Experts warn about opioids post tonsillectomy

In the U.S., 289,000 children aged 15 years and younger receive a tonsillectomy each year, making it one of the most common surgeries.1 The procedure completely removes the tonsils and is sometimes performed along with adenoidectomy, which is surgery to remove the adenoids.

While tonsillectomy itself is associated with serious long-term risks,2 parents need to be aware that the painkillers given to children following the surgery can also be dangerous. This is especially true if children are prescribed opioids, powerful pain-relieving drugs linked to an epidemic of overdose deaths.

In a revealing study from University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital researchers, 59.6% of children received a prescription for opioids following tonsillectomy,3 even though safer pain relief options would likely have worked just as well.

Six in 10 children prescribed opioids after tonsillectomy

Data from 15,793 children aged 1 to 18 who underwent tonsillectomy were analyzed for the study, revealing that 6 in 10 had at least one prescription for opioids filled following the procedure. Yet, there was no difference found in risk of return visits for pain or dehydration among children taking opioids or non-opioid drugs.4

Taking opioids was associated with an increased risk of constipation and opioid overdose.5 What’s more, the median prescription duration was eight days, which could mean an equivalent of 48 doses of the drugs — more than is typically needed. Past research found that an average of 52.2 doses of opioids may be prescribed to children following a tonsillectomy, with an average of 43.8 leftover doses.6

Not only does this increase the risk of adverse effects and addiction, but it poses a risk for family and friends who may take the leftover pills.7 According to the study authors:8

“Most children received less than 50% of their prescribed opioid doses because parents quickly tapered opioids, switched to nonopioids, or discontinued analgesics during the first few postprocedure days.

This left a considerable amount of unused prescribed opioids in the homes of children who were prescribed these agents for acute pain. This suggested mismatch between dispensed and used prescription opioids can inadvertently contribute to risky behavior and, therefore, begs for broad intervention.”

As for why opioids are often prescribed following tonsillectomy, the University of Michigan researchers suggested they’re often believed to provide superior pain relief and reduce the risk of return visits to the doctor, but this study suggests this isn’t the case.

They’re also sometimes offered over nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) due to concerns that NSAIDs may increase the risk of bleeding, but research suggests they can be used safely following tonsillectomy.9

“Our findings suggest that it may be possible to reduce opioid exposure among children who undergo this common surgery without increasing the risk of complications,” lead author Dr. Kao-Ping Chua said in a news release, adding:10

“To minimize the risks of opioids to children and their families, clinicians should rely on non-opioids when possible. When opioids are used, they should aim to prescribe only the amount that patients need …

However, our study suggests that many children receive opioid prescriptions after tonsillectomy and that the amount may be excessive. We need to conduct research to identify interventions that safely and effectively reduce opioid exposure for these children.”

Otolaryngologists advise against opioids after tonsillectomy

Prescription opioids are sometimes considered standard care for treating severe pain in adults following surgery or injury or due to illnesses such as cancer, although they’re now increasingly prescribed for many types of pain, including chronic back pain or pain from osteoarthritis.

The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO HNS), however, advises against their use after tonsillectomy, advising instead, “Clinicians should recommend ibuprofen, acetaminophen or both for pain control after tonsillectomy.”11 In their plain language summary for patients, AAO HNS further states:12

“Some medicines like antibiotics and codeine (koh-DEEN) or any medication containing codeine are not good for children younger than 12 years after tonsillectomy. There are better choices than codeine even for children 12 to 18 years old. Codeine [an opioid] can cause very slow breathing and, if too much is given, death. It can also be habit forming (addictive).”

Opioids given to children despite FDA black box warning

In 2012, the FDA announced it was reviewing the safety of codeine use after tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy after serious adverse events and deaths were reported.

They found many of the children affected had obstructive sleep apnea and “had evidence of being ultrarapid metabolizers of codeine, which is an inherited (genetic) ability that causes the liver to convert codeine into life-threatening or fatal amounts of morphine in the body.”13

“Since these children already had underlying breathing problems, they may have been particularly sensitive to the breathing difficulties that can result when codeine is converted in the body to high levels of morphine,” the FDA announced.14

“However, they continued, “this contraindication applies to all children undergoing tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy because it is not easy to determine which children might be ultrarapid metabolizers of codeine.”

The end result was a black-box warning, the FDA’s strongest warning, added to the label of codeine-containing products advising against the use of such drugs in all children following tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy. 

In 2017, Chua and colleagues published a study that found the FDA’s investigation significantly reduced codeine prescribing to children after these procedures — but did not stop it entirely. In a review of 362,992 children who underwent tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy, 5.1% had one or more prescriptions for codeine filled in December 2015.

The researchers explained, “1 in 20 children undergoing these surgeries were still prescribed codeine in December 2015 despite its well-documented safety and efficacy issues.”15

Considering the risks of prescribing codeine to children, the inability to identify which children may be especially vulnerable to its effects and the widespread availability of nonopioid pain relief options, the researchers described prescribing codeine to children after tonsillectomy an “unnecessary gamble, “particularly for children with OSA [obstructive sleep apnea], who are at a higher risk for opioid-related respiratory depression.”16

Parents mistakenly believe opioids are best for pain

Despite widespread media headlines highlighting the risks of opioid abuse and overdose deaths, many parents still believe they’re the most effective option for pain relief. In a survey commissioned by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, nearly two-thirds of parents surveyed believed opioids were better for pain management after surgery or a broken bone than alternatives.17

In reality, research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that less risky opioid-free options may work just as well.18

The study evaluated the effects of four different combinations of pain relievers — three with different opioids and one opioid-free option composed of ibuprofen (i.e., Advil) and acetaminophen (i.e., Tylenol) — on people with moderate to severe pain in an extremity, due to bone fractures, shoulder dislocation and other injuries.

