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Are Over-The-Counter Medicines Making You Sick?

“Food is thy medicine”…. but can medicine be thy food?

Well yes it can. There are certain hidden ingredients labeled “inactive” in several over-the-counter and prescription based drugs that could be harming you and your family. The fact that they are called “inactive” is a detraction from what they really are…anything you put in your body is active and here’s the information you need to know.

Let me start by telling you a personal story…

A few years ago I had a crazy metallic taste develop in my mouth that I just couldn’t get rid of. It goes without saying, it was annoying and very alarming to be tasting metal in my mouth on a constant basis. As a result, I went to my acupuncturist and my regular doctor looking for answers. They had me eliminate fish from my diet (because of possible mercury poisoning), had my blood checked, and they did everything possible to find out what the heck was happening. No one could figure it out even after all the tests came back.

There was only one pharmaceutical drug I was taking at the time – a little blue birth control pill. To my surprise, my pharmacist made the decision to give me the generic version instead of the brand version that month. Of course my acupuncturist and doctor both asked me if I had been taking any new drugs/vitamins, etc – and my answer was no – but little did I realize at the time I was taking something totally different. Generic versions of pills can contain all sorts of additives, artificial colors and ingredients that make them chemically different from the brand version. It is a routine practice for drug companies to vary the exact combination of “inactive” ingredients to avoid patent infringement on brand name drugs and to make their appearance more appealing and last longer on the shelf .

Shortly, after I switched back to my brand version of birth control pills, the metallic taste in my mouth magically disappeared. (FYI – 2 years ago, I decided to stop taking birth control pills because I did not like what I uncovered about them and regret taking them at all, but that’s a topic for another time).

Finally figuring out that the generic version of the drug was quite different than the original was ground breaking to my understanding what “inactive” ingredients can do to you.

And that’s why I decided to look into the most popular household cold and flu medicines out there and investigate the actual ingredients in them.

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Cold medicines like NYQUIL, Robitussin, Alka Seltzer and Triaminic have been around for decades and you, as well as your grandparents have probably used them.  I still remember the taste of original orange flavored Triaminic – as my parents gave it to me every time I had a cold.

The main problem with many of these drugs is that back in the day the FDA did not perform rigorous testing on them. Instead they were only required to give them a stamp of GRAS or “Generally Regarded As Safe” and many of the “inactive” ingredients were not sufficiently tested.  Although new drugs are tested more thoroughly now, drugs like “pseudoephedrine” were often grandfathered in.

Are these medicines really healing us or just putting a bandaid on symptoms that have no effect on us actually getting better?

According to Dr. Bruce Barrett, a leading cold researcher at the University of Wisconsin, cough and cold drugs have an effectiveness rate of only 20% of reducing symptoms and virtually zero effectiveness in actually removing the bacteria or virus out from your system.

Dr. Michael Carome, Deputy Director of the advocacy group Public Citizen, agrees. He states that these drugs have more debilitating side effects than benefit.  For example, decongestants can work in reverse and cause rebound stuffiness and cardiac arrhythmia; cough syrups make you drowsy, fever reducers like acetaminophen can wreak havoc on your liver, while others can irritate your gastrointestinal system.

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So why do so many people still take these over-the-counter drugs?

A study published in 2010 by Harvard Medical School found that placebo pills are just as effective as taking drugs when it comes to non-life-threatening chronic conditions. Which basically means our belief that something is working is sometimes all we need! The placebo effect has been documented over centuries and several natural medicine doctors believe our thoughts can be powerful healers.

Additionally, when drug manufacturers create marketing campaigns depicting quick recovery from illness after consuming their products of families going from in-the-bed sick back to school and/or work in commercials and advertisements – our brains get hooked to the message and we believe these drugs are actually working, when all they are doing is producing side effects we could definitely live without as well as all exposing us to potentially toxic and unhealthy inactive ingredients.

