Alternatives & Traditional

Posts tagged ‘HIV’

Top 5 Worst Internet Health Information Sites: Introduction

The Internet has made the searching for and sharing of health information much easier than in the old days when this generally meant hours in a medical library.  Along with this ease of information access has come the problem of health misinformation becoming rampant on the Internet.

Some of this misinformation simply comes from sales sites trying to hype up their products or bash their competitors for their own agenda.  Other misinformation can come from simple misconceptions of how the body works or repetition of misinformation.

The later reminds me of the commercial where they say they cannot put it on the Internet if it is not true.  Unfortunately, there are people who actually do seem to think this is true.  For example,  I have been in so many debates with people who think that the big squishy blobs they pass from the so-called “liver flushes” are actually real gallstones just because they read on the internet that they are.  This despite the fact that those big, squishy blobs do not have the shape, texture, color, density or much of anything else in common with real gallstones.

Part of the problem is that it is human nature to be attracted to negativity.   If there is a bad accident people do their best to get a glimpse.  If someone is going to jump off a building people gather around and some may even encourage the jumper.  And people do not watch NASCAR races to see the cars go round and round, they want to see the carnage of wrecks.  When it comes to health information there is not much of a difference.  People tend to believe anything negative they see or read, which has led to so many myths about health and health products being spread on the Internet.  For example, how many people fell for the canola oil myths such as its mustard oil being used to make the chemical warfare agent mustard gas?  Mustard gas is a completely synthetic chemical that has nothing to do with canola or any other plant.  Then there is all the misinformation about soy, which I have addressed numerous times previously such as these posts:

http://medcapsules.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?fid=106

Another part of the problem is that people often do not want to take the time or to put in the effort in to verifying claims.  They want information spoon fed to them.

Once an idea is learned it is hard for people to give up that idea because they are used to an comfortable with that idea.  Furthermore, if they fell for obviously ridiculous claims they may feel ashamed because they fell for the sham.  Take for example someone who repeatedly picked through their feces to collect those big, squishy blobs they were told were gallstones.  Even though they have no characteristics of real gallstones, they are too large to pass through the bile ducts, they are often reported in amounts larger than the gallbladder can hold, they melt unlike real gallstones, etc. people still fall for this scam.   When all this evidence is presented to them proving that those blobs are not real gallstones, but rather saponified oil, they often continue to argue that they are real gallstones because they do not want to admit they were duped.  As evidence to this see my videos on the “liver flush” scam and the replies to the videos.   The playlist for all 11 videos can be found here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNqWHZj4fMo&feature=PlayList&index=0&list=PL55328493D7C85E66

I have spent decades writing about health information and trying to correct rampant health misinformation in both allopathic and holistic medicine.  When the Internet came about I started posting on various health boards posting evidence against many claims. Unfortunately, this has also led to my being banned from numerous boards.  For example, I was banned from the American Leukemia and Lymphoma Society message boards after posting medical journal abstracts proving the viral links to leukemias and lymphomas.  After all,  if they admit the cause of these cancers then next comes the proof of cures since there are various ways to destroy these cancer viruses.  And since there are already cures for these cancers this means there is no reason for their existence since their goal is to con people out of their money to fund their executive salaries and expenses.  I was also banned from another health message board after proving how inaccurate HIV testing was including the fact that hepatitis can cause false positive HIV tests.  I later found out the board was actually run by a pharmaceutical company.

Allopathic sites are not the only sources of such censorship though.  I was banned from numerous boards on Curezone.org  for providing evidence against many of the claims being made on the site.  Eventually I was completely banned for posting evidence that the amounts of iodine that were being recommended on the iodine support forum were causing iodine poisoning that the sellers were falsely blaming on a “bromine detox”.

Bottom line is that if you are going to get your health advice from the internet you should research the claims from various non-commercial sites to find out if the information is factual or hype.

The next  series of blog posts are going to cover details from some of the Internet sites I have dealt with or studied explaining why I would not recommend them as sources of health information.

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Is “Oleander Soup” Effective for HIV or AIDS?

Is “oleander soup” effective for HIV or AIDS?

The claims of “oleander soup” being effective for cancer have already been debunked.

These are not the only questionable claims that have been made by Tony Isaacs.  Mr. Isaacs has also claimed that oleander has been shown to be effective against HIV/AIDS as well.  As “evidence” he posted a link to an article he wrote for his sales site.  Isaacs article then makes reference to a “100% successful double blind placebo controlled study”, which he claims the complete trial report can be found at:

http://www.tbyil.com/HIV_OPC_Trial.pdf

This is not the actual study, it is a person’s dissertation.  And there are no references to this study, nor can I find the study on Medline.  This calls in to question if the study actually exists and if it does was it conducted and interpreted properly.

