Archive for March, 2017

Supplements like multivitamins versus drugs

supplements

Before I discuss some specific topics about multiple vitamin/mineral supplements, I probably should at least touch on the question of whether they are useful. A bunch of studies show benefits from multivitamins. However, it seems that only the ones showing no result or a problem make the news. I always read at least the abstracts of those negative reports and it seems most of them have design problems. They often start out showing their inherent bias in the introduction by using other questionable studies as background. Below is one example of a study with remarkable benefit that should have been in the newspaper:

  • 7,728 postmenopausal womenwho had been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer were followed for about 7 years. Breast cancer deaths were 30% lower among the women who were taking multivitamins. 30%! Link to study.

The subjects in that breast cancer study were not instructed which product to take. Because quality makes such a big difference, I’d love to know how the data would stack up if we could compare the women on a great multivitamin to those on some crappy product from a discount store. For example, I saw one study that showed significant memory benefits in subjects taking a so-so multivitamin. In contrast, a similar study did not show benefit…but, the multi used in that study was Centrum Silver. Speaking of that particular product, I started to list at 8 or more reasons I do not approve of it. But, to keep this blog from getting too long, decided to give that list next week. (Don’t miss it. It will be brutal.)

I’ve had multiple requests about Bill Sardi’s Molecular Multi. People want to know where to get it, which supplements I was able to stop taking, and what things I still take along with it. (By the way, Molecular Multi commercials air on our show at no charge because I hope to boost sales enough that Bill Sardi can become a sponsor.) The list below is after I switched from what was already a very good 4-capsule multivitamin:

  • Using muscle testing as a double check, I eliminated: ascorbyl palmitate (an oil soluble form of vitamin C), vitamin E, a fancy B-complex and potassium.
  • I also reduced the amount of vitamin A, zinc, selenium and vitamin D.
  • It was reassuring that after Dr. Einsohn muscle tested me on Molecular Multi, he said that he had never seen such a positive reaction. He wanted to buy some.

Link here to Bill Sardi’s article about multivitamins. Mr. Sardi will soon release a bone formula that has vitamin K2. Meanwhile my vitamin D spray has K2 in it. Other supplements that I still take: Longevinex, an adrenal stress formula, Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics, Reg’Activ Liver/Detox and digestive enzymes. I also love Willard Water and Kyolic. Because of my small thyroid, I take 4 drops of a liquid iodine. Oh, and I take magnesium at bedtime and put fish oil in my protein drinks.

That may sound like a lot of supplements (the photo is generic, not my assortment). But consider this: 36% of seniors take 5 or more prescription drugs. I take no pharmaceutical chemicals whatever. I don’t have a particularly good family health history and what I’m about to say is not bragging, but rather a testimonial for nutritional supplements (and a prayer of gratitude). I have normal blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. I very sleep well; can walk 5 miles; do core-strengthening planks; and can touch my toes. I can usually work a 6-star sudoku puzzle so, there must be at least a few working brain cells. I am the same height that I’ve always been. (Okay, wise guys…as tall as I’ve been as an adult.)  I attribute the fact that I’m old yet still healthy and cheerful to nutritional supplements…and to what are mostly decent diet and lifestyle habits. (I don’t smoke or drink soft drinks.) I am fussy about the pills that I take and think that Molecular Multi is an especially good investment. Even so, I still want to save. That is why I buy 3 at a time to get one free. (It is currently only available directly from Bill Sardi’s company, Lifespan nutrition.)

Martie becomes a stalker after seeing an egg white breakfast

cholesterol

Last Friday morning, while eating breakfast at La Madeleine, I happened to notice the plate of another diner. I just could not stop thinking about how pale her eggs were. You see, I’m just not a fan of egg white scrambles and omelets because egg yolks contain some wonderful nutrients. (I like to point out that an egg has every nutrient needed to build a chicken. Except for some protein, those are all in the yolk.) I was thinking that a lot of folks haven’t yet heard that eggs are off the no-no list. Some are still suspicious because there is a little cholesterol in the yolks. But, we need to remember that our liver makes as much as 80% of the cholesterol in our blood. If we eat more, the liver just makes less. Geesh, I really couldn’t just walk up to the lady’s table and start lecturing her about eggs. But, I also couldn’t let it go. So, I craftily decided to apologize for interrupting her meal with her husband to give her a radio card. I said that, seeing the egg whites, I guessed she was interested in heart health. She therefore might want to listen to Jim LaValle who would be talking about that the next day on our show.

Shirley (I now knew her name) said she was indeed being careful because her cardiologist said she had a blockage in an artery. I mentioned that sugar and starch are now thought to be the bigger threat for heart disease than dietary fat or cholesterol in foods. Most of the time I talk to listeners who already know at least the basics. So, I was a little surprised when she said that she had just read about that the day before. Oh, my. Dr. Atkins had been saying that since the 1970’s. It does take a while! (And, if what you know comes mostly from drug-dependent mainstream medicine, even longer.)

