Does Your Bottled Water Contain Nanoplastics?

bottled water nanoplastics

  • Using new technology, researchers were able to more accurately detect single nanoparticle plastics smaller than 100 nanometers (nm) and found concentrations that ranged from 110,000 to 370,000 particles per 1 liter of water

  • This was far higher than the 2018 estimate that found an average of 325 microplastic particles per bottle; the technology found millions of nanoparticles that were not among the seven types of plastics the algorithm could identify, suggesting they did not originate from the bottle

  • The size of the nanoparticles creates the most questions and concerns as they can get into individual cells and cause dysfunction in major organs when they deposit endocrine-disrupting chemicals

  • Plastic has contributed greatly to the throwaway society in which we live. Municipal wastewater treatment plants are not equipped to filter out plastic particles and one study using older technology estimated we consume an average of one credit card’s worth of plastic each week

  • There’s evidence that plastic chemicals are harming the health of future generations through intergenerational endocrine disruption. We can all have an impact on plastic pollution by not adding to it, such as avoiding plastic bags and water bottles, and washing synthetic clothes less frequently

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Using a hyperspectral stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) imaging platform, researchers1 were able to detect single nanoparticle plastics smaller than 100 nanometers (nm) more accurately than before. Researchers were able to identify seven types of plastic particles and count concentrations that ranged from 110,000 to 370,000 particles per 1 liter of water, far higher than the estimate in 2018 that found an average of 325 microplastic particles per bottle.2

While the featured study found plastic nanoparticles in bottled water at volumes far higher than anticipated, plastic water bottles are not the only source of plastic that we can consume. Microplastics from artificial clothing fibers, microbeads in personal care products, and plastics that break down from fishing nets, plastic bags, and biosolids spread on cropland have created a nightmare for the environment, particularly the oceans, waterways, and marine and bird life.

While some lobby groups are fighting to restrict plastic use, other groups and organizations that rely on plastics for their financial health, are fighting those restrictions. The Plastics Industry Association’s lobbying arm, the American Recyclable Plastic Bag Alliance, formerly the American Progressive Bag Alliance,3 backs legislation that would prevent local communities from addressing plastic pollution.

For example, in Tennessee, legislation was passed that prohibited local cities from enacting bans on plastic grocery bags, which was supported by the American Progressive Bag Alliance.4 The group argues that people use these bags multiple times, and they are recyclable at the stores they came from.

“If you love the outdoors, you love nature, and you think that Tennessee is a beautiful place, I really cannot see any justification for saying that it’s OK to have these single-use plastics that we see piled up against fences … in our rivers,” said Richard Briggs, Senate Republican. “It won’t get any better by doing nothing, it will only get worse.”5

Reducing single-use plastic bags can help to lower the volume of microplastics that enter the waterways and are difficult to extract. However, the featured study measured the volume of nanoplastics released into bottled water “with unprecedented sensitivity and specificity.”6 The results demonstrated a far higher volume of nanoparticles than expected.

And, as CNN Health notes,7 the size of nanoparticles is such that they can move through the tissues of the digestive tract or lungs and enter the bloodstream where they are distributed throughout the body. For comparison, the researchers were measuring particles of plastic that measure 1,000th the average width of a human hair and they found an average of 240,000 particles from seven types of plastic in the equivalent of two standard-sized water bottles.

Of the plastics identified, 90% were nanoplastics and the remainder were microplastics, that range from less than 0.2 inches (5 millimeters) to 1/25,000 of 1 inch (1 micrometer). Sherri Mason, director of sustainability at Penn State Behrend, who was not involved in the study, called the work “profound” and “groundbreaking.”8

Mason said these findings reinforce the advice that you should steer clear of plastic contact in your food and drink. “People don’t think of plastics as shedding, but they do,” she said. “In almost the same way we’re constantly shedding skin cells, plastics are constantly shedding little bits that break off, such as when you open that plastic container for your store-bought salad or a cheese that’s wrapped in plastic.”9

The data from this study offers new information. But, even more disturbing, the researchers were studying seven major types of plastic when they concluded there were from 110,000 to 370,000 bits of plastic in the three popular brands of water sold. However, using the new technology, the researchers could see millions of nanoparticles that were not among the seven types they studied.10

In other words, 370,000 nanoparticles of plastic in 1 liter of bottled water are just the tip of the iceberg. At the time of the study, the researchers were limited to seven types of plastics based on new technology. The modified version of spectroscopy used to boost the image could not identify the particles, so the researchers developed a machine-based learning technology that allowed them to identify seven types.

Lead author Naixin Qian commented on the types of plastic found in bottled water, saying, “Based on other studies we expected most of the microplastics in bottled water would come from leakage of the plastic bottle itself, which is typically made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic. However, we found there are actually many diverse types of plastics in a bottle of water, and that different plastic types have different size distributions.”11

The researchers identified plastics that were not all from the bottle. The team from Columbia is now investigating a hypothesis that particles may have come from the source water or tainted at the manufacturing plant. This begs the question, which has less plastic, tap water or bottled water?

The size of the nanoparticles creates the most questions and concerns as they can get into individual cells and cause dysfunction in major organs when they deposit endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Phoebe Stapleton is an associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Rutgers University’s Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy and one of the scientists on the study.12

“Micro and nanoplastics have been found in the human placenta at this point,” Stapleton said. “They’ve been found in human lung tissues. They’ve been found in human feces; they’ve been found in human blood.”

“We know these microparticles are getting into the body, and we know even greater percentages of the smaller nanoparticles are getting into cells, but we don’t know exactly where they’re going in the cell or what they are doing, and we don’t know if or how they’re getting back out again,” she told CNN Health.13

The researchers point out that there “remains a fundamental knowledge gap in nanoplastics because of the lack of effective analytical techniques,”14 which the new technological advancement appears to begin to bridge. Mason points out that this is a new frontier in plastic research, understanding the potential impact it has on human health.

Scientists are only just beginning to understand the vast influence plastics have on the environment and the human body. CNN reached out to the International Bottled Water Association for comment. A spokesperson told CNN via email:15

“More research needs to be done to develop standardized methods for measuring and quantifying nanoplastics in our environment. There currently is both a lack of standardized methods and no scientific consensus on the potential health impacts of nano- and microplastic particles. Therefore, media reports about these particles in drinking water do nothing more than unnecessarily scare consumers.”

Senior writer on the study, Wei Min, is a professor of chemistry at Columbia University in New York City who co-invented SRS in 2008. Min told CNN16 that the technology is well suited to evaluating human tissue samples and that the study’s raw data is a series of images. “In fact, we have plenty of data to show if a particle has entered a particular location in a certain type of cell, then we will be able to locate it precisely in space,” he said.

It’s no secret that we live in a throwaway society and many products are manufactured for short-term consumption. Estimates suggest that by 2050 the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish and marine life will be irreparably destroyed.17 One problem with plastic is that it doesn’t biodegrade, it photodegrades.18 This process can take hundreds of years, and even as it breaks down it doesn’t completely vanish.

Additionally, municipal wastewater treatment systems fail to filter out microplastics, since the process was invented long before the plastic explosion. As I wrote in late 2023, thanks to a throwaway mentality, plastic has invaded some of the most pristine areas of the world, threatening wildlife and the water supply.

According to Australian research,19 the average person consumes approximately 5 grams of plastic each week. To put that into context, that’s about the size of one credit card. These data were published in 2019, long before the current advances in technology demonstrating an even greater amount of plastic is ingested in bottled water than was estimated in the past.

There is clearly a potential for catastrophic biological consequences as many of the plasticizing chemicals are similar in structure to natural human hormones and as such, interfere with many physiological processes. And we don’t just ingest plastic particles in our water supply. According to a study20 from Amsterdam, roughly 80% of beef and pork meat, blood and milk contain plastic particles.

