Welcome

Hi and welcome, I’m Lance D. Reedy, CSA, an independent agent and owner of Northwest Senior Insurance. I specialize in working with Medicare beneficiaries.

The time has come for you to select a Medicare supplement, Medicare advantage plan, and/or Part D prescription plan. The most important decision you will make is selecting a knowledgeable agent who holds your best interests above all else. As an independent insurance specialist, I welcome the opportunity to help you understand your options, find the best value for your situation, and provide you with the kind of service that you can count on.

Maybe you are past 65 and your Medicare supplement premiums have gone up. I’ll do my best to find lower cost options for you. Remember, you can change your Medicare supplement any month of the year.

I specialize with the following Medicare related products:

In addition, I also carry other lines of insurance that are important in the senior market:

  • Life insurance
  • Final expense or burial policies
  • Short term care insurance
  • Long term care insurance
  • Traditional fixed annuities

Your Shopping Type

Identifying your shopping type is most helpful when shopping for a Medicare supplement. Understanding your shopping type helps you to avoid the Ten Medicare Supplement Shopping Mistakes. Most importantly, doing so also helps you to get the best buys without paying more than you need to. Click on the blue eagle below to learn more…

Avoiding the Three Major Mistakes and having the correct mindset when shopping for a Medicare supplement will give you the peace of mind that you made the right choice.

Annual Election Period (AEP) News

The 2023 Annual Election Period

Hi Everyone,

The 2023 Annual Election Period (AEP) or also know as Medicare Open Enrollment is here. It runs from October 15 through December 7.

New Legislation

The recent “Inflation Reduction Act” legislation passed by Congress has two components that will affect Part D Prescription Drug plans or PDPs for short. This also includes Medicare advantage plans with an embedded prescription drug benefit or MAPDs for short.

1) Covered Insulins

The Senior Savings model has been in effect for a few years with some PDPs and some MAPDs. It will now be across the board with companies sponsoring PDPs or MAPDs. This doesn’t mean that every plan is covered. It does mean that if, for example, Acme Health offers three PDPs, one of them must include the Senior Savings Model for covered insulins.

The Senior Savings Model limits your cost-share to $35 per month for covered insulins. Note: this doesn’t mean that every insulin is covered. It means that the insulins on the plan’s formulary are covered. Your cost-sharing for non-covered insulins will likely be higher.

More details are as follows:

  • You won’t pay more than $35 for a one-month supply of each insulin prescription covered by your plan, no matter what cost-sharing tier it’s on, even if your plan has a deductible that hasn’t been met.
  • While some of you already have plans that offer $35 insulins, this legislation ensures that all seniors who use insulin will benefit from this out-of-pocket cost limit.
  • Anyone on Medicare’s Extra Help program will continue to pay the CMS statutory maximum cost share for insulin, which is less than $35.
  • Some PDPs will offer covered insulins at less than the $35 copay.

Please check with us for more information.

2) Covered vaccinations

PDPs will cover most Part D vaccines for a $0 cost share, even if a plan has a deductible that hasn’t been met. As of this writing we don’t know what most is.

Why You Can Benefit from an Annual PDP Check up Every Year

Over the years we’ve heard many people say, “I’m happy with my plan and don’t want to change.” Question: Would you still be happy if the copay for one of your expensive meds doubled?

One very popular plan moved the pricy blood thinner Eliquis from a tier 3 to a tier 4 drug. Your copay would literally double if you stayed with that plan. Not good for your pocketbook! We have seen other changes that makes it worthwhile to do a PDP checkup.

Here’s another example. Most PDPs still have the generic Zetia (Ezetimibe) as a tier 3 drug, which is subject to the deductible. We discovered one plan that ranks Zetia as a tier 2 drug, meaning that it has a  low copay and is NOT subject to the deductible.

PDP Helper

Contact us or use our convenient PDP Helper link to send us a list of your current prescriptions.

Medicare Advantage News

We have seen an expansion of Medicare advantage plans (MA) into counties that previously have had either none or every limited MA options. Other counties have even more plans added to their list.

Noteworthy examples:

Idaho: Benewah County (St. Maries), has a large, national company starting service in 2023.

Montana: Several rural counties such as Granite, Powell, Deer Lodge, Beaverhead, Jefferson, and others have gone from one carrier to three carriers.

Wyoming: The MA offerings in Wyoming have previously been very limited. They have expanded for 2023. Please ask us for more details.

Two Idaho Medicare Supplements Changes

Starting in March 2022, Idaho is now using a community rate structure for Medicare supplement plans. This means that there is one rate for all ages. Many people 75 and better have already switched to plans with lower rates. This only applies to newly issued polices. This does not affect your current plan, unless you make a change.

The new Idaho birthday rule creates a 63-day open enrollment period to change your Medicare supplement, even if you have a medical condition that normally would disqualify your application.

Please check with us to determine your eligibility for lower rates.

Do I Need to Renew my plan for 2023 if I’m Not Making Any Changes?

You do not. Your existing plan auto renews for 2023. The exception would be if your plan is being discontinued for 2023. As of this writing, we don’t know of any.

The Carbohydrate-Eye Disease Connection

By Al Sears, MD

Editor: If you thought the damage caused by excess dietary carbohydrates, particularly refined carbs, wasn’t bad enough, it gets worse. Dr. Sears outlines the vision damage that can be caused by eating too many carbohydrates.

Article begins: Despite what your eye doctor may tell you, vision loss doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of getting older. And a new 20-year study backs up what I’ve been telling my patients for years…

Decades of eating a typical carb-heavy Western diet is what causes visual impairment – and even blindness – later in life.

The study, published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, found an association between a diet full of carb-rich processed foods and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The researchers looked at the development of macular degeneration in 16,000 American adults. Using data on 66 different kinds of foods, they identified two distinct eating patterns. One they labeled “Prudent,” or healthy. The other, which included high levels of processed foods, grains, sweetened drinks, and sugar-laden desserts, they identified as “Western.”

The incidence of AMD vision loss was three times higher in the group that ate a Western diet.

I’m never surprised by studies like this. I’ve seen this pattern in the indigenous tribes I’ve studied for decades.

You see, the rate of vision loss among tribes has historically been very low. In fact, a century ago, the rate of visual impairment among Alaskan Inuits was less than 1%. Today it’s close to 50%!

And those numbers shot up in just a single generation.

So what’s changed for the Inuits?

Their diet. The traditional Inuit diet was stable for generations. It consisted of fish from the ocean; sea and land mammals including walrus, seal, whale, caribou, and polar bear; birds and eggs; seeds and berries.

A recent study found that only 16% of foods consumed by Inuit adults now come from their traditional diet. The other 84% is processed foods. 1

So it’s not surprising that one study found that only 2 out of 131 Inuit elders experienced vision loss. But more than half of their children and grandchildren — who grew up on processed foods — needed glasses. 2

The medical industry blamed compulsory schooling and “close [reading] work.” It’s a nice theory, but it doesn’t hold water. Here’s why…

There’s an island nation in the South Pacific called Vanuatu. The children here also attend school eight hours a day.

But they still eat a traditional diet. Most grow their own food — papaya, yams, coconut, and mangoes. They eat fish and raise fowl. The kids don’t eat cereal for breakfast or white bread sandwiches for lunch. And the rate of kids who need glasses in Vanuatu is just 2%.

Here’s what happens to your eyes on a carb-heavy diet…

The refined foods in the typical Western diet send a lot of sugar into your body. All that excess glucose — and your body’s insulin reaction — changes the shape of your eye.

On top of that, when your blood sugar constantly rises and falls, the delicate tissue and blood vessels in the eye get damaged. High sugar levels also make the lens of the eye swell. This causes blurry vision.

This is common in diabetics. But the truth is anyone with consistently high blood sugar is at risk of AMD.

One study from Tufts University found that people eating the most sugary carbs increased their risk of age- AMD by up to 42%. 3

High blood sugar levels cause damage to your vision in another way.

