Saffron, Crocus sativus, also known as Hong Hua in Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine, has been used both as a culinary spice and as a medicinal botanical on many continents throughout history for over 3,000 years. Recent research demonstrates that a component of saffron, a orange-red colored carotenoid called crocetin shows promise as an anti-cancer agent. Saffron also contains other carotenoids including zeaxanthin, lycopene, and various alpha- and beta-carotenes
According to researcher Fikrat Abdullaev, who is so impressed with saffron’s multiple medicinal properties that he suggests there be a new scientific discipline called “saffronology”
Considerable scientific evidence has suggested that plant-based dietary agents can inhibit the process of carcinogenesis effectivelySince cancer is the most common cause of death in the world population, the possibility that readily available natural substances from plants, vegetables, herbs, and spices may be beneficial in the prevention of cancer warrants closer examination. Saffron in filaments is the dried, dark red stigmata of Crocus sativus L. flowers and it is used as a spice, food colorant, anda drug in medicine. A growing body of research has demonstrated that saffron extract itself and its main constituents, the carotenoids, possess chemopreventive properties against cancer.
Studies show that crocetin, only one of several carotenoids found in saffron, acts affects four important functions in cancer cells:
inhibiting nucleic acid (DNA and RNA) synthesis (affecting gene expression, growth and replication)
enhancing anti-oxidative system (acting as a free radical scavenger and reducing oxidative stress)
These are the characteristics of a valuable anti-tumor, anti-cancer therapeutic agent.
Here is the abstract of the recent study
Crocetin: An Agent Derived from Saffron (Hong Hua) for Prevention and Therapy for Cancer
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and accounts for approximately 8 million deaths per year worldwide. Although there is an increasing number of therapeutic options available for patients with cancer, their efficacy is time-limited and non-curative. Approximately 50-60% of cancer patients in the United States utilize agents derived from different parts of plants or nutrients (complementary and alternative medicine), exclusively or concurrently with traditional therapeutic regime such as chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. The need for new drugs has prompted studies evaluating possible anti-cancer agents in fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. Saffron, a spice and a food colorant present in the dry stigmas of the plant Crocus sativus L., has been used as an herbal remedy for various ailments including cancer by the ancient Arabian, Indian and Chinese cultures. Crocetin, an important carotenoid constituent of saffron, has shown significant potential as an anti-tumor agent in animal models and cell culture systems. Crocetin affects the growth of cancer cells by inhibiting nucleic acid synthesis, enhancing anti-oxidative system, inducing apoptosis and hindering growth factor signaling pathways.
Gutheil WG, et al. Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 4801 Linwood Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 64128, USA. email@example.com. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2011 Apr 5. Source: PubMed
Prior Studies include:
Oost, Thorten K. et al Discovery of Potent Antagonists of the Antiapoptotic Protein XIAP for the Treatment of Cancer J. Med. Chem., 2004, 47 (18), pp 4417–4426
FIKRAT I. ABDULLAEV Cancer Chemopreventive and TumoricidalProperties of Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) Laboratory of Experimental Oncology, National Institute of Pediatrics, Mexico City 04530, Mexico Cancer Lett. 1991 May 1;57(2):109-14.Antitumour activity of saffron (Crocus sativus). Nair SC, Pannikar B, Panikkar KR. Amala Cancer Research Centre, Kerala, India
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2009;10(5):887-90.Crocin from Kashmiri saffron (Crocus sativus) induces in vitro and in vivo xenograft growth inhibition of Dalton’s lymphoma (DLA) in mice. Bakshi HA, Sam S, Feroz A, Ravesh Z, Shah GA, Sharma M.
Exp Oncol. 2007 Sep;29(3):175-80. Crocin from Crocus sativus possesses significant anti-proliferation effects on human colorectal cancer cells.
Aung HH, Wang CZ, Ni M, Fishbein A, Mehendale SR, Xie JT, Shoyama CY, Yuan CS. Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research, The Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.
Posted By John C. Pittman, MD, and Mark N. Mead, MSc,
Monday, May 16, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014
It may come as a surprise to learn that most people with cancer do not die from the disease itself, but from life-threatening infections such as sepsis. A great many cancer sufferers also die from chronic inflammatory problems that are associated with the disease, such as cancer cachexia. A recent report published in the March 2011 Journal of Translational Medicine presents a powerful argument for using intravenous (IV) vitamin C in the context of life-threatening infections and cancer. The authors report that IV vitamin C has been effective in directly treating cancer as well as in helping to reverse chronic inflammation and stave off life-threatening infections in these patients.
Vitamin C is the most widely used single-nutrient supplement in the United States, and has long been lauded by the general public for its supposed powers to treat many ills, from colds to cancer, from herpes to heart disease. Back in the 1970s, two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling did much to bolster the vitamin’s profile by touting it as an immune-enhancing and tumor-killing therapy. Pauling asserted that the anti-cancer potential of vitamin C depended on getting the proper dosage, and toward the end of his life, he further emphasized that vitamin C was best combined with various other anti-cancer agents that worked synergistically with the vitamin.
Dr. Pauling was among the first scientists to recognize that it’s impossible to attain the therapeutically optimal level of vitamin C by taking the vitamin orally—that is, in the form of the standard vitamin C pills or tablets. On one hand, it's virtually impossible for people to overdose on oral vitamin C, since the body only assimilates a certain quantity through the mouth and then stops allowing it to build up. On the other hand, this prevents health care professionals from being able to achieve the blood levels that have been linked with killing tumors. One solution, of course, is to use intravenous (IV) vitamin C.
With IV vitamin C, you can bypass the digestive system and thus circumvent the body’s normally tight regulation of vitamin C levels. As researchers recently reported in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, IV vitamin C generates hydrogen peroxide which will destroy primitive cells like bacteria, viruses and cancer cell, and this in turn leads to the shrinkage of aggressive tumors—including ovarian, pancreatic and brain tumors—in laboratory animals. Despite the very high levels of vitamin C used in these studies normal cells appear to be completely unharmed by the therapy. The researchers stated that it’s feasible to intravenously boost levels of vitamin C in humans to the same levels used in the mice.
Indeed, numerous studies have suggested that high-dose IV vitamin C may help eliminate cancer, even when combined with conventional treatments. For example, in a report for the August 8th 2010 issue of Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology, Dr. Mark Levine, chief of the U.S. National Institutes of Health's Molecular and Clinical Nutrition Section, concluded that exposing tumors to vitamin C made them more vulnerable to the killing effects of at least four widely used chemotherapy drugs. Previously, Dr. Levine had published research with mice suggesting that IV doses of vitamin C could one day reduce the size of malignant tumors in people.
Dr. Levine’s findings confirm what we have been seeing for the past 15 years at the Carolina Center for Integrative Medicine. On numerous occasions, we have observed that IV vitamin C enabled patients with advanced cancers to respond to chemotherapy drugs to which they had previously failed to respond. We therefore believe that it can enhance the effectiveness of cancer chemotherapy and pave the way for therapeutic success. In a recent issue of PloS One, Dr. Levine concluded that high-dose IV vitamin C is in wide use by integrative practitioners and that “high dose intravenous vitamin C appears to be remarkably safe. Physicians should inquire about IV vitamin C use in patients with cancer [and] chronic, untreatable, or intractable conditions…”
A Short History of Vitamin C Therapy
Vitamin C has long been the most widely used dietary supplement, and much of the initial excitement surrounding this vitamin can be traced back to studies conducted in the 1970s by Dr. Pauling and his Scottish colleague Ewan Cameron, MD. The scientists published two studies that demonstrated an approximate quadrupling in survival in “terminal” cancer patients who received vitamin C by a combination of IV and oral routes. These findings were subsequently replicated by a clinical trial in Japan. In addition, the Scottish and Japanese clinical studies found significant improvements in the quality of life for cancer patients receiving high-dose vitamin C.
A chemist by training, Dr. Pauling had publicly questioned the adequacy of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C, and he suggested that taking gram doses of vitamin C—that is, 1000 milligrams (mg) or more—could be effective in the prevention and treatment of colds. At the time, the RDA was a mere 45 mg per day, an amount considered sufficient to prevent scurvy, the classic disease of vitamin C deficiency. (Today, the RDA is 90 mg per day for men, and 75 mg per day for women.)
Pauling took the controversy up another notch when he proposed daily doses of 5 to 30 grams—5000 to 30,000 mg—for the treatment of advanced cancers. To this day, the very mention of Pauling’s vitamin C research still sparks heated arguments among medical professionals, oncologists in particular.Clinical studies of the potential therapeutic value of high-dose vitamin C began in Scotland in 1971. The findings from these early investigations were dramatic indeed. In addition to the aforementioned three studies showing a four-fold increase in survival, one other study of 100 “terminal” cancer patients showed a nearly six-fold increase in survival for patients with advanced cancer.
To date, six out of a total of seven clinical studies have concluded that high-dose vitamin C did increase survival in patients with advanced cancers. Many of these patients also noted significant improvements in their energy levels, pain reduction, appetite, and other measures of quality of life. Understandably, these findings attracted much media attention and ignited an explosion of public interest in using vitamin C for cancer therapy. Many thousands of cancer patients began self-prescribing the vitamin. At the same time, however, some scientists sharply criticized Pauling’s research on the grounds that his early studies were not randomized controlled clinical trials, the “gold standard” of medical research. For this reason, the studies’ findings were deemed unreliable or preliminary at best.Controlled clinical trials are indeed the best way to assess the true value of any proposed treatment strategy. In the case of vitamin C, the ideal study would randomly assign cancer patients to receive either vitamin C or a placebo (a substance having no biological or therapeutic activity), and to do so without the patients knowing which one they were receiving.
In the late 1970s, researchers from the Mayo Clinic did conduct two randomized clinical trials, but alas, these studies only focused on oral, not intravenous, vitamin C. In the first study, the cancers were too far advanced to reasonably expect any intervention to affect the outcome. (the average survival for all patients was only 51 days). In the second trial, there was no difference in survival for colorectal cancer patients who received the high-dose oral vitamin C. Strangely, neither study adhered to Dr. Pauling’s recommended protocol for achieving “bowel tolerance”—that is, in order to prevent diarrhea, the oral dose was supposed to have been increased gradually over time.
Because neither of the Mayo Clinic studies provided vitamin C in oral form, they have no bearing on the issue of whether high-dose IV vitamin C can be an effective treatment for advanced cancers. Thus the jury is still out on vitamin C as a potential cure for cancer, and no one has adequately tested Pauling’s hypothesis with the appropriate controlled clinical trial design.
Intravenous Vitamin C May Be Essential
In order to achieve the doses that have a therapeutic impact, as noted earlier, it seems necessary to use intravenous (IV) vitamin C. The original protocol recommended by Drs Pauling and Cameron involved a 10-day course of IV vitamin C in which the vitamin was given as a slow-drip infusion of 10 grams sodium ascorbate. After this, vitamin C was given orally in the form of a syrup, at a dose of 2.5 grams every 6 hours for a total dose of 10 grams per day. This strategy enables patients to avoid the diarrhea that otherwise accompanies vitamin C doses in excess of 6 to 7 grams per day. Subsequent studies used oral and intravenous doses ranging from10 to 30 grams per day.
The recommended dose for IV vitamin C has steadily increased over the past two decades, and physicians continue to report striking benefits. In the March 2008 issue of Puerto Rico Health Sciences Journal, researchers reported that, “only by intravenous administration, the necessary [vitamin C] levels to kill cancer cells are reached in both plasma and urine.” By giving the vitamin intravenously, one can readily achieve the blood levels (at least 20 mM) that have been reported to selectively kill tumor cells. In at least two clinical trials now in progress, scientists are trying to determine the safety, tolerability, best therapeutic dose, and other key aspects of using IV vitamin C.
