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Hormone Replacement Therapy

July 2002 brought “breaking news” in health care that left me feeling extremely validated. After all, I’ve only been speaking out against hormone replacement therapy for the last 15 years! I believe it was the National Institutes of Health that had been conducting a huge longitudinal study on hormone replacement therapy (HRT). A longitudinal study is based on tracking many women over many years as they use hormones, and watching what happens. The study was abruptly cancelled due to the severity of the side effects.

The researchers made the following “amazing” discoveries:
1. HRT markedly increases the risk of cancer. The figures are 8 more women out of 10,000 will develop cancer of the breast.
2. HRT does not protect against heart and cardiovascular disease. In fact, it markedly increases the risk of cardiovascular events: out of 10,000 women, 7 more will suffer a heart attack, 8 more will have a stroke, and 18 more will experience blood clots.
3. HRT does not protect against osteoporosis.

These findings should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the history of hormone use in the United States. It began with diethylstilbesterol (DES) for pregnant women to prevent miscarriage. The results long term: an increase in reproductive cancers among the children exposed to exogenous estrogen in the womb.

Then, came the birth control pill (BCP). The initial formulas were a debacle – high doses of unopposed estrogen. The result: strokes, hypertension and heart attacks in the very young women who were the first users. (My feeling: anyone who uses a new drug is volunteering to be a guinea pig. Of course, that’s not how it’s presented to you, the public.) Interestingly, the doses were not much higher than the amount of estrogen in a typical Premarin( prescription.

The cancer connection actually should have been a “duh.” For many years, the Physicians’ Desk Reference stated unequivocally that no woman should take estrogen for more than 6 months because it increases the risk of cancer 9 times. That warning was suppressed in recent editions as more and more women were prescribed lifetime HRT. All the research supports the data that breast cancer risk increases in direct proportion to lifetime estrogen exposure. The older you are, the higher your risk. If you’ve never been pregnant (during which time you have very low estrogen and relatively high progesterone), your risk increases. If you’ve taken BCP or HRT, your risk increases. Also, both smoking and alcohol increase the risk, because both of these drugs impair the liver’s ability to detoxify estrogen, increasing the lifetime tissue exposure.

Finally, the data has been available for years that perimenopausal women start losing bone mass before they stop menstruating. When they become anovulatory, they no longer produce progesterone and begin losing bone mass. Natural progesterone arrests bone loss, but the progestins found in HRT do not. Progestins are actually closer to male hormones in their action than they are to progesterone. The problem with progesterone (from a pharmaceutical company point of view) is that, it can’t be patented, because it is a natural product. Also, oral delivery of progesterone is not very effective, because it is immediately metabolized by the liver. Transdermal or sublingual delivery is much more effective. The data on osteoporosis indicates that natural progesterone combined with appropriate calcium supplementation (which includes your vitamin D status, your parathyroid status, as well as adequate amounts of bone matrix) maintains and restores bone mass. Of course, you have to do mild weight-bearing exercise and get a little sun, but those lifestyle changes are much safer than exposing yourself daily to a dose of carcinogens.

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The other very important piece of data that has not been well publicized is that the women at highest risk for cancer from HRT are the women taking Premarin(. Premarin( consists of more than 100 horse estrogens which are conjugated to make them longer acting. Premarin( is actually made from pregnant mare’s urine. Because these compounds are foreign to the human body, they can only be metabolized down the 4-hydroxestrone (4-OH) pathway. Unfortunately, the 4-OH pathway is the most carcinogenic of the 3 pathways in the body; and, the intermediate products are much more carcinogenic than the estrogens themselves.

There are several interesting aspects to what’s currently going on in both the media and with traditional doctors. I have been fascinated as I watch them try to back-track without really seeming to and then propose strategies that are basically more of the same. I have heard at least 3 medical reporters (most of them MDs) advise women to simply switch to herbal estrogen (black cohosh); and, then, of course, go on to encourage women to take Fosamax( and prescription calcitonin for osteoporosis while giving lip service to the notion that calcium supplementation is helpful. This is still an allopathic approach: medicating menopause, rather than balancing the underlying physiologic pathways. Even more importantly, it continues the pattern of medicating women for menopause and devil take the side effects. At the RFHC, I have repeatedly reversed osteopenia (bone loss, the first step towards osteoporosis) with the appropriate, personalized supplementation program.

