I found a new report interesting where researchers discovered that Vitamin C can kill multidrug-resistant TB germs (tuberculosis) in the lab. The study authors from Yeshiva University in Israel made the revelation in Nature Communications, and they think the same action may be possible form giving vitamin C to humans. Lead investigator Dr William Jacobs, professor of microbiology and immunology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University, says, "We have only been able to demonstrate this in a test tube, and we don't know if it will work in humans and in animals. This would be a great study to consider because we have strains of tuberculosis that we don't have drugs for, and I know that in the laboratory we can kill those strains with vitamin C. It also helps that we know vitamin C is inexpensive, widely available and very, very safe to use. At the very least, this work shows us a new mechanism that we can exploit to attack TB."
This does sound promising, and I hope they pursue it. For the record, I don’t take megadoses of Vitamin C in my daily life, and I don’t desire to do so, even if this turns into something terrific. And the reason is that I wouldn’t want to condition my body to getting a super-high dose of Vitamin C all the time. If I did it all the time, my body would adapt to it by getting lazy about absorbing Vitamin C; it would accelerate the breakdown and degradation of Vitamin C; and it would do other things to neutralize the effect I was trying to achieve. So, when I’m healthy and fit and doing fine, I want to take a generous but not exorbitant amount of Vitamin C. To my mind, that means taking no more than 1000 mgs of Vitamin C a day in supplement form, and otherwise eating a lot of Vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables. That’s as high as I’m willing to go on a daily basis. But, if I were in a situation where I was fighting an infection or had some other health problem, I would be entirely open to temporarily taking much more Vitamin C, either orally or intravenously, depending on the circumstances. And I mean, perhaps, for several weeks. And so far, thankfully, I haven’t been in that situation so I haven’t had to do it or consider doing it. So, I have never actually done it. But, I would certainly be open to it if my circumstances changed for the worse.
When it comes to therapeutics, my attitude is that when you can do something which may be helpful, and where it is entirely safe and can’t possibly hurt you, which is certainly true of taking Vitamin C, then it pays to do it. And that’s another reason why I don’t want to do it all the time because I suspect it will have greater potential to help if I am conservative with Vitamin C in the day to day.
But, everything is relative. According to the government 90 mgs of Vitamin C is all you need, and they only raised it under pressure. The RDA used to be 60 mgs. But, living in a state of ideal Nature where fresh produce comprised a large percentage of your diet, you would naturally get many hundreds of milligrams of Vitamin C every day, and that is the natural order for a human being. So, I can’t imagine that 60 or 90 mgs is optimal. I definitely want to get close to if not over a gram a day, and I do. But, I’m not willing to enter the Linus Pauling realm of Vitamin C intake. And what’s interesting is that the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, which is devoted to nutritional research, lauds Vitamin C, but they don’t actually recommend the high doses that he took. Word to the wise.
I wrote an article bashing diuretics for my retreat website:
That was some years ago, but I have not changed my mind or softened my position. Taking diuretics does not solve anyone's problems. It only adds a new problem to the ones they already have, which is pharmaceutical dehydration. It is a doctor-induced abnormality which guarantees more trouble down the road.
So, please read the above article.
But, now I want to discuss a recent research study about the use of diuretics for high blood pressure. Specifically, it compared the effectiveness of two popular diuretics: chlorthalidone and HCTZ. Which is better for treating high blood pressure? Well, they determined that they were both about the same at preventing death and cardiovascular catastrophes, but HCTZ incurred fewer hospitalizations for diuretic side effects: hypokalemia (low blood potassium) hyponatremia (low blood sodium) heart rhythm disturbances, and other problems. So, the gist of it was that HCTZ is the better choice.
But, I want you to realize how presumptuous the whole thing was. My contention is that diuretics do not prevent any deaths from high blood pressure, and therefore I wanted to pick apart that aspect of the data. But that they glossed over, insisting that patient outcomes were about the same in both groups. But traditionally in medical research, they include a “control group“ that doesn't get the treatment so that you can see what happens to people who don't get the drug at all. Usually, they just give them a placebo- a fake, inert pill.
So, did they use a placebo-control in this case? No, they didn't. I don't know that they ever have.
