According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure, currently defined as blood pressure consistently at or above 130/80 mm Hg.1
High blood pressure increases your risk for a number of serious health problems, including stroke, heart failure, sexual dysfunction, vision loss, heart attack, kidney disease and kidney failure.2
Four out of 5 adults with high blood pressure are outrageously recommended to take prescription medication as the first step to lowering it, and all are advised to implement lifestyle changes. The fact that 3 out of 4 hypertensive patients still do not have their blood pressure under control really emphasizes the need for basic lifestyle changes to resolve this problem.3
While medical textbooks claim most cases of high blood pressure are idiopathic, meaning the underlying cause is unknown, this is simply not true. High blood pressure is typically a symptom of insulin and leptin resistance, and most people can normalize their blood pressure without resorting to drugs.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
One of the primary underlying causes of high blood pressure is related to your body being metabolically inflexible and producing too much insulin and leptin in response to a high-carbohydrate and processed food diet. As your insulin and leptin levels rise, it causes your blood pressure to increase. As noted in one study:4
“Insulin resistance and hypertension are the components of metabolic syndrome and often coexist. Clinical studies have shown that about 50% of hypertensive individuals have hyperinsulinemia or glucose intolerance, whereas up to 80% of patients with Type 2 diabetes have hypertension.”
Elevated uric acid levels are also significantly associated with high blood pressure, so any program adopted to address high blood pressure needs to help normalize both your insulin sensitivity and uric acid level.
As it turns out, by radically lowering your sugar and processed food intake, you can address all three issues in one fell swoop. I’ll also review several other treatment strategies in upcoming sections. But first, let’s review some of the basics of what high blood pressure is, how to assess obesity-related hypertension risk, and why drugs aren’t an ideal solution.
How’s Your Blood Pressure?
There are two numbers given in a blood pressure reading. The upper or first number is your systolic blood pressure. The lower or second number is your diastolic pressure. For example, a reading of 120/80 mm Hg means you have a systolic pressure of 120 and a diastolic pressure of 80.
Systolic arterial pressure is the highest pressure in your arteries. It occurs when your ventricles contract at the beginning of your cardiac cycle. Diastolic pressure refers to the lowest pressure and occurs during the resting phase of your cardiac cycle. Ideally, your blood pressure should be about 120/80 without medication.
If you’re older than 60, your systolic pressure is the most important cardiovascular risk factor. If you’re younger than 60 and have no other major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, then your diastolic pressure is believed to be a more important risk factor.5
According to the latest guidelines,6 issued in 2017 by the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and nine other health organizations, the following blood pressure classifications are used to determine whether you might suffer from hypertension:
Hypertension is also categorized as either primary or secondary. Primary hypertension applies to most people with high blood pressure, and while the conventional view is that the cause is idiopathic or unknown, it’s typically linked to insulin/leptin resistance. Secondary hypertension refers to high blood pressure that is caused by another medical condition, such as chronic liver disease.
What’s Your Fasting Insulin Level?
I believe most all Stage 1 and even a high percentage of Stage 2 hypertension can be successfully treated to where drugs become unnecessary, provided you’re aggressive enough in your diet and lifestyle modifications. However, if you have seriously elevated blood pressure, it would be wise to be on medication to prevent a stroke while you’re revising your lifestyle.
In addition to checking your blood pressure on a regular basis, I highly recommend getting a fasting insulin level test done. Remember, high blood pressure and insulin resistance tend to go together, and if your hypertension is the result of elevated insulin levels, you’ll know how to nip it in the bud by the end of this article.
The fasting insulin level you want to strive for is about 2 or 3 microU per mL (μU/mL). If it’s 5 or above, you clearly need to lower your insulin level to reduce your risk of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular health hazards. Keep in mind that the so-called “normal” fasting insulin level is anywhere from 5 to 25 μU/mL. Please do not make the mistake of thinking that this “normal” insulin range equates to optimal.
How to Find a Blood Pressure Measuring Device
According to a 2019 study,7 nearly 46% of American adults could benefit from self-monitoring to avoid “white coat” hypertension. Whether you suspect (or know) you have high blood pressure, an automatic blood pressure meter is a good investment for every household.
Top rated blood pressure meters for home use include the following. Consumer Reports tested these devices for accuracy, comfort, clarity of display and ease of use, and all are commercially available on Amazon and other large retailers and pharmacies:8
- Omron Platinum BP5450
- Omron Silver BP5250
- Omron 10 Series BP7450
- A&D Medical UA767
- Rite Aid Deluxe Automatic BP3AR1-4DRITE
To measure your blood pressure, follow these guidelines:9
- Don’t exercise, smoke or drink coffee or caffeinated beverages within 30 minutes of measuring your blood pressure. Also empty your bladder and relax for at least five minutes beforehand.
- Sit with your back straight on a firm chair. Avoid sitting on the couch as that encourages slouching. Keep your feet flat on the floor and do not cross your ankles or legs.
- Make sure your arm is supported on a flat surface, such as an armrest or table, with your upper arm at heart level.
- Place the blood pressure cuff directly above the bend of your elbow on bare skin. Do not measure on top of clothes. The cuff should be snug but not too tight nor too loose. Press the Start button and remain still while the pressure is being taken.
- Measure your blood pressure at the same time every day, and take multiple readings each time. Ideally, take two readings one minute apart and record the results.
How to Avoid a False Hypertension Diagnosis
To avoid a false hypertension diagnosis, keep in mind that your blood pressure reading can vary significantly from day to day, and even from one hour to the next, so don’t overreact if you get one high reading here or there. It’s when your blood pressure remains consistently or chronically elevated that significant health problems can occur. Several factors can affect the validity of your blood pressure reading, including:
• Incorrect blood pressure cuff size — If you’re overweight, taking your reading with a size “average” blood pressure cuff can lead to a falsely elevated blood pressure reading, so make sure your doctor or health care professional is using the correct cuff size for your arm.
• Incorrect arm position — If your blood pressure is taken while your arm is parallel to your body, your reading can be up to 10% higher than it really is. Blood pressure readings should always be taken with your arm at a right angle to your body.
• Nervousness — “White coat hypertension” is a term used for when a high blood pressure reading is caused by the stress or fear associated with a doctor or hospital visit. This can be a transient yet serious concern. If this applies to you, stress reduction is key.
To decrease your risk of being falsely diagnosed with hypertension in this situation, take a moment to calm down (be sure to arrive for your appointment ahead of time so you can unwind), then breathe deeply and relax when you’re getting your blood pressure taken.
Use Waist-to-Hip Ratio to Assess Your Hypertension Risk
Research suggests your waist size may be an effective measure for assessing obesity-related hypertension risk.10 If you have a high waist-to-hip ratio, i.e., you carry more fat around your waist than on your hips, you may be at an increased risk for obesity-related hypertension. Your waist size is also a powerful indicator of insulin sensitivity, and studies indicate that waist size is one of the most powerful ways to predict your risk for diabetes.
To calculate your waist-to-hip ratio, measure the circumference of your hips at the widest part, across your buttocks, and your waist at the smallest circumference of your natural waist, just above your belly button. Then divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement to get the ratio.
The University of Maryland offers an online waist-to-hip ratio calculator11 you can use. The Mayo Clinic uses the following waist-to-hip ratio designations to evaluate your health risk:
Drugs Can Increase Risk of Fall-Related Injuries
Before I review lifestyle modifications that can help you normalize your blood pressure, I want to address the issue of medications. It’s important to realize that while blood pressure medications can be very effective at lowering blood pressure, they do not in any way, shape or form address the underlying cause.
According to the most recent statistics from the American Heart Association, about 20% of people with hypertension have resistant hypertension, meaning they cannot control it with three or more medications,12 so these drugs clearly don’t work as advertised for a lot of people.
There are also side effects to contend with; some of them quite harmful and/or debilitating. For example, one JAMA study13 found that hypertensive patients over the age of 70 who were taking blood pressure medication increased their risk of serious falls requiring hospitalization due to fractures, brain injuries, or dislocation of the hip, knee, shoulder or jaw.
The risk of falling can increase if your blood pressure drops too low, too suddenly, upon standing. According to the authors:14
“Antihypertensive medications were associated with an increased risk of serious fall injuries, particularly among those with previous fall injuries. The potential harms vs benefits of antihypertensive medications should be weighed in deciding to continue treatment with antihypertensive medications in older adults with multiple chronic conditions.”
Some Blood Pressure Drugs Raise Risk of Blindness
Another major population study discovered that hypertension drugs called vasodilators increase your risk of early onset age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the most common cause of blindness among American seniors. As noted in a press release:15
“… [R]esearchers … conducted a long-term population-based cohort study from 1988 to 2013 of nearly 5,000 residents of Beaver Dam, Wis., aged 43 to 86 years …
The researchers found that, after adjusting for age, sex and other factors, using any vasodilator such as Apresoline and Loniten, which open (dilate) the blood vessels — was associated with a 72% greater risk of developing early-stage AMD.
Among people who were not taking vasodilators, an estimated 8.2% developed signs of early AMD. In comparison, among those taking a vasodilator medication, 19.1% developed the disease.
The researchers also found that taking oral beta blockers such as Tenormin and Lopressor was associated with a 71% increase in the risk of neovascular AMD, a more advanced and vision-threatening form of the disease.
Among those who were not taking oral beta blockers an estimated 0.5% developed signs of neovascular AMD. In comparison among those taking oral beta blockers, 1.2% developed neovascular AMD.”
Key Lifestyle Strategies for Lowering Your Blood Pressure
Alright, time to get down to the nitty gritty of normalizing your blood pressure. As mentioned earlier, high blood pressure is typically associated with insulin resistance, which results from eating a diet too high in the omega-6 fat linoleic acid (LA). As your insulin level elevates, so does your blood pressure.
Excessive omega-6/LA consumption is another dietary factor that contributes to high blood pressure by hardening your arteries (atherosclerosis), which researchers now have pinpointed as yet another treatment focus for hypertension.
So, make sure you avoid all trans fats or hydrogenated fats that have been modified in such a way to extend their shelf life. This includes margarine, seed oils and “butter-like” spreads. Of course, this also includes all foods made or cooked with these fats.
The late Dr. Fred Kummerow was the first scientist to document the dangers of trans fats. Trans fats prevent the formation of prostacyclin, which acts as a natural blood-thinning agent. By diligently avoiding trans fats, your body will make prostacyclin that keeps your blood thin, which will reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Now, if you think about these two factors alone — insulin resistance and atherosclerosis — what kind of diet is bound to produce high blood pressure? The answer, of course, is a processed food diet, loaded with high fructose corn syrup, grains and damaged omega-6 fats, a majority of which are LA.
Knowing that, the answer to correcting high blood pressure becomes rather self-evident. If your blood pressure is running high, you need to restore your insulin and leptin sensitivity, and the following strategies are among the most effective for doing so:
1. Replacing processed foods with whole, unprocessed organic foods.
2. Avoiding all seed oils — It would be helpful to also eliminate seeds and nuts unless you have been on a low LA diet for at least three years.
3. Optimizing your vitamin D (which I discuss in greater detail below).
4. Only use healthy fats — Sources of healthy fats to add to your diet include: grass fed butter, raw organic dairy, organic pastured egg yolks, coconuts, coconut oil and macadamia nuts, grass fed meats and pasture-raised poultry.
The best carbs to add would be ripe fruit that you tolerate well. But, the key is to make sure your fat intake is below 30%, which you can determine with Cronometer. If you fail to do this the carbs can convert to fat and change your cholesterol profile unfavorably.
5. Exercising regularly — In an upcoming section, I’ll review the most effective type of exercise if you have high blood pressure.
Vitamin D Can Relax Arteries and Improve Blood Pressure
Vitamin D deficiency and high consumption of harmful omega-6 fats like linoleic acid (LA) can lead to stiff arteries. Vitamin D deficiency appears to be associated with both arterial stiffness and hypertension.16
Each cell in your body has a DNA library that contains information needed to address virtually every kind of stimulus it may encounter, and the master key to enter this library is activated vitamin D. This is why vitamin D functions in so many different tissues and affects such a large number of different diseases and health conditions, one of which is heart disease.
Research17 has shown that the farther you live from the equator, the higher your risk of developing high blood pressure. Blood pressure also tends to be higher in winter months than during the summer. Exposing your bare skin to sunlight affects your blood pressure through a variety of different mechanisms, including the following:
- Sun exposure causes your body to produce vitamin D. Lack of sunlight reduces your vitamin D stores and increases parathyroid hormone production, which increases blood pressure.
- Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, a group of health problems that can include insulin resistance, elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, obesity, and high blood pressure.
- Vitamin D is also a negative inhibitor of your body’s renin-angiotensin system (RAS), which regulates blood pressure.18 If you’re vitamin D deficient, it can cause inappropriate activation of your RAS, which may lead to hypertension.
- Additionally, exposure to UV rays is thought to cause the release of endorphins, chemicals in your brain that produce feelings of euphoria and relief from pain. Endorphins naturally relieve stress, and stress management is an important factor in resolving hypertension.
Guidelines for Optimizing Your Vitamin D Level
Ideally, you’ll want to get your vitamin D through sun exposure on your bare skin. If you opt for an oral vitamin D supplement, make sure you use vitamin D3, not D2, which is typically prescribed by doctors but has been linked to poorer health outcomes.
Also, make sure to measure your vitamin D level before you start supplementing. The reason for this is because you cannot rely on blanket dosing recommendations. The crucial factor here is your blood level, not the dose, as the dose you need is dependent on several individual factors, including your baseline blood level.
Data from GrassrootsHealth’s D*Action studies suggest the optimal level for health and disease prevention is between 60 ng/mL and 80 ng/mL, while the cutoff for sufficiency appears to be around 40 ng/mL.
In Europe, the measurements you’re looking for are 150 to 200 nmol/L and 100 nmol/L respectively. That said, as a general guideline, research by GrassrootsHealth suggests that adults need about 8,000 IUs per day to achieve a serum level of 40 ng/mL.
I’ve published a comprehensive vitamin D report in which I detail vitamin D’s mechanisms of action and how to ensure optimal levels. I recommend downloading and sharing that report with everyone you know. A quick summary of the key steps is as follows:
1. First measure your vitamin D level — Your doctor can order this test for you.
2. Assess your individualized vitamin D dosage — To do that, you can either use the chart below, or use GrassrootsHealth’s Vitamin D*calculator. To convert ng/mL into the European measurement (nmol/L), simply multiply the ng/mL measurement by 2.5. To calculate how much vitamin D you may be getting from regular sun exposure in addition to your supplemental intake, use the DMinder app.19
3. Retest in three to six months — Lastly, you’ll need to remeasure your vitamin D level in three to six months, to evaluate how your sun exposure and/or supplement dose is working for you.
