Dr. Gray's Straight Talk

Honest and blunt healthcare discussion and advice.

Posts Tagged ‘drugs’

Cholesterol Meds… Yes or No?

Posted by Dr. Gray on Wednesday, April 8, 2015

As a chiropractor, nutritionist, and acupuncturist, I often get questions from my patients that, I think, are designed to pit my answer against that of their medical doctor. Let me start this by stating that I don’t think this is the way we should approach these kinds of questions. Your health care team should all be questioned with an open mind, and their answers considered, before making an informed health decision. Your health care professionals all come from different backgrounds, philosophies, and different specialties. Take advantage of the knowledge you are paying them for, and make the decision that is best for YOU. Don’t forget, the original Latin term for doctor referred to “teacher,” not dictator. Your health, methods of treatment, and all activities and decisions that affect your outcomes are your choice… and responsibility.

I’ve said for years that with prescription rights, statin medications are the one class of pharmaceuticals that I would never consider prescribing for my patients. However, with further research, my position has changed… slightly. First, we must define what is our purpose for considering statin use. Is it to lower cholesterol? No… cholesterol levels are merely one set of numbers used to evaluate how our body is functioning. The theory is that lowering one’s bad cholesterol levels will decrease one’s risk of death, heart disease or stroke. Therefore, the use of statin medications must be determined based on weighing how well it achieves those goals versus the risk of negative effects as a result of taking them.

Ultimately, the decision lies with the patient and I feel it would be my responsibility to clearly define the pros and cons of statin use. For example, I would point out that 1 of every 50 people who use statins develop diabetes. I would also point out that 1 in 10 develop muscle damage (rhabdomyolysis). About 1 of every 100 develop significant liver damage. Those are pretty strong negatives.

Now for the examination of proven benefits… For those with no history of heart disease,

  • 98% saw no benefit
  • 0% were helped by being saved from death
  • 0.96% were helped by preventing a heart attack
  • 0.65% were helped by preventing a stroke

For those with known heart disease,

  • 96% saw no benefit
  • 1.2% were helped by being saved from death
  • 2.6% were helped by preventing a repeat heart attack
  • 0.8% were helped by preventing a stroke

As a public health measure, this suggests that statins may have an identifiable effect, because while the chances of any one individual being affected are small (19 out of 20 people who took the drugs for five years saw no effect), when one million people who already have a history of heart disease take them roughly 45,000 people saw some benefit, while another 6,000 may see a harm.

Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a senior scientist at MIT, believes statins should never be given to anyone, but being generous one might justify the only two subgroups of people that might benefit from statins as:

  • Those at very high risk of heart attack (based NOT on your cholesterol levels, but on your heart attack risk factors)
  • Those born with a genetic defect called familial hypercholesterolemia, as this makes you resistant to traditional measures of normalizing cholesterol

If you are not in one of those two categories, statin drugs are likely an unnecessary health risk you’re better off avoiding — and you definitely want to avoid the trap of taking them to lower your cholesterol when your cholesterol is actually well within a healthy range.

A better question would be: What are the alternatives to statins that will optimize my cholesterol levels and decrease my risk of heart disease, and stroke?

The most effective way to optimize your cholesterol profile and prevent heart disease is via diet and exercise. It’s actually quite simple too, as 75 percent of your cholesterol is produced by your liver, which is influenced by your insulin levels. Therefore, if you optimize your insulin level, you will automatically optimize your cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease at the same time.

