Biden’s Game Of Chicken: “We Won’t See A Debt Ceiling Solution Until The Market Panics”

Zero Hedge | May 2, 2023

By Philip Marey, Senior Strategist at Rabobank


  • Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Yellen sent a new letter to the Congressional leadership, with the message that the X-date could arrive as soon as June 1.
  • With the adoption of the Limit, Save, Grow Act in the House of Representatives and President Biden’s unwillingness to negotiate about conditions for a raise in the debt limit, a game of chicken between Republicans and Democrats has started.
  • So far, markets reacted to the possibility of a US federal government default with a revealed preference for one month treasury bills over longer dated T-bills. However, we are still far from the panic needed to break the stalemate between Republicans and Democrats. This is likely to occur closer to the X-date.
  • Either this game is over within a few weeks or we are going to see a suspension of the debt limit until later this year. In both cases, we are not likely to see any solution until financial markets start to panic.


Nordstrom to Close Both San Francisco Stores amid Rampant Crime

Yahoo Finance | May 2, 2023

Nordstrom will close both of its San Francisco stores amid rampant crime making it dangerous and difficult to do business in the city.

One location is in the Westfield mall, which will close at the end of August, and another is a Nordstrom Rack downtown, which will close on July 1, the San Francisco Standard reported.

The company’s chief stores officer notified employees in an email that “the dynamics of the downtown San Francisco market have changed dramatically over the past several years, impacting customer foot traffic to our stores and our ability to operate successfully.”

Crime and homelessness concerns were not cited as the precipitating factors, but they have been afflicting San Francisco for many months. The owner of the Westfield mall, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, told the publication that the department store’s exit from the city “underscores the deteriorating situation in Downtown San Francisco.”


Don’t let anyone gaslight you on VAERS

Figure 1. Death reports in VAERS. Can you spot the unsafe vaccine? If you can’t, you can get a job as a “fact checker” for any mainstream media. Or a job in safety monitoring at the CDC! Despite what the CDC wants you to believe, the higher red bars are not due to social media hype, more doses, or different reporting requirements. I can’t get anyone on the record to explain the cause of this.

The single most devastating piece of evidence showing that the COVID vaccines have killed hundreds of thousands of Americans is the data in the VAERS system. Why? Because it’s the ground zero reporting system for adverse events for vaccines in the US.

This is why fact checkers are so diligent in attacking any articles that use the VAERS data to make a claim that is counter-narrative.

In this article, I will arm you with the tools you need to debunk the fact checkers and turn the tables on them so they are caught in their lies.

They will claim this is just over-reporting of “background events” caused by a rule change and social media exposure in combination with more people getting vaccinated and a shift to older people who are more likely to die.

It sounds plausible, but they never provide the math to “check” that their explanation can explain the data. The key word is NEVER.

They basically hope that everyone buys the hand-waving argument and nobody actually checks the math.

While all of those statements are true, you have to show causality. For example, just because there is a rule change doesn’t mean that anyone notices it and actually changes their behavior to produce a different outcome. Can you name a single hospital which instructed doctors on the new VAERS rules and required them to report all the new incidents?

So basically, debunking these “fact checkers” is as simple as calling their bluff and asking to see the evidence for their claims and asking them to explain other observations that are easily verifiable that are inconsistent with their hypothesis.

Keep in mind that you cannot have it both ways. There is only one truth here. The correct hypothesis is the hypothesis which is a better fit to all the available evidence from all sources.

How can you prove the data in VAERS shows the vaccines are killing people? Because there is simply no other way to explain the massive number of death reports.

Here are a few argument that their claims that the vaccine is perfectly safe don’t match up with observations:

  1. In 2021, there were 525 deaths reported for all vaccines combined (which was atypically high), but 22397 for the COVID vaccine alone. So that’s a 42X differential. Show me the data you have explaining how you can close that gap based on the reasons you cited.

  2. I had an independent survey of healthcare workers (who are responsible for the majority of the reports in VAERS) done and it showed that their propensity to report events to VAERS didn’t change over time. So the behavioral change you thought was there, wasn’t actually there. Is there data showing my survey is wrong?

  3. If you read the text of dozens of death reports in VAERS (something few people take the time to do; they prefer to opine definitively on VAERS without spending hours doing searches and reading the records), you find that some people died, who would not be normally expected to die, right after the injection. While that might happen by chance, it’s happening at a higher frequency than would normally be expected. You can see the difference in this chart which is flu vaccines over the entire 30 year history of VAERS vs. the COVID vaccines:

  4. The adverse event report mix in VAERS doesn’t match what would be expected if these are just background deaths (the plot of AE’s on the X axis and event count on the Y axis doesn’t have the same shape as a “safe” vaccine). So you clearly are not reporting background deaths. I don’t see how you can counter this argument, but I’m willing to be educated.

  5. Over 770 safety signals were triggered (including death) which is unprecedented. And the CDC didn’t notify the public. The mainstream media and medical community didn’t think this was a problem. Do you have an issue with that? Did you speak out about it? Note that safety signals are only triggered when there is a significantly disproportionate increase in an adverse event. So if these are all just background events and there is just an increase in the rate of reporting, there would be no triggering of safety signals at all. This should have set off alarm bells, but the medical community and the CDC looked the other way. Why did they ignore it? The CDC could make a hand-waving argument that the EUA reporting requirement shifted the mix of reports to certain types of events (thus generating a safety signal because of the disproportionality), but where is the evidence that anyone’s reporting behavior was skewed by that requirement? Instead, doctors simply continued to report what they saw, regardless of the rules (required vs. optional).

  6. Kid deaths reported to VAERS don’t match the normal way kids die. The reporting requirements cannot skew this because this is not a safety signal test; this is a comparison with the normal causes of death of young people. Here, teenagers are dying from bleeding the brain as a common cause of death. Since when has bleeding in the brain been one of the top causes of death for kids? There is no explanation for this. The CDC reported the mix of causes and refused to comment on how abnormal the mix was. This should be very troubling to everyone because it shows that the CDC has a blind eye when kids are killed by the vaccine. Everyone looked the other way. Explain to me how this is normal.

  7. The ratio of male-to-female deaths doesn’t match the underlying male:female death rate for a given age range that existed at the time of the death (either for all deaths or non-COVID deaths). There is no male vs. female bias in making VAERS reports. How do you explain this?

  8. Doctors are noticing a 10X higher rate of AEs in vaccinated patients vs. unvaccinated patients. There is the issue of doctor observations where some doctors who never needed to file a VAERS report in the past, now are seeing over a 1,000-fold increase in reportable events (and not because of the rule change). If the vaccine is safe, how do you explain this? This is not over-reporting because the doctor is reporting more because there are more events. Explain how this can happen.

