Alternatives & Traditional

Posts tagged ‘hormones’

Top 5 Worst Internet Health Information Sites: Curezone.org Part 2: Alkaline/Acid Support Forum Part 2

Acids erroneously get a bad rap from sites trying to promote the alkalize for health myth. Acids are actually essential not only to our survival, but also our existence.  These essential acids include hydrochloric acid, pyruvic acid, acetic acid, carbonic acid, hyaluronic acid, glucuronic acid, malic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, uric acid, fatty acids, amino acids, ascorbic acid, pantothenic acid, folic acid, etc.

Acids generated by the body for health include:

  • Stomach acid for the digestion of proteins and to kill ingested pathogens.
  • Lactic, acetic and other flora generated fatty are needed for proper mineral absorption.
  • The same acids listed above also kill off pathogens.
  • Hyaluronic acid helps to prevent the spread of pathogens, cancer cells and venoms.
  • Hyaluronic acid also holds our cellular matrix together.
  • Flora generated fatty acids keep Candida growth under control and to keep Candida from morphing in to its pathogenic fungal form.
  • Glucuronic acid aids in detoxification of the body.
  • As building blocks for all cells, hormones, neurotransmitters, antibodies, etc.
  • Amino acids are needed the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which fuels the cells and helps them to function properly.
  • Carbonic acid regulates blood pressure, is also required for the production of stomach acid and coverts highly toxic ammonia in to the antioxidant uric acid.
  • Citric acid is produced by bone cells to maintain healthy bones through bone remodeling.
  • Citric, malic and pyruvic acids are required form the formation of adenosine triphosphate that fuels our cells and helps them to function properly.

These are just some of the acids generated by the body to benefit the body.

The body also relies on external source of acids for health.  For example, one of the most common antioxidants in plants is the polyphenol tannic acid. Chaparral contains nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA), the strongest natural antioxidant known.  Not only does NDGA work in both the lipid and water portions of cells unlike most antioxidants, NDGA has also been found to significantly inhibit cancer cells.  Chlorogenic acid and betulinic acid are powerful anti-viral and anti-cancer compounds.  Usinic acid is a strong antiseptic found in usnea lichen and kombucha tea. Benzoic acid is another strong antiseptic found in various plants. Amino acids not synthesized by the body must be obtained from external sources.  Same with fatty acids that serve various functions from killing pathogens to building cell membranes. Various vitamins required by the body such as vitamin C and B5 are acids. Orthosilicic acid derived from external sources and created with the help of stomach acid forms various tissues in the body.  These include bone, cartilage, skin, tendons, ligaments, teeth, etc.  Salicylic acid is a common anti-inflammatory found in a number of plants.

Ironically, the alkalize or die supporters are big fans of diets high in fruits and vegetables for health.  And what are some of the acids found in fruits and vegetables?  Oxalic acid, malic acid, citric acid, chlorogenic acid, succinic acid, fumaric acid, lactic acid, oxalacetic acid, tartaric acid, quinic acid, benzoic acid, acetic acid, allantoic acid, sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid…………

Speaking of diet, the alkaline supporters rely heavily on what they refer to as alkalizing foods.  Various lists of acid forming and alkaline forming foods can be found on the Internet, but they rarely match up.  Not surprising since there is not any solid science behind the claims.

For instance, one website shows various soy products as being highly alkaline, while another site claims soy is an acid forming food.  These same sites also disagree on white kidney beans with one site claiming they are acidic and the other alkaline.  Several sites I found claim avocado is alkaline and one claims it is acidic.  Looking at other sites I found one that claims honey is highly acidic and another site claiming honey is alkaline.  One site claims all forms of rice are acidic and another site claiming japonica and wild rice are alkaline. Blueberries are considered acidic on some sites and alkaline on other sites.  Depending on the site cow’s milk is considered alkaline, neutral or acidic regardless if raw or pasteurized. There are plenty more contradictions between the various sites.

I see a lot of the confusion being that there is no basis for the claims of acid or alkaline forming.  Sugar is considered acid forming even though the fruits and vegetables considered either acid or alkaline all contain the same sugars.  And fructose found in so many fruits that are considered alkaline is processed the same way as the fructose found in “junk foods” they consider acidic. Foods high in acids, such as lemon and kale are considered alkaline, while other acid sources such as pomegranates and cranberries are considered acidic.

There just does not seem to be any rational for the foods are either acidic or alkaline claims.  Foods high in protein you would think are acidic due to the breakdown of proteins results in highly alkaline ammonia first, which then forms uric acid.  Yet, spirulina which is nearly 4 times higher in protein than beef, which should be considered acidic is actually considered alkaline. Could it be based on fiber content?  Can’t be.  Jerusalem artichoke is considered acidic and sweet potatoes are considered alkaline despite both being high in fiber.  Could it be the starch content?  Again, not the case.  Yams, which are considered alkaline are nearly twice as high in starch than lentils that are considered acidic.  Maybe it is the simple sugar content.  Yet grapes, which are loaded with sugar are considered alkaline while Brussel sprouts, which are lower in sugar are considered acidic.  Maybe it is the mineral content.  Since there are so many different minerals I will just focus on the three that would be considered the primary alkaline minerals potassium, calcium and magnesium.  Blackberries, which are considered acidic are significantly higher in all three minerals than cantaloupe that is considered alkaline.

