Tuesday, December 18, 2007

MSG, Disease and You

OK, now I'm really pissed! I just found out that we (North-Americans) are eating 95,000 metric tons of MSG! Haven't we got the message? We've known for 30 years that there's a problem with this stuff. It's what's known as an exitotoxin. It excites our nervous system too much.

Now I know you think that you don't eat MSG because you either don't eat at Chinese restaurants or you make sure to always ask if your favorite Chinese restaurant uses MSG. Well it's the American food industry that using the 95,000 tons of this toxin--not the Chinese restaurants!

Look at your food labels and see if you see Glutamic Acid or Hydrolyzed Protein--that's MSG. Even if you don't see it, it may still be there because companies don't have to show all the ingredients.

There's evidence connecting MSG to fibromyalgia, diabetes, Alzheimers and many other diseases that have been increasing lately. Don't expect the FDA to protect you from a chemical that is selling as well as MSG. The MSG industry will make sure that it stays on the store shelves and in your favorite American restaurants.

Here's just a few studies about the effects of MSG to give you an idea; there's plenty more where these came from:

Gary J. Bennett, Ph.D., Allegheny University of the Health Sciences

Dennis W. Choi, M.D., Ph.D., Washington University School of Medicine

J. Timothy Greenamyre, M.D., Ph.D., Emory University

Frances E. Jensen, M.D., Children's Hospital (Boston) and Harvard Medical School

Mitchell B. Max, M.D., National Institute of Dental Research, National Institutes of Health

John H. Morrison, Ph.D., Fishberg Research Center for Neurobiology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Michael A. Rogawski, M.D., Ph.D., National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health

Stephen R. Zukin, M.D., National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health

Folks, please avoid MSG. Eat natural foods, not processed.

Take a deep breath,

Dr. Ron

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Emotional Fitness

This is an excellent video from LightBridge media. It contains an enlightening interview with Dr. Joan Borysenko who explains the process of change.

Emotional Fitness is fundamental to our physical health; sad people get sick and happy people get sick less often and have milder illnesses. Emotional fitness can't be induced chemically; if you're sad it isn't because you have a Prozac deficiency.  Pharmaceuticals remove your ability to feel the problem without solving it.  If you're sad, learn to change your response to life.  It can be done.

See this and other videos that I've collected on the subject of natural health and wellness at www.LesTout.com.

Take a deep breath,

Dr. Ron

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Fibromyalgia and Plastics(?)

I wish I had an answer to fibromyalgia; it's such a miserable illness. I can't find anything that mentions a definite connection between fibromyalgia and plastics, but I think it's safe to assume that the cause of fibromyalgia is environmental and plastics, cosmetics, and insecticides are exposures that are easy enough to limit. Today I'm picking on plastics.

The battle over the health risks from plastics is ongoing. The plastics industry is fighting to make plastics appear safe while the environmentalists are struggling with the difficulty of proving long-term and combined effects. Looking at the various studies is confusing because the plastics industry is funding studies that appear valid yet have completely opposite findings from the studies being done by institutions without ties to the chemical industry. An interesting editorial in Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine discusses the problem of reconciling the studies.

Anyway, here's some links:

Re: General Toxicity of the Environment

Re: Bisphenol

Re: Phthalates

Re: Non-stick cooking

Re: Using Plastics Safely in the Kitchen

Re: Safe Cosmetics

Re: Diet Soda Risks (in case your family drinks these--I hope not)

I find this all very scary. The more I know about the chemical soup that we live in, the more hopeless I am at being able to avoid the poisons that surround us. I know several people who have gone from doctor to doctor looking for answers for fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and other syndromes, but if each of us has dozens, perhaps hundreds of artificial toxins in our bodies then how is a doctor to know which toxin is causing the problem? And even if they know, what can be done to rid the body of the current toxins and prevent more exposure?

I think that part of the answer is to live as natural a life as possible, dressing in natural fibers, eating on glass or ceramic plates, using steel utensils, and avoiding plastics, insecticides, and unsafe cosmetics.