The patients had an average pain score of 8.7 (on a scale of zero to 10) when they arrived. Two hours later, after receiving one of the pain-relief combinations, their pain levels decreased similarly, regardless of which drug-combo they received. Specifically, pain scores fell by:19

  • 4.3 in the ibuprofen and acetaminophen group
  • 4.4 in the oxycodone and acetaminophen group
  • 3.5 in the hydrocodone and acetaminophen group
  • 3.9 in the codeine and acetaminophen group

“For patients presenting to the ED [emergency department] with acute extremity pain, there were no statistically significant or clinically important differences in pain reduction at two hours among single-dose treatment with ibuprofen and acetaminophen or with 3 different opioid and acetaminophen combination analgesics,” the researchers concluded.20

Opioid-related deaths among children nearly triple

The opioid epidemic kills 130 Americans daily,21 and sadly this sometimes includes children. While adult deaths due to opioid overdose have trended upward in recent years, so too have those among children.

From 1999 to 2016, 8,986 children and adolescents died due to opioid poisonings — an increase in mortality rate of 268.2%.22 Prescription opioids were responsible for 73% of the deaths, with the mortality rate increasing 131.3% during the study period.23

According to the study, “These findings suggest that the opioid epidemic is likely to remain a growing public health problem in the young unless legislators, public health officials, clinicians and parents take a wider view of the opioid crisis and implement protective measures that are pediatric specific and family centered.”24

The findings underscore the high risks involved when bringing opioids into your home and highlight the importance of choosing the least dangerous pain relief option available following surgeries like tonsillectomy.

If your child is scheduled to have this procedure, ask his or her doctor about pain relief options and express your desire for a nonopioid option. However, before choosing to have your child’s tonsils removed, be aware that the surgery itself is risky and may not be the best option for your child.

Risks of tonsillectomy may outweigh benefits

Tonsillectomies are often recommended for treatment of recurring, chronic or severe tonsillitis or complications resulting from enlarged tonsils, such as difficulty breathing at night.25 However, the benefits of the surgery may not outweigh the risks, according to a population-based cohort study of 1,189,061 children.26

In estimating the long-term disease risks associated with tonsillectomy in childhood, the researchers evaluated data from children who had their adenoids or tonsils removed within the first nine years of life, finding their removal to be associated with a significantly increased risk of respiratory, allergic and infectious diseases later in life.

“Increases in long-term absolute disease risks were considerably larger than changes in risk for the disorders these surgeries aim to treat,” the researchers explained.27 Far from being superfluous tissue, your tonsils and adenoids play an important role in the development and function of your immune system, helping to protect against pathogens and stimulate immune response.28

Short-term risks of tonsillectomy, meanwhile, also carry risks, including severe bleeding before or after surgery, swelling that can cause breathing problems, infection and reactions to anesthetics.29

In some cases, a tonsillotomy, or partial removal of the tonsils, may be an alternative surgical option for both children and adults; however, parents should carefully consider whether surgery is the best option to resolve the underlying medical condition.

Finally, if you, your child or someone you love has chronic pain of any kind, know that there are many safe and effective alternatives to prescription and even over-the-counter painkillers that provide excellent pain relief without any of the health hazards that pain medications like opioids often carry.

Why you’re addicted to your cellphone

This article will focus on the social addiction issue of cellphone use and does nothing to address the electromagnetic field (EMF) exposures, which I cover carefully in my next book “EMF’d,” slated for publication in early 2020.

As a lover of technology, it pains me to see what technological advancements are doing to the psychological health of so many, especially our youth. Children today cannot even fathom a life pre-internet — a life where school work involved library visits and phone calls required you to stay in one spot (since the telephone was attached to the wall).

Children and parents alike now spend an inordinate amount of time on their smartphones, communicating with friends (and possibly strangers) via text, on Twitter and Facebook, and work to keep up their Snapstreaks on Snapchat.

Even many toddlers are proficient in navigating their way around a wireless tablet these days. Smartphones have changed the way people interact socially, especially teens, and this has significant ramifications for their psychological health.

This is a topic covered in-depth in Jean Twenge’s book “iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy — and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood — and What That Means for the Rest of Us.”1

A majority of teens’ social life is carried out in the solitude of their bedroom via their smartphones, Twenge points out in a 2017 article2 adaptation of her book, published in The Atlantic, and this lack of face-to-face interaction has a steep psychological price: loneliness. Internet addiction — the inability to unplug — has also been shown to take a toll on cognition and focus, as it’s a constant source of distraction.

Your cellphone — A necessity or a convenience?

The featured CBC Marketplace program, “Why You’re Addicted to Your Smartphone,”3 goes behind the scenes, talking to tech insiders about how cellphone addiction is manufactured, and the effects thereof.

According to Marketplace, people use their cellphones for an average of three hours a day, and as shown in the footage, many are in the habit of perusing their cellphones while walking — completely oblivious to their surroundings.

Over their lifetime, teens will spend “nearly a decade of their life staring at a smartphone,” CBC reporter Virginia Smart writes in an accompanying article.4 If you frequently feel you don’t have enough time in the day to get more productive things done, perhaps your cellphone usage is part of the problem, siphoning off valuable time from each day.

Still, most agree their phone has become a “necessity” rather than a convenience. Forgetting their phone at home, or losing it, is frequently described as a disaster.

“My entire life is on my phone,” one man says.5 “I don’t know where I’d be [without it].” Just how did we get to this point? “It’s part of a plan you didn’t even know you signed up for,” CBC correspondent David Common says.

Variable rewards and other mind tricks

To investigate real-world usage, CBC Marketplace enlists an Ontario family of five in an experiment: An app on their phone will track each family member’s usage over a two-month period. The app, called “Moment,”6 tracks the amount of time you spend on any given app, allowing you to see just how much of your life you’re frittering away.

Tracking the usage of all users, everywhere, is also being done by Silicon Valley companies in an effort to figure out how to make us use their apps even more. One of them is Dopamine Labs, founded by Ramsay Brown, which uses “artificial intelligence and neuroscience to track your usage, loyalty and revenue.”7

As explained by Brown, they use AI and the science of the mind to “make apps more engaging and persuasive.” In other words, they use science to maximize the addictive potential of your smartphone.

