These Meds May Ease Pain but Increase Mortality Risk 60%

This article was previously published July 4, 2019, and has been updated with new information.

Suicide rates are at an all-time high since World War II, and there are several different reasons for this. One of the factors that is often ignored is the influence many medications have on your mental stability. Antidepressants are perhaps the most well-known in this regard, but violent behavior and suicide are side effects of other medications as well.

Most recently, Swedish researchers have linked gabapentinoids — a nonopioid type of analgesic — to “suicidal behavior, unintentional overdoses, injuries, road traffic accidents and violent crime.”1

Two primary gabapentinoids are gabapentin and pregabalin, which are used for the treatment of epilepsy and neuropathic pain disorders. Pregabalin, or Lyrica2 (which is increasingly associated with addiction and abuse3), is also prescribed for anxiety in Europe and fibromyalgia in the U.S. Globally, this class of drugs was among the 15 best-selling medications of 2016.4

Gabapentinoids are structural analogs of ?-amino butyric acid (GABA) that selectively block voltage-dependent calcium channels.5 Common side effects include dizziness, fatigue, visual disturbances and mental difficulties.6 However, these drugs have also been linked to a significantly increased risk of suicidal behavior.

Gabapentinoids Linked to Serious Hazards, Including Suicide

The study,7,8 published online in April 2019 in the journal BMJ, examined data on 191,973 Swedish residents who filled gabapentinoid prescriptions in the years between 2006 and 2013.

In that time, 5.2% of them either received treatment for suicidal inclinations or died from suicide; 8.9% unintentionally overdosed, 6.3% were involved in a traffic accident or traffic-related offense; 36.7% were treated for a head or body injury due to an accident, and 4.1% were arrested for a violent crime. The researchers concluded gabapentinoids treatment was associated with:

  • A 26% increased risk for suicidal behavior and death from suicide
  • 24% increased risk for unintentional overdose
  • 22% increased risk for head or body injury due to an accident
  • 13% increased risk for traffic violations or accidents
  • 4% increased risk for violent crime offenses

Of the two gabapentinoids, pregabalin — which is the newer of the two9 — was clearly the worst, accounting for most of these adverse effects, while gabapentin — an older drug — showed “no statistically significant hazards.”

Stratified by age, the risks associated with these drugs were the highest among those aged 15 through 24, and the risks were dose-dependent, so the higher the dose, the greater the risk. According to the authors:10

“This study suggests that gabapentinoids are associated with an increased risk of suicidal behavior, unintentional overdoses, head/body injuries, and road traffic incidents and offences. Pregabalin was associated with higher hazards of these outcomes than gabapentin.”

As is often the case, the risks associated with these drugs have only become apparent as their usage has increased. Dr. Derek K. Tracy of Queen Mary’s Hospital told Reuters:11

“While it’s not clear why prescribing of gabapentinoids has grown so rapidly … anecdotally it appears that many doctors regarded them as relatively effective and with a low side effect profile.

As we accumulated more information over time, it has become clear that this is not the case, and most recently there has been a countering drive to try reduce their usage as their harm profile came more to the fore.

It is also becoming clearer with time that some people are becoming dependent (“addicted”) to gabapentinoids, though we still lack good information on exactly how common that is, or which groups of people might be more vulnerable to this.”

Concomitant Opioid Use Magnifies Risks

Opioids by themselves are associated with a high risk of death through unintentional overdosing, but when combined with other drugs, that risk is significantly magnified.

According to the featured BMJ study,12 research13 published in 2017 demonstrated that concomitant use of gabapentin and opioids raised the risk of death by 60% over and beyond the risk associated with either drug by itself.

Concomitant use of opioids and benzodiazepines or “benzos” — such as Valium, Ativan, Klonopin and Xanax — which are widely prescribed for anxiety and insomnia, also raises your risk of death by a significant margin.

Research14,15 published in the journal JAMA in 2018 found that, during the first 90 days of concurrent use, your risk of a deadly overdose rises fivefold, compared to taking an opioid alone. Between days 91 and 180, the risk remains nearly doubled, after which the risk tapers off, becoming roughly equal to taking an opioid alone.

The study also found that the greater number of clinicians involved in a patient’s care, the greater the risk of overdose — a finding that highlights the lack of communication between doctors prescribing medication to the same patient, and the clear danger thereof.

Suicide Is Rising Among Certain Groups

The influence of medication on suicide risk is an important consideration, as suicide rates have dramatically risen over the years. According to the statistics16,17 published in the June 2019 issue of JAMA, the suicide rate in the U.S. was at a 20-year high, having risen 30% between 2000 and 2016 across all age groups. In April 2022 those numbers were adjusted to reflect a 35% rise, making suicide rates the highest they had been in 50 years.18

Paradoxically, suicide rates nationwide suddenly dropped by 2.1% in 2019, just before the COVID-19 pandemic — but a deeper look at the demographics showed that the rates only went down among whites. They, in fact, rose or remained stable among non-white racial/ethnic groups. The decline continued in the first year of the pandemic,19 but only for a short period and only among certain demographic groups.

Reporting on a CDC analysis for the pandemic, U.S. News & World Report said one group that saw an alarming rise in midsummer 2020 was adolescent girls, which was “26% higher in the summer of 2020 and nearly 51% higher in early 2021 compared with reference periods in 2019.” Another group that faced an alarming rise was Black individuals, who “appeared to double versus a comparative prepandemic timeframe.”

Historically, a couple groups have seen particularly sharp rises in the past two decades, namely Native Americans and Alaska Natives — among whom the suicide rate between 1999 and 2017 rose 139% among women and 71% among men20 — and teenagers, boys in particular.

Between 2014 and 2017, the teen suicide rate rose 10% per year. Here too, there’s a clear discrepancy between genders, with the annual suicide rate among teen boys, aged 15 through 19, rising 14% between 2015 and 2017, while the annual suicide rate among girls rose 8% between 2000 and 2017.

Lead investigator Oren Miron, a research associate at Harvard Medical School in Boston, told Medicinenet.com,21 “It really is an unprecedented surge. You can go back decades and you won’t find such a sharp increase.” Miron blames the rise on two primary sources: opioid abuse and social media.

“It’s much easier to bully. The apps are getting smarter and smarter at providing anonymity and hiding activity from grown-ups,” he told Medicinenet.com, adding “Parents and teachers need to be aware that the rates have reached their highest recorded level, and they need to be on the lookout for both boys and girls.”

Common Contributors to Teen Suicide

Clinical psychologist and suicide prevention specialist Pamela Cantor, who was not involved in any of the studies mentioned, told Medicinenet.com that “kids are ‘intensely programmed’ to achieve and have too little time to just enjoy their youth.” Other influences identified by Cantor, which can raise a child’s risk of suicide, include:

  • Family instability
  • Social pressure
  • “Parents who try to smooth the way so that when their children hit a snag they do not know how to cope”
  • Exposure to violence, including school shootings and “socially sanctioned expressions of hatred”
  • Easy availability of drugs, alcohol and guns

Suicide Among Native Populations

Among Native Americans, the shocking rise in suicides are thought to be related to22 high rates of poverty,23 lower educational achievements, and high rates of alcoholism. Among women, the extraordinary rise in suicide has also been traced back to unusually high rates of violence.

According to the Indian Law Resource Center, “More than 4 in 5 American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced violence, and more than 1 in 2 have experienced sexual violence.”24

Alaska Native women have the highest domestic battery rate of any group in the U.S. — 10 times higher than the rest of the U.S. The murder rate of indigenous women is also more than 10 times the national average.25 Race discrimination worsens the tragedy, as a majority of these women never get any kind of justice. As reported by the Indian Law Resource Center:

“For more than 35 years, United States law has stripped Indian nations of all criminal authority over non-Indians. As a result, until recent changes in the law, Indian nations were unable to prosecute non-Indians, who reportedly commit the vast majority (96%) of sexual violence against Native women.

The Census Bureau reports that non-Indians now comprise 76% of the population on tribal lands and 68% of the population in Alaska Native villages. Many Native women have married non-Indians.

However, it is unacceptable that a non-Indian who chooses to marry a Native woman, live on her reservation, and commit acts of domestic violence against her, cannot be criminally prosecuted by an Indian nation and more often than not will never be prosecuted by any government.”

Children Whose Parents Use Opioids Have Greater Suicide Risk

In related news, recent research26 shows children and teens whose parents use opioids have more than double the suicide rate — 0.37% compared to 0.14% — of those whose parents do not use opioids. In a press release, senior author Robert Gibbons, Ph.D., professor of biostatistics and director of the Center for Health Statistics at the University of Chicago, stated:27

“We theorized such a link was plausible because parental substance abuse is a known risk factor for suicide attempts by their children. In addition, depression and suicide attempts by parents — which are known to be related to suicidal behavior in their offspring — are more common among adults who abuse opioids.”

Coauthor Dr. David A. Brent, psychiatrist and chair of suicide studies at the University of Pittsburgh commented on the results:28

“These findings demonstrate that opioid use by a parent or parents doubles the risk for suicidal behavior by their children. The epidemics of adult opiate abuse and child suicidal behavior appear to be linked, and the disturbing upward trends in mortality due to opiates and due to child suicide may have common roots.”

Red Flags — Is Someone You Know Suicidal?

If someone close to you has recently endured a hardship, or you have noticed a change in their behavior, how can you tell when ordinary stress or sadness has progressed to a potentially suicidal level? Besides straightforward or “sideways” comments about not wanting to live any longer, some of the red flags that a person has a high risk for self-harm include:29

Acquiring a weapon

Hoarding medication

No plan for the future

Putting affairs in order

Making or changing a will, or writing about feeling hopeless or suicidal

Giving away personal belongings for no apparent reason

Mending grievances

Checking on insurance policies

Social withdrawal

Sudden mood swings

Frequent and/or increased use of drugs or alcohol

Engaging in risky behaviors

If you think someone is suicidal, do not leave him or her alone. A person who appears suicidal needs immediate professional help. Help the person to seek immediate assistance from their doctor or the nearest hospital emergency room, or call 911. Eliminate access to firearms or other potential suicide aids, including unsupervised access to medications.

If you are feeling desperate or have any thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a toll-free number, at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or call 911, or simply go to your nearest hospital emergency department.

Court Says Google Analytics Is Illegal

Google has a long history of collecting your personal data and using it to manipulate your behavior. A regulatory agency in France is the latest to find the data collected by Google Analytics breaches European privacy laws.1

Google has also been busy in the U.S. during the pandemic, in one instance partnering with Apple to create a smartphone app called MassNotify.2

This is used to track and trace people and then advertise the user’s COVID-19 status to others. Despite the intent to advertise user COVID status to others, the MassNotify website says the tool was developed “with a focus on privacy.”3 Yet the app was also downloaded to Android phones without consent.

Early in 2022, four attorneys general filed four separate lawsuits against Google for deceptive practices in collecting location data from the public.4 The suits allege that Google continues to track location data even after people turn off the location tracking app on their smartphone. Karl A. Racine is the attorney general for the District of Columbia and one of the attorneys general who filed a lawsuit against Google. He said in a statement:5

“Google falsely led consumers to believe that changing their account and device settings would allow customers to protect their privacy and control what personal data the company could access. The truth is that contrary to Google’s representations it continues to systematically surveil customers and profit from customer data.”

The action taken by France’s National Commission for Informatics and Liberties (CNIL) is based on a July 2020 case from the Court of Justice in the European Union (EU), which affects data transfer outside the EU.6

EU and 3 U.S. States Have Rules That Govern Internet Traffic

The 2020 Court of Justice case was based on violations of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This law was effective May 25, 2018, and is one of the toughest privacy and security laws that govern websites. The law imposes obligations on websites that target or collect data from EU citizens or residents. It does not make the distinction where the website originates.

In other words, if your website collects data or does business with any EU citizen or resident, no matter where your business is located, the GDPR rule may apply to you.7 The second part that applies to Google Analytics covers when the website tracks cookies or the IP addresses of EU citizens or residents.8

The data collection is classified as “monitoring behavior.”9 The GDPR allows monitoring activity to happen but only when there is transparency and the user understands the data are collected and has the option of opting out, which is designed to protect personal data regardless of where it’s collected, used or stored.

In the U.S., three states now have consumer data privacy laws similar to the GDPR. These states are California, Colorado and Virginia. They have many provisions in common with the GDPR, “such as the right to access and delete personal information and to opt-out of the sale of personal information.”10

France Is the Latest to Say Google Analytics Is Illegal

The July 2020 court case on which this new ruling is based, was won by Max Schrems, the lawyer who sued Facebook for privacy violations against EU citizens and won.11 It has become known as the “Schrems II” judgment,12 and happened just weeks after Austrian data protection authorities also ruled that Google Analytics violates the GDPR.13

The Austrian ruling found that IP addresses and personal identifiers in cookie data could be combined to identify visitors, which is in essence surveillance. To reach the ruling the regulator looked at a variety of measures that Google said it used to protect data in the U.S.

