Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sixteen: Oleander Soup!

I’ve never explained to my loyal readers why I chose an alternative cancer therapy. Many of you know. I doubt anyone in this country is unacquainted with the damaging effects of chemo and radiation. Dr. Lodi at An Oasis of Healing told me that surgery – even a biopsy -- causes cancer to spread. When I looked at statistics for the type of cancer I had, and my age, I discovered that doing full-dose chemo would give me only a three percent chance of living more than five years! Three percent! And for that slight possibility of living a few months, or maybe a couple of years, longer, I would destroy my immune system, likely be sick for months, and possibly cause permanent damage to my heart and brain, and also the nerves in my hands and feet, causing neuropathy that might not go away!

Instead, I opted for no surgery (I did have a biopsy), Insulin Potentiation Chemotherapy (IPT) in very low doses, and no radiation. I consciously chose a higher quality of life, even if it were to be shorter. Yet I know that cancer often returns, so I have continued many of the protocols, supplements, and dietary changes I began last year, and I’ve kept on studying and learning about alternative solutions. So far I’ve remained cancer free.

Today I came across something I’d somehow missed. I have no idea why it never came across my radar, especially in the last few years of reading extensively about cancer alternatives. What I learned was so stunning that I got excited and read about it for most of the day.

While many natural cancer treatments help substantially, they often fall short of a total cure, just as do surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. What I learned today is that there is a natural substance that has been curing cancer for years. Actually, it has been used medicinally for several thousand years. A Turkish doctor learned about it in the early 1960s and began experimenting with it. He began curing cancers, and the more he learned and worked with this natural remedy, the higher his success rate became, until he was curing about 90%! This figure far exceeds typical cancer treatments today.

Eventually he developed this into a medicine which he patented, and later sold to another company. The product is being made now in South Africa, and it is a total stunner. Why? Because, not only is it alleviating and even curing many cancers, very quickly shrinking tumors and helping patients feel much better, it has been used in controlled medical experiments and found to totally alleviate (dare we say cure?) AIDS! Hepatitis C also responds, with patients totally normalizing their liver function. There have been a few people who have reported good results with various autoimmune diseases as well.

I won’t go into detail, because the story is well told at To get the whole story, be sure to read all the articles on the right side of the Home page about oleander. You’ll come away shaking your head and wondering how this amazing secret has been so well kept while out in the wide open spaces of the internet.

And for more good news: not only is this supplement available through the internet, the website tells you how to make your own at home for pennies! This can be a problem for many, because it is made from the oleander shrub, which grows everywhere in California and across the south, but loves hot summers and can’t tolerate temperatures lower than about 15 degrees, so it’s not a likely candidate for our Northwest gardens. 

We can be thankful we can buy it and save ourselves the trouble of boiling up a pot of oleander soup.
Those of you who have lived where oleander grows may know it is a toxic plant. But, when you follow the instructions carefully, the resultant soup, or extraction, is not toxic, and its’ only side effect seems to be diarrhea if too large a dose is taken too quickly. To overcome this problem, you simply filter the watery broth four times and start with tiny doses, working up to a full tablespoon three times a day over a couple of weeks.

Can you tell I’m excited? This herbal supplement has even helped people who had already gone through chemo and radiation, something many natural remedies don’t do too well. Some of the people using it continued with chemo, while others opted to use the natural remedy alone. There are lots of testimonials on the site.

I invite you to print this and keep it for future reference, since every one of us knows people who could use this information. Not everyone will choose this, but I think everybody facing a serious diagnosis like cancer, AIDS or HIV should at least have the option of learning about what is available, the track record for any treatments offered (something most oncologists hedge about), and should be given the option of deciding what they think will best serve them. Unfortunately, vested interests are running the medical world, and they have managed to make it illegal for oncologists to tell people about anything other than the usual cut, poison and burn. So do your friends and relatives who find themselves diagnosed with cancer or another serious disease a huge favor, and let them know they do have other options - and those options may be far better than the things their doctors are able to offer.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high
gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods
-- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor.
This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine
concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift
giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands.
Yes there is!

It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in
a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?

Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates
from your local American hair salon or barber?

Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some
health improvement.

Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned
detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a
book of gift certificates.

Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down
the bucks on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift
receiver would like the driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or
driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.

There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift
certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about
a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this
isn't about big national chains -- this is about supporting your home town
Americans with their financial lives on the line, to help keep their doors open.

How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or
motorcycle, done at a shop run by American workers?

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a
local cleaning lady for a day.

My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young person who is
struggling to get a repair business up and running.

OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin
their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery
and beautiful wooden boxes.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave
your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at
your hometown theater?

Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese
lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about
fifty cents stays in your community. If you have those kinds of bucks to
burn, leave your barber or hairdresser, trash hauler or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that
China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about
US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow
their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our
communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.

THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.

Forward this to everyone on your mailing list -- post it to discussion
groups -- throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in
your city -- send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations,
and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other,
and isn't that what Christmas is about?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Folate of Folic Acid: What's in a Name?

