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Awareness

8 Important Facts About The Birth Control Pill Every Woman Should Know

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It’s easy, it’s effective, and it’s harmless – at least, that’s what they tell us. But do we really understand what popping those small white pills day after day is doing to our body, behaviour, and self-confidence? I know I didn’t. I had to reach the brink of depression before digging into ‘The Pill’ and finding out some surprising facts, and stories from other women brave enough to tell me about their experiences, which made me realize I wasn’t crazy for wanting to come off it.

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Here are 8 things you might not have heard about The Pill:

1. It’s The Most Commonly Used Drug In The World

There are currently well over 100 million women on the Pill, and it has been used at some time by 300 million. Tens of millions more use injectables, patches, and implants which contain similar levels of hormones. Girls as young as 12 are prescribed the Pill, not only for contraception, but also for heavy periods, acne, or ‘hormone imbalances.’

Stacey’s story:

“I got put on the Pill at 16 for heavy periods. It helped make them more manageable, but my emotions became a roller coaster. I was up and down so much I started to think I was losing the plot. I came off a couple of years later and felt like myself again.”

2. It’s A Billion-Dollar Industry

In the U.S., the Pill makes pharmaceutical companies approx. 2.8 billion each year. Eyebrows have certainly been raised over how much they’re downplaying potential side-effects and issues with their products – for example, a recent study for the Inspector General’s Office of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services found that 7 out of 10 advertisements for contraceptive pills were “misleading or unbalanced.”

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3. The Pill Works By Keeping You In A Constant State Of Pregnancy

As women, our natural cycle is composed of rising and falling levels of estrogen and progesterone. What the Pill does is keep your levels at a constant high point – basically tricking your body into thinking that it’s already pregnant, so pregnancy can’t occur. These levels are approx. 3-4 times higher than they naturally occur at the peak of your cycle.

4. You Can’t Absorb Nutrients Properly When On The Pill

Taking the Pill every day places a really heavy load on your liver, which has to metabolize all the synthetic hormones. It affects your ability to absorb vitamins B2, B6, B12, C, riboflavin, thiamine, and folic acid – as well as depleting minerals zinc, copper, selenium, potassium, and magnesium. It can take months or years for the effects of this malnutrition to become apparent, but it’s amazing how many ‘small’ problems such as insomnia, cravings, skin infections, headaches, weight gain, anxiety, fatigue, constipation, and irritability can all be linked back to use of the Pill.

Melissa’s story:

“I never used to get headaches, or infections. I considered myself a really healthy person, but in my first year of being on the Pill, I got thrush three times and had headaches on and off. Only after I’d stopped taking it I connected the headaches to the days when I was on the sugar pills – basically in ‘withdrawal’ mode from the Pill. I had headaches coming off it too, but they’re over now.”

Sarah’s story:

“After going on the Pill, with no changes to my diet or exercise, I gained 7kgs in 2 months! I decided shortly after to stop taking it – and let me tell you, that weight took a lot longer to lose than it did to gain.”

5. The Pill Suppresses Testosterone – Bye-bye Sex Drive!

It’s been found that women on the Pill produce up to seven times more of a sex hormone-binding globulin; a protein which binds with testosterone and takes it out of circulation. Lack of testosterone leads to low libido and less fun in the bedroom. Australian Professor Lorraine Dennerstein, who specializes in researching female sex hormones, says that “The Pill flattens out natural estradiol highs and suppresses free testosterone, potentially delivering a double libido blow.”

Amanda’s story:

I started taking the pill when I was 19 as a means of birth control and also to help with really heavy periods. That was 9 years ago. It definitely improved my menstrual cycle (and I obviously did not get pregnant), so I just assumed it was now a permanent part of my routine. I never thought about it again, taking the pill was just a regular part of my life, as normal as breathing. 

