How to Save Up to 85% on Your Prescriptions

In the past, I’ve warned you about drug company payoffs to doctors. But new research shows the problem may be far worse than we once thought.

  • About half of all doctors in the U.S. accept some form of payoff from drug companies or medical device makers.
  • In 2015, these payments added up to $2.4 billion. Including $533 million in items like partnership shares and stock options… which can easily increase in value.
  • Most major drug companies spend more on payments to doctors than they do for research.

The research shows doctors who get these payments are more likely to prescribe the maker’s brand-name drug instead of a generic. Even though the generic drug could save you up to 85%.

Here’s what you need to know…

Drug Company Geese Lay Golden Eggs

Big Pharma employs an army of sales reps. These salespeople fan out across the country, visiting clinics, hospitals, and doctors’ offices. Their goal is to convince doctors to prescribe their company’s products.

But there’s a lot of competition in the drug trade. For example, there are lots of different statin drugs to lower cholesterol. And most of them come in both brand-name and generic forms.

Now, here’s the big question: Why would your doctor prescribe a brand-name drug, if you could get the same drug in generic form for up to 85% less?

Unfortunately, the answer is simple. Because he or she may have something to lose if he or she prescribes the generic option.

Drug company salespeople frequently buy lunch for doctors and their staffs. They pay doctors to speak at conferences or to do research. Or they may hire the doctor as a “consultant.”

These payments range from an average of $2,227 per year to primary care doctors… all the way up to an average $6,879 per year to surgeons. Not only are surgeons paid more on average, they’re also 27% more likely than primary care docs to accept these payments.

The bottom line is there’s an almost 50/50 chance your family doctor is taking some form of “gift” or payment from Big Pharma. And for surgeons, it’s closer to 60/40… in favor of accepting gifts.

Now here’s the thing: Who’s going to kill a goose that lays golden eggs? If Drug Company X is shelling out a couple of grand a year in a doctor’s direction… do you think they might feel obliged to return the favor?

You betcha they do!

Little “Favors” Pay Drug Companies Big Dividends

New research shows these payments deliver big dividends. Doctors who received even just a single meal at drug company expense were more likely to prescribe their brand-name drugs.

And when the number of meals went up, so did the likelihood of prescribing the drug companies products. Here’s just a sample of what the researchers uncovered with drug companies providing four or more meals…

  • Prescriptions for the brand-name cholesterol drug rosuvastatin nearly doubled.
  • Brand-name prescriptions for olmesartan – a blood pressure drug – jumped by 450%.
  • Brand-name prescriptions for the brand-name version of the hypertension drug nebivolol climbed 5.4 times.

Think about that for a moment. A doctor and his staff get free pizza or sandwiches just 4 times in a year, and there’s a 540% greater chance you’ll pay up to 5 or 6 times more than you need to for your prescription.

If you’re thinking that stinks, you’re not alone.

But here’s the good news: You also have options.

Save Big on Common Prescriptions

One of the first steps you can take is simple. If your doctor writes a prescription for a brand-name drug, ask if there’s a generic available. If so, ask for it.

Before you fill any prescription, double-check with your pharmacist. You may find your doctor isn’t aware of a generic option. With savings of up to 85% available, it’s worth asking a few questions.

Finally, check up on any doctor you visit. Under current law, Big Pharma has to report how much they’re paying to which doctors. And consumer watchdog Pro Publica has created a database of that information.

Since 2010, Pro Publica’s “Dollars for Docs” project has listed which doctors are taking how much from various drug companies.

Just plug in the doctor and the city/town where they’re located, and you can get the scoop on how much they’ve taken from drug companies. (As of this writing, data is available through 2015.)

The data even includes the type of payment. Follow the breakdown, and you can even find out which drug companies make payments related to which drugs… and how much they’ve shelled out to promote those drugs.

Just visit https://projects.propublica.org/docdollars/ to check out any doctor. If they’re pushing a brand-name drug, and they’ve been taking money from the manufacturer, there’s a good chance you can do just as well with a generic form.

Or possibly no drug at all.

About the Author: Jason Kennedy is a celebrated investigative health writer and the author of The X-Factor Revolution and Beyond the Blue Zone. With over 10 years of experience working with today’s leading alternative and anti-aging doctors, Jason shares his insider status and access to the latest breakthroughs with thousands of readers from around world.


Tringale, K.R., et al, “Types and Distribution of Payments From Industry to Physicians in 2015,” JM. May 2, 2017; 317(17): 1774-1784.

Steinbrook, R., “Physicians, Industry Payments for Food and Beverages, and Drug Prescribing,” JAMA. May 2, 2017; 317(17): 1765-1768.

Ornstein, C., “Public Disclosure of Payments to Physicians From Industry,” JAMA. May 2, 2017; 317(17): 1749-1750.


© Copyright 2017 Discovery Health Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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An Easy Way to Cut Your Risk of Decline… and Death

A 2015 study in JAMA Neurology found older Americans aren’t getting the vitamin D they need. In fact, fully 61.3% weren’t getting enough vitamin D.  The numbers from this study are very similar to others I’ve seen.

That means if you’re approaching retirement age, you’re probably low on a vitamin key to…

  • Maintaining healthy bones
  • Building and maintaining muscle
  • Cutting your cancer risk.

And these are just a few of vitamin D’s jobs.

Yet mainstream medicine actively encourages Americans to avoid getting the vitamin D they need.

Today, you’ll discover two more reasons to ignore the mainstream’s advice… and how to safely get all the vitamin D you need.

Age With Confidence

We all know them. Friends or family members who’ve grown unsteady… weaker…  more fragile. Most doctors will tell you it’s an unavoidable effect of aging.

Technically, these doctors are right. But what they’re not saying is you can slow this decline to a crawl. Maybe even reverse it.

That’s the finding of a study recently presented at this spring’s annual meeting of the Endocrine Society.

The study followed 3,369 men over 4 years. The volunteers ranged in age from 40 to 79.

Over the course of the study, 459 became frailer. At the same time, 206 became less frail. The difference was their levels of certain hormones. One of those hormones was vitamin D.

Men with higher levels at the start of the study were less likely to grow weaker and more fragile than those with low levels. And vitamin D’s role in building bone and muscle mass may help explain why some men actually improved as they aged.

