Dr. Gina Nick Knows Supplements

March 3, 2021

Everyone is hearing about taking some form of a nutritional supplement these days to stay healthy. The problem…there are so many supplements on the market. How do you know what to take, what is safe, and what will actually help and is worth your investment? I can help you navigate the supplement world with ease. It is my passion!

In health,

Dr. Gina


Vitamin D3 Deficiency and Covid

January 29, 2021

A recent study points to the connection between vitamin D3 deficiency and treatment, and Covid-19 infection. At my medical practice, we test the blood for Vitamin D3 levels in nearly every one of our patients as it is associated with inflammation, immune function and even mood.

Here are the details:

Vitamin D3 and Covid-19

In health,


Probiotics and a Healthy Gut Microbiome Even More Important with Covid

January 13, 2021

New research published in the journal Gut is pointing to the role the gut microbiome plays in overall immune system health but also in preventing a severe reaction to Covid-19. In my practice we use the GI Map test by Diagnostic Labs to pinpoint exactly what microorganisms are causing dysbiosis and the best approach to treating it.

In health,

Dr. Gina


Glutathione and Respiratory Health

April 27, 2020

GlutathioneGlutathione (GSH) has gained massive popularity because of its benefits that involve every organ system. Most notably, Glutathione is associated with the respiratory system and its effects on upper and lower respiratory infections.

Let’s take a look at Glutathione and its connection with respiratory health.

What is Glutathione?

Glutathione is a potent antioxidant that reduces oxidative stress by neutralizing reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are known to cause tissue damage and increase the risk of a wide range of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and neurocognitive illnesses. This compound is produced by the cell using three main amino acids; glutamine, glycine, and cysteine.

Glutathione is found in plants, animals, and even microbes (e.g. fungi, bacteria).

How does Glutathione help with respiratory health?

Glutathione has recently surfaced as a potential treatment for multiple respiratory conditions, including chronic diseases.  In one paper published by Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, scientists reviewed a large database of studies and clinical trials from reputable sources, such as Biomedical Reference Collection, MEDLINE, and Nursing and Allied Health Collection.

They concluded that Glutathione offers positive results to patients with respiratory diseases, stating that “GSH inhalation is an effective treatment for a variety of pulmonary diseases and respiratory-related conditions. Even very serious and difficult-to-treat diseases (e.g., CF, IPF) yielded benefits from this novel treatment.”

These findings suggest that even chronic diseases such as cystic fibrosis and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis can benefit from glutathione.

Glutathione works in these cases by eradicating free radicals intracellularly, and reducing inflammation.

Another recent study found that a variety of potent antioxidants (e.g. Glutathione) could be implemented to reduce the severity and duration of viral infections.

These results suggest that glutathione may be effective in the treatment of several respiratory conditions, which is not the case for every drug out there.

Glutathione and COVID-19

COVID-19 causes acute severe respiratory distress in a small subset of patients, leading to the following symptoms:

–  Severe dyspnea (shortness of breath)
–  Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle)
–  Organ failure

The pathophysiology behind this presentation is thought to be the result of a “cytokine storm syndrome.

In two case studies, experts tried the inhaled and oral forms of glutathione to treat two COVID-19 positive patients from New York.

Patients’ symptoms improved after one hour of administration, and succeeding doses gave similar results.

These findings are preliminary, but may offer a clue towards finding medicines that will work to help patients suffering from COVID-19.

Bottom line

Glutathione is a tripeptide that offers several health benefits due to its antioxidant properties.

In our medical practice I use glutathione regularly to treat patients.

If you have any questions about this compound, feel free to ask in the comment section below!

In health,

Dr. Gina


Personalized Nutrients Two Month Medical Program

March 13, 2019

RunningNatureEvery body is unique. We all have individual nutrient needs that cannot be met by simply taking a multivitamin along with the latest highly marketed nutritional supplement that we see on social media or on TV.  That is why I am so pleased to share our new program with you.

The “Personalized Nutrient Two Month Medical Program” includes:

1) An initial medical nutrient intake by phone that is specific to searching for nutrient imbalances that are a cause for your symptoms. Together we will discuss your unique goals and the health challenges you may face.