A couple of years into it my sex drive started to flag. I had always maintained a very healthy sexual appetite, so it was very noticeable. I never attributed the problem to what I was doing to my hormones though. I assumed it was a part of getting a little older, being in a committed relationship, all the things you’re told will happen when you get comfortable with someone. Then I started noticing that my periods were becoming very irregular. If I missed a pill, or took it late (even by a couple of hours), my period would begin a week early and continue through its full duration – meaning I was menstruating for two weeks at a time. So I tried the pill where you only get your period every three months. That was followed by spotting at random times and intense stomach cramps. I quit that pretty quickly and tried a few other brands of the regular pill before settling on one and continuing on with my life. 

Then last year I started noticing that almost every period was turning into the two week irregularity, with plenty of water retention and PMS to boot. My sex drive was also as low as it had ever been. I started doing some research into birth control and discovered not only that it was likely causing my low sex drive, but could lead to a whole host of health problems I had never considered before.

So in January I stopped taking the pill, and the difference was like night and day. I lost a couple of pounds, my periods went back to normal (though heavy again), and best of all, my sex drive had returned. I felt like a teenager again (which makes sense considering I started taking the pill when I was 19). Now, several months later, I can still feel my body readjusting to a natural cycle. My sex life has done nothing but improve steadily these last few months.” 

6. Your Chances Of Depression Double

You might have seen depression listed as a possible side-effect on your Pill packet. It may be more serious than we’re lead to believe though – one study conducted by women’s mental health specialist Professor Jayashri Kulkarni on a large group of women over 18 years old, with no clinical history of depression, found that the women on the Pill were twice as likely to suffer from depression as the others. In another on-going study of 23,000 women on the Pill, one third stopped taking it because of depression.

Aimee’s story:

“I tried about 6 different contraceptive pills over 4.5 years, hoping I’d find one that worked. I had horrible mood swings and long ‘low’ times on all of them, eventually gave up on the Pill and switched to a non-hormonal method. My friends said that they’d missed me and it was good to have me back again.”

7. You Risk Breast Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Stroke, Bone Density Depletion, Blood Clots, & Ovarian Cancer 

You’ve probably heard about some/most of these warnings before, but we all have a tendency to think, “Oh, that wouldn’t happen to me.” Studies have found that the hormonal changes the Pill produces in our bodies (which leads to the previously mentioned nutrient absorption issues) increase risks significantly in these areas – even though it may not become an issue for some time.

Taylor’s story:

I went on the pill in my late teens to deal with periods so painful that for one day a month, all I could concentrate on was lying on the couch clutching a hot water bottle. When I figured out that amounted to 12 days a year — almost two week of lying around and groaning! — I went to my doctor for advice and was told the pill was the best solution. The pain vanished immediately, my periods became much, much lighter, and I didn’t experience any of the side effects I was warned about. Ten years later, I’ve just been told by my doctor that I’ll need to take a break from the pill because long-term use raises the risk of ovarian cancer. I had no idea this was a side effect.”

8. It’s Linked To Infertility

When you think about the fact that the Pill creates a state of permanent pregnancy in your body and therefore the inability to become pregnant, it’s not so surprising that women who have been on it for many years then struggle to have a baby when they want one. Interestingly, it doesn’t just make women infertile – Britain is dealing with an expensive problem of fish dying off due to pollution in the water-ways, thought to be mainly from pill excretions. The Guardian reported: “More than 2.5 million women take birth control pills in the UK. Their EE2 [Ethinyl estradiol, the synthetic form of estrogen in contraceptive pills] content is excreted and washed into sewage systems and rivers. Even at very low concentrations, this chemical has harmful effects on fish. Males suffer reduced sperm production, with severe effects on populations. In one recent trial, in a Canadian lake, researchers added EE2 until levels in the water reached five parts per trillion, a minute concentration. Yet fish populations suffered severe problems with one species, the fathead minnow, collapsing completely.”

The Pill changes your cervical mucus production, which over time can cause the mucus-producing cells to atrophy… effectively aging your cervix and narrowing the cervical canal. A study conducted in 2004 found that “time to pregnancy” following long-term pill use was two to three times longer than after condom use.

