(Tabebuia spp.) [a.k.a. Lapacho]
Actions: Anti-tumor; anti-Candidal; antibiotic; immune stimulant; anti-inflammatory; tonic.
Uses: Candidiasis; fungus; immune stimulation; infections; cancer.
Actions: Anti-tumor; anti-Candidal; antibiotic; immune stimulant; anti-inflammatory; tonic.
Uses: Candidiasis; fungus; immune stimulation; infections; cancer.
Older people have considerably more digestive problems than younger folks, and this has typically but incorrectly been blamed on over-production of stomach acid. Not only have medical studies debunked excess stomach acid as the cause of indigestion, but common sense debunks the myth as well.
Why does this matter? Because the chronic use of antacids and acid-blocking drugs for indigestion has some dangerous and even deadly side-effects
Do you really think that some bodily function starts working better with age? Hahahaha!
With age, nothing works as well as it did in earlier years. I hope I’m not popping anyone’s bubble here.
Come on – we don’t move as fast at age 57 as we did at 27. Vision and hearing are typically less acute in our 70s than they were in our 30s. Skin is less elastic at 69 than at 29. Production of hormones and body fluids decreases with age. Why would we think that our stomachs do the opposite of all other organs and become more active with age instead of less active? Only a drug salesman or a pill-pushing doctor would try to convince us of such foolishness.
The stomach’s primary job is to digest protein and emulsify fats, and it does this by making an extremely powerful acid called hydrochloric acid (HCL) and a protein-digesting enzyme called pepsin. The hydrochloric acid made by a healthy stomach is one million times stronger than the mild acidity of urine or saliva. A leather-like strip of jerky can be quickly turned into “beef soup” by the action of hydrochloric acid and pepsin in the stomach. That’s how normal digestion is supposed to work.
But just like the rest of an aging body, the stomach’s hydrochloric acid and pepsin production decreases over time. As a result, we do not digest food as well. The term “indigestion” implies lack of digestion, not over-digestion. This is why we can’t eat a whole pepperoni pizza washed down with a bottle of soda like we did when we were teenagers. Our aging stomachs don’t have the same digestive vigor – strong hydrochloric acid and pepsin – to digest food like youthful stomachs do.
OK, that’s the common sense of it. Now here’s the science. Many older studies conducted on several thousand people in the 1930?s and 1940?s showed that half of all people by age 60 were functioning at only 50% gastric acid output. Numerous contemporary studies verify that that stomach acid production often declines with age.
The Bottom Line: when someone over age 40 has chronic or chronic / intermittent indigestion, that indigestion is almost certainly due to a weaker stomach with less acid and pepsin output, not a stronger stomach making more digestive juices.
Strong stomach acid and pepsin quickly “emulsify” fats and proteins, making them ready for the next step of digestion, passage into the small intestine. When these digestive factors are weak, food remains in the stomach for longer and it begins to ferment. Gas pressure from the fermentation can cause bloating and discomfort and can can also cause the esophageal sphincter to open, allowing stomach contents to “backwash” into the esophagus.
Even though weak stomach acid is the central cause of this, even this weak stomach acid, which has no place in the esophagus, will “burn.” This burning sensation confuses many people, including doctors, who then “ASSuME” that excess acid is to blame. Too little acid, resulting in slowed digestion, and gas which creates back-pressure into the esophagus is the real cause of almost all “heartburn” and GERD.
Why in the world would anyone take antacids or acid blockers to correct a deficiency of stomach acid? In two words: symptom relief.
But if heartburn or gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD) are caused by too little stomach acid, why does blocking more of the acid relieve the discomfort? And why isn’t that a good thing to do?
Remember, even weak stomach acid does not belong in the esophagus. When ALL acid production is blocked, the “backwash” of stomach contents into the esophagus will not burn. However, repeatedly using this “band-aid” method has some serious long-term consequences.
Our bodies need 60 or so essential nutrients. “Essential” means that the body MUST have this nutrient or death will eventually ensue, and the nutrient must be obtained from diet because the body cannot manufacture it. Many of these essential nutrients require stomach acid for their assimilation. When stomach acid production declines, nutrient deficiencies begin.
Calcium, for example, requires vigorous stomach acid in order to be assimilated. Interestingly, the rate of hip replacement surgery is much higher in people who routinely use antacids and acid-blocking drugs. We know that people who have “acid stomach” were already having trouble assimilating calcium from food and nutritional supplements due to lack of normal stomach acid production. When these symptoms are “band-aided” with drugs which decrease stomach acid even more, calcium assimilation can come to a near-halt. The result? Weak bones, hip fractures and joint complaints resulting in major surgery.
Jonathan Wright, M.D., well-known and respected holistic physician, states that:
“Although research in this area is entirely inadequate, its been my clinical observation that calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, chromium, selenium, manganese, vanadium, molybdenum, cobalt, and many other micro-trace elements are not nearly as well-absorbed in those with poor stomach acid as they are in those whose acid levels are normal. When we test plasma amino acid levels for those with poor stomach function, we frequently find lower than usual levels of one or more of the eight essential amino acids: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Often there are functional insufficiencies of folic acid and/or vitamin B12.”
Remember, these are essential nutrients. Deficiencies of any single one of them can cause serious health problems over time. Weak bones, diminish immune function, failing memory, loss of eyesight and many other “diseases of aging” are often the result of decreased stomach function.
Ulcers can even be caused by too little acid. Surprised? We know today that most ulcers are caused by a bacterium called h. pylori. This little beastie is killed by strong stomach acid. But when stomach acid is weak, watch out! Weak stomach acid is how h. pylori gets a foot-hold. (People with active ulcers should not supplement hydrochloric acid until the ulcer has healed).
It also appears that many cases of depression, which appear related to too little neurotransmitters (which in turn are made from amino acids) may in fact be inability to absorb the necessary precursors due to – you guessed it – low stomach acid. I suspect there are a large number of other diseases that begin with a failing digestive system and that have not yet been recognized as such.
Even so, many people who have low stomach acid do not have symptoms of heartburn, “acid indigestion” or GERD.
Here’s a simple question. Before your doctor diagnosed GERD from “too much stomach acid,” did he/she perform a stomach acid function test?
X-rays and gastroscopy do not evaluate stomach acid production. The medical test for stomach acid, called the Heidelberg test, requires swallowing a small capsule and then having it pulled back up on a “string.” You’d remember if you had this done. Interestingly, this test is ALMOST NEVER PERFORMED before excess stomach acid is diagnosed, hence the incorrect diagnosis!
From the 1800’s up until the 1950’s, hydrochloric acid (HCl) supplements (both with and without pepsin) were widely prescribed and used. Physicians simply considered replacement of digestive acid to be like replacement of thyroid hormone for a failing thyroid or hormone replacement for aging ovaries.
In the 1950’s, some badly designed and misinterpreted “research” was used to convince physicians that HCl and pepsin replacement therapy is unnecessary. Besides, the “replacement” therapy – HCL and pepsin – are natural substances that are difficult to patent. Instead, drug companies focused on patentable drugs to treat “hyperchlorhydria” (excess stomach acid), and the highly profitable prescription and OTC acid blocking drug industry was born.
Once again I ask: if a doctor diagnosed you with excess stomach acid, did he or she actually perform the Heidelberg test? If you diagnosed yourself, did you perform a gastric acid self-test? No? I rest my case.
Fortunately, the Heidelberg test is not required to arrive at a correct diagnosis of too little stomach acid. You can perform a gastric acid self-test at home using some betain HCL capsules taken with meals. If digestion improves – bingo! You’re hydrochloric acid deficient.
This issue of low stomach acid is central to so many diseases that I recommend a gastric acid self-test to EVERYONE over age 50 and anyone under age 50 who has any medical complaint related to nutrient deficiency.
I’ve put together an inexpensive yet highly effective “Gastric Acid Function Self Test Kit” that includes full instructions for testing your own stomach acid (it’s easy with the instructions) plus “test sizes” of the supplements – including hydrochloric acid and pepsin – needed for the test.
Testing your own digestive function is simple and easy, and it could save you much grief, sickness, and yes, heartburn.
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25.) Long-term proton pump inhibitor therapy and risk of hip fracture. JAMA. 2006 Dec 27;296(24):2947-53.
