Holistic Medicine

Strontium Citrate for Osteopenia

For several years now alternative doctors have recommended strontium citrate as a supplement in the treatment of osteopenia and as a preventive against osteoporosis. I used to recommend it as well but then stopped because I couldn’t find any research on its use for osteoporosis prevention. Every time I contacted supplement manufacturers about their research claims, they sent me articles on Strontium Ranelate, a drug approved in Europe for the treatment of osteoporosis.  But strontium citrate is not Strontium Ranelate and I am not a big fan of “borrowed science”.  I dislike any kind of intellectual “bait and switch” so I persisted in my pursuit of any information on the benefits of strontium supplementation. 

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Get Grounded!

A few weeks ago, I came across this interesting book.  Earthing is a book about the health benefits of a deceivingly simple process – grounding ourselves to the earth. It was written by a retired cable TV executive, Clint Ober, who wondered what would happen if we weren’t so insulated from the earth. He conducted some simple experiments on himself and his friends and confirmed that, in fact, he and his friends felt better.

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Cancer and Homeopathy

Although there are many references in the old and modern homeopathic literature about the treatment of cancer by homeopathic methods, most US homeopaths do not treat cancer. The reasons for this are several and varied but for me it is a matter of ethics. We simply do not have any clinical trials that would compare to the research of conventional methods of fighting cancer.  I don’t think it is ethical to offer homeopathy as the primary treatment for any malignancy.

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The Teenage Brain

This month’s issue of Scientific American contains an interesting article entitled, The Amazing Teenage Brain. It seems that the teenage brain is no longer viewed as an incomplete, poorly developed adult brain but is characterized by flexibility or plasticity in its ability to readily adapt to changes in thought patterns and socialization. However, this flexibility brings with it susceptibility to dangerous behaviors and in some cases mental disorders. 

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Is Butter Better?

This post relates to the previous blog post about cholesterol. On December 17, 2013, The New York Times ran a profile of nutrition scientist, Fred Kummerow. At the University of Illinois in the 1950s, Dr. Kummerow studied the relationship between artificial fats (trans fats) and heart disease. The 1950s and 1960s was the era when the American public was literally force-fed margarine and other hydrogenated oils as a “healthy” alternative to butter.  He discovered that these artificial fats filled the arteries of patients who had died of heart attacks.

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Fishy Research

Last week, the mainstream press reported a study that linked consumption of fish oil to prostate cancer. A closer look at the study, however, calls the headline into question. The results were taken from a study that was designed to answer the association between selenium and vitamin C and cancer risk. The study was not initially designed to study the link between omega 3 oils and prostate cancer risk. The researchers included one (just one) measurement of blood levels of omega 3 oils. It is always dangerous to use a study designed for a specific purpose, such as selenium and vitamin C intake and cancer risk in general to answer a specific question about another factor such as fish oil consumption. One measurement in time gives no information about any subject’s daily intake in a disease that takes years to develop. The difference between the two groups, those with increased risk and the control was 4.66% vs. 4.48%.  This is at best a weak correlation and not causation. 

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Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Most patients who come for treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis) are already on medication for the control of their symptoms. They know that the conventional medication is not a cure, rather it is a life long treatment. The goal is to try and keep the symptoms mild, to treat any flare-ups aggressively, to provide additional nutritional support and thus decrease the risk of intestinal obstruction, abscess, fistula, colon resection or colon cancer.  Endoscopy can be used to check the progress of treatment whether it is conventional or holistic. 

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What is Holistic Medicine?

First, let me say what it is not. Holistic medicine is not alternative medicine whereby alternative substances such as herbs, vitamins, minerals and other supplements are used in place of conventional drugs. Neither is it complementary medicine whereby non-conventional therapies are added to mainstream medical practice. It is a philosophy, a way of practice in which understanding the entire person is required in order to prescribe a medication, in this case a homeopathic remedy. 

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