’t need as much active thyroid hormone (T3). Well, low T3 will lead to low hypothyroid symptoms, regardless of the diet you’re on. Thyroid health and the state of your metabolism go hand in hand since the thyroid is the master metabolism regulator.8 Thyroid hormone T3 is inextricably related to cellular CO2 production and metabolic rate.9

Yes, our thyroid & body can function with lower T3, but I would argue that it is not optimal. There are SO many benefits to having more active thyroid hormone (T3).10 The thyroid’s hormones regulate vital bodily functions such as respiration, heart rate, muscle strength, body temperature, digestion, the conversion of beta-carotene to Vitamin A, and the conversion of cholesterol to downstream steroid hormones and protective hormones.

So, it makes sense why the liver would reduce T3 levels with a low-carb diet. Why would your body produce a hormone (T3) that increases your metabolism and makes you burn more energy when it doesn’t have enough glucose coming in? Let’s now dive into just two concerns about long-term reliance on excessive gluconeogenesis (required on low-carb diets).

Gluconeogenesis Is Inefficient and Requires a Lot of Energy

Overall, six ATP worth of energy is invested to produce one molecule of glucose, which gives us only two ATP when broken down through glycolysis. It’s like trading $ 6 bills for $ 2 bills.

“One of the most pervasive themes in biology is the drive to conserve energy. That we will spend this much energy synthesizing glucose is a testament to how essential it is to our life and well being.” Chris Masterjohn, Ph.D.

This is expensive and not efficient, using up valuable energy reserves slowly over time — why would our body choose this pathway unless it absolutely needs to? And since gluconeogenesis largely occurs in the liver, why would we want to burden the liver even more when it already has over 500 functions and is busy detoxing for us?

Most people are in a low energy state to begin with — why dig ourselves into a deeper hole? Wouldn’t we want to choose a path were more ATP is generated so that our bodies have the energy to perform more functions?

Gluconeogenesis Is Regulated by Stress Hormones

“Gluconeogenesis is stimulated by the diabetogenic hormones (glucagon, growth hormone, epinephrine, and cortisol).”11

While there are some studies showing that fat adapted athletes do not have higher blood cortisol levels, we have to remember that tissue and blood levels of cortisol can be different,12 and it is hard to easily measure tissue levels of cortisol.

“Since gluconeogenesis is an extremely expensive investment with a negative return, it makes sense that the body would regulate it as a stress response, and thus place it under control by cortisol.” Chris Masterjohn, Ph.D.

Elevated stress hormones will be very catabolic in the long run. Meaning, muscles can get wasted away slowly over time. I was certainly in denial at the time, but my lifting numbers (squat and deadlift weights) and muscle mass went DOWN while I went low/zero-carb for an extended period of time.

“But what about *insert muscular low-carb person*?” For these individuals you may idolize that eat zero-carb and strength train — you have to ask yourself, did those individuals build their muscle mass before switching to this no carb lifestyle? And are they now just maintaining or very slowly losing muscle over time? Have you seen DEXA scans before and after their dietary switch?

Dr. Peter Attia (who used to be a proponent of keto and fasting), noticed for himself and a number of his patients who were strength training and consuming low-carb diets experience ‘body recomposition gone wrong’ (through DEXA scans).

Over time (over a few years), himself and his patients maintained their weight. But in the background, they were losing muscle tissue (due to excessive gluconeogenesis) and increasing fat mass. This is not what we want!

Can you gain muscle on a low-carb/zero-carb diet — sure! There are always exceptions! But why would you choose the harder path? (If this was a better way to build muscle, trust me, bodybuilders would be keto or zero-carb. But they aren’t.)

This type of zero-carb muscle building approach is such a delicate balance of your fat and protein macros. You need to consume high fat to provide energy and get you into ketosis. But if you don’t consume enough protein, your body will break down your muscle tissue at higher rates to get ahold of some amino acids. But too high of protein will kick you out of ketosis due to higher rates of gluconeogenesis. WHY NOT JUST GIVE THE BODY WHAT IT NEEDS? (Carbs)

Because many people are convinced that a low-carb state is somehow optimal and improves metabolic flexibility and is required to lose weight (not true). I get it — I was deep into that ideology! AND many people have damaged glucose metabolisms — so avoiding the use of the damaged machinery can feel good in the short-term.

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So, avoiding the use of the “damaged machinery” can feel good in the short-term. But continuously restricting carbs is avoiding the use of a damaged glucose metabolism. It isn’t fixing it. And there are tremendous health benefits to improving your glucose metabolism!

Of course, transitioning from a crappy standard American diet filled with processed food and PUFAs to a whole food, low/zero-carb approach will bring tremendous benefits. And again, if you are doing well — don’t change a thing!

How Can I Add Carbs Back In?

Always start slow! If you haven’t consumed carbs in a long time and add them in abruptly, how can you expect your body to know what to do with them? Start with one source that you enjoy and digest well, and slowly increase the amount of it you consume over time.

As you slowly increase your carbs, it can help to slightly reduce fat consumption in parallel. The goal is to get to a place where you can consume carbs and moderate fat levels (more of a mixed diet), but that requires a well-functioning glucose metabolic machinery.

Tracking this data using an app like Cronometer can really help you move the needle forward with your health. In parallel, track your body temperature to see what foods (and amounts) are raising your body temperature (and metabolism) over time. This type of an experiment allows you to take a “metabolism focused” approach instead of a fear-based, restrictive approach.

Calories in vs. calories out still matters when it comes to fat loss phases and long-term health — but when you have a better metabolism, the calories OUT side of the equation increases — the body uses more of the food we consume to generate energy, instead of storing it as body fat. Meaning, you can eat more calories while maintaining (or even losing) weight, making weight maintenance a lot more sustainable.

My personal experience: After about 1.5 years of taking a low-carb approach, I finally “woke up” that I was driving myself into the ground. It felt good, until it didn’t. I became irritable, developed more and more food sensitivities, was losing hair, had no libido, lost strength and muscle mass and more.

Excessively relying on gluconeogenesis down regulated my metabolism and thyroid health over time. And under the “bioenergetic lens” — that is just surviving, not thriving. Short-term band-aid solution, not long-term, sustainable health. Making slow dietary changes while monitoring my body temperature and pulse was key to helping me get out of a low-metabolic state. I now consume over 3,000 calories as a 135-pound woman!

In Summary

If we understand how our physiology works, why not give it what it needs? Gluconeogenesis is an inefficient and “expensive” process that uses up valuable energy when the process is unregulated. Not consuming carbs may “work” and provide digestive relief (relative to a diet filled with hard-to-digest carbs and high amounts of PUFAs).

But at what cost? What processes and functions will get down regulated to allow for this excessive gluconeogenesis? Sleep problems? Digestive issues? Hair loss? Hormonal problems? Low libido? Low energy? Skin issues?

If what you are doing now is working for you (high body temps, good sleep, good poops, strong libido and hormones, good skin and hair health, and are happy/treat people kindly) — don’t change a thing. But if you are pushing a diet ideology that has led you on a hamster wheel of weight, binge, and health cycles — don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new.

“Think, perceive, act.” ~ Dr. Ray Peat

If you are looking for more assistance in improving your metabolism, adding carbs back into your diet without weight gain, and reversing out of a low-carb diet — my sister and I teach you how to do so in our in-depth course called Rooted in Resilience, along with a ton of free downloads and information on our website,

We have both been through all the diet fads and extremes out there — and all they did was lower our metabolisms in the long run. So, it is our goal to provide you with the educational tools so that you can have FOOD EDUCATION and EMPOWERMENT and not FOOD FEAR. Because understanding human physiology and energy metabolism helps YOU better cut through the noise of all the conflicting health information out there.

Learning about energy metabolism was one of the reasons we wanted to start a farm and be involved in food production. The types of fat you eat can hinder how you utilize carbs, as PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) hinder your ability to properly utilize carbs.13 For example, PUFAs negatively inhibit cytochrome C oxidase activity,14 a vital enzyme required for proper carb metabolism.

And when it comes to animal fats, what your food eats, matters, as the types of fat in poultry and pork products are impacted by the types of fat in their diet. So, if fed a diet rich in PUFAs, the amount of PUFAs in the eggs, chicken, and pork fat increases.

The Best Nutrition Course is NOW Available for You!!

I have very good news to announce. Very shortly I will be sending out invites to train individuals interested in becoming one of my health coaches. My health coaches will be some of the best trained coaches on the planet because they will understand how biology works and how to correct it to optimize health.

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Many will apply but only a few will be accepted. Once they are accepted, they will be allowed to enroll in my nutritional biochemistry course at no charge. This course is based on the concepts of the late Dr. Ray Peat who popularized bioenergetic medicine. That’s a fancy word for optimizing diet choices to maximize cellular energy production.

Poorly functioning mitochondria is pervasive and probably exists in 98% of the population. Diligent application of the principles outlined by Doctor Peat will help your mitochondria recover so they can produce the amount of energy they were designed to. This is important because your body needs energy to activate its intrinsic healing capacity.

The foundation for the nutritional biochemistry course that will be taught to our health coaches is from a course that Ashley put together. It took her more than one year to write this course, and in my view, it is the best health course I’ve ever seen in my life.

I only wish I had had this course when I first started practicing medicine. It would have been a game changer. It’s hard to imagine how many additional hundreds of millions of people I could have helped with this knowledge. Not to worry though as the knowledge is now available for you.

If you are seriously interested in understanding how your body works, and more importantly, what specific actions you can take to guide it to working the way it was designed to, then this is the course you need to take.

You can enroll for the course on her website. Please understand that I take no commissions from recommending this course. All the funds go directly to Ashley. She is probably the most knowledgeable farmer on the planet when it comes to health. This is why she can produce some of the healthiest food possible. But you may realize that farmers don’t earn very much, so you can support her mission to provide the world with healthy food by purchasing her course.

I would encourage you to seriously consider taking advantage of the wealth of knowledge that has taken her many years to compile and make available to you in an easy to learn format.

Low PUFA Eggs and Bacon From Angel Acres Egg Co. and the Nourish Cooperative

The types of fat you eat can impact how you utilize carbs, as PUFAs can hinder proper carb utilization. And when it comes to animal fats, what your food eats, matters. (If their diet is high in PUFAs, the final product will contain more PUFAs). With the current agriculture system, knowing where your food comes from is vital. The article was written by Ashley Armstrong, who is passionate about providing the highest quality food possible.

