By Dr. Mercola
Most people will suffer some form of injury or painful condition at some time in their life. Is there a simple, effective way to accelerate healing that doesn’t involve drugs or surgery? The short answer is yes, there is.
Dr. Phil Harrington is trained as a chiropractic physician, and for the past eight years he’s worked for K-Laser, a company that has developed one of the most powerful and versatile cold lasers available.
At present, I’m passionate about optimizing mitochondrial function for health and disease prevention, and the K-Laser technology can be a helpful adjunct for that as well, especially as it applies to injuries.
One common question is: Can light really have a biological effect on tissue? And the answer to that is solid and resounding yes.
One clue can be found in the plant kingdom. Green growing plants absorb ultraviolet (UV) light and undergo a chemical process called photosynthesis that converts light energy into chemical energy.
There’s an organelle in plants called the chloroplast, which is essentially the plant equivalent of our mitochondria. They work on similar biological principles in that they both create intracellular proton gradients, which helps explain how light energy can affect human mitochondria as well.
Laser therapy is also used in veterinary medicine, with great success, and this tells us the benefits are not simply due to the placebo effect.
How Light Affects Tissue Healing
Tissue healing comes about when red and infrared laser light is absorbed by different components in your tissues. When it comes to laser therapy, the effects include:
- Increased microcirculation in the tissues
- Increased tissue oxygenation (meaning, more oxygen is being released from the bloodstream)
- Improved energy production in damaged cells by stimulating enzymes in the mitochondria to utilize oxygen more efficiently
If there’s an area of tissue injury, damage, pain, and inflammation, laser therapy through its mechanism of increased circulation, oxygenation, and enzyme activity, is able to facilitate repair and recover more quickly and become stronger than it would be without the laser.
Another benefit is the lack of adverse side effects. It’s a very simple therapy and it makes great sense to consider it as a first line of treatment before considering more aggressive surgical or pharmacological intervention.
Three Basic Types of Light Therapy
There are basically three different types of light therapy: sunlight, LEDs, and lasers. The therapeutic use of sunlight goes back hundreds of years, as they realized it could help treat a number of different skin and infectious conditions, such as psoriasis, jaundice, and tuberculosis (TB).
Today, LEDs (light-emitting diodes), and lasers are more commonly used in the therapeutic setting. LEDs produce monochromatic light of a certain wavelength, such as 660 nanometers (nm), which is in the visible red spectrum.
Laser diodes deliver light of a tighter bandwidth, andthe K-Laser device is the only one to incorporate four different wavelengths at the same time, which makes it far more versatile than others.
Another major difference between LEDs and lasers is that the light emitted from LEDs is non-coherent whereas laser light is coherent, meaning the light waves match up with each other in space and time.
“There are a number of … studies that have been done that looked at the effect of [light] coherency on the tissues. We can summarize it in general to say that if all other parameters are equal, laser wins every time, and it’s because of that coherency of the light,” Harrington says.
“If you shine the laser on a surface, you get what’s called speckle formation. It almost looks like that laser light is crawling.
What is actually happening is that we’re getting areas of constructive and destructive interference in between those coherent light waves, which essentially in the body would mean that in some areas it’s a little bit warmer; in some areas, a little bit cooler.
One benefit that I think we’re getting with laser therapy, specifically in reference to increasing circulation, is that the coherency of the light is responsible more for that increase in circulation that we get.”
The coherency of laser light also allows for deeper penetration, which means you can deliver therapeutic dosages of light into deeper-lying tissues. As noted by Harrington:
“It’s one thing to get a photon of light deep in the body; it’s a much more significant criteria to get enough of them deep in the body so that we are getting the true therapeutic dosage.”
About the only drawback is price. Lasers are more expensive, and high-powered lasers like the K-laser can only be purchased by licensed healthcare providers. LED devices, on the other hand, are readily available on Amazon for a reasonable price, and can easily be used at home.
Should You Buy an LED Device for Home Use?
If you’re considering purchasing an LED device for the treatment of a soft tissue injury, here are two key considerations to keep in mind:
- LED devices will work well for more superficial tissue injuries and skin conditions, such as elbow tendonitis or psoriasis for example.
The reason for this is because they use non-coherent monochromatic light; typically red or infrared light, the former of which can penetrate just one millimeter into your body
- Deeper pains, such as arthritis in the hip or degenerative disc problems, are less likely to respond to LEDs, as the light cannot penetrate deeply enough. For these conditions, you need to see a practitioner that uses higher-powered laser therapy
Laser Therapy Can Be Useful for a Wide Variety of Conditions
My guess is that virtually every single person watching this will have — either currently or certainly at some point in their future — a condition that may benefit from laser therapy.
The reason for this goes back to the three mechanisms by which laser therapy affects tissue healing: circulation, oxygenation, and enzyme activity. There are in fact few conditions where none of these three mechanisms play a role in healing.
“Go from head to toe and think about any condition, whether it is pain and/or inflammation and/or tissue damage. We could start at the top of the head and look at situations of a tension headache or a migraine headache. We’ve got some very great success recently with trigeminal neuralgia and Bell’s palsy.