The primary recommendations for safely regulating your cholesterol, without the need for statin drugs that may damage your liver and your heart, include:

  • Reduce, with the plan of eliminating grains and fructose from your diet. This is the number one way to optimize your insulin levels, which will have a positive effect on not just your cholesterol, but also reduces your risk of diabetes and heart disease, and most other chronic diseases. Use a nutrition plan to help you determine the ideal diet for you, and consume a good portion of your food raw.
  • There is also very good evidence that following a “Mediterranean Diet” (interesting because this diet emphasizes whole grains… be sure to choose the particular nutritional plan that fits for your metabolism) is more successful at normalizing cholesterol levels and decreasing heart disease than using statin medications, and achieves it without any negative effects.
  • Get plenty of high quality, animal-based omega 3 fats, such as krill oil, and reduce your consumption of damaged omega-6 fats (trans fats, vegetable oils) to balance out your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio.
  • Include heart-healthy foods in your diet, such as olive oil, coconut and coconut oil, organic raw dairy products and eggs, avocados, raw nuts and seeds, and organic grass-fed meats.
  • Exercise daily. Make sure you incorporate peak fitness exercises, which also optimizes your human growth hormone (HGH) production.
  • Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol excessively.
  • Be sure to get plenty of good, restorative sleep.

– Dr. Gray

Posted in General Health, Nutrition, Prescription Medicines | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Most Powerful Documentary You’ll Ever Watch

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Many of you may have heard about a recently released documentary called, “Doctored.” I finally got to see this video within the last couple days and I have to say… I was much more impressed than I expected to be. Most often, documentaries are produced with an agenda and/or a message in mind, and this one is no different. However, too often those documentaries fall extremely short in actual data and truth in reporting. I’m happy to announce that this is NOT one of them. Although there is a good deal of anecdotal stories, this documentary had a ton of statistically verifiable evidence in support of the underlying message. Many of you that know me, know that I’m not an “Anti-Med” chiropractor. Yes, I’m natural first, but I recognize that there are times and conditions that warrant concurrent pharmaceutical intervention. That said, this documentary is essential watching to anyone interested in true “health care” as opposed to “sick care.”

I want to thank Dr. Mercola for making this video available for free on his website for a limited time. Watch it now, before it’s taken down. Once it’s taken down… it’s worth the few bucks to order a copy on DVD.  Keep your eyes peeled, because I’m sure it will be available on pay-per-view at some point, too. Here is the link to the free video on Dr. Mercola’s site: Click here to go to Dr. Mercola’s site with the free video.

– Dr. Gray

Posted in General Chiropractic, General Health, Other Pain Conditions, Political, Prescription Medicines | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Headaches… Research Keeps Proving Chiropractic Right

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cleopatra, Moses, and Hippocrates have all been associated with headaches. In fact, archaeological findings have shown evidence of trepanation (cutting a hole in the skull to relieve pressure) dating back to 7,000BC. Is seems as long as humans have been on this planet, there have been headaches. There are over 200 types of headache, and the causes range from harmless to life-threatening. Of the many types of headache, all can be classified into 13 groups as noted in ICDH-2(2004). Nine out of ten Americans suffer from headaches. Some are occasional, some frequent, some are dull and throbbing, and some cause debilitating pain and nausea.

Research shows that spinal manipulation – the primary form of care provided by doctors of chiropractic – is an effective treatment option for tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck. A report released by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC, found that spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for those headaches that originate in the neck, and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headache than a commonly prescribed medication. Also, a study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that spinal manipulative therapy is an effective treatment for tension headaches and that those who ceased chiropractic treatment after four weeks experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit in contrast with those patients who received a commonly prescribed medication.

Every day, chiropractors hear similar stories from hundreds of people who have been suffering for years with pain and are at their wits end because the only thing offered to them by their physicians and specialists are more drugs. Many people think headaches are normal and take over-the-counter or prescription drugs to relieve the pain. But these drugs only dull the pain, they don’t treat the cause, which is why the headache returns.

In addition to chronic headaches, chiropractic care is also effective in treating tension headaches. A recent study released by the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research finds that individuals undergoing chiropractic therapy showed sustained reduction in headache frequency and severity compared with patients who took the drug amitriptyline, a commonly prescribed medication for tension headaches. The conclusion of the study shows that chiropractic is not actually a therapy or treatment, but rather gets to the cause of the problem, thus allowing the body to effect a correction that lasts beyond actual care.