  9. The gold-standard CMS data shows that deaths in people who were vaccinated don’t match background deaths. It’s supposed to “flatten” any COVID humps, i.e., decrease deaths. But the CMS data shows deaths go up after vaccination when the background death rates are going down. If the vaccine is safe, how do you explain this? I’ve made the Medicare data public and nobody has come forward to explain that the data is showing the vaccine is safe. Why not?

  10. If nothing is wrong, why is CDC withholding the autopsy reports as requested by Aaron Siri? Shouldn’t the death investigations be made public? Is there a benefit to keeping these investigations secret?

  11. We were told by the CDC that the vaccine is safe to take in pregnancy. That’s nice. But the Pfizer study of the vaccine for use in pregnancy didn’t conclude until July 15, 2022. Shouldn’t the CDC have waited? And why haven’t the results of that trial been made public yet since it’s now been nearly a year since the trial completed? Surely, they must know something by now? Why the silence?

  12. How come menstrual issues for the COVID vaccines are off the charts in VAERS (around 1,000X normal)? That cannot be just elevated background reporting because it is disproportionate. Please explain.

  13. Pulmonary embolism rates are about 1,000X normal. How can that be just “over-reporting”?

  14. If nothing is wrong, why has the CDC NEVER done the proper stains on the tissue samples of people who died after they got vaccinated? That would be dispositive.

  15. Why doesn’t the NIH fund a study to look at 100 bodies of people who died within 30 days of their last COVID vaccination. They’d do the proper stains on each body and report the results. We’d know instantly. Is it really better to not do this study and see if people can guess who is right?

  16. The Schwab study showed at least 14% of the people who die within 20 days of the vaccine were killed by the vaccine. Peter McCullough believes the rate could be higher than 70%.

  17. If this is just over-reporting, then how come multiple polls of households done by different organizations all find the same thing: that the vaccine has killed a comparable number of people as the virus. The latest poll was done by Rasmussen.

  18. Why do large scale studies (such as Rancourt, Skidmore) show the estimated death rate from the COVID vaccine (1 per 1,000 doses) is the same as the death rate estimated from the VAERS data (1 per 1,000 doses)?

  19. Why is there a male/female skew if the vaccine isn’t killing people? Extended: Analysis of COVID-19 Vaccine Death Reports from the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) Database showed the following for the cases they analyzed (fewer in 2021 than the latest analysis in 2022):

    1. 2021 female deaths 96, male deaths 154

    2. 2022 female deaths 457, male deaths 544.

    3. The biggest disparity in favor of males is as you get into the younger age groups. Every death below 15 years of age in the dataset at the time was male. So this can’t be over-reporting since it would have a more even mix of males and females.

  20. There are no positive anecdotes. We couldn’t find a single funeral home, nursing home, or geriatric practice anywhere in the world where adverse events and deaths went down after the vaccines rolled out.

  21. The negative anecdotes are stunning. For example Wayne Root held an event attended by an equal number of vaccinated and unvaccinated friends. A year later, there were 52 serious injuries/illnesses (including 12 deaths) in the vaccinated group vs. 3 deaths in the unvaccinated group.

  22. In the Pfizer Phase 3 study, the people in the vaccine group were 31% more likely to die than those in the placebo group (all-cause mortality).

  23. Why didn’t Pfizer do the proper stains on the people who died in the vaccine arm to assess whether or not the vaccine killed them. Instead, they took the advice of the investigators who had a clear conflict of interest. This is irresponsible. The FDA should have demanded to see the histopathology on everyone who died, but instead the FDA chose to look the other way.

  24. The precautionary principle of medicine requires us to take all of these observations above seriously and consider that the vaccine is unsafe until proven otherwise.

  25. All you have to do to figure out whether the vaccine is dangerous or not is to pick up the phone and talk to an honest doctor who trusts you (otherwise, they’ll play it safe and say nothing). In my case, I chatted with a neurologist with a 20,000 patient neurology practice close to where I live to get a sense of what is going on. She said that in the 11 years of the practice, they’ve never needed to file a single VAERS report. This year, they need to file over 1,000. Why? Because the side-effect profile of the vaccine is off-the-charts, not because of a rule change or social media.

  26. I spoke to another doctor who has been in practice for 35 years and he’s never in his career seen anything like this vaccine in terms of negative impact on his patients. He spent the next 15 minutes rattling off the adverse effects of at least 23 of his vaccinated patients that started after they got vaccinated. He said, “Thank you for listening, there are so many, these are just some of what I recall…. I know statistically things happen in life, but in 38 years I’ve never seen so many conditions in a condensed time, that right there tells us the answer!!!” Those were his exact words. He estimated that 10% of his 300 patients who took the vaccine were adversely impacted by the vaccine. This is simply not consistent with a “safe and effective” vaccine that is simply being over-reported to VAERS.

  27. The CDC’s own V-safe program data indicates that 7.7% of vaccine recipients required medical care, an independent confirmation of the danger signals seen in VAERS. This is not “over-reported.” It has to be considered definitive. So if there is no signal in VAERS, there is an inconsistency requiring explanation.

  28. Using the anaphylaxis reports which must be reported, VAERS is under-reported by a factor of 41. But VAERS in the past has been under-reported by a similar factor as noted in the Lazarus report. So it can’t be “over-reported” if the under-reporting factor is the same as in the past, can it? That makes no sense at all.

  29. If the vaccines are so safe, why are there so many death reports in <3 hrs after the jab? Check this out. Remember, this is under-reported by 41X. Explain how this can happen? Anyone who gets the jab is not expecting to die in 3 hours so the number of these should be quite low. How do you explain the number?

  30. There are twice as many KID DEATHS in VAERS than anybody knows, because they are hiding as UNKNOWN AGE. Whoops. Should we be concerned or just write this one off?

  31. If a VAERS report is made for a person and the person dies after the report is filed, the report isn’t updated. Do you know how often this happens? If you don’t, how do you know the vaccine is so safe?

In general, most of the arguments used by fact checkers in the COVID era are hand-waving arguments or expert opinion with either absolutely no evidentiary basis or references to a flawed study without mention of contradictory studies.

For example, the CDC used the same technique (“it’s just over-reporting”) with the HPV vaccine and the authors of Turtles All the Way Down mentioned this as well.

The fact checkers talk to experts who will say something like “the association between death and the COVID vaccine has never been established” even when it pops out like a sore thumb if you do a VAERS query.

