- HOMEOPATHY 101: WHEN DO WE CHANGE POTENCY?
- HOMEOPATHIC MEDICNES KILL BREAST CANCER CELLS
- THYROID DISEASE AND PESTICIDE USE
- OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS REDUCE RISK OF CHRONIC DISEASE
- DEPRESSION REDUCED WITH WHOLE FOODS DIET
- ATHEROSCLEROSIS WORSE WITH LATE BEDTIMES
- WEBSITE SERVICES
- MY FACEBOOK FAN PAGE
- MAKING WISE SUPPLEMETN CHOICES
- VITAMIN D TESTING
- ITHACA OPTIMAL HEALTH
- EMERSON ECOLOGICS
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #90. It's my mission to help you find optimal 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. If you would like to stop receiving my newsletter please send me an email and let me know. If you have a friend or family member who you think would appreciate the information provided, send me their email address.
When Do We Change Potency?
If I’m working with a chronic disease state that is responding to homeopathic medicine there comes a step in the process where it may be useful to change potency. Though there are 3 potency scales in homeopathic—X, C, LM—I’ll just reiterate a bit about the centesimal scale.
Homeopathic medicines start from a solution of standardized chemical strength. The first potency scale developed by Hahnemann and the one still most commonly found is the centesimal scale (C potency). To make a centesimal potency one part of this solution is added to 99 parts of the diluent (water and alcohol) and the dilution is thoroughly succussed (vigorously agitated by striking the container against a firm surface). This is called the 1C potency because it is a 1:100 dilution of the original solution (C for centesimal).
Then 1 part of the 1C potency is added to 99 parts of diluent. Again the solution is succussed. This new dilution is the 2C potency because it has been prepared by a 1:100 dilution performed 2 times. The strength of the 2C potency is 1/10,000 of the original solution (1/100 of 1/100). Further potencies go up from there—3C from 2C, 4C from 3C, etc. A 200C potency means this process has occurred 200 times, a 1M potency means that this process has occurred one thousand times. A 10M potency means that this process has been carried out 10,000 times.
Why is any of this important? What difference does it make which potency is used? In my experience, and that of many other homeopaths, potency and dose are critical in determining the response to a homeopathic remedy. If the potency is too strong or the dose is too large the vitality of the individual is ‘pushed’ too hard and pushes back with more symptoms—the headache gets worse or the sleep is disrupted. If the correct potency is used based on the assessment of the individual’s Vital Force this effect is minimized.
How can we determine what the correct potency is in an individual case? Let’s say that over the course of 3 or 4 months their migraines, energy level, sleep, and mood have all improved while taking a homeopathic medicine. Then, without any discernible reason, these symptoms start to worsen. What can we do to get things back on track? One possibility is to raise the potency of the homeopathic medicine. If I’ve had them take a 12c, I can have them take a 30c. What should be the result? I like to see the patient’s symptoms improve. Not just to where they were, but actually better. What do I watch out for? I make sure that there aren’t any completely new symptoms that show up. That other symptoms aren’t getting worse. If either of these is happening I reassess whether it’s really the correct remedy.
BREAST CANCER CELLS KILLED BY HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINES
This new study was conducted at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas and published in the International Journal of Oncology. It demonstrated that homeopathic remedies have a beneficial effect on breast cancer cells. The study shows that certain homeopathic remedies have preferentially elevated cytotoxic (killing) effects on breast adenocarcinoma cells compared with cells derived from normal breast epithelium.
The team of researchers commented that the homeopathic remedies appeared to have similar activity to the activity of paclitaxel (Taxol), the most commonly used chemotherapeutic drug for breast cancer, without the toxic effect on the normal cells.
The experiments were each done three times and repeated at least twice in each case of remedy. The homeopathic medicines tested included:
Conium maculatum 30C
Phytolacca decandra 200C
Thuja occidentalis 30C
The strongest effects were found from Carcinosin and Phytolacca.
The researchers concluded, "the ultra-diluted natural homeopathic remedies investigated in this study offer the promise of being effective preventive and/or therapeutic agents for breast cancer and worthy of further study."
