Lycopene is an antioxidant known to decrease the risk of age-related chronic diseases, such as cancer.
Oxidative stress induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS) is associated with the risk of osteoporosis, and can be reduced by certain dietary antioxidants.
Lycopene reduces oxidative stress and the levels of bone turnover markers in postmenopausal women, and may be beneficial in reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Lycopene is available as a supplement. Dosage is 5-10 mg daily. You can also just eat a lot of tomatoes. Frying the tomatoes in oil improves the bioavailability of the lycopene.
In a cross-sectional study, 33 postmenopausal women aged 50-60 years provided seven-day dietary records and blood samples. Serum samples were used to measure serum lycopene, lipid peroxidation, protein thiols, bone alkaline phosphatase (BAP), and cross-linked N-telopeptides of type I collagen (NTx). The serum lycopene per kilogram body weight of the participants was grouped into quartiles and associated with the above serum parameters using one-way ANOVA and the Newman-Keuls post-test.
The results showed that groups with higher lycopene intake, as determined from the dietary records, had higher serum lycopene (p<0.02). A higher serum lycopene was found to be associated with a low NTx (p<0.005). Similarly, groups with higher serum lycopene had lower protein oxidation (p<0.05).
Reference: Rao LG1, Mackinnon ES, Josse RG, Murray TM, Strauss A, Rao AV. Lycopene consumption decreases oxidative stress and bone resorption markers in postmenopausal women. Osteoporos Int. 2007 Jan;18(1):109-15. Epub 2006 Aug 29.
The carotenoid, lutein, has been found to protect rats from liver damage induced by either paracetamol (found in Panadol and many other painkillers), dry-cleaning fluid and alcohol.
The liver-protective action may be due to lutein's antioxidant effects.
Carotenoids are a class of natural fat-soluble pigments that are found in many fruits and vegetables. Consumption of a diet rich in carotenoids has been epidemiologically correlated with a lower risk for several diseases.
Yet another study finding that a healthy diet needs to be high in fruits and vegetables. Lutein is also available as a supplement.
Sindhu ER1, Firdous AP, Preethi KC, Kuttan R. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2010 Aug;62(8):1054-60. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-7158.2010.01123.x.
Cherries block the tubular reabsorption of urate and increase urate excretion in the urine. Cherry juice may also block xanthine oxidase and reduce the production of uric acid.
In December 2012, Zhang and colleaguesfrom Boston University Medical Center published a very interesting paper in Arthritis and Rheumatism.
In this case/control study, patients with gout were enrolled in an Internet-based registry.
Investigators picked a 2-day period just before an attack of gout and compared that period with the 2 preceding days and the 2 subsequent days as control periods unrelated to an attack of gout.
The investigators validated the diagnosis of gout in more than 550 patients by looking at medical records authorized by the patients for review, and found that this group of patients had more than 1250 attacks of gout.
The investigators looked at various self-reported dietary items, including cherries and other unrelated foods.
They found that the intake of cherries before an attack of gout reduced the likelihood of experiencing an acute attack of gout by one third compared with the intake of unrelated foods.
Reference: Zhang Y; Neogi T; Chen C; Chaisson C; Hunter DJ; Choi HK Cherry consumption and decreased risk of recurrent gout attacks.Arthritis Rheum. 2012; 64(12):4004-11
Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, may relieve symptoms of major depression—especially atypical depression, a subtype of major depression—according to a new Australian research.
“The results of this study provide partial support for the antidepressant and anxiolytic effects of curcumin in people suffering from major depressive disorder,” the study authors, led Dr Adrian Lopresti of Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia, note.
Atypical depression is a unique form of major depression. Unlike other types of major depression, such as melancholic depression, which is associated with oversleeping, loss of appetite, and lack of mood improvement even if a positive event happens, atypical depression sufferers often experience insomnia, increased appetite or weight gain, fatigue, and the ability for mood to lift if a positive event occurs. Subjects are also very sensitive to feelings of rejection. Atypical depression is quite common.
The randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled study included 56 people aged 18-65 living in the Perth metropolitan area who were randomly assigned to receive either curcumin (500mg) or placebo (cellulose). Patients were instructed to take one capsule, twice daily, for 8 weeks.
The researchers found that for the first four weeks of treatment, both curcumin and placebo reduced depressive and anxiety symptoms. However during the second four weeks of the study, curcumin was significantly more effective than placebo in lowering self-reported depressive and anxiety symptoms.