However, they did not find there were enough safeguards to block intelligence services to meet GDPR standards. TechCrunch published part of the decision from a machine translation of the German text:14

“US intelligence services use certain online identifiers (such as the IP address or unique identification numbers) as a starting point for the surveillance of individuals. In particular, it cannot be excluded that these intelligence services have already collected information with the help of which the data transmitted here can be traced back to the person of the complainant.”

The CNIL works with private and public organizations to ensure compliance with the law.15 A single website was called out for noncompliance with the GDPR, stating it breached Article 44 since data from Google Analytics are transferred to the U.S.16

CNIL gave the website operator one month to comply with removing Google Analytics from their website. The ruling is one of 101 complaints that were filed in August 2020 following the successful court case in July 2020. In a press release, CNIL wrote:17

“[A]lthough Google has adopted additional measures to regulate data transfers in the context of the Google Analytics functionality, these are not sufficient to exclude the accessibility of this data for U.S. intelligence services. There is therefore a risk for French website users who use this service and whose data is exported.”

As AppleInsider18 points out, Google support pages also acknowledge that Google Analytics is not compliant with “the European Economic Area’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), or California’s California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), or other similar regulations.”19

According to TechCrunch,20 CNIL left the door open for website owners to use Google Analytics when substantial changes are made to ensure the anonymity of statistical data being collected and transferred to the U.S.

However, the Austrian decision took a broader interpretation of personal data and found that the IP address may be enough when combined with other smaller bits of data already held by Google to identify a site user. Under the current conditions, Google Analytics is noncompliant with the GDPR, which has clear implications for any website using tools that transfer data to the U.S. without measures to ensure anonymity of the data.

While the CNIL began the process with one website, the joint efforts by EU regulators suggest that it will have ramifications across the EU. TechCrunch later learned from the regulator in France that Facebook Connect “has also been the subject of complaints to the CNIL, which are currently being investigated.”21

Google Shifts Perception and Behavior Without Your Knowledge

The objection against Google data collection through their Analytics program is the opportunity it gives the behemoth to collect your personal data and use artificial intelligence to make decisions about your actions. This then leads to greater manipulation of your opinions and behaviors.

Robert Epstein is a Harvard-trained psychologist whom I interviewed in early 2020.22 For the last decade he has helped expose the manipulative and deceptive practices Google uses against you. Through his research that began in 2013, he discovered that biased search results can influence public opinion and sway undecided voters.

These biased search results are produced by recognizing your previous behavior online and gently swaying your opinion. Epstein found that the strength of that influence was shocking and that Google can block website access on browsers other than their own. These findings were published in U.S. News & World Report in 2016.23 The power the search engine pose threatens society in three specific ways, which Epstein discussed during our interview:

1. Google is a surveillance agency with significant powers which are spread across its properties including Google Docs, Google Drive, YouTube and Google Wallet.

2. Google can restrict or block (censor) access to websites across the internet. They can even block access to entire countries or the internet as a whole. The most significant issue with this type of censorship is that you don’t know what you don’t know. When information is removed from search engines, you don’t know it exists and you don’t go looking for it elsewhere.

3. The company has the power to manipulate public opinion by presenting specific content to the user and through search ranking. Epstein explains:24

“To me, that’s the scariest area because as it turns out that Google is shaping the opinions and the thinking and the beliefs and the attitudes and the purchases and the votes of billions of people around the world without anyone knowing that they’re doing so … without leaving a paper trail for authorities to trace.

They’re using new techniques of manipulation that have never existed before in human history and they are for the most part, subliminal … I’ve stumbled onto a whole set of techniques that Google has developed that work extremely well … these are invisible effects, so they’re subliminal in that sense, but they don’t produce tiny shifts.

They produce enormous shifts in people’s thinking, very rapidly. Some of the techniques I’ve discovered are among the largest behavioral effects ever discovered in the behavioral sciences.”

How Google Can Influence Elections and Society

During the interview,25,26 Epstein described his controlled, randomized, double-blind and counterbalanced experiments that revealed the number of ways that Google can shift public perception. The first effect he discovered was something called search engine manipulation effect (SEME). The aim of the experiment was to see if results biased toward a particular political candidate could shift a user’s opinions and leanings.

He predicted a voting shift preference of 2% to 3%. What he got was a shift of 48%, which he initially thought was an error. In the early experiments, they used undecided voters from the U.S. and a real election for the prime minister of Australia in 2010. In other words, they used real candidates with a real election and real search results.

During a second experiment, they found a 63% shift in voter preference when they hid the bias in the search results. A large-scale investigation showed the few who noticed the bias in their search results were not protected from the effect. In fact, it shifted them further toward the bias rather than away from it.

In the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election, he engaged 95 field agents whose identities they kept secret and equipped them with passive software that allowed them to look over the shoulders of people as they did election-related searches. They found there was pro-Clinton bias in the top 10 search positions on the first page of Google, but not on Bing or Yahoo.

This showed a significant pro-Clinton bias on Google. From this data, he was able to calculate how many votes could have been shifted with that level of bias by using data collected since 2013. At a bare minimum, he believes 2.6 million undecided voters could have been shifted to Hillary Clinton and as many as 10.4 million possible on the high end.

Google Surveillance Helps Feed China’s Social Credit System


Google surveillance information goes beyond manipulating your behavior through searches to supporting social credit systems being developed around the world. China’s social credit system has been in effect since 2018. The system awards and subtracts points for certain types of behavior in their citizens. This video shows only a small extent to which this social system controls the lives of citizens in China.

The small part shown in the video is extensive. The process was conceived in 2014 and rolled out in 2018. By 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, China’s established digital infrastructure could track and trace its citizens as it related to their health status, social media posting, contributions to charities, volunteer actions, shopping patterns, decisions and more.

Like your credit score, a person’s social credit score can go up and down. It is integral to your ability to do anything in public, including buying groceries, riding on public transportation or going to public events. Bad behavior can also be punished by slowing your internet speed, banning your children from certain schools or getting higher education, or being barred from certain types of employment.

Central to the process is public shaming. According to a report in Blaze Media as the social credit system was rolled out, “China says that it is trying to “purify” society by rewarding the trustworthy and punishing those it deems as untrustworthy.”27

The actions against citizens through the social credit score system are based on surveillance data that Google makes accessible to countries interested in this kind of Orwellian surveillance scheme. It is the largest monopoly the world has ever seen that siphons data deep into your everyday life and collects data on nearly every move you make and conversation you have.

Your movements can be tracked online, even when you don’t think you’re using their products. Google Analytics program is just one method they use to track everything you do on any website that has their free product installed. Although these services are presented to users as free, they are actually a tightly integrated package of surveillance tools and Google is making money by selling your data and serving you ads to manipulate and direct your behavior.

A 2015 Wired article28 revealed some of the details of how Google’s online empire is built, noting “One of the company’s cluster switches provides about 40 terabits per second of bandwidth — the equivalent of 40 million home internet connections,” and “Google now sends more information between its data centers than it trades with the internet as a whole.”

Say Goodbye to Google

To make inroads to protect your privacy, you simply must avoid Google products, as they account for the greatest personal data leaks in your life. Mercola.com is Google-free. We do not use Google Analytics, Google ads or Google search for internal searches. To protect your privacy, be sure to ditch or replace:

  • Gmail — Every email you write is permanently stored.29 It becomes part of your profile and is used to build a digital model, which allows them to make predictions about your thinking, wants and desires. Many other older email systems such as AOL and Yahoo are also used as surveillance platforms. ProtonMail.com, which uses end-to-end encryption, is a great alternative and the basic account is free.
  • Google’s Chrome browser — Everything you do is surveilled, including keystrokes and web pages visit.30 Brave is a possible alternative that is faster than Chrome and suppresses ads. It’s based on Chromium, the same software code that Chrome is based on, so you can easily transfer your extensions, favorites and bookmarks.
  • Google search engine — This applies to any extension of Google, such as Bing, Yahoo and iPhone’s personal assistant Siri, which draws search results from Google. Alternative search engines include SwissCows and Qwant. Avoid StartPage, as it was recently bought by an aggressive online marketing company31 which, like Google, depends on surveillance.
  • Android cell phones — These run on a Google-owned operating system,32 and can track you even when you’re not connected to the internet, whether you have geo-tracking enabled or not.
  • Google Home devices — These devices record everything that occurs in your home or office. This includes speech and sounds such as brushing your teeth and boiling water. Even when they appear to be inactive, they are sending information back to Google. Android phones are also always listening and recording,33 as are Google’s home thermostat Nest34 and Amazon’s Echo and Alexa.35

Will a Weaponized Bird Flu Become the Next Pandemic?

As news of the COVID pandemic winds down around the world, we’re suddenly seeing warnings of another pandemic brewing — bird flu, aka avian influenza (H5N1). In a March 30, 2022, CenterPoint interview, former Director for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, stated:1

“I believe the great pandemic still in the future, and that’s going to be a bird flu pandemic for man. It’s going to have significant mortality in the 10 to 50% range. It’s going to be trouble.”

Anyone who knows a little about bird flu is likely to wonder where Redfield and other “experts” are getting their predictions from, as natural bird flu is notoriously harmless to humans.

In early April 2022, news of a highly pathogenic bird flu ripping through chicken and turkey flocks in the U.S., triggering the slaughter of millions of these animals, was reported.2,3 Historically, however, the bird flu has never posed a threat to mankind — that is until scientists started tinkering with it, creating a hybrid with human pandemic potential.

Natural Bird Flu Has Never Posed a Human Threat

As reported by Alexis Baden-Mayer, political director for the Organic Consumers Association:4

“H5N1 kills more than half of the people who get it, but H5N1 has circled the globe for decades and there have only ever been 860 human infections worldwide …

H5N1 isn’t transmitted person-to-person5 … There are no food safety risks associated with H5N1. If farm workers and meat packers don’t get bird flu in filthy factory farms or slaughterhouses, it’s no surprise the rest of us don’t get bird flu from eating raw eggs or handling raw chicken.”

Despite that, the U.S. and other countries have already started stockpiling H5N1 vaccine, and the H5N1 vaccine Audenz is being marketed “for 2022.”6 The approval for this vaccine was granted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in January 2020, followed by a supplemental approval in 2021. As if on cue, the first-ever H5N1-positive case was identified in the U.S. at the end of April 2022.7

Bird Flu Has Already Been Weaponized

By the looks of it, the only way a human bird flu would appear would be if it was created, and wouldn’t you know it, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has funded gain of function research with the intention to make H5N1 transmissible to humans, as has global vaccine profiteer Bill Gates, Baden-Mayer notes.8

Some of that research has been undertaken in Pentagon-funded biolabs in Ukraine.9,10,11 For more details on this, be sure to read Baden-Mayer’s extensive article.12 Not surprisingly, Gates has warned that another pandemic will emerge — something other than coronavirus — and that this yet-to-come pandemic “will get attention this time.”13

In the featured video, Christian Westbrook, aka the Ice Age Farmer,14 details Gates’ funding of Dr. Yoshihiro Kawaoka in Wisconsin, to identify mutations in various bird flu viruses that might have pandemic potential. Fauci has also funded Kawaoka’s work since 1990.15

In one experiment, Kawaoka mixed bird flu virus with the Spanish flu virus, resulting in a highly lethal respiratory virus with human transmission capability. Kawaoka has also played around with mixtures of H5N1 and the 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) virus, creating an airborne hybrid16,17,18 capable of completely evading the human immune system, effectively rendering humans defenseless against it.19 On a side note, this extremely risky research was done at a biosafety level 2 lab!20

Around the same time, another team of Dutch researchers, led by virologist Ron Fouchier, also created an airborne version of the bird flu, using a combination of genetic engineering and serial infection of ferrets.21 Fouchier’s work was also funded by Fauci.

So, the bird flu has been manipulated and tinkered with in a variety of different ways, making it both airborne (which it was not initially) and capable of cross-species infection.

A decade ago, the work of Kawaoka and others sparked widespread concern about gain of function research, as it was readily recognized that it could accidentally CAUSE a human pandemic.22,23 As a result, the U.S. government in 2014 issued a temporary ban on gain of function research on certain viruses, which remained in place until December 2017.24

We’ve recently discovered that this ban was circumvented by Fauci, who continued to fund gain of function research on coronaviruses in China during those years. And, today, it looks as though weaponized bird flu might eventually be intentionally released to achieve the geopolitical aims of the technocratic elite, to which Gates belongs.

A Ploy to Force-Eliminate Meat Consumption?


Westbrook (the Ice Age Farmer), suspects weaponized bird flu may be released to usher in The Great Reset and Fourth Industrial Revolution, which includes the elimination of traditional farming and meat consumption in favor of patented lab-created “foods.”

Indeed, millions of poultry are currently being culled in the name of food safety, and deer — a popular food among hunters — are being targeted for COVID vaccination to prevent cross-species transfer of a mutated virus.25,26 Not surprisingly, the test being used to identify these outbreaks is the fraudulent PCR test that allowed for the fabrication of COVID “cases.”

