Double-Blind Study I

 

Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trials of Nutrients that Kill or Prevent Cancer

Colleen Huber, NMD

 

“The good thing about science

is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”

–  Neil deGrasse Tyson

 

Science is a word used in various contexts much more often than it is defined.  Science as an idol is sometimes vehemently defended or just as vehemently derided, without regard for what science actually is.  Let’s review what constitutes science.  Science is the observation of our surroundings, with no or minimal bias, along with the formulation and testing of hypotheses about the nature and function and interactions of our surroundings.  That’s it; no ideology, no agenda, no strong emotions.

Strictly objective pursuit of science is usually cumbersome, time-consuming and often expensive.  As a practical matter, only a researcher or a student has time to pursue small areas of the vastness of all potential science.  The rest of us work with what we know of established fact, or assume of established dogma, and most people don’t usually take time to re-examine and re-test our cherished hypotheses; we simply act on them.

This haste is prevalent in medicine, because the health insurance industry pressures caregivers to hurry through each patient’s visit and care: physical exams, lab tests or imaging, diagnoses and treatment, all within a short period.  Therefore, some leaps of faith are necessary.  Doctors simply do not have time to test hypotheses with the pressures of the daily workload confronting them.   The only expedient way to get through an entire day full of patient appointments is to keep the scrip pad close at hand.

Conventional “standard of care” physicians place their faith in drugs on two things:

(1) the familiar, friendly pharmaceutical representative and the industry behind those drug reps, and

(2) the assumption that at least once in a while the drugs that they sell have been subjected to double-blind or at least placebo-controlled trial.

Most cancer patients, and many doctors as well, would be shocked to learn that chemotherapy drugs have not passed the “gold standard” criteria for drug testing: the double-blind, placebo controlled trial.  There are two reasons that these double-blind studies are not done for chemotherapy drugs:

(1) With life-threatening illness, it is considered immoral to have a placebo group, in which no treatment is given, and

(2) The one available study that compared a chemotherapy drug to no treatment at all did not appear flattering for the chemotherapy drug or the industry behind it:

That study[1] found that lung cancer patients treated with the chemotherapy drug Docetaxel survived an average of 7.5 months, whereas those receiving merely supportive care with no chemotherapy or other treatment at all survived an average of 4.6 months.  If patients knew of this small difference in survival, would they opt to lose their GI tract function, hair, neurological health, cardiovascular health and other wellbeing?

Worse yet, this study found that the group receiving Docetaxel faced the life-threatening conditions of febrile neutropenia and non-hematologic toxicity.[2]

Was all the misery of chemotherapy worthwhile, not to mention the medical bankruptcy that so many families suffer following chemotherapy – was all of that worthwhile, simply in order to gain 3 more months of life?

On the other hand, many nutrients and herbs have been shown effective and safe against cancer.[3]  Let’s examine some of these cancer treatments that do not damage vitality or quality of life, and some double-blind, placebo controlled trials of those substances:

Gastric and esophageal cancer rates in Linxian, China are among the highest in the world.  In 1994, a randomized, placebo controlled trial was conducted among 29,584 adults, in a general population study.[4]  The experimental group was given one of four nutrient treatments for 5.25 years.  The doses were the same or double the US recommended daily allowances of the time.  It should be kept in mind that the infamous old “RDA” figures were notoriously low, barely enough to prevent vitamin deficiency.

Even with the very low doses of the supplemented nutrients, it was found that the group having Vitamin A and zinc had 62% less gastric (stomach) cancer than the placebo group.

The group receiving beta-carotene (a small component of all of Vitamin A), Vitamin E and selenium had 42% less esophageal cancer than the placebo cohort.  These are statistically significant results, and easily adopted interventions that should have been publicized much more broadly around the world, so that the use of Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and minerals would become more widespread and available.

In another double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of nutritional supplements,[5] 5141 men were given either a placebo or a single capsule with a very low dose of each of the following sub-optimal forms of generally recognized nutrients:

Vitamin C, alpha-tocopherol (the least effective form of Vitamin E), beta-carotene (one of the least effective forms of Vitamin A), selenium and zinc.  They took these daily for 8 years.

There was a statistically significant reduction in the incidence of prostate cancer in the experimental group among the 94% of the men who began the 8 years with a low PSA (<3 micrograms/L). One has to wonder if therapeutic forms and doses of these nutrients had been used, the results may have been even more remarkable.