In this case, they glossed over the effectiveness of either drug, but digging deep I found it. Among patients taking either drug, about 3 and ½ out of 100 suffered a major cardiovascular event which resulted in hospitalization or death per year. So, at the end of the first year, 3 and ½ were so affected; by the end of the second year about 7 were affected; by the end of the third year, over 10% were affected, etc.
Are those good results? They assumed that they were. But, compared to what? They didn't say. And, they don't sound like good results to me.
"After adjustment for baseline differences, the patients treated with chlorthalidone and those treated with HCTZ did not differ in the primary study outcome: a composite of death or hospitalization with acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, or ischemic stroke.”
So, they didn't differ, but how did taking diuretics compare to doing nothing? Again: they didn't say.
But notice that above they admitted that people taking diuretics for high blood pressure continue to have heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure. Therefore, I have to ask: what good are they?
“However, patients treated with chlorthalidone were approximately 3 times more likely to be hospitalized with hypokalemia and approximately 1.7 times more likely than those prescribed HCTZ to be hospitalized with hyponatremia.”
So, this wasn't really a comparison of the benefits from diuretics; it was a comparison of the harms. And they decided that one was more harmful than the other. But, the idea that taking a diuretic, any diuretic, is a good thing was just presumed and was never tested.
When a person has high blood pressure, there are certain abnormalities that are responsible for it. Taking a diuretic corrects none of the abnormalities. It usually lowers the blood pressure some, but that's because the resultant dehydration reduces the blood volume some. But, it doesn't usually lower it that much, and that's why in the majority of cases doctors decide that the diuretic drug isn't enough, and they give the patient another blood pressure drug to go along with it.
By itself, a diuretic drug might lower the blood pressure about 10 points. It might knock a 150 blood pressure down to 140. Is it worth it to endure the harms from the diuretic to get that 10 point drop? I don't think it is, and they, the medical establishment, refuse to test it by doing placebo-controlled studies.
But, let's remember that in real life, people aren't limited to taking a drug or a placebo. They also have the option of doing constructive things to correct their high blood pressure. That would include ditching harmful substances that cause blood pressure to rise, such as salt, alcohol, and caffeine. It would include taking off excess weight, that is, shedding excess body fat and getting down to lean body weight. It would include exercising. It would include switching over to a high fruit and vegetable diet; eating mostly plant foods and severely restricting animal foods. And it might also include taking natural supplements that can safely help to lower blood pressure, such as magnesium, resveratrol, CoQ10, fish oil, melatonin, and more.
How do you think that would affect the death rate compared to taking a diuretic? They are never going to do a medical research study to find out, but I can just imagine the results.
The vast majority of people with hypertension have “walking hypertension” where they don't have symptoms from it, and the doctor just tells them that their blood pressure is high. These people do not need drugs. They do not need diuretics, and they don't need any other drugs. They need the above regimen that I laid out. Throwing drugs at them may lower the pressure some, but it will not restore them to health, and it will not reduce their risk of future problems. It is simply the wrong way to go.
So, if you are discovered to have high blood pressure, so long as it's not an emergency situation, it's time for you to say Sayonara to your regular MD and get started on a real health program. Forcing the pressure down with drugs only creates the illusion of improvement; it is not a real health improvement. It does not restore normality. In reality, it just digs you in deeper and guarantees more trouble down the road.
So, I wouldn't do it; I wouldn't recommend it. Stop everything if you have to and just attend to your health through natural means. Just say no to the medical monkey-business, because that's all it is.
The Life Extension Foundation recently reported on a study that found no increased risk of heart disease in those taking calcium supplements. Some previous studies had claimed to find for that. '
It was a big relief to the LEF people and I suppose to all who take calcium. But, I still think it warrants being cautious with calcium. I take very little in supplement form- just the little bit that is in my multivitamin, and no calcium tablets, per se.
We have known all along that if your Vitamin D and hormone levels are in balance, that your blood calcium is going to be in the normal range no matter how much or how little calcium you consume. If necessary, the body will extract calcium from the bones in order to maintain the blood calcium- it being so crucial to so many vital functions, including the pumping of the heart itself.
But, we also know that from the blood, even with normal saturation, calcium can wind up in lots of other places besides bone. It is a pathological process, and it is also to some extent universal. Do you think there is anyone my age, 62, who doesn't have some pathologic calcinosis? I doubt it. I'm sure there is a wide range of severity, but I'll bet you that everybody has some, at least a little.