Take Your Vitamin D With Magnesium and K2
Keep in mind that if you decide to supplement with oral vitamin D3, you also need to boost your vitamin K2 intake, as these two nutrients work in tandem. Together, vitamin D and vitamin K2 produce and activate Matrix GLA Protein (MGP), which congregates around the elastic fibers of your arterial lining, guarding them against calcium crystal formation.
Vitamin K2 also activates a protein hormone called osteocalcin, produced by osteoblasts, which is needed to bind calcium into the matrix of your bone. Osteocalcin also appears to help prevent calcium from depositing into your arteries.
In other words, without the help of vitamin K2, the calcium that vitamin D so effectively lets in can work against you by building up inside your arteries rather than your bones.
It’s also strongly recommended to take magnesium concomitant with oral vitamin D and K2. Data from nearly 3,000 individuals reveal you need 244% more oral vitamin D if you’re not also taking magnesium and vitamin K2.20 What this means in practical terms is that if you take all three supplements in combination, you need far less oral vitamin D in order to achieve a healthy vitamin D level.
Two Key Factors to Consider When Buying Meat
While some studies suggest a vegetarian diet can help resolve high blood pressure, I do not believe this makes for an ideal diet in the long run, as avoiding all meats can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
From what I’ve learned, I believe the quality and quantity of the meat may be a major part of the equation. First, in terms of quantity, if you eat more protein than your body needs, it will convert most of those calories to sugar. Additionally, it will need to remove the nitrogen waste products from your blood, which will stress your kidneys and deteriorate kidney function if you already have compromised kidneys.
As a general guideline, most adults need about 0.6 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass. (As an example, if your body fat mass is 20%, your lean mass is 80% of your total body weight.)
In terms of quality, meat from organically raised, grass fed and finished animals is far superior to that from animals raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
CAFO beef and poultry have many disadvantages, including fewer of the most valuable nutrients found in organically raised meats, while being contaminated with hormones, antibiotics, drugs, pesticides and herbicides like glyphosate. Furthermore, since most CAFOs feed animals genetically engineered (GE) grains (primarily corn and soy), there’s also the issue of whether such feed might alter the meat in ways we still have not recognized.
Also, it is best to restrict your meat choices to beef, bison, lamb and other ruminant game animals. It is best to avoid chicken and pigs as, even if pasture-raised and organically fed, they are given grains and other foods that are high in LA so they will increase your LA levels.
Should You Cut Sodium to Lower Your Blood Pressure?
Insulin also affects your blood pressure by causing your body to retain sodium. Sodium retention causes fluid retention. Fluid retention in turn can cause high blood pressure, which may ultimately lead to congestive heart failure.
A standard recommendation if you have high blood pressure is to reduce the amount of sodium in your diet. While it’s certainly beneficial to cut out processed foods and salt, limiting sodium is not the hypertension cure that many think it is.
If you’re simply opting for low-sodium processed foods, you’re hardly doing your health any favors, as such fare is likely compensating for the lack of flavor with harmful fats and/or sugar. You’ve probably heard of the DASH diet,21 which is claimed to be among the most effective for controlling hypertension. It consists largely of fresh vegetables, fruits, lean protein, whole grains, low-fat dairy and very low sodium content.
Processed foods and LA promote hypertension to a far greater degree than excess salt. Salt is essential for maintaining and regulating blood pressure, but the crux lies in the type of salt you consume.
Natural unprocessed salt, such as Himalayan salt, contains 84% sodium chloride and 16% naturally occurring trace minerals. Processed (table) salt, on the other hand, contains 97.5% sodium chloride and the rest are manmade chemicals. The natural, unprocessed form is essential for good health; table salt is best avoided altogether.
But there’s yet another factor that comes into play when we’re talking about sodium and blood pressure, and that’s the issue of maintaining a healthy sodium-to-potassium ratio. Your body needs potassium to maintain proper pH levels in your body fluids, and it also plays an integral role in regulating your blood pressure. In fact, potassium deficiency may be a greater contributor to high blood pressure than excess sodium.
The Importance of Proper Sodium-to-Potassium Ratio
People who eat processed foods frequently and very few fresh fruits and vegetables likely have an imbalance in their sodium-potassium ratio. The key to relaxing your arterial walls and reducing blood pressure is the ratio between sodium and potassium.
If you’re unsure of your sodium and potassium intake, use chronometer.com/mercola, which is a nutrient tracker that allows you to enter foods and then calculates the ratios automatically. Generally, it’s recommended that you eat five times more potassium than sodium.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture,22 the average intake of potassium in the U.S. population is 2,640 milligrams (mg) per day. Other surveys have found similar intakes.23 Meanwhile, the National Academies Sciences Engineering Medicine (formerly Institute of Medicine) recommends 4,700 mg per day for people over the age of 14.24
Potassium helps lower your blood pressure by relaxing the walls of your arteries, and according to Harvard Health,25 many people with high systolic blood pressure can successfully lower it simply by increasing their potassium intake.
In my view the absolute best way to increase your potassium is by beating ripe fruit. I typically get around 3,000 mg from watermelon, orange juice and tangerines, and another 2,000 mg from other sources.
For a more complete list of potassium-rich foods, see DietaryGuidelines.gov’s “Food Sources of Potassium” page.26 Taking potassium supplements is not a good strategy and simply will not provide you with the benefits you seek.
The Best Exercises for High Blood Pressure
Exercise is well-known for its ability to normalize blood pressure, but all forms of exercise are not the same in this regard. Existing exercise guidelines for blood pressure management emphasize cardio, such as running and cycling.
But, a recent investigation revealed that isometric exercise, where your muscles are in static contraction, is the most effective for lowering blood pressure, while aerobic exercise is next to last in terms of effectiveness.
A July 2023 meta-analysis27 reviewed 270 randomized controlled trials published between 1990 and February 2023 that reported reductions in systolic blood pressure (SBP) and/or diastolic blood pressure (DBP) following an exercise intervention of two weeks or more, with a pooled sample size of 15, 827 people. In rank order, the analysis found significant reductions in resting SBP and DBP following:
- Isometric exercise (–8.24/–4.00 mmHg)
- Combined training (–6.04/–2.54 mmHg)
- Dynamic resistance training (–4.55/–3.04 mmHg)
- Aerobic exercise (−4.49/–2.53 mmHg)
- High-intensity interval training (–4.08/–2.50 mmHg)
Effectiveness based on the “surface under the cumulative ranking curve” (SUCRA) values for systolic — which refers to the mean probability of being the best for lowering your systolic blood pressure — placed isometric exercise in the No. 1 slot with an effectiveness rating of 98.3%, followed by combined training (75.7%), dynamic resistance training (46.1%), aerobic exercise training (40.5%) and high-intensity interval training (39.4%).
In secondary meta-analyses of submodes, the wall squat was the most effective for reducing SBP, while running was most effective for reducing DBP. In conclusion, the authors noted:28
“Various exercise training modes improve resting blood pressure, particularly isometric exercise. The results of this analysis should inform future exercise guideline recommendations for the prevention and treatment of arterial hypertension.”
The key take-home is that static contraction of muscle as you hold your body in one position, i.e., isometric exercise, is the most effective type of exercise if you want to lower your blood pressure. Examples of isometric exercises include the following.29,30,31 For more details, including exercise instructions, see “Which Exercises Are Best for Lowering Blood Pressure?“
Isometric calf raise
Low isometric squat
Static slide lunge
Incline pushup hold
Addressing Stress-Related Hypertension
Although many people believe that the “tension” part of hypertension refers to stress as the cause, the primary cause is, as previously mentioned, insulin and leptin resistance. That said, the link between stress and hypertension is well-documented.
In fact, it has been shown that people with heart disease can significantly lower their risk of a cardiac event by learning to manage their stress. Suppressed negative emotions such as fear, anger and sadness can radically increase your cortisol levels and severely limit your ability to cope with the unavoidable everyday stresses of life.
It’s not the stressful events themselves that are harmful, but your lack of ability to cope. The good news is, strategies exist to rapidly and effectively transform your suppressed, negative emotions, and relieve stress.
One of the most well-studied of these is an energy psychology method called the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). By teaching your body to slow down and relax when stress hits — essentially short-circuiting your physical stress reaction — you can protect your health. EFT is easy to learn and can be done just about anytime, anywhere. For a demonstration, see the video below.
Other Helpful Strategies
In addition to everything already mentioned, there are still more dietary and lifestyle strategies that can be of help if you struggle with high blood pressure. Here are several additional alternatives for your consideration:
Avoid caffeine — The connection between coffee consumption and high blood pressure is not well understood, but there is ample evidence to indicate that if you have high blood pressure, coffee and other caffeinated drinks and foods can exacerbate your condition.
Supplement with vitamins C and E — Studies indicate that vitamins C32 and E33 may be helpful in lowering blood pressure. If you’re eating a whole food diet, you should be getting enough of these nutrients through your diet alone.
Unless you have radically lowered your LA tissue levels, it is vital to take the correct vitamin E supplement until you do, as it will limit the damage that LA can cause. I consider it to be one of the three most important supplements you can take. It is also helpful in lowering dangerous estrogen levels in your body that can increase your risk of cancer.
If you decide you need a supplement, make sure to take a natural (not synthetic) form of vitamin E. You can tell what you’re buying by carefully reading the label. Natural vitamin E is always listed as the ‘d-‘ isomer (d-alpha-tocopherol, d-beta-tocopherol, etc.) Synthetic vitamin E is listed as ‘dl-‘ isomers.
Eat more fruit and berries — In what researchers called the first-of-its-kind study in the U.K., scientists used objective measures for dietary intake across thousands of residents, using data for 25,618 people in Norfolk, U.K., and compared the data against their blood pressure measurements.34
The difference in blood pressure between those with the lowest 10% of flavanol intake and those with the highest 10% of intake was between 2 and 4 mmHg. According to the authors, this was comparable to the difference measured when a person switched to a Mediterranean diet or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.
Because fruit contains fructose, it can increase your risk of insulin resistance if you eat large amounts; examples of lower fructose fruits that are beneficial for most people include avocados, berries, kiwi and citrus fruits.
Quercetin — Quercetin has also been shown to lower blood pressure. Quercetin is a flavonol found in red grapes, onions, red leaf lettuce, elderflower and green tea, to name a few.35
According to a Japanese study,36 quercetin helps lower blood pressure by modifying vascular compliance and resistance, total blood volume and the autonomic nervous system. It also appears to have a unique ability to regulate gene expression that is mediated by controlling negative chloride actions in the cell’s cytosol.
Negative chloride ions help control the intracellular activity of many other ions in the cytosol, which is the water-based fluid that surrounds intracellular structures. The gene expression that controls the chloride ions triggers sodium reabsorption, which then reduces body fluid volume and therefore influences volume-mediated high blood pressure.
The researchers noted several past studies that demonstrated taking between 150 mg per day and 730 mg per day could lower high blood pressure, decreasing both systolic and diastolic pressures.
Supplement with magnesium — Magnesium is also important for healthy blood pressure and few people get enough from their diet these days. Hundreds of studies and scientific papers show there’s a clear correlation between magnesium and high blood pressure.
Magnesium stored in your cells relaxes muscles. If your magnesium level is too low, your blood vessels will constrict rather than relax, and this constriction raises your blood pressure.
According to a 2011 paper37 in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, magnesium intake of 500 mg to 1,000 mg per day may reduce blood pressure by as much as 5.6/2.8 mmHg. Its blood pressure lowering effects are most pronounced when potassium intake is also high, and sodium intake low.
Magnesium also boosts the effectiveness of “all antihypertensive drug classes,” according to this paper. Magnesium-rich foods38 include baked potato and white rice, just to name a few. That said, the magnesium content of most foods is dwindling due to the destruction of soils, so it’s one nutrient that I recommend taking as a supplement.
Engage in inspiratory muscle strength training (IMST) — Strengthening your breathing muscles with IMST can also be helpful. IMST was originally developed for critically ill patients with respiratory diseases. It helped to improve the strength of their inspiratory muscles by using a handheld device that provides resistance while inhaling.
A 2021 study39 evaluated the effect that IMST could have on reducing blood pressure and thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Thirty-six adults aged 50 to 79 who had above normal systolic blood pressure were enrolled. Half the participants used high resistance IMST and the other half used low resistance IMST for six weeks. At the end of the intervention, the group using high resistance had a nine-point reduction in their systolic blood pressure.
The daily training consists of 30 breaths a day. The breathing exercise takes just five to 10 minutes a day, with benefits noticeable within two weeks. You can learn more about this in “Breathing Exercise Could Reduce Blood Pressure.”
Take Control of Your Blood Pressure
The best treatment strategy for high blood pressure is to evaluate your lifestyle and make the necessary adjustments, with particular emphasis on normalizing your insulin and leptin levels. We’ve covered a lot of ground in this report, so here’s a summary of key points to remember:
In addition to checking your blood pressure, check your fasting insulin level. A healthy level to strive for is about 2 μU/mL or 3 μU/mL.
Swap out processed foods for whole foods and implement TRE. Also consider going organic. Meats should ideally be grass fed and pasture finished. Foods notorious for causing blood pressure to rise and that should be avoided include processed foods, most grains, partially hydrogenated oils (synthetic trans fats), and seed oils (aka vegetable oils) such as corn, canola, soy and safflower oils.40
Keep an eye on your sodium-to-potassium and omega-3-to-omega-6 ratios. This is automatically done if you swap processed foods for whole foods and make sure you are eating plenty of ripe fruit that you enjoy and is adjusted to your activity rate and fat intake.
Optimize your vitamin D level, ideally through regular sun exposure.
Exercise regularly, and make sure you include isometric (static contraction) exercises such as wall squats and planking.
Learn how to effectively address day-to-day stress. One effective stress management tool is the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).
Editor’s Note: This article is a reprint. It was originally published June 20, 2018.
