why I dont recommend diureticsDiuretics reduce edema (fluid retention) and lower blood pressure by reducing sodium and water retention. The three types of diuretics (thiazides, potassium-sparing diuretics, and high-loop diuretics) all work differently, but the goal is to lower blood pressure and/or heart fluid (CHF). These medications include Oretic, Euduron, Reneses, Hygroton, Bumex, Lasix, Anhydron, Diuril, Edecrin, Demadex, Dyrenium, Aldactone, Midamor, Zaroxolyn, and Lozol.

Diuretics may be needed, at least short term for reducing high blood pressure, but long term they are only covering up the symptom-not correcting the cause(s) of the problem.

Never discontinue your diuretic without working with a health care professional. And diuretics are a necessity for individuals with congestive heart disease who are experiencing fluid retention. DON’T STOP TAKING YOUR MEDICINE WITHOUT CONSULTING A KNOWLEDGIBLE HEALH EXPERT.

Lasix depletes vitamin B1 (thiamine), which is a crucial nutrient for heart muscle. A B1 deficiency can cause any of the following, fatigue, mental confusion, depression, anxiety, upset stomach, and tingling in the hands and feet. It is estimated that 50% of elderly adults in the US are deficient in vitamin B1.

Now add Lasix and you create another senile dementia case or someone who now needs an antidepressant medication. This scenario of chasing a side effect with another medication is all too common. Researchers found that when patients taking Lasix added 100 mg of vitamin B1 a day, their heart function improved. Imagine that.16

Diuretics may cause the following side effects; Excessive uric acid in the blood (gout), magnesium deficiency, potassium deficiency, electrolyte imbalance, muscle cramps, fatigue, headaches, lowered HDL, excessive sugar in the blood (diabetes), fever, rash, irregular menstrual cycles (Aldosterone), impotence (same), and excessive urination and thirst.17 The use of thiazide diuretics and potassium-sparing diuretics has demonstrated a modest increased risk of breast carcinoma, and the use of certain diuretics may increase the risk of breast carcinoma among older women.18

Diuretics have been shown to cause an eleven-fold increase in diabetes.19 Let me repeat this. Diuretics, yes those little water pills, make you 11 times more likely to develop life-threatening diabetes! Obviously, my patients who tell me, “Doc, I’m just taking a little old’ water pill,” don’t know they may be setting themselves up for some serious health problems.

Aldactone is associated with several severe side effects, especially for individuals with kidney disease. It can cause kidney failure, muscle paralysis, and mental confusion in older adults.20

Dyrenium is a diuretic medication that has been linked to kidney stones, kidney failure, and bone marrow suppression.21

Excess salt and sugar can make you retain water. The DASH diet, see my Heart Disease book, or do a Google search, is a great way to prevent swelling from excess salt intake.

Many foods can act as a diuretic and will aid in the production of urine. This will help you remove fluids from your body. Remember to always use moderation and caution when using a diuretic.

Apple cider vinegar — is a natural diuretic and helps maintain potassium levels.

Artichoke — natural diuretic

Asparagus — contains asparagines, a chemical alkaloid which helps flush the kidneys.

Beets — attacks floating body fat and fatty deposits.

Brussels sprouts — cleanse the cell and stimulate thought kidneys and pancreas.

Cabbage — breaks up fatty deposits.

Carrots — speeds up metabolic rate and helps remove fat and waste from the body.

Cranberry juice — aids in the removal of excess fluid from the body.

Cucumber — stimulate the kidney and aid in the removal of uric acid.

Dandelion And Dandelion Leaf — natural diuretic, and leaf key aides in the detoxification of the urinary tract.

Green tea — natural diuretic and has been used for centuries in China.

Fennel — has a calmative and diuretic property.

Horseradish — speeds up the metabolism and helps eliminate fluid.

Lettuce — aids in metabolism and flushing of toxins from the system.

Nettle — has natural diuretic properties.

Oats — contains silica in natural diuretic.

Tomatoes — are rich in vitamin C that aids metabolism in the release of water from the kidneys.