Most of the over-the-counter medicines you find at drug stores have several inactive ingredients that could be harming you with substances you didn’t even know you were consuming.  

Slide3

GMO’s 

The doctors that belong to the American Academy of Environmental Medicine called on “All physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM (genetically modified) foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks.”

If you are trying to remove GMOs from your diet – you’ve got to make sure to look in your medicine cabinet too. All of these over-the-counter cold and flu remedies here listed have potential ingredients that contain GMOs. Many of the ingredients are hidden sources of GMOs. (See a full list of GMO ingredients here)

For example, notice the partially hydrogenated cottonseed & soy oil a.k.a. transfat in Zicam, high fructose corn syrup in NYQUIL and Robitussin, and soy lecithin in Halls cough drops.

There have been no long term human studies on GMOs and preliminary studies on animals show horrific consequences.

  • A study showed GMOs caused toxic and allergic reactions, sick, sterile, and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ studied in lab animals.
  • Another study revealed that female rats fed GMO soy for 15 months showed significant health issues in their uterus and reproductive cycle, compared to rats fed organic soy or those raised without soy.
  • A 2009 French Study concluded that Glyphosate (used on GMO soy) can kill the cells in the outer layer of the human placenta, the organ that connects the mother to her fetus, providing nutrients and oxygen and emptying waste products.
  • A Russian study conducted on hamsters that were fed GMO soy diets for two years over three generations found that by the third generation, most of the hamsters lost the ability to have babies, showed slower growth, and suffered a higher mortality rate.

Chemical Preservatives

Sodium Benzoate and/or Benzoic Acid are cautionary preservatives found in cough syrups like Robitussin. The Mayo Clinic reported that this preservative increases hyperactivity in children. Also, when sodium benzoate combines with ascorbic acid (vitamin C), it can form benzene, carcinogen that damages DNA in cells and accelerates aging.

Dimethylpolysiloxane is an anti-foaming agent and type of silicone used in caulks and sealants and as a filler for breast implants. It’s commonly used in fried fast food items – even McDonald’s new Fish McNuggets have this ingredient added to it. It’s also the key ingredient in silly putty. This agent might not kill you – but do we really need to be consuming a chemical cocktail of synthetic ingredients when we are sick or at all?

Artificial Sugars

Saccarin (a.k.a Sweet n’ Low), Aspartame, Sucralose (a.k.a. Splenda), Acesulfame Potassium, etc. are all chemically derived sugars with absolutely no nutritional value at all and can be dangerous.

Saccarin which is found in Robitussin and NYQUIL is one to avoid at ALL costs. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has reported the studies showing saccharin causes cancer in the urinary bladder, lungs, ovaries, uterus, and other organs in animals and also increases the potency of other cancer-causing chemicals.

Over 10,000 complaints have been filed with the FDA on Aspartame since 1980 and has actually never been proven to be safe before it was approved for use in our food supply. It has been linked to diabetes, auto-immune disorders, depression (which can cause you to eat more – once again), birth defects, and several forms of cancer.

CSPI also states Acesulfame-K or Acesulfame Potassium is anything but safe. Two rat studies suggest that the additive might cause cancer, but these studies were never addressed by the FDA before they approved the substance to also be used by in 1970. In addition, it is mentioned that large doses of acetoacetamide (a breakdown product of this sugar) have been shown to affect the thyroid in rats, rabbits, and dogs. This toxic sugar substitute can be found in Alka Seltzer, Triaminic and NYQUIL.

Artificial Colors 

Can they really call artificial dye “inactive” when it has been proven to cause hyperactivity in children?  All of these drugs – NYQUIL, Mucinex, Robitussin, Halls, Alka Seltzer, Triaminic, and Zicam have artifical colors. These artificial colors are made in a lab with same chemicals used in petroleum production and are considered known carcinogens by many consumer watch agencies. How is taking petroleum which is used in gasoline going to help your immune system long term? Why are these substances even in medicines to begin with? Aren’t medicines suppose to heal you?