While many people associate chiropractic care as a treatment for bad backs, there is growing documentation that chiropractic is also effective in the treatment of cervicogenic headaches, migraines and cluster headaches. In fact, the American Chiropractic Association reports that 14 percent of the public who see chiropractors presently go for headaches. However, much of the general public continues to use the traditional medical practitioner route for headache treatment, with little success. The problem rests in the six misconceptions about headache relief. They are listed below, followed by an explanation:

  1. Over-The-Counter Medications Treat The Cause Of Your Headache. – Drugs primarily numb the pain. If these drugs treated the real cause, your headaches would go away permanently. None of us were born with too few Advil in our blood. A lack of drugs is not the cause.
  2. Headache Medication Can’t Harm You. – On the contrary, drugs can cause side effects that can be far worse than the headache pain you’re trying to relieve.
  3. Stress Causes Headaches. – Although stress is a part of life, it is not the cause of headaches. Rather, it’s how your body adapts to stress that affects your health. Chiropractic care can provide ways to help you increase your body’s ability to adapt to stress of any kind.
  4. Headaches Go Away On Their Own. – Without treating the cause, or root of the problem, they won’t.
  5. All Doctors Know How To Treat Headaches. – If this were true, no one would suffer from headaches. Chiropractors offer natural alternatives that do not involve drugs or invasive treatments.
  6. Your Problem Is Always Where Your Pain Is. – In fact, not all headaches originate in the head. For instance, a person who suffered a neck injury at some point in their life, whether from a car accident, playing sports, or a fall as a child, could suffer head pain later on. These are called cervicogenic headaches because they result from tension of the neck and head muscles.

Although headaches come in many shapes, forms, and causes, wouldn’t you prefer to address the underlying cause instead of masking the symptoms? Chiropractic care has proven a valuable and safe alternative to traditional medicine that should be a part of any treatment plan as one of the first lines of defense when addressing these conditions. Those of you who have read my blog and/or know me, understand that I’m NOT an anti-med guy. I readily admit and embrace my medical counterparts as we attempt to help our patients achieve better outcomes from their health care. All I’m asking is that you determine your priorities and goals… weigh your pros and cons. If there is a treatment option that has fewer side effects and risks, less overall cost, and better outcomes… why would you not explore that option?

If you or someone you know suffers with headaches, please tell them to choose chiropractic as one of their first options rather than their last.

– Dr. Gray

Posted in General Chiropractic, Headaches, Neck Pain | Tagged: , , , , | 14 Comments »

Why Are You Supposed To Get A Flu Shot?

Posted by Dr. Gray on Monday, October 26, 2009

Nearly every day, I am asked about vaccinations, or “the flu shot.” My patients ask if I take them, and whether or not they should. The answer to the first part of the question is unequivically… NO! No way. Uh uh. Not going to do it. Not for me, my wife, or my kids. Not a chance in hell. But, that’s just me, and it’s based on the knowledge I have gained by researching the methods of production, the ingredients, how they work, and the risks involved. Whether or not you choose to take a “flu shot,” swine flu shot, chicken pox vaccine, or any other vaccine is a personal decision that you must make based on your own research and individual situation.

However, that’s kinda the sticky part, huh? As an everyday citizen who doesn’t live, breathe, and research the health care world everyday, where are you supposed to find unbiased research? Turns out… there’s not much credible info to be found. You’ll find a thousand sources telling you they’re safe and that you should get vaccinated. But, largely, they’re just repeating what they’ve been told or read elsewhere. There are tons of articles and repeated instructions of your need to get the flu shot, but what are they basing their instructions on? Do you really think Regis & Kelly (that who’s on with him now?) have done the research? You think Oprah has read medical journals examining the evidence about vaccinations? What about the anchor on your local evening news… think they’ve spent the time it takes to review medical research? What about President Obama? Think he’s an expert on the swine flu?

