Can I die from sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can be divided into two categories: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. People with sleep apnea can experience daytime sleepiness, and if left untreated, can lead to sudden death. To avoid this, treating sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is essential. 

Depending on the severity, sleep specialists may recommend mild, moderate, or severe sleep apnea treatment. A sleep study is often required to determine the best approach for treating sleep apnea. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with sleep apnea, it is important to consult with a sleep specialist to understand the signs, symptoms, and consequences of untreated sleep apnea.

Is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?

Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes breathing to temporarily stop or become restricted during sleep. People with this condition can experience severe health problems, such as diabetes, stroke, heart failure, cognitive impairment, and even death. Obstructive and central sleep apnea are the two main types. 

Sleep Apnea Solutions & Treatment can include CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) and other therapies prescribed by a sleep specialist. Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS) is a severe form, while moderate and mild forms exist. A sleep study may be required to diagnose the disorder and determine the best treatment. 

What Are the Risks of Untreated Sleep Apnea? 

Sleep apnea is a disorder that is usually caused by obstruction or the inability to initiate breathing. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type and can lead to serious health issues if not treated. Central sleep apnea is less common and is when the body can’t initiate breathing. 

Treating sleep apnea with CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) can help people with mild, moderate, or severe obstructive sleep apnea. A sleep specialist may recommend a sleep study to diagnose sleep apnea and determine the best treatment. People with sleep apnea may experience daytime sleepiness.

  • High blood pressure: Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder that can cause loud snoring, pauses in breathing, and low oxygen levels. It is a risk factor for high blood pressure and can be treated with Positive Airway Pressure. Untreated Sleep Apnea can lead to developing more severe forms such as Treatment Emergent Central Sleep Apnea and Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea. People can fall asleep more easily when Sleep Apnea is diagnosed and treated.
  • Diabetes and insulin resistance: People with mild obstructive sleep apnea may fall asleep easily, but are at risk for developing sleep-disordered breathing. Untreated sleep apnea may lead to loud snoring and can cause the patient to stop breathing at night. This can lead to an increased risk of developing diabetes due to insulin resistance. Positive airway pressure and other treatments can help diagnose and treat sleep apnea, helping to lower blood pressure and reduce risk factors.
  • Pulmonary hypertension: Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person can stop breathing while asleep. Loud snoring and falling asleep during the day are risk factors for sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type and is caused by air pressure in the throat collapsing during sleep. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure and other health problems. 

Treatment for sleep apnea includes positive airway pressure and emergent central sleep apnea. Diagnosing and treating sleep apnea may help to reduce the risk of developing pulmonary hypertension, a condition in which the blood vessels in the lungs have changed due to breathing disruptions.

  • Stroke: Healthy sleep is important for maintaining good oxygen levels in the blood. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a common condition that can cause high blood pressure and other health issues. Treatment with oral appliances, sleeping pills, and clinical sleep medicine can help prevent OSA. 

How is sleep affected by losing weight, falling asleep, and upper airway resistance? Daytime fatigue, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and other chronic lung diseases can be caused or worsened by OSA. Treating OSA with bilevel-positive airway pressure and central sleep apnea can help prevent stroke.

  • Abnormal heart rhythms: Sleep apnea happens when a person’s upper airway is blocked, preventing them from getting enough oxygen during sleep. This can lead to abnormal heart rhythms, also known as arrhythmias, which may be a cause of sudden death in those with sleep apnea. Clinical sleep medicine and healthy sleep practices, such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and losing weight, can help prevent sleep apnea. Other treatments such as oral appliances, bilevel-positive airway pressure, and sleeping pills can also help. Oxygen levels, high blood pressure, and daytime fatigue are common in those with sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea (CSA) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are two different types of sleep apnea. How is sleep can be improved by treating sleep apnea and preventing it from happening. 

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a condition where the upper airway is blocked, reducing blood oxygen levels and leading to daytime fatigue and other problems. Treatment options include oral appliances, sleeping pills, losing weight, and Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure. 

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Clinical Sleep Medicine is important to assess how is sleep and prevent OSA, as it can increase blood pressure, impair memory and worsen mood, and increase the risk of accidents. Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease can also occur due to untreated OSA. Healthy sleep is essential for the body to function properly.

Can Sleep Apnea Cause Death Suddenly During Sleep?

People with sleep apnea have an increased risk of sudden cardiac death. Treatments like oral appliances, airway pressure devices, and weight loss can reduce this risk. Sleep apnoea is caused by a narrowed airway and weak upper airway muscles. This can lead to restless sleep, loud snoring, and trouble concentrating. 

Other sleep disorders, like emergent central sleep apnea, can lead to breathing and oxygen levels dropping during sleep. Soft palate and throat muscles also play a role in causing metabolic syndrome and atrial fibrillation. Treating these conditions with devices and lifestyle changes can help people achieve normal sleep and reduce their risk of complications.

Signs of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnoea is a disorder where breathing and oxygen levels during sleep are disrupted. It can be identified by snoring loudly and gasping for air. Other signs include trouble concentrating, restless sleep, and increased risk of metabolic syndrome, atrial fibrillation, and other sleep disorders. Narrowed airway and upper airway muscles, along with a soft palate, can cause sleep apnoea. Weight loss and airway pressure devices, such as oral appliances and other airway pressure devices, can help to restore normal sleep. This can reduce the risk of emergent central sleep apnea.

Additional signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include:

  • Waking up gasping for air or choking
  • Making unusual sounds while sleeping
  • Having frequent daytime fatigue
  • Waking up unrefreshed
  • Falling asleep during daytime tasks
  • Experiencing morning headaches
  • Tossing and turning during sleep
  • Having mood swings
  • Difficulty concentration during the day
  • Urinating frequently during the night

People with central sleep apnea may have similar signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. These may include snoring loudly, restless sleep, trouble concentrating, daytime sleepiness, and weight loss. Other symptoms are lower oxygen levels and decreased breathing. 

Treatment may involve the use of an oral appliance, other airway pressure devices, weight loss, and exercise for the upper airway muscles. Emergent central sleep apnea can cause atrial fibrillation and metabolic syndrome, which can increase the risk for other sleep disorders.

When to See a Doctor

People with sleep apnea may experience symptoms such as daytime sleepiness or not feeling rested in the morning. Sleep specialists can diagnose sleep apnea with a sleep study. This test monitors brain signals and records changes in heart rate and breathing. Sleep apnea can be mild, moderate, or severe. Treatments can include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and other therapies. Prompt treatment can help prevent complications.

sleep Apnea

Can sleep apnea cause dementia?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can cause forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, and difficulty organizing and planning. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type, which happens when the muscles in the back of your throat relax more than they should, blocking air from entering your body. Sleep apnea can also cause daytime sleepiness. 

Sleep Apnea Solutions include Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), a sleep specialist, or a sleep study. Severe, moderate, and mild sleep apnea are all possible, as is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome (OSAS). People with sleep apnea should seek treatment to avoid long-term effects.

Sleep apnea interrupts breathing

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes people to stop and start breathing while they sleep. Severe sleep apnea can cause 30 or more breathing interruptions an hour. It can lead to high blood pressure, an irregular heart rhythm, strokes, and diabetes, as well as depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea. 

interrupts breathing

Sleep apnea is a disorder that can cause high blood pressure and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. It happens when the upper airway is blocked and oxygen levels in the blood drop. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type. Central sleep apnea (CSA) is less common. Treatment includes CPAP, oral appliances, lifestyle changes, and sleeping pills. Clinical sleep medicine specialists can help diagnose and treat sleep apnea. Losing weight and preventing sleep apnea can help reduce daytime fatigue. Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) can also help improve how well you sleep.

Why is getting enough sleep so important?

Sleep is essential for brain health, and not getting enough sleep can result in dementia and lower pain tolerance. Sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and severe obstructive sleep apnea are all sleep disorders that can make it hard to get enough sleep. 

People with sleep apnea can benefit from treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). A sleep specialist can diagnose and treat sleep disorders such as mild, moderate, and severe sleep apnea, as well as obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and daytime sleepiness. Treating sleep apnea with CPAP can help, and a sleep study may be necessary to determine the best course of action.

Can sleep apnea lead to dementia?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where people stop breathing or have shallow breathing for short periods of time. It occurs when there is mild obstructive sleep, usually caused by the throat muscles relaxing. Loud snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea. People with untreated sleep apnea may be at risk of developing dementia. 

sleep apnea

Positive airway pressure can help diagnose and treat sleep apnea, as well as other risk factors, such as high blood pressure and obesity. It is still unclear how untreated sleep apnea may cause dementia, though it is known that those with undiagnosed sleep apnea, or who do not receive treatment for it, may be at risk of developing sleep-disordered breathing or emergent central sleep apnea.

Can sleep apnea cause long-term memory loss?

Sleep Apnea occurs when people stop breathing while they sleep. Risk factors include loud snoring, high blood pressure, and being overweight. If left untreated, it can cause long-term memory loss. Diagnose Sleep Apnea by looking for risk factors and signs like snoring, falling asleep during the day, and fatigue. 

Treatment includes Positive Airway Pressure which involves air pressure to keep airways open. Most patients develop better sleep after 3 months of treatment. However, 10-15% of people with sleep apnea still have mild symptoms. Untreated Sleep Apnea can also lead to other sleep disorders like Obstructive Sleep and Treatment Emergent Central Sleep.

Treatment for sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a disorder where people fall asleep and stop breathing, which affects how is sleep and can lead to decreased oxygen levels and high blood pressure. It can be mild or severe, caused by risk factors like obesity, loud snoring, and untreated sleep-disordered breathing. CPAP machines can help keep the airway open with bilevel-positive airway pressure but can be uncomfortable for patients. 


Other treatments include oral appliances, sleeping pills, and devices that go under the skin. Diagnosing and treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can reduce the risk factors, help prevent central sleep apnea (CSA), and improve the quality of sleep. Losing weight, avoiding alcohol, and quitting smoking can also help prevent sleep apnea, as well as treat chronic lung diseases and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Daytime fatigue and upper airway problems can also be alleviated by consulting with a clinical sleep medicine specialist.

How much does sleep apnea affect memory?

Sleep Apnea (OSA) can reduce oxygen levels, leading to memory problems. Healthy sleep is important for learning. Sleep Apnea can cause daytime fatigue, high blood pressure, and other chronic lung diseases. Oral appliances, sleeping pills, and losing weight can help prevent it. Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease can also affect how we sleep. Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure and other treatments can help the upper airway stay open, reducing the chances of falling asleep.

Does loud snoring mean you have sleep apnea?