So What Do You Do The Next Time You Get A Cold/Allergies/Flu? 

There are a LOT of natural remedies out there that work…. so I want to share the top 5 that have worked for me. Please note these remedies are just on top of my regular habits of exercise, taking probiotics, eating a plant-based diet and drinking warm water with lemon and cayenne first thing every morning that all improve my immune system and help me ward off colds as much as possible.

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  1. Use A Neti Pot – neti pot is a ceramic pot that looks like a cross between a small teapot and Aladdin’s magic lamp and used to irrigate the nasal cavities and has been used for centuries! Almost immediately at the sign of a cold, I grab my netty pot, filtered water (very important that it is filtered), some salt and a little bit of baking soda and go straight into my bathroom to clean out my nasal passages. This practice usually reduces the amount of time I have a cold or immediately stops it from becoming full blown.  Also, I love using it in allergy season or when I’ve been around allergens in an old house with mold or around animals I am allergic to.
  2. Avoid Sugar Like the Plague – Sugar absolutely wreaks havoc on the body when you aren’t sick, but when you are sick and you eat sugar – you are multiplying the harmful effects further weakening the immune system and creating even more inflammation in your body.  Sugar is one the key ingredients that bacteria and viruses feed off in your body, that’s why if you get a cold it’s important to stay away from candy, cakes, ice-cream, all those types of items that are extraordinary high in sugar if you want to get better fast.
  3. Juice with Ginger and Garlic – If you can stand it, add garlic and ginger root to your green juice. They both have amazing anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can get you better in no time!  I haven’t had a cold last more than 2 days as a result of drinking green juice like this on a regular basis, especially when I have symptoms of a cold.
  4. Stay Hydrated – I avoid caffeine and drink an extraordinary amount of water based substances like hot soups, hot teas and just plain water.  I don’t recommend gatorade – but these alternatives instead.  Also – if you have kids, try this homemade version of Pedialyte – you don’t want to go anywhere near that branded hoax of a product either.
  5. Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs – When I get sick I rarely go to a conventional medical doctor now – I almost always first see my Acupuncturist. A treatment is sometimes all I need to help move a virus or bacteria infection out of my system.  Also – I take combination of medicinal Chinese herbs as soon as I get a sign of a cold (usually the first sign for me is a scratchy throat) and/or to lessen the severity or duration of colds. One time when I had a crazy astronomical fever, I was able to reduce it just by taking these herbs. (Please note – I am not a doctor or Chinese medicine practitioner  please do not use this information as medical advice for you personally.)

My goal in sharing this information with you is not to scare you into believing this stuff will kill you (although, it likely will slowly over time), but to inspire you to look at all the chemicals that being pushed at us by the pharmaceutical and food industries.  We don’t need to consume these chemicals – our bodies were not made to consume them and we certaintly don’t need them to “feel better.”

If you think this post could benefit someone in your life – please share it – you could be a life saver.

Wishing You The Best Health Always,

Food Babe

 

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227 responses to “Are Over-The-Counter Medicines Making You Sick?

  1. You are the best out there Jani. Thanks a lot for again sharing a very common prescious knowledge about evading bad health. Im very allergic so i do have to face this symptoms a lot . Really excited about trying out your remedies.

  2. I would like to know, how big are the medicinal chinese herbs you mention? I’m assuming they’re in pill form and I have a hard time swallowing pills bigger than small Advils. If these pills are huge, what alternatives are there for me? Thank you!

    1. Go to Chinatown in your city and they may have a pharmacy that can give you the herbs, roots, etc. and you can boil them into a soup like substance.

      1. Cold Snap by OHCO! It’s an over the counter Chinese herbal blend sold at Whole Foods. It’s amazing for allergies and will save you a trip to ChinaTown!

  3. We take umcka cold care. What’s your opinion on that? Have you ever used it? It works wonders for not letting a cold turning into something worse. And the cold doesn’t last nearly as long!! Would love to know if you’ve done any research on this product. It’s sold at a lot of nature stores, etc.

