The practice and science of natural medicine

 Integrative Health &
Applied Nutrition
magazine (IHCAN)

Since 2002, Integrative Healthcare & Applied Nutrition magazine (formerly known as CAM magazine) has kept professional practitioners in-the-loop every month with its mix of news, views and fully referenced features.

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The practice and science of natural medicine

 Integrative Health &
Applied Nutrition
magazine (IHCAN)

Since 2002, Integrative Healthcare & Applied Nutrition magazine (formerly known as CAM magazine) has kept professional practitioners in-the-loop every month with its mix of news, views and fully referenced features.

Buy a subscription and we plant a tree

We care deeply about the planet and creating a business that gives back to nature.

That’s why we’ve partnered with One Tree Planted to plant a tree on your behalf, as a thank you for subscribing.

Trees clean our air and water, create habitats for biodiversity, contribute to our health and wellbeing, and create jobs for social impact.

 Editor’s note January 2023


Happily into the New Year

I know Great Britain – well the whole world, really – is in a bit of a mess right now, but this last month has been so chockful of amazing research, that I can’t help feeling optimistic.

So no rants about Big Pharma, the poor NHS or even COVID…just enjoy an endless (?) stream of good news.

Let’s start with an incredible study from Italy, a single-blind randomised, placebo-controlled trial in adults aged 20-60 with persistent fatigue attending a post-acute COVID-19 outpatient clinic.

Months after COVID, many people are still suffering post-viral fatigue and any form of exercise feels like climbing Everest. Anyone living with ME/CFS knows this intimately – more on that later.

If it’s any consolation, four times Tour de France winner Chris Froome is suffering. He got COVID in July in the middle of the Tour. Months later his VO2max is still way down, and like other pro cyclists he’s spoken to, his heart is doing strange rhythmic things and his resting heart rate is way up.

So in Italy, they decided to tackle the problem with the well-known NO booster l-arginine, with vitamin C. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator, of course. So get that going and improved blood flow should result.

Here’s what they said (full report, page 6): “Of note, after 28 days of l-arginine plus vitamin C supplementation, only two participants reported fatigue compared with 21 who had received a placebo…the synergistic effects of l-arginine and vitamin C on NO synthesis may play a favourable role not only on the endothelial function, but also on immune response regulation, two major determinants of fatigue in long COVID and chronic fatigue syndromes”.

Amazing! Not just that it confirmed findings from a big multi-centre study of patients with long COVID using the same cheap, natural supplements, but look at the speed of action. Fatigue GONE in 28 days; 30 days in the older study…

...Read more...

Vitamin D (again)

Meanwhile, vitamin D is still hot, hot, hot. Isn’t it time we gave this molecule its deserved hormone status? After all, the vitamin D receptor is found in virtually all cells of the body. Er…and brain, as it turns out.

Yes, researchers at Tufts have completed the first study examining levels of vitamin D in brain tissue. As you might guess, they found that those with higher levels of vitamin D in their brains had better cognitive function (page 18). And it goes on: an “umbrella review” of an inconclusive bunch of meta-analyses finds that yes, adequate levels of vitamin D CAN protect against depression – and reduce its symptoms (page 7). Next question: are psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists screening clients for vitamin D levels? Of course not.

Omega-3s

And talking of brains, University of Texas research has now found that a high intake of omega-3 fatty acids works just as well for “younger brains” as it does in protecting ageing brains. And according to Claudia Satizabal, PhD, assistant professor with UT’s Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases: “We saw the worst outcomes in the people who had the lowest consumption of omega-3s…Although the more omega-3 the more benefits for the brain, you just need to eat some to see benefits” (report, page 36).

Lutein

And still the research poured in. Lutein is already well-researched as an eye-protective nutrient. Of course the eyes are rooted straight into the brain, so maybe we should have thought of this before, but new research from Hungary – building on a bunch of previous studies in the same vein – informs us that lutein could be a beneficial, supportive treatment in neurodegenerative disorders (page 20).

ME/CFS

As long COVID gets to look more and more like ME/CFS, check out two new studies reported on page 5. 1: Researchers have found “abundant” herpes virus in the brains and spinal cords of ME/CFS patients – and not in controls. 2: Researchers have confirmed that COVID-19 reactivates latent viruses – including EBV – from previous infections. And this is particularly likely to happen in people with chronic fatigue syndrome.

And the rest…

And finally, in stark contrast to the misleading and negative study on supplements and heart disease reported last month, comes a new meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Unusually this reviewed 884 studies on nutritional supplements and found “strong evidence” that several offered benefits for cardiovascular benefit. The best of the bunch were omega-3s, folic acid and CoQ10. But they were also impressed with omega-6s, l-arginine, l-citrulline, vitamin D, magnesium, zinc, alpha-lipoic acid, melatonin, catechin, curcumin, flavanols, genistein and quercetin – all of which also could help reduce cardiovascular risk.

Baffled

I can’t help wondering whether researchers now beginning to discover the power of supplements will end up somewhat baffled by the complexity of the interlocking web of micronutrients – and we haven’t even stirred in “botanicals” and probiotics. They will also eventually realise that most of the participants in their trials are living with multiple, chronic sub-optimal levels of the nutrients needed to sustain long-term health. Then maybe they’ll think about screening people and things will REALLY start to change.

Maybe not in 2023, but here’s hoping.

Thanks to Pure Encapsulations, whose sponsorship enables us to send you IHCAN in 100% compostable, “green” bags!

Simon Martin, Editor

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We’re always fully referenced

We don’t put a big emphasis on being “evidence based” in the conventional sense, mainly because the bulk of the evidence used in meta analyses and systematic reviews and to produce “guidelines” is not to be trusted. As Prof Richard David Feinman puts it, the meta-analysis is the “most dangerous” activity plaguing modern medical literature. And RCTs are of no use in assessing complex conditions that we address with multiple interventions – such as Dr Dale Bredesen’s Alzheimer’s protocol. Likewise, we highly value the hard-won clinical experience of multiple practitioners accumulated over the years and handed down over generations of evolving natural medicine practice. That said, we do put a lot of effort into referencing our features. References are online to save space, available within our members area.

We’re always fully referenced

We don’t put a big emphasis on being “evidence based” in the conventional sense, mainly because the bulk of the evidence used in meta analyses and systematic reviews and to produce “guidelines” is not to be trusted. As Prof Richard David Feinman puts it, the meta-analysis is the “most dangerous” activity plaguing modern medical literature. And RCTs are of no use in assessing complex conditions that we address with multiple interventions – such as Dr Dale Bredesen’s Alzheimer’s protocol. Likewise, we highly value the hard-won clinical experience of multiple practitioners accumulated over the years and handed down over generations of evolving natural medicine practice. That said, we do put a lot of effort into referencing our features. References are online to save space, available within our members area.

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