How Wikipedia Is Manipulating Your Health

guerrilla skepticism on wikipedia

  • While Wikipedia has become the world’s most powerful thought leader — controlling a vast amount of internet information and being used to determine the credibility of experts across most fields — Wikipedia itself warns it is not a reliable source, as it can be edited by anyone at any time

  • Despite this blatant admission of unreliability, Wikipedia is the go-to site for Google quality raters to assess the expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness of an author or website

  • Despite Wikipedia’s claims of neutrality, what they’re putting on their site is some of the most biased information you’ll find anywhere in media today

  • Scientists found 9 of 10 of the costliest medical conditions covered on Wikipedia contain assertions that are contradicted by peer-reviewed medical literature

  • A specialized Wikipedia project called Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia recruits skeptics to edit pages and squash opposing views. In 2018, this project had at least 120 editors

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Editor’s Note: This article is a reprint. It was originally published July 8, 2019.

You may think Wikipedia — originally funded with revenue from soft-core pornography1 — is the best thing since Cliff Notes, with quick and easy access to all the facts and news you ever needed to know. Some believe Wikipedia is even better than Encyclopedia Britannica; indeed, Wikipedia’s founders intended it to be a replacement for it. But is Wikipedia really a trustworthy source?

Interestingly enough, while Wikipedia has become the world’s most powerful thought leader — controlling a vast amount of internet information and being used to determine the credibility of experts across most fields — Wikipedia itself warns it is NOT a reliable source. It states:2

“Wikipedia is not a reliable source. Wikipedia can be edited by anyone at any time. This means that any information it contains at any particular time could be vandalism, a work in progress, or just plain wrong.

Biographies of living persons, subjects that happen to be in the news, and politically or culturally contentious topics are especially vulnerable to these issues. Edits on Wikipedia that are in error may eventually be fixed.

However, because Wikipedia is a volunteer run project, it cannot monitor every contribution all of the time. There are many errors that remain unnoticed for days, weeks, months, or even years. Therefore, Wikipedia should not be considered a definitive source in and of itself.”

Despite this blatant admission of unreliability, Wikipedia is the go-to site for Google quality raters to assess the expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness of an author or website. There’s also evidence showing Wikipedia is edited by people with a very specific agenda, and anyone who tries to clarify or clear up inaccuracies on the site is simply blocked.

Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson, for example, has repeatedly tried to “correct provably false facts” about her background on Wikipedia, only to be told she’s not a reliable source and having her edits overridden by anonymous editors that guard her page, making sure her award-winning work is kept hushed and her character portrait tarnished.3

Anyone looking at Wikipedia to assess Attkisson’s expertise as a journalist — without already being familiar with her stellar body of work — would walk away thinking she’s an unreliable source, when in fact she’s one of a very few impeccable truth-tellers of our time.

Other examples of “sanitizing” certain pages and tarnishing others can be found in a June 28, 2015 article4 in The Epoch Times. As noted by Deepak Chopra in a 2013 article:5

“Thanks to the Internet, skepticism can spread with the speed of light, carrying in its wake all forms of unfairness and bad faith. A distressing example has been occurring at Wikipedia, where a band of committed skeptics have focused their efforts to discredit anyone whom they judge an enemy …

[S]keptics … have become so skilled at thwarting anyone who disagrees with their point of view that a small swarm of skeptical editors is capable of outnumbering, bullying, and even banning all those who oppose them.”

Similarly, British journalist and author Robert McLuhan, who covers consciousness, spirituality and psi research, had the following to say about Wikipedia in 2013:6

“Recently I’ve been poking around on the site to see how psi topics are presented. My impression is that a novice would come away with a pretty jaundiced view. It’s obvious that sceptics are busily re-editing articles in their favour, and a reader has kindly sent me a link that shows how they do this.

It’s a project called Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia,7 run by Susan Gerbic, who recruits sceptics to give pages a makeover, both those that publicise their own side (ie debunkers, key sceptic figures, etc) and also the opposition’s (celebrity psychics, paranormal claimants, etc).

This is a specialised activity and Gerbic’s blog8 gives tips and techniques. Recently she’s gone global, getting sceptics to edit foreign language pages.”

According to Wired, the Guerilla Skepticism on Wikipedia project had at least 120 editors as of 2018.9 For an inside look at what many Wikipedia editors seeking more neutral coverage are up against, read this six-part series on The Weiler Psi blog.10 To learn even more, check out Wikipediocracy11 — an entire organization dedicated to exposing the many problems and hypocrisy of Wikipedia.

Even Lawrence (Larry) Sanger, who co-founded Wikipedia in 2001, bailed ship the very next year,12 saying “trolls sort of took over” the site, that “The inmates started running the asylum,”13 and that “In some fields and some topics, there are groups who ‘squat’ on articles and insist on making them reflect their own specific biases.”14 15

In 2012, evidence also emerged revealing a Wikipedia trustee and Wikipedian in Residence were being paid to edit pages on behalf of their clients and secure their placement on Wikipedia’s front page in the “Did You Know” section,16 which publicizes new or expanded articles17 — a clear violation of Wikipedia rules.

If you ever use Wikipedia for health information, take heed, as this may be a costly and potentially dangerous tactic. An important May 27, 2014, article18 19 in Time magazine addressed this, reporting on a study20 21 looking into the veracity of medical claims made on Wikipedia. As reported by Time:

“A team of U.S. scientists said they found ‘many errors’ in Wikipedia articles concerning the 10 costliest medical conditions. The researchers cross-checked Wikipedia entries on coronary disease, lung cancer, hypertension and back pain, among other ailments, against the latest research from peer-reviewed journals.

Nine out of 10 entries analyzed on the crowd-sourced encyclopedia contained assertions that were contradicted by the peer-reviewed sources …

‘Health care professionals, trainees, and patients should use caution when using Wikipedia to answer questions regarding patient care,’ wrote the study’s authors … The authors laid particular stress on medical professionals; a recent study22 23 found that 50 percent of physicians admitted using Wikipedia as a reference source.”

Meanwhile, the Guerilla Sceptics have deleted expert articles on homeopathy,24 25 26 27 energy medicine and the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), just to name a few, replacing them with entries that present these topics as various forms of “pseudoscience,” disregarding the peer-reviewed scientific evidence that supports them.

Even the president of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine reports he was prevented from posting positive information about antiaging derived from the academy’s own research.28 One blatant example of how Wikipedia twists content with slanted and biased presentations is the entry for the founder of homeopathy, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann.29

Rather than simply describing Hahnemann as a physician best known for creating the system of alternative medicine called homeopathy, they attribute to him the creation of “the pseudoscientific” system (with a hyperlink to pseudoscientific) of homeopathy.

There’s nothing objective about this entry, and it’s quite clearly designed to manipulate public opinion about homeopathy, seeing how research showing the efficacy of homeopathic medicines has been published in several of the world’s most respected medical journals.

Overall, you’re not going to find out the truth about alternative medicine on Wikipedia — in large part due to the intense bias of its co-founder, Jimmy Wales, who is openly hostile against holistic medicine, and who in 2014 rejected and derided a Change.org petition to bring in more positive discussion of holistic medicine on Wikipedia.30 31 32

Truth be told, Wikipedia is dependent on your lack of knowledge about how they really operate — and the fact that they post a disclaimer stating readers should not trust everything they read on Wikipedia.

Taking advantage of your desire for a quick, let-them-do-the-work information search, their goal is to shuttle your thoughts, opinions and knowledge into a silo that doesn’t allow anything in except what they put in there. And, despite their claims of neutrality, what they’re putting on their site is some of the most biased information you’ll find anywhere in media today.

Worse, they’ve partnered with Google so your searches will go straight to Wikipedia, or at the very least high on the Google search page. Wikipedia’s cozy relationship with Google is not just curious (considering Google’s quality raters are told to treat Wikipedia information as the gospel of truth); it’s dangerous to free thought and free speech on the internet.

Case in point: Do a Google search33 on Wikipedia and you will see that Google allows top placement for answers to questions about Wikipedia — such as: Is Wikipedia fake information? Does Wikipedia tell the truth? How reliable is Wikipedia? — created by Wikipedia itself. Talk about letting the fox not only guard, but run, the henhouse!

