Profile photo of Mark Hyman, MD Written by

The Dangers of the Medical Industrial Complex

The Dangers of the Medical Industrial Complex

YOUR DOCTORS THINK they make decisions based on medical evidence.

But they don’t!

In fact, half of medical evidence is hidden from your doctors. And the half that’s hidden is the half that shows drugs don’t work.

The bad news is that drug companies are not policed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the way they should be. A drug should be proven both effective and safe BEFORE it is prescribed to millions of people.

Sadly, that often isn’t the case.

Let me share with you two recent examples that highlight the dangerous collusion between drug companies and our government agency. They show why the FDA should really stand for “Federal Drug Aid.”

First, we now know that the cholesterol-lowering drug Zetia actually causes harm and leads to faster progression of heart disease DESPITE lowering cholesterol 58 percent when combined with Zocor.

This challenges the belief that high cholesterol causes heart attacks and shakes the $40 billion dollar cholesterol drug industry at its foundation.

Second, it’s come to light that nearly all the negative studies on antidepressants – that’s more than half of all studies on these drugs – were never published, giving a false sense of effectiveness of antidepressants to treat depression.

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m not telling you to blame your doctor.

Instead, blame deceptive scientific practices and industry-protective government polices.  Let’s talk a closer look at these findings and their implications.

I once had a patient who worked in the drug approval division of the FDA. She taught me a very important lesson.

When a drug company designs and performs a study, it has to be registered with the FDA and ALL the results must be submitted to the FDA.  But it doesn’t work that way.

Instead, the pharmaceutical companies ONLY submit the data they want to get published to medical journals.  That means that any negative studies are hidden from the scientific community and from the public.

And when drug studies are sponsored by drug companies – as most are – they find positive outcomes at 4 times the rate of independently funded studies. This is also true for nutrition studies funded by the food industry that show the benefits of dairy or high-fructose corn syrup.

The FDA does not release this information.

Since drug companies fund most of the research in the world, other therapies that work better – such as diet and lifestyle or nutritional therapies – never get enough funding.

That was, it didn’t until 2004 when all the major scientific journals banded together and refused to publish any data from any drug study that did not list the results of all trials, either positive or negative, in a central database. (1)

Well, that sounds good – but listing obscure, unpublished studies buried deep in a hard-to-navigate public database run by the National Institutes of Health is hardly visible public disclosure.

Sure, the research studies are at least listed, but try to find out the results.  After a few hours searching around on the website, I gave up.

Last year, Congress passed legislation expanding how much detail must be listed, but at the end of the day, who even looks at that?  Most doctors don’t even have time to read the medical journals they receive. They get tiny bits of information from drug reps, who come to their office with free lunch and a sound bite about their drug.

They get slightly more information from researchers who are funded by pharmaceutical companies and present their findings at conferences sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, using presentations prepared for them by pharmaceutical companies.  Not exactly independent, evidence-based medicine!

Now let’s get back to the news about Zetia.  Zetia is a new drug that lowers cholesterol by a different mechanism than statin drugs like Lipitor and Zocor.

Why does this matter?

Well, doctors have been brainwashed to think that cholesterol is the cause of heart attacks even though half of all people who have heart attacks have NORMAL cholesterol.  And it seemed like the statins, which lowered cholesterol, actually reduced heart attacks.

Seems logical. If you lower cholesterol, you reduce heart attacks, right?


I believe that the reason statins lower risk is NOT because they lower cholesterol, but because they reduce inflammation.  In fact, studies by Dr. Paul Ridker of Harvard show that the risk of heart attacks was only reduced if inflammation was lowered along with LDL cholesterol – but not if LDL cholesterol was lowered alone. (2)

So then along comes a drug that can be combined with statins to lower cholesterol even more. Great idea?  Not really.

You see, the FDA approved Zetia without any proof that it lowered heart attacks or reduced the progression of heart disease. The drug was approved solely on the basis that it lowered cholesterol.

Yet Zetia was given to 5 million people – and made the drug companies $5 billion a year. That’s almost $14 million a day!  And once Zetia was approved, its makers had no incentive to prove that it actually did what it was thought to do – lower heart attacks.

They dragged their feet doing the studies and then released the negative data (which they did only under pressure from news agencies and Congress) after a long delay.

Wouldn’t you drag your feet too if you were making $14 million a day?

But the FDA had the negative data on Zetia – and it didn’t speak up.  The data that was withheld proved that Zetia did not reduce heart attacks but actually INCREASED fatty plaques in the arteries despite lowering cholesterol.

Let that sink in for a moment.

That’s right: Lowering cholesterol led to more heart disease!

That turns our whole medical model upside down. It shows us that high cholesterol is NOT a disease and may or may not be related to heart attacks.

Another recent study put another nail in the coffin of the Cholesterol Myth.

A major new cholesterol drug, torcetrapib, was pulled from the pipeline in December 2006 because despite lowering LDL cholesterol and raising HDL cholesterol in 15,000 people, it caused MORE heart attacks and strokes. (3)

This was to be the new cholesterol wonder drug. Oops.

All this points to a big research mess that is flawed in three ways.

First, what gets studied depends on who is funding it.

Since drug companies fund most of the research in the world, other therapies that work better – such as diet and lifestyle or nutritional therapies – never get enough funding.

Second, drug companies are aided by the FDA, which suppresses, hides, and doesn’t publish negative studies on drugs, only positive ones. This leads doctors to think they have all the evidence when they don’t.

Third, doctors, patients, and the media believe they have the whole truth, often until it is too late, like with Zetia or Premarin or Vioxx.

The evidence was there, but no one looked or publicized it.  This makes it very difficult for consumers to get the best treatments for their health and the whole truth about drugs.

Here’s my advice on how to make sense of things.

  1. Follow the money. Look carefully at who funded the study. Be suspicious if it was funded by drug companies.
  2. Call or email your congressperson or Senator to demand better legislation providing an easy-to-navigate database of all drug trials, with consumer-friendly summaries of both published AND unpublished data submitted to the FDA so you can look up the drug you are prescribed and have a balanced opinion.
  3. Don’t assume that drugs are the answer to your health problems. Heart disease is NOT a Lipitor deficiency but the result of your lifestyle interacting with your genes.
  4. Learn to ask the question “why?” – and search for the answers. Dealing with lifestyle and environmental factors (the basis of UltraWellness) almost always works better for chronic illnesses. Drugs are there as a backup only if needed.

So take a closer look at the information you’ve been given about drugs. You might be surprised by what you find.

Now I’d like to hear from you…

Were you aware of the studies I’ve mentioned today?

Which of the steps here do you plan to follow?

What has you experience been with medications compared to lifestyle measures?

Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, MD


(1) Laine C, Horton R, DeAngelis CD, Drazen JM, Frizelle FA, Godlee F, Haug C, Hébert PC, Kotzin S, Marusic A, Sahni P, Schroeder TV, Sox HC, Van der Weyden MB, Verheugt FW.Clinical trial registration: looking back and moving ahead. JAMA. 2007 Jul 4;298(1):93-4.

(2) Ridker PM, Cannon CP, Morrow D, Rifai N, Rose LM, McCabe CH, Pfeffer MA, Braunwald E; Pravastatin or Atorvastatin Evaluation and Infection Therapy-Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction 22 (PROVE IT-TIMI 22) Investigators. C-reactive protein levels and outcomes after statin therapy. N Engl J Med. 2005 Jan 6;352(1):20-8.

(3) Kastelein JJ, van Leuven SI, Burgess L, Evans GW, Kuivenhoven JA, Barter PJ, Revkin JH, Grobbee DE, Riley WA, Shear CL, Duggan WT, Bots ML; RADIANCE 1 Investigators.Effect of torcetrapib on carotid atherosclerosis in familial hypercholesterolemia. N Engl J Med. 2007 Apr 19;356(16):1620-30.

Mark Hyman MD is the Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, the Founder of The UltraWellness Center, and a ten-time #1 New York Times Bestselling author.

Comments (96)

  • I did notk now of what you said here in regards to statins..I do know of the side effects and they are awfu;

    I am a fan of yours doctor for a while now and was sooooo pleased to see you on the Doctor OZ show!!! Good for you and thank God for Dr. Oz bringing so much to light about soo many things we need to know. Like the vitamin D deffficiency. as a result ot this I had mine checked and it was 15.. yikes way to low. my Doctor put me on 50,000 units of vit D a week. for 8 weeks then my regular vitamin D3 dailey which is 2,000 i. u. daily with my multi and minerals.. I also take coQ10 Fish oil, cinnammon, BComplex. I am a huge fan of you and your Functional medicine. I would like to know if you have a data base in Northern california San Francisco bay area referral of a Dr.. that is treating the way you do and as knowledgeable as you? Please let me know I hope you answer this. keep up the great work! and Visibility. YOU are a Blessing to all of who want to get away from Prescription drugs! Likes Gods way! what he put on this earth for us not man made crap.

  • I did not know what you said here in regards to statins..I do know of the side effects and they are awful!

