by Nick Soloway

What REALLY Causes Heartburn?


Every day on television and other media we are barraged with ads about heartburn and acid reflux, which seem to tell us that stomach acid is the culprit causing our pain. If we take the patent medicine recommended in the commercial, our stomach problems will disappear.


And how do those medicines propose to “fix” the problem? They lower the level of stomach acidity by either neutralizing stomach acid (these are antacids) or by shutting down the stomach’s ability to produce acid (proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs).

But it’s not really the level of acid in the stomach that causes the discomfort we call heartburn. Heartburn is caused when acid that is supposed to be in the stomach aiding digestion backs up into the esophagus, whose lining is not capable of withstanding the acidity and is chemically burned by it. If we take the advertised patent medicine, it will reduce the level of acid in the stomach, and so if comes up into the esophagus, its acidity will be less there as well, reducing or eliminating the burning sensation. But is this really a heartburn cure, or just temporary symptom relief? And do people really have too much acid in their stomach? Most importantly, is it healthy to reduce stomach acid?

Are Antacids and PPIs Really a Heartburn Cure?

Antacids and PPIs do reduce stomach acid, so when acid comes back into the throat, it does not burn as much. But antacids do not stop acid from going where it doesn’t belong in the first place.


Why does acid come up into the throat? There is a valve at the bottom of the esophagus, just before the stomach, called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). It allows food to pass into the stomach, but is supposed to prohibit stomach contents from going in the other direction. When there is food present in the stomach, that valve is supposed to be shut tight, but sometimes it relaxes when it should not.


In some cases, the LES malfunctions because of food allergies and sensitivities, caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine. But it also happens when none of these is present. Doctors are not sure why, but some theorize that more acid, not less, is needed to keep the valve firmly shut, and that the valve relaxes in the presence of low stomach acid. If that is so, taking antacids could actually make the problem worse, not better.


Do People Often Have Too Much Stomach Acid?
Many studies have revealed that the production of stomach acid often decreases as we age, so that older people have much lower acidity level than younger ones. Yet often people develop heartburn in later years, just as acid production is declining. So it does not seem likely that heartburn is related to too much stomach acid at all. Yet when one goes to a doctor for a heartburn cure, antacids and PPIs are often prescribed without any testing on stomach acid levels. Ironically, when that test is done, it often reveals a lack of stomach acid rather than too much! This fact supports the theory that more acid keeps the LES more tightly closed.


Is It Healthy to Reduce Stomach Acid?
Stomach acid is needed in digestion and absorption of protein, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Older people in particular, who have lower levels of stomach acid, have difficulty absorbing sufficient nutrition. Moreover, stomach acid is a barrier that can prevent bacteria and other unwanted microorganisms from getting further into our digestive tract. Low stomach acid is linked to a variety of medical conditions including osteoporosis, pneumonia, and macular degeneration. Given that antacids only provide temporary relief from heartburn symptoms, and can lead to serious diseases or infections, they are not the best answer to the issue of heartburn.


What are better alternatives in curing heartburn?
Because many people suffering from heartburn have low stomach acid, some doctors have found that acid supplements often cure the problem. The supplements also help restore the digestive system, which enables better absorption of nutrients. Of course, no one should take acid except with the advice and under the care of a licensed doctor. If acid is normal in a person suffering from heartburn, his or her physician will often recommend testing for food allergies that could be causing the LES to malfunction. In addition, other natural supplements have been proven to help strengthen LES function, in particular melatonin.


So if you are suffering from heartburn, especially with any frequency, look for an integrative doctor (one who combines the use of supplements and natural remedies with more conventional approaches as needed) who is familiar with stomach acid level testing, and can get to the real cause of your heartburn.

Nick’s comment:
There is a sophisticated test available to test for low stomach acidity called the Heidelberg gastric analysis test.  Unfortunately this test is not readily available and is expensive. I have included 2 self tests below to help you determine if you have low stomach acid.


I personally take HCl with each meal and I have found significant changes in how I feel. No longer do I have bloating, constant pressure in my stomach area and wake up with last night’s dinner still in my stomach.  I just started doing procedure 2 below and had good results.


Initially in addition to supplementing HCl you may consider using a product called Heartburn Free. Heartburn Free is an extract from orange peel that you take every other day for 20 days, it strengthens the LES function to prevent acid from going up into the esophagus. A very important thing to do is to directly treat the stomach. People often have a condition called a hiatal hernia in which the stomach and esophagus are mal-positioned allowing stomach acid to go up into the esophagus.