Folic acid: A yellowish-orange compound, a member of the vitamin-B complex, occurring in green plants, fresh fruit, liver and yeast and used medicinally to treat pernicious anemias.

Folate:  Folic acid.

Another name is vitamin B9. There are several other names of various forms of this important vitamin. None but folate is the natural form. My dictionary doesn’t discriminate between the two.

As a nutritional therapist I know the importance of this vitamin. We need it, along with B6, B12 and a few minerals, for the crucial methylation process, something our bodies do thousands of times every second. We must have it to synthesize and repair DNA. Rapid cell division and growth require folate, especially during pregnancy. Without it we cannot manufacture red blood cells.

Indeed, the government has even mandated the addition of folic acid to breads and cereals, in an effort to prevent neural tube defects in babies. You’ll find it in almost all prenatal and other multivitamins.

So, you may ask, what’s the big deal? We’re all used to calling it folic acid. Why even use the term folate? Indeed, even my computer’s grammar checker knows the term folic acid, but frowns, with a squiggly red underline at the term folate.  Is there a difference? If so, does it really matter?

Yes, it matters. Folate and folic acid are not the same thing. The body uses them differently. Indeed, a number of studies show that the manufactured form, folic acid, causes havoc in the body, while natural folate is protective.

Folic Acid vs. Folate and Cancer

In an article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers discovered that women who took multivitamins containing folic acid for ten years were more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than those who didn’t.

Another study shows that people taking folic acid for more than three years increased their risk of having a colorectal adenoma, a cancer precursor, by 35%.

A six-year Norwegian study found that people who took folic acid along with other vitamins were 43% more likely to die from cancer than those who did not supplement with this artificial form of the vitamin. In short, research shows that the manufactured folic acid feeds cancer.

On the other hand, people not taking folic acid, but getting folate from food, have less cancer, dependent on the level of folate they consume.

Folic Acid and the Immune System

In light of mandated folic acid supplementation of flour and cereals, a frightening fact has emerged: Manufactured folic acid supplementation increases the risk of childhood asthma by 26%. With asthmatic children on the rise, this is important to be aware of.

On the other hand, a study done at Johns Hopkins included 8,000 people and found that those with the highest levels of natural folate had fewer allergies and less asthma, as shown by lower IgE antibodies. Those with the lowest levels of folate had a 40% greater risk of wheezing than those with the highest levels.

Folate Shortage and Heart Disease

When folate is deficient, people often accumulate homocystiene, contributing to heart disease. Adding lots of leafy vegetables, yeast, liver and fruits to the diet can help replenish body supplies. Supplements should contain folate in its natural form rather than manufactured folic acid. When folic acid is supplemented instead, it can lead to cancer.

Folate and Pregnancy

Obviously, sufficient folate is crucial to a successful pregnancy and a healthy infant. Since most prenatal vitamins include manufactured folic acid, most people, unaware of the research, feel their needs for this crucial vitamin are covered. It’s important to encourage pregnant women to get lots of natural folate from veggies, beans and other food sources. Not only will this help protect their embryo from neural tube defects and future asthma, it will help protect women from future cancers. These natural foods also carry lots of other nutrients, all of which contribute to healthy infants and mothers. Childhood cancers are on the upswing, and many of them could also be avoided with better prenatal nutrition.

What’s going on?

We really don’t know. One big unknown is what happens to excess folic acid when it reaches the bloodstream. There are limits to how much folic acid the intestines can change into the useable form of folate. Any excess goes into the circulation in a form that is alien to the body. Scientists haven’t figured this one out yet.

One thing we do know is that the body stores up to four months’ worth of folate, so a dietary shortage won’t manifest immediately when it isn’t consumed regularly. That assumes, of course, that the body stores are sufficient. However, when these body stores have been used up, the results can be devastating, including neural tube defects in developing embryos, resulting in spina bifida. Symptoms can include various anemias, including pernicious and macrocytic; diarrhea; weakness and shortness of breath; mental confusion and memory difficulties; peripheral neuropathy, with numbness and pain, especially in the feet and hands; depression; mouth or peptic ulcers; or swollen tongue; headaches; behavioral problems, and heart palpitations.

Elderly people who exhibit confusion and other signs suggesting dementia should be tested for folate and B12 deficiencies, since the two vitamins work together. Often they are missing intrinsic factor, which is normally produced by the stomach, and may need injections of B12 in order to absorb folate. Supplementing with methylated forms of both B12 and folate may be another solution.

Now that you know the difference in folate and folic acid, you understand the risks and benefits of eating the right foods and supplementing only with natural folate. Please spread the word by passing this blog link along to anybody you think may be interested or may benefit from what you've just learned.

This article was recently published in the Nutritional Therapist, the publication of the Nutritional Therapy Association. For more information, check and

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Is Wheat Belly making little heavier than you'd like?

I've never reviewed a book on this blog before, but this one is important, so here goes...