In early April 2022, North Carolina chick sellers were told they will not even be permitted to restock.27 They’re allowed to sell the chicks they already have on hand, but that’s it. How long that restriction is supposed to remain in place is unclear, but the way things are going, it may well be permanent.

Jacob Thompson of Wine Press News also believes bird flu is being used as a convenient excuse to rid the market of natural beef and poultry:28

“… did you catch that little subtle influence and propaganda of COVID in animals transmitting to us? It is becoming clearer that that is where the narrative is heading … The wicked handlers need to get the masses off of meats, and so, the ‘solution’ will be to artificially kill them off, vaccinate them to death, and mandate it be taken off the shelves.”

Controlled Demolition of the Protein Supply

As noted by Westbrook, we now have mainstream media warning we may one day soon face “an apocalyptic bird flu” capable of wiping out half the world’s population. Meanwhile, Gates and others have funded the creation of just such a pathogen for the last 15 years, and the U.S. Department of Defense has funded research to figure out how to attach viruses to migratory birds.29

Yet we’re being indoctrinated to believe that lethal human bird flu, if it does emerge, did so through natural evolution. Don’t be fooled. To quote Westbrook, what we’re looking at is “a controlled demolition of the protein supply.” There’s nothing accidental or natural about it.

Fertilizer shortages are also having a devastating impact on our food supply by limiting the amount of corn and soy that can be planted this year, and these shortages in turn mean farmers cannot feed their livestock, including chickens, so egg shortages are now looming on the horizon as well.

If you still struggle to put the puzzle pieces of manufactured food scarcity, famine and The Great Reset together, just consider how easy it will be for the global cabal to control populations when they’re starving to death. In a global famine, they can then present themselves as the “saviors” and hand out digital IDs that will allow you to collect a ration of processed food.

Of course, that digital ID will also function as a vaccine passport, so to get your food you’ll have to take whatever vaccine they tell you to, and it will be connected to a centrally controlled programmable currency that can be confiscated if you fail to comply. The end game is simply to create such widespread calamity that the people of the world willingly surrender all rights and freedoms.

Past Bird Flu Hoaxes

In 2005, President George Bush and U.S. officials warned bird flu would kill 2 million Americans and 150 million globally. It was a ridiculous threat that never materialized, but it did further the bioweapons industrial complex. Gain of function research was funded to the tune of billions of dollars and justified as “necessary” for the development of vaccines.

However, it was really a dual use program to create bioweapons that could then enrich Big Pharma. In 2006, I became so convinced by the evidence AGAINST the possibility of a bird flu pandemic that I wrote the book “The Great Bird Flu Hoax,” detailing the massive fraud involved. The book went on to become a New York Times bestseller. In it, I explained how:

  • Multinational drug companies and food corporations pour billions into manipulating your perception of health and the daily news, just to increase their profits, and the health threats (and ethics breaches) they are really responsible for.
  • Scientists are bought by drug companies and other big business to report whatever “research findings” they have been paid to report.
  • Government is more than just complicit — it actively works with the drug companies and other stalwarts of the conventional health care paradigm, and are directly responsible for raising false alarms in order to draw your attention away from the real public health and safety issues they perpetuate.

In the years since, threats of a bird flu (or swine flu) pandemic have emerged several times, yet the outcome is always the same: Nothing. In 2009, pandemic experts used fear to hype the swine flu, causing millions to roll up their sleeves for the fast-tracked 2009 H1N1 vaccine.

It was exceptionally reactive, harming far more people than the virus itself. (Still, the injuries from the H1N1 vaccine are a drop in the bucket compared to the injuries caused by the experimental mRNA COVID shots.)

In 2013, mutated bird flu was back again, with the World Health Organization calling it “one of the most lethal” strains. But while it reportedly killed 22 in China, researchers could find no evidence of sustained transmission between people, which is a prerequisite for a pandemic flu virus. In the end, the pandemic narrative went nowhere.

May 6, 2022, I was contacted by Associated Press reporter David Klepper, who asked whether I still feel the avian flu was a hoax, (based on my NYT bestselling book “The Great Bird Flu Hoax”) and whether I’ve changed my mind about the possibility of a human bird flu pandemic, in light of our recent experience with COVID-19 and the current outbreaks in poultry. The short answer is no, I have not.

Bird flu is heavily present in the U.S., and millions of birds are currently being culled, but the natural virus is not very transmissible or lethal to humans. If we do end up with a lethal human bird flu, there’s every reason to suspect it was manmade. There’s also every reason to suspect a bird flu vaccine will be either ineffective, hazardous or both. As I told Klepper in my emailed response:

“The truth is dangerous in an empire of lies … The NIH and FDA are both responsible for the development and leak of this virus [SARS-CoV-2], as well as failing to provide basic and inexpensive information that would have saved people’s lives.

A two-dose injection of genetic code was promised to be 95% effective at stopping transmission of the virus, yet today four doses completely fail at preventing anyone from getting or spreading COVID-19 … Americans clearly understand that the federal government and major media have lied to them repeatedly, and are completely corrupted by the pharmaceutical companies.

The federal government has completely failed the American people and has continued to lie about gain of function research. Hundreds of bioweapons laboratories are operating around the world, and US researchers are collaborating with them utilizing NIH taxpayer funds.

They are jeopardizing millions of lives while enriching themselves and the pharmaceutical companies. Vaccine passports will be leveraged to roll out a long planned digital identification system combined with digital currencies; it will allow for complete control of transactions based on compliance and behavior.

If the bird flu becomes highly transmissible and lethal to humans, it will be an engineered virus from U.S. or Chinese government-funded biolabs.”

Did Pfizer Commit Huge Fraud in Its COVID Vaccine Research?

In November 2021, Brook Jackson, a whistleblower who worked on Pfizer’s Phase 3 COVID jab trial in the fall of 2020, warned she’d seen evidence of fraud in the trial.

Data were falsified, patients were unblinded, the company hired poorly trained people to administer the injections, and follow-up on reported side effects lagged way behind. The revelation was published in The British Medical Journal. In his November 2, 2021, report, investigative journalist Paul Thacker wrote:1

“Revelations of poor practices at a contract research company helping to carry out Pfizer’s pivotal COVID-19 vaccine trial raise questions about data integrity and regulatory oversight …

[F]or researchers who were testing Pfizer’s vaccine at several sites in Texas during that autumn, speed may have come at the cost of data integrity and patient safety … Staff who conducted quality control checks were overwhelmed by the volume of problems they were finding.”

Jackson, a former regional director of Ventavia Research Group, a research organization charged with testing Pfizer’s COVID jab at several sites in Texas, repeatedly “informed her superiors of poor laboratory management, patient safety concerns and data integrity issues,” Thacker wrote.

When her concerns were ignored, she finally called the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and filed a complaint via email. Jackson was fired later that day after just two weeks on the job. According to her separation letter, management decided she was “not a good fit” for the company after all.

She provided The BMJ with “dozens of internal company documents, photos, audio recordings and emails” proving her concerns were valid, and according to Jackson, this was the first time she’d ever been fired in her 20-year career as a clinical research coordinator.

BMJ Report Censored

Disturbingly, social media actually censored this BMJ article and published pure falsehoods in an effort to “debunk” it. Mind you, the BMJ is one of the oldest and most respected peer-reviewed medical journals in the world! The Facebook “fact check” was done by Lead Stories, a Facebook contractor, which claimed the BMJ “did NOT reveal disqualifying and ignored reports of flaws in Pfizer’s” trials.2

In response, The BMJ slammed the fact check, calling it “inaccurate, incompetent and irresponsible.”3,4,5 In an open letter6 addressed to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, The BMJ urged Zuckerberg to “act swiftly” to correct the erroneous fact check, review the processes that allowed it to occur in the first place, and “generally to reconsider your investment in and approach to fact checking overall.” As noted by The BMJ in its letter, the Lead Stories’ fact check:7

  • Inaccurately referred to The BMJ as a “news blog”
  • Failed to specify any assertions of fact that The BMJ article got wrong
  • Published the fact check on the Lead Stories’ website under a URL that contains the phrase “hoax-alert”

Pfizer Trial Data Raises Suspicions of Fraud

Now, with the release of Pfizer trial data8 — which they tried to withhold for 75 years — internet sleuths are finding additional problems suggestive of fraud and data manipulation. May 9, 2022, a Twitter user named Jikkyleaks posted a series of tweets questioning data from Pfizer trial sites 1231 and 4444.9

Trial site 1231, located in Argentina, somehow managed to recruit 10% of the total trial participants, 4,501 in all, and they did so in just three weeks, and without a contract research organization (CRO). CROs like the Ventavia Research Group, which Jackson worked for, provide clinical trial management services. The lead investigator for trial site 1231 is Dr. Fernando Polack,10 who also happens to be:11

  • A consultant for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (RBPAC) since 2017
  • A current adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee
  • An investigator for Fundación Infant,12 which is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation13
  • The first author of Pfizer’s paper,14 “Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine,” published at the end of December 2021

As noted by Jikkyleaks, Polack “is literally the busiest doctor on the planet,” because in addition to all those roles, he also managed to single-handedly enroll 4,500 patients in three weeks, which entails filling out some 250 pages of case report forms (CRFs) for each patient. That’s about 1,125,000 pages total. (CRFs are documents used in clinical research to record standardized data from each patient, including adverse events.)

This recruitment also took place seven days a week, which is another red flag. “Weekend recruitment for a clinical trial would be odd. Staff are needed to fill out that many record forms (CRFs) and there are potential risks to the trial, so you need medical staff. It would be highly unusual,” Jikkyleaks notes.

Is Polack just a super-humanly efficient trial investigator, or could this be evidence of fraud? As noted by Steve Kirsch in the featured video and an accompanying Substack article,15 Polack is the coordinator for a network of 26 hospitals in Argentina, so perhaps it’s possible he could have recruited 57 patients per week per hospital, but it seems highly unlikely.

Questions Surround Site 4444 Data

Now, “site 4444” does not exist. It’s actually the same as site 1231. It appears site 1231 held a second enrollment session, and these were for some reason given the designation of 4444. The 4444 trial site data raise another red flag.

Site 4444 (the second enrollment session for site 1231) supposedly enrolled 1,275 patients in a single week, from September 22 through 27, 2020, and the suspicious thing about that — aside from the speed — is the fact that this was the last week that recruitment could take place to meet the data cutoff for the FDA meeting in December 2020. Jikkyleads writes:16

“My guess: they needed enough numbers of ‘positive PCR tests’ in the placebo group to show a difference between groups for that VRBPAC meeting on the 10th Dec, and they didn’t have them. So, site 4444 appeared and gave them their ‘perfect’ result. Bravo.”

cumulative incidence

Kirsch notes:17

“Was there fraud in the Pfizer trial? Without a doubt. The story of Maddie de Garay is a clear case of that. Brook Jackson has evidence of fraud; she has 17 lawyers working for her. If there wasn’t fraud, these lawyers wouldn’t be wasting their time.

This new data on Site 1231/4444 looks suspicious to me. It looks too good to be true. But we can’t make the call without more information. Undoubtedly, the mainstream media will not look into this, Pfizer will remain silent, and Polack will be unreachable for comment. The lack of transparency should be troubling to everyone. That is the one thing we can say for sure.”

Pfizer Documents Reveal COVID Jab Dangers


Among the tens of thousands of Pfizer documents released by the FDA so far, we now also have clear evidence of harm. For nurse educator John Campbell, featured in the video above, these documents appear to have served as a “red pill,”18 waking him up to the possibility that the jabs may indeed be far more dangerous than anyone expected, including himself.

In the video, Campbell reviews the documents listed as “5.3.6. Postmarketing Experience,” which were originally marked “confidential.” They reveal that, cumulatively, through February 28, 2021, Pfizer received 42,086 adverse event reports, including 1,223 deaths.

To have 1,223 fatalities and 42,086 reports of injury in the first three months is a significant safety signal, especially when you consider that the 1976 swine flu vaccine was pulled after only 25 deaths.

As noted by Campbell, “It would have been good to know about this at the time, wouldn’t it?” referring to the rollout of the jabs. Campbell has been fairly consistent in his support of the “safe and effective” vaccine narrative, but “This has just destroyed trust in authority,” he said.

158,000 Recorded Side Effects — A World Record?

The first really large tranche of more than 10,000 Pfizer documents was released March 1, 2022. (You can find them all on PHMPT.org.19) In this batch were no less than nine single-space pages of “adverse events of special interest,” listed in alphabetical order20 — 158,000 in all!

To see the first page, click the link below. The first side effect on this shockingly exhaustive list is a rare condition known as 1p36 deletion syndrome. This condition, caused by the deletion of DNA in chromosome 1p36, results in developmental delays, severe intellectual disability, seizures, vision problems, hearing loss, breathing problems, brain anomalies, congenital heart defects, cardiomyopathy, renal anomalies, genital malformation, metabolic problems and more.21,22

Life expectancy depends on the amount of DNA that has been deleted. This, at bare minimum, sounds like something a pregnant woman might want to know before she gets the shot.

pfizer list release

>>>>> Click here <<<<<

CRF Anomalies Raise Questions of Fraud

After reviewing some of the released CRFs in the March 1 tranche, investigative journalist Sonia Elijah also discovered several problems, including the following:23

Patients entered into the “healthy population” group who were far from healthy — For example, one such “healthy” participant was a Type 2 diabetic with angina, a cardiac stent and a history of heart attack.