Fast Facts

  • The Pill alters 150 bodily functions, and affects all your organs
  • Over 100 million women are currently taking the Pill
  • Only one third of 147 countries recently surveyed by a medical journal require a prescription for getting the Pill
  • There are new, ‘no period’ pills being released in the U.S that have no break intervals – the long-term affects of these have not yet been properly tested
  • Women on the pill do not secrete couplins – a volatile fatty acid in the vagina that stimulates male sexual interest

If Not The Pill, Then What Are My Options?

  • Condoms are affordable and have a high success rate when used properly – between 95-98%
  • Natural fertility – practiced carefully, this has a 97% success rate and requires no devices – although some very smart tools such as the “Lady-Comp” and newly released “Leaf” necklace from Bellabeat are beginning to make tracking your ovulation down to the exact day really easy
  • Barrier methods such as diaphragms/cervical caps are reusable, and can be worn in advance to allow some spontaneity
  • Spermicides – best used with condoms or other barrier methods
  • Sterilization (i.e., getting your ‘tubes tied) – must be considered very carefully as it is very difficult and costly to reverse

Sources

 
 
Infertility:

Study in Human Reproduction journal about how condom users get pregnant faster than pill users –http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/humber/3446403.stm
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.3109/00016346809156845/abstract

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Awareness

My 400 Days Without Candy & What I Learned About Sugar Addiction

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At the end of 2017 I decided to temporarily say goodbye to my dietary Achilles heel.

While I’m certainly not suggesting that I am some beacon of ideal healthy eating, I have always been someone who, for the most part, makes what I’ve found to be healthy choices. Except for my one glaring weakness… candy.

In particular, the really sour and heavily sugar coated kind, but you’d be hard pressed to find me turning down even those better classified as sweet, with all of their sugar fused within the confines of the chew. Cherry Blasters, Sour Patch Kids, Fuzzy Peaches, Sour Punch Straws, you name it, I ate it, and usually with a big smile on my face.

But no matter how much my tastebuds loved this stuff, I’ve always known that it’s not good for me (I can’t imagine that there is anyone out there who actually thinks it is), so I decided to listen to my body, just as I had already done with a number of my other dietary changes. I opted to no longer ignore the stomach and headaches that would often come shortly after my sugary indulgences and give it up.

What started as a one month challenge quickly evolved into a three month challenge, followed by a one year challenge, and then a 400 day challenge simply because I liked the sound of the number. Here’s some of what I learned from this journey:

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The First Days Are Undeniably The Hardest

The old adage that it takes approximately 21 days to break a bad habit or make a new one in this case certainly held true. It was right around the 3 week point that I started to find myself far less tempted and far less frequently on the search for something to satisfy my sweet tooth. And believe it or not, the longer I went on, the less appealing the idea of eating candy became. It almost felt as if the memory in my tastebuds that had controlled so many of my past decisions had gradually faded away.

Mindset Is Everything

While I will fully admit that my quest to 400 was helped by it naturally feeding into another one of my “addictions” (a great joy in setting records and tracking analytics), I found that so much of the temptation to consume these sugary, salty and greasy foods really was incredibly temporary. Challenge yourself to at least not let it win once and you’ll likely see just how quickly its strength can fade.

It Paid Dividends

While I didn’t completely cut sugar out of my diet, as many people have so admirably done and documented about, I can say that cutting back even as much as I did felt really good for me. Some may be quick to chalk it up to the placebo effect, and understandably so, but I can honestly say that the above mentioned stomach and head aches occurred far less often over the 400 day span.

Real-Time Analysis: After The First Bite

Having now officially consumed my first piece of candy since 2017, believe it or not, it tastes different. Is it still tasty and did it satisfy me at some level? Absolutely. But it also tastes way more sugary and foreign to my body than it once did. It’s as if my body really wanted to make it clear by saying, “are you sure you want to bring this stuff back into the picture?”

