By Dr. Mercola
Over the course of the past two decades, U.S. spending on prescription drugs increased from $40 billion to more than $230 billion.
Illegal drug company activities are one factor contributing to this inflated spending.
One 2010 study looked at trends in federal and state criminal and civil actions against drug companies in order to assess the impact of such shady activities.
Among other findings, the study showed that while the defense industry used to be the biggest defrauder of the federal government under the False Claims Act, the drug industry has now overtaken them.
Big Pharma: Biggest Defrauder of Federal Government
In fact, the drug industry now tops all other industries in the total amount of fraud payments for actions against the federal government under the False Claims Act.
Four companies stand out as the worst of the worst.
GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, and Schering-Plough accounted for 53 percent of all financial penalties imposed on pharmaceutical companies between 1990 and 2010.
Most recently, on November 3, the New York Times reported that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has settled another round of litigation against them to the tune of $3 BILLION. (The previous record was held by Pfizer, which in 2009 paid a fine of $2.3 billion for illegal marketing.) The charges against GSK included illegal marketing of the dangerous diabetes drug Avandia, kick-backs to doctors, and manipulation of medical research. Three billion dollars is no chump change, but it's still just a drop in the bucket when you consider the astronomical profits these companies rake in, which are significantly bolstered by their criminal activities.
For example, GSK has an annual revenue of about $28 billion, so how much of a deterrent can $3 billion really be?
The record over the past 20 years tells us that financial fines have done nothing to curb the criminal mindset within the pharmaceutical industry. On the contrary, it has increased in the past several years, despite larger fines being levied. This is largely due to the perversion of corporate influence on the government, as most eloquently explained by one of the most famous political lobbyists of all time who was able to freely spill the beans about the process in the 60 Minutes sequence below, after having served time in federal prison.
Please understand that the drug industry has the LARGEST political lobbying force in the United States.
"Over the past two decades, especially during the past 10 years, there has been a marked increase in both the number of government settlements with pharmaceutical companies and the size of the accompanying financial penalties. The reasons for these increases are likely related to a combination of increased violations by companies and increased enforcement on the part of federal and state governments.
The danger to public safety and the loss of state and federal dollars that comes with these violations require a more robust response than the government's current practices. Given the relatively small size of current financial penalties when compared to the perpetrating companies' profits, both increased financial penalties and appropriate criminal prosecution of company leadership may provide a more effective deterrent to unlawful behavior by the pharmaceutical industry."
Pharmaceutical Corporations Top the Corporate Criminals List
In August of last year, the Bureau of Investigative Journalists also shed some much needed light on the vast corruption within the pharmaceutical industry. A large number of pharmaceutical companies are guilty of fraud, cover-ups of fatal side effects, and huge kickbacks paid to doctors.
A total of 19 drug companies also made AllBusiness.com's Top 100 Corporate Criminals List for the 1990s. Charges run the gamut from international price-setting, illegal marketing, false claims, hiding serious problems with their drugs and, in one case (Ortho, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson), obstruction of justice and eight counts of persuading employees to destroy documents in a federal investigation.
Between those three sources alone, there's no longer a shred of doubt that the pharmaceutical industry is officially the most crime-infested and crooked industry on the planet?at least in terms of criminal activities that are actually being caught, pursued and prosecuted. (For a running list of the most recent news on False Claims Act cases, see the Taxpayers Against Fraud site.)
Yet toxic drugs designed, manufactured, and peddled by these top criminals are what the medical industry and government health agencies try to pass off as the "best" route to good health? despite the fact that pharmaceutical drugs, taken as prescribed, are also directly responsible for the death of at least 106,000 people annually, on top of everything else.
It would be funny if it wasn't so profoundly tragic.
Main Findings by the Public Citizen's Health Research Group
By scouring through comprehensive databases of all major criminal and civil settlements between federal and state governments and pharmaceutical companies occurring between 1990 and 2010, the Public Citizen's Health Research Group made some sobering discoveries.
"Of the 165 settlements comprising $19.8 billion in penalties during this 20-year interval, 73 percent of the settlements (121) and 75 percent of the penalties ($14.8 billion) have occurred in just the past five years (2006-2010).
? The practice of illegal off-label promotion of pharmaceuticals has been responsible for the largest amount of financial penalties levied by the federal government over the past 20 years. This practice can be prosecuted as a criminal offense because of the potential for serious adverse health effects in patients from such activities.
Deliberately overcharging state health programs, mainly Medicaid fraud, has been the most common violation against state governments and is responsible for the largest amount of financial penalties levied by these governments. This type of violation is also the main factor in the considerable increase in state settlements with pharmaceutical companies over time."
The Six Top Thugs of the Medical World
Last year, I also did some of my own research into the biggest wrong-doers. The chart below shows the type of criminal activity, lawsuits and fines or judgments I was able to find for each of the six drug companies featured in that report.
