Friday, May 15, 2009

Rapid Increase in Thyroid Cancer

The headline from the American University School of Communication Investigative Reporting Workshop reads, "Thyroid Cancer Increase Baffles Researchers." The article points out that thyroid cancer is increasing at a pandemic to an epidemic rate and medical researchers do not know why. From 1997-2006, thyroid cancer increased at a rate of 6.5% a year. "We're all concerned about this increase," said Dr. Elaine Ron, a senior investigator at the National Cancer Institute. "We have set up a thyroid cancer working group to see what studies we're already doing on thyroid cancer, what studies can we do to try and find out more about this increase, but at the moment we can't really tell you." Researchers do not believe the rapidly increasing rates of thyroid cancer are solely due to better detection. They speculate that the increased rate could be due to environmental factors such as radiation exposure or genetic factors. I think the researchers are missing a big reason why thyroid cancer is increasing at such a fast rate. I believe that the reason thyroid cancers are increasing is due to a combination of Iodine deficiency coupled with increased exposure to the toxic halides bromine, fluoride and perchlorate. This creates the 'perfect storm' for thyroid cancer rates to increase. There is a reduced iodine accumulation detected in a majority of thyroid cancers. Furthermore, over the last 30 years, iodine levels have fallen over 50% while exposure to the toxic halides has increased. My clinical experience has shown that those with endocrine sensitive cancers (i.e., thyroid, breast, and prostate) often have lower iodine levels and higher levels of toxic halides as compared to patients who do not have cancer. So, what can you do? Maintain adequate iodine levels and minimize you exposure to the toxic halogens. This can be accomplished by taking adequate amounts of iodine and eating a diet free of halides. Don't eat brominated bakery products or drink sodas with brominated vegetable oils. Furthermore, avoid fluoride-containing products. I have been measuring bromide levels in hundreds of patients over the last 7 years. The clinical use of iodine can have positive effects of helping the body excrete bromide. More information can be found in my book, Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live Without It.

Swine Flu Advice

My mother called me tonight (4.29.09) to ask if she should start taking Tamaflu for the swine flu. So, I told her that I would have to blog on this topic. I will give you my answer to her question below.

The swine flu is a respiratory disease caused by the type- A influenza virus which is a variant of the usual H1N1 flu virus. The H1N1 virus is the same virus that causes the flu in humans. What is different about this virus is that it contains DNA from bird and pig flu strains. How does a virus have DNA from a pig and bird and yet be able to infect humans? Scientists do not know how this mutation came about. Whether it is a man-made virus (created in a lab) or a spontaneous mutation is not known. However, a spontaneous mutation causing this virus is unlikely. I am not sure how this came about, but, hopefully, when the hysteria subsides, we can have a proper investigation which will point out how this mutation occurred.

But, let’s get to the basics. What should you do? Number one, don’t panic. The vast majority of the people ill with the flu have not died. Presently, no one in the U.S. has died of this flu. That is not to say it could not happen, but we must not let the media create a state of panic.

Next, ensure you are taking adequate amounts of vitamin C. If I had one nutrient available to me, it would be vitamin C. I suggest taking 3-5,000mg/day of vitamin C. If you are becoming ill or are ill, I would suggest increasing the vitamin C intake to bowel tolerance. That is, take as much as you can until you have diarrhea. Then, lower the dose until the diarrhea resolves. When you are ill, your vitamin C requirements dramatically increase. Usually, you can tolerate much higher doses of vitamin C when you are ill versus when you are feeling well.

In my office, we routinely do vitamin C IV’s when people are ill. These nutrient IV’s are a fantastic treatment for acute illnesses, especially the flu. If you have access to IV nutrient therapies, be sure to utilize these in times of need.

Ensure you are taking adequate amounts of vitamin D. I frequently have my patients take short-term, larger doses of vitamin D (10,000-50,000Units/day) for 2-5 days at the first sign of the flu.

Iodine is another nutrient that has potent immune stimulating capabilities to it. No virus has been shown to be resistant to iodine. It is important to achieve iodine sufficiency before you become ill.

Also, eating a good diet, free of refined food products helps every condition, including the flu. Lastly, make sure you are well hydrated by drinking adequate amounts of water.

These are the proper steps to take to prevent and treat the flu.

Back to mom’s question. What about Tamaflu? Tamaflu is fraught with side effects including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue and cough. Sounds like the flu to me. Furthermore, the FDA has put a warning label on Tamaflu stating that it can cause adverse effects such as delirium, hallucinations, or other related behavior. Tamaflu has been banned in Japan (for children 10-19 years of age) as it was shown to cause brain infections and psychiatric problems including self harm in some users.

My experience with viral illnesses, such as the flu has been clear; it is best treated with a nutritional and common sense approach. Rest, keep hydrated and take vitamin C.

That advice was similar to what I received from my mother when I was ill as a child. So, to answer my mother—I will recommend following her advice. Drink lots of fluids (preferably water), rest, and take vitamin C. It is a lot safer than Tamaflu and has worked great for my practice.

The Importance of Magnesium

Have you had your magnesium levels checked? Magnesium is a very important mineral that is used in over 300 different biochemical reactions. Unfortunately, magnesium levels have significantly declined in recent years. The best food sources of magnesium include green vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds as well as unrefined grains. Eating a diet largely consisting of refined foods will ensure magnesium deficiency.

My clinical experience has clearly shown that magnesium deficiency is occurring at epidemic rates. Over half of new patients that I see are magnesium deficient on rbc magnesium testing (red blood cell testing). Serum magnesium tests are worthless.

