In a day and age where chemical and radiation exposures from industrial pollution are ubiquitous and virtually unavoidable, it behooves us all to find ways to minimize exposure to them as well as to reduce their complex toxicities.
But how do we begin the process of detoxifying vis-a-vis exposure to tens of thousands of novel new synthetic compounds that have been introduced into the environment over the past century, and by virtue of that fact, have been accumulating in our bodies since we’ve been in the womb?
Just so the reader gets a sense for the true magnitude of the problem, I will refer back to an article I wrote in 2012 entitled, “Crude Awakening: Mineral Oil Contaminates Everyone’s Bodies,” wherein I reported on how petroleum-derived ingredients in cosmetics and even foods are accumulating in our bodies and causing profound adverse health issues:
“One autopsy study performed in 1985, revealed that 48% of the livers and 46% of the spleens of the 465 autopsies analyzed showed signs of mineral-oil induced lipogranuloma (a nodule of necrotic, fatty tissue associated with granulomatous inflammation or a foreign-body reaction around a deposit of an oily substance), indicating just how widespread pathological tissue changes associated with exposure really are.”
In the United States, the FDA has approved mineral for use in cosmetic products, as well as a food additive up to 10 mg/kg a day. For a 150 lb adult (68.03 kilograms) this is the equivalent of 680 milligrams a day, or 248 grams (over half a pound!) a year.
And that’s just petroleum. Add in pesticides, radionuclides, and heavy metals, and the hundreds of other chemicals we are exposed to in our daily life, and one begins to sense how overwhelming things have become.
The good news is that one of the body’s most ancient regulatory systems, namely, perspiration, is increasingly being clinically confirmed to provide more than just a thermoregulatory role, but as a powerful detoxification mechanism well.
For instance, in a previous article titled, “Research Confirms Sweating Detoxifies Dangerous Metals, Petrochemicals,” I reported on the ability of induced sweating to remove heavy metals, bisphenol A, and phthalates. Guest contributor, Deanna Minich, Ph.D., also covered the topic in her article 4 Reasons to Break a Sweat. Now, a new study indicates we can add another particularly nasty category of chemicals to the list of substances that the body can remove directly through sweating.
Sweating Removes Highly Toxic Flame Retardants From The Body
“Used since the early 1960s as flame retardants, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were first identified as global contaminants in 1987 ; they were found in human adipose tissue in 1990; and in 1995 the United States Environmental Protection Agency classified deca-BDEs, a commercial mixture of PBDE congeners, as possible human carcinogens. Since that time, PBDEs have been increasingly recognized as having serious health implications for humans, particularly for children [2–6]. Comprised of a family of 209 congeners, these persistent organic pollutants  have been used in a wide range of everyday consumer products including polyurethane foam, textiles, plastics, electrical equipment, computers, and construction materials. Because they are not fixed in polymer matrices, PBDEs can leak over time into the surrounding environment and be dispersed [6, 8, 9]. Consequently, these lipophilic [10–13] and bioaccumulating [10, 14–16] pollutants have been routinely detected in air, soil, sewage sludge, fish, wildlife, and humans [10, 12, 17–26].”
While PBDEs have been banned in a number of jurisdictions, including the European Union, they are still relatively unregulated in the United States. According to the new paper, these are the primary ways in which we are exposed to them:
Indoor Air and Dust.
Diet (particularly from meat)
Breast Milk and Fetal Exposure
The study also identified three well known mechanisms of harm:
Hormone dysregulation (e.g. thyroid disorders)
Cellular disruption (e.g. DNA damage)
Neurotoxicity (e.g. associated with plaque formation in the brain)
The study design was as follows:
“Nine males and 11 females with mean ages 44.5 ± 14.4 years and 45.6 ± 10.3 years, respectively, were recruited to participate in the study. Each participant provided informed consent and voluntarily gave one 200 mL sample of blood, one sample of first morningurine, and one 100 mL sample of sweat.”
They focused on investigating the elimination of five common PBDE congeners (28, 47, 99, 100, and 153) in three body fluids: blood, urine, and perspiration.
The results of the study were reported as follows:
“PBDE congeners were not found in urine samples; findings focus on blood and perspiration. 80% of participants tested positive in one or more body fluids for PBDE 28, 100% for PBDE 47, 95% for PBDE 99, and 90% for PBDE 100 and PBDE 153. Induced perspiration facilitated excretion of the five congeners, with different rates of excretion for different congeners.”
It is noteworthy that urine samples came up clean. This indicates that blood and sweat are far more accurate biomarkers for PBDE exposure.
The researchers concluded:
“[G]iven the relative absence of studies exploring PBDE elimination or clinical detoxification in humans, as well as the scientific consensus about the negative impact of PBDEs on human health, this study provides important baseline evidence suggesting that regular sessions of induced perspiration may facilitate the therapeutic elimination of PBDEs.”
This study adds further support to the indispensable health value of sweating in modern life. While the most obvious way to sweat via intense exertion isn’t always convenient or available, given disabilities or lifestyle commitments that preclude it, you could use a sauna, or infrared blanket to copiously induce perspiration. Also, there are diaphoretic (sweat inducing) herbs such as ginger that carry an excellent safety profile, and have other side benefits (take a look at our Ginger database for more information on the topic). Ginger won’t induce sweating alone but will work wonderfully in combination with exercise.