Keep in mind that these are conservative numbers as many records are not available without a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Also, many are not readily available online unless you know exactly what you're looking for, and what year.
|Type of criminal activity||Pfizer||GSK||Baxter||Merck & Co.||Roche||Johnson & Johnson|
|Guilty of fraud and/or Illegal sales activity||9||11||8||7||4||14|
|Federal and/or Civil lawsuits||10,000+ Individuals or together in class action suits||800+||226+ Unnamed number of persons w/AIDS||100,000 Individuals or together in class action suits||5,000+ Individual and/or class action||500+ Individual and/or class action|
|Dollar Amount of fines, judgments as a result of criminal or civil litigation||$4 Billion+||$5 Billion+||$1.3 Billion+||$5.5 Billion+||$1.7 Billion+||$1 Billion+|
United States: 49th in Life Expectancy, First in Health Care Costs
Sadly, all of the statistics included in this article indicate that the pharmaceutical industry shows no signs at all of changing its ways. If anything, their behavior is getting more reprehensible as time goes on, as the price to be paid is never 'costly' enough to deter further malfeasance.
Ditto for the American healthcare system as a whole, which of course is based on the drug paradigm with a pill for every ill... Is it any wonder then that our health statistics are so abysmal? Virtually every measurable index indicates that despite the ever-increasing amounts of money invested, if you live in the U.S., your chances of achieving optimal health through the medical system is only getting worse. While the U.S. spends more than twice the amount on health care as other developed nations, we rank 49th in life expectancy worldwide?lower than a dozen other developed nations!
That alone should tell you that the system is not working. But there's plenty more evidence showing that our health care system is in dire need of a complete overhaul, away from the drug paradigm and toward nutrition and preventive health measures.
In a June 2010 report in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, study authors said that in looking over records that spanned from 1976 to 2006 (the most recent year available) they found that, of 62 million death certificates, almost a quarter-million deaths were coded as having occurred in a hospital setting due to medication errors.
Many more are harmed by other types of medical mistakes. For example, an analysis in the New England Journal of Medicine published in November of last year concluded that, despite efforts to improve patient safety in the past few years, the health care system hasn't changed much at all. Instead, 18 percent of patients were harmed by medical care (some repeatedly) and over 63 percent of the injuries could have been prevented. In nearly 2.5 percent of these cases, the problems caused or contributed to a person's death. In another 3 percent, patients suffered from permanent injury. In all there were over 25 injuries per 100 admissions.
Surely, there must be a better way?
I believe there is, and it all starts with taking control of your diet, exercise, and overall lifestyle.
Optimal Health Can be Reached without Drugs
Most of you know that I rarely recommend pharmaceuticals, and in fact my mission is to catalyze a transformation of the fatally flawed health care system that uses expensive pharmaceuticals, and surgeries ?as the primary strategy. We need to shift the direction and focus on treating and preventing the foundational underlying causes. In many cases, your health will actually improve when you stop taking drugs and are no longer subjected to their side effects.
Naturally, you should not stop any medications you are currently taking until you are working with a knowledgeable natural health care practitioner who can help guide you, but minimizing your use of drugs should be a goal if you want to achieve optimal health. Keep in mind, too, that many drugs are designed to create life-long dependency.
For instance, acid-reducing medications actually induce acid-related symptoms like heartburn and acid regurgitation once treatment is withdrawn. Headache drugs can also cause "medication overuse headaches" leading you to seek another drug to relieve the pain caused by the first one. It's all too common to have to take one or more additional drugs solely to treat side effects caused by your initial drug treatment, so the more you can stay away from this warped system, the better.
The desire to solve problems by taking drugs is a product of our culture, perpetuated by everyone, from drug manufacturers, to doctors, to government health officials, to you.
When you teach your child that the appropriate response to pain or discomfort is to take a pill, the result may be that he seeks comfort by taking drugs when faced with the challenges of adolescence and, later, as an adult. But you CAN take control of your health, and you can typically do so without using medications.
My site is chock full of free comprehensive recommendations that can serve as an excellent starting point. The tools I provide on this site will help you to reduce your reliance on the broken health care system, including its overuse of drugs and provide you with the tools and resources to Take Control of Your Health.
Death by Medicine?An Update
Prescription Drugs More Likely to Kill You than Recreational Drugs
TED talk on mushrooms
Ganoderma in the wild
By Dr. Mercola
Some of the most potent immunosupportive agents come from mushrooms, and science is just beginning to tap into this vast natural medicine warehouse.
There are mushrooms that kill viruses, mushrooms that kill bacteria, and even mushrooms that kill yeast?which may surprise you, given they're both fungi.
Some mushrooms destroy cancer cells, and others facilitate nerve regeneration.
Fungi are incredibly resilient, even surviving radioactivity.
They can actually harness radiation to thrive, as was found by a robot sent to map the inside of the entombed Chernobyl nuclear reactor in 1999.
The robot found a hardy fungus chowing down on 200 tons of melted radioactive fuel.
In addition to bringing us nutrition and powerful medicine, mushrooms offer great benefits for the planet.
