How Big Pharma Is Ripping You Off

Drugs save tens of thousands of people every year. And help millions more live normal lives. But there’s a dark side to this feel-good story.

As often as a drug helps someone, Big Pharma picks someone else’s pocket. Heck… Most of the time, Big Pharma picks the pockets of those their products help, too.

Drug companies have two main allies in this racket. Here’s what you need to know to avoid becoming a victim…

Why Doctors Often Prescribe by Name Brand Rather Than Purpose

For most conditions, your doctor could choose from any number of drugs. But a remarkable number of doctors prescribe specific name-brand drugs. Why?

To begin with, many get a lot of their drug information from drug company salespeople. They also get a lot of perks. And a new study reveals just how easily many doctors are swayed.

A brand-new study from Boston Medical Center shows that doctors often lean towards a particular company’s drug after receiving just a free meal or two.

The study looked at 369,139 doctors. They found that Big Pharma spent very little to influence prescriptions for opioids.

Doctors who received any form of “opioid-related” payment were more likely to prescribe opioids. In fact, those who took payments in 2014 prescribed – on average – 9.3% more opioids the following than doctors who didn’t.

The most common bribe? A meal valued at an average of $13.00.

Think about that for a moment. Tens of thousands of doctors can be influenced to prescribe highly addictive drugs for a mere $13.00.

Of course, Big Pharma bribes doctors to prescribe a lot more than just opioids. They push for whatever is the “latest and greatest.” With meals, conferences, merchandise… whatever it takes.

Why the latest and greatest? The answer is simple: Money.

The “Newer Is Better” Myth

How many times have you heard an advertiser say, “New and Improved!” Dozens? Maybe even hundreds?

Advertisers love to imply that the latest version of something is the greatest. Because that gets people to buy the new product. Even if they have an older version that’s perfectly serviceable.

Big Pharma is no different. And they have an incentive that many companies don’t: patents.

The race in the drug world is to devise a new drug for a condition before their patent on the old version runs out.

Patented drugs are where the money is. When your patent expires, anyone can make and sell that drug. And generic versions of a drug normally sell for a fraction of the cost of the name-brand version.

In other words, your billion-dollar baby suddenly becomes an also-ran.

The solution? A “new and improved” drug that debuts before the patent runs out on the old one. Add in a sales blitz for the new drug, and your profits are assured for another few years.

The problem? While some new drugs are clearly better than older versions, most aren’t.

Way back in 1999, doctors from across Europe compared new blood pressure drugs against older ones. They looked at 6,614 mature adults on blood pressure drugs and discovered…

The new, expensive drugs were no more effective than the older ones. Drops in blood pressure were almost identical. So were the numbers for fatal and non-fatal stroke and heart disease. And for other heart-related deaths.

In other words, the big difference was the price.

And this wasn’t an article in some obscure journal. It was published in Britain’s pre-eminent source of medical information, The Lancet.

Italian researchers compared old and new antiepileptic drugs. Some of the drugs were as much as 70 years old. What they found was the new drugs were no more effective than the older ones… although some of the newer drugs were better tolerated.

But, overall, the rationale for switching to new, expensive drugs was limited.

In 2005, Canadian researchers reported on a survey of 1,147 drugs introduced between 1990 and 2003.

Of those drugs, 1005 – almost 88% – “did not provide a substantial improvement over existing drug products.”

That’s right. Almost 9 out of 10 new drugs really weren’t an improvement. Except to the drug companies’ bottom lines.

What’s even worse is who the drug companies have recruited to help them sell these new drugs.

Big Pharma’s Unwitting Sales Associate: You

Did you know only two developed countries allow drug companies to market directly to consumers? Only New Zealand and the U.S. let Big Pharma put ads on TV, in magazines, and on the radio or Internet.

Why? Because most countries realize doctors can be swayed by their patient’s demands. And drug ads aren’t as regulated as you might think.

For example, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) doesn’t review or approve drug ads before they run. If they happen to see an ad they believe is inaccurate, they write (yes… write) to the advertiser and ask them to stop running the ad.

Meanwhile, millions of impressionable people have seen the ad… and some of them have asked their doctor why they’re not getting the latest drug for their condition. Many doctors will buckle simply to keep their patent happy. Your doctor wants to get the job done… whether it’s with drug X or drug Y.

What you’ll never see, though, is an ad for a drug whose patent is close to – or past – its expiration date. Because there’s little profit in that drug. Big Pharma wants you hooked on the latest, most expensive option. Because that’s how they make their billions.

They know just a tiny handful of patients will actually look into the drugs they advertise. Even fewer will dig deep enough to discover how many of them – nearly 9 out of 10 – perform no better than older, less expensive options.

So, what can you do?

Protect Yourself From Big Pharma’s Assault on Your Wallet

Every business wants your money. But drug companies are in a unique position to drain you dry. Because you sometimes need their products to maintain your health.

So you have to be extra-vigilant when your doctor gives you a prescription.

First, know if your doctor accepts meals, gifts, or other perks from drug companies. A growing number of doctors are banning Big Pharma’s sales reps from their offices. That’s a sign the doctor will only prescribe what he/she genuinely feels is necessary.

Always ask your doctor why they’ve chosen a brand name drug. Ask if a generic version – if available – will do. If not, is there an equivalent drug that has a generic version?

Finally, never ask your doctor to prescribe a certain drug because you’ve seen it advertised. Studies show these advertisements can be confusing or misleading to the average consumer.

And, don’t forget: 9 out of 10 new drugs offer little – if any – advantage over older, cheaper options. Unless you have one of the few exceptions, you’ll just be wasting a lot of your hard-earned money.

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.


“Marketing to Physicians by Opioid Pharma Companies Leads to More Opioid Prescriptions,” Boston Medical Center. May 14, 2018.