Watermelon — natural diuretic helps increased urination.

My favorite natural diuretic is standardized hawthorne root and dandelion root. Normally I find that patients who lose any extra weight eliminate problems with water retention and swelling. In my practice I use my Jump Start Weight Loss Program, liberal intake of lemon water (at least 64 ounces a day), and if needed the herbals mentioned above.

You can learn more about my weight loss program here –

http://archive.aweber.com/healthmattersrm/ATnmU/h/More_Testimonials_for_my.htm

But is Anyone Paying Attention?

Accounting for 6.5% of the total market share, statin drugs are the most widely sold pharmaceutical drugs in history. To date, Forbes Magazine tells us that statins are earning drug companies $26 billion in annual sales.

sleeping pills are not the answerPfizer spends over $3 billion each year to convince us that we need more and more drugs to be healthy. The public and the medical profession have been bamboozled by the legions of drug reps, billion dollar ad campaigns, and creative statistics.

Every weekday, some 38,000 Pfizer sales reps, roughly the size of three army divisions, make their pitches around the globe. They’re armed with briefcases full of free drug samples, reams of manipulated clinical data, and lavish expense accounts for wining-and-dining doctors and their staff. The medical profession, its organizations, the media, and the public at large have swallowed the statin drug propaganda, hook, line and sinker.

In 2004, Pfizer’s blockbuster drug Lipitor became the first prescription drug to make more than $10 billion in annual sales. Over twenty six million Americans have taken Lipitor, the most popular statin drug. Pfizer is now running full-page Lipitor ads in numerous papers, including The New York Times and USA Today. The ads feature Dr. Robert Jarvik, inventor of the artificial heart. The ad reads:

In patients with multiple risk factors for heart disease, LIPITOR REDUCES RISK OF HEART ATTACK BY 36%*

The noteworthy part of this ad is the asterisk and this explanation of the 36% statistic: “That means in a large clinical study, 3% of patients taking a sugar pill or placebo had a heart attack compared to 2% of patients taking Lipitor.”

Another Jarvik/Lipitor Times ad proclaims: In patients with type 2 diabetes, LIPITOR REDUCES RISK OF STROKE BY 48%* If you also have at least one other risk factor for heart disease… The explanation: That means in a large clinical study, 2.8% of patients taking a sugar pill or placebo had a stroke compared to 1.5% of patients taking Lipitor.

Twenty six billion dollars a year for a one to two percent decrease risk for heart attack and stroke- that’s what all the fuss is about? It almost seems like snake oil. Yet, some doctors are recommending we put statins in the drinking water. Others are now suggesting that infants with a family history of heart disease should take statins as a preventative measure.

The Washington Post ran an article that reported on the PROVE-IT study: “The findings should prompt doctors to give much higher doses of drugs known as statins to hundreds of thousands of patients who already have severe heart problems,” experts said. Perhaps “the experts” aren’t aware of studies that show low serum total cholesterol is associated with a marked increase in mortality in advanced heart failure.

One of the largest of these studies was conducted at UCLA Department of Medicine and Cardiomyopathy Center in Los Angeles. The study involved more than a thousand patients with severe congestive heart failure (CHF). After five years, 62 percent of the patients with cholesterol below 129 mg/l had died, but only half as many of the patients with cholesterol above 223 mg/l.

The Post article goes on to say:

In addition, it will probably encourage physicians to start giving the medications to millions of healthy people who are not yet on them and to boost dosages for some of those already taking them to lower their cholesterol even more.

The last line of this quote above should illicit alarm from every taxpayer in America.

Why? Because it will be the taxpayers who will pay for all those Medicaid and Medicare statin prescriptions — amounting to billions of dollars spent on worthless and dangerous drugs. Worse, we’ll also be paying for all the costs associated with the drug-induced side effects of the statin medications – congestive heart failure, polyneuritis, muscle pain, depression, memory loss (dementia), poor immune function, and fatigue to name a few.

