ADHD Linked to Allergies and Asthma in Boys

September 25, 2013

autismBoys diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder are more likely also to have asthma, allergies and skin infections than youngsters without ADHD, a new study finds, suggesting a possible link between these conditions. Of those in the study, boys newly diagnosed with ADHD were 40 percent more likely to have asthma, 50 percent more likely to have needed a prescription for allergy medicine and 50 percent more likely to have had a bacterial skin infection than other boys. “Our study provides additional evidence to support the hypothesis that atopic disorders, such as asthma and food allergies increase the risk of developing ADHD,” the authors wrote, adding that further research is necessary to determine just how these conditions might be connected. Their results were published in the August issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Read more here.

Naturopathic Medical Doctors have seen this connection for a long time. Inflammatory conditions such as asthma and allergies trigger behavioral disorders.  To successfully treat ADHD we must address allergies, and additional underlying factors that cause inflammation.

In health,

Dr. Gina


Orange Juice and Cancer Prevention

September 23, 2013

OrangeSurgeonGeneralWarningIn a forthcoming review article from Nutrition and Cancer: An International Journal, a publication of Routledge, researchers review available evidence that links orange juice with cancer chemoprevention. The review article, “Orange Juice and Cancer Chemoprevention” discusses the putative mechanisms involved in the process, the potential toxicity of orange juice, and the available data in terms of evidence-based medicine.

Orange juice has many potential positive effects when it comes to cancer, particularly because it is high in antioxidants from flavonoids such as hesperitin and naringinin. Evidence from previous in vitro studies has indicated that orange juice can reduce the risk of leukemia in children, as well as aid in chemoprevention against mammary, hepatic, and colon cancers. Biological effects of orange juice in vitro are largely influenced by the juice’s composition, which is dependent on physiological conditions of the oranges such as climate, soil, fruit maturation, and storage methods post-harvest.  Read more by clicking here.

Oranges grown organically have higher levels of antioxidants and nutrients that help the body to fight off cancer.  The more the oranges are processed (e.g. pasteurized, “10% juice”), the lower the levels of cancer fighting chemicals.  Fresh squeezed orange juice or whole organic oranges are best.

In health,

Dr. Gina


Protect the Hawaiian Islands. Take Action and Support Bill 2491 TODAY!

July 30, 2013
Kilauea Lighthouse

Lighthouse on the Island of Kauai

Below is an urgent call to action by the good folks at Food Democracy Now! regarding the unprecedented “Right to Know” Bill 2491 that will prohibit open air testing of experimental pesticides and experimental GMO’s while publicly disclosing pesticide use on the Hawaiian islands.   Please watch the quick video from international surfing champion Kelly Slater who says it simply and clearly.

What is happening in Hawaii needs to be addressed immediately.  I have lived on Kauai, my daughter was born there, and I am considering a  second medical office on the island. Clearly there is a great need there for purification…too much of a need!  Kauai is a beautiful place that, like all of the Hawaiian islands, serves as a glaring reminder of the importance of respecting and living in harmony with nature.  Nature freely shares its  vibrant colors, nourishing foods and healing capabilities. It has sustained us since the beginning of time, and has the ability to nourish all, yet is being abused in many, many inhumane ways.  The island and its children should not be used as a testbed for toxic chemicals that taint the air and water supply.

Please read below and take action today.

In health,

Dr. Gina

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You may have spent your honeymoon or a childhood vacation in Hawaii, or just dreamed of someday walking on the islands’ beautiful beaches, but chances are, whatever your experience of Hawaii, it likely doesn’t include the harsh reality of it being the agri-chemical testing ground that it’s become in recent years.

Right now a major battle is heating up on the islands regarding pesticides and experimental GMOs that could impact our collective future and we need your help.

In the past four months, GMO activists in Hawaii have held the largest protests and marches to stop Monsanto in the history of the islands. While widely known as a beloved tourist destination to millions of vacationers worldwide, in reality Hawaii has a dark side that Monsanto and the giant chemical and biotech companies don’t want you to know about.

For over 20 years, the Hawaiian Islands have become ground zero for open air field trials of the biotech industry’s toxic chemicals and experimental GMO crops. Tests have shown that the biotech industry’s harmful chemicals are contaminating local air and water sources that expose island residents and vacationers alike.

Even worse, at least 10 schools on Hawaii are only 100 yards away from GMO chemical fields, potentially endangering Hawaii’s school children’s health for the sake of profits for the chemical and biotech companies.

But the Hawaiian people have had enough and want the right to know if they and their children are being exposed to toxic pesticides.

This Wednesday, July 31, a public hearing is being held by the Kauai City Council regarding a common sense “Right to Know” bill – Bill 2491 – that puts public health ahead of biotech profits by limiting Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs). It prohibits open air testing of experimental pesticides and experimental GMO’s while publicly disclosing pesticide use on the islands. This bill is unprecedented and necessary but needs your help to pass.

