Health Articles
Posted on September 21, 2017 11:11 AM by Dr. Zimmer
I get asked about the topic of cholesterol on a regular basis. If you didn’t know better you would think the only reason God put cholesterol in your body was to cause cardiovascular disease. Nothing could be further from the truth as cholesterol is used to make some pretty heavy hitting hormones. Did you know that cholesterol makes your Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone, Cortisol (stress control), Aldosterone (blood pressure) and Vitamin D?
 
But, thanks to the influence of the pharmaceutical industry, most of our medical doctors are quick to prescribe a statin drug (Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor, etc.) if your level of total cholesterol is found to be above 200 mg/dl. The problem is that statin drugs cause a reduction of the heart and brain important nutrient CoQ10 and can also cause numerous side-effects (some of which can be life-threatening). Thus, if you are taking a statin drug, but are not taking CoQ10, you are actually increasing your risk of suffering from diseases affecting the organs that rely on adequate levels of CoQ10. This includes not only your heart, but also your brain! Additionally, as levels of cholesterol are pushed to unnaturally lower levels, I see patients who suffer from low testosterone and other hormonal imbalanced issues.
 
Because of these and other problems associated with statin drug use, I want to introduce you to a supplement that not only has cholesterol lowering effects, but also has antioxidant protection, blood sugar lowering and anti-inflammatory effects in the body. This supplement is Bergamot BPF.
 
Bergamot BPF
 
Bergamot is a citrus plant that is found in southern Italy. The “BPF” in the name stands for Bioactive Polyphenolic Fractions. These fractions have been shown, in placebo-controlled studies, to balance cholesterol, lower vascular inflammation, increase antioxidant activity, lower blood sugars and preserve CoQ10 levels. Statin drugs decrease CoQ10 levels, cause side-effects and do nothing to help antioxidant activity. Bergamot accomplishes what statin drugs do and much more!
 
One study showed that when used with a statin drug, Bergamot BPF allowed for a reduction in the amount of statin drug used while maintaining lowered cholesterol levels. Thus, even if you decide to continue on your statin drug therapy, you can use Bergamot BPF to lower the statin drug dose, which will make the drug safer to use!
Other studies show that Bergamot BPF helped to lower blood sugars by between 15-20%. This is great news for anyone suffering from Metabolic Syndrome or pre-diabetes.
 
Placebo-controlled studies show that the BPF’s in Bergamot lower total cholesterol, lower LDL cholesterol, improve HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides!  When you add to this the fact that these polyphenols lower inflammation, lower blood sugars, improve vascular function and increase antioxidant activity in the body, I strongly recommend that you consider taking this supplement if you have cholesterol or cardiovascular concerns.
 
There are no known serious side-effects from the use of this natural supplement. Heck, people in southern Italy drink the juice of this orange-like fruit on a regular basis.
 
The supplement is easy to take as you consume only two (2) capsules a day. Let me know if you have any questions. I can send you copies of the studies referenced in this article if you want to read them for yourself.
Posted on August 15, 2017 11:08 AM by Dr. Zimmer
The use of “natural” progesterone creams, along with other so-called "natural" hormone replacement therapy, has skyrocketed in the last decade. It has led to the rise of numerous alternative health clinics (M.D.’s, Nurse practitioners, Physician Assistants, Chiropractors, Naturopaths) specializing in the prescription of "natural" hormone therapy. With few exceptions, women who present to these clinics with any health problem are found to need a “natural” hormone prescription.
 
I have treated countless patients and have received  emails from women all over the world (U.S., Canada, Netherlands, Japan, Europe, Saudi Arabia) who are suffering from life altering symptoms thanks to using “natural” hormone replacement therapies. The biggest culprit is the use of progesterone creams. The stories typically follow a similar pattern. She started using hormone replacement because someone determined that she was “estrogen dominant” and needed balancing. She initially experienced a reduction in symptoms with the start of hormone replacement therapy (sometimes a significant benefit), only to develop an array of new symptoms (anxiety attacks, depression, insomnia, headaches, fatigue, etc.) months later. Most who experience this scenario have the gut feeling that these new symptoms are being caused by the use of their progesterone, but they are afraid to stop using it because they could not bear to go back to having their old symptoms along with these new ones. They are paralyzed by not knowing what to do next. Many times, and I am shocked by how often, they are told that they just need more progesterone! Yikes!
 
If you are thinking about starting hormone therapy or if you are already doing so, I am here to WARN you to be very careful. Your over-all, long-term health could be in real danger! This warning applies to anyone taking these “natural” hormones, even the ones who have experienced an initial benefit from taking them. And, the most important warning to you is that NO ONE in the health profession is using hormone replacement in a natural manner. NO ONE!  Let me prove it to you!
 
Creating A Hormone Balance Is Impossible
 
Let me ask you a few very simple questions that you do not need medical experience or training to answer. First, do you think it is important to have your hormones be in balance or is it better for them to be out of balance? Secondly, if your hormones are out of balance for a period of time, do you think it is possible you may experience some negative health symptoms? The answers to these first couple of questions are obviously that proper hormone balance is important and hormones being out of balance can certainly cause health concerns. Now I ask what is your perfect hormone balance, does it stay the same month to month and is it the same as other women you know? The answers are that you have no idea what your hormone balance should be (and neither does your doctor), hormone levels can change monthly depending upon numerous factors and hormone balance can be significantly different among women!
 
As noted, hormone balance changes constantly depending on many factors (natural cycle changes, stress, illness, diet, exercise, toxic exposure to endocrine disrupters, and many more). One of the major factors is stress. High stress can cause a significant change in sexual hormonal production. What person do you know who never has stress or who has stress that stays the same at all times? Let me give you the perfect familiar example. How many times have you heard the story of a couple who is trying to have a child, but cannot get pregnant? Going through infertility treatments is VERY stressful. Then, after spending a lot of money (stressful) and without results (emotionally stressful), they give up and decide to adopt a child. What happens next? Yep, they soon find out that they are expecting.
 
Another good example is how testosterone levels drop in service men going through Navy Seals BUDS training. At the end of training they have testosterone levels well below most women reading this article. Stress changes hormone balance.
 
Everyone, and I mean everyone, who prescribes hormones to their patients will tell you that proper hormone balance is extremely important. That is why many, but not all, utilize hormone testing (blood, urine, saliva) to measure your levels before and after you start using “natural” hormone replacement. The ones who prescribe hormones without testing or who only test at the beginning of treatment, but never again, are guilty of malpractice. Unfortunately, that includes a majority of practitioners who prescribe hormone therapy. The ones using testing multiple times during treatment are guilty of believing that they actually have the ability to create hormone balance in their patients with the use of testing. They, at least, are trying to provide hormones in a way that is perceived to create balance. But, make no mistake, they are fooling themselves on many levels.
 
The major problem with hormone testing is the question of accuracy. First, each type of testing has limitations in the ability to accurately test hormone levels, whether it is urine, blood or saliva. For example, cortisol levels can accurately be tested in saliva. But, sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are not as accurately measured in saliva and may not reflect hormone levels in body tissue. This is especially true when hormone replacement creams are being used. Secondly, tested hormone levels vary from lab to lab and they vary from sample to sample, even at the same lab. This lack of reliability in testing makes it all but impossible to determine specific levels of hormones in order to prescribe the accurate use of hormone replacement.  Thus, the best that any practitioner can do is to get a “ball park” estimate of what your hormone levels are at any given point in time. They most certainly cannot determine, from this testing, a dose of hormone replacement that will create balance in your system.
 
Creating Hormone Imbalance Is Inevitable
 
Think about the big picture for a moment. It is a fact that no one knows what your perfect hormone balance should be at any given time of the month (keep in mind that your levels of especially estrogen and progesterone vary greatly within your monthly cycle). It is a fact that your hormone levels can change depending upon many outside and sometimes uncontrollable factors. It is a fact that testing is inaccurate, at best, and cannot be used to determine specific dosing of female hormones. With these facts in mind, tell me how your doctor determined the specific amount of hormone replacement you needed to create a balance? Additionally, almost all prescriptions are for a steady dose of hormone instead of varying the dose to account for changes during the month. This fact alone illustrates how the idea of creating a proper hormone balance cannot be achieved. Thus, the new imbalance that they are creating in you may end up causing a whole new set of health conditions and future problems.
 
Take a look at the month long hormone test from one of my patients who was using progesterone cream.
 
Figure 1: Estradiol and Progesterone Test 1
 
 
 
Look at Figure 1: Estradiol and Progesterone Test 1 above. As you can see from the legend of this test, found on the bottom left side, that the (black circles) represent progesterone. The Blue shaded area represents the expected normal ranges for progesterone during the monthly cycle. At the beginning of the cycle there is typically little progesterone being produced. Thus, the Blue shaded area is towards the bottom. Right after ovulation progesterone is produced in significant amounts. You can see how the Blue shaded area goes way up after this time. If the egg is not fertilized progesterone levels fall drastically and menstruation begins. If in balance, all of the (black circles) should fall somewhere within the Blue shaded area. You can see that the progesterone levels (black circles) are buried across the top indicating super high levels of progesterone throughout this patient’s cycle.
 
The (black squares) represent estrogen levels and the Green shaded area shows the expected levels of estrogen for the female cycle. At this point estrogen was not high and was basically at normal expected levels. Notice, however, at the very bottom of this test that her testosterone levels were off the chart high (182.6)!
 
This patient started taking progesterone cream about 1 year prior to this test.  Notice the complete imbalance she had created in her body. Her progesterone and testosterone levels were abnormally very high. We then waited 7 months to see if her level of progesterone would come back down to normal. The results of this follow-up test are shown in Figure 2: Estradiol and Progesterone Test 2. You can see that even after 7 months her levels of progesterone (black circles) were still grossly elevated throughout her cycle. But now her levels of estrogen (squares) had also increased significantly. Her testosterone continued to be off the chart high.
 
Figure 2: Estradiol and Progesterone Test 2
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Explaining What Happened…
 
I think that it is important to evaluate how this patient got herself into this mess.
 
Progesterone cream dissolves in fat and can thus be stored in your fatty tissue. The levels of progesterone steadily increase within fat tissue with prolonged use. After a while, the amount being added every month, along with the amount being released from the fatty stores, causes elevated progesterone levels throughout the female cycle. So, instead of supplementing a little progesterone during a short period of time the body becomes subjected to elevated levels throughout the female cycle.  The body can then take the extra progesterone and make it into either testosterone or extra estrogen. Excess testosterone can also be made into estrogen. (See Figure 3: Hormone Synthesis below) Thus, the body is thrown into a dangerous hormonal imbalance that does not serve to promote proper health.
 
Figure 3: Hormone Synthesis
 
 
 
The ironic part of this is that Dr. Lee, the father of the progesterone cream movement, had this to say about hormone balance:
 
    “There’s no doubt that it’s not a good idea for most women to take large doses of progesterone in any form over a long period of time. That’s just not good medicine, it’s not balanced, it’s not common sense, and it’s bound to cause trouble sooner or later.”
 
So, one of the founders of the progesterone cream movement himself acknowledged that creating an imbalanced state is not good medicine and is bound to cause trouble sooner or later. And, he is correct. If you use "natural" hormone replacement you will create a new imbalance in your body. No one can argue that this is wrong. The only question is what this new imbalance will do to your body.  Unfortunately, many women have found the answer to this question and it is not good.
 
What Can You Do?
 
Notice that I use "quotes" around the word "natural" throughout this article. This is because the word is misunderstood when it comes to hormone replacement therapy. It makes you think that this is a natural way to use hormones. But, the word natural only applies to the chemical form of the hormone. It has NOTHING to do with the hormone being used by your body naturally. When people refer to natural hormone replacement they are only noting that the chemical formed being used is identical to the form found in your body. There are benefits to using chemical forms that are identical to those found in your body, instead of unnatural forms. However, water is also natural. But, if you drink too much you can cause serious health problems. Don't be fooled into thinking that "natural" equates to being good or safe.
 
As I have illustrated in this article, it is IMPOSSIBLE to use hormones the way your body would for the numerous reasons listed. Look again at the blue shaded area of the tests above. Notice that progesterone only increases for about 4-6 days during your cycle. Then days later it should drop quickly and significantly. All women do not experience the rise or fall at the same time during the cycle. So, tell me how you are going to take progesterone to only increase levels for 4-6 days, let it level off for a day and then have it drop drastically days later? Most doctors tell you to take the same level of progesterone cream for two weeks after ovulation! Clearly, that does not match the natural pattern.
 