Both are conditions that the sooner we get the laser on them, the more readily the condition will respond. Moving on down, the various neck-related issues — whether it’s arthritic neck or related to a motor vehicle accident, on through rotator cuff issues … carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger, De Quervain’s syndrome.
Various injuries in the upper extremity, back pain, shingles, low back pain, strains and sprains in the low back, arthritic hips, iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), arthritic knees, or plantar fasciitis … Whether it’s pain, inflammation, or tissue damage, [laser therapy] can help them,” Harrington says.
Harrington even cites a case where a woman suffered from shingles on her face. Not only was she in terrible pain as it was affecting her facial nerves, but it also affected her appearance, as it made her face and eyelid droop. After six K-Laser treatments, she was fully recuperated.
How Laser Therapy Affects Mitochondrial Function
As I mentioned earlier, one of my new passions is mitochondrial optimization. Laser therapy increases adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production, and through my research I’ve gained a deeper appreciation of this mechanism. Mitochondria have cytochromes within the intracellular membrane, which act like magnets, in the sense that they absorb light energy.
When these photons are absorbed, they produce reactive oxygen species (ROS), primarily superoxide, which then gets converted by superoxide dismutase to hydrogen peroxide.
But here’s the clincher: These ROS, while normally dangerous, when produced through a controlled mechanism such as with light therapy they actually facilitate the mitochondrial production of ATP, which provides injured cells with the energy needed for the healing process. And it does this without significantly increasing dangerous free radical production. As noted by Harrington:
“We’re not turbo-charging the cells. This is not some sort of artificial stimulant. We’re not making the body do anything that it could not normally do; we’re just giving it the push with the laser light to help it do the things that it should normally do … ‘[W]e remove the interference. Get the interferences out of the way and let the body heal itself.’”
Diet and Drug Use May Hamper Effectiveness of Laser Therapy
I believe optimizing the production of free radicals is one of the central mechanisms of how laser therapy works. But it’s also important to realize that you can thwart this healing process by eating the wrong foods and taking certain drugs.
Most people consume “dirty” fuel (glucose) to generate their energy. Glucose generates excessive amounts of ROS, which then generates excessive free radicals (which typically damage the mitochondrial DNA that can consequently damage the nuclear DNA). Dietary fat is a much “cleaner” fuel, as it does not create nearly as much ROS, and hence fewer free radicals.
For this reason, you really want to feed your body fuel that is limited in net carbs. Fiber carbs like vegetables are great — you can eat unlimited amounts of those. It’s the simple sugars that break down and generate ROS. What’s important to realize is that this can interfere with the beneficial stimulus provided by the light therapy. As explained by Harrington, there’s a synergistic effect there.
He also recommends taking ubiquinol or CoQ10 when getting laser therapy treatment, as this will help optimize the treatment. This is particularly true if you’re also taking a statin drug. If you’re on a statin, and you want laser therapy to work, ubiquinol is a very important adjunct.
In my view, statins may almost be viewed as a contraindication for laser therapy, and here’s why: statins work by inhibiting a cholesterol-producing liver enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase. They also inhibit coenzyme Q10 (which is why ubiquinol — the reduced form of CoQ10 — is recommended), and it radically reduces your liver’s ability to make ketones.
Fats are the primary fuel the liver produces, which cause your mitochondria and tissues to burn these fuels cleanly. If you shut down that mechanism, you’re radically impairing your body’s ability to use fat for fuel, and essentially, you’re relying on glucose and carbohydrates, which create high amounts of ROS, impairing the effectiveness of the laser treatment.
So diet, supplements, and drugs can all impact the effectiveness of the treatment, for better or worse, and should be taken into consideration.
Different Types of Lasers
Lasers fall into different categories, from low to high power, using different wavelengths, the latter of which refers to the color of the light and is measured in nanometers (nm). Infrared wavelengths are slightly longer than red, and can penetrate deeply into the body. There are also specific wavelengths at which absorption for different components in the tissue peak.
- 800 nm: The 800 nm wavelength has the highest penetration, and here absorption of cytochrome oxidase enzymes is at its peak. Tests reveal the 800 wavelength can deliver a therapeutic dose of light about 10 centimeters into the body, making it effective even for people of great girth, and larger animals, like horses
- 905 nm: At the 905 nm wavelength, there’s a peak of absorption for hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the bloodstream. So by using this wavelength, you allow for increased release of available oxygen in the blood stream. This also allows for the removal of carbon dioxide and other metabolic waste products from the damaged area
- 970 nm: Looking at the absorption curve, at 970 nm there’s a peak in the absorption for water, and there are therapy lasers on the market that use the 970 wavelength exclusively, to stimulate circulation in the tissues. The 970 nm wavelength is also a potent stimulus to produce structured water in your cells, which has its own plethora of benefits. Boosting structured water is yet another mechanism of action that helps explain the healing power of lasers
The K-Laser uses all three of these wavelengths, plus the 660nm visible red wavelength, which is excellent for superficial wounds, for a total of four simultaneous wavelengths. This is what makes it so superior to other laser devices. As a high-powered, class IV laser, it can also deliver a high amount of light per unit of time, which means you can treat a much larger volume of tissue.