In a few moments, I’ll show you how to take advantage of vitamin D’s benefits. But first, another new study brings even more good news.

Improve Your Chances of a Long Life With Vitamin D

If you could cut your risk of death on any given day by as much as two-thirds – with just a 30-second investment – would you be interested? Because that’s pretty much what an international study of almost 27,000 adults found.

This study was the first of its kind to use standardized measures of vitamin D status. And it found the lower your vitamin D level, the higher your risk of death. In fact, volunteers with the highest D levels were 67% less likely to die over ten years than those with the lowest D levels.

When the authors looked at heart disease, they found the numbers closely mirrored those overall. This doesn’t say vitamin D can lower your risk of heart disease. But it does suggest it may cut your risk of dying from it.

So how does mainstream medicine actively discourage you from getting enough vitamin D? In two ways…

Is the Mainstream’s Bias Setting You Up for Frailty… and Death?

Nobody lives forever. But it appears folks who get enough vitamin D tend to live longer. And remain strong and vital for more of their life.

So why does mainstream medicine discourage getting enough vitamin D? I’m not sure I can answer that question. But here’s how they do it…

#1 – The “if you eat a balanced diet” argument

It’s true that getting your nutrients from your diet is the best option. That’s the reason your doctor says, “If you eat a balanced diet, you don’t need to take vitamins.”

If you got all the nutrients you need from your diet, you wouldn’t need to take supplements. But let’s be honest here. You don’t always eat a balanced diet, do you?

Do you get 5 – 7 servings of fruits and vegetables every day? Does your daily diet include a variety of brightly colored veggies? Do you avoid sugars, starches, and processed foods? Do you eat only lean, organic free-range or grass-fed proteins?

And – for vitamin D – do you get at least 20 minutes of summer sun on your arms and face every day? (Sun exposure is the #1 source of vitamin D for humans.)

I’m guessing your answer is “no.” In which case, you probably should be taking supplements. At the very least, a multi-vitamin/mineral.

#2 – The “avoid the sun” argument

Your main source of vitamin D is the sun. When the sun’s rays hit your skin, your body makes vitamin D. For a Caucasian with “average” skin, about 20 minutes a day – in summer – is enough exposure to make all the vitamin D you need in a day.

But cancer fears – fueled by sunburn – have led doctors to tell you to avoid the sun. Which explains why almost two-thirds of adults don’t get enough vitamin D.

If you live south of Atlanta (roughly), and have that “average” skin I mentioned, just 20 minutes a day will provide plenty of vitamin D. North of Atlanta, you’ll need a supplement in the winter. That far north, the sun’s rays aren’t strong enough to trigger your skin to make D during the winter.

But don’t avoid the sun… just avoid over-exposure.

It’s Hard to Get Too Much Vitamin D

Uncle Sam recommends 800 IU (International Units) of vitamin D daily for mature adults. But some studies show this is the minimum needed to take advantage of vitamin D’s anti-aging benefits.

Fortunately, most people can take up to 4,000 IU of vitamin D a day without any negative effects. This is called the “tolerable upper limit.”

You can shoot for 1,000 IU of vitamin D – between your diet and supplements – and stay well within the safe range. Many multivitamin products include the full 800 IU Uncle Sam recommends as your goal for the day.

If you eat a diet rich in vitamin D, you can probably skip a supplement. Ditto if you get plenty of summer-strength sun every day. But about two-thirds of us don’t do either.

In which case, you may be able to cut your risk of frailty – and even death – simply by getting more daily vitamin D in your life.

About the Author: Jason Kennedy is a celebrated investigative health writer and the author of The X-Factor Revolution and Beyond the Blue Zone. With over 10 years of experience working with today’s leading alternative and anti-aging doctors, Jason shares his insider status and access to the latest breakthroughs with thousands of readers from around world.


Miller, J.W., et al, “Vitamin D Status and Rates of Cognitive Decline in a Multiethnic Cohort of Older Adults,” JAMA Neurol. 2015; 72(11): 1295-1303.

“Higher anabolic hormone levels predict lower risk of worsening frailty in men,” The Endocrine Society. April 3, 2017.

Gaksh, M., et al, “Vitamin D and mortality: Individual participant data meta-analysis of standardized 25-hydroxyvitamin D in 26916 individuals from a European consortium,” PLoS ONE. 2017; 12(2): e0170791.


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How Drug Makers Hold You – and Your Kids – Hostage

In certain parts of the world, kidnapping is big businesses. Crooks target members of wealthy families – or those with relatives in wealthy countries. Then they make a simple demand: Pay up or they die.

Here in the U.S., we have a very similar situation. Except this hostage situation is perfectly legal. And the “kidnappers” are drug companies.

Martin Shkreli made himself the poster boy for this legal kidnapping scheme when he boosted the price of a life-saving drug from $1,700 a bottle to $75,000 a bottle!

With their lives on the line, people had no choice. It was pay up or die.

As horrible as this example is, it’s far from the only one. In the U.S., this has become standard practice for drug companies. Though most don’t make such dramatic moves.

Still, many life-saving drugs are now priced at levels hundreds of percent above the cost just a few years ago.

Insurance companies simply pay up – passing on the increase to consumers. Medicare has no bargaining power, so they have to pay up, too. And if you’re without insurance? Well, do you pay the piper… or do you make funeral arrangements?

What’s going on here? And what can you do? Let’s look at a recent example of corporate greed to learn the answer.

At Least You’re Not Allergic to Price Hikes

Sometimes, allergic reactions are mild. You accidentally touch poison ivy, and you suffer with an itchy rash for a few days. Other times, allergic reactions are far worse. You’re stung by a bee – or accidentally eat a peanut – and you die.

One thing nobody’s allergic to: price hikes. That’s the discovery Mylan – the distributor of the EpiPen – realized.

In emergencies, the EpiPen delivers a life-saving dose of the hormone epinephrine (adrenaline). And, to be honest, it’s saved countless lives. Ask anyone with an allergy to peanuts, bee stings, or any number of other allergens.

With virtually no competition in the U.S., Mylan could charge almost any price, and people would pay up. Guess what? That’s exactly what’s happened.