The problem is that I currently do not see how anyone could use progesterone creams or any hormone replacement for a prolonged period of time without creating this potentially dangerous imbalance. I have challenged dozens of practitioners who prescribe hormones to explain how they can create balance in light of the facts I have outlined in this article. To date, none have been able to give an answer. I find it interesting that they fight so hard, though, to defend their position that they are creating balance when they are not. The reason is because deep down they know that creating an imbalance is not good and if they admit this then that leaves them with having to acknowledge that what they are doing is not as good as they pretend. In other words, it is rightfully hard for them to admit that balance is important, while also admitting that it is impossible for them to achieve balance.
 
If you are one of those women who have been taking hormone replacement therapy and think you may be experiencing side-effects from the new imbalance you have created in your body, you should take action to get off of these hormones as quickly as possible. If you need help, feel free to email me as so many have already. I am happy to give you some direction. It is likely that you would benefit from setting up a 1/2 hour out of state phone consult or an in person consult if you live in or near Indianapolis.
 
You may be surprised to find out, after reading this article, that I am NOT completely against the use of natural hormone replacement. There are cases when symptoms are so life altering that short term use of hormone replacement makes sense to get symptoms under control. Also, there are medical situations which require total hysterectomy at a younger age where long-term hormone replacement may be needed. If you are considering starting hormone replacement therapy, I suggest you only taking them for a short period of time (2-4 months) in order to overcome whatever symptoms you may have. It is important to take certain nutrients in order to improve your hormone metabolism for protection. Again, feel free to email me with questions or to set up a nutritional consult.
 
I have preached for years for patients to educate themselves and ask questions when it comes to health care decisions. The person who believes that their doctor knows what they are doing simply because they are a doctor is a fool! My hope is that this article sheds some light on the topic of "natural" hormone replacement by giving you a look at the other side of the coin.
Posted on July 7, 2017 1:35 PM by Dr. Zimmer
The sky is falling…the sky is falling! Make sure you and your children get vaccinated ASAP with the Whooping Cough vaccine in order to save lives!
 
A recent California increase of whooping cough cases,  also known as Pertussis, renewed the call to vaccinate. Although this seems logical, the tactics being used are meant to scare and/or guilt you into getting this vaccine with the use of half-truths and partial information. The tactic is effective because the majority of the population really does not know anything about the Whooping Cough vaccine beyond the claim that it is vital to get and that it saves lives.   Read on, if you want to find out the facts in order to make a truly informed decision.
 
I like to start my factual articles regarding any vaccine with the full disclosure that I am NOT completely anti-vaccine. If you read my other articles regarding this subject, this fact will become very clear to you. I am, however, strongly against the pro-vaccine misinformation campaigns meant to scare or guilt you into being injected with these substances for reasons of profit and ego preservation.
 
So, the reports of 6 infant deaths along with 1,500 cases of whooping cough in California seemed to paint a compelling picture as to why everyone should get a whooping cough vaccine right away. Pro-vaccine zealots used these numbers to claim that the rational debate is over and that those who do not vaccinate are actually “immoral”! The Today Show’s chief medical editor at the time, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, stated that she found people who did not vaccinate to be “offensive and immoral”. Hypocritically, she does not find it "offensive and immoral" to purposely present only part of the facts regarding vaccinations in order to skew public opinion.
 
To help illustrate how the news and the medical profession report only partial facts to influence opinion, look at the picture below:
 
 
Now, what conclusion would you come to if you only knew that a dangerous three hundred pound Bengal tiger was two feet away from a young child? You would think that this child was in grave danger and would likely lose his life should nothing drastic be done right away. The information you got was not false. This deadly tiger is indeed two feet away from this little boy. But, if you also knew that there was an impenetrable glass barrier between the tiger and the child, your sense of urgency would be calmed by having gained the knowledge of all of the facts. People, like Dr. Snyderman, willfully leave out any information that would calm your alarm and sense of urgency when it comes to vaccinations.
 
Let’s look at a more complete analysis of the facts, so you can get the full picture when it comes to the whooping cough story.
 
There are three main claims made by the vaccination industry. The first is that people (especially infants) are dying from whooping cough. The second is that vaccination will protect them from the disease and the final one is that the disease epidemic is being driven by the non-vaccinated. Let's see if these claims hold any water.
 
In a segment on the Today Show, Dr. Snyderman said she was angered by the fact that 6 infants lost their lives who “frankly should not have died!” As a parent, I can tell you that this is gut wrenching to me. The thought of one of my children dying as an infant from whooping cough when a vaccine would have saved his or her life over-whelms me with guilt. The claims made by Dr. Snyderman were two-fold. If you get vaccinated you will be protected from this disease and anyone who does not get their children vaccinated has blood on their hands. This is a tactic meant to cause a palpable fear of not being able to bear the guilt if your child got this disease. It is very effective, even though it is inaccurate. Now for the rest of the story.
 
The first pro-vaccine claim is that infants are dying needlessly. Is this true? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) state that you do not get full immunity from this disease until after you get 5 shots. Under the schedule of vaccination this means that your child will not get immunity until he or she is at least 4 years old. The CDC emphasizes that infants under 6 months of age are not yet protected by the whooping cough vaccine. ALL of the children who died in California were under 4 months of age! Thus, the CDC reveals that the whooping cough vaccine would not have been expected to have “saved” these infant’s lives in any case. Dr. Snyderman is either grossly misinformed regarding the facts of the Pertussis vaccine or she is willfully misrepresenting the facts to support her position. In the California whooping cough epidemic, the facts reveal that no lives were lost due to lack of vaccination. The claims by the news media certainly do not accurately reflect this truth.
 
The second pro-vaccine claim is that the vaccine will protect you from the disease. This is an interesting one for me. There is no doubt that the whooping cough vaccine has some effectiveness. But, and this is a huge “But”, a very large portion of the people who got whooping cough in California were fully vaccinated. Now, you will hear them state that they “think” the epidemic is being driven by the non-vaccinated or under-vaccinated. This may or may not be true. We simply do not know. What cannot be denied, however, is that many of the people getting the disease are indeed fully vaccinated. Research showed that 81% of the people who got whooping cough in California were fully vaccinated. This fact is completely glossed over because of the fear that the next logical question will be asked to which they have no answer. How effective is the vaccine if a large number of fully vaccinated people are getting the disease? The answer undermines the implied claim that if you get vaccinated you will be safe from the disease. The reality is that the vaccine does not provide full protection from the disease and is thus, not as good or effective as implied.
 
Later on in the interview, Dr. Snyderman gave a completely ridiculous illustration of how a selfish unvaccinated person puts cancer and Multiple Sclerosis victims at risk when they go grocery shopping. She says the unvaccinated are “offensive and immoral”. How in the world could an unvaccinated person put a vaccinated person at any risk? Again, if the other person was fully vaccinated they would be safe from contracting the disease; would they not? Her illustration was meant to cast aspersions upon the unvaccinated, but it actually undermines her own argument. How can she argue that a vaccinated person is completely protected against contracting a disease unless they come in contact with the disease? See how ridiculous that is? She is either being disingenuous or grossly ignorant. Additionally, her implication is that a person with cancer or M.S. would die if they contracted Pertussis. Yet, this is NOT a deadly disease and deaths from Pertussis are rare. There would be little to no expectation of death in either of these groups of people.
 
Whooping Cough Vaccine Safety
 
Now let me put a spot light on some facts that may cause you to become outraged. The topic of vaccine safety is completely glossed over by advocates like Dr. Snyderman. She simply states that the vaccine is safe under a completely unquestionable tone. The claim of vaccine safety inherently suggests that the benefits greatly outweigh any potential negatives. The facts I am about to share with you come from the CDC’s website. These are official government numbers. They are not taken from some anti-vaccine website. Decide for yourself if you think the whooping cough vaccine is equal in safety to drinking a glass of water, as is always implied.
 
The CDC states that between 2012 and 2015  there were 130,649 cases of Pertussis reported, including 52 deaths (around 30,000 cases with 13 deaths per year). Here is a sickening fact from the CDC VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System): Pertussis containing vaccines caused 147 United States deaths and 156 permanent disabilities between 2012 and 2015! Thus, the vaccine caused almost three times as many deaths as did the disease and disabled another 156 children! Come on…this could not be true. How could our doctors even support this vaccine, let alone claim it to be safe, if this number is true? The answer is that this fact illustrates just how influential the pharmaceutical industry is over your doctors.
 
Prove it to yourself. Ask your doctor if more children currently die from the vaccine or the disease each year. I guarantee you will be told that the disease kills way more than the vaccine and they will minimize the chances of death from the vaccine. The vaccine kills three times as many children as does the disease and disables another 156! I am telling you that this information will be news to your doctor. How could this be? The answer is they only get information from the pharmaceutical industry, which has a very big interest in not letting doctors evaluate the complete facts.
 
To be fair and accurate in my analysis of this vaccine, we have to look at a couple of other facts. Let’s say that no one received the Pertussis vaccine. The number of cases of Pertussis would certainly be higher than the 30,000 cases and 13 deaths per year average between 2012 and 2015. Prior to vaccination there was an average of 175,000 cases of Pertussis per year. At the same rate of death of 52 deaths per 130,649, we would expect to see around 70 deaths a year from Pertussis, if there was no vaccine. Thus, if there was no vaccine, we would see an average of 57 more deaths a year (70 deaths a year without a vaccine minus 13 deaths a year with vaccine).
 
We are not done yet. Notice that I only gave you the CDC’s number for deaths (147) and permanent disabilities (156) caused by Pertussis containing vaccines. In addition, there were 7,447 emergency room visits and 1,238 of those kids were hospitalized! Over-all there were 19,005 adverse reactions reported to the CDC because of Pertussis containing vaccines between 2012 and 2015! In total, 75 children are killed or permanently disabled each year because of this vaccine. Thus, the vaccine actually hurts more people than it helps.
 
Below is a screen shot from the search of negative events between 2012 and 2015:
 
 
Why in the world would your doctor, who so strongly advocates for vaccination, not know this information? How is it that I am the one who is giving you this information instead of the person ordering the injection of vaccine? How many people would actually decide to get the injection if they got all of the information? How much money would then be lost?
 
Now that you have more complete information, ask yourself this question: Is the cure worse than the disease?

The Bottom Line
 
There is no doubt the Pertussis vaccine can be effective. The amount of cases per year has been drastically reduced because of the vaccine. There is also no doubt that the vaccine now kills and permanently disables way more children than does the disease each year.
 
As a parent, you have to make the decision as to whether you think the risk of your child getting this disease is worth the risk of injecting them with the vaccine. I would be willing to bet that the parents of the 7,447 children who went to the E.R. after receiving this injection would strongly disagree with the medical community's characterization of the vaccine as unquestionably safe. I know that the parents of those killed and disabled by the vaccine would more than disagree.
 
You have to consider the fact that at this point in time your child is more likely to have their lives ruined from the injected vaccine than from the disease itself. I fully understand the argument that if no one vaccinates the disease will increase. But the numbers show that the vaccine is indeed more dangerous than the disease even if we did not vaccinate at all.
 
Could you live with yourself if your child was permanently damaged or killed by the vaccine when the risk of dying from the disease was lower than the risk of dying from being injected by the vaccine? See how that scare tactic can be utilized both ways? My recommendation is if the risk changes, due to lack of vaccination and increased disease, you can always choose to vaccinate at that time.
 
Dr. Snyderman (along with the majority of the medical community) states that she is unapologetically pro-vaccine. Maybe she and the medical community should consider working on an apology.
Posted on April 18, 2017 9:10 AM by Dr. Zimmer
There are few topics more polarizing than whether or not vaccinations, also known as immunizations, should be given to your children. One side passionately believes that the benefits of receiving vaccines clearly outweigh the risks. The other side feels just as strongly about the opposite position. Both sides feel that the other is being grossly misled.
 
The indisputable fact is that our children’s well-being is the most important concern. With that in mind, let me outline both sides of the argument and then give you my opinion. Keep in mind that I am only outlining some of the positions these groups have for or against the use of vaccinations. If I covered all of the aspects thoroughly this article would be 50 pages long!