Take a deep breath,

Dr. Ron

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Healthy Consumption

I just watched a really well done video-explanation of the problem of modern life and how over-consumption is affecting our health and our planet's health. It's a seven-part series by FreeRangeStudios; each film is just a few minutes long.
  1. The Story of Stuff - Introduction
  2. The Story of Stuff - Extraction
  3. The Story of Stuff - Production
  4. The Story of Stuff - Distribution
  5. The Story of Stuff - Consumption
  6. The Story of Stuff - Disposal
  7. The Story of Stuff - Another Way
I hope you'll watch these compelling videos and take whatever actions you're moved to take. Moderation is the key; we can have a better country, a better world, and better personal health--all at the same time.

Take a deep breath,

Dr. Ron

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Symptoms of Stroke

Do you know how to tell if you're having a stroke? If you have any doubts then check out the American Heart Association website.

I thought everyone knew how to tell if they were having a stroke but I was wrong. I got a call at 2 a.m. from a friend that had gone numb on the left side of her body. She had been having sporadic numbness for 8 hours but hadn't taken any action. As a result of not taking action she'll have months of rehabilitation and tremendous expense before she recovers all her faculties. She is lucky that it wasn't worse.

For those of you in too much of a hurry to read the American Heart Association website, here's the 25-cent version--any imbalance in strength or control between the right and left side of your body whether arm, leg or eyesight needs to be checked out.

Strokes need a doctor's attention while there's still time to get some medication into the blood stream. If you wait until the blood gets shut off to the brain, your life is going to change and it won't be for the better!

Take a deep breath,

Dr. Ron

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Phthalates and Birth Defects

This is a continuation of the last blog. I've really looked into this subject, read lots of studies, read the industry responses on the Phthalate Industry website and the Cosmetics Industry website. I'm trying to give them the benefit of the doubt.

The phthalate manufacturers and the cosmetic industries are mostly telling us the truth but they are giving us half-truths that hide the overall truth. It's true that plastic exposure is putting very small amounts of chemicals into our bodies--so small that our bodies are able to flush out these toxins. It's true that most people don't get sick.

But it's also true that many people are getting sick. Phthalates are damaging your liver and kidneys as your body struggles to get rid of them. Women are having baby boys with altered genitals so there obviously is DNA damage happening to these baby boys.

Some couples are struggling to get pregnant. How many people do you know of who have been unable to conceive? No one can prove that the infertility of any of those couples is due to plastics exposure. Is it possible to prove?

No one can create a gold-standard, double-blind, placebo-controlled test that proves that phthalates cause these problems. This is what the industry means when they say that there is no proof. While there is no proof of the sort that they are referring to, there is proof--dozens of good studies that suggest that there's a correlation between phthalate exposure and health problems. A correlation doesn't prove cause-and-effect unfortunately.

I'm ranting again. Sorry.

Click on the title of this blog above and read my article in LesTout.com. Click on the links in the article and look at the environmental websites. Here they are some of them again just for good measure.

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

Government Reports on these Chemicals
SkinDeep Cosmetic Safety Database

Ladies, please take care of yourselves and take care of your children.

I once knew a woman who had known many erect penises in her life (hers is an interesting story!). Anyway, she said that the smallest penis in her experience was the size of her little finger--and she had quite small hands. Such a penis is not likely to give a woman much pleasure. Do you really want to condemn your baby boys to a life with a penis like that?

Take a deep breath,

Dr. Ron

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cancer in Your Cosmetics

That's a catchy title, eh? But it's more than cancer in beauty products sold in the US, Europe and other countries. It turns out there's very little regulation of the cosmetics industry so our friends in the glamor business are putting some nasty toxic chemistry in the stuff you put on your body--and on your children every day.

There are dozens of responsible cosmetic manufacturers who are committed to producing safe cosmetics. They have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics. These manufacturers deserve your support.

There are others who haven't signed up to make safe cosmetics. You should know who they are.

