Sunday, June 21, 2009

Problems with Cataract Surgery and Medications

A recent article in JAMA reported that the commonly used drug, Flomax within 14 days of cataract surgery was significantly associated with postoperative adverse ophthalmic events.

The authors of the study looked at all men (over the age of 65 years) who had cataract surgery in Ontario, Canada from 2002-2007. The total number studied was 96,128 subjects. The authors of the study looked at adverse effects within 14 days after cataract surgery. The risk of the adverse events were compared between men treated with Flomax or other medications in the same class as Flomax (i.e., α-blockers) and men with no exposure to these medications in the year prior to surgery.

The researchers reported a 233% increased risk (relative risk) of adverse effects after cataract surgery in recent users of Flomax compared to those that did not use Flomax. In raw numbers, 7.5% of those taking Flomax had an adverse effect compared to 2.7% of the patients who did not take it. That would mean that the statistics for this study show that there would be an adverse effect in one in every 21 patients undergoing cataract surgery from the use of Flomax.

Cataract surgery is the most common operation performed in the United States. Nearly 2 million cataract surgeries are performed per year. Flomax is a widely used drug for treating benign prostate hypertrophy, which affects millions of older Americans.

This study is another in a series of warnings on the long-term use of drugs that poison enzymes or block receptors. Flomax can provide relief for those suffering with an enlarged prostate gland. However, older men do not get an enlarged prostate gland due to a lack of Flomax. My experience has shown that a holistic approach which emphasizes detoxification and hormonal balancing is very effective for treating an enlarged prostate gland.

An enlarged prostate gland is a sign of inflammation. The holistic way to treat inflammation is to reduce the underlying cause. Many times the underlying cause includes eating a diet that promotes inflammation. What is this diet? A diet high in refined carbs as well as high in white sugar, flour and salt. A diet of unrefined, whole foods with plenty of water and good salt is an anti-inflammatory diet.

If you are going to have cataract surgery and you are taking Flomax, please speak to your surgeon before the surgery. If you need a medication for an enlarged prostate, there are safer alternatives available than Flomax.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Magnesium and Diabetes

I believe that adult onset diabetes is the illness that will bankrupt medicare and possibly the U.S. government. Over 50% of U.S. adults are obese and over two-thirds are overweight. What is the price we are paying for this obesity epidemic? Diabetes.

Adult onset or Type II diabetes is a preventable illness. Nearly all of the time, adult onset diabetes is caused by poor lifestyle choices such as eating too many refined carbohydrates that are full of refined sugar, salt and oils. Each day in my practice, I am constantly amazed by the number of diabetic patients that I see in my office.

The conventional approach to treating adult onset diabetes is a disaster. None of the oral medications treat the underlying causes of the illness. Furthermore, the worst thing that can be prescribed for a type II diabetic is insulin. These patients are not getting adult onset diabetes from lack of insulin; oftentimes they have too much insulin. Insulin promotes inflammation, weight gain and hunger.

A holistic approach that emphasizes dietary changes—eating whole foods free of refined products while avoiding refined carbohydrates is a must. Drinking adequate amounts of water should be part of any holistic plan. Finally, correcting hormonal and nutritional imbalances can dramatically affect the course of the illness. I see the positive results of a holistic treatment regimen occur daily in my practice.

Part of the nutritional side of the plan has to include looking at magnesium levels. Magnesium is a mineral that is woefully deficient in our diet and our food supply. Magnesium is a key ingredient in over 300 enzymes including the powerful antioxidant glutathione peroxidase.

A recent study found that with every 100mg increase in magnesium intake, the risk of developing type II diabetes decreased by 15%. (Ohiroa, T. Am. J of Epidemiology. 16 April, 2009. Published online ahead of print).

I have been checking red blood cell magnesium levels on every new patient for over 15 years. Over 60% of patients are significantly low in magnesium and another 25% are marginally low. Astounding numbers.

Magnesium is inexpensive. I would recommend anyone to supplement with magnesium. Average doses are from 100-400mg/day. Side effects of magnesium are usually limited to loose stools. If you get looses stools, lower the dose. For those with very low magnesium levels, I recommend doing magnesium IV’s to enhance absorption. Finally, taking the B-vitamin PABA with magnesium will aid in its absorption. Paba doses range from 100-200mg/day. PABA can be found at (a company I founded).

Friday, June 12, 2009

Problems with Diabetic Medications

I received an email today (6.12.09) from industry alerts which is a company that sends a biweekly newsletter about the pharmaceutical industry. This email was “developed under the direction and sponsorship of GlaxoSmithKline, the Big Pharma company that makes Avandia, the diabetes drug.

The headline from this email reads, “Data from the 2009 ADA Scientific Sessions: Large, long-term study shows AVANDIA has no increased overall cardiovascular risk compared to other commonly used diabetes medicines.”

Reading the small print on the rest of the email shows the RECORD trial was a study of 4447 patients with Type 2 diabetes who were taking a regimen of Avandia plus metformin and/or sulfonylurea (2,220 subjects) compared to those taking a regimen of metformin and sulfonlylurea (2227 subjects) over a period of 5-7 years.

The email goes on to state, “The cardiovascular hospitalization or death was not statistically different between the two groups after an average of 5.5 years of therapy.”

So, I guess the purpose of this email was to counter all the negative press about Avandia’s problems. Avandia has been shown in other studies to cause an increase risk of death from cardiovascular disease. This email ‘blast’ was supposed to reassure the reader that Avandia was no worse than the other diabetic drugs.

As I read further in the email, the results of the RECORD trial showed that there were 321 events—cardiovascular hospitalization or death—among the patients randomized to the Avandia group versus 323 events in the other group. Those numbers translate to 14.5% adverse events in the Avandia group versus 14.5% adverse events in the other group. Reading further down, there was an all-cause death rate of 6.1% in the Avandia group versus 7.0% death rate in the other group.

I say this study should have concluded that the commonly used diabetic drugs are dangerous and result in an unacceptable number of deaths. All of these drugs should be avoided, or at least used as a last resort.

Diabetes is not a drug-deficiency syndrome. It is an illness caused by poor lifestyle choices. Proper diet, supplements and exercise can help nearly all diabetics control their illness. Furthermore, a holistic treatment plan can help a diabetic patient come off their medications. What is a holistic treatment plan?

This plan includes changing your diet by avoiding the “whites”—refined sugar, salt and flour. Also, limiting or avoiding bread, pasta, and cereal helps. Eating a whole food diet which includes fruit, vegetables, and good sources of organic protein is a must.

If you have elevated blood sugar, pre-diabetes, or diabetes, taking the right supplements can help. I have found Glucontrol from (a company I founded with my partners) a big help for diabetic patients. Glucontrol supplies the correct nutrients to help the insulin receptors work better and to help the body naturally control blood sugar.

A holistic treatment plan also includes detoxification. IF you already have diabetes, don’t give up. Making the changes I have outlined here and in my books can reverse diabetes and restore balance to the endocrine system. Remember, the best results are achieved by working with a knowledgeable health care provider.