    I am a fan of yours doctor for a while now and was sooooo pleased to see you on the Doctor OZ show!!! Good for you and thank God for Dr. Oz bringing so much to light about soo many things we need to know. Like the vitamin D deffficiency. as a result ot this I had mine checked and it was 15.. yikes way to low. my Doctor put me on 50,000 units of vit D a week. for 8 weeks then my regular vitamin D3 dailey which is 2,000 i. u. daily with my multi and minerals.. I also take coQ10 Fish oil, cinnammon, BComplex. I am a huge fan of you and your Functional medicine. I would like to know if you have a data base in Northern california San Francisco bay area referral of a Dr.. that is treating the way you do and as knowledgeable as you? Please let me know I hope you answer this. keep up the great work! and Visibility. YOU are a Blessing to all of who want to get away from Prescription drugs! Likes Gods way! what he put on this earth for us not man made crap. I do have High Blood Pressure not diabetic but do need to lose some weight, my labs have come back great! except for Vitamin D. a Year ago I had H-Pylori. I recently had a stool antigen test to see if it was gone cause I was still having symptoms like before thought it wasn’t gone, or was gluten sensitivity, but they both turned out OK NEGATIVE!~iI am still having problems with my gut. and thinking it might be candida albicans.
    or Lactose intolerance. thanks for listening good luck and please help me.!

    • Thank you for your message and your interest in Dr. Hyman’s work. To locate a practitioner of functional medicine in your area see the “Find a Functional Medicine Practitioner” link at the Institute of Functional Medicine’s website. Here you will find a place to enter your zip code and look for practitioner’s in your area that have completed the institute’s five-day training course in functional medicine. Understand that not all of the doctors listed here will fit your particular needs. Many different medical professionals complete this training, and you will have to do additional research on your own regarding a particular practitioner’s approach and whether or not it fits your specific medical requirements. This may include calling the practioner’s office, visiting his or her website, and/or scheduling a consultation.

      Wishing You the Best of Health!

  • Hi there,

    Great blog. Its pretty sick and completely backwards whats going on!
    How do you decide when its a good time to use the help of a drug? I pretty much never use anything and neither my family but my mother, being a very healthy woman, got her self into dangerous situation through discarding drugs as a solution!
    How can you make the decision?

    Thanks for the info!

  • An interestinf article that every GP should read, my handicapped daughter (she has Down’s Syndrome) was recently taken to her doctor for a physical while she was being looked after by a friend. The doctor against our wishes gave her the flu shot. Since then she has been having seizures and now has to wear a pacemaker/defibrilator. This would never have happened if all the information about vaccines and drugs was made known. Our doctors are being tricked by the FDA, the medical establishmenet, the goverment and the CDC. My wife and I have been aware of this for some time thanks to you and other doctors like Dr Mercola, Dr Malcolm Douglas and others so we are careful about our diets and don’t take any drugs.

  • I have always been suspicious of pharmaceutical industry and how millions of research has always been directed to finding the magic (and expensive) pill to cure anything rather than finding ways to heal people naturally – but then again, that would be a conflict of interest for them… it was only when I started to do some major introspection that I really found the triggers, the causes, the drivers and culprits of my migraines.

    I am delighted to find a doctor like yourself, telling it as it is.

    Thank you for an excellent post!

  • For high cholesterol, my doctor prescribed Lipitor. I was on it for 5 years. My muscles felt very stiff. After visiting an outstanding nutritionist, Mark Mincolla of Cohasset, Ma, I was able to lower my cholesterol and get off Lipitor. I did 5 things: took Garlicin tablets, ground psyllium husks, “Liver Cleanse” herbal tincture, Niacin, and exercised regularly (walking and the gym routine). I no longer take any medication for high cholesterol.

  • I’m currently reading “Thugs, Drugs & the War on Bugs” by Dr. Brad Case. I’m “encouraged” to hear the same/consistent info from you as well as this verifies the atrocities that he speaks of. I’ve been skeptical of pharmaceutical drugs and their makers for years and avoid them like the plague but reading about the approval mechanisms behind the scenes and how the FDA is so corrupt has opened my eyes even further. It is my hope that we can begin to educate those who believe pharmaceuticals are the answer to wellness – and educate them quickly – before it’s too late for so many people. Thank you.

  • One reason doctors are so quick to prescribe a pill, and patients are so eager to take pills, is because, as you know, it is so easy. Lifestyle changes are difficult. For every one person who is willing to put on their walking shoes and actually get walking, there are probably twenty who put on their walking shoes, sit down, and watch television. A recent survey (here we go again with surveys) showed that 86% of “family time” is spent watching television or movies. This was a self reported survey, so in fact, the time may have been even higher. I doubt it was lower.
    Most events involve some food. “Feed them and they will come.” Fun food is rarely healthy food. Most fun food involes opening a bag or putting ribs on a grill. So we look for a pill/pills which will allow us to follow our lifestyle of choice and minimize the results. Pharmaceutical companies are glad to oblige. The drug companies make money, the “health” industry profits, we delude ourselves into thinking that by going to the doctor frequently and taking pills, we are living a “healthy lifestyle.” It’s the American way.

  • Despite a vegetarian diet, regular green smoothies, and many other lifestyle choices that are consistent with your approach to UltraWellness, my cholesterol numbers continue to be higher than my GP likes to see, though they are decreasing slowly (overall 213 last week). I have consistently told her that I will NOT take any of the drugs that she suggests, because of the general understanding i have had for a number of years of the dishonesty in the research and PR that you speak about here. She is generally understanding of my position, but she still believes that these drugs are effective for “the cholesterol problem”. I plan on making a copy of this article to take to her to let her see another perspective, and perhaps move to a healthier and more effective practice.


  • The doctor has me on Crestor which lowers my cholesterol total to 150 but it also lowers my good hdl from 60 to 40. I was on Lipitor but could not sleep made my body restless. I was wondering if using supplements for liver would help lower my Cholesterol.

  • Thank you for your work, Dr. Hyman. The same is true in the pediatric allergy, asthma and ADHD world, and your efforts to shed light are vital to the health of the American children which have sadly earned the nickname “Generation Rx”.

  • Makes me sooo mad!
    My friend’s husband had a heart attack. His doctor blamed it on the fact that he refused a cholesterol lowering drug. It makes me mad because her husband believes everything the doctor says. She was the one that told him not to take the drug. I asked did they ever do a CRP or hoocyseine test on him? She said no. Now they have the man on 2 statins and 2 bp lwering drugs to prevent another heart attack. His bp was normal before he had the heart attack and now is soo low he gets light headed. They don’t have a clue!

  • Thank you so much for speaking up. I have know for over 25 years that the FDA and Drug companies were in bed together and could not be trusted. If we are well, drug companies and the allopathic medical industry do not make money, therefore they really have no interest in wellness. They make make money by identifying, creating and maintaining illness.

    When someone with your credibility and credentials speak up there is a much higher probability that folks will listen. Thank you again Dr. Hyman you are a courageous soul and the leader we need right now. I do not see allopathic doctors and I do not and will not take pharmaceutical drugs of any sort. Blessings on your journey, Todd

  • I have been a semi vegetarian for 35 years, do not smoke, and exercise regularly. Working for a F500 company my job was very stressful. My annual exams showed no sign of any health issues and in fact my doctor kept telling me to continue my lifestyle as my numbers looked better every year. Then about 5 years ago I had a heart attack requiring a couple of stents and that was followed by a second heart attack 9 months later at which time I underwent a triple by-pass. A year later I found out that the by-pass on my left artery had closed up which then required another stent. Six months later I was told that I had developed a 75% blockage next to the last stent. At this point I decided to take charge, quit my job, became a vegan, exercise an hour a day except for weekends, and meditate at least half an hour a day. Every year I take a nuclear stress test and the results for the last 3 years have been great to the point that my cardiologist wants to know what it is I am doing. However he will not take me off my medications which include statin, beta blocker, aspirin, and plavix along with my thyroid drug levothyroxin. He claims that I am a high risk patient and he cannot take the risk of even reducing my medication. When I read the side effects of each of these medications, I think I am better off not taking them, but cannot convince my doctor. What is your advice and opinion?

  • These lies by the FDA and pharmaceutical companies have to be exposed and stopped. This is America. We’re not supposed to live in a country that lies to its people. I’ve talked to my congressmen, and gotten positive results, but it still continues. I’m disgusted that I have to do so much research and reading on my own just to get the truth. But, if that’s what I have to do, I’ll keep on. Thanks for your input and consistent sharing of your expert knowledge. It helps a great deal.

  • I was not surprised with the facts that you gave about the drug companies. I do not and never have liked to take drugs. For most of my life I have been healthy but the past year and a half has been a struggle for me. I was offered pain meds put did not take them because I don’t want to cover up the pain I want to find out what’s causing it and get rid of it! If a person would pay attention to all the “possible side effects” that are stated as a drug is being advertised they should realize that drugs might be causing more problems than they are supposed to be helping with. I am not sure we need more regulation but instead need the CORRECT regulation on these drug companies. They arent in it to “help” people they are in it to make money! Unfortunately I believe that there are far too many politicians who are also in it for the money and serving their best interests and not the publics! (ON ALL SIDES) Thank you for reminding me that I need to step up and speek up…. the more we are silent and let this continue the more people will be hurt and taken advantage of!