How are readers to know what’s true and what’s fake about Wikipedia when Wikipedia is its own fact-checker?34 Perhaps a better question might be: Just how much does Google’s $2 million donation35 to Wikipedia figure in to how Google answers questions about Wikipedia in its search engines?

Wikipedia also gets funding from the likes of George Soros, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg — all individuals who are notorious for stamping out free speech, free thought and objective exchanges of information.

They’ve also gained the favor of institutions of higher learning that once banned Wikipedia as a source, but now promote them, and have chummied up with one of the oldest, most-respected news leaders in the U.S., the Poynter Institute, which I’ll discuss in further detail below.

Now, instead of asking the questions behind the questions and doing their own original investigative journalism, the media is allowing these outside-funded entities — Wikipedia and Snopes, along with so-called “fact-checkers” in the form of a group called The International Fact-Checking Network36 — to do their jobs for them.

What’s particularly tragic is the fact that the Fourth Estate — the last bastion of a free world with real news — doesn’t even seem to realize the power they’ve handed over to anonymous agents with zero accountability.

In recent years, it’s become clear Wikipedia is not just a simple repository of encyclopedic information but an actual generator of breaking news. A May 1, 2019, Newswise article37 talks about this trend, saying that it looks like Wikipedia may be the “new” media, generating news (often in real time) but without the codes of ethics that conventional news sources have historically adhered to. As reported by Newswise:

“Dr. Bunty Avieson from the University’s Department of Media and Communications has examined Wikipedia as a breaking news source, in a new research paper38 published today in prestigious internet studies journal First Monday.

‘When a major global news event occurs, such as the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka or the Christchurch shootings, Wikipedia contributors from around the world come together in a virtual ‘newsroom’ to craft a narrative, followed closely by readers seeking the latest information,’ she said.

Her research found in any given month, the site’s most popular articles — both in number of views and number of edits — are those that report breaking news … Avieson’s research also highlighted some of the consequences of using Wikipedia as a source of news:

‘Wikipedia contributors don’t undertake the core role of journalists, which is to produce new work. Contributors’ news gathering practices are solely ‘aggregation and assemblage’ …

‘Similarly, in terms of professionalism, contributors don’t answer to journalism codes of ethics and the hierarchy that has formed is based on seniority and meritocracy, where editors gain administrative privileges according to the culture of Wikipedia. This raises some ethical concerns.’”

In a twist of irony, Wikipedia uses real news to create “new” news. The problem with this is that Wikipedia also stands as a repository of all they believe is worthy of knowing, and any information that threatens their tunnel-visioned world is simply edited out.

According to the book, “The Wikipedia Revolution,”39 at its inception, co-founder Wales said Wikipedia’s only “nonnegotiable” policy would be its neutral point of view. Ideas and facts were to be presented “in such a fashion that both supporters and opponents can agree.”

Yet Wikipedia is far from neutral. Today, there is only one point of view, and that is Wikipedia’s viewpoint, which in turn is influenced if not outright dictated by industry and funders with no room for opposing views.

Unfortunately, while colleges used to ban40 41 students from citing Wikipedia and Snopes in their papers due to it being riddled with “mistakes and sometimes deliberate falsehoods,”42 43 many now encourage it — a trend that will ensure the perpetuation of bias into a new generation of professionals.

In 2011, Mark E. Moran wrote an article44 about “The Top 10 Reasons Students Cannot Cite or Rely on Wikipedia” for Finding Dulcinea, Librarian of the Internet. It’s an excellent compilation of why you cannot rely on Wikipedia, and while several years old, it’s more than relevant today. Among these 10 reasons, Moran cites:

  • You must never fully rely on any one source for important information

  • You especially can’t rely on something when you don’t even know who wrote it

  • The contributor with an agenda often prevails

  • Individuals with agendas sometimes have significant editing authority

  • Accurate contributors can be silenced

Again, the main problem with Wikipedia is that its “facts” are carefully cherry-picked to support a particular agenda. It doesn’t tell both sides of any given story. By so doing, they are destroying investigative journalism, which at its core is about questioning prevailing “facts” to get insight into the story behind the story.

Good journalism asks questions beyond a presentation of facts. A lawyer cannot win a case presenting just the facts. More often than not, intention and motivation need to be taken into account. This is where Wikipedia fails — yet they’ve convinced the very people who should know better (academia and news media) that everything anyone needs to know is on a Wikipedia page.

In “The Wikipedia Revolution,” author Andrew Lih reveals IBM has a senior staffer who polices Wikipedia’s references to IBM 24/7.45 Meanwhile, many public figures and industries are banned from editing their own pages — including me.

Equally disturbing is the fact that Wikipedia is now teamed up with “fact-checkers” around the world, led by the Poynter Institute, an Associated Press-affiliated, long-standing mentor institution and school for journalism whose motto is: “Democracy needs journalism. Journalism needs Poynter.”

Earlier this year, Poynter compiled a list46 of 515 “unreliable” websites, including 29 conservative media outlets, based on “fake news” databases created by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, Merrimack College, PolitiFact and Snopes, among others.47 Poynter also called on advertisers to blacklist the named sites, as advertising dollars is what keeps them going.

On May 2, 2019, after significant backlash,48 Poynter issued a retraction,49 saying they had found “weaknesses in the methodology” used to create the list. In two May 1, 2019, Tweets, Stephen Gutowski50 — a staff writer for The Washington Free Beacon who covers U.S. politics and in 2016 received the Gun Rights Policy Conference’s Journalist of the Year award51 — wrote:52

“I see the @FreeBeacon is still included in @Poynter’s list. I know for a fact that their staff shares my reporting so I’d love to hear any explanation for why my work and the work of my colleagues is now being deemed unreliable without so much as a single accusation of inaccuracy …

What a disgusting exercise in bad faith from an organization that’s supposed to be about improving and promoting journalism. Instead, they’re creating tabloid-level listicles to smear reporters without offering even a single piece of evidence. Shame on you, @Poynter.”

However, while Poynter issued a statement saying, “We regret that we failed to ensure that the data was rigorous before publication, and apologize for the confusion and agitation caused by its publication,” it appears the blacklisting is still occurring, through the joint efforts of its International Fact-Checking Network and known free speech deniers Google, Facebook and Snopes.

You may wonder how the Poynter Institute,53 the mission54 of which is “to fortify journalism’s role in a free society [by championing] freedom of expression, civil dialogue and compelling journalism,” could allow itself to partake of the poisoned apple of subjective censorship and systematic elimination of free thought and freedom of expression.

It does, and it’s important to understand how Poynter not only enables this silencing of free speech, but ultimately is a partner in this effort. In a nutshell, Poynter is a partner with Google, and Google is partners with Wikipedia by virtue of its investments.

October 26, 2017, Google, which funds Wikipedia, announced55 its partnership with Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network, which aims to bring together and support fact-checkers across the world56 by promoting best practices and information exchange, monitoring trends, tracking the impact of fact-checking, providing training and advocating for increased fact-checking.57

The Network also holds an annual fact-checker’s conference called Global Fact.58 59 Among this year’s participants were Facebook (which uses Wikipedia for its fact-checking), Google, Snopes’ David Mikkelson and YouTube.60

Again, as with Wikipedia contributors and editors, the vast majority of fact-checkers do not have a traditional journalism background, nor are a majority of fact-checking sites run by established media. Increasingly, then, news — and the fact-checking that used to be part of a journalist’s job description — is being outsourced to individuals who aren’t journalists and aren’t trained to think and act like one.

The situation we face today is quite remarkable. Not only has investigative journalism gone the way of the dinosaurs, but Wikipedia, which since its inception in 2001 has proven to be among the least reliable of sources on certain topics, is now being pushed to the foreground as a premier source of breaking news and authentication of expertise and reliability by an internet monopoly, Google, which is leading the charge on global censorship of information that might tarnish the most destructive and dangerous industries on this planet.

It doesn’t get a whole lot worse than this, which is why the myth of Wikipedia’s supremacy needs to be revealed for what it is — a bias-driven agenda to shape public opinion and thought — and Google’s monopoly needs to be broken.