Tell the leaders of Hawaii it’s time to stop poisoning paradise and start protecting the islands’ biodiversity, its people and tourists or you’ll take your next vacation elsewhere! As long as they poison paradise, you’re boycotting Hawaii for good! Every voice counts!

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/998?t=7&akid=927.442904.VTJgsM

Each year, tourists spend more than $14 billion on Hawaii’s islands to experience the paradise of sandy beaches and soak in the sun, not the chemical and biotech industry’s toxic pesticides and experimental GMO pollen. Last year, more than 8 million tourists visited the tropical paradise that employs more than 167,000 island residents who make a living supporting tourism.

Currently citizens of Kauai have no legal right to know what toxic chemicals are being sprayed in their communities, but passing Bill 2491 could change that.

Toxic Pesticide Drift Impacts Local Schools and Children

Tests have confirmed that at least 3 Restricted Use Pesticides contaminated a local school on the Garden Island of Kauai, such as the toxic herbicide Atrazine, which has been banned in Europe since 2004 due to serious health problems, including cancer, birth defects and reproductive issues.

In 2005, Atrazine, manufactured by Syngenta, was found in Kauai’s drinking water and in 2006 and 2008 children and teachers at a school in Waimea were sickened on several occasions, including one incident where at least 10 children were rushed to the local hospital.

This doesn’t sound like the island paradise that is promoted by the Hawaiian tourism industry, does it?

Yes on Bill 2491 – A Reasonable Public Disclosure Bill About Pesticides and GMOs!

Bill 2491 specifically applies only to large industrial agricultural operations that use large amounts of Restricted Use Pesticides (RUP’s). 99% of these very toxic substances are used by just 5 companies on Kauai – Syngenta, BASF, Pioneer DuPont and Dow, who occupy nearly all of the leased agricultural lands in west Kauai – over 15,000 acres in close proximity to schools, residences, churches, and hospitals.

According to University of Hawaii Professor Dr. Hector Valenzuela, every year, giant biotech chemical corporations spray at least 99 different pesticides on Hawaii.  On Kauai, they dump over 36,000 pounds of 22 different types of Restricted Use Pesticides and an additional estimated 160,000 pounds of General Use Pesticides (glyphosate, Round Up and other).

Tell the leaders of Hawaii as long as they poison paradise, you’re boycotting Hawaii for good! Every voice counts!

What happens in Hawaii, doesn’t stay in Hawaii! Please use your voice today to tell Hawaii’s leaders that you’re paying attention and expect them to support the people, not Monsanto and Syngenta!

Surfing Legend Kelly Slater on The Current Threat to Hawaii

For more about what’s going on in the Hawaiian Islands and why they need to be protected, take a look at this short film with surfing legend and 11 time ASP surfing champion Kelly Slater,

Thanks for participating in food democracy,

Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! team

To follow the ongoing efforts to stop experimental pesticides and GMOs and the battle to save Hawaii, visit Hawaii GMO Justice Coalition and Food Democracy Now! on Facebook.

PS * If you live on Kauai, the public hearing is on Bill 2491. Please show your support by attending this important hearing.

Because of the intense public debate that has taken place in the past year in Hawaii, public officials are expecting record attendance. As a result, the location of the public hearing has been moved from its original venue.

When: 1:30pm -Wednesday, July 31, 2013 (arrive early)

Where: Kauai Veterans Center, 3215 Kapule Highway in Lihue facility

Sources:

1. “Attorney: Pesticides at WCMS Violates Federal Law”, The Garden Island, July 14, 2013.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/1000?t=15&akid=927.442904.VTJgsM

2. “The Truth About Bill 2491 Relating to Pesticides and Genetically Modified Organisms”, Gary Hoosier’s Blog, July 20, 2013.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/1001?t=17&akid=927.442904.VTJgsM

3. “GMO Debate: Kauai’s Struggle for Health and the Environment”, Honolulu Civil Beat, July 17, 2013

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/1002?t=19&akid=927.442904.VTJgsM

4. “GMO & Pesticide Experiments in Hawaii: The Poisoning of Paradise”, Huffington Post, July 2, 2013.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/1003?t=21&akid=927.442904.VTJgsM

5. “GMO & Pesticide Experiments in Hawaii: Part 2, Kauai’s Right to Know”, Huffington Post, July 25, 2013

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/1004?t=23&akid=927.442904.VTJgsM


Greens are Vital to Immune Health…More Data Confirms

July 16, 2013

iStock_leafdropbottleI often find myself sharing with patients that if they were to do just one thing daily to support health, for all family members, I recommend consuming organic greens.  We know that leafy greens, by virtue of the fact that they are green, are high in the chlorophyll pigment which facilitates detoxification, binding of toxins in the body to render them harmless, and helps oxygenate tissues.  Cruciferous leafy greens (e.g. broccoli sprouts and kale) also help to facilitate estrogen metabolism in a way that protects against hormone sensitive cancers.