One study writer commented that “producing plastic-free feed for animals may be one way to improve exposure to plastic particles for livestock.” As if we are not eating enough plastic,21 the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is partnering with universities to create a process that makes food from plastic and paper waste, which began as a project to provide short-term nourishment for U.S. military personnel on extended missions.

In this video, Pete Myers, Ph.D., adjunct professor of chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University and founder, CEO and chief scientist of Environmental Health Sciences, talks about plastic chemicals and the impact it has on the human endocrine system. According to Myers, there’s evidence that plastic chemicals are harming the health of future generations through intergenerational endocrine disruption.

As I have written in the past, we have a dangerous addiction to plastic with a long list of known health disturbances and problems. Added to this, recycling is nearly impossible and costly. While the Australian research showed that plastic particles end up in livestock meat, researchers at the University of Vienna discovered it also ends up in the brain.22

Just two hours after mice ingested drinking water with plastic, particles were found in the mice’s brains, which increases the risk of neurological disorders and inflammation.

According to The Guardian,23 “In addition to potentially severe degenerative consequences, the researchers also believe that microplastic contamination in our brains can cause short-term health effects such as cognitive impairment, neurotoxicity and altered neurotransmitter levels, which can contribute to behavioral changes.”

A 2019 study,24 found that polystyrene microplastics affected the gut barrier, microbiota and metabolism of mice. The authors reported “In this study, we exposed male mice to 5 μm pristine and fluorescent polystyrene MP for six weeks. The results showed that the polystyrene MP was observed in the guts of mice and could reduce the intestinal mucus secretion and cause damage to the intestinal barrier function.”

Eliminating unnecessary plastic packaging could go a long way toward reducing plastic waste. Beverage manufacturers can also make a dent in pollution and adverse health effects by reverting to inert and easily recyclable glass bottles.

While many have promised to tackle plastic pollution, no apparent dent has been made in the rising tide of plastics entering the oceans, water supply, food supply, and our bodies. We can all have an impact on plastic pollution individually, by not adding to it. Consider:

  • Avoiding plastic bags (including for snacks and food storage)

  • Avoiding disposable straws (reusable straws made from stainless steel, bamboo and even glass are widely available)

  • Washing synthetic clothes less frequently, and when you do, use a gentle cycle to reduce the number of fibers released; consider using products that catch laundry fibers in your washing machine

  • Choosing non-plastic toothbrushes made from bamboo or flax

  • Avoiding disposable plastic bottles; bring your own reusable bottle instead

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Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Mercola, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked.

The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Mercola and his community. Dr. Mercola encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. The subscription fee being requested is for access to the articles and information posted on this site, and is not being paid for any individual medical advice.

If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content.

Surprise! Everything You’ve Been Told About Salt Is Wrong

salt health effects

  • Eating lots of salt will not make you thirsty or cause greater urine output. A study involving Russian cosmonauts reveal eating more salt actually lowered their thirst — yet increased hunger

  • As your salt intake increases, your glucocorticoid hormone level rises, causing greater water availability (hence lower thirst) and increased fat and muscle breakdown — an energy-intensive process resulting in increased hunger

  • A high-salt diet will not increase your risk of heart disease. Having the correct potassium to sodium balance influences your risk for high blood pressure and heart disease to a far greater extent than high sodium alone

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Editor’s Note: This article is a reprint. It was originally published May 29, 2017.

Do you believe high amounts of salt provoke thirst and contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease? If so, you’re likely wrong. Studies have consistently failed to support either of these notions, showing the converse is actually true. Here’s a summary of findings that may surprise you:

  • Eating large amounts of salt will not make you thirsty or cause greater urine output (which could lead to dehydration). A study1 involving Russian cosmonauts reveal eating more salt actually lowered their thirst — yet increased hunger.2 3

    Animal research4 support these results, showing a high-salt diet resulted in increased metabolism, forcing the animals to eat 25% more calories just to maintain weight. This suggests salt may have a surprising influence on your weight

  • Evidence shows having the correct potassium to sodium balance influences your risk for high blood pressure and heart disease to a far greater extent than high sodium alone, and processed foods are typically low in potassium and high in sodium

  • Studies suggest a low-salt diet can actually worsen cardiovascular disease and raise rather than lower the risk for early death among patients at high risk of heart disease5

  • The vast majority, approximately 71%, of your salt intake comes from processed food.6 Hence, if you avoid processed foods, you have virtually no risk of consuming too much salt.7 Eating a whole food diet will also ensure a more appropriate sodium-to-potassium ratio

  • When lowering salt in processed foods, many manufacturers started adding monosodium glutamate (MSG) instead — a flavor enhancer associated with obesity, headaches, eye damage,8 fatigue and depression. Due to its ability to overexcite neurons, MSG may even raise your risk for neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease

It’s pretty bizarre that our understanding about salt is this poor, yet that’s what can happen when you assume the science is settled and you’ve got it all figured out. As reported by The New York Times:9

“If you eat a lot of salt — sodium chloride — you will become thirsty and drink water, diluting your blood enough to maintain the proper concentration of sodium. Ultimately you will excrete much of the excess salt and water in urine. The theory is intuitive and simple.

And it may be completely wrong … [Research] contradicts much of the conventional wisdom about how the body handles salt and suggests that high levels may play a role in weight loss.”

The research is the culmination of a quest by Jens Titze, a kidney specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, who in 1991 became puzzled by the discovery that astronauts’ urine output followed a seven-day cycle. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason for why their urine output would increase and decrease in this cyclical manner.

Then, in 1994, Titze studied the urine output patterns of a crew on the Mir station, discovering a 28-day rhythm in sodium retention — and that the amount of sodium in the astronauts’ bodies was completely unrelated to their urine output. This was a truly puzzling finding. As noted in the featured article:10

“The sodium levels should have been rising and falling with the volume of urine. Although the study wasn’t perfect — the crew members’ sodium intake was not precisely calibrated — Dr. Titze was convinced something other than fluid intake was influencing sodium stores in the crew’s bodies. The conclusion, he realized, ‘was heresy’ …

When the crew ate more salt, they excreted more salt; the amount of sodium in their blood remained constant, and their urine volume increased. ‘But then we had a look at fluid intake, and were more than surprised,’ he said.

Instead of drinking more, the crew were drinking less … when getting more salt. So where was the excreted water coming from? ‘There was only one way to explain this phenomenon,’ Dr. Titze said. ‘The body most likely had generated or produced water when salt intake was high.'”

The other puzzling finding was that the astronauts complained of being constantly hungry when given higher amounts of salt. Interestingly, urine tests revealed they were producing higher amounts of glucocorticoid hormones, which affect both your metabolism and immune function.

Follow-up animal testing confirmed the results, showing the more salt the mice were given, the less water they drank and the more food they required to avoid weight loss. The reason why then became apparent. As the salt intake increased, the animals produced higher amounts of glucocorticoid hormones, causing increased fat and muscle breakdown.

These broken-down muscle proteins are then converted into urea, which is known to help your body excrete waste via urine. Through some still-unknown mechanism, this urea also helps your body retain water. In other words, a side effect of higher salt consumption is that it frees up water for your body to use.

However, this process is energy-intensive, which is why the animals required more food when on a high-salt diet and why the astronauts complained of hunger. Titze believes the increase in glucocorticoid hormones are also somehow responsible for the bizarre cyclical fluctuations in urine output.

“Scientists knew that a starving body will burn its own fat and muscle for sustenance. But the realization that something similar happens on a salty diet has come as a revelation,” The New York Times reports.11

“People do what camels do, noted Dr. Mark Zeidel, a nephrologist at Harvard Medical School who wrote an editorial accompanying Dr. Titze’s studies. A camel traveling through the desert that has no water to drink gets water instead by breaking down the fat in its hump.

