Sunday, June 20, 2010

Blood Pressure Medications Cause Increased Cancer Risk

In my book, Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do, I wrote, “You can’t poison a crucial enzyme or block an important receptor for the long-term and expect a good result.”  This statement has led many to criticize me.  However, as more and more research comes out about the toxicity of drugs I am more confident than ever that this statement is true.
The headline blared, “Popular blood pressure pills linked to cancer.” [i]   The headline referred to an important article in Lancet Oncology that found patients who took the popular angiotensin-receptor blockers--ARB inhibitors-- (e.g., Cozaar, Atacand, Micardis,) had a one percent higher risk of getting cancer as compared to patients not taking the drugs.  Increases in cancers of the prostate, breast, and lung cancer were noted.  There was no long-term study with these drugs.  This study looked at the results of five studies that included 68,402 patients.
In the U.S., cancer is the second leading cause of death.   The authors of this study estimated that one extra cause of cancer will occur for every 105 patients taking the ARB inhibitors for about four years.  But, patients generally take these drugs for much longer than four years.  What is the risk of ARB inhibitors causing cancer in patients who take the medications for 10 years? Or 20 years?  No one knows the answer.  Furthermore, this class of drugs is taken daily by millions of Americans.  If the study is true, the cancer numbers will be staggering.
Hypertension is not a drug deficiency syndrome.  It is a sign of a problem in the body.  When hypertension is diagnosed, a thorough workup needs to be performed before a patient is reflexively placed on long-term ARB inhibitors (or any other hypertensive medication).
What causes hypertension?  That is a difficult question.  The body elevates blood pressure to preserve perfusion to vital organs and tissues.  Obesity and poor lifestyle choices (e.g., smoking and poor dietary habits) are the main cause of hypertension.  Simply adopting a healthier lifestyle can help nearly anyone improve their blood pressure. 
Do blood pressure medications have a place?  Are there appropriate times for using an antihypertensive medication?  The answer to both of these questions is ‘yes’.  Severely elevated blood pressure can cause serious adverse effects such as a stroke or heart attack.  Antihypertensive medications can prevent these complications.  However, my experience has shown a large percentage of patients treated for hypertension with antihypertensive medications can stop taking the medications if they make better lifestyle choices.  I see it occur on a daily basis in my office.  Furthermore, there are specific vitamin, mineral, and herbal remedies that can keep blood pressure from elevating to critical levels.
This study is another warning on the long-term use of prescription medications that block receptors and poison enzymes.  Natural therapies such as magnesium, unrefined sea salt, B-vitamins, vitamin C and cleaning up the diet of refined foods should be the initial treatment regimen in a patient with elevated blood pressure.  Finally, drink enough water.  In my experience, dehydration is the number one cause of elevated blood pressure.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Failure of Mammograms

Independent researchers (Cochrane Collaboration) have reported that tens of thousands of women who regularly get mammograms are wrongly told that they have cancer and undergo many unnecessary treatments and surgeries.[i]  The Cochrane Collaboration is an international network of people helping healthcare providers, policy makers, patients, their advocates make well-informed decisions about human health care.  I have found many of their reviews outstanding, including this one.
The authors of ths study looked at eight randomized trials comparing mammographic screening with no mammographic screening.  600,000 women were included in the analysis.   The Cochrane researchers found that after 10 years of mammographic screening, there was no effect of screening on cancer mortality, including breast cancer.
There were four major points summarized in this study:
1.     It may be reasonable to attend for breast cancer screening with mammography, but it may also be reasonable not to attend, as screening has both benefits and harms.
2.    If 2,000 women are screened regularly for 10 years, one will benefit from screening, as she will avoid dying from breast cancer.
3.    At the same time, 10 healthy women will, as a consequence, become cancer patients and will be treated unnecessarily.   These women will will have either part of their breast removed or the whole breast removed, and they will often receive radiotherapy and chemotherapy which both cause cancer and other problems.  (my addition in italics)
4.    Furthermore, about 200  healthy women will experience a false alarm.  The psychological strain until one knows whether or not it was cancer, and even afterwards, can be severe.
This report is an indictment on the failure of the American Cancer Society (ACS).  The American Cancer Society has beaten into our heads that mammograms save lives and, furthermore, every woman needs to have a yearly mammogram.  The ACS does not tell women that having a mammogram every year for 10 years exposes a woman to  the amount of radiation that a woman  who lived one mile from where the atomic bomb was detonated in Japan. 
Breast cancer is a serious illness.  One in seven women in the U.S. has breast cancer.  These numbers are a national disaster.  Mammograms do NOT prevent breast cancer; they are diagnostic for breast cancer.  As I have written in my newsletter and in my books, the death rate from breast cancer is virtually unchanged over the last 75 years.  We need a new direction.
What is the new direction?  I feel that looking at causative factors should be our focus.  What are some of these causative factors?  For over 100 years, iodine deficiency has been correlated with breast cancer.  Animal studies have shown iodine deficiency results in a significantly higher rate of breast cancer.  Correcting iodine deficiency should be the ACS’s priority.  At least that is one therapy that has good science behind it (unlike mammography). More information about iodine can be found in my book, Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, 4th Edition.
Eating a clean diet, free of refined food and hormones are another preventative approach.  Furthermore, it is important to maintain an ideal weight. 
Breast cancer does not form due to a lack of mammograms.  In fact, mammograms cause breast cancer due to the radiation imparted to the breasts.  I feel breast cancer is the result of a combination of hormonal and nutritional imbalances coupled with exposure to toxins in the environment.  Cleaning up your diet, exercising and correcting for nutrient imbalances is your best shot at preventing cancer and achieving your optimal health. 
Thermal imaging of the breasts is a non-radiologic examination of the breasts.  It is not a perfect test (nor are mammograms as stated above) but, it does not expose sensitive tissues of the body to ionizing radiation.  My suggestion is to get yearly thermascans.  If untoward changes are seen in a thermascan, it is a warning to you to make some changes.  More information about thermascans can be found at:

[i] The Cochrane Library.  2009.  Issue 4.