Now, scientists are discovering that when you consume cruciferous leafy greens you help to turn on a disease-preventing gene that triggers the production of innate lymphoid cells (ILCs). These cells help your body to protect itself against infections in the digestive tract and possibly elsewhere.

More reasons for the whole family to enjoy (organic, locally grown) greens daily!

As with most medicines found in nature, greens likely play an adaptogenic role, where they  help to boost ILCs in situations where they may not be active enough, such as infections or some cancers, and deplete them in situations where they are overactive, such as chronic inflammatory disease.

Dr Gabrielle Belz, Ms Lucie Rankin, Dr Joanna Groom and colleagues from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute’s Molecular Immunology division are responsible for discovering  the gene T-bet which is essential for producing ILCs in response to signals in the food we eat.

I researched and formulated Cellular Purification Complex (TM) to contain these critical greens, along with essential components for supporting digestive health and cellular detoxification. We have been using this product as part of our customized 21 Day Medical Purification Program in our practice for the past 8 years with excellent results in treating inflammatory disorders, digestive imbalance and weight issues.

In health,

Dr. Gina

 


Ten Nutrition Changes Could Save 1 Million Children

June 25, 2013

istock_000005618515smallThis is a timely publication…the Lancet offers excellent guidelines on preventing disease in children with proper nutrition to the mother and to the baby.

AANP via The Lancet – Ten Nutrition Changes Could Save Lives Of A Million Children- (Monday, June 10, 2013)


Nearly 15 percent of all deaths in children under age five (a total of over 900,000) can be prevented, and over a fifth of all cases of growth stunting averted, if 10 nutrition interventions are scaled up to cover 90 percent of the population in the 34 countries most affected by malnutrition, according to a new study on maternal and childhood malnutrition.

More than half of this cost would be accounted for by India and Indonesia, both countries with sufficient financial resources to make a substantial contribution to the cost of stepping up the fight against malnutrition. The scientists estimate that prevalence of stunting in children under age 5 would be reduced by 20 percent.

The ten interventions include providing folic acid, calcium, and balanced energy protein and micronutrient supplements to pregnant women; promoting breastfeeding and delivering appropriate complementary feeding to infants; providing vitamin A and zinc supplements to children up to the age of five; and using proven treatment strategies to manage moderate and severe malnutrition in children. This study was released June 6, 2013 by The Lancet.

—In health,

Dr. Gina


Gut Bacteria Impacts a Woman’s Brain Function

June 24, 2013

depressionNaturopathic medicine has known this for centuries but now there is some promising new research demonstrating that the health of the gut affects a woman’s brain, how she processes emotions and her response to stress.

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The Huffington Post (huffingtonpost.com) – Dietary Changes To Gut Bacteria Can Affect Brain Functioning, Study Suggests – (Monday, June 17, 2013)

Dietary changes to the bacteria living in our guts could have an impact on brain functioning, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that regularly eating yogurt with probiotics, which contain “good” bacteria, seems to affect brain functioning in women. They said the proof-of-concept study shows it is possible to impact brain functioning by altering gut bacteria through diet.

The study, published in the journal Gastroenterology, was funded by Danone Research, which is the research arm of Danone, a company that produces yogurt and other dairy products. Some of the study researchers are Danone employees, but they had no role in the interpretation or analysis of results. Researchers noted that past studies have shown a gut-brain connection in terms of the brain sending signals to the gut. But this new study shows that the gut could also send signals to the brain.

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I have published extensively on Sickness Syndrome, a condition I identified where inflammation in the body triggers inflammation in the brain that is a cause of depression, anxiety and other mental health challenges. One of our treatment strategies for Sickness Syndrome, depression and anxiety, involves testing for, and then treating bacterial imbalance in the gut.

In health,

Dr. Gina


The Most Pesticide-Heavy Fruits and Vegetables

April 29, 2013

Seattle Farmers MarketThe non-profit Environmental Working Group recently released their 2013 Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists.  Apples and celery were at the top of the list of the most contaminated fruits and vegetables, while asparagus and avocados were at the top of the list of the least contaminated fruits and vegetables. Click here for more.

Pesticide residues are an important contributor to the increased incidence of chronic illnesses worldwide, including obesity, estrogen sensitive cancers, neurological disorders, depression and anxiety.

In an effort to protect the body from harm (especially children whose detoxification mechanisms are not fully developed, and older adults whose detoxification systems are less efficient), do your best to stick with organic when consuming the Dirty Dozen.

In health,

Dr. Gina

 


A Pharmacist’s Perspective on Drug-Nutrient Interactions and the Value of Nutritional Medicine

January 30, 2012

An interesting commentary below…by a registered pharmacist, released through the Orthomolecular News Service, about the importance of including nutrient deficiencies in the mix, when considering pharmaceutical medications for the prevention or treatment of disease.