One of the many implications of this finding is that salt may be involved in weight loss. Generally, scientists have assumed that a high-salt diet encourages a greater intake of fluids, which increases weight. But if balancing a higher salt intake requires the body to break down tissue, it may also increase energy expenditure.”

As noted by Dr. Melanie Hoenig, nephrologist and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, “The work suggests that we really do not understand the effect of sodium chloride on the body.”12

While salt has gotten a bad rap, suspected of increasing your risk for high blood pressure and heart disease, research shows the real key to relaxing your arteries and reducing your blood pressure is actually the ratio of sodium to potassium you have — not your sodium intake alone.13

Potassium is a naturally occurring mineral your body uses as an electrolyte (substance in solution that conducts electricity), and it is vital for optimal health and normal functioning. Most of your potassium resides inside your cells, unlike sodium, which resides outside your cells.

Potassium works in your body to relax the walls of your arteries, keep your muscles from cramping and lower your blood pressure.14 The reduction in blood pressure with added potassium has also been associated in studies with a reduced risk of stroke.15

Research in 201416 found that women without high blood pressure who consumed the most potassium (nearly 3,200 milligrams per day) had a 21% reduced risk of stroke. Women who consumed the most potassium were also 12% less likely to die during the study period than those who consumed the least.

A meta-analysis published in 1997, which analyzed 29 trials, also found that low levels of potassium resulted in higher systolic blood pressure readings.17 Subsequent studies have found similar results.18 19

It’s generally recommended that you consume five times more potassium than sodium, but most Americans eat twice as much sodium as potassium. If you’re eating mostly processed foods and few fresh vegetables, your sodium-to-potassium balance is virtually guaranteed to be inversed. Imbalance in this ratio not only can lead to high blood pressure but also contribute to a number of other health problems, including:

  • Kidney stones

  • Memory decline

  • Cataracts

  • Osteoporosis

  • Erectile dysfunction

  • Stomach ulcers

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Stomach cancer

One simple way to check your ratio is to use my customized version of the free nutrient tracker, cronometer.com/mercola, which will calculate your sodium-to-potassium ratio automatically based on the foods you enter.

A great deal of good could come from revising public health recommendations to focus on a high-quality diet rich in potassium rather than sodium reduction, as potassium helps offset the hypertensive effects of sodium. Potassium also has other important health benefits.

Adequate amounts of potassium are associated with quicker recovery from exercise and improved muscle strength.20 21 As an electrolyte, potassium helps to regulate the fluid balance in your cells and throughout your body.22 This fluid balance is essential to maintaining life, preventing dehydration at the cellular level and maintaining brain function.23

For example, potassium is important in the transmission of nerve impulses in your brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system.24 Nerve impulses transmitting information from one nerve to the next happens as the result of electrical activity. This activity is what an electrocardiogram measures as it tracks heart activity.

Low levels of potassium have also been linked with high levels of insulin and glucose, which are associated with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.25 These results have been found in several studies,26 leading researchers to recommend dietary choices that boost potassium levels.

Getting nutrients from your food instead of supplements is preferable as your food contains more than a single nutrient and in different forms. For instance, potassium found in fruits and vegetables is potassium citrate or potassium malate, while supplements are often potassium chloride.

Green vegetable juicing is an excellent way to ensure you’re getting enough nutrients for optimal health, including potassium. Particularly potassium-rich foods include:

  • Swiss chard, 1 cup = 1 gram potassium

  • Lima beans, 1 cup = 1 gram

  • Avocado, 1/2 Florida variety = 0.8 gram

  • Dried apricots, 1/2 cup = 0.9 gram

  • Baked potato, 1 large = 0.9 gram

  • Winter squash, 1 cup = 0.9 gram

  • Cooked spinach, 1 cup = 0.8 gram

  • Beets, 1 cup = 0.4 gram

The citrate and malate forms help produce alkali, which may promote bone health27 and preserve lean muscle mass as you age.28 Bone loss may lead to brittle bones or even osteoporosis. While potassium in fruits and vegetables may help build bone health, potassium chloride may not. As researcher Dr. Bess Dawson-Hughes from Tufts University explains:29

“If you don’t have adequate alkali to balance the acid load from the grains and protein in a typical American diet, you lose calcium in the urine and you have bone loss … When the body has more acid than it is easily able to excrete, bone cells get a signal that the body needs to neutralize the acid with alkali … And bone is a big alkali reservoir, so the body breaks down some bone to add alkali to the system.”

Research by Dawson-Hughes found that people who were in the neutral range for net acid excretion, meaning they had a fairly healthy balance for bone and muscle health, were eating just over eight servings of fruits and vegetables per day along with 5.5 servings of grains. When they rounded this out, it came to about half as many grains as fruits and vegetables.

For many Americans, a simple recommendation to increase your alkali (and potassium) while reducing acid is to eat more vegetables and fewer grains and processed foods in general.30 When cooking from scratch, you have complete control over how much salt you add.

When you do use salt, make sure its unrefined and minimally processed. My personal favorite is Himalayan pink salt, rich in naturally occurring trace minerals needed for healthy bones, fluid balance and overall health. The same cannot be said for modern table salt.

Salt is a nutritional goldmine provided you consume the right kind. Salt provides two elements — sodium and chloride — that are essential for life. Your body cannot make these elements on its own, so you must get them from your diet. Some of the many biological processes for which natural salt is crucial include:

  • Being a major component of your blood plasma, lymphatic fluid, extracellular fluid and even amniotic fluid

  • Carrying nutrients into and out of your cells and helping maintain your acid-base balance

  • Increasing the glial cells in your brain, responsible for creative thinking and long-term planning. Both sodium and chloride are also necessary for the firing of neurons

  • Maintaining and regulating blood pressure

  • Helping your brain communicate with your muscles so that you can move on demand via sodium-potassium ion exchange

  • Supporting the function of your adrenal glands, which produce dozens of vital hormones

Natural salt typically contains 84% sodium chloride and 16% naturally-occurring trace minerals, including silicon, phosphorous and vanadium. Processed (table) salt, on the other hand, contains over 97% sodium chloride; the rest is man-made chemicals such as moisture absorbents and flow agents. A small amount of iodine may also be added.

Some European countries, where water fluoridation is not practiced, also add fluoride to their salt.31 In France for example, 35% of table salt sold contains either sodium fluoride or potassium fluoride, and use of fluoridated salt is widespread in South America.

Besides these basic differences in nutritional content, the processing also radically alters the chemical structure of the salt. So, while you definitely need salt for optimal health, not just any salt will do. What your body needs is natural, unprocessed salt, without added chemicals.

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Mercola, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked.

The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Mercola and his community. Dr. Mercola encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. The subscription fee being requested is for access to the articles and information posted on this site, and is not being paid for any individual medical advice.

If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content.

Will Disease X Be Leaked in 2025?

  • The WHO’s pandemic treaty is the gateway to a global, top-down totalitarian regime, a one world government. The reason we can be sure there will be additional pandemics, whether manufactured using either fear and hype alone or an actual bioweapon created for this very purpose, is because the takeover plan, aka The Great Reset, is based on the premise that we need global biosecurity surveillance and centralized response

  • A new contagion will likely be born in 2025, and media are already preparing us for it

  • January 15-19, 2024, global leaders met at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Davos summit where the key topic of discussion was “Preparing for Disease X,” a hypothetical new pandemic predicted to kill 20 times more people than COVID-19

  • In August 2023, a new vaccine research facility was set up in Wiltshire, England, to begin work on a vaccine against the unknown “Disease X”

  • The U.S. Congress introduced the “Disease X Act of 2023” (H.R.3832) in June 2023. The bill calls for the establishment of a BARDA program to develop “medical countermeasures for viral threats with pandemic potential.” The bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Health in early June 2023 but has not yet been passed

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The COVID-19 pandemic allowed for an unprecedented shift in power and wealth distribution across the world and, as predicted, it was not to be a one-off event. A new contagion will likely be born in 2025, and media are already preparing us for it.