Hansson, L., et al, “Randomised trial of old and new antihypertensive drugs in elderly patients,” The Lancet. Nov 20, 1999. 34(9192): 1751-1756.

Prucca, E., “Marketed New Antiepileptic Drugs: Are They Better Than Old-Generation Agents?” Therapeutic Drug Monitoring. Feb 2002; 24(1): 74-80.

Morgan, S.G., et al, “’Breakthrough’ drugs and growth in expenditure on prescription drugs in Canada,” BMJ. 2005; 331: 815

He, S., “Direct-to-Consumer Drug Advertising,” AJN. Jan 2015; 115(1): 11.


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The Easiest Anti-Aging Trick for Your Heart

Most doctors are pretty quick to point out the faults in alternative medicine. But when it comes to their own limitations, they seem to be wearing blinders.

For example, most M.D.s don’t think twice before giving out nutritional advice… even though they’re technically not qualified to do so.

The typical background for a registered dietician is a 4-year degree in nutrition, dietetics, or a related field as a first step. That pretty much blocks out most M.D.s.

U.S. News & World Report found less than a third of U.S. medical schools provide the minimum suggested class time in nutrition. Which is a measly 25 hours. Over four years of medical school.

So, when doctors bash supplements – which they often do – take it with a grain of salt. Nutrition is not an area of expertise for most doctors.

Case in point? The one nutrient every adult over 50 should probably take for their heart.

Your Heart Is a Machine… and Machines Need Fuel

Your heart is a pump. A fantastical one, but a pump nonetheless. And, like all machines, your pump needs care and maintenance. And fuel.

Proper care and maintenance include regular exercise, keeping your weight down, getting plenty of sleep, etc. Fuel is simpler. It’s just one thing: ATP.

ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is fuel for every muscle in your body. And your heart is one big muscle.

Your body uses a process called “cellular respiration” to make this fuel. And cellular respiration takes place in tiny structures called mitochondria. In simple terms, these little energy factories take glucose (sugar) and oxygen and convert it to fuel – ATP.

Your muscles – including the heart – are packed with mitochondria when you’re young. But, as you get older, some of these energy factories begin to shut down. And your energy supply begins to drop.

One key reason? As you age, your body makes less CoQ10.

CoQ10 Fights the Effects of Age

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10 for short) is a vitamin-like substance that plays two key roles in your mitochondria. First, it’s critical to the electron transfer process. No electron transfer, no ATP production.

Second, CoQ10 is also a key antioxidant.

You see cellular respiration produces free radicals. Think of them as the carbon dioxide you breathe out during your respiration cycle. Except this is happening on the cellular level.

CoQ10 is uniquely positioned to boost your energy levels. Because it makes energy production possible… and neutralizes the dangerous byproducts of the process.

The age-related drop in CoQ10 puts you at a disadvantage. Your body responds by shutting down some mitochondria. Your cells produce less energy. And your muscles – including your heart – become less efficient.

This change is gradual. And reversible. Because CoQ10 supplements can make a difference. Just take a look at a few of the studies on CoQ10 published since the end of 2015…

Recent Research: CoQ10 Offers Multiple Heart-Health Benefits

  • July 2016 – Diabetics who took CoQ10 for just 8 weeks had lower levels of key markers of inflammation than those taking a placebo.
  • March 2017 – Taking CoQ10 improves antioxidant status in dialysis patients.
  • June 2017 – A study published in the journal Heart Vessels reveals the potency of CoQ10. Heart patients admitted to the hospital with low CoQ10 levels were far more likely to die than those with higher CoQ10 levels.
  • July 2017 – Doctors in China review 14 clinical trials on CoQ10 in heart failure. They find taking CoQ10 lowers the risk of death and boosts exercise capacity.

Earlier studies show equally impressive results. Like a study published in 2004 in The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.

In this study, patients facing heart surgery fared better if they took CoQ10 before their operations. Cellular respiration improved, and they showed fewer markers of free radical damage.

Taking CoQ10 is easy. It’s readily available, safe, and not too expensive. But you need to know a couple of details before you start taking it…

How to Get the Most Out of CoQ10

Not all CoQ10 supplements are created equal.

To begin with there are two forms of CoQ10. Ubiquinone is the traditional supplement form of this nutrient. But it’s not very bioavailable.

You’ll absorb far more of the ubiquinol form – I’ve seen number from 6x to 8x more. But ubiquinol is traditionally less stable. A Japanese doctor – Dr. Kaneka – discovered a way to stabilize ubiquinol. So the words “Kaneka Ubiquinol” on the product label generally assure maximum potency.

Second, CoQ10 supplements don’t stay in your system for long periods. You’ll probably get the biggest benefit by splitting your dose between morning and evening.

Taking 50 mg to 100 mg twice a day should deliver enough CoQ10 to boost your overall levels. And to provide your heart with an extra layer of defense.

If you’re taking any medications, check with your pharmacist to see if there are any conflicts. I say “pharmacist,” because drug interactions is another area most doctors aren’t fully qualified to address.

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.


Colino, C., “How Much Do Doctors Learn About Nutrition?” US News & World Report. Dec 7, 2016.

Mirhashemi, S.M., et al, “The effects of coenzyme Q10 supplementation on cardiometabolic markers in overweight type 2 diabetic patients with stable myocardial infarction,” ARYA Atheroscler. Jul 2016; 12(4): 158-165.

Rivara, M.B., et al, “Effect of Coenzyme Q10 on Biomarkers of Oxidative Stressand Cardiac Function in Hemodialysis Patients,” Am J Kidney Dis. Mar 2017; 69(3): 389-399.

Shimzu, M., et al, “Low circulating coenzyme Q10 during acute phase is associated with inflammation, malnutrition, and in-hospital mortality in patients admitted to the coronary care unit,” Heart Vessels. Jun 2017; 32(6): 668-673.