How to Find a Clinic That Uses K-Laser
A variety of therapists use the K-Laser system. Many are chiropractors, but some physicians and physical therapists also use them, especially doctors who do prolotherapy and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections. To locate a K-Laser practitioner, see K-LaserUSA.com’s “Find a Provider” page. As you shop around for a practitioner, questions you may want to ask include:
- Confirm the type of laser used. Class IV therapy laser devices are the most beneficial, as they’re the most powerful. However, the K-Laser is the only device on the market using all four wavelengths simultaneously, which makes it the most effective for the widest array of conditions. Other class IV lasers use only one or two wavelengths
- Confirm the clinician is trained in using the device for your condition
- The cost of each treatment. In the U.S., the median cost is about $75 per visit
- The number of visits recommended for the problem or injury in question. While this will vary greatly depending on your condition, anywhere from six to 15 visits is not uncommon. Acute soft tissue injuries typically require six to eight visits, while more chronic conditions, such as arthritic knees, may need upward of eight to 15, plus intermittent “booster” treatments thereafter.
In about 60 percent of cases, patients will notice some improvement after the first visit, even if it’s minor. After three visits, 90 percent of patients notice some form of improvement. Also keep in mind that pain relief will be achieved long before the condition itself is fully healed, so it’s important to remember that the absence of pain does not equal full recovery
- The recommended frequency of visits
Before Drugs and Surgery, Consider Giving Laser Therapy a Try
I am a major fan of laser therapy and personally own two K-Laser units because my review suggests they are the best units out there. I have successfully treated a large number of friends and professional associates with the K-Laser and have been very impressed. In one case, 10 years of pain in the ankle disappeared in just two treatments. That’s not to say all pain will vanish like magic, but it was certainly a powerful testament to its healing ability for me.
When you consider that a painful condition you’ve suffered with for years might be resolved for a few hundred dollars’ worth of K-Laser treatments, I believe you’ll agree it’s well worth it. Especially when you compare it to the alternatives, which usually involves expensive drugs and/or surgery — both of which can also produce adverse side effects that may end up being permanent. Again, examples of the types of injuries and conditions that K-Laser therapy can be helpful for include:
- Acute injuries, such as strains, sprains, and shoulder injuries
- Repetitive-use injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome
- Traumatic injuries, such as post-motor vehicle accident with cervical strain/sprain
- Chronic issues such as frozen shoulder and arthritis
- Just about any issue involving inflammation, tissue damage and/or pain, including but not limited to migraines, trigeminal neuralgia, Bell’s palsy, De Quervain’s syndrome, shingles, low back pain, iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), and plantar fasciitis
Animals of all sorts can also benefit from laser therapy. Veterinarians are able to use medical devices as they see fit, and some veterinarians, especially holistic vets like Dr. Karen Becker, swear by laser therapy for conditions such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, and intervertebral disc disease in dachshunds, for example.
K-LaserUSA.com can help you find both human and veterinary medical providers that are licensed in the use of K-Laser therapy. If you’re a clinician, and would like more information about K-Laser, please use the following link.
April 13, 2016
If your doctor receives money or gifts from a drug company, be it payment for a lecture or a free meal, does it influence the medications he or she in turn prescribes? This represents the burning question in an industry saturated with pharmaceutical company involvement.
A ProPublica analysis revealed nearly nine in 10 cardiologists, and seven in 10 internists and family practitioners, included in their study received payments from drug or device companies in 2014.1 But the analysis didn’t stop there.
It also looked into whether or not such payments were associated with prescribing practices, and here’s where things got interesting.
Doctors Who Received Drug-Company Money Prescribed More Brand-Name Drugs
ProPublica analyzed the prescribing habits of doctors who wrote at least 1,000 prescriptions in the Medicare Part D drug program. The doctors belonged to five common specialties: psychiatry, cardiovascular disease, family medicine, internal medicine and ophthalmology.
Not only was the receipt of drug-company money associated with a higher percentage of brand-name drug prescriptions, but the prescriptions rose with the amount of money received.2
The analysis included promotional speaking, consulting, business travel, meals, royalties and gifts as forms of drug company payments. Those who received more than $5,000 from industry in 2014 prescribed the most brand-name drugs. According to the analysis:
“In all cases, the group receiving larger payments had a higher brand-name prescribing rate on average.
Additionally, the type of payment made a difference: those who received meals alone from companies had a higher rate of brand-name prescribing than physicians who received no payments, and those who received speaking payments had a higher rate than those who received other types of payments.”
Are Drug-Company Payments ‘Thinly Veiled Kickbacks?’
Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, an associate professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, told The Atlantic regarding the featured study:3
“It again confirms the prevailing wisdom … that there is a relationship between payments and brand-name prescribing … This feeds into the ongoing conversation about the propriety of these sorts of relationships.
