The Arrow #130

Hello friends.

Greetings from Montecito.

I have a ton of family in town visiting, so this issue may be a bit abbreviated. I kept telling those coming to prepare for crappy weather. Cold, clammy, overcast. It has been bright and sunny the entirety of their visit. Who knew? Anyway, I’m thankful to be able to see the sun.

I’m going to start this issue with a rant. I want to do so for a couple of reasons. First, I need to get settled down by venting my spleen. Second, I have a hope (probably misplaced) that someone reading from the UK may have a contact who may be able to help me.

Those of us who live in the United States complain about all kinds of businesses here, but let me tell you, compared to European companies, especially those in the UK, American companies are the epitome of helpful simplicity.

Lloyds Banking Group

Here’s what happened.

Back in 2009 or 2010 the idiot who managed our sous vide company at the time told me that we needed to have a European entity, because many Europeans would refuse to do business with American companies. (Whether that is true or isn’t I don’t really know.) So I went ahead and formed a Ltd entity in the UK. And the idiot said we needed a UK bank and for the same reason. So, fool that I was, I opened a UK bank account at Lloyds. Big, big, big, big, big, big…infinity times big mistake.

I do not know how Lloyds stays in business. Unless folks in the UK get treated like I’ve been treated and think that’s just standard for dealing with banks. I’ve had so many bad experiences that just the thought of having to actually call and interact with someone there makes me ill. I’m not kidding. I get ill. Or at the very least, a veil of dread falls over me.

It fair takes one’s breath away to realize just how completely and abysmally incompetent is a hallowed institution that has been around forever.

To get on our Lloyds account, we have to log in to the commercial banking site, which requires a login and password. So far that’s the same thing we have to do with our US bank accounts, which gives us full access to our account, providing us with the ability to transfer funds, make payments, see the current status of the account, and all the other things needed to run a business. Periodically, our US bank asks us to change our password.

In the Lloyds account, once we’ve logged in using our username and password, the site provides us with a multi-digit number query and a space to answer. We insert our coded card, which looks like a credit card, into our special little card reader, which turns the thing on. We then enter the number that was presented on the website into the reader. The card reader then creates another number, which we then type into the Lloyds website. If our number matches whatever the guts of the site requires, we’re in and can do whatever we need with the account, just like we can with our US bank account. It’s less cumbersome than it sounds, especially once you get the hang of it.

The card Lloyds sends us expires on a given date, just like a credit card does. And, ultimately, the card reader runs out of juice.

We just had the bad luck to have the card reader bite the dust right after we got our latest new card. So we were unable to use the new card. I had our executive assistant get in touch with Lloyds to get another card reader. You would think that would be a simple request.

But not with Lloyds.

I mean think about it. If we were scammers and had somehow stolen or otherwise gotten our hands on the actual card to go in the card reader, it wouldn’t do us any good without the login credentials. We wouldn’t be able to access the account to even be able to use the card-card reader set up.

Just knowing I was going to have to deal with Lloyds kept me from sleeping well the night before last. I get up early in the morning, so I can call them during the small window occasioned by the time difference between Pacific US and UK. I already know it’s going to be a major hassle, just because it always is.

This time was no exception.

The last time I called them, which was a few years ago, I was dumb enough to do it with my cell phone. With all the time on hold and multiple calls to get something simple squared away, it cost me ~$700 in international phone charges. Which was on me. Based on brutal past experience I should have known.

This time I used Skype, which comes through my computer and doesn’t have the same clarity that the phone does. And the folks who man the phones at Lloyds have all kinds of regional and international accents besides just the typical Brit accent, so it requires careful listening.

I call. I get a very nice woman (they’re actually always very nice) who asks me a million questions to verify I’m who I say I am. Once we get through that, I tell her I simply need a new card reader. She asks me to verify all these secret codes to make even more sure I’m who I say I am. There are two secret codes they use. They ask you to create a secret seven letter word or phrase and they give you a six-digit telephony number. Then they ask you to give them three digits of the secret word or the telephony number. Of the word, they ask for, say, letters 1, 4 and 6 in your secret word. Or they ask for some of the digits in your telephony number.

She asks me for the digits in the telephony number. I, of course, had them written down, so I repeated them back. She says that’s incorrect; try again. I tell her it’s the only one I’ve ever had, and it has always worked before. She asks me for the last five digits on the card to be used in the dead card reader. I tell her. She says, that’s right. Then she tells me she’ll send me to the, as I discovered, misnamed Client Services Team. That they’ll fix me up, and send me back to her, and she can approve sending me the card reader.

