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How COVID Vaccine Could Harm Your Gut, Leading To Brain Fog And Autoimmune Disease

How COVID Vaccine Could Harm Your Gut, Leading To Brain Fog And Autoimmune Disease

Authored by Marina Zhang via The Epoch Times (emphasis…

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How COVID Vaccine Could Harm Your Gut, Leading To Brain Fog And Autoimmune Disease

Authored by Marina Zhang via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Diarrhea, constipation, and bloating are common problems that plague two-thirds of Americans.

(Christoph Burgstedt/Shutterstock)

While gut problems are often written off as caused by poor diet and lifestyle habits, they may also be a sign of damage from infections such as COVID-19 and from COVID vaccination.

Internal medicine physician Dr. Keith Berkowitz, who has treated 200 COVID-vaccine-injured patients, told The Epoch Times that he found gut problems widespread among long-COVID and post-vaccine patients. However, patients often fail to bring up these issues.

Also, people may not be aware that symptoms such as fatigue and brain fog could be driven by gut problems, internist Dr. Yusuf Saleeby told The Epoch Times.

The Gut Is Linked to Everything

Poor gut health is associated with a vast range of diseases, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, dementia, cancer, infections, autoimmune diseases, and even reproductive diseases.

The gut’s health often depends on its microbiome, comprised of 100 trillion microbes inside the large intestine.

A healthy microbiome has a diverse population of microbes with many beneficial bacteria. These microbes produce chemicals necessary for metabolism, nutrition, immunity, and communication within organs. They also help maintain the mucous layer in the gut, preventing infections from entering through the gut cells.

Poor diet, poor sleep, environmental toxins, alcohol and drugs, infections, and chronic diseases can damage the microbiome by depleting it of beneficial bacteria, leaving pathological bacteria in its place.

Loss of Bifidobacteria in Gut After COVID Vaccination

Infections with the COVID-19 virus have been shown to damage the gut microbiome and are associated with compromised integrity of the gut’s mucous layer, causing gut dysbiosis—a microbiome imbalance.

Reports have also shown that the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine is linked to reduced biodiversity in the microbiome. 

A gastroenterologist and the CEO of genetic research lab ProgenaBiome, Dr. Sabine Hazan has found that test results of many vaccine-injured patients a month after vaccination show a lack of the probiotic Bifidobacteria. Dr. Hazan’s laboratory was the first to report the whole genome sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus using patient fecal samples.

Bifidobacteria are a group of bacteria under the Bifidobacterium genus and are among the first microbes to colonize the gut. They are believed to benefit their host’s health and are among the most common probiotics.

Right now, we’re seeing a persistence [of Bifidobacteria loss] in some patients, not a lot of patients,” Dr. Hazan said. “But if people are suffering after the vaccine, they need to be looked at. They can enter a clinical trial right now ... We have markers that we’re developing to identify those patients that are vaccine-injured, and we’re trying to find a signature microbiome in vaccine injuries.”

Her research team has since been following 200 vaccine-injured patients. She has observed drastic losses of Bifidobacteria and other species in some patients. However, there have also been rare cases where Bifidobacteria increased.

Dr. Hazan believes that the spike proteins coating the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, made in human cells after vaccination, kill Bifidobacteria, much like the virus can infect and kill good bacteria.

Like the COVID-19 virus, loss of beneficial microbes like Bifidobacteria may cause gut dysbiosis, directly linked to poor gut health and associated diseases.

However, gut dysbiosis is poorly defined in clinical diagnosis.

“In the clinical research looking at patients, we don’t have that definition yet,” Dr. Hazan said. “There is no guidelines to say gut dysbiosis is equal to this (specific thing).

Dr. Hazan’s earlier works in COVID patients showed that Bifidobacteria abundance is linked to the severity of COVID-19 disease. Patients with more Bifidobacteria in their gut tended to have mild or asymptomatic disease, whereas patients with low or no Bifidobacteria developed severe disease.

Treating COVID-19 Injuries Could Start in the Gut

Many factors must be considered when restoring the microbiome. Doctors must ensure the right microbes are cultivated, that this happens in the right place, that it will not disturb other microbes, and that the gut can support the new microbes being colonized, Dr. Hazan said.

Restoring microbes in an unhealthy gut environment could be like growing an apple tree in the sand.

“It’s forensics of the gut microbiome,” she said.

For Dr. Saleeby, helping patients with COVID-19 injuries often starts with the gut since the gut is what allows patients to absorb prescribed drugs and nutraceuticals.

He gave the example of low-dose naltrexone, a common staple used among doctors treating long COVID and vaccine injuries.

