Nutritional Deficiencies: Symptoms and Solutions for 24 Common Deficiencies

I am often asked why I prescribe (and take) so many supplements. Although this article is very lengthy, I think it contains important information that will help you appreciate the need for supplementation. I hope you find it useful.

When the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion compiled their Healthy Eating Index, they found only a slight reason to smile. Only ten percent of the population had a good diet. (Side Note: the USDA’s standards are very low, as compared to optimum health.)

This was based on ten aspects of diet, including how many servings of fruits, vegetables and meat were being consumed, along with how much sodium and cholesterol and variety were in a person’s diet. (Side Note: Eating cholesterol is not a problem. Your body produces four or five times more cholesterol than you eat. Another symptom of the USDA’s poor standards.)

The rest of their findings left something to be desired:

  • 16 percent of the population had a “poor” diet
  • The rest of the population (74%) ad a diet that “needed improvement”

As the USDA pointed out, poor or inadequate diets are linked to four of the top ten causes of death: heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. As it turns out, most of us have less-than-deal diets that essentially leave our bodies starving for more nutrients.

Along with poor diets, studies have found that key nutrients in foods have greatly declined since 1909. This is most likely because the soil is not as nutrient-dense as it once was; and the processing of foods seriously degrades the nutrients that do exist. So not only are we eating fewer healthy foods, but those we do eat contain fewer nutrients than they once did. You should also understand that fresh produce is not the answer, either, since grocers typically wash produce every 10 minutes or so, and this seriously depletes the B vitamins and minerals in the food.

AS a result, many Americans – even those who think they are eating relatively healthily – may be suffering from nutritional deficiencies. Some of the more common ones in the United States include:

Zinc Phosphorus
Iron Vitamin D
B vitamins Fiber
Magnesium Folic Acid
Calcium Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)
Vitamins E and C Chromium
Iodine Copper

(Side Note: nearly everyone I have ever tested is deficient in zinc. Read on to find out just how important that is.)

 

If you are experiencing any unusual health symptoms, a nutrient deficiency could be to blame. Below is a list of common and not-so-common nutrients, along with deficiency symptoms and foods you should eat if you think you need more of those nutrients. Please note that the recommended foods are not generally on the average individuals shopping list. If you are avoiding whole grains and dairy (Paleo diet), you are short-changing yourself even further. I also doubt many of us consume liver (a nutrient super star) on a regular basis. Also discussed are four little known misconceptions regarding copper, magnesium, iodine and chromium.

Biotin

  • Deficiency: Uncommon
  • Symptoms: Dermatitis, eye inflammation, hair loss, loss of muscle control, insomnia and muscle weakness
  • Recommended foods: Swiss chard, cauliflower, liver, salmon, carrots, bananas, cereals (whole grains only) and yeast

Calcium

  • Deficiency: Average diet contains 40% to 50% of RDA
  • Symptoms: Brittle nails, cramps, delusions, depression, insomnia, irritability, osteoporosis, palpitations, periodontal disease, rickets and tooth decay
  • Recommended foods: Spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, yogurt, milk, mozzarella cheese
  • Supplementation: Take calcium supplements. However, DO NOT take calcium carbonate, which is like swallowing rocks that can cause gut blockage, is unabsorbable and can do potentially more harm than good for your digestive tract. Calcium provides a marker for white bloods cells to identify bacteria or bad cells, which is helpful in reducing most fevers. When calcium is deficient, especially when a high fever is present, the white blood cells are unable to find the calcium markers to rid the body of the bad cells. Call your doctor’s office if fever persists.

Furthermore, your body uses protein to transport calcium in your blood stream. So, if you are a vegan or have trouble digesting protein, you can very well be deficient in the beneficial effects of calcium.

Chromium

  • Deficiency: 90% of diets are deficient
  • Symptoms: Anxiety, fatigue, glucose intolerance, adult-onset diabetes
  • Supplementation benefits: May help prevent heart attacks, improve cholesterol and much more
  • Recommended foods: Romaine lettuce, onions, tomatoes, brewer’s yeast, oysters, liver, whole grains, bran cereals, potatoes

Chromium is an essential mineral that we all need – in trace amounts – to help maintain normal blood sugar, insulin and cholesterol levels. However, many Americans are deficient in this nutrient, primarily because modern food processing strips away much of the chromium that naturally occurs in commonly eaten foods. {N.B. French fries have no chromium left in them.}

Chromium can prevent heart attacks

Among the research revealing the importance of getting enough chromium is a study by Johns Hopkins University researchers published in an issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology. Based on a study of chromium levels of 684 men who had previously had a myocardial infarction (heart attack), it was found that low levels of chromium were linked to an increased risk of heart attack. Specifically:

  • The men in the study had, on average, 15% lower chromium levels than men in a control group who had never had a heart attack.
  • Those with the highest chromium levels were 35% less likely to have a heart attack than those with the lowest levels.

Chromium is beneficial for reducing cholesterol levels

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that chromium significantly lowers cholesterol levels. Among 300 patients, those receiving chromium had cholesterol reductions of 20 points, on average. Several other clinical studies also suggest that chromium is useful for lowering bad LDL cholesterol, while raising the good (HDL) kind.

 

Control diabetes and high blood pressure

Chromium is the active component of glucose tolerance factor (GTF), which primarily increases the action of insulin. When blood glucose levels begin to rise after a meal, the pancreas secretes insulin. The insulin lowers glucose levels in your blood by increasing the rate at which glucose enters your cells. In order for this to happen, insulin must attach to receptors on the surface of the cells; GTF is thought to initiate this process. (Side note: All of the blood sugar regulating nutrients I prescribe do contain chromium.) It is most effective for pre-diabetes, but is also helpful in Type 2 diabetes.

Why many Americans may be deficient

Although you can get all the chromium you need from a healthy diet, many Americans eat a diet that focuses on processed junk foods or other highly refined foods. If this applies to you, you may not be ingesting enough chromium.

Food that is highly processed does not retain its naturally occurring chromium. It is therefore essential to eat fresh, chromium-rich foods (listed above). Chromium deficiency can lead to:

  • Insulin resistance
  • Elevated blood levels of insulin (hyperinsulinemia)
  • Elevated blood levels of glucose
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Syndrome X (a collection of symptoms including hyperinsulinemia, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, high blood sugar and low HDL cholesterol levels. All of these factors increase your risk of heart disease)

I remember attending a seminar in the mid- to late 1990s where one of the original researchers presented his data with regard to the beneficial effect of chromium on HDL levels and heart disease. Seems like the medical world is finally catching up!

Are you getting enough?

Although there is no official recommended daily allowance for chromium, the National Institutes of Health say normal daily-recommended intakes are as follows:

  • Birth to 3 years of age: 10 to 80 micrograms per day
  • 4 to 6 years of age: 30 to 120 micrograms per day
  • 7 to 10 years of age: 50 to 200 micrograms per day
  • Adolescents and adults: 50 to 200 micrograms per day

However, be aware that certain conditions can increase the excretion of chromium from your body, which increases the amount of chromium you need to take in. These conditions include: diabetes, heart disease, physical injury or trauma, and mental stress. These levels are low based upon optimum health. I typically prescribe 600 to 1200 micrograms per day.

Copper

  • Deficiency: 75% of diets are deficient; average diet contains 50% of RDA
  • Anemia, arterial damage, depression, ADD and ADHD, anxiety, bipolar disorder (especially in young people), diarrhea, fatigue, fragile bones, hair loss, hyperthyroidism, weakness
  • Deficiency or toxicity tests: Blood, urine, feces and hair testing
  • Recommended foods (only if deficient. Be certain to test for deficiency vs. toxicity especially in children diagnosed with ADD or ADHD): crimini mushrooms, turnip greens, blackstrap molasses, raw cashews, sunflower seeds, spinach, asparagus, dark chocolates (while reducing zinc-rich foods, such as meats)

If copper toxicity is found (high levels of copper): zinc is the primary agent for depletion of copper and is important in the effort to eliminate toxic levels of copper to gain balance. In addition to zinc supplementation, zinc is found in meats while it is also important to reduce consumption of foods listed above that contain copper.

The key is balance. The challenge is the commonness of zinc deficiency and the prevalence of copper water pipes, which increase ingestion of copper.

Copper is so important to your daily functions that in a research paper the World Health Organization (WHO) stated:

Copper is an essential nutrient. The USA and Canada recently established a recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for adults of 900 μg/day. Values for children are 340 μg/day for the first 3 years, 440 μg/day for ages 4 through 8, 700 μg/day for ages 9 through 13 and 890 μg/day for ages 14 through 18.”

             “Copper is required for the proper functioning of many important enzyme systems.”