I get to the Client Services Team and go through the paces only to get cut off. I call back to be put through all the paces again by some other phone answerer. Then finally back to the Client Services Team, where the guy tells me he’ll need my telephony number digits 1, 3, and 4. I give them to him. He says it is incorrect. He says let’s try it again. I give him the same numbers. Which, unsurprisingly, are still incorrect. He then asks a third time. Same thing. Then he says, Okay, three times incorrect, and your telephony number is locked. I say, Ooookay, what do we do now? He says I’ll send you an email telling you how to unlock it.

I have a bunch of email accounts, so I ask which one are you sending it to. He doesn’t tell me. He just says, the one on your account.

So, I keep waiting and checking, and, sure enough, I get an email from Lloyds to an old email account I used to sign up with them years ago. I never use this account, but, thank God, I still keep it active.

The email doesn’t tell me squat other than that my telephony number has been locked. Tells me to go to the website to figure out what to do. And gives me the link to the website. Which, when I go to it, tells me absolutely nothing about what to do about a locked telephony number. So I go to the search window and ask the question. I get an answer telling me to go to a certain link.

When I go there, the link tells me to ask another administrator of the site to fix it for me. Since I am the sole administrator on the site (it was a monstrous pain in the ass to try to add someone, so I didn’t—big mistake), there is no other administrator to fix it. It then says, If you’re the sole administrator, call the help desk (also inaptly named), and provided me with the same exact f%#*ing number I had just called.

By this time, they are closed. So I can’t call back until the next day. So I had done the equivalent of moving a stack of bricks from one side of my backyard to the other. Then turning around and moving them back and re-stacking them where they were in the first place. A lot of effort was expended, but nothing was accomplished.

In case you’re wondering, I did ask them to just send the card reader to the address of record, the one they use to send the statement every month. I asked both of the people I talked to if they could do this, and they both had the exact verbatim answer: “I’m afraid not. Not until we can verify your identity.”

[Beats head against wall over the sheer, breathtaking stupidity…]

So, next morning, I brace my loins for battle and call again. I have to go through all the same rigamarole once more. Then the woman tells me she will have to send me to the Client Services Team to help get my telephony number restored and, ultimately, get my card reader sent.

She transfers me to the Client Services Team. The man who takes the call informs me that my telephony number is locked. As if I didn’t know that. He then asks me a series of questions about the account, all of which I answer correctly. He even tells me there was a deposit into our account for a specific amount of money on June 22, and asks me who made the deposit. Fortunately, one of the folks who works for us had just told me a vendor had informed us of a small deposit in this amount having been made, so I guessed correctly. The guy says, that is correct.

I was glad I got it right, but what impressed me the most was the absolute breathtaking stupidity of the guy I was talking to. Either that, or he was just brain dead. We haven’t had a card reader for almost a month. And without the card reader, we can’t get into the account. So how in the world am I possibly going to be able to tell this dipshit who made a deposit for £14.16 on June 22, which was less than a week ago? We haven’t received that statement in the mail as it is still June. The only way I could access that information would be by going on the Lloyds website, which I can’t do without the card reader. Yet he asked the question. As I said, I lucked out. We had just switched to Shopify, and one of our folks noticed a few days ago that Shopify had reported making a ~£14 deposit.

Even though I answered all the questions, the guy would not send me the card reader. He said there was no address of record for him to send it to. I said, Send the damn thing to the same address you send the statements every month. And sent the card itself! Well, sir, he says, we don’t have that address. I said, I get a f@#king statement every month. How can you not have the address?

He said, I’m looking at your file, sir, and we don’t have an address. Okay, says I, I’ll give you our address.

He says, No, I’m afraid we can’t do it that way. You’ll have to fill out a change of address form. But I don’t want to change our address, I want to keep the same address you send the statements to. The same address you sent the card to.

We don’t have that address, sir. Just fill out a change of address form, and we’ll dispatch the card reader.

Are you feeling my frustration? This is like something out of a Monty Python skit. Only not so funny when you’re the one in it.

So, having been beaten down, I ask him where I can get the change of address form. He tells me he will email it to me. He asks me what my email address is, so, not wanting to rock the boat, I give him my old email address. The one Lloyds used the day before to send me the notice about my telephony number being locked.

He says, that’s not the email address I have sir. He says, the email address I have ends in I tell him, yes, that one will work. Send away, but I’m not going to let you off the phone till I get it. We wait for about five minutes and no email has come through. I say, Let’s check the spelling. Sure enough, he has substituted a W for an E. He finally gets it right as I go through the whole thing with him letter by letter. He stays on the phone, and the email comes through.