  • Personally I do not agree with any drug taking – simply eat only natural foods – nothing boxed or packaged – exercise at least one hour a day five days a week, laugh, have fun, keep busy, read and keep in touch with family and friends – I am 64 and this is how I do things! It works for me!!

  • I’m 80 years YOUNG, and have an open mind. However, I’ve wanted to ease off of all prescribed medications for some time now! I firmly believe that overmedication is one of the largest problems for older people today! I HAVE dropped a couple of drugs that I didn’t think I needed… because of family history. I’ve had no side effects and my bones are still strong and healthy and I’m not one bit shorter than I was when I dropped the RX. NOW what else CAN I drop? Nothing, until I’ve adopted a healthier eating regime… Any suggestions? Thanks for being on OUR side!! Marge “Gigi” Williams

  • Dr. Hyman,
    In the last few years I have lowered my cholesterol, triglycerides, and even blood sugar by eating more fruits and vegetables and lots of beans. I have never taken any statins or other medications. I also walk more each day than I used to.
    Lou Hartman

  • Bravo! My doctor has repeatedly tried to foist Lipitor on me and I’ve always refused. One time I lowered my cholesterol 80 points in 2 months using oat bran and niacin. I was excited and he had no interest in learning what I did.

    More recently I sought out a doctor who practices integrative medicine and when he adjusted my thyroid meds and put me on bio-identical hormones, my cholesterol dropped.

    Most importantly, I just had a heart scan and there was ZERO measurable calcified plaque in my coronary arteries. After a lifetime of elevated cholesterol!

    Years ago Kevin Trudeau got it right when he talked about this very topic – the uncomfortably close relationship between the FDA and big pharma, and the lack of evidence that cholesterol is the great evil we’ve been told it is.

    In “Why We Get Fat” Gary Taubes also addresses this myth, plus gives an understanding of Pattern A & B LDL. So even high LDL requires a deeper look – is it the large bouyant particles that are harmless, or the dangerous small dense particles? How many doctors ever order this test?

    This is a huge topic with so much misinformation – thank you Dr. Hyman for bringing awareness to it.

  • Yes, I am aware of these studies you mention in this article, but I did a lot of digging to find them. I took a basic, entry-level human physiology course a year ago offered at my local community college, at a time in my life when my total cholesterol and LDL levels were going up, probably because I’m now post-menopausal. I was looking for answers to why my GP was so concerned about this, as it’s generally considered a health risk. Because my diet and lifestyle are way healthier than most Americans, I wasn’t convinced that her concerns should become my concerns.

    As we age and our cells increasingly need repair and replacement, it could be that our cholesterol requirements go up. By reducing cholesterol with drugs, we may be inhibiting our aging bodies’ best defense against other chronic conditions, like Alzheimers and dementia, and osteoporosis, and cancer!

    Rather than focussing on keeping cholesterol levels low, possibly too low for aging bodies, we should possibly be looking at ways to reduce inflammation throughout the body.

    I am sending this article to some of my friends who I think may be interested in this information.

  • I have already stopped taking Cholesterol “reducing” drugs because I don’t like, and don’t trust, the side effects. What has your article convinced me of? I need to start an exersize program. I watch my diet pretty well, but I hate exercize and have to get over it! Yes, your article was very helpful.

  • I find your articles extremely helpful and honest. Finally a physician spreads the truth
    which has been hidden from the general public. I have all of your books and find the information in them to be helpful in all aspects of living a healthful life. I am especially grateful for the cholesterol info. in relation to the flawed studies by the pharma. cos.and their influence on the FDA. I believe in alternative medecine, supplements,
    acupuncture, but would never give up on my Dr. who is a great diagnostician.
    Please keep enlightening us with the facts. Thank you

  • I have been suffering drug side effects for years and years. And I don’t take anything except a natural thyroid (and herbs and supplements). How? My Mom’s doctor gives her tons of drugs, and I pick up the pieces. I had gotten her off of all her drugs about a year ago, and she was actually stable (except for A-fib, but that will probably stay). But she is 92 and in advancing dementia (thanks to so many drugs crossing the brain barrier), and she started refusing all pills (the vitamins I had her stabilized on). Eventually, her heart rate went sky high, she was admitted to the hospital, she refused treatment (and tried to pull out her IV…) while in the hospital, I had to move her to memory care where they only recognize an MD’s orders (i have medical power of attorney). Now she is on a page full of drugs (with side effects), and there is nothing I can do. She is still refusing her pills part of the time, so now it is hit and miss (maybe worse than all the time?). One drug costs her her entire pension check ($240) a month, and I now find out they are required to throw it away if she refuses. So thanks to her doctor not respecting her wishes, she is forced to buy drugs to be thrown away, and drain what little money she has left. They drugs will end up in the water or landfill polluting the environment including ending up in future food supply. Who does this benefit? Only big pharma (and maybe the docs who take kick backs). And this is law. And since I am medical poa and legal poa, I am forced to spend her money this way, and now, with adrenal fatigue (because of the system), I am forced to maintain a full time job, and somehow get a lawyer and manage to sell her house (needing repair and update) and arrange an estate sale…. Even if she didn’t have that, it would be medicaid that would be buying the drugs to throw away! There are people who need medicaid and they are preparing to make more cuts to that program. so why is the pharmaceuticals allowed to force this on people? She made me poa because she trusted me, and told me many times she wished she’d never taken the drugs–she’s only gone down hill since. Now she can no longer speak for herself. Okay, I can hear another question coming at me–why not find another doctor? I’ve tried. For years. First, we’re in Oregon which has one of the lowest re-reimbursement rates, so almost no doc will take another medicare patient–they loose money on those they have. Second, Mom’s doc belongs to a large call group, and I found out that no doc will take another docs patient (unwritten rule–they consider it stealing). I don’t have the time to go to every doctor every week trying again. I would also be risking getting into the same boat, and her charts already show numerous derogatory remarks about me (unprofessional, but numerous people have read what he has wrote). If you were the new doctor, who would you believe–a fellow colleague, or a family member you don’t know? It seems the system has my hands tied, and I can only sit back and watch. I am doing what I can, but hit a brick wall wherever I turn. I call Senior and Disabled, and get voicemail, and no one returns my calls. I can’t even get support from the agencies set up to help. Everyone is short staffed, and no one has time. Any suggestions gladly accepted. 🙂
    I enjoy your articles even though I don’t have time to get through all of them. I do save them in a folder…
    Sincerely your, Sandy

  • Oh, yeah! My family is well aware that good nutrition is much better than prescription medications. Sadly, we have had to be above the learning curve or die. The military infirmary where I was born sent me home with an illness passed by unsanitary hands and a hernia diagnosed as a “glandular growth”. I developed food allergies to baby formulas and was diagnosed with those old favorites; colic and “failure to thrive”. Thanks to a determined mother and a grandmother with 22 acres, they discovered that I thrived on strained milk still warm from the cow and bought a cow. I still got colic if the milk was refrigerated, so we had a rather confused cow with Mom milking her for every bottle but I did very well through elementary school.

    Mom was one of the women that proved heart disease presented differently in women. For three years she was on Flexerile for her back until she had a massive heart attack in 1994 that destroyed about 40% of her heart muscle. When they did a heart cath, they discovered her body had formed a natural by-pass of the blocked artery. After that, she started researching supplements and began taking natural Vitamin E, fish oil, Co-enzyme Q10 and a good quality multi-vitamin. She put Dad on them, too.

    A few months later, she was diagnosed with phase three breast cancer. She had a mastectomy, chemo-therapy that hospitalized her three times and radiation. Through it all, she and Dad continued to take their supplements and vitamins.

    About this time, Dad was diagnosed with COPD, medically retired and put on oxygen. Neither were expected to improve or to live as long as five years. Dad did research, began breathing exercises including singing and improved his blood oxygenation levels and limited his reliance on his oxygen tank.

    Mom is still going strong at 76 and giving her doctors grief if her medications do not improve her quality of life. Dad died after a rupture of an anuerism on his aorta in May 2007. He made it to the emergency room before midnight and was still lucid after he was transferred to another hospital for surgery at four AM but he was brain dead after the surgery. Inspite of having the information about his COPD and need for oxygen in his records when he was transferred, Mom telling the EMTs of both ambulances and then the doctors and nurses as he was wheeled into the operating room, they failed to take it into account during his surgery. And then they kept him on life support in ICU for another thirty miserable days of suffering before admitting the error. Mom refused to sue for malpractice or to join the class action.

  • Where can I locate the study showing Zetia increases plaque buidup?
    My doctor has moved me from low dose Zocor, which I developed an allergy to, and put me on 2.5 mg. Zetia, which has greatly lowered my total and LDL cholesterol, but which I am very leary of., but she has no knowledge of this study.
    Thanks for any info….