Serious adverse event (SAE) numbers were left blank — Ventavia site No. 1085 has a particularly large number of missing SAE numbers.

Missing barcodes for samples collected — Without those barcodes, you can’t match the sample to the participant.

Suspicious-looking SAE start and end dates — For example, the so-called “healthy” diabetic suffered a “serious” heart attack October 27, 2020. The “end” date is listed as October 28, the next day, which is odd because it was recorded as serious enough to require hospitalization.

Also, on that same day, October 28, the patient was diagnosed with pneumonia, so likely remained hospitalized. “This anomaly raises doubt as to the accuracy of these recorded dates, potentially violating ALOCA-C clinical site documentation guidelines for clinical trials,” Elijah writes.

Unblinded teams were responsible for reviewing adverse event reports for signs of COVID cases, and to review severe COVID cases — Yet in some cases they appear to have dismissed the possibility of an event being COVID-related, such as pneumonia. This despite the fact that Pfizer’s protocol (section 8.2.4) lists “enhanced COVID-19” (i.e., antibody dependent enhancement) as a potential side effect to be on the lookout for. As noted by Elijah:

“Inadvertently, this could have led to bias, as the unblinded teams would have been aware which participants were assigned the placebo and those who received the vaccine. They might have been under pressure by the sponsor for the trial to go a certain way and for events like ‘COVID Pneumonia’ to be classified simply as pneumonia.”

Impossible dating — The diabetic who suffered a heart attack followed by pneumonia (which may have been unacknowledged COVID pneumonia) died, and the date of death is listed as the day before the patient supposedly went for a “COVID ill” visit.

Clearly, it’s impossible for a dead person to attend a medical visit, so something is wrong here. The clinical investigator note states: “There cannot be a date later than date of death. Please remove data from the COVID illness visit and add cough and shortness of breath as AEs (adverse events).” “What kind of pressure was being exerted here?” Elijah asks.

Second dose administered outside the three-week protocol window.

Observation period appears to have been an automatic entry — According to the protocol, each participant was to be observed by staff for a minimum of 30 minutes.

A majority of the CRFs state 30 minutes, which raises the question: Were participants observed for adequate amounts of time, or did they simply put down “30 minutes” as an automatic entry? Why is there so little variety in the observation times? If participants were not adequately observed, their safety was put at risk, which was one of Jackson’s concerns.

Adverse events listed as “not serious” despite extended hospital stay — In one case, the participant fell and suffered facial lacerations the day after the second dose and was hospitalized for 26 days, yet the fall was not reported as serious.

Other anomalies in this particular case include listing the fall as being caused by a “fall” unrelated to the study treatment, and the facial laceration being the result of “hypotension” (low blood pressure). The SAE number is also missing for the facial lacerations.

Elijah writes, “Doubts can be raised over the credibility of this information given the fall and facial lacerations were intrinsically related. So, if facial lacerations were due to ‘hypotension’ then the fall should be due to that too.” Might low blood pressure be an effect of the experimental shot? Possibly. Especially when you consider the patient fell the day after being given the second dose.

Even more suspicious: the causality for the fall was recorded as “related” (to the treatment) on the serious adverse event form, but listed as “not related” on the adverse event CRF. A note states, “Please confirm correct causality.”

Dismissing brand new health problems as unrelated to the treatment — For example, in one case, a female participant with no medical history of impaired kidney function was diagnosed with kidney stones and severe hypokalemia, requiring hospitalization, one month after her second dose. Yet despite her having no history of kidney problems, both events were dismissed as “not related” to the study treatment and no further investigation was done.

In closing, Elijah wrote:24

“All the evidence gleaned over a limited time appears to back up whistleblower Jackson’s claims of poor trial site data management and raises questions as to how Ventavia conducted the Pfizer clinical trials.

The errors and anomalies in the CRFs also allude to her claims that the clinical research associates were not trained adequately, with many having had no prior clinical experience history. If such egregious findings are true at these sites, could they manifest at other trial sites around North America and beyond?”

Can You Trust Pfizer?

Pfizer, which was quickly given emergency use authorization (EUA) for its COVID-19 mRNA gene therapy shot, has a long list of criminal verdicts against it:

In 2002, Pfizer and two subsidiaries paid $49 million to settle civil claims that it had failed to report best prices for its drug Lipitor, as is required under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Statute.25

In 2004, a Pfizer subsidiary Warner-Lambert pleaded guilty and paid more than $430 million to settle criminal charges and civil liability from fraudulent marketing practices.26

In 2007, another subsidiary was found guilty of paying out kickbacks for formulary placement of its drugs and had to pay a fine of $34 million.27

Two years later, in 2009, Pfizer was found guilty of health care fraud and ordered to pay the largest penalty ever for this kind of offense.28 When announcing the record penalty of $2.3 billion against the drug giant, the U.S. Department of Justice said one of the charges was a felony. The other charges stemmed from false actions and false claims submitted to federal health care programs.

In 2010, the company was again ordered to pay $142 million in damages for fraudulent marketing and promoting the drug Neurontin for unapproved uses.29

Less than 10 years later, in 2018, Pfizer was again caught in an illegal kickback scheme and agreed to pay $23.8 million to resolve claims that it used a foundation as a conduit to pay the copays of Medicare patients taking three of its drugs.30

As noted in the journal Healthcare Policy in 2010,31 “Pfizer has been a ‘habitual offender,’ persistently engaging in illegal and corrupt marketing practices, bribing physicians and suppressing adverse trial results.” The article also highlights the crimes of Johnson & Johnson, another COVID jab maker.

Despite its tarnished history, we’re now expected to trust that everything Pfizer does is above-board. I don’t think so. A company that continues getting caught committing the same crimes over and over again clearly has a deeply established ethical rot within its corporate structure that fines simply have no effect over.

Has Pfizer committed fraud in its COVID jab trials as well? It sure looks that way. Time will tell whether attorneys will have enough for a conviction in the future. If fraud did take place, Pfizer can (and likely will) be held liable for the more than one million injuries its injection has caused in the U.S. alone, and we all look forward to that reckoning.

Food Plants on Fire

We’re living in an unprecedented time when strange happenings continue to occur in quick succession. In March 2021, a massive container ship became wedged across the Suez Canal in Egypt — blocking “an artery of world trade,” triggering a rise in oil prices and leading to fallout that affected shipping around the globe.1

Now, war has disrupted supplies further, driving up fertilizer prices and, in turn, food costs. Meanwhile, Bill Gates has been buying up U.S. farmland at a frenzied pace and owns more farmland than any other private farmer in the country.2 Leaders around the world have warned that, due to the war in Ukraine — which is considered the world’s bread basket — food shortages are coming.

On top of that, the Really Graceful video posted above points out, cases of bird flu have been reported in the U.S., with millions of poultry killed off by farmers as a result. “All of these incidents have driven up the price of items at your grocery store,”3 the video notes, but there’s yet another series of events that is somehow even stranger — a rash of fires at U.S. food processing plants.

Could this all be coincidence, driving up food prices to record highs and causing food shortages, or is something more sinister going on?

Fires and Accidents at Food Processing Plants: Coincidence?

In the whole of 2019, there were only two reported fires at U.S. food processing plants. From January 2021 to April 21, 2022, at least 20 were reported — a sizable jump — and they seem to be accelerating in recent weeks.4 Here’s a timeline of some of the events:

August 9, 2019 — A fire destroyed part of the Tyson Foods beef plant in Holcomb, Kansas.5

January 12, 2021 — A fire destroyed the Deli Star meat plant in Fayetteville, Illinois.6 In fighting the blaze, firefighters used most of the water in the town’s water towers, leading to a boil order for residents until the water could be replenished.

January 21, 2021 — The Washington Potato Company plant was declared a total loss after a fire started in the plant’s dehydrator.7

July 25, 2021 — A three-alarm fire occurred at a Kellogg plant in Memphis, Tennessee, drawing 170 emergency personnel to the scene.8

August 24, 2021 — Severe damage was reported following a fire at Patak Meat Processing facility in Cobb County, Georgia,9 leading to a temporary closure.

September 12, 2021 — A five-alarm fire broke out at JBS USA’s beef processing plant in Grand Island, Nebraska.10 The plant slaughters about 5% of U.S. cattle. “This year, processing capacity has already been squeezed by COVID disruptions and labor availability and the industry can ill afford losing a big processing plant like this,” Steiner Consulting told Reuters at the time.11

November 29, 2021 — A fire broke out at Maid Rite Steak Company, a meat processing plant in Scott, Pennsylvania.12

December 12, 2021 — West Side food processing plant was left with smoke damage estimated at over $100,000 due to a fire that broke out. No one was working at the plant at the time of the fire.13

January 2, 2022 — A fire at Van Drunen Farms Tuthill freeze-drying plant in Momence, Illinois, suffered extensive damage from a fire, with a company official describing it as a “total loss.”14

January 14, 2022 — An explosion and fire occurred at the Cargill-Nutrena feed mill in Lecompte, Louisiana, burning for 12 hours.15

February 3, 2022 — Fire swept through Wisconsin River Meats in Mauston, Wisconsin, causing a near total loss.16

February 17, 2022 — A fire broke out at the Louis Dreyfus Co. (LDC) in Claypool, Indiana.17 LDC is the largest soybean processing and biodiesel plant in the U.S.

February 22, 2022 — A boiler explosion triggered a fire at Shearer’s Foods near Hermiston, Oregon. Company officials estimated it would take 15 to 18 months to restart production.18 The plant made snacks including potato chips, tortillas, whole grain chips, cheese curls/puffs, popcorn, pork rinds, rice crisps, wafers, cookies, and both sweet and savory biscuits.

March 13, 2022 — A Hot Pockets plant in Jonesboro, Arkansas, was shut down after a fire started inside a production line cooler.19

March 16, 2022 — A massive fire at a Walmart fulfillment center in Plainfield, Indiana, caused the closure of the facility. In April, the company announced it would not be reopening the facility, affecting the jobs of 1,132 employees.20 The center stored food, clothes and cardboard.21

March 28, 2022 — A fire at Maricopa Food Pantry in Maricopa, Arizona, leading to the destruction of more than 50,000 pounds of food.22

March 31, 2022 — Rio Fresh, an onion warehouse facility in south Texas, was damaged by a structure fire.23

April 11, 2022 — A fire broke out at East Conway Beef & Pork in Conway, New Hampshire, destroying the building and killing two cows.24

April 13, 2022 — A plane crashed into the Gem State processing facility in Heyburn, Idaho.25 The plant made dehydrated potato flakes, flours, dices, slices and shreds.26

April 13, 2022 — A four-alarm fire occurred at Taylor Farms in Salinas, California, drawing nearly 100 firefighters from 22 fire units. The facility, which makes bagged salads and chopped fresh vegetable kits,27 was in the process of restarting operations after being closed for the winter.28

April 18, 2022 — The headquarters of Azure Standard in Dufur, Oregon, was destroyed in a fire. Azure Standard the largest independent distributor of organic and health foods in the U.S.29

April 30 2022 — A soybean processing tank caught fire at Perdue Farms in Chesapeake, Virginia.30

What’s Behind Rising Food Prices?

People are beginning to take notice of these seemingly random fires and accidents that are occurring with increasing frequency at food processing plants across the U.S. As noted by Really Graceful:31

“We’ve got all these factors at play to cause food shortages and increased prices. But are we witnessing total happenstance and coincidence or is it intentional? Are they trying to take down our food supply? Are they trying to sabotage our supply chain? And by ‘they,’ who do we mean? The enemy from within or an enemy of a foreign variety?”

There are no concrete answers to these questions, unfortunately, but we’re witnessing what appears to be the perfect storm for sky-high food prices and food scarcity. The global food price index hit its highest recorded level in March 2022, rising 12.6% in a single month.32 On average, food prices were one-third higher than in March 2021. In the U.S., food prices rose 9% in 2021, and are predicted to rise another 4.5% to 5% in the next 12 months.33

The Russia-Ukraine conflict is certainly not helping. As mentioned, Ukraine is known as “the bread basket” of Europe, responsible for producing and exporting 12% of all food calories traded on the international market. Russia is also a major exporter of food and, together with Ukraine, the two countries account for nearly 30% of global wheat exports, nearly 20% of the world’s corn and more than 80% of the sunflower oil.34

Still, the Ukraine conflict is not entirely to blame. Price inflation was already ramping up well before Russia went into Ukraine, thanks to the uncontrolled printing of fiat currencies that occurred in response to the COVID pandemic. Governments’ COVID response have also wreaked havoc with global supply chains, causing disruptions that continue to this day.

