Medical Questions and Answers
Ask Barry: Typical questions that Barry answers every day
Are Multivitamins of any value to your health?
Barry: A recent study indicated that multivitamins were of little value to your health. It was a Meta study, which means that the physicians who were involved took their statistics from a number of studies and picked their facts to suit their thesis. It was paid for by a group of pharmaceutical companies that would rather see you in poor health and requiring the use of pharmaceutical drugs.
One of the studies they ignored was done a year ago in the United Kingdom which showed that people who took multivitamins and antioxidants reduced their chances of coming down with cancer by 46 per cent. Quite a study to leave out of their research!
Does Vitamin E help your short-term memory?
Vitamin E is an amazing supplement that increases the ability of the haemoglobin in your red blood cells to pick up oxygen. People who take Vitamin E get an increase of oxygen supplied to all their muscles and to their brain. This increase in oxygen, particularly to the brain, results in the person having better short-term memory and a strong feeling of clarity of thought.
Do calcium supplements cause heart attacks?
A couple of years ago, two studies from New Zealand seemed to show that people who used calcium supplements had a much higher percentage of heart attacks. When universities in the United States and Europe tried to duplicate these studies they did not get the same result at all. It appears that a company called Fonterra, the largest exporter of dairy products in the world, commissioned these studies in New Zealand where they are based. The purpose of these studies was to convince people that calcium supplements were dangerous and you should get all your calcium by ingesting dairy products. The studies were totally false and were intended to scare the public away from calcium supplements. The bottom line is that calcium supplements are extremely safe and have never been the cause of any cardiac conditions.
Is the H1N1 flu dangerous?
A few years ago we had a huge world-wide epidemic of H1N1 or swine flu. The only people that actually died from this influenza outbreak were people that had existing serious illnesses or compromised immune systems. I am writing this newsletter in January of 2014 and as of today there have been 6 deaths. That is a miniscule amount and the reality is that since this influenza virus has already visited our country, those of us who were here two years ago and exposed are now immune to it. Of course the manufacturers of the flu vaccine try to tell us that our immunity is only good for one year. That way they can sell more vaccine to the government and keep vaccinating us every year against a flu to which we are already immune.
Furthermore people do not die from the flu. They die from complications caused by the flu which usually is bacterial or viral pneumonia. If you are elderly it may be wise to get a pneumonia shot which is good for about 7 years.
Can I change my body chemistry from acidic to alkaline?
We measure acidity and alkalinity in our bodies using what is known as pH. A pH of 7.0 is considered neutral, not acid or alkaline and a pH of more than 7 is alkaline and a pH of less than 7 is considered acidic. The pH of your blood must be between 7.35 and 7.40. If that pH suddenly changed, your blood would not be able to carry oxygen and you would die in about 20 minutes. Your eyes and ears have a neutral pH of 7.0 and your stomach has a very acidic pH of 4.5. If any of the food you eat is contaminated with bacteria, the acid in your stomach will destroy it on contact and protect you from infection. So why would you want to change your pH? For years it has been a marketing tool of greens drinks such as Greens+ and Progressive Veggie Greens in order to sell you their products. When you use them, your saliva and your urine will temporarily become alkaline and they try to convince you that this is healthy. Although greens drinks are very healthy for you, it is because of all the great nutrients such as barley grass, wheat grass spirulina and many other herbs that keep you healthy; not because they change your body chemistry.
You cannot take tomatoes, oranges, apples, grapefruits and all citrus fruits out of your diet because they are acidic. These products are good for you and should be part of a well-balanced diet.
How can I lower my cholesterol?
Before you decide to lower your cholesterol, find out if it really is too high. Most physicians have been convinced to lower the numbers to what I believe are actually unsafe levels. Your LDL (known as bad cholesterol) should be around 3.9. Your HDL, known as the good cholesterol, should be approximately 1.1. If your physician has added your triglyceride number, take it out. Although triglycerides are composed of cholesterol they are not part of your serum cholesterol levels. If you are in this area you can stop reading this section now because your cholesterol levels are normal.
Cholesterol is the healing substance of the body and without it you would die. Because we breathe in oxygen all day long, we suffer oxidative damage. When you go to sleep at night, your body produces LDL (the gooey bad cholesterol) and it covers up and repairs all the oxidative damage. The excess that is left over is dissolved in HDL (good cholesterol) and eliminated from your body. The accumulation of cholesterol in your arteries happens when you do not have enough HDL (good cholesterol) to dissolve and wash away the excess LDL. If you do not have enough of the LDL you may not be able to repair all of the oxidative damage, most of which occurs in your brain, and you may start to suffer dementia.
If your cholesterol is very high and you want to reduce it, aerobic exercise such as walking will lower your numbers by 15 per cent. If you are even more anxious then use Red Yeast Rice at a dose of 600mg taken between supper and bedtime each night.
How much Vitamin D do I need during the winter months?
What is the best brand of Vitamin D?
Is there a difference between Vitamin D and Vitamin D3?
In the first place Vitamin D3 is the most potent active form of Vitamin D and all the Vitamin D sold in health stores is Vitamin D3. The average person needs at least 2000 units of Vitamin D each day and people at higher risk from breast cancer and multiple sclerosis take up to 5000 units every day. These doses are very safe and you cannot get anywhere near enough Vitamin D from your food.
Any brand of Vitamin D will do because there is only one manufacturer in the whole world, Hoffman La Roche Pharmaceuticals, based in Switzerland. Not only all the supplements but the Vitamin D found in eggs, cereals, bread and other packaged goods all originates from this company. No matter what brand you purchase, you will get your exact full dose.