  • It is very difficult to convince many older people that their doctors are not correct many times due to ill informed advice or as you mentioned many doctors depending upon data which are a product of this medical-industrial complex. I find that many older people look at their doctors as gods and anyone else attempting to give more accurate advice is snubbed at. Is there a better way to convince these people?


    I love the work that you do. I am a pre-physician assistant student wondering what choices do I have when it comes time to go to work. I need to find more like minded doctors like you, someone to practice under when I graduate that looks at evidenced based/wholistic health care( D.O. ‘s are better in theory, but at the end of the day, I don’t see much difference). I have worked as a surgical tech for 18 years and I am experiencing the same lemming like behavior with surgeons listening to the biased sales reps.

  • Dr. Hyman,
    I have read your books as well as Braverman, Sinatra and Blaylock, all from the Indianapolis Library. I tell people what I have learned but at age 74, the young don’t want to hear it , thinking I am some kind of health nut and the folk my age are already entangled in the web of western medicine here in Indianapolis. I don’t read medical journals, but I catch this and that here and there.
    Recently I read the FDA wanted to dump ALLI, a weight lowering drug, from all the shelves, but have been seeing tv ads for it during the past weeks. Somebody doesn’t want the FDA to act evidently. I remember when aspartame was being investigated before releasing it to the public and I do recall the adverse information from doctors and medical scientists, yet the profits were already lined up and so there it still us- everywhere.
    Functional doctors, nutritionists, even pharmacists are talking about what you are including on your newsletter, but it is slow going. I have high cholesterol and won’t take the meds, altho I have changed my eating and exercise at least 3xweek. I do take BP meds and recently asked the doc to take me off the diuretic as I read too much about their negative effects and he responded with the suggestion that I could just cut the pill in half, thus cutting both the medicine and the diuretic. The same doc noticed I had a high A1C reading in my last blood test and in checking the blood work from 12 months ago, found the same reading there and yet no one, the doc in the small osteopathic hospital which didn’t seem overly busy, nor my own doc who received c opies, noticed it. I had no idea. Anyway, I am about to not go to the doctor at all if I don’t feel some ability to trust and it is harder by the day.
    I have read a lot about Lipitor and how it works in the system and caution friends but they are convinced because their numbers were down that they were beating the problem.

    I feel quite helpless. I have no voice being heard. Recently picked up Suzanne Sommers BREAKTHROUGH and am subscribing to more newsletters. Other than calling my Congressman, what can an old broad with barely any money do to add to the Paul Revere ride against the corporations of Big Pharma.

    With wishes for all the best for you and yours and a thank you for the newsletter,
    Elie Dexter

  • Dr. Hyman,

    I have been aware of big pharma’s deceptive practices for quite some time and it saddens me a great deal. Our society is being boiled like frogs as the financial interests take precedence over the health interests of John Q. Public. Unfortunately the AMA and other medical professional associations are in lock step with the FDA and consequently big pharma. As such, most practitioners aren’t allowed to think for themselves and go outside the accepted method of operation. Individuals such as your self that rock the establishment boat too much tend to find themselves under mafia like scrutiny.

    How many people out there are aware that the proper cholesterol values have never been evaluated by independent studies? Are they aware that big pharma set those values? Are people aware of natural therapies that will CURE cancers, that have been silenced by big pharma? Probably not.

    The fact is, our society is getting sicker and sicker and I would be willing to bet that pharmaceuticals are a primary factor, followed closely by processed foods and contaminated water & air. (I am preaching to the choir).

    People can complain to their congress and senate reps, but most likely will see no results. One of my state’s senators (a liberal democrat) actually said he was voting for my own good because I didn’t know what was good for me. Thanks to this senator and many others like him, we now have Obama care. BTW, he was re-elected. In any case, the FDA and our government are in bed with big pharma.

    This is not just here in the United States, but world wide. The World Health Organization (WHO) for some reason called the H1N1 flu an epidemic, (by changing the definition of epidemic). Why would they do that? To sell more big pharma produced vaccines for which certain WHO officials probably got a cut of the profits.

    How many people know that WHO recently passed an international law that will limit concentrations of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential oils to levels that will fall short of the healing effects of that supplement. Germany has already fallen under this law and German citizens have to get a Rx for their vitamins, possibly paying more than a pharmaceutical. This law will take effect very slowly all over the world (boiling frogs) and the US constitution won’t protect us over treaty law. Search CODEX and see the truth about the law. Again, the standards were set up by big pharma.

    I believe the only way to “take out” big pharma is by the good ole boycott. It will be nearly impossible to convince people they don’t need their pharmaceuticals. The entire medical industry will have to be re-educated. The establishment of the AMA and others will have to be divested of their powers. Something like this has to start at grass roots levels with individuals teaching individuals.

    Good luck Dr. Hyman! You are on the right track. I pray big pharma, the FDA, and the AMA don’t try and succeed at silencing you.

  • Thank you for this article. I just do not understand why EVERYONE is not up to speed on the information that you put on your website and dream of the day when EVERYONE wakes up. My husband was diagnosed with CF at the age of 35. He has been suffering for years with digestive issues and numerous pancreatitis attacks. It was not until he got tested for food in tolerances and changed his diet accordingly that he could go a week (months now) without vomiting. This lifestyle change has enabled him to move on and go about his life happy and healthy. Once he did get diagnosed with CF, the clinic put hims on so many medications as per the guidelines of the foundation. I almost has a panic attack when I saw all the meds he brought home. Sure enough he used them, specifically the asthma meds, and got so much more sick. So crazy. He stopped taking those meds, continued with his lifestyle modifications and now has a clean bill of health, Well as clean as we can ask for.
    Thank you again for helping my husband and I move toward a better well being and healthy education.

  • I have been taking 40 mg of lovastatin ,I lowered it from 80 mg that was prescribed cause i was losing my hair. —– also was wondering about my depression medication, cause i have no emotions. like crying. would that cause me not be able too—– i take 50 mg of sertraline HCL tabs . Thank you..

  • I don’t trust the phamaceutical industry at all. I try to follow a healthy lifestyle and hope not to depend on drugs. I have used antidepressants but worry also about them. At some point it seemed they didn’t work so well and my doctor recommended increasing the dosage, I wondered if I need a higher dose if somehow taking the drug actually lessoned the amount of natural serotonin (the drug was an SSRI) and wondered if the more I took the more I would need. Didn’t like that prospect at all. Started doing yoga, doing some cognitive stuff on my own, and so far so good!

  • You mention in your article evidence that anitdepressants may have been found to be harmful, yet I don’t see a reference. Can you reference the source?

  • I’ve know this for quite some time as I have been following alternative sites. I also saw my dad’s bad reaction from Lipitor. I forwarded an article very negative on Lipitor and the doctor changed his medication. I would have preferred to have him cut it out completely but my dad was from a generation that knew that doctors could do no wrong.

    We finally got a doctor in a nursing home who asked why he was taking a statin drug at 92 years old. She took him off it and a few others. He died of cancer 6 months later. (No connection).

    I am really against the statins. My cholesterol fluctuates between 210 and 270. I get those results every two months when I give blood. I asked a cardiologist once when we were discussing cholesterol and heart attacks if there were any corrolation between heart attacks and driving white cars. He understood. It’s the same corrolation as cholesterol and heart attacks.

    As my grandfather use to say – “figures don’t lie but liars figure”.

    Keep the information coming. We seem to be winning against HFCs, maybe we
    can win against statin drugs.

  • Hi there, I have learned through experience, that the best doctor is none; meaning that the best thing one can do is to stay healthy so that you don’t need to see any doctor. It only takes 3 basic things:
    1- Eat and drink right
    2- Sleep right
    3- Exercise properly.
    Jaime Pachón

  • I had horrendous problems with meds most of my life for epilepsy, I finally refused to take any more about 11 years ago and have almost no worsening of symptoms, I have had suicide attempt form prozac when I was 21, back when they refused to admit it was even a possible side affect…

    I have had many problems with medications and many health problems. I use almost 100% alternative medicine – still working on getting rid of all pain meds for my chronic headaches – almost there. I have cured lyme disease without any antibiotics, many bladder infections with antibiotics, and I am in the process of curing chronic headaches, epilepsy (seizure are way way decreased) and arthritis all with alternative medicine. It could save your life!! Thanks for helping educate the main stream! i have been considered weird for years!

    Diet has been huge, as well as herbs,

  • No I was not aware of any of the studies you mentioned. However I do not and have not taken any drugs. I am 78 yrs old & in excellent health. My father lived to be 103. He never took any drugs. I have followed his example. I believe in making lifestyle changes instead. My husband & I are constantly learning and making the lifestyle changes as we learn. My brother had a heart attack 1 year ago and his cholesterol was normal. This year he was operated on for cancer. He has been on a vegetarian diet for 20 years. However it was a high carb diet with no green vegetables or antioxidant fruits. I believe that lifestyle changes is the key. It has been a long period of growth from what I was taught was a good diet to where I am now. My prayer every day is “Lord please help me to be a good stewart of my body and help me to eat the healthiest food possible”. Thank you for your information and input.