Milk regardless if raw or pasteurized still contains the same amount of protein, sugar and minerals.  Yet some people claim that raw milk is alkaline while pasteurized milk is acidic as where other people claim all forms of cow’s milk are either acidic, neutral or alkaline.

Beef is considered acidic even though it is high in “alkaline minerals” such as potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium.

I have also seen lists claims that vinegar or kombucha tea are alkaline, even though there have been reports of people developing acidosis after consuming too much of these acid sources.

Lemon juice though, which also contains sugar and various acids is actually considered alkaline.  The actual pH of lemon juice is actually acidic, but as with every food and drink we ingest it stimulates an alkaline effect in the body.  How can this be?  Simple.  When we ingest foods or drinks the stomach acidity has to drop in pH to a certain level of acidity before the stomach can empty in to the intestines.  Therefore, it does not really matter what proteins, minerals, sugars, etc. that are in the food or drink.  They all leave the stomach at the same acidic pH range.

The stomach contents dumped in the intestines, known as chyme, is always acidic.  The intestines cannot handle this kind of acidity though.  Therefore, as soon as the chyme enters the first part of the intestine it is met with alkalizing sodium bicarbonate released by the pancreas.  Interestingly, the alkaline sodium bicarbonate is formed from sodium chloride salt that the alkaline supporters consider acidic.

From there the byproducts of the food can be dealt with in different ways.  Sugars for example are considered acid forming. So what is the acid byproduct of sugar metabolism?  Carbon dioxide. Is carbonic acid acidifying or alkalizing though?  Actually both.

Carbon dioxide combines with water to form carbonic acid.  Carbonic acid serves several beneficial functions for the body such as regulating blood pressure.

If a person hyperventilates this will cause the person’s blood to become excessively alkaline.  As a result the blood vessels constrict pushing blood away from the brain causing the person to pass out.  When the person passes out they fall down, which helps in part to restore blood flow to the brain.  Respiration also slows down or temporarily stops in part to increase carbonic acid levels back to normal.  This allows the blood vessels to relax restoring blood flow to the brain.

Another function of carbon dioxide is the formation of sodium bicarbonate.  The sodium is provided by sodium salt we ingest.  This sodium bicarbonate functions to neutralize the acidity of chyme as it leaves the stomach to protect the intestines from the acidity.

As proteins are broken down the amino acids that make them up are released.  Amino acids are based with ammonia, which is not only highly alkaline, but also highly poisonous to the body.  Carbonic acid helps convert the highly toxic ammonia in to uric acid.  Uric acid is one of the body’s primary antioxidants.  Because an acid is being used to covert the toxic ammonia in to another acid there is no real gain in acidity.

Carbonic acid is also required for the formation of stomach acid, which among other functions helps with the absorption of minerals needed to build bone.

Excess carbon dioxide is eliminated so that the proper pH of the blood is maintained.

As we can see it does not matter what the food is the results are all the same.  Food is first brought to an acidic pH then the acidity is neutralized as it leaves the stomach.  The only way a food can alter the body’s pH to make it either acidic or alkaline is for that food to overwhelm the body’s natural pH buffers.  This is extremely difficult to do unless consuming extremely large amounts of acid sources like vinegar or alkaline substances like calcium carbonate.

The only foods that do not have their pH altered by the stomach acid or the bicarbonate released on the chyme are fibers.  Fibers are not really food for the body though, but rather the flora.  The beneficial acid producing flora that inhabit various parts of our body enzymatically break down fibers, which are long chain sugar molecules, in to simple sugars to feed on.  The bacterial fermentation of these sugars allow the bacteria to produce acids that control pathogen overgrowth and aid in mineral absorption.

Now we can see why the acid food and alkaline food claims contradict each other.  They are not based on any real facts, but rather opinions.

Even if the blood starts to become acidic the primary means of pH for the body is respiration.  Therefore, as blood acidity increases so does the respiratory rate to increase alkalinity by decreasing carbonic acid and hydrogen ions.  On the other hand if someone goes in to alkalosis their respiratory rate will decrease or temporarily stop to allow the buildup of carbonic acid and hydrogen ions to restore the pH.

If the pH goes beyond the range that respiration alone can handle then the body can use other means to maintain it’s pH.  Kidneys are second in line for maintaining pH.  Kidneys do this primarily by retaining or excreting hydrogen ions and bicarbonate to raise or lower pH.

Respiration and kidney function account for virtually all the pH regulation in the body.  Since neither contain “alkaline reserves” there is no depletion of “alkaline reserves” as is often claimed by the alkaline diet myth supporters.