The secret is rather simple. Apps that trigger pleasure become addictive. As noted by CBC Marketplace, it’s rather telling that the two leading creators of the smartphone revolution, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, both admitted limiting their children’s use of their revolutionary devices — probably because they knew something the rest of us didn’t.

We’re not really designing software anymore,” Brown says. “We’re designing minds.” Just how is this done? Some of the most commonly used habit-forming tools include:8

Pleasure hooks — This could be a notification of “Congrats!” or “Good job!” or a high-five icon after you’ve completed an action, for example. On social media platforms, getting “Likes” accomplishes the same thing. The ability to collect followers is yet another hook.

Variable rewards — As explained by Marketplace, a key method used to trick your mind into addictive behavior is known as “variable rewards.” In a nutshell, it means you’re never sure what you’re going to get. How many “Likes” will your post garner? How many followers or points can you get? How long can you maintain a streak?

As with other types of gambling, this uncertainty coupled with the prospect of a pleasure reward is what feeds the compulsion to keep going.

The infinite scroll — Another “hook” perfected by social media is that never-ending stream of content and commentary that can keep you going indefinitely.

Loss aversion — While starting out as a pleasurable activity, at a certain point, your continued usage morphs into a prison of your own making — you “can’t” stop using the app, or you’ll experience let-down and disappointment. Snapchat’s snapstreak is a perfect example of how apps cash in on loss aversion.

“Brain hacking” techniques such as these have led to 6% of the global population now struggling with internet addiction, according to a 2014 study,9 rivaling that of illicit drug use.10

The problems with overuse and abuse of cellphones lead to sleep disturbances, anxiety, stress and depression,11 as well as an increased exposure to electromagnetic field radiation, which also places your health12,13 and mental14 well-being at risk.

Internet addiction is on the rise

Marketplace interviews Lisa Pont, a social worker at the Canadian Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, where people are now coming into the program because their smartphone usage has become a problem.

“Research is starting to show that technology has an impact on memory, concentration, mood, [causing] anxiety and depression; it has an impact on sleep, it has an impact on overall well-being,” Pont says.

Children, Pont stresses, are particularly vulnerable due to their innate lack of self-control, and really need parental guidance and limits on their device usage. “It’s too tempting at that age to mitigate their own use,” Pont says, pointing out that children’s brains are not fully developed, hence they lack impulse control and the ability to foresee the consequences of their behavior.

Cellphone use and depression

As noted by Twenge in her article15 “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” rates of teen depression and suicide have dramatically risen since 2011, and data suggest spending three hours or more each day on electronic devices can raise a teen’s suicide risk by as much as 35%.16

Spending 10 or more hours on social media each week is also associated with a 56% higher risk of feeling unhappy, compared to those who use social media less, and heavy social media users have a 27% higher risk of depression.17

“It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades,” Twenge writes,18 adding that “Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones …

There is compelling evidence that the devices we’ve placed in young people’s hands are having profound effects on their lives — and making them seriously unhappy.”

How much time are you spending on your phone?

After tracking Jackson, age 8, for two months, his average daily screen time came out to five hours and 32 minutes, but on some days, he spends nearly 11 hours on his tablet — basically the whole entire day. At his current pace, his projected lifetime screen time amounts to a whopping 15 years.

His mother admits being worries about her young son’s screen time, especially as she’s noticed he typically prefers spending time on his tablet over all other social interactions and activities. Meanwhile, the family’s 16-year old, Emily, trades her sleep for social media. She admits getting caught up in the infinite scroll; before she knows it, hours may have passed.

As noted by in Twenge’s Atlantic article,19 sleep deprivation among teenagers rose by 57% between 1991 and 2015. Many do not even get seven hours of sleep on a regular basis, while science reveals they need a minimum of eight and as much as 10 hours to maintain their health. Twenge writes about the habits of the teens she interviewed:

“Their phone was the last thing they saw before they went to sleep and the first thing they saw when they woke up … Some used the language of addiction.

‘I know I shouldn’t, but I just can’t help it,’ one said about looking at her phone while in bed. Others saw their phone as an extension of their body — or even like a lover: ‘Having my phone closer to me while I’m sleeping is a comfort.’”

Emily is no different, admitting that checking her phone is part of her morning and evening routines. It’s the first thing she does upon waking, and the last thing she does before bed. For Emily, a large part of her day revolves around Snapchat. She uses the app continuously to keep in touch with her friends — even when they’re sitting right next to her.

As mentioned, Snapchat uses a technique known as “loss aversion” to keep their users using. Emily has a Snapchat streak that has been going for nearly two years, and now she feels compelled to not break it, which is what loss aversion is all about.

On many days, Emily’s phone stays in use for nearly 7.5 hours. The Moment app clocked her picking up her phone up to 100 times a day during the monitoring period. On average, she spends 30% of her waking hours on her phone. Her parents are not far behind, each averaging about 21%.

Symptoms of internet addiction

Symptoms of internet or cellphone addiction are similar to other types of addiction, but are more socially acceptable. As noted in one study, internet addiction (IA) is:20

“[G]enerally regarded as a disorder of concern because the neural abnormalities (e.g., atrophies in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) and cognitive dysfunctions (e.g., impaired working memory) associated with IA mimic those related to substance and behavioral addiction. Moreover, IA is often comorbid with mental disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and depression.”

According to, conditions that can increase your risk of internet addiction or compulsion include anxiety, depression, other addictions and social isolation or awkwardness.21 Common emotional symptoms of internet addiction include:22

Boredom with routine tasks

Dishonesty and defensiveness

Feelings of guilt, fear or anxiety; mood swings

Experiencing euphoria while online

Procrastination; inability to prioritize tasks or keep schedules

Avoidance of work

Physical symptoms of internet addiction disorder can include:23

Backache, headache, neck pain

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Dry eyes and other vision problems


Poor nutrition; weight gain or weight loss

Poor personal hygiene

Notifications take a significant toll on your cognition

If you’re like most, you probably have an array of notifications set on your phone. According to Marketplace, these notifications concern experts, who warn the constant pinging, beeping and buzzing actually has significant consequences for your cognition.