  4. dōTERRA essential oils are an effect natural solution to illness and overall wellness. Elderberry syrup is also a wonderful natural remedy.

    1. I agree about the DoTerra oils. I have been using the OnGuard+ gel capsules and I just ordered the TriEase to see how my family does with this during allergy season. I love using the oils!

      1. Hello Chelsey and Gayle… Have you ever done a comparison with Young Living? I don’t mean to start anything but they are hands down so much better in my opinion. Just curious.

  5. I was wondering if you had heard of the medicine brand Zarbee’s Naturals. The label advertises that it is:
    Natural
    Drug Free
    Clinically Proven
    Contains No Alcohol, Artificial Flavors or Dyes
    Side Effect Free
    Gluten Free
    However, there is no “organic” label nor a “non-gmo”. Does this medicine contain GMO? Thanks for your help Food Babe!

  6. Patent-medicine (i.e. Western Medicine) does not have the knowledge, know-how, or skill to cure any disease or prevent it for that matter. They are almost EXCLUSIVELY about symptom-hiding through toxic drugs, surgeries, and treatments. Find yourself a ND (Naturopathic Doctor)… just Google it and get real healthcare. You’ll need more than just food… things like good high-quality food-based supplements, potent vitamins, herbs, detoxification treatments (e.g. infrared sauna) and light exercise. Lots of fresh non-fluoride water and other treatments like Chiro, Acupuncture, and the such, refrigerated probiotics, and good quality fermented foods. It takes effort and determination but people are beating all kinds of diseases daily from cancer to so-called “auto-immune diseases.”

    1. While I do understand the value in using nutrients to help your body through certain illnesses like colds, please do not knock the importance of medical doctors. They may not save you from a cold, but I guarantee that if you are ever truly sick or hurt (perhaps organ failure, cancer, major car accident, etc.), your best chance is with a medical doctor who has an extensive knowledge of biology and chemistry in relation to the human body, not some Chinese herbalist. I am currently a pre-med student with hopes of becoming an ER/trauma doctor, I have worked in research labs, and I can assure you that we (especially those further along or finished with their formal education) have a much greater knowledge of the actual inner workings of the human body. I highly doubt that an acupuncturist can accurately predict how the chemical structure of food or medicine will bind and react with the cells in a human body, nor could they even accurately tell you completely how a cell operates. Now certainly there are many aspects of the human body and disease which we do not fully understand, but we use our knowledge of science to come closer and closer to answers and treatments every day. If you suffered severe brain swelling from a major trauma, which would be entirely unrelated to food, would you seriously prefer to take an herbal supplement rather than going to a proper doctor? There is a reason that people who are severely sick, not people with colds but rather actual illness and injuries, want treatment in the west, especially America. Again, there is a place for natural healing, but it can in no way actually replace true medicine. Sorry, but Garlic and lemon water won’t heal the major stuff.

      1. Also, I know an ER doctor who gets patients weekly for backs that have been completely destroyed by chiropractors, and there is nothing “so-called” about auto-immune disease. Your immune system really does attack parts of the body, hence the name, and there are so many different kinds (most if not all of which have been around prior to GMOs and many of these chemical food additives) ranging from celiac (issues with gluten, very livable) to ALS (kills most people in 5-10 years). They are far too variant to possibly lump into one category of the same treatment, so if anyone has led you to believe that, they are severely misinformed.

      2. Please. Pharma drugs do NOT heal major stuff either. They SUPPRESS major stuff and push major stuff further into the organism.

        Do modern pharma doctors have a place. Yes. That place is emergency surgery and life or death emergencies. Bullet wounds, severe trauma, casts and stitches. For chronic illness where all they will pull out is their pad for synthetic, toxic drugs…RUN in the other direction.