Smell may be your most underestimated sense. However, while you may not consciously think about it daily, your sense of smell has a significant impact on your behavior and your survival.
It wasn’t long ago scientists considered vision to be vital to survival and your sense of smell to rank last in the estimation of importance of your senses. Recent studies have shown that despite the weak number of olfactory receptors in humans compared to other species, the cortical integration of sensations in humans are large and have important connections with memory and language.1
Your sense of smell appears to be most significant in modulating your behavior and interpersonal relationships and has a major influence on your taste and personality. Knowledge of the more classic senses, especially sight and hearing, has played a significant role as scientists begin to understand how the brain interprets impressions.
Smell and taste have received little attention in comparison. You may have thought of how your sense of smell protects you from danger, such as smelling smoke during a fire, or natural gas from a gas line break. However, researchers have now discovered those attempting to quit smoking may also benefit from pleasant smells.2
Pleasant Scents May Curb Your Desire to Smoke
Research published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology focused on investigating the use of olfactory cues to reduce cravings for cigarettes. The researchers noted many want to quit, yet approximately 50% will relapse within two weeks.3
They gathered a group of participants who were exposed to smoking cues producing significant cravings. During times of peak craving, the participants were randomly assigned to sniff one of three scents they had previously sampled.
Participants were encouraged to smell the scent as often as they wanted in the first five minutes, as researchers measured their craving every minute.4 The researchers recorded a set of responses they thought were associated with the craving.
They found those exposed to scents rated as pleasant experienced a reduction in cravings for a cigarette more than those who were exposed to a neutral scent or a tobacco-related scent. The effect of reduced cravings persisted over five minutes. Additionally, 90% of the participants thought they could imagine using a pleasant scent to curb their craving in their everyday life.
This suggested olfactory cues could show promise for controlling cigarette cravings and may prove useful in combination with existing approaches in a smoking cessation intervention. Michael Sayette, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a psychology researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, commented on the results to Reuters, saying:5
“There are many approaches that people use for smoking cessation, including nicotine products (e.g., nicotine gum, nicotine patch), medication, and behavioral approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy and meditation. But quitting smoking remains an awfully difficult challenge and novel approaches, either alone or in conjunction with existing interventions, are sorely needed.
Although five minutes may not seem like a long time, it may be sufficient to offer smokers a critical window to rethink what they are doing and perhaps leave a situation where the risk of relapse is high.”
Smell Is Related to Your Memories and Taste
This video describes the process of smell, and how your sense of smell is intricately related to your sense of taste. As explained by Tom Finger, Ph.D., professor at the University of Colorado Denver medical school, the sensation of flavor is actually a combination of taste and smell. For instance, if you held your nose while chewing a jelly bean, the taste would be limited.
But, open your nose midway through chewing and you suddenly recognize the flavor. As you chew, air is forced through your nasal passages, which carries the smell of the food along with it. The interplay of these two senses help you to grasp complex flavors.
This connection makes losing your sense of smell devastating as food no longer has taste. Individuals miss out on emotional connections as well.6 Richard Doty, Ph.D., professor and director of the smell and taste Center at the University of Pennsylvania, believes smell is intricately related to memories.
For instance, the scent of your grandmother’s pantry is more quickly associated with memories of her home than sight of the home may be. Importantly, loss of smell is also one of the initial symptoms of degenerative neurological diseases.7
Researchers know impairment of the sense of smell is a characteristic feature of Parkinson’s disease. Recent data demonstrated more than 90% of those with Parkinson’s are diagnosed with significant loss of smell. Several studies have suggested this loss may have a diagnostic utility to differentiate Parkinson’s disease from other movement disorders.8
There may be times when you lose your sense of smell for a short time, such as during a cold or allergies, from a polyp growth in your nose, radiation, chemotherapy and other cancer treatments or some medications.9
Psychological Impact of Your Sense of Smell
Your sense of smell also has a surprising impact on your psychological health and how others treat you. In a research project10 carried out at the Dentistry Skills Center in Oslo, dentists were interested to see if patients who were anxious or nervous would be treated differently.
The trial was conducted using T-shirts collected from participants who had undergone two different situations, one in which the participant was nervous and another in which they were relaxed. The T-shirts were placed on practice dummies while students performed treatments.
The results of the study showed those who smelled of fear and anxiety received poorer treatment from the dental students. Human and animal studies have demonstrated the perception of odor is modulated by experience and your psychological state at the time. For instance, if you’re hungry, some odors may arouse different emotions than if you’re not.11
Odors may also influence psychological and physiological states as they affect the amygdala involved in associative learning and emotion, and the hippocampal system a part of long-term memory and episodic memory.12
You may have heard of inattentional blindness, during which an individual is so focused they failed to notice something happening in the area. Psychological scientists wondered if inattention may also increase in a person’s ability to miss smell.13
After two experiments testing their basic hypothesis and demonstrating smell blocking effects, they moved on and used 20 students to focus on a visual task in a room with a strong smell of coffee.14 Even though there were three open containers of coffee beans, only 30% said they smelled the coffee. However, when they left and came back, all the participants could smell it.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, 19% of the population over age 20 experience smell disorders. When those who lose their sense of smell from aging alone are considered, one out of every eight from between the ages of 53 and 91 will be affected over a five-year period.15
Hazards Associated With Smoking Not Limited to Your Lungs
As with exposure to any toxin, one or two cigarettes likely won’t cause lasting harm. It is the ongoing exposure that triggers serious side effects. Many don’t begin to feel these until years after they begin smoking. However, once you start experiencing symptoms, significant damage has already been done.
