"Men who achieve greatness do not work more complexly than the average man, but more simply." (the Mayo brothers)
The DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTER (Vol. 3, No 17) July 20, 2003 "Free of charge, free of advertising, and free of the A.M.A."
Written and copyright 2003 by Andrew Saul, PhD, of http://www.doctoryourself.com , a free online library of over 350 natural healing articles with nearly 4,000 scientific references.
IT SHOOK ME DEEPLY to see my father have to crawl to the bathroom to vomit. Dad was only in his mid 50's and was already using a cane to stand up, when he could stand at all. He had a really bad case of Meniere's Syndrome, a miserable collection of symptoms including recurrent ringing in the ears, dizziness, and nausea. Perhaps it proved to be a defining moment for me. Seeing your father reduced to helplessness is enough to make anyone want to know more about getting well. When you look this one up, the treatments you come across, whether pharmaceutical or surgical, are primarily aimed at the symptoms, because the cause of the illness is pretty much unknown.
Enter natural healing.
By trial and error, I have found that there are some drugless, scalpel-less options for Meniere's. While the solutions shed some light on the cause, I am interested in results. I have seen success with what follows:
CHIROPRACTIC or osteopathic adjustment of the upper cervical (neck) vertebrae is worth trying, first thing.
Some 20 years ago, I met a young man so dizzy that he could not read or even watch TV without having to lie down. Meniere's, aptly described in the Merck Manual as "prostrating," certainly is capable of flooring a person. Such was the case with Lowell, a college dropout. He had a gentle but persistent series of manipulations which restored his life. He was able to read again, to return to school, and live again. How so? The practitioner discovered that his two top neck vertebrae, the atlas and the axis, were practically at right angles to each other, and to the skull on top of that. This seemingly impossible state of affairs turned out to be due to a summer job Lowell had a few years before: he was a sparring partner for boxers in training. He had almost literally had had his block knocked off.
The closest to such an experience my father had was when he was knocked out of the box, figuratively speaking, while in training to become a New York Yankee pitcher. Well, he did not quite make it to the farm team. Still, my Pop twice struck out the guy who would become the Commissioner of Baseball, and in one game no less.
But I digress, as usual.
Pa refused to go to a chiropractor until his Meniere's was so bad he could not take it any more. He'd been on various ineffective medications from various ineffective physicians, none of whom gave chiropractic the time of day. But I managed to get him to a D.C. for a visit or two.
Pa said it did not help one bit.
He then began taking vitamins, notable the B-complex in fairly high doses. Pa had no praise for that, either.
But over a period of months, his specialist-diagnosed Meniere's went away.
I had persistent suspicions that the natural approach had helped him.
NIACIN Since then, I have come across references showing that niacin (vitamin B-3) was used for Meniere's syndrome since the 1940's. In long term therapy, improvement has been obtained with only 150-250 mg daily (Bicknell and Prescott, The Vitamins in Medicine, 3rd ed., p 379). This may explain why Pa's improvement was so gradual, yet in the end, profound.
VITAMIN B-12 I think that Meniere's syndrome, and perhaps a number of other difficult-to-tag neurological problems, could be a manifestation of untreated, long-term B-12 deficiency. I discuss this, and what to do about it, at http://www.doctoryourself.com/nasal.html
ASPARTAME My Dad never drank anything with aspartame in it. However, the late Lendon H. Smith's newsletter "The Facts" (October 1991) mentions that aspartame ("Nutrasweet") may "trigger or mimic" a Meniere's attack. Dr. Smith specifically lists nausea, vertigo, hearing loss and tinnitus as symptoms that say, "Stop using aspartame."
OTHER NUTRITIONAL FACTORS: A low-fat, low-sodium, no alcohol and especially NO SUGAR diet may help a wide variety of illnesses. Meniere's seems to be closely connected with chronic low blood sugar, sometimes diagnosed as hypoglycemia or Type II diabetes). Caffeine may aggravate the condition, as might manganese deficiency. (Balch and Balch, Prescription for Nutritional Healing, p 239- 240)
Zinc supplementation and moderate additional amounts of B-6 (pyridoxine) are also worth a several-month therapeutic trial. (Werbach, M. Textbook of Nutritional Medicine, p 475-482)
HOMEOPATHIC KALI PHOS. For uncomplicated simple ringing in the ears, dizziness or nausea, a 6X potency of Kali Phos. may be surprisingly helpful. I have personally used this remedy for 30 years, as I have a motion sickness problem that my flight instructor has insisted cannot be matched. If it were not for Kali Phos, I think I would have thrown up right in the FAA examiner's lap at Batavia airport.
For what it's worth, these can't-hurt-to-try-them approaches may help someone you love stop crawling, and start living.
