What Med School Never Taught Your Doctor About Vaccines

 

“Maybe the problem isn’t mothers who don’t believe in science; maybe the problem is that medical schools have stopped teaching the science to doctors.”

Back when my first baby was born, I believed all vaccines worked. I believed all vaccines were safe. When I took my firstborn to the doctor for a routine set of infant vaccines, I had a simple question for my pediatrician. I’d recently read a study revealing that babies who receive the rotavirus vaccine were more likely to suffer an intestinal disorder called intestinal intussusception in which their intestines collapse into each other. The condition is painful and deadly. I expected that our pediatrician would easily put my new-mom fears to rest. Since rotavirus is not considered deadly in first world countries with access to clean water, but intussusception is considered deadly or at least permanently disabling, I assumed he could explain why the rotavirus vaccine was so important, despite its risks. But when I mentioned the study to our pediatrician, he did not even know the study existed. When he saw my surprise, he cursorily skimmed the article I was holding and then announced that it was “hogwash.” I wanted to believe him, but he seemed uncomfortable, like a child who doesn’t want to answer his mother’s questions. If he had been well versed in the science of vaccines, I probably would have trusted him, but now I was suddenly aware that I had read more studies about vaccine safety than our pediatrician. I decided to hold off on the rotavirus vaccine and I took my eight-week-old infant home. Back at home, I dug deeper into the research—and found much, much more disturbing information on vaccines.

At least a dozen of my closest friends are doctors who have graduated from top American medical schools. I’ve spoken with many of them about their medical education. I have learned that mainstream medical schools teach their students very little about preventive health, but spend entire semesters teaching techniques to ensure “patient compliance.” Courses on patient compliance, sometimes called patient “adherence” or “capacitance,” teach doctors how to convince patients to listen to them, even when patients voice serious concerns about the doctors’ recommendations. This seems like a generally dangerous practice and a poor use of time during medical school, when there is so much to learn in such a short time. Why all this focus on patient compliance?

What many medical students don’t realize is that their education is funded by drug companies who benefit from overprescription. Most people have heard of pharmaceutical reps whose job it is to convince doctors to push specific drugs on unsuspecting patients, but did you know that those same drug companies wine and dine medical students, pay medical school professors millions of dollars each year, and begin lecturing medical students even before they are doctors?

Over the years, Harvard Medical School has received hundreds of millions of dollars from drug companies. TIME reports, “1,600 [Harvard professors] admit that either they or a family member have had some kind of business link to drug companies — sometimes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars — that could bias their teaching or research.”

Several of my pediatrician friends have told me that they are sick of mothers who don’t believe in vaccine “science,” but these same pediatricians have admitted to me that they haven’t actually read a scientific study on vaccines in years. My friends—so many of whom are intelligent, well-intentioned doctors who genuinely hope to help their patients—simply trust that their medical schools have taught them all they need to know about health.

So what do doctors learn about vaccines in medical school? Not much. A reader sent us the above screen shot of a woman taking to Instagram to complain that her roommate, a doctor, is storing live typhoid vaccine in their communal refrigerator. Most people know that live viruses are the stuff of chemical warfare, but this doctor was apparently not concerned. Why didn’t she learn how to safely store vaccines in medical school? Even the U.S. government admits, “It is the nature of living things to change, or mutate, and the organisms used in live, attenuated vaccines are no different… An attenuated microbe in the vaccine could revert to a virulent form and cause disease….”

But Pharma-funded medical schools know that if they were to teach their students about the dangers of live vaccines—including the fact that live vaccines are excreted in the mucus and feces of injected children and can even be spread to other children for days and weeks following vaccination, a phenomenon known as “shedding”—that they would be opening up a broader conversation about vaccine safety. It’s a conversation that Big Pharma and medical schools don’t wish to have.

So, instead, medical schools ignore the conversation about vaccine safety altogether. They encourage doctors to focus on “compliance,” not science.

Maybe the problem isn’t mothers who don’t believe in science; maybe the problem is that medical schools have stopped teaching the science to doctors.

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Above: A medical student’s roommate complains that “Literally the only thing on [Med Student’s] side of the fridge is a live typhoid vaccine.” The medical student was never taught that vaccines should not be stored in home refrigerators.

Sources:

Time Magazine: Is Drug-Company Money Tainting Medical Education?

http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1883449,00.html

U.S. Government: Types of Vaccines

http://www.vaccines.gov/more_info/types/

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How Much Money Do Pediatricians Really Make From Vaccines?