Cataracts are caused by sugar molecules attaching themselves to proteins in the lens of your eye, in a process called glycosylation. This causes the proteins to twist, bend over and clump together and as a result, your lens becomes cloudy and less elastic.

Three steps to rebuilding better vision

One: Go super-low carb. Your body’s requirement for carbs is zero. This means no grains, including so-called “healthy” whole grains, no processed sugars, and no foods from a box or bag. Avoid starchy vegetables like potatoes, parsnips, peas, and corn.

Also beware of hidden carbs. These include cashews, pistachios, almonds, bananas, apples, pears, grapes, and oranges.

Two: Eat more healthy fats. A study at the National Institutes of Health looked at the link between nutrition and AMD in more than 4,500 people. They found those who consumed the healthiest omega-3 fats from oily fish had the lowest rates of the disease. 4

But it’s hard to get what you need from food. I recommend supplementing with 600 mg to 1,000 mg of omega-3s from squid oil daily.

Three: Supplement with nature’s top two eyesight savers. The best nutrients for improving vision and protecting your eye health are lutein and zeaxanthin. In fact, your eyes can’t function without them. Studies have shown that eating foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin can increase the pigment density in the macula and therefore lower the risk of macular degeneration.

Your best food sources for lutein and zeaxanthin are dark, leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collard greens. But it’s not easy getting enough from your food. I recommend supplementing with 20 mg of lutein and 1 mg of zeaxanthin.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD, CNS

References:

 

  1. Morgan R, et al. “Inuit myopia: an environmentally induced “epidemic”?” Can Med Assoc J. 19758;112(5):575–577.
  2. “Western Diet Fuels Spike in Blood Pressure of Canada’s Inuit.” Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. www.heartandstroke.com. Accessed on July 19, 2022.
  3. Cordain L, et al “An evolutionary analysis of the aetiology and pathogenesis of juvenile-onset myopia.” Acta Ophthalmologica Scandinavica. 80(2):125-135.
  4. “Risk Factors Associated with AMD.” Ophthalmology. 2000, 107(12): 2224–2232.

Preventing Shingles: Is There a Better Alternative then Shingrix?

by Dr. Al Sears

There is a virus that remains dormant inside your body long after you were first infected…right up until the day it gets reactivated because of a weak immune system.

No, I’m not talking about Covid.

I’m talking about shingles. And anyone who’s ever had chickenpox as a child is at risk of getting this viral infection of the nervous system. They’re both caused by the varicella-zoster virus.

It’s not something you ever want to experience.

Shingles causes an outbreak of prolonged and painful blisters on your skin that can last for months. But there’s more to shingles than an agonizing rash…

A recent study came out in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology . It found that getting shingles increases your risk of heart attack and stroke by a whopping 41%.1

Shingles can also lead to pneumonia, hearing and vision loss, facial paralysis, and autoimmune diseases.

One out of five people who get shingles will go on to develop what’s known as postherpetic neuralgia. Patients have described the agony of this complication as “worse than childbirth” and “more painful than passing a kidney stone.” The slightest breeze or even your bed sheet is enough to trigger unbearable pain.

Traditional medical doctors will tell you that the only way to prevent shingles is with a Big Pharma vaccine.

But this kind of vaccine is linked with skyrocketing rates of autoimmune diseases… In fact, the FDA just slapped a new safety warning on GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccine cash cow Shingrix. A large Medicare study found that the shot increases your risk for an autoimmune disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

I take a different approach with my patients… I encourage them to avoid shingles — and the potential dangers of the vaccine — by getting their body’s immune system in tip-top shape.

A healthy immune system is the key to preventing any infectious disease.

One of the most powerful immune boosters I know of comes from deep in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. It’s a woody vine called cat’s claw that the Ashaninka tribe has used for thousands of years to boost immunity.

Today, clinical studies are validating what these traditional healers have known for centuries…

In one study, a group of volunteers were given 350 mg of cat’s claw twice daily or a placebo. After eight weeks, the number of white blood cells in the cat’s claw group increased substantially.2 A second study of healthy adults given cat’s claw for six weeks noted the same results.3

Cat’s claw works both by boosting your immune response and calming an overactive immune system. In one study, it was found to suppress TNF-α production by up to 85%. TNF-α is a pro-inflammatory cytokine produced by macrophages, monocytes, endothelial cells, neutrophils, smooth muscle cells, activated lymphocytes, astrocytes, and adipocytes. It’s released following infection and has a powerful antivirus effect.4

When it comes to additional viral infections, cat’s claw:

  • Was more effective at reducing symptoms in 31 volunteers with cold sores virus (herpes labialis) than the prescription antiviral drug Acyclovir.5
  • Stopped the spread of the herpes virus by preventing it from attaching to cells.6
  • Reduced incidence of human papillomavirus in 261 study volunteers.7
  • Prevented immune cells from being infected with dengue virus.8

Look for a supplement made from the inner bark of the plant and take 500 mg per day.

Shield your immune defense with nature’s remedies

Cat’s claw isn’t the only immune-boosting plant I recommend. Here are two more plants that strengthen your immune shield:

Enhance your immunity with astragalus. I’ve used this herb for more than 20 years to help my patients improve their immune systems. There are over 100 scientific studies on astragalus’ effect on immune function.

And the research on astragalus continues to grow… In one study, the immune systems of subjects supplementing with astragalus for three months acted up to 20 years younger.9

I recommend 500 mg of the astragalus extract three times a day.

Boost your body’s defenses with açai. This berry has become all the rage in recent years, and with good reason. It is high in antioxidant compounds like polyphenols and polysaccharides, which have been shown to increase antioxidant ability in the blood and enhance T cell immune response.10

When taken directly, açai boosts the production of interleukin 12 (IL-12) as well as myeloid cells, a type of white blood cells that ensure your immune system is healthy.

Açai berries are available fresh, frozen, or in powder form. Of course, you can also supplement. I suggest taking 5,000 mg daily.

References:

  1. Min-Chul K, et al. “Herpes zoster increases the risk of stroke and myocardial infarction.” J Am Coll Caridol. 2017;70(2):295 DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2017.05.015
  2. Lamm S, et al. “Persistent response to pneumococcal vaccine in individuals supplemented with a novel water-soluble extract of Uncaria tomentosa, C-Med-100.” Phytomedicine. 2001 Jul;8(4):267-74.
  3. Sheng Y, et al. “Enhanced DNA repair, immune function and reduced toxicity of C-MED-100, a novel aqueous extract from Uncaria tomentosa.” J Ethnopharmacol. 2000 Feb;69(2):115-26.
  4. Seo S. “Tumor necrosis factor alpha exerts powerful anti-influenza virus effects in lung epithelial cells.” J Virol. 2002 Feb; 76(3): 1071–1076.
  5. Mur E, et al. “Randomized double-blind trial of an extract from the pentacyclic alkaloid-chemotype of uncaria tomentosa for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.” J Rheumatol. 2002 Apr;29(4):678-81.
  6. Caon T, et al. “Antimutagenic and antiherpetic activities of different preparations from Uncaria tomentosa (cat’s claw).” Food Chem Toxicol. 2014 Apr;66:30-5 .
  7. Mistrangelo M, et al. “Immunostimulation to reduce recurrence after surgery for anal condyloma acuminata: a prospective randomized controlled trial.” Colorectal Dis. 2010 Aug;12(8):799-803.
  8. Mistrangelo M, et al. “Immunostimulation to reduce recurrence after surgery for anal condyloma acuminata: a prospective randomized controlled trial.” Colorectal Dis. 2010 Aug;12(8):799-803.
  9. Harley, C., Weimin L., et al. “A natural product telomerase activator as part of a health maintenance program.” Rejuv Res. 2010.
  10. Holderness J., et al. “Polysaccharides isolated from Açaí fruit induce innate immune responses.” PLoS One. 2011 Feb 28;6(2):e17301.

Inflation

by Jim Rickards (editor Strategic Intelligence)

Inflation is often described as a hidden tax on the middle-class and that’s a good description. Politicians know they will get pushback if they try to pass an outright tax increase (although that doesn’t always stop them from trying).

