|Issue #3 - December 2002|
Welcome to the third issue of Naturopathic News. Thank you for the interest and appreciation for the first two issues. This issue is about a week late due to my presentation for the 2002 HANP case conference in Seattle.
If you know someone who would benefit from receiving this newsletter, please send me his or her email address.
1. SPRING CLEANIN’
I am often asked whether I recommend therapeutic fasting, elimination of toxins, or detoxification protocols. It can be appropriate to repair and regenerate our body’s physiological systems at almost any time. When and how depend on very specific factors—nature of health complaints, nutritional state, medicines taken, environmental stress, etc. My favorite time to work with detoxification protocols is in the Spring. After a long, cold winter of slower activity and heavier foods, we’re ready to make a change. The days are longer, the dandelion greens are coming up, and foods are fresher.
2. 90% of Americans Headed for High Blood Pressure
Middle-aged and older Americans face a 90% chance of developing high blood pressure during their lives. Since high blood pressure boosts the odds of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease, this lifetime risk represents a huge public health burden. But the burden need not be so heavy, as high blood pressure is closely linked to lifestyle factors including inactivity and unhealthy eating habits.
To be fair, I thought we’d offer up some suggestions for recognizing if you live in California (I did from 1978-1988).
4. Sea VegetablesSea vegetables, sometimes called ‘seaweeds’ are a group of foods high in trace minerals and other important nutrients. Powdered kelp is one that many people are familiar with. This seaweed can be found in many nutritional supplements and is well known to the health food store aficionado. But there are many other seaweeds that taste better and have different applications. Here are a few of my favorites:
Dulse—Dark purple seaweed that comes in flakes, or even better, in its whole form. One of the tastiest seaweeds, it can be used as a condiment on cooked grains, steamed vegetables, or eaten as a snack.
Hiziki—Looks like dehydrated black spaghetti. Has a bland, starchy consistency that lends itself to being cooked with brown rice or added to a pot of marinated vegetables. For its weight, it is quite high in calcium.
Kombu—Brownish seaweed that can be cooked with your next pot of beans. It will dissolve and add a rich flavor; some think it even helps in decreasing gas.
Wakame—Dark green seaweed that can be cut up and added to soups or stews. It also dissolves, adding a somewhat salty flavor to the meal.
These and other seaweeds can be found in the oriental section of your local health food store. Along with other exotic, tasty treats such as miso, wasabi powder, and umeboshi plums.
5. Fever: Friend or Foe?This article is about fever, about the mechanics of fever and about the treatment of fever. It is an attempt to offer a rationale and an approach to treating fever that may be new to many people.
By definition, fever is "an elevation of the body temperature above normal, usually assumed to be 98.6 F". The aspirin companies would have us believe that fever is the disease afflicting us and if we make it go away then the illness is cured. This is not true. It is wrong. That most people take aspirin when they have a fever is testimonial to successful advertising and marketing. It is in no way a healthy practice.
Fever occurs as part of the body's response to foreign material in the blood. The foreign material may be bacteria, viruses, the toxins they produce, or the breakdown products of damaged tissue. The body recognizes these foreign proteins as a threat and institutes a series of defensive activities to eliminate them. This is the Immune Response. White blood cells increase in number and move to the area of concern. Antibodies are manufactured and spread throughout the body capturing and inactivating the threatening materials. The heart beats faster to pump more blood through the body to speed the pickup and removal of the unwanted chemicals. The body temperature elevates and a fever develops. In the past, some theorists mistakenly explained the rise in body temperature as a side effect of the speeding up of the body's other activities. This is not true. Fever is a fundamental component in the defense against infection and disease. The fever is not an accident. Germs do not cause it. It happens on purpose.
Increasing the body temperature increases the rates of chemical reactions. It increases the efficiency of the body's protective forces. White blood cells become more aggressive. Antibodies work faster.
Bacteria that cause disease are comfortable at normal body temperature. They don't like it when the temperature goes up. They grow slower and they reproduce slower. The body's defenses speed up because of the fever, but the invading bacteria are severely hampered. The fever helps the body's defensive cells gain the advantage and a cure results.
Elevating body temperature to fight infection is a strategy seen throughout the animal world. Even cold-blooded reptiles and fish use temperature elevation to fight invading pathogenic bacteria. In experimental trials, lizards injected with infectious bacteria moved to a part of their cages closest to a hot light, elevating their temperatures and inducing a "fevered state". If the light was removed so that they couldn't elevate their temperatures, they were unable to combat the infection effectively and died.
