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Top 6 Carcinogenic Food Contaminants

Cancer is on the rise. The number of new cancer cases in Canada is expected to rise about 40% in the next 15 years, according to a new report – Canadian Cancer Statistics 2015 – released by the Canadian Cancer Society. Almost all cancer deaths in Canada (96%) will occur in people over the age of 50, and most (62%) deaths will occur in those aged 70 and over.

Many people worry that substances or exposures in their environment may cause cancer. Food is one of them. We eat (at least) 3 times a day and what we eat has tremendous impact on our health.

But let first define what a carcinogen is.

Cancer is caused by changes in a cell’s DNA – its genetic “blueprint.” Some of these changes may be inherited from our parents. Others may be caused by outside exposures, which are often referred to as environmental factors. Environmental factors can include a wide range of exposures, such as:

  • Lifestyle factors (nutrition, tobacco use, physical activity, etc.)
  • Naturally occurring exposures (ultraviolet light, radon gas, infectious agents, etc.)
  • Medical treatments (radiation and medicines including chemotherapy, hormone drugs, drugs that suppress the immune system, etc.)
  • Household exposures
  • Workplace exposures
  • Pollution

Substances and exposures that can lead to cancer are called carcinogens. Some carcinogens do not affect DNA directly, but lead to cancer in other ways. For example, they may cause cells to divide at a faster than normal rate, which could increase the chances that DNA changes will occur.

Carcinogens do not cause cancer in every case, all the time. Substances labeled as carcinogens may have different levels of cancer-causing potential. Some may cause cancer only after prolonged, high levels of exposure (“the dose makes the poison”). And for any particular person, the risk of developing cancer depends on many factors, including how they are exposed to a carcinogen, the length and intensity of the exposure, and the person’s genetic makeup.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is part of the World Health Organization (WHO). One of its major goals is to identify causes of cancer. The most widely used system for classifying carcinogens comes from the IARC. In the past 30 years, the IARC has evaluated the cancer-causing potential of more than 900 likely candidates, placing them into one of the following groups:

Group 1: Carcinogenic to humans

Group 2A: Probably carcinogenic to humans

Group 2B: Possibly carcinogenic to humans

Group 3: Unclassifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans

Group 4: Probably not carcinogenic to humans

Perhaps not surprisingly, based on how hard it can be to test these candidate carcinogens (who would want to be voluntarily subjected to carcinogens?), most are listed as being of probable, possible, or unknown risk. Only a little over 100 are classified as “carcinogenic to humans.”

Here is my list of the worst carcinogenic foods (contaminants).

A special note here, in case it wasn’t clear by now: food itself, in its natural state, is NOT carcinogenic. It is the process of preparing the food, the things we add to the food, we spray the food with, the way we preserve or “enhance” the food that will make the altered food be considered carcinogenic.

  • Processed meats: Most processed meat products, including lunch meats, bacon, sausage, and hot dogs, contain chemical preservatives that make them appear fresh, tastier and appealing, but that can also cause cancer. Both sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate have been linked to significantly increasing the risk of colon and other forms of cancer, so be sure to choose only uncured meat products made without nitrates, and preferably from grass-fed sources. (Group 1)

  • Microwave Popcorn: From the chemically-lined bag to the actual contents, microwave popcorn is at the center of lung cancer debates around the world. Not only are the kernels and oil likely GMO (which the manufacturer does not have to disclose) , the fumes released from artificial butter flavoring contain diacetyl, which is toxic to humans. Make your own organic popcorn the old-fashioned way – air popped – it tastes better, doesn’t release toxic fumes, and is a healthier choice for you. (Group 1)

  • Alcoholic beverages: all types of alcohol (fermented and those further distilled) can cause cancer in humans. Animal studies have not convincingly demonstrated that ethanol itself is carcinogenic leading to the hypothesis that other contaminants in alcoholic beverages or ethanol metabolites (acetaldehyde) are responsible for these effects. This is true only for heavy alcohol consumption (heavy drinkers). (Group 1)
  • Salted fish: This is produced in several parts of Asia using a method that appears to result in the production of carcinogenic by-products. These foods can be very high in nitrates and nitrites, which react with protein to form nitrosamines. (Group 1)

  • Pickled vegetables: They have been studied for their association with cancer mainly in Asia and especially in China. The pickling process is different from that used in many parts of the world and uses no salt or vinegar. Instead it relies on natural fermentation and can lead to contamination with mold. (Group 2B)

  • Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs): The rapidly growing industry of genetically modified crops are infiltrating our food supply at an alarming rate. More than 90% of our corn and soy are now genetically modified. The current research on the health risks of GMOs is inconclusive. In other words, researchers cannot confirm whether or not GMOs increase cancer risks. Yes still, IARC has recently labelled the corn or soy sprayed with Roundup (the active ingredient: glyphosate) as probably carcinogenic to humans. (Group 2A)

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IV Nutrition Therapy

Intravenous (IV) Therapy is the quickest, safest way to administer vitamins, minerals and amino acids to enhance immune function, increase energy levels, and help manage a variety of chronic health problems. IV nutrients can be preventive by strengthening your body’s defenses as well as anti-aging by promoting great skin, hair, and nails to help you look and feel younger. IV is also an excellent tool to prepare for surgery, it decreases the rate of infections, complications, scar-formation and hospitalization.

