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Health Notes

Federalizing nutrients—FREE stuff!
(At least they want you to think so)

I don’t know who did the “Dietary Supplement Barometer Survey,” but I do know a government snow job when I see one. This survey found that the majority of Americans believe in supplements and take them on a regular basis. Now isn’t that a bodacious surprise?

As a response to this electrifying news, two of your generous federal benefactors, Senators Orrin Hatch and Tom Harkin, have introduced a bill to force the taxpayers to pay for your vitamins, minerals, herbs, and specialty supplements. What a couple of great guys! (%$@#@!&*&%$@!!)

Do you detect the smell of senatorial snake artists and 10,000 more bureaurats to manage your life and search your kitchen for contraband kohosh? Has it occurred to you that this may be the first stage in a slippery plan to “ethicalize” your nutrients, you know, as in “ethical drugs”? Oh sure, on the surface it looks like they’re crusaders for natural medicine, and that they’re fighting to get supplements recognized as viable treatment options-just like prescription drugs.

But take a minute to really think about it: If supplements are on equal footing with prescription drugs, they will be treated like prescription drugs. No more running to the local vitamin shop to grab some extra vitamin C when you’ve got a cold. No, that would constitute “indiscriminate use,” and you can’t expect the people, meaning the long-suffering taxpayer, to pay for the indiscriminate use of these now-therapeutic agents. They will have to be controlled by doctors’ prescriptions. After all, they are scientists and little you aren’t, and only they can determine what’s really best for you. So you will have to consult them before doing anything.

So how much will this free stuff cost you?

The doctor’s fee will only be about 75 bucks. There will be blood work to determine your body’s levels for about 25 vitamins and minerals, which will run you maybe $150. Then you’ll get the green light to start taking supplements, which will mean getting a handful (at least) of pricey prescriptions filled. But once you’re taking them, how do you know you are absorbing these expensive “nutraceuticals” and thus giving the taxpayer his money’s worth? So you’ll also need to undergo absorption tests-those will be about $350 if you go cheap.

So now tell me-do you REALLY want the government to take supplements as “seriously” as prescription drugs?

Harkin and Hatch are masters of ironyright down to the name of this little scheme of theirs. They’re calling it the “Dietary Supplement Tax Fairness Act.” Gee, thanks…I guess sometimes unfair is better.

Reference:

“Senators Harkin and Hatch Introduce the Dietary Supplement Tax Fairness Act,” Life Extension Magazine, 10/01

Rediscovering honey’s healing power

It has been known since the time of the ancient Greeks that honey has remarkable healing power. Now, New Zealand doctors have rediscovered it. Dr. Peter Molan, who heads the University of Waikato Honey Research Unit, says that honey reduces the growth of bacteria in dental plaque and clears microbes from wounds and gum infections.

But not all honey is created equal. The research team in New Zealand has discovered that different kinds of honeys vary drastically in the strength of their antimicrobial activity. Producers have their honey tested and, if makes the grade against bacteria in the laboratory, it can be labeled as “antiseptic.”

The healing connection: honey converts into hydrogen peroxide

The scientific explanation for the antibacterial action of honey is that enzymes in honey produce hydrogen peroxide and, as every red-blooded American knows, H2O2 is the best treatment there is for treatment of superficial wounds. It’s even better than the highly touted silver ointments, which cost 20 times more than peroxide. I’ve seen peroxide as cheap as 50 cents a pint-bargains in medical treatment are hard to find these days.

I’m not one to throw a damper on any research of natural products, but why not just cut right to the chase and use hydrogen peroxide instead of waiting for honey to convert into it? It’s your choice: Both are effective, but H2O2 is quicker.

Reference:

“Honey and Oral Health,” Alternative Health News Online (www.altmedicine.com), 3/16/01

The future of aphrodisiacs: Out with the old, in with the herb

Spirits are high in mousedom as it has been announced that maca (Lepidium meyenii), an herb from Peru, has powerful erotic effects on experimental mice. Male mice treated for 22 days with maca extract demonstrated three to four times more mating behavior than mice in an untreated control group, according to the Chinese researchers. “The mice in the maca group showed a significant increase in both mounting and copulatory behavior, compared with controls,” they said. In simple English, that means the Maca Mice were four times more enthusiastic about what they were doing than the maca-deprived ones. (I didn’t know they were having a problem in the first place.)

Girls just wanna have fun, too!

Of course, you must note they haven’t tried it on female mice– much less female humans. Back in the good ol’ days (the ’70s), there was a highly effective female aphrodsiac. But they were having so much fun-well, the men were, and sometimes without the women’s knowledge-that the government was forced to outlaw it. The aphrodisiac was called methylqualone-better known as qualudes. The saying among the roving males was: “Candy is dandy but qualude is quicker.” The new expression might become: “Liquor might be quicker, but maca is mighty.”

Want to volunteer?

Not that I need it, of course, but I am investigating this interesting herb quite intensively for your benefit and will report back.

Reference:

“Effect of a lipidic extract from Lepidium meyenii on sexual behavior in mice and rats.” Urology 2000; 55: 598-602

Magnesium: A stroke of genius

Few of us who practiced emergency medicine made as radical a switch as I did. I went from emergency medicine to holistic medicine-from hero to goat, in the minds of most of my colleagues. During the transition period, when I was practicing both (a mortal sin if there ever was one), I started applying some of my newfound nutritional knowledge to the practice of emergency medicine. So back in the 1970s, I was using magnesium as an emergency measure as described in the “new” discovery reported below.

My reasons back then weren’t as scientific as iterated in the report to follow, but I knew magnesium was (and is) very important in stressful situations. And what could be more stressful than a stroke?

Now the real scientists are confirming the efficacy of what some of my colleagues and I did by the seat of our pants, so to speak. UCLA researchers worked with Los Angeles paramedics to initiate intravenous magnesium treatment for stroke victims on their way to the hospital. Magnesium protects the brain from the severe damage that can be caused during strokes by dilating the blood vessels in the brain and preventing the buildup of calcium, which damages injured nerve cells. According to the UCLA report, when magnesium is applied by paramedics en route, the patient receives preliminary treatment nearly three hours earlier than if they were to wait until arrival at the hospital.

This puts them at significant advantage for a quicker, more complete recovery. The researchers reported “dramatic” recovery results in 25 percent of patients receiving the en-route magnesium therapy. And more good news, it didn’t matter if the stroke was embolic (clot in an artery) or hemorrhagic (bleeding into the brain), the treatment was safe for all scenarios.

Researchers were so encouraged by the study’s results that a much larger trial is under way.

Reference:

“UCLA Researchers Encouraged by Results of Stroke Pilot Study” UCLA News (www.uclanews.ucla.edu), 2/8/02

“Pre-Hospital Magnesium Dose Helps Stroke Patients,” Reuters Health (www.reutershealth.com), 2/13/02

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