Snoring is a common sign of sleep apnea but can occur without it. It is caused by the collapse of throat muscles during sleep. Around 40% of habitual snorers will develop sleep apnea, but only 4% of those with sleep apnea will suffer long-term health problems such as metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, or stroke. 

An oral appliance, other airway pressure devices, and weight loss can help reduce the risk. Restless sleep, trouble concentrating, and a narrowed airway can also be indicators of sleep apnea. Emergent central sleep apnea can be caused by the soft palate, upper airway muscles, and central apnea, leading to decreased breathing and oxygen levels, and can increase the risk of atrial fibrillation. Treatment with airway pressure devices and normal sleep can help. 

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder. It can be obstructive, central, or mixed. In children, it can look like ADHD. Removing the tonsils can help clear the airway and reduce hyperactivity. Adults with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea need to use a CPAP machine or another device. A sleep specialist can treat sleep apnea. Sleep studies can help diagnose it and reduce daytime sleepiness.

Getting LASIK Surgery

What Should be the Motivating Factors to Getting LASIK Surgery?

The development of LASIK laser eye treatment in the 1990s has improved the quality of life for millions of people throughout the world. One of the most sought-after corrective laser procedures due to its short procedure time and rapid visual recovery. 

It’s natural for people to ask if LASIK eye surgery is a good option for them, given the procedure’s widespread publicity and high success rate. In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at eye surgery with LASIK to see if it’s the perfect option for you, how it operates, and how it can enhance your life through improved vision.

What is Eye Surgery LASIK?

Eye Surgery LASIK

Laser-Assisted in-situ keratomileusis is more commonly known as LASIK. This surgical treatment reshapes the cornea to improve eyesight and eliminate the need for corrective lenses. It is effective, precise, and carries a negligible risk of problems that are easily remedied and rarely result in permanent vision loss.

Multiple types of refractive defects are amenable to LASIK eye surgery. For instance;

  • Up to +4.00 D of hyperopia (farsightedness)
  • Up to -12.00 D Myopia (nearsightedness)
  • And a 5.00 D of astigmatism with them.

Millions of individuals around the world who have trouble seeing can now look forwards to a brighter future because of this. If you’re considering surgery with LASIK, your doctor will assess if you’re a good candidate during your first consultation. 

Fortunately, if you decide eye surgery using LASIK isn’t for you, there are many more laser eye treatment options available thanks to recent advancements in the field. learn more about laser eye surgery cost by clicking here.

When LASIK is Performed, How Does it Work?

LASIK is Performed

Your LASIK eye doctor will use a Femtosecond Laser to cut a tiny flap in the cornea. In order to correct the specified visual issue, the freshly generated flap is lifted, and a second laser is utilised to remodel the corneal tissue lying beneath. Next, the corneal flap is repositioned.

The ultimate effect is a cornea that better focuses light on the retina, resulting in sharper vision. Even though most patients have a sudden and significant improvement in their eyesight, it continues to enhance over the next few weeks.

Is LASIK a Good Idea for You?

Here are some pointers to consider as you weigh the benefits and drawbacks of LASIK eye surgery in light of our newfound knowledge.

LASIK eye surgery is something to think about if you:

Need to Achieve Complete Visual Independence in One Day

Fast recuperation time is a major selling point for LASIK eye surgery. Although there are a number of approaches to addressing vision problems, very few of them offer quick fixes that last. Some people are interested in the possibility of having their vision improved but are not yet prepared to undergo the laser eye treatment. 

However, most eye doctors will be ready to schedule your LASIK surgery right away. In addition, you might be able to ditch your corrective lenses altogether after surgery.

Have negative experiences with contacts or glasses

You should really consider eye surgery with LASIK if you have a strong dislike for either your glasses or your contacts. Glasses and contacts are something that some individuals may love using, while many others learn to despise for various reasons. 

Glasses can pinch, shatter easily, and get in the way when you’re trying to be active or do particular things, which are all reasons why many people choose not to wear them. However, contact lenses can have negative side effects, including dry eyes and other irritations. 

In addition, they all have the potential to induce nausea, vomiting, or dizziness. But with LASIK eye surgery, most people never need to wear corrective lenses again.

Health Related Problems

Similarly, if you’re worried about your health, LASIK eye surgery could be a good investment. For those who suffer from vertigo, migraines, and other conditions that might be exacerbated by wearing glasses, this is a real concern. 

Furthermore, wearing contacts can be very unpleasant if you have allergies or any other eye-related concerns. This is due to the fact that exposure to them might result in symptoms such as dryness, redness, irritation, itching, ocular infections, and oxygen deprivation. Putting contacts in eyes that are already having problems can exacerbate the condition.

Booster of Confidence

Booster of Confidence

Some people feel more confident when they wear glasses, but for others it’s the opposite. If you fall into the second category, LASIK eye surgery is a rapid and effective solution. Instead of being shackled by glasses that make you feel less than your best, LASIK surgery could be your ticket to freedom and a positive self-image.


Some sports and other physical pursuits are inaccessible to people who must wear glasses. This is due to the fact that glasses are prone to breaking in the midst of any sort of vigourous exercise. Payment for specialist (and typically quite costly) athletic eyewear is one solution. 

Instead, you can try hiding them inside a (often very unattractive) protective cover, which won’t necessarily keep your glasses from slipping off or breaking even if you’re careful. But if you have eye surgery with LASIK, you won’t have to worry about breaking your glasses or hurting your eyes while playing sports because the surgical procedure eliminates the need for corrective lenses.

Work Responsibility

If you work in an environment where glasses or contacts aren’t allowed, that’s another plus for surgery with LASIK. Many law enforcement-related institutions and programmes exclude people with visual impairments, including police forces, fire departments, and the armed services. In order to avoid missing out on your ideal career because of vision problems, LASIK eye surgery is a fast and simple option to consider.

Constant Movement

Finally, your glasses or contacts might be starting to bother you if you’re a frequent flyer. The more you travel, the more likely it is that you may lose, misplace, or damage your glasses or contacts. There are a lot of places in an airport or railway station, hotel room, or restroom where you could accidentally set down your glasses case or remove your contacts and lose them forever. If you spend the money on eye surgery involving LASIK, you won’t have to worry about your eyesight again.

Contact Personal Eyes Today to Schedule Your FREE LASIK Consultation

It’s safe to say that you’re not alone if LASIK surgery is something you’re considering. As many as a million people have already had this laser eye treatment done, and another million are just waiting for the proper time to schedule it. 

LASIK surgery can be the ticket to visual independence for anyone with blurred vision who values mobility, athleticism, health, tired of glasses or wear contact lenses, or the pursuit of a new job but is limited by their eyesight. However, because each person’s situation and outcomes are unique, you should carefully weigh the benefits and drawbacks of the procedure before deciding to go through with it.

Personal Eyes’ mission is to provide information to everyone interested in learning how to better their eyesight. And if you are seriously considering laser vision correction, you need first ensure that you are a suitable candidate.

If you are having any question or inquiry about how to have a correct vision. Laser eye surgery procedure, Corneal tissue problems, Lasik surgery, laser beam in healing process, excimer laser usage, refractive eye surgery, laser treatment, laser suite, contact sports, the surgical procedure for refractive surgery or Lasik laser eye surgery – you should get in touch with us via our Personal Eye website to book your free assessment today.

sydney eye clinic

Common Questions About Diabetes and Eye Surgery: Sydney Eye Clinic

What are the risks of having cataract surgery if I have diabetes?

In most cases, patients with diabetes can safely undergo any kind of eye surgery. However, your overall health and absence of any other medical concerns will determine whether or not you are a candidate for eye surgery.

In rare situations, your overall health or other medical concerns may need you to postpone eye surgery. To find out if you are a candidate for eye surgery and when it would be best for you to have the procedure, consult with an ophthalmologist.

Prior to any major surgical procedure, you will likely have an appointment with sydney eye clinic or ophthalmologist to make sure your diabetes is not affecting your eyesight. 

First, you’ll want to get your eyes checked by an optometrist for a quick check-up, and then you may visit an ophthalmologist for a more thorough examination. Additional care will be discussed and planned for in the weeks leading up to your scheduled eye surgery.

All of the medical professionals working on you, from the ophthalmologist to the anaesthesiologist to the surgical nurses and the clinical team, are well-versed in caring for patients with diabetes and are committed to ensuring that you have the best possible surgical outcome. Care of this calibre is provided before, during, and after operation.

We have taken due diligence to publish articles such as this to help you live a healthy life. Our Personal Eye doctors are professionals who create medium for eye health through laser vision correction, various laser treatment and surgeries in New South Wales and the rest of Australia. 

Eye patients have been choosing eye drops, intravitreal injections, and surgeries such as pterygium surgery, LASIK surgery and other latest technology for their eye conditions. we hope that you will find this post about home techniques to manage itchy eyes, which was written by our refractive surgeons, resourceful.

Related: Considering Eye Surgery? LASIK May Be the Right Option for You

Does my HbA1c or blood sugar need to be under control before surgery?

Blood sugar level (BSL) levels tend to differ from patient to patient since diabetes is a complicated condition. Because of this, you should learn the proper methods for managing your diabetes from both your primary care physician and endocrinologist; there is no “one size fits all” solution.

If you want to keep your diabetes under control as much as possible, you may need to keep your average BSL or HbA1c level within a certain range. When you’re inside this range, you’re at peak health and safety for any medical or surgical operation, including eye surgery.

There is a low chance of problems after standard eye surgeries. To further improve your chances of a successful surgical outcome, however, you should ensure that your blood sugar and/or HbA1c levels are within the ‘safe’ range before the procedure.

Your ophthalmologist will coordinate with your primary care physician and endocrinologist to get you ready for surgery.

When I have my eyes fixed, do I have to fast?

Before undergoing eye surgery, patients are often told to abstain from all food and liquids. This is because some patients have a temporary loss of reflexes after receiving sedatives from their surgeon prior to an eye operation.

There is always the risk of choking or vomiting if there is food or liquid in your stomach. If this occurs, the food particles may go to the lungs, where they may obstruct or even damage the airways.

Talk to your eye surgeon ahead of time about your requirement for regular meals and fluids if you have diabetes. For this reason, diabetic patients are generally put at the front of the line for scheduled eye surgeries.

Should I stop taking my medicine before having surgery on my eyes?

Your ophthalmologist has to know about any and all medications you are taking, not only those for diabetes. It all depends on the sort of operation you’re having, but you may be asked to cease taking your medicine. If you’re having eye surgery, for example, you could be told to cease taking your blood thinners.

This is something that you and your treating doctors will need to address. You may feel confident that you will get detailed, written instructions well in advance of your operation if you need to make any adjustments to your regular prescriptions.