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27.) High acid secretion may protect the gastric mucosa from injury caused by ammonia produced by Helicobacter pylori in duodenal ulcer patients. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1996 Jul;11(7):674-80.
28.) Rosacea keratitis and conditions with vascularization of the cornea treated with riboflavin. Arch Ophthamol 1940;23:899–907.
29.) Incidence of anti-Helicobacter pylori and anti-CagA antibodies in rosacea patients. Int J Dermatol. 2003 Aug;42(8):601-4.30.) Gastrointestinal findings in atopic children. Eur J Pediatr 1980;134:249–54.
31.) Suppression of gastric H2-receptor mediated function in patients with bronchial asthma and ragweed allergy.
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34.) The importance of gastric hydrochloric acid in the absorption of nonheme food iron. J Lab Clin Med 1978;92:108–16.
35.) Bray GW. The hypochlorhydria of asthma in childhood. Q J Med 1931;24:181–97.
36.) Candida overgrowth in gastric juice of peptic ulcer subjects on short- and long-term treatment with H2-receptor antagonists. Digestion.1983;28:158–63.
37.) Antibacterial activity of the pancreatic fluid. Gastroenterology 1985;88:927–32 [review].
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39.) Characterization of gastric mucosal lesions in patients with celiac disease: a prospective controlled study.Am J Gastroenterol. 1999 May;94(5):1313-9.
40.) Chronic cough due to gastroesophageal reflux disease: failure to resolve despite total/near-total elimination of esophageal acid. Chest. 2002 Apr;121(4):1132-40.
41.) Gastric lesion in dermatitis herpetiformis.Gut.1976 Mar;17(3):185-8.
42.) Auto-immune atrophic gastritis in patient with dermatitis herpetiformis. Acta Derm Venereol. 1976;56(2):111-3.
43.) Predictive value of gastric parietal cell autoantibodies as a marker for gastric and hematologic abnormalities associated with insulin-dependent diabetes. Diabetes. 1982 Dec;31(12):1051-5.
44.) Parietal cell antibodies and gastric secretion in children with diabetes mellitus. Acta Paediatr Scand. 1980 Jul;69(4):485-9.
45.) Oesophageal acid exposure and altered neurocardiac function in patients with GERD and idiopathic cardiac dysrhythmias. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2006 Jul 15;24(2):361-70.
46.) Capper WM, Butler TJ, Kilby JO, Gibson MJ. Gallstones, gastric secretion and flatulent dyspepsia. Lancet 1967;i:413–5.
47.) Gastric juice nitrite and vitamin C in patients with gastric cancer and atrophic gastritis: is low acidity solely responsible for cancer risk? Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2003 Sep;15(9):987-93.
48.) Correlation of ratio of serum pepsinogen I and II with prevalence of gastric cancer and adenoma in Japanese subjects. Am J Gastroenterol. 1998 Jul;93(7):1090-6.
49.) Atrophic body gastritis in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease: an underdiagnosed association. Arch Intern Med. 1999 Aug 9-23;159(15):1726-30.
50.) Early manifestations of gastric autoimmunity in patients with juvenile autoimmune thyroid diseases.J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Oct;89(10):4944-8.
51.) Review article: the role of pH monitoring in extraoesophageal gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2006 Mar; 23 Suppl 1:40-9. Summary: association with laryngitis, non-cardiac chest pain, etc.
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Ocular rosacea leaves sufferers with red, dry and irritated eyes and eyelids and symptoms including itching and burning and feelings of having dust or grit or a foreign body in the eye.
Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea causes a permanent redness of the skin with a tendency to blush or flush easily and frequently small blood vessels are visible near the surface of the skin.
Papulopustular rosacea can cause some permanent redness with red bumps and / or pus-filled bumps or lesions which usually last for 1 to 4 days – this can be easily mistaken for acne.
Phymatous rosacea is most commonly associated with rhinophyma, an enlargement of the nose. Symptoms include thickening of the skin, irregular surface nodules or bumps, and enlargement. Phymatous rosacea can also affect the chin, forehead, cheeks, eyelids, and ears. As with Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea small blood vessels visible near the surface of the skin (known as telangiectasias) may be present.
Conventional Medicine does not recognize any one specific cause for rosacea – but has several theories which involve things such as Cathelicidins, elevated levels of stratum corneum tryptic enzymes (SCTEs), overgrowth of intestinal bacteria, Demodex mites (which may be increased in steroid-induced rosacea), stress, sunburn, temperature extremes, alcohol, caffiene, histamine intolerance, drugs, and steroids – which are often prescribed to treat other skin conditions. Unfortunately for Conventional Medicine there is no one simple test to diagnose rosacea – leaving Conventional Doctors in the difficult position of having to “do it the old way” – by actually examining and listening to their patient!
The response to rosacea by Conventional Medicine is equally predictable – for it involves throwing a variety of patented Big Pharma drug offerings at the problem in the hopes that something will work and provide relief. Antibiotics are ever-popular as is clonidine (an antihypertensive drug that is also used to help addicts withdraw from opiates!) and other antihypertensive drugs. Of course, if all else fails (or even before all else fails) some Conventional Doctors may fall back to their old faithful, steroids – despite the fact that steroids can actually cause rosacea symptoms for many people.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and Silymarin – which have been clinically examined and found to be of benefit. MSM, a biologically active form of sulfur has a long history of benefit to the skin and silymarin – a flavonoid found in Milk Thistle is a powerful antioxidant with a special affinity for the liver.
High potency fish oil has a valuable place in the treatment of rosacea, for the powerful antiinflammatory effects of Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.
Antiinflammatory flavonoids such as are found in Dr. Myatt’s Maxi Flavone could be expected to reduce inflammation since Maxi Flavone contains contains optimal doses of the flavonoid herbs which quench Radical Oxygen Species (ROS), lower TNF alpha and NK cell activity and decrease excess inflammation. Maxi Flavone is a potent formula providing support for immune function, circulatory health, liver detoxification mechanisms, and antioxidant pathways.
High dose Folic Acid and Vitamin C have been investigated and found helpful in some cases of rosacea.
Vitamin D is becoming increasingly recognized for it’s relationship to overall health and skin health – and many Americans are deficient in this important vitamin. Fortunately, Vitamin D testing is easy and accurate, and supplementation is safe and effective in restoring Vitamin D to healthy levels. A warning though: vitamin D and retinoic acid may promote expression of cathelicidin, which has been implicated as a causitive factor for some rosacea sufferers. Other researchers take an opposing view, feeling that Vitamin D may play an important role in treatment because of the cathelicidins.
There are many other herbs that have been tried in the treatment of rosacea, with varying degrees of success. What seems to work for one sufferer often shows little benefit for another – underscoring the importance of an individualized and holistic approach to each individual.
Finally, digestive factors appear to be very important in almost all cases of rosacea that we have treated here at The Wellness Club. Many sufferers are found to be deficient in hydrochloric acid – a problem which initiates a whole cascade of other digestion-related problems. Fortunately, Gastric Acid Function Self Testing is quick and easy and gives a very clear indication of a person’s gastric acid function. For those deficient in stomach acid, Betaine Hydrochloride can provide what may seem like a “miracle cure” to symptoms of rosacea.
Food allergies have also been implicated in rosacea – and many sufferers are well aware of certain foods that exacerbate their symptoms. For others, the allergens may not be so obvious, and Food Intolerance Testing may be indicated. In difficult cases further digestive system testing such as Gastro-Intestinal (GI) Health Profile with Parasitology to rule out bacterial and parasitic infections (remember, even Conventional Medicine is now grudgingly accepting that bacterial overgrowth may be a causative factor in rosacea) and Intestinal Permeability testing because of the relationship between intestinal permeability (AKA “Leaky Gut Syndrome”) and generalized inflammation and toxicity may be needed.
So there you have it: Rosacea can be an embarassing condition and difficult to treat – but a good holistic doctor who is willing to take the time and make the effort to work with a sufferer can usually work wonders!
Berardesca E, Cameli N, Cavallotti C, Levy JL, Piérard GE, de Paoli Ambrosi G (2008). “Combined effects of silymarin and methylsulfonylmethane in the management of rosacea: clinical and instrumental evaluation”. J Cosmet Dermatol 7 (1): 8–14.
