|Issue #38 - November 2005|
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #38. It’s my mission 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. If you would like to stop receiving my newsletter 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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HOMEOPATHIC PHARMACY REDUX
Lately there have been a few questions related to homeopathic pharmacy so I thought it would be good to reiterate the basics. I include under pharmacy all the aspects involved in the preparation of homeopathic medicines.
To start, it’s important to understand where homeopathic medicines come from. Most remedies are made from the major Kingdoms of the natural world—Animal, Vegetable, and Mineral. Everything from relatively inert substances like club moss to innately reactive substances like Phosphorous. When Dr. Samuel Hahnemann created the science of homeopathy in the first half of the 19th century many of the medicines in use were toxic substances like Mercury. Hahnemann recognized the medicinal potential integral to such poisonous materials and sought a way to enhance the healing effects while canceling and negating any deadly effects. Similarly, a method was needed that would evoke the dormant healing properties inherent to inert substances such as oyster shell or cuttlefish ink. Hahnemann’s genius created the homeopathic pharmaceutical process, which solved these seemingly insurmountable problems simultaneously.
To address the issue of toxicity Hahnemann diluted his remedy preparations. To awaken the latent healing properties of a substance he created the succussion process. The combination of serial dilution and succussion is the hallmark of homeopathic pharmacy. For the first time extremely poisonous substances such as snake venoms, spider venoms, Mercury, Arsenic, etc., could be safely utilized as medicine. Understanding the 3 potency scales of homeopathic pharmacy shows us how this can be done.
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.
The X or decimal potency is prepared in a similar manner except a dilution factor of 1:10 applies. In other words, one part of the original material is diluted in 10 parts diluent and then succussed to make the 1X potency. Then 1 part of the 1X potency is added to 10 parts diluent and succussed to make the 2X potency, and so on.
There is a third homeopathic potency referred to as the LM potency (also Q potency) or 50 millesimal potency. The LM potency starts from a 3C potency of a particular remedy. One part of a 3C potency is dissolved in 99 parts of diluent and then 500 milk sugar pellets about the size of a poppy seed are moistened by this solution. Each one of these pellets is now an LM1 potency of that particular remedy.
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. The LM potency was specifically developed by Samuel Hahnemann to be his most ‘perfect method’. His goal was to bring about a rapid, gentle, and permanent restoration of health. I use mostly C and LM potencies in my practice. For those of you that have wondered where those really tiny pellets came from, now you know!
The C and X potencies can be made utilizing a variety of different sized pellets. From those smaller than poppy seed-sized granules that the LMs are always made from to pellets the size of large BBs. If prepared properly, each pellet dosed with the solution of a particular potency is equal to 1 dry dose. 500 poppy seed-sized granules of a LM potency therefore represent 500 dry doses. That’s why you can ignore the instructions on the tube of Oscillococcinum that say take the whole tube as 1 dose. Each one of those tubes contains at least 100 doses. Imagine that, 100 flu doses for less than $10. That’s cost effectiveness in medicine!
Coming up next time—The method behind dosing with liquid potencies.
VITAMIN C PROTOCOL
This is the season where many people are getting sick. Many factors contribute to this—holiday indulgence, lack of exercise, decreased air quality, lack of hygiene, etc. You’ll hear a lot about immune support and everyone has his or her favorite home remedy, supplement, or herb. As I have been working with herbs for 24 years and nutrition for 31 years I have a wealth of experience (and training) to draw upon. There are a few treatments I stand by as they have served my patients extremely well over the years.
What I call the Vit. C protocol is most often my first line of defense. Colds, flu, upper respiratory infections, allergies, the list goes on. Why is that? Why do I consistently see quick, effective response when this protocol is followed to the letter? To understand the simple answer to this question it’s necessary to learn a bit about Vit. C and mammals.
Every mammal, EXCEPT HUMANS and guinea pigs, make this water-soluble vitamin. What does that mean? It means that we have an extraordinary need for this vitamin. Sick or well. How do you address this need? It’s not by getting “100% of the recommended daily allowance”. All that ensures is that you won’t get scurvy (the disease the British sailors are famous for getting before they carried limes on their ships—hence the term ‘limeys’). Levels needed to prevent scurvy have little if anything to do with what a particular individual needs to maintain health, prevent disease, or treat an illness. If you try to do it through food you have to assess exposure to light and heat, as these will greatly decrease the amount of Vit. C present. Considering that there is a lot of light and heat involved in the processing of that container of fresh (or frozen) orange juice, you’re out of luck.