To put it simply, copper is described by doctors such as Dr. Lawrence Wilson (nutritional consultant and former medical writer and researcher for the U.S. Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health) as having:

“. . .a number of important functions in the human body. . .1. Bones and connective tissue. Copper is required to fix calcium in the bones and to build and repair all connective tissue. . .2. Energy production in the cells. Copper is needed in the final steps of the Krebs energy cycle called the electron transport system. This is where most of our cellular energy is produced. . .3. Immune response. Copper must remain in balance with zinc. When imbalances occur, one is more prone to all infections, in particular fungal and yeast infections that are so common today.”

But that’s not all; Dr. Wilson adds that copper is also important for:

“4.The glandular system, particularly the thyroid and adrenal glands . . .In part, this is due to its nature and how easily it is influenced by the sympathetic nervous system. . .5. Reproductive system. Copper is closely related to estrogen metabolism, and is required to women’s fertility and to maintain pregnancy. . .6. Nervous system. Copper stimulates production of the neurotransmitters epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine. It is also required for monoamine oxidase, an enzyme related to serotonin production. As a result, copper is involved deeply with all aspects of the central nervous system.”

Of the problems associated with too much or too little copper in your system are:

“. . . most psychological, emotional and often neurological conditions. These include memory loss, especially in young people, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and others.. . .”

If you want to know more, read Dr. Wilson’s article on Copper Toxicity Syndrome.

Is your child exhibiting symptoms of ADD or ADHD?

The Canadian Mental Health Organization highlights the fact that diagnosing ADD and ADHD is extremely difficult. In particular, they state: “Children with these disorders are inattentive, overly impulsive and, in the case of ADHD, hyperactive.”

Again, it is important to emphasize that an accurate diagnosis cannot simply be determined on your own. You must seek the meticulous and detailed experience of a healthcare professional, especially one with experience treating these particular disorders.

The problem is that it is impossible to determine zinc/copper imbalances simply by observation. Testing is essential, particularly with the prevalence of copper water pipes in the U.S. (Side bar: New construction is more dangerous than old pipes. See the hyperlink above for more info.)

Essential Fatty Acids

  • Deficiency: Very common
  • Symptoms: Diarrhea, dry skin and hair, hair loss, immune impairment, infertility, poor wound healing, premenstrual syndrome, acne, eczema, gall stones, liver degeneration
  • Recommended foods: wild-caught salmon (avoid farm-raised salmon because they are fed corn which destroys the Ω3:Ω6 ratio), flax seeds and walnuts

A problem in the U.S. is the prevalence of commercial fisheries and feedlots where fish and beef cattle are fed corn for convenience. This “innovation” has seriously changed the balance of Ω3:Ω6 fatty acid ratio. The only statistic I am aware of is that (in grass-fed animals) this ratio is 1:1. Commercially raised animals exhibit a ratio of 1 part Ω3 to 13 parts (or more) Ω6. This is a real problem because Ω3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory, while Ω6s are inflammatory. Sesame seed oil supplements (not cooked oil) can be used to block the conversion of Ω6 to inflammatory prostaglandins. Since Ω6s are ubiquitous in our food supply, I highly recommend everyone take a sesame seed oil capsule with each meal.

Folic Acid

  • Deficiency: Average diet contains 60% of RDA; deficient in 100% of elderly in one study; deficient in 48% of adolescent girls — requirement doubles in pregnancy
  • Symptoms: Anemia, apathy, diarrhea, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, loss of appetite, neural tube defects in fetus (spina bifida and worse), paranoia, shortness of breath, weakness
  • Recommended foods: Romaine lettuce, spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, mustard greens, parsley, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, and lentils. (Yes, parsley is more than just a garnish.)

I don’t know how many of you are aware of the neural tube defect epidemic in the 1970s. Many babies were being born with spina bifida or anencephaly (lack of brain development); research indicated that the problem was a folic acid deficiency. This led directly to the “enrichment” of white flour with another B vitamin – folic acid. As you may know, I don’t consider adding a smidgen of nutrition back into a food that has been denuded of its value (white flour) to be “enrichment.”

In addition, in my clinical experience, people with heart problems respond amazingly to high doses of folic acid. Need is determined by looking at the complete blood count; enlarging red blood cells (RBCs) indicate that the body needs more folic acid and vitamin B12 to produce more RBCs. My experience makes sense with regard to improving heart problems since RBCs carry oxygen to the tissues.

One of the major problems with folic acid, as with all of the B vitamins, is that it is washed out of fresh greens at the supermarket as the grocery attempts to “preserve” freshness with constant misting.

Iodine

  • Deficiency: Often mistakenly believed to be an uncommon deficiency based on the belief that there is enough supplementation of iodine with iodized salt.
  • Symptoms: Weight gain, breast cancer, cretinism (in infants), fatigue, hypothyroidism (leading to heart failure in severe instances), heart palpitations, heat intolerance, nervousness, insomnia, breathlessness, increased bowel movements, light or absent menstrual periods
  • Recommended foods: Seaweed, sea vegetables, yogurt, cow’s milk, eggs, strawberries, and mozzarella cheese. (Side bar: careful regarding seaweed and sea vegetables. Avoid those harvested from polluted waters.)

Thyroid hormone is needed to help the cells of organs and tissues work at night. Thyroid hormone helps your body use energy, helps you stay warm and allows your heart, brain and other organs to work at peak performance.

Thyroid hormone also regulates the formation of other hormones and governs sexual function. If your levels of thyroid hormone drop below normal, your heart, liver, kidneys and endocrine system are all affected.

A shortage of iodine causes devastating changes to your thyroid gland and leads to malfunctions of metabolism and immune response. Many other parts of your body contain large stores of iodine, including the breasts. Next to your thyroid glands, breasts are the body’s second largest storage sites for iodine. That is simply because iodine is needed for proper breast development, function and maintenance of the breasts’ shape and structure. Without iodine your body simply could not function.

Iodine and your diet: Are you getting enough?

One of the most common misconceptions that many people have been sold is that table salt provides you with all of the iodine that your body needs to remain healthy. This could not be further from the truth. With only 10% of iodized salt being bioavailable, it is hardly enough to supply your body with the necessary amounts of iodine. Furthermore, as mentioned in the above article, the substitution of bromine for iodine in baked goods causes further depletion.

Despite all of the data showing the importance of iodine in the body, many people are still unaware of the need to maintain their iodine levels. Recent research shows that iodine levels in humans over the last 30 years have plummeted by an average of 50%. This decline is thought to be one of the most logical reasons for the increased number of many serious chronic health problems, including possibly breast cancer. Another article on thyroid health is linked here.

One researcher who has studied this issue in depth is David Brownstein, MD, author of the book “Iodine: Why You Need It. Why You Can’t Live Without It.” I highly recommend it. Dr. Brownstein tested over 4,000 people, checking their iodine levels. He found that 96% of the people studied had iodine levels that were below normal. What was even worse is that most of them had levels so low, that they were below any detectable limits. It is for this reason that eating a diet rich in iodine is so important for your overall health. Some suggestions for eating a well-balanced diet while boosting iodine include:

  • Seafood: It is recommended that you eat two to three meals of seafood per week in order to get the beneficial fish oils. Eating fish just two times a week will also provide most adults with enough iodine to meet their average iodine requirement. However, you must be careful to choose only wild-caught seafood from non-polluted areas. Also, avoid fish at the top of the food chain (tuna and shark, for example) to avoid mercury contamination.
  • Dairy Products: Milk and cheese are great sources of iodine with one cup of milk having around 55 The fad of avoiding all dairy products further depletes iodine reserves.
  • Organic Yogurt: A natural probiotic, yogurt is a great food full of iodine and is easy to add to your diet. Look for natural varieties that do not contain excess sugar or artificial flavors. My personal favorite is Elli Quark, sweetened with stevia and available online.
  • Seaweed (kelp) and eggs: These foods provide additional dietary sources of iodine; however, as with fish sources the seaweed needs to come from unpolluted areas.
  • Some vegetables: Veggies may contain iodine, but only if they are grown in iodine-rich soils. This is becoming less and less common as agribusiness uses chemical fertilizers.

Iodine deficiency, hypothyroidism and breast cancer

Recent research shows that prolonged deficiencies of iodine can cause or exacerbate breast cancer. Animal studies were conducted over 40 years ago that show breast tissue of animals with iodine deficiency developed cancer when the deficiency was not corrected. The same study showed that the risk of breast cancer was directly related to the length of time the iodine deficiency was present.

Iodine deficiency is also known to cause a condition known as fibrocystic breast disease. It is a pre-cancerous condition of the breast tissue, which makes the breast very painful and fibrous. Due to the fibrous and dense nature of breast tissue in fibrocystic disease, it is very hard for doctors to detect the presence of breast cancer. Several studies have shown that supplementation with iodine significantly decreased breast pain, tenderness and nodules in women with fibrocystic breast disease. This makes it easier to evaluate breast tissue properly when testing for the presence of cancer.

Other studies have shown that women with breast cancer tend to develop an enlarged thyroid (a symptom of iodine deficiency) more often than women who do not develop breast cancer. This is especially true among women who have swelling of the thyroid gland due to iodine deficiency, a condition known as goiter.

