[ed. note: Michael Jorrin, who I call Doc Gumshoe, is a longtime medical writer (not a doctor) who writes for us about medicine and health a couple times a month. He has agreed to our trading and disclosure restrictions, but does not generally write directly about investment ideas. His ideas, thoughts and words are his own, and you can see all his past pieces here.]
This one is fiendish indeed, and the arch-fiend is none other than our former President, Barack Obama. I’ll try to whiz past the particulars of the plot as quickly as I’m able and take a look at a few of the life-saving cures that Obama is attempting to bury. This particular spiel emanates from an outfit about which I know absolutely nothing – it’s the Alliance for Advanced Health, which sounds upstanding and forward-looking and benevolent in every possible way.
Here’s how the pitch leads off:
Obama’s Deadly Revenge Against American Seniors
Confirmed: If you are over 60 as of January 1, 2017, you need to protect yourself now…
WARNING: This Alert Is Intended Only for American Citizens. Unauthorized Persons Should Not View This Broadcast.
In the next 60 seconds, you’re going to be presented with verified information that PROVES Barack Obama was the most corrupt president in US history.
But this information will also expose a NEW plot by ex-President Obama…
A so-called “Death Order” he signed back in 2016…Are you getting our free Daily Update
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…that could result in the needless deaths of more than 1.3 million American seniors this year.”
What President Obama’s “Death Order” consisted of, according to the screed, was the appointment of Robert Califf, MD, as Commissioner of Food and Drugs, on February 16, 2016. Why Dr Califf should be more evil than his predecessors such as Margaret Hamburg or Andrew von Eschenbach is not explained, but the implication is that Dr Califf will use his position to deny Americans the right to use a great many life-saving drugs. The pitch even includes a photo of Dr Califf, with a little black patch over his eyes, because it’s important to conceal his identity. Here’s a bit more:
“You’re about to learn about Obama’s one final act of revenge against the American people he hates.
And there is innocent American blood on his hands.
Because we’re about to reveal how, in his last year as president…
Obama planted a sleeper agent into the US government …
…to benefit a group of corporate elites who personally paid Obama more than $4.5 million.
But make no mistake, this is NOT political “business as usual” because…
This sleeper agent’s mission could result in the deaths of more than 1.3 million American seniors in the next 12 months.
That’s an American senior every 29 seconds.
And more every single year after. It’s already underway.
You are now at immediate risk
You’ve already guessed the effect of Obama’s “Death Order” and the “corporate elites” that stand to benefit from it. The “Death Order” prevents the manufacturers and suppliers of would-be pharmaceuticals from stating that their products have direct curative properties.
And the “corporate elites” are, of course, the pharmaceutical companies that would be damaged by competition from these miracle cures. The pitch from the Alliance for Advanced Health goes so far as to reproduce a page of campaign contributions to Obama from individuals linked with pharmaceutical or medical device companies, headed by a statement that in the years 2002 through 2016 Obama received a total of $4,547,333 from pharma-linked sources. (I might note that compared with what the super-PACs shell out, that’s not a whole lot.)
We’ve heard it before, many many times, that Big Pharma will stoop to any and all low tricks to squelch the natural cures that can come from the supplements and “nutraceuticals,” because if folks twigged to the truth, that those natural cures would really cure diseases, it would totally put Big Pharma out of business. Here’s the credo according to Alliance for Advanced Health:
“You see… there’s one chilling fact the drug companies hope the public never figures out…
Drugs don’t CURE anything…
There’s not a single chronic disease in history that’s been cured by a prescription drug.
After all, why would they want to cure you?
Then you’d stop taking the drug… and their profits would tank.
No, their goal is to keep you on their dangerous drugs… and make sure you keep paying for them – while never actually getting better.”
