Natural solutions that work for childhood asthma, allergies, skin conditions, and many autoimmune diseases

Through my years in practice I have been blessed to be able to help many children with asthma, allergies, eczema, and related conditions – as well as adults with the same conditions or autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

All of these health challenges share a common trigger: a malfunction of the immune system causing the body to react – sometimes violently – to a benign substance like pollen or a tissue or organ of the body itself that does not normally pose a threat to health.

Conventional medicine addresses these conditions by using a wide range of drugs all of which work by suppressing the immune system. While suppression can manage the symptoms of an out of control immune reaction

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, it can also open a door for some very bad things to happen. Reading the potential side effects of some of these medications can be a chilling experience. Listed side effects often include cancer, antibiotic-resistant infections, and even death.

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Vaccines, allergies and asthma. Is there more?

Vaccines are rightfully credited for bringing about major advances in public health. People of my age still remember growing up with stories of children who suffered horribly because they had polio. I grew up in Italy, and these stories were common. When the vaccine finally arrived and became available to all, parents were elated.

Is it possible that a good thing – if overdone – could lead to adverse results? Is it possible that lifesaving vaccines are now causing more harm than good?

For many parents of children with autism or ADHD who read this newsletter, there is no denying that too many vaccines can cause harm. So many of these parents witnessed a severe deterioration in their children’s ability to communicate or even function normally after they received a battery of vaccines, often to face denial or even ridicule from the medical establishment. Read More »

Enterosgel: a breakthrough for gut health and more

A few months ago as I was researching something online I came across a product called Enterosgel that is associated with intestinal health and recovery from leaky gut. Leaky gut is a condition where the lining of the intestine is damaged and becomes excessively porous, allowing partly digested protein and bacterial toxins to seep into general circulation. Almost every aspect of health can be adversely affected by leaky gut including, as we are learning more and more, mental health.

I’m happy to say that we now offer Enterosgel through our Supplements Store.

Enterosgel was originally made in Russia and was the result of the old Soviet system of medical research. It is now also made in other European countries with very high standards of purity set by the European Union. The fact that it originally came from the Soviet Union interested me because Soviet medical research was known to develop low-cost natural treatments, because of their constant lack of funding.

Enterosgel is a completely natural product made from organic silica. It has a chemical structure that resembles that of a sponge and, when taken by mouth, is not absorbed but travels down the intestinal tract and removes a wide range of toxins from the body. It comes in a gel that is pressed out of a tube resembling a large toothpaste tube. Once in water or other liquid, it readily dissolves and has little or no taste.

I originally recommended it for an autistic child who was completely out of control, could not tolerate supplements, and had not improved with diet change. Within a matter of days of starting the Enterosgel his mother was reporting improvements. A few weeks later we noticed that he was able to tolerate supplements he had not been able to tolerate previously and seemed to benefit from them. Read More »

Allison’s Gluten-Free favorites

Here are a few of my kids’ favorite foods that could possibly make a busy mom’s life and eating gluten free a little bit easier.  Enjoy!

  • Udi’s Gluten-Free Bread, Pizza Crust, and Hot Dog Buns
  • Pamela’s Ultimate Baking and Pancake Mix
  • Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta
  • Enjoy Life Cookies and On-the-Go Bars
  • Kind Fruit and Nut Bars
  • Lara Bar All Natural Energy Bars
  • Puffins Cereal- Multigrain or Honey Rice
  • GlutenFreeda’s Oatmeal
  • Glutino Gluten-Free Pretzels
  • Applegate Natural Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets

These products can be found at Whole Foods or

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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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Flu shots and respiratory complications from the flu

Parents continue to hear that they should vaccinate their children against the flu, and that they should do so especially if their children have asthma. However, an overlooked detail is that the effectiveness of flu shots in children with asthma has never been proven through research. A newly released study that for the first time evaluates the effectiveness of flu shots in children with asthma reaches very different conclusions. The study analyzed data from the past eight consecutive years and looked at the rate of hospitalization for respiratory complications from the flu among children who were or were not vaccinated and those who had and did not have asthma.

What the study found is nothing short of amazing. Among non-asthmatic children, being vaccinated led to a slightly higher – you read correctly, I didn’t mean lower – rate of hospitalization for complications from the flu. However, among asthmatic children the rate of hospitalization was three times higher for vaccinated children. In other words children were three times more likely to be hospitalized for respiratory complications of the flu if parents followed medical advice and had them vaccinated.
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Dealing with the latest flu scare

When it comes to flu scares, I guess you could consider me a skeptic. Basically I continue to see the flu as a mild though annoying seasonal illness that can be effectively prevented, or its impact lessened, with a few simple measures.

