The Vitamin Kid

Avoiding bad medicine and finding non-toxic treatments that actually work

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Location: Ankeny, Iowa, United States

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Natural versus drug treatment of arthritis

Nutraceutical Interventions in Arthritis, an excellent overview of natural, non-toxic treatments for arthritis, can be downloaded HERE.

Though a bit technical, it also devotes a section to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), a group that includes aspirin, ibuprofen, and the more expensive prescription drugs like Vioxx and Celebrex, which have been overprescribed (see article HERE).

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The modern beriberi epidemic

So you thought scurvy (vitamin C deficiency) and beriberi (vitamin B1 deficiency) -- diseases of malnutrition -- were a thing of the past? Not so.

One in three patients hospitalized for heart failure had below-normal levels of thiamin (vitamin B1), compared to 12 percent of "healthy people." Read the study here.


Friday, January 13, 2006

Reversing osteoporosis without drugs

New medical studies on the mineral strontium show that when taken with calcium and vitamin D, bone growth is enhanced. It can help increase bone mass density in the hip, spinal column, and the neck of the femur.

"'Strontium ranelate is the first compound to simultaneously decrease bone resorption and stimulate bone formation,' co-investigator Dr. Jean Yves Reginster, director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Public Health Aspects of Rheumatic Diseases, said in a prepared statement."

"Strontium is a naturally occurring element which is well tolerated when complexed with ranelic acid. Unlike some existing therapies for osteoporosis, strongtium ranelate actually promotes the net formation of bone by preferentially activating osteoblasts."

Supplements used in one study: 2 grams daily of strontium ranelate (the amount of elemental strontium would be less, probably around 600 mg), 800 IU vitamin D, and 1000mg elemental calcium. Strontium ranelate is not readily available but organically bound strontium can be purchased through distributers of Advanced Orthomolecular Research products. The product is Strontium Support.

Vtamin K is also supportive of bone mineralization, and whenever calcium is taken, magnesium should also be taken, in a 2:1 ratio (for example 1000 mg calcium with 500 mg magnesium).


New England J Med 2004; 350: 459-468 (Double blind randomized study demonstrating the efficacy of strontium ranelate in spinal osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.)

J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2002; 87:2060–2066


Monday, January 09, 2006

Dangers of aspirin / natural alternatives II

Is there a way to get the benefits of aspirin without the risks? Aspirin is based on plant compounds -- natural salicylic acids. Plants containing these substances have been used medicinally for literally thousands of years. Actually, many foods contain abundant salicylic acids and other natural anti-inflammatory chemicals.

Vegetables and fruits contain natural salicylic acids. In one study, some vegetarians had salicylic acid levels as high as non-vegetarians who were taking daily aspirin. Organically grown produce may contain higher quantities of salicylic acid -- research published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that soups made from organic vegetables were six times higher in salicylic acid than ordinary soups. Red and white wines are both high in salicylic acid. Most berries, cherries, prunes, dates, apricots, and grapes are also good sources.

High fruit and vegetable consumption will provide anti-inflammatory effects from the natural salicylic acids and other plant compounds without reducing the clotting capacity of the blood -- which leads to the dangerous risk of stroke and bleeding in those who take aspirin.

Can aspirin extend lifespan? The studies say it is questionable. On the other hand, the benefits of making vegetables and fruits the major part of your diet are well-established. If prevention is the goal, diet should be the focus, not drugs.

For more details, see Dr. David G. Williams' April 2004 Alternatives newsletter, available from Back issues are available at 1-800-718-8293 for $5 each.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Dangers of aspirin / natural alternatives

Dr. David G. Williams, in the April 2004 issue of his Alternatives newsletter, raked aspirin over the coals. The immediate and potential preventive effects of aspirin are widely touted. Many of the statistical risks ordinary people run by taking this drug daily are rarely mentioned. Here's a summary of Dr. Williams' findings:

The FDA recently reviewed 55,000 aspirin-takers in 5 different studies. In the next five-year period, 3 percent of "moderate-risk individuals" could expect to have a heart attack. With low dose daily aspirin therapy, that risk could be reduced to 2 percent. But the death rate from heart attack would not be reduced by aspirin. The risk of a stroke caused by arterial blockage would not be reduced. On the other hand, risk of stroke from a ruptured blood vessel in the brain would increase.

The US Preventive Services Task Force looked at the same five studies and concluded that in a group of 1,000 moderate-risk men and women taking daily aspirin, in a five-year period, eight non-fatal heart attacks might be prevented, but one stroke and three cases of major gastrointestinal bleeding would be caused. Again, the effect on mortality would be nil. Nada. Nothing. Zip. Zero. Get the point?

In a large study of 88,000 female nurses, those taking at least 2 aspirin tablets per week developed 58 percent more cases of pancreatic cancer, which is virtually incurable by conventional means. This is by no means insignificant. It is the fifth most common cause of cancer death in the United States.

Long-term aspirin use is associated with a 44 percent increase in posterior subcapsular cataract. (Opthamology Vol 98, No. 105, p. 1751-1758)

Aspirin is a common trigger for asthma attacks. (Chest Vol. 118, No 5, p. 1420-1476)

72 percent of older people taking from 1/4 tablet to 1 full tablet (325mg) aspirin daily had a measurable decrease in kidney function, which began to appear in as little as two weeks after starting to take aspirin. (American Journal of Medicine Vol 115, No 6, p. 462-466)

Aspirin in combination with alcoholic beverages (even moderate consumption) increases the risk of liver disease and gastrointestinal bleeding.

Are you beginning to doubt the unquestioned "wonder drug" status of aspirin?

Can we get the benefits of aspirin without the risks? That will be the subject of part II of this report.

Dr. Williams newsletter can be ordered here (a subscription for current issues or individual back issues, including the April 2004 issue, from which this information is taken):

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Bipolar disorder, ADHD: in your head or in your diet?

Discover magazine, May 2005, features an article by Susan Freinkel, "Vitamin Cure." Frankel tells the story of two Canadian hog farmers who formulated a vitamin and mineral cure for irritable pigs who bite the tails and ears of other pigs when confined in crowded pens. The same formula was refined for human consumption and is now being offered for sale. It is also being tested in the laboratory to determine its effect on the brain and nervous system. A variation on the hog farmers' formula, EMPowerplus, was fed to rats, who developed bigger brains and more synaptic connections than rats fed only normal rat chow. Clearly nutrition can affect brain structure.

A small clinical study of the supplement by Dr. Bonnie Kaplan at the University of Calgary found EMPowerplus helpful in bipolar patients for whom conventional medication had proved ineffective. Harvard's Dr. Charles Popper tried the supplement in a similar group of drug-resistant bipolar patients, with 80 percent responding favorably. Often the response was faster than that usually obtained with pharmaceutical drugs.

The British Journal of Pharmacology published a study in 2002 demonstrating that a vitamin and mineral supplement plus fish oil and evening primrose oil (to provide essential fatty acids) could clearly reduce antisocial acts in a prison population.

Harvard psychiatrist Andrew Stoll found that Omega-3 fatty acids (found in salmon and flax seed) were helpful in improving the mental health of bipolar patients, decreasing symptoms and apparently guarding them against relapse. Other studies suggest that Omega-3 oils are also helpful for depression, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The standard treatment for bipolar disorder is lithium -- a simple mineral. Other nutrients which may prove helpful for mental illness include folic acid for depression, magnesium for mood disorders, chromium for depression, and inositol for depression, panic disorder, and OCD (obbsessive compulsive disorder). Details are in the Discover magazine article, the text of which can be read here.