Ok the real question is this: “Do statin drugs reduce deaths associated with cardiovascular disease?” Contrary to the Lipitor ads, apparently not, since a meta-analysis of 44 trials involving almost 10,000 patients showed the death rate was identical at 1 percent of patients in each of the three groups–those taking atorvastatin (Lipitor), those taking other statins and those taking nothing.

And what about using statins as a prophylactic measure?

A meta-analysis of 5 major statin drugs which showed that statin drugs provided a total absolute reduction in total mortality of 0.3% among those who showed no signs of having cardiovascular disease (primary prevention).

We’d be wise to read the study below before putting statins in the drinking water.

The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology reported on an analysis of all the major controlled trials before the year 2000 and found that long-term use of statins for primary prevention of heart disease produced a 1 percent greater risk of death over 10 years compared to a placebo.

The only thing statin drug trials have proven for sure is that statin drugs lower cholesterol by inhibiting an enzyme known as HMG-CoA-Reductase. Regardless of their ability to lower cholesterol, they failed to show that this effect has any meaningful benefit for preventing early death from heart disease, heart attack or stroke.

And they’ve proven to be a catalyst for dangerous side effects. The most common side effect associated with statin drugs is muscle pain and weakness.

The symptoms are most likely due to the depletion of CoQ10, a nutrient that supports muscle function. One study found that 98% of patients taking Lipitor and one-third of the patients taking Mevachor (a lower-dose statin) suffered from muscle problems.

A Denmark study that evaluated 500,000 patients found that taking statins for one year raised the risk of nerve damage by about 15%–about one case for every 2,200 patients. For those who took statins for two or more years, the additional risk rose to 26%.

Former astronaut, Dr. Duane Graveline describes in his book, Lipitor: Thief of Memory, his complete memory loss due to the side effects of Lipitor. The incidence of congestive heart failure (CHF) has steadily increased since the introduction of statin drugs. In fact, while heart attacks have slightly declined, CHF has more than doubled since 1989. Statins were first prescribed in 1987.

An article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that in every study with rodents to date, statins have caused cancer. In the CARE trial, breast cancer rates of those taking a statin went up 1500%.

And one last reason to avoid statins- men whose cholesterol levels are lowered through the use of prescription medications double their chances of committing suicide.

In closing…

I hope the public and the brainwashed medical community pays attention to the asterisk and the fine print. A one to two percent benefit earns Pfizer 10 billion dollars a year. Mind-boggling isn’t it?

References

  1. Eleanor Laise. The Lipitor Dilemma, Smart Money: The Wall Street Journal Magazine of Personal Business, November 2003.
  2. Hecht HS, Harmon SM. Am J Cardiol 2003; 92:670-676.
  3. Jackson PR. Br J Clin Pharmacol 2001;52:439-46
  4. The ALLHAT Officers and Coordinators for the ALLHAT Collaborative Research Group. JAMA 2002;288:2998-3007.
  5. Heart Protection Study Collaborative Group. Lancet 2002;360:7-22.
  6. Matsuzaki M and others. Circ J. 2002 Dec;66(12):1087-95.
  7. Jacobs D and others. Report of the conference on low blood cholesterol: Mortality associations. Circulation 86, 1046-1060, 1992.
  8. Horwich TB and others. Journal of Cardiac Failure 8,216-224,2002.
  9. Therapeutics Initiative. “Evidence Based Drug Therapy. Do Statins have a Role in Primary Prevention?” April-May-June 2003. The University of British Columbia. www.ti.ubc.ca.
  10. American Heart Association. Inflammation, Heart Disease and Stroke: The Role of C-Reactive Protein. www.americanheart.org. Accessed August 15, 2002. Miyao Matsubara, Katsuhiko Namioka and Shinji Katayose. Smith DJ and Olive KE. Southern Medical Journal 96(12):1265-1267, December 2003.
  11. Gaist D and others. Neurology 2002 May 14;58(9):1321-2.
  12. Newman TB, Hulley SB. JAMA 1996;27:55-60
  13. Sacks FM and others. N Eng J Med 1996;385;1001-1009.
  14. Rodger H. Murphree, D.C.; Heart Disease What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You.
  15. Harrison and Hampton Publishing, Birmingham, AL 2005-2012.

