Alternative Health Care News

Estrogen & Cancer/GERD Meds/Fish Oils & Pregnancy — At Last!!

These last couple of weeks (December 2006) have presented me with an interesting (and unusual) experience. After 20 years in practice — validation from medical research! And, not just on one issue — but, on multiple issues. Usually, I feel like a lone voice, crying out in the wilderness! So, pardon me if I crow a little. Also, I’d like to share these important issues with you.

The first issue: Estrogen and cancer risk. It’s been almost a year since the initial announcement that estrogen therapy increases a woman’s risk of cancer. This is true even of bioidentical hormones, which many doctors have turned to as an alternative to Premarin®.

A new analysis of federal cancer statistics, presented Thursday, December 13, 2006 at a scientific conference called the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, revealed a 7.2% drop in breast cancer over the last year as women stopped taking hormone replacement therapy. Article

This most recent announcement came as no surprise to me. I remember in the late 1980s and early 1990s doing presentations on the risk of estrogen therapy. At one event at Whole Foods Market, an audience member challenged me by asking, “Don’t you have any more recent data?” I explained to her that human physiology hasn’t changed in 10,000 years. So, the age of the data was not a factor. Now, we have hard evidence that estrogen is extremely carcinogenic.

Unfortunately, the medical profession has no alternatives to offer menopausal women. I have studied this subject in depth and have a variety of herbal alternatives. These herbs are not estrogenic. More importantly, as a woman I appreciate the fact that herbal medicine treats each of us as individuals. And, what works for one woman may not work for another. So, at the RFHC, we customize a program for your individual metabolism.

If you have an interest in a non-hormonal approach to menopausal relief — including insomnia, hot flashes and vaginal dryness — you can schedule a consultation at the office.

The second issue: Prilosec®, Nexium® and Zantac® (and other similar drugs used to suppress acid production in your stomach) increases osteoporosis, and the risk of hip fracture. (JAMA, December 27, 2006) Article This finding is a “duh!” You may have heard me carrying on about using Tums® (an antacid) for calcium supplementation — which is a complete joke! You cannot absorb calcium in an alkaline environment. So, anything that decreases stomach acid inhibits calcium absorption. Ipso facto, osteoporosis!

I will reiterate what I have said hundreds of times — actually, I feel like a broken record — supppressing stomach acid is exactly the wrong approach to gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). For the stomach to empty, you need a pH of 1 or 2 in the stomach. That’s a LOT of acid. When you have inadequate stomach acid, pressure builds up in the stomach and the upper, esophageal sphincter opens because it is the weaker of the two valves — resulting in heartburn.

In some instances, problems in the lower gut — yeast overgrowth, allergies, and parasites — cause excessive peristalsis in the gut and upward pressure that causes the reflux.

The key: finding out what is causing you to have symptoms, and then addressing them. For some, a bowel cleanse program is the key; for others, it’s a simple matter of taking digestive aids. At the RFHC, we can determine what you, personally, need.

And, I predict that the next problem with these drugs will be a documented increase in stomach cancer. Low stomach acidity is a known risk factor for stomach cancer. I just think these drugs — which have the highest sales volume in the U.S., followed closely by pain killers — are dangerous.

And, finally, the third issue: Fish oils during pregnancy! This is a huge win for all pregnant women and their babies. FINALLY, it has been demonstrated that babies born to women who take fish oil supplements in the last trimester of pregnancy have better neurological development.

The study (performed in Australia) found a significant advance in hand-eye coordination among toddlers whose mothers took fish oil supplements during the second half of pregnancy compared with those who did not. Article

There was also improvement in brainpower and vocabulary among children exposed to fish oil supplements in the womb, says the study published on Thursday online in the medical journal Archives of Disease in Childhood. And, as an added benefit, mother’s who took fish oil supplements had lower blood pressure and a lowered incidence of post-partum depression.

I have only been giving fish oil supplements to pregnant and nursing mothers for 20 years! Two caveats, however: Do not take cod liver oil for this purpose. Cod liver oil is higher in vitamins D and A than in Omega 3 oils, which are what are needed for brain development. And, be certain of the quality of your fish oil supplements. The product should be certified mercury-free. The products we carry at the RFHC meet stringent quality requirements.

Does this apply to you? If so, see our information on Consultations.