In order to have the most successful outcome from my upcoming eye surgery, what should I do in advance?

Before undergoing eye surgery, it’s advisable to follow the pre-op BSL optimisation recommendations of both your ophthalmologist and primary care physician/endocrinologist. The better your chances of having a successful operation and recovery, the longer your BSL stays within the recommended range for you (as determined with your doctor).

What can I expect if I have diabetes and need surgery?

After the procedure, you should be able to see beautifully. It’s possible that diabetic patients‘ “follow-up pathway” is modified slightly.

Your ophthalmologist may recommend more regular check- ups after surgery to check for any complications caused by your diabetes and its possible impact on your eyesight. You may end up needing to see an eye doctor more often than you anticipated, but this is temporary and will ultimately be to your benefit.

During my recuperation, what should I anticipate?

Recuperation following eye surgery often isn’t affected by diabetes. However, it’s possible that you’ll go through the typical recuperation hiccups. After having cataract surgery, for instance, many people report feeling like there’s something gritty in their eye.

Eyelid cleanliness, as instructed by your optometrist and/or ophthalmologist, and the postoperative eye drops supplied to you should help with this.

It’s vital that you report any unusual symptoms to your eye care team so they can be looked at. During your follow-up appointments after eye surgery, every member of your eye care team will assess your progress and provide recommendations for how to speed up your recovery.

Be sure to take it easy for at least a week after surgery. This includes putting aside time for things like golf, gardening, and swimming. Sunglasses are essential for protecting your retina from harmful UV rays throughout the healing process and should be worn at all times outside.

Your current glasses will work fine for reading and watching television. The likelihood of a prescription changes a month following surgery is high.

Maintain your usual routine of testing your blood sugar levels (BSL) and taking your diabetic medicines as directed by your primary care physician or endocrinologist.


If you are having any question or inquiry about how to have a correct vision, cataract surgery, Laser eye surgery, laser vision correction, diabetic retinopathy, minimally invasive glaucoma surgery, normally clear lens, vision loss, retinal conditions, short sightedness, – you should get in touch with us via our Personal Eye website to book your free assessment today.

Consider the factors outlined in this blog post, weigh the pros and cons, and most importantly, consult with a Sydney cataract surgeon at Personal Eyes before making the final decision.

surgery lasik

Considering Eye Surgery? LASIK May Be the Right Option for You

Lasik surgery is by far the most popular laser eye surgery procedure available today. This vision correction procedure is great for a wide array of vision problems and could be just what you need to start seeing better.

But before you go in for LASIK or any laser eye surgery, for that matter, it’s important to know the facts.

In this article, we’re diving into everything you need to know about laser eye surgery lasik. We touch on what happens during the procedure, what it’s for, and even the potential risks of laser eye surgery that you must discuss with your doctor.

Keep reading to learn more.

What Is Lasik Eye Surgery?

LASIK is a type of laser eye surgery that involves reshaping the cornea. When you have vision issues, you’ll typically have a misshapen cornea that doesn’t focus light to the retina properly. This is why you may have blurred vision when looking at objects that are far or close to you.

Typically, people wear glasses and contact lenses to correct this issue. When you wear contact lenses and glasses, you refocus the light so that it hits the retina just right, giving you clear vision. And while glasses or contact lenses are great options for many people, they are not permanent.

Laser vision correction is a common procedure that can correct vision issues long-term. Before laser eye surgery, your doctor will likely measure your corneal tissue to determine the reason you aren’t seeing properly.

From there, the doctor uses a sophisticated femtosecond laser to reshape your cornea, allowing light to focus on your retina. Your surgeon will tell you to place numbing eye drops on your eyes before the surgery lasik procedure so the entire ordeal is quick and painless.

surgery lasik

Laser eye surgery and LASIK are fairly simple procedures that usually take no more than 30 minutes. On top of that, the benefits of refractive surgery last a lifetime for most patients. So, if you’re tired of wearing corrective lenses for your blurry vision, discuss the laser eye surgery options with your doctor today.

What Is Lasik Eye Surgery For?

Laser eye surgery is one of the most common vision correction procedures that doctors perform for a variety of issues. Here are some of the conditions where laser eye surgery is the ideal treatment option.


Refractive surgery can greatly benefit individuals with myopia or nearsightedness. When you have a near-sighted eye, your distance vision is affected. This means that you’ll have a much harder time seeing distant objects that are far away from you. However, most people with myopia can still see closeby objects clearly.

Typically, patients manage their myopia with contact lenses or glasses. However, laser surgery offers a long-term solution for myopia.

Those with myopia have eyeballs that are too long and a sharp curve on their cornea. During laser surgery, your doctor will reshape the cornea so that light hits the retina perfectly, making it easier to see objects from a distance.


Hyperopia is the opposite of myopia. Patients with this condition can see long-distance objects clearly, but can’t see things that are close up. This is also called long-sightedness and is far less common than myopia nowadays.

This occurs when your eyeball is smaller than usual, or you have a flat cornea. Doctors can use laser eye treatment to correct this refractive error using an excimer laser to reshape your cornea. This improves your eye’s focusing power and can give you clear vision for many years to come.


Astigmatism is characterised by overall blurred vision. This is the result of an uneven cornea and makes everything blurry. Since this is a cornea issue, vision correction surgery is a great option for many patients.

What to Expect When Getting Lasik Surgery

While laser eye surgery is a common and fairly simple treatment, it’s important to know what occurs when you go in for this surgical procedure. That way, you have realistic expectations, and the entire process will be much easier.

surgery lasik

Before Surgery

Before your laser treatment, your laser eye surgeon will take precise measurements of your cornea and assess your overall health. For the best results, it’s important to go through a comprehensive exam to ensure that you’re a good candidate for the procedure.

If you wear contact lenses for your condition, your doctor will ask you to remove them for at least a week before the surgery. This is because lenses can reshape your cornea, and it might influence the doctor’s measurements, causing complications down the line.

The most important step before getting refractive eye surgery is a consultation. Your doctor will probably ask you about your health history and current medications and look for possible eye infections. That way, they can determine whether or not LASIK surgery is the best treatment option for you.

During the Procedure

A LASIK eye surgery only lasts around 30 minutes. It’s best to wear comfortable clothes during the procedure, so you’re completely at ease while the doctor reshapes your cornea. Right before the eye surgery, your doctor will ask you to place eye drops that will numb your eye, so you don’t feel anything.

From there, they use a laser beam to shape your cornea according to their previous measurements. This is one of the fastest and most effective vision correction options available, and it only lasts a few minutes.

After the doctor reshapes the cornea, they put the corneal flap back in place. For those with two affected eyes, the surgeon typically performs surgery on both eyes on the same day.

After the Procedure

Right after the procedure, you will have blurry vision, and your eyes will likely feel burned and itchy. This is why we recommend having a friend or partner pick you up and bring you home after the procedure.

It will take two or three months before your eye fully heals from the procedure. However, your doctor will ask you to visit for a follow-up appointment a few days after the surgery to check on your eyes. After that, you’ll need to visit your doctor after a few weeks to assess how your eyes heal.

Conclusion: Is LASIK Laser Eye Surgery Ideal for You?

If you have poor eye health, you might want to consider getting laser eye surgery. The procedure is fast, simple, and provides you with long-lasting results. It’s great for various conditions, so speak to your doctor today to determine if it’s the right pick for you!

eye surgery lasik

Eye Surgery LASIK – Is This the Right Treatment for You?

Many Australians suffer from vision problems. And while most of them are content to wear glasses or contact lenses their entire lives, you might be interested in longer-lasting vision correction procedures.

This is where laser eye surgery, LASIK, and SMILE treatments come in handy. The laser eye surgery procedure is simple, takes under an hour, and provides patients with a clear vision for many years.

But should you be asking your doctor about laser eye surgery?

While laser eye and lasik surgery are great treatments for various conditions, they aren’t for everyone. Many people aren’t ideal candidates for laser eye surgery. And today, we’ll explain all the details of the procedure so you can decide if it’s the right choice for you.

Keep reading to learn more.

What Is LASIK Laser Eye Surgery?

We’ll start by explaining what laser eye surgery is. Basically, this procedure involves using an advanced laser beam to reshape the cornea and correct different vision problems. This is a very common procedure that many patients undergo for vision correction.

Doctors typically use either an excimer laser or a femtosecond laser during the surgical procedure, allowing them to operate on your eye with great precision and accuracy. On top of that, since the doctor applies numbing eye drops before LASIK surgery, most patients don’t feel any pain.

Laser eye treatment’s ultimate goal is to allow patients to see much better. After laser treatment, you won’t have to wear contact lenses and glasses while expecting the results to last many years.

eye surgery lasik

Laser Eye Surgery, LASIK, and SMILE – What’s the Difference?

When talking to your laser eye surgeon about your options, it’s important to understand that there are various types of laser eye surgery. Laser eye surgery is sometimes called LASIK or SMILE. However, understand that SMILE and LASIK are completely different procedures for different conditions.

While LASIK and SMILE Are both types of laser eye surgery, they are very different from each other. But don’t worry – we’ll discuss the key differences between these treatments in the next section.

Types of Laser Eye Surgery

There are many types of laser vision correction. But in this section, we’re only looking at the most common procedures surgeons perform on a regular basis. So, keep reading to learn about the different types of laser eye surgery and their benefits.


LASIK surgery is the most common laser eye treatment options available. This is a simple procedure that involves making a small incision or corneal flap on the eye. After that, the doctor uses a laser to reshape different areas of the cornea.

Many vision issues are caused by an uneven or misshapen cornea. A skilled eye surgeon can use this laser procedure to correct the corneal tissue and allow light to focus on the retina. LASIK is great for blurry vision, nearsightedness, and farsightedness, which is why it’s one of the most common laser eye procedures available.


SMILE is an acronym for small incision lenticule extraction. This procedure relies on a femtosecond laser to create a lenticule in the cornea. From there, doctors use light rays to tweak the lenticule and focus light on the retina. The recovery from SMILE procedures is generally longer than LASIK, which is why it’s not as popular among patients.


Some patients have corneas that are too thin for laser vision correction. A great alternative is ICL eye surgery. This procedure involves implanting a new lens into the eye. This lens is specifically tailored to the patient’s needs and allows them to see much more clearly.

When to Get Laser Eye Surgery

Laser eye surgery and LASIK, in particular, are designed for specific conditions. Before going in for LASIK eye surgery, it’s important that you have the right condition for the treatment. Here are some situations where LASIK eye surgery may be the best option.

