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Friday, March 22, 2013
Thursday, February 28, 2013
As seen in Whole Health Insider:
Aspirin is one of the most widely used over-the-counter medications, with an estimated 120 billion tablets taken each year.1 Not only can it be an effective remedy for headaches, body aches and fever, but millions of people at high risk of heart attack due to atherosclerosis use daily aspirin therapy as a preventative measure, thanks to aspirin’s anticoagulant properties.
Because it’s so commonly used, many people assume that aspirin is pretty safe. And they’re right—aspirin does have a relatively good safety profile, especially when compared to other drugs on the market that have a myriad of toxic side effects, like statins. But that doesn’t mean aspirin use is completely free of risk.
The side effects most people associate with regular aspirin use include gastrointestinal bleeding, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and hemorrhagic stroke caused by a burst blood vessel. And now recent research has uncovered a lesser known, but very eye-opening risk to long-term aspirin use—macular degeneration.
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In a study published in December 2012, researchers followed nearly 5,000 participants (aged 43 to 86 years) for more than 20 years. These participants, part of the Beaver Dam Eye Study, received eye examinations every five years. Results showed 512 cases of early age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and 117 cases of late AMD over the course of the study.
Additionally, at each exam, participants were asked if they had regularly used aspirin at least twice a week for more than three months. Researchers found that regular aspirin use 10 years prior to eye examination was associated with late AMD, with estimated incidence of 1.76 percent, compared to 1.03 percent in non-aspirin users. Researchers concluded that these associations, though small, were statistically significant.2
Interestingly, regular aspirin use 10 years prior to eye examination was significantly associated with the “wet” form of AMD, which accounts for 10 percent of all AMD cases, but is responsible for the majority of functional blindness attributed to the disease.
An even more recent study published in January 2013 confirmed this aspirin/AMD link. In this study, researchers analyzed data from a 15-year Australian population-based cohort.
At the beginning of the study, 2,389 participants completed a detailed questionnaire that assessed aspirin use, heart disease status and AMD risk factors. In addition, they received four eye examinations during the 15-year study period.
After analyzing data, 63 (out of 257) regular aspirin users developed wet AMD—an astounding 24.5 percent. Even after adjusting for other risk factors like age, sex, smoking, history of heart disease and body mass index, regular aspirin users still had a higher risk of developing wet AMD. Researchers concluded, “Regular aspirin use is associated with increased risk of incident neovascular [wet] AMD, independent of history of cardiovascular disease and smoking.”3
Alternatives to Aspirin
If you’re a regular aspirin user, you should get a thorough eye exam as soon as possible to determine your AMD status. This is extremely important because AMD often doesn’t show any symptoms until well after the condition has taken hold.
Even if your exam determines that your eyes are healthy and free of disease, we recommend discussing the cessation of regular aspirin therapy with your doctor. Fortunately, there are plenty of natural pain-relief and blood-thinning nutrients you can take that will not affect your eyes—or your gastrointestinal tract or ears for that matter.
One effective pain relief solution that you can find in most health food stores is white willow bark. In fact, aspirin was originally derived from the bark of this tree.
Its active ingredient, salicin, has been used for centuries to relieve all sorts of pain, including arthritis and headache pain. In the late 1800s, scientists developed a synthetic form of salicin called salicylic acid, and aspirin was born.
Fortunately, white willow bark suppresses pain without the risks associated with synthetic aspirin. In one study, researchers found that patients who took either 240 mg or 120 mg of salicin experienced significant relief from chronic lower back pain, compared to the placebo group.4
If you use aspirin as a blood thinner to prevent heart attack, you have natural alternatives, as well. Some of those options include nattokinase,5 garlic (in either food or supplement form), ginger (in either food, supplement form or consumed as a tea), fish oil and vitamin E.6
As always, consult your physician before discontinuing the use of prescribed medication—even if the prescribed drug is an over-the-counter one like aspirin. Then express your desire to try a more natural approach to heart attack prevention or pain relief.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Recent studies show that both girls and boys are entering puberty much earlier than before. Boys are reaching puberty up to 2 years early at age 9 or 10. Girls, on the other hand, are reaching physical maturity even much faster, up to 6 years earlier, with physical changes often seen before 8 years old.
This disturbing trend has been linked to exposure to environmental hormones or xenoestrogens in plastics, clouding agents, phthalates and cosmetics. Children are so easily susceptible to exposure because these xenoestrogens are found everywhere. Clouding agents are used in juices, sports drinks and fruit jams, among others. Babies are even more susceptible. For example, babies come in contact with adults wearing cosmetics, which contain lead and other xenoestrogens. These substances are then transferred to babies who have more sensitive systems and are therefore more vulnerable to the effects of xenoestrogens. Not only do these xenoestrogens promote the production of sex hormones that causes early maturity but also causes faster bone growth, both of which are irreversible.