IV nutrients provide rapid relief for a variety of symptoms and conditions. When you take a vitamin orally, your body must work to shift nutrients into your blood. However, when vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are infused intravenously (IV), they are delivered directly into the bloodstream bypassing the stomach and liver and supplying much higher doses of certain nutrients than could typically be given orally.

An IV infusion delivers 100% of each vitamin/mineral administered providing maximum absorption for great results.

What are some of the benefits of IV Nutritional Therapy?

  • Fewer side effects. IV therapy bypasses the stomach and intestines. This means no upset stomach or intestinal problems like cramps, nausea, or diarrhea, which sometimes result from taking high doses of certain vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C and magnesium.
  • Corrects cellular deficits. For some patients, certain disease states can reduce the ability of orally administered nutrients to penetrate cell walls, which in turn reduces their effectiveness. When nutrients are delivered via direct IV vitamin therapy, however, they are better able to penetrate cells, making them more effective in boosting the immune system, healing damaged tissue and reducing tissues inflammation.
  • Boosts the immune system. Our IV (intravenous) Program uses a concentrated blend of key vitamins, minerals and amino acids that boost the body’s immune system in a way that orally administered vitamins and intramuscular vitamin injections simply cannot match. In fact, the ultra-high blood concentrations of IV vitamin C that we can provide can be just as effective as prescription medications for treating influenza and other viruses. Our unique blend of various B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, and calcium have a significant effect on a variety of conditions from asthma to angina and promote whole-body health and wellness.

Is IV Nutritional Therapy Right for Me?

Most of us have some form of Gut damage due to chronic exposures to toxins in our daily environment. This leads to our bodies having a harder time absorbing the necessary nutrients for our cells to nourish in. IV therapy solves this problem by infusing directly into the bloodstream where these nutrients make their way into cells for pure nourishment.

What are the conditions treated with IV Therapy?

Here are some conditions that IV nutrition therapy proved to be helpful:

  • Asthma
  • Migraines
  • Allergies
  • Fatigue (chronic)
  • Dehydration
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Energy Boost
  • Enhance Athletic Performance
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Acute Muscle Spasms
  • Lowered Immune System
  • Cancer care
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Can a vitamin be a drug?

Sometimes patients are confused about this topic: aren’t the supplements (vitamin, minerals, fatty acids etc) drugs too? Don’t they “treat” diseases too? What’s the difference between them?

Let’s start with the definition of a drug first.

According to Health Canada, drugs include both prescription and non-prescription pharmaceuticals; biologically-derived products such as vaccines, blood derived products, and products produced through biotechnology; tissues and organs; disinfectants; and radio-pharmaceuticals. According to the Food and Drug Act, a drug includes any substance or mixture of substances manufactured, sold or represented for use in:

  1. the diagnosis, treatment, mitigation or prevention of a disease, disorder, abnormal physical state, or the symptoms thereof in man or animal
  2. restoring, correcting or modifying organic functions in man or animal, or
  3. disinfection in premises in which food is manufactured, prepared or kept

Natural health products, such as vitamin and mineral supplements and herbal products for which therapeutic claims are made are also considered drugs at the level of the Food and Drugs Act; however, these products are regulated as natural health products under the Natural Health Products Regulations and not as drugs under the Food and Drug Regulations. They are seen as a sub-set of drugs now.

Another important theoretical distinction in the eyes of the authorities is this:

  • Drugs are considered unsafe until proven safe
  • Dietary supplements are considered safe until proven unsafe

Based on this conceptual difference, FDA and Health Canada consider new drugs to be unsafe until they are proven safe through clinical trials. And they must approve any new drug before it can be legally sold in the US or Canada. Clinical trials are studies done under well-controlled conditions on human volunteers. They are expensive. These tests must be done on all drugs – even those that are sold over the counter (without a prescription). The Health Canada approval process requires that the drug be proven in a series of clinical trials. These studies must show “substantial evidence” that the drug is both safe and effective for each of its intended uses. This level of scrutiny does not apply to natural health products. Manufacturers of supplements are not required to test new ingredients or supplements in clinical trials.