Curcumin, the primary active component of turmeric, is a potent antioxidant and may influence a number of different mechanisms associated with major depression, including mono-aminergic activity, immune-inflammatory pathways and the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.
How does curcumin work on depression? The effects are likely partially due to the curcuminoid’s anti-inflammatory properties, the researchers surmise, at least when it comes to atypical depression, which is often associated with higher levels of inflammation. Other factors might also be at play.
Lopresti et al., 2014, J. Affect. Disord. 2014;167: 368-375.
Researchers from Flinders University are on a ground-breaking journey to prove – and prevent – the cancer-causing effects of eating red meat.
In a world first, the team of scientists has generated preliminary evidence to show that red meat increases lesions on the DNA of the colon which, left unrepaired, could lead to mutations, raising the risk of colorectal cancer.
Now, the group is trying to find a way to correct this specific type of DNA damage by delivering resistant starch directly to the colon where it converts to short chain fatty acids, thereby reversing the damage.
“The body has its own system to repair these lesions but we’re not sure how much red meat tips this repair mechanism over the edge, making the individual more susceptible to mutations and cancer,” PhD candidate Jean Winter, who is leading the study, said.
“What we do know is that resistant starch ferments in the colon and turns into short chain fatty acids, and these short chain fatty acids have been shown in animal models to reduce cancer rates,” she said.
“So what we’re trying to find out is whether eating red meat with resistant starch reduces the number of lesions and therefore the risk of cancer.”
Using mouse models that are prone to colon cancer because they lack the genes to repair either the lesions or subsequent mutations, the researchers hope to confirm their theory that DNA lesions increase with red meat and that resistant starch protects against, or reverses, the damage.
Mrs Winter, who is also a research assistant based in the Cancer Prevention Unit of the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer, said the ultimate aim of the study was to prevent cancer from the outset.
“Colorectal cancer is the second-most diagnosed cancer in Australia and we actually have the highest incidence of colorectal cancer in the world,” she said.
“But it’s important to realise that colon cancer can be prevented through lifestyle, primarily diet, and if we can prevent cancer we don’t have to treat cancer, which is the ultimate goal.”
Michael Thomsen is an experienced naturopath and herbalist with over 30 years experience.
He has a Master of Science, Graduate School of Integrative Medicine at Swinburne University.
Michael provides a comprehensive cancer support programme including herbal and nutritional medicines to safely support you during and after your medical treatment.
Melinda Coughlan, Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute and Nicole Kellow, Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute
Have you ever wondered what those food additive numbers in the ingredients list on your food packaging meant and what they were really doing to your body?
A recent study suggests emulsifiers – detergent-like food additives found in a variety of processed foods – have the potential to damage the intestinal barrier, leading to inflammation and increasing our risk of chronic disease.
The research was done on mice, so it’s too early to say humans should stop eating emulsifiers, but let’s examine the mechanisms involved.
The gut’s bacterial flora
The lining of our gastrointestinal tract has one of the toughest jobs around. It must allow fluid and nutrients to be absorbed from our diet, while also acting as a barrier to prevent the invasion of toxins and harmful bacteria into our bodies.
The cells that make up the intestinal lining secrete a gel-like mucus and a variety of antimicrobial substances, which normally protect them from bacterial infection. But changes in the types of microorganisms living in the gut – from drinking too much alcohol, viral infections, certain drugs and exposure to radiation – can all reduce the integrity of the gastrointestinal barrier.
The hundreds of species of microscopic bugs living in the human gastrointestinal tract (collectively called the “gut microbiota”) play an important role in assisting us to digest food, educating our immune system during its development and increasing the absorption of important minerals from our diet.
Some beneficial species of bacteria can even break down the food that reaches our bowel to produce special types of fats, called short-chain fatty acids. Once absorbed into our bloodstream, these fatty acids can positively influence health by reducing our appetite and lowering our blood sugar levels.
Under normal circumstances, the gut microbiota are unable to grow on the thick mucus layer attached to the intestinal cells. However, if our intestinal lining becomes damaged, specific harmful bacteria are able to move from our gut across the lining and into our bloodstream.
Immune cells in the blood then recognise and try to attack the foreign invaders by producing inflammatory compounds. Over time, this can result in a chronic low level of inflammation in the gut and throughout the body.