Of course primary pH regulation is more involved, but I am trying to give a very basic expiation for people.  If you want a more detailed explanation of respiratory pH regulation here is some suggested reading with a more involved but still simple to follow explanation:

http://www.biology.arizona.edu/biochemistry/problem_sets/medph/02t.html

Some people claim that acid foods deplete the bones of minerals because the bone minerals are used to buffer the acids.  This is even more rare than acidosis itself since buffering of blood acids with bone minerals is the last resort used by the body to maintain pH.  Again respiration is the body’s main means of pH regulation followed by hydrogen ion retention or elimination by the kidneys.  These account for virtually all the pH regulation of blood.  The body also uses protein buffers, such as albumin, and phosphate buffers to regulate blood pH long before using bone minerals.  Therefore, acidosis would have to be extreme and long term before the acidosis would have any effect on the bones.  In acidosis this extreme the worry would not be bone loss, but simply survival since severe acidosis can be deadly.  Luckily acidosis this extreme is so rare that a person would likely have a better chance of being struck by lightening multiple times than to develop acidosis this severe.

There are some foods that are considered acidic such as beef, dairy and colas that can induce bone loss.  This process though has NOTHING to do with acidity.  These are all high phosphorus sources, which is what leads to the bone loss.  Phosphorus is essential to an extent to maintain healthy bones, but in excess it leads to bone loss by triggering a process known as pseudohyperparathyroidism (PHPT).  This is similar to another condition known as hyperparathyroidism (HPT).  In both cases the parathyroid glands release a hormone known as parathyroid hormone (PTH), which breaks bone tissue down raising serum calcium levels.  There are several causes of this.  Parathyroid nodules, which are believed to be triggered by a lack of vitamin D can increase PTH output.  PTH is also released in response to either actual serum calcium deficiencies, such as from insufficient vitamin D levels, or perceived low serum calcium levels.  The release of PTH due to perceived low serum calcium is known as PHPT.  When people consume foods high in phosphorus an imbalance can occur between calcium and phosphorus levels with a major increase in the phosphorus ratio.  The parathyroid glands respond to this perceived drop in calcium by releasing PTH, which raises calcium levels to restore balance of the calcium-phosphorus ratio.  Again, this has absolutely nothing to do with these foods being acidic.

Milk does contain a large amount of calcium, but it still induces PHPT for a simple reason.  Protein in milk blocks calcium absorption, but not phosphorus absorption.  Protein’s blocking action on calcium absorption is also evidenced by the myth that milk creates mucus, which I addressed in this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUCgEL7JaOI

It is also evidenced by the fact that the two nations with the highest consumption of dairy in the world, the United States and Finland also have the highest rates of bone mineralization diseases in the world.

Another common misconception promoted heavily on alkaline promoting sites is that pH strips can be used to monitor blood pH by testing the pH of either the urine or the saliva. Salivary and urinary pH though do not reflect the actual pH.  The pH of both can change for a number of reasons without changes in the blood pH.

Urinary pH for example can change depending on the amount of urine hydration there is or the amount of minerals being excreted through the urine.  Some medications can also alter urinary pH.  Bacterial infections can split urea to produce highly alkaline ammonia to protect themselves from acidity.  In this process urinary pH rises (becomes alkaline) from the infection despite no changes to the blood pH.

Salivary pH increases as we sleep since saliva production shuts down.  Saliva helps to alkalize the mouth and wash away acid forming bacteria in the mouth.  Therefore,  when we sleep the bacteria levels go up, also resulting in “morning breath”, causing a lower (acidic) pH in the mouth.  As we wake up and become more active saliva helps to wash away some of the bacteria and brings the pH of the mouth back up.  Dry mouth from methamphetamine use, certain medications like antihistamines or certain diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome can also lower the salivary pH.  Other factors that can affect salivary pH include whether or not you just brushed your teeth or what you recently ate or drank.  It has also been known for decades that something as simple as thinking about a certain food can alter salivary pH as the pH of the saliva adjusts in anticipation of the food.

This is why the only way you will know what your blood pH is would be through a blood test.  And even that can change in an instant.  For example, as I have pointed out a number of times respiration is the body’s primary method of pH control.  Hyperventilating will alkalize the body quickly, but you will also pass out due to the induced alkalosis.

This is an example of why I encourage people to learn how the body really works instead of accepting all the hype out there on the internet or in books, magazines, etc.  I recall when the book Alkalize or Die book came out.  And of course many people simply accepted the claims as fact without bothering to check other sources to see if this author’s opinion were fact.

I know scare tactics help to sell books, but still we are talking about people’s health and people are profiting off this nonsense they promote while putting people’s health at risk.  Just because something is in print this does not make it automatically true.

Top 5 Worst Internet Health Information Sites: Curezone.org Part 2: Ask Moreless

In my opinion the most dangerous sites on Curezone are the Ask Moreless forum, the Liver Flush Support forum, the Cancer Support forum, the Alkaline/Acid Support forum and in my opinion the most dangerous forum the Iodine Supplementation Support Forum by VWT Team.

