Herbs and Supplements

  1. Vitamin D cuts risk of colon cancer

    Protect against colon cancer with the sunshine vitamin

    It's been a rough winter here in the Northeast. I even had to close my clinic for a "snow day"!

    After all, there are just some days when it's not worth going outside in the cold and risking falls and treacherous traffic conditions.

    But that means that every winter, I watch the health of my patients decline as they spend more and more time indoors. It's like clockwork!

    I'm curious to see whether March will come in like a lamb or a lion next week. I don't know about you, but I can't wait for longer days with more sunshine.

    And you know what that means: more of that miracle sunshine vitamin, vitamin D!

    If you've been reading my eTips for a while now, you know that vitamin D is important to your bone health as well as your mood. But researchers have also found that it could keep you safe from colon cancer.

    It turns out that patients with high vitamin D levels find their risk of colorectal cancer slashed by a whopping 90 percent.

    Now that's big news, because colon cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women in the U.S., and is the second most fatal. It kills 50,000 people in the U.S. every single year.

    Past studies had already shown how vitamin D can help you avoid certain types of cancers, including pancreatic; but this study actually shows evidence that vitamin D can activate an immune response against tumor cells.

    "Laboratory research suggests that vitamin D boosts immune system function by activating T cells that recognize and attack cancer cells," said lead author Shuji Ogino of Dana-Farber, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Brigham and Women's Hospital.

    That means that vitamin D can actually interact with your immune system to raise your body's defenses against cancer.

    Now, when it's looking downright apocalyptic outside, you're not going to be able to soak up much sunshine for your body to convert to vitamin D. That means you've got to get it from somewhere else.

    But if you think you're getting enough by drinking milk or eating dairy, the truth is there's NO WAY that milk and food can get our levels of vitamin D to where they need to be. And any foods that claim to be rich in vitamin D have actually been fortified with a synthetic version.

    Synthetic vitamin D replacement doesn't measure up to sun exposure OR the over-the-counter natural version of vitamin D, called vitamin D3. In fact, the synthetic vitamin D is only a third as potent as bioidentical D3, and it also stops working much sooner.

    As soon as the weather improves, try to get at least 10 minutes of direct sunlight every day -- without sunblock, big funny hats, or long sleeves. After that, you can cover up so you won't burn.

  2. Look to nature – not drugs – to fight viral infections

    Beat viruses at their own game by boosting your immunity

    Q: Why don't drugs like antibiotics work on viruses?

    GR: The common cold and other common virulent viruses have been around such a long time, it's amazing that there are really no prescription medications to treat them.

    Quite frankly, it's shocking that Big Pharma hasn't yet come up with a drug for them!

    But actually, there's a good reason for Big Pharma's lack of success when it comes to viral infections: Colds and viruses work on a weakened immune system, and it's almost impossible to IMPROVE the immune system with a drug.

    In fact, the human immune system is almost "immune" to a drug enhancing its powers!

    Often quite the opposite happens. For instance, some cancer patients who survive cancer find their immune systems so weakened by chemotherapy drugs that exposure to a virus is what leads to their demise.

    They actually die from a garden-variety infection... rather than their cancer.

    When it's firing on all cylinders, the human immune system is actually well-armed to fight viruses on its own, without drugs.

    But there are so many things in life that can compromise our immune systems and keep them from running at full speed ahead -- namely, lack of sleep, toxins, inflammation, nutritional deficiencies, and an imbalance in gut bacteria.

    So, the best defense you have against viral infections is simple: Get plenty of restful sleep, detoxify your body, reduce inflammation, and make sure you're getting all the nutrients and "good bugs" you need.

    That being said, there are a few other weapons you can add to your arsenal to give you an extra boost against viruses when you are exposed to them. For instance, we know that compounds called "flavones" -- found in the roots of certain plants (like, say, Chinese skullcap) -- have antiviral as well as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

    We also know that other compounds -- including the acids in hops, called "humulones" and "lupulones" -- are actually both antiviral and antibacterial.

    Not surprisingly, we're finding out more and more that compounds like these are also showing to be powerful cancer-fighters.

    I'll be honest with you: I don't claim to cure viruses in my clinic. However, I would assert that it is very possible to slow them down and at least put the virus or viral infection into a stalemate with your immune system.

    There are actually many supplements that slow viruses down. I like to use garlic, grapefruit seed extract, oil of oregano, and olive leaf extract, among others.

    And, as simple as it may seem, taking just 20 mg of zinc and 1,000 mg of vitamin C over a long period time can keep your immune system strong enough to fight off all kinds of infections.

    Especially this time of year, good cold and flu therapies are worth their weight in gold -- and in the March issue of my Nutrition & Healing newsletter, I'll tip you off to an herbal remedy that I've found to address the virulent viruses that keep us sick all winter.

    Stay tuned -- and, in the meantime, email a question to me at askdrrothfeld@nutritionandhealing.com. I might choose to answer yours next!

  3. B vitamins combat memory loss

    Preserve your precious memories with B vitamins Remember the good old days when your mind was like a steel trap? You could tick off every family member's birthday and anniversary at the drop of a hat! Now, some days it's hard to remember what you had for breakfast. For years, we've been told that memory loss is just a natural...
  4. Turn to Mother Nature for mood disorders

    Clear the dark clouds with this crazy arctic flower Your mind races with worry after worry. It may have even gotten so bad that you can't sleep at night. And even during the day, the negative thoughts just keep running through your head, like a record player skipping. When you're talking about conditions like anxiety... panic disorders... and depression... there...
  5. High dose vitamin D reduces respiratory infections risk

    You can ride out the rest of cold and flu season without getting sick if you’re getting enough vitamin D, research says. A new study links high doses of it with reducing your risk of respiratory infections by 40 percent.
  6. Frankincense is the gift that keeps on giving

    Frankincense has been used in traditional African and Indian medicine for centuries, and has been scientifically proven to fight cancer, inflammation, and even stress.
  7. Healthy thyroid function is more than a number

    A variety of factors can influence how your thyroid is working -- and the numbers in your lab results don't always match up to how you're actually feeling. Any specific problems aside, there are some basic nutrients that should form the basis of any thyroid support... especially before you take any prescription drugs.
  8. Real ginger beats soda for nausea

    Despite its reputation as a tummy-soother, ginger ale may contain little or no ginger and lots of high fructose corn syrup or fake sweeteners. Try some bona fide natural ginger cures for nausea instead.
  9. Curcumin curbs anxiety, depression

    Yet another study shows that curcumin, an ingredient in the yellow curry spice turmeric, can ease depression -- even in low doses. Here's how to incorporate it into your nutritional plan.
  10. CoQ10 fights aging

    New study shows that CoQ10 can lessen the visible signs of aging on your face. Even better, the fast-acting effects of this enzyme – including reducing and eliminating wrinkles – are more than just skin deep!

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