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Why Is WHOLE FOODS Peddling Pharmaceuticals?View

Since when did Whole Foods start promoting their own 365 branded pharmaceuticals at their checkout counters? And why are they using slogans like "Life-Saving" and "Safe" to describe some of them?

This is the question I asked myself, and the cashier, on a recent trip to Whole Foods in Coral Gables, Florida.

My cashier didn’t have an answer, but it surprised her to hear that these drugs have serious risks.

There are a wide range of problems with the seemingly casual and innocent placement of so-called “painkillers” at what is one of the most high-volume places on the shelf to compel consumers to make impulse purchases.

First, Whole Foods is supposed to be a "health conscious" brand, right?

Things are clearly changing. It is widely known that Amazon acquired Whole Foods five years ago. Amazon is a juggernaut of a company also in the business of acquiring pharmaceutical industry entities like online, mail-order pharmaceutical distributor PillPack.

Even so, consumers still expect a certain standard of discernment from the company when it comes to product selection, given its leadership role (as far as revenue) in the so-called natural products industry.

Why Is Whole Foods Putting Their Customers at Risk With Irresponsible Drug Marketing?

On closer look, Whole Foods 365 branded aspirin brandishes an absurdly irresponsible and factually untrue statement: “SAFE PAIN RELIEF WITH LIFE-SAVING BENEFITS.” Not only is it not “SAFE,” saddled as it is with dozens of potential side effects, including life-threatening ones, but the most authoritative governmental agency on the subject — the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force — explicitly recommends AGAINST the use of aspirin in adults 60 years or older because it “has no net benefit." Hardly "life-saving," is it?

Also, as you will see below, the risks of aspirin use may far exceed the once purported and now disproven benefits.

The product label for 365 aspirin from Whole Foods Coral Gable location website shopping cart.

The Toxic Truth About Aspirin, Ibuprofen and Tylenol

No matter how Whole Foods attempts to justify it, aspirin, ibuprofen and Tylenol (acetaminophen) are highly toxic drugs. And this is coming from the biomedical literature itself.

Let’s inspect this further.

Aspirin, despite popular misconceptions, is no longer derived from willow bark. It is an entirely synthetic compound, and therefore as a xenobiotic (foreign to our biology), it has a wide range of toxic effects, with its supposed “therapeutic” effects no longer unequivocally supported by the weight of the evidence.

Here is a recent review of aspirin’s dark side titled, Aspirin & Your Heart: The Continuing Devaluation of Aspirin's Resume. If that is not sufficient to convince you its use carries profound health risks, consult our database of research on aspirin’s unintended, adverse effects, which number in the dozens, and include life-threatening adverse effects such as bleeding events. We also have a section on that collates research on natural substances that prevent Aspirin-Induced Toxicity, as the chemical is well recognized within the research community to be a common cause of adverse events that natural substances could mitigate.

Consider, also, that aspirin has been clinically compared to a natural pine bark extract known as pycnogenol and is superior both in therapeutic and side effect profiles.

Ironically, I went into Whole Foods that day to buy pycnogenol, which was hidden away on a bottom shelf in the fast-dwindling supplement aisle selection. To learn more about pycnogenol, read my article on the topic: The Powerful Aspirin Alternative Your Doctor Never Told You About. Also, consider that research shows pycnogenol benefits no less than 150+ conditions. Wouldn’t it be amazing to adopt remedies that have orders of magnitude more side benefits than side effects? [Note: mixing natural substances with pharmaceuticals could amplify the side effects of the drugs; be VERY careful proceeding with self-treatment without expert support.]

Next, let's discuss ibuprofen. This highly toxic compound greatly increases the risk of cardiac mortality. I suggest looking at the primary literature on the topic of ibuprofen’s well-characterized cardiotoxicity here: Ibuprofen Toxicity Database. And read our recent report titled, Is Ibuprofen As Deadly As Vioxx? If you skip it, the short answer is YES: ibuprofen is as deadly as Vioxx, a drug that killed over 50,000 Americans (almost as many as the entire Vietnam conflict!).

Also, consult an article I wrote all the way back in 2012: Ibuprofen Kills Thousands Each Year, So What Is The Alternative? In the decade since it was written, awareness of this chemical’s harms has grown. That said, how much progress is being made when Whole Foods Market is featuring it at its front counter?

Finally, we have the problem of Tylenol. This is one of the most disturbing chemicals, as it is still routinely administered to children who have fevers — a practice that can be deadly due to its liver-destroying properties. According to a 2022 paper:

"It is responsible for 56,000 emergency department visits, 2,600 hospitalizations, and 500 deaths per year in the United States. Fifty percent of these are unintentional overdoses. More than 60 million Americans consume acetaminophen on a weekly basis, and many are unaware that it is contained in combined products."

Read The Fear of A Simple Fever to understand how wrong-headed the common practice of using so-called fever-reducers (antipyretics) is.

But it gets even worse.

There is a large body of mostly unreported research that shows Tylenol use in infants and children is one of several contributing factors behind the autism spectrum disorder epidemic. It has also been linked to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (were the true causes of these “disorders” identified and removed, children would not be prescribed amphetamine to suppress the symptoms of what is essentially poisoning). Read Tylenol Damages The Brains of Children, Research Reveals. Moreover, Tylenol suppresses human empathy, not unlike psychiatric drugs. There’s also evidence that administering only one dose a month can raise the risk of asthma in children by a staggering 540%.

Keep in mind, this is just the tip of the Tylenol toxicity iceberg. A search of for search terms “Tylenol AND Liver Toxicity” retrieves over 4,000 published results.

So if you are going to “kill pain,” be prepared to risk killing parts of your own biology, as well as potentially disrupt your psychological and emotional health. Pain and inflammation are integral components of the body's self-healing processes, and if it's chronic and unresolved you have to identify the root causes and fix them. The analogy is having a thorn in your hand and adding chemicals to suppress the pain and inflammation signals instead of removing the thorn to permanently gain relief.

For those who are simply looking for natural alternatives to gain some relief without risking harming themselves, the following sections on are worth reviewing:

* Pain

* Inflammation

* Osteoarthritis

* Ibuprofen Alternatives

For those looking for deeper, more permanent solutions to their pain and inflammation issues, read my book REGENERATE: Unlocking Your Body’s Radical Resilience, which includes an entire section discussing the profound healing role of the ancestral diet in resolving chronic health conditions endemic to the Standard American Diet (S.A.D) and modern Western lifestyle. You can join FOR FREE the upcoming REGENERATE Masterclass to get in-depth, personalized instruction from me when it launches in late November. Register here today to save your spot!

Lastly, consider there are over 10,000 mom-and-pop natural health stores in the U.S., none of which market pharmaceuticals to their loyal customers. The staff are generally well educated, committed to the principles of natural health and environmental stewardship, and need your support now more than ever. If we give all our money to Whole Foods (Amazon), we will continue to see them water down their standards and alter their product selection until the true natural healing and organic movements are nothing more than a distant memory.

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