See http://www.cosmeticdatabase.com/special/whatnottobuy/

Here's some bad examples:
  1. Creams, nail polishes and other products that contain phthalates. These disrupt hormones and cause pregnant women to produce boys (who grow up to be men) whose genitals are slightly feminine, including small penises. So guys if you have a small penis, it might be because of your mother's lotions during pregnancy! Manufacturers don't have to list phthalates; sometimes the chemicals are simply listed as "fragrance."
  2. Hair straightening products for very curly hair that produce breasts on toddlers due to high hormone levels.
  3. Cake makeup that contains mercury, a highly toxic metal that produces birth defects and neurological damage and heart attacks.
  4. Hair coloring products that contain lead, another metal that causes neurological damage, mental retardation and insanity.
  5. Skin-lightening products that cause ochronosis, a disfiguring skin disease with blue and black lesions.
  6. Skin products and lipsticks that contain nanoparticles. These are something new. Scientists don't know what damage they're capable of and neither do the cosmetic companies.
  7. Skin creams and soaps with cancer-causing ingredients. A dioxane that the EPA classifies as a "probably human carcinogen" is in 22% of the cosmetics sold in the USA.
Go to the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep website and type in the brand name of your favorite cosmetics and see what they contain.

Take a deep breath,

Dr. Ron

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Gardasil, HPV and cervical cancer

You may have heard of the controversy about Gardasil which is an important tool for controlling the sexually transmitted HPV virus. Lawmakers in several countries are deciding whether to mandate the $300-$500 vaccination for all girls from 9 to 26 years of age.

Read my article in Suite 101 for the details of the health risks, but beyond that--why are they vaccinating girls and not boys? It seems to me that mandating all boys be vaccinated would be just as effective as mandating all girls. Millions of people of both sexes are being infected with the virus each year.

To mandate just girls seems to me to be based on the old "women are the source of evil" garbage. What we need is rational health policy.

Having said all that, I'm not sure I'm in favor of anyone getting this vaccine. I can sympathize with the goal of ridding society of HPV and cervical cancer, but so many girls are having strong reactions to the vaccination. I think sex education would have a better chance of lowering the rates of cervical cancer.

[July 2010: I just read that Gardasil increases the chance of cancer by 44% if the person is already exposed to the HPV. If you must vaccinate your children, then insist that the doctor test for HPV before the vaccination.]

Enough ranting . . .

Take a deep breath,

Dr. Ron

Saturday, September 29, 2007

How Much Vitamin D Should You Supplement

There's a little buzz right now about Vitamin D and a new report from Europe. Some people are drawing inaccurate conclusions from it. The report discusses 18 separate studies using various amounts of Vitamin D on various populations. It generally says that adding a vitamin D supplement is a good practice because people tend to not die during the study periods when they're taking the vitamin.

Here is the actual conclusions from the study:

"Conclusions :

Intake of ordinary doses of vitamin D supplements seems

to be associated with decreases in total mortality rates. The
relationship between baseline vitamin D status, dose of vitamin D
supplements, and total mortality rates remains to be investigated.
Population-based, placebo-controlled randomized trials with total
mortality as the main end point should be organized for confirming
these findings."

For the time being readers should rely on other authorities to determine their personal dosage. There doesn't seem to be anything in this report that would cause me to change my dosage--400IU--which seems reasonable and is close to the average dose used the various studies in the report.

Take a deep breath,

Dr. Ron

Friday, September 28, 2007

Do you need a hysterecomy?

So many women are getting unnecessary hysterectomies; I thought I'd write an article for either Suite101.com or LesTout.com. But I changed my mind; the subject is too big to explain well in a brief article.

If you or a loved one is thinking about a hysterectomy, I've found two books that you should read Dr. Stanley West's book, The Hysterectomy Hoax. and The Complete Guide to Hysterectomy and Beyond, by The Hysterectomy Association. These are not just books telling horror stories of medical malpractice, although they have some of that; they discuss all the options in terms that a non-medical person can understand. They'll help you make the best decision.

