Dr.Karol, MD

The doctor with alternative solutions


Leave a comment

Digestive Health and Overeating

The Gastro Intestinal or GI tract performs the following functions:

  1. Breakdown of large food particles in the stomach (mainly by mechanical movement and acid)
  2. Digestion and absorption of food in the small intestine
  3. Absorption of fluids and vitamins in the large intestine
  4. Expulsion of waste material and toxins
  5. Immunological surveillance by the large number of lymph nodes surrounding the GI tract

The GI tract also includes the following:

Liver (mainly involved in metabolizing food and neutralizing toxins)

Pancreas (release of digestive enzymes and hormones that control sugar metabolism)

Gall bladder (involved in the production of bile for digestion of fats)

Starting with the stomach, the most common problems are:

  • Irritability
  • Pain
  • Ulcers
  • Heartburn (regurgitation of food and acid back into the esophagus)
  • Irritability, pain and ulcers are usually due to too much acid and too little protective mucous in the stomach

Continue reading


Leave a comment

The Best Supplements for Gout

http://www.vitarock.com/best-supplements-for-gout#.VONj3sJ0w5s

While in Montreal for a recent trade show, I came across a man suffering from gout. He’s a middle-aged well-built man who appears to be someone who spends a lot of time in the gym, not someone living with gout. But he limped when he walked and he was in pain. When I mentioned my work and interest in natural health he practically begged me to give him advice on how to deal with his pain. So I’m writing this article and sending him the link.

WHAT IS GOUT?
Gout is the build-up in joints of a substance called uric acid. Uric acid is formed as a by-product of purine breakdown. Purines are chemical molecules which make up the backbone of our genetic code, i.e., our DNA. As cells divide and old ones are replaced by new ones, the DNA of old cells is broken down to individual units before being used again to form new DNA. The by-product of this process is uric acid. Most people have no problem with uric acid, but some individuals, (due to genetic predisposition, diet or lifestyle), have a predisposition to having uric acid deposited in the joints. When this happens, the uric acid takes the form of sharply pointed needle-like structures (visible under a microscope). These needles cause excruciating, persistent pain and inflammation — described as the worst pain of all rheumatic conditions. For some unknown reason, this usually occurs in the big toe, but any joint can be affected. The worst thing about this condition, other than the excruciating pain and incapacity, is that the pain is continuous — even at night —and the flare-ups can last for weeks. If not properly treated or prevented, this condition can eventually cause permanent joint damage as well as serious kidney damage.

WHY DO WE GET IT?
What are the predisposing factors and how should one’s lifestyle be modified to decrease the chances of gout? Firstly, there is genetic predisposition. Some individuals are just more prone to develop gout. But just because you are predisposed, does not mean that you will get gout. This is because diet and lifestyle play a large role as well. The biggest gout triggers are: fatty red meats, organ meats (like liver), shellfish, herring, anchovies, sardines, mackerel, asparagus, mushrooms, all caffeinated beverages, high fructose corn syrup, sugary soft drinks, fruit juices (because of the high fructose content), sweets and alcohol (especially beer). With respect to alcohol and gout, wine is better than liquor and liquor is better than beer. But all three impact gout.

Other predisposing factors are heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, high cholesterol & high blood pressure, obesity and lack of exercise (especially cardiovascular exercise).

NATURAL TREATMENTS FOR GOUT
With respect to natural supplements and diet to prevent and treat gout, the most important are anti-inflammatory compounds, as the pain in gout is due to inflammation. Here are the best examples:

Fish oils high in EPA at a dose of 2000-3000 mg of EPA per day.

Flaxseed oil, added generously in its raw form to salads or in smoothies. You can also take it with a spoon.

Turmeric, Devil’s Claw and Boswelia: These are powerful natural anti-inflammatory gifts of nature. They decrease inflammation by affecting multiple points in the inflammatory cascade. Interestingly, these are the same agents used to treat arthritis and other types of pain.

Bromelain is a plant enzyme found most commonly in pineapples. When taken with food, it works like a digestive enzyme. When taken on an empty stomach, it is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.

Alfalfa apparently can dissolve the uric acid crystals responsible for gout. I recommend alfalfa sprouts, as sprouts are usually the richest in enzymes, nutrition and medicine.

Milk Thistle for liver support metabolizes the purines and uric acid efficiently as well protecting the liver from ongoing inflammation.

Antioxidants in the form of bioflavonoids reduce inflammation and oxidative damage. My favorite in this category is Bioflavia, which is organic grape skin powder.

Plant proteins, especially fermented ones like my favourite, Genuine Health, are important because most animal proteins (from meats, fish and shellfish) predispose to gout. Supplement with plant proteins so you don’t become protein deficient.

Water: Drink at least 3 liters of fluids (mostly water) per day. This is especially important during gout attacks. The water will help flush out the excess uric acid.

B Complex vitamins efficiently metabolize purines, uric acid, proteins and carbohydrates.