The basis of the Moreless forum was that all disease was caused by acidity and that a drink composed of calcium hydroxide (lime), lemon juice, organic unsulfured molasses and kelp was a cure-all.

Moreless was also well known for making up his own science and promoting it as fact.  Some of my favorite claims by Moreless were:

Moreless:  The more hydrogen present in a substance the more acidic it is.

Fact:   As I pointed out to Moreless hydrochloric acid contains one hydrogen atom and it is quite acidic.  On the other hand ammonium hydroxide contains 5 hydrogen atoms and yet is highly alkaline.

Moreless:   Sunlight is acidic.

Fact:   Sunlight does not have a pH.  The sun does contain a lot of hydrogen, which was the basis Moreless used for this claim.  But sunlight consists of photons, not hydrogen and therefore does not have a pH.

Moreless:   Acidity turns the tissues in to a puddle of goo.

Fact:  Many parts of the body are naturally acidic and do not turn in to goo.  I asked Moreless about this and why we don’t turn to goo from the acidic protons when we run but he never replied.

Moreless:  High brix foods are healthier than low brix foods.

Fact:  Brix is simply a measurement of sugar content.  As was pointed out to Moreless  Coca Cola has a higher brix reading than produce we consume, but this does not make it healthier.

Moreless:  Nitrogen is a protein.

Fact:  Nitrogen is a gas, not a protein.  Proteins do contain nitrogen though.

Moreless:  Iodine is an acid.

Fact:  Elemental iodine does not have a pH.

Moreless:  Alcohol is a hydrocarbon.

Fact:  Hydrocarbons consist solely of hydrogen and carbon.  Because alcohol also contains oxygen it is not a hydrocarbon.

Moreless:  “Now remember that our body does NOT absorb the foods we eat or the minerals we take, but ONLY the Energy, which becomes Released from our foods or Minerals we ingest!”.

Fact:  If we did not absorb the compounds such as sugars, amino acids and minerals from our foods then there would be nothing to form our tissues, bones, hormones, neurotransmitters, etc.   In other words we would not even exist.

Moreless:  Fats are carbohydrates.

Fact:  Fats are composed of fatty acids.  Carbohydrates are long chain sugar molecules.   They are not the same thing.

Moreless:   “Absolutely No Rock or Mineral in rock form or in food form can enter into our body tissues until this mineral has become Released from the food or Rock as Energy!”

My response:   “Wrong again. I can drink a mineral salt and it will absorb with no problem.  Do the minerals have to react with the stomach acid to be utilized by the body?  That depends on the form it is in.  If the mineral is chelated then it will absorb in that chelated form. If it is in a soluble salt then it will absorb as that salt.  If it is in the form of a hydroxide whatever can react with an acid to form a salt can be absorbed, and the rest will pass unabsorbed.  This is why calcium and magnesium hydroxides are so poorly absorbed, especially as we age.  Then we can also demonstrate that this claim is bogus by the fact that minerals given intravenously are still utilized by the body even though they are being put in to an alkaline environment and they are not being reacted with an acid. “

Moreless frequently talked about the dangers of nitrates and nitrites claiming that they led to methemoglobin production causing animals to suffocate.  I found the link where he got the information but he left out the part where is clearly stated that alkalinity in the stomach promoted nitrite formation.  Therefore, by his own argument his alkalinizing drink would poison people:

http://curezone.com/forums/fm.asp?i=1449606#i

http://curezone.com/forums/fm.asp?i=1449657#i

Here are links to some of the other weird and wild claims made by Moreless:

http://curezone.com/forums/fm.asp?i=1467298#i

http://curezone.com/forums/fm.asp?i=1467777#i

http://curezone.com/forums/fm.asp?i=1467369#i

http://curezone.com/forums/fm.asp?i=1467791#i

http://curezone.com/forums/fm.asp?i=1482445#i

http://curezone.com/forums/fm.asp?i=1415913#i

http://curezone.com/forums/fm.asp?i=1486171#i

Most of what Moreless posted was in a way hilarious because it was just so ridiculous.  On the other hand it was scary to think he was giving health advice and people were actually following him like he was their God.  Here are some examples I addressed:

http://curezone.com/forums/fm.asp?i=1468313#i

Moreless is very anti-science and thinks that his supposed success testimonials are the only proof needed to show he knows what he is talking about.  One problem with this though is that Moreless was famous for deleting posts where people reported adverse effects from his protocol, and then banning anyone reporting adverse effects.  Here is one example though of someone being hurt by the Moreless protocol that was posted on my forum so it could not be erased or edited:

http://curezone.com/forums/fm.asp?i=1495260#i

Moreless was also famous for re-wording other people’s messages on his forum so that it would appear the person was agreeing with Moreless or praising his protocol.  It was these actions that finally got Moreless banned from Curezone.

Furthermore, testimonials even if true are not proof of anything as I explained in this post:

http://curezone.com/forums/fm.asp?i=1470145#i

Moreless relied heavily on recruiting to try his protocol by touting all the testimonials that he had.  A big problem with this though is that there was no way to verify if the testimonials were real or if he had written them himself or edited people’s posts to make them sound positive, which he was known for doing.