Inflaming the gut
The word inflammation comes from the Latin “inflammatio”, meaning set alight or ignite. It’s the body’s attempt to protect itself by removing harmful stimuli, including damaged cells, irritants or pathogens, and begin the healing process.
Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response. Initially, it is beneficial when, for example, you scratch your hand and the body mounts an innate immune response to send immune cells to the area to attack foreign microbes and repair the damage. Without inflammation, infections and wounds would never heal.
However, sometimes inflammation can become self-perpetuating; more inflammation is created in response to the existing inflammation. This is known as chronic inflammation. It may be caused by overactive immune system reactions, non-degradable pathogens and infections with some viruses. It also occurs with autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s Disease, rheumatoid arthritis and in heart disease, diabetes or stroke.
Uncontrolled chronic inflammation is harmful and leads to tissue damage. This results in side-effects such as fatigue and pain and, in some instances, organ failure. The cause of chronic inflammation in these types of diseases is still unknown.
So, what do emulsifiers do to the gut?
Emulsifiers are natural or chemical substances that consist of a “water-loving” end and an “oil-loving” end. They’re commonly used to combine ingredients that normally don’t mix together, such as oil and water.
It would be impossible, for instance, to make mayonnaise without using lecithin (found in egg yolk) as an emulsifier to evenly mix the oil and lemon juice together.
Emulsifiers are added to bread, salad dressings, sauces, puddings, margarine and ice-cream, to makes it smoother and more resistant to melting.
The authors of the recent Nature article added two common emulsifiers, food additive E466-carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) and polysorbate-80 (P80) to the drinking water and food of lab mice.
The mice showed a change in the species of bacteria growing in their gut when compared to controls, with reduced numbers of bacteria considered beneficial to health, and increased levels of inflammation-promoting microbes.
The mucus layer that usually shields intestinal cells from invading pathogens had become colonised with mucus-eating bacteria in the emulsifier-fed mice, resulting in a thinner mucus barrier.
In comparison to control mice, previously healthy mice that were fed emulsifiers had low-level gastrointestinal inflammation, ate more food and gained more weight (especially body fat), had higher blood sugar levels and were resistant to the action of insulin.
Increased risk of chronic disease
The condition of the mice resembles a human condition that is increasing in prevalence called the metabolic syndrome.
People with the metabolic syndrome have excessive fat around their abdomen, high blood pressure, increased levels of “bad” LDL-cholesterol and reduced levels of “good” HDL-cholesterol, and poor control of blood sugar. It also increases the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
To demonstrate that the altered gut microbiota were responsible for the inflammatory disorders seen in the emulsifier-fed mice, the researchers transferred gut bacteria from the emulsifier-fed mice into germ-free mice (mice raised in sterile conditions so they have no gut bacteria).
The germ-free mice subsequently developed mild inflammation and symptoms of the metabolic syndrome. When emulsifiers were fed to mice that were genetically prone to develop colitis (inflammation of the colon), these mice developed severe colitis. This may have future implications for sufferers of inflammatory bowel disease.
The authors point out that:
the last half-century has witnessed a steady increase in the consumption of food additives, many of which have not been carefully tested as they were given “generally regarded as safe” status at the time that government entities charged with regulating food safety were created and/or expanded.
Don’t throw out the mayonnaise just yet…
The United States Food and Drug Administration has approved polysorbate-80 for use in select foods up to 1%, while E466 has not been extensively studied but is deemed “generally regarded as safe” and is used in various foods at up to 2.0%.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand has approved polysorbate-80 (code number 433 in Australia) and E466 for use in foods with “good manufacturing practice” with no maximum levels.
The study findings highlight the need for regulatory bodies to ensure that food additives are initially tested for safety and continue to undergo long-term monitoring for their effects on chronic health conditions.
But it’s too early to remove all emulsifiers from our diets in order to prevent developing the metabolic syndrome.
Dietary emulsifiers clearly affect the metabolic health of mice, but it’s unknown whether emulsifiers impact human health. Humans have been consuming natural emulsifiers for thousands of years, while mice don’t eat emulsifiers in their normal diet.
We also need to determine the quantities that humans are likely to consume over long time periods and their possible metabolic consequences. For the main experiments in the study, the mice were fed concentrations of emulsifiers greater than the average daily human intake.