Side Note: For those that are curious, since it’s the most common question I’ve been asked since embarking on this journey, the candy I chose to eat as my first piece was a Vegan Wild Cherry Belt by Squish Candies. (And no I’m not getting paid to brand-drop, and no I don’t make any commission should you choose to buy any at that link… unfortunately LOL).

Where I Go From Here

While I don’t see myself going completely cold turkey on candy again, I also cannot see myself consuming it nearly as much as I once did. And I do so happily, not out of punishment. While I’m also certainly not qualified to be giving out dietary advice, I am comfortable challenging all of you to give up something you know to not be good for you. See how your body feels both without it and after you re-introduce it.


For more brutally honest personal development content designed for those who actually want to change be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and to follow me on Instagram. And to receive my free eBook on 5 Simple Daily Hacks For A Genuinely Happier Life click HERE.

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Alternative News

Big News: Costco To Become First Major Retailer To Stop Selling Roundup Herbicide?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    According to the non profit group Moms Across America, Costco is set to stop selling Roundup herbicide.

  • Reflect On:

    Despite the fact that harmful products continue to be approved across North America, the ultimate power to stop their use is us. When we become aware, we stop buying, and their profits drop. We are the ones that use it. Vote with your dollar.

It’s hard to even know where to start with the herbicide Roundup. Despite years of science exposing the inarguable health and environmental consequences of Roundup, federal health regulatory agencies in North America are still approving the herbicide, while multiple other countries have banned it and made its use illegal, citing various health and environmental concerns. Sri Lanka, for example, banned it five years ago due to its link to deadly kidney disease.

Furthermore, the countries approving it are doing so with massive amounts of corruption. These approvals come as a result of corrupt regulatory agencies here in Canada as well as the US, specifically the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The list of examples is very long when it comes to corruption and government connections to corporations like Monsanto, the corporation that created and sells Roundup. This is the only way these products get approved. It’s not science, it’s simply because of lobbying efforts and shady politics.

“It is commonly believed that Roundup is among the safest pesticides… Despite its reputation, Roundup was by far the most toxic among the herbicides and insecticides tested. This inconsistency between scientific fact and industrial claim may be attributed to huge economic interests, which have been found to falsify health risk assessments and delay health policy decisions.” – R. Mesnage (et al., Biomed Research International, Volume 2014 (2014), article ID 179691)

The latest approvals of glyphosate, the main active ingredient in Roundup, came from within Canada as well as Europe.

EU regulators recently decided to relicense glyphosate, a decision that was based on an assessment plagiarized from industry reports. It’s quite backwards that, for years, health regulators have been relying on the scientific reports from the companies that manufacture these products instead of seeking out independent scientific studies.

A group of MEPs decided to commission an investigation into claims that Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (bFr) copy-and-pasted tracts from Monsanto studies. You can read more about that here.

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In addition, Monsanto colluded with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stifle cancer research that had any connection to their products.

The corruption is never-ending when it comes to the link between corporations and government agencies. In fact, only a few years ago, more than a dozen scientists from within the CDC put out an anonymous public statement detailing the influence corporations have on government policies. They were referred to as the Spider Papers.

Related CE Article: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Explains How Big Pharma Completely Owns Congress

Costco

The corruption that plagues our federal regulatory agencies runs deep, and no matter how obvious the science becomes, like the dangers of Roundup, products that negatively impact our health seem to often get approved anyways. But something special on planet Earth is happening, and that’s massive awareness. We are finally starting to see through the veil that’s been blinding the masses in so many different areas within human life.

Sure, these products may continue to get approved, but we are the ones who are constantly choosing to do so. We don’t have to buy them, and that is why awareness is key.

Zen Honeycutt, the leader of Moms Across America, announced this week that Costco will not be selling the glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup Ready.

In a live video update posted on Facebook, Honeycutt stated that she received word that Costco was no longer selling Roundup or glyphosate-based herbicides.

