Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #55. 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.
You probably noticed that this month's newsletter is later than normal. Usually you will find it in your InBox by the middle of the month. Every April for the past 9 years I've attended the annual NCH conference, the largest homeopathic conference in the US. Last year it became the joint homeopathic conference of the major professional associations-including the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians. This year the conference was held in Denver, CO. Typically, wherever it is, I end up spending almost all of my time inside a conference hall. This time, combining work with a mini vacation I spent 3 days with my oldest son Skylar (relocated to Boulder for graduate school). We visited our old Ft. Collins haunts and biked and hiked up to 8100 feet. That's why my forearms are peeling and the newsletter is coming out now.
Since October 2006, my website www.foroptimalhealth.com is up and running. Here are some pages that are of particular interest:
Store: There are 156 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.
Find all 55 issues of my health newsletter, "Naturopathic News".
Optimal Health Points:http://www.foroptimalhealth.com
This is my blog that I update 2-3 times per week. Here you'll find breaking health news or stories that piqued my interest.
VITAMIN C Many
of you have used the Vitamin C protocol when you have gotten sick with
great success. You may have noticed a recent change in what Vitamin C
products I recommend. Previously, Alacer brand Vitamin C Super Gram ll
was my favorite even though it was more expensive. The tablets were
easy to swallow, they were 1000 mg. each, well tolerated, and contained
a good amount of bioflavonoids. This all changed recently when one of
my patients told me that Super Gram ll had changed its potency. Now
each tablet is only 500 mg. Vitamin C. Meaning you have to take twice
as many tablets to reach the same amount. It is still a good product
but just not cost effective.
So, from your health food store you can get RainbowLite Ultra Gram C,
or their own brand if it matches the above requirements. From Emerson
Ascorbplex is still a good one to use.
STEAM VALLEY FIBER FARM TOUR
It's time for our annual Spring farm tour. Come see the unusual breeds of sheep and goats raised at Steam Valley Fiber Farm. Enjoy the Angora Goat kids, Nubian Goat kids and Border Leicester lambs at play. Watch Spinning and Weaving Demonstrations. Regional Fiber Artists, Phylleri Ball and Dianna Smith will have hand dyed yarn, wool, Mohair, spinning supplies, handwoven, knitted and felted items for sale.
For more information call Phylleri Ball at 570-998-2221 or 570-998-8197. Email:
When: Saturday, May 5 from 10am-3pm Free
Where: Steam Valley Fiber Farm is located 22 miles north of Williamsport and 28 miles south of Mansfield, off Hwy 15. Take Hwy 15 north 6.5 miles past the Trout Run exit to the second Steam Valley Road sign. Turn right and immediately bear right again. Go 1/2 mile to 2304 Steam Valley Road.
HOMEOPATHY AND CHILDREN WITH ADHD Increasingly parents turn to homeopathy for treatment of their hyperactive child. This study was designed to obtain scientific evidence of the effectiveness of homeopathy in ADHD. A total of 83 children aged 6-16 years, diagnosed with ADHD using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV criteria, were recruited.
The study involved three phases. First the children were treated with a constitutional homeopathic medicine individualized to their case. Only the children (62 of the 83) who improved by at least 50 percent on an ADHD rating scale were included in the second phase of the study, a crossover trial with a placebo group. Following that crossover phase, the children were then treated again with their homeopathic medicine in an open label phase. The primary device for measuring improvement was the Conners Global Index (CGI), a 10-item rating scale containing the most important ADHD symptoms (temper outbursts, excitability, impulsivity, overactivity, crying often, inattentive, fidgeting, disturbing other children, easily frustrated, failure to finish things, quickly changing moods). Rating: 0= never, 1= occasionally, 2= often, 3= very often. Therefore, the higher the score the more prominent and severe the symptoms.
Other assessment instruments included standardized achievement and intelligence tests. The responders were split into two groups and received either a homeopathic remedy for 6 weeks followed by placebo for 6 weeks (arm A), or vice-versa (arm B). At the beginning of the trial and after each crossover period, parents reported the CGI and patients underwent neuropsychological testing. The CGI rating was evaluated again at the end of each crossover period and twice in long-term follow-up. At entry to the crossover trial, cognitive performance such as visual global perception, impulsivity and divided attention, had improved significantly under open label treatment-with a less than 1 in 10,000 chance that this was improvement was just chance.
