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High Cholesterol and Statin Drugs

I recently had a blood test and found my cholesterol level was 272, HDL 44 and LDL 183.  Should I be on medication? How serious is this?

What you have brought up is a major issue that is widely misunderstood.

There is no scientific correlation between total cholesterol level and heart disease. Total cholesterol levels in the 300s and above still have no correlation with heart disease. A good study done on elderly women demonstrated that levels of 272 (how coincidental is that?) imparted the longest longevity, inferring those levels were the most healthy.

Statin medications do reduce cholesterol levels, and (in a very minimal way) reduce heart disease, but not because of the reduction in cholesterol levels. It is because statins are antioxidants, albeit expensive antioxidants.

The statin medications also interfere with the production of energy in the body, which is why people on statins typically become fatigued after a few months on the medication. The muscle pain is related to the production of insufficient energy production, and the deaths associated with statins are related to muscle breakdown leading to kidney failure when the muscle proteins are excreted out the urine. You should not be on statin medications.  Talk with your physician or get one who understands how our body energy, cholesterol, statins, and inflammation are interconnected.

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Swelling in the Extremities

My husband’s ankles, feet and lower legs swell often. He has been tested for gout and was negative. Is there any supplement, herbs, etc. that could aide in reducing or eliminating swelling? Any specific exercises? Thank you.

Swelling in the lower extremities is common and is often due to a number of causes.  Those causes include:

1. Poor venous return.  Ninety percent of the blood that leaves the blood vessels at the capillary level is returned to the blood vessel at the other end of the capillary.  If there is back pressure (like in varicose veins or poor one-way valves in the vein), less than 90% of the blood is resorbed and it stays in the local tissue as swelling.

2. The 10% of the blood not taken back to the heart through the veins is taken back through the lymphatic vessels.  If the lymphatics are sluggish or blocked, or the lymph nodes are swollen or removed (as in cancer treatment), they don’t conduct the fluid back to the heart efficiently and it stays in the tissue as swelling and edema.

3. If metabolism is dysfunctional, then there can also be a build-up of fluid in the tissue.

4. Inflammation causes local swelling.

This does not need to be infection.  Other causes of inflammation include sugar, aspartame, trans-fatty acids or hydrogenation oils, caffeine ingestion.  High blood sugar levels with high insulin levels are inflammatory.  High homocysteine (because of lack of B vitamins) is also inflammatory.

Treatment includes addressing each of the items above–clean up the diet, if necessary; supplement with B vitamins; walking (exercise) will assist the movement of lymph (there is no other way to get the lymphatic flow to move toward the heart); pressure stockings are safe and helpful.

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Fructose Malabsorption

fructose malabsorption Would acupuncture be helpful with this problem? What treatment or doctor would you recommend? My daughter is very ill & depressed as she has been struggling with this for several years.

Fructose intolerance means the inability of your daughters’ intestinal tract to absorb 25 grams of the fructose sugar per day, and often considerably less.

This results in excess fructose arriving at the colon where it will retain water and cause diarrhea, and will be food for the yeast and bacteria of the colon, resulting in gas and bloating.

Any ‘disorder’ of the intestinal tract will cause brain reactions:

  • depression,
  • anxiety,
  • moodiness

because of the number of nerve connections from the gut to the brain.

Conventional treatment is to reduce the fructose intake to below what her gut can handle, and the problem will be solved.

My emphasis includes:

1. improving the function of the intestinal tract

2. identify any other conditions that may be causing inflammation and malabsorption in the gut, like a low grade bacteria or virus, providing probiotics, check for lactose intolerance

3. Be sure there is good digestion of other foods by checking acid content in the stomach and pancreatic enzyme sufficiency.

Your daughter will need to see an Integrative Medicine practitioner for help.

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Inflammation All Over

I suffer from inflammation all over my body. I have inflammation problem in my sinuses, intestines, bladder and muscles. I have seen several specialists and all I hear is “inflammation”. I’m sent away with another pill. I don’t want to take pills, I want to find out what is causing this inflammation and try to fix it. I feel like there’s something I’m taking in that’s causing it. How do I figure out what’s causing this?

If you have pain anywhere, there is inflammation at that site.  The inflammation may or may not have caused it, but it is certainly a part of any ongoing pain.

The cause has to be identified and removed or improved.