Armstrong is the cofounder of Angel Acres Egg Co., which specializes in low-PUFA (polyunsaturated fat) eggs. We discussed the importance of low-PUFA eggs in a recent interview, embedded above for your convenience.

Angel Acres Egg Co. ships Low PUFA eggs to all 50 states — but there is currently a waiting list as she slowly increases the number of chickens within the network to fulfill the demand. More egg boxes will be available this spring — join the waitlist for low PUFA egg boxes here.

Armstrong also co-founded Nourish Cooperative which ships the best low PUFA pork, beef, cheese & A2 dairy and traditional sourdough to all 50 states. They are also close to accepting new members to the farm cooperative — join the waitlist here:

In the video segment above, Ashley reflects on the timeline of her decision to invest her free time into regenerative farming, considering how just a few years ago, her health was far from ideal. She struggled with mitochondrial energy production, and her body was in a low thyroid state. Your body prioritizes energy for essential tasks, and decision-making requires significant energy.

Your brain consumes about 20% of your body’s energy despite being only 2% of its weight. Ashley simply would not have had enough cellular energy to supply her brain to make a decision like she did unless she improved her health. Factors like excess linoleic acid, estrogen and endotoxins were depleting her cellular energy, which is crucial for making energy-intensive decisions.

Her transformation underscores the power of nurturing your health to gain the energy necessary for making significant life changes. Avoiding dietary pitfalls like seed oils played a key role in this journey, enabling her to tap into a newfound capacity for brave decisions — a testament to the profound impact of regaining cellular energy on her ability to navigate life’s choices.

It is my sincere desire and hope that you consider her journey to inspire and empower you to make similar choices in your own life and reclaim the Joy that you deserve. Imagine experiencing the nearly limitless Joy that Ashley has with her 1,000 chickens and four livestock guard dogs below.


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Sleep Promotes Brain Health

For an activity that takes up about one-third of our lives,1 surprisingly little is known about what happens during sleep. However, part of its purpose is to help cleanse your brain, an organ that consumes about 20% of your body’s total energy expenditure.2

Your brain performs a number of complex energy-demanding processes, including neuron firing, synaptic transmission and maintenance of the ion gradients used for neural signaling. The primary source of energy for the brain is glucose, which it gets primarily from your diet. But as nutrients are consumed, metabolic waste is generated in the process.3

Your brain takes advantage of sleep — a time when your body is seemingly at rest — to flush waste and clear out debris that could otherwise lead to degenerative disease, according to scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.4

Your Brain Detoxes via the Glymphatic System

To understand why sleep is so crucial for your brain, it helps to understand how the body eliminates metabolic and cellular waste. Most of your body uses the lymphatic system for this purpose. As Forbes explains:5

“In short, a specialized “sewerage” infrastructure called the lymphatic system. This is made up of various vessels and channels that, like our circulatory system, spread across the entire body. These vessels are filled with a fluid called lymph, which flows through tissues and organs, washing up and collecting debris as it goes.

Dirty lymph is eventually drained into the blood vessels, where it is carried to the kidneys and liver for final filtration and removal.”

In the brain, however, it’s the glymphatic system that removes waste products, acting as a “brain-wide metabolite clearance system.”6 By pumping cerebrospinal fluid through your brain’s tissues, your glymphatic system flushes waste from your brain back into your circulatory system and liver for elimination.

It operates similarly to the lymphatic system in the rest of your body but is specialized for the unique environment of your brain and central nervous system. The term “glymphatic” combines “glial cells,” which are cells in your brain that bring nutrients to neurons, and “lymphatic,” reflecting its similarity to the body’s lymphatic system.

The glymphatic system facilitates the removal of metabolic waste products from the central nervous system (CNS). It does so through a network that involves the perivascular space — the space surrounding blood vessels — cerebrospinal fluid and glial cells.

The glymphatic system is particularly active during sleep, which may actually serve to “kickstart” the system,7 highlighting the importance of a good night’s sleep for brain health.

Brain Waves Help Flush Out Waste While You Sleep

“The accumulation of metabolic waste is a leading cause of numerous neurological disorders, yet we still have only limited knowledge of how the brain performs self-cleansing,” researchers wrote in the journal Nature.8 While it’s known that the brain flushes out waste during sleep, the method behind remained largely unknown.

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But by studying the brains of sleeping mice, the Washington University School of Medicine researchers revealed that neurons underlie the process. They generate electrical signals that jump-start rhythmic brain waves, propelling cerebrospinal fluid through the brain. “Our study demonstrates that neurons serve as master organizers for brain clearance,” researchers wrote in Nature, adding:9

“Here we demonstrate that neural networks synchronize individual action potentials to create large-amplitude, rhythmic and self-perpetuating ionic waves in the interstitial fluid of the brain. These waves are a plausible mechanism to explain the correlated potentiation of the glymphatic flow …”

In other words, neurons in the brain coordinate signals to create large, rhythmic waves of electrical energy that move through the brain’s interstitial fluid, which fills the spaces around brain cells. The waves are similar to rhythmic pulses that travel through the brain’s fluid, helping to mix and move it around.

These electrical waves are thought to boost the function of the glymphatic system, helping cerebrospinal fluid penetrate deeper into the brain and pick up waste, enhancing the cleaning process.

When the researchers altered the waves to reduce their intensity, it significantly reduced the infiltration of cerebrospinal fluid into certain brain regions, further demonstrating the importance of these waves in the brain’s self-cleaning process.

Further, when the researchers artificially generated these waves using transcranial optogenetic stimulation, a method where light is used to control cells in the brain that have been genetically modified to respond to light, it increased the movement of cerebrospinal fluid into the brain tissue, improving the clearance of waste.

Interestingly, brain wave patterns change during sleep cycles, with taller brain waves moving fluid more forcefully. The researchers may conduct further research to determine why brain waves have varying rhythmicity during sleep. Study author Li-Feng Jiang-Xie explained in a news release:10

“We think the brain-cleaning process is similar to washing dishes. You start, for example, with a large, slow, rhythmic wiping motion to clean soluble wastes splattered across the plate. Then you decrease the range of the motion and increase the speed of these movements to remove particularly sticky food waste on the plate.

Despite the varying amplitude and rhythm of your hand movements, the overarching objective remains consistent: to remove different types of waste from dishes. Maybe the brain adjusts its cleaning method depending on the type and amount of waste.”

Sleep Is Crucial for Abstract Learning

Sleep also has a significant impact on your learning processes, enabling your brain to merge various abstract pieces of information and organize them into comprehensive patterns. This process helps in understanding the world and your experiences within it. Essentially, sleep is vital for abstract learning, which involves connecting the dots, rather than merely acquiring isolated facts.

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This mechanism is especially important during early development but remains a lifelong necessity. Consequently, lack of sleep can significantly affect your mental health, leading to confusion and negative emotional responses.

According to professor Matthew Walker, Ph.D., founder and director of the University of California Berkeley’s Center for Human Sleep Science and author of “Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams,” sleep affects your learning and memory processes both before and after learning, and cheating yourself of sleep on either end will impact your ability to learn.11,12

For instance, sleep is important before learning, as it helps prepare your brain to soak up new information. Walker’s research shows that sleep-deprived students have a 40% reduction in their ability to retain new information compared to those who got a full eight hours of sleep. He theorizes that your hippocampus could potentially have a time-limited capacity to store new information.13

When you remain awake for more than 16 hours, your hippocampus effectively runs out of storage space and cannot receive further input.

To continue learning, you need to sleep, during which the information stored in your hippocampus is transferred into long-term storage in other parts of your brain, essentially clearing out your short-term hippocampal storage. You also need sleep after learning, to properly save and hold on to those new individual facts — and integrate the new information with what you already know.

Walker states that, during sleep, your brain quite literally replays what it has learned, but at 10 to 20 times the speed of normal waking consciousness, and this is thought to be part of memory consolidation, as it increases synaptic strength.

This gathering and storing of new information occurs primarily during non-REM sleep. Then, during REM sleep (dream sleep), your brain fuses all of this new information with the entirety of everything you’ve already stored in your memory banks, creating a continuously evolving and growing “mind-wide web of associations,” Walker explains.14

Poor Sleep May Make You Anxious

Sleep also influences your mental health, including increasing anxiety. In research conducted by Walker and colleagues, brain scans were conducted on 18 young adults as they watched emotional videos, both after a good night’s rest and a sleepless night.

Questionnaires were used to gauge anxiety levels in the study participants, while the brain scans revealed that lack of sleep dampened activity in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), a brain area known to help quell anxiety, and amped up emotional centers.15

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Meanwhile, those who slept well demonstrated notable declines in anxiety, with slow wave non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep appearing particularly beneficial. It’s during slow-wave NREM deep sleep that neural oscillations become synchronized and heart rate and blood pressure drop.

“Deep sleep had restored the brain’s prefrontal mechanism that regulates our emotions, lowering emotional and physiological reactivity and preventing the escalation of anxiety,” Eti Ben Simon, the study’s lead author, said in a news release.16 Walker further explained:17

“We have identified a new function of deep sleep, one that decreases anxiety overnight by reorganizing connections in the brain … Deep sleep seems to be a natural anxiolytic (anxiety inhibitor), so long as we get it each and every night.”

Lack of sleep could increase anxiety levels by up to 30%, the study found, with Walker noting, “Without sleep, it’s almost as if the brain is too heavy on the emotional accelerator pedal, without enough brake.”18 If you regularly feel emotionally off-kilter, too little sleep could be to blame. In a separate study, Walker and colleagues revealed that sleep deprivation also fuels feelings of loneliness, for instance.19

Simple Tips for Better Sleep

Adults need an average of seven to nine hours of sleep a night, with most doing well with about eight. If you have trouble achieving this duration, or you wake frequently during the night, it’s time to take steps to improve your sleep hygiene, starting with your bedroom.

Be sure you’re sleeping in complete darkness, as light (even that from a night light or alarm clock) can disrupt your internal clock and your production of melatonin, thereby interfering with your sleep.

In the morning, bright, blue-light-rich sunlight signals to your body that it’s time to wake up. At night, as the sun sets, darkness should signal to your body that it’s time to sleep. Keep the temperature cool, between 60 to 68 degrees F, and eliminate electromagnetic fields. Ideally, shut down the electricity to your bedroom by pulling your circuit breaker before bed and turning off your Wi-Fi at night.

