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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Are mercury-free vaccines really safer?

I hate to sound like a pessimist, but whenever a product is promoted as being free of some harmful ingredient, I am always suspicious that whatever is used as replacement is just as bad if not worse.

We’ve seen it with sugar-free drinks sweetened with aspartame, which turned out to be toxic to the brain. We’ve seen it cholesterol-free foods that turned out to be loaded with sugar and harmful trans-fats, and the list goes on. Could mercury-free vaccines be one more link in this chain?

This might sound like blasphemy to you, after all what could be worse than mercury? But how sure are you? Certainly no one put mercury in vaccines without a reason. The reason, as it turns out, is that mercury is a very good preservative (nothing can live in it) and, considering the alternatives, it is not especially toxic.

Aluminum hydroxide is one of the mercury replacements being used today. Aluminum, as you may know, is a substance already linked to Parkinson’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and Alzheimer’s.
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More evidence links mercury exposure and autism

While it becomes more and more evident that the relationship between mercury in vaccines and autism is valid, other sources of mercury appear to be implicated as well.

In a study performed right here in Texas (Health Place, 2006 Jun; 12 (2): 203-9 or online in its entirety at, investigators tried to determine if there was any link between mercury released from coal-burning power plants and the number of autism diagnoses. Coal-burning power plants are the primary source of mercury released in the atmosphere, although it is not the same type of mercury used in vaccines.

Researchers from the University of Texas used data from counties across the state to establish how much mercury was being released and the number of children diagnosed with autism or enrolled in special education classes in the same community. They concluded that for every 1,000 lb of mercury released in the environment there was a 43% increase in the rate of special education services and 61% increase in the rate of autism. Clearly they found a smoking gun!

Meanwhile, another interesting study was performed in Denmark, a country where people eat plenty of fish. Researchers measured the amount of methyl mercury – the type of mercury found in contaminated in fish – in the umbilical cord of newborn babies. They then checked these same children at age 7 and concluded that the amount of mercury at birth was an excellent predictor of neuro-psychological problems later in life.

Environ Health Perspect. 2005 Jul; 113 (7): 905-8

A child-friendly vaccination schedule

(Note: see also “Are mercury-free vaccines really safer?” June 2006)

When it comes to vaccinating children, I think this is a decision parents should be able to make on their own. Unfortunately, once regulators establish vaccination policies and make it impossible for unvaccinated children to enroll in school the entire matter becomes more complicated.

If you are interested in working within the system but wish to take extra precautions to protect your children there are several things you can do.

The first is to delay all vaccines until your child is two, because at that age the immune system has achieved a greater level of maturity and there is a smaller risk of adverse effects.

The next is to avoid injecting multiple vaccines at one time, to the extent that this is possible. Remember that vaccines are combined for convenience’s sake, without adequate studies to support the safety of this practice.
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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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Medications containing mercury

In spite of all the talk about mercury and phasing it out from vaccines, it is still being used legally as a preservative in many vaccines and other medications, some of which are available over the counter.

To find a complete list of medications containing mercury see

More News on Mercury

Before beginning this discussion, it’s worth mentioning that mercury is the single most toxic non-nuclear element known to man. To get an idea of how toxic it is, consider that adding 1/70th of a teaspoon of mercury every year to a 25-acre lake will pollute it in just a few years to the point of making the fish in it hazardous for human consumption (1). A well-recognized safety threshold for mercury in human blood is 5.8 parts per billion, a minuscule amount.

In infants and small children, mercury interferes with normal neurological development and is suspected of causing a broad range of disorders from autism to ADHD and dyslexia. In
adults, its effects are non-specific but it can play a role in causing a multitude of conditions including depression and anxiety, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and immune system disorders.

Nevertheless we continue to pour mercury into our environment, primarily from coal-burning power plants that, according to estimates, spew 40 tons or 80,000 lbs of mercury into our environment each year in the U.S. alone (2). Mercury has now been detected everywhere in our surroundings, including in New York snow and rain at levels far above those considered safe (3). This mercury then flows to lakes and oceans, where it accumulates in the fish we eat.

We have also been operating on the premise that adding a little mercury here and there isn’t going to hurt anyone, and so we’ve put it in vaccines and other medications as the
preservative thimerosal. We also use it to make dental fillings known as “silver” or amalgam fillings, which are 50% mercury, even though it has been shown to leak from these fillings (4).

The results are beginning to be revealed. Studying levels of mercury in umbilical cord blood, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently concluded that as many as 630,000 babies are born each year in our country at risk of lowered intelligence and learning problems due to exposure to mercury in the womb.

This finding doubles previous estimates by the EPA. In earlier studies, the agency only evaluated levels of mercury in women’s blood, considering 5.8 parts-per-billion (ppb) to be the threshold for danger.

Looking instead at umbilical cord blood, the EPA came to the realization that a fetus has no means of excreting mercury, so levels as low as 3.5 ppb in maternal blood lead to a
dangerous buildup in newborns. The EPA estimates that 1 in 6 women in our country has blood levels of mercury above 3.5 ppb (5).

Another astounding piece of the puzzle comes from a recent Institute of Medicine press release relating to an independent review of vaccine safety data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (6). Analyzing pre-existing data, investigators concluded that children who receive three vaccines containing mercury as the preservative thimerosal are 27 times more likely to develop autism than children who receive the same vaccines without thimerosal. By comparison, men who smoke have a risk factor for developing lung cancer of 22 times over men who do not smoke, while for female smokers it is only 11 times more likely.

I have not seen any official denials of the EPA’s conclusions but I understand they are still under review. If confirmed, they are likely to have momentous repercussions. These findings clearly point away from genetics as a cause of neuro-developmental disorders and towards environmental causes. However, genetics do play a part.

