|Issue #49 - October 2006|
As of Friday October 6, 2006, my website is up and running www.foroptimalhealth.com
Here are some pages that are of particular interest:
Store: On this page you will find some of the more common items from Emerson. This allows you to conveniently order from my website. If one of the products that you use is not listed here let me know and I will add it. You can always order by phone from Emerson at 800-654-4432.
Here you will find all 48 issues of my health newsletter, "Naturopathic News".
This is a community calendar open to all of you. Please use it to post events and special dates that you would like to share.
You will also find the dates that I am out of town as well as my classes and lectures.
HOMEOPATHIC PHARMACY-WHAT DOES SUCCUSSION DO? Last week one of my new patients asked, "Why do you hit the medicine bottle?" Whenever someone asks this question I make sure that they are indeed, succussing, or firmly striking their bottle against a firm surface. Sometimes I find out that they are only shaking or gently tapping the bottle. This is not sufficient to achieve the desired result. Why do we succuss the medicinal solution? Why is it important? In Hahnemann's time-late 1700's to mid 1800's-most medicines were given in large amounts with known toxic side effects (sound familiar)? From the inception of homeopathy Hahnemann's focus was to 'restore the sick to health' in the 'most rapid, gentle, and permanent' manner. His goal was to produce the maximum medicinal benefit with the minimal disturbance. During the process of homeopathic pharmacy homeopathic medicines are serially diluted and potentized. Potentization is achieved by striking the remedy solution against a firm surface, a certain number of times, during each step of preparation. In the early years the classic scenario was large forearms and leather bound bibles. Today we have machines that do most of the work.
So why potentize the remedy? What does this do? It was Hahnemann's genius that saw potentization as a way to arouse the innate medicinal action of even seemingly inert substances such as sepia ink, oyster shell, club moss spores, etc. To affect the dynamis of the individual, the Vital Force, it was necessary to dynamically prepare the homeopathic medicines. This is what potentization does.
Why do I ask you to succuss your remedy a certain number of times before each dose? Have you ever been in a room with an overpowering odor only to not notice it within a few minutes? What happens? Your sense of smell adapts to the odor and your reaction becomes muted. By succussing your remedy before each dose you are slightly changing the potency of the remedy, ensuring that you do not repeat the exact same potency. Thereby preventing your response to the remedy from being muted. Succussion helps to make your remedy harmonic to your sensitivity. This process can be modified at any time and adjusted to whatever your state is. One of the best reasons to take homeopathic remedies in liquid form is that we are able to fine-tune the dose and your response to the dose in such a manner.
As with most aspects of homeopathy there is a depth of reason, research, and results-over 200 years worth-behind the seemingly simple step of succussing your remedy. The simplicity of the step however does not belie the importance of succussion and its expected outcome. Next time you take your remedy pay a little extra attention to your succussions. You do it for a reason-it's your health.
One important aspect of the Organic food label is that it is constantly under attack by industry forces to dilute it and coopt its innate meaning and nature. One of the primary goals of this newsletter and my website is to correct this Orwellian effort to cheat us of the true meaning of what organic stands for.
Foods containing the 'organic' designation should be produced without antibiotics, hormones, genetic engineering, radiation or synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. The organic standards were developed with broad public input and the label requires certification by independent, government-accredited organizations. Here are the 2 organic certification organizations I trust the most (please let me know if you think I'm missing one).
Oregon Tilth Certified Organic http://www.tilth.org/
Oregon Tilth is a nonprofit research and education membership organization dedicated to biologically sound and socially equitable agriculture. It began in 1974 as an agricultural organization of organic farmers, gardeners and consumers. Tilth provides organic certification services to organic growers, processors, and handlers internationally.
California Certified Organic Farmers http://www.ccof.org/about.php
CCOF promotes and supports organic food and agriculture through an organic certification program, trade support, producer and consumer education and political advocacy. CCOF provides certification services to all stages of the organic food chain from farms to processors, restaurants and retailers. CCOF certifies to the USDA National Organic Program standards and CCOF international standards.
I realize that this is a short list. These are two of the oldest and the best. Most of the organic foods that you buy are not certified by either of these two groups. For now you can trust most organic certification. That may change as economic forces gather to make the term organic meaningless.
