Neurofeedback update

As the school year is starting, many parents have asked if we could have extended office hours so they could continue their children’s neurofeedback after school or on Saturdays.

I am pleased to announce that even though the office will technically still close at 5:30 pm Monday through Thursday and 12:30 pm on Fridays either Allison or I will be available on some evenings until 7 pm and on Saturday mornings to provide neurofeedback. We have not yet decided on which evenings as that will depend on the requests for appointments we receive.

I have been offering neurofeedback in my practice for close to ten years. Earlier this year I upgraded my equipment by acquiring some of the best and most up-to-date equipment available from a company called Clear Mind Center – see

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Vitamin C for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFIDS)

Robert F. Cathcart, MD, of Los Altos (CA), has treated CFIDS since the illness was first identified in the 1970’s. He believes that the condition is a result of mitochondrial dysfunction caused by viruses, toxins, genetic susceptibility, or a combination of the above. Mitochondria is the cell component in which energy is produced. Today it is theorized that varying degrees of mitochondrial dysfunction can also be involved in causing autism, some cases of ADHD, and possibly many other modern-day chronic illnesses, including allergies.

Dr. Cathcart points out that when the mitochoindria is damaged it is not able to recycle vitamin C as it normally would. This means that even large doses of vitamin C are rapidly wasted leaving the body deficient in this vitamin and vulnerable to free radical damage.  His solution is to slowly build up the dose of vitamin C until people take the highest amount they can tolerate before developing diarrhea, which is what too much vitamin C will cause. This is called taking vitamin C to “bowel tolerance”.

Dr. Cathcart comments that high-dose vitamin C is not a cure for CFIDS but that it helps ameliorate the condition more than other treatments, including drugs costing thousands of dollars (

Antioxidants, aging and health

If you’re like me, you are aging and you see some sign of this every day in the mirror: graying hair, wrinkles, sagging skin, new spots on the skin, and so on. Though we rarely think of it, the inside of our bodies undergoes similar changes but with far more serious consequences.
Muscles and organs shrink and function less efficiently until, one day, they begin to fail.  For example, the brain has been shown to lose one-third of its size between ages 35 and 70. Other organs experience similar decline and this makes us more susceptible to illnesses now considered typical of aging, from heart disease to diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s and more.
Cells are the basic building blocks of organs, and aging begins at the level of each cell, where structures become damaged and energy production goes on less efficiently. Some cells die without being regenerated and, over time, this is reflected in smaller, less active organs, decreased metabolic rate, and more.
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If you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, prostate cancer, or a child with autism, don’t miss this interview on YouTube

If you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, prostate cancer, or a child with autism, don’t miss this interview on YouTube:

In summary, researchers from the University of Utah and Columbia University recently discovered a new human retrovirus they named XMRV (xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus). This virus was originally discovered in cancerous prostate tissue.

Later it was found that more than 95% of people suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME (CFS/ME) had it, and more recently it has been identified in children with autism although the extent of spread in this population remains to be determined.
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Your liver: the key to good health

About a year ago I attended a conference on autism at which a key speaker opened his remarks by asking what did breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, obesity and autism all have in common. Most of the audience, made up entirely of doctors and nutritionists, looked puzzled and there were quite a few blank stares as people struggled to find an answer. When the answer was finally given it came as quite a surprise to many: a faulty liver!

How can this possibly be? It is because the liver is the most metabolically active organ in the body. It is where fat and calories are burned. It is also where toxins from the environment and those the body itself produces are processed so that they can be excreted from the body. If the liver doesn’t do this job well toxins will be retained and, over time, cause damage to the brain, heart, breasts or any other organ or part of the body.
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Nutrition and the mind: amino acid therapy for depression and much more

As my nutrition practice turns ten years old, it is a good time for me to reflect on lessons I have learned about the effects of nutritional therapy on the mind. Though nutrition is a second career for me, and one to which I came relatively late in life, it is the realization of my lifelong interest in psychology and the mind in general.

While at an earlier point in my life I might have chosen to study psychology or psychotherapy, by the time I was finally able to embrace this field I had learned enough about the interaction between the mind and chemistry or nutrition to know that nutritional medicine held far more powerful answers than any type of talk therapy.

This interest led me to chiropractic school in a roundabout way, basically because I felt I needed some medical training and a license that would enable me to practice. In any case, while in school and in my first years of practice I took every seminar and advanced training I could find on clinical nutrition. However, seminars on nutrition for the mind are rare, when available at all, and consequently the field is replete with preconceived ideas and unsubstantiated theories.
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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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Methyl-B12 helps – here’s why

For years I have been recommending a form of vitamin B12 called methyl-B12 for children with autism and ADHD, and more recently also for people suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFIDS), Fibromyalgia (FM), and other conditions.

Although many of us have observed the positive effects of this vitamin on speech, focus and more, there has been relatively little discussion about why it helps, and particularly why this form of B12 and not others can make such a remarkable difference.