My Dad, fully recovered from Meniere's, would walk four miles a day for the rest of his life. His dizziness and nausea were gone for good. His sense of humor was not, however. If you ever asked my father how his hearing was, he'd invariably shout back at you:
But he did it smiling, and standing up straight.
STILL MORE MAIL ON VEGETARIANISM, MEAT, AND DR. PRICE Yes, the comments keep coming. Lots and lots of them.
WESTON PRICE AND ABUNDANT ANIMAL PROTEIN "It is a serious mischaracterization of Dr. Price's research to say that the peoples he studied consumed lower levels of animal foods than westerners. Even the most cursory summary of his findings will prove this false. In Switzerland, the main article of the diet was rich dairy foods: milk, cheese, butter and cream. They also consumed some meat, and soups made from bones. In the Outer Hebrides, the main article of diet was seafood, which supplied something like 60-70 percent of total calories. In the South Seas, seafood and pig provided the bulk of calories; Native Americans consumed a variety of animal foods including buffalo, elk, deer, fowl, fish, shellfish and reptiles; some cultures consumed no plant foods at all, such as the Eskimos and the cattle herding peoples of Africa. He noted that those groups who did not have access to plentiful animal foods suffered from tooth decay, bone problems and were less hardy and robust than their meat-eating counterparts, even though their diet was "all natural."
"However, these meat-eating cultures did not make the same mistake that we do in the West, which is to consume protein foods without accompanying fat. The fatty foods - organ meats, butter, fish livers and their oils, eggs and fish eggs - as well as the fat itself, were the most prized portions of the animals, considered sacred foods and especially important for parents- to-be, pregnant women and growing children. These foods provided very high levels of what Price called fat-soluble activators (vitamins A and D) in these traditional diets. Without them, high levels of protein can indeed be toxic, as the body draws on stores from the liver and eventually becomes depleted. Consumption of lean meat, skim milk, egg whites and protein powders represents the fast track to degenerative disease.
"As for (Cornell nutrition researcher and Professor) Colin Campbell, he may claim that plant-based diets in China are associated with lower rates of disease, but a careful look at the data from his study proves the contrary. In fact, he found no relationship between disease rates and consumption of plant- foods. In fact, his data indicate that peoples in the north of China, who consume milk products and eat more meat, have lower rates of heart disease."
"Sally Fallon, President "The Weston A. Price Foundation" http://www.westonaprice.org
I would certainly concede that Eskimos probably obtained two- thirds (or even more) of their caloric intake from animal products. But that is hardly a model for longevity. The rest of peoples Dr. Price investigated had more plant food in their diets than Eskimos would, and even traditional Eskimos ate plant foods. In my last Newsletter (http://www.doctoryourself.com/news/v3n16.txt) I mentioned Dr. Price's documenting plant consumption among Eskimos in his book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration (p 71). And I will continue to state that the rural Chinese diet, 20% or less of which is comprised of animal products, is better for you and me and our kids than an Eskimo diet is.
Oats clearly were the main calorie source in residents of the Outer Hebrides. Dr. Price emphasized how they were grown organically, and why this was so important (p 55-57). The nutritional value of the cereal rye, eaten in quantity by the Swiss, is specifically praised by Dr. Price (p 509-510). He also writes, concerning the Swiss, of the importance of garden vegetables and the problems with industrially-modified, sugar- laden foods (p 37). Price certainly advocated fresh milk, and that means raw, unpasteurized milk. I agree, and raised my kids on it from birth. Of course Dr. Price did not condemn cereal grains; he condemned processed white-flour cereal grains, and sugar. Again and again, all throughout his book. I agree with that, too.
Price was an organic farming advocate if there ever was one. "Many of the primitive races studied have continued to thrive on the same soil through thousands of years." (p 7)
We should do as well.
Americans eat an enormous amount of protein, about 120 grams, which is three times what is necessary for good health. And every junior-high health student knows that we Yankees eat too much fat. I for one am not going to recommend that we eat more, or even as much as we do now, of either. The message of this Newsletter remains, "Meat and fat? Cut down on both. Eat more vegetables, beans, nuts and fruits." And the best, cheapest (and, just to be annoying, vegetarian) source of essential fatty acids is lecithin. (http://www.doctoryourself.com/lecithin.html)
Dr. Price shows, as we all do, an occasional bias. "Several of the tribes neighboring Ethiopia are agriculturists," he writes. "They have been dominated because they posses less courage and resourcefulness." (p 142) Perhaps we all are people of our time. A fellow once wrote to a newspaper that healthy, robust meat-eating peoples were the most fit and, historically, had gained ascendancy over the rest. The writer used the mighty Roman army as an example. A professor of history wrote back and said that, no, Rome's legions actually conquered the world on oatmeal. I have never forgotten that particular lesson.
