Medella Optimal Health Blog

IgA Nephropathy and Naturopathic Medicine

IgA nephropathy is a condition that is considered to be of unknown cause (“idiopathic” in medical terminology) that causes kidney damage. Over time, this condition can get worse and the kidneys can suffer varying degrees of damage (though some people get better even without treatment). The condition is common in North America, though much more common in the Mediterranean region and Asia.

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Chronic Kidney Disease: Find the Cause, Don’t Just Wait for Dialysis.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the term used to describe the gradual and progressive loss of kidney function . The underlying causes of CKD can be numerous, though unfortunately (understatement) they are often overlooked. It’s not uncommon for early to mid-stage CKD patients to be delivered a diagnosis, to then be told there’s nothing to be done but wait for the disease to progress (ie wait for their kidneys to fail). Usually in the meantime they will be put on an ACE inhibitor to control their hypertension, if that. And so begins the waiting game for dialysis, without having even considered the underlying causes.

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Transgenic Herbal Medicine: Coming Soon? Already Here?

More and more reports are appearing the scientific literature about genetic engineering of medicinal plants, though most of what makes the news is about genetically-modified food plants. In the interest of full disclosure, included below is a listing of herbs reported to have been genetically-modified by modern scientific means. This listing does not necessarily mean these herbs are available in the marketplace, and doesn’t necessarily mean they would be helpful or harmful.

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Choline and Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer cells, like many types of cancer (notably breast), have a different metabolic system than healthy cells. Healthy cells primarily use oxygen to make energy, which also requires a lot of the molecule known as citrate. Prostate cancer cells do not; instead they use a system that doesn’t require oxygen and doesn’t use citrate but instead uses choline (Johansson, et al. 2009). Avoiding foods high in choline may be important for reducing the risk of existing prostate cancer from getting worse/more aggressive.

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Budwig diet for prostate cancer

The Budwig diet for prostate cancer has a certain cult following, despite a lack of study of it. Studies on flax oil do not look good in terms of cancer or hardening of the arteries. Flax oil removes many of the anti-cancer components of flax seeds, which do continually show benefits in studies. Because cow milk (and thus cottage cheese) is fairly rich in choline, I do not recommend it in large amounts for prostate cancer patients (see separate blog entry on the problems with choline in prostate cancer). Flax seed meal is fine. Overall, the Budwig diet is not a cure for prostate cancer and may be a problem for it, but is certainly more healthful than the standard American diet.

For more information, read Dr. Weil’s comments on the Budwig Diet.

Sedentariness

Sedentariness is common and getting worse. It is a serious risk factor for many diseases. I am often surprised by patients who think they are physically active who are in fact quite sedentary. This post is meant to review what counts as being sedentary and what counts as being physically inactive. These definitions draw in part on a proposal from the recommendations of The Sedentary Behaviour Research Network 2012.

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