If You Have Myopia

Myopia is a very common condition that results in blurry vision for far-away objects. The condition is also called nearsightedness, and it affects many people nowadays. This is a result of misshapen corneas and large eyeballs that have difficulty focusing light on the retina.

Contact lenses are glasses that refocus the light to the retina. However, if you’re looking for a permanent solution to your blurred vision, a LASIK procedure could be ideal for your needs.

eye surgery lasik

If You Have Hyperopia

Hyperopia or farsightedness is the opposite of myopia. People with this condition have difficulty focusing on close objects but can easily see far objects. Just like with myopia, doctors can use the LASIK procedure to reshape the cornea and correct your vision.

LASIK refractive surgery is a great alternative to corrective lenses and can last patients many years. So, you may want to ask your doctor if laser eye surgery is the right option for your hyperopia.

If You Have Astigmatism

Those with astigmatism have trouble seeing short and long-distance objects. The condition is characterised by blurry vision and can be a huge interruption of a person’s daily life. While LASIK surgery isn’t ideal for all cases of astigmatism, many patients can benefit from the surgery.

Laser procedures have come a long way since their inception. And nowadays, these procedures are used for many common vision issues, allowing people to see without their contact lenses and glasses. That said, it’s important to know if you have the right condition for laser eye surgery before speaking to your doctor.

Who Can Get LASIK Laser Eye Surgery?

Anyone with the above conditions may qualify for LASIK refractive surgery. However, patients must be in good overall health before the procedure. Additionally, it’s best to avoid wearing your contacts before the surgery. And to reduce the risk of complications, check your eyes for infections or issues before the procedure.

Ultimately, only your doctor can decide if you’re a viable candidate for LASIK. So, set an appointment with them today if you’re interested in laser-assisted surgery for your eyes.

Conclusion: Is Eye Surgery, LASIK, Suitable for You?

Many people can benefit from laser eye surgery. This is a fairly common procedure that has helped many people worldwide. So, if you’re looking for a long-term solution to your eye problems, speak to your doctor about eye surgery today.


Iodide – One Mineral Can Help A Myriad Of Conditions From Atherosclerosis To “COPD” to Zits

If you’ve read or heard anything at all about potassium iodide, it’s probably been in association with terrorist attacks or nuclear power plant disasters. Potassium iodide (usually taken in tablet form) is recommended by “public health” authorities to protect the thyroid gland against accumulation of radioactive iodine released by a “terrorist bomb” or by nuclear power plant “meltdown”. But in reality, potassium iodide is a very effective “home remedy” with literally dozens of uses.

Older readers may remember Mother putting “iodine” on cuts and scrapes. It kept infection away as well as any “modern” antibiotic ointment, with the added benefit of not inducing “bacterial resistance”. But what else is potassium iodide (usually abbreviated by it’s Latin initials “SSKI”) good for? Read on…and then make sure to read the separate section about keeping SSKI use safe.

Some years ago, a retired Indian physician told me about his use of SSKI during more than 30 years traveling from village to village in rural Africa. Most usually, the only drinking water available was from a local stream or river, muddy and contaminated. After removing sediment and debris by straining the dirty water through cheesecloth, he’d add several drops of SSKI, and wait two to three minutes. He and his team could then drink the water. In over 30 years, he never got an infection from contaminated water. The SSKI killed any micro-organisms present.

Fortunately, the water available to most of us when traveling is considerably cleaner. Despite this, when Holly (my wife) and I travel, we always carry a small bottle of SSKI, and put one or two drops into any water we’re not absolutely certain about. We’ve cut back considerably on airline travel this year because of the thoroughly un-American and extremely unpleasant “airport Gestapo” experience. But when we’re forced to travel by air, we drink a few ounces of water with 10 drops of SSKI, and prevent any “airline sinusitis” or other respiratory infection that so often follows several hours spent breathing re-cycled, germ laden air. (SSKI rapidly accumulates in any and all body secretions, including in the sinuses, where it inhibits or kills bacteria, viruses, and fungi before they can cause an infection.)

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Although Holly has never had the experience, occasionally another woman at one of the conferences we attend has developed a bladder infection when far away from home and her own physician. Holly gives her our “back-up” small bottle of SSKI with instructions to take 10 to 15 drops in water or juice every 3 to 4 hours (while awake) until the infection is gone.

[Although SSKI is close to 100% effective in the elimination of bladder infections, this is a “high dose”; make sure to read the section “Keeping SSKI safe”. If possible, it’s best to use the simple sugar D-mannose to eliminate bladder infections. D-mannose is effective over 90% of the time, and is very, very safe. For details, see D-mannose and Bladder Infection by Lane Lenard Ph.D. and me, available through the Tahoma Clinic Dispensary.]

When our children were teenagers, they always knew where to find the SSKI bottle. Whenever one of them “popped a zit”, she or he would rub SSKI into it every hour or two. The offending “zit” would be gone in 24-48 hours or less; an innumerable number of social events were rendered “zit-free” by this approach.

So far, I’ve been telling you about SSKI’s ability to “kill germs” in one place or another. We’ll return to this important “home remedy” use for SSKI, but let’s digress for now to other uses.

Many women develop “fibrocystic breast disease”. In the 1970s, I learned from pioneering trace element researcher Dr. John Myers that iodine (a close “relative” of SSKI) would eliminate even the most severe cases of fibrocystic breast disease. [For the full details of this treatment, see pages 169-174 of The Patient’s Book of Natural Healing by Alan Gaby M.D. and me.] In “medium” to “minor” cases, 6 to 8 drops of SSKI taken in a few ounces of water daily will frequently reduce fibrocystic breast disease to insignificance within three to six months. Please do not do this without monitoring your thyroid function…see “Keeping SSKI Safe” on page whatever.

One of our daughters and at least thirty other women I’ve worked with in nearly 30 years have helped ovarian cysts disappear within two to three months with the same quantity of SSKI. Again, make sure to monitor your thyroid function!
It’s very likely that SSKI helps eliminate fibrocystic breast disease and ovarian cysts at least partly through it’s interaction with estrogens….which brings us to another important use for SSKI (and other forms of iodine such as “Lugol’s solution” and “di-atomic iodine”). All of these forms of iodine help your body to metabolize estrone (a slightly carcinogenic human estrogen) and 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone (a much more dangerous metabolite of human estrogen) into estriol, an “anti-carcinogenic” or at worst “neutral” form of human estrogen. I’ve reviewed literally hundreds of hormone tests in over 26 years which have proven this point. This testing and treatment usually requires the help of a physician skilled and knowledgeable in nutritional and natural medicine, who can also help with monitoring thyroid function.

“Dupuytren’s contracture” and “Peyronie’s disease” are two “fibrotic” conditions that can be helped considerably by SSKI. In Dupuytren’s contracture, thickening (fibrosis) occurs along one of the tendons in the palm in the hand, pulling the related finger down towards the palm. As the problem progresses, the finger often can’t be straightened any more.

In Peyronie’s disease, a very similar thickening occurs along the shaft of the penis, making erections increasing “curved” and painful. In both cases, rubbing SSKI into the thickened tissue at least twice daily softens and lessens the fibrotic area over a period of several months, allowing for more normal function.

For these conditions, it’s additionally helpful to take para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) 2 grams, three times daily, and to rub a mixture of Vitamin E and DMSO into the thickened areas, also. However, if “caught early”, SSKI alone will often “do the job”. (It’s also advisable to have glucose-insulin tolerance test done, as there’s an unusually high incidence of “insulin resistance” in people with Dupuytren’s contracture or Peyronie’s disease.

“Keloids” are abnormally thick scars, sometimes as much as an inch thick, that can form after injury. Although anyone can get a keloid, they’re more common among blacks than other ethnic groups. Rubbing SSKI into a keloid at least twice daily will ultimately flatten them down to a “normal scar”, but it can take many months to a year for particularly bad ones. The treatment goes faster if SSKI is mixed “50-50″ with DMSO.

“Fistulas” are literally abnormal tunnels through tissues, “tunnels” prevented from healing by chronic infection. Two not-unusual types are “peri-anal fistulas” (a “tunnel” from outside the anus to the inside of the rectum) and “recto-vaginal” fistulas. Although these fistulas can be treated successfully by surgery, they can often be healed by frequent swabbing inside and out with an SSKI-soaked “Q-tip”. Patience is required: Complete healing often takes several months. The treatment appears to work better if the SSKI is mixed with DMSO, which enhances “penetrance”. My colleague Richard Kunin, M.D. of San Francisco, is a “world class” expert on the use of SSKI and other forms of iodine. He has found that hemorrhoids will sometimes disappear literally overnight, when SSKI (20 drops) mixed with flaxseed oil (1 ounce) is rubbed in them at bedtime. He’s also found that SSKI alone will do the same job, although it “really stings” when applied to a hemorrhoid by itself.


When I was a pre-med student at Harvard University, the famous chemistry professor Louis Feiser made a point of demonstrating to all the pre-medical students that iodine and iodide would make oils, fats, and waxes (cholesterol is actually a wax) more soluble in water. He urged us to remember this in our medical practices, as he was sure it wouldn’t be taught in medical school (he was right!). This known action of iodide likely explains why SSKI can be useful in the next two applications.

Over 30 years ago, two ophthalmologists observed that a combination tablet called “Iodo-niacin” (iodide 120 milligrams, niacin 15 milligrams) taken for several months could actually reverse atherosclerotic clogging of arteries. They proved this effect by taking pictures of clogged arteries in the backs of the eyes (“retinal photomicrographs”) before and after treatment. The published photographs showed a significant lessening of the cholesterol-laden artery clogging in the “after” pictures.

Amazingly enough, no follow-up study has ever been published (probably because niacin and iodide aren’t patentable). Despite this, the published pictures speak clearly for themselves. I recommend 4 to 6 drops of SSKI and niacin-containing B-complex daily (along with many other things) for anyone with significant cholesterol-related atherosclerotic clogging. Thyroid function must be monitored!

“Sebaceous cysts” are cysts which contain oily, fatty material. They usually appear rather suddenly on the face or in the groin or labia. Rubbing in SSKI mixed 50-50 with DMSO will almost always persuade these cysts to go away in a week or two; it appears that the iodide “dissolves” the fatty, oily material contained in the cysts, allowing your body to slowly re-absorb and dispose of it.

Although it’s not a common condition, from time to time someone will come to my office at Tahoma Clinic inquiring about alternatives to surgery for “parotid duct stone”. These are “stones” which can form in the saliva-carrying duct(s) from the major salivary glands (“parotid” glands, located at the “angle of the jaw”). 3 to 4 drops of SSKI taken in water daily will almost always dissolve parotid duct stones within four to eight months.

