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Scam ads use a fake endorsement by Ben Carson to promote unproven hypertension treatment

Ben Carson endorsed CBD gummies and “3 completely natural ingredients” to cure hypertension
Factually inaccurate: The claim relies on alleged publications featuring Ben Carson endorsing a product called BioHeal Blood CBD or other “natural” remedies. However, a representative of Ben Carson denied any involvement or endorsement of such products. Moreover, there is no known cure for hypertension.
Inadequate support: The claim that the product called BioHeal Blood CBD or that “three natural ingredients” consumed regularly reduce cholesterol levels and cure hypertension isn’t supported by clinical evidence. A healthy diet can help control hypertension but individual ingredients aren’t enough to make it “disappear”. While some data suggest that some natural ingredients may have an effect on cholesterol or blood pressure, the results are scant and of low quality.
Hypertension is a risk factor for numerous cardiovascular diseases. Some treatments exist to reduce blood pressure. Keeping a healthy lifestyle, such as by limiting fat, salt, and alcohol intake, not smoking, and getting regular physical activity greatly reduces the risk of developing hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.

FULL CLAIM: Ben Carson endorsed CBD gummies and “3 completely natural ingredients” to cure hypertension, dissolve cholesterol deposit, clean blood vessels.


Scams selling clinically unsupported natural cures for diseases such as cancer or diabetes are rife on social media, as Health Feedback already documented in earlier reviews. Some hallmarks of those scams include fabricated celebrity endorsements and the use of webpages mimicking the appearance of bona fide institutions or outlets, as we documented here and here.

In late 2023 and early 2024, Facebook posts and webpages promoting blood vessel cleaning and hypertension-curing ingredients raised the same red flags of scam advertising once again.

For instance, a Facebook post featured a photo of neurosurgeon and former politician Ben Carson on what seemed to be a cover of Time magazine, claiming that Carson ”discovered 3 completely natural ingredients” that reduce cholesterol levels and make hypertension disappear.

In another instance of that claim, Carson was featured on what looked like the comment section of the scientific journal Nature (Figure 1). The page contained an alleged interview of Carson promoting cannabidiol (CBD) gummies that reduce cholesterol levels and reverse hypertension.

Figure 1 – Screenshot of the Nature journal lookalike page featuring Ben Carson.

Many versions of such posts promoting alleged cures for high blood pressure used pictures of other personalities, such as Steven Gundry, or suggested an endorsement by renowned medical institutions like the Mayo Clinic (see Figure 2).

Figure 2 – Screenshot of additional posts promoting high blood pressure “cures”.

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a risk factor for many cardiovascular conditions such as aneurysm, heart failure, and stroke. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is an effective way to manage blood pressure. There are also clinically proven medications such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers, and beta blockers that doctors prescribe to patients to control blood pressure.

However, the belief in fake or unproven cures for hypertension, fanned by Facebook ads described above, may lead people to decide not to take their prescribed medicine or adopt necessary lifestyle changes, thus putting them at risk. We’ll explain why the CBD gummies and “3 natural ingredients” ads featuring Carson have the hallmarks of scam ads and show that they are indeed fake.

No evidence CBD gummies cure hypertension; advertisements use misleading tactics

First, neither the Time magazine cover nor the Nature magazine interview are genuine. Ben Carson didn’t appear on any Time magazine covers between 2015 and 2023. The URL for the alleged Nature magazine article is “https://adipat.autos/zxwozai7889zczhaongzxc/” which bears a domain name that is unrelated to that of the Nature website. That page also includes comments from alleged users at the bottom, which Nature doesn’t do.

Second, Carson didn’t endorse those CBD gummies. A representative for Carson told The Dispatch that he “ha[d] never endorsed or even heard of this product” and that “this [was] a scam and completely fake”. A fact-check from Lead Stories confirmed the denial of Carson’s involvement and demonstrated that a video allegedly from Carson endorsing CBD gummies was a deep fake.

