|Issue #41 - February 2006|
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #41. 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.
A HOMEOPATIC LETTER
>>>> This illness continues to be a learning experience for me. For one, I realize that being sick is not necessarily a problem that needs to be eliminated quickly so that we can get back to our ‘things as usual’ lifestyle. I’m seeing that illness has many causes and is an opportunity to learn about ourself. I see that vomiting and diarrhea is not a problem that should be suppressed but the body’s own wisdom in dealing with and eliminating illness.
I confess that during my period of vomiting and diarrhea I was looking at these activities through an allopathic approach of suppressing symptoms. I never conceived until after the fact that this was my body’s natural response to getting rid of my ‘bug’. I believe this process was enhanced by the garlic and pumpkin seeds which I did not give due respect to initially.
To be honest, after I vomited I really felt much better. I wonder if it was actually necessary to take the flagyl at that point. Still, I don’t know if it was the flagyl or the pumpkin seeds that helped me to feel better.
On the other hand, in taking flagyl I could clearly see how ingrained the allopathic process is within my mind. I like homeopathy as an ‘idea’, but when push comes to shove I was ready for the antibiotics. I didn’t see that my body’s wisdom was showing me how it deals with illness. I admit of being very afraid of what my body was doing. In addition to the diarrhea and vomit I was breaking out in hives all over my body, which subsided once I vomited. I really believe now that this was the wisdom of my body speaking and not necessarily a problem.
I also have come to appreciate the homeopathic view of allowing an illness to run its course and not just suppress the symptoms. You taught me a big lesson. >>>>
DR. PAIS’S COMMENT: This level of integrated understanding and awareness is wonderful to experience. It really brings it home to you what the healing process is about. The opportunity to comprehend symptoms and their function is one to treasure when you have it. I encourage any of you that have questions related to this letter to submit them to this open forum.
HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT EFFECTIVE IN ADHD
The July 27, 2005 online edition of the European Journal of Pediatrics describes a double blind placebo controlled crossover study that demonstrates the efficacy of homeopathic medicine in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 62 children diagnosed with ADHD were treated with a homeopathic medicine individualized to their case. Seventeen different homeopathic remedies were used in LM potencies. Results indicated that the children did not improve while on placebo. Only the children taking their individualized homeopathic remedy got better. The researchers conclusion was that “The trial suggests scientific evidence of the effectiveness of homeopathy in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, particularly in the areas of behavioural and cognitive functions.”
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: Double blind placebo controlled crossover studies are the gold standard for conventional research. If a prescription drug does well in such a trial it’s use is strongly pushed. The next time someone says there’s no proof that homeopathy works have him or her read this study.
CHILDREN'S BONE HEALTH IS RELATED TO MOM'S VITAMIN D INTAKE
In 1991-92 researchers at the University of Southampton tested Vitamin D levels in hundreds of pregnant women. Then, almost 10 years later, they examined the bone health of their children. The study’s results, published in the January 2006 issue of The Lancet, indicate that those children whose mothers were deficient in Vitamin D during pregnancy may grow up with lower than normal bone mass. This would put them at risk for osteoporosis-related bone fractures later in life.
Basically, the children of moms with low Vitamin D status had lower bone mass than the ones that came from moms with normal Vitamin D status. This difference in bone mass would be enough to increase your fracture risk from 30-50% if your mother was Vitamin D deficient during pregnancy.
During pregnancy Vitamin D helps transport calcium from the mother through the umbilical cord to the fetus. There it is used to help form the baby's bones. Whether you are an adult or a child Vitamin D is critical for the absorption of calcium from the gut. This helps create strong teeth and bones, and greatly affects the whole muscular skeletal system.
For the test, vitamin D levels were taken from the blood of 596 women during the third trimester of pregnancy. Then the calcium level was assessed in blood drawn from their babies' umbilical cords at birth. Nine years later, the researchers performed bone density tests on almost 200 of the children. If the mom had a low Vitamin D level in pregnancy then there was an increased chance of lower calcium levels in the cord blood. Which correlated with lower bone mass when the child was tested at nine year sold.
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: If you’re not getting Vitamin D from sunshine then the only other way to get it is through food or supplements. Only a few common foods are good vitamin D sources: International Units (IU) per serving
VITAMINS COMBAT AGE-RELATED BLINDNESS
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness from age 65, a study said on 2/13/06. Which means that hundreds of thousands of people could benefit from vitamin supplements shown to help prevent it. In 2001, researchers reported that subjects given therapeutic doses of Vit. C, E, beta carotene, and zinc had a reduced risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration.
In a Feb. 12 20006 report, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore tried to estimate how many people in the United States would benefit from increased supplement use. Their conclusion was that there are 8 million Americans at least 55 years old thought to be at high risk for the problem. If all these people at risk took the supplements used in the 2001 study, more than 300,000 of them would avoid advanced macular degeneration and any associated vision loss during the next five years.
November 2006 issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology
DR. PAIS’S COMMENT: What research tells us is that specific nutrients are preventive and can be curative for this condition. At the minimum, this is another reason to consume large amounts of colorful fruit and dark green vegetables (organic of course). Anyone at high risk for this condition should get professional nutritional advice to create an effective supplement program. And, of course, get eye exams at regular intervals.
