Lithium – The Misunderstood Mineral Part 1

Lithium – The Misunderstood Mineral Part 1

The biggest problem with lithium treatment is people’s perception of it. Since its most well known use is for bi-polar disorder, lithium sometimes encounters the same stigma as mental illness itself.

I’ve been taking a lithium supplement every day for several years. When I tell people about it, they sometimes get funny looks on their faces and start eyeing the corners of the room for straight jackets. These reactions don’t surprise me, since, as I said, lithium is usually associated with mental illness. But I’ve never suffered from a mental disorder (although certain mainstream medical doctors and possibly a federal agency or two might disagree). Treating manic-depressive (bi-polar) illness is lithium’s most widely known use–but it isn’t an anti-psychotic drug, as many people believe. In fact, lithium isn’t a drug at all. It’s actually a mineral-part of the same family of minerals that includes sodium and potassium.

You might remember reading several editions of Health e-Tips a few months ago that discussed various benefits of lithium. In addition to the benefits mentioned in the e-Tips, like controlling gout and relieving rashes caused by sebhorric dermatitis, lithium also has some great brain-boosting effects. In fact, I’ve reviewed both recent lithium research and the research spanning the past few decades, and I’m convinced that lithium is an anti-aging nutrient for human brains. And there are also some very strong reasons to believe that lithium therapy will slow the progression of serious degenerative mental problems, including Alzheimer’s disease, senile dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.

So there are obviously quite a few “pros” to using lithium, but you’re probably wondering about the “cons.” In the 1930s and ’40s, lithium chloride was sold in stores as a salt substitute. But (as frequently happens) some people used way too much and suffered toxic overdoses, so it fell out of common use. Fortunately, lithium toxicity is entirely preventable, and it’s also easily treatable if it ever does occur — but more about that later. Right now, let’s get into some of the specifics on just how you (and your brain) can benefit from lithium.

Taking (grey) matters into your own hands

Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s famous fictional detective, had an amusing quirk in his incessant concern for his “little grey cells.” I thought of Hercule several years ago when I saw the following headline in an issue of the Lancet: “Lithium-induced increase in human brain grey matter.”

That may not sound like an earth-shattering piece of news, but it actually was quite a major discovery. To that point, medical experts believed that once our brains matured, it was all downhill from then on. Decades of autopsies, x-rays, and, more recently, brain scans have repeatedly shown that brains shrink measurably with aging. But according to their report in the Lancet, Wayne State University (Detroit) researchers found that lithium has the ability to both protect and renew brain cells.1 Eight of 10 individuals who took lithium showed an average 3 percent increase in brain grey matter in just four weeks.

Lithium may help to generate entirely new cells too: Another group of researchers recently reported that lithium also enhances nerve cell DNA replication.2 DNA replication is a first step in the formation of a new cell of any type.

The Wayne State study used high-dose lithium, but I’m certainly not using that amount myself, nor do I recommend it. Prescription quantities of lithium just aren’t necessary for “everyday” brain cell protection and re-growth. Studies done years ago have shown that very low amounts of lithium can also measurably influence brain function for the better.

Lithium – The Misunderstood Mineral Part 1

Protect yourself from brain damage you didn’t even know you had

Aside from boosting brain mass, recent research also shows that lithium can help protect your brain from the “beating” it gets in the course of everyday life. Your brain cells are constantly at risk of damage from exposure to toxins of all sorts-even ones produced by your own body. Toxic molecules are formed naturally during the course of normal brain metabolism. Since these “normal” toxic molecules (sometimes called “excitotoxins”) are produced every day of your life, eventually they start to wear down or erode away brain mass.

Another well-known cause of brain cell injury is overactivated N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. Lithium can inhibit this overactivity. And lithium also increases production of a major brain protective protein called “bcl-2″ in both human and animal brain cells.

So it appears that lithium can protect against normal brain erosion and shrinkage that would otherwise occur over the course of our lives. But lithium also protects the brain from other less “normal” problems too, like damage caused by prescription medications and strokes.

When a clot or other obstruction occurs in a blood vessel serving the brain, it causes a reduction of blood flow to that area. If it’s bad enough, the lack of blood flow will cause a stroke and death of brain cells. (This type of stroke is known as an ischemic stroke.) Research in experimental animals with deliberately induced ischemic strokes has shown that lithium reduces the areas of cell death.

In one of these studies, researchers blocked a brain artery in rats. Some were pre-treated with lithium for 16 days, the rest weren’t. The researchers reported that the lithium-treated rats experienced 56 percent less cell death and significantly fewer neurologic deficits than the control rats.

And sometimes medications designed to treat other problems end up having a negative impact on the brain. For example, anti-convulsant medications cause abnormal levels of brain cell death. But lithium significantly protects against this type of cell death-so much so that this effect has been called “robust” (a term scientists use to mean “It really works!”).

In fact, based on its general neuroprotective effect, researchers have recently suggested that “the use of lithium as a neurotrophic/neuroprotective agent should be considered in the long term treatment of mood disorders, irrespective of the ‘primary’ treatment modality being used for the condition.” Translation: Lithium should be used along with any patent medicine being used for depression, anxiety, or any other “mood-altering” reason, since it will protect brain cells against their unwanted toxic effects. The researchers didn’t say so, but I will: Any list of “mood altering substances” should include alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, “uppers,” “downers,” and-for those who do inhale-marijuana. Harmless as some of them might seem, these substances can cause brain damage with medium to long-term abuse.

Keeping your brain’s lines of communication open -and healthy

Scientists determine how healthy brain cells are by measuring levels of a molecule called N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA). A decrease in NAA is thought to reflect decreased nerve cell viability, decreased function, or even nerve cell loss. In a study of 19 research volunteers given four weeks of lithium, 14 experienced a significant increase in NAA, one had no change, and four had a small decrease.

Now, what about the interaction between those new, protected, healthy brain cells? Communication between brain cells and networks of brain cells is called “signaling.” And lithium is actually necessary for at least two signal-carrying pathways. Researchers have also reported that lithium may help to repair abnormally functioning signaling pathways in critical areas of the brain.

Lithium and Alzheimer’s: New hope for a “hopeless” situation

As you know, there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and there’s very little available for patients (and families) that can offer even partial relief from the turmoil it causes. So when new treatments are developed or discovered, it’s usually big news -a ray of hope for people stuck in a seemingly hopeless situation. One of these newly developed patent medications, called Memantine,(tm) was recently approved in Europe. Even though it’s not officially “approved” in this country (yet), thousands of people are already importing Memantine to the U.S. via various Internet sources. But why go through all the trouble (not to mention risk) of getting and using this new patent formula? Apparently, it “works” by protecting brain cells against damage caused by a major excitotoxin, glutamate. But protecting against glutamate-induced nerve cell damage is also one of the well-known actions of lithium. So if it’s true that this newly approved patent medication slows the progress of Alzheimer’s disease in this way, then lithium should slow Alzheimer’s disease progression, too. Of course, lithium treatment, which isn’t patentable and doesn’t have nearly the profit potential of patented Alzheimers medications, hasn’t made any headlines. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a promising option for patients struggling with Alzheimer’s disease.

There are many other research findings that also strongly suggest that lithium will protect against potential Alzheimer’s disease and slow the progression of existing cases. Researchers have reported that lithium inhibits beta-amyloid secretion, and also prevents damage caused by beta-amyloid protein once it’s been formed. Beta-amyloid peptide is a signature protein involved in Alzheimer’s disease: the more beta-amyloid protein, the worse the Alzheimer’s becomes.

Lithium – The Misunderstood Mineral Part 1

Overactivation of a brain cell protein called tau protein also contributes to neuronal degeneration in Alzheimer’s disease, as does the formation of neurofibrillary tangles Lithium inhibits both of these nerve-cell damaging problems.

And you’ve likely read that individuals with Alzheimer’s disease usually have excess aluminum accumulation in brain cells. While it’s not yet known whether this excess aluminum is a cause, an effect, or just coincidental, most health-conscious individuals take precautions to avoid ingesting aluminum. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to completely avoid all aluminum, since it’s naturally present in nearly all foods. But lithium can help protect your brain against aluminum by helping to “chelate” it so that it can be more easily removed from the body.

Although Alzheimer’s disease and senile dementia aren’t technically the same, they do share many of the same degenerative features so there’s every reason to expect that lithium will help prevent or slow the progression of senile dementia too.

A younger, healthier brain with just one small dose a day

As I mentioned earlier, some of these studies used rather high doses of lithium. And in some instances, as in the case of manic depression, doses as high as 90 to 180 milligrams of elemental lithium from 900 to 1800 milligrams of lithium carbonate are necessary. Quantities of lithium in that range must be monitored closely to guard against overdose and toxicity.

But you really don’t need large amounts to improve your “every-day” brain function. Studies have repeatedly shown that substantially lower amounts of lithium can significantly improve brain function (as reflected in behavior).

The amounts of lithium I recommend for brain anti-aging range from 10 to 20 milligrams (from lithium aspartate or lithium orotate) daily. I’ve actually been recommending these amounts since the 1970s. At first I was exceptionally cautious and asked all of my patients taking lithium to have regular “lithium level” blood tests and thyroid function tests. After a year or so, I quit asking for the lithium level blood tests, since 100 percent of them came back very low. Another year after that, I stopped requesting routine thyroid function tests, too, only doing one when I was suspicious of a potential problem. In the 30 years since, I’ve rarely found one.

Protect your brain starting today–no prescription necessary

High-dose lithium is available only by prescription. But low-dose lithium (capsules or tablets containing 5 milligrams of lithium from lithium aspartate or lithium orotate) is available from a few natural food stores and compounding pharmacies.

If you’re interested in keeping your brain as young as possible for as long as possible, you should definitely consider lithium therapy. Review this information with your physician…but make sure he is skilled and knowledgeable in nutritional and natural medicine!

More to read: Nutritional Supplements for Optimum Health 2.0

Nutritional Supplements

Nutritional Supplements for Optimum Health 2.0

Following the work of Drs. Russell L. Blaylock, M.D. and Jonathan V. Wright, M.D., this is an update to my 2009 article on nutritional supplements. The doses of a number of them are different particularly with regard to Curcumin and Coenzyme Q 10, and the doses of calcium and strontium have been brought into better balance (less strontium than calcium). Three new nutraceuticals (unpatentable, nonprescription natural medicinal products) are added: R-lipoic acid; folic acid as 5-MTHF (5-methyltetrahydrofolate); and propionyl-L-carnitine, combined with acetyl-L-carnitine and alpha lipoic acid, each in a higher dose.

There is growing evidence that nutritional supplements—vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acid nutrients, herbal and botanical products, and various other natural compounds like coenzyme Q10 and alpha lipoic acid—have specific health benefits, in addition to those provided by the right diet, daily exercise, reducing stress, and getting a good night’s sleep. Taken in the correct doses these nutraceuticals can help prevent cancer, heart disease, depression, neurodegenerative diseases, and prevent loss of hearing and loss of vision from macular degeneration and cataracts.

These are the supplements that I take, along with their doses and a brief explanation of each one’s benefits:

The Top Ten:

Vitamin D3 – 5,000 IU/day, 1 tablet (6 cents/day)

Called the “master key to optimum health,” vitamin D controls the expression of more than 1,000 genes throughout the body, notably in the immune system, in endothelial cells lining blood vessels, pancreatic beta cells, and brain neurons. Genes that vitamin D express prevent influenza and treat tuberculosis, strengthen muscles, prevent common cancers (and possibly suppress metastasizes), and prevent autoimmune diseases. Vitamin D also expresses genes that blunt the immune system-mediated inflammatory response that propagates atherosclerosis and congestive heart failure. For most people the dose needed to reach an optimal vitamin D blood level (25-hydroxyvitamin D) of 50 ng/ml is 5,000 IU/day, ten times the government’s recommended dietary allowance (RDA). People with cancer, chronic illness, and neurodegenerative diseases should take sufficient vitamin D to attain a level of 80 ng/ml (which requires 8,000-10,000 IU/day).

Nutritional Supplements

Iodine – 12.5 mg/day — two drops of 5% Lugol’s solution (5 cents/day) or one Iodoral tablet (26 cents/day)

Iodine taken in doses 100 times the RDA (100-150 micrograms/day) has important extrathyroidal benefits. These include its role as an antioxidant, in preventing and treating fibrocystic disease of the breast, and in preventing and treating cancer. In the right dose, iodine helps keep the immune system healthy, and it provides antiseptic mucosal defense in the mouth, stomach, and vagina. People who take iodine in milligram doses say that they feel healthier, have a sense of well being and increased energy.

Selenium – 200 mcg/day, as selenomethionine, 1 tablet (8 cents/day)

Bound to cysteine in place of sulfur and called the “21st amino acid,” selenocysteine is the active site in some 35 proteins. Glutathione peroxidase, which contains four selenium atoms, plays a major role in free radical defense. Plasma selenoprotein P protects endothelial cells against damage, and epithelial selenoprotein protects prostratic secretory cells from developing carcinoma. People deficient in selenium have an increased risk of cancer. Selenium prevents cancer through a variety of mechanisms, which include antioxidant protection, enhanced immune surveillance, suppression of angiogenesis, regulation of cell proliferation, enhancement of apoptosis (cell death), and inhibition of tumor cell invasion. See my article on selenium titled “The Moon Goddess’ Role in Human Health.”

Vitamin K2 – 90 mcg/day, as menaquinone-7, 1 tablet (22 cents/day)

Vitamin K comes in two basic forms, K1 and K2. K1 is a cofactor for blood coagulation. K2 activates osteocalcin, a protein secreted by osteoblasts that plays a role in bone mineralization and calcium ion hemostasis. Calcium deposits in the walls of blood vessels play an active role in the formation of atherosclerosis. K2 activates a protein called matrix Gla (carboxyglutamic acid) protein. It carboxylates the glutamate residues in matrix Gla protein, which enables it to bind and remove calcium from blood vessels and thus prevent the formation atherosclerotic calcific plaques. Vitamins D and K2 work together in this regard because vitamin D expresses the gene that makes matrix Gla protein. Menaquinone-7, the natural form of vitamin K2, is better than synthetic menaquinone-4, the more widely marketed form of vitamin K2.

Magnesium (Mg) – 900 mg/day, in 6 tablets of Magnesium Citramate (Thorne Research) (6 cents/day)

Magnesium ions are essential to the basic nucleic acid chemistry of life, and 80 percent of the enzymes in the body need Mg in order to function. Mg deficiency can affect every organ system in the body. In skeletal muscles, Mg deficiency causes twitches, cramps, back aches, neck pain, tension headaches. With the heart Mg deficiency can cause angina (from spasm of the coronary arteries), high blood pressure, and rhythm disturbances, including sudden death.

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) – 600 mg/day, in Jonathan Wright M.D.’s Propel, 8 tablets for men; 300mg/day, 4 tablets for women; along with Acetyl-L-carnitine and Propionyl-L-carnitine or 300 mg, as Thiocid (Thorne Research) (59 cents/day)

Sporting a sulfur-hydrogen (sulfhydryl) group and being soluble in both fat and water, ALA is one of the most powerful antioxidants in the body and a critical nutraceutical. In addition to its own work as an antioxidant, ALA restores the four other network antioxidants when oxidized (vitamin C, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, and glutathione) back to their functional, reduced antioxidant state. ALA aids glucose entry into cells, improves insulin sensitivity, and reduces the risk of diabetes. It protects brain cells by blocking excitotoxicity, chelates (removes) mercury from the body, and reduces the risk of atherosclerosis. ALA also plays an integral role in producing the energy molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP), feeding pyruvate from the glycolytic cycle into the Krebs cycle.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) – 400 mg/day, as Ubiquinol, 2 capsules ($1.26/day)

CoQ10 is a vitamin-like compound. The body synthesizes it, but in insufficient quantities, especially in people who take statins likeLipitor to lower cholesterol. It is a strong antioxidant and removes oxidized low-density lipoproteins (LDL), a leading culprit in atherosclerosis. CoQ10 also plays a critical role in mitochondrial energy production. It is a necessary ingredient in the electron transport chain that produces ATP through oxidative phosphorylation. A central event in chronic degenerative diseases is the loss of a cell’s ability to produce sufficient energy. The hearts in people with congestive heart failure, and the brains in those with Parkinson’s disease lack CoQ10 High doses of this supplement (800-1,200 mg/day) effectively treat these diseases. Even in these doses CoQ10 has no side effects or toxicity. Ubiquinol is the reduced, antioxidant form CoQ10.

L-Carnitine – 660 mg/day 2 capsules (48 cents/day)

Fats supply most of the fuel that heart muscle cells use, and this compound is needed for cells to metabolize fats. L-carnitine transports long chain fatty acids, which, by weight, have a double concentration of calories (compared with carbohydrates and proteins) into mitochondria, where they are converted into ATP. As is the case with CoQ10, people with congestive heart failure also have low levels of L-carnitine in their heart muscle cells.