I treat this manually and then teach the person who has this condition how to treat themself which also greatly reduces the reflux symptoms.  People who I have treated manually and then put on HCl supplementation have done very well in reducing their symptoms of reflux.

1.     Conduct an at-home test to see if your HCL is low. Mix 1/4 tsp. of baking soda in an 8 oz. glass of cold water. Drink the baking soda and water mixture first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything. Time how long it takes to belch after drinking the mixture. You should belch within 2 to 3 minutes if your HCL is adequate.

2.     Purchase supplemental HCL tablets from a health food or nutrition store. Take one 10 grain HCL capsule at the beginning of a substantial meal with protein. Take two capsules at the beginning of the next meal. Continue adding a capsule at every each meal until you feel a burning sensation in your chest. Note how many capsules you took before you felt the irritation and inform your physician. Generally, the higher the number of capsules you take, the lower your HCL is.


Both Heartburn Free and HCl (I use Vital Nutrients BETAINE HCL W/PEPSIN & GENTIAN) are available at Emerson Ecologic’s. Use this link to place your order…

Thyroid Evaluation

by Nick Soloway

8 Things Every Thyroid Evaluation MUST Check For

By Dr. Jonathan Wright on 06/25/2009 (http://www.healthiertalk.com)

When patients come to the Tahoma Clinic with symptoms of weak thyroid function, we start by getting their complete medical history and doing a thorough physical exam. But we also run a complete set of blood tests. I stress the word “complete” because, unfortunately, many thyroid function tests leave out at one or more important markers. In order to get a full picture of your thyroid health, though, a comprehensive test should include the following eight measurements:


Thyroid stimulating hormone, or TSH. Made by the pituitary gland, this hormone stimulates the thyroid gland to make its hormones, which include T4, and T3, (and T2, and T1, too!) This hormone usually—but not always—rises if the thyroid gland isn’t responding to the usual degree of TSH stimulation.


Theoretically, if there’s enough active thyroid hormone TSH stays below a certain level. For this reason (and because it’s less expensive for insurance companies) many physicians—even a few endocrinologists—rely on the TSH evaluation alone to assess thyroid function. This only gives you a small fraction of the “big picture.”


Free T4, also known as thyroxine. (Technically speaking, thyroxine is made up of two tyrosine molecules bound to four iodide molecules.) Free T4 is generally considered the “storage and transportation” form of thyroid hormone, although it does have some activity of its own.


Free T3, or tri-iodothyronine. (The biochemical make-up of tri-iodothyronine consists of two tyrosine molecules bound to three iodide molecules.) Free T3 is the very metabolically active form of thyroid hormone.


Reverse T3, also known as reverse tri-iodothyronine or rT3. (Its biochemical composition also involves two tyrosine molecules bound to three iodide molecules, but they’re not in the same positions on the tyrosine molecules as free T3). As mentioned on page 1, rT3 is a reverse mirror image of free T3 that blocks free T3 from doing its job.


Total T4 and total T3. These are the same basic hormones in free T4 and free T3—thyroxine and tri-iodothyronine—but instead of being bound to iodide, in this instance, they’re bound to a large protein molecule called thyroglobulin, which researchers have found to completely de-activate any thyroid bound to it.


Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TGA), Thyroperoxidase Antibodies (TPO). When either or both of these antibodies are elevated, it indicates auto-immune thyroid disease. This situation is frequently (but not always) associated with gluten/gliadin sensitivity. Elevated TGA and/or TPO are another frequently missed cause of thyroid malfunction, missed because they’re often not tested.


There are also a number of other thyroid hormones which aren’t presently measured in any available thyroid tests: total T2, free T2, total T1, and free T1. The function of these hormones just hasn’t been adequately researched. In fact, T2 and T1 have been ignored and called useless, much as DHEA was for nearly two decades. However, evidence exists that T2 stimulates growth hormone in humans, as well as mitochondrial function, gene transcription, and enzymes. T1 likely has important functions, too, even if they aren’t yet well known. Hopefully, as more research is done, testing for these hormones will become available.


One more note, just to be clear: Even though elevated rT3 almost always indicates an accumulated excess of toxic metals, not everyone with excess toxic metals has an elevated rT3. Similarly, many hypothyroid individuals are hypothyroid for other reasons, and not because of toxic metals.

Muscle massage may speed healing

by Nick Soloway

Muscle massage may speed healing

Molecular benefits to rubbing overworked areas include reduced inflammation

By Nathan Seppa


Science News March 10th, 2012; Vol.181 #5 (p. 17)

Offering a modern take on an age-old remedy, scientists report that the satisfaction one gets from rubbing sore muscles seems to have tangible roots. Massages might lessen pain-inducing inflammation in muscles and boost healing in the process.