I did run across this post from a supporter who had a change of heart:

http://curezone.com/forums/fm.asp?i=1709883#i

The biggest concern with the Moreless protocol was his recommendation to use calcium oxide (lime) to make a drink he wanted people to ingest to alkalize the body.   Calcium oxide is the same stuff used to make cement and when you read the bags it clearly warns about not getting it in contact with tissues.  The reason is that calcium oxide when it comes in to contact with water forms calcium hydroxide.  Hydroxides are very caustic and chemically burn the tissues.  Damage from consuming calcium hydroxide can appear immediately or in some cases may not show up for weeks or months.

The danger is not only from the caustic action of calcium hydroxide.  Calcium hydroxide also reacts with stomach acid neutralizing the stomach acid.  Stomach acid is important for a number of reasons, which I addressed in this post I wrote on the subject:

http://medcapsules.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=2945

Neutralizing the stomach acid on a regular basis can lead to numerous health problems including nutritional deficiencies, allergic responses, heart disease, increased risk of infections, etc.  These side effects can result from the inability to absorb certain nutrients needed for tissues such as bone.   The vitamins B6, B12 and folate are all involved in the process of methylation, which is required for around 4,000 methylation reactions in the body.  These include controlling allergic responses, digestion, energy formation, immune regulation, reduction of heart disease promoting homocysteine, hormone and neurotransmitter formation, etc.  All three of these vitamins though require sufficient stomach acid for their absorption.  Most pathogens are controlled by acidity and thrive in alkalinity.  Ingesting calcium hydroxide poses a dual danger here.  First of all the hydroxide can burn the tissues damaging them and making them more prone to infection.  In addition, the calcium hydroxide can neutralize the acids that normally help to control pathogens further increasing the risk of infections.

Moreless does recommend adding some lemon juice to his drink, which does contain citric and malic acids.  These mild organic acids will balance out some or all of the calcium hydroxide depending on the amount added.  The problem though is that unless the person has a pH meter to monitor the pH as the lemon juice is added it is impossible to know when enough of the lemon juice is added to neutralize all the caustic calcium hydroxide.  Don’t add enough of the lemon juice and the drink is still caustic.  Add too much and the drink will be acidic, which according to Moreless the acids will turn the body in to a puddle of goo.  Of course I am being sarcastic in the later since the acids produced by the body or that are found in lemon juice will not dissolve the body despite what Moreless claims.  Still there is the risk of hydroxide damage if insufficient lemon juice is added.

I never understood why Moreless did not have people just start with calcium citrate in the first place, which is readily available, is the main salt created by the reaction of calcium hydroxide and lemon juice and does not present the danger of caustic burns.

Various people had complained of being harmed by using the Moreless protocol, but many of the posts were deleted by Moreless.   Some reports can still be found on other boards though that Moreless did not control and I have a message sent to me by a woman asking for advice after being hospitalized for injuries sustained after following the Moreless protocol.

Two other things that really concern me about the Moreless protocol are the high amount of calcium and the iron from the blackstrap molasses.

Calcium is important to the body, but like anything can be a problem if in excess or not balanced.  Calcium is a muscle contractor for the body.  For example, the process of rigor mortis when a person dies involves the influx of calcium in to the muscles causing them to go in to a strongly contracted state until enzymes finally break down the muscle tissue.   Excessively high serum calcium can cause confusion, depression, high blood pressure, increased risk of asthma attacks, constipation, migraines, muscle cramps, etc.  Calcium channel blockers (CCBs) are used to treat various conditions such as high blood pressure and migraines because they prevent calcium from entering the muscle tissue of blood vessels keeping them relaxed.  In holistic medicine and even in hospitals for the treatment of preeclampsia associated hypertension (high blood pressure) magnesium is used to lower calcium induced high blood pressure.

My concern here is that the high amount of calcium poses to many potential problems primarily from calcium induced constriction of blood vessels.  The resultant decrease in blood flow could theoretically even increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes as other blood vessel constricting agents are known for.  Because of this calcium should always be balanced out with sufficient magnesium to maintain the muscle regulatory actions of calcium-magnesium.

As with calcium, iron is essential to the body but dangerous in excess.  Excess iron can lead to increased infections, oxidative tissue damage and can promote cancer.

There is also a condition that used to be considered very rare but is now considered common known as hemochromatosis.  In this condition there is a buildup of excess iron in the body leading to various health problems and can be fatal.  People with hemochromatosis are advised to avoid iron sources and often undergo regular phlebotomy to remove excess iron from the system.

Natural Prevention of Migraines

Migraines start when the blood vessels around the brain constrict tightly.  These blood vessels then rebound vasodilate causing them to leak leading to inflammation.