Multiple factors contribute to the development of the metabolic syndrome. The over-consumption of kilojoules from highly processed diets and insufficient physical activity remain the primary culprits and should be addressed in the first instance.
However, these studies drive home the importance of cooking using fresh ingredients and avoiding or minimising the use of processed foods. Everyone should start reading food ingredient labels and become more aware of what they are really feeding their family.
DIETS - REAL FOOD OR FAD?
DIET AND MOOD
- The study was a prospective cohort study – A prospective cohort study follows over time a group of similar individuals (cohorts) who differ with respect to certain factors under study, to determine how these factors affect rates of a certain outcome.
- The study was based on data from nearly 90,000 premenopausal women from the Nurses’ Health Study II who completed a questionnaire on diet in 1991.
- 2830 women developed invasive breast cancer cancer during 20 years of follow-up.
The recommendation from this study is very clear: restrict consumption of red meat, especially during the teenage and early adult years.
Cancer risk reduction
Clinical Oncology Society of Australia
World Cancer Congress
- Kligler B, Maizes V, Schachter S, et al. Core competencies in integrative medicine for medical school curricula: a proposal. Acad Med 2004; 79: 521– 31.
- Sagar SM. The integrative oncology supplement—a paradigm for both patient care and communication. Curr Oncol 2008; 15: 166 – 7.
Breast cancer survivorship – Recommendations
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Be physically active
- Eat foods containing fibre
- Eat foods containing soy
- Lower intake of total fat, and in particular, saturated fats.
- Women who exercise have a greater chance of surviving breast cancer.
- Women who eat more foods containing fibre have a lower risk of dying of breast cancer
- Women who consume a high animal fat diet before developing breast cancer has an increased risk of dying from the disease.
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise: must be weight bearing, high impact to protect against bone loss due to anti-hormone medication.
- Eat a healthy diet (we recommend a Mediterranean, predominantly plant-based diet).
We still hear and read a lot about how a diet based on what our Stone Age ancestors ate may be a cure-all for modern ills. But can we really run the clock backwards and find the optimal way to eat? It’s a largely impossible dream based on a set of fallacies about our ancestors.
It’s all based on an idea that’s been around for decades in anthropology and nutritional science; namely that we might ascribe many of the problems faced by modern society to the shift by our hunter-gatherer ancestors to farming roughly 10,000 years ago.
Many advocates of the palaeolithic diet even claim it’s the only diet compatible with human genetics and contains all the nutrients our bodies apparently evolved to thrive on.
While it has a real appeal, when we dig a little deeper into the science behind it we find the prescription for a palaeolithic diet is little more than a fad and might be dangerous to our health.
Mismatched to the modern world
The basic argument goes something like this: over millions of years natural selection designed humans to live as hunter-gatherers, so we are genetically “mismatched” for the modern urbanised lifestyle, which is very different to how our pre-agricultural ancestors lived.
The idea that our genome isn’t suited to our modern way of life began with a highly influential article by Eaton and Konner published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1985.
Advocates of the palaeolithic diet, traceable back to Eaton and Konner’s work, have uncritically assumed a gene-culture mismatch has led to an epidemic in “diseases of civilisation”.
Humans are, it’s argued, genetically hunter-gatherers and evolution has been unable to keep pace with the rapid cultural change experienced over the last 10,000 years.
These assumptions are difficult to test or even outright wrong.
What did our Stone Age ancestors eat?
Proponents of the palaeolithic diet mostly claim that science has a good understanding of what our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate.
Let me disavow you of this myth straight away – we don’t – and the further back in time we go the less we know.
What we think we know is based on a mixture of ethnographic studies of recent (historical) foraging groups, reconstructions based on the archaeological and fossil records and more recently, genetic investigations.
We need to be careful because in many cases these historical foragers lived in “marginal” environments that were not of interest to farmers. Some represent people who were farmers but returned to a hunter-gatherer economy while others had a “mixed” economy based on wild-caught foods supplemented by bought (even manufactured) foods.
The archaeological and fossil records are strongly biased towards things that will preserve or fossilise and in places where they will remain buried and undisturbed for thousands of years.
What this all means is we know little about the plant foods and only a little bit more about some of the animals eaten by our Stone Age ancestors.