The statement “Drugs don’t cure anything” is, on the face of it, a flat-out lie. Drugs cure – actually cure! – any number of infectious diseases, including such killers as pneumonia and influenza, and there are millions of cancer survivors currently in remission with combination treatments that include drugs. Pharma companies like Gilead have made huge news by developing agents that effectively cure hepatitis C and reduce the viral load in patients with HIV to undetectable levels. The Alliance slightly qualifies the assertion that “drugs don’t cure anything” by referring to “chronic diseases,” which presumably excludes those acute infectious diseases that do actually get cured by drugs. But that could also depend on what we mean by “cure.” If we insist that “cure” translates to “drug-free with complete absence of symptoms” that would exclude the millions upon millions of patients who are able to live normal lives despite relying on relatively inexpensive drugs that keep their symptoms under control. I would not claim that those patients are “cured,” but there’s no doubt that the great majority of patients with many different chronic diseases are way, way better on drug treatment than they would be without.
And, by the way, how does the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, whether Dr Califf or any of his predecessors, have the power to prevent Americans (or anyone else for that matter) from getting access to the miracle cures promised by the Alliance?
The Commissioner of Food and Drugs and the FDA seldom intervene in the marketing of drugs that are presented as “natural,” other than to place restrictions on medical claims unsupported by evidence. There were efforts by the FDA to regulate megavitamins; these were defeated in Congress in the mid-1970s. Then, in the early 1990s, there was another attempt by the FDA to regulate supplements, which was again defeated in Congress.
The FDA does, to a minor degree, regulate supplements, especially with regard to specific medical claims. A supplement cannot go beyond stating that taking that supplement “supports” a particular area of health, such as heart, bone, digestive, etc, unless – as happens very seldom indeed – there are acceptable clinical studies substantiating specific claims.
This restriction is easily circumvented. All the supplement marketer needs to do is find a compliant physician and a few patients who have used the supplement and experienced benefits, and the personal testimonials regarding the supplement’s effectiveness as a cure for any and all ailments can be propagated far and wide with no restrictions. That’s what the Alliance for Advanced Health is doing in the present spiel.
As for safety, the NIH language makes it clear that it’s the responsibility of manufacturers of supplements and similar products to have evidence that their products are safe, but that they do not have to provide that evidence to the FDA before the products are marketed.
So I don’t think there’s much to Obama’s plot. But it suits the marketers of miracle cures to present themselves as the victims of schemes by the unholy alliance of pharmaceutical companies, established medicine, and government over-regulation. That’s the reason that your doctor keeps you on those expensive prescriptions for years on end, when you could be getting the natural miracle drug and be really cured in a short time. It’s a plot, and what’s behind it? Look for the money, of course!
What the Alliance for Advanced Health and similar promotional elaborations are seeking to do is compensate for the fact, regrettable from their perspective, that the great majority of physicians and health professionals do not recommend, let alone prescribe, the products of non-FDA approved manufacturers to their patients. It absolutely couldn’t be because those products are ineffective, or Heaven forbid, not safe! Therefore, it has to be a conspiracy to suppress those products in order to protect the venal interests of Big Pharma.
Onward to the Miracle Cures
So, let’s ignore the conspiracy aspect of the spiel and try to figure out whether there is legitimate promise in any of the miracle cures being touted by the Alliance homily. Here’s their list:
“There are 7 NEW DISEASE TREATMENTS available right now that could help END this epidemic for good
That could help protect you… and even CURE you… from each of the 7 most dangerous diseases affecting American seniors:
- A cancer treatment that destroys even deadly pancreatic and colon cancers… and is 3,000 TIMES stronger than chemotherapy. (Shocking, but true!)
- The Asian wonder called “Coptic salt” that WIPES OUT Type 2 diabetes… and is better than diabetes drugs in head-to-head trials…
- A weird-looking mushroom from Europe that can REVERSE the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease… better than every dementia drug on the market.
- How the world’s most disgusting food – Japanese “stink custard” – can save YOU from a lurking heart attack or stroke. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to eat it.)
