Healthy criticism

On this site I have generally focused on the more positive and promising aspects of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). But not every study that examines the benefits of natural treatments produces successful results. It is important to point this out because I do not want anyone of you to believe in holistic practices that can not effectively and / or unsafe. In my opinion, this is perhaps the greatest threat to the natural health movement. Setting unrealistic expectations in both the open-minded patients and physicians is a recipe for disaster.


The concept behind the practices such as acupuncture or reflexology may seem rather esoteric for many healthcare consumers. On the other hand, herbal medicine is one of the accessible parts of CAM. It is much easier for patients accustomed to Western-style medicine to wrap their heads around the idea of replacing a synthetic drug with a natural is. In some cases, the exchange has a favorable effect with respect to performance and safety. But this was not the case in a recent evaluation study of the possibilities of Gingko biloba extract in patients with tinnitus. 4 months of the evaluation study involved a total of 94 volunteers who live with this inner ear disorder. Most of the synthetic was treated with a medication (simvastatin) and the rest given 120 mg of Ginkgo days. Neither of these groups a significant reduction in tinnitus scores. Previous studies on ginkgo biloba mixed results. (1,2,3)

Comment: I recently reported on another natural remedy, Pycnogenol, which seems to offer real hope for tinnitus patients. The amount of evidence supporting this patented pine bark extract for tinnitus is currently considered as preliminary, but promising. (4)

If you have the following nutritional and cultural trends that you’ve probably noticed that there’s a push to get more people to a vegetarian or semi-vegetarian diet to adopt. The reasons range of environmental effects on health considerations, such as heart disease to prevent. But you have to accept the idea that eating a diet without animal-based products is always a good thing for your heart and blood vessels? Not according to two recent studies that the blood work of the omnivores compared with vegetarians from different parts of the world compared Poland and Taiwan. The Taiwanese study produced some surprising results. An analysis of 190 vegetarians and 173 omnivores and vegetarians found that higher plasma levels of C-reactive protein, HDL (“good”) cholesterol, triglycerides and homocysteine had. This is exactly the opposite of what one would like to see or try to prevent cardiovascular complications. The Polish study, higher levels of homocysteine and lower levels of systemic anti-oxidants in a group of 17 young lacto-ovo-vegetarians detected compared with 18 omnivores. (5,6)

Comment: Many of the disturbing findings in previous studies were probably influenced by the quality of the vegetarian dishes consumed by the study participants. A recent study that the effects of a short-term, whole foods, vegetarian diet (“The Daniel Fast”) actually examined demonstrated positive changes in most cardiovascular risk markers – expect for HDL (“good”) choesterol. I work with a number of customers who choose a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. It is possible to do this in a relatively health-promoting means. But menu is vital and blood tests are necessary to the successful implementation of such a diet to verify. (7)

Surprising differences between omnivores and vegetariansSource: Yonsei Med J. 2011 Jan-52 (1) :13-19. (Link)

If a diet out there that is more popular than the vegetarian diets, especially to the so-called Mediterranean diet are. Regular visitors to this site probably know that I am one of the better diet strategies out there to think. I also often provide coverage of another traditional form of the food usually referred to as the Paleolithic Diet. Both menus have a lot going for them with regard to the protection against diabetes, heart disease and obesity. But a part of the success of a diet is how it is satisfactory and durable. Recently, a study compared the satiating effects of a Mediterranean diet versus a Paleolithic diet. A total of 29 men with heart disease and “impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes” – participated in the 12-week study all participants were encouraged to be as much as they needed to feel full to eat the most interesting finding of the .. intervention is that eating the Paleolithic-style diet naturally consume fewer calories per day (1385 vs. 1815). A significant decrease (-31%) in the hunger hormone leptin may be largely responsible for this dramatic result. (8,9,10)

Comment: Not all the Mediterranean diet are the same. I think the main reason for this particular version of a Med diet was not as successful as the Paleolithic Diet is located in the different food groups assigned to each. The Paleo Diet, for “lean meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, root vegetables, eggs and nuts.” The Mediterranean diet is required, “whole grains, low fat dairy, fruits, vegetables, fish, oils and margarines.” Of the two, the Paleolithic menu is much closer to the low carb, whole food diet that I generally favor. The results of the intervention, but one of the reasons I subscribe to this way of eating and often recommend to my clients.

Be good!

Posted in Alternative Therapies, nutrition.

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