I tell him I’ve got the email, then I ask him for the email address to send it back once I had it filled out. I’m sorry, sir, he says, but you’ll have to send it by post. Are you shitting me? I ask. No, sir, he says. I ask if there is an address on the email for me to send it back to. He tells me there is, so we hang up.

And I open the email.

It is a long email with links to about 30 different forms. All the forms Lloyds has available, in fact. I go through them and find the one for Change of Address and pull down the pdf. Then I look for the place to send it, and there are about 15 different addresses.

You can probably fairly accurately assess my state of mind at this point.

I take a few deep breaths and call the number again. A nice lady answers. And, BTW, as I say these people are the very model of politeness—all of them. They are just incompetent. Nice as can be, but total non-thinkers. Not remotely helpful.

Anyway, I tell her my predicament and ask her which address I need to use. She tells me she will have to put me on hold for just two minutes. (That’s what they say every time. Just two minutes.) I wait. She comes back on and tells me that I can send the completed form in via email.

I say, What?!?! The guy I spoke with on Client Services Team said it was imperative that I send it via post. She tells me, No, I just checked, and you can email it. She gives me the address.

I tell her I want to cover all the bases, so I’ll both email it AND send it by post. I ask her for the correct address to send it to. I’ll just put you on hold for two minutes, she says, and is gone. She comes back on and tells me to send it to

Text within this block will maintain its original spacing when publishedBank of ScotlandBusiness BankingBX1 1LT

I say, Uh, usually there is a city and a country. If I send it to the exact address you gave me, will it get there? Shouldn’t there be a city? Edinburgh, maybe? Or London?

That’s the address they gave me, sir. It should work fine.

I get off the phone and look it up, because by now I can’t believe anything these people tell me. Sure enough, the BX1 1LT is a nongeographic postcode in the United Kingdom, which means it doesn’t have a fixed area that it covers. Lloyds TSB uses this particular postcode, as it allows the company some flexibility when it comes to receiving mail.

So, she was correct, which gave me some confidence in her telling me to email the form. Which I did, but I also put it in the post as well.

I’ll keep you posted on whether or not I ever get the card reader.

I’ve banged on about this to my entire family. [The bride lived through it first hand.] So now you get a dose of it, too. Thanks for reading. It helps calm me to write it down and strike some kind of public blow against this idiotic institution. The whole outfit is as mad as a box of snakes.

Speaking of snakes…


I’ve read three articles in the past week about people being bitten by poisonous snakes. It’s that time of year, so I thought I might dust off an old segment from Arrow #15. Many of you weren’t around when #15 was published, so you might find this of interest.

The segment was about the curse of knowledge, and how it ended up with my terrorizing a poor man who had been snakebitten.

All of us have experienced the curse of knowledge one way or another. We’ve all been on both ends of it. When you know something really well, it’s difficult to explain it to someone else. It seems so simple to you that you leave out steps or fail to describe the process properly. If it’s second nature to you, you sometimes think others are idiots for not being able to immediately grasp something it might have taken you quite a while to learn but that you now know inside and out.

You don’t even have to explain sometimes to victimize someone with the curse of knowledge. For example, withholding information you know from someone who doesn’t know it can sometimes cause a lot of anxiety.

I’ll give you an instance of this that makes me feel terrible to this day.

I was working as the only physician at a busy emergency room in Little Rock, Arkansas. Patients were stacked up in every exam room and the waiting room was full, so as soon as I could get one out, in came another. Which is pretty typical for busy ERs.

The only way such an ER can work efficiently is to have a triage system in place, usually directed by a smart head nurse. He/she (in this case it was a she) has to understand what needs immediate attention and what can wait. Probably 90-95 percent of patients coming into an emergency room don't have what would be considered an 'emergency' issue. They are people coming in with sore throats, migraine headaches, bad coughs, urinary tract infections, sprains, strains, minor cuts, etc. None of these is life threatening, but they bring people to the emergency room because the problem is urgent and they can't get in to see their regular doctor.

On this busy day as I was running from room to room, the triage nurse was keeping me informed of who was coming in and what their status was. She stuck the normal run of the mill patients in rooms, but would let me know if there was anything serious, needing my immediate attention.

She got me out of a room to tell me a patient had just come in with a venomous snakebite on his hand. She said he was going to pieces. I asked her if she had seen the bite. She said she had and described it as a couple of puncture wounds on the back of the patients hand. I asked if he was in pain. She said not really. I asked if the area was swollen and discolored. Negative again. I told her to tell the guy I would be there when I could but there were patients with serious conditions I had to see first.

