Dear Patients and Friends:
The N.Y. State Attorney General’s office recently sent letters to 4 major retailers, specifically, Walmart, Walgreens, Target and GNC, ordering them to stop selling their store brand botanical supplements. The Attorney General stated DNA testing of their products showed those products did not contain the labeled ingredients or in some cases, contained contaminants. The old saying “buyer beware” applies to the world of dietary supplements and consumers should be aware these products are not regulated like drugs by the FDA. It has been estimated that up to 50% of supplements do not contain the listed ingredients or amounts.
At the Center Dr. Erickson has carefully researched and chosen specific supplement companies he deals with; these companies have the highest standards for quality control and product efficacy. Purchase of these products, of course, is optional. For example, Metagenics is a medical food company and a leader in science-based nutrition for 30 years. Every batch of their raw materials is tested to ensure the product meets the label claim and all lots are tested for disintegration time, microbes, and bacteria. Thorne Research likewise is an outstanding company who consistently uses both in-house quality control laboratory and select third-party laboratories to verify the identity, potency, and purity of each ingredient listed on the product label. Following production, each product is again tested prior to release for sale (and their products are in veggie caps). Biotics Research uses in-house testing for pesticides in botanical extracts and heavy metals in its Bio Omega 3 fish oil. Their facility meets the same standards as for pharmaceutical manufacturing.
A Paradigm Shift In How DNA and Our Genes Control Our Destiny
As genetic testing has become more affordable, more patients are interested in looking into their genetic profiles or are bringing in lab results from on-line laboratories asking for advice. The subject of how genetic mutations affect human health is not as clear cut as one may think. It has only been approximately half a century since Watson and Crick described the structure and function of the DNA double helix, the material of which genes are made of. When I was in medical school we were taught that the nucleus of the cell and its DNA controlled the physiological function of the cell.
I just finished reading a groundbreaking book, The Biology of Belief, by Bruce Lipton, Ph.D. Dr. Lipton is a former medical school professor and research scientist whose work has shown that our genes and DNA do not necessarily control our biology. Organic chemistry texts provide a mechanistic foundation for biomedicine and Lipton states conventional medical researchers have no understanding of the molecular mechanisms that truly provide for life. Hundreds of scientific studies over the past 50 years have revealed that “invisible forces” of the electromagnetic spectrum profoundly impact every facet of biological regulation. Specific frequencies and patterns of electromagnetic radiation regulate DNA, RNA and protein syntheses. Electromagnetic energy can alter protein shape and function, control gene regulation, cell division, cell differentiation, hormone secretion, nerve growth and function, and the process by which cells assemble into organs and tissues. In other words, DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell, including the energetic messages emanating from our positive and negative thoughts. He states our bodies can be changed if we retrain our thinking.
We know living organisms must receive and interpret environmental signals in order to stay alive, and survival is directly related to the speed and efficiency of signal transfer. Oxford University bio-physicist C. W. F. McClare calculated and compared the efficiency of information transfer between energy signals and chemical signals in biological systems. The speed of electromagnetic energy signals is 186,000 miles per second while the speed of a diffusible chemical or hormone is less than 1 centimeter per second.
Conventional medicine has not focused on the role energy plays as “information.” Ironically, non-invasive scanning technologies such as CAT scans, MRI scans and positron emission tomography (PET) scans can detect disease by reading energy fields emitted by our body’s tissues and organs. As more complex animals evolved, a nervous system developed and organisms developed a brain which acted as a central information processor. The brain controlled the behavior of the body’s cells.
The Power of Positive Thinking – A New Look at the Placebo Effect
We all know the mind can affect the body and Dr. Lipton states positive thoughts have a profound effect on gene behavior when they are in harmony with subconscious programming. One example is some people get well when they believe they are getting medicine, even when it is a “sugar pill” or placebo. There have been a number of studies comparing placebos to antidepressant drugs in patients with mild to moderate depression. These studies have shown that there was no statistically significant difference between placebo therapy and chemical drug therapy, questioning the value of antidepressant medications for mild depression. The question that comes up is how much of an antidepressant drug’s effect is a “placebo effect” because people believe an antidepressant is going to work.