Researchers from Ontario and California have found clear molecular signs that overworked muscle cells respond to being manipulated by massage. They also found measurable decreases in inflammatory compounds in massaged muscle tissue and indications that muscle cells rev up their energy processors for the inevitable repairs that follow hard exercise. The findings appear in the Feb. 1 Science Translational Medicine.


“This is the best data I’ve ever seen addressing possible mechanisms by which this therapy works,” says Thomas Best, a sports medicine physician at the Ohio State University School of Medicine. “This is very compelling.”


Justin Crane, a kinesiologist at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and his colleagues recruited 11 active men to participate in an exhaustive workout that taxed their quadriceps, the muscles at the front of the thigh. Shortly afterward, one thigh on each volunteer received a 10-minute massage and the other didn’t. The researchers then took a muscle biopsy from both legs of each volunteer right after the massage and again 2.5 hours later.


Strenuous exercise damages muscle tissue, followed by rebuilding or disposal of damaged muscle cells, Crane says. While inflammation routinely shows up immediately after such hard exercise, lingering inflammation hinders the repair process.


The biopsies taken immediately after massage showed that the muscles of the massaged legs, but not the untreated legs, had reduced levels of an inflammatory protein called tumor necrosis factor-alpha. The biopsies also revealed activation of two kinds of enzymes called kinases right after the massage, an indicator that the muscle cells responded to being manually manipulated, Crane says.


The massaged-leg biopsies taken 2.5 hours later showed reduced levels interleukin-6, a different inflammatory protein, and elevated concentrations of a multipurpose compound called PGC1-alpha. PGC1-alpha plays roles in muscle fiber maintenance and cell metabolism.


The analysis also hinted that muscle cells in the massaged legs were setting the stage for growth of mitochondria, the energy factories in cells. Such growth would facilitate muscle refurbishment, Crane says.


Although massage and other alternative medicines are used by millions of people, the therapies have doubters, in part because studies of these techniques often measure benefits subjectively or lack biological evidence of an effect, the authors note. “I’m more convinced now that massage is effective,” Crane says. “We see inflammation going down and, conversely, other cell signaling going up — two facets of rehab going the right directions.”


Whether these biological changes account for all of massage’s pain relief remains unclear. Lowering inflammation can reduce pain. But Crane says massaging sore muscles might also involve the release of pain-alleviating endorphins and other neurotransmitters. “We really have no idea,” he says.


The study casts doubt on one other theory: Lactic acid builds up in hard-worked muscles, and some people believe massage moves it out of the muscle. But the massaged legs showed no difference in lactic acid from the untreated legs.

Injuries and surgery

by Nick Soloway

Injuries and surgery

it is very important to treat an injury or surgery as soon as possible. Most people will just wait until things feel better which may take several weeks or months. And then if after that time it’s not getting any better or its not resolved they may seek treatment. I have found over the years that if people are treated for their injuries or surgeries close to the time that they occur, there is a significant symptom reduction and reduction of the time for complete recovery. Just recently i saw someone who had fallen on the ice on their tailbone, moving and sitting was painful. The day after the injury i treated this person and within about 30 minutes there was at least 80 to 90% reduction of all symptoms. I’ve also made house calls to people who have had either a knee replacement surgery or hip replacement surgery. A very short treatment of half an hour or 45 minutes made significant reduction in pain and medication usage. I have also received calls from people calling me from the ski slope saying they have just had an injury. Several people have hobbled in using crutches and left without needing the crutches.

many times prolonged pain will cause a compensation pattern in the body as we try to deal with the pain. If this painful situation is not dealt with early enough the compensation pattern creates new difficulties. What i have seen is that usually people can compensate for the pain for 6 to 18 months and then “out of the blue” they develop a new pain. For the most part, treating the original injury will actually cause the new pain to disappear. So i encourage you to seek treatment whenever you have an injury or surgery as soon as possible so that things will heal faster and you’ll feel better.


Seanol Super Food

by Nick Soloway

Seanol Super Food


The super-antioxidant from the sea that can undo years
of damage to your heart, brain, joints and nerves


This astonishing healing discovery is up to 100 times more potent than blueberries, pomegranates, and even green tea catechins.

By Robert J. Rowen, MD



What if I told you that one simple nutrient can improve your cholesterol, boost circulation, enhance memory and mental sharpness, and even help you sleep better?


You’d probably be skeptical. I certainly was…


But then I saw the research from Dr. Haengwoo Lee, a Korean biochemist now living near Seattle, Washington, and my jaw nearly dropped to the floor.