According to Dr. West, 90% of all hysterectomies are unnecessary. But that means that 10% of them are. How do you tell the difference?

I've just explored that question over many months with one of my family members who suffered for ten years with excessive bleeding and pain. Finally the bleeding was so bad that she needed a blood transfusion. Her life was actually in danger at that point and it seemed there was no time left to explore more natural options. So she opted for a complete hysterectomy.

If you're facing this decision, learn the pros and cons of hysterectomies, and get a second opinion. Understand the physical, emotional, and sexual consequences of every option.

Don't just take your doctor's word for it.

Take a deep breath,

Dr. Ron

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Reforming US Health Care

Supply and demand works in health care as it does in most areas of life. If we want reasonable prices, we must reduce demand.

The Arithmetic is Obvious

The arithmetic of health care is really very simple. With the cost of medical care going up at more than the rate of inflation, and the rate at which people are getting sick increasing as well, eventually the cost of all the medical care in the USA is going to be more than anyone can pay for. So the argument between a single-payer, government-run system and a privately-insured system is pointless.

Americans are eating themselves to death.

The Standard American Diet (SAD) has too much fat, too much sugar, and too much salt. It doesn’t have enough essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, or quality proteins.

Americans are couch-potato-ing themselves to death.

We don’t exercise. We’re too fat. We spend way too much time sitting—either in front of a computer, a video game or a TV.

The Solution

What will solve the health care crisis in America is for the American people to take personal responsibility for their health. They must eat, drink and exercise well. They must learn what that means. They must become more robust so that they can survive the stress and toxicity of modern life. Being robust means that the body has the physical strength to take a few knocks and the nutritional resources to fight disease and maintain its strength. If Americans can reduce the stress and toxicity too—well—that would help even more.

Americans pay more for health care than anyone but are some of the sickest people in the industrialized world. The answer to out-of-control costs of any commodity is to reduce the demand for it. When did you last get a flyer in the mail from an MD saying to “please come by my office—I’m looking for more patients.” There is WAY TOO MUCH demand for health care.

Another aspect of the cost of medical care is that no one in the current system has an interest in controlling cost. The hospitals need for there to be a surplus of sick people to fill up their beds. The insurance companies want the volume of legitimate claims to be very high so they can maintain their growth, and pay dividends to their stock-holders. Even doctors need us to be sick.

Doctors are often blamed because they’re on the front lines, facing the patients, but they are truly at the mercy of the system. A friend of mine who's a GP in a large clinic told me that he has to gross $40,000 per month before he has a dollar to feed his family. His facility costs, personnel costs, and insurance costs are huge. In order to make a living he has to move many, many patients through his office each day. He said he’d like to do patient education and reduce his patients’ dependence on medical care and drugs, but he just doesn’t have the time. So he writes his prescriptions and sends his patients on their way.

No one is providing preventative health care! Early detection is not prevention—patient education about nutrition and lifestyle issues are prevention!


No institution will fix health care—not the government, not the insurance companies, the hospitals or the doctors—certainly not the drug companies. The cost of health care will come down when people are healthier and need less health care.

At that point it won’t matter who pays for it.

Take a deep breath,

Dr. Ron

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Inspiration and Expiration

Michael Egan is a yoga teacher in South Korea. The text below is reprinted with his permission.
Think of the meaning of the word...Inspiration...
Do you know that literally it means inhale or breathe in???

Then think of the word Inspiration as the coming of an idea, seemingly from nowhere, that leads to positive thoughts and if pursued to positive creation.

Inspiration is the link or "bringing in" of the spirit (the root of "spir" in inspiration). Think of your in-breath as a funnel drawing the limitless spirit (energy) into the finite and limited body. Cultivating the in-breath is completely refreshing and brings with it new life, hope and love into the body and mind.

Now lets look at Expiration...to die or end...
It is the exhale or out-breath.

