Your Retirement Future

It's no secret that Social Security is living on borrowed time...

Without congressional action (or some sort of miracle), the money is going to run out. That means the roughly 25% of U.S. adults on Social Security would stop getting government checks.

It's a scary thought, especially for younger folks.

Worse, late last month, the program's trustees came out with new projections that the combined retirement and disability trust fund's reserves will run dry in 2034. That's a year earlier than previously projected.

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Many analysts are betting that legislators will eventually move to shore up the program. But we've long preached that you can't rely on the government. You've got to take control of your own finances if you want to live a comfortable retirement.

As I always say, if you are relying on the government to carry you through retirement, you'd better find a backup plan.

The best way to start is to get your money working for you through investing. And you want to invest in companies that will grow your wealth and give you a way to earn income year after year... no matter what's going on with Social Security, the cost of living, or inflation.

There's a sector that famously outpaces inflation year after year – something you can use to your tremendous advantage if you know how.

Health and medicine are undergoing a radical transformation that few can see and even fewer understand. That's why I've enlisted a world-renowned expert on how the health care industry really works, along with a research microbiologist with experience in the world's most prestigious labs.

Trillions of dollars are changing hands. And extraordinary innovation is taking place very quickly. And recently, we unveiled the full story...

If you haven't watched it yet, click here to see what's happening now and how it can help you live a longer, richer life – before it's too late.

Now, let's get into some of the things you've had on your minds this week. As always, keep sending your comments, questions, and topic suggestions to [email protected]. We read every e-mail.

Q: Are probiotic pills just as good as yogurt? – C.A.

A: Probiotics are the healthy, beneficial bacteria available in pills or in some foods (like yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut). These bacteria are similar to the healthy bacteria already lining our colons. Probiotics help you better absorb nutrients and give your immune system a big boost.

Sometimes, illnesses wipe out your healthy bacteria, or you might not be getting enough bacteria in the first place if you don't eat a balanced diet. Taking probiotics brings bacteria into your colon, helping to restore the correct balance of bugs.

Longtime subscribers know I prefer getting benefits from whole foods instead of pills.

However, probiotic pills can contain more strains of bacteria than probiotic foods. And unlike many supplements, they really can contain just the bugs and not a bunch of fillers or potentially dangerous chemicals. Just make sure to follow these rules for choosing a probiotic supplement...

1. Check the expiration date. Because probiotics are alive, they won't last in a box in your medicine cabinet forever. They will run out of food quickly and start to die off. Taking them by the expiration date gives you the best benefit.

2. Don't fall for the gummies. Independent research firm Labdoor conducted an in-depth review of 30 kinds of probiotics. It found gummy and chewable products contained about 92% fewer bacteria than the regular pill form.

3. Look for a supplement with more than one type of bacteria. Both Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium have dozens of species. Because our individual bodies have unique mixtures of gut bacteria, some types will help you more than others. Combinations of different species offer more diverse possibilities.

Q: Can you share the problems with drinking aloe and colloidal silver? Thanks for all your work. – P.L.

A: Several years ago, aloe vera drinks started growing in popularity. Even some of our coworkers were drinking them. But there's little science to back up some of the claimed health benefits. You can read more about why we're not chugging aloe here.

And while we haven't dedicated a full issue to it, colloidal silver is a popular – and dangerous – supplement.

Colloidal silver means silver particles suspended in liquid. You'll find bottles of colloidal silver with claims that it boosts your immune system. Some bottles also say the liquid is nontoxic.

But not only can it turn your skin blue, it can even lead to kidney damage and seizures. And colloidal silver is regularly ranked on Consumer Reports' list of dangerous supplements and ingredients.

What's more, we found little evidence to back up any claims that colloidal silver is beneficial.

One Indian study concluded that the silver interfered with a type of bacteria that resisted drugs, allowing the antibiotic Linezolid to pass through the membrane and kill the bacteria... But this study looked at a very specific type of bacteria with a certain type of function, so it won't work on all bacteria. It's not a reason to take colloidal silver at all. Even if it does prove to work against other types of bacteria, it's only effective when coupled with an antibiotic.

So steer clear of colloidal silver. If you want to boost your immune system to better fight off bad bacteria, try probiotic foods or well-chosen supplements like I discussed in my previous answer. And don't forget to load up on antioxidants in foods like blueberries and coffee.

What We're Reading...

Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,

Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
June 23, 2023