When I personally visited rural Africa (some thirty-five years after Dr. Price), I too saw surprisingly healthy people. This was a slight shock to my Western expectations; my ego expected far less. I also saw what most people were eating: garden vegetables and whole grains, especially corn on the cob. In every village there seemed to be a big, rusty 55-gallon drum of boiling water containing (to my surprise) not a roasting missionary, but rather steamed corn on the cob.
Along the roadside, if you could call that a road, people sometimes sold a delicacy which looked like a dried, whole woodchuck spreadeagled and nailed to a board. It's amazing how those little rodenty teeth stick out when the animal's skin shrinks in the hot sun. I passed on that. I also found bananas for sale everywhere. Those I ate, and could not get enough of them. Small though they were, they were right off the tree and sweet as gumdrops. Man, they were good. I have already written of how delicious West African groundnut soup is in a previous Newsletter (http://www.doctoryourself.com/news/v3n9.txt) and the recipe is still available there.
As in China, rural Africans appear to eat what their poverty can bring them, and that is mostly what they can catch and what they can grow. Practically speaking, subsistence agriculture is a more sure thing economically than subsistence hunting is. It supports more people, and it is healthier. In my own upstate NY neighborhood, backyard gardens continue to provide massive amounts of fresh, high-fiber, good-eating vegetables and fruits for practically nothing. I am up to my ears in potatoes, lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, beans, zucchini, apples, and raspberries. I guess we could supplement our diet by hunting the local deer, trapping the stray dogs, shooting the squirrels, and bagging the neighbor's cats. But I do not think that would be any way to live. As a biologist, I have seen too many internal organs of too many critters to want to chow down on them. Weston Price noted that native peoples eat, as you said, the fat that comes with the meat. That means viscera, organ meats, brains, and glands. (Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, p 75)
And I forgot my spoon.
Nutritious as they are, I shall pass on the guts, thank you. And the muscles of dead animals are simply not necessary for protein if you eat some dairy, and/or some fish, and/or lots of legumes and well-chewed, fresh nuts. Yum! Near- vegetarianism makes sense on all levels. My readers know that I have never been a vegan; I take the ovo-lacto-vegetarianism, or "fisho-lacto-vegetarian" stance. This, much more than not, makes me a Weston Price fan. Dr. Price strongly advocated fish and dairy foods. He also highlighted the importance of properly grown, unprocessed grains and other plant produce. I will occasionally join the south-sea islanders in their love of crabs, but think we can (and should) spare the wild pigs. While we are at it, let's let the animals of the arctic alone, too. The seals look better to me alive, and, in an ecological way, aren't we all the walrus? I will not use cattle blood for food, as do the Masai. They may be taller because of it (p 134-135), but I did not like the photographs showing how you get it (p 136).
For those seeking still more controversy: A reader sent me this link, with more criticism of the China- Cornell nutrition studies: http://www.beyondveg.com/billings-t/comp-anat/comp-anat- 8e.shtml#china%20pro I wrote to Cornell invited their comment, but to date have not received a reply.
Another Weston Price/Dr Francis Pottenger website is http://www.price-pottenger.org/articles.htm
VEGETARIAN ADVENTISTS ARE HEALTHIER A letter from New Zealand:
"Please tell your readers to go and examine the cancer incidence and other statistics of the vegetarian 7th Day Adventists. (Two good starting points might be http://sdasaints.com/vegetarianlinks.htm and http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/nutshell.htm ) Adventists have maintained good health records. The matter speaks for itself."
Evidently it does. Vegetarian health statistics even impress the US Food and Drug Administration. At their website (http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/895_vegdiet.html) you will find this statement:
"Registered dietitian Johanna Dwyer, of Tufts University Medical School and the New England Medical Center Hospital, Boston, summarizes these plant food benefits: "Data are strong that vegetarians are at lesser risk for obesity, atonic [reduced muscle tone] constipation, lung cancer, and alcoholism. Evidence is good that risks for hypertension, coronary artery disease, type II diabetes, and gallstones are lower.""
MODERATION JosÈ de Freitas from Portugal writes:
"Concerning near-vegetarianism, I should say I entirely agree with you, and I know hundreds of people who enjoy a near- vegetarian diet, no red meats at all. But since I am absolutely not a fanatic, I have a number of suggestions for people who want to move towards a near-vegetarian diet but may need some help on the way:
"If you enjoy occasionally eating meat, be sure to eat it without carbohydrates (no fries, no pasta, no rice). Instead, accompany it with a large salad or with green vegetables. This ensures better and faster digestion. Normally, no more than one serving of red meat a month should be eaten. The cravings will go away, after awhile.