Dr. Lee has made a startling discovery that few people, even many alternative health doctors, know about. He and his team have found an antioxidant that’s up to 100 times stronger than the familiar antioxidants vitamins C and E, antioxidant-rich fruits like blueberries, pomegranates and even green tea catechins.


I’ll tell you what it is in a moment. But first, let’s take a look at what this amazing “super-antioxidant” can do for your health. For starters, it can…Revive damaged arteries and improve blood flow in just 6 weeks


As you may know, your body has special cells called endothelium that line the insides of your arteries and veins. Endothelium generate a chemical called nitric oxide (NO), which keeps your artery walls open, relaxed and healthy.


In a clinical study, researchers looked at patients with damaged artery walls. This artery damage was restricting blood flow and causing heart troubles. But after taking this nutrient for just 6 weeks, their arterial health markedly improved. Blood flow increased by more than 50% — confirming this nutrient’s ability to support healthier circulation.


If it can improve blood flow so dramatically in people with damaged arteries, imagine what it can do for you. And that’s not all…Improve cholesterol and support your cardiovascular health.


You probably know that many heart problems are not due to cholesterol alone, as the statin peddlers want us to believe. Damage to your heart and artery walls is often determined by how your body handles cholesterol.


In other words, you don’t want the “bad” LDL cholesterol in your arteries to oxidize. Oxidizing means reacting with oxygen, such as when iron “rusts.” When LDL oxidizes, it can damage the endothelial lining of your arteries.

But this super-antioxidant inhibits the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Just imagine the healthy effect that can have on your heart and circulatory system.


In fact, in one study, researchers gave this nutrient to 39 adults (average age 55) for six weeks. Patients’ average cholesterol level dropped. Their hard-to-raise “good” HDL rose from 46.5 to 50.7 (highly significant). It’s very unusual for a natural supplement to raise HDL like this.


What’s more, their triglycerides fell from 215 to 195. And the atherogenic index (a key measurement of atherosclerosis) dropped a whopping 12.5%. All this with no lifestyle changes!


This little-known antioxidant is an extract of compounds found in red and brown sea algae called Ecklonia Cava. Ecklonia Cava grows at a depth of 100 feet off the coast of Korea and Japan. Researchers have named this brown seaweed extract Seanol.


Seanol has a unique molecular structure that gives it a big advantage over any antioxidant found on earth. You see, the power of an antioxidant depends on its structure, which is made up of rings.


Antioxidants use these rings to capture rogue electrons and neutralize free-radicals. The more rings an antioxidant has, the better it works.


For instance, resveratrol from grapes has 2 rings. Most land-based antioxidants (called polyphenols) have 3 interconnected rings. Green tea catechins have 4. But the ring structure of all these polyphenols pales in comparison to Seanol.


Seanol has 8 interconnected rings. That makes Seanol a veritable electron-trapping, free-radical killing machine! It’s like getting 10 servings of fruits and vegetables in a single nutrient.


You may have also heard that scientists measure antioxidant power with something called the ORAC scale. It’s short for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. The more free radicals a substance traps, the higher the ORAC score.


Nutritionists recommend that we consume around 5000 ORAC units per day to significantly reduce free radical damage. One serving (half a cup) of most fruits or vegetables gives you roughly 500 ORAC units — one-tenth your daily minimum.


But Seanol has an ORAC score of more than 8,300. That’s like getting your entire day’s worth of antioxidant protection in a single nutrient!


Seanol has another big advantage over what you might be taking now.

Virtually all land-based antioxidants (polyphenols) are water-soluble. Water-soluble antioxidants have a hard time penetrating your blood-brain barrier, to protect your brain cells.


But Seanol is 40% fat-soluble. That means it has a greater ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and protect the cells of your brain. In fact, it can more easily penetrate the membranes of all your cells, to give them the antioxidant protection they need.


Being fat-soluble also means that Seanol has a much longer active life in your body. Up to 12 full hours. While most water-soluble, plant-based polyphenols like blueberries and pomegranates are expelled through your urine in just 30 minutes. This means Seanol may be working inside your body up to 24 times longer.


All these advantages give Seanol up to 100 times more free-radical scavenging power than ordinary land-based polyphenols. Far more than even the popular green tea catechins.


I’ve already mentioned how Seanol can cross the blood-brain barrier, because it is 40% fat-soluble, unlike other antioxidants. Now let’s see how well it works inside your brain.


Your memory is dependent on the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh). In lab tests, Seanol increased rodent ACh by 140% in brain regions responsible for learning and memory. And it did this after just 7 days of treatment! There’s more…


Your carotid arteries feed your brain. One group of researchers found that Seanol increases the velocity of blood flow in this important artery from an average of 36.68 cm/sec. to 40.09 cm/sec. The placebo group showed no improvement at all.