While the U.S. Department of Justice is slated to investigate Google for breach of antitrust laws,61 we cannot afford to simply hope and wait for the DOJ to break it up. If we work together to boycott them, Google will crumble under its own weight.

  • Boycott Google by avoiding any and all Google products:

    • Stop using Google search engines. Alternatives include DuckDuckGo62 and Startpage63

    • Uninstall Google Chrome and use the Opera browser instead, available for all computers and mobile devices.64 From a security perspective, Opera is far superior to Chrome and offers a free VPN service (virtual private network) to further preserve your privacy

    • If you have a Gmail account, close it and open an account with a non-Google affiliated email service such as ProtonMail,65 and encrypted email service based in Switzerland

    • Stop using Google docs. Digital Trends has published an article suggesting a number of alternatives66

    • If you’re a high school student, do not convert the Google accounts you created as a student into personal accounts

  • Sign the “Don’t be evil” petition created by Citizens Against Monopoly

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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.

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Is the Financial Theft of the Ukraine War Over?

  • For years, Ukraine was recognized as one of the most, if not “the” most, corrupt nation in Europe. The country is now struggling to rein in corruption as that is becoming a key hurdle to obtain more financial support

  • According to official aid trackers, the U.S. had sent $76.8 billion in military, financial and humanitarian aid to Ukraine as of the end of July 2023. The European Union contributed another $85.1 billion in that same timeframe. In mid-October 2023, Biden proposed yet another $105 billion foreign aid package, $61 billion of which will go to Ukraine

  • According to U.S. officials, at least 70,000 of Ukraine’s 500,000 troops had been killed by mid-August 2023, and another 100,000 to 120,000 wounded. Another 9,614 Ukrainian civilians had also been killed as of September 10, 2023

  • The supply of cannon fodder is running so low that Ukraine recently updated its conscription law to include women. Women between the ages of 18 and 60 with medical backgrounds must register for military service as of October 1, 2023

  • Corruption may be a primary driver of this war. The American public being robbed and Ukraine drained of its youths while a relatively small number of corrupt individuals stuff their pockets with cash. American and European taxpayers are paying for the destruction of Ukraine and the elimination of huge numbers of its inhabitants, so that technocrat globalists and central bankers can then profit from the privatization and rebuilding of Ukraine into a “smart country” model for the rest of the world

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For years, Ukraine was recognized as one of the most, if not “the” most, corrupt nation in Europe. It held on to that reputation all the way up to the day Russia invaded in late February 2022, at which point media worldwide suddenly started rewriting history.

As noted by Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, in a sober and clear-eyed article, published in April 2022:1

“Statements from U.S. and other Western officials, as well as pervasive accounts in the news media, have created a stunningly misleading image of Ukraine. There has been a concerted effort to portray the country… as a plucky and noble bulwark of freedom and democracy …

The notion that Ukraine was such an appealing democratic model in Eastern Europe that the country’s mere existence terrified Putin … is a myth … Even before the war erupted, there were ugly examples of authoritarianism in Ukraine’s political governance …

The neo-Nazi Azov Battalion was an integral part of President Petro Poroshenko’s military and security apparatus, and it has retained that role during Zelensky’s presidency …

The country is not a symbol of freedom and liberal democracy, and the war is not an existential struggle between democracy and authoritarianism. At best, Ukraine is a corrupt, quasi‐democratic entity with troubling repressive policies.

Given that sobering reality, calls for Americans to ‘stand with Ukraine’ are misplaced. Preserving Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity most certainly are not worth the United States risking war with a nuclear-armed Russia.”

Indeed, while President Biden kept sending tens of billions of American taxpayer dollars to Ukraine in the name of “defending democracy,” Zelensky banned all opposition parties in the country and blacklisted American politicians and journalists who questioned the U.S. involvement in the conflict.2 So much for democracy and democratic values.

According to the Panama Papers3 4 released in 2016, which have been described as “a giant leak of more than 11.5 million financial and legal records [which] exposes a system that enables crime, corruption and wrongdoing,” Zelensky is likely just as corrupt as his predecessors, as he, his wife and several associates all own “hidden offshore assets.”

With that in mind, why is the U.S. sending billions of dollars to Ukraine without requiring any kind of accounting for where all this money is going? According to official aid trackers, the U.S. had sent $76.8 billion in military, financial and humanitarian aid to Ukraine as of the end of July 2023.5 6

The European Union contributed another $85.1 billion in that same timeframe.7 And, in mid-October 2023, Biden proposed yet another $105 billion foreign aid package, $61 billion of which will go to Ukraine.8 9

The lack of oversight combined with the lack of Ukrainian progress in the conflict and the refusal to enter into peace negotiations raises suspicions that these aid packages may simply be another money laundering scheme like we saw with FTX.10 11 At least $178 million sent to Ukraine through the now-defunct FTX crypto exchange may have been laundered back to the Democratic Party in the U.S.12

Lately, mainstream media have started to revisit the issue of corruption in Ukraine, probably because public perception of corruption may undermine the entire operation.

For example, October 2, 2023, Politico reported receiving a “sensitive but unclassified” strategy paper in which Biden administration officials warn that “Perceptions of high-level corruption” could “undermine the Ukrainian public’s and foreign leaders’ confidence in the war-time government.” According to Politico:13

“The administration wants to press Ukraine to cut graft … But being too loud about the issue could embolden opponents of U.S. aid to Ukraine, many of them Republican lawmakers who are trying to block such assistance. Any perception of weakened American support for Kyiv also could cause more European countries to think twice about their role.

Ukrainian graft has long been a concern of U.S. officials … But the topic was deemphasized in the wake of Russia’s February 2022 full-scale invasion …

More than a year into the full-scale war, U.S. officials are pressing the matter more in public and private. National security adviser Jake Sullivan, for instance, met in early September with a delegation from Ukrainian anti-corruption institutions.

A second U.S. official familiar with the discussions confirmed to POLITICO reports that the Biden administration is talking to Ukrainian leaders about potentially conditioning future economic aid on ‘reforms to tackle corruption and make Ukraine a more attractive place for private investment.’”

No such conditions have been proposed for military aid, however, which makes up the bulk of the money spent on Ukraine. Similarly, in mid-September 2023, Reuters reported14 that “billions of dollars of aid earmarked for Zelensky’s government as well as ambitions to join the European Union ride on Ukraine proving that it is serious about fighting corruption and embracing good governance.”

Zelensky, for his part, has increasingly tried to portray himself as a staunch corruption fighter, firing more than a dozen senior officials on corruption charges in January 2023.

In August he also fired all the heads of the draft offices across the country, after it became known that men were bribing their way out of military service by paying for medical exemptions.15 In September he also fired his minister of defense over allegations of corruption within the ministry. A Ukrainian Supreme Court justice was also arrested this past summer for taking bribes.16

Yet, such mass firings and arrests of high-level individuals have done little to quell rumors and accusations that Zelensky still tolerates corruption within his inner circle,17 perhaps because it’s true. According to a top adviser to Zelensky, who spoke to a Time journalist off the record, “People are stealing like there’s no tomorrow.”18

In a September 2023 meeting with U.S. senators, Zelensky pleaded for more funds saying “You’re giving money. We’re giving our lives.”19 Indeed, according to U.S. officials, at least 70,000 of Ukraine’s 500,000 troops had been killed by mid-August 2023, and another 100,000 to 120,000 wounded.20

Another 9,614 Ukrainian civilians had also been killed as of September 10, 2023.21 So many Ukrainian youths have been thrown into the meat grinder that the average age of Ukrainian soldiers is now 43. Men up to the age of 60 face the risk of being drafted at any time.

The supply of cannon fodder is running so low that Ukraine recently updated its conscription law to include women.22 Women between the ages of 18 and 60 with medical backgrounds, including doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists and pharmacists, must register for military service as of October 1, 2023.