        Cancer? Please I have had hundreds of cancer patients completely reverse their cancer without a drop of chemo. That is the biggest most toxic lie of them all..well besides all of the rest of the lies…and so called incurable illnesses like “MS” Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Crohns to name a few. COMPLETELY reversible when a health practitioner gets to the ROOT cause of the issue. Something modern pharma doctors are CLUELESS about. TO them etiology of disease is always such a mystery, but they have the PERFECT drug to suppress the symptoms and pad their pockets. The truth is most chronic illness has a cause directly related to toxic overload and poor nutrition and most can be completely healed when you stay FAR away from conventional pharma doctors and seek real healing with a real healer or become educated and take the power to heal back into your own hands where it belongs!

    2. Agree whole heartedly. Naturopathic physicians are knowledgeable in treating chronic illness, disorders, cancer, etc. I have a friend who is under treatment now
      for breast cancer and she’s just fine now. That’s the way I’ll go if need be.

  7. Want to hear what you learned about birth control pills. A young friend was recently told she should begin taking The Pill to control her PMS symptoms. I tried to tell her that healthy eating (getting good nutrients in the right amounts) could clear up the issues she experiences each month. She’s still considering birth control pills and I would love to be armed with some good information. I know there are health concerns. One other side-effect I have heard of that piqued her interest this that taking birth control pills will change who you are attracted to. The whole reason she wants to take the pill is so that her current boyfriend doesn’t have to suffer through her changing moods. She realizes that if she isn’t attracted to him anymore the whole point is moot! Have you heard about this potential side effect of birth control pills?

    1. I would be very curious about the birth control as well. Over the years I have tried just about everything, and have suffered from numerous side effects. I haven’t found a birth control yet that really “agrees” with my body.

      1. The truth is that you will never find a birth control pill that will agree with your body because guess what? The hormones are FAKE. They are not your hormones!

    2. I agree food babe! A Birth control topic would be awesome… I went on it a couple years ago because of PCO, cramps (i would be out of it for 2 days) and my acne. One major thing i noticed were my food cravings, they went through the roof, it felt like i could eat for ever, like my brain didn’t get the memo that i ate enough and to STOP! I gained 30 pounds in 4 months and as soon as I stopped taking it, the 30lbs just shed off me. i was convinced it was the pill but of course the dr’s were not. Also, I noticed i was so emotional! I’m normally a calm, confident and secure person but when i was on the pill i would cry at anything. I laugh now but at the time i was thinking omg my hormones are driving me crazyy!!!!

      After having such a great experience with the “pill” (sarcasm) lol I’m on it again! i want to get off them again, But what options do i have? Hellp! the only answer i get is birth control or Metformin i was on it once way before “BC” but discontinued taking it because the new dr asked if i was looking to get pregnant. when i said no she told me it was helping to increase my chances to become fertile lol. i said wow, the previous dr never told me that.

      well that’s my long story shor…. Well, no not short. =p Sorry!
      keep up your awesome work!
      Nella

      1. Nella: I also suffer from PCOS and found that the only thing that controlled it was diet and exercise. I used Metformin in order to conceive my two kids. It regulates your blood sugar which in turn regulates your ovulation hormones. You have an insulin resistance similar to diabetes that causes PCOS. If you regulate your sugar and carb intake and keep your weight down (I found that 5 or 10 pound weight gain made my PCOS symptoms come back). Since regulating my diet and exercising regularly I was able to conceive my third all on my own. I believe PCOS is just a symptom of the noxious Standard American Diet.

      2. I agree. I would LOVE a discuss on Birth Control. I had to be on it for very heavy cycles and struggled mid-cycle as well. My ferritin levels drop very low as well. I HATED being on it!!!! But the Dr. looks at me like I’ve grown a third eye when I try to come up with other options! I stopped my pills after 10 months (and three different pills). I felt so bed from the 5th day to the 16th day! So, I again, would like to hear the FoodBabes views! Thank You!!!