While she’s allegedly not received any official word yet from Costco, she stated that she has talked to various people at the headquarters and regional offices confirming this news. This is huge news because, according to a 2015 article in National Geographic, Roundup is the second-best-selling herbicide in the U.S. for home lawn and garden use. Under a lucrative contract with Monsanto, Scotts Miracle-Gro owns the exclusive right to market Roundup in North America and much of Europe. Scotts distributes about $154 million worth (5.5 percent of the company’s total sales) of Roundup each year to retail giants including Amazon, Home Depot and Walmart.

So let’s hope it’s true.

I asked for an official statement and was told that usually, Costco does not issue press releases, etc discussing which items they have discontinued. Despite not hearing back from the Costco PR department, I decided to announce the information anyway. I told them that the 89,000 people who signed a petition to Costco, Home Depot, and Lowe’s deserved to have an answer. I knew that they would be happy to know that Costco was doing the right thing. – Honeycutt (source)

It’s weird how this is even a debate in some circles. This has been known for a very long time, and we’ve seen similar happenings with DDT in the past.

“Children today are sicker than they were a generation ago. From childhood cancers to autism, birth defects and asthma, a wide range of childhood diseases and disorders are on the rise. Our assessment of the latest science leaves little room for doubt; pesticides are one key driver of this sobering trend.” – October 2012 report by Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) (source)(source)

Glyphosate is really getting a bad name, as this new information regarding Costco is coming off the heels of some bad press for Monsanto (Bayer) as the case regarding school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson was the first lawsuit claiming that glyphosate causes cancer to go to trial. There are thousands upon thousands of similar pending cases. Any jury that reviews all of the scientific evidence will not be able to rule in favor of Monsanto, and Johnson’s case was a great example that showed glyphosate caused his cancer.

The Takeaway

At the end of the day, it’s us who decide to use these products. Obviously, we’ve been misled and made to trust our federal regulatory agencies who are supposedly in charge of protecting us from these harmful products. It’s the complete opposite, and what these agencies do is actually quite criminal. This is why conscious media is so important. The same powers that control these corporations have a tight grip on mainstream media as well.

This is why this issue goes largely ignored, and the fact that so many people rely on mainstream media for information about what’s really happening in the world with regards to health, environment, finance, politics, etc. is why a lot of people are still completely unaware of important issues. This is also why governments have started a war on ‘fake news,’ which seems to be a cover for protecting corporate and government interests.

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Alternative News

New Study Links Acetaminophen (Tylenol) To Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity

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Another damning study indicates it is simply time to pull the plug on this outdated drug.

The study just published in JAMA Pediatrics once again indicated that women who take acetaminophen during pregnancy are more likely to have a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The researchers also found that prenatal exposure to the medication was associated with a higher risk of having children who exhibit other emotional or behavioral symptoms.

Recent detailed analysis of clinical studies on acetaminophen (Tylenol) have concluded that this popular drug was ineffective for low back pain and provided no significant clinical relief of hip or knee osteoarthritis (OA) pain, while quadrupling the risk for liver damage.

All together, the results from all of these analyses further calls into question whether this drug should still be on the over-the-counter market or at all.

Background Data:

Acetaminophen is the only remaining member of the class of drugs known as “aniline analgesics” that is still on the market, as the rest were discontinued long ago. Acetaminophen only blocks the feelings of pain and reduces fever, it exerts no significant anti-inflammatory or therapeutic action.

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It is well-known that acetaminophen is very hard on the liver. About 40% of regular acetaminophen users show signs of liver damage. Acetaminophen reduces the liver’s store of the important detoxifying aid and antioxidant glutathione. When acetaminophen is combined with alcoholic drinks or other compounds toxic to the liver including other medications, its negative effects on the liver are multiplied. It should definitely not be used in anyone with impaired liver function and given the stress the liver experiences during pregnancy, it appears unwise to use it while carrying a child for both mother and the developing fetus.

Acetaminophen is often the drug of choice in children to relieve fever. However, use for fever in the first year of life is associated with an increase in the incidence of asthma and other allergic symptoms later in childhood. Asthma appears to be another disease process that is influenced greatly by antioxidant mechanisms. Acetaminophen severely depletes glutathione levels not only in the liver, but presumably other tissues as well, and should definitely not be used in people with asthma.