January 15-19, 2024, global leaders met at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Davos summit where the key topic of discussion was “Preparing for Disease X,”1 a hypothetical new pandemic predicted to emerge in 2025 and kill 20 times more people than COVID-19.2 As reported by the Mirror:3

“The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of a potential Disease X since 2017, a term indicating an unknown pathogen that could cause a serious international epidemic …

Public speakers at the ‘Preparing for Disease X’ event next Wednesday [January 17, 2024] include Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, Brazilian minister of health Nisia Trindade Lima, and Michel Demaré, chair of the board at AstraZeneca.

In their first post-pandemic meeting held in November 2022, the WHO brought over 300 scientists to consider which of over 25 virus families and bacteria could potentially create another pandemic.

The list the team came up with included: the Ebola virus, the Marburg virus disease, Covid-19, SARS, and the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Others included lassa fever, nipah and henipaviral diseases, zift Valley fever, and zika — as well as the unknown pathogen that would cause ‘Disease X.’”

I’ve interviewed Meryl Nass about how the WHO is trying to take over aspects of everyone’s lives. She just published an important piece over the weekend, Why Is Davos So Interested in Disease? about how the WEF and the WHO have become partners to terrify the world. 

Alexis Baden-Mayer, Esq., political director for the Organic Consumers Association, did some digging into the participants of this WEF event, and the two things they all have in common are 1) dumping the AstraZeneca COVID shot on the developing world (primarily India and Brazil) after rich countries rejected it due to its admitted blood clotting risk, and 2) pushing for the implementation of medical AI systems that will eliminate doctors along with patient choice and privacy.

In a January 11, 2024, tweet, Fox News analyst and former assistant secretary for public affairs for the U.S. Treasury Department, Monica Crowley, wrote:4

“From the same people who brought you COVID-19 now comes Disease X: Next week in Davos, the unelected globalists at the World Economic Forum will hold a panel on a future pandemic 20x deadlier than COVID …

Just in time for the election, a new contagion to allow them to implement a new WHO treaty, lock down again, restrict free speech and destroy more freedoms. Sound far-fetched? So did what happened in 2020. When your enemies tell you what they’re planning and what they’re planning FOR, believe them. And get ready.”

Dr. Stuart Ray, vice chair of medicine for data integrity and analytics at Johns Hopkins’ Department of Medicine, dismissed such warnings, telling Fortune magazine5 that “Coordination of public health response is not conspiracy, it’s simply responsible planning.”

I’d be willing to believe him if it wasn’t for a now-obvious trend: Whatever the globalists claim will happen actually does happen at a remarkable frequency, and their prognostic capabilities become easier to explain when you consider that most lethal pandemics have been caused by manmade viruses, the products of gain-of-function research. It’s pretty easy to predict a new viral outbreak if you have said virus waiting in the wings.

With that in mind, recent research from China certainly raises concern, to say the least. According to a January 3, 2024, preprint,6 a SARS-CoV-2-related pangolin coronavirus — described as a “cell culture-adapted mutant” called GX_P2V that was first cultured in 2017 — was found to kill 100% of the humanized mice (ACE2-transgenic mice) infected with it.7

The primary cause of death was brain inflammation. According to the authors, “this is the first report showing that a SARS-CoV-2-related pangolin coronavirus can cause 100% mortality in hACE2 mice, suggesting a risk for GX_P2V to spill over into humans.”

However, if this virus mutated as a result of passaging through cell cultures, then it’s not likely to emerge in the wild. It’s another unnatural lab creation, so rather than saying it may spill over from pangolins to humans, it would be more accurate to admit that it may pose a (rather serious) risk to humans were a lab escape to occur.

In 2017, Johns Hopkins Center of Health Security held a coronavirus pandemic simulation called the SPARS Pandemic 2025-2028 scenario.8 Importantly, the exercise stressed “communication dilemmas concerning medical countermeasures that could plausibly emerge” in a pandemic scenario.

Then, in October 2019, less than three months before the COVID-19 outbreak, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in collaboration with Johns Hopkins and the World Economic Forum hosted Event 201.

The name itself suggests it may have been a continuation of the SPARS Pandemic exercise. College courses are numbered based on their prerequisites. A 101 course does not require any prior knowledge whereas 201 courses require prior familiarity with the topic at hand.

As in the SPARS Pandemic scenario, Event 201 involved an outbreak of a highly infectious coronavirus, and the primary (if not sole) focus of the exercise was, again, how to control information and keep “misinformation” in check, not how to effectively discover and share remedies.

Social media censorship played a prominent role in the Event 201 plan, and in the real-world events of 2020 through the present, accurate information about vaccine development, production and injury has indeed been effectively suppressed around the world, thanks to social media companies and Google’s censoring of opposing viewpoints.

In March 2021, an outbreak of “an unusual strain of monkeypox virus” was simulated.9 In late July the following year, the WHO director-general declared that a multi-country outbreak of monkeypox constituted a public health emergency of international concern,10 against his own advisory group.

Considering both of these simulations, SPARS (“Event 101”?) and Event 201, foreshadowed what eventually occurred in real life during COVID, when Gates hosts yet another pandemic exercise, it’s worth paying attention to the details.

October 23, 2022, Gates, Johns Hopkins and the WHO cohosted “a global challenge exercise” dubbed “Catastrophic Contagion,”11 12 involving a fictional pathogen called “severe epidemic enterovirus respiratory syndrome 2025” (SEERS-25).

Enterovirus D6813 is typically associated with cold and flu-like illness in infants, children and teens. In rare cases, it’s also been known to cause viral meningitis and acute flaccid myelitis, a neurological condition resulting in muscle weakness and loss of reflexes in one or more extremities.

Enteroviruses A71 and A6 are known to cause hand, foot and mouth disease,14 while poliovirus, the prototypical enterovirus, causes polio (poliomyelitis), a potentially life-threatening type of paralysis that primarily affects children under age 5. So, the virus they modeled in this simulation appears to be something similar to enterovirus D68, but worse.

One known virus that bears some resemblance to the fictional SEERS-25 is the Nipah virus. This virus has a kill rate of about 75%,15 and survivors oftentimes face long-term neurological issues stemming from the infection. Nipah is also said to affect children to a greater degree than adults.16

Incidentally, human trials for a vaccine against the deadly Nipah virus were recently launched.17 Volunteers received their first shots in early January 2024. The experimental injection uses the same viral vector technology used to produce AstraZeneca’s COVID shot.

The trial is reportedly being carried out by the University of Oxford in an undisclosed area where Nipah is actively infecting victims. (India seems to be indicated, as an outbreak in Kerala killed two people and hospitalized three in September 2023.18)

The disease is thought to spread via interaction with infected animals such as goats, pigs, cats and horses. It may also spread via tainted blood products and food. Symptoms can emerge anywhere from a few days after exposure to as long as 45 days.

Initial symptoms include fever, headache and respiratory illness, which can rapidly progress to encephalitis (brain swelling), seizures and coma within just a couple of days. According to the WHO, pigs are known to be “highly contagious” during the incubation period, and it’s possible that humans may be as well, although that has yet to be confirmed.

Tellingly, the Catastrophic Contagion exercise focused on getting leadership in African countries involved and trained in following the script. African nations went “off script” more often than others during the COVID pandemic, and didn’t follow in the footsteps of developed nations when it came to pushing the jabs.