Every breath cycle contains birth and death, but it is not the death we fear, the "end of life." Instead this Expiration is like the date on the milk in your refrigerator. As the vitality and life energy from the breath and metabolic processes of our body have been used up they must be expelled. This releases the toxins and waste products created in the physical and chemical processes of the body. Just as old milk will sour and foul the entire refrigerator, so too will the metabolic waste and toxins cause discomfort and (given enough time) dis-ease in our body and mind.

Through the exhale we witness the death of positive substances (oxygen, vitamins and nutrition) and must therefore release the waste into nature where it will be recycled (CO2 into O2 by plants) to prepare for "re"inspiration or rebirth.

When beginning breathing practice it is the expiration that needs to be focused on and developed first in order to make space and clean house. Then naturally, through the difference in air pressure between the lungs and nature (outside the body), we will take a more deep and full inspiration bringing new life to our physical and emotional selves.

Breath is the link to Your Self.

Thanks for that Michael,

Take a deep breath,

Dr. Ron

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Gout - It's time to get rid of it

A neighbor told me today that he has gout--excess uric acid which form crystals in the joints. I didn't know anyone had gout anymore--I must hang out with too many vegetarians. With a little research I discovered that about 2 million people in the US have gout--about one person in a hundred.

Talk to your doctor if you have severe joint pain. If it is gout, your doctor may want you to take some drugs to get rid of the uric acid. To help avoid forming new uric acid crystals, try the following:
  1. Drink water - lots of it
  2. Don't drink alcohol
  3. Don't eat foods that create excess uric acid--oily fish, beef, lamb, pork, organ meats, or game meats
  4. Eat two servings per day of low-fat dairy
  5. Take essential fatty acid supplements
  6. Lose weight, but slowly
  7. Eat a moderate diet--chicken, grains, fruits and vegetables are fine.
  8. Don't try fasting or low-carb/high protein diets. They can make matters worse.
  9. Exercise is hard if you have gout and are overweight. Follow your doctors advice but try to burn some calories.
Take a deep breath,


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Your Brain Needs Fat

My Dad is struggling with impaired memory. It's not Alzheimers and it isn't dementia; it's just a poor memory. I looked into the relationship between brain functioning and diet and found several sources that talked about various mental problems and how they were alleviated by increasing the essential fatty acids in the diet. This linked article is a result of that little bit of research. Here's a list of studies that show that essential fatty acids are a major factor in many types of nervous system disorders.

If you know anyone who is struggling with mental functioning--not just memory loss but any kind of problem, ADHD, bipolar disorders, violence--see if they can't improve their diet. Get rid of some of the junk food and replace it with a Mediterranean Diet and have them take some supplements of essential fatty acids.

Note that this isn't a cure--just something to give their body a few more resources.

Be sure to work with your physician if you're taking pharmaceuticals.

Take a deep breath,

Dr. Ron

Eating our Way Out of Depression

I've been struck by how many people are taking pills for depression. I know there's lots of reasons why people get depressed. I get depressed when I look at the state of health care! And some people need to take pills--especially people who are in danger of hurting themselves or others. But while they're taking their pills they can be looking at fixing the problem from the source and sometimes the source is their diet.

We need to look at a couple of things--if we're depressed for identifiable reasons; if we're grieving over a death, losing a job or a relationship, then we need to look at how much our diet is keeping us in a depressed state longer than necessary for processing the grief. If we change our diet perhaps we could have the energy to add a few positive activities to our lifestyle and turn our life around. If we can't identify a definite reason why we're depressed, then we REALLY need to look at our diet.

It's possible that the diet alone in depressing you. One aspect of diet and depression is essential fatty acids. Many people have never heard of these fats but they are crucial for the correct functioning of every organ in your body including your brain.

Take a look at my articles on Suite101.com and think about how diet is affecting your symptoms--whatever they are.