Does the amount of calcium coming in feed the process, that is, towards the pathological depositions? That is where the controversy lies, but I have to think that it weighs down on it to some degree. After all, every milligram of calcium you ingest has to go somewhere. Of course, some of it is excreted, since your urine contains calcium. But, whatever tendency you have to lay down calcium in soft tissues could only be increased by taking more calcium. How could it decrease it when it provides more of the substance being deposited?
But, there are several things you can do to inhibit pathological calcifications- besides not going overboard on calcium.
First, go light on sodium. There is a connection. The more salt you use, the more calcium is going to be misdirected.
Two, maintain optimum levels of Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2. Both help in the proper metabolizing of calcium. Vitamin D3 helps you to absorb calcium effectively from the gut to maintain the blood level, and Vitamin K2 helps to send it to bone and keep it out of arteries and other soft tissues. There are a lot of people who are walking around with deficient levels of Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2, and I'm sure that includes a lot of vegetarians too.
Three, keep up your magnesium intake. Magnesium seems to inhibit pathologic calcinosis. And there is no pathologic magnesiosis.
But, what about calcium in relation to osteoporosis? You have to realize that osteoporosis is a much bigger problem than just too little calcium. Osteoporosis is the equivalent of sarcopenia, which is age-related muscle wasting.
I recently had a visit from an older man who has been a father figure to me. He's 88 now, and I hadn' t seen him in years. And I noticed right way his significant muscle wasting. Of course, 88 is getting up there. But, I had heard that osteoporosis is one the problems that he has. Well, the thinning of his bones is just an extension of the thinning of his muscles. They go together. It's all one continuous degenerative process- the unity of disease, as Shelton used to say. How much is taking calcium going to slow it down? Not much. You wouldn't expect it do anything for the muscles, although calcium is involved in muscle contraction. And by itself, is it really likely to inhibit the bone wasting? All I can say is: not much.
I believe the current recommendation is for elderly women to take 1500 mgs of calcium a day, and that I oppose. That is more calcium than the human race has gotten throughout its long history on Earth. And remember that there's also calcium in food. Even a crumby diet provides a few hundred milligrams, and if a person makes a point of eating calcium-rich foods in addition, it could put them well over 2000 mgs/ day, and that's just unnessary and wrong.
So, I think that people should eat healthy, and that doesn't mean dairy products. It means lots of calcium-rich plant foods, such as raw salad greens, steamed green vegetables such as broccoli and kale, almonds, figs, and all kinds of beans.
Then, I'm getting 150 mgs calcium from my Extend Core multi, which I feel is plenty for me. But, if it was woman with low weight and slight features- the classic candidate for osteoporosis since her reserves of bone are low to begin with- I would be entirely OK with her doubling that to 300 mgs of supplemental calcium. But, I would not be inclined to go higher.
And make sure you have a fair chance to absorb your calcium. For instance, don't eat an ultra-low fat diet- unless you want to give your minerals to the fish, if you catch my drift. Low-fat/high-fiber = poor mineral absorption.
Of course, getting good hard exercise and regular sun exposure is highly recommended- although the latter depends on where you live and your circumstances. The period of effective sunlight is very short in a lot of places.
And last but not least, and of very great importance to me, consider taking anti-aging hormones. For instance, I take 25 mgs of DHEA every morning and have for years. I usually recommend 10 mgs to women. I use my HGH spray morning and night and have for years. I also take pregnenolone 30 mgs. If you want to do something good for your bones, to prevent osteoporosis and sarcopenia, keep your hormones high. If you are concerned about the safety of it, then have your blood levels checked once a year as I do. I do it every Spring, so I'll be doing it soon. The Life Extension Foundation offers a great sale on blood tests every Spring, and I take advantage of it.
The American Urological Association- an organization of board-certified urologists- is now condemning the routine use of PSA testing for prostate cancer, and for two reasons: 1) it's not that accurate, and 2) treating prostate cancer, even when it's confirmed, is often ill-advised. It is usually ill-advised.
Remember that the whole idea is to stay alive, and the data shows that men with prostate cancer who do nothing live as long as those who undergo radical treatment. So, what's the point? And the treatment is never harmless. It often results in impotence and/or incontinence and other harms.