Lei, L. and Liu, Y., “Efficacy of coenzyme Q10 in patients with cardiac failure: a meta- analysis of clinical trials,” BMC Cardiovasc Disord. Jul 24, 2017; 17(1): 196.

Rosenfeldt, F., et al, “Coenzyme Q10 therapy before cardiac surgery improves mitochondrial function and in vitro contractility of myocardial tissue,” Jrnl Thorac Cardiovas Surg. 2004; 129(1): 25-32.


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Apple Cider Vinegar: Boon or B.S.?

Apple cider vinegar has been a popular home remedy for centuries. And it’s been getting a lot of press lately. Even a certain popular TV doctor recently featured it on his show.

The problem is, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. There’s a lot less science backing apple cider vinegar (ACV) than you might think. It also has drawbacks and dangers you probably won’t hear anywhere else.

I bring you the truth on mainstream medicine and Big Pharma. I wouldn’t be a friend if I didn’t do the same with alternative medicine.

Before you jump on the ACV bandwagon, here’s what you should know…

Lots of Claims… Little Proof

I looked up all 64 references to ACV in the PubMed database. I also went through the first ten pages of results for ACV – 200 references – in Google Scholar. I found only 19 human studies, case reports, and analyses.

Three of the 19 concerned topical application of ACV. All three journal articles were reports of chemical burns caused by applying ACV to the skin.

A 2015 case in San Diego was typical. A teenager found instructions online for removing a birthmark with ACV. It didn’t go well.

Doctors in The Netherlands reported on the case of a young woman who drank ACV for weight loss. Over time, it didn’t do much for her weight… but it did ruin her teeth.

A fifth report comes from doctors at the University of Arkansas. After seeing a case of damage to a patient’s throat from taking ACV tablet, they analyzed eight of these products. They found the strength and quantity of the acid content varied significantly. And even questioned if the products actually contained real ACV at all.

Skin burns, tooth erosion, throat damage… Not exactly what you’d expect from an old home remedy. It’s not an especially strong acid, but ACV is acidic.

Still, I found evidence ACV may deliver some health benefits.

Help for Diabetes and Blood Sugar Control?

I found six studies and analyses covering ACV, blood sugar and diabetes. The results were somewhat mixed.

A 2009 study found taking vinegar daily lowered A1c – a marker of blood sugar levels – by 0.16%. That’s a fairly modest improvement… but an improvement.

A 2013 study published in The Journal of Functional Foods had similar results. This study – from some of the same authors as the 2009 study – showed vinegar helps lower fasting blood sugar levels.

I found one other study and a review of studies that came to similar conclusions. However, a 2015 review of studies found the evidence for ACV was weak at best. The author also noted some results may have been skewed by the foods the subjects ate.

On the other hand, slowed gastric emptying is fairly common in cases of diabetes. A 2007 study in BMC Gastroenterology found that ACV slows gastric emptying even further. Which could interfere with blood sugar control.

Other Possible Benefits… and Drawbacks

The other studies I found touched on several different subjects. Here’s a quick rundown…

  • A 2017 study found ACV is a potent anti-microbial. But it can kill cells at concentrations lower than those needed to kill some bacteria and fungi.
  • As a component in a proprietary chewing gum, ACV was effective against acid reflux.
  • Two studies looked at ACV’s effect on cholesterol – with opposite results. But one found people taking ACV lost weight more easily.
  • In 2017, doctors reported successfully treating a drug-resistant yeast infection with ACV.
  • Turkish scientists found topical ACV can ease the discomfort and embarrassment of varicose veins.
  • A 2014 study found ACV suppresses appetite… but nausea is a frequent side effect.

As you can see, ACV may not measure up to its reputation. I’m a big fan of alternative health. But I’m a bigger fan of what works. From what I found, apple cider vinegar’s benefits don’t always outweigh the drawbacks.

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.


Feldstein, S., et al, “Chemical Burn from Vinegar Following an Internet-based Protocol for Self-removal of Nevi,” J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. Jun 2015; 8(6): 50.

Gambon, D.L., et al, “Unhealthy weight loss. Erosion by apple cider vinegar,” Ned Tijdschr Tandheelkd. Dec 2012; 119(12): 589-591.

Hill, L.L., et al, “Esophageal injury by apple cider vinegar tablets and subsequent evaluation of products,” J Am Diet Assoc. Jul 2005; 105(7): 1141-1144.

Johnson, C.S., et al, “Preliminary evidence that regular vinegar ingestion favorably influences hemoglobin A1c values in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus,” Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. May 2009; 84(2): e15-e17.

Johnson, C.S., et al, “Vinegar ingestion at mealtime reduced fasting blood glucose concentrations in healthy adults at risk for type 2 diabetes,” Journal of Functional Foods. Oct 2013; (5)4: 2007-2011.

Kohn, J.B., “Is Vinegar an Effective Treatment for Glycemic Control or Weight Loss?” Jrnl Acad Nutr Diet. July 2015; 115(7): 1188.

Hlebowicz, J., et al, “Effect of apple cider vinegar on delayed gastric emptying in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus: a pilot study,” BMC Gastroenterol. Dec 20, 2007; 7: 46.

Gopal, J., et al, “Authenticating apple cider vinegar’s home remedy claims: antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral properties and cytotoxicity aspect,” Nat Prod Res. Dec 2017; 11:1-5.

Brown, R., et al, “Effect of GutsyGum(tm), A Novel Gum, on Subjective Ratings of Gastro Esophageal Reflux Following A Refluxogenic Meal,” J Diet Suppl. Jun 2015;12(2): 138-145.

Balliet, M. and Burke, J.R., “Changes in anthropometric measurements, body composition, blood pressure, lipid profile, and testosterone in patients participating in a low-energy dietary intervention,” J Chiropr Med. Mar 2013; 12(1): 3-14.