In another study published in 2002 in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Bruce Moseley, a Baylor School of Medicine orthopedic surgeon knew that knee surgery helped his patients with severe knee pain due to osteoarthritis. He was trying to find out whether shaving damaged cartilage versus just flushing out the knee joint of the debris that was thought to be causing inflammation was the better treatment. “All good surgeons know there is no placebo effect in surgery.” So he divided a group of surgical patients into three groups, with the third group getting “fake” surgery. Dr. Moseley had patients in this third group sedated and he made three standard incisions identical to a real surgery. He then splashed salt water on the knee to simulate the knee-washing procedure. The results were shocking. The two groups receiving surgery improved as expected. But the third or placebo group improved just as much as the other two groups. “My skill as a surgeon had no benefit on these patients. The entire benefit of surgery for osteoarthritis of the knee was the placebo effect.”
Beware of Negative Thoughts
Dr. Lipton goes on to talk about the power of negative thought – known as the nocebo effect. One example that was given involved a retired shoe salesman who had cancer of the esophagus. This was in the 1970s, and at that time this condition was considered 100 percent fatal. The patient was told by his physicians of the prognosis and this patient died a few weeks after his diagnosis. The surprise came when an autopsy showed this person’s body had very little cancer in his body, and certainly not enough to kill him. “He died with cancer, but not from cancer . . . he died because he believed he was going to die.”
Lipton went on to suggest physicians, parents and teachers can remove hope by programming you to believe you are powerless. Your beliefs act like filters on a camera, changing the way you see the world. Your biology adapts to those beliefs.
An analogy I heard recently regarding DNA and gene expression is DNA loads the gun, but environmental factors pull the trigger.
Could Antibiotics Be Causing Your Symptoms?
Mr. D is a 72 y.o. gentleman who saw me for the first time in December 2014. Mr. D stated he was in good health and physically active up until 4 years ago when he was diagnosed with a non-specific urethritis and was placed on Cipro 500mg daily for a 14 day course. Since that time he was placed on Cipro two more times for urethritis-type symptoms. He stated he did not have any problems with the first course of Cipro. With the 2nd course of Cipro he developed a few hives and mild headache but with the 3rd course he had chills, diffuse joint pain, malaise, severe hives and a pounding headache. Since taking this antibiotic Mr. D has experienced continued joint pain, discomfort in his elbows, shoulders, and in the Achilles areas of the ankles. He stated for over a year he had to wrap his ankles and elbows in order to function. The patient also described pain in the entire spine from the neck to the low back that he is treating with chiropractic adjustments and icing. Mr. Ds primary care physician referred him to a rheumatologist who ran tests for autoimmune disorders and Lyme disease. The tests were negative. He was diagnosed with “fibromyalgia.” Mr. D is was placed on a nutritional protocol to support mitochondrial function and was improved at his first office revisit.
Mrs. J is a physician’s wife who underwent a minor gynecological procedure and had a urinary catheter placed during the surgery. A bladder infection ensued and she was placed on a one week course of Cipro. A week after completing the antibiotic Mrs. J developed joint pains in the wrists and ankles, and she now suffers from neck and lower back pain on a daily basis. She takes calcium and magnesium supplements along with Meriva SR (Curcumin in a sustained release formula), and sees a chiropractor, but these therapies provide only partial relief. Her pain is relieved for several days with IV magnesium treatments at the Center.
Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Antibiotic Use
These two case studies are examples of some of the more serious side-effects of some antibiotics. Cipro is in a class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones and it has been my personal experience that this class of antibiotic has more severe side effects than many other antibiotics. Most people and even physicians assume that antibiotics kill bacteria but leave human cells alone. In addition to antibiotic-resistance, there are multiple published studies documenting bacteriocidal antibiotics (antibiotics that kill bacteria) cause mitochondrial damage. Mitochondria are organelles present in almost every cell in the human body that are responsible for energy production. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been linked to many diseases including chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and neuropathies. Of interest, scientific research has determined mitochondria have their origins from ancient bacteria where there was an event where a bacterium was engulfed by another cell. So it makes sense that a drug designed to kill or damage a bacteria might also damage mitochondria.