Okay… here’s a tough one… what about your general physician? You know… the guy who’s overbooked and spends about ninety seconds with you before writing out a script and heading to the next room. The same guy who’s trying to battle insurance companies every day for fair reimbursement for his services and expertise. The same guy who has ten phone calls to make and six reports to write to “justify” his recommendations to some insurance adjuster. Do you really think he’s spent oodles of time researching the history and efficacy of vaccinations?

So… if none of them have done the research, who has, and who is telling us it’s so important for us to get vaccinated? Come on… you can say it… you’ve heard me tell you a hundred times on here… what’s it all about? It’s all about the Benjamins, baby! You know it as well as I do. Who serves to profit from vaccinations? Who wants to create a market for a new product? Who wants that product completely sold before it’s even produced? Who spends billions lobbying members of Congress and the FDA? Who spends billions on network advertising virtually assuring a lack of scrutiny or criticism? The pharmaceutical companies, of course. They make billions selling their wares to the uneducated public, media, and government. They pay “experts” to sign off on and approve research that these so-called experts haven’t participated in or reviewed… then pass it off to the public as gospel. This form of “research” and ghost writing is well documented and general knowledge. So… the only research done on these products and released to the public is done by and approved by the pharmaceutical companies themselves. Kinda convenient, huh?

So where does the media get their information on which they base their vehement recommendations that you need to get your flu shots? Press releases from the very same pharmaceutical companies, of course. And with the risk of losing billions in advertising dollars, do you think the “news” divisions of these media outlets are going to question or scrutinize the information given to them? I don’t think so. Again, follow the money. If Big Pharma, Inc. that buys five billion in advertising on your network this year gives you a press release and asks, “Would you mind putting this info out for us,” do you think you’re going to refuse? What’s it cost the media outlet to have one of their commentators read that on the air? Nothing. What’s it cost them if they refuse? Potentially, five billion that the pharmaceutical company will take to another network who will push their agenda for them.

Why does the government fall in line? What’d I tell you? Follow the money! The pharmaceutical industry has four lobbyists for every Congressperson in Washington. They spend every bit as much in donations to re-election campaigns as they do on advertising. Congresscritters, being in perpetual campaign mode, are easy targets. Got an election coming up? We’ve got a couple million we can divert to you… if you’ll support our issues. Look at the debacle of Medicare Part D, also known as the prescription drug plan. These idiots in Washington, under the guise of “helping seniors,” agreed to spend your tax money on tens of thousands of unnecessary medications, while also agreeing to an arrangement where they can’t negotiate for better prices! I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been under the impression that you can get better rates if you can buy in bulk. But, alas, no. Your “representatives” in Washington agreed to give your money to the pharmaceutical companies at whatever rate the company establishes as their fee. By the way, I think 95% of Congresscritters got re-elected in the last election. Interesting, huh?

What about your physician? Where does he get his info? Why does he believe and recommend vaccinations. On what do they base their recommendations of “safety and effectiveness?” Well, the pharmaceutical companies also employ one liaison, also known as a drug rep, for every six physicians in the country. Their sole job is to stimulate the writing of more prescriptions. They do this by regularly visiting physicians and “educating” them about new products and how to properly prescribe, document, and bill for pharmaceutical products. They provide meals and entertainment for the doctors and their staff… every day. I know doctors who boast that they’ve not had to buy lunch in years. Big prescribers are invited to “educational” seminars in the Bahamas for their continuing ed requirements… paid for by the pharmaceutical company, of course. Ever noticed all of the pens, clipboards, notepads, etc. in your doctors office have the name of some drug on them? That’s just one more ‘thank you’ for recommending our products. Just a gift, right? Nope, you’ve just saved that office a few thousand dollars per year in office supply costs.

Wow! This got much longer than I thought it was going to be. Thanks for reading and check out the following video,

Dr. Gray

Posted in General Health, Political, Prescription Medicines | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Swine Flu Vaccine… History Repeating Itself?

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, October 20, 2009

This video was broadcast once, and was subsequently squashed. Interesting that none of this is being discussed. Fear is again driving the issue. All over the media, you are being pummeled with dire warnings about the swine flu and how dangerous it is. What you’re not hearing is that a majority of experts admit that the swine flu is actually a fairly mild form of the flu. In fact, many have stated that it is less invasive and dangerous than the traditional seasonal flu.