The COVID narrative “fact checkers” never consult with experts on both sides of the issue in doing their fact check. They will only quote experts who oppose the fact being checked, never any experts who support the fact. I’m not aware of a single counter-example.

So it will always be a one-sided presentation. This isn’t journalism; it’s “propaganda.”

In general, to counter their argument, you simply say, “Oh really? What actual evidence do you have in support of the statement you just made? Opinions, even when from experts, don’t count. Can you show me the actual data that backs up what you just said?”

Don’t let them get away with an insufficient answer. For example, they’ll say “it’s overreporting” and you’ll ask for proof and they’ll say “rule change.” Sounds good, but insufficient. You have to prove that it was the rule change that caused the over-reporting. They never do that. And they never fact check themselves on their explanation.


When you insist on seeing the data rather than trusting experts like they want you to do, you can get hit pieces written about you like the one that I got that appeared in MIT’s Technology Review .

On the other hand, thanks to that one article, I’m now the top hit on Google when you type “misinformation superspreader.”

It’s nice to be the best in the world at something!

And all I did to get there was to insist on seeing the data as the basis for my opinion rather than trusting people’s opinion! It was so easy.

Consider the following VAERS “fact check”: Increase in COVID-19 VAERS Reports Due To Reporting Requirements, Intense Scrutiny of Widely Given Vaccines

The essence of the fact check is that all the huge numbers of adverse event reports in VAERS is because:

  1. The reporting requirements for the EUA vaccines are more inclusive so more reports will be filed. Note: the first part of this sentence is true (see link to the VAERS reporting requirements), but the second half is an assumption with no evidentiary support.

  2. Due to social media, people are more aware of VAERS so they’ve reported more

  3. More people were vaccinated in total

  4. More elderly and sick people were vaccinated than normal

and so there is absolutely nothing to worry about.

This sounds plausible if you don’t ask the next level of question which is: “Does this explanation fit the observed data?” The fact checkers never go there. Once they have their hand-waving argument that sounds good, there is no need to actually ask to see if it actually can explain the data (a 42X higher death rate than all other vaccines combined in the same year). For example, can they show that healthcare workers are now making 42 death reports when in the past they only made 1?

Some people have claimed that VAERS numbers are up because social media attention is causing individuals to report at a huge rate. These claims always come without any evidentiary support.

VAERS actually has a field for the reporter type, but this field is not exposed to the public! Apparently, the CDC has determined that providing greater transparency into the reporter mix is not beneficial to public health outcomes. I have no clue why they think this and of course, they never answer any of my questions.

To find out the mix of consumer reports for domestic VAERS reports, we can do VAERS queries such as asking for “father” or “mother” in the body of the report. These keywords are typical of a self-report. The percentages of such reports are very small.

In addition the ratio of domestic to foreign reports has remained constant and the foreign reports are around 96% from healthcare providers. So that’s further confirmation.

So it doesn’t appear that there has been a huge influx of consumer reports into VAERS. If there was, I’m open to seeing evidence of that.

I made a list of over 25 items that would have to be explained away in order to convince me and my colleagues that the COVID vaccines are safe and that there is nothing to see in VAERS.

I’m hoping someone will answer these questions and show me how I got it wrong.

The sooner the better.


A Silent Thief of Sight: Are You at Risk?

glaucoma risk factors

  • Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world. Worldwide, an estimated 80 million people are affected, and prevalence is on the rise

  • Glaucoma develops when high pressure in your eye (ocular hypertension) damages the optic nerve. Peripheral vision is impacted first, followed by central vision. Vision loss is usually the only symptom

  • Interocular pressure is a modifiable risk factor of glaucoma

  • Aside from high eye pressure, other factors that influence your risk include old age, thin cornea, large optic nerve cup size and low peripheral vision test score. These factors can help your ophthalmologist determine your glaucoma risk

  • Treatment options include eye pressure-lowering eye drops, oral medication and selective laser trabeculoplasty. Certain supplements can also be helpful, including melatonin, lutein (ideally from food), ginkgo biloba, Chinese skullcap, bilberry, green tea, curcumin and nicotinamide (B3)

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Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world. Worldwide, an estimated 80 million people are affected, and prevalence is rising.

Glaucoma develops when high pressure in your eye (ocular hypertension

) damages the optic nerve. Peripheral vision is impacted first, followed by central vision.

Ocular hypertension occurs when the front of your eye fails to drain fluid properly, thereby causing pressure to build and put pressure on the optic nerve. Factors that raise your risk for ocular hypertension include:

  • Family history of ocular hypertension or glaucoma

  • Diabetics and those with high blood pressure

  • People over 40

  • Blacks and Hispanics

  • Myopia (nearsightedness)

  • Long-term steroid use

  • Previous eye injuries or eye surgeries

  • Those with pigment dispersion syndrome or pseudoexfoliation syndrome

The only known way to prevent and/or stop the progression of glaucoma is to lower the pressure in the eye. Treatment options include drugs, lasers, laceration surgery, oral medications, nutritional supplements, herbs and other plant remedies, several of which I’ll review below.

Keep in mind that loss of vision is usually the first and only symptom of glaucoma, so it’s important to get a thorough eye exam by an ophthalmologist to determine if your ocular pressure is elevated, which could make you a candidate for glaucoma. Once vision loss occurs, the damage to your optic nerve is irreversible.

Being diagnosed with ocular hypertension does not mean you’re destined to develop glaucoma, but it does significantly raise your risk, as it’s the primary underlying cause. The Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study (OHTS), which began in 1994, has also identified other risk factors that can help determine your risk for glaucoma. As reported by Harvard Health:

“The researchers enrolled a diverse group of 1,636 participants with ocular hypertension from 22 sites across the US. To study glaucoma prevention, participants were randomly assigned to start either early eye pressure-lowering eye drops (medication group) or close observation (control group).

At five years the data showed that 4.4% of participants developed glaucoma in the medication group, compared to 9.5% in the control group. This tells us that early use of medicated eye drops helps delay over 50% of glaucoma cases in people with ocular hypertension.

During later phases of the study, the control group could receive eye pressure-lowering medications to see whether starting medication later could still delay glaucoma; it did.

At 20 years, about 49% of those in the control group and 42% of those in the medication group developed glaucoma. However, since the study was no longer randomized, the researchers were unable to compare the 20-year risk reduction between the initial starting groups …

Glaucoma risk, it turned out, did not depend solely on eye pressure and race, but on a combination of exam findings. This information helps guide clinicians in determining whether a person with ocular hypertension is at a low, medium, or higher risk for developing glaucoma. Having such information could help people decide when to begin using medicated eye drops to prevent vision loss or slow its progress.”