You eat fairly well, by the standards of most Americans. But, no matter how much weight you lose, or how carefully you follow a good dietary plan, or how much you exercise, you cannot get rid of that pesky bulge out front:  the one that makes people wonder if perhaps you are six or so months pregnant.  Most likely, you are a victim of Wheat Belly!

In his book, published this year by Rodale Press, Dr. William Davis coined the term Wheat Belly to describe the all-too-familiar sight of the bulge that frequently goes by another name, but is usually not caused by beer at all.

Davis describes the much hybridized wheat of today as scarcely related to the wheat people began eating 10,000 years ago. That wild grass, called Einkorn, changed just a little through natural hybridization, over thousands of years. But in the last 50 years it has been hybridized and changed so dramatically that its’ genome is scarcely recognizable from that of its’ ancient ancestor. What began as a four foot tall grass with 14 genes now has been dwarfed, its’ stalks made sturdier, and its’ production beefed up to the point where it has over 40 genes, many of them never before encountered by humans. Today’s wheat has far more gluten than its ancestors, giving rise to almost ubiquitous gluten intolerance and celiac disease. It even has proteins not found in any of its’ parents, including gluten structures unlike any ever seen in food before.

According to Dr Davis, this new wheat, which was never tested for safety or dietary compatibility, is at the root of most diabetes, arthritis, and the ubiquitous fattening of Western, especially American, populations. He goes on to say, “Small changes in wheat protein structure can spell the difference between a devastating immune response to wheat protein versus no immune response at all.” Translated, that means a lot more people are allergic or sensitive to today's wheat.

Today, approximately half of all calories consumed by most Americans come from carbohydrates, and 20% of those calories come from wheat. Ten thousand years ago nobody ate the kinds of wheat found today, and little of what they ate came from any form of wild grass, or Einkorn wheat. Our bodies’ requirements haven’t changed, so this is a most unnatural situation, causing a cascade of unfortunate biochemical events. These events adversely affect every organ in the body, causing breakdown, aging and degradation.

Davis has taken hundreds of patients off wheat and many have lost huge amounts of weight without any other dietary changes. Research shows that the newer wheat varieties cause cravings through peptides, called exorphins, that travel to the same brain receptors as morphine. These exorphins are seriously addicting, stimulating people to eat more wheat every couple of hours, even when they don’t feel hungry. In fact, they keep them from knowing when they are satisfied, so they consume more food overall. Research shows that people who stop eating wheat subsequently cut out close to 400 calories daily, simply because they no longer feel the urge to feed the wheat addiction.

Many people have gluten intolerance in one form or another, but few ever find out the cause of their problems. Even those who don’t test positive for gluten intolerance or wheat allergies often find symptoms improve when they stop eating wheat in any form.

People with gut symptoms should always be tested for gliaden antibodies. Even without testing, it is a good idea to emphasize the importance of getting off all wheat. But test before removing the offender from the diet, so the test will be accurate. Often relief from the pain of small intestinal villi being ravaged by gluten will come quickly with wheat elimination. Yet, interestingly, people suffering from celiac disease often crave the very wheat that is destroying their gut. Other tell-tale symptoms are blood sugars in the diabetic range and wide mood swings following wheat consumption. Not all gluten intolerants have gut symptoms, but every organ is being affected as long as they continue eating gluten.

Wheat promotes cancers, especially those of the intestinal tract. A 30-year Swedish study of 12,000 celiac patients found 30% more gastrointestinal cancers, including small intestine, liver, bile duct, pancreas, throat, and esophagus, with up to double the cancer mortality of those without celiac disease.

Yet, more often than not, celiac remains undiagnosed. Often it doesn’t carry gut symptoms at all. Yet those with undiagnosed celiac who remain on wheat and other gluten-containing grains, have a 77-fold increase in lymphoma and a 22-fold increase in cancers of the mouth, throat and esophagus.

The first thing to do if you have acid reflux is to stop eating wheat. This is often all that is needed to solve the problem. I had that experience, and help came within just a day or two of removing wheat from my diet.

Dr. Davis strongly advocates taking all diabetics and pre-diabetics off wheat, because two slices of bread spike blood sugar faster than any other food tested, including straight sugar. This is true for organic whole wheat as well as for refined white bread. After the dramatic blood sugar rise, of course, blood sugar plummets, stimulating the craving for more wheat. Once off wheat, all markers improve and normalize, including not only blood sugar, but high blood pressure, inflammation, glycation, dangerous small LDL, and triglycerides.

Diabetics age faster in every organ, developing poor circulation, atherosclerosis, vision loss, peripheral neuropathy, cataracts, and dementia earlier than the non-diabetic population. This is because they produce Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs). These AGEs are cellular debris that muck up the works, and they are directly caused by high blood sugar. Diabetics are two to five times as likely to suffer heart disease and attacks, and up to 25% of diabetics will develop kidney failure or malfunction 11 years after diagnosis. Diabetics have up to 60% more AGEs than non-diabetics. Since high blood sugar often comes from wheat consumption, you can safely say that wheat causes aging!