Marketplace correspondent Commons visits Western University, where a lot of cognition research is being conducted. He participates in a test to evaluate his ability to focus, and to see how distractions from his phone affects his attention and cognition.

First, Commons performs the attention test without his phone. For the next round of testing, his phone is left on, nearby. And, while he can’t see it, he can hear it — incoming phone calls, texts and the pinging of incoming social media notifications.

For the third part of the test, Commons has to recall numbers being texted to him. “It reflects how we normally interact with our phones,” the researcher explains. You might text details to a coworker, for example, or your spouse might ask you to buy milk on the way home.

Commons admits the distractions caused by his phone significantly interfere with his ability to concentrate on the task at hand. Even vibration without sound causes problems. Just how big of a problem? Commons’ verbal comprehension declined by nearly 20% when phone distractions were allowed.

One simple step that can eliminate many of these distractions is to simply turn off all notifications. Still, simply having your phone nearby can be enough to take your mind off what you’re doing.

A study24,25 using a group of more than 50 college students found that performance in complex tasks was worse when the participant could see a cellphone present, whether it was the study leader’s phone or their own, as compared to the performance of tasks when no cellphone was visible.

As noted by Brown, smartphones are here to stay, and app developers are getting increasingly sophisticated at capturing your attention. Smartphone users therefore need to become savvier, and learn to make conscious choices about how they use their devices.

The question is, “Who do we want to be?” Brown says. Modern technology really requires you to shape yourself (or be shaped by software developers), and to use your devices in a way that helps you rather than hinders you from living your best life.

Iodine: An in-depth guide to its potential benefits

Maintaining optimal iodine levels has been recommended by researchers1 and health experts alike.2 But you may wonder: What makes iodine so important for your body, and why is a deficiency of it considered alarming?

What is iodine?

Iodine is a trace element mineral that can be sourced from foods, although it’s also found in potassium iodide or sodium iodide supplements, or used in multivitamin, mineral or dietary supplements (like iodine-containing kelp).3 According to an Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism article, 15 to 20 milligrams of this element are found in your body, with 70% to 80% in your thyroid gland.4

There are multiple types of iodine. The American Thyroid Association (ATA) explains that when it’s in the form of iodide, iodine is made into two radioactive forms: iodine-123 or I-123 (harmless to thyroid cells), and iodine-131 or I-131 (harmful to thyroid cells). Both are used in people with thyroid diseases, and given orally in pill or liquid form.5 If you want to know where your iodine levels stand, you doctor may recommend that you undergo a urine or blood test.6

Don’t confuse active forms of the chemical element iodine7 with that found in table salt, even if the label says it contains iodine because iodized table salt is technically potassium iodide8 added to sodium chloride, the chemical name for table salt.9

The same principle applies if you encounter povidone iodine. This substance, commonly known by the brand name Betadine10 and used topically as an antiseptic,11 is composed of iodine and a synthetic polymer called polyvinylpyrrolidone or povidone.12

A brief history of iodine

Did you know that iodine was accidentally discovered? A French chemist named Bernard Courtois discovered iodine in 1811, while helping his father manufacture saltpeter, an ingredient used in gunpowder. After running out of wood ash, which was their source of potassium nitrate, Courtois burned seaweed instead, then washed the ash with water.

However, he added too much sulfuric acid to the washed ashes, and a cloud of violet gas appeared from the ashes. When it condensed, purple crystals appeared on a cold surface.

Suspecting it might be a new element, Courtois took the crystals to other scientists to examine. When they confirmed that, indeed, it was a new element, a French chemist named Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac named it “iode,” from the Greek word ioeid?s meaning “violet-colored.”13

Why iodine deficiency is alarmingly rising

Iodine deficiency is a rising problem worldwide, affecting 2.2 billion people, predominantly in countries where iodized salt is not available.14,15 According to the ATA, average urinary iodine levels (which may be utilized to measure dietary iodine intake16), have dropped by half since the 1970s.17 There are nutritional and environmental factors linked to an iodine deficiency, namely:18

Shifts in food preparation and consumption — More Americans are consuming prepackaged and ready-to-eat foods or eating in restaurants, instead of preparing home-cooked meals. This increases their exposure to high-salt foods that may not have sufficient amounts of iodine.

Thiocyanates in foods — Thiocyanates are metabolites19 found in vegetables from the Brassica family, as well as in cassava and soy. Frequent consumption of high-thiocyanate foods, according to the World’s Healthiest Foods, may disrupt your thyroid gland’s ability to process iodine. This may cause you to think you’re dealing with an iodine deficiency, even if the problem isn’t present at all.

Iodine-deficient soils — In North America overuse of alkaline fertilizer and intensive cropping contributes to iodine depletion in the soils, which then prevents food crops from getting iodine naturally from the soil.20 In the Midwest in the U.S., soils are lacking in iodine anyway, due to their distance from ocean waters.21

There are also certain groups who may be at risk for an iodine deficiency:22

Vegans and vegetarians23 Authors of an Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism article highlighted that plant-based foods have fewer iodine contents than animal-based products.24

Pregnant women — Iodine facilitates thyroid production essential for the baby, although the mineral is oftentimes released through the mother’s urine.25 Some studies showed that pregnant women in countries like Brazil,26 China,27 Ethiopia28 and Ghana29 aren’t getting sufficient amounts of iodine.

