Question 1: Danger of Supplements
I am starting to get worried. Every time I turn around I’m reading how some herb or supplement doesn’t work and is dangerous to boot. I’ve stopped using Kava kava, St John’s wort, DMSO, Chaparral, Gingko biloba, Grapefruit seed extract, and Garlic pills because of everything I’ve heard. Is that correct? Should I be worried?
The short answer, “No.” Now for the long answer.
The knock against most supplements is twofold. Either “studies” have indicated that they might be dangerous in and of themselves, or they have been found to be dangerous when used while taking prescription drugs. Let’s deal with those issues.
First, talk about some of those so-called studies.
- In 1992, the FDA first reported that chaparral might be associated with severe liver toxicity — not based on any studies but based on a handful of after-the-fact circumstantial observations. Manufacturers panicked and pulled products from the market, lending credibility to the initial reports. Medical experts and media piled on and issued report after report citing erroneous studies denouncing chaparral. However, following a lengthy review, a panel of medical experts concluded “no clinical data was found… to indicate chaparral is inherently a hepatic toxin.” In late 1994, this report was submitted to the FDA. Industry regulators concluded chaparral did not pose a significant threat to consumer safety. Nevertheless, the negative reports acquired a life of their own and, despite being proven erroneous, have nevertheless been re-circulated and quoted over and over and over again like some bad urban myth.
- DMSO is also a victim of urban myth. In 1965, a woman taking several drugs…and DMSO died of an allergic reaction. The precise cause of her death was never determined; nevertheless, the press reported it as DMSO. Subsequently, the FDA put the kibosh on DMSO, citing the woman’s death and changes in the lenses of certain laboratory animals as reasons. Since then, hundreds of studies have shown that DMSO has absolutely no effect on eye tissue (in fact a treatment for cataracts that uses DMSO and glutathione has shown some success) and not one single death has been reported. Nevertheless, those original stories get re-circulated and recycled ad infinitum, leading to common perception that DMSO is dangerous and banned by the FDA. Neither is true. Actually, the FDA allows DMSO to be sold and used, but only allows claims for its efficacy in dealing with Intersitial Cystitis.
- And then there’s Kava kava. This was so egregious, I devoted an entire newsletter to the subject back in 2003.
Now let’s deal with Gingko, St John’s wort, Garlic, and Grapefruit seed extract. The knock against these herbs is not that they present any danger by themselves, but that they can interact with prescription drugs. For example, Gingko and Garlic are great natural blood thinners. That’s a good thing. The problem is if you take them while also taking prescription blood thinners, it can make your blood too thin. So how does that make the herbs dangerous? Look, if you’re using any prescription drugs, you need to run any supplements you are planning to use by your doctor for possible negative interactions. That’s a given. But that doesn’t mean the herbs are dangerous, just that combining them with powerful prescription drugs might be. But what’s new about that? Combining prescription drugs with each other is dangerous. In fact, in most cases, it’s more than just dangerous; it’s an international calamity.
The medical establishment has a clear agenda to brand natural remedies as both useless and dangerous. Don’t take my word for it. Check out Report 12 of the Council on Scientific Affairs (A-97), which can be found on the AMA website. Two statements from the study’s recommendations are worth looking at:
- There is little evidence to confirm the safety or efficacy of most alternative therapies. Much of the information currently known about these therapies makes it clear that many have not been shown to be efficacious.
- Patients who choose alternative therapies should be educated as to the hazards that might result from postponing or stopping conventional medical treatment.
If you actually read those statements carefully, what they say is that:
- Nothing natural is of any proven benefit.
- In fact, anything natural is most likely harmful.
- The only things that have “proven” benefit are medical procedures and prescription drugs.
Are these people out of their minds? Quite possibly.
And while we’re at it, let me touch briefly on the media. Why are they so quick to jump on the bandwagon and run with any negative story concerning alternative health? Are they part of some vast medical/media conspiracy?
I don’t think so. But there are two circumstances that make them unwitting (although not necessarily unwilling) participants.