Omega 3 fatty acids:

EPA eicosapentaenoic acid) – 850-1080 mg/day (in 2 tsp Quantum Cod Liver Oil)
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) – 1,050 mg/day (in 2 tsp Quantum Cod Liver Oil) (70 cents/day)

These two essential, Omega-3 fatty acids promote cognitive and neurological health, and they prevent heart disease and cancer. DHA influences brain cell signaling, receptor expression and function, and neurotransmitters. It stimulates neurite outgrowth and synaptic development and repair (brain plasticity). EPA thins the blood. Both regulate the expression of many genes involving antioxidant capacity and oxidative stress response, others that control cell signaling and proliferation, and genes that produce chemicals which reduce inflammation and improve blood flow through the coronary arteries and other blood vessels.

I mix the two teaspoons of cod liver oil in two ounces of Limu Plus, which tastes good.

Resveratrol 100 mg/day as Longevinex ($1.61/day) or Resveratrol, with Trans-Pterostilbene – total 200 mg/day, 2 tablets, as PolyResveratrol-SR (Thorne Research) ($1.51/day)

This anti-aging agent, found in red grapes, extends the life span of yeast (by 70%), roundworms, fruit flies, and mammals (as seen in studies done with mice). Resveratrol controls the expression of more than 100 genes, including Sirtuin 1, the DNA-repair “survival” gene. Notably among its effects, resveratrol is a potent antioxidant, an anti-inflammatory agent (COX-inhibitor), liver detoxifier, brain plaque cleanser, and mineral chelator. It also normalizes blood sugar. (Trans-Pterostilbene is a naturally-occurring methylated metabolite of resveratrol, which is better absorbed and not as easily broken down in the liver. It has anti-aging effects similar to resveratrol.)

I obtain the requisite Omega 3 EPA and DHA by taking 2 teaspoons a day of high-vitamin Quantum cod liver oil (Blue Ice cod liver oil is equally good), which also has 23,000 IU of vitamin A and 2,500 IU of vitamin D3, so that my total daily dose of vitamin D3 is 7,5000 IU. (The vitamin D present renders this dose of oil-based vitamin A completely safe and non-toxic.) Both Quantum and Blue Ice cod liver oil also come in capsules for those who don’t like drinking the oil.

Instead of cod liver oil, other preparations of EPA and DHA in capsule form are suitable substitutes, one of which, DHA, I also take in capsule form (Thorne Research). In addition to these ten essential nutraceuticals one should also take a broad spectrum multivitamin-mineral supplement. But better yet, I take these:

Other Nutritional Supplements I Take Vitamins:

Fat-soluble vitamins (in addition to vitamins D and K above):

– 23,000 IU/day, oil-based, in Quantum Cod Liver Oil, 2 teaspoons

Vitamin A helps protect the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, throat, gastrointestinal tract, and lungs by promoting mucin secretion and microvilli formation. It is an essential nutrient for the eyes, skin, and immune system. The hormonally active form of vitamin A, 9-cis-retinoic acid, is essential for the full functioning of vitamin D (without it, activated vitamin D binds weakly to its receptors on DNA, resulting in a reduced effect on gene expression). Water-miscible, emulsified, and solid forms of retinol (vitamin A) supplements are ten times more toxic than oil-based preparations like that in cod liver and should be taken in a considerably lower dose. (Am J Clin Nutr 2003;78:1152-9.)

– 800 IU/day, in “Unique E,” which contains natural d-alpha tocopherol and a proprietary blend of d-gamma tocopherol, d-delta tocopherol and d-beta tocopherol, two capsules (46 cents/day)

Functioning as an antioxidant, vitamin E protects cell membranes by extinguishing various singlet oxygen and polyunsaturated fatty acid radicals. And like vitamins D and A, vitamin E also acts as a hormone in regulating gene expression. Natural d-alpha tocopherol works better than synthetic dl-alpha tocopherol, the most common form of vitamin E in multivitamin supplements. The natural form makes platelets less sticky, whereas platelets cannot absorb the synthetic kind. There are seven other forms of vitamin E—three tocopherols and four tocotrienols. Gamma tocopherol neutralizes free radicals that the alpha form cannot douse; and studies show that it, in particular, lowers the risk of prostate and colon cancer.

Water-soluble vitamins:

B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin, as niacinamide), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin) – each 50 mg/day, in “B Complex 50”, one capsule (8 cents/day)

Cells depend on these B vitamins for energy production and cell maintenance. Thiamine plays an essential metabolic role in carbohydrate and protein metabolism and in neural function. Riboflavin plays a key role in energy metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Niacinamide, the functional vitamin form of niacin, is a precursor for electron-carrying coenzymes involved in cellular respiration. It is also involved in DNA repair and the production of steroid hormones in the adrenal gland. Animal studies show that niacinamide protects against Alzheimer’s dementia and Parkinson’s disease, and it produces dramatic improvements in cognitive brain function after head injuries and stroke. Pantothenic acid is a cofactor necessary for forming coenzyme-A, a compound that plays pivotal role in the synthesis and oxidation of fatty acids, and the oxidation of pyruvate in the citric acid cycle (the process during aerobic respiration that generates biochemical energy). Biotin is necessary for cell growth, production of fatty acids, and metabolism of fats and amino acids; and it also plays a role in the citric acid cycle. During times of stress these critical water-soluble vitamins become quickly depleted.

B9 (folic acid) 400 mcg/day, in “B Complex 50”; and 1 mg/day as 5-Methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF), one capsule, Thorne Research (25 cents/day)

Folic acid repairs DNA. Without folic acid, breaks in DNA, like that which occurs when a person is exposed to ionizing radiation, remain unrepaired. Along with vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid is a cofactor in the metabolism of methionine. When any one of these three vitamins is deficient, blood and tissue levels of homocysteine rise. Elevated homocysteine blood levels increase the risk of stroke, a heart attack, and peripheral vascular disease; and it is associated with a greater incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. 5-MTHF is the most biologically active form of folic acid and is worth taking in addition to the 400 mcg in the “B Complex 50.”

B12 (methylcobalamin) 1,000 mcg/day sublingual (13 cents/day)

Along with folic acid, cobalt-containing vitamin B12 is essential for the formation of the nervous system’s intricate patterns and plays a key role in brain function and in maintaining a healthy nervous system. This vitamin is required for synthesis of DNA during cell division and is especially important in tissues where cells divide rapidly, particularly the bone marrow, which produces red blood cells a 50-day half-life.

(buffered) – 3,000 mg/day (21 cents/day)

In addition to its role as an antioxidant, vitamin C is an essential cofactor for protein synthesis, particularly for collagen, the structural component of connective tissue (bone, teeth, cartilage, ligaments, skin, and blood vessels). Collagen makes up 25 percent of the proteins in the body. In its role as an electron donor, vitamin C transfers electrons to iron. Iron in enzymes that make collagen transfers its vitamin C-supplied electron to oxygen, thereby enabling it to combine with hydrogen as a hydroxyl (-OH) group. Hydroxyl groups attach to the amino acids in collagen, forming cross links that give this protein its tensile strength. Vitamin C dramatically increases iron absorption and should be taken on an empty stomach (along with strontium below), not with meals.

Minerals (along with magnesium in the top-ten supplement list):

Calcium – 562 mg/day, 1 tablets of 1,500 mg Coral Calcium (7 cents/day)

In its ionic form, calcium functions as a signal for cellular processes and is the major material used in mineralization of bones and teeth. Taking calcium as a nutritional supplement avoids ever having a deficiency of this element. It helps keep one’s bones strong and helps prevent colorectal cancer.

Potassium – 2.1 gm/day, from 4 capsules (5.4 gm) of potassium bicarbonate, taken on a empty stomach washed down with a full glass of water (33 cents/day)

The potassium content of the average American diet is quite low, 60-80 mEq (4.4 gm)/day, compared to our Paleolithic ancestors, who consumed 400 ± 125 mEq/day. Among its many benefits, potassium reduces blood pressure, increases muscle mass (by deceasing urinary nitrogen excretion), decreases bone loss (by reducing urinary calcium excretion), reduces the risk of stroke, reduces dietary acid load, and improves endothelial function.

Strontium – 340 mg/day, as strontium citrate, 1 capsule, taken alone on an empty stomach and not with other minerals, especially calcium, which impairs its absorption (18 cents/day)

On the recommendation of my physician, Dr. Jonathan Wright, I have started taking strontium to help keep my bones strong and prevent osteoporosis. Like calcium, its smaller cousin, strontium has two positive charges in its ionic form. Animal and human studies show that it increases bone density and the rate of bone formation and decreases the rate of bone resorption. In a randomized, placebo-controlled trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine, osteoporotic postmenopausal women taking 680 mg of strontium a day had fewer fractures. Strontium also reduces the incidence of dental cavities and has a cartilage-growth-promoting effect that could help people who suffer from arthritis. A review of the health benefits of strontium is here.

Zinc – 30 mg/day (13 cents/day)

Zinc is a constituent of more than 3,000 different proteins in the body. Like calcium, cells employ zinc to serve as a signal for cellular processes, notably in salivary glands, intestine, the immune system, and prostate gland. Zinc deficiency leads to poor night vision, a decrease in sense of taste and smell, reduced ability to fight infections, and poor wound healing.

The (Five) Network Antioxidants:

They are vitamin C, vitamin EAlpha Lipoic Acid, and Coenzyme Q10 above, and Glutathione (see The Antioxidant Miracle by Lester Packer and Carol Colman) NAcetyl-Cysteine (NAC) – 1,000 to 2,000 mg/day, 2-4 tablets, the essential ingredient for making Glutathione (48 to 96 cents/day)

The two major sulfur-containing compounds (thiols) in the five-fold antioxidant network are alpha lipoic acid and glutathione. Called the “master antioxidant,” glutathione regulates the actions of other antioxidants in the body, notably vitamins C and E and various bioflavonoids (water-soluble plant pigments). Glutathione also plays an important role in DNA and protein synthesis and repair, and the amount of glutathione in one’s cells predicts how long he or she will live. (It along with vitamin D protects against aluminum toxicity.) Glutathione is poorly absorbed and does not cross the blood-brain barrier. NAC, which is readily absorbable, provides the scarce sulfur-containing amino acid cysteine required for synthesis of glutathione. The two other amino acids in glutathione, glycine and glutamic acid, are widely abundant in food and cells).

Also Idebenone – 90 mg/day (61 cents/day)

On the recommendation of Dr. Russell Blaylock, I take this synthetic form of CoQ10 in addition to CoQ10 itself. Idebenone is more easily absorbed by the brain than is CoQ10. It protects neurons from free radical damage and other adverse excitotoxic effects.

Also R-Lipoic Acid – 400 mg/day, 2 capsules (88 cents/day)

This is the most active form of Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), supplementing the 600 mg of ALA (see above) in Propel.

Two other Carnitines (80 cents or $1.60/day)

Acetyl-L-Carnitine –2,000 mg/day, in Jonathan Wright M.D.’s Propel, 8 tabs for men; 1,000 mg/day, 4 tabs, for women

Like idebenone with regard to CoQ10, this form of carnitine is better absorbed by the brain than L-carnitine. It increases cell energy, and the acetyl component is an important neurotransmitter. Acetyl-L-carnitine helps prevent and treat Alzheimer’s dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Parkinson’s disease.

Propionyl-L-Carnitine –2,000 mg/day, in Jonathan Wright M.D.’s Propel, 8 tabs for men; 1,000 mg/day, 4 tabs, for women

As per Dr. Wright, Propionyl-L-Carnitine, combined with Acetyl-L-Carnitine and Alpha Lipoic Acid, enhances libido and sexual function in both men and women.

Amino Acids

L-Carnosine – 2 gm/day, 6 capsules ($1.98/day)

A water-soluble antioxidant that protects cell membranes, regulates calcium metabolism in heart muscle cells, and has other important wound healing and anti-aging properties.

Arginine – 2,000 mg/day (2 capsules twice a day) as “Perfusia-SR” (97 cents/day)

Arginine fosters heart and blood vessel health. It improves production of nitric oxide by vascular smooth muscle cells, causing blood vessels to relax and have improved blood flow; and it decreases platelet adhesiveness, rendering them less sticky, which further enhances blood flow. This amino acid also bolsters the endocrine system, enhances immunocompetence, and hastens wound healing.

Nutritional Supplements

One Omega-6 Fatty Acid

Conjugated Linoleic Acid – 2,000 mg/day, 2 softgels (18 cents/day)

Vegetable oils—corn, cottonseed, canola, sunflower, safflower, and soybean oils—contain Omega-6 fatty acids. Although Omega-6 fatty acids, like their Omega-3 cousins, are essential, Americans consume far too many of them. The ideal ratio for Omega-6/Omega-3 fatty acid consumption is 1:1 up to 4:1. The average American, however, consumes Omega 6 fatty acids in a 50:1 ratio! In this amount, these polyunsaturated plant fats cause inflammation, which is the underlying cause of a number of chronic diseases, including atherosclerosis. They also cause cancer. But conjugated linoleic acid, in eggs and animal fat (not in vegetable oils), is the only Omega-6 fatty acid that is worth taking as a supplement. Conjugated linoleic acid reduces body fat and, among its anticancer benefits, suppresses breast and colon cancer.


Ginkgo Biloba – 240 mg/day, 2 (120 mg) tablets (10 cents/day)

Extracted from the 200 million-year-old maidenhair tree (the oldest living tree species on earth), ginkgo biloba thins the blood and decreases platelet adhesiveness, like aspirin, but without its side effects. It increases blood flow through the body, especially in the heart and brain. Ginko biloba improves mental functioning and memory in older people and may well exert a protective effect against developing Alzheimer’s dementia and Parkinson’s disease. I think one’s health is better served by taking 240mg of ginkgo biloba a day rather than aspirin. (A careful look at the evidence shows that the adverse effects of aspirin taken long-term outweigh its small potential benefit for prevention of heart disease and stroke.)

Pycnogenol – 200 mg/day, 2 (100 gm) capsules (58 cents/day)

Pycnogenol comes from the bark of the French maritime pine tree and is a blend of bioflavenoids that have health-enhancing effects. It increases nitric oxide in the walls of blood vessels, which is the mechanism for having an erection, and, along with arginine, has been called “a poor man’s Viagra,” without Viagra’s side effects. Pycnogenol is a powerful antioxidant that works well with ginkgo biloba and vitamin E. It reduces platelet clumping and blood-clot formation and protects against deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. It also protects against stroke and neurodegenerative diseases.

Silymarin (Silybin, milk thistle) – 1,000 mg/day, 1 tablet (58 cents/day)

Milk thistle comes from flowering plants whose leaves are mottled with splashes of white and contain a milky sap. For 2,000 years herbalists have used the seeds of milk thistle to protect the liver against toxins and to treat chronic liver disease. The active compound in milk thistle, silymarin, is a mixture of four closely related bioflavonoids. Silymarin lowers insulin resistance, slows the growth of cancer cells, and exhibits antiviral activity.

Aged Garlic Extract – 600 mg/day, 1 tablet (6 cents/day)

Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) is a concentrated form of organic garlic. It is odorless and richer in antioxidants than the fresh bulb. AGE helps prevent atherosclerosis, heighten immunity, and prevent and treat cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. It also has anti-aging effects in improving memory, learning, and endurance.

Lycopene – 10 mg/day, one capsule (5 cents/day)

This red carotenoid in tomatoes is an antioxidant that may slow skin aging and prevent certain types of cancer, particularly prostate cancer. It also arrests benign prostatic hypertrophy.
Mushroom Blend – “Garden of Life RM-10,” 2 capsules/day (39 cents/day)

For many years, folk and traditional Chinese medicine has used mushrooms and fungi to strengthen the immune system to fight infections and cancer, and to suppress the immune system when it becomes overactive and causes allergies and autoimmune disease. The RM-10 mushroom blend contains Cordyceps, Reishi, Shiitake, Tremella, and Maitake, among others. It functions like a vitamin pill for the immune system and contains a maintenance dose of beta glucan, which activates macrophages, the first line of defense in the innate immune system.

Vinpocetine – 20 mg/day, 2 capsules (21 cents/day)

Vinpocetine is an extract from the periwinkle plant that boosts cognition and improves memory. Vinpocetine’s neuroprotective action is derived from its ability to improve cerebral blood flow, through its ability to lower blood viscosity; enhance brain cell electrical conductivity: and protect against damage caused by excessive intra-cellular release of calcium and glutamate-induced excitotoxicity. Vinpocetine prevents cognitive deficits related to normal aging and has beneficial effects in people who have ischemic cerebrovascular disease.