People living in regions with iodine-deficient soils and who eat mostly locally grown foods — Soils in these areas tend to have low iodine levels, producing crops that have few amounts of this mineral. The Himalayas, the Alps and the Andes regions and some river valleys in south and southeast Asia tend to have the most iodine-deficient soils.30

In the early 20th century, certain areas of the U.S. were once known as “goiter belts” because regional soils were so lacking in iodine that up to 70% of children had goiter, a symptom of iodine deficiency. An iodine supplement program in the affected regions — the Appalachians, Great Lakes and Northwestern areas — and the introduction of iodized salt in 1924 addressed the issue.31

People consuming fewer amounts of iodine — Increasing iodine levels should be done via your diet since the body doesn’t produce it. If you don’t consume enough iodine-rich foods, this could lead to an iodine deficiency.32

People who eat foods containing goitrogens — These are naturally occurring substances33 that could negatively impact your body’s usage of iodine. They’re present in soy and cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.

An iodine deficiency can also be problematic since it can lead to your body’s inability to make sufficient amounts of the thyroid hormone. This can lead to negative effects like:34

  • Inhibited growth, brain development35,36 and sexual progression in babies born to an iodine-deficient mother
  • Very low IQ levels in infants and children
  • Reduced ability to work and think clearly among adults
  • Increased risk for brain damage37

Some iodine deficiency symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Swelling of the thyroid glands in the neck,38 producing a visible lump called a goiter39
  • Weakness or tiredness
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss
  • Dry skin
  • Increased tendency to feel cold
  • Slower heart rate
  • Cognitive issues like low IQ levels and trouble learning40
  • Hypothyroidism or low thyroid levels41

An iodine deficiency can also trigger a rare but life-threatening hypothyroidism complication called myxedema. Warning signs include unconsciousness, goiter, reduced energy levels, seizures, confusion and coma.42 Myxedema requires immediate medical treatment, so if you notice someone exhibiting these symptoms, seek medical attention right away.43

Iodine rich-foods to try

To help manage your iodine levels, there are various foods high in this nutrient you can add to your diet, namely:

Sea vegetables like kelp, nori, kombu and wakame44 Iodine is highly abundant in the Earth’s oceans, especially among these sea vegetables.45 According to this 2014 study, out of the different seaweed varieties, kombu had the highest iodine content, followed by wakame and then nori.46

Organically grown cranberries or fresh cranberry juice — One ounce of cranberries (about one-third cup) contains 100 micrograms of iodine.47 Ideally, consume fresh and organic cranberries in moderation because they do contain 4.27 grams of fructose per cup.48 If you want cranberry juice, make your own drink at home, without added sugars, or by adding Stevia to it.

One caveat: If you’re struggling with kidney stones, avoid consuming cranberry products because they contain oxalates that may trigger development of more stones.49 Mayo Clinic also advises that you avoid drinking cranberry juice if you’re taking warfarin (an anticoagulant medicine), because it may enhance this drug’s effects and increase your bleeding risk.50

Yogurt made from organic and grass fed milk51 Apart from being a good source of iodine,52 organic, grass fed yogurt is a good source of probiotics.

Iodine’s uses and health benefits

Your body needs iodine to facilitate production of thyroid hormones that aid in maintaining optimal metabolism and other important functions. This mineral, according to the National Institute of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements, is particularly important if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding,53 since it can help babies grow and develop properly.54

Breast milk is a good iodine source for babies.55 However, the amount of iodine in breast milk relies on the mother’s intake of this mineral. According to WebMD, iodine may also:56

  • Help inhibit iodine deficiency and complications linked to it
  • Relieve cutaneous sporotrichosis, a skin disease caused by the Sporothrix fungus57
  • Address fibrocystic breast disease
  • Alleviate diabetic ulcers
  • Deliver expectorant capabilities
  • Lower someone’s risk for eye disease, diabetes, heart disease and stroke
  • Eliminate fungi, bacteria and amoebas
  • Purify water

Topical iodine applications may also aid in eliminating germs and reducing your risk for chemotherapy-caused mucositis, or soreness inside the mouth.58

Studies on iodine

One study found that iodine may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases like hypercholesterolemia. The study, published in The Journal of Nutrition in September 2015, noted that iodine supplementation may reduce hypercholesterolemia risk in overweight women with a moderate to severe iodine deficiency.59

As mentioned above, iodine is also crucial to a child’s well-being, as iodine deficiency may lead to impaired neurodevelopment in children. According to a July 2017 study in The Journal of Nutrition, women whose maternal iodine intake levels fell below the Estimated Average Requirement during their pregnancy may bear children who’ll develop issues like language delays, behavior problems and decreased fine motor skills once they turn 3 years old.60

Furthermore, being deficient in this mineral may increase the risk for thyroid cancer. Results from a study published in Thyroid Research in June 2015 suggested that an iodine deficiency is a possible risk factor for thyroid cancer, follicular thyroid cancer (FTC) and anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC).61

Iodine side effects to watch out for

If you’re interested in taking iodine supplements, it’s imperative to talk to your doctor to determine the ideal dosage for your condition. This may help lessen your risk for adverse effects like iodine overdose and acute iodine poisoning.62

Consuming high amounts of iodine can lead to hypothyroidism,63 which may block thyroid hormone production. Other side effects of taking a very large dose of iodine include:64

  • Goiter, or enlarged thyroid gland
  • Thyroid gland inflammation
  • Higher risk for thyroid cancer
  • Metallic taste
  • Soreness of teeth and gums
  • Worsening of conditions like hypothyroidism, goiter or thyroid tumor65
  • Burning sensations in your mouth, throat and stomach
  • Fever
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weak pulse
  • Coma

Some people may not tolerate iodine or products containing it, like those diagnosed with an autoimmune thyroid disease. If you’re sensitive to iodine, the following complications could develop:66

  • Severe bleeding and bruising
  • Joint pain
  • Face and lip swelling
  • Contact dermatitis, a type of itchy rash that gradually develops
  • Urticaria or hives67

If you’re struggling with a rash called dermatitis herpetiformis, be aware that iodine could exacerbate this health issue.68 Medical News Today adds that an iodine intolerance may be fatal since it might trigger anaphylaxis, which could progress into a life-threatening anaphylactic shock. This is a sudden allergic reaction characterized by hives, low blood pressure, dizziness or lightheadedness, palpitations and breathing difficulties.69

According to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements, there can also be instances wherein iodine supplements may interact with medicines you’re taking:70

Anti-hyperthyroidism medicines like Methimazole (Tapazole) — Taking iodine supplements alongside antithyroid medications may deplete your body’s production of this important hormone.