In addition to the long-term effects listed below, smokers tend to have smelly clothes and hair, bad breath and stained teeth. It may lead to premature wrinkles, gum and tooth loss and sudden weight changes.
Smoking causes progressive harm to your musculoskeletal system and bone mineral density16
Men who smoke have a 25% increased risk of any fracture and a 40% increased risk of hip fracture17
Smoking leads to slower healing after injury18
Smoking leads to an increase in chronic back pain and disabling lower back pain19
Smokers are more likely to develop cognitive impairment than nonsmokers20
Smokers are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease21
Smoking increases your risk of tooth loss and decay22
Smoking increases your risk of age-related macular degeneration and increases your risk of age-related cataracts23
Steer Clear of Vaping
There is a perceived notion smoking an e-cigarette is safer than traditional combustible cigarettes. This may be the result of the often-odorless vapor, making it difficult to detect. E-cigarettes are also being advertised to stop using traditional cigarettes.
While it may help some adults to quit completely, the perception that vaping is harmless is not confirmed by research. Although the World Health Organization (WHO) reports a small decrease in the estimated number of smokers globally since 2000, the numbers who are vaping have only continued to rise, from 7 million in 2011 to 35 million in 2016.24
The prevalence of vaping doubled from 2017 to 2018. A large federally funded survey25 conducted by the University of Michigan in their Monitoring the Future Study26 found twice as many high school students were using electronic nicotine delivery systems in 2018 as compared to 2017.27 Juul is the most popular product, likely a result of the wildly addictive nature of their nicotine salts.28,29
The combination of rising rates of individuals vaping, with the high addictive properties of Juul salts, makes it clear the tobacco industry’s new target consumers are teens. The outgoing FDA commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, continued to speak out against the tobacco industry as he resigned his post.
In a 15-page response to the commissioner’s30 plan to address the vaping epidemic, Altria, owner of Malboro and other large brands of cigarettes, promised to hold pod-based sales for FDA approval. According to Altria,31 “Our companies include some of the most enduring names in American business …”
Despite the tobacco company’s long and lurid history of lies and deceit, the FDA was willing to give Altria the benefit of the doubt. Holding true to the letter of their promise, they removed pods from some existing companies, but defied the spirit of intent when they invested in Juul to take advantage of Juul’s market value and lend Altria’s asset distribution channels.
Quit Smoking Safely
Vaping may be a short-term alternative to smoking combustible cigarettes if you’re trying to quit, but the product also carries significant health risks. Research has demonstrated two-thirds to three-quarters of ex-smokers were able to stop unaided,32 so if you’re thinking of quitting, try going cold turkey. However, I believe the secret is to get healthy first, which in turn makes quitting far easier.
Exercise is a big part of this plan, and research shows people engaged in regular strength training double their success rate at quitting smoking compared to those who don’t exercise.33 Healthy eating is another crucial aspect. If you want a quit here are three basic tips to help you get started.
• Nutrition — Read through my comprehensive free nutrition plan to get started eating right, which will teach you about intermittent fasting and other tools to get you healthy before you quit, as this can radically increase your likelihood of successfully quitting.
• Exercise — Develop a well-rounded exercise regimen. It is your ally to fighting disease and quitting smoking. Strength training is an important part, but also remember to incorporate HIIT exercises like Peak Fitness, core-strengthening exercises, aerobics and stretching.
• Stress reduction — Find a healthy emotional outlet. Many people use exercise, meditation or relaxation techniques for this, and these are all great. I also recommend incorporating the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), as this may help clear out emotional blockages from your system (some of which you might not even realize are there), thus restoring your mind and body’s balance and helping you break the addiction and avoid cravings.
If you smoke, I do advise quitting. You should also know about astaxanthin, which has been found to help prevent oxidative damage in those who smoke.34 This might be one way to at least help lessen some of the smoking-related damage for those who are unwilling or unable to quit.
One of the best things about tea is that you’ll never run out of flavors, blends or varieties to choose from. However, if you prefer strong black tea over the mild flavors of white and green tea, or even herbal teas, then there’s one type that you may love to sip on: English breakfast tea.
Despite its name, English breakfast tea is actually a delicious blend that can be enjoyed any time of the day. This robust beverage also delivers a number of health benefits. Here’s what you need to know about English breakfast tea, including its history, preferred brewing methods and other interesting facts.
What Is English Breakfast Tea?
English breakfast tea is a classic black tea that is made from different blends of tea, such as Assam, Kenyan and Ceylon teas.1 These different types of tea come from the Camellia sinensis plant — the same plant from which green, oolong and white teas are made.
Frank Sanchez of Uptown Tea Imports, who says that the English breakfast tea started as a Chinese congou tea, gave a short overview of how this blend came to The Kitchn:2
“The English started importing Chinese tea in the 17th century and then it really kicked into gear in the 18th century.