This is just a starting point. Other ways to improve your sleep including adopting a neutral sleeping position, going to be earlier and considering a separate bedroom if your partner is interfering with your sleep. If you’ve already addressed these issues and are still struggling with sleep, see my 33 healthy sleep secrets for a more comprehensive list of strategies for a better night’s rest — and a healthier brain in the process.


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The National Security State Is the Main Driver of Censorship in the US

In a February 16, 2024, interview, Tucker Carlson and Mike Benz, founder and executive director of Foundation for Freedom Online (FFO), discussed the erosion of free speech.

Fundamental Right to Free Speech Is at Risk

As noted by Carlson, freedom of speech, as outlined in the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights, is being eroded — not based on the truthfulness of information, but on whether it aligns with the agendas and narratives of those in power.

This right, which has been central to the identity and exceptionalism of the United States since its inception, ensures that people can express their thoughts and beliefs without fear of censorship or persecution. This right is what distinguishes us as free individuals, opposed to slaves. And, as noted by Carlson, there’s no hate speech exception in the First Amendment.

“… just because you hate what somebody else thinks you cannot force that person to be quiet,” Carlson says.

Carlson also points out that while censorship itself is nothing new, the censorship we face today is very different from other historical instances. It’s a far more nuanced, multifaceted approach that includes societal, technological and political dimensions. Moreover, this new form of censorship is being subtly integrated into the very fabric of our daily lives, which makes it all the more insidious and difficult to combat.

The phenomenon of labeling undesirable yet truthful information as “malinformation” is but one example of this. This labeling process, devoid of concern for the factual accuracy or the honesty of the expressed views, undermines the essence of free speech by restricting open discourse based on subjective criteria rather than objective truth.

Importantly, the mechanisms enforcing this modern censorship are not confined to private sectors or individual platforms but are significantly directed and influenced by the U.S. government itself. This intertwining of state powers with censorship activities marks a troubling departure from traditional American values, where free speech has been held sacred.

While many intuitively perceive this shift, Carlson suspects they may not fully grasp the mechanics of this censorship, or just how deeply embedded it has become in the societal and political landscape. This lack of understanding further compounds the risk, as combating an unseen or poorly comprehended threat is far more challenging.

Modern Censorship Mechanics Explained

According to Benz, modern censorship is based on a complex, integrated system where governmental interests, military defense strategies and corporate technologies converge to regulate and restrict free speech, moving us away from the foundational ideals of internet freedom and openness toward a more controlled and surveilled communication landscape.

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In the interview, he outlines the transformation from internet freedom to internet censorship, and how these changes have been influenced and directed by various government agencies and the military-industrial complex.

Initially, the internet was heralded as a tool of freedom, promoting open dialogue and the exchange of ideas across borders. This freedom was supported and even exploited by entities like the Pentagon, the State Department and intelligence services to advance U.S. interests abroad, particularly in facilitating regime change by supporting dissident groups in authoritarian countries. However, this perspective has shifted dramatically in the past decades.

According to Benz, the change began with the realization within U.S. and allied defense and intelligence communities that the same tools that promote freedom and regime change abroad could also be used against them, which led to a significant shift from promoting to restricting speech online.

“The high-water mark of internet free speech was the Arab Spring in 2011, 2012, when you had … all of the adversary governments of the Obama administration — Egypt, Tunisia — all began to be toppled in Facebook revolutions and Twitter revolutions, and you had the state department working very closely with the social media companies to be able to keep social media online during those periods,” Benz says.

“So free speech was an instrument of statecraft from the national security state to begin with. All of that architecture, all the NGOs, the relationships between the tech companies and the national security state had been long established for freedom.

In 2014, after the coup in Ukraine, there was an unexpected counter coup, where Crimea and the Donbass broke away and they broke away with, essentially, a military backstop that NATO was highly unprepared for … That was the last straw for the concept of free speech on the internet.

In the eyes of NATO, as they saw it, the fundamental nature of war changed at that moment … You don’t need to win miliary skirmishes to take over Central and Eastern Europe. All you need to do is control the media and the social media ecosystem, because that’s what controls elections.”

Censorship Is Now Embedded Into the Internet Infrastructure

The mechanics of modern censorship, as described by Benz, involve a coordinated effort between governmental bodies, the defense industry and tech companies to develop and implement sophisticated methods to monitor, control, and suppress speech online under the guise of combating “disinformation” and “malinformation” for national security purposes.

But, again, these efforts are not necessarily concerned with the veracity of the information but rather with its alignment with, or opposition to, certain political agendas, both national and global.

These censorship mechanisms are now embedded within the very infrastructure of the internet itself, from social media platforms to search engines, and tools initially developed to protect democracy and promote free speech, such as VPNs, Tor, encryption and private browsing modes, have all been repurposed to monitor and control the flow of information instead.

The involvement of major tech corporations — initially funded and supported by government grants and contracts — plays a crucial role in this transformation. For example, Google began as a project funded by a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) grant, awarded to founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were Ph.D. students at Stanford.

This funding was part of a joint CIA-NSA program aimed at understanding how groups form and interact online, essentially tracking “birds of a feather” through search engine data aggregation. That technology is now being used to identify, monitor and silence “dissident” voices within the U.S., no matter how righteous their views may be.

Legal Frameworks Now Sustains Modern Censorship

Benz also reviews the legal and institutional frameworks established to sustain this modern censorship, which allows for a seamless transition between state objectives and private sector compliance.

This public-private interaction is a clear departure from the overt government censorship of old. What we now have is a far more nuanced, shadowy form of content control that blurs the lines between public and private actions against free speech.

As we saw during the COVID pandemic, this also allowed government to plead innocence and pretend that the decision to censor some content was done by the companies themselves.

However, between the Twitter Files, the CTIL files and the lawsuit against the Biden administration, we now have ample evidence showing that companies were pressured to comply with the government’s demand for censorship. They didn’t come up with that on their own.

According to Benz, it’s quite clear that state-sponsored initiatives, supported by defense and intelligence agencies, are shaping online narratives and controlling information flow in the U.S. under the pretense that national security is at stake. As such, these initiatives have led to a form of legalized censorship.

U.S.-led initiatives have also influenced internet governance and free speech regulations internationally. For example, the European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA) is a significant legislative move towards formalizing and legalizing online censorship.

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The DSA, which took effect February 17, 2024, requires tech companies to comply with stringent content moderation policies to operate within the EU market. This act represents a legal framework that extends well beyond traditional boundaries of censorship.

It pushes companies to police content in accordance with European standards, which is basically just a proxy for NATO and U.S. foreign policy objectives. Collectively, these frameworks mark a global shift towards institutionalizing online censorship through legal and regulatory measures. As noted by Benz, “What I’m describing is military rule. It’s the inversion of democracy.”

Building a Whole-of-Society Solution

As explained by Benz, the censorship industry was built as a whole-of-society effort, and to combat that, we need a whole-of-society solution.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, misinformation online is a whole-of-society problem that requires a whole-of-society solution. By that, they mean that four types of institutions must fuse together as a seamless whole. Those four categories and key functions are:

  1. Government institutions, which provide funding and coordination.
  2. Private sector institutions that do the censorship and dedicate funds to censorship through corporate-social responsibility programs.
  3. Civil society institutions (universities, NGOs, academia, foundations, nonprofits and activists) that do the research, the spying and collecting of data that are then given to the private sector to censor.
  4. News media/fact checking institutions, which put pressure on institutions, platforms and businesses to comply with the censorship demands.

Benz’ organization, FFO, educates people about this structure, and the ways in which legislatures and the government can be restructured, how civil society institutions can be established, and how news media can be created to support and promote freedom rather than censorship.

To learn how you can be part of the solution, check out You can also follow Benz on Twitter.

I firmly believe that we can turn this situation around, if for no other reason than the fact that there are some eight billion of us who want freedom, while those who seek to enslave us number in the thousands, or tens of thousands at the most. Either way, they’re clearly outnumbered.

But we need to spread the word, and help our friends and family understand how important our decisions are. We either support the network that seeks to take our freedom, or the network that seeks to protect it. Educate yourself about what’s at stake, then trust yourself to make the right decisions.


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Dissolving Illusions About Vaccine Safety

In this interview, Dr. Suzanne Humphries discusses the recent update to her classic book, “Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and the Forgotten History,” published in 2013. “Dissolving Illusions” is one of my favorite books on vaccines, so I was honored to write the foreword for this 10th anniversary edition.

The ‘Safe and Effective’ Narrative Is a Carefully Fabricated Illusion

That word, “illusions,” is an apt one, because the vaccine industry really is all about promoting illusions. They intentionally deceive us about the risks and benefits of vaccines in order to make a profit, with complete disregard for human suffering.

“What I’ve learned over 15 years of really immersing myself in this is that it’s the same old story over and over and over again,” Humphries says. “Sometimes people ask me, ‘What is the driver? Why do they do this?’ My answer is that I cannot completely answer why. Yes, certainly, there’s greed involved, especially today, but I think there’s probably some more sinister operations at play.

The one thing we can say is that for 225 years, the same story has been repeated over and over again, which is that vaccines come out, and they make previous diseases that were not really very problematic worse. The vaccines cause problems.

The death rates were always coming down for any disease before any therapy came in at all, whether it’s an antibiotic or a vaccine … Trying to help humans live better, longer lives, to strengthen their bodies and their resilience, that’s always been the key.

Yet at the same time, there’s been this dampening force over humanity, contaminating the blood of humanity with animal products and disease, viruses and spores and things that you can’t even imagine. They used to call the smallpox vaccine ‘pure lymph,’ but it was pus. It’s a horror story. It’s always been a horror story. So, to me, COVID was just another day at the office.”

Malicious Acts

In the interview, Humphries recounts the impetus behind the book. She first became aware that vaccines might be problematic when she was working as a nephrologist in northern Maine.

After a three-years-long struggle with the hospital administration, who refused to listen to any of her concerns, she finally got out, paid off her student loans and moved into a pop-up camper on a friend’s farm in Virginia, where she wrote the first edition of “Dissolving Illusions,” together with Roman Bystrianyk, who had been researching the history of disease and vaccines since 1998.

She spent the next seven years giving lectures around the world, and got her fair share of death threats. The brake line on her car was sabotaged, someone shot a crossbow arrow into the ground in front of her front door, and an obvious nut job detailed how he intended to torture and kill her in horrible ways. All for speaking out about the hazards of vaccines and the lies that keep the vaccine industry going.