The formula for developing osteoarthritis, and possibly even rhumatoid arthritis includes eating lots of wheat. This causes leptin levels in the blood to soar, and this mirrors leptin levels in fluids that lubricate joints. Increased leptin levels cause inflammation, which then causes wearing of joint cartilage. All this leptin comes from the wheat bellies you see all around you. A fat belly is a leptin factory!

Americans are notoriously acidic and wheat is one of the greatest acidifiers in their diets. A study at the University of Toronto showed that increased gluten intake causes a 63% increase in urinary calcium loss, a result of blood trying to maintain its crucial pH by pulling calcium from the bones. Because most Americans and Canadians are chronically acidic, 25-year-olds now are frequently found to have bone loss. This acidity also contributes to the initiation and growth of cancer.

The brain isn’t any safer from the ravages of wheat than any other organ. A fancy name for the problem is gluten encephalopathy, and it expresses as migraine headaches and stroke-like symptoms such as loss of control of an arm or leg, visual difficulties or even difficulty speaking. 

Gluten sensitivity can cause seizures, which often occur in teenagers. This type of seizure, which occurs in the temporal lobe, just beneath the ears, causes such strange phenomena as hallucinations of smell and taste, or feelings of overwhelming fear without reason.

If all this isn’t enough to put you off wheat, listen to how it contributes to heart disease, our number one killer. Briefly, heart disease and stroke are caused by oxidation, glycation, inflammation, and high triglycerides, along with dangerous small LDL particles. These are all a result of a diet too high in carbohydrates, especially those from wheat.

In a nutshell – or more appropriately, a wheat berry – you now know a bit about the dangers of today’s forms of wheat. To understand the full picture, Wheat Belly is a well-researched good read, and Dr. William Davis is thorough, experienced, and even quite funny at times.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Friends, the more I learn, the more I realize what a deep mess our medical system is in. Large pharmaceutical companies, frequently referred to as Big Pharma, exert far too much influence on Americans today, much to our detriment. When I read the following article in an alternative newsletter I receive, I thought all of you would benefit by reading it. If it doesn't interest you, just take a pass!

The following information is reprinted with permission from Dr. Julian Whitaker's Health & Healing newsletter copyright Healthy Directions, LLC. To subscribe, visit

Dear Reader,

"The most entrenched conflict of interest in medicine is a disinclination to reverse a previous opinion."

This quote, which appeared on the cover of a recent issue of The Lancet, arguably the world's premier medical journal, is excerpted from an article by Drs. John S. Yudkin, Bernd Richter, and Edwin A.M. Gale entitled "Intensified glucose control in type 2 diabetes -- whose agenda?"

These three diabetes researchers criticize the blanket recommendation of aggressive use of oral drugs and insulin to keep blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible in patients with type 2 diabetes. They report that the four major clinical trials evaluating this approach, which involved 27,000 patients, clearly demonstrate that "tight" glucose control has no effect on stroke, blindness, kidney failure, or death from cardiovascular disease or other causes. They also note that intensified therapy is linked with weight gain, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and impairments in quality of life "equivalent to a diagnosis of angina."

If this sounds familiar, it's what I've been telling Health & Healing readers for 20 years. I often feel like Lily Tomlin, who once said, "No matter how cynical I get, I can't keep up." It's gratifying to be vindicated in a respectable medical journal, yet I seriously doubt it will have any effect on the way doctors treat their patients with diabetes. After all, that would require them to "reverse a previous opinion."

The authors of this article place much of the blame on the "synergy" and financial ties between the physician organizations that set treatment guidelines and Big Pharma. They state, "The rising prevalence of diabetes...provide[s] fertile areas for the drug industry."

This is just one "fertile area" for the pharmaceutical companies in their insatiable quest to hook you. Another is the increasing prevalence of drug ads that bombard you every time you turn on your TV or open a magazine. With tactics like these, it's no wonder we've become a "Pharmaceutical Nation."

Pharmaceutical Nation

Slick, provocative ads for prescription drugs are as common as sales pitches for automobiles. A smiling, healthy middle-aged man throws a Frisbee to a jubilant dog on a beach to extol the virtues of an arthritis drug. A depressed, anxious woman miraculously becomes the happy center of attention of her family and friends, thanks to an antidepressant.

Some ads are designed to terrify. Diagrams showing how blood clots can form in the heart, travel to the brain, and cause debilitating strokes urge you to find out if you are at risk by calling for a free book -- courtesy, naturally, of a drug company. Very concerned, perhaps frightened, you make the call.

Big Pharma spends $5 billion a year on direct-to-consumer advertising -- twice as much as they devote to researching and developing new drugs. And why not? It obviously works. Profit margins in this industry are obscenely high. But the fallout from all this brainwashing is another story. 

A Word From Our Sponsor

It may be hard to remember when pharmaceutical companies didn't plug their wares on TV, but before 1997, this practice was severely limited. That was the year the drug industry, which had been lusting after direct-to-consumer advertising for years, convinced the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that advertising drugs through broadcast media would be a valuable, educational public service.