 

The Medical Community’s View
I can tell you from personal experience that the medical community, as a whole, takes it as a kind of personal insult when anyone questions the validity of giving children multiple vaccinations. In their minds the issue of the great benefits vs. extremely small risks is not open for discussion. Their view is that any person with even a modicum of intelligence would not question the benefits of vaccinations. I can tell you of numerous incidences where doctors have even become visibly upset and verbally amplified when a parent suggests that they are considering not having their child receive the recommended vaccinations. Some even dismiss the child as a patient if they will not get vaccinations!

This begs the questions of, “Why?” Why do they get so upset? Why have they become so convinced of vaccine benefits? Why do they completely dismiss any concern of the risks involved with being vaccinated?

One reason why they get so upset is that they cannot understand how anyone can ignore the benefits of vaccinations. Prior to the widespread vaccination of children the number of cases for numerous diseases was quite high. For example, there were over 100,000 cases of Diphtheria per year; whereas now there are none. There were close to 500,000 cases of measles per year; now there are only a handful of cases each year. Smallpox has been eradicated. Polio has become a disease of the past. In the minds of the medical community these numbers prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that vaccinations are an effective and a necessary part of public health.

The next question is why the medical community, as a whole, ignores any of the risks involved with vaccinations. Those within the medical community will tell you that they do not ignore the risks involved with vaccination. They would contend that the risks are extremely low and basically negligible. And this attitude is definitely portrayed at any meeting with your doctor when it comes to discussing the topic of vaccination. You will hear how vital it is to get your child immunized and about the rarity of any potential side-effects. So, in the view of the medical community any fear about vaccines is unfounded and based on hysteria; not fact.

We will see…

The Vaccine Opponent’s View
Those who dislike vaccines are driven by the belief that there are few to no benefits from vaccines, but very real and significant side-effects. In their view vaccines cause everything from Autism to death and many ailments in between. A good number of those who are vigilantly opposed to vaccines have had children who experienced some sort of reaction after they received a dose of vaccine. NOTHING motivates a person more to take up a cause against something than when one of their children has been hurt.

Most opponents argue that vaccines are not effective and point to a number of facts that support this assertion. First, they point to the fact that the Polio epidemic was actually starting to decline naturally before the Polio vaccine was introduced. In other words, administering of the Polio vaccine was not begun until the number of new polio cases had already started to decrease dramatically, as is the case for the normal course of any epidemic. Next, they point to the fact that people who have received vaccinations actually can and do get the diseases for which they have been immunized.

Another major concern for vaccine opponents deals with the “stuff” found in vaccines. Vaccines may contain toxic substances including mercury, aluminum, and formaldehyde; to name only a few. Although these are supplied in very small amounts, opponents to vaccines blame these ingredients for the onset of a wide variety of disease states.

The other aspect of vaccination programs, which opponents dislike, is that they are basically forced upon the majority of the population. Their bottom-line view is that vaccines are forced upon the population for reasons of making money and have little to do with the safety of our children.

We will see…

Dr. Zimmer’s View
I think the best way for me to begin is to tell you what I think right off of the bat. That way you know exactly where I am coming from and you won’t have to spend any energy trying to figure me out. I will provide support for my views after I state them.
  • I believe the evidence is compelling that most vaccines are effective at protecting against the diseases for which they were intended. An exception would be the flu vaccine, which is close to worthless.
  • I believe that the protection provided by most vaccines lasts for only a limited number of years. The evidence also suggests that the immunity we got from our childhood vaccinations has decreased and may not be protective at all in a good number of adults; if not the majority.
  • I believe that we are forcing children to get way too many vaccines and at too early an age.
  • I believe that vaccines are no where near as safe as is claimed by the pharmaceutical industry and health professionals.
  • I believe that the reason why doctors get upset when a patient suggests that they may want to forgo vaccines has little to do with their genuine concern for your child’s health, as will be the claim. It has to do with bruised egos and an incomplete knowledge of the facts.
  • I believe that the government’s forcing of our children to receive vaccinations has very little to do with protecting children. It has to do with making money.
O.K., now let’s go through the reasons why I hold these beliefs. I think you will find that my positions are based on facts and sound logic. If you think otherwise, please let me know.

Vaccines Are Effective (mostly):
It is very hard to support the argument that vaccines do not work at all. The number of disease cases before widespread vaccinations compared to now gives strong evidence that vaccines can be effective. I have never seen a case of polio, but I know at least six 50+ year olds who got polio as a kid and are disabled because of the disease. How many people do you know who contracted polio in the last 10 years? My guess is that your answer is none.

Now the opponents to vaccines will argue that we are not seeing cases, in part, because we are in a naturally occurring low prevalence time between epidemics. That argument might hold more water if other diseases were not so significantly affected by vaccines. Smallpox is gone thanks to vaccinations. The number of cases of Diphtheria, Measles, Mumps, Pertussis, and Rubella are few as compared to their prevalence prior to vaccinations. I think taking the stance that all or most vaccines are not effective is not supported by the facts.

Vaccine Protection Fades:
There have been numerous outbreaks of diseases for which the population has been vaccinated. This includes the diseases Mumps, Measles and Pertussis (whooping cough). For example, in 2017 there was a significant outbreak of Mumps at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. There were 41 cases of mumps where 39 (95%) of the students were fully vaccinated for Mumps!

In another mumps outbreak at Butler University in 2016, 100% of the students had received two doses of the mumps vaccine. This gives pretty good evidence that there is decreasing disease protection from the vaccinations we received as kids.

Here is a quote from Dr. Amy Middleman, at the time medical doctor and assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine:
 
"After the immunization series is completed by age six, Pertussis immunization is rarely discussed at healthcare visits. Few parents realize that the protection from the Pertussis immunization wears off after five to 10 years, leaving teens vulnerable to whooping cough."
 
Thus, if unprotected people are the reason for the spread of these diseases, we should see them running rampant since the majority of vaccines anyone 20 years or older received as children have worn off!  One thing we know for sure is that vaccine effectiveness fades. The negative effect on public health is clearly not as grave as the pharmaceutical industry wants you to believe. It is grave, however, to their bottom line.
 
We Are Forcing Too Many Vaccines On Our Children:
In 1983 the CDC recommending only 23 doses of 7 vaccines between two months and age six. The government is now recommending (intimidating is a better term) that parents allow their children to get 50 doses of 14 different vaccinations from the DAY OF BIRTH through age six! They recommend 69 doses of 16 vaccines between birth and 18 years of age!

That is a lot of shots. The question is whether or not it is worth giving your child all of these vaccines. I think after you read the next sections you may begin to question the true motivation for these recommendations. Here comes the information that may cause you to become very uneasy with vaccines.

Vaccines Are Nowhere Near As Safe As You Have Been Led To Believe:
The pharmaceutical industry has a vested interest in creating a picture of vaccines as safe. Here is how they portray the safety of vaccines for “worried” parents in a pharmaceutical flier “What To Expect Guide To Immunizations.”.

“While reactions do sometimes occur with some vaccines (such as soreness or redness where the shot was given, fussiness, or a low-grade fever), the vast majority of these reactions are mild and short-lived. Serious reactions are exceptionally uncommon.”

Notice how they use words like sometimes, some, vast majority, short-lived and exceptionally uncommon. These words give the impression that any worries you have as a parent are being made over something of little importance. An honest statement would read more like this:

“While reactions do commonly occur with ALL vaccines (such as soreness or redness where the shot was given, fussiness, or low-grade fever), the vast majority of these reactions are mild and short-lived. Serious reactions including the need for E.R. visits, hospitalizations, permanent impairment, and death are exceptionally uncommon, but do occur.”

When you read the first intentionally misleading paragraph, you get the feeling that your concerns about vaccine safety are indeed misplaced. After reading the revised and more accurate paragraph you would be much more apt to ask your doctor further, more probing questions. This is not welcomed because in the minds of the medical community the topic is not open for discussion. So, anything that causes you to ask more questions is just a waste of their time.

Now, let me give you the facts.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has a website for the reporting of adverse reactions associated with vaccines. It is called VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reaction System). Here is the link: http://wonder.cdc.gov/vaers.html

The number of reported adverse vaccine reactions over a 10 year period of time is staggering. Keep in mind that these are only the reported reactions. I know a number of people who have called their doctor to inquire whether an observed reaction could be related to the vaccination their child received only to be told that it was probably something else that coincidentally occurred at the same time. None of these reactions get reported. Also keep in mind that these numbers come from the CDC, not from some loony website. Check out the website for yourself.

Before you look at the numbers below you need to know a couple of limitations regarding this information gathered by the CDC. These reports of adverse reactions come after a child was vaccinated and then developed a symptom. It is possible that the development of some of these cases were coincidental to the timing of the child receiving the vaccine. But, in reality, what are the chances that a relatively healthy child receives a vaccine and then needs to be hospitalized or dies simply due to coincidence? Simple coincidence or causative? I think that the number of coincidences has to be extremely low; if not negligible.

In addition, you have to know that some of these numbers are reflected in other numbers. For example, the number of Prolonged Hospitalizations is also part of the number for Hospitalizations. The point is that you cannot add up the numbers in each category to come up with a total number of all adverse events. The exception is with death and permanent disability. Obviously, these can be added as they are not associated. My suggestion is that you just contemplate the total numbers for each event.
 
CDC Reported Averse Events Over Recent 10 Year Period for:
DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis), HIBV (Haemophilus Influenza B), Hepatitis B & A, Polio, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Rotavirus, Varicella (Chicken Pox)
Vaccine Related Event Age <6 months 6-11 months
1-2
years
3-5
years
6-17
years
Total Yearly Average
Child Death 1,752 211 234 18 31 2,246 225
Life Threatening 940 306 718 400 246 2,610 261
Permanent Disability 504 237 918 257 217 2,133 213
Hospitalizations 4,753 1,245 3,297 1,378 807 11,480 1,148
Prolonged Hospital. 202 58 99 40 46 445 44
Emergency Room 10,588 4,234 22,595 20,449 8,355 66,221 6,622
Not Serious 18,719 7,488 43,868 47,924 19,476 137,475 13,748

Let these numbers sink in for a moment.

Now let me ask you a couple of questions to put this into a different perspective. If there was an herb that gave short-term protection from a group of mostly non-deadly diseases, but also caused over 6,000 children to go to the E.R. each year, permanently disabled over 200 children per year, caused over 200 deaths per year in children, and caused over 1,000 children to be hospitalized per year; would the U.S. government allow it to even grow on this planet? Let’s take it even one step further. Would they describe this herb as being extremely safe and would they consider the 200 deaths per year acceptable enough to call it a “rare” occurrence? You and I know very well that not one of the medical doctors who tell you that vaccinations are extremely safe would ever consider giving you anything natural that had the above number of reported events associated with its use. Keep in mind if you are thinking, "But, how many lives are saved by these vaccines", that most of these vaccines are NOT for deadly diseases! So, very few lives are saved by the majority of vaccines.

Why doctors get so upset when you refuse vaccinations:
I can tell you the medical community really believes that vaccinations are vital to your child’s health. I can also tell you that the medical community is willfully and stubbornly ignorant when it comes to vaccine facts. I have never met the vaccine advocate (doctor, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or nurse) who knows specific facts about the adverse reactions related to vaccines. Next time you see your health professional ask them if there are any vaccines they have concerns over. Almost always the answer is "none." This alone tells you that they are nothing more than biased advocates on the subject.

They do not acknowledge that many of the diseases for which we vaccinate (measles, mumps, chicken pox) are not by any means deadly. But, they commonly employ "scare tactics" regarding the potential "dangers" involved with not getting those vaccines. They have absolutely no idea of how many children die, are hospitalized, are permanently injured, or go to the E.R. each year because of vaccine adverse reactions. They simply parrot back the mindless mantra of "adverse reactions are very rare". I can tell you that they are typically shocked and question the validity of the numbers when they hear the truth! They have no idea how many people would have to contract these diseases to match the amount injured by the vaccines. Read my article on Whooping Cough to learn about this topic. They completely dismiss any correlation between behavior problems and vaccines and always claim that this subject has been studied and proven to have no correlation. Yet, this is simply not true. Read the statement by CDC whistleblower Dr. William Thompson regarding the CDC destroying information that showed a correlation between the MMR vaccine and Autism. 
 
So, if your medical health professionals do not know any of this information, how on this green earth can they tell you that the benefits outweigh the risks? They do not know these numbers because they will not listen to any negative information when it comes to the topic of vaccinations.
 