If you want to be sure your pediatrician has your child’s best interest, this is mandatory reading. Pediatricians around the country have begun refusing to accept families who opt out of some or all vaccines. Thanks to a tip sent to Wellness & Equality by a reader, now we know why.

When my friend’s child suffered a life-threatening reaction to a vaccine a week after her first birthday, my friend assumed her pediatrician would write her a medical exemption from future vaccines. Shortly after receiving a routine set of vaccines, the happy, vibrant one-year-old spiked a 106 degree fever, began having seizures, and was hospitalized. When the unexplained “illness” passed after a week in the hospital, the little girl had lost her ability to walk. My friend describes how her daughter, who had learned to walk several months earlier at 9 months, suddenly “stumbled around like a drunk person” for weeks following the vaccines. My friend met with a team of pediatricians, neurologists, and naturopathic doctors, and they agreed: Her daughter had suffered a brain injury caused by a reaction to one of the vaccines. Hoping the injury would be temporary and that she might recover and ease her brain inflammation if they could help her small body quickly eliminate the vaccine additives that caused the reaction, my friend’s daughter underwent an intensive detoxification program overseen by a nutritionalist. Slowly, her daughter relearned to walk.

My friend is a practicing attorney who graduated from a Top 10 college. The evidence was overwhelming that her daughter’s reaction had been caused by vaccines, she told me.

But a few months later, when she took her daughter back into the pediatrician for a visit, he wanted to vaccinate her daughter again. She was baffled. Why?

After a reader sent us a link to a PDF file of Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Physician Incentive Program available online, Wellness & Equality learned that insurance companies pay pediatricians massive bonuses based on the percentage of children who are fully vaccinated by age 2. 

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So how much money do doctors really make from vaccines? The average American pediatrician has 1546 patients, though some pediatricians see many more. The vast majority of those patients are very young, perhaps because children transition to a family physician or stop visiting the doctor at all as they grow up. As they table above explains, Blue Cross Blue Shield pays pediatricians $400 per fully vaccinated child. If your pediatrician has just 100 fully-vaccinated patients turning 2 this year, that’s $40,000. Yes, Blue Cross Blue Shield pays your doctor a $40,000 bonus for fully vaccinating 100 patients under the age of 2. If your doctor manages to fully vaccinate 200 patients, that bonus jumps to $80,000. 

But here’s the catch: Under Blue Cross Blue Shield’s rules, pediatricians lose the whole bonus unless at least 63% of patients are fully vaccinated, and that includes the flu vaccine. So it’s not just $400 on your child’s head–it could be the whole bonus. To your doctor, your decision to vaccinate your child might be worth $40,000, or much more, depending on the size of his or her practice.

If your pediatrician recommends that your child under the age of 2 receive the flu vaccine–even though the flu vaccine has never been studied in very young children and evidence suggests that the flu vaccine actually weakens a person’s immune system over the long term–ask yourself:  Is my doctor more concerned with selling me vaccines to keep my child healthy or to send his child to private school?

Sources:

The Physician Alliance Blue Cross Blue Shield Incentive Program [Please read our update below to find out how you can access the pamphlet.] 

Update 4/30/2017: After Wellness & Equality published this article, Blue Cross Blue Shield locked online access to their incentive program and then removed the page altogether. Clearly this incentive program was never intended to be public knowledge and created a bit of PR issue for them. Fortunately, another website managed to save the entire BCBS incentive program booklet and has published it in entirety online… You can read it here:  Blue Cross Blue Shield Physician Incentive Program

Getting A Flu Shot Every Year? More May Not Be Better

Distribution of Pediatric Practice: Size, Age, Sex 

 

 

Study Links Vaccines To SIDS: Infant Mortality Rates Regressed Against Vaccine Doses

Do mandatory vaccines save lives and protect infants who are too young to be vaccinated? Or, as so many mothers continue to ask, could mandatory vaccines actually increase infant mortality? Read on to learn about the major study that found “a high statistically significant correlation between increasing number of vaccine doses and increasing infant mortality rates…”

The correlation between vaccines and SIDS is high enough that the CDC has been forced to acknowledge it. The current CDC website reads, “Babies receive many vaccines when they are between 2 to 4 months old. This age range is also the peak age for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), or infant death that cannot be explained. The timing of the 2 month and 4 month shots and SIDS has led some people to question whether they might be related….” (Source: CDC).

