Friday, May 28, 2010

Everybody Can Benefit from Detoxification

I am frequently asked by my patients if they need to detox.  Unfortunately, the answer for all of us is a resounding “yes”.  We live in a polluted environment.  We are exposed to an ever increasing amount of toxic chemicals.  One class of toxic items is known as ‘persistent organic pollutants’ (POPs).  These are a wide range of chemicals that persist in the environment for a long time period.  Since they last for a long time period, their toxicity to all living things can be magnified.  Examples of POPs include chemicals in plastics, computers, televisions, bedding, clothing, automobiles, as well as fertilizers and pesticides.
A study in Environmental Health Perspectives (Vol. 116. N.6. June 2008) looked at the effect of various POPs on thyroid function.  Researchers looked at 232 young people of a native American tribe (Akwesasne Mohawk) who live near an area with a history of local pollution.  
The researchers found that the breastfed adolescents had higher levels of toxic agents (POPs) as compared to non-breastfed adolescents.  They also found that high levels of POPs adversely affected long-term thyroid function. 
The thyroid gland is particularly sensitive to many pollutants.  My research has shown that well over 40% of the population has thyroid dysfunction.  I have no doubt that this high number is being driven, in part, from pollutants. 
I have found bromide toxicity in every patient that I have tested for it.  Many POPs contain significant amounts of bromide.   Other common pollutants include mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic and nickel.   My experience has clearly shown that helping the body detoxify from POPs as well as heavy metals and other toxic items is an important step to helping the body achieve its optimum health. 
How do you detoxify?  Unfortunately, there is no set path for everyone.  Each individual requires his/her own unique detoxification plan.  This plan depends on what you are detoxifying from and the detoxifying abilities of the individual.  The best results are achieved by working with a knowledgeable health care provider who is skilled in detoxification.  Appropriate lab tests can help guide you on how to proceed to optimize your own detoxification system.
Having said that, there are some simple steps we can all do to help our body’s own detoxification pathways function at its optimal level.  Vitamin C can aid any detoxification plan.  I suggest taking 3-10,000mg of Vitamin C/day or taking Vitamin C to bowel tolerance.  Vitamin C is integral to nearly every detoxification pathway in the body.  Drinking adequate amounts of water is another necessary step.  Eating organic food, free of hormones, pesticides, and refine items is integral.   Finally, exercise helps to rev the detoxification pathways of the body.  Regular exercise for 30 minutes per day is a very inexpensive way to aid the body in lymph flow and detoxification.  Jumping on a trampoline is a very effective method for improving lymph flow and detoxification. 
Finally, my partners and I have developed a detoxification product, Total Liver Care (TLC) which is designed to provide the liver with the correct raw materials for detoxification.  More information about TLC can be found at: www.  I suggest taking a scoop of TLC twice per day until the can is finished (approximately three weeks).  Generally, it is helpful to detoxify twice per year. 
There are specific laboratory tests that can determine if the detoxification pathways are optimally functioning.  I will order these tests on very ill patients to get a better picture of their liver’s ability to detoxify. 
Following the above steps can help anyone improve their detoxification pathways.  In today’s world it is important to do all that you can to aid your own detoxification system. 