Inflation works along the same lines as a tax increase. It reduces the burden of government debt. The nominal amount of the debt is unchanged by inflation, but the real burden of debt shrinks because the value of the dollar is lower.

At the same time, Americans have to pay more for everything because prices are going up. When Americans pay more and the government reduces debt (in real terms), that’s the same as a tax increase to reduce the deficit – and that’s what inflation does.

The government likes inflation more than tax increases because they don’t have to vote for it; all it takes is negligence by the Fed, bad policy by the administration, and profligacy by Congress. And many Americans don’t quite understand how it works as a tax increase even though they feel the pain of inflation every time they pull up at a gas pump to go to the grocery store.

Still, everything has a cost whether it’s a tax increase or inflation. High inflation causes Americans to spend more on essentials like gasoline and food, so they have less to spend on everything else including restaurants, clothes, travel, entertainment, and household items. Eventually, the demand destruction in those non-essential sectors leads to layoffs, business failures, and ultimately a full-scale recession.

That may be exactly what’s happening in the U.S. economy right now. Technically, the U.S. is in a recession right now, but the decline in GDP has been somewhat mild. That could get a lot worse once the demand destruction from inflation and Fed monetary tightening kicks in.

One development that is keeping the economy going for the time being is described in this article. Americans trying to deal with inflation are using up their credit card lines of credit. That’s a stopgap, but it’s non-sustainable.

Interest on credit card balances can be 20% or higher. Inflation is running around 9% for now. This means the credit card balances will grow faster even than inflation, which will eventually cause Americans to run out of new credit.

That’s when the demand destruction will emerge with a vengeance. Americans will be facing high inflation and high credit card bills. That’s a recipe for complete economic collapse. It’s coming.

Fat Heals—Sugar Kills: Chapter 5 —Part 2: A Weapon of Mass Destruction

Fat Heals—Sugar Kills: Chapter 5: A Weapon of Mass Destruction—Part 2

by Dr. Bruce Fife

Recap of Chapter 5, Part 1: A Weapon of Mass Destruction

Dr. Fife points out that sugar kills but does so slowly. It kills by accelerating the rate of aging and degeneration leading to chronic disease that causes disability and death. The high intake of sugar increases the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, senility, mental illness, liver disease, kidney disease, cancer, gallstones, arthritis, and dental cavities.

Studies have shown that around 60% of the foods eaten in America are ultra-processed convenience foods. The ultra-processed foods are those that have multiple ingredients and additives. These include flavorings, colorings, sweeteners, emulsifiers, preservatives, and many others. The problem with these ultra-processed foods is that around 30% of the calories come from sugar.

Dr. Fife points out that Vitamin C is just one of the many essential nutrients that is deficient in a diet overloaded with sugar-laden processed foods. He again references the concept of sub-clinical malnutrition, a condition that can remain unnoticed indefinitely.

Dr. Fife discusses the connection between elevated blood levels of homocysteine and heart disease.

Chapter 5: A Weapon of Mass Destruction—Part 2

Obesity

Dr. Fife points out the difficulties that people had in keeping their weight off after being on a low-fat diet.

Low-fat, calorie restricted diets are doomed to fail because they are based on the erroneous belief that all calories are alike, regardless of their source…this belief tends to single out fat because it contains more than twice as many calories as either carbohydrates or protein.

Fife continues by saying that fat has been targeted as a villain and eating too much fat has been blamed on causing the obesity epidemic. He suggests that this notion is wrong because the percent of fat consumed in our diets has decreased, but obesity has increased.

He points out that overweight people are those that trim off fat from their meat, consume non-fat dairy, etc. Slim people gorge on fatty foods.

Those people that have a history of weight problems are more likely than normal-weight individuals to eat low-fat foods.

My Comments: Overweight people are also those that consume more artificially sweetened beverages using aspartame or sucralose (Splenda) compared to normal weight people. The overweight people also tend to be caught up in the “calorie-counting” squirrel cage and engaged in fad diets.

Low-fat Diet Problem

Continuing: Key point: Most of the fat in your body comes from consumed carbohydrates and NOT fat! If a so-called low-fat diet has less fat, then the calories are replaced with….yes, roll the drums…more carbohydrates! Thus, a low-fat diet is really a high-carb diet. Worse yet, those carbs tend to be sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and refined flours. All low-fat diets are doomed from the start.

Why do these diets fail from the start? The problem is glucose. Carbohydrates are converted into glucose and released into your blood stream. Excess blood glucose levels trigger the release of insulin into your bloodstream.

Insulin not only shuttles glucose into the cells, but it also triggers the conversion of glucose into fat and shuttles fat into the fat cells. Insulin is a fat-storage hormone. The more insulin you have coursing through your veins, the more fat is produced and deposited in your fat cells, and the more weight you gain.

My Comments: Let’s digest what Dr. Fife just said. Excess carbs trigger insulin, and the insulin converts those carbs into fat. You end up buttering your body with excess fat just as if you would slog heaps of butter on your toast.

Nathan Pritikin was partially successful with his low-fat diet regimen because he also eliminated all refined carbohydrates. Unfortunately, he didn’t understand the importance of adequate amounts of healthy fats in one’s diet.

Continuing:

Protein and fat have little to no effect on blood glucose levels. Consequently, fat and protein do not stimulate much of an insulin response and do not promote weight gain.

The “too much carbohydrate problem” is compounded when the carbs are sugars and refined starch. The refined starches are white flour, white rice, etc. Fake “whole wheat” breads are still made from mostly white flour.

Those refined carbs promote insulin resistance. Now your body is programmed to store fat, but it gets worse. The insulin resistance also tells your body not to release stored fat. The excess carbs in your diet not only make you fat, it makes sure you stay fat.

My Comments: I hope you can see the folly of the food industry’s peddling of “diet” foods. This has to be one of the worst frauds perpetrated on the American public. It’s whole foods, real foods, and healthy fats that will help you to maintain a normal body weight, and not ultra-processed garbage from the food industry.

Continuing: Dr. Fife stresses that being overweight isn’t just about your weight or how you look. Being overweight profoundly affects your health.

Nearly 70% of the diagnosed cases of heart disease are related to obesity. The risk of death rises with increasing weight. Even moderate weight excess (10 to 20 pounds for a person of average height) increases the risk of death, particularly among adults between the ages of 30 and 64.

Excess body weight contributes to other risk factors. High blood pressure is twice as common in obese adults compared to those of normal weight. Obesity is associated with elevated fat levels and decreased HDL (good cholesterol) levels.

A weight gain of only 11-18 pounds doubles a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia (high insulin levels) which are conditions associated with diabetes, increase with weight. Over 80% of the people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.

My Comments: It’s no wonder that we have an epidemic of type 2 diabetes in the US. Forget about Covid; the type 2 diabetes problem is far worse, but it garners little or no headlines.

Even more alarming is that people that have type 2 diabetes are ones that have been affected the most from Covid. The type 2 diabetics fatality rate is far higher, and their symptoms are far worse compared to those that do not have type 2 diabetes.

When you add in other co-morbidity factors such as high blood pressure and heart disease, your immunity is trashed, and your body will be more challenged to fight off disease.

Continuing: Obesity is an independent risk factor for heart disease affecting both men and women.

Obesity is a major health problem, and the primary cause is the overconsumption of sugars and refined starch.

NEURODEGENERATION: THE NEW DIABETES

Sugar Doesn’t Make Memories Sweeter

There’s another benefit of reducing your sugar consumption; it’s better memory.

Excess sugar consumption can keep you from remembering what day it is, where you live, or the name of your spouse.

Mr. Comment: One problem I see with Dr. Fife’s text is just what is sugar overconsumption? Many people cut down only to go from horrible to not as bad, but it’s still bad.

There’s virtually unanimous agreement that smoking is really bad for your health. Is cutting down from a two-pack a day habit to one-pack per day an improvement? Yes, it‘s an improvement, but wouldn’t it be much better to totally cease smoking altogether?