Chlorella – 1000 mg/day, 1 tablet (7 cents/day)

Chlorella is a microscopic algae known for its ability to detoxify heavy metals—mercury, cadmium, lead—from the body. It stimulates the immune system and with its high chlorophyll content, counteracts bad breath (and foul smelling stools).

IP-6 (myo-inositol hexaphosphate) –1020 mg/day, two capsule (12 cents/day)

IP-6 stimulates cellular immunity and chelates iron, depriving bacteria and cancer cells of this element, which they need to grow. IP-6 also inhibits vascular calcification.

Curcumin – 1500 mg/day, 6 tablets as Meriva-SR ($1/day), plus 100 mg in PolyResveratrol

Curcumin is the orange-yellow curry spice that comes from turmeric root. It is an antioxidant and has antiproliferative and pro-apoptotic effects on cancer cells, especially melanoma. It suppresses inflammation by down regulating NFB activity and blocking eicosanoid synthesis of inflammatory leukotrienes, prostaglandins, and thromboxanes derived from arachidonic acid. Meriva-SR is curcumin complexed with phosphatidylcholine for superior bioavailability.

Quercitin – 500 mg/day, 2 capsules as Quercenase (Thorne Research) (66 cents/day)

Quercetin prevents oxidation of LDL cholesterol in blood vessel walls, an inciting factor in atherosclerosis. This bioflavenoid, like curcumin, also inhibits inflammation, but in a different way, which makes it worthwhile taking them both together. It inhibits the delta-5-lipooxygenase enzyme, which initiates the production of inflammatory eicosanods. It also inhibits tumor initiation and growth.

Grapefruit seed extract – 125 mg/day (29 cents/day)

Grapefruit seed extract is said to possess anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties.

Horsetail (equisetium) – 440 mg/day (3 cents/day)

This herbal remedy is rich in silica and silcic acids, which help form collagen. Naturopathic physicians use horsetail as a supplement to prevent and treat osteoporsis.

Hesperidin – 250 mg/day (22 cents/day)

Hesperidin, found in lemons and oranges, improves the health of capillaries by reducing capillary permeability. It helps halt premature aging and degenerative diseases.

Saw Palmetto – 450 mg/day (4 cents/day)

For men, this extract of the fruit Serenoa repens has shown promise in preventing and treating benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Goldenseal – 470 mg/day (9 cents/day)

This herb has antibacterial and immune-enhancing properties and may also have cardiovascular benefits.

Stinging Nettle – 300 mg/day (3 cents/day)

This herb has a long tradition of use as an adjuvant treatment of arthritis. It contains compounds that reduce inflammatory cytokines.


Theralac – one tablet/three times a week, containing Lactobacillus acidophilus (5 billion CFU), L. paracasei (5 B CFU), L. rhamnosus (2 B); Bifidobacterium lactis (5 B), B. bifidum (3 B)—total of 20 billion colony forming units (64 cents/day)

Beneficial probiotic bacteria help us digest and absorb our food, keep the immune system functioning properly and play a role in generating vitamin B-12. They prevent food allergies, help repair the gut lining, suppress bad bacteria, and help metabolize hormones. Abnormal metabolism of estrogen can produce compounds that may cause breast cancer, and women with low numbers of probiotic organism in their colon have been found to be at a higher risk for breast cancer.

Fucoidan (in Limu Moui) and (Russian) Adaptogens

Limu Plus – 1 ounce/day ($1.20/day)

Fucoidan, in brown seaweed, is a complex carbohydrate (sulfated polysaccharide). Fucoidan enhances immunity and has other important health benefits. This compound causes cancer cells to self destruct—researchers have shown that fucoidan induces apoptosis in human lymphoma cell lines. Fucoidan stimulates the immune system’s natural killer cells, which destroy tumor cells and cells infected with viruses. It prevents white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels, which starts the process of atherosclerosis. Fucoidan also inhibits smooth muscle cell proliferation with neointimal hyperplasia, which causes arterial blockage after placement of stents in heart patients. In one animal study fucoidan prevented neointimal hyperplasia and in-stent restenosis of stents placed in the iliac arteries of rabbits.

Limu (the Hawaiian word for algae) Moui is a nice tasting extract of brown seaweed that contains fucoidan. Limu Plus is Limu Moui with ten adaptogens, which includes Rhodiola Rosea. Adaptogens are herbal products said to increase the body’s resistance to stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Herbalists claim that natural adaptogenic herbs, identified and researched by Russian scientists, are distinct from other substances in their ability to balance endocrine hormones and the immune system, helping the body to maintain optimal homeostasis.


Lithate (lithium aspartate) – 20 mg/day of elemental lithium (22 cents/day)

Lithium is an alkali metal in the same family as sodium and potassium. In low doses (much less than those used to treat depression), lithium has anti-aging effects. It protects brain cells from damage from excitotoxins like glutamate, inhibits beta-amlyloid secretion (a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease), and increases human brain grey matter, among other things. Lithium makes uric acid more soluble so it doesn’t crystallize into painful “needles” and cause gout. And it inhibits reproduction of viruses—herpes simplex, adenovirus (cold), and measles viruses.

Amygdalin (Laetrile, “vitamin B17”) – 100mg/day (23 cents/day)

Found in apricot pits, amygdalin prevents and can treat cancer by this method: An enzyme found in cancerous cells, glucuronidase, breaks amygdalin down into cyanide (and several other non-toxic components). The cyanide thus released kills aberrant, cancerous cells.


Melatonin – 6 mg/day, before bedtime (the dose for people over age 50) (41 cents/day)

In addition to synchronizing the body’s internal clock and inducing sound sleep, this hormone, produced in the pineal gland, enhances cognitive function and has a positive influence on mood and behavior. Melatonin also helps regulate insulin and kills cancer cells. In mouse studies, melatonin reverses 13 of the 25 genes that are altered with aging. (It also triggers puberty in adolescence.)

Six thousand people die each day in the U.S., most of them from preventable diseases. The two leading causes of death are coronary heart disease and cancer, which accounts for more than half of these daily deaths. (In contrast, each day 125 people in the U.S. die in automobile accidents and 60 are murdered.) Taking vitamin D, iodine, and selenium alone could well prevent 80 percent of the cancers that afflict Americans.

In order to achieve the maximum benefit from nutritional supplements, one also needs to eat right and do this: Avoid high fructose corn syrup that is used to sweeten many foods (baked goods and condiments) and beverages (soda pop), stay away from the excitotoxin monosodium glutamate (MSG) used to enhance the flavor of processed foods and in some Chinese and other restaurants, avoid the excitotoxin aspartame (in diet sodas), and avoid trans fats. Eat a lot of vegetables, avoid excess carbohydrate, and eschew low fat diets. Avoid, in particular, industrially processed, polyunsaturated vegetable oils, such as corn, safflower, soy, sunflower, cottonseed, and canola oils.

Instead, eat healthy fats, which include, in addition to omega-3 fatty acids, stable medium-chain saturated fats, such as coconut and palm oils, and long-chain saturated fats found in meat and dairy products. See “The Oiling of America” by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon, their book Eat Fat Lose Fat, Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, and Barry Grove’s Trick and Treat: how “healthy eating” is making us ill for interesting information on the health benefits of a low-carbohydrate, high-saturated-fat diet. See also my article on this subject posted on, “Health Benefits of a Low-Carbohydrate, High-Saturated-Fat Diet.”

More to read: Get your type 2 diabetes under control… without a single drug!

The Digestive Theory Of Aging Part 2

The Digestive Theory Of Aging Part 2

When organs get older, they usually don’t work as well as they did when they were younger. We don’t run as fast at age 47 as we did at 27; our vision and hearing are usually less acute in our 70s than in our 30s. Our skin is less elastic at 53 than at 23. Why should our stomachs be any different? Why should stomachs become more active with age, rather than less? As Mr. Spock would say, “That’s illogical!”

What do stomachs do? While digesting breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, the stomach makes an extremely powerful acid, hydrochloric acid. The stomach also makes pepsin, a protein-digesting enzyme, and a factor (originally termed “intrinsic factor”) that combines with vitamin B12 and is necessary for B12 absorption. The hydrochloric acid that healthy stomachs make is one million times stronger than the mild acidity of blood or saliva. A tough, stringy piece of meat becomes meat soup after digestion in the stomach. That’s normal!

After 30, 40 or more years of digesting or attempting to digest everything we put in our stomachs – not just food, which the stomach is designed to handle, but also refined sugar, caffeine, distilled alcohol, grease and oxidized oils, fluoride and chlorine from water, chemical flavorings and colorings, pesticides, herbicides – you get the idea, no? – why would anyone except an antacid salesman or the average gastroenterologist imagine that our stomachs would make more acid, more pepsin, and digest things more efficiently as we get older? Common sense says that after 30 or 40 years, the stomach slows down, just like the rest of us, and makes less acid, less pepsin, and digests things less efficiently.

We’ll pause here to point out that the “overacidity” theory of peptic ulcers has been rather thoroughly debunked. Thanks to Dr. Barry Marshall, we now know that “the helicobacter(s) (i.e., Helicobacter pylori bacteria) did it.” Let’s also note here that there is an extremely rare syndrome named after Drs. Zollinger and Ellison, which indeed features abundant hyperacidity at any age, but again, it’s extremely rare.

So when you get past 35, 40, 45, and start to develop indigestion, it’s highly likely that the indigestion is due to a weaker stomach, not a stronger one, a stomach making less acid, less pepsin. The very word “indigestion” implies lack of digestion, not overdigestion. Why in the world would we want to take “antacids” or “acid blockers,” when our stomachs are weak and not digesting adequately already?

The answer’s in two words: symptom relief. We know that if we have “heartburn,” unthinkingly attributed to “overacidity,” taking an “antacid” or “acid blocker” relieves symptoms. So why isn’t that the right thing to do?

Let’s try an analogy. If we get a headache, we take an aspirin. The headache disappears. Does that mean the headache was due to a lack of aspirin? Of course not! In the tradition of Western allopathic medicine, we’ve taken away only the symptoms. We’ve just covered up the problem; we haven’t discovered what the cause actually is.

Think for a moment: if you’ve ever seen a doctor about “heartburn” and indigestion (or know someone who has), did you actually have a test to determine that your stomach was making too much acid? Ninety-nine percent of the time, the answer is “no.” Perhaps an X-ray or even gastroscopy to check for an ulcer, but a test for over- or underacidity is rare.

Since 1976, I’ve checked literally thousands of individuals complaining of “heartburn” and indigestion for stomach acid production using a commercially available, extremely precise, research-verified procedure. Overacidity is almost never found, especially in those over age 35. The usual findings are underacidity (from “just a little under” to no acid at all) or normal acidity, in which case the indigestion symptoms are caused by something else. The majority have underacidity (as might be expected in a no-longer-young stomach) and I advise them to take capsules containing hydrochloric acid and pepsin with each meal. The supplemental hydrochloric acid and pepsin not only relieve the symptoms but actually improve digestion. (A good parallel is hormone replacement when our hormone levels drop, another common happening when we’re somewhat older.)

The Digestive Theory Of Aging Part 2

So why do we have a burning sensation, sometimes severe, along with indigestion, if our stomach acid is low? And why should underacidity symptoms be relieved by “antacids” or “acid blockers,” which presumably would worsen a condition of underacidity?

Would you believe that in 1997 there’s no research being done to answer this question? (If anyone out there has research grant funds available, I would be happy to determine the answer!) The most recent research I’ve been able to locate was done in 1887 or 1898. That’s right, 100 years ago. At that time a doctor trying to answer the same question put a tube into the stomachs of heartburn sufferers, sucked out the contents, and found very little or no hydrochloric acid, acetic acid, butyric acid. He pointed out that these small amounts of acid don’t digest anything, but, he guessed, they could cause pain. Of course, antacids would neutralize them.

This might explain why antacids relieve symptoms, but it still doesn’t explain why acid blockers, like Tagamet, Zantac, Pepcid, Prilosec, and their clones, which can prevent hydrochloric acid secretion entirely, would do the same thing. I’ll admit that I don’t have a clue either (although that research grant would help).

I can say that in 24 years of nutritionally oriented practice, I’ve worked with thousands of individuals who’ve found the cause of their “heartburn” and indigestion to be low stomach acidity. In nearly all of these folks, symptoms have been relieved and digestion improved when they’ve taken supplemental hydrochloric acid and pepsin capsules, available in every natural food store. (Certainly it would be preferable that our stomach production of hydrochloric acid and pepsin be restored on its own, but a reliable way to do this hasn’t been found.)

And that takes us to the above-noted acid-blocking drugs on the market. By remarkable coincidence, shortly after their patents expired, they must have become much safer, since the requirement for a prescription disappeared. Multimillion dollar promotions to the public were launched to drive home the point that “heartburn” and indigestion are caused by too much acid, which can be “blocked” (with these products, of course) at minimal risk. (Oddly enough, the FDA has never required the companies advertising these products to document their claims that indigestion and “heartburn” are actually caused by overacidity.)

In case you missed last month’s column, let’s briefly review: without adequate hydrochloric acid to activate pepsin, protein can’t digest properly, and any of up to eight essential amino acids may become deficient. It’s been my clinical observation that calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, chromium, selenium, manganese, vanadium, molybdenum, cobalt, and many other “micro-trace” elements are not nearly as well absorbed by individuals taking “acid-blocking” drugs. A small amount of research shows that vitamin B12 absorption is decreased by Tagamet, and there’s every reason to expect the other “acid blockers” do the same. Folic acid doesn’t absorb well when stomach acid is low. When any one or any combination of these nutrients is reduced, enzyme systems, cells, tissues, and organs can’t repair themselves. In other words, the more we take Zantac, Pepcid, Tagamet, or even Tums or Rolaids, the more we accelerate our aging!

So, if you develop indigestion or “heartburn,” don’t be fooled by the myth of “acid indigestion.” Find out what the problem really is, and correct it. You’ll be helping to slow, not accelerate, the aging process.

More to read: Bioidentical Testosterone: The best male anti-aging tool the experts don’t want you to have

Macular Degeneration Testimonials

Macular Degeneration Testimonials

“I am delighted to provide a testimonial about…my experiences with you that I consider to be miracles. I had a dark spot in the center of my vision that was partially blocking my ability to see, and…read the road signs. I consulted with two eye doctors, and then two eye specialists, and after extensive testing they told me that I had macular degeneration and there wasn’t anything that could be done about it, with the probability that it would just be getting worse. I then consulted with you within weeks of this diagnosis, and I appreciated very much that you spent two hours with me in that initial visit investigating all the possible solutions.

Within a month after starting the IV treatments my eyes returned to normal and I no longer had the vision blockage….

When I went back to my eye doctor, after a best laser eye surgery he stated that there was mo trace left of the macular degeneration, and my vision that had previously been correctable to 20/50 was now 20/20. He stated that some things are unexplainable and he had not seen this happen before. I have not had any return of the macular degeneration.”
—– J Phillips

“…regarding the recent treatment for by blindness (macular degeneration), I am enclosing the following. While taking the intravenous injections, I noticed some improvement in each eye…by the 13th injection I noticed improvements in various areas. The map in my right eye was less dense and my left eye was improved. My peripheral vision was not only improved in my right eye, I had none before. In fact, my entire peripheral was improved. I could see higher and lower. Color was visible from both eyes and I could see red and black. They were brighter and clearer.”
——S Dodd

Macular Degeneration Testimonials

“….Knowing the cataracts could be surgically removed to improve my sight was not a big problem but the macular degeneration sounded like a sentence to blindness. I decided to take the IV treatments as I felt I had nothing to lose. By the ninth treatment, I felt that I could see better, objects were clearer and colors more brilliant. I found that when going from a dark room to a lighted one or walking into a dark room and turning on the light, my eyes adjusted to the light much more quickly than before. Television was easier as they were not as strong. As an added bonus, I noticed that my hearing had improved some, I had to turn the TV volume down several notches as the volume setting I had been using was generally too loud. I feel that the treatments have been very beneficial and worth the time and effort.”
—G Gray

Evelyn…A Tahoma Clinic Success Story
Overcoming macular degeneration with “…no drugs, no surgery…”
At Tahoma Clinic, approximately 70% of those treated for macular degeneration experience a significant improvement in their vision—and some even have their progressive loss of vision stopped altogether. From time to time, we receive a letter or an e-mail describing an individual’s improvement.

The following e-mail, detailing one of Tahoma Clinic’s success stories, was sent by the husband of a Tahoma Clinic patient to their friends, and we were kindly given permission to post it here for you.
Evelyn’s macular degeneration cleared up in two months. She sees perfectly with the exception of light color, numbers, or letters. Tahoma Clinic does not guarantee a cure for macular degeneration, but, as was the result with Evelyn, in many cases has success and even reverses it. The clinic suggests several natural pills to be taken every day to maintain her sight. But it is definitely worth it.
People from all over the world go to the clinic to get help for various problems. Jonathan Wright, M.D. has been doing this for 39 years using Natural Medicine. This is the key to Evelyn’s success, no drugs, no surgery. Wright travels worldwide to help doctors be informed of the amazing results for many problems he and his staff have achieved.