In Great Britain, a two-pack of EpiPens cost about $69. Here in the U.S., the price is more than $600. In France, the same two-pack runs about $100. And in Germany, the cost is about $200.

In 2007, an EpiPen cost about $57 in the U.S. Then Mylan took over marketing. In less than 10 years, the price increased more than 10-fold.

Drug makers typically blame PBMs – pharmaceutical benefits managers – rebates and rising research and development (R&D) costs for price increases. But there’s a problem with this argument.

PBMs arose in response to sharply increasing drug costs. Rebates followed a similar path. And it’s hard to blame R&D for your costs, when most drug companies spend far more on marketing than they do for research.

Especially when you look at Europeans are paying for the same drugs we buy here in the U.S.  And the competitive situation.

Let’s Play (Near-) Monopoly

Austrians have seven epinephrine auto-injectors to choose from. The Danes, French, and Finns have six. Germans can choose from among eight. Tiny Iceland has seven options. And in Sweden, there are no less than eleven options for epinephrine auto-injectors.

So why does the U.S. have only two viable options?

To begin with, Mylan is notoriously litigious. That is, they seem to sue anyone trying to enter the market for patent infringement.

In January of 2015, Mylan filed a “citizen’s petition” against a generic competitor. Although Mylan is hardly a citizen, it took the FDA 6 months to reject the petition. But in March of 2016, the FDA rejected the generic competitor’s product anyway.

So, Mylan has plenty of competition elsewhere, but it commands about 90% of the U.S. market. And from 2009, the price of EpiPens jumped by 500%.

The kicker? An EpiPen costs Mylan about $35 to produce.

Adding Insult to Injury

In October of 2016, Mylan agreed to a $465 million settlement with the government. Why? Because while treating EpiPens as a band-name drug in the marketplace, the company treated it as a generic drug with Medicare.

Brand-name status affords greater protection in the marketplace. But generic drugs pay smaller rebates under Medicare rules. So Mylan apparently tried to have it both ways – while still charging unconscionable prices for their product.

Under Medicare/Medicaid, generic drugs pay 10% less in rebates than brand-name drugs (13% vs. 23%). Plus, brand-name drugs pay even more if their price rises faster than inflation.

So Mylan was apparently making a killing on both ends. All being subsidized by you.

So what can you do? Well, you do have some leverage.

Don’t Sit Back and Take It

Congressmen and senators often seem to be indifferent to voters. But there’s one thing that scares the living daylights out of them. Losing their cushy job.

If enough voters contact them in anger, they’ll jump through all sorts of hoops to hang on to that nice post in Washington. They’ll even vote against their corporate masters.

And that’s where you have leverage.

Are you sick and tired of paying far more than the rest of the world for prescription drugs? Could you find something to do with the $531+ difference between EpiPen prices in the U.K. and the U.S.? I’m guessing you can.

One simple step you can take: Tell your congressperson and senators to pass legislation allowing Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate drug prices.

That’s right… It’s currently illegal for Medicaid and Medicare to bargain with drug companies for lower prices. And it’s a key reason you pay so much more for prescription drugs than Europeans do.

If enough of us take action, our representatives in Washington will listen. Because even millions of dollars of drug company campaign donations can’t offset voter anger. And they’ll do anything to hold onto their jobs.

About the Author: Jason Kennedy is a celebrated investigative health writer and the author of The X-Factor Revolution and Beyond the Blue Zone. With over 10 years of experience working with today’s leading alternative and anti-aging doctors, Jason shares his insider status and access to the latest breakthroughs with thousands of readers from around world.


“Epinepherin autoinjector,” Wikipedia.com. April 14, 2017.

Parker-Pope, T. and Peachman, R.R., “EpiPen Price Rise Sparks Concern for Allergy Sufferers,” The New York Times. Aug 22, 2106.

“List of the names, pharmaceutical form(s), strength(s) of the medicinal product(s), route(s) of administration, marketing authorisation holder(s) in the Member States,” Eurpoean Medicines Agency.

Koons, C., “Blame Game: The $130 Billion in Fees Mylan Says Pushes Up Prices,” Bloomberg.com. Sep 21, 2016.

Thomas, K., “Is EpiPen a Brand-Name or a Generic Drug? Mylan Casts It Both Ways,” The New York Times. Sep 2, 2016.

Thomas, K., “Mylan to Settle EpiPen Overpricing Case for $465 Million,” The New York Times. Oct 7, 2016.


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Reverse Aging With Less Exercise

If you ask your doctor how to fight the effects of aging, chances are good exercise will be near the top of their list. They’ll also probably tell you cardio or aerobics are the best ways to exercise. That’s great advice, except for one tiny detail…

It’s completely wrong.

That’s right. The top exercise advice of the last 50 or 60 years is – how can I say this nicely? – mostly B.S.

Don’t get me wrong. You’re better off doing cardio or aerobics than nothing at all. But why spend hours on the treadmill when you can fight aging faster… and skip the boredom?

And please don’t worry. I won’t tell you to start lifting weights in a gym full of sweaty 20-somethings. Again, lifting weights is better than no exercise. But it’s not the best exercise.

Not if you want to turn your aging clock back. Let me explain…

Not All Exercise Is Created Equal

Back in my teens, my high school had a killer cross country squad. We didn’t have a lot of superstars, but we had depth. We had enough good runners to field two competitive squads. And it was all thanks to our coach.

You see, back in the 1970s, Long, Slow Distance or “LSD” ruled. Almost every distance runner – including Olympic athletes – trained by running endless miles at a moderate pace.

Not our team. Coach had his distance runners sprinting at least a couple of days a week. Back then, these “interval” workouts were common for sprinters… but not for guys racing for 5 kilometers (3.1 miles).

This approach was unconventional. But Coach turned his squad into a perpetual winning machine.

With shorter workouts. In fact, our team was winning races by sometimes running 40% or fewer miles than the competition!

And here’s why that’s important…

A Faster Way to Reverse the Effects of Time

There’s no doubt cardio or aerobic training beats no exercise. But then, as I said, any exercise is better than none.

You see, your body tries to adapt to whatever challenge you give it. If you run lots of slow miles, your muscles, heart, and lungs will adapt to that style. A style which favors a thin frame, and a heart and lungs that only need to deal with limited stress.