Results showed that children did not improve while taking placebo, but continued to improve while taking the homeopathic medicine during the blinded phase of the trial and in the post-crossover phase. The median Conners rating for ADHD symptoms dropped from 19 at the start of treatment to a median of 8 within 6 weeks after the crossover phase of the trial. During the blinded trial the children receiving placebo had a high CGI rating of 12 compared to the homeopathic group with a rating of 9. After all children were returned to their homeopathic medicine, both groups returned to the low symptom level they had achieved before the crossover phase (median of 8). The authors formed a definitive conclusion from this study-that they had strong scientific evidence of the effectiveness of homeopathy in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, particularly in the areas of behavioral and cognitive functions.
"Homeopathic treatment of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled crossover trial", European Journal of Pediatrics, July 27, 2005. DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: The sheer number of children put on drugs for attention problems is shocking, and school authorities pressure parents to use dangerous stimulant medications and antidepressants to keep children behaving in specific desirable patterns in the classroom. Homeopathy has been scientifically demonstrated to be an effective approach. Why not consider it?
FOOD LABELS--HIDDEN FOOD IRRADIATION The FDA has proposed relaxing its rules on labeling of irradiated foods; it may allow some irradiated products to be labeled "pasteurized." The new rules would require companies to label irradiated food only if the irradiation causes a 'material change' to the product, such as changes to the smell, texture, taste, or shelf life of a food.Until now pasteurization has been defined as heating a product to a high temperature and then cooling it rapidly. The FDA proposed letting companies use the term "pasteurized" to describe irradiated foods if the radiation kills germs as well as the pasteurization process does. The FDA itself has acknowledged that the proposed change could confuse consumers. DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: From the beginning food irradiation has been a method for companies to get rid of nuclear power plant waste. Don't be fooled by the illusion that this is some beneficent public health gesture. Now they want to nuke food and disguise it with a safer sounding label-pasteurization. There would be no indication that the food had been exposed to high levels of ionizing radiation.
Some of the health problems occurring in animals that eat irradiated food include chromosomal abnormalities, premature death, reproductive disorders, liver damage, and nutritional deficiencies. Similar to antibiotic use, food irradiation creates 'radiation resistant' organisms-pathogens that are hard to kill. Even the FDA acknowledges that the safety research is inadequate. Benzene one of the 'radiolytic products' formed during irradiation is a carcinogen. In one beef irradiation sample they found seven more times the benzene, than in the original beef organic sample.
Some of the vitamins and minerals destroyed in the irradiation process include vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, folic acid, C, E, and K. Amino acids and essential fatty acids may also be affected. There is up to a 20-80% loss of these essential vitamins and minerals.
Watch out if you're an almond fan. California almonds from here on out will either be 'pasteurized' (irradiated?) or sterilizing by propylene oxide fumigation. Propylene oxide is a genotoxic chemical and is listed as a possible carcinogen by the International Agency on Cancer Research. Even raw organic almonds will have to go through a steam treatment process.
ORGANIC ON TOP AGAIN
An international team of researchers has published further evidence in support of the health benefits of organic fruit and vegetables. They found that organic carrots, apples and peaches contained higher levels of vitamin C and flavonoids, compounds that protect against heart attacks and cancer.
On April 4 US researchers revealed that organic kiwi fruit have significantly more vitamin C and polyphenols - linked to reduced cholesterol, improved circulation and lower cancer risks - than non-organic produce.
Dr Kirsten Brandt of Newcastle University, who led a European Union-funded study, said: "If you eat 400g (14oz) of fruit and vegetables a day you would get 20 per cent more nutrients in organic food."
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Any study that has looked at the nutritional composition of organically grown food compared to commercial food has found that organic has a higher nutrient content. In this instance the 20% difference in nutrients more than compensates for any cost difference.
ANTIDEPRESSANTS INCREASE FRACTURES AND FALLS RISK
Adults ages 50 and older who use Prozac and other drugs in its class have double the risk of falls and fractures, according to a March 2007 study reported in the "Archives of Internal Medicine".
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressants, are often used to treat depression in seniors. They include escitalopram oxalate (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), citalopram (Celexa), fluvoxamine maleate (Luvox), and dapoxetine.
"Recent research reveals a potentially important role for serotonin in bone physiology," said David Goltzman, MD, of the Bone and Calcium Research Laboratories at Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, Quebec, and the study's senior author. "Given the high prevalence of SSRI use and the frequent occurrence of fragility fractures in the elderly population, we thought it was important to determine if daily SSRI use increases the risk of fracture."
Skeletons become more fragile with age and that increases the risk of breaking a bone if we fall down. Falls account for 90% of hip fractures. Approximately one-third of people 65 or over fall at least once a year. Whether or not a fracture occurs depends on bone strength and the impact from the fall. Bone strength is directly related to mineral content, with fracture risk increasing as bone mineral density decreases.