  8. A little local, raw honey will also work wonders on a cough and sore throat. It coats it well and can help reduce the tickle. My dogs have gotten kennel cough, and it works great on them too. I just take a teaspoon when my cough gets bad. Just be sure to use a real, raw honey….not the kind from the conventional supermarket. I get mine from a local beekeeper that sells it at the farmer’s market.

    1. What to do if pne needs it and the local market is already closed at night and the only thing open is Walmart at night? Any replacements for honey you recommend for Vegans?

  9. I have used doTERRA essentials oils now for over a year and have never looked back. They are wonderful and they work so well.

  10. These scary ingredients are even present in the infant and children’s versions of tylonal, Advil, Motrin, etc. I have yet to find one that children pain reliever that doesn’t have these nasty fillers/perservatives in it!! And the generic brands are even more scary with cheaper substitutions! When our children are sick or on pain we are being recommended by pedi to dose them up with this scary stuff –

  11. Another home remedy for cough cold is blend 1 red onion with 1- 2 inchs of ginger… Then squeeze out the juice, add lemon juice( 1 lemon) and add 3- 5 teaspoons of honey…. This syrup last for a wk at room temperature … It tastes yum…. My son loves it…

  12. I take oil of oregano when I feel a cold coming on. 3 drops in some orange juice 2-3 times a day, for a couple of days has helped me to not catch a cold, even when everyone around me is sickly. I learned this from the vitamin lady at the health food store about 6 years ago, and have not had a cold since.

  13. What ratio of baking soda and salt do you use for your Neti Pot? I have some problems with allergies now, but don’t want to use the solution provided.

    1. Don’t take them. Seriously. Why the eff would you care about whether or not your meat receives artificial hormones and antibiotics when you don’t even think twice about popping a pill full of them? Did you know that a single birth control pill contains 7,000x more estrogen than a steak from an implanted cow?
      http://bovidiva.com/2013/02/13/putting-beef-hormones-into-context-aka-how-do-you-make-a-hormone/
      Seriously, just don’t do it. There are many more natural ways to prevent pregnancy. Read Toni Weschler’s “Taking Charge of Your Fertility”

    2. I’ve had the copper IUD for 9 years now and for the most part, like it. Cramps are supposedly a little rougher it, spotting is constant, and blood flow is/feels heavier, but it’s hormone free, and I like that. I have no idea if there’s anything else associated with the copper IUD though; any hidden chemicals or something. I’m suppose to get it removed next summer, on the 10 year mark (although I’m pretty sure it would last well past 10 years), but I don’t think I’d get one put back in right now. I kind of want to see if my periods are less evil without it. But I’m not sure what BC I’ll be going on since I’m anti-hormonal.

  14. I was about to say when I was first reading your anecdote about your experience with the Pill that I couldn’t believe that you of all people would take those. I’m glad to hear that you have since stopped.

    If anyone tells me that they are serious about eliminating artificial hormones from their diet and it turns out they’re on any type of hormonal contraceptive (yes, including the Mirena IUD) their credibility is instantly shot in my eyes.

  15. I love the investigations you have performed. It makes you realize that not everything is what it seems and I have been saying this for years when people tell me oh well if it says on the packet it’s safe, it has to be.
    Talking about birth control. Every time I have taken it in the past I notice changes in my body and not for the better. the changes are gradual but noticeable. Moodswings, headaches, lower libido, extreme tiredness AND as you described a funny metallic taste in my mouth. Each time I try it I stop taking it. I have mentioned this a couple of times to my doctor and you virtually get laughed at. The last comment I got was that I was a hypochondriac. It’s safe to say that once and for all I have stopped taking the pill. Thanks again and keep up the good work. I’m sure the food companies tremble in their seats getting your calls and emails. 😉

  16. I have completed a “Medicine Cabinet Makeover” for my home using Young Living Essential Oils! No more OTC products for us! Feeling so empowered!!