Finally, tart cherries, tart cherry juice and other berries, preferably organic and fresh, are said to work miraculously. The reason for this is their very high level of bioflavonoids and anthocyanins. Both are powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties.

MAINSTREAM MEDICAL APPROACH
Your doctor will most likely first prescribe NSAIDs like Ibuprofen for the pain of gout. This brings only temporary partial relief and will not solve the underlying problem. NSAIDs also cause stomach ulcers, kidney damage (which is already taxed by the uric acid) and potentially intestinal and stomach bleeding. They also predispose to heart attacks and strokes. If NSAIDs are not enough, doctors recommend steroids (prednisone etc.). These are either injected into the excruciatingly painful and inflamed joint, or are taken orally. In either case, they are highly toxic. They cause hypertension, fluid retention in the body (causing swelling), mood swings (which can be quite serious), and obesity. Also, you cannot stop them abruptly when taken over longer periods of time because this can lead to shock. You must slowly taper your dose. Your doctor may also run some tests to determine if you are over-producing or under-secreting uric acid through your kidneys. For over-production, a drug called Allopurinol is prescribed. It does not work for flare-ups but is rather used to prevent attacks. The problem is that in some cases, it can cause potentially fatal inflammatory skin conditions (Stevens Johnson Syndrome, etc.). It can also cause serious kidney damage as well as inhibition of bone marrow, leading to problems with blood formation. With respect to under-secretion of uric acid, the commonly prescribed drug is Probenecid. It increases uric acid secretion in urine. It is also used for prevention and not for flare-ups. Its potential side effects are headaches, joint pain, swelling, nausea and vomiting. For flare-ups, in addition to NSAIDs, Colchicine is used. It can cause serious stomach upset, bone marrow depression as well as problems with sensory nerves. Although not all patients experience these side effects, many do. By taking them, you risk being one of them. Natural treatments are not only risk-free but the compounds listed above are powerful gifts of nature that benefit our overall health and well-being.

Take care and good luck preventing and treating your gout in a natural, healthy way.

— Dr. Karol M.D

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

Holiday Digestive Health: The Natural Way

Thanksgiving is not only a time to celebrate with family and friends. It’s also a time when overeating abounds. Here are some tips for managing your digestive system in the face of all that food and drink:

  • Make a smooth and slippery coating in your GI track with psyliium husks so that food can pass easily without irritating the inner lining of our gut. This will prevent constipation as well as diarrhea.
  • Help the gall bladder and the pancreas with plant digestive enzymes like those found in the DigestMore
  • Probiotics (in capsule form or via kefir) ensure proper digestion in our large intestines and the prevention of the buildup of toxins. They also help treat Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis as well as irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Some great remedies for heartburn are licorice (a component of DigestMore listed above), aloe vera (it has that nice mucous texture that protects the stomach), as well as calcium and even baking soda. This last one is also very beneficial to our kidneys, something I have written about before.
  • The more we eat, the more the liver is taxed. Milk Thistle protects the liver from the effects of alcohol, something that can also come in handy around Thanksgiving.

That may be a lot to swallow, but it comes down to this: Take 2 DigestMore capsules per day with food, some probiotics, milk thistle and something for heartburn like calcium, which also benefits our bone health. Happy Thanksgiving!

Dr. Karol


Leave a comment

Irritable Bowel Syndrome IBS

shutterstock_152924762

Welcome back all of my dear readers. This months blog themes are Cancer awareness (prevention and what to do once you got it), and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I will begin with the latter.

The prevalence of IBS in the Canadian population is 6%. It is 3 times more likely to be diagnosed in women than in men and is responsible for 30 billion dollars annually in medical costs and non medical costs (e.g. work absenteeism) in the US.

The symptoms are mostly abdominal pain with a predominance of diarrhea, constipation or both alternating with one another. Other symptoms are excessive flatulence and bloating.

A clear cause is still unknown. There are two prevalent theories. One is that a large proportion of IBS occurs after some kind of gastrointestinal infection. The other large proportion of IBS occurs in individuals that have undergone some kind of significant stressful event. This stressful event may have happened just prior to the IBS symptoms or years before. Needless to say psychological trauma and/or GI infections seem to correlate strongly with this condition. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Detox With Cabbage

shutterstock_109320515

It’s not a joke. Perhaps one of the most overlooked and ignored vegetables is cabbage. We only use it as sauerkraut, maybe a couple of time a year, or perhaps in some Eastern European dishes like cabbage rolls, again probably not too often.  But the truth is that this vegetable and especially its raw juice is one of the most potent detoxifying and cancer inhibiting cocktails found in nature.

We are nearing the end of March (thank God that spring is around the corner and you can feel it in the air) and thus the end of the detox/cleanse month theme. Therefore I could not resist including cabbage in my last blog of this theme.

First of all cabbage juice is packed with nutrients. It has a very high level of manganese, vitamin B6, folate, thiamin, vitamin A, potassium, tryptophan, magnesium, riboflavin, and calcium….Read more…..