Dr.Karol, MD

The doctor with alternative solutions


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The Best Supplements for Gout

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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

 

 

 

 


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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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Radical Remedies: Fecal Transplants Work

Shocking but true: Another person’s stool samples in enteric-coated capsules can save your life in the case of a certain devastating condition. Fecal transplant treatment is here to stay.

It all begins with a condition called Pseudomembranous Colitis —an infection of the bowel caused by clostridium difficile bacteria. The condition develops after antibiotic treatment eradicates all bacteria in the gut, including the good bacteria called probiotics. Normally probiotics prevent colonisation by bad toxic bacteria. However, when these good bacteria are eradicated by antibiotics, there is plenty of room for bad bacteria to step in and cause disease. The consequence: C-difficile causes the deaths of 300 people each day in North America — despite modern medical efforts.

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Organic Vs. Non-Organic Juicing

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In the context of cancer prevention and also for the general health, there are few things as good as juicing or blending green leafy vegetables.

Parsley, kale, and spinach are the best. Other nutrient and antioxidant packed veggies and fruits are celery, carrots, cabbage, cilantro and Granny Smith apples. When juicing parsley and kale you don’t get much juice, but the juice that you do get is so concentrated that it forms jelly like globules that are very deep green in color. Such juices are packed with antioxidants, detoxifying compounds, and compounds that help protect DNA and cells as a whole from any damage that may result in the initiation of cancer formation.

Blending such vegetables with, for example, a frozen berry mix or frozen organic blue berries, is another great way to form a cocktail with anti-cancer properties. The added benefit of blending is that you still keep the fibre which benefits the inner lining of the gastrointestinal tract as well as providing a softer consistency to stool. However, it will not concentrate all the great nutrients as well as juicing…..Read more….


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Irritable Bowel Syndrome IBS

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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


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Detox With Cabbage

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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…..


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Milk Thistle for Detox and Liver Support

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When I studied medicine in Europe,  I noticed that it was standard hospital policy to have Milk Thistle extract in the gastroenterology department. It was used as treatment for patients with liver disease, especially liver failure in alcoholic patients. Why this medication is not used for the same purpose in North America is a mystery beyond comprehension.  There are so few things that can be used to support the liver, especially when this organ is in crisis, that every single herb with enough evidence should be utilized for this purpose to help patients improve their quality of life.

The liver is the primary organ (along with the kidneys and the intestines) involved in detoxifying toxic compounds, both acquired from the environment and the ones which are a by product of our metabolism. Without a functional liver life would be impossible. Most instances of liver failure are caused by what is called liver cirrhosis (which is basically the liver becoming hardened due to excessive production of connective tissue between liver cells), and most cases of liver cirrhosis are due to excessive alcohol consumption over a prolonged period of time. People vary greatly as to the extant that their liver is resistant to such insults, but as a general rule consuming the equivalent of one bottle of wine per day for 20 years will lead to cirrhosis in most individuals. Apparently this process once began is irreversible. However some Naturopaths dispute this. Needless to say this process can be substantially slowed town by proper supplementation and thus such supplementation can extend the life, as well as improve the quality of life of the individual substantially. Milk thistle, and especially its active compound called Silymarin can achieve this. Furthermore, this compound can protect the liver to help prevent the development of liver disease as well as help the liver in performing optimally especially with it’s detoxifying role….Read more…..