"One of my friends has a two-year-old child who is completely vegetarian (but eats yogurt and cheese), which frequently freaks out mothers and fathers who don't have a clue. Yet the kid is really big, healthy, and hasn't been sick a day in his life!
"All the best, and keep up the good work. I immensely enjoy your information."
Good, practical points. Muito obrigado.
STRICT VEGETARIAN, MOSTLY RAW FOODS DIET T. L. writes: "I received your newsletter today along with the following testimony sent out to those of us on the Hallelujah Acres email list, excerpted from "Hallelujah Health Tip #293." They promote an 80% raw diet which is vegetarian. Their web page can be found at http://www.hacres.com ."
"From time to time, a few individuals have attacked the Hallelujah Diet by saying that it is a dangerous diet long term, because it does not include any animal products. I have responded to these attacks by saying that 'when a person who has been on the Diet goes back to consuming animal products, there will eventually be negative consequences.' The following letter confirms this response:
"With the exception of an occasional piece of salmon once every couple of months, I had been on The Hallelujah Diet for almost four years with great success. I could run five miles a day, four times a week, work out with weights and work at the airport as a ramp agent with virtually no fatigue. But the best thing was, I had a streak of a year and a half without being sick. Pretty good for a 46-year-old woman who previously used to get sick three times a year and could barely walk a half-mile before getting tired!
"But then in October 2002, I received a newsletter from [people who used to be on The Hallelujah Diet] extolling the virtues of adding animal products to their diet. I must admit I was very confused, as their testimonies seemed to be compelling. I decided I would add animal products for a time and see what happened.
"I started by adding free-range chicken and beef and eggs a few times a week. The results were a disaster. First off, my energy level dropped noticeably. Within a few weeks, I could no longer run five miles at the pace I used to. In fact, I could barely run five miles at all. I scaled my running back to three miles, and even that was getting hard.
"Next thing I noticed was that I was getting hot flashes. I am menopausal and did get an occasional hot flash while on the Diet, but nothing like when I started eating animal products. They would sometimes come hourly. But the worst thing that happened was in January 2003 I got the flu which took almost three weeks to recover from. Then in March, I got it again! I also started feeling depressed again, something I never experienced while on the Diet.
"It would seem that my immune system and energy level took a nose-dive because of eating animal products. So much for eating, 'clean, God-given meat!' I have learned a valuable lesson: If something isn't broken, don't try and fix it."
Thanks to all for sharing their comments.
BREASTFEEDING BENEFITS MOTHER AND BABY "I gave birth to my second son this January and plan to nurse him for at least one year, just like I did with my older son who will be 3 in August. I have found, with my healthy diet and vitamin supplements, that my sons are such happy and healthy boys. Like your children (as I have read), neither of my children has ever needed an antibiotic or prescription medicine for anything. They are rarely sick, never suffer from stomach or digestive ailments and both generally sleep well. I am sure that this is largely in part to them being breastfed babies.
"It's so good for the mom too. I am sure that I am preaching to the choir here but you can't beat that bonding you and your baby get from breastfeeding. Holding your baby close while they eat is one of the best ways to show your love. Some may argue that Dad may miss out on this, but I disagree. My husband is a wonderful and loving dad who gives our baby bottles of expressed milk while I am working part-time and he bathes, changes and plays with both our sons each and everyday. My sons are as attached to their father as they are to me and have been since day one. Moms benefit by losing weight gained during pregnancy faster than those moms who choose to use formula. Nursing also releases oxytocin into the bloodstream which gives mom a sense of calm that helps fight the baby blues.
"Breast milk is free! All I have to do is eat a healthy diet, take my vitamins and drink plenty of fresh juice or water to keep a good supply. I even work outside my home part-time and still manage to find great success nursing my baby. Sometimes it seems cumbersome to find a discreet place to express milk at work but the benefit is so worth the time and effort. Today's breast pumps are more compact, light weight and easy to use.
"I wanted to share this with your readers. I know that nursing doesn't always work out perfectly for every mother, but giving breastfeeding a try even if just for the early weeks of a baby's life can give a him or her a great start on a lifetime of good health. If a mother can breastfeed for a year or more, that's even better.
"Thanks again for all your great thoughts, humor, insight, and opportunities to continue learn to be our best selves.
