“Support for dietary supplements questioned.” Follow the money!

From time to time we get articles like this one:

The New York Times (11/21, Brody, Subscription Publication) surveys the scientific evidence, or lack thereof, in support of dietary supplements. The article notes that “an independent panel convened by the National Institutes of Health concluded that evidence is lacking for or against the ability of a multivitamin to prevent chronic disease.” The author also highlights the lack of support for vitamin D, calcium, fish oil, and magnesium supplements, while explaining that the best sources of these minerals remains through food.

Every time I trace their provenance I discover they have been written by some pharmaceutical pawn, a front group, or a ghost writer taking money from Big Pharma. At best, negative studies on nutrients are often poorly designed. None of them considers the levels of said nutrients in the patients being studied, not the state of the microbiome, which greatly influences how ANYTHING we put in our body is modulated by it.

The article above fails to note that all three of the micronutrients mentioned, Vitamin D, Fish oil, and magnesium, are now overpriced pharmaceutical products that stand to lose revenue if people buy them over the counter at much cheaper prices. Oh, they will try to tell you that Big Pharma’s products are better for you. Did you know that over 90% of pharmaceutical products came from Mother Nature? Shhhh, it’s a secret!

Here are a few articles from last month that show many natural products are equal if not BETTER than pharmaceuticals.

“New Options for the Use of N-Acetylcysteine in Acetaminophen Overdose,” J. Pediatr Pharm. 2016;22(4)

“Lipoic acid reduces brain atrophy in Progressive MS,” 32nd Congress of European Committee for Treatment and Research in MS, J. Neurology Reviews No 2016 p38

“High dose Vitamin D intake and quality of life in relapsing-remitting MS,” J. J. Neurol Res 2016;38:888. Benefit shows up in MRIs

The last article is not being properly reported. It turns out that Psilocybin works BETTER than anti depressants like Prozac and anxiolytics like Xanax. I hope you read it.

Psilocybin May Be a Psychiatry Game Changer

J. Psychopharmacol. Published online December 1, 2016.

“Two similar randomized controlled trials in late-stage cancer patients suggest that a single, high dose of the psychedelic drug psilocybin has rapid, clinically significant and lasting effects on mood and anxiety. The findings may be a therapeutic game changer for psychiatry.

The new findings have “the potential to transform the care of cancer patients with psychological and existential distress, but beyond that, it potentially provides a completely new model in psychiatry of a medication that works rapidly as both an antidepressant and anxiolytic and has sustained benefit for months,” Stephen Ross, MD, director of Substance Abuse Services, Department of Psychiatry, New York University (NYU), Langone Medical Center, told Medscape Medical News.

“That is potentially earth shattering and a big paradigm shift within psychiatry,” Dr Ross told Medscape Medical News.

Expert Enthusiasm

Experts in the field, including former presidents of the American Psychiatric Association and heads of major academic psychiatry departments, have described the results as “remarkable,” “very promising,” and “a critical advancement” that might “open a new era” in drug treatment in psychiatry.

According to these experts, whose commentaries appear with the two studies in a special issue of the journal, the new findings warrant more extensive studies to replicate the outcomes in diverse populations. Some urge more consideration of the unique legal, ethical, and regulatory issues surrounding the clinical use of psilocybin and related drugs.

Psilocybin, the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms,” is a serotonergic hallucinogen that acts as a 5-hydroxytryptamine 2A (5-HT2A) receptor agonist.

It was first synthesized in 1958 and was used in psychiatric research until 1970, when its widespread recreational use and association with cultural and political upheaval resulted in it and other psychedelics being reclassified as a Schedule I drug. However, in the past few decades, there has been a renewed interest in psilocybin.

According to a commentary by Alasdair Breckenridge, MD, FRCP, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom, and Diederick E. Grobbee, MD, PhD, Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center, Utrecht, the Netherlands, recent work has shown that this drug can be administered safely to patients with treatment-resistant depression and psychological distress associated with life-threatening illness, as well as those with alcohol or tobacco dependency and obsessive compulsive disorder.

The research also suggests that the drug is not habit forming, does not cause dependence, and has “extremely low toxicity,” Dr Breckenridge and Dr Grobbee note.

These encouraging findings have opened the door for clinical trials, which are now emerging.

Who’s Who of Psychiatry

In an accompanying editorial, David Nutt, MD, PhD, Imperial College London, called the studies “landmark” and the “most rigorous controlled studies to date” using psilocybin. When asked to provide commentary on these studies, experts in the fields of psychiatry, trial design, and end-of-life care all agreed to do so, despite short notice. This, said Dr Nutt, “is a testimony to the interest that these two studies have sparked.”

The list of commentary contributors reads like a “who’s who” of American and European psychiatry and “should ensure any waverers that this use of psilocybin is well within the accepted scope of modern psychiatry,” said Dr Nutt.

The commentators generally praised the studies, variously calling them “well-designed” and “methodologically rigorous.” They agreed that this is an exciting new era of psychedelic psychopharmacology. Several noted that the systematic replication of the main outcomes across two sites contributes to the confidence in the robustness of the findings.

George Greer, MD, a psychiatrist and medical director of the Heffter Research Institute, told Medscape Medical News that he was “delighted” by the new results, which are “better than what we hoped.”

The Heffter Research Institute has funded pilot studies involving psilocybin, and these new clinical trials are the largest that have been carried out to date, he said.

“What’s important is that it’s a new model for treatment of anxiety and depression where the therapy is a single dose of the drug and the benefits are profound and last for months.

“So it’s a new paradigm in psychiatry. There’s just nothing like it in psychiatry at all.”

The Heffter Research Institute is supporting research into the use of psilocybin in addiction. There are two large clinical trials involving smoking (at Johns Hopkins) and alcohol (at NYU), and a pilot study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is investigating the use of psilocybin for cocaine dependence, said Dr Greer.

The institute is also considering proposals for use of psilocybin in the treatment of resistant depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and possibly eating disorders, he said.

“Psilocybin is so unique compared to all approved drugs. It’s a tool that has potential for a lot of things, and we want to explore those potentials.”

The Heffter Research Institute is also supporting animal research into the impact of a drug similar to psilocybin on inflammation. Studies in mice found that tiny doses of the drug reduced inflammation and opened airways. “We are excited” about the possible implications for asthma and atherosclerosis, “but it’s very early,” said Dr Greer.

Hugo Rodier, MD is an integrative physician based in Draper, Utah who specializes in healing chronic disease at the cellular level by blending proper nutrition, lifestyle changes, & allopathic practices when necessary.

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