You may be surprised to learn that mushrooms have the following green applications:
- Eradication of carpenter ants by producing a pesticide that tricks the ants into eating it
- Producing a low carbon footprint type of ethanol
- Breaking down the neurotoxins in nerve gas
- Producing a fully compostable fungal-based packing material that could potentially replace plastics and styrofoam
- Bioremediation: Cleaning up waste from petroleum, toxic chemicals (PCBs, TNT), and bacteria such as E. coli
Of the 140,000 species of mushroom-forming fungi, science is familiar with only 10 percent, according to world-renown mycologist Paul Stamets in "The Most Powerful Medicine in Nature". About 100 species are being studied for their health-promoting benefits. Of those hundred, about a half dozen really stand out for their ability to deliver a tremendous boost to your immune system.
I'd like to share some information with you today about a few of the rock stars of Kingdom Fungi. Some of these were discussed in my interview with Steve Farrar, who has worked and studied mushrooms professionally for the last 30 years. If you missed that informative interview, I highly recommend listening to it as well. But first, you need a little understanding about how mushrooms grow and what makes them so unique.
Mycelium: Mother Nature's Internet
Mushrooms are nature's recycling system. If it weren't for mushrooms, we wouldn't have plants, because mushrooms (and their "parent" mycelium) break down rocks and organic matter, turning them into soil that provides the framework to nourish plants..
Mushrooms are actually only the fruiting body of a more vast fungal form?the mycelium. The mycelium is a fascinating cobweb-like mat that infuses nearly all landscapes. It is through the mycelium that the fungus absorbs nutrients from the environment. When two compatible mycelia combine, the resulting mycelium occasionally forms fruiting bodies called mushrooms. The mushrooms make spores, which fly away to make new mycelial colonies, and the lifecycle is complete.
Mycelial mats can be too small to see or cover vast areas of ground.
Their extreme tenacity makes the soil spongy and able to support 30,000 times its weight. A single cubic inch of soil can contain 8 miles of mycelium cells. The largest living organism on Earth is a mycelium in Eastern Oregon that covers 2,200 acres, is ONE cell wall thick and 2,000 years old.
Paul Stamets believes fungal mycelia and the intricate, branching network they form function as "the Earth's Internet," a complex communication highway that is sort of Mother Nature's neural net. In some ways, mycelia are "sentient" and seem to demonstrate learning. If one pathway is broken, it develops an alternate path. According to Stamets, when you step on it, it knows you're there and "leaps up" in the aftermath of your footstep, trying to grab debris. The mycelia?not JUST the mushrooms?contain many of the healing agents for which mushrooms are revered.
Hanging with Fungi Increases Your Odds of Survival
We're more closely related to fungi than we are to any other kingdom. We share the same pathogens, meaning bacteria and viruses. As a defense against bacterial invasion, fungi have developed strong antibiotics, which also happen to be effective for us humans. Penicillin, streptomycin, and tetracycline all come from fungal extracts.
The predominant mushrooms displaying antiviral activities are the polypores, sometimes called bracket fungi or woody conks, tough and fibrous fungi characterized by many tiny holes on the underside of their caps. Polypores have been dubbed the "frontier" of new medicines and are thought to be the ancestors to most of the gilled mushrooms. Interestingly, there are no known poisonous polypores, whereas there are more than one hundred poisonous gilled mushrooms.
Paul Stamets recently discovered that a very rare polypore called Agaricon is effective against the poxviruses?including smallpox. This has the Department of Defense very interested, as smallpox is one of the most feared bioterrorism agents. Agaricon was also found to be effective against flu viruses.
History tells us that living in cooperation with fungi will increase our odds of survival. After major extinction events, it was the fungi that thrived because they didn't need light and lived on dead organic matter. Organisms pairing with fungi flourished, and those that didn't fared poorly.
Many of the mushrooms valued for strong medicinal properties grow on trees, as opposed to the ground dwellers you've likely seen.
These tree fungi concentrate the unique elements that the host tree has absorbed over its lifetime, which may be ten or twenty or even HUNDREDS of years. Many of these mushroom species are long-term residents of Old Growth Forests and play an essential role in nutrient recycling by decomposing old trees. The mushroom wraps itself around these special nutrients, capturing them in the fruiting body of the organism and turning it into a little medicinal powerhouse. Maybe it's time for us to embrace the mushroom and harness it's medicine the way the Asians have done for thousands of years.
Blends of Mushrooms are More Effective Than any One Mushroom Alone
It is therapeutically best to utilize a blend of several mushroom species, because "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." For one thing, it is easier for pathogens in your body to adapt and become resistant to one mushroom than to several. Secondly, each mushroom species has a unique arsenal of anti-infective and immunomodulating agents.
These special agents include:
- Ergosterols (steroid-like compounds that create vitamin D in sunlight)
You might have heard the term "beta glucans." The agents listed above are precursors to the more complex compounds, beta glucans. It is the synergism between ALL of these elements that makes mushrooms so medicinally powerful when consumed as a whole food?mycelium included.
Because mushrooms have such powerful immune-boosting effects, it isn't surprising that some have great potential for battling cancer. Mushrooms with anti-tumor activity appear to increase the number and activity of killer T and natural killer (NK) lymphocytes, with no toxicity to healthy cells. Cancer cells are notorious for "hiding" from chemo agents. New research has shown that certain mushroom extracts help chemotherapy drugs better locate and identify cancer cells by "uncloaking them," thereby making chemo more effective.