Moshe Frenkel, MD, was the lead researcher for this study, and he is an associate professor at the University of Texas and the medical director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Frenkel stated, "We felt that homeopathy needed to be tested in the same way that we test new chemotherapeutic drugs. We were quite impressed to find that homeopathic remedies have similar effects to chemotherapy on breast cancer cells but without affecting normal cells, a very exciting finding. As far as we know, this is the first study that evaluated the effect of homeopathic remedies on breast cancer cells."
Frenkel further noted, "These findings probably need further testing in animal studies and in clinical trials to verify the actual clinical effect and its applicability in patients suffering from breast cancer. But it does open a window for interesting additional options in cancer care that are "out of the box" type of options, especially if those options have similar effects to current care with a major advantage of reduced toxicity and reduction of side effects."
Cytotoxic effects of ultra-diluted remedies on breast cancer cells. Int J Oncol. 2010 Feb;36(2):395-403.Frenkel M, Mishra BM, Sen S, Yang P, Pawlus A, Vence L, Leblanc A, Cohen L, Banerji P, Banerji P.
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: The next time someone makes a snide comment about homeopathic medicine have them read this study. Then ask them why they wouldn’t choose a non toxic cancer treatment that works better than the most popular cancer drug. It won’t surprise me if some sort of public effort isn’t made over the next few months to discredit this research. When it happens, ask yourself who benefits the most from discrediting an inexpensive non-toxic cancer treatment. That will be who’s writing the article.
THYROID DISEASE AND PESTICIDE USE
Thyroid disease is common, and evidence of an association between organochlorine pesticide exposure and thyroid disease is increasing. In the Agricultural Health Study the authors examined the association between over use of organochlorines pesticides and risk of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. They looked at 16,529 female spouses in North Carolina and Iowa enrolled in the Agricultural Health Study in 1993–1997. They also assessed risk of thyroid disease in relation to ever use of herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and fumigants.
The percentage of those reporting clinically diagnosed thyroid disease was 12.5%, and the prevalence of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism was 6.9% and 2.1%, respectively. There was an increased odds of hypothyroidism with over use of organochlorine insecticides and fungicides. Specifically, over use of the organochlorine chlordane, the fungicides benomyl and maneb/mancozeb, and the herbicide paraquat was significantly associated with hypothyroidism. Maneb/mancozeb was the only pesticide associated with both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. These data support a role of organochlorines, in addition to fungicides, in the etiology of thyroid disease among female spouses enrolled in the Agricultural Health Study.
OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS REDUCE RISK OF CHRONIC DISEASE
Several biochemical markers are commonly looked at in the assessment of chronic disease risk—triglycerides, HDL, LDL, and C-reactive protein. This study looked 357 Yup'ik Eskimos, examining their red blood cell eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are the major omega 3 essential fatty acids.
EPA and DHA levels were found to be inversely associated with triglycerides, and positively associated with HDL cholesterol. They were also inversely associated with C-reactive protein and LDL cholesterol. The authors concluded, "Increasing EPA and DHA intakes to amounts well above those consumed by the general US population may have strong beneficial effects on chronic disease risk."
"Associations of very high intakes of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids with biomarkers of chronic disease risk among Yup'ik Eskimos”, Am J Clin Nutr, 2010 Jan 20
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: I’ve said it before in previous newsletters, when I do nutrition consultations with my patients, omega 3 essential fatty acids are almost always the most prevalent nutritional imbalance. When you have higher levels of these in your bloodstream you’re at a lower risk for chronic disease—at least as demonstrated by the laboratory markers we use to assess the risk.
DEPRESSION AND DIETARY PATTERNS
This is one of the first studies to look at the dietary patterns of individuals and the incidence of depression. 3486 participants had their diets examined. Two dietary patterns were identified:
Whole food—heavily loaded by vegetables, fruits and fish
Processed food—heavily loaded by sweetened desserts, fried food, processed meat, refined grains and high-fat dairy products. Self-reported depression was assessed 5 years later. Those whose diets were the highest in the ‘whole food’ spectrum had the lowest incidence of depression. In comparison, those who ate the most ‘processed food’ had the highest rate of depression.
"The study can be an argument to help convince patients who have unhealthy eating behaviors that consuming a healthy diet not only controls excess weight but also may lower the risk of depression," said Dr. Akbaraly, one of the researchers. "This finding was observed after taking into account the potential confounding factors such as age, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, total energy intake, other health behaviors, and other health status, making the associations very robust.