For many people, cutting down on sugar consumption is like going from the two-pack per day smoker to a one-pack per day smoker. You’re still an addicted user to sugar as the smoker is addicted to nicotine.

If the cutting down on smoking is a weaning off process that leads to permanent cessation, then that’s an entirely different matter. The same holds true for the sugar addict.

Just one 12 ounce can of soda pop has about 10 teaspoons of sugar, which is still, way, way too much to break your sugar addiction. Oh, you’ll drink the “diet” stuff instead. Ask yourself, why are overweight people the largest consumers of artificial sweeteners?

My personal experience suggests that the closer you can get your refined carbohydrates (sugar, HFCS, refined flour, rice, etc.) to zero, the better off you will be.

Most reformed alcoholics well know that the best way to stay permanently dry is to do exactly that; they do not consume alcohol, period! They know what can happen with just one drink!

Continuing: Dr. Fife suggests that the overconsumption of sugary food and drinks can lead to Alzheimer’s disease. It is insulin resistance that is the problem. He quotes mice studies that show that sugar-fed mice showed the presence of Alzheimer’s-like plaque deposits whereas the non-sugar-fed mice did not. Additionally, Dr. Fife states that there is evidence linking overconsumption of sugar to Parkinson’s disease.

Insulin Resistance and the Brain

Studies show that people with diabetes have a smaller brain size compared to those that do not have diabetes. This is due to the death of brain cells in diabetics. The brains of people with diabetes age pre-maturely.

One researcher showed that the brains of diabetics are about ten years older compared to non-diabetics. Even pre-diabetics are in danger of developing Alzheimer’s. The common denominator between pre-diabetic, diabetics and Alzheimer’s is insulin resistance.

Insulin levels also play a role in normal brain functioning. Dr. Fife adds that Alzheimer’s is now considered to be type 3 diabetes.

Other neurological disorders such as vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and ALS, also exhibit features suggesting insulin resistance as either an important underlying factor or as a contributing factor to the initiation and progression of these diseases. All of the major neurodegenerative diseases display a marked decline in energy metabolism leading to cell death and loss of brain volume.

Insulin resistance exacerbates the severity of the symptoms and reduces the therapeutic efficacy of drug therapy.

Dr. Fife also notes the connection between ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and insulin resistance. He also mentions that Huntington’s disease, which is primarily inherited, also appears to be influenced by insulin resistance.

Here is what is scaringly sobering:

The changes that take place in the body that lead to diabetes and eventually to neurodegeneration occur long before these diseases become apparent. Glucose metabolism becomes abnormal one to two decades before type 2 diabetes is diagnosed. Neurogenerative diseases may surface another two decades after that.

Eighty percent of your brain tissues may already be damaged before you’re diagnosed! Dr. Fife concludes the section by stating the following:

If you are having memory or cognitive problems or feel that you are losing your mind due to neurodegeneration, you likely have sugar to thank for it.

My Comments: If you are the average American whose food is 60% ultra-processed, you are substantially increasing your chances of having severe cognitive decline later in life. The problem is that the damage may become manifest decades later after years of dietary abuse.

The connection inevitably becomes lost. John Doe at 75 doesn’t realize that his Parkinson’s disease started in his 20s, 30s, and 40s as he consumed his sugary foods and drinks. He liked his junk food, and his doctor didn’t seem to be overly concerned that John was thirty pounds overweight.

When John was diagnosed with pre-diabetes at 65, his doctor, rather than reading John the riot act, put him on metformin. It just ran downhill after that. Later, his doctor added a statin drug and blood pressure meds. Neither the patient nor the doctor had any inkling of the cause and effect of the cascade of events in John’s life.

Next, we’ll continue with Part 3 of this chapter. The lead-off section will be eye health End.

Dr. Sten Ekberg’s Thoughts on Defending Against Covid

The following is a transcription from a Youtube video by Dr. Sten Ekberg titled, Coronavirus: Your #1 Absolute Best Defense Against COVID-19 – Holistic Doctor Explains.”  

Transcribed by Elizabeth Reedy

0:40
We have learned that most of the victims of the coronavirus are elderly. It’s always tragic when a young person dies.

(Dr. Eckberg shows a CNN news clip announcing Jonathan Coelho, a cancer victim, who died at age 32.)

1:04
But the question is about these young people who are being called normal and healthy and without underlying conditions. Are they truly healthy? Is a person who recently had cancer truly healthy? These are some of the questions we’re going to explore. Before we’re done, you’re going to have a totally clear picture.

Have you ever really, really asked yourself what is the difference if two people get infected and one will live and the other one will die? What is the difference if it was the same pathogen? The difference is that one person’s body had the ability to defend itself and the other one didn’t. That’s called an immune system. Some people get infected, and they don’t even notice. That’s what we’re finding now with this coronavirus, that as many as 20-30% of certain populations already have developed immunity and they didn’t even know it.

When a lot of people talk about an immune system, they’re talking about a cell-based immune system with the white blood cells and the things that support the cell-based immune system. For example, the white blood cells have to have Vitamins A, C & D, Zinc and Calcium to support, to activate, to make possible the activity of the white blood cells.

If we don’t have enough of these, then the white blood cells don’t work the way they’re supposed to. But again, these are nutrients. It doesn’t mean that if you take a thousand times as much of these that you’re going to have a thousand times more white blood cells. It doesn’t work like that.

We also have something called specific immunity. If we’ve been exposed to a specific pathogen, then we can develop antibodies, which is the body’s memory. It remembers what that pathogen looked like and it developed an antibody that fits specifically to that pathogen. This immunity could last for many months, or many years, or even a lifetime. That’s what we’re not quite sure about with the coronavirus. Is it just going to last the season or is it going to give us lasting immunity?

More than just the cell-based immune system, we want to talk about the whole-body defenses. The way they talk about the immune system, it’s not really a system, it’s just certain body parts. Your whole body is the immune system. You are the immune system.

You have 40 trillion cells. If those 40 trillion cells are healthy, then the better it will be for their nutritional status, ability to make energy, to do what they’re supposed to do. The healthier you are, the stronger your defenses will be. Ed: Our emphasis.

Some of these cells provide physical barriers. Your skin is a physical barrier. You can get the virus on your skin and not be infected. You can wash it away and you’ll be okay because you had a barrier. You also have a physical barrier in your intestinal lining and your lung lining, and many other types of physical barriers.

You have cell membranes. A virus can only replicate inside a cell, so it has to penetrate a cell membrane. The healthier, stronger, and better working your cell membranes are, the more difficult it is for a virus to make entry. You have mucus membranes that secrete mucus to trap and move pathogens away. You have chemical defenses.

You have cells that spew out free radicals, toxic substances, and hydrogen peroxide that act as poison on these microbes. You have a detoxification system too. These microbes produce toxins and then you need a liver and a kidney and so forth, to filter out and neutralize those toxins.

You have a spleen that can filter out cellular debris and residue. All of these cells and organs are part of your immune system. You are the immune system. And of course your white blood cells, the cell-based immune system is also super important, but they’re only part of the total defense.

(Dr. Ekberg talks briefly about Fauci and the CDC, their jobs and what they do.)

8:06
What about you? Your job is to listen to the good advice of the authorities on how to stop the spread. Other than that, your job is to get healthy. Your job is to optimize your chances to have a positive outcome to beat the virus if you get infected. Ed: Our emphasis.

What is so astounding to me is that there is no talk of getting healthy. There have been millions of hours and millions of miles of writing on the topic of the coronavirus. Yet I haven’t heard anyone talk about health, about how to strengthen your body to increase your chances.

I think the reason for that is that we have a passive medical model. We are told to just do whatever you do. Eat the standard American diet, eat your processed food, eat your sugar. I haven’t heard anyone say to reduce your sugar consumption, for example. And then we’re told to take pills to compensate for the symptoms and the problems created by our deficient food and our toxic food. Ed: Our emphasis. And we are told to get the flu shot and wait for the vaccine.

That’s a passive model. There is nothing about health in the passive model. Why is it that no one talks about health? I believe that it is because as a culture the entire modern world doesn’t know what health is. We have completely equated health with the absence of symptoms. Ed: Our emphasis.