Given the fact that both the breasts and the thyroid glands must compete for iodine in the body when a deficiency is present, it makes sense that these conditions would develop in the absence of proper iodine levels.

Additional studies show that women with breast cancer are more likely to develop hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function, than are women who are healthy. The researchers believe an association between hypothyroidism and breast cancer may be due to the biologic effect that the thyroid hormones have on the cells of breast tissue. It is believed that iodine deficiency leads to excess estrogen, which then leads to breast cancer or fibrocystic breast disease. The ovaries normally concentrate iodine, but when iodine is deficient, the ovaries simply produce more estrogen. This exposes the breasts to higher concentrations of estrogen in the blood stream, which makes the risk of fibrocystic breasts or breast cancer much higher.

Iodine is thought to suppress the growth of tumors, induce the death of tumor cells and regulate the genes that influence hormone metabolism, the life cycle of cells, growth and differentiation.

Hypothyroidism and iodine supplements

It is always very important to realize that if you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and are taking iodine supplements, your doctor needs to monitor your situation closely. As the iodine supplements begin to increase the efficiency of your thyroid function, you may require adjustments in the dosage of your thyroid medication.

You should contact your doctor regarding your dosage if you experience any of these common symptoms of hypothyroidism:

Palpitations Fatigue
Heat Intolerance Increased Heart Rate
Nervousness Trembling Hands
Insomnia Weight Loss
Breathlessness Muscle Weakness
Increased Bowel Movements Warm, Moist Skin
Light/Absent Menstrual Periods Hair Loss

Iron

  • Deficiency: Most common mineral deficiency
  • Symptoms: Anemia, brittle nails, confusion, constipation, depression, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, inflamed tongue and mouth lesions
  • Recommended foods: Swiss chard, spinach, thyme, shitake mushrooms, green beans, liver and red meat

Magnesium

  • Deficiency: 75% to 85% of diets deficient. Average diet contains 50% to 60% of RDA
  • Symptoms: Anxiety, confusion, heart attack, hyperactivity, insomnia, nervousness, muscular irritability, restlessness, weakness
  • Recommended foods: Swiss chard, spinach, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, black beans, navy beans

Magnesium rarely edges out other, more talked about nutrients like vitamin E or calcium to make front-page news, but it should. Magnesium plays a vital role in several hundred of your body’s functions, including energy production and normal heart function, but the majority of Americans are not getting enough in their daily diets.

As many as 68% of Americans do not consume the daily recommended amount of magnesium, according to a government study. 19% do not consume even half of the amount they need. Even the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) points out that, “For many people, dietary intake may not be high enough to promote an optimal magnesium status, which may be protective against disorders such as cardiovascular disease and immune dysfunction.” (https://ods.od/gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessionnal/) Please paste into your browser; I could not get it to work as a hyperlink.

According to ODS, “Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body.” It helps to do the following:

  • Maintains normal muscle and nerve function (e.g. quiets restless legs and Charley horses)
  • Keeps heart rhythm steady
  • Supports a healthy immune system
  • Keeps bones strong
  • Regulates blood sugar levels
  • Promotes normal blood pressure
  • Maintains energy metabolism and protein synthesis

“There is an increased interest in the role of magnesium in preventing and managing disorders such as hypertension cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” says ODS, and it is this increasing knowledge that magnesium is a major player in heart health that has piqued many scientists’ interest. Highlights of studies on the topic include:

  • The American Heart Journal reported that patients with good magnesium levels who had undergone surgery to replace damaged coronary arteries were less likely to die or have a heart attack in the following year than those with poor magnesium levels.
  • A strong link was found between optimum levels of magnesium and a lowered risk of coronary heart disease, as reported in the American Journal of Cardiology
  • In a study of cardiac bypass surgery patients by Duke University Medical Center, it was found that those with low magnesium levels were twice as likely to experience a heart attack or die from al causes as those with normal levels.
  • A long-term study of men by researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine found that those with the lowest magnesium intake were twice as likely to have had coronary heart disease problems than those with the highest intake.
  • Evidence suggests that low magnesium levels increase the risk of abnormal heart rhythms, which may increase the risk of complications after a heart attack, according to ODS.
  • Heart disease patients who received a magnesium supplement twice a day for six months had a 14% improvement in exercise duration and were less likely to experience exercise-related chest pain than those who received a placebo.

“A growing body of evidence,” explains Jerry L. Nadler, MD, division chief of endocrinology and metabolism at the University of Virginia, “suggests that magnesium plays a pivotal role in reducing cardiovascular risk and may be involved in the pathogenesis of diabetes itself.”

Recommended dietary allowances for magnesium are as follows:

  • Boys and girls aged 1-3: 80 mg/day
  • Boys and girls aged 4-8: 130 mg/day
  • Boys aged 14-18: 410 mg/day
  • Girls aged 14-18: 360 mg/day
  • Men aged 19-30: 400 mg/day
  • Women aged 19-30: 310 mg/day
  • Men 31 and over: 420 mg/day
  • Women 31 and over: 320 mg/day

Again, these levels are low by optimum wellness standards. An excellent way to assess whether you are getting enough magnesium is by bowel function. If you are constipated, you need more. Also, if you suffer from nighttime muscle cramps you need more. Serum magnesium is one of the measurements in my standard blood chemistry test. Nearly everyone I test needs supplementation.

A 2011 meta-analysis published in Diabetes Care examined epidemiological studies with more than 500,000 participants and showed a diabetes risk reduction of 14% with every 100 mg increase in daily, dietary magnesium. A later, more rigorous double-blind study confirmed that after four months on magnesium supplementation, both fasting and postprandial blood sugar levels were significantly lower in the intervention group when compared with the placebo. A standardized measure of insulin resistance was also lower in the intervention group than in the placebo group. For more details, click here to link to the article.

Signs of deficiency

What we often call “clues”! Americans may have less-than-optimal magnesium levels and not experience signs of deficiency. For instance, while the recommended daily amount of magnesium for adult men is 420 mg/day, most eat only 327 mg/day. Early signs of actual deficiency include: loss of appetite, constipation, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and weakness.

More severe magnesium deficiency can result in: numbness and tingling muscle contractions and cramps, seizures, personality changes, abnormal heart rhythms, coronary spasms. Severe magnesium deficiency can lead to low levels of calcium and potassium in the blood.

How to get more magnesium in your diet

Eating a variety of magnesium-rich foods is the best way to get more of this essential nutrient. Remember that it’s possible to have sub-optimal magnesium levels and not experience any actual symptoms.

“A diet rich in magnesium would benefit everyone especially people with risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, such as obesity, hypertension, elevated blood lipid levels, or a family history of diabetes,” said Monika Waelti, PhD, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland.

Some of the best food sources of magnesium include:

  • Whole grains (only unrefined; refining removes the magnesium)
  • Avocados
  • Squash
  • Almonds
  • Leafy Greens (unfortunately, magnesium is washed out when the grocery stores spray water on the greens)
  • Some Beans and Peas

“Hard” drinking water is also a good source of the nutrient. “Hard” water typically has a higher concentration of magnesium salts than “soft” water.

“Increasing dietary intake of magnesium can often restore mildly depleted magnesium levels,” ODS reported. So go ahead and indulge in some magnesium-rich favorites like guacamole with some whole-grain crackers, baked acorn squash, fruit salad and mixed greens. You’ll be well on your way to a healthy magnesium level and, as more and more research is pointing out, a healthy heart to go along with it.

Manganese

  • Deficiency: According the University of Maryland Medical Center, it is estimated that as many as 37% of Americans do not meet the RDA for this mineral; may be common in women
  • Symptoms: Atherosclerosis, dizziness, elevated cholesterol, glucose intolerance, hearing loss, loss of muscle control, ringing in the ears, Peyronie’s syndrome in men (progressive scarification of the genitals. I have treated this condition and found only one reference to the need for manganese in the work of Dr. Royal Lee.)
  • Recommended foods: Mustard greens, kale, chard, raspberries, pineapple, romaine lettuce, collard greens, maple syrup
  • Foods that inhibit manganese: Foods that contain phytic acid, such as beans, seeds, nuts, whole grains and soy products; also foods high in oxalic acid, such as cabbage and sweet potatoes also affect manganese absorption, but to a lesser degree.

Niacin (B3)

  • Deficiency: Commonly deficient in the elderly
  • Symptoms: Bad breath, canker sores, confusion, dementia, depression, dermatitis, diarrhea, emotional instability, fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite, memory impairment muscle weakness, nausea, skin eruptions, inflammation, arteriosclerosis
  • Recommended foods: Crimini mushrooms, tuna (be cautious of mercury and other pollutants that can be found in fish), wild-caught salmon, chicken breast and asparagus

Corn, molasses and salt pork are all poor sources of niacin and are staples of the Southern diet. When I was a youngster, growing up in rural Florida, the crazy aunt in the attic was practically a cliché. The lack of niacin-rich foods led to pellagra, the late stage of severe niacin deficiency. Its cause and cure were not discovered until well into the 20th century.