The climate has also been uncooperative, causing poor harvests around the world. China, for example, has reported it expects the lowest harvest yields in history this year, thanks to serious flooding of its farmland in the fall of 2021.35

Are We Entering Phase 2 of The Great Reset Plan?

By now, you may have heard about the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Great Reset and their plan for you to “own nothing and be happy” as part of WEF’s 2030 agenda.36 In the first quarter of 2021, 15% of U.S. homes sold were purchased by corporate investors37 — not families looking to achieve their American dream.

While they’re competing with middle-class Americans for the homes, the average American has virtually no chance of winning a home over an investment firm, which may pay 20% to 50% over asking price,38 in cash, sometimes scooping up entire neighborhoods at once so they can turn them into rentals.39 It appears we’re quickly entering an era where home ownership is becoming out of reach for many — necessitating renting instead of owning, a first step to “owning nothing.”

World war, however, is Phase 2 of The Great Reset plan, which includes the destruction of supply chains, the energy sector, food supply and workforce, to create dependency on government, which in turn will be taken over by private interests and central banks through the collapse of the global economy. An anonymous correspondent recently wrote about this on WinterOak.org:40

“Welcome to the second phase of the Great Reset: war. While the pandemic acclimatized the world to lockdowns, normalized the acceptance of experimental medications, precipitated the greatest transfer of wealth to corporations by decimating SMEs [small and medium-sized businesses] and adjusted the muscle memory of workforce operations in preparation for a cybernetic future, an additional vector was required to accelerate the economic collapse before nations can ‘Build Back Better.’”

The article presents “several ways in which the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine is the next catalyst for the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset agenda, facilitated by an interconnected web of global stakeholders and a diffuse network of public-private partnerships.”

Disruption to supply chains fit right into this plan, while food shortages, driven by the many factors discussed and, perhaps, orchestrated attacks on food plants, will accelerate the acceptance of synthetic foods, such as lab-grown meat, which has also been championed by Great Reset front men like Bill Gates.

Of course, it’s possible that Gates buying up farmland, The Great Reset’s push to build a nation of renters, world leaders warning of food shortages, a war and, now, an unexplained jump and apparent acceleration in fires at food plants could all be just coincidence — or could it? What do you think?

Two Remarkable Stress Relief Supplements; Take Them Together

This article was previously published June 10, 2019, and has been updated with new information.

You may be familiar with the connection between magnesium, calcium and vitamins K2 and D and how they work in tandem. But are you aware of the crucial link between magnesium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)? Individually, magnesium and vitamin B6 are both essential for heart and brain health. Both also play roles in the regulation of your blood sugar level.1,2

When you get insufficient amounts of magnesium from your diet, your body will leach magnesium from your bones, muscles and internal organs, which can lead to osteoporosis, kidney problems and liver damage.

Vitamin B6 can help ameliorate this by escorting magnesium to the cells that need it most, thus ensuring that the magnesium you’re getting, whether from foods or supplements, is being used as efficiently as possible. In so doing, vitamin B6 also helps augment the many benefits of magnesium.

Magnesium-B6 Combo Is Superior for Severe Stress

The importance of magnesium in combination with vitamin B6 was presented in a 2018 study3 in the journal PLOS ONE. Taken together, these two nutrients have been shown to have a complementary effect on stress reduction in animal studies.

In this randomized trial, they evaluated whether the combination of magnesium and B6 would improve perceived stress levels in 264 human subjects who also had low magnesium to start. Healthy adults with a depression anxiety stress scale score above 18 and a serum level of magnesium between 0.45 nanomoles per liter (mmol/L) and 0.85 mmol/L were randomized to receive either:

  1. 300 milligrams (mg) of magnesium in combination with 30 mg of vitamin B6
  2. 300 mg of magnesium only

The primary endpoint was a reduction in stress score from baseline to Week 8. While both treatment groups experienced similar reductions in their stress scores — the magnesium-B6 combo group reporting a 44.9% reduction in perceived stress and the magnesium-only group a 42.4% reduction — a more significant impact was shown in those with severe and/or extremely severe stress.

According to the authors, adults with a stress score at or above 25 had a 24% greater improvement with magnesium-vitamin B6 versus magnesium only at Week 8. Those taking magnesium and B6 in combination also experienced fewer side effects: 12.1% of those taking magnesium-vitamin B6 versus 17.4% of those taking magnesium only experienced some form of adverse event. As noted by the authors:4

“These findings suggest oral Mg supplementation alleviated stress in healthy adults with low magnesemia and the addition of vitamin B6 to Mg was not superior to Mg supplementation alone. With regard to subjects with severe/extremely severe stress, this study provides clinical support for greater benefit of Mg combined with vitamin B6.”

Magnesium and B6 May Ease Premenstrual Syndrome

Magnesium and vitamin B6 are two nutrients commonly recommended for women struggling with premenstrual syndrome. According to a research paper5 published in the Journal of Caring Sciences, magnesium deficiency has been proposed “as one of the factors causing and intensifying premenstrual syndrome symptoms,” and magnesium appears to work because it has a calming effect on the neuromuscular system.

“Vitamin B6 is another proposed treatment for this syndrome,” the paper notes.6 “On the one hand vitamin B6 increases serotonin and dopamine levels and improves premenstrual syndrome symptoms, and on the other, it has an essential role in the synthesis of prostaglandin and fatty acids, which are reduced in etiologies causing premenstrual syndrome.

Moreover, researchers believe that vitamin B6 deficiency decreases dopamine in the kidneys and therefore increase sodium excretion, which in turn causes water accumulation in the body and induces symptoms such as swelling in extremities, edema, and abdominal and chest discomfort. The administration of vitamin B6 can thus decrease these symptoms and improve premenstrual acne.”

To evaluate the effects of these two nutrients on premenstrual syndrome, 126 women diagnosed with premenstrual syndrome, based on American Psychiatric Association criteria, were divided into three groups, which received either 250 mg of magnesium oxide, 250 mg of vitamin B6, or a placebo, taken from the first day of the menstrual cycle until the beginning of the next cycle.

Magnesium and B6 Have Similar Rates of Effectiveness

Overall, magnesium and B6 had similar rates of effectiveness for premenstrual syndrome in this Journal of Caring Sciences study. Mean scores of premenstrual syndrome before and after intervention in the three groups were as follows:

Magnesium Vitamin B6 Placebo
Before intervention 36.89% 36.51% 35.8%
After intervention 22.22% 22.84% 28.41%

As you can see, while the placebo also helped reduce premenstrual syndrome symptoms, magnesium and B6 did so more effectively, and at similar rates. When looking at specific symptoms, B6 and magnesium were found to be the most effective for lowering rates of depression, water retention and anxiety. In conclusion, the authors noted:7

“Considering the importance of premenstrual syndrome and the numerous effects it has on society and the lives of women, health groups should prioritize the diagnosis and treatment of this syndrome. Since there is no definitive etiology and treatment for this syndrome, many researchers have tried to find the best and most effective drug with the least side effects to prevent the occurrence of the syndrome …

The current study was also undertaken with the goal of finding an effective compound with no side effects to reduce the symptoms of this syndrome and its direct and indirect economic and social effects. All compounds used in the current study had no side effects, were effective, non-chemical, and acceptable by most groups of women in the society.

Hence, health groups, especially midwives, can compare the effectiveness the compound on their specific patients and select the most appropriate treatment for each individual. Moreover, in cases where the patient is prohibited from using chemical drugs to treat premenstrual syndrome, such as oral contraceptive pills and gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists, the use of these compounds seems effective …”

Unfortunately, a combination of magnesium and B6 was not evaluated in this study. It would have been interesting to see what their combined effect would have been. Considering the importance of both of these nutrients for health, I see no risk in combining them, though, should you struggle with premenstrual syndrome.

The Importance of Magnesium for Optimal Health

Magnesium8 is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body and the second most common intracellular cation9 (positively charged ion) after potassium. It’s required for the healthy function of most cells in your body, but is especially important for your heart, kidneys and muscles.

Low magnesium will impede your cellular metabolic function and deteriorate mitochondrial function, which can have far-reaching health consequences, seeing how loss of mitochondrial function is a foundational factor in most chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer.

According to one scientific review,10 which included studies dating as far back as 1937, low magnesium actually appears to be the greatest predictor of heart disease, and other recent research shows even subclinical magnesium deficiency can compromise your cardiovascular health.11

Being one of the most abundant minerals in the human body, it’s not surprising that it has several hundred biological functions. To list just a few, magnesium helps:

  • Relax your muscles as well as your blood vessels — Being deficient in it can cause muscle cramps and weakness
  • Promote mental and physical relaxation — It’s a stress antidote that works by boosting GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that relaxes your nervous system. Magnesium also helps boost your melatonin production
  • Detoxification and reduces damage from electromagnetic fields
  • Regulate blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity, potentially protecting against Type 2 diabetes

Magnesium Is Required for Activation of Vitamin D

Magnesium is also a component necessary for the activation of vitamin D,12,13,14 and deficiency may hamper your ability to convert vitamin D from sun exposure and/or oral supplementation.

According to Mohammed Razzaque, professor of pathology at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Pennsylvania, coauthor of a study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA) in March 2018,15 “By consuming an optimal amount of magnesium, one may be able to lower the risks of vitamin D deficiency, and reduce the dependency on vitamin D supplements.”

Interestingly, the first paper I ever had published, back in 1985, was also in the JAOA. My paper was about the use of calcium to control hypertension, but if I had written the paper this century, it most certainly would have been about the use of magnesium for that purpose.16

A second study,17 published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in December 2018 also concluded that your magnesium status plays an important role in your vitamin D status. Overall, people with high magnesium intake were less likely to have low vitamin D. They also had a lower mortality risk from cardiovascular disease and bowel cancer.

As explained by Dr. Qi Dai, professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the lead author of this study, “Magnesium deficiency shuts down the vitamin D synthesis and metabolism pathway.” What’s more, magnesium was found to have a regulating effect, raising and lowering vitamin D based on baseline levels.

In people who had a baseline vitamin D level of 30 ng/mL (75 nmol/L) or below, magnesium supplementation raised their vitamin D level. However, in those who started out with higher vitamin D levels (50 ng/mL or 125 nmol/L), magnesium supplementation lowered their vitamin D.

Magnesium for Brain Health and Neurological Functioning

Magnesium is also crucial for optimal brain function, and is a common culprit in neurological ailments, including:

Migraines18,19,20 Researchers have noted that empiric treatment with a magnesium supplement is justified for all migraine sufferers.21

Depression — Magnesium plays an important role in depression as it acts as a catalyst for mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin. Research22 published in 2015 found a significant association between very low magnesium intake and depression, especially in younger adults.

Research23 published in PLOS ONE demonstrated magnesium supplementation improved mild-to-moderate depression in adults, with beneficial effects occurring within two weeks of treatment. In fact, the effects of magnesium were comparable to prescription SSRIs in terms of effectiveness, but without any of the side effects associated with these drugs.

Participants in the treatment group received a daily dose of 248 milligrams (mg) of elemental magnesium for six weeks, while controls received no treatment. According to the authors, “It works quickly and is well tolerated without the need for close monitoring for toxicity.”

Memory problems and loss of brain plasticity — Memory impairment occurs when the connections (synapses) between brain cells diminish. While many factors can come into play, magnesium is an important one.

According to Dr. David Perlmutter, a neurologist and fellow of the American College of Nutrition, “magnesium is a critical player in the activation of nerve channels that are involved in synaptic plasticity.”24 Magnesium threonate, which most effectively permeates the blood-brain-barrier, is likely your best choice here.

The specific brain benefits of magnesium threonate were demonstrated in a 2010 study25 published in the journal Neuron, which found this form of magnesium enhanced “learning abilities, working memory, and short- and long-term memory in rats.”

Health Benefits of Vitamin B6

Like magnesium, vitamin B6 (as well as several other B vitamins) also plays an important role in heart and brain health. It is used in the creation of neurotransmitters, and is required for proper brain development during pregnancy and infancy.26

Vitamins B6, B9 (folate, or folic acid in its synthetic form) and B12 may be particularly important for supporting cognitive function as you age, and have been shown to play a major role in the development of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most serious and lethal form.

A primary mechanism of action here is the suppression of homocysteine,27 which tends to be elevated when you have brain degeneration. High homocysteine has also been implicated in the development of atherosclerosis.28,29

The good news is your body can eliminate homocysteine naturally, provided you’re getting enough B9 (folate), B6 and B12. One study confirming this was published in 2010.30 Participants received either a placebo or 800 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid (the synthetic form of B9), 500 mcg of B12 and 20 mg of B6.

The study was based on the presumption that by controlling homocysteine levels you might be able to reduce brain atrophy, thereby slowing the onset of Alzheimer’s. Indeed, after two years those who received the vitamin-B regimen had significantly less brain shrinkage compared to the placebo group.

A 2013 study31 took this research a step further, showing that not only do B vitamins slow brain shrinkage, but they specifically slow shrinkage in brain regions known to be most severely impacted by Alzheimer’s disease.