DRUG CHIEF: DRUGS DON’T WORK
In December 2003, Dr. Allen Roses, a senior executive with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Britain's biggest drugs company, confessed that most prescription medicines do not work on most of the people who take them. That fewer than half the patients prescribed some of the most expensive drugs actually got any relief from them.
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: Here we have one of the top people at a large drug firm admitting that drugs don’t work. But is this the message you hear in the commercials during the evening news? Does your MD tell you that when he prescribes a drug for you? I can tell you that naturopathic medicine and homeopathic medicine have a higher success rate than 25-50%. In the 1918 flu epidemic American hospital records show a 96-97% or better success rate for homeopathic care.
NO HEART DISEASE BENEFIT FOUND IN FINAL ESTROGEN REPORT
Estrogen replacement therapy does not reduce a postmenopausal women's risk of a non-fatal heart attack or dying from coronary heart disease. This from a study reported in the February 2006 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. This study was part of the Women’s Health Initiative. Overall, estrogen and progestin therapy together (common hormone replacement) raises the risk of heart attacks, breast cancer, and blood clots.
In fact, the National Institute of Health, sponsor of the Initiative, halted the estrogen study in 2004 because of a high risk of stroke in estrogen users. Later that year, it was found that 65-79 year-old women in the estrogen trial were at an increased risk for dementia.
DR. PAIS’S COMMENT: Of the several ancillary reasons for pushing hormone replacement therapy ‘prevention of heart disease’ was one of the more pernicious ones. Heart attacks, breast cancer, blood clots, and dementia. Are these acceptable risks? Hopefully this is the final nail in that coffin.
ANGER PRECEDES INJURY
A University of Missouri-Columbia researcher has found that anger increased the risk of injury, especially for men, after interviewing more than 2,400 emergency-room patients at three Missouri hospitals. The study, published in the January 31, 2006 issue of the Annals of Family Medicine, found that people who described themselves as feeling "hostile" before getting hurt, faced twice the risk of injury.
The Missouri study asked emergency room patients to describe their state of mind both immediately before and 24 hours before the injury. Patients were asked to what extent they felt angry, hostile, or irritable, with responses organized on a 5-point scale from "not at all" to "extremely." Those 2,446 patients were compared to 1,533 random community residents interviewed by phone (control group). Even in the control group, one-third of respondents reported some degree of irritability, with 11.8 percent reporting feeling angry and 8 percent claiming downright hostility.
DR. PAIS’S COMMENT: What I take from this study is that there is an acknowledgment that one’s emotional state affects your level of health. To the degree that it can even produce injury. What comes to my mind is an acute case I saw in my office about 3 years ago. A patient came in experiencing extreme acute distress due to passing a kidney stone. Though the case had come together to some degree, it wasn’t until the spouse mentioned that the sufferer had been very angry the day before that the remedy picture became clear. With then good response to the now clearly indicated remedy.
NEWBORNS' LUNGS MAY BE HARMED BY ANTIDEPRESSANTS
New research has linked the use of Prozac and other similar antidepressants during pregnancy to a life-threatening lung problem in newborns. This was reported in the February 9 2006 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine
The antidepressants implicated are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, a class of drugs that includes Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft. Other research has linked use of these antidepressants late in pregnancy to jitteriness, irritability, low blood sugar, and difficulty breathing in newborns. Last year the Food and Drug Administration warned that Paxil might be associated with heart defects when taken during the first three months of pregnancy.
In this study, researchers looked at a problem called persistent pulmonary hypertension. This disorder occurs in one or two infants per 1,000 births. It develops after birth when the infant's lungs don’t function well as there is not enough oxygen reaching the blood.
Researchers interviewed the mothers of 377 infants who had the problem and asked them if they had taken any medication for depression while pregnant. The women were compared with the mothers of 836 healthy babies born about the same time. The researchers calculated the antidepressants increased the risk of the disorder six-fold.
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: How many more problems for newborn babies must occur before SSRIs are not allowed to be prescribed in pregnancy? Are you willing to take the chance that your baby will have difficulty breathing, irritability, jitteriness, or low blood sugar? There is an alternative that will not harm your baby in utero or once he or she is born. Homeopathic medicine that is individualized for the person.
FOOD AFFECTS YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
Sustain and the Mental Health Foundation, two British health organizations, released a report “Feeding Minds”, on January 16 2006 that discusses the impact of food production on health. Specifically, they indicted the proliferation of industrialized farming, introduced pesticides, and altering the body fat composition of animals, as the main factors in decreasing key nutrients that people consume, and consequently affecting mental health.
Less fresh food, and increased consumption of saturated fats and sugars, is contributing to depression and memory problems. Addressing mental health problems with dietary changes can show better results in some cases than either drugs or counseling. Just the lack of essential fatty acids alone may be linked to depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and Alzheimer's disease.
Dr. Pais’s Comment: This isn’t really surprising to anyone well versed in clinical nutrition. What’s important here is that 2 public health groups in Great Britain have exposed this issue in a general forum. Now, if this causes a shift in policy and a focus on healthy nutrition, something might actually come out of this.
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 (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