Pantothenic Acid (B5)

  • Deficiency: Average diet of the elderly contains 60% of RDA
  • Symptoms: Abdominal pains, burning feet, depression, eczema, fatigue, headaches, hair loss, immune impairment, insomnia, irritability, low blood pressure, muscle spasms, nausea, poor coordination and an inability to relax
  • Recommended foods: Calves’ liver, mushrooms, cauliflower, avocado, broccoli, turnip greens, sunflower seeds

Pantothenic acid is critical to the proper functioning of the adrenal glands – hence the immune impairment and low blood pressure associated with deficiency. High stress increases our need for pantothenic acid and, since we cannot store it, we need adequate intake every day. That’s why I always recommend a complete B-complex as the basis of my nutritional programs.

A low pantothenic acid coupled with high stress results in overtaxed adrenals and an increase in cortisol, which can lead to weight gain (particularly in your abdomen) and water retention. In fact, adequate pantothenic acid can balance your cortisol production in mild cases.

Potassium

  • Deficiency: Common in the elderly
  • Symptoms: Acne, constipation, depression, edema, excessive water consumption, fatigue, glucose intolerance, high cholesterol levels, insomnia, mental impairment, muscle weakness, nervousness, poor reflexes and heart palpitations
  • Recommended foods: Chard, button mushrooms, spinach, avocado papaya, lima beans, lentils, melons, bananas

The biggest problem with potassium is that the more sodium you consume, the more potassium you excrete. The key is balance. The only way to determine whether you have a deficiency or excess of potassium is via a blood test since the symptoms are identical regardless of which side you fall on.

Pyridoxine (B6)

  • Deficiency: 71% of male and 90% of female diets deficient
  • Symptoms: Acne, anemia, arthritis, eye inflammation, depression, dizziness, facial oiliness, fatigue, impaired wound healing, irritability, loss of appetite, loss of hair, mouth lesions, nausea and intertrigo (an inflammation or rash of the body folds – like under the breasts or stomach overhang)
  • Recommended foods: Bell peppers, turnip greens, spinach, tuna, banana, chicken breast, turkey breast

Vitamin B6 is the precursor for a coenzyme that participates in some 100 enzyme-reactions in amino acid, glucose and fat metabolism. It is, therefore, critical to metabolic health and energy production. It is also a co-factor in the absorption of magnesium. If you need it, you simply can’t get magnesium into your system. Again, I determine need based upon your blood chemistry and symptoms.

Riboflavin (B2)

  • Deficiency: Deficient in 30% of elderly Britons
  • Symptoms: Blurred vision, cataracts, depression, dermatitis, dizziness, hair loss, inflamed eyes, mouth lesions, nervousness, neurological symptoms (numbness, loss of sensation, “electric shock” sensations), seizures, sensitivity to light, sleepiness, weakness, neonatal jaundice, cataracts, anorexia/bulimia and cognitive function
  • Recommended foods: Mushrooms, calves’ liver, spinach, spelt, dairy products, eggs and buckwheat

Since riboflavin is water-soluble, there is little chance of an overdose. About the worst that can happen is your urine turns bright yellow as your body excretes what it doesn’t need.

Selenium

  • Deficiency: Average diet contains 50% of RDA
  • Symptoms: Growth impairment, high cholesterol levels, increased incidence of cancer, pancreatic insufficiency (inability to secrete adequate amounts of digestive enzymes), immune impairment, liver impairment, male sterility, thyroid hormone impairment
  • Recommended foods: Button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, cod, shrimp, snapper, tuna, halibut, wild-caught salmon (watch out for mercury and PCBs in seafood), 2 brazil nuts daily

Thiamin (B1)

  • Deficiency: Commonly deficient in the elderly
  • Symptoms: Confusion, constipation, digestive problems, irritability, loss of appetite, memory loss, nervousness, numbness of hands and feet, pain sensitivity, poor coordination, weakness, liver function impairment
  • Recommended foods: Asparagus, romaine lettuce, mushrooms, spinach, sunflower seeds, tuna, green peas, tomatoes, eggplant, Brussels sprouts

On your blood work, a vitamin B1 deficiency elevates the most sensitive of the liver hormones, Gamma Glutamyl Transferase (GGT). GGT is the first enzyme to elevate when liver cells are dying. Unfortunately, standard chemistry panels prescribed by medical doctors do not include this important marker. It is part of every blood test that I perform.

Vitamin A

  • Deficiency: 20% of diets deficient
  • Symptoms: Acne, dry hair, fatigue, growth impairment, insomnia, hyperkeratosis (thickening and roughness of skin), immune impairment, night blindness, weight loss
  • Recommended foods: Milk, eggs, carrots, spinach, sweet potato, kale, collard greens, chard, red bell peppers

This is one nutrient I watch carefully, particularly in the elderly. It is too easy to induce an overdose, resulting in muscle weakness and bone pain. The reason this happens is that vitamin A is stored in the liver and can accumulate over time. However, vitamin A is very important to eye health, so you definitely want to get adequate amounts.

Some nutritionists recommend beta-carotene as a substitute. The only problem with that approach is that you have to have a healthy gut to convert beta-carotene to its active form: vitamin A. Beta-carotene is found in orange foods; think squash, yams and cantaloupe, for example.

Vitamin B12

  • Deficiency: Serum levels low in 25% of hospital patients
  • Symptoms: Anemia, constipation depression, dizziness, fatigue, intestinal disturbances, headaches, irritability, loss of vibratory sensation, low stomach acid, mental disturbances, moodiness, mouth lesions, numbness, spinal cord degeneration
  • Recommended foods: Snapper, scallops, red meat (N.B. serious absorption issues when the stomach lacks sufficient intrinsic factor; very common in the elderly)

Vitamin B12 deficiency is the biggest challenge faced by vegetarians. There is no vitamin B12 in vegetables. Some nutritionists tout blue-green algae (aka Spirulina) as a source, but the amounts are miniscule and don’t correct the deficiency. I base this conclusion on the hundreds of blood tests I have performed on patients, many of whom are ingesting blue-green algae.

This problem is particularly severe in the elderly, who often have trouble absorbing vitamin B12 due to a lack of intrinsic factor in the stomach. When you add vegetarianism or the avoidance of red meat to this scenario, you are simply asking for trouble. The neurologic symptoms are particularly severe and may lead to a mistaken diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, when simply taking B12 can turn the condition around.

Unfortunately, if allowed to progress unchecked, irreversible damage is done to the spinal cord leading to a very specific gait where the individual has to watch their feet to avoid falling. Also each foot “slaps” the floor, rather than having a typical heel/toe gait.

The vitamin B12 I prescribe is sublingual. You hold it under your tongue to allow the vitamin to absorb directly into the capillary blood under your tongue, rather than swallowing it.

Vitamin C

  • Deficiency: 20% to 50% of diets deficient
  • Symptoms: Bleeding gums, depression, easy bruising, impaired wound healing, irritability, joint pains, loose teeth, malaise, tiredness
  • Recommended foods: Parsley, broccoli, bell pepper, strawberries, oranges, lemon juice, papaya, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts

Although I do recommend buffered vitamin C, the best form is an organic vitamin C complex that retains all of the co-factors that aid both its absorption and function in the body.

Vitamin D

  • Deficiency: 62% of elderly women’s diets deficient
  • Symptoms: Burning sensation in mouth, diarrhea, insomnia, myopia, nervousness, osteomalacia, osteoporosis, rickets, scalp sweating
  • Recommended foods: Shrimp, milk, cod liver oil, eggs (you can also get Vitamin D from sensible sun exposure)

Recent research has revealed that vitamin D is essential to human health. Some of its multiple roles include: maintaining the health of bones and teeth; supporting the health of the immune system, brain and nervous system; regulating insulin levels and aiding in diabetes management; supporting lung function and heart health; and influencing the expression of genes involved in cancer development. Pretty important, isn’t it?

You would think that living in So. Cal., there would be no problem with vitamin D levels. That would be wrong. After testing literally hundreds of individuals, I can assure you that vitamin D deficiency is extremely prevalent. I highly recommend you get your blood tested to determine if you need this critical nutrient.

Vitamin E

  • Deficiency: 23% of male and 15% of female diets deficient
  • Symptoms: Gait disturbances, poor reflexes, loss of position sense, loss of vibration sense, shortened red blood cell life
  • Recommended foods: Mustard greens, chard, sunflower seeds, turnip greens, almonds, spinach

The gamma form of vitamin E is critical to heart health. Since almost all vitamin E supplements are the synthetic d-alpha-tocopheral, there is no gamma in the supplements. Therefore, when research on vitamin E and heart health was conducted using d-alpha-tocopherol, it was doomed to failure. That is the source of the medical “fact” that vitamin E doesn’t promote heart health.