In another study, which was retrospective, rather than randomized and placebo-controlled, of 37,916 US women, dietary folate and vitamin B-6 was found to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer over the 10 years of the study.[6]

Vitamin D

Vitamin D has been shown to be effective against cancer by a number of mechanisms and against a wide range of cancers.

Research has confirmed the essential role that Vitamin D plays in cancer prevention and treatment.[7] [8] [9] [10]

The following randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials show Vitamin D to be effective against the following cancers:

Cervical cancer[11]

Colorectal cancer[12] [13]

Melanoma[14]

Prostate cancer[15]

Overall cancer risk in women over age 55[16] [17]

A study that found low levels of vitamin D intake had no effect against cancer mortality in this randomized trial[18] may have come to a different conclusion if therapeutic doses had been used.

Other smaller studies and animal studies have shown benefit of 1,25-D3, the active form of Vitamin D, against the following cancers.  Here are a few of those:

Gastric cancer[19]

Liver cancer[20]

Breast cancer[21]

Vitamin D metabolites have been shown to have cancer-disrupting effects by several key mechanisms.  Vitamin D has been shown to induce differentiation,[22] and apoptosis,[23] to reduce proliferation by effect on signal transduction,[24] to improve intercellular communication by means of gap junction communication preservation,[25] to inhibit angiogenesis,[26] [27] and to inhibit metastasis.[28]

Very promising research abounds regarding synergistic effect between Vitamin D and Vitamin A.  Each of these nutrients used alone induces differentiation – which is a way to normalize the nature and function of cancer cells – in a dose-dependent way.  The more consumed, the more differentiation observed, for each of the two vitamins.  But this differentiation effect was significantly enhanced when Vitamins A and D were combined [29] [30]

It may be even more helpful that the synergistic effect of Vitamin A and D together produced permanently ongoing differentiation of cells, even after both nutrients were discontinued, and even though the differentiation achieved by each of those vitamins used alone was reversible.[31]

This synergy of nutrients should of course come as no surprise to those who understand the metabolic pathways in the human body.  These pathways, as filtered by our still limited academic understanding of them, make clear that the nutrients are synergistic in their effects on the cells in our bodies.  Just as a well-balanced meal is not all one nutrient alone, optimal nutrition is always multi-faceted.

Double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of any therapy are highly risky in cancer patients due to the higher mortality awaiting the group that fares worse.  Clinical trials are ended early if it is clear that one group is benefitting much more than the other cohort, in order for both groups to benefit from the more effective treatment. Therefore, I do not encourage or condone further double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of cancer treatments.  The consequences of suffering or death in the less fortunate cohort of cancer patients is unacceptable under any circumstances.

However, now that some of these trials have been done, it is very important that we not allow ourselves to forget the knowledge gained from them, because such knowledge may be decisive in saving the lives of cancer patients.

For optimal dosing of the above nutrients in either cancer treatment or cancer prevention, there is no substitute for consulting a licensed naturopathic physician.  At our clinic we schedule a lengthy (one hour) initial consult, in order to begin to evaluate the specific nutritional needs of the individual.  Other naturopathic physicians whose practices focus on cancer patients may be found at Naturopathic Cancer Society, at www.NatOnco.org,  and at Naturopathic Oncology Research Institute, www.NaturopathicStandards.org.

[1] Fossella FV.  Docetaxel for previously treated non-small-cell lung cancer.  Oncology. Jun 2002. 16 (6 Suppl 6): 45-51. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12108897

[2] Shepherd F, Dancey J, et al. Prospective randomized trial of docetaxel versus best supportive care in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer previously treated with platinum-based chemotherapy.  J Clin Oncol, 18(10) 2095-2103.  May 2000.  Pub Med 10811675.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pubmed/10811675-prospective-randomized-trial-of-docetaxel-versus-best-supportive-care-in-patients-with-non-small-cell-lung-cancer-previously-treated-with-platinum-based-chemotherapy/

[3] Naturopathic Cancer Society.  Which cancer are you researching?  www.NatOnco.org.