The first pharmaceutical to capitalize on this promising new strategy was Claritin. In 1999, $137 million was spent peddling this allergy drug -- more than the advertising budgets of Budweiser or Coca-Cola! (Does anyone remember Claritin's "blue skies" campaign?) Physician visits to discuss allergies increased from about 13.5 million to 18 million that year -- and Claritin sales grew from $1.4 billion in 1997 to $2.6 billion in 2000.

As it turns out, the drug didn't perform much better than placebos! As John Abramson, MD, points out in his book Overdosed America, the manufacturer's studies showed that Claritin was only 11 percent more effective at relieving allergy symptoms than sugar pills. The minimum effective dose was 40 mg, yet they opted to go with a far less potent 10 mg product, even though it didn't work, so they could make their "claim to fame" that Claritin didn't cause drowsiness. This was a con job that even Bernie Madoff could have been proud of!

Other "success stories" from the early years include Glucophage, Lipitor, Viagra, Celebrex, and Prilosec -- some of history's highest-grossing pharmaceuticals. Today, we are inundated with provocative ads that paint prescription drugs as the answer to all our problems. Of course, advertisers are required to mention side effects, but they make sure that what sticks with the average viewer is the pain-free romp on the beach or the miraculous mood boost, not the heightened risk of heart attack, stroke, and death.

The Dark Side of Drug Ads

It might surprise you to realize that only the United States and New Zealand allow pharmaceutical companies to advertise directly to consumers. There are good reasons for this near-worldwide restriction.

First, this commercial activity obviously drives up health care costs. These advertisements always promote expensive, newer, patented drugs -- never the generics that do exactly the same thing at a fraction of the cost. They also create increased overall demand for drugs, even when they're not needed. Between 1999 -- about the time direct-to-consumer advertising really took off -- and 2009, the number of prescriptions dispensed in the United States went from 2.8 billion to 3.9 billion, for an average of 12.1 retail prescriptions for every man, woman, and child in America. That's a 39 percent increase during a decade in which our population only grew by 9 percent. In essence, our government has given Big Pharma a license to harm us and get paid big bucks to do it.

Second, it destroys the doctor-patient relationship. Each ad has the ubiquitous tagline, "Ask your doctor if this medication is right for you," which translates to "Go get this drug from your doctor." Physicians often feel pressured by patients to prescribe advertised brand name drugs, when generics or no medications at all would be more appropriate. By "suggesting" the need for specific drugs, Big Pharma has essentially adopted the role of a doctor -- with a gigantic conflict of interest.

Third, it harms patients. Every pharmaceutical has adverse effects, but the newer, heavily advertised drugs have the skimpiest safety records and, thus, the greatest potential for harm. Real-life, prolonged use almost always reveals risks and dangers that cannot be teased out in short-term clinical trials -- they can only be realized after they've damaged or killed tens of thousands of patients.

Vioxx, a COX-2 inhibitor and cousin of Celebrex, is a case in point. Senior FDA scientist David Graham, testifying before a US congressional committee, stated that this drug caused 88,000 to 138,000 heart attacks, strokes, and premature deaths from 1999 until 2004, when it was finally pulled from the market. He equated this to "500 to 900 aircraft dropping from the sky...2-4 aircraft every week, week in and week out, for the past five years." All this due to a pill people took for knee pain...and our congressional leaders knew about it!

A Very Dangerous Industry...

In addition to the preponderance of pharmaceutical ads, I'm also struck by by the increasing number of frightening commercials by law firms offering to represent people who have been damaged by prescription medications -- including the some types of meds that are being advertised! Lawsuits are pending for drug-related birth defects, heart attacks, strokes, suicides, and deaths caused by antidepressants, painkillers, cholesterol-lowering statins, diet drugs, contraceptives, and many more.

Pharmaceuticals are the most dangerous consumer products in modern society. Approximately 4.5 million visits to physicians' offices and emergency rooms every year are directly linked to adverse effects of prescription meds. And an April 2011 report by the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality revealed that in 2008, 1.9 million patients in US hospitals (nearly five percent of all hospitalizations) had "medication-related adverse outcomes." We're not talking about illicit drugs or intentional misuse. These are "side effects of prescribed drugs that were taken as directed, unintentional overdosing by the patient, and medication errors such as incorrect prescribing and dosing."

To put this into perspective, every day nearly 13,000 people have adverse drug reactions severe enough to merit a trip to their doctor or to an emergency room. And 5,400 hospitalized patients are injured by medications that are supposed to help them. The hospital statistics are particularly alarming, as they represent a 52 percent increase over 2004. These institutions are the central focus of modern conventional medicine. If they get it so terribly wrong, clearly the whole system needs to be revamped.