Aside from high eye pressure, other factors that influence an individual’s risk for developing glaucoma were found to include:

  • Older age

  • Thinner corneas

  • Larger optic nerve cup sizes

  • Low initial peripheral vision test scores

If you’re diagnosed with ocular hypertension, particularly if you also have other risk factors listed above, your ophthalmologist may prescribe eye pressure-lowering eye drops, oral medication and/or selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT).

SLT is a five-minute procedure performed at your ophthalmologist’s office, where a low-energy laser is pulsed into specific cells in your eye. Your body’s natural healing response then does the rest by rebuilding these cells. The rebuilding process automatically reduces the intraocular pressure and improves drainage.

Studies have also shown that certain herbal remedies, plant extracts

and nutritional supplements can be helpful, although most conventional doctors know very little, if anything, about these products.

Melatonin, for example, has been shown to lower intraocular pressure in patients with glaucoma. Subjects who took 2 mg of melatonin daily at 10:30 p.m. for 90 days, experienced several benefits, including:

  • Increased stability of systemic circadian rhythm via improved phase alignment and alignment with intraocular pressure

  • Decreased intraocular pressure

  • Improved function of retinal ganglion cells in those with advanced glaucoma

  • Improvements to sleep and mood, particularly in those with advanced glaucoma

Interestingly, these researchers

suggested that glaucoma may, in fact, be a type of neurodegenerative disease, and damage to retinal ganglion cells affects not only vision but also circadian rhythms and sleep, which melatonin helps regulate.

“Melatonin receptors exist in several areas of your eyes, including the retina, lens, and cornea. This hints at melatonin’s importance for regulating eye processes, particularly when pressure homeostasis is involved.”

Its beneficial effects on the eyes can perhaps be explained best by the fact that melatonin receptors exist in several areas of your eyes, including the retina, lens and cornea.

This hints at melatonin’s importance for regulating eye processes, particularly when pressure homeostasis is involved. As explained in a March 2020 paper published in Progress in Retinal and Eye Research:

“Glaucoma, the most prevalent eye disease, also known as the silent thief of vision, is a multifactorial pathology that is associated to age and, often, to intraocular hypertension (IOP). Indeed IOP is the only modifiable risk factor …

Melatonin and analogues decrease IOP in both normotensive and hypertensive eyes. Melatonin activates its cognate membrane receptors, MT1 and MT2, which are present in numerous ocular tissues, including the aqueous-humor-producing ciliary processes.

Melatonin receptors belong to the superfamily of G-protein-coupled receptors and their activation would lead to different signaling pathways depending on the tissue … The current work highlights the important role of melatonin and its analogues in the healthy and in the glaucomatous eyes, with special attention to the control of intraocular pressure.”

Personally, I question the timing of the melatonin in the above study at 10:30 p.m. In my view that is far from an ideal time to sleep and about two hours later than I personally do. The other issue of concern is that it is unclear if these authors were aware that the greatest production of melatonin is not the pineal, but the mitochondria, when exposed to infrared light.

It would be interesting to compare the results of their 2 mg 10:30 p.m. protocol versus one hour of sunshine around solar noon in a warm climate.

The effect of melatonin on intraocular pressure has been known for decades, yet most conventional doctors are still groping in the dark. In 1988, researchers with Oregon Health Sciences University exposed subjects to bright light to suppress serum melatonin levels, and then supplemented with melatonin to gauge its effect on intraocular pressure.

A significant connection was found:

“Our data suggests that during the period of melatonin’s greatest levels in the serum, IOP is lowest. All subjects had maximum pressures form 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and most subjects had minimums from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m.

In experiment one, bright light suppression of melatonin secretion attenuated the early morning fall IOP. This was statistically significant at suggesting that melatonin is involved in lowering early morning IOP.

In experiment one, there was only partial suppression of melatonin production with bright light and consequently there was no significant difference in IOP between subjects exposed to dim light and bright light.

However, administering 200 micrograms (one-fifth of 1 mg) of melatonin orally caused a significant decrease in IOP. Intraocular pressure remained low for approximately four hours after the last dose.”

Lutein is another nutrient that is really important for eye health and helps to protect against age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and other eye diseases.

Lutein concentrates in your macula, which is the part of your retina responsible for central vision. Along with zeaxanthin and mesa-zeaxanthin (a metabolite of lutein), these three carotenoids form the retinal macular pigment, which not only is responsible for optimizing your visual performance but also serves as a biomarker for the risk of macular diseases.

Lutein is also found in the lens, where it helps protect against cataracts and other age-related eye diseases. Among carotenoids, lutein is the most efficient at filtering out blue light — the type that comes from cellphones, computers, tablets and LED lights. Blue light induces oxidative stress in your eyes, which increases the risk of cataracts and macular diseases. Lutein, however, acts as a shield against it.

Your body cannot make lutein, so you must get it from your diet. Following are 10 foods that are particularly rich sources of lutein.

  • Dark leafy greens

  • Carrots

  • Broccoli

  • Egg yolks

  • Red and yellow peppers

  • Sweet corn

  • Avocados

  • Raspberries

  • Cherries

  • Paprika

Lutein and other carotenoids are fat-soluble, so to optimize absorption be sure to consume it along with a source of healthy fat, such as coconut oil or grass-fed butter. Because organic, pastured egg yolks contain fat, they’re among the healthiest sources of lutein.

Certain herbs, plant extracts and vitamins have also shown promise in the treatment of glaucoma, including:

  • Ginkgo biloba — A 2013 study

    highlighted the benefits of ginkgo biloba, finding it slowed the progression of glaucoma. Forty-two patients with normal tension glaucoma received 80 mg of ginkgo biloba extract twice a day and underwent five or more visual field tests over the course of at least four years.

    Mean follow-up was 12.3 years. While intraocular pressures remained largely the same after treatment, the visual field index significantly improved, especially central field vision.

  • Chinese skullcap — A 2021 study

    concluded that baicalein, a flavone found in skullcap root, effectively improved symptoms of glaucoma and reduced retinal ganglion cell apoptosis.

  • Bilberry — In animal research,

    bilberry extract was shown to prevent the death of retinal ganglion cells in mice whose optic nerves were crushed. The dosages given were 100 mg per kilo of bodyweight per day and 500 mg/kg/day.

  • Green tea — A 2019 animal study found green tea extract helped protect retinal ganglion cells during ischemic conditions (i.e., when blood flow is restricted). As such, green tea extract may be a viable therapeutic approach for glaucoma and optic neuropathies.