Take a deep breath,

Dr. Ron

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Mediterranean Diet Wins Again

A new study printed in the September 11, 2007 edition of Neurology reports that in a group of Alzheimers patients, those who ate a diet close to the Mediterranean Diet were 76% less likely to die during the ten-year study period. Heart disease rates in the 16 countries that border the Mediterranean Sea are less than in the USA.

We really gotta look harder at our diet folks. Are you hearing of more and more older people with Alzheimers and dementia--or is it just me?

Take a deep breath,

Dr. Ron

Monday, September 10, 2007

Getting a Good Night's Sleep

The thing I like least about growing older is sleeping less. I think one reason why I sleep less is that I'm a bit stiff in the morning and I can't get back to sleep--I have to get up and move around.

Besides what I wrote in the article on Suite101.com about sleep, I find that if I get up and move around until I've limbered up a bit, then I can lie down and listen to Swami J's CD Yoga Nidra. That will always put me back to sleep.

The CD isn't calming music like you'd expect; Swami J leads you through a series of attention exercises--just simply putting your attention on one part of your body and then another. This sequence of body parts is part of the ancient knowledge of India. There's something about the sequence that brings about a profound state of relaxation in the body and mind.

Another thing I do is to run through my prayer list of the dozens of people that I pray for daily. I think about each person in turn and then say some Baha'i healing prayers that I've memorized. It's a very calming exercise and takes me away from any personal problems I may be thinking of.

More later . . .

Take a deep breath,

Dr. Ron

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

I got an email from a woman who had just heard about this frightening disease. She was--well--frightened. So I thought I'd write an article that puts this thing in perspective.

It is nasty--and easily misdiagnosed. There was a woman who died because her doctor told her that she must have been bitten by a spider or something and it would go away. A young girl just 16 years old died because she was afraid to tell anyone that her breast looked funny.

So read the article, learn the symptoms and tell other women to learn the symptoms as well.

Something I didn't put in the article is that this disease points out the importance of eating in such a way so as to reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammatory breast cancer is a combination of cancer in a body that is prone to inflammation due to poor diet. I've written several articles on Suite101 about diet.

So don't be in a panic--inflammatory breast cancer is very rare--just be aware.

Take a deep breath,

Dr. Ron

GERD-Acid Reflux is not a disease

Just the idea that they would create pills for acid reflux really irritates me! Had you even heard of GERD before they invented the pills for it? It's a manufactured disease.

The problem isn't a chemical imbalance--if you eat a medium pizza and a large coke and then lie down, your intelligent body is going to try to vomit because it knows that lying down is a really stupid thing to do with a stomach full of food that needs to be digested.

OK, maybe you don't eat a medium pizza before bedtime--but you may nibble on things while you're watching TV and maybe have a beer or some other large drink. Still not a good idea.

Read the article on Suite 101 that talks about how to avoid acid reflux.

Take a deep breath,

Dr. Ron

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Coffee and Estrogen Dominance

How many women do you know who are struggling with female problems? Endometriosis? Breast cancer? Doesn't it seem that something is seriously wrong?

There are many aspects of modern life that contribute to the chaos in women's sexual health. A big part of it, I believe has to do with the unnatural chemicals that we drink, eat, bath in, or otherwise slather on our bodies.

We all know how much hormones govern women's health and happiness. Hormones need a stable and normal chemical state in the blood and tissues for optimal effectiveness.

Our modern western diet--what could be called the Standard American Diet (SAD)--is not producing a stable and normal chemical state. It is making women's tissues too acid and disrupting the sensitive biochemical reactions.

A big culprit is coffee! Not only does is screw up the acid-base balance in the body, it contains 21 known carcinogens. And how many women do you know who have dealt with cancer? How many of them drink coffee?

Another really nasty habit is sodas--any carbonated drink. Those delightful fizzy bubbles are making your body too acid! Colas, and other sugary soft drinks are even worse because they contain a huge amount of sugar.

Don't get me started on sugar.

That's enough ranting. Drink one cup of coffee if you must. Maybe it won't kill you.

Take a deep breath,

Dr. Ron