Many variations in Stone Age lifestyle
Life was tough in the Stone Age, with high infant and maternal mortality and short lifespans. Seasonal shortages in food would have meant that starvation was common and may have been an annual event.
People were very much at the mercy of the natural environment. During the Ice Age, massive climate changes would have resulted in regular dislocations of people and the extinction of whole tribes periodically.
Strict cultural rules would have made very clear the role played by individuals in society, and each group was different according to traditions and their natural environment.
This included gender-specific roles and even rules about what foods you could and couldn’t eat, regardless of their nutritional content or availability.
For advocates of the palaeolithic lifestyle, life at this time is portrayed as a kind of biological paradise, with people living as evolution had designed them to: as genetically predetermined hunter-gatherers fit for their environment.
But when ethnographic records and archaeological sites are studied we find a great deal of variation in the diet and behaviour, including activity levels, of recent foragers.
Our ancestors – and even more recent hunter-gatherers in Australia – exploited foods as they became available each week and every season. They ate a vast range of foods throughout the year.
They were seasonably mobile to take advantage of this: recent foraging groups moved camps on average 16 times a year, but within a wide range of two to 60 times a year.
There seems to have been one universal, though: all people ate animal foods. How much depended on where on the planet you lived: rainforests provided few mammal resources, while the arctic region provided very little else.
Studies show on average about 40% of their diet comprised hunted foods, excluding foods gathered or fished. If we add fishing, it rises to 60%.
Even among arctic people such the as Inuit whose diet was entirely animal foods at certain times, geneticists have failed to find any mutations enhancing people’s capacity to survive on such an extreme diet.
Research from anthropology, nutritional science, genetics and even psychology now also shows that our food preferences are partly determined in utero and are mostly established during childhood from cultural preferences within our environment.
The picture is rapidly emerging that genetics play a pretty minor role in determining the specifics of our diet. Our physical and cultural environment mostly determines what we eat.
Evolution didn’t end at the Stone Age
One of the central themes in any palaeolithic diet is to draw on the arguments that our bodies have not evolved much over the past 10,000 years to adapt to agriculture-based foods sources. This is nonsense.
There is now abundant evidence for widespread genetic change that occurred during the Neolithic or with the beginnings of agriculture.
Large-scale genomic studies have found that more than 70% of protein coding gene variants and around 90% of disease causing variants in living people whose ancestors were agriculturalists arose in the past 5,000 years or so.
Textbook examples include genes associated with lactose tolerance, starch digestion, alcohol metabolism, detoxification of plant food compounds and the metabolism of protein and carbohydrates: all mutations associated with a change in diet.
The regular handling of domesticated animals, and crowded living conditions that eventually exposed people to disease-bearing insects and rodents, led to an assault on our immune system.
It has even been suggested that the light hair, eye and skin colour seen in Europeans may have resulted from a diet poor in vitamin D among early farmers, and the need to produce more of it through increased UV light exposure and absorption.
So again, extensive evidence has emerged that humans have evolved significantly since the Stone Age and continue to do so, despite some uninformed commentators still questioning whether evolution in humans has stalled.
A difficult choice
In the end, the choices we make about what to eat should be based on good science, not some fantasy about a lost Stone Age paradise.
In other words, like other areas of preventative medicine, our diet and lifestyle choices should be based on scientific evidence not the latest, and perhaps even harmful, commercial fad.
If there is one clear message from ethnographic studies of recent hunter-gatherers it’s that variation – in lifestyle and diet – was the norm.
There is no single lifestyle or diet that fits all people today or in the past, let alone the genome of our whole species.
Darren Curnoe receives funding from the Australian Research Council.
The Clinical Impact of Vitamin C: My Personal Experiences as a Physician
Commentary by Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD
(Thomas E. Levy is a board-certified internist and cardiologist.
My ongoing relationship with vitamin C now spans a full 20 years, when I first met Dr. Hal Huggins, a pioneering dentist who opened my eyes to a wide array of clinical approaches to different diseases with hitherto unheard-of clinical results at his clinic in Colorado Springs. I can honestly say that my first visit to his clinic began the most meaningful part of my medical education. Nothing has been the same since. My office where I practiced adult cardiology ended up being shuttered shortly after that first visit. And I have never looked back.
