- STAYING HEALTHY THROUGH FLU SEASON
- WEBSITE SERVICES
- MAKING SMART SUPPLEMENT CHOICES
- VITAMIN D TESTING
- ITHACA OPTIMAL HEALTH
- EMERSON ECOLOGICS
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #96. 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.
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STAYING HEALTHY THROUGH THE SEASON
Every year at this time, the questions start coming up. How can I keep my kids healthy when they go back to school? Do I need the flu vaccine? What should I do when I get sick?
I’m devoting this entire issue of Naturopathic News to staying healthy-whether it’s the flu, a cold, or trying not to get sick when everyone else at work or school is sick.
WHAT IS H1N1?
First, we need to know what we’re dealing with (thanks to Paul Herscu ND, DHANP for all his writings on this subject). H1N1, or the swine flu as it is known, is a new combination of flu, where human, pig, and bird influenza have exchanged material. This means that someone had a human strain of the flu and interacted with a pig or a bird that had a non-human flu strain. These pieces came together, exchanged material and became a hybrid strain. The long-term effects of such an event aren’t good, but not necessarily terrible in the short-term.
So far this virus seems easily transmitted from one person to another. It has not shown itself to be as lethal as the bird flu but it is more common. Flu strains usually thrive in cold, dry weather but H1N1 seems to have spread even throughout the summer. What we can’t answer for sure at this point is whether this strain is strengthening or weakening with time. This will become important as we go further into the season.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF IT’S THE FLU?
It can be difficult to judge whether you have a cold or the flu. Both are viruses and as such no antibiotic is useful to treat them. Colds and the flu can both cause congestion, lack of energy, sore throat, and body aches. Sudden onset of fever is a sign of the flu, not often a cold. Chills are usually associated with the flu, not a cold. A bad cough is quite common to H1N1. Either diarrhea or vomiting occurs sometimes, particularly with H1N1.
When can you do self-care? When do you need help? Obviously, if it’s hard to breathe, that can be an emergency. Chest pain or pressure, confusion or seizures, persistent vomiting or inability to hold down liquids, bluish lips—all of these are signs that you need to seek care. For kids, being listless or lethargic can be a sign that their state is worsening.
The government's first study of how well rapid tests diagnose swine flu, released Aug. 6 2009, finds they're wrong at least half the time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at rapid tests made by three companies. The tests correctly confirmed swine flu infections only 10%-51% of the time. The more accurate tests take longer and aren’t always done.
Other than the flu vaccine the conventional approach is to use Tamiflu or Relenza which are antiviral drugs.
Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate) is approved for treatment of uncomplicated influenza A and B in children 1 year of age or older. It is also approved for prevention of influenza in people 13 years or older. It’s part of a group of anti-influenza drugs called neuraminidase inhibitors, which work by blocking a viral enzyme that helps the influenza virus to invade cells in your respiratory tract.
All this considered, I don’t see that Tamiflu is a safe drug. The serious side effects include convulsions, delirium or delusions, and 14 deaths in children and teens as a result of neuropsychiatric problems and brain infections. Japan actually banned Tamiflu for children in 2007. In 2007 the FDA finally began investigating some 1,800 adverse event reports related to the drug.
Other common side effects of Tamiflu include:
Which are exactly the very symptoms you're trying to avoid.
Tamiflu has been reported to be ineffective against seasonal flu outbreaks, and may not be sufficient to combat an epidemic or pandemic. Even worse, some patients with influenza are at a higher risk for secondary bacterial infections when on Tamiflu. These kind of secondary bacterial infections are often the real cause of flu fatalities.
To top it off, if Tamiflu is used as directed (twice daily for 5 days), it only reduces the duration of your influenza symptoms by 1 to 1 ½ days, according to the official data.
I don’t see any logical reason why it makes sense to take a drug that can hurt you to get 1-2 days benefit. Not when there are other options that are safer, cheaper, and work better.
Health workers, many of whom are being forced to take Tamiflu, are saying No. Half the doctors in England have said they won’t take it. What else do these folks know that we don’t?
In addition to the potentially dangerous side effects of Tamiflu, there is also growing evidence of resistance against the drug. In February 2009, Nature Proceedings published a paper stating:
“The dramatic rise of oseltamivir [Tamiflu] resistance in the H1N1 serotype in the 2007/2008 season has raised concerns regarding individuals at risk for seasonal influenza, as well as development of similar resistance in the H5N1 serotype.” Previously, Tamiflu resistance was seen in previously treated patients. In contrast, the resistance reported in February involved patients who had not recently taken Tamiflu.