As a result, vaccine makers now face the problem of having a huge control group, as the COVID jab uptake on the African continent was only 6%,19 yet it fared far better than developed nations in terms of COVID-19 infections and related deaths.20

The Catastrophic Contagion exercise predicts SEERS-25 will kill 20 million people worldwide, including 15 million children, and many who survive the infection will be left with paralysis and/or brain damage. In other words, the “cue” given is that the next pandemic may target children rather than the elderly, as was the case with COVID-19.

Vaccine Against Unknown X Pathogen

In August 2023, a new vaccine research facility was set up in Wiltshire, England, fully staffed with more 200 scientists, to begin work on a vaccine against the unknown “Disease X.” As reported by Metro:21

“It took 362 days to develop the Covid-19 vaccine. But the Vaccine Development and Evaluation Centre team wants to reduce that time to 100 days. Scientists at the facility will develop a range of prototype vaccines and tests.

The new lab is a part of a global effort to respond to global health threats. The UK and other G7 countries signed up to the ‘100 Days Mission’ in 2021. The government has invested £65 million into the lab.

Professor Dame Jenny Harries, the head of the UK Health Security Agency, said the new facility would ‘ensure that we prepare so that if we have a new Disease X, a new pathogen, we have as much of that work in advance as possible.’”

In the U.S., Congress also introduced the “Disease X Act of 2023” (H.R.383222) back in June 2023. The bill calls for the establishment of a BARDA program to develop “medical countermeasures for viral threats with pandemic potential.” The bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Health in early June 2023 but has not yet been passed.

The Disease X Act amends a section of the Public Health Service Act with two new clauses that call for “the identification and development of platform manufacturing technologies needed for advanced development and manufacturing of medical countermeasures for viral families which have significant potential to cause a pandemic,” and “advanced research and development of flexible medical countermeasures against priority respiratory virus families and other respiratory viral pathogens with a significant potential to cause a pandemic, with both pathogen-specific and pathogen-agnostic approaches …”

Needless to say, since it’s impossible to customize vaccines using the conventional method of growing viruses in eggs or some other cell media in 100 days, it seems inevitable that all these efforts are about the expansion of gene-based technologies. This, despite the fact that the mRNA technology used for the COVID jabs has proven to be disastrous from a safety standpoint, and ineffective to boot.

At this point, it’s quite clear that “biosecurity” is the chosen means by which the globalist cabal intends to seize power over the world. The WHO is working on securing sole power over pandemic response globally through its international pandemic treaty which, if implemented, will eradicate the sovereignty of all member nations.

The WHO’s pandemic treaty is the gateway to a global, top-down totalitarian regime, a one world government. Ultimately, the WHO intends to dictate all health care. But to secure that power, they will need more pandemics. COVID-19 alone was not enough to get everyone onboard with a centralized pandemic response unit, and they probably knew that from the start.

So, the reason we can be sure there will be additional pandemics, whether manufactured using either fear and hype alone or an actual bioweapon created for this very purpose, is because the takeover plan, aka The Great Reset, is based on the premise that we need global biosecurity surveillance and centralized response.

Biosecurity, in turn, is the justification for an international vaccine passport, which the G20 has signed on to, and that passport will also be your digital identification. That digital ID, then, will be tied to your social credit score, personal carbon footprint tracker, medical records, educational records, work records, social media presence, purchase records, your bank accounts and a programmable central bank digital currency (CBDC).

Once all these pieces are fully connected, you’ll be in a digital prison, and the ruling cabal — whether officially a one world government by then or not — will have total control over your life from cradle to grave.

We actually already have a pseudo-one world government, in the form of Bill Gates’ nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). They are making health care decisions that should be left to individual nations and/or states, and they’re making decisions that will line their own pockets, regardless of what happens to the public health-wise.

They coordinate and synchronize pandemic communication during simulated practice runs, and then, when the real-world situation emerges that fits the bill, the preplanned script is played out more or less verbatim. 

Between the G20 declaration to implement an international vaccine passport under the auspice of the WHO, and the WHO’s pandemic treaty, everything is lined up to take control of the next pandemic, and in so doing, further securing the foundation for a one world government.

As discussed in my 2021 article, “COVID-19 Dress Rehearsals and Proof of the Plan,” the pandemic measures rolled out for COVID-19 were the culmination of decades of careful planning to radically and permanently alter the governance and social structures of the world.

The medical system has been used in the past to drive forward a New World Order agenda — now rebranded as “The Great Reset” — and it’s now being used to implement the final stages of that longstanding plan. COVID-19 was a real-world practice run, and showed just how effectively a pandemic can be used to shift the balance of power, and strip the global population of its wealth and individual freedoms.

So, there’s no doubt in my mind that additional pandemics will be declared, because they’re the means to the globalists’ ends. To prevent this global coup, we need everyone to speak and share the truth to the point that you’re able. Only then will our voices outnumber the voices of the propaganda machine.

Door To Freedom (doortofreedom.org), an organization founded by Dr. Meryl Nass, has a poster that explains how the pandemic treaty and International Health Regulations (IHR) amendments will change life as we know it and strip us of every vestige of freedom. Please download this poster and share it with everyone you know. Also put it up on public billboards and places where communities share information.

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Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Mercola, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked.

The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Mercola and his community. Dr. Mercola encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. The subscription fee being requested is for access to the articles and information posted on this site, and is not being paid for any individual medical advice.

If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content.

Pfizer Sued for Lying About COVID Vaccine’s Effectiveness

pfizer covid vaccine lawsuit

  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued Pfizer, alleging the Big Pharma giant lied about the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine

  • Pfizer “broadcast to the world” that its COVID-19 shot was 95% effective, leading Americans to believe that this was the panacea to end the pandemic, prompting them to receive the experimental product

  • Pfizer’s representation of its shot being 95% effective was deceptive, the suit claims, because Pfizer used relative risk reduction, which “unduly influences” consumer choice

  • Pfizer also engaged in a “deception campaign” surrounding its shot’s duration of protection and ability to stop transmission and protect against variants

  • As it became increasingly clear that Pfizer’s COVID-19 shot wasn’t living up to the hype, Pfizer engaged in a campaign to silence any critics by using censorship and intimidation against those telling the truth

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued Pfizer, alleging the Big Pharma giant lied about the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine.1 In addition to misrepresenting the shot’s efficacy, the suit claims Pfizer attempted to censor public discussion related to the shot.

“Pfizer engaged in false, deceptive and misleading acts and practices by making unsupported claims regarding the company’s COVID-19 vaccine in violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act,” a press release from Paxton’s office states.2

The suit begins by stating how Pfizer “broadcast to the world” that its COVID-19 shot was 95% effective. As a result, Americans were led to believe that this was the panacea to end the pandemic, prompting them to receive the experimental product. But not only did Pfizer’s shot not end the pandemic, the pandemic worsened:3

“Based on this and other statements made by Pfizer touting the efficacy of its new vaccine, Americans were given the impression that Pfizer’s vaccine would end the coronavirus pandemic and lift the omnipresent veil of fear and uncertainty from an anxious public.

Placing their trust in Pfizer, hundreds of millions of Americans lined up to receive the vaccine. Contrary to Pfizer’s public statements, however, the pandemic did not end; it got worse.

More Americans died in 2021, with Pfizer’s vaccine available, than in 2020, the first year of the pandemic. This, in spite of the fact that the vast majority of Americans received a COVID-19 vaccine, with most taking Pfizer’s.

Indeed, by the end of 2021, official government reports showed that in at least some places a greater percentage of the vaccinated were dying from COVID-19 than the unvaccinated. Pfizer’s vaccine plainly was not ‘95% effective.’”