The CDC goes on to list a small number of studies that claim to disprove the link, but there are many more studies (a few are listed here, but not listed on the CDC website) that do find a connection. Like this one: “Infant Mortality Rates Regressed Against Number Of Vaccine Doses Routinely Given: Is There A Biochemical Or Synergistic Toxicity?” The study authors found “a high statistically significant correlation between increasing number of vaccine doses and increasing infant mortality rates.”  You can read the full analysis here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3170075/

Here’s a screenshot of the analysis:

Infant mortality rates regressed against number of vaccine doses routinely given: Is there a biochemical or synergistic toxicity?

InfantMortalityRegressedAgainstNumberofVaccines.png

To further corroborate this finding, a 2007 case study documents the death of 3.5 month old twin girls at the exact same time 2 days after their DTaP and Hep B vaccines. The cause of death was unknown, so it was termed Simultaneous Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Simultaneous SIDS is an exceptionally rare event, so the fact that both twins died at the same time in the 48 hours following a routine set of vaccinations almost certainly implicates the vaccines in the twins’ deaths.

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In fact, the correlation between SIDS and infant death is playing out here in the United States. Recently, California joined Mississippi and West Virginia to legally require childhood vaccines by eliminating parents’ rights to opt out of any vaccines. The law mandates vaccines against “any disease deemed appropriate by the department,” including chickenpox, a mild childhood illness that the UK refuses to add to their schedule due to evidence that the chickenpox vaccine increases adult cases of the far more serious and painful disease shingles. (Source: NHS Scotland.)

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Has the law helped improve the health of children in Mississippi or West Virginia? Let’s take a look….

Among all 50 states, Mississippi has the #1 HIGHEST rate of infant death before age 1. Yes, that’s right: Mississippi ranks LAST place (#50 out of 50) in keeping infants alive. A Washington Post article acknowledges, “Overall, the residents of Mississippi are the unhealthiest in the country.”

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Daily Beast article praising Mississippi’s vaccine laws is titled, “Mississippi: Last In Everything, First In Vaccines.” The connection between being FIRST in vaccines and LAST in ALL other markers of children’s health is not lost on everyone, however. The Daily Beast article mentions a letter to the editor in which Lindey Magee, co-director of the group, Mississippi Parents for Vaccine Rights (MPVR), writes that, “Mississippi families are being exploited for its reputation of ignorance and lack of education.”

Similarly, West Virginia also has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country, just a few spaces away from Mississippi.

The current slew of American vaccines are some of the least effective, least regulated vaccines in history, but even if they were effective, most parents are less concerned with mild rashes like measles and far more concerned with keeping their children alive.

As anyone who has researched vaccine science knows, NO credible studies have demonstrated that higher rates of vaccination in comparable populations saves children’s lives and improves their long-term well-being.

So why is California following the lead of two states with the highest infant mortality rates in our entire country?

That’s a question for California’s state lawmakers, many of whom regularly accept money from the pharmaceutical companies who will benefit from the new mandatory vaccine law.

 

 

 

 

Can You Trust Your Doctor?

I believe in the goodness of people, so I believe your doctor probably has good intentions. Just like the generations of doctors before him or her. Just like the doctors a few decades ago, who told their patients that smoking cigarettes was perfectly safe, even good for your health. Those cigarette-prescribing doctors pointed their patients to the body of published “science” that supported the safety of smoking at the time.

Had you asked your OBGYN back in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, or 70s how to reduce your chance of miscarriage, your doctor would have told you to take diethylstilbestrol (DES) during your pregnancy, a drug that caused cancer in ten million daughters born to mothers who listened to their doctors. Doctors told their patients that DES was safe and the “science” said DES was safe; DES was recalled after 37 years on the market. 

Had you asked your doctor how to lose weight between 1973 and 1997, your doctor would have helpfully written you a prescription for Fen-Phen, a drug that caused massive heart attacks in patients for almost three decades. Fen-Phen remained on the market for 24 years before it was recalled. 

Had you asked your doctor how to lower your cholesterol in 2000, he would have prescribed Baycol, a drug whose side effects killed tens of thousands of people in just a few short years. Baycol was recalled only after 100,000 people were killed. 

Had you asked your doctor how to heal arthritis pain in the early 2000s, he would have prescribed Vioxx, a Merck drug. Vioxx was recalled after damaging the hearts and cardiovascular systems of more than 140,000 people. 

Had you complained of inflammation to your doctor in 2005, he would have prescribed Bextra, a Pfizer drug that caused heart attacks, strokes, and fatal skin conditions. After Bextra was recalled, Pfizer’s subsidiary admitted to “intent to defraud or mislead” with their promotion of the drug. 