Vitamin K

  • Deficiency: Deficiency in pregnant women and newborns is common
  • Symptoms: Bleeding disorders
  • Recommended foods: Spinach, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, carrots, green string beans, asparagus, red bell peppers, strawberries, eggs, tomatoes, green peas

Zinc

  • Deficiency: 68% of diets deficient
  • Symptoms: Acne, amnesia, apathy, brittle nails, delayed sexual maturity, depression, diarrhea, eczema, fatigue, growth impairment, hair loss, high cholesterol levels, immune impairment, impotence, irritability, lethargy, loss of appetite, loss of sense of taste, low stomach acid, male infertility, memory impairment, night blindness, paranoia, white spots on nails, wound healing impairment
  • Recommended foods: Calves’ liver, mushrooms, spinach, beef tenderloin, pumpkin seeds, green peas

Studies done on mice have demonstrated that zinc deficient mothers passed zinc deficiency on to their offspring through 3 generations, even with supplementation. Since the vast majority of patients I have tested are zinc deficient, supplementation is very important.

It is even more critical for men, since it is a key component seminal fluid and men lose zinc with every ejaculation.

Another key issue to me, as a craniopath, is that zinc is required to produce cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). If you lack CSF, your cranial pump will never function properly, resulting in brain fog, poor memory and other neurotransmitter deficits. CSF carries hormones that coordinate your nervous system and allow your brain to function optimally.

In conclusion, thank you for reading this far. I hope you found this information helpful. I also want to encourage everyone to get your blood work done so that we can optimize your health by allowing me to prescribe the essential nutrients you need. I have access to a professional cooperative that allows me to prescribe blood work anywhere in the country. I will be setting up an account with them as soon as I get settled in Idaho. For those of you in Southern California, I will be maintaining my California license, so prescribing blood work will not be a problem. I can then provide you with the nutrients you need and consult with you by phone, if you have questions. I wish you a long and healthy life.

 

 

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August 10, 2017 at 2:18 pm Leave a comment

Aspirin: Risk vs. Benefits

If you follow health care news, you could be led to believe that aspirin is a universal panacea for all sorts of diseases common in the U.S.A. today. Everything from heart disease to cancer is claimed to be improved by taking aspirin. However, the truth is far different.

In the first place, the studies touting the benefits of aspirin therapy are invariably paid for by the pharmaceutical industry. Can you say “conflict of interest?” When a negative outcome occurs and is actually published, the pharmaceutical companies jump in to bury those results in conflicting studies. The result: confusion and dangerous prescribing. Aspirin is a case in point.

It is touted as being able to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Furthermore, the latest hype is that “The benefits of aspirin go beyond the cardiovascular system. There is solid evidence that aspirin use may prevent certain cancers from occurring at all,” says A. Mark Fendrick, MD, an internist at the Univ. of Michigan Health System. He goes on to say, “Also population-based studies report that an aspirin a day will either slow the progression or even prevent dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. “

Other conditions that aspirin has been found to benefit include migraine headaches, cataracts, gum disease, pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) and prevent blood clots in veins during long plane trips. The irony is that there are safe and effective natural remedies for each of these conditions.

Here are some of serious side effects of aspirin:

  • Results of the Nurses’ Longitudinal Study published in 2003 demonstrated a 58% increase in the risk of pancreatic cancer among those who took 2 or more aspirins per week for 20 years or more. I wrote a second article in 2009 about this problem, particularly among men.
  • According to the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, “the risks of long-term aspirin use may be greater than the benefits if there are no signs of, or risk factors for, heart and blood vessel disease.”
    • Stomach bleeding, ulcers and holes in the stomach
    • Bleeding in the brain and other internal bleeding
    • Kidney failure
    • Certain types of stroke (hemorrhagic)
    • Liver damage in chronic alcohol users
    • Ringing in the ears and hearing loss
    • Allergic reactions (in about 2 out of 1,000 people who are allergic to aspirin, the drug can cause facial swelling and asthma attacks, per the Mayo Clinic)
    • Reyes’ Syndrome in children, which causes brain swelling and fatty deposits in the liver. It can lead to permanent brain damage or death.

So, it is up to you. Do you want to take the risk of “an aspirin a day,” or do you want to explore natural alternatives to whatever health challenge you are facing? If you would like to do the latter, please call and schedule a consultation so that I may give you advice specific to your needs. {626/303-3162}

If you follow health care news, you could be led to believe that aspirin is a universal panacea for all sorts of diseases common in the U.S.A. today. Everything from heart disease to cancer is claimed to be improved by taking aspirin. However, the truth is far different.

In the first place, the studies touting the benefits of aspirin therapy are invariably paid for by the pharmaceutical industry. Can you say “conflict of interest?” When a negative outcome occurs and is actually published, the pharmaceutical companies jump in to bury those results in conflicting studies. The result: confusion and dangerous prescribing. Aspirin is a case in point.

It is touted as being able to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Furthermore, the latest hype is that “The benefits of aspirin go beyond the cardiovascular system. There is solid evidence that aspirin use may prevent certain cancers from occurring at all,” says A. Mark Fendrick, MD, an internist at the Univ. of Michigan Health System. He goes on to say, “Also population-based studies report that an aspirin a day will either slow the progression or even prevent dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. “

Other conditions that aspirin has been found to benefit include migraine headaches, cataracts, gum disease, pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) and prevent blood clots in veins during long plane trips. The irony is that there are safe and effective natural remedies for each of these conditions.

Here are some of serious side effects of aspirin:

  • Results of the Nurses’ Longitudinal Study published in 2003 demonstrated a 58% increase in the risk of pancreatic cancer among those who took 2 or more aspirins per week for 20 years or more. I wrote a second article in 2009 about this problem, particularly among men.
  • According to the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, “the risks of long-term aspirin use may be greater than the benefits if there are no signs of, or risk factors for, heart and blood vessel disease.”
    • Stomach bleeding, ulcers and holes in the stomach
    • Bleeding in the brain and other internal bleeding
    • Kidney failure
    • Certain types of stroke (hemorrhagic)
    • Liver damage in chronic alcohol users
    • Ringing in the ears and hearing loss
    • Allergic reactions (in about 2 out of 1,000 people who are allergic to aspirin, the drug can cause facial swelling and asthma attacks, per the Mayo Clinic)
    • Reyes’ Syndrome in children, which causes brain swelling and fatty deposits in the liver. It can lead to permanent brain damage or death.

So, it is up to you. Do you want to take the risk of “an aspirin a day,” or do you want to explore natural alternatives to whatever health challenge you are facing? If you would like to do the latter, please call and schedule a consultation so that I may give you advice specific to your needs. {626/303-3162}

March 2, 2017 at 6:30 pm Leave a comment

An Aspirin a Day Can Give You Cancer

This article is from 2003 and was somehow deleted from my blog. I restored it today. I also did additional internet research. The data from the nurses study is being buried in claims that aspirin prevents cancer. However, there is very little data to buttress those claims.

I want to share a health alert with you. So many people today are taking an aspirin a day – many upon the recommendation of their doctors and many simply because they think it is the “healthy” thing to do. However, a recent study involving 88,000 nurses revealed a 58% increase in the risk of pancreatic cancer among those who took 2 or more aspirins per week for 20 years or more. (“Daily aspirin use linked with pancreatic cancer,” Reuters Health News, 10/27/03)(and, http://www.doctoryourself.com/safety.html)  I expect the standard disclaimers from the medical profession – something about balancing the risks with the rewards. However, pancreatic cancer is a doctor’s nightmare. It is very hard to diagnose and there is no cure. And, there are natural, safe alternatives to reduce the risk of inflammation and clot formation.

If you are taking an aspirin daily to prevent the formation of blood clots, I recommend a daily dose of vitamin E, high potency bromelain and gamma linolenic acid (found in evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil and borage oil). Some authorities also recommend a daily dose of fish oil. If you want to know more about how much you should take (since the dose is individualized to body weight), call the office for a brief consultation and I can give you your exact dosage.