[4] Taylor P, Li B, et al.  Prevention of esophageal cancer: the nutrition intervention trials in Linxian, China.  Linxian Nutrition Intervention Trials Study Group.  Cancer Res.  Apr 1994. 1;54(7 Suppl): 2029s-2031s.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8137333

[5] Greenwald P, Anderson D, et al. Clinical trials of vitamin and mineral supplements for cancer prevention.  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Jan 2007.  85(1); 3145-3175.  http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/85/1/314S.full#ref-21

[6] Zhang S, Moore S et al.  Folate, vitamin B6, multivitamin supplements and colorectal cancer risk in women.  Am J Epidemiol 2006; 163:108-15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1363749/

[7] Giovannucci E.  The epidemiology of vitamin D and cancer incidence and mortality: a review.  Cancer Causes Control.  2005 Mar; 16(2):  83-95.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15868450

[8] Wei M, Garland C, Gorham E, et al.  Vitamin D and prevention of colorectal adenoma: a meta-analysis.  Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev.  2008 Nov; 17(11):  2958-69. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=.++Vitamin+D+and+prevention+of+colorectal+adenoma%3A+a+meta-analysis.++Cancer+Epidemiol+Biomarkers+Prev

[9] Garland C, Gorham E, Mohr F.  Vitamin D for cancer prevention: global perspective.  Ann Epidem 2009 Jul;19(7):468-83.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=.++Vitamin+D+for+cancer+prevention%3A+global+perspective.++Ann+Epidem

[10] Giovannucci E.  Vitamin D and cancer incidence in the Harvard cohorts.  Ann Epidem.  2009 Feb 19(2):  84-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Vitamin+D+and+cancer+incidence+in+the+Harvard+cohorts.++Ann+Epidem

[11] Vahedpoor Z, Jamilian M, et al.  Effects of long-term vitamin D supplementation on regression and metabolic status of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.  Horm Cancer.  Feb 2017.  8(1): 58-67.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28050798

[12] Bostick RM.  Effects of supplemental vitamin D and calcium on normal colon tissue and circulating biomarkers of risk for colorectal neoplasms.  J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol.  Apr 2015,  148:86-95.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25597952

[13] Fedirko V, Bostick R, et al. Effects of supplemental vitamin D and calcium on oxidative DNA damage marker in normal colorectal mucosa: a randomized clinical trial.  Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. Jan 2010.  19(1): 280-91.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20056649

[14] De Smedt J, Van Kelst S, et al.  Vitamin D supplementation in cutaneous malignant melanoma outcome (ViDMe): a randomized controlled trial.  BMC Cancer. Aug 2017.  17(1): 562. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28835228

[15] Jarrard D, Konety B, et al.  Phase IIa, randomized placebo-controlled trial of single high dose cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) and daily genistein (G-2535) versus double placebo in men with early stage prostate cancer undergoing prostatectomy.   Am J Clin Exp Urol.  Sept 2016.  20;4(2): 17-27.   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27766277.

[16] Schumann, S, Ewigman B.  Double-dose vitamin D lowers cancer risk in women over 55.  J Fam Pract.  Nov 2007. 56(11): 907-910.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4294452/

[17] Lappe J, Travers-Gustafson D. Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial.  Am J Clin Nutr. Jun 2007.  85(6):1586-91.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17556697

[18] Brunner R, Wactawski-Wende J, et al. The effect of calcium plus vitamin D on risk for invasive cancer: results of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) calcium plus vitamin D randomized clinical trial.  Nutr Cancer. 2011.  63(6): 827-41.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21774589

[19] Li M, Li L, et al.  1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 suppresses gastric cancer cell growth through VDR- and mutant p53-mediated induction of p21.  Life Sci. Jun 2017.  179: 88-97.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=1%2C25-dihydroxyvitamin+D3+suppresses+gastric+cancer+cell+growth+through+VDR-+and+mutant+p53-mediated+induction+of+p21.++Life+Sci

[20] Pourgholami M, Akhter J.  In vitro and in vivo inhibition of liver cancer cells by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3.  Cancer Lett. Apr 2000. 151(1):97-102.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10766428

[21] Saez S, Falette N, et al. 1,25(OH)2D3 modulation of mammary tumor cell growth in vitro and in vivo.  William L. McGuire Memorial Symposium. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 1993. 27(1-2):69-81.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8260731

[22] Shen M, Yen A.  Nicotinamide cooperates with retinoic acid and 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D(3) to regulate cell differentiation and cell cycle arrest of human myeloblastic leukemia cells.  Oncology 2009; 76(2): 91-100.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Nicotinamide+cooperates+with+retinoic+acid+and+1%2C25+dihydroxyvitamin+D(3)+to+regulate+cell+differentiation+and+cell+cycle+arrest+of+human+myeloblastic+leukemia+cells.++Oncology

[23] Kizildag S, Ates H. Treatment of K562 cells with 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D(3) induces distinct alterations in the expression of apoptosis-related genes BCL-2, BAX, BCL(XL) and p21.  Ann Hematol. 2009 May 28.  (Epub ahead of print.)  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Treatment+of+K562+cells+with+1%2C25+dihydroxyvitamin+D(3)+induces+distinct+alterations+in+the+expression+of+apoptosis-related+genes+BCL-2%2C+BAX%2C+BCL(XL)+and+p21.++Ann+Hematol.