And a Leading Cause of Death

A landmark study published several years ago revealed that there were 106,000 fatal prescription medication adverse reactions in US hospitals per year. As alarming as this statistic is, the actual number of drug-related deaths is far greater. First, this study only counted in-hospital fatalities. And second, such adverse events are grossly underreported. For instance, if a patient dies of a heart attack while taking an oral diabetes medication -- which dramatically increases this risk -- that drug is never listed as the cause of death. Avandia triggered 83,000 cardiovascular events and an untold number of fatalities before its withdrawal from the market. Think they were codified as "death from Avandia"? Not a chance. The truth is, if such adverse side effects were routinely taken into account, prescription drugs would be our leading case of death!

So, why does nobody seem to care? We are incensed by the carnage of war and natural disasters but totally insensitive to the deaths and suffering caused by prescription drugs. Just imagine the outcry if peanut butter, shampoo, or any other consumer item you see advertised in magazines or on TV killed hundreds of thousands of people. The first thing you would do is stop using the product. It's absolutely insane that Big Pharma pockets piles of money while causing so much death and destruction, all the while claiming that their drugs are precisely what you need to get healthy.

Don't "Ask Your Doctor"

Folks, one of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to resist the temptation to "ask your doctor" about drugs you see on TV or in magazines. As I hope I've made clear, the potential risks of prescription medications are far greater than the "benefits" these multi-million-dollar ad campaigns would have you believe.

It's not as if you don't have alternatives. For more than 30 years, we've been using natural therapies at my clinic to successfully treat tens of thousands of patients with a wide variety of health concerns. On occasion, we do use prescription drugs, but they are almost always inexpensive, non-advertised generics with long-term safety records. Not surprisingly, no drug representative has set foot in my office in nearly three decades. We both know it would be a waste of time. 


* Do your best to ignore the slick drug ads.

* If your physician prescribes a new medication, lobby for non-drug alternatives. If that's not an option, ask for an older generic drug and insist on starting at the lowest dose possible. Assume that any new symptoms you develop are related to the medication and point them out to your doctor immediately.

* To learn more about the drug-free therapies offered at Whitaker Wellness Institute, call 800-488-1500.

* To find a physician in your area who has a similar approach to medicine, visit

* An excellent book on the overuse of pharmaceuticals and the incessant greed of Big Pharma is Overdosed America by John Abrahamson, MD. It's available in bookstores, online, or by calling 800-810-6655.


Abrahamson J. Overdosed America. New York: Harper Collins; 2004.

Charatan F. US prescription drug sales boosted by advertising. BMJ 2000 Sept 30;321(7264):783

Gagnon MA, et al. The cost of pushing pills: a new estimate of pharmaceutical promotion expenditures in the United States. PLoS Med. 2008 Jan 3;5(1):el.

Lucado J, et al. Medication-related adverse outcomes in US hospitals and emergency departments, 2008.

Lundy P. Prescription drug trends. Kaiser Family Foundation. May 2010.

Sakar U, et al/ Adverse drug events in US adult ambulatory medical care. Health Services Research Online, 2011.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


It’s been awhile since I’ve written. Like all of you, I’ve been busy. We took a long trip to escape a bit of winter, but got back in time for record cold and snow at the end of February, followed by rain, rain, and more rain ever since. So much for escaping winter!

Last fall I was tested and found positive for MTHFR. Since returning home I’ve been learning more about that, and find it’s a subject that affects quite a few of us – some estimate as many as 40% of Americans and even more Canadians have this problem. MTHFR is an acronym for MethylTetraHydroFolate Reductase Polymorphism. Quite a mouthful, isn’t it? Hold on, because I’m going to simplify what I’ve learned. Indeed, without a background in biochemistry, most of us wouldn’t understand much of the information on the subject. That’s because, relatively speaking, the information is new and few doctors and fewer people who are not in any medical field know anything about it. Those who are familiar with this problem roll those huge words around all the time. The rest of us need a little help.

We can thank the Human Genome Project for what is known about MTHFR. This is a defective gene causing a missing enzyme that makes it difficult or impossible to methylate folate, a B vitamin found in leafy greens and other foods. This in turn makes it difficult or impossible to clear heavy metals and other toxins through the liver. Our livers are amazing organs that perform over 500 different functions. One of the liver’s most important tasks is detoxifying all sorts of things through two different pathways, or phases. In the case of MTHFR, phase 2 detoxification doesn’t work so well. Thus, toxins like mercury from dental fillings and vaccinations, alcohol, breakdown products of metabolism, lead, and other nasties tend to build up rather than be broken down and sent packing. After years of this build-up, our bodies are ripe for some ailment. And that ailment could be something your doctor may not yet know how to help you with most effectively.