Had you sought treatment for Type 2 diabetes in 2000, your doctor would have prescribed Rezulin, a drug that was found to increase hepatitis cases. When one doctor did voice concerns about Rezulin’s safety, the FDA fired him. The drug was only pulled after overwhelming evidence showed that it was dangerous–at a time that was already too late for many people who had been hurt by it.

Did you know that doctors used to prescribe tobacco cigarettes to prevent illness? Physicians played an integral role in the promotion of smoking. Those cigarette-promoting doctors were probably decent people who simply believed in the “science” of the time. Those doctors, with the best of intentions, believed they were helping their patients.

In the year 2016, if you take a healthy newborn to an American doctor, your doctor will recommend injecting your baby with 49 doses of vaccines containing a cocktail of known toxins, including aluminum, formaldehyde, MSG, aborted fetal cells, cow cells, chick embryo cells, monkey kidney cells, and some of today’s most common childhood allergens. Your doctor  might even mention the “science” that supports the safety of such a schedule, but the truth is that no prior generation has ever received this number of vaccines at such a young age. Zero long-term studies have examined the safety of the schedule. In the same way that we allowed cigarette manufacturers to fund and interpret the “science” of cigarette safety, our current system allows vaccine manufacturers to fund, oversee, and interpret the “science” of vaccine safety.

If you listen to your doctor and allow him to vaccinate your baby with a vaccine full of ingredients you haven’t researched, and then you call your doctor a few hours later because you’re concerned about your baby’s reaction, your doctor may tell you that nonstop crying, fevers, and even seizures requiring hospitalization are a normal response to those vaccines. This generation of American children is the first to experience a new “normal” when it comes to health: more autoimmune conditions than ever before, 1 in 42 boys diagnosed with autism, never-ending rashes, rampant obesity, incessant illnesses, and severe, lifelong allergies that many will never outgrow.

One day, with the 20/20 hindsight of history, we will look back on the vaccine debate in the United States and we will understand it more clearly. 

Until then, you can trust your doctor. But when you choose whether to trust your doctor without doing your own research, remember that your doctor, like millions of doctors throughout history, is only human.

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Sources here.

Source of vaccine ingredients: CDC.

 

What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About Hormonal Contraceptives

WE_BirthControl

Much of the current research about the safety of hormonal contraceptives has been funded by the very pharmaceutical companies that stand to profit from the sale of birth control. Couple this with the political debates surrounding women’s reproduction—at a time when many feminists feel the pill is the answer to women’s liberation—and we have a nation of women in the dark about birth control.

Here are the facts: The pill works by stopping ovulation. When a woman swallows the hormones in birth control, her ovaries stop releasing eggs. This may sound minor, but the monthly release of that tiny egg is responsible for a number of important processes in a woman’s body. While it’s true that hormonal birth control can prevent pregnancy, do you know what else it does?

9 Facts You Need To Know About The Pill

  1. The hormones in the pill increase your risk of breast cancer, cervical cancer, and liver cancer. If you have a family history of any of these diseases, you are especially at risk. There’s a reason why the World Health Organization classifies hormonal contraceptives—along with tobacco, asbestos, and radium—as carcinogens. According to BreastCancerFund.org, “Numerous studies have demonstrated an increased risk of breast cancer in women using oral contraceptives (Althuis, 2003; Dai, 2009; Delort, 2007; Kumle, 2002; Rosenberg, 2009). This is not surprising….” As one surgeon explained, the birth control pill is a ‘Molotov cocktail’ for breast cancer. The facts are frightening: “A 2006 Mayo Clinic meta-analysis concluded that breast cancer risk rises 50 percent for women taking oral contraceptives four or more years before a full-term pregnancy. In 2009, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that women starting the pill before 18 nearly quadruple their risk of triple negative breast cancer. Even more shocking, Swedish oncologist Hakan Olsson concluded that pill use before the age of 20 increases a young woman’s breast cancer risk by more than 1000 percent,” reported LifeSiteNews.

As one surgeon explained, the birth control pill is a ‘Molotov cocktail’ for breast cancer.