Over centuries there have been a small number of more severe flu outbreaks that caused thousands of deaths over short periods of time. While the risk of such an outbreak in our lifetimes is remote, it does exist, as do the risk of being struck by lightning, being run over by a car, or drowning at the beach.

If and when a severe flu outbreak does strike it will be from a suddenly mutated strain of the flu virus and vaccines will be of no use. In fact, there will be little to do aside from the simple preventive measures I am about to discuss below.
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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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A Mother’s Story

This is not the type of email I receive every day, but when one arrives it is always touching and it gives me a very good feeling about what I do. When I received this one I immediately thought I would like to share it with my readers. I emailed the author asking if I could do so, after changing her daughter’s name. She answered that I could share it with anyone I wanted, and there was no need to change any names, anyway she already tells everyone she meets. For privacy concerns I still changed the name. Here is her email:

”I’ve been meaning to write you for a while, but never seem to find the time to sit down and write when it is on my mind. If you remember we started the gluten-free casein-free soy-free diet in October. If I remember correctly we were probably on the diet for 2-3 weeks when she came down with a terrible sinus infection. We had a follow-up with you in early November, and she had just gotten over her sinus infection. I had taken her to our regular pediatrician, who is quite open-minded, but basically painted the picture that he has seen her situation (gigantic tonsils) many times over the years, and that he bet he would be seeing a lot of us that winter. He explained how the crowding doesn’t allow the ears to drain, etc. and that while she would eventually outgrow it, how much intervention would we have to do in the meantime? It was clear to me (without him saying it) that he thought tonsillectomy was the right path. That until we did the surgery, we’d be in and out of his office with illness like a revolving door, especially during the winter. I left feeling discouraged, but we stuck with the diet and supplements.
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Interesting books: first in a series of articles

I always find it very rewarding when people I see share my passion for reading and learning about health and healing. Recently, I was asked to make a presentation at a conference on autism, and afterwards a number of people were asking me for names of books they should read. A mother even told me she had printed and read more than seventy pages from my newsletter archives! Clearly people have figured out they have to find their own answers.

With this piece I plan to start a series of short articles in which I will review a book or a couple of related books that have in some fashion influenced my thinking about diet or health in general.

The first one of these is more of a booklet than an actual book, but the information in it is fundamental to my way of looking at health. It is entitled “Pottenger’s Cats” and describes experiments carried out by Dr. Francis Pottenger on cats in the 1940’s.
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My two cents on the recent E. coli outbreak

By the time you receive this newsletter this will be old and almost forgotten news, but many who read about the recent E.coli scare in the papers or heard about it on the news might have ended up with the idea that E.coli is some sort of deadly bug.

People like me who focus on intestinal health know very well that nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the presence of E.coli in a person’s intestinal tract is a marker of good health, while its absence is a clear indication that something is amiss.

Not only that, but if you can think back to a time preceding the current wave of “synthetic” farming, you may remember that cow manure was once a primary form or fertilization. This may not sound too appetizing, but it still reflects our history. I would bet that cow manure contained many billions of E.coli organisms per cubic inch, and yet people were not dropping dead left and right.
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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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MSM helps alleviate seasonal allergies

Seasonal allergies are a widespread problem affecting a growing number of American children and adults, currently estimated at 23 million.

MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is a dietary supplement that contains organic sulfur and so-called methyl groups. Both of these help the body rid itself of toxins and can have a protective effect for the liver and the body’s immune system.

In a recent study, 50 adults were given 2,600 mg of MSM daily, an easy and inexpensive dose for people to take on a regular basis. By the seventh day, the adults’ upper and total respiratory symptoms were reduced significantly and a further improvement in lower respiratory symptoms was observed by the third week. Improvements were also maintained at day 30 when the study was concluded.

Interestingly, participants also reported improved energy levels occurring by day 14 that were maintained at the conclusion of the study. (J Altern Complement Med, 2002; 8 (2): 167-73)

Upper Respiratory Infections and Xylitol

Upper respiratory infections are easily the most common health concern for children and are probably among the most common in adults as well. The garden-variety cold, ear infections in children and sinus infections in adults are just a few of the forms they can take.

All of these problems begin with a local irritant, be it an allergen like pollen, a virus or bacteria. The immune system’s most immediate line of defense is to wash the irritant out by increasing drainage. This drainage is uncomfortable, so the tendency is to use antihistamines and decongestants to relieve symptoms. However, it is not often explained that these medications block the immune system’s effort to rid itself of the irritant without providing other benefits.

