|Issue #142 Sept. 2014|
Welcome to this edition of Naturopathic News, issue #142. It has been my mission over the last 16+ years to help you find optimal solutions to your health problems. This newsletter has been one way to do that. The more educated you are about your health options the more you are able 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.
I am announcing our move from Pennsylvania back to Colorado. Our 14 acre farm in Steam Valley has been on the market for about 8 weeks. It's in a beautiful setting, just 20 minutes North of Williamsport. Since we moved in 1998 only organic methods have been used for our large garden and small fruit orchard. We really want the next owners to have a similar respect for the land. If desired, there would be no problem obtaining organic certification.
I will be continuing my practice in Colorado after we move. Those of you wanting to continue naturopathic/homeopathic care after I leave, we can do that. For years I have successfully worked with patients long distance--CA, VT, GA, FL, OR, Germany, and the Middle East, by phone/Skype. I am putting together a list of patients who want to continue working with me after I relocate. If you and I haven't already had that conversation please contact me by October 31 and let me know.
I am unaware of any naturopath or homeopath that will be in the Williamsport area after I leave.
For physical medicine I highly recommend that you seek care with Solley Chiropractic. For Cranio Sacral Therapy I recommend Beth Shafranco in Williamsport, Catie Rasmussen in State College, and Laurie Brosius in Punxsutawney.
For acupuncture I recommend Linda Spencer in Wellsboro.
Regular appointment schedule, Monday-Friday until October 31. I am accepting new patients until then.
Friday, October 31, 2014 is my last physical day in my office at Solley Chiropractic.
I will be doing all my November appointments by phone/Skype.
By the end of November/beginning of December we will be packed up and on our way. Driving to our new home in the mountains.
There will be no change with your Emerson Ecologics status after I leave. Your account will still be associated with my practice and you will continue to receive your 10% discount on the supplements and herbs that you order.
It will be more expensive for me to practice in Colorado. Hence I will be raising my office fees. However, any active (2014) patient will continue to receive my 'Pennsylvania' fee rate, even after I am established in Colorado. This is my way of thanking you for your continued support.
It's worked very well to care for my long distance patients. However, there are limitations to using phone or Skype. If I need to examine you--take your blood pressure, feel your glands, listen to your lungs, etc.--I can't do that. Though you can find some common homeopathic remedies in local stores, anything beyond that I will have to mail to you. You will have to pay more attention to how much medicine you have left to not be stuck without your remedy for longer than a day or two. I will do my best to make this transition be as smooth as possible so that your healing process will not be disrupted. If you have any questions about how this can work for you please email.
Annual issue on
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.
If you remember last year's issue, keep reading, I promise to share some new tools you can use to stay well.
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 works for them. Colds and the flu can both cause congestion, lack of energy, sore throat, and body aches. Sudden onset of fever is usually a sign of the flu, not often a cold. Chills are usually associated with the flu, not a cold. A bad cough can be common to the flu. Either diarrhea or vomiting also occurs sometimes.
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.
CONVENTIONAL FLU APPROACH
Your doc may recommend a rapid flu test to diagnose the flu. The government's first study of how well rapid tests diagnose swine flu, released Aug. 6 2009, found that they were 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. I've seen no information to suggest the reliability of these rapid tests has improved.
The conventional approach is to use Tamiflu or Relenza which are antiviral drugs. And to use the flu vaccine when it's released.
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 2011, 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 effectiveness and toxic ingredients. Every year the flu vaccine is manufactured several months before flu season. It represents the best guess of what that season's actual flu strain will be.
These vaccine ingredients 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. Though conventional practitioners will say there is no thimerosal in vaccines, it is still used in multi dose flu applications. If you have to get the fly shot ask if it's from a multi shot vial.
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 immune response. Aluminum is a neurotoxin, a suspected 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.
Ethylene glycol-toxic chemical used as antifreeze.
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 ask if it contains 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. Anyone remember the disaster with the last Swine Flu vaccine in 1976? I do.
What does science say about how well the flu vaccine works?
The Cochrane Database Review-which is the gold standard for assessing the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of commonly used medical interventions-has concluded that flu vaccines do not appear to have any measurable benefit either for children, adults, or seniors.
1. When Cochrane reviewed the available scientific evidence that flu shots protect the elderly, and the results were abysmal. The authors concluded that:
"The available evidence is of poor quality and provides no guidance regarding the safety, efficacy or effectiveness of influenza vaccines for people aged 65 years or older."
2. Cochrane reviewers also evaluated whether or not flu shots given to health care workers can help protect the elderly patients in nursing homes with whom they work. In conclusion, the authors state that:
"There is no evidence that vaccinating health care workers prevents influenza in elderly residents in long-term care facilities."
3. A large-scale, systematic review of 51 studies, published in 2006, found no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than a placebo in preventing influenza in children under two. The studies involved 260,000 children, age 6 to 23 months.
4. In 2008, another Cochrane review again concluded that "little evidence is available" that the flu vaccine is effective in preventing influenza in children under the age of two.
5. As for the general adult population, Cochrane published the following:
"Influenza vaccines have a modest effect in reducing influenza symptoms and working days lost. There is no evidence that they affect complications, such as pneumonia, or transmission."
Cochrane reviews assessed all trials that compared vaccinated people with unvaccinated people. The combined results of these trials showed that under ideal conditions (the vaccine completely matching circulating viral configuration--this never happens) 33 healthy adults need to be vaccinated to avoid one set of influenza symptoms. In normal conditions (partially matching vaccine) 100 people need to be vaccinated to avoid one set of influenza symptoms. That's a success rate of 1 in 100 or 1%. Placebo works better than 1%.