An additional factor involved in this nutritional issue is the official definition of what Vit. C is. It’s defined as ascorbic acid. The original research by Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, the brilliant Nobel Prize winner who discovered Vit. C, was more comprehensive. He described the complete functional molecule, which includes what we today call bioflavonoids. When repleting Vit. C it’s important to address the whole complex to get the best possible results.
If the recommended daily allowance is clinically useless, how do you know how much (and of what type) Vit. C you need? First, you need tablets/capsules that contain 1,000 mg. (1 gram) Vit. C, along with at least 100 mg. bioflavonoids. From the store you can get RainbowLite Ultra Gram C or an appropriate store product. From Emerson a good one is Ascorbplex.
When you first become ill start taking 1 gram per waking hour. Stay at this dose until you have a loose stool (bowel tolerance). With illness your need for Vit. C greatly increases so you might take 8, 10, 12, or more grams of Vit. C before a loose stool is produced. This process is the best marker and the most accurate way of determining your Vit. C dose. Once you reach bowel tolerance, back off 1-2 grams until the stool is solid again. This means that, if bowel tolerance comes at 10 grams, you would back off to 8-9 grams and see if the stool is solid again. If it is, stay at that dose every day. In our example, that would mean taking 8-9 grams of Vit. C every day. You can spread this out over the day, or take it in concentrated doses. How long should you take this much? I suggest staying at your dose for AT LEAST 3 days after your symptoms are completely gone. Again, from our example, you would keep taking 8-9 grams Vit. C, every day, and not stop until your symptoms are completely gone for at least 3 days. If you follow this protocol, and your symptoms do not change, you should tell your naturopath what’s going on.
If you follow this protocol exactly you will get over your illness more quickly, have fewer symptoms, and they won’t be as intense. If you don’t stick with the dosing until your symptoms ar gone, or only take ‘2-3 per day’, you will not see much in the way of positive results. Whether your treatment dose is 8 grams, 10 grams, 15 grams per day, etc., if this is what your body needs (as determined by bowel tolerance), this is not too much Vit. C.
HOW SAFE ARE VITAMINS?
The 2003 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers Toxic Exposures Surveillance System (1) states that there have been only two deaths allegedly caused by vitamins. Since almost half of all Americans take nutritional supplements every day, (about 145,000,000 individual doses daily), for a total of over 53 billion doses annually, that’s an amazing rack record without parallel.
Pharmaceutical drugs on the other hand, properly prescribed and taken as directed, kill 106,000 Americans each year. That is over 2,000 people each week, dead from their prescriptions. (2) Some physicians estimate the true number of drug-induced deaths to be far higher. (3)
Nutritional supplements have proven to be exceptionally safe. Specifically:
Supposedly, there was one alleged death from vitamin C and one alleged death from vitamin B-6. This information is highly questionable, as water-soluble vitamins such as B-6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin C (ascorbic acid) have excellent safety records extending back for many decades. Previous American Association of Poison Control Centers' Toxic Exposure Surveillance System reports show zero fatalities from either vitamins C or B-6.
The Journal of the American Medical Association has published the recommendation that every person take a multivitamin daily saying, "suboptimal intake of some vitamins, above levels causing classic vitamin deficiency, is a risk factor for chronic diseases and common in the general population, especially the elderly." (4) If done intelligently and individualized to the person, this is a reasonable idea. As always, supplements cannot replace foods, just supplement them.
1. American Journal of Emergency Medicine, Vol. 22, No. 5, September 2004, p 335-404.
2. Lucian Leape, Error in medicine. Journal of the American Medical Association, 1994, 272:23, p 1851. Also: Leape LL. Institute of Medicine medical error figures are not exaggerated. JAMA. 2000 Jul 5;284(1):95-7.
3. Dean C and Tuck T. Death by modern medicine. Belleville, ON: Matrix Verite, 2005.
4. Fletcher RH and Fairfield KM. Vitamins for chronic disease prevention in adults: Clinical applications JAMA. 2002; 287:3127-3129. And: Fairfield KM and Fletcher RH. Vitamins for chronic disease prevention in adults: Scientific review. JAMA. 2002; 287:3116-3126
DR. PAIS’S REVIEW: Many years ago, in the presidential campaign, the refrain was, “Where’s the money”? With this report, it should be, “Where are the bodies”? Many of my patient’s medical doctors consistently chastise them concerning supplements and herbs. They’ll say that something isn’t safe when there is no science to back up those statements. Yes, there can be interactions between drugs and supplements/herbs. Just make sure that you don’t make changes without informing all involved.