Ozen, B. and Baser, M., “Vaginal Candidiasis Infection Treated Using Apple Cider Vinegar: A Case Report,” Altern Ther Health Med. Nov 7, 2017. pii: AT5751.

Atik, D., et al, “-e Effect of External Apple Vinegar Application on Varicosity Symptoms, Pain, and Social Appearance Anxiety,” Ev Based Comp Alt Med. 2016; 2016, Article ID 6473678.

Darzi, J., et al, “Influence of the tolerability of vinegar as an oral source of short-chain fatty acids on appetite control and food intake,” Int Jrnl Obes. 2014; 38: 675-681.


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Busting the Statin Myth

One in five Americans between the ages of 40 and 75 currently take a statin drug. The most recent American Heart Association guidelines would add millions to that number.

But statins save countless lives, right? Interestingly, there’s evidence statins may cut your risk of a second heart attack. But, beyond that, the benefits are pretty hazy.

CNN reports some studies show statins don’t lower your risk of death at all. CNN’s reporter also quotes the editor-in-chief of JAMA Internal Medicine – Rita F. Redberg, M.D. – as saying, “People have a very exaggerated idea of the benefits.”

According to a 2015 analysis published in the World Journal of Cardiology, cholesterol’s part in heart disease – if any – is still open to debate. And they compare statin drugs’ effectiveness to a Mediterranean-style diet.

A Mediterranean-style eating plan, they point out, has been proven to significantly cut your risk of heart disease within months. Regardless of your cholesterol status.

The article’s authors also point out that the drop in heart-related deaths in the U.S. may not be due to the use of statins at all. The rise in statin use dovetails with anti-smoking campaigns, an emphasis on a healthier lifestyle, and other factors that affect heart disease risk.

At the same time, the risks of statin drugs have been downplayed. Statins appear to raise your risk of diabetes, muscle weakness, and even death (in the case of those with heart failure).

Here’s what you need to know if your doctor tells you to lower your cholesterol.

Pills Are Not Your Only Option

If your cholesterol numbers are high, your doctor will probably recommend taking a statin drug. It’s such a routine practice almost nobody ever thinks to question it. High cholesterol equals a lifetime on statins.

But why do doctors routinely prescribe statins? Aren’t there any alternatives?

Yes, there are. In fact, there are natural alternatives that are just as effective… and far safer. But most doctors don’t seem to even bother mentioning them anymore. Why?

  • First, because they’ve been trained to distrust natural alternatives. Big Pharma has a major influence on what’s taught in medical schools.
  • Second, doctors are constantly bombarded with drug company propaganda. Big Pharma bankrolls much of your doctor’s continuing medical education.
  • Third, drug companies ply doctors with plenty of gifts. From pens to free lunches to weekend seminars at golf resorts.
  • Finally, drugs are easy. People find taking a daily pill much easier than dropping a few pounds… working out five days a week… or eating a healthy diet. So doctors often fall back on drugs, because they get the job done – sort of – with minimal fuss.

But non-drug options are better. If you lose weight, you’ll look and feel better. If you work out regularly, you’ll discover reserves of untapped energy.

And you’ll avoid the side effects of statins. Because they can be more than a little scary.

Lowering Cholesterol the Big Pharma Way Comes With a Price

Taking a pill may be easy, but is it wise? A 2013 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology seems to say, “Maybe not.”

In this study, Danish researchers found people taking a popular statin drug became glucose intolerant – a sign of impending diabetes. Their CoQ10 levels also dropped. CoQ10 is critical for producing energy at the cellular level. Such as the energy needed to maintain a healthy heartbeat.

New research from Japan reveals statin drugs also block a form of vitamin K you need to keep your arteries flexible. The Japanese scientists actually claim stains raise your risk for heart disease by promoting hardening of the arteries.

According to England’s Express newspaper, one expert presented the evidence this way…

“These drugs should never have been approved for use. The long-term effects are devastating.”

So, if your cholesterol is high, what should you do?

A Little More Effort… A Lot More Safety

Yes; taking a pill is easy. But if that pill only swaps one health risk for another – or for several others – it won’t do you much good.

Instead, talk to your doctor about options.

Losing weight generally lowers “bad” cholesterol levels. So does exercise. Supplements such as garlic and red yeast rice may help, too.

Consider following a Mediterranean-style diet. Folks from France to Greece – and beyond – are passionate about their food. A Mediterranean-style diet offers a lower risk of heart disease without sacrificing flavor or enjoyment.

In most cases, you can lower cholesterol without resorting to dangerous statin drugs. Considering the risks, that’s a big win.

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.


Nedelman, M., “Should you take statins? Guidelines offer different answers,” CNN. Jan 1, 2018.

DuBroff, R. and de Lorgeril, M., “Cholesterol confusion and statin controversy,” World J Cardiol. Jul 26, 2015; 7(7): 404–409.

Larsen, S., et al, “Simvastatin effects on skeletal muscle: relation to decreased mitochondrial function and glucose intolerance,” J Am Coll Cardiol. Jan 8, 2013; 61(1): 44-53.

Johnston, L., “Statins CAN cause heart disease – Shock research warns drug risks hardened arteries,” Express.co.uk. Jan 10, 2016.


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Parkinson’s “Miracle” Proves to Be a Disaster…

What if there were a common health problem… and no known way to cure it? Would you rush a poorly proven drug through trials to deal with it? Even if you suspected the drug could result in many unnecessary deaths?

That seems to be the case with a new Parkinson’s drug called pimavanserin.

The drug is meant to deal with psychoses linked to Parkinson’s disease. A problem the FDA has no approved drugs to handle.

Pimavanserin (PVS) appears to be a bad gamble… one that’s cost many lives, thanks to the FDA’s fast-track process.

