Monday, September 28, 2009

Don't Blame the Flu Shots?

In the New York Times today (9.28.09), the headline reads, “Swine Flu Officials’ Message: Don’t Blame Flu Shots for All Ills”.  The article goes on to point out that when the swine flu vaccination program begins, some people will naturally die of strokes and heart attacks, therefore the flu vaccine should not be blamed for these deaths or other naturally occurring illnesses.  Further in the article it states that every year there are 1.1 million heart attacks in the United States, 795,000 strokes and 876,000 miscarriages. Furthermore, 200,000 Americans will have their first seizure. 

“The government is right to expect coincident deaths, since people are dying every day, with our without flu shots,” said Dr. Harvey Fineberg, president of the Institute of Medicine.   The article further states, “Government officials are particularly worried about spontaneous miscarriages, because they are urging pregnant women to be among the first to be vaccinated.”  This year there is more pressure for pregnant women to get the flu shot. 

My wife brought this article to my attention.  She said, “Can you believe this?  On the one hand they are saying that people get sick and die every day, so the flu shot can’t be causing that.   On the other hand, they seem to be saying if more people are going to become ill from the flu shot we are going to fight that tooth and nail and not admit any possible relationship to an increase in illness that may be related to the flu vaccine.”

No one in their right mind would suggest that the yearly 1.1 million heart attacks are somehow related to the flu vaccine.  However, perhaps there is a relationship between an illness, such as a seizure disorder that starts within a short period of time from the vaccination, and the flu vaccine.  Governmental agencies have been loathe to admit any illnesses associated with any vaccine.   I see parents in my office that have a normal, healthy child and shortly after a childhood immunization their child’s life has been suddenly altered.  We know all vaccines cause changes in the brain associated with inflammation.  Why is it so impossible that this inflammation cannot manifest as disease of the brain such as autism or seizures?  Perhaps some (or many) of the 200,000 Americans who experience their first seizure each year are having problems with vaccines?  We would not know because the studies have not been properly done.

As for vaccinating pregnant women, I have a statement:  “You have got to be kidding me.”.  This new swine flu vaccine has been fast-tracked and has not been properly studied.  There is no way I would recommend a pregnant women receive this vaccine.  Why are we experimenting on anybody with a vaccine that has not been properly studied?  And, for god’s sake, why would we be promoting experimentation on pregnant women?  Sometimes I feel like we all live in Alice in Wonderland.   

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Swine Flu Vaccine: To Vaccinate Or Not To Vaccinate?

By far, the most frequent question I am asked is, “Do you think I should get the flu vaccine?” Of course, the question in present time refers to the swine flu (H1N1) vaccine. The CDC is recommending five target groups of individuals to be vaccinated including: pregnant women, persons who live with or provide care for infants aged <6 months—24 years, children and young adults aged 6 months to 24 years, persons aged 25-64 years who have medical conditions that put them at higher risk for influenza related complications, as well as health care personnel. Most people that have become ill with this strain of influenza have been between the ages of 5-24. The vaccine is expected to be released by mid-October.
The regular flu vaccine is not very effective at preventing the flu for those most vulnerable to flu-related complications—the elderly. In fact, the higher rate of immunization against the flu has never resulted in a decline of mortality from the flu. What about children under 2 years old? There is absolutely no evidence that the flu vaccine gives this age group any protection against the flu. In fact, the flu vaccine has never been shown to prevent either hospitalizations or death from the flu.
The regular seasonal flu vaccine, like other vaccines, contains contaminants such as mercury which can damage the neurological tissue including the brain. Although mercury has been removed from some vaccines, it has not been removed from the seasonal flu vaccine. I have seen patients who were in good health one day, received a flu vaccine and found their health in a decline. I say, it is not worth it, especially for the swine flu. The present-day swine flu has been shown to cause a mild strain of flu.
This new swine flu vaccine also contains an adjuvant known as squalene. Squalene has been shown to cause autoimmune disorders in animals that are injected with it. In humans, it has also been shown to be associated with an increased rate of autoimmune disorders. There has been little research on injecting squalene in humans. Squalene-containing immunizations were given to Gulf War soldiers in the first Gulf War. There were reports of many soldiers suffering from neurological disorders such as ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).
Furthermore, this swine flu vaccine has been fast-tracked by Big Pharma and the U.S. government. There are no safety studies being properly performed. The safety studies will be performed after-the-fact—after the population has been vaccinated. In other words, those that are injected will be guinea pigs for this vaccine.
I say there is no reason to receive the flu shot. Prevention is best achieved by eating better, maintaining proper hygiene, and taking correct nutrients. Vitamins A, C and D as well as iodine are incredibly helpful substances to prevent one’s risk of becoming ill from the flu. And, if you become ill from the flu, increasing your doses of these nutrients has been very effective. Also, my clinical experience has shown that Lauricidin, (containing the fatty acid monolauren) a great antiviral product. I suggest taking 1 scoop twice per day from fall until spring. This product is available at my office—
Finally, it is best to do your research and make an educated decision about whether the flu vaccine is the right thing to do for you and your family.
I believe that once you do your own research, you are bound to come to the same conclusions about the flu vaccine that I have reached.
More information about the swine flu vaccine will be published in my October newsletter (Dr. Brownstein’s Natural Way to Health). This newsletter can be obtained from

Thursday, September 17, 2009

ADHD Medications: Over-Prescribed

Can you believe it? How could 1 in 25 U.S. children be on a potent psychiatric medication? The U.S. presently leads the world in diagnosing and treating ADHD. We fill approximately 83% of the world’s prescriptions for ADHD (2007 Reuters.