2) Comprehensive blood and urine lab testing and medical interpretation of the lab results.

3) Follow up medical visit by phone to go over all test results.

4) Customized two month supply of your personalized powdered nutrient formulation based on your symptoms assessment and your urine and blood test results.

You will love the results and can finally feel confident knowing you are taking the nutrient supplements that you need and nothing more, and nothing less. This is a balanced approach to treating the underlying nutrient imbalances that can cause so many of our symptoms today.

-Dr. Gina


IV Therapy

November 17, 2015

Intravenous Therapy at HealthBridge

img_IV_therapy-300x199

Are you ready to jump start your health, and let go of the toxicity that’s weighing you down? Here’s an amazing new way to get your vitamins, and discover the power in A NEW WAY TO AGE.

When you’re seriously ill, your digestive system may lack the energy to absorb and transport nutrients. Also, our ability to fully absorb and metabolize nutrients through digestion decreases as we age. Luckily, Intravenous (IV) therapy can help. IV therapy safely delivers high levels of vitamins and minerals directly into your blood stream through a vein in your arm or hand. One of the main advantages of IV therapy over oral vitamins is that the nutrients bypass the digestive tract, so they’re totally absorbed, providing higher concentrations and remarkable health benefits.

IV therapy can contain minerals, amino acids, glutathione, and popular vitamins like B and C. Combining various vitamins and detoxifying agents has been shown to boost blood flow, help maintain vital organ function, increase cellular energy production, and more. These positive effects can enhance your endurance, make you feel stronger, help your memory, reduce symptoms of stress and can even improve skin quality and help you look your best.

What Symptoms May Be Helped by IV Therapy?

IV therapy may help alleviate many symptoms of illness and diseases, including: the common cold, immune system issues, PMS, asthma, diabetes, hepatitis, hypertension, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other prolonged illnesses.

At HealthBridge we customize IV formulas based on your initial intake and blood test results and have one of our IV nurses visit patients at home to administer the therapy in comfort.   Call or email our office anytime for more information on this amazing adjunct treatment that supports optimal health and helps to prevent disease.

In health,

Dr. Gina

 


Omega 3 Fatty Acids Cross the Blood Brain Barrier

December 5, 2013

human brainNew research from Karolinska Institute in Sweden shows that omega-3 fatty acids in dietary supplements can cross the blood brain barrier in people with Alzheimer’s disease, affecting known markers for both the disease itself and inflammation. The findings are presented in theJournal of Internal Medicine, and strengthen the evidence that omega-3 may benefit certain forms of this seriously debilitating disease. Click here to read more.

This is yet another published study that demonstrates how proper fatty acid balance in the blood stream can prevent and treat diseases with an inflammatory component.  The research to date points to benefit of the essential fatty acids in the following conditions:

Cardiovascular Health

  • Endocrine influence
  • Glucose maintenance
  • Lipids and triglycerides
  • Metabolic parameters
  • Primary prevention
  • Secondary prevention

Children’s Health and Development

  • Adolescent and teen health
  • ASD – Autism spectrum disorders
  • Attention, learning, and behavior
  • Disease prevention
  • Neurological development
  • Intelligence
  • Vision

Female Health and Reproduction

  • Peri-and post-menopause
  • Pregnancy & breastfeeding
  • Puberty and menstrual years

Immune Health

  • Acute infections
  • Allergies
  • Chronic immune deficiencies

Joint and Tissue Inflammation

  • Intestinal health
  • Joint flexibility & mobility

Lifestyle and Healthy Living

  • Alcohol and tobacco use
  • Body fat/weight
  • Fitness
  • Healthful living
  • Stress

Mental/Neurological Health

  • CNS Developement
  • Cognitive function/agent
  • Depression and mood
  • Mental balance

In our concierge medical practice we test the blood for over 30 fatty acids to identify what specifically is out of balance and needs treatment. In some patients, too many of the omega 3 fatty acids can suppress important components of immune function and can promote tumor growth.  In some patients their level of trans fatty acids (hydrogenated fats) are the culprit in blocking cell to cell communication.  Other patients  may only need DHA but not GLA.  And so forth. This is why testing, and getting an individualized report on what your body needs, will lead to a more positive outcome in terms of managing your long term health.

