Diseases and Conditions

  1. NAC a safe alternative to drugs in fighting fibrosis

    Natural compound keeps scar tissue at bay

    Q: My uncle has been diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and given a terminal prognosis. Are there homeopathic remedies that might alleviate his symptoms?

    GR: First of all, I'm sorry to hear about your uncle. Of course, it's never easy on the patient who receives a prognosis that's terminal, but I've found that most life-threatening conditions -- especially those in which a shortened life expectancy is a certainty -- affect the entire family.

    My thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

    I've shared some information on fibrosis with my eTips readers in the past, but there are actually several different kinds that can be found in various parts of the body.

    To put it simply, fibrosis is the buildup of fibrous tissue in the musculoskeletal system, skin, and brain tissue. We often refer to this process as "scarring" or the formation of "scar tissue."

    We often talk about fibrosis happening in the kidneys -- but, in the case of "pulmonary" fibrosis, it occurs in the lungs. And that can make it incredibly difficult to breathe.

    Not only that, but that growing mass of fibrous tissue can trigger an immune response which can lead to neurological and other symptoms.

    The biggest issue with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) is that first word, "idiopathic," a term the medical community uses to describe a condition that has no known cause.

    It's not that the scar tissue just appeared out of thin air... but it's just that no one has figured out why.

    And with no root cause to address, that makes it a difficult condition to improve.

    In my medical practice, I've treated problems of pulmonary fibrosis with something called N-acetylcysteine, or NAC for short -- specifically, in its inhaler and nebulizer forms. Studies have shown that administering NAC in this way can help delay the progression of the disease.

    NAC is a known anti-fibrotic agent, and it's known to help increase the levels of the "master antioxidant" glutathione in the body -- including in the lungs.

    I've found it can help some patients feel -- and breathe -- better, too.

    And, unlike some of the patent medicines that Big Pharma may push on patients with IPF that come with a high price tag and aren't covered by insurance, NAC is not only inexpensive but also tolerated well by most patients without side effects.

    If you've got a question that's weighing on your mind, drop me a line at askdrrothfeld@nutritionandhealing.com. I answer a different question every week, and I might choose yours next.

  2. Olive oil helps prevent diabetes

    The Mediterranean secret to dodging diabetes

    Whether it's cake on your birthday, candy at Halloween, or pie for Thanksgiving, it seems like celebrations always involve SOMETHING sweet.

    But we know that hitting your system with those sugar bombs can tax your immune system... expand your waistline... and send your risk of diabetes skyrocketing.

    And according to the latest science, you might want to shift your focus from sweet to savory this holiday season -- and add a bottle of olive oil to your table!

    Not only is this Mediterranean staple rich, filling, and delicious on salads and savory dishes, it can also slash your risk of developing type 2 diabetes AND lower blood sugar if you already have it.

    A new study out of Virginia Tech discovered that a compound found in olives and olive oil called oleoropein naturally causes your pancreas to dish out more insulin after you eat a meal.

    That's important -- because insulin is the hormone in your body that keeps your blood sugar in check. And when you've got diabetes, it's something your body doesn't produce enough of on its own.

    Now, there's another compound your pancreas shoots into your bloodstream along with insulin after a meal. It's called amylin -- and the science behind it is a little complicated.

    But stick with me for a moment.

    Amylin signals your brain that you're full and tells your liver not to release any more stored sugar into the mix. But in cases of type 2 diabetes, amylin can get damaged and lead to "misfolded" proteins that can actually cause cells in your pancreas to DIE.

    And dead pancreatic cells make it harder for it to produce more insulin and amylin down the line.

    It's a vicious cycle.

    But the study found that oleoropein from olives and olive oil can HALT this damage by "detoxifying" amylin and cutting off those misfolded proteins at the pass.

    So, whether it's a special occasion or just a regular day, toast your good health by adding more olives and olive oil to your meals.

    You won't just be controlling your blood sugar and keeping diabetes at bay -- because olive oil has been shown in studies to also lower your blood pressure, increase your HDL ("good") cholesterol, and lower your risk of heart disease.

    Turns out there's a reason why those Mediterranean dieters go ga-ga for olives!

    If you ask me, you're not getting enough protein on the Mediterranean diet -- but when it comes to olives, it's not an either-or situation. There's no reason why you can't load up on olives and extra-virgin olive oils on the approach to eating I prefer, Paleo!

    Those olives sure make a tasty marinade or tapenade for your free-range chicken or wild-caught salmon.

    You can also up your intake of oleuropein with olive leaf extract supplements, which are available online or at your local health food store.

  3. Fat cells spur cancer tumor growth

    Here's the "skinny" on cancer and fat If you've been eating light and staying active all summer, I applaud you. But I also know how hard it is to keep that up all year long. With the cooler weather of fall comes all those "comfort" food staples... and sweet treats like pumpkin pie and candied apples... all of which are...
  4. Avoid retinopathy by reversing diabetes

    Put diabetes behind you... and never look back! From the finger pricks... to the insulin shots... to the constant counting of carbs... managing your type 2 diabetes can be a real drag. But you know what's an even bigger drag? Going blind. Soaring blood sugar could saddle you with retinopathy, which occurs when glucose overloads the tiny blood vessels in...
  5. Household toxins linked to respiratory disease

    How keeping a clean house can wallop your lungs From bleaches... to antibacterial sprays... and even pine-scented deodorizers... your household cleaning cabinet probably looks a lot like an arsenal for the "war" on dirt and germs. I get it -- no one wants a dirty house. And besides the dirt you can see, there's the added worry of the germs...
  6. Lyme disease doesn’t stop when summer’s over

    Don't let fall ticks catch you off guard From destructive hurricanes in the South... to heat waves and wildfires in the West... we've been seeing some pretty extreme weather all over the country lately. But, hopefully, as things cool down and fall settles in, the milder weather will make heading out into nature a little more inviting once again. After...
  7. Carbs, not fats, linked to early death

    The jury on carbs is no longer out It's breakfast time. Should you go with a bowl of whole-grain cereal with skim milk... or a plate of bacon and eggs? The question of which is "worse" for you -- carbs or fats -- is a battle that's been raging for decades. Many in the mainstream will tell you that fat...
  8. Lupus patients low in vitamin D

    Why you should add this hero vitamin to your arsenal Your joints feel frozen solid... your skin is red and splotchy... and you're dragging yourself through yet another day. When you've got lupus (a.k.a. systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE), it can feel like you're in a battle with your own body because... well, you ARE. With autoimmune diseases like lupus...
  9. Antidepressants spike head injuries in Alzheimer's patients

    These pills can kick you while you're down With all that candy and all those pumpkins already cramming store shelves, it's beginning to look a lot like Halloween. And even if your trick-or-treating days are way behind you, this spooky season reminds us that things aren't always as they seem. Take, for example, two illnesses that often go hand in...
  10. Vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids improve Parkinson's symptoms

    Toxins are no match for these triple-threat nutrients From pesticides in the food we eat... to chemicals in the products we use on our bodies and in our homes... sometimes it seems like there's "nowhere to run to" and "nowhere to hide" from toxins in our daily lives. Now, we already know that being exposed to toxins can DOUBLE your...

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