Catching happiness

Evidence has been mounting that chronic low-grade inflammation in the body plays a role in causing every modern malady: from cancer and heart disease, to brain disorders including Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, autism, and now it seems depression and anxiety too.

However, where this inflammation comes from is not always clear. A study now reveals that airborne pollutants lead to widespread inflammation in the body by activating a certain pro-inflammatory component of the immune system (read about this study here:

How we go from the immune system to the brain is a different story. In fact, modern medicine has long held that what happens in the immune system has no bearing on the nervous system or the brain. The reason is that the nervous system is protected by a so-called Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) that keeps the immune system and all of its components from making contact with the delicate structures of the brain.

This seems pretty clear-cut but things are often not as they seem. A fascinating new article in the journal New Scientist entitled “Happiness is catching” reveals that inflammation causes the BBB to break down

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, making it leaky and enabling components of the immune system to reach the brain with sometimes dramatic consequences. Read More »

Spirulina for radiation, mercury detoxification and health

The tragic earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan last month brought about death and destruction at a level that most of us cannot fathom. The ensuing explosions and near-meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant gave this tragedy a dimension never seen in the past.

Miles of densely populated land had to be evacuated. Within a matter of days radiation was detected in food and even the water supply and, tragically, the consequences of these events will be felt for decades to come among the Japanese people.

It only took a few short weeks for radiation from the Fukushima plant to be detected throughout the planet reminding us once again of how small and connected our world really is. Measurable levels of radiation were found in both the East and West coast of the US as well as in several countries in Europe. Wherever you are at the present time you can be sure that some radiation from Japan has already reached you.

At the same time experts from around the globe have been assuring us that levels of radiation detected in Western countries are minimal and pose no risk even to newborn babies. Can such reassurances be trusted? Read More »

6 supplements that really work

As a nutritionist I am very aware that some in my profession have a bad reputation for putting people on a long list of supplements that do little or no good. Whenever feasible, I always look for the smallest number of supplements that will do the job. Here are six supplements that I have found to be particularly effective either on their own or when taken with just a few other products.

If you like this article, post a comment below or email me and next month I’ll cover a few more of these supplements. There are probably a dozen more that could fit in this category.

1. BioEssence: immune system support
This was the first Chinese herbal combination I started to use in my practice based on the recommendation of a friend from Tennessee

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, Dr. Dan Kalb, who used to head the Family Practice department at St. Joseph Medical Center in Houston. It turned out to be incredibly effective for everything connected with the immune system. This includes rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout, skin disorders including eczema and psoriasis, not to mention allergies and asthma.

What amazed me the most about this herbal combination is that it does not work by suppressing the immune system, like western drugs for these conditions do, and has few or no side effects. I will not claim that is works in every case, but it does often enough, and when it does the results can be almost miraculous and remarkably fast.

Results I saw with this product gave me the incentive I needed to study Chinese herbal medicine, and I am glad I embarked on this project because it is now enabling me to help many more people in ways I couldn’t do before.
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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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Natural Treatments for Allergies, Colds and Flu, and Bacterial Infections

In this piece I am going to discuss several specific brand-name products, something I have not done in the past in my newsletter to avoid appearing commercial. On the other hand there is no other way for me convey this information without sharing with readers the products I have used in some cases for years and that have worked for me and for my patients.

Rest assured that this is not commercially driven and that no one is paying me to promote their products, something I would definitely find objectionable and would never agree to do. Further proof of this is that the products I mention are from different manufacturers and reflect the brands I have found to be most valuable for each application. You can search for the products I am recommending under their respective names and I am sure you will find different sources for each one of them. At the same time, these products are all available from my office or online store, which is a supplement website I started for the convenience of people ordering supplements from out of town and those who prefer online ordering.

As I am sure you noticed when reading the email reprinted above, diet plays a big role in strengthening the immune system, breaking the cycle of illness and strange as it may seem even reversing allergies to airborne substances like pollen or dust.
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Systemic enzymes: the natural solution for inflammation, pain and more

The expression “systemic enzymes” refers to enzymes taken between meals on an empty stomach, as opposed to digestive enzymes taken with food. When enzymes are taken between meals they are absorbed and have effects that are systemic, or throughout the body. By contrast, digestive enzymes are designed primarily to support digestion.

