Another Unwarranted Attack on Supplements from WebMD

In response to the recent tragedy involving NBA player Lamar Odom, an absolutely outrageous article appeared on WebMD today (10/15/15). It is entitled “Dietary Supplements Send Thousands to the ER Each Year.” When you start to read the article you find out several things:

  1. The actual number (23,000 estimated) is far less than the number of side effects from prescription drugs (4.5 million), not to mention the number of deaths (37,485).
  2. Furthermore, it states in the article that since 150 million Americans take dietary supplements each year, the incidence of side effects is less than 1/10th of 1%.
  3. This “study” was actually a medical records review where doctors had noted that they believed that the symptoms had been caused by a dietary supplement. In my experience, since medical doctors know absolutely nothing about dietary supplements, they always try to lay the blame on whatever supplement someone is taking. Therefore, the records being “analyzed” were flawed from the start.
  4. The only item I agree with in this entire article is that you do need to be careful about the source of your supplements. One lady was taking a weight loss supplement that upon testing was found to be “spiked with drugs.” It isn’t exactly fair to call that an adverse reaction to a supplement, is it? It was actually because of the drug contamination. Purchasing your supplements from reputable, professional suppliers where purity is assured it your best choice.

This article is one more salvo in WebMD’s continuing attack on alternative medicine. Since all of their advertising dollars come from pharmaceuticals, it isn’t surprising that the editors constantly denigrate natural remedies. Remember the old saying, “Follow the money!”

I have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. A friend of mine, Dr. William Cockburn America’s leading expert on thermography, contacted WebMD and offered to provide them with a scholarly article on the uses and benefits of thermography. He was told that WebMD’s mission was to counteract all of the “false” information generated on the Internet about alternative medicine and, therefore, they were not interested in anything he wrote. Remember that when you hear every news outlet citing the latest anti-vitamin headline ripped right from the pages of WebMD. I have had their feed on my home page for years; and I can assure you it happens practically every week.

October 15, 2015 at 11:16 pm Leave a comment

Warning re Blood Pressure Readings

If you are overweight, or your arms are larger than average due to your work (like mine are), your medical records may contain inaccurate blood pressure readings. This happened to me. I require a large blood pressure cuff, but my primary care physician’s assistant who took my blood pressure didn’t want to be bothered with going to fetch the large cuff. Therefore, all of the readings she took showed that I had hypertension. Big problem! I actually wrote the doctor a letter to correct the situation, and she now uses a large cuff every time I come in for an appointment.

A study in the British Medical Journal found that 8 percent of obese patients were wrongly diagnosed as hypertensive because a standard size cuff, as opposed to a large size adult cuff, was used. I believe the problem is even worse in America.

The misdiagnosis means that you would be prescribed drugs or unnecessary anti-hypertensive treatments.

“Our findings show that blood pressure readings taken by the auscultatory method using a standard cuff instead of a large cuff in subjects with obese arms will be significantly higher in many individuals. Limited availability of different cuff sizes makes the improper usage of a standard cuff a frequent practice. Such circumstance potentially becomes a source of biased blood pressure readings,” the authors said.

I have found in my practice that the same is true of very small individuals. Using a standard cuff, instead of a child-size cuff, results in high blood pressure readings and over-medication. I had one such client, and her physician refused to obtain a child-size cuff to obtain accurate readings. As a result, she was over-medicated to such an extent that she slept constantly and was very difficult to arouse.

So, when you have your blood pressure taken, make sure the physician’s assistant sizes the cuff to your arm. There are guides inside the cuff that show whether or not it fits you. Accurate readings are essential since the medical world places such an emphasis on blood pressure.

Another fact you should be aware of is that the pharmaceutical industry, without any evidence, has decreed that everyone should have a blood pressure of 118/78. This is garbage. Life expectancy actuarial tables, based on actual statistics, tell us that 145/90 is borderline hypertension in people 45-years-old. For each decade of life, you add 5 points to the top and the bottom. This means that a 65-year-old would have borderline hypertension at 155/100. However, medical practitioners go ballistic at these numbers, because they have been brainwashed by their pharmaceutical representatives. Do the math; at 85 years of age, the numbers are 165/110.