  1. The pill causes hair loss. According to the American Hair Loss Association, “The AHLA believes that it is imperative for all women, especially those who have a history of hair loss in their family, to be made aware of the potentially devastating effects of birth control pills on normal hair growth.” Of course, this is one of the side effects your doctor might mention after you experience it. If the possibility of losing your hair would be especially upsetting for you, that’s something to take into consideration before taking the pill.
  1. The pill increases your risk of developing osteoporosis. The correlation between oral contraceptives and brittle bones is so well-established that the New York Times mentions birth control as a known cause of osteoporosis in their basic overview of the disease. The New York Times goes on to recommend that “women who take birth control pills should be sure to get adequate calcium and vitamin D from diet or supplements.” But there’s just one problem with this recommendation…
  1. The pill depletes your body’s natural stores of vitamins and minerals. Studies confirm that women who take the pill have lower levels of B vitamins like folate, fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K), zinc, and iron. Regardless of how much you consume, birth control pills lower the levels of these nutrients in your body. Clinically, it can be nearly impossible to bring these vitamins up to ideal levels while taking the pill. In fact, this is one of many reasons why OBGYNS recommend that women wait several months to get pregnant after going off the pill—to give your body time to replenish those depleted stores and adequately nourish new life.

Clinically, it can be nearly impossible to bring vitamins up to ideal levels while taking the pill.

  1. The pill increases your risk of blood clots, pulmonary embolism, heart attack, and stroke. While your overall risk may be small, these side effects are deadly. Yet so many doctors write prescriptions for birth control without so much as mentioning these potential side effects to their patients. If you take birth control, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of a blood clot, heart attack, stroke, or pulmonary embolism. Men, is not wearing a condom really worth subjecting your girlfriends and wives to these life-threatening risks? 
  1. The pill increases the likelihood that you will experience anxiety and depression. When you alter a woman’s hormones, you alter her emotions. Here’s just a sampling of the mood-related side effects that women report after taking the pill: mood swings, anxiety, depression, and lowered libido. When woman are fertile, they are healthier, happier, and have a higher sex drive. (It’s all part of nature’s tricky little plan!) That’s why many women who take birth control, which destroys fertility, report a loss of interest in sex. Even worse, these mood-related issues don’t always disappear immediately after a woman stops taking the pill. It can take months to regulate your hormones again after birth control. This is the type of information that good doctors should share with their patients before they begin taking birth control.
  1. The pill destroys your natural ability to choose a genetically compatible mate. Did you know that beneath the scent of soap, shampoo, or cologne, every man has a natural scent that helps women subconsciously sniff out genetic compatibility? Call it nature’s way of ensuring healthy offspring. In our logic-based, online-dating-obsessed world, many women forget that the process of mate selection is, on some levels, instinctual—and for good reason. From a scientific perspective, the more gene variability between two partners, the healthier their offspring will be. Even better, you don’t have to think about this process; nature takes care of it for you. In a study that asked women to sniff the sweat of male strangers, women expressed strong preferences for the body odor of men with major histocompatibility (MHC) genes that differed from their own. However, this was not the case for women who were taking hormonal contraceptives; women on the pill were unable to identify their genetically-compatible mates. What this means is that women on the pill are, in theory, not attracted to the odor of genetically-compatible strangers, nor are they repulsed by the odor of male family members. Other studies have shown that women on the pill choose less masculine, more feminine mates. These findings have led some scientists to question whether hormonal birth control is impacting the health of future generations. Could women who choose their mates while taking birth control—even if they ultimately stop the pill to conceive a child—have babies with more birth defects, more childhood disorders, lower rates of immunity, and higher susceptibility to illness? And if you don’t find your partners’ natural scent attractive—but you don’t find this out until years into the relationship when you’re ready to conceive a child and stop taking the pill—could that impact whether you feel attracted to your partner for the long haul?

Women on the pill were unable to identify their genetically-compatible mates… These findings have led some scientists to question whether hormonal birth control is impacting the health of future generations. Could women who choose their mates while taking birth control—even if they ultimately stop the pill to conceive a child—have babies with more birth defects, more childhood disorders, lower rates of immunity, and higher susceptibility to illness?

  1. The pill robs you of your most attractive time of the month: ovulation. As if birth control wasn’t complicating your dating life enough already! When a woman ovulates—that is, the 24-48 hours during which her body releases an egg each month—she becomes more attractive to men. Her face appears more symmetrical and more feminine, her voice sounds more appealing, her pupils dilate, her waist-to-hip ration becomes more attractive, and her vaginal secretions change in taste and scent. Because the pill stops ovulation, the pill robs you of this time. What woman doesn’t want to have a few extra days of the month where she looks and feels her very best? A well-known study of strippers found that au natural strippers made significantly more money overall than their pill-popping sisters ($53 per hour vs. $37 per hour on average) and made twice as much money while ovulating ($70 per hour).

