Archive for November, 2018

Poison your way to health?

Medications can save lives if used properly in a crisis and help manage conditions for those unwilling or unable to change their habits. I certainly do not recommend readers stop a crucial medication without discussion with the doctor. (It is exceptionally dangerous to suddenly stop psychiatric medications.)

But, wouldn’t our ancestors be astounded to learn that 20% of the US population takes five or more drugs each day? And, for context, that the effects of those meds in any one year kill more Americans than breast cancer, gun shots, auto accidents, AIDS, home fires, tornadoes, floods, and workplace accidents. Actually, to come close to the total annual drug deaths you have to add the total of two recent wars and the 911 tragedy! Those shocking numbers don’t even reflect the serious under-reporting or the fact that drugs contribute to deaths blamed on other causes. 

Most drugs, even those originally based on herbs, are now new-to-the-planet new-to-humans chemicals. It is no surprise that they all have side effects. That is because their mode of action is typically to poison a natural bodily process in order to calm a symptom or force a test result change.

Unfortunately, too often meds also interfere with a process that we need. For example, statin type cholesterol drugs interfere with our ability to make heart protective CoQ10. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Advil, Aleve, Aspirin, Celebrex, Motrin, and many more) calm pain, but as you may know, also weaken the lining of our intestinal tract and cause thousands of deaths annually from internal bleeding. As pharmacist, Suzy Cohen, points out in Drug Muggersvirtually all drugs interfere with nutrients. As I note in Natural Alternatives to Nexium and other acid blockers, among other problems, those heartburn drugs interfere with critically important vitamin B12 and magnesium.

Medications are too often prescribed when there is no proven necessity. For example, cholesterol lowering drugs are given to the elderly when studies show they live longer without them. Or that up to 50% of the time, antibiotics are wrongly used for viruses or when watchful waiting would be better. (In the Probiotic Cure I detail the tragic price we pay when antibiotics kill off our good bacteria.) Drugs are given in doses that are arbitrarily too high, for longer than makes sense, and in combinations that have never been tested (polypharmacy).  

Try listening to TV drug commercials with your eyes closed so that you aren’t distracted by the pretty pictures. The potentially lethal side effects they list so casually may not even be the worst problem. Because doctors are programed to automatically give a medication for any complaint, that there is rarely an effort to find and fix the real cause. It doesn’t help that they receive so little training in other approaches.

Drugs are also routinely used when there are less toxic alternatives…telling that story that is what Healthy by Nature’s radio show and writing is all about. Natural remedies are typically very safe and, because they enhance the body’s fundamental processes rather than interfere with them, they usually provide fringe benefits. While you work on one thing, 2 other things may get better!

The main reason for the overreliance on medications is that pharmaceutical industry money has been proven to corrupt the FDA, the US Congress, state regulators, medical schools, medical journals and even doctors.

Check out this Library Page. (I’ve added this blog copy to it.) At the bottom you will find links to save money on drugs; guides to drug safety (e.g. interactions, identify a pill, side effects, patient comments); statistics on use; evidence of willful wrongdoing by the pharmaceutical industry; radio interviews; and helpful books on the topic.

Drug Blues and Nutrition News

Drug Blues and Nutrition News

Every single day around the world there is more information about our near miraculous nutrients and plants. However, because wealthy big pharma can lobby the news media so effectively, what we usually hear about are drugs they hope will someday be a silver bullet. They kind of forget that most of the ones they ballyhooed previously turned out to be only narrowly effective, grossly expensive and with scary side effects.

Fortunately, our HBN listeners and readers can safely prevent and even cure diseases for just pennies and with fringe benefits instead of side effects. Our blockbuster show on vitamin C this coming Saturday is one example. Below are a couple more tidbits:

  • Alzheimer’s disease has been linked to viruses. Known for causing cold sores, herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1) is quietly lying dormant in the majority of people by the time they are seniors—even if they never have had cold sores. There is growing evidence of a strong connection between (HSV1) and Alzheimer’s. Apparently, when a person is stressed, the virus acts up and causes damage. Then it seems the amyloid plaque despite its bad reputation, may just be a defense mechanism. In folks who also carry the APOE4 gene, the risk is 12 times greater. Article. Knowing that there might be a virus involved in this dread disease is good news because we can boost our immune system (e.g. zinc, vitamin C, probiotics, thymus glandulars, etc.) and gently fight viruses with natural antivirals like elderberry, garlic and olive leaf. The amino acid L-lysine might also help as it seems to with cold sores.
  • Zinc deficiency during pregnancy linked to autism in babies. Without sufficient zinc, the babies nervous system does not behave normally. The researchers said that the link isn’t proven as a cause just yet. However, modest supplementation can only help. Oops…”One-A-Day Prenatal” contains zinc oxide which is very poorly absorbed. And, if a kid is borderline because he didn’t get a good start on zinc from mom when he starts getting lots of vaccinations, maybe this is the real autism / vaccine connection. Bill Sardi has been telling us to make sure kids have enough zinc on board before getting immunizations. (His kid’s vitamin has 10 mg and it is the well-absorbed citrate form.)