Here’s how desperation led to destruction with PVS.

Filling a Gap vs. Filling a Gap Safely

PVS was approved on the basis of one six-week study.

Let’s allow that to sink in for a moment.

People with a serious health condition – Parkinson’s disease – suffered from various psychoses. The situation was so dire; Uncle Sam approved a drug on the basis of a single 6-week study.

A study that had no other drugs to use as comparisons… that flunked three previous trials… and that still required a warning for it’s higher risk of death.

According to Uncle Sam’s own calculations…

  • PVS didn‘t have enough trials to qualify for approval
  • PVS barely reached 2/3 of the number of human “exposures” for consideration for approval
  • The study in question showed “minimally improved” status among participants.

And here’s a comforting fact: People taking PVS are 2.38 times more likely than those taking a placebo to have a “serious” adverse event – including death.

Which seems to say, patients may experience minimal relief… but run maximum risk. Not exactly an ideal situation.

In fact, the finding of the Medical Review for the FDA was “Do Not Approve.”

Don’t Worry… It Gets Even Worse

The FDA’s statistical review found that having 25% of the subjects ineligible to take part in the study was no big deal.

In spite of there not being enough studies… having only 2/3 the minimal number of human “exposures” required… and a significant number of adverse events.

The drug was approved. But only barely.

In spite of the FDA’s approval, members of the committee voiced reservations.

  • The committee chairperson noted there were safety concerns.
  • A University of Florida member of the committee noted she only voted “yes,” because there were no safe alternatives to the drug.
  • The FDA reviewer noted that 7 of every 91 patients could expect to respond to the drug treatment. Another five would experience severe side effects. And, of those five, one would die.

Reviewers classified benefits as “modest.” And many were worried with the small number of subjects in the one positive study.

CNN recently broke this story… noting the risk of death that’s more than doubled among those who take this drug. CNN reported one of the FDA’s committee members said, “I guess I’m hoping that the risks are going to be small…”

CNN reported, “In November, an analysis released by a nonprofit health care organization, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, warned that 244 deaths had been reported to the FDA between the drug’s launch and March 2017.”

In less than a year, this “miracle” has proven to be a disaster. And the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has proven to be at the forefront of every misstep along the way.

Your takeaway? You can’t trust Uncle Sam when it comes to your health. The FDA will side with Big Pharma more often than not. And you’ll be left hanging with “miracles” that turn into disasters faster than you can count.

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.


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Eshida, E., Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Application Number: 207318Orig1s000. Sep 1, 2015.

Fiore, K., “FDA Advisors Lukewarm on PD Psychosis Drug,” Medpage Today. Mar 29, 2016.

Ellis B. and Hicken, M., “FDA worried drug was risky; now reports of deaths spark concern,” CNN. Apr 9, 2018.


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Can Caring for Your Teeth Save Your Heart?

Our goal here at Discovery Health Publishing is to deliver answers to the questions that most concern you – our readers. For example, I recently answered a question readers had about herbs for menopause.

Another reader recently contacted me about the connection between oral health and heart health. Is the connection really there? she asked. And, if so, what’s the best way to defend your heart?

As you can probably imagine, the answer is not as simple as we’d like. But here’s what you should know about oral health and heart health. And how to get the strongest defenses available.

Are Oral Health and Heart Health Linked?

The short answer is “yes.” But, from there, things get a little cloudy.

Back in 2007, a University of Michigan professor tried to address this issue. Prof. Walter Loesche found a link… but saw several ways that link might operate.

Prof. Loesche found higher levels of certain bacteria related to gum disease in people with heart issues. Loesche also found studies show people with gum disease have higher levels of CRP – C-reactive protein – a marker of higher heart risk.

Research from the State University of New York, Buffalo, found DNA from as many as four damaging oral bacteria in people’s blood vessel walls. The University of Michigan team has also found DNA evidence of oral pathogens in “clogs” located in arteries.

These are just a few recent findings of a connection between oral health and heart health.

A 2013 study of 5,900 people found links between the risk of heart disease and oral health. In this study, people at higher risk of heart disease were also more likely to have oral health issues.

The authors couldn’t pinpoint a cause-and-effect situation. But there was a clear link between oral health and heart health.

According to reports from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), there is a link…

“People who have gum disease,” Michael Skilton of the University of Sydney told ABC, “are at about twice the risk of developing heart disease than people who don’t have gum disease.”

Skilton believes there’s evidence the bacteria that causes advanced gum disease – periodontitis – also promotes heart disease. For one thing, these bacteria may be involved in the formation of plaque build-up in your arteries.

So what’s the best way to cut your risk?

The Truth on Brushing, Flossing, and Oral Irrigation

Most dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice a day, plus flossing. Why? Not because of the evidence.

In fact, a 2008 analysis of studies by Dutch dentists came to a shocking conclusion. Most studies have found no real benefit to flossing. Flossing failed in most studies to reduce plaque or gingivitis in patients who brushed regularly.

Their final conclusion? “In light of the results of this comprehensive literature search and critical analysis, it is concluded that a routine instruction to use floss is not supported by scientific evidence.”

That same year, another Dutch team compared oral irrigation (with products such a “Waterpik”®) to brushing alone. The results were very similar to the flossing review.

After reviewing over 900 studies and papers, they found oral irrigation didn’t reduce plaque more than just brushing. And only a slight “trend” towards less gingivitis.

In other words, neither of these added activities seem to do much more than brushing alone.

Should You Do More Than Brush?

The bottom line here is that neither flossing nor oral irrigation will hurt you (unless you floss too aggressively). And each may offer a small boost to oral health.

Chances are your dentist recommends one or the other in addition to regular brushing. And it’s unlikely you’ll change their minds… even with copies of the studies in hand.

So it’s probably easier just to go along. After all, flossing is cheap and doesn’t take much time.