We recommend calling Tahoma Clinic. They are very nice people that care about each patient. They will be able to look up your condition and see if they have the research completed to help you. They will explain the options that can be taken to stop or reverse the problem. Believe it or not we were shocked to find out that many body problems initiate from the stomach.

More to read: HCG: Spinal Cord and Neuronal Regeneration

The Digestive Theory Of Aging Part 1

The Digestive Theory Of Aging Part 1

No matter how much “antiaging” therapy we do, we may only be able to slow aging down, not stop it. After all, we need to get on to our next lifetimes someday, so that future regression therapists can tell us where we’ve been, don’t we?

But as long as we’re here in this lifetime, why not take full advantage of it, stay healthy, “age gracefully,” and perhaps outlive Victor Herbert, David Kessler, and all the other folks who know everything there is to know about staying well with drugs, chemotherapy, and radiation?


In our antiaging efforts, we’ve been guided by the “free radical” theory of aging, which tells us that the accumulation of “oxidative damage” is responsible for much aging, particularly the premature kind. This theory advises us to take “antioxidants” to slow the aging process, much like putting antifreeze in our cars to keep their engines from bursting in the wintertime. (Of course, the whole idea of “antioxidants” has been an absolute boon to university and other establishment types, who can now do research and tell us to take our vitamins without actually calling them vitamins, thus avoiding sounding like Adele Davis, J.I. Rodale or one of those other “health food nuts.”)


Then there’s the “endocrine theory” of aging which American mainstream medicine has put to use in a rather perverse but patentable way by replacing failing human hormones with horse hormones (Premarin®) or other dangerous molecules never before found on this planet or in human bodies (e.g., Provera,® methyltestosterone). We can be somewhat thankful that pharmaceutical company ingenuity and drive for profit has recently produced an improvement on this approach with genetically engineered, recombinant and process-patentable human growth hormone (hGH), which not only shows some signs of being useful and not too harmful in the battle to slow aging but also maintains the usual and customary drug-company profit margins.


The proliferation of over-the-counter and even vending-machine versions of Zantac,® Pepcid,® and other patent-expired “acid-blockers” has prompted this brief note to remind us all of yet another theory of aging, the “digestive failure” theory.

It’s long been noted that grandpas and grandmas have considerably more indigestion than younger folks, but their indigestion generally has been ascribed to “being older.” Not much thought has been given to the possibility that the “being older” could (at least in part) be due to the indigestion!

Let’s give it a little thought. If we have bodies made up of some 60 or so essential nutrients (essential being defined as nutrients without which we sooner or later would drop dead), then how healthy are we going to be if even one of those essential nutrients isn’t getting through very well? Like engines running on a lean fuel mixture, our cells are going to misfire, sputter, and ultimately choke. And what if a dozen or more nutrients are in short supply? How are our bodies, particularly older bodies, going to keep themselves in good repair? Like older houses, older bodies require more parts and maintenance, not less. It just makes sense that, if we’re not digesting and assimilating properly, not supplying all the cells of our bodies with a full complement of essential nutrients, we’re going to age and fall apart more rapidly.

A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association tells us that “only” 10% of “healthy” older folks have inadequate levels of stomach acid production. (Apparently, that doesn’t include all those older folks gulping down over-the-counter and vending machine Zantacs and Pepcids, persuaded of their virtues by the barrage of newly-unleashed-by-FDA direct-to-the-public TV, radio, and print advertising.) Back in the 1930s, studies by the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins on several thousand older folks told us that by age 60 nearly half of us had functionally low stomach acid. After some 27 years of nutritionally oriented medical practice, I’m more inclined to agree with the researchers at Mayo and Hopkins, especially since I’m working mostly with folks who don’t consider themselves healthy. Moreover, this problem is not limited to older people.

The Digestive Theory Of Aging Part 1


Hydrochloric acid (HCl) supplements with and without pepsin were widely prescribed in the 1800s and the first half of this century. Using medical judgment and common sense, physicians reasoned that replacement of such a powerful digestive secretion was the only logical thing to do if the function of the stomach could not be revived on its own, as is often the case with increasing age. HCl and pepsin replacement therapy for “failed stomachs” is exactly parallel to hormone replacement therapy for “failed ovaries.” Unfortunately, poorly designed and widely misinterpreted research starting in the 1950s has convinced most medical practitioners of today that HCl and pepsin replacement therapy is not necessary. Encouraged by the legal drug industry, medical students are not taught that hypochlorhydria (inadequate stomach acid production) is treatable only with unpatentable natural replacement therapies. Instead, their education concentrates on hyperchlorhydria (excess stomach acid production) and its treatment with patentable “acid blocker” drugs and highly profitable over-the-counter antacids.

Although research in this area is entirely inadequate, it’s been my clinical observation that calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, chromium, selenium, manganese, vanadium, molybdenum, cobalt, and many other “micro-trace” elements are not nearly as well-absorbed in those with poor stomach acid as it is in those whose acid levels are normal. When we test plasma amino acid levels for those with poor stomach function, we frequently find lower than usual levels of one or more of the eight essential amino acids: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Often there are functional insufficiencies of folic acid and/or vitamin B12.

Count the number of essential nutrients named above: 21! Although no one with a poorly functioning stomach is deficient in all of them, and no two people have the exact pattern of insufficiencies, even if “only” 10% of “healthy” older adults have this problem, that’s a large number of folks who aren’t nourishing their cells very well. Of course they’re going to age prematurely!

And having “low stomach acid” or falling for those Zantac and Pepcid commercials isn’t the only way to impair our digestive processes. A lot of us don’t have sufficient pancreatic digestive enzymes. The pancreatic enzymes trypsin and chymotrypsin complete the digestion of protein started by the stomach’s enzyme pepsin. As its name implies, lipase digests fats and aids in the assimilation of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K, and the essential fatty acids. Pancreatic amylase is necessary for carbohydrate digestion. And remember all those important “anti-aging” phytonutrients, flavonoids, carotenoids, mucopolysaccharides, and so on? They don’t just leap out of our food into our bloodstreams, they must be digested out.

Many of us have inadequate bile flow (that’s the real bile, not the mental thing) due to impaired liver function or having our gallbladders carved out because the surgeon didn’t tell us that avoiding allergies will do the job just as well. Bile is another important digestive secretion, necessary to “emulsify” fats, oils, fat-soluble vitamins and other dietary components before they can be assimilated.

Then there’s allergy-induced malabsorption, lectin incompatibility, and that favorite medical category “idiopathic,” which means, “it’s happening (or not happening), but we don’t know why.”

And in a related matter: What about those germs so delicately termed “intestinal microflora?” These “normal” or “friendly” bacteria are responsible for some of the digestive processes, and play a vital role in production of a major proportion of the essential nutrients, vitamin K, folic acid, biotin and vitamin B12 that our bodies depend on. Since the early 1940s, the entire population of the United States (not to mention most of the rest of the world) has been so thoroughly dosed with antibiotics that our intestinal microflora in many cases isn’t even close to normal.


So while we’re slowing the aging process by swallowing our vitamins, minerals, and botanicals (oops, I meant antioxidants), and taking our replacement hormones (the natural or identical-to-natural versions, of course), let’s not forget to detect and correct any failures in our digestive and absorptive processes, or the digestive failure theory of aging may catch up with us while we’re preoccupied elsewhere and send us on to that next lifetime before we are really ready to be there!

More to read: The Digestive Theory Of Aging Part 2

Don’t Go Deaf, Blind or Lose Your Mind! by Jonathan V. Wright, MD

Don’t Go Deaf, Blind or Lose Your Mind! by Jonathan V. Wright, MD

“Eh? What’s that you say? Louder, please. No, don’t bother writing it down, can’t see very well, either! Oh, never mind…I probably won’t remember it, anyway!”

If you chuckled when you read that, it’s probably because it sounds familiar—whether it’s something you remember your parents or grandparents saying, or whether you’ve uttered similar things yourself. And while it sounds funny on the surface, the unfortunate truth underlying phrases like these is that varying degrees of failing hearing, vision, and mental function are still considered to be “normal” with advancing age.

But they need not be “normal” for you! You’ve read before in Nutrition & Healing about prevention and treatment of “age-related” hearing, vision, and cognitive function problems. This time, we’ll review them all in one place, while you—and I—can still remember to how to lower your chances of going deaf, blind, or losing your mind!

The hormone deficiency that could be destroying your hearing

Dennis Trune, Ph.D., of Oregon Health Sciences University, pioneered the research showing that the naturally occurring adrenal steroid hormone aldosterone can often reverse hearing loss in animals..

Based on Dr. Trune’s work, I’ve had aldosterone levels tested in many individuals with hearing loss (most of them “older”), and a significant number turned out to have low or “low normal” measurements. But after taking bio-identical aldosterone in “physiologic” quantities—amounts that would normally be present in adult human bodies—more than half of these individuals have regained a significant proportion of their “lost” hearing.

I’ve been surprised by two aspects of bio-identical aldosterone treatment for hearing loss. First, when it works, it works relatively rapidly, restoring a significant degree of hearing within the first two months. In fact, a few of the people I’ve worked with have literally heard improvement within just two to three weeks.

The other thing that surprised me about aldosterone therapy is that it’s capable of restoring a significant degree of hearing even years after the hearing loss initially occurred. So far, the longest interval I’ve witnessed was in an 87-year-old man who’d lost his hearing 13 years prior to regaining a significant degree of it using aldosterone.

None of the people I’ve worked with have had any adverse effects from aldosterone therapy, likely because the use of bio-identical, physiologic-dose aldosterone restores levels to those that would be found in the body anyway.

I’ve focused this treatment on individuals with hearing loss and low or low-normal aldosterone levels, but I do know of one individual—an M.D.—who decided to try this approach for his hearing loss even though his aldosterone levels were quite normal. His hearing did improve, but unless you too are an M.D., D.O., or N.D. who can prescribe bio-identical aldosterone and order lab tests for sodium and potassium (sodium and potassium regulation are two of aldosterone’s major responsibilities), please don’t take aldosterone, bio-identical or not, if your measured levels are perfectly normal! (For further details about the research behind this treatment and safety details, see Nutrition & Healing for May 2006.)

See also: Lithium – The Misunderstood Mineral

Don’t Go Deaf, Blind or Lose Your Mind! by Jonathan V. Wright, MD

Beat the top 3 causes of blindness—without patent medicines or surgery

Glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts are three very common causes of vision loss—if they’re left untreated, that is.

But many cases of these three sight-stealing conditions can be treated by natural means, often avoiding patent medicines and/or surgery entirely. Even better, it’s also possible to significantly reduce your risk of developing any of these problems in the first place.

The vision-robbing disease that’s actually a symptom in many cases

Let’s start with glaucoma. This condition occurs when the pressure inside the eyeball (intra-ocular pressure) rises. If the intra-ocular pressure rises high enough, it can cause blindness. Conventional treatment of glaucoma uses either patent medications (generally called miotics) or surgery to relieve the excess pressure.

But in 1937, Emanuel Josephson, M.D., an ophthalmologist in New York City, published a book titled Glaucoma and its Medical Treatment with Cortin. In it, Dr. Josephson reported many cases of individuals whose glaucoma and high intra-ocular pressure improved after treatment with a substance called cortin. Cortin was the 1930s name for entirely natural, injectable extracts from animal adrenal cortex—the part of the adrenal glands which make cortisol, cortisone, DHEA, aldosterone, and all other natural adrenal steroid molecules in natural balance with each other. (Later on, Cortin was renamed Adrenal Cortical Extract, or ACE.)

Some of the improvements Dr. Josephson related were quite dramatic, with the patients’ intra-ocular pressure dropping over 20 points to within the normal range. Dr. Josephson carefully explained that Cortin produced such impressive results because many cases of glaucoma don’t actually originate in the eye, but instead manifest in the eye as a symptom of weak adrenal glands. In other words, Dr. Josephson discovered that, in many cases, glaucoma is a symptom, not an “independent disease.”

Injections of Cortin (which was literally “hormone replacement therapy” for weak adrenal glands) would allow the eyes—which apparently depend on normal adrenal function—to normalize themselves in many cases. In fact, Cortin even helped alleviate high intra-ocular pressure in people who hadn’t responded to miotics or surgery.

At the time Dr. Josephson was using it in his patients, Cortin was sold by major patent medication companies, including Parke-Davis. While they couldn’t patent the extracts themselves (since they were 100 percent natural) patent medicine companies could patent—and make enormous profits from—the extraction process.

Unfortunately, though, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, patent medicine companies discovered ways to make totally unnatural but very powerful and patentable (and therefore much more profitable) versions of cortisone and cortisol. Even though these space-alien versions have an incredible list of adverse effects when used in human bodies—including diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, cataracts, and stomach ulcers—the patent medicine industry was so successful in blurring the lines between them and bio-identical cortisone and cortisol (which never have these sorts of adverse effects when used in “physiologic” quantities) that they’ve become the go-to choice for most mainstream physicians. A more recent example of this type of “blurring the lines” is the inability of the FDA, conventional medicine, and patent medicine companies to distinguish between Premarin and other patentable pseudo-estrogens and bio-identical estrogens. And just like the current situation with bio-identical HRT, los Federales used this line-blurring to outlaw Cortin/ACE in the 1970s.

They claimed that it should be banned because, unlike the synthetic version, ACE was “unapproved,” and therefore potentially “dangerous”—even though it had been sold and in use for decades with no reported side effects. In an accompanying illogical leap of FDA “logic,” after terming ACE “dangerous,” they also stated it was “ineffective.”

But I personally witnessed its tremendous success in normalizing glaucoma. Several individuals had decreases in intra-ocular pressure from well above 20 (normal is under 20) to below 20 following a series of intravenous injections of ACE. (All intra-ocular pressure measurements were done by ophthalmologists, not me.) Many other physicians practicing natural medicine had seen similar results and we all protested to the FDA. Unfortunately, the public didn’t get involved, and side-effect-free ACE remains illegal today.

However, individuals with glaucoma can still improve and even normalize their intra-ocular pressure by using more general techniques to improve their adrenal function. The very best place to start is with your diet, eliminating all refined sugar and refined carbs and making sure to get adequate amounts of salt.

There are also a number of supplements that can help boost adrenal function, including the sodium ascorbate form of vitamin C, pantothenic acid, chromium, vitamins A and E, and ginseng. Another relatively subtle but powerful technique for strengthening weak adrenal glands is “cell therapy” using fetal animal adrenal cells with other related fetal endocrine cells. Next month, you’ll read a brief note about cell therapy, and much more can be found in the March 2005 issue of Nutrition & Healing. For even more information on strengthening weak adrenal glands, check your local library for the book Adrenal Fatigue by James Wilson, N.D., Ph.D.

As you’ve likely guessed, adrenal-strengthening treatment is most likely to be successful in treating glaucoma in people who have weak adrenal function. The 24-hour urine test for natural steroids and other hormones can help you and your physician make an “official” diagnosis, but symptoms of weak adrenal function include lower-than-average blood pressure (especially if the “top”—systolic—number is consistently below 110), dizzy spells when standing up rapidly, and being easily tired out. Being underweight for your particular height and difficulty gaining weight are also common with weak adrenal function, but are not always present.

If you have any or all of these symptoms, check with a physician skilled and knowledgeable in natural and nutritional medicine, as well as bio-identical hormone replacement.

If weak adrenals aren’t at the root of your glaucoma, there are still a few other nutritional and natural therapies that may be able to help reverse it. Eliminating any food allergies you might have is a good first step. Research has also shown that daily use of fish oil (I recommend 1 tablespoonful daily) and high quantities of vitamin C (10 to 35 grams daily, split into three to four doses) can help reduce high intra-ocular pressure. Thyroid hormone also lowers intra-ocular pressure in some cases.

And both magnesium (250 milligrams daily) and standardized extracts of ginkgo biloba (40 milligrams three times daily) have been found to improve visual field defects for individuals with glaucoma.

The macular degeneration treatment that starts in your stomach

Just as Dr. Josephson found that many cases of glaucoma don’t originate in the eye, but elsewhere in the body, in the 1980s I discovered that many—if not most—cases of “dry” macular degeneration are “symptoms” of digestive malfunction, specifically poor digestion and assimilation of nutrients. So if you’re starting to have vision problems, I encourage you to have your digestive function tested. If it’s not operating up to par, correcting it (naturally, of course) will go a long way in helping you get the most from the nutrients that have vision-improving potential.

