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Colloidal Silver:


Stop super-germs in their tracks with one powerful silver bullet

 

By Jonathan V. Wright, M.D.

 

SARS. Avian flu. These and other big-time bugs called "super-germs" are making headlines almost on a daily basis. People are scared, and rightly so. Super-germs mutate so quickly that antibiotics are virtually useless against them: As soon as an effective one is created, the germ mutates, and the antibiotic becomes obsolete. The same is true of many vaccines.

 

But there's no need to feel defenseless because these mutating germs have finally met their match. And it's been right under our noses all along. It's colloidal silver.

 

Colloidal silver just might be the next germ-fighting wonder drug. And not just for the serious threats making headlines: It's also effective against bacterial infections like strep throat, viruses like the flu, and fungal infections like Candida. No matter how much a germ mutates, it can't change enough to escape the damaging effects of colloidal silver. And in the process, the silver doesn't harm human tissue or kill off the good bacteria in the intestine the way antibiotics and other medications do.

 

Battling America's No. 1 health crisis

 

From 1900 to 1940, medical doctors in the U.S. used colloidal and other small-particle silver preparations intravenously to cure otherwise fatal infections. But then sulfa medications, penicillin, and other patented antibiotics were introduced and initially "worked like gangbusters." Since silver preparations were unpatentable, they predictably fell into disuse and were even criticized as "old-fashioned" and "ineffective" by proponents of the patented competitors. Some even claimed that even a little bit of silver is dangerous for your health. (I guess they didn't realize that silver is a normal part of our diets: Whole wheat and mushrooms are just two of the sources that contain relatively large amounts of silver.)

 

But all living things, from microbes to men, resist being killed. So after the first two to three decades of being killed off easily, bacteria have developed enough resistance to patented antibiotics that doctors are beginning to get worried again. Patented antifungal medications aren't working as well as they did at first either, and the number of effective patented anti-viral medications has always been very small. Now the situation is spiraling out of control.

 

To get an idea of the magnitude of the super-germ problem, take a look at the progression over the years. According to Newsweek, during 1992 at least 13,000 hospital patients died from drug-resistant infections despite being treated with antibiotics. But just one year later, super-germs raised the death toll to 70,000.1 As a result, in 1994 the Centers for Disease Control declared super-germs to be America's No. 1 health crisis.2 Since that time, the number has skyrocketed to 2 million Americans per year who suffer from hospital-based super-germ infections.3

 

While patent medication companies pour billions of dollars into developing patentable "space alien" molecules costing hundreds of dollars per prescription, others are calling for a re-examination of silver's ability to treat infections of all kinds-bacterial, fungal, and viral-apparently without inducing resistance.

 

A family of germ-fighting metals

 

For several years, scientists have been looking closely at silver as the best candidate to thwart the looming epidemic of super-germs. Back in the 70s, a researcher reported on the germ-fighting power of silver. He said, "Thanks to eye-opening research, silver is emerging as a wonder of modern medicine. An antibiotic kills perhaps a half-dozen different disease organisms, but silver kills some 650. Resistant strains fail to develop. Moreover, silver is virtually non-toxic."4

 

Silver belongs to the family of metals that also includes copper and gold (both of which can also have numerous health benefits when they're used properly). One of the primary concerns people tend to have about using these metals is the risk that they'll accumulate in the body and lead to heavy metal toxicity. But if you have plenty of antioxidants in your diet, such as selenium, vitamin E, and amino acids like N-acetyl cysteine, you're safe from any harmful effects from this family of metals. Germs, however, are not.

 

Once a germ has entered human cells, it becomes more difficult for drugs to attack the infection without also becoming toxic to those cells. But according to a research study published in the European Journal of Biochemistry, silver (and the other metals in this family) bring about a key reaction within the body's defense system: the production of hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is lethal to germs, but it's not harmful to healthy human tissues when they're protected by plenty of antioxidants.5

 

The secret to silver's success

 

Although researchers have known of silver's germ-fighting effects for decades, it wasn't until 2000 that scientists finally understood why it worked so well. But first, it's important to understand antibiotics' Achilles' heel. Although germs have three vulnerable targets, any single antibiotic can attack only one of them at a time: (1) the germ's outer membrane, (2) its internal components, or (3) its delicate gene pool. When a germ becomes resistant to an antibiotic, it has learned how to fortify the specific target that the antibiotic attacks. You'd have to take several antibiotics to attack all of the germ's targets simultaneously.