    A more recent report,

    published in 2022, proposed that moderate consumption of green tea or 400 mg of concentrated green tea extract per day might benefit individuals with elevated intraocular pressure and those at risk for glaucoma.

  • Curcumin — According to animal research

    published in 2014, curcumin, a polyphenol found in the spice turmeric, can help treat glaucoma by limiting oxidative damage in the eye and lowering intraocular pressure.

  • Vitamin B3 (nicotinamide) — Research

    published in 2020 reported that glaucoma patients who took oral vitamin B3 experienced significant improvement in retinal function. Patients in the treatment group received 1.5 grams of nicotinamide per day for six weeks, followed by 3 grams a day for another six weeks.

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Why Is It Easier to Get This Deadly Treatment Than Ivermectin?

Download Interview Transcript | Download my FREE Podcast | Video Link

  • While health care professionals and their patients have been ridiculed, threatened and denied the ability to use ivermectin to treat COVID-19, a deadly drug — fentanyl — continues to circulate unabated

  • In September 2021, the American Medical Association told doctors to stop prescribing ivermectin for COVID-19, and pharmacists have refused to fill prescriptions for patients

  • Even as overdose deaths rise, fentanyl continues to flow freely into the U.S.; the DEA seized more than 50.6 million fentanyl pills and 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder in 2022; the fentanyl seized amounts to enough deadly doses to kill every American

  • The primary way fentanyl is finding its way to the U.S. is via an international pathway; it’s difficult for Chinese suppliers to send pills directly to the U.S., so they instead send fentanyl ingredients to cartels in Mexico, which manufacture the drug and smuggle it across the border

  • Some experts believe the Chinese Communist Party is using fentanyl as a form of chemical warfare to kill Americans

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Ivermectin, a drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is widely used to treat parasitic diseases.

The total doses of ivermectin distributed equal one-third of the world’s population, and it’s “considered extremely safe for use in humans.”

Ivermectin even has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, widening its potential scope of use.

But when Dr. Pierre Kory, who is part of the group that formed the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Working Group (FLCCC), pleaded with the U.S. government early on in the pandemic to review the expansive data on ivermectin to prevent COVID-19, keep those with early symptoms from progressing and help critically ill patients recover — he was met with backlash.

While health care professionals and their patients have been ridiculed, threatened and denied the ability to use ivermectin to treat COVID-19, a deadly drug — fentanyl — continues to circulate unabated. 

Reports and videos have circulated online of pharmacists denying patients ivermectin, even when they have a doctor’s prescription.

One pharmacist told Fox News that if he suspects an ivermectin prescription is intended to treat COVID-19, he won’t fill it. “Based on the quantity and based on the dosage, I know exactly what it’s for … I’ve denied all of them, yes,” he said.

Further, in a video posted on Twitter, “you see the patient trying to pick up his prescription of ivermectin, which the pharmacist flat out refuses to fill … noting it’s not FDA approved for the virus,” TMZ reported:

“The customer is adamant that it was prescribed to him by a licensed physician, and that the pharmacist is breaking the law by overriding his doctor’s orders — but the pharmacist tells him to kick rocks, and to complain to whoever he feels he needs to complain to.”

In September 2021, the American Medical Association told doctors to stop prescribing ivermectin for COVID-19. In a statement, AMA, along with the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), warned:

“We are alarmed by reports that outpatient prescribing for and dispensing of ivermectin have increased 24-fold since before the pandemic and increased exponentially over the past few months.

As such, we are calling for an immediate end to the prescribing, dispensing, and use of ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 outside of a clinical trial.

In addition, we are urging physicians, pharmacists, and other prescribers — trusted health care professionals in their communities — to warn patients against the use of ivermectin outside of FDA-approved indications and guidance, whether intended for use in humans or animals, as well as purchasing ivermectin from online stores.”

Bret Weinstein, an evolutionary theorist, author of “A Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century” and host of “The DarkHorse Podcast,” interviewed Kory about ivermectin’s role in treating COVID-19 and the censorship that’s occurred to cover it up.

There are many ivermectin success stories out there, but one that Kory believes best illustrates the power of ivermectin against COVID is that of Itajai, Brazil, a city of 220,000 people. In June 2020, they implemented a prophylaxis program using ivermectin. The program was advertised throughout local media, and people were encouraged to participate and take ivermectin four times a month, on Days 1, 2, 15 and 16.

On the appropriate days, they set up tents and centers where people could get the drug, and the entire program was carefully logged in an electronic database. In all, 159,000 Brazilians participated; of those, 113,000 elected to take the ivermectin.

Kory and eight coauthors published a paper on the results, which showed “regular use of ivermectin as a prophylactic agent was associated with significantly reduced COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and mortality rates.”

Those who used ivermectin had a 44% reduction in COVID-19 infection rate, a 68% reduction in COVID-19 mortality and a 56% reduction in hospitalization rate compared to those who did not.

During our 2022 interview, Kory explained:

“And when you look at the regular users, the ones who were most adherent to the protocol, no one went to the hospital. There was a 100% reduction in hospitalization and a 90% lower risk of dying. It’s astounding … I’ve never seen a more proven therapy in any disease model, which they successfully got everyone to believe is a horse dewormer used by unvaccinated conspiracy theorists.”

All this to say, ivermectin was showing extreme promise for COVID-19 — and the safety profile of ivermectin, even for long-term use, is very good. Yet, there was a crackdown on its usage, making it extremely difficult to come by for the average person. Fentanyl, however? Not so much.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that’s up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies fentanyl as a Schedule II substance, which means it has a high potential for abuse and abuse may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

A study by epidemiologist Chelsea Shover of the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and colleagues reported that overdose deaths from synthetic opioids increased 10-fold in the U.S. from 2013 to 2018.

Their research found fentanyl deaths increased 63% from 2019 to 2020, with a “fentanyl breakthrough” in western states driving the increases, which they fear will “dramatically worsen the nation’s already severe opioid epidemic in the long-term.”

Fentanyl has a number of street names, ranging from China White and Apace to Great Bear and He-Man, but the ones that are the most fitting are Poison and Murder 8. When fentanyl is ingested, it produces a sense of well-being or euphoria that reduces anxiety and aggression.

The high is intense, but it’s also only temporary, giving way to drowsiness, trouble concentrating and apathy. If too much is taken, fentanyl can also lead to slowed respiration, reduced blood pressure, nausea, fainting, seizures, coma and death. From 2019 to 2020, opioid overdose deaths, including from fentanyl, jumped 94% among youth aged 14 to 18. Such deaths increased another 20% from 2020 to 2021.