Hopefully we’re getting past the point where people will say, ‘Oh, there’s no evidence that these relationships change physicians’ prescribing practices.'”
Indeed, this is far from the first time that such payments have been linked to prescribing practices.
A 2010 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine also found that nearly 84 percent of physicians surveyed reported some type of relationship with industry during the previous year, and those with such a relationship were more likely to prescribe a brand-name drug even when a generic alternative was available.4
The finding isn’t only relevant for patients, who may be paying more unnecessarily for brand-name drugs, but also for taxpayers who spend billions each year subsidizing Medicare Part D. At least 1 in 4 U.S. prescriptions are paid for by Medicare.
Meanwhile, it’s worth repeating that the reason drug companies pay doctors and aggressively promote certain medications is not to benefit patients; it’s to benefit their bottom line. And there’s often a fine line between legitimate payments and illegal kickbacks. ProPublica noted:5
” … [F]ederal whistle-blower lawsuits against several pharmaceutical companies have alleged that payments are little more than thinly veiled kickbacks, which are illegal. Companies have paid billions of dollars to settle the cases.”
Drug Companies Heavily Promote ‘Me-Too Drugs’ to Doctors
Past research by ProPublica revealed the drugs most aggressively promoted to physicians, and they’re not medical breakthroughs or even, generally, top sellers.
Instead, they tend to be drugs that are newer to the market, sometimes underperforming and often face competition from other older, readily available drugs.
Dubbed “me-too” drugs, their makers may claim they carry fewer side effects, work faster or have other advantages over existing drugs on the market.6
Another ProPublica study revealed that top prescribers of some of the most heavily marketed drugs tended to receive promotional speaking payments from the drugs’ makers.7
Would You Still Trust Your Doctor If He or She Accepts Drug Company Payments?
In 2012, research showed that accepting gifts from the pharmaceutical industry does have implications for the doctor-patient relationship, and “doing so can undermine trust and affect patients’ intent to adhere to medical recommendations.”8
Not surprisingly, most people surveyed in one study said they would have less trust in their physician if they learned he or she accepted gifts worth more than $100 from the pharmaceutical industry, or went on industry-sponsored trips or sporting events.
One-quarter even said they would be less likely to take a prescribed medication “if their physician had recently accepted a gift in return for listening to a pharmaceutical representative’s presentation about that drug.”9
It’s no wonder that most physicians would rather their patients not know about any kickbacks they’ve received from the drug industry. But now that this has become public information, it may very well prompt some physicians to cut their ties to the industry.
Unfortunately, quite often — definitely too frequently for comfort — treatment recommendations are biased in favor of a specific drug simply because people making the decisions stand to profit from it.
If you find your doctor is receiving large amounts of money from industry, you may want to find another doctor or get a second opinion. At the very least, if you have concerns you might open a conversation about whether the drugs you’ve been prescribed are the best choices for you.
Whatever your health problem might be, I strongly recommend digging below the surface using all the resources available to you; including your own commonsense and reason, true independent experts’ advice and others’ experiences to determine what medical treatment or advice will be best for you.
You Can Find Out If Your Doctor Accepts Drug-Company Money (and How Much)
According to ProPublica’s “Dollar for Docs” website, which you can use to find out if your doctor accepts money from the drug industry, more than 1,500 companies have made payments to nearly 686,000 doctors, totaling close to $3.5 billion.10
You can also find out if your doctor receives payments from Big Pharma by visiting OpenPaymentsData.CMS.gov. This site has tallied nearly $6.5 billion in payments since 2013.11 It hasn’t always been possible to find out what giftsyour own doctor might be accepting.
The Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which is part of the Affordable Care Act, went into effect in 2013. For the first time, the Act requires drug and medical device makers to collect and disclose any payments of more than $10 made to physicians and teaching hospitals.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is in charge of implementing the Sunshine Act, which it has done via its Open Payments Program. You can easily search the site to find out what (if any) payments your doctor has received, along with the nature of the payments.
By Barbara Loe Fisher
That myth actually goes back to the early 1980’s,4 when parents of DPT vaccine injured children in the U.S. were asking for a safer pertussis vaccine while, at the same time, discovering that whole cell pertussis vaccine in DPT shots did not prevent infection5 and vaccine immunity lasted for only two to five years.6,7
The same old excuse – “it’s the parent’s fault” – is being invoked again in the 21st century by forced vaccination proponents who want to eliminate vaccine exemptions,8,9,10,11 just as another generation of parents are discovering that acellular pertussis vaccine in DTaP shots also does not prevent infection12,13,14and vaccine immunity is waning, lasting at best for two to five years.15,16,17
Time to Dispel Myths and Lies About Pertussis and Pertussis Vaccines
What’s old is new again. And it is time to dispel the myths and lies being told about pertussis and pertussis vaccines. In brief:
- FACT: Both the reactive whole cell DPT vaccine licensed 1949 and the less toxic acellular DTaP vaccine licensed in 1996 do not prevent infection or transmission, and only provide two to five years of temporary immunity at best;
- FACT : Millions of vaccinated children and adults are silently infected with pertussis in the U.S. every year and show few or no symptoms but spread whooping cough to vaccinated and unvaccinated children – without doctors identifying or reporting cases to the government;
- FACT : In response to mass pertussis vaccination campaigns beginning in the 1950s, the B. pertussis microbe evolved to evade both whole cell and acellular pertussis vaccines, creating new strains producing more toxin to suppress immune function and cause more serious disease.