 

But that sets the stage for further problems. Taking multiple antibiotics just increases the odds of wiping out enough friendly bacteria to allow an infection by various fungi (including Candida and other yeast). And in place of the friendly bacteria, "resistant" bacteria set up camp, including the infamous, but all-too-common, hospital residents-staph aureus and clostridia.

 

Antibiotics obviously don't have what it takes to nip these super-bugs in the bud. But that's where colloidal silver comes in. Silver attacks all three of the germ's vulnerable targets at once. First, the silver ions easily rupture a germ's outer membrane when present in the right amounts, causing the germ's vital internal components to be exposed in the bloodstream to our white blood cells. While the white blood cells attack the internal components, the micro-particulate silver continues to destroy these vital internal components by cutting up vital enzymes.

 

The silver ions then easily attack the germ's third vulnerable target: its delicate gene pool. Silver ions have the ability to reach into the nucleus of the germ, where its gene pool is located. Once they combine with the genes, the genes become paralyzed, and the germ cannot replicate itself.6

 

Gearing up for a war on viruses

 

But silver doesn't stop at fighting bacteria-it also targets fungal infections, such as athlete's foot and Candida, as well as viruses, such as the flu, upper respiratory infections, strep throat, and even HIV.

 

As I mentioned earlier, one of the biggest problems with fighting off germs-whether they be bacteria, viruses, or fungi-is keeping the body's cells safe and unharmed in the process. When a virus enters your body, it has to attach itself to your body's cells in order to live, and it actually uses those cells to help reproduce itself. They're so intertwined that it's impossible to kill off the virus without killing your body's cells in the process.

 

Because of that, your immune system is basically on its own when it comes to fighting a virus after it has entered your body. It does this by creating antibodies that will kill that specific virus and will keep it from coming back again. One mainstream medical solution is to get a vaccine of the specific virus (such as small pox or the measles) before you contract it. That will cause your body to build up antibodies to the virus and prevent you from contracting the real thing. But that's not the only medical solution. There are a few somewhat- effective patent medications, though they're laden with side effects. Look up "amantadine" and "acyclovir" for example, or some of the patent medications used against HIV.

 

Once again, the problem occurs when the virus itself changes. Take the flu, for example. The flu is one of the most common viruses that we face every year. But it's hard to stay ahead of it because new strains are always developing that are different from the ones that vaccines have been developed to treat. Many flu vaccines are a classic example of "fighting the last war" over again, instead of the present one. Each year it becomes increasingly more clear that what we really need is a broad-spectrum antiviral agent.7 Which brings us once again to colloidal silver.

 

A number of emerging medical studies confirm the antiviral properties of silver ions both in the laboratory and in real human studies against some of the most formidable viral organisms, including HIV and herpes.8-10 A study in 1991 showed that both zinc and silver ions strongly inhibited HIV infection.11 In 1993, the Washington Post cited laboratory tests showing that a new Japanese silver ion powder actually destroyed both HIV and herpes.12 And when silver is tied to oxygen, it can actually electrocute the germ--which has turned out to be a powerful new way to destroy viruses.13

 

Beginning in the 1970s, several independent researchers found that silver ions easily destroy Candida and other fungi.14-16 But it wasn't until a pilot study during the mid- 1990s that included human patients suffering from terminal AIDS that medical researchers established solid evidence showing just how quick and effective silver ions can be in the treatment of Candida as well as HIV.

 

In this study, nine individuals who were near death were divided into two subgroups. One group suffered from HIV and a terrible Candida infection. The other group suffered from both HIV and an extreme form of malnutrition (known as Wasting Syndrome). The researchers found that in both groups the colloidal silver was capable of killing pathogens and purging the bloodstream of germ defenses in order to restore the immune system.17

 

One of the most exciting aspects of this study is the positive effect colloidal silver had on the severe blood disorders present in AIDS. For example, it is well known that certain populations of immune cells called CD4 cells (a type of white blood cell) are greatly altered and deficient in people who have AIDS. Although silver ions may initially cause a person's blood cell counts to drop, the deficiency in the CD4 cells is corrected within 24 to 72 hours. This is called the "rebound effect."