A tonsillectomy is the surgical removal of your tonsils, two oval-shaped pads of tissue located on each side of the back of your throat.1 Although the number of tonsillectomies has declined drastically in the last 30 years, the surgery continues to be one of the most commonly performed on children,2 with more than 530,000 done each year on children under 15 in the U.S.3
Administration of the guidelines for the surgery differ between countries. For instance, England’s National Health Service (NHS) has classified the surgery as “of limited benefit,”4 with some commissioners unwilling to pay for surgery unless a child has had eight cases of tonsillitis documented by a physician visit in one year, strongly adhering to the letter of the Paradise Criteria for Tonsillectomy.5
This has resulted in a significant drop of routine tonsillectomies, with an increase in emergency admissions to the hospital for tonsillitis. While it may appear as if children are suffering more bad sore throats and infections in their tonsils, research finds the tonsillectomy childhood rite of passage may come with an associated long-term risk.6,7
Risks Associated With Tonsillectomy Years After Surgery
Not all scientists agree with the guidelines for tonsillectomies, believing reducing the criteria could result in a reduction in hospital admissions and overall associated health costs.8,9 Now, a first-of-a-kind published study demonstrates early removal of tonsillar and adenoid tissue, which often shrinks in adulthood, may have long-term respiratory system effects.10
The study was a collaborative effort between Copenhagen Evolutionary Medicine, University of Melbourne and Yale University.
The team analyzed data from just under 1.2 million children born between 1979 and 1999 in Denmark.11 They looked at the first 10 years of the children’s lives to determine if they underwent a tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy and then followed their health up to age 30.12 Of the participants, 17,400 had adenoidectomies, 11,830 had tonsillectomies and 31,377 had a combined adenotonsillectomy, where both the tonsils and adenoids were removed.
The researchers found the risk of preventing a sore throat from tonsillitis nearly vanished by age 40, but the surgery increases the lifetime risk of developing other serious respiratory conditions.13 Sean Byars, Ph.D., who led the research from the University of Melbourne, explained, “We calculated disease risks depending on whether adenoids, tonsils or both were removed in the first nine years of life because this is when these tissues are most active in the developing immune system.”
Although these tissues shrink by adulthood and were historically presumed redundant, it is now recognized they are strategically positioned in an arrangement known as Waldeyer’s ring. Waldeyer’s tonsillar ring tissue includes lymphoid tissue from the nasopharynx, tonsils and base of the tongue.14 The tissue acts as the first line of defense in recognizing bacteria and viruses and begins the immune response to clear the body of foreign invaders.
The analysis of the data revealed tonsillectomies were associated with an increased absolute and relative risk for diseases of the upper respiratory tract, including asthma, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) and influenza. Removal of the adenoids was linked with more than a double relative risk of COPD and nearly double the relative risk of upper respiratory tract diseases.
The researchers concluded it is important to consider long term risk associated with these surgeries,15 and wrote:16
“Our observed results show increased risks for long-term diseases after surgery support delaying tonsil and adenoid removal if possible, which could aid normal immune system development in childhood and reduce these possible later-life disease risks.
Given the tonsils and adenoids are part of the lymphatic system and play a key role both in normal development of the immune system and in pathogen screening during childhood in early life, it is not surprising that their removal may impair pathogen detection and increase risk of later respiratory and infectious diseases.”
Why Do Doctors Recommend Having Your Tonsils Removed?
Tonsillectomies are recommended for treatment of recurring, chronic or severe tonsillitis or complications resulting from enlarged tonsils, such as difficulty breathing at night.17 Rare diseases of the tonsils or bleeding tonsils may also result in a recommendation for tonsillectomy. According to the Paradise Criteria for Tonsillectomy, the minimum frequency must be seven episodes in the previous year or at least five in the previous two years.18
Tonsillitis often presents with a sore throat and includes a temperature greater than 100.9 degrees Fahrenheit with cervical adenopathy. These are tender lymph nodes along the neck greater than 2 centimeters in size. Children often present with tonsillar exudate, or a white film covering the tonsils, culturing positive for group a beta hemolytic streptococcus.
The initial treatment is antibiotics administered for the streptococcal infection.19 However, with recurring tonsillitis a tonsillectomy and potentially adenoidectomy would be recommended. Complications from enlarged tonsils can include difficulty swallowing, disrupted breathing during sleep and difficulty breathing.
As with other surgeries, a tonsillectomy comes with risks, including reactions to anesthetics, swelling, bleeding during surgery, or bleeding during healing and infection.20 Since surgery leaves an open wound in the throat, it is often difficult for children to swallow fluids, sometimes leading to dehydration.
Recovery usually takes 10 days and often includes pain in the throat and sometimes the ears, jaw or neck. Complications requiring emergency care include bleeding, fever, dehydration or breathing problems.
In one study, 8% of nearly 140,000 children ages 1 to 18 revisited the hospital within 30 days of having a tonsillectomy.21 The revisit rate varied between hospitals. It was as high as 12.6% in some and as low as 3% in others. Bleeding was the most common reason, followed by vomiting and dehydration, pain and infection. Children older than 10 were at a higher risk of returning to the hospital with bleeding, while having a lower risk of vomiting and dehydration.
Adult Tonsillectomy Surgery Holds Greater Risk
Researchers demonstrated the increased risk for chronic respiratory conditions likely formed from tonsillectomies performed prior to full development of the immune system. However, the adult procedure carries different risks. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association-Otolaryngology looked at the mortality, complications and reoperation rate in adult tonsillectomy.22
The researchers looked at health records of nearly 6,000 adult patients who underwent a tonsillectomy, evaluating mortality, complications and reoperation in a 30-day postoperative period. In most cases patients had a primary diagnosis of chronic tonsillitis and or adenoiditis.
The most common complication following the surgery was pneumonia, urinary tract infections and superficial site infections. Patients who required a second operation were more likely to be male and to have postoperative complications.
However, results of a second study we’re nearly as positive.23 Researchers from Penn State University found 20% of adults who had a tonsillectomy experienced complications, finding a rate significantly higher than previously published. The team also discovered the complications substantially increase health care expenditures for the patients.
This team analyzed data from over 36,000 adult tonsillectomy patients, finding complications included bleeding, pain, dehydration, blood transfusion, dislocation of cervical vertebra and fever.24 After one week, 15% suffered at least one possible complication. This rose to 20% by week two and four. The researchers found 10% visited an emergency room after discharge and nearly 1.5% were readmitted to the hospital within two weeks after the procedure.
On average, an adult tonsillectomy without complications costs $3,830, as compared to a surgery with hemorrhage, costing $6,388. Dennis Scanlon, Ph.D., professor of health policy and administration at Penn State University, commented on the results of the study, saying:25
“Our results highlight the challenges patients face when making informed decisions about medical and surgical treatments, as well as the excess costs and harm incurred due to complications. Patients expect to compare the risks and benefits of treatment options, but as our study shows, credible patient-centered information is often lacking, even for a common procedure that has been in practice for many, many years.
The availability of important risk and benefit information should be expedited, and providers need to be trained to engage patients in how to use this information to make informed choices.”
Tonsillotomy Is an Alternative Surgical Option
A tonsillotomy, or partial removal of the tonsils, may be an alternative surgical option for both children and adults. Tonsillotomy has provided favorable outcomes in children presenting with obstructive sleep apnea as it is associated with a lower incidence of postoperative bleeding, higher parent satisfaction and faster recovery time than a total tonsillectomy.26
Research has also demonstrated comparable results to a total tonsillectomy in the improvement of obstructive sleep apnea symptoms in children.
In a second study27 with 43 participating children between the ages of 2 and 9, a randomized trial compared the clinical effects of a standard tonsillectomy against a tonsillotomy using a CO2 laser. During follow-up, both patient groups found comparable relief from sleep apnea and tonsillar hypertrophy at three months and two years.
Tonsillotomy caused no measurable bleeding during the surgical procedure, and postoperative pain and distress were less pronounced than in the tonsillectomy procedure group. These results were replicated in another study group of children ages four to five.28
In a study evaluating the differences between tonsillotomy and tonsillectomy in adults suffering from tonsil-related health conditions,29 researchers concluded the evidence suggested equal efficacy between both procedures. Adult patients had a preference for the tonsillotomy as there was reduced pain, a reduction in analgesic use, higher patient satisfaction, lower operation time and a reduction in postoperative complications.
Editor’s Note: This article is a reprint. It was originally published October 3, 2018.
I’ve written many articles highlighting the bias created by funding and the dangers of basing health decisions on industry-funded science. Independent, unbiased research is absolutely crucial for getting to the truth; without it science becomes little more than an extension of marketing, and hence useless.
So, what’s happening at Cochrane right now is nothing short of tragic.1,2,3 Cochrane (an international network of scientists that promotes evidence-based medicine), formerly known as the Cochrane Collaboration, has been the gold standard for independent scientific meta-reviews, and the organization’s reputation has managed to stay remarkably unblemished — until now.
Cochrane Implodes Amid Accusations of Bias
Cochrane publishes hundreds of scientific reviews each year, looking at what works and what doesn’t. For example, Cochrane has repeatedly found that flu vaccinations are ineffective and have no appreciable effect on hospitalizations and mortality.4,5,6,7,8
Considering the flimsy evidence underpinning recommendations for the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine, it was therefore surprising when Cochrane published such a strongly favorable review of the vaccine.
The review,9 published May 9, 2018, looked at 26 studies, concluding “There is high-certainty evidence that HPV vaccines protect against cervical precancer in adolescent girls and women who are vaccinated between 15 and 26 years of age,” and that “The risk of serious adverse events is similar in HPV and control vaccines.”
Two months later, Peter Gøtzsche along with Cochrane-affiliated researchers Lars Jørgensen and Tom Jefferson, published a scathing critique of the HPV review in BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine,10 pointing out methodological flaws and conflicts of interest.
Gøtzsche, a Danish physician-researcher and outspoken critic of the drug industry (as his book, “Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare,”11 suggests) helped found the Cochrane Collaboration in 1993 and later launched the Nordic Cochrane Centre.
According to Gøtzsche and his coauthors, the HPV vaccine review “missed nearly half of the eligible trials,” and “was influenced by reporting bias and biased trial designs.” Overall, the review failed to meet Cochrane standards, Gøtzsche says.
Favorable Cochrane HPV Vaccine Review Riddled With Problems
Importantly, all 26 trials included in the HPV vaccine review used active comparators, meaning aluminum-containing vaccines, which can significantly skew results by hiding adverse effects. Making matters worse, the reviewers incorrectly described these active comparators as “placebos.”
Results may also have been skewed by the exclusion of women who had a history of immunological or nervous system disorders. “These exclusion criteria lowered the external validity of the trials and suggest that the vaccine manufacturers were worried about harms caused by the adjuvants,” Gøtzsche and his team writes.
According to Gøtzsche, the review also “incompletely assessed serious and systemic adverse events” and ignored “HPV vaccine-related safety signals.” These are exactly the kinds of tactics I discussed in “Questionable Tactics Used in Vaccine ‘Safety’ Testing.”
Gøtzsche also notes the HPV vaccine reviewers incorrectly concluded the impact of industry funding on the included studies was insignificant. In reality, all 26 studies were funded by industry, and therefore assessment of funding impact could not even be done in a meaningful way. What’s more, the reviewers brought their own conflicts of interest to the table.
“The Cochrane Collaboration aims to be free from conflicts of interest related to the manufacturers of the reviewed products … The Cochrane review only has four authors; three of whom had such conflicts of interest a decade ago.
The review’s first author currently leads EMA’s ‘post-marketing surveillance of HPV vaccination effects in non-Nordic member states of the European Union,’ which is funded by Sanofi-Pasteur-MSD that was the co-manufacturer of Gardasil,” Gøtzsche and his teammates state.
Ousted Board Member Warns Cochrane Has Strayed From Mission
To Gøtzsche’s and many others’ surprise, the Cochrane governing board decided to simply expel Gøtzsche from the board. Four other board members (Gerald Gartlehner, David Hammerstein Mintz, Joerg Meerpohl and Nancy Santesso) immediately resigned in protest,12 leaving just eight of the 13-member board. In a joint statement, Gartlehner, Hammerstein Mintz, Meerpohl and Santesso said:13
“We believe that the expulsion of inconvenient members from the Collaboration goes against Cochrane ethos and neither reflects its founding spirit nor promotes the Collaboration’s best interests.”
In a three-page letter14 to the Nordic Cochrane Centre — which is well worth reading in its entirety — Gøtzsche not only addresses his expulsion but also questions the path Cochrane’s leadership has chosen in more recent years. Given its revelatory nature, I’ve included this longer-than-normal quote:
“No clear reasoned justification has been given for my expulsion aside from accusing me of causing ‘disrepute’ for the organization. This is the first time in 25 years that a member has been excluded from membership of Cochrane …
[T]he Cochrane Collaboration has entered an unchartered territory of crisis and lack of strategic direction … Recently the central executive team of Cochrane has failed to activate adequate safeguards … to assure sufficient policies in the fields of epistemology, ethics and morality.
Transparency, open debate, criticism and expanded participation are tools that guarantee the reduction of uncertainty of reviews and improve the public perception of the democratic scientific process.
These are conditions and tools that cannot be eliminated, as has happened recently, without placing into serious doubt the rigorous scientific undertaking of Cochrane and eroding public confidence in Cochrane’s work. My expulsion should be seen in this context.
There has also been a serious democratic deficit. The role of the Governing Board has been radically diminished under the intense guidance of the current central executive team and the Board has increasingly become a testimonial body that rubber-stamps highly finalized proposals with practically no ongoing input and exchange of views to formulate new policies …
This growing top-down authoritarian culture and an increasingly commercial business model that have been manifested within the Cochrane leadership over the past few years threaten the scientific, moral and social objectives of the organization …
There has also been criticism in Cochrane concerning the overpromotion of favorable reviews and conflicts of interest and the biased nature of some scientific expert commentary … There is stronger and stronger resistance to say anything that could bother pharmaceutical industry interests. The excuse of lack of time and staff (around 50) is not credible.
There has also been great resistance and stalling on the part of the central executive team to improving Cochrane’s conflict of interest policy. A year ago, I proposed that there should be no authors of Cochrane reviews to have financial conflicts of interests with companies related to the products considered in the reviews. This proposal was supported by other members of the Board, but the proposal has not progressed at all.”
Clear Conflicts of Interest
Cochrane announced it was launching an investigation into the HPV vaccine review August 9.15 September 3, Cochrane’s editor-in-chief issued a rebuttal16 to Gøtzsche’s critique, saying the organization stands by the findings of the review. Considering the clear conflicts of interest, this seems rather ill advised.
One of the authors of the HPV vaccine review protocol17 — meaning the individuals who designed and determined the scope of the review — was Dr. Lauri Markowitz, who just so happens to be the HPV team lead for the division of viral diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).18,19
Markowitz was also part of the U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) HPV working group in 2006, and is the designated correspondent on ACIP’s HPV vaccination recommendation issued in March 2007.20
This is about as clear a conflict of interest as you can get — especially when you consider the U.S. government has a financial interest in the sale of HPV vaccine.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) receives royalties from the sale of this vaccine. Remarkably, NIH royalties from vaccines are protected from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA),21 so there’s no telling just how much it stands to gain. The fact that these royalties are kept secret may be telling in and of itself, however. But there’s more.