“I think it’s because when you’re someone that has credibility — I was considered a top doctor in Maine, as a nephrologist — and comes out saying what I was saying, it is a big threat. It’s not necessarily that I was some important person, but it was where I came from,” she says.

CDC Has Been Hiding Vaccine Injuries for Years

Humphries also recounts how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been hiding vaccine injuries by deleting reports filed.

“I started reporting these vaccine injuries to the CDC. I would report them because my colleagues around me wouldn’t. But then they started bringing them to me, going ‘Here’s another one, Suzanne. Here’s another one.’ Each time I would report one, I would get a call from the CDC saying, ‘OK, someone else will be calling you,’ and then I’d get another call.

It was just a creepy, weird thing. Then after six months, I get a call from the main representative of the CDC, this doctor, and we had a flat out fight on the phone. He said to me, ‘What happened to you that you think all these vaccines are causing so many problems?’

I’m like, ‘What happened to me is that I’ve been watching it happen, and then you’re giving this live flu vaccine to children when the insert tells you exactly the symptoms you’re going to get, which is the flu.’ He’s like, ‘Well, that’s my specialty and that absolutely doesn’t happen.’ I said, ‘Well, I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree on that.’ He hung up on me, and that was the last I ever heard of him.

And guess what? They never made it to the VAERS database. They were deleted. I had the actual vaccine lot numbers. Everything was meticulously documented in these reports.”

What’s in the ‘Dissolving Illusions’ Update?

One of the silver linings of the COVID mass injection campaign is that it has awakened many to the notion that vaccines aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. The COVID shots are so toxic, even though the injuries are being swept under the carpet like never before, there are just so many of them that the carnage cannot be hidden. And, because government and health authorities refuse to acknowledge the problem, many are now questioning all vaccines, not just the COVID shot.

“It’s a dark night of the soul when you wake up to it,” Humphries says. “Your whole world does get a bit shattered, because you start to realize that the entire medical system is corrupt and backwards and that there’s probably better ways to do just about everything.

And you know what? For 225 years, doctors have been saying that, and for 225 years, those doctors have been ignored. That’s one of the reasons we wrote the second book, ‘The Dissolving Illusions Companion book.’

It’s another huge book, about 600 pages, with 230-something doctors giving different quotes about what they saw, boots on the ground, for smallpox vaccines to the toxoid vaccines to scarlet fever, typhoid, and the worsening of all diseases that occurred after they gave vaccines.

Some of them basically come out and say, ‘The entire profession of medicine is a complete waste of time. [They’re doing] damage to humanity. It would be better if all the doctors just were taken off the Earth and for humanity to do nothing.’

What we’ve done over the past 10 years is, in my travels, I would have to do more research to present different diseases. I would go one place and they say, ‘We want to hear about tetanus,’ or they want to hear more about whooping cough. More medical literature has also come out. So, we’ve added basically another book to ‘Dissolving Illusions.’

We’ve expanded it by 200 pages. We’ve added on a chapter on tuberculosis, which was called the White Plague. There’s an extra addition to the smallpox chapter. I’ve added about 20 or 30 new pages to the pertussis chapter. There is a chapter on deadly medicine, the practices from the early 1800s through to the 1940s that were provably causing lots of harm.

Roman came up with more charts. There’s a follow-up on the polio chapter. Dr. Jacob Puliyel, who lives in India, wrote the papers on the oral polio vaccines, how they were causing paralysis in children. We added those follow-up papers, as well as a lot of other data that we left out of the original chapter to try to save space, but it’s so important, it really needs to be put out there.”

The Polio Illusion

Based on the available science, Humphries is convinced that one of the reasons the polio vaccine doesn’t work is because polio isn’t caused by an infectious virus. It’s caused by toxins. Poliovirus is a commensal virus that is completely harmless in the absence of toxic onslaught.

“We have to distinguish poliovirus from poliomyelitis,” Humphries explains. “Poliomyelitis is when there’s damage to a certain part of the spinal cord or the brain stem in the gray matter and causes paralysis in one or more muscle groups. It can cause paralysis to nerves that supply the diaphragm, which is why the iron lung was brought in.

[Poliomyelitis] was always attributed to a virus, which is really interesting when you consider that the early researchers were trying to infect monkeys with poliovirus and they couldn’t infect them. They stuck it up their noses. They would inject it into their bodies. They couldn’t cause paralysis in these monkeys until they injected matter from other paralyzed humans or animals into their brains.

That’s what it took to actually paralyze them. It’s a commensal virus. Polio is a commensal virus that has existed from time immemorial. When researchers went down to the Brazilian rainforest and found the Xavante Indians and convinced them to give them some blood samples and fecal samples, they found that just about 100% of these native people were colonized with polio, and there was no history of paralysis anywhere in the tribes.

Nobody talked about people that couldn’t breathe. They were fetchingly healthy. Same happened in the Philippines. When you look at the people living close to the earth, living healthy lives, and then comes the … [Western] lifestyle habits of sugar, tobacco, medicines that contain mercury, lead, arsenic and vaccinations spreading syphilis.

Latent syphilis gives you poliomyelitis. Lead can give you poliomyelitis. Arsenic is probably the most interesting, because not only does it clinically give you the exact scenario of poliomyelitis, but even in the spinal cord, it’s exactly the same. That’s been proven. I’m not a virus denier. There is actual virus that is commensal.”

Are Viruses Real?

By now, you’ve probably heard the theory that there are no viruses, period. That the entire field of virology is a hoax, and that what we perceive as viruses are merely a type of cellular debris being shed when your body is trying to detox. Having delved deep into the science of infectious disease, Humphries disagrees with this theory. Viruses do exist. The question is whether they’re as dangerous as they’re made out to be. Humphries comments:

“You get chickenpox one time and you’re immune to it forever. You can be exposed to it over and over again and you don’t get it. Well, if it’s a detox, like they say, why doesn’t it carry on? I’m still as polluted as I probably was 10 years ago. I’m not getting chickenpox over and over again. I got it one time.

Why do these children that are nonimmune get it? … When you look at it that way, it’s like, ‘Come on, people. These viruses are all different. They have different manifestations.’ Influenza virus is a completely different entity.

The measles virus hasn’t really shifted genetically very much over the years. The natural one hasn’t. What’s really shifted it is the vaccines. When you start injecting people with the virus, having it go into the body in an unnatural way so that there is not a full immune response, that’s what causes mutations in the viruses because they’re able to work their way around the vaccine.

It’s happened very slowly with measles. It happened very quickly with the whooping cough bacteria, because of the really inefficient vaccine that was created for that.

The flu shots don’t work at all. Even Anthony Fauci came out with paper in 2023 that was almost a confession; about how poorly they’ve done with these viral vaccines and flu shots, and how if they were compared to all the other vaccines, they wouldn’t even be allowed to be on the market.

He said the COVID vaccines have the same problem. It’s because they’re not getting immunity where immunity is required, which is on the lung and the mucosal surfaces. How crazy to inject into a muscle a vaccine and think that you’re going to get solid immunity on the nasal and upper respiratory mucosa. Absolute insanity.

Same with the polio vaccine … Salk comes along and creates this injectable vaccine. They had to manipulate that data so much. They had to change the definition of what they considered as polio.

That’s what we added to [the polio] chapter. We’re showing the charts and what they would look like in their pure form, without changing the definitions. The rates of polio actually went up hugely after that vaccine was introduced. So, there’s never been a vaccine that’s really worthwhile giving.”

Changing Definitions Is Part of the Illusion

The changing of definitions is part of the vaccine industry’s playbook. They had to do the same for the COVID pandemic. Not only was the definition of “pandemic” changed, but also the definition of a “vaccine,” to allow for the use of experimental modified RNA gene therapy.

“They did the same thing they did with the Salk vaccine,” Humphries says. “See, history just repeats itself. So, the first vaccine that came out, the Salk vaccine, had merthiolate [thimerosal], a mercury compound, in it to kill off unwanteds, but Salk wasn’t happy with the field trials — the results of the antibody response from those children — so they took the merthiolate out.

So, we had one vaccine that was used for the testing and another that was given to the public. The same happened with the COVID vaccine. The mRNA technology, that’s not how the original ones were given.

I did a talk not that long ago in Denver, where I went into this in depth; how the vaccine that was given for the trials was completely different to the one given to the public. It was much more pure for instance … It was a very, very different vaccine that was used on the population. Then of course, that vaccine changed. So, different companies had different ways of manufacturing.”

Another part of the fraud is using another vaccine as the control in lieu of a true placebo. You simply cannot prove a vaccine is safe by comparing it to another, most likely unsafe, vaccine.

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Yet that’s how it’s done. By using a toxic “control,” many of the adverse effects are automatically hidden as people in the control group end up suffering similar adverse events, and at a similar rate. This tactic was used in some of the COVID shot trials as well.

Why You Don’t Need a Tetanus Vaccine

According to Humphries, there are no worthwhile vaccines, not even smallpox or tetanus, and certainly not the polio vaccine. She’s treated several cases of tetanus in the last five years, including in at least one fully vaccinated individual, using high-dose intravenous vitamin C and other essential nutrients.

One of the reasons why this works is because tetanus is not a viral disease. It’s a bacterial disease caused by the Clostridium tetani bacterium, an obligate anaerobe. It can reside in soils, but it can also reside in your intestine where there’s no oxygen.

Oxygen is toxic to it. If you expose that organism to oxygen, as you do with vitamin C (because the metabolite of vitamin C is hydrogen peroxide), it’s instantaneously killed. Ozone therapy would likely be even more effective, for this reason.

So, if you get tetanus from a wound, the last thing you need is a tetanus shot or tetanus antibodies. All you need to do is apply ozone to the wound. It’ll instantly destroy the bacteria. Applying hydrogen peroxide would also work. As explained by Humphries, vitamin C is also a neutralizer of toxins, which is another reason it works.

Tetanus is a spore, and it transforms under anaerobic conditions into a toxin-producing organism. If you can neutralize the toxin and kill the microbe, then you’ve won the battle. One hundred percent, we’ve won the battle. Humphries comments:

“In rabbit studies, they got tetanus spores and ground glass and put it under the skin of rabbits, sewed it up. If they gave rabbits vitamin C at the time that they did this, 100% of them survived. If they did it afterwards, the majority of them survived. If they already had high levels of vitamin C, all of them survived.