March 2, 2017 at 5:41 pm Leave a comment

Microcirculation Protocol for Heart Disease, Erectile Dysfunction,Venous Insufficiency and Kidney Failure

Health – or disease – begins at the level of the microcirculation. The following is presented with thanks to Dr. Kerry Bone:

  1. Microcirculation consists of the small arteries, leading into the arterioles, then to the capillaries and back out the venules and small veins.
  2. This is the level at which Neurovascular Dynamics (NVD) operates via the pre-capillary sphincters. NVD is the reflex technique that I teach which directly addresses organ function. However, this protocol nutritionally supports the correction(s) provided by NVD.
  3. Recent research has elucidated the importance of the microcirculation to a variety of disease states. The medical research has focused on nitric oxide.
  4. “The fundamental role of microvessels is to supply target tissues with oxygen and nutrients; therefore, it appears logical that microvascular disorders will impact on tissue function, given the close coupling between flow and metabolism.” (Ref: Wiernsperger N, Rapin JR. “Microvascular Diseases: Is a New Era Coming?” Cardiovasc Hematol Agents Med Chem 2012; 10(2): 167-183.) In summary, any disease problem comes down to the tissue state. (i.e., ischemia is the root of all pathology)

 

Conditions that are related to poor Microvascular Function

Overweight/obesity Cardiometabolic syndrome
Diabetes Non-alcoholic steatotic hepatitis*
Hypertension* Polycystic ovarian syndrome*
Low birth weight Gestational diabetes
Sleep disorders Acromegaly
Alzheimer’s disease Rheumatoid arthritis*
Gout* Scleroderma*
Erythromelalgia Behcet Disease
Venous insufficiency* Hyperdynamic circulation (RSD)*
Lupus Mycardial infarct, stroke*
Hemochromatosis* Beta-thalassemia*
High ferritin HIV
Liver disease, generally* Kidney disease*
Neuropathies, neuralgias Restless Leg Syndrome*
Retinal disease* Poor tissue healing, including arteriosclerosis*
Erectile dysfunction*  

You will notice that NVD treats several of these conditions. (see *, as the ones I have had personal experience with treating.)

A key factor in the health of the microcirculation, in addition to working with the pre-capillary sphincters, is the quality of the blood, which includes: hematocrit, blood viscosity and RBC deformability and aggregation. Essentially, thin blood is good and elastic RBCs are good.

So, the following 5-point nutritional protocol is helpful in supporting the health of your microcirculation and optimizing your NVD treatments.

I have included the herbal options if the you don’t want to change your dietary habits. However, the only herb that is absolutely essential is Medi-Herb Gotu Kola Complex, 3 to 4 per day.

Gotu Kola Complex contains gotu kola, grape seed and gingko biloba. This combination strengthens connective and epithelial tissue, promotes tissue healing, supports blood vessel health, provides anti-oxidant activity and promotes lymphatic drainage from the tissues. In particular, gingko works at the level of the capillaries, by improving RBC deformability, allowing better transit of red blood cells through small vessels.

5-POINT DIETARY PLAN

  1. Boost dietary nitrate: green leafy vegetables and especially beets. With regard to beets, they may be juiced, eaten raw or baked. Steaming or boiling removes the nitric oxide; however, they can be cooked into a soup because the nitric oxide is stable in the broth. Portion size: 8 oz. For diabetics, whole beets contain a lot of sugar. An excellent option is the powdered product Super Beets; it has an excellent effect on increasing nitric oxide without raising blood sugar. It is what I use myself.
  2. Raw, freshly crushed garlic: ½ to 1 clove per day. Swallowing the clove whole is useless. Deodorized garlic is useless. Alternate: 1 Medi-Herb Garlic Forte tablet is the equivalent of 1 clove of garlic.
  3. Eat 2 to 3 oz per day of berries with high anthrocyanin: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. Alternate: Bilberry tablets, 4 per day (particularly important in eye disorders)
  4. Increase intake of herbs and spices; especially, green tea, turmeric and ginger. Use Japanese green tea, which is steamed, not fermented (3-4 cups per day). (N.B.: in hypertension, add hibiscus tea, as well.) Use chopped ginger, not the tea, and only cook lightly. Lots of yellow curry. Alternate: 2 Medi-Herb Vitanox tablets per day.
  5. 2/3 oz 85% dark chocolate per day. Green & Black organic chocolate is best.

In addition, the patient needs to STOP refined sugar and refined carbohydrates; and s/he needs to STOP smoking. Add 5-10 minutes of aerobic exercise daily.

With regard to erectile dysfunction: Use the above protocol, PLUS the following herbs (all Medi-Herb):

Rhodiola & Ginseng, contains Panax ginseng, 2 to 4 in the a.m.

Tribulus, 3 to 4 throughout the day

Additional Gingko, if needed

 

With regard to venous insufficiency: the above protocol PLUS Horsechestnut Complex (2-3 per day).

In extreme cases, with ulceration, add 2 to 4 Echinacea Premium per day.

The primary symptom of venous insufficiency is brown discoloration around the ankles.

 

For chronic kidney failure, the following protocol has proven helpful: The above protocol, PLUS

Echinacea Premium, 4 per day

Vitanox, 2 per day

High potency fish oil (2 gms of omega 3 per day)

 

In the case that Dr. Bone shared, the patient went from an eGFR of 35 (kidney failure) to 74 after 18 months. A medical miracle! Two years later, his kidney function is still normal. His nephrologist said that he had never seen anyone recover like that in 20 years of practice. I add diathermy and NVD to the protocol. Remember: natural health care has much more to offer this condition than the medical profession does.

If you suffer from any of these problems and need help, please call for a consultation, so that I may assess your condition with appropriate lab testing and get you started on the road to recovery. Visit my web site for contact details:  http://www.RichardsFamilyHealth.com.

February 4, 2017 at 5:52 pm Leave a comment

Protect Yourself from Unnecessary and Damaging Medical Intervention (Part 2)

This is my second article based on Dr. Hadley’s book, Rethinking Aging. To access the first installment, click here.

In his book, he devotes a great deal of thought and analysis to the incestuous relationship between “thought leaders” in medical research and the pharmaceutical companies who fund that research. He makes two excellent points: researchers in universities are almost totally dependent upon pharmaceutical grants to fund their work; and those self-same companies are unlikely to continue funding a center that doesn’t “deliver the goods.” (I.e. A favorable outcome with regard to a potential cash cow.) I’ll leave it to your good judgment to understand the enormous conflicts of interest this paradox generates. (pp. 36 – 43) {Side bar: It is also the reason the argument “more research is needed” is so disingenuous. No pharmaceutical company will fund research into natural therapies. There is no profit margin!}

His skepticism is confirmed by the recent revelation that the sugar industry paid three Harvard scientists the equivalent of today’s average American yearly income to review heart health studies that made sugar look less unhealthy than it really is – and to paint fat as the villain instead. The Sugar Research Foundation (the perpetrator of this hoax) cherry picked a handful of studies that they wanted spotlighted. The result has been a “low fat” craze that has serious consequences for our health. The article referenced above doesn’t even make the point that high cholesterol is a result of excess sugar consumption, not ingesting fat. Simply put: The American public has been subjected to so-called “scientific” data that is completely erroneous thanks to the infusion of large amounts of cash by interested parties. This misinformation seriously impacts the food that is available to you in the grocery store. It is almost impossible to find dairy products that are whole fat. Removing the fat increases the sugar content — increasing our cardiovascular risk.

Returning now to Dr. Hadley, he then pursues an in depth discussion of the evidence for “tight control” of blood pressure parameters. Would you be surprised to learn that no evidence of benefit to you, the patient, exists? This is particularly true with regard to so-called “essential hypertension.” He agrees with what I have been preaching for years: at age 45, a pressure of 140/90 is borderline hypertension, and both of those numbers increase by 5 points with each decade of life. In essence, what we have done by insisting everyone’s blood pressure reading be less than 120/80 is turn normal aging into a disease, which must be treated aggressively. (p.45) The problem with this model is that no one benefits except Big Pharma.

The actual curve when death rate is plotted against blood pressure is an inverted “J.” Death rates rise at both ends of the curve. Blood pressure that is too low increases the death rate in the elderly, just the way extremely high blood pressure does. (p. 25)

I have a personal anecdote that illustrates this issue. Currently, the medical protocol for Type II diabetes includes prescribing both a statin and a blood pressure medication, regardless of your actual blood pressure. This happened to a friend of mine. She was in her mid-70s, and the drop in her pressure caused her to fall in the kitchen, putting her head through the cabinet she fell against. She also was involved in a major car accident and developed hydrocephalus, increased intracranial pressure. Her doctor decided she needed a shunt to drain the excess fluid, a procedure he expected to be fairly straightforward. However, when they opened her skull, the area of her brain that had absorbed the impact was a tangle of indecipherable blood vessels. The surgery took four times longer than anticipated, and she never recovered. She developed a major brain infection that took her life. Without the blood pressure medication she would never have sustained the injury that complicated the surgery.

I personally believe that far too little attention is given to the maxim, “First, do no harm.”

To further illustrate the problem with high blood pressure medications, I think Dr. Hadley’s statement on pages 46 and 47 of his book is very important. “All [the drugs] on the market are licensed by the FDA because the agency was convinced that the drug actually lowers blood pressure without undue short term toxicities. None are licensed because of data showing that a meaningful reduction in untoward cardiovascular outcomes results over time.” {emphasis added}

To put it succinctly, the drugs may lower blood pressure, but they don’t improve health. Does that seem reasonable to you? Particularly in light of the side effects, which include heart failure and kidney failure, depending upon the class of drug you are given. In fact, multiple studies have been launched to demonstrate a health benefit. None were successful, although the authors did their best to massage the data to make it appear like there was a benefit.