Merck, which manufactures and distributes the HPV vaccine Gardasil, has worked with a global health group called PATH22 to get the vaccine approved for use across the world. PATH, in turn, has received tens of millions of dollars from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — $84.3 million in 2005 alone, for the expansion of low-cost tools that promote newborn health,23 and $10 million in 2013 to reduce cervical cancer deaths caused by HPV.24
Aside from that, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been an ardent supporter and promoter of HPV vaccination25 — and donated $1.15 million to Cochrane in September 2016.26,27
In a June 5, 2018, article,28 the World Mercury Project, led by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., analyzed the financial ties between Cochrane, Gates and other vested players, noting that with Cochrane’s HPV review, it appears several of them are “getting plenty of bang for their charitable buck.”
It’s worth noting that while Markowitz is not listed as an author of the final report,29 she is still listed in the acknowledgements section as having provided “invaluable advice and contributions by reviewing the results and discussion sections.”
Ghosts in the Machine
The failure to disclose conflicts of interest has become so incredibly widespread, it seems more the norm than the exception these days. As just one among countless examples, last year I wrote about how STAT News, an otherwise reputable science and health news source, published an op-ed piece praising the benefits of pharma sales reps.
The article, “How Pharma Sales Reps Help Me Be a More Up-to-Date Doctor,” was written by Dr. Robert Yapundich, an experienced neurologist. The problem? Yapundich has received more than $300,000 from drug companies in recent years, and this fact was not disclosed anywhere, either by Yapundich himself or the editor.
Astute sleuths then pointed out other discrepancies, such as the fact that while Yapundich claimed he’d not heard of the drug Nuplazid until he had lunch with a drug rep, he’d actually been a paid consultant for that very drug. STAT News eventually retracted the article after multiple complaints.
The problem goes deeper than medical professionals and academics repaying the hand that feeds them with positive press, however. Sometimes, op-ed pieces such as these are actually written by the drug company itself, while it’s being passed off as expert opinion. This practice is known as ghostwriting, and is one of the most insidious and deceptive tactics around.
The Industry’s War on Science
While the drug industry is quick to claim that anyone questioning its integrity is part of a “war against science,” the evidence of malfeasance is simply too great and too disturbing to ignore. From my perspective, the industry itself is to blame for the public’s dwindling confidence in scientific findings.
Loss of confidence is a natural result when lie after lie is unearthed, and there’s been no shortage of scientific scandals to shake public confidence in recent years.
Still, the industry just keeps plugging away using the same propaganda tactics perfected by the tobacco industry, a key strategy of which is simply to keep uncertainty alive. Sometimes this may require the manufacture of biased research, but oftentimes it’s as easy as repeating a lie enough times that it starts to sound like an established fact.
In a New York Times op-ed,30 health and science journalist Melinda Wenner Moyer31 blames those who question vaccine safety for stifling vaccine research.
Whether intentional or not, she follows a well-worn industry talking point groove, dishing out such classic statements as: “The goal is to protect the public — to ensure that more people embrace vaccines …” “The internet has made it easy for anti-vaccine activists to mislead,” and “[C]oncerns over what these groups might do are starting to take precedence over scientific progress.” What she — like everyone else before her — fails to address is the motive.
The vaccine industry has a significant vested interest in producing favorable results in their research. Ditto for the drug industry and chemical industry and most other industries that fund, conduct and publish their own research. When they publish flawed studies, they have a strong motive for doing so, which is why the public needs to be aware that the bias is real.
However, when independent researchers, journalists or indeed regular laypeople point out those flaws and refuse to buy the industry’s nonsensical conclusions, what is the motive behind the rejection? According to industry, the motive is a “war on science.” Basically, we all hate science, we cannot tolerate progress and want to go back to the Dark Ages of bloodletting and humours.
A more pathetic and unconvincing motive simply cannot be manufactured. It’s so illogical it can be ignored without comment or defense. If there’s a war on science, it’s fought by industry, because they’re the ones benefiting.
In closing, I would direct you to read through Dr. Marcia Angell’s article “Transparency Hasn’t Stopped Drug Companies From Corrupting Medical Research.”32 A former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine for over 20 years, she has profound insight into these issues and has written extensively about how industry funding affects and distorts scientific research.
Data1 have revealed that more people are having heart attacks, and that more of those people are younger than 50 years. This is notable as this trend appears to have started well before COVID-19.
Your heart is about the size of your fist and beats roughly 100,000 times every day. This little muscle pumps about eight pints of blood through your circulatory system. The heart has three layers: The endocardium is a thin layer that lines the four chambers; the pericardium is a thin layer that surrounds the heart; the myocardium is the muscle in the middle that pumps blood.
Your heart also has a unique electrical system, the function of which is to stimulate the heart to beat. Each of these factors and more must work together so that oxygen and nutrients are delivered to your body. When things don’t work right, it’s called heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in men and women.
Increasing Heart Attacks in Young Adults Began Before COVID
In the 2019 study,2 researchers evaluated 2,097 consecutive patients who were 50 years old or younger and admitted with a Type 1 myocardial infarction (heart attack). The data revealed that 20.5% of the patients were 40 years old or younger. When data from those patients were compared with older counterparts, they had similar risk profiles with two exceptions. The younger individuals had a higher rate of substance use but a lower rate of hypertension.
The patients were followed up for a median of 11.2 years and the researchers concluded that despite being approximately 10 years younger with a lower prevalence of hypertension, the “very young myocardial infarction patients had similar one-year and long-term outcomes when compared with those aged 41 to 50 years at the time of their index infarction.”3
In other words, despite the advantage of age, their long-term outcomes were the same as those who were 10 years older. A 20234 opinion piece in JAMA also identified a growing number of adults 40 years and younger with premature heart attacks. The data show that the numbers of heart attacks in this age group have been increasing by 2% every year. The commenters believe the rising prevalence is related to cardiovascular risk factors, such as obesity and hypertension.
The authors caution that the data reveal an “urgent need to refocus cardiovascular disease prevention efforts on young adults.” This trend is also being reported outside of medical literature. A 2023 article5 in National Geographic notes there is a rising number of young adults with cardiovascular disease leading to heart attacks.
In a confusing juxtaposition of facts, the National Geographic article appears to equate the rising number of athlete deaths from cardiac arrest to the increasing number of young adults with heart attacks. The article mentions the cardiac arrest that 18-year-old Bronny James, son of NBA star LeBron James, experienced during basketball practice at the University of Southern California.
The writer then states that cardiac arrest is different, but that it can be caused by several conditions, such as “cardiomyopathy (thickened heart muscle), heart failure, arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat) and, yes, heart attacks.” While technically correct that a heart attack can trigger cardiac arrest, during which the heart stops beating, it is very rare for highly trained athletes to have health conditions that trigger a heart attack and then cardiac arrest.
The article then lists some of the biggest risk factors for heart disease at a younger age, including “high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity, all of which can clog and damage the arteries and blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart.”6 Finally, there are two paragraphs about COVID-19 and heart health, concluding, “However, it’s still not clear why younger adults appear to be more vulnerable to COVID’s cardiovascular complications.”
Rising Athlete Deaths Linked to Abnormal Electrical Events
No mention is made in the National Geographic article of the thousands who have had heart attacks or myocarditis from the COVID shot.7 In June 2021,8 the FDA acknowledged that Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 shots increase the risk for myocarditis and pericarditis.
According to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS),9 as of July 28, 2023, there were 27,343 cases of myocarditis or pericarditis, 20,505 heart attacks and 35,726 deaths, all connected with the COVID shots.
One year after the shot was released, a January 2022 JAMA study10 of 192,405,448 persons, concluded “… the risk of myocarditis after receiving mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines was increased across multiple age and sex strata and was highest after the second vaccination dose in adolescent males and young men. This risk should be considered in the context of the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination.”
Then, in May 2023,11 a Yale University press release called the 27,000-plus cases of myocarditis reported to VAERS “rare” events. During an interview with Peter Sweden,12 cardiologist Dr. Peter McCullough describes the relationship between myocarditis and abnormal electrical events in the heart that lead to cardiac arrest.
“Here’s the relationship: the COVID-19 vaccines cause myocarditis, the FDA and all the regulatory agencies agree. Now as a cardiologist, I can tell you if somebody has myocarditis, we can’t let them play sports because the surge of adrenaline will trigger a cardiac arrest.
Our guidelines before COVID said don’t let somebody with myocarditis play sports. So now athletes have taken the vaccine, they’re developing myocarditis, they’re playing sports and for some unfortunate ones, it triggers a cardiac death. This is a straightforward relationship. This is not controversial.”
McCullough also notes that there are two times when there is a natural surge of adrenaline or epinephrine.13 One of those is between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. in the morning, which corresponds with the many cases of people who have died in their sleep from sudden cardiac death. The second normal surge is during athletic activity.
Accountability and Transparency Have Been Lost
McCullough was interviewed by Children’s Health Defense TV14 in January 2023, just after Damar Hamlin, a football player for the Buffalo Bills, experienced a cardiac arrest on the field. At the start of the interview, he discusses a recent paper15 in which he and his colleague found a significant increase in cardiac arrests after the release of the COVID shot.
“Recently I published with Dr. [Panagis] Polykretis from Europe, that before COVID-19 vaccine the average number of cardiac arrests in all of the European soccer and football leagues, which is way more players than the NFL, the average number of cardiac arrests were 29 per year, that’s before the vaccines.
The vaccines were ushered in in 2021 and since that time the tally now for cardiac arrest on the field with professional sports players in Europe is 1598; 1101 of them have been fatal cases.”
McCullough goes on to discuss myocarditis with interviewer Aimee McBride. He notes that in more than half the cases, there is no initial presentation and there are no symptoms, although scarring is visible on MRI. The scar that forms on the heart is the setup for an abnormal electrical rhythm that can lead to sudden adult death syndrome. In his initial analysis of the playback,16 McCullough rules out several conditions, among them commotio cordis.
Commotio cordis is a condition that can trigger cardiac arrest when the breastbone (sternum) is struck in just the right place. As McCullough describes, football gear protects the breastbone and while this condition is seen 20 to 30 times a year in baseball players, it has not been seen in NFL players, likely because of the protective gear they wear.
McCullough and McBride expressed hope that the case of Damar Hamlin would open the floodgates and create a situation in which the “silence and gaslighting” about the safety of the vaccine would come to an end because Hamlin’s event was publicized on national television, or “the world stage,” as McBride put it. In the past, an athlete’s vaccine history was silenced, but since the NFL mandated the shot, it was hoped this event would be enough to trigger an investigation.
Unfortunately, their hope was in vain as Hamlin announced in April 2023,17 that his condition was caused by commotio cordis, with no mention of his vaccination status being made in the media, despite the NFL statistics that at least 80% of the athletes took the shot by July 2021, and that some teams had greater than 90% of the players taking the shot.18
In a recent article on Substack,19 McCullough notes two studies, one that conclusively shows the myocarditis induced by the COVID-19 shot can be fatal, and another that found in young people with MRI-confirmed heart damage, there was 58% residual abnormality to the heart after one year — which suggests that the damage is forming a scar on the heart muscle and may be permanent at a year.
Interestingly, of the 40 adolescents (mostly boys) evaluated, 73% had no cardiac symptoms. Without an evaluation, parents would not have known the child had heart damage.
VAERS Likely Doesn’t Show the Whole Picture
McCullough notes20 a 1992 study that demonstrated a coronavirus infection could cause myocarditis in animals. When COVID-19 first appeared in 2020, approximately 30% of the Big Ten athletes got sick. The Big Ten programs instituted testing programs that included EKGs, echocardiograms, MRIs and blood work checking for cardiac troponin. After finding just six players with myocarditis out of the thousands tested, the testing program was abandoned.
Yet, once the vaccine was released and myocarditis became a real problem, the screening programs were not reinstated.
According to McCullough, none of the NFL and college football organizations are using advanced biomarkers to detect athletes with myocarditis, even after mandating that all athletes receive the vaccine and despite knowing the FDA and other regulatory agencies have acknowledged that myocarditis is a very real side effect. McCullough calls this a giant misstep of testing.
The VAERS system is supposed to identify vaccines that trigger an abnormal number of side effects, or lots of shots that cause problems. However, as McCullough notes, you must enter detailed information into VAERS with all the necessary information to file a report, including the vaccine lot number.21 He believes this is a significant reason for underreporting in VAERS, since without the vaccine card associated with that patient, you can’t begin the report.
While anyone can make a report to VAERS — a component that critics use to claim that VAERS can contain errors and even false claims — due to the lengthy and complicated submittal process, adverse events are notoriously under-reported, not over-reported.
Many have been misled to believe that vaping is far healthier than cigarette smoking, but nothing could be further from the truth. As noted in one scientific review,1 e-cigs may be a safer option than conventional cigarettes, but they’re “not that safe.” Chemical analyses have found e-cigarette liquids, aerosols, cartridge, and the heating coils within the e-cig tank can contain many toxic ingredients, including:2,3,4
Antifreeze chemicals such as propylene glycol and diethylene glycol, the latter of which has been linked to cancer5
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), associated with throat irritation, headaches, liver, kidney and central nervous system damage, and, potentially, cancer6
2-chlorophenol, which is classified as “harmful if inhaled”7
Nitrosamines, which have been linked to cancer, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, fatty liver disease and DNA damage8
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which has been linked to cancer, cataracts and damage of the liver and kidneys9
Radioactive polonium-210, a recognized carcinogen
E-cigs also contain toxic metals and metalloids, including lead, chromium, nickel, manganese, aluminum, antimony, arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, copper, iron, selenium, tin and zinc.10,11
In one test,12 nearly half the vapor samples were found to have lead concentrations above the limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. As noted by the researchers, the heating coils are made of nickel, chromium and several other metals, making this the most obvious source of contamination. However, the source of the lead remains a mystery. Arsenic was also detected in 10 of the 56 devices tested.
Toxic Degradation Products
When heated, the chemicals in e-liquids also produce a variety of toxic degradation products, including aldehydes such as:13
- Acrolein, used as a chemical weapon during World War I and later as an herbicide
- Formaldehyde (embalming fluid)
- Acetaldehyde, a carcinogen. It’s thought to contribute to cancer by damaging your DNA and preventing DNA repair14
A study commissioned by Japan’s Health Ministry found both acetaldehyde and formaldehyde in the vapor produced by several types of e-cig devices,15 and at least one brand had more than 10 times the level of carcinogens found in a traditional cigarette.
