In 1517, Catholic priest and theologian Martin Luther nailed his list of 95 Theses to the door of the church. One focus of those objections was a critique of the practice of indulgences whereby sinners could purchase redemption. This event is considered the wellspring of the Christian reformation, with many subsequent tributaries that shaped the broader Protestant movement.
So too do we live in a time where the medical-industrial complex and related regulatory agencies are providing medical indulgences to citizens of the Western world. Rather than lead with education and invest in prevention as a first line of intervention, high-priced drugs and procedures cram the coffers of corporate medicine. If you think this analogy is pure hyperbole, what follows is a small sample of “theses” widely espoused by providers in the integrative and holistic medical community.
It should be stated at the onset that the objections stated below are not a condemnation of providers within the conventional allopathic medical system. I have been blessed to have received exceptional, compassionate care from doctors and nurses during my time of need over the last several years. Rather, it is a reflection on an insidious aspect of the ideology driving allopathic medicine that originates from and is perpetuated by vested interests.
Glyphosate, Cancer, and the EPA
The chemical glyphosate is the main ingredient in Roundup, the most widely used herbicide in the world. Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup (now owned by Bayer), employed ghostwriters of scientific papers, paid off editors, and influenced the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deny toxicity related to Monsanto’s flagship product that affected the marketability of genetically modified crops. Accusations of academic fraud have recently reached epic proportions with scandals surfacing from EPA whistleblowers exposing Monsanto’s obfuscation of data going back decades.
Now, a massive class-action lawsuit is in progress based on data showing the increased prevalence of cancer, particularly non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, in those directly exposed to the chemical. Meanwhile, there is likely not a single soul in the industrialized Western world who is not ingesting glyphosate via conventional food; worldwide, over 10 million tons of glyphosate have been sprayed on fields since its introduction in 1974. Even organic vegetables have been found to be tainted, as rainwater widely distributes this toxic, microbiome-disrupting chemical.
The glyphosate cat is so far out of the bag that it will take years after the complete cessation of the chemical’s use before the environment can fully remediate itself. We don’t yet know the full extent of the damage that has accrued to ecological and biological systems, and the mainstream medical community is largely silent on this issue. Individuals can conduct a home urine test for glyphosate to measure their level of exposure.
Mercury Dental Amalgams and the ADA
In 1977 and 1978, the American Dental Association (ADA) took out patents on so-called “silver fillings.” This misnomer may have been part of a clever marketing campaign, as these amalgams are over 50% mercury by composition. Though the mercury was originally considered inert once the filling was fixed into place, increasing evidence of toxic mercury vapor from mechanical abrasion (chewing) has come to light. In a move that should have occurred decades earlier, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised against mercury amalgam fillings for pregnant and nursing women as well as people with preexisting neurological conditions and impaired kidney function.
Holistic dentists have long recognized the difference between organic mercury (found increasingly in large ocean fish) and the inorganic mercury used in dental amalgams. While the body uses selenium-dependent enzymes to bind and excrete toxic levels of mercury going through the digestive tract, inorganic mercury vapor can more readily enter the bloodstream and overwhelm the system. This causes a shunting of mercury out of the blood and into nerve tissue, where the mercury can persist for decades.
The potential for a gradual form of mercury poisoning explains why the conventional medical community has not made a clear association between chronic mercury toxicity and neurodegenerative diseases. Acute mercury exposure is easy to catch with a blood draw. To diagnose chronic, low-level exposure, a provocation test is needed. The first step is to collect urine as a control before administering a bolus dose of a pharmaceutical chelator to draw toxic metals out of hiding. A urine sample following ingestion of the chelator then shows how much mercury was displaced and put back in circulation for the liver and kidneys to process.
A pre-/post-urine provocation analysis is the standard diagnostic test used by functional medicine physicians specializing in environmental medicine for assessing mercury load. To the conventional toxicologists who object that these tests lack a consensus on reference ranges, I retort: No amount of mercury body burden is desirable. Dental amalgam fillings are the most prevalent (nonindustrial) source of chronic mercury exposure, yet their use in modern dentistry continues.
The Autism “Epidemic” and the CDC
A 2016 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that 1 in every 54 children are expected to be diagnosed autism spectrum disorder—that’s an increase from 1 in every 150 children predicted in a 2000 report. According to the CDC’s website, the cause of what is being called an autism epidemic is not clear. The main narrative warns against use of toxic drugs (such as thalidomide, which has long been taken off the market) and points to genetics as the epidemic’s underlying cause.
The glaring problem with this admission is that there is no such thing as a genetic epidemic. The human genome doesn’t change fast enough to explain the rising rates of autism. A genetic predisposition to autism likely plays a role, but the environmental conditions acting upon those genes are assuredly the underlying cause. As is often said in functional medicine, “Genes load the gun; environment pulls the trigger.”
Autism is a difficult condition to attribute to a cause if your starting, reductionist assumption is that each disease presentation has a single cause. This has never been the case for complicated diseases and disorders such as cancer, autoimmunity, and autism. Each has multiple contributing factors that affect an individual’s genetics, and it is most important to consider that all of this occurs in the context of overall health.