  17. I would love to see a post on alternative birth control. I currently take the pill and haven’t experienced any noticeable side effects, but I hate that I’m putting all of these synthetic hormones in my body.

    1. I would love to hear about options other than the pill too! Please do a write-up on this.

  18. Ladies look up “Taking Charge of your fertility” for natural birth control/family planning. It is a fantastic book! While on that topic look up menstrual cups too and save yourself from the chemicals in pads and tampons!

  19. Hello, you should also look into homeopathic remedies. All natural, no side effects. Since i started to go a homeopathic practitioner I stopped using all medicals and healthier then ever. I also use for my toddler whenever he gets cold or teething or any other issues works like a magic!

  20. Great article once again Vani !!
    For seasonal allergies I personally use home made saline nasal spray to keep my nasal passages from drying out which also reduces the inflammation. I also take Perque brand Potent C Guard in the powder form 1/2 tsp in water 2-3 times a day along with Perque Repair Guard an excellent combination supplement with Quercitin Didydrate. I have found Perque supplements to be of superior quality to many others and they are GMO free! They are a bit pricey but you get what you pay for!
    I also stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of filtered water throughout the day…. and I eat plenty of fresh organic foods including garlic and ginger.
    My husband does the same but he also sees his chinese acupuncturist for specific sinus therapy and feels that helps him a lot.

  21. I’M IN A TERRIBLE STATE RIGHT NOW….I SUFFER HORRIBLY FROM ALLERGIES AND SINUS ISSUES, AND I DESPERATELY WANT TO STOP TAKING SUDAFED AND CLARATIN. WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST. ANY HELP WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED. THANKS SO MUCH

    1. For allergies, I originally took L-Cysteine, an amino acid high in sulfur. Now I take N-Acetyl Cysteine and MSM. No more allergies. However, if it works (everyone is different so you never know what worked for me will work for you), you need to give it some time to work (took me about 6-8 weeks before my allergies were gone). Don’t forget about possible causes that may be in your diet and possible environmental causes (molds and things like that). Good luck.

    2. Hi Jennifer! My husband had horrific allergies for all of his life. He had a terrible reaction to a prescription nasal spray in 2013 which scared us and led us to try essential oils. We switched from all over the counter and prescription meds after that scare and only use essential oils now. His allergies are totally under control now! Here is my website, if you would like to learn more: http://www.ylwebsite.com/stacysmith. If you click on “contact”, you can read our whole story. Blessings to you!

  22. Aspartame has been studied by scientists for some time as a toxin that contributes to the hundreds of muscular diseases affecting millions of people. When my late husband and I met with a MDA counselor after his ALS diagnosis he included this with the information he provided us. Howard drank diet soda daily. His father owned a dry cleaning business when he was a child and Howard also used a steroidal nasal spray for decades. People assume since there aren’t “visible” signs that an additive is detrimental. The onset of his ALS was fast and aggressive, turning a runner and otherwise healthy man into an invalid within months. We must be very wary of these and other additives in food as they are toxic and life threatening. Thank you Food Babe for your passion for educating the public and the nod to acupuncturists!

    Pamela Wake, LAC

  23. Thank you Food Babe. I use doTerra oils to stay well and help my allergies. They are also a good non medicine route.

  24. Essential oils are powerful. They are from plants and are anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and they are good for you. Oh…and they smell good. You can put them on your skin, ingest many of them, diffuse them and burn them. You won’t regret taking time to research and learn about essential oils–they are healing oils! 🙂

  25. My anti-cold kit – Oil of Oregano, Cyclone Cider (great for scratchy throats) – these work almost all the time for me, and if I think I need something more, then echinacea, goldenseal, astragalus, and of course, Vitamin C and D3. It has been several years since I’ve really needed the first few ingredients.

    For allergy prevention I take NAC and MSM (Doctors Best has MSM in capsules with no other ingredients). I never get allergies anymore (I used to get them really bad).

    Thank you Food Babe for all your great information.