More than one third of cancer deaths are attributable to nine modifiable risk factors, according to the results of a study reported in the Nov. 19 2005 issue of The Lancet. "With respect to reducing mortality, advances in cancer treatment have not been as effective as those for other chronic diseases; effective screening methods are available for only a few cancers," writes Goodarz Danaei, MD, and the Comparative Risk Assessment collaborating group (Cancers) from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Initiative for Global Health at Harvard University in Cambridge. "Primary prevention through lifestyle and environmental interventions remains the main way to reduce the burden of cancers. In this report, we estimate mortality from 12 types of cancer attributable to nine risk factors in seven World Bank regions for 2001.
Of the seven million deaths from cancer worldwide in 2001, approximately 2.43 million (35%) were attributable to nine potentially modifiable risk factors. Of these deaths, 0.76 million were in high-income and 1.67 million in low- and middle-income nations; 1.6 million were in men and 0.83 million deaths were in women.
Smoking, alcohol use, and low consumption of fruits and vegetables were the leading risk factors for death from cancer worldwide and in low- and middle-income countries.
For women in low- and middle-income countries, sexual transmission of human papilloma virus (HPV) was also the leading risk factor for cervical cancer. Smoking, alcohol use, and overweight and obesity were the most important causes of cancer in high-income countries. "Reduction of exposure to key behavioral and environmental risk factors would prevent a substantial proportion of deaths from cancer," the authors write.
DR. PAIS’S REVIEW: Contrary to the message that there’s nothing you can do about cancer, this report says otherwise. It’s a matter of acknowledging the factors and attacking them head on. Imagine the possibilities if as much money and attention was given to eating more vegetables and fruit as is given to produce the next blockbuster drug, or the cancer vaccine. Of course the drug companies don’t make any money if you change your diet. And the fast food and artificial sweetener industries would suffer drastically if we really wanted to stop obesity.
HEAVY ANTIBIOTIC USE MAY INCREASE LYMPHOMA RISK
A history of using antibiotics more than 10 times in childhood increases the likelihood of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) by 80%, according to the largest population-based case-control study to date of NHL risk and medication use. Dr. Ellen T. Chang of the Northern California Cancer Center in Fremont and her colleagues also found a marginally increased NHL risk among patients with a high cumulative use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs--aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.).
Given the rising incidence of NHL, Dr. Chang and her team note in the November 15 2005 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology, a number of studies have investigated whether certain medications increase the risk of the disease. To investigate, the researchers looked at data from the Scandinavian Lymphoma Etiology study, which included 3,055 incident cases of NHL, who were matched with 3,187 healthy controls drawn from Danish and Swedish population registers. The "striking" association between antibiotic use and NHL was seen for all subtypes of the disease. High NSAID use increased overall risk of NHL and of diffuse large B-cell NHL.
Am J Epidemiol 2005;162:965-974
DR. PAIS’S REVIEW: Here is another possible cancer preventive measure—don’t use antibiotics or NSAIDs unless they are necessary. The study defines heavy antibiotic use as 10 times in childhood. But that usage is not that uncommon. And I’m always being asked whether it’s harmful to take aspirin or other similar drugs. This study adds new considerations to this issue.
DO YOU FEAR THE FLU?
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says, "Every year in the United States, on average, 36,000 people die from the flu." The actual numbers of flu-associated deaths from 1999 to 2002 from the CDC National Vital Statistic Reports are:
So, how does the CDC get 36,000 flu deaths from 753 actual flu deaths? They combine pneumonia deaths with flu deaths, because they say that the flu can lead to pneumonia. These numbers apparently come from doctors "in the field" who have diagnosed a patient with the flu. Have any of those deaths from the flu ever had an identification of a virus that the CDC claims actually caused the flu? Most likely not. In the year 2000, there were 912 deaths listed under pneumonia where the flu virus was never identified. There is no provable link between those pneumonia cases and flu.
Tommy Thompson, former head of US Health and Human services, stated that 91 percent of the people who die from the flu in the US every year are 65 and older. So, how many people under 65 are really dying from the flu each year? About 68.
A study by Lone Simonsen written in The Archives of Internal Medicine, states, "We could not correlate increasing vaccination coverage after 1980 with declining mortality rates in any age group. Because fewer than 10% of all winter deaths were attributable to influenza in any season, we conclude that observational studies substantially overestimate vaccination benefit." http://www.archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/165/3/265
Based on U.S. Mortality rates from 1968 to 2001, a study found no correlation between increasing vaccination rates after 1980 and declining death rates in any age group. According to Richard Jedelsohn, MD, Associate Chairman of the New York State Immunization Advisory Council, “30% of these vaccines are not effective. In higher-risk groups, which include the people who are most in need of protection, flu and pneumonia vaccines are 50-60% ineffective. Doctors see many patients with the flu who have had their flu shot.” Let's Live magazine, by the Editor, Jan. 2000
The flu shot does not protect a person from getting a host of other upper-respiratory-tract infections that also commonly circulate during the winter season. "Vaccines are being used as an ideological weapon. What you see every year as the flu is caused by 200 or 300 different agents with a vaccine against two of them. That is simply nonsense." Dr. Marc Siegel, author of "False Alarm: The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear," agreed. "We have set up a situation where a fear is created, and then we try to create the treatment for this fear. The public gets the idea that the flu is going to kill them and the vaccine will save them. Neither is true," he said."