If you wear braces or have extensive bridgework, an oral irrigation device may be a better – though more expensive – option.

In the end, though, your best oral defense against heart trouble appears to be simply brushing twice a day for two minutes.

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.


“Real connection between oral health and heart disease,” University of Michigan. Apr 17, 2007.

Najafipour, H., et al, “Association of Oral Health and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors ‘Results from a Community Based Study on 5900 Adult Subjects,’ ” ISRN Cardiol. 2013; 2013: 782126.

Bullen, J., “Are healthy teeth linked to a healthy heart?” Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Nov 30, 2017.

Berchier, C.E., et al, “The efficacy of dental floss in addition to a toothbrush on plaque and parameters of gingival inflammation: a systematic review,” Int J Dent Hyg. Nov 2008; 6(4): 265-279.

Husseini, A., et al, “The efficacy of oral irrigation in addition to a toothbrush on plaque and the clinical parameters of periodontal inflammation: a systematic review,” Int J Dent Hyg. Nov 2008; 6(4): 304-314.


© Copyright 2018 Discovery Health Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Posted in Teeth

How the Nanny State Can Wreck Your Health

You may have seen the reports. California may require a cancer warning on coffee. And you may have been surprised to learn coffee causes cancer.

Well, that’s because it doesn’t.

In fact, many studies suggest just the opposite. Coffee may lower your risk of several types of cancer. Links between coffee and a higher cancer risk are very weak.

But that didn’t stop a judge in California from ruling coffee should carry a cancer warning.

Why? It’s a crazy story… and one you should know about.

How California Defends Citizens From Cancer

Back in 1986, Californians passed Proposition 65. The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act required warnings for chemicals known to cause cancer.

Warning labels popped up on thousands of products. But the law doesn’t require those labels to spell out the level of risk.

If a chemical may lead to 1 extra cancer case per 100,000 people over 70 years, it has to sport a warning.

That sets the bar pretty low. And it sets it at the same point regardless of risk. So chemicals with a high cancer risk carry the same label as those whose risk is low.

It’s not ideal, to say the least. And now the Nanny State wants that label slapped on coffee. Which paints a picture that drinking coffee may lead to cancer.

Why coffee? Because it contains a tiny amount of acrylamide. And high doses of acrylamide have been linked to cancer in lab rats.

Forcing Protection You Don’t Need

According to the National Cancer Institute, “…a large number of epidemiologic studies (both case-control and cohort studies) in humans have found no consistent evidence that dietary acrylamide exposure is associated with the risk of any type of cancer.”

Experts agree.

“This is an unfortunate ruling that demonizes coffee as a carcinogen,” says cancer expert Dr. Nigel Brockton, “when the overwhelming evidence in humans is for benefit or at least no detrimental effect.”

The Harvard Chan School of Public Health reports there’s good evidence coffee protects against several cancers.

Here’s just a small sample of that evidence…

Coffee Has Wide-Ranging Health Benefits

Study after study has found a link between coffee and cancer. But almost all have found coffee lowers your risk. For example…

  • In 2017, Italian doctors found women coffee drinkers have a lower risk of endometrial cancer – a cancer of the uterine lining.
  • A 2018 Italian study found women who regularly drink coffee have a lower risk of post-menopausal breast cancer.
  • The Journal of the National Cancer Institute reports drinking coffee may lower your risk of liver cancer.

Drinking coffee has also been linked to lower risks ranging from Parkinson’s disease to type II diabetes. But let’s just sum it up with the results of a review from The European Journal of Epidemiology

A multinational team looked at 31 studies on coffee and the risk of death. The studies included a total of 1,610,543 subjects. The scientists found drinking coffee lowered the risk of death for non-smokers…

  • From cancer (2%)
  • From heart disease (6%)
  • From all causes (6%)

These numbers may not seem very big. But can you think of an easier way to dodge a bullet? That morning cup of Joe does a lot more than just wake you up.

Your bottom line? Don’t believe the Nanny State’s scare stories. The benefits of drinking a moderate amount of coffee far outweigh the risks.

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.


“Acrylamide and Cancer Risk,” National Cancer Institute. Dec 5, 2017.

“Coffee Warning Label Conflicts With Public Health Guidance,” Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. April 2, 2018.

Lafranconi, A., et al, “Coffee Decreases the Risk of Endometrial Cancer: A Dose- Response Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies,” Nutrients. Nov 9, 2017; 9(11). pii: E1223.

Lafranconi, A., et al, “Coffee Intake Decreases Risk of Postmenopausal Breast Cancer: A Dose-Response Meta-Analysis on Prospective Cohort Studies,” Nutrients. Jan 23, 2018; 10(2). pii: E112.

Inoue, M., et al, “Influence of coffee drinking on subsequent risk of hepatocellular carcinoma: a prospective study in Japan,” J Natl Cancer Inst. Feb 16 2005; 97(4): 293-300.

Grosso, G., et al, “Coffee consumption and risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality in smokers and non-smokers: a dose-response meta-analysis,” Eur J Epidemiol. Dec 2016; 31(12):1191-1205.


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Posted in Cancer

Natural Menopause Solutions: Have We Got It All Wrong?

Not long ago, a reader of a certain age contacted me with a problem. She’d begun suffering hot flashes and night sweats. With the cancer connection, she didn’t want to consider hormone replacement therapy.

But she was overwhelmed by conflicting information on natural alternatives. There are so many studies to sort through… and so many opposing views to consider.

My friend is not alone. So I dug into the subject. And discovered some of our firmest beliefs about menopause relief may be way off the mark.

In fact, a favorite “solution” may be more dangerous than it is helpful. Other herbal solutions could be making your life a whole lot easier. If you knew about them.

Black Cohosh: Not What It’s Cracked Up to Be?