While there are many things I learned from Dr. Huggins, and there were many areas I then ended up exploring because of what he taught me, the single most important thing I learned from him was the incredible ability of vitamin C to improve or heal so many conditions. Without exception, seriously ill patients, often with such diseases as Parkinson's, ALS, Alzheimer's, MS, and atherosclerosis, almost always had extensive dental toxicity in the form of root canal-treated teeth, infected dental implants, mercury amalgams, extensive cavitational osteonecrosis, and/or advanced periodontal disease. Each of these individuals had anywhere from three to five sessions of extensive dental work, typically involving a great deal of dental surgery along with the inevitable exposure to the toxins associated with anaerobic dental infections and the inescapable assimilation of some mercury vapor if amalgams were being removed. However, all of these patients received 50-gram (50,000 mg) infusions of vitamin C administered continuously before, during, and following the dental sessions. In patients with diseases that I had been led to believe could not really be improved upon, dramatic clinical improvement was routinely apparent immediately following the dental sessions.
While I knew the removal of dental toxicity was very important in their clinical improvements, watching these patients perk up after their first vitamin C infusion was extraordinary. Most healthy people I knew just wanted to go to bed after hours of extensive dental work. On at least one memorable occasion, after the first vitamin C infusion was complete, one especially sickly patient immediately began talking with her caregiver about what restaurant they could go to that evening to enjoy a meal. This patient had several teeth extracted, but was still looking forward to attacking a steak with the remaining teeth in her mouth. On a few priceless occasions, I even saw some wheelchair-bound patients take a few steps, with assistance, before they finished their two-week treatment period at the clinic.
Seeing was believing, and I realized the entire way that I approached patient care simply had to change. I needed learn a lot more about the intravenous delivery of this molecule known as ascorbic acid, or ascorbate. I resolved to research this vitamin as completely as possible, learn the nuances of that research as best I could, and then proceed to spread the word on the application of this incredibly potent, inexpensive, and non-toxic substance.
Many of the "leads" that I followed in accumulating the many thousands of abstracts and articles came from the 1972 ground-breaking book by Irwin Stone entitled, The Healing Factor: "Vitamin C" Against Disease. Stone obtained forewords for his book by the renowned Nobel Prize winners, Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, who had discovered vitamin C in 1932, and Linus Pauling, who pretty much put vitamin C into the public eye as nobody else has been able to do.
In order not to miss any significant information published in the medical literature about vitamin C since the publication of Stone's book, I entered the term "ascorbic acid" into the search engine of PubMed, and list of about 24,000 articles appeared. I gave all of these articles careful consideration in documenting the many clinical effects and laboratory effects of vitamin C. What began to emerge as I proceeded to review these thousands of articles was that vitamin C is more important than any other treatment for infection or exposure to toxin. Probably most impressive was the fact that vitamin C in test tube experiments had always neutralized any toxin to which it was exposed, regardless of the chemical structure of the toxin.
The validation and enormous importance of much of this test tube research came from the work of Frederick Klenner, MD in North Carolina. His clinical experience demonstrated how vitamin C was just as effective in the body as in the test tube in neutralizing or negating the toxic impact of whatever toxin the patient was exposed to. Snake venom, heavy metals, pesticides, cyanide, alcohol, carbon monoxide were all neutralized. The results that Dr. Klenner reported with infections were also astounding, as vitamin C, properly administered, proved to be the ultimate virucidal agent, curing all acute viral infections. These viral infections remain incurable by the standard approaches of modern medicine today. Furthermore, Klenner showed that vitamin C was also very effective in the treatment of many non-viral infections, improving the efficacy of treatment by antibiotics and other medications administered today. While I have seen but a fraction of the types of conditions that Dr. Klenner described, I fully believe the accuracy of everything Dr. Klenner published. I have applied vitamin C treatment to many patients with conditions similar to those treated by Dr. Klenner, along with several other conditions that Dr. Klenner did not have the opportunity to treat. With the perspective of this clinical experience, I have little reason to doubt any of the fabulous outcomes that he reported.
What I Have Witnessed
I recall here some of the most dramatic anecdotes about the healing power of vitamin C in the hope of conveying to the reader what an extraordinary addition it can be to the clinical options of any medical doctor. Shortly after the vitamin C book was completed and published, I began a limited clinical practice with a few colleagues. The circumstances were pretty much ideal for me, as I was able to give or prescribe intravenous vitamin C as needed.