Yamasaki, Kenshi; Di Nardo, Anna; Bardan, Antonella; Murakami, Masamoto; Ohtake, Takaaki; Coda, Alvin; Dorschner, Robert A.; Bonnart, Chrystelle; Descargues, Pascal; Hovnanian, Alain; Morhenn, Vera B.; Gallo, Richard L. (2007) Increased serine protease activity and cathelicidin promotes skin inflammation in rosacea Nature Medicine 13(8), 975-980.
Journal of Investigative Dermatology (2008) 128, 773–775. doi:10.1038/jid.2008.35 Vitamin D Regulation of Cathelicidin in the Skin: Toward a Renaissance of Vitamin D in Dermatology? Siegfried Segaert
The text that follows is a transcript of the lecture notes for a lecture presented by Dr. Myatt in May of 2000 at the 2000 Pacific Northwest Herbal Symposium where Dr. Myatt was a featured lecturer speaking on several subjects. It is reproduced here in it’s entirety including annotations and references (as is expected of any lecture presented to a medical or scientific body) so that readers may verify the information for themselves and engage in further research. We hope that this will be information useful to persons with an interest in this disease.
Botanical and Nutritional Considerations in the Treatment of
Prostate carcinoma is a hormone-dependent cancer. Therefore, in addition to general immune enhancing and anti-cancer therapies, hormonal manipulation has a role to play in treatment of this disease.
Prostate carcinoma is the most common male cancer in the U.S. It accounts for an estimated 32% of all newly diagnosed cancers. (Other forms of prostate cancer, such as sarcoma, are rare and are not hormone-dependent). The incidence of disease increases with each decade of life over age 50. (1) Prostate cancer rates have risen 108% since 1950, believed due in part to earlier detection. Death rates from this disease have increased 23%.
There is great debate in the medical community regarding the value of conventional treatment. Prostate cancer is, in most cases, slow-growing. Increased survival rates reported in some studies may be due to earlier detection, not treatment. Many newly diagnosed and early stage cancers in older men would never progress to morbidity or mortality. Considering the risk of impotence (50-60% with surgery), incontinence (from surgery or radiation) and other treatment side-effects, the value of conventional therapy must be questioned in all cases of cancer in older men.
Botanical and nutritional treatment for cancer can be considered an adjuvant therapy in all cases of prostate carcinoma and the sole therapy in many. Even when conventional treatment is deemed advisable, non-traditional uses of conventional drugs may be safer and more advantageous than standard therapy. This is because, in it’s early stages, prostate cancer is highly controllable with hormone-blocking therapy.
In additional to generalized immune testing and basic cancer workup (chemistry screen, CBC, TFT’s, etc.), several tests specific to prostate disease allow the clinician to track progression non-invasively and with greater accuracy. These tests include prostatic-specific antigen (PSA), free PSA, prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP), and prolactin.
PSA is now used as the preferred screening test for both benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) and prostate cancer. Because PSA may be elevated in both benign and cancerous prostate disease, the test is not specific for prostate cancer. Values in the “indeterminate” range (4-12) present a special diagnostic dilemma. It is further estimated that 25% of men with prostate cancer will have PSA’s less than 4. Taken together, the PSA test poses a significant number of both false-negative and false-positive results. The PSA is an accurate measure of cancer cell activity once the diagnosis has been established.
Free-PSA is a more recent marker that has not yet been universally embraced by conventional medicine. Current research suggests that the free-PSA is a useful “next step” for evaluating elevated PSA’s. In men with PSA’s ranging from 4.1-10, higher levels of free-PSA (18.9 median value) correlated with benign disease while lower levels of free-PSA (10.1 median) correlated with cancer. It is estimated that 95% of “indeterminate” PSA readings could be clarified non-invasively with the additional use of the free-PSA test. (3)
Prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) was the prostate cancer screening test that preceded use of the PSA. An elevated PAP in a patient with known prostate cancer is indicative of lymphatic spread of the disease. (4)
Prolactin hormone is an additional growth factor to the prostate gland, and rising prolactin levels correlate with progression in advanced prostate cancer cases. Prolactin receptors are found on prostate cancer cells, and it is postulated that these receptors may facilitate the entry of testosterone into the cell. Even with hormone ablation therapy, detectable androgen remains in the blood from adrenal sources. Blocking prolactin secretion may there fore be another method for slowing progression of the disease. It is recommended that prolactin levels be kept below 3 in all patients with hormone-responsive cancers. (5)
Testosterone, prolactin, cortisol, insulin, and arachidonic acid-derived prostaglandins (especially PGE2) act as growth factors for prostate cancer. Cyclooxygenase is the enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of arachidonic acid to prostaglandins. Decreasing circulating levels of these hormones and blocking inflammatory pathways should be undertaken in addition to non-specific cancer therapies such as immune enhancement.
1.) Beers, Mark M.D., Berkow, Robert M.D. , editors, The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, Merck research Laboratories, 1999, p. 1918.
2.) Boik, John, Cancer and Natural Medicine, Oregon Medical Press, 1996, p. 87
3.) Faloon, William, Disease Prevention and Treatment Protocols, Life Extension foundation, Hollywood, FL, 1998, p. 192.
4.) Murphy, Gerald M.D., Lawrence, Walter Jr. M.D., Lenhard, Raymond M.D., Clinical Oncology, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, 1995, p. 315. [copies of this textbook may be obtained by calling your local branch of the American Cancer Society or call 1-800-ACS-2345].
5.) European Journal of Cancer, Vol 31A, No. 6, 1995.
Glycine max -soy
Linum ussatatissimum -flax
Arctium lappa -burdock
low dietary saturated fat
high dietary fiber
Cannabis sativa- marijuana
Serenoa Spp.- Saw palmetto
Rx: Casodex, flutamide, Lupron, Zoladex
Rx: Bromocriptine, Pergolide, Dostinex
Burdock reduces sex hormone bioavailability, perhaps due to its lignan content.(1) In vitro, it induces differentiation and inhibits tumor cell proliferation. (2) Burdock is considered highly in both Western and Chinese medicine as a detoxifier and it is an ingredient in the Hoxey formula. it is thought to stimulate the removal of excess metabolic acids. (3)
Flax seed is much higher in lignans than other plants. Lignans inhibit sex hormone availability. Antiinflammatory effects are attributed to the high omega-3 fatty acid content of the seed oil.
Soy beans contain protease inhibitors, fixed oils, coumestrol, isoflavones including daidzein and genistein, lecithin, protein, vitamins and minerals. Soy foods reduce hormone bioavailability and cholesterol levels through several possible mechanisms, including weak estrogenic effects of the phytoestrogenic isoflavones and fiber content. Genistein is cytotoxic, induces apoptosis and differentiation, inhibits angiogenesis and metastasis (4), and blocks protein kinase which is a cancer growth factor (11) . The isoflavones in soy are both antioxidant and antimutagenic.(5)
One study of 8,000 Japanese living in Hawaii found that men who had the highest intake of soy had the lowest incidence of prostate cancer. Soy-eaters diagnosed with prostate cancer nevertheless have the lowest death rate in the world from the disease.(6)
Marijuana contains flavonoids, volatile oils, alkaloids and over 60 different cannabinoids including THC.(7) Smoking the herb reduced testosterone levels or inhibited testosterone receptors in both animals and humans. It is known that marijuana smoking decreases male fertility. (8,9,10)
Saw palmetto blocks the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) (11) and there is evidence that DHT may be five times as potent as testosterone in stimulating prostate cancer cell growth. (12)
Vitex spp. decreases testosterone production in vivo (13) and inhibits prolactin synthesis and release in animal models (14). As the name “chaste tree” implies, this herb was traditionally used by monks to reduce libido.
PC-SPEC is a new and novel Chinese herb formula used in the treatment of prostate cancer. “Spec” is Latin for hope, and the formula is reported to be effective in extending quality and length of life even in advanced, hormone-refractory cancers. The formula is cytostatic and cytotoxic, and regulates apoptosis (1). It may stimulate T4 (helper) cells and macrophages (2) and lower PSA levels (3). The popularity of the formula was enhanced by a recent mention in the New England Journal of Medicine which reported that:
“We found PC-Spec…. has potent estrogenic activity in yeast, mice, and humans. In patients with prostate cancer, it causes clinically significant reductions in serum testosterone concentrations, decreases PSA, and with side effects similar to those of pharmacologic doses of estrogen….. PC-SPEC may prove useful in the treatment of hormonally sensitive prostate cancer…..”(3).