I clearly remember when the drug companies began pushing hormone replacement therapy as they realized the size of the baby-boom menopause market. And, I watched in dismay as they had television “specials” designed to terrify women with the idea that their bones would crumble and they would all die of a heart attack 10 years after entering menopause!

Speaking of side effects: Are you aware that Fosamax( calcifies the soft tissues, particularly the esophagus? The result is a painful and serious condition called achlasia wherein you lose the ability to swallow or, at best, it becomes very painful. Fosamax( also makes the bones brittle, causing concern that it may actually increase the risk of hip fracture rather than reducing it.

So, what is a woman to do? Let me say, first of all, that there is no one solution for every woman. It is a matter of balancing your metabolism to achieve optimum results. One of the tools we have available is a hormone assessment panel which shows how you personally are metabolizing estrogen, your adrenal status and your DHEA sulfate stores. Those last two items are crucial, since all of your estrogen post-menopausally comes from your adrenals. DHEA provides your body with the precursor to both adrenal hormones and androgens, which maintain your body strength and your libido. Interestingly, low dose DHEA supplementation in women is not masculinizing. The body converts just as much as it needs. Another critical factor is your insulin status and whether or not you are insulin resistant, since excessive production of insulin over stimulates the production of sex hormones. Once we have determined your personal metabolic profile, I can then recommend the appropriate supplements to optimize your health. In severe cases, small amounts of phytoestrogens can be used until your hot flashes subside. However, I don’t recommend staying on even these mild agents long-term.

Basically, as with everything else we do here at the RFHC, I can personalize a program for you to get you through menopause comfortably and naturally. If you or someone you love needs to get off of HRT or needs help with menopause, call and make an appointment for a consultation. At that time, we can address your personal situation in greater detail.

Forgive me if this article seems angrier than usual. My mother died of breast cancer induced by Premarin( over 25 years ago. Her doctor admitted that to my father after performing a super radical mastectomy, and subjecting my mom to intense radiation therapy. After all of that, he told my father that she had less than a year to live, and that he was sorry he had prescribed Premarin( for her after her hysterectomy 5 years before. He was devastated and retired just a month after my mom’s surgery. I get angry when I realize there are thousands of other women and doctors who have been similarly victimized by the drug companies.

June 7, 2012 at 9:24 pm 4 comments

Health Risks from Acetaminophen

INFANT TYLENOL IS 3-1/2 TIMES STRONGER THAN CHILDREN’S STRENGTH TYLENOL

Early in July Associated Press performed an important public service. They released a story which highlighted a serious public health problem. Parents, in particular, need to take note of this information.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol the most familiar brand) is extremely dangerous. When I was in school, our instructor in drug toxicology (who was a pharmacist and had practiced at LA County General Hospital) pointed out that acetaminophen was the leading cause of death by accidental poisoning in the pediatric population. What made the statistic even more startling was that the drug was almost always administered by the parents – with the intention of helping their child.

Acetaminophen poisoning is insidious. It destroys the liver, so they symptoms include: mild nausea, lack of appetite’ diminished urination, lassitude, vomiting, and diarrhea. Late stage includes jaundice and kidney failure. The liver damage is irreversible and death occurs two weeks after poisoning, unless a transplant can be performed.

Recently, Johnson and Johnson has formulated a new grape flavored, infants’ Tylenol. Unfortunately, it is 3-1/2 times more concentrated than the children’s strength product. You must adjust the dosage downward to avoid overdosing your child. It is counterintuitive to many people to think of an infants’ formula as being stronger than a children’s formula.

These are not the first problems Johnson & Johnson has had with their acetaminophen products. And, children are not the only people at risk. Recently, a man on the East Coast (New York City, I believe) suffered complete liver destruction and survived only because of a liver transplant. He took acetaminophen daily and had 1 alcoholic drink every evening. The combination proved deadly to his liver.

Another man’s liver was destroyed after exposure to lawn chemicals (pesticides) together with acetaminophen.

So, how can you protect yourself and your family?

> Keep a written log of when the dose was administered and how much was given. Keep this information with the bottle so that it is readily available.

> If you are using acetaminophen for any reason, avoid alcohol and dry cleaning agents. (All are liver toxic).

> If you are an adult who is not aspiring sensitive, an aspirin-based analgesic may be a better choice.

> Do not give aspirin to children under the age of 18 or to the elderly who have viral infections and high fevers. The danger is Reyes Syndrome which destroys the organs, including the liver. Acetaminophen was originally marketed as an alternative to aspirin for this situation.