“Then, during the Opium Wars, China imposed an embargo on tea. Around the same time, the British East India Company started producing tea in Assam, India. For a while, the old stocks of Chinese tea were dwindling and the new stocks of Indian tea started coming in, and they were blended together.
Jump ahead to the end of the 19th century and tea was beginning to be produced in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). You started to have a stronger and stronger Ceylon component in English breakfast tea.”
You may be wondering how this blend acquired its name. Typically, breakfast teas such as these are created as an accompanying beverage to the traditional English morning meal, which is hearty, rich and often composed of foods like pork, beef and bread.3 It’s said that the strong flavor and the caffeine in the beverage give tea drinkers added mental alertness and helps boost their physical energy in the morning.4
Today, however, English breakfast tea can be enjoyed anytime of the day. It is full-bodied, tangy and rich, with a dark red color and a relaxing fragrance with slight notes of raisins. This drink can be blended with lemon or milk5 (although take note that adding dairy may affect the nutrition profile of the tea).
4 Benefits of English Breakfast Tea
The benefits that English breakfast tea offer are quite similar to those offered by other black teas. These include:
Helping eliminate free radicals and slowing aging — This tea comes with natural antioxidants called flavonoids, which are said to help reduce free radicals in the body.6
Promoting good circulation — One study published in the journal Circulation found that people struggling with coronary artery problems had better circulation after consuming black tea for four weeks.7
Helping promote heart health — Aside from improving cholesterol levels, black tea may also help reduce heart attack risk. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that an increased intake of black tea may help inhibit ischemic heart disease.8
Helping with weight management and optimizing metabolism — A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that decaffeinated black tea may stimulate the production of good bacteria in the gut. It also uses and changes our energy metabolism in the liver via gut metabolites.9
English Breakfast Tea Caffeine Content
Since it’s made from black tea, this tea blend has caffeine. But how much caffeine is there in English breakfast tea? According to a study published in the International Journal of Nutrition, Pharmacology, Neurological Diseases, the amount ranges from 60 to 90 milligrams in every 8-ounce cup. This is less than half the amount that you can get from sipping a cup of coffee.10
If you are caffeine-sensitive, you should limit or avoid drinking English breakfast tea, as the caffeine in it could lead to neurological changes,11 rapid heart rate12 and other issues.
How to Make English Breakfast Tea
You can use tea bags or loose leaf tea to create the perfect cup of English breakfast tea. Here’s a simple recipe from SparkRecipe that you can follow:13
3 tablespoons loose leaf English breakfast tea or 2 to 3 teabags
Using hot water, warm your clean teapot, and then throw the water away.
Fill the pot again with fresh boiling water.
Add the loose leaves or the teabags to the pot and allow to brew for three to five minutes before serving.
Serve with lemon wedges.
This makes four cups of tea.
How to Store English Breakfast Tea
Similar to wine, tea can become flat and lose its flavor over time. For English breakfast and other black teas, the typical shelf life is around two years — however, if improperly stored, it may become stale much sooner than that.
Ideally, store the tea, whether loose leaf or teabags, in an airtight container. Keep in a cool, dark place, like a pantry, away from other pungent cooking ingredients, as tea can absorb other strong odors. Do not store it in a refrigerator, though, as the moisture can cause it to degrade faster.14
English Breakfast Tea Side Effects
Too much of anything can sometimes cause problems, and this is true even when it comes to a healthy tea like English breakfast tea. This is because the tannins in black tea, which are water-soluble polyphenols,15 may lead to several side effects, such as vomiting, nausea and stomach upset, if consumed in excessive amounts.16
People who are recovering from a heart attack or acute cardiovascular disorders should also refrain from drinking English breakfast tea — or other highly caffeinated beverages — because of the effects of caffeine on heart rate. The same goes for pregnant women and nursing moms, as the caffeine may affect their child’s health.
A 2017 study noted that consuming high amounts of caffeine from coffee and tea during the second trimester of pregnancy may have effects on the brain of the fetus, potentially leading to behavioral disorders later in life.17
Enjoy English Breakfast Tea Any Time of the Day (but Moderate Your Intake)
Just because it’s labeled a breakfast tea doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to only drinking it in the morning. This is one of the top tea products enjoyed everywhere not only for its health benefits but also its robust flavor. It will certainly wake you up — but that’s most likely because of its caffeine.
If you’re caffeine-sensitive, limit your intake of this tea or avoid it completely — don’t worry, there are other caffeine-free tea varieties out there you can opt for, like matcha, tulsi or ginger tea.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About English Breakfast Tea
Q: Does English breakfast tea have caffeine?
A: Yes.Every 8-ounce cup can contain 60 to 90 milligrams of caffeine.18
Q: How should you drink English breakfast tea?
A: English breakfast tea is traditionally enjoyed hot. It can be flavored with lemon or milk. Be warned that adding milk may affect the antioxidants in the tea, though.