The formula contains herbs which may address prostate cancer on a number of levels. According to the book New Guidelines for Surviving (4), the herbs and actions of PC-SPEC include:
1.) Isatis indigotica (da qing ye) contains beta sitosterol, a phytosterol which lowers the bioavailability of estrogen and reduces tumor yield in animals.
2.) Glycyrrhiza spp. (gan cao) stimulates the immune system and possesses in vitro antitumor activity. It also helps lower testosterone levels.
3.) Panax pseudo-ginseng (san qi) stimulates NK cell activity.
4.) Ganoderma lucidum (ling zi) contain polysaccharides that inhibit cancer cells and extend the lifespan of test animal with lung cancer up to 195%.
5.) Scutellaria baicalensis (huang qin) promotes apoptosis, stimulates the immune system and inhibits tumor-cell proliferation.
6.) Dendranthema morifolium Tzvel (Chu-hua) is a lesser-known Chinese herb with reported antiviral and detoxifying properties.
7.) Rabdosia rubescens (don ling cau) is a pain-relieving herb with multiple antitumor effects. Increased survival rates have been noted in patients with esophageal cancer.
8.) Serenoa repens or S. serrulata (Saw palmetto) decreases the bioavailability of testosterone and is widely used in the treatment of BPH.
The recommended dose is 6-12 capsules per day depending on the stage of the disease. This puts the cost of the formula at $300-$600 per month. (CHT averages $800 per month to give some perspective). Since the formula is a non-FDA approved herbal combination, it is available without a prescription.
Dr. Myatt’s comment: This formula has gotten a lot of good press lately. I’d like to see if the results will meet the hype. Unfortunately, since the formula is a non-FDA approved herbal remedy, I have found it challenging to get patients to take it with consistency in the doses recommended. I have yet to see results in two patients who have used it with regularity. PC-SPEC may indeed represent a breakthrough in the treatment of cancer. It could also be that some herbal product manufacturers are getting as clever as the drug companies in creating “buzz,” and getting journal space, about new products. How many “breakthrough” drugs have come and gone? Let’s hope PC-SPEC fares better than the current conventional treatments for prostate cancer.
1.) Halicka HD et al.: Apoptosis and cell cycle effects induced by extracts of the Chinese herbal preparation PC-SPEC. Intl J Oncology, 1997;11:437-448.
2.) Whittaker J: The Art of Alternative Medicine. ACAM Conference Proceedings Notes, Nov. 1998.
3.) DiPaola RS et al.: Clinical and biologic activity of an estrogenic herbal combination (PC-SPEC) in prostate cancer. New Engl J Med, Sept. 17, 1998;339(12);785-791.
4.) Lewis, James Jr.: New Guidelines for Surviving , Westbury, NY: Health Education Library Publisher, 1998.
Vitamin D3 induces prostate cancer cell apoptosis by apparent translocation of the cancer cell androgen receptor. This makes the cell less susceptible to testosterone-induced proliferation (15). D3 induces differentiation, inhibits angiogenesis and shows antitumor activity. It may also upregulate vitamin A receptors. (16)
Because vitamin D has the potential to cause toxicity, doses over 1,000mg should be carefully monitored. Increased blood calcium levels can result from toxicity. In clinical practice, D3 appears to benefit metastatic bone disease in higher doses, perhaps because this vitamin is needed for normal calcification of bone matrix.
Food sources of vitamin D include cold water fish (salmon, mackerel, herring), butter, egg yolks and dark green leafy vegetables. Sunlight acting on the skin will also create vitamin D. In areas of decrease sunlight, increases of breast and colon cancer have been observed. (17)
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland. It regulates circadian rhythms and plays a role in sleep regulation. It is also a more potent antioxidant than glutathione or vitamin E (19). In vitro, melatonin demonstrates antiestrogen activity and immune stimulation (18). Recent research shows that melatonin inhibits cell proliferation profoundly in vivo but only weakly in vitro. It is synergistic with IL-2 and increases the effectiveness of IL-2 treatment. (20)
CoQ10 is a vitamin-like substance that is involved in mitochondrial energy production. The heart is a high user of CoQ10, and many chemotherapeutic drugs deplete body stores of this nutrient. CoQ10 has been used successfully to reduce chemotherapy-induced cardiotoxicity.
In breast cancer patients, a dose of 90mg daily increase late-stage survival dramatically. Three cases of complete remission have been documented at higher doses (300-400mg) per day. (21)
Digestive enzymes, whether from animal sources (pancreatin, etc.) or botanical (bromelain, papain), have been shown to increase survival time, inhibit metastasis, and stimulate immune cells. Enzymes induce differentiation and inhibit angiogenesis (22), possibly through antifibrinolytic mechanisms. It has also been postulated that enzymes may help unmask tumor cells and make them more accessible to the immune system.
Low saturated fat diets decrease the body’s endogenous and exogenous hormone production. Conversely, diets high in saturated fats decrease NK cell activity and increase arachidonic acid, an inflammatory precursor. Rates of breast, colon, prostate, uterine, ovarian and testicular cancers are significantly higher in countries with high saturated fat intakes.
Saturated fats promote inflammatory prostaglandin synthesis while omega-3 fatty acids are antiinflammatory.
Low carbohydrate diets decrease the availability of glucose and insulin. Insulin is a growth factor for cancer and the primary metabolic pathway of cancer cells is anaerobic glycolysis, meaning that cancer cells thrive with a high glucose environment. In animal studies, even slight change toward metabolic acidosis resulted in tumor regression. A low carbohydrate diet which induces ketosis (metabolic acidosis) may duplicate this effect. Overweight patients can afford to lose weight on such a diet, to further reduce their endogenous hormone production. (Fat cells manufacture estrogen).
lemon zest (the peel contains limonene)
soy and soy products
fresh vegetables (especially non-starchy, dark leafy greens)
blueberries and other berries (high in flavonoids and low in sugars)
grains (whole grain only, to reduce insulin response and increase fiber content. Grains should be used sparingly. In patients with more than twenty pounds to lose, gains need not be used at all until desired weight is achieved)
1.) Boik, John: Cancer and Natural Medicine, Oregon Medical Press, 1995, p. 159
2.) Ibid., p. 177
3.) Tilgner, Sharol N.D.: Medicines from the Earth, Wise Acres Press, 1999, p. 44.
4.) Ibid, Boik, p. 184.
5.) Editors of time-Life Books: The Drug and Natural Medicine Advisor, time-Life Books, Alexandria, VA. 1997, p.704.
6.) Yeager, Selene, editor: Food Remedies., Prevention Health Books, Rodale Press, 1998, p. 494.
7.) Chevallier, Andrew: Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. DK Publishing, London, 1996, p.180.
8.) Barnett G.,Chaing CW, Licko V: Effects of Marijuana on testosterone in male subjects. J Theor Biol 1983 Oct 21; …104(4):685-92
9.) Fujimoto GI, Morrill GA, O’Connell ME, Kostello AB: Effects of cannabinoids given orally and reduced appetite on the male rat reproductive system. Pharmagology 1982;24(5):303-13.
10.) Purohoit V, Ahluwahlia BS, Vigersky RA: Marijuana inhibits dihydrotestosterone binding to the androgen receptor. Endocrinology, 1980 Sep; 107(3):848-50.
11.) Sultan C, Terraza A, Devillier C, Carilla E, et al.: Inhibition of androgen metabolism and binding by a liposteric extract of Serenoa repens B in human forskin fibroblasts. J Steroid Biochem 1984 Jan; 20(1):515-9.
12.) The effects of Flutamide on total DHT and nuclear DHT levles in the human prostate. Prostate, 1981, 2/3: 309-314.
13.) Bhargava SK: Antiandrogenic effects of a flavonoid-rich fraction of Vitex negundo seeds: a histological and biochemical study in dogs. J Ethnopharmacol 1989 Dec; 27(3):327-39.
14.) Bohnert KJ: The use of Vitex agnus castus for Hyperprolactinemia. Quarterly Review of Nat Med Spring 1997;19-20.
15.) Vitamin D and : 1,25 Dihydroxyvitamin D3 receptors and actions in human prostate cancer cell lines. Endocrin 1993;132(5):1952-60.