Now, here is the rest of the story in more detail:
High Child Pertussis Vaccination Rates in U.S. for 35 Years
Child pertussis vaccination rates in the U.S. have remained very, very high for the past 35 years.18 Consistently, more than 94 percent of kindergarten children have had four to five pertussis-containing shots either in whole cell DPT or acellular DTaP vaccines.19
That’s a lot of pertussis vaccination going on in America for a long time among children of all ages, many of whom are now adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s.
So why are public health officials reporting that large numbers of fully vaccinated pre-schoolers in Florida,22 and fully vaccinated teenagers in California,23 and fully vaccinated sisters and brothers of newborn infants are spreading pertussis whooping cough – 24 even though most have gotten everypertussis shot recommended by the CDC?
Before we examine why the experts are fighting with each other about the answer to that question, let’s do a quick review of the history of pertussis and pertussis vaccine.
DPT Licensed in 1949 and DTaP in 1996 for U.S. Babies
B. pertussis whooping cough has been around since at least the 16th century, and it can be especially serious for babies who cannot breathe when the sticky mucous produced by the gram negative bacteria clogs their tiny airways.25,26
The first crude whole cell pertussis vaccine was licensed in 1914,27 but was not given widely to children until after 1949, when it was combined with diphtheria and tetanus vaccines into the DPT shot28 and used until 1996, when a less reactive DTaP vaccine was licensed in the U.S.29
By 2014, public health officials reported that 86 percent of the world’s children had gotten at least three pertussis shots,30 but estimate there are still about 16 million pertussis cases and 195,000 pertussis-related deaths every year globally.31
75 Percent Drop in Pertussis Deaths Before DPT Licensed in 1949
But what about deaths in the U.S. from pertussis whooping cough? In the U.S., deaths from pertussis infections dropped by more than75 percent between 1922 and 1948, the year before the DPT vaccine was licensed.
In 1948, the mortality rate was less than 1 pertussis death per 100,000 persons and would never be higher than that again.32,33 In 2013, there were about 29,000 reported pertussis cases and 13 pertussis-related deaths in America, with nine of those deaths in infants under age one.34
However, reported numbers of pertussis cases do not match the total number ofactual cases of pertussis that are happening in America. Most pertussis cases, like most vaccine reactions, are not being diagnosed or reported by doctors to the government.35
Public health officials admit they still don’t have reliable lab tests to measure pertussis immunity and can’t agree about how to diagnose pertussis when infected people, especially vaccinated people, show up in doctor’s offices with mild symptoms.36,37,38
Millions of U.S. Pertussis Cases in Vaccinated Persons Not Identified or Reported
But what public health officials have known for a long time – and do not publicly talk about – is that millions of vaccinated children and adults living in the U.S. get pertussis whooping cough and are never identified.39,40,41,42
That’s right: there are millions of pertussis infections going on in America among vaccinated people but doctors are not diagnosing or reporting them. In fact, whether you or your child have been vaccinated or not, you can get a silent asymptomatic pertussis infection and transmit it to someone else without even knowing it.43,44,45
That child or adult sitting next to you in the bus, classroom, movie theater or doctor’s office, who has a little cough or no cough at all, could be infected with B. pertussis whooping cough, even though he or she has gotten every federally recommended dose of pertussis vaccine.
No Herd Immunity: Vaccines Do Not Block Infection, Carriage or Transmission
When there are a lot of people with silent asymptomatic pertussis infections, it is impossible to know who is a carrier and who is not, which means that reported cases of pertussis are just the tip of a very big iceberg. It also means that articles blaming whooping cough cases on unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children are nothing more than wishful thinking and scapegoating.46
Bottom Line: Both natural and vaccine acquired immunity is temporary 47 and while vaccination may prevent clinical symptoms, it does not block infection, carriage or transmission.
If vaccinated people can get silently infected and transmit infection without showing any symptoms – even after getting four to six pertussis shots – then pertussis vaccine acquired “herd immunity” is an illusion and always has been.