Arkansas plays host to all four of the venomous snakes in the country, so snakebites are not an uncommon occurrence. I had dealt with a number of them in my career at that point. One of the things many, probably most, people don't know is that anywhere from 25-50 percent of poisonous snakebites are what are called dry bites, which means there is no venom injected. 

Snakes are protective of their venom and often bite defensively, saving their venom for actual prey. Not always, but often. A big snake has a brain about the size of a jelly bean, and there is not a lot of capacity for cogitation, so sometimes they inject even in a defensive strike.

A dry snakebite doesn't really require any care other than a tetanus shot (if out of date) and perhaps an antibiotic because, as you might imagine, snakes have nasty mouths. You can Google “snakebite” and see all the graphic photos you can stand of what bitten parts look like when venom is injected. It's not pretty, and it happens fast. Within minutes. If the patient has gotten to the ER or doctor's office without pain and swelling, you can be sure the snakebite was a dry one.

I was in possession of this information, but my patient wasn't. So the curse of knowledge loomed large.

I continued on, seeing the true emergency patients first and the non-emergency patients in the order in which they came in. After about 45 minutes (a short time in any emergency room), my nurse knocked on the door of the room I was in and said, "Dr. Eades, you've got to come see this guy with the snakebite. He's going to have a heart attack otherwise. He's going absolutely nuts." I told her I would see him next.

When I got into the room, there is this tall, rangy, guy with a wispy beard and sweat all over him. He was terrified. The nurse was right. He was coming unglued. Once he told me what happened, I could see why.

He had walked out on the front porch of his house (he lived way out in the country), took a cigarette out to light it and accidentally dropped his pack of cigs in the bushes by the porch. When he reached down to retrieve them, a snake struck his hand. He jumped up with the snake still attached to his hand by its fangs. He banged it against one of the posts holding up the roof of the porch to get it off. Then he leapt in his truck and sped to the ER. It was obviously a harrowing experience for him, as it would have been for anyone.

But what really capped it off was when he told me his own brother had died from a snakebite.

I had known from the nurse's description of his wound that he had a dry bite and was in no danger. But, unlike me, he didn't know this information, and given the history of his brother and the horror he must have felt yanking his hand up with snake attached, I felt absolutely terrible for having made him wait.

I knew it was nothing. He didn't. And he was absolutely terror stricken.

I ended up spending a fair amount of time with him simply calming him down, telling him he wasn't going to die, and that he hadn't been envenomated. But it was a hard sales job as he was so understandably agitated.

[As an aside, MD incorporated this snakebite incident, fictionalized of course, into the beginning of her second novel in the Caddo Bend series, Eye of the Storm. You can check it out here. It’s even on sale in Kindle now.]

The lesson you can take away from this is that if you ever get bitten by a poisonous snake and you don't have immediate severe pain and swelling, you lucked into a dry bite. I was reminded of this whole episode with this poor guy when I saw the video below a few days ago.

In it, a young woman of high school age (a cheerleader, I think) goes out to work out. As she slips off her right shoe and steps down on the tarp, you can see a small copperhead quickly strike the top of her foot and vanish back under the tarp. It happens at about the 4 second mark of the video. (MD says to add that if, like her, you are deeply and profoundly snake phobic, give it a pass.) MD doesn't say...MD added it on her own when she edited the newsletter. The snake is barely visible. You won't freak.

As you can see, she didn't really notice the bite itself, but the onset of pain was almost immediate. She tried to walk it off, but to no avail. She finally bolts for the house and ultimately the ER. When she got there, I can guarantee you she was in a bad way, and no one would have mistaken what happened to her.

You should always be aware of the curse of knowledge whenever you're dealing with people who don't have your level of experience. And if, by chance, you ever get bitten by a poisonous snake, if you don’t experience immediate pain, you lucked out and got a dry bite. If you do experience immediate symptoms get to the nearest ER and please don’t cut or suck!

Orlistat and Weight-Loss Maintenance

I got the following question and request from a reader.

So, did Orlistat work as a weight loss maintenance drug?

In your forthcoming book, please include a detailed chapter on how to maintain weight loss, or a plateau in the midst of weight loss. I’m sure I’m not alone in finding maintenance the tricky part. Especially when trying to resume eating real food three times a day.

We don’t know how it worked for the subjects in our study group. The study was double-blinded (sort of, more about which later), and the people at Hoffman LaRoche (the study funder) broke the codes and combined our data with that of the rest of the multiple centers doing the same study. Hoffman LaRoche brought MD and me to the final meeting with all the other study centers to discuss the results. As it turned out, orlistat did indeed help with maintenance.