The power of this approach has been well documented in mainstream medical journals. In March 2006, the Canadian journal CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) told the story of three patients with advanced cancer who had received IV vitamin C. One was a 49-year-old man with “terminal” bladder cancer who had declined chemotherapy. Nine years after receiving the deadly prognosis, he was still alive and apparently free of cancer. Another patient, a 66-year-old woman, had an aggressive lymphoma with an extremely poor prognosis. After IV vitamin C, her disease went into remission and she was alive and well 10 years later. In a third case, IV vitamin C was given to a 51-year-old woman with kidney cancer that spread to her lungs. Two years later, she had a normal chest X-ray, and a pathologist confirmed the findings.
Why did these patients succeed where others have not? It could be that the secret is in the dosage. Only two controlled clinical trials of vitamin C have been done, and both used oral vitamin C rather than the IV route. But oral doses can never achieve the high blood levels provided by IV methods, the levels necessary for killing cancer. Dr. Levine recently demonstrated that, indeed, only IV vitamin C can achieve the desired blood levels. The reason for this is that your kidneys will get rid of vitamin C as fast as your gut can absorb it. With the IV approach, the blood levels are immediately elevated, and it takes much more time for the kidneys to eliminate the excess. Thus, for an extended period, you’re able to expose cancer cells in your body to the levels that can make a difference.
Dr. Levine also confirmed that vitamin C is metabolized to hydrogen peroxide. Unlike normal cells, cancer cells lack the internal defenses to protect themselves from this highly unstable and reactive ( compound. As a result, they die. (Many chemotherapy agents operate, in part, through a similar mechanism. Green tea, resveratrol, and artemisinin may have similar effects; taken in combination, these natural agents may reach levels of peroxide lethal to malignant tumors.) These days, IV vitamin C doses may range from 10 grams to as high as 300 grams per day (300,000 mg!), though most doses are in the range of 30 to 80 grams per day. The optimal strategy, as designed by Dr. Hugh Riordan, includes certain other nutrients, such as alpha lipoic acid.
The good news is that, in contrast with conventional chemotherapy, IV vitamin C is not a particularly expensive therapy. If you have cancer, talk to your Integrative Medicine physician about IV vitamin C. Preliminary reports from a clinical trial in Kansas City indicate that giving IV vitamin C prior to chemotherapy can dramatically reduce the toxicity of those treatments while bolstering the tumor-killing impact of the chemo.
John C. Pittman, MD, is the Medical Director of the Carolina Center for Integrative Medicine in Raleigh, NC, and is certified by the American Board of Clinical Metal Toxicology. Mark N. Mead, MSc, serves as the Center’s Integrative Medicine Research Consultant.
Ichim TE, Minev B, Braciak T, Luna B, Hunninghake R, Mikirova NA, Jackson JA, Gonzalez MJ, Miranda-Massari JR, Alexandrescu DT, Dasanu CA, Bogin V, Ancans J, Stevens RB, Markosian B, Koropatnick J, Chen CS, Riordan NH. Intravenous ascorbic acid to prevent and treat cancer-associated sepsis? J Transl Med. 2011; 9:25
Duconge J, Miranda-Massari JR, Gonzalez MJ, Jackson JA, Warnock W, Riordan NH. Pharmacokinetics of vitamin C: insights into the oral and intravenous administration of ascorbate. P R Health Sci J. 2008; 27(1):7-19.
Padayatty SJ, Riordan HD, Hewitt SM, Katz A, Hoffer LJ, Levine M. Intravenously administered vitamin C as cancer therapy: three cases.CMAJ. 2006; 174(7):937-42.
González MJ, Miranda-Massari JR, Mora EM, Guzmán A, Riordan NH, Riordan HD, Casciari JJ, Jackson JA, Román-Franco A. Orthomolecular oncology review: ascorbic acid and cancer 25 years later. Integr Cancer Ther. 2005; 4(1):32-44.
Riordan HD, Riordan NH, Jackson JA, Casciari JJ, Hunninghake R, González MJ, Mora EM, Miranda-Massari JR, Rosario N, Rivera A. Intravenous vitamin C as a chemotherapy agent: a report on clinical cases. P R Health Sci J. 2004; 23(2):115-8.
Block KI, Mead MN. Vitamin C in alternative cancer treatment: historical background. Integr Cancer Ther. 2003;2(2):147-54.
Food allergies are no doubt becoming a bigger and bigger part of our lives. Unfortunate indeed for food lovers everywhere. But to be fair to our body, it can only be dragged through so much before its ability to continue in pristine rhythm gets interrupted.
How do we get allergies to food?
Allergies to foods are generated by an over-reactive immune system coupled with a porous digestive tract. What happens is that small undigested protein particles, namely polypeptides and peptides of food pass through the intestinal wall into the blood stream and are recognized by the immune system as an invading factor. This occurs because the genetic make up of the food proteins doesn’t belong to you.
The immune system is actually doing precisely what it was engineered to do. However, this overactive arm of the immune system against food proteins actually makes us more susceptible to cancer. The immunoglobulins that cause the allergic symptoms, actually depress the production of your bodies own immune cancer killers. Most notably, natural killer cells and tumor necrosis factor. What you end up with is an imbalance in the immune system.
Imbalances in the immune system not only create opportunity for cancer but also a host autoimmune and inflammatory conditions.
There are many ways to check for food sensitivities. The gold standard is to limit a food category (i.e. dairy products) for a certain period of time. After that time has elapsed you then reintroduce that food category in its purest form (i.e. glass of milk) to your diet.
Cut out dairy for 4 weeks and then at 4 weeks drink 8 ounces of milk at breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you had any symptoms previous to cutting out the dairy write them down and notice if any symptoms disappeared and then notice if any symptoms reappeared upon adding dairy back in.
Something to note is that allergic reactions to food are not always instant and can show up days later. This makes it all the more important to take note of your symptoms during this time period.
You may also get blood tests to check for food sensitivities. These tests also allow you to see your allergic intensity to specific foods.
Most Common Food Allergies
The most common allergenic foods are milk, wheat, eggs, corn, peanuts, non-organic soybeans, chicken, and shellfish.
Posted By Administration,
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014
ACAM member Charles Scott, DC, wrote the book When Medicine Fails... A Holistic Approach to Allergies, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, and Chronic Pain. Within its pages reveals a synthesis of Dr. Scott's 25 years of clinical experience as a holistic nature doctor. This book presents proven, comprehensive and highly effective holistic approaches to the major chronic, degenerative diseases that plague mankind.
Dr. Scott is the founder of Scott Chiropractic and Wellness Center in Odessa, Texas. His holistic clinic focuses on helping patients become pain free, healthy and optimally functional. Among his services and therapies he provides are: nutritional programs, allergy elimination techniques, applied kinesiology (AK), and detoxification.
Visti Dr. Scott's website at: www.scottchriopracticwellness.com
Twelve percent of Americans suffer from migraines. Women are affected three times more than men. Of migraine sufferers 98% rely on acute treatment and symptom suppression.
Natural Integrative medicine asks the question, why? Why does this person suffer with migraines? Typically, the cause is different for each person.
Integrative medicine is effective as a preventative therapy for migraine sufferers and works the best through identifying the underlying cause of the migraines. Successful treatment is more likely if we determine each individual’s cause of migraines.
Every person’s biochemistry is unique and individualized care is the only way to ensure successful treatment.
1) Triggers: Many things can trigger Migraines; food, stress, environment, wherein the patient is hypersensitive to these stimuli and it initiates a headache.
2) Histamine release: This most often happens in allergic patients wherein some allergen causes a release of histamine and triggers constriction and head pain. Often an avoidance of environmental and food allergens as well as anti-histamines can prevent this migraine. The herb Butterbur works as a natural anti-histamine and will help these migraine patients.
3) Lack of energy production from brain cells: Recent data has confirmed that some migraine sufferers actually cannot produce adequate energy from brain cells to meet the demands, which results in vasospasm. Supplements such as CoQ10, Magnesium, Riboflavin (vitamin B2), and d-ribose can be beneficial in these patients.
4) Dietary allergens: Food allergens should be determined via IgE (acute) and IgG (delayed) allergy testing. Avoiding allergic foods can decrease body inflammation, eliminate triggers, and prevent migraines long term.
Note from Dr. P:
If you have migraines or know someone who does this is a terrible disease. Especially since conventional medicine only suppresses the acute symptoms with drug therapy. Symptom suppression is fine short term but isn’t it better to find out why the cycle is continuing and what you can do about it? This is where Integrative Medicine shines, as we work to uncover the underlying cause and the unique biochemistry of the individual.
You are at the top of your game. Why not stay there?
Menopause causes permanent hormone deficiencies which accelerate the aging process, make you feel old, and increase your risk of chronic diseases. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Believe it or not, menopause is already a luxurious experience for many proactive and well-informed men and women. Yes, even after Mother Nature quits, you can keep your mind, body, and sex life healthy as you age!
This is the premiere post of the “Patch Up Your Menopause” blog, where I will teach you how the hormone deficiencies caused by menopause and male menopause can be, and need to be, safely patched up with bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. My unique concierge wellness and anti-aging practice, The Integrative Center for Health & Wellness, uses bio-identical hormones and a cutting-edge, science-based, holistic approach to help educated and motivated men and women stay healthy and productive as they age.
As both menopause and male menopause occur at different ages for different people and may have inconspicuous symptoms, the sooner you know about them the better, especially if you are over 40.
What are your thoughts about menopause and male menopause?
Posted By Administration,
Friday, May 6, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014
Medical innovations are transforming the science of pain management.
Many South Jersey sports fans remember several years back to when former Flyer Simon Gagne was benched mid-season due to severe post-concussion symptoms, including debilitating head, neck and shoulder pain. Gagne, his coaches and the fans all wondered if he would ever return to the ice.
Dr. Scott Greenberg of the Magaziner Center for Wellness and Anti-Aging in Cherry Hill had also suffered from severe head and neck pain for more than a decade. None of modern medicine’s advanced treatments worked—until he discovered prolotherapy, a nonsurgical, holistic procedure that Greenberg says stimulates the body’s own ability to heal.
Greenberg cured himself by injecting an irritant directly into the affected area, causing his immune system to react and heal the damaged tissue or tendon. Then, he went to work on Gagne—who eventually went on to play in the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals—and many other professional athletes and South Jersey residents of all ages.
Chronic pain is a condition that affects many people. Many hope at most to merely manage that pain, whether with over-the-counter painkillers like Motrin or Tylenol or narcotics like oxycodone. But pain-management specialists in South Jersey say there are better ways. These include everything from plasma injections to tiny needle-pricks to attack muscle spasms, to interdisciplinary treatments that target psychosomatic symptoms. The results, say local doctors, have been entirely revolutionary revolutionary.
“Chronic use of anti-inflammatory medications can actually make joint problems worse,” Greenberg says. “It’s well documented that they accelerate arthritis, they’re not good for kidneys and liver, they can cause ulcers. They block the healing processes that happen in the body. Instead of masking pain, we want to cure the pain.”
Greenberg does this by seeking out the source: damaged tissue, joints, muscles, nerves, ligaments or tendons. In many cases, he says, prolotherapy can be the solution. “Patients that have tried chiropractic, epidural steroids, nerve blocks and even surgery, can be cured by prolotherapy and platelet-rich plasma treatments,” Greenberg says. Greenberg makes several injections to the damaged area with either a prolotherapy solution or platelet-rich plasma taken directly from the patient’s own bloodstream. Treatment can be effective in as little as a few months or up to a year, depending on the extent of the problem. These therapies can even treat post-concussion symptoms such as dizziness and loss of balance, for which there is no traditional medical remedy. Greenberg says he’s also found success treating cumulative pain problems, too, such as arthritis, tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
One of the more unique pain management treatments currently available is biopuncture, in which patients are injected with natural, FDA-regulated homeopathic products that stimulate the immune system to promote natural healing. This practice, popularized in Europe, is gaining steam in the United States.
Locally, Dr. Polina Karmazin and Dr. Robert Davis of Integrated Family Medicine in Voorhees are among just a handful of physicians in the country trained to administer the treatment, which can help with everything from localized pain and arthritis to bronchitis and the flu. After a consultation and evaluation, each patient receives a customized treatment targeted to their specific condition.