Why is this important? Because as we age, maintaining brain circulation is critical to both energy levels and mental clarity. I fight this battle all the time, with medical doctors prescribing drugs with serious side effects – everything from heart failure to kidney failure – for blood pressure readings that present no risk to the client. The best I can do is to inform the individual and let them make their own decision, since I am not permitted to take them off of medications.

So, be your own best advocate, and make decision based on many years of statistics, rather than drug company profits.

September 4, 2015 at 5:52 pm Leave a comment

BMI – A Dangerous Standard

At this point, everyone knows that approximately 1/3rd of the U.S. population was declared obese practically overnight. But do you know why?

The answer is simple. The long standing and clinically proven actuarial tables correlating height, weight, bone structure and longevity were ditched in favor of an unproven theory called Body Mass Index (BMI) that was devised in the mid-1800s by a Belgian polymath during the development of something he called “social physics.” I don’t even know what that term means. The reason he produced the formula was to give a quick and easy way to measure the degree of obesity of the general population to assist the government in allocating resources. He specifically stated that is was not to be used to determine whether an individual was obese; he only intended it to be used for the study of large populations.

Here are some facts you should know about the BMI and what is wrong with it:

  1. The BMI calculation is very biased, specifically against taller people and people with lean muscle mass. The equation used to determine BMI is

BMI = 703 X mass (in pounds) / height2 (in inches)

Where 703 is the conversion factor from the metric to the American system. People with BMI values ranging from 18.5 to 24.9 are categorized as normal, from 25.0 to 29.9 as overweight, and 30 and above as obese. Here’s the issue: our bodies are 3-dimensional. So, as you get taller, the bottom value should be height3. However, the mathematician who devised the formula didn’t care for that outcome, so he fudged the formula. Kind of like the global warming scientists who “tweaked” the data to get the curve they wanted.

  1. Your mass in pounds is only a surrogate measure of body fat. It is only moderately correlated with body fat. One analysis concluded that BMI could only explain 44% to 58% of the variance in body fat, even after factoring in age.
  2. The BMI assumes that all people’s bodies are of equal composition. This is manifestly false. It doesn’t account for differences in body shape, relative bone mass and differences in density between muscle and fat. Physically fit individuals (who have a higher proportion of muscle tissue) will have a higher BMI and will be improperly categorized as “overweight” or “obese.”
  3. In the 1990s, the World Health Organization with absolutely no evidence reduced the upper limits of the BMI normal category from 27.8 for men and 27.3 for women to 24.9 for both sexes. Instantly, as many as 25 million Americans became overweight. Authorities never mention this change when they cite statistics claim that more Americans are obese than ever. Can you say “intellectual dishonesty?”
  4. Even worse, recent research that individuals classified as “overweight” (BMI from 25 – 29.9) have lower mortality overall. Yet, these findings are routinely ignored. As long ago as 2005, I was pointing out the problems with BMI, including the fact that the CDC is suppressing information about the BMI being too low for optimal health.

However, none of these facts now matter. In 2014, the government mandated that all electronic medical records must contain the patient’s BMI information. If the providers do not comply, they will have their Medicare and Medicaid payments slashed. Of course, if you are classified as obese, your insurance rates will go up, and you may even be forced into taking toxic drugs to lower your BMI. Our obsession with body weight is the last acceptable prejudice.

July 4, 2015 at 8:08 pm Leave a comment

Osteoporosis — Treating it Naturally

A recent article on WebMD caught my eye. Dated April 13, 2015 and quoting from Health Day News the report was about the osteoporosis drug Reclast and its effect on osteoporosis in frail, elderly women. I found the study interesting for two reasons:

  1. The increase in bone density achieved did not translate into fewer fractures among this fragile population; and
  2. The actually improvement in bone density was only 2.8% after one year and 2.6% after two years.

The reasons I am impressed by this study are as follows:

For years, I have been pointing out that osteoporosis drugs, by their very mechanism of action – destroying the cells that remodel the bone – make bones brittle and susceptible to fracture. The article goes to great lengths to explain this finding away. However, their own study noted that 20% of the treated population had bone fractures, while only 16% of the control group suffered fractures. The mortality rate was also greater: 16% in the group receiving the drug and only 13% in the control group.

One of the reasons given for the poorer outcomes in the treated group is that they had many more falls than the control group: 49% to 35%. Do you think the medication might have had something to do with causing their falls? Of course, that is never mentioned in the article.