This is getting some open-minded oncologists very excited! Medicinal mushrooms also strengthen your immune system if you are undergoing chemo, so cancer patients get a double benefit. The list of health benefits science is revealing to us about mushrooms is still growing, but thus far includes the following:
|Increased longevity||Improved blood flow||Cholesterol and blood sugar normalization|
|Liver protection, including protection from adverse effects of alcohol consumption||Kidney support||Antiviral (including HIV), antibacterial, and antifungal properties|
|Destruction of cancer cells; improved outcomes for people receiving chemo and radiation||Improved respiratory illnesses, including asthma||Reduced risk for heart disease, decreased platelet aggregation and improved blood flow|
|Nerve regeneration (Lion's Mane mushroom)||Improved skin and hair||Increased sexual function and athletic ability|
It's important to eat ONLY organically grown mushrooms. Remember, what makes mushrooms so potent is that they absorb and concentrate whatever they grow in?good OR bad. Mushrooms are known to concentrate heavy metals, and air and water pollutants.
Now that you have the overview, let's take a look at a few of my favorite health-enhancing mushroom species. We'll start with a delicious little mushroom you have probably seen on your dinner plate or at your local market?the shiitake.
Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)
Shiitake is a popular culinary mushroom used in dishes around the world. It contains a number of health-stimulating agents, including lentinan, the polysaccharide for which it was named. Lentinan has been isolated and used to treat stomach and other cancers due to its antitumor properties, but has also been found to protect your liver, relieve other stomach ailments (hyperacidity, gallstones, ulcers), anemia, ascites, and pleural effusion.
One of the more remarkable scientific studies demonstrating shiitake's antitumor effect was a Japanese animal study, where mice suffering from sarcoma were given shiitake extract. Six of 10 mice had complete tumor regression, and with slightly higher concentrations, all ten mice showed complete tumor regression.
Shiitake mushrooms also demonstrate antiviral (including HIV, hepatitis, and the "common cold"), antibacterial, and antifungal effects; blood sugar stabilization; reduced platelet aggregation; and reduced atherosclerosis. Shiitake also contains eritadenine, which has strong cholesterol-lowering properties.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
Reishi is known as Lingzhi in China, or "spirit plant." It's also been called "Mushroom of Immortality"?a nickname that kind of says it all. Reishi has been used medicinally in Asia for thousands of years. One of its more useful compounds is ganoderic acid (a triterpenoid), which is being used to treat lung cancer, leukemia and other cancers. The list of Reishi's health benefits includes the following
- Antibacterial, antiviral (Herpes, Epstein-Barr), antifungal (including Candida) properties
- Antiinflammatory, useful for reducing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
- Immune system up-regulation
- Normalization of blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure
- Reduction of prostate-related urinary symptoms in men
Cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris)
Cordyceps, also called caterpillar fungus or Tochukasu, is a favorite of athletes because it increases ATP production, strength and endurance, and has anti-aging effects. This parasitic mushroom is unique because, in the wild, it grows out of an insect host instead of a plant host. Cordyceps has an enduring history in both traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine.
Cordyceps has hypoglycemic and possible antidepressant effects, protects your liver and kidneys, increases blood flow, helps normalize your cholesterol levels, and has been used to treat Hepatitis B. It has antitumor properties as well.
Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)
Turkey Tail is also known as Coriolis, or "cloud mushroom." Science is showing that Turkey Tail mushroom holds an arsenal of cancer-blasting compounds. Two polysaccharide complexes in Turkey Tail are getting a great deal of scientific attention, PSK (or "Kreskin") and PSP, making it the most extensively researched of all medicinal mushrooms with large scale clinical trials.
A seven-year, $2 million NIH-funded clinical study in 2011 found that Turkey Tail mycelium improves immune function when dosed daily to women with stage I?III breast cancer. Immune response was dose-dependent, with no adverse effects.
In addition to breast cancer, Turkey Tail has been found to hold promise for other cancers, including stomach, colorectal, lung, esophageal, nasopharyngeal, cervical, and uterine. PSP has been shown to significantly enhance immune status in 70 to 97 percent of cancer patients. Turkey tail is also being used to treat many different infections, including aspergillus niger, Candida albicans, E. coli, HIV, Herpes, and streptococcus pneumonia, and is hepatoprotective. It may also be useful for CFIDS.
Himematsutake (Agaricus blazei)
The last mushroom I'd like to mention is the newcomer on the block: Himematsutake, also called Royal Sun Agaricus, a relative of the common button mushroom. Himematsutake was not cultivated in the East until fairly recently but is now a very popular natural medicine, used by almost a half million Japanese.
Himematsutake mushroom is attracting many scientists worldwide due to its remarkable anticancer properties related to six special polysaccharides. Like many other medicinal mushrooms, this fungus can also protect you from the damaging effects of radiation and chemotherapy. But its benefits don't stop there?Himematsutake can also decrease insulin resistance in diabetics, normalize your cholesterol, improve your hair and skin, and even treat polio.