Once a flu vaccine is released there are many concerns about toxic ingredients. These substances are harmful to health, especially for children.
Mercury (Thimerosal)—used to disinfect the vaccine. It is a known neurological toxin that can have disastrous effects on the brain and central nervous system, especially in children.
Squalene—used as an adjuvant. It has been linked to the development of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
Formaldehyde—used to inactivate the virus. It is a known cancer-causing agent.
Aluminum—added to promote an antibody response. A neurotoxin seen as a cause of Alzheimer’s disease.
Triton X-100—a detergent.
Polysorbate 80—used as a preservative. This excitotoxin often triggers hyperactive and other behavioral reactions.
Carbolic acid—can cause poisoning in sufficient amounts.
Various antibiotics such as neomycin, streptomycin, and gentamicin. All can cause allergic reactions.
If you decide (or are forced) to take a vaccine this year I would ask about all of these ingredients. If any are present in the vaccine being offered initiate a conversation concerning the benefit versus the risk. Who will take responsibility if you or your child reacts to the vaccine? The vaccine companies arranged a free ride. They can’t be held legally responsible for any damage from the use of the vaccine.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
These are common sense measures that should be second nature at this point.
Get more sleep than you usually do. Fatigue from school or work is probably the single greatest trigger to getting sick.
Avoid all sugars and processed foods. These decrease your immune function.
Wash your hands with hot water and soap. This will decrease the chance that you will spread a virus to yourself or others. Antibiotic washes add to the problem of antibiotic resistant bacteria. As the flu is a virus these make no sense.
Eat more garlic and onions to support your immune function.
Stay home if you’re sick. You can be contagious up to 24 hours before you show symptoms; which is one reason flu spreads so easily. Remain home until your cough is gone, preferably for an additional 24 hours. Children can be contagious for over a week. If someone is sick where you work or go to school it can be a week before you know if you will get sick.
Vitamin D has known anti-viral properties and has been directly associated with fighting the flu. Extensive evidence shows that vitamin D serves as an important regulator of immune system responses. During a viral infection, the body can draw on vitamin D stored in the body to supply the increased needs of the immune system.
It’s easy to know how much Vitamin D you need as an individual to prevent the flu. Get a Vitamin D test done (see below) and dose specifically based on the results. As a general recommendation I suggest 1,500-2,000 IU Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) each day. If you have dark skin or a disease state connected to Vitamin D status you probably need more. You know that you’re taking too much Vitamin D when your blood level of Calcium rises unexplainably.
One specific homeopathic medicine used to prevent the flu has been subjected to clinical trials. The medicine is a homeopathic preparation of the liver and heart of a Barbary duck (trade name Oscillococcinum). This medicine was first formulated in 1925. Its name arose from a spurious notion that the blood of flu victims in the 1918 pandemic contained bacteria composed of balls (cocci) that vibrated, or oscillated. Joseph Roy, a French physician at the time identified this supposed pathogen and found it in many animal species. He chose as the source of his homeopathic preparation a duck, possibly an extremely fortuitous accident because of the association between human flu epidemics and bird viruses.
Oscillococcinum was first studied in France during the 1987 flu epidemic caused by an H1N1 virus. This multi-center study examined the effect of Oscillococcinum (200 C) on the early symptoms of flu. Results were published in the peer-reviewed British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, February, 1989.
A group of 149 non-homeopathic physicians enlisted 487 patients in the study, each of whom had developed flu-like symptoms during the previous 24 hours. Symptoms met strict criteria for the level of fever and the presence of associated flu symptoms. This took place in the midst of a documented flu epidemic. A treatment group and control group were established and the medicine prescribed in 5 doses, once at the physician's office and then twice a day for two days following. More patients in the treatment group recovered completely in the first 48 hours than the control group (17 percent of patients with active treatment compared to 10 percent of controls). This was deemed a statistically significant difference. More patients in the treatment group also judged the treatment as favorable compared to the placebo, 61% vs. 49%.
In 1990 German physicians replicated the French study of Oscillococcinum. They used the same criteria as the previous study and enrolled 372 patients. After 48 hours of treatment with Oscillococcinum the treatment group had significantly milder symptoms than the control group, and the number of patients with no symptoms from day two onward was significantly greater in the treatment group (17.4 percent) compared to the control group (6.6 percent) (Papp, 1998).
Both of these studies show a significant curative effect of a homeopathic medicine in the treatment of flu in carefully conducted, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials. The two studies were done in different countries, each with many participating physicians, and during two different flu epidemics, presumably caused by different viruses. Conventional antiviral drugs reduce the duration of flu by about one day if taken within the first 48 hours of illness (Cooper, 2003). Comparing the results of these studies with the meager effect of conventional treatment shows that homeopathy carries the potential to make a dramatic difference in any flu epidemic without the risk of drug side effects.