The very idea that enzymes could be absorbed when taken by mouth was initially questioned because enzymes are large proteins and the body typically digests protein down to its amino acid components and only absorbs those.

However, research conducted by Max Wolf MD, PhD at Columbia University through the 1970’s proved definitively that enzymes are absorbed and not digested. Nevertheless, skepticism and prejudice regarding enzyme absorption continues to be widespread in the medical community and many college nutrition texts continue to state that enzymes cannot be absorbed. The research on enzyme absorption is reviewed in the booklet “Enzymes, the Fountain of Life” available for a nominal charge from

The discovery that the body is capable of absorbing enzymes without digesting them provides further evidence of the central role they play in health. The mechanism of enzyme absorption may have evolved to conserve and recycle enzymes once digestion was complete or to absorb enzymes found in food, as most foods in their natural fresh state are rich in enzymes.

In fact, enzymes play many critical roles in health, and digestion is only one of these. Enzymes are the key that enables chemical reactions to take place inside the body. Without enzymes there can be no metabolic activity, and life as we know it would come to an end. Scientists have identified 3,000 enzymes in the human body that are responsible for carrying out thousands of chemical reactions each on a daily basis. Even though there are so many different enzymes, most of them are derivatives of protein-digesting (proteolytic) enzymes, and these can be taken as supplements.

To get an idea of the importance of enzymes in health, consider that all the B vitamins we take have only one function in the body: to act as coenzymes, critical components that activate enzymes. Minerals themselves act primarily as catalysts, another essential prerequisite for enzyme to work. If you ever wondered why some people do so well with B vitamins, whereas others don’t seem to respond at all, the answer may be that those who do not respond are deficient in enzymes. You cannot facilitate the action of something that is not there!

It is a fact that we are born with the capacity to produce all the enzymes we need, but at different times we can lose this capability for a variety of reasons, including poor diet, viral or other infection, and exposure to mercury or other toxins. Aging itself causes us to lose the ability to make enough enzymes, and the first thing we may need to do to combat any effects of aging is to replenish our enzymes.

The benefits of systemic enzymes are also backed by substantial research. Just typing in a few keywords in PubMed – the internet service that provides access to medical research – yields hundreds of entries. I will not cover this research here but will include a few links at the end of this article for anyone wanting to know more. In summary, there are five different areas of health in which systemic enzymes have been found to have benefits. Each of these areas is covered briefly below:

1. Fighting inflammation
Acute inflammation is a healthy process that enables us to fight off infections or initiate recovery from trauma. However, chronic inflammation is purely destructive and results from the body’s inability to shut down the inflammatory process when it is no longer needed. As I often say to people, pain from an injury is normal during recovery, but pain that lasts months or years with no sign of abating indicates that something in the body has gone awry. Today, this type of chronic pain is our countryís Number One epidemic, accounting for more visits to doctors’ offices than any other cause.

But chronic inflammation is more that just pain. For example, a marker in blood called high sensitivity C-reactive protein (HS-CRP) was found to be a better predictor of heart disease than high cholesterol, cholesterol ratios or anything else. HS-CRP is nothing other than an indicator of chronic inflammation. The more scientists learn about inflammation the more it becomes apparent that it plays a role either in causing or establishing a favorable environment for the development of almost all diseases of aging, from cancer to diabetes, and even neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

Systemic enzymes have been shown repeatedly in research to alleviate chronic inflammation and pain. Studies comparing various enzyme formulations to medications have typically found that enzymes work as well as or better than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in controlling pain. The major differences are that enzymes take longer to start working and several pills need to be taken multiple times a day for optimal benefits.

Another important difference is how they work. Medications including aspirin, ibuprofen, Celebrex, Vioxx and other NSAIDs all work by suppressing the bodyís production of chemicals known as prostaglandins. Some prostaglandins cause inflammation and pain, while others play important roles in protecting the intestinal lining, the heart, or the kidneys. As a result, all these medications have side effects that range from stomach irritation and ulcers to heart disease and death.