So why are we being warned about it so much? What’s the motivation? Come on, people… in your gut, you know what it is… It’s all about the Benjamins! Money, of course. What you have witnessed is an all out media blitz to sell a product. A marketing ploy that the “news” media and your federal government has been complicit in pushing. Can you imagine having a product in production that is sold out before it even rolls off the assembly line? That’s what this is. All you hear about is, “There may not be enough vaccine to go around.” What that means is… they’ve already sold as much as they will produce within the flu season window. Nobody in the media is asking the pertinent question, “What do you mean ‘not enough to go around’… do we even need it? And what are the potential side effects? Do the perceived benefits outweigh the risks?”

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Fight Colds and Flu Naturally, Part Three

Posted by Dr. Gray on Wednesday, October 7, 2009

In this article, we’re going to discuss some of the actual things you can do EASILY to fight colds and flu naturally.

In the last couple of articles (Part One, Part Two), we talked about the fact that antibiotics don’t kill viruses; and we also talked about how to differentiate between viral and bacterial infections. Taking antibiotics to fight a viral infection is like urinating in a fan to take a shower… it may feel like you’re helping, but you’re just making things worse!

I don’t have the exact stats in front of me, but I would venture to state that 90% of infections are resolved naturally by your body; often without you ever knowing it was there. Your ability to fight off infections is dictated primarily by the strength and health of your immune system. The immune system is a complex conglomeration and cooperation of cells, proteins, organs, and other items that are designed to recognize and destroy invading organisms. The proper way to fight off infections or illness naturally is to strengthen and boost this immune system in order that your body can do what it’s supposed to do. Here are some of the most important things you can do to boost your immune system:

  1. Take extra Vitamin C – If you’re healthy and not at risk, 500 mg is usually a good daily amount to shoot for. However, during flu season and/or if you’re at risk of exposure, you can bump this amount up to 2,000-3,000 mg per day. This vitamin increases the production of white cells and interferon, an antibody that stops viruses from entering cells.
  2. Eat garlic – Garlic is antibacterial, antiviral, antihelminic (anti-worm), antifungal, and anticancerous. It’s good… eat it regularly or take a quality supplement.
  3. Probiotics – These are the “friendly” bacteria that are normally present in the digestive tract. They serve multiple purposes including warding off invading bacteria and properly digesting your food for improved absorption of the nutrients you are eating.
  4. Drink lots of water – Water is the fluid of life. During an illness, there are tons of toxins and wastes that your body is trying to get rid of. Your body must have an ample supply of fresh water in order wash out these harmful substances and to carry good nutrients and immune cells to the sites of infection for battle. If you aren’t drinking enough water, it’s like flushing a toilet with the tank empty… you can’t get rid of the waste, and things just get more and more dirty.
  5. Stop eating sugar! – Not only will sugar feed the infection, but it reduces the effectiveness of white blood cells (your “killer” cells) for up to three hours after ingesting it. Double whammy negative.
  6. Zinc – This nutrient is essential to optimal operation of the immune system.
  7. At the first sign of infection, take Echinacea – This Native American herb has long been valued for its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Studies indicate that it can stimulate production of immune cells. To make sure you’ve got a good quality source, put some on your tongue and you should feel a slight numbing sensation. No tingle… no good.
  8. Get plenty of rest – Simply speaking, if you’re using all of your energy and fuel on daily activities or work, you have less energy that your immune system can use to fight off illness.
  9. Avoid dairy products and red meat – These can actually increase mucous production and worsen clogged sinuses.
  10. Avoid coffee, alcohol, and smoking – These are all well known to decrease immune function.
  11. Sip Ginger tea – This is a warming herb that soothes the throat, and aids circulation. It helps cleanse the body and increase perspiration which can help with fever.
  12. Humidity helps – Infections and viruses thrive in cold, dry environments. Stay warm and increase the humidity of your environment. Sleep in a closed room with a humidifier or vaporizer running. Take hot, steamy showers. If you’re feeling dizzy and don’t feel safe standing in the shower, close the bathroom and run the shower on hot while seated nearby… sit back, relax, and breathe the steam in through the nose if possible.
  13. Ease sore throat pain by drinking hot herbal teas – Ginger, peppermint, marshmallow (the herb, not the sugar puffs), or slippery elm all make good herbal teas when you’ve got congestion and/or a sore throat. One of my favorites is strong green tea sweetened with a little honey and one drop of organic peppermint oil.
  14. Eat something spicy – horseradish and cayenne are good for loosening the sinuses, increasing circulation, and increasing perspiration. Again… warming herbs.
  15. Eat warming foods that are easy to digest – Like chicken noodle soup or other broths. And you thought this was just Gramma’s solution. Turns out Grandma was a pretty smart old bird. Want to make them even better tasting and more effective? Season them with cayenne, garlic, or ginger.
  16. Wash, cleanse, clean – This seems like a no-brainer, but often we don’t take it far enough. Wash your hands regularly; especially if someone else in the house is sick. Change and wash the sheets on the bed and pillowcases. Disinfect the bathrooms and kitchen. Use a new toothbrush. Wash the throw blankets on the couch. Etc. Think about all of the different things you come in contact with that can harbor bacteria or viruses even for a short time (computer keyboard, mouse, telephone,… everything). Clean these things regularly to avoid re-infection.