Friday, May 14, 2010

New Drug for Treating MS

I receive letters weekly (sometimes daily) from Big Pharma Cartel promoting their newest drugs.  This weeks announcement stated, “Acorda Therapeutics is pleased to announce the availability of AMPYRA (dalfampridine) Extended  Release 10mg tablets.  AMPYRA is the first in new class of approved multiple sclerosis agents indicated as a treatment to improve walking in patients with MS (multiple sclerosis).”  The letter went on to state that AMPYRA improved walking in patients across all four major types of MS and was effective with or without the use of immunomodulatory drugs.
MS is a very serious illness.  It is characterized by demyelination of the nerve fibers.  Essentially, the nerve fibers lose their outer coating of myelin and degenerate.  Conventional treatment for MS has been dismal.  High doses of steroids are helpful in acute exacerbations of M.S.  However, steroids do not appear to have a significant impact on long-term recovery.   Other treatments, to present date, have failed to show significant improvement in long-term recovery.   Unfortunately, all of the M.S. therapies are fraught with very serious adverse effects.  I have seen many M.S. patients on these different medications, and most of them are fairly miserable with the side effects.
This new drug, AMPYRA, is touted as improving walking in MS patients.  I am interested in any therapy that improves the ability of MS patients to walk.  However, further reading of the mechanism of action and how this drug was studied has caused me concern.
What is the mechanism of action of AMPYRA?  According to the PDR, the mechanism of action “has not been fully elucidated.  {AMPYRA} is a broad spectrum potassium channel blocker.”  Potassium is an intracellular element that is crucial for brain and nerve function.  Without adequate amounts of potassium, nerve cells die.  In fact, potassium shortage can cause a fatal illness—hypokalemia which is characterized by cardiac abnormalities and respiratory paralysis.
So, we now have a MS drug that blocks potassium channel receptors.  I have written in Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do, “you can’t block an important receptor for the long-term and expect a good result.”  I would venture a prediction that the long-term use of this drug will be problematic.  In fact, any drug that blocks potassium channels in the body, will most likely, have serious adverse effects.    I guess we should assume that Big Pharma has done numerous studies with AMPYRA to ensure its safety and efficacy—right?  Wrong.
Further analysis of this drug found, “The effectiveness of AMPYRA in improving walking in patients with multiple sclerosis was evaluated in two adequate and well controlled (italics added)trials involving 540 patients.[i]
The two “adequate” trials were one trial for 21 weeks (14 weeks of therapy with the drug) and a second trial for 14 weeks (9 weeks of drug therapy).   
The FDA has now approved a potassium channel blocker for use in MS patients based on two short studies that lasted approximately five months (drug use during study).  MS patients will be advised to take this drug indefinitely to help them walk better. 
I say the idea of using a potassium channel blocker is not good.  We are designed with potassium channels for a reason; we should not be using medications to block these important receptors.  My best educated guess is that this drug will be associated with serious adverse effects the longer people take it.  I would not advise any MS patient to rush off and try this drug.  It has not been properly studied and its mechanism of action should cause any physician pause before prescribing it. 
There are many holistic treatments for MS that I have found effective.  First, cleaning up the diet is paramount to helping the body reverse the damage from MS.  This  includes avoiding artificial sweeteners.  Numerous studies have pointed to a correlation with artificial sweeteners and MS.  Furthermore, there are many nutrient therapies that can help MS patients achieve remission as well as improve neurologic functioning including alpha lipoic acid, vitamin C, vitamin D. L-carnitine, and B-vitamins.  Drinking adequate amounts of water and avoiding dehydration is a must for any MS treatment plan.  Finally, detoxifying and removing toxic elements such as mercury from the body is very helpful.  

[i] PDR insert titled “Highlights of Prescribing Information

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Breakthrough for Prostate Cancer?

Sometimes, I feel like we are living in the movie, Alice in Wonderland, where up is down and down is up.
The article in USA Today (4.30.2010) is titled, “Breakthrough cancer therapy is a go-for $93K.”  Last week, the FDA approved the first vaccine to treat prostate cancer.  The vaccine is named Provenge and costs (hold your breath) $93,000 for a series of three shots.   You would think with all the media headlines, this new therapy for advanced prostate cancer is a real step forward for treating this awful illness.   Unfortunately, the only one to really benefit from this drug will be Big Pharma as it is estimated that Provengewill bring in $1.5 billion dollars per year for Big Pharma. 
Now, for that much money, you would assume that this new drug must cure (or at least prevent ) prostate cancer.  Unfortunately, it neither prevents nor cures prostate cancer.   If it doesn’t prevent or cure prostate cancer, then you might assume this expensive drug would act to put advanced prostate cancer into remission and significantly improve the life span of prostate cancer patients—right?   Wrong. 
What does Provenge do?  Patients with advanced prostate cancer who received Provenge were found to live an average of four months longer as compared to patients who did not have the vaccine.  In other words, those that received the vaccine lived an average of 26 months and those without the vaccine lived an average of 22 months.  Furthermore, Provenge was associated with serious adverse effects including an increased risk of stroke. 
The principal investigator claimed ”It’s significant for prostate cancer patients.”  Hogwash.  I say four extra months—at a cost of $23,000/month—is an obscene utilization of our health care dollars.  For that amount of money, you can certainly do a lot of nutritional support including Vitamin C IV’s.  Although I don’t have any studies to say that Vitamin C IV’s will out-perform this vaccine, at least the Vitamin C IV’s has very little side effects and I have seen many patients improve with these nutritional IV’s. 
What can you do?   Prostate cancer, as similar to breast cancer, is occurring at epidemic rates.  I believe these endocrine cancers are occurring in such large numbers due to hormonal and nutritional imbalances.  True progress in cancer research must focus on prevention.    A holistic treatment plan that emphasizes eating a healthy diet,  detoxification as well as well as hormonal and nutrient optimization is where we need to focus our resources.  The first step you can take is to get the refined foods out of your diet and eliminate animal products tainted with hormones, antibiotics and pesticides.  More information about this approach can be found in my book, The Guide to Healthy Eating.   
We have already wasted our treasures and lost too many lives searching for the magic bullet treatment for cancer.