- A simple mineral supplement that can now ERASE chronic pain. Yet 80% of us are deficient right now. (You won’t believe how easy it is to live free of pain…)
- The true secret to reversing blindness… that is in your stomach. Just wait until you hear about this one…
- How a little-known breakthrough for men can RESTORE the physical and sexual performance you had in your 20s… (and even protect against cancer).
They’re called the “Silent 7” because they’re all but unknown in our country
They are DENIED by our corporate-owned US healthcare system…
Some might even say COVERED UP…”
Number 1: Annona muricata, aka graviola
The first one is identified by the Alliance blast as “muricata.” It is described as the fruit of a common tree in the Amazon rain forest, and the one true cure for cancer, 3000 times stronger than adriamycin, a common chemotherapy drug. The scientific name for “muricata” is Annona muricata, and it is known by a number of other names, including graviola, cherimoya, guanábana, corossol, soursop, custard apple, and Brazilian paw paw.
According to Cancer Network, an online information site provided by the journal Oncology, the active ingredients in this natural product, which they refer to by the more usual name of “graviola,” are phytochemicals called acetogenins, which may have some physiologic effects in humans, including potentially countering the Herpes simplex virus. Extracts of this plant in vitro have demonstrated effects against some human cancer cells, including doxorubicin-resistant breast cancer cells. Thus far, studies in human subjects are lacking. Muricata may also cause movement disorders and nerve damage with symptoms similar to those in Parkinson’s disease.
A lengthy paper in PLOS ONE (Moghadamtousi, SZ, PLOS ONE DOI:10.1371 /journal.pone. 0122288 April 10, 2015) seeks to justify the use of graviola/muricata in traditional medicine primarily based on low cost and a supposed relative absence of side effects., viz: “The long history of employing natural products in ethnomedicine with low-prices and limited side effects, in contrast to expensive synthetic drugs with severe adverse side effects, was the main reason for the development of new pharmaceutical drugs from natural sources.” The authors, from the University of Malaysia, conducted a study in several groups of rats, in which they found that several substances found in this plant did have potential beneficial effects in several classes of cancer cells, including the capacity to trigger apoptosis (cell death) in some cancer cells. Among other things, the study monitored the formation of aberrant crypt foci (ACF) in rats, those being the earliest identifiable pre-cancerous lesions in colon cancer. The conclusion was that extracts of graviola/muricata had the capacity to diminish the formation of these pre-cancerous lesions in rats, as well as other potential anti-cancer effects, and thus had significant promise in the treatment of cancer.
A couple of small caveats: PLOS ONE is not a traditional peer-reviewed journal; thus the paper was not submitted to a panel of oncologists prior to being published. That’s a relatively minor caveat. The big caveat is that there is a huge distance between a carefully-conducted study of the active ingredients in a naturally-occurring substance, whether plant or animal, and a supplement concocted by a manufacturer that simply states that it comes from that naturally-occurring substance. The PLOS ONE authors painstakingly extracted those chemicals from the graviola/muricata plant, and that’s what they tested. What the supplements manufacturers did, who knows? The Annona muricata tree may indeed bear promising fruit, but my guess is that we’re many years away, if ever, from seeing an effective cancer drug based on that fruit.
Number 2: “Coptic salt,” aka Coptis chinensis
This one has a bunch of names, although “Coptic salt” appears to be the Alliance’s own moniker. It is made from the root of a plant called Chinese Goldthread, of the Ranunculacea family, which is used in folk medicine for a number of diseases and conditions. According to the World Health Organization, these may include bacterial diarrheas, acute conjunctivitis, gastroenteritis, boils, and cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis (“oriental sore”). Coptis chinensis is also used in the treatment of arthritis, burns, diabetes, dysmenorrhoea, toothache, malaria, gout, and kidney disease. WHO points out that none of these uses are in any way supported by clinical data.