The real reason why doctors get so upset when you refuse to get vaccines is not because they fear for the safety of your child. They have no idea of any specific benefits versus the risks. The reason they get so upset is because you are questioning one of the absolute truths in medicine. The medical community mindset is that the only people who question vaccines are either quacks, nutty T.V. personalities or unintelligent people. Thus, it really comes down to the bruising of their egos. The collective thought is: How dare you question our expert and educated opinion on a subject that cannot be questioned? They are simply willfully and stubbornly ignorant on the subject of vaccines.
 
The Real Reason Why We Force Vaccinate Our Children:
By their own admission, the medical community agrees that the diseases for which we vaccinate are not prevalent. The chance of your child getting any of these diseases is so low that no parent should harbor any concern for their child. The chance of them dying after contracting one of these diseases is negligible. No honest health professional can argue with the validity of these statements. Yet, they continue to convey the opposite in order to scare parents into believing otherwise.
 
So, tell me again why we continue to kill and disable over 400 children per year? Since the late 1990’s we have destroyed the lives of over 4,000 children, including their parents, siblings, and grandparents. I guess it is not a big deal unless you are one of those 4,000 families.

The argument that will be put forth is that the reason why these diseases are not around is because of the wide-spread vaccination program. This is true, in some cases. I do not completely disagree with this argument but I say, so what! The fact is that our children are not currently at risk. Thank you, vaccines, for doing your job. Your services are no longer needed. We will call you when you are needed again.

Why do we not just wait until we see an increase in these diseases and then begin to mass vaccinate? We would only have to subject our children to a few vaccinations every now and then instead of barraging their immature immune systems to 50 doses of at least 14 vaccines!

The reason we continue our current vaccination program has NOTHING to do with concern for your child’s health. Can you guess the real reason? I bet you can.

Let me prove to you that the current vaccination program has nothing to do with what is good for your child. All we have to do is to look at the recommended Hepatitis B vaccination, which they are insanely giving to newborns (usually the day after birth). There are realistically only 3 ways that your child will be at risk for contracting Hepatitis B.
  • The first is if you have Hepatitis B and you give it to your infant during the birthing process. They can test you for Hepatitis B to rule this one out.
  • The second is if your child develops an intravenous drug problem and shares needles with the neighbor’s kids.
  • The third is if your child practices aberrant sexual activity causing blood to be exchanged.

If there is a doctor anywhere on this planet who thinks that your child is at real risk for developing Hepatitis B, we should send him or her to be the personal physician for the president of Iran. How incredibly ridiculous is it that doctors are actually urging parents to have a Hepatitis B vaccine injected into their newborn babies? They have NO expectation that your child is at risk. What is even more disturbing is that the Hepatitis B vaccine has been implicated in causing an increase in Multiple Sclerosis (M.S.) symptoms in children. Of course there are dueling studies arguing whether this is true or not. WHO CARES!? Stop giving this unneeded and dangerous vaccine tomorrow. DO NOT LET THEM INJECT YOUR NEWBORN WITH THIS VACCINE!

So, why would any caring doctor ever tell a parent to give their child this vaccine?  They cannot argue that it benefits your child in any manner in light of the most recent studies showing that vaccines loose effectiveness after about 10 years. So, I ask again…why would any caring doctor ever tell a parent to give their child this vaccine? The answer is that they suffer from willful and stubborn ignorance.

The real reason why the medical community now tells parents to get the Hepatitis B shot is because of money. The people who are at the highest risk of contracting Hepatitis B are highly unlikely to voluntarily get the vaccine. The pharmaceutical company cannot make any profit from this vaccine because of this fact. Thus, the pharmaceutical industry targeted their marketing at our politicians convincing them that this was a vital vaccine for our population to receive. Of course, they convinced them that the vaccine was extremely safe and that the eventual reduction in Hepatitis B would be economically beneficial to health care costs in the long-run. The problem is that no one knows whether this is true or not! In fact, it is most likely not true. Now, the pharmaceutical industry makes many millions of dollars off a dangerous and unnecessary vaccine.

What Can You Do?
It is extremely difficult to go against the grain when it comes to vaccinations. You are going to be belittled and ridiculed if you even suggest that you do not want to get your child vaccinated. Your doctors, school nurses, family members and friends who live within the herd mentality of willful and stubborn ignorance will try to make you feel like you are the one that has the wacky thinking. You will have a nightmare time when you have to send your child to school, unless you decide to home school your child. This is not an option for most. As I see it you have one of three choices:
  1. You can cave in to the pressure keeping your fingers crossed in the hopes that your son or daughter does not become one of the many thousands of children who experience a life threatening vaccine side effect. Put that gun against their head and pull the trigger. Good luck! The odds are actually in your favor.
  2. You can agree to have your child receive some vaccinations, but for sure forego the Hepatitis B, Chicken Pox, and Gardasil vaccines. If you decide to go down this path of only allowing a few vaccines, I want you to look again at the Adverse Events table.  Take a look at the number of events and then at the age of the child vaccinated. What do you notice? The number of adverse events reduces significantly with age. In just about every category, the older the child the fewer the problems. My recommendation is that if you just don’t have it in you to fight the system and you have to give in, wait until your child is at least 3 years old before you start vaccinations.
  3. You can decide not to have your child vaccinated. You are going to have to create a plan of attack for when your child becomes of school age. Most states have built in religious exemptions and exemptions for high risk children. You will have to check your state’s laws and formulate a letter if you are going to go down the religious exemption route. You will more than likely still have a battle depending upon the attitude of your school nurse and administration. You should investigate and research the information from as many anti-vaccination websites as possible. Here is a good one to check out: http://www.nvic.org/
Just know that when you buck the vaccination system you are in for a bumpy ride. Stand your ground. Force your doctor, nurse, friends and family to answer the questions I posed in this article. Force them to realize that the position they hold is not based on all of the facts, just unchallenged beliefs. They will back down on their rhetoric once they know that you are not going to just swallow the party line.
 
Unfortunately, some self-serving egotists will dismiss your child from their care. Let them know that you do not appreciate their attempt at intimidation and that pediatricians are a dime a dozen. I wish you the best of luck in protecting your child. I hope I have provided you with some useful insights. Please email me with your thoughts.

 
Posted on March 6, 2017 12:48 PM by Dr. Zimmer
Tamiflu, or oseltamivir, is pushed big time by doctors during the flu season. One of the biggest reasons why is because they really have nothing else to offer a patient in terms of treatment for the flu. But, is Tamiflu really worth taking if you have the flu when it cost upwards of $140? Should you take that prescription for Tamiflu or should you exercise some concern? As I am fond of doing, I am going to give you some facts and then let you decide for yourself if you think you should dose with this drug…or not.

How Effective Is Tamiflu?
 
I believe the facts show that Tamiflu can indeed reduce the amount of time the average person experiences flu-like symptoms IF they are infected with a strain of influenza that is sensitive to the drug and if they are treated very early on in the infection (within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms). MANY doctors give a prescription for Tamiflu after the person has had the flu for longer than 48 hours. It is completely worthless after this time. But, let me ask you to think about an important question. What constitutes a reduction of symptoms significant enough to consider taking this drug? To answer this question I believe you can look at two sets of data. The first reveals just how well Tamiflu works and the second deals with identifying the risks of taking the drug. So, let’s investigate the benefit/risk ratio so you can make an informed decision.
 
The attitude of the doctors prescribing Tamiflu is that it is a no-brainer. They see the studies reporting that Tamiflu reduces the time of experiencing symptoms and they have nothing else to offer in the way of treatment. Thus, doctors prescribe and over-hype the potential benefits to the patient in taking Tamiflu. I say over-hype because every patient I know who gets this prescription has told me that their doctor vigorously endorsed the use of this drug without even mentioning the benefit verses side-effects issue. After listening to your doctor you would think that Tamiflu works very well, saves lives, and is so safe that you should disregard any potential side-effects dissuading you from taking the prescription. I had a virologist, who was the director of virology at a distinguished medical research facility, tell me that the medical benefits of taking Tamiflu are enormous both in reducing the duration and severity of the infection. He noted that it works and that it saves lives. Let's see if this position is supported by the studies and facts.

The Benefits…
 
The studies are pretty clear that Tamiflu may (notice the word “may”; I will get to that in a moment) reduce the symptoms of the flu on the average by one day. Wow! One whole day! But, you may be thinking that you would like to have one day less of flu symptoms.  I do agree. However, let’s take a logical look at the real life application. If you have ever had the flu, when do you get your worst symptoms? Yeah, the first few days! Wouldn't’t it be great if the one day that Tamiflu reduced your symptoms by was one of those days? But, it cannot because you do not even take Tamiflu until you have had the flu for at least a couple of days. Thus, the one day you may experience a reduction in your symptoms will be one of the more tolerable days anyway.
 
Another benefit touted by advocates for Tamiflu is that it can stop people from having their flu turn into pneumonia, especially in older patients and patients with chronic cardiac disease. This is the stance taken by the virologist who contacted me. He claimed that without question anti-viral drugs save lives. The problem with this stance is that it is not supported by the studies which have been done. It is simply "want it to be true because it supports my belief" logic.
 
The maker of Tamiflu reports that in three double-blind studies there was no difference in the effectiveness of Tamiflu between those older than 65 compared to younger subjects. Another peer-reviewed study showed that "the risk of hospitalization for respiratory diseases was not reduced" by Tamiflu (Impact of oseltamivir on the incidence of secondary complications of influenza in adolescent and adult patients: results from a retrospective population-based study.) The makers of Tamiflu also report that, "A double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center trial was unable to demonstrate efficacy of TAMIFLU in the treatment of influenza in adult and adolescent subjects with chronic cardiac or respiratory diseases."
 
A different study concluded, "Oseltamivir has no protective effect on mortality among patients with 2009A/H1N1 influenza." (Neuraminidase inhibitors for influenza: a systematic review and meta-analysis of regulatory and mortality data.) Thus, the claim that taking Tamiflu will saves lives during serious flu infections of H1N1, in the elderly and with those with chronic cardiac symptoms is simply not well supported by the facts. Again, it is "want it to be true because it supports my belief" logic.
 
Now…onto the discussion of how Tamiflu may reduce your symptoms by one day. Tamiflu has absolutely no effect against many of the strains of influenza infecting our population. So, if you have one of these strains of flu you get no benefits from Tamiflu and only side-effects.  This is becoming more true each year as more and more resistant strains are being identified. How, then, does your doctor know if you have one of the strains that will be sensitive to Tamiflu? The answer is that they have absolutely no idea at all. It is a true crapshoot.
 
Another problem with trying to determine the benefit one gets after taking Tamiflu is that flu symptoms vary so greatly. Most people experience symptoms for at least 2 days prior to taking Tamiflu. These first two to three days are usually the worst when you get the flu. So, you can take Tamiflu and feel better the next day, but it likely would have NOTHING to do with the Tamiflu. Let me give you an example that I can verify because it happened to my wife. Sherri went to the doctor after a day and a half of bad flu symptoms. She was looking to get relief for her congestion and coughing. She was given a prescription for Tamiflu and was told that it would definitely help her. She called me to pick it up from the pharmacy on my way home from the clinic. I didn't’t stop to pick it up and explained to my wife that Tamiflu was not worth taking in my opinion. Well, the next morning she woke up and felt remarkably better. What would have happened if she had taken the Tamiflu? She would be one of those who would shout from the mountain-top that this drug was the best thing ever. This example illustrates exactly why it is impossible to interpret the benefit of taking a drug like Tamiflu in the patient population through testimonials.
 
The Negatives…
 
Anyone who has ever been prescribed Tamiflu knows that their doctor never goes through the benefits verses the side-effects. In fact, most doctors grossly downplay any potential side-effects from taking Tamiflu or act as if there are none to be considered.
 
Here is the list of some of the post-marketing adverse reactions associated with Tamiflu use. These are important because the side effects observed in the limited studies needed for FDA approval do not even come close to identifying the actual side effects that any drug will cause. The occurrence of most of these symptoms is low, but some of them like vomiting, nausea and headaches are common, occurring in one out of ten. Some of these are very serious side-effects.
 