Thanks to the positive response from South Jersey patients, including 610-WIP radio personality Angelo Cataldi, biopuncture is surging in popularity. “This year, we have been seeing a number of new patients with a serious interest in biopuncture,” says Davis.
Adds Karmazin: “With biopuncture, the healing effect comes from within your body, as opposed to some conventional drugs that tend to simply suppress the symptoms or potentially cause significant side effects.”
As interest in the treatment grows, Davis warns that biopuncture is not the cure-all some may be looking for, but it certainly has a place in pain management.
It has also been indicated for a broad range of other purposes. For one, he notes, “Biopuncture is a great, natural way to prevent and treat colds. Of course, nothing can truly replace the flu shot, but biopuncture is a safe and gentle therapy that can modify a patient’s illness and shorten its duration and intensity.”
However, as people age and cope with life-threatening diseases like cancer, the nature of pain management changes focus. Dr. Stephen Goldfine, chief medical officer for Samaritan Hospice in Marlton, must often address the chronic pain associated with end-of-life care, and his approach is more than physical.
“What I try to bring to the table is looking at the whole person,” Goldfine says. “I really look at who that person is and then try to handle the physical pain as well as the spiritual and emotional side. I even engage with chaplains, who will come in and help me hold spiritual counseling.”
Goldfine finds that, in his patients, physical pain is often compounded by depression. “Looking at a life-threatening illness, the depression can be overwhelming, which turns up the volume on the pain,” he says.
So, he partners with specialists including psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers, to work with clients on things like setting goals for the future. “This is a way we create hope,” Goldfine says. As well, he notes, anti-depressants can also be helpful, taken along with traditional counseling.
Treating both physical and emotional pain is the key to truly improving quality of life for patients—both in palliative care and elsewhere. “We don’t focus on death,” Goldfine concludes. “We focus on our patients living their life.”
Source: Twining, Stephanie.
Pain, Pain, Go Away. South Jersey Magazine. May 2011 Issue.
I just returned from the annual meeting of the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM), on whose Board I serve. As always, I left excited about the many advances being made in the field of integrative medicine.
At the conference, there was much discussion about the impact of the environment on a person’s health and wellbeing. I felt compelled to touch on this topic here immediately as April is Autism Awareness Month and, in my professional opinion, there is no way to deny the link between environmental factors and the appearance – and, often, the severity – of autism and related disorders.
Consider this alarming finding from a recent study of 10 newborn children: Upon birth, the average person has already been exposed to more than 200 chemicals. In fact, when the cord blood of these infants was analyzed, 287 different chemicals were identified…at birth!
This is incredibly dangerous since, at birth, the blood-brain barrier is not yet developed so these chemicals are not blocked in any way and therefore can adversely impact brain function.
So what does this have to do with autism?
There’s been an increase in recognition of autism over the last 10 years – presently one out of every 90 children have some form of the disorder, which is a condition that causes difficulties with perception, thought, language, behavior and sociability.
To really understand autism, we need to look at what has changed during this period of rapid diagnosis of the disorder. We know that genetics hasn’t changed. What has changed are environmental factors, including the increasing number of chemicals we are exposed to from pesticides, flame retardants, plasticizers, solvents, personal care products, medicines, artificial sweeteners and flavors. These varied factors have a clear impact on the expression of our genes.
Each of us is biochemically different, which is why two brothers may have the same genes, but one may develop a disorder while the other never does – even if exposed to the same environmental factors in utero or beyond. Simply put, some people are predisposed to react to a chemical substance differently than others.
It has been found that many autistic children have a defect in their ability to excrete certain chemicals; therefore, they were more genetically susceptible to the chemicals’ effects. Many also have mitochondrial dysfunction and an inability to metabolize high levels of metals which results in neuro-inflammation, oxidative stress, impaired mitochondrial function and neurotransmitter imbalances. They also often have liver toxicity and gastrointestinal problems.
What does this mean for prevention of autism?
While the cause of autism is still not clear, nobody can say definitively at this point that doing one thing or another will completely prevent the disorder. However, looking at the data and reviewing the common denominators in these children, what is clear is that there is an undeniable link between the chemicals found in our environment and autism. The best we can do – to help reduce the numbers and/ or the severity of cases – is to eliminate these chemicals from our lives as much as we can by eating a healthy diet of natural, unprocessed foods rich in vitamins and nutrients, rounding out our diets with nutritional supplements as advised by a healthcare professional and reducing our exposure to phthalates (like those in nail polish), organophosphates (often found in pesticides), PCBs, (found in plastic products including most baby bottles), solvents (found in furniture and new carpets) and heavy metals such as lead and mercury. These measures should, if possible, begin with the mom in the pre- or peri-conception time, at the latest, and continue with the birth of the child.
And what if my child has autism?
At the Magaziner Center for Wellness, our goal is to help maximize a child’s potential by setting up an individualized program aimed at diagnosing and treating often hidden problems that may be impeding his or her development. We support the use of behavioral counseling and speech, physical and occupational therapies that are often recommended as part of the overall treatment regimen.
We analyze each patient individually – because, as I’ve said before, each person is biochemically different and, even among those on the autism spectrum, not every treatment works for every person. We administer safe, nontoxic dietary supplements, antifungal agents, and dietary modifications. We also place great emphasis on the detoxification and evaluation and treatment of toxic metals, including mercury, lead, cadmium and aluminum. Treatment may also include improving digestion and assimilation and asking a child to avoid certain foods which could be harmful to his or her wellbeing. We often recommend hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which greatly increases oxygen uptake to the brain, nervous system, skeletal muscle, and all body tissues and has been been found useful in the treatment of the symptoms of autism.
While autism is still quite a mystery, great strides have been made in increasing the awareness of the disorder and uncovering some clues to its potential causes. With more research, increased commitment and willingness for doctors and patients alike to ask tough questions and demand a change in our environment, I am confident the next 10 years will yield much better news on this front than the previous decade has.
Infertility is a reproductive disease which has an enormous impact on the quality of life for millions of patients. It affects 1 in 5 of all couples, and most patients undergo extensive diagnostic and treatment interventions on their journey to create a family. Infertility has a myriad of causes including endocrine disorders, gynecological disease, infectious disease, circulatory disease and aging and cellular health. Autoimmune disorders are also implicated in reproductive disorders and may especially play a role in unexplained cases of infertility.
It is known that autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, autoimmune thyroiditis and systemic lupus erythematosis are linked to decreased fertility. Other causes of infertility such as premature ovarian insufficiency, endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome include autoimmune components. In many unexplained cases of infertility, inflammatory processes may be involved or antibodies may be directed against hormones, clotting factors, or reproductive tissues such as the ovaries or testes. The research into autoimmune infertility is just in its beginning, but as naturopathic physicians there are valuable tests and treatments we can provide to our patients who present either with known autoimmune disorders and difficulty conceiving, or with the ever enigmatic diagnosis of “unexplained infertility”.
The biological factors involved in autoimmune infertility are various. These include a multitude of cellular and inflammatory changes. Some of the most common factors are discussed below.
Endometriosis has many autoimmune components including elevated levels of cytokines, and T- and B-cell abnormalities. Peripheral monocytes are more active, and peritoneal macrophages are present in higher numbers with higher activity levels. This causes increased inflammatory cytokine release.
There are alterations in B-cell activity and an increased incidence of autoantibodies in women with endometriosis. Like classical autoimmune diseases, endometriosis has been associated with polyclonal B-cell activation, immunological abnormalities in T- and B-cell functions, increased apoptosis, tissue damage, multiorgan involvement, familial occurrence, possible genetic basis, involvement of environmental cofactors, and association with other autoimmune diseases. TNF-a, levels are elevated in the peritoneal fluid of patients with endometriosis. In women with endometriosis, TH2 mediated immunity humoral responses are commonly elevated.
A 2001 study found that 50% of endometriosis patients had autoantibodies to candida enolase. The same study found increased levels of these antibodies in patients with a list of other autoimmune conditions.
Autoimmune thyroid disease and infertility.
Thyroid diseases involving antithyroid antibodies have been correlated to infertility and increased pregnancy loss. Autoimmune thyroid disease, even in the absence of hypothyroidism has been associated with infertility and reduced response to fertility treatment. It has also been associated with gluten related autoimmunity. Autoimmune thyroid disease can lead to hypo or hyperthyroidism which can impact fertility and cause miscarriage.
Other Autoimmune Diseases and Fertility
Antinuclear antibodies (ANAs ) which have been associated with infertility can be present in conditions such as SLE, Sjogren’s syndrome, Raynaud’s syndrome, and can also be detected in women with a history of exposure to chemicals such as bisphenol-A.
Addison’s disease is associated with anti-ovarian antibodies which can reduce ovulatory function and cause premature ovarian failure in severe cases.
Patients with celiac disease may have multiple nutritional deficiencies that can lead to infertility. Celiac disease has been linked to recurrent miscarriage, pregnancy complication and infertility. A 2010 study found that between 5-10% of women with a history of stillbirth, recurrent miscarriage, intrauterine growth restriction, and infertility were seropositive for transglutaminase IgA compared to 1% of the control group. Latent celiac disease may be a major cause of unexplained infertility.
In approximately 20% of women with premature ovarian insufficiency(POI), autoimmune factors can be found. POI can be linked to autoimmune thyroid disease, Addison’s disease, or SLE or may have unknown etiology. Women may have antibodies against the ovarian tissues, or reproductive hormones such as FSH.
Antisperm antibodies are another cause of infertility. These can be present in either male or female patients. They are commonly found in males after vasectomy procedures, and their presence can make vasectomy difficult to reverse. Antisperm antibodies affect the ability of the sperm to penetrate the egg or reduce motility by attaching to the tail of the sperm . They have also been associated with antiphospholipid antibodies. Antisperm antibodies are generally produced by CD19+/5+ B cells and are associated with elevated natural killer cells and anti-dna antibodies.
Autoimmune blood clotting disorders
Disorders with increased antiphospholipid antibodies( APAs) including anti-cardiolipin antibodies cause a hypercoagulatory state in the blood and can be associated with reproductive failure and recurrent miscarriage. These antibodies can be found in systemic diseases such as SLE, or on their own.
Immunological Considerations for Patients with Reproductive Challenges
A condition of TH1 cytokine dominance can be associated with the inability to conceive or maintain a pregnancy. In women with high TH1/TH2 ratios there is an increased incidence of pregnancy loss and infertility however for different autoimmune conditions the predominant immune pathway may differ.
Natural killer(NK) cells
Elevated peripheral NK cells are associated with many systemic autoimmune diseases but can also be found in women with unexplained infertility conditions. NK cells produce TH1 cytokines including TNF-alpha and Interferon gamma. These cytokines are normally involved in cellular toxicity directed at cancerous cells and viruses . If increased in early pregnancy, the presence of NK cells and their cytokines can disrupt the growth and development of the embryo. TNF-alpha works as a signal to other immune cells which then migrate to the uterus to attack the non-self invader which has been immunologically detected. A 1999 study found that in women who had repeated miscarriage, there was markedly increased NK cell cytotoxicity associated with a rise in CD56+CD16+ and a drop in CD56+ cells. Another special type of NK cell called uterine NK (uNK) cells have a protective immunosuppressive effect locally in the endometrium. Dysfunction of these cells has been associated with pregnancy loss
Homocysteine and Folate Metabolism
ciency and hyperhomocysteinemia are known to be risk factors for infertility and pregnancy complications. Errors in these pathways caused by genetic mutations have been associated with autoimmune diseases Patients with a mutation of the MTHFR gene have difficulty reducing 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate to 5-methyltetrahydrofolate. 5- methyltetrahydrofolate is used to convert homocysteine to methionine by the enzyme methionine synthase. A 2010 study on a group of 71 Swedish and Finnish female patients with unexplained infertility found a higher incidence of folate metabolism polymorphisms compared to women in the general population. Folate receptor blocking autoantibodies have also been related to subfertility
Folate metabolism disorders can can lead to reduced cell division, inflammatory cytokine production, altered nitric oxide metabolism, increased oxidative stress, abnormal methylation reactions and thrombosis. This causes problems with folliculogenesis and implanting or maintaining a healthy pregnancy. In males, defects in this pathway can impair spermatogenesis.