However, unlike their male counterparts, women are not barred from leaving the country unless they’re called in for active duty.23 24 Ukraine is also trying to get as many Ukrainians back from other countries as well. To that end, Norway recently announced it will pay EUR 1,500 in cash to any Ukrainian willing to go home.25

Yet despite the enormous sums of money being poured into Ukraine, the weapons sent, the conscription of women and aged civilians, Ukraine is making no headway and have no conceivable way of winning. Even some of Zelensky’s closest aides are now saying he’s “deluding himself” thinking he can still somehow win.26

NATO countries are running out of ammunition and warn of shortages,27 while Russia has ramped up its military hardware production more than tenfold.28 And, even if we continue to supply the weapons, Ukraine is running out of able-bodied fighters to use them.29

In the final analysis, one wonders whether corruption might actually be a primary driver of this war. Is the American public being robbed and Ukraine drained of its youths while a relatively small number of corrupt individuals stuff their pockets with cash?

It looks that way, especially in light of the news that BlackRock, which already owns most of the private assets in the world, is positioning itself to profit from a post-war Ukraine. As reported by Business Today in early May 2023:30

“President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, recently met with the management team of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management company, to discuss the creation of an investment fund aimed at restoring the country’s economy through public and private capital. Netzines have not taken well to the news with many criticizing Zelensky over the meeting.

A Twitter user said, ‘Taxpayers pay the war bills, private firms get the profits.’ ‘Ukraine being privatized and sold off to companies like Blackrock,’ another said.

According to the press service of the Office of the President, the parties discussed the details of the investment fund’s creation and implementation of large-scale business projects in Ukraine.”

The U.S. is also keen on Ukraine privatizing its banks,31 which will open the door for central bankers to take over. And let’s not forget that the big picture plan for Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction is to turn the whole country into smart cities with “smart governments” run by artificial intelligence.32 33

It’s also a testing ground for warfare-related AI technologies34 35 said to be “paving the way for AI warfare in the future,”36 although it doesn’t appear to provide them with much advantage at the moment.

In short, it appears American and European taxpayers are paying for the destruction of Ukraine and the elimination of huge numbers of its inhabitants, so that technocrat globalists and central bankers can then profit from the privatization and rebuilding of Ukraine into a “smart country” model for the rest of the world.

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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.

Can This Ancient Soil-Dwelling Bacteria Kill Superbugs?

streptothricin f

  • Streptothricin F is a long-forgotten antibiotic researchers believe is effective against gram-negative, antibiotic-resistant superbugs and may hold one key to the future of fighting gram-negative pathogens that make up the majority of bacteria the WHO considers are the highest priority and pose the greatest threat to mankind

  • Early studies in the 1940s revealed human kidney toxicity. The current research team revisited the streptothricin F form and didn’t find kidney toxicity in an animal study, but it killed highly resistant gram-negative bacteria

  • Antibiotic resistance is on the rise, spurred by the rising use in humans and livestock. Despite known risks, use in animal farming is expected to grow by 8% by 2030, used to promote unnatural growth in the animal by altering the gut microbiome and concurrently developing antibacterial resistance

  • Biosolids comprise sewage sludge that is used to fertilize crops, and which contain a cocktail of hazardous materials, including antibiotics that also contribute to the rising public health threat

  • Cruciferous vegetables may hold one key to fighting gram-negative superbugs found in indole-3 carbinol that is converted to diindolylmethane (DIM). This boosts immune function and may be a potent weapon against antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Like high dose vitamin C, this should only be used when needed

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A 2023 paper1 published in PLOS Biology extolled the virtues of streptothricin F, a long-forgotten antibiotic researchers believe is effective against gram-negative bacteria. Gram-negative bacteria are behind the growth of antibiotic resistance, which has become a major public health threat worldwide.

The primary cause for this man-made epidemic is the misuse of antibiotics.2 Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a significant threat to those who acquire sepsis, a life-threatening condition that’s triggered by a systemic infection and ultimately affects the function of your vital organs. Sepsis is sometimes called blood poisoning, and according to Sepsis Alliance, “is one of the most significant health complications that can result from antimicrobial resistance.”3

It is important to note4 that more than 1.5 million people in the U.S. get sepsis each year and at least 350,000 die from it. As many as half of all patients who died in the hospital have sepsis, which is among the most expensive conditions to treat. As the researchers of the featured study note:5

“… high-throughput screening efforts to identify novel antimicrobials using synthetic chemical libraries with rare exceptions have been nonproductive. As a result, there is a significant antimicrobial discovery void.

Moreover, there is little doubt that resistance will emerge to agents currently in the pipeline. We are therefore clearly in need of several new gram-negative agents that are unique in terms of antimicrobial class and potential vulnerabilities, and which can diversify our antimicrobial therapeutic portfolio.”

Recognizing the rapid emergence of antimicrobial resistance and the dearth of new discoveries in the field, a collaborative group of researchers from several medical facilities including Harvard University, Beth Israel Deaconess, Case Western and Northeastern University began exploring the potential streptothricin F has against gram-negative bacteria.6

The antibiotic was isolated for the first time in the 1940s7 when the potential against gram-negative bacteria was recognized. Despite its potential, research was halted when an initial study determined it was too toxic on human kidneys. In 2017,8 the World Health Organization published a list of pathogens they considered of the highest priority that were antibiotic-resistant and posed the greatest threat to mankind.

The majority on that list were gram-negative bacterial pathogens that are responsible for considerable morbidity and mortality worldwide. “Now with the emergence of multidrug-resistant pathogens, for which there are few if any active antibiotics available for treatment, it is time to revisit and explore the potential of what we have previously overlooked,” pathologist James Kirby from Harvard University told ScienceAlert in May.9

The form of the antibiotic studied was Nourseothricin, which is created by gram-positive soil bacteria. The product is a mixture of antibiotics, including streptothricin F and streptothricin D. Nourseothricin and streptothricin D both demonstrated toxic effects on kidney cells in a petri dish. However, fractionated streptothricin F was not toxic in the lab or animals. Additionally, it remained highly effective at killing gram-negative bacteria that have proven antibiotic-resistant.

The researchers have not identified the mechanism that streptothricin F uses but the antibiotic appears to bind with the bacteria and cause dysfunction in a way that is different from other antibiotics. The team hopes to be able to figure out the mechanism to help develop medications that will kill highly resistant gram-negative bacteria, also known as superbugs. The researchers wrote:10

“In summary, we present data for compelling bactericidal activity of S-F against contemporary multidrug-resistant CRE and A. baumannii pathogens with in vivo confirmation of efficacy against an emblem of gram-negative antibiotic resistance.

We therefore believe that further early-stage exploration of the historic scaffold is warranted with the ultimate goal of identification of analogs with potential for therapeutic development.”

While excess human exposure to antibiotics from prescriptions for viral infections is problematic, agricultural use is higher. In 2011, Food Safety News reported that agricultural antibiotic use accounted for 80% of all antibiotics used in the U.S.11 In 2023, a paper published in Nature12 behind a paywall strongly suggests that despite known risks of antibiotic resistance, use in animal farming is expected to grow by 8% from 2020 to 2030. The paper explains:

“Overuse of antibiotics in agriculture is thought to be a major driver of the rise in humans of bacterial infections that cannot be treated with antibiotics. Although antibiotics can be necessary to treat infections in livestock, they are often used to speed up animal growth and prevent diseases among animals in crowded, unsanitary conditions.”

Use in animal farming ultimately affects those who eat the meat from animals raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). The danger in using antibiotics with livestock is that it changes their gut microbiome, which is in part how the drug promotes unnatural growth in the animal. However, some bacteria become antibiotic-resistant and are then passed into the environment through manure or contaminated meat during slaughter and processing.

In 2013,13 the CDC published the first Antibiotic Resistant Threats Report to highlight the danger of antimicrobial resistance and underscore the threat to human health. The 2022 report found much of the progress had been lost, in large part due to the overuse of antibiotics during the COVID-19 viral pandemic.

While the overall problem of antibiotic resistance must be addressed through public health policy, we can make choices that influence our personal risk. You can lower your risk of contracting or spreading drug-resistant infections using the following strategies.

  • Practice prevention by strengthening your immune system — Foundational strategies include avoiding sugars, processed foods and grains, reducing stress in your life and optimizing your sleep and vitamin D level. Adding in traditionally fermented and cultured foods helps optimize your microbiome. Properly wash your hands with warm water and plain soap, to prevent the spread of bacteria.