The sad truth is that for some women, taking the pill will mask fertility issues that could have been addressed at a younger age—if only the woman was not taking the pill and knew she was having symptoms… Other women will experience “post-pill amenorrhea,” the term doctors use to describe a lack of periods for 6 months or longer after stopping the pill. Doctors theorize that post-pill amenorrhea is caused by hormonal suppression of the pituitary gland, but it’s not fully understood why some women experience post-pill amenorrhea.

  1. The pill may impact your future fertility. Did you know that birth control can impair your future fertility? Even well-intentioned organizations that genuinely want to empower women through birth control hide this fact from women. Why? Perhaps they are concerned that women will forego birth control altogether and suffer an unwanted pregnancy. Perhaps they underestimate the number of intelligent, ambitious women who will ultimately want children in the future—even if they don’t right now. Fortunately, there are safe, effective alternatives to hormonal contraceptives and it’s your right to know your options. The sad truth is that for some women, taking the pill will mask fertility issues that could have been addressed at a younger age—if only the woman was not taking the pill and knew she was having symptoms. Unfortunately, many woman stop taking the pill when they want to conceive a child, and by then, it’s sometimes too late to address these issues. While many women will go on to have healthy babies after taking the pill, other women will experience “post-pill amenorrhea,” the term doctors use to describe a lack of periods for 6 months or longer after stopping the pill. Doctors theorize that post-pill amenorrhea is caused by hormonal suppression of the pituitary gland, but it’s not fully understood why some women experience post-pill amenorrhea. The first line of treatment is simply to wait for a “spontaneous” resumption of the menstrual cycle; however, this is dangerous, impractical advice for a woman in her late twenties or early thirties who wants to conceive. For these women, treatment usually involves the fertility drug Clomid, which may or may not work. Here’s what your doctor won’t tell you about birth control: If there’s a chance you may want children in the next few years, stop taking the pill now, track and learn about your cycle, and use a non-hormonal method of birth control for the interim.

Make the choice to take charge of your health. If you have a woman in your life whom you love, please keep her safe by sharing this article with her. There are safe, convenient alternatives to hormonal birth control, from condoms to the Fertility Awareness Method. Before making a decision about birth control, research your options and know the risks.

 

 

Dasani Bottled Water Has 4 Ingredients: Tap Water, Known Teratogen, Lethal Drug, and Salt

Dasani Coca-Cola

I remember the first time I tasted Dasani bottled water. It was 2004 and I was at a gym in Orange County, California. The drinking fountain at the gym was out of order so I purchased a bottle of water from a vending machine. I cracked open that lid and—YUCK! I had never tasted water so disgusting. Who knew water could have such a strong taste? At the time, I assumed my taste buds were off and eventually I drank Dasani bottled water again… always with the same reaction. Gross! I’ve finally learned my lesson. Unless I’m extremely parched, I would rather remain thirsty than drink Dasani. While everyone’s bodies are different, I personally have a visceral reaction to Dasani. After drinking Dasani, my stomach sometimes hurts and I almost always have terrible dry mouth. Have you noticed any of these side effects after drinking Dasani?

Years later, during a trip to Costco, I noticed that Costco brand Kirkland Signature water lists several ingredients added “for taste.” Out of curiosity, I drank the water and—light bulb!—there was that familiar, metallic Dasani taste. It seemed clear to me that Costco and Dasani had shared water “recipes.” When I noticed that Costco brand water had multiple ingredients in addition to water, I wondered if Dasani had additives as well. What I learned surprised me. Not only does Dasani water have additives, but these additives are known to cause much more than dry mouth and abdominal pain. These chemicals can, at high levels, cause birth defects and death.

Dasani bottled water contains four ingredients: tap water, magnesium sulfate, potassium chloride, and salt. The Dasani label claims these ingredients are added for taste, and while that may be true, these ingredients change a lot more than taste. Do you know what’s really in your bottled water? 

Dasani Ingredient #1: Tap Water. It’s no secret that Dasani, which is owned by Coca-Cola, bottles tap water. In general, I have no problem drinking tap water. Although tap water often tastes noticeably different from spring water, I acknowledge that drinking tap water is an environmentally conscious choice…. but bottling tap water?! That seems to defeat the purpose. If you’re going to drink tap water, drink it from the tap.