The most useful of those nutrients are lutein and zeaxanthin, which are found in highest concentrations in spinach, collard greens, and other deep green leafy vegetables. Other important nutrients include zinc (found in oysters, fish and other animal protein), selenium (two to four Brazil nuts a day are an excellent source), riboflavin (which comes from brewer’s yeast, almonds, mushrooms, wheat bran, and dark green leafy vegetables), taurine (found in organ meats, fish, and other animal protein), and quercitin (good sources include onions, apples, kale, cherries, grapes, red cabbage, and green beans are all good sources). Bilberry and ginkgo are the best vision-supporting herbs.

I encourage anyone with macular degeneration to consider using Ocudyne II capsules (formulated by my colleague Alan R. Gaby M.D. and me), which contain all the nutrients noted above.

For much more information about preventing and treating macular degeneration, refer back to the February 2005 issue of Nutrition & Healing.

Clearing up cataracts, naturally

I wrote about an effective, well-researched cataract treatment three months ago (in the July 2008 issue), so I’ll refer you there for the complete discussion of N-acetylcarnosine eyedrops.

Another option for treating cataracts is a combination of Chinese botanicals called “Hachimi-jio-gan,” or Ba-wei-wan. This treatment has been used for centuries in China to treat cataracts, and even has a bit of clinical evidence to support it. In a human study of early cataracts conducted in Japan, Hachimi-jio-gan was associated with lessening of cataracts in 60 percent of the volunteers. In the USA, Hachimi-jio-gan is available as a (much easier to pronounce) formula called Clinical Nutrients for the Eyes, which is available from natural food stores, compounding pharmacies, and the Tahoma Clinic Dispensary.

Rounding out the natural treatment options for cataracts is a single, simple nutrient: vitamin A. Decades ago, an honest ophthalmologist with a sense of humor wrote a letter-to-the-Editor of a medical journal “complaining” that his income from cataract surgery had gone down by over 2/3 since he started recommending vitamin A to all his patients with any degree of cataract at all. I recommend 30,000 IU of vitamin A (not beta-carotene) for anyone who wants to prevent or treat cataracts. In fact, the only people who shouldn’t use this amount are very small children (who don’t get cataracts anyway) and pregnant women.

And while we’re on the topic of cataract prevention, one of the most important things you can do is to eliminate all sources of sugar and refined carbohydrates from your diet! Researchers have found that part of the cause of cataracts is the lens of the eye trying to “help” the body lower high blood sugar by “packing it away” within the lens, which gradually obscures the vision, which explains why individuals with type 2 diabetes have a much greater incidence of cataracts than people with normal blood sugar levels. So even though not eating sugar and refined carbohydrates is better for everyone’s health, it’s especially important for cataract prevention if you have diabetes—type 2 or type 1—in your family. Eliminating all sources of the milk sugar lactose (milk, ice cream, cottage cheese, and many soft cheeses) will reduce your risk of cataract, too.

Don’t Go Deaf, Blind or Lose Your Mind! by Jonathan V. Wright, MD

In addition to eliminating refined sugar and carbohydrates, you may also want to consider incorporating some cataract-preventing nutrients (other than just vitamin A) into your daily supplement regimen. Riboflavin, vitamin C, quercitin, zinc, and carotenoids have all been associated with cataract risk reduction. And one study found that people with higher serum vitamin E levels had 50 percent less risk of developing cataracts than people with lower levels. (When you’re supplementing with vitamin E, remember to use mixed tocopherols, not just alpha-tocopherol.)

As a side note, patent-medicine “cortisone” preparations that are prescribed to suppress symptoms of asthma, severe allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, and other more severe inflammatory conditions always increase cataract risk. So if you’re using prescription patent-medicine “cortisone,” check with a physician skilled and knowledgeable in nutritional and natural medicine for effective alternatives.

Your guide for beating cognitive decline (a.k.a “keeping your marbles”)

According to health authorities, Alzheimer’s disease is slated to become the next epidemic. In fact, current estimates state that nearly half of people over the age of 85 have Alzheimer’s, whether it’s obvious or not. There are non-Alzheimer’s forms of dementia, too, most notably “multi-infarct” dementia, which is thought to be caused by a series of small strokes, and mild cognitive decline, which likely has many causes that have yet to be identified.

The best way to combat any and all of these cognitive problems is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. You keep reading about it over and over again, but an excellent diet is truly the most important aspect of preventing most—if not all—health problems, including cognitive decline. In fact, more and more research is being reported linking blood sugar problems (such as diabetes) and potential blood sugar problems (such as metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance) with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. So here we go again: Eliminate the sugar and refined carbohydrates! Make sure to eat several non-starchy vegetables and a wide array of colorful vegetables every day, too. (You want a varied palette on your plate because each color signals a different and necessary-to-good-health group of nutrients.)

It’s also a good idea to “eat organic” as much as possible, since organically raised foods have significantly more minerals and vitamins than “commercially” grown varieties, not to mention a much lower risk of being contaminated with pesticides, herbicides, and miscellaneous non-food chemical additives.

When you can, I encourage you to even go beyond organic produce and also opt for organic, free-range meat and poultry as well. The essential fatty acid ratio in free-range protein is anti-inflammatory, while the essential fatty acid ratio found in grain-fed animal protein actually promotes inflammation, and inflammation is also being implicated more and more as raising the risk of Alzheimer’s and other cognitive malfunction.

Along these same lines, one of the best “brain foods” you can eat is fish. (Low-mercury fish, that is.) Not only are the omega-3 fatty acids in fish anti-inflammatory, but they’re also essential components of the membranes of every brain cell we have. And since our bodies can’t make them on their own, it’s critical to get enough omega-3s and other essential fatty acids from supplements (like cod liver oil) and foods (like free-range meat and fish).

Phospholipids are another key component of brain cells. While our bodies can make them, as with many other things (co-enzyme Q10 and glutathione are two prominent examples) our bodies make less and less with age. Eggs—specifically the yolks—are excellent sources of phospholipids, as is the lecithin found in soy. Supplemental lecithin—another good source of phospholipids—is available in any natural food store and is an excellent idea for anyone over 40.

Boost your brain—and your sex life

I can’t tell you how many men I’ve seen at the Tahoma Clinic who have the idea that testosterone is mostly for sexual function. I always let them know that its most important job is maintaining cognitive function. The sex part is important, no doubt, but who cares about sex if you can’t remember who you’re with or what you’re doing with her?

Unfortunately, thanks to this misunderstanding word hasn’t gotten around that—just like estrogen replacement for women—bio-identical testosterone replacement for men is extremely important for significantly reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline. Since we’ve covered this subject before (see the March 2004 and March 2006 issues of Nutrition & Healing ) I’ll just mention a few of the highlights:

• Higher serum estrogen levels in women in their 60s are directly correlated with lower incidence of Alzheimer’s in those same women decades later. (And the reverse is true too: Lower estrogens equal higher incidence of Alzheimer’s in later years.)
• The 15-year Princeton men’s study determined that men who had higher serum free testosterone in 1983 had less risk of Alzheimer’s disease in 1998. (Once again, the reverse was also true: Lower serum free testosterone corresponded with higher risk of Alzheimer’s.)
• Researchers observing neurons found substantially less accumulation of beta-amyloid, neurofibrillary tangle, tau protein, and other “neuronal garbage” associated with Alzheimer’s when those neurons were exposed to “physiologic quantities” of either estrogen or testosterone (depending on whether the neuron was from a woman or a man).
• In numerous controlled experiments, elderly men without Alzheimer’s disease do better on tests of cognitive function when given testosterone than men given placebo.
• Testosterone for men and estrogen (that’s real, bio-identical estrogen—not horse estrogen) for women is very protective for the entire cardiovascular system, including the blood supply to the brain. (Remember that cognitive decline due to repeated small strokes?)

The bottom line is, if you want to “keep your marbles” for as long as you live, consider bio-identical hormone replacement when it’s appropriate for you. Just make sure to be working with a physician who is skilled and knowledgeable in all aspects of this therapy. If you’re not sure if your doctor is, one way to find out is to ask the physician’s office whether they do routine monitoring of therapy with the 24-hour urine steroid determination. This test is the very best way to check not only the levels of the bio-identical hormones being replaced but also their metabolization (the natural transformation of the starting hormones into pro- and anti-carcinogenic metabolites). Blood and/or saliva testing just doesn’t cut it when it comes to bio-identical HRT. See Nutrition & Healing for December 2007 for a much more detailed discussion of safety monitoring for bio-identical hormone replacement (and, rest assured, if safety monitoring does indicate that there’s an imbalance in the “wrong” direction, it’s almost always correctable with nutrients or botanicals).

Small dose, big protection

I’ve written about lithium’s brain-protecting benefits before too (see Nutrition & Healing for August 2003 and April 2008), and this is getting a bit long (sorry about that) so I’ll be brief: No matter what neurotoxin your brain is exposed to, lithium protects against it.

Not only that, but lithium actually promotes the growth of new brain cells, even in individuals past age 50. So far, no other nutrient has been found to do that.

Yes, high-dose prescription lithium can be toxic, but low quantities like the ones used for boosting cognitive function and protecting brain cells (20 milligrams daily and under) are not associated with toxicity. In over 30 years, I’ve only encountered two or three individuals who reported a possible reaction to low-dose lithium: These people thought that it might have given them a slight tremor (which went away when the lithium was discontinued). But on the flip side of that same coin, I’ve also encountered dozens of individuals who reported improvement in benign tremors with the use of low dose lithium.

Even though risk of toxicity from low-dose lithium is very small, I always recommend you work with a physician skilled and knowledgeable in nutritional and natural medicine if you decide to supplement with lithium. And to be on the extra-cautious side, I always recommend using supplemental essential fatty acids when using even low-quantity lithium supplements. Essential fatty acids are the primary treatment for toxicity caused by high-dose prescription lithium, so using them in conjunction with low-dose treatment helps avoid that possibility altogether.

Spicing up your brain-boosting regimen

There are many, many more supplemental items that can help you maintain cognitive function, but we’re quickly running out of space, so I’ll just mention two more: curcumin and ginkgo.

Although no one is entirely sure how it works, the research on curcumin’s ability to protect against Alzheimer’s (as well as its many other beneficial effects) has been more than a little exciting. Areas of the world in which the spice turmeric (which has a high concentration of curcumin) is routinely used have very little—if any—Alzheimer’s compared with areas that don’t. Perhaps the best aspect of curcumin is that you don’t need to take yet another pill to get its brain-boosting benefits. Just use turmeric in your cooking, perhaps an average of 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoonful daily. (For those of us who just can’t stand the taste of turmeric, it is available in capsules, too. If you’re using it for long-term cognitive maintenance, consider taking two 200-milligram capsules a day.)

Ginkgo has been used for the brain for thousands of years, and (like lithium) has been found to be neuroprotective. Next month, we’ll have the latest information about ginkgo and cognitive function from Kerry Bone.

We all know that none of us will live forever, but there’s no reason not live as long as our “genetic programs” will allow, and keep all of our faculties while we’re here. If you can do all of the things outlined above (or at least come close), you’ll have a much better chance of living as long as your oldest known relative, getting to know your great-grandchildren, and hearing, seeing, enjoying, and remembering those years of life so much better!.

Measuring and monitoring your aldosterone if you have hearing loss.

Many labs use blood tests to measure aldosterone levels, but I definitely prefer measuring aldosterone as part of an over-all steroid analysis done from a 24-hour urine collection. This test measures all the aldosterone output in a 24-hour period; since aldosterone and other steroid hormones are secreted into the bloodstream in “pulses,” a blood test isn’t quite as accurate.

Also, the 24-hour urine collection measures the “hormone context” in which aldosterone is found, including measurements of cortisol, cortisone, and “downstream metabolites” of cortisol and cortisone. Putting these measurements together allows your physician to assess your adrenal strength and weakness.

The 24-hour urine test also measures pro-carcinogenic estrogens (estrone, estradiol, 16-alpha-hydroxyestrogens, 4-hydoxyestrogens) and anti-carcinogenic estrogens (estriol, 2-hydroxyestrogens, 2-methoxyestradiol, 2-methoxyestone), as well as progesterone, testosterone, and testosterone’s pro- and anti-carcinogenic metabolites DHT and androstanediol (“5-alpha” and “5-beta” forms of both). Thyroid hormones (“free T3” and “free T4”) and growth hormone (HGH) can be added to the test, too.

These measurements may seem unrelated, but all of these hormones interact with each other, so a physician skilled and knowledgeable in bio-identical hormone replacement can do a lot more for you if he or she has ALL of your hormonal information.

RDW: Another Marker for Gluten Sensitivity? with Cristina Persa, MD(RO), MS, ND

RDW: Another Marker for Gluten Sensitivity? with Cristina Persa, MD(RO), MS, ND

The red blood cell distribution width (RDW) is a measure of the variation of red blood cell (RBC) size that is reported as part of a standard complete blood count (CBC). Usually red blood cells are a standard size of about 6-8 μm. An elevated RDW (red blood cells of unequal sizes) is known as anisocytosis.

RDW is a sensitive marker of early nutritional deficiency (such as iron, B12 or folate deficiency) affecting red blood cell production and maturation and it becomes elevated earlier than the other red blood cell parameters changes.

Nutritional deficiencies are common in people with gluten sensitivities (with celiac disease being the most severe form) and they result in various clinical manifestations such as:

• Loss of appetite and weight loss, weakness, sore tongue, heart palpitations, irritability and behavioral disorders (in folate deficiency)

• Fatigue (B12 and iron deficiency), depression and poor memory (B12 deficiency)

• Shortness of breath, chronic recurrent infections, hair loss, irritability, restless leg syndrome, weakened nails, chapped lips, angular stomatitis (cracking in the corner of the lips), easy bruising, craving ice (in iron deficiency)

RDW: Another Marker for Gluten Sensitivity? with Cristina Persa, MD(RO), MS, ND

Gluten contributes to nutrient deficiencies in several ways. Nutrient malabsorption is often a consequence of villous atrophy (damage of the small intestinal mucosa). Additionally, gluten damages the stomach cells that are producing acid (which is required for iron absorption) as well as intrinsic factor (required for B12 absorption).

Previous Italian research studies (from 2002) have been shown that in patients in whom there is a strong clinical suspicion of gluten sensitivity (celiac disease), an elevated RDW despite normal hemoglobin concentration may be a reliable predictor of the disease. It was also reported that RDW can be used to monitor dietary compliance in celiac disease as RDW normalized in response to a gluten-free diet.

A more recent research study (from 2012) published in the Turkish Journal of Gastroenterology discussed how iron deficiency can be the first symptom associated with celiac disease. The published data led to the recommendation of ruling out gluten sensitivity in all patients with iron deficiency anemia. Additionally, it was recommended gluten sensitivity screening in all patients who persistently show low level of iron despite of taking iron supplements (refractory iron deficiency).

In conclusion, if you suffer from any of the above symptoms and have elevated RDW for unknown reasons, rule out gluten sensitivity.


1. Guglielmi V et al. RDW: new screening for coeliac disease? Minerva Med. 2002. Oct; 93(5):419-21
2. Sategna Guidetti et al. Red cell distribution width as a marker of coeliac disease: a prospective study. Eur J Gastroeneterol Hepatol. 2002. Feb; 14(2):177-81
3. Ayhan Hilimi Cekin et al. Celiac disease prevalence in patients with iron deficiency anemia. Turk J Gastroeneterol. 2012. 23(5): 490-495

Dr. Cristina Persa is a Washington State Board Certified Naturopathic Physician. She also earned her Medical Doctor degree from the prestigious University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Iuliu Hatieganu” in Cluj Napoca, Romania. Dr. Persa’s clinical interest is in adult primary care with a focus on prevention and management of chronic and autoimmune diseases, allergies and macular degeneration using evidence-based integrative therapies.

More to read: What REALLY Causes Heartburn?

Lithium – The Misunderstood Mineral Part 2

Lithium – The Misunderstood Mineral Part 2

Turns out it’s not only the strict use of the death penalty lowering crime rates in some areas of Texas. And while I’m sure “Dubya” would be quick to take credit, it’s not stricter laws or changes in sentencing guidelines either. Using 10 years of data accumulated from 27 Texas counties, researchers found that the incidence of homicide, rape, burglary, and suicide, as well as other crimes and drug use, were significantly lower in counties whose drinking water supplies contained 70-170 micrograms of lithium per liter than those with little or no lithium in their water.

The researchers wrote: “These results suggest that lithium at low dosage levels has a generally beneficial effect on human behavior…increasing the human lithium intakes by supplementation, or the lithiation [adding lithium] of drinking water is suggested as a possible means of crime, suicide, and drug-dependency reduction at the individual and community level.”