There are many more mushrooms deserving mention?far too many to include here. But at least you can begin to appreciate the scope of benefits mushrooms have to offer, based on the handful of examples above.
A carefully designed blend of medicinal fungi can deliver a powerful therapeutic punch, whether you just wish to help protect yourself from seasonal colds or flu, or you have a more serious condition such as cancer. Either way, these special mushrooms can be an excellent adjunct to a healthful diet and lifestyle to improve your immune health. If you are interested in more information about medicinal mushrooms, you might consider visiting the following sites:
- Healing-Mushrooms.net is an encyclopedia of medicinal mushrooms with a searchable database, abundant resources and fungi photos
- MedicalMushrooms.net is another encyclopedic database with information about many of the medicinal mushrooms
- MushroomExpert.com can help you with mushroom identification
- Paul Stamets' YouTube video channel has about 30 videos of wild mushroom hunts and all sorts of informational videos, including mushroom identification and cultivation
- Cosmos Magazine
- TED with Eben Bayer: Are mushrooms the new plastic? July 2010
- "The Most Powerful Medicine in Nature," an interview with David Wolfe (Booklet, 2009)
- Polypore Primer
- J Cancer Research 1970
- J Nutrition August 1995
- Life Sci December 2006
- Am J Chin. Med. 2010
- Fungi Perfecti LLC
- Mico Nutri
- Altern Med Rev 2000
Is this Simple Sugar a Major Factor in the Failure of the War on Cancer?
One Vitamin that May Stop Flu in Its Tracks
By Ori Hofmekler
Experimental studies show that all thermolyzed (ultra-heated) proteins can promote colon cancer and so do thermolyzed carbohydrates and fried fat.
Thermolyzed casein in particular has shown to cause the growth of aberrant crypt foci (ACF tumors) and colon cancer.
Ultra-heating makes proteins less digestible as a consequence of cross-linking and racemization ? which involve formation of unnatural peptides and amino acids.
As a result of decreased digestibility, more proteins escape from the stomach to the large bowel, where they're fermented into tumor promoting waste products such as ammonia and a variety of toxic phenols.
The colonic protein fermentation could explain several known associations between diets rich in fried food, roasted meats or ultra-heated cheese and colon cancer.
There is growing evidence that conventional household cooking preparations of protein play a major role in the pathogenesis of colon cancer. Exposure of food to high cooking temperatures (over 180
By Dr. Mercola
The medical profession has a long history of opposing alternative healing professions.
While always claiming public safety as its reason for the attacks, the true reasons often involve protecting their monopoly of the healthcare market.
Medicine's opposition to chiropractic was its strongest under the leadership of Morris Fishbein, Secretary of the American Medical Association from 1924 to 1949, who led a 50-year anti-chiropractic campaign in both professional publications and the public media.
Historical Antitrust Lawsuits Against Medical Societies
In 1975 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Goldfarb vs. the Virginia State Bar, that learned professions are not exempt from antitrust suits.
In 1982 the Court ruled that the FTC could enforce antitrust laws against medical societies.
These two suits paved the way for five chiropractors to file an anti-trust suit against the American Medical Association (AMA) and several other heath care agencies and societies in Federal District Court (known as the Wilkes Case).
Judge Susan Getzendanner found the AMA and others guilty of an illegal conspiracy against the chiropractic profession in September of 1987, ordering a permanent injunction against the AMA and forcing them to print the court's findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Even with success of the Wilkes Case and other anti-trust litigation, the AMA continues to this day to wage a campaign against chiropractic.
The American Medical Association (AMA) has maintained a decades-long battle against "alternative" healing traditions, dating back to the 1920s and arguably even earlier. The courts eventually ruled in favor of the chiropractors in 1987, finding the AMA guilty of a conspiracy to take down the chiropractic profession, as the above article recounts in detail.
But was this the end of it? Has the AMA resigned itself to the fact that chiropractic, as well as other forms of natural medicine, are here to stay? Not a chance.
The AMA's Bedfellows
Even with the success of the Wilkes Case, the AMA has continued to wage war against natural medicine for the past 20 years?but in more covert ways. It's the "Cold War" phase of this battle, but every bit as fierce. And now the AMA has rallied up a few significant allies, including:
- The American Dental Association (ADA)
- The American Cancer Society (ACS)
- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and
- The American Psychiatric Association (APA)
? not to mention governmental regulatory agencies; all willing to march toward a common goal?a monopoly on medical care in this country. Together, they form a formidable lobbying force that controls just about every regulatory and legislative body in America. The truth is that chiropractic, naturopathic, and osteopathic medicine have PROVEN to be medically effective and cost effective for the patient, and the AMA can't stomach this, viewing natural medicine as a huge threat to their bottom line.