The active constituent of the so-called Coptic salt is the alkaloid berberine, which does have in vitro antibacterial properties, inhibiting the growth of some common bacteria including staphylococci, streptococci, and some pathogens that cause cholera and dysentery, but not of others, including E. coli, Salmonella, and Shigella. The specific mechanism through which berberine exerts its antidiarrheal effects is thought to be inhibition of cyclic AMP accumulation, which results in a reduction of the motility of the intestinal system. Essentially, what berberine does is reduce stool volume. It does not appear to combat the infection itself.
The Alliance claims that there are more than 2,700 scientific studies in this particular substance. I could find 317 listed in PubMed, all in vitro or in animals. The Alliance also suggests that there was a head-to-head study in which Coptic salt “ran circles around” metformin in treating diabetes. The closest one I could find was a study in mice in which a tablet called JiQi-JiangTang, which contains Coptis chinensis along with other substances, was demonstrated to reduce insulin resistance and improve beta cell function. A study by Peng Ji-lan and others from the Tongji Medical College in Huazhong concluded that the JiQi-JiangTang tablets were no more effective than placebo in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Where the Alliance for Advanced Health got their data about the miraculous effectiveness of Coptic salt as a cure – not a treatment, but a cure! – for diabetes, I know not.
Number 3: Erinaceous mushroom, AKA Lion’s Mane mushroom
The scientific name is Hericeum erinaceous, and the Alliance swears that it is a sure-fire cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Here’s that part of their gospel:
“… the amazing Erinaceous mushroom extract actually cleans the plaque out of your brain… like scrubbing baked-on grease off a dirty pan…
And there’s even more than that.
Scientists are now learning this incredible natural medicine…
…also SAVES your vital brain cells
That’s right. It actually stops your brain cells from dying… so your brain can function just like it used to. Imagine…
Your mind stays scalpel sharp… those embarrassing “senior moments” become few and far between…
And your healthy brain is SAVED from the slow decline into dementia… for good.”
There is a 2009 paper (Mori K, Phytother Res 2009;23:367-372) reporting a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial comparing two cohorts, 15 subjects each, with mild cognitive impairment. One group received tablets consisting of dried powder of the Yamabushitake mushroom, which is what the erinaceous mushroom is called in Japanese, while the other group got placebo. The findings were that the group that got the mushroom treatment showed improvement on a cognitive function scale starting after about 8 weeks of three-times-daily dosing. But by about 4 weeks after the 16-week treatment period, those improvements in cognitive function faded. The authors concluded that the erinaceous mushroom treatment regimen could be effective in treating mild cognitive impairment.
This, if I may make a mildly negative comment, is a far cry from curing Alzheimer’s disease. Several drugs have been shown to improve cognitive function, at least on a short-term basis; these include drugs used in treating Parkinson’s disease – Aricept and others. The mechanism of action of most of these drugs is inhibition of the enzyme acetylcholesterinase, which breaks down acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine (ACh) is vital to brain function, and one of the things that happen in AD is a decline in the numbers of cholinergic brain cells, so any means of increasing the amount of circulating ACh is a potential boost in brain functioning.
Number 4: Japanese “stink custard” aka durian, or Kinase N4,
As per the Alliance credo, here’s what that one does:
“…there’s a special enzyme found in a smelly Japanese food… that naturally “eats” blood clots.
The food is called “stink custard” and for good reason.
It’s a foul mash of fermented beans – but don’t worry, you don’t have to eat it.
The enzyme in the food that dissolves clots can also be found in supplement form.
So you just pop an inexpensive capsule,
and your heart and brain are protected
And numerous research studies now confirm it: This enzyme, called Kinase N4, dissolves blood clots on contact.”