The Clean Air Act of 1990 defines formaldehyde and acrolein as hazardous air pollutants subject to regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency. As noted by the EPA:16
“At concentrations exceeding usual outdoor levels, aldehyde inhalation can alter breathing patterns by narrowing airway openings (airway constriction). It can also damage cells lining the airways, prompting white blood cells to enter the lungs.”
E-cigarette aerosols also contain organic byproducts such as carbonyls, carbon monoxide and free radicals, albeit at lower concentrations than tobacco smoke.17 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has noted that second-hand smoke or vapor from e-cigs may contain at least 10 chemicals that are on California’s proposition 65 list of reproductive toxins and carcinogens.18 So, vaping does not mean you’re not exposing others to toxic second-hand smoke.
Polonium Is the Main Reason Cigarette Smoking Causes Cancer
Polonium-210 is often found in traditional tobacco products19 because tobacco plants absorb it (as well as other radioactive materials) from the soil. High-phosphate fertilizer used on tobacco crops also contains it and adds to the plants’ uptake.
While cigarette smoke contains a wide variety of toxins, the presence of polonium appears to be one of the primary reasons why cigarette smoking causes lung cancer. The fact that polonium-210 is also found in e-cigarettes raises the very definite possibility, then, that they too may cause lung cancer.
As explained in a 2022 analysis of the polonium-210 content of conventional cigarette smoke and the IQOS Heets cigarette (an electronic smoking device that uses real tobacco rather than an e-liquid):20
“Polonium-210 (210Po) and lead-210 (210Pb) are natural radionuclides of the uranium (238U) decay series, which are present within and on the surface of tobacco leaves.
A large part of the 210Po and 210Pb activity in tobacco originates from the capture of radon-222 (222Rn) progeny aerosols by the trichomes of leaves, whilst a smaller part originates from root transfer.
Owing to the significant volatility of Po and Pb in aerosol particles, both radionuclides are present in mainstream cigarette smoke, 210Po, as an energetic α-particle emitter, has readily been recognized as a potential carcinogenic component of the tobacco smoke.
As early as 1964, Radford and Hunt hypothesized that the presence of 210Po in tobacco smoke, and its preferential localization in the bronchial epithelium, would be a cause of lung cancer … 210Po in tobacco smoke commits an effective radiation dose to the lung, which could be close to the annual dose limit of 1 mSv for heavy smokers.”
Flavor Chemicals Are Largely a Mystery
As noted in an August 10, 2023, Conversation article,21 it’s extremely difficult to assess the health risks of vaping for the fact that there are so many different devices and e-liquids on the market. Chemicals can also behave differently when heated and can have synergistic effects with other chemicals.
Contamination issues also complicate matters. For example, a 2019 study22,23 found 27% of the 75 single-use and refillable vaping cartridges tested contained microbial agents and 81% contained glucan, a substance found in the cell walls of most fungi.
Exposure to these impurities has been associated with asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease, reduced lung function and inflammation of the lungs. They also found endotoxin, and concentrations were higher in fruit-flavored products, suggesting raw materials used in production may be the source of contamination.
Flavors can contain more than 35 different chemicals,24 none of which is listed on the label, and they too may have toxic interactions with each other. Many of the health hazards associated with vaping appear to be related to flavor chemicals in particular, and “fun” flavors is what’s attracting many children and teens to take up the habit. The Conversation reports:25
“One example is benzaldehyde (an almond flavoring). When this is inhaled, it impairs the immune function of lung cells. This could potentially reduce a vaper’s ability to deal with other inhaled toxins, or respiratory infections.
Benzaldehyde is one of only eight banned e-liquid ingredients in Australia. The list is so short because we don’t have enough information on the health effects if inhaled of other flavoring chemicals, and their interactions with other e-liquid ingredients.”
Illegal Vaping Products Are Flooding the Market
In January 2020, the FDA finalized its enforcement policy on unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigs that appeal to children. In a press announcement,26 the agency warned that companies must immediately cease manufacture, distribution and sale of all flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes, with the exception of tobacco flavor and menthol.
As of August 8, 2016, all cartridge-based e-cigarette products are required to apply for and receive premarket authorization from the FDA’s tobacco authority.27 Since then, the FDA has received some 26 million applications,28 a volume the agency simply hasn’t been able to handle.
As a result, illegal products have flooded the market. Many manufacturers never even bother to apply for authorization. They simply cash in for as long as they can. What’s more, since the FDA’s policy only applies to cartridge-based vaping products, sale of disposable products, which were foolishly exempted from the flavor ban, have skyrocketed by 1,500% since early 2020 alone.29
According to the FDA, it has rejected all but 23 premarket review applications received so far, and all the approved products were for traditional tobacco flavors intended for adult smokers.30
To rein in the rise of illegal vaping products, the FDA also recently ramped up its enforcement efforts, issuing warning letters to 1,500 manufacturers and 120,000 retailers for selling illegal products or selling to customers under 21.31 It also fined a dozen e-cig manufacturers around $19,000 each,32 and ordered an import ban on three disposable brands (Elf Bar, Esco Bar and Breeze).33
In October 2022, the Justice Department also launched lawsuits against half a dozen e-cig manufacturers on the FDA’s behalf.34 Still, the three import brands banned and the six manufacturers sued are but a drop in the bucket, as there are hundreds of brands selling unauthorized/illegal products.
Tobacco- and Menthol-Flavored E-cigs Aren’t Safe Either
It’s important to recognize that just because tobacco- and menthol-flavored e-cigs are excluded from the FDA’s ban, that doesn’t mean they’re “safe.” The ban on flavored e-cigs has more to do with curbing vaping among children and teens than it has with safety.
According to a 2017 study35 published in the Environmental Health journal, which assessed the contents of aerosols from tobacco- and menthol-flavored e-cigs, these flavors contained several toxic compounds, including nicotine, fine particles, nanoparticles, carbonyls, and VOCs such as benzene and toluene.
Vaping Associated With Serious Health Risks
According to a 2021 scientific review, the harmful effects of vaping include:36
• Respiratory complications resulting from:
◦ Respiratory irritation and abnormalities in respiratory function
◦ Lung edema
◦ Airway epithelial injury and lung injury
◦ Sustained tissue hypoxia
• Cardiovascular health risks, resulting from:
Increased inflammatory markers
Impaired endothelial function
Increased platelet aggregation
Increased arterial stiffness
One of the largest studies conducted on the health effects of vaping, presented at the 2019 American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session,37 found that adult e-cig smokers have a significantly higher chance of heart disease and mental health problems than nonsmokers, even after controlling for known risk factors such as body mass index and high blood pressure. Compared to nonsmokers, vapers were:
- 34% more likely to have a heart attack
- 25% more likely to have coronary artery disease
- 55% more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety than nonsmokers with the same risk factors
How to Make Quitting Smoking Easier
Whether you’re smoking combustible cigarettes or e-cigs, please consider quitting. I believe the “secret” to quitting smoking is to work on other aspects of your health first, which will make quitting mentally and physically easier.
Exercise, for example, is an important part of this plan. Research has shown that people who engage in regular strength training double their success rate at quitting smoking compared to those who don’t exercise.38 Healthy eating is another crucial factor to improving your health and strengthening your ability to quit. In short, if you want to quit, here are three basic tips to get started:
• Eat real food — Detailed guidance can be found in my free comprehensive nutrition plan.
• Develop a well-rounded exercise regimen — This is your ally to fighting disease and to quitting smoking. Strength training is an important part, but also remember to incorporate high-intensity interval exercises, core-strengthening exercises, stretching and regular non-exercise movement like walking, along with cutting back on sitting.
• Find a healthy emotional outlet — Many use exercise, meditation or relaxation techniques for this, and these are all great. I also recommend incorporating Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). This can help clear out emotional blockages from your system (some of which you might not even realize are there), thus restoring your mind and body’s balance and helping you break the addiction and avoid cravings.
Once you are regularly doing these three things, then you can begin to think about quitting smoking. At this point many are ready to try quitting “cold turkey.” And, again, if you’re a parent, talk with your children about the risks of smoking, smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes. The easiest path to not smoking is to avoid starting in the first place.
Editor’s Note: This article is a reprint. It was originally published March 24, 2018.
Nearly 20% of Americans, or 48 million people, report having some degree of hearing loss.1 It may be easy to take hearing for granted as it happens without any effort on your part. However it is a complex process, beginning with sound in your environment and ending in your brain. Unlike any other sense involving a chemical process, such as smell, taste or sight, hearing is strictly the result of physical movement.
This physical movement is dependent on specific factors in your ear canal and Eustachian tube working to equalize pressure between the outside of your eardrum and inside your middle ear. This is one reason why people have difficulty flying when they are congested. But, before understanding how pressure affects your eardrum and hearing, it helps to understand the structure of your ear.
Hearing and Your Ear
Sound is created by vibrations caused in the air, which your ears capture. The structure of your outer ear helps you decipher the direction the sound originates from and helps direct the sound into the ear canal. As sound waves enter the canal, they vibrate the eardrum, the piece of thin skin sitting between your outer and middle ear.
Behind the eardrum sits the middle ear and a group of tiny bones called the malleus, incus and stapes. Collectively these are called the ossicles and are the smallest bones in your body.2 As the eardrum vibrates it moves the ossicles to amplify the force of sound as it passes through the middle ear to the inner ear and the cochlea.
The cochlea looks like a large snail and is filled with fluid to conduct sound to the auditory nerve, which then translates the impulses to your brain for interpretation. While the concept of how hearing works is fairly straightforward, the specifics of how the small structures produce recognizable patterns of sound in your brain is complex.
Scientists are still learning how your brain interprets these electrical signals in the cerebral cortex, especially as it relates to prevention and treatment of hearing loss.
The structures behind your eardrum are in a closed system. In other words the eardrum maintains an airtight seal between your outer ear and your middle ear, which does not allow any movement or exchange of air.
This structural element becomes significant as you move from one area of air pressure to another, such as when you go scuba diving or ride in an airplane. Your middle ear is connected to the outside through your oral and nasal cavities and pharynx by your Eustachian tubes.
Why Does Pressure Build in Your Ears?
The surface of the earth is covered in a thick layer of molecules called the atmosphere. Although the atmosphere is only a fraction of the density of the ocean or the soil, the atmosphere behaves in much the same way. For instance, going deeper into a pool or lake, pressure becomes greater. The same is true with atmospheric pressure. The closer you get to sea level the greater the air pressure on your body.3
On the other hand, the higher above sea level you are, the less pressure is exerted. You experience the difference when you have difficulty exerting energy without losing your breath. At sea level, not as much hemoglobin is required to transport oxygen through your body.
However, at higher elevations lower atmospheric pressure reduces the partial pressure of inspired oxygen and the driving force for gas exchange in the lungs.4 When you go to higher levels, it takes your body a week or two to acclimate and produce enough hemoglobin to transport adequate amounts of oxygen.
A similar event happens behind your eardrum. While your eardrum acts as a barrier to liquids, it requires air pressure on both sides of the eardrum to be roughly equal in order to allow vibration of the drum and hearing. Normally, equalizing this pressure is something your body does quite easily.5 Inside your ear is a pocket of air normally the same pressure as what’s found outside your ear. When the pressure around you changes the air pushes in on the eardrum.6
On the other side of the eardrum is the Eustachian tube, helping to equalize pressure between the inside and outside. It opens when you swallow so you may hear a small pop as the pressure is equalizing. This tube is more vertical in adults than in children. In small children the tube is more horizontal, allowing for fluid buildup and bacterial growth, which may lead to ear infections.
When the Eustachian tube is unable to open, pressure in the middle ear decreases.7 Thus, by opening the Eustachian tube and allowing the air bubble to move, the body quickly equalizes pressure between the middle ear and the outside. This reduction in pressure often includes a reduction in pain and discomfort.
What Happens When Your Ears Pop?
Increasing or decreasing pressure usually has no effect on fluids or the solid part of your body. However, it has an effect on gas-filled cavities, such as your ear, as demonstrated in this short video.
The difference in altitude creating pressure between the external ear and the middle ear is one of the most common complaints from airline travelers. Often, it’s a simple annoyance resulting in temporary pain or even temporary hearing loss. However, due to the difference in formation of the Eustachian tube in children, they may experience greater discomfort.
As an airplane takes off, the cabin pressure drops, as does the pressure on the outer ear. With this change, the eardrum becomes distorted until compensation occurs in the middle ear.8
If the pressure does not equalize between the outer and middle ear, the eardrum will bulge outward, causing pain and discomfort. A similar thing happens with pressure change as the plane descends, except in this case the eardrum bulges inward. As an airplane reaches cruising altitude, the cabin pressure normalizes so there is no difference in pressure between the inner ear and the outer ear.
If the eardrum remains deformed it causes physical discomfort but also decreases vibrations of the eardrum, making sound muffled.9 The Eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the outside, is normally closed. However, with sufficient pressure difference between the middle ear and the pharynx, the Eustachian tube can open.
As the Eustachian tube opens, it lets pressure in the middle ear to equalize with the external pressure, allowing the eardrum to return to its normal shape.10 The popping or clicking sound you hear as your ear pops is a small bubble of air entering the middle ear through the Eustachian tube to equalize pressure.11
Swallowing normally produces slight clicking noises as this bubble moves into the inner ear to equalize pressure. You may consider some of the strategies outlined below to help your Eustachian tube open and reduce the amount of discomfort you experience as you move to different air or water pressures.
Simple Strategies Reduce Ear Pressure
Muscles control the opening and closing of the Eustachian tube, which may be activated using these strategies.12,13,14
• Yawning and swallowing — These movements activate muscles to open the Eustachian tube. Try to force a yawn several times until your ears pop. Alternatively, sip water to help increase the need to swallow.
• Toynbee maneuver — For this technique, you’ll pinch your nose closed with your fingers while swallowing at the same time. This technique may be as effective as the Valsalva maneuver (pinching your nose, closing your mouth and gently blowing out your nose) without the added associated risk of rupturing your eardrums.
• Frenzel maneuver — To do this, pinch your nose closed and use your tongue to make a clicking sound or a “k” sound.
• Decongest your Eustachian tubes — When your Eustachian tubes have difficulty opening because you’re already congested from a cold, holding a warm washcloth or heating pad against the ear may help eliminate the congestion. This will help to open the Eustachian tube and allow pressure to equalize. Additional options to help reduce congestion prior to, while and after flying is to use essential oils, including bay oil, myrtle oil or amyris oil.