Selenium is a superstar

The trace mineral selenium certainly doesn’t get the attention it deserves. The following items are not in priority order because they are all extremely important.

  • Thyroid. An under-functioning thyroid gland can be responsible for depression, high cholesterol, constipation, pain, heart trouble, menstrual irregularities, fatigue, hair loss, memory issues and other problems. Learn more. Inadequate intake of selenium is one cause of thyroid problems because selenium is needed to convert the storage form of thyroid hormone (T4) into the active form (T3). Here is an example study showing that selenium and zinc help thyroid function.
  • Helps zinc. On the radio show (especially when Bill Sardi is the guest) we frequently discuss the critical importance of zinc to our immune function, general health and longevity. However, zinc can be bound up and selenium frees it. In one study, zinc plus selenium improved immunity in older animals after vaccination.
  • Antioxidant. As you probably know, our cells are under constant attack by “free radicals” that are also known as “oxidants”. Free radicals are a major cause of inflammation, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and so on. Selenium is one of the nutrients offering significant protection from these oxidant attacks. One way it does so is by being used in glutathione peroxidase (master antioxidant/detoxifier).
  • Selected benefits. Given the fundamental way selenium operates, we can expect a wide range of downstream benefits. The following are just examples.
    • Cancer.Many studies show that cancer patients have low levels of selenium. (And vitamin D.)

In an exciting interview with Dr. Richard Passwater, the researcher told us about a randomized trial showing that an organic form of selenium yeast cut overall deaths from cancer in half! It also dramatically cut the incidence of various cancers (e.gprostate cancer reduced by 63%, colon cancer by 58%, etc.). The inorganic forms of selenium pills (e.g. the more common sodium selenite and sodium selenate), while perhaps useful in some way, have not been shown to have this dramatic cancer protective effect. Sadly, when the National Cancer Institute began a study supposedly designed to “replicate” that research, they used the wrong kind. Jarrow Formulas’ product SeleNext uses the form implemented in the original study.

Selenium’s functions listed above would help explain the anti-cancer effects, but there may be more ways. Studies show that supplementation even to individuals with normal blood selenium levels resulted in a dramatic improvement in the ability of lymphocyte type immune cells to kill tumor cells and a large rise in the activity of natural killer cells.

  • Alzheimer’s. It does not prove cause and effect, but several studies have demonstrated that Alzheimer’s patients have lower blood levels of selenium.
  • Autoimmune disease. Low levels of trace minerals such as selenium is a common finding among patients suffering autoimmune diseases. Example study.
  • Postpartum Depression.This study said: “…supplementation with selenium during pregnancy might be an effective approach for the prevention of postpartum depression.”

Form and quantity matter. The foods shown in the photo are good sources of selenium if the soil in which the foods are grown contain adequate selenium. Most people don’t eat Brazil nuts which is the richest source. It seems smart to supplement without going over 400 mcg per day which is the safe upper limit of selenium for food and pills combined. (Government site that lists food amounts.)

The multivitamin / mineral that I take (Molecular Multi) contains 120 mcg of selenium as amino acid chelate. That means the mineral is carried by a component of protein to make it more like food. In contrast, Centrum Silver only offers 19 mcg. and that is sodium selenate an inorganic form that, according to Wikipedia, is also used as an insecticide.


Colds and Flu Remedy KIT

In a previous article, I discussed preventing colds and flu, but if we unfortunately get sick we need to know what to do. Most people have a cold for about 7 days and feel subpar after the flu for up to 2 weeks. However, with quick action using natural methods, you can nip a problem in the bud…or at least shorten your sick time so that you are just annoyed rather than truly miserable.

On the page listing Colds and Flu Do’s and Don’ts, I list the dangers of drug store medicines. Symptoms may be evidence of the healing process at work (even fever), so we should be careful suppressing them with toxic chemicals. The concerns about prescription drugs for the flu are also discussed on that page. In contrast, the natural antivirals suggested below have fringe benefits, not toxic side effects.