The second issue is even more impressive to me. The drug companies are touting an improvement of less than 3% in bone density for a drug that costs between $5,800 and $7,000. Excuse me! That percentage is barely on the chart. I have had enormous success with a protocol that involves calcium, vitamin D and strontium citrate. I was actually apologizing for the fact that the increase in bone strength is “only” 15% after two years. I guess I don’t have to apologize anymore, particularly since the cost is so much less.

The only concern regarding taking strontium is that you have to inform the radiologist that you are taking it when you have a bone scan done. It changes the appearance of the bone, and the doctor reading the study won’t understand those changes unless she or he knows you are taking strontium.

From a purely practical perspective, taking strontium makes sense. After all, calcium is nothing more than chalk. You know how easily chalk crumbles. To provide the tensile strength bone needs to avoid breakage, a mineral like strontium is much stronger. And, we know that the body places strontium in the bones. When I was young, the concern was that radioactive strontium from testing nuclear bombs would somehow get into the food supply of dairy cattle and affect children’s bones. So, we can put that knowledge safely to use and reduce the incidence of fracture in the elderly.

April 24, 2015 at 9:02 pm Leave a comment

BREAKTHROUGH IN HEART HEALTH

As many of you are aware, I had to close my Clinic in 2013 due to a sudden, acute illness. That illness was acute heart failure, triggered by a prescription medication I was given for a bleeding ulcer. I want to share with you the supplementation that brought me back to health.

I have treated heart failure for years. The problem in my case was that there was no diagnosis; all of the medical doctors thought I had cancer, since my tumor marker (CA-125) was elevated, and rising rapidly. I went to a cancer clinic in Tijuana, Oasis of Hope, which was an amazing experience. After running a full battery of tests, Dr. Contreras was the first to suggest that I didn’t have cancer; however, since they didn’t know what was wrong with me, they were “afraid not to treat me.” Those were his very words.

After returning home, I had another blood test, specific to cancer, through an international laboratory, Research Genetic Cancer Centre (RGCC). Originally established in Cyprus, the laboratory now operates internationally, with branch offices in the U.S., Central Europe, the United Kingdom and Hungary. They run amazing blood tests, specifically looking for circulating cancer cells, as well as cancer stem cells. Nothing was found in my sample. However, I was still ill and was still having trouble walking across a room without becoming severely breathless.

So, I undertook an online search, googling the phrase “CA-125 and heart symptoms.” I immediately hit pay dirt. It seems that in the early to mid-2000s, researchers discovered that, in acute heart failure, the ventricles secrete CA-125. Furthermore, there was a second test called B.N.P. (B-type natriuretic peptide), a substance secreted from the ventricles in response to heart failure. You can actually measure the progression of heart failure using the B.N.P. marker. I immediately went to the lab for that test, and, sure enough, it was elevated. I now had a working diagnosis and could apply my knowledge in natural medicine.

Amazingly, none of these helpful articles were in the oncology (cancer) literature; they were only available in the cardiology literature. So, I printed the abstracts and sent them to all of the doctors I had worked with, thanking them for their excellent care and providing the information “for the next guy.”

Within ten days of starting my natural protocol, I was 75% better. However, I still would become extremely tired in the afternoon. I was forced to take a nap, because I simply could not go on without one. That’s where the exciting breakthrough I want to share with you comes in.

For years, I had been treating heart failure with CoQ10, as well as a variety of other supplements, including Cardiotrophin PMG (which contains micro-peptides that repair the heart tissue) and potassium/magnesium aspartate (which regulates the heart rhythm). CoQ10 is the enzyme that allows your muscles to use oxygen to produce energy in your mitochondria. I have personally taken 600 mg of CoQ10 for years, because I have pre-existing mitochondrial damage.

Although much of the literature recommends the reduced form of CoQ10 (ubiquinol), I have never found a large enough difference between it and ubiquinone to justify the increased cost. So, I utilize ubiquinone in my practice and monitor tissue edema to establish dosage. One of the functions of CoQ10 is to strengthen your heart muscle, thus reducing extracellular fluid accumulation and taking the load off of your heart.