Once we have a symptom, we think we’re sick. With the medical model, the system is to treat the symptom, not to get you healthy. As a matter of fact, we don’t even have a healthcare system in the modern world. What we have is a sick-care system.

At least where I’m from in Sweden it is called “Sjukvård” rather than healthcare. I don’t think it’s because they’re nobler or anything. It just happens that they call it sick care in Sweden. It’s not called healthcare because it isn’t health. It’s about treating sickness.

That’s not a bad thing, but there are different questions being asked in a healthcare model or a sick-care model. In a sick care model, they’re asking how do we treat this symptom? What sort of chemical or pill or medication do we give to suppress this symptom in this crisis situation. That’s not a bad thing. It can be very useful in a crisis, but it has nothing to do with health.

We’ve all heard that there are certain risk factors associated with the coronavirus or Covid-19. One is obesity. If you have a body mass index over 40, your risk of dying increases dramatically. If you have diabetes or one or more of the things associated with metabolic syndrome, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or chronic lung, liver or kidney disease. Most of these are associated with insulin resistance, some of them directly and others more indirectly. Ed: Our emphasis.

We also have people who are vulnerable. We’ve all been told to shelter the vulnerable. These are people who in addition to those other conditions, they might have had chemotherapy, or been weakened from smoking or chronic corticosteroids or any other chronic disease or neurodegenerative disease.

The greatest risk factor of all is to be old, being over 70 years old. Why is that? Because by the time you get to that age, you tend to have a little bit of the above conditions. You have more cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis. You have accumulated a lot more of these. In short, you are less healthy.

12:26
Most of the risk factors of Covid-19 are associated with insulin resistance. What else does insulin resistance do? Every year around the world it claims 17 million lives from heart attacks, seven and a half million from hypertension, 5 million deaths from stroke, 1.6 million from diabetes, and the list goes on. Ed: Our emphasis.

If insulin resistance already kills this many people, is it really so surprising that it would also have a tendency to kill off more people with coronavirus infection? If we want to put it in the simplest possible terms, then I would say that these people die, and the people from the coronavirus die because they are less healthy, and their bodies have less ability to defend themselves.

13:22
Then the question is, what is health? Who is perfectly healthy? Health is like a continuum. How much cellular capacity do you have to defend yourself? On the one end you would have optimal health when everything is working perfectly, and on the other end nothing would be working, and we have death.

Everything in between is a spectrum, a continuum. The large portion in the middle is probably where the majority of the world’s people are, is called functional illness. These people in the middle are not super healthy and they don’t have a disease. They’re just sort of on their way there.

Perfect health would be over on this end. I don’t think there’s anyone on the planet who has perfect health, because there are heavy metals, chemicals, depleted foods, hormones and so forth. There is enough interference already that we probably don’t really have perfect health. But the people who do their best to take care of themselves and who are examples of health, I think we are going to be somewhere in this range between optimal health and functional illness.

Over on the other end we have people with a diagnosis. These are the underlying conditions, the cardiovascular, high blood pressure, etc. These are people who have made it far down enough that they have been diagnosed with something. [Note: Dr. Eckberg points to a visual showing the health continuum.]

Then what about the people who don’t have a diagnosis right now but who are being called perfectly healthy. In that news clip about Jonathan Coelho, the news anchor said he was a cancer survivor but otherwise healthy.

If you have had cancer, then you’re already way over on this side [Eckberg points to the right] of the spectrum. Cancer is not something that happens overnight to perfectly healthy people, so even if Coelho was a cancer survivor, then he might have made it across the line and gotten a little bit better. But most of the factors that caused the cancer will probably still be there. He was probably not on the upper end of the health spectrum.

That’s what we have to understand. I’m not saying that anyone is perfectly immune. I would never be arrogant enough to think that I was way over here because there are so many things we don’t know. We do know that there are certain things we can do to improve our chances. In my opinion, I believe that a lot of the people who are called perfectly healthy actually are probably over here in the lower end of the continuum. You can be here even if you are 20, 25, or 30 years old. [He points to the less healthy side of his chart.]

16:16
In our current sick care system, the question they ask is how can we treat the symptom? What kind of chemical can we give and what kind of body part can we remove? Those are good questions in a symptom care system or a sick care system.

Now let’s switch around and start asking health questions. Let’s start asking what is required for health. If we had a five-year-old and we asked what does a plant need to be healthy? What are the requirements of a plant? I think the five-year-old could get it right. I think he would say that the plant needs water. If the water isn’t making it healthy, then it also probably needs some sunshine. If we’re giving it water and sunshine and it still doesn’t thrive, then it probably needs some good soil.

I think the five-year-old could also tell us that it has to have all three of these at the same time. We can’t deprive it of one of these three for any length of time and have a healthy plant. We have to have all the things that are required.

That brings us to the next question. What are the requirements for human health? We have chemical, structural, and emotional aspects to our bodies. There are some of those aspects that will increase life, that will provide more life, that will enhance optimum health. There are some that will subtract or interfere.

When it comes to chemical or nutritional aspects, we need fuel. In addition to fuel we also need essential fatty acids, essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals. This is called nutrition. Whole food provides it, whereas processed food does not.

On the downside of the chemical aspects, we have sugar and frequent processed carbohydrates that cause insulin resistance. This will clog up the body and has a congestive and toxifying effect. We have pure toxins that are chemicals and pesticides and so forth.

And then drugs are another form of toxins. They are chemicals designed to interfere. It doesn’t mean that drugs are always bad. They can save a life in a crisis, but it means that they can never make you healthier and never create a long-term solution. They can never raise you from a lower health state to a higher one in the long run.

The body is structural. You have a mechanical aspect. Your body moves. Movements are a requirement. Movements provide the majority of the signals to keep your brain alive. There is virtually no physiological mechanism, no system in the body, that doesn’t work better with movement and that works less with a lack of movement. Movement is required for every system in the body.

Good posture is a requirement for proper signals. Good posture facilitates and normalizes movement. If you have poor posture or if your posture is stuck, then you’re not going to get the proper movement or the proper signaling. If you have poor posture, if you have areas of your body that aren’t moving, then chiropractic is a great way to jumpstart that movement. Chiropractic is not a total movement solution. It’s just getting you to the place where you can move and then you take it from there.

The opposite of good movement is a sedentary lifestyle where you don’t move. If you’re trying to move but you have poor posture, or if you’ve had a lot of trauma that restricts the motion, then you also cannot get proper movement.

Humans are also emotional. When we have peace and joy and purpose, everything that feels good makes your body work better. A little bit of short-term stress is fine, but for the most part, we have to have some good emotions. We cannot have only bad emotions because then the body prioritizes to defend itself instead of healing itself.

The opposite would be anything that feels bad like stress, anger, fear, frustration and feeling overwhelmed.

The absolute best way to defend yourself against the coronavirus or any other pathogen is to make your body stronger so it can defend itself. Take an active role in rebuilding your health, in restoring your body and giving your body all the things that it needs, all the things that contribute to more life. Avoid as much as possible the things that interfere with the building of health.

It looks like the coronavirus might be with us for some time. If it goes away, then who knows what will come next in the long run. Your best defense is always going to be strong health. So why not use the current epidemic as a really, really good reason to start doing something about it. End

Sugar Blues–Chapter 3, How We Got Here from There

Note: We have republished this book review and digest with updated comments. You might enjoy reading Sugar Blues in its entirety. To order, please click here.

…Here was something more intoxicating than beer or wine and more potent than many drugs and potions then known to man.  No wonder Arab and Jewish physicians used refined sugar carefully in minuscule amounts, adding it to their prescription with great care…

Dufty explains that our brain is the most sensitive organ in our bodies and the difference between up or down, calm or freaked out, sane or insane, depends to a large extent on what we put into our mouths. The amount of glucose in the body must balance with the blood oxygen.

Ingesting sugar into one’s body drastically increases the amount of glucose in the bloodstream, which then “destroys” the balance of glucose and blood oxygen. Now the body is in crisis.

