Steroids The Great Pretender - Even Low Steroid Doses Can Be Trouble
The medical community seems to have a particular blind spot about
these drugs, refusing to believe that steroids can cause the terrible
carnage that the manufacturers have long admitted to. For over 30
years we've known that steroids can routinely cause over-activity
of adrenal hormones, which produces Cushing's disease. They can
also cause muscle wasting, hyperglycemia, water retention, bruising,
insomnia, serious mood changes, menstrual problems, impotence, loss
of libido, or even allergic shock and diabetes. (Source: Physicians
Daily low doses of a commonly prescribed oral steroid, prednisone,
can double your risk of hip fractures and cataracts, scientists
reported today. Researchers have long known of the link between
higher doses of oral steroids and dangerous side effects, but the
new study shows the potential for side effects at much lower doses,
says Dr. John B. Wong, an associate professor of medicine at Tufts-New
England Medical Center in Boston. The problem is that prednisone
and other steroid medications are critical in managing diseases
in which inflammation plays a painful role, Wong says.
"Low-dose steroids are used commonly in a number of diseases,
including patients with asthma or rheumatoid arthritis," he says.
Prednisone also is used to treat Crohn's disease and other inflammatory
bowel disorders. Wong stresses that people who are taking this medicine
should not stop doing so based just on these new findings.
"If patients are worried about the long-term side effects, I'd
encourage them to discuss it with their doctors," Wong says. "The
benefits of the medicine might clearly outweigh the risks."
The study tracked the progress of 4,993 people with rheumatoid
arthritis for 15 years, monitoring their medications and subsequent
health. Those who'd taken 5 milligrams to 10 milligrams of prednisone
a day were twice as likely to break their hips and 2½ times as likely
to develop cataracts as those who had taken no prednisone, the study
says. And those who'd taken the steroid at these low doses for three
or more years were 3.2 times as likely to develop cataracts as those
who had not taken prednisone, it says. Findings are being presented
today in San Francisco at a meeting of the American College of Chest
Steroid abuse can lead to serious, even irreversible health problems.
Some of the most dangerous among them include liver damage, jaundice
(yellowish pigmentation of skin, tissues, and body fluids), fluid
retention, high blood pressure, increases in LDL (bad cholesterol),
and decreases in HDL (good cholesterol). Other reported effects
include renal failure, severe acne, and trembling. In addition,
there are some gender- and age-specific adverse effects:
- For men: shrinking of the testicles, reduced sperm count, infertility,
baldness, development of breasts, increased risk for prostate cancer
- For women: growth of facial hair, male-pattern baldness, changes in or cessation of the menstrual cycle, enlargement
of the clitoris, deepened voice
- For adolescents:
stunted growth due to premature skeletal maturation and accelerated puberty changes; adolescents risk
not reaching their expected height if they take AAS before the typical adolescent growth spurt.
Dr. Karen Becker, DVM - "Steroids (also called prednisone,
cortisone or the nondescript “allergy shot”) are the least optimal
treatment choice, as they work by suppressing your pets immune system.
Steroids actually turn the immune
system off, which improves the symptoms remarkably fast but
doesnt address the root issue of why your pets immune system is
over-reacting in the first place. Not only can steroids have a negative
effect on your pets liver, adrenal glands and kidneys, but suppressing
your pets immune system with steroids also allows for opportunistic
yeast and bacteria to grow on your pets skin, sometimes increasing
the chances that antibiotics may be prescribed."
Dr. Jeffrey Levy - "Corticosteroids (cortisone-type
anti-inflammatory drugs) are the most abused and dangerous
class of drugs. Not only do they not cure the underlying
cause of the problem, they usually make the underlying
problem, that is, the real problem, worse."
Western Medicine strives to suppress inflammation and the immune response
Western Medicine strives to suppress inflammation and
the immune response, working
against the body. If there is a fever, lower it, if inflammation
is present provide steroids to remove it and of course if Western
Medicine thinks a bacteria or virus is present or doesn't know what
is wrong, a dose of anti-biotics is provided. This way of doing
things can be effective in the immediate term, and important in
life threatening situations, but potentially devastating in the
long term especially when over-used. Because, what eventually happens,
is that immune system becomes weak and ineffective or damaged and
over-reactive and disease is pushed deeper into the body to come
back stronger and more difficult to get rid of at a later date.
This is called trading ACUTE disease for long-term CHRONIC disease,
and it is one reason why so many of us are chronically ill today.
A Holistic health care practitioner will not want to suppress symptoms
unless they view it to be absolutely necessary, because those symptoms
are a sign the immune system is working and doing its job.
Dr. Mercola - "Inflammation is a normal and beneficial
process that occurs when your body's white blood cells and chemicals
protect you from foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. Most
people don't realize that you need some level of inflammation in
your body to stay healthy, however its also possible, and increasingly
common, for the inflammatory response to get out of hand.
If yourimmune system mistakenly
triggers an inflammatory response when no threat is present, it
can lead to excess inflammation in your body, a condition linked
to asthma, allergies,autoimmune disease, heart disease, cancer and other diseases, depending on which organs the inflammation is impacting."
Fred Pescatore, M.D. - "Many of our most debilitating
diseases can be traced to an inflammatory cause. The program Jack
Challem outlines in The Inflammation Syndrome is a great first step
in ridding your body of this deadly problem."