Face Swelling Tongue Swelling Allergic Reactions
Anaphylactic Reactions Dermatitis Rash
Eczema Uticaria Erythema Multiforme
Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis Stevens-Johnson Syndrome Hepatitis
Liver Function Abnormality Heart Arrhythmia G.I. Bleeding
Hemorrhagic Colitis Seizures Delirium
Confusion Abnormal Behavior Hallucinations
Nausea Vomiting Headaches
Diarrhea Stomach Pain Anxiety
 
I want to make sure I clarify one important point about flu symptoms to make sure we are on the same page. The flu does not typically cause digestive symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting or nausea. The flu is a respiratory disease. As a population we commonly say we had the “flu” when we really had a digestive bug. I had one patient tell me they had not gotten the flu the last two years that they had gotten a flu vaccination. When I asked him what symptoms he gets with the flu he said vomiting, diarrhea and fever. This was NOT the flu so the vaccination he received did not affect whether he got a digestive bug or not. The reason I bring this up is that the most common side-effects from Tamiflu are vomiting, diarrhea and nausea. Many would incorrectly think they would have these symptoms anyway because of the flu. They would be wrong.

The Bottom Line
 
Now that you have the facts about Tamiflu you have to decide whether or not you think it is a good idea to spend $140 per person to dose yourself or your children with this drug. Tamiflu may help reduce the symptoms of the flu by one day only if you get lucky and have a strain of the flu that is affected by this drug and only if it is taken within the first 48 hours of having symptoms. The one day of reduction will be after you have already experienced the worst symptoms. Tamiflu has not been shown to be effective at reducing the symptoms of serious flu viruses like H1N1, it does not significantly reduce the progression of the flu to pneumonia, and there is NO evidence that it saves lives.  If you disagree, send me the list of studies which support the opposite and I will be happy to revise my position appropriately. Experiencing symptoms like nausea, diarrhea or vomiting are not uncommon. Potentially severe symptoms can and do occur, but are very rare.
 
Here is the conclusion from another study published in The Lancet:
 
“In view of the advantages and disadvantages of different management strategies for controlling seasonal influenza in healthy adults, recommending the use of antiviral drugs (like Tamiflu) for the treatment of people presenting with symptoms is unlikely to be the most appropriate course of action.” Prescription of anti-influenza drugs for healthy adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
 
So, is it worth the risk of taking Tamiflu for the benefit? Now you have the facts to make an educated decision.
 
What Other Options Do You Have?
 
To answer this question let me tell you what I do as soon as I begin to feel the onset of any respiratory symptoms. I use the following products and they seem to work very well at keeping me from ever becoming seriously ill. I suggest you keep these products in your medicine cabinet so you can start using them as soon as you feel that yucky feeling signaling that your body is fighting something.
 
I take C-BioFizz, Thorne Vitamin A, Vitamin D and Esberitox. For the kids, I give them either Esberitox or ImuMax and mix C-BioFizz with the Thorne Vitamin A and Vitamin D. You can get these products by clicking on this link:  Immune Support
 
Posted on March 5, 2017 4:20 PM by Dr. Zimmer
Everyone has an opinion and I thank God for our uniqueness. Otherwise, this world would be robotic, completely predictable and quite boring. The problem caused by considering multiple opinions when it comes to following natural medicine advice is that it typically makes it very difficult to determine who and what to believe. The task of gathering topic relevant information is both helped and hindered by the internet. If you are not sure to what I am referring simply Google any natural health topic and watch the avalanche of differing opinions and suggestions that will flood your screen.
 
To gain direction we typically rely upon information gleaned from those whom we perceive as having more expertise in our topic of query. In Western health care the medical doctor reigns supreme. Taken as a whole, any opinion rendered by the medical community is given significant weight of consideration in helping us formulate our final stance towards any health topic. This makes perfect sense to the majority, since medical doctors typically represent a portion of our society considered to be of higher intellect and who form their opinions based on scientifically sound information. And, we have an inherently higher level of comfort with this group since we have relied upon them from childhood to give us direction and care when we were sick.
 
On the other end of the spectrum are those who seemingly question nothing and somehow think it logical to run a power crystal on your solar plexus in order to heal anything that ails you. We inherently have a lower level of comfort in taking advice from this group because the common perception is that those who tender this kind of advice are typically in the clan of con artists or nut-bags.
 
Solving the problem of whom and what to believe is not an easy one when it comes to the topic of natural health. We all have the innate knowledge that it is simply impossible for anyone to know everything. Deep down you understand the extent of anyone’s knowledge is limited by their experiences, intellect, biases, passion (or lack there-of), and inability to assimilate all the information about any one topic. Can a medical doctor be wrong at times? Can a crystal wielding nut-bag be right at times? The answer to both of these questions is yes, which tells you that you may not be served very well by accepting everything spoken by your M.D. or by disregarding everything claimed by the so-called “Quacks”.
 
My goal in this article is to give you some tools and understanding by which you will be able to formulate an opinion on natural health care topics that goes beyond hearing and believing. My hope is that you become more “critically open-minded” in your approach of determining what is good for your optimal health.
 
Defining Critically Open-minded
 
I began using this term almost two decades ago when I came to the realization that being too critical was severely limiting my ability to give my patients cutting edge, yet sound, natural health care information. By learning to balance being critical with an open mind, you will be able to form a defensible and logical opinion about any health care topic.
 
The Critic
 
By allowing yourself to become too critical you severely limit the range and effectiveness of what treatment you can accept as valid. You create a tight paradigm within which you only allow information that passes the test put forth by a strict set of guidelines. A great example of this would be the medical community. Very little in the realm of natural health is accepted within their treatment paradigm unless it passes the test of being studied under scientific methods. Their recommendations are governed by the use of “studied medicine” which, in turn, is almost completely directed by the pharmaceutical industry. If you have not had a chance to read my recent article, “Studied Medicine: Quit Fooling Yourself!”, I suggest you click on the link to learn why this term represents a glass house built adjacent to an area of rock slides.
 
Let me give you an interesting and thought-provoking example to illustrate how being too critical may limit knowledge. I recently received an email from a patient giving me an update on her condition after following my direction for the treatment of her digestive issues.
 
“Dr. Z, I wanted to update you on my condition since our last phone conversation. (We did a phone/internet consult since she lives outside of Indiana.) My digestive pain is completely gone for the first time in over a year. I am no longer bloated and I have much more energy than before I found you.”
 
The interesting part of this story is that she had been to her primary care doctor, the E.R. and TWO Gastroenterologists (G.I. specialists) without results prior to our consult. How on this earth could an alternative health doctor have helped a patient who had seen four different medical doctors with two of those specializing in only digestive issues? Another important question would be if the treatment I recommended was so effective in contrast to the medical specialist’s failures, why would they not adopt such a therapy?
 
The answers to these questions are simply that they were limited by being too critical in their thinking. When a patient tells the G.I. specialist she had success with a treatment that falls outside of the doctor’s paradigm he quickly classified this information in his X-files. In other words, it is the stuff that he cannot explain, but has to be chalked up to the placebo-effect in his mind. The biggest problem is that he will rarely even hear about these successes. Do you really think this patient is going to pay for an expensive follow-up appointment with the G.I. only to tell him that she is symptom-free and just wanted to inform him of the alternative treatment she used? No way! So, as far as the G.I. knows his treatment protocol was effective, since the patient did not return.
 
I can tell you that I have had many dozens of these types of successes and have NEVER received a call from a G.I. specialist asking me to explain the logic of my treatment protocols. Thus, they gained no wisdom from the exposure to this successful treatment and a couple of patients later, their chance to widen their treatment options and to grow intellectually was lost.
 
The Absolute Open-minded
 
The other side of the coin is the person who is too open-minded. The only evidence they need to believe in anything is that someone reported feeling better after following that procedure. This leads to the wackiest of the wacky that gives alternative health care a serious black eye. In addition, this opens you up to a much higher chance of trying totally ineffective or worthless treatments. I will share a kind of funny, but eye-opening, experience with you to help illustrate just how being too open-minded is not the way to go.
 
I had a discussion with an energy-type healer recently and, as is my nature, I was challenging some of her core beliefs. She became more than a little bit upset with my lack of faith in her faith and ended up scolding me because I admitted that I had not personally experienced her type of treatments first hand. So, I set an appointment with her.
 
Upon my arrival she asked me if I had any areas of concern. I told her that I was under a lot of stress and that I thought it was affecting my energy levels. (This was completely true, by the way.) Her treatment room was dimly lit with candles and I laid face up on a very comfortable massage-like table. The quality of her touch was outstanding. Her hands were soft and her fingers were refreshingly cool, but not cold. I became ultra relaxed and felt a release from the tension that had ruled my body just prior to the onset of treatment. I quickly realized how someone could conclude that this was going to be an effective treatment for what ever symptoms they were experiencing.
 
As I laid on my back I thought of how I could test her in the wackiest of ways. So, I first told her that something very weird was going on. I told her that I felt like there was something like electricity coming out of my big toe, but only on the right side. (This was completely made-up, by the way.) She was not surprised at all and even told me that this was negative energy leaving my body from my liver. A short while later I told her of another alarming, but completely made-up, symptom. I told her that I felt like there was a beam of energy coming out of my belly button that was going up to the ceiling! For the life of me I can not remember what she told me to explain this made-up phenomena, but I can tell you that she was not at all surprised by my belly button light saber.
 
This experience illustrates how completely open-minded people will believe anything without question. Does this mean that they will be wrong all of the time? Not at all! But, their chance of being completely off base is no doubt higher than their overly critical counterparts.
 
Becoming Critically Open-minded
 
So, how do you train yourself to look at natural health information in a critically open-minded manner? I have a number of practical suggestions for you.
 
Stop Putting Your Faith In Studied Medicine
 
You need to come to the realization that studied medicine only gives you questionable information suggesting a benefit or lack there of for any treatment or substance. That is why one study shows a benefit and why another concludes there is none. Statistics and outcomes are so massaged and planned in these studies that no one should give them more weight than they deserve. Consider the outcomes of studies as a small piece of the puzzle without having the ability to give you the whole picture. Realize that NO study proves or disproves anything and that whoever is funding the study has great influence over the outcome of the study.
 
Do you remember a number of years ago when a study came out concluding that a high sugar intake was associated with hyper behavior in children? Months later a different study came out stating just the opposite. Guess who funded this second study? Yep…the sugar industry. Another example is that 100% of the studies funded by the aspartame (artificial sweetener) industry revealed no negative findings for their product. However, the vast majority of independent studies raise serious questions about this product.
 
There are MANY other examples I could give you but let me use anti-depressants as a final example. St. John’s Wort has been much maligned over the years in the news. The basic take home from the reporting is that St. John’s Wort is worthless and your medical doctor will quickly opine in this manner. Evaluation of numerous studies shows that St. John’s Wort only has about a 40% effectiveness. That is O.K., but not super. Studied medicine also tells us that just about all anti-depressants work, on average, in only 40% of cases. But, that is the same as St. John’s Wort and St. John’s Wort has way fewer side effects. Thus, if doctors evaluated the science in an unbiased manner they would most certainly tell their patients to try St. John’s Wort first. But, alas, this NEVER occurs.
 
 
Probability verses Possibility
 
I have patients ask me all of the time whether it is possible that a certain product could cure their condition…and I stop them right there. I always tell them, “Yes, it is possible.” The question, though, needs to be is it probable. I learned a long time ago that we know very little about the human body and that everyone is different. This means that someone could very well experience a “cure” from using a product. How can I say no way without being a complete know-it-all ego-maniac? My concern is whether it is likely, not if it is possible.
To determine the probability of benefit you can hope to gain from any procedure, drug or product you can use good old fashion common sense. Ask yourself these questions:
 
Does your type of symptom or condition typically resolve quickly or deep down do you know that getting rid of it is difficult? The more chronic or complicated your condition the less likely it is that any one procedure, drug or product will afford you a significant resolution of symptoms. Thus, the probability of resolution is low.
 
How sensational are the claims of benefit? It is not atypical for someone to want a cure so badly that they would do anything to get rid of symptoms. Thus, many of us are attracted by claims of quick cures or miraculous results. NOTHING cures chronic conditions for everyone. The probability of curative qualities from sensationalized products or procedures is very low.
 
Finally, what does your gut tell you? I know this is highly unscientific, but remember we are practicing being critically open-minded. There is no substitute for good old fashion gut feelings. Shady sales people sell a lot of products even though people know down deep that the chance of something living up to expectation is low. Is your gut’s B.S. ‘o-meter going off or is your gut filled with genuine excitement and hope? Follow your gut. The probability of success goes way down if your gut tells you no and you do not listen.
 
Experts
 
NO ONE KNOWS EVERYTHING! I just wanted to point that out again. So, you will never find an “Expert” who can give you direction on everything within the natural health care arena. I can tell you with confidence that if you rely on one source for all your information you are missing out. This applies to popular health care internet sites and this especially applies to me!
 