Recently I found an informative summary of the benefits of methyl-B12 on a website dedicated to providing help and resources for people with CFIDS and FM. According to this article, other conditions that benefit from this vitamin include Parkinson’s disease, peripheral neuropathies, Alzheimer’s, MS, and more. Neither autism nor ADHD were listed, although we know only too well the benefits of methyl-B12 for children suffering from these conditions.
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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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Iodine and Health

Do you feel tired and depressed? Are you often cold or has your weight gone up for no apparent reason? If you are a woman, do you have fibrocystic breasts or cycle abnormalities? Do you suffer from chronic pain? If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, your problem could be iodine deficiency.

This notion seems hard to believe because we have all been told that iodine deficiency was erased in our country with the introduction of iodized salt. However, no study was ever performed to identify an optimal intake of iodine, and it could be that iodizing salt only took care of the most severe cases of deficiency. In addition, more and more types of non-iodized salt – including sea salt – are becoming available and many people on salt-restricted diets avoid salt altogether.

Much of what we know about iodine today comes to us from Guy Abraham, MD, a former professor of endocrinology and iodine researcher who has posted much of his research – as well as other studies on the topic – on his website at

It is a well-established fact that iodine is essential for the thyroid gland. However, you don’t have to look very far to find warnings to avoid iodine, especially if you have thyroid problems. This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me and, as Dr. Abraham points out, there is no science behind these warnings, just confusion with toxic forms of iodine (like radioactive iodine) in a medical profession that pays no attention to nutrition, ultimately leading to what Dr. Abraham labels “iodophobia.”

In my practice I see many highly frustrated people who know more about every possible symptom of low thyroid than I do, and they have every one of them! To add insult to injury, their blood tests often keep showing normal thyroid levels. If they find a sympathetic doctor who agrees to prescribe thyroid medicine for them based on their symptoms alone, they may feel a little better for a while, but that’s about it. Dr. Abraham’s research indicates that a majority of these people do remarkably well with iodine supplementation. In fact, Dr. Abraham has shown that even people with clinically low thyroid who take medication for it often do better when they add iodine to their regimen and, in time, can cut back or even discontinue their thyroid medication.

But the thyroid is not the only part of the body that needs iodine; the brain needs it as well. In fact, severe iodine deficiency is described with the term “cretinism” (originally a French word that in time has become synonymous with “stupid”). If not enough iodine makes us stupid, it would only seem logical that optimal intake of iodine might sharpen our minds! This may be exactly the case, and Dr. Abraham’s research indicates that many neurological conditions respond favorably to iodine supplementation.

The female breast also needs iodine. Numerous studies have shown that fibrocystic disease of the breast (FBD), a condition characterized by multiple tender nodules, is a result of iodine deficiency and can be fully corrected in a majority of cases with iodine supplementation. Studies have also correlated the incidence of breast cancer with iodine intake. For example, Japanese women who have the highest iodine consumption in the world, primarily as a result of their taste for seaweed, also have a very low incidence of both FBD and breast cancer.

Iodine also has natural antibiotic and anti-yeast properties. Historically, iodine was used routinely to treat infections prior to the advent of antibiotics. This is still a viable option for many cases although, of course, we never hear about it. Compared to antibiotics, iodine has the distinct advantage of also treating yeast.

Few people know that iodine can be used to disinfect swimming pools in place of chlorine, and at only half the concentration of chlorine. There are studies that confirm this very fact and whenever people have been given a choice between iodine and chlorine, they always chose iodine. It doesn’t have an unpleasant odor, it doesn’t dry the skin or cause rashes, and allergies are rare. The fact that iodine is never even offered as an option is further proof of how deep this prejudice or “iodophobia” runs in our society. So much so that it has led us to choose chlorine, arguably a toxic chemical, over iodine, an essential nutrient.

Until the 1960s, iodine was also used in the process of making flour to prevent mold. A side benefit was that people could get their RDA of iodine from just one slice of bread. Because of the same prejudice, iodine was then replaced with bromine, which also keeps flour from turning moldy, but for humans it is a toxic chemical that competes with iodine in the body interfering with thyroid function and possibly increasing the risk of cancer. As Dr. Abraham reminds us, when iodine was used in flour the rate of breast cancer was 1 in 20; it is now 1 in 8 and climbing.

Another benefit of iodine is that it promotes detoxification. Dr. Abraham has used laboratory evidence to show that iodine causes the body to excrete lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury and aluminum in variable amounts. In addition, iodine also detoxifies a class of chemicals known as goitrogens. These chemicals block absorption of iodine, eventually leading to enlargement of the thyroid (known as a goiter), but when enough iodine is taken it forces them out of the body. Goitrogens include the bromine discussed above, fluoride, found in water or toothpaste, and a long list of chemicals in the environment.

Now, before you run to the health food store to buy all the iodine you can find, consider a few facts: the RDA for iodine is 150 mcg per day. Considering that the average American consumes 10 grams of salt per day, as long as the salt is iodized, he or she takes in 750 mcg of iodine a day. Maybe not the optimal intake but still this should provide a certain margin of safety. Except that, as shown in multiple studies, when iodine is added to salt it is very poorly absorbed. Research that looked at peak levels of iodine in blood after salt consumption have concluded that out of the 750 mcg we only absorb 40 to 60, well short of the RDA.