In health,

Dr. Gina


Lithium Protects the Brain

February 26, 2013

I recently read a good summary by journalist Sheila Casey of the benefits of the mineral lithium orotate (not to be mistaken with the prescription medication lithium carbonate) for protecting the brain from challenges like Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, mood disorders including depression, alcoholism, and brain injury, and to enhance brain function, increasing the number and the quality of new brain cells.

Lithium protects the brain against toxins of all kinds, including alcohol, and environmental toxins we all face.  At HealthBridge we test the blood for lithium in patients who are challenged with mood disorders and often find an extreme deficiency of this mineral. I will prescribe the mineral when it is appropriate, while monitoring blood tests to make sure thyroid, kidney and liver function remain healthy.

Some food sources of lithium to incorporate into your diet include kelp (1000-2000mg taken daily) and pistachios (just a handful, 2-3 times per week).

In health,

Dr. Gina

Li

Miracle Mineral Protects the Brain By Sheila Casey / RCFP

Numerous studies have found that a common mineral heals the brain by stimulating the growth of new brain cells and protecting brain cells from every known neurotoxin. It has been shown to reduce the incidence of violent crime, homicide, suicide, and drug addiction, while preventing the brain shrinkage and memory loss that otherwise occurs naturally with age, as well as helping people with alcoholism, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, cluster headaches and traumatic brain injury.

Although occurring naturally in tomatoes and in the water supply in many places, this mineral is rarely found in any vitamin-mineral supplement, and is not even commonly found in brick and mortar health food stores. Its name may surprise you: Lithium.

Most people think of lithium as a drug for crazy people. While high doses of lithium carbonate are used to treat bipolar disorder, and are available only as a prescription, both lithium orotate and lithium aspartate are available cheaply over the counter, in much lower doses, at outlets such as vitacost.com and iherb.com. (Note: We have no financial connection with either outlet.)

According to the controversial, and now deceased German orthomolecular physician Dr. Hans Nieper, the orotate form of lithium is more effectively transported inside cells, making it more effective at lower doses than the prescription form, lithium carbonate.

Lithium has also been shown to be effective at ultra-low doses, such as those found naturally in tap water. A ten year Texas study found that the incidence of rape, homicide, suicide, burglary and drug addiction was significantly lower in counties where the water supply contained 70-170 micrograms of lithium per liter, compared to counties where there is little or no lithium in the water. A similar study in Japan found that lithium in the water supply significantly reduced the risk of suicide.

Even a very thirsty Texan who drank three liters of water a day (100 ounces) would still be getting only a half a milligram of lithium per day, if they lived in an area where there is 170 mcg. of lithium per liter of water. Compare this to the amount commonly taken by bipolar patients: 900 mg/day of lithium carbonate, which contains 165 mg of elemental lithium. Put another way, the startling results of the Texas study were achieved with doses that were one-third of one percent of the amount taken by bipolar patients.

These highly beneficial effects from low dose lithium have prompted some researchers to call for adding lithium to the water supply in the amounts found naturally in the high lithium Texas counties.

One of these is Jonathan Wright M.D, author, founder of the Tahoma Clinic in Renton, Washington, and a member of the medical advisory board for the non-profit Life Extension Foundation. Dr. Wright first began working with lithium in the 70s, when research at a VA hospital showed that it dramatically reduced recidivism (otherwise known as “falling off the wagon”) among alcoholics. Not only were these vets drinking less, their families reported less anger, aggression and violence in the men, and less moodiness, weepiness and depression in the women. They were also sleeping better, and generally calmer and happier.

Wright later began using low dose lithium with the children of alcoholics, who often have some of the same mood problems afflicting their parents. (A February 2010 article published in the journal Addiction showed that kids with a family history of alcoholism are more likely to crave sweets, suffer from depression, and become alcoholics themselves.)