Low-dose naltrexone (LDN) will help the inflamed bowel and will help with Crohn’s disease and/or ulcerative colitis, and in exchange, when you start repairing the gut, you’ll find out that the LDN is absorbed better. So it may change the dose of LDN,” he said.

In gut dysbiosis, a person may develop small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), which can interfere with treatment. Patients may also feel worse after starting therapy. This is because many of the first-line therapies used in treating COVID-19-vaccine injuries work by clearing spike protein and increasing the body’s ability to flush pathogens, Dr. Saleeby said. This can lead the immune system also to attack the overgrowth of bacteria in the gut, resulting in a sudden and massive accumulation of dead microbes in the body.

The body sees these dead pathogens as a threat, which triggers a sudden inflammatory reaction, causing more symptoms to flare up.

Reducing the treatment dosage and supplementing with anti-inflammatory therapies like hydration therapy, saunas, and Epsom salt baths can make these reactions more tolerable, said Dr. Saleeby.

Dr. Berkowitz also has patients who cannot tolerate typical postvaccine therapies. His patients, however, tend to exhibit signs of an overactive nervous system, which he suspects is linked to neurotransmitter depletion from the loss of beneficial bacteria.

These patients also become much more tolerant of postvaccine treatments once they are given hydration therapy and nutraceuticals that help calm the nervous system and rebuild the gut microbiome.

Damaged Gut: Neurological Problems

Research has shown that the gut and the brain are linked through their nervous system, and Drs. Saleeby and Berkowitz believe that the damaged gut could contribute to the brain fog, fatigue, and other problems seen in their patients.

Gut problems have long been linked to neurocognitive impairments.

For instance, some people develop severe brain fog “within 30 minutes” of eating a piece of bread because they’re gluten-sensitive or have celiac disease, Dr. Saleeby said.

Neuroinflammation driven by the gut could explain why patients with gut problems often develop neurocognitive problems. The brain and the gut are extensively linked through the gut-brain axis. When patients suffering from gut problems eat particular foods or chemicals that trigger disease, the gut may produce inflammatory chemicals that can penetrate the brain.

Another reason cause of neurocognitive impairment is the depletion of neurotransmitters. Many microbes in the gut use dietary nutrients to make neurotransmitters. Some of these microbes are lost in dysbiosis, and the gut becomes less capable of absorbing nutrients for use.

Therefore, neurological and cognitive problems may manifest. The neurotransmitters used in the brain are also made in the gut. Ninety-five percent and 50 percent of serotonin and dopamine are made in the gut, respectively.

Most neurotransmitters made outside the brain cannot cross the blood-brain barrier or be utilized by the brain. Yet research suggests a direct link between mental and cognitive health and microbiome health.

Dr. Berkowitz has noticed what he considers a depletion of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which can be made by bacteria in the gut, including Bifidobacteria. He believes the lack of GABA in the brain—an inhibitor to calm the nervous system—is why many patients display signs of an overactive nervous system.

He treats these patients with magnesium and melatonin, both of which stimulate GABA, and bovine colostrum, a milky fluid that seeps from cow udders the first few days after they give birth. Bovine colostrum has had promising results in repairing gastrointestinal damage in both animals and humans. Using these therapeutics, Dr. Berkowitz found that patients’ overactive nervous systems seemed to calm down, improving their symptoms.

“People describe their system going 100 miles an hour,” he said, and when you calm that down, the body can then repair itself. “Repair doesn’t happen when the body’s in a stress state … [since all the body’s] resources are focused on just survival.”

Damaged Gut: Autoimmune Conditions

Gut problems have also long been associated with autoimmune diseases, and doctors treating vaccine-injured patients have reported similar findings.

Autoimmune problems typically manifest in leaky gut, often medically referred to as increased intestinal permeability. In a leaky gut, the mucous layer protecting the gut from microbes is broken down, and microbes can then infect the gut lining and nearby blood vessels.

If [the gut lining] is disrupted, it’s kind of like [breaking down] a castle wall,” Dr. Saleeby said. “If it gets breached, then the enemy can get in.”

During this stressful time of invasion, if a virus or bacteria makes it in, infection occurs. If the invader is harmless, like a piece of peanut or a benign chemical, an allergic reaction manifests instead. The body starts attacking these foreign yet benign antigens and, in doing so, may harm itself, leading to autoimmune disease.

Dr. Berkowitz has found that many of his patients with overactive nervous systems and gut problems also test positive for autoantibodies, signaling a potential autoimmune disease.