Adults are not safe from the harmful effects of xenoestrogens either. Xenoestrogens also include phytoestrogens and pharmacological estrogens (e.g., synthetic estrogens found in hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills). While supplementing with these estrogens is necessary for those who are deficient, accumulation of excess estrogen is always a risk. Among women, excess estrogen can lead to ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, fibrocystic breasts, etc. Among men, xenoestrogens can lead to reduced sperm count, feminizing qualities, increased testicular and prostate cancer risk and more. In both men and women, xenoestrogens can lead to belly fat, insulin resistance and cardiovascular risk.
Once exposure to xenoestrogens is stoppped, further effects can also be halted. Steps must also be taken to reduce the effects of xenoestrogens already in the body.
Myomin's mechanism against xenoestrogens is two-fold:
H. Rodier, MD from Utah, always recommends Myomin to patients who have been exposed to xenoestrogens. Myomin's effect on estrogen is evident in the following new case reports:
G. Depke, ND from California, has a 52-year-old male patient taking Myomin. He initially had high levels of estrone and estradiol, both potents forms of estrogen. After 4 months on Myomin, both his estrone and estradiol levels reduced to within normal range.
Dr. Depke has another patient, a 47-year-old female, who was taking progesterone and DHEA for adrenal fatigue (progesterone and DHEA can eventually be converted into estrogen). Not surprisingly, her progesterone to estradiol (Pg/E2) ratio was low at 50.29, indicating estrogen dominance. After taking Myomin, her estradiol and progesterone levels reduced. Her Pg/E2 ratio increased to a normal 242.44, signifying that she is no longer estrogen dominant.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Solgar has always created innovative products. Since 1947 the reliable brown glass bottles have served the american and international markets well. Some of my patients with special requirements such as the need for hypoallergenic or Kosher ingredients benefit from thier formulas.
Some new product releases include Minnows Omega-3 mini bursts. Children love the tutti frutti sorbet flavor. This is a great way to get the healthy essential fatty acids into your kids. Healthy fatty acids are important for brain function and hormone communication in between cells. Other systems include immune, cardiovascular musculoskeletal hair and nails.
Another novel new release is their liquid melatonin 10 mg in natural Black Cherry flavor. I find it helpful for my patients that suffer from jet lag to normalize circadian rhythms.
To save 20% on Solgar products click here:
Friday, December 14, 2012
As Read in:Whole Health Insider
By and far, smoking is the biggest risk factor for lung cancer. In fact, up to 90 percent of the lung cancer cases in the U.S. can be attributed to smoking.1
But what about the remaining cases of lung cancer—the ones that affect people who’ve never smoked? What factors influence that cancer development? Furthermore, not all smokers develop lung cancer. About 15 percent are spared this dreaded diagnosis. What is it that protects this extremely high-risk group?
According to recent research, the intake of flavonoids may be the answer.2
What Are Flavonoids?
By now, you’ve probably heard of antioxidants—nutrients that protect the body from molecules called free radicals, which alter the DNA of cells and permanently damage them, potentially leading to disease. Well, flavonoids are a huge group of antioxidant compounds, found primarily in fruits, vegetables and some beverages like tea and wine.
Flavonoids are further broken down into six main subclasses:
As a whole, research has shown that flavonoids can be powerful disease fighters and preventers, thanks to their anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic and anti-proliferative properties.3 Some animal studies even indicate that dietary flavonoids exist in lung tissue, possibly playing a role in cancer prevention.4
Taking this into account, researchers in Montreal followed 2,486 male and female participants (1,061 lung cancer patients and 1,425 controls) between the ages of 35 and 75.
Researchers conducted interviews with all the participants to assess lifestyle behaviors (smoking, drinking, diet, etc.) and occupational history. Using a food frequency questionnaire, they also assessed dietary habits of all the participants—two years prior to lung cancer diagnosis in the cases, and two years prior to being interviewed for the controls.
After analyzing the data they collected, researchers found that total flavonoid intake was not associated with lung cancer risk. The results were similar, regardless of sex or smoking level. However, they did link low flavonoid intake from foods, but not from beverages, with a higher risk of lung cancer overall—specifically squamous cell carcinoma.
While the researchers did not find statistically significant evidence of positive flavonoid effect based on how much someone smoked, there were reduced risks in moderate to heavy smokers were seen in those who fell into the middle quartiles for total flavonoids, flavanols and flavonols, as compared to light or nonsmokers.
Overall, the researchers concluded that, although smoking is the biggest risk factor for lung cancer, adding flavonoid-rich foods to your diet can offer an avenue for prevention and protection that otherwise would not be there.
Adding flavonoids to your diet is pretty easy. Simply increase your intake of all sorts of berries and other fruits, vegetables, legumes and dark chocolate (the highest percentage of cocoa with the fewest grams of sugar that you can find).