Time for a slight digression into cellular metabolism; let me explain what mitochondria actually are. All of our cells contain them; they are the organelles that contain the electron transport chain, which converts the oxygen we breathe and the food we eat into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), or cellular gasoline. One study revealed that muscle tissue of a 90-year-old man contained mitochondria that were 95% damaged, while the mitochondria of a 5-year-old showed almost no damage. (Voet D, Voet JG, Pratt CW. “Fundamentals of Biochemistry: Life at the Molecular Level.” 2nd ed. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.; 2006:547.)

Over the years of my practice, I have assiduously searched for a supplement that would repair my mitochondria and reverse the effects of cellular aging. Nothing I tried was effective; and, unfortunately, CoQ10 has no effect on repairing your mitochondria or increasing their numbers; it can only work with what’s currently there.

Then, along came the research on pyrroloquinoline quinone; let’s call it PQQ, since no one can pronounce it. PQQ actually triggers your mitochondria to replicate, increasing the numbers of them in your cells. The effect is rejuvenating. Imagine having the energy and strength you had when you were young, and you had a full complement of mitochondria in all of your cells!

Researchers at the University of California at Davis are doing pioneering work in the study of PQQ. Their work shows a clear correlation between PQQ and the growth of new mitochondria. One of their studies was published in the Journal of Nutrition. In the study they fed mice a diet supplemented with PQQ; the mice grew a staggering number of new mitochondria in just 8 weeks. Here’s the graph of their findings:

PQQ

Stites, T. et al. “Pyrroloquinoline Quinone Modulates Mitochondrial Quantity and Function in Mice.” J. Nutr.February 2006 vol. 136 no. 2 390-396.

And, there’s even more good news. PQQ also stimulates the natural production of nerve growth factor, a substance that triggers the growth of new brain cells.

It also relieves the stress on your brain cells called excitotoxicity. This is the overstimulation of our brain cells that causes senility and loss of memory as we get older. Essentially, it returns our brains to a younger state. (Murase K, Hattori A, Kohno M, Hayashi K. “Stimulation of nerve growth factor synthesis/secretion in mouse astroglial cells by coenzymes.” Biochem Mol Biol Int. 1993 Jul;30(4):615-21 and Hara H, Hiramatsu H, Adachi T. “Pyrroloquinoline quinone is a potent neuroprotective nutrient against 6-hydroxydopamine- induced neurotoxicity.” Neurochem Res. 2007 Mar;32(3):489-95) I don’t know about you, but that was something I felt I needed desperately!

Furthermore, PQQ also keeps the mitochondria in your heart young. This is extremely important because mitochondria are fragile; they are extremely susceptible to toxic damage. So PQQ’s role as a protector of mitochondrial DNA is just as important as its ability to generate new ones. (Baggio E, Gandini R, Plancher AC, Passeri M, Carmosino G. “Italian multicenter study on the safety and efficacy of coenzyme Q10 as adjunctive therapy in

heart….” Mol Aspects Med. 1994;15 Suppl:s287-94 and Singh R, Wander G, Rastogi A, Shukla P, Mittal A, Sharma J, Mehrotra S, Kapoor R, Chopra R. “Randomized, double-blind placebo- controlled trial of coenzyme Q10 in patients …” Cardiovasc Drugs Ther.1998;12(4):347-53)

Within just a couple of weeks of taking PQQ at a dose of 20 mg daily, I noticed an immediate improvement in my energy. I no longer required a nap to continue functioning with my afternoon patients. I have now been taking it for more than 6 months, and I am now back to working 10-hour days, when necessary. I still get tired, but it is a healthy tired, which I bounce back from easily. I am truly getting my life back.

If you have problems with energy, thinking or stamina, I strongly recommend that you begin taking CoQ10 and MitoPQQ (that’s the brand name) daily. Please call me to order; I promise you will be amazed by the results over the period of just a few short weeks.

April 2, 2015 at 8:24 pm Leave a comment

The Vaccination Debate

 

We now have an hysterical news cycle highlighting the measles “epidemic” and converting it into the “necessity to vaccinate all children.” There are several huge problems with what’s going on.

First of all, 100 cases do not an epidemic make. 1,000 maybe; but even then it can only be considered a “mini-epidemic.” However, there has been increasing hysteria about public risk, starting with the Ebola non-event. Now, we have involved “the children,” which ramps up the decibels considerably.