There can be multiple triggers for migraines including dietary amines, allergies, hormones, bright lights, etc.  Therefore, anyone suffering from migraines should keep a migraine log to look for their trigger so the trigger can be addressed as well.  A migraine log consists of keeping a list of whatever was eaten, or drunk, what you were exposed to (fumes, pollen, etc.), if a woman is it near her menstrual cycle, bright lights, etc. prior to the migraine.  Keeping a migraine log though can help narrow down the possible causes.  For example do they come on after ingesting foods or beverages containing tyramines?  Are they triggered off by smells or bright lights?  Did you ingest anything you were allergic to within the previous couple of days?………….

The best supplements for migraines are magnesium, coleus forskohlii (aka forskohlii) and kudzu.  

Magnesium deficiencies are common and can lead to a host of problems, including frequent migraines.  An influx of calcium causes blood vessels to contract, leading to the initial constriction.  Magnesium is a calcium antagonist, and relaxes blood vessels to help prevent the initial vasoconstriction that precedes migraines.  For this reason the magnesium should be taken by itself, not with any calcium.  This includes with foods that may contain calcium.  

I recommend taking the magnesium on an empty stomach at least 30 minutes before meals. Recommended dose is 300mg twice daily, morning and afternoon, on an empty stomach.  

If you take a calcium/magnesium supplement this is best taken at night before bed.  

Not all magnesium supplements are the same.  Magnesium oxide is the most commonly sold magnesium supplement due to being the least expensive form of magnesium.  Magnesium oxide though is poorly absorbed, neutralizes the stomach acid leading to various health problems and is used as a laxative because it burns the intestinal wall.  The best forms of magnesium are magnesium malate or citrate.  Magnesium itself as well as the acids used to make these forms of magnesium supplements, malic acid and citric acid, not only enhance absorption, but they also contribute to increased adenosine triphosphate (ATP).  ATP is the fuel that helps cells function and function properly.

Forskohlii and kudzu are both vasodilators to help prevent the initial vasoconstriction. Recommended dose is 2 capsules of either herb 3 times daily before meals, and in addition at the first signs of an impending migraine.

Forskohlii not only helps prevent the initial vasoconstriction, but forskohlii is also anti-inflammatory.  Forskohlii’s anti-inflammatory effects comes from fosrskohlii’s ability to block both inflammatory prostaglandins and leukotrienes.

Kudzu is preferred if there are hormonal imbalances since it also aids in hormone balance.  

For hormonal induced migraines digestive bitters are the quickest way to help normalize the hormones.  When bitters come in to contact with the bitter receptors of the tongue they stimulate the receptors, which in turn stimulates the vagus nerve.  Vagus stimulation increases output of digestive secretions, which is how they got the name digestive bitters.  Bitters also improve liver function though where excess hormones are broken down in the body.   

Bitters are sold in health food stores under names such as  Chinese Bitters, Grape Bitters, Swedish Bitters, etc. 

Recommended use is ½ dropper full on the tongue three times daily before meals.  It is important to drink plenty of water throughout the day when using bitters to help with removal of toxins, including excess hormones, being processed by the liver.

Bitters are not recommended though in the cases of peptic ulcer since bitters increase stomach acidity and if the gallbladder has been removed since bitters increase bile release.

Rice bran or oat bran can also help with hormone balance since they are both good sources of B vitamins needed by the liver to break down excess hormones.  These fibers also feed the intestinal flora, which also produce B vitamins for the body and further break down hormone metabolites.

I prefer rice bran since it also contains gamma oryzanol that helps with hormone balance.

Why Statins and Low Cholesterol Cause Heart Attacks and Strokes

No studies have ever proven that high cholesterol causes heart disease since this simply is not true.  Inflammation, not high cholesterol leads to atherosclerosis.  Yet the pharmaceutical companies keep pushing the cholesterol myth to promote drug sales while ignoring the fact that they are endangering lives.

Statins are the most commonly prescribed form of medicine for the treatment of “high” cholesterol.  The drug companies have failed though to inform the public about the dangers of not only these drugs, but also of the dangers of low cholesterol, which among other things can cause heart attack and stroke.

I find it rather ironic that the drug companies are pushing statins claiming they help prevent heart disease when these drugs are well known to increase the risk of heart failure, heart attacks and strokes!  There are several reasons for this.

Other than liver damage, the best known side effect of statins is a condition known as rhabdomyolosis.  This is a condition in which muscle tissue deteriorates.  The deterioration occurs from declining levels of CoQ10 in the tissues, which is required for the proper function of cells and their energy production through the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).  What people often do not stop and think about is that the heart is also a muscle and is prone to the same damaging effects from the use of statins.  If taking statins I highly recommend taking at least 200mg of CoQ10 daily to help reduce the risk of statin induced heart failure.

The increased risk of heart attack and stroke actually occur for a totally different reason.  If you read my blog articles on the dangers of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) you will see that the risk of heart attack and stroke are related.  Several NSAIDs, such as Vioxx and Celebrex have been either pulled off the market or have required stronger warning labels warning of the increased risk of heart attack and stroke from these drugs.  Even though the drug companies tried to make it sound like a new discovery, the risk had been known prior to the drugs ever reaching the market.  The problem stems from the way these drugs work.  NSAIDs interfere with inflammatory prostaglandins.  Inflammatory prostaglandins are hormones that dilate blood vessels.  For example during injuries these hormones open up blood vessels to increase oxygen and nutrient levels to the area to promote healing.  By inhibiting these hormones NSAIDs decrease blood flow to the organs including the heart and brain.  If the blood supply is sufficiently reduced to the heart and brain, heart attack or stroke can occur.