In health,

-Dr. G

___

Confessions of a Frustrated Pharmacist

by Stuart Lindsey, PharmD.

I’m a registered pharmacist. I am having a difficult time with my job. I sell people drugs that are supposed to correct their various health complaints. Some medicines work like they’re supposed to, but many don’t. Some categories of drugs work better than others. My concern is that the outcomes of treatment I observe are so unpredictable that I would often call the entire treatment a failure in too many situations.

How It Started

In 1993, I graduated with a BS in Pharmaceutical Sciences from University of New Mexico. I became pharmacy manager for a small independent neighborhood drug store. Starting in the year 2000, nutrition became an integral part of our business. The anecdotal feedback from the customers who started vitamin regimens was phenomenal. That same year, my PharmD clinical rotations began with my propensity for nutritional alternatives firmly in place in my mind. On the second day of my adult medicine rotation, my preceptor at a nearby hospital informed me that he had every intention of beating this vitamin stuff out of me. I informed him that probably wouldn’t happen. Three weeks later I was terminated from my rotations. The preceptor told my supervisor at UNM that there were acute intellectual differences that couldn’t be accommodated in their program. What had I done? I was pressuring my preceptor to read an article written by an MD at a hospital in Washington state that showed if a person comes into the emergency room with a yet to be diagnosed problem and is given a 3,000-4,000 mg bolus of vitamin C, that person’s chance of dying over the next ten days in ICU dropped by 57%! [1]

One would think that someone who is an active part of the emergency room staff might find that an interesting statistic. His solution to my attempting to force him to read that article was having me removed from the program.

Pecking Order

The traditional role of the pharmacist in mainstream medicine is subordinate to the doctor. The doctor is responsible for most of the information that is received from and given to the patient. The pharmacist’s responsibility is to reinforce the doctor’s directions. The doctor and the pharmacist both want to have a positive treatment outcome, but there is a legally defined ‘standard of care’ looking over their shoulder.

The training that I received to become a PharmD motivated me to become more interested in these treatment outcomes. After refilling a patient’s prescriptions a few times, it becomes obvious that the expected positive outcomes often simply don’t happen. It’s easy to take the low road and blame it on “poor compliance by the patient.” I’m sure this can explain some treatment failure outcomes, but not all. Many (indeed most) drugs such as blood pressure regulators can require several adjustments of dose or combination with alternative medicines before a positive outcome is obtained.

Wrong Drug; Wrong Disease

One drug misadventure is turning drugs that were originally designed for a rare (0.3% of the population) condition called Zollinger-Ellison syndrome into big pharma’s treatment for occasional indigestion. These drugs are called proton-pump inhibitors (PPI). [2] After prolonged exposure to PPIs, the body’s true issues of achlorhydria start to surface. [3]

These drugs are likely to cause magnesium deficiency, among other problems. Even the FDA thinks their long-term use is unwise. [4]

The original instructions for these drugs were for a maximum use of six weeks . . . until somebody in marketing figured out people could be on the drugs for years. Drug usage gets even more complicated when you understand excessive use of antibiotics could be the cause of the initial indigestion complaints. What you get from inserting proton pump inhibitors into this situation is a gastrointestinal nightmare. A better course of medicine in this type of case might well be a bottle of probiotic supplements (or yogurt) and a few quarts of aloe-vera juice.

Many doctors are recognizing there are problems with overusing PPI’s, but many still don’t get it. An example of this is my school in NM had a lot of students going onto a nearby-impoverished area for rotations. They have blue laws in this area with no alcohol sales on Sunday. The students saw the pattern of the patients going into the clinics on Monday after abusing solvents, even gasoline vapors, and having the doctors put them on omeprazole (eg. Prilosec), long term, because their stomachs are upset. This is medicine in the real world.

Reliability or Bias?

Mainstream medicine and pharmacy instill into their practitioners from the beginning to be careful about where you get your information. Medical journals boast of their peer review process. When you discuss with other health professionals, invariably they will ask from which medical journal did you get your information. I actually took an elective course in pharmacy on how to evaluate a particular article for its truthfulness. The class was structured on a backbone of caution about making sure, as one read an article, that we understand that real truthfulness only comes from a few approved sources.

I was never comfortable with this concept. Once you realized that many of these “truthfulness bastions” actually have a hidden agenda, the whole premise of this course became suspect. One of my preceptors for my doctoral program insisted that I become familiar with a particular medical journal. If I did, she said, I would be on my way to understanding the “big picture.” When I expressed being a little skeptical of this journal, the teacher told me I could trust it as the journal was non-profit, and there were no editorial strings attached.