The Inflammation Syndrome is the cumulative effect of low-grade
inflammation including the aches and pains we all experience that
grows into chronic debilitating disease. This book, the first major
book on the syndrome, reveals the powerful role that inflammation
plays in a wide variety of common health conditions from simple aches
and pains to heart disease, obesity, diabetes, Syndrome X, arthritis,
asthma, and athletic injuries. Drawing on cutting-edge research
conducted around the world, Dr. Jack Challem MD provides
a revolutionary approach to healing inflammation-related problems
through an easy-to-follow nutrition and supplement program. He also
shares the latest information on C-reactive protein,
one of the markers of serious inflammation. This book, quite
simply, shows you how to feel better for life.
Natural remedies can harness the body's innate healing mechanisms, speeding up the
healing process while also providing pain relieving, anti-inflammatory
and soothing properties. Best of all, they can do this without the
side effects and complications sometimes associated with many prescription drugs.
Natural Alternative to Steroids
What is this inflammation and why does it happen? Dr. Appleton
zeros in on one major factor: food and the allergies and intolerances
it provokes. In clear language she describes how the body's immune
system is supposed to work and how it caves in under the pressure
of the wrong foods, generating abnormal quantities of inflammatory
compounds. In many degenerative diseases, conventional medicine
is often powerless or just treats the symptoms. This book is a
great guide for identifying and removing the underlying causes of
many diseases and for restoring a harmoniously working body.
Pharmaceutical companies have spent billions of dollars in an
attempt to understand the bio-chemistry of inflammation. Unfortunately,
pharmaceutical anit-inflammatories such as Celebrex, Vioxx, and
Bextra have been shown to greatly increase the risk of heart attack,
stroke, and uncontrollable gastric hemorrhage, with potentially
fatal consequences. Are there a safer alternatives? Absolutely!
Glutathione and Immunocal
The various types of inflammation all have several things in common.
The most important, they are associated with disease and injury.
Often times inflammation can be treated by boosting intercellular
glutathione. Boosting glutathione
(GSH) can be accomplished by increasing dietary intake of cysteine
and the GSH co-factors. Over 78,000 clinical research papers on
glutathione/GSH have been published since the 1980s and they reveal
that people who suffer from systemic inflammation and chronic degenerative
diseases like cancer, Alzheimers, MS, Parkinsons, and the other
diseases listed earlier all have one thing in common -- low levels
of gluathione/GSH in their body.
Immunocals major impact on your health is providing the building
blocks for your cells to be able to make glutathione. This
is a technology that continues to be refined, and
Immunocal represent the only patented protein proven to
do this. In the development of Immunocal Platinum, the Immunotec
scientists looked carefully at both the biochemistry of protein
metabolism and at potential components of whey sub-fractions that
relate to aging, and then added two separate formulations to Immunocal.
The first is Cytokine Modulating Proteins (CMP)*, which represents
the next generation of whey protein subfractions. These components
play roles in repairing cell damage, promoting healthy cell differentiation
and growth, and inhibiting abnormal cell growth. As you can glean
from the name, CMP can also modulate cytokines, small molecules
of the immune system that signal for inflammation.
Fish Oil Benefits: The Natural Anti-Inflammatory
Joseph C. Maroon MD - "Did you know that the root cause of
serious chronic diseases such as heart disease, Alzheimer's disease,
cancer, arthritis, and asthma has been identified as chronic inflammation?
Although numerous studies have confirmed these findings, few physicians
are aware of or consider the fact that the battle against inflammation
is at the forefront of the fight for health and well-being of the
global population. Authors Joseph Maroon and Jeffrey Bost have set
out to reverse that trend with "Fish Oil: The Natural Anti-Inflammatory."
Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids can restore the body's
balance and mitigate the effects of inflammatory factors.
Fish oil and Flaxseed oil are the best source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Marine Phytoplankton reduces Inflammatory Messengers
Marine phytoplankton work on the roots of inflammatory conditions
in general, and arthritis in particular. The cell membrane of each
cell in our bodies is sending out messengers of inflammation, oxidation,
mitochondrial (energy production) dysfunction, and toxicity. These
messengers create the inflammation, or the pain we feel in our tissues,
organs, and joints. Consequently, healing the cell membrane through
nutrition (remember the cell membrane is made up of fats, sugars
and proteins), can reduce those inflammatory messengers. Much has
been written about these messengers (COX1, COX-2, prostaglandins,
cytokines, etc.) Marine phytoplankton not only heals the cell membrane,
thus reducing inflammatory messengers, but it also increases the
ability of our bodies to get rid of toxins that lead to inflammation,
oxidation, and mitochondrial dysfunction. Healing these processes
reduces pain. Marine phytoplankton also have a lot of anti-inflammatory
molecules that directly neutralize the messages of inflammation.
Of course, when such blockage comes from natural food ingredients,
such as minerals, antioxidants (zeathanthines, etc.) flavones, isoflavones,
curcumins, etc., one does not find such catastrophic side effects
as we do with the pharmaceuticals mentioned above.
Marine phytoplankton can also establish homeostasis
in the intestinal structure and function, which has been shown to
be the main source of inflammation everywhere in the body. "Leaky
gut" develops with poor nutrition, which is the reason inflammation
in the intestines (a very common problem), spills out to end up
in every cell of the body. (J. Gastroenterology 2005;129:827, "The
clustering of other chronic inflammatory diseases in Inflammatory
Bowel Disease." J. Rheumatology 2003;30:11, The gut in Ankylosing
Spondylitis, AS, and other spondyloarthropaties: inflammation beneath
Also, inflammation of the liver and endothelium is increased
by toxins such as heavy metals. Any food high in antioxidants in
general, and Marine Phytoplankton in particular, will help detoxify
these foreign chemicals. Toxins such asHomocysteine
are produced by our liver, when it lacks enough B vitamins to carry
out its functions, particularly methylation. Homocysteine has been
shown to be an inflammatory molecule, and it's practically present
in all diseases that have an inflammatory component. Of course,
FrequenSea decreases the levels of Homocysteine.