In 2003 Denver was in the middle of a flu epidemic that infected over 6,000 individuals and ended up killing more than ten children and infants. In this setting, a slender but healthy 26-year-old woman developed a persistent fatigue that continued to progress. After a month of this ongoing fatigue she fell severely ill very quickly, with the classical flu-like symptoms of fever, chills, muscle aches and pains, headaches, and nausea. She tried in vain to deal with her symptoms and still go to school. However, after about a week of these symptoms and trying to maintain a normal level of activity, she only had the energy to stay in bed.
She remained in bed for the next ten weeks. Even her short trips to the bathroom depleted what little energy she had, as the out-of-bed excursions would cause her to feel feverish and would worsen her headaches. When I first saw her, she had lost 20% of her body weight, going from 100 pounds down to about 80 pounds. In response to a plea from her caregiver, I made a house call to her with my office manager/assistant, and we administered her first vitamin C IV there. I found her primarily just emaciated and appearing very malnourished. There was no evidence of liver enlargement or enlarged lymph nodes. Her bloodwork suggested a past Epstein-Barr virus infection, and it was reasoned that this chronic viral infection had just made her all the more susceptible to the epidemic of flu that was working its way through Denver and the rest of Colorado.
Her first IV consisted primarily of 50 grams of vitamin C as sodium ascorbate in 1,000 cc of lactated Ringer's solution infused slowly over a period of about three hours. Six grams of glutathione was added toward the end of the infusion. The next five infusions contained 100 grams of sodium ascorbate, completed by the six grams of glutathione.
The morning after the first IV she was free of headaches for the first time in three months, and she felt much stronger. However, by the second infusion, she was able to walk a bit around the house. By the morning after the third infusion, she was able to walk outside and enjoy a little sunshine. She was able to walk into the clinic for her fourth infusion and subsequent treatments. She felt completely normal the day after the fourth infusion, but two more infusions over two more days were administered to prevent the possibility of relapse. An oral regimen of supplementation was started, and she was discharged from regular care.
Of particular importance in understanding the amount of vitamin C needed to effectively cure this patient's chronic/acute viral syndrome is to note the patient's weight of 80 pounds when first seen. 100 grams of vitamin C in a 80-pound patient is equivalent to 250 grams in a 200-pound patient. Further, the efficacy of the vitamin C was enhanced by the glutathione administration. Our conclusion from many similar cases was that any viral syndrome not resolving with vitamin C was almost always due to inadequate total dose, along with the virus not being readily accessible by the molecules of vitamin C, as in chronic hepatitis. A terminal (not early stage) case of a dangerous virus such as Ebola in a nutrient-depleted body might require even higher doses of vitamin C for clinical resolution, depending upon body size.
A New Zealand farmer contracted H1N1 influenza in 2009. Well-documented on New Zealand's version of 60 Minutes, this individual had progressed to the point of being on life support, and the doctors had nothing further to offer.
A family member contacted me to ask what to do, and I advised intravenous vitamin C, 50 grams or more daily, immediately. However, I did not think there was any chance that the hospital or doctors would allow such treatment.
After an enormous struggle, the family finally got the doctor in charge to give vitamin C before "pulling the plug." 25 grams of vitamin C was given intravenously the first day, 50 grams the second day, 75 grams the third day, and then 100 grams daily for 4 to 5 more days. At that point a new doctor in charge of the case discontinued the vitamin C completely, for unclear reasons, even though the patient was clearly responding, waking up, and dramatically clearing up the previous "white-out" state seen in chest X-rays of his congested lungs. A full week later, intravenous vitamin C was restarted at a mere one gram twice daily. But for the docs who thought the vitamin C was a foolish intervention, the proof of its efficacy was already at hand.
While visiting Colombia, South America, I had the opportunity to see a 30-year-old woman who was bedridden and appearing to be in imminent danger of dying. She had been diagnosed with pulmonary embolism, and both of her legs were tender and swollen, appearing ready to set loose further emboli that would seal her fate. She was already on Coumadin anticoagulation, and her blood tests indicated the thinning of her blood was optimal.
Since I had brought some supplies with me on this trip in order to give a few selected friends (as well as myself) some intravenous vitamin C, I decided to try to help this individual out as best I could. While I was concerned about the vitamin C neutralizing the anticoagulant effects of the Coumadin, I was hoping to relieve her suffering a bit. I proceeded to give her 50 grams of vitamin C over about three hours. She tolerated the infusion well.