Under the Natural Health Products Regulations in Canada, which came into effect on January 1, 2004, natural health products (NHPs) are defined as:

  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Herbal remedies
  • Homeopathic medicines
  • Traditional medicines such as traditional Chinese medicines
  • Probiotics
  • Other products like amino acids and essential fatty acids

Natural Health Products must be safe to use as over-the-counter products and not need a prescription to be sold. Vitamins and minerals are regulated as a sub-set of drugs because they are considered to be natural health products.

A quick search in the Drug Product Database for vitamins, mineral and other so perceived “natural products” will reveal this: vitamin A, D, Folic acid (vit.B9), vit.K1, vit.K2 all have this duality – they are dietary supplements that become drugs at certain dosages specified in the law.

Vitamin A, for example, requires a prescription when a practitioner recommends that a patient take more than 10,000 international units (IU) per dose or in the total daily intake.  Similarly, vitamin D becomes a drug when taken at more than 1,000 IUs/day; vitamins K1 and K2 require a prescription at more than 0.120 mg per day.

Folic acid (vit.B9) also “behaves” like a drug when used “in oral dosage form containing more than 1.0 milligram of folic acid per dosage form or, where the largest recommended daily dosage shown on the label would, if consumed by a person, result in the daily intake by that person of more than 1.0 milligram of folic acid”.

Why is this important?  For naturopaths who commonly incorporate recommendations for supplements and vitamins as part of their practice, this is extremely important.  In order to do so at the levels noted above (where the vitamin becomes a drug), a naturopath must first have successfully completed the Ontario Therapeutic Prescribing course and examination.  It is fairly common for naturopaths to recommend high dose vitamins to patients; however, naturopaths who recommend patients take vitamins at levels that are above the limits and who have not completed the necessary course and exam will have breached the regulation and are subject to prosecution by the College for professional misconduct.

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What is Vaping?

You’ve probably heard of this…or seen the mushrooming of the stores in Toronto, if you drive along Danforth Ave or Kingston Road…full of store with this name on them: VAPE.

What is it?

Vaping can be defined as the act of inhaling and exhaling the water vapor produced by an electric device called vaporizer (also called a vape, or e-cigarette).

e-liquid

And if you’re wondering what is the “smoke” that comes out of the person’s mouth, well, it’s the e-liquid in gaseous form that is inhaled and exhaled by vapers. It usually looks thicker than smoke, but dissipates more quickly into the air and smells stronger, usually like fruit, candy, mint or the flavoring used.

Vaping is a tobacco-free, and in some cases even nicotine-free, version of a traditional tobacco cigarette, but we don’t use the word smoking as there is no smoke per see, there is only flavored water vapors that you inhale and exhale.

These stores sell these vaporizers and the flavorings that the customers use.

 

The history of Vaping

In contrary to the popular belief that vaporizers were “invented” a few years ago, their history dates back thousands of years. The earliest mention of vaping can be seen in the book called The History of Herodotus by the Greek Historian Herodotus. He talks about the first use of vaping while writing about the customs and traditions of Scythians, a massive clan of Iranian Eurasian rovers who used to live in the lands of what is now Southern Russia, back in 500BC. Scythians would throw weed on red-hot stones, which would turn into vapor immediately, and they would bathe in it and inhale it. Probably not the most sophisticated vaporizer, but that surely was an interesting ritual.

Irfan Sheikh – the physician of the Mughal emperor Akbar I (1542 – 1605 AD) – is accredited with inventing hookah, many consider it a key step towards the making of the modern vaporizer.

Skipping to more recent times, in the 1960s, a Korean War veteran Herbert A. Gilbert invented, and patented, the first e-cigarette as an alternative to burnt tobacco. His smokeless, non-tobacco cigarette resembled a modern e-cigarette: it included flavor cartridges, heating elements, and smokeless flavored air. Unfortunately it was never commercially realized. Manufacturers were enjoying the height of the tobacco cigarette in the 1960s, when cigarette ads and public smoking ran rampant. There was no need for a less addictive, and healthier alternative to smoking.

In the 2000s, Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist and small-time medical researcher made the first modern e-cigarette. Motivated by his own smoking addiction, and his father’s death from smoking-induced lung cancer, Hon Lik spent numerous years building a smokeless cigarette that worked. In 2006, he released his first e-cigarette to the international public. It contained a battery, plastic cartridge, ultrasonic atomizer and a nicotine solution suspended in propylene glycol.

By 2006 e-cigarettes had made their way to Europe, and then to North America. They started off as quite expensive items, but over the years, as more companies manufactured them, the price came down and popularity went up.