  • Limit your exposure to antibiotics — Antibiotics do not work for viral infections. Avoid antibiotics in food by purchasing organic or biodynamic grass fed meats and animal products and organically grown fruits and vegetables. Avoid antibacterial soaps, hand sanitizers and wipes, as these promote antibiotic resistance by allowing the strongest bacteria to survive and thrive in your home.

  • Take common sense precautions in the kitchen — Kitchens are notorious breeding grounds for disease-causing bacteria. To avoid cross-contamination, adhere to the following recommendations:

    • Use a designated cutting board, preferably wood, not plastic, for raw meat and poultry, and never use this board for other food preparation. Color coding your cutting boards is a simple way to distinguish between them.

    • Sanitize your cutting board with hot water and detergent. For an inexpensive, safe and effective kitchen counter and cutting board sanitizer, use 3% hydrogen peroxide and vinegar. Keep each liquid in a separate spray bottle, and then spray the surface with one, followed by the other, and wipe off.

    • Coconut oil can also be used to clean, treat and sanitize your wooden cutting boards. It’s loaded with lauric acid with potent antimicrobial actions. The fats will also help condition the wood.

Biosolids is the PR name for sewage sludge that is used as fertilizer for your food. Sewage sludge is the residue generated during the treatment of domestic waste and contains a cocktail of hazardous substances including those from industry, hospitals and humans — in other words, anything that is discharged into the sewer system.

Additionally, the application of massive amounts of biosolids containing nitrogen-rich fertilizers has contributed to the growing algae blooms along the U.S. coastlines. Environmental destruction harms human and animal life as well as destroying water quality.

In 2018, the U.S. Office of Inspector General14 released a scathing indictment of the EPA’s lack of regulation over the biosolid industry, having found unregulated pollutants including pharmaceuticals, steroids, hormones and flame retardants. PFAS and PFOA, alongside 352 other pollutants with incomplete risk assessments and 35 EPA priority pollutants.

It should surprise no one who reads my newsletter that using sewage sludge to grow food increases the already pressing problem of antibiotic resistance. The over-prescription of antibiotics to humans and livestock has created superbugs that kill thousands each year. The combination of human waste — which contains both antibiotics, pathogens and antibiotic-resistant pathogens — with hospital and industrial waste only worsens the deadly problem.

Cruciferous vegetables have long been cherished for their health benefits. Broccoli, cabbage, collards, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale and bok choy, just to name a few, contain several plant compounds that are important for optimal health, including powerful chemoprotective compounds.

One of the most well-known of these is sulforaphane, an organic sulfur. Another important phytochemical found in cruciferous veggies is indole-3 carbinol (I3C),15 which is converted in your gut to diindolylmethane (DIM). DIM in turn boosts immune function. Interestingly, researchers now believe that DIM may be a potent weapon against antibiotic-resistant pathogens as well.16

Many pathogens have also developed resistance to more than one drug, so-called pan-resistance, which makes treating them even more problematic. And, while pan-resistant superbugs are increasing, the development of new antibiotics to tackle them has come to a near halt.

Four pathogenic gram-negative bacteria were studied17 — Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumannii, Serratia marcescens and Providencia stuartii — and in the initial investigation, DIM reduced biofilm formation in all four by as much as 80%.

Of these, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii are both resistant to multiple drugs, so in follow-up tests they focused on these two specifically. As previously noted, DIM was able to inhibit biofilm formation in these bacteria by 65% to 70%. When DIM was combined with the antibiotic tobramycin, biofilm growth of P. aeruginosa was diminished by 98%.

Just as with high-dose vitamin C, which is another potent weapon to treat infections — especially when administered by IV — I don’t believe that DIM should be used every day as a prophylactic to prevent infections. It should be used only when needed to treat antibiotic-resistant infections as it will likely do so without any of the side effects of potent antibacterials.

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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.

Why Snopes Gets an ‘F’

snopes fact check gets failing grade

  • In their purported fact-checking of a report by CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson, Snopes spewed propaganda, not real facts, in an attempt to discredit the report and the potential vaccines-autism link

  • Snopes wrote the article without contacting Attkisson, who went on to state that they also listed claims she never made, then declared them to be false, and even were incorrect in one of their own claims

  • It’s dangerous to rely on any one source or group of individuals as authorities on truth, as it sets up the path for inevitable censorship

  • Industry propaganda and censorship of health and media information that strays from the mainstream is a growing problem

  • In your search for the truth, always follow your own guiding light — not one maintained by Snopes or any other internet watchdog or censorship authority that tries to lead you down their own biased path

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Editor’s Note: This article is a reprint. It was originally published February 5, 2019.

In the barrage of information you come across daily online, how do you know what’s true and what’s nothing more than hearsay, gossip or all-out lies? Some people use Snopes as their go-to source for online fact-checking, believing it to give the unbiased and credible final word on all those widely-circulated stories.

If you’re relying on Snopes as your arbiter of truth, however, you’re in for a surprise: Snopes engages in massive censorship of natural health and general promotion of industry talking points. What started as a tool to investigate urban legends, hoaxes and folklore has manifested into a self-proclaimed “definitive fact-checking resource” that’s taking on topics like whether or not vaccines can cause autism.

Yet, in their purported fact-checking of a Full Measure report1 by award-winning investigative reporter and former CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson,2 Snopes simply spewed propaganda, not real facts, in an attempt to discredit the report and the potential vaccines-autism link. In the end, though, they actually ended up confirming the main point of Attkisson’s report. For this, Attkisson wrote, “Snopes gets an ‘F’ for predictable propaganda in [the] vaccine-autism debate.”

Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, a pediatric neurologist, is a pro-vaccine expert witness the U.S. government used to debunk and turn down autism claims in vaccine court.

“Zimmerman was the government’s top expert witness and had testified that vaccines didn’t cause autism. The debate was declared over,” Attkisson reported. “But now Dr. Zimmerman has provided remarkable new information,” she said in the Full Measure report, adding:3

“He claims that during the vaccine hearings all those years ago, he privately told government lawyers that vaccines can, and did cause autism in some children. That turnabout from the government’s own chief medical expert stood to change everything about the vaccine-autism debate. If the public were to find out …

And he has come forward and explained how he told the United States government vaccines can cause autism in a certain subset of children and [the] United States government, the Department of Justice [DOJ], suppressed his true opinions.”

Zimmerman declined to be interviewed for the report, but referred Attkisson to his sworn affidavit, dated September 7, 2018, in which he stated that, in 2007, he told DOJ lawyers he had “discovered exceptions in which vaccinations could cause autism.”

“I explained that in a subset of children … vaccine-induced fever and immune stimulation … did cause regressive [brain disease] with features of autism spectrum disorder,” Zimmerman wrote.

This reportedly “panicked” the DOJ, which subsequently fired him, saying his services would no longer be needed, but essentially attempting to silence him. According to Zimmerman, the DOJ then went on to misrepresent his opinion in future cases, making no mention of the exceptions he’d informed them of.

“Meantime, CDC [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] — which promotes vaccines and monitors vaccine safety — never disclosed that the government’s own one-time medical expert concluded vaccines can cause autism — and to this day public health officials deny that’s the case,” according to the Full Measure report.4

Attkisson’s report also reveals how Congressmen who wanted to investigate the autism-vaccine link were bullied, harassed and threatened. Dan Burton, R-Ind., Dr. Dave Weldon, R-Fla., and Bill Posey, R-Fla., are among 11 members of Congress and staff who told Attkisson they were warned by PhRMA lobbyists to drop the vaccine safety issue.

In an article that attempts to fact-check Attkisson’s investigation, Snopes calls out many of the claims as false while clearly attempting to “debunk” vaccine-autism claims. However, in a rebuttal, Attkisson explains that Snopes earned a failing grade for its reporting.