If you have chronic bronchitis and or emphysema (“COPD”, “COLD”) SSKI is an invaluable tool. SSKI “gets into” all body secretions, including often thick and hard to cough up bronchial secretions, which get infected very easily. SSKI takes care of both of these problems. It “loosens” secretions remarkably, making them much easier to “clear”, and it prevents micro-organisms from growing easily. With regular SSKI use, bronchial infection is a much less frequent happening. Depending on the severity of COPD, I recommend 3 to 6 drops of SSKI taken in water once daily. As COPD is usually a chronic condition, SSKI use will usually be indefinite, so make sure to monitor your thyroid function! (See the August 2002 Nutrition & Healing for a more complete discussion of natural COPD treatment.)

Now, back to other infections. For this group, using SSKI mixed “50-50″ with DMSO works better, as the DMSO enables SSKI to penetrate much more deeply into the tissues and kill germs.

Infected “hangnails” are perhaps the easiest to clear up this way, as are nagging bacterial infections around the edges of the toenails. Rub in the mixture several times daily, and the problem’s usually gone in a few days. Herpes simplex (“herpes”) ourbreaks can be “stopped cold” in the same way, but it often takes longer for the “sore” to heal itself over.

If you have persistent “swollen glands” in the throat or groin areas, see a doctor first! These can very rarely be signs of leukemia, lymphoma, or another cancer, especially in older people. But if all tests and studies are negative, and the doctor says “it’s just swollen glands”, rub in the SSKI with DMSO. In a large majority of cases, the “just swollen glands” will gradually fade away.

Fungus under the toenails (“onychomycosis”) is a difficult problem to treat. Even “conventional” anti-fungal drug treatment takes months to work, and (for safety) monthly liver function tests are necessary. SSKI and DMSO rubbed on, around, and under the affected toenails doesn’t work any faster, but it’s just as effective, and definitely safer. Make sure to wear old socks, because SSKI and other forms of iodine leave an orange-brown stain. (Other safe and effective alternatives include geranium oil, oregano oil, and tea tree oil. These and other anti-fungal oils also require “help” from DMSO to penetrate the toenail and soak the fungus underneath.)

SSKI can also help clear up vaginal infections. 20 to 30 drops in water, used in a small “douche” once daily for five to ten days will usually do the job. (There’s actually a prescription-only iodine preparation of available for vaginal infections, too.) However, iodine preparations of any sort for vaginal infections are often not popular because of the inevitable orange-brown stains they leave on clothing.

What about SSKI to help a “weak” thyroid (hypothyroidism)? Even though iodine and iodide are absolutely essential to thyroid hormone formation, in most “developed” countries, hypothyroid conditions are not usually due to an outright lack of iodine or iodide. Still, hypothyroidism is occasionally helped by 1 drop of SSKI daily. Make sure to work with your doctor on this one!

Lastly, there’s a gastronomic use for SSKI: reducing the gas we all get from eating beans! If you’re soaking beans before cooking them, add 1 or 2 drops of SSKI, and let them soak for an hour or more. (Pour offf that water before cooking, and add fresh water.) You’ll be surprised at the reduction in resulting intestinal gas! (For those who want a technical explanation: There’s a naturally occurring enzyme inhibitor in beans which interferes with starch digestion, producing gas. SSKI inactivates this enzyme inhibitor.)


In the past, SSKI and other forms of iodine and iodide were available only on prescription, or through chemical supply sources. Since the mid-1990s passage of the Federal DSHEA law, we’ve regained the basic American freedom to buy and sell natural substances (narcotics exempted) without prescription. You haven’t read or heard much about SSKI because (despite Federal Appeals Court decisions) FDA still maintains it’s First Amendment violating policy of complete suppression of truthful product use information on package labels or in advertisements….unless of course FDA is paid an enormous amount of money ($250 million minimum, according to Congressional testimony) for “approval”. Since SSKI can’t be patented…well, you know the rest.

SSKI can be obtained without prescription in some compounding pharmacies, some health food stores, through “on-line” sources, and at the Tahoma Clinic Dispensary (with which I am of course affiliated) in a convenient travel-size dropper bottle.


There are three “hazards” to using SSKI: staining, allergy, and a very small possibility of thyroid suppression with longer-term use of “too much”.

Staining can be a big nuisance, but it’s not a health hazard. When SSKI is applied to skin, it can impart a faint to moderate orange-brown color, which fades away once SSKI is no longer being applied. SSKI and other iodine stains in clothing can be semi-permanent or permanent, so don’t plan to wear anything “nice” in the vicinity of recently-applied SSKI.

Iodine allergy is a possibility, although in nearly 30 years of medical practice I’ve seen it only a few times. Usually, it causes a red, bumpy skin rash, which goes away after SSKI or other iodine is discontinued. Topical (applied to the skin surface) iodine allergy is almost never a serious emergency.

SSKI or iodine can very occasionally cause acne, which also goes away once the source of iodine is dicontinued.

The type of so-called “iodine allergy” that can interfere with breathing and occasionally sends us to the emergency room is usually not allergy to iodine or iodine molecules, but instead to much larger, possibly iodine-containing molecules found in lobster, crab, clams and other “shellfish”. These molecules are not present in SSKI or iodine. However, if there’s any suspicion at all of iodine allergy, it’s best not to swallow any without testing for allergy or sensitivity.

Too much iodine for too long can suppress thyroid function. Many of the uses described for SSKI in the accompanying article are short-term, from a few days or less to a week or two. If SSKI is then stopped, there’s almost no chance of significant thyroid suppression. However, if SSKI is to be used for two to three weeks or longer, and especially if it’s to be used continuously (for example, COPD or cholesterol-related atherosclerosis) monitoring thyroid function is very important. To find a physician near you who can help order and interpret thyroid function tests contact Meridian Valley Lab.

Fortunately, in my experience with over a thousand individuals, internal use of than nine drops of SSKI daily has or less has very rarely resulted in thyroid suppression. On those very few occasions, discontinuance has resulted in prompt recovery. So far, I’ve never seen thyroid suppression result from “topical” (skin surface) use of SSKI.

A final “safety” note: Dr. Kunin cautions (and I agree) that if you use SSKI or other iodine “long-term”, make sure your diet contains plenty of essential fatty acids (both omega-3 and omega-6) as well as the sulfur-containing amino acids methionine and cysteine. If you eat animal protein daily, that’s usually sufficient as a source of these two amino acids, but if you’re vegetarian (or close) and using “long term” SSKI or other iodine, then take 300-500 milligrams of each daily.


Iodine is a basic element, as are calcium, zinc, oxygen and other elements. The word “iodine” usually refers to two iodine molecules chemically “stuck together” (I2), just as the word “oxygen” usually refers to two oxygen molecules “stuck together” (O2). Since iodine is more reactive, and therefore more likely to cause problems, iodine is usually used as “iodide”, a word which refers to one iodine molecule combined with another molecule such as potassium (KI) or sodium (NaI). In chemical terms, such molecules are called “salts”; the best known salt is sodium chloride (NaCl), a “salt” of chlorine (Cl2).

The “SS” in “SSKI” refers to “Saturated Solution Potassium Iodide”. Other medically useful forms of iodine include “Lugol’s solution”, invented by Dr. Lugol of Paris in the 1840s, which contains a mixture of types of iodine and iodide, and “di-atomic iodine”, which is another name for iodine, but usually prepared as a solid in a capsule instead of a liquid.

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D-Mannose for Bladder and Kidney Infections

D-Mannose for Bladder and Kidney Infections

A little girl’s parents are told she’ll likely need a kidney transplant since her chronic kidney infections aren’t yielding to antibiotics anymore…..

Another little girl with a genetic disorder has been on continuous antibiotics for nearly two years because of kidney and bladder infections….

An adult woman gets a bladder infection every time she has sex… And literally millions of women and girls (and a very few boys and men) each year have at least one episode of acute bladder infection (“cystitis”). Routine treatment of bladder and kidney infections involves antibiotics and antimicrobials. As the first three cases (described later) will illustrate, in over 90% of bladder and kidney infections, antibiotics are actually an inferior treatment choice. The treatment of choice for initial treatment of most urinary tract infections is D-mannose.

D-mannose is a naturally occurring simple sugar, closely related (in chemical terms, a “stereoisomer”) to glucose. Small amounts of D-mannose are metabolized by our bodies; more than small amounts are excreted promptly into the urine. But how can even large quantities of a simple natural sugar do anything at all to cure over 90% of all bladder and urinary tract infections?

The answer is found in the interaction between D-mannose and the bacterium found in over 90% of all bladder infections, Escherichia coli (“E. coli”). [No, that’s not the infamous E. coli mutant associated with unsanitary food processing that’s hospitalized and killed people. It’s the normal E. coli found as part of the “normal microflora” in every intestinal tract.] But even normal E. coli don’t belong in the bladder and urinary tract; in these areas it multiplies and becomes an undesirable infection.

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But why doesn’t the normal downflow of urine from the kidneys through the ureters into the bladder and thence beyond simply carry the E. coli right along with it? What allows the E. coli to “stick” to the inner walls of the bladder and even work their way upward (like “Spiderman”) in some cases reaching as far as the kidneys?

The “cell walls” of each E. coli are covered with tiny fingerlike projections. The very tips of these projections are an amino acid-sugar complex, a “glycoprotein” also called a “lectin”. E. coli “lectins” have the unfortunate (for us) capability of “sticking” the bacteria to the inside walls of our bladders and urinary tracts, so they can’t be rinsed out by urination.

Unfortunately for the E. coli, D-mannose “sticks” to E. coli lectins even better than E. coli lectins “stick” to human cells. When we take a large quantity of D-mannose, almost all of it spills into the urine through our kidneys, literally “coating” any E.coli present so they can no longer “stick” to the inside walls of the bladder and urinary tract. The E. coli are literally rinsed away with normal urination!

D-Mannose for Bladder and Kidney Infections

Why is “rinsing away” E. coli with D-mannose superior to killing them with antibiotics and anti-microbials? When an antibiotic is taken, it kills unwanted micro-organisms, but it also kills many “friendly” micro-organisms. Every woman is familiar with “yeast infections” that follow antibiotic use, as the “friendly bacteria” are killed off along with the “bad bacteria”, leaving the antibiotic-insensitive yeast to grow “out of control”. Long-term or often-repeated antibiotic use can lead to major disruptions in normal body microflora, and sometimes to major disruptions in health, especially immune system function. [It’s suspected that the “killer” E. coli of recent years are “mutants” caused by persistent antibiotic feeding to animals.]