 

Canadian Vaping laws

At this time in Canada, electronic cigarettes (aka e-cigarettes, e-cigs, vapes, vaporizers, etc.)  are 100% legal to use as individuals.  There are currently no regulations as to where you can use them, with a few exceptions.  There are however several municipal vaping regulations that have been created by municipalities and provinces.

You must be 19 to purchase e-cigarettes and vaping supplies. — Enacted Jan 1, 2016.  Similar to tobacco products, it is illegal to buy and sell e-cigarettes and vaping supplies to anyone under the age of 19.  It is required by law for vape shops in Ontario to receive proper government approved Identification from the customer before selling them e-cigarettes or supplies. Also, it is now illegal to use e-cigarettes (vape) in non-smoking areas.

No vaping sign

Data from the 2015 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey suggests that in 2015, 26 per cent of Canadians aged 15 to 19 reported having ever tried an e-cigarette, up from 20 per cent in 2013.

For all businesses in Ontario, the use of e-cigarettes indoors now falls within the scope of the Smoke Free Ontario regulations. This means that use of an e-cigarette is restricted in exactly the same way as tobacco cigarettes.

 

Is Vaping Really Safe?

Well, this is a question that usually follows the question what is vaping. So, instead of giving you my personal opinion, let me simply state some of the results of some of the researches carried out to find the answer:

  • Vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking – Public Health England
  • Vaporizers are many times less harmful than traditional tobacco cigarettes, and vaping can even help smokers quit – American Heart Association
  • The proven advantages of vaping outweigh its “potential” harms. Vaporizers are the first genuinely new way of helping people quit smoking that we have seen in many years – Royal College of Physicians – England
  • Exhaled vapor has lesser volatile organic compounds than the normal exhaled breath, let alone exhaled smoke – Spanish Council of Scientific Research

So, is vaping safe? Well, despite all these researches and studies, we can’t say that vaporizers pose absolutely no threat to your health. But what is 100% safe? So let’s put the answer this way: vaping is safer than smoking, and can be a great aid in harm-reduction for people who want to quit smoking.

e-cig vs cigarette

And because e-cigarettes have been on the market for only about 10 years, there have been no long-term studies of people who have used them for 30 to 40 years. Therefore, the full extent of vaping effects on heart and lung health, as well as its cancer-causing potential over time is not known.

Another unanswered question is how the flavorings used in the devices may affect people’s health. Nearly 500 brands and 7,700 flavors of e-cigarettes are currently on sale in USA and Canada. It’s not yet known whether these flavorings have any respiratory effects when they are vaporized and inhaled. More research is needed to identify any hazards associated with the potential inhalation of flavoring agents.

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NUTRIGENOMIX: test your genes for your best health!

It is already a well-established fact now that your genes can help tell you what to eat and influence how diet affects your health. It has long been apparent that some people respond differently from others to certain foods.

Genes also can help explain why people choose the foods they do—for example why some people have a greater tendency for sweets or salt, for instance. And this test in particular also can show how our bodies respond to different types of exercise.

Genetic testing has gained widespread use in many areas, especially in helping to determine our risk for developing various diseases, from cancer to cardiovascular conditions. Another, more recent use for genetic testing is known as pharmacogenomics, which can help doctors predict which of several medications a patient is taking is most likely to benefit that individual patient.

Nutrigenomix is a University of Toronto start-up biotechnology company that is dedicated to empowering healthcare professionals and their patients with comprehensive, reliable information with the ultimate goal of improving health through personalized nutrition.

NUTRIGENOMIX

The Nutrigenomix® 45 Gene Test from this company provides you with the latest that science has to offer in personalized nutritional counselling.

This comprehensive genetic test consists of a panel of 45 genetic markers that enable a naturopath to provide a patient with personalized nutrition advice and physical activity recommendations tailored to your DNA.

This test can help you determine how you respond to key components of your diet as well as physical activity.

The results of this test can impact weight loss & body composition, nutrient metabolism, heart health, food intolerances, and eating habits.

The test also provides you with information related to the relationship between your genes and athletic performance & injury risk.

Fear of needles? No problem. This test needs only your saliva! Simple.

Genes

Your test results are presented in a customized report, which includes dietary and physical activity recommendations based on your individual genetic profile.

To see a Sample Report and to understand the beauty of this test, please click here.

To see a Sample Report for the newly introduced Nutrigenomix Sport Test (45-gene Sport Test), please click here.

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Medical Thermography

The roots of Thermography, or heat differentiation, are ancient, dating back to the time of the pyramids. A papyrus from 1700 BC documents the association of temperature with disease.history1

By 400 BC, physicians commonly employed a primitive form of Thermography: they applied a thin coat of mud to a patient’s body, observed the patterns made by the different rates of mud drying, and attributed those patterns to hot and cold temperatures on the surface of the body. Hippocrates summed it up: “In whatever part of the body excess of heat or cold is felt, the disease is there to be discovered.”