But, and this is a big but…

I don’t think it worked because it prevented the absorption of fat. Orlistat acts by inhibiting enzymes that break down fat coming through the GI tract. The fat ends up leaving with the stool instead of being absorbed. So, the drug makes those who take it lose calories in the stool.

Problem with all this is that, unlike the small intestine, the colon isn’t designed to deal with a lot of fat moving through it. Typically, most of the fat is absorbed in the small bowel, so not much gets to the colon. With orlistat, a lot gets to the colon.

All the major side effects of the drug result from too much fat hitting the colon. The three major side effects are:

  1. oily spotting

  2. fecal incontinence

  3. flatus with discharge

One of our many subjects who experienced these symptoms told us the resulting discharge looked like what she called “radioactive pizza grease.”

Those people on orlistat soon learned a) that they had been randomized to the orlistat group, and b) that if they ate more than a little fat, they would experience one or more of the side effects listed above. In essence, orlistat was like Antabuse for fat.

Since the side effects listed above are not particularly pleasant, the subjects on orlistat soon learned to keep their fat intake to a minimum. Since most processed foods contain both fat and carbs, the fat content kept the orlistat subjects away. And they were able to maintain enough of their lost weight to reach statistical significance (a wee p), so Hoffman LaRoche got it through the FDA.

Let’s talk about maintenance in general. Not orlistat maintenance, but the ability to remain at a lower weight once a bunch of weight has been lost. If you’re interested, we wrote an entire book about weight maintenance and plateaus in 2008 called Staying Power: Maintaining Your Low Carb Weight Loss for Good. Here’s a bit of what’s in there, plus some new info on these new injectables.As I’m sure everyone knows, 90-95 percent of people regain their lost weight, making the long-term prognosis for the treatment of obesity about the same as cancer.

It’s relatively easy to lose weight. It’s vastly more difficult to keep the weight from piling back on. If the studies are to be believed (and my experience with a whole lot of patients) all these folks who have forked over $1,300 (or whatever it is) per month for Wegovy, Ozempic, or Mounjaro will find all their weight coming back quickly once they go off the drugs. They will find themselves back to where they started with even less lean body mass than they started with and many thousands of dollars poorer.

And because they have less lean body mass, their actual percent body fat will be higher. So they will be more metabolically dysfunctional. Trust me, it will happen. Then it will be off to the next new thing. Due to the success of the drugs mentioned above, Big Pharma is hard at work cranking out new ones.

Over the years, I’ve taken thousands of dietary histories of overweight people. MD and I had a diet history sheet we asked all of our new patients to fill out. Many of them had gone through multiple programs and been successful on them all. It was not uncommon to see a patient who had lost 60 pounds on Nutrisystem, then a couple of years later, lost 60 pounds on Optifast, then a few years later lost 60 pounds on Jenny Craig.

I was always amazed to see this. I knew that if I had, say, a tricky legal problem, and had found a good lawyer who fixed it for me, I would go back to that same lawyer if I ended up with the same problem. All these patients had been successful on other programs. Why didn’t they go back to the same program again? They knew it worked. They had themselves been the proof.

So I started asking the question. “You lost 60 pounds on Jenny Craig,” I would say, “so why didn’t you go back there?”

I always got the same answer almost verbatim. “Because it didn’t work. I gained all my weight back.”

I realized that people—at least the people who populated our large practice—had the idea that if they lost whatever weight they needed to lose, then they could simply declare their diet over and go back to their old way of eating. The way that had packed the pounds on to begin with.

Unfortunately, that is not the way it works.

If you have extremely high blood pressure (that doesn’t respond to diet) and I put you on a blood pressure medicine that brings your pressure down, you wouldn’t say, Well, my blood pressure is now normal, so I can go off this expensive medicine. If you did go off the medication, you wouldn’t be surprised if your blood pressure skyrocketed.

It is the same with diet.

If you are overweight, especially if you have some of the symptoms of metabolic syndrome as well, you are probably carbohydrate intolerant. If you are carbohydrate intolerant, you should lose weight nicely on a low-carb diet. Usually, the lower the carbs the better. A ketogenic diet is great.

Removal of the carbs is like taking the blood pressure medicine. It does the job to rid you of excess fat. But the underlying problem is still there. You are carb intolerant. And there is just no way around it.

If you go back to eating carbs, you’ll gain your lost weight back.

It sounds draconian, but you pretty much need to avoid the carbs most of the time.