Hormones pour from the adrenal casings and marshal every chemical resource for dealing with sugar: insulin from the endocrine “islets” of the pancreas works specifically to hold down the glucose level in the blood in complementary antagonism to the adrenal hormones concerned with keeping the glucose level up.

Dufty explains that the process goes too fast and too far. The bottom drops out of the blood glucose level and a second crisis comes out of the first. 

 Pancreatic islets have to shut down; so do some departments of the adrenal casings. Other adrenal hormones must be produced to regulate the reversing of the chemical direction and bring the blood glucose up again.

He continues by saying that we immediately feel “up”, which will soon be replaced be feeling listless and tired. The blood glucose level must be brought up again. Our brain is now vulnerable to suspicion and hallucinations. 

After years of doing this, one’s adrenals our now worn out.  When stress comes our way, we go to pieces because we no longer have a healthy endocrine system to cope with it…we’re always tired, never seem to get anything done. We’ve really got the sugar blues.

Dufty notes that…the cells of the brain are those that depend on the moment-by-moment blood sugar level for nourishment; they are perhaps the most susceptible to damage. The disturbingly large and ever-increasing number of neurotics in our population makes this clearly evident.

My comments: Sugar Blues is 40 years old. I think that most everyone would agree that things in our society have worsened in the last four decades. Just witness the increase in divorce, the rise of gangs, school shootings, and other whacked out things we hear on the news. 

What’s also interesting to note is that Japanese scientists developed high fructose corn syrup [HFCS] in the early 70’s. The latter is now used almost everywhere in conventional, processed foods.

Is the increased sugar and now HFCS consumption causal to much of the deterioration of our social fabric? I believe the answer is, “Yes.”  While there are multiple causes to this societal decline, the increased consumption of these potent and refined carbohydrates certainly hasn’t helped. 

A real eye opener is to note the correlation between obesity rates and the increased portion sizes of soft drinks sold both in containers and those served at the fountain.  Back in the fifty’s, Coke used to come in 6½ ounce bottles. That was followed by 8 ounce bottles and then 12 ounce cans.  That’s all been replaced by the 20-ounce plastic bottles in the coolers seen everywhere including the check-out aisles at box stores. That’s a triple shot compared to the old 6½ ounce serving!  For some visuals of these increased portion sizes, please click here, here, and here. The second two links have visualizations that you will need to scroll down to see.

Continuing: Dufty quotes the late endocrinologist John W. Tintera,

It’s quite possible to improve your disposition, increase your efficiency, and change your personality for the better. The way to do it is to avoid cane and beet sugar in all its forms and guises.”

Dufty spends several pages describing how both the church and the state persecuted natural healers or sorcerers. He tells us that this started with the return of the Crusaders. He describes how some clever beer makers “sophisticated” their beer by adding some foreign substance such as sugar compared to the natural malt and hops. Such offenders were subject to be paraded around the village in a merde* wagon. People knew that the human body and brains could not handle the sweetness of sugar. *French for the vulgar form of excrement or the stuff from the cleaning of privies.

He described shipwrecked sailors that ate their ship’s cargo of sugar and rum with the result that they went bonkers and often died. Soldiers and sailors that were involved in the handling of sugar began to have more trouble with their teeth.

Comments: In the first half of the 20th Century Dr. Weston A. Price, a dentist, studied various native cultures, ones that were free from processed Western foods.  He described many of them as having perfect teeth. He also noted that when such people moved into a Westernized culture and were exposed to sugar, refined foods, and canned goods, they started developing the usual dental problems.

Sad to say, I had my share of cavities. Neither my parents, myself, my dentist, or anyone else in my life seemed to understand that the root cause was sugar and refined foods. Weston Price visited with and wrote about people that had perfect teeth.  I can’t think of a better cause and effect relationship of the problems caused by sugar consumption. Not only does sugar consumption play havoc with one’s blood sugar balance, it also rots teeth. 

My dental hygienist once told me about the “Pepsi” kids. Their teeth were rotted more than the kids that drank other brands of pop.

For more information about Dr. Weston A Price and the Dr. Weston A Price Foundation, please click here.

Continuing: Dufty describes ancient civilizations that believed the disorders of the mind and body

“[p]roceed from what we eat. As the Oriental sages phrased it, the mind and the body are not two. The sorceress…wise woman…natural healer believed this too.  However, by the time sugar was introduced widely in Europe, the natural healers were uncovered—practically overnight—as a declared enemy of the church and state. Ailing people consulted them at very real peril.  One literally risked his life and limb having any truck with them. In turn, they risked life and limb to aid you.

He tells us that for centuries uninformed physicians would relegate symptoms of sugar blues to bewitchment. Near the end of the chapter Dufty tells the account of a modern French natural healer, Maurice Mességué. He was hauled into the courts on forty occasions for practicing medicine without a medical license. He was fined one or two francs, and then some of the judges sought him out for his professional services for their ailing wife or mistress. 

Mességué wrote three bestselling books about natural healing where he repeats his prescription: Whole natural food, naturally grown.

Dufty describes his involvement in translating books from a Japanese natural healer, Sakurazawa, You Are All Sanpaku. In Chapter One of Sugar Blues, Dufty mentioned the catalyst for his epiphany. I’m thinking that the “little book” that he referenced must have been from Sakurazawa. 

If you’re sick, it’s your own damn fault. Pain is the final warning.  You know better than anyone else how you’ve been abusing your body. So stop it.  Sugar is poison…more lethal than opium and more dangerous than atomic fallout. Ed: My emphasis

To check it out on Amazon, please click here.

Dufty concludes the chapter by quoting from Sakurazawa again.

…I am confident that one day Western Medicine will admit what has been known in the Orient for years: sugar is without question the number one murderer in the history of humanity.

My comments: What more can you say for an encore? Rereading this book forces me to reminisce about my upbringing. I, too, ran afoul of the problems that Dufty describes of our sugar drenched culture. I so wish that my parents would not have had sugar in the house, would not have made Christmas candy, would not have brought home stale doughnuts from work, would not have had that !@#$%  Betty Crocker cookbook in our house, and would have taught me about the dangers of refined sugar…in all of its guises and disguises. I would have been spared from thousands of dollars in dental work, being overweight, and having ups and downs of my energy level during my adolescence.

What I find to be so ironic in this age of “enlightenment” is this. I meet people that are taking multiple drugs including diabetic prescriptions. I ask them if their doctor ever asked them what they eat or drink.  The answer is invariably negative. Of course, that is exactly what Dufty recounted in Chapter One.

During all that rigamarole, I cannot recall a single doctor [out of the dozens that treated me] whoever displayed the slightest curiosity about what I ate or drank.

I attend an agent-training seminar sponsored by a health insurance company.  Guess what they serve for refreshments?  A fruit and vegetable tray…..are you kidding?  I wish. It’s soda pop and sometimes canned or bottled juice, breakfast rolls, bagels, brownies, and muffins. All SORF.*  They don’t get it!

* An acronym for sugar, oil [the wrong, inflammatory kind], and refined flours

Lastly, Dufty referenced the persecution of the natural healers of old by the “church and state” including the burning of “witches” at the stake. We can look back and think how stupid and backwards society must have been back then.  But then, have things really changed all that much? True, we don’t burn people at the stake anymore, but the power of the state can be used to persecute people and put them out of business. In the last 100 years, what are some of the modern-day equivalents to what’s happened in centuries past?

What about today? What’s happened to doctors, nurses, and others that have opposed masking and Covid shots? Countries like Australia have turned into virtual police states. Aren‘t we witnessing the modern form of “burning people at the stake?” End

 

Fat Heals—Sugar Kills: Chapter 5 – A Weapon of Mass Destruction

Fat Heals—Sugar Kills: Book by Dr. Druce Fife
Digest by Lance Reedy

Recap of Chapter 4, Part 4: Fructose and Galactose

Fructose has been hailed as the preferred sugar for diabetics because it doesn’t raise blood sugar as much as does sucrose or regular table sugar. Fife attributes this misinformation due to clever marketing tactics from the sugar industry.