MTHFR Results

According to Mark Hyman, MD, methylation is one of the body’s most essential biochemical functions, greatly affecting the working of almost all organ systems. Methylation is continuous, happening billions of times each second. One of its most important functions is repairing damaged DNA. Because methylation is so important, methy cycle abnormalities are possibly THE root cause of most of the serious diseases that plague us today. Problems commonly associated with MTHFR include, but are not limited to:

·         Infertility in men, causing low sperm count
·         Infertility in women
·         Miscarriage
·         Preeclampsia
·         Birth defects, including Down’s Syndrome and neural tube defects such as spina bifida
·         Autism – 98 % of autistic children tested positive for MTHFR
·         Allergies
·         Depression
·         Anxiety
·         Schizophrenia
·         Diabetes
·         Peripheral neuropathy
·         IBS
·         Viral infections
·         Mononucleosis
·         Parkinson’s
·         Migraine, especially the aura type
·         Susceptibility to addictions
·         Heart disease
·         Fibromyalgia
·         Autoimmune diseases of all sorts
·         Blood clots
·         Stroke
·         Arteriosclerosis
·         Osteoporosis
·         Short term memory problems
·         Dementia
·         Alzheimer’s
·         Cancer, especially breast, colon and pancreatic. This likely explains why I developed breast cancer.

Heavy metal accumulation

That’s quite a list, isn’t it? But wait, there’s more! Over time, as heavy metals are retained in the body, the burden becomes so great it causes its own set of symptoms:

·         Shyness and social difficulties or withdrawal
·         OCD
·         Bipolar disorder
·         Schizophrenia
·         Aggression
·         Tantrums
·         Poor concentration
·         Premature graying
·         Hair loss
·         Liver and kidney problems
·         Colon and pancreatic cancer
I’ve researched and gathered information from a number of doctors’ and researchers’ websites, so there is some overlap here.
Is there anything good associated with MTHFR? Oddly enough, it is often associated with genius. And one website said that in some cases it helps prevent cancer. I’m not sure how they figure it both causes and prevents cancer.

There are over 50 variants of this genetic defect, but currently there are tests only for two of them. I’m sure more tests will be forthcoming. One variant is C677T, the other A1298C. You have to inherit one gene from each parent. There are six variations possible from these two variants. Those with either two C677T or two A1298C are more prone to depression, addiction and environmental damage because lead, mercury and pesticides do not clear well. People with the severest symptoms are those who inherit one of each type. This combination shows increases in strokes, heart disease and blood clots as well.

How to find out…

There are tests your doctor can order for MTHFR, including:

·         MTHFR is the initial test for the gene defect.
·         HbA1C is an estimate of glucose intolerance. If it is in the 5.5-8 range it may be more difficult to dose the methyl B12 and it should be given daily.
·         Complete blood count, which can show if you have a type of anemia indicated by large red blood cells, with a mean corpuscular volume (MCV) greater than 95 which can signal methylation difficulties.
·         Homocysteine. Many doctors now order this as a measure of inflammation and heart disease. A measurement of less than 13 is considered normal, but Dr Hyman says the ideal level is probably between six and eight.
·         Serum or urinary methylmalonic acid. This test for B12 insufficiency is important. However, it can be elevated even with normal B12 or homocysteine levels.
·         Specific urinary amino and organic acids. This is another way of testing for metabolic disorders of vitamins B6, B12 and folate. It may indicate something not found by the previous tests. This is important because the three B vitamins are all essential to the methylation process.

The good news…

Should you find you are positive for MTHFR, the good news is that you can do a lot to help yourself better methylate folate and B12. Most of the following involve diet and supplements, and, in some cases, a prescription for a stronger methylated form of folate than you can buy over the counter.

  • It’s important to eat a nutrient-dense diet and maximize digestion and absorption. Keep in mind that everything you put into your mouth either supports health or helps tear it down, and opt for support every time you can.
  •  Eat lots of leafy greens. Be sure to eat at least four to five servings of veggies every day, and make a big part of those spinach, mustard, turnip greens, collard greens, beet greens, Swiss chard, bok choi, escarole, and watercress. All those leaves are packed with folate, nature’s own B vitamin, which is much healthier for your body than synthetic folic acid*. You’ll also find folate in eggs, broccoli, oranges and orange juice, peas and beans.
  • Since the other B vitamins are very important to methylation, eat rich sources of the B complex every day, including sunflower seeds, unsweetened whole milk yogurt with live cultures if you tolerate milk, wheat germ if you’re not allergic to wheat, nutritional yeast, walnuts, asparagus, whole grains, liver and almonds.
  • We all need protein, but most of us think we need more than we do. If you eat animal protein, keep amounts small and use it more as an ingredient than as the main event. Most adults need only about 45-50 grams daily. A piece of meat, fish or fowl the size of a deck of cards – a single deck - has about 15 grams. Two eggs have about 12 grams.
  • Eat your food fresh and much of it raw. Cooking, canning, freezing, indeed any processing depletes nutrients. Eat local when possible. The longer veggies travel the more nutrition they lose.
  •  We have huge amounts of bacteria in our digestive tract. Called gut flora, these little critters need to be in a healthy balance. That subject would take an article of its own, but you can help these important little critters by taking probiotics, eating raw fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, unsweetened yogurt, kombucha and kifer, and staying away from sugar and refined grains.
  • Great health requires good digestion, but most of us don’t make enough hydrochloric acid (HCl) after age 40, despite TV ads for acid blocking medicines to the contrary. So take HCl supplements. Call me, or another Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, if you need instructions for how to find your correct dose.
  •  If you have MTHFR you need a protocol of supplements that help your body do the methylating job required to detox heavy metals. I’ll address that protocol later in this article.
  •  Avoid sugar like the plague it causes! While you’re doing that, avoid trans fats from shortening, margarine and processed foods. Avoid supermarket vegetable oils. Use only expeller pressed or cold pressed oils – mostly extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, hempseed and flax oils. Never heat hemp or flax oils. Heat damages their fragile omega 3 fats that most of us get far too little of. Never heat any fats and oils too hot, as this turns them into trans fats, which are extremely harmful to your body.
  • Avoid all processed and refined foods, especially things made with white flour and sugar.
  •  Avoid caffeine. Wean yourself off coffee by diluting the grounds with decaf, a bit more every few days, until you’re caffeine-free without the headaches of sudden withdrawal. Caffeine depletes B vitamins.
  • Alcohol also depletes B vitamins, so if you drink, keep it down to only three glasses of wine or beer weekly.
  • Smoking depletes B6, so, if you haven’t stopped by now, perhaps this will supply added incentive.
  • Avoid medications that interfere with folate methylation, including methotrexate, used for cancer treatment; cholesterol-lowering drugs; anti-inflammatory drugs like sulfasalazine; biguanide drugs like buformin, phenformin, or metformin used for diabetes; birth control pills; diuretics, and some anti-seizure drugs.