But even as overdose deaths rise, fentanyl continues to flow freely into the U.S. The DEA reported that it seized more than 50.6 million fentanyl pills and 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder in 2022. The fentanyl seized amounts to enough deadly doses to kill every American, according to DEA administrator Anne Milgram.

Jan Jekielek tweet

The primary way fentanyl is finding its way to the U.S. is via an international pathway. Because it’s more difficult for Chinese suppliers to send pills directly to the U.S., they instead send fentanyl ingredients to cartels in Mexico. “After creating the fentanyl, either in raw powder or pill form, the cartels would ship them across the border in trucks, according to investigators,” ABC News reported.

The fentanyl is often added to other pills made to look like painkillers, and many victims are unaware that they’re taking fentanyl until it’s too late.

Jan Jekielek, senior editor with The Epoch Times, tweeted, “You wanted more smoking gun evidence that the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] is using Fentanyl to wage chemical warfare on Americans? Look no further.”

He’s referencing the video above, a snippet from the hearing of the Financial Services Committee held March 23, 2023. Jason Grellner, who has 30 years of counternarcotics experience, explained why China is selling drugs that can kill us to Americans:

“Because they [the CCP] want to kill us. DEA laboratories just came out this week with information that 48 states have now seen fentanyl laced with a non-reactive agent. A tranquilizer used in veterinary sciences that will not react to naloxone. That means that if you overdose from this byproduct, we can’t bring you back with a nasal naloxone. It won’t work, because you’re also suppressing your breathing by using this veterinary tranquilizer.

There’s only one reason that they’re selling this poison, and it is to destabilize the United States and to kill Americans. I worked, back in the ‘80s, with Project Columbia, Project Nicaragua when cocaine was coming into the United States as a party drug.

I worked on 1,265 meth labs when meth lab components were all over the United States. It was about getting high … this is about killing people. And the sooner we understand that, and realize that, and fund the DEA and local and state task forces to go after it, the better off we’ll be.”

In response to the crisis, the U.S. Treasury Department said it had placed sanctions on four Chinese nationals as well as the chemical companies Wuhan Shuokang Biological Technology Co Ltd and Suzhou Xiaoli Pharmatech Co Ltd.

“Illicit fentanyl is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans each year,” Brian Nelson the Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said. “Treasury, as part of the whole-of-government effort to respond to this crisis, will continue to vigorously apply our tools to prevent the transfer of precursor chemicals and machinery necessary to produce this drug.”

The DEA is also aware of the issue and noted:

“Currently, China remains the primary source of fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked through international mail and express consignment operations environment, as well as the main source for all fentanyl-related substances trafficked into the United States. Seizures of fentanyl sourced from China average less than one kilogram in weight, and often test above 90 percent concentration of pure fentanyl.”

According to an analysis of CDC data by Families Against Fentanyl (FAF), the drug killed more Americans between the ages of 18 and 45 in 2021 than any other cause, including suicide, motor vehicle accidents, COVID-19 and cancer.

Part of fentanyl’s power is its ability to kill in such small amounts. Just 2 milligrams of the drug can be lethal,

so even small amounts smuggled into the U.S. have the potential to kill widely. Yet, fentanyl continues to flow into the U.S. and circulate freely while lifesaving drugs like ivermectin are vilified and restricted — essentially making it easier to obtain deadly fentanyl in the U.S. than ivermectin. As noted by FAF:

“Declaring fentanyl and fentanyl analogues Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) would give federal agencies new ways to help stem the flow of these deadly chemicals into our country. As dangerous as they are, the issue isn’t whether fentanyl and fentanyl analogues should be designated weapons of mass destruction. The real question is, why haven’t we done it already?”

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The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Mercola and his community. Dr. Mercola encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. The subscription fee being requested is for access to the articles and information posted on this site, and is not being paid for any individual medical advice.

If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content.

Acid Reflux May Respond Better to Foods Than Prescribed Pills

acid reflux may respond better to foods

  • Americans spend $13 billion a year on over-the-counter and prescription proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), the most popular anti-reflux medications on the market

  • Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a condition affecting about 20% of the U.S. population

  • Consuming a Mediterranean diet may be as effective as PPIs in treating acid reflux symptoms; a Mediterranean-style diet focuses on fruits, healthy fats, lean meats, nuts and vegetables

  • Often, you can restore your body’s acid balance simply by avoiding processed foods and sugar, eating real food and infusing your gut microbiome with beneficial bacteria from fermented foods or a high-quality probiotic

  • A number of natural remedies, including apple cider vinegar, baking soda, ginger and slippery elm, can be useful to address occasional reflux problems and, in conjunction with diet changes, may eliminate the need for PPIs and other medications

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Editor’s Note: This article is a reprint. It was originally published January 3, 2018.

Americans spend a whopping $13 billion a year on over-the-counter and prescription proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which are the most popular anti-reflux medications on the market.

Because they inhibit acid production, prescription PPI drugs like Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec are used to treat acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition affecting about 20% of the U.S. population.

Once prescribed, your doctor may keep you on a PPI drug for years, despite label warnings suggesting they be used only for short periods. If you regularly suffer from heartburn or acid reflux, you’ll want to take note of research suggesting dietary changes are as or more effective than drugs in addressing acid reflux.

In many cases, you can begin to restore your body’s proper gastric balance and function simply by avoiding processed foods and sugar. By eating real food and infusing your gut microbiome with beneficial bacteria — from traditionally fermented foods or a high-quality probiotic supplement — you can rebalance your digestive system and eliminate the need for PPIs and other medications. In addition, there are several natural remedies available to help you address this condition.

Reflux, or GERD, occurs when contents from your stomach back up into your esophagus, causing stomach acid to irritate the lining of your esophagus. Other common names for this condition include:

  • Acid indigestion

  • Acid regurgitation

  • Heartburn

If you experience acid reflux symptoms more than twice a week, you very likely have reflux disease or GERD, which involves bloating, burning pain in your chest and gut discomfort.

GERD sufferers who experience pronounced reflux symptoms concentrated in the upper throat area, including the pharynx and voice box, may have a more serious condition called laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR). LPR occurs when pepsin, a digestive enzyme from your stomach, damages the sensitive tissues in the back of your throat, resulting in symptoms such as:

  • A “lump” in your throat that doesn’t go away

  • Excessive throat clearing or throat mucus

  • Hoarseness

  • Persistent cough or sore throat

  • Trouble breathing or swallowing

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery

involving 184 participants, suggests a Mediterranean diet — one focused on fruits, healthy fats, lean meats, nuts and vegetables — may be as effective as PPIs in treating acid reflux symptoms.

