|Issue #25 - October 2004|
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #25. It’s my goal to help you find natural solutions to health problems. This newsletter is one way to do that. The more educated you are about your health options the better able you will be to take control of your health.
HOMEOPATHY: NEW SYMPTOMS
In the course of working together homeopathically, many of you have heard me ask the question, “Have there been any new symptoms?” There are a number of reasons why I ask this question. First, it’s part of the process of understanding what symptoms are and where they come from. Many individuals have a difficult time relaying their symptoms. No one has ever asked them to describe their pain, or to characterize their experience of depression. As I practice homeopathy I am interested in what has happened since the last contact. Not just the chief complaint, but also other aspects of the person’s health as a whole.
Then there’s the onset of new symptoms immediately or soon after taking a remedy. If these ‘cold’ symptoms, discharges, rashes, etc., are unlike anything the person has experienced before, it may be what my colleague Dr. Luc de Schepper calls a ‘natural healing crisis’. This natural healing crisis is part of the Vital Force’s response to the action of the correct homeopathic remedy. While the person is beginning to heal on a deeper level there is an externalization of minor symptoms. The same homeopathic remedy, applied appropriately, is all that is necessary.
Now you know why 2 of the most common questions at your homeopathic follow-up are “Have any old symptoms returned?” (see last month’s newsletter), and “Are there any new symptoms?” To reiterate, we must pay attention to what the body tells us and understand the response of the Vital Force. Having this information facilitates homeopathic case management in several ways—dosing frequency, potency, and remedy selection. One of the reasons why homeopathy is such a powerful healing modality is that we’re interested in what your body is trying to communicate. Not just the numbers on your laboratory test or the diagnostic codes on your insurance form.
BEFORE YOU GET THE FLU SHOT—DO YOUR HOMEWORK
People are waiting in long lines hoping to get the flu vaccine. It's that time of year--flu season. Between the media and the government the public is being stirred into complete panic mode. Headlines shout from newspapers, "Vaccine Shortage", tv and radio broadcasts are bombarding the public with reports that the flu epidemic is coming and there aren't enough vaccines to fight it.
In order to make an informed decision of whether or not to get the flu shot, it is of utmost importance to do your homework. You have to look at the safety issues surrounding the flu vaccination and then learn the preventative measures against getting the flu in the first place.
The flu vaccine is often recommended for people ages 65 and older and to those with serious medical conditions that could quickly worsen as a result of serious complications from the flu. Reports from medical journals widely vary in the effectiveness for the elderly, ranging from 0 to 85 percent.
The CDC reports that 90 percent of deaths from influenza occur among the elderly. These kinds of statistics make it nearly impossible to credit the flu vaccine for prolonging lives in this age group, as 65 percent of all deaths (regardless of the cause) happen among the elderly.
There are potential dangers to the flu vaccine, particularly to the already vulnerable elderly population. Dr. Hugh Fudenberg, one of the world's leading immunogeneticists, states the chances of getting Alzheimer's disease is 10 times higher if an individual has five consecutive shots than if they have one, two or no shots. This is likely due to the thimerosal (a mercury-derived preservative) and aluminum content of the vaccine. Not only is it loaded with toxic chemicals including mercury and aluminum, but also many people come down with the flu shortly after receiving the shot. This is because it actually weakens the immune system, making the person more predisposed to the illness.
Recommendations to give flu vaccinations to children were adopted on March 1, 2003. These recommendations include vaccinating children between 2 and 18 years who live in households containing children younger than 2 years of age. The most common type of flu vaccine given to children is called Fluzone, with each dose containing 25 micrograms of mercury. CDC recommendations include administering the flu vaccine to children beginning at six months of age and then on an annual basis, for the rest of their lives.
First, it is important to familiarize yourself with the side effects of FluMist, which include cough, runny nose/nasal congestion, irritability, headaches, chills, muscle aches, and fever. All of these symptoms bear striking similarities to the symptoms of the flu. In addition, research has shown an increased risk of Bell’s Palsy following intranasal flu vaccination, according to the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS). The makers of the nasal flu vaccine in the study decided not to market it the following season due to the risk. According to GACVS, the greater risk of Bell’s Palsy following immunization with this vaccine may have been due to specific vaccine components, or simply to use of the intranasal administration route. It is therefore possible that such complications of vaccine administration may also apply to other nasal vaccines.
The new live-virus vaccine (FLUMIST), which is squirted up the nose, was licensed by the FDA in June 2003 for use in healthy individuals between the ages of five and 50. It is not recommended for pregnant women or those with asthma, chronic lung or heart disease; chronic underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or kidney disorders; immune suppression or immune system problems; children or adolescents receiving aspirin therapy, anyone allergic to eggs; or those with a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome. It should not be given simultaneously with other vaccines.
FLUMIST's vaccine live virus is shed after vaccination so the vaccinated are advised to avoid close contact with immune-compromised individuals for at least 21 days. Some hospital personnel are asking those recently vaccinated with FLUMIST to avoid visiting patients in hospitals to prevent the risk of transmitting the vaccine strain virus to sick patients.
Here are some simple things you can do to avoid catching the flu:
If you do get the flu, the following 2 items are a great first line defense.
Note that the directions instruct the user to take a whole tube (at least 50-75 pellets) as one dose. This is not necessary. 1-2 pellets are all that are needed if it is the correct remedy.
If you are already taking a homeopathic medicine please contact your homeopath before doing this on your own.
I’M LOVING IT—NOT!!