“[T]he Snopes article debunks claims that were never made and uses one-sided references as its sources — other propagandists — without disclosing their vaccine industry ties.”5

For starters, Snopes labeled Zimmerman as a supporter of vaccination, as though this was something that Attkisson hid. In contrast, this point was central to Attkisson’s story and a large part of what makes his statements regarding vaccines and autism so noteworthy. Some of the additional egregious tactics Snopes used to try to discredit Attkisson’s report included the following:6

  • Snopes claimed Attkisson’s reading of Zimmerman’s sworn affidavit was flawed when she “simply quoted from the affidavit”

  • Snopes states that Zimmerman’s view is “not held by many scientists,” but did not survey several reputable scientists who hold the view

  • Snopes fails to address what its headline promises: the question of whether the government censored its own expert witness’ opinion

It’s important to note that Snopes also wrote their article without contacting Attkisson, who went on to state that they also listed claims she never made, then declared them to be false, and even were incorrect in one of their own claims, specifically that the existence of a potential link between vaccines, mitochondrial disorder and autism was not news at the time of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services omnibus autism proceedings in 2007.

“In fact, this suspected link was not previously known before the so-called ‘omnibus’ groups of vaccine-autism cases litigated a decade ago, and it is not widely known among doctors or the general public today; at least as of recently. That’s why it has proven to be so newsworthy,” Attkisson wrote, adding:7

“Snopes demonstrates reckless disregard for the truth when disparaging my reporting by falsely stating that it contains ‘misleading claims’ …

Refuting claims never made in my report and putting out one-sided vaccine propaganda makes one wonder whether Snopes author Alex Kasprak even read or watched the report he attempts to criticize, or just blindly printed the propaganda provided to him by vaccine industry interests.”

November 16, 2016, Snopes looked into claims made by Food Babe that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) might have shut down its residue testing of glyphosate due to complaints from Monsanto. “False,” Snopes declared.8 Ironically, the page declared that no corporate influence played a role and “the broad scientific consensus is that [glyphosate] is not a risk.”

Yet, a Twitter exchange clearly showed that the fact-checker for Snopes, Kasprak — the same author who wrote the critical review of Attkisson’s investigation — got his information about glyphosate’s safety from Kevin Folta, Ph.D.9

Folta, a University of Florida professor and a vocal advocate of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), who vehemently denied ever receiving any money from Monsanto, was caught lying about his financial ties to the company in 2015. The most flagrant piece of evidence against Folta shows that not only did he solicit funds from Monsanto, but he did so with intent to hide the financial connection between them.

Ironically, getting back to Attkisson’s case, the Snopes report ended up confirming exactly the point she was trying to make, stating, “Zimmerman, a scientist with serious credentials who was once a government expert on vaccines, believes that narrow circumstances might exist in which the combination of preexisting mitochondrial dysfunction and vaccination could trigger ASD [autism spectrum disorders].”10

“Snopes fabricates claims that were never made, debunks the fabricated claims,” Attkisson wrote, “and then ultimately agrees that the report I produced was accurate.”11

It’s dangerous to rely on any one source or group of individuals as authorities on truth, as it sets up the path for inevitable censorship. Even under the best circumstances, everyone is subject to their own biases, but in the case of Snopes, it was founded on fabrications from the start.

Snopes was created in 1995 by Barbara and David Mikkelson, who posed as “The San Fernardo Valley Folklore Society” in the beginning in order to gain credibility. Such a society does not exist as a legal entity, according to an investigation by the Daily Mail.12

The company soon expanded, but ultimately its founders divorced — amid claims that David Mikkelson embezzled company money for prostitutes and Barbara Mikkelson took millions from their joint bank account to buy property in Las Vegas.

According to Daily Mail, Mikkelson’s new wife, Elyssa Young — a former escort, self-proclaimed “courtesan” and porn actress who ran for Congress in Hawaii as a Libertarian in 2004 — was then employed as a Snopes administrator, even though the company claims to have no political leanings.

In response to the allegations, Forbes published an article weighing whether it was just another case of fake news, but ultimately was astonished by the lack of transparency given by the company’s founder when asked for comment, who stated that he was unable to respond due to a confidentiality clause in his divorce settlement. According to Forbes:13

“This creates a deeply unsettling environment in which when one tries to fact-check the fact-checker, the answer is the equivalent of ‘its secret’ …

At the end of the day, it is clear that before we rush to place fact-checking organizations like Snopes in charge of arbitrating what is “truth” … we need to have a lot more understanding of how they function internally and much greater transparency into their work.”

Whether it be the flu shot stunt at the Golden Globes or the industry-driven “facts” published by Snopes, it’s clear that industry propaganda and censorship of health and media information that strays from the mainstream is a growing problem.

In a 2017 Gallup/Knight Foundation Survey on Trust, Media and Democracy, 73% said they believe the proliferation of “fake news” on the internet is a major problem, and only half feel confident that readers can get to the facts by sorting through bias.14 And the fact is, fake news is a real problem. But it’s important to do your own research before believing even “fact-checked” sources like Snopes.

NewsGuard is another outlet to be wary of. The entity is setting itself up as the self-appointed global arbiter of what information is “trustworthy” — based on nine “credibility and transparency” factors — not only for information viewed on private electronic devices, but also for information accessible in public libraries and schools.

Once you’ve installed the NewsGuard browser plugin on your computer or cellphone, the NewsGuard icon rating will appear on all Google and Bing searches and on articles featured in your social media news feeds.

These icons are meant to influence readers, instructing them to disregard content with cautionary colors and cautions, but I believe the true intent will be to bury this content entirely from search results and social media feeds.

It is very likely Google, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms will use these ratings to lower the visibility of content — making nonconformist views disappear entirely. It’s a concerning prospect, especially since NewsGuard received much of its startup funds from Publicis Groupe, a global communications group whose history of clients includes the drug and tobacco industries.

Now more than ever, it’s important to be aware of what companies may be filtering your news media and how their own agenda may color what you see. In your search for the truth, always follow your own guiding light — not one maintained by Snopes or any other internet watchdog or censorship authority that tries to lead you down their own biased path.

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.

Is Your Gallbladder Causing Digestive Issues?

gallbladder digestive issues

  • Your gallbladder is an abdominal organ that stores and concentrates bile produced by your liver. The bile helps your body break down and absorb the fat that you eat. When you eat a fatty meal, your gallbladder will contract and squeeze more concentrated bile into the small intestine to aid in the breakdown of the fat

  • Since your gallbladder is involved in the breakdown of dietary fats, digestive problems — especially when eating fatty foods — can be indicative of a problem, even if you have no other symptoms. Digestive symptoms include frequent abdominal bloating, gas, nausea and/or diarrhea shortly after eating

  • Gallstones are one of the most common types of gallbladder problems that can occur, affecting an estimated 15% of the U.S. population. Women are twice as likely as men to develop them, especially during pregnancy or if using birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy

  • One of the reasons for this gender difference is because the extra estrogen increases cholesterol while simultaneously slowing down gallbladder emptying. Obesity, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, liver cirrhosis, sickle cell disease, intravenous feeding, a family history of gallstones, use of cholesterol-lowering drugs, high-fat/low-fiber diets and fasting are also risk factors

  • While your gallbladder performs an important function, you can live without it. Your liver still produces and sends bile into your duodenum, so you can still break down fats to a certain degree. But it’s not as efficient, so people who have had their gallbladder removed are advised to limit the amount of fat in their diets and take digestive aids such as ox bile and digestive enzymes

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Your gallbladder is a 3- to 4-inch long pear-shaped sack in your abdominal cavity located beneath your liver. It stores and concentrates bile produced by your liver. The bile helps your body break down and absorb the fat you eat.

When you eat fat, your liver sends bile directly into the duodenum (small intestine). Your gallbladder will also spring into action, contracting and squeezing more concentrated bile through the common bile duct into the small intestine to aid in the breakdown of the fat. Carbs and proteins are more easily digested and don’t need this extra bile.

Bile is made up of water, cholesterol, lecithin, bile salts (which break fats into smaller droplets that are easier for digestive enzymes to process) and bile pigments. The primary bile pigment is bilirubin, made from red blood cells that are broken down in the liver. This pigment is responsible for making urine yellow and stool brown.

Your pancreas also plays an important role in the digestive process. It produces and sends enzymes into the common bile duct via the pancreatic duct. Together, the digestive juices from your liver and pancreatic enzymes break down the food you eat into liquid form so that your body can absorb the nutrients from it.