And that’s not to mention all of the lithium health benefits we went over in Part 1: It may be useful in treating Alzheimer’s disease, senile dementia, and possibly Parkinson’s disease. Lithium not only protects brain cells against normal wear and tear, but also offers additional protection against a whole variety of toxic molecules, including patent medications. It can also promote brain cell regeneration and increase brain cell mass. In essence, the research suggests that lithium is a brain anti-aging nutrient.

All of these results are every bit as good as (if not better than) the data that led to dumping toxic waste (fluoride) into so many public water supplies. So why haven’t public health and safety “authorities” been pushing for further intensive research on water-borne lithium and criminal behavior?

I’m certainly not in favor of the government adding anything to pure drinking water. But if it insists on forcibly mass-medicating us through our water supply (a thoroughly un-American concept I’m 100 percent against no matter what the added substance is), why haven’t they considered adding something that might actually do some real good for people’s health and safety? Isn’t the possibility of reducing homicide, suicide, rape, robbery, burglary, theft, mental hospital admissions, and drug addiction related arrests just as important as the possibly of preventing tooth decay?

Call me pessimistic, but I suspect lithium is still being ignored because no huge, politically connected industry has enormous quantities of lithium-containing waste lying around. (In the 1940s, that’s exactly how water fluoridation began, by using up huge quantities of fluoride-containing toxic waste generated by the politically connected aluminum industry.)

Lithium – The Misunderstood Mineral Part 2

But if there’s one thing we all know about the U.S. government, it’s that we shouldn’t wait for the people running it to do anything to help us, especially when we can help ourselves. So today let’s go over a few more of lithium’s benefits and I’ll tell you how you can help yourself to this valuable mineral right now.

Lithium tackles another addiction

In 30 years of nutritionally oriented practice, I’ve been told by many alcoholics and their relatives that low-dose lithium can be very helpful for both alcoholism and associated mood disorders. For “practicing” alcoholics, I recommend a trial of lithium orotate, 10 milligrams three times daily (along with diet advice, niacin, glutamine, and other supplements). I ask recovering alcoholics to try 5 milligrams, three times daily (occasionally more). The majority of these patients report improved mood and decreased desire for alcohol after about six weeks using lithium therapy.

According to one review article in the British Journal of Addiction, “both controlled and uncontrolled experiments show that symptoms of both alcoholism and affective disturbance are reduced in patients treated with lithium.”2 (All of the studies reviewed used high dose prescription lithium.)

I also often recommend direct blood relatives of alcoholics (parents, children, or siblings) consider a trial of lithium orotate, 5 milligrams two or three times daily, even if they have never noticed a mood problem. I explain that this is a “personal clinical trial,” and a safe one, that they can discontinue in six to eight weeks if they don’t feel a difference. I also ask that the individual discuss this personal clinical trial with their husband, wife, or other close household member, since I’ve found that the individual doesn’t always notice subtle (or even not-so-subtle) mood changes in himself. But immediate family members notice-particularly when the changes are for the better! I haven’t kept a count of exactly how many individuals have tried this approach over the last 30 years, but it’s probably somewhere in the vicinity of 300 to 400-maybe more. And the majority report positive changes: less depression and irritability for women, and less irritability and “temper” for men.

Can lithium help solve your health mysteries?

So far, you’ve read about how lithium can help combat mental illness, mood disorders, and chemical dependency. All of these benefits, in turn, help communities become safer places overall by reducing rates of violent crime. And, yes, increased safety does benefit you and me. But right now, let’s discuss some ways that you might be able to put lithium to work in your own life with some surprising applications for a few rather “mysterious” conditions.

By “mysterious,” I don’t mean brand-new, mutated viruses like the recent outbreak of SARS. No, the conditions I’ll go over today have been around for quite a while. But the mystery lies in the fact they each of them is still considered “incurable.” Let’s start with one of the most painful.

Fibromyalgia relief: This “last resort” could rank No. 1

This condition primarily strikes women and causes debilitating pain and stiffness. Lithium can help alleviate these symptoms without the problems associated with conventional fibromyalgia treatments, which include tranquilizer, antidepressant, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (which only temporarily mask the pain and sleeplessness that often occur).

One study examined three women suffering from fibromyalgia, none of whom had responded to conventional treatment. When researchers added lithium to the women’s current treatment, all three noticed a marked reduction in their symptoms.

The authors of the study didn’t explain why they didn’t have the women discontinue their ineffective conventional treatments, but I’ve got a pretty good idea that their motives might have had something to do with the fact that the conventional treatments, as useless as they were for these women, are the “standard” protocol.

But I digress.

Lithium – The Misunderstood Mineral Part 2

The gout-eliminating combination that tastes as good as it feels

You might remember reading the Health e-Tip on lithium and gout several months ago (2/3/03, subject line: “Help! My big toe is on fire!”). As the e-Tip mentioned, gout occurs when the body can’t process and eliminate excess uric acid. The result is a painful burning or stabbing sensation usually in the ball joint of the foot.

Although there are no published studies on this topic, over the years I’ve found the combination of low-dose lithium (10-15 milligrams twice daily) and vitamin C (2 grams twice daily) can be very effective in preventing recurrent attacks of gout. Vitamin C significantly reduces serum uric acid levels. Lithium makes uric acid more soluble so it doesn’t crystallize into painful “needles.” These two actions combine to significantly reduce gout attacks. If you have gout, I also recommend that you drink 32 oz. of cherry juice at the first sign of an attack. Just please make sure it’s real cherry juice–no sugar added. Although no one is sure why or how it works, studies have shown that cherry juice usually eliminates the pain of acute gout.

85 percent cluster headache relief in just two weeks

Cluster headaches are another one of those inexplicable conditions that my patients tell me always seem to come on at exactly the wrong time. In fact, they might actually be one of the most “mysterious” of the conditions I’ve listed so far since, like fibromyalgia, the cause isn’t known. They tend to attack relentlessly for weeks to months and then often go into remission for months or even years. But lithium (in relatively high doses) can significantly reduce both the severity and frequency.

One study examined lithium’s effects on 19 men with cluster headaches. Eight had rapid improvement-an average 85 percent reduction-in their “headache index” in just two weeks. Four individuals had both cluster headaches and psychiatric symptoms; these four had almost complete elimination of their headaches. The remaining seven had only a slight benefit.

Another research group tried lithium therapy (again, relatively high quantities) for 14 individuals with cluster headaches. Five individuals had complete disappearance of their headaches, four had significant improvement, and four had no change.

There’s no guarantee that lithium will cure your cluster headaches, but there is a good chance that it might help. With so few other options available, it’s at least worth a try.

Simple relief from those annoyingly persistent problems

Along the same lines as these mysterious conditions are a few other conditions that lithium can benefit. But these are less on the mysterious side and more in the vein of annoyingly persistent. Even so, lithium can still help in a number of ways.

One research group reported that lithium inhibits the reproduction of several viruses, including herpes simplex viruses (HSV 1, HSV 2), adenovirus (the “common cold” virus), cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus (associated with mononucleosis and many cases of chronic fatigue), and the measles virus.

Another randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of lithium carbonate (doses ranging from 150-900 milligrams daily) demonstrated “a consistent reduction in the number of herpes episodes per month, the average duration of each episode, the total number of infection days per month, and the maximum symptom severity. In contrast, treatment with placebo resulted in an increase in three of the four severity measures.”8

In addition to lithium, selenium, lysine, and other nutrients can also help suppress the reproduction of herpes simplex (and other viruses) and speed the recovery process should an active infection occur. I tend to think it’s better-and safer-to follow this approach (using small quantities of several effective nutrients rather than a larger quantity of just one), so nearly 10 years ago I worked with Bio-Tech Pharmacal to create a useful anti-herpes formula. We combined low-dose lithium with selenium, lysine, vitamin C, olive leaf extract, and other nutrients into two formulas, one (called HPX) for prevention of herpes simplex, and the other (called HPX2) for treatment of outbreaks. Those who have used it tell me it does the job, cutting down or eliminating recurrent herpes infections and/or helping them heal more quickly when they do occur. HPX and HPX2 are both available through natural food stores and compounding pharmacies.

A quick end to a Grave disease

Hyperthyroidism can be persistent and difficult to treat. It comes on either very suddenly or very gradually-so gradually, you might not even notice that something is really wrong until the symptoms become severe. Graves’ disease is one of the common names for hyperthyroidism. In this condition, the immune system disrupts the functioning of the thyroid gland, causing it to become enlarged and to secrete too much hormone.

Mainstream treatments completely shut down the production of thyroid hormone using dangerous patent medicines. But lithium can get to the root of the problem much more safely.

In 1972, Mayo Clinic researchers published the first clinical investigation of lithium treatment for Graves’ disease.9 Using high-dose lithium for 10 individuals, they reported that thyroid hormone levels fell by 20-30 percent within five days.

Twenty-six years later, in a review of more than 10 successful trials of lithium therapy for Graves’ disease, the authors wrote: “a small number of studies have documented its [lithium’s] use in the treatment of patients with Graves’ disease… it’s efficacy and utility as an alternative anti-thyroid [treatment] are not widely recognized…”10 They also note lithium’s rapid effect: “Lithium normalizes [thyroid hormone] levels in one to two weeks…” But they also caution that “toxicity precludes its use as a first-line or long-term therapeutic agent.” If they’d just added flaxseed oil and vitamin E to their treatment, they would have basically eliminated the risk of toxicity.

Lithium’s benefits: Ripe for the picking

Perhaps the budding evidence about lithium and brain protection will spark even more interest in researching this mineral. Maybe researchers will accumulate enough evidence to prove that lithium can slow or even reverse brain aging. And perhaps researchers will conclude that putting very low dose lithium into drinking water to reduce violent crime is even more important than adding fluoride to prevent tooth decay.

But I won’t hold my breath. Lithium isn’t patentable, so I doubt that patent-medicine companies will even consider funneling huge amounts of research dollars into it. And if the patent-medicine companies aren’t interested in it, it isn’t likely to be “approved” for these or other uses any time soon. But remember, “approval” does not ensure safety or effectiveness; it just means that procedures have been followed, forms have been filled out, and money-lots and lots of money-has changed hands.

Now for the good news: Just because lithium won’t be formulated into the next wonder drug and isn’t likely to be making the headlines of your local news, that certainly doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy all of its benefits-from brain anti-aging to headache relief–right now. Low-dose lithium supplements are available in some natural food stores.

If you decide to give lithium a try, as with any new treatment or preventive measure (even an all-natural one), it’s always a good idea to consult with a physician skilled and knowledgeable in natural medicine as part of your decision.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis: A Revival of Hope

Imagine watching a woman with multiple sclerosis of many years duration (who had previously needed a “walker” to help her get around) walking unaided several times around a room at good speed and with no balance problems. Imagine listening to her say she’s sleeping better, her energy is much improved, and that she’s able to think more clearly. She attributes her dramatic improvement to the natural amino-acid derivative she’s been using for the previous two to three weeks. Imagine hearing another woman, much more seriously afflicted, report that she’s able to feed herself again, and that her friends and relatives had all noticed her speech is easier to understand. Both of these improvements occurred within a month of starting the “new” natural amino-acid derivative.

Your editor has seen and listened to both these women in just the last month. One of your editor’s colleagues at Tahoma Clinic, Dr. George Gillson, M.D., Ph.D., reports that at first checkback (approximately six weeks for treatment) for nineteen individuals with multiple sclerosis, eleven noted dramatic improvement, three reported one or more significant improvements in symptoms (including reduced numbness, better motor control, improved speech, much better sleeping, and more energy) one had no change, and four had no change associated with poor absorption of the natural amino-acid derivative, poor patch adhesion, or an interfering drug.

The nurse responsible for the revival of the use of the natural amino-acid derivative (a now mostly symptom-free “MS” sufferer herself) has collected verbal reports from over 200 individuals diagnosed with “MS” who’ve used the natural amino-acid derivative: 72% report at least one significant improvement in symptoms, and some many more.

The Natural Amino Acid Derivative: 

The natural amino acid-derivative is histamine, a very small and simple molecule made by every human (and animal) body from the naturally occurring (and conditionally essential) amino-acid histidine. Yes, that’s the same histamine that most of us are told is the “bad guy” of the allergy world, against which we’re all urged to swallow the latest patent (and prescription-only, until the patent expires) “antihistamine” medication. Apparently, individuals with “MS” either don’t make enough histamine in their own bodies, or just need more. Perhaps both. No one knows for certain.

Isn’t it premature to be writing about a symptom improvement in MS based on verbal reports of only 200+ individuals, and only 19 reporting back so far to Tahoma Clinic? Results achieved with… of all things… histamine? Isn’t is all too new…and perhaps too wacky…to get our hopes up? Please refer back to title of this report (A Revival of Hope), and then let’s travel back in time to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tacoma, Washington. The year is 1950; the reporter is Miriam Zeller Gross, who published the article from which the following paragraphs are excerpted from McCall’s Magazine for December of that year.

“Take Mrs. Alice Meinert. This young mother was stricken shortly after New Year’s Day in 1947. By May, she could not get out of bed. For a year she grew steadily worse. Her father heard about the Clinic in Tacoma [not Tahoma Clinic, which was founded in 1973.-ed.]. He urged that his daughter be sent there. But the attending physician pooh-poohed the idea, and acting on his advice, Mrs. Meinert’s husband refused.

“The father took legal action and gained custody of his daughter- a step accomplished through the farseeing wisdom of Judge Chester A. Batchelor of the King County Court, Seattle.

“Four days after she reached the Tacoma clinic, Mrs. Meinert took her first steps in more than a year. One week later she walked from the house to the street and got into an automobile unaided…..her condition has improved steadily. She does her own housework, looks after her child, and appears in every way to be a well, happy woman.”

See also: You’re just 24 hours away from discovering-and reducing-your breast cancer risk

Multiple Sclerosis

Dr. Hinton Jonez: 

In 1946, Hinton Jonez, M.D., a Tacoma general practitioner, was invited by the Sisters of St. Joseph’s Hospital to open an MS clinic in a hospital wing. The Sisters had observed improvements in several individuals with MS hospitalized at St. Joseph’s under Dr. Jonez care. They had observed that the mainstay of Dr. Jonez’ treatment was injectable histamine, and knew that injectable histamine could cause adverse effects, including severe headaches or stomach aches with considerable cramping if injected at the wrong dose or speed of administration. There were even reports of deaths from too much histamine injected too rapidly. But Dr. Jonez’ patients had had no such adverse effects, and all had improved, so the Sisters were happy when Dr. Jonez volunteered to open a clinic at St. Joseph’s dedicated to the treatment of MS.

Dr. Jonez had learned of injectable histamine treatment for MS at a meeting of the American College of Allergy (now called the American College of Allergy and Immunology) from the then-well-known Bayard T. Horton, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minnesota). According to Dr. Jonez, when discussing allergy and allergy treatment over dinner, Dr. Horton had told him and a group of physicians: “Take multiple sclerosis. There is good reason to believe it is an allergic condition. According to Dr. Jonez, Dr. Horton had explained that histamine gives new life to MS victims much as fresh fighting troops revive an exhausted army. “It’s too early to say much,” Dr. Horton told Dr. Jonez, “but we believe we are on the right track.”

Histamine For Allergies: 

Some fifty or more years after Dr. Horton’s time, we’ve all been thoroughly convinced by the patent medicine companies propaganda (“advertising”) that patented and formerly patented “antihistamines” are the best way to combat allergy. Such was not the case in the 1940′s. Dr. Jonez explains:

“Let me review some 1946 medical history…the antihistamine drugs were big news that year…pharmaceutical houses worked night and day to rush the latest and most potent antihistaminic drug to doctors and druggists….while most doctors dosed their patients with antihistamine s, Dr. Horton did the exact opposite. He administered histamine. And he was getting results. Both allergic conditions and an impressive array of illnesses were yielding to Dr. Horton’s histamine treatment.

“Mysterious, intolerable head-aches disappeared. So did the symptoms of Meniere’s disease, characterized by progressive deafness, previously relieved by highly delicate surgery. A host of bizarre eye and ear conditions heretofore thought incurable had also responded to histamine.

“Horton’s method was in a sense fighting fire with fire, and based on the same line of reasoning as giving cowpox vaccinations to fight smallpox….Instead of suppressing the action of histamine by antihistaminics, he used histamine against histamine.”

If these successes were achieved by a respected staff member of the Mayo Clinic in the 1940s, why isn’t histamine commonly in use today against allergic diseases? The answers lie in the nature of histamine itself, and in the nature of American medicine. Histamine is a very “unstable” molecule; it “breaks down” very rapidly. When given orally, it can cause considerable stomach upset and cramping; when given too rapidly or in too great a quantity by injection it can (as noted above) give very unpleasant effects. A few people had actually died after being injected with too much histamine too fast. But administering it properly, Dr. Horton reported that he had given thousands of injections without a single ill effect. So why didn’t physicians learn and apply Dr. Horton’s methods as Dr. Jonez did?