Triggering heart disease more than any other fat is trans fat, which can be found in most fast foods. This makes eating out a potential hazard to the heart. This is due to the fact that most fast food chain restaurants fry their foods with a leading source of trans fat, otherwise known as the artery clogging partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (PHO).
Most Americans' trans fat intake stems from PHO. Some of the dangerous consequences related to trans fat are that it not only raises bad cholesterol, LDL, but it lowers good cholesterol, HDL. For these reasons, trans fat can be held accountable for the tens of thousands of deaths last year caused by heart attacks.
Fast food giant, McDonald's, promised to eliminate their use of PHO by creating a cooking oil with less trans fat. Do you remember when they did this? They claimed it was one step closer to cutting trans fat altogether.
McDonald's lovers have yet to see that promise fulfilled.
Although McDonald's in Denmark have switched to healthier cooking oil, McDonald's in the United States have retracted from any such actions. In fact, McDonald's is being sued in California for misleading the public by not following through with their proposed actions. Members of the Center of Science and Public Interest group described McDonald's continual use of trans fat as "reckless and irresponsible."
Dietary guidelines state that only 1 percent of a person's daily calorie intake should come from trans fat. One small order of McDonald's French fries contains enough trans fat to fill a day and a half's worth.
In addition to McDonald's, fast food chains using PHO include Burger King, Wendy's, Applebee's, and Krispy Kreme.
It is not illegal for the restaurants to use PHO, however, new labeling rules are pushing manufacturers of processed foods in the direction of switching to less harmful oils. Those fighting against the use of PHO hope to gain some ground by asking the FDA to require restaurants using PHO to make it known by printing it in their menus or on their signs. Trans fat can be found naturally in meat and dairy products.
Trans fatty acids, also known as trans fat, is an artery-clogging fat that is formed when vegetable oils are hardened into margarine or shortening. It is found in many other foods besides margarine and shortening, however, including fried foods like french fries and fried chicken, doughnuts, cookies, pastries and crackers. In the United States, typical french fries have about 40 percent trans fatty acids and many popular cookies and crackers range from 30 percent to 50 percent trans fatty acids. Doughnuts have about 35 percent to 40 percent trans fatty acids.
Trans fat is known to increase blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad" cholesterol, while lowering levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), known as "good" cholesterol. It can also cause major clogging of arteries, type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems, and was found to increase the risk of heart disease. Many food companies use trans fat instead of oil because it reduces cost, extends storage life of products, and can improve flavor and texture.
One problem with the use of trans fat is that food companies were not required to list it on nutrition labels so consumers had no way of knowing how much trans fat was in the food they were eating. Further, there is no upper safety limit recommended for the daily intake of trans fat. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only said "intake of trans fats should be as low as possible."
In a step in the right direction, the FDA has announced a final rule requiring food manufacturers to list trans fat on Nutrition Facts labels. The bad news is that the labels are not required until 2006 so consumers will need to fend for themselves when making food choices until that time.
While some foods like bakery items and fried foods are obvious sources of trans fat, other processed foods, such as cereals and waffles, can also contain trans fat. One tip to determine the amount of trans fat in a food is to read the ingredient label and look for shortening, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil. The higher up on the list these ingredients appear, the more trans fat.
You can also add up the amount of fat in a product (saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), provided the amounts are listed, and compare the total with the total fat on the label. If they don’t match up, the difference is likely trans fat, especially if partially hydrogenated oil is listed as one of the first ingredients.
Trans fats have only been around for the last 100 years, introduced as an artifact of the food processing industry. Ninety percent of trans fats are hidden. They are in many of the processed foods Americans eat, not just margarine. Trans fats lead to a major increase in cancers, arthritis, fatigue and nearly all chronic illnesses. Trans fats are also an enormous instigator of diabetes.
GP: Obviously, with all the unhealthy ingredients used at fast food restaurants, the key to being healthy is to simply not go. You can only poison your body for so long. If you subsist on fast foods, you are accelerating the aging process and compromising your health. There is always an alternative. At least change your choices—avoid fried foods, desserts, and soft drinks. One of the first steps to a healthy lifestyle is eliminating processed foods from your diet. It is in processed foods where the artery-clogging trans fat lives.
HOMEOPATHY: NOTHING TO SNEEZE AT
A new Scottish study has proved once again that homeopathic therapy is effective. Upon randomly treating 50 patients suffering from nasal allergies with either a homeopathic preparation or a placebo, a research team in Glasgow found that those who were given the real thing had significantly greater improvement in nasal airflow.
The study, published this past summer in the British Medical Journal, involved a daily measurement of patients' nasal air flow along with such symptoms as runny, blocked or itchy nose, sneezing and eye irritation.
Those on the homeopathic treatment had a 28 per cent improved nasal airflow over the course of four weeks, compared with just a 3 per cent improvement among those in the placebo group.
"We were very surprised by the results, especially because they were so clear," says Dr David Reilly, a researcher at Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital and lead author of the report.
In a commentary also published in the British Medical Journal, complementary medicine researcher Andrew Vickers wrote that the battle over homeopathic medicine, once raging, is subsiding. With more than 180 clinical trials to date, Vickers added, the most recent study helps to "further strengthen the evidence that homeopathy shows therapeutic effect."
GP: It is very difficult to design a research study to look at individualized treatment. Kudos to Dr. Reilly and his colleagues for carrying out such an historic study.
That’s it for this issue of Naturopathic News. If you’ve thought a bit extra or learned something new, then I achieved my goal. As usual, if you have questions or concerns brought up by these subjects, let me know.
Gregory Pais, ND, DHANP