Conventional medicine uses anti-inflammatories, which often hurt the stomach and even interfere with joint repair.  Safer anti-inflammatories include MSM and a number of herbals:

  • Boswellia,
  • curcumin,
  • quercetin (all of which are found in a product on my website called Primivia Relief, as is MSM).

The potential causes of generalized inflammation may be one or many–viruses (mycoplasma, c. pneumonia), toxic metals, food or other allergies, hormone dysregulation (as you probably know, I look at the numbers of thyroid hormone levels differently than conventional medicine).  There are intravenous treatments that are able to suppress the oxidative stress (free radicals causing inflammation).  If the simple things don’t work, you will need to see an integrative medicine (alternative, complementary) practitioner who understands these issues.  I have a number of tricks up my sleeve that can help with this one.

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Another Thing Wrong with Soda Pop

What’s another thing wrong with soda pop?

Soda pop either has sugar, or a “diet” sweetener, both of which cause you to gain weight. Additionally, both sugar and aspartame (or NutraSweet) cause inflammation in the body. 

Aspartame is actually wood alcohol with an aspartate and phenylalanine group (amino acid) hooked onto it.  The wood alcohol is detoxified in the liver into formaldehyde, which is a cancer-inducing agent.  It is also the preservative used in cadavers in medical school.  Formaldehyde is further broken down into formic acid, which is the highly inflammatory and painful sting of the fire ant

Sugar is not only inflammatory; it also induces insulin resistance, which means insulin levels increase in the body.  Insulin is one of the most inflammatory substances that the body makes.  Sugar causes tooth decay, behavioral changes, addiction, and a host of other health challenges.  It feeds candida, it feeds cancer: it’s just not good for us.  And yet, we are inundated with sugary “goodies” constantly. 

Soda pop is available everywhere.  It’s wise to avoid it.  

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Acne That’s Tough to Get Rid Of

Hi. I am a 20-year-old college student with annoying acne issues. I have tried every single big-named acne products out there (Proactiv, Neutrogena, Murad, and quite a few others) and nothing seems to work at all. I suspect I have polycystic ovaries and that they are causing the acne, but I don’t know what to do to fix that. If you could help me find a solution that would be great!

Acne has been easy to treat in some people, and quite difficult in others.  It sounds like you are in the challenging category.

If you have polycystic ovaries, then you probably already know you are producing an excessive amount of testosterone, which is why males have considerably more problems with acne than females. It is difficult to change that, although I believe the trigger for polycystic ovarian syndrome is estrogen dominance.

Of course, you need to be off all inflammatory triggers, like

  • sugar,
  • trans fatty acids,
  • aspartame,
  • processed foods,
  • caffeine.

Eat ‘real’ food and take a potent multi-vitamin, essential fatty acids and vitamin D.

Recently I have introduced a product called ASEA in my office. It is revolutionary in its technology and extremely effective. It has the capability to remove the inflammation from free radical (oxidative) damage, and it comes in a spray for the skin. I have seen it work wonders with acne.  Contact me at my office (801-302-5397) if you would like to give it a try.

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A Success Story

Just a quick Thank You! I’ve been using Excedrin for pain relief since a 2004 auto accident (see my username?!) as well as loving Diet Colas – any flavor, any brand. I’ve also had migraine headaches for years. Imitrex has worked well for me. However, lateley the headaches have been more frequent and mean, and almost daily. Two weeks ago I was reading your current article in the Meridian Magazine, and clicked on the other subjects you’ve spoken about and found “Help for Pain, Inflammation, and Headaches.

Long story – short, I stopped the Excedrin and all sodas. OHHH MY HECK!!! It has been nine days of straight headaches, most of which I could only stop with an Imitrex. But yesterday I woke up pain free, and again this morning. I also bought and am taking a multivitamin and Omega-3 pills.

Thank you!!! I truly hope this lasts.

I’m so glad to know of your success!  Hopefully others will be motivated to try this approach and also experience relief.  Let me know your long term experience. It should be most positive.

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Sweeteners, Yeast, and Dairy Products

I would like to know more about sweeteners, yeast, dairy products and why they would be something that should be taken away.

Yeast–Candida and other yeast organisms are natural inhabitants of the intestinal and vaginal tracts. The several pounds of healthy bacteria that we have in the gut keep the yeast under control.  When we take multiple antibiotics for any reason, the good bacteria in the gut diminish, thereby permitting the yeast to get stronger and morph into a more aggressive organism.