On page 48, Dr. Hadley discusses the cognitive dissonance with regard to salt restriction – a much touted lifestyle change to control high blood pressure. In fact, it has now become a staple of federal health policy; the mandate has been to get sodium out of our food chain, restricting salt intake to 2 gms daily. This approach was shown to be ineffective in a study conducted and published by Dr. Hadley’s father in the prestigious Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in 1984. So much for research!

The problem with this recommendation for the general public is that it is only a small subset of the population who has the genetic predisposition that requires them to avoid salt. Dr. Hadley doesn’t mention this cutting edge genetic testing; perhaps it was not yet available when he published his book. However, I can highly recommend it if you have a family history of severe heart disease and are worried about your own health. The genetic test is extremely simple – a cheek swab – and offers you a wealth of information about how to manage your own risk. It is called CardiaX and is offered by Vibrant Wellness. Although it is not reimbursable by insurance, it offers you information unavailable any other way. It has recently had a profound benefit for one of my patients.

Now just a few words about open heart surgery and stents. I know you know someone who has had open-heart surgery and probably a stent as well. These interventions have become standard operating procedure (pun intended). Would you be surprised to learn that, despite a growing number of studies attempting to prove their benefits, no one can find any advantages to these invasive therapies? (p. 51) As Dr. Hadley puts it, “No patient is rewarded in terms of longevity, the incidence of heart attacks, or likelihood of chest pain for having submitted to these expensive technical and technological feats, and many suffer harm in the course of the procedure.” (p. 51) These procedures are so ineffective that, were they drugs, the FDA would never license them. However, procedures are not subject to licensing and devices (like a stent) are held to much lower standards than drugs. They must be safe in the short term, but there doesn’t need to be a demonstration that they actually work! (p. 53)

So, why are they so prevalent, you may ask? The answer is simple: profit. There is an enormous incentive to market them aggressively since an enormous industry has grown up in support of these procedures. Dr. Hadley calls it “a behemoth.” (p.51)

So, what can you do? First of all, find a doctor with a good understanding of natural, drug-free alternatives to standard medical care. There are herbal tonics that improve your quality of life without poisoning you.

Secondly, question every recommendation you receive. Always ask for evidence that the treatment will actually benefit you. Become informed; don’t just blindly go along with whatever the doctor says. Unfortunately, the medical profession operates on fear. It is standard for the doctor to warn you that you will die without treatment. He or she may honestly believe that to be true. He may not be aware of the information and statistics contained in Dr. Hadley’s book. Once doctors leave school, much of their information comes from drug company representatives.

You need to educate yourself with material like I’ve presented here and not become embroiled in a medical system where one procedure leads to another and then another. It’s a vicious circle and the goal is not your good health. Doctors are taught to “manage” whatever diagnosis you have been labeled with. There is no medical model for cure. That’s why you are expected to take pharmaceuticals for the rest of your life. Remember that and you will be much better off in the long run.

February 4, 2017 at 5:40 pm Leave a comment

Protect Yourself From Unproven and Dangerous Medical Therapies (Part 1)

I have been reading an outstanding book entitled, Rethinking Aging, Growing Old and Living Well in An Overtreated Society, by Nortin M. Hadler, M.D. While he is very medical in his approach and doesn’t have much knowledge regarding natural therapies, his warnings about medical care are very on-point.

The second chapter of his book, “The Golden Years,” is an indictment of many of the most commonly prescribed medical interventions. I will touch on some of the highlights in this brief article:

  1. Aging is a normal part of the life cycle and it comes with its own challenges. Not every symptom of aging needs to be labeled a “disease” requiring medical intervention. This is a direct contradiction of our pharmaceutical, profit-driven “health care” industry.
  2. “The . . . assertion – that one is more likely to promote physical health by attention to social cohesiveness than by attention to human biology – is counterintuitive. . . [F]or every darkening shadow there are diagnostic tests, screenings for risk, and treatments galore. . . .America’s elderly swallow the prescribed remedies, often many simultaneously, to bring their laboratory numbers to heel. America’s elderly are hell bent to be normal. . . It’s all so sad. They are on a fool’s errand.” [p. 13]
  3. The obesity “epidemic” has no basis in scientific fact, and is in fact a political construct. There are many studies that indicate that there is no difference in life expectancy between “normal” BMI and “obese” individuals. In fact, the risk of death was 13% lower for overweight elderly people than for those of normal weight. [p. 15] However, there is a huge financial incentive for the pharmaceutical companies and weight loss industry to bury these findings.
  4. You have undoubtedly seen the Crestor commercials about how wonderful it is for reducing cReactive Protein (cRP). However, the touted benefit is not as great as you are led to believe. The abstract of the research paper in the New England Journal of Medicine announced a 56% reduction in adverse outcomes. Sounds impressive, yes? However, that’s not even close to the truth. The outcome of the study was that, after 2 years, about 2% of the 18,000 subjects had suffered any of the cardiovascular adverse events. Of those on Crestor, 1.6% were stricken; while 2.8% of the control group (not taking Crestor) were affected. This is a difference of 1.2%. At this point, it gets complicated due to the structure of the study. To summarize the data, the “composite outcome” is 0.77 on Crestor and 1.36 without Crestor. This is the 56% reduction that’s being touted. What it actually means is that 400 well people would have to take Crestor for a year to spare one a nonfatal heart attack, and about 600 to spare one a stroke. There is no evidence there is any life-saving benefit. So, the relative reduction of 56% turns out to be an absolute reduction of 0.59%. [pp.29-30]

I side with Dr. Hadler who said, “I am unwilling to let anyone test my cholesterol until I see unequivocal data that taking a statin yields meaningful benefit for me.” [p.27]

  1. Hadler then addresses antihypertensive therapy for diabetics, specifically Actos & Avandia. He discusses at length the conflict of interest and financial incentives of both the researchers and the pharmaceutical houses to “prove” the efficacy of these substances. The data actually suggested that “[these drugs] were associated with an increase in the incidence of serious cardiovascular complications, including heart failure, heart attacks and death.” [p.37] The drugs were outlawed in the European Union; our FDA only saw fit to place a warning label on the packaging insert.
  2. Part of his discussion regarding diabetes highlights the fact that current diabetic therapies, including insulin and oral hypoglycemics, are ineffective in preventing any of the adverse effects of diabetes. Please, read that sentence again. Does that make you wonder what is going on? According to a respected medical publication, A H R Q News and Numbers (issue no. 288, July 25, 2009), purchases of cholesterol and diabetes prescription drugs by elderly Medicare beneficiaries reached nearly $19 billion in 2007 – approximately 1/4th of the $82 billion spent for medications for the elderly. [p. 35]

My personal experience with diabetes has convinced me that the important criterion that medical treatment completely ignores is the health of the micro-circulatory system. I have had Type II diabetes for more than 15 years, yet I have no circulatory pathology. My retinal fields are perfectly healthy and there is not a sign of atherosclerosis, based upon an exam I had just last week. I attribute this to my aggressive supplement program that prevents arterial plaque and lowers inflammation. I also have a protocol to improve microcirculation. This is incredibly important both to your vascular tree and to your kidneys – two areas that develop pathology with diabetes. I would be glad to share my insights with you if you care to make an appointment.

The next section of Dr. Hadler’s book deals with how badly the medical therapies mismanage coronary artery disease via antihypertensive meds, surgical interventions and stents. I will cover these in my next installment of my newsletter. If you don’t want to wait, you can always look for Dr. Hadler’s book on amazon.com. One word of warning, it is very heavy going.

September 8, 2016 at 3:51 pm Leave a comment

Functional Hypothyroidism May Be Ruining Your Health!

Thanks to a concerned patient, I was introduced to a book that answered many of my concerns about thyroid function. It is a book that has the potential to be life changing for many of us. The book is available on Amazon.com and is called “Hypothyroidism Type 2, The Epidemic” and is written by Mark Starr, MD(H). He’s a medical doctor who specializes in homeopathy.

In this article, I want to explain the concepts and teach you how to self monitor your thyroid function. However, if you want all of the statistics, I recommend that you get Dr. Starr’s book on Amazon.com.

What we might call “functional” hypothyroidism, or Type 2, was first discussed and investigated by Dr. Broda Barnes in the early 1900s. He was a medical doctor and an endocrinologist who taught endocrinology at the University of Chicago. He devoted his life to researching thyroid function and published many professional articles and books. Perhaps his most famous book is “Hypothyroidism, The Unsuspected Illness,” which was published in 1976. Unfortunately, the medical profession has largely ignored his research results, despite the fact that he had evidence from 70,000 autopsy studies and many long-term patient outcomes.