But what if you train the way my high school coach worked his runners? High-intensity workouts may be shorter, but adapting to that stress means building a more athletic frame, and a heart and lungs that can move more blood and more oxygen.

Plus, studies show you’ll burn more fat in less time with shorter, more intense workouts.

 And now, even the famous Mayo Clinic is falling in line.

A Bigger Benefit from Less Effort

The Mayo Clinic recently published a study showing short bouts of high-intensity exercise can boost mitochondrial function.

Mitochondria are tiny “organelles” in your cells that produce energy. They literally power everything you do. So when you make them more efficient, you literally turn the clock back on your cells.

And that helps explain why my high school coach had such great success with short bouts of high-intensity exercise. He helped young athletes achieve their maximum potential on a cellular level.

The Mayo study shows why this trick works regardless of age.

The bottom line for you is that you can get in better shape… trigger your cells to act more like younger cells… and literally turn the clock back on the effects of aging.

Of course, you should talk to your doctor before you begin any new exercise program. Especially one involving high-intensity exercise.

But if you want to fight the effects of aging, this is the most efficient way to go. And I recommend you look into Dr. Al Sears’ P.A.C.E. program.

P.A.C.E. (Progressively Accelerating Cardiopulmonary Exertion) has already helped thousands of people just like you “turn back the clock.” Based on exercise science Dr. Sears himself helped pioneer, P.A.C.E. is the safest, most effective way I’ve found to recapture your youthful energy and drive.

About the Author: Jason Kennedy is a celebrated investigative health writer and the author of The X-Factor Revolution and Beyond the Blue Zone. With over 10 years of experience working with today’s leading alternative and anti-aging doctors, Jason shares his insider status and access to the latest breakthroughs with thousands of readers from around world.


Bergland, C., “Mayo Clinic Study Identifies How Exercise Staves Off Old Age,” Psychology Today.
Mar 08, 2017.


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When Health Experts Get It Wrong… And They Do

A lot of what the so-called “experts” have told you about nutrition is wrong.

Take trans fats, for instance. Back in the early 1980s, coconut oil was in practically everything. It was cheap, easy to use, and the foods it was in tasted good.

Then the experts came along. We had to stop using coconut oil, they said. It’s full of saturated fat… and it’ll wreck our hearts. Instead, they told us, use “healthy” trans fats.

The cure turned out to be far worse than the disease. Trans fats raise LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and lower HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Plus, the saturated fat in coconut oil doesn’t act like animal fat. Studies suggest it’s good for your heart.

That’s just one of many missteps the “experts” have made over the years. Here’s another whopper they’ve been telling you for decades…

A Calorie Is a Calorie Is a Calorie

Uncle Sam’s nutrition experts have it down to a science. The “average person” needs about 2,000 calories a day. Eat much more than that, and an average person will gain weight. Eat a bit less, and they’ll drop some weight.

Of course, your size and metabolism make a difference. But it’s a good average. Beyond that, a calorie is just a calorie.

Except it isn’t. Because different foods have different “side effects.”

For example, sugars and starches raise blood sugar. This can lead to weight gain. Even if you’re not eating too many calories. It’s just that too many of them are from the wrong source.

Fructose and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) have a different effect. Your body processes them differently from other sugars. Fructose won’t cause blood sugar spikes. But that’s because it’s processed through your liver.

Your liver converts a lot of the fructose you eat into stored fat. Which is not what happens with other sugars. So foods with added fructose – which includes just about everything in a package these days – tend to pack on the pounds.

The end result? 100 calories from spinach have a very different effect than 100 calories from spaghetti or foods with added HFCS.

But the news isn’t all bad. Some foods are high in fat and calories, but deliver remarkable side effects. Look at avocados…

Lots of Fat… Lots of Calories… and Lots of Benefits

The latest news about avocado just came out. A review in the journal Phytotherapy Research found avocados may help battle metabolic syndrome – or “pre-diabetes.”

Besides promoting healthy cholesterol levels, avocado appears to lower triglyceride (blood fat) levels… fight high blood pressure… support artery health… promote weight loss… and much more.

In 2016, Air Force researchers reviewed 10 avocado studies. They found solid evidence that swapping avocado for other fats led to healthier blood fat levels. Triglycerides, total cholesterol and LDL levels all dropped when people began eating avocados.

Researchers at Ohio State University showed avocado has an unusual health effect. It helps you absorb some key nutrients.

In this study, people who ate avocado boosted absorption of lutein by more than 5x. And they absorbed Beta-carotene more than 15x better. Both these nutrients are key to maintaining healthy vision. Which makes adding a little avocado to your salad a great way to defend your eyesight.

Other recent studies suggest avocados may help protect nerve cells from damage… could have unique cancer-fighting powers… and may promote weight loss and healthy aging.

So don’t always accept “expert” advice at face value. Low-fat and low-calorie don’t always mean “healthy.”  Sometimes guilty pleasures – like avocados – turn out to be a better option.

About the Author: Jason Kennedy is a celebrated investigative health writer and the author of The X-Factor Revolution and Beyond the Blue Zone. With over 10 years of experience working with today’s leading alternative and anti-aging doctors, Jason shares his insider status and access to the latest breakthroughs with thousands of readers from around world.


“Avocados May Help Combat the Metabolic Syndrome,” Wiley News Room. Apr 10, 2017.

Peou, S., et al, “Impact of avocado-enriched diets on plasma lipoproteins: A meta- analysis,” J Clin Lipidol. Jan-Feb 2016;10(1): 161-171.

Unlu, N.Z., et al, “Carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa by humans is enhanced by the addition of avocado or avocado oil,” J Nutr. Mar 2005; 135(3): 431-436.

Ameer, K., “Avocado as a Major Dietary Source of Antioxidants and Its Preventive Role in Neurodegenerative Diseases,” Adv Neurobiol. 2016; 12: 337-354.

Ding, H., et al, “Selective induction of apoptosis of human oral cancer cell lines by avocado extracts via a ROS-mediated mechanism,” Nutr Cancer. 2009; 61(3): 348-356.

Dreher, M.L. and Davenport, A.J., “Hass Avocado Composition and Potential Health Effects,” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 2013; 53: 738–750.


