What’s Causing the New Epidemics in Depression and Autoimmune Disease?

Dr. Frank Shallenberger, MD

January13, 2020



Two of the biggest medical problems in the U.S. today are depression and autoimmune disease. In 2017-2018, 7.3 million people were prescribed antidepressants. That’s only the ones who are getting medical treatment. Millions more suffer from depression. And an estimated 23.5 million people suffer from some sort of diagnosed autoimmune disease.

That’s a massive problem. But what if both of these medical problems had the exact same cause? And what if this cause is completely avoidable? All you have to do to avoid them is go against the medical establishment’s dogma regarding one of its most popular “treatments.”

What is causing the ever increasing frequency of autoimmune diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis in our children and young adults?  Some say it’s poor eating habits, some say stress, some say toxicity.  Maybe it’s all of those things.  But I have seen these diseases show up in cases in which the patients were on good diets and the only observable source of toxicity was vaccines.

You won’t hear about this on the Big Pharma controlled media, but a recent study published in the respected, peer reviewed journal, Autoimmune Reviews, looked at the connection between vaccines and these diseases.

The authors start off their report by stating, “In the past several years, more and more studies proposed some concerns on the possibly increased risk of autoimmune diseases in individuals receiving vaccinations, but published studies on the associations of vaccinations with risks of systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis reported conflicting findings.” So, what they did was to comprehensively “evaluate the relationship between vaccinations and risk of systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.”

To do the study, they searched all the data bases for all of the “observational studies assessing the associations of vaccinations with risks of rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus.” They came up with 16 studies meeting their rigorous criteria “including 12 studies on the association between vaccinations and systemic lupus risk, and 13 studies on the association between vaccinations and rheumatoid arthritis risk.” Here’s what they found.

In the authors’ words, “The pooled findings suggested that vaccinations significantly increased risk of systemic lupus. In addition, there was an obvious association between vaccinations and increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis.” And, that’s not all.

They also go on to describe how a similar analysis looking at the time interval between a vaccination and the onset of these diseases “also suggested that vaccinations could significantly increase risk of systemic lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.” And they further report that “Sensitivity analyses in studies with low risk of bias also found obvious associations of vaccinations with increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus.”

A couple of years ago, I consulted on a very sad case. It was a 22-year-old completely healthy young man who had just been accepted into medical school. About 30 days before his first class was scheduled, he went through a series of vaccinations required by the school. Ironically, he was not able to start school because he quickly came down with an autoimmune disease called ulcerative colitis. Of course, the doctors giving him the vaccinations did not believe that they were the cause, and so never reported it to the CDC. Nevertheless, they had no alternate theory why a completely healthy person should develop a serious disease within days of getting vaccinated.

Vaccines are definitely good for Big Pharma.  They get to sell their unproven products without any risk of liability. But studies like this show that they are not necessarily good for the people getting them.

I’ve repeatedly warned about childhood vaccines, flu vaccines, and most other vaccines. Denying a child the immune stimulation of the usual childhood diseases (such as measles, mumps, rubella, etc.) could lead to later immune dysfunction. Denying yourself occasional infections by using adult vaccines could do the same. Autoimmune diseases and allergic illnesses are exploding.

Why do vaccines cause autoimmune disorders? The goal of any vaccine is to produce antibodies. But antibodies act to shut down the TH1 immune system. This throws the immune system into a state of imbalance that does not happen when the actual infection is present. When this happens to a person who has the genetics needed for autoimmunity, it will often trigger an autoimmune reaction. And, the problem is that even if you don’t have a family history of autoimmune disease, you could still have the genetics for one.

This Same Problems Causes Depression

Well, would you believe that this same phenomenon might also explain the explosion in depression we are seeing these days?

Chance observations by Dr. Mary O’Brien, a London oncologist, led Dr. Chris Lowry and colleagues of Bristol University to publish research on a novel mechanism for the risk of depression. O’Brien was working with an experimental vaccine for lung cancer patients. The researchers gave the patients an inoculation of a friendly soil organism called Mycobacterium vaccae. It is a harmless relative of the Tb and leprosy germs. The researchers rendered the soil germ even more harmless by killing it before inoculation.

What happened was amazing. When the cancer patients received the vaccine, Dr. O’Brien noted fewer cancer symptoms. But there was more. He also noted a significant boost in their mood, emotional health, and cognitive function.

Dr. Lowry took the information further. He believed that the immune response to the organism caused their brain to produce more serotonin. Serotonin is a key anti-depression neurotransmitter. Low levels of serotonin are common in depression.

To prove this, Dr. Lowry did another test. He used mice for this experiment. He and his team injected the mice with the M. vaccae. They then examined the mice to check his hypothesis.

They found that the organism caused the mice to produce cytokines. Cytokines are proteins used by your immune cells to communicate with other cells.

Then the researchers looked directly in the animals’ brains for the effect of those cytokines. This is important because cytokines act on sensory nerves that run to the brain from organs such as the heart and the lungs. That action stimulates a brain structure called the dorsal raphe nucleus. Dr. Lowry’s team focused on that structure. He found a group of cells within it that connect directly to the limbic system. The limbic system is well known to be connected to or to be the generator of your emotions. They found that the dorsal raphe cells release serotonin into the limbic system in response to sensory-nerve stimulation.

The result of this was stress-free mice. Unlike stressed mice which don’t want to swim, the unstressed mice swam around enthusiastically. The ramifications of this are incredible. First, the research suggests that it might be possible to make a vaccine to correct immune problems that lead to depression. But for me, the findings take on an even greater meaning when it comes to childhood illness and “getting dirty.” I’ll let Dr. Lowry explain:

“These studies help us understand how the body communicates with the brain and why a healthy immune system is important for maintaining mental health. They also leave us wondering if we shouldn’t all be spending more time playing in the dirt.” But what about the usual childhood illnesses?

Why Depression Is More Common Today

The findings have also opened new insight into why depression is becoming more common. The ever increasing use of antiseptics for everything from mouth washes to soaps to wipes to aerosol antiseptics combined with an obsession with avoiding bacteria and viruses only serves to cause a lack of childhood exposure to harmless bugs and harmless childhood diseases. Combine this with the overuse of antibiotics, and you can understand why our immune systems have been compromised.

These studies show how our brains are affected by our immune systems.  When the immune system is not properly balanced, the cytokines become unbalanced and that can lead to depression.

So, take a clue from the research and avoid vaccines and an unhealthy obsession with excessive hygiene. It’s good to have normal and regular exposure to bacteria and viruses. It’s also good to have an occasional flu or cold. Both of these natural events only act to strengthen the immune system.


Neuroscience, 2007 March 28;doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2007.01.067.

Wang B, et al. Vaccinations and risk of systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Autoimmun Rev. 2017.

Ready To Upgrade?

Upgrade now to a Second Opinion Newsletter Subscription so you don't miss out on the healthy, active life you deserve.

Plus, Get Up To 18 Free Reports When You Click Here To Upgrade Today!

Get A Free Copy Of This Powerful Report

Inside You'll Discover

► A little secret that not only relieves stress but can actually banish stress from your life!

► If you are exercising too hard to be healthy.

► And, an optimal exercise regimen to excerise smarter, not harder!

Enter your name and email to claim this free report and join our newsletter

Get Report!