A good night’s sleep is essential for weight loss, immune support, and your overall health. Here’s where Seanol shines again.


When researchers gave Seanol to 36 participants in an 8-week study, the results were startling. Seanol cut the time it took for participants to fall asleep by 47 minutes. It increased total nighttime sleep by 1.6 hours. It improved soundness of sleep by 80%. It even boosted their energy level by 71%. Patients given the placebo showed no improvement.


You can get Seanol as this formula at Emerson Ecologics


FibroBoost 400 mg 75 vcaps (FIB12)


by Nick Soloway

Strawberries — more than just a powerful cholesterol fighter

from Dr. Robert Rowen’s www.SecondOpinionNewsletter.com


A few weeks ago, I told you about the powerful cholesterol-lowering abilities of strawberries. As you may know, I love strawberries. Actually, I love berries in general. They’re my favorite fruits. Now we find out that strawberries might be a powerhouse cancer preventive and treatment.


An Ohio State University study found that strawberry powder caused precancerous esophageal lesions to regress. Of 29 patients, 26 had large reductions in the malignancy grading of lesions.


This is good news for an otherwise bleak cancer. Only 8% of patients make it five years past diagnosis. It’s the sixth leading cause of worldwide cancer death. Here is a totally safe, nutritious, and inexpensive means of preventing it.


If you have acid reflux, you’re at increased risk. If you’ve ever been told you have Barrett’s esophagus, you are at very high risk. But I feel certain that the benefits of strawberries don’t just stop with the esophagus. This fruit has bioflavonoids that can attack cancer metabolism in several points. Consider adding other super fruits to your diet. These include pomegranates, acai berries, and gogi. All of these are readily available.


The strawberry powder used here was a 10x concentrate. But I have no doubt that fresh strawberries will prevent it just as well, especially if you eat as many as I do. Remember, strawberries are one of the most heavily sprayed crops, so be sure that any product you use is organic. For a list of residual pesticides go to http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/

Couch Potatoes

by Nick Soloway

Couch Potatoes 

from: healthiernews.com

It’s the couch potato — and while no one doubts that plugging your meat in a seat is unhealthy at any age, a new study finds that little kids who watch the most TV already have the earliest signs of heart disease.


Australian researchers randomly selected 1,492 6-year-olds from 34 schools in the Sydney area, and asked the kids’ parents to fill out questionnaires on how much time each day the children spent watching TV, using a computer, and playing outside.


They found that the average kid spent just 36 minutes a day being physically active… and nearly TWO HOURS a day parked in front of a screen, according to the study in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology: Journal of the American Heart Association (try saying that five times fast).


Then, the researchers photographed the arteries in the backs of the children’s eyes, and found that the couch potatoes had narrower blood vessels — and that each hour of tube time lead to a narrowing of 1.53 microns.


That’s a number so small it’s impossible to picture — but in real-world terms, it’s enough to raise systolic blood pressure readings by 10 mmHg.

The researchers say they have no idea what this means for children, and plan to follow these kids to see what happens as they age.


But we don’t need a study to know that narrow blood vessels lead to increased heart risk in adults. If that process is starting years earlier — in kindergarten! — the long-term news can’t possibly be good.


That’s not the only problem with TVs, computers and video games. Other studies have linked glowing screens to sleep issues, developmental problems and even stupidity — especially if your kid is inclined to mimic wrestling moves or cartoon stunts when he does go outside.


I know most kids would react to a TV-free home as if they’d been sentenced to Alcatraz… but that’s the best way to make sure your child is safe.


And if you can’t quite kick the tube to the curb, at least curb the number of hours your kids spend watching it.

Green tea- 4 new uses

by Nick Soloway

4 powerful new uses for green tea

from… SecondOpinionNewsletter.com


If you’re not drinking tea every day, I just found two new studies that give even more reasons to make it a priority. I’ve told you in the past how tea can help prevent colon cancer, reduce inflammation, improve your memory, and even lower your cholesterol. But these two studies show tea’s protection goes a lot further.


In the first study, researchers found that drinking green or black tea every day may prevent ischemic stroke. Three or more cups per day reduced the risk by 21% in a meta analysis. While this type of study is not as good as a randomized, prospective clinical study, it supports everything else we know about the flavonoids in tea.


The second meta-analysis found green tea (two cups per day) may reduce the risk of lung cancer by 18%.