Wendie L. Davis Batavia, New York
KICKING CAFFEINE REALLY WORKS A. L. writes: "I want you to know that my entire life has changed since reading the articles by Ruth Whalen on caffeine allergy (http://www.doctoryourself.com/caffeine_allergy.html and http://www.doctoryourself.com/caffeine2.html). I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but meds didn't seem to help. Desyrel helped me sleep through the night without the constant nightmares and interrupted sleep I'd had before, but I still thought about suicide every day. I was still dishearteningly labile, ready to shriek with laughter or break into sobs at a moment's notice. I couldn't concentrate, couldn't figure out what I wanted to do with my life--except end it-- and was just miserable. After reading this article, I stopped using caffeine, I stopped taking Neurontin, Effexor, Ativan, AND Desyrel. Since last September, when I quit caffeine, I have not had even the briefest thought of suicide, nor a nightmare, nor a moment when I have not felt clear-headed and in control of my emotions. My house is clean (well, relatively...I still hate to clean house) and uncluttered. I'm working part-time and am in the process of starting my own vending business. I am a different person. I'm not weird anymore, having previously been compelled to talk, to blurt, to shock, characteristics which are the antithesis of social grace. I'm doing okay, and I thank you for your website."
You're welcome. Glad to hear of your success.
B-12 ABSORPTION K. R. writes:
"Can you explain why the nasal mucosa is a better absorbtion site for cobalamin (vitamin B-12) than the oral mucosa?"
My understanding, limited though it is, is that intranasal B-12 absorption is different and certainly more effective than absorption via mucosa. "An alternative to parenteral therapy recently approved by the FDA is intranasal administration of cyanocobalamin. In Europe, intranasal hydroxocobalamin has been widely used for years. The intranasal administration of 500 micrograms of cyanocobalamin weekly attains blood levels that are comparable to those found with intramuscular injections." (http://www.postgradmed.com/issues/2001/07_01/dharmarajan. htm)
I think a Medline search (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi) might bring forward more information on this topic. I found these, for a start:
MORE NOSE NEWS: "Vitamin B12 deficiency may be underestimated in the general population. High-risk groups for the deficiency syndrome include the elderly, patients taking ulcer medications over long periods, patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, vegetarians, patients who have undergone stomach resection or small bowel resection, or both, and patients with dementia. The vitamin B12 deficiency syndrome is characterized by five stages, the fifth of which results in irreversible neuropsychiatric manifestations. . . Vitamin B12 deficiency is treatable with monthly injections, large doses of daily oral supplement tablets, or an intranasal gel, which is far better absorbed than comparable oral supplements." (Swain R. An update of vitamin B12 metabolism and deficiency states. J Fam Pract. 1995 Dec;41(6): 595-600.)
"Patients . . . are often treated with intramuscular vitamin B12 injections. Disadvantages are, on a worldwide scale, the frequent need for medical personnel to administer injections and the sometimes painful way of application. This study was designed to investigate the feasibility of intranasal (B-12) and to assess whether intranasal hydroxocobalamin (B-12) application could be an alternative for intramuscular injection. . . A dose of 1500 micrograms hydroxocobalamin was applied intranasally at days 0, 14, and 21. . . All patients showed substantial increase of cobalamin concentrations 1 hour after intranasal application. In these 6 patients, there was an eightfold increase of mean baseline cobalamin concentrations. All patients showed a sustained increase of baseline cobalamin concentrations 1 week after prior intranasal application of hydroxocobalamin. No side effects were noted. CONCLUSIONS: Intranasal application of hydroxocobalamin in cobalamin-deficient patients results in fast nasal absorption and leads to sustained increase of baseline cobalamin concentrations." (Slot WB, Merkus FW, Van Deventer SJ, Tytgat GN. . Slot WB, Merkus FW, Van Deventer SJ, Tytgat GN. Normalization of plasma vitamin B12 concentration by intranasal hydroxocobalamin in vitamin B12- deficient patients. Gastroenterology. 1997 Aug;113(2):430-3.)
Want to save some money and forget the prescription requirement?
MAKE YOU OWN INTRANASAL B-12 PASTE Topics like this one sound quacky, so let's set the matter straight from the start:
If you do not like getting shots of B-12, you should be aware that intranasal absorption is the next best thing. Oral administration of B-12 is largely ineffective. This goes for so- called sublingual B-12 supplements as well.
VITAMIN B-12, unlike other B vitamins, is stored in muscle and other organs of the body. A little B-12 goes a long way, what is stored lasts a long time, and it may take YEARS to deplete your body's reserves. But sooner or later, usually later (after age 40), not only do poor eating habits catch up with us, but we also lose the ability to efficiently absorb what B-12 we do get from food.
COBALAMIN is the proper name for vitamin B-12. It is a really huge molecule (C 63, H 90, O 14, P, Co). The "Co" is for the one cobalt atom at its core. B-12 is obtained mostly, but not exclusively, by eating animal products such as dairy and meat. If you therefore think that you have to eat meat to get your B- 12, consider this: Where do grass-and-grain-eating cattle get THEIR vitamin B-12? From synthesis by microorganisms in their gastrointestinal tract, that's where. And such synthesis in vegetarian animals is so tremendous that their milk and flesh is OUR source of B-12. But it all actually came from their bacteria.