So the big question is: Why has more than a half-century of pertussis vaccination failed to produce true herd immunity like public health officials insist it theoretically can if only more and more pertussis shots are given to more people more of the time?48,49
Extremely Reactive DPT and Less Reactive DTaP both Have Low Efficacy
The answer is simple and the emerging scientific evidence is compelling: the B. pertussis microbe has evolved over the past 65 years to evade whole cell and acellular pertussis vaccines, which drug companies have marketed and medical doctors have aggressively promoted in a crusade to kill a species of bacteria they still know very little about.50,51
A review of the medical literature reveals that the experts are unhappy with how much they still don’t know about the B. pertussis microbe52 and are arguing with each other about if, when, how and why pertussis vaccines have consistently failed to do the job of achieving herd immunity to prevent B. pertussis whooping cough from circulating in highly vaccinated populations around the world.53,54,55
The inconvenient set of scientific facts they have to work with are these:
- FACT: The efficacy of whole cell pertussis vaccine in the DPT shot was measured to be between 30 and 85 percent, depending upon the type of DPT and vaccine manufacturer,56,57,58,59,60 and protection lasted two to five years.61
- FACT: After a low of about 1,000 cases of pertussis were reported in the U.S in 1976,62 it was obvious all through the1980s and 90’s that whole cell pertussis vaccine in DPT shots was not preventing infection or transmission.63,64,65,66,67 Pertussis cases increased in highly vaccinated populations in cycles of three to five years – just like before DPT vaccine was widely used in the 1950s.68,69,70,71,72
- FACT: The whole cell DPT vaccine used until the late 1990’s in the U.S. was an extremely reactive vaccine. DPT vaccine reactions like fever, pain, and irritability were experienced by between 50 and 85 percent of children and seizures and collapse/shock reactions followed one in 875 DPT shots.73,74
Brain inflammation was reported following 1 in 110,000 DPT shots with permanent brain damage after 1 in 310,000 DPT shots.75,76 Finally, in 1996, the marginally effective and extremely reactive whole cell DPT vaccine was replaced with a far less reactive but marginally effective acellular DTaP vaccine.77
- FACT: Acellular pertussis vaccines do not prevent infection,81,82 just like whole cell pertussis vaccines do not prevent infection. In the 21st century, pertussis outbreaks and cyclical increases have continued,83,84,85 – even after a pertussis booster shot was added to the schedule for all adolescents and adults in 2006.86,87 By 2010, the Tdap pertussis booster shot was found to be only about 66 percent effective in providing temporary immunity for teenagers and adults.88
Pertussis Microbe Evolved to Evade Both DPT and DTaP Vaccines
Eighteen years ago, in 1998, molecular biologists and other basic science researchers began warning that the B. pertussis microbe started to evolve to evade whole cell pertussis vaccine after DPT shots were given on a mass basis to children in the 1950’s.89,90,91,92
For the past two decades, these bench scientists have been publishing hard evidence that over the past 65 years, B. pertussis bacteria have efficiently adapted to both whole cell and acellular pertussis vaccines.93,94,95
New Pertussis Strains with More Toxin Causing More Serious Disease
In a fight to survive, the B. pertussis microbe has created new strains that produce more pertussis toxin to suppress the human immune system and cause more serious disease. Today, the pertussis strains included in the vaccine no longer match the pertussis strains causing whooping cough disease.96,97,98,99,100
Bottom line: There is compelling scientific evidence that B. pertussis bacteria have evolved to survive vaccine pressure. Now, there are more virulent pertussis strains that are more efficiently transmitted by vaccinated children and adults with waning immunity.
As one research scientist commented in 2009, “An important question is whether other childhood vaccines also select for pathogens that are more efficiently transmitted by primed hosts, resulting in increased virulence.”101
War on B. Pertussis Bacteria & Vaccine Policies Not Driven By Hard Science
The crusade by public health officials to kill the B. pertussis microbe by adding more and more doses of ineffective vaccines to the child and adult schedule – now even invading the once sacred place of the womb and insisting all pregnant women be vaccinated102,103 – is a cautionary tale.
As we witness a bacterial species efficiently adapting in an effort to survive a war that has been declared on it, what has become painfully clear is that the history of mass vaccination has not been driven by hard science transparently shared with the people.104,105
It has been driven by the politics of a public health profession working a lucrative government-industry public private partnership to protect failed vaccine policies, while ignoring the hard science.106,107
We, the people, are not going to pretend the science doesn’t exist. It is up to each one of us to inform public health officials and legislators that it is their responsibility to show us the science and give us a choice when it comes to vaccines, especially when no vaccine manufacturer, no public health official and no doctor is liable in a civil court of law when vaccine reactions and failures lead to injury and death.108
Learn more on NVIC.org. Sign up for the free NVIC Advocacy Portal and become active in your state to protect vaccine exemptions from being eliminated by the Pharma, Medical Trade and Public Health industries. It’s your health. Your family. Your choice
By Dr. Mercola
Magnesium is vitally important for biological function and optimal health. It’s the fourth most abundant mineral in your body, and researchers have detected more than 3,750 magnesium-binding sites on human proteins.1
More than 300 different enzymes also rely on magnesium for proper function. This reflects the impact magnesium has on your biochemical processes, many of which are crucial for proper metabolic function. This includes but not limited to:
- Creation of ATP (adenosine triphospate), the energy currency of your body2,3
- Relaxation of blood vessels
- Muscle and nerve function, including the action of your heart muscle
- Proper formation of bones and teeth
- Regulation of blood sugar and insulin sensitivity, which is important for the prevention of type 2 diabetes4,5,6,7 (In one study,8 prediabetics with the highest magnesium intake reduced their risk for blood sugar and metabolic problems by 71 percent)
Lack of Magnesium Can Trigger Serious Health Problems
If you’re lacking in cellular magnesium, it can lead to the deterioration of your cellular metabolic function, which in turn can snowball into more serious health problems.