TEN STEPS 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 avoid consumption of alcohol, coffee, fructose, and sugar. Sugar consumption almost immediately decreases immune function and makes it more likely you'll get sick.
3. Viruses are often passed by touch. Wash your hands frequently and avoid shaking hands with those who are already sick. Stay away from antibacterial soaps and wipes. These contain chemicals like triclosan which is a potent endocrine disruptor. There is no evidence that triclosan-containing antibacterial products outperform the good-old-fashioned techniques like washing with soap and water.
4. Eat very lightly at first sign of feeling bad in a non-specific way - it is especially useful to cut back to only vegetables and meat broth. Follow your body's inclination. If you are hungry, eat healthy and if not, eat lightly.
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 more garlic and onions, for their antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal activity; and adding live yogurt to your diet as it supports the beneficial flora in the gut where 70-80% of our immune function comes from.
6. Useful early homeopathic prevention includes Oscillococcinum (also sold as Flu Solution) products. Often these general 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 (Nutrient 950), beta carotene (Beta Carotene 25000), 400 IU mixed tocopherol vitamin E (E Gems Elite 400), zinc (Zinc Throat Guard Lozenges) and B Complex (.
8. Drink one quart of pure water (not distilled) for every 50 pounds of body weight. Avoid beverages--coffee, caffeinated tea, soda, juice, and alcohol.
9. Take a 20 minute 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. (Directions-www. http://www.foroptimalhealth.com/).
Stay home if you start to feel sick. You can be contagious up to 24 hours before you show symptoms; one reason the flu spreads so easily. If you're coughing, stay home until your cough is gone, preferably for an additional 24 hours afterwards. 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 (200C) on the early symptoms of flu. Results were published in the peer-reviewed British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Ferley, 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. More patients in the treatment group recovered completely in the first 48 hours than the control group (17% of patients with active treatment compared to 10% of controls). This was 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%) compared to the control group (6.6%) (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 for your flu. It will do little good to continue dosing. Stop and seek other treatment.
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.
INDIVIDUALIZED HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINE
So what do you do when those doses of Oscillococcinum don't work? 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. Not every case of the flu is the same. One remedy does not fit all. Yes, there are remedies whose symptoms fit common flu presentations. As the season develops I'll write on my Facebook page and in future newsletters the homeopathic medicines that are effective this season.
Sambucus nigra, or European elder, is a tall tree-like shrub, native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, and naturalized in the United States. Various parts of the elder have long been used in traditional medicine. The berries were used traditionally as a food to make elderberry wine and pies, and as a flavoring or dye. Currently, extracts of the berries are used primarily as antiviral agents for colds, influenza, and Herpes virus infection.
Two randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind studies have demonstrated that the elderberry extract, Sambucol, effectively inhibited both influenza A and B strains when given orally to patients in the first 48 hours of influenza symptoms. In one study, individuals experiencing typical early flu symptoms were given Sambucol daily for three days - 2 tablespoons (children) or four tablespoons (adults).
In the treatment group, significant improvement in flu symptoms was observed in 93.3% of subjects within two days after initial dosing. A complete resolution was achieved in
the treatment group in 90% of patients after 2-3
In the second study, patients experiencing early influenza symptoms were given 15 ml of Sambucol syrup four times daily for five days. Symptoms were monitored for eight days. In the treatment group, the majority of patients reported "pronounced improvement" after an average of 3-4 days.
If you decide to purchase Sambucol make sure you get an extract free of preservatives or artificial flavors.
ADVANCED IMMUNE SUPPORT (from Emerson)
Larch arabinogalactan is a safe and effective immune-stimulating phytochemical. It is FDA approved for use as a dietary fiber and in food applications. Because of its excellent safety profile and solubility in water, larch arabinogalactan is a safe, effective immunestimulating agent for your child or your grandmother.
This is an excellent extract of arabinogalactan from the Western Larch. I discovered how well this works last year when working with a professor who was ill all the time, especially every year in the Fall when he started teaching. He was unable to use the Vit. C protocol so I had him use this specific larch extract to increase his immune function. To my pleasant surprise, and his almost incredulous delight, he was much healthier come the season--even with all those coughing students.
Here are some pages from my website that are of particular interest:
Store: 433 supplements and herbs can be accessed from 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 142 issues of my health newsletter, "Naturopathic News".
Optimal Health Points: This is my blog that I update periodically. Check out my latest post, "Wet sock treatment".
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 compel 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 40 years assessing the quality and effectiveness of supplements. Beginning 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
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. For a few years now I've been using ZRT Laboratory in Oregon as well as Doctor's Data in Illinois.
Until a few years ago, venipuncture blood serum was the standard medium for testing Vitamin D. Since then, the blood spot method was developed. 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
The cost for ordering a Vit. D test through my office is $70 prepaid. Once you prepay 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 the lab it's only a matter of time before your results are sent back to me. I can even look at them online before the paper copy arrives.
If your doctor has refused to order a Vitamin D test or worse, ordered the wrong one, this is the fastest, least expensive, and most accurate way to do it yourself. Once we know what your Vitamin D levels are, the next step is making sure that you achieve optimum levels for disease prevention and health maintenance.
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 40 years, herbs for over 30 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). 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. At the same time, I receive a percentage of each supplement sale. 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