For the complete list of government approved domestic organic certification organizations:
FDA: CONFLICT OF INTEREST
On October 16 2006 former FDA chief Lester Crawford was charged with lying about his ownership of stock in companies regulated by his agency.
The Justice Department accused Crawford, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration, with falsely reporting that he had sold stock in companies when he continued holding onto shares in companies governed by FDA rules. The former FDA chief was accused of making a false writing and of conflict of interest.
Among other items, the government's case states that Crawford failed to disclose his income from exercising stock options in a biotechnology company regulated by FDA.
He also chaired the FDA's Obesity Working Group at a time when he and his wife owned stock in Pepsico.
Crawford abruptly resigned from the FDA job in September 2005 but gave no reason for his decision to step down. He had held the top position for two months but had been acting head of the regulatory agency for more than a year.
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: For 2 years Mr. Crawford oversaw the daily operation of our nation's food and drug regulator. There's a reason why the laws on the books state that you must reveal all financial connections. We need to be assured of the integrity and unprejudiced opinion of our officials. In this case it must have been a case of the 'fox guarding the chicken coop'. If not, why the abrupt resignation?
An upcoming FDA risk assessment is expected to declare meat and milk derived from cloned animals safe for the food supply. If these documents are finalized, cloned animal products will become part of the food supply, without the requirement for such foods to carry special labeling.
At this point there are no regulations governing the use of cloned food in our food supply. The FDA has asked producers and breeders to 'voluntarily' refrain from using such ingredients. A 2002 National Academy of Sciences report declared cloned products safe for human consumption but consumer advocacy groups say there is insufficient science to support such a declaration of safety. A 2004 New England Journal of Medicine report stated, "Given the available evidence, it may be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to generate healthy cloned animals."
Last week, the Center for Food Safety (CFS), along with reproductive rights, animal welfare, and consumer protection organizations, filed a legal petition with the FDA calling for a moratorium on the introduction of food products from cloned animals. The petition calls for the creation of mandatory rules for pre- market food safety and environmental review of cloned foods.
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Would you buy cloned meat or milk products if they were labeled as such-meaning that you knew they were from cloned animals? What a disaster in the making. Seems that genetically engineered Frankenfoods aren't enough. Now we have to accept cream from a cloned factory cow. Maybe the commercials will say "Got Bessie, Bessie, Bessie, Bessie…"
These kinds of threats to our food supply need to be publicized and resisted in the most powerful way-with your vote and your pocketbook. Let your politicians and your grocery stores know that you won't buy this crap.
A physician claims these are actual comments from his patients made while he was performing colonoscopies:
1. "Take it easy, Doc, you're boldly going where no man has gone before."
2. "Find Amelia Earhart yet?"
3. "Can you hear me NOW?"
4. "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"
5. "You know, in Arkansas, we're now legally married."
6. "Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?"
7. "You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out. You do the Hokey Pokey...."
8. "Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!"
9. "Hey, Doc, let me know if you find my dignity."
10. "You used to be an executive at Enron, didn't you?"
11. "Could you write me a note for my wife, saying that my head is not, in fact, up there?"
ASPIRIN AND ULCERS
Over 10% of patients who take low-dose aspirin to ward off a heart attack develop peptic ulcers, which often have no symptoms. This from a study by the University of Western Sydney in Australia. Using endoscopy, they studied 187 patients who had been taking between 75 milligrams and 325 milligrams of aspirin daily for at least one month.
The researchers found that 10.7% of patients in their study developed ulcers at least 3 millimeters in diameter. However, only 20% experienced symptoms that were significantly different from patients with no ulcers, meaning many people may not know the ulcers exist. After three months, the endoscopy was repeated among the 113 people who did not have ulcers when the study began. It was found that:
* Over 7% had developed an ulcer during this period
* This increased the annual ulcer rate to 28%
Other factors that increased the risk of developing ulcers included being 70 years of age or older or having a bacterial infection with H. pylori.
Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics November 2005, Volume 22, Page 795
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: I'm often asked about the safety of taking an aspirin a day, to 'be on the safe side'. Developing ulcers is only one possible side effect. Others are kidney, damage, increasing the risk of Pancreatic cancer, and gastric bleeding.