So, let’s wrap it up and recap. One more time… antibiotics don’t kill viruses. Stop demanding or rushing to antibiotics every time you feel a sniffle coming on. Most infections can be fought off naturally. It’s what your body’s immune system is designed to do. One of the best things about boosting your immune system and fighting colds and flu naturally is that your body develops antibodies that stay in your system to increase your immunity the next time you are exposed to a virus or bacteria. This means you are less likely to succumb to an infection or illness if you come in contact with it again.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to comment here or send me an email. Good luck, and stay healthy!

Dr. Gray

Posted in General Health, Nutrition | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Fight Colds and Flu Naturally, Part One

Posted by Dr. Gray on Monday, September 28, 2009

I am continually amazed at the number of medics who prescribe antibiotic medications for viral illness. Let’s just state this again so that we’re clear:

ANTIBIOTICS DON’T KILL VIRUSES!!!

Okay? You got it? If you are fighting a viral infection, taking antibiotics is like airing up the tires when your car is overheating. Think about it… airing up the tires has nothing to do with an overheating engine. However, when you stop and turn off the engine to air up the tires, it can take long enough that the temperature comes down. Therefore, some would argue that airing up the tires cooled off the engine. What a crock, right?

When you take antibiotics for a viral infection, you consciously admit that you are sick and are fighting an infection. In response, you drink more water, get more rest, limit intake of sugars and dairy, and eat a more bland or subdued diet with fiber and liquids. Within three to seven days, you start to feel better and… claim the antibiotics got you well??? Know what the average natural lifespan of a viral infection is?… Three to seven days. So, your body did what it was supposed to do. It produced more white blood cells, pulled the viruses into the lymphatic system (swollen lymph nodes?), killed them off, and is washing them out. The antibiotics had nothing to do with it.

Know what the antibiotics did do? They killed almost all of the normal, natural bacterial flora in your digestive tract. With fewer bacteria in the digestive tract, there is nothing to keep the fungus/yeast in check, therefore you are apt to develop a yeast infection. (Sound familiar, ladies?) With abnormal balance between bacteria and fungus in your intestines, you don’t digest and process your food optimally. (Diarrhea or constipation, anyone?) Now that you’re not getting nutrients from your food, you’re fatigued and your immune system is depressed. With a depressed immune system, it takes your body longer to fight off the viral infection for which you originally took the antibiotics.