So, the rabbit study showed us that not only is tetanus preventable, it’s treatable. I don’t necessarily believe that by [injecting] a toxoid, that you’re going to respond …

There are so many case reports of people with paralytic tetanus after having five vaccines … I don’t care what wound I have. There’s no way a tetanus vaccine or a tetanus immune globulin, which is a human pooled blood product, is going into me …

[The tetanus shot] actually changes your T-3 to T-4 ratio. This is all documented. I didn’t put it in the book, but I’ve got a video out there from when I was in Finland, showing that it definitely changes the way your immune system works. All vaccines do.”

More Information

What people have to realize is that the schemes used to push the COVID shots is nothing new. “It’s pretty much exactly the same as it’s been for 225 years, where the recipients are not the beneficiaries of this technology and humanity is not getting healthier by any means as a result of it,” Humphries says.

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To truly understand the vaccine industry’s modus operandi, be sure to pick up Humphries’ “Dissolving Illusions” 10th anniversary edition. It’s coming out in two forms: a standard hard copy, and a special coffee table edition. The standard hard copy has been translated into 10 languages, with more coming. Kindle and audio book formats are also available.

Also consider picking up a copy of “The Dissolving Illusion’s Companion” book, which features the quotes of hundreds of doctors, stories of vaccination tragedies, the timeline of vaccines, rare documents that have been scrubbed off the internet, a recommended reading list and much more. For more details and free sample chapters, see In closing, Humphries comments:

“This is a really important point: It’s not just about not vaccinating. If you’re going to feed your children garbage and if you’re not going to have a healthy lifestyle, I say go vaccinate, because when you get sick and you have to go to the hospital, you’re going to be abused.

But if people follow your recommendations — you’re like the underscore to ‘Dissolving Illusions,’ you’re the solution to how to stay healthy so that the perceived need for these vaccines isn’t there …

Historically, [survival] has not been about vaccines. It’s not been about medications, it’s not been about antibiotics. It’s always been about plumbing, nutrition, fresh air, vitamin D, lifestyle, and keeping poisons out of our bodies. That’s always what it’s been about in terms of survival.

Does that mean we’ll never get sick? No, it doesn’t. But I personally believe it’s good to get sick once in a while and get some of that effusions out of your lungs and your nose. I think that does us some good once in a while.”


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Are Baby Carrots as Good for You as Full Size?

Editor’s Note: This article is a reprint. It was originally published February 4, 2017.

Carrots, and especially baby carrots, are a popular snack in the U.S., for adults and children alike. Parents use the bite-sized, sweet treats in children’s lunches to boost the nutrient value of their mid-day meal. They are easy to dip, snack on and require little to no preparation.

Baby carrots today are a breed apart from the original product, which were peeled and reshaped from broken or misshapen larger carrots. California carrot farmer Mike Yurosek was the entrepreneur in the 1980s who reshaped the way you think about carrots.1

As Yurosek’s method of peeling and reshaping has evolved over the years, the popularity of the product has grown. Today, farmers produce hybrid carrots designed to meet the needs of the consumer who wants a fresh out-of-the-bag snack without the hassle of peeling and cleaning. But, does all that convenience come at a price?

Do Small Size Carrots Have Full-Size Nutrients?

Baby carrots appeal to many, as they both taste good and deliver an additional nutritional punch to a diet potentially high in processed foods. Carrots are a root vegetable that are commonly orange in color. Purple, black, red, white and yellow varieties have also been developed, although not as baby carrots.

The current 2-inch carrots are cut from a special variety of plant that grows slim and remains tender.2 The ends of the carrots, or broken pieces, are now used for juicing or are processed into cattle feed.

The carrots used for baby carrots are grown in close proximity, to encourage the root to grow deep and slender, as well as being harvested approximately 40 to 60 days earlier than full grown variety.3

Baby carrots are also not peeled as they once were. Instead, the carrots are shaped from small, slender carrots that don’t have the characteristic lighter colored core, and then are buffed and polished in a tumble drum.4

According to a comparison between baby carrots5 and full-sized carrots6 in the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release, baby carrots have slightly more water and slightly fewer calories.

They each have approximately the same amount of sugar, but baby carrots have less iron, phosphorus and magnesium. Comparing 100 grams of each type of carrot, baby carrots also carry less vitamin A and vitamin C, but significantly more folate than the larger variety.

Although the nutrient value between the two types of carrots is not equal, this may be offset if you are more tempted to eat a greater number of baby carrots than you are the larger, thicker variety.

Benefits of Carrots and Beta-Carotene

In this short video, I briefly go over the role and importance of antioxidants to your health. Carrots are a potent source of antioxidants in your diet, including lycopene, beta-carotene and vitamin A. Half a cup of chopped carrots, whether the larger or smaller baby carrot, contains over 200% of the average daily recommended amount of vitamin A.

The high vitamin A content comes from beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in your liver. Beta-carotene is also a strong antioxidant, effective against free radicals and reducing oxidative stress. By developing a habit of including carrots in your daily diet, you will enjoy some important health benefits.

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Cancer — Antioxidants in carrots may play a role in cancer prevention. Research has demonstrated smokers who eat carrots more than once a week have a lower risk of lung cancer,7 while a beta-carotene-rich diet may also protect against prostate cancer.8,9

Further research demonstrates the association between beta-carotene and a lower risk of colon cancer,10 a positive effect against leukemia11 and reduced risk of gastric cancer.12 A natural toxin carrots use against fungal disease, falcarinol, may stimulate cancer-fighting mechanisms in your body, and has demonstrated the ability to reduce the risk of tumors in rats.13

Vision — Vitamin A deficiency may cause your eye’s photoreceptors to deteriorate, leading to vision problems. Eating foods rich in beta-carotene may restore vision,14 lending truth to the old adage that carrots are good for your eyes.

Carrots may reduce your risk of age-related macular degeneration15 and the incidence of cataracts.16 Additionally, research shows women may reduce their risk of glaucoma by 64% by consuming more than two servings of carrots per week.17

Heart health — Fruits and vegetables that are deep orange in color are associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Carrots are associated with a 32% lower risk of CHD18 and have been associated with a lower risk of heart attacks in women.19

Metabolic syndrome — Beta-carotene and lycopene, two carotenoids found in carrots, have been associated with a lower incidence of metabolic syndrome in middle aged men.20 Metabolic syndrome is associated with heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

Skin — Orange-red vegetables, rich in beta-carotene, may help prevent cell damage and premature skin aging.

People who suffer from leukoplakia, white lesions found in the mouth and tongue of people exposed to years of smoking or alcohol consumption, and who took a beta-carotene supplement experienced fewer symptoms.21

Researchers have also found people who suffer from scleroderma, a connective tissue disorder causing hardening of the skin, had low levels of beta-carotene.22

Oral health — Carrots may help reduce the number of cavities you get and help keep your teeth clean. Saliva is an alkaline substance, helping to reduce bacteria and plaque production on your teeth. Eating carrots helps to increase your production of saliva and stimulates your gums.23

Brain health — Carrot extract has demonstrated a positive effect on the management of cognitive dysfunction.24 Eating a high number of root vegetables, such as carrots, reduce cognitive decline in middle-aged men and women.25

Liver function — Carrot extract may also help protect your liver from environmental toxins.26 The hepatoprotective benefits of carrots are experienced with both the vegetable and the extract.27

Antiaging effects — Antioxidants help to ward off the damage caused by free radicals, and are a strong antiaging force. Carrots are a valuable source of these antioxidants.28

Anti-inflammatory — The anti-inflammatory properties in carrots are significant even when compared to anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen.29

Cutting Carrots May Enhance the Nutrient Value

Since baby carrots are buffed, removing the outer protective layer, they require refrigeration to extend their shelf life. Even in the refrigerator, they may start to spoil within 30 days of picking and processing. Many of the health benefits of carrots come from their strong antioxidant activity, which may be enhanced through cooking or cutting the vegetable.

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Plants have a rudimentary form of communication and a means of protection. In one study, researchers discovered when a tobacco plant was attacked by a specific insect, the plant released a compound that attracted the insect’s predator, thus protecting itself.30 This same process of chemical change may increase the antioxidant concentration in a carrot after it has been cut.

Both humans and plants use antioxidants to limit the damaging effects of oxidative reactions and stress in cells. Oxidative stress may predispose you to diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. Plant-based phenolic antioxidants may reduce the risk of developing these conditions.31 Some of the phenolic antioxidants produced by plants appear in blood plasma and tissue, which may improve the function of these antioxidants in your body.

Studies suggest that wounding a carrot by cutting or shredding will increase the production of antioxidants in the plant. Author of one study, Luis Cisneros-Zevallos, Ph.D., director of the Plant Bioactives & Bioprocessing Research Lab at Texas A&M University, commented:32

“Wounding fresh produce sends a signal to the cells, which perceive that as if they were under attack or facing adverse conditions. As a result, oxidative stress increases in the cell and they start synthesizing antioxidant molecules to protect the cell from that stress.”

Researchers found the more the plant was wounded or stressed, the greater the antioxidant production at the cellular level.33 The higher the intensity of the damage, the longer the plant produced antioxidants, measured over four days during the study, making carrots rich sources of phenolic antioxidant compounds.

Cooking Your Carrots May Release More Carotenoids

Cooking carrots may also increase the level of beta-carotene and phenolic acids produced by the carrot. Since raw carrots have a tough cell wall, less than 25% of the beta-carotene in carrots is able to be converted into vitamin A.34 During cooking the cellulose walls are dissolved, freeing up nutrients. An increase in total carotenoids available after steam blanching have been demonstrated. When dehydrated, the carotenoids are protected but do not increase.

Another study evaluating the effects of boiling, steaming and frying on carotenoids in vegetables, found steamed vegetables kept the best texture quality, but all three means of cooking demonstrated an overall increase in values.35 Just resist the urge to cut your carrots before cooking to make more antioxidants available for absorption.

Baby Carrots Take a Chlorine Bath

Part of the process baby carrots undergo before reaching the grocery store is a chlorine bath. The largest carrot farm, Grimmway Farms, reports that chlorine is used on all their baby carrots to prevent food poisoning.36 After their chlorine wash they are rinsed, packaged and shipped.

Chlorine is also used to extend the shelf life of the baby carrots.37 As baby carrots begin to age they develop a white appearance on the outer layer. This doesn’t affect the nutrient value of the carrots, but does impact how appetizing they appear. Buffing and processing baby carrots increase the rate at which the carrots begin deteriorating and develop a white blush on the exterior caused from drying out.38

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The rate at which this white coating appears will depend upon the condition of the carrots before processing, the amount of abrasiveness of the processing and the humidity levels during storage. Chlorine, used to clean and preserve the carrots, is a common chemical found in your water supply, pesticides, paper and plastics. In the last 30 years, a growing body of evidence has suggested that chlorine and by-products trigger significant negative health conditions.

