Dr.Karol, MD

The doctor with alternative solutions


Arthritis and Natural Solutions




My inspiration for today’s blog topic was something I experienced while running in this morning before work. It’s something that many of us are familiar with this time of year:  joint pain. Thankfully it’s probably nothing serious and it quickly went away with a little “lubrication” stimulated by the exercise. However, I realized that this is something that probably a lot of us are experience right now due to the ever changing weather conditions and the damp fall air. Why this happens is not entirely clear, and in many cases it is just a harmless and temporary occurrence while we adapt to the colder weather.

However, in many cases joint pain can be attributed to arthritis and this is a medical condition that needs more attention. Arthritic conditions actually encompass a whole separate specialty in medicine. There are four main types of arthritis. The most common one is Osteoarthritis (due to damage to the joint either by excessive usage, infection, or age). The other types are Autoimmune Arthritis (where the immune system makes a mistake and recognizes joint tissue as something foreign and therefore mounts an attack on the joint tissue), Septic Arthritis (which is due to an infection of the joint), and Gout (which is due to the deposition of Uric Acid and which in many cases can be prevented by a diet low in red meat and alcohol). Although they are all different, there are two things that are common to all of these types of arthritic conditions and these are inflammation and damage to joint tissue…Read more….

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The Best Supplements for Gout


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.

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.

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).

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.

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





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Radical Remedies: Royal Jelly

Bee Royal Jelly

Did you know that bees create Royal Jelly?

When worker bees are raising a new queen bee, they feed a few chosen larvae copious amounts of Royal Jelly, a honeybee secretion that stimulates morphological changes in the larvae to transform them into queens. The queen is much larger than the workers, it has a longer life span and unlike to the worker bees, it has ovaries that can produce eggs.


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The Inner Immunity Of Children




Today I am going to talk about a very interesting topic: inner Immunity.

I am going to put a pediatric spin on this one. When I was a kid I had frequent infections. Then I started spending some time in a veterinary lab facility where one of my close relatives worked. Back then, access to such facilities was not as restricted as now. Once there, I would spend time watching pathogenic bacteria under the microscope. Shortly afterwards I stopped having infections. Was it just a coincidence?

I am bringing this topic up because I think that some individuals are living with the misconception that raising children in a completely sterile environment is good for them because it keeps them away from bugs such as bacteria, viruses, and the freakiest kind, parasites. Well, this is actually only partially true. When the immune system is exposed to these pathogens it recognizes them as foreign entities and mounts an immune attack to fight the infection. Please be careful. This is not true for individuals who are immune compromised: for example, children with genetic mutations causing their immune system to be weak. But the stimulated attack is not the only thing that happens. The other interesting thing is that during this initial fight the immune system forms what are called memory B cells. These cells actually “remember” the particular pathogen for many years, and when an individual is exposed again to that same pathogen at some future time, the immune response is much stronger and quicker than the first time….read more….

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Radical Remedies: Prescription Medications, Their Side Effects and Natural Alternatives

prescription medicine medication side effects




As you may have heard on the Natural Health Show this last Saturday I talked about prescription medications and natural alternative compounds. Most of you may have been shocked by my approach, but as a Medical Doctor I am aware of the serious side effects of all prescription meds. Of course some have more serious potential side effects than others but they all have them to some degree. It is the art of the medical profession to weigh the pros and cons of any medication to determine if the beneficial effects of treating certain conditions outweigh the negative effects of these medications.

The problem is that this art takes years of clinical experience and a clear understanding of the positive and negative effects of prescription meds. Another problem is that in general there is a tendency on the part of physicians to over-prescribe medications especially in situations where the medical condition is not as serious as to warrant the use of such medications. This applies especially when there are alternative more natural solutions with either no side effects at all or side effects which are much less serious and burdensome to the patient.

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