Fast forward 2,000 years and thermography is gaining more and more acceptance in the medical world.

Here, at the Family Naturopathic Clinic, we consider thermography as a very important and unique “Health Discovery Technology” that provides thousands of patients with peace of mind when they may be questioning new or unusually concerning health symptoms.

Skin blood flow is under the control of the sympathetic nervous system. In normal people there is a symmetrical dermal pattern which is consistent and reproducible for any individual. This is recorded in precise detail with a temperature sensitivity of 0.1 Celsius with our scanner.

In addition, thermography can assist in the discovery of the state of health in general. You may have heard of thermography as a safe method of breast health screening…but it can be that and so much more!

Role in Breast Cancer screening

Thermography is a painless, non-invasive, state of the art clinical test without any exposure to radiation and is used as part of an early detection program which gives women of all ages the opportunity to increase their chances of detecting breast disease at an early stage. It is particularly useful for women under 50 where mammography is less effective.

Thermography’s role in breast cancer and other breast disorders is to help in early detection and monitoring of abnormal physiology and the establishment of risk factors for the development or existence of cancer. When used with other procedures the best possible evaluation of breast health is made.

This test is designed to improve chances for detecting fast-growing, active tumors in the intervals between mammographic screenings or when mammography is not indicated by screening guidelines for women under 50 years of age.

All patients thermograms (breast images) are kept on record and form a baseline for all future routine evaluations.

Abnormal presentation of the legs

To sum up, the clinical uses for Infrared Thermal Imaging include:

  1. To define the extent of a lesion of which a diagnosis has previously been made;
  2. To localize an abnormal area not previously identified, so further diagnostic tests can be performed;
  3. To detect early lesions before they are clinically evident;
  4. To monitor the healing process before the patient is returned to work or training.

Over the past two decades, it has been determined through extensive clinical studies that inflammation is not just a result of sickness, but the actual CAUSE of serious, life threatening conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Inflammation, most often initially caused by the bio-chemical results of stress, creates an environment that allows these kinds of diseases to establish and flourish. This condition is silent but not invisible… if you can just put yourself in front of an infrared camera and an experienced thermographer. This is why you should use thermography… knowledge offers the power to take control of your future health and the length and quality of your life.

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Castor oil: the myth and mystery

Castor oil, derived from the castor seed, has been used for thousands of years to treat a wide variety of health conditions, although scientific studies are sparse.

 

Introduction and historical use

Castor oil comes from the castorbean seed, binomial name Ricinus communis, and has a chemical composition consisting of mostly triglycerides (40-60 % fatty acids) 90 percent of which is ricinoleic acid, believed to convene its healing properties. It is mostly cultivated in regions from India, China and Mozambique. The plant is also called Palma Christi, meaning the Palm (hand) of Christ, due to its likenesses of a human hand and its healing properties.

Castor seeds have been found in Egyptian tombs dating back to 4000 BC; the slow burning oil was used mostly to fuel lamps. Cleopatra is reputed to have used it to brighten the whites of her eyes. The Ebers Papyrus is an ancient Egyptian medical treatise believed to date from 1552 BC. Translated in 1872, it describes castor oil as a strong laxative.

Traditional Ayurvedic medicine considers castor oil the king of medicines for curing arthritic diseases. It is regularly given to children orally, for removing of parasites (worms) from their digestive tracts.

A remarkable (and gruesome!) aspect of its use in history was the usage of Castor oil as an instrument of coercion by the paramilitary Black Shirts under the regime of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Dissidents and regime opponents were forced to ingest the oil in large amounts, triggering severe diarrhea and dehydration, which could ultimately cause death. This punishment method was originally thought of by Gabriele D’Annunzio, the Italian poet and Fascist supporter, during the First World War.

 

The toxicity

Castor beans contain a potent toxin called ricin—so deadly that it’s used for chemical warfare—but don’t worry, ricin is NOT present in the commercial oil you can usually find in the stores. The toxin provides the castor oil plant with some degree of natural protection from insect pests. The poison can (and will) be extracted from castor beans by concentrating it with a fairly complicated process similar to that used for extracting cyanide from almonds.

The lethal dose in adults is considered to be 4-8 seeds, but reports of actual poisoning are relatively rare in the world.

Castor beans (Ricinus communis)

Symptoms of overdosing on ricin, which can include nausea, diarrhea, tachycardia (heart beats faster than normal), hypotension and seizures can persist for up to a week and they are troublesome.