[24] Wu W, Zhang X, Zanello L.  1alpha, 25 dihydroxyvitamin D(3) anti-proliferative actions involving vitamin D receptor-mediated activation of MAPK pathways and AP-1/p21 (waf1) upregulation in human osteosarcoma.  Cancer Lett.  2007 Aug 28.  254(1): 75-86.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=MAPK+pathways+and+AP-1%2Fp21+(waf1)+upregulation+in+human+osteosarcoma

[25] Fujioka T, Suzuki Y, Okamoto T, et al.  Prevention of renal cell carcinoma by active vitamin D(3).  World J Surg. 2000 Oct; 24(10): 1205-10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=.++Prevention+of+renal+cell+carcinoma+by+active+vitamin+D(3).++World+J+Surg

[26] Bao B, Yao J, Lee Y.  1alpha, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 suppresses interleukin-8-mediated prostate cancer cell angiogenesis.  Carcinogenesis.  2006 Sep; 27(9): 1883-93.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=.++1alpha%2C+25-dihydroxyvitamin+D3+suppresses+interleukin-8-mediated+prostate+cancer+cell+angiogenesis.++Carcinogenesis

[27] Chung I, Han G, Seshadri M, et al.  Role of Vitamin D receptor in the antiproliferative effects of calcitriol in tumor-derived endothelial cells and tumor angiogenesis in vivo.  Cancer Res.  2009 Feb 1;  69(3):. 967-75.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Role+of+Vitamin+D+receptor+in+the+antiproliferative+effects+of+calcitriol+in+tumor-derived+endothelial+cells+and+tumor+angiogenesis+in+vivo.++Cancer+Res

[28] Yudoh K, Matsuno H, Kimura T.  1alpha, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 inhibits in vitro invasiveness through the extracellular matrix and in vivo pulmonary metastasis of mouse melanoma.  J Lab Clin Med.  1999 Feb 133(2): 120-8.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=.++1alpha%2C+25-dihydroxyvitamin+D3+inhibits+in+vitro+invasiveness+through+the+extracellular+matrix+and+in+vivo+pulmonary+metastasis+of+mouse+melanoma.++J+Lab+Clin+Med

[29] Defacue H, Commes T. Synergistic differentiation of U937 cells by all-trans retinoic acid and 1 alpha, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 is associated with the expression of retinoid X receptor alpha.  Biochem Biophys Res Commun. Aug 1994. 203(1):272-80. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8074666

[30] Blutt S, Allegretto E. 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 and 9-cis-retinoic acid act synergistically to inhibit the growth of LNCaP prostate cells and cause accumulation of cells in G1.  Endocrinology.  Apr 1997.  138(4):1491-7.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9075707

[31] Verstuyf A, Mathieu C.  Differentiation induction of human leukemia cells (HL60) by a combination of 1,25-dihydroxyitamin D3 and retinoic acid (all trans or 9-cis).  J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. Jun 1995. 53(1-6):431-41.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7626492

 

What Happens When a Person Is Diagnosed with Cancer?

Colleen Huber, NMD

“The Constitution of this Republic should make special provision for medical freedom… Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution the time will come when medicine will organize into an undercover dictatorship and force people who want doctors and treatment of their own choice to submit to only what the dictating outfit offers.”

Benjamin Rush, MD, 1745 – 1813
Colonial Physician and Signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence

Chemotherapy oncologists tell a new patient:  “Chemotherapy and radiation are the only options available to you.  Nothing else will work against your cancer.”   And they hear, “Your cancer is especially sensitive to chemotherapy.  In the particular kind of cancer that you have, natural treatments do not work.”

How do I, a naturopathic oncologist, know that cancer patients routinely hear the above lines?  Because regardless of type or stage of cancer, almost all cancer patients who come to see me tell me that this is what the oncologist told them.  It’s kind of strange that everybody supposedly has the particular type of cancer that chemo would be great for and natural treatments would be bad for.

Then the patient is scheduled to begin chemotherapy treatments promptly.  The patient is not offered any of the following:

  • The opportunity to take time to look into alternative treatments for cancer,
  • The opportunity to get a second opinion from a different doctor,
  • The opportunity to simply take time off and think about how to proceed.

The rush job of hurrying as many possible customers into the maws of the cancer machine, the chemotherapy industry, which is a $100 billion dollar industry in the US[1], deprives patients of the opportunity to step back and assess their options.