The type of reflux addressed in the research was LPR, the kind in which stomach acid affects sensitive tissues at the back of your throat. “You’re not supposed to have acid up in the throat,” says lead study author Dr. Craig Zalvan, chief of otolaryngology and medical director of the Phelps Institute for Voice and Swallowing Disorders at Phelps Hospital in New York. “The tissues there have poor protection against acid and pepsin.”

All the study participants were advised to avoid reflux triggers such as alcohol, chocolate, coffee, greasy and fatty foods, spicy foods and tea. The research compared outcomes involving two groups:

  • 85 LPR sufferers who were treated with PPIs

  • 99 LPR sufferers who were put on a Mediterranean diet and told to drink alkaline water

After six weeks, outcomes were measured using a standardized reflux scale. Notably, those who changed their diet and those who used PPI medications both reported a similar lessening of reflux symptoms, with the diet group indicating a slightly higher level of improvement. Given the outcomes, Zalvan believes diet is the better of the two options for addressing LPR symptoms. He states:

“These results really show you can treat people with a diet-based approach using a plant-based diet. If you take all patients with LPR and put them on a plant-based diet … the majority do get better. And they stop their drugs, which overall leads to much better health.”

Even though it was not clear from the research why this particular choice of diet evidently helped relieve reflux symptoms, a number of studies have confirmed the overall health benefits of a Mediterranean-style diet. As you may imagine, eating a healthy diet will naturally contribute to your body’s proper acid balance.

Even if you do not have reflux issues, a Mediterranean-style diet is a good choice if you are interested in optimizing your health, since it’s low in sugar, moderate in protein and high in fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as healthy fats. The Mediterranean-style of eating has been shown to improve cardiovascular health and significantly reduce your risk of stroke. It has also been shown to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease,

cancer, Parkinson’s and rheumatoid arthritis.

Overall, the Mediterranean diet is one of the best conventional diets to support your brain and heart health. Research indicates diets rich in healthy fats from avocados, nuts and olive oil may boost memory and cognition in older adults.

About the research, Samantha Heller, certified dietitian/nutritionist at New York University’s Langone Orthopedic Center, stated:

“These healthy fats have been shown to improve cognitive function and brain health. Conversely, research suggests eating unhealthy fats like trans fats found in processed foods, and saturated fats in animal foods accelerated cognitive decline and poor memory, and is linked to an increased risk of dementia.”

While I agree with most of what Heller said, I disagree with her assertion that saturated fats from animal foods are bad for you. Saturated fat found in meats and other animal products is actually quite good for you, but only if you choose high-quality sources such as grass fed beef and pastured chicken or healthy fish such as wild Alaskan salmon, anchovies or sardines.

While there’s no doubt you need water to survive, the type of water you drink will have a significant impact on your well-being. Because alkaline water was paired with a Mediterranean-style diet in the featured reflux study, I want to address it.

Most importantly, if you suffer from GERD or another serious reflux disease, I want to dispel any notions you may have about consuming alkaline water on a regular basis. Your body simply will not be able to handle the pH change that will come about if you make that switch.

For occasional relief from burning reflux symptoms, alkaline water, due to its higher pH level than regular drinking water, may deliver soothing relief by neutralizing the acid in your body.

Whereas normal drinking water has a neutral pH of 7, alkaline water’s pH is about 8 or 9. On those “emergency” occasions, you can make alkaline water easily and quickly at home simply by adding a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, or one-half to 1 teaspoon of baking soda, to a glass of filtered water. Authors of a 2012 study indicating the beneficial effects of alkaline water on reflux disease noted:

“Unlike conventional drinking water, pH 8.8 alkaline water instantly denatures pepsin, rendering it permanently inactive. In addition, it has good acid-buffering capacity. Thus, the consumption of alkaline water may have therapeutic benefits for patients with reflux disease.”

Again, I would underscore the importance of alkaline water as a temporary solution — and only if your reflux is actually caused by excess stomach acid. More often than not, heartburn is the cause of insufficient amounts of acid.

Your body is naturally designed to achieve balance and it needs acid to digest food. If you have low stomach acid and your digestion is impaired, you will not only absorb less nutrients from your food, but also open the door for potential bacterial infections. (More on that below.)

The bottom line is daily consumption of water that is either too acidic or too alkaline will be problematic. What you want is pure water — water that is clean and balanced. Ideally, the pH of your water should be somewhere between 6 and 8.

To that end, the most economical and environmentally sound choice you can make is to purchase and install a water filter for your home. Even better, you may be able to obtain your drinking water from a natural gravity-fed spring — check out

to see if there is one near your home. Not only will spring water tend to be naturally filtered and pH balanced, it is “alive,” or “structured,” meaning it is believed to have significant health benefits beyond mere hydration.

Even if your doctor tells you they are perfectly safe, PPI drugs have been linked to serious health problems and early death. Zalvan asserts PPI medications are not necessarily effective in treating all reflux conditions, noting some studies find the drugs inappropriate for as many as 40% to 80% of the people taking them.

The main problem is PPIs inhibit the proton pump in your body that produces hydrochloric acid. Contrary to popular belief, excess stomach acid is rarely the primary trigger of heartburn and indigestion. In fact, heartburn is typically an indicator you have too little hydrochloric acid, which means if you add a PPI medication, you are only going to exacerbate the problem by decreasing your acid level even further.

Because hydrochloric acid (and pepsin) are necessary to break down protein in your intestinal tract, reduced acid levels affect your body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Without adequate protein breakdown, you also increase your risk of dysbiosis,

an imbalance in gut microbiome between harmful and friendly bacteria. As these undigested protein molecules ferment in your intestines, they become food for pathogens such as Candida, C. difficile and Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori).

A study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

indicates the use of PPIs, as well as H2 blockers like Pepcid, Tagamet and Zantac, may put you at increased risk for gut infections. The study, which involved about 565,000 adults, discovered participants taking certain heartburn drugs had a 1.7 to 3.7 times increased risk of developing C. difficile and Campylobacter bacterial infections due to the suppression of stomach-acid production.

Both bacteria are potentially serious and cause inflammation in your intestines and stomach. Some of the symptoms associated with these infections include diarrhea, severe abdominal cramps and vomiting. Both bugs can become even more serious and potentially life threatening — especially C. difficile.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 500,000 Americans were sickened by the infection in 2011, and 29,000 of them died less than a month after the initial diagnosis of C. difficile.

Clearly, there are grave risks to getting hooked on PPIs. It seems the ready availability and popularity of PPIs has given us the false sense they are “100% safe,” says Dr. F. Paul Buckley, surgical director of the Heartburn and Acid Reflux Center at the Baylor Scott & White Clinic in Round Rock, Texas. “There’s still a myth that these drugs are benign. It’s not true.”