By contrast, enzymes work by enhancing the body’s inborn mechanisms to control pain and inflammation. They normalize immune function by breaking down abnormal proteins known as circulating immune complexes (CICs) that keep triggering the inflammatory cycle. They also help reduce swelling and literally digest away irritating protein deposits in joints and other inflamed areas of the body.

A type of enzyme that has been shown to be particularly helpful in controlling inflammation is the pineapple-derived enzyme bromelain. Although taking bromelain alone can help, studies and clinical practice indicate that enzyme combinations that include bromelain alongside other enzymes work best by creating synergistic effects.

In hundreds and possibly thousands of studies on the anti-inflammatory actions of systemic enzymes, no adverse effects have ever been identified, only added benefits, some of which are reviewed in the sections below.

2. Breaking down fibrosis and scarring
Enzymes are also helpful is controlling or reversing the deposition of fibrin in tissues. This is often a result of aging and loss of the body’s ability to produce its own enzymes that naturally control fibrin deposition. Fibrin ends up choking off the supply of blood and nutrients to peripheral areas of the body, leading to hardening and drying up of organs and other tissues that were once soft and pliable.

In certain conditions, this process is particularly severe. In fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by diffuse and unrelenting muscle pain, fibrin deposits in muscle tissue can be demonstrated microscopically. In this condition the pain is not a result of inflammation and is typically not alleviated by NSAIDs. However, it often responds to high doses of systemic enzymes as these slowly break down and dissolve fibrin deposits.

Other conditions associated with fibrin buildup include fibrocystic breast disease, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and even arterial sclerotic plaque. All of these conditions can be helped to varying degrees with systemic enzymes.

Scar tissue formation after surgery can also be a severe problem and may even require a second surgery for its removal. Research has shown that systemic enzymes help speed up recovery from surgery while reducing swelling and scar tissue formation. Given enough time and sufficient doses, enzymes can also break down existing scar tissue.

An enzyme called serrapeptase or serratia peptidase has been shown to be particularly helpful in this area. It is produced by the larval forms of the silk moth that use it break down their cocoon walls, one of the most fibrous substances known in nature. Like bromelain, serrapeptase has also been studied for its anti-inflammatory effects but seems to excel at breaking down fibrin deposits and scar tissue. Some doctors have even used it to help clear arterial plaque, although evidence of its benefits in this area is scant and there are no published studies to confirm it.

3. Cleansing the blood
We all know that blood distributes nutrients to tissues, but what we may not think of is that it also collects garbage produced by cell metabolism throughout the body. It is then the liver’s job to break down this metabolic waste and package it for excretion from the body. However, it is easy to see how, in today’s toxic environment, the liver can become overwhelmed and no longer able do this very efficiently.

In addition, various proteins including fibrin, plasmin, and others can build up in blood causing it to become thick and sticky, and increasing the risk of stroke and heart attack.

Systemic enzymes have been shown to break down metabolic waste enabling the body to easily eliminate it. They also break down the proteins that lead to clot formation, effectively thinning the blood and improving its flow characteristics.

The only caution here is for people already on blood-thinning medications such as Coumadin, Heparin or Plavix. These people should only take enzymes under direct medical supervision while at the same time cutting back their medications. As the enzymes reduce the need for these drugs, they also increase the drugsí effectiveness, leading to a risk of overdosing and spontaneous bleeding.

Although all systemic enzymes have some blood-thinning effects, an enzyme called nattokinase has been researched specifically and found the particular benefits in this area. It is derived from a fermented soybean product called natto used in traditional Japanese medicine for thousands of years. In Japan, natto is believed to increase longevity, strengthen the heart and sharpen the mind. Modern researchers have found it to have potent blood-thinning actions resulting from its capacity to digest proteins that lead to clot formation. Unlike blood-thinning medications it does not have a toxic dose and will not lead to spontaneous bleeding at any level of intake.