You’ve really got just two choices. You can decide to avoid most of the carbs most of the time. Or you can say, Screw it, I love carbs, and I’m not going to deny myself. I’ll just live with being overweight.

There is actually a third choice, but most people won’t opt for it. It’s pretty well known that exercise—as most people think of it—doesn’t do squat to help you lose weight or maintain your weight loss. It’s just a throw away phrase that falls from the lips of many people who should know better. Just eat less and move more.

You’re not going to maintain your weight loss by walking a time or two around the block. You’re not going to do it with gardening or any other similar activities. MD and I had our patients fill out diet diaries while we worked with them, and on the sheets we handed out, there was a place to list how much and what kind of exercise had been pursued that week. We had one patient whose weekly exercise regimen was “mingling at work.” That won’t help you keep it off, either.

You can help lose excess fat and keep it off with high intensity interval training (HIIT), but most folks don’t want to do that because it is not particularly fun to do. It’s vastly less fun than mingling at work, in fact.

Based on our many years of practice, we’ve found that the longer people can keep the weight off, the easier it is to keep off in the future. I’m not particularly a believer in the set point theory, but I do think something happens—probably an increase in metabolic flexibility—that allows people to more easily remain at their lower weight. The longer they do it, the easier it becomes.

Staying on a maintenance diet does not mean denying yourself everything all the time. It just means denying yourself a lot of metabolically toxic stuff (to those with metabolic syndrome at any rate) most of the time. Some people feel so good on their low-carb diets at their new, lower weight, that they happily stay on their diet. Especially those with diabetes as well as overweight. They are particularly motivated to stay on track.

After talking to a lot of patients who have been successful maintaining their lower weight, I discovered many of them step on their scales daily. If they go out and have a carb-blowout weekend, they see what happens when they step on the scales Monday. They then hew to the straight and narrow for a few days to get back to their lower weigh, then add a few more carbs in. They never let themselves gain more than five or six pounds before cutting the carbs till they’ve lost the excess weight.

Other than ensuring a good intake of protein, there is no magic formula for maintenance. It just takes the ability to lay out a course of action and follow it.

For what it’s worth, I would not make orlistat (now sold as Ally) part of my maintenance regimen.

Covid Vaccines and Serious Adverse Events

The subtitle of this section should be A lot more than you would think.

One of the very best reporters on the medical, dietary and Big Pharma scene is my friend Dr. Maryanne Demasi. She just released a report on the rate of serious adverse events (SAE) due to the Pfizer mRNA Covid vaccine.

She starts out by showing a number of media reports claiming that SAE are rare with the Covid vaccines. Then asks the question what does “rare” mean, and are SEA really rare?

The best evidence so far, has been a study published in one of vaccinology’s most prestigious journals, where independent researchers reanalysed the original trial data for the mRNA vaccines.

The authors, Fraiman et al, found that serious adverse events (SAEs) - i.e. adverse events that require hospitalisation - were elevated in the vaccine arm by an alarming rate – 1 additional SAE for every 556 people vaccinated with Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine.

According to a scale used by drug regulators, SAEs occurring at a rate of 1 in 556 is categorised as “uncommon,” but far more common than what the public has been told. [Links and bold in the original]

The definition of the serious adverse events in the paper linked above are those vaccination-related events requiring hospitalization.

Just for grins, I looked up the number of Americans who were vaccinated for Covid. According to NPR’s vaccine tracker there are more than 224M Americans who have been fully vaccinated.

Dividing that number by 556 shows that 402,878 people have been hospitalized as a result of having been vaccinated. Any way you want to count it, that is a lot of people having serious reactions.

It’s no wonder we’re seeing reports of people passing out and others falling over dead. If a celebrity and pro athlete were to inexplicably drop dead four years ago, it would have been all over the news. People magazine and others of its ilk would have had feature articles. The reporting would have gone on for a week. Now, it’s just an everyday event. It’s so common, it’s got a name: Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS).

When Dr. Demasi saw the stats in this paper, she decided to call representatives from all the various alphabet of agencies that should be overseeing, or at the very least be aware of, SAEs and ask if they knew the statistics.

Not a single one did.

You should read her piece. It’s short but damning.

All I can say is that I’m glad I’m fully unvaccinated. And so are all the members of my immediate family.

Just as MD was vetting this issue, I was roaming the web and came across this interview with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. He emphasizes everything I’ve been writing in the space on vaccines over the last few weeks. Incredible interview.