No herb has been studied more extensively for menopausal relief than black cohosh. Native Americans used it centuries ago for “woman problems” – including menstrual pain and menopausal discomfort.

Many studies have found black cohosh is effective. And just as many have found it isn’t. Black cohosh may be the most studied herb for menopausal symptoms. But it isn’t necessarily the most effective.

The story of black cohosh is a bit more complex.

One factor in its favor: Black cohosh has opioid activity. Studies show black cohosh has an affinity for opioid receptors in many areas of the brain. Which may have a link to easing some effects of menopause.

A Chicago-based study linked the action of black cohosh to key factors of menopause: mood, body temperature, and sex hormone levels. Its opioid activity may affect all of these factors.

But black cohosh has another side. In some cases, it’s proven to be toxic to the liver. Researchers have found it may contribute to several forms of liver disease.

A 2010 review of studies found black cohosh is effective… but the shadow of liver problems hangs over this herb.

Fortunately, there are other herbs that appear to be even more effective.

What Really Works: Risk-Free Solutions

Soy has often been linked to menopause relief. But, like black cohosh, the situation is complex. Soy isoflavones have a positive effect on symptoms such as hot flashes. But soy is another situation entirely.

Studies show soy isoflavones have remarkable properties. A 2009 study found soy isoflavones can reverse the bone loss linked to menopause.

A 6-month California study also showed soy isoflavones can help hold off brain fog.

Women aged 55 to 74 were randomized to take either a placebo or soy isoflavones for 6 months. All were in good mental shape at the start of the trial.

After 6 months, doctors found the women taking soy isoflavones were sharper than they had been at the start of the trial… and also performed better than the placebo group at the end of the trial.

These studies focused on soy isoflavones – extracts of soy.

But soy foods? They don’t seem to be so helpful. In fact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) notes a study that showed soy foods make menopausal symptoms worse.

In a study the NIH calls “high quality,” the only group out of 5 that went downhill was the group that included soy foods in their diet. Black cohosh, other herbs, hormones, and even the placebo worked better.

But volunteers who added soy foods to their diets experienced more intense symptoms as the trial progressed. The isoflavone groups didn’t do any better than the placebo groups… but the soy foods group suffered a real breakdown.

While this study didn’t find any direct benefit from soy, other studies have pointed to significant benefits.

Even More Benefits

There’s a fair amount of evidence St. John’s Wort can ease mood issues linked to menopause. In a review of 37 studies, researchers found evidence St. John’s Wort has sedative, pain relieving, anti-anxiety, anti-convulsive, and muscle relaxing effects.

Most importantly, St. John’s Wort may ease the depression and mood swings linked to menopause.

A 2012 Austrian study found isoflavones from red clover reduced hot flashes and night sweats by 70% – 75%. And a 2017 Danish study suggests red clover extracts may also defend against bone loss.

Studies also show hops – a natural preservative used in beer – has estrogenic activity that can ease the discomfort of menopause.

So, are there natural alternatives for the symptoms of menopause? Absolutely! But they may not be the ones that get the most press. Black cohosh and soy may be underperformers… but hops and isoflavones may offer a much bigger bang for your buck.

The bottom line? Relief is out there. It just may not be exactly where you expected.

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.


Reame, N.E., et al., “Black cohosh has central opioid activity in postmenopausal women: evidence from naloxone blockade and positron emission tomography neuroimaging,”

Rhyu, M.R., et al, “Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa, Cimicifuga racemosa) behaves as a mixed competitive ligand and partial agonist at the human mu opiate receptor,” J Agric Food Chem. Dec 27, 2006; 54(26): 9852–9857.

Adnan, M.M., et al, “Black Cohosh and Liver Toxicity: Is there a Relationship?” Case Reports in Gastrointestinal Medicine. 2014; 2014.

Shams, T., et al, “Efficacy of black cohosh-containing preparations on menopausal symptoms: a meta-analysis,” Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 2010; 16(1): 36-44.

Morabito, N., et al, “Effects of Genistein and Hormone‐Replacement Therapy on Bone Loss in Early Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study,” JBMR. Oct 2002; 17(10): 1904-1912.

Kritz-Silverstein, D., et al, “Isoflavones and cognitive function in older women: the Soy and Postmenopausal Health in Aging (SOPHIA) Study,” Menopause. May 2003; 10(3): 196-202.

“Black Cohosh,” National Institutes of Health. March 3, 2017.

Hudson, T., “Menopause symptoms and lesser-known botanicals,” Townsend Letter: The
Examiner of Alternative Medicine. Jun 2007; p. 160.

Lipovac, M., et al, “The effect of red clover isoflavone supplementation over vasomotor and menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women,” Gynecol Endocrinol. Mar;28, 2012; (3): 203-207.

“Fermented red clover extract stops menopausal hot flushes and symptoms,” Aarhus University, via Eurekalert.org. Jul 14, 2017.

Abdi, F., et al, “Hops for Menopausal Vasomotor Symptoms: Mechanisms of Action,” J Menopausal Med. Aug 2016 ; 22(2): 62-64.


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Posted in Hormones

Is This the Answer to the Opioid Crisis?

When Purdue Pharma introduced OxyContin, it pulled out all the marketing stops. Here was a potent pain killer, they said, that worked like morphine, but with a low risk of addiction. It was a breakthrough.

For years, Purdue pushed OxyContin hard… and doctors began prescribing this man-made opioid like candy. As other opioids – synthetic morphine-like drugs – came out, they joined the party.

“Pain clinics” became highly profitable businesses. Though many of them were little more than glorified drug dealers. Walk in with a vague description of pain, walk out a few minutes later with a prescription for opioids.

The only problem? Purdue was wrong. These opioids are highly addictive. And they’ve spawned a whole new drug-dependent generation.

Then came an answer. An Asian herb that could ease withdrawal – and even block pain – but was far safer than the opioids it replaced.