Histamine’s biggest “handicap” is (and was) that as a molecule produced in human bodies it isn’t patentable. Patent medicine (sometimes called “pharmaceutical”) companies would not work “night and day” to rush histamine…or news of its latest uses…to doctors and druggists. And in the 1940s, as now, the vast majority of physicians got most of their “new treatment” information from patent medicine companies.

Dr. Jonez First “Case”: 

Mrs. Johnston had suffered from MS for five years. She was bedridden, unable to move her legs. She was going blind, and had difficulty swallowing.

Dr. Jonez describes her response to histamine treatment:

“[Histamine] was given slowly, carefully. All the elaborate precautions Horton outlined were observed. He had said that histamine had an unwarranted bad reputation because doctors…gave [it] too rapidly, or used contaminated equipment. They failed to realize that the fault lay in their own ineptness….

“A rosy glow spread over Mrs. Johnston’s face, then down the arms. “I feel better already,” she said…As the days went by, there was no doubt she was getting better….she could swallow with ease for the first time in months. And to the amazement of her eye specialist, her vision was back to normal….Less than six months after her first dose of histamine, she was walking. Sensation had fully returned to the legs that had appeared hopelessly paralyzed. It began the evening her husband telephoned in great excitement; “She can wiggle her toes!…The progress was steady. Soon she gave away the wheelchair.”

Dr. Jonez goes on to explain that the natural course of MS can include unexplained “spontaneous” remissions, sometimes of long duration. As this was his first case, he couldn’t be certain that the histamine injections had caused Mrs. Johnston’s improvement. How-ever, five years later, after administering some 150,000 doses and observing the results, he wrote: “…histamine is the medication of first choice in multiple sclerosis.”

Dr. Jonez’ Clinic at St. Joseph’s: 

After obtaining space at St. Joseph’s and with the help of the sisters, Dr. Jonez added several features to the basic histamine treatment. As Dr. Horton had told Dr. Jonez that MS was caused by allergy, and since Dr. Jonez’ use of Dr. Horton’s histamine treatment for MS had been successful in many cases, it’s understandable that Dr. Jonez wrote (in a “professional report”): “At our clinic, complete allergy management is the basis of therapy. On all of our patients, allergy histories are taken and scratch tests [the best available at the time – ed.] are made for sensitivities to foods, epidermals, molds, fungi, pollens, and miscellaneous allergens.” On the basis of these test, diets and allergy desensitization programs were individualized for each MS patient. Dr. Jonez emphasized the importance of allergy control as well as histamine treatment: “Almost without exception, our chronic, progressive [MS patient] suffered from food allergies.” He recounts the case of a patient: “who was out of his wheelchair three times and back again because he thought a small order of salmon and spinach wouldn’t make any difference.”

Physical therapy was another important part of Dr. Jonez’ program. The Sisters of St. Joseph’s helped him to make sure physical therapy was done adequately and appropriately for each patient. For patients whose muscles were twisted and contorted with MS spasm, Dr. Jonez prescribed injections of a powerful muscle relaxant to aid in muscle manipulation.

After five years, Dr. Jonez’ multiple sclerosis program was so successful that the Sisters decided to erect a new clinic building to house what would be named St. Joseph Hospital Clinic for Demyelinating Diseases. The official “groundbreaking” occurred on December 8,1951, with opening scheduled for August 15, 1952. Unfortunately, Dr. Hinton Jonez died, the Sisters could not find even one physician on St. Joseph’s staff willing to continue his program, and Dr. Jonez’ clinic and program at St. Joseph’s in Tacoma came to an end.

Other Natural Treatments for MS: 

At the same time Dr. Jonez was working at St. Joseph’s, another pioneer in effective natural MS treatment, Dr. Roy Swank, was developing his MS diet while on the faculty of the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center. Dr. Swank’s diet is high in “unsaturated fatty acids” which have been found to aid MS when supplemented alone. Others (including Dr. Jonez) were exploring the use of injectable Vitamin B12, as well as injectable adenosine monophosphate (AMP), a natural substance made within every cell of our bodies. During the intervening years, your editor (as well as others) have found that a large proportion of individuals with MS have significant impairments of digestion and assimilation, and that a unique herbal combination can have a significant effect in MS treatment. Your editor and other Tahoma Clinic physicians have observed DHEA to be a small help for some individuals with MS. All of these valuable natural treatments and aspects of MS will follow the description of the “improved histamine” Procarin, the invaluable contribution of Elaine DeLack, R.N.

Elaine DeLack, MS, And Procari: 

Elaine developed her first symptoms of MS in 1985 while living in Montana. While pregnant with her son, she developed difficulty moving her left leg. After delivery, she had variable difficulty moving her left arm and hand. In 1987, a MRI (magnetic resonance image) showed what appeared to be MS lesions in her central nervous system; a second MRI showed more lesions, and the “official diagnosis” of MS was made in 1988.

She continued to worsen until “making dinner was a chore.” Finally, she had her self-described “wake-up call”; A fall while carrying her son, who required stitches for his cuts. She knew she needed more help. She received a telephone call from a caring woman who advised her to call Raymond Bjork, M.D., a Montana physician, who advised her to try injections of Vitamin B12 and adenosine monophosphate (AMP). She reports “it really helped,” and that she could put herself into remission with these natural injections.

In 1993, she finished work for her R.N., which she had started in Montana before taking “time out” to care for her children. While working at her first job at a nursing home, she tried to convince the attending physicians to use injections of Vitamin B12 and AMP for MS patients. Only one physician would listen; he had the injections given to one of the nursing home residents suffering from MS, who strengthened and went home. Despite this none of the other physicians would consent to try the injections for their MS patients, telling Elaine “there isn’t enough research.”

So in 1994, she enrolled in a research-methods course at the Bothell campus of the University of Washington, determined to find and develop research on injectable Vitamin B12 and AMP. She found research showing that histamine stimulated the production of the “intrinsic factor” by the stomach. She knew that Vitamin B12 cannot be absorbed without “intrinsic factor,” and she recalled that Vitamin B12 had not worked for her when she swallowed it, but had been very helpful for her when she injected it. She felt she had found key information. After that, it seemed that in her research “everything led to histamine.”

Elaine started giving herself histamine by injection and with transdermal patches, but found the effects to transient. Further research led her to other natural substances, which would slow the body’s breakdown of histamine. She found a combination which helped her eliminate all her own MS symptoms. After first working with Judy Richardson, R.Ph., who helped develop the delivery system, she located George Ballasiotes, R.Ph., and Jim Seymour, R.Ph., at Key Pharmacy, in Kent, Washington, who helped develop, compound and distribute the histamine combination, the delivery system, and the patch itself, so that others could use the combination (which she named “Procarin”) more easily. She obtained a “use patent” Procarin; in the course of the patent research she discovered the work of Dr. Jonez. After she obtained her “use patent,” she formed a company, and raised money for feasibility studies.

Once again, she was frustrated by the unwillingness of many doctors to consider using the Procarin. Even when nothing else was working for their MS patients, they refused to try. Finally, she located Dr. Daniel Nehls, a Tacoma neurosurgeon, who conducted a pilot study with encouraging results.

Your Editor and Tahoma Clinic Get Involved: 

In the 1980′s your editor read Dr. Jonez’ book and professional paper, and spoke to a former patient of his, still “in remission.” Dr. Jonez’ book “rang true,” and his former patient was convincing, so we tried injectable histamine at Tahoma Clinic intermittently in the mid-1980s. Unfortunately, we had no inpatient facility available for the slow, continuous, infusions mentioned by Dr. Jonez. Our patients didn’t have enough results from the histamine infusions to continue, so we put the project “on the shelf.” (We were having better results with the allergy work advocated by Dr. Jonez, and the other items mentioned in what follows.)

This summer, George and Jim from Key Pharmacy told Tahoma Clinic physicians about their work with Elaine and Procarin, and about Dr. Nehls pilot study. Fortunately, we were aware of Dr. Jonez’ prior histamine work. Having worked with natural medicine since 1973, we knew that Procarin had a very low potential for adverse effects, and that the potential benefits for MS patients were enormous. We started to work with it right away.

We designed standardized questionnaires to be filled out “before” and “after” Procarin use, so we could keep daily journals; the following is excerpted from one of these, a woman who started to apply Procarin patches twice daily on July 16, 1999:

July 19: No reaction, no improvement.

July 18: Getting out of wheelchair, improving, less fatigue. Able to feed myself, no tremors, able better to support myself in bathroom. Bladder-control improvement. Balance improving, to stand longer, comprehension improvement. Didn’t need to take an afternoon nap.

July 19: Over-all I’m feeling better, thinking clearer. Talked to relatives on the phone and they note a difference in speech and conversation.

July 20: Getting out of wheelchair even better, can stand for longer periods of time, went to P.T., and she noticed how much stronger I was. Less swelling in ankles. Still feeling better.

July 21: Feeling stronger, more energy, thinking clearer. Swelling still less in ankles. Standing longer. Less fatigue. Generally feeling stronger.

July 22: Starting to build muscles in my legs (probably from standing).

July 23: Starting to get a better appetite. Feeling lass fatigue and feeling stronger.

July 24: Same.

July 25: Less numbness in hands and arms. Still don’t take afternoon naps.

July 26: Noticed improvement in legs…getting stronger. Can make “baby steps.” Not very much, but improving.

July 27: Went to my P.T. and actually walked with help 20 feet twice. Can move my left leg forward, but can’t on my right side. Was transferring from wheelchair to P.T. table by myself.

July 28: Can stand up longer (hanging on to something). Arms continue to get stronger.

July 29: Same.

July 30: Just keep feeling stronger. Can stand with help longer.

July 31: Just over-all feeling better.

August 1: Stayed up late with a relative last night. Was not as tired. Didn’t have to take a nap. Actually took 3 small steps hanging onto a bar.

August 2: Building muscles in arms and legs. Can stand up straighter if I am hanging onto something or someone. Can look into my husband’s eyes again!

August 3: Have less swelling in my feet and ankles, but more in my right foot. Have more energy to do things around the house.

August 4: Building muscles in arms and legs.

August 5: Feeling stronger. A slight rash on my face. Have had it before comes and goes.

August 6: Same.

August 7: Felt stronger. Still rash on my face.

August 8: Fatigued. Exercised a little more than I should have.

August 9: Rash still present.

August 10: Starting to itch at several sites across chest and back. Still feeling stronger. I only seem to start itching after the second patch comes off.

August 11: Used cortisone cream on the sites that itch last night and that helped. Used it also on my face. The rash on my face is practically gone. I am also getting out of my wheelchair better and standing up straighter.

August 12: Took my first steps today!! Yeah! I had to hold onto a bar in our bathroom, but I took three steps. I yelled for my husband and made 3 steps forward and 3 back. Actually picked my feet up off the ground. Feeling stronger.

Multiple Sclerosis

August 13: Still can take a few steps. The rash on my face is a lot better.

August 14: I noticed when I have the patches on, I don’t itch. The 8 hours I have the patch off, I seem to start itching where the previous patches have been.

August 15: Still generally feeling better every day. Getting stronger and can exercise longer.

August 16: Didn’t itch at all last night. I have also been eating better. More fish and poultry. I have always eaten fruits and vegetables, just more now.

August 17: Same.

August 18: I have been waking up around 2 AM for the last couple nights very hot and sweaty. Almost like having “hot flashes”. Went to have my hair done and normally I am exhausted by the time we get home. I wasn’t [exhausted] today. I have new hair growth that is not coming in gray, but my natural hair color.

August 19: Able to do more exercises.

August 20: Same.

August 21: Basically the same. Got up early and could do it. Getting out a lot more and feeling like I can.

August 22: Not really feeling tired after yesterday’s adventure.

August 23: Same.

August 24: Still exercising. Feeling stronger.

August 25: Same; still less swelling in my ankles.

(As noted above, of the first nineteen “return visits” to Tahoma Clinic by Procarin-aided MS, eleven showed at least on significant improvement. Five did not; it may be coincidental, but three non-responders were taking Baclofen, a “muscle spasm blocking” patent medication. But whether the Baclofen interfered with Procarin or not, Procarin is not expected to help 100%.)

How Does Procarin (And Histamine) Work Against MS?: 

Dr. Jonez was convinced that MS was a manifestation of allergy. As noted above, his opinion was based on the work of Mayo Clinic physician Bayard T. Horton, M.D., as well as on the opinion of Foster Kennedy, M.D., Professor of Neurology at Cornell University Medical School, whom Jonez describes as “one of the great neurologists of our day.” He quotes Dr. Kennedy: “I have finally reached the conclusion that multiple sclerosis cannot be explained on any other basis [but allergy].” Jonez adopted and extended Horton’s histamine treatment for allergy, focusing it on MS with considerable success (as well as safety). As noted above, he also recommended complete allergy evaluation and treatment, with histamine a major tool.

However, Jonez also points out that histamine is a potent blood vessel dilator. He quotes two other histamine-employing MS researchers, who wrote that the basic therapy for MS “call for continued vasodilation of the vessels of the nervous system, as well as for the prevention of spasm. Both these measures should be enforced for 24 hours a day. A [histamine]-free interval of even a few minutes would suffice for an attack.” According to this theory, histamine reverses the blood vessel spasm (of unknown cause) associated with MS, restoring normal blood flow to the affected tissue, thus promoting healing.

Elaine DeLack has a different point of view. Based on her research (she cites the Journal of Neuroscience Research; Archives of Neurology; Pharmacology, – Biochemistry and Behavior, Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine; Annals of Neurology; Journal of Neurochemistry) she writes: “I believe that MS is a result of an infectious agent, very possibly a provirus, that attacks [histamine] producing cell bodies in the central nervous system….Proviruses, or slow viruses, sit dormant in a cell until a stressor causes them to become active, and they begin the trick the cell into reproducing [the virus]. The [histamine] producing cells become busy making the virus rather than [histamine] and a person starts to experience symptoms of MS due to the lack of [histamine] being produced. Eventually the [histamine]- producing cell body becomes so full of the virus that it explodes dumping the virus and the cell contents (which we call enzymes that the cell is normally intended to make), into the blood and spinal fluid. This results in an increased level of [histamine], which in turn stimulates the making of the component that maintains the myelin. This results in a decrease of MS symptoms and a person goes into remission. but many of the dumped viruses from the damages [histamine] producing cells are able to invade more [histamine] producing cells. The virus in these newly invaded cells remain dormant until once again a stressor triggers the virus to become active and the above cycle is repeated. This is what I believe is happening during the Remissive-Relapsing stage of MS. Once the [histamine] producing cells have been depleted to the point that the body can no longer produce enough [histamine] to maintain the myelin as well as the many other functions it is involved in, the MS symptoms begin to worsen steadily. This I believe is the stage that is called Secondary Progressive MS. I believe that Chronic Progressive MS happens when a person experiences a sever attack on these [histamine]- producing cells being destroyed, the person experiences a rapid steady decline with n remissions all due to the deficient level of [histamine].”

No one (especially your editor) knows whether Dr. Jonez’ theories or Elaine DeLack’s theories of how histamine works against MS are true in the whole or in part. Ultimately, this is very important, but for MS sufferers, the most important questions are: Can histamine (as Procarin) lessen my symptoms? Is it safe? Although more work is needed, it appears that the answer is yes.

Procarin (And Histamine): Facts and Observations: 

It’s obvious that Procarin (histamine and natural substances which slow histamine breakdown and release) isn’t a cure for MS, but a replacement therapy, much like insulin for type 1 diabetes, or natural hormone replacement therapy for menopause. As such it needs to be used continuously and indefinitely (when effective) to maintain symptom relief.

Dr. Jonez wrote: “Our best results were obtained among those able to take the largest amounts of histamine. Blondes and redheads are watched with particular care. They seldom tolerate as heavy doses of histamine as those with darker coloring.” He also wrote: “…histamine must be given constantly and in tolerance doses.” He concluded a professional paper as follows: “after treating over 1500 patients…it is our opinion that much can be done for suffers of multiple sclerosis. Early diagnosis and treatment result in a great possibility of bringing about a remission and the retarding or arresting of the disease….Treatment as outlined does not cure, but it does arrest symptoms a great many times….by this regimen we have made ambulatory or wheelchair cases out of bedfast ones. Also, we have taken wheelchair cases and made them ambulatory. Still others become symptom-free and remained so without an exacerbation up to periods of over five years.”

Elaine DeLack notes a paradox: the effect of the histamine in Procarin is completely negated by H2 blocker” patent medications (medications which block the action of histamine at “H2″ receptors). These include Zantac, Tagamet, and other “acid blocker” medications. However, “antihistamines” found in “cold remedies” (such as Benedryl) do not interfere with the histamine in Procarin, and in fact can be used to treat the occasional skin rash associated with its use. Elaine and her husband Marvin have also noted apparent association between lack of response to Procarin and ‘heat-insensitive” MS; most individuals with MS are very sensitive to heat, and report their symptoms worsen with “heat stress.”