Weirdly enough, what had started our exchange over credibility was a warm can of a diet soft drink on the teacher’s desk. She drank the stuff all day. I was kidding around with her, and asked her if she had seen some controversial articles about the dangers of consuming quantities of aspartame. She scoffed at my conspiracy-theory laden point of view and I thought the subject was closed. The beginning of the next day, the teacher gave me an assignment: to hustle over to the medical library and make sure I read a paper she assured me would set me straight about my aspartame suspicions, while simultaneously demonstrating the value of getting my information from a nonprofit medical journal. It turned out that the article she wanted me to read, in the “nonprofit medical journal,” was funded in its entirety by the Drug Manufacturers Association.

Flashy Pharma Ads

As I read the literature, I discovered that there is very decided barrier between two blocks of information: substances that can be patented vs. those substances that can’t be. The can-be-patented group gets a professional discussion in eye-pleasing, four-color-print, art-like magazines. This attention to aesthetics tricks some people into interpreting, from the flashy presentation method, that the information is intrinsically truthful.

The world’s drug manufacturers do an incredibly good job using all kinds of media penetration to get the word out about their products. The drug industry’s audience used to be confined to readers of medical journals and trade publications. Then, in 1997, direct-to-consumer marketing was made legal. [5]

Personally, I don’t think this kind of presentation should be allowed. I have doctor friends that say they frequently have patients that self-diagnose from TV commercials and demand the doctor write them a prescription for the advertised product. The patients then threaten the doctor, if s/he refuses their request, that they will change doctors to get the medication. One of my doctor friends says he feels like a trained seal.

Negative Reporting on Vitamins

A vitamin article usually doesn’t get the same glossy presentation. Frequently, questionable vitamin research will be published and get blown out of proportion. A prime example of this was the clamor in the press in 2008 that vitamin E somehow caused lung cancer. [6]

I studied this 2008 experiment [7] and found glaring errors in its execution. These errors were so obvious that the experiment shouldn’t have gotten any attention, yet this article ended up virtually everywhere. Anti-vitamin spin requires this kind of research to be widely disseminated to show how “ineffectual” and even “dangerous” vitamins are. I tracked down one of the article’s original authors and questioned him about the failure to define what kind of vitamin E had been studied. A simple literature hunt shows considerable difference between natural and synthetic vitamin E. This is an important distinction because most of the negative articles and subsequent treatment failures have used the synthetic form for the experiment, often because it is cheap. Natural vitamin E with mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols costs two or three times more than the synthetic form.

Before I even got the question out of my mouth, the researcher started up, “I know, I know what you’re going to say.” He ended up admitting that they hadn’t even considered the vitamin E type when they did the experiment. This failure to define the vitamin E type made it impossible to draw a meaningful conclusion. I asked the researcher if he realized how much damage this highly quoted article had done to vitamin credibility. If there has been anything like a retraction, I have yet to see it.

Illness is Not Caused by Drug Deficiency

If you’ve made it this far in reading this article you have discerned that I’m sympathetic to vitamin arguments. I think most diseases are some form of malnutrition. Taking the position that nutrition is the foundation to disease doesn’t make medicine any simpler. You still have to figure out who has what and why. There are many disease states that are difficult to pin down using the “pharmaceutical solution to disease.” A drug solution is a nice idea, in theory. It makes the assumption that the cause of a disease is so well understood that a man-made chemical commonly called ‘medicine’ is administered, very efficiently solving the health problem. The reality though, is medicine doesn’t understand most health problems very well. A person with a heart rhythm disturbance is not low on digoxin. A child who is diagnosed with ADHD does not act that way because the child is low on Ritalin. By the same logic, a person with type II diabetes doesn’t have a deficit of metformin. The flaw of medicine is the concept of managing (but not curing) a particular disease state. I’m hard pressed to name any disease state that mainstream medicine is in control of.

Voltaire allegedly said, “Doctors are men who pour drugs of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, into human beings of whom they know nothing.” Maybe he overstated the problem. Maybe he didn’t.

References:

1. Free full text paper at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1422648/pdf/20021200s00014p814.pdf

Also: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1422648/?tool=pubmed

2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2777040 and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1697548

3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21509344 and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21731913

4. http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/
SafetyAlertsforHumanMedicalProducts/ucm245275.htm

5. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa070502#t=articleResults

6. Media example:
http://seniorjournal.com/NEWS/Nutrition-Vitamins/2008/8-02-29-VitaminEMay.htm .

OMNS’ discussion at: http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v04n18.shtml

7. Original article at:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2258445/?tool=pubmed or http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2258445/pdf/AJRCCM1775524.pdf

Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine

Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness. For more information: http://www.orthomolecular.org

Find a Doctor

To locate an orthomolecular physician near you: http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v06n09.shtml

The peer-reviewed Orthomolecular Medicine News Service is a non-profit and non-commercial informational resource.

