November/December 2003 Newsletter - Heavy Metals in our Foods & Supplements

Dear Friends and Patients:

As the Christmas/Hanukkah holidays and a New Year rapidly approach, the staff and I want to say “thank you” for all of your referrals and support this past year. Many of you have worked hard to improve your health and enjoy life, and we celebrate your successes. We hope that 2004 will be your best year yet!

Earlier this year I bumped into a colleague of mine who is a faculty member at the University of Florida College of Medicine. He was telling me how much sicker patients are today than thirty years ago and how much more difficult it is to take care of them (he is an anesthesiologist and puts people “to sleep” for surgery). I agreed with his observation and he asked me why this was. I told him one of the reasons was the environment has changed dramatically in the past several decades and we are seeing a lot of environmentally related illnesses and diseases, such as cancer, asthma, fibromyalgia and autoimmune diseases which were rare fifty years ago. Of course, there are other factors such as diet and nutritional issues. We live in a toxic environment. Heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury are in the food, air and water we take into our bodies. Other chemical toxins come from pesticides and herbicides sprayed on our food supply and even in the buildings we live in. Over time, these toxins bio-accumulate in higher and higher amounts within our bodies, causing illness and disease. A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association pointed out that menopausal women are becoming poisoned with lead. Over a lifetime we all accumulate this toxic metal from the environment, where it goes primarily to our bones and can inhibit the formation of red blood cells. With the onset of menopause women’s bones begin to thin and loose calcium, releasing large amounts of lead into their tissues and brain. This can lead to conditions such as hypertension, renal impairment, and cognitive decline.

Heavy Metals in our Foods

Other toxic metals get into our bodies through our food supply. I attended the ICIM (International College of Integrative Medicine) meeting in St. Louis this fall and one of the speakers shared the following with the doctors in the audience. He was asked to investigate why more people in Mexico were getting heavy metal poisoning with arsenic, mercury, and cadmium. What he found was that in the agricultural industry there, tanker trucks of sulfuric acid were being sprayed on the land to break up hard phosphate deposits from years of using phosphate fertilizers on the soil. The acid caused toxic metals that were bound up in the rock and soil to be released and latter absorbed by the growing plants. So that nice tomato that comes from South of the border may be high in arsenic and you don’t even know it. I would wonder if this is happening in the United States as well. We all have probably heard about seafood and fish oils that can have mercury in them. Large predatory fish such as shark, swordfish, kingfish, tilefish, and some large tuna have excessive amounts and should not be eaten. The surgeon general has warned pregnant women to limit consumption of seafood during pregnancy as well.

Heavy Metals in Supplements

Another source of contamination can be your nutritional supplements themselves. The supplement Glucosamine, widely used for osteoarthritis, is made from chitin which is found in crustaceans. Small crayfish from the ocean are captured and their shells are ground up and used to make Glucosamine. Those harvested from shallow waters especially have been found to have significant amounts of toxic heavy metals. Another supplement is calcium carbonate, which is found in coral calcium and other calcium products. This can have high amounts of lead in it. Make sure your supplement company assays for heavy metals in the products you use.

At the Center we promote supplements only from companies such as Biotics Research Corporation and others who monitor the contents and purity of the raw materials that come into their facilities. All the supplements we supply are pharmaceutical grade, bio available (meaning the body can absorb or use the contents), and the contents are exactly what the label says. These products may cost a bit more, but you are paying for the quality that you are putting into your body. There are thousands of supplement companies out there and the majority do not do “in house” testing of the raw materials. The Federal government does not require the same testing of nutritional supplements, which they regard as ‘food’, as they do of prescription drugs. Dr. Erickson has carefully checked out the supplement companies and the products we use at the Center, including personally visiting some of the facilities himself.