Beyond infections, research has linked PPIs to dementia, and even short-term use of them can contribute to cognitive changes. One study involving 60 participants suggested PPIs caused clinically and statistically significant impairments in attention, executive functions, visual memory and working and planning functions after just one week of use.

According to research published in the JAMA Neurology,

seniors over the age of 75 who use PPIs on a regular basis had a 44% increased risk of dementia compared to nonusers. Men using PPIs were at greater risk, raising their dementia risk on average by 52%, compared to 42% for women.

One characteristic of dementia is the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain that provoke inflammation and ultimately kill brain cells. There is now strong scientific evidence suggesting PPIs not only increase production of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain, but also slow your body’s ability to eliminate them.

Long-term use of PPIs has been linked to heart attacks and other serious health conditions. If you have been taking PPIs for any length of time, you will want to ask your doctor about your potential risk related to the following serious health conditions:

  • Chronic kidney disease — More than 10,000 participants were tracked in a nearly 12-year study

    that concluded PPI use is associated with higher risk of chronic kidney disease.

  • Death from any cause — Research involving nearly 350,000 U.S. veterans over six years indicated PPI users were nearly 20% more likely than nonusers to suffer death from any cause; the longer you use them, the greater your risk of premature death.

  • Heart disease and heart attacks — Research gathered through a data-mining study

    including nearly 3 million people linked long-term PPI use to an increased risk for heart disease and heart attacks — even if you have no prior history of cardiovascular disease. In one study, patients with GERD who took PPIs had a 16% increased risk of heart attack, and a twofold increased risk of cardiovascular mortality.

    The reason for this effect is thought to be due to the drug-reducing nitric oxide in the walls of your blood vessel. Nitric oxide relaxes your blood vessels, so by reducing the amount of nitic oxide, PPIs may thereby raise your risk of a heart attack.

  • Increased risk of bone fractures

    A multiyear study that tracked nearly 80,000 postmenopausal women noted the risk of hip fracture among those who regularly used PPIs for at least two years, as compared to nonusers, was 35% higher. Longer use of PPIs was associated with increasing risk of hip fractures.

  • Vitamin B12 deficiency — According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association,

    use of acid-inhibiting medications for two or more years may lead to vitamin B12 deficiency, particularly among women and younger individuals who take stronger doses. When left untreated, the study authors indicated a vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to “dementia, neurologic damage, anemia and other complications, which may be irreversible.”

Because PPIs can have serious damaging effects on your health, you would be wise to consider nondrug alternatives first. Below are 10 natural remedies that may help you manage occasional bouts of heartburn, indigestion and other minor reflux symptoms:

  • Aloe juice — The juice of the aloe plant naturally helps reduce inflammation, which may ease symptoms of acid reflux. Drink about one-half cup of aloe juice before meals. To avoid its laxative effect, look for a brand in which the laxative component has been removed.

  • Apple cider vinegar (raw, unfiltered) — Acid reflux typically results from having too little acid in your stomach. You can easily improve the acid content of your stomach by consuming 1 tablespoon of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a large glass of water.

  • Astaxanthin — When compared to a placebo, this potent antioxidant was found to reduce symptoms of acid reflux, especially for individuals with pronounced H. pylori infection.

    Researchers concluded a daily dose of 40 mg of astaxanthin was effective for reflux reduction.

  • Baking soda — One-half to 1 teaspoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in an 8-ounce glass of water will help neutralize your stomach acid and ease the burn of acid reflux. While I do not advise this as an ongoing remedy, it is effective on an “emergency” basis when you are in excruciating pain.

  • Deglycyrrhizinated licorice root — Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) may also be helpful because it helps block inflammatory prostaglandins. Licorice must be approached cautiously, however, because it contains the active metabolite glycyrrhiza, which at high doses can affect your adrenal glands, cause muscle weakness or numbness and raise your blood pressure.

    Licorice is contraindicated if you’re on diuretics or stimulant laxatives. Women on hormone therapy, who have estrogen-dependent cancers or reproductive conditions like endometriosis should also avoid it.

  • Ginger root — Ginger has been found to have a gastroprotective effect by suppressing H. pylori. Add two or three slices of fresh ginger root to 2 cups of hot water and let it steep for several minutes. Drink it about 20 minutes prior to eating a meal.

  • Glutamine — The amino acid glutamine has been shown to address gastrointestinal damage caused by H. pylori. Glutamine is found in many foods, including beef, chicken, dairy products, eggs, fish and selected fruits and vegetables. L-glutamine is widely available as a supplement.

  • Papaya (papain supplement) or Pineapple (bromelain supplement) — Papaya contains papain, an enzyme useful for breaking down both protein and carbohydrates. Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme found in pineapple, and like papain, helps digest proteins. Bromelain also promotes anti-inflammatory activity and helps you maintain regular bowel movements.

  • Slippery elm — Slippery elm coats and soothes your mouth, throat, stomach and intestines, and contains antioxidants that may help address inflammatory bowel conditions. Because it stimulates nerve endings in your gastrointestinal tract, it is useful for increasing mucus secretion, which has a protective effect against ulcers and excess acidity.

  • Vitamin D — Vitamin D is critically important for your gut health. Once your vitamin D levels are optimized, you will benefit from your body’s production of about 200 antimicrobial peptides that will help eradicate gut infections.

If you are currently taking a PPI for reflux, this article should be a wake-up call for you to consider the damage it may be doing to your body and your health. The risks are real, especially if you plan on taking PPIs for the long term. At the very least, I hope this information has given you encouragement to consider making changes to your diet to heal your gut and restore your body’s natural acid balance.

Beyond helping yourself, you may want to share this article with friends or family members who also suffer from reflux problems. Once you commit to making changes, talk to your doctor about weaning off your PPI medication. Because your body has very likely become dependent on the drug, you will need to back down from it very carefully.

Quitting cold turkey can result in severe rebound effects known as rebound acid hypersecretion. To avoid it, you must wean yourself off the PPI gradually. Start by lowering the dose you’re taking while simultaneously implementing the recommended lifestyle modifications suggested.

Once you get down to the lowest dose of the PPI, you can start substituting with an over-the-counter H2 blocker like Tagamet, Cimetidine, Zantac or Ranitidine. Then gradually wean off the H2 blocker over the next several weeks.

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Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Mercola, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked.

The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Mercola and his community. Dr. Mercola encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. The subscription fee being requested is for access to the articles and information posted on this site, and is not being paid for any individual medical advice.

If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content.