It also results in pain, distress, risk of complications from the surgery, radiation, etc., and the surgery may even help spread cancer cells around. The tendency to get some cancer cells in the prostate gland is almost universal among men. In men who are in their 80s or older, the presence of such cells is almost guaranteed. But, they usually stay put in the gland and cause no trouble until the man dies of something else.
Basically, if you are an older man, and you are excreting your urine alright, and you're not in any pain, and there is no outward sign of trouble, then you shouldn't allow any prostate interventions. Forget about it.
Regarding the PSA test, it's just a blood test, so it's harmless in itself. So, if you really want to do it, you can. But, stick to the rule above regardless of the results.
I don't really recommend a passive approach. On the contrary, I think you should assume that prostate cancer is inevitable, and your goal is to minimize the risk of it, with the hope you never have to undergo drastic measures. A preventative program should include foods that have been shown to cut the risk, and they're all plants. I'm referring to foods like cruciferous vegetables, blueberries, and pomegranates. Eat tomatoes and tomato products to get the lypopene. Eat these high-antioxidant foods because they are likely to either prevent prostate cancer completely or keep it toned down and non-aggresive. And either of those outcomes are fine.
But, there is more that you can do. Taking high-dose VItamin D3 is a very good idea as a prostate cancer preventive. I recommend at least 5000 IUs daily.
Taking melatonin at night is a good idea for prostate cancer prevention. Melatonin is anti-mutagenic. I found this from the University of Maryland Medical Center: "
"Studies show that men with prostate cancer have lower melatonin levels than men without the disease. In test tube studies, melatonin blocks the growth of prostate cancer cells."
Other supplements can help too, such as resveratrol, which has the potential to inhibit prostate cancer cells. Good food and good supplements constitute a powerful double whammy against prostate cancer.
But, there is more yet that you can do. Keep your weight down. Getting heavy- especially in the abdomen with a pot belly- is very bad. It adds mechanical pressure which can impede drainage from the prostate, resulting in morbid accumulations.
And exercise- a lot- because when you exercise, you also relieve congestion in the prostate.
And have sex regularly- even as you get older- because it too relieves congestion in the prostate.
So, what I am saying is that, by all means, think of yourself as a prostate cancer patient and take all the lifestyle and nutritional measures that are proven to fight it. But, unless you have a urinary obstruction or are in pain or have a major clinical development, do not allow any conventional treatment. And if you skip the PSA test completely, it's fine with me.
The Vitamin D naysayers, including some so-called "experts", like to say that a little brief sun exposure is all it takes to supply the body's need for Vitamin D. However, that claim has never been put to the test- until recently.
Recently, Dr. John Cannell of the Vitamin D Institute reported on a study out of Korea. Dr. Sang-Hoon Lee and colleagues from the Ajou University School of Medicine in South Korea studied the effect of brief sun exposure on vitamin D levels in 20 young women for four weeks.
The study was conducted between October and November at latitude 37 degrees north, which is about the same latitude as Washington DC. Initial mean levels of Vitamin D were low: just 11 ng/ml, and no woman had levels greater than 20 ng/ml to begin the study. The women were told to get 20 minutes of midday sun exposure on their hands, forearms and face every weekday for four weeks.
Guess how much serum Vitamin D levels increased after a month of daily sun exposure? Nada. Vitamin D levels did not increase at all; in fact, they were a little lower than when the study began!
Why did it fail? Dr. Cannell thinks there are several possible reasons. Perhaps the women didn't comply as well as they reported. Perhaps the amount of UVB in mid-day sunlight in October and November at that lattitude is insufficient to make Vitamin D. Perhaps the area of the body exposed was not large enough to make Vitamin D. And finally, maybe the time of exposure wasn't long enough.
Dr. Cannell points out that human beings were originally equatorial animals. And living on the equator in primordial times, they didn't wear a whole lot clothes, and maybe not any. He estimates a Vitamin D input of 5,000 to 10,000 IUs per day for our primordial ancestors and an average blood level of 50 ng/ml.
I take 5,000 IUs of Vitamin D3 daily. It's the tiniest little capsule you can imagine, but it is a powerhouse of health support. And, I think that just about everybody ought to be doing it, although less for small children.