As for green tea’s ability to fight inflammation, the third study I found says this applies to your gums as well. That means it can fight periodontal disease. Gum disease is simply inflammation in your gums that leads to bleeding, deep gum pockets around your teeth, loose teeth, and infection. A Japanese study found that every one-cup-per-day increase in green tea intake decreases gum-pocket depth, average clinical attachment loss, and bleeding on probing. Here I would recommend the tea itself to bathe the tissues in its powerful phytochemicals.


The fourth study followed 20 obese men. They took 300 mg of ECGC, the catechin found in green tea, every day. Compared to a placebo group, the ECGC stimulated fat oxidation, the process by which you burn off fat.

Tea is simply loaded with beneficial plant chemicals. The leaves use these chemicals to protect themselves from the sun. These chemicals are extraordinarily helpful in reducing inflammation in your body.


Regarding green tea specifically, a mentor of mine pointed out that the nature of the flavonoids in green tea cause them to act as a beneficial antioxidant in normal cells, but as a pro-oxidant in cancer cells. That’s because of a deranged metabolism in the cancer cell. This process may explain the killing effect it has on cancer.


I suggest you drink two to three cups of green tea daily. Or you can find supplements that are green tea extracts many products may contain 750 mg of green tea, the amount needed to burn fat in the fourth study. This dose is equivalent in power to 10 cups of green tea.


To protect your gums from periodontal disease, I recommend the tea itself. It can bathe the tissues in its powerful phytochemicals. This delivers the nutrients right where you need them.


by Nick Soloway


From Dr Janson’s Healthy Living http://www.drjanson.com

Ever since my heart surgery in 2003 to replace a congenitally defective aortic valve (you can read about this in the newsletter of April, 2003), I have had rare episodes of atrial fibrillation lasting for a few hours, perhaps once a year, but this unusually cool winter altered my exercise schedule and immune function, and the arrhythmia recurred several times a week for about two months (and occasionally several times a day), and was causing fatigue and general discomfort.


I have known about the value of the amino acid L-taurine in treating arrhythmias for some time, and often take it as a supplement. With some further research, I came across an article suggesting much higher doses of taurine for managing atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmias, and I decided to try this treatment along with other supplements.


The atrium (specifically, the sinus node) is where the regular heartbeat is initiated, and if the atrium is not beating normally, as in fibrillation, the ventricular rhythm is thrown off. In many cases (as in mine) there are periods of rapid heart rate and palpitations. If the atrium does not beat, about 30 percent less blood gets into the ventricle for pumping to the muscles, impairing exercise capacity and causing shortness of breath.


I have treated a number of patients with atrial fibrillation with taurine and magnesium, including intravenous doses. After reading this new report on taurine, I increased my oral dose to 9 to 15 grams per day, and treated myself with intravenous taurine and magnesium (along with vitamin C and B complex vitamins) and several EDTA chelation solutions. In addition, I took high doses of magnesium orally, and now my heart rhythm is back to normal. After this, I went back and reviewed several articles on taurine.


In 1987, researchers reported on a study of 19 young patients with borderline hypertension. They administered 6000 mg of taurine orally daily for 7 days in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The taurine-treated group had an average drop in systolic blood pressure (the first, higher number) of 9 points. Their diastolic pressure (the lower number) dropped by 4 points. The placebo group had just a 2.7 drop in systolic pressure (the power of placebo) and a 1.2 point drop in diastolic pressure. (Fujita, T., et al. Effects of increased adrenomedullary activity and taurine in young patients with borderline hypertension. Circulation. 75(3):525-532, 1987.)


This research confirmed what had been noted in previous studies in rats. The researchers also noted that stress hormones were reduced by taurine treatment in humans, just as they were in rats. The baseline plasma epinephrine level (Adrenalin) was higher in the hypertensive patients than in normals, and it dropped significantly with the active treatment.


Young patients are often treated with medication for hypertension, and they are told they need to be on the drugs for the rest of their lives, but lifestyle changes and supplements can almost always totally eliminate the need for these treatments. (Many of the patients do not take their medications because of side effects, but they are not taught the proper diet, exercise, and supplement programs that might help (coenzyme Q10, magnesium, omega-3 oils, hawthorn), and they often do not tell their doctors that they are not taking the drugs.)



Taurine is also beneficial in the management of congestive heart failure (CHF). In CHF, the heart muscle is too weak to pump out as much blood as it needs to, resulting in fluid congestion in the tissues. CHF has a variety of causes. In a double-blind study of 14 patients published in 1985, half were treated with taurine along with conventional treatment, and half were given placebo. (Azuma, J, Therapeutic effect of taurine in congestive heart failure: A double-blind crossover trial. Clinical Cardiology. 8(5):276-82, 1985.)