If ricin is ingested, symptoms may be delayed by up to 36 hours but commonly begin within 2–4 hours. These include a burning sensation in mouth and throat, abdominal pain, purging and bloody diarrhea. Within several days there is severe dehydration, a drop in blood pressure and a decrease in urine output. Unless treated, death can be expected to occur within 3–5 days, however in most cases a full recovery can be made.

Once poisoned, there’s no antidote, which is why ricin has been used as a chemical warfare agent. Even though such a toxic component is also derived from this seed, castor oil isn’t considered dangerous.

The U.S. FDA gives castor oil a “thumbs up,” deeming it “generally regarded as safe and effective” for use as a stimulant laxative.

The Joint Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)/World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Committee on Food Additives has established an acceptable daily castor oil intake of up to 0.7 mg/kg body weight. This amounts to, roughly, one tablespoon for adults and one teaspoon for children. Taking castor oil orally usually results in a “purging” of the digestive tract in about 4-6 hours.

Medicinal uses of Castor Oil      

In general, the oil’s benefits can be derived by topical application; the reported medicinal uses of castor oil fall into the following five general categories:

  • Gastrointestinal remedy (very strong laxative, which makes it very effective against constipation)
  • Antimicrobial (antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal)
  • Labor stimulant (induces labor, so pregnant women should always consult a doctor before using it)
  • Anti-inflammatory and analgesic (excellent massage oil for relieving arthritic joints, nerve inflammations, and sore muscles)
  • Immune system and lymphatic stimulant

Advocates claim castor oil is most effective for strengthening your lymphatic system when it is applied topically in a “castor oil pack,” a treatment popularized by the late psychic healer Edgar Cayce in his famous “psychic readings”. A physician William McGarey MD of Phoenix, Arizona, a follower of Cayce’s work and the author of The Oil That Heals, reported that, when used properly, castor oil packs improve the function of your thymus gland and other components of your immune system. More specifically, he found in two separate studies that patients using abdominal castor oil packs had significant increases in lymphocyte production compared to placebo packs.

Castor Oil by Heritage Store (Edgar Cayce Canada)

The topical absorption of castor oil is the basis for more modern “castor oil packs” which we, the natural doctors, employ here at the Family Naturopathic Clinic for a variety of conditions. For how to make and use an Castor Oil pack, please click here.

Lymphatic congestion is a major factor leading to inflammation and disease. This is where castor oil comes in. When castor oil is absorbed through your skin (according to Cayce and McGarey), your lymphocyte count increases. Increased lymphocytes speed up the removal of toxins from your tissues, which ultimately promotes healing.

 

Other modern uses

Whether natural, blended, or chemically altered, castor oil still has many uses. For example:

  • It remains of commercial importance as a non-freezing, antimicrobial, pressure-resistant lubricant for special purposes, either of latex or metals, or as a lubricating component of fuels.
  • Castor products are sources of various chemical feedstocks.
  • In Brazil, castor oil (locally known as mamona oil) is a raw material for some varieties of biodiesel.
  • Castor oil has long been used on the skin to prevent dryness. Either purified or processed, it still is a component of many cosmetics today.
  • Castor oil is the major raw material for Polyglycerol polyricinoleate, a modifier that improves the flow characteristics of cocoa butter in the manufacture of chocolate bars and thereby the costs.
  • Castor oil is used in the USA to repel moles and voles for lawn care
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Men on the Pill?

Whether it’s an IUD, an implant, a shot or a daily pill, birth control is a regular part of many adult women’s lives. It has left a lot of women asking: Why not men? Why are they spared?

Well, it’s not simple. Let’s take a look.

With all the abundance of choices women have in the contraceptive realm, men, on the other hand, have only two choices:

  • condoms – a barrier form of contraception that stops sperm reaching and fertilizing an egg
  • vasectomy – a minor surgical procedure that stops sperm being ejaculated from the penis during sex (it is usually permanent). We don’t want this usually!

For years, scientist have tried to create other alternative birth control methods for men, realizing that this is an untapped market.

There are two directions that this research went:

Hormonal contraception

The World Health Organization commissioned a few years ago what sounded like a promising trial, a two-hormone injection designed to temporarily stop the development of healthy sperm. Initial results looked like it would be 96 percent effective in preventing pregnancy in the participants’ partners. (The effectiveness rate for women’s birth control pill is 99%). But the Stage II trial was stopped after an independent review panel found that the drug had too many side effects. The most common side effect was acne, and sometimes it was pretty severe. Some men also developed mood swings and in some cases those mood swings got pretty bad. One man developed severe depression, and another tried to commit suicide.