By contrast, D-mannose doesn’t kill bacteria, “friendly” or “unfriendly”. D-mannose simply helps to relocate misplaced E.coli from inside of our urinary tracts to outside. (Since D-mannose is absorbed in the upper gastrointestinal tract, it doesn’t relocate the “friendly” E. coli normally present in the colon.) D-mannose treatment of E. coli bladder and urinary tract infections is ecologically sound treatment. (The very small amounts of D-mannose metabolized by our bodies and not excreted into the urine are harmless.) As an extra bonus, D-mannose tastes good!

Three Cases, Briefly

Our first case is relatively well-known in the Seattle-King County area as this child’s mother provided testimony about her case to the County Council when it was considering the establishment of a natural medicine clinic within the taxpayer-funded county public health system.

This mother brought her daughter to Tahoma Clinic in the 1980s. She also brought with her a very detailed set of notebooks in which she’d recorded descriptions of her daughter’s numerous hospitalizations and extensive tests for nearly continuous urinary tract infections. By actual count, her daughter (not yet five years old) had been seen by 72 different physicians, and had been on antibiotics the majority of her life. Mother and father had been told the doctors were “running out of effective antibiotics”, and that their daughter would likely need a kidney transplant during the next few years, as her kidneys were beginning to fail from the chronic infection. Extensive tests showed “normal kidneys, ureters, and bladder”, with no discoverable reason for all the infection.

Fortunately, Mom also had records of many urine cultures. They were always the same: E.coli. At the end of our consultation, I advised her to give her daughter ¼ to ½ teaspoon (approximately 1 to 2 ½ grams) of D-mannose powder stirred into water every three to four hours while awake. Despite being a bit dubious that a simple sugar prescribed by a natural medicine doctor (remember, this was the 1980s) would do anything, mother tried it. Within 48 hours, the infection was gone. Her daughter remained infection free for over two years until the D-mannose was temporarily forgotten; resumption cleared the infection once more. She’s had no urinary tract infection since, and has of course retained her own kidneys.

The County Council was impressed by the simple natural solution to a serious health problem. They were equally impressed with the difference in cost between D-mannose treatment (even long-term) and the cost of several hospitalizations, extensive testing, and nearly continuous antibiotics, as well as the potential cost of the predicted kidney transplant.

Our second case is that of a another little girl with galactosemia (a genetic disease) who when first seen in 1996 was on antibiotics because of chronic recurrent E. coli urinary tract infections. She’d been on antibiotics for most of the prior two years. As part of her overall treatment, I advised her parents to switch her from antibiotics to D-mannose (at the quantities noted above). The switch was made uneventfully; no further urinary tract infections occurred. When they last saw their daughter’s urologist in 1998, her parents were told to “check back in the year 2000″.

Our last case is that of a married woman who was avoiding sex because “I get a bladder infection every time”. Needless to say, this caused some degree of marital discord. As cultures had shown E. coli, she started taking ½ teaspoon of D-mannose one hour prior to and just after intercourse, and had no further infections.

There also have been many women who’ve been advised to take D-mannose ½ teaspoon every two to three hours to treat single episodes of bladder infection. Nearly every time, the treatment has been successful. However, since a small proportion of bladder infections are not caused by E. coli but by some other micro-organism, women are also advised to call back for a “regular” antibiotic prescription if their infections are not substantially better or completely gone in 24 hours.

Try D-Mannose First

D-mannose is very safe, even for long term use, although most women (or the very occasional man) with single episodes of bladder or urinary tract infection will only need it for a few days at most. Although D-mannose is a simple sugar, very little of it is metabolized. It doesn’t interfere with blood sugar regulation, even for diabetics. It creates no disruption or imbalance in normal body microflora. It’s safe even for pregnant women and very small children. In the less than 10% of cases where the infection is a bacteria other than E. coli, antibiotics can be started in plenty of time. (Many physicians will likely advise collecting a urine specimen for culture, if possible just before starting D-mannose, so that the bacteria can be identified as rapidly as possible in the few cases when D-mannose doesn’t work.)

Since D-mannose is naturally occurring, many of you may have guessed that cranberry juice (as well as pineapple juice) contain more D-mannose than most other foods. However, the amounts found in these juices are substantially less than in the ½ teaspoon (approximately 1 gram) adult dose, and are substantially less effective.

So Where’s the D-Mannose?

If D-mannose is so safe and effective, why isn’t it in your natural food store? Your editor has been frustrated by it’s absence also, particularly as he has spent several years trying to convince one or another supplement company to put D-mannose into wider distribution.

More to read: Iodide – One Mineral Can Help A Myriad Of Conditions From Atherosclerosis To “COPD” to Zits

Is the mainstream still cheating you out of the best health possible—with folic acid?!

Is the mainstream still cheating you out of the best health possible—with folic acid?!

Discover the stunning truth behind this essential “vitamin”—and the simple switch that’s much, much better for you

Do you remember a few years ago, when “mainstream” print and broadcast media were telling us that vitamin E was bad for our cardiovascular systems, and would increase our risk of heart attack? Turns out the whole thing was based on -you guessed it- researchers not copying Nature!

They weren’t using Nature’s own of vitamin E—a combination of alpha-, beta-, delta- and gamma-tocopherol, sometimes with alpha-, beta-, delta-, and gamma-tocotrienol—in the same percentages and combinations found in Nature. Instead, they had used alpha-tocopherol only in their research—and reported an increase in cardiovascular risk.

Fortunately, since then it has been pointed out that gamma-tocopherol is more important in protecting the heart than alpha-tocopherol. In fact, supplementing alpha-tocopherol alone depresses levels of gamma-tocopherol, so increased risk to the heart isn’t altogether surprising. What can we learn from this? It’s pretty obvious—using a natural substance in a way that goes against Nature’s perfect design can cause problems.

Given the news, responsible vitamin suppliers quickly replaced alpha-tocopherol-only forms of vitamin E with “mixed tocopherols,” combinations of alpha-, beta-, delta, and gamma-tocopherols.

In a similar turn of events, recently accumulating research has found that supplemental folic acid, incorrectly identified as a vitamin (it’s actually an oxidized vitamin) since its synthetic crystallization in the 1940s, may actually accelerate cognitive decline in some older individuals. It’s also being linked to increased risk of colon and rectal cancers, increased risk of childhood asthma born to folic-acid supplemented mothers, and accelerated growth of pre-existing cancers.

Is the mainstream still cheating you out of the best health possible—with folic acid?!

There’s enough research that Reader’s Digest magazine recently published an article warning readers about the dangers of too much folic acid. Unfortunately, the article showed that not only journalists, but even medical professionals still haven’t figured out that folic acid is not the same as the naturally occurring vitamin folate.

See Also: D-Mannose for Bladder and Kidney Infections

Six of one is NOT half a dozen of the other

According to the article, a university-affiliated medical doctor stated: “We’ve known for years that getting too little folate can promote cancer. Now it looks like getting too much folic acid could be harmful too.”

Like much of the medical mainstream, he used folic acid and folate as interchangeable terms.

But folic acid is not the same as folate!

Folic acid is a single type of molecule, crystallized in 1943 by a scientist working for the patent medicine company Lederle Laboratories, then a subsidiary of American Cyanamid Corporation. Folic acid is the fully oxidized form of naturally occurring folates, which are found in leafy and green vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, romaine, lettuce, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and bok choy. Other sources include corn, beets, tomatoes, dried or fresh beans and peas, fortified sunflower seeds and some fruits, including oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, banana, raspberries, and strawberries. Liver (only organic, of course) and brewer’s and baker’s yeasts are good sources of folate, too.

But—and this is important to understanding the difference between folic acid and the various naturally occuring folates—none of these vegetables, fruits, liver or yeast naturally contain even one molecule of folic acid.

How the mainstream convinced us we need folic acid, and not folate

So why is folic acid so firmly entrenched in the public and mainstream professional mind as a vitamin? For the same reasons that mainstream professionals, science writers (who should know better), and the majority of the public think that horse estrogen and human estrogen are the same thing. It’s a combination of a sloppy understanding of biochemistry and some clever patent-medicine-company-supported and -promoted psychology.

First, the biochemistry. (Stay with me, it’s relatively easy.) Folate was originally isolated from brewer’s yeast and spinach in the 1930s. Once isolated and exposed to air it becomes unstable and breaks down, and is generally no longer useful in nutrition. But a small amount of natural folate can be transformed by oxidation (a natural process) into folic acid, a much more stable form with a very long shelf life.

While human and animal cells cannot use the folic acid molecule itself in their normal metabolic processes, human cells (principally the liver) can transform folic acid back into many of its metabolically useful folate forms. That’s why folic acid—despite not being found in food—can do so much nutritional good, the best-known example being the prevention of birth defects including spina bifida, cleft lip, and cleft palate.

As we grow older, though, our bodies are increasingly slow at transforming folic acid into usefully metabolized folates. That’s probably why scientists are finding that folic acid (not folate) is associated with cognitive decline in the elderly. Some of these studies have shown significantly elevated levels of un-metabolized (and therefore not useful) folic acid building up in the bloodstreams of supplemented older individuals.

In addition to worsening folic acid metabolism with age, there are also a significant number (as high as 5 percent or more in some populations) of survivable human genetic defects of folate metabolism which make it more difficult or, in some circumstances, impossible for sufferers to make metabolic use of folic acid.

Now, the psychology. Imagine you’re the sales and marketing arm of a patent medicine company. Which would you rather produce and sell: A then-process-patentable substance (folic acid) or an un-patentable substance (folate)? A substance with a longer shelf life (folic acid), or a substance that breaks down very rapidly on exposure to heat, cold, or light—even from “just sitting there” (folate)? A substance that’s less expensive to manufacture and process (folic acid), or a more expensive substance (folate)? The answer is pretty obvious—from a marketing point of view, folic acid wins every time.

And in this case, by great good luck, folic acid does do some good. It can be re-metabolized into various metabolically useful forms in most people—particularly younger people. So of course folic acid is promoted as a vitamin—even though it’s not found naturally in food—and manufacturers happily encourage everyone to speak of it interchangeably with folate, just as the Wyeth company so successfully confused Premarin with human estrogen in the public mind.

As usual, the mainstream way does more harm than the natural way

So since the 1940s, when physicians wanted to give their patients supplemental folate, they were taught to start with folic acid under one or another brand name. Even I was taught that at the University of Michigan in the 1960s. Supplement companies have sold folic acid, too, as it appeared to do the job, and there were for years no reports of harm. In fact there was very little, if any, research into potential harm.

But now that there is enough evidence of potential harm from folic acid, it’s time for all of us who want the benefits to switch back to the forms of folate found in food, which our bodies can use more efficiently and effectively than folic acid. Of course, we should always start by eating as much folate-containing food as possible, and as fresh as possible, too.