My new friend said it is just hard to change. Yes, it is. But, I’m sure you’ve heard that if we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we will keep getting what we’ve been getting. Shirley had been getting bypass surgery and prescriptions for multiple statin drugs to lower her cholesterol. Unfortunately, she could not tolerate the side effects of the drugs. I had already recorded the LaValle show and so Kyolic Reserve and #107 were fresh on my mind.  I told her about how they help reverse the most dangerous type of arterial plaque. Shirley was leaving when I remembered the remarkable results a listener, Dave, had with vitamin K2. It helped him reverse surgery-ready hardening of the carotid artery. Darn, she was already out the door. And even in the unlikely event she did listen to Dr. Lavalle’s interview, she would not hear about K2. I could not help myself, I chased her out into the parking lot to tell her about Dave’s experience. By now, I she must think I’m a crazy person. (I think I could hear my husband Bill roll his eyes.)

Shirley said that one of her arteries is 60% blocked. (I know of people reversing their arterial diseases from blockages of a much higher percentage.) She does not want another surgery and can’t tolerate the statins. Perhaps she could try a new type of drug, Repatha. But, she may not like the $15,000 a year price tag or the side effects that range from the flu and back pain to high blood pressure and dizziness to name a few. (Oh, by the way, the drug has not been shown to improve death rates from cardiovascular disease.) Why not try a lower carbohydrate diet, some Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract and Jarrow’s K-Right? There are hundreds of studies on aged garlic extract alone and they show fringe benefits, not side effects!

What if the doctor’s orders are wrong?

doctor’s orders

The whole idea of doctor’s “orders” bothers me. After all, it is your health and your choice! A doctor should be an advisor like your lawyer or accountant. Decisions should be made by the patient after the doctor and patient share information. It has been considered routine and acceptable to get a second opinion before taking a major step such as surgery. But, it is apparently no longer smart to simply take her word for what to do about chronic conditions and test results…at least without double checking those recommendations.

The problem is that the average doctor just goes by the “standard of care” guidelines. They are kind of a cookbook created by what is basically a committee. The rules don’t allow much innovative thinking and become stagnant dogma that is perpetuated…even when there is little scientific evidence to support them and even when they are wrong.  Too often the rules are also influenced by entrenched economic interests such as those of pharmaceutical companies, big medicine and even insurance companies. Below is some evidence that what is considered “standard” may be far from optimum. (In case you can’t read the caption in the cartoon, it says “Your condition has no symptoms or health risks, but there is a great new pill for it.”)

  • This article from Consumer Reports (CR) debunks the myth that the higher our HDL (“good” cholesterol) the better. CR notes that “increasing HDL levels arti­fi­cially, without behavioral changes, doesn’t reduce risk at all.” Drugs are being prescribed to raise HDL, but the studies show that they do not lower cardiovascular risk. And, more surprisingly, elevated HDL levels might even be a problem.
  • This article in the Atlantic tells of a man who wisely pushed back on doctor’s orders to have a stent installed in one his arteries in favor of doing more research. The article notes a contributor’s summary that “nobody [who is] not having a heart attack needs a stent.” Also, “hundreds of thousands of stable patients receive stents annually, and one in 50 will suffer a serious complication or die as a result of the implantation procedure.”
  • This article in UK’s Daily Mail points to a lack of science behind a number of hard and fast “rules” we’ve been taught. Examples include: get 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week; take 10,000 steps a day; eat 5 portions of fruits and vegetables a day; eat oily fish once a week; drink 8 glasses of water a day; and aim for a certain calorie level (2,000 for women / 2,500 for men). Even if there was science to prove these rules, they would be for an arbitrary average person. You are unique.
  • This is just some relatively new information, but this list could be very long indeed.

What about patient advocacy groups as a source of information? We’d like to think they are pure of intent, but according to The NY Times, 9 out of 10 have potential conflicts of interest because they take money from big pharma and often have their reps on the charity’s board of directors.

Well then, where should we get a second opinion if most doctors in the insurance network went to similar medical schools and operate out of the same cookbook? (That just gives us the same opinion twice.)  Dr. Google is a good place to get questions, but not always reliable answers. (The information in the HBN library gives some reliable sources.)

Ideally, an integrative or functional medicine doctor can give you both the standard answers and the alternative and innovative approaches. He or she can help you decide which avenue makes the most sense for you. (The type of physicians who sponsor our radio show are like that.) If you don’t have access to one of those, you can put together a little team. For example, your brain trust might include a highly-recommended chiropractor, a nutritionist, an acupuncturist and a massage therapist. You might be surprised that a chiropractor can help with a major cause of acid reflux (hiatal hernia) and a nutrition adjustment might solve depression, and so on.


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