  26. About 4 years ago I decided to stop taking most “cold medicines.” I was never big on them in the first place, with the exception that I HATED stuffy noses, so I was a nasal decongestant spray user. BUt then two years ago, I decided to try the neti-pot 3x a day when I was sick and see if it made a difference from the spray, and it definitely did! The spray would give me enough relief to breathe laying down, but then would cause a running nose when standing (also not fun). But the neti-pot would allow me to still breathe through my nose when laying, too, without having that feeling of menthol up my nostrils. Granted, if I’m sick, i’ll still get a running nose, but almost never a fully congested one. In addition, I take a spoonful of Apple Cider Vinegar 3x a day and drink lots of tea, and my colds have been much shorter and tolerable since. The only drug I take is ibuprofin, when needed for body aches of sorts. Stuff works!

  27. In my home when we feel like we are getting a sore throat I fill a Dixie Cup a quarter way with warm water, add salt and the rest peroxide and then I gargle 2 or 3 times a day until it is gone. I then take Advil for the pain. It works almost every time. The only time it didn’t, was when my daughter had Strep. That was the first and only time.

  28. Great article! In addition to garlic, natural herbs, etc, have you looked into essential oils as an alternative to OTC meds? We have used Young Living essential oils for the last two years and they keep us healthy.

  29. Young living essential oils are by far the best therapeutic grade oils on market today. They have been around for 20 years. From seed to bottle. Let me know if you need any more information on the overall benefits from these oils and if you are interested in purchasing any I can get you wholesale prices. Namaste!

  30. I have used Young Living therapeutic grade essential oils for 17 years; they are the best IMHO. They never go bad and can be used three ways, inhaled or sprayed, applied to pressure points, or in food or drink or capsules. There is a site with testimonials I listed above on which oils have worked for what conditions; just sign up to get info. Thieves oil, for instance, kills MRSA.

  31. Food Babe!! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make an article about birth control. Im getting married soon and need to know the best and most organic way to plan. EVERY birth control presented to me so far has horrible side effects and as you know, most are linked to cancer. I’ll be waiting for an article! THANK YOU AGAIN FOR ALL YOU DO AND OPENING OUR EYES. God bless

  32. I did not notice any nasal sprays mentioned in the article like Afrin.

    What do you all think of these nasal sprays overall and I notice they have helped me in the short run and long run compared to pills like Claritin, etc.

  33. Thank God I am not a Pharmacist and wonder why they aren’t listed in top jobs that make the world a worse place?

    How do people feel of DOs compared to MDs?

  34. I’m with Marley I have had Drs continue to give me tests, cat scans, biopsys blood tests and contine to take my money finding nothing (cancer runs in my family)but telling me come back in a couple months we will keep an eye on you , needless to say I have dropped sugar eat only organic and feel 20 times better . And won’t give anymore money to the Drs who really r concerned about the might dollar instead of my health .

  35. Vani-
    I gave up processed foods a million years ago and never looked back, so I am now recently discovering you.
    Since I gave up all the processed food, I had to give up the OTC meds too. I used to pop one Sudafed (one of the two-in-a-dose red ones) to keep my sinuses from going crazy. Once I gave up the processed foods, I stopped being so congested. However, a few years ago (after two years of clean eating) I cam down with an actual sinus infection. I took one little red pill and saw in triplicate for two hours. I was teaching at the time so I saw three of each child, three clocks on the wall, three of everything. I managed to pull it off. Needless to say, I haven’t taken Sudafed since. What the eff is in that??? I mean, really.

  36. I use 100% raw Manuka honey for my daughter when ever she a cold and it helps tremendously. It’s a bit pricey, but worth it.

  37. I’ve been bothered by all the nasty additives I’ve been noticing in my vitamins & ibuprofen. Does anyone know a brand of ibuprofen without corn starch & dyes, etc? I have neck & back pain from a car accident years ago & sometimes really need ibuprofen.

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