Since your gallbladder is involved in the breakdown of dietary fats, digestive problems — especially when eating fatty foods — can be indicative of a problem, even if you have no other symptoms. Digestive symptoms include frequent abdominal bloating, gas, nausea and/or diarrhea shortly after eating.

Gallstones are one of the most common types of gallbladder problems that can occur, affecting an estimated 15% of the U.S. population.1 Women are twice as likely as men to develop them, especially during pregnancy or if using birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy.

One of the reasons for this gender difference is because the extra estrogen increases cholesterol while simultaneously slowing down gallbladder emptying. Obesity, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, liver cirrhosis, sickle cell disease, intravenous feeding, a family history of gallstones, use of cholesterol-lowering drugs, high-fat/low-fiber diets and fasting are also risk factors.2 3

Gallstones typically consist of crystallized bile, and if large enough to block a biliary duct, can cause varying degrees of pain. Left untreated, the blockage can lead to cholecystitis, or inflammation of the gallbladder. Common symptoms of cholecystitis include:

  • Sudden onset of severe pain in the center or upper right quadrant of your abdomen, under your ribcage. The pain is proportional to the pressure inside the gallbladder caused by the blockage and/or swelling due to infection

  • Pain that radiates to your right shoulder or back, between the shoulder blades

  • A tender abdomen

  • Fever and chills

  • Nausea and/or vomiting

  • Light or chalky colored stools

A gallbladder infection needs to be treated to avoid gallbladder rupture, which can be life-threatening, gangrene, or a gallbladder abscess. Abscesses occur when a pocket of pus forms inside the gallbladder. In severe cases of cholecystitis, the gallbladder is removed, but milder cases may be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs.

This is why you want to be really careful with your gallbladder and at the first sign of symptoms treat it as if you didn’t have a gallbladder so you can reverse the process and not have it surgically removed as so many people do. Not much you can do after a surgeon removes it for you as no way are you getting a gallbladder transplant.

Cholecystitis can also develop in the absence of stones, although it’s far rarer. Only 5% of acute cholecystitis cases are so-called acalculous, meaning there are no stones present.4

Acalculous gallbladder disease is thought to be caused by bile build-up due to a lack of oxygen to the gallbladder. In these cases, the gallbladder is typically removed. Other potential gallbladder problems include:5 6

  • Choledocholithiasis — This is when a gallstone blocks the common bile duct, causing bile to back up into the liver. In addition to pain in the upper right quadrant of your abdomen, other symptoms include jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), dark urine, clay-colored stool, nausea and/or vomiting. Treatment typically involves removing the stone with an endoscope. In severe and/or recurring cases, the gallbladder may be removed.

  • Polyps — Gallbladder polyps are abnormal growths on the interior wall of the gallbladder. Most people have no symptoms, and the polyps are usually only discovered during routine ultrasound or CT scans. Small asymptomatic polyps are usually left alone and monitored. Large symptomatic polyps, however, may require gallbladder removal.

  • Gallbladder cancer — This is a rare condition and little is known about its causes.

  • Porcelain gallbladder — This is another rare condition in which calcium builds up on the interior wall of the gallbladder, causing symptoms similar to those of gallstones.

  • Biliary dyskinesia — This is a functional disorder where your gallbladder’s ability to move bile into the bile duct is impaired. As a result, bile is backed up in your gallbladder, causing chronic inflammation.

  • Cholangiopathy — This term covers all diseases involving the bile ducts. Chronic inflammation of the bile ducts can scar the ducts, causing them to become narrow. This in turn can cause bile to build up either in the liver, gallbladder or both.

  • Liver cirrhosis — The buildup of bile in your liver can also result in liver inflammation and scarring (cirrhosis).

  • Pancreatitis — If the gallstone makes its way into the pancreatic duct, which intersects with the common bile duct, then inflammation of the pancreas can occur.

While your gallbladder performs an important function, you can live without it. In fact, many do, as gallbladder removal is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the U.S.7

“While you can live without your gallbladder, your digestion will not be as efficient, so people who have had their gallbladder removed are advised to limit the amount of fat in their diets and take digestive aids such as ox bile and digestive enzymes.”

Your liver still produces and sends bile into your duodenum, so you can still break down fats to a certain degree. But it’s not as efficient, as the bile from your liver is less concentrated. This is why people who have had their gallbladder removed are advised to limit the amount of fat in their diets and take digestive aids such as ox bile and digestive enzymes.

Fat malabsorption is also common among people with functioning gallbladders. Symptoms such as sticky stools, stools that float, frequent diarrhea, digestive upset, gas and/or soft foul-smelling stools right after meals, chronic dry skin and hair loss are common symptoms suggesting you may not be digesting fats properly.8

Whether you’ve had your gallbladder removed or not, you can improve your digestion of fats using:

  • Bitters — Bitters help stimulate the production of bile to boost the digestive process. The first signals for bile production come from your tongue, so taking a tablespoon of bitters right before eating can get the flow of bile going.

  • Betaine hydrochloride (HCI) — Betaine HCI — not to be confused with betaine or trimethylglycine (TMG) — increases the concentration of stomach acid, which is required for digestion of food. It also signals your pancreas to release digestive enzymes. If your stomach acid is too low, some of the food you will remain largely undigested.

  • Digestive enzymes In many people, the pancreas doesn’t produce enough digestive enzymes. In this case, taking a digestive enzyme supplement with each meal can help. There are five primary digestive enzymes, each designed to help break down different types of food:

    • Protease breaks down protein

    • Amylase breaks down carbohydrates, sugars and starches

    • Lipase breaks down fats. If you have IBS, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, no gallbladder or gallbladder dysfunction, you may benefit from higher levels of lipase

    • Lactase breaks down milk sugar (lactose) in dairy products

    • Sucrase breaks down sucrose sugars

    Taking a blend of enzymes is usually ideal, as no single enzyme can perform all the necessary functions throughout your digestive tract. That said, if you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, no gallbladder or gallbladder dysfunction, you may benefit from higher levels of lipase in particular.

  • Ox bile — Ox bile, which is most similar to that of humans, is particularly important after you’ve had your gallbladder removed. Ideally, take one tablet along with a lipase-containing digestive enzyme shortly before meals.

As noted by biohacker Dave Asprey, you can also improve your digestion of fats by eating the right fats:9

“C8 MCTs (caprylic acid) … skips a few steps in digestion. You don’t need bile for your cells to use it. Having a little bit of caprylic acid every day will help your body replenish the fats it’s been missing out while you haven’t been digesting fats.

Eating more fats will stimulate your liver to produce more bile, which will mix with stagnant bile and thin it out. Eating high quality fats like avocados, salmon and coconut oil to get things flowing.”

While it’s still unclear why gallstones form, a number of lifestyle strategies are known to lower your risk, including the following:

  • Get regular exercise

  • Clean up your diet — Avoid processed foods and grains, keep hydrated, opt for healthy high-quality fats and eat more high-fiber foods such as fruits and vegetables

  • Lose weight gradually — Rapid weight loss may raise your risk of gallstones

  • Avoid extended fasting, not only will it help your gallbladder, but it will increase your health as fasting is not as healthy as I previously believed as it increases your stress hormones and worsens mitochondrial function

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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.

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Why Is Oil Pulling Suddenly All the Rage?

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  • Oil pulling, a traditional ayurvedic remedy that’s been valued for oral health maintenance since ancient times, is trending online

  • The hashtag #oilpulling has more than 350 million views on TikTok

  • Influencers are sharing videos of the technique and saying it makes their teeth whiter, gums healthier and breath fresher

  • Scientific evidence backs up oil pulling’s benefits: Oil pulling with coconut oil had a significant effect on plaque index score and reduced bacteria in saliva compared to controls

  • About half the medium-chain fatty acids that make up coconut oil are lauric acid, which has powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties; coconut oil has also been found to fight Streptococcus mutans, which is associated with cavities, and Candida albicans

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Oil pulling, a traditional ayurvedic remedy that’s been valued for oral health maintenance since ancient times, is now trending online. The hashtag #oilpulling has more than 350 million views on TikTok,1 and influencers are sharing videos of the technique and saying it makes their teeth whiter, gums healthier and breath fresher.