  • Thank you, Dr. Hyman, for your wonderful efforts to keep us educated.

    I had the good fortune when I was in college to meet someone who was using nutrition and alternative medicine to resolve any and all of her ailments. I found out early that there are better alternatives to medication in most cases, and I’ve lived that way for decades, focusing heavily on nutrition and exercise. I also watched my father exercise daily and focus on nutrition, saying he plans to lead a long and healthy life. He did. Last year, he passed at 94.

    I have been aware of the Big Pharma issues, but not the specfic studies that you mention in this article. It really helps to understand on a deeper level just how insidious this problem is. I have felt frustrated and angry about it, and am hoping to see changes in the near future.

  • I’ve never trusted drugs, and avoid them whenever possible. The only drug I take is Levothroid, and I’m not even sure about that one.
    It all started when HRT was popular with doctors . I refused it after taking it for several months on my doctor’s advice. Later we found out it was actually detrimental. So, when so many doctors jumped on the statin bandwagon, I was suspicious and avoided statins like the plague, even though my cholesterol is around 240-47. A doctor friend says statins (which she takes) help lower the possibility of a stroke, which she says helps her make her decision. Turns out the doctor who originally prescribed the HRT drugs stopped taking them herself, though it could have been too late. (I guess it wasn’t.)
    I wasn’t aware of the actual studies you mentioned.
    The best results tested by blood tests I’ve ever had was when I was following the Sonoma Diet, similar to the South Beach Diet. Didn’t allow any sugar (even fruit) and severely cut back starches the first few weeks. Added them both back in SLOWLY after that. I already exercised regularly.

  • I’m a big man, 70 years old, and a full time fitness instructor. I was Rx the cholesterol drugs, Zetia, etc. All of them caused my nerves in my lower body to have problems. At one time my entire right side from my hip to my right toes felt asleep, and it took several months for the stuff to clean out of my system. Now I work on nutrition and lifestyle changes for my health. I do interval training cardio, weight training, and teach yoga, tai chi, bootcamp, etc.

  • Yes I knew of the studies from following you over time. I am a dental hygienist and can add my frustration over doctors and patients not understanding or promoting the ‘lifestyle’ connection. Many patients throw up their hands, they are victims of genetics and thus off the hook to make any wellness changes in their lives. Doctors don’t have the time or understanding. And if they do, they aren’t giving their patients credit that they would consider lifestyle changes.
    I would like to see a requirement that patients are required to go through lifestyle classes to get their medications with the intention that they will hopefully get off of the meds. I have so many diabetic and heart patients that have no clue what they are supposed to be doing. It wasn’t offered to them and they don’t know where to turn. And doing it on their own is too overwhelming to even begin.
    If there were support groups that successfully taught/supported your recommendations on a local level, I know that people would pay out of pocket money to participate. They are already throwing all kinds of money out there in search of and having trouble finding it. I do refer them to your books/site/pages. They need face to face support, it usually doesn’t happen on their own. We have to keep trying for those that will. And they will help show the way for the others. We just need to strengthen the momentum in that direction. Weight Watchers is a perfect example of something that works.

  • How right you are Dr. Hyman. I’ve have spoken to at least 75 to 100 women who suffered from Vulvodynia, like I did. Although my lifestyle change healed my condition it is extremely hard to CONVINCE these women that by changing my lifestyle actually is what did it. Some still believe that drugs-prescribed off-label are the answer. This is because there are so few studies done on therapeutic nutritional therapy. These women not only have the original chronic illness to deal with but then they get all the FUN side effects these drugs provide.

    It is a taboo subject, speaking about drugs and the lack of adequate studies. I find people get heated and defensive. Don’t mess with their drugs.

    Thanks for the article. I did not know about the studies you have mentioned. I am sure these examples don’t even scratch the surface of what is going on with the FDA.

  • Hi Dr. Hyman,

    thanks for this insightful article. While drugs can be lifesavers, I so agree with you that they’re not always the answer……thanks for the enlightenment!!

    Keep up the inspiring work! 🙂


  • Dear Dr. Hyman. For some time Ihave been concerned about high bloodpressure medications, colesterol maedican, antideprressants and the drugs used to treat bipolar I and II. It seems to me that in all instances the emphasis has been on the drugs rather than the components of the illness such as nutrition and exercise. The problem seems to me that drugs are the first line protocol and can be ineffective for long-term trreatment and at the worst are not effective. There are rarely nutrition departments as part of most health plans, particularly HMOs whether for Seniors or the rest of the population. Its further a problem in that the people who need it the most either can’t afford it or don’t have the support required to stick with a healthier lifestyle because of the dysfunction sort of a “catch 22”. I think in particular of the poor, disabled, seniors and even those who do have health plans facing the current bill of good.
    I fully agree that something needs to be done to set new standards of care for the health care industry. For instance, the popular treatment and the only one my health care policy authorizes for all forms of mental illness and nurosis is Behavioral Modification. One size does not fit all. True it does work for some, but not all. It isn’t even appropriate for everyone. It’s always been amazing to me that the mind and body are often considered as separate of each other.
    Because I’m a senior, I keep my HMO, but I have decided to reach out to a private holisitc practitioner to get more information. Ignorance is not bliss.
    Thank you for your good work and outreach.

  • You say that doctors have been brainwashed to think that cholesterol is the cause of heart attacks even though half of all people who have heart attacks have NORMAL cholesterol.

    My question is; does this mean that doctors only know what they have been told and act according to the recommendations of the drug company? If doctors have been brainwashed into thinking cholesterol is the culprit for heart attacks, then what area of medicine is actually “known” by doctors?

    If I had a heart attack or trauma and was rushed to the hospital I am convinced that I would be in good hands, I just don’t know if I have the same faith in the conventional medical community when it comes to my overall health in general.

  • I plan to write my congressman regarding clinical trials. My husband took Zocor and Lipitor (at different times) for a period of time and has suffered from several symptoms and has not had the same energy level since. He had joint and muscle pain and fatigue. He stopped playing tennis two years ago because of this. Through the information I found online about the negative impact these drugs have on your body I suggested he stop taking them. I spent hours trying to find clinical trial information. I did finally get some adverse reaction information but it was not easy. Thank you so much for this information. He is not taking any cholesterol lowering meds at this time.

  • Were you aware of the studies I’ve mentioned today?
    I am aware of nearly everything you mentioned today because I am unfortunately suffering from the severe, disabling side effects of fluoroquinolone antibiotics. I was a healthy, active young woman prior to taking these antibiotics for a minor throat infection.

    Which of the steps here do you plan to follow?
    As a result of my experience, I already follow all of these steps. I’ve even written my senators but unfortunately, I have not received a response.

    What has your experience been with medications compared to lifestyle measures?
    I have been disabled for almost 9 months now as a result of taking Avelox. Obviously, I favor lifestyle changes and natural healing over prescription medications. I am not currently taking any prescription medications and I live a very healthy lifestyle, as I did prior to taking Avelox. Unfortunately, I am still suffering greatly from the neurological and musculoskeletal damage I experienced as a result of taking these antibiotics. This is much more common than most doctors would like to believe and it is criminal that these drugs are being so widely prescribed for minor conditions. Please read this article:

    If you or anyone you know has experienced the serious side effects of fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, Floxin), please visit the following sites:

    Thank you,


  • Dr Hymn

    Keep up the good work. I agree with you 100%.
    Additionally, however, we deserve waht we get. We want to hear that life style is not important. Because, our desire to indulge often in good steak & potato diner, being a couch potato, desire to live unroutinely and on edge, over sex indulgence are all known to drug companies. Therefore, drug companies design a magic pill, pour money in political process, skew independent studies and flirt with physicians with parties and giveaways.
    It is only thru efforts like you, general awakening, desire for holistic living that we will ever turn this concpiracy around.
    Meassage I have here for all of us that holistic living and spiritual living are not far off. And, it is consumers who will help change the system.
    All other steps outline by you will also help to chip away at this unholy state of affairs.
    Taking TWO step further, I will say,like Auyerveda/Chinese declared ions ago–medicine will be wholly effective if applied simultaneously at soul, mind and physical level. What you have discussed is problems at physical level alone.

    Thanks again for your revolutionary work

    girish kumar

  • I was not aware of the studies mentioned be concealed to that degree.

    I will contact my senator about making information available.

    I use limited medication for knee pain, that was aided by lifestyle changes.

  • For 6 months my dr. had me wear expensive elastic stockings because my legs kept swelling from the knee down. A visiting dr. told my doc. it was a side effect of my blood pressure med, and the swelling stopped immediately when I stopped taking it!

    Another time I had a constant little hacky cough for months, it ended up being another blood pressure med.