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: This product is best used as a preventative within the first 24-48 hours of you first getting sick.
Dosing: As soon as you feel your first warning sign take one and only one pellet under the tongue (it is not necessary to use a whole tube as a dose). If within 12 hours you see no improvement you can take one more pellet under the tongue. If there is no improvement within 24 hours, it’s probably not the correct homeopathic medicine. It will do little good to continue dosing. Stop and seek other treatment.
If you are under treatment with a homeopathic medicine for a chronic disease state please contact your homeopath before taking Oscillococcinum.
10 Ways Not to be a Cold or Flu Victim
1. At the first sign of illness, slow down immediately and rest to prevent the illness from taking hold. It is better to stop activity in the short term rather than having your activity stop you.
2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Get 8-9 hours of sleep, relax often, eat moderately, drink plenty of pure water and decrease consumption of alcohol, coffee, and sugar. Sugar consumption almost immediately decreases immune function.
3. Viruses are often passed by touch. Wash your hands frequently and avoid shaking hands with those who are already sick.
4. Eat very lightly at first sign of feeling badly in a non-specific way - it is especially useful to cut back to only fruits and vegetables. Follow your body's inclination. If you are hungry, eat more and if not, eat less.
5. Make choices that promote strong immune function. A few examples include: switching from coffee to herb tea consumption which has antibacterial and antiviral action; eating garlic liberally, for its antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal activity; and adding yogurt to your diet as it sets up a beneficial situation in the colon, helping to strengthen this underpinning of good health.
6. Useful early homeopathic prevention includes the use of Oscillococcinum or Flu Solution products. Sometimes these homeopathic medicines can stop an illness in the early stages.
7. As a prevention measure, take a good high potency multivitamin-mineral daily, with at least 1000 mg. vitamin C, beta carotene, 400 IU vitamin E, 15 mg. zinc and 25 mg. of each of the B vitamins.
8. Drink one quart of pure water (not distilled) for every 50 pounds of body weight. Avoid all other fluids, coffee, tea, and sodas.
9. Take a long, hot bath with a teaspoon of added Eucalyptus or Thyme oil (unless you are taking homeopathic medicines). Towel-dry and then pop into bed for a deep rest.
10. Use the wet sock treatment if you are already afflicted with fever or congestion. (If you don’t know how to do this powerful hydrotherapy treatment, send me an email and I’ll send you a handout)
PROBIOTICS CUT COLD SYMPTOMS IN KIDS
When given preventively over the winter months, probiotics reduce fever, cough, and runny noses in children, researchers said. Prophylactic Lactobacillus acidophilus alone or in combination with other microorganisms reduced the incidence and duration of all three symptoms.
The researchers found that while both single- and combination-strain products reduced the incidence of fever, cough, and rhinorrhea, the effect was more profound with the combination product. The more profound effect with the combination product may have resulted from the fact that bifidobacteria in the mouth decrease adherence of certain respiratory viruses to the epithelium. The incidence of vomiting and diarrhea were also low during the study period.
Probiotics may reduce respiratory symptoms and antibiotic use via an immune-enhancing effect, the researchers said, since previous studies have shown an ability of the bacteria to modulate immune responses.
Pediatrics Vol. 124 No. 2 August 2009, pp. e172-e179
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: There are many acidophilus/bifidobacteria combination products available. One from Emerson is Acidophilus/Bifidobacter/FOS 60 caps, Product Code: ACID2, Manufacturer: Vital Nutrients (VN).
Vitamin C protocol-This article from my November 2005 newsletter describes how to dose Vitamin C to treat illnesses such as colds, flu, allergies, etc.
Vitamin D-High doses of Vitamin D for a few days can be an effective treatment for the flu.
Homeopathic medicine-Homeopathy is the most powerful tool I have to work with the flu. If other preventative or treatment measures do not suffice, it’s time to pull out the ‘big guns’-individualized homeopathic treatment. This process can be enhanced by looking at the overall community of sick individuals and using their combined symptoms to choose the appropriate homeopathic medicine(s). This genus epidemicus as it is called can be very effective. The more patients that are treated homeopathically, the more we know what group of remedies are most commonly being seen for the specific flu symptoms that are being manifested. I am working with homeopaths around the US (and to some extent other countries) to bring this to fruition.
Here are some pages that are of particular interest:
Store : There are 304 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 96 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 website. 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 is easy 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.
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. 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