16.) Majewski S, Szmurlo A, Marczak M, Jablonska S, Bollag W: Inhibition of tumor-cell induced angiogenesis by retinoids, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 and their combination. Canceer Lett 1993 Nov 30; 75(1):35-9.
17.) Murray M: Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements. Prima Publishing, 1996: p.40.
18.) reiter RJ, Melchiorri D, Swewerynek E, Poeggeler B, et al.: A review of the evidence supporting melatonin’s role as an antioxidant. J Pineal Res 1995; 57:125-28.
19.) Hill SM, Spriggs LL, Simon MA: The growth inhibitory action of melatonin on human breast cancer cells is linked to the estrogen response system. Cancer Lett 1992 Jul 10;64(3):249-56.
20.) Lissoni P, Barni S, Cazzaniga M, et al.: Efficacy of the concommitant administration of the pineal hormone melatonin in cancer immunotherpay with low-dose IL-2 in patients with advanced solid tumors who had progressed on IL-2 therpay alone. Oncology 1994b Jul-Aug; 51(4):344-7.
21.) Boik, John: Cancer and Natural Medicine, Oregon Medical Press, 1995, p. 71.
22.) 22.) Ibid., p.184.
An ever-growing body of scientific evidence demonstrates that turmeric — the bright yellow spice herb used in East Indian cooking — has potent anti-cancer properties. According to Bharat Aggarwal, chief of cytokine research at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the research to date shows that turmeric’s anti-cancer “promise is enormous.” This evidence and opinion was reported at the recent Society for Integrative Oncology conference and is also posted on the American Cancer Society’s website (www.cancer.org).
Turmeric, and it’s primary active ingredient curcumin, is the main ingredient in curry and a member of the ginger family. In addition to it’s anti-cancer properties, turmeric is a potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and liver-protecting herb. Expect to see and read a lot more about this herb in the future, although Wellness Club members have known about the benefits of turmeric for over a decade!
You can learn more about turmeric and find one of the most potent turmeric supplements available on The Wellness Club website by visiting Turmeric: Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory and Anti-Cancer Herb.
1.) Curcumin inhibits the mammalian target of rapamycin-mediated signaling pathways in cancer cells. Beevers,Li,Liu,Huang. Int J Cancer. 2006 Mar 20
2.) Antitumor action of curcumin in human papillomavirus associated cells involves downregulation of viral oncogenes, prevention of NFkB and AP-1 translocation, and modulation of apoptosis. Divya CS, Pillai MR. Mol Carcinog. 2006 May;45(5):320-32.
3.) Curcumin mediates ceramide generation via the de novo pathway in colon cancer cells. Moussavi M, Assi K, Gomez-Munoz A, Salh B. Carcinogenesis. 2006 Feb 25; [Epub ahead of print]
4.) Overexpression of p65/RelA potentiates curcumin-induced apoptosis in HCT116 human colon cancer cells. Collett GP, Campbell FC. Carcinogenesis. 2006 Feb 23; [Epub ahead of print]
5.) Induction of G2/M arrest and inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 activity by curcumin in human bladder cancer T24 cells. Park C, Kim GY, Kim GD, Choi BT, Park YM, Choi YH. Oncol Rep. 2006 May;15(5):1225-31.
6.) Molecular targets of dietary agents for prevention and therapy of cancer. Aggarwal BB, Shishodia S. Biochem Pharmacol. 2006 Feb 23; [Epub ahead of print]
7.) Inhibition of telomerase activity and induction of apoptosis by curcumin in K-562 cells. Chakraborty S, Ghosh U, Bhattacharyya NP, Bhattacharya RK, Roy M. Mutat Res. 2006 Jan 27; [Epub ahead of print]
8.) Curcumin differentially sensitizes malignant glioma cells to TRAIL/Apo2L-mediated apoptosis through activation of procaspases and release of cytochrome c from mitochondria. Gao X, Deeb D, Jiang H, Liu YB, Dulchavsky SA, Gautam SC. J Exp Ther Oncol. 2005;5(1):39-48.
9.) Multiple biological activities of curcumin: a short review. Maheshwari RK, Singh AK, Gaddipati J, Srimal RC. Life Sci. 2006 Mar 27;78(18):2081-7. Epub 2006 Jan 18.
10.) Curcumin, an atoxic antioxidant and natural NFkappaB, cyclooxygenase-2, lipooxygenase, and inducible nitric oxide synthase inhibitor: a shield against acute and chronic diseases. Bengmark S. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2006 Jan-Feb;30(1):45-51.
11.) Antiproliferation and apoptosis induced by curcumin in human ovarian cancer cells. Shi M, Cai Q, Yao L, Mao Y, Ming Y, Ouyang G. Cell Biol Int. 2006 Mar;30(3):221-6. Epub 2005 Dec 22.
12.) Synergistic inhibitory effects of curcumin and 5-fluorouracil on the growth of the human colon cancer cell line HT-29. Du B, Jiang L, Xia Q, Zhong L. Chemotherapy. 2006;52(1):23-8. Epub 2005 Dec 9.
13.) Curcumin induces human HT-29 colon adenocarcinoma cell apoptosis by activating p53 and regulating apoptosis-related protein expression. Song G, Mao YB, Cai QF, Yao LM, Ouyang GL, Bao SD. Braz J Med Biol Res. 2005 Dec;38(12):1791-8. Epub 2005 Nov 9.
14.) Inhibition of cellular proliferation and induction of apoptosis by curcumin in human malignant astrocytoma cell lines. Nagai S, Kurimoto M, Washiyama K, Hirashima Y, Kumanishi T, Endo S. J Neurooncol. 2005 Sep;74(2):105-11.
15.) Curcumin inhibits human colon cancer cell growth by suppressing gene expression of epidermal growth factor receptor through reducing the activity of the transcription factor Egr-1. Chen A, Xu J, Johnson AC. Oncogene. 2006 Jan 12;25(2):278-87.
Once thought to be little more than an annoying and unsightly skin condition, research now shows psoriasis to be a symptom of much more serious problems.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease with abnormally fast production of skin cells (up to 1,000 times normal) accompanied by inflammation.
Rapidly-multiplying skin cells pile up, creating a silvery scale. Skin underneath this scale is typically inflamed, itchy and painful. The condition is not contagious.
Psoriasis, once considered a “skin disease,” is now recognized as a systemic (body-wide) autoimmune condition highly associated with:
Other conditions associated with psoriasis include depression, insomnia/sleep difficulties, COPD, GERD and arthritis.
The precise cause of psoriasis is not known but a number of factors and have been identified:
Each individual case of psoriasis should be considered as some combination of these factors.
Topical treatments such as steroid cream can greatly help or even “cure” psoriasis. Unfortunately, steroid cream can cause skin atrophy, stretch marks, spider veins and easy bruising when used long-term. The effects can also become systemic and disrupt hormone levels, contributing to osteoporosis and even psychosis.
Steroid creams don’t work for everyone, and there is often a decreasing effect of treatment with continual use. There can also be serious rebound effects with sudden discontinuance.
Immune-suppressive drugs such as cyclosporin and methotrexate are used, but liver, kidney and blood values must be monitored regularly because of the toxicity of these drugs.
The highest-rated water filters cost about the same as the cheap junk. Aquasana Water Purifiers makes some of the highest-rated filters at the best prices
ALL psoriasis patients, whether symptomatic or not, should pay special attention to cardiovascular and metabolic risks. I recommend looking at cardio risk factors including the “other” risk factors at a regular interval.
Psoriasis can be challenging, but starting with the basics (good gut, adequate nutrients) often corrects or at least greatly improves symptoms. When natural, corrective treatment is used, improvement in skin lesions can be expected to include improvement associated risks such as heart disease and diabetes.
Topical treatments alone, even when they decrease skin lesions, do not correct systemic risks. Psoriasis should therefore be treated as a systemic disease, not a skin disease.
By Nurse Mark
Cancer is a terrifying word. It generates mental images of pain and suffering and disfigurement and disability. It seems almost everyone knows of someone who has died a hideous death from cancer. We instinctively recoil from cancer as we might from a venomous reptile or insect. We react with revulsion. The “ick factor.”
For this reason the word “cancer” can be used by doctors to justify almost anything – no matter how risky, unproven, or nonsensical, if something is presented as being necessary to “fight this thing” or “catch it early” most people will meekly agree in order to purge themselves of the “ick factor” that the thought of cancer brings.