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These “Healthy” Foods May Be Killing You

“Eating right” can be a minefield. One day, a food is good. The next, it’s a killer. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just unmasked a few unexpected killers.

The new report looks at foods that may put your blood pressure through the roof. And don’t say, “I know… don’t eat potato chips. Because salty snacks only ranked 7th on the list.

So far nobody I’ve talked to has even come close to guessing the #1 food. It’s just not on anyone’s radar. Because it’s one of the most popular “healthy” foods in the world.

But it could be slowly killing you.

Just How Much Sodium Are You Getting?

We all know chips are loaded with sodium. So is ham. And pretzels. It’s pretty easy to avoid an enemy when you know what it is. But we’re not so good at avoiding hidden enemies.

That’s why the average American eats 3,409 mg of sodium a day. And that’s sodium… not salt.

The CDC says you shouldn’t get more than 2,300 mg a day. Two-thirds of the average intake. And the American Heart Association says a maximum of 1,500 mg per day is ideal. That’s less than half of what most Americans get now.

But just a cup of soup and a turkey sandwich blows your entire day’s allotment of sodium. That’s without chips. Without oyster crackers. But it’s still 2,200 mg of sodium.

And that’s just one light meal.

Chances are you’re getting a lot more sodium than is healthy. And it’s not all coming from the foods you’ve been warned against.

For instance, take the #1 culprit in boosting your sodium intake…

The “Sodium Sneaks” Threatening Your Heart

You probably avoid salty snacks. You stay away from salty French fries. And you don’t salt your food at home.

Good for you! You’ve cut out the #7 and #22 contributors to sodium… and the only healthy salt in your diet. (Table salt is the #1 source of iodine.)

But that still leaves a whole lot of sodium in your diet. For example, the #1 source of sodium in the American diet is… bread.

That’s right. Even multi-grain breads are a major source of sodium. Plus, carbs like wheat, rice and potatoes drive up your blood sugar… and can help lead to insulin resistance and Type II diabetes.

Pizza takes the #2 spot for sodium. Pepperoni may be a popular topping, but it’s a major source of sodium and unhealthy fats. All the salt in the crust and cheese don’t help, either.

The #3 spot goes to sandwiches… because they contain bread and – often – processed/cured meats. Which may help explain why cold cuts and other cured meats take the #4 slot.

#5 goes to soups. Yup. Healthy, good-for-you-in-winter soups. They’re jam-packed with sodium

In the #6 spot, we find burritos and tacos. The growing Hispanic population is making some fairly unhealthy options very popular.

Of course, restaurants usually don’t serve the same tacos and burritos a Mexican family might eat at home. And those packaged “kits” aren’t exactly low-sodium, either. You really have to go “old school” to get a healthy burrito.

Prepare for Some Real Surprises…

One of the big surprises of the CDC report is that salty snacks – like potato chips – are way down in 7th place.  But spots 8 – 10 will probably surprise you, too.

In 8th place comes chicken. Not just fried chicken. Plain old chicken. It’s followed by cheese in 9th place.

In 10th, we have eggs and omelets.

Cheese, chicken, and eggs are all “healthy” foods… but they add a lot of sodium to the average American’s diet.

So what can you do?

Eating for Heart Health

To begin with, build your meals around fresh vegetables. Eat lots of brightly colored veggies and leafy greens. But go light on root vegetables.

Also eat two or three servings of fresh fruit every day. Focus on fruits you eat with the skin on – like berries, apples, and pears.

Include a moderate amount of unsalted nuts – an ounce or so several times a week. And 3 – 4 servings of lean protein daily. Organic, grass-fed or free-range options are best.

You need sodium to survive. But too much can harm your heart. The more you eat fresh, organic, unprocessed foods, the better. Eating this way will also help control your blood sugar.

When you go fresh, you can even add a little table salt to get the iodine your body desperately needs.

About the Author: Jason Kennedy is a celebrated investigative health writer and the author of The X-Factor Revolution and Beyond the Blue Zone. With over 10 years of experience working with today’s leading alternative and anti-aging doctors, Jason shares his insider status and access to the latest breakthroughs with thousands of readers from around world.


Quader, Z.S., et al, “Sodium Intake Among Persons Aged ≥2 Years — United States, 2013–2014,” Weekly. Mar 31, 2017; 66(12); 324–238.


© Copyright 2017 Discovery Health Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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How To Avoid Dying in the Hospital

Hospitals are supposed to be places of healing. But an awful lot of people die in – or shortly after leaving – the hospital. But what if you could cut your risk of becoming a mortality statistic?

You can. In the next few moments, I’ll reveal three ways to increase your chances of surviving a hospital stay. But first, you may be interested in what brought this up in the first place…

A Small Shift That Makes a Big Difference

A recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine looked at patient deaths among more than 1.7 million patients. The researchers looked at the 30-day survival rate for patients admitted during two periods.

The doctors chose similar patients admitted for similar health issues. Some were admitted during unannounced hospital inspection weeks. Others were admitted in the weeks before or after inspections.

You see, a group called the Joint Commission (JC) accredits most – but not all – U.S. hospitals. The JC periodically sends survey teams to accredited hospitals. These teams make sure the hospitals meet the minimum standard for accreditation.

The study looked at 1,984 hospitals over four years. And they found a small, but significant, difference. The overall risk of dying dropped an average of almost two-tenths of a percent during inspection weeks. In large teaching hospitals, the drop was almost a full half-percent.

Now, that may not seem like much, but there were 36.5 million U.S. hospital stays in 2012. Two-tenths of one percent of 36.5 million is 730,000. That’s how many lives might be saved each year. If only hospitals performed as well every week as they do during inspections.

Obviously, you can’t schedule hospital visits during unannounced inspections. But, I wondered, are there other ways to cut your risk? The answer is yes.

Step 1: Choose an Accredited Hospital

Not all hospitals are equal. As I mentioned, the Joint Commission accredits most U.S. hospitals. But not all. In fact, 18% of U.S. hospitals – about 1,000 in all – are not accredited.

Which means you have no assurance they meet the minimum standard of care.

Does accreditation matter? According to a 2011 study in the Journal of Hospital Medicine, it does. The study looked at overall hospital performance from 2004 and followed up for five years.

Accredited hospitals scored higher on initial quality. They also improved more over five years than unaccredited hospitals. And wouldn’t you prefer a higher-scoring hospital for your care?