4. Normalizing immune function
Systemic enzymes have been shown to have an adaptogenic (normalizing) effect on the immune system. This involves stimulating immune function, in conditions involving immune deficiency, and calming down the immune system in conditions associated with excessive immune activation, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

5. Fighting viruses
There are a number of studies showing that systemic enzymes have antiviral effects. In some studies enzymes were shown to have similar effects to medications like Acyclovir in controlling shingles and other herpes-related conditions. Other studies have shown that enzymes can slow down viral replication in HIV and hepatitis C.

The action of enzymes in this area is surely complex but results at least in part from strengthening and normalizing immune function. It also appears that enzymes have a direct action to neutralize viruses by “digesting” proteins they use to attach to and infect human cells.

Useful links and references:

The book “The Aspirin Alternative” available from reviews some of the research on systemic enzymes. Although interesting, this book promotes a specific product that may no longer the best choice.

The website also contains a number of interesting articles on enzymes and some references to published research. This site also promotes a specific line of products.

The site contains information and research on a line of products this company produces. In my experience these products are well-formulated and produce excellent results although unfortunately quite expensive.

Top-quality vitamin manufacturer Thorne has an excellent review of the research on the pineapple-derived enzyme bromelain at Keep in mind, however, that enzymes like bromelain work best in combination with other enzymes. In addition, some people – including many children with autism – have trouble tolerating fruit enzymes like bromelain.

The enzyme serrapeptase is sometimes called the “butterfly enzyme” although this is not truly accurate as in reality it is made by a moth. In any case it is also very effective either as an alternative to bromelain or in combination with it. Find references to research on this enzyme at

The site provides a nice description and review of the research on nattokinase. Although they also sell this product I am not familiar with this company or the quality of their products.

Could a hidden virus be the common link in autism, chronic fatigue syndrome and others

A virus is nothing more than a submicroscopic gene fragment covered in a fat or protein envelope. On their own viruses are completely harmless and basically inert; yet we all know they can have devastating effects when they gain access to the body.

When a virus enters the body, the immune system recognizes it because of the protein markers, called antigens, it carries. This recognition leads the body to mount an inflammatory response that accounts for symptoms such as fever, aches, and so on. In most cases this response succeeds in clearing the virus from the body.

Some viruses are known to resist this assault by the immune system and set up permanent residence inside the body. Some, like hepatitis C or HIV, cause progressive destruction of their target cells and tissues, eventually leading to death. Others, like herpes, lie dormant, basically doing nothing, until stress or some other factor weakens the body’s resistance and they then suddenly “wake up” and start causing trouble once again.

But what if there was a “new” type of virus that found a way to mutate and lose its marker proteins so that the immune system could no longer recognize it? It would be able to enter the body and cause trouble undisturbed. Not only that, it would also be very difficult to establish who has this virus and who doesn’t, given that we usually test for the presence of viruses by measuring markers of the immune response.
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An aspirin a day causes breast cancer?

When it comes to drugs we think are safe, aspirin has to be at the top of the list. It’s been around forever and, yes, we all know it can cause ulcers if taken to excess, but no one thinks of it as dangerous. Can it actually cause cancer?

This is exactly what a recent study seems to imply. The study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (June 1, 2005, Vol. 97, No. 11: 805-12) evaluated data on some 114,000 women aged 22 to 85 who participated in the California Teachers Study.

Researchers concluded that women who took an aspirin a day for five years or longer suffered a dramatic increase in non-hormone-sensitive breast cancer. Not only that, the study concluded that women who took ibuprofen every day for the same period also experienced a rise in breast cancer rates, in this case of all types of breast cancer.

The first to be surprised were the researchers themselves, who had expected to discover another hidden benefit of these drugs. University of Southern California researcher Sarah Marshall stated: “We were expecting ibuprofen to reduce the risk, and the same for aspirin.” Although the American Cancer Society issued a statement suggesting the results of this study may be due to chance, this seems unlikely considering the very large size of the population analyzed.

