Herbs and Supplements

  1. Vitamin D reduces severe asthma attacks

    Get ready to breathe a sigh of relief

    Bring on the tissues!

    Cold and flu season has arrived -- and, along with it, a chorus of drippy noses, raw throats, and gunky lungs.

    Let's face it: NO ONE wants to spend a week buried in a pile of wet Kleenex. But if you've already got asthma, these seasonal viruses aren't just uncomfortable... they could actually be a matter of life or DEATH!

    That's because upper respiratory infections can inflame the delicate airways in your nose and lungs, which can set off a severe asthma attack. And if you don't get treatment for it STAT, you could wind up choking down your last breath.

    But according to the latest research, there's a natural way to snuff out asthma attacks before they start -- because supplementing with vitamin D (a.k.a. the "sunshine" vitamin) can reduce the risk of having an attack that requires medical attention.

    In the meta-analysis out of the UK, researchers analyzed the data from seven clinical trials involving nearly 1,000 patients with mild to moderate asthma. All of the studies selected met the "gold standard" of research -- meaning they were randomized, double-blind studies.

    The researchers found that, compared to those who took placebos, participants who took vitamin D reduced their risk of having a moderate asthma attack -- one requiring treatment with steroid tablets or injections -- by 30 percent.

    And those who'd had low vitamin D levels to begin with benefitted even MORE from supplementation with this hero vitamin, reducing their risk of a moderate asthma attack by 55 percent.

    What's more, when it came to more severe attacks, the protective effects of vitamin D were also impressive, cutting the risk of attacks requiring a visit to the ER or hospitalization in HALF.

    The theory is that vitamin D reduces harmful inflammation in your airways AND boosts your immune system, so you're less likely to catch an upper respiratory infection in the first place.

    Now, vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin, because your body naturally produces it when the sun's UV rays hit your skin.

    But as the cloudier skies and cooler temperatures of fall and winter drive you indoors, you might not be getting enough of this vital vitamin.

    So, if you want to breathe easier this season, load up on D-rich foods like fish (particularly salmon, catfish, and sardines), beef liver, egg yolks, and mushrooms.

    To be on the safe side, I also recommend taking a high-quality supplement of vitamin D --specifically vitamin D3, which is the natural version, and not the synthetic D2.

    You can find it at your local health food store, pharmacy, or online... and for just pennies a day.

  2. Treat cataracts with Chinese botanicals

    Clear your cloudy vision... naturally!

    Q: I have cataracts in both of my eyes, and my vision is getting worse. Are there any non-surgical alternatives that may clear them up naturally?

    GR: Whenever a patient of mine has cloudy patches in the lenses of their eyes... and especially when they've already been diagnosed with cataracts... I suspect that they may be suffering from abnormal sugar insulin metabolism.

    You see, the lenses of our eyes respond to high blood sugar levels by "helping" to remove some of the excess. Unfortunately, the lenses have nowhere to store this excess sugar -- so, over time, it literally "condenses" into cataracts.

    The first thing I have my patients with cataracts do, therefore, is immediately eliminate all re¬fined sugar from their diets. It's not a "cure," per se -- but it may help clear the clouds and get to the root cause of the condition.

    A natural option for treating cataracts is a combination of Chinese botanicals called "Hachimi-jio-gan," or Ba-wei-wan. This treatment has been used for centuries in China to treat cataracts, and it even has a bit of clinical evidence to support it, to boot: In a human study of early cataracts conducted in Japan, Hachimi-jio-gan was associated with lessening of cataracts in 60 percent of the volunteers.

    In the USA, Hachimi-jio-gan is available as a (much easier to pronounce) formula called Clinical Nutrients for the Eyes, which is available from natural food stores and compounding pharmacies.

    I also recommend 30,000 IU of vitamin A (not beta-carotene) for anyone who wants to treat (or even prevent) cataracts. In fact, the only people who shouldn't use this amount are very small children (who don't get cataracts anyway) and pregnant women.

    Bilberry and ginkgo are the best vision-supporting herbs, but some other, useful eye-protecting nutrients include:

    • lutein and zeaxanthin (found in highest concentrations in spinach, collard greens, and other deep green leafy vegetables)
    • zinc (found in oysters, fish, and other animal protein)
    • selenium (two to four Brazil nuts a day are an excellent source)
    • riboflavin (brewer's yeast, almonds, mushrooms, wheat bran, and dark green leafy vegetables)
    • taurine (organ meats, fish, and other animal protein), and
    • quercetin (onions, apples, kale, cherries, grapes, red cabbage, and green beans).

    If you've got something on your mind, drop me a line at askdrrothfeld@nutritionandhealing.com -- I may choose your question to answer next week!

  3. 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...
  4. Fight the constant onslaught of toxins with antioxidants

    Is your brain overflowing with poison? I've always been interested in neurological illness. And then, about a dozen years ago, it happened to me. I developed Parkinson's disease. It came out of the blue, launching me on a 12-plus-year journey investigating the causes and treatments of neurological conditions. And through that investigation, I've discovered the critical factors that cause neurological...
  5. Nutrients slow progression of age-related macular degeneration

    Put the brakes on blindness with antioxidants When you've got age-related macular degeneration (AMD), it can seem like you're barreling down the road to blindness with no help in sight. AMD causes damage to a small spot near the center of your retina, called the macula. Either your macula itself deteriorates (a.k.a. "dry" AMD) or blood vessels grow under it...
  6. Save your wrists from carpal tunnel with natural therapies

    Injured? Try these alternatives before opting for an operation Q: I've been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome in my left wrist. My doctor said that the only way to correct the problem is surgery. I'm hoping that you can suggest a natural alternative! GR: Carpal tunnel syndrome (a.k.a. CTS) is considered the most prevalent form of peripheral neuropathy, but I...
  7. Vitamin D protects against medication-induced sunburn

    Stop these drugs from ruining your summer fun Summer is such a wonderful time of year. The long days give us plenty of extra time to enjoy being outdoors and under the sun. But it IS possible to have too much of a good thing. If you lose track of time while you're out gardening or by the pool, you...
  8. Berberine acts as a natural antibiotic

    Ancient Chinese herb kicks infections to the curb Q: Isn't what you call "Emperor's Salt" just berberine? What else can it do besides lower my blood sugar? GR: Berberine is a major active component (for the technically inclined, a "plant alkaloid") of actually several herbs, including goldenseal, Oregon grape, barberry, and Coptis chinensis (a.k.a. "Chinese goldthread"). The Chinese have used...
  9. Plant estrogens ease menopause symptoms

    Tame your hot flashes with this wild plant Ladies, if you're going through "the change," every day might feel like a heatwave... even when it's cool out. As your body's estrogen levels are falling, the mercury is rising on the surface of your skin -- and each "hot flash" makes you break out into a sweat, lose sleep, and feel...
  10. Garcinia cambogia melts kidney stones

    Obliterate painful crystal deposits with Asian citrus If you've ever "passed" a kidney stone, you know that the agony is something you NEVER want to go through again. You're trying to pass something relatively large through an opening that's relatively tiny -- which is why they say that it's the closest a man could ever come to experiencing the pain...

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