So what does all this have to do with statins and cholesterol levels?  Prostaglandins, as with other hormones, are formed from cholesterol.  Therefore, reduced cholesterol levels lead to decreased prostaglandin formation, which in turn decreases blood flow to the organs.  This explains why studies have consistently shown increased mortality with decreased cholesterol levels.

The Cholesterol Myth

One of the largest frauds perpetuated on the American public has been the false claim that high cholesterol causes heart disease.  Even though this has been known for decades to be false the myth keeps getting promoted by the drug companies to increase drug sales of drugs, such as statins.  The whole idea of high cholesterol causing heart disease started with a faulty, outdated rabbit study from the 1920s.  No solid evidence of high cholesterol causing heart disease in humans has ever been shown.  In fact, evidence is to the contrary.  Several studies have confirmed that as cholesterol levels go down that the mortality rate goes up primarily from increased heart attacks and strokes.  It has been known for a while that around 50% of people who die from heart vascular disease have normal to low cholesterol levels.

What I really find interesting is how doctors who should be reasonably intelligent don’t seem to be questioning how people can have low cholesterol and clogged arteries or high cholesterol and clean arteries.  In fact I just heard a commercial for Lipitor where Dr. Jarvic is claiming that high cholesterol can lead to heart attack and stroke.  I would love to ask him in person to explain this mechanism since there is absolutely no science whatsoever to back up his claim!

Cholesterol levels are actually totally irrelevant to the risk of atherosclerosis.  It is inflammation, not high cholesterol that leads to atherosclerosis.  Cholesterol is actually a healing agent for the body.  Where there is an injury in the body cholesterol will increase in that area to aid in the healing by acting as both a patchwork and as a precursor for other substances such as hormones that play a role in healing.  Various things can cause trauma and inflammation to the arteries and are well known for increasing the risk of heart disease.  These include high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and even bypass operations.  Damage to the arterial lining leads to inflammation.  In response, cholesterol floods the area and lays down as a “patchwork” over the injured area.  The problem is that if the source of inflammation is not removed then the cholesterol will keep depositing in an attempt to heal the injured area narrowing the artery.

Medicinal Properties of Chaparral Part 2

Chaparral is best known for its ability to treat cancer effectively.  The antitumor effects of chaparral have been verified in studies conducted by the universities of both Nevada and Utah.  One of the things that makes chaparral unique in its ability to treat cancer is the fact that it “attacks” the cancer through multiple mechanisms.  Since the majority of cancers have a microbial origin the first mechanism is through the destruction of viruses, bacteria and fungi.  Chronic inflammation has also been linked to the formation of cancers meaning that chaparral’s anti-inflammatory properties can inhibit some cancers.  Chaparral can inhibit cancers triggered, or aggravated, by free radicals and toxins due to its antioxidant and cleansing properties.  Chaparral’s liver cleansing properties makes it helpful for hormonal induced cancers since the liver is responsible for the breakdown of excess hormones.  And finally, chaparral inhibits mitochondrial enzymes, which in turn inhibits the cellular division of cancer cells.  In short, this means chaparral can inhibit cancer growth.

Chaparral’s ability to kill microbes makes it useful for a number of diseases linked to microbial infections.  These include cancers (viral, bacterial, and fungal forms), heart disease (chlamydia bacteria), hepatitis (viral, bacterial, and fungal forms), rheumatoid (chlamydia bacteria) and other forms of infectious arthritis, multiple sclerosis (human herpes virus type 6), ulcerative colitis (mycoavium complex bacterium), Crohn’s disease (mycoavium complex bacterium), type 1 diabetes (viral), pneumonia (viral, bacterial, and fungal forms), bronchitis (viral, bacterial, and fungal forms), etc.  One of the most interesting areas of study for the use of chaparral is in the treatment of herpes infections where studies are looking very promising.

Chaparral is very resinous and so is not easy to prepare as a tea.  Resins and water do not mix and the resin will separate out and stick to the pan wall when trying to make the tea.  Therefore, I recommend not using this herb as a tea.  I personally prefer the powder mixed with other herbs.  By combining the powder with other powdered herbs the other powdered herbs will help prevent the resins in the chaparral from clumping the powder in to a big “gumball” when it comes in to contact with water.  This helps maintain a larger surface area thereby increasing the absorption and effectiveness of the herb.  In addition, the addition of other herbs can increase the effectiveness of each herb . For instance, chaparral combined with red clover blossom increases the antitumor activity of both herbs.  Combining chaparral with pau d’ arco (lapacho, taheebo, ipe roxo) increases the antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal activities of both herbs.