Step 2: Go High-Volume

Let’s say your $60,000 luxury car starts making an odd noise. If you’re like most people, you want somebody who knows what they’re doing working under the hood. So you take it to the dealership – or a qualified garage that specializes in your brand.

The logic is obvious. They work on these cars every day. So you know they’ll likely find – and fix – the problem quickly.

The same goes for hospital care.

In 2013, Italian scientists searched through thousands of studies and reviews. They found 47 reviews that compared success rates among hospitals that performed procedures often or rarely.

Overall, they found pretty strong evidence that hospitals where procedures are done most often also offer the highest chance of a good outcome. The procedures included coronary bypasses, cancer surgeries, heart attacks, repair of hip fractures, and more.

Generally speaking, your risk is lower when you go to a hospital where your procedure is done most often.

Step 3: Try a Teaching Hospital for Your Heart

Finally, major teaching hospitals may give you an extra edge. Especially if your heart is concerned.

That’s what Harvard researchers found when they compared results at on-teaching hospitals vs. small and major teaching hospitals. Results were better at large teaching hospitals for heart failure, heart attack and stroke.

Big teaching hospitals also sent patients home sooner after a heart attack.

Of course, your best bet is to stay healthy. But as you get older, chances are you’ll make a trip or two to the hospital. But if you choose where you go wisely, you can really cut your risk of becoming a statistic.

About the Author: Jason Kennedy is a celebrated investigative health writer and the author of The X-Factor Revolution and Beyond the Blue Zone. With over 10 years of experience working with today’s leading alternative and anti-aging doctors, Jason shares his insider status and access to the latest breakthroughs with thousands of readers from around world.


Weiss, A.J. and Elixhauser, A., “Overview of Hospital Stays in the United States, 2012,” Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Oct 2014.

Barnett, M.L., et al, “Patient Mortality During Unannounced Accreditation Surveys at US Hospitals,” JAMA Internal Medicine. Mar 20, 2017; doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.9685.

Schmaltz, S.P., et al, “Hospital Performance Trends on National Quality Measures and the Association With Joint Commission Accreditation,” Journal of Hospital Medicine. 2011; 6(8): 454-461.

Amato, L., et al, “Volume and health outcomes: evidence from systematic reviews and from evaluation of Italian hospital data,” Epidemiol Prev. Mar-Jun 2013; 37(2-3 Suppl 2): 1-100.

Polanczyk, C.A., et al, “Hospital outcomes in major teaching, minor teaching, and nonteaching hospitals in New York state,” Am J Med. Mar 2002; 112(4): 255-261.

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How Big Pharma Is Robbing You Blind

If you take one of the world’s top 20 best-selling drugs, you pay about 3x more than someone in Britain… 6x more than a patient in Brazil… and up to 16x more than you would in India.

Does it cost 16x more to make a drug in the U.S. than in India? No. And it doesn’t cost 6x more than in Brazil… or 3x the cost in Britain.

So what’s going on here? Why are patients in the U.S. being charged so much more for the exact same drugs? And what can you do about it?

Hang on… because you’re about to take a wild ride through Big Pharma’s underbelly. And – trust me – you’ll need a barf bag.

Case in Point: Daraprim

A couple of years ago, Martin Shkreli was the most despised man in America. Why? Because, as the head of Turing Pharmaceuticals, he raised the price of Daraprim – an anti-infective drug – by over 50 times.

This life-saving drug was $13.50 a pill. Overnight, Shkreli raised the price to a whopping $750 a pill. Why? Because he could.

The need for Dararim is relatively small. But for the few thousand a year who need it, Daraprim is the difference between life and death. For these people, a jump from $1,700 a bottle to $75,000 a bottle can be a death sentence.

There was no rational reason for driving the price so high. But Turing has a monopoly on the drug. So they can charge whatever they want. And financially raping consumers in a life-or-death situation was apparently too tempting to pass up.

 CNN reports Turing as saying they were trying to “balance patient access to our existing drugs with investment in research and value generation for our shareholders.”

If this were an isolated case, maybe we could move on. But it’s not. It’s just the most notorious of many similar moves. Arbitrary price hikes on life-saving drugs has become an industry standard, as Big Pharma tries to milk every last penny out of its investments.

Along with these massive, money-grabbing price hikes come the excuses. As Turing claimed, “investment in research” was an important driver of price increases.

But is it really? Let’s look at the numbers.

Where Big Pharma Is Really Putting Its Money

For decades, drug companies have used research costs as an excuse for the high drug prices. But the truth looks a little different.

What does Big Pharma really spend its money on? Marketing.

The drug industry spends $3 billion a year in the U.S. marketing directly to consumers. But they spend $24 billion marketing to doctors. Because they know you’ll take whatever your doctor tells you to take.

How does this $27 billion compare to R&D budgets? It’s a lot bigger.

According to GlobalData, a healthcare research firm, 9 of the 10 biggest drug companies spend more on marketing than on R&D.

  • Johnson & Johnson spent $17.5B on marketing in 2013. That same year, they spent only $8.2B on research and development.
  • Novartis spent a third more on marketing than R&D.
  • Pfizer’s marketing budget was nearly double its R&D expenses that year.

Roche was the only top-ten drug company that spent more on R&D than marketing in 2013. And R&D spending only topped marketing by a measly 3%.

And how does Big Pharma use its marketing money to sway your doctor to prescribe its drugs?

Your Health for Sale… for the Price of a Pizza

Drug companies spend a lot on trinkets such as pens, flying disks, stress balls, and other items emblazoned with their product logos.

They also invest in “education” for health professionals. Chances are, many – if not most – of your doctor’s continuing education requirements are met by drug company seminars and conferences.

It’s a sweet deal, too. Doctors often attend “conferences” at resorts for free or a nominal fee… and wind up with plenty of time for golf, amusement parks, and other recreation.

But one of Big Pharma’s most effective weapons is insanely cheap. It’s meals.

Drug company sales reps regularly buy lunch for doctors and their staffs. Even small practices may get a free lunch once or twice a week. And it works.

Big Pharma also pays many doctors directly. The payments may be for “consulting” or other services. But they have a disproportionate effect.