All of the following work in different ways and can be combined:

  • Vitamin D– Keeping your blood levels of vitamin D in the 75-100 range will help greatly to prevent illness. But, several experts also say that if you take temporarily high doses (e.g. 50,000 units a day and even more for 3 days from the onset of symptoms) you can nip viral infections in the bud. It has worked for me. 
  • Vitamin C– If you have heard that vitamin C does not help prevent or treat colds and flu, that was probably based on faulty studies. This study points out that regular intake of vitamin C does help prevent and alleviate infections including pneumonia. The most effective doses were in the range of 6,000-8,000 mg /day. For prevention (and other benefits) I take 500 mg vitamin C capsules plus bioflavonoids 4 times a day. To achieve the higher doses recommended when you are sick, a powdered C might be more convenient.
  • Oscillococcinum®– At the first sign of symptoms, try this hard to pronounce homeopathic. If you wait until you are absolutely positive it’s a cold or flu, the pathogen has had time to multiply and your odds of success are lower. Some of the science is controversial but suggests that it is safe and reduces the duration and severity of flu symptoms. It is easy to take tiny pellets and handy to have with you. 
  • Elderberry extract– They call the contamination of a computer a “virus” because of the way it works. It takes over the computer machinery and spreads the misery to other computers. Human disease viruses are not separate multiplying entities like bacteria, but rather rogue genetic material that inserts itself into our cells and uses our own processes to make copies of itself. The virus is more vulnerable when it first arrives with just a protein or fat coating containing its genetic material. Once it becomes hidden inside one of our own cells our immune forces have more trouble finding it. (Our good bacteria are very clever and can help direct immune cells to hidden enemies.)This yummy berry extract has a scientifically confirmed folklore reputation as an antiviral for helping with colds or flu. In this scientific article about flu drugs, elderberry extract, was compared favorably to Tamiflu in effectiveness.There is other evidence that it is helpful with both bacterial and viral infections. This paper regarding its use with the H1N1 virus, notes that it may keep viruses from being able to bind to our cells. I prefer the liquid and one sweetened without sugar. Add it to ginger tea if you like.
  • Olive leaf extract– This is a plant used for centuries because it relieved infectious disease symptoms. Modern science shows that one of the actions is against viruses. Read Dr. Ron Hoffman’s interesting write-up which is complete with scientific references. Kyolic has a great combination (#103) that contains olive leaf, aged garlic extract, oregano oil and many other ingredients that will help you get well.
  • Zinc lozenges – As a review of studies concludes, the mineral zinc, especially in lozenge form, results in “a significant reduction in the duration of cold at a dose of ≥ 75 mg/day”. (Follow package directions but do not go to sleep at night with one in your mouth because you will awaken with a metallic taste that lasts for hours.)
  • Probiotics– A number of studies have shown probiotic bacteria to help with viral illnesses. Not all studies show benefit, but then researchers don’t always use great products. In this journal article, the authors speculate that probiotics may help fight viruses in these ways: (1) direct probiotic-virus interaction; (2) production of antiviral inhibitory metabolites [selective antibiotics]; and/or (3) via stimulation of the immune system. There is no conclusive proof yet, but, it can’t hurt you and probiotics have other benefits. You can’t do better than Ohhira’s Probiotics. I like this brand because it already contains hundreds of helpful substances made by the bacteria and it improves the gut environment for all our hundreds of strains of beneficial bacteria.
  • Magnesium– Magnesium supplements should be part of the basic supplement program for most people, but if you feel achy from a cold or flu, soak in a warm Epsom salts bath. Not only is it soothing, you will also absorb magnesium through your skin. Since it is anti-inflammatory and helps detoxing, you may get well faster.
  • Vitamin A-Vitamin A helps the immune system and supports the health of the mucous membranes like those of the sinuses, throat and lungs. There is little risk in supplementing at high doses (25,000 IU or more) for 2 or 3 days
  • Silver nasal spray – On the Do’s and Don’ts page, I suggest using a nasal flush with a netti pot. That helps clear out mucus. Then I recommend dosing with Sovereign Silver nasal spray to kill any pathogens that might be hanging around.

BE READY! Too often when we start to feel icky, it is after the health food store is closed and we don’t feel like going out anyway. That’s why I keep my “colds/flu remedy kit” in a plastic cleaning supplies tote like the one shown below.  I also include a copy of this page because, if I feel awful my brain is tired too. In addition to the items above, it also contains a box of tissues and a sack to isolate the used ones.

Think positive and avoid harmful medications.

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