Are liquid supplements better absorbed than tablets or capsules?
Because of heavy advertising by the makers of liquid supplements, most of you are convinced that liquid supplements will be better absorbed into your system. This is really not true. Only 10 per cent of your digestion takes place in your mouth and stomach. The other 90 per cent occurs after your stomach has emptied. The liquid preparation may leave your stomach more quickly than a tablet, but eventually both will be completely broken down by your intestinal enzymes.
Liquids are far more expensive than tablets and you cannot control the dose very well. A tablet or capsule contains the exact dose but with spillage and many other human factors, you very rarely get the exact dose. Just remember the words of most pharmacists, “tablets are for adults and liquids are for children”
Do diet pills really work?
Although many products can suppress your appetite or keep you full, they are not really the answer to permanently losing weight. They may be all right for a few months to give you a kick start but if you really want to lose weight and keep it off you must change your lifestyle. You must engage in some form of exercise at least 5 days a week. You must stop eating fast food and you must get into eating healthy foods and healthy snacks. There are no short cuts and most people who jump on fad diets that help them lose 10 or 20 pounds rapidly, will gain it all back in a year and then some. We have just come through Christmas and New Years and most people think they may have gained weight. The truth is we gain weight between New Years and Christmas and not between Christmas and New Year’s. Fad diets are dangerous and never work. You must lose a few pounds every month and that adds up to 24 pounds a year and 50 pounds in two years. Your weight loss goals must always be long term in order for them to work.
I am always tired. What can I take to get more energy?
Most people are tired because they are sleep-deprived. If you do not get enough sleep at night, you will be very tired and have no energy during the day. This means that the first area to look into is getting a good night’s sleep. This may involve supplements or even prescription sleeping pills but it is absolutely necessary to be well rested if you want to have energy for the next day.
Assuming you do get enough sleep and you still lack energy, you must look into other areas. Are you overweight? Is it tiring carrying around that extra weight? Are you depressed? Many people will feel lethargic and lack energy when in fact they are suffering from depression. The idea is to find the root cause of your tiredness and try to treat it.
If you do not have the patience, then most people can safely use greens drinks such as Vital Greens once a day. This huge amount of energy herbs kick starts your day and can increase your energy levels. Another energy booster is Ginseng but you must be careful when using this product. If you have high blood pressure, take medication for hypertension or have any type of heart condition, this herb can be dangerous because it increases your heart rate and raises your blood pressure.
Is it better to eat organic?
Organic fruits and vegetables cost a lot more than the much larger prettier ones that have been protected with insecticides and infused with chemical fertilizers. However, in most cases, even though organic may not look like it, they contain from 40 to 60 per cent more nutritional value than regular fruits and vegetables. It is actually nature’s way of survival. Without any protection, these plants have to be much stronger to fight off all the insect predators that would like to eat them. They produce almost double the amount of antioxidants and phytonutrients. Of course they are more expensive because many of them do not survive and so the crop yields are much lower. But those that do survive are the strongest healthiest tomatoes, or blueberries or romaine lettuce that you can find. If you can afford it, organic should always be your first choice. It is an investment in your future health and a great way to avoid debilitating diseases.
I get sore muscles after my workout. Is there anything I can take to prevent this?
Many people go to the gym and do both aerobic and weight exercises. As you increase the repetitions and try to increase muscle strength you put yourself at risk for muscle pain. In order to avoid muscle pain it is very important to have a protein shake about one half hour after you finish your workout and col down. The protein will be immediately absorbed into the muscle and begin to build new muscle fiber. Most pain is actually caused by tiny microscopic tears of the muscle and the smoothie can repair these almost immediately. Some people, like myself, also use acetyl-L-carnitine. This supplement taken twice a day helps a great deal with muscle recovery, especially when you change your regimen and do new exercises. Of course there are the usual things to do like stretching after your workout and applying icepacks to those very sore areas. Some people may even need an anti-inflammatory rub or anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
Can Vitamin E, Garlic, Gingko biloba or fish oil thin your blood?
The answer is absolutely no. The fact that a nutritional supplement can increase blood flow and allow better circulation of oxygen to all parts of your body does not mean that it does so by thinning your blood. In fact only Aspirin (acetylsalicyclic acid), Coumadin (warfarin) and some anti-inflamatories such as ibuprofen and naproxen thin your blood. They do this by reducing blood platelets. This is a pharmacological action caused by drugs and drugs only and there is only one supplement that may do this and it is called White Willow Bark. This is the tree from which we discovered salicylates and it may be possible that this herb, and only this herb can reduce platelets and therefore thin your blood.
Is it really necessary to take Omega 3 fish supplements?
The long chain omega-3 fatty acids found in most cold water fish are essential for your health. If you eat fish 3 or 4 times a week you may get enough Omega-3 fish oil but you are probably ingesting too much mercury and lead from the fish. The supplements are micro filtered to be 100 per cent pure and are extremely safe.
Omega-3 fish oil helps brain function and is key to avoiding dementia. It is an excellent anti-inflammatory and is the perfect supplement for arthritic pain. Studies have shown that it is heart protective and protects us against pollutants in the air that can cause heart disease.
It actually reduces ageing. As we age there are components in our chromosomes called telomeres. They get shorter and shorter, the longer we live. However, studies have shown that people who take omega-3 fish oil supplements have longer telomeres and hence do not age as fast as the general population.
Finally omega-3 fish oils not only burn fat in your body but help your body to produce lean muscle.
If I had to go away for an extended period of time and I was only allowed to take one supplement with me, omega-3 fish oil would be my first choice.