Note: When buying tea of any kind, make sure that it’s organic and grown in a pristine environment. The Camellia sinensis plant in particular is very efficient in absorbing lead, fluoride and other heavy metals and pesticides from the soil, which can then be taken up into the leaves. To avoid ingesting these dangerous toxins, a clean growing environment is essential, so that you can be sure you’re ingesting only pure, high-quality tea.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 329,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year, although some data suggest it may actually be over 444,000.1 While exact numbers are difficult to ascertain, what is known is that the prevalence is rising.
Since Lyme disease became a nationally notifiable condition in 1991,2 the number of U.S. counties considered at high risk for Lyme disease has increased by more than 300%.3 The disease is also expanding rapidly all over the world,4 as new research presented in April 2019 shows that the outbreaks are creeping steadily into northern countries with less temperate climates.
Likewise, by the end of 2018 eight northern U.S. states had more Lyme disease cases than southern states like Florida or those with moderate climates like West Virginia and North Carolina.5 In fact, Pennsylvania was leading the pack with 119,000 cases, according to the CDC.
Today, Lyme disease is becoming more widely recognized as an actual disease, but sufferers still meet plenty of resistance from the medical community and insurers. In years past, Lyme sufferers were often told their problem was psychiatric; in essence, the symptoms were “all in their head.”
Under Our Skin
“Under Our Skin 2: Emergence” is a sequel to the award-winning and Academy Award semifinalist documentary “Under Our Skin,”6 which exposed the hidden story of “medical and scientific malfeasance and neglect,” as thousands of people with Lyme disease go undiagnosed, or get misdiagnosed each year.
“Under Our Skin” had a tremendous impact raising awareness among patients, doctors and health authorities alike. Since the film’s release in 2014, the CDC has raised its estimated prevalence of Lyme more than 10 times, making it more prevalent than HIV and breast cancer combined in the U.S.
Even more importantly, scientific hypotheses presented in the film — such as the theory that Lyme organisms may thrive in biofilms, which helps explain why treatment is so difficult and recurrence so common — have now become widely accepted.
However, despite progress, Lyme patients still face an uphill battle. “Emergence” examines the deepening crisis, as prevalence is rising far faster than the evolution of diagnosis and treatment.
This article was originally published in 2016, and it’s been updated in 2019 in preparation for Lyme Disease Awareness Month in May in the United States. I believe this is the perfect time to share this important film once again, in case you haven’t seen it.
Around the world, controversy around Lyme disease continues to brew, and the film reveals medical collusion and conflicts of interest that keep Lyme patients suffering. The film ends on a hopeful note, however, by showing how patients in the original film have managed to improve their health and reclaim their lives.
The History of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease was named after the East Coast town of Lyme, Connecticut, where the disease was first identified in 1975.7 By 1977, the black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis, also known as the deer tick) was linked to transmission of the disease.
In November 1981, Willy Burgdorfer, Ph.D., discovered the bacterium responsible for the infection: Borrelia burgdorferi (B. burgdorferi),8 a relative to the spirochete bacterium that causes syphilis.9 The bacteria are released into your blood from the infected tick.
We now know there are about two dozen species of B. burgdorferi with hundreds of strains worldwide,10 many of which show resistance to antibiotics, with the disease recurring when antibiotics are stopped. New research11 shows that one reason for this may be that B. burgdorferi form protective biofilms around themselves, enhancing antibiotic resistance.
While not all the species are human pathogens, part of what makes B. burgdorferi such a formidable foe is its ability to take different forms in your body, depending on the conditions. This clever maneuvering helps it to hide and survive and ultimately to form these biofilms.
Its corkscrew-shaped form also allows it to burrow into and hide in a variety of your body’s tissues, which is why it causes such wide-ranging multisystem involvement.
Increasing the complexity further, some symptoms may also be due to coinfections triggered by other disease-causing organisms that like to travel with the B. burgdorferi bacterium. Many Lyme patients have one or more of these coinfections, which may or may not respond to any given treatment for B. burgdorferi.
To learn more about the symptoms and prevention of Lyme disease, make sure to check out the award-winning films “Under Our Skin” and “Under Our Skin 2: Emergence.”
Urban Sprawl Has Contributed to Rising Lyme Prevalence
Since the late 1970s, the spread of Lyme disease has primarily been blamed on deer. However, more recent evidence suggests rodents like mice and rats are a far more serious threat12,13 and the rise in Lyme disease has been traced back to the elimination of natural predators.
Ticks are not born with the Lyme spirochetes. They pick up the bacteria when feeding on an infected host.14 Research indicates that white-footed mice infect 75 to 95 percent of larval ticks that feed on them, while deer only infect about 1 percent.
According to a 1996 study,15 rats are even more infectious than mice, noting that “the capacity of rats to serve as reservoir hosts for the Lyme disease spirochete, therefore, increases risk of infection among visitors to … urban parks.”
Another study 16 published the following year also found that Norway rats and black rats were exceptionally effective hosts, infecting nearly all ticks that fed on them.
The main predators of small rodents like mice and rats are foxes, birds of prey, skunks and snakes.17 Agricultural and urban sprawl have decimated the habitats of these natural predators of mice and rats, allowing disease-carrying rodent populations to rise unabated.
Moreover, while snakes and birds of prey like hawks, falcons and owls are losing their natural habitats, the coyote population not only is thriving18 in most states, but is also killing off the only predators of rodents left, namely foxes and cats.