I always find it peculiar that so many of us wholly ignore this universal truth that no one knows everything when we ask our doctors questions. This is especially true when that doctor has an M.D. behind his or her name. Let me let you in on a little secret. Doctors, in general, know a little about a lot of topics. Doctors know very little detailed information about any specific topics. The secret is that they are good at faking it and will enthusiastically give you their opinion even when it covers a topic well outside of their expertise.
 
For example, I get told on a regular basis that, “My doctor says all I need is a Centrum.” I say your doctor is completely wrong and the fact that he/she told you this displays a gross lack of knowledge when it comes to taking supplements. But, instead of honestly telling a patient that they really do not have any training or knowledge in this area, they give an answer anyway. And, they give that answer with an air of confidence.
Tell me…is it not refreshing when a doctor admits that he just does not know the answer to your question? Or, if she tells you that she does not have expertise in a certain area? Do you think less of him/her or do you respect him/her for acknowledging his/her limitations?
 
So, if none of us knows everything, how do you pick your experts? The answer is that you test them. Challenge them with questions to identify why they believe what they believe, read what they write, get opinions from others in the field for comparison and test to see if what they say passes your scrutiny. Here are some questions you should ask to determine the amount of faith you will put in anyone’s level of expertise.
 
  1. Is the “expert” selling you something specific? This is an easy one. If an expert is endorsing a unique and specific product, your chance of getting a well balanced opinion from that person is very low. Ignore claims of “World renowned”, “Internationally known”, “Recognized expert” or “Leader in his field” type of claims. The people I look up to as leaders in natural medicine NEVER tell you how great or accomplished they are. They prove it with their work.
  2. Does the “expert” study in the field for which they are rendering an opinion? This may sound like a “No, Duh” type of question. But, as I mentioned earlier, people ask their medical doctor’s opinion about natural health care all of the time. When you are going to obtain an opinion from someone do you not want to know if they actually study that topic? So, ask your doctor if they specialize in and study the use of vitamins, herbals or supplements. If they say yes, then ask your question. If they say they have some knowledge or that it is not an area of expertise, don’t take the chance on confusing yourself with their opinion. If you were a mother expecting your first child and wanted to get some expert information about labor and delivery, you wouldn’t go to your friend’s husband to ask him his opinion just because he had familiarity with the subject. No, you would ask the person who actually had a more intimate level of experience with childbirth.
  3. Does that “expert” actually work with patients or do they just render opinions? I constantly read information spewed by those who do not even work with people. Many are researchers who make claims based on theory and not on real life experience. Google the name of the expert and see if they work in a clinic or if they are an academic.
  4. What has this “expert” written? Every expert I know has written numerous articles in order to share their views and knowledge with those who need help. I would be very cautious about accepting an opinion from someone who does not write articles for the lay public. Get a couple of their articles and read them. Then let your gut’s B.S. o’meter (I like that term) go to work. Does what they write seem to be solid in logic? Do they back it up or do they just use rhetoric?
The Bottom Line
 
Those who tend to dismiss anything not endorsed by their medical doctors are limiting their health care options by being too critical and closed-minded. On the other hand, if all you need is a well written testimonial to make you believe in something, you are way too open-minded. If you tend to be too critical, my recommendation is to temper that with a dose of open-mindedness. If you are too open-minded, throw in some critical thinking in order to find a balance.
 
First, stop putting your faith in studied medicine. Never let the words, “But, it is not FDA approved!” come out of your mouth again. Give studies a relatively small amount of consideration when deciding the merits of any natural treatment. Next, determine the PROBABILITY that something is worthwhile. Is your gut telling you something? Listen to it. Finally, find a few experts in natural medicine and evaluate what they have to say.
Use all of this information to practice the art of becoming critically open-minded and you will benefit your over-all health tremendously
Posted on March 5, 2017 2:20 PM by Dr. Zimmer
The Flu Shot Lie!
The health industry is lying to you and you probably have no idea it is even occurring! Like most lies, this one is meant to control your thoughts and behavior. In this case it is meant to preserve the reputation and future profits of the flu vaccination program.  Let me expose this lie for you.
 
Have you ever heard it said that if you proclaim something often enough and with confidence, it will become truth even if it is completely false? We see examples of this all of the time in advertising and in politics. But, unfortunately we also see examples of it in medicine. I say unfortunately because deep down we almost expect to be lied to by advertisers and politicians. However, we most certainly do not expect this kind of misleading behavior from those who are charged with caring for us.
 
This orchestrated lie is employed every time we find out that the current flu shot is not a good match for the strains of flu affecting people during that year. Because this news has the potential of having a negative effect on the perceived importance of getting a flu shot each season, you will hear the following proclamation from the television, radio and print news over and over again:
 
“The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has announce that the current flu shot is not a good match for the strains affecting Americans this season. However, doctors urge patients to still get the shot because it may help to reduce the intensity of symptoms if you get the current flu.”
 
This is an absolute fabrication. It is based on nothing in the scientific literature and has been completely made up. In simpler terms, this is a lie! In fact, there are studies which show just the opposite and I have written about these in my articles “Flu Shots: Trick or Treat” and “Roll Up Your Sleeves …Cross Your Fingers! Say No to 3 Shots!”
 
The curious thing is that this lie has gained acceptance not only in the general public, but also amongst medical professionals. How in the world could medical doctors and the like not be able to detect this lie immediately if they are in “the know” about these topics? I have some ideas as to why.
 
Doctors Blindly Parrot The Lie!
Just about every doctor, nurse practitioner, physician assistant and nurse I know will repeat this lie to their patients, friends and family. The question is why.  Please let me make something very clear right away.  I DO NOT believe that these health professionals are lying. I believe they have just blindly accepted what they have heard as fact and are repeating it verbatim. I believe they think what they are saying is the truth, which means that they are not liars. They are, however, guilty of accepting the lie without questioning it and are at fault for repeating this nonsense.
Let me give you some insights from my experience as to why this has occurred.
 
Every health professional I know is extremely busy. Thus, when they hear something they want to be true, they rarely research the validity of the claim. In the case of the lie that getting a flu vaccine will reduce the symptoms of other illnesses, doctors have a vested interest in wanting this to be true.  Think about it for a moment. Doctors have urged their patients (and in some cases applied significant pressure through guilt and scare tactics) to get their flu shot and to have their kids get the shots too. Now the patient realizes that this recommendation was worthless and that they and their children got a flu shot for no reason.
 
As a doctor it kind of stinks that you know your recommendation not only ended up being of no benefit to your patients, but caused some to suffer side effects. You realize that if this were to occur too often your patients could lose faith in your recommendations. No doctor likes the thought that this could be the case. Then you hear in the news that even if the flu shot was not a good match it was still beneficial because it would help reduce the symptoms if your patient caught this season’s flu. Can you see how doctors would want this to be true?
 
If you believe that a busy health professional heard this and then validated it by looking at the research, you are naive. No, they heard this the same way you did (on the news) and accepted it without question because they wanted it to be true. Any medical professional reading this article can prove me wrong by sending me the references to the articles they researched to validate the claim of flu vaccine benefit, even when there was no match in the shot for the viruses circulating this season. No such research exists and to date I have not received one email from a health professional. 
 
The Real Reason For The Lie
Medical professionals may be guilty of blindly repeating a lie, but they certainly are not the ones who made it up. We all know that if you follow the money you will find who initiated the lie.  But, I do not think it is important to identify the initiator of the lie. Instead, I think it is important for you to understand the real reason behind the lie. The real reason for the lie is to make sure that you do not stop getting a flu shot in the future. The lie is meant to protect the reputation and future profits of the flu vaccine. Do not believe for a second that they are worried about your health or that of your family. 
 
Fast forward to next year when your doctor recommends that you and your family get their flu shots. They know full well that many will remember that last year’s flu shot was worthless and that this knowledge will temper their enthusiasm to get a shot this time around. This lack of confidence in the flu shot will lead to many just sitting it out next flu season. The end result would be a loss of many millions of dollars. And, if the trend of not matching the strain were to occur again it could mean the death of flu shot profits for years to come.  So, they fabricate a lie that they know doctors would not question, would likely repeat and that would help to reduce the loss of consumer confidence in getting a flu shot.
 
The Additional Deception
In addition to fabricating this lie, they have to hide one more fact, which could cause the public to seriously question the effectiveness of the flu shot in the future.  The fact that the flu shot may not be effective in any given flu season basically has no effect on the number of kids who die each year because of the flu. 
 
For example, in the 2012-13 flu season there were 171 children who died from the flu and the flu shot was estimated to be 49% effective. During the 2013-14 season the CDC reported 111 deaths with a 52% effectiveness. During the 2014-15 season it was 148 deaths with a 19% effectiveness and in 2015-16 there were 89 deaths with a 47% effectiveness. Thus, the effectiveness of the flu shot seems to have no significant impact on reducing or increasing the number of deaths by flu. In other words, the flu shot is basically worthless!
 
This truth could potentially cause a collapse in the flu vaccine industry future profits. It would be very hard to put forth a convincing argument that a season without a flu vaccine would be a bad flu season. So, they keep this information under wraps, use scare tactics to imply just the opposite, and make up the lie that even if the shot for the year does not match the strain it could still help. 
 
Now you are in the know!
Posted on March 5, 2017 9:19 AM by Dr. Zimmer
Equal and Nutrasweet: Are they Dangerous?
 
Worrying about our body weight has become a major concern for the vast majority of Americans. Because of this concern, the diet industry has boomed. One of the most crucial substances for the diet industry are the artificial sweeteners. Most of the population takes the safety of these sweeteners for granted due to the fact that they are found in over 10,000 foods.
 
Those of you who know me well understand that, in general, I am not an alarmist. I make every effort to be a critical thinker when presented with health issues. I have applied this principle while looking at artificial sweeteners and what I found caused me deep concern. As always, I think that you should not just take my word for anything. I will present you with the facts and you should make a decision for your own health and for those you love.
 
Artificial sweeteners, like Saccharin, have a long history of being questioned as a potential cancer causing substance. This review, however, will concentrate on the more popular sweetener known as Aspartame, better known as NutraSweet® or Equal®.
 
In 1965, the researchers at G.D. Searle were developing a new ulcer medication when they discovered that they had created a substance that was 200 times as sweet as sugar, but had no calories. The question was then asked if this substance was safe for human consumption. In 1971, Searle Labs felt it had sufficient evidence of aspartame safety to approach the FDA for approval. Questions about potential brain lesions, tumors, and endocrine dysfunction delayed approval until 1981. End of the story! The FDA took 10 years to thoroughly examine the safety of this substance and approved its use for the general public. Unfortunately, the evidence suggests otherwise.
 
As far back as 1976, an FDA task force questioned the validity of Searle’s aspartame testing procedures. Dr. Adrian Gross, the chief scientist on the FDA task force investigating Searle, told CBS Nightly News in 1981 that Searle took great pains to cover up the shortcomings of their studies, even going as far as to remove tumors that developed in animals during the research in order to mask cancerous evidence. The studies were clearly arranged to have the results the drug company wanted.
 
The Public Board of Inquiry (P.B.O.I.) stated in a report dated September 30, 1980 “On the basis of the conclusion concerning Issue Number 2, the Board concludes that approval of aspartame for use in foods should be withheld at least until the question concerning its possible oncogenic (cancer causing) potential has been resolved by further experiments. The Board has not been presented with proof of reasonable certainty that aspartame is safe for use as a food additive under its intended conditions of use.” Despite numerous unanswered questions and contradictory conclusions from various investigations, Commissioner Hayes ignored the recommendations of the FDA’s own P.B.O.I. and approved aspartame for dry use. It was approved for use in liquids in 1983.
 
So, what makes aspartame so dangerous? This question is answered when we look at the way aspartame is broken down in the body (in hot liquids or acidic liquids such as pop). Aspartame is a combination of the amino acids phenylalanine, aspartic acid, and methanol. The worse of these is the methanol (wood alcohol). High amounts of methanol alone results in toxicity and blindness. The amounts found in aspartame foods, however, do not have enough methanol to cause this effect. The real danger is that methanol is changed to a cancer causing substance known as formaldehyde (the stuff used to preserve dead folks). This deadly formaldehyde has been shown to bind to tissue components in human studies (Trocho, C et al, ‘Formaldehyde derived from dietary aspartame binds to tissue components in vivo’, Life Sciences 1998, 63 (5): 337-349.)
 