Diagnostic testing in the naturopathic clinic
In addition to general and endocrine panels for infertility, consider testing for homocysteine, CRP, ESR, ANA panels, APA panels, PTT, Partial PTT, DHEA-S, TSH, Antithyroglobulin, Antithyroid peroxidase, HBA1C, CBC, diurnal cortisol, assessments for candida, and gluten sensitivity testing.
Clinically, I have found that optimal homocysteine levels should be 8mmol/L or below in patients with autoimmune infertility factors.
TH1 to TH2 ratios can be a very helpful tool for designing treatment plans. NK assays and testing for genetic variants of MTHFR are also available.
These vary depending on results found and can include low dose aspirin, anti-coagulants, corticosteroids, IVIG, Lymphocyte immunization therapy (LIT) and TNF-alpha blockers. These are often combined with IVF or other assisted reproductive technologies.
Treatments in the naturopathic clinic
Some of the following treatment options may be considered after a thorough assessment determines specific autoimmune factors.
To reduce TH1 dominant inflammatory responses in patients who require it, maritime pine extract (100mg bid), resveratrol ,(100mg bid) , and green tea EGCG (300mg catechins bid), . Maritime pine, and resveratrol also inhibit platelet aggregation and thrombosis,,. The antioxidant effects of these substances are also beneficial.
Proline rich polypeptides such as those found in bovine colostrum may favour a shift towards TH1 and downregulate overactive TH2 responses.
High quality omega 3 fish oil. 2 – 3g of EPA and DHA qd to aid with inflammatory and thrombotic disorders . A 2007 study on mice found that a ratio of 23:14 EPA HA decreased tnf alpha in 8 hours. EPA also regulates autoimmune markers in endometriosis
L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate 5mg daily, vitamin B12 1000mcg qd and vitamin B6 75mg qd to improve homocysteine and folate metabolism. Screen for history of cancer before using high dose folate. Trimethylglycine 1000mg qd may also be used to lower homocysteine levels in selected patients.
N-Acetyl Cysteine 600mg bid. Reduces inflammatory cytokines. Improves autoimmune thyroid disease NAC also enhances semen parameters and the oxidative status and quality of the endometrium . NAC also protects the integrity of ovaries subjected to physical and oxidative damage, and aids liver detoxifcation pathways.
For patients with thyroid antibodies, l-selenomethionine 200mcg daily,,,. If hypothyroid, use of bio-identical hormone therapy may be indicated to prevent miscarriage. Trace minerals for thyroid function are also be beneficial.
Thyroid protomorphogen may be useful for patients with antithyroid antibodies to act as a decoy. Increase dosage slowly to 1 tablet tid.
Elimination of gluten should be implemented as required for patients with positive serology.
Probiotics 20 billion CFUs daily. Rotate strains monthly to modulate immunity and repair gut lining. Treat candida if present.
Support liver detoxification pathways.
Bio-identical progesterone is a potent immunosuppressive agent capable of blocking both cytokine release and action . May be used in the luteal phase of the cycle to support early pregnancy.
DHEA – can be useful in premature ovarian insufficiency and to improve pregnancy rate and reduce miscarriage in advanced maternal age. It has also been found to be beneficial in the treatment of autoimmune disease,, and to reduce NK cell activity. DHEA should only be used after serum DHEA-S and androgen evaluation. Dose adjusted according to patient need but is often 25mg tid or less.
Addressing stress is very important in all patients suffering from the effects of reproductive challenges. Autoimmune diseases are aggravated by stress as it can increase humoral immunity and shift TH1:TH2 ratios. Adrenal therapies, sufficient sleep, yoga, meditation, movement therapy, and prayer can all positively effect patients in this journey
Beer, A, Kantecki J, Reed J. Is your Body Baby Friendly? 1st edition. AJR Publishing 2006.
Nothnick, WB. Treating endometriosis as an autoimmune disease. Fertility and sterility. 2001 Aug;76(2): 223-231.
Antsiferova YS, Sotnikova NY, Posiseeva LV, Shor AL. Changes in the T-helper cytokine profile and in lymphocyte activation at the systemic and local levels in women with endometriosis. Fertil Steril. 2005;84(6):1705-11.
Gitlits VM, Toh BH, Sentry JW. Disease association, origin, and clinical relevance of autoantibodies to the glycolytic enzyme enolase.J Investig Med. 2001. 49(2):138-45.
Kim NY, Cho HJ, Kim HY, et al. Thyroid Autoimmunity and its Association with Cellular and Humoral Immunity in Women with Reproductive Failures. Am J Reprod Immunol. 2011;65(1):78-87
Ott J, Aust S, Kurz C et al. Elevated antithyroid peroxidase antibodies indicating Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are associated with the treatment response in infertile women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertility and sterility. 2010;94(7): 2895-2897.
Guliter S, Yakaryilmaz F, Ozkurt Z, et al. Prevalence of coeliac disease in patients with autoimmune thyroiditis in a Turkish population. World J Gastroenterol 2007; 13(10): 1599-1601
Geva E, Lerner-Geva L, Burke M, Vardinon N, Lessing JB, Amit A. Undiagnosed systemic lupus erythematosus in a cohort of infertile women. Am J Reprod Immunol. 2004;51(5):336-40.
Kumar A, Meena M, Begum N, et al. Latent celiac disease in reproductive performance of women Fertility and sterility 24 November 2010. Epub ahead of print
Yamada H, Atsumi T, Kato EH, et al. Prevalence of diverse antiphospholipid antibodies in women with recurrent spontaneous abortion.Fertil Steril. 2003;80(5):1276-1278.
Kwak-Kim JY, Chung-Bang HS, Ng SC, et al. Increased T helper 1 cytokine responses by circulating T cells are present in women with recurrent pregnancy losses and in infertile women with multiple implantation failures after IVF. Human Reproduction. 2003;18(4):767-73.
Emmer P, Nelen W, Steegers, E et al. Peripheral natural killer cytotoxicity and CD56posCD16pos cells increase during early pregnancy in women with a history of recurrent spontaneous abortion Hum. Reprod. (2000) 15(5): 1163-1169
Dosiou C, and Giudice LC. Natural Killer Cells in Pregnancy and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss: Endocrine and Immunologic Perspectives. Endocr. Rev. 2005;26(1):44-62.
Tamura T, Picciano MF. Folate and human reproduction. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;83:993–1016
Mao R, Fan Y, Zuo L, et al. Association study between methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene polymorphisms and Graves’ disease. Cell Biochem Funct. 2010; 28(7): 585-90.
Brustolin S, Giugliani R, Felix TM. Genetics of homocysteine metabolism and associated disorders. Braz J Medio Res, 2010; 43(1):1-7
Klotz L, Farkas M, Bain N, et al. The variant methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase c.1298A>C (p.E429A) is associated with multiple sclerosis in a German case-control study. Neurosci Lett. 2010; 468(3):183-5.
Altmäe S, Stavreus-Evers A, Ruiz JR, et al. Variations in folate pathway genes are associated with unexplained female infertility.Fertil Steril. 2010;94(1):130-7.
Klotz L, Farkas M, Bain N, et al. The variant methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase c.1298A>C (p.E429A) is associated with multiple sclerosis in a German case-control study. Neurosci Lett. 2010; 468(3):183-5.
Safarinejad MR, Shafiei N, Safarinejad S. Relationship Between Genetic Polymorphisms of Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (C677T, A1298C, and G1793A) as Risk Factors for Idiopathic Male Infertility. Reprod Sci. 2010 Oct 26 [Epub ahead of print]
Cho KJ et al. Inhibition mechanisms of bioflavonoids extracted from the bark of Pinus maritime on the expression of pro inflammatory cytokines. Ann NY Acad Sci. 2001;(928)141-56.
Falchetti R, Fuggetta MP, Lanzilli G, Tricarico M, Ravagnan G. Effects of resveratrol on human immune cell function. Life Sci. 2001; 21;70(1):81-96.
Tian J, Gao J, Chen J, et al. Effects of resveratrol on proliferation and apoptosis of TNF-alpha induced rheumatoid arthritis fibroblast-like synoviocytes. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2010;35(14):1878-82.
Zvetkova E, Wirleitner B, Tram NT, Schennach H, Fuchs D. Aqueous extracts of Crinum latifolium (L.) and Camellia sinensis show immunomodulatory properties in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Int Immunopharmacol. 2001;1(12):2143-50.
Gillespie K, Kodani I, Dickinson DP, et al. Effects of oral consumption of the green tea polyphenol EGCG in a murine model for human Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease. Life Sci. 2008 Oct 24;83(17-18):581-8.
Araghi-Niknam M, Hosseini S, Larson D, Rohdewald P, Watson RR. Pine bark extract reduces platelet aggregation. Integr Med. 2000 Mar 21;2(2):73-77
Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, Rohdewald P, et al. Prevention of venous thrombosis and thrombophlebitis in long-haul flights with pycnogenol. Clin Appl Thromb Hemost. 2004 Oct;10(4):373-7
Olas B, Wachowicz B, Saluk-Juszczak J, Zielinski T. Effect of resveratrol, a natural polyphenolic compound, on platelet activation induced by endotoxin or thrombin. Thromb Res. 2002 Aug 15;107(3-4):141-5.
Figueras M, Olivan M, Busquets S, López-Soriano FJ, Argilés JM. Effects of Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA). Treatment on Insulin Sensitivity in an Animal Model of Diabetes. Improvement of the Inflammatory Status. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Sep 30. [Epub ahead of print]
Vanschoonbeek K, Feijge MA, Paquay M, et al. Variable hypocoagulant effect of fish oil intake in humans: modulation of fibrinogen level and thrombin generation. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2004 Sep;24(9):1734-40.
Dangardt F, Osika W, Chen Y, et al. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation improves vascular function and reduces inflammation in obese adolescents. Atherosclerosis. 2010; 212(2):580-5.
Bhattacharya A, Sun D, Rahman M, Fernandes G. Different ratios of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic omega-3 fatty acids in commercial fish oils differentially alter pro-inflammatory cytokines in peritoneal macrophages from C57BL/6 female mice. J Nutr Biochem. 2007 Jan;18(1):23-30.
Netsu S, Konno R, Odagiri K, Soma M, Fujiwara H, Suzuki M. Oral eicosapentaenoic acid supplementation as possible therapy for endometriosis. Fertility and sterility. 2008; (90)4: 1496-1502.
Stanislaus R, Gilg AG, Singh AK, Singh I. N-acetyl-L-cysteine ameliorates the inflammatory disease process in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in Lewis rats. J Autoimmune Dis. 2005 May 3;2(1):4.
Poncin S, Colin IM, Decallonne B, et al. N-Acetylcysteine and 15 Deoxy-?12,14-Prostaglandin J2 Exert a Protective Effect Against Autoimmune Thyroid Destruction in Vivo but Not Against Interleukin-1a/Interferon ?-Induced Inhibitory Effects in Thyrocytes in Vitro.The American journal of pathology. 2010;177(1)219-228
Ciftci H, Verit A, Savas M, Yeni E, Erel O. Effects of N-acetylcysteine on semen parameters and oxidative/antioxidant status.Urology. 2009;74(1):73-6.
Estany S, Palacio JR, Barnadas R, Sabes M, Iborra A, Martínez P. Antioxidant activity of N-acetylcysteine, flavonoids and alpha-tocopherol on endometrial cells in culture. J Reprod Immunol. 2007; 75(1):1-10.
Mishra DP, Dhali A. Endotoxin induces luteal cell apoptosis through the mitochondrial pathway. Prostaglandins Other Lipid Mediat. 2007;83(1-2):75-88.