“Nerve pain, fatigue, muscle and joint issues are probably the most common issues [with these patients],” he said. Many also report skin problems such as rashes.

However, once prescribed treatment for their guts and nervous systems, the patients’ symptoms improve, and their antibody levels decline.

Tyler Durden Tue, 10/17/2023 - 21:25

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Stock Bull Market Might Just Be Getting Started, But…

Stock Bull Market Might Just Be Getting Started, But…

Authored by Simon White, Bloomberg macro strategist,

The rally in equities might…

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Stock Bull Market Might Just Be Getting Started, But...

Authored by Simon White, Bloomberg macro strategist,

The rally in equities might have much further to go, based on the positive outlook for liquidity.

It might not seem like it after a seemingly relentless advance and fevered speculation, but the new bull market is comparatively mild versus the postwar past.

Yet that could change. Excess liquidity - the difference between real money growth and economic growth - shows that the stock rally could have much further to go, turning a so-far historically below-par bull market into one that’s above the past average.

There are many reasons why this might not transpire...

As a natural cynic, I’m more comfortable when the outlook is pessimistic (no room for disappointment) versus when it is optimistic (plenty of opportunity to end up with egg on your face when things do go wrong after all). But sometimes the data just isn’t there to support a downbeat view.

That’s the case today. One of the best medium-term drivers of stock returns is excess liquidity. It’s an intuitive measure: when money, which is created by banks and central banks, is growing faster in real terms than GDP, liquidity is left which is “excess” to the needs of the real economy, and which thus tends to find its way into risk assets.

After beginning to rise in the first half of last year, and supporting the equity rally that began in March, excess liquidity has continued to rise. It is difficult for markets to sell off significantly when there is plenty of risk-asset-supporting liquidity sloshing around the system.

Fiscal and monetary policy are conspiring to keep excess liquidity climbing despite the cumulative impact of higher rates coursing through the economy.

First, what has been driving excess liquidity so far?

It has three main elements: inflation, economic growth and narrow money, with the latter responsible for most of the measure’s rise over the last year.

But that’s not the full picture.

Excess liquidity is a global measure, made up of the money and economic growth of countries in the G10, in dollar terms. That means a weaker dollar boosts non-US excess liquidity.

As the chart below shows, it’s the weaker dollar - down over 9% from its September 2022 highs - that has been the biggest driver of excess liquidity.


 
We can blame fiscal policy here. The US’s expansive deficit has been one of the most important longer-term negative influences on the dollar. There is little sign the deficit is about to improve by much, based on (no doubt conservative) Congressional Budget Office forecasts. Government finances are also unlikely to be straitened whoever the next president is, meaning the primary trend in the dollar (DXY) is likely to remain down.

We can also blame monetary policy for the dollar’s malaise and excess liquidity’s buoyancy. The latter looked like it was about to start turning lower last year, but was saved in the nick of time by the Federal Reserve’s pivot in December.

How? On a shorter-term basis (6-9 months), the dollar is led by the real yield curve. The US currency is driven at the margin by the real return of foreign investors in long-term US assets. In the latter months of 2023, the real yield curve had been steepening, as longer-term real yields were rising more than shorter ones.


 
Then the Fed came with its still unfathomable pivot. Shorter-term real yields fell, but their longer-term counterparts fell by more, and the curve re-flattened. What was a strong supportive sign for the dollar returned to being a weight on it – and thus a continued tailwind for excess liquidity.

It’s not just liquidity that could charge the bull market further. The absence of a US recession, which continues to look off the cards for the time being, also bolsters the case that equities should not soon face a steep selloff. Traditional recession indicators have been misleading in this pandemic-addled cycle, but it has become increasingly clear a downturn in the US is now less likely than not.

Furthermore, the rally might be on shakier legs if sentiment and technicals were overly bullish, but they are not yet historically stretched. The net number of stocks making new 52-week highs, the number trading above their 200-day moving average or their upper Bollinger band, and the advance-decline line are all high but have been higher. Moreover, sentiment is net bullish but not at extremes, while retail allocation to stocks is only at its 5-year average.

Leadership is narrow, with only a handful of stocks driving the advance, but there is little historically to show that this leads to sub-par returns. And when markets eclipse new highs, as the S&P did a few weeks ago, it acts as a psychological all-clear that we are indeed in a new bull market. Whether you agree that’s justified or not, the catch-up money that floods the market creates its own momentum.

No bull market comes without risks and this one is no different. The biggest is a recession. While, as mentioned above, that does not look likely in the near term, a sudden and unanticipated economic slump (either endogenous or due to an exogenous shock) would decimate returns. Also, a bull market that does not begin either during a recession or within 18 months of one is unusual, with only one postwar example (1966).