Although the amount of chlorine in baby carrots is minute, it is added to your overall toxic burden from other sources. It isn’t the chlorine that causes the problems, but rather the disinfection byproducts (DBPs) produced when chlorine interacts with organic matter. These byproducts are far more toxic than the chlorine, including trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids. In this instance, the term organic is used to mean a compound that is carbon-based.

This means these byproducts are produced in all carrots, whether toxic pesticides were used in the growing process or not. Long-term risks of exposure to DBPs include excessive free radical formation, which accelerates aging and vulnerability to gene mutation and cancer. More than 600 DBPs have been discovered, some of which are linked to liver malfunction, arteriosclerotic damage and neurodegenerative changes.39

Scientists are only beginning to understand the long- and short-term impact of chlorine-based chemicals. The healthiest option is to buy whole, unprocessed carrots — ideally organic — then wash, peel and cut them yourself.

Create a Super Trio

Here are three excerpts from studies showing how ginger, turmeric and carrots — three superfoods — were effective in both treatment and prevention of several cancers:

Ginger — “Although the medicinal properties of ginger have been known for thousands of years, a significant number of in vitro, in vivo, and epidemiological studies further provide substantial evidence that ginger and its active compounds are effective against wide variety of human diseases including GI [gastrointestinal] cancer.

Ginger has been found to be effective against various GI cancers such as gastric cancer, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, colorectal cancer and cholangiocarcinoma.”40

Turmeric — “Curcumin is among the more successful chemopreventive compounds investigated in recent years, and is currently in human trials to prevent cancer. The mechanism of action of curcumin is complex and likely multifactorial. We have made the unexpected observation that curcumin strikingly modulates proteins of iron metabolism in cells and in tissues, suggesting that curcumin has properties of an iron chelator.”41

Carrots — This study has shown that extracts from carrots can induce apoptosis and cause cell cycle arrest in leukemia cell lines.42

Get all three of these powerful antioxidants in one delicious dish: Steam a few cups of carrots in a few tablespoons of water, just until tender-crisp. Add a few teaspoons of butter, sea salt to taste and a half-teaspoon each of grated turmeric and ginger (or half that amount of the ground variety). To serve, mash lightly or serve whole for a wildly healthy, delicious side dish.


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Just How Far Will the FDA Go to Protect a Bad Drug?

In yesterday’s article, I reviewed the immensely concerning data that emerged throughout the SSRI antidepressant trials. Sadly, rather than this data being listened to, it was given a pass by the FDA, a pattern we have tragically seen occur with numerous highly lucrative pharmaceuticals. In my eyes, three things stand out about the SSRI saga.

The first is that numerous whistleblowers came forward and provided clear proof of exactly how this corruption transpired. The second is that the corruption reached the highest levels of government.

The third is that the FDA went to incredible lengths to protect the SSRIs, something many of us would not believe could be possible had we not just witnessed it throughout COVID-19.

Note: One of the greatest issues with the SSRIs is how addictive the drugs are (stopping them can cause severe withdrawals which are highly damaging to the nervous system and sometimes precipitate violent psychosis). If you are considering stopping them, I strongly recommend working with a health professional who is experienced in this regard.

For those who do not have access to one, I compiled a detailed summary of how to safely withdraw from them here (in the second half of this article).

John Virapen

It is exceedingly rare for a pharmaceutical executive to speak out against their industry (as doing so will permanently blacklist them from being hired again). In turn, the only ones I know of (besides an executive I’ve privately corresponded with) are Peter Rost and John Virapen, both of whom found themselves in very unique circumstances which enabled and compelled them to speak out against their industry and disclose the sociopathic behavior they observed within it.

Note: Rost’s story, along with similar accounts from the other Pfizer whistleblowers can be found in this article and this article.

One of the pharmaceutical executives directly involved in obtaining the approval for the original SSRI antidepressant, Prozac, developed a great deal of guilt for what he was complicit in once a large number of SSRI-linked deaths occurred. In turn, after he was unjustly fired, John Virapen chose to speak out.

Virapen chronicled those events in “Side Effects: Death — Confessions of a Pharma Insider.” These included outrageous acts of bribery to get his drugs approved, and photographing physicians with prostitutes provided by Eli Lilly so that they could be blackmailed into prescribing Lilly’s drugs. For those interested, this is a brief talk that Virapen gave about his experiences. I greatly appreciate the fact he used candid language rather than the euphemisms almost everyone else does:

At the start of the saga, Lilly’s senior management knew Prozac was garbage and wanted to shelve the drug, but since Lilly in dire financial straits they decided to go all in on the approval of Prozac in the hope it could save the company. Prozac, in turn, had initially been proposed as a treatment for weight loss (as this side effect of Prozac had been observed in treatment subjects).

However, Lilly ultimately concluded (as explained above) it would be much easier to create the illusion Prozac treated “depression” and then get a post-marketing approval for the treatment of weight loss.

As Prozac took off, it became clear that depression was a much better market, and the obesity aspect was forgotten. Lilly then used a common industry tactic and worked tirelessly to expand the definition of depression so that everyone could become eligible for the drug and aggressively marketed this need for happiness to the public, before long, transforming depression from a rare to a common one.

Unfortunately, while the marketing machine had no difficulties creating a demand for Prozac, the initial clinical trial data made it abundantly clear that the first SSRI, Prozac, was dangerous and ineffective. Lilly settled on the strategy of obtaining regulatory approval in Sweden, and using this approval as a precedent to obtain approval in other countries.

Virapen was assigned to this task and told by his superiors that if he failed, his career was over. Virapen, unfortunately, discovered that whenever he provided Lilly’s clinical trial data to experts, they laughed and had trouble believing he was actually seeking regulatory approval as Prozac’s trial data was just that bad.

Sweden (following their regulatory procedures) elected to allow an outside independent expert to make the final determination on whether Prozac should be approved or not. The identity of this expert witness was concealed, but Virapen was able to determine that it was Anders Forsman, a forensic psychiatrist and member of the legal council on the Swedish National Board of Health.

After meeting with Virapen, Forsman proposed an untraceable bribe. Then, upon receiving payment, wrote a glowing letter in support of Prozac, fully reversing his previous position (he had ridiculed it just two weeks before) and guided Virapen through re-writing the trial to conceal the 5 attempted (4 of which were successful) SSRI suicides in it.

Forsman’s “expert” opinion resulted in Prozac being partially approved and formally priced for reimbursement in Sweden, which was then used as a precedent to market it around the world at that same lucrative price.

Note: After leaving Lilly, Virapen tried to have Forsman prosecuted for bribery. Despite the chairman for the Institute against Bribery submitting a report to the Department of Justice affirming bribery had indeed occurred, Forsman (who repeatedly lied throughout the process) was not prosecuted because he was not an official employee of the agency. Forsman in turn was allowed to continue his professional career and was employed by the state long after the investigation ended.

Virapen noted that during this time, German drug regulators who had clearly and unambiguously stated that Prozac was “totally unsuitable for the treatment of depression” suddenly reversed their position, leading Virapen to suspect that similar under-the-table activity must have occurred in Germany.

David Healey, a doctor and director of the North Wales School of psychological medicine, likewise concluded that the German approval was due to “unorthodox lobbying methods exercised on independent members of the regulatory authorities.”

Note: A key reason why the German regulators initially refused to approve Prozac was because the specific criteria used for determining an improvement in depression was highly subjective and the benefit was only being reported by the trial psychiatrists but not the participants themselves.

Not long after saving Eli Lilly, Virapen was fired. Virapen believes he was fired because he was a man of color in an otherwise Caucasian company (he was told this by his supervisor).

Peter Gøtzsche, a leading expert in pharmaceutical research fraud, on the other hand, attributed this to typical organized crime tactics where Lilly sought to conceal their illegal activity by firing Virapen and his two assistants (as immediately after their abrupt termination, none of them were permitted to access their offices, and thus could not obtain any of the files that proved that they had bribed Forsman).

In short, given how horrendous the data supporting their safety and efficacy was, you must be wondering how the SSRIs made it through the regulatory approval process.

George H.W. Bush

There is a lot of dark history to the Bush family. The Bush dynasty was founded by Prescott Bush, who built his family fortune by collaborating with the Nazis directly against the wishes of the U.S. government (The Guardian, for example, confirms it here).

His son, George H.W. Bush had the unique accomplishment of being the only CIA chief to later become president, and during his brief tenure there was responsible for numerous crimes against humanity in South America. After leaving the CIA once Carter became president, Bush (senior) served as a board member for Eli Lilly.

He then joined the Reagan Administration as Vice President, where he helped to push through the catastrophic decision for the FDA to approve aspartame for consumer use (aspartame was so dangerous even the FDA did not want to approve it). After succeeding Ronald Reagan as President, Bush chose Dan Quayle as his Vice President:

“In Talking Back to Prozac (1994), I pointed out that Prozac was approved under the first Bush administration and that George Bush had been a member of the board of directors of Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of Prozac. I also pointed out that Vice President Dan Quayle was from Indiana, the home state and international headquarters for Eli Lilly.

At the time the FDA was approving Prozac, Quayle employed former Eli Lilly personnel on his own staff, and Quayle had considerable leverage over the FDA as the chair of a special committee that was investigating its operations.

I questioned whether the FDA might have rejected Prozac and that the entire SSRI onslaught might never have gotten started if the president and vice president of the United States had not been so closely affiliated with Eli Lilly.”

Bush’s son, President George W. Bush likewise followed in his father’s footsteps and appointed Eli Lilly executives to senior positions within his administration. In fact, he even inserted a provision into the Patriot Act to exempt vaccine manufacturers, including Eli Lilly, from liability for thimerosal (Mercury) within vaccinations.

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In short, Bush profoundly changed the FDA’s regulatory conduct. Consider this example shared by John Virapen that occurred a few years before Bush became president. In 1980, Eli Lilly applied for the approval of benoxaprofen, and aggressively promoted this new blockbuster medication.

Not long after being approved, in 1982, benoxaprofen was taken off the market after being linked to a small number of deaths, and Eli Lilly underwent a lengthy investigation conducted by the Justice Department, where it was concluded that Lilly intentionally covered up the deaths caused by their drug. Benoxaprofen is banned, but nothing remotely similar has been done for the SSRIs.