The bottom line: All drugs have side effects and dangers. Be careful whenever you use pharmaceutical products. A fever is not a disease, it is evidence that the body’s immune system is working properly. There are safe, natural methods of reducing a fever when it is absolutely necessary. For further information, send a manila envelope (suitable for 8-1/2″ x 11″) enclosures, with three stamps, to the RFHC and request our publication “The Ten Most Common Childhood Illnesses and What to Do About Them.” It contains a wealth of information on safe and effective home care, as well as guidelines for when a visit to the doctor is mandatory.

June 7, 2012 at 9:20 pm Leave a comment

Lyme Disease. The Great Imitator.

I want to bring to your attention some extremely important information I have been researching over the last 6 weeks. There is an undiagnosed epidemic of Lyme Disease in the United States that may be affecting millions of people. New research suggests that Lyme Disease is the underlying causative agent of many chronic health conditions, including but not limited to: allergies, heart arrhythmias, arthritis (both osteo and rheumatoid), ADD, auto-immune disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, depression, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, macular degeneration, sensory or motor radiculoneuropathies (i.e., clumsiness in the hands or feet and/or burning, tingling or numbness), Alzheimer’s Disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Bell’s palsy, irritable bowel syndrome and gastrointestinal distress, lupus, polymyalgia rheumatica (a more severe form of fibromyalgia), sleep disorders, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, brain fog, memory loss, joint pain/swelling/stiffness, lack of coordination, unexplained chills and fevers, recurrent infections, poor concentration, tremors, shortness of breath, anxiety or panic attacks, heart palpitations, weight changes (loss or gain), sore throats, loss of appetite, muscle pain or cramps, obsessive compulsive disorders, headaches/migraines, light sensitivity, trigeminal neuralgia, unexplained hair loss, and visual changes. And, this is only a partial list!! There are actually more than 300 references in the medical literature to conditions which have been linked to an underlying Lyme Disease infection. I printed such a list off of the Internet, with each disorder referenced to the Publ. Med. abstract.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one of the more conservative medical institutions in the US, estimates that there are 10 times as many undiagnosed cases of Lyme in the US than the 180,000 reported cases. That means approximately 2 million people have an undiagnosed, treatable bacterial infection that is severely affecting their quality of life.

The problem with diagnosing Lyme Disease is that — until now — our diagnostic tests have been quite inadequate. The serologic blood test for Lyme is insensitive, inaccurate and misses over 40% of cases (JA Whitaker, MD, “Q-RIBB A New Quantitative Rapid Test for Diagnosing Lyme Disease,” Focus, Feb 04, p7.) This is because of the nature of the Lyme disease organism. The bacterium is a spirochete, which changes its shape from a spiral to a filament, cyst, granule, hooked rod or elbow, as it loses its cell wall (CWD forms). These CWD forms do not produce an antibody response, making it impossible for your immune system to respond and making the ELISA and Western Blot tests give false negatives. Additionally, in this form they are able to hide within most tissues of the body, thus protecting themselves from any adverse host response.

Furthermore, the bull’s eye rash (the most diagnostic symptom in the medical community) occurs in only about 50% of all infected people.

Dr. Whitaker has tested over 3500 indivdiuals (500 of them very sick children) from a wide geographical distribution, and all of them have tested positive for Lyme Disease. Other researchers have done smaller studies with similar results (Mattman, 1995, 43 of 47 patients with chronic disease were positive for Lyme while 22 of 23 control cultures were negative). Since 1999, all blood cultures have been positive and there have been no negatives. Dr. Whitaker and other researchers believe this indicates the magnitude of the problem.

For many years, we have been taught that Lyme Disease is a disease found only on the East Coast and that it is transmitted by deer ticks. This information is false. Lyme Disease is endemic along the entire West Coast of the US, extending north into British Columbia. It is also found throughout the Eastern Seaboard and is particularly endemic in Florida and Connecticut. More alarming, the organism has been identified in bodily fluids, including semen, tears and saliva, so the suspicion is it can be communicated between individuals by close bodily contact. We know that it can also cross the placenta into the unborn child. We also know that it is carried by mites and mosquitoes, as well as ticks. Furthermore, birds can act as a reservoir for the disease.

Why am I bringing this to your attention? Primarily because there is now hope for people who have been chronically ill for years. And, there is hope that otherwise chronic, incurable conditions can be stopped, and in some cases, reversed. As an example, ALS patients have had their symptoms reverse when treated for Lyme Disease.