I can already see eye rolling from women at this point knowing that women have been experiencing things like mood swings and weight gain for decades with hormonal birth control pills without complaints! But when we do it we go all the way and we don’t take side effects lightly! We are big babies after all, aren’t we?

The other reason this trial was stopped is that even though it seemed a very sound theoretical approach with very good results in the beginning some men, despite all this, still carried on producing enough sperm to cause a pregnancy! Cause: unknown! Aren’t we stubborn sometimes? Yes, we are!

Non-hormonal contraception

One very promising avenue of research is a technique called reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance (RISUG). During this technique, a non-toxic synthetic chemical, a polymer called VASALGEL is injected into the vas deferens.  This is the tube that sperm pass through on their way to the penis. This tube is cut during a vasectomy. (hence the name: vas-ectomy – cutting the vas!).

The chemical reacts and blocks the vas deferens. It also kills sperm when they come into contact with it. The chemical is effective almost immediately after it is injected.

The chemical stays in place until a man decides that he wants to have children. It can then be washed out using another injection which dissolves the polymer and flushes it out of the vas deferens. Another advantage of Vasalgel is that while it blocks sperm, other fluid can still pass through. This should reduce any risk of pain due to back pressure, an occasional issue with vasectomies (fluid backup!)

A variation of this technique is the intra-vas device (IVD). It involves injecting a “plug” into the vas deferens which can be removed later. The IVD filters out the sperm as it passes through the vas deferens.

Initial results of RISUG and IVD are promising, but further research is needed to assess the long-term effectiveness and safety of both techniques. But it seems that this is way to go with men.

 

Why is it harder to develop birth control for men than women?

That’s the big question. There are a couple of reasons. One is that it’s harder from a biological point of view. If you think about it, it’s a numbers game: Women produce one egg a month, while men are producing millions of sperm constantly (as a side note: it has been calculated that a man will produce in a lifetime an average of 110 liters of semen – the equivalent of an average bathtub! Or a big fish tank! I hope they are wrong!) With women, you can take advantage of their normal monthly cycle with the birth control pill. There’s nothing equivalent to that in men. We produce sperm relentlessly! 1,500 sperm cells per second! That’s right, you read well!

Other reason is the un-willingness of men to take some side effects (hormonal especially).

And the third reason is that funding this type of research is tough. In fact, there’s more money dedicated to figuring out how to best to sterilize your family dog than there is to research new male contraceptives! Nice, right?

For women, it will be life-changing to have men help out in the contraceptive department, with a method other than condoms. They could replace or supplementing a woman’s existing method—both partners taking something is better than one.

This would be a game changer for couples, as well as single women and men. It would move the contraceptive burden into shared territory.

 

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Immunotherapy in Cancer: a new concept?

Cancer. A dreadful word. People shrug in dislike when they hear it. For some it evokes the closeness of death and the fear of the great unknown. For others it is just a word that need to be fought against and conquered.

Where did this word, by the way, cancer, come from?

It means crab, from the Latin karkinos and it was first named like this by Hippocrates, the father of Medicine. Initially he described the many tumors he encountered as being hard as a rock and reminded him of the hard shell of a crab. It was later translated as cancer (the Latin equivalence of crab) by the two other famous Ancient doctors in medicine, Celsus and Galen, whom, upon inspection and dissection, noticed that all the veins and tributaries of malignancy around that mass of tumor cells look just like a crab’s legs extending outward from every part of its body. And so the term really stuck in Medicine.

The term Oncology is another Hippocratic term and it originated from onkos, is a Greek word, and it simply means masses. I think that’s probably a lot better word than cancerologist!

Now, there is a growing body of research in the field of cancer called immunotherapy and it’s on the rise these months. Simply explained, Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, is a type of cancer treatment designed to boost the body’s natural defenses to fight the cancer. It uses substances either made by the body or in a laboratory to improve or restore immune system function.

There are several types of immunotherapy, the most promising being: Monoclonal antibodies; Non-specific immunotherapies; Oncolytic virus therapy; T-cell therapy and Cancer vaccines.

And even though the medical establishment is saying that this approach is new and promising, I can’t stop thinking that we, the complementary healthcare practitioners, we were way ahead of them on this! Seriously? It is mostly what we do! The most of the bulk treatments we offer to our patients are, by this definition, immunotherapies! And they are as old as Medicine itself!

What else was the employment of herbal medicine in Ancient Greek? Of the use of Acupuncture in Ancient China? Or the water treatments in Europe 100 years ago? If not immunotherapy, what else? It was always in the philosophy of the ancient healers to Strengthen the terrain!…Alkalinize the body!…Improve the functioning of the body!…Detoxify and purge the systems!…to have a better chance of surviving when confronted to all kinds of malignancies, cancer included. These are all immunotherapies!