    Even if I get a med that works for me, chances are the next time it gets filled, it’s some OTHER COMPANY”S generic med with different ingredients and I have had many bad reactions due to that! I refused to take a statin because we have MD in our family and I read that people who carry genes for certain muscle problems can have a problem with statins, my son already lost his two achilles heels to Cipro.

  • I am a 53 year old male, strong family history of heart disease: paternal grandfather died of heart attack at age 47; maternal grandfather died of stroke at age 55; father had high blood pressure and died at age 67 from aneurysm; mother is 73 with high blood pressure; youngest brother has had two heart attacks, the first at age 33, and has five stents.
    Three years ago, my blood tests showed all markers out of line and blood pressure had risen to 150/90. I was put on a statin that quickly gave me terrible muscle aches and joint pain. Changed to another that nearly ate a whole in my stomach.
    I didn’t know the blood pressure medicine shouldn’t be combined with salt substitute (potassium chloride). The combination created an inadvertent potassium overload that sent my heart rate and blood pressure skyrocketing. My physician initially thought I was under-medicated.
    He would have increased my dosage had I not asked about the salt substitute after doing some online research.
    I quit all my medications cold turkey and drastically changed my diet.
    No processed foods of any kinds.
    No sugar of any kind.
    I ate nothing from a box or package.
    I focused on intense exercise and weight lifting.
    In two months, I had dropped 15 pounds (although I was an average sized man, not really overweight) and my blood pressure had dropped to 120’s over 70’s. Berkeley blood test showed almost perfect blood work. Lipid profile was ideal. Very low inflammation markers.
    What I have since dealt with is too much fruit and not enough protein in my morning meal after exercise. Energy levels began to plummet after a few months. Making sure I have protein at every meal has made a huge difference.
    I am becoming more aware of food ‘sensitivities’ I may have, not allergies, because some foods make me feel bloated and sluggish. Seems to be nuts and coffee.
    Perhaps there is nothing to it, but watching what I eat in combination seems to help how I feel. (Keeping the carbs separate from fats and proteins).
    The thing I am ‘experimenting’ with now is the effects of overtraining and the oxidative stress too much exercise can have on the body. I injured my arm from overuse and couldn’t do anything for awhile.
    And I had noticed my blood pressure began to inch back up, although my diet was still the same. I am finding that short bursts of intense work is better at keeping my energy levels up. I don’t feel as tired, and feel more energized from the exercise. Less is more, I am finding out.
    And I firmly believe in the power and ability of the human body to take care of itself if we do the right things for it . I appreciate your reports. Your work is a large part of what I use to decide how to care for my health.

  • Dear Dr Hyman, have read your book the Ultra mind solution and have been using supplements accordingly. additionally, I have a strong family history on my fathers side of coronary artery disease. So as a precaution Dec 2010, had CT scan followed by angiogram, which resulted in 20% on three arteries 50% on right coronary artery. Cardiologist put me on Lipator however after 2 months I could not take the side effects of Lipitor, sore leg muscles. so stopped the Lipitor and a Naturapath has me on Glisodin, Oceoplex and detox fomula along with Pomegranate Juice. so will see what happens in about 12 months or so.

    Kind regards David

  • Hi Dr. Hyman,

    Thank you so much for doing a great deal of the legwork for us. I am on a statin and don’t know what to do. I am not very disciplined and need to make changes. I imagine if I had better nutrition I’d have the energy to do the exercise. I will undertake to get all the info you and others who think along the same line have to offer. Thanks again!
    LInda Podell

  • I am curious. Should this pertain to all illnesses? My daughter has been diagnosed with Bipolar 2. I can tell you, without being on medicine she is a complete wreck but very stabilized and functional on the medicine.
    This is all very scary and confusing at the same time.

    • Thank you, Sandra, for your message and your interest in Dr. Hyman’s work. Your question and constellation of symptoms represents a complex medical condition. Questions regarding conditions like these cannot be answered in a responsible manner via the Internet.

      If you would like information on becoming a patient at The UltraWellness Center please see “How to Become a Patient” at That site is designed to give prospective patients a comprehensive source of information about The UltraWellness Center. You may also feel free to call The UltraWellness Center at (413) 637 9991.

      Regardless of becoming a patient at The UltraWellness Center, it sounds like you need to consult with a doctor. Please seek medical attention for the issues that you outlined in your message.

      Wishing You the Best of Health!

  • Dear dr. Mark Hyman,
    I want to know your opinion about vactination-are they safe?
    Thank you, have a wonderful day.

    Sincerely, Mariana

  • I’m a 44 year old woman living in Seattle, Washington. Ten years ago, I started experiencing epileptic seizures. Having spent my life pursuing my passion of dance, finding myself having epileptic seizures was, to put it mildly, an “identity crisis.” However, what was more nightmarish was trying to find some intelligent healthcare. When I walked into to talk with a “neurologist” about my illness, they literally shrugged their shoulders and handed me a bottle of pills. That is literally what they did. As this experience unfolded, I discovered that the private healthcare industry in this country actually preys upon people like me faced with a serious illness. My misfortune is their fortune and they want to be sure to keep me dependent upon their system as long as they can. For several years as my illness unfolded, I feared having a seizure in public. If I did and someone called 911, I would emerge from a seizure in an ambulance or a hospital bed. A doctor would tell me I had epilepsy. I would tell them that I know I have epilepsy. They would then chastise me for not taking their drugs, release me and bill me somewhere between $500.00 – $1,000.00 for that exchange. It was ludicrous and still is. I now wear a medical bracelet out in public instructing people “not to call an ambulance.” The scariest place I can find myself in a seizure is an ambulance or hospital. The fact that someone with a chronic illness actually fears healthcare providers testifies to the failings of the entire system. I am now writing a book on the whole experience which will be called “Seized.’ I hope Dr. Hyman will take an interest in it. His work has inspired me to stay the course of rejecting the healthcare industry’s false promises of a “quick fix” and travel a very different road with my illness that has taught me so much about health. It’s been a journey through which I’m finding real health again.

  • My husband was placed on Crestor by his Dr, approx 8 years ago. He has has side effects of muscle weakness, soreness, memory loss, and I’m sure liver damage. My husbands co-pay went up from $5.00 to $67.50. So last week he quit taking Cestor. Is it harmful to just quit taking it, or shoud you wean yourself off slowly? My husband would like to stay off and use diet and exercise to help with his high cholesterol. Is that a good idea?

  • no one wants me as a patient because i am allergic to the ‘inert’ compound they use to make tablets. they do not know hoe to deal with me without prescribing drugs! have warned me that if i am hospitalized i will have to take the pills, allergy or not. i work with lifestyle changes and vitamins as best i can.

    • Thank you for your message and your interest in Dr. Hyman’s work. Your question and constellation of symptoms represents a complex medical condition. Questions regarding conditions like these cannot be answered in a responsible manner via the Internet.

      If you would like information on becoming a patient at The UltraWellness Center please see “How to Become a Patient” at That site is designed to give prospective patients a comprehensive source of information about The UltraWellness Center. You may also feel free to call The UltraWellness Center at (413) 637 9991.

      Regardless of becoming a patient at The UltraWellness Center, it sounds like you need to consult with a doctor. Please seek medical attention for the issues that you outlined in your message.

      Wishing You the Best of Health!

    • The thing you have to be careful about with whey is the casein component, which it still contains. If you are sensitive to dairy, you may be sensitive to whey powder as well. When eliminating dairy, stay off whey powder and look for vegan protein powders instead. However, if you are not dairy sensitive, whey can be a good addition as helps improve glutathione levels.

      Best of Health!

  • I can give an example, I have a chronic illness, Costochondritis. It is inflammation of the chest wall lining. It was most likely caused by several pneumonia problems. When first discovered the first 2 years I was given several different pain medications and anti-inflammatories. The pain would wax and wain but it was there every few days sometimes horribly present. The doctor told me to learn to use pain management with my Hydrocodone. About the third year I joined a health and nutrition program. I started eating wisely and started exercising I ended up losing 60lbs. The pain from my Costochondritis was virtually non-existent. I ended up having a baby the next year and gained all my weight back. I went back in to a new doctor and asked if there was any way to get the “costo..” to go away for good, she said “No you just have to learn pain management” I said that I had lost weight once, wouldn’t that help. Her response, “Nope I’m sorry losing weight wont help.”

    I now plan to get back on my healthy lifestyle plans and get rid of this constant pain.

  • This was a great article. I worked in the pharma industry for 20 years and I went from an idealist who believed we were helping people to a non-believer in the modern snake oils that are foisted upon the public. If you haven’t already can you do a similar article on antidepressants. These are just as dangerous and overused as cholesterol meds, not to mention that it is not well understood how they work. No one suffers from a Paxil deficiency either. More likely adrenal fatigue, and overwork coupled with a toxic diet and no exercise.
    Keep up the good work!

  • I have been prescribed a couple of different drugs for high cholesterol, but have been reluctant to take them because of what they did to my father — he lost a scary amount of muscle mass after he was prescribed Zocor. So much so, that he quit taking the medication to get his strength back. He had a heart attack several years ago, which was why he was prescribed the drug in the first place. He has not taken it in over a year, changed his lifestyle, and his cholesterol is now considered normal.