Pfizer’s representation of its shot being 95% effective was deceptive, the suit claims, because Pfizer used relative risk reduction. Cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra is among those who spoke out about Pfizer’s COVID-19 shot flaws. As reported in the film “Safe and Effective: A Second Opinion”:4

“’Relative risk reduction is a way of exaggerating the benefits of any intervention … which would be in the interest of people trying to sell you something — in this case, the pharmaceutical industry.

So if, for example, you have 1,000 people in a trial that didn’t have the vaccine versus 1,000 people that did in the placebo group … you may have two people dying. And in the intervention group, you may have just one person dying. And that’s a reduction of 50%. One over two is a 50% relative risk reduction. But actually, you’ve only saved one life out of 1,000.

So, the absolute risk reduction is only 1 in 1,000. It’s a big difference. The guidance has been for many years that we must always use absolute risk reduction in conversations with patients, not just relative risk reduction alone; otherwise, it’s considered unethical,’ Malhotra said.

The accusation is that governments acted on Pfizer’s relative risk figure of 95% efficacy, when the absolute risk was a mere 0.84%. In other words, you’d have to vaccinate 119 people to prevent just one from catching COVID. ‘So we were basically sold on something that ultimately, and in retrospect now, was very, very misleading.’”

Even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration states relative risk reduction is misleading and “unduly influences” consumer choice, such that treatments are viewed more favorably because the risk reduction seems larger than it would using other metrics.5

Pfizer’s misleading 95% efficacy claim was also based on flawed methodology.6 One trick used to get this misleadingly high efficacy figure is to ignore people who got COVID-19 within 14 days after their first shot.

In Pfizer’s trial, 37.2% of those who were tested for COVID-19 within 13 days of their first shot were positive — but not counted as such. How can this skew results? As explained on Substack’s “Where are the numbers,” a newsletter about the abuse of science and statistics:7

“So, imagine the most extreme case in which every vaccinated person gets covid within the first two weeks of their first dose. Then, assuming (as is likely) that none get infected a second time within the 19 weeks, according to the study definition no vaccinated people ever got covid over the whole period of the study.

If only one person in the unvaccinated comparative cohort had got covid, over the same period, the vaccine efficacy (defined as one minus the proportion of vaccinated infected divided by the proportion of unvaccinated infected times 100) will be reported as 100%.”

The study found that during any two-week period from December 28, 2020, to May 19, 2021, the COVID-19 infection rate was about 0.8%, compared to 37.2% among those tested within two weeks of their first shot.

“If people were tested every two weeks then we could reasonably conclude the vaccinated were getting infected — within two weeks of their first jab — at a rate that was almost 50 times greater than the general rate for this population,” but “if you don’t look for covid, by not testing for it, or by ignoring the test results you won’t find it.”8

They also pointed out that no deaths occurred among the participants who tested positive for COVID-19 and had at least one COVID-19-like symptom, including among the 812 (out of 1,482) who were unvaccinated. But since this clearly makes the shots look unnecessary and ineffective, it was conveniently ignored:9

“[T]here was a grand total of zero deaths: an infection fatality rate (IFR) of 0%. And 812 of those were unvaccinated. Bear in mind that this when covid was supposed to have been rampaging globally and causing widespread death. And of course that nugget somehow never got mentioned in the abstract, mains results, conclusions, or discussion.

It only appeared in the detailed results section (along with the fact that only 2% were hospitalized).”

Aside from misleading Americans about its shot’s effectiveness, the suit details three additional ways Pfizer “expanded its deception campaign”:10

  1. Duration of protection — When Pfizer’s COVID-19 shot was granted emergency use authorization, it was unknown if efficacy would wane beyond two months.11 “But in early 2021, Pfizer deliberately created the false impression that its vaccine had durable and sustained protection, going so far as to withhold highly relevant data and information from the consuming public showing that efficacy waned rapidly,” the suit notes.12

  2. Transmission — Even though the FDA warned Pfizer that it needed more information to determine if the shot protected against COVID-19 transmission, Pfizer “engaged in a fear-mongering campaign, exploiting intense public fears over the year-long pandemic by insinuating that vaccination was necessary for Americans to protect their loved ones from contracting COVID-19.”13

  3. Variant protection — Pfizer’s data showed that its COVID-19 shot performed poorly against the delta variant, but Pfizer led the public to believe otherwise. “Pfizer told the public that its vaccine was ‘very, very, very effective against Delta,'” according to the suit.14

    A group of Japanese researchers even released research showing that the SARS-CoV-2 delta variant was “poised to acquire complete resistance” to existing COVID-19 jabs like Pfizer’s.15 What’s more, when four common mutations were introduced to the delta variant, Pfizer’s mRNA injection enhanced its infectivity, causing it to become resistant.

Meanwhile, the data continued to roll in showing Pfizer’s shot was a failure. Eye-opening statistics reported in the suit include:16

  • Shortly after the delta variant emergence in Israel in 2021, the shot’s relative risk reduction dropped from 64% in June 2021 to 39% in July

  • In late 2021, some areas reported negative efficacy for Pfizer’s COVID-19 shot, meaning a higher percentage of people who’d received the jab got COVID-19 and even died from it compared to those who didn’t get the shot

  • Even with widespread acceptance of the shot, the percentage of people with COVID-19 increased over time

As it became increasingly clear that Pfizer’s COVID-19 shot wasn’t living up to the hype, Pfizer engaged in a campaign to silence any critics by using censorship and intimidation against those telling the truth:17

“How did Pfizer respond when it became apparent that its vaccine was failing and the viability of its cash cow under threat? By intimidating those spreading the truth, and by conspiring to censor the vaccine’s critics. Pfizer labeled as “criminals” those who spread facts about the vaccine. It accused them of spreading “misinformation.”

And it coerced social media platforms to silence prominent truth-tellers. Indeed, Pfizer even went so far as to request that social media platforms silence a former FDA director because his comments could “driv[e] news coverage” critical of the vaccine …

In summary, Pfizer intentionally misrepresented the efficacy of its COVID-19 vaccine and censored persons who threatened to disseminate the truth in order to facilitate fast adoption of the product and expand its commercial opportunity.

In light of the multi-billion dollar bet that Pfizer made on the vaccine and its need to quickly establish the product as the marketing leader, Pfizer was heavily incentivized to, and in fact did, make misrepresentations intended to confuse and mislead the public in order to achieve widespread adoption of its vaccine.”

The suit is asking that Pfizer be prohibited from making representations about the shot’s effectiveness and ordered to pay civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation, which could exceed $10 million18 — a drop in the bucket for a company that made billions off the pandemic.

“Given the unprecedented political power and influence over public health policies that pharmaceutical companies now wield, it is more important than ever that they are held accountable if they take dangerous, illegal actions to boost their revenues,” Paxton’s press release said.19

It’s the second lawsuit the Texas attorney general filed against Pfizer in November 2023. The previous suit alleged Pfizer and a supplier altered quality-control tests on ADHD drugs.20 Meanwhile, signs suggest the public is no longer falling for Pfizer’s PR. Only 7.1% of adults and 2.1% of children received the updated COVID-19 shot that Pfizer rolled out in the fall.21

As a result, Pfizer is pulling out all the stops to increase uptake. The Big Pharma giant reportedly paid Kansas City Chiefs’ star Travis Kelce $20 million to promote “two shots in one go”22 — a double jab of COVID-19 and flu shot.

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Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Mercola, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked.

The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Mercola and his community. Dr. Mercola encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. The subscription fee being requested is for access to the articles and information posted on this site, and is not being paid for any individual medical advice.

If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content.