A study19 that looked at these factors found that increases in Lyme disease in the Northeast and Midwest U.S. in the past three decades consistently correlated to declines in red fox. It also found that as fox populations decrease and rodents increase, coyotes do not help control small rodent populations because they prefer much larger prey.
Other Contributing Factors
Besides mice and rats, and to a lesser degree deer, Lyme can also be spread by other insects20,21 besides ticks, including mosquitoes, lice, fleas and mites.
Complicating matters further, there’s yet another tick-borne disease on the loose. Researchers have identified a tick-borne illness that is very similar to Lyme, caused by Borrelia miyamotoi (B. miyamotoi). The CDC22 describes B. miyamotoi as a distant relative to B. burgdorferi, being more closely related to bacteria that cause tick-borne relapsing fever. This disease is characterized by recurring episodes of fever, headache, nausea and muscle or joint aches.
This bacterium was first identified in Japanese ticks in 1995. Since then, it’s been found in several rodent species (and the ticks that feed on them) in the U.S., as well as in ticks feeding on European red deer, domestic ruminants and white-tailed deer. According to the CDC:15
“Given that B. miyamotoi uses the same vector ticks as B. burgdorferi and that the range of I. scapularis ticks continues to expand, it seems inevitable that the human population will be increasingly exposed to B. miyamotoi.”
What Makes Lyme Disease Such a Challenging Disease?
Symptoms of Lyme disease typically start out with an expanding rash, which may be followed by fever, fatigue, chills, headaches and achy muscles or joints. According to the American Lyme Disease Foundation, these symptoms can be easy to overlook, so if you notice the rash, you should see your doctor right away.23
The disease may then progress to muscle spasms, loss of motor coordination and even intermittent paralysis, meningitis or heart problems. For more information on identifying a Lyme disease rash, please see the ALDF website.24
On an interesting side note, a 2014 paper25,26 published in the journal Frontiers in Zoology argues that ticks should be reclassified as venomous, as their salivary proteins are similar to those found in scorpion, spider, snake and bee venoms. An estimated 8% of tick species are in fact capable of causing paralysis with a single bite.
The simplest presentation of Lyme disease is in the orthopedic forms, which tend to affect the larger joints. When the microbes and the associated immune reactions are situated in the connective tissue, the infection presents as a “vague, dispersed pain,” which is easily misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia.
A major challenge with Lyme disease is that its symptoms imitate so many other disorders, including multiple sclerosis (MS), arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and even Alzheimer’s disease, making proper identification difficult and time consuming27 What’s worse, many Lyme sufferers outwardly look quite healthy and their blood work often raises no cause for concern, which is why Lyme disease has also been called “the invisible illness.”
Better Diagnostics for Lyme Are Sorely Needed
A big problem facing Lyme patients and their treating doctors is the difficulty of reaching a proper diagnosis.28 Conventional lab tests are unreliable, and one reason for this is because the spirochete has the ability to infect your white blood cells.29 Lab tests rely on the normal function of white blood cells to produce the antibodies they measure. If your white cells are infected, they don’t respond to infection appropriately.
In order for blood tests to be truly useful, you need to be treated first. Once your immune system begins to respond normally, only then will the antibodies show up. This is called the “Lyme Paradox.” You have to be treated before a proper diagnosis can be made.
That said, I recommend the specialized lab called IGeneX because they offer highly sensitive tests for more outer surface proteins (bands), and can often detect Lyme while standard blood tests cannot. IGeneX also tests for a few strains of coinfections such as Babesia and Ehrlichia.
Patients and Doctors Fight for Recognition of Chronic Lyme
As if the difficulties of getting a proper diagnosis and treatment were not enough, Lyme sufferers face additional hurdles when they don’t fully recuperate after the initial treatment. The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), which publishes guidelines for a number of infectious diseases, declared in 2012 that:30
“We sympathize with these patients’ suffering, but remain concerned that a diagnosis of so-called ‘chronic Lyme disease,’ suggesting that active infection is ongoing, is not supported by scientific evidence and, more alarmingly, the treatment of long-term antibiotic therapy will do patients more harm than good.”
As of April 24, 2019, this statement remained on IDSA’s official Lyme disease website.31 IDSA’s 2006 clinical practice guidelines32 for Lyme disease claim that Lyme is easily cured with with 10 to 28 days of antibiotics. However, the references they base this on reflect a clear bias. Of the 400 references they cite, half are based on articles written by their own people.
After then-Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal opened an ethics investigation on them,33 an antitrust investigation into IDSA’s panel members revealed rampant conflicts of interest. But, unfortunately, such discoveries did not result in positive change, as the IDSA followed up with its own “independent” panel review, which concluded that the IDSA’s guidelines were “medically and scientifically” justified34 and that the authors “did not fail to consider or cite any relevant data.”
As a result, chronic Lyme patients continue having to fight for their right to treatment, as IDSA’s guidelines have sweeping impacts on Lyme disease medical care. Insurance companies frequently restrict coverage for long-term treatment based on IDSA’s guidelines. Physicians’ treatment decisions are also guided by its recommendations.
Opposing IDSA is the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, the members of which argue that many patients suffer long-term consequences and require far longer treatment than recommended by IDSA.