Since babies are not able to intentionally pop their ears, you can assist them by encouraging bottle-feeding, nursing or pacifiers during times when pressure changes are likely, such as during ascending and descending in an airplane. Do not allow a baby to sleep during descent as children are especially vulnerable to blockages since their Eustachian tubes are narrow and set at a different angle.15
While sleeping, they are unable to swallow or yawn, increasing the risk they’ll develop severe discomfort or pain. If you can’t get your ears unclogged or are experiencing pain days after riding in an airplane, it may be time to consult with your physician. Your doctor can help rule out any underlying medical condition extending your symptoms of discomfort and pain.
These conditions can include sinus or ear infection, ear wax buildup, temporomandibular joint disorder or enlarged adenoids.16
Using These Strategies May Cause Damage
Although commonly used, the Valsalva maneuver may cause your eardrum to rupture. While this may help to open the Eustachian tubes, if done with any force it may rupture your eardrum.17
Additionally, never put anything smaller than your finger in your ear to relieve pressure or reduce pain as it is easy to rupture the eardrum.18 While your eardrum may rupture in flight if you are not able to equalize the pressure, it is unwise to do anything that may increase your risk. Complications from a ruptured eardrum may include some hearing loss, middle ear infection, or the development of a cholesteatoma (middle ear cyst) consisting of skin cells and debris.19
As previously reported, in mid-July 2023, JP Morgan Chase Bank canceled all my business bank accounts, along with the personal accounts of our CEO, CFO and their respective spouses and children. This is despite a new Florida law that that specifically prohibits financial institutions from denying or canceling services based on political or religious beliefs.
What we’re seeing is the weaponization of finance, where people whose views or actions go against the official narrative are cut off from basic financial services. This is the social credit system at work. In short, the debanking of employees and their families is a social control tactic to make people start policing each other by punishing associations.
While Chase Bank has refused to give us a reason for the account closures, a representative told reporters that closures are typically only done for anti-money laundering purposes.1,2
However, no money laundering charges have ever leveled against me, and in a real money laundering case, they seize your accounts outright. They don’t give you a month to take your business elsewhere. So, insinuating that our accounts were canceled due to money laundering appears to be an attempt to disparage and slander us.
Internal documents from the Cybersecurity Advisory Committee (CISA), obtained from an ongoing lawsuit against the U.S. government, now helps shed light on why Chase Bank targeted my business.
What Was Chase Bank Doing at a Censorship Meeting?
As it turns out, a representative of Chase Bank (name redacted) was present during a March 1, 2022, Cybersecurity Advisory Committee Protecting Critical Infrastructure from Misinformation & Disinformation (MDM) Subcommittee meeting.3,4 In addition to JP Morgan Chase, other attendees included representatives from:5
FBI (Laura Dehmlow)
Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA)
CISA (Geoff Hale, Kim Wyman and Allison Snell)
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington D.C.-based think tank
The University of Washington
MountChor Technologies, a company that produces “technology-driven, mission focused solutions for critical infrastructure”
TekSynap, which supplies an array of services across multiple cloud providers
Arcfield, which provides engineering and integration capabilities for the U.S. intelligence community
According to the meeting minutes,6 Laura Dehmlow, section chief for the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF), briefed the attendees about the FBI’s roles and responses in combating foreign influence. Dehmlow also warned that “subversive information” on social media could undermine public support for the U.S. government, and that “media infrastructure” needed to be held accountable.
One of the attendees asked Dehmlow to confirm that the mis- and disinformation under the FBI/FTIF’s purview was only related to foreign criminal activity, and that the “FBI does not perform narrative or content-based analysis.”
The attendee then suggested that CISA “might have a role based on the Subcommittee helping to define the narrative so the ‘whole of government’ approach could be leveraged.”
The committee members went on to discuss what the government’s strategic approach related to misinformation and disinformation ought to be, how best to organize information sharing between the public and private sector, and how to collaborate across channels.
We now know that a formalized process was implemented that allowed government officials to log into a special portal where they could flag social media content for removal.7
The committee also sought to identify entities that had “done appropriate social media monitoring for the government.” We now have proof that CISA partnered with a censorship consortium called the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), later rebranded as the Virality Project, to illegally censor Americans. I detailed this relationship in “How the Virality Project Threatens Our Freedom.”
What was Chase Bank doing at this meeting? Why was a major bank included in a meeting in which they were trying to tease out the best way for government to censor Americans?
With everything we now know about CISA’s domestic censorship activities, could the answer be that debanking “domestic threat actors” was on the table from the start? Did CISA have a hand in the bank’s decision to close my business accounts, and those of key employees and their families?
Chase Bank Has Been a CISA Cybersecurity Member Since 2021
A December 1, 2021, press release8 also lists JP Morgan Chase chief information officer Lori Beer as a member of CISA’s brand-new cybersecurity advisory committee, launched that month. According to that press release:9
“… the Agency’s new Cybersecurity Advisory Committee … will advise and provide recommendations to the Director on policies, programs, planning, and training to enhance the nation’s cyber defense …
The Committee will examine and make recommendations on a variety of topics collectively aimed at strengthening CISA and more broadly reshaping the cyber ecosystem to favor defense.
These topics include growing the cyber workforce; reducing systemic risk to national critical functions; igniting the power of the Hacker community to help defend the nation; combating misinformation and disinformation impacting the security of critical infrastructure; and transforming public-private partnership into true operational collaboration.”
So, Chase Bank has been working with a key government agency involved in the unconstitutional censorship of Americans for nearly two years. Mastercard is also included in this CISA advisory committee. Other notable members of this 23-person committee include:
Steve Adler, Mayor of Austin, Texas
Marene Allison, Chief Information Security Officer at Johnson & Johnson
Vijaya Gadde, Legal, Public Policy & Trust and Safety Lead at Twitter
Nuala O’Connor, Senior Vice President & Chief Counsel for Walmart
Stephen Schmidt, Chief Information Security Officer for Amazon Web Services
George Stathakopoulos, VP of Corporate Information Security at Apple
Chris Young, Executive VP of Business Development, Strategy, and Ventures at Microsoft
Matthew Prince, CEO of Cloudflare, a software company that has been successfully targeted and hacked more than once since joining this committee.
In December 2021, a flaw in the Cloudflare software allowed for the theft of $130 million in cryptocurrencies,10 and in August 2022, they were targeted in a sophisticated phishing scam in which the hackers were able to obtain employee credentials that were then used in an effort to access Cloudflare’s internal network.11
Then, in August 2023, it was revealed that hackers are using “Cloudflare Tunnels to establish covert communication channels from compromised hosts and retain persistent access.”12
Alex Stamos, a former security chief at Facebook and a partner of the Krebs Stamos Group, a cyber consulting firm. The other partner is Chris Krebs, former director of CISA. It was under Krebs’ leadership that CISA was transformed into a domestic surveillance and censorship agency.
Stamos is also head of the EIP/Virality Project, which partnered with CISA to carry out censorship activities on CISA’s behalf. Evidence shows the Virality Project frequently pressured social media companies to censor COVID-19-related information and/or label it as “misinformation” — even if the information was true.
Kate Starbird,13 associate professor of Human Centered Design & Engineering14 at the University of Washington and a former Twitter employee
Nicole Perlroth, a cybersecurity reporter for The New York Times
Secret Censorship Group Sought to ‘Blackhole’ Me
The inclusion of Perlroth, a long-time reporter for The New York Times, on CISA’s Cybersecurity Advisory Committee is particularly interesting considering documents showing that the NYT played an important role in pressuring social media companies to censor anti-vaccine sentiment. Did Perlroth’s seat on the CISA committee have anything to do with that?
In an August 8, 2023, Public Substack article, investigative journalists Alex Gutentag, Leighton Woodhouse and Michael Shellenberger detail how nonprofits, the White House and legacy media colluded to push censorship for political purposes:15
“Yesterday Public reported16 for the first time that Facebook censored content at the request of the White House in order to guarantee White House support in a $1.2 billion battle with the European Union over data privacy.
It is a significant discovery because it points to a major and additional point of financial leverage that the U.S. government used to coerce censorship, in addition to widely discussed Section 230 liability protections, which President Biden, directly and indirectly, threatened — if Facebook refused its demands to censor.
But it all raises a question: why was the Biden White House so determined to censor Facebook in the first place? Until the Facebook Files, the answer had been that they wanted people to take the vaccine …
But now, the Facebook Files reveal that Facebook executives knew censoring disfavored vaccine views would backfire and explained to White House officials that censoring such views would violate established norms around freedom of speech. But the White House demanded more censorship, anyway …
In the summer of 2021, unable to convince every American to get vaccinated, the administration sought more and more extreme means to control the flow of information.
Facebook executive and top censor Aaron Berman identified the motivation behind the White House’s approach in a July 16 email: the administration was trying to scapegoat social media companies for its own policy failures …
Nonprofits played a role, particularly a London-based pro-censorship advocacy group called the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH). Facebook considered the radical measure of ‘off-platform links enforcement’ and ‘blackholing’ vaccine critics named by the CCDH as the ‘Disinformation Dozen’ …
Demand for censorship also came from mainstream corporate news media. When the New York Times’ Sheera Frenkel published a story about Dr. Joseph Mercola on July 24, 2021,17 Facebook employees responded to the story by looking for ways to blackhole him …
Several Facebook employees engaged in an active effort to search for enforcement grounds, including retroactively looking at offending posts from months earlier. All three worked in concert: nonprofits, news media, and the White House …
Again and again, it became clear that it was the news media demanding White House censorship. ‘The White House rarely provides any specificity about what it wants removed,’ one employee wrote, ‘but it routinely complains to us about content identified in critical media reports.’
And why was the White House concerned about the news media? Because the news media shapes public opinion, and public opinion determines the outcomes of elections.”
CCDH Report Used to ID ‘Domestic Terrorists’
We now also know that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) relied on the CCDH’s malign fabrications to identify “domestic threat actors,” meaning domestic terrorists.
This was discovered by my team in an August 2021 report18 on the DHS website titled “Combatting Targeted Disinformation Campaigns, Part 2,” created by the Public-Private Analytic Exchange Program (AEP).
According to the DHS,19 the AEP “organizes teams of analysts from the private sector, academia, and public sector across all levels of government — federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial.” In this case, the team responsible for this report include two members of the FBI — listed only as “Peter M.” and “Laci F.” — someone from the State Department, and “Kathryn W.” from the CIA.
Curiously, only those from the private sector are identified with full names. Only the first names and the initial of their last names are listed for the public sector members.
While I cannot prove this is the case, I wonder if “Peter M.” refers to Peter M. Klismet Jr., author of “FBI Diary: Profiles of Evil.”20 According to his bio, Klismet was one of the first FBI agents to be hand-picked to undergo “ground-breaking, revolutionary and controversial training … made famous by the renowned Behavioral Science Unit.” Basically, Klismet is a profiler, which is what this report is all about.
Under section 2.1.2., which discusses how to identify domestic threat actors, the report specifically highlights the CCDH “Pandemic Profiteers: The Business of Anti-Vaxx” report, which features photos of the 12 “disinformation dozen” on its cover.
And, while it never spells out my name, it goes on to state “The New York Times later published a more detailed article on the person listed in the report as the greatest offender.” Guess who that person was? That’s right. Me.
So, to summarize, Chase Bank was the only bank represented on CISA’s Cybersecurity Advisory Committee, as well as its subcommittee on “Protecting Critical Infrastructure from Misinformation & Disinformation.”
It’s also the only bank, so far, that has taken the extraordinary measure to debank employees and their family members of someone named in the CCDH’s “Disinformation Dozen” report and targeted by The New York Times (another committee member) as a “disinformation superspreader.”
And, U.S. intelligence agencies are all but spelling out my name in a report about identifying domestic “threat actors.” Are we supposed to think that’s coincidental?
Incidentally, Mastercard, the only credit card company on CISA’s Cybersecurity Advisory Committee, has also been accused of canceling accounts of conservative organizations and individuals,21 whereas the same allegations have not (to my knowledge) been leveled against Visa or Discover.
Chase Is No Stranger to Misconduct and Crime
It’s no small irony that while Chase Bank insinuates that my company is somehow involved in illegalities, Chase Bank continued doing business with the notorious pedophile and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein for years after his sordid dealings became known.22,23
In fact, Chase Bank is now going to pay $290 million to settle allegations that the bank knowingly benefited from Epstein’s illegal business.24 There’s also ongoing litigation against the bank by the U.S. Virgin Islands, the location of “Epstein Island,” where sex victims were brought and abused.
According to Mimi Liu, a lawyer for the Virgin Islands, Chase executives knew that Epstein was a sex trafficker by 2008 at the latest, and “broke every rule to facilitate his sex trafficking in exchange for Epstein’s wealth, connections and referrals.”25
In September 2020, Chase Bank also paid $920 million to settle trading misconduct charges. According to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Chase Bank manipulated trades of futures tied to precious metals and Treasury bonds for at least eight years.
Their “deceptive conduct” included spoof trades — an illegal practice where orders are placed and then canceled before execution to fool investors into thinking demand for the asset is higher than it actually is. Chase Bank is also ignoring evidence of money laundering by the Biden family.
By Own Admission Chase Is Obligated to Debank Its Executives
In response to a letter by Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, in which he questioned the bank’s decision to close our accounts, a Chase spokesman replied that the accounts were closed because:26
“… the customer has been the subject of regulatory scrutiny by the Federal government on multiple occasions for engaging in illegal activity relating to the marketing and sale of consumer products and we have a legal obligation to prevent funds derived from these activities from flowing through our bank.”
The last “federal scrutiny” of our business was 2.5 years ago, when the Food and Drug Administration sent us a warning letter accusing us of selling vitamin C, D, quercetin and Pterostilbene Advanced to mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose or cure COVID-19 is in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
A warning letter is not proof of illegal activity. It’s an accusation. We responded to the FDA’s letter, letting them know their accusations were baseless, and that was the end of that. We had not violated the law, and I suspect the letter was nothing more than a ruse to bring bad press.
If Chase insists it has a “legal obligation” to debank me, my employees and their families, over an old FDA warning letter — which had no legal basis and never led to criminal charges — isn’t Chase Bank then also obligated to debank its own executives and employees who intentionally benefited from sex trafficking and child abuse, and defrauded investors with illegal investment schemes?