As in the previous study, participants taking high doses of folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 lowered their blood levels of homocysteine, decreasing brain shrinkage by as much as 90%. High doses of vitamins B6, B8 (inositol) and B12 have also been shown to significantly reduce symptoms of schizophrenia, more so than standard drug treatments alone.32 Vitamin B6 is also important for healthy:

  • Metabolism, by helping break down amino acids in the muscles to be used as energy and by converting lactic acid to glucose in your liver
  • Immune system, as it helps create white blood cells that fight infections
  • Hair and skin health, by reducing hair loss and alleviating dermatitis

How to Improve Your Magnesium and Vitamin B6 Status

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for magnesium ranges from 310 mg to 420 mg for adults over the age of 19, depending on age, gender and pregnancy status,33 and the adult RDA for vitamin B6 is between 1.2 mg and 2 mg per day, depending on age and gender.34

Both magnesium and vitamin B6 are abundant in whole foods. Good sources of magnesium include leafy greens, berries, avocado, seeds, nuts and raw cacao nibs. Eating a primarily processed food diet is the primary culprit in magnesium deficiency, and if you fall into this group, you’d be wise to take a magnesium supplement.

Vitamin B6 is abundant in animal foods such as beef and wild-caught salmon, as well as dark leafy greens, papaya, oranges, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, avocados, bananas, spinach, pistachios and sunflower seeds.35 Nutritional yeast is another excellent source.

Do You Suffer From This Underrated Significant Health Risk?

This article was previously published August 3, 2019, and has been updated with new information.

According to the most recent statistics, loneliness is at “epidemic” levels in the U.S. In a 2018 Cigna insurance health survey1,2,3 of 20,000 individuals aged 18 and over:

  • 46% report sometimes or always feeling lonely
  • 47% say they feel left out
  • 47% say they do not have meaningful in-person social interactions or extended conversations on daily basis
  • 43% sometimes or always feel the relationships they have aren’t meaningful
  • 43% report feeling isolated

The loneliest are young adults between the ages of 18 and 22. This age group also rated their health the lowest, which correlates with science linking loneliness with a greater risk for obesity,4 heart disease,5 anxiety,6 dementia7 and reduced life span.8 In fact, maintaining strong and healthy social connections has been linked to a 50% reduced risk of early death.9,10 Similarly, emotional loneliness is linked with an increased risk of all-cause mortality.11

Studies have also shown that people who are lonely are more likely to experience higher levels of perceived stress,12 increased inflammation,13 reduced immune function14 and poor sleep.15,16

A 2011 study17 found that for each 1-point increase on the UCLA loneliness scale,18 an individual is 8% more likely to experience some sort of sleep disruption. Research19 has also shown that lack of sleep has the effect of triggering feelings of loneliness, so the two problems tend to feed on each other.

Somewhat surprisingly, seniors over the age of 77 — an age group well-known for loneliness — had the lowest loneliness score in Cigna’s survey;20 77% also rated their physical health as good, very good or excellent, compared to just 65% of younger Gen X’ers.

Loneliness Translates Into Higher Health Care Costs

Even the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) acknowledges21 there’s an “epidemic” of loneliness in the U.S., and that it’s taking a mounting toll on public health.

According to HRSA,22 a panel presentation by the National Institute for Health Care Management — a nonprofit research firm for the health insurance industry — revealed social isolation among seniors is costing the federal government $6.7 billion each year in added health care spending, as “poor social relationships” are associated with a 29% higher risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke.

Research by the AARP Foundation — an organization dedicated to empowering American seniors — presents a similar picture. In its 2018 survey,23 “Loneliness and Social Connections,” the AARP reports that 35% of adults over 45 struggle with loneliness. Among those making less than $25,000 a year, the loneliness ratio is 1 in 2.

Aside from financial woes, a diagnosis of depression or anxiety, living in an urban community and the increased use of technology for communication are identified as factors that increase feelings of loneliness.24

Investigating Loneliness

Why is loneliness becoming an increasingly prevalent experience? Through interviews with leading experts around the world, author and investigative journalist Johann Hari has tried to sort out why so many of us struggle with loneliness, depression and anxiety, and what we can do to turn the tide.

In the featured video, “The Loneliness Epidemic,” filmmaker Matt D’Avella interviews Hari about his findings. In his book, “Lost Connections,” Hari investigated the causes behind rising anxiety and depression rates.

Through his travels and interviews, he identified nine scientifically verified causes of depression — only two of which are biological. The remaining seven are all related to how we live.

Once we understand these root causes, it opens up a broader range of possible solutions, Hari notes, pointing out that all around the world, the most effective strategies are the ones that address the real reasons behind people’s distress.

Loss of Tribal Communities Have Taken a Toll

In his book, Hari cites research looking at reported loneliness scales. One question in this study was, “How many close friends do you have that you can turn to in a crisis?”

The most common answer in the past used to be five. Today, the most common answer is “none.” Half of Americans also say that nobody really knows them well. Historically, mankind survived because we banded together and worked as a group. Our very survival often depended on being part of a tribe.

Without a tribe, “we’re depressed and anxious for a reason,” Hari says. “You’re in terrible danger; you’re about to die … We are the first humans ever, in the long … history of our species to try to disband our tribes, and it is making us feel awful.”

Recreating Holistic Communities

Understanding this, how can we fix it? In “Lost Connections,” Hari details how Sir Sam Everington,25 a British doctor in East London, tackled the problem by inviting patients struggling with depression and anxiety to gather and do things together as a group.

As city slickers, none knew much about gardening, so they decided to turn an abandoned plot of land behind Everington’s practice into a group garden. In learning about gardening, and meeting to share and implement their newfound knowledge, they formed a “tribe.”

And with that, “they did what people do when they are part of a tribe,” Hari says, “they began to care about each other … they began to solve each other’s problems.” As one of the participants told Hari, “As the garden began to bloom, we began to bloom.”

Hari cites a similar program in Norway, which showed group gardening to be twice as effective as antidepressants. In his view, there are obvious reasons for this. Forming relationships addresses the reasons people feel bad in the first place.

The Paradoxical Role of Technological Hyperconnectedness

Paradoxically, while loneliness and anxiety are at an all-time high, modern humans are also the most interconnected technologically. Video calls are readily available and social media platforms abound. We’re sharing more of our lives with more people than ever before — or so it seems. Yet it’s not making us feel more connected.

Hari admits it’s a complex issue. To understand this paradox better, he visited the world’s first internet rehab center in Spokane, Washington. A vast majority of patients are young men addicted to multiplayer games. To address their addiction, a key question that needs to be answered is, “What are these young men getting out of playing these games?” Hari says:

“I think what they’re getting is a kind of hollow version of the thing they used to get from society long ago — They get sense of tribe, they get a sense of status, they get the sense they’re good at something, they get the sense they’re moving around. Young people barely leave their homes now. It’s incredible how rarely children play outdoors.”

The problem is, “we didn’t evolve to talk through screens,” Hari says, likening the problem with internet game addiction to that of pornography versus real sex. If all you know about sex is from viewing pornography, dissatisfaction is bound to arise because it doesn’t fulfill the biological need of actual sex.

Hari points out that even when people can see each other on a screen, the feeling of being fully “seen,” as when you are physically face to face, remains absent.

“Human beings have a need to be seen,” he says, adding “the leading expert on loneliness in the world, [the late] professor John Cacioppo,26 said … if social media is a waystation for meeting people offline … it’s a good thing. [But] if it’s the last stop of the line, generally something’s gone wrong.”

Hari points out that when the internet, and social media in particular, arrived on the scene, the sense of community was already waning, and social media gave the appearance of giving back to us something of what we’d lost — friends and status being two examples.

But it’s not a proper replacement. Hari refers to social media as a “parody” of the social connectedness we used to have in the past. “So, what we need to do, in very practical ways, is to restore what we’ve lost,” Hari says.

Is There a Connection Between Materialism and Happiness?

As noted by D’Avella, modern humans are living exceptionally safe and materially comfortable lives. However, materialism and consumerism also serves as a distraction from personal interrelationships. Is there a correlation between material wealth and happiness? he wonders.

Hari cites research by professor Tim Kasser,27 who has studied materialistic values and goals. Like junk food has led to a mass deterioration of health, Kasser believes “junk values” have infiltrated and deteriorated our mental space as well. Kasser’s research conclusively showed that the more you’re driven by money and status, the more likely you are to succumb to depression. Hari says:

“I believe this is because everyone knows they have natural physical needs, right? You need food, you need water, you need shelter, you need clean air — if I took these things away from you, you’d be in real trouble real fast. But there’s equally strong evidence that all human beings have natural psychological needs.

You need to feel you belong … that your life has meaning and purpose, you need to feel that people see you and value you, you need to feel you’ve got a future that makes sense. Our culture is good at lots of things … but we’re getting less and less good at meeting these deep underlying psychological needs.”

Kasser also did research to identify ways to undo some of these effects. The answer turned out to be simple. When people would meet on a regular basis to discuss their materialistic values — such as the feeling they “needed” a certain brand sneaker — it didn’t take long before they began shifting their values, realizing these material acquisitions would not make a difference in their life.

They would also discuss moments in which they felt most satisfied with life, and once the participants had identified activities that made them feel good, they were asked to figure out ways of incorporating more of that into their day-to-day lives.

“Just that process of meeting every couple of weeks and checking in with each other … led to a measurable shift in people’s values,” Hari says. “They became less materialistic, which we know relates to less depression and anxiety.”

According to Hari, research clearly shows that poverty is linked to unhappiness. We all need some basics. But once the basics are covered, additional money does not translate into greater happiness. What’s more, it’s the constant seeking of more money that ultimately corrupts your values and lead to unhappiness.

On the Minimalism Movement

D’Avella brings up the minimalism movement with its focus on simpler living with fewer material belongings, favoring “simple pleasures” and human interactions instead. Is this movement part of the answer? The answer is likely yes.

Hari cites a simple study from the late 1970s in which children were divided into two groups. One group was shown two advertisements for a popular toy while the other group was not shown any advertisements. The two groups were then told to choose between two options: Play with a friendly boy who did not have the toy in question, or play with an unfriendly boy who had the toy.

Children who’d just seen the advertisements overwhelmingly chose to play with the unfriendly boy with the toy, whereas children who’d not been exposed to the advertisements overwhelmingly chose to play with the friendly boy. “Just two ads were enough to prime those kids to choose an inanimate lump of plastic over the possibility of fun and connection,” Hari says.

This, in essence, proves advertising works. Its very purpose is to first make you feel dissatisfied or inadequate, and then present the solution to that dissatisfaction — buy this thing and you won’t be dissatisfied or inadequate anymore. Advertising sells solutions to manufactured wants.

“The idea that we might want to step off that treadmill — I’ve got a limited amount of time in which to be alive; maybe I’ll spend my time on things that are more meaningful — seems to me to be a really positive step,” Hari says.

Overcoming Loneliness

If you struggle with loneliness, you’re certainly not alone. A number of remedies are addressed in the featured interview with Hari. Following are several other strategies, pulled from a variety of sources, that can help address loneliness:28,29

Join a club — Proactive approaches to meeting others include joining a club and planning get-togethers with family, friends or neighbors, Meetup.com is an online source where you can locate a vast array of local clubs and get-togethers. Many communities also have community gardens where you can benefit from the outdoors while mingling with your neighbors.

Learn a new skill — Consider enrolling in a class or taking an educational course.

Create rituals of connection — Rituals are a powerful means for reducing loneliness. Examples include having weekly talk sessions with your girlfriends and/or making meal time a special time to connect with your family without rushing.

Consider a digital cleanse — If your digital life has overtaken face-to-face interactions, consider taking a break from social media while taking proactive steps to meet people in person.

Research shows Facebook may be more harmful than helpful to your emotional well-being, raising your risk of depression — especially if your contacts’ posts elicit envy. In one study,30 Facebook users who took a one-week break from the site reported significantly higher levels of life satisfaction and a significantly improved emotional life.

Make good use of digital media — For others, a phone call or text message can be a much-needed lifeline. Examples of this include sending encouraging text messages to people who are struggling with loneliness, offering support and help to live healthier lives and follow through on healthy lifestyle changes.

Exercise with others — Joining a gym or signing up with a fitness-directed club or team sport will create opportunities to meet people while improving your physical fitness at the same time.

Shop local — Routinely frequenting local shops, coffee shops or farmers markets will help you develop a sense of community and encourage the formation of relationships.

Talk to strangers — Talking to strangers in the store, in your neighborhood or on your daily commute is often a challenge, but can have many valuable benefits, including alleviating loneliness (your own and others’). Talking to strangers builds bridges between ordinary people who may not otherwise forge a connection.

People of the opposite gender, different walks of life or different cultures hold a key to opening up to new ideas or making connections with old ones. In this short video, reporter for The Atlantic, Dr. James Hamblin, demonstrates techniques for learning how to talk with strangers.