Prostate cancer is especially troublesome for men, because it hits us “where it hurts” – like a “kick in the…” – well, you know what I mean… It conjures up visions of emasculation, incontinence, and unpleasant medical and surgical procedures performed on our most sensitive parts.
But is prostate cancer really all that it is made up to be? Is it really a dread disease that strikes down virile men in their prime, killing all it touches? Or is that the “marketing angle” used to sell expensive tests, surgeries, drugs, and treatments?
Let’s look at the whole issue a little more deeply.
In men the prostate is a walnut-sized lump of tissue that surrounds the urethra – the tube that carries urine out of the bladder – just below the urinary bladder. It normally weighs around 11 grams (just over 1/3 of an ounce) but can range from 7 to 11 grams and be considered normal. Its main purpose is to produce a fluid that aids in reproduction, transporting and protecting the sperm during the reproductive act.
Women have a similar organ, and female paraurethral glands called Skene’s glands were officially renamed the female prostate by the Federative International Committee on Anatomical Terminology in 2002. But that is a whole different story, since the female prostate doesn’t seem to encounter the same troubles as the male prostate does…
For men, there are a couple of potential problems with the prostate.
First, and most commonly, like ears and noses the prostate just doesn’t seem to know when to stop growing. In older men this leads to a condition known as Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (or BPH) and can cause problems with urination since while it grows in size outwardly it also tends to tighten down on the urethra as it gets larger – with predictable results. Difficulty starting urination and difficulty emptying the bladder fully lead to a condition known as Urinary Frequency. This usually results in multiple trips to the bathroom through the day and more significantly through the night.
It is believed that this unnecessary growth of the prostate begins at around age 30 and that by age 50 at least 50% of men will have evidence of BPH. This number increases to include 75% of men who reach the age of 80, and some 40% to 50% of those men will experience symptoms from this otherwise benign growth.
The second and more serious problem occurs when some of those ever-increasing numbers of prostate cells become cancerous.
Most prostate cancers are what considered “indolent” (that’s right – indolent means lazy, lethargic or idle) and more men than you might imagine actually have cancerous cells in their prostate but never, ever know it. One autopsy study of men who died of other causes found prostate cancer in 30% of men in their 50s, and in 80% of men in their 70s. It seems that any man who lives long enough will have prostate cancer eventually.
A few of those cancers however are of a more aggressive nature and can grow quickly, escaping the confines of the prostate gland and affecting other areas of the body in a process known as metastasis. These prostate cancers tend not to be without symptoms however, and are usually easy for an observant doctor to detect – a simple Digital Rectal Exam (the “dreaded DRE”) where the doctor inserts a finger into the rectum and simply feels the surface of the prostate gland will quickly reveal any lumps or bumps or hardness that could indicate a cancer.
Good question – since most men go through life with nary an untoward symptom from their prostate.
Even though they may actually have an “enlarged” prostate, or even a cancerous prostate, chances are very good that most men will never know it and will go on to die from some other cause – things like a heart attack or stroke, an infection like pneumonia, an accident, old age, or even (as the joke goes) “shot by a jealous husband” are a far more likely end for most men.
When they do occur, symptoms of BPH that might send a man to his doctor include urinary hesitancy, frequent urination, urinary tract infections, urinary retention, or insomnia caused by frequent awakening to urinate through the night.
Cancer in the prostate, as mentioned, is often quite asymptomatic (without symptoms or complaints) for most men since it is usually “indolent” – slow growing and not aggressive. When the cancer is an aggressive kind the symptoms will often be fairly obvious: as in BPH they include frequent urination, nocturia (increased urination at night), and difficulty starting and maintaining a steady stream of urine.
Because the cancerous cells are abnormal additional symptoms can include hematuria (blood in the urine), and dysuria (painful urination). Problems with sexual function and performance like difficulty achieving an erection or painful ejaculation can occur. And, should the cancer escape the prostate other areas of the body can be affected – the bone is a common site for these metastasis, with bone pain and weakness being common symptoms.
Sure – if you help. Your doctor will do a number of things – but the most important thing will be to sit and talk with you. He (or she) will start out by just talking – asking about your family history, any symptoms you may be experiencing, your recent and past medical history, and so on. He will do a physical examination with DRE, and may order some lab tests – more on that in a moment.
For most men that’s as far as it needs to go – if you are not having any symptoms and the doctor doesn’t find anything on physical exam that rings his alarm bells then you can relax until next year’s annual physical exam when he should be doing the same thing all over again for you.
Maybe, and no. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the PSA test and it’s promoted use as a “screening tool” for prostate cancer. While the drug companies, laboratories, and urologists continue to support PSA testing as a universal screening tool for all men, most of the rest of conventional medicine is quietly turning away from the test except in specific circumstances.
Even the discoverer of PSA, researcher Richard J Ablin – whose father died of prostate cancer – concluded in a 2010 OpEd article in The New York Times:
“I never dreamed that my discovery four decades ago would lead to such a profit-driven public health disaster. The medical community must confront reality and stop the inappropriate use of P.S.A. screening. Doing so would save billions of dollars and rescue millions of men from unnecessary, debilitating treatments.”
He says in his letter:
“American men have a 16 percent lifetime chance of receiving a diagnosis of prostate cancer, but only a 3 percent chance of dying from it. That’s because the majority of prostate cancers grow slowly. In other words, men lucky enough to reach old age are much more likely to die with prostate cancer than to die of it.”
And he continued:
“Even then, the [PSA] test is hardly more effective than a coin toss. As I’ve been trying to make clear for many years now, P.S.A. testing can’t detect prostate cancer and, more important, it can’t distinguish between the two types of prostate cancer — the one that will kill you and the one that won’t.”
More and more conventional medical governing bodies are moving away from PSA testing:
The American College of Preventive Medicine conducted a study that found:
“…no convincing evidence that early screening, detection, and treatment improves mortality. Limitations of prostate cancer screening include potential adverse health effects associated with false-positive and negative results, and treatment side effects.”
They issued a statement to say that
“there is insufficient evidence to recommend routine population screening with DRE or PSA.”
The American College of Physicians has taken a similar cautionary stance:
“…PSA is not just a blood test. It can open the door to more testing and treatment that a man may not want or that may harm him. Because chances of being harmed are greater than chances of benefiting, each man should have the opportunity to decide for himself whether to be screened.”
The American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American College of Physicians together concluded that based on recent research:
“…it is uncertain whether the benefits associated with PSA testing for prostate cancer screening are worth the harms associated with screening and subsequent unnecessary treatment.”
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says in their recommendation against the use of PSA testing:
“…many men are harmed as a result of prostate cancer screening and few, if any, benefit.”
Even The American Urological Association – whose members obviously stand to profit handsomely from all things associated with the prostate – has issued a guideline that makes the following statements:
Now, to be fair, there a number of medical experts (besides the drug and laboratory industry) that are still actively, even enthusiastically promoting universal PSA screening for men – the British Journal of Urology published a “consensus statement” created by a group of self-described “leading prostate cancer experts from around the world” who met at the 2013 Prostate Cancer World Congress in Melbourne, Australia and presented their recommendations for PSA testing.
Here are some highlights of their statement called The Melbourne Consensus Statement on Prostate Cancer Testing:
First, the authors emphasize that:
“For men aged 50–69, level 1 evidence demonstrates that PSA testing reduces prostate cancer-specific mortality and the incidence of metastatic prostate cancer.”
BUT they go on to say…
“…the degree of over-diagnosis and over-treatment reduces considerably with longer follow-up.
While routine population-based screening is not recommended, healthy, well-informed men in this age group should be fully counseled about the positive and negative aspects of PSA testing to reduce their risk of metastases and death. This should be part of a shared decision-making process.”
“Although screening is essential to diagnose high-risk cases within the window of curability, it is clear that many men with low-risk prostate cancer do not need aggressive treatment.
While it is accepted that active surveillance does not address the issue of over-diagnosis, it does provide a vehicle to avoid excessive intervention.”
“PSA testing should not be considered on its own, but rather as part of a multivariable approach to early prostate cancer detection. PSA is a weak predictor of current risk and additional variables such as digital rectal examination, prostate volume, family history, ethnicity, risk prediction models, and new tools such as the phi test, can help to better risk stratify men.”