Each year acetaminophen causes over 100,000 calls to poison control centers; 50,000 emergency room visits, 26,000 hospitalizations, and more than 450 deaths from liver failure. In addition, regular use of acetaminophen is linked to a higher likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease, infertility, and hearing loss (especially in men under 50 years of age). Acetaminophen use during pregnancy has also been linked to the development of ADHD confirming animal studies showing acetaminophen use in pregnancy can disrupt normal brain development.

New Data:

To more closely assess the associations between maternal prenatal acetaminophen use and behavioral issues in their children, researchers in the United Kingdom collected and analyzed data 7,796 mothers along with their children. The data included acetaminophen use and behavioral assessments of the children were 7 years old. From this data the estimated risk ratios for behavioral problems in children after prenatal exposure to acetaminophen was determined.

The results showed that prenatal acetaminophen use at 18 and 32 weeks of pregnancy was associated with a 42% increased risk of the child having conduct problems and hyperactivity symptoms, while maternal acetaminophen use at 32 weeks was also associated with a 29% increased risk of the child having emotional symptoms and a 46% increase in total behavioral difficulties.

Obviously, the researchers concluded “Children exposed to acetaminophen prenatally are at increased risk of multiple behavioral difficulties, and the associations do not appear to be explained by unmeasured behavioral or social factors linked to acetaminophen use.”

Comment:

The results from this study and others are clear. Stay away from acetaminophen. Most people consider acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) as being an extremely safe pain reliever for both children and adults. The reality is that it can be extremely dangerous and causes significant side effects. The FDA has done a poor job alerting the public to the dangers of acetaminophen. In my opinion, it is a drug that serves no real medical purpose in the 21stcentury. Bottom line, it is time to pull it from the market.

As far as alternatives to acetaminophen during pregnancy, I would recommend ginger. Historically, the majority of complaints for which ginger (Zingiber officinale) was used concerned the gastrointestinal system as well as pain and inflammation. Several double-blind studies have shown ginger to yield positive results in a variety of gastrointestinal issues, especially those related to nausea and vomiting including severe morning sickness. In regards to pain and inflammation, dozens of clinical studies have supported this use with positive results in various forms of arthritis, chronic low back pain, muscle pain, and painful menstruation.

Ginger powder, ginger tea or a shot of fresh ginger juice added to any fresh fruit or vegetable juice is certainly a much better option to acetaminophen anytime, but especially during pregnancy.

My overall interpretation of the study is that depletion of glutathione caused by acetaminophen leaves cells, especially brain cells, susceptible to damage. I believe that future studies will not only show more evidence of a link to ADHD, but also autism as well. Glutathione is absolutely critical in protecting cellular function. Any factor that depletes glutathione is obviously going to alter proper development. In addition to acetaminophen, the following factors can deplete glutathione:

To boost your glutathione level it is important to focus on a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables. Their rich source of antioxidant phytochemicals and nutrients spare the use of glutathione and help to keep cellular levels high.

For additional related research use the following links: 


If you want to learn more from Greenmedinfo, sign up for their newsletter here


Reference

Stergiakouli E, Thapar A, Smith GD. Association of Acetaminophen Use During Pregnancy with Behavioral Problems in Childhood. Evidence Against Confounding. JAMA Pediatrics. Published online August 15, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.1775


Dr. Murray is one of the world’s leading authorities on natural medicine. He has published over 40 books featuring natural approaches to health. His research into the health benefits of proper nutrition is the foundation for a best-selling line of dietary supplements from Natural Factors, where he is Director of Product Development. He is a graduate, former faculty member, and serves on the Board of Regents of Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington. Please Click Here to receive a Free 5 Interview Collection from Dr Murray’s Natural Medicine Summit with the Top Leaders in the Field of Natural Medicine. Sign up for his newsletter and receive a free copy of his book on Stress, Anxiety and Insomnia.

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