According to watchdog ProPublica, studies show doctors who take money from Drug Companies are far more likely to push their patron’s product on their patients. Even when there are far less expensive generics available.

But there’s one more way Big Pharma gets you. And it’s possibly the most disturbing of all.

Congress for Sale… at Your Expense

There’s one other little problem in getting you affordable drugs.

The United States Congress.

You see, almost every developed nation negotiates drug prices for citizens in programs like Medicare and Medicaid. But not in the U.S.

Congress passed a law banning Medicare and Medicaid from negotiating with drug companies. So they have to accept whatever price the drug companies decide on.

If this sounds like lunacy to you, I won’t argue. Almost a third of drug spending in the U.S. comes from Medicare. With that large a share of the market, Medicare could easily bring drug prices down to European levels.

But Big Pharma’s lobby has so much influence, Congress won’t let it happen. And it’s all at your expense.

Still, you can fight back.

Congress Listens When They Have To

If you want to frighten you Congressman/woman, just make them think they may not be re-elected. Keeping this cushy job seems to be priority 1 for most members of Congress.

You can leverage this fear to your advantage. Contact your representatives in Washington and let them know you’re not happy. Let them know your vote will go elsewhere if they don’t address the problem. If enough people speak out, Congress will act.

You can have an effect on a local level, too.

When your doctor prescribes a non-generic drug, ask him or her why. Ask which drug companies he or she has accepted gifts or money from. An honest doctor will tell you. If they hesitate – or refuse – maybe you need another doctor.

About the Author: Jason Kennedy is a celebrated investigative health writer and the author of The X-Factor Revolution and Beyond the Blue Zone. With over 10 years of experience working with today’s leading alternative and anti-aging doctors, Jason shares his insider status and access to the latest breakthroughs with thousands of readers from around world.


Hirschler, B., “Exclusive – Transatlantic divide: how U.S. pays three times more for drugs,” Reuters.com. Oct 12, 2015.

Mclean, R., “Martin Shkreli on drug price hike: ‘$1 billion here we come,’” Money.CNN.com. Feb 3, 2016.

Swanson, A., “Big pharmaceutical companies are spending far more on marketing than research,” The Washington Post. Feb 11, 2015.

Jones, R.G., “Another Study Finds Link Between Pharma Money and Brand-name Prescribing,” ProPublica.org. May 9, 2016.

Cubanski, J. and Neuman, T., “Searching for Savings in Medicare Drug Price Negotiations,” Kaiser Family Foundatoin. Jan 23, 2017.


© Copyright 2017 Discovery Health Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Doctor’s Rarely Mention This Until It’s Too Late

1 in 4 Adults Suffer With This Serious Medical Problem…
But Doctors Rarely Mention It Till It’s Too Late

Imagine for a moment a medical issue that affects 1 in 4 adults… with the numbers skewed heavily against adults of retirement age. A medical issue that can rob you of your independence… land you in a nursing home for life… or even end your life years early.

There’s a 1-in-4 chance you’ll suffer with this problem. Perhaps from a fairly young age. But your doctor probably won’t bring it up until you have it. Even though many cases – if not most – could be easily avoided.

Even if you subscribe to health newsletters, there’s a pretty good chance you haven’t read about this problem there, either. Why? Because it’s not sexy. But it is serious. Heck; anything that can steal your independence is serious.

And for millions of adults, the solution is so insanely simple.

The Epidemic Nobody Talks About

Doctors tend to address fear more than reality. For example, men in the U.S. have a 14% chance of developing prostate cancer. But virtually every man hears about it from his doctor.

You have about an 11% chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease… but everybody’s talking about it.

So when there’s a 25% risk of a health issue, don’t you think you should be concerned? Don’t you think someone should be talking about it?

This issue isn’t deadly as often as prostate cancer. It may not steal your independence as consistently as Alzheimer’s. But recent studies show it diminishes social function and lowers quality of life. And it involves pain, hospitalizations… and sometimes death.

And while prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s disease are difficult to deal with, this problem can often be solved with insane ease.

Just get new shoes.

Don’t Get Stopped in Your Tracks

Two new studies from Spain highlight just how serious the issue of foot pain can be. The studies found…

  • 83% of seniors wear the wrong shoes
  • Up to 87% of seniors suffer with serious foot problems
  • 73% have nerve-related foot pain

The researchers also discovered that simply wearing the right size shoe can make a big difference.

You see, as you get older, your feet change. You lose some of the fat and muscle that pad the bottom of your feet. Your feet tend to get wider. And you may even wind up with two different size feet.

But if you’ve worn a size 9 all your life, you’ll probably stick with a size 9. Even if one – or both – of your feet has become a 9-1/2.

A Welsh study from 2008 discovered a heel of just 1-3/4” was enough to throw more mature women off balance. This can lead to falls… and potentially serious injuries. The same study also found soft-soled shoes made walking more difficult. Again, this can lead to falls and injury.

Other studies found orthotics and custom insoles can reduce pain, ease stress on joints, and cut the risk of falls.

One More Way to Hang on to Your Independence

I know a lot of you ladies won’t appreciate this. As pretty as they may make you feel, high heels are not your friends. Study results vary, but even the most generous results show high heels lead to more foot pain.

Let’s be honest here. If you’re in pain, you’ll move around less. So the best-case scenario is that high heels are severely limiting.

But plenty of studies say they’re more than that.

A 2016 international study found high heels boost instability at the ankle. Which raises your risk of accidents. And a review of studies determined high heels may be linked to bunion problems, foot/ankle pain, and a higher risk of injuries.

Your bottom line? It’s your independence that’s at risk here. Wearing “sensible” shoes – with lower heels and a firm sole can cut your risk of foot pain and injury. Custom orthotics may help compensate for changes that lead to foot pain and restrictions on your mobility.

Finally, don’t let pride keep you out of the podiatrist’s office. Or keep you in shoes that don’t fit any more. It’s your independence that’s at stake here. Sure, foot pain isn’t sexy… but ignoring it can have dire consequences.

About the Author: Jason Kennedy is a celebrated investigative health writer and the author of The X-Factor Revolution and Beyond the Blue Zone. With over 10 years of experience working with today’s leading alternative and anti-aging doctors, Jason shares his insider status and access to the latest breakthroughs with thousands of readers from around world.