Often the next step in the sequence of events is a full-blown upper respiratory infection. At this point antibiotics may be the only sensible choice, although some infections might resolve through natural treatments and others spontaneously even if left untreated.
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Could You or Your Child Be Gluten-Sensitive?

Gluten is a protein found in commonly eaten grains, including wheat, rye, barley and oats (however, the gluten in oats is different and can be tolerated by some gluten-sensitive individuals).

Gluten sensitivity has been found to cause celiac disease, a severe developmental disorder. The association between gluten and celiac disease was discovered by pure coincidence during World War II when some children with the disorder “miraculously” recovered when deprived of wheat, only to relapse when wheat was reintroduced in their diet.
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Serious Adverse Reactions to Hepatitis B Vaccine Found to Outnumber Cases of the Disease

About ten years ago, the United States government recommended – and most states mandated – that infants should be vaccinated against hepatitis B before being discharged from the hospital after birth. Apparently, little consideration was given to the fact that this vaccine contained mercury as a preservative, or to the fact that infants may not have a sufficiently mature immune system for the vaccine to work appropriately. Hepatitis B is primarily a sexually transmitted disease, most common in promiscuous adults, and is also found in users of intravenous drugs. Historically, this disease has been rare among American children, with the highest incidence found among newborns whose mothers were infected.

The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) recently released an independent analysis of government statistics on reported cases of serious adverse reactions to the hepatitis B vaccine and cases of the disease in children. Looking at children under the age of 14, 872 serious adverse reactions to the hepatitis B vaccine were reported in 1996 alone, including 48 deaths. By contrast, only 279 cases of hepatitis B were reported nationwide in that age group in the same year. Considering children under the age of 5 from only 8 states, there were 106 serious adverse reactions in 1997, including 10 deaths, versus 25 cases of the disease.
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Major campaign focuses on children’s health catastrophe

The Center for Children’s Health and the Environment, founded by a group of physicians and scientists from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine (New York City), recently began running full-page ads in The New York Times addressing the current crisis in children’s mental and physical health and its possible underlying causes. Ad themes and related information, including lengthy scientific papers on which the ads are based, can be found on the authors’ website at

The authors and sponsors of the ads, all listed on the website, belong to conventional medical and research communities and have the highest credentials. Every statement contained in the ads is supported by extensive scientific data, although this information is generally not reported in the media and most of us are not aware of it.
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Intestinal Bacteria and Allergies in Small Children

This study, published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (2001;108(4):516-20), looked at infants and small children from two European countries, Sweden and Estonia, analyzing their stools and keeping a record of the bacteria populating their intestinal tracts.

Over a period of time, researchers tracked those children in the group who developed allergies and concluded that the onset of allergies in children was preceded by a prevalence of unhealthy bacteria. In contrast, the children who did not develop allergies had a greater concentration of healthy bacterial species populating their intestinal tracts.

Our intestines are host to a wide variety of bacteria, estimated to number in the trillions. Some of these bacterial species are ‘healthy’ in that they help us digest food, assimilate nutrients and they even produce some of the vitamins we need. Other ‘unhealthy’ bacteria can interfere with proper digestive function and lead to a breakdown of the intestinal lining and a condition sometimes defined as ‘leaky gut’. This can have far-reaching effects on the immune system and overall health.

Babies receive their first exposure to bacteria that will populate their intestines through motherís milk. Other sources include yogurt and other fermented foods. Unhealthy bacteria sometimes become entrenched as a result of a diet that is high in sugar and processed foods, or as a result of repeated or long-term antibiotics.

Herbal Treatment Found as Effective as Antihistamines for Allergies

Butterbur is a traditional European herb with a long history of use for the treatment of cough and a variety of other conditions. In recent decades, this herb had been abandoned when it was found to contain an alkaloid that can cause cancer. More recently, a German company called Weber & Weber found a way to produce an extract of this herb that does not contain the incriminated alkaloid (a naturally occurring chemical). This company has also been funding large-scale studies to prove the effectiveness of their herbal extract in a variety of conditions. Previous studies had shown that it could help both in the prevention and treatment of migraine headaches and certain types of urinary incontinence.

A current double-blind study published in the British Medical Journal (2002;324(7330):144) found it to be as effective as Zyrtec (Cetirizine) in the treatment of allergies. Over a two-week period, those who took the herbal extract reported the same benefits as those taking Zyrtec, a prescription antihistamine. Even though Zyrtec is a non-sedating antihistamine, many of those who received it in this study reported feeling drowsy, while people taking the herb reported no side effects.

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.