It’s likely becoming more popular as people seek out natural ways to improve their health and are increasingly realizing the importance of working with their body’s natural systems. Using chemical mouthwash may alter the balance of microbes in your mouth, but oil pulling with coconut oil supports microbial balance.

As TikToker Kayla Ryan put it, “It just makes a nice ecosystem in your mouth.”2 You don’t have to take social media’s word for it, however. There’s a wealth of science to back up oil pulling’s oral health benefits.

A systematic review published in Heliyon states that oil pulling is believed to cure more than 30 systemic diseases while offering the following benefits to oral health:3

  • Reduced inflammation and bleeding

  • Improved dry mouth and throat

  • Relief from chapped lips

  • Whiter teeth

  • Reduced bad breath (halitosis)

  • Improved oral hygiene

  • Stronger jaw and oral cavity muscles

The review of 42 studies found oil pulling with coconut oil had a significant effect on plaque index score and reduced bacteria in saliva compared to controls.4 Another study involved 60 adolescents with gingivitis, an inflammatory disease caused by an accumulation of plaque, or bacteria, on the teeth that often leads to bleeding gums. If left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis and related teeth loss.

Oil pulling with coconut oil significantly decreased plaque and improved gingivitis by day seven, with improvements continuing over the 30-day study period.5 A separate pilot study of 20 people with plaque-induced gingivitis involved the use of coconut oil as a mouthwash daily for 30 days.

A control group carried out normal daily oral health procedures without coconut oil. While plaque and bleeding decreased in both groups, the coconut oil group had a more significant decline, showing promise for oil pulling to reduce plaque formation and gingivitis.6

Another study also added coconut oil pulling to the normal oral hygiene procedures of middle-aged adults with plaque-induced gingivitis. The group that used oil pulling in addition to regular brushing had a significantly greater decline in gingivitis and plaque after six weeks.7

The benefits are likely caused not only by the physical act of swishing the oil but also due to the coconut oil itself. A preliminary report published in the Nigerian Medical Journal noted:8

“In oil pulling, as the oil is swished in the mouth the mechanical shear forces exerted on the oil leads to its emulsification and the surface area of the oil is greatly increased. The oil film thus formed on the surface of the teeth and the gingiva can reduce plaque adhesion and bacterial co aggregation.

It was also proposed that the alkalis in the saliva can react with the oil leading to saponification and formation of a soap like substance, which can reduce the adhesion of plaque. Coconut oil has a high saponification value and is one of the most commonly used oil in making soaps. The soaps produced with coconut oil can lather well and have an increased cleansing action.

The lauric acid in the coconut oil can easily react with sodium hydroxide in saliva during oil pulling to form sodium laureate, the main constituent of soap, which might be responsible for the cleansing action and decreased plaque accumulation … The significant reduction in gingivitis can be attributed to decreased plaque accumulation and the anti-inflammatory, emollient effect of coconut oil.”

An orthodontist commented on social media that it’s not coconut oil that removes plaque but, rather, the swishing motion of pulling the oil through your teeth. “You can swish with anything for 20 min and it will remove plaque OR you can just brush your teeth in 2 min [sic] whatever works for you,” he said, as reported by Yahoo News.9

But there’s good reason to believe that coconut oil contributes unique benefits to the oil pulling process, making it the ideal oil for the job. About half of the medium-chain fatty acids that make up coconut oil are lauric acid, which has powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Coconut oil has also been found to fight Streptococcus mutans, which is associated with cavities, and Candida albicans.10

Coconut oil’s antifungal properties may be particularly useful for people suffering from oral candidiasis, or oral thrush. Coconut oil may kill yeast in the mouth while also pulling toxins from the oral cavity during swishing, helping to eliminate candida pathogens.11

Coconut oil is “readily accessible and cheap,”12 with no reported adverse effects. But despite its safety, effectiveness and accessibility, the American Dental Association (ADA) still does not recommend it:13

“Currently, there are no reliable scientific studies to show that oil pulling reduces cavities, whitens teeth or improves oral health and well-being. Based on the lack of scientific evidence, the American Dental Association does not recommend oil pulling as a dental hygiene practice.”

The only downside, if you can call it that, to oil pulling is that it takes up to 20 minutes a day to complete. While rinsing with a chemical mouthwash is faster, that’s its only advantage. Yet, ADA describes it as a “helpful addition to the daily dental hygiene routine for some people.”14 What they don’t tell you is that chemical mouthwash kills off both good and bad bacteria in your mouth, with potentially detrimental effects.

“In the mouth, you don’t want to have a ‘scorched earth policy,’ nuking all bacteria and hoping the good bugs come back,” Dr. Gerry Curatola, founder of Rejuvenation Dentistry, who has over 30 years’ experience in biological dentistry, said during our 2020 interview.15 “[G]ood bugs basically have a harder chance of setting up a healthy-balanced microbiome when you disturb them, or denature them, or dehydrate them with alcohol-based products.”

A natural alternative to mouthwash would be oil pulling with coconut oil, which has a lipophilic effect, helping to eliminate unhealthy biofilm from your teeth. While it does have a natural detergent effect, it doesn’t do the damage chemical detergents do.

Twice-daily use of mouthwash has been linked to an increased risk of prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes, by affecting oral bacteria critical for the formation of nitric oxide, which predisposes individuals to metabolic disorders like diabetes.16

Most mouthwashes contain antiseptics like chlorhexidine, which has been used in dental practice since 1970 and has broad-spectrum antibacterial activity.17 The antiseptic has been found to reduce bacteria associated with periodontal disease and dental caries, as well as reducing bad breath,18 but not without a cost.

Bacteria in your mouth are thought to play a role in blood pressure via nitric oxide (NO), a soluble gas stored in the lining of your blood vessels, called the endothelium. NO is produced inside your endothelial cells from the amino acid L-arginine, where it acts as an important signaling molecule throughout your body.

Disrupting your oral microbiome with chemical mouthwash, in turn, may raise blood pressure levels. In one study, the use of mouthwash twice daily was associated with a significant increase in systolic blood pressure after one week. Once the mouthwash was stopped, “recovery from use resulted in an enrichment in nitrate-reducing bacteria on the tongue.”19

Differences in more than 10 species of bacteria living on the tongue were noted after mouthwash use, including lower microbial diversity after one week of use.20 Mouthwash use may also stain your teeth, in contrast to coconut oil, which may leave your teeth whiter. In a study that compared coconut oil pulling with use of a chlorhexidine mouthwash, the mouthwash led to more tooth staining after four days.21

Oil pulling is one social media trend that you can get behind for better health. Part of its allure is its simplicity. You don’t need a doctor’s prescription or a trip to the dentist, just a small amount of coconut oil — 1 tablespoon for adults and 1 teaspoon for a child. If you’ve never tried oil pulling before, start slowly with one or two minutes a day, gradually working your way up to 20 minutes:22

“In the oil pulling procedure, the oil has to be kept in the mouth for the duration of 20 minutes, preferably in the morning before breakfast. The quantity for adults is equal to a tablespoon, for children to a teaspoon.

The oil, during the rinsing, has to be pulled and forced in between all the teeth and brought to contact to all the parts of the mouth. At the end of this procedure, if it has been performed properly, the aspect of the oil should be thin, viscous, and milky. Afterward, it has to be spat out and the mouth has to be rinsed with warm water.”

You should spit the used oil directly into a garbage can or outdoors, not down your sink or in the toilet, which could cause clogs. Although your saliva is combined with the oil, the liquid may still be oily enough to coat your plumbing and cause a blockage or cause water to drain more slowly. Avoid swallowing the oil, as it contains bacteria and other toxins pulled from your mouth.

It’s easy to add oil pulling to your daily routine, prior to brushing your teeth in the morning. For an added boost, by increasing the pH in your mouth after pulling you may reduce bacterial growth even further. To do that, mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 6 ounces of water and gargle. This will alkalize the pH of your mouth, and since bacteria thrive in an acidic environment, the increased pH will discourage growth.

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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.