- Their fear of exposure. If they report on a medical study and that study is subsequently debunked, the press can claim “plausible deniability.” After all, they relied on recognized experts. But if they report information provided by people in the alternative health community that is subsequently found to be erroneous, they will be held liable for even acknowledging information from such “unreliable” sources, let alone printing it.
- Prescription drug companies provide more advertising dollars than health supplement manufacturers. ( I’m guessing that Merck spends at least twice as much promoting their prescription drugs through the media as I do promoting alternative remedies — maybe even more.) In fact, prescription drug companies now spend over $3 billion dollars a year on media advertising — much of it focused on the very news shows that report on health. It has an influence, and three billion dollars is a lot of influence.
Given these reasons, the media as a whole freely goes along with the nonsense put out by the prescription drug companies and their partners in the medical community helping to spread and perpetuate urban myths designed to diminish the use of alternative therapies — at the same time, many individuals in the media are open to and personally use those very same therapies. As a side note, individuals from all of the major television networks, a number of radio talk shows, and even many newspapers including the Wall Street Journal are on the subscription list for this newsletter. Unfortunately, the personal interest of reporters, editors, and producers does not yet equate to evenhanded reporting.
Question 2: Allergies
It’s hay fever season again. I should have brought this up sooner, but I need help to stop the sneezing & watery eyes. Can you tell me something that I can take to cure or suppress the symptoms?
We get this question a lot.
I always recommend that when it comes to allergies, it’s best to deal with the cause, rather than just suppressing the symptoms. The cause is foreign proteins in the blood. If they are allowed to build up, it takes only a mild stimulus (pollen) to throw your body over the top and produce allergy symptoms.
Specifically, for allergies, I recommend using digestive enzymes every time you eat to help fully break down all proteins in your food and proteolytic enzymes before bed to actually go in and clean out any large proteins in your blood and help remove any Circulating Immune Complexes. I also recommend using a full spectrum antioxidant that contains immune response regulating ingredients such as quercetin.
I usually don’t publish many testimonials since they tend to upset the FDA, but this one is so spot on relative to the above question, what the heck.
“I’m a retired occupational therapist and I live in California’s San Juaquine valley where there is a very high concentration of people who suffer from asthma. I’ve suffered for years from severe allergies and chronic bronchitis and have constantly used a lot of allergy medications and asthma inhalers. I honestly thought there was no relief in sight, and that I’d have to live with this for the rest of my life.
“A year ago, a close friend gave me a bottle of Proteolytic Enzymes, and I reluctantly agreed to try them. I doubted there was anything that would work. But to my amazement, I went from a state of almost constant heavy mucous congestion in my sinuses, to being able to breathe normally again!
“Since I’ve been using your Proteolytic Enzymes, I haven’t had a single bout of bronchitis, and haven’t had to take my medications or use my inhalers. The allergies are gone! And my pulmonary doctor is amazed at my improvements!”
Question 3: Magnets
I read with interest your discussion of magnetized water. I have long been a proponent of the wonders of magnets and magnetic fields. I purchased 10 disc magnets today, but I do not know how to determine the North or the South, so I mounted the magnets with the sides that repel each other facing in. Is that a correct way to align the magnets?
The pole that points toward the north was originally called the “north seeking pole.” Later, that name was shortened to “the north pole.” That means that the part of a compass needle that points north would be “the north pole.” And since like poles repel, it also means that the pole of any magnet you own that repels the north arrow of a compass would also be “the north pole.”
Most fun way to tell, though – simply hold the magnet flat in the palm of your hand and lightly toss it into the air (not too high). 9 times out of 10, if the South pole is facing up, the magnet will go up into the air, and land flat back in your hand without ever turning over. If the North pole is facing up, it will flip in the air and usually land with the South pole facing up. Once you’ve identified north and south on one magnet, all of the others will stack up with that one in the same alignment.
A couple of months ago I mentioned that my friend, Michael Pederson of Aquaspace Water Systems, was doing a study on magnetics, water, and pole orientation. That study is now complete, and the results reinforce much of what we knew, but also challenge some of our earlier assumptions. I will be publishing the results as one of our bi-weekly newsletters early this fall.