There are many other approaches that appear to reduce the risk of developing heart and blood-vessel disease. These include making dietary changes-- eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts, eating less refined sugar, and consuming no trans fatty acids. Exercising regularly, maintaining ideal body weight, and quitting smoking also reduce risk.
ANTI-BACTERIAL SOAP A WASH OUT
Antibacterial soaps and washes aren't any better than plain, old soap and water for fighting illness in the household. Soon manufacturers may have to prove their product claims or stop making them.
The potential risks of the products, particularly the common hand soaps and body washes that use synthetic chemicals, create an environmental hazard and could contribute to the growth of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.
The FDA says controlled studies found no significant difference in infections in households using antibacterial products and those with regular soap and water. On Oct. 20 2006 the agency's Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Panel, composed of independent experts, recommended no specific regulatory action against the manufacturers, but called on FDA to study the products' risks versus their benefits. The agency has the authority to order warning labels on the products or place restrictions on how they are marketed to the public.
Dr. Stuart B. Levy, president of the Alliance for Prudent Use of Antibiotics, said laboratory studies have suggested the soaps sometimes leave behind bacteria that have a better ability to flush threatening substances - from antibacterial soap chemicals to antibiotics - from their system. "What we're seeing is evolution in action," he said of the process. He advocated restricting antibacterial products from consumer use. "Bacteria are not going to be destroyed," he said. "They've seen dinosaurs come and go. They will be happy to see us come and go. Any attempt to sterilize our home is fraught with failure."
Levy said overuse of antibiotics is the main cause of bacteria developing resistance to them.
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: I won't hold my breath but it seems as if the FDA may make an intelligent decision on this one. If the studies show no benefit but do show harm there is no reason to allow promotional health claims. All they do is serve to propagate fear and then reap financial reward from that fear. Soap and hot water are enough.
ESTROGEN OFFERS LITTLE BENEFIT AFTER MENOPAUSE
A large study has reconfirmed that estrogen replacement fails to enhance quality of life after menopause. The findings from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) trial are based on more than 10,000 women and were published in the September 26 2005 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. The results are another blow to the drug company promoted myth that post-menopausal women need hormone replacement therapy to maintain their quality of life.
"Overall, our results are consistent with other recent randomized trials and epidemiological studies," wrote investigators led by Robert L. Brunner, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Nevada School of Medicine in Reno. "There is little or no benefit of systemic hormone treatment for most other physical, functional, and psychosocial conditions."
The WHI, a randomized clinical trial comparing oral conjugated equine (horse) estrogen to a placebo, was cut short a few years ago after only an average of 6.8 years of follow-up when researchers reported an increased risk of stroke associated with the hormones. A total of 10,739 postmenopausal women, ages 50 to 79, who had undergone a hysterectomy, were assigned to either 0.625 mg of estrogen or a placebo. There were 5,310 women in the estrogen arm and 5,429 women in the placebo group. The average age was 63.6 years, more than three-quarters of the group were white, nearly one-fourth had a college education, and almost half (48.4%) had previously taken hormones.
The questions asked participants to rate their overall general health, pain, physical well-being, social functioning, energy levels, fatigue, emotional and psychological well-being, sleep quality, cognitive function, and sex life. During the first year, therapy was stopped for various reasons by 8.4% of the estrogen group and 8% of the placebo group. One year after baseline, 78% of the original estrogen group and 82% of the placebo group had taken more than 80% of their pills and were included in the analysis. At three years, adherence was 59% in the subsample for both the estrogen and placebo groups. After a year on the estrogen pills, there were no significant improvements in general health, physical functioning, pain, vitality, mental health, depression, cognitive function, or sexual satisfaction. "We find no evidence of a health-related quality-of-life benefit for the general postmenopausal population."
Arch Intern Med; Vol. 165; Sept. 26, 2005; p. 1976-1986
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Contrary to what your doctor may have told you, research shows that estrogen pills have little effect an on older women's quality of life. It won't make you feel 20 years younger or radically change your sex life. It will increase your risk of stroke, possibly produce involuntary urination ('urine leakage' in medical double speak), and increase your risk for certain reproductive system cancers. Is that a risk/benefit ratio you are content with?
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