Another problem with the claim that this proves oleander is effective is the fact that if this study is for real it was not for oleander alone.  On page 5 of the dissertation it clearly states that they used a mixture of sutherlandia and oleander.  Unlike oleander, there are studies showing strong potential for sutherlandia as an effective treatment for diseases such as cancer.  Here are some journal articles discussing the antiviral activity of sutherlandia:

http://www.nutritionj.com/content/4/1/19

http://journals.lww.com/aidsonline/fulltext/2005/01030/impact_of_african_herbal_medicines_on.13.aspx

To claim that the oleander was effective component is like claiming if someone takes a morphine tablet for pain with water that the water killed the pain.  The only component of the mixture that has shown any significant anti-retroviral activity is the sutherlandia, not the oleander.

The dissertation also states that this study was about raising CD4 counts in a total of 10 HIV+ people.  HIV+ though DOES NOT mean HIV infected.  The HIV antibody test is notoriously inaccurate with over 65 known causes of false positives.

A common cause of low CD4 cell counts in people testing HIV+ is the anti-retroviral drugs they are put on, which the dissertation does mention on page 3. Even though they state that participants could not be currently on anti-retroviral drugs it does not state that they could not have been used previously. And it is known that simply getting off of anti-retroviral drugs can allow the bone marrow to heal, which in turn will allow CD4 counts to come up.  So without knowing if these people were on anti-retroviral drugs before hand it is impossible to say if the herb mixture or simply getting off the anti-retrovirals was really responsible for the increase in CD4 counts.  This is why larger, well designed studies are needed, which have not been done.

On page 29 they mention that the sutherlandia in the formula contains canavanine, which is considered toxic.  It not only raises blood pressure, but it can also aggravate autoimmune conditions like lupus.  And according to this report the long term use can cause symptoms mimicking AIDS (page 2):

http://www.gaiaresearch.co.za/Assets/Images/Pdf/Sutherlandia.pdf

Toxicity of the canavanine in sutherlandia starts of page 4 of the link I posted.

On page 32 of the link supplied by Mr. Isaacs it clearly states that the active components in oleander are polysaccharides as I kept pointing out to Mr. Isaacs.  I also repeatedly pointed out to him that there are many non-toxic sources containing immune stimulating polysaccharides that do not need to be processed to render them non-deadly like oleander.  These include medicinal mushrooms, seaweeds, schisandra, astragalus, echinacea, birch, yeasts, etc.  Many of these sources also contain other anticancer and antiviral compounds.  For example, turkey tail mushrooms contain anticancer and antiviral organic germanium.  Birch bark contains antiviral and anticancer betulinic acid.  Betulinic acid is concentrated in even higher amounts in chaga mushrooms that grow on birch trees.  So why would anyone bother with having to render a toxic plant nontoxic when so many non-toxic sources of polysaccharides exist? Especially when these other things also provide other antitumor compounds.

A cardiac glycoside found in oleander called oleandrin has shown some anti-cancer effects against some cancer cell lines in culture studies, but not in human studies.  Even though Mr, Isaacs has repeatedly claimed this is an active component in “oleander soup” and ignores the fact that oleandrin is lipid soluble and therefore is not extracted in to “oleander soup”, which is a water extract.

One of the statements that I found particularly funny in the dissertation was on page 35 where is states the participants were given soy formula fortified with vitamins and minerals.  Mr. Isaacs has bashed me numerous times for posting the benefits of consuming soy, yet he posts this dissertation where soy was used and that could have accounted for many of the benefits seen in the study.  Soy has been shown in numerous studies to be anti-cancer, and cancer is a common symptom in AIDS.  The vitamins and minerals as well as having some actual food in the form of soy would have also boosted their immune systems of the participants.  Then there is the fact that soy contains antiviral protease inhibitors.  So this puts the entire study in to question since there were several compounds used that could have accounted for any positive effects.

Vitamin C Interactions

Pharmaceutical drugs often react with foods and supplements, including vitamin C.  And as we have seen, excessive vitamin C intake can interact with some nutritional compounds.  Sometimes these interactions are beneficial such as increasing the absorption of minerals.  And sometimes it leads to problems such as iron overload or copper and B12 deficiencies.
Another problem that is often overlooked is the interference of laboratory tests by excessive intake of vitamin C.  For example, excessive vitamin C intake may lead to false high or low bilirubin levels depending on the assay test being used.  Lactate dehydrogenase, cholesterol and triglyceride levels will read erroneously low.  Aspartate aminotransferase levels may read erroneously high.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) reported on a case in which a woman with unexplained anemia was taking 2,000mg of vitamin C daily.  When tested for occult blood in the stool repeated tests showed negative results.  The woman discontinued taking the vitamin C for 4 days, and when retested stool samples tested positive for blood.  It was also found that taking 750mg of vitamin C daily can interfere with detecting blood in stool and urine.