In the end, I believe we will find our debanking was politically motivated, and that Chase Bank’s direct involvement with CISA’s Cybersecurity Advisory Committee had something to do with it. Since debanking over political and religious views is now illegal in Florida, I suspect this incident will eventually be added to Chase Bank’s growing list of crimes.
mRNA COVID-19 shots are still being called “vaccines,” even though they fulfill all the definitions of gene therapy and none of the definitions for a vaccine. The fact that the jabs are gene therapy, yet were mandated on entire populations without adequate testing, adds another nefarious layer to the many atrocities that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mainstream media went right along with the farce, spewing propaganda that mRNA COVID shots “are distinct from gene therapy.” But even their “fact checking” is laughable,1 as it tries to use semantics to explain away the shots’ gene therapy connections.
Not Gene Therapy, but ‘Genetic Based Therapy’
In an article by “Reuters Fact Check,” it’s argued that mRNA COVID-19 shots are not gene therapy because they’re “rapidly degraded” by the body and don’t integrate into humans’ genome or alter genetic makeup.2 But they admitted the shots are “genetic based therapy.”
According to the article, “Scientists told Reuters that while mRNA vaccines can be considered ‘genetic-based therapy’ because they use genetic code from COVID-19, they are not technically gene therapy.”3 Adam Taylor, a virologist and research fellow at the Menzies Health Institute, Queensland, Griffith University, told Reuters:4
“As mRNA is genetic material, mRNA vaccines can be looked at as a genetic-based therapy, but they are classified as vaccines and are not designed to alter your genes. Gene therapy, in the classical sense, involves making deliberate changes to a patient’s DNA in order to treat or cure them.
mRNA vaccines will not enter a cell’s nucleus that houses your DNA genome. There is zero risk of these vaccines integrating into our own genome or altering our genetic makeup.”
But, writing in the International Journal of Molecular Science, independent researcher Helene Banoun explains:5
“[T]he mode of action of mRNA vaccines should classify them as gene therapy products (GTP). But mRNAs as vaccines against an infectious disease have been excluded from GTP regulation by US and EU regulations. No specific regulations existed before the year 2020 for mRNA vaccines …
The wide and persistent biodistribution of mRNAs and their protein products, incompletely studied due to their classification as vaccines, raises safety issues. Post-marketing studies have shown that mRNA passes into breast milk and could have adverse effects on breast-fed babies.
Long-term expression, integration into the genome, transmission to the germline, passage into sperm, embryo/fetal and perinatal toxicity, genotoxicity and tumorigenicity should be studied in light of the adverse events reported in pharmacovigilance databases. The potential horizontal transmission (i.e., shedding) should also have been assessed.”
Media Lies About COVID-19 Shots
Similar to Reuters, AP also published a “fact check” article titled “No, COVID-19 Vaccines Aren’t Gene Therapy.”6 Both media outlets suggested COVID-19 shots aren’t gene therapy because they don’t change the body’s genetic makeup.7 But this is only part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s definition of gene therapy:8
“Human gene therapy seeks to modify or manipulate the expression of a gene or to alter the biological properties of living cells for therapeutic use.”
As you can see, the full definition also includes the words “or to alter the biological properties of living cells,” which is precisely what the COVID shots do. The mRNA in the COVID jab are molecules that contain genetic instructions for making various proteins. mRNA COVID shots deliver synthetic mRNA with a genetic code that instructs your cells to produce a modified form of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
In other words, they “alter the biological properties of living cells for therapeutic use.” Whether they modify your DNA is irrelevant. Note the word “or” in the FDA’s definition. It means it can be one OR the other. They don’t have to alter gene expression in order to still qualify as gene therapy, at least not per the FDA’s definition.
Further, mRNA are molecules that contain genetic instructions for making various proteins. mRNA “vaccines” deliver a synthetic version of mRNA into your cells that carry the instruction to produce the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, the antigen, that then activates your immune system to produce antibodies.9
Moderna Described COVID-19 Shots as Gene Therapy
COVID-19 vaccines are not conventional vaccines made with live or attenuated viruses. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are made with lipid nanoparticles that contain polyethylene glycol (PEG)10 and messenger RNA (mRNA).
mRNA are snippets of genetic code that carry instructions for cells to produce proteins. The definition of genetic is “relating to genes” and genes contain instructional code that tell the body what proteins to make. Therapy is the medical treatment of disease, so mRNA vaccines are very clearly gene therapy.
As noted by David Martin, Ph.D., Moderna’s SEC filings specify and stress that its technology is a “gene therapy technology,” originally intended for cancer treatment.11,12 So, more specifically, it’s a chemotherapy gene therapy technology.
Its mechanism of action also confirms it to be gene therapy. The mRNA gene therapies turn your cells into bioreactors that churn out viral proteins to incite an immune response, and there’s no off-switch.13
Additionally, Moderna’s SEC filings specifically state that “Currently, mRNA is considered a gene therapy product by the FDA,” as well.14
They Changed the Definition of Vaccine
By referring to COVID-19 vaccines as “vaccines” rather than gene therapies, the U.S. government is violating its 15 U.S. Code Section 41, which regulates deceptive practices in medical claims. Per this law, it is unlawful to advertise:15
“… that a product or service can prevent, treat, or cure human disease unless you possess competent and reliable scientific evidence, including, when appropriate, well-controlled human clinical studies, substantiating that the claims are true at the time they are made.”
Further, you cannot have a “vaccine” that does not meet the definition of a vaccine. Until as recently as 2019, Merriam-Webster defined a vaccine as “a preparation of killed microorganisms, living attenuated organisms, or living fully virulent organisms that is administered to produce or artificially increase immunity to a particular disease.”16
Since COVID-19 “vaccines” did not meet the former definition of vaccine, Merriam-Webster’s vaccine definition was changed to include a description of the experimental COVID-19 gene therapies:17
“: a preparation that is administered (as by injection) to stimulate the body’s immune response against a specific infectious disease:
a: an antigenic preparation of a typically inactivated or attenuated (see attenuated sense 2) pathogenic agent (such as a bacterium or virus) or one of its components or products (such as a protein or toxin).
b: a preparation of genetic material (such as a strand of synthesized messenger RNA) that is used by the cells of the body to produce an antigenic substance (such as a fragment of virus spike protein).”
In an example of attempts to alter the perception of reality in real time, a “vaccine” went from being something that produces protective immunity, to simply stimulating an immune response. The key words “to produce immunity” were eliminated from the equation.
This makes the COVID shots fit the description, as they do not make you immune against COVID-19 and weren’t designed to prevent infection in the first place. Further, internal CDC correspondence obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests show the reason for the change was simply to shut down arguments by “right-wing COVID-19 pandemic deniers” that “COVID-19 vaccines are not vaccines per CDC’s own definition.”18
Do COVID-19 Shots Change DNA?
The media insists COVID-19 shots don’t alter DNA.19 However, Martin has brought attention to a little-known grant from the National Science Foundation, known as Darwinian chemical systems,20 which involved research to incorporate mRNA into targeted genomes. According to Martin:21
“Moderna was started … on the back of a 10-year National Science Foundation grant. And that grant was called Darwinian chemical systems … the project that gave rise to the Moderna company itself was a project where they were specifically figuring out how to get mRNA to write itself into the genome of whatever target they were going after.
That could be a single-celled organism, it could be a multi-celled organism or it could be a human. And the fact of the matter is Moderna was started on the back of having proven that mRNA can be transfected and write itself into the human genome.”
It is completely unknown what the short- or long-term effects of the spike protein analog that’s inside people who received COVID-19 injections will be.
But with respect to alteration of the genome, Martin states that data show mRNA has the capacity to write into the DNA of humans, and “as such, the long-term effects are not going to merely be symptomatic. The long-term effects are going to be the human genome of injected individuals is going to be altered.”22
Reuters’ statement that mRNA vaccines are rapidly degraded by the body23 is also misleading. Accumulate in tissues, menstrual cycles Usually, if you were to inject RNA into your body, enzymes would immediately break it apart, but the COVID-19 shots are specifically designed so that doesn’t happen.
Real Risks of COVID-19 Shots Covered Up
While it was originally advertised that COVID-19 shots “stay in the arm,” Pfizer knew since at least November 2020 that the shots may influence the brain. Pfizer contracted Acuitas Therapeutics to conduct animal studies, which found LNPs from COVID-19 shots rapidly traveled to other areas, including the brain, eyes, heart, ovaries and other organs.24
While a typical vaccine must undergo 10 to 12 years of trials before it’s released, during the pandemic, COVID-19 shots were made available to the public just 10 months after development, courtesy of an Emergency Use Authorization.25 Even pregnant women were subjected to the shots, and in many cases were mandated to receive them.
Again, the long-term effects are unknown, but delayed menstruation has already been confirmed following COVID-19 shots, according to a study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology — funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the National Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women’s Health.26 And the European Union has recommended that “heavy menstrual bleeding” be added as a side effect to mRNA COVID-19 shots.27
The Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge (IPAK) felt the data were compelling enough in 2021 to withdraw the shots for vulnerable populations like pregnant women,28,29 but health officials chose, instead, to make them guinea pigs for an untested, experimental shot.
No randomized trial data is available for use of the COVID-19 shot in pregnant women, and Pfizer cut its pregnancy trial short.30 It has yet to make the results it did find public.
Meanwhile, as the effectiveness of natural immunity became clear, people should have been informed of this and warned of potential risks from COVID-19 shots. This way, they could make an informed decision before consenting to an experimental injection that could have serious effects.
That hasn’t happened, however. Instead, as it stands, media continues to share “fact-checked” nonsense that COVID-19 shots are not technically gene therapy, but instead are considered a “genetic-based therapy.”31
By Dr. Mercola
Your body not only depends on nutrients in the food you eat, but is actually composed — atom-by-atom, molecule-by-molecule – by them, which is why we should not be surprised by the profound power that certain nutrients and food constituents have in supporting optimal health.
One of them, calcium, is an old-standby in many people’s supplement stashes, but new research suggests this is one nutrient you’re better off getting from food sources.
Two lesser known, but extremely therapeutic, nutrients are turmeric (the spice that gives curry its deep yellow color) and resveratrol (a polyphenol found in plants, particularly grape skins), and which in two new studies have been revealed to have exciting health benefits.
Calcium: Good From Food, Not From Supplements?
Calcium is one of the most popular dietary supplements on the market, largely because of the widely circulated belief that regular supplemental doses of this mineral are essential for building and maintaining healthy bones. As a result, many people believe that taking a calcium supplement is one of the best — if not an essential — strategy to prevent bone fractures resulting from osteoporosis.
However, it’s becoming increasingly clear that while organically-bound calcium from your diet is beneficial, elemental calcium supplements, e.g. calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, etc., may dramatically increase heart attack risk, and other health problems.
A recent study published in the journal Heart found that people who took calcium supplements regularly had an 86 percent greater risk of having a heart attack, which led researchers to suggest such pills should be “taken with caution.”i Dietary calcium, on the other hand, had no such risk! In fact, those who got their calcium exclusively from supplements more than doubled their risk of a heart attack compared to those who took no supplements.
A similar trend has been seen for kidney stones, with people taking calcium supplements at a greater risk, while those who consume a high level of calcium in food at a reduced risk.ii There have been a number of studies that indicate calcium supplements increase your risk for cardiovascular incidents and other problems, as well as NOT being of much benefit to your bones.
- A 2010 meta-analysis showed calcium supplements (without coadministered vitamin D) are associated with a 27% increased risk for heart attack.iii Even when calcium was administered with vitamin D, which helps you absorb and utilize calcium, elemental calcium still increased heart attack risk by 24 percentiv
- A 2008 study found calcium supplements are associated with a greater number of heart attacks in postmenopausal womenv
- A 2004 study showed that people with excess calcium in their coronary artery and who take statins have a 17-fold higher risk of heart attacks than do those with lower arterial calcium levels; researchers concluded that the two most definitive indicators of heart attack were LDL levels and arterial calcium build-up
Osteoporosis and Bone Density
- A 2010 article presented evidence for a total lack of support in the research for calcium supplements reducing fracture riskvi
- A 2007 study showed that calcium from dietary sources has more favorable effects on bone health than calcium from supplements in postmenopausal womenvii
- A 2009 study of postmenopausal women using calcium supplements showed that, although calcium loss from bone was slowed, bone loss was still occurringviii
What Makes Calcium Supplements Potentially Dangerous?
Your body does not make calcium, and in fact loses this important mineral daily through your skin, nails, hair, sweat and elimination, which is why you must replace it on a regular basis. Historically this has been through dietary sources.
It has been estimated, however, that your body excretes as little as 100 mg a day, making the current recommendations by the National Osteoporosis Foundation for women over 50 to take 1,200 mg a day a bit troubling. When we compare our calcium-rich diet to the traditional calcium-poor Chinese peasant diet, which was free of cow’s milk and calcium supplements, approximately 250 mg a day of plant-based calcium was all that was needed to fulfill their bodily needs – and this is a culture with no word for “osteoporosis” in its 3,000+ year old language!
Due to the fact that about 99 percent of your body’s calcium is stored in your bones and teeth, if you don’t get enough calcium, your body will use the calcium reserves in your bones to perform vital metabolic functions. This is where the idea that supplementing with calcium could prevent calcium loss from your bones comes from — but it is an overly simplified theory that lacks solid evidence to back it up, especially in Western, modernized cultures, which consume unprecedentedly large amounts of dairy-derived, fortification-based and supplemental calcium.
The truth is that taking any calcium in excess or isolation, without complementary nutrients like magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K2, which help keep your body in balance, can have adverse effects, such as calcium building up in coronary arteries and inducing heart attacks. Even taking calcium with vitamin D does not appear to be sufficient to prevent these types of adverse effects.
So when you take a biologically foreign form of calcium (such as limestone, oyster shell and bone meal (hydroxylapatite)), or when your body’s ability to direct calcium to the right places becomes impaired (as when you are deficient in vitamin K2), calcium may be deposited where it shouldn’t be, which can lead to multiple health problems, including heart attacks. It’s more likely your body can use calcium correctly if it’s food-based calcium.
Good sources include:
- Organic grass fed and finished raw milk and cheese from pasture-raised cows
- Leafy green vegetables
- The pith of citrus fruits
- Sesame seeds and wheatgrass
Calcium from dietary sources is typically better absorbed and utilized than calcium from supplements, which is why studies involving calcium from natural food sources have shown favorable results, including a 25 percent lower risk of dying from all causes.ix
It is also vital to remember that magnesium, along with a variety of additional trace minerals such as strontium, boron, and the other crucial vitamin K2, may all be every bit as, if not even more important than calcium.