From a natural medicine point of view there has never been a need for daily aspirin or ibuprofen and, in fact, certain types of digestive enzymes taken between meals seem to do everything these medications do – except better. A detailed discussion of the benefits of enzymes can be found in the book The Aspirin Alternative, by Michael Loes, MD available from

But could enzymes also cause some kind of mischief with long-term use? The question is worth raising although the answer is most likely to be negative because in every direction we look enzymes seem to work by strengthening the immune system, reducing inflammation, and promoting recovery from injury. A different, but related type of enzymes is being used as the critical component of a non-toxic cancer treatment program that has been validated by research. If you are interested in learning more about enzyme therapy in cancer I suggest you visit

New evidence on harm from chemical mixtures

Many of us remember what seemed at the time to be an isolated case of an autism epidemic in the early 1990’s in Brick Township, New Jersey. At first, contaminated drinking water was the Number One suspect because chemical wastes dumped in the town’s landfill over a period of years had contaminated the city’s drinking water with the chemicals bromoform, chloroform, and tetrachloroethylene.

However, a detailed analysis conducted by scientists from the U.S. Government concluded that the level of these chemicals in water was simply not sufficient to have damaged the nervous systems of developing infants of even fetuses.

When the Brick Township autism epidemic merged into a national epidemic many of us forgot about it or concluded that maybe it wasn’t really any different from what was going on nationwide.

However, new research is sparking a renewed interest in the Brick Township story. As it turns out, in reaching their conclusions the government scientists only analyzed the effects of each chemical on its own whereas, quite obviously, exposure was to all three of them at the same time.

Carol Reinisch, an expert in chemical-induced neurotoxocity, wondered if looking at these chemicals together might tell a different story. Her lab started to research this combination using surf clam embryos as models. The reason why research done on embryonic development of clams is considered valid for humans is that the most basic early nervous system development is the same across all species.

Her findings are truly disturbing. When tested individually or in pairs, these chemicals produce no damage, even at much higher concentrations than those found in the water at Brick Township. However, when all three are present at the same time they alter nervous system development. To read about this research go to

To more conclusively establish whether these chemicals actually caused the autism epidemic, the study should be repeated using some type of mammal.

This type of study does make me wonder what exactly is going on throughout our country and the world. A brand new study that analyzed ten samples of umbilical cord blood in the U.S. found 287 chemicals, including 209 never before detected in cord blood. These chemicals included mercury, fire retardants, pesticides, and Teflon. Find a detailed report about this study at

Knowledge is often the first step towards recovery and the new website offers some interesting data. You can go there and find the environmental contaminants that are most prevalent in your area, as well as how your county stacks up against the rest of the country. Predictably, Harris County doesn’t look too good.

New infant vaccine announced

Pharmaceutical giant Merck recently announced that, in response to “market demand,” it will soon release a new infant vaccine called ProQuad that is widely expected to replace the MMR. It will combine four live virus vaccines: measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (chicken pox).

From a purely practical standpoint, the more vaccines you combine, and the fewer the shots, the better; but is anyone at Merck thinking about what is this likely to do to the immune systems and development of susceptible infants?

Live viruses in vaccines are the very same ones that cause the diseases for which they immunize, except that they have been “attenuated” or weakened and supposedly made harmless in the laboratory. These weakened viruses lose the capacity to induce the actual disease, but they still carry markers that trigger an immune response and this later protects children from the actual disease.

This sounds just great, except that it doesn’t quite track what ends up happening to the live viruses once they’re injected into infants’ bodies. If they’re just harmlessly excreted, fine. But what if somehow they are able to mutate or cause a different kind of trouble in the presence of a weak immune system or other unknown risk factors?

Evidence that this can happen in susceptible individuals is mounting. Studies performed by Andrew Wakefield, MD and others show that the measles virus persists in the digestive tracts of autistic children whose only exposure to this disease was through vaccines. Once in the gut this virus is believed to cause chronic inflammation leading to classic symptoms of diarrhea, constipation and poor digestion so often seen in autism. Find a list of these studies at

Other interesting research shows that active viruses suppress the production of glutathione (GSH) in the body (J Biol Chem 1997 Jan 31; 272 (5): 2700-8). GSH is a protein the body makes and that it needs to eliminate a broad range of toxins from mercury to toxic chemicals. The inhibition of GSH is usually temporary, and after recovery from a virus the GSH production rapidly returns to baseline. But what if the virus persists, as Dr. Wakefield has shown can happen in autism? It is likely that this might lead to long-term GSH inhibition and may explain why chelation, a treatment to remove mercury and other metals, is so helpful for many autistic children.

