meds

  1. The peanut butter cups of bad meds

    For drug makers, it must have been a "you got your peanut butter in my chocolate" moment -- but instead of "two great tastes that taste great together," you're about to get two bad meds that are even worse together.

    The "peanut butter" in this case is the daily aspirin millions of heart patients are told to take -- and taken by millions of others in the mistaken belief it can prevent those heart problems from happening in the first place.

    The "chocolate" is omeprazole, aka Prilosec -- part of a badly overused class of heartburn meds called proton pump inhibitors.

    Now, I don't have a problem with someone eating a little fresh-ground peanut butter, or even an occasional snack of dark chocolate.

    But I have a big problem with people taking daily aspirin or proton pump inhibitors on a long-term basis -- because both of these drugs come with huge health risks and minimal... to no... benefits.

    Daily aspirin use isn't nearly as beneficial as years and years of relentless marketing would have you believe. What's more, it comes with a host of serious side effects such as bleeding problems, including ulcers, and even bleeding in the brain.

    One of the milder but more immediate side effects, however, is heartburn -- and that's why the new peanut butter cup of pills mixes 325 mg of aspirin with the PPI omeprazole.

    It's supposed to prevent that heartburn and make it easier for people to take the daily aspirin. And to that extent, you could say it "works" -- because PPIs are great at hiding the symptoms of heartburn and other stomach acid problems.

    But PPIs also bring stomach acid to dangerously low levels.

    In fact, the levels are so low that when you stop taking the drugs, the stomach tries to overcompensate and produces more acid than ever. Most people think it's their acid problem coming back with a vengeance.

    In reality, this "acid rebound," as it's called, is caused by the drug itself -- and a reason many people can't stop taking a PPI once they start.

    PPIs can also block the absorption of key nutrients, leaving you seriously deficient in calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin C, and other essentials and putting you at risk for everything from bone breaks to death.

    Pain, heartburn, and even cardiovascular health all have better and more natural answers. Work with your doctor to find them.

  2. Two easy tricks that can lower your BP

    When it comes to blood pressure, it seems like the mainstream has just two answers: a low-salt diet and meds.

    And both of them are bad ideas.

    Ask anyone who's tried a low-salt diet, and they'll tell you it didn't cure their hypertension…and next thing they knew, the doc was writing a prescription.

    But you don't have to fail on one to get the other.

    You can bring your blood pressure under control with simple lifestyle changes, and new studies show two of the easiest ways to shave a few points off your levels right now: Drink more tea and get more magnesium.

    A new analysis of 22 trials finds that people who take magnesium supplements can cut an average of 4 points off their systolic ("top number") blood pressure and 3 points off their diastolic blood pressure.

    The study didn't look at dietary intake, but I can tell you right now that most people simply don't get enough from diet alone. In fact, magnesium has quietly become one of our most common nutritional deficiencies.

    You'll find it in leafy greens like spinach and chard as well as some nuts -- but few foods pack enough to cover a whole day's needs. In fact, to get what you really need, you'd have to have magnesium-rich food with every meal of the day.

    And that's why most people are missing out.

    Magnesium supplements are cheap, effective and widely available -- so grab some today.

    And while you're out shopping, pick up a box of tea.

    I like Earl Grey myself -- but it doesn't matter which one you prefer, because a new placebo-controlled study of 95 men and women finds that any black tea can also trim a few points off your BP levels.

    Those who drank three cups a day for six months saw drops of between two and three points when compared to those who were given a placebo drink.

    But you don't have to stick to black, because other studies have found similar numbers for green tea.

    Just don't count on bottled teas to deliver those benefits. You'd actually have to drink 20 bottles of store-bought tea to get the healthy polyphenols you'll find naturally in a single fresh-brewed cup.

    That's a lot of tea.

  3. Gimmicks won't help you quit

    There are plenty of gimmicks out there that claim they'll help you to quit smoking -- not to mention a couple of risky Big Pharma drugs. And just about none of them work.
  4. ADHD meds reach new highs

    Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder isn't a diagnosis designed to help identify and treat children -- it's a condition tailor-made to sell meds.

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