Turmeric Provides Heart and Diabetes Protection, and Anti-Cancer Effects
The next nutrient in the news is turmeric, which is no surprise as there are so many research studies that show it has powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and antioxidant properties. Last year, a study by Penn State researchers revealed that an antioxidant-rich spice blend made of turmeric, rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, garlic powder and paprika could reduce your insulin levels by 21 percent, and your triglycerides by 31 percent when added to a meal.x
Separate research has shown that turmeric and its active compound curcumin reduced blood sugar in diabetic rates, leading to less insulin sensitivity and lowered oxidative stress.xi
A persistent question has been: How can a single agent possess such diverse effects? Part of the answer lies in the herb’s ability to affect signaling molecules. For example, curcumin has been shown to directly interact with:
Inflammatory molecules Cell survival proteins Histone Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV1) integrase and protease DNA and RNA Various carrier proteins and metal ions
Curcumin has been shown to influence more than 700 genes, and it can positively modulate both the activity and the synthesis of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) and 5-lipooxygenase (5-LOX), as well as other enzymes that are involved in pathological states of excessive inflammation.
Curcumin currently has the most evidence-based literature supporting its use against cancer among all nutrients.xii Interestingly this also includes the metabolite of curcumin and its derivatives, which are also anti-cancerous. Best of all, curcumin appears to be safe in the treatment of all cancers, and has been shown to be nontoxic. Researchers have found that curcumin can affect more than 100 different pathways, once it gets into the cell. More specifically, curcumin has been found to:
Inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells Decrease inflammation Inhibit the transformation of cells from normal to tumor Inhibit the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumor formation Help your body destroy mutated cancer cells so they cannot spread throughout your body Help prevent the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth (angiogenesis) Have chemosensitizing activity Have radiosensitizing activity
Curcumin is difficult for your body to absorb, so for tips on how to most effectively use curcumin, see the guidelines in this article. Another study, published in the Natural Product Reports describes curcumin as being therapeutic for a wide range of diseases aside from cancer,xiii such as:
Lung- and liver diseases Neurological diseases Metabolic diseases Autoimmune disorders Cardiovascular diseases Inflammatory diseases
Resveratrol – A Natural Chemosensitizer and Chemopreventive
The conventional cancer therapies currently available are surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy; aka the “cut, poison, burn” model. Chemotherapy is typically the main regimen for most cancers.
However, many tumors develop resistance to these harsh drugs, known as chemoresistance, which can complicate matters, to say the least. Chemoresistance also leads to other complications. Hence researchers are looking for effective chemosensitizers that can help overcome such resistance. This strategy basically uses one drug to enhance the activity of another, by modulating the mechanisms that cause the resistance.
A number of natural products and compounds have been shown to act as effective chemosensitizers, among them curcumin and the third nutrient I want to highlight today: resveratrol.
Natural agents such as resveratrol, a potent antioxidant chemical found in red wine and other foods, have multi-targeting properties, which make them ideally suited for anti-cancer drugs. In a 2011 review of dietary agents that sensitize tumors, making them more susceptible to the treatment with chemotherapy drugs, resveratrol was featured as a clear candidate.xiv Specific types of tumors shown to respond favorably include:
Lung carcinoma Acute myeloid- and promyelocytic leukemia Multiple myeloma Prostate cancer Oral epidermoid carcinoma Pancreatic cancer
Better still, research suggests resveratrol may be chemopreventive, which means it may help prevent cancer. One study revealed resveratrol has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, as well as may inhibit platelet aggregation and the growth of a variety of cancer cells. Researchers noted:xv
“Its potential chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic activities have been demonstrated in all three stages of carcinogenesis (initiation, promotion, and progression), in both chemically and UVB-induced skin carcinogenesis in mice, as well as in various murine models of human cancers.”
Like curcumin, resveratrol has wide-ranging benefits, and separate research showed it improves insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels in older adults with impaired glucose tolerance (pre-diabetes), at doses of 1-2 grams a day.xvi Lowered glucose and insulin levels without any changes in diet or taking other drugs? I certainly do not recommend that you replace a healthy diet or exercise program with resveratrol, but the research suggests it is a powerful addition to a healthy lifestyle.
Resveratrol, which can be found in red wine, red grape skins, fruits, vegetables, legumes, cocoa, dark chocolate and weeds, and also in supplement form, has been found to have the following actions and functions:
- Broad-spectrum antimicrobial and anti-infective
- Anti-cancer, anti-diabetes
- Alzheimer’s protection and boosts brain health
Nature is a Powerful Ally to Your Health
Natural foods and supplements contain a countless number of disease-fighting, health-boosting nutrients. There are so many, it’s impossible to describe them all and many are likely yet to be discovered. The synergistic, healing potential of consuming nutrients in whole food form is simply amazing, which is why I suggest you learn about the foundations of a healthy diet in my nutrition plan, and be generous and adventurous in including many herbs, spices and veggies in your meals.
There are some cases when supplements will provide a more concentrated source of a specific nutrient, like curcumin or resveratrol, but generally speaking, aiming to meet your body’s nutrient needs with whole foods is an admirable, and smart, goal.
In the fall of 2022, mainstream media started warning of a potential “tripledemic,” with COVID,1 seasonal influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)2 being in circulation at the same time. Fear sells, they say, and that’s certainly the adage used by Big Pharma when it comes to vaccines.
The sudden focus on RSV in particular, which has been around for decades, just so happened to coincide with announcements that RSV vaccines were being fast-tracked — a risky venture if there ever was one, considering vaccine makers have been trying to bring an RSV vaccine to market for about 60 years, and couldn’t due to safety issues.
Not surprisingly, Pfizer and Moderna are also working on combination mRNA jabs for COVID, RSV and the flu,3 currently expected to hit the market in 2024 and/or 2025.4 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first-ever RSV vaccines in the summer of 2023 for seniors 60 years and older — one by Pfizer (Abrysvo)5 and one by GlaxoSmithKline (Arexvy).6
Both vaccines are recombinant subunit vaccines, meaning certain viral proteins are used to trigger an immune response,7 and both manufacturers have reported Guillain-Barré syndrome as a side effect of their shots.8
Pfizer’s RSV vaccine will likely cost somewhere between $180 and $270, while GSK intends on charging $200 to $295.9 GSK had initially announced a price tag of $148 per dose, but decided to double the price due to newer data suggesting effectiveness may carry into a second season.
Tripledemic Propaganda Continues
As we’re heading into the fall of 2023, the “tripledemic” of COVID, RSV and influenza is again making headlines. A Google search for the key words “triple pandemic 2023”10 garnered a staggering 41.2 million articles as of mid-August 2023.
Please remember that the above example is for illustration purposes only, and I strongly discourage you from ever using Google. But here is the REAL learning lesson. All you can use the total results in the search is for how common the term is. Google long ago stopped serving you all those 40 million results. Guess how many you can view? Only a mere 100.
That is an irrelevant point for keywords like triple pandemic of 2023, but it becomes enormously important to you and your family when you are seeking to do serious research on the internet. It is virtually impossible now that Google not only censors vital information about natural health, but they refuse to display anything but the first 100 results.
And, as we saw all through the COVID pandemic, news agencies are using he exact same headlines and talking points — unequivocal evidence that the tripledemic narrative is being coordinated by a central source.
As reported by CNN, August 10, 2023:11
“State and local health officials across the United States are bracing for a rise in respiratory illnesses this fall, and they are making plans to urge everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated against Covid-19, flu and respiratory syncytial virus once those shots become available …
On a national scale, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also is preparing for the threat of respiratory illnesses this fall. ‘Protecting against respiratory diseases this fall is a central focus for CDC.
Efforts will include preparing Americans for what to expect, helping them understand the risk for illness in their communities, and providing information on how they can protect themselves,’ spokesperson Kathleen Conley said in an email.
‘CDC will use every lever at its disposal to help people understand how they can protect themselves and their families from serious illness, including staying up to date on their vaccinations.’”
Three Shots Recommended for This Fall
For this fall, U.S. health officials recommend:
1. A flu vaccine for everyone 6 months old and older
2. An updated mRNA COVID-19 booster targeting the Omicron XBB.1.5 strain, even though this strain is already in the decline. Most of the COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and Canada are now caused by the Eris (EG.5)12 and BA.5 strains.13
In the U.S., specifics on who should get the shot and when are still undetermined as the FDA has yet to officially approve the updated booster. In Canada, the fall COVID booster is recommended for anyone aged 5 and older who got their last shot or had a COVID infection at least six months ago14
3. An RSV vaccine for seniors 60 years old and older
Not surprisingly, many are encouraging people to bundle all three injections into a single visit, even though there are no data whatsoever to support the claim that doing so is safe. Some doctors, though — such as Dr. William Schaffner in the CBS News report above — recommend getting the RSV vaccine separately.
No Need to Raise Alarm Bells
According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 hospitalizations shot up by an average of 12.5% the week of July 23 through 29, 2023. Eighteen U.S. states saw COVID-related hospitalization rates rise by 20% or more.15
Approximately 54% of new cases in the U.S. are being attributed to a new Omicron subvariant called BA.5, while Eris (EG.5) accounts for an estimated 17.3%, an increase of 9.8% since early July.16 XBB.1.5, which the new COVID booster will target, makes up only 10.3% of cases.17 Advisory.com writes:18
“According to Stuart Turville, an associate professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, the EG.5 group of subvariants is ‘a little bit more slippery’ and ‘competitive’ compared to other current variants and is able to ‘navigate better the presence of antibodies’ from vaccines.”
All of that said, hospitalization rates are nowhere near the peaks seen in previous years. For the week ending July 29, 2023, there were 9,056 new COVID-related hospitalizations nationwide, a far cry from the January 2022 peak of 150,000.
“It is ticking up a little bit, but it’s not something that we need to raise any alarm bells over,” David Dowdy, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health told Advisory.com.19
Fearmongering Is a Tool to Foster Obedience
It’s important to realize that the “threats” posed by COVID, flu and RSV are being magnified for a reason. The biosecurity crisis needs to continue indefinitely because it’s the primary justification behind The Great Reset. At regular intervals, there must be another Chicken Little warning that the sky is still falling and that we must not let down our guard.
At some stage, you must realize that the more you give in and obey, the more you must give in and obey. There really is no end to what they can and will take from you, and holding on to the belief that your government would never [fill in the blank] is becoming more dangerous by the day.
It’s also important to realize that your government isn’t the ultimate power. Our government officials take orders too, from what is often referred to as the deep state. It’s not a government at all, but a global, hidden power structure that is accountable to no one, while influencing and manipulating everyone to bring about a new world order.
In years past, this shadowy cabal of power brokers were referred to under the term the New World Order. In 2020, the World Economic Forum came out on the public stage and announced The Great Reset, which is nothing but the NWO rebranded.
In the video above, investigative journalist Harry Vox talks about disease outbreaks, quarantines and curfews being essential tools in the ruling class’ toolkit, and how these tools were planned to be used to usher in the next phase of control.
The interview, which took place in 2014, sounds more than a little prophetic today, as these three indispensable tools for totalitarian control have been part of our reality since 2020. In it, Vox also refers to “Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development,”20 a document by the Rockefeller Foundation, in which they laid out a “Lockstep” scenario, which details the global response to a fictional pandemic.
They’ve Already Told You What the End Game Is
While the name and origin of the virus differ, the scenario laid out in “Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development”21 closely matches what we’ve gone through in the era of COVID, especially its deadly effect on economies.
The scenario predicted international mobility coming to a screeching halt, debilitating industries, tourism and global supply chains. “Even locally, normally bustling shops and office buildings sat empty for months, devoid of both employees and customers,” the document reads.
In the Rockefeller narrative, China is hailed for its rapid imposition of universal quarantines of all citizens which proved effective for curbing the spread of the virus. It’s important to note that universal quarantining — lockdowns of healthy people — has never ever been used in infectious disease control before, and there’s a reason for that. We already knew it wouldn’t work.
Many other nations where leaders “flexed their authority” and imposed severe restrictions on their citizens — “from the mandatory wearing of face masks to body-temperature checks at the entries of communal spaces like train stations and supermarkets” — also fared well, in this Rockefeller scenario.
Listen to the disbelief in the interviewer’s voice when he asks if Vox actually believes that such a thing could happen, that we would have to stand in line to get our temperature checked before entering a building.
Well, every single one of us has now had to do this, so we know it’s possible. And if that’s possible, why not the rest of the Lockstep plan, which tells us that: “Even after the pandemic faded, this more authoritarian control and oversight of citizens and their activities stuck, and even intensified.”
Don’t Get Fooled Twice
We can no longer afford to disbelieve the lengths to which this globalist cabal can and will go to seize total control. They’ve already told us what the ultimate plan is — to use bioterrorism to take control of the world’s resources, wealth and people.
All we need to do is to believe it, and realize that the only thing giving them the power to impose their will is our fear. As long as we choose fear and demand our government keep us safe, they have every chance of winning.
Hopefully, a clear majority of people will have learned this lesson by now, and won’t fall for the same tricks again, even though they’ve upped the ante with a triple threat, rather than just one. Fear is a tool used to control you, but that only works if you buy into it, and by now it ought to be clear that the narrative around the need for vaccines is misleading at best.
Ditch the Fear and Just Take Control of Your Health
While influenza, RSV and COVID can be problematic and dangerous for certain high-risk individuals, the overall risks associated with them are negligible for most. Just think back on your life — how many times have you had a cold or flu? Are you still here? How many people do you know who died from a cold or flu?
At this point, most people have also had COVID, and are here to attest to its nonlethality. Unfortunately, those who have gotten several COVID shots are now in the high-risk category and may in fact experience more severe infection.
Keeping your immune system strong is the best way to protect yourself against all infections, and there are many effective ways to do that, such as optimizing optimizing your vitamin D level.
Higher levels of vitamin D have been shown to decrease your risk of developing a severe case of, and dying from, COVID-19. Vitamin D supplementation has also been shown to reduce your risk of colds22 and influenza,23,24 as it boosts your innate immunity.
Immune-boosting nutraceuticals such as vitamin C, quercetin with zinc and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) also belong in your medicine cabinet so you can start taking them at the very first signs of symptoms. Zinc is a potent broad-spectrum antiviral and quercetin helps transport it into the cell, where it’s needed. Vitamin C is also a premiere treatment for many infections and helps boost overall immune function.
NAC, meanwhile, is a precursor to reduced glutathione, which appears to play a crucial role in COVID-19 specifically. Benefits of NAC include inhibiting expression of proinflammatory cytokines, improving T cell response and inhibiting the hypercoagulation that can result in stroke and/or blood clots that impair the ability to exchange oxygen in the lungs.