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Natural Alternatives to Steroids Devastating Side Effects

Like antibiotics, steroids are one of the most abused class of drugs in the orthodox veterinarian field of medicine. At one time, they were reserved for the extreme emergency cases. Today, they are being used on the most trivial of conditions. Why? They give the appearance of an instant miracle cure which matches the expectation level of the client. So, many doctors and veterinarians turn to steroids as the first, rather than the last, line of attack for their anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects. Steroids mimic the action of the adrenal glands, the body's most powerful regulator of general metabolism. Far from being a wonder drug, steroids cannot cure one single condition. All they do is suppress the body's ability to express a normal response.

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 Desk Reference).

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.

Coping with Prednisone "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 Physicians.

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."

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Western Medicine strives to suppress inflammation and the immune response

The Autoimmune ConnectionStandard 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 The Inflammation Syndrome 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
Natural Anti-Inflammation

Stopping Inflamation-Relieving the cause of Degenerative Disease 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.

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Fish Oil Benefits: The Natural Anti-Inflammatory

Fish Oil-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 the surface.")

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

dog laying downDr. 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 for competition."

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."

question mark Do you have a question about Natural Health or need assistance? Contact Shirley
Call 323-522-4521 or 323-989-3372

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Transfer Factors

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
  • Lipoxygenase
  • THi cells
  • Interleukin 17 (IL-17)
  • Glycotoxins
  • 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)

Transfer factor-Natural Immune BoosterKenneth 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

Immune System Support Education, The Holistic Approach 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 stopped.

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 14, 1991).
  • 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 of treatment.

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 of time.

"Furthermore, my investigation revealed that the majority of AIDS patients suffer from metabolic and endocrine abnormalities [1]. 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."

Topical corticosteroids 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

question mark Do you have a question about Natural Health or need assistance? Contact Shirley
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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

Neurobiology of Learning and Memory 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 exposure.

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.

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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

Note from ShirleyFor 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.

question mark Do you have a question about Natural Health or need assistance? Contact Shirley
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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


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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 and bleeding."

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 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 potential.

Flaxseed Oil and Other Omega-3 Life Giving Oils

Inflammation Free Diet Plan 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."

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Natural Alternative to Steroids
Shirley's testimonial (author of this website)

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."

The Miracle of MSM-The Natural solution for painMSM, 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 cells.

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 12hours.

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 skin look!!"
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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

Coping with Prednisone "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 as possible.

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 pets.

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

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Beyond Antibotics

Shirley was once a victim of the never-ending flow of propaganda from the medical establishment who wants to maintain a monopoly on the word "cure" and who wants us to believe that we have no control over our own health and that our only hope to get "well" is with drugs, surgery and radiation. You can read an account of Shirley's journey into health without drugs, surgery or radiation.


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