Another problem-Flu vaccines contain the mercury-based thimerosal, which has been blamed for an increase of Autism, and other problems of brain development. There are also other toxic additives, such as formaldehyde.
During the Swine flu affair of 1976 there were only 6 cases reported, but the 'swine flu' vaccine reportedly caused 565 cases of Guillain-Barre paralysis, 30 to 60 deaths and numerous other problems, including blindness and impotency. Despite improvements made to flu vaccines since 1976, any and all flu vaccines are capable of causing Guillain-Barre. According to FDA estimates, less than 10% of physicians report vaccine adverse effects. Why should we believe that the benefits of a flu vaccination outweigh the risks when no one knows what the true risks are?
DR. PAIS’S REVIEW: Over the holiday an old friend visited. He described how he felt inundated by scare stories in radio, tv, and print about the flu and what might happen. I tried to give him a more comprehensive and balanced view. Yes, there are potential dangers associated with the flu. Everyone needs to maintain proper hygiene, good nutrition, sufficient sleep, and manage stress. But isn't it disturbing that Congress is planning a measure that will guarantee vaccine manufacturers annual billion-dollar payoffs no matter how many doses are left over, unused? Seems like they are protecting drug manufacturers over us.
And my friend was surprised to hear that Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, will profit from the sale of Tamiflu, a drug that in no way shape or form treats the avian flu, it just decreases the amount of days one is sick. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was made the chairman of Gilead in 1997. He holds major portions of stock in Gilead, and will profit from the government scare tactics used to justify the purchase of $2 billion of Tamiflu. What a coincidence.
SESAME SEEDS CAN LOWER CHOLESTEROL
Eating ground toasted sesame seeds can lower total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, according to a study published in Nutrition Research (2005;25:559-67).
For centuries people have eaten sesame seeds to promote good health. They are rich in unsaturated fats, protein, fiber, and lignans. Lignans are compounds found in plant fibers that have documented anticancer, antioxidant, and antimicrobial effects. Studies have found that components of sesame seeds act as antioxidants, protect the liver, and prevent high blood pressure. Lignans from sesame seeds have demonstrated the ability to reduce both total- and LDL-cholesterol levels, which contribute to heart attack risk.
Twenty-one healthy people with total cholesterol levels higher than 240 mg/dl participated in the new study. During the first two weeks, they were instructed to eat in accordance with the National Cholesterol Education Program Step 1 diet. On the Step 1 diet, no more than 30% of daily calories are from fat and no more than 10% are from saturated fat. During the next four-week phase, the participants replaced some of their calories with a sesame supplement providing 40 grams (about one and a half ounces) of ground toasted sesame seeds per day. The sesame was prepared with wheat flour and sweeteners and could be made into balls to be eaten as snacks. During the final four weeks of the study, the group did not eat sesame and resumed their usual diets. Blood tests were done after the two-week Step 1 diet, after the four weeks with sesame, and after the four weeks without sesame. The average total cholesterol level was 6.4% lower and the LDL-cholesterol level was 9.5% lower at the end of the sesame phase compared with the end of the Step 1 phase. Four weeks after stopping the sesame supplement, cholesterol levels were the same as they were before starting sesame (after the Step 1 phase).
DR. PAIS’S REVIEW: Most, if not all, of the patients that I have done Nutrition Consultations with, have heard about sesame seeds. They are a good source of essential fatty acids and minerals. These results suggest that eating sesame seeds can reduce cholesterol levels. In this way sesame seed consumption might reduce the risk of heart attack. Previous studies have found similar effects from eating nuts such as walnuts, almonds, pecans, macadamias, and pistachios. Specific components of sesame seeds and nuts, such as fiber and lignans, might further contribute to their beneficial effects on cholesterol levels.
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 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 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 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 any of you would like to check out Emerson Ecologics online here is the address of their home page: http://www.emersonecologics.com/Main.asp
Here you will find information on herbal products and nutritional supplements as well as product specials. 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.