The problem is that the medical community is loathe to admit the widespread nature of the problem, and even more reluctant to treat it. One of my patients whom I recently diagnosed with Lyme took the information to her neurologist who abused her. He shouted at her that Lyme Disease doesn’t exist in California (see the CDC web site http://www.cdc.gov) and that anyone who told her she had Lyme Disease was out of their mind. He refused to recognize the test result or to offer any assistance in treating her.

Fortunately, a recent study demonstrated the efficacy of Cat’s Claw (Unicaria tomentosa) in destroying the Lyme organism. In fact, in the study, the control group of 14 patients all took antibiotics and only 3 improved slightly, 3 got worse and the remainder had no change in their clinical condition. The experimental group was treated with Cat’s Claw and 85% of them were negative for the Lyme organism after 6 months and all the patients experienced a dramatic improvement in their clinical condition. (Cowden, WE, MD, et al., “Lyme Disease: Nutraceutical Breakthrough Using TOA-Free Cat’s Claw”, Focus, Feb ’04, pp.3,4)

In utilizing Cat’s Claw, it is extremely important that the quality and purity of the product be assured. This herb occurs naturally in 2 forms: the more common TOA form and the rarer POA form. For those of you with a chemical bent, TOA stands for tetracyclic oxindole alkaloid and POA for pentacyclic oxindole alkaloid. Only the POA form is effective in stimulating the immunity which destroys the organism. As little as 1% TOA can cause a 30% reduction in the immune system modulating properties that POAs provide. Unfortunately some commercially available products contain as much as 80% TOAs. (Ibid, p. 3)

The Medi-Herb Cat’s Claw that we use at the RFHC is 1.5% to 2.0% POAs, the highest concentration available, and is TOA free. Therefore, the amount needed is less, making it much more affordable than other POA products on the market. We did a cost study and determined that using Medi-Herb Cat’s Claw was very cost effective. ($60 for a month’s supply vs. $325 for a month’s supply from the other retailer.)

There are many other considerations in treating Lyme Disease, as well, including managing the die-off reactions which occur in chronic cases by titrating the dosage and supporting the ancillary system s of the body. Also, since the treatment of Lyme may take 9 to 12 months, it is important to have the support of a health professional. I have developed a protocol to enable you to continue to function while eliminating the organism. If you suspect that you or anyone you care about may be suffering from this insidious disease, contact us today and arrange for the testing. If you would like to read more about Lyme Disease, send a self-addressed, stamped 11″ x 13″ manila envelope, and we will send you a copy of the Focus Newsletter quoted in this article.


June 7, 2012 at 9:07 pm 10 comments

Here We Go Again!

You have probably been hearing – over and over again – on the “news” that multivitamins offer no health benefits for women. What you probably don’t know is that this “news item” was resurrected from a study published in February of 2009 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

I have several comments about this article.
Although the numbers of participants are large (>150,000 women) and it was relatively long-term (about 8 years), the study design was poor. The women were not divided into cohorts based upon pre-existing disease or risk factors; all of the data was lumped together.

> When large numbers of results are pooled, differences in the results are hidden in the aggregate result.

> This was the methodology used to decide that silicone was not a factor in auto-immune disease for women with breast implants. Those women who had adverse reactions due to an allergy to silicone were not isolated as a group; therefore, the manufacturers could claim that there was “no data” to support the allegation that, for some women, silicone breast implants were risky.

The study also did not control for what formula (or brand) of the multivitamin was used, so we know nothing about the quality. The study participants simply brought in their personal bottles to show the researchers what they had purchased. Most over-the-counter multivitamins are pretty useless.

From my point of view, the article highlights one important point, which is not even mentioned in the study – you have to read between the lines. In general multi-vitamins do not contain enough of any one nutrient to offer large benefits. If they did, the pill would have to be bigger than a golf ball. That’s why we provide individual nutrients, based upon a person’s body weight, to address specific issues in your blood work. Yes, we use a good quality multivitamin as the basis for your program, but then it is augmented to fit your particular metabolic needs.

> A side note on this point is that most commercial multivitamins are not very good quality. Many of them are very compacted and coated to make them easy to swallow. That also makes them very difficult to break down and digest. Many years ago, one of my patients worked in a sanitation plant. He explained that they had to clean off the grids regularly to wash away the undissolved vitamin pills that collected from filtering the sewage.
At this point, I sometimes feel like a salmon, swimming upstream against Hoover Dam, as I try to counteract the disinformation campaign that is being waged. After 25 years in practice, I have literally hundreds of blood tests that demonstrate the metabolic improvements after my clients have been taking their nutrient programs.