“…a man in his 70s who has had a stable PSA at or below the median for a number of years previously is at low risk of developing a threatening prostate cancer and regular PSA screening should be discouraged.”
In other words: With regular PSA testing a very narrowly defined group of men in a narrow age range might have an aggressive, treatable cancer detected but routine screening of all men is not recommended. They recognize that PSA testing frequently leads to over-diagnosis and over-treatment and that for many men there is no need for aggressive treatment. And finally, they admit that PSA testing “is a weak predictor of current risk” and should be considered only one part of an overall approach to men’s prostate health.
PSA Velocity is a fancy way of saying how quickly (or not) a PSA level has increased over a given amount of time. It’s a fiddly, complicated mathematical exercise that looks really impressive to laypeople, but is being discredited by many authorities
In an article in the National Cancer Institute Cancer Bulletin we can find the following statement:
“A rapid increase in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels is not grounds for automatically recommending a prostate biopsy, according to a study published online February 24, 2011, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.”
The study looked at over 5500 men to determine if using the “PSA Velocity” calculations could help doctors detect more prostate cancers. Here is what they found:
“Adding PSA velocity to the model would have identified 115 additional cancers (although not necessarily fatal cancers) but also resulted in 433 “unnecessary biopsies” that would have shown no cancer.”
In other words, they might have found a few more cancers, but they would have had to do a lot of unnecessary biopsies to do it.
The researchers at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York conclude:
“We found no evidence to support the recommendation that men with high PSA velocity should be biopsied in the absence of other indications; this measure should not be included in practice guidelines.”
Again, conventional medical authorities are turning against that old party line, and so they should – because evidence of the dangers of prostate biopsies just keeps piling up.
A recent Bloomberg.com news article went into great detail on the risks, starting out with this statement:
“Doctors are changing their approach to prostate biopsies as evidence mounts that the danger of complications from the procedure may outweigh its usefulness identifying some cancers.
An increasing incidence of potentially lethal, difficult- to-treat bloodstream infections tied to prostate biopsies has become so serious that urologists are reassessing when, how and even if they do the procedure.”
The problem is in the geographical location of the prostate in the body. It lives just under the bladder, and is most easily accessible to a doctor by way of the rectum – which is why the Digital Rectal Exam or DRE is such a convenient tool for your doctor.
Biopsies of the prostate are performed by stabbing a special needle into the prostate gland in a half-dozen or more places to pull out bits of tissue for the pathologist to inspect for cancerous cells
The most common way to get at the prostate for these needle pokes is, like the finger exam, up the rectum.
Since the lower bowel and rectum are a region of our body that is rich in bacteria and almost impossible to “sterilize” or even thoroughly clean, you can imagine the risks!
Just one errant bacterium dragged from the rectum into the prostate or bloodstream as the needle penetrates can result in potentially life-threatening sepsis or even septicemia (aka “blood poisoning”). Since we have been using antibiotics with such wild abandon over the past few decades and have created “superbugs”, many of those bacteria are now antibiotic resistant and virtually untreatable.
Your urologist is talking about using a trans-perineal approach and may even boast that it will allow him to access more of the prostate gland and take even more biopsy samples.
It is also a much bigger money-maker for your urologist – here is what that Bloomberg article had to say about it:
“The perineum, the skin between the bottom of the scrotum and the anus, is a safer entry point because it can be cleaned with antiseptic, unlike the rectum, said Lindsay Grayson, Austin Hospital’s head of infectious diseases.
The lower risk of infections means urologists can take more core samples of the prostate, especially of the part of the gland that’s difficult to reach from the rectum, Frydenberg said.
On the downside, the procedure takes at least twice as long to perform, requires heavier patient sedation, six people in an operating theater, and equipment costing about $100,000, he said.”
Though the transperineal approach may carry less risk of infection, it still exposes men to the same risk as the rectal approach – the risk of spreading an indolent cancer from inside the confines of the prostate where it was sleeping peacefully to the blood and other areas of the body as those cells are dragged out through the surrounding tissues.
In an article in Medical News Today titled Prostate Biopsy Spreads Prostate Cancer Cells, the Diagnostic Center For Disease in Sarasota Florida discussed the phenomenon called “tracking” that occurs:
“A more important issue that is often not discussed between physician and patient involves the possibility of “needle tracking”, the very real possibility of spreading cancer cells beyond the prostate when a biopsy is performed. An extensive review of the literature confirms that once a needle penetrates the capsule of an organ, a phenomenon called “needle tracking” takes place. When the needle is withdrawn from the targeted organ, the chance of spreading cancer cells (when encountered) establishes itself, and every puncture of the prostate adds to this risk.
Despite the significance of this risk to the patient, physicians generally fail to acknowledge a process that allows cells to lie dormant or incubate for up to 10 years or more regardless of the treatment rendered. In a 2 billion dollar prostate biopsy industry, the phenomenon of “needle tracking” takes place approximately 20-30 percent of the time.”
This same article also discusses some of the other risks of prostate biopsy:
“…all men suffer the potential risk for bleeding, scarring, infection or sepsis and needless intrusion that has reportedly resulted in impotency and/or incontinence in some patients.”
There are more reasons than just prostate cancer that might account for a rising PSA – and most of those reasons are quite benign.
Once again let’s see what the discoverer of PSA, Richard J Ablin, has to say:
“Even then, the test is hardly more effective than a coin toss. As I’ve been trying to make clear for many years now, P.S.A. testing can’t detect prostate cancer and, more important, it can’t distinguish between the two types of prostate cancer — the one that will kill you and the one that won’t.
Instead, the test simply reveals how much of the prostate antigen a man has in his blood. Infections, over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen, and benign swelling of the prostate can all elevate a man’s P.S.A. levels, but none of these factors signals cancer.”
PSA naturally rises as a man ages and the prostate continues growing, but that’s not all:
Yes that’s right; an unscrupulous doctor could conceivably perform a “vigorous” or “thorough” DRE “prostate exam” knowing that an elevated PSA would be the result and then use that PSA result to sell his patient a completely unnecessary biopsy procedure!
Not at all! There are some specific situations where the PSA is a useful tool for the wise doctor to have at his disposal. The following are some of those men who may be wise to follow their PSA:
There may be times when you and your doctor just really need to know – because of symptoms, an unusual finding on DRE, or a rapidly rising PSA over several tests… but biopsy may not be the only option.
Recently, an imaging technology called a “3.0 Tesla Magnetic Resonance Imaging Spectroscopy” scan (MRI -S) is being used to predict and confirm the presence of prostate cancer. This technology is claimed to be the most sensitive and specific diagnostic tool for prostate evaluation in the world, and is said to be able to replace less accurate scanning procedures like the PET scan, CAT scan and Prostascint scans. This is certainly something to discuss with your urologist.
Ultrasound, while not as accurate, may also be employed and is frequently used to guide needle biopsy procedures, either by itself or in combination with MRI imaging.
So, what’s the bottom line?
It is clear that for every aggressive prostate cancer found, treated, and “life saved”, there are many more lives made into a misery of impotence and incontinence through aggressive and unnecessary diagnostics and treatments.
We must do better.