In fact, the diagnosis and treatment of cancer are so rushed, that these often happen on consecutive days: “You will begin chemotherapy tomorrow.”  And, “No you can’t postpone chemo, because your insurance is already being billed for it.”

Said the spider to the fly.

Naturopathic physicians on the other option observe a higher standard of medicine than this kind of coercion.  Because licensed naturopathic physicians were trained, examined and licensed in both natural and conventional medicine, it is our practice to tell people about BOTH their conventional medicine options AND their natural medicine options.  Naturopathic physicians have approximately twice as many classroom hours and twice as many courses in medical schools as medical doctors.[2]  This is because we are required to rise to the standards of, and are licensed for, practicing both conventional medicine and natural medicine.  This is a much better basis from which to help the patient choose appropriate treatment than someone who was schooled in only one type of medicine.

It is also very important to naturopathic physicians to honor patients’ treatment choices.  There are naturopathic physicians who look to the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons for their honoring of patient rights[3] and these have been incorporated into some naturopathic physicians’ Informed Consent forms, in order to re-affirm patient rights.[4]

  • To seek consultation with the physician(s) of their choice;
  • To contract with their physician(s) on mutually agreeable terms;
  • To be treated confidentially, with access to their records limited to those involved in their care or designated by the patient;
  • To use their own resources to purchase the care of their choice;
  • To refuse medical treatment even if it is recommended by their physician(s);
  • To be informed about their medical condition, the risks and benefits of treatment and appropriate alternatives;
  • To refuse third-party interference in their medical care

[1] http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/02/the-worlds-2015-cancer-drug-bill-107-billion-dollars.html

[2] http://naturopathicstandards.org/naturopathic-medical-education-a-comprehensive-curriculum/

[3] American Association of Physicians and Surgeons.  All patients should be guaranteed the following freedoms . . . http://aapsonline.org/patient-bill-rights/

[4] https://www.natonco.org/informed-consent

Science-Based Medicine Usually Is Not

Dr-Huber-Reviews-Science-Based-Medicine

Colleen Huber, NMD

Most published articles in medical journals are “bogus,” according to science writer Richard Harris.  Fraudulent stories in medical journals about pharmaceuticals lead to enormous waste and misguided expenses.

Harris’ new book is Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions.  After three decades of reporting medical stories and pharmaceutical news on National Public Radio, Harris concludes, “Simply too much of what is published is wrong.”

The problem is most studies of pharmaceuticals just don’t stand up to investigation, and most of those studies cannot be reproduced by others.

Earlier, in a 2005 article, Stanford University professor John Ioannidis had looked at a number of previous studies finding that either most or the vast majority of published medical research is false.  This was even more likely to be true if financial and other interests and prejudices in a scientific field were present.  False results were also more common with the fewer subjects studied, and also more likely to be false with the more researchers working on the project.

A frequent technique is for pharmaceutical companies to approach physicians to ask if they would like their name on a research paper.  Physicians then sign on to a study that they are not even involved in, and have no direct involvement with, in exchange for the possibility of looking prestigious for publishing in a well-known journal.  As a result, a half dozen or more names may be given to a paper where the “co-authors” don’t even know each other.

The problem is research is honest when money is not present, when no bribe for certain results is on the table.  Yet without funding, nobody would bother doing research.  That is, nobody except those of us in clinics who see results that are better than at other clinics, and people should be informed about it.

Interview with Colleen Huber, NMD  – Part 2

Opposition to Natural Medicine  – Part 2

Colleen Huber, NMD

May 4, 2017

JS:            Let’s continue our interview from last week.  We were talking about the political opposition to natural medicine.  I would like to focus more specifically on naturopathic physicians, chiropractors, acupuncturists, and the health food store and supplement industry.  What are your thoughts in general about that?

CH:          When you consider all those groups together, taken as a whole, we are met with resentment and anxiety from the pharmaceutical industry and the doctors who are most aligned with them – which is most of MDs and DOs.  However, there are definitely MDs and DOs who think like we do.

I just want to mention a very notable example:  Alan Gaby MD is definitely a leader in alternative / natural medicine in the US.  His book Nutritional Medicine is a 1300 page monster, took him 30 years to write, and is a wonderfully useful compendium of data regarding nutritional aspects of disease, symptoms and finally good health.

Yet Pharma, and the doctors and hospitals and insurance companies all tied in with Pharma, would rather that none of that information – and none of us – exist, because we are the obstacle to the monopoly that they would have over human health.  Actually, the free will of individuals is the ultimate obstacle to full pharmaceutical control of human health.