Usta U, Inan M, Erbas H, Aydogdu N, Oz Puyan F, Altaner S. Tissue damage in rat ovaries subjected to torsion and detorsion: effects of L-carnitine and N-acetyl cysteine. Pediatr Surg Int. 2008; 24(5):567-73
Zagrodzki P, Ratajczak R. Selenium supplementation in autoimmune thyroiditis female patient–effects on thyroid and ovarian functions (case study). Biol Trace Elem Res. 2008; 126(1-3):76-82.
Turker O, Kumanlioglu K, Karapolat I, Dogan I. Selenium treatment in autoimmune thyroiditis: 9-month follow-up with variable doses. J Endocrinol. 2006;190(1):151-6.
Negro R, Greco G, Mangieri T, Pezzarossa A, Dazzi D, Hassan H. The influence of selenium supplementation on postpartum thyroid status in pregnant women with thyroid peroxidase autoantibodies. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007;92(4):1263-8.
Gärtner R, Gasnier BC, Dietrich JW, Krebs B, Angstwurm MW. Selenium supplementation in patients with autoimmune thyroiditis decreases thyroid peroxidase antibodies concentrations. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002; 87(4):1687-91.
Howard L. Weiner, MD. Oral tolerance for the treatement of autoimmune disease. Annual Review of Medicine. 1997; (48): 341-351.
Raghupathy R, Al-Mutawa E, Al-Azemi M, Makhseed M, Azizieh F, Szekeres-Bartho J. Progesterone-induced blocking factor (PIBF) modulates cytokine production by lymphocytes from women with recurrent miscarriage or preterm delivery. J Reprod Immunol. 2009 Jun;80(1-2):91-9
Mamas L, Mamas E. Premature ovarian failure and dehydroepiandrosterone Fertil Steril.2009;91(2):644-646.
Gleicher N, Ryan E, Weghofer A, Blanco-Mejia S, Barad DH. Miscarriage rates after dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplementation in women with diminished ovarian reserve: a case control study. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2009 Oct 7;7:108.
Solerte SB, Precerutti S, Gazzaruso C, et al. Defect of a subpopulation of natural killer immune cells in Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: normalizing effect of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate. Eur J Endocrinol. 2005;152(5):703-12.
Crosbie D, Black C, McIntyre L, Royle PL, Thomas S. Dehydroepiandrosterone for systemic lupus erythematosus. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007;(4):CD005114
Hazeldine J, Arlt W, Lord JM. Dehydroepiandrosterone as a regulator of immune cell function. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2010;120(2-3):127-36.
Calcagni E, Elenkov I. Stress system activity, innate and T helper cytokines, and susceptibility to immune-related diseases. Ann N Y Acad Sci.2006;1069:62-76
Who is calm and relaxed before surgery? I don’t know too many patients who are not anxious before surgery. Patients participating in a study in China who received acupuncture prior to surgery reported a greater than 50% decrease in their anxiety.
When patients have high levels of anxiety and stress hormones, lose sleep and cannot relax before an operation, the capacity to withstand the physiologic stress of surgery is decreased. This compromises the patient’s chances for a good outcome free of complications. Furthermore, having a good healing of surgical incisions, improved resistance to infection, normal digestion and elimination, restful sleep and decreased pain are all enhanced when a patient is less anxious and is experiencing less stress.
While there are many ways to help patients deal with the stressors associated with surgery, acupuncture is a cost effective method that can be offered to pre-surgical patients.
Although the study participants were all adults, children who are facing surgery would also benefit from the calming effects of acupuncture.
Additionally, other studies have shown that acupuncture modulates immune function further improving resistance to infection which is important after surgery and especially while in the hospital environment where risk of infection is much higher.
It is common to see patients in Chinese hospitals have the benefit of BOTH modern biomedicine as well as Traditional Chinese Medicine.
We live in a time with access to a wide array of healing and medical modalities. Whether that be the scalpel or the acupuncture needle, it is of great benefit to offer patients an Integrative and Collaborative approach to health care.
Posted By Administration,
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014
Dr. Magaziner was interviewed live by Pat Ciarrochi on CBS' "Talk Philly" on April 12th. During the segment, he served up valuable information about the five foods he deems fabulous for health and wellness. These super foods include salmon, which is high in Omega-3 fatty acids and helps reduce inflammation, risk of heart disease and triglycerides, while helping combat depression, memory loss and arthritis; sweet potatoes, which are high in Vitamin A, antioxidants and calcium to help in maintaining bone density; celery, which can help lower blood pressure and stress; buckwheat, which stabilizes both blood sugar and blood pressure and cinnamon, which can help reduce blood sugar.
Your intestinal tract is home to approximately 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) microorganism. Your gut actually has 10x more bacteria than all the cells that make you a human combined. Perhaps they have some therapeutic function!
This massive array of bacteria is responsible for synthesizing B vitamins, vitamin K , producing digestive enzymes, metabolizing proteins and carbohydrates, breaking down bile salts, enhancing short term and long term immunity, and inhibiting pro inflammatory mediators. They also breakdown nondigestable carbohydrates like fiber creating short-chain fatty acids, which lower the pH of the intestines creating an environment that is inhospitable to pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella. Sounds delicious…
Symptoms and diseases associated with mutant gut flora:
If you were going to add one foundational element to your dietary supplement regimen, I would add some living microbes. Many people think of yogurt as a great way to increase their good bacteria. It is true many yogurts have bacteria in them that are beneficial to your health. However, the levels in yogurt or kefir are not enough to overcome disease and dysfunction. You will need millions of little bacteria to enable the development of a healing environment.
Probiotics are best consumed with a moderate amount of food no warmer than room temperature.
If you are taking antibiotics, probiotics should be taken 1 hour before or 2 hours after the antibiotics. It is vital if you are taking or have taken antibiotics that you make a concerted effort to reestablished optimal gut flora.
Approximately 83 percent of people with cancer use at least one complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) modality (11).
Using my experience as a health and wellness expert, I have compiled a list of what cancer patients say about the choices they make regarding cancer treatment:
To be proactive, to take control, to take charge of decisions that affect my care, my health, my experience, my results and outcomes.
To participate in my own care and my own decisions rather than giving power to make all decisions away to my care providers.
To feel a sense of empowerment rather than be disenfranchised and disempowered.
To decrease and manage my fear, stress and anxiety and to support, increase and improve my peace of mind.
To ask my care providers to work with me as a team and to show respect for my values, my feelings and my choices in all decisions.
I choose to reject an approach based solely on a 'war on cancer' that only targets my cancer tumor cells and neglects the whole person and the environment.
I choose a comprehensive care approach using a wide range of therapies, tools and resources from many traditions and many points of view.
I choose individualized and targeted care which views me and my cancer as unique and in which decisions and choices are based on a careful analysis of the traits and characteristics of my cancer cells and my unique physiology, genetics and risk factors rather than a generic one size fits all approach.
To actively manage and reduce both short term and long term toxic side effects from conventional cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormones and other drugs used by oncologists, radiologists and surgeons.
To protect my cells, tissues and organs from damage during my treatment.
To grow and develop effective coping strategies for myself.
To address the continuous small and large traumatic experiences that cancer patients undergo as part of every stage of my cancer journey.
To develop and cultivate positive, supportive healing relationships with my care providers, my team.
To utilize integrative cancer care and alternative treatments when the conventional oncology treatment offered to me is perceived as worse than the disease itself.
To utilize integrative cancer care when there are no conventional oncology treatments that offer me a therapeutic benefit.
To utilize integrative oncology care when the known risks of conventional oncology treatments are greater than the known benefits of those treatments.
To utilize integrative cancer and alternatives to conventional care and to use integrative cancer care without conventional oncology treatments when there are no effective conventional cancer treatments recommended or available to me.
I have fundamental confidence in the value and benefits of integrative cancer treatments that address the whole person and have my health, recovery, survival, quality of life and peace of mind (not just absence of disease) as both a short term and a long term goal.
Choosing an integrative cancer care approach makes a significant difference for each unique individual cancer patient. In this model, the patient is a fully empowered participant in making decisions and choices related to their cancer treatment, cancer recovery and cancer survivorship in concert with their team of care providers.
This is the goal of evidence based, compassionate person centered health care: combining the best of science and nature, modern knowledge and ancient healing wisdom, in order to transform disease, restore healthy function, wholeness and quality of life to each unique individual patient.
Rather than a model focused primarily on disease management, this is a model which also includes health, healing and the whole person as well as the internal and external environments of each unique individual to form a matrix in which the continuum of health and disease can be more fully met and understood.
When a health care model includes not only disease management, but also restored health and function, different choices are made by both patients and care providers.
Even if the disease is not eradicated and recovery is not possible, healing and wholeness may still unfold. Even in terminal illness, when compassionate care becomes the primary care, the patient can achieve integration of the experience and a capacity to face the end of life and make peace with what is so.
1. Block KI, Gyllenhaal C, Tripathy D, Freels S, Mead MN, Block PB, Steinmann WC, Newman RA, Shoham J. Survival Impact of Integrative Cancer Care in Advanced Metastatic Breast Cancer. Breast J. 2009 May 12. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 19470134
2. Frattaroli J, Weidner G, Dnistrian AM, Kemp C, Daubenmier JJ, Marlin RO, Crutchfield L, Yglecias L, Carroll PR, Ornish D. Clinical events in prostate cancer lifestyle trial: results from two years of follow-up. Urology. 2008 Dec;72(6):1319-23. Epub 2008 Jul 7. PubMed PMID: 18602144.
3. Molassiotis A, Fernadez-Ortega P, Pud D, Ozden G, Scott JA, Panteli V, Margulies A, Browall M, Magri M, Selvekerova S, Madsen E, Milovics L, Bruyns I, Gudmundsdottir G, Hummerston S, Ahmad AM, Platin N, Kearney N, Patiraki E. Use of complementary and alternative medicine in cancer patients: a European survey. Ann Oncol. 2005 Apr;16(4):655-63. Epub 2005 Feb 2. PubMed PMID: 15699021.
4. Mulkins AL, Verhoef MJ. Supporting the transformative process: experiences of cancer patients receiving integrative care. Integr Cancer Ther. 2004 Sep;3(3):230-7. PubMed PMID: 15312264. 5. Nahleh Z, Tabbara IA. Complementary and alternative medicine in breast cancer patients. Palliat
7. Ornish, D., M. J. Magbanua, G. Weidner, V. Weinberg, C. Kemp, C. Green, M.D. Mattie, R. Marlin, J. Simko, K. Shinohara, C. M. Haqq, and P. R. Carroll. 2008a. Changes in prostate gene expression in men undergoing an intensive nutrition and lifestyle intervention. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 105 (24):8369-74.
8. Pud D, Kaner E, Morag A, Ben-Ami S, Yaffe A. Use of complementary and alternative medicine among cancer patients in Israel. Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2005 Jun;9(2):124-30. PubMed PMID: 15944105.
9. Verhoef MJ, Balneaves LG, Boon HS, Vroegindewey A. Reasons for and characteristics associated with complementary and alternative medicine use among adult cancer patients: a systematic review. Integr Cancer Ther. 2005 Dec;4(4):274-86. Review. PubMed PMID: 16282504.
10. Verhoef MJ, Mulkins A, Boon H. Integrative health care: how can we determine whether patients benefit? J Altern Complement Med. 2005;11 Suppl 1:S57-65. PubMed PMID: 16332188.
11. Richardson MA, Mâsse LC, Nanny K, Sanders C. Discrepant views of oncologists and cancer patients on complementary/alternative medicine. Support Care Cancer. 2004 Nov;12(11):797-804. PMID: 15378417
12. Ruth E. Patterson, Marian L. Neuhouser, Monique M. Hedderson, Stephen M. Schwartz, Leanna J. Standish, Deborah J. Bowen, Lynn M. Marshall. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. August 2002, 8(4): 477-485. doi:10.1089/107555302760253676.
Posted By Administration,
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014
Dr. Robert Rowen will speak at the Oxidative Medicine workshop taking place at the iMosaic conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Thursday, April 7, 2011. He will speak about Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation Therapy as well as Ozone Therapy.