In a seemingly unrelated study, investigators focused on genes that encode for glutathione-s-transferases (GSTs). GSTs are enzymes that detoxify the body from environmental poisons. Mutations in these genes are common, occurring in up to 20% of the human race, and result in a reduced ability to excrete toxins, eventually leading the toxins to build up in the body.

In the past, the presence of these mutations would not have made much difference to human health. But now, with increased levels of pollutants, these individual differences are becoming critical to the body’s ability to detoxify itself and can be the difference, for instance, between those children who withstand mercury in vaccines with little detriment to their neurological development, and those who don’t (7).

Additional research was conducted by Richard Deth, PhD, of Northeastern University and will be published in next month’s issue of Molecular Psychiatry (8). It shows that exposure
to toxic metals, including mercury, aluminum and lead, can cause adverse effects on methylation reactions in the brain and elsewhere in the body.

In simple terms, methylation reactions are basic processes whereby tiny compounds containing a single carbon atom are transferred from one molecule to another. They can be thought of as power switches used by the brain and other parts of the body to turn many critical processes on or off, including DNA function and gene expression.

If methylation is disrupted early in life for instance as a result of exposure to mercury this can affect development of the brain and lead to conditions like autism and ADHD.

One molecule that must be methylated to become active is vitamin B12. Basically, if the brain cannot methylate efficiently, any vitamin B12 that is there is useless and cannot play its fundamental role in orchestrating brain activity. This explains why regular injections of a methylated form of vitamin B12 (MB12) have produced such major clinical improvements in a majority of children with autism. These injections might repair (we hope) or may just compensate for damage previously caused by mercury.

MB12 injections have also been used for some time in Europe and in the U.S. by forward-thinking physicians in the treatment of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple
sclerosis, and other conditions that may be partially related to mercury exposure in adults (9).

These many findings on mercury also give us a better understanding of why chelation a treatment approach to remove mercury and other toxic metals from the body has been such a major help for many children with autism and ADHD.

Chelation generally involves tak ing a product called DMSA on a rotating basis. Once inside the body DMSA acts as a magnet for mercury, lead, arsenic, and other toxic metals, safely shuttling these poisons out of the body through the urine. According to data collected by the Autism Research Institute (ARI) and DAN (Defeat Autism Now), when children can be shown to excrete metals while taking DMSA they almost always improve, sometimes dramatically.

Although DMSA is safe, some may not be able to tolerate it and can experience side effects (none serious or lasting). In these cases there are other detoxification approaches that show a great deal of promise. One of these involves a type of vitamin B1 called allithiamine, generally administered in cream form and absorbed through the skin.

A type of algae called chlorella has not been recommended for detoxification because much of the chlorella on the market is compromised at the source. Since chlorella has an
enormous affinity for mercury it binds to it in the ponds where it is generally grown and is therefore already contaminated before it’s even harvested.

However, certified uncontaminated chlorella deserves a closer look as a valid, safe and cost-effective option for removing mercury from the body. Like DMSA, chlorella is a magnet for mercury and other toxic metals. It is milder than DMSA and therefore better tolerated by some individuals. While it is true that chlorella is easily contaminated from external sources, there are types that are pure. In Germany, chlorella is grown for medical purposes in enormous glass tubes that create a completely isolated environment where contamination is virtually impossible (10).





(7) Lancet, 2004 Jan 10; 363 (9403): 119-25
(8) Molecular Psychiatry 2004, Volume 9, advance online publication doi:10.1038/ For further information contact Christine Phelan, Northeastern University, Pharmaceutical Sciences, 716 Columbus Avenue, 5th floor, Boston, Massachusetts 02120; phone: 617-373-5455


Article evaluates danger of mercury in vaccines

An article published last year in the journal NeuroToxicology (2001;22:691-697) reviews the evidence linking exposure to mercury from immunizations and developmental disorders in children. The authors of the article also have a website at where related information can be found.

Daily exposure to low levels of mercury was shown to have neurodevelopmental effects in infants, particularly in the domains of language, attention and memory. As a result, the EPA established reference exposure limits considered acceptable, recently adjusting them to 0.1 micrograms per kilogram (2.2 lbs) of weight per day. For example, the EPA limits would result in a maximum daily exposure of 0.9 micrograms of mercury for a twenty-pound child.

Thimerosal is a preservative utilized in the production of biological and pharmaceutical products, including vaccines, that contains roughly 50% mercury. Each dose of vaccine containing this preservative delivers 12.5 to 25 micrograms of mercury directly into an infant’s body. Since several vaccines are typically administered at once, it is possible for infants to have a bolus exposure of 50 to 62.5 micrograms at 2, 4, and 6 months of age with a cumulative maximum exposure of 187.5 micrograms in the first 6 months of life.

Little is known regarding the capability of infants’ bodies to excrete mercury, and several studies suggest that neonates up to 6 months of age do not excrete mercury at all due to immature liver function. Other factors may also determine the degree of mercury toxicity at a given level of exposure. For example, one study found a synergistic effect between low doses of mercury and “stress” caused by concurrent viral infections, other environmental factors and internal physiological states.

The article concludes that there is sufficient evidence to support the likelihood that mercury in vaccines may affect nervous system development in children. “These concerns are heightened by a recent report that found statistically significant associations between cumulative exposure to mercury-containing vaccines at 2 months of age and unspecified developmental delay; cumulative exposure at three months of age and tics; cumulative exposure at 1, 3 and 6 months of age and neurodevelopmental delays in general; and cumulative exposure at 6 months of age and attention deficit disorder.”

While mercury in vaccines has not been banned, it is gradually being phased out.