Hugo Rodier M.D. - "There are very few products that provide
all, or even most, of the raw materials to make new cells and sustain
the existing ones. The problem is that we need ALL of them at the
same time for things to work. One of those rare products that contains
almost everything you need for life (and the rebuilding of a healthy
life) is marine phytoplankton"
Steroids are Serious business for Animals
Karen Becker DVM - "Steroid medications are serious business
for animals. They inhibit several normal GI processes and also
suppress the immune system, allowing opportunistic disease-causing
pathogens to colonize. Vets often use a different term for steroids,
such as an “anti-inflammatory” shot or pill. I recommend you
ask that your pets records to be marked with the words, “No
steroids without owners consent” -- or your vet could prescribe
them without your knowledge. Although there are rare life-threatening
diseases for which treatment with steroids is sometimes warranted,
the majority of steroids prescribed in veterinary medicine are
for non-life threatening issues. If your dog or cat is itching,
or is achy, you might receive a steroid medication to treat
this minor condition. This is an unacceptable practice to me."
"Steroids are used many times for many different
illness/disease, the reason for using them is to reduce inflammation
and swelling only, they do not heal the animal. They work by
suppressing the body's immune system not healing the body of
the disease or illness! Inflammation and swelling are a normal
part of the body's immune response. ..... Steroids do not cure
anything, they only suppress the symptoms and drive them deeper
within the system." Diana Hayes DIHom Dip Animal Homeopathy
Dr. Shawn Messonnier, DVM - "Corticosteroids ("steroids")
such as prednisone are frequently used when
treating allergic dogs and cats. While chronic steroid use has
many potential side effects that can harm your pet, using low
doses for short periods of time can be done safely without long
term harm to Molly. However, whenever possible, natural alternatives
would be better choices to help control her itchy skin."
Christopher Day DVM - "Steroids and anti-histamines
have been used with variable temporary effects, with the risk
of side-effects. These drugs also render the horse ineligible
Catherine O'Driscoll - "You take your dog to the vet with a skin infection. Your
vet gives your dog a steroid injection. The skin infection clears
up. Later, you discover your dog has kidney disease. Is there a clear connection between the
steroid injection and your dog's diseased kidneys? You don't
know. But we do know that steroids are known to damage kidneys.
We also know, from the drug manufacturers' own data sheets,
that steroids can cause liver damage, brittle bones, diabetes,
adrenal insufficiency, an inability to deal with stress, and
damage to the immune system."
Do you have a question about Natural Health or need assistance?
Call 323-522-4521 or 323-989-3372
Hyper inflammation influences our health and aging process. Other
nutrients are promoted for inhibiting the COX-2 enzyme that causes
inflammation. There are many body chemicals, cells and molecules
that create inflammation through different pathways in your body.
Transfer factors appear to influence and regulate many of these pathways.
The following are a list of various factors that are involved in creating inflammation:
- TNF-a tumor necrosis factor-alpha
- IL-6 interleukin-6
- IL-1(b) interleukin-1 beta
- IL-8 interleukin-6
- THi cells
- Interleukin 17 (IL-17)
- Prostaglandin E2
- Leukotriene B4
- Nuclear factor-kappa beta (NF-kB)
Effect of long-term therapy with transfer factor in rheumatoid arthritis.
Specific immunotherapy with transfer factor (TF) was used in a chronic
experiment in a group of 50 female patients with rheumatoid arthritis
(RA) stage I-III. The patients were followed up for 24 months, clinical
and biologic examinations being repeated every 3 months. In this
period the patients received beside the basic non-steroid anti-inflammatory
therapy, one unit TF every week over a period of 6 months then one
until TF every month (10 patients) to the end of experiment. Of
the 50 patients 15 (30%) did not respond to the therapy and the
experiments had to be interrupted after 6 months. Excellent, very
good and good results were obtained in 35 patients (70%). In 12
patients the response was good but the dose of TF had to be increased
to two units/week in the first 6 months. In 13 patients the results
obtained were very good and therapy with non-steroid products + TF
was continued even after the first 6 months. In 10 patients with
RA stage I the results obtained were excellent and after 6 months
the non-steroid therapy could be interrupted and the therapy was
continued only with one unit TF every month. The study confirmed the fact that specific immunotherapy with
transfer factors represents an important adjutant in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
Bock, MD - "Because transfer factors can function as immune
system modulators, they can help to restore immune system balance
in many types of clinical situations."Kenneth Bock, MD, best selling
author on immune system modulation.
Fred Pescatore, M.D. - "Many of our most
debilitating diseases can be traced to an inflammatory cause.."
Inflammation contributes to more pain, disease, and disability
than any other condition. Unfortunately, many people unwittingly
eat foods that greatly contribute to inflammation.
The Inflammation Syndrome breaks down your body, making
you feel old, tired, and sick. Triggered by inflammatory foods in
your diet, the Inflammation Syndrome wreaks havoc on your health,
paving the way for such serious diseases as heart disease, diabetes,
Syndrome X, obesity, arthritis, allergies, asthma-even some cancers.
Jack Challem MD, reveals many of the hidden
dangers in foods that set the stage for inflammation, causing aches,
pains, and allergic reactions and increasing the long-term risk
of life-threatening diseases.