The following afternoon I returned to give her another vitamin C infusion. Her improvement was nearly miraculous. She was sitting up in bed and combing her hair, as she had just gotten out of bed and taken a shower on her own.
On the fourth day, following the third infusion, she was smiling and very pleased to report how good her legs were feeling. I was very pleased, but I was also concerned over the possibility of relapse, as I could not continue the IV infusions. She did continue to improve, however, as I left her with several months worth of vitamin C powder, taken at 2,000 mg daily.
West Nile Virus
I have treated two cases of West Nile virus, and both responded very dramatically. A Colorado man in his 60s had already been sick for a month or two when he went to his local hospital and ended up testing positive for West Nile virus. His symptoms included persistent headaches, a bit of disorientation, and a low-grade fever. Upon arrival at my clinic, he was given 75 grams of vitamin C intravenously followed by 6 grams of glutathione intravenously. He was also given a hyperbaric oxygen treatment. By 36 hours post-treatment, he felt completely normal and remained so.
Another man in his 50s contracted the West Nile virus and presented with a history of chronic virus-associated symptoms over the preceding six months. He received three infusions of vitamin C on consecutive days and reported having no further symptoms after the completion of the third infusion. There was no clinical relapse, and the cure was complete. He commented that the whole experience seemed "like a miracle."
Two college students presented with chronic infectious mononucleosis. Both had been sick for months, primarily with severe fatigue, and they had already dropped out of their classes, not having the energy to continue. Both received several 50-gram infusions of vitamin C and had prompt, complete resolution of their chronic infections and persistent symptoms.
Acute Lyme Disease
A young woman in Pennsylvania was bitten by a pathogen-carrying tick, developed the classical Lyme-associated rash, and proceeded to get very ill over the next seven to ten days. She received several infusions of vitamin C at her house. The first infusion was 100 grams, and her caregiver reported that she seemed much improved upon the completion of that infusion. Five more infusions of 50 grams each were given over the next two days. By the time that 72 hours had passed, she was completely well, never having a clinical relapse or any chronic Lyme symptoms.
Chronic Lyme Disease
A woman with a 12-year history of chronic Lyme disease, documented by blood testing, desired having regular and prolonged high-dose intravenous vitamin C therapy for her condition. Under the aegis of a prescribing physician who had attended one of my presentations of vitamin C, a nurse practitioner was able to give the patient what she wished.
This individual had already been taking liposome-encapsulated vitamin C and glutathione orally without a significant improvement in her condition. On four consecutive days, she received infusions of 25, 50, 75, and then 100 grams of vitamin C. Then, for 19 more days, she received 5 or 6 infusions weekly of 100 grams of vitamin C in each infusion. Until day 23, she felt no improvement. However, she was determined to continue in spite of the lack of improvement and the increasing expense of the whole process. On day 23, the nurse practitioner reported that she looked like a new person, and that it was like a "switch was flipped" and she was well. At her request, the patient received another week of 100 gram daily infusions to be sure her condition was truly resolved, a very good idea on her part. About a month later, her Lyme blood testing was completely negative.
A physician reported to me similar experiences with a series of Lyme patients, who showed no positive clinical response after an extended number of vitamin C infusions, then had a dramatic, abrupt clinical resolution of their condition, very much as described above.
Vitamin C is truly Nature's gift to health and healing. Virtually all medical conditions are associated with increased oxidative stress, and the relief, or at least partial relief, of this oxidative stress with the vigorous administration of vitamin C and other quality antioxidants, will always help. The oxidative stress caused by disease and environmental toxins can deplete the body's level of vitamin C and other antioxidants. In serious illness, the body's reserve of vitamin C goes to zero because the rate at which the body regenerates it is far lower than the rate of depletion. This can require huge doses to bring it back to normal. Even if you are taking antibiotics or other prescription medicines, bringing your levels of vitamin C in your body back to normal, or temporarily supranormal, will virtually always result in profound benefits.
The treatment is effective and, compared to the expense of conventional treatment, it is inexpensive. Few medicines and therapeutic interventions are more affordable than, and as non-toxic as, vitamin C. Even though something as extraordinarily beneficial as vitamin C might seem too good to be true, that's definitely not the case.
(Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD is a board-certified internist and cardiologist, and author of several books. His website is http://www.PeakEnergy.com .)
Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine
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