What is never mentioned is that our vaccination policy has seriously shifted the demographics of measles. It used to be a mild, self-limiting childhood disease, which actually helped the child’s immune system to mature. Furthermore, young women contracting measles acquired lifelong immunity, which they could pass on to their newborn infants in their breast milk. Vaccination doesn’t work that way. Now, vaccinated young women cannot pass immunity to their newborn infants, placing the most susceptible among us at the greatest risk. Infants can’t be given the measles vaccine until they are 12 months of age. However, it is precisely that age group (<12 months old) that has the most serious complications from measles, including life-threatening encephalitis. Daycare centers only increase their risk of exposure, particularly if some of the children are older and have been vaccinated. There are many reported cases of transmission via the vaccine. If their mothers had contracted measles in childhood, they would not be at risk at all. Yet, our medical establishment continues to push vaccines as a solution to a problem they created.

Another problem from my point of view is that the debate has focused on autism, claiming the science is settled. My first objection to this is that autism is not the most serious side effect of vaccines. Serious brain damage, including cerebral palsy and vegetative states are by far more devastating. There is no mention of this, except by Senator Rand, although he wasn’t specific enough.

The most convincing evidence concerning the danger of childhood vaccines is the federal program for compensating victims of vaccination. The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was established in 1986 when pharmaceutical companies threatened to stop providing vaccines due to liability. In 2002 one girl was awarded $4.7 million to pay for her on-going care. The last I had heard was that the fund was bankrupt and there were 4,000 cases in the pipeline. I couldn’t discover the current status on line.

The reason I designate this fund as the “most convincing” evidence of the danger of vaccine is that pediatricians rarely see a vaccine as the proximate cause of a child’s disability. They look for any other possible explanation, minimizing the impact of the vaccine. Some pediatricians actually recommend you give your child Tylenol after vaccination to quell any fever, one of the primary indicators that the child is having an adverse reaction. Worse, the Tylenol doesn’t cure anything; it simply masks the symptoms. I believe the cause is clearly financial; vaccination schedules are the lifeblood of pediatric practices.

Furthermore, to my knowledge no one has ever refuted Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s findings of the vaccine DNA in the lymphatic patches of autistic children. He has been denounced for financial conflict of interest – parents’ groups paid for his research, because no drug company would fund his work – and for subjecting children to unnecessary colonoscopies – he needed samples and how else was he to obtain them? He also attempted to develop a safer version of the vaccine and this, too, was considered an ethical conflict of interest. I personally believe that Dr. Wakefield was very brave to put his career on the line to try to solve this dilemma. He has lost his medical license and can no longer practice in Britain.

Over and over again, I have read and heard the statement that the science is indisputable – there is no connection between the vaccine and autism. This is an assertion coming from medical doctors and the media under the influence of WebMD and other purveyors of medical “information.” It is often nothing more than drug company propaganda, since pharmaceutical houses are among their largest funding sources. In the case of WebMD, drug company advertising is their only source.

Furthermore, there is more going on behind the scenes:

  1. The strain of measles in the Disneyland outbreak is from the Middle East, not America.
  2. There were several vaccinated individuals who contracted measles at Disneyland.
  3. There is now an allegation that vaccination has been turned into a political “talking point” by the Democratic Party to gin up another phony issue against those of us who are politically conservative. I can’t speak to this last point; I just know it is dangerous when our parental rights are kicked into the political arena. You may not know that Arkansas, under Bill Clinton, was the first state in the Union to make childhood vaccines mandatory. One of my instructors, Dr. R. Michael Cessna, lived there at the time. He was forced to vaccinate his last child, and she is the only one of his four children to develop asthma and a host of allergies. He believed it was directly attributable to the vaccine.
  4. It has been reported that the recent wave of undocumented and unvaccinated children crossing our southern border in response to President Obama’s edict on immigration have not been medically screened. Furthermore, the federal government has mandated that these children must be enrolled in public schools across the nation. These actions are in direct contravention of the CDC guidelines.

