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Dr. Oz spotlights counterfeit drugs and reveals cholesterol-lowering diet

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Dr. Mehmet Oz revealed how to avoid counterfeit drugs and discussed cholesterol-lowering foods on the April 2 episode of the Dr. Oz Show.

"There could be illegal and dangerous ingredients in your medications," said Dr. Oz. "This is one of the most alarming shows I've ever done."

Dr. Oz said counterfeit drugs have flooded the U.S. market, so you could be taking fake "impostor" pills that contain deadly ingredients like car paint, floor wax, and rat droppings.

Dr. Oz's guests were Elizabeth Jungman, director of drug safety at the Pew Charitable Trusts, and economist Dr. Roger Bate, an expert on drug quality.

Drugs Imported From China and India Are the Most Unsafe

Dr. Bate, author of Making a Killing: The Deadly Implications of the Counterfeit Drug Trade, said most of the counterfeit drugs on the U.S. market come in through online purchases.

Sometimes people buy drugs on the Internet because they're cheaper and don't require a prescription, but Dr. Oz said you're putting yourself at risk by doing this.

Investigators found that China and India were responsible for the unsafe manufacturing of the most widely used antibiotic and over-the-counter drugs. Raids on their factories revealed that these medications often contained chalk, talcum powder, rat droppings, and paint.

Jungman said counterfeit drug makers usually target online consumers because it's easier to fool them. She warned against buying imported drugs on the Internet because you're potentially exposing yourself to toxic chemicals. What's more, there is barely any of the "active ingredient" in many impostor drugs, so you're basically paying for nothing.

Jungman said the FDA enacted stricter drug-enforcement laws in 2012 to monitor drugs coming into the U.S. from other countries, but you should take precautions to guard against these risks yourself. Dr. Oz suggested the following:

  • Purchase only from online pharmacies that are based and credentialed in the United States. Look for a VIPPS (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites) seal on their website.
  • Avoid online pharmacies that don't require a prescription.
  • Don't buy drugs from online pharmacies that you can't reach by phone.

Dr. Oz's Cholesterol-Lowering Diet Tips

On a separate segment of his show, Dr. Oz's guest was nutritionist Dr. Janet Brill, author of Cholesterol Down. Dr. Brill has advised patients on lowering their cholesterol through diet for the past 10 years.

Brill said strawberries are a potent cholesterol-reducing food that's high in antioxidants, fiber and vitamin C. She also revealed natural ways to lower blood pressure in her book, Blood Pressure Down.

Dr. Brill said research shows that strawberries are more effective at reducing "bad" LDL cholesterol faster than flax seeds, soy milk or oatmeal. She suggested keeping your LDL under 100. Dr. Oz previously recommended these other cholesterol-reducing foods:

  • sardines
  • salmon
  • bananas
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • spinach
  • dark chocolate
  • avocados.

Probiotics Prevent Yeast Infections In Intestinal Tract

Dr. Oz said yeast infections in the intestinal tract are common and can make you feel exhausted. To prevent yeast infections, he recommended the following:

  • Take a probiotic supplement. A side benefit is that probiotics also accelerate weight loss.
  • Eat garlic. Garlic is a fungus-fighting herb that also clears acne, prevents colds and stems weight gain.
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