Because of the continuing imbroglio between Twitter and Substack, I can’t embed it, so you must click the link. Shows how absolutely brainwashed the medical profession (and lot of other people, including the death’s head interviewer) are about vaccines. Talk about a halo effect. An absolute must watch!

Mercola, Randle, and Wolfe

A couple of weeks ago a reader sent me a pdf file of an article from Dr. Mercola. I found the podcast from which the article is a transcript, but it is behind a paywall. Anyway, I’ll quote from the pdf I have.

Okay, so where does this “fact checked” info come from?

It comes from an interview Dr. Mercola did with someone named Georgi Dinkov, who Dr. Mercola considers “a virtual firehose of information.” Sometimes firehoses of information can be voluminous, but false. Just about everything in this piece is incorrect, at least in my view.

The first part is about cortisol, which in my opinion is inaccurate enough, but it’s the next part that really gets me. Here is the intro:

In reference to the above, he writes:

Low-carb diets have helped at least tens of millions of people improve their health for a very good reason, and that is there is a stealth switch that controls what fuel your mitochondria can burn, as they can only burn one fuel at a time: either fat or glucose. [My bold]

Here is a graphic of the glycolysis pathway.

As you can see, glucose going through glycolysis ends up as two molecules of pyruvate. You can see at the top of the reaction that glucose requires the energy of two ATPs to get it through the first few steps of the process. After that, it throws off four ATP as it moves along into the two molecules of pyruvate, which gives it a net production of 2 ATP.

If there is no oxygen available i.e., under anaerobic conditions, the glucose produces only 2 ATP. Which isn’t a lot. And which is why you run out of steam fairly quickly if you are operating anaerobically.

But if there is oxygen present, the pyruvate runs through the mitochondria and results in the 36 to 38 ATP in Mercola’s graphic above.

That’s why the statement above—that the mitochondria can burn only one fuel at a time—is incorrect. If there is oxygen available, and usually there is, the mitochondria can burn whatever fuel it is fed. But even that is a misnomer. The mitochondria don’t actually burn glucose or fats or protein.

Say what?!?!

If you look at the diagram of glycolysis above, you can see the NADH being released. These are carrier molecules that transport high-energy electrons, released from the glucose bonds that are torn apart during glycolysis. The same thing happens when fats and proteins are metabolized. The high-energy electrons released are transported to the mitochondria where they flow through the electron-transport chain and provide the energy to create the chemiosmotic gradient that powers the formation of ATP.

The mitochondria don’t care where these high-energy electrons come from. In fact, they are the same whether they come from glucose, fat, or protein. It just that a lot more come from fat, which is why fat contains over twice the calories of glucose.

Okay, back to the “stealth switch” mentioned in the paragraph quoted above. Here is what the article has to say about that:

The switch has been given the name the Randle Cycle, but it is more helpful to visualize it as a railroad switch that changes the tracks of the train, and the train can only travel down one track, not both. This is because only one type of fuel can be burned at a time.

Again total nonsense. It is the high-energy electrons that fuel the mitochondria to produce ATP, not specific fuels—fat or glucose.

Okay, so what’s the Randle cycle?

Back in the 1960s a British researcher named Philip Randle came up with the notion that there was a glucose-fatty acid cycle. He published a paper on it in 1963 titled “The Glucose Fatty-Acid Cycle.” Since Randle was the lead author on the paper, people have called the cycle he proposed the Randle cycle.

It kind of gets in the weeds to explain exactly how it works biochemically, especially since it has been disproven. So, I’m not going to go there or many eyes would glaze over.

In broad strokes, Randle hypothesized that an increase in dietary fat intake would inhibit the burning of glucose. Since the glucose couldn’t burn in the presence of a lot of fat, fat intake would run blood glucose levels up. The whole idea was embraced by the powers that be in diabetics. They started recommending people not eat fat in an effort to keep their blood sugar from elevating. As long as fat was kept low, according to the Randle cycle, those with diabetes would burn blood sugar and keep its levels in check.

In the late 1990s, Robert Wolfe, who at the time was at the University of Texas, did some experiments showing the Randle cycle was more or less bogus and, in fact, ran the opposite way, if anything, than how Randle had presented it. I saw Wolfe, who is now at my alma mater, The University of Arkansas, present his data at a meeting. Here is the paper he wrote about it titled “Glucose and insulin-induced inhibition of fatty acid oxidation: the glucose-fatty acid cycle reversed” if you care to delve into it.