Dr. Joseph Mercola - "...the treatment of a patient with
prednisone at 60 mg per day for about three months can actually
cause AIDS. This treatment and doses often given to patients suffering
from lung fibrosis, thrombocytopenia, or other chemically induced chronic illnesses." "...AIDS
is caused by the heavy use of corticosteroids and/or cytotoxic drugs to treat many health problems. Fauci described in detail the effects
of corticosteroids on the immune system. These effects resemble the immune abnormalities that are found in patients suffering from
AIDS or Idiopathic CD4 T cells lymphocytopnea (ICL) which are also described by Fauci et al"
Steroids Side Effects and Health Hazards
The major side effects from abusing anabolic
steroids can include liver tumors and cancer, jaundice (yellowish pigmentation of skin, tissues, and body fluids), fluid retention,
high blood pressure, increases in LDL (bad cholesterol), and decreases in HDL (good cholesterol). Other side effects include kidney tumors,
severe acne, trembling and there are some gender-specific side effects.
Also people who inject anabolic
steroids run the added risk of contracting or transmitting HIV/AIDS or hepatitis, which causes serious damage to the liver.
Scientific research also shows that aggression and other psychiatric
side effects may result from abuse of anabolic steroids. Many users
report feeling good about themselves while on anabolic steroids,
but researchers report that extreme mood swings also can occur,
including manic-like symptoms leading to violence. Depression often
is seen when the drugs are stopped and may contribute to dependence
on anabolic steroids. Researchers report also that users may suffer
from paranoid jealousy, extreme irritability, delusions, and impaired
judgment stemming from feelings of invincibility.1
Research also indicates that some users might turn to other drugs
to alleviate some of the negative effects of anabolic steroids.
For example, a study of 227 men admitted in 1999 to a private treatment
center for dependence on heroin or other opioids found that 9.3
percent had abused anabolic steroids before trying any other illicit
drug. Of these 9.3 percent, 86 percent first used opioids to counteract
insomnia and irritability resulting from the anabolic steroids.
Steroids The Sleaziest of Drugs
Steroids are fast catching up with antibiotics as the most abused
class of drugs in your doctor's black bag. There's no doubt that
the discovery of steroids a half century ago was a major advance
in medicine-a life-saver for those like the late President John
F Kennedy, who suffered from Addison's disease, a disease of the
adrenal glands causing insufficient hormone production. Steroids
mimic the action of the adrenal glands, the body's most powerful
regulator of general metabolism. John Stirling, director of the
vitamin company Biocare, credits a very short course (three injections)
of steroids with jump-starting his failing adrenal system after
anaphylactic shock and saving his life. The problem is, like antibiotics,
steroids appear to be a miracle 'cure'. Patients with
crippling Rheumatoid Arthritis or asthma seem to be instantly
better on steroids.The wheeze, the swelling, the pain go away. So
doctors turn to steroids as the first, rather than last, line of
attack for their anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects.
As with antibiotics, what was once reserved for the extreme emergency is now being used
on the most trivial of conditions. Steroids are now handed out as
readily as antibiotics, even to babies, at the first sign of inflammation
of any sort. The latest drug set to replace gripe water for babies
with croup is a steroid (budesonide); hydrocortisone is included
in the latest over-the-counter medication for piles. Steroids make
up many OTC skin drugs, and are considered the drug of choice for
asthma, eczema, arthritis, back problems, bowel problems like ulcerative
colitis-indeed, for any and all inflammations or allergic reactions-and
new uses are still being invented. The sole exceptions Addison's
Disease, where steroids act as a replacement therapy of cortisone,
much as insulin is given to diabetics.
Far from being a wonder drug 'cure all', steroids cannot cure
one single condition. All they do is suppress your body's ability
to express a normal response. In a few instances, this type of suppression
will give the body a chance to heal itself. But more often, the
effect is immediate, devastating and permanent damage. And we are
only now realizing just how quickly damage can occur. Despite what
doctors say, that steroids only have side effects after many years
of use, there is no such thing as a safe dose.
Studies show that steroids cause permanent, debilitating effects
after a single dosage. With long term use, some of the more common
side effects of steroids include changes in appearance, such as
acne, development of a round or moon-shaped face and an increased
appetite leading to eight gain. Steroids may also cause a redistribution
of fat, leading to a swollen face and abdomen, but thin arms and
legs. In some cases, the skin becomes more fragile, which leads
to easy bruising. These take weeks to begin appearing.
Psychological side effects of steroids include irritability,
agitation, euphoria or depression. Insomnia can also be a side effect.
These changes in appearance and mood are often more apparent with
high doses of steroids, and may begin within days. Injected Triamcinalone
(see above), or oral dexamethasone seem to cause these changes less,
but as they stay in the body an undesirably long time, rendering
them second choices.
An increase in susceptibility to infections may occur with very
high doses of steroids. Prednisone may also aggravate diabetes,
glaucoma, and high blood pressure, and often increases cholesterol
and triglyceride levels in the blood. In children, steroids can
suppress growth. These effects are reversed once the steroids are
Steriods cause Long-term damage: quick and dirty
Steroids don't take years to damage your system, as doctors maintain.
Permanent, crippling damage can occur weeks after you've begun treatment such as:
- Osteoporosis can occur within a matter of months. Steroids
cause 8 per cent reduction in bone mass after four months (Ann
Int Med, November 15, 1993), the equivalent of the effect on
your bones of having your ovaries removed. Even low doses of
inhaled steroids (400 micrograms per day) reduce bone formation
(The Lancet, July 6, 1991).
- Low doses (10-15 mg prednisone) for a year can cause cataracts
(Surv Ophthalmol, 1986; 31: 260-2).