Br J Psychiatry. 2009;195:408-413.
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: One possible mechanism of this connection is the high amount of sugar in the processed food diet. There was already some evidence of a correlation between sugar consumption and the rate of depression. This ‘processed food diet’ has been associated with higher risk of coronary heart disease and inflammation, both of which have been reported to be involved in the development of depression.
A whole foods diet protects against depression perhaps because fruits and vegetables are rich in the antioxidant nutrients that have been shown to reduce risk for depression. In addition, the diet includes many foods including cruciferous vegetables, leafy vegetables, and beans that are a rich source of folate. Low levels of folate have been associated with depression. And fish of curse are the best source of omega 3 fatty acids, which have also been shown to reduce the incidence of depression.
Dr. Akbaraly summarized his thoughts by saying, "In my opinion, the protective effect of diet on depression comes from a cumulative and synergistic effect of different nutrients from different sources of foods, rather than the effect of one isolated nutrient. If that's the case, it's important to assess the impact of the overall diet on health outcome, as people don't eat isolated nutrients."
ATHEROSCLEROSIS AND LATE BEDTIMES
Staying up too late may be hazardous to your health. Men who go to bed after midnight have significantly more arterial stiffening -- an early stage of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries -- than men who turn in earlier, a new study shows.
These researchers looked at a group of 251 healthy men 60 and younger. They had an annual checkup, during which their blood pressure, body weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and lipid levels were measured.
All the participants filled out questionnaires that asked how many hours of sleep they got each night (six hours and 20 minutes, on average) and what time they went to bed (11:30 p.m. on average). The fewer hours a man slept each night, the higher his BMI, blood pressure, and triglyceride levels, the study showed.
The men were then divided into three groups according to the number of hours they reported sleeping at night: less than six hours, six to seven hours, and seven hours or more. In each of these groups, the men who reported going to bed before midnight had more relaxed arteries than the men who went to bed after midnight.
American College of Cardiology's 58th Annual Scientific Session, Orlando, March 29-31, 2009.
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: If you needed some more reasons to get more sleep and go to bed earlier, here you go. A fairly simple lifestyle change to make that can have a huge impact in your long term health and avoidance of chronic disease.
Here are some pages that are of particular interest:
Store: There are 257 products from Emerson listed on this page. If yours isn’t one of them please let me know and I will add it so you can order online. This is particularly convenient after hours or on the weekend. Of course, you can always order by phone from Emerson at 800-654-4432.
Newsletter: Here you will find all 90 issues of my health newsletter, "Naturopathic News”.
Optimal Health Points: This is my blog that I update periodically. Check out my latest post, “No Deaths From Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids Or Herbs”.
Come join my fan page at www.facebook.com/NaturalDoc
Help me bring information, news, and stories about natural medicine to the Facebook community.
For those of you who don’t know, Facebook is a social networking. Users can add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. Additionally, users can join networks organized by city, workplace, and school or college.
Facebook pages help you discover new artists, businesses, and communities as well as those you already love. On my fan page www.facebook.com/NaturalDoc I post discussions that you can join in with and relay breaking health news related to disease prevention, clinical nutrition, and ways to make you healthier.
I’m looking forward to exploring this community with you. See you there!
LET ME HELP YOU MAKE WISE SUPPLEMENT CHOICES
As is often the case, a recent new patient asked if I would review their choice and use of supplements and herbs. Why does this happen so often? For many, taking a vitamin or herb is their introduction to natural medicine. Their desire to be healthier drives them to take supplements and herbs. The death, pain, discomfort, and side effects experienced with over the counter and prescription drugs compels people to look elsewhere. It’s very different with supplements and herbs which, when used correctly, have an incredibly low risk of harm.
Some people take this to an extreme and take every supplement or herb that someone tells them is ‘good for them’. It might be a clerk, an internet ‘expert’ source, or a friend who is marketing the latest or greatest fad. Most of these individuals or companies have no professional training or experience in the medical use of the supplements or herbs that they’re selling. The people they’re selling to come into my office with 5,10, 15, or more supplements that they’re taking. Sometimes it’s been so long since they started taking them that they don’t remember why they’re doing it. When I ask, they can’t tell me what, if anything, a particular product is doing for them. Yet, they can be quite fearful of stopping any of these items, as if their health would careen off a precipice without them.