Then what? Now you’re so down, your body succumbs to a true infection from bacteria that is present in your body all the time… but is usually kept under control naturally. Enough of the strongest little buggers survive the first round of antibiotics, therefore, only the strongest and most antibiotic resistant bacteria live on to cause new illness. How do we treat this? With more antibiotics, of course!

It’s no wonder we have growing fear about antibiotic resistant infections. We’re now stuck with a massive scare tactic where the vaccine is more dangerous than the illness… and people are fighting for the shot! Can you believe it? The doctors won’t give this vaccine to themselves or their family, but the media is set on convincing you it’s necessary. Why? As I’ve always told you… follow the money. Who are the biggest purchasers of advertising on TV and news programs? … That’s right… the pharmaceutical industry.

Enough ranting. I saw the preceding article originally posted in a 2007 To Your Health magazine and thought it was quite fitting for today’s article:

It’s cold and flu season, and the sounds of coughing, sneezing and runny noses can be heard in nearly every home, office and shopping mall across the country. But don’t run to the doctor and stock up on prescriptions just yet.

Colds, flus, most sore throats and acute bronchitis are caused by viruses, and antibiotics do not help fight viruses. Your prescription medication won’t fight the virus, make you feel better, yield a quicker recovery or keep others from getting sick. In fact, because of the potentially serious side effects, taking antibiotics to treat a virus can do more harm than good.

In addition to failing to solve your problem, taking unnecessary antibiotics can result in an increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in some way that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of drugs, chemicals or other agents designed to cure or prevent infections. This means the next time you really need an antibiotic for a bacterial infection, it may not work.

What Not To Do

  • Don’t demand antibiotics from your doctor. They won’t help treat your infection.
  • Don’t take an antibiotic for a viral infection like a cold, cough or the flu.
  • Never take antibiotics prescribed for someone else.

More on how to tell the difference between a viral and bacterial infection in the next article. Also, how to decide that you’ve tried natural remedies long enough and it’s time for some pharmaceutical help. Until next time, take care.

Article by: Dr. James Gray

Posted in General Health, Nutrition, Prescription Medicines | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The Truth About Vitamin C

Posted by Dr. Gray on Monday, September 21, 2009

There are many misconceptions about this valuable vitamin. Most commonly, Vitamin C is sold as a supplement under the name of ascorbic acid. However, what most people do not understand is that ascorbic acid is merely a small percentage of a much larger entity known as the Vitamin C Complex. The FDA has decided to rate any “vitamin C” product according to how much ascorbic acid it contains. In actuality, the real value of this vitamin is not only the ascorbic acid component; it is all the other components that make up the entire complex.

Vitamin C Complex contains what is referred to as the vitamin P factors (bioflavanoids) which help with vascular integrity. Patients deficient in bioflavanoids have a tendency to bruise easily or bleed in their gums while brushing their teeth. What happens is that the blood vessels break or rupture too easily and then bleed. So this vitamin P factor makes the vessels more durable. Vitamin K is also a constituent of the Vitamin C Complex. Vitamin K is actually its own blood clotting factor. It promotes the release of prothrombin. Another valuable component of the Vitamin C Complex is vitamin J… aka “the J factor.” This component increases the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. Patients who are sick need to get oxygen to the tissues, so it can oxidize bacterial or viral toxins to eliminate them with carbon dioxide. The Vitamin C Complex also contains many valuable enzymes with the most important being tyrosinase. This enzyme helps activate the adrenal glands. Ascorbic acid is also a very important component to the Vitamin C complex. It helps acidify the body which helps when we are sick. When we are sick our body tends to be more alkaline.