Yes, B-12 is also synthesized in the human GI tract, but not reliably enough for most people. Such synthesis as occurs may be enhanced by a good near-vegetarian diet that favors an internal population of beneficial, B-12 making bacteria. But with our diets, we will need more than they can provide. Nutritional yeast, fermented soy foods such as tempeh, and sprouts (according to some sources) are vegetarian sources of dietary B-12.
But there still is a physiological hurdle to cross.
ABSORPTION of dietary B-12 takes place in the very last part of the small intestine, right before the colon. Absorption requires a biochemical helper molecule called "intrinsic factor," which is a glycoprotein normally secreted by cells lining your stomach. Strong stomach hydrochloric acid is also required to split up this huge molecule. (That's why a weak acid like vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is harmless to B-12, persistent myths to the contrary).
Incidentally, even sublingual (under-the-tongue) B-12 supplements are probably ineffective because the cobalamin molecule is too large to diffuse through the mucosa of the mouth.
And if your body no longer makes intrinsic factor like it should, you cannot absorb oral B-12 supplements very well, either.
The end result can be pernicious anemia, which is more than the classical inability to make enough hemoglobin for your red blood cells. Pernicious anemia also results in a sore mouth and tongue, assorted burning and tingling sensations (paresthesia), and eventually neurologic damage. I think Meniere's, and dementia symptoms mistaken for Alzheimer's disease, might be a manifestation of this. (More on Alzheimer's later in this Newsletter.)
While there is a urine test for B-12 deficiency (the "isotope- dilution assay for urinary methylmalonic acid"), to get it right it is necessary to measure the cerebrospinal fluid, not the blood, to get accurate B-12 readings. If you are not a Spinal Tap fan, consider a simple, non-invasive therapeutic trial of B-12. This is so inexpensive and safe that it would be difficult to deny it to anyone. I would suggest your doctor try a 1,000 microgram (mcg) injection at least once a week. Compared to the US RDA of only about 3 mcg, that dose may appear rather hefty. But given the miserable nature of Meniere's, erring on the high side may be preferable to unnecessarily delaying recovery. And l know of no side effects whatsoever to B-12 overdose.
If you do not like the idea of getting shots of B-12, you should be aware that intra-nasal (that is, by way of the nose) absorption is the next best thing. It sounds pretty weird, as duly promised at the beginning of this section, but it is an efficient delivery method for large-sized molecules whether you like the sound of it or not.
Your nose has two choices: 1) Buy ready-to-use B-12 gel, which you will occasionally find for sale in a pharmacy or health food store. Some products come in individual disposable packets. These are pricey. Some are prescription. They are very, very pricey.
2) Make your own B-12 intra-nasal supplement. It is cheap, easy and best done behind closed doors. Obtain your doctor's OK before trying this procedure. Take any B-12 tablet (between 100 to 1,000 mcg) and grind it into a powder between two tablespoons. Add water, just a few drops at a time, to make a soft paste. With a "Q-Tip," it's generic equivalent, or your clean pinkie finger, gently swab the paste inside your nose up to a comfortable level. Do not push; use no force whatsoever. The excipients (tableting ingredients) are more likely to bother your schnoz than the B-12 is. If it irritates you, try using less, or a different brand of tablet. I'd try this two times a week for a month or two.
Feel free to quit at any time, and get B-12 shots instead. Once in a great while, doctors (such as "Children's Doctor" Lendon H. Smith, M.D.) will even teach you how to give yourself your B-12 shots, but that remains a singularly rare event.
ALZHEIMERS DISEASE: SOME ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES Supplemental choline has already shown promise in treating Alzheimer's Disease. In Geriatrics, July 1979, lecithin was employed as a therapy to combat memory loss. Studies at MIT show increases in both choline and the vital neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brains of animals after just ONE lecithin meal. (Today's Living, February, 1982) http://www.doctoryourself.com/nerves.html
It is important to use enough lecithin to have a reasonable hope of success. You can personally try taking a few tablespoons of lecithin granules (I take between 4 and 8 twice a week, for I want to remember all my great-grandchildrens middle names and sweater sizes someday). Notice anything? You can feel the almost a caffeine-like increase in your awareness. That is probably the effect of an acetylcholine boost. Think what this might do for an Alzheimers patient. Lecithin is a very safe substance: it is difficult to hurt yourself with essential fatty acids and choline. Try lecithin granules in yogurt, in a fruit smoothie (write for free recipes) or, if you are really new to all this, on ice cream. http://doctoryourself.com/lecithin.html
"(Research) suggests to me that if everyone were to start on a good nutritional program supplemented with optimum doses of vitamins and minerals before age fifty and were to remain on it the incidence of Alzheimer's disease would drop precipitously." (Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD) http://www.doctoryourself.com/hoffer_psychosis.html
Hoffer A: A case of Alzheimer's treated with nutrients. J of Orthomolecular Medicine 8:43-44, 1993. Hoffer, A: Alzheimer's - An Anecdote (letter) Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, No.179, 107-109, 1998
Vitamin B-12 B-12 deficiency may be mistaken for, or even cause, Alzheimers disease. B-12 deficiency is easy to come by in the elderly: poor diet; poor intestinal absorption (due to less intrinsic factor being secreted by the stomach in the aging body, and possibly due to calcium deficiency); digestive tract surgery; pharmaceutical interference, notably from Dilantin (phenytoin); and stress all decrease B-12. It is necessary to measure the cerebrospinal fluid, not the blood, to get accurate B-12 readings.