There are other reasons for this change to take place, such as a compromised immune system, but antibiotic use is the most common trigger.

  • Sugar,
  • fruit and
  • yeast (like in bread or beer)

feed the candida and make it stronger. The typical symptoms of vaginal yeast is itching, burning, and perhaps a discharge. This is often treated with local creams. The typical symptoms of intestinal candida are

  • gas,
  • bloating,
  • rectal itching, especially after eating sugar.

As candida gets stronger, it will invade the gut wall and spread through the bloodstream to the body. Now it becomes strong enough to release a toxin that will cause an endless array of symptoms–

  • headaches,
  • malaise,
  • tiredness and weakness,
  • muscle and joint aches,
  • chronic sinusitis (which is treated with more antibiotics), along with all the symptoms already mentioned.

As the gut gets more inflamed, it opens up space between the wall, permitting partially digested food to get in contact with the immune system, causing food allergies on top of everything else. This is called leaky gut. In the absence of any candida symptoms, yeast in breads and cooking will be well tolerated, and unless you are allergic to it, there would be no reason to remove it from your diet.

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Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s disease, do you have any suggestions?  I read that it may be caused by inflammation, is this true?

Vertigo, tinnitus (ringing of the ears), dizziness and possible deafness may be symptomatic of  Meniere’s disease. Some Meniere’s must be caused by inflammation, because aggressively treating it as if it were an inflammatory reaction helps some people.

Careful attention to diet and removing all pro-inflammatory triggers is critical. Basic complete supplements and supplements that specifically help the nervous system may be of help. Many who think they have Meniere’s may actually be dealing with Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, which means the room starts spinning when the head is tilted in a certain position.

I have found that energy work has also helped some people–Frequency Specific Microcurrent, Jin Shin Jyutsu, acupuncture. There is also a head movementmanipulation technique, that helps release blockages and relieve symptoms of vertigo.  This technique moves tissue in the semi-circular (inner ear) canals and may be of help to some people.

In Meniere’s, as in many conditions, some of these ideas may be helpful to a few people; others will not benefit from any of them or just one of them.  We are all different, and our circumstances are different. However, I believe firmly in trying healthy alternatives before moving on to something that potentially could do us harm.

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Healing an Inflamed Stomach (Gastritis)

I have just been treated with Amoxicillin, Flagy, and Prilosec for gastritis.  At the same time I took (as directed) 2 iron pills a day.  After suffering for 3 months I realized that the iron pills were continuing the gastritis and not allowing it to heal.  I quit the iron pills and now need to quit the 2x Prilosec.  How do I get off these meds and undo the damage from the high iron?  I blame all these for weird, scary  symptoms lately such as hair loss, skin peeling, purpura and assorted pains.  Thank you for any suggestions.

Gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining. This often relaxes the muscle sphincter between the stomach and the esophagus to cause reflux of stomach acid contents into the esophagus, which is painful and harmful. I presume the Amoxicillin and Flagyl were given for either stomach ulcers or suspicion of H. pylori in the stomach.

Iron is an irritant to the stomach lining, and will perpetuate gastritis as you have correctly guessed.  For those who need iron, oral administration is the best way to do it.  In your case, let’s get the stomach healed before you try it again.

Prilosec stops the production of acid in the stomach, which theoretically decreases that irritant. But it also will not let food (especially meat proteins) be properly digested.  Meat proteins are also an irritant to the stomach lining. In fact, sometimes Prilosec is given when there is not enough acid to begin with, and taking it makes the problem worse.

Here are some tips soothe the stomach lining and facilitate healing:

  • 1. drink lots of water, at least 6 to 10 cups per day
  • 2. try aloe vera
  • 3. coat the esophagus and stomach with a soothing oil.  We use vitamin E oil in my practice, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon several times each day
  • 4. try mastic gum
  • 5. DGL (deglycyrrizinated licorice) wafers will coat the stomach lining and improve ulcer healing (you can get these at a health food store)
  • 6. try to identify foods (sometimes excessive carbs or meats) that trigger the gastritis and avoid them
  • 7. explore your emotional triggers and address them (what’s “eating” you?)

When you are able to let go of all the emotional and physical triggers, you will find that your body will partner with you in loving and repairing itself.  Please let me know how you are doing with your healing.

Dr. Stan