The fake Nature interview also contained inaccurate information. It claimed that two Japanese scientists were awarded a Nobel Prize for research about so-called “active oxygen molecules” that would have been discovered in 2007 and would constitute the main component of those CBD gummies. However, no such research or scientists were awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine or Chemistry in the period between 2000 and 2023.

Thus, the promotion of these CBD gummies relies on fake outlets, fake endorsements, and unsubstantiated appeal to authority, strongly indicating that this is a scam.

Furthermore, the purchase link leads to a page touting the health benefits of these gummies, such as “regulates blood pressure” and “lowers bad cholesterol”. It also claims that it contains ingredients that have been “scientifically PROVEN to manage high blood pressure”.

But scroll further along the page to the bottom and it shows that those peddling the supplements quickly walk back on these claims. Here, in small print, the page declares that “this product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Results in description and testimonials may not be typical results and individual results may vary”.

The page also provides a list of ingredients supposed to lower blood pressure (biotin in combination with chromium) and to lower cholesterol (berberine and bitter melon). However, clinical data on the effect of these ingredients on hypertension or cholesterol level is scant and of low quality.

While clinical trials reported an effect of berberine in lowering cholesterol levels[1,2], the heterogeneity and the risks of bias of available studies preclude drawing conclusions. The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) explained that available data is “heterogeneous, of low quality, or had a high risk of bias”.

The MSKCC also said that data on the health benefits of bitter melon in humans is limited and of low quality and made no mention of an effect on cholesterol level. A search# on PubMed, a repository of scientific publications in biology and medicine maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, returned no results in a search of studies on the effect of bitter melon on hypertension or cardiovascular diseases.

Results on the use of chromium and biotin to reduce blood pressure are contradictory. A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies reported that chromium supplementation could reduce blood pressure[3]. However, a more recent meta-analysis concluded that chromium didn’t change blood pressure[4]. The MSKCC didn’t report any effect from biotin or chromium on blood pressure.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that in 2020, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) initiated law enforcement crackdowns on CBD-containing products “making a wide range of scientifically unsupported claims about their ability to treat serious health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, hypertension, Alzheimer’s disease, and others”. So far only one CBD-containing product, called Epidiolex, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, for treating seizures.

No evidence that “3 natural ingredients” cure hypertension either

Some versions of the claim didn’t link to pages selling CBD gummies and simply claimed that “3 completely natural ingredients” could make “elevated blood pressure [disappear]”. Text from these posts further suggests that it would only take a regular consumption of 30 grams of those ingredients to see the effects.

This claim is also unsupported. Medical institutions, such as the Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic, and the School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania all explain that a healthier diet can help control, or even reduce, blood pressure. For instance, the Cleveland Clinic indicated that the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet can “drop systolic pressure up to 11 mmHg”.

However, the DASH diet doesn’t involve a few specific ingredients but instead is a complete overhaul of one’s eating habits. For instance, the DASH diet requires increasing one’s consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean proteins, while cutting back on fatty meats, full-fat dairy and tropical oils. This is paired with other healthy habits such as daily exercise and cutting down on tobacco and alcohol. Moreover, neither the DASH diet nor any other diet would make hypertension “disappear”.

In summary, neither CBD gummies nor natural ingredients are in themselves a cure for hypertension. Hypertension is a lifelong condition and no known cure is currently available. As the saying goes, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. As we demonstrated above, these online advertisements promising miracle cures and boasting of celebrity endorsements employ deceptive tactics and lack scientific evidence for their claims. Users are advised to give such advertisements and claims a wide berth.

UPDATE (16 January 2024):

This article was updated to reference alternate versions of the claim, alleging endorsements from personalities other than Carson. The update also extends the claim of hypertension cures to natural ingredients as advertised in online posts.


# Pubmed search query (Melon[Title] OR charantia[Title] OR Momordica[Title]) AND (cardiovascular[Title] OR pressure[Title] OR cholesterol[Title] OR hypertension[Title] OR thrombosis[Title] OR heart[Title])



Published on: 08 Jan 2024 | Editor:

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