SSRIs and the FDA

The FDA’s treatment of the SSRIs is one of the only instances I know of, where, like the COVID vaccines, the agency has not only ignored, but actively tried to conceal a horrific number of adverse events for a pharmaceutical despite receiving widespread protest from the public. This was most likely heavily influenced by the Bush Administration being in bed with Eli Lilly.

As such, it is insightful to see how this has played out over decades, as we ponder how the FDA will handle the COVID vaccines and what we need to do to address this mess. First, consider the FDA’s behavior when Bush was not yet the president:

Initially, the FDA was skeptical and noted serious flaws in Lilly’s trials. An FDA officer wrote in 1984 that patients who didn’t do well after two weeks had their blinding broken, and if they were on placebo, they were switched to fluoxetine (resulting in six weeks of fluoxetine being compared to two weeks on placebo).

An FDA review also discovered that 25% of the patients had taken an additional drug, and when the FDA in 1985 removed patients on other drugs from Lilly’s trials, there was no significant effect of fluoxetine.

By adding benzodiazepines, Lilly broke the rules for its trials but didn’t inform the FDA, and when the FDA later learned about it, the agency permitted it and thereby broke its own rules. The public and the doctors were never informed about this ruse.”

Prozac was ultimately approved in December 1987, at which point 3 of the 4 studies that this approval was based upon used benzodiazepines to conceal the agitating or psychotic syndromes created by the SSRI drugs.

Note: A good case can be made that many of the benefits attributed to SSRIs actually were due to the benzodiazepines that were used concurrently with them.

Once Prozac entered the market in 1988, adverse event reports began to accumulate, and by 1991, Prozac had one of the highest rates of adverse events ever reported to FAERS (similar to VAERS but for other pharmaceutical injuries).

As there was less regulatory capture at the time, these red flags were sufficient to convene a Congressional hearing on the SSRIs (whereas today, except for one held a month ago by Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, this still has not happened for the COVID-19 vaccines).

Note: In the first nine years, the FDA received 39,000 adverse event reports, far more than for any other drug. In those, there were thousands of suicides (e.g., by 1999 over 2000 Prozac suicides had been reported), horrendous crimes, hostility, psychoses, confusion, abnormal thinking, convulsions, amnesia and sexual dysfunction.

A 1991 FDA hearing was convened where many witnesses told stories about out-of-character suicides and homicides. The advisory committee members, many of whom had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies producing SSRIs, ignored those reports and unanimously rejected the following proposal:

“There is credible evidence to support a conclusion that antidepressant drugs cause the emergence and/or the intensification of suicidality and/or other violent behaviors.”

Note: Internal Lilly documents revealed that the FDA had already been working with Lilly on the suicide issue (and that previously Lilly had disclosed to German regulators that Prozac doubled the risk of suicide compared to placebo). However, at the meeting, the chair of the FDA committee interrupted an outside expert who tried to share this, resulting in most of the presentation being conducted by Lilly employees who were able to present Lilly’s narrative to everyone).

Similarly, at the time this hearing occurred, the FDA’s own employees had been raising concerns about the safety of Prozac. Furthermore, a later obtained document showed that the FDA knew that the suicide rate on Prozac was 0.52% (vs. 0.18% on placebo), and that in Pfizer’s Zoloft submission (which reported a 26% decrease in suicide attempts), when the FDA counted the deaths correctly, there was actually a 29% increase in them.

Sadly, buying out “expert” committees is a standard industry practice. To further illustrate the illegitimacy of these committees (who are entrusted to decide much of public policy), consider this report from Kim Witczak, a citizen activist who was able be appointed to one of them:

“Fast forward, after Pfizer settled the Chantix lawsuits Pfizer went to the FDA to ask to have the black box neuropsychiatric warning removed from their drug label. By this time, I was the Consumer Representative on the FDA Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee.

We were going to review Pfizer’s new EAGLE study. I was really looking forward to being part of this committee and had many questions to ask about the safety, the lawsuits, the internal company documents discovered and reviewed by experts, and most importantly, the victims.

After all, Pfizer just settled the lawsuits for almost $ 300 million and silenced everyone. One would think the FDA committee would want to have all information including what was discovered in lawsuits involving 2700+ victims before making any decisions to remove the warnings.

A few days before the FDA Advisory Committee, I received an email from the FDA that they wanted to talk with me about the upcoming advisory committee meeting. Someone (cough Pfizer) brought it to their attention that I had an “intellectual bias” and shouldn’t serve on the committee.

The roomful of FDA staffers told me that I was being recused from serving on this meeting. I told them if they think safety is an intellectual bias (or a point of view), I will always have one.

Much to their surprise, I said I would still like to address the committee and speak during the open public hearing. I ended up flying out a few days later on my own time and dime to make sure my comments and questions were asked even though they wouldn’t be part of the official public record of this meeting.

Ultimately, in an unprecedented move, the FDA removed this serious black box warning that involved violence, hallucinations, suicide, and other psychiatric side effects. To this day, this story has never really been told by the media. These side effects didn’t suddenly go away. Just the FDA black box warnings.”

As detailed above, lawsuits against SSRI manufacturers like Lilly have repeatedly revealed those companies deliberately concealed the adverse events that occurred in their trials. Similarly, Lilly also chose to commit fraud by illegally failing to report 76 of 97 cases of suicidality from Prozac in a post-marketing surveillance study it submitted to the FDA.

Furthermore, Lilly also failed to report that, Cymbalta, an SNRI frequently marketed for treating chronic pain, was found to cause severe withdrawals once discontinued in half of those who had received it for at least 8 weeks. In turn, in the first quarter of 2012, more reports were submitted to the FDA on serious drug withdrawal effects for Cymbalta than for any other regularly monitored drug, including two opioids.

Note: Paxil is also notorious for being highly addictive (e.g., in their original license application they stated 30% of trial subjects experienced withdrawals), but for the first ten years it was on the market, GSK adamantly claimed it was not addictive. Eventually (in 2001) the WHO stated Paxil had the greatest withdrawal issues of any SSRI on the market (which was followed by a warning from the FDA in 2002).

GSK in turn finally “admitted” this by revising its prescribing instructions to state the risk of withdrawals was not 0.2% but instead 25% (a 125 fold increase).

Organized Cover-Ups

One of the most blatant examples of how far the FDA will go to protect the industry occurred in 2003, when while examining a clinical trial for giving Paxil to children, the FDA noticed that more episodes of “emotional lability” (rapid, often exaggerated changes in mood) were reported in children on Paxil than those on a placebo.

The FDA decided to investigate what the actual symptom Paxil’s manufacturer was concealing behind this label, and was informed most cases referred to suicidality. One of the FDA’s safety officers, Andrew Mosholder, a child psychiatrist, further investigated this issue and concluded that 22 studies showed that children given antidepressants were nearly twice as likely to become suicidal as those given placebos.

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His superiors at the FDA who had recently hidden Paxil’s tendency to cause suicidality in children predictably disputed his report, and did not allow it to be released to the public or presented at an advisory meeting. A year later in 2004, the report was leaked, and in a very telling move, the FDA chose to conduct a criminal investigation of the leak rather than address the clear safety concerns it had raised.

Kim Witczak spearheaded many different initiatives against the SSRIs. For example, she filed a wrongful death, failure to warn lawsuit against Pfizer (which Pfizer responded to by sending investigators around her neighborhood to dig up dirt on her). Her lawsuit was able to obtain many crucial documents from Pfizer proving that they knew how dangerous their SSRI was (including the same out-of-body experiences which her husband had had before killing himself).

Her lawsuit eventually provided the ammunition to get a black box warning (easily visible red-alerts the FDA occasionally mandates for pharmaceuticals) placed on the SSRIs.

Note: Documents showed that Lilly initially planned to have a warning for Prozac causing psychosis in the USA package insert, but ultimately only did so in Germany, as their regulators, unlike the FDA, required Lilly to insert this warning.

Because of her efforts, like the previous example showed, Witczak was provided with a direct view into the corruption within the FDA. For example, this is how they addressed the “problem” that lawsuits against the SSRI manufacturers were causing their confidential documents (detailing the actual harms of the drugs) to be released:

“Pfizer used the FDA to intervene in Baum Hedlund’s civil lawsuits. It was discovered that Pfizer paid industry defense lawyer Dan Troy $ 300k for some legal work shortly before he was appointed FDA Chief Counsel by President Bush. In his new role at the FDA, Dan Troy was the mastermind behind the FDA preemption amicus “friend of the court” brief intervening on behalf of pharmaceutical companies in civil lawsuits.

The brief [falsely] argued that because drug was FDA approved, the lawsuits were “preempted” and should be dismissed.

The brief [falsely] claimed even if a company wanted to warn consumers, the FDA wouldn’t let them update their warning label if the FDA didn’t agree. Many Zoloft suicide lawsuits were tossed out by judges who believed the FDA was final authority on the drug label. Pfizer even tried arguing the FDA preemption brief in my lawsuit. Not once, but twice.

Federal Chief Justice James Rosenbaum disagreed with Pfizer and allowed my lawsuit to proceed.

We worked with NY Representative Maurice Hinchey to help expose the $ 300k Dan Troy received from Pfizer. Ultimately Dan Troy resigned his FDA Chief Counsel post but not before damage was done. He ultimately went back to work for private industry including becoming global Chief Counsel at GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Paxil, another SSRI.”

Sadly, paying off regulators (e.g., by giving them cushy jobs of the pharmaceutical industry) is very common (the practice is known as the “revolving door”). For instance, many of the authors of government studies (e.g., FDA employees) who questionably determined the SSRIs were “safe and effective” were also paid off by the SSRI manufacturers.

In 2004, due to the mounting political pressure, the FDA finally released a black box warning linking SSRIs to increased suicidality in children. Despite knowing about this problem long before the SSRIs came to market, it took over two decades for the FDA to provide this critical warning.

More importantly, this only happened after massive public pressure, countless lawsuits proving these effects were deliberately concealed by the manufacturers, public hearings, and leaked reports publicly shaming the FDA.

Note: In 2006, the warning was extended to everyone under the age of 25. As this cut off was completely arbitrary (many of the SSRI suicides occurred in much older individuals) a large press conference was organized the day beforehand so those believing it needed to be applied to all ages could have the time to speak the FDA would not permit them to have during its hearing.

Although their action did not convince the FDA to change course, next year in 2006, the FDA did and applied that warning to all ages groups.