Use of Antidepressants Continues to Rise

antidepressant use continues rise

  • Between 1999 and 2014, use of antidepressants in the U.S. rose by 65%. As of 2014, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 11 men over the age of 12 reported taking antidepressant medication

  • One-quarter of those who had taken an antidepressant in the past month reported being on them for 10 years or more

  • In Scotland, antidepressant use among children under the age of 12 quadrupled between 2009 and 2016; use among children under 18 doubled in the same time frame

  • In 2023, 21 million adults reported having had at least one major depressive episode

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Editor’s Note: This article is a reprint. It was originally published August 31, 2017.

Major depression is one of the most common disorders in the U.S.,1 with 21 million adults reporting having had at least one major depressive episode.2 3 When you look at all forms of depression, that number goes even higher. According to Gallup News, 17.8% of Americans were being treated for depression in 2023 with 29% having been treated for it at some point in their live.4

Depression reduces your ability to care for yourself properly and make adequate decisions about your health, including nutrition and sleep. It can interfere with personal and work relationships, reduce work or academic performance and affect physical health to the point that imbalances in nutrition, weight fluctuations and poor sleep habits may lead to compromised immune function.5

If ignored, depression can become chronic and can lead to self-harming behaviors such as drug or alcohol abuse6 and even be terminal if the person commits suicide. Up to 70% of people who commit suicide are clinically depressed,7 and 90% of people who struggle with suicidal thoughts experience a combination of depression and substance abuse.8

According to the latest statistics,9 10 11 use of antidepressants in the U.S. rose by 65% between 1999 and 2014. As of 2014:

  • Nearly 1 in 8 Americans (13%) over the age of 12 reported being on antidepressant medication

  • 1 in 6 women (16.5%) reported antidepressant use compared to 1 in 11 men (9%)

  • About one-quarter of those who had taken an antidepressant in the past month reported being on them for 10 years or more

  • Caucasians were more than three times more likely to use antidepressants than Blacks, Hispanics or Asians (16.5% compared to 5.6%, 5% and 3.3% respectively)

In Scotland, researchers also warn that antidepressant use among children under the age of 12 has risen dramatically.12 Between 2009 and 2016, use in this age group quadrupled. Use among children under 18 doubled in the same time frame.

Unfortunately, the most widely used remedy for depression is also among the least effective. In addition to a long list of potential side effects13 14 (which include worsening depression and suicide), an estimated 43.5% of people with major depressive disorder treated with antidepressants do not achieve full remission.15

Perhaps more importantly, studies16 17 18 have repeatedly shown antidepressants work no better than placebo for mild to moderate depression, so you’re taking grave risks for a very small chance of benefit. As noted in a 2014 paper on antidepressants and the placebo effect:19

“Antidepressants are supposed to work by fixing a chemical imbalance, specifically, a lack of serotonin in the brain … But analyses of the published data and the unpublished data that were hidden by drug companies reveals that most (if not all) of the benefits are due to the placebo effect …

Analyzing the data we had found, we were not surprised to find a substantial placebo effect on depression. What surprised us was how small the drug effect was. Seventy-five percent of the improvement in the drug group also occurred when people were give dummy pills with no active ingredient in them.

The serotonin theory is as close as any theory in the history of science to having been proved wrong. Instead of curing depression, popular antidepressants may induce a biological vulnerability making people more likely to become depressed in the future.”

The author of that 2014 study, Irving Kirsch, is a psychotherapist who has performed a number of analyses on antidepressants. In 2002, his team filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), asking for the trial data provided by drug companies as part of the drug approval process.

The FDA requires drug companies to provide data on all clinical trials they’ve sponsored, including unpublished trials. As it turned out, nearly half of all clinical trials on antidepressants remained unpublished. When both published and unpublished trials were included, 57% showed the drug had no clinical benefit over placebo. What’s more, the placebo response actually accounted for 82% of the beneficial response to antidepressants!

These results were reproduced in a 2008 study20 using another, even larger set of FDA trial data. According to Kirsch, “Once again, 82% of the drug response was duplicated by placebo.” A major benefit of evaluating FDA trial data was that all of the trials used the same primary measure of depression, which made the drug-to-placebo effects very easy to identify and compare.

The primary measure of depression used in these studies was the Hamilton depression scale, a 17-item scale with a possible score of 0 to 53 points. The higher your score, the more severe your depression. Importantly, the mean difference between antidepressants and placebo was less than two points (1.8) on this scale, which is considered clinically insignificant.

To illustrate just how insignificant of a difference this is, you can score a 6-point difference simply by changing sleep patterns without any reported change in other depressive symptoms.

A few years ago Martin Pall, Ph.D., published a review21 in the Journal of Neuroanatomy showing how microwave radiation from cell phones, Wi-Fi routers and computers and tablets not in airplane mode is clearly associated with many neuropsychiatric disorders. I also did an interview with Dave Asprey, founder and CEO of Bulletproof, on EMFs that I discussed with Dave Asprey, founder and CEO of Bulletproof.22

These microwave EMFs increase intracellular calcium through voltage gated calcium channels (VGCCs) and the tissue with the highest density of VGCCs is the brain. Once these VGCCs are stimulated they also cause the release of neurotransmitters and neuroendocrine hormones leading to not only anxiety and depression, but neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and brain cancer.

So, if you struggle with anxiety or depression, be sure to limit your exposure to wireless technology. Simple measures include turning your Wi-Fi off at night, not carrying your cellphone on your body and not keeping portable phones, cellphones and other electric devices in your bedroom.

dr. mercola discusses the dangers of electromagnetic radiation

Studies have also confirmed the therapeutic effects of spending time in nature. Ecotherapy has been shown to lower stress, improve mood and significantly reduce symptoms of depression.23 Outdoor activities could be just about anything, from walking a nature trail to gardening, or simply taking your exercise outdoors.

Breath work such as the Buteyko breathing technique also has enormous psychological benefits and can quickly reduce anxiety by increasing the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in your body. These three techniques are a perfect complement to each other, and cost nothing. Simply turn off your electronics, head outside and practice proper breathing.

While prescriptions for psychiatric drugs keep increasing (when you include other drugs beside antidepressants, such as antianxiety drugs, nearly 17% of American adults are medicated24 25), several parameters show mental health in the U.S. is declining.

Suicide rates are at a 30-year high, mental disorders are now the second most common cause of disability, having risen sharply since 1980,26 and prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths have become a public health emergency. While opioid pain killers are among the most lethal, psychiatric drugs also take their toll. In 2013, antianxiety benzodiazepine drugs accounted for nearly one-third of prescription overdose deaths.27

All of these statistics suggest that far from being helpful, antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs are making the situation worse. Sure, these drugs may be helpful for a small minority of people with very severe mental health problems, such as schizophrenia, but clearly, the vast majority of people using these drugs do not suffer from severe psychiatric illness.

Most are struggling with sadness, grief, anxiety, “the blues” and depression, which are in many ways part of your body’s communication system, revealing nutritional or sunlight deficiencies and/or spiritual disconnect, for example. The underlying reasons for these kinds of troubles are manifold, but you can be sure that, whatever the cause, an antidepressant will not correct it.

Women also need to be mindful of the fact that use of antidepressants during pregnancy can significantly increase your chances of having a child with autism. One study found antidepressant use during the second or third trimester was associated with an 87% increased risk of autism.28 The use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors was associated with double the risk of autism in the child, while the use of two or more antidepressants increased the risk more than fourfold.

If you’re at all interested in following science-based recommendations, you’d place antidepressants at the very bottom of your list of treatment candidates. Far more effective treatments for depression include:

  • Exercise — A number of studies have shown exercise outperforms drug treatment. Exercise helps create new GABA-producing neurons that help induce a natural state of calm, and boosts serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which helps buffer the effects of stress.