I do have one unanswered question, however: Why is this blog posting from the New York Times being resurrected now? I just found out that the European Union has limited access to herbs and supplements. Furthermore, I have just been notified that the FDA has issued a new dietary guidelines document to limit our supplement suppliers from providing us with nutrients that can benefit your health. To read the details, see Mr. Denis DeLuca’s letter. He is the President of Biotics Research Corporation.

I urge you to take action to protect your right to choose your own health care options. (See the sidebar) If the government has its way, we will be limited to nothing but toxic pharmaceuticals administered through an enormous, warehouse-style health care system. And, we will no longer be in charge of our own lives.

If you would like to have your blood work analyzed and a personalized program prepared, please call the Clinic.

June 7, 2012 at 8:57 pm Leave a comment

Our Hair Regeneration Website is Live!

After three plus years in development I am thrilled to announce the launch of my new hair regrowth products: Dr. Richards’ Hair Regeneration System.

The products have only been studied in women experiencing hair loss. Men’s hair loss is mostly genetic and is, therefore, much harder to reverse. Women’s hair loss is multi-factorial, caused by everything from excessive stress (my problem) to thyroid disease to many drugs that are commonly prescribed (including statins).

I personally prepare the oral tinctures, Growth and Retention, using specific gem essences, and hand-package them. I have also obtained an organic, paraben-free, SLS-free shampoo and conditioner for fine hair, to which I have added a gem essence that strengthens the hair shaft. You can choose one, or all, of the products.

I am marketing them on-line at http://www.DrRichardsHairRegeneration.com and you can make your payment using PayPal.

If you, or any woman you know, has been experiencing hair loss and would like to reverse the process, click on the link above and give our products a try. I would appreciate it if you would share your experience with your friends and your hairdresser. We will be happy to provide flyers and business cards to anyone that requests them. As you can imagine, our advertising budget is miniscule.

Because the products are all natural, you can expect slow, but steady progress. Remember hair only grows, at most, ½” per month; so, be patient.

Those first new sprouts are evidence that the product will work for you!
Happy hair growing!

June 7, 2012 at 8:51 pm Leave a comment

Vitamins and Cancer

On April 2, 2012 on the Fox morning news, I saw an interview that raised red flags for me. I’d like to share my concerns. The gentleman was an oncologist and was being interviewed regarding ways to avoid getting cancer. The headline of the segment was “Do vitamins give you cancer?”
The doctor’s advice was minimal, to say the least: exercise regularly, lose weight, reduce stress and, above all, don’t take vitamins since studies indicate they give you cancer. He cited no studies, nor did he give any examples. It seemed that the entire point of the segment was to make vitamins suspect. When asked whether or not sugar was a problem with cancer, his answer was to the effect of “everything in moderation.” 

I have several problems with this “news” segment.
1. There is a very recent study in Nature, 29 March 2012, which explicitly states that at least 90% of preclinical cancer research studies published in science journals are not reproducible, and are therefore wrong.
2. It is well known that cancer cells are obligate sugar metabolizers. Therefore, eating sugar is like throwing gasoline on a bonfire.
3. There is no evidence that exercising reduces the incidence of cancer. In fact, aerobic exercise increases the concentration of free radicals (oxygen ions) in your blood stream and increases the body’s need for anti-oxidants to absorb and detoxify them.
4. Given the pace of modern life and the challenges we all face, reducing stress is good advice, but difficult to accomplish.
5. By targeting vitamins as carcinogenic, my concern is that this kind of misinformation is setting the stage for regulation of vitamins under the national health care scheme currently being devised by bureaucrats. We know vitamins are not covered; now, I fear, they will be banned. The pharmaceutical companies have long had this as an international goal. Europe has already instituted Codex Alimentarius. So far, in America, we have escaped. However, there is a concerted propaganda campaign to mold public opinion. If the public can be brain washed, then vitamins can be controlled; and those of us who depend upon them will be out of luck.
My advice is that, whenever you see or hear this sort of propaganda, you raise a ruckus with the station or media outlet involved. We need to be vigilant in protecting what few health care rights we have left.

June 7, 2012 at 8:49 pm Leave a comment

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