Question 4: Chlorine in Swimming Pools
I recently read the Lessons from the Miracle Doctors ebook (you can download a free copy at www.jonbarron.org/detox/book-free-lessons-miracle-doctors) and really want to try to apply as much of what I learned into my life as possible. I was wondering, my toddler and I often swim in our backyard pool that is chemically treated with chlorine. I know that I need to change the shower heads and filter the water for bathing, consumption, and cooking. But what do I do about the chlorine in my pool? How bad is that for my little girl and me to swim in? She loves the water and we live in Phoenix, so a pool is almost a requirement to survive the summer heat! Any suggestions?
The same concerns relative to bathing in chlorinated water also apply to swimming in pools with chlorinated water. It’s very bad, and you absorb a great deal of chlorine very quickly through the skin. Also, the younger the skin, the quicker the absorption — which means your toddler is at particular risk.
You can try an experiment. Fill two glasses with water from your swimming pool. Test one for chlorine and notice how yellow it turns. Now put your hand in the other glass and wiggle your fingers in the glass for about 45 seconds. Then test the water in that glass. Notice how much lighter the water is now. In a matter of seconds you have absorbed most of the chlorine in the water through the skin on your hand.
As to what you can do, there are now a number of options for keeping pools clean without chlorine. You will probably want to explore those.
Question 5: Microwave Ovens
I have been hearing conflicting information regarding the safety of using microwave ovens. Specifically, are foods cooked in microwaves genetically altered? Do they cause cancer? What about cooking in plastic containers or covering with plastic wrap.
Any info you have would be greatly appreciated. The FDA says they are safe…but I don’t trust them as far as I can throw them.
I’m not a fan of microwaves. As you indicated, there are many claims, pro and con, about microwave cooking, and I’m not going to take sides on those now. The one incontrovertible fact, however, is that eating foods processed in microwave ovens causes changes in the blood. Hemoglobin levels and lymphocyte levels are decreased; whereas overall white cell levels and cholesterol levels are increased. That fact alone tells you that microwave cooking has changed the food in some way that does not happen with other modes of cooking.
Bottom line: eating microwaved foods has a negative impact on the body. How extensive that impact is and what it means may be open to debate, but the fact that there is a negative impact is not. For a good discussion on what this all means, check out Dr. Mercola’s site. And while there, I recommend subscribing to his newsletter. We may disagree on a few specific points concerning minor issues, but overall, our health philosophies are pretty much in sync, and his newsletter is very informative.
Question 6: Aspirin
My wife and I were watching Oprah yesterday and she had two MDs on the show. They suggested taking two baby aspirin, along with folic acid and vitamin D as a way to reduce the risk of getting all forms of cancer by 50%! At any rate, what is your opinion on taking 162mg of baby aspirin per day as a form of cancer prevention?
Aspirin kills. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, “anti-inflammatory drugs (prescription and over-the-counter, which include Advil®, Motrin®, Aleve®, Ordus®, Aspirin, and over 20 others) alone cause over 16,500 deaths and over 103,000 hospitalizations per year in the US.” The simple fact is that even the smallest amount of aspirin, a child’s dose, causes at least some degree of intestinal bleeding. In fact, nearly 70% of those taking aspirin daily show a blood loss of 1/2 to 11/2 teaspoons per day, and 10% lose as much as 2 teaspoons per day.
As I have pointed out on numerous occasions, there are better ways to get the benefits of aspirin without the side effects. Proteolytic enzymes, for example, both thin the blood for prevention of heart disease and reduce inflammation and improve the immune system for prevention of cancer.
Question 7: Gout
What can I do for gout?
95% of people diagnosed with gout have, what is in effect, a self-inflicted problem with purine metabolism. Fortunately, this responds quite well to the Baseline of Health® program. Certainly, Essential Relief™ can provide short term relief. But to truly correct the problem, you need to do the whole program, including dietary changes (reducing protein intake), detoxing, cleansing the liver and blood, and raising pH. You might also want to pick up a supplement of Cherry Fruit Extract (available all over the web) that can help neutralize excess uric acid.