    Studies have shown there is a strong correlation between improved mood and aerobic capacity, but even gentle forms of exercise can be effective. Yoga, for example, has received particular attention in a number of studies. A study published this spring found 90-minute yoga sessions three times a week reduced symptoms of major depression by at least 50%.29

  • Nutritional intervention — Keeping inflammation in check is an important part of any effective treatment plan. If you’re gluten sensitive, you will need to remove all gluten from your diet.

    A food sensitivity test can help ascertain this. Reducing lectins may also be a good idea. As a general guideline, eating a whole food diet as described in my optimal nutrition plan can go a long way toward lowering your inflammation level. Certain nutritional deficiencies are also notorious contributors to depression, especially:

    • Omega-3 fats — I recommend getting an omega-3 index test to make sure you’re getting enough. Ideally, you want your omega-3 index to be 8% or higher.

    • B vitamins (including B1, B2, B3, B6, B8 and B12) — Low dietary folate can raise your risk by as much as 300%.30 31 One of the most recent studies32 33 showing the importance of vitamin deficiencies in depression involved suicidal teens. Most turned out to be deficient in cerebral folate and all of them showed improvement after treatment with folinic acid.

  • Vitamin D — Studies have shown vitamin D deficiency can predispose you to depression and that depression can respond favorably to optimizing your vitamin D stores, ideally by getting sensible sun exposure.34 35 In one such study,36 people with a vitamin D level below 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) had an 85% increased risk of depression compared to those with a level greater than 30 ng/mL.

    A double-blind randomized trial37 published in 2008 concluded that supplementing with high doses of vitamin D “seems to ameliorate [depression] symptoms indicating a possible causal relationship.” Research38 also claims that low vitamin D levels appear to be associated with suicide attempts. For optimal health, make sure your vitamin D level is between 40 and 60 ng/mL year-round. Ideally, get a vitamin D test at least twice a year to monitor your level.

  • Probiotics — Keeping your gut microbiome healthy also has a significant effect on your moods, emotions and brain.

  • Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) — EFT is a form of psychological acupressure that has been shown to be quite effective for depression and anxiety.39 40 41 42 For serious or complex issues, seek out a qualified health care professional that is trained in EFT43 to guide you through the process.

    That said, for most of you with depression symptoms, this is a technique you can learn to do effectively on your own. In the video below, EFT practitioner Julie Schiffman shows you how.

    julie schiffman discusses eft for depression

  • One of my new favorites — When my mom passed away unexpectedly, I was very grateful she did not have cancer or struggle with any abuses from the conventional health system that many of our readers do. However, losing my mother was a major challenge in grief management for me.

    I realize grief is not depression, but the book “Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender”44 by Dr. David Hawkins, was one of the best books I have read, and it helped teach me the useful tool of how to free yourself of painful emotions. I have read many of Hawkins’ previous books, but this was his last one as he also has since passed.

Here are several other strategies that can help improve your mental health:45

  • Clean up your sleep hygiene — Make sure you’re getting enough high-quality sleep, as sleep is essential for optimal mood and mental health. A fitness tracker that tracks your sleep can be a useful tool. The inability to fall asleep and stay asleep can be due to elevated cortisol levels, so if you have trouble sleeping, you may want to get your saliva cortisol level tested with an Adrenal Stress Index test.

    If you’re already taking hormones, you can try applying a small dab of progesterone cream on your neck or face when you awaken during the night and can’t call back to sleep. Another alternative is to take adaptogens, herbal products that help lower cortisol and adjust your body to stress. There are also other excellent herbs and amino acids that help you to fall asleep and stay asleep. Meditation can also help.

  • Optimize your gut health — A number of studies have confirmed gastrointestinal inflammation can play a critical role in the development of depression.46 Optimizing your gut microbiome will also help regulate a number of neurotransmitters and mood-related hormones, including GABA and corticosterone, resulting in reduced anxiety and depression-related behavior.47

    To nourish your gut microbiome, be sure to eat plenty of fresh vegetables and traditionally fermented foods. Healthy choices include fermented vegetables, lassi, kefir and natto. If you do not eat fermented foods on a regular basis, taking a high-quality probiotic supplement is recommended.

    Also remember to severely limit sugars, especially fructose, as well as grains, to rebalance your gut flora. As a standard recommendation, I suggest limiting your daily fructose consumption from all sources to 25 grams per day or less.

  • Visualization — Visualization and guided imagery have been used for decades by elite athletes prior to an event, successful business people and cancer patients — all to achieve better results through convincing your mind you have already achieved successful results.48 49 Similar success has been found in people with depression.50

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) — CBT has been used successfully to treat depression.51 52 This therapy assumes mood is related to the pattern of thought. CBT attempts to change mood and reverse depression by directing your thought patterns.

  • Make sure your cholesterol levels aren’t too low for optimal mental health — You may also want to check your cholesterol to make sure it’s not too low. Low cholesterol is linked to dramatically increased rates of suicide, as well as aggression toward others.53

    This increased expression of violence toward self and others may be due to the fact that low membrane cholesterol decreases the number of serotonin receptors in the brain, which are approximately 30% cholesterol by weight.

    Lower serum cholesterol concentrations therefore may contribute to decreasing brain serotonin, which not only contributes to suicidal-associated depression, but prevents the suppression of aggressive behavior and violence toward self and others.

  • Helpful supplements — A number of herbs and supplements can be used in lieu of drugs to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. These include:

    • St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) — This medicinal plant has a long historical use for depression, and is thought to work similarly to antidepressants, raising brain chemicals associated with mood such as serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline.54

    • S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe) — SAMe is an amino acid derivative that occurs naturally in all cells. It plays a role in many biological reactions by transferring its methyl group to DNA, proteins, phospholipids and biogenic amines. Several scientific studies indicate that SAMe may be useful in the treatment of depression.

    • 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) — 5-HTP is another natural alternative to traditional antidepressants. When your body sets about manufacturing serotonin, it first makes 5-HTP. Taking 5-HTP as a supplement may raise serotonin levels. Evidence suggests 5-HTP outperforms a placebo when it comes to alleviating depression,55 which is more than can be said about antidepressants.

    • XingPiJieYu — This Chinese herb, available from doctors of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), has been found to reduce the effects of “chronic and unpredictable stress,” thereby lowering your risk of depression.56

If you’re currently on an antidepressant and want to get off it, ideally, you’ll want to have the cooperation of your prescribing physician. It would also be wise to do some homework on how to best proceed. Dr. Joseph Glenmullen from Harvard has written a helpful book on how to withdraw called “The Antidepressant Solution: A Step-by-Step Guide to Overcoming Antidepressant Withdrawal, Dependence, and Addiction.”

You can also turn to an organization with a referral list of doctors who practice more biologically or naturally, such as the American College for Advancement in Medicine at www.ACAM.org. A holistic psychiatrist will have a number of treatment options in their tool box that conventional doctors do not, and will typically be familiar with nutritional supplementation.

Once you have the cooperation of your prescribing physician, start lowering the dosage of the medication you’re taking. There are protocols for gradually reducing the dose that your doctor should be well aware of. At the same time, it may be wise to add in a multivitamin and/or other nutritional supplements or herbs. Again, your best bet would be to work with a holistic psychiatrist who is well-versed in the use of nutritional support.

If you have a friend or family member who struggles with depression, perhaps one of the most helpful things you can do is to help guide them toward healthier eating and lifestyle habits, as making changes can be particularly difficult when you’re feeling blue — or worse, suicidal.

Encourage them to unplug and meet you outside for walks. We should not underestimate the power of human connection, and the power of connection with nature. Both, I believe, are essential for mental health and emotional stability.

If you are feeling desperate or have any thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a toll-free number: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or call 911, or simply go to your nearest hospital emergency department. You cannot make long-term plans for lifestyle changes when you are in the middle of a crisis.

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