My final comment on all of this is purely personal, so that you can know where I am coming from. I have serious doubts about the safety of any vaccine. I have covered several of my concerns in previous blogs. Let me just list a few of my most serious doubts:

  1. I have seen a huge increase in shingles cases in my practice since the introduction of the shingles vaccine. It is a live virus vaccine, much like the polio vaccine that was quietly taken off the market in the late 1990s, because all of the polio cases in the U.S. were attributable to the vaccine. (My nephew being one of the victims.)
  2. There is no telling what is in any given batch of vaccine. Although the issue is controversial, I have read enough on the topic to be quite certain that HIV arose as a result of viruses recombining in cell culture while the vaccine for Hepatitis B was being produced. If you map the epidemiology of HIV, you will find that it exactly follows the path of Hepatitis B vaccine – here in America in the gay community, and across Africa, as well. I am not claiming that there was a plot to eradicate certain people. I am saying that human scientists are overly confident of their ability to control viral recombinant genetics. Another horrific example of unintended consequences.
  3. Lastly, there are studies (which the CDC discounts) that 5 influenza vaccines in 10 years result in a 9-fold increase in Alzheimer’s disease. I am simply not willing to take that risk. The belief is that the thimerasol (organic mercury) is the problem; yet, the most common version of the vaccine being administered contains thimerasol. Only single-dose vials do not, and most pharmacies and doctor’s offices use multi-dose vials due to expense.

The decision to vaccinate or not should remain a personal decision, with no government involvement of any kind. Once we lose our freedom to make our own health decisions, who knows what will be next.

February 6, 2015 at 6:13 pm Leave a comment

Dangers of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Having just attended a weekend seminar on injury, pain and inflammation, this seemed like a good time to refresh the information regarding the adverse effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications  (NSAIDS). You may remember that in 2004, only 5 years after its approval by the FDA, Merck withdrew Vioxx from the market due to between 88,000 and 140,000 cases of serious heart disease due to the drug. It also increased the risk of stroke significantly.

However, Vioxx is not the only NSAID with serious side effects. Many drugs that are commonly used to control arthritis pain have a serious downside.  Some of the more common medications include aspirin, ibuprofen (marketed as both Advil and Motrin) and naproxen.

The side effects are actually life threatening; each year 103,000 people are hospitalized for the side effects of NSAIDS and 16,500 of them die. (1999 figures, which are higher now)

These side effects include: indigestion, leaky gut syndrome, gastrointestinal bleeding, kidney damage, cardiovascular effects, liver effects, blockage of fracture repair and degradation of joint cartilage due to the inability of the body to synthesize new cartilage. NSAIDs destroy vitamin C, an essential component of cartilage repair and decrease the availability of sulfates in the body, which prevents the synthesis of a key component of cartilage — GAGs (aka glycosaminoglycans, formerly called mucopolysaccharides). And, severe reactions can often occur without any warning.

The good news is that there are alternatives to taking these dangerous drugs. These include essential fatty acids in the right balance, quercetin, resveratrol, boswellia, magnesium and zinc, which are co-factors to essential fatty acid pathways.

I have a variety of products in my pharmacopia to combat inflammation. To find out which one is best for you, schedule an appointment so that I may test your response to the different options.

January 28, 2015 at 6:19 pm Leave a comment

The Extraordinary Kava Story

— with thanks to Dr. Kerry Bone

For centuries, Pacific Islanders have been using Kava to socialize, relax and relieve fatigue anxiety. It was brought to the attention of the Western world in 1768, when Captain James Cook described its use in his account of his voyage to the South Seas. After a kava party, a deep restful sleep ensues, from which the user awakens the next morning refreshed and without a hangover.

A lot of misinformation has been circulated in recent years, due to the following set of circumstances. Kava is rather unique in that the active ingredients are found in the rhizome, or rootstock; and the plant is propagated via planting the rhizomes, rather than reseeding. The time-tested and empirically tested strains are called the “noble cultivars.”

When European pharmaceutical manufacturers wanted to capitalize on kava, they did not remain true to the traditional method of screening kava rootstocks and preparing them – basically as a water-based extraction.  Instead, they abandoned the noble cultivars and sampled a variety of strains, choosing the ones that had the highest concentration of what they considered the “active ingredients.” They then forced the Islanders to grow only those strains, which made the people quite unhappy, by the way.  Then, they added insult to injury by chemically extracting and concentrating what they thought of as the “valuable” compounds. The result was inevitable. Several patients in Europe had severe liver damage and as a result, insurance companies imposed heavy premiums on any company wanting to produce and distribute kava. In essence, the insurers banned the distribution of kava.