This report (cited above) is very disappointing. There is no objective test for ADHD. It is a compilation of symptoms that are viewed as abnormal including distractibility, hyperactivity, impulsiveness and other symptoms. How could we go from no children being treated with these medications when I was a child to 1 in 25 U.S. children currently being treated? Either we have some new major health crises that was not present in previous generations or there is a problem with over-diagnosing and over-treating unacceptable behaviors.

What are the long-term effects of treating all these millions of children with potent psychiatric drugs? No one knows since long-term studies have never been done on these medications.

Some years back, a close relative of mine, Conner, was told to go on a stimulant medication by the counselor at his school. The school called a meeting with the parents and told them they wanted to place Conner on Ritalin. The parents asked the counselor why she recommended it and the counselor claimed Conner needed medication in order to make him more attentive. When the parent asked the counselor if she did a psychological and neurological exam on Conner, she (of course) said “no”. I sent Conner to a psychologist who performed an exhaustive examination. The conclusion of the psychologist was that Conner did not need medication, he just needed to be challenged. The psychologist said he was bored at school. The parents chose another route and did not medicate him. I think they made the right decision.

This case is repeated over and over in schools all over the country. Stimulant medications should be the last resort for our children--not the first thing given when there are problems. I think the report on the wide spread medical ‘drugging’ of our children is a travesty. There is a lot of blame to go around for this; doctors who prescribe too many medications without performing a thorough workup as well as parents who look for the easy fix.

I advise you to not medicate your children without seeking a full evaluation and carefully considering all the options available. Perhaps many of these children have nutritional and/or hormonal imbalances that need attention. All children diagnosed with ADHD should have a complete nutritional, hormonal, and toxicity evaluation before instituting drug therapies.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Desiccated Thyroid Hormone Mess

I know I have been late to comment on the desiccated thyroid availability, but, I have been closely following the situation and trying to sort through the mess. Here is how I see it.
Natural, desiccated thyroid hormone (NDT) comes in different brands such as Armour thyroid, Naturethroid, and Westhroid.

The problem began nearly a year ago, when the supplier of raw thyroid changed their manufacturing process. This caused both major manufacturers of desiccated thyroid, Forest (Armour thyroid) and RLC Labs (Naturethroid and Westhroid) to have problems with their manufacturing process. This started the first wave of desiccated thyroid shortages. After this problem was rectified, Forest decided to alter the formula for Armour thyroid. This alteration caused a lot of patient problems as the drug was not having the same beneficial effect it was previously having. I had many patients report a sudden decrease in effectiveness with the ‘new’ form of Armour thyroid.

The next problem began when Forest Pharmaceutical, the maker of Armour thyroid, recalled a large portion of their thyroid doses due to stability concerns and back-ordered all of their strengths. Forest currently is the largest manufacturer of NDT. This created an immediate nationwide shortage of NDT.

When I asked if they can supply enough thyroid to make up for the shortage of NDT, RLC responded that they were not prepared to meet all of the current demands for NDT product, however, they are diligently working to fill it.

As for Forest pharmaceutical, I am not sure what to say. Why a company that manufactures a product for over 80 years and suddenly changes the formulation is beyond me. It is unclear when or if Forest will begin producing Armour thyroid.

So, where does that leave doctors prescribing and patients using desiccated thyroid? I say, don’t panic yet. First of all, panic serves no purpose. Secondly, RLC Labs is still producing NDT and will continue to produce NDT. I do not believe that NDT will be totally unavailable in the future.

Right now, I suggest those patients who currently use Armour thyroid to try RLC labs’ Naturethroid or Westhroid. I have successfully used these products for years. In fact, with the recent formulation change of Armour, I have been successfully changing many of my patients to Naturethroid. I have personally found Naturethroid a very good product for my own thyroid condition. If Naturethroid or Westhroid are not available, a compounding pharmacist can temporarily fill your desiccated thyroid hormone needs.

Finally, ensure that you have adequate iodine intake. I have found much fewer problems switching between thyroid medications when iodine levels are maintained at optimal levels.

One final note. I have been in close contact with RLC Labs for a number of years. I believe this company to be fully supportive of supplying a sound medication to help thyroid patients. It is my personal opinion that RLC labs will stand with all of us, doctors and patients alike, in a time of crisis. This is the type of company I am proud to endorse.