Here is a brief video of Dr. Rowen speaking about Oxidative Medicine:
Register for this course before next Monday, March 28, and qualify for the iMosaic Early Bird rate! Visit www.imosaic.org or call 1-800-532-3688 to register today!
A new research study published in Clinical Nutrition looked at magnesium intake and levels in patients diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. The researchers found that those with Diabetes had lower levels of magnesium in their body and there was a direct correlation between magnesium status and insulin control. Magnesium is used by the body in over 325 enzyme reactions and in the case of Diabetes, healthy insulin function is dependent upon magnesium! Try to keep your magnesium intake at a minimum of 500 mg per day and if you are not getting enough from food (a common occurrence), then consider supplementing with a high quality mineral supplement with magnesium. Some of the highest sources of magnesium in foods are dark green leafy vegetables, kelp, wheat bran, wheat germ and organic raw cashews.
We are all saddened as we watch the unfolding events in Japan. There is a growing sense of fear, as well.
The nuclear catastrophe raging through Japan's nuclear power complex is generating an intense fear of radioactive fallout potentially reaching North America. My patients and friends have been asking about how best to protect themselves and their families, as there is considerable confusion in the media about the issue.
Even as government officials and health experts downplay the health risk to U.S. citizens, pharmacies up and down the West Coast of the United States have been stripped bare of their stock of potassium iodide tablets -- a frontline treatment for radiation exposure. Anxious buyers turning to the internet are faced with a similar lack of available supplies. So, what do we do? It's a growing, ever-changing scenario, and here are my current thoughts, certainly open to modification.
Are we really at risk of exposure from radioactive fallout generated by a nuclear meltdown in Japan? I believe this is a question best left to qualified nuclear scientists and meteorologists. But after serving as a consultant to the Independent Safety Committee for the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant from 1990 to 2002, I know firsthand how important it is to be prepared for all possibilities when dealing with nuclear radiation.
One of the greatest dangers following a nuclear accident comes from exposure to gases containing radioactive isotopes of iodine. These highly carcinogenic isotopes are readily taken up by the thyroid gland, resulting in the development of thyroid cancer. Exposure to radioactive iodine calls for immediate treatment with another form of iodine, potassium iodide, to saturate the thyroid and block the absorption of radioactive iodine. This is especially critical for children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers, who are most at risk following a nuclear disaster. A lack of adequate supplies of potassium iodide tablets after theChernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 resulted in thyroid cancer for thousands of untreated children.
Potassium Iodide (KI) Potassium iodide tablets are commonly stockpiled near nuclear power plants to allow for rapid distribution in case of a radioactive accident. In the absence of tablets, potassium iodide may also be administered as a "saturated solution of potassium iodide" (SSKI) which in the U.S.P. generic formulation contains 1000 mg of KI per ml of solution. Two drops of U.S.P. SSKI solution is equivalent to one 130 mg KI tablet (100 mg iodide).
Recommended Doses According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the following doses of potassium iodide should be taken as a single dose within three hours of exposure, or up to 10 hours after exposure, although this is less effective.
• Adults : 130 mg (see below as well for CDC addendum) • Adolescents: 12-18: WHO -- adult dose; CDC -- children's dose; if adult size (150 pounds or over) they should take the full adult dose, regardless of their age. • Children age 3-12 years: 65 mg • Infants : 1 mo. to 3 years, 32. 25 mg (ie half tablet) • Newborns to 1 mo., 1/4 capsule.
Note: Dosages may be crushed and taken mixed with milk or water. For kids, chocolate milk or raspberry syrup disguise the unpleasant taste.
Precautions While potassium iodide can be taken by a majority of people without any problems, it should only be used in case of a nuclear emergency. Doses in excess of the single (one time only) daily dose listed above should be taken only upon recommendation by a physician or public health authority. Patients should ask their doctor if taking quinidine, captopril, or enalopril, amiodarone, or if they are sensitive to iodine, or suffer from dermatitis herpetiformis, thyrotoxicosis or kidney problems before taking potassium iodate (or any thyroid blocker).
Prophylaxis It is best to take iodide prophylactically, prior to exposure. Every family should have a good supply in their homes. At this time we may recommend taking 10-40mg per day. A dose of 30-50mg is the range of dietary intake in Japan and relatively safe to take long term but under practitioner monitoring. Build up gradually: 10mg-20mg-30mg-40mg.
Then, in case there is an official announcement of significantly increased radiation, adults should go to the dose mentioned above: 130mg/day and children to lower doses per body weight, generally 65 mg, age 3-12 years. You can use a loading dose of two drops daily of Lugol's Iodine, a commonly available pharmaceutical form of potassium iodide, or SSKI, and increase to 130 mg if needed. See the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommendations. Adults over 40 should not take KI unless public health officials say that contamination with a very large dose of radioactive iodine is expected, since have the lowest risk of developing thyroid cancer or thyroid injury after such contamination. They also have a greater chance of having allergic reactions to KI. Everyone should check with their doctor, in any case.
Avoid exposure to rain that may be laden with radiation if we are exposed. You'll be informed by authorities if that is the case.
Other Radiation Dangers Besides I-131, there are other toxic radio-isotopes, including cerium 137 and plutonium. Dr. Gabriel Cousens has provided some excellent advice in his book "Conscious Eating." To protect yourself from cesium poisoning, consume plenty of high potassium foods, as potassium competitively inhibits cesium uptake. Foods high in potassium include avocados, sea vegetables, and leafy green vegetables, and are more effective than taking a potassium supplement.
To protect yourself from plutonium poisoning, eat lots of dulse and consume iron from plant sources, namely sea algaes such as spirulina and chlorella, which provide more iron than red meat. Miso soup has also been shown to have a protective effect. See also Michio Kushi's well-referenced book, "The Cancer Prevention Diet." The mineral, zeolite, is being investigated for taking most radioactive materials out of the body.
Additionally, foods and supplements high in antioxidants, will also help the body cope with these higher toxic levels as radioactive materials cause antioxidant depletion and ill health.
Summary The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has admitted it is 'quite possible' that fallout from the Japanese reactors could reach America, though levels expected to be so low as to be almost undetectable. Given the unprecedented circumstances of the current crisis, though, it would be prudent to keep some potassium iodide on hand as a precautionary measure.
Stay tuned to news sources for ongoing information, as this story is clearly developing by the minute.
For both those directly affected and those of us who feel the stress of this tragedy, check out some simple trauma-releasing methods, such as EMDR, EFT: or download free EFT audio "Tapping for Japan."
If I am able to find sources of tablets, I'll put a note here in comments, and list them on my website, as well. Otherwise, I'd recommend using SSKI which I'll likely be getting for my patients in the absence of tablets or capsules.
Our prayers are with the people of Japan, those who have lost their lives and those who have survived, and are dealing with trauma, grief and unspeakable loss.
Posted By Administration,
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014
Safety and Consistency is Our Priority
There is no compromise when it comes to health.
At McGuff compounding pharmacy, we have independent Quality Assurance and Quality Control programs to ensure that our products and patient care meet high quality standards and requirements. Our commitment is to provide a level of service that delivers safe compounded products consistently that patients and physicians can depend upon.
We use industry leading practices to meet your needs. We model our operations to meet manufacturing FDA Current Good Manufacturing Practice standards whenever possible.
When choosing a compounding pharmacy you want to feel confident that you will receive the highest quality compounded products and unparalleled patient care.
The following are some questions that you should ask when selecting a compounding pharmacy. Each affirmative answer should be followed by one additional question… "If so, how can you prove this to me?". The answer to this question, without independent audit reports of their pharmacy from national and international standards organizations, will more than likely be “because we said so”. If a pharmacy is not accredited by PCAB™ or ISO there must be a reason.:
Quality Assurance Checklist
McGuff Compounding Pharmacy
Does your pharmacy have specific assignment of quality functional responsibilities as defined in a Quality Assurance plan?
Does your pharmacy have an independent Quality Systems Department whose responsibility is to ensure that the facility, equipment and personnel meet the demanding standards set forth the United States Pharmacopeia?
Does your independent Quality Assurance department have the authority to over-ride the pharmacist-in-charge and stop the release of any compounded medication if the medication quality attributes are suspect?
Independent Standards Reviews
Is your pharmacy PCAB Accredited™ which assures that the pharmacy is dedicated to protecting patients by practicing safe, high-quality compounding ?
Is your pharmacy ISO 9001:2008 certified by an independent organization to assure compliance to international standards of customer care and product development?
In addition to your pharmacy license do you have a State Board of Pharmacy sterile compounding license?
Is your pharmacy committed to and in compliance with USP <1075>, Good Compounding Practices?
Is your pharmacy committed to and in compliance with USP <795>, Pharmaceutical Compounding – Non-sterile Preparations?
Is your pharmacy committed to and in compliance with USP <797> guidelines for sterile compounding?
Are all significant procedures performed in the pharmacy covered by Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)? Is there documentation that the pharmacy staff has been trained and understands the SOPs?
Is the Pharmacy’s Quality Assurance plan reviewed annually and when changes are made to the plan?
Does the pharmacy maintain both a master formula and lot-specific compounding history records for all compounds?
Does the pharmacy's master formula document the name, strength, and dosage form of the compounded product, all ingredients and their quantities, assigned a beyond-use date, record the equipments to be used, mixing instructions, packaging instructions, and Quality Assurance checklist? (This documentation ensures that the compound is prepared consistently to reproduce the same each and every time.)
Does your pharmacy prepare a formulation checklist and perform a design review process to determine acceptable strength, quality, and purity of a new formulation request?
Does your pharmacy’s facility meet or exceed U.S.P. Guidelines for compounding pharmacies?
Does your pharmacy perform sterile filling in a class 100 (ISO Class 5) laminar flow hood located within class 10,000 (ISO Class 7) clean room?
Does your pharmacy have separate areas dedicated to perform sterile and non-sterile compounding, product inspections, labeling, raw material storage, and dispensing?
Is the air quality in your compounding pharmacy engineered for HEPA filtration to reduce particulates?
Does your pharmacy perform daily monitoring and documentation of raw material storage, sterile and non-sterile compounding areas, and final product storage for temperature and humidity?
Does your pharmacy conduct daily tests of air and surface samples of your clean-room and other controlled environments?
Does your pharmacy perform daily, weekly, and quarterly cleaning to assure a clean and safe facility?
Are your pharmacy’s pharmacists, technicians, and customer service staff dedicated exclusively to compounding?
Is your pharmacy’s staff properly trained to perform aseptic manipulation skills, gowning technique, clean-room use, and successfully perform media fills every six months?
Does your pharmacy’s staff take steps to minimize error and maximize the prescriber’s intent for the patient during the compounding process?
Does your pharmacy purchase pharmaceutical-grade chemicals (USP, NF equivalent) from FDA-registered suppliers?
Does your pharmacy obtain and keep Certificates of Analysis for all raw materials used in compounding?
Does your pharmacy perform sterility testing according to USP <71> - Sterility Tests and USP <85> - Bacterial Endotoxin Test on every lot prepared?
Does your pharmacy verify the potency of finished compounds through weight, volume and yield checks?
Does your pharmacy perform post-filtration filter-integrity testing?
Does your pharmacy have systems in place for handling complaints and investigating sterility failures and adverse events?
Is every step of the compounding process from prescribing to compounding and labeling through dispensing reviewed and verified by a licensed pharmacist
For more information, visit www.mcguffpharmacy.com.
Recent studies from the University of California, San Diego, published in the British Journal, NATURE, have discovered a molecule called RANKL, found in aggressive breast cancer cells that predicts more deadly, lethal and life threatening disease. The findings from these recent studies suggests that drugs that block RANKL may be effective in preventing both the early stages of breast cancer and the advanced progression of the disease. Research has also shown that curcumin, the active ingredient in the common spice, turmeric, has properties that also reduce the expression of these deadly molecules within cancer cells and can potentially slow the spread of breast cancer.
