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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Do you have high cholesterol? High blood sugar? Gout? Weight gain around the waist? Inflammation? Try cherries!

Though this may seem hard to believe, if research now spanning several decades is accurate, natural cherries or cherry extract have all these benefits and more.

Gout sufferers who are tuned in to natural remedies have known for decades that drinking a bottle (or two) of cherry juice can put a stop even to a severe gout attack. The earliest published study on this that I was able to find is dated 1950 (Cherry diet control for gout and arthritis, Tex Rep Biol Med).

Recent studies show that compounds in cherries lower both uric acid (the direct cause of gout) and inflammatory markers in blood. In particular cherry consumption was shown to lower C-reactive protein (CRP), an indicator of inflammation in blood that is now considered a better predictor of cardiovascular disease than cholesterol levels (Kelley, J Nutr 2006).
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Vitamin B3 for arthritis, anxiety, behavioral problems, diabetes and maybe even Alzheimer’s

Vitamin B3, one of the B-complex vitamins, attracted little attention until a recent study from the University of California at Irvine found it to reverse Alzheimer’s disease in laboratory mice. Now you can read about this study in just about every natural medicine newsletter and if you Google it you get more than 15,000 hits.

First of all it is important to realize that this study used the “niacinamide” form of vitamin B3. This vitamin, generally referred to as niacin, actually comes in two different forms with significantly different properties. One is niacin, or nicotinic acid, and the other is niacinamide. Niacin is known to cause a flushing sensation when ingested in large doses, and to lower cholesterol.  It has also been used as a component of highly effective detoxification programs involving sauna therapy.
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A natural alternative to rheumatoid arthritis drugs once labeled as “miracles” that have been found to cause deadly side effects

Yet another recently released family of drugs has been shown to be potentially deadly. This time it is the so-called TNF blockers, a group of drugs that includes Enbrel, Humira, Kineret and others, commonly prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune conditions.

According to information from the FDA, years after being approved as “safe and effective,” these drugs have been proven to cause lymphoma, other types of cancer, and new immune system disorders like psoriasis (although they are also prescribed as treatment for psoriasis).

To understand how this is possible, consider that these medications work by suppressing tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a critical component of the body’s immune response. When there is an immune disorder like rheumatoid arthritis, blocking TNF will reduce inflammation, which means less pain – but at the same time it will make the body more vulnerable to a variety of other illnesses, including cancer.

Not enough people realize this, but it is a fact that rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and other autoimmune disorders respond very well to natural treatments, generally with no side effects, no immune suppression, and therefore no long-term dangers.

My way of dealing with these conditions is based on three primary components: dietary modification, an anti-inflammatory enzyme often described as a “systemic enzyme” called VitalzymX, and a blend of Chinese herbs called BioEssence.

Even though diet is probably not the root cause of these conditions, everyone I have evaluated who came to me with these conditions suffered from undetected food allergies that acted as triggers for their symptoms. These hidden food triggers must be identified and eliminated from the diet in order to initiate and support the healing process. Many times sufferers will report a significant improvement from this step alone.

Systemic enzymes are proteolytic (protein-digesting) enzymes that are taken several times a day between meals. When taken this way they are absorbed in the bloodstream unaltered. They then naturally seek out and break down protein buildup in joints and other inflamed areas of the body. These areas of protein buildup are constantly feeding the inflammatory process and, when cleared, the inflammation also stops or decreases greatly.

While systemic enzymes do not correct the root cause of the condition, they are an essential step (along with diet) to initiate a healing process. They also cause no adverse effects on health and have been shown to actually strengthen immunity and help the body fight off viruses and other infections.

Chinese herbs can do what no drug can: they can normalize immune function, thus enabling sufferers to truly overcome their conditions. In studies, Chinese herbs have often been shown to be equally effective to steroid drugs, like Prednisone, for example in the treatment of asthma. However, one key difference was that the steroids worked by suppressing immunity, whereas the Chinese herbal mixes normalized and strengthened immunity.

The product I am currently recommending is BioEssence. It has proven to be remarkably effective for allergies and asthma, autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, and skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis. However, if you or your child suffers from one of these conditions I strongly recommend that you make an appointment to see me and not try to self-medicate.

The Vioxx fiasco and the safe alternatives

The average person following the news over the last month or so might have been shocked to find that the popular arthritis drug Vioxx was recalled for causing strokes and heart attacks only a few years after being introduced with great fanfare as the “safe” anti-inflammatory drug.