I will point out that methanol is found in some of the fruits and vegetables we eat. The difference is that these foods also contain amounts of ethanol which blocks the production of formaldehyde in the body. Aspartame contains NO ethanol. The constituents of aspartame are without a question potentially harmful. However, does this mean that they do indeed pose a health concern? And if so, why doesn’t the FDA remove aspartame from the shelves?
 
Read on for answers to these questions.

Aspartame Health Risks
 
The health risks posed by aspartame are numerous and varied. They include but are not limited to headaches, mood changes, seizures, brain tumors, increased appetite, poor diabetic sugar control, allergic reactions, cancer, and behavior problems.
 
If the above list is accurate in any manner, why is aspartame not taken off the market? The answer is actually very simple. All of these symptoms are slow in development and they all could be due to many other causes. In other words, it is extremely hard and almost clinically impossible to diagnose any of these symptoms as being caused by aspartame. This is especially true since there is no immediate reaction after its consumption. And, more than likely, the negative effects of aspartame occur after long term consumption of up to many years making it even more difficult to pin it as the culprit.
 
The reality, though, is that our society is taking daily doses of this substance over long periods of time. Unfortunately, there are no long term studies on the use of aspartame to help clarify the matter. It makes sense to err on the side of caution when it comes to using aspartame. Real or not, the potential consequences for the long-term use of this sweetener are scary.
 
You should make an effort to cease or decrease its use.

Some Disturbing Facts
 
There are some very interesting facts to consider when deciding whether you feel that aspartame does or does not pose a health risk.
 
Professor Ralph Walton of Northeastern Ohio University’s College of Medicine conducted a survey of aspartame studies in peer-reviewed medical literature. Of 166 studies reviewed, 74 had aspartame industry funding and 92 were independently funded. Of the industry funded studies, 74/74 (100%) attested to aspartame’s safety. Of the independently funded studies, 84/92 (92%) demonstrated some type of adverse reaction.
 
In the mid-1970’s it was discovered that the manufacturer of aspartame falsified studies in several ways. One of the techniques used was to cut tumors out of test animals and put them back in the study. Another was to list animals that had actually died as surviving the study!
 
The FDA’s Chief Counsel, Richard Merrill, considered there to be enough evidence to bring fraud indictments against Searle for their “willful and knowing failure to make reports to the FDA and for concealing material facts and making false statements in reports of animal studies conducted to establish the safety of the food additive aspartame.”
 
In 1987 Dr. Jacqueline Verrett, a toxicologist, testified before a U.S. Senate hearing and stated: “It would appear that the safety of aspartame and its breakdown products has still not been satisfactorily determined, since many of the flaws cited in these three studies were also present in all of the other studies submitted by Searle”.
 
Dr. John Olney, Washington School of Medicine wrote a letter on December 8, 1987 stating: “Being a neuropathologist, I know that spontaneous brain tumors in laboratory rats are extremely rare. The archival literature documents an incidence not exceeding 0.6%. Since the above incidence in NutraSweet-fed rats is 3.75%, this suggests that NutraSweet may cause brain tumors and certainly suggests the need for additional in-depth research to rule out that possibility.”
 
So, let’s review the facts. Aspartame contains the deadly wood alcohol Methanol and is broken down into Formaldehyde in your body. All of the studies funded by the aspartame industry attest to its safety. The vast majority of independent studies raise questions about aspartame safety. A number of researchers not getting pay checks from the aspartame industry have raised questions about health risks including cancer and brain tumors. Aspartame contains NOTHING that would be considered as good for your health. It’s only benefit is that it contains zero calories.
 
I think that the decision you need to make is not whether aspartame is good or bad for you. The decision is whether you will continue to subject you body to what I would call a toxin. I know since you do not experience symptoms immediately from the consumption of this product, that a good number of you will continue to use aspartame. This falls under the same reasoning as to why people continue to smoke. If you will not stop using aspartame all together, at least decrease the amount you are taking each day.
 
My family has stopped using aspartame. This includes diet soft drinks. I strongly recommend that you do the same and I plead with you to stop giving your children aspartame. As a parent myself, I am not sure how you could give them this substance in good conscious.
Posted on March 1, 2017 4:24 PM by Dr. Zimmer
An internal medicine doctor recently told me her advice to patients was that it is o.k. to take vitamins and minerals, but she never recommended herbals because they were not studied. “We have to practice studied medicine in order to make the best recommendations for our patients”, she said.
 
I think most people agree the best way to practice medicine would be to make recommendations based upon benefits proven in the studies. The problem is this notion of practicing “studied medicine” is a fairy tale believed by both those practicing medicine and by those receiving medical care. The belief that doctors practice “studied medicine” is on par with believing in the Tooth Fairy. My apologies to anyone crushed by the realization that the disappearing canine from under their pillow was not funded by Tinker Bell’s cousin.
 
I know…I know…this claim goes against just about everything that has been drilled into our heads since we were young. You need to trust your doctor because they are basing their recommendations on FDA approved therapies. And, the FDA only approves therapies that undergo rigorous study. Thus, doctors obviously practice studied medicine. Let me shed some light on this subject so we can all click our Ruby Slippers together to get ourselves out of the Land of Oz. It is important for you to realize that doctors DO NOT practice studied medicine!
 
FDA Approval
 
One of the facts giving comfort for the use of prescription drugs is they have to endure a rigorous process of study in order to gain FDA approval. There are three major problems with allowing yourself to become comfortable with this process. First, the FDA approval of drugs does not mean the drug is safe. Secondly, doctors routinely utilize drugs in a manner that does not have FDA approval. Thirdly, many drugs are approved by the FDA even though they show very little clinical benefit for the patient. Let me give you a couple of examples. I could give you dozens, but I am way too lazy to type all of that information. The examples I am about to use are not unique by any manner.
 
Example #1:
 
A class of anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals, known as selective COX-2 inhibitors, had three main drugs approved for prescription use by the FDA. These drugs include Celebrex, Vioxx and Bextra.  There is just one slight problem with the use of these drugs:  THEY KILL PEOPLE! But, of course, you have been led to believe the FDA protects us from this possibility. Unfortunately, you are sadly mistaken.
 
Most of you may know that Vioxx and Bextra were “voluntarily” removed from the market due to the fact that they significantly increase, in part, the risks of stroke and heart attack. In fact, some estimates are that 50,000 people have had their lived destroyed by these drugs. Now here are some interesting and disturbing facts.
 
I began warning patients about the dangers of COX-2 drugs about one full year prior to Vioxx and Bextra being taken off the market. How did I know this? I read the alarming studies that strongly suggested these drugs were dangerous. Many doctors, who only practice studied medicine, ridiculed my position and cautioned their patients about getting their information from a quack. One even told me I should leave the practice of medicine up to medical doctors. He obviously thought his M.D. degree stood for Medical Deity! I cannot even express to you how much I dislike people who think the world of themselves.
 
So, did the FDA take these drugs off of the market? The answer is no. The FDA basically told the companies making these drugs that they could voluntarily take their drugs off of the market to save face or have the FDA most likely recommend they be removed. Thus, the companies “volunteered” to take their drug off of the market.
 
Some of you may be wondering why I would be using this as an example of how FDA approval doesn’t assure safety. Didn’t the fact that the FDA forced these drugs from the market prove their effectiveness at looking after the well-being of the population? Not by a long shot! Did you notice there were three drugs in the selective COX-2 class? Celebrex is still on the market. So, the FDA must have studies showing that Celebrex is safe and does not cause an increase in heart attacks or strokes, right? WRONG!!  Celebrex does increase the risk for heart attacks and strokes, but the FDA “believes” at a lesser, more acceptable level. Here is the statement made by the FDA, “We have concluded that the benefits of Celebrex outweigh the potential risks in properly selected and informed patients.”
 
Let me translate for you: “We have concluded the benefits of reducing pain gained from taking Celebrex outweighs the fact that it also kills a significant, but unknown, number of patients each year. Thus, we suggest that this drug only be given to a properly selected and informed group of patients.” Now, let me ask you two very important questions that will illustrate just how absurd the FDA’s position is on this matter. How do doctors determine which patients will not suffer an adverse event from taking Celebrex and is anyone fully informed about the risks when they are give a prescription for this drug? The answers to these questions are that doctors have NO WAY of determining who will get a heart attack or stroke from Celebrex and the only doctor who goes over the risks of taking a drug with a patient is the one you see on television pharmaceutical advertisements. When was the last time your doctor wrote you a prescription and then explained to you all of the potential serious side effects?
 
Let’s shoot straight here. If the FDA’s true concern was with protecting the consumer they would have taken all of the COX-2 drugs off of the market as soon as there was an indication of danger and would not have allowed their return until studies could be done to prove their safety. Unfortunately for the makers of these drugs these studies would take many years to complete and this course of action would have been financially devastating for them. What is going on here? The FDA is more concerned with the financial viability of the pharmaceutical industry than with your safety. To come to any other conclusion requires a complete disregard for the facts.
 
Example #2:
 
Nexium, made by AstraZeneca, is among the class of drugs known as Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s). This class of drugs is among the most prescribed in medicine today. The FDA approval for Nexium is for 4-8 weeks of use. The longest recommendation for use is 6 months and only for the maintenance of the healing of Erosive Esophagitis and for the risk reduction of NSAID-associated gastric ulcers. Here is a quote from a document produced by AstraZeneca and found on FDA.gov, “Controlled studies (for Nexium) do not extend beyond 6 months.”
Thus, if doctors practiced “studied medicine” they would only allow most of their patients to use Proton Pump Inhibitors, like Nexium, for up to 8 weeks and a few patients to use these drugs for at the most 6 months. Almost ALL doctors continue to prescribe this class of drugs to their patients for years! My brother-in-law’s brother (I know…slightly confusing) was told by his G.I. specialist that he had people on PPI’s for a decade and had no reservations in doing so. Recent studies show that long-term PPI use significantly increases risks for osteoporosis bone fractures, pneumonia and chronic diarrhea.
 
How many people taking these drugs do you think got letters or calls from their doctor telling them that since they only practice studied medicine their recommendation was for them to stop using their PPI medication after 8 weeks? The answer is NONE OF THEM received this type of letter! I wonder if that G.I. specialist has sent letters of apology to his patients for not practicing studied medicine and causing them to have an increased risk for bone fractures, pneumonia and/or chronic diarrhea? What do you think?
 
I always find it comical when people use FDA approval (or lack of FDA approval) as their gauge to determine their comfort level for taking any drug or supplement. I hear people say “that is not FDA approved” all of the time. The only thing you can be confident of is that FDA approval means the substance will most likely not act like a poison and kill you in short order. If you think FDA approval guarantees safety or that doctors will use FDA approved drugs along the approved guidelines…welcome to the Land of Oz.
 
Mixing Drugs
 
How many people do you know who take more than one prescription at a time? My record is a patient who was taking 21 different prescriptions! Although that is not common, it is extremely common for me to see patients taking between 3 and 6 different drugs at the same time. The fact that doctors mix prescriptions without any reservations is the reason why I almost choked up a hair-ball when the internal medicine doctor told me that we should not recommend herbals due to the lack of studied support for their use. The hypocrisy of this statement was so evident I was forced to think about how this doctor could even make such a statement with a straight face.
 
Remember, the claim is that doctors have to practice studied medicine. I would like you to show me even ONE study proving the long-term safety of using 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or more drugs together. There are NONE!  So, I ask you to explain to me how anyone can engage in the practice of studied medicine without having even one study to support the use of giving patients multiple prescriptions at one time. Can you imagine a doctor telling you to never take an herb due to the lack of studied support, but then writing you prescriptions for 3 different drugs? How hypocritical!
 
I would totally understand the practice of prescribing many drugs without regard to safety if it was well known that drugs do not interact with each other. Unfortunately, we know that drugs do indeed interact with each other. Just look at the insert for any prescription and see the list of other drugs you should not use when taking that drug. If you think this is an exhaustive list of any and all potential reactions you are hopelessly naïve. The FDA finds new reactions all of the time and to think there are no more to be discovered is ludicrous. For example, the FDA has recently announced that Prilosec (the cousin to Nexium) blocks the benefits of taking the blood thinner Plavix. There are many thousands of others to be discovered.
 
The Bottom Line
 
The reason why we like the thought of hiding behind the smoke and mirrors of following the recommendations of “studied medicine” is because it gives us a false sense of security. It gives us a buffer of assurance in protection against being fooled by false or misrepresented claims for any health product. All of us hate being played for the fool! None of us likes to be taken. What each and every one of us needs to understand is that there is a stark difference between having a study suggest the benefit for a substance verses practicing studied medicine.
 