Vitamin C interferes with several glucose tests, including tests diabetics use at home.  Urinary glucose test strips will test false positive with as little as 2,000mg of vitamin C daily.  Home test strips can show normal blood glucose readings even when glucose levels are elevated or with as little as 2g of vitamin C daily.  Laboratory glucose tests may show erroneously low glucose levels with excessive vitamin C intake.

To decrease the risk of false laboratory readings it is recommended that all supplements be stopped at least 48 hours before having any lab work done.

Below is a link from the NIH and a portion of the article that discusses the interactions of vitamin C with drugs and supplements, and interference with laboratory tests.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/patient-vitaminc.html

Interactions with Drugs

Acetaminophen (Tylenol): Vitamin C may increase adverse effects associated with acetaminophen.

Antacids: Vitamin C may increase adverse effects associated with aluminum-containing antacids such as aluminum hydroxide (Maalox, Gaviscon).

Aspirin: Vitamin C may increase blood levels and adverse effects of aspirin, whereas aspirin may decrease blood levels of vitamin C.

Barbiturates: The effects of vitamin C may be decreased by barbiturates including phenobarbital (Luminal, Donnatal), pentobarbital (Nembutal), or secobarbital (Seconal).

Fluphenazine (Permitil, Prolixin): Vitamin C supplementation may decrease levels of the drug fluphenazine in the body.

HIV medications (protease inhibitors): Concomitant administration of high doses of vitamin C can reduce steady-state indinavir plasma concentrations.

Levodopa (Dopar, Larodopa): There is limited case report evidence that high dose vitamin C may reduce side effects of levodopa therapy such as nausea or malcoordination.

Nicotine: Nicotine products such as cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, or nicotine patches may decrease the effects of vitamin C.

Oral contraceptives/estrogens: Oral estrogens may decrease the effects of vitamin C in the body. When taken together, vitamin C may increase blood levels of ethinyl estradiol.

Tetracyclines: The effects of vitamin C may be decreased by tetracycline antibiotics such as doxycycline (Vibramycin), minocycline (Minocin), or tetracycline (Sumycin).

Warfarin (Coumadin): Vitamin C in high doses appears to interfere with the blood thinning effects of Warfarin by lowering prothrombin time (PT) as noted in case reports in the 1970s.  Complications have not been reported (such as increased blood clots).

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

Iron: When taken together, vitamin C may increase the absorption of iron in the gastrointestinal tract, although this effect appears to be variable and may not be clinically significant.

Lutein: Vitamin C may increase absorption of lutein vitamin supplements.

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin, cyanocobalamin): Large doses of vitamin C may interfere with the absorption and metabolism of vitamin B12.

Interactions with Laboratory Tests

Bilirubin: Vitamin C supplements may cause false increases in tests of blood bilirubin levels.

Carbamazepine levels: Vitamin C supplements may cause false increases in blood carbamazepine levels.

Creatinine: Vitamin C supplements may cause false increases in blood creatinine levels.

Glucose: Vitamin C supplements may interfere with the accuracy of blood glucose tests.

LDH (lactose dehydrogenase): Vitamin C may cause a false decrease in blood LDH levels.

Prothrombin time (PT): Vitamin C in high doses appears to interfere with the blood thinning effects of warfarin by lowering prothrombin time (PT), as noted in case reports in the 1970s. Complications have not been reported (such as increased blood clots).

SGOT (glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase): Vitamin C supplements may cause false increases in blood SGOT levels.

Stool occult blood (guaiac): Vitamin C supplements can cause false-negative stool occult blood tests, within 48-72 hours after vitamin C ingestion.

Theophylline levels: Vitamin C supplements may cause false decreases in blood theophylline levels.

Uric acid levels: Vitamin C supplements may cause false increases in blood uric acid levels.

Urinary acetaminophen (Tylenol): Vitamin C supplements can cause false-negative urine acetaminophen tests.

Urinary glucose: Vitamin C supplements can cause false-positive urinary glucose results with the cupric sulfate reagent test and false-negative urinary glucose results with the glucose oxidase test, within 48-72 hours after vitamin C ingestion.

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