ACE inhibitors like benazepril (Lotensin), lisinopril (Prinivil and Zestril) and fosinopril (Monopril) — ACE inhibitors are recommended for people with high blood pressure levels. If you take iodine supplements alongside ACE inhibitors, there’s a risk that the potassium in your blood may rise to an unsafe level.

Potassium-sparing diuretics like spironolactone (Aldactone) and amiloride (Midamore) — Using potassium iodide supplements together with potassium-sparing diuretics can significantly raise your blood’s potassium content.

Inform your doctor before using iodine supplements, especially if you have a medical condition, so they can advise whether your current medicine will interact with the supplement without causing any side effect.

Iodine is an effective mineral for your health

Iodine is crucial in maintaining ideal health and well-being, but most people take it for granted and don’t monitor their daily intake of this mineral. This leads to iodine deficiency, which now affects millions of people globally.

You can avoid iodine deficiency by eating iodine-rich foods or taking high-quality supplements and multivitamins containing this mineral. However, always exercise caution about raising your iodine intake, since this mineral has been linked to side effects, some of which are life-threatening and could exacerbate your condition.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about iodine

Q: What does iodine do?

A: Your body needs iodine because this mineral can help:71

Produce vital thyroid hormones

Promote babies’ development

Improve cognitive function during childhood

Lessen risk for radiation-induced thyroid cancer

Q: What is iodine used for?

A: Some of iodine’s uses include:72

Acting as an expectorant

Removing fungi, bacteria and amoebas from your body

Purifying water

Alleviating fibrocystic breast disease

Helping address cutaneous sporotrichosis, which is a skin disease caused by the Sporothrix fungus73

Q: Is iodine a metal?

A: According to LiveScience, iodine is a nonmetal, although it does exhibit some metallic qualities.74

Q: Where do you get iodine?

A: You can increase your body’s iodine stores by consuming foods high in iodine or taking high-quality supplements or multivitamins containing this mineral.75

Q: What foods have iodine?

A: Iodine-rich foods you can add to your diet include kelp, nori, wakame and other sea vegetables,76 organically grown cranberries or fresh cranberry juice77 and grass fed yogurt.78,79

Q: Does sea salt have iodine?

A: Yes, but in very low qualities.80 However, sea salt, which is usually minimally processed, has some amounts of calcium, magnesium and potassium.81

Q: Is iodine poisonous?

A: Iodine can be poisonous and can have dangerous side effects if you take too much of it.82,83,84 Before taking iodine supplements or significantly increasing your intake of iodine-rich foods, talk to a doctor to know about the amounts your body may need to prevent adverse effects.

Q: How much iodine do I need?

A: According to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements, the amount of iodine that you need typically depends on your age. The upper limits for an adult are 1,100 micrograms.85

An Answer and an Invitation to Greg Hallett:

By Anna Von Reitz

Dear Greg,
I read with interest your long expository piece about Queen Victoria and the situation she faced in regard to the Rothschild coup — all points duly noted.
However, saving the “royal line” via an illicit, underage, out of wedlock tryst between Cousins reeks of exactly the same practices and standards practiced by the Illuminati — practices and religious beliefs steeped in the cult of bloodlines and intermarriage with close relatives and obvious disregard for standards of age of consent and marital vows and wedlock — things that are all foreign and emblematic of the Egyptian Cultists, Druids, etc., and not “Christian” at all.
That being so, and the Rothschilds being acknowledged as the owners of the “breeding rights” to the British Royal family, a scandalous proposition in and of itself, who is to say that the Rothschilds —operating from their standards, not from ours— didn’t order the rape and impregnation of a 14 year-old girl as the start of their breeding program?
As you are no doubt aware, these cultists have their own ideas about genetics and “purity” —- one of which is to backbreed into related lines to preserve initial genetic content, just as dog breeders do.
It looks to me like they established exactly such an insurance policy of “blooded stock” when they took over the British Royals Breeding Program—- and deliberately produced your ancestors and co-collaborators to create exactly such a “backline”.
According to their beliefs, only two virgins produce a pure line, because any other, later, intercourse is apt to be polluted via fragments of genetic material left by former lovers in the mother’s bloodstream.
So they wasted no time in taking charge of the royal bloodlines and getting the virgin princess impregnated by her own cousin when she was only 14 — a gross and despicable action for which these cultists deserve to be universally condemned– just on the face of it.
It also makes sense that they would do this as a preliminary action, as it was their intention to otherwise adulterate and thereby invalidate the British Royal Bloodline —- which is what they proceeded to do and which is the “trump card” you are now playing.
The diabolical genius of this is that they wind up with two bloodlines, one “pure” according to their ideas, one “adulterated” — also according to their ideas — both of which they own and control.
The impure serve as puppets and scapegoats. The “pure” serve as a fallback for them to continue claiming the throne no matter what.
If the adulterated line refuses to do their bidding, or people wake up and get out the pitchforks, they bring forward the “pure” bloodline and use that as an excuse to depose the “impure line” and then they present it (you) as an alternative to their same evil: Boaz and Joachim, Pillar and Post, Republican and Democrat.
You will all have to get up a lot earlier in the morning to put any such argument or facile substitution past me.
So what you appear to be saying is that you are rightful King of England and of the Sangrael (“Holy Blood”/”Holy Grail”/”Holy Vessel”) as a result of sins committed by Princess Victoria under duress….but the total picture is considerably different and more problematic, and the more sober judgment would seem to be that both from a spiritual and practical standpoint, your claims —and theirs— are tainted and derived from immoral criminal activities, including underage sex trafficking, enslavement, child abuse, child rape, falsification of records, identity theft, substitution frauds, semantic deceits—-all surmounted by no small amount of purposeful constructive fraud and conspiracy against the lawful British government and the actual Royal Family which was also defamed, deposed, bankrupted and murdered by the same Actors.
Notice the mistreatment suffered by the last Plantagenets at the hands of Princess Victoria: the Earls of Loudon, who are Belle Chers and rightful hereditary heirs and Christi. Notice the purposeful obfuscation of the origins of “America” as a series of “Armorican” —Norman French colonies— not British.
We can all see the fruits of such a religious cult in the two World
Wars and innumerable mercenary conflicts which have all but destroyed the world and the biosphere, both.
So, given that, why would anyone in their right mind continue to support any individual monarch or form of governance promoted by these Cultists at all? And I do mean — period — at all?
If you, as an individual, want to do the right thing — then do it.
Use whatever power you may have or assume, to bring peace and justice— and not through some monolithic military conglomerate merging all the nations on Earth into one Evil Empire ruled over by puppets owned, operated, and bred like dogs by criminal bank syndicates.
This whole story line of beneficent “merging” of nations all being brought together doesn’t smell right, and there is a reason that it doesn’t—- it’s the same garbage that the Deep State has been trying to accomplish for years, only “re-branded” as something new and good.
Call horse hunks by a different name, Greg, and strange thing, —-they smell and taste exactly the same.
As you may have cause to know, there are German and French and Italian and Indian and Ethiopian Sangraels, the Christi, so there is not one “Christ”, but many; as you certainly have cause to know, the only special status of your claimed Office is the overseeing of the Commonwealth, and finally, as you may know, my Office is not limited to my work as Fiduciary of The United States of America.
I would suggest that the Bank of England and the Society for the Economy and the government of Westminster simply give up, admit what they have done, cough up the records, do what they can to correct and make amends, and otherwise stop causing trouble.
If the Perps have given you all sorts of ranks and titles and passed the purloined scepter to you, its well-past time for you to tell the “US” Navy to stop its illicit attacks on America and stop its tampering with American water resources and stop its disrespect of its obligations under the ENMOD Treaties regarding domestic targets only—-and stop trying to corner the market on water supplies.
It’s never going to work. We have all the patents as evidence and proof in their own handwriting and need nothing more to condemn them all to death. No questions asked. And the people of over 200 countries would applaud the action.
My Office is not Terrestrial in origin, not subject to any Earthly King or Prince; I know exactly who I am and am in full command of my history. If you want to talk turkey, get on the horn and talk. Field has my number.


