Salt: friend or foe?

Just recently, a long-time patient of mine brought me a copy of an article on salt and asked me to read it. The article, entitled “Health advice takes a pinch of salt” was from a publication named The Costco Connection that I had never heard of or seen before.

My patient told me that reading the article felt to him like listening to me talk, and he was sure that I would enjoy it as well. As it turns out I did. I found the article well-written and well-referenced, and it reminded me of a similar article I had read just a few months earlier in the New York Times.

The point of the article was that salt is widely believed among medical professionals and the public at large to cause high blood pressure, which then leads to heart attacks, stroke, and other cardiovascular ailments.

However, the link between salt consumption and high blood pressure has never been proved conclusively. The belief that there is such a link stems more from medical bias than scientific evidence. It is true that an observational study published in 1972 showed that among populations that used little added salt in their food high blood pressure was rare. One minor detail that was overlooked was that these same populations also did not eat sugar or processed food – two far more likely culprits in my opinion, than salt. Read More »

Essential minerals: supercharge your (or your child’s) diet with homemade beef bone stock

When it comes to maintaining or regaining health, nothing plays as important a role as proper mineral balance in the body. Although we no longer hear much about it

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, leading experts in the field of nutritional medicine sounded the alarm as early as the 1930’s and 40’s: modern agricultural practices were depleting the soil, generating widespread mineral deficiencies and imbalances. This in turn left us vulnerable to weakened immunity, digestive and nervous system disorders, and more. When combined with the dramatic spread of environmental chemicals and other toxins over the past half century, the recipe for disaster is complete.

Those sounding the alarm were the likes of Henry Bieler, MD, and Max Gerson, MD. Dr. Bieler wrote the book “Food is Your Best Medicine.” He believed in drug-free medicine and was well-known at the time for being the personal physician to Greta Garbo and other stars. He was also known because his patients had a habit of living well into their nineties. Dr. Gerson authored “A Cancer Therapy.” He used food, vegetable juices, and little else to successfully treat diseases ranging from migraines to diabetes and even cancer.

Mineral supplements can help correct deficiency in some instances; however, many essential minerals are poorly absorbed from supplements. In addition, manmade supplements that are not properly balanced can aggravate any existing imbalance. The bottom line is that only natural unprocessed foods contain minerals in optimal ratios and, in fact, the body is ideally suited to absorb minerals from food rather than supplements.
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Healing and the ocean

I grew up by the sea and often tell people that the ocean is in my blood. Recently I came across some fascinating old research that made me think that this is true in a far more literal sense than I had ever thought possible.

The research dates back to the early 1900s and was conducted by French biologist and self-taught physician Rene Quinton. In analyzing the composition of human plasma and that of ocean water, and superimposing the two, Quinton observed that they are virtually identical – the only real difference between the two being that ocean water is three times more concentrated than plasma.

Quinton attributed this difference to the fact that, since life originated in the ocean millions of years ago, seawater has become more concentrated. His conclusion was that we all still carry original ocean water in our blood. Human (and animal) plasma, in his view, is a “marine environment.”

To prove his point Quinton carried out a series of experiments that later came to be known as the “dog studies.” Though we are no longer accustomed to studies being performed on dogs, in his day dogs and cats were often used for medical research.
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NDSAIDs And Acetaminophen Associated With High Blood Pressure

Recently I was shocked to hear on the evening news that, as Americans age, most if not all of us are projected to develop high blood pressure. I asked myself how this could be, as high blood pressure is certainly not a normal part of aging.

A large-population study, performed on more than 80,000 women, sheds at least some light on this mystery. The study uncovered that common over-the-counter and prescription pain medications have a strong association with high blood pressure (Arch Intern Med, 2002; 162:2204-2208 “In addition to their antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving effects, analgesics may interfere with blood pressure regulation”).

Unquestionably, pain is a part of aging in our society and many people take acetaminophen and NSAIDS on a daily basis. Now we know that this type of frequent use is not free of risk.

Although these medications provide quick relief for occasional pain, there are natural approaches that have been proven to work as well or better in the long term without nasty side effects. These include dietary supplements like glucosamine and fish oil, and herbs like Boswellia. Some of these supplements also help lower elevated blood pressure. The nature of the pain should be the determining factor in selecting the most appropriate supplement or mix of supplements.