The first paragraph of the Introduction describes how Randle describes the cycle that bears his name:

The “Glucose-Fatty Acid Cycle” was first introduced by Randle et al. in 1963. The cornerstone of this hypothesis is that an increase in fatty acid oxidation increases the mitochondrial ratio of acetyl-CoA to CoA (acetyl-CoAlCoA), which suppresses pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) directly, and phosphofructo 1-kinase and hexokinase activities indirectly via citrate and glucose 6-phosphate (G-6-P) accumulation, respectively. The result is inhibition of glycolysis and glucose transport, leading to an increase in blood glucose concentration. The hypothesis has recently been extended to include the mechanisms involved in the regulation of PDH (reversible phosphorylation) and phosphofructo 1-kinase (fructose 2,6-bisphosphate). According to this traditional view of the glucose-fatty acid cycle, the balance between glucose and fat oxidation is determined by the intracellular availability of fatty acids.

A quick read through of the above shows why I chose not to go into detail, but to use the broad brush approach instead.

In their paper, also highly technical, Wolfe and his co-author describe the experiment they did to validate or invalidate the Randle cycle.

…the results of the current experiment, coupled with the results of our previous experiment in which we showed that an increase in fatty acid concentration did not affect glucose oxidation when glucose was maintained constant, lead to the conclusion that the traditional glucose-fatty acid cycle theory is not applicable to the situation in human subjects. [Randle did his work with rodents] Rather, the intracellular availability of glucose, not fatty acids, is the prime determinant of the substrate mix (i.e., glucose vs. fat) that is oxidized for energy.

By the time I saw Wolfe’s presentation, I had been treating patients with low-carb diets for about ten years. I knew the Randle cycle did not correlate with what I had been seeing in my practice, but I didn’t know why. My patients were eating a lot of fat, and their blood sugar levels decreased, not increased. It was nice to see Wolfe’s presentation explaining what I was seeing in the clinic.

After reading the above, take a look at some more of the Mercola piece. You’ll realize how he has missed the mark.

For this to occur [getting the most ATP from the diet], as indicated in the figure above, you will need to consume less than 30% of your calories as fat. When you consume significantly more than that amount, the switch changes to burn fat in your mitochondria and you will not be able to burn glucose until your fat decreases to less than 30% of calories.

Since glucose is unable to be shuttled into the mitochondria to burn, it winds up backing up into your bloodstream, raising your blood sugar. This is a major contributor to diabetes. What little glucose is burned for fuel is done by using glycolysis, which is a primitive pathway that bacteria and cancer cells use.

It is great we have this pathway as you absolutely need it for quick fuel when you are activating your type II muscle fibers. But if this is the primary way you burn glucose, you are in a catastrophic metabolic state as you are creating loads of lactic acid as a waste product instead of healthy CO2, and you are only generating 2 ATPs for every molecule of glucose, which is 95% less energy.

Remember, the metabolic switch happens at about 30% fat. So, if you're eating more than 30% fat you're going to be mostly burning fat, and glucose metabolism (oxidation) will be inhibited. If you’re obese, the cutoff for fat is likely even lower.

Jesus wept.

Video of the Week

Another music video here. I hadn’t heard or thought of this song in years, and, out of nowhere, it gets fed to me by YouTube.

As many of you who have been reading the Arrow for a while know, I have whined about dealing with truckers on long haul trips. But long ago, when I had just started college, a running buddy and I drove all over California hunting and exploring. For reasons I can’t now recall, he was deeply into trucker lore. He knew all the trucker signals for this and that. And when we were traveling at night and a big rig wanted to pass us, my friend would do some trucker signal with his lights. The huge truck would pass, then my buddy would turn his headlights off and on to signal to the trucker that there was enough distance between us that he could safely pull over in front of us. Almost always the trucker would turn his running lights on and off a couple of times to say thanks.

It’s difficult to believe now what a thrill that gave us.

Then one summer a few years later, I got a job working on a moving van. So I got to see things from the truckers’ point of view. The trucker I was working for had an 8-track tape of a trucker song that he played over and over. It was filled with all sorts of trucker lingo, and I never got tired of listening to it.

I hadn’t heard it in years, then I get a live recording tee’d up for me from YouTube.

Listening to it brought waves of nostalgia washing over me.

I hope you enjoy it. The picture’s kind of fuzzy, but the sound is fine.

Unfortunately, the waves of nostalgia haven’t washed away how pissed off I still am at Lloyds. Email and snail mail sent. I’ll let you know if I ever get the card reader. Whatever happens, thanks for indulging me in my rant. It didn’t make me feel all that much better, but at least it’s memorialized, so I can’t stretch the truth later.

That’s about it for today. Keep in good cheer, and I’ll be back next Thursday.

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