Carper, Jean (1995) Your food pharmacy (Syndicated column). November 1. Dommisse, John (1990) Organic mania induced by phenytoin. Can J Psychiatry. 35:5, June. Dommisse, John (1991) Subtle vitamin B-12 deficiency and psychiatry: a largely unnoticed but devastating relationship? Med Hypotheses. 34:131-140 Murray, Frank (1991) A B-12 deficiency may cause mental problems. Better Nutrition for Todays Living, July, p 10-11
Even marginal B-12 deficiency over a long time period produces an increased risk of Alzheimers disease.
Close to three-quarters of the elderly deficient in B-12 also have AD. Garrison, Jr Robert H. and Somer, Elizabeth (1990) The Nutrition Desk Reference. New Canaan, CT: Keats, p 211.
Many popular dieting plans are B-12 deficient, including the Pritikin, Scarsdale and Beverly Hills diets, among others. The elderly are often dieting without intending to, simply because their normal appetite and taste functions are reduced. Emotional factors such as isolation, grief, and depression also contribute to their inadequate food intake, and therefore unhealthfully low B-12 intake. To make matters worse, B-12 deficiency itself causes further loss of appetite. And these symptoms of B-12 deficiency are all to reminiscent of diseases such as Alzheimers: ataxia, fatigue, slowness of thought, apathy, emaciation, degeneration of the spinal cord, dizziness, moodiness, confusion, agitation, delusions, hallucinations, and psychosis.
Injection or intra-nasal administration of B-12 is recommended because oral absorption is poor. There is no known toxicity for vitamin B-12. A minimum daily therapeutic dose is probably 100 micrograms, and closer to 1,000 mcg daily may be more effective. 1,000 mcg sounds like a lot, but it is actually the same as one milligram, which is about one thousandth of a quarter- teaspoon.
Fisher and Lachance (1985) Nutrition evaluation of published weight reducing diets. J Amer Dietetic Assn, 85(4) 450-54. Goldberg, Donald (1985) Newsletter. 33, September.
ANTIOXIDANT vitamins, such as vitamin E and carotene, may slow down or prevent AD. Alzheimers patients have abnormally low measurable levels of these nutrients in their bodies. This could simply be because they don't eat well, or because the disease increases their nutrient need, or both.
Vitamin C, folic acid and niacin, as well as other nutrients, may also play a major role in combating AD.
Balch, J. F. and Balch, P. A. (1990) Prescription for Nutritional Healing. Garden City Park, NY: Avery Publishing, p 87-90. (Has a very good section on AD.) Kushnir, S. L.; Ratner, J. T. and Gregoire, P.A. (1987) Multiple nutrients in the treatment of Alzheimers disease. Amer Geriatrics Soc J, 35(5):476-477, May.
CHOLINE AD patients have a deficiency of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine because they are deficient in the enzyme, choline acetyltransferase, needed to make it. This results in curtailed manufacture and presence of acetylcholine in the brain. But there is a way around this: increasing dietary choline raises blood and brain levels of acetylcholine. Choline is readily available in cheap, non-prescription lecithin. A large quantity of choline (from lecithin) is necessary for clinical results. Lecithin is non-toxic.
Alzheimers Disease and neurotransmitters, Lets Live, May 1983, p18. Little, et al (1985) A double-blind, placebo controlled trial of high dose lecithin in Alzheimers disease. J Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, 48: 736-742.
Vitamin C and Tyrosine Increasing the bodys level of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine may also help AD patients. Norepinepherine is made from the amino acid tyrosine, which is made from phenylalaine. We get plenty of phenylalanine from protein our diets if we eat protein foods, but the conversion to tyrosine and ultimately norepinephrine may not take place if there is a deficiency of another coenzyme: vitamin C. Vitamin C increases norepinephrine production. Vitamin C may therefore be of special value in the treatment AD.
Aluminum Toxicity Unintentional aluminum intake may increase the risk of AD as well. Aluminum cookware, aluminum foil, antacids, douches, buffered aspirin, and even anti-perspirant deodorants may all contribute to the problem.