The truth is that patented drugs are expensive to develop and even more expensive to get through the approval process; yet they remain loose cannons because their safety cannot be truly guaranteed. In many cases, there’s not even a need for them.

For example, in a recent double-blind study, the supplement SAMe was found to be as effective as the drug Celebrex to control arthritis pain (BMC Musculoskelet Disord, 2004 Feb. 26; 5 (1): 6). Celebrex is closely related to Vioxx and, in all likelihood, it is probably only a matter of time before it is shown to cause the same deadly side effects.

In this study, patients were given either 600 mg of SAMe twice a day or 200 mg of the drug Celebrex once daily. After one month, those receiving SAMe reported only marginal improvements in pain, but by the end of the second month the pain was controlled equally well in both groups. Researchers concluded that SAMe has a “slower onset of action but the two treatments are equally efficacious.”

In comparison with Vioxx, SAMe comes with side benefits, not side effects. Other research has shown it to be as effective as antidepressants in fighting depression (for a review of the literature see Curr Psychiatry Rep 2003 Dec; 5 (6): 460-6) and promoting detoxification of environmental chemicals (for example see Minerva Gastroenterol Dietol 1992 Jul-Sep; 38 (3): 145-51).

If you run to the health food store to buy a bottle of SAMe, you will find that it is expensive and realize that taking 1,200 mg of it every day might put a dent in your budget. However, the cost of SAMe is low in relation to Vioxx – especially if we consider the heart disease it caused.

If you can’t afford the SAMe, or simply prefer a holistic approach rather than relying on a single product, arthritis can often be controlled very well through diet change (yes, you’ll have to avoid sugar) and inexpensive supplements like fish oil, enzymes, and herbal extracts that include the common Indian spice tumeric.

My question is: who needed Vioxx in the first place?

Indole-3-carbinol may help in autoimmune disease

It is known that many types of autoimmune disease ñ including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis ñ occur in a disproportionately high number of women in comparison to men. This has led some investigators to wonder if estrogen, or an imbalance in estrogen, might somehow be involved in causing these conditions.

In a study reported last November (J Nutr 2003; 133 (11): 3,610-3), researchers examined mice that had been genetically engineered to develop lupus and gave some of them the supplement indole-3-carbinol (I3C).

I3C is a natural food component found in vegetables of the brassica family that includes broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage and a few others. Whether ingested as food or as a supplement, I3C has a powerful balancing effect on estrogen levels, promoting higher levels of healthy estrogen and lower levels of a dangerous type of estrogen that has previously been linked with hormone-related cancers. I3C and a closely related compound called DIM are commonly a vailable as dietary supplements.

Even though this mice study is a far cry from the human study that is badly needed, the researchers concluded that I3C could both prevent the onset or improve symptoms of existing lupus. As they stated, “Dietary modulation has the potential to prevent or ameliorate systemic lupus erymathosus (SLE). These findings demonstrate a profound effect of dietary I3C.”

Fish Oil Improves Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

A recent study published in the Journal of Rheumatology (2000;27:2343-46) found that shifting dietary balance away from omega 6 oil (commonly found in vegetable oils) and towards omega 3 oil (found in fish oil) significantly alleviates symptoms in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

In this study, subjects were instructed to restrict their dietary intake of omega 6 oil, then one group received fish oil supplements and another group received olive oil. Researchers found that after 15 weeks the fish oil group exhibited “statistically significant improvements in 6 of 9 measures of disease activity”. Improvements included less pain, fewer tender and swollen joints, and reduced stiffness. No significant improvements were observed in the olive oil group. Fish oil contains certain fatty acids that have been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory action with no side effects. The best results are obtained when fish oil is used in combination with diet changes and other synergistic nutrients.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin Helpful in the Treatment of Osteoarthritis

Many people have found glucosamine and chondroitin to help substantially in controlling the pain and stiffness of arthritis. The medical profession, however, has remained skeptical and continues to rely exclusively on anti-inflammatory drugs that have undesirable side effects and may actually aggravate the condition in the long run.

A review of existing studies was published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association (March 15, 2000; 283 11: 1469-75). The authors concluded that there is substantial evidence that these substances have “moderate to large (beneficial) effects”. The authors cautioned that quality standards in the dietary supplement industry remain poor and this may lead to inconsistent results.