A Patient Success Story

Mrs. J is a very nice lady in her mid-50′s who came to see me a number of years ago. Her main symptoms were severe chronic fatigue, forgetfulness and ‘brain fog’, cold intolerance (could never seem to get warm, especially in her hands and feet), weight gain, sleep disturbance, constipation, and fibromyalgia. Mrs. J was basically disabled and spent much of her time resting and staying in her house. She was taking a large variety of different vitamins and supplements, but they didn’t seem to help. She had been to a number of doctor’s, including a rheumatologist, who could find nothing specific on her lab tests. Screens for thyroid disease, arthritis, and diabetes had been negative.
When this patient came to the Center, she underwent a comprehensive physical examination that showed a very fatigued appearing individual who was overweight and had cold hands and feet, but normal pulses. Her body temperature was in the low 97 degree range. The rest of the physical exam was unremarkable. Extensive laboratory testing was unremarkable, including thyroid hormone levels. Hair analysis showed an elevated hair mercury level, a low iodine level that can indicate thyroid dysfunction, and multiple low hair mineral levels. A DMPS challenge test was performed and a urine collected over six hours that showed very high amounts of mercury and tin.

A program of IV and oral chelation for heavy metal detoxification was started after Mrs. J had multiple mercury-containing dental amalgams removed and replaced with non-toxic dental material. Nutritional supplements were used to correct her underlying deficiencies, especially vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, and selenium. She was also begun on bio-identical hormonal replacement rather than synthetic chemical hormonal replacement. It was a two year process before significant improvement became apparent. The patient’s mercury levels are now approximately 1/10th of what they were initially, and she will be finishing her detoxification program this year. Her body temperatures have been normal for over a year and her energy is much improved. Her fibromyalgia is gone, her memory is much improved, constipation is no longer a problem, and she is sleeping much better. She has lost 10 pounds in weight. She is running several businesses and travels frequently. Mrs. J told me the improvement has been “a miracle.”

This story illustrates a number of important points. Mrs. J was toxic with heavy metal poisoning that had slowly accumulated over a lifetime and which routine blood tests and physical examination did not reveal. She and I believe the mercury came from the many mercury dental amalgams that had been placed in her when young. Although this is a controversial subject, mercury does escape from “silver fillings” and goes into human tissue where it can cause damage. (Go to our web site and under Topics of Interest “Dental Amalgam Mercury Poisoning” for more information). Dr. Boyd Haley, chairman of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Kentucky gave a presentation at the ICIM meeting showing how mercury escapes as a vapor from dental amalgams and easily gets into the brain. He as well as another researcher from Canada demonstrated how mercury at 1/1000th the amount in one amalgam could cause Alzheimer’s changes in brain tissue. When a person has a toxicity it can disrupt multiple biochemical and hormonal systems and pathways. Until the underlying toxicity is corrected, supplements will generally remain ineffective. Also, correcting Mrs. J’s hormonal imbalance with bio-identical rather than synthetic hormones allowed her metabolic processes to optimize and her supplements to become more effective.

Another point I would like to make is Mrs. J’s multiple vague symptoms of fatigue, brain fog, fibromyalgia, and sleep disturbance are often written off as depression or just getting older. Patients are usually placed on anti-depressant medications or anti-inflammatory drugs that do nothing to correct their underlying problems. A final point this story illustrates is that regaining health takes time and it comes back in steps. It took Mrs. J two years before she started feeling significant improvement.

EDTA Chelation Therapy and Reduced Mortality from Cancer and Heart Disease

90% of all deaths in the United States are related to either heart disease or cancer. Reducing toxic metals in the body has a dramatic impact on these statistics by reducing free-radical damage these metals cause. Walter Blumer and Elmer M. Cranton, M.D. published an 18 year follow-up report on the possible role of EDTA chelation therapy in preventing cancer. Blumer studied 59 patients who lived next to a heavily traveled highway and who were given calcium-EDTA infusions because of lead exposure in automobile exhaust gases. Controls were the 172 people living in the same neighborhood. Only 1 of 59 treated patients (1.7%) died of cancer while 30 of 172 (17.6%) of the non-treated controls died over the 18 year period. This is a 90% reduction in cancer mortality after chelation therapy with EDTA.

In 1993 Terry Chappell, M.D. and John P. Stahl, Ph.D. published a sophisticated meta-analysis of nineteen published clinical research studies involving 22,765 patients. 87% of patients showed a clinical improvement by objective testing following a course of EDTA chelation. In 1993 Hanke and Flytlie published a Danish medical study of pre-surgery patients who underwent EDTA chelation. 58 of 65 of the patients canceled planned by-pass surgeries and 24 of 27 patients who were scheduled to undergo amputation of limbs due to peripheral vascular disease had their limbs saved. The National Institutes of Health is now starting TACT, a $35 million 5 year multi-center study here in the United States to further evaluate chelation therapy and it’s benefits for patient’s who have coronary artery disease and have suffered a heart attack.