- Topical steroids may begin to cause eye damage or raise
pressure after two weeks. Extensive visual loss can be caused
by a 1 per cent hydrocortisone ointment, which is available
OTC (BMJ, August 20-27, 1994).
- Rub-on steroids have caused Cushing's syndrome in children
as soon as a month after treatment has begun (Arch Dis Child,
1982; 57: 204-7).
- Inhaled steroids slowth growth in children after six weeks
(Acta Ped, 1993; 82: 636-40. See also, The Lancet, December
- Dr. Al-Bayati - "High doses of corticosteroids and
other immunosuppressive agents cause AIDS" Dr. Al-Bayati
Side effects that may be caused by the long-term use of steroids
include cataracts, muscle weakness, avascular necrosis of bone and
osteoporosis. These usually do not occur with less than four weeks
Avascular necrosis of bone, usually associated with high doses
of prednisone over long periods of time, produces hip pain and an
abnormal MRI scan. It occurs most often in the hip, but it can also
affect the shoulders, knees and other joints. Caught early, the
joint can be saved by "decompression" by an orthopedic surgeon.
Once full developed, Avascular necrosis is painful and often requires
surgical joint replacement for pain relief.
Steroids reduce calcium absorption through the gastrointestinal
tract which may result in osteoporosis, or thinning of the bones.
Osteoporosis can lead to bone fractures, especially compression
fractures of the vertebrae, causing severe back pain. Calcium, at
least 1500 mg of the calcium carbonate form or equivalent, should be taken.
There is also a relationship between steroids and premature arteriosclerosis,
which is a narrowing of the blood vessels by fat (cholesterol) deposits.
In general, there is a close relationship between the side effects
of steroids and the dose and duration of their use. Thus, a high
dose of steroids given over a long period of time is more likely
to cause side effects than a lower dosage given over a shorter period
"Furthermore, my investigation revealed that the majority of
AIDS patients suffer from metabolic and endocrine abnormalities
. The high prevalence of adrenal insufficiency observed among
AIDS patients provides strong evidence that AIDS in these patients
is caused by the use of corticosteroids" Mohammed Ali Al-Bayati Ph.D Toxicologist, and Pathologist
Dr. Al-Bayati discovered that the steroid treatments, Prednisone and Azathioprine had
completely destroyed my immune system and were the culprits that were not allowing my bodily systems to repair themselves. In
essence my HMO gave me the appearance of medication induced "Aids."
are often prescribed intermittently for short-term reactive treatment of acute flares and supplemented
by emollients. Reactive treatment with corticosteroids offers rapid
and effective symptomatic relief for acute flares. However, there
are considerable safety concerns associated with their use, particularly
when they are applied continuously. Potential adverse events are
primarily cutaneous (principally skin atrophy, but also telangiectasia,
hypopigmentation, steroid acne, increased hair growth and rosacea-like
eruptions), but there may be systemic effects (suppression of the
hypothalamicpituitary- adrenal (HPA) axis, growth retardation, increased
risk of glaucoma cataract and Cushings syndrome).1620
Do you have a question about Natural Health or need assistance?
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Effect of two prednisone exposures on mood and declarative memory
An article from: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
E.S. Brown MD
Corticosteroids are essential for life and an integral part of the stress response.
However, in excess, corticosteroids can be associated with a variety
of effects on the brain including hippocampal atrophy and even neuronal
death, mood changes, and declarative memory impairment. The magnitude
of mood change in patients receiving prednisone is reportedly associated
with previous lifetime corticosteroid exposure, consistent with
a sensitization or kindling process whereby greater effects are
observed with repeated exposure. To our knowledge, the effect of
multiple corticosteroid exposures on mood and memory has not been
previously examined prospectively in animals or humans. In this
study, 30 human volunteers, with no history of systemic prescription
corticosteroid therapy, were given (in random order using a crossover
design) two 3-day exposures of prednisone (60mg/day) and one of
identical placebo, with 11-day washouts between each medication
Before and after each 3-day prednisone/placebo exposure, declarative
memory was assessed using different versions of the Rey Auditory
Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT) to minimize practice or learning effects,
while mood was assessed with the 21-item Hamilton Rating Scale for
Depression, Young Mania Rating Scale and Internal State Scale. No
significant mood changes were found. However, a significant decrease
in aspects of RAVLT performance was observed after the first prednisone
exposure consistent with a decline in declarative memory performance.
The decline in RAVLT performance was significantly smaller after
the second prednisone exposure as compared to the initial prednisone
exposure. Thus, a second prednisone exposure was associated with
an attenuated prednisone-effect on declarative memory. These data
suggest tolerance or habituation, rather than sensitization, to
prednisone effects on declarative memory during a second exposure.
Implications and possible explanations for the findings are discussed.
Steroid Abuse in Today's Society
Once viewed as a problem strictly associated with body builders,
fitness "buffs," and professional athletes, the abuse of steroids
is prevalent in todays society. This is an alarming problem because
of increased abuse over the years, and the ready availability of
steroids and steroid related products. The problem is widespread
throughout society including school-age children, athletes, fitness
"buffs," business professionals, etc. The National Institute on
Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that more than a half million 8th and
10th grade students are now using these dangerous drugs, and increasing
numbers of high school seniors don't believe steroids are risky.
Another study indicated that 1,084,000 Americans, or 0.5 percent
of the adult population, said that they had used anabolic steroids. These are just a couple of examples of how widespread
the problem has become.
Sudden death on steroids
Steroids, even in low doses, can kill or maim. The common thread
in the following cases was that the drugs weren't used for long
periods but had a swift and devastating effect. Steroids gave James
Hart osteoporosis in three months and killed him inside of one year.