A single aluminum coffee-pot was shown to have invisibly added over 1600 mcg aluminum per liter of water. This is 3,200% over the World Health Organizations set goal of 50 mcg per liter. Aluminum is known to build up in the bodily tissues of persons with Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Aluminum is a known neurotoxin. Aluminum is also a component of so- called silver amalgam dental fillings. Composite (white) fillings do not contain aluminum (or mercury, for that matter.) Most baking powder contains aluminum. Rumford brand baking powder does not, however. Neither does baking soda, which is a different substance entirely. (Jackson, J. A.; Riordan, H. D. and Poling, C. M. (1989) Aluminum from a coffee pot. The Lancet, I (8641) 781-782, April 8.)
Artificial kidney dialysis has been known to produce dialysis dementia, a state of confusion and disorientation caused by excess aluminum in the blood stream. Animals injected with aluminum compounds will also show develop nervous system disorders. Conversely, Alzheimers disease can be treated with metal bonding (chelating) agents, such as desferrioxamine, which remove aluminum from the bloodstream. In appropriately high doses, vitamin C is also an effective chelating agent.
There have been many studies on the relationship of aluminum toxicity to Alzheimers disease. A Medline search will promptly uncover a large number of references on the subject. Some examples include:
Martyn, C. N.; Barker, D. J.; Osmond, C.; Harris, E. C.; Edwardson, J.A. and Lacey, R. F. (1989) Geographical relation between Alzheimers disease and aluminum in drinking water. Lancet, I (8629): 59-62, Jan 14. McLachlan, D. R.; Kruck, T.P. and Lukiw, W. J. (1991) Would decreased aluminum ingestion reduce the incidence of Alzheimers disease? Can Med Assn J, Oct 1.
Calcium and Magnesium significantly slow down aluminum absorption, and that's good. Supplementation with 800 mg of calcium and 400 mg of magnesium every day may be therapeutic for AD patients. Here are two good presentations on the subject:
Garrison, Jr Robert H. and Somer, Elizabeth (1990) The Nutrition Desk Reference. New Canaan, CT: Keats, p 78-79; 106; 210-211. Weiner, Michael A. (1990) Aluminum and dietary factors in Alzheimers disease. J Orthomolecular Med, 5(2):74-78
Lead Toxicity Dooley, Erin E. (2000) Linking lead to Alzheimers Disease. In: Environmental Health Perspectives 108 (10) October, writes:
"Scientists from Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals presented evidence at the April 2000 annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology that people who have held jobs with high levels of lead exposure have a 3.4 times greater likelihood of developing Alzheimer disease."
People can be exposed to lead on the job either by breathing in lead dust or through direct skin contact. Lead has adverse effects on brain development and function, even at very low levels of exposure. Lead, unfortunately, permeates our environment because of decades of adding it to gasoline. The good news is that very high dosage of vitamin C is known to help the body rapidly excrete lead.
I believe that aggressive use of therapeutic nutrition could substantially reduce the incidence and severity of Alzheimers disease.
MASKS OF MADNESS, SCIENCE OF HEALING A documentary on the orthomolecular treatment of schizophrenia. (Produced by the Canadian Schizophrenic Foundation (http://www.orthomed.org). 49 minutes, VHS videotape, 1998)
The documentary Masks of Madness: Science of Healing chronicles the experiences of patients and health care professionals who went beyond the inadequacies of conventional psychiatry to find their answers in orthomolecular medicine. Hosted by actor Margot Kidder, who herself suffered from manic depression, we hear how she finally recovered using orthomolecular medicine. Other former patients participate in a roundtable discussion of their individual descents into mental illness, their extraordinary difficulties in getting answers from conventional psychiatry, and their final recoveries using diet, vitamins and a minimum of pharmacological intervention.
Doctors and other health professionals recount their experiences as well. Abram Hoffer, Patrick Holford, Hugh Riordan, Hyla Cass, Bradford Weeks, Michael Janson and others recount for us their therapeutic methods, their professional satisfaction at seeing patients actually recover from the "incurable," as well as the political dangers they faced when incorporating orthomolecular medicine into their psychiatric practices. The major orthomolecular building blocks to optimal mental health are introduced in an understandable way with the goal being to demonstrate that yes, orthomolecular medicine is a real answer for people suffering mental illness and physicians who long to make real changes in the lives of their patients. This is a documentary which everyone, including health professionals, will benefit from watching.
(Available from the Canadian Schizophrenia Foundation for $39.95 which includes shipping and handling. For a printable order form: http://www.orthomed.org/links/masks%20order.pdf)
For more information: Canadian Schizophrenia Foundation 16 Florence Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M2N 1E9 Tel. (416) 733-2117 Fax (416) 733-2352 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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