Federal Courts Rule AMA "Guilty as Charged"
In 1987, the federal courts found the AMA and several other medical groups guilty of seeking to create a healthcare monopoly. Specifically, they were found guilty of the following actions (published in the January 1988 issue of JAMA):
- Systematic defamation of naturopathic, chiropractic, and osteopathic physicians
- Publishing and distribution of propaganda specifically intended to ruin other healthcare professionals' reputations
- Forcing MDs to refuse collaboration with naturopathic, chiropractic, and osteopathic physicians in the co-management of patients
- Denying hospital access to naturopathic, chiropractic, and osteopathic physicians
The attack on osteopathic medicine has largely faded away since then, but chiropractic and naturopathic practitioners, as well as other legitimate natural medicine practitioners, continue to be the targets of suppression and misrepresentation. The war isn't over, but the rules of engagement have changed.
AMA Declares New War on Natural Medicine in 2006
In 2006, the AMA declared war on natural medicine by publicly stating on its website its intention to forcibly oppose licensure and practice of naturopathic physicians. Although they quickly removed this from their site, the following is a direct quote from that post, according to Naturopathy Digest:
"RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association work through its Board of Trustees to outline a policy opposing the licensure of naturopaths to practice medicine and report this policy to the House of Delegates no later than the 2006 Interim Meeting. (Directive to Take Action) Fiscal Note: Implement accordingly at estimated staff cost of $10,836."
Translation: Eliminate the competition.
According to The Integrator Blog, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) joined the battle with a statement that their goal was to "thwart the growing threat of expansion of scope of practice for allied health professionals" and included psychologists on the list of medical practitioners who needed to be "thwarted" (in addition to naturopaths, chiropractors, and midwives). The APA pledged their allegiance to the AMA in assisting them with "coordinating research to help medical specialty societies and state medical associations fight expansions in non-medical scope of practice, and improve information sharing among those groups."
Other medical associations have made similar pledges, such as the Minnesota Medical Association and the New York Academy of Family Physicians. They maintain that their position is based on concern for quality of care and patient safety, but the REAL agenda is just an attempt to destroy the competition.
As Chiropractor Louis Sportelli writes in his 2010 article in Dynamic Chiropractic:
"Just look around and you will see clear and compelling evidence that the long-standing war between the AMA and everyone else who does not come under the AMA umbrella is far from over. The names have changed, the venue has changed, but the intent has remained the same: to maintain monopolistic control over the delivery of health care."
Old Mission, New Tactics: AMA Learns How to Discriminate with Impunity
In 2010, the AMA House of Delegates introduced a resolution regarding scope of practice that contains limitations on who can be considered a legitimate physician, and who can medically diagnose. Specifically, the AMA's "Definition of a Physician" (H-405.969) contains the following language:
"The AMA affirms that a physician is an individual who has received a 'Doctor of Medicine' or a 'Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine' degree."
This is proof, without a doubt, that the AMA as well as individual state medical associations intend to continue doing everything they can to prevent you from accessing natural healthcare. Texas and Connecticut medical associations were the first to join the cause, and others will likely follow. Similarly, the AMA's "Comprehensive Physical Examination by Appropriate Practitioners" reads as follows:
"?the performance of comprehensive physical examinations to diagnose medical conditions [should be limited] to licensed MDs/DOs or those practitioners who are directly supervised by licensed MDs/DOs."
State Medical Associations Jumping on Board
In 2010, the Texas Medical Board of Examiners filed an action against the Texas Chiropractic Board of Examiners challenging the authority of DCs (Doctors of Chiropractic) to perform some of their medical procedures, and challenging their authority to diagnose. How can medical associations get away with such shenanigans now, when they were given such a clear message to back off in the injunction of 1987? After all, these are very similar tactics to what they were found guilty of back in 1987.
Well, according to Sportelli, the AMA has learned some lessons about how to beat the law?loopholes that allow them to go on the attack while sidestepping "restraint of trade" or "illegal boycott" violations:
"It [AMA] now understands that government action is protected under the Constitution, as is action in petitioning the government. It can lawfully petition local, state and federal legislators and attempt to influence any legislation without fear of committing actionable restraint of trade or illegal boycott. (However, the AMA does seem to be getting dangerously close with its resolution regarding the "definition of a physician," in that it appears to involve hospital action without the intervention of government.)"
And what does one need in order to effectively influence the government? Money. This is something the AMA has?and piles of it. Sportelli goes on to say that the medical industry is likely gearing up for a 50-state effort to put non-MD/DO physicians out of business. And this means fewer choices about your own medical care.
Profit Motives Cleverly Disguised as Concern for Your Health and Safety
According to Naturopathy Digest, the AMA and other medical groups justify their opposition to natural medicine on the basis of three areas of concern:
- Quality of patient care
- Patient safety
- Quality of education of medical practitioners
As the article so eloquently points out, none of these arguments holds up, and most are based on medical and pharmaceutical industry propaganda. If they were TRULY concerned about patient care and safety, they would not be targeting natural medicine, which has an incredibly low incidence of adverse consequences, but instead going after their own allopathic medical practices that are leaving a trail of death and destruction.
Drug "side effects", prescription errors, unnecessary surgeries, nosocomial infections, and hospital "errors" are a leading cause of death in the United States. In fact, one estimate is that allopathic medicine kills 493 American patients daily. The number of people who die each week as a result of medical treatments surpasses the number of deaths caused by the September 11th terrorist attacks.
Yes, each and every week!