So, of course, the federal government has moved to block it.

What is this herb? And what’s the truth behind the stories? Here’s what you need to know.

New Life for an Ancient Herb

Kratom has been around for centuries. It’s native to Malaysia and Southeast Asia. Herbalists have prescribed kratom tea as a pain reliever for countless generations. It’s also a traditional treatment for opiate withdrawal.

These ancient healers had no way to know how kratom works. They just knew it did. How it works is just this: Compounds in kratom bind to opioid receptors. And has some of the same effects. Like pain relief.

It may also have addictive potential… though experts say it’s far less than opioids and their cousins – opium, heroin, and morphine.

Here’s where kratom may be especially helpful.

Opioids are expensive. The government’s reaction to the opioid crisis has made it harder for addicts to get their hands these drugs. So addicts have been turning to more available – and far cheaper – alternatives… like heroin.

You’ve probably heard the latest horror stories around heroin. It’s cheap, but it’s dangerous. It’s often adulterated. In the last few years, heroin-related deaths have skyrocketed.

In some cases, heroin wasn’t “cut” with fillers – so users overdosed. But many have died because the heroin they bought was cut – with another powerful opioid: fentanyl. Fentanyl is so potent, even small amounts can kill.

For many addicts, kratom is a far safer option. Users say it satisfies the craving for opioids… and helps them kick the habit without the fear of an overdose.

Enter Uncle Sam

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says they have reports of 44 deaths linked to kratom. At least some of these reports are suspect, since other drugs were involved.

Compare that to the 15,500 people who died from heroin overdoses in 2016 alone. Forty-four deaths – and some of those suspect – vs. 15,500 in just one year. It doesn’t take a math genius to see – with up to 5 million kratom users in the U.S. – kratom is far safer.

In the same year heroin overdoses killed 15,500 Americans, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) made a bold move. They announced they would list the active elements in kratom as Schedule 1 drugs.

Luckily, pushback from citizens – and members of Congress – forced the DEA to back off. At least for now. Currently, the DEA lists kratom as a “drug of concern.”

Meanwhile, the FDA used a computer model to “predict” the dangers of the active compounds in kratom. Surprise, surprise! They declared these unique compounds to be opioids.

But are they really?

You Say, “Potato”… Science Says, “B.S.”

Ever the defender of Big Pharma, the FDA seems to have gone over the edge again where kratom is concerned.

At least that’s the opinion of Scott Hemby, an actual scientist who heads High Point University’s Department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Hemby has studied the effects of kratom in actual living organisms. And he has a problem with the FDA’s computer model. While he’s too polite to say it, the bottom line is simple: The FDA’s findings are B.S.

The active compounds in kratom bind differently to opioid receptors than heroin or prescription drugs. The effects are “toned down.” Kratom’s addictive potential is actually fairly low.

And because it binds differently, kratom’s potential for overdose deaths is also very low.

CNN reports that many of the emergency room visits linked to kratom, aren’t due to kratom at all.

They cite a University of Florida chemist who studies samples of kratom taken in emergency rooms. He’s found kratom issues are often due to adulteration. ER samples often include morphine or oxycodone – two legal drugs. But drugs with lethal potential.

In other words, much of the governmental hand wringing over kratom may not be due to kratom at all.

So where does this leave us?

If You’ve Considered Using Kratom…

Kratom appears to block pain and release feel-good dopamine – just as opioids do. Anecdotal reports also suggest it can be an effective way to free yourself from opioid addiction.

But there are caveats.

First, there are no established guidelines for dosage. So, unless you know a Southeast Asian herbalist, you’re at the mercy of importers or Internet “experts.”

Second, there’s the adulteration issue. If you plan to buy kratom, only buy from sources you know you can trust. Typically, that means supplement companies with an established reputation.

Finally, is kratom legal where you live?

Kratom is currently legal under federal law, but it’s banned in some states and cities. As of December of 2017, kratom is illegal in these areas…

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Indiana
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin
  • Denver, CO
  • San Diego, CA
  • Sarasota, FL
  • Washington, DC

As with so many other effective herbal remedies, the federal government has registered their opposition. But, “When it comes to drugs for cancer,” Scott Hemby noted, “we wouldn’t rely on a computer model to drive policy. People would find that unacceptable.”

Forget its use as a pain reliever. Kratom may be a safer alternative to ease – or even end – addiction to heroin and opioids.

Unfortunately, we may have to drag Uncle Sam, kicking and screaming, all the way.

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.


“Heroin Overdose Data,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Jan 26, 2017.

Kounang, N., “Compounds in herbal supplement kratom are opioids, FDA says,” CNN. Feb 7, 2018.

“What’s Kratom, and Why Are States Banning It?” Governing. Dec 4, 2017.


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Posted in Drugs

Is Your Pet At Risk For Cancer?

Hi ~Contact.FirstName~,

They need our help… now more than ever!

Do you have a four-legged best friend?

Me too. I actually have three.

Look, our “best friends” are dying at alarming rates.

And cancer is the cause.

1 in 1.65 dogs… and 1 in 3 cats…will be diagnosed with this devastating illness in their lifetime.

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We can easily PREVENT and even HEAL most forms of cancer in our furry friends.

You just need to know what to do.

Is your pet at risk?

Find out your pet’s risk for cancer by taking this FREE short quiz

It takes less than 60 seconds…

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And forward this email to ALL the pet owners you know… so that they can save their pets’ lives.

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Jason Kennedy
Jason Kennedy

P.S. If your pet could talk, they would tell you to please take this quiz. It’s a great way to determine factors that dramatically increase your pet’s risk of cancer. Your answers can change their lives – and give you many more precious memories together.

Click here to take the quiz. It takes less than a minute of your time…

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.


© Copyright 2018 Discovery Health Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Posted in Pet Health

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