Folate or Folic Acid?

*Before we get into the protocol for enhancing methylation, let’s talk a bit about the difference in folate and folic acid. Most of us are used to the term folic acid. Indeed, even my computer’s grammar checker knows that one, but it frowns, with a squiggly red underline, on the word folate. Yet folate is the natural form of B vitamin which is intrinsic, along with help from B12, B6 and a few minerals, to the methylation process. Folic acid, on the other hand, is the man-made or faux form, which doesn’t work the same way at all. Dr Fuhrman published an important article on the differences in how these two nutrients work in the body. I learned the information shared below from his website.

Dr Fuhrman gives facts and figures showing how very differently they each affect our bodies. Here’s a real zinger: In an article published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers collected data on womens’ folic acid intake from multivitamins over a 10 year period. They found that women who took multivitamins containing folic acid were more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than those who did not.

He reports that in another study people taking folic acid for more than three years increased their risk of having a colorectal adenoma by 35%!

Folic acid, which is now in almost all prenatal vitamins, was found to increase the risk of childhood asthma by 26%! At another site I learned that a Johns Hopkins research study of more than 8,000 people found those with higher levels of folate had fewer IgE antibodies, showing they had fewer allergies and less asthma. Those with the lowest folate levels had a 40% greater risk of wheezing than people with the highest levels.

In a six-year Norwegian study, it was learned that those taking folic acid along with other B vitamins were 43% more likely to die from cancer than those who did NOT supplement with this artificial form of the vitamin.

Look out, folks! Folic acid, not the natural folate, is in almost all multivitamins and prenatal vitamins. Yet folic acid is chemically very different from folate. The body uses it differently. There are limits to how much folic acid the intestines can change into a more useable form of folate, and the excess, unmodified folic acid goes into the circulation in unmodified, alien form. And, though scientists don’t even know what this excess folic acid circulating in our bodies does, it is mandated to be added to flour and vitamin products! It’s possible, even likely, that an even larger cancer epidemic is developing because of this.

Instead of encouraging pregnant women to get lots of natural folate from veggies and beans, they are all taking folic acid, which is putting them at risk of breast cancer down the road. Not only this, but there are many other nutrients found in green veggies that these women aren’t getting, and therefore their fetuses aren’t getting, because they likely feel the vitamin supplements cover all the bases. Childhood cancers are on the upswing, yet many of these cancers could be avoided with better prenatal nutrition.

On the other hand, people NOT taking folic acid, but getting folate from food, have less cancer, based on the level of folate they consume. The more they folate they eat, the less cancer they have. Thus, the natural form is protective, while the artificial form promotes cancer.

Dr Fuhrman’s site has a chart showing how much folate is in a 100 calorie serving of many foods. Unfortunately, this chart has limitations, because it doesn’t tell you how big a serving holds 100 calories. Any idea how many spinach leaves it takes to add up to that? I suppose there is another chart somewhere that does, but it would be a tedious conversion.

And the protocol?

Dr. Neil Rawlins, who, along with everybody in his family, is positive for MTHFR, posted a simple protocol on his website. It consists of specific amounts of high dose methylated folate. Methylated B12, NAC, or N Acetyl Cysteine, full spectrum minerals, vitamins B6, C, E, zinc, omega 3 sources, milk thistle or silymarin herb, and glutathione, along with Epsom salts baths to help the body absorb magnesium and sulfate, both important in the methylation process. For specifics, go to To hear Dr. Rawlins give an informative talk on the subject, go to