Volunteer — Volunteering is another way to increase your social interactions and pave the way for new relationships.

Adopt a companion pet — A dog or cat can provide unconditional love and comfort, and studies show that owning a pet can help protect against loneliness, depression and anxiety. The bond that forms between a person and a companion pet can be incredibly fulfilling and serves, in many ways, as an important and rewarding relationship. The research on this is really quite profound.

For instance, having a dog as a companion could add years to your life,31 as studies have shown that owning a dog played a significant role on survival rates in heart attack victims. Studies have also revealed that people on Medicaid or Medicare who own a pet make fewer visits to the doctor.32

The unconditional acceptance and love a dog gives to their owner positively impacts their owner’s emotional health in ways such as:

  • Boosting self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Helping to meet new friends and promoting communication between elderly residents and neighbors
  • Helping you cope with illness, loss and depression
  • Reducing stress levels
  • Providing a source of touch and affiliation

If you’re looking for a furry friend, check out your local animal shelter. Most are filled with cats and dogs looking for someone to love. Petfinder.com33 is another excellent resource for finding a pet companion.

Move and/or change jobs — While the most drastic of all options, it may be part of the answer for some. To make it worthwhile, be sure to identify the environment or culture that would fit your personality best and consider proximity to longtime friends and family.

10 Common Nutrient Deficiencies

Nutrient deficiencies are very common, even among people who believe they’re eating a balanced diet. In the U.S., 31% of the U.S. population was found to be at risk of at least one vitamin deficiency or anemia,1 increasing the risk of health problems over a lifetime.

Your body depends on essential nutrients for growth, development and health maintenance, and deficiencies in certain vitamins can impact your immunity, vision, wound healing, bone health and much more. Neurological damage is possible from lack of vitamin B12, for instance, while vitamin A deficiency can lead to night blindness.

It’s also estimated that 1 in 3 Americans is deficient in at least 10 minerals, putting them at risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.2 Even at a subclinical level, being deficient in vitamins and minerals can cause a range of symptoms, including:3

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Aches and pains
  • Decreased immune function
  • Heart palpitations

Being aware of which nutrient deficiencies are most widespread is the first step to ensuring that your levels are optimized.

Avoid These 10 Common Nutrient Deficiencies

1. Vitamin D — An estimated 40% of Europeans are deficient in vitamin D, while 13% are severely deficient.4 Among older Americans, however, it’s estimated that up to 100% may be deficient, in large part due to less time spent outdoors.5

It’s now known that vitamin D is necessary not only for healthy bones but for health throughout the body. As a powerful epigenetic regulator, vitamin D influences that activity of more than 2,500 genes, and vitamin D receptors are present all over the body, including in the intestine, pancreas, prostate and immune system cells.6 Vitamin D plays a role in numerous diseases, including:7

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Acute respiratory tract infections
  • Chronic inflammatory diseases
  • Autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis

To ward off infection and prevent chronic diseases, the level you’re aiming for is between 60 and 80 ng/mL, with 40 ng/mL being the low cutoff point for sufficiency to prevent a wide range of diseases, including cancer.

The single most important method of optimizing your vitamin D levels is exposing enough of your skin to the sun during around solar noon, which is 1 p.m. for those who live in Daylight Savings Time in the summer. One must be careful to never get burnt while understanding that the primary reason most people burn is that they have too much linoleic acid in their fat and that is the molecule the sun damages, which leads to burns and skin cancers.

Not only will regular sun exposure help to optimize your vitamin D levels but it will also increase melatonin in your mitochondria, which will decrease oxidative stress and increase energy production efficiency. It will also help to metabolize vitamin A and optimize your immune function.

If you are unable to reach at least 40 ng/ml with sun exposure you might want to consider an oral supplement, but that should be your last resort. I haven’t swallowed vitamin D for well over a decade and my level is still over 50 in the winter and 70 to 80 in the summer.

If you had zero sun exposure on significant areas of your bare skin, like most people, then research suggests it would require 9,600 IUs of vitamin D per day for most to reach 40 ng/mL,8 but individual requirements can vary widely, and you’ll need to get your levels tested to ensure you take the correct dosage required to get you into the optimal range.

The only way to gauge whether you might need to supplement, and how much to take, is to get your level tested, ideally twice a year, in the early spring, after the winter and early fall when your level is at its peak and low point. It’s important to note that vitamin D supplementation must be balanced with other nutrients, namely vitamin K2 (to avoid complications associated with excessive calcification in your arteries), calcium and magnesium.

2. Magnesium — It’s estimated that more than half the U.S. population may not be consuming enough magnesium.9 The primary role of minerals is to act as cofactors for enzymes, but that’s just the bare minimum.

“They literally are the shields for oxidative stress,” James DiNicolantonio, Pharm.D., author of “The Mineral Fix,” explains, “because they make up our antioxidant enzymes. They help us produce and activate ATP, help us produce DNA, protein, so literally every function in the body is dependent, in some way, on minerals.”10

Your levels of powerful antioxidants like glutathione are directly dependent on your magnesium status. Further, magnesium, which is required for the conversion of vitamin D into its active form, works in concert with vitamin D and is important to ensure you’re properly utilizing the vitamin D you’re taking.

You only need about 150 milligrams (mg) to 180 mg a day to prevent deficiency, but optimal levels are closer to the 600 mg/day level. For comparison, the RDA for magnesium is around 310 mg to 420 mg per day depending on your age and sex.11 But like DiNicolantonio, many experts believe you may need around 600 mg to 900 mg per day. As noted in Open Heart:12

“Investigations of the macro- and micro-nutrient supply in Paleolithic nutrition of the former hunter/gatherer societies showed a magnesium uptake with the usual diet of about 600 mg magnesium/day …

This means our metabolism is best adapted to a high magnesium intake … In developed countries, the average intake of magnesium is slightly over 4 mg/kg/day … [T]he average intake of magnesium in the USA is around 228 mg/day in women and 266mg/day in men …”

Dark green leafy vegetables are a good source of magnesium, and juicing your greens is an excellent way to boost your intake, although supplementation is likely necessary for most people. You can measure your red blood cell magnesium to see just how good your magnesium status is.

If your magnesium levels are low, it would certainly be wise to supplement. For oral supplementation, my personal preference is magnesium threonate, as it appears to be the most efficient at penetrating cell membranes, including your mitochondria and blood-brain barrier.

3. Vitamin K2 — There are two types of vitamin K: phylloquinone, or vitamin K1; and menaquinones, or vitamin K2. Vitamin K2, known for its role in bone and heart health, is found in grass fed animal products such as meat, eggs, liver and dairy, as well as in fermented foods, including sauerkraut, certain cheeses and the fermented soy food natto — items that many Americans do not consume enough of.

One of the reasons why vitamin K2 is so important for heart health has to do with a complex biochemistry involving the enzymes matrix gla-protein (MGP), found in your vascular system,13 and osteocalcin, found in your bone.

“Gla” stands for glutamic acid, which binds to calcium in the cells of your arterial wall and removes it from the lining of your blood vessels. Once removed from your blood vessel lining, vitamin K2 then facilitates the integration of that calcium into your bone matrix by handing it over to osteocalcin, which in turn helps “cement” the calcium in place inside your bone.

Vitamin K2 activates these two proteins, so without it, this transfer process of calcium from your arteries to your bone cannot occur, which raises your risk of arterial calcification. In fact, in one study, those who had the highest amount of vitamin K2 were 52% less likely to experience severe calcification in their arteries and 57% less likely to die from heart disease over a seven- to 10-year period.14

Vitamin K2 also works in tandem with vitamin D and magnesium. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to screen or test for vitamin K2 sufficiency. Vitamin K2 cannot at present be measured directly, so it’s measured through an indirect assessment of undercarboxylated osteocalcin. This test is still not commercially available, however. For most people it is wise to consider supplementing with a vitamin K2 supplement.

As a general rule, if you have osteoporosis, heart disease or diabetes, you’re likely deficient in vitamin K2. Further, it’s believed that the vast majority of people are in fact deficient and would benefit from more K2, which you can achieve by eating more of the following foods:

  • Certain fermented foods such as natto, or vegetables fermented using a starter culture of vitamin K2-producing bacteria
  • Certain cheeses such as Brie, Munster and Gouda, which are particularly high in K2
  • Grass fed organic animal products such as egg yolks, liver, butter and dairy

4. Vitamin B12 — Vitamin B12, a water-soluble vitamin also known as cobalamin, plays a role in numerous biochemical reactions and neurological functions in your body, including DNA synthesis.15 Your body can’t make vitamin B12 on its own, so it must be obtained via your diet or supplementation.

A deficiency can be serious and leads to a number of related changes, including personality disturbances, irritability and depression, along with a wide range of symptoms, including joint pain, “pins and needles” sensations, numbness and shortness of breath.16

It’s been suggested that nearly two-fifths of Americans may have lower than ideal B12 levels, with 9% deficient and 16% below 185 pmol/L, which is considered marginally deficient.17 While vegetarians and vegans are susceptible since B12 is derived from animal products, even meat eaters may be deficient, as problems with absorption are common.

B-12 is the largest vitamin molecule and as such has a hard time being absorbed by your body. Your stomach produces a glycoprotein called intrinsic factor, which combines with vitamin B-12 so it can be absorbed in your lower small intestine. The problem is that as people age many lose the ability to produce intrinsic factor and are prone to developing vitamin B-12 deficiency.

B12 is tightly bound to proteins and high acidity is required to break this bond. Some people may not have sufficient stomach acid to separate the B12 from the protein. Advancing age may also diminish your ability to absorb the vitamin from food and increase your risk of deficiency.

Regularly eating B12-rich foods, such as grass fed beef liver, wild rainbow trout and wild sockeye salmon, is important to maintain adequate levels, but if you suspect you may be deficient, weekly B12 shots or a high-dose, daily supplement may be necessary.

Methylcobalamin, which is the naturally occurring form of vitamin B12 found in food, is more absorbable than the cyanocobalamin, which is the type found in most supplements.18 If you are elderly, it is an inexpensive insurance approach to take a B-12 supplement with methylcobalamin.

5. Omega-3 fats — An omega-3 index test is one of the most important annual health screens that everyone needs, and it’s a more important predictor of your heart disease risk than your cholesterol levels. In fact, research supported by the National Institutes of Health suggests that an omega-3 test can give you an idea of your overall health and all-cause mortality.19,20

The study measured the omega-3 index in 2,500 participants and found that those with the highest omega-3 index had lower risks of heart problems and lower total mortality. The omega-3 index measures of the amount of EPA and DHA in the membranes of your red blood cells (RBC). Your index is expressed as a percent of your total RBC fatty acids.

The omega-3 index has been validated as a stable, long-term marker of your omega-3 status, and it reflects your tissue levels of EPA and DHA. An omega-3 index over 8% is associated with the lowest risk of death from heart disease, while an index below 4% places you at the highest risk of heart disease-related mortality.

The ideal sources for EPA and DHA include cold-water fatty fish, like wild-caught Alaskan salmon, sardines, herring and anchovies. If you do not eat these fish on a regular basis, consider taking a krill oil supplement.

In addition, be aware that your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio should be about 1-to-1 or possibly up to 4-to-1, but most Americans consume far too many omega-6 fats and not enough omega-3. In addition to increasing your omega-3, it’s important to cut down on omega-6, especially in the form of industrially processed seeds oils, often referred to as “vegetable oils,” in most processed foods.

6. Vitamin A — An estimated 51% of adults are not consuming enough vitamin A,21 increasing their risk of degenerative diseases like macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in the U.S. — and the third leading cause of blindness globally (after cataracts and glaucoma).22

People who eat foods rich in vitamin A, or retinol, not beta-carotene, experience a reduced risk of developing squamous cell skin cancer as well, as vitamin A affects cell growth and differentiation, which plays a role in the development of cancer.23,24

Vitamin A is a group of nutrients that falls into two different categories: retinoids found in animal foods and carotenoids found in plant foods. The two are chemically different and provide different health benefits, but both are necessary for optimal health. Plant foods high in beta-carotene include sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe and mangoes.25 Animal foods rich in vitamin A include liver, egg yolks and grass fed butter.

7. Vitamin E — Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that acts as a sink for the many reactive oxygen species in your body. Vitamin E is also neuroprotective, helping to protect your eyes from glaucoma,26 and needed by your body to boost immune function and widen blood vessels to keep blood from clotting.27

But many Americans do not consume enough vitamin E-rich foods, putting them at risk of deficiency. You can find vitamin E in nuts and seeds, as well as spinach and broccoli. Remember that antioxidant supplements such as vitamin E are fat-soluble and best taken with a fatty meal.

8. Iodine — Nearly 2 billion people worldwide don’t get enough iodine in their diet.28 Your body uses iodine across several organ systems, but it is most commonly known to synthesize thyroid hormones. Clinically low levels of iodine are associated with visible symptoms, such as a goiter (swelling of the thyroid gland), hypothyroidism or pregnancy-related problems. However, subclinical iodine deficiency can also interfere with your thyroid function.