Many of the drugs advertised in JAMA (the AMA's scientific journal) are the very same drugs that are killing tens of thousands of Americans each year. This massive funding of the AMA by drug companies is a blatant conflict of interest. If the AMA really cared about your safety, they'd be putting their substantial assets into overhauling the American healthcare system. The AMA is fond of lambasting the education and training of chiropractors, when in actuality, they should be more concerned about the educational qualifications of their own physicians. In their own publications, they have stated:
"Medical education is failing to prepare students adequately for their future practice? medical education is currently being held together with peanut butter and bubble gum."
At least four consecutive studies have documented that most MDs are incompetent when it comes to diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems, something at which chiropractors excel. Another example of an abysmal lack of education of Western physicians is in the area of diet and nutrition. The AMA itself has published research showing that dietary interventions should be used before drugs in the treatment of heart disease. Yet, medical students receive virtually NO training in nutrition. Naturopathic and chiropractic physicians, on the other hand, are usually well versed in the importance of nutrition and exercise.
It's Not Just the AMA
Perhaps it's time to take a real look at medical associations, and the concern that they may be doing more harm than good. For groups who claim to exist in order to protect your health, they inevitably end up sabotaging it. It isn't just the AMA. Other medical associations that claim to exist for the betterment of public health include the following:
- American Dental Association (ADA): Continues to support the use of mercury fillings and demonizes biological dentists who oppose the use of mercury in dentistry; continues to support fluoridation, in spite of the evidence it does more harm than good.
- American Cancer Society (ACS): This charity has close ties to the mammography industry, the cancer drug industry, and the pesticide industry; has rampant conflicts of interest; consistently promotes drugs and screening procedures while ignoring environmental causes of cancer.
- National Cancer Institute (NCI): Has spent billions of taxpayer dollars promoting treatments while ignoring strategies for preventing cancer; abundant ties to the cancer drug industry (for more information, read Samuel Epstein's new book, National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society: Criminal Indifference to Cancer Prevention and Conflicts of Interest)
- American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): Claiming to be protecting your children, the AAP is largely funded by vaccine manufacturers but refuses to disclose just how much money it gets from them; partners with Congress to protect pediatricians and drug companies from liability for vaccine injuries, while preventing you from getting truthful vaccine information.
Actions Speak Louder than Words
When someone's words differ from their actions, chances are that their actions more accurately reflect their values?and this is true for organizations, as well as individuals. Although medical associations claim to have your best interests at heart, their actions tell a different story. It's time to begin holding them accountable for their behavior and stop letting them hide behind the same old tired rhetoric.
You have a right to make your own choices about your healthcare, be it allopathic or naturopathic?whether you see an MD, an ND, or a DC should be YOUR decision and yours alone.
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By Dr. Mercola
Many still believe that saturated fats like coconut oil are "fattening" and bad for your heart -- a pervasive myth that began in 1953 following the publication of a seriously flawed study by Dr. Ancel Keys.
But the truth is, coconut oil is actually one of the healthiest oils you can consume, especially for cooking, which is why it is one of only two oils you'll find a gallon container of in my kitchen.
Many are initially surprised when they learn coconut oil is actually good for you, but indeed it is -- and it may even help you attain your weight loss goals as well.
Why is Your Waist Size so Important?
As you may know, your waist size is not only a matter of aesthetics, but also a powerful indicator of a build-up of visceral fat, a dangerous type of fat around your internal organs that is strongly linked with type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Your waist size is a far more accurate predictor of your heart risks than even your body mass index (BMI), Your waist size is also a powerful indicator of insulin sensitivity, as studies clearly show that measuring your waist size is one of the most powerful ways to predict your risk for diabetes.
If you want to determine if your waist size is in a healthy range, use a tape measure to figure the distance around the smallest area of your abdomen below your rib cage and above your belly button. Then compare your measurements to this general guide:
- For men, between 37 and 40 inches is overweight and more than 40 inches is obese
- For women, 31.5-34.6 inches is overweight and more than 34.6 inches is obese
Coconut Oil Shrinks Your Waist Size
When 20 obese men added coconut oil to their diets for four weeks, their waist circumferences got significantly smaller, with a mean reduction of 2.86 cm. Researchers noted:
"[Virgin coconut oil] is efficacious for WC [waist circumference] reduction especially in males and it is safe for use in humans."
A similar 12-week-long study on women, published in the journal Lipids, also found that dietary supplementation with coconut oil may result in a reduction in waist circumference, among other benefits, compared to supplementing with soybean oil. Divided into two groups of 20 participants each, the women received a daily supplement of 30 ml (about two tablespoons) of either soybean oil or coconut oil. They also followed a balanced low-calorie diet, and walked for 50 minutes per day. The end result?
The coconut oil group presented:
- Increased levels of HDL (good cholesterol)
- Decreased LDL/HDL ratio
- Reduced waist circumference/abdominal obesity
The soybean oil group presented:
- Increased total cholesterol
- Increased LDL (bad cholesterol)
- Increased LDL/HDL ratio
- Decreased HDL (good cholesterol)
- No reduction in waist circumference/abdominal obesity
Many of coconut oil's benefits may be due to its content of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), also called medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs, rather than the long chain fatty acids found in vegetable oils like soybean oil and animal fats such as lard. The authors concluded:
"It appears that dietetic supplementation with coconut oil does not cause dyslipidemia [an abnormal amount of cholesterol and/or fat in your blood] and seems to promote a reduction in abdominal obesity."