I will confess that my digging around for clues about this particular miracle cure led me far and wide, but to no satisfactory conclusion. The Alliance’s spiel identifies that active ingredient of the Japanese “stink custard” as kinase N4. The “stink custard” appears to be the fruit of a tree called the durian, and it does indeed stink, although some people find its overpowering smell somewhat tolerable, at least. The fruit of the durian is large and covered with sharp spines, such that people walking under durian trees have sustained nasty injuries if a durian fruit came loose and bonked them on the noggin. When split with a machete or similar sharp instrument, it contains a stinky inner core that some people like, and that has numerous roles in folk medicine, including as an aphrodisiac and as a fever cure. According to HealthyCommunications.com, durian’s health benefits include the treatment of depression, anxiety, insomnia, pain, migraine, Parkinson’s Disease, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and a bunch of other conditions. But no mention of anti-clotting activity. PubMed lists no papers mentioning either durian or kinase N4 in connection with anticlotting activity.
So, is it possible that the Alliance has secret information about durian/kinase N4?
Number 5: Magnesium as a cure for chronic pain
The Alliance’s doctrine as usual goes too far, but on balance Doc Gumshoe doesn’t have much of a quarrel with this one. In general, magnesium tends to be a muscle relaxant, so if the pain is muscular pain, magnesium supplements may well help, especially in persons who are magnesium-deficient. The Alliance says that about 80% of us are magnesium-deficient, but I see no basis for that. Elderly people and women are more likely to be magnesium-deficient than the rest of the population. And if the pain is not muscular, it’s not likely that magnesium will help.
Number 6: Lutein and zeaxanthin as a cure for age-related macular degeneration
The declaration starts out by raising the specter of terrifying but ineffective treatments:
“The “mainstream” treatment isn’t for the faint of heart.
I’m talking about drugs injected directly into your eyeball… lasers burning up the inside of your eye…
Or scary eye surgery.
And after all that, there is still no cure.”
The miracle cures touted by the Alliance are lutein and zeaxanthin, which are indeed acknowledged to be essential antioxidants in the eye, reducing the risk of chronic eye diseases including age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. What these two carotenoids do is filter the high-energy blue short wavelengths of light, protecting the healthy cells in the retina. We do not synthesize lutein or zeaxanthin, and they do tend to break down over time, but they are present in foods such as green leafy vegetables and eggs.
Many studies have shown that lutein and zeaxanthin reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases, including AMD and cataracts. The American Optometric Association notes that some people who do not get enough of these nutrients from their diet may benefit from taking supplements of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are widely available.
So far, the Academy appears to be on the same track as mainstream medicine. Where do the secret miracle cures come in? Just wait – here’s the payoff:
“You also can’t just start taking a supplement with lutein and zeaxanthin.
These 2 vision-restoring nutrients don’t dissolve well into your body. Most of it just passes right on through you… and out the other end.
I think you catch my drift…
But there is a way to get lutein and zeaxanthin right to your eyes… where they can stop and even reverse the effects of macular degeneration.
You have to take a very special form– a combination that allows them to be fully absorbed.”
And, of course, only by becoming members of the Academy for Advanced Health, will you be able to find out precisely which supplement you need to take.
By now you’re getting the drift. But let’s take a look at the last miracle cure.
Number 7: A testosterone supplement the Academy calls “Man Roots”
Despite assiduous sleuthing, Doc Gumshoe can’t swear what this one is. Here’s what the Academy says:
“Of course, supplementing testosterone is nothing new for guys who have a little grey up top…
And who maybe are experiencing some “bedroom” issues.
But the mainstream options are scary… with an increased risk of blood clots or heart problems.
Now, thanks to the discovery of Man Root, there’s a much safer – and better – way.
In fact, scientists are now learning that an extract of Man Root is a kind of wonder supplement for men who want a return to their youthful vigor.
It’s been studied repeatedly, with researchers finding that Man Root extract increased testosterone levels…
But when Man Root was tested on men with ED… well, that’s where things get really interesting. You see, scientists found that Man Root…
Improves the ability to get an erection… and helps maintain hardness.”