Even moderately imbalanced thyroid levels may be associated with increased risk of metabolic syndrome, researchers noted in the journal Environmental International, which is why “studying factors that contribute to low thyroid function, even at the subclinical level, is of high public health importance.”29

Thyroid hormones, for instance, are essential for normal growth and development in children, neurological development in babies before birth and in the first year of life, and in regulating your metabolism.30

In addition, iodine is an essential mineral that helps prevent polyunsaturated fats from oxidizing, alkalizes your body’s pH, protects against cancer and is a natural antibacterial agent. Foods that are naturally iodine-rich include spirulina, sea vegetables, prunes, raw dairy products, eggs and Himalayan pink sea salt. Eating these foods on a regular basis will help ensure adequate levels.

9. Carnosine (beta-alanine) — Carnosine is a dipeptide composed of two amino acids: beta-alanine and histidine. It’s a potent antioxidant as it binds to advanced lipoxidation endproducts (ALEs) that are the result of oxidized seed oils in your diet. The highest concentrations of carnosine are found in your muscles and brain.

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you will have lower levels of carnosine in your muscles. This is one reason why many strict vegans who do not properly compensate for this and other nutritional deficiencies tend to have trouble building muscle. Carnosine itself is not very useful as a supplement as it is rapidly broken down into its constituent amino acids by certain enzymes. Your body then reformulates those amino acids back to carnosine in your muscles.

A more efficient alternative is to supplement with beta-alanine, which appears to be the rate limiting amino acid in the formation of carnosine. Eating beef is known to efficiently raise carnosine levels in your muscle,31 which is why if you’re a vegetarian or vegan this supplement may be particularly important.

10. Saturated fat from butter, animal products — The introduction of the first Dietary Guidelines for Americans in 1980, which recommended limiting saturated fat and cholesterol, coincided with a rapid rise in obesity and chronic diseases such as heart disease.

As saturated fats fell out of favor, and health officials wrongly urged Americans to avoid such healthy fats as butter, Americans began replacing them with products made from refined vegetable/seed oils, which are among the worst foods to consume.

Many are still not consuming enough saturated fats, such as those from grass fed butter. In a systematic review and meta-analysis of nine publications including 15 country-specific cohorts, butter consumption was not significantly associated with cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease or stroke, but increased consumption was associated with a lower incidence of diabetes.32

Grass fed butter, alone, is a rich source of vitamin A in the most absorbable form, vitamin E, vitamin K2, antioxidants, conjugated linoleic acid, iodine in a highly absorbable form, vitamin D and more.33 By consuming nutritious whole foods like butter, you can lower your risk of multiple nutrient deficiencies at once.

The best way to ward off nutrient deficiencies is to intentionally fortify your meals with whole, nutrient-dense foods, including healthy saturated and omega-3 fats. Targeted supplements can also be beneficial to make up for any nutritional gaps. When choosing any multivitamin or mineral supplements, look for a manufacturer that has checks and balances in place to ensure the quality of the product.

Higher Levels of These Antioxidants Linked to Lower Dementia

A study supported by the National Institute on Aging and published in the journal Neurology demonstrates that people who have higher levels of specific antioxidants in their blood could reduce their potential risk of developing dementia.1,2

Antioxidants are substances that help protect the body against cell damage from free radicals. The body produces free radicals as a part of normal metabolism, after exposure to some environmental pollutants and exercise.3 At high levels they can damage cells and genetic material.

Free radicals have one less electron, which makes them unstable. The free radical seeks to steal the necessary electron from any nearby substance, thus turning that substance into a free radical. Free radical damage can also change how a cell functions, which leads to oxidative stress and chronic diseases.4

The body uses antioxidants to fight against free radicals because they donate an extra electron to the free radical without turning into a free radical themselves. Some of the antioxidants you are likely familiar with include carotenoids, manganese, selenium, vitamin E, vitamin C and beta-carotene.

While antioxidants all have similar functions, they are not all interchangeable, which means they have unique properties and no one single substance can do all the work. In the past decade, researchers have discovered that many of the chronic diseases and disorders in modern day society are linked to an increase in inflammation.

An imbalance of natural antioxidants to free radical production can increase the inflammatory response that’s associated with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity and arthritis.5

Researchers have long known that antioxidants play a role in the prevention of dementia.6,7,8 The featured study has identified three specific antioxidants that may play a role in reducing the risk of dementia.9

Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Beta-Cryptoxanthin Lower Dementia Risk

Researchers were interested in how antioxidants may affect the development of dementia. One study author, May A. Beydoun, Ph.D., MPH, of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, Maryland, commented on the need to address cognitive functioning in an aging population:10

“Extending people’s cognitive functioning is an important public health challenge. Antioxidants may help protect the brain from oxidative stress, which can cause cell damage. Further studies are needed to test whether adding these antioxidants can help protect the brain from dementia.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association,11 by 2050, there will be nearly 13 million people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, it kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined and, in 2020, COVID contributed to a 17% rise in the deaths of people with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

In 2022, the Alzheimer’s Association estimated that dementia costs $321 billion, which could rise to nearly $1 trillion by 2050. An estimate published in 2022 in the Lancet12 and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, estimated the global number of people with all forms of dementia would rise from 57.4 million to 152.8 million in 2050.

The writers of the study then noted that the “growth and number underscores the need for public health planning efforts and policy to address the needs of this group.”13 The study supports the Foundation’s investment in dementia,14 including interest in vaccines15 with a partnership with the pharmaceutical industry.16

A systematic review and meta-analysis published in 202017 found that the number of people with dementia nearly doubles every five years and the prevalence is greater in women than in men. These numbers underscore the importance of finding strategies that can help reduce the potential risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

The study18 engaged 7,283 people who were given blood tests and a physical exam and then followed for an average of 16 years. All participants were at least 45 years old at the start. The researchers measured levels of three antioxidants — lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoxanthin.

The researchers19 split the participants into three groups and found those whose blood levels were highest for lutein and zeaxanthin had a lower risk of developing dementia than those who had the lowest levels. For every standard deviation of increase in these two antioxidants, the participants had a 7% reduction in risk.

They also found that for every standard deviation increase in beta-cryptoxanthin, the participants had a 14% reduced risk of dementia. Beydoun pointed out there were several limitations to the study, including that when other factors were considered in the analysis, such as education and physical activity, the risk of dementia was lowered.

The writers also noted that antioxidants were measured at the start and end of the study. However, this may not reflect the level of antioxidants that a person had throughout their lifetime. Foods high in lutein and zeaxanthin20 include dark leafy greens like spinach, peas, summer squash, pumpkin and broccoli. Foods high in beta-cryptoxanthin include peppers, pumpkin, squash, oranges and persimmons.21

Lutein and Zeaxanthin Important for Eye Health

Lutein and zeaxanthin have long been prized for their vision enhancing properties as they are the only two antioxidants that reach the retina.22 Researchers write they are “uniquely concentrated in the retina and lens, indicating that each has a possible specific function in these two vital ocular tissues.”23

Animal studies have shown that diets that are less than optimal in primates trigger pathological problems in the macula. Researchers believe these antioxidants are “conditionally essential nutrients.”24

Both are carotenoids that are major contributors to the yellow and red pigments found in vegetables. There is mounting evidence that lutein can improve or prevent age-related macular disease and has a positive effect on other health conditions, such as cognitive function, cancer and heart health.25

High levels of these carotenoids help stave off age-related eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Diet influences your risk for healthy vision. According to Loren Cordain, an evolutionary biologist at the Colorado State University in Fort Collins, elevated insulin levels affect the development of your eyeball, making it abnormally long, thereby causing near-sightedness.26

High insulin levels from excess carbohydrates can increase insulin resistance and disturb the delicate choreography that normally coordinates eyeball lengthening and lens growth. When your eyeball elongates, the lens can no longer flatten itself enough to focus a sharp image on your retina.

This theory is consistent with observations that you’re more likely to develop myopia if you are overweight27 or have Type 2 diabetes,28 both of which raise insulin levels. Lutein has also been found to promote health in other ways, including:

  • Diets rich in the carotenoids beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene confer greater resistance against oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol,29 which plays a role in the development of atherosclerosis. Higher plasma concentration of carotenoids was also associated with lower DNA damage.30
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin in combination with vitamin E appear to improve lung function.31
  • Plasma levels of antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E, beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene and alpha- and beta-carotene are inversely correlated with congestive heart failure severity.32
  • Plasma carotenoid levels are also inversely correlated with prostate cancer.33

Astaxanthin Slows Brain Aging

Astaxanthin is another carotenoid, which is responsible for the pink or red color of wild-caught Alaskan salmon. According to Science Direct,34 “when compared to other antioxidants such as lycopene, vitamin E and vitamin A,” astaxanthin comes out on top and is often referred to as the “king of antioxidants.”

It is derived from Haematococcus microalgae, which produce astaxanthin as a protective mechanism to shield from harsh ultraviolet (UV) light.35 Data demonstrates how astaxanthin helps protect your skin from the inside out.36

Your body uses astaxanthin to protect against reactive oxygen species (ROS) and oxidation, which plays a role in protection against dementia, heart disease, aging and Parkinson’s disease.37 Antioxidant supplementation helps when you don’t get enough from your diet, which helps alleviate oxidative damage.

Researchers writing in the journal Marine Drugs,38 recognized the challenge of maintaining brain function while human life expectancy lengthens. In their review of the literature, they identified several pathways astaxanthin could take in slowing brain aging. They found several studies where astaxanthin modulated biological mechanisms, one of the main factors which was the forkhead box 03 gene (FOXO3).

This is one of only two genes with a significant impact on human longevity. They also found that astaxanthin increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the brain and attenuates oxidative damage to DNA, lipids and protein. After reviewing the literature, they concluded it was possible astaxanthin could promote longevity and slow the rate of aging due to its neuroprotective properties.39

Slowing brain aging is significant since the neurological aging process is directly linked to cognitive function. Some cognitive changes that can occur with aging, but are not necessarily normal,40 include finding it difficult to remember words, having difficulty with multitasking, recalling names, or having more difficulty paying attention.

Although astaxanthin is a carotenoid, the molecular structure is unique, and it is more potent than other carotenoids. One of the key differences is that it has a surplus of electrons to donate as it neutralizes free radicals.41,42 Another unique factor is that it can protect both water- and fat-soluble parts of the cell.43 This makes astaxanthin a powerful antioxidant, which data showed is greater than alpha lipoic acid, green tea catechins, CoQ10 and vitamin C.44

Most antioxidant carotenoids are either water-soluble or fat-soluble, but astaxanthin’s effectiveness is due to the capability to interface between water and fat. It can also cross the blood-brain barrier, where it exerts a strong protective effect on neurological health.45 While it is found in wild-caught salmon, you can purchase high-quality astaxanthin supplements or consider krill oil supplements, which have the added benefit of omega-3 fatty acids.46

Sulforaphane Activates Antioxidant Responses

Sulforaphane is an organosulfur compound that researchers believe may prove useful to fight Alzheimer’s Disease by altering the production of amyloid-beta and tau. These are two main factors known to contribute to the development of the disease.47 Levels of amyloid-beta proteins may become abnormally high, clumping together to form plaques that disrupt neuron function.

Abnormal accumulation of the protein tau may also collect inside neurons, forming neurofibrillary tangles that disrupt communication. One animal study48 of Alzheimer’s disease showed that sulforaphane ameliorated amyloid-beta deposits and cognitive function. This hinted at a potential treatment that might also be useful in humans.

Sulforaphane is an Nrf2 activator that works in a dose-dependent fashion to halt dysregulation. An animal study49 suggested that the dysregulation of Nrf2 may be attenuated through sulforaphane. Lab data50 also show that sulforaphane “activates antioxidant and anti-inflammatory responses by inducing Nrf2 pathways” and has relevance to preventing neurodegeneration and signs of aging.

Eating more cruciferous vegetables high in sulforaphane or taking a high-quality supplement, is useful for far more than brain health. For instance, sulforaphane may be helpful in the treatment of diabetes as well as lowering blood glucose levels51 and improving gene expression in your liver.52

Sulforaphane can also improve apoptosis in colon53 and lung cancer cells.54 It also can reduce damaging ROS by as much as 73%, which lowers your risk of inflammation.55

Sulforaphane plays a role in the augmentation of glutathione. Glutathione is commonly referred to as the master antioxidant,56 since it is the most powerful antioxidant and is found inside every cell in the body. Glutathione is different from other antioxidants since it works intracellularly57 and has the unique ability to maximize the activity of other antioxidants.58

Excessive oxidative stress has a significant impact on the pathophysiology of brain disorders. One study59 found a correlation between peripheral levels of glutathione and levels of glutathione found in the brain. They also discovered that sulforaphane raised blood levels of glutathione in humans after only seven days of oral supplementation.

The results of the pilot study have suggested there is a significant relationship between glutathione and sulforaphane that is worth exploring as it appeared to have an impact on neuropsychological measures that are altered in neuropsychiatric disorders.