A recent study showed low blood levels of magnesium had a 25% increased risk of stroke. The researchers studied over 14,000 subjects for nearly 15 years. The rate of stroke was highest among the subjects with diabetes and hypertension. What is a direct cause of diabetes and hypertension? You guessed it, low levels of magnesium.

What can you do? Number one, eliminate refined foods from your diet. You should eat unrefined foods with their full complement of minerals. I also think it is important to use a good multivitamin/mineral product since the mineral content of our food supply has declined over the last 20 years. Due to the poor quality of our food, I am not sure that it is possible to get adequate amounts of minerals and vitamins from eating a healthy diet. I think it is wise to supplement with a quality vitamin/mineral product.

It is best to work with a health care professional knowledgeable about nutrition. He/she can check your levels and provide the appropriate guidance on how best to achieve your optimum health. Ensuring adequate magnesium levels is a big step to helping you achieve that goal.

How much magnesium should you take? Generally 100-400mg/day of magnesium is adequate. MG-200 from Optimox or MG-zyme from Biotics Research are two good companies selling excellent magnesium products.

Why You Need A Healthy Oral Cavity

How is your oral health? Every new patient that see’s me gets an oral exam. I look at the tongue, examine the gums and look how many missing or filled teeth are present. I have found it extremely important to ensure that you have good oral health.

The relationship between dental diseases and body illnesses such as cardiovascular disease has been written about in both the medical and dental literature for over 50 years. I have found it virtually impossible to help my patients overcome heart disease (and many other illnesses) if they have poor dental health.

A recent analysis of seven studies found periodontal disease to be independently associated with an increased risk of heart disease. In fact, the authors reported a 24-34% increased risk of heart disease if there were signs of periodontal disease. (J.Gen. Int. Med. 23(12):2079. 2008).

It is very important to ensure that you don’t have periodontal disease. Seeing a good dentist (preferably one who is holistic and understands why he/she should not be using mercury in your mouth) and taking care of your teeth can help more than your teeth; it can help your entire body. I have seen patients with heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disorders and other illnesses that which are unresponsive to any treatment when there is periodontal disease present.

In my area, I work closely with the holistic dentists to ensure that our therapies are compatible. We frequently talk about our patients in order to coordinate our care as we are both trying to help the patient achieve the best outcome.

I know the value of having a healthy oral cavity. I had a tooth that was hurting a few months ago. I went to my holistic dentists (Drs. Leilas and Rousseau) and they told me I had gingivitis or inflammation of the gums. I wasn’t happy. I floss every day and thought I was taking good care of my teeth. He told me that if I didn’t reverse that I would be in for trouble with that tooth.

Dr. Leilas’ assistant, Mara, recommended that I start to use a water pick. I began to use a water pick with ‘Under the Gums Irrigant’ (form Dental Herb Company), which is an herbal product designed by a dentist to help with gingivitis. I also began oil pulling. Oil pulling is where you put one tablespoon of sunflower oil in your mouth and swish it around for 10 minutes and then spit it out. Oil pulling is an old ayurvedic remedy for periodontal disease. I have used oil pulling in many patients with good success.

After seven days of my new therapies, the tooth stopped hurting. When I went back to the dentist, I received a good report; no more signs of gingivitis.

It is important to have a ‘team’ approach for your healthcare. Finding the right physician, dentist, chiropractor, etc., is the correct approach. If you are not getting appropriate care from your health care providers, then find the right ones to work with you. I can never understand why a patient will continue to see a health care provider he does not particularly care for. Remember, you are in charge of your health care decisions. We (the health care providers) work for you.
Take good care of your teeth—it will help more than just your oral cavity.

Safe Ways to Lower Inflammation

Big Pharma is now making a push that cholesterol lowering medications should be used in anyone with signs of inflammation. The Jupitor study (NEJM. VOl 359; 2008) looked at the use of Crestor (a statin drug) in “healthy” individuals who had elevated laboratory tests showing inflammation (via a blood test known as the CRP test). The use of Crestor was reported to decrease CRP by 37%. Inflammation has been thought to be the underlying cause (or one of the underlying causes) of a wide variety of illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. The CRP test is a well-accepted laboratory measure of inflammation.

Unfortunately, inflammation is occurring at epidemic rates in our society. I routinely check my patients for inflammatory markers and I am amazed at the numbers of patients suffering from inflammation markers and inflammatory diseases.

What are the signs of inflammation? Pain, swelling, and redness are the most common signs. A bloated abdomen, fatigue and even brain fog can be related to inflammation. You can see that inflammatory conditions can cause a wide range of problems.

Why do so many suffer from inflammation? I have no doubt that diet is the main cause. Eating a diet full of refined foods markedly increases your chances of developing inflammation. The Standard American Diet (SAD ) ensures your body will be deficient in vital nutrients which prevent and heal inflammatory conditions. Furthermore, failure to drink adequate amounts of water worsens any inflammatory condition.

So, what can you do if you have signs of inflammation? A recent study showed that Vitamin C reduced CRP by 25% versus placebo (Free Rad. Biol. and Med. 46;2009). The authors of this study claimed that the effect of vitamin C was similar to those of statins.
I say, take your vitamin C (2-5,000mg/day), drink adequate amounts of water and eat a diet full of unrefined foods. This is an inexpensive way to treat or avoid getting an inflammatory condition. Furthermore, this therapy is virtually free of adverse effects.