Dasani Ingredient #2: Magnesium Sulfate. AKA Epsom Salts or Bath Salts. FDA Pregnancy Category D Teratogen, Drying Agent, and Laxative. On its own, anhydrous magnesium sulfate is a drying agent. (Side note: Could this explain the strange dry mouth I experience after drinking Dasani water? It’s ironic that Coca-Cola has added a “drying agent” to a beverage that is intended to quench thirst. If trace amounts of magnesium sulfate residue remain on your tongue after you drink a bottle of water, making it difficult to quench your thirst, it seems reasonable to question whether this might encourage you to purchase another bottle of water or perhaps a soft drink, either of which would benefit Coca-Cola. Could this be a dangerous ploy from the marketing masterminds at Coca-Cola?) In addition, magnesium sulfate has many powerful purposes in medicine. Off label, it has been used to delay labor by inhibiting uterine contractions in pregnant women. However, this practice is declining because recent studies show that magnesium sulfate causes birth defects at high doses. After studies suggested that just 5-7 days of in utero exposure to high doses of magnesium sulfate caused birth defects, the FDA recommended that magnesium sulfate be classified as a Category D Teratogen. Coca-Cola would probably prefer that the many pregnant women drinking Dasani water don’t know that an ingredient in their water can, at high doses, affect unborn babies. So what exactly happens to the babies of mothers who are exposed to high doses of intravenous magnesium sulfate? After just 5-7 days, exposed babies experienced bone structure changes and weaker bones. For these reasons, magnesium sulfate is now listed as a known teratogen (Pregnancy Category D) with positive evidence of human fetal risk, according to the FDA. Yes, Dasani water lists a known teratogen as an ingredient. As with any chemical, the dose makes the poison, but I personally choose to avoid water with additives. You can learn more about the FDA’s position here. One more thing: Magnesium sulfate is known to have a “bitter taste.” So why is Coca-Cola adding it to their already foul-tasting water?

Dasani Ingredient #3: Potassium Chloride. FDA Pregnancy Category C. Potassium chloride is commonly used as a fertilizer, but it’s also used in lethal injections to stop the heart and, in some cases, in late trimester abortions to stop the heart of the fetus. Interestingly, potassium chloride is known to have a “weak, bitter, unsalty flavor” with a “chemical or metallic aftertaste” which again calls into question how this ingredient could possibly improve the “taste” of poor-tasting Dasani water. If you would like to learn more about the role of potassium chloride in lethal injections, you might be interested Stephen Fox’s article, “Can Ingredients In Dasani Bottled Water Kill You?” over at The Water Filter Lady’s BlogIn addition to possible birth defects, the list of side effects from potassium chloride is endless: bowel lesions, gastrointestinal disruptions, cardiac arrhythmias, muscle weakness, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, dyspepsia or heartburn, GI tract bleeding, hypersensitivity, nervous system damage, and more. While potassium and magnesium are found in natural food sources – and are, in their natural forms, vital to the body – anytime you separate a chemical compound from their natural food sources, they may behave differently than they would in their natural forms. That’s why it’s very difficult to overdose on bananas, but much easier to overdose on potassium chloride. That’s also why so few people are able to successfully use processed foods to lose weight and stay healthy. How much potassium chloride is added to Dasani water? Do you trust Coca-Cola and Dasani to make that decision for you?

Dasani Ingredient #4: Salt. As I’ve written before, I believe that table salt gets a poor reputation simply because sodium is added to almost all processed foods. While table salt itself is rarely dangerous, adding unspecified amounts of sodium during “food processing” can absolutely create unnecessary health issues for many people. While one bottle of Dasani water may not have much salt, if you drink six or seven bottles of Dasani water in one day, suddenly the amount could be much higher. That said, the real concerns are magnesium sulfate and potassium chloride.

Dasani is not the only manufacturer selling water with additives. Next time you buy bottled water, take a look at the ingredients. There should only be one: water. 

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Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, dietitian, or nutritionist, nor do I claim to have any formal medical background. I do not claim to cure any condition or disease. I am unable to provide medical aid or nutrition for the purpose of health or disease. Before making any dietary changes or beginning any new fitness program, please consult with your doctor. The information held on this blog is merely the opinion of an active, health-conscious, informed citizen. The research and information covered in this blog is open to the public domain for discussion. All information is intended only to help you cooperate with your doctor, in your efforts toward desirable weight and health.

Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Worse Than Sugar?

Photo: When Mary Poppins sang about a spoonful of sugar in 1964, most Americans had never even heard of high fructose corn syrup.