This includes migraine headaches,9,10 anxiety and depression (magnesium acts as a catalyst for mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin), fibromyalgia,11 cardiovascular disease, sudden cardiac death, and even death from all causes.
Magnesium also plays a role in your body’s detoxification processes (including the synthesis of glutathione) and is therefore important for minimizing damage from toxic exposures.
Perhaps most importantly, magnesium is vital for the optimization of your mitochondria, and this has enormous potential to influence your health, especially the prevention of cancer, but also for general energy and athletic performance.
The Importance of Magnesium for Mitochondrial Health
Mitochondria are tiny bacteria-derived organelles residing inside your cells. Your organs need energy to function properly, and that energy, known as adenosine triphospate or ATP, is largely produced in the mitochondria.
Mounting evidence suggests that most health problems can be traced back to mitochondrial dysfunction, so making sure you get the right nutrients and precursors your mitochondria need for optimal performance is extremely important for health, disease prevention, and exercise performance.
As explained by Dr. Rhonda Patrick in the video above, magnesium plays an important role. Without it, other strategies aimed at improving mitochondrial health simply may not work.
Take athletic performance for example. It is in part dependent on your oxidative capacity, meaning the ability of your muscle cells to consume oxygen, and your oxidative capacity relies on your mitochondria’s ability to produce ATP by consuming oxygen inside the cell.
You can increase your oxidative capacity in two ways, and both require magnesium:
- Increasing the total number of mitochondria in your cells by engaging in exercise. However, in order for new mitochondria to be created, you must have sufficient amounts of magnesium.
- Increasing the efficiency of your mitochondria to repair damage and produce ATP. This process also requires magnesium as a co-factor.
How Much Magnesium Do You Need?
A century ago, people got an estimated 500 milligrams (mg) of magnesium from their diet, courtesy of the nutrient-rich soil in which the food was grown. Today, estimates suggest we’re only getting 150 to 300 mg a day from our food.
Organic unprocessed foods tend to be your best bet, but since the magnesium content of your food depends on the richness of magnesium in the soil in which the plant was grown, even organics are no guarantee you’re getting high magnesium content.
Most soils have become severely depleted of nutrients, and for this reason, some magnesium experts believe virtually everyone needs to take supplemental magnesium.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) is around 310 to 420 mg per day depending on your age and sex,12 although some researchers believe we may need as much as 600 to 900 mg/day for optimal health.
Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of “The Magnesium Miracle,” suggests using your intestinal reaction as a marker for your ideal dose. Start out by taking 200 mg of oral magnesium citrate per day, and gradually increase your dose until you develop slightly loose stools.
When your body has too much magnesium it flushes it out the other end, so in this way you can determine your own individual cutoff point. (Be sure to use magnesium citrate, as it’s known for having a laxative effect. It’s also better to divide your dose and take it two or three times a day instead of one large dose.)
When it comes to magnesium supplements, my personal preference is magnesium threonate. It seems to be most efficient at penetrating cell membranes, including your mitochondria, which can help boost your energy level. It also penetrates your blood-brain barrier and may help improve memory.
If you struggle with headaches or migraines, magnesium threonate may be a good alternative for that reason as well. (For headaches and migraines, make sure you’re getting enough vitamin B2 and Coenzyme Q10 as well.)
Risk Factors, Signs and Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
A primary risk factor for magnesium deficiency is eating a processed food diet, and the reason for this is because magnesium resides at the center of the chlorophyll molecule. If you rarely eat leafy greens and other magnesium-rich whole foods (below), you’re likely not getting enough magnesium from your diet.
Magnesium is also lost through stress, lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, and prescription drug use (especially diuretics, statins, fluoride, and fluoride-containing drugs such as fluoroquinolone antibiotics), and tend to decline in the presence of elevated insulin levels.13 These are all factors that affect a large majority of people in the Western world, so it’s not so surprising then that anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of Americans are thought to be deficient in magnesium.
Unfortunately, no lab test will give you a truly accurate reading of your magnesium status. The reason for this is because the vast majority of the magnesium in your body is found in bones and soft tissues. Only 1 percent of it shows up in your blood. That said, some specialty labs do provide an RBC magnesium test that can give you a reasonable estimate. Perhaps the best way to ascertain your status is to carefully evaluate and track your symptoms.
Early signs of magnesium deficiency include “Charlie horses” (the muscle spasm that occurs when you stretch your legs), headaches/migraines, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, fatigue or weakness. These are all warning signs indicating you probably need to boost your magnesium intake. More chronic magnesium deficiency can lead to far more serious symptoms such as abnormal heart rhythms and coronary spasms, seizures, numbness and tingling, and personality changes.
Dr. Dean’s book, “The Magnesium Miracle,” contains a far more exhaustive list of signs and symptoms, which can help you determine whether or not you might be deficient. You can also follow the instructions in her blog post, “Gauging Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms”,14 which will give you a check list to go through every few weeks. This will also help you gauge how much magnesium you need to resolve your deficiency symptoms.