 

As far back as 1916, researchers found that silver-based drugs increased the numbers of immune cells called leucocytes, while at the same time checking Staphylococcus septicemia, a severe and often lethal blood infection. After an initial decrease in red and white blood cells, silver ions caused a rapid increase in both types.19,20 But it wasn't until 2001 that a single pilot study reported in the Clinical Practice of Alternative Medicine showed that high concentrations of a certain kind of colloidal silver had the same results: at first, a dramatic and sharp decrease of the good blood cells, but then a rebound effect rapidly kicked in and resulted in total blood cell recovery.21

 

Another feature of certain immune cells that is vital to destroying germs is the ability of those cells to swallow and digest them. How fast or how slow these immune cells carry out this vital defensive action is called the phagocytic index. In 1909, the Journal of the American Medical Association was the first medical journal to point out that colloidal silver could actually increase our immune cells' phagocytic index.22,23 In the past few years, more studies have shown that silver ions greatly enhance the essential second part of the phagocytic index-the part where the germ is digested by our immune cells. This is brought about because silver ions increase the "digesting juices" (what you know as hydrogen peroxide) of these immune cells.

 

Pint-sized particles duke it out with the Goliath of germs

 

The smaller the size of the silver particle, the more likely it is to kill germs. Previously, the smallest silver particle preparations were between 14 and 26 nanometers.

 

(A nanometer is one billionth of a meter.) But more recently, many natural medicine clinics and physicians have been working with a preparation of silver that has a confirmed uniform particle size of 0.8 nanometers. It's called Argentyn 23. When this 0.8-nanometer-sized silver is used intravenously by physicians, it's often called "UPOSH," which is short for "ultraparticulate uniform picoscalar silver hydrosol." (Another 0.8- nanometer form that's available over-the-counter is called Sovereign Silver. It's 10 parts per million, while Argentyn 23 and "UPOSH" are 23 parts per million.)

 

At 0.8 nanomters, the silver particles in Argentyn 23 and Sovereign Silver are tiny enough to be readily absorbed in your stomach, so they can easily penetrate into germs when properly delivered in the right amounts. Another benefit of quick absorption is that it protects the good bacteria in your digestive system. In contrast, as antibiotics travel deep into the intestinal tract, they destroy the protective bacteria that reside there, often causing diarrhea and yeast infections in the process.

 

If you feel an infection coming on, try taking 1 teaspoon (5 ccs) of Argentyn 23 every 15 to 60 minutes on an empty stomach seven or more times daily. Or, if you decide to take Sovereign Silver instead, take 2 teaspoons each time since it's a "weaker" solution. Of course, it's always a good idea to check with your doctor about what might be right for your particular circumstances. But the sooner you start taking it in the course of an infection, the better its chances of working quickly. You can use the silver treatment while taking other anti-infection and immune-boosting agents, such as vitamin C, vitamin A, Echinacea, and many others, but you shouldn't take them at the same time because the silver absorbs best on an empty stomach.

 

Although these tiny quantities of silver are very safe for humans, you should still stop the treatment once the infection is gone. Long-term use of very large doses of silver can cause a bluish discoloration of the skin called argyria.

 

Occasionally, colloidal silver can be so effective that the immune system can't handle the rapid dying off of microorganisms. This excess die-off could produce symptoms called Jarisch-Herxheimer effects (JHEs), more commonly called Herxheimer reactions. Symptoms can include mild to moderate headaches, joint pain, sweating, nausea, flulike symptoms without fever, malaise, a red rash, skeletal pain, and itching. Less common symptoms include chills, diarrhea (typically of short duration), vomiting of short duration, and fever. Keep in mind, though, that these symptoms are actually an indication that the treatment is working. If you experience Herxheimer reactions, stop taking the treatment for 24 to 48 hours and then resume at a lower dose. And as always, consult your doctor if any unexpected symptoms occur.