    I’ve not trusted drug companies for a long, long, long time. I am suspicious of all the crap they put out there. My doctor keeps bugging me to take the cholesterol-lowering medicines, but I will not. I will do the hard work of changing my lifestyle instead.

  • If drug companies are hiding negative results of drug trials, could they also be hiding positive results from vitamin and other supplement testing? We seem to hear every now and again that, for instance, a Vitamin E test showed negative results. But could that test have been a fluke, funded by a major pharma company, while they simultaneously hid results from other similar tests that showed good results? It seems that these businesses only make money when we are sick — and they realize that a healthy population leads to lower profits for them.

    • Could be that the study was on a synthetic form of Vit E. I’ve read that the natural form has been found to increase life expectancy, while the synthetic form causes problems.

  • Dr Hyman – thank you for continuing to better the lives of millions of people! My son has been put on a medication (his first) to control seizures. The drug has indeed controlled the seizures, but it has wreaked havoc on his ability to focus, control his emotions and control his body. The neurologist said he believes in allopathic medicine – large doses of drugs concentrated on addressing a single problem. Is this the only method medical schools teach and the medical industry promotes? Surely, the fact that the body functions effectively by means of an interconnected set of systems working together is not lost on very smart people. Every thing you do has a systemic impact, correct? I am very concerned about the long-term impacts this drug is going to have on my son, but don’t know what else we can do to prevent him from having additional seizures. Thanks again for your sacrifices and leadership in the cause for true wellness for all!

  • Dr. Hyman,

    Thank you for addressing this important subject. Here are my answers to your questions.

    Were you aware of the studies I’ve mentioned today?
    I am aware of nearly everything you mentioned today because I am unfortunately suffering from the severe, disabling side effects of fluoroquinolone antibiotics. I was a healthy, active young woman prior to taking these antibiotics for a minor throat infection.

    Which of the steps here do you plan to follow?
    As a result of my experience, I already follow all of these steps. I’ve even written my senators but unfortunately, I have not received a response.

    What has your experience been with medications compared to lifestyle measures?
    I have been disabled for almost 9 months now as a result of taking Avelox. Obviously, I favor lifestyle changes and natural healing over prescription medications. I am not currently taking any prescription medications and I live a very healthy lifestyle, as I did prior to taking Avelox. Unfortunately, I am still suffering greatly from the neurological and musculoskeletal damage I experienced as a result of taking these antibiotics. This is much more common than most doctors would like to believe and it is criminal that these drugs are being so widely prescribed for minor conditions. Please read this article:

    If you or anyone you know has experienced the serious side effects of fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, Floxin), please visit the following sites:

    Thank you,


  • I haven’t trusted drug companies for some time. They want their products approved and will skew tests or even fabricate tests to give the FDA, which is just a rubber stamp but we must follow some guidelines after all :-(, so what they produce just can’t be relied upon. I’ve approached reading what Dr. Hyman has to say with a grain of salt and said to myself that ‘here’s just another MD with a supposed axe to grind that will make him money – he’s just not objective’. Well, I’ve changed my tune – he’s right so often that it pays to listen.

    Lifestyle changes account for a great deal of ‘cure’ and not taking drugs. However, some drugs are required if, for example, we have genes that puts us at increased risk for whatever the disease might be. But the first line of defense should always be looking at what you’re doing that’s unhealthy … and changing it.

  • Licensed Doctors were required to write my prescriptions for Verapamil and LovaSTATIN, against hypertension, I can only wonder if Verapamil is worthwhile!!!

  • Is there a particular reason why you felt my comment should not be posted? I believe I was respectful and I was simply sharing my experience and the experience of many others. Fluoroquinolone antibiotic toxicity is a serious problem that more people should be aware of. Prior to taking Avelox, I was a very active 30 year old woman. I worked full time as an engineer and loved to travel but now I am disabled and unable to work or do much of anything. It is very unfortunate that this important information is being censored from a blog dedicated to health and healing. I have a lot of respect for Dr. Hyman but I think he should hire a new moderator for his site if respectful, informative comments are going to be censored.

    • Could be the fluoride component in the drug that causes problems. Fluoridated water could cause you problems as well.

  • Dr. Hyman, thanks for giving a voice to those of us who know something is wrong with our healthcare system but feel helpless (and underfunded) to fight such a formidable opponent as the drug industry. I have always suspected drug companies of being self-serving in their actions. You pair them with government and they have a winning combination. I don’t even like to take aspirin unless I absolutely have to. I am a 67 year old female taking thyroid meds. And I am grateful that’s all I have to take. Even though I never formally exercised I have always been active things llike gardending, biking and taking stairs instead of elevators.
    My husband takes about 6 or 7 med for cholesterol, BP, prostrate and to treat side effects on some.of the meds. He doesn’t seem to mind taking all those pills. Unfortunately, it is easier for him to take them than to get out and walk. He had a mild heart attack 2007 and had two stents put in at that time. He thinks he is healthy but has a huge waistline. I quit nagging back about 3 years ago.
    Thanks again for this forum and for joining others like Doug Kaufmann, Dr Oz, Dr Mercola in getting the word out on what corp America is up to and encouraging us to take responsibility for our own health. I believe most doctors truly try to help their patients but they are locked into a system that has evolved into treating symtoms instead of illnessess.

  • Hi, thanks a lot for your article. I actually stumbled across it while trying to get the answer to the question “is milk bad for you” after reading the book “skinny bitches”. And I must admit many of the things you say make sense when I compare it to what I read in the book. the writers are very much into health and they explain many mess ups and lies, this whole thing is all just to make profit. Its good to know these thing, I would like to see more from your side on anti-depressants and the negative effects of it.

  • Thanks for the enlightening information you provided. I knew there were a lot of corruption within the pharmaceutical companies, but I thought,”At least the drugs out there work!”. Boy I was wrong. I have been chronically ill since 2007. I am now on Medicaid, not working, and awaiting a disability claim I submitted in January. I have been seen by 30 doctors. I have repeatedly asked for core-strengthening exercises. Instead I would receive vicoden. This past weekend I went to an urgent care because my pain was worsening. I asked for Lyrica. Instead, she prescribed me vicoden again. Unbelievable!! I spoke with one of my pharmacist and she gave me your website and we had a detailed discussion about chronic illness, etc. Thank you for all this information!


  • I learned that most doctors are clueless the hard way.

    I was diagnosed with Graves Disease and Hashimoto’s in 2009, after spending nearly 10 years trying to find out what was wrong with me as I began to gain weight and have hypothyroid symptoms. Every doctor I went to would do many test and always say that my thyroid was fine. Liars! In 2009 I finally flipped from hypo and became hyper, was seriously ill and sent to an endocrinologist who said I HAD to take the RAI to end the hyper. I did not want to so she said she would give me a very low dose that is used for the uptake thyroid screening.

    Well that didn’t go well because I became inflicted with muscle weakness and serious joint pain about a week after the RAI, so the endo put me on a z-pack of Prednisone which took away the pain , but put 8lbs on me over a week’s time and I then look swollen. After another week I then went into a frenzy from the Prednisone and felt so sickly but my endo told me it was all in my head. So I fired her and found another endo doctor.

    The next endo (who was supposedly one of the top in Texas) was even worse than the first. I would drag myself to that office (feeling so sick, exhausted, and in major pain) and she would tell me that I was healthy because my TSH score was normal and again, in was all in my head. She said to go walking and take calcium and eat plenty of dairy. and eventually I would start on Synthroid after the RAI wore off. I asked about natural thyroid medicine and she yelled at me and said absolutely NOT!

    By Sept. that year she started me on Synthroid 125, with 8 weeks of free sample, after I finished those I had another blood test and listening to me complain she
    drop the dosage down to 112. But I never felt better. She said I was healthy and to stop complaining because at least I didn’t have to have my thyroid removed o and it wasn’t thyroid cancer. She said it would take a year or more to regulate my thyroid so to be patient. I kept going back and complained about my symptoms but she ignored them and insisted that I have my primary care send me to a psychologist.

    My primary care sad that because I am now 50 it could be pre menopause symptoms and depression so she put me on an antidepressant last May. By the end of the year I was taking Synthroid 112 for my Thyroid, Lexapro for my mindset, Ambien because I could never sleep at night, Meloxican for pain, Hydrochlorothiazide (HTZ) for the fluid, occasionally a yeast infection pill. Well this past January I developed degenerative joint disease and had to start using a cane to walk, so my doctor sent me to a Orthopedic doctor who then wanted to put me on an anti-inflammatory and inject my knees with more crap. He gave me a five year will chair prediction.

    I had had enough! I started doing my own research and found out all of them were full of BS. I quit all the drugs with the exception of Synthroid, cold turkey and went through withdrawals for about a month. Very scary but I finally got over them.

    Next I insisted to be put on Cytomel and the quit Synthroid. After being off Synthroid for one week I began to feel so much better and most of my pain was gone. But my knees are still damaged. I have researched a lot and will continue.