In a proper Vitamin C supplement of 500 mg, about .01% or 5 mg should be ascorbic acid. The other 495 mg are the other constituents which make up the Vitamin C Complex. Most of the supplements which are sold over the counter may contain upwards of 500 mg of synthetic ascorbic acid and only about 25 mg of the very valuable Vitamin C complex constituents. If there were a supplement that contained 500 mg of natural ascorbic acid, the supplement would have to be the size of a golf ball. If you want to know if your supplement contains a natural Vitamin C, all you have to do is look at the potency. If the capsule or tablet is 500 mg and it contains more than 5 mg of ascorbic acid, it is a synthetic form of vitamin C. Natural forms of Vitamin C complex are extracted by removing water and fiber from whole food sources, such as organically grown alfalfa, mushrooms, buckwheat and rose hips. The remainder of the extract forms a powder which is put into a capsule form for consumption. It holds true that the closer we keep supplements to their natural state, the better the bioavailability of the nutrients.

Article by: Dr. Josh Sonsiadek

*This note is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as a primary therapy for any disease. The purpose for supplementation is to help support the normal processes of the body.*

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Living With Arthritis Without Resorting To Drugs and Surgery

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Arthritis is one of the oldest known afflictions and can affect virtually every part of the body, from the feet to the knees, back, shoulders and fingers. More than 50 million (about one in six) Americans suffer from arthritis. The most common types are rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and gouty arthritis.

There are natural ways to improve your arthritis symptoms. Dairy products, caffeine, citrus fruits, paprika, salt, tobacco and sugar should be reduced or eliminated from your diet, as these foods may increase joint inflammation. Additionally, nightshades (e.g., red, green and yellow bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, white flesh potatoes) should be avoided because they have a tendency to intensify arthritic symptoms. Foods containing sulfur, such as asparagus, eggs, garlic and onions, are important for the repair and rebuilding of bone, cartilage and connective tissue, and also aid in the absorption of calcium. Other good foods include green, leafy vegetables (which supply vitamin K), fresh vegetables, non-acidic fresh fruits, whole grains, oatmeal, brown rice and fish. Fresh pineapple contains bromelain, a powerful natural anti-inflammatory agent, which works by stimulating the body’s production of prostaglandins.

One of the most overlooked approaches to improve the discomfort associated with arthritis is hydration. Depending on your level of activity, a good rule of thumb is to drink half of your weight in ounces. Thus, if you weigh 180 pounds, you should consume 90 ounces of pure, filtered water per day.

Arthritis in any form can be a debilitating condition that prevents you from living the life you want. Rather than immediately accepting the dangerous side effects of drugs and risky surgeries, talk to your doctor about natural alternatives to keep your muscles and joints in optimal condition.

Posted in Nutrition, Other Pain Conditions | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Inappropriate Prescriptions For Elderly

Posted by Dr. Gray on Thursday, April 23, 2009

From pain to depression to infection, there seems to be a pill for just about everything; it’s no surprise then that prescription use is at an all time high in the U.S. A recent study, however, revealed that inappropriate medications are often prescribed to the elderly, putting them at risk for many adverse side-effects.

Investigators from Duke Clinical Reasearch Institute in Durham, NC, examined over 700,000 outpatient prescription claims from a national pharmaceutical benefit manager in subjects 65-years or older. The study found that 21 percent of the subjects had filled a prescription for one or more drugs that had been named on the Beers revised list of drugs to be avoided in elderly populations. More than 15 percent filled prescriptions for two drugs on the list, and four percent filled three or more within the same year. Alarmingly, 51 percent of the prescriptions filled were known to have possible severe side-effects.

Before your next trip to the drug store, talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of your prescriptions, and ask about those with fewer side effects to avoid suffering potentially severe consequences. Or better yet, ask about nonprescription alternatives to treatment.

References: Curtis LH, Ostbye T, Sendersky V, et.al. Inappropriate prescribing for elderly Americans in a large outpatient population. Archives of Internal Medicine 2004 (164):1621-25.

Dr. Gray’s Comments: Although this article was written primarily aimed at the elderly, most reading this blog aren’t there yet. Therefore, learn from this! Understand that the majority of medications and age-related conditions can be avoided if you make proper decisions now. Follow good dietary recommendations, take whole-food supplements (not synthetic, fractional crap), and exercise regularly.

Posted in General Health, Prescription Medicines | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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