Equities experience their largest drawdowns in recessions, and given there is little ex ante to indicate one is coming in the current environment, it would likely be particularly devastating.

A blow-off top is another risk. Even then, despite the upset one would cause, it might not be enough to kick-start a new bear market. Inflation, too, will pose a risk to stocks, but to their real returns, unless price growth’s revival is particularly abrupt or steep (bull and bear markets are, sub-optimally, based off nominal returns). A persistent bear-steepening of the yield curve would be the sign the rally is at risk.

To misquote John Templeton, bull markets are born on pessimism, but they grow on liquidity. As long as excess liquidity is supported, the market is primed to keep grinding higher, regardless of how cynical you might be.

Tyler Durden Tue, 02/27/2024 - 14:40

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Fed And Treasury Ensure Dollar Downside Is Ahead

Fed And Treasury Ensure Dollar Downside Is Ahead

Authored by Simon White, Bloomberg macro strategist,

The Fed’s pivot in December and the…

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Fed And Treasury Ensure Dollar Downside Is Ahead

Authored by Simon White, Bloomberg macro strategist,

The Fed’s pivot in December and the Treasury’s willingness to run persistently large fiscal deficits will lead the dollar to resume its downtrend from 2022 highs.

Dollar strength seems to be in vogue again, but fiscal and monetary policy will conspire to make that trend unlikely to persist much longer. Running pro-cyclical fiscal deficits, not just in the US but across much of the developed world, has become the norm. Electorates’ expectations widened after the pandemic, and now there is an unwritten pact between governments and their voters that they will underwrite a growing itinerary of risks from job loss to disease – the Treasury put.

Large fiscal deficits are a long-term negative for the currency as they are inflationary, and considering the US deficit is one of the largest in GDP terms, it poses greater downside risk to the dollar versus other currencies. This will also be a tailwind for the new bull market in stocks.

But shorter-term leading indicators are also dollar negative. On this horizon, the real yield curve gives one of the best leads on the dollar, by about six-to-nine months. This is where the Fed’s pivot comes in.

The real yield curve had been steepening last year, as longer-term real yields were rising more than shorter-term ones, due in part to the influence of rising term premium. That would have anticipated a rising dollar. The real yield curve then began to re-flatten, which continued even after the Fed performed its verbal volte-face in December, as longer-term real yields have risen much less than short-term ones.

The DXY index is up ~2.3% this year, versus the average of 1.4% in the first two months of the year (data back to 1980). But the dollar typically sees all its net gains in the first three months of the year (1.7%) versus an average decline of 0.9% through the remainder.

Net positioning in the dollar is flat, leaving speculators free to move with or against it. They should favor the latter, and not be deterred by recent dollar strength (which is fairly unremarkable), and instead look to the seasonally negative latter three quarters of the year, given extra credence by fiscal and monetary policy that will continue to be a headwind.

Tyler Durden Tue, 02/27/2024 - 12:20

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This Is Nuts – An Entire Market Chasing One Stock

This Is Nuts – An Entire Market Chasing One Stock

Authored by Lance Roberts via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,

“When you sit down with your…

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This Is Nuts – An Entire Market Chasing One Stock

Authored by Lance Roberts via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,

“When you sit down with your portfolio management team, and the first comment made is ‘this is nuts,’ it’s probably time to think about your overall portfolio risk. On Friday, that was how the investment committee both started and ended – ‘this is nuts.’”

 – January 11th, 2020.

revisited that original post a couple of weeks ago as the market approached its 5000 psychological milestone. Since then, the entire market has surged higher following last week’s earnings report from Nvidia (NVDA). The reason I say “this is nuts” is the assumption that all companies were going to grow earnings and revenue at Nvidia’s rate.

Even one of the “always bullish” media outlets took notice, which is notable.

“In a normal functioning market, Nvidia doing amazingly is bad news for competitors such as AMD and Intel. Nvidia is selling more of its chips, meaning fewer sales opportunities for rivals. Shouldn’t their stocks drop? Just because Meta owns and uses some new Nvidia chips, how is that going to positively impact its earnings and cash flow over the next four quarters? Will it at all?

‌The point is that investors are acting irrationally as Nvidia serves up eye-popping financial figures and the hype machine descends on social media. It makes sense until it doesn’t, and that is classic bubble action.” – Yahoo Finance

As Brian Sozzi notes in his article, we may be at the “this is nuts” stage of market exuberance. Such usually coincides with Wall Street analysts stretching to “justify” why paying premiums for companies is “worth it.”