If you would like to be screened for heavy metals, please contact the us. This requires a provocative urine test with a chelating agent. Hair analysis results can give false negatives! We have a variety of ways of detoxifying heavy metals from the body, including both IV chelation therapy and oral chelation therapy. For more information you may log on to our web site and under “Topics of Interest” pull up the article on Chelation.

When Is Vitamin C Not Vitamin C?

When it doesn’t work! At the ICIM conference I had the pleasure of meeting Sir Arnold Takimoto, a world renown researcher, teacher, physician, and lecturer. He has developed protocols for alternative treatments for cancer and is the innovator of a number of new products that we carry at the Center. Vitamin C is known for its immune boosting and anti-cancer properties. His observation as well as other physicians at cancer clinics throughout the world was that standard vitamin C that is given intravenously is not working very well. It has been my observation that often times oral vitamin C may not work well in boosting immune function during colds or flues. This is an major change from a decade ago. However, a special type of IV vitamin C called BETAC® (stands for Beet derived vitamin C) causes cancers to become smaller and patients to feel better. What Dr. Takimoto shared with the doctors was that the majority of vitamin C on the market today is a by-product of the corn industry. He hypothesized the genetic engineering of corn has altered the vitamin C in corn is some way. One of the things he did find was that the angle of the molecular bonds was different in corn-based vitamin C than that from beets or other non-corn sources (so at an atomic level, it may react differently). At the Center we use BETAC® brand vitamin C for intravenous use, and have available for purchase non-corn derived vitamin C tablets and powders.

New Year’s Resolutions?

This is the time of year we associate getting together with family and friends. It is also a time of year when many of us resolve to do things differently in the upcoming year. Maybe last year’s resolutions didn’t make it past January, but this is year is going to be different! Right? Lose weight, exercise, relax and reduce stress are invariably on top of the list. Most of us fail in keeping our resolutions because we either set too high goals for ourselves, and then wonder why we never attain them. Or we give up and stop setting goals. Of course, there is a difference between having a fantasy and setting a goal. Researchers at the University of Washington Addictive Behaviors Research Center found 63% of 264 persons they questioned remained faithful to their number 1 resolution for at least two months. Here are some tips on keeping your New Year’s Resolutions.

• Make only one or two resolutions.
• Choose resolutions you’ve been thinking about for some time.
• Choose to adopt a new good behavior rather than trying to shake an ingrained bad habit.
• Choose realistic goals that you feel confident you can meet.
• If you don’t succeed, determine the barriers that blocked you and try again.

What’s New At The Center?

• HOLIDAY HOURS We will be closed Nov. 27 – 28 for Thanksgiving. We will close 4 PM on December 24th to observe the Christmas/New Year Holiday and reopen at 9 AM Jan. 5th, 2004. Please plan all supplement and prescription needs no latter than Wednesday, December 17th, and call the Center by this date if you cannot personally come by the Center to pick up. We can ship supplements to you as an option. We wish everyone a happy, joyous holiday season.

• If this Newsletter was forwarded to you, please contact the Center at 352-331-5138 and give us an updated address.

• Ultra C Liquid $25/bottle – provides intravenous level doses of non-corn vitamin C, taken orally. Each bottle has 12 doses at 900+mg each. Use this when you rapidly need to boost your immune system.
Vita C Powder $18/container – beet derived vitamin C powder; is mixed with water or juice and provides an effervescent and sparkling drink. _ teaspoon = 900mg. 120 servings per container.

• ORGANIC FOOD WEB SITES for your information:
> Organic Grass Feed Beef is owned by a veterinarian, Dr. Patricia Whisnant.
> Wild Alaskan Salmon that is mercury-free shipped to your door on dry ice.
> Organic vegetables out of Alachua, Florida.

• Do you know what a Myers’ Cocktail is? Topics of Interest.