Remember, naturally occurring folates break down quite rapidly with heat, cold, light, even when they’re still in the food. Because of this naturally rapid breakdown, even the most avid vegetable and fruit eaters often need folate supplementation. (For a simple way to find out if you’re among them, see “Overlooked blood test could be the key to your good health” below.) Fortunately, about a year or two ago, responsible supplement suppliers began to make individual folate (not folic acid) supplements available. Some suppliers have just started to include various forms of folate in multiple vitamins and other combinations.

So it’s time to make folic acid supplements a part of history, and use only forms of naturally occurring folate when we use supplements. A little bit of folic acid (100 to 200 micrograms, the amount found in many multiple vitamins at present) is not likely to be a problem, but more taken daily for years just might raise your long-term risk of colorectal cancer or cognitive decline. If higher amounts are unavoidable (for example, until all prenatal vitamins switch from folic acid to folate), taking additional folate will very likely offset the folic acid still found in the multiple. If you’re apprehensive, consult a physician skilled and knowledgeable in nutritional and natural medicine.

It’s very likely that within a relatively short time enough responsible supplement suppliers will switch from folic acid to folate in all their supplements, individual and combination, so you won’t need to read all the labels so closely to make sure you’re getting folate and not folic acid.

One last point you may be wondering about: Is there such a thing as “too much of a good thing” when it comes to naturally occurring folate supplementation?

Unless you have vitamin B12 deficiency or cancer, it’s very unlikely to be a problem. In the case of vitamin B12 deficiency, supplemented folate—even naturally occurring folate—can “cover up” some of the deficiency signs in blood tests. But preventing that is simple: Take extra vitamin B12 whenever you take extra folate! Some suppliers even combine the two, or put them with the rest of the B-complex vitamins.

But if you have cancer, it’s of course best to discuss folate (not folic acid) supplementation with a physician skilled and knowledgeable in nutritional and natural medicine. To find one in your area, contact the American College for Advancement in Medicine. JVW

Is the mainstream still cheating you out of the best health possible—with folic acid?!

Where to get it: Naturally occurring folate in supplements

At present, two types of folates that occur naturally in foods are available as over-the-counter supplements. One is folinic acid, usually sold over-the-counter as “calcium folinate.” Calcium folinate is also available by prescription as Leucovorin®, which, unfortunately, is considerably more expensive and also contains FD&C yellow #10 and FD&C blue # 1, neither of which improves clinical results.

The other over-the-counter naturally occurring folate presently available is 5-methyltetrahydrofolate. It’s more expensive than over-the-counter calcium folinate, but more likely to be effective for individuals with “hidden” genetic defects in folate metabolism.

There’s also at least one B-complex and one multiple vitamin-mineral combination containing calcium folinate and methylcobalamin (the more metabolically active form of B12) available over-the-counter. By the time this newsletter is printed, it’s very likely more than one of each of these will be available, too.

The availability of supplemental folates that occur naturally in foods has solved another problem I’d been observing in a minority of individuals since the 1970s. Although the large majority of people who tested poorly for individually optimal levels of folate on a test called the neutrophilic hypersegmentation index (see “Overlooked blood test could be the key to your good health” below) significantly improved their levels by taking folic acid supplements, a small but significant number had little to no improvement at all. For this group, all I could tell them was to eat as much folate-containing food as possible, and forget the folic acid supplements.

But since supplemental calcium folinate and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate have become available, nearly every patient with a previously abnormal neutrophilic hypersegmentation index has improved with their use.

Overlooked blood test could be the key to your good health

If you’re serious about good health and longevity, or if you have any chance at all of becoming pregnant, there’s an inexpensive but critically important blood test that’s too often overlooked. Although it’s simple, quick, and easy to do, many clinical laboratories don’t do it because there’s “no demand.”

It’s called the “neutrophilic hypersegmentation index.” It is a mouthful to say, but for decades it has been—and still is—the best test of your personal folate status. Not how your folate level compares with other peoples’, but how optimal your own level is.

To do that, the neutrophilic hypersegmentation index (NHI) determines what percentage of your neutrophils—a type of white blood cell—were supplied with an optimal amount of folate while they were growing and maturing. Of course, optimal is 100 percent. But before we get into how to boost your own score, it’s important to know some of the scientific background that explains why this test is so important.

When neutrophils are “born” and “incubate” in bone marrow, their chromosomes—DNA—arrange themselves into five segments. A final step in neutrophil DNA maturation is re-arrangement of those five segments into three. Normal folate metabolism is a key to this final step. Very shortly after the five-to-three segment DNA re-arrangement, the fully mature neutrophil is released from the bone marrow into the bloodstream, where it lives out its months-long life doing its job—one very important part of which is defending our bodies against germs.

But if there isn’t enough folate, the neutrophil’s DNA stays in five (instead of three) segments. When the neutrophil is needed, it’s released into the bloodstream anyway, where it’s called a hypersegmented (too many segments) neutrophil. Fortunately, a hypersegmented neutrophil can still fight germs as well as a “regular,” three-segmented neutrophil.

Planning a family? Why you MUST have this test

After a blood sample is drawn, a technician with a microscope can easily see and count the number of DNA segments in each neutrophil. The “hypersegmentation index” is the percentage of five-segment neutrophils counted in a total of one hundred neutrophils.

Neutrophils, other circulating blood cells, and the cells that line our gastrointestinal tracts are the most rapidly dividing cells in our bodies. So if there’s a shortage of any of the three key nutrients for keeping cell division normal—folate, vitamin B12, and/or zinc—these rapidly dividing cells are likely to show the effects first. So the “neutrophilic segmentation index” actually tells us whether the most rapidly dividing cells in our bodies have enough folate. If these cells do, then it’s very likely that every cell in our bodies has enough folate.

One of the saddest test reports I’ve had to share with anyone was an NHI of 47 percent reported for a woman who was already pregnant. As you may have expected, her baby was born with a birth defect.

Every woman who has any chance at all of becoming pregnant should have this test done! If it’s abnormal, and she’s planning on a pregnancy soon, she should take a series of folinic acid injections (see above “Where to get it: Naturally-occurring folate in supplements”. ) right away, preferably with the methylcobalamin form of vitamin B12, so there’s enough folate (and B12) immediately available for any newly conceived infant.

Why the rush? Well, the most common birth defect—neural tube defect—occurs on days 27–29 after conception, before many women are even certain that they are pregnant.

For the rest of us (as well as newly-folinic-acid-injected potential moms) an abnormal NHI means you need to take a closer look at your diet and make some necessary adjustments—most notably adding in more sources of folate, particularly green vegetables, beans, peas, brewer’s yeast, and (organic only!) liver. A folinic acid or methylfolate supplement is important, too, at least until the test normalizes.

A basic nutrient for cancer and heart disease protection

But pregnancy—or the possibility of pregnancy—isn’t the only time folate levels are important. Folate (along with vitamin B12 and zinc) are all critical to normal cell division and DNA repair, which means they’re all essential tools for cancer prevention. Adequate folate lowers the risk of a variety of cancers, particularly in the gastrointestinal tract, but also breast, pancreatic, cervix, and lung.

It’s almost certain further research will add other cancers to this list. However, for those who already have cancer in any form, it’s not yet clear whether or not supplemental folate may accelerate cancer growth as fully oxidized folic acid has been found to do in some studies.

Along with vitamins B6 and B12, folate helps keep levels of the natural human metabolite homocysteine low in our bodies. Considerable research shows that increasingly higher homocysteine levels are associated with increasingly higher levels of cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis.

It’s true that in 2008, researchers reported that supplemental folic acid (not folate), B12, and B6 were effective at lowering homocysteine but were ineffective in reducing “major cardiovascular events” and deaths, but (once again) it’s very likely that this study used folic acid—which isn’t as easily metabolized in older individuals (rather than methylfolate)— along with less-than-optimally active forms of vitamin B12 and B6.

So, despite this (likely flawed) study, if your homocysteine levels are high, I still recommend eating more folate-containing vegetables, and, if necessary, taking enough supplemental methylfolate, methylcobalamin, and pyridoxal phosphate to keep your level low. If you do, your risk of cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis will likely be lower, too.

Research indicates that other benefits of supplemental folate may include reduction of stroke risk and macular degeneration, and improvement in depression, as well as improvement in memory and mental agility in older individuals.

When enough is enough

I’ve been using this test as part of routine “good health” testing for nearly everyone for over 30 years, and rarely see a result of under 5 percent (which shows insufficient folate). So the goal is always to bring that level as close to 0 percent as possible.

But if you want to be really “engineering precise,” a level of 1 to 2 percent hypersegmented neutrophils—meaning that 98 to 99 percent of those white cells received enough folate—may be the best outcome to aim for. Why isn’t 0 percent even better? An engineer friend once explained it like this: “Once I get to 0 percent, there’s no -10 or –20 percent reading to tell me that it’s 10 or 20 percent more than I really need, so I’m going to keep mine very slightly under rather than go over.”

It’s a good point—and leads to the next question: Is there any danger of “overdose” with folate? Except when cancer is already present, it’s not very likely. I’ve never seen it happen in over 35 years of practice. But no one knows for certain. So keeping your NHI at a level of 1 to 2 percent ensures that your folate levels are optimal without “overdoing” it.

And increasing folate-containing foods in the diet and (in the majority) adding supplemental folate almost always brings the test to that optimal level.

The NHI is simple enough to be done by any laboratory with a microscope and a skilled technician, but many labs still don’t do it. Why? Well, it requires a smear of blood on a microscope slide and isn’t done by machine. However, blood specimens can also be sent to Meridian Valley Laboratory  in Washington state, where state law makes it possible for individuals to order their own lab tests.

Get your type 2 diabetes under control… without a single drug!

Get your type 2 diabetes under control… without a single drug!

Best known for its natural antibiotic activity, berberine deals a serious blow to common infectious organisms— organisms like “staph,” “strep,” Chlamydia, diphtheria, salmonella, cholera, diplococcus pneumoniae, pseudomonas, gonorrhea, candida, trichomonas, and many others. Berberine is a component (for the technically inclined, a “plant alkaloid”) of the commonly used herbs goldenseal and Oregon grape, and of several other less well-known botanicals. A 0.2 percent solution of berberine has been found effective against trachoma—in “third world” countries, a major infectious cause of visual impairment and blindness, as well as many other types of conjunctivitis.

It’s less well known that berberine has been found more effective than aspirin in relieving fever in experimental animals, and is able to stimulate some parts of the immune system. It’s also a stimulant for bile secretion.