Immunotherapy as a concept is not new, my dear medical doctors colleagues. It has been used at least by naturopaths in last 100 years with good results. Our forefathers, from Priessnitz, father Kneipp, Felke, to Otis Carroll, Benedict Lust and Henry Lindlahr, all preached these concepts and improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in their time through immunotherapies!

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The deadly FENTANYL

Fentanyl belongs to a class of drugs known as opioid (narcotic) analgesics. It works in the brain to change how your body feels and responds to pain. It is used to treat chronic and severe pain. It binds to the nervous system proteins called opioid receptors, thereby blocking the transmission of pain signals to the brain. It has a rapid onset and short duration of action. It can more easily penetrate de Central Nervous System because of its high lipophilicity property (dissolves easily in fat).
The synthetic opiate first appeared in the 1960s under the trade name Sublimaze as an intravenous anesthetic, and its use in cancer treatment and palliative care became widespread when it appeared as a gel-filled PATCH that could be absorbed through the skin. The drug acts quickly and pharmacists often use it in combination with other opioids that take longer to take effect. It was mostly used in cancer patients with severe pain and high opioid-tolerance threshold. It’s been a Schedule II drug, like OxyContin, since 1970. Schedule II means a drug has a high possibility of abuse and addiction.
As of 2012 fentanyl was the most widely used synthetic opioid in medicine. In 2013, 1700 kilograms were used globally.
Fentanyl is available in different formulations, such as intravenous injection (Sublimaze), as a skin patch (Duragesic) for slow release pain treatment, as a dissolving tablet placed between the upper cheek and gum (Fentora), as an oral lozenge or lollipop (Actiq) for children or people who are intolerant to injections, and as a mouth spray (Subsys).
Fentanyl transdermal patches (Durogesic/Duragesic) are the most used formulations in chronic pain management. The patches work by slowly releasing fentanyl through the skin into the bloodstream over 48 to 72 hours, allowing for long-lasting pain management. Dosage is based on the size of the patch, since, in general, the transdermal absorption rate is constant at a constant skin temperature.
Fentanyl first showed up on the streets in the 1970s and the variety of products were immediately made popular in a culture beginning to abuse prescription medication on a massive scale, and by those turned off by more obviously illegal drugs, like heroin. As a consequence, it’s also been responsible for the accidental deaths of many non-addicts, including children.
These days, it is known by its street names “fake heroin,” “fingers,” “magic” and “the bomb.” But its unknown presence in prescription pills sold on the black market and its appearance as a deadly cocktail with heroin is the cause of this new wave of ODs. An amount the size of two grains of salt can kill a healthy adult.
Fentanyl use can lead to addiction, abuse, and misuse, even at the recommended doses — this risk is higher for people with a personal or family history of substance abuse or mental illness. Drug dealers tend to prefer selling Fentanyl because the high doesn’t last as long as heroin’s. It’s better business.
Fentanyl is almost 100 times more potent than morphine and 20 to 40 times stronger than heroin, but the drug-patch is designed to deliver small amounts of fentanyl each hour over an extended period of time.
When ingested, however, the Duragesic patch can deliver its entire dose all at once, increasing the risk of an overdose.
Death from fentanyl overdose was declared a public health crisis in Canada in September 2015, and it continues to be a major killer drug. In 2016, deaths from fatal fentanyl overdoses in British Columbia averaged two persons per day. It is believed that the drug is being imported from Asia to the western coast by organized crime groups in powder form and being pressed into pseudo-OxyContin tablets.
Medical examiners concluded that musician Prince died in April 2016 from an accidental fentanyl overdose. The drug was among many identified in counterfeit pills recovered from his home, especially some that were mislabeled as Watson 385, a combination of hydrocodone and paracetamol.
Russian security forces used a “fentanyl gas” to incapacitate people quickly in the Moscow theater hostage crisis. The siege was ended, but about 130 of the 850 hostages died from the gas. The Russian Health Minister later stated that the gas was based on fentanyl, but the exact chemical agent has not been identified. No other answers were provided after that.
Adverse effects?
Common side effects are diarrhea, nausea, constipation, dry mouth, somnolence, confusion, depression.
Some signs of fentanyl abuse are:
• Feelings of euphoria and relaxation.
• False sense of well-being.
• Confusion.
• Sedation.
• Drowsiness.
• Dizziness/lightheadedness.
• Nausea and vomiting.
• Constipation
• Withdrawal symptoms when stop using

The deadly aspect of fentanyl comes from this:
Fentanyl may produce more prolonged respiratory depression than other opioid analgesics. The breathing slows down and eventually stops all together. People die from not breathing anymore. The abuser goes to sleep and never wakes up, slipping away into death.

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