But Wright didn’t start using low dose lithium himself until 1999, when an article in the British medical journal The Lancet reported the astonishing finding that just four weeks of high-dose lithium therapy caused a three percent increase in brain volume — translating into billions of additional brain cells. These findings turned on its head the conventional wisdom that we are born with all the brain cells we will ever have, and that brain shrinkage is an unavoidable consequence of aging.

In the past ten years, says Wright, there has been an “avalanche of research” about lithium. In addition to proving definitively that lithium stimulates the brain to grow new cells, it has also been shown to be, Wright says, a “wonderful neuroprotective agent from any type of toxin there is.” This neuro-protective mechanism is so strong that one respected lithium researcher said, according to Wright, that it “verges on malpractice to prescribe any psychotropic medication without lithium to protect the brain.” Psychotropics include antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds, and sleeping pills.

Dr. Wright has even heard, anecdotally, from numerous patients, that when they are taking lithium they don’t get bad hangovers. Lithium protects the brain from the damaging effects of alcohol, reducing the pain the morning after. Wright cautions that one can’t simply pop a tablet of lithium along with a pitcher of margaritas to achieve this effect, one would have to be taking it regularly, prior to a night of overindulgence, to protect brain cells.

Likewise, it has been shown that if the blood supply is suddenly cut off to the brain, such as with a stroke, brain cells suffer much less damage if the stroke victim has been taking lithium. (It does not work to take the lithium after the stroke, when the damage has already occurred.)

Mentioning that a recent medical journal carried a story with the headline “Can lithium prevent Alzheimer’s disease?” Dr. Wright said, “You know when you see a headline like that, that in another ten years you’ll see the same headline without the question mark.” He then enumerated multiple ways in which lithium interferes with the Alzheimer’s disease process.

Although he has no family history of mental illness or alcoholism, Wright has been taking 20 mg/day of elemental lithium (in the orotate form) for over ten years, purely to protect his brain and keep his IQ and memory in tip-top form, for as long as possible, as he ages.

In over 30 years, Wright has encountered only two or three people who have had a possible reaction to a dose of 20 mg/day or less: they thought it might have caused a slight tremor — which went away when the lithium was discontinued. On the other hand, he’s had dozens of patients report that their benign tremor improved on low dose lithium

Wright cautions that every patient is different and it is wise to also take fish oil and flax seed oil, if one is taking lithium. These healthy oils are routinely used to treat lithium toxicity in patients who are so severely bipolar that stopping their lithium is not an option, and they add an extra layer of safety for those using over the counter lithium without a doctor’s supervision.

Wright defines low dose lithium as anything up to a maximum of 55 mg of elemental lithium per day, which is the equivalent of a single 300 mg. capsule of prescription lithium carbonate, or 11 tablets of over the counter lithium orotate or aspartate, which typically contain 5 mg. of elemental lithium per tablet. No one, he says, should consider going higher than that without regular blood testing to insure that they are not toxic, and damaging either their kidneys or thyroid gland. Symptoms of lithium toxicity are: tremor in the hands, rising blood pressure, and flu-like symptoms.

Given the many amazing neurological benefits of lithium, why has there been so little it in the press? A search at nytimes.com for “lithium alcoholism” brought up just two relevant articles: from 1973 and 1975. A search for “lithium Alzheimer’s” at both MSNBC and CNN brought up no relevant articles.

Dr. Wright has a theory about this, and it’s not flattering to either science writers, pharmaceutical companies or biosciences academics. The problem begins, he says, with the fact that lithium cannot be patented, so no real money can be made from selling it. Thus, there are no armies of press agents blanketing science writers with press releases touting its eye-popping benefits. And science writers, Dr. Wright says, “do not dig, and they have not been digging into this lithium at all.” If they don’t receive a press release about it, says Wright, science writers are unlikely to find out about new discoveries.

Not only is there no money to be made selling lithium, lithium represents direct competition to drugs that are currently earning many billions of profit for pharmaceutical companies. The central nervous system (CNS) drug market is expected to increase to $64 billion this year. By comparison, lithium aspartate is available at vitacost.com for less than $6 for a 30 day supply.