Epidemiology of BPH: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1950546-overview#aw2aab6b5
Latent carcinoma of prostate at autopsy in seven areas. Collaborative study organized by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyons, France: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ijc.2910200506/abstract
Richard J Ablin – The Great Prostate Mistake: Published: March 9, 2010 New York Times – http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/10/opinion/10Ablin.html?_r=0
Screening for prostate cancer in U.S. men ACPM position statement on preventive practice.: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18201648
Screening for Prostate Cancer: A Guidance Statement From the Clinical Guidelines Committee of the American College of Physicians: http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1676184
The USPSTF recommends against PSA-based screening for prostate cancer.: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/prostatecancerscreening.htm
AUA RELEASES NEW CLINICAL GUIDELINE ON PROSTATE CANCER SCREENING – http://www.auanet.org/advnews/press_releases/article.cfm?articleNo=290
PSA Screening Does More Harm Than Good, Says New Analysis: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/811846
The Melbourne Consensus Statement on Prostate Cancer Testing: http://www.bjuinternational.com/bjui-blog/the-melbourne-consensus-statement-on-prostate-cancer-testing/
PSA Velocity Does Not Improve Prostate Cancer Detection: http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/results/summary/2011/psa-velocity2011
An empirical evaluation of guidelines on prostate-specific antigen velocity in prostate cancer detection.: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21350221
Prostate Cancer Test Causing Sepsis Spurs Biopsy Concerns. Bloomberg, Apr 24, 2013: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-24/prostate-cancer-test-causing-sepsis-spurs-biopsy-concerns.html
The Impact of Repeat Biopsies on Infectious Complications in Men with Prostate Cancer on Active Surveillance.: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24018237
Diagnostic Center For Disease: Prostate Biopsy Spreads Prostate Cancer Cells – http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/97872.php
Mortality Results from a Randomized Prostate-Cancer Screening Trial: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0810696
Screening and Prostate-Cancer Mortality in a Randomized European Study: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0810084
Harvard School of Public Health – Men with prostate cancer more likely to die from other causes: http://ki.se/ki/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=130&a=146954&l=en&newsdep=130
Accurate Use of Prostate-specific Antigen in Determining Risk of Prostate Cancer: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/718972_1
ECC 2013 Press Release: Organised Screening for Prostate Cancer using the Prostate-Specific Antigen Test, Does more Harm than Good – Prostate cancer screening using the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is widely used in France despite a lack of evidence showing that it reduces cancer deaths.: http://www.esmo.org/Conferences/European-Cancer-Congress-2013/News/ECC-2013-Press-Release-Organised-Screening-for-Prostate-Cancer-using-the-Prostate-Specific-Antigen-Test-Does-more-Harm-than-Good
Natural Solutions for Neurotransmitter Disorders
Key to Depression, Anxiety and
Other Neurotransmitter-Related Disorders
A deficiency of neurotransmitters (also called “NT’s or “brain hormones”) causes or contributes to a wide variety
of diseases including depression, anxiety, and
overweight / obesity.
I.) Decreased production of neurotransmitters due to:
II.) Increased need for neurotransmitters due to:
Toxic damage to or destruction of the nerve cells the respond to NT input
Excess degradation of existing NeuroTransmitters due to reuptake inhibiting drugs or recreational drugs
Muscular and joint pain is a very common and vexing problem that interferes with the enjoyment of life’s pleasures for most of us at some time or other. There are some excellent natural solutions to this problem – read on:
I am a friend of a patient of yours and he mentioned that you could probably suggest a vitamin/mineral that might help my muscle soreness. Have been to a Dr. who ruled out Fibromyalgia. I am very active with work, motorcycles and horses. Have any suggestions?
Thank You, Tanya N.
Thank you for your question. Muscle soreness can result from many things, and combinations of things. The very best way to sort this out would be to arrange an alternative medicine consultation with Dr. Myatt – this will save you time, money, and uncertainty, and provide you with a very definitive plan for better health.
An optimal dose multiple vitamin / mineral / micronutrient formula such as Maxi-Multi is a cornerstone for anyone’s good health. Without optimal nutrition, the cells of your body (including your muscles) cannot function properly.
CoEnzyme Q 10 (CoQ10) is an important energy molecule for the mitochondria (the energy units) of our body’s cells. The body produces CoQ10 naturally, but many people are deficient for a number of reasons, including prescription medication use – particularly the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs. Without adequate energy supplies your muscles cannot function at their best and may feel tired and achy. CoQ10 is also a powerful antioxidant.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to many processes in the body. They are anti-inflammatory. Deficiencies in Omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to a subtle body-wide inflammatory state. The Standard American Diet is woefully deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids. An excellent source is Max EPA .
Bromelain is nature’s premier anti-Inflammatory herb, useful for all types of infection, injuries, inflammation, sinusitis, cardiovascular disease, rheumatic disease, autoimmune disease, and cancer. It is very effective at reducing swelling and inflammation, thereby reducing pain and discomfort of muscle soreness.
Cox-2 Support is a new product that many of Dr. Myatt’s patients and Wellness Club members have reported excellent results with. This herbal blend was created to help support normal healthy Cox-2 levels. You are no doubt familiar with the Cox-2 inhibitor drugs such as Vioxx and Bextra and others which have earned a reputation for being dangerous. Cox-2 support was formulated to give similar pain relief by helping the body to produce normal, healthy levels of Cox-2 compounds instead of creating artificially high levels of these compounds in the body by preventing their normal metabolism as the discredited Cox-2 inhibitor drugs are designed to do. It is well worth a try for relieving all kinds of muscular and joint discomfort.
Hope this helps,
Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) contains petasin, a substance which relaxes blood vessels and certain smooth muscles and is anti-inflammatory. Studies have shown that butterbur is useful for:
Butterbur and Hay Fever
Butterbur has been shown in studies to be as effective as drugs at relieving hay fever symptoms but without adverse side effects
One study compared Butterbur to the drug cetirizine (Zyrtec) and found that both relieved symptoms equally well. However, the drug was associated with a higher rate of adverse side effects including drowsiness.
A second study compared butterbur extract with fexofenadine (Allegra). Butterbur was just as effective as fexofenadine at relieving symptoms.
Butterbur and Migraine Headache
Studies have shown that Butterbur reduces the frequency of migraine headaches. The amount of Butterbur needed to be effective was 75mg of a standardized 15% petasin extract taken at least twice per day. Smaller doses were not effective in reducing migraine frequency.
Butterbur may contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids which can cause liver damage, use only extracts which have the pyrrolizidine alkaloids removed. This will be stated on the label.
1.) Wang GJ, Shum AY, Lin YL, et al. Calcium channel blockade in vascular smooth muscle cells: Major hypotensive mechanism of S-petasin, a hypotensive sesquiterpene from Petasites formosanus. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2001;297:240–6.
2.) Thomet OA, Schapowal A, Heinisch IV, et al. Anti-inflammatory activity of an extract of Petasites hybridus in allergic rhinitis. Int Immunopharmacol 2002;2:997–1006.
3.) Lipton RB, Gobel H, Einhaupl KM, et al. Petasites hybridus root (butterbur) is an effective preventive treatment for migraine. Neurology 2004;63:2240–4.
4.) Lee DK, Haggart K, Robb FM, Lipworth BJ. Butterbur, a herbal remedy, confers complementary anti-inflammatory activity in asthmatic patients receiving inhaled corticosteroids. Clin Exp Allergy 2004; 34:110–4.
5.) Ziolo G, Samochewiec L. Study on clinical properties and mechanism of action of petasites in bronchial asthma and chronic obstructive bronchitis. Pharm Acta Helv 1998;72:378–80.
6.) Schapowal A, Petasites Study Group. Randomised controlled trial of butterbur and cetirizine for treating seasonal allergic rhinitis. BMJ 2002;324:144–6.
7.) Lee DK, Gray RD, Robb FM, et al. A placebo-controlled evaluation of butterbur and fexofenadine on objective and subjective outcomes in perennial allergic rhinitis. Clin Exp Allergy 2004;34:646–9.
8.) Schapowal A; Petasites Study Group. Butterbur Ze339 for the treatment of intermittent allergic rhinitis: dose-dependent efficacy in a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2004 Dec;130(12):1381-6.
9.) Lee DK, Carstairs IJ, Haggart K, Jackson CM, Currie GP, Lipworth BJ. Butterbur, a herbal remedy, attenuates adenosine monophosphate induced nasal responsiveness in seasonal allergic rhinitis. Clin Exp Allergy. 2003 Jul;33(7):882-6.
10.) Käufeler R, Polasek W, Brattström A, Koetter U. Efficacy and safety of butterbur herbal extract Ze 339 in seasonal allergic rhinitis: postmarketing surveillance study.Adv Ther. 2006 Mar-Apr;23(2):373-84.
11.) Diener HC, Rahlfs VW. Danesch U. The first placebo-controlled trial of a special butterbur extract for the prevention of migraine: reanalysis of efficacy criteria. Eur Neurol 2004;51:89–97.
12.) Grossmann M, Schmidramsl H. An extract of Petasites hybridus is effective in the prophylaxis of migraine. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther 2000;38:430–5.
13.) Pothmann R, Danesch U. Migraine prevention in children and adolescents: results of an open study with a special butterbur root extract. Headache 2005;45:196–203.
14.) Lipton RB, Gobel H, Einhaupl KM, et al. Petasites hybridus root (butterbur) is an effective preventive treatment for migraine. Neurology 2004;63:2240–4.