    Since Feb. this year:
    I changed my diet to organic vegetarian.
    I cut out all meds except Cytomel 25 mcg, which I hope to eventually get rid of.
    I started taking a natural thyroid pill called Thytrophin PMG and am seeing fabulous results
    I started taking high quality supplement and vitamins
    I bought an Omega 2003 juicer and started juicing last week and I am considering going non dairy.

    I am feeling so much better and I have lost 7 pounds and almost feel like myself with a flat stomach and slim neck again. I will continued because I need to get off the other 30 pounds I have gained through this nightmare.

    But most of all I will never trust doctors because they are encouraged by big Pharmaceutical companies to shove a pill in ones face as the answer to all health problems!

  • Oh I forgot to mention that Synthroid causes bone loss and degenerative joint issues. I believe that is why I am using a cane now. I went from a bicycle commuting women to a cane walker in two years. But Big Pharma and doctors could care less about that fact!

  • I have been hypothyroid for 25 years + on everything. I can tell when my thyroid goes out of wack immediately. I can not take levethriod or levroxin or any generics + have been on synthroid forever. I have been up as high as 175mcg and as low as 112mcg. I am currently at 125mcg + hate it. Every 3 months I go out of wack. I have been on a yoyo life for a quarter of a century + I am exhausted. My bones + joints hurt all the time. I have a PT once a week to help me stretch so I can walk. I pray a lot because of the pain. I am only 53 +55lbs over weight. I have 4 grown children one grandchild. I worry I will be in a wheel chair before I am 60. I eat healthy but am self employed so have a stressful job + terrible health insurance. My doctors are baffeled by me + honestly clueless. I do not like taking medicine so -I do my best to do everything healthy. I have all your books + have tried several plans. What I really need is a personal health trainer in a study to benefit both myself + research. Please consider me as a candidate for your next research.

    • Do you live in a fluoridated area? Fluoride impacts on the thyroid – displaces iodine, I believe, among other things.

  • The medical industrial complex, has turned into a 8 trillion dollar a year Racket. They are not interested in curing anything, what they want to do, is drug you to death, Doctor you to death, and Bankrupt you to death.

    Is there a cure for the Flu & Colds? Just Google, Nasal B-12 Cures the Flu. Is there cures for a lot of diseases, yes, all you have to do is Nothing! Did you ever hear of FASTING, well there are really not any fasting retreats left in the United States, the AMA have sued most of them, you have to go to Europe to get healthy. Why does Fasting work, very simple, all bacteria and viruses have to have PROTEIN, or they DIE! If a virus doesn’t get any protein within 5 to 7 days it dies. Bacteria within 3 to 5 days, it dies, simple yes. When you fast, your body is not getting protein, but neither is the bacteria or the viruses. I always wondered about this, when I lived in Florida, there was a fasting retreat at Bonita Springs called Shanga-la, and those people wood go in there as Basket cases, and 2 or 3 weeks later come out as brand new! Why do you think a lot of rich and Movie Stars go to Switzerland! One thing that has to end is advertising prescription drugs on the Media, they are destroying everybody livers. All pills you take has to go through your liver. Liver disease now is at a all time high in the US. The Medical Industrial Complex has the largest bunch of Lobbyist second to the oil industry. Most everybody in congress gets paid off by them.

    I am a retired Safety Director, and fight pain and suffering for the masses. I developed the cure for the Flu & Cold, because back in 1957 when I was in the Air Force, they told me I had to take the SWINE Flu shot, I told them I didn’t want it, they told me if I didn’t take it they would Court Marshal me, I said why, and they said, because I Was Government property, and I would be destroying government property. I caught the Flu and it almost killed me I was in the Hospital over a week! Never Never again!

    The Center for Disease control has gone from one office, to 54 offices or more, in fact last year the head officer of the CDC quit, and joined a large Drug lobbyist firm, isn’t that nice.

    Now in congress they want to cut Medicade and Medicare along with help and care programs for the poor and middle class what they need to do is cut the Military & Medical Industrial Complexes in HALF!

  • Some people are too tired to care. Perhaps these crooked people putting out false information are actually right on to what people care and don’t care about. So if they cross the 9-yards in seeking information and read a bunch of crap, they don’t try again. Then you read this, and say, “in other words, there’s a reason why the person typing up all kinds of half-truths for doctors to study feels so crappy.” I would nearly expect a medal for me being willing to be healthy, but if you’re from around here or my parents, they don’t give a flying fuck about health, or my health, at least. The truth is, people want people to die, and if it’s not their fault, they get money from life-insurance. It’s heart-breaking. I guess that’s WHY they say God’s truth would make us explode. I’m on the run for my life, but I have no where to go, because my motivation is on a leash, and whatever career I will get will be scrutinized. Don’t even doubt how many times I’ve already let loose and figured, “life doesn’t reward greatness unless it’s helped people somehow, or simply made other people money. So I shouldn’t ever worry about death other than surviving against my enemies who want money from me.” I mean do you know what it feels like being merely NEARLY talented as I am, and always having this inner-awareness that the people close to you REALLY can’t wait to ask me for half of the thousands I am capable of making? I feel like a kamikaze plane that ALREADY hit the ground before I actually did! I hate life, and it’s not even my sickness!

  • Dear Dr. Hyman,
    Thank you for your consistent blogs about the real problem in our health industry.

    In reading your books and following a low sugar program, I have gotten my blood pressure to a very good level BUT I am still taking the high blood pressure medication.

    I gave all my BP readings to my doctor in April. My doctor is not a pill pusher, which I respect, I am still on a 10 mg statin. Not sure what to do about that.

    ? How does one get off of PB medication, its been over 12 years. I am 72.
    With your program, I hope to bring down my weight, which has been up and down since my late teens. I know that a low carb program works for me and I am determined to keep going.

  • This couldnt be more accurate, I for one am an heart patient and had my 4x bypass in 1993 when I was 37 yrs old.
    A little more than a year ago I started getting serious about my future and looked at what was available, guess what, more drugs and really I was getting to the point that I really didn’t think the Crestor I was taking for the last 18 years was really doing anything anyway.
    My wife brought home a new book for me to read, The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf.
    Needless to say the rest is history.
    Im off the statins, the BP meds and only take synthroid.
    I wish I new in 1993 what I know now, I wouldn’t have had a bypass and I would have been a lot healthier through all those years.
    The thing that really bothers me is that literally millions of people have died needlessly because of this.
    Bottom line they treat illness with drugs, when they should be looking at causation.

  • Dear Dr. Hyman,
    Fantastic article and agree with every point on your page as well as so many of your posters.
    Working with a friend who is a PHD in Exercise Physiology. I am in great health but very concerned for my 65 father who is agent orange and has had full spinal fusion and more surgeries and cortizone injections than a human should be allowed to have.
    Is there a list or link to wellness doctors, articles, seminars and the like which may provide proof of the many doctors who are finally switching to wellness rather than covering symptomology? A Doctor Testimonial site if you will. Am slowly weaning my dad off the cocktail but where is by testimonial of MD’s that are in agreeance that diet and exercise, lifestyle change and getting off these meds are the answer. Do you have any source and thank you.

  • I have read numerous articles on a better diet and how it affects our health. From people who have made changes and come off meds and even to a personal friend who’s child has autistic issues and with a strict diet can function at a normal level. This is something I have been aware of as my doctor prescribed a staten for my cholesterol. I was having horrible hip pain in my right hip which I contributed to extra weight, being on my feet as I worked in a restaurant to just being tired. I was at a social function when an older friend of mine was telling me about an experience she had with a cholesterol drug….it wa exactly the same pain I was having so I decided to stop taking the staten and see what happened. The pain stopped. Now to be fair I experimented and started taking it again…same pain came back. When I talked to my doctor about it she said no it wasn’t from the staten otherwise it wouldn’t be on one spot but all over. Well I try to take responsibility for my health and listen to my body. I don’t want that pain in one spot let alone all over, so I refuse to take the staten and have been watching my diet and taking supplements instead. I believe in doctors and medicine but I believe more in listening to our bodies. When my oldest son was very little I could tell when he was sick because his whole dimeanor would change…his doctors must of thought I was crazy but then be surprised that he did have an ear infection. It’s just as simple as listening to ourselves

  • Hello Dr. Hyman:

    You must be having a blast uncovering all of this misinformation! I am thankful for your life and the fact that you are a medical doctor who sees the light. The love of money IS the root of all evil.

    I have been mentored by natural health enthusiasts since the 1970’s and know what you are saying is true. I especially appreciate your latest book, the Ten Day Detox. Because you are a mainstream doctor, I have sold many of those books for you. People that would never listen to me, are happy to listen to you. Better late than never! : )

    Your posting here asked for a website. I gave the website of our family company….which you may actually be interested in, as our products are unique and fit perfectly into your diet. If you email me your physical address, I would be happy to send you some.

    Praying for continued open doors for you to speak the truth in love.

    God bless you!
    Bernie Smith