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BBC’s Children Show ‘Just a Girl’ is About a Transgender Child Taking Hormone Blocking Drugs

The BBC series aimed at children as young a six describe how Ben became Amy by taking hormones to halt puberty. It is yet another example of the agenda promoting the blurring of the genders. And they are now aiming children.

Back in 2015, I published an article entitled The Agenda Behind Bruce Jenner’s Transformation where I explained how Jenner’s sex change was intentionally publicized and celebrated because it was part of a larger agenda promoting the blurring of the genders.

This agenda is even more obvious and insidious this year because there’s a conscious effort to reach children.

A child with the word ‘Transgender’ stamped across the screen. 
This sums up what mass media has been about these past years.

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This Is Exactly How To Deal With Someone Else’s Negative Energy

By Serena Poon,

We’ve all been there. We can be going about our day, minding our own business, aligned in our own flow of positive energy, when we are confronted with someone whose negative energy is so strong and pervasive—you can literally feel it like it’s a tangible layer of heaviness or ickiness on you.

Maybe it’s your co-worker who comes to the office with an aura of exhaustion and apathy, or maybe it’s an old college acquaintance you run into on the train who still seems to be simmering on somethingthat happened between you years ago. Maybe it’s your partner, at home, unwilling to share what’s on their mind and instead trying to draw you into their negativity through passive-aggression.

What do you do when someone else’s negative energy seems to invade your space or shift the vibe in the room? The next time you’re having a good day, and you find yourself face to face with someone who is radiating negative energy, remember these simple steps to stay unaffected and maintain your own vibration:

1. Create the distinction.

First, and most importantly, distinguish that the energy belongs to that other person and NOT you. So often, when we are caught off guard or when we are not grounded in our own energy, we may mistake or take on someone else’s energy as our own. When you intuitively sense someone else’s energy, and it is not kind, neutral, or inviting—or it’s just flat-out negative—take a moment to ground into your own energy. Take a breath and stand firm and strong in your own aura, and acknowledge that that person’s energy is not yours to carry.

2. Visualize your own aura.

Once you’ve recognized the distinction between your energy and that of someone else’s negative energy, make sure to visualize a protective robe of light or shield of protection around you. Envision that you have an impenetrable bubble of white protective light that surrounds you and your energy. Energy surrounds us in physical and nonphysical forms, so it’s important to always be mindful that you can be affected by the different energetic exchanges you have as you navigate throughout your day. When you have a protective shield of your own energy surrounding you, you are less likely to be affected by someone else.

3. Get clarity on where the negative energy is coming from.

Sometimes a person’s negative energy may not even be their own! It’s possible that you can come across someone who feels like they are giving off negative energy, and yet they may have taken on that negative energy from another person. This can really happen to any of us. If you have ever heard the phrase “they rubbed off on you,” that is essentially what can happen with negativity. We are energetic beings, and we connect and affect and pass along our energies to each other on a regular basis, with many of us doing it unknowingly. Being aware of this can help you stay in your own flow, your own lane, when you come across someone else’s negative energy.

And it’ll also remind you to extend compassion to that person because they may need these tips to get someone else’s negative energy off of them!

4. Acknowledge the ego in the room.

What if you are in a situation with a person who is just negative and seems to be indulging in a frequency of negative energy? You still ground into your own vibration. You still mentally and quickly check in to make sure your protective shield is surrounding your aura. Then, identify that a person who indulges in sustaining negative energy about themselves may lack the self-awareness that their thoughts and energy are likely coming from a place of ego.