And even though the study did not find that flavonoid-rich beverages provided lung cancer protection, drinking tea (green in particular) and red wine offers many other health benefits, including significantly reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.5-6 So it definitely doesn’t hurt to drink more green tea and enjoy a small glass of red wine a few nights a week.
If you prefer to take flavonoids in supplement form, there are several options available, including quercetin, citrus bioflavonoids and green tea extract.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Canada Declares BPA Toxic
October 19, 2010
Last week, the government of Canada formally declared bisphenol A (BPA) to be a toxic substance. The US still denies it.
This comes after Canada’s first national physical study on BPA revealed that 91% of Canadians have the chemical in their bodies, with teenagers having the highest concentrations.
As we have noted in numerous Pulse articles and Action Alerts, there are serious health risks from exposure to the endocrine-disrupting chemical BPA. As a result, there have been nationwide efforts to ban it from food and beverage containers, especially those used by babies and children. ANH-USA has petitioned the FDA to review the widespread use of BPA in children’s dental products, but the Agency has not deigned to respond.
Animal tests show that BPA, a plastics hardener that is also a synthetic estrogen, can cause reproductive and behavioral abnormalities and lower intellectual ability, and sets the stage for cancers, obesity, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease.
The New York Times reports that Canada’s move was strenuously fought by its chemical industry. Designating BPA as toxic will make it easier to ban the use of BPA in specific products through regulations rather than by amending legislation, a cumbersome and slow process, according to an official at Environment Canada.
Other encouraging Alzheimer’s news comes from the University of California at Irvine, where a study recently showed that mice with cognitive impairment had dramatic improvement with niacinamide. Niacinamide is one of the water-soluble B-complex vitamins known as B-3. Niacin, or nicotinic acid, is another form. When an amide molecule attaches itself to niacin, it becomes niacinamide (also called nicotinamide). The body can convert niacinamide back into niacin but is unable to make niacinamide out of niacin. One major difference is that in doses exceeding 50 mg, niacin typically produces flushing of the skin, but niacinamide does not. Niacin and niacinamide also have different applications. In the niacinamide form, it reduces inflammation. Since many studies indicate that inflammation may trigger Alzheimer’s, researchers wondered if niacinamide would help Alzheimer’s.
Researchers gave mice the equivalent of a human dose of 2000 to 3000 milligrams of niacinamide, and the results were shocking. “Cognitively, they were cured,” said Dr. Kim Green, the head of the study. “The vitamin completely prevented cognitive decline associated with the disease, bringing them back to the level they’d be at if they didn’t have the pathology.” Niacinamide also improved memory in mice without Alzheimer’s.
Pioneering integrative physician and researcher Jonathan V. Wright, MD, notes that niacinamide has been widely used for a variety of purposes for more than 60 years, and its safety is well known. He reports that as far back as 1943, William Kaufman, PhD, MD, a psychiatrist and exceptionally thorough clinical researcher, showed that niacinamide deficiency causes impaired memory, easy distractibility, an inability to concentrate, mental fog, slowed thoughts, difficulty comprehending, unwarranted anxiety, a lack of initiative, being uncooperative or quarrelsome, etc. And he discovered that all of these symptoms—and many more—“disappeared or…improved considerably” with the use of niacinamide.
Niacinamide isn’t the only B vitamin that may help significantly with Alzheimer’s. A study from Oxford University found that fairly high dosages of three B vitamins (folic acid, B6 and B12) could reduce the rate of brain atrophy in patients with mild cognitive impairment—because these vitamins reduce homocysteine. (Other studies have found that TMG, or trimethylglycine, also controls homocysteine and is useful if the B vitamins are not enough.) Around 50% of people with mild cognitive impairment go on to develop Alzheimer’s.
But this study, widely trumpeted in the world press, wasn’t quite what it seemed. It was a study of B vitamins, yes, but it was at the same time a study of a patented drug. How could that be? Why was a drug company happy to see the curative role of B vitamins established? Here’s why: TrioBe Plus—the formulation of the B vitamin used in the study, is a patented drug, even though it is really just a blend of three ordinary vitamins and shouldn’t have received a patent. It is made by a Swedish drug company, Meda AB, based on a patent held by the chief researcher. As our colleagues at ANH-Int’l point out, the lead author of the research had to declare a conflict of interest because the patent for the use of these vitamins in this particular form is in his name. He will therefore personally gain massively if your local doctor starts to prescribe this to everyone who’s complaining about losing their car keys on a regular basis.
So the pharmaceutical industry is once again patenting and promoting a drug that’s not a drug, but is merely three forms of vitamin B you can get from any health food store. Supplements are not drugs—but drug companies are so unsuccessful in producing new drugs that they are looking greedily at supplements.
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