Why do I think my approach is any different? Partly, it’s because of my background. I’ve literally been working with nutritional supplements since 1974. That’s 35 years assessing the quality and effectiveness of supplements. Starting in 1980 I started working with Western and Chinese herbs. The quality of herbs used and how they’re combined together has the greatest effect on the efficacy of the final product. Because I’ve grown, identified, harvested, and produced medicinal herbal products I recognize a good formula when I see one.
Licensed naturopaths like me receive the most extensive academic and clinical training in the use of nutritional supplements and herbal medicines of any professional in the United States. Nothing can substitute for such hands on experience, especially when you see, and are responsible for, the results of your treatments. Very different from the clerk in the store, or coworker who’s part of a MLM scheme.
What I’m offering to kick off the New Year 2010 is access to this experience and training. Both for you and your family. If you have questions about the supplements or herbs you are taking, or are thinking about taking, now is the time to ask. Send me an email with the brand and name of the product you’re taking. Let me know that you want to bring the bottles in at your next visit, so I can see what you’re taking. Start a discussion on my Facebook fan page. Either way I’ll give you honest feedback about what I think is good, or what isn’t. We’ll fine tune what you’re taking to maximize effect and eliminate waste.
Let me hear from you and we’ll get started. This is one New Year’s resolution that we can achieve.
GET YOUR VITAMIN D TEST WITH ZRT LABORATORY
It just happened again the other day. A patient sent me a copy of the Vitamin D test she just had done. With frustrating results. The wrong test was done. After all these years, and all the information available, MDs and laboratories still order the wrong test. What a waste of money and time.
For a long time I looked for a home Vitamin D test. One that would be simple, easy, and accurate to do on your own. I finally found one. ZRT Laboratory in Beaverton OR. ZRT emphasizes research and technological innovation.
Until now, venipuncture blood serum has been the standard medium for testing Vitamin D. ZRT has developed and refined Vitamin D testing in blood spots. A few drops of blood from a quick and nearly painless nick of the finger, placed on a filter paper to dry are all that is needed. The total 25 (OH) Vitamin D is then determined by liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). This method has been shown to be as accurate as the assay standard.
Ordering A Vitamin D Test
ZRT allows anyone to order a Vitamin D test kit for $95 plus shipping and have it sent to their home. ZRT will let me prepay for kits and send them to my office for $55 each. I am charging $65 per kit for patients to cover my overhead and analysis of results.
If you are interested in getting a Vitamin D test done through my office please prepay so I can order you a kit. Then you can either pick it up at my office or have it shipped to your home. Once you’ve taken the sample and sent it back to ZRT it’s only a matter of time before your results are sent back to me. I can even look at them online before the mail arrives.
If your doctor has refused to order a Vitamin D test or worse, ordered the wrong one, this is the fastest, least expensive, most accurate way to do it ourselves. Once we know what your Vitamin D levels are, the next step is making sure that you achieve optimum levels for prevention of disease and maintenance of health.
ITHACA OPTIMAL HEALTH
I’m excited to announce that I have opened a new office in Ithaca, New York. Why Ithaca? We feel very drawn to the area—socially, culturally, and politically. Now with the help of some friends we’re practicing there. Joy Weber, a massage therapist, has graciously opened her massage space to me, every 2nd Saturday of the month. I’ll be seeing patients there starting August 8. If you have any friends or family in the area let them know.
My Ithaca office address is 329 South Geneva St., Ithaca NY 14850.
I am often asked what supplements I recommend. Many of you have been surprised to discover that I favor food over pills; lifestyle changes over fads. I have been working with nutrition for over 30 years, herbs for over 20 years. Where and when appropriate I recommend them to my patients. I strive to act from knowledge, experience, and research.
Emerson Ecologics (800-654-4432) carries almost all of the nutritional supplements and botanical extracts that I think are useful. Their customer service is excellent and their delivery is reliable (often only 2-3 days to this region). It’s a great way to get physician quality products at reasonable prices.
To offset the cost of shipping, reference my name when you establish your account and receive a 10% discount on every order. If you have any questions about these items feel free to email me.
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
580 E. 3rd. St.
Williamsport PA 17701