So I think those are the major actors in the drama.  And there is soapboxing and drama in these discussions.

JS:            Do you want to talk about that drama, such as when emotions run high between pro-Pharma and anti-Pharma?  Or I guess we could say between pro-natural medicine and anti-natural medicine.

CH:          I suppose the most virulent word bandied about is “quack,” usually with the implications of duck sounds.  However, the word “quack” has an interesting history:  It comes from the German “quecksilber,” originally from Old High German, and means mercury.  Well, the interesting thing is that it was the conventional allopathic physicians who trafficked in mercury, not the natural practitioners, because mercury has long been known to be highly toxic – which is not so interesting or useful to those of us in the healing arts.

Ironically, these days the term “quack” or “quackery” is used dismissively against naturopathic physicians and similar practitioners, with no explanation or particular reason for its use, other than a lazy pejorative that the “skeptic” likes to hurl, similar to other unwarranted expletives.

However, it was the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Dental Association (ADA) who embraced and defended the use of mercury, even as it fell into wide disfavor among the public by the mid-nineteenth century.

Mats Hanson writes an interesting article about this, in which he points out that then, as now, many conventional doctors used “powerful” treatments in order to try to impress patients, and when they appeared to have symptoms of poisoning, that could always be blamed on worsening of the original disease.

As someone who works with cancer patients, I can tell you that our era is rife with such antics.  Cancer is not nearly so deadly as chemotherapy.  Yet when a chemotherapy patient dies, the death certificate lists cancer rather than chemo as the cause of death.

JS:            What other points of contention exist between Pharma and natural medicine?

CH:          “Science-based medicine” has become a buzzword to indicate synthetic chemicals that are patented.  With the patent, these substances can bring a lot of revenue to a company.  Now to pass a Phase IV clinical trial, it takes a lot of money changing hands, and Pharma is the only player rich enough to cough up the massive users’ fees that are paid to the FDA.  The whole arrangement is broken and irreparably corrupt.  There is little that can be done to change it, because Pharma has over 1500 full-time lobbyists in Congress, which is more than 3 times as many as the number of representatives.  That number is also more than the next two biggest industries’ lobbyists combined.  Now each US representative in Congress faces this problem:  It takes massive money to purchase enough advertising to actually win an election; it takes more money than each representative has.  Therefore, they want to take Pharma’s money.  So then they end up voting for legislation that is favorable to Pharma.  This of course is frustrating to the public as well as to those of us who practice natural medicine.  Because what happens is we tend to get crowded out of legislation, and find ourselves on the short end of the stick – not adequately reimbursed by health insurance, not reimbursed at all by Medicare.

So then when Pharma talks about “Science-based medicine,” what they mean is the medicine that they have paid high prices to run through certain pedigrees.  However, they are not referring to medicine that is developed in a scientific way, that is with careful observation of patient response and reactions.

Herbal medicine is much more based in science, because we have the benefit of studying patient responses over time.  The herbal monographs let us know in great detail what the observed effects are in patients.  This is in contrast to a hastily prepared clinical trial that cuts short careful observation in order to try to rush the latest blockbuster drug to market.

Sometimes this process is very sloppy.  For example, I was recently waiting in line to board a flight that was delayed.  A doctor was speaking nearby on a cell phone, so I heard this half of a conversation:

Hi, this is Dr——— from ——– Hospital ——— Research ……….
Oh, hi……………Okay, I need to figure out if Group —- is on the placebo or on the [medication]………..
So did we get a delivery of the [medication]?…………….  Okay, then in that case, I’m going to assume that group is on the placebo…………….Right…………… No, I’m not sure.  Did any of them report any symptoms?………..  Yeah, I wish we could know what they’re on.  That’s the problem, I just don’t know……………  Well, that’s okay, I think they must be on the placebo, so just mark them down as placebo…………..  Right, no, I think it’ll work out okay. . . .

I thought, wow, I think we naturopaths must be doing pretty well when we are compared to that phone dialogue (the half-dialogue that I heard).  At least we don’t use placebos, unless it seems to be in the patient’s best interests.  And I would think we’d get straight who has which medication!

*     *     *

A hundred and fifty years of misuse of mercury and dental amalgam – still a lesson to learn

By Mats Hanson

http://art-bin.com/art/hanson_en.html

Interview with Colleen Huber, NMD

Interview with Colleen Huber, NMD:

Opposition to Naturopathic Medicine

April, 2017

JS:            Hi, Dr. Huber.  Thanks for taking time to interview.  I’d like to ask you about opposition to naturopathic medicine.  It seems these days there are two ways to ruin a holiday meal in a big family.  Either discuss left vs. right politics.  Or discuss conventional vs. natural medicine.