This study monitored 5,008 community-dwelling adults 50 years and older, 137 (2.7%) of whom used SSRIs daily and 609 (12.2%) of whom reported depression symptoms. Daily SSRI use was associated with a two-fold increased risk of fragility fractures. Higher doses of SSRIs were associated with higher risk of fractures. Daily SSRI use was also associated with a doubled risk of falling, lower bone mineral density at the hip, and a trend toward lower bone mineral density at the spine.
Depression affects approximately 10% of people making doctor visits each year in the United States. The use of SSRIs is widespread and growing. The combined sale of these drugs in the United States was more than $10.9 billion in 2004.
"Elderly persons are at increased risk of developing osteoporosis and depression," Dr. Goltzman said. "Daily SSRI use in this population to treat depression may increase the risk of subsequent fracture."
Arch Intern Med 2007;167:188-94
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Again we have a case of drugs with severe side effects being used when there are superb traditional treatment options available. First on my list is homeopathic medicine. My colleague Dr. Susan Beal informs me that Cranial Sacral Therapy is effective. Supplemental Vitamin D3 not only increases bone density it is indicated for depression. Weight bearing exercise that raises the heart rate, for a minimum of 3 hours per week, will also help both.
EAT VEGGIES FOR BRAIN POWER
If you want to keep your brain healthy and young eat your vegetables. A six-year study of almost 2,000 Chicago-area seniors showed that older people who ate more than two servings of vegetables each day were mentally sharper than those who ate few or no vegetables.
Study participants were given mental function tests three times over about six years, including measures of short-term memory and delayed memory, such as recall of story details or symbols on flashcards. Those who ate more vegetable showed about 40% less mental decline, and their test results were those that would be expected of people about five years younger.
Neurology October 24, 2006; 67(8): 1370-1376
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Green leafy vegetables such as kale, collards, spinach, etc., seemed to be the most beneficial. These foods contain many important nutrients-B vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants-that are responsible for the observed effect.
CHILDHOOD TRAUMA AND CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME
An unhappy childhood may be linked to severe fatigue and chronic aches in adulthood. A recent study revealed people who experienced emotional pain and trauma early in their lives are at greater risk of suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), a health condition that affects between 400,000 and 900,000 adults in the United States. Chronic fatigue syndrome is defined as an unexplained continuous or recurring fatigue that may be accompanied by muscle pain, memory loss, and headaches.
Researchers in Wichita, Kan. administered a questionnaire measuring childhood trauma disorders to CFS patients and individuals without it. CFS-diagnosed adults reported greater trauma incidence than those without the syndrome. Victims of childhood sexual abuse and emotional neglect had a stronger link with CFS. In addition, individuals with CFS were more likely to show symptoms of depression and other psychiatric disorders.
Archives of General Psychiatry/,2006;63:1258-1266:1267-1272
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: When I first saw this study it confirmed my understanding of the experience of many of my patients. Which is that events that occurred in the past can have a significant impact on a person's current state of health. This is the case even if those past events occurred 30, 40, or more years ago. This may seem common-sensical on reading but sometimes my patients are surprised or upset that this is the case.
ANTIBIOTIC USE INCREASES ILLNESS RISK In acne patients, antibiotic use doubled odds for upper respiratory tract infection. Using antibiotics for more than six weeks to treat acne more than doubles than risk of developing an upper respiratory tract infection, a new study finds. The findings give insight into the dangers of long-term antibiotic use in raising risks for infection with organisms resistant to current drugs, say researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
Long-term antibiotic use is standard therapy for patients with acne, with the most common drugs used including the tetracycline family of antibiotics and clindamycin.
Reporting in the September 2005 issue of the Archives of Dermatology, the U. Penn team studied more than 118,000 patients with acne and found that those treated with topical or oral antibiotics for more than six weeks were more than twice as likely to suffer an upper respiratory tract infection within a year, compared to people with acne who didn't receive antibiotic treatment.
It is thought that the activity of drug-resistant bacteria in the upper respiratory tract might encourage the "infectivity" of viruses, increasing the risk for these illnesses in long-term antibiotic users.
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: One more category of common diagnoses treated inappropriately with antibiotics down the drain. Acne joins the list of ear infections, sinus infections, and chronic bronchitis for inappropriate antibiotic treatment. Besides the very serious public health issue of creating antibiotic resistant organisms, using antibiotics for acne increases the risk of infection. Diet, nutrition, and homeopathy will not raise your risk of infection.
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