Dr. Barnes believed that, as modern medicine wiped out infectious diseases of the past, more and more children with poor immune systems survived into adulthood and had children themselves—passing their genetic weaknesses on to subsequent generations. “Just one hundred years ago, half the population in all of ‘Western Civilization’ died from infection at an early age. Two hundred years ago, the figure was much higher.” (p. 45 of Dr. Starr’s book)

This concretion of genetic weakness has resulted in the modern-day epidemic of chronic, degenerative diseases.

A little physiology is appropriate at this point. Our thyroid hormones regulate our metabolic rate. Simple statement—huge implications. Here is a partial list of conditions Dr. Barnes showed to be affected by thyroid function:

  • Disruption of sex hormone function, resulting in decreased sex drive, infertility, endometriosis, PMS and polycystic breasts and/or ovaries
  • Heart disease, including high cholesterol, hardening of the arteries, heart palpitations, heart attacks and stroke
  • Fatigue (including chronic fatigue syndrome)
  • Premature aging, including mental impairment and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Hypertension OR hypotension
  • Depression or nervousness
  • Poor immune function resulting in repeated infections, including a susceptibility to yeast infections (think Candida)
  • Intolerance to heat or cold
  • Hyperinsulinemia and diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Hair loss (this is important to me, obviously!)
  • Headaches
  • Muscle weakness and joint and/or muscle pain (including gout)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Weight gain
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Brittle nails
  • Nutritional imbalances
  • Birth defects
  • Physical indications of the condition include dry skin, slow or hoarse speech, non-pitting edema and loss of the outer third of the eyebrows

Of particular interest to me is the connection between hypothyroidism and diabetes. Dr. Barnes found that all of his diabetic patients were hypothyroid. Remarkably, by treating their low thyroid, these patients almost all escaped the severe complications of diabetes, which include hardening of the arteries, kidney failure, blindness, heart attack and amputation. All of these problems are due to hardening of the arteries – a defining symptom of hypothyroidism.

So, do you think inadequate thyroid function might be important enough to be concerned about? And: Why would the medical profession essentially ignore Dr. Barnes’ research? The answer is relatively simple.

Big Pharma synthesized thyroxin (aka T4) and patented it. The generic name is levothyroxine and it is marketed under a variety of brand names, perhaps the most familiar of which is Synthroid, a patented and trademarked drug. Then, the lab test for thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) was developed and it was all over. Let me explain.

Currently, medical doctors only measure the TSH and, if it is within what the lab tells them is “normal” range, then you are fine. No attention is paid to your symptoms – after all, there’s another diagnosis for that, which requires a different drug, multiplying the drug companies’ profits. (Pardon my cynicism, but I have really seen too much.)

Problem is, TSH is completely invalid when it comes to evaluating whether your thyroid hormone is working in your body, at a cellular level. I want you to be aware of this issue because, if your M.D. checks your TSH while you are taking desiccated thyroid and finds it to be too low, he or she will take you off of your supplement. This recently happened to a patient/colleague of mine who has moved away and went to a new general practitioner. Please resist this advice, as she did. As we delve into the reasons more deeply, you will understand why.

One more word of warning: Dr. Starr has determined that levothyroxine is completely ineffective in reversing Type 2 hypothyroidism. It seems that the cells respond best to all of the thyroid hormone metabolites, not just T4. All of Dr. Broda Barnes’ work was done with desiccated thyroid.

Increasingly, thyroid hormone resistance is becoming a huge problem. There are multiple reasons for this, which Dr. Starr goes into in great detail. One of the primary offenders is the environmental toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis. These toxins include:

  • Halogens: chlorine, fluorine and bromine.
    • We no longer add iodine to our baked goods due to the misconception that we were getting too much iodine. This is incredibly unlikely, since nearly every person I have tested is iodine deficient. Now, bromine is used as a dough conditioner, which displaces the iodine in our thyroid.
    • Our water is both fluoridated and disinfected with various chlorine compounds. We actually absorb more chlorine in the shower than we ingest in our drinking water.
    • Swimming pools and spas are loaded with chlorine
    • If you use Splenda, also trademarked, you are ingesting a chlorinated hydrocarbon. It is basically sucrose with 3 chlorine atoms added to it.
    • Many of our anti-fungal and pesticide compounds contain halogens. We ingest them if we do not eat organic produce.
  • A huge variety of synthetic chemicals. There is a three-page, small print list in Dr. Starr’s book. Some of these include: organophosphate pesticides, a huge array of other pesticides, fungicides and insecticides, and the many industrial chemicals that are part of our every day life. The industrial chemicals include heavy metals, phenols and phthalates. If you are not familiar with phthalates, they are added to plastics to create pliability. If you use plastic wrap in the microwave, you are simply worsening the problem. All of these chemicals interfere with thyroid function.
  • For more details, I recommend you read Dr. Starr’s book.

Over the last several years, I have been to multiple seminars on assessing and treating thyroid function. I have only gotten more and more confused, because the instructors made the topic way, too complicated and tried to use blood tests to monitor therapy. There are a couple of reasons for this: the widespread dependence in our education on laboratory testing, rather than physical signs and symptoms; and a worry about depressing the TSH too far since the medical textbooks say it is dangerous to do so. The worries include osteoporosis and heart problems. However, Dr. Barnes and Dr. Hermann Zondek both demonstrated the exact opposite. Dr. Zondek was a giant in the early study of hypothyroidism and endocrine disease. He published in 1918 an account of the first successful treatment of congestive heart failure (CHF) patients with desiccated thyroid. He also wrote a famous textbook, in German, entitled “Disease of the Endocrine Glands.” Of course, levothyroxine does promote osteoporosis.

Dr. Barnes did a statistical analysis on his patient population paralleling the Framingham heart disease study that was on-going at the same time. He clearly showed that his patient population suffered almost no heart disease. He treated 1,569 patients, the equivalent of 8,824 patient years. The Framingham study predicted 72 deaths from coronary disease in a population this size; Dr. Barnes’ result was only 4. (page 34 of Dr. Starr’s book)

In Dr. Starr’s 14 years of practice, none of his patients have developed CHF and only 2 had a heart attack.

These are powerful results because heart disease is the #1 killer in the U.S., despite every drug prescribed for prevention. (An oxymoron, if I may say so, since all drugs are metabolic poisons. I know, my prejudice is showing.)

So, if blood work is inadequate (at best) and misleading (at worst), just what parameters are measured to determine thyroid status? There are two:

  • Iodine status is monitored by the iodine test.
    • I paint the abdomen with a half-dollar size patch of 3% iodine. Since homeland security has designated iodine a dangerous product with regard to homemade bombs, I recommend you call for a brief, 5 minute appointment to get the iodine applied.
    • The brown patch should last for 24 hours. In some cases, I find that the color is fading as I am applying it! With most clients the stain is gone within 12 hours or less.
    • The therapy for this is Iodizyme, a nutritional product which contains both iodine and iodide. Many companies promote organic iodine or kelp supplements for this use. After 30 years of practice, I can state unequivocally that these products are ineffective in promoting iodine sufficiency.
  • The second critical test is basal metabolic rate, which is expensive and not readily available. Instead, first morning body temperature – before you get out of bed – is an excellent approximation. Let me tell you how to perform the test:
    • Shake down a thermometer the night before and place it by your bedside.
    • When you first wake up, put the thermometer in your armpit for 10 minutes. Lie quietly; don’t worry; don’t wiggle around. If possible, snooze for 10 minutes. The temperature should be above 97.8º. That is the lower limit of normal cellular function.
    • A word about the proper thermometer to use. Digital thermometers are ineffective and inaccurate. You need to obtain a non-mercury oral thermometer. It is available on Amazon.com at this link.
    • If you contact me, I can send you a form to complete so that I can locate it in your file.
    • The therapy that I use is a nutritional supplement, which is desiccated, whole thyroid without the T4. It is much better tolerated than Synthroid. It comes in several different potencies and I will titrate your dose, based upon your body temperature. I have not published the name of this product to avoid causing problems with the FDA. If you call me, I will be happy to give you more information. I can also order it for you. This is a professional product, since you need to work with a doctor to establish the appropriate dose.

Although this may seem like a lot of work, the health benefits are more than worth it. I strongly recommend that you perform these two tests to see what support you need to optimize your health.

A personal story: I added a small amount of thyroid to my personal supplement program about 4 years ago, because I couldn’t think clearly. I instantly noticed a remarkable improvement in my cognition. However, when I ran a blood test, my TSH was low, so I was concerned about taking “too much” thyroid support. None of the various seminars I went to cleared up my confusion. After reading Dr. Starr’s book, I found that my first morning temperature was only 95ºF, even though I awaken drenched in sweat. Needless to say, I am titrating my dosage upwards to normalize my body temperature. Already, I am seeing new hair growth and greater stamina. I hope that eventually it will have a positive effect on my blood sugar issues, as well.

I strongly encourage you to perform these tests, so that you can age gracefully – without resorting to the pharmaceutical merry-go-round that never gets to the root of the problem. Let me know what you find out.

June 12, 2016 at 5:58 pm Leave a comment

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