We Can’t All Be Winners

Of course, that is the quintessential underpinning for a market that has reached the “this is nuts” stage. There is little doubt about Nvidia’s earnings and revenue growth rates. However, to maintain that growth pace indefinitely, particularly at 32x price-to-sales, means others like AMD and Intel must lose market share.

However, as shown, numerous companies in the S&P 1500 alone are trading well above 10x price-to-sales. (If you don’t understand why 10x price-to-sales is essential, read this.) Many companies having nothing to do with Nvidia or artificial intelligence, like Wingstop, trade at almost 22x price-to-sales.

Again, if you don’t understand why “this is nuts,” read the linked article above.

However, in the short term, this doesn’t mean the market can’t keep increasing those premiums even further. As Brian concluded in his article:

“Nothing says ‘investing bubble’ like unbridled confidence. It’s that feeling that whatever stock you buy — at whatever price and at whatever time — will only go up forever. This makes you feel like an investing genius and inclined to take on more risk.”

Looking at some current internals tells us that Brian may be correct.

This Is Nuts” Type Of Exuberance

In momentum-driven markets, exuberance and greed can take speculative actions to increasingly further extremes. As markets continue to ratchet new all-time highs, the media drives additional hype by producing commentary like the following.

“Going back to 1954, markets are always higher one year later – the only exception was 2007.”

That is a correct statement. When markets hit all-time highs, they are usually higher 12 months later due to the underlying momentum of the market. But therein lies the rub: what happened next? The table below from Warren Pies tells the tale.

As shown, markets were higher 12 months after new highs were made. However, a lot of money was lost during the next bear market or correction. Except for only four periods, those bear markets occurred within the next 24 to 48 months. Most gains from the previous highs were lost in the subsequent downturn.

Unsurprisingly, investing in the market is not a “risk-free” adventure. While there are many opportunities to make money, there is also a history of wealth devastation. Therefore, understanding the environment you are investing in can help avoid potential capital destruction.

From a technical perspective, markets are exceedingly overbought as investors have rushed back into equities following the correction in 2022. The composite index below comprises nine indicators measured using weekly data. That index is now at levels that have denoted short-term market peaks.

Unsurprisingly, speculative money is chasing the Mega-cap growth and technology stocks. The volume of call options on those stocks is at levels that have previously preceded more significant corrections.

Another way to view the current momentum-driven advance in the market is by measuring the divergence between short and long-term moving averages. Given that moving averages smooth price changes over given periods, the divergences should not deviate significantly from each other over more extended periods. However, as shown below, that changed dramatically following the stimulus-fueled surge in the markets post-pandemic. Currently, the deviation between the weekly moving averages is at levels only previously seen when the Government sent checks to households, overnight lending rates were zero, and the Fed bought $120 billion monthly in bonds. Yet, none of that is happening currently.

Unsurprisingly, with the surge in market prices, investor confidence has surged along with their allocation to equities. The most recent Schwab Survey of bullish sentiment suggests the same.

More than half of traders have a bullish outlook for the first quarter – the highest level of bullishness since 2021

Yes, quite simply, “This is nuts.”

Market Measures Advise Caution

In the short term, over the next 12 months, the market will indeed likely finish the year higher than where it started. That is what the majority of analysis tells us. However, that doesn’t mean that stocks can’t, and won’t, suffer a rather significant correction along the way. The chart below shows retail and professional traders’ 13-week average of net bullish sentiment. You will notice that high sentiment readings often precede market corrections while eventually rising to higher levels.

For example, the last time bullish sentiment was this extreme was in late 2021. Even though the market eventually rallied to all-time highs, it was 2-years before investors got back to even.

Furthermore, the compression of volatility remains a critical near-term concern. While low levels of volatility have become increasingly common since the financial crisis due to the suppression of interest rates and a flood of liquidity, the lack of volatility provides the “fuel” for a market correction.

Combining excessive bullish sentiment and low volatility into a single indicator shows that previous levels were warnings to more bullish investors. Interestingly, Fed rate cuts cause excess sentiment to unwind. This is because rate cuts have historically coincided with financial events and recessions.

While none of this should be surprising, given the current market momentum and bullish psychology, the over-confidence of investors in their decision-making has always had less than desirable outcomes.

No. The markets likely will not crash tomorrow or in the next few months. However, sentiment has reached the “this is nuts” stage. For us, as portfolio managers, such has always been an excellent time to start laying the groundwork to protect our gains.

Lean on your investing experience and all its wrinkles.” – Brian Sozzi

Tyler Durden Tue, 02/27/2024 - 08:11

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