In July 1994, James Hart was diagnosed as having fibrosing alveolitis,
a lung disease. A body-dye scan at the time showed that he was otherwise
healthy, with every other organ besides the lung in good shape.
Up until that spring, he'd been a keen golfer, playing a full round
twice a week. He was given oxygen therapy at home, plus 12 tablets
of 5 mg of prednisolone per day. The drug was intended to give his
body a boost, to help him gain weight. Within a month, however,
James's weight increased dramatically, bloating out of all proportion.
His skin became very thin and his arms and hands were discoloured
purple, bruising at the slightest touch. Although the steroids weren't
alleviating the lung problem to any degree, and the dosage was halved
within a month, James suffered terrible mood swings, and soon developed
a misshapen neck and back, usually termed buffalo hump, a well-known
side effect of steroids.
Five months after he'd started on steroids, James was crippled
and incapacitated, with pain to his back and ribs; eventually, his
family discovered he had a broken vertebrae and damaged rib-cage
due to osteoporosis. He was no longer able to go to the toilet on
his own, and a month later, he'd contracted diabetes and developed
a liver problem.
By early June 1995 he could no longer eat due to mouth and gum
ulcers, which were slow to heal. A month later-exactly a year after
he'd started on steroids-James died of liver, pancreatic and kidney
failure. When he was dying, his family could not even hold his hands,
because it would damage his skin and cause blood vessels to leak.
On his death certificate, the lung disease was not considered the
major cause of his death.
Steroids killed nine-year-old Lexie McConnell after only five
and a half weeks. In August 1993, Lexie was diagnosed as having
toxoplasmosis. The consultant put her on 80 mg per day of prednisolone.
Immediately, she suffered severe side effects, huge weight gain,
terrible pains, holes in her tongue and black stools. After nearly
a month, at her parents' pleading, the doctors quickly lowered the
dosage to 60 mg, 40 mg, 20 mg. In excruciating pain, Lexie was taken
to a hospital, where it was discovered she'd contracted chickenpox.
Four days later, she died. A few years later, another eye specialist
declared that a simple course of antibiotics could have cleared
up her infection. The above excerpt is from Ursula Kelly's site
years I had been a "junkie"--addicted to prescription and over the counter drugs. used oral and topical anti-inflammatory corticosteroids
for 9 years to suppress my eczema/psoriasis. The steroids' side effect nearly killed me and did nothing to cure my eczema.
Why elimination or suppression of the symptom is NOT the same
as elimination of the disease
The side effects caused me
to swell-up like a balloon and triggered terrible mood
swings from deep depression to nasty outburst our rages. Functioning
of vital organs such as my liver, kidneys, lungs and spleen
were nearly shut down and I thought I would die. Here is the testimonial of my journey into health recovery.
Do you have a question about Natural Health or need assistance?
Call 323-522-4521 or 323-989-3372
In Western medicine, cortisone is the most common treatment for skin ailments
The ingestion of cortisone or the application of cortisone cream
begins the vicious cycle of degeneration. Cortisone actually compromises
skin integrity and suppresses the body's natural ability to heal.
Skin, being the largest organ of the human physiology, is fundamentally
linked to all systems of the body. The use of cortisone, whether
external or internal, causes adrenal depletion and thus the domino
effect begins, eventually forcing the reactions into the lungs the
internal skin of the body. Western medicine focuses so predominantly
on the symptoms of a disease and rarely addresses the core issues,
especially in the case of a miasmic response.
An important step in initiating the healing process is to offer
the client the opportunity to understand that their skin condition
is their body's way of expressing unresolved emotions through their
skin. By assisting the client to connect with and acknowledge these
emotions and encouraging them to verbalize their feelings, the body
can begin to heal. Cleansing the large intestine and then the liver
and gall bladder with herbal support and dietary management to avoid
the triggers, as well as implementing ways to neutralize the stress
that triggers the underlying emotional response, are key strategies
in the health regime. The practitioners prime focus is to first
inform the client of the process involved and then to fully open the miasm with homeopathic
support. If the life force and immune system of the client are low,
then it is very important to support the blood chemistry with appropriate
foods and herbals. In particular, the reduction of stress will assist
the miasm to deactivate." Understanding Eczema and Psoriasis for a practitioner.~ Brian Knight
Warning ! Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs
HOUSTON --(May 20, 2003)-- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
(NSAIDs) may damage more of the intestine than previously thought,
according to images taken by a swallowable, capsule-size camera
pill used in a Baylor College of Medicine study. According to the
study, announced today at the Digestive Disease Week 2003 conference
in Orlando, capsule endoscopy detected NSAIDs-related injury in
the small bowel, an area of the gastrointestinal tract unreachable
by other diagnostic tools such as endoscopes. The tool detected
small bowel erosions in 62 percent of NSAID users compared to 5
percent of non-NSAID users.
"More than 100 million prescriptions for NSAIDS are written annually
in the United States," said Dr. David Graham, lead author of the
study and a professor of medicine and molecular virology at Baylor
in Houston and chief of the gastroenterology section of Houston
VA Medical Center. "The study shows that the patients who take NSAIDs
regularly have an increased risk of small intestinal mucosal ulceration
Many of our most debilitating diseases can be traced to an inflammatory cause
Dr. Hyman MD - "Inflammation is a central player in the
5 Forces of Illness, cutting across traditional boundaries and specialties
in medicine. Anywhere there is pain; fatigue or aging, there is
likely to be inflammation. Typically, inflammation is recognized
with the four classic signs - tumor, rubor, calor and dolor - Latin
for swelling, redness, heat and pain. If we have had an acute injury
or a sore throat we are very familiar with this process. However,
the real concern is not our acute response to injury, infection
or insult, but the chronic smoldering inflammation that slowly destroys
our organs, our ability for optimal functioning and leads to rapid
aging. Our common treatments such as anti-inflammatory drugs, or
steroids like prednisone, though often useful for acute problems,
interfere with the body's own immune response and lead inevitably
to serious and deadly side effects. (Recall that as many people
die from taking anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen as die every
year from asthma or leukemia - stopping these drugs would be the
equivalent to finding the cure for asthma or leukemia."
Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book
The connection between inflammation and heart disease, arthritis, and other
chronic ailments has become increasingly clear. Many food allergies
and poor dietary choices over stimulate the immune system and cause
inflammatory responses that erode the body's wellness and pave the
path for ill health. Based on her naturopathic practice, Jessica
Black has devised a complete program for how to eat and cook to
minimize and even prevent inflammation and its consequences. The
first part of the book explains the benefits of the anti-inflammatory
diet with an accessible discussion of the science behind it. The
second half contains 108 recipes. The author offers many substitution
suggestions and includes a healthy ingredient tip with each recipe.
Most of the dishes can be prepared quickly and easily by even novice
cooks. A week of sample menus for summer months and another for
winter are included, as well as a substitutions chart, allowing
readers to modify their favorite recipes to increase their healing
A groundswell of nutrition conscious doctors and veterinarians are
beginning to recommend to their clients that they supplement their
diet with a daily dose of flaxseed oil. These doctors are finding
remarkable results in clearing up skin conditions, relieving arthritic
and inflammatory pain, as well as improved overall health. Flaxseed
oil and other healthy oils, rich in Omega-3 fatty acids play an
important role in immune anti-inflammatory responses.
Dr. Jessica Black - "The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe
book was developed with the idea of reducing overall inflammation
in the body which allows the body to function more efficiently.
As naturopathic physicians, I and many of my colleagues use this
particular diet with each and every patient. Everyone that adopts
this diet sees some positive change. I have seen arthritis patients
drop 50 percent (or more) of their pain, people with seasonal allergies
or asthma become disease-free, and chronic disease sufferers receive
hope from the health improvements they noticed upon beginning this
diet. Because we are working to improve body metabolism, this is
the perfect diet to use to slow the aging process. Our society is
demanding a new revolution in health care and this diet is the perfect
adjunct to natural treatments of various kinds. Anyone who wants
to take control of their health and begin feeling more vibrant needs
to begin this diet. What makes this diet different than many other
diets on the market is that it is designed to be a therapy for the
body to begin its own process of healing. This diet is not a binge
diet to use when you want to lose weight, although that is one positive
result often experienced from adopting this diet. It is truly designed
to promote a whole lifestyle change and to stimulate the natural
healing mechanism that is present in each and every one of us. This
diet can help to reduce chronic disease in adults and children,
reduce the symptoms of aging, and promote optimal health in those
who use it, thus building a better future for us, our children, and our world."
Do you have a question about Natural Health or need assistance?
Shirley's testimonial (author of this website)
Call 323-522-4521 or 323-989-3372
I was on steroids for 9 years to suppress a lifelong eczema condition.
The side effects were devastating and nearly killed me. With holistic
alternatives, I recovered my health and my sanity. For the past
20 years I have been free from prescription and over the counter
drugs of any kind and I am now a perfect picture of health and vitality."
Read my testimonial.
The effects of MSM on rheumatoid arthritis almost mimic that of cortisone
"People taking MSM may notice other benefits as well, such as
softer skin, harder nails, thicker hair, and softening of scar tissue.
Over the last two years, Lawrence, who has treated more than 1,000
patients with MSM, sees its application particularly useful for
pain and allergy treatment. "The effects of MSM on rheumatoid
arthritis almost mimic that of cortisone and it's more effective
for allergies than antihistamines - with out the side affects."
Many consumers have already heard about MSMs long list of benefits.
In St. Louis, at The Natural Way store, consumers.. who purchase
MSm tablets or capsules are "people with arthritis, joint and ligament
problems, lactic acid buildup, gastrointestinal disorders, and people
who want to help their hair, nails and skin."
a natural form of organic sulfur found in all living organisms,
is present in body fluids and tissues. It is part of the amino acid
chain. Without the presence of the proper amount of MSM in the body,
the amino acids will continue to build the glands but fail to produce
the correct enzymes, so animals and people are then prone to unnecessary
illnesses. MSM is an important dietary supplement for people and animals.
MSM (Methyl-Sulfonyl-Methane) is a pure, organic, non-toxic,
non-metallic element that occurs widely in nature. MSM has been
shown to be completely non-toxic in study after study, even in high
dosages. Storehouses of MSM, in mammals, decreases with age, which
may be caused by changing diet or body metabolism. This should not
be allowed to occur. Your body uses MSM to continually create new
healthy cells to replace old ones. If your body is not receiving
the proper nutrition including MSM, the body may produce weak dysfunctional
MSM detoxifies the body and increases blood circulation. It is
also a free radical scavenger, prevents overreaction to other medicines,
controls acidity, coats the intestinal tract so parasites lose the
ability to hang on, helps to utilize vitamins and minerals, thereby
providing the means to derive the maximum benefit from what we and
our animals eat.
Stanley W. Jacob MD - "In a double-blind study of MSMs impact
ondegenerative arthritis, he found that patients who ingested 2,250mg
of MSM a day for six weeks felt an improvement in their pain reduction
by 82%, on average."