Those subjects on the taurine were clinically improved and ventricular function was enhanced. None of the patients on the active treatment worsened during the treatment, but four of those on placebo deteriorated. During taurine administration, no side effects were noted.


In 1983, researchers studied 24 patients with CHF in another double-blind trial using 4000 mg of taurine per day. They were evaluated by clinical signs and symptoms as well as the New York Heart Association functional classification, a common standard for monitoring CHF. (Azuma, J., et al. Therapy of congestive heart failure with orally administered taurine. Clin Ther 5(4):398-408, 1983.)


After eight weeks, 19 of the 24 patients on taurine were improved. Of the 15 patients on taurine who were classified as NYHA class III or IV at the start of the study, 13 were designated as class II at the end of the 8 weeks. This was a highly significant improvement from relatively serious CHF to only mild impairment, and very unusual with single nutrient treatment, although coenzyme Q10 offers similar benefits.


In a study of rat hearts, researchers compared treatment with taurine to hearts that were subjected to the same low-oxygen stresses but not treated. Taurine protected the tissue from ventricular fibrillation (much more serious than atrial fibrillation). The incidence of ventricular fibrillation was reduced from 86 percent in the control hearts to just 16 percent in the hearts that were treated with taurine throughout the stress period. (Chahine R, Feng J, Protective effects of taurine against reperfusion-induced arrhythmias in isolated ischemic rat heart. Arzneimittelforschung 1998 Apr;48(4):360-4).


The researchers also evaluated the effect of taurine on indicators of lipid peroxidation, which corresponded to heart muscle damage. The indicator molecule, malondialdehyde, was significantly reduced with the taurine treatment. In addition, taurine decreased the frequency of ventricular premature beats and rapid heart rates, acting both as a free radical scavenger and a membrane stabilizer. Both of these effects strongly suggest its value in treatment of arrhythmias.


In a report of case studies, researchers presented a hypothesis for how taurine might work for elimination of cardiac arrhythmias. They included in their subjects those with a variety of arrhythmias, including premature beats, atrial fibrillation, and pauses. They treated with either taurine, or a combination of taurine with another amino acid, L-arginine. (Eby G, Halcomb WW, Elimination of cardiac arrhythmias using oral taurine with l-arginine with case histories: Hypothesis for nitric oxide stabilization of the sinus node. Med Hypotheses. 2006;67(5):1200-4.)


This report is on only three subjects (with premature atrial contractions (PACs), premature ventricular contractions (PVCs), atrial fibrillation (AF), and tachycardia (rapid heart rate), and palpitations), but the results were striking and in accord with the theoretical information already available in laboratory, animal, and some human studies. They treated the patients with 10 to 20 grams of taurine per day and found a 50 percent reduction in PACs and elimination of PVCs, but not pauses.


When they added 4 to 6 grams of arginine per day, the PACs were eliminated as well as all pauses. In the patient with heavy palpitations and AF, 95 percent of symptoms were eliminated by taking 4 grams of taurine three times per day, and the remaining symptoms disappeared with the addition of one gram of arginine with each dose. They noted that fish oils can provide similar benefits.


Tachycardia and palpitations can be exhausting and uncomfortable, and can disrupt sleep. As a result of these reports, I started taking 3-4 grams of taurine three to four times a day. I also gave myself 100 mg of taurine with magnesium intravenously several times a week. This all occurred over a 10 week period, and I was able to eliminate all of my arrhythmias. I am now down to a maintenance dose of six grams of taurine orally per day. I never needed to add the arginine, but as a precursor of nitric oxide it is a valuable treatment in itself.


One case such as my own does not constitute research, but my experience is worth noting, as taurine is a safe nutrient produced in the body, with no reports of toxicity. It is possible that my symptoms simply disappeared with improvement in the weather, or the elimination of a virus (a relatively mild attack of herpes zoster that seemed to coincide with the onset of the AF, and for which I added much higher doses of vitamin C to my IV treatments).


The physicians that I saw did not suggest any relationship with stress (cold weather) or the virus, and all of the tests and monitors offered no solutions. I was told only that the abnormal sinus function would get worse over time, and they wanted to treat me with a drug but could not because they either lower blood pressure (mine is already very low) or heart rate (mine is already at 44 beats per minute). Fortunately, I have found a solution that might help other patients also.


Acupuncture-related technique, Moxibustion, Beneficial in Rectifying Breech Presentation During Pregnancy





“Cost-effectiveness of breech version by acupuncture-type interventions on BL 67, including moxibustion, for women with a breech foetus at 33 weeks gestation: a modelling approach,” van den Berg I, Kaandorp GC, et al, Complement There Med, 2010; 18(2): 67-77. (Address: Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. E-mail: ineke.vandenberg@erasmusmc.nl ).