Breast Cancer is not one disease. There are actually many breast cancers. When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, the tumor cells in her body must be analyzed in order to understand the nature of her unique disease. Some cancer cells are more aggressive and fast growing. Some cancer cells are sleepy, slow growing and less dangerous.
It is the presence of these more aggressive cancer cells that predicts that the breast cancer will spread to other parts of the body through a process called metastasis. Metastasis kills. Cancer patients rarely die from the primary tumor, the site where the cancer originates in the body. Breast cancer patients typically die from cancer that has spread or metastasized to other parts of the body, debilitating the function of vital organs such as the liver, lungs or brain. When breast cancer cells are aggressive and able to spread throughout the body, long term survival is threatened. Identifying agents that stop or slow the spread of disease through these mechanisms can stop or slow the spread of cancer and save lives.This new research demonstrates that when a protein molecule called RANKL (Receptor Activated Nuclear Factor Kappa Ligand) is present in breast cancer cells in high amounts, these tumor cells are more activated, more aggressive and more likely to spread, more likely to kill. RANKL is produced by regulatory T-Cells that modulate our immune response. High levels of these T-cells means high levels of RANKL, high levels of inflammation and aggressive high risk disease.
Blocking tumor promoting RANKL can block the spread of breast cancer cells to other parts of the body. A new drug, denusomab, has recently been released by Amgen that performs this function. However, this new drug is not widely available to patients for all possible applications, requires insurance company approval and is very expensive. Therefore few patients will be able to have access to and benefit from this new therapy in the near future. The good news is that there is alternative cancer answer available now without a prescription, the natural substance curcumin, derived from turmeric that can lower inflammation, lower RANKL, lower risk.
Dr. Bharat Aggarwal, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX is one of many respected researchers and experts who has published many studies on the effects of curcumin on cancer cells. According to Dr. Aggarwal
Curcumin has a very special nature which will work both for cancer prevention as well as for cancer therapy.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is one of the most potent Cancer Fighting Foods. Curcumin, the active ingredient in this common medicinal and culinary herb has been widely studied. It is recognized as a potent cell protectant, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Turmeric has been used for centuries to support cancer patients in Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine and Indian Ayurvedic Medicine. Now modern science demonstrates why it works. Curcumin has been shown to influence many cellular factors, including lowering RANKL.
Curcumin has been shown to decrease RANKL in tumor cells. Curcumin can block RANKL as well as other inflammatory and tumor promoting molecules in cells (COX-2, LOX-5, MMP2,TNFa, NFKbEGFR, HER2, bFGF, TGF-B1, and VEGF.) Turmeric is found in many herbal formulas for the prevention and treatment of cancer.
The active medicinal principle, curcumin, when taken orally, is best absorbed when taken with oil in traditional Indian curries. To use botanical medicine for the prevention and treatment of any serious health condition, the herb must be of pharmaceutical quality and taken in the proper doses. As with any potent botanical medicine, the use of curcumin as an anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor agent should be used under the supervision and guidance of a knowledgeable health care professional. Countries such as India in which tumeric is frequently consumed in the daily diet have lower rates of many cancers including prostate cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer. Tumeric can be safely added to your food as a cooking spice to add anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties to your daily diet.
The vegetables found under the ground and the heartier ones above ground are packed with vitamins and minerals and perfect for grating, roasting, steaming & mashing this time of year.
The below ground varieties include: Beets, Sweet Potatoes, & Carrots
The above ground varieties include Kale, Brussels sprouts, & Winter squash.
Lets tackle the above grounders first:
Kale and Brussels Sprouts are in the same famous family known as cruciferous. This famous family of vegetables has gained A LOT of press for its anti-cancer benefits. In fact half of the studies on brussels sprouts revolve around its cancer fighting properties. They are high in Vitamin A, C and folic Acid.
Kale is a coarser green and many people have no idea how to prepare it. Once you figure it out you can enjoy one of the healthiest, nutrient greens on the planet. Kale has Vitamins A, C, B6, and minerals of calcium and iron. Did you know that when prepared properly we would get more calcium out of kale than spinach? When preparing cut off the stem part about 1.5 inches and then chop. Try sautéing in a bit of olive oil and water.
Winter Squash comes in a number of varieties, such a butternut, kombucha, and acorn; there are multi-striped varieties as well. The toughest thing about squash is the preparation, the peeling, de-seeding, and chopping. If you have a man, put him to use in this department. Otherwise I suggest cutting in half and placing open side down on a baking sheet and roasting in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool; the skin will be A LOT easier to remove. Once cooked squash can be mashed or added into soups. Any vegetables orange or yellow in color contain Beta-carotene, and vitamin C, these are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Winter squashes also contain B-vitamins, and folic acid.
Check out my latest You Tube cooking video on Sautéed Brussels and Kale, I also have one on making Kale chips. You can access my You Tube channel through the www.AskDrPurcell.com site.
Now for the below grounders:
Carrots and Sweet potatoes are little darlings of the culinary world because of their natural sweetness. In fact many people who don’t like vegetables will eat them. Due to their orange color and carotenoid content leading to anti-oxidant protection within the eye. They are high in Beta Carotene, which is converted inside our bodies to Vitamin A that helps boost the immune system, and protect our skin.
Beets are amazing grated fresh into salads, and roasted. Boiled beets are less appealing.
Beets are high in fiber and can assist with constipation. They are also high in iron and folic acid the two main causes of anemia. If you’re anemic eat your beets! They also contain choline, an important detoxifier for our livers. Beets can be roasted with sweet potatoes, or roasted and then added to chilled salads. Once cooked, beets can be marinated in any dressing and will absorb those flavors bringing a lot of sweet, tangy goodness to the table.
As a nutritionally-oriented internist, I have seen air travel take quite a toll on the health and well-being of many of my friends and patients. With the excitement of traveling to a new destination, the new food, the change in schedule, the stress, the hassle; it is easy to neglect one’s health. My patients are frequently asking me for health travel advice. While practicing in a city where both business and leisure travel are staples in the lives of many of my patients, I have developed a nutritional and lifestyle plan to help optimize health while traveling.
Drink 2 large glasses of water on an empty stomach in the morning of travel. This willhydrate you effectively. Have a high protein breakfast.
Stress plays a significant role in air travel. Aside from a healthy diet, restorative sleep, regular exercise, and the addition of key nutritional supplements to the regime are helpful. One mineral that helps to combat stress is magnesium. It is one of the first nutrients to be depleted in the setting of stress. Your adrenal glands depend on magnesium, as do over 300 different enzyme reactions in the body. I recommend my patients take 100mg of magnesium-taurate the morning of the flight, and then another 100mg just before the flight.
It is not uncommon for travelers to contract a respiratory infection, the flu, or other infection while flying. The poor air circulation in the cabin compounded by the proximity to other passengers who may potentially be sick poses a double threat. Those with weak sinuses are at a heightened risk, as well, due to the periodic changes in air pressure. Washing hands and using hand sanitizers in the plane may be of benefit. Hydration and optimal nutrition are integral components, as well. I recommend my patients take several key nutrients to help boost the immune system in the setting of travel. I recommend taking oleuropin before the flight, which is the active ingredient in the olive leaf that has potent antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. In addition, beta 1,3 glucans and the prickly pear are cutting edge nutrients that I recommend that have been studied for their anti-microbial effects. Vitamin C and a combination of immune boosting mushrooms, such as cordyceps, reishi, and maitake, may help to prevent colds and other respiratory ailments in flight.
Boosting the immune system by addressing the gut is essential. It is an established fact that over sixty percent of the immune system is in the gut, referred to as the gut associated lymphoid tissue (GALT). In addition to a healthy diet, intake of a probiotic (beneficial gastrointestinal flora) is imperative to optimizing function. I strongly recommend taking a probiotic a week before the date of travel and to continue for a week thereafter.
Constipation is common in the setting of travel. The change in food, regime, stress level, and diet are contributors to this phenomenon. Probiotics can help deal with this. Magnesium plays a crucial role as well, being that it is a muscle relaxor that can relax the muscles of the colon wall and therefore improve regularity. Hydration, exercise and healthy fiber intake are important as well.
It is not uncommon to get a muscle cramp during the flight. Magnesium, a natural muscle relaxer, can help to prevent this. Be careful, because what feels like a cramp may actually be a blood clot. I highly recommend taking natural supplements that improve circulation before the flight. Natural vitamin E and omega-3 fish oil have been shown to optimize the cardiovascular system. Their mild blood thinning effect may help to prevent a clot. I also recommend the use of nattokinase for clot prevention. There is a lot of research supporting nattokinase’s role as an anti-clotting agent. It is an enzyme extracted from natto, which is derived from fermented soybeans.
To make it more user-friendly, I have put together all the supplements described above into prearranged packets. I have blended the highest quality nutrients into the “Flight Pack,” the only physician-grade supplement pack on the market used to optimize health and well-being while flying. I hope you find them helpful. Take one packet with a meal before your flight. Each Flight Pack contains 8 supplements. If it is okay with your physician, you can take this packet daily while traveling. Do not take if you are pregnant, are taking a blood thinner, have kidney or liver disease, or a bleeding disorder. Living smarter, living longer… (The product can be ordered online at www.advanced-medicine.com.)
The relationship between cancer and inflammation is well established. There is a strong association between chronic, ongoing inflammation in the body and the occurrence of cancer. It is most obviously demonstrated with the increased chance (five to seven times higher than the general population) for people with chronic inflammatory diseases.
For example chronic acid reflux and heartburn which inflames the stomach and esophagus increases risk of stomach and esophageal cancer. Acid reflux may be caused by infection with H. Pyolori which can be treated with antibiotics as well as natural medicines.
Chronic infection of the liver with Hepatitis virus B and C increases risk of liver cancer.
Chronic autoimmune inflammation of the colon or lower intestine, Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease, increases risk for colon cancer.
Chronic inflammation of the lungs due to exposure to inhaled chemical irritants including chemicals found in cigarette smoke or volatile inhaled chemicals from resins and varnishes or inhaled particles such as asbestos increase risk of lung cancer.
Chronic inflammation of the skin due to repeated sunburns increases risk of skin cancer.
Inflammation fuels cancer in several ways:
Inflammatory chemicals release free radicals or free roving electrons that damage cells and may initiate damage to the genetic material in our cells, our DNA thus leading to cellular mutations, loss of normal cell functions and cancer.
Inflammatory chemicals stimulate the production of new capillaries, tiny blood vessels that feed cancerous growths.
Many cancer cells will spread and metastasize in clumps that contain both inflammatory white blood cells of the activated immune system, called lymphocytes and sticky blood cells called platelets, which allow the cells to attach to new organs and tissues.This allows cancer cells spread by travelling to and establishing growth in new locations.
Common Triggers of Inflammation:
chronic bacterial, viral or parasitic infections
chemical irritants such as formaldehyde or toluene found in many cosmetics or benzene found in oven cleaners, detergents, furniture polishes and nail polish removers
Inhaled particles from fiberglass, silica or asbestos found in building materials and insulation
Ionizing radiation from sun exposure or frequent medical scans and xrays
Once the immune system has become activated and inflammation unfolds, the inflamed cells are further damaged by oxidative stress... the presence of roving free electrons that can damage cellular genetic material, our DNA. Damaged DNA is a primary cause of cancer as the expression of genes becomes altered. Protecting cells from this damage is crucial in preventing and controlling cancer.
Recognizing that inflammation is occurring and is ongoing and poorly managed is the first step. The second step is to take action
Here are Five Ways to Reduce Inflammation Naturally
1/Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet An anti-inflammatory diet is organic and free of chemical additives and artificial colorings and flavorings and preservatives. Eat whole, fresh, unprocessed foods that are not charred or deep fried. Eat a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. Eat healthy fats and oils, emphasizing Omega 3 fats found in cold water fish such as salmon and cod and sardines. Include other healthy oils such as walnuts, almonds, avocadoes, olives and flax seeds. Eat animal products from grass fed rather than grain fed (conventionally raised) animals. Emphasize a plant based diet over a diet derived primarily from animal products. Avoid refined sugars and flours and corn syrup. Eat plenty of fiber from whole grains, fruits and vegetables and beans. Drink plenty of fluids everyday.