CH:          So true!  That kind of dispute can heat up quickly.  Opinions are very fixed for a lot of people.

JS:            Are you worried about the so-called “Skeptics” and “Science-based medicine” and what they say about natural or naturopathic medicine?  I mean, including you!  You’ve been attacked too online.  How do you feel about that?

CH:          Pharma is understandably worried about its only major competitor: natural medicine and oral supplements sold in health food stores.  I mean, look how big Whole Foods is, compared to a decade or two ago.  Five decades ago, the whole health food and organic movement just wasn’t there at all.  But now it’s large and growing fast.  So naturally, the FDA, which gets users’ fees from their client Pharma, rants about natural supplements.  The corruption is so obvious though, they wouldn’t dare try to dismantle the supplement industry at this point.

But here’s the main reason why I’m not worried.  The general public does not need me to tell them which way of living is preferable.  Walk into a health food store, and look around.  Then walk into a drug store or a run-of-the-mill supermarket, and look around.  Who looks healthier and happier?  Which group of people do we all want to look and feel like?

JS:            I see what you mean.  No contest.

CH:          Exactly, no contest.  So the so-called skeptics can attack me or attack other individuals.  They have really gone after Dr. Oz in a venomous way – and speaking of venomous, there were very strange murders of holistic doctors over the last two years, 2015 mostly.

JS:            What was that all about?

CH:          At first, it looked like Florida holistic doctors.  So I thought maybe it was some pain med disputes.  But that turned out to be unlikely.  Then it looked like doctors who were critical of vaccines.  Then that didn’t look right, and it looked like doctors who had taken an interest in GcMAF, which is a Vitamin D-related protein, which some allege to have some effect against cancer.  But anyway, if that was the case, and if somebody wanted to eliminate doctors who were working with GcMAF, it backfired, because the murders gave that substance a cachet far beyond what I think it deserves, frankly, and the public took an interest in it, and they’re finding it for themselves, for better or worse.

Anyway, where I was going with that was, Pharma can rant till its hoarse – and these keyboard warriors sure do rant! – about natural medicine, supplements, organic food.  But at the end of the day, consumers do not want to live a pharmaceutical lifestyle, because it’s depressing, fatiguing, painful, just all around debilitating.  People want to clean up their diet, if only to feel better.  They reach for supplements when they know the diet has not been quite as good as it should be.  Probably the keyboard warriors sneak them also.  And that is exactly what Pharma’s big problem is:  The American public has not yet been drugged into delirium en masse, probably won’t ever be, and still use their minds to question the drug-every-symptom paradigm.

So if naturopathic physicians get attacked over that, we can just shrug and go on.   Here’s why. The fact is, at least as of 2014, there were NO medical malpractice claims against naturopathic physicians ever in the United States.  Ever!  Meanwhile, “properly prescribed” drugs kill 128,000 per year.  That’s more than all the Americans who died in World War I.  And that’s every year in this country.

So that is the problem for Pharma.  They don’t have any substantive criticism of us, just angry sniping bloggers.  Where is Pharma losing its market share?  To the cemetery more than anywhere.  Losing over 100,000 of your loyal customers every year is kinda bad for business, guys.  Why not make those drugs less toxic?

There’s a website that summarizes these stats: www.bmdiaries.com.

JS:            So you don’t mind that you’ve been criticized by the “science-based medicine” crowd.

CH:          Well, I have not at all spearheaded the changing zeitgeist the way some others have done.  I mean, I report our clinic’s results, so the Pharma side is probably thinking: cheeky devil, how dare she.  However, none of the accusations I’ve seen against me are true, and I have a squeaky clean record, no Board complaints, my medical license in good standing the whole decade I’ve practiced.  My clinic has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.  So that criticism is really not a factor in my work.

Besides, there’s nothing science-based about cherry-picking the data one chooses to look at, ignoring all the opposing data, then stooping to angry insults to make arguments.   That’s the opposite of the scientific method.  Intelligent people see past that and realize that those keyboard warriors are just pro-pharma ideologues and hacks.  Nothing to worry about in the whole scheme of things.

JS:  Thanks, Dr. Huber, mostly for not jumping into the mudslinging pit with them!

CH:  That would get ugly!  And thank you!  I’ll get those references to you.