An even better way to address this problem would be to exercise more caution with live virus vaccines, at least until all the answers are in!

When “Dogtor J” talks, smart people listen!

Just a few weeks ago, as I was searching for specific information relating to gluten, I came across a different kind of website by a vet who calls himself “Dogtor J.” The address is

The design of this website is intriguing, with the top of every page showing an attractive picture of a dog – quite a treat for a dog lover like myself! It took me a while to understand why this site would even have come up on a Google search for amino acid content of gluten, but then I realized that it was no mistake because the site is actually full of pertinent information.

It’s easy to get lost in the site as there are pages upon pages of information on a broad range of pet and human conditions linked to food intolerance, and other philosophical dissertations on diet and the history of food. Since I was about to leave town to attend a conference in Boston I decided to print a few pages and read them on the way. I ended up printing more than fifty pages, but they made for great airplane reading!
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Environmental chemicals and detoxification

When we read or hear about mercury as the cause of autism or any other illness we should remember that this is only one piece of the puzzle. Being able to single out just one cause would be wonderful, but reality is rarely so simple. Evidence continues to mount that there is an epidemic of autism even without mercury in vaccines, and recent data from the State of California shows that the incidence of autism continues to climb even after mercury was banned from vaccines. (Note: someone recently asked me why autism is so prevalent in California, but the reality is that California just has a better system to track it. Here in Texas and in other states we have no idea how prevalent it is).

Environmental chemicals are another big piece of the puzzle, and it doesn’t even matter if you’re dealing with autism, other neurological disorders, cancer, or even high blood pressure: toxic chemicals play a part in all of these. They disrupt the nervous and immune systems. They have been linked with Parkinson’s disease, chronic fatigue, MS and the list goes on.

Chemicals are also harder to identify and test for than mercury and can sometimes cause damage at minuscule concentrations such as parts per billion. Where you’ve been or what you have been exposed to doesn’t even matter, they’re under your kitchen sink and everywhere!
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Antibiotics, yeast and allergies

I know that the prevailing view is that allergies are genetic, but I disagree and for years I have been telling my patients or their parents that allergies come from the gut. Although some people do pay attention when I say this, more often than not I see eyes roll in disbelief.

Finally, a new study from the University of Michigan Medical School (Infect Immun 2005 Jan; 73 (1): 30-8) confirms just what I have been preaching all along, and I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Researchers started out with healthy laboratory mice and treated half of them with antibiotics. As pointed out in the study, in addition to killing their intended targets, antibiotics also disrupt the intestinal flora and enable the yeast Candida albicans to grow unimpeded. This outcome is further aggravated by a high sugar and refined-carbohydrate diet; just what children (and many adults) eat today.
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Asthma and Allergies: The New Epidemic

An excellent review article recently published in the journal Allergy (2001;56:91-102) discusses the current epidemic of allergic disorders in children and its possible causes. In its introduction, the article points out that the prevalence of asthma in children and young adults has tripled or quadrupled over the last two decades.

Although air pollution is frequently blamed, the authors found little evidence in the research literature to support this hypothesis. They also reported that there is insufficient data to conclude that hormones in the food supply or chemicals in the environment play a role.

However, the authors did find evidence that excessive antibiotics and vaccines are likely causes. Though antibiotics clearly have their place and vaccines have helped eliminate such dreaded diseases as polio, the issue is the indiscriminate use of antibiotics and the trend to inoculate infants and small children with every vaccine available.

The article does not discuss this issue, but limits itself to reviewing various studies that have shown a significant relationship between increased antibiotic and vaccine use and the prevalence of allergic disorders.

For example, a Swedish study found a positive correlation between the MMR vaccine and allergies. Numerous other studies have shown that exposure to infectious agents early in life seems to prime the immune system and prevent the development of allergies later on, and both antibiotics and vaccines limit this exposure. It has also been shown that repeated or long-term antibiotics disrupt the normal bacterial balance of the intestinal tract. This bacteria helps us digest foods, absorb nutrients and has the effect of balancing the immune system, thus preventing the onset of allergies.