Acknowledging that the two entities’ guidelines conflict,35 the Institute of Medicine noted that “conflicting guidelines most often arise when evidence is weak, organizations use different assessment schemes or when guideline developers place different values on the benefits and harms of interventions.”
Signs of Slow but Steady Progress
There are signs of progress though:
• In 2015, a new Lyme research center attached to the rheumatology division at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center was created. Led by Lyme researcher Dr. John Aucott, the research center focuses on biologic disease mechanisms of Lyme and on improving the accuracy of diagnostic tests for it.36
• In February 2016, lymedisease.org reported that the National Guidelines Clearinghouse, “a federal database that provides treatment information to health care professionals and insurance companies,” had removed IDSA’s treatment guidelines from its website, leaving only ILADS guidelines.37
The IDSA guidelines are also due for revision, although major changes are probably unlikely. On the upside, IDSA reluctantly agreed to include a Lyme patient on its guideline’s panel, after being pressured by Lyme disease advocate groups, patients and U.S. Congressmen. As of April 2019, the IDSA reports having three patients with confirmed Lyme disease and one parent of a child with confirmed Lyme disease on its panel.38
However, until the IDSA guidelines are updated — for which there is no known deadline as of yet even though the agency sought public comments for it in 2015 — ILADS treatment guidelines are the only ones listed by National Guidelines Clearinghouse. Instead, the IDSA is choosing a wait-and-see position as they study the concerns brought up in the public commentaries.39
• At the end of June 2016, the Delaware Senate and House passed HB 291, which created an oversight board to educate health care professionals about Lyme disease.40 In April 2019, the Global Lyme Alliance joined Delaware’s Lyme Disease Education Oversight Board to partner in launching an only Lyme disease course for physicians and other health care professionals.41
• On July 31, 2016, the Massachusetts Senate passed the Lyme disease insurance bill (H4491), joining the state’s House in overriding their governor’s veto of the bill. The new law took effect immediately, calling for mandatory insurance coverage for the long-term treatment of chronic Lyme, setting a precedent for other states to follow.42
• In August 2018 scientists announced that they’d found that two antibiotics, ceftriaxone and vancomycin, cleared the B. burgdorferi infection when the standard antibiotic, doxycycline, did not.43
Take Prevention Seriously
Considering the difficulty of diagnosing and treating Lyme disease, taking preventive measures should be at the top of your list:
Avoid tick-infested areas, such as leaf piles around trees. Walk in the middle of trails and avoid brushing against long grasses path edgings. Don’t sit on logs or wooden stumps.
Considering the high infection rate of rats, you’d be wise to take precautions if you’re in an area where rats have been sighted.
Wear light-colored long pants and long sleeves, to make it easier to see the ticks.
Tuck your pants into socks, and wear closed shoes and a hat, especially if venturing out into wooded areas. Also tuck your shirt into your pants.
Ticks are very tiny. You want to find and remove them before they bite, so do a thorough tick check upon returning inside, and keep checking for several days following exposure. Also check your bedding for several days following exposure.
As for using chemical repellents, I do not recommend using them directly on your skin as this will introduce toxins directly into your body. If you use them, spray them on the outside of your clothes and avoid inhaling the spray fumes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a list44 indicating the hourly protection limits for various repellents.
If you find that a tick has latched onto you, it’s very important to remove it properly. For detailed instructions, please see lymedisease.org’s tick removal page.45 Once removed, make sure you save the tick so that it can be tested for presence of pathogenic organisms.
About the Director
I believe in bringing quality to my readers, which is why I wanted to share some information about the director, Andy Abrahams Wilson, from “Under Our Skin 2: Emergence.” We sat down with Andy to learn a little more about what goes in to making these films. Thank you to Mr. Wilson for sharing with us.
What was your inspiration for making this film?
Lyme disease is a canary in the coal mine and case study for what’s poisonous in both our environment and our science. At the epicenter a tiny microbe looms, providing a powerful symbol for an issue that is hidden and lurking — so small yet immense, so real but unrecognized. What has gotten under our skin is not just a microorganism, but a lethal system which has abandoned some of the most needy and threatens us all.
Our own human skin is a microcosm of the earth, and the extent to which the Earth’s body is out of balance, so is our own. With “Under Our Skin” and its sequel “Emergence,” it is my mission to show the horror of an illness and an ill system that too long has been ignored. But I also want to show the human and natural beauty right next to it. Sometimes indistinguishable, the beauty and horror are intertwined.
If the films merely perpetuate the idea that the natural world is perilous, or that human nature is corrupt, we miss out on the beauty that surrounds us. On the other hand, if we are lulled by convention and don’t look beneath the surface, we risk infection by the equally dangerous maladies of ignorance and indifference.
What was your favorite part of making this film?
As the director, my favorite part of the film was being a witness to the hundreds of Lyme sufferers interviewed through the four years of production. This witnessing can be incredibly healing, especially for people whose voices have not been heard or validated. Of course, once the film was completed, the personal stories about how the film changed — or even saved — people’s lives was the icing on the cake. To create art that helps heal is the best reward possible.
Where do the proceeds to your film go?