A study funded by the Corn Refiners Association and published online at The Atlantic today suggests that “High Fructose Corn Syrup Is No Worse Than Real Sugar.”

To sum up the study: Overweight and obese men and women between the ages of 25 and 60 were split into five groups and provided diets with varying levels of sucrose or  high fructose corn syrup (HFCS): 10% sucrose, 20% sucrose, 10% HFCS, 20% of HFCS, or a diet designed to maintain weight. The sucrose or HFCS was consumed as liquid. All groups were required to exercise.

The study sidesteps the toughest criticism of HFCS — that, calories aside, it is linked to obesity in those who consume it — and instead asks a simpler, less-incriminating question: Does high fructose corn syrup cause more weight gain than sugar when participants are already overweight and are not allowed to act on cravings or consume additional calories?

While it’s true that a calorie is equal to any other calorie when analyzed as a mathematical measurement of energy,  where health becomes more nuanced is when we realize that calories from different sources have different effects on the body. In a clinical atmosphere, when you control a person’s caloric intake completely, it’s not always possible to see those effects. If a member of the study was fiendishly craving chocolate chip cookies but was instead provided with a plate of broccoli, the study authors are essentially ignoring the shift in hormones and chemicals that has taken place in that participant’s body.

Weight loss frustrates doctors because it should be simple: fewer calories in, more calories out.  Clearly, it’s not so simple. Many studies contradict this one. A Princeton study found that rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar. A simple analysis of data shows us the relationship between HFCS and obesity: “The consumption of HFCS increased more than 1000% between 1970 and 1990, far exceeding the changes in intake of any other food or food group,” according to an article published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. During those same years, the percentage of obese adults doubled.

Could it be that the exponential increase of drinking sugar is to blame for obesity and not the sugar itself? Absolutely. But this doesn’t mean that HFCS is not to blame — HFCS is perfectly suited to liquid sugar consumption. Parents who eliminate HFCS from their diets and the diets of their children go a long way toward decreasing liquid sugar intake as well.

I’m disappointed by The Atlantic‘s one-sided regurgitation of the study, which seems to come straight from the marketing department of the Corn Refiners Association. To conclude his analysis, James Hamblin writes, “There’s no reason you should pay more or go out of your way for a food just because it’s made with ‘real sugar’ instead of HFCS. Which, to be clear, is also real sugar.” Hamblin ignores the fact that, even if this study were absolutely true, it has nothing to do with those who maintain a healthy weight. It’s interesting that the study only recruited men and women who were already very overweight or obese, which Hamblin never acknowledges in his conclusion.

A quantum leap in logic is made when Hamblin suggests that Americans — almost 70% of whom are overweight or obese — should not seek out food made with ‘real’ ingredients when food made with HFCS is available. Hamblin’s bias — or the bias of those providing him information — is clear in his use of quotation marks. Health writers sometimes use quotation marks around the word “sugar” as shorthand for “imitation sugar” since there is currently no one word to describe the newer “sugar” imitations created by food giants. Quotation marks around the word “sugar” help to differentiate between newer “sugars” and the table sugar Americans have known for decades.  Instead, Hamblin uses quotation marks around the word “real” and the phrase “real sugar.”  Real sugar is real sugar, no quotations necessary. Hamblin seems to have it backwards. Back in 1997, even the Corn Refiners Association freely admitted that HFCS and sugar are different products “in terms of their physical and functional characteristics.”

I could suggest a more productive study in which the Corn Refiners Association monitors both people who are obese and people of healthy weights, allowing them to eat whatever they typically eat, and then measuring the amount of sucrose and HFCS consumed by each of the groups.  But those studies have been done and the results are clear. I could ask questions about this study to shed more light on its outcome. For example:  After the study, which group gained weight back the fastest?

Instead, here’s a more important study that you can do on your own:  Eliminate HFCS from your diet for 3 weeks.  Have a craving for a sweet snack while you’re out and about?  Swing by the grocery story and pick up some strawberries.  Have a craving for chocolate chip cookies? Bake a batch with real sugar and butter. Like pancake syrup? Try out 100% maple syrup. Read every ingredient on every package you consume — no high fructose corn syrup.

Then answer this: Have your cravings for sugar increased or decreased? Have you lost or gained weight? Overall, how do you feel?

Theory is one thing and practice is another. The Corn Refiners Association study is caught up in theory while casting a blind eye toward the very serious obesity epidemic and how the day-to-day choices that Americans must make every day affect their health.