Ronald M. Lawrence MD - "I've been practicing medicine
for 50 years, and in all those years I've never seen a substance
like this" Lawrence says in The Journal of Anti-Aging Medicine a
peer-reviewed scientific journal, published Lawrence's preliminary
study results last July. Arthritic cartilage has only one-third
the level of sulfur concentration of normal cartilage - perhaps
that is why MSM has been so effective in treating arthritis. But
researchers don't know for sure if MSM is beneficial for arthritis
because of its sulfur content or because of its anti-inflammatory
and analgesic properties. Unlike aspirin, which offers immediate
pain relief "MSM takes three to four weeks before you have noticeable
changes Lawrence says, "except in rheumatoid patients - they have
felt differences in just one day, and certainly by three or four
days." According to Jacob, Lawrence and Zucker's forthcoming book,
MSM can be a natural remedy for: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, tendonitis and bursitis,
muscular soreness and athletic injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, post - traumatic inflammation and pain,
heartburn and hyper-acidity, headaches and back pain, allergies."
Consumers worried about oral MSMs toxicity can be assured it's
safe, according to Lawrence. "It's safer than water" he says. Patients
at the Oregon Health Sciences University who have received oral
MSM as part of their treatment show no toxic build-up, even after
years of ingesting more than 2,000mg of MSM each day. The body may
actually use what it needs, then flush out the excess sulfur within
Excerpts from a Holistic chat member:
- "I've had acute ulcerative colitus for 6 years. A few years
ago the disease got really bad and the combination of compromised
intestine and prednisone (yuck) caused me to get a secondary
disease, leaky gut, which is essentially a floating inflammation
looking for a home. Within 7 days I went from normal to being
so swollen with rheumatoid arthritis that my husband had to
sit me up in bed, carry me to the bathroom, and I even got a
handicapped thing for my car. I heard about MSM a few times;
one college track star was taking it for shin splints, and some
post office workers were taking it for repetitive stress syndrome.
My understanding of it is that it's a substance that's in your
bone marrow, part of regrowth, and as you get older, you produce
less of it. It's odorless, no side effects, no contraindications,
and your body will urinate out what it doesn't use, so it's
hard to take an overdose. I started taking it and I'm positive
it's 90% of the cure of my arthritis. I have ZERO symptoms of
arthritis now. I recommend MSM to anyone in a state of bone
or joint reparation."
- "MSM is awesome stuff. I am going to start using it again.
Even though I am on AIDS drugs and they make my hair thin out,
while I was on MSM for a few months my hair grew in quite thick.
When I stopped using it my hair started falling out like crazy
again. So, that is why I'm going to start up on it again. My
girlfriend uses it for her year round environmental allergies
and finds that it works better for her than allergy shots. This
is good stuff for sure. Not to mention how nice it makes one's
Coping With Prednisone and Other Cortisone-Related Medicines
It May Work Miracles, but How Do You Handle the Side Effects?
by Eugenia Zukerman, Julie R., MD Ingelfinger
"When flutist Eugenia Zukerman developed a rare lung disease and began taking the powerful drug prednisone as part of her
treatment, she was subjected--with little choice and less preparation--to a barrage of side effects: intense mood swings, bloating, changes
in her hair and skin, gastrointestinal problems, and more." Amazon.com Editorial Reviews
Cats are more resistant than dogs to the effects (and
side-effects) of corticosteroids.
The most common side effects associated with the use of corticosteroids
are increased drinking, urinating and appetite. These effects
are less noticeable in cats than dogs but weight gain does seem
to accompany the use of corticosteorids in cats pretty frequently.
Prednisone and other corticosteroids may cause other side
effects, as well. Hairloss, dullness or thinning of the hair coat
is occasionally seen in cats. Thinning of the skin and increased
susceptibility to skin infections may occur. Panting is commonly
seen in dogs as a side effect of corticosteroid use and is seen
less frequently in cats, as well. We have had a couple of feline
patients who developed diarrhea as a side effect of prednisone
usage. Ulcers are reported to occur sometimes after corticosteroid
usage but I don't recall seeing this problem in any of our patients.
Generalized immune suppression can occur, particularly at
higher corticosteroid doses or with frequent administration
of corticosteroids. This is the side effect that we worry the
most about in cats, as there is some evidence that corticosteroids
can make it possible for dormant feline leukemia virus or herpes
virus infections to reappear. It is a good idea to watch carefully
for signs of illness when it is necessary to use corticosteroids
in a cat and to report any signs of illness to your vet as soon
Corticosteroid may lead to an increased incidence of pancreatitis
in dogs but I am not sure if this problem occurs in cats. Use
of cortisones makes it harder to control insulin dosages in
diabetic pets and they may even help to induce diabetes in susceptible
In people, corticosteroid induced psychoses are reported.
I honestly think that this occasionally occurs in pets but have
no real scientific data to support that belief. Still, if your
cat starts hiding out all day, is more aggressive, or exhibits
any recognizable behavioral changes it would be worthwhile to
report them to your vet.
There are probably other side effects that I haven't thought
of. Sometimes when I look at the lists of things that corticosteroids
do that aren't good for the patient it is hard to understand
why we use them. But it is important to remember that they also
have beneficial effects, as you have seen. As long as the beneficial
effects are important and are providing an increased quality
of life it seems reasonable to use corticosteroids. You just
have to be careful to watch out for the pitfalls and adjust treatment plans accordingly."
Mike Richards, DVM
Do you have a question about Natural Health or need assistance?
Call 323-522-4521 or 323-989-3372