To Optimize Your Magnesium, Eat Magnesium-Rich Foods
The best way to maintain healthy magnesium levels is to make sure you’re eating plenty of dark-green leafy vegetables.Juicing your greens is an excellent way to increase your magnesium, along with many other important plant-based nutrients.
Again, if you eat organic whole foods and show no signs of deficiency, you’re probably getting sufficient amounts from your food. If you eat well but still exhibit deficiency signs, you may want to consider taking a supplement as well. When it comes to leafy greens, those highest in magnesium include:
Spinach Swiss chard Turnip greens Beet greens Collard greens Broccoli Brussel sprouts Kale Bok Choy Romaine lettuce
Raw cacao nibs and/or unsweetened cocoa powder One ounce (28 grams) or raw cacao nibs contain about 64 milligrams of magnesium, plus many other valuable antioxidants, iron, and prebiotic fiber that help feed healthy bacteria in your gut. Avocados One medium avocado contains about 58 mg of magnesium, plus healthy fats and fiber, and other vitamins. They’re also a good source of potassium, which helps offset the hypertensive effects of sodium. Seeds and nuts Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds score among the highest, with one-quarter cup providing an estimated 48 percent, 32 percent and 28 percent of the RDA of magnesium respectively.
Cashews, almonds, and Brazil nuts are also good sources. One ounce (28-grams) of cashews contains 82 mg of magnesium, which equates to about 20 percent of the RDA.
Fatty fish Interestingly, fatty fish such as wild caught Alaskan salmon and mackerel are also high in magnesium. A half fillet (178 grams) of salmon can provide about 53 mg of magnesium, equal to about 13 percent of the RDA. Squash One cup of winter squash provides close to 27 mgs of magnesium; about 7 percent of your RDA. Herbs and spices Herbs and spices pack lots of nutrients in small packages, and this includes magnesium. Some of the most magnesium-rich varieties are coriander, chives, cumin seed, parsley, mustard seeds, fennel, basil and cloves. Fruits and berries Ranking high for magnesium are: papaya, raspberries, tomato, cantaloupe, strawberries, and watermelon. For example, one medium sized papaya can provide nearly 58 grams of magnesium.
When Supplementing, Balance Your Magnesium with Calcium, Vitamin K2 and D
One of the major benefits of getting your nutrients from a varied whole food diet is that you’re less likely to end up with lopsided nutrient ratios. Foods in general contain all the cofactors and needed co-nutrients in the proper ratios for optimal health. Essentially, the wisdom of Mother Nature eliminates the guesswork. When you rely on supplements, you need to become savvier about how nutrients influence and interact with each other in order to avoid getting yourself into trouble.
For example, it’s important to maintain the proper balance between magnesium, calcium, vitamin K2, and vitamin D. These four nutrients work together synergistically, and lack of balance between them is why calcium supplements have become associated with increased risk of heart attacks and stroke, and why some people experience vitamin D toxicity.
Unfortunately, we don’t yet know the precise ideal ratios between all of these nutrients, but some general guidelines and considerations include the following:
- The ideal ratio between magnesium and calcium is currently thought to be 1:1. Keep in mind that since you’re likely getting far more calcium from your diet than you are magnesium, your need for supplemental magnesium may be 2 to 3 times greater than calcium
- While the ideal or optimal ratios between vitamin D and vitamin K2 have yet to be determined, Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue (whom I’ve interviewed on this topic) suggests that for every 1,000 IU’s of vitamin D you take, you may benefit from about 100 micrograms (mcg) of K2, and perhaps as much as 150-200 mcg.
- As for how much vitamin D you need, I strongly recommend getting your vitamin D level tested twice a year (summer and winter) to help determine your personal dosage. Sun exposure is the ideal way to optimize your levels, but if you opt for a supplement, your “ideal dosage” is one that will put you into the therapeutic range of 40 to 60 ng/ml.
If Your Health and Energy Levels are Flagging, You May Need More Magnesium
Remember, your need for magnesium can be magnified by factors such as advancing age, stress, lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, insulin resistance and diabetes, prescription drug use, an unbalanced gut microbiome, poor kidney function, and more. If you have any of these risk factors, or if you eat a lot of processed foods, you may want to a) reconsider your diet and b) consider taking a magnesium supplement.
Also remember that while it’s best to get your magnesium from your diet, many foods are likely to be deficient in magnesium and other minerals due to being grown in mineral-depleted soils. Fertilizers like glyphosate actually act as chelators, effectively blocking the uptake and utilization of minerals.
As a result, I believe it would be prudent for most people to consider a magnesium supplement. Alternatively, juice your vegetables, which will allow you to consume FAR more of them than you ever could if you ate them whole.
Personally, even though I eat organic and juice regularly, I still take a magnesium supplement. Another strategy that can help improve your magnesium status is to take regular Epsom salt baths or foot baths. Epsom salt is a magnesium sulfate that can absorb into your body through your skin.