At present, the “patch” technology for Procarin is still evolving. Instructions for use must be followed carefully for the Procarin to be absorbed properly and do its give job. Individualization of both patches and dose is sometimes necessary. Presently, the “prevailing” price for one month’s supply of Procarin is $249. However, as more and more of the over-1000 compounding pharmacies start offering it, the price may well decline somewhat.

Other Worthwhile “Natural” MS Therapies: Diet: 

Dr. Roy Swank, now-retired Professor of Neurology at the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center, recommended a diet low in saturated fat (20 grams daily or less) with added “unsaturated fatty acids” including cod-liver oil and vegetable oils. The “Swank Diet” eliminated margarine, “shortenings,” and hydrogenated (partially or otherwise) vegetable oils. Very long-term follow-up (in some cases over thirty years) showed that individuals who followed the diet closely had significantly less deterioration as compared with those who didn’t follow the diet. Notably, the death rate was 31% among those who had followed the diet, and 80% among those who hadn’t. Individuals with the least disability at the start of the study did best: 95% of that group remained only mildly disabled for approximately 30 years. 18,19 Given these statistics, the “Swank Diet” (modified to eliminate all food additives, preservatives, colorings and artificial flavoring, all “refined flour” and sugar, and completely individualized for food allergy) is always recommended for MS sufferers at Tahoma Clinic.

Food Allergy: As noted above, Dr. Jonez believed and observed that food allergy could have significant impact on MS. Dr. Jonez certainly wasn’t alone. One study reported that in fifteen individuals with MS, symptoms could be completely controlled or improved by avoidance of allergenic foods, house dust, or tobacco. Other researchers reported that 31% of 49 MS sufferers improved when they avoided allergenic foods. When they re-introduced these foods, symptoms frequently worsened. Both your editor and his colleague Alan R. Gaby, M.D., (former co-editor of this newsletter) have worked with individuals whose MS greatly was improved by food allergy avoidance.

Impairment of Digestion And Assimilation: 

Even if the very best, individualized diet is strictly followed, it won’t help as much as it might if it isn’t optimally digested and absorbed. At Tahoma Clinic, individuals with MS are always evaluated for digestive impairment. A large majority are found to have either gastric hypochlorhydria (low production of stomach acid) and/or “pancreatic exocrine insufficiency” (lack of sufficient pancreatic digestive enzymes to optimally digest food fiber, fats and oils, or proteins). Stomach tests are performed as “gastric analysis by radiotelemetry.”24 Pancreatic function is assessed in a much more “low-tech” fashion, by a direct microscopic observation of a specially-stained stool specimen, along with a “steatocrit” (a determination of the percent undigested fat in a stool specimen). Supplementation of betaine hydrochloride with pepsin with meals and/or pancreatic enzymes (pancreatin”) after meals is recommended for any individual whose tests are abnormal.

One research paper has reported poor digestion and absorption in a large proportion of individuals with MS. Quoting from the abstract to this paper: “Malapsorption tests were studied in 52 patients with multiple sclerosis. The stools were examined microscopically for fat and undigested meat fibers and were found to be abnormal in 41.6 and 40.9% respectively [pancreatic exocrine insufficiency – ed.]. Abnormally low five-hour excretion of d-xylose [another test of malabsorption – ed.] was demonstrated in 26.6% of cases. Malabsorption of Vitamin B12 was found in 11.9% of cases….” Unfortunately, no one has published data on the prevalence of gastric hypochlorhydria in MS; in practice, Tahoma Clinic has found well over 50%.

Essential Fatty Acids: 

Dr. Swank’s diet emphasized high levels of essential fatty acids. A “meta-analysis” (combined statistical evaluation) of three MS research trials (not done by Dr. Swank) concluded that supplementation of essential fatty acids (in this case, sunflower oil) was associated with longer remissions and less severe exacerbations (worsenings.) Instead of routinely recommending sunflower oil, your editor prefers to monitor “red-cell membrane essential fatty acids” (a blood test), and recommend “omega-3,” omega-6,” and “omega-9″ unsaturated fatty acids in quantities to keep the “omega-3/omega-6 ratio” tipped in favor of the “omega-3″ oils. Although this is done for MS on purely theoretical grounds (at this time) the reason is that omega-3 fatty acids are thought to generally suppress inflammation and an over-active immune system, while the omega-6 fatty acids generally are thought to do the opposite.

Injectable vitamin B12: 

As noted above, Elaine DeLack’s personal experience was that swallowed Vitamin B12 didn’t help her symptoms; injectable vitamin B12 did help. Dr. Jonez reported that injectable Vitamin B12 helped his patients with MS. An early report in the AMA Journal told of improvement in neurologic function in individuals with MS receiving Vitamin B12 injections. Much more recently, Japanese researchers reported more frequent improvements in both visual and brainstem auditory evoked potentials in individuals with MS receiving Vitamin B12 injections (the methylcobalamin form of Vitamin B12) during the treatment period than during the pretreatment period. Perhaps the positive responses to injectable vitamin B12 may be explained by one researcher’s statement that “…Vitamin B12 is required for the formation of myelin” [myelin is the “nerve insulation” destroyed in MS sufferers – ed.]. At Tahoma Clinic, self-injection (or injection by a family member) of Vitamin B12 is always recommended; the large majority who try it report it helpful.

Injectable Adenosine Monophosphate: 

Adenosine monphosphate (AMP) is an immediate precursor of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and important “energy molecule” in every cell in our bodies. Since most (nearly 90% by one estimate) AMP is transformed into ATP, and AMP is considerably less expensive, AMP is usually used. However, Dr. Jonez was given a supply of injectable ATP (by the Anhauser-Busch Company!) and wrote “…we used [injectable ATP] on 224 patients ….The most noticeable improvement has been in bladder symptoms. The patients have been relieved of incontinence, urgency and frequency of urination, and most patients have spoken of being able to enjoy more-refreshing sleep. Several have gained better muscle co-ordination and balance in walking Several have discarded their canes…”

In one study, sixteen individuals with severe MS disability were given AMP injections for six to ten months. Very significant improvements were noted in endurance and bladder malfunction. In another study of twenty-six MS-afflicted individuals, two were reported to have had “complete and lasting relief of all symptoms and signs,” eleven were reported to have “moderate but definite and useful improvement,” four had “slight but definite improvement,” eight had “slight but variable improvement but not maintained,” and one had no change. An intriguing interconnection: Examination of a table of “biochemical pathways” reveals that AMP is a precursor of histidine and histamine, as well as ATP.

When given intravenously, AMP easily can cause transient faintness, chest constriction, and shortness of breath. For this reason, at Tahoma Clinic we recommend intramuscular injection, which rarely causes these unwanted effects.

Adaptrin (Padma 28): Adaptrin is an herbal mixture originating in Tibet. Previously known as “Padma-28,” it was suppressed by the Food and Drug Administration (despite no complaints or safety concerns). It is now available through a different supplier who wisely makes no statements about what it might be used for. In Padma 28/Adaptrin, 22 ingredients are combined in a specific order.

In a study of 100 individuals with chronic progressive multiple sclerosis, some were randomly assigned to treatment with Padma 28 (2 tablets 3 times daily) for one year, an others to a control group treated only symptomatically. 44% of those taking Padma 28 experienced improvement, including improved general condition, increased muscular strength, or improvement or disappearance of disorders affecting sphincters. Decrease in paresis (paralysis/spasticity) was observed in 36%. In those with initially abnormal visual-evoked potentials, 41% had improvement or normalization. Patients with both recurrent attacks and slowly progressive multiple sclerosis both improved, although the frequency of improvement was higher (55%) in the former group than in the latter (33%). No side effects were reported. None of the patients in the control group improved; 40% had deterioration in their condition.


Although (as far as your editor is aware) there have been as yet no publications concerning DHEA treatment of MS, Tahoma Clinic physicians have found it useful. DHEA levels are always measured prior to treatment, and are very frequently found to be low in individuals with MS. Supplementing with physiologic quantities of DHEA frequently results in reports of increased strength.

In Conclusion: 

Elaine DeLack’s revival of Jonez’ (and Horton’s) histamine treatment of MS and her improvement of it as Procarin is a very significant breakthrough in the care of MS-afflicted individuals. Procarin has made effective histamine treatment easily possible on an outpatient, at-home basis, with enormously more convenience and considerably less cost than in-hospital, continuous intravenous or intramuscular histamine treatment. Combined with a “natural-food” Swank diet individually modified for food allergy, detection of and compensation for defects of digestion and assimilation, essential fatty-acid-supplementation, injectable Vitamin B12 and adenosine monophosphate (AMP), and supplementation of Adaptrin and DHEA, Procarin gives us not only a revival of hope but a much improved chance of making a very real improvement in symptoms of individuals suffering from multiple sclerosis.

breast cancer risk

You’re just 24 hours away from discovering-and reducing-your breast cancer risk

If you’re an average woman, your risk of breast cancer is one in eight. But why be “average”? You can significantly reduce your risk of breast, uterine, and other estrogen-related cancers right now with foods and selected supplements.

But first you have to determine just how at risk you are.

There are two methods I recommend for evaluating estrogen-related cancer risk. They both involve ratios of various estrogen metabolites. I’m talking about the 2/16 ratio test and the estrogen quotient, or EQ. Last month, we spent some time going over all the intricacies of just how these ratios work to add up your risk of breast and other estrogen-related cancers. This month, let’s move on and talk about what’s involved in taking these tests and what to do if your results aren’t as good as you’d like. And before all you men tune out, estrogen risk factor testing is important for you too! We’ll get to that a little later in the issue.

The good news is, testing your own risk couldn’t be easier. You don’t even have to leave home to do it.

What’s your EQ?

In the June issue, I told you about the importance of an estogen metabolite called estriol. The recent resurgence in estriol research is confirming the discoveries made in the mid-20th century: Estriol is a “good” estrogen. More estriol means less cancer risk. Estriol appears to block many of the effects of estradiol (E2), estrone (E1), and other “pro-carcinogenic” estrogens. So how do you find out if your body is producing enough estriol to protect you from cancer? You calculate your EQ.

Dr. Henry Lemon, the originator of the EQ test, tested estriol along with estrone and estradiol by having women collect their urine for 24-hours, then measuring the hormone levels in the specimens. It’s still done the same way, although some changes in the actual testing equipment have made the process a lot easier. In fact, the testing kits can be mailed to you at home, where you can collect your specimen and send it back to the lab.

Even though you’ll need to collect all your urine for a 24-hour period, only a small amount is actually mailed in for testing.

If you haven’t gone through menopause yet, and you have a menstrual cycle that follows the typical 28-day pattern, pick a 24-hour period between days 19 and 23 of your cycle (day 1 being the first day of menstrual bleeding) to collect your sample. If you’ve already gone through menopause, you can collect your sample anytime.

Once you send your sample back to the lab, it generally takes about two to three weeks to get your results.

breast cancer risk

The virtually fail-safe EQ-booster: You may only need one drop a day

When your results arrive in the mail, you’ll see all of your different hormone levels listed. The ones we’re most concerned with for determining breast cancer risk via the EQ are estriol, estrone, and estradiol. Remember, it’s not the absolute amount of estriol that appears to be the most important number but the relative amount of estriol compared with the sum of estradiol and estrone. In mathematical terms, it looks like this: EQ= E3 / (E2 + E1).

The lab report might already have your EQ calculated and listed. Some labs today consider EQs of 0.4 to 0.6 as normal. But when Dr. Lemon did his research back in the 1960s and 1970s, he found that women need an EQ of at least 1.0 (this level or above was considered favorable; the further below 1.0, the more unfavorable). So was Dr. Lemon wrong?

Well, let’s put it this way: If women only need an EQ of 0.4, why has breast cancer risk gone up? Not only do I think you still need an EQ of at least 1.0, as Dr. Lemon found 40 years ago, but in today’s environment, with the amount of estrogen-mimicking carcinogens increasing dramatically, it’s more important than ever to keep your level of estriol as high as possible. So I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t still follow Dr. Lemon and shoot for an EQ of 1.0 or above.

If your EQ is below 1.0, there’s a simple, almost fail-safe solution: SSKI. You might remember this remedy from the November 2002 issue of Nutrition & Healing. It has certainly proven itself as a natural cure-all, and its effects on the EQ just reinforce that reputation. In case you missed the full article on it, SSKI is a solution that combines iodine and potassium. It’s the iodine that works to boost the EQ: Iodide (and iodine) reliably promote the metabolism of estrone and estradiol into estriol. Although (so far) there haven’t been any official studies on this, I’ve observed these effects in hundreds of my patients’ lab tests.

Take six to eight drops of SSKI mixed in several ounces of water daily for two to three months. Then repeat your test, doing the 24-hour urine collection at the same time of the month as your first one. More likely than not, your follow-up EQ will be above 1.0-sometimes considerably above. If it is, try tapering down the SSKI to the smallest amount that helps you maintain your EQ at 1.0 or above. Some women find that they only need one drop a day, though others need more.

Although SSKI is safe for the overwhelming majority of people, there are individuals who are very sensitive to it. On rare occasion, long-term use of larger quantities of SSKI may cause thyroid suppression. Thyroid blood tests, which you can also do on your own (or with your doctor’s help), always pick up on this if it occurs. For more information on using SSKI safely, see the November 2002 issue (you can download it free on the Nutrition & Healing website,

The “random” urine test that could save your life

breast cancer risk

If you’ve been reading Nutrition & Healing for a few years, you probably remember seeing at least a few references to the 2/16 ratio test. According to nearly 20 years of research, 2-hydroxyestrogens are “good” while 16-hydroxyestrogens are “bad” and promote cancer growth.

Testing the 2/16 ratio can be done separately or along with the EQ. If you opt to have it done separately, you don’t need to collect 24 hours’ worth of urine-you’ll only need to send in one random specimen. But, like the EQ test, if you’re pre-menopausal, try to collect the urine specimen during days 19 to 23 of your 28-day cycle, and be sure to note the cycle day and time, in case you need to take a repeat test or two. When you’ve collected your sample, just mail it back to the lab.

Eat your way to a breast cancer-free future

You definitely want more “good” (2) estrogen than “bad” (16) estrogen-substantially more if possible. So when you get your results, check the proportion of these two substances: Any ratio below 1.0 is unfavorable. Although there’s no consensus on an ideal ratio number, I recommend 2.0 or greater if possible.

If your 2/16 ratio is less than 1.0, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to boost it just by eating a few specific foods. Start with Brassica (or mustard family) vegetables. These include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, Brussels sprouts and many others. You can also eat freshly ground flaxseed, 1 tablespoonful daily. And even though there’s been a great deal of controversy surrounding it, in this case, incorporating soy products (tofu, tempeh, soy milk, etc.) into your diet is a good option for boosting 2/16 ratios. A little goes a long way though, and two or three servings a week is plenty. You also don’t need to go overboard with Brassica vegetables. I know it seems odd for me to be warning you not to eat too many vegetables, but it is possible for Brassicas to cause suppressed thyroid function and even goiter if you eat a lot of them on a daily basis. Three to four servings a week is a good general range.

You might find that you only need to incorporate one of these foods into your diet to raise your 2/16 ratio, but sometimes it takes two or even all three to make a big difference. In a lot of cases, just eating these foods will bring a low 2/16 ratio to 1.0 or above in just four to six weeks without any other specific supplementation. But if you find you’re still not getting sufficient improvement, you can also take di-indolylmethane (DIM) supplements to boost it even further. DIM is actually a substance found in Brassica vegetables, but it’s also available in most health food stores in supplement form. If you need some extra help, take 60 milligrams three times daily, and check your 2/16 ratio again in another four to six weeks.

Start today to make sure you’re cancer-free tomorrow

So, you see, there’s no reason to just wait and hope that you’re not that one woman in eight who gets breast cancer. The 2/16 ratio and the EQ provide two easy ways to estimate your own risk of breast, uterine, and other estrogen-related cancers.

For more information on these tests, contact a physician-member of ACAM or ICIM, or Meridian Valley Laboratory (see the “Resources” section on page 8 for details). Meridian Valley is actually located in Washington state where, by law, individuals can order their own lab tests. I am affiliated with Meridian Valley Lab; in fact, I’m the one who insisted they start testing the EQ and the 2/16 ratio so I could make these valuable cancer risk factor tests available to all of my patients.

If your risk factor calculations are unfavorable, or even if they’re just OK, there are things you can do yourself-starting today-to lessen your breast cancer risk. Cancer is a frightening thing, but don’t let that fear paralyze you: Do something about it-and pass the information along to your daughters and granddaughters, too!

More to read: Strontium – Fight-even prevent-osteoporosis with the hidden secrets of this bone-building miracle mineral