And it’s not at all well known that research published in well-known, respected, “peer-reviewed” medical journals in 2008 found that berberine is just as effective— and of course much safer—than metformin, the formerly patent medicine most commonly now prescribed to help re-regulate blood sugar in type 2 diabetes!

Another cover-up? That won’t stop the truth

As this is 2010, where has this information been? I suspect that Nutrition & Healing readers know the answer… so let’s move on to review the research, and then what’s known about how berberine does this job.

Two studies were reported in one of the 2008 research reports.1 In the first study, 36 adults with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes mellitus were randomly assigned to treatment with berberine or metformin (500 milligrams of either, three times a day) in a three-month (13-week) trial.

At the end of three months, average fasting blood sugars in the berberine group dropped from 191 to 124 milligrams per deciliter, average post-prandial blood sugar (blood sugar after eating) dropped from 356 to 199 milligrams per deciliter, average hemoglobin A1c (a measurement of longer-term blood sugar control) dropped from 9.5 percent to 7.5 percent, and fasting triglycerides dropped from an average 99 to 78 milligrams per deciliter.

The researchers wrote, “Compared with metformin, berberine exhibited an identical effect in the regulation of glucose metabolism, such as HbA1c, FBG [fasting blood glucose], PBG [blood sugar after eating], fasting insulin and postprandial insulin [insulin level after eating]. In the regulation of lipid metabolism, berberine activity is better than metformin. By week 13, triglycerides and total cholesterol in the berberine group had decreased and were significantly lower than in the metformin group (P<0.05).”

See Also: Common Questions About Diabetes and Eye Surgery: Sydney Eye Clinic

Get your type 2 diabetes under control… without a single drug!

Insulin resistance dropped by 45 percent!

The second study in this same publication involved 48 adults already under treatment for type 2 diabetes with diet and one or more patent medications and/or insulin. Despite these various treatments, their type 2 diabetes was still poorly controlled. Diet and all medications had been the same in each individual for two months before berberine treatment was added, and remained unchanged for the three months of this second study.

After just 7 days, the added berberine (500 milligrams thrice daily) led to an average reduction in fasting blood sugar from 172 to 140 milligrams per deciliter, and average post-prandial blood sugar had declined from 266 to 210 milligrams per deciliter.

During the second week of added berberine, average fasting blood sugar dropped to 135 milligrams per deciliter, and postprandial glucose to 189 milligrams per deciliter. The researchers reported that these improvements were maintained for the rest of the three month study.

In addition, hemoglobin A1c decreased from 8.1 percent to 7.3 percent, fasting insulin decreased by 28 percent, insulin resistance was reduced by 45 percent, and total and low-density (LDL) cholesterol were both significantly reduced.

The researchers wrote that in their study of newly diagnosed diabetics who took berberine or placebo alone, “one of the patients suffered from severe gastrointestinal adverse events when berberine was used alone.”

By contrast, the researchers wrote about the poorly controlled diabetics who added berberine to their on-going patent medication treatment: “Incidence of gastrointestinal adverse events was 34.5 percent during the 13 weeks of berberine…combination therapy.”

These adverse events included diarrhea in 10 percent, constipation in 7 percent, flatulence in 19 percent, and abdominal pain in 3.4 percent. The side effects were observed only in the first four weeks in most patients. In 24 percent, berberine dosage was decreased from 500 to 300 milligrams thrice daily because of gastrointestinal adverse events, and all of these side effects disappeared within one week.

The researchers concluded, “In summary, berberine is a potent oral hypoglycemic [blood sugar lowering] agent with modest effect on lipid metabolism. It is safe and the cost of treatment by berberine is very low.”

Better blood sugar control …and a few pounds shed

In a second publication, other researchers described results achieved by 116 individuals with type 2 diabetes and cholesterol and triglyceride abnormalities who participated in a randomized, double-blind trial that compared 500 milligrams of berberine taken twice daily with placebo, also taken twice daily.2 In the berberine group, average fasting blood sugar decreased from 126 to 101 milligrams/deciliter.

Two hours after a standardized glucose challenge, blood sugars decreased from an average 216 to an average 160 milligrams per deciliter. Average hemoglobin A1c decreased from 7.5 percent to 6.6 percent, average triglycerides decreased from 221 to 141 millgrams per deciliter, average total cholesterol decreased from 205 to 168 milligrams per deciliter, and average LDL-cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) decreased from 125 to 97 milligrams per deciliter.

These researchers also reported “secondary outcomes.” Body weight decreased from an average 151 pounds to an average 146 pounds with berberine, a significantly greater fall (five pounds) than in the placebo group, who went from an average 158 pounds to an average 155 pounds, a loss of three pounds. A greater reduction of body mass index (BMI) was also found at three months in the berberine group than in the placebo group. Systolic blood pressure decreased from an average of 124 to 117 and diastolic blood pressure decreased from an average of 81 to 77 in those treated with berberine, exceeding the fall from 126 to 123 systolic and from 83 to 80 diastolic in those who took the placebo.

Side effects were few and mostly transient in the berberine group. Tests were done for kidney and liver function, as well as blood counts and electrolytes. Mild to moderate constipation occurred in five participants receiving berberine and one participant in the placebo group. Constipation “cleared up” in three of the five taking berberine and the one in the placebo group. The other two in the berberine group reduced their quantity of berberine by half to 250 milligrams twice daily, which relieved the constipation. Three measured liver enzymes (for the technically inclined AST, ALT, and GGT) all decreased to within the normal range.

How berberine does the job

So how does berberine improve blood sugar control? Much of the answer involves the effect of berberine on insulin and insulin regulation. Some of the rest is explained by berberine’s indirect effect on blood sugar regulation through its effect on little-known (to non-researchers) gastro-intestinal hormones termed “incretins.”

Berberine improves the action of insulin by activating an enzyme (for the technically inclined, AMP-activated protein kinase, or AMPK) which helps regulate the cellular uptake of glucose, the oxidation (“burning”) of fatty acids and the synthesis of glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4), the insulin-regulated glucose carrier found in fat and skeletal and cardiac muscle that is responsible for moving glucose from the bloodstream into cells.3-6 GLUT 4 is found only in muscle and fat cells, the major tissues in the body that respond to insulin.

Berberine increases the “expression” (number and activity) of insulin receptors.7,8 The increase in number and activity of course enables the same amount of insulin to be more effective than before. Another way of describing this activity of berberine is “decreasing insulin resistance.” Other researchers have reported that berberine inhibits an enzyme (for the technically inclined, protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B, or PTP1B) which in turn inhibits the insulin receptor.9 When the insulin receptor isn’t inhibited as much, it can of course function better, and the net result is that insulin can “work” better.

“Incretins” are hormones secreted by our stomachs and intestines that simultaneously increase the amount of insulin and inhibit the amount of glucagon (a pancreatic hormone which “opposes” insulin) released from the pancreatic islet cells after eating, even before blood sugar levels rise. (It’s like an “anticipatory” action so more insulin—and less glucagon— will be immediately available when the glucose starts to rise in the blood.) Incretins also slow the rate of absorption of nutrients into the blood stream by slowing stomach emptying; this may indirectly reduce food intake. Another way in which berberine regulates blood sugar is by increasing the secretion of one of the major incretins, glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1).10

However, the actions of GLP-1 and other incretins to increase insulin release, lower glucagon release, and help regulate blood sugar are normally rapidly negated by another enzyme called DDP-4 (for the technically inclined, dipeptidyl peptidase 4). Yet another aspect of the blood sugar regulating action of berberine is its ability to inhibit DDP-4.11 When DDP-4 is inhibited, GLP-1 and other gut-secreted incretins aren’t broken down as rapidly, so they can continue to stimulate insulin and inhibit glucagon release significantly longer.

Get your type 2 diabetes under control… without a single drug!

Thousands of years of use, and still largely ignored

Berberine is a major active component of the herb Coptis chinensis (Huang-lian), which—according to one research group—has been used in China to treat what is now identified as type 2 diabetes for literally thousands of years.

According to another research group, its blood sugar lowering effect was noticed when it was given to type 2 diabetic individuals to treat diarrhea. After the isolation of the berberine molecule itself, one of the first publications describing its use to lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetics was published in China in 1988.12 This and two subsequent research papers published in 200413 and 200514 found significant reductions in fasting and after-eating blood sugar control, and one also found significant reductions in cholesterol and triglycerides. Only one case of constipation (but no other adverse effects) was reported.

However, despite the safe and effective results reported, these studies suffered from the “defect” of not being placebo-controlled, and were (and are presently) only available in Chinese, so no one noticed them— with the possible exception of patent medicine companies working to make a patentable un-Natural molecule “analog” to berberine, and they won’t tell!

But the research studies you’ve already read about were “controlled,” and compared berberine directly with placebo or the number one established patent medication, metformin (Glucophage®, Glucophage XR®, Glumetza®, Fortamet®, Riomet®), or used berberine in addition to patent medication treatment—and all proved berberine to be clinically effective.

If you have type 2 diabetes and are using any patent medication, consider consulting a physician skilled and knowledgeable in natural and nutritional medicine and switching to berberine. Of course, there are many other natural techniques which can also be used to regulate and even normalize blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, including diet, exercise, vitamins, minerals, and other botanicals. It appears, however, that berberine can be a major tool, with fewer and less severe adverse effects than patent medications.

Are you a type 2 diabetic taking one of these medicines?

The Lancet, considered to be one of the world’s “top” medical journals, published an editorial titled “Individualized incretin-based treatment for type 2 diabetes” in the August 7, 2010 edition. The author wrote, “All GLP-1 receptor agonists [molecules which stimulate the receptor for the incretin hormone GLP-1, which helps regulate blood sugar] that are “approved” [quotation marks added] or in development for the treatment of type 2 diabetes cause nausea, vomiting, and sometimes diarrhea in a substantial proportion of patients.”

He continued by observing that GLP-1 can help regulate blood sugar without these effects—which should be rather obvious because our own internally secreted GLP-1 doesn’t cause any of these problems! But rather than recommend that natural GLP-1—or berberine, which stimulates GLP-1—be used instead of “approved” or “under development” patent medicines, he instead suggests that researchers look into why the patent medications cause these problems, as this would “pave the way to an even more impressive exploitation of the incretin-based treatment strategy.”

Exploitation is exactly the correct word to describe this point of view, which ignores completely the much safer and considerably less expensive molecules found in our bodies and in Nature, and continues to pursue the development, sale, and use of prohibitively expensive patent medicine substitutes with much greater incidence of so-called “side” effects—which are actually part of the real effects of these never-before-found-on-planet- Earth (extraterrestrial, space alien) molecules.