There’s a testosterone booster called “Well Root,” which contains zinc, copper, tribulus terrestris, L-arginine, L-citruline, Tongkat ali (alias Long Jack), ginseng, and Co-enzyme Q10. Of those, zinc and ginseng are thought to have some testosterone-boosting characteristics, perhaps along with tribulus terrestris. Might the Academy’s “Man Root” be the same as “Well Root?” Or might it be another combination? Other substances that are thought perhaps to be testosterone/libido boosters include creatine, stinging nettle, ginger, maca, and aspartic acid.
The Academy also promises that their “Man Root” will improve cognition, putting an end to “senior moments,” and also have wonderful body-building effects. But, of course, you can’t identify the specific miracle supplement they’re touting on your own. No indeed! It’s only by joining the Alliance, and getting their free book, that you can learn about these amazing cures.
“You see, every single one of the breakthrough treatments and “underground” cures you heard about today…
…were first revealed to the 14,000 members of the Alliance.
And our work never stops. In fact, we’re researching some astonishingly powerful cures right now.
Prostate cancer… Parkinson’s… hearing loss… osteoporosis… MS…
With so many of our most devastating diseases, we are SO CLOSE
Today, you learned about the most advanced health solutions we’ve found so far.
And you’ll get all of them in your free copy of our new Uncensored Health encyclopedia of cures.
But it’s only through an Alliance membership that you can truly trust in your health and happiness… for decades to come.
Our goal for all Alliance members is to live a life free of disease… or even the worry of disease. If you were an Alliance member now…
While others succumb to aging… to dementia… to heart disease… to cancer… or worse… you’ll stay healthy and happy.”
The general outlines of the Alliance’s proposal are familiar. You, dear readers, are invited to become members of the Alliance, for some fee which they do not immediately disclose in their promotional material. In return, you get their book, Uncensored Health: 25 “Forbidden Cures” You Can Have Today, which they claim is “free,” but which you can only get by joining the Alliance. You also get another booklet, 10 Drugs You Should Never Take (And Their Safe, Natural Alternatives) plus one more, The Underground Secrets to Ultimate Male Vitality. But the most important benefit is that you have access to exactly the right formulations, at exactly the right doses, of these forbidden cures. Simply going to your neighborhood health food store and browsing the supplements aisle is a total waste of time and money. The Alliance for Advanced Health – and only the Alliance! – will guide you so that you can reap the benefit of these miracle cures.
As usual with these promotions, somewhere in their extravagant blather there is a small foundation in fact. Their “forbidden cures” are mostly used in folk medicine, and may in certain cases, in some circumstances, deliver some clinical benefit. Earnest, sober, serious scientific researchers are no doubt looking into the specifics of what is in these cures that might have a positive physiologic effect, and in the fullness of time, valuable drugs may be developed from some of these “natural” substances, much in the way that aspirin came from willow bark and tamoxifen from the Pacific yew. You can bet that the drug companies – Wicked Big Pharma – will be all over any hint that from durian, or any of those others, a valuable drug might be developed. Who knows, they might be working on those right now!
* * * * * * *
Doc Gumshoe confesses that he takes up these miracle cure promotions partly for their entertainment value. The spiels are P. T. Barnum taken to new extravagant heights! Last time around, it was the Nazi cure for cancer that was suppressed, and this time our former POTUS is cast as the scheming villain. However, there is a serious side in delving into these promotions. I truly believe, for example, that urging people with diabetes to forgo the standard treatment in favor of their touted miracle cure, “Coptic salt,” which will supposedly permit them to eat all manner of delicious food without the least concern, is seriously unethical. One thing is to recommend a harmless mushroom-based supplement that just might slow cognitive decline and another thing is to derail a treatment protocol that keeps many millions of people with diabetes in reasonably good health. Sounds to me as though the folks at the Academy for Advanced Health have their eye on the money as well.