To that end, the CDC does a disservice to the diagnosis and treatment of autism by not taking lifestyle and environmental factors into account. A broad algorithm of disease factors must be acknowledged to enable recovery from autism. These factors include but are not limited to potential vaccine injury, environmental mold exposure, gut dysbiosis (particularly fungal overgrowth), loss of gut integrity from glyphosate exposure, and both toxicant ingestion and frank nutrient deficiency from a highly processed standard American diet.
Chronic Lyme Disease and the CDC
If autism is a misattributed disease process, chronic Lyme is an unacknowledged one. The CDC accepts an outdated and clinically irrelevant understanding of vector-borne illness, failing to recognize that Lyme can become a chronic relapsing and remitting illness.
Instead of the CDC allocating resources to research off-patent antimicrobial therapies already proven successful by forward-thinking infectious disease doctors, the pharmaceutical industry set its sights on the golden goose egg of a Lyme vaccine. The results were lackluster, with a three-dose recombinant immunization generating significant side effects in enough recipients to launch a class-action lawsuit. The vaccine was later withdrawn from the market, purportedly due to low consumer demand, but prosecuting attorneys claimed that the vaccine manufacturer suppressed reports of adverse events from the licensing trials.
Meanwhile, Lyme-literate physicians have recognized that Lyme and its associated coinfections require a slow and steady approach to treatment, typically the pulsing of low-dose antibiotics with significant diet and lifestyle changes to address the terrain of the body and immune resilience. Lyme is not an illness that can be treated with the “one bug, one drug” conventional wisdom. In fact, there is nothing wise about such a reductionist approach. While clinical success is being achieved by fringe medical doctors, their findings have been largely ignored by the CDC, and thus their protocols have not trickled down into the standard of care for front-line medical providers.
Type 2 Diabetes and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Perhaps the most literal and figurative “indulgence” by a regulatory agency is the denial of sucrose (sugar) and fructose (from fruit or corn syrup) as a major driving factor underlying insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes. What used to be called adult-onset diabetes is now called Type 2 as childhood obesity and insulin resistance have increased, thanks to the Western world’s love affair with junk food, particularly foods and beverages loaded with high-fructose corn syrup.
Instead of a blanket admission regarding these foods and the recommendation of a low-carb diet to help reduce blood sugar, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics—the shill of the processed food industry—continues to endorse such blood sugar-spiking foods as breakfast cereals. In fact, if you go to the academy’s webpage on “healthful” eating for diabetes you’ll find a link to a recipe for apple-blueberry crumble that includes wheat flour, canola oil, and brown sugar.
The only patients I know that successfully manage their blood sugar without medication are those who exercise regularly and diligently follow a low-carb diet that avoids fruit, sugar, and grains. Eschewing grains is not a popular position of the academy, which historically received funding from Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, General Mills, and Kellogg. Although these companies no longer sponsor the organization, other corporate agriculture and processed food companies have stepped in to fill the financial void. We will never have suitable dietary guidelines so long as the revolving door of government and industry funds food science research and disseminates policy.
The Church of Medicine
Conventional biomedicine is the high church of an atheistic, technological society. Instead of priests in robes, we have specialists in white lab coats. An uneducated and disenfranchised populace awaits their proclamations (diagnoses and prognoses) with trepidation, hoping for redemption by their skilled hand or the trappings of technological and chemical medicine. For those who place their faith elsewhere, such as with a natural remedy, stiff opposition may ensue. Firmly held doctrines seldom accept challenges to their authority.
Yet we should not throw the baby out with the bath water. Allopathic medicine is an accomplished inheritor of the scientific method that has benefited humanity. As a Catholic priest, Martin Luther was not asking for disbandment of the medieval church; rather, he hoped for reform to occur within. What ensued was a breakaway movement that continues to this day.
The above “theses” are just a few concerns among many being proffered by an integrative medical community frustrated with corporate medicine and an allopathic medical education dominated by pharmaceutical interests. These academic blind spots—fueled by an avaricious medical-industrial-regulatory complex—are an indulgent stain on the true calling of medicine. In closing, let us reflect on an excerpt from the oath spoken by graduating medical students, written in 1964 by Louis Lasagna as an extension of the Hippocratic oath:
. . . Above all, I must not play at God.
I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.
I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.
Glyphosate, Cancer, and the EPA
Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science—Cary Gillam
New Analysis of Glyphosate Industry Studies Finds Them Outdated, Flawed—U.S. Right to Know
The Department of Yes: How Pesticide Companies Corrupted the EPA and Poisoned America—Sharon Lerner
Mercury Dental Amalgams and the ADA
U.S. Patent 4,018,600 April 1977
U.S. Patent 4,078,921 March 1978
Dental Mercury Facts—International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology
Holistic Dentist Database (IAOMT)
Holistic Dentist Database (IABDM)
Chronic Lyme Disease and the CDC
The Lyme Vaccine: A Cautionary Tale
Chronic: The Hidden Cause of the Autoimmune Pandemic and How to Get Healthy Again—Dr. Steven Phillips and Dana Parish
The Church of Medicine
Bad Medicine, Part 1: The Story of 98.6; Freakonomics, episode 268
Bad Medicine, Part 2: (Drug) Trials and Tribulations; Freakonomics, episode 269
Bad Medicine, Part 3: Death by Diagnosis; Freakonomics, episode 270