Doctors use the FDA approval process to create the deception of practicing studied medicine. The hypocrisy of this claim is well illustrated by the examples I use in this article. As I see it, there can only be three reasons to explain this hypocrisy. The first is that doctors are simply unintelligent and do not have the capacity to understand the hypocrisy. There is no way this can be true. The second is that doctors, as a whole, are disingenuous and are knowingly deceiving patients to protect their way of practicing medicine. This may be true for a few doctors, but there is no way this can apply to the majority of health care practitioners. The final possible explanation is that doctors, as a whole, are intellectually lazy and have not put forth the effort to recognize the hypocrisy of their claim of only practicing studied medicine. Shame on them!
 
For your sake, I hope you start to question your doctor each and every time they write you a prescription. Stop thinking about your doctors as Medical Deities and remember that they are “practicing” medicine. It is important for you to realize that you are the one on whom they are practicing! My hope is that you will reject the all to commonly used argument that herbals are potentially dangerous because they are not studied or FDA approved. Most natural products are NOT FDA approved, but they are indeed well studied.
Posted on February 25, 2017 5:03 PM by Dr. Zimmer
Splenda® has become one of the more popular artificial sweeteners in use today. The marketing campaign for Splenda® has centered around the fact that sucralose, the main ingredient in Splenda®, is made from sugar. So, the marquee of the marketing campaign is “Made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar.”
 
The clear implication is that since sucralose is made from sugar it must be good for you. And, since the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) has given its approval for sucralose it has to be safe for human consumption. Even McNeil, the maker of sucralose, touts that it is “extremely proud of the strong clinical database that supports the safety of sucralose.”
 
Because of statements like this and the FDA approval, millions of people are now taking doses of Splenda® on a daily basis without concern for any potentially negative impact on their future health. Fortunately, though, many have become untrusting of the FDA and its approval process and are at least asking the question of whether Splenda® is really completely safe to consume. I have read the FDA’s multi-page final ruling for the approval for Splenda® (sucralose) and am deeply disturbed. I will share my concerns with you in just a moment.
 
There is an old saying of, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you.” Splenda® is a great example of how this saying could not be further from the truth. So, I am going to give you facts about Splenda® and allow you to come to your own conclusion as to whether you think it is a good idea to allow yourself, your children, or anyone you care about to be dosed with this chemical on a regular basis.

Understanding the Chemistry
The first thing that you need to know is that sucralose is not a natural molecule. All you need to do is to take a look at the chemical name for sucralose to understand that it is not natural:
 
1,6 Dichloro-1,6-dideoxy-ß-D-fructofuranosyl-4-chloro-4-deoxy-?-D-glactopyranoside
 
It is a man-made chemical that falls into the class of chemicals known as chlorinated hydrocarbons. Other chemicals that fall into this same category include many dangerous pesticides like dioxin and DDT. The chlorinated monosaccharide, 6-chloro-6-deoxy-D-glucose is a known neurotoxin. Thus, sucralose falls into a category of molecules that should immediately raise serious questions about potentially deadly health concerns.
 
To be fair, however, you need to know that not all chlorinated molecules are toxic to humans. We cannot, in good faith, immediately make the connection that sucralose is a toxin just because it is a chlorinated hydrocarbon.
 
To be a little more specific about how sucralose is made, man has taken a natural sugar molecule and forced three chlorine groups to be unnaturally added. The addition of these three chlorine groups causes the body to not recognize the molecule as sugar any longer. The benefit of this for the marketplace is that it creates a molecule about 600 times sweeter than sugar that is not used by the body to make energy. Thus, it has no calories.
 
The logical question to ask next is how the addition of these three chlorine groups affects the natural sugar molecule. Part of that question was just answered in that the body no longer uses the molecule to make energy. Since most of us have a problem with getting too much energy from the foods we eat, this first characteristic change is not necessarily bad.
 
The only way to assess what this new, unnatural molecule will do to humans is to perform studies. This is where the scary part begins. You would assume that in order to gain FDA approval there would have to have been numerous independent studies done to prove the safety of this chemical. You would also assume that if the studies performed raised any questions about potential health concerns that the FDA would err on the side of safety and would not approve a questionable chemical as being safe for consumption.
 
You assume way too much!
 
As you read about the following information, remember that McNeil is extremely proud of the studies they have done on sucralose.

The Testing of Splenda®
As is common with the FDA approval process, the only testing and studies supplied for consideration were done by the very same company that had financial interests in the product. The truth is that if the results of their studies were negative, they would stand to lose billions of dollars. This is quite a motivation to design studies in a way that would decrease the chances of negative results. And, as you will soon see, any negative results were vigorously defended and explanations were quickly formulated.
 
The studies supplied to the FDA by McNeil (the maker of Splenda®) addressed a number of concerns including, but not limited to:
    Fetal Toxicity
    Reproductive Toxicity
    Cancer Causing Potential
    Immune System Toxicity
    Brain Toxicity
    Kidney Toxicity
    Diabetic Effects
    Environmental Effects
 
As I stated earlier, you would expect that the results from these studies would have shown no real concerns, as the FDA did approve sucralose for human consumption. This, unfortunately, was not the case and the FDA went out of its way to defend the negative study results instead of erring on the side of safety for consumers.
 
What The Studies Revealed…
All of the studies submitted to the FDA for approval were animal studies. So, we really do not know what sucralose does to humans from these studies. The studies submitted by McNeil revealed some very disturbing findings.
 
I will use direct quotes from the FDA Final Report so that you can see exactly what the results were. The partial list of negative findings follows:
 
The testing for gene toxicity (cancer potential) revealed:
 
“…sucralose and its hydrolysis products showed weakly genotoxic responses in some of the genotoxicity tests.”
 
“Tests for clastogenic (capable of causing breaks in chromosomes) activity of sucralose in a mouse micronucleus test and a chromosomal abberration test in cultured human lymphocytes were inconclusive. Sucralose was weakly mutagenic in a mouse lymphoma mutation assay.”
 
“Results of three other genotoxic tests were inconclusive: The chromosomal abberation assay in cultured human lymphocytes, the sex-linked recessive lethal assay in Drosophila melangaster, and the covalent DNA binding potential study in rates. 1-6-DCF (a by-product of sucralose) was weakly mutagenic in the Ames Test and the L5178Y TK+/- assay.”
 
So, sucralose and its by-products did show some toxicity to genes. This is not a good thing as it could potentially lead to the development of cancer. The FDA simply dismissed these finding stating that the 2 year cancer studies done in rats were negative and thus, the findings of gene toxicity were insignificant. This was quite a leap of faith taken by the FDA. In other words, the FDA suggested that since limited tests done in rats did not show any increased cancer rates, the actual finding of gene toxicity should be completely dismissed. And, they were.
 
I ask you to think about how cancer develops in people who are exposed to cancer-causing toxins. Take asbestos exposure for example. When did people exposed to this toxin develop cancer? Did it take months, a couple of years, or many years? The answer is many years. Most people did not develop cancer in just two years. So, how can the FDA simply dismiss findings of gene toxicity through a two-year rat study and conclude that sucralose will not cause cancer in the long-term? Do you really think that the FDA is looking out for your best interests or for that of the company about to make billions?
 
The testing for immune toxicity revealed that sucralose caused damage to the immune system:
 
“…when rats were fed sucralose in a 4 to 8 week range finding study the following effects were noted: Decreased thymus and spleen weights (immune tissues) , lymphocytopenia (reduced white blood cells), and cortical hypoplacia of the spleen and thymus.”
 
In an effort to reduce the negative impact of these findings, McNeil then followed this up with a study that only lasted 28 days. This new study again showed disruptions in immune functions at higher dose sucralose fed rats, but not in lower dose groups. The FDA found this 28 day study to be sufficient in defining the safety of sucralose for dosing in humans to not cause immune function disruptions. The bottom line is that the studies conclusively showed that sucralose could have a negative effect on the immune system.
 
One of the more disturbing findings revealed through the FDA Final Report concerned the testing to determine the neurotoxicity (brain toxicity) of sucralose. Remember that sucralose is of the same family of chlorinated hydrocarbons as are many dangerous pesticides. The question of neurotoxicity is a big one.
 
McNeil conducted two neurotoxicity studies, one in mice and one in monkeys. The tests were performed for only 21 and 28 days, respectively. Here are the findings as reported by the FDA:
 
“Animals receiving sucralose or an equimolar mixture of sucralose hydrolysis products…did not exhibit any clinical signs of neurotoxicity. The agency concludes that the lack of neurotoxic effects by both sucralose and its hydrolysis products at the tested dose levels in these studies provides assurance that sucralose used as a food additive under the proposed condition of use will not produce neurotoxic effects.”
 
In layman’s terms the FDA stated that 28 days of testing in monkeys and mice was enough proof for them that there would not be neurotoxic effects in humans. The important differences are that we are not monkeys or mice and that humans now use sucralose daily for years and years. How in the world would a 28 day study give the FDA enough comfort to make their conclusion that sucralose is not neurotoxic for long-term use by humans?
 
Interestingly enough,  case studies from 2006 and 2007 where presented in the peer-reviewed journal of Headache showing that sucralose was a trigger for migraine headaches (Headache. 2006 Sep,46(8): 1303-4. and (Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, Volume 47, Issue 3, page 447, March 2007) But wait, the FDA stated that sucralose was not neurotoxic. Could they have been wrong?
 
Are you comfortable with the conclusion that sucralose has no neurotoxicity? Instead of rushing to approve this chemical, why didn’t the FDA call for longer term human trials? Again, is the FDA looking out for you or the company?
 
Because of space restraints, I will summarize the other negative findings from this FDA report. The FDA dismissed all of these findings as not having been substantive.
    Enlarged liver and kidneys
    Reduced growth rates
    Decreased red blood cell count
    Extension of pregnancy periods
    Decreased fetal body weights
    Subcutaneous Fetal edema (swelling of the fetus)
    Increase in HbA1C (Hemaglobin A1C a marker for bad sugar control)
 
Summary
The bottom line is that the limited amount of studies performed on sucralose have raised serious questions about this chemical’s negative effects on immune system function, brain function, fetal toxicity, and the increased risk for cancer. These are not conspiracy theories. These facts are found in the FDA’s own report. The FDA simply doesn’t think these facts are important.
 
McNeil, for obvious reasons, wants you to believe that their product is safe. I am frightened by what I have learned and am far from convinced.
 
As you sort through the data I have provided for you in this article I would like you to consider a number of important questions.
 
Is Splenda® natural in any way?
My answer: No, it is a man-made chemical in the same class as many pesticides.
 
Is Splenda® (sucralose) good for you in any way?
My answer: No. Your body can’t even use it to make energy. And recent studies show that artificial sweeteners actually cause more problems for weight loss than benefits. So, the lack of calories is no real benefit. 
 
Have there been legitimate questions raised regarding the safety of Splenda® for human consumption?
My answer: You bet there have!
 
When those questions are raised, do you feel that the FDA errs on the side of safety for consumers?
My answer: Not by a long-shot! Why not call for additional INDEPENDENT long-term studies to completely answer the legitimate questions that have been raised?
 
Have there been any human studies completed with Splenda® to address these major concerns?
My answer: None!
 
Knowing about the potential negative effects on the immune system and the nervous system would you give this chemical to your children or to the child growing in your womb?
My answer: No way!
 
Why would anyone continue to use Splenda®?
My answer: I have no idea!

Final Thoughts
Most of us have an inherent trust that our health care system, as a whole, is looking out for our best interests. In general, I have to say that I do not necessarily disagree with this statement. However, you should not be blinded by the fact that many aspects of our health care delivery system regard profit over your well-being. In my opinion, the FDA too many times is one of those organizations.
 
I am dismayed by how many of my patients and my close friends dismiss any negative information about a product if it has been approved by the almighty FDA.
 
I urge you as a consumer of health care to guard against falling into a false sense of security simply because something has FDA approval. There are hundreds of drugs that have been approved by the FDA only to have been removed from the market many years and many deaths later. Look at the available facts and be critical when you are evaluating anything in the health care arena.
 
So, what do you use instead of chemical sweeteners? You have many choices including regular sugar, raw sugar, honey, xylitol, or stevia, to name just a few. You can Google® “natural sweeteners” to get a more complete list.
 
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