Lizards, fish, amphibians and mammals use fever to fight infection. Why do we think we are different? How did we get into the habit of taking an aspirin at the first sign of a fever? Perhaps because fever is the most obvious measurable and definitive sign that someone is sick. Obviously aspirin relieve some of the discomfort so we don't have to interrupt our normal activities. It's part of "I don't have time to be sick" attitude. But if we don't give ourselves the chance to be sick, how do we expect to get well? Making the fever go away does not cure the disease it just hides the signs. Suppressing a fever with aspirin, acetaminophen, etc., makes it harder for the body to eliminate the disease causing organisms and prolongs the sickness.
Recognize that fever is a sign that the body is fighting infection. Help your body don't hinder it. Don't give aspirin or other NSAIDS. These drugs suppress your body's ability to produce a fever. They do nothing to fight the disease.
How high a temperature gets in a fever does not indicate how severe a disease is. Rather it may indicate how strong a person's vital force is. Children who are strong and vital may spike high fevers as they fight off infection. Older people may not show such a vital reaction and may exhibit only a slight or no temperature elevation even when facing a serious infection.
The ideal temperature to fight disease is 102'. Children may run high temperatures of 104 to 105'. Fevers can be dangerous. Above 106' they may cause brain damage. The body usually controls and limits how high the temperature gets and fevers rarely become dangerous. Nevertheless, always monitor fever temperatures especially in children. The new digital thermometers are a godsend, especially with infants.
Make sure the patient gets plenty to drink so they are able to sweat. Sweating is how the body cools itself and regulates high temperatures.
When to be concerned:
Newborns and infants: The very young do not have well-developed temperature regulation. Fevers should be closely monitored and not allowed to get too high.
Lack of sweat: If the skin is hot and dry to the touch make sure the patient is getting enough to drink. Increased blood flow and increased toxin removal causes increased urination which adds to the water already lost from sweating It is easy to become dehydrated.
Long lasting fevers: If a fever goes on longer than four days consult a doctor.
What you can do:
Diet: Liquid only. Water; hot water and lemon; hot teas, especially diaphoretic teas to induce sweating.
If you feel the temperature is getting too high and needs to be lowered use cold compresses or immerse the person in a tepid bath (water the same temperature as normal body temperature). Or, use the wet sock treatment (see NN #2).
Support the body's immune response:
6. HRT and Breast CancerOver the last few years many of the touted benefits of hormone replacement therapy have been disproved by research. Estrogen does not seem to help prevent heart disease or Alzheimer’s. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) even published an article last year that showed that estrogen did not prevent hip fractures. Women who have had their ovaries removed may need some form of hormone support. Anyone considering hormonal support should consider the following research.
Hormone Replacement Therapy Linked to Breast Cancer
Adding to evidence that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can potentially raise a woman's risk of breast cancer, a new US study links recent, long-term HRT with a heightened risk of the disease.
Researchers found that HRT with estrogen alone or estrogen-plus-progestin was associated with a 70% increase in breast cancer risk when the therapy was taken for 5 years within the 6 years preceding the cancer diagnosis.
The findings build on previous research showing a link between long-term HRT and breast cancer and help clear up the question of whether combination HRT and estrogen-only HRT carry similar risks.
In addition, the study of about 1,300 women found that HRT use had a particular link to lobular breast cancer, the form of the disease that begins in the breast's lobules. It is far less common than ductal breast cancer, which begins in the milk ducts.
Women who were recent, long-time users of HRT faced a three-fold risk of lobular cancer compared with women who never used HRT.
These women also had about a 50% increase in the risk of ductal cancer.
JAMA February 13, 2002;287:734-741
7. Emerson Ecologics
Many of you have been ordering you supplements and herbs through Emerson Ecologics. So you already know that this is a great way to get physician quality products at reasonable prices. Reference my name when you establish your account and receive a 10% discount on every order. Their customer service is excellent and they usually ship to our area in 2 days. If you would like more information on how to have the natural medicines you need delivered to your door, call or email me for further details.
8. Win a 10% discount off your next visit.
If you submit a question or joke that is published in the Naturopathic News, you will receive a 10% discount off your next office visit. So don’t be bashful. If you are a closet humorist or have a question you’d like to see answered, let me know. Please submit your offerings no later than the 15th of each month. (Limit to 1 discount in any six-month period).
9. Gift Certificates
Give the gift of health. If someone you know would benefit from naturopathic care, give them the gift of a mini-consultation. Three such consultations are offered.
10. Naturopathic Lecture Series
As the Naturopathic Lecture Series has seen poor turnout it is being postponed at this time. Perhaps it was the time of day or season that caused poor attendance. Or, maybe the lecture topics weren’t enticing enough.