Again, the FDA tried to claim that chaparral was linked to 13 cases of hepatitis though medical reviews subsequently found no evidence that the chaparral was linked to the cases.  In fact, it was shown that many of the patients were found to have pre-existing liver failure or were taking pharmaceutical drugs well known for causing liver damage.  On the other hand, fresh chaparral does contain unstable alkaloids that may damage the liver if ingested for a length of time.  Therefore, chaparral should be dried and aged several months before use to destroy these alkaloids.

Silicone Implants Part 2

Silicone manufacturers maintain that their products are safe and claim there is no evidence that the implants cause any health problems.  Research on the safety of silicone tells a different story.  When researching the safety of silicone breast implants a while back I ran across a very interesting article in a medical journal.  The article did not have anything to with implants but brought up an interesting fact.  The article actually described a 12 year old girl with a silicone drainage tube in her brain.  The patient subsequently developed antibodies to the silicone drainage tube.  The reason this is so important is that it shows us two things.  First of all, the focus of safety and side effects have been on the liquid silicone in the implants, which start leaking from the implants right after they are implanted.  They do not need to rupture to leak.   It was fond that the liquid silicone migrates through the bag in to the body.  This case though shows us that not only does the body react to the migrating liquid silicone, but also to the solid silicone bag of the implant. The antibodies produced against the silicone can then tag healthy tissue for destruction in a process known as autoimmunity.

Contrary to what we are taught in medicine, antibodies are not always specific to their target.  Antibodies have different levels of specificity.  High affinity antibodies are more specific to their target, and are the primary form of antibodies produced by a healthy immune system.  Low affinity antibodies are less specific to nonspecific, and are the primary antibody produced in autoimmune disorders.  Because low affinity antibodies are nonspecific to their target they can inadvertently tag tissues for destruction by white blood cells since the cells can share “markers” with the antigens the antibodies are supposed to target.

Understanding the above concept helps us to understand how silicone creates connective tissue disorders.  Low affinity antibodies targeting silicone can mistake connective tissues, which contain silicon, with the silicone the antibodies are supposed to target.

Not every woman with breast implants will develop connective tissue disorders or other problems though.  The reason is that the production of low affinity antibodies is not regulated by the presence of an antigen, but rather is due to the level of adrenal function.  The adrenal glands produce hormones known as corticosteroids that modulate our immune responses.  When the adrenal glands are healthy they produce sufficient levels of the corticosteroids for the production of high affinity antibodies.  If the adrenal glands become suppressed from conditions such as Prednisone use, chronic stress, or stimulant abuse the lowered levels of corticosteroids can lead to a higher production of low affinity antibodies.  This increases the risk of connective tissue disorders.

It is also possible that anti-silicone antibodies play a role in the failure of implants.  The average lifespan of an implant is around 12 years.  The implants are not being exposed to ultraviolet light  or other external factors that can cause silicone deterioration.  Therefore, it should be considered that the immune system’s assault on the silicone could play a role in the walls of the bag weakening and eventually rupturing.

Liquid silicone does pose more of a problem than solid silicone though.  Once liquid silicone leaks in to the body the silicone migrates in to various tissues making it impossible to completely remove.  There is even some concern that liquid silicone might be able to migrate in to the brain.  Regardless, women with silicone poisoning from leakage of liquid silicone risk a lifetime of health problems.

MSM

MSM (methyl sulfonyl methane) hit the market as a multi level marketing (MLM) product about 10 years ago.  As with other MLM products it was promoted with a lot of hype and misinformation.  What are the facts behind MSM?

MSM contains 34% sulfur by weight.  Elemental sulfur is produced as the MSM is metabolized.

Commercial MSM is not natural.  I had an MLM saleslady actually tell me that MSM was natural because it was derived from trees.  This is really stretching it.  MSM is created by the heating of the industrial solvent DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide).  When DMSO is heated an oxygen atom attaches forming DMSO2, which is also known as MSM.

DMSO is actually a byproduct of the paper industry, but this does not make DMSO natural either.  Many plastics are synthesized from natural compounds, but this does not make plastics natural.  When a chemical is altered by man to make a new chemical then the new chemical is not natural, it is synthetic.

Sulfur is essential to the body, although deficiencies are almost unheard of.  Sulfur is found in numerous foods we eat including garlic, onions, peppers, broccoli, beans, seaweeds, etc.

Sulfur is used in the production of proteins and hormones.  For example, sulfur aids in the formation of the proteins collagen, elastin and keratin.  Collagen gives connective tissues strength, while elastin gives the tissues their elasticity.  Keratin is the primary protein founding hair and nails.  Therefore, sulfur aids in the growth of hair and nails.  It is commonly thought that sulfur aids in strengthening the hair and nails though silica in the form of orthosilicic acid, is the primary compound that strengthens the hair and nails.  The hormone Insulin requires sulfur for its production.  Insulin is required for the regulation of blood sugar and the transport of vitamin C to immune cells.  Sulfur compounds also aid in the detoxification of the body.

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