Why Coconut Oil's Medium-Chain Fatty Acids are so Good for You -- and Your Weight
Coconut oil is nature's richest source of healthy MCFAs. By contrast, most common vegetable or seed oils are comprised of long chain fatty acids (LCFAs), also known as long-chain triglycerides or LCTs. There are several reasons why these long-chain fatty acids are not as healthy for you as the MCFAs in coconut oil: Additionally, many LCFAs are from genetically engineered vegetable oils that are loaded with omega-6 fats. Not only do you want to avoid the genetically engineered foods, but even if they were organic these vegetable oils should be avoided as they are high processed and also distort you fragile omega 6/3 ratio.
- LCFAs are difficult for your body to break down -- they must be packaged with lipoproteins or carrier proteins and require special enzymes for digestion.
- LCFAs put more strain on your pancreas, your liver and your entire digestive system.
- LCFAs are predominantly stored in your body as fat.
- LCFAs, when oxidized, can deposit within arteries, contributing to both blood vessel inflammation and plaque build-up.
On the other hand, the MCFAs in coconut oil are more health promoting, because:
- MCFAs are smaller. They permeate cell membranes easily, and do not require lipoproteins or special enzymes to be utilized effectively by your body.
- MCFAs are easily digested, thus putting less strain on your digestive system. This is especially important for those of you with digestive or metabolic concerns.
- MCFAs are sent directly to your liver, where they are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored as fat.
- MCFAs in coconut oil can actually help stimulate your body's metabolism, leading to weight loss.
There are numerous studies showing that MCFAs promote weight loss, including one study that showed rats fed LCFAs stored body fat, while rats fed MCFAs reduced body fat and improved insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. Yet another study found that overweight men who ate a diet rich in MCFAs lost more fat tissue compared to those eating a high-LCFA diet, presumably due to increased energy expenditure and fat oxidation from the MCGA intake.
"Thus, MCTs may be considered as agents that aid in the prevention of obesity or potentially stimulate weight loss."
Additionally, a very exciting discovery is that coconut oil may even serve as a natural treatment for Alzheimer's disease, as MCT's are also a primary source of ketone bodies, which act as an alternate source of brain fuel that can help prevent the brain atrophy associated with dementia. Coconut oil is also rich in the medium-chain fatty acid derivative lauric acid, which converts in your body to monolaurin -- a compound also found in breast milk that strengthens a baby's immunity and has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties.
How Coconut Oil Was Miscast as a Dietary Villain
Saturated fat like coconut oil has been wrongfully vilified as the cause of high cholesterol and heart disease for the last 60 years, when in fact the converse was true all along. You can read the details of how this widely perpetuated myth became conventional medicine's dietary dogma here, but basically it was spawned from a series of flawed studies that snowballed the theory out of control.
Coconut oil, in particular, continued to be demonized by the vegetable oil industry throughout the ensuing decades. The soybean industry was especially ruthless in their condemnation of the use of tropical oils, and I'm sure you realize the reason why ? competition ... and millions and millions of dollars.
Unfortunately, the tropical oil industry, centered in poorer nations like the Philippines and Indonesia, could not afford to counter the negative propaganda spread by rich American industrial conglomerates. And in the United States coconut oil largely disappeared from the radar, except among small groups of health-seekers who had examined the research for themselves and/or experienced positive results firsthand.
Through it all, however, the healing properties of coconut oil were apparent for anyone who was willing to see them. Back in the 1930's, a dentist named Dr. Weston Price traveled throughout the South Pacific, examining traditional diets and their effect on dental and overall health. He found that those who consumed diets high in coconut products were healthy and trim, despite the high fat concentration in their diet.
Similarly, in 1981, researchers studied populations of two Polynesian atolls. Coconut was the chief source of caloric energy in both groups. The results, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, demonstrated that both populations exhibited positive vascular health. There was no evidence that the high saturated fat intake had a harmful effect in these populations.
Why Coconut Oil is the Superior Choice for Cooking
Whether you're trying to lose weight or not, using coconut oil as your primary cooking oil is important because it is the only one that is stable enough to resist heat-induced damage. Extra-virgin olive oil, while great as a salad dressing or for other non-heated uses, should not be used for cooking. Due to its chemical structure (it's one double carbon bond per fatty acid), heat makes it susceptible to oxidative damage.
And polyunsaturated fats, which include common vegetable oils such as corn, soy, safflower, sunflower and canola, are absolutely the worst oils to use in cooking. These omega-6 oils are highly susceptible to heat damage because of their multiple double bonds.
Coconut oil is far superior to any other cooking oil and is loaded with health benefits, not to mention flavor. Make sure you choose an organic coconut oil that is unrefined, unbleached, made without heat processing or chemicals, and does not contain genetically engineered ingredients.Sources:
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