*     *     *

Dr. Huber referred to the following articles in this interview:

http://www.calnd.org/files/CNDA%20Naturopathic%20Doctor%20Safety%20Statistics%20FINAL%202-25-14.pdf

http://ethics.harvard.edu/blog/new-prescription-drugs-major-health-risk-few-offsetting-advantages

https://www.bmdiaries.com/

http://www.healthnutnews.com/about/

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/company-info/whole-foods-market-history

Why I Became a Naturopathic Physician

I was raised in a family interested in natural ways of living, choosing whole, natural food over junk food, and looking to nature for medicine when it was needed.  All of this seemed to me like a fine way to live, and never seemed to be lacking.  We kids grew up strong, healthy with brief bouts of measles, mumps and chicken pox when they each made the rounds of our schools, all very benign and short-term illnesses to healthy kids.  Like having a cold, no worse, and you stay home from school a few days, with the added benefit of having a stronger immune system.  As we all know, these now rare illnesses have become the widely-feared bogeymen that sell vaccines.  Selling by way of fear works, I suppose, if you can’t sell by any more reasonable means.  But generally, we played outdoors for long hours and grew an organic garden long before most people had heard of such a thing, and generally had really active days outside of school hours.

Against that idyllic and healthy background, Americans had gradually become aware of cancer becoming a relentless and seemingly incurable disease, taking more lives all the time.  It seemed to hit as randomly as lightning, with no apparent cause.  So my family was horrified to learn in the 1970’s that a judge’s order stopped researchers at New York’s Sloan Kettering, when they announced a substance, laetrile or vitamin B-17, which could shrink or destroy tumors in mice.  As soon as a natural substance was discovered to be effective against cancer, it was made illegal.  And that’s when the blinders came off.  I was now much more interested in natural medicine, and for the first time deeply suspicious of corruption in the institutions most desperately seeking our trust.

America’s medical system – no, it goes further – America’s very lifestyle and culture has been hijacked by an industry that tells you that a doctor is the ultimate arbiter and decision-maker of the health of your whole family.  As a result, you no longer feel, or feel confident of, your own autonomy over your own bodies and your own diet and your own decisions.  How did our very selves get so thoroughly stolen from our own control?

This article by Mark Hyman, MD, explains better than any other I’ve seen on the topic of an abysmal problem in the health and lives of Americans:  That is, Pharma / government collusion has left the US with the least effective and most dangerous drugs promoted as if they were the only solutions to the health problems of most Americans.

128,000 deaths per year in the US are from “properly” prescribed pharmaceuticals.   That’s the number reported to the FDA.  That’s more Americans than died in all of World War I (116,516) or all of the Vietnam War (90,220).   Also, that number does not include deaths from chemotherapy, which are incorrectly called deaths due to cancer.

There are 2.7 million serious, disabling or fatal injuries due to pharmaceuticals.  And the number of serious adverse events increases over time.

In many cases, such as with “high cholesterol,” a problem was alleged, in order to sell a completely unnecessary and very harmful class of drugs as the solution to the non-existent problem.   Not surprisingly, that drug class, statins, is the best-selling class of drugs of all time, with the highest revenues.  Higher cholesterol is actually correlated with better results against cancer, as Robert Waters, PhD and I showed in 2015.

Why do you never hear about this in the media?  Fox’s Roger Ailes once told Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. that the major media “gets up to 70% of advertising revenues during non-election years from Pharma.”  And that is exactly why you will never hear a whisper of a challenge to the tyrannical pharmaceutical industry from anyone but those of us who have a moral obligation to expose such corruption.  Fortunately, there are more of us all the time who are speaking out.  And more Americans than ever before are looking at the dismal options offered by the conventional medical system and are asking, “Aren’t there any better alternatives than this?”

Despite relentless advertising by Pharma, Americans increasingly choose alternative medicine and natural lifestyles.  38% of American adults have used some complementary or alternative medicine, although only 43% of those mentioned this to a medical doctor.  I look forward to a time when we feel free to choose the health care and lifestyle that we want, without coercion, without artificially induced-fear, and please, for heaven’s sake, without endless Pharma commercials such as “Ask your doctor if Quack-o-pill is right for you.  Side effects may include brain fog, excessive obedience, coma and death.”

Basically, I became a naturopathic physician, so that people who wanted an alternative to all the damage and carnage above could have a safe sanctuary for their kids and themselves.  So that they could have a doctor who would meet their health needs without trying to bully them into unwanted shots and drugs.  I wanted, in other words, to be the kind of doctor that my own family needed.