Fructose has a much greater overall damaging effect on the body than glucose. We normally think of glucose when we talk about glycation, but fructose undergoes glycation about 10 times the rate of glucose and intensifies AGE [advanced glycation end-products] generation and tissue degeneration.

Fructose is metabolized in the liver, which can cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Fife points out that the detrimental effects are very similar to liver disease caused by alcohol consumption. It gets worse:

Fructose is far more fattening that other sugars or fat. Eating foods containing high fructose corn syrup [HFCS] does not satisfy hunger but encourages overeating, which is another reason why food manufacturers prefer to use it in place of other sweeteners. Fructose tricks you into gaining weight by turning off your body’s appetite control system. Fructose does not appropriately stimulate insulin, which in turn, does not suppress ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates hunger, and not activate leptin, the hormone that suppresses hunger. This leads to overeating and weight gain.

Chapter 5 Begins: Part 1: A Weapon of Mass Destruction

Sugar’s Effect on Health

Dr. Fife opens the chapter by quoting the grim statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) saying that chronic, non-communicable diseases kill 41 million people on an annual basis. 80-90 % of these deaths are diet related, and these conditions are cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer. The biggest change in diets over the past 100 years is the added sugar in processed foods including sugary drinks.

He points out that sugar kills but does so slowly. It kills by accelerating the rate of aging and degeneration leading to chronic disease that cause disability and death. The high intake of sugar increases the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, senility, mental illness, liver disease, kidney disease, cancer, gallstones, arthritis, and dental cavities.

My comment: It’s worthy to note that in addition to the link between sugar consumption and physical maladies, Dr. Fife also mentions mental deterioration. Additionally, he speaks of organ failure, and he also addresses another issue that affects so many seniors, arthritis.

Continuing: Dr. Fife discusses the addictiveness of sugar, and that leads to an overconsumption which only worsens the physiological problems caused by the sugar consumption.

Dr. Fife mentions that many groups and even governmental entities will speak of the connection of an unhealthy diet and health issues. The problem is that “unhealthy” is not clearly defined. To placate the sugar industry, these groups avoid saying a “high sugar diet.”

Sugar Addiction

Dr. Fife references how sugar stimulates the pleasure center in our brains much like narcotics. Stopping the sugar habit cold turkey can cause withdrawal symptoms. These can include intense carbohydrate cravings, headache, lightheadedness, irritability, irrational behavior, fuzzy thinking, and an overall feeling of tension or stress.

…[R]searchers found that there is a cross-tolerance and a cross-dependence between sugar and addictive drugs. As an example, animals with a long history of sugar consumption, actually became tolerant (desensitized) to the analgesic [pain killing] effects of morphine.

Low-calorie and no-calorie sweeteners don’t help with sugar addiction as these artificial sweeteners are also addictive.

My Comment: Included among these artificial sweeteners are aspartame and sucralose (a.k.a. Equal and Splenda).

Continuing: Dr. Fife points out that just as the narcotic addict ups his dose, so does the sugar addict. Natural foods without the added sugar become less and less appealing. Kids don’t like vegetables because their taste buds are desensitized from eating too much sugar. Adults are the same way. In animal studies, sugar-addicted rats prefer sugar water instead of normal food.

Sub-clinical Malnutrition

Studies have shown that around 60% of the foods eaten in America are ultra-processed convenience foods. The ultra-processed foods are those that have multiple ingredients and additives. These include flavorings, colorings, sweeteners, emulsifiers, preservatives, and many others. The problem with these ultra-processed foods is that around 30% of the calories come from sugar.

The problem with these ultra-processed foods is that nutritious foods get pushed out. Instead of cooked hot cereal made from cracked grains we have sugary boxed cereal. Instead of a homemade vinegar and olive oil-based salad dressing we have concoctions made from soybean oil and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Instead of an apple or orange, we have sugary fruit juices and juice blends sweetened with HFCS. Instead of real cream for your coffee, we have coffee “creamers” primarily made from sugar and hydrogenated soybean oil, and so on it goes.

Some people erroneously believe that taking vitamins makes up for consuming a highly processed diet. Sugar is actually an anti-nutrient in that it causes the body to use up its supplies of calcium, magnesium, potassium, thiamine, and chromium in the process of metabolizing the sugar.

Overconsumption of sugar can cause a vitamin C deficiency, leading to sub-clinical scurvy…Glucose and vitamin C compete with each other for entry into our cells. But the competition is not equal. Our bodies favor glucose over vitamin C. When blood glucose levels become elevated, vitamin C absorption into the cells is severely restricted.

Dr. Fife stresses that many people are suffering from sub-clinical signs of scurvy. These symptoms include anemia, depression, frequent infections, bleeding gums, loosened teeth, muscle degeneration and pain, joint pain, slow healing of wounds and injuries, and the development of heart artery blockage. The latter leads to heart attack and strokes. He makes this key point:

It is far more likely for you to suffer a heart attack or stroke from eating a vitamin C robbing, high sugar diet than by eating a high-fat diet. Ed: My emphasis

My comment: How many medical doctors, when dealing with patients with the above-listed sub-clinical symptoms of scurvy, explain to their patients the connection that overconsumption of sugar may be the root cause of their problems?

William Dufty in his book, Sugar Blues, recounted how many sailors in the days of the sugar trade on the high seas became ravaged with illness when they subsisted off sugar and rum. If you have experienced any of the sub-clinical symptoms of scurvy as outlined by Dr. Fife, ask yourself how much sugar, HFCS, and white flour products are your consuming.

Continuing: Dr. Fife points out that Vitamin C is just one of the many essential nutrients that is deficient in a diet overloaded with sugar-laden processed foods. He again references the concept of sub-clinical malnutrition, a condition that can remain unnoticed indefinitely.

We eat and even overeat to the point of becoming overweight, yet still malnourished. As a result, the immune system is chronically depressed, the body cannot fight off infections well, and tissues and cells starving for nutrients slowly degenerate and all manner of chronic disease creeps in. Ed: My emphasis.

My Comments: If you want to stay healthy and to minimize your chances of getting sick or to minimize the symptoms of an illness, it is imperative that you maintain your immune system.

I find it rather ironic that very, very little has been said by “health” experts in this regard when it comes to dealing with the flu or Covid-19. There is a dearth of information in this regard. There are likely several reasons for this, but that discussion is beyond the scope of this report.

The very best defense against illness is loving and caring for your immune system. That means you are being proactive and not relying on the medical system and medical “experts” to bail you out.

You are engaged in mental folly if you “eat, drink, or be merry—meaning habitually indulging in ultra-processed ‘foods’” and trash your immune system while at the same time believing that a drug or a shot is going to save your bacon.

A companion article in this issue of Northwest Senior News is a transciption from Dr. Sten Eckberg’s YouTube video, Coronavirus: Your #1 Absolute Best Defense Against COVID-19 – Holistic Doctor Explains.

Continuing: Homocysteine

Dr. Fife discusses the connection between elevated blood levels of homocysteine and heart disease.

Studies indicate that elevated blood homocysteine levels are more accurate in predicting heart disease than high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or cigarette smoking….[P]ublished studies on homocysteine indicates that it is one of the most significant, independent risk factors for atherosclerosis [plugged up coronary arteries].

Please review page 81-82 for a detailed explanation of this problem. The upshot is this. A diet high in animal protein and high in sugar and starch, which is low in B vitamins, leads to elevated homocysteine levels and the development of atherosclerosis. Put another way, a diet that is high in animal protein is okay all by itself but coupling it with a high sugar intake creates the problem.

My Comment: Isn’t this interesting! The Ancel Keys’ dietary lipid hypothesis claimed that saturated fat was the cause of heart disease. I’m sure you have heard for years the usual blather: “Reduce your intake of saturated-fat containing red meat, eat fish more often, drink low-fat or non-fat milk, cut the skin off your chicken, and opt for non-fat yogurt.”