López-López, D., et al, “Impact of shoe size in a sample of elderly individuals,” Rev Assoc Med Bras (1992). Nov 2016;62(8): 789-794.

López-López, D., et al, “Impact of shoe size in a sample of elderly individuals,” Rev Assoc Med Bras (1992). Nov 2016; 62(8): 789-794.

Menant, J.C., et al, “Effects of footwear features on balance and stepping in older people,” Gerontology. 2008; 54(1): 18-23.

Riskowski, J., et al, “Arthritis, foot pain and shoe wear: current musculoskeletal research on feet,” Curr Opin Rheumatol. Mar 2011; 23(2): 148-155.

Hatton, A.L., et al, “Footwear interventions: a review of their sensorimotor and mechanical effects on balance performance and gait in older adults,” J Am Podiatr Med Assoc. Nov-Dec 2013; 103(6): 516-533.

Borchgrevink, G.E., et al, “Does the use of high-heeled shoes lead to fore-foot pathology? A controlled cohort study comprising 197 women,” Foot Ankle Surg. Dec 2016; 22(4): 239-243.

Sun, D., et al, “Effect of Heel Heights on Female Postural Control During Standing on a Dynamic Support Surface With Sinusoidal Oscillations,”  J Mot Behav. Sep 2016; 2(1-7).

Barnish, M.S. and Barnish, J., “High-heeled shoes and musculoskeletal injuries: a narrative systematic review,” BMJ Open.Jan 13, 2016; 6(1): e010053.


© Copyright 2017 Discovery Health Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Soy’s Dirty Secret – And How To Beat It

Everybody “knows” soybeans are good for you. They’re loaded with protein and raising soybeans is gentler on the environment than raising animal protein.

Unfortunately, what everybody “knows” is wrong.

Soy may arguably leave a lesser environmental footprint… but it’s definitely not good for you. Not unless it’s processed the traditional way. And that happens very little these days.

You see, soy contains anti-nutrients. And they can cancel out any benefits soy may offer. Here’s what you need to know before you start chowing down on this health food.

This Plant Is Not People Food

The Chinese have been eating soy forever, right? Not really. For countless generations, they used it to enrich the soil between harvests. Chinese farmers knew that planting soy – then plowing it under – enriched the soil.

Basically, soy was a cheap and easy way to ensure a better harvest of their real crops.

Eventually, someone discovered that boiling soybeans made them edible for livestock. So farmers planted soy… harvested the beans for cattle feed… and then plowed the plants under to enrich the soil for real crops.

This tradition made its way to Japan. Then, about 1,000 years ago, soldiers made an accidental discovery.

According to legend, a famous general’s staff was boiling soybeans to feed to their horses. It was late at night, after a long day of battle.

Suddenly, an alarm was raised. The enemy had launched a rare nighttime attack. The general and his staff broke camp. Knowing their horses were already overworked and hungry, they dumped the soybeans into rice-straw sacks and headed for safety.

The next day, the weary soldiers opened the sacks to feed their horses. The soybeans had become sticky, and smelled slightly sweet. They tasted the beans and were surprised… they were good.

This is the legend of the discovery of natto, the first fermented soy food.

Bacteria Turn Non-food Into Food

What these soldiers – and countless generations after them – didn’t know was bacteria had begun to ferment the soybeans. And the fermentation process made the beans safe for people to eat.

The fermentation process eliminates most of the anti-nutrients in the soy. And, in the case of natto, triggers production of vitamin K and nattokinase – a unique enzyme linked to improved blood flow.

But it’s breaking down the anti-nutrients that concerns us today.

Soybeans contain protease inhibitors, which make proteins less digestible. They also contain phytates, which block absorption of key minerals. And these are just two of at least four anti-nutrients in soy.

Soybeans also contain phytoestrogens – substances that mimic estrogen. These chemicals suppress testosterone production. Which can be a serious issue for men.

The traditional fermentation process clears out almost all the anti-nutrients in soy. But natural fermentation is too slow for modern food producers. So most soy sold in the U.S. isn’t fermented naturally… and thus still contains high levels of anti-nutrients.

Naturally fermented soy – such as natto – provides plenty of protein without the side of anti-nutrients that makes most soy products a very bad deal.

Should You Eat Soy Foods?

Products such as soy flour, soy nuts, most tofu and soy milk, and soy sprouts are unfermented. They contain a full complement of anti-nutrients. That means you’ll get less protein, absorb fewer key minerals, and possibly lower your testosterone levels.

Some soy milk and tofu products are made with fermented soybeans. But if the label doesn’t specifically say so, assume the soy is unfermented.

By definition, natto, miso, and tempeh are fermented. These soy foods contain far fewer anti-nutrients, and typically will deliver more useable protein per gram.

Finally, be wary of soy sauces. Traditional soy sauce is fermented. But fewer and fewer makers are using traditional fermentation. Use tamari instead. This “original” soy sauce is made from miso “run-off,” and is thus made from fermented soy.

About the Author: Jason Kennedy is a celebrated investigative health writer and the author of The X-Factor Revolution and Beyond the Blue Zone. With over 10 years of experience working with today’s leading alternative and anti-aging doctors, Jason shares his insider status and access to the latest breakthroughs with thousands of readers from around world.


Daniel, K.T., “The Whole Soy Story: the Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food,” American Nutritional Association. 2005; 38(2). (Review)

Daniel, K., “Plants Bite Back,” WestonAPrice.org. Mar 29, 2010.

Messina, M., “Effect of Fermented Soyfoods on the Microbiota,” SoyConnection.com

Mukherjee, R., et al, “Role of Fermentation in Improving Nutritional Quality of Soybean Meal — A Review,” Asian-Austalasian Journal of Animal Sciences. Dec 2015.

Adeyemo, S.M. and Onilude, A.A., “Enzymatic Reduction of Anti-nutritional Factors in Fermenting Soybeans by Lactobacillus plantarum Isolates from Fermenting,” Nigerian Food Journal. 2013; 31(2): 84–90.

Lee, J.O., et al, “New fermentation technique for complete digestion of soybean protein,” J Microbiol Biotechnol. Nov 2007; 17(11): 1904-1907.


© Copyright 2017 Discovery Health Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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