2/Use Anti-Inflammatory Herbs to Manage Inflammation Common Herbs which reduce inflammation by lowering inflammatory and damaging molecules such COX2 and LOX5 in our cells include: Tumeric, Ginger root, Boswellia, Resveratrol, Milk Thistle and Cat’s Claw.
3/Avoid chemical exposures: Eat an organic, chemical free diet as noted above. Drink filtered water. Use only cosmetics that are free of irritating and carcinogenic additives. Identify chemical exposures in the home (cleaning supplies, garden supplies) and the workplace (chemical exposures, fumes, inhalants, radiation).
4/Identify and Treat Chronic Infections: Do you have persistent heartburn? Do you have chronic loose stool or diarrhea or gas and bloating? Have you been exposed to hepatitis or parasites while travelling internationally? Do you have a chronic post nasal drip or cough? See your health care provider to determine the cause and get proper treatment and follow up. Once the infection is resolved take measures to boost your immunity to prevent future infections. Eat fermented foods or use probiotic supplements which contain healthy organisms that are part of natural immunity in our digestive tract and intestines.
5/Keep your body lean. Keep your weight under control. Reduce your Body Fat. Build Muscle. Excess body fat is a factory for inflammatory molecules. All overweight and over fat people have much higher levels of inflammation than people who are lean. Eat a balanced diet, get regular cardiovascular and weight bearing exercise. Get enough sleep and manage your stress. All of these factors will contribute to normal body weight, reduced fat and increased lean muscle.
References: Ed Friedlander, “Inflammation and Repair,” www.pathguy.com/lectures/inflamma.htm (accessed fall 2006). Emily Shacter and Sigmund A. Weitzman, ”Chronic Inflammation and Cancer,” Oncology 16, no. 2 (February 2002). www.cancernetwork.com/journals/oncology/o0202d.htm (accessed fall 2006). National Cancer Institute Division of Cancer Biology, “Executive Summary of Inflammation and Cancer Think Tank.” http://dcb.nci.nih.gov/thinktank/Executive_Summary_of_Inflammation_and_ Cancer_Think_Tank.cfm (accessed fall 2006). Haiyan Xu et al., “Chronic inflammation in fat plays a crucial role in the development of obesity-related insulin resistance,” J. Clin. Invest. 112 (2003): 1821-30. Also available at www.ncbi.nlm.nih. gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=14679177 (accessed fall 2006). American Heart Association, Inc., “Inflammation, Heart Disease and Stroke: The Role of Schindler, Thomas, et al. 2006. Relationship Between Increasing Body Weight, Insulin Resistance, Inflammation, Adipocytokine Leptin, and Coronary Circulatory Function. JACC 47:1188-95.
Posted By Administration,
Monday, February 21, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014
If you watched Dateline's interview with Suzanne Somers and are wondering about ACAM's position on alternative approaches to cancer treatment, this video outlines the basic differences between integrative and alternative medicine.
Posted By Administration,
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014
An evaluation of 15 studies concludes that zinc lozenges, tablets or syrup can help cut the duration of cold symptoms by a day and reduce their severity. But the debate on the subject is far from over.
People who begin using zinc lozenges, tablets or syrup at the first signs of a cold are more likely to get well faster, researchers reported Tuesday. But the new findings probably won't be the last word on the issue, which has been the subject of debate since the idea was first proposed in 1984.
Since that time, 18 studies have examined zinc in preventing or treating colds. Some found zinc supplements were modestly helpful, others failed to turn up any benefits.
One analysis of 14 studies, published in 2007, concluded that many of the studies were too flawed to draw any conclusions.
In the latest report, published by the Cochrane Library, an international network of experts who conduct systematic reviews of research, scientists in India evaluated 15 studies, including four published since 2000.
Two of the studies evaluated focused on zinc's effectiveness in preventing colds and the rest on its ability to shorten the duration of colds. The 15 studies involved 1,360 participants ranging in age from 1 to 65 with good overall health.
Pooling the data, researchers found that people who took zinc within 24 hours of the start of symptoms were over their colds about one day sooner than people who took placebos. The analysis also found that the severity of cold symptoms was somewhat milder among people who took zinc.
Whether these results will be considered meaningful depends on whom you ask, said Dr. Kay Dickersin, a professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health and director of the U.S. Cochrane Center, one of the 12 centers around the world that facilitate the work of the Cochrane reviews. Dickersin was not involved in the research.
"I might say, 'A day less of symptoms is good; I'll do it.' But you might say, 'A day is nothing; it's not worth driving to the drugstore,' " she said.
Moreover, since the study designs varied widely, it's impossible to make recommendations on what doses are optimal, what formulations are best and how long to use the products, said the authors of the analysis, Meenu Singh and Rashmi R. Das of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India.
"I think there is a need for more research so we can get a sense of how well zinc works or if it even does work," Dickersin said.
Zinc lozenges and syrup, commonly available in drugstores, are typically taken every two to three hours during waking hours for at least five days. Most products recommend a standard daily dose for cold treatment is about 30 milligrams of syrup per day or about 60 milligrams in lozenges.
When a zinc acetate formulation is taken in a high enough dose and started early in the onset of a cold, it's likely to be effective, said Dr. Ananda Prasad, an expert on zinc at Wayne State University in Detroit who conducted two studies, both of which showed a positive effect.
"In our studies, we only included patients who had [begun treatment] within 24 hours" of the start of symptoms, he said. "If you don't take zinc within 24 hours, it does not have much effect."
But an examination of only the most scientifically rigorous of the zinc studies shows it probably doesn't shorten colds, said Dr. Terence M. Davidson, the director of the UC San Diego Nasal Dysfunction Clinic.
"The more rigorously scientific studies, where you took a group of people and gave half of them zinc and half a placebo and inoculated their nose with a cold virus, found there were no differences," Davidson said. "I think enough research has been done to show if there is some benefit, it's not going to be very significant."
There may also be risks from some of these products, said Davidson, who was the first to identify harmful side effects from zinc nasal spray.
In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration warned consumers to stop using three zinc-containing Zicam nasal products after receiving 130 reports about loss of smell associated with the products. The Cochrane Library analysis did not investigate zinc nasal sprays.
Researchers don't know why zinc may affect the common cold. It could be that zinc prevents rhinoviruses from attacking nasal cells, slows the replication of the virus or prevents histamine release (which causes sneezing, runny nose and rash).
In the United States, colds contribute to 75 to 100 million visits to doctors each year at a cost of about $7.7 billion. Colds are among the most common reasons for absenteeism from work and school.
"Any medication that is only partially effective in the treatment and prevention of the common cold could markedly reduce morbidity and economic losses due to this illness," Singh and Das wrote.
Source: Roan, Shari. February 16, 2011. The Los Angeles Times. Zinc found to be effective in treating colds. http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-zinc-colds-20110216,0,1557679.story
It’s nothing to sneeze at: 54 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. Until now, many have either wearily resigned themselves to the watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, wheezing and hives associated with the condition, or have opted to try to combat these symptoms with allergy shots that can be costly and inconvenient. That’s been the bad news. The good news is that a recent study of more than 60 patients allergic to pollen, dust mites and cat allergens has shown that an approach known as sublingual desensitization is indeed a safe and effective alternative to traditional immunotherapy injections. The study findings have prompted researchers to strongly recommend its use, especially in children. In the study, the practice was shown to significantly reduce the symptoms of hay fever and nasal allergies, as well as the need for medication, compared to placebo.
The study finally validates what we’ve been practicing at the Magaziner Center for Wellness with great success for more than 24 years. During this time, we’ve found sublingual desensitization (which is defined as immunotherapy using drops or pills) to be:
More convenient – as it can be self-administered by the patient
Without risk of anaphylactic shock, a potential side effect of immunotherapy injections.
Less taxing mentally and physically
This last bullet has been an important one for our patients who are children whose parents wisely sought a natural therapy. Sublingual desensitization is great for kids – it’s the difference between taking a drop or a pill orally versus being stuck with a needle. And, let’s face it, how many children do you know that aren’t a little upset at the sight of a needle?
Like all treatments at the Magaziner Center for Wellness, our patients first undergo a thorough evaluation. We test patients’ reactions to common, as well as unexpected, allergens, including:
Pollens (grass, trees and weeds)
Chemicals (perfumes, paint, carpets, etc.)
Why? Because, simply put, allergies are additive. If a person suffers from seasonal allergies, what he or she eats and breathes throughout the year affects his or her reaction during the documented allergy season. In fact, we have found that food allergies and food sensitivities have more to do with chronic complaints than almost any other factors.
After patients’ reactions are tested, we use injection therapy to place tiny amounts of the allergen into the bloodstream to assess clinical symptoms and behavioral reactions (i.e., change in frequency of headaches, even handwriting samples). When we get to the point that triggers a response, we give successive dosages until the symptoms that have been created disappear. Once the level is identified, we make up a vial of antigens that patients place as drops under their tongue on a daily basis.
In the simplest terms, we are naturally treating the immune system and getting it to respond appropriately to the allergens. This takes time, of course, so it is recommended that anyone who suffers from seasonal allergies receive treatment in mid-March so that the immune system’s response can be built well in advance of the blossoming of trees and flowers between April and October.
Posted By Administration,
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014
LED lights have been marketed as environmentally preferable alternatives to traditional light bulbs, but many contain lead, arsenic and a dozen other potentially hazardous substances, according to new research out of UC Irvine.
"LEDs are touted as the next generation of lighting," says Oladele Ogunseitan, chairman of UCI's Department of Population Health & Disease Prevention, in a university statement about his published research. "But as we try to find better products that do not deplete energy resources or contribute to global warming, we have to be vigilant about the toxicity hazards of those marketed as replacements." A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor light source that for years has been used as indicator lamps for aviation, automobiles and traffic signals. Amid concerns about global warming and the need for devices that are safer and use less energy, LEDs have increasingly replaced traditional bulbs that contain mercury. An expansion into the household market is currently under way.
For the research, Ogunseitan and fellow scientists at UCI and UC Davis crunched multicolored lightbulbs sold in Christmas strands; red, yellow and green traffic lights; and automobile headlights and brake lights. They then measured the contents and found differing levels of toxic materials, including lead and arsenic.
Low-intensity red lights contained up to eight times the amount of lead allowed under California law. High-intensity, brighter bulbs had more contaminants than lower ones. White bulbs contained the least lead but had high levels of nickel.
Referring to the holiday lights in the January 2011 issue of Environmental Science & Technology, the team wrote, "We find the low-intensity red LEDs exhibit significant cancer and non-cancer potentials due to the high content of arsenic and lead."
Results from the larger lighting products will be published later, but as Ogunseitan indicates, "It's more of the same."
Toxins like those Ogunseitan and his team found in LEDs have been linked to different cancers, neurological damage, kidney disease, hypertension, skin rashes and other illnesses. The copper used in some LEDs also poses an ecological threat to fish, rivers and lakes.
As of now, LED products are not classified as hazardous waste. Ogunseitan believes his research exposes a need for mandatory product-replacement testing, something that was never done as manufacturers put LEDs in products that replaced incandescent bulbs.
As precautions, Ogunseitan advises refraining from throwing LEDs in landfills. He also recommends that crews dispatched to clean up vehicle collisions wear protective gear and that homeowners don gloves and masks when handling broken LED lights.
You won't be overcome by cancer if you breathe the contents of a broken or cracked LED light, he notes. It'll just be one more toxin your body is exposed to on the road to the Big C.
Source: February 15, 2011. OC Weekly Blog. Coker, Mike. LED Lights, Like Incandescent Bulbs They Replace, Contain Toxins: UC Irvine Research. http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2011/02/oladele_ogunseitan_uci_led_lig.php
The American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating physicians and other health care professionals on the safe and effective application of integrative medicine.