However, in ensuing years a great deal more information on the safety and efficacy of water-extracted kava has emerged, and the insurance industry has come around.  So, high quality kava is again available from Medi-Herb. The product is called Kava Forte

Currently, the following clinical uses have been supported by clinical trials: relief of anxiety and nervous tension, restlessness or mild depression of a non-psychotic origin; menopausal symptoms and insomnia. Based upon the pharmacological studies, we may extrapolate that kava also has the following effects:

  • Improves cognitive performance;
  • Relaxation of the skeletal muscles suggests benefit in treating conditions associated with muscle spasm and tension, such as headaches;
  • Improved heart rate control in generalized anxiety disorder;
  • Assistance in withdrawal from benzodiazepine drugs (think Xanax and similar prescriptions);
  • Pain relief.

Kava has not been shown to interfere with daily activities like operating machines or driving. It does not affect performance parameters, such as stress tolerance, vigilance and motor coordination. It is also not habit forming, making it much safer than prescription drugs prescribed for similar usage.

There are some contraindications to its use, however.  Pregnant or nursing women should not use it; nor should anyone with pre-existing liver disease. In addition, anyone diagnosed with Parkinsonism, or who are taking l-dopa or other drugs prescribed for Parkinson’s disease should not take kava. Finally, there have been isolated reports of interactions with benzodiazepine drugs. Therefore, to utilize kava, which is much safer than benzodiazepines because it is not habit forming, you would need to stop the Xanax or any other drug of that class.

A typical, safe dosage of Kava Forte would be 2 tablets twice daily. You can call the office and order a trial bottle if you think it would be helpful to you.

March 17, 2014 at 5:09 pm 2 comments

Do You Have Difficulty Sleeping?

Healthy sleep provides many benefits, including improved immune function, maintaining a healthy body weight, good memory and improved blood glucose regulation (lowering the risk for Type 2 diabetes).

Unfortunately, the use of pharmaceutical agents (hypnotics) to allow people to sleep is associated with an increased risk of death (Kripke, DF, Langer, RD, et al. BMJU Open 2012: 2(1):E000850).  The Kripke study compared the mortality and cancer risk of benzodiazepine type drugs (e.g. Xanax) to older drugs prescribed for the same use.  Their surprising finding was that use of any prescription hypnotic carried a substantially elevated risk of dying compared to individuals who used no drugs.

The statistics are startling:

  • Less than 18 doses per year increased the risk of dying 3.6 times
  • 18 to 32 doses per year increased the risk 4.4 times
  • More than 132 doses per year increased the risk 5.3 times
  • At the higher end was associated with a significant increased risk of cancer and was not attributable to pre-existing disease

So, what to do? Fortunately, there are a number of excellent herbal products that improve sleep quality.  The trick is to determine what kind of disrupted sleep pattern each person experiences. The classification of types of insomnia include the following:

  • Difficulty falling asleep (technically called sleep onset insomnia)
  • Awakening during the night and experience difficulty falling asleep again (sleep maintenance insomnia)
  • Early morning awakening with an inability to go back to sleep for hours, if at all (sleep offset insomnia)
  • A sense of not having enough sleep (non-restorative sleep). This has no correlation with how long a person actually sleeps; it is a subjective sense of fatigue and is often associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Do you recognize yourself in any of these categories?

Factors that contribute to sleep onset insomnia include anxiety, pain or discomfort, caffeine and alcohol.

Sleep maintenance and sleep offset insomnia are often linked to depression, anxiety, sleep apnea, hypoglycemia, pain or discomfort (as in fibromyalgia) and alcohol.  Oftentimes hypoglycemia is the unrecognized culprit. As blood sugar levels drop, the adrenal glands secrete cortisol to raise the sugar level in the blood; however, cortisol also stimulates the brain causing sleeplessness.

Non-restorative sleep is often associated with the poor adrenal function that is the hallmark of chronic fatigue syndrome.  Supporting adrenal function often results in a much more satisfying night’s sleep. Paradoxically perhaps, using adrenal tonics improves sleep quality. They “tonify” your sleep pattern.

Another symptom that can interfere with getting a good night’s sleep is restless leg syndrome.  The diagnosis is made based upon symptoms:

  • Do you have unusual sensations in your legs? Some people describe the sensation as “electric shocks.”
  • Are these sensations stronger at night, sometimes awakening you from sleep?
  • Is your response to move your legs to relieve the discomfort?
  • Does walking around relieve the symptoms?