Open Eye Pictures, the production and distribution company behind the film, is a nonprofit specializing in films that educate and activate. All proceeds from the film go back into the mission of the company to bring awareness and impact change through film. We have an ongoing Lyme outreach and community engagement program which is supported solely by proceeds from film sales.
Together with your help we can continue to spread the word about this harmful disease so that we can take control of our health and the health of our children. We are offering a combo deal of Under Our Skin Parts 1 and 2 for a discounted price so be sure to take advantage of this great deal.
Two rabbis at a pre-military religious academy in a West Bank settlement were recorded making derogatory and racist comments about Arabs, defending Adolf Hitler’s worldview, and openly promoting Jewish supremacy.
In a series of undated recordings published by Channel 13 news on Monday, Rabbi Eliezer Kashtiel, the head of the Bnei David academy in Eli, can be heard calling for the enslavement of the “stupid and violent” non-Jews due to their genetic inferiority.
“The gentiles will want to be our slaves. Being a slave to a Jew is the best. They’re glad to be slaves, they want to be slaves,” he told a class in one of the video clips. “Instead of just walking the streets and being stupid and violent and harming each other, once they’re slaves, their lives can begin to take shape.”
“All around us, we are surrounded by peoples with genetic problems. Ask a simple Arab ‘where do you want to be?’ He wants to be under the occupation. Why? Because they have genetic problems, they don’t know how to run a country, they don’t know how to do anything. Look at them.”
In the lecture, Kashtiel goes on to embrace racism against non-Jews.
“Yes, we’re racists. We believe in racism… There are races in the world and peoples have genetic traits, and that requires us to try to help them,” he said. “The Jews are a more successful race.” […]
“The Event… the Rapture… the Golden Age of mankind… whatever you want to call the massive energetic transformation that is physically shifting our solar system right now… it is not something happening to us. We are actively creating it by giving the light many more places to anchor into.”
Many religious and economic heads are feeling the pull to desperately shore up the energetic walls with physical energy in the only way they know how.
Many players in this high stakes monetary game of planetary control understand exactly how these systems work, if not their own part in it. They felt an extreme pull into action, causing well over a billion dollars worth of donations as they magnetized the collective with massive donations that pulled many to donate as well.
With the creative energy of humanity hijacked by the Babylonian slave money magic systems, this influx was just as much physical as it was energetic as all those feeling the vacuum of energy filled it with their sorrow, confusion, anger and determination to “make it right”.
What ended up being created was a shoring effect that began to interrupt the natural flow that the toppling of the “acupuncture needle” (spire) released, a desperate ploy to “reverse the volcano’s explosion”
It has already shifted much to far for them to regain control. Gaia has already began to wakeup in a massive way, and the flows were already strong enough to break free. With the toppling, the flow became uncontrollable from the negative perception and they are trying to wall it off.
This has caused severe instability as we experience a major push upwards in vibration at the same time. Many are noticing the intensity of their emotional and energetic states from these surges.
Not only do we have the waves of energy becoming stronger and fuller frequency as there is more light to anchor into, we also have been purging the collective sludge being created as this Loosh harvest swings into full gear.
As soon as the churches being burned and bombed (caused by the globalists to push this agenda as far as it will go) begin to disappear from mainstream media, the next level of harvesting will begin as the latest hot button issue becomes the collective focus as a new frequency of emotion is harvested.
This will not be successful. Already many have opened their awareness to how the majority is being manipulated and as more and more desperate ploys are exposed, the house of cards will begin to physically crumble, matching the energetic foundation.
Over the coming weeks, expect more exposures of the mainstream perpectuve as they get more desperate.
We are watching the dissolution of the cornerstone the entire foundation of Babylon is built upon, physically and energetically.
What we can do: Focus on your mission. Why are you here? Why do you exist? What is your purpose for being? Where do you belong in creation?
These are the burning questions that need answering. These are the burning sensations that drive into action, learning, exploring and training.
We came from incredibly powerful levels of light, having gone through intensely pure levels of soul transformation. This allowed us to remember what the light is when we came into this world of amnesia and ignorance.
We came here to feel this system from the inside out by becoming part of it… by feeding it… by recognizing how unnatural it is.
As we are a part of this system, when we choose to shift, it has no choice but to shift with us and we are going back into our pristine origins. I go into much greater detail here in “The Starseed’s Mission”.
When we shift our focus, we anchor in what we focus on. When we stand inside of this instability and anchor into our Divine mission, the instability dissolves. Solidity becomes the foundation. Light is birthed.
The Event… the Rapture… the Golden Age of mankind… whatever you want to call the massive energetic transformation that is physically shifting our solar system right now… it is not something happening to us.
We are actively creating it by giving the light many more places to anchor into.
Honor your part in this. It is just as important as everyone else’s.
“What’s being done to our food in the name of profit?”
It’s an omnipresent question that becomes more important with each passing year.
Our produce is being gassed, sprayed with chemicals, and even genetically manipulated to the point where it’s becoming and harder to keep track of how many different pesticides, insecticides and herbicides are actually being used.
Leading the charge once again is Bayer AG (you can read their complete history here), a German chemical and pharmaceutical company (which has a dark history related to manufacturing a chemical used in death camps during WWII), which recently purchased Monsanto, creating a company that could control more than 25% of the global seeds and pesticides market when it’s all said and done.