Editorial Review Board:

Ian Brighthope, M.D. (Australia)
Ralph K. Campbell, M.D. (USA)
Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. (Canada)
Damien Downing, M.D. (United Kingdom)
Michael Ellis, M.D. (Australia)
Martin P. Gallagher, M.D., D.C. (USA)
Michael Gonzalez, D.Sc., Ph.D. (Puerto Rico)
William B. Grant, Ph.D. (USA)
Steve Hickey, Ph.D. (United Kingdom)
James A. Jackson, Ph.D. (USA)
Michael Janson, M.D. (USA)
Robert E. Jenkins, D.C. (USA)
Bo H. Jonsson, M.D., Ph.D. (Sweden)
Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D. (USA)
Jorge R. Miranda-Massari, Pharm.D. (Puerto Rico)
Karin Munsterhjelm-Ahumada, M.D. (Finland)
Erik Paterson, M.D. (Canada)
W. Todd Penberthy, Ph.D. (USA)
Gert E. Schuitemaker, Ph.D. (Netherlands)
Robert G. Smith, Ph.D. (USA)
Jagan Nathan Vamanan, M.D. (India)

Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D. (USA), Editor and contact person. Email: omns@orthomolecular.org


How Important are Nutritional Supplements?

January 17, 2012

Here is an excellent news release by the Orthomolecular Medicine Society that discusses the importance of nutritional supplementation, even with a healthy diet.  Research identified a relationship between folic acid deficiencies and birth defects as early as 1965. It was not until 1992 that the United States Public Health Service shared this critical knowledge with the country and recommended that all women of childbearing age, capable of becoming pregnant, consume 400mcg of folic acid per day. It took the scientific community almost 30 years to accept that a nutrient deficiency might cause a gross distortion in human neuronal development and to recommend supplementation. Thousands of children were born during this time with preventable birth defects.

And that is just one nutrient!

Please read this release through to the end, check the references for yourself if so inclined, and come to your own decision on whether nutritional supplementation will prevent and treat disease.  We consistently see the positive results of nutritional therapy in our medical practice, with patients from all walks of life, facing myriad health challenges. We test patients’ blood to detect specific nutrient deficiencies, and how well nutrients are being absorbed in their body, and administer only those nutrients that are needed.  That is ideal. And that is the type of lab testing that should be covered by all major insurance carriers.  The information gained helps to prevent suffering and chronic illness, and to optimize human health and vitality.  This saves healthcare dollars in a tangible and measurable way.

In health,

-Dr. G


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, January 17, 2012

Supplements: The Real Story
Natural or Synthetic? Foods or Tablets?

(OMNS, Jan 17, 2012) It’s a nutritional “Catch 22″: The public is told, confusingly: “Vitamins are good, but vitamin supplements are not. Only vitamins from food will help you. So just eat a good diet. Do not take supplements! But by the way, there is no difference between natural and synthetic vitamins.”

Wait a minute. What’s the real story here?

A recent health study reported that the risk of heart failure decreased with increasing blood levels of vitamin C [1]. The benefit of vitamin C (ascorbate) was highly significant. Persons with the lowest plasma levels of ascorbate had the highest risk of heart failure, and persons with the highest levels of vitamin C had the lowest risk of heart failure. This finding confirms the knowledge derived over the last 50 years that vitamin C is a major essential factor in cardiovascular health [2,3]. The study raises several important questions about diet and vitamin supplements.

Was it Food or Supplements?

The report discussed vitamin C as if it were simply an indicator of how many fruits and vegetables were consumed by the participants. Yet, ironically, the study’s results show little improvement in the risk for heart failure from consuming fruits and vegetables. This implies that the real factor in reducing the risk was indeed the amount of vitamin C consumed. Moreover, the study appears to utterly ignore the widespread use of vitamin C supplements to improve cardiovascular health. In fact, out of four quartile groups, the quartile with the highest plasma vitamin C had six to ten times the rate of vitamin C supplementation of the lowest quartile, but this fact was not emphasized. This type of selective attention to food sources of vitamin C, while dismissing supplements as an important source, appears to be an attempt to marginalize the importance of vitamin supplements.

Many medical and nutritional reports have maintained that there is little difference between natural and synthetic vitamins. This is known to be true for some essential nutrients. The ascorbate found in widely available vitamin C tablets is identical to the ascorbate found in fruits and vegetables [3]. Linus Pauling emphasized this fact, and explained how ordinary vitamin C, inexpensively manufactured from glucose, could improve health in many important ways [4]. Indeed, the above-mentioned study specifically measured the plasma level of ascorbate, which was shown to be an important factor associated with lower risk of heart failure [1, 2]. The study did not measure blood plasma levels of the components of fruits and vegetables. It measured vitamin C.

A known rationale for this dramatic finding is that vitamin C helps to prevent inflammation in the arteries by several mechanisms. It is a necessary co-factor for the synthesis of collagen, which is a major component of arteries. Vitamin C is also an important antioxidant throughout the body that can help to recycle other antioxidants like vitamin E and glutathione in the artery walls [2,3]. This was underscored by a report that high plasma levels of vitamin C are associated with a 50% reduction in risk for stroke [5].