A number of lifestyle factors have also been associated with restless leg syndrome, including heavy smoking, advanced age, obesity, hypertension, loud snoring, use of antidepressant drugs, diabetes and a lack of exercise. Long-term antihistamine use can result in refractory (or untreatable) restless leg syndrome.

One study found that people with varicose veins had a very high incidence of restless leg syndrome. After vein stripping, 98% of patients reported immediately improvement in their symptom pattern.

However, the good news is that there are very safe and effective herbal and nutritional supplements that provide relief for all of these problems.

Medi-Herb founder Dr. Kerry Bone gave an extremely interesting seminar relating to the scientific evidence that supports the use of herbal remedies for sleeplessness.

Anxiolytic and hypnotic herbs are the mainstay of support for improved sleep.  In severe cases, the herbs can be taken at a low dose throughout the day to avoid the build up of tension or mental excitability, which might lead to insomnia.  In mild cases, a single dose at bedtime is sufficient.

  • A mainstay for insomnia is Valerian.  It has been demonstrated in a double blind study that Valerian extract was at least as effective as benzodiazepines in improving sleep quality without the detrimental effect on cognitive processes and psychomotor performance the prescription drugs cause. (Hallam KT, Olver JS, McGrath C, et al., Hum Psychopharmacol 2003:18(8): 619-625) Valerian acts as a “sleep trainer.” It resets the sleep/wake cycle and is therefore most effective when taken for a minimum of 3 weeks.  The study mentioned above lasted for 6 weeks.  If you find no effect after 3 weeks, it is probably not the right formula for you.  I recommend Medi-Herb’s Valerian Complex for this use.  The dose will depend upon your personal symptoms, but in general it is dosed at 1 in the morning and 2 before bed. Valerian Complex also contains passionflower and spiny jujube, which also promote restful sleep.
  • When the problem is anxiety (including panic attacks), Kava Forte is the formula of choice. I can only recommend the Medi-Herb product, because they are using water extraction and are only using traditionally recognized strains – so-called “noble cultivars.” In the next newsletter I will detail how corporate greed injured the reputation of this valuable herbal tool.
  • For those of us who suffer from fibromyalgia and central nervous system pain issues, the choice is Nervagesic.  This formula contains California Poppy, Cordyalis and Jamaican Dogwood. Personally, I have found it to be the most effective for dealing with fibromyalgia pain and pain in my hip from my post-concussion syndrome. St. John’s Wort, Skullcap, Damiana and Schizandra are nervine tonic herbs that are also useful for fibromyalgia and problems with sleep maintenance.  These are found in a Medi-Herb product called Nevaton.
  • For patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and non-restorative sleep, Withania sominifera is particular useful.  Its Ayurvedic name is Ashwaganda, and Medi-Herb provides a liquid that can be used just before bed to improve sleep. 4 ml is an adequate dose for most people.
  • There are other adrenal tonics that help with sleep maintenance insomnia, as well.  Adrenal Complex contains Licorice and Rehmannia; these herbs help maintain blood sugar levels during the night.  Rhodiola and Ginseng can also assist in tonifying the adrenal glands and improving sleep maintenance; as does Chaste Tree.
  • With regard to Restless Leg Syndrome, there are a number of therapies available.  First of all, increasing your magnesium intake has been shown to provide benefit.  At least 300 mg daily seems to work well. Also, a double blind study indicated that Valerian improved both RLS symptoms and daytime sleepiness.  (Cuellar NG, et al, Altern Ther Health Med 2008; 25(2): 22-28) For those with problems with blood circulation (i.e. varicose veins), Horsechestnut Complex, which is venotonic, offers benefit.

As you can see, there are a wide variety of possibilities to help you improve your personal sleep issues.  To obtain a customized protocol, please call me and schedule a consultation appointment to optimize your restful sleep.

March 17, 2014 at 5:05 pm Leave a comment

Important Information on Prop 37

I am attaching to this email information I received from a concerned client regarding Prop 37, the food labeling initiative. I was unaware of the import of this legislation until I received a political ad dissing Dr. Mercola for supporting it. I immediately sat up and took notice, since I respect Dr. Mercola.

Continue Reading October 19, 2012 at 10:15 pm Leave a comment

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