By 1990, the public was demanding for the FDA to determine if SSRIs were linked to increased suicidality. As the evidence proving this was unambiguous, the FDA deliberately avoided publishing a report on this topic. Sixteen years later, shortly after the FDA was exposed for suppressing the link between suicidality in children and SSRIs, the FDA finally published a meta-analysis addressing this question.

The 2006 meta-analysis encompassed 372 placebo-controlled trials of SSRIs (and related drugs) involving 100,000 patients, and showed that up to the age of 40, SSRIs increased suicidal behavior, while in older patients SSRIs decreased this risk.

Note: A common tactic in the pharmaceutical industry is to hyper-focus on one specific set of side effects so that the other side effects can be covered up.

For example, from comparing the incidences of blood clots I hear about relative to the percentage of people who chose the J&J vaccine, I am relatively certain that the mRNA vaccines are more likely to cause blood clots than J&J’s, but whenever this topic is raised, people default to believing only J&J can cause blood clots since it was linked to a few cases of central venous thrombosis and there was a brief period where the vaccine was suspended by the FDA to “assess” this risk.

I suspect that the FDA’s long-delayed meta-analysis and the black box warning were a direct response to the leaked report proving an indisputable link between SSRIs and adolescent suicidality that was produced to shield the other side effects from scrutiny. Sadly, these warnings have done very little to curb the usage of these drugs, as evidenced by how large their market has become.

Rather they served as a way to protect that market as they both were an alternative to pulling the drugs (which is what should have happened) and downplayed the side effects as much as possible (e.g., borrowing from the industry’s playbook, “abnormal thoughts” became abnormal dreams).

Furthermore, the FDA’s meta-analysis almost certainly also understated the risk. For example, the FDA gave the studies they analyzed a free pass on the variety of design flaws that made it easy to conceal their adverse events. In fact, the FDA reached out to many of the SSRI manufacturers and asked them to adjudicate (remove) possibly suicide-related adverse events in their trials as they saw fit and send those results to the FDA.

When analyzing the 2006 meta-analysis, Gøtzsche found numerous other signs of deliberate fraud by the FDA. For example, in many cases (often due to data revealed from litigation), a single study within the meta-analysis was shown to contain more cases of suicide from an SSRI than the 5 suicides the FDA claimed had occurred throughout all 372 of its studies.

From extensively reviewing all the data, Peter Gøtzsche, reached the overall conclusion that there are likely to have been 15 times more suicides on antidepressant drugs than reported by the FDA in its 2006 meta-analysis.

Note: In 2006, 35 million was spent by American’s National Institutes of Mental Health to conduct the STAR*D study, which assessed if SSRIs cured “treatment resistant” depression (making it the largest study on SSRI efficacy ever conducted) and was designed to assess typical patients in real life scenarios (although the care they received was likely better than what is seen in clinical practice).

It found 3% or less of subjects had their depression cured (with it not remitting for the year of observation within the trial). However, the NIMH repeatedly stated “about 70% of those who did not withdraw from the study became symptom-free,” significantly exaggerated the improvements in the patients, and that SSRI treatment was far more effective that placebo, despite no placebos being used in the trial.

In my personal opinion, when your results are off by an order of magnitude, this can only occur through deliberate fraud, something many of us have regrettably come to realize has occurred at both the CDC and the FDA throughout the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

As it so happened, by 2013, the FDA employee in charge of the 2006 meta-analysis had completely transitioned to the private sector and had made a consulting firm dedicated to helping psychiatric drugs sail through the FDA.

Note: A variety of other large studies have used similar methods to conceal the dangers of the SSRIs. Since I can’t cover all of them here, I chose to focus on ones conducted by the US government.

The Big Lie

When Hitler wrote Mein Kampf in 1925, he described how people could be induced to believe a colossal a lie because they would not believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” While he initially used this idea to attack others (e.g., the Jews), before long he fully adopted it, allowing the Nazi regime to become one of the most powerful forces of propaganda in history.

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Many others have also used this approach. For example (as discussed in a recent article), for decades, US health authorities (and professional medical associations) have repeated the mantra that their vaccine is “safe and effective” while simultaneously suppressing all evidence to the contrary (e.g., from their own scientists).

This in turn has resulted in numerous disastrous vaccines (which everyone knew were bad) being pushed onto the market and not being taken off until a significant amount of injuries had occurred. With the SSRIs, we see a similar degree of audacity, as time and time again the SSRI advocates will insist their drugs are safe and effective despite all evidence to the contrary. For example:

“In 2014, the medical director at the Norwegian drug agency, Steinar Madsen, said at a meeting that antidepressants work for 50-60% of the patients. I [Peter Gøtzche] replied that his statement illustrated why we cannot trust our drug regulators and reminded him that the FDA had found in their analysis of 100,000 patients that antidepressants worked for only 10% of the patients.

Throughout the 1990s, while swearing publicly that fluoxetine didn’t increase the risk of suicide or violence, Lilly quietly settled lawsuits out of court and kept the incriminating evidence hidden by obtaining court orders to seal the documents.

[In 2011 the CEO of a company that sold five antidepressants], claimed in a radio programme that SSRIs reduce suicides in children and adolescents. When the stunned reporter asked him why the package inserts warned against suicide attempts, also for Lundbeck’s drugs, he replied that he expected the leaflets would be changed by the authorities!

The radio interview took place while Lundbeck’s US partner, Forest Laboratories, was negotiating compensation with 54 families whose children had committed or attempted suicide under the influence of Lundbeck’s antidepressant drugs.

[BBC Journalist] Shelley Joffre, showed that the GSK spokesperson, Dr Alastair Benbow, lied in front of a running camera. He denied, for example, that paroxetine could cause suicidality or self-harm while he sent data to the drug regulator one month later that showed exactly this, and which immediately led to a ban on using paroxetine in children.”

Note: The UK drug regulators also lied to the public to cover for GSK (which is based in the UK) by stating that the discovery Paxil caused those suicides was completely new to the company (whereas documents showed it had in fact known about it for at least eight years). Furthermore, when US senator Charles Grassley later asked GSK for how long the company had known that paroxetine increases the suicide risk, GSK repeated this lie, claiming GSK had not detected the risk until 2006.

Given their willingness to blatantly lie, even to a US Senator, it should come as no surprise these companies concocted elaborate ways to silence their critics. For example, GSK has publicly stated:

“Major depressive disorder is a potentially very serious illness associated with substantial morbidity, mortality, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts and completed suicide. Unwarranted conclusions about the use and risk of antidepressants, including paroxetine, do a disservice to patients and physicians.”

Many psychiatrists (especially those being paid off by the pharmaceutical industry) in turn have used similar arguments to silence all criticisms of their drugs. Sadly these tactics are not unique to the psychiatric industry. For example, in a previous article I discussed the significant dangers (and complete lack of benefit) from statins.

In turn, whenever statins are questioned, rather that defend them, cardiologists will often insist you are “killing patients” by scaring them away from the drugs, and this argument has been successfully against both physicians and news programs which questioned statins. In turn, as you might guess, that tactic has also been used against critics of the SSRIs.

“In New Zealand, psychiatrists and suicidologists managed to convince the government [with very weak evidence] that publishing information on suicides causes copycat suicide, which in turn made it a criminal offense for victims or the media to publicly discuss SSRI suicides.”

Likewise, this same playbook has been used against critics of a controversial vaccine. Sadly, since there had been numerous trial runs with other deadly products, by the time COVID-19 happened, the “dangerous misinformation” playbook had been developed, and that label was immediately plastered onto anyone who questioned any part of the pandemic response (e.g., the lockdowns, the suppression of early treatment or the COVID-19 vaccines).

This in turn set the stage for where it somehow became acceptable to argue people should be forced to vaccinate against their will despite a significant amount of evidence (and public opinion) existing that argued against vaccinating. In many ways, this is not that different from how psychiatric medication mandates are often pushed upon patients who (due to their side effects) simply do not want them.

Note: There are many sad stories of this — including numerous ones where the courts supported the psychiatric mandate no matter how much work was done to overturn them.


In my eyes, one of the most important things to consider in this article is just how many people are taking SSRIs, and by extension, just how many injuries the percentages I provided in this article translate to. Whenever a drug is being considered for approval, one of the primary concerns by the regulator used to be the total expected harms suggested by the preliminary data — yet as we can see both in the SSRI saga and throughout COVID-19, that principle has simply been discarded.

As I ponder how things could have gotten this way and how symbiotic the relationship has become between the pharmaceutical companies and the drug regulators, I am reminded of this iconic scene from Idiocracy:

The saddest thing about the SSRI saga is that as inexcusable as it was, things were much less corrupt then than they are now, especially within the federal government. At the time that the public challenged the SSRIs, the media would air stories critical of the malfeasance within the federal government and lawsuits could compel the pharmaceutical companies to disclose the harms they were hiding from the public, and Congress was willing to investigate.

Now, all the vaccine manufacturers have almost complete protection from liability and except for a few commentators on Fox News, no one so much as dares to question the vaccines (or any other pharmaceutical for that matter). One comment Kim made on our sad state of affairs really stuck with me:

kim witczak comment

Note: Renowned journalist Sharyl Attkisson has made an excellent case the prolific censorship we have become accustomed to began during the Obama presidency.

My hope is that the harm of the COVID-19 vaccines is so egregious and unambiguous, and more importantly, has affected so many people, that it will prompt enough public outcry to fix or at least improve this systemic corruption.

In this series, I have tried to illustrate how the gross malfeasance that allowed the SSRIs to be brought onto the market and kept there despite countless red flags telling the FDA the drugs were not safe. Overcoming the pressure to take these drugs off the market in turn required a lot of money to be behind those drugs.

In the final part of this series, we will explore how the SSRI industry convinced the world everyone needed their (typically worthless) pills (while simultaneously causing many effective SSRI treatments to be dismissed and forgotten). Much of our culture is shaped by the pharmaceutical industry brands diseases and I believe the tactics they use must be recognized so our society stops falling victim to them.

I thank each of you for reading this series and helping bring attention to this tragedy as many people I am close to have been.

A Note From Dr. Mercola About the Author

A Midwestern Doctor (AMD) is a board-certified physician in the Midwest and a longtime reader of I appreciate his exceptional insight on a wide range of topics and I’m grateful to share them. I also respect his desire to remain anonymous as he is still on the front lines treating patients. To find more of AMD’s work, be sure to check out The Forgotten Side of Medicine on Substack.


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