In a study designed to determine the effectiveness and finances associated with using acupuncture and the acupuncture-related technique, moxibustion on the acupoint BL-67, in turning a fetus in a breech presentation to a normal healthy vertex position in women at 33 weeks of gestation, this acupuncture related treatment was found to significantly reduce the number of babies who presented as breech at full term, therefore reducing the number of C-sections, thereby proving to be a very cost-effective treatment as compared to “expectant management,” including the use of external cephalic version. While 50% of women who underwent “expectant management” ended up having C-section, a significantly lower 37% of women who underwent the acupuncture-moxibustion treatment ended up having C-sections. Furthermore, according to sensitivity analysis, the authors found that if 16% or more of women who were offered moxibustion treatment complied, it would have proven to be significantly more effective and less costly than expectant management. Analysis revealed that 7 women would have had to have used the acupuncture-moxibustion treatment in order to prevent 1 C-section. These results suggest that the very simple and safe treatment of the acupuncture-associated technique, moxibustion given to women starting at 33 weeks gestation whose fetus presents as breech, may significantly reduce the likelihood of having a breech presentation at full term, may reduce the risk of C-section, and is a cost-effective treatment.

Nick’s Comment: This point at the outer base of the little toe nail and it can also be stimulated several times a day with simple finger nail pressure. I have shown this technique to several expectant mothers and also have shown them how to treat the point with an acupuncture needle and moxibustion.


by Nick Soloway


We’ve all been there: You open the fridge, reach for the milk, and notice the date on the carton says it expired yesterday. You gingerly sniff the carton, fully expecting to be overwhelmed by noxious fumes but instead all you can smell is . . . milk.


According to University of Minnesota food scientist Ted Labuza (who spoke to Slate), perishables like milk and meat have a three- to seven-day grace period after the expiration date, assuming you are a normal person and store said perishables in the fridge and not, say, the sauna. The fact is, the “sell by” date that appears on that questionable gallon of milk serves as a guideline for stores on when they should pull products from their shelves — not when you should indulge in a last sip. Rather than being an indicator of the product’s safety span, the date implies when a food’s quality — its taste, aroma and appearance — would be at peak conditions.


What’s even more confusing is the lack of consistency in “open dating” descriptors and regulations on labeling. In addition to “sell by,” certain products contain “best if used by (or before),” to indicate peak quality, “use by,” to establish a finite don’t-ingest-after-this-date or simply the jumble of numbers that is a “closed date,” for those long-living shelved goods.


The U.S. Food & Drug Administration requires that an expiration date appear on only infant formula, which must contain the quantity of nutrients described on its label. Milk — so widely known for its spoiling — is not uniformly regulated, but is handled on a state by state basis. Manufacturers perform stress tests on milk to determine an expiration date, ranging from 15 to 21 days post-pasteurization. Only certain states, indicated in the chart below, mandate a specific “sell by” date, with a handful falling short of that 15-day manufacturer-determined minimum.


New York City is notoriously the only city which contains its own regulation on milk dating; there are no requirements for the state at large. The debate rages as to whether this separate date is due to longer unloading times during delivery or improper store storage temperatures. But if you’ve ever tried to move into an apartment building in Manhattan at 4:30pm on a weekday like one of our Slashfood writers, you’d probably guess it’s the former.


With all this talk about milk, you’re probably wondering how to factor in expiration dates on all those other perishable foods you buy? Pay close attention to meat, which should be cooked or frozen within two days of purchase. If you freeze that ground beef or rack of lamb, be sure to cook them within 3 months or 12 months, respectively. Cold cuts, which can contain an organism called listeria, should be consumed by their use by dates.


Other foods offer some more wiggle room, though. You’ll get a few weeks out of hard cheeses — which is good to know, considering how stinky they can be outright. Interestingly, the United States Department of Agriculture found that eggs refrigerated at an optimal 27 degrees are safe for up to four to five weeks past their expiration. As you’d expect, you’ll have the most leeway with dry goods. Pasta and rice is fine for a year. Unopened packages of cookies are good for a few months (though we wonder who has packets of cookies that sit around unopened for months?) and canned goods are safe for at least five years: perfect if there’s a major catastrophe that keeps you housebound for . . . years. But beware of cans that are dented or rusted, as rust signifies tiny pin holes that can provide an entrance point for bacteria.


In the end, the best “use by” detector is planted firmly in the middle of your face. If it smells suspicious, it’s best to chuck it; if it smells okay then it’s usually fine.