Yes, Synthetic Vitamin C is Clinically Effective

We can almost hear “Unsubscribe” links being clicked as we state it, but here it is: synthetic vitamin C works, in real people with real illnesses. Ascorbate’s efficacy has little direct relation to food intake. A dramatic case of this was a dairy farmer in New Zealand who was on life support with lung whiteout, kidney failure, leukemia and swine flu [6]. He was given 100,000 mg of vitamin C daily and his life was saved. We have nothing against oranges or other vitamin C-containing foods. Fruits and vegetables are good for you for many, many reasons. However, you’ll need to get out your calculator to help you figure out how many oranges it would take to get that much, and then also figure how to get a sick person to eat them all.

It is established that liver function improves with vitamin C supplementation, and it is equally well known that adequate levels of vitamin C are essential for the proper functioning of the immune system. Vitamin C improves the ability of the white blood cells to fight bacteria and viruses. OMNS has more articles expanding on this topic, available for free access at http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/index.shtml .

Deficiency of vitamin C is very common. According to US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data, [7] nearly half of Americans do not get even the US RDA of vitamin C, which is a mere 90 mg.

Synthetic Vitamin E is Less Effective

For some other nutrients, there is a significant difference in efficacy between synthetic and natural forms. Vitamin E is a crucial anti-oxidant, but also has other functions in the body, not all well understood. It comprises eight different biochemical forms, alpha-, beta-, delta- and gamma tocopherols, and alpha-, beta-, delta-, and gamma-tocotrienols. All of these forms of vitamin E are important for the body. Current knowledge about the function of vitamin E is rapidly expanding, and each of the eight forms of natural vitamin E is thought to have a slightly different function in the body. For example, gamma-tocotrienol actually kills prostate cancer stem cells better than chemotherapy does. ( http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v07n11.shtml )

Synthetic vitamin E is widely available and inexpensive. It is “DL-alpha-tocopherol.” Yes, it has the same antioxidant properties in test tube experiments as does the natural “D-alpha-tocopherol” form. However, the DL- form has only 50% of the biological efficacy, because the body utilizes only the natural D isomer, which comprises half of the synthetic mix [8]. Therefore, studies utilizing DL-alpha-tocopherol that do not take this fact into account are starting with an already-halved dose that will naturally lead to a reduction in the observed efficacy.

Then there are the esterified forms of vitamin E such as acetate or succinate. These esterified forms, either natural or synthetic, have a greater shelf life because the ester protects the vitamin E from being oxidized and neutralized. When acid in the stomach cleaves the acetate or succinate component from the original natural vitamin E molecule, the gut can then absorb a good fraction and the body receives its antioxidant benefit. But when esterified vitamin E acetate is applied to the skin to prevent inflammation, it is ineffective because there is no acid present to remove the acetate ester.

Based on USDA data [9] an astonishing 90% of Americans do not get the RDA of vitamin E, which is, believe it or not, under 23 IU (15mg) per day.

Magnesium Deficiency is Widespread

Magnesium is another example. Over two-thirds of the population do not get the RDA of magnesium.[10] Deficiency can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, depression, and diabetes. Magnesium can be purchased in many forms. The most widely available form is magnesium oxide, which is not very effective because it is only about 5% absorbed [11]. Magnesium oxide supplements are popular because the pills are smaller — they contain more magnesium, but won’t help most people. Better forms of magnesium are magnesium citrate, magnesium malate, and the best absorbed is magnesium chloride. It’s always good to consult your doctor to determine your ideal intake. Testing may reveal unexpected deficiency. [12]

Well, Which? Natural or Synthetic?

While the natural form of vitamin E (mixed natural tocopherols and tocotrienols) is at least twice as effective as the synthetic form, this is not true of vitamin C. The ascorbate that the body gets from fruits and vegetables is the same as the ascorbate in vitamin C tablets. On first thought, this may sound confusing, because there are many so-called “natural” forms of vitamin C widely available. But virtually every study that demonstrated that supplemental vitamin C fights illness used plain, cheap, synthetic ascorbic acid. Other forms of ascorbate, for instance, the sodium or magnesium salt of ascorbic acid, are digested slightly differently by the gut, but once the ascorbate molecule is absorbed from these forms, it has identical efficacy. The advantage of these ascorbate salts is that they are non-acidic and can be ingested or topically applied to any part of the body without concern about irritation from acidity.

Further, it is known that essential nutrients are symbiotic, that is, they are more effective when taken as a group in proper doses. For example, vitamin E is more effective when taken along with vitamin C and selenium, because each of these essential nutrients can improve the efficacy of the others. Similarly, the B vitamins are more effective when taken together. Readers with dosage questions will want to consult their healthcare provider, and also look at freely available information archived at http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/index.shtml .