These proponents of the dietary lipid hypothesis just couldn’t seem (or purposely didn’t want to) to get the connection that a high sugar intake was the real culprit. John Yudkin, a British researcher, was vilified by the sugar cartel over 50 years ago for his assertions that sugar was the cause of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and metabolic disorders.

To be continued…

Prescription Plans 2022: Facts and Figures

The Deductible

The maximum allowable deductible for Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs) in 2022 is $480. That doesn’t mean that everyone pays the $480 before your plan’s benefits start to kick in.

Many plans wave the deductible for tiers 1 and 2 generics. There is one plan that waives the deductible for only tier 1 drugs.

That means that if you take a tier 3, 4, or 5 prescription, generally speaking you will have to meet the deductible before the plans kicks in with its benefits.

There are a few higher premium plans that have a reduced deductible, and lastly, there are just a few spendy plans that have no deductible. Premium wise, these plans can start hitting the $100 per month level. As mentioned, the preponderance of the plans that are the best buys for most members have the $480 deductible.

Because so many of what used to be brand name prescriptions have gone generic, most people’s prescriptions are all generics. Here are just a few examples. The generic name follows the brand name.

Lipitor: Atorvastatin

Crestor: Rosuvastatin

Diovan: Valsartan

Micardis: Telmisartan

Prozac: Fluoxetine

Zoloft: Sertraline

Proscar: Finasteride

Flomax: Tamsulosin

Singular: Montelukast

Plavix: Clopidogrel

Here are some drugs that went generic so long ago that most people don’t recognize the original brand name:

Glucophage: Metformin

Toprol XL: Metoprolol succinate ER

Norvasc: Amlodipine

New Brand Name Drugs

The pharmaceutical industry has produced new brand-name drugs. Unfortunately, these new drugs are expensive—even with the help of the PDP.

For A-fib and other heart rhythm disorders: Eliquis and Xarelto

For diabetics: Jardiance, Trulicity, Tresiba, Ozempic, and Rybelsus.

What Puts You into the Coverage Gap, aka the Donut Hole

Once the total retail cost of your prescriptions hits $4,430, you go into the coverage gap. Remember, this is the full retail cost, not what you have paid in copays.

Let’s says “Allice” a taking a few low-cost generics but also the name brand and tier 3 drug XYZ. XYZ has a full retail cost of $600 per month. Alice’s PDP has the $480 deductible and a $47 copay for tier 3 drugs after she has met her deductible.

She’s paying $47 per month copay for XYZ and very little for her generics. Everything is doable. In August, Alice is rudely shocked when her pharmacist informs her that she owes $150 for her fill of XYZ. WHAT HAPPENED? she asks in stark disbelief. Her pharmacist explains that she is now in the coverage gap.

Here’s the math that put Alice in the gap.

7 months of XYZ (7 x $600) is $4,200. Throw in a little over $200 for the full retail cost for her generics for 7 months. At the beginning of August, the retail cost of her meds has exceeded $4,430. Alice is now in the coverage gap.

She now pays 25% of the retail cost of her brand name drugs and generics while she is in the coverage gap for the remainder of the year. Please keep in mind that it makes no differences if her Part D plan is embedded inside of a Medicare advantage plan. It all works the same

What Gets You out of the Coverage Gap?

When your True-out-of-Pocket (TRooP) cost hits $7,050, then you exit the coverage gap phase and go into the final Catastrophic coverage phase. Does this mean that you have spent $7,050?

The answer is no. The good news is that the manufacturer’s discount counts towards your TRooP totals. Let’s see how it works with Alice’s $600 XYZ prescription. Once she is in the gap, here’s how the $600 is covered.

Alice pays 25% or $150

The manufacturer of XYZ discounts the drug by 70% or $420

The PDP pays 5% or $30

The $150 that Alice pays along with the manufacturer’s discount of $420 counts towards Alice’s TRooP costs.

Catastrophic coverage phase

According to Medicare.gov, once you hit the Catastrophic coverage phase, you will pay no more than 5% of the cost for covered drugs for the rest of the year

Your PDP pays 15% and Medicare pays 80%. We have seen a few cases where a member had such expensive drugs that he blasted through the coverage gap and into the Catastrophic phase within the first few months of the year. End

The Refund Scam

by Lance & Isaac Reedy

A client of mine, John S. from Moose City, Wyoming received a text on his cell phone with something to do with services for his computer. Since John received a text to his phone, he thought there might have been some sort of legitimacy to it. John’s story went something like this.

The scammer told John that he was eligible for a $500 refund for (fictious) “computer services” that he hadn’t used. This is the bait that the scammers use to get you to go along with their scheme. A promise of an unexpected windfall…which also doesn’t exist.

John then allowed iScam Computer Services (ICS…fictious of course) to install a program that allowed remote access to his computer. Remote access software allows someone else on the internet to control your computer. There are many programs that do this, but two common ones are Teamviewer and AnyDesk.

Once the scammers had remote access to John’s computer, they directed him to log into his bank account. Then the scammers edited the bank account page on John’s computer to make it look like they over-refunded the money they promised him.

Note: Despite how real it may look, the scammers never actually send any money. The webpage that they doctor to make it look like they sent you money, isn’t real. It only exists in the memory on your computer and nowhere else. Reloading the page on your web browser would overwrite the fake numbers and expose the truth.

Anyhow, back to the scam. The scammers pretended to send John money. However, instead of the $500 they promised him, it was actually $5000!

Sounding utterly distraught the scammer then told John about how he is going to lose his job.

Note: The scammer is not distraught at all. It’s just part of his script. Sometimes, they will further guilt trip you by telling you about how their family is going to starve because of this terrible “mistake.”

Then, the scammer had an “idea.” He directed John to go out and buy him $4500 worth of gift cards. This would allow the scammer to “refund” the money to his boss and so that he wouldn’t get fired.

The exact mechanisms vary, but this is the essence of the refund scam.

The scammers will pretend to send you money, only there will be a “screw up” and too much fake money will be sent to you. Then, the scammers will ask you to refund them the difference with your real money.

The scammers are manipulative and will do and say whatever they think will work to get you to do their bidding. The scammers may say they are from Apple, Microsoft, Google, BestBuy, The Geek Squad, or something else. Many of the scammers are from one of many corrupt call centers in India.

Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. After the scammer directed John to go out and buy some Walmart gift cards for the “refund.” John started smelling a rat and he never followed through with the scam. Out of an abundance of caution, John also contacted his bank and closed his account.

Several of our clients have reported to us an account of them getting scammed, and that’s our motivation for alerting you. The scammers are very clever people, and they use crude psychology to scam their victims.

Last month, in our article Shady Advertising and Scams, I (Lance), mentioned how my daughter Hannah came within a hair’s breadth of becoming a victim of a refund scam herself. In her case, the fake money was in the form of a bogus money order. She fell for the scam. Her saving grace was that the scammers were too greedy. The check for real money that Hannah wrote bounced because she didn’t have enough money in her bank account because of the Scammer’s rubber check to cover the “refund” amount.

Any email that speaks of Amazon, Walmart, Target, or XYZ rewards is a tip off, but the scammers depend on your curiosity to open a suspicious email. “Let’s open it and see what’s inside.” DON’T DO IT!

The following is a list of emails and texts to immediately delete or phone calls to hang up on.

  • IRS problems. The IRS will contact you by mail if you owe them money.
  • Problems with you bank. Same thing: Your bank will contact you by mail.
  • Warning from your email provider that there is some looming problem which requires you submit your password information.
  • Computer services and ink jet cartridge deals.
  • Rewards for doing the billionth Google search.
  • Work at home deals or business opportunities.
  • A call from “Amazon” of a fraud alert on your account.
  • And dozens of others

The electronic and digital world we are now living in is like driving on a steep and twisty mountain road with no guard rails. Getting involved with something that’s dubious at best is like missing a turn and going off the cliff.

If you’re in any doubt about the legitimacy of any unsolicited email, text, phone call, or piece of junk mail, please contact a knowledgeable person to advise you accordingly before you open Pandora’s box. These trusted sources are your guard rails. End