That is not to say that they are arrogant and egomaniacal but rather that their thoughts, feelings, and actions are based on the unconscious disconnect between themselves and the rest of creation. This definition of ego, as Freud and Carl Jung and the history of psychoanalysis have taught us, is “the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity.”

5. Throw some gratitude their way.

Yes! A person with negative energy coming from a place of ego is someone who would benefit from practicing gratitude. When you can see that someone else’s negative energy can benefit from compassion and guidance toward gratitude, it helps to reframe your mind, your perspective, and you will realize how simple it is to stay in your own lane, unaffected. Show them kindness and steer them toward a grateful thought or action that may help shift their energy.WITH DR. FRANK LIPMAN

6. Make use of mirrors.

And if all else fails and this person seems to be determined to spread energy around them that is not love and light? Close your eyes and visualize that person surrounded by mirrors, mirrors that will reflect their energy back to themselves, leaving others unaffected by it. It’s a simple act of self-care, and sometimes that reflective energy is what a person needs to realize that they may need to make a shift.



Google Wants to Put Football Field Sized Drones in the Stratosphere, to Beam Down 5G Radiation

by Dr. Debra Greene PhD

As we approach the 5G Crisis: Awareness & Accountability online summit, Dr. Debra Greene uncovers a crazy development in Hawaii, in her 4-min video below, or on YouTube here. Sign the petition to help stop the 5G drone development in Hawaii.

Massive football field sized drones flying in the stratosphere, beaming down toxic 5G radiation into the earth, into the ocean, into our homes, into our bodies. Sounds like something out of a science fiction nightmare.

But if the sponsors of the HAWK30 program, tech giant SoftBank of Japan, defense contractor AeroVironment of California and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, have their way that nightmare will become a reality this fall for some Hawai’i residents and eventually for much of the world’s population.

Screenshot from SoftBank HAPS concept video

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Article Video – Plaintiffs are Debtors, Defendants are Creditors August 21, 2019 By Anna Von Reitz

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Red Alert! I’m Baaaack!

By Anna Von Reitz

To quote the Terminator….. and squalling mad, too. 

Everyone needs to get their heads screwed on and right smart quick. 

The minions of the Vermin have discovered that yes, indeed, they have no basis to be in our court buildings and don’t own our court facilities and that in fact, they are about a hundred years behind on their lease and rental agreements.  

Oh, my.   And on top of that, it turns out that the people that they have been persecuting and prosecuting are their Creditors.  Imagine that?  Fully admitted, in black and white, just as I have been telling you all for several years.  Take a close look at the attached pdf.  Notice something odd?  The Plaintiffs are the Debtors and the Defendants are the Creditors.  Enough said.  

So now they are going around to the humble Justices of the Peace that are still serving the actual people of their respective Counties and trying to wine and dine them into signing paperwork that would “gift” the courthouses and other facilities that belong to the actual People of this country to the foreign interlopers, corporate thieves, and renegade Municipal “Government” which is operating in flagrant violation of the Constitution that allows its very existence. 

What part of “ten square miles” don’t the Pope and the US CONGRESS understand?  Do we need to draw them a picture?  

What part of “shall not be infringed” are they struggling over?   Again, are those little international symbols— the red circle with a bar across the circle really necessary?  

These activities have been reported in several states now, and thankfully none of the actual Justices of the Peace have been stupid enough to fall for it—- but it is high time that we all “fully informed” everyone in local government that: (1) their positions do not allow them to make such deal for two reasons: (a) most of them have not properly declared their political status on any public-available record; and (b) none of them are authorized to sell, trade, distribute, or “gift” away any particle of our land or soil, our public buildings or our property in general —- it is all ours, thank you very much, and as long as even one American retains their interest, the rats are SOL.    

Being trusted to use that property for valid public purposes is a serious Public Trust in and of itself, one that has been grossly abused by the Officers of these Foreign Courts who have been leasing the facilities to conduct their private corporate tribunals under conditions of constructive fraud and operating these foreign courts under color of law to extort assets and credit from Americans. 

I have instructed the Territorial United States Government to get off their rumps and shut down the Municipal COURTS which are all operating outside their limited jurisdiction and in violation of the constitutional agreements that give these institutions any right to exist.  

If they are to continue to operate at all, they must operate solely within the ten miles square apportioned to them and must stop addressing Americans as “citizens of the United States”, which 90% of us are not and never were.  

As I speak, these idiots are gearing up for another “civil war” on our shores — another mercenary “conflict” —– and it’s up to all the nations of the world to put a stop to this activity once and for all, on our shores or anyone else’s.  

It’s a lot cheaper to arrest, try, and execute members of a “Congress” operating in Breach of the Constitution, in Gross Criminal Breach of Trust, and in violation of their commercial contracts, than it is to involve millions of innocent people in extermination campaigns designed to kill off the Priority Creditors of both these foreign commercial corporations. 

And while we are at it, it is also much more time and cost effective to liquidate these corporations entirely, and gift the “receipts” to the victims.  The British Crown and the Municipal United States corporations and their European Masters have caused nothing but war and misery and planetary catastrophe for three centuries.  

All it really takes is to arm our tactical weapons and lock on the pre-selected targets in Israel, Saudi Arabia, Inner City of London, Scotland, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Rome, Prague, New York, New Delhi, Hong Kong, and Washington, DC. 

Let them know that the rest of the world has had enough. We see right through their lies and we know who they are.  Literally.  It’s time for all this crappola to stop or for the ringleaders to die— on a permanent basis.  

Fear not the one who can kill the body and not the soul; rather, fear the One who can toss both body and soul in Gehenna. 

This time, if they push any more “drought”, cause any more earthquakes, or create any more trouble at all, it’s not going to be a lot of misled innocent people “sacrificing” themselves for the sake of lies.  

It’s going to be the perpetrators of these schemes that get gutted and burned.  And they will not return. 


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