Food Factors

Natural food factors are also important. Bioflavonoids and other vitamin C-friendly components in fresh fruits and vegetables (sometimes called “vitamin C complex”) do indeed have health benefits. These natural components are easily obtained from a healthy, unprocessed whole foods diet. However, eating even a very good diet does not supply nearly enough vitamin C to be effective against illness. A really good diet might provide several hundred milligrams of vitamin C daily. An extreme raw food diet might provide two or three thousand milligrams of vitamin C, but this is not practical for most people. Supplementation, with a good diet, is.

The principle that “natural” vitamins are better than synthetic vitamins is a widely quoted justification for actually avoiding vitamin supplements. The argument goes, because vitamins and minerals are available from food in their natural form, that somehow one might suppose that we are best off by ignoring supplements. Apparently this is what the authors of the above-mentioned study had in mind, because the report hardly mentions vitamin supplements.

Conclusion

In the real world of today’s processed food, most of us don’t get all the nutrients we need in adequate doses. Most people are deficient in several of the essential nutrients. These deficiencies are responsible for much suffering, including heart disease, cancer, premature aging, dementia, diabetes, and other diseases such as eye disease, multiple sclerosis and asthma. The above-mentioned study showing the efficacy of vitamin C in reducing heart failure is but one of the many studies showing the value of vitamins. Others are discussed and available at http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/index.shtml .

For vitamin E, the natural form, taken in adequate doses along with a nutritious diet, is the best medicine. However, for most vitamins, including vitamin C, the manufactured form is identical to the natural one. Both are biologically active and both work clinically. It all comes down to dose. Supplements enable optimum intake; foods alone do not.

Don’t be fooled: nutrient deficiency is the rule, not the exception. That’s why we need supplements. When ill, we need them even more.

References:

1. Pfister R, Sharp SJ, Luben R, Wareham NJ, Khaw KT. (2011) Plasma vitamin C predicts incident heart failure in men and women in European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition-Norfolk prospective study. Am Heart J. 162:246-253. See also: http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v07n14.shtml

2. Levy TE (2006) Stop America’s #1 Killer: Reversible Vitamin Deficiency Found to be Origin of All Coronary Heart Disease. ISBN-13: 9780977952007

3. Hickey S, Saul AW (2008) Vitamin C: The Real Story, the Remarkable and Controversial Healing Factor. Basic Health Publications, ISBN-13: 978-1591202233.

4. Pauling L. (2006) How to Live Longer And Feel Better. Oregon State University Press, Corvallis, OR. ISBN-13: 9780870710964.

5. Kurl S, Tuomainen TP, Laukkanen JA, Nyyssönen K, Lakka T, Sivenius J, Salonen JT. (2002) Plasma vitamin C modifies the association between hypertension and risk of stroke. Stroke. 33:1568-1573.

6. Watch the Channel 3 New Zealand news report at http://www.3news.co.nz/Living-Proof-Vitamin-C—Miracle-Cure/tabid/371/articleID/171328/Default.aspx or http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xh70sx_60-minutes-scoop-on-new-zealand-farmer-vit-c-miracle_tech [ Note that each video is proceeded by a commercial, over which we have no control, and with which we have no financial connection whatsoever. ]

7. Free, full text paper at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1405127/pdf/amjph00225-0021.pdf

8. Papas A. (1999) The Vitamin E Factor: The miraculous antioxidant for the prevention and treatment of heart disease, cancer, and aging. HarperCollins, NY. ISBN-13: 9780060984434

9. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/vitamins/vitaminE/ ; scroll down to “Deficiency.”

10. Free, full text paper at http://www.jacn.org/content/24/3/166.full.pdf+html (or http://www.jacn.org/content/24/3/166.long )

11. Dean, C. (2007) The Magnesium Miracle. Ballantine Books, ISBN-13: 9780345494580

12. http://www.doctoryourself.com/epilepsy.html

To locate an orthomolecular physician near you: http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v06n09.shtml

The peer-reviewed Orthomolecular Medicine News Service is a non-profit and non-commercial informational resource.

OMNS free subscription link http://orthomolecular.org/subscribe.html

OMNS archive link http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/index.shtml


How to Optimize Thyroid Function

December 13, 2011

Dr. Gina Cushman is delivering a second live online Continuing Medical Education presentation this Thursday, December 15th from 9 PM to 10:15 PM ET.

The presentation topic is: “Innovative Strategies for Optimizing Thyroid Function.” Healthcare practitioners (including licensed physicians, pharmacists, nurses and naturopathic physicians) receive LIVE pharmacy credit hours by logging on at www.freece.com and registering for Dr. Cushman’s talk.

Just a few comments from physicians and pharmacists who have attended Dr. Cushman’s presentation:

“Excellent breakdown and explanation of the key differences between thyroid products.”

“Would love to see more programs with Dr. Gina – so interesting – she is GREAT!”

“Excellent speaker and welcomed content!”

The lecture is free to members and only $30 for non-members and you receive 1.25 hours of live continuing medical education credits!

Hope to see you there!


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