I asked Dr. Wright “If everyone were taking low dose lithium, as you are, wouldn’t there be a greatly reduced market for psychotropic drugs, Alzheimer’s drugs, alcoholism drugs?” and he replied:

“Yes. I don’t know when the news about lithium will break through into public awareness. When it does, it will probably be opposed, because there are so many professors who are on the payroll of patent medicine companies. Anybody who comes out and promotes something that is in competition with a product from the patent medicine companies is going to be called crazy and a quack by those on the payroll of those same patent medicine companies.”

The news that lithium is good for our brains raises some compelling questions. Is lithium an essential nutrient for human health that is deficient in our water supply and the soil that grows our food? With so many people now filtering their water or drinking purified bottled water, are we eliminating even trace amounts of lithium from our diets? Lithium is one of the most abundant minerals in the sea, with 50 micrograms in a tablespoon of seawater. Could that be part of the reason why people the world over flock to the sea, and feel so relaxed and calm after a day spent splashing in the waves?

Until these questions are answered, one thing seems clear: your brain has a good friend in lithium.

Sheila Casey is a DC based journalist. Her work has appeared in The Denver Post, Reuters, Chicago Sun-Times, Dissident Voice and Common Dreams.


DR. CUSHMAN PUBLISHES PEER REVIEWED RESEARCH ARTICLE ON KEY NUTRACEUTICALS

May 3, 2012

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A new peer reviewed article entitled “Primary Risks of Oral Contraceptives and HRT” discusses the benefits of two nutraceuticals- BRM4 and Plasmanex1, manufactured by Daiwa Pharmaceuticals, and researched by Dr. Gina Cushman in clinical practice.

(Newport Beach, CA) May 3, 2012- Gina Cushman, NMD, PhD, owner and founder of HealthBridge Medical Center and HealthBridge Management LLC in Newport Beach, CA  has just been published in the peer reviewed Natural Medicine Journal, the official journal of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. She discusses ways to offset the primary risks that women face when taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and oral contraceptives (OC) prescribed by their physicians, including the use of 2 natural food extracts–Plasmanex1 and BRM4–one showing anticoagulant effects and the other exhibiting certain anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects.  Her discussion is based on the results of a clinical research study on the extracts, that was led by Dr. Cushman at her medical practice, and presented worldwide at three PharmCon peer-reviewed continuing medical education events on June 9th, 2011; July 7th, 2011; and August 10th, 2011.   

“I am pleased to see that our team at HealthBridge was able to research these nutraceuticals in a real world medical practice setting, identifying a new and important application for the products, and then share the results of our research with thousands of physicians and pharmacists worldwide, through continuing medical education seminars and now through publication in a reputable peer-reviewed journal, “ says Dr. Cushman.

Long-term use of OCs and HRT have been linked to increased risks of cardiovascular problems, and chronic immune disorders with an inflammatory component, including cancer.  The research study designed and led by Dr. Cushman investigated the clinical effects of the use of BRM4 (also referred to as BioBran, MGN3 or RBAC in some countries) and Plasmanex1 (NKCP) for the purpose of uncovering potential benefits of combined use, as well as areas that may prove fruitful for further research into ways to prevent serious side effects from OCs/HRT. The 6-week private practitioner research study included case study results that demonstrated the significant impact of these 2 extracts—Plasmanex1 and BRM4—on OC users and HRT users, with regard to offsetting thrombotic risk and improving inflammatory symptoms.

Reference: Cushman, G. Primary Risks of Oral Contraceptives and HRT. Nat Med Journal. May 1, 2012. http://naturalmedicinejournal.com/article_content.asp?edition=1&section=2&article=321

# # #
About HealthBridge Management LLC
HealthBridge Management LLC is a nationally recognized consulting firm specializing in medical marketing, sales and distribution for the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries.  HealthBridge delivers simple, affordable and doable medical sales, research and marketing solutions to meet the need, worldwide, for quality education, and access to effective pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products. For further information on our firm, partial client list and client comments, please visit www.HealthBridge.tv or call 949.612.9890.


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

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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


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