Jim Collins is a professor of biomedical engineering at Boston University who studied the effects of antibiotics on mitochondria. His team found antibiotics that were bacteriocidal caused a surge in reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS cause cell damage and disrupt mitochondrial function. The antibiotic tetracycline, which is bacteriostatic (prevents bacterial growth but does not kill the bacteria) did not cause an increase in reactive oxygen species. One concern with the increased production of ROS with antibiotic use is that ROS are mutagenic to both nuclear DNA and mitochondrial DNA. These mutations can lead to cancer formation. This may not be a problem with short-term antibiotic use, but would be clinically relevant when antibiotics are administered over a longer period for chronic infection. No one knows how long is “too long.”
Can Cellular Damage from Antibiotics Be Prevented?
To see if they could prevent cellular damage, Collins and colleagues treated the human cells with an antioxidant called NAC (N-acetyl-L-cysteine) in addition to the antibiotics. This antioxidant did not reduce the effectiveness of the antibiotics but alleviated the deleterious effects of the antibiotics in cell culture. Further research is needed to determine if other antioxidants would have the same protective effect. We do know NAC is a precursor to the body’s master antioxidant, glutathione. The majority of our patients who receive intravenous glutathione therapy at the Center report a rapid improvement in energy and sense of well-being. Glutathione’s main functions are providing critical support for the body’s detoxification processes, reduction of oxidative stress and ROS, and boosting immune function by causing white blood cell proliferation. Cause and effect links between glutathione metabolism and diseases such as cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, cystic fibrosis (CF), HIV, and aging have been shown.
The bottom line is one should use antibiotics only when they are really needed. We need to find alternative antimicrobial therapies for non life-threatening infections that do not harm patients. In addition to taking a probiotic with an antibiotic, consider taking NAC or Essential GSH PRO, which is an oral form of glutathione. We use a variety of nutritional therapies for mitochondrial support at the Center and these are tailored for a patient’s particular circumstances and Spectracell lab results.
Success Story – Patient With Changing Thermal Pattern on Breast Thermography
Our December 2014 Newsletter was dedicated to updating information on breast thermography and mammography. This newsletter is published on our website www.prevent-doc.com. If for some reason you did not receive this newsletter, please call Frankie at 352-331-5138 and make sure we have your correct mailing address.
Mrs. L is a 61 year old R.N. who has been obtaining periodic breast thermograms at Gainesville Thermography. A thermogram was obtained in December 2014 that was compared by the interpreting physician to all her previous thermographic scans. It showed progressive thermal changes in one breast that were of concern. The patient lives out of the Gainesville area and was asked by Dr. Erickson to see her gynecologist and also obtain a mammogram and breast ultrasounds. The ultrasound and mammogram studies did not show any abnormalities or malignancy. However, her gynecologist found on manual breast exam that a breast implant was leaking. Mrs. L decided to have her breast implants removed.
Thermography (digital infrared thermal imaging) is an FDA approved modality that demonstrates skin temperature patterns which indicate physiological changes in a person’s body. Breast thermography is complimentary to mammography and as this case report demonstrates, may pick up changes that mammography misses.
Patient Success Story – Young Female with Gastrointestinal Issues
Mrs. C is a 30 year old wife of a doctor who was experiencing severe episodes of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea as well as weight loss. Gallbladder ultrasound, HIDA scan, stool analysis for parasites and pathogenic bacteria, and lab work were normal except for an elevated total bilirubin. She saw a number of alternative health care providers for acupuncture and also homeopathics but this didn’t help her symptoms.
The patient was treated with Beta Plus, a Biotics Research product to support biliary function and periodic intravenous therapy with Glutathione. Glutathione is critical for proper liver function. The intervals between gastrointestinal upsets lengthened and we were able to increase the dose of I.V. Glutathione. Mrs. C now comes to the Center on an as-needed basis. At a recent visit the patient stated “I am sleeping better, my emotions are much better and my stomach is better. I have much more energy.”