According to Dr. Abraham’s research, ideal intake of iodine to optimize health is around 13 mg per day for adults (1 mg equals 1,000 mcg). This level of intake is very difficult to achieve in our country even with supplements available at health food stores, but it represents no more than the average consumption of iodine in Japan.

Dr. Abraham also found that when iodine-deficient people take this optimal dose of iodine every day, they remain deficient and continue to have symptoms even after one year of supplementation. To overcome deficiency an intake of close to 50 mg per day for adults is required, but this should be calibrated through a simple testing program Dr. Abraham designed. In addition, thyroid medication will need to be adjusted for some people and others will develop symptoms from detoxification, so the program should be monitored by a trained health care practitioner. Dr. Abraham designed a supplement called Iodoral that supplies optimal amounts of iodine in the ideal forms but, because of the required precautions, it is only available through practitioners.

To read in detail about iodine supplementation, find references and possibly obtain a referral in your area go to

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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Vitamin D for chronic inflammation, MS and (possibly) autism

The more we learn, the more it becomes evident that chronic inflammation is a universal troublemaker that plays a part in almost every ongoing health condition.

Acute inflammation is one of the most beneficial, and often life-saving, defense mechanisms of the body. Acute inflammation is what gives us a fever when our bodies are fighting a virus, a sore throat in response to strep bacteria, or a swollen ankle after a hard fall. In every case like these, inflammation helps promote recovery.

However, chronic inflammation is a superfluous and harmful process. It’s a healthy process that forgot when to stop and no longer serves a useful purpose. What causes it?

According to recent British research, air pollution – something most of us breathe on a daily basis – can cause it. See Exposure to toxins like mercury or lead can also be a cause, as can too much copper, iron, or even calcium in the blood. Studies have shown that a progressive shift in the human diet from consuming mostly omega-3 fats to mostly omega-6 can also set the stage for chronic inflammation (see “The Omega-3 Connection” by Andrew Stoll, MD). Finally, a simple lack of vitamin D can be the culprit.
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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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Breaking the Vicious Cycle

Elaine Gottschall has a remarkable story to tell. At the age of only five, her daughter was diagnosed with an incurable form of ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis is a disease of the immune system in which the body attacks the lining of the colon and, ultimately, destroys it. There was not much to rejoice about regarding the treatment plan: control the disease using steroids and sulfa drugs, both of which have serious side effects, followed by surgery to remove the colon, one piece at a time.

Mrs. Gottschall was a mother, not a medical expert, but when she was told that her daughter’s illness was in no way related to diet or digestion, she had trouble accepting this as fact. Although there were no support groups to turn to at the time, Mrs. Gottschall did not stop searching for a different answer. Two years after the diagnosis, physicians recommended surgery to remove part of her daughter’s colon. By that time Mrs. Gottschall had found a better answer from Dr. Merril P. Haas, a physician who had been treating a variety of digestive disorders using a diet he called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.

This diet was different from any other in that it was highly selective as to the types of sugars and starches allowed. Her daughter’s condition improved quickly after starting the diet, and within two years she had completely recovered. A few years later she was even able to start eating normally without adverse consequences.

After this experience, Mrs. Gottshall wrote a book, now in its second edition and ninth printing, called “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” (available from if not in your local bookstore). While explaining the diet in a mother’s terms, the book also contains more than 80 pages of delicious recipes, including an excellent one for homemade yogurt. More recipes can be downloaded from the thirteen websites listed in the book that are mostly supported by individuals whose lives were transformed by this diet.

It soon became apparent that the Specific Carbohydrate Diet could do much more than cure many cases of supposedly incurable digestive disorders. It also helped individuals with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, headaches, arthritis and other chronic disorders. In children, it helped hyperactivity as well as hypoactivity, autism, chronic constipation or diarrhea and even schizophrenia. In my opinion, for many autistic children it is a far superior option to the generally recommended gluten-free/casein-free diet even though it is not strictly casein-free.

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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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Heart Disease And Carnitine

In a 1997 study (Neuropsychobiology, 1997;35:16-23) the effects of the drug Amantadine on patients with chronic fatigue syndrome were compared with L-carnitine. While Amantadine is a commonly prescribed anti-viral drug, L-carnitine is a natural amino acid derived from protein. It plays a vital role in energy production and fatty acid metabolism. Results revealed that, while Amantadine was poorly tolerated and did not lead to improvements, carnitine had virtually no side effects and led to clinical improvements in 12 of 18 parameters studied.

In an unrelated study (Cardiovascular Drugs Ther, 1999;13:537-546), 20 patients suffering from class II or III cardiac insufficiency received L-carnitine supplements for 120 days. After 60 days of supplementation, the group achieved significant improvements in performance, and these improvements were still maintained at 180 days, or 60 days after supplementation was discontinued.