Girl sitting on sister BE 3Using a large national database, FDA researchers analyzed prescription drug trends among children ages up to age 17 between 2002 and 2010 on an outpatient basis.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that ADHD prescriptions increased by 46 percent, and there were also higher numbers of medications prescribed for asthma and birth control.

The United States uses approximately 90% of the world’s Ritalin. Amphetamines are chemically similar to cocaine. Both cause similar reactions in the brain. If we were to give cocaine to hyperactive children, instead of Ritalin, we’d most likely get similar results. Yet doing so would be criminal. “We have become the only country in the world where children are prescribed such a vast quantity of stimulants that share virtually the same properties as cocaine,” says Gene R. Haislip, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

You can read my article on ADHD “Another Overhyped Dangerous Drug,” here.

 

If so, avoid nightshade foods.

These include tobacco, eggplant, bell peppers, tomatoes, and white potatoes. Nightshade (family: Solanaceae)foods have been linked to an increase in arthritis symptoms. In one study, 70% of those with arthritis reported relief from chronic pain over a period of seven years after eliminating all nightshade foods. Between 20% and 30% of my patients on this regimen experience moderate to dramatic pain relief. They typically report less pain overall but especially in their hands, feet, knees, and ankles.

strawberry, good for achy joints? Dr. Rodger MurphreeBlueberries. Blackberries. Raspberries. Strawberries. Recent studies have confirmed the antioxidant effects of berries on various health conditions.

Cardiovascular health. Eating berries can improve platelet function, blood pressure, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good”) cholesterol levels, according to a Finnish study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Researchers recruited 72 middle-aged subjects who had an elevated risk of heart disease because of high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, or other factors. Half of the subjects were randomly assigned to eat two servings a day of a combination of whole berries, purées, and juices that included strawberries and raspberries as well as several kinds of European berries that share nutritional qualities with American berries: bilberries (sometimes called European blueberries), lingonberries (similar to small cranberries), black currants, and chokeberries. The other group consumed control products: sugar water, porridge, and marmalade.

After eight weeks, researchers found that among the berry eaters, beneficial HDL cholesterol increased by 5%, blood platelet function was inhibited by 11% (reducing the risk of blood clots), and systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure measurement) went down an average of 1.5 mm Hg, while the controls experienced little change in these measures — suggesting that berry consumption can have a positive effect on cardiovascular risk factors. The researchers hypothesized that the polyphenol content of the berries was responsible for these benefits.

Cancer risk. Preliminary studies also demonstrate that the phytochemicals in berries may prevent precancerous gastrointestinal conditions from progressing to cancer. Research at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center has found that consuming black raspberries (darker versions of the more typical, red raspberries) may protect against esophageal cancer in people with the precursor condition, Barrett’s esophagus. Research is currently under way to determine whether black raspberries can also prevent colon polyps from developing into colon cancer.

Black raspberries have high concentrations of anthocyanins and other antioxidants that are believed to have cancer-fighting properties. However, the effects of anthocyanins are limited to the gastrointestinal tract, which comes into direct contact with these substances; anthocyanins are not well absorbed into the bloodstream, so they are not considered effective for cancers that are unrelated to the digestive system.

Most of the material you’re about to read comes right out of the Physicians Desk Reference, the bible for prescription drugs. You’re usually given this information when you purchase your prescription drug.

Do you know anyone who actually reads his or her prescription inserts? Unfortunately, due to the never-ending promotion of “a drug for every ailment” campaign, we’ve become jaded to the potential side effects of various prescription medications. The commercials sound something like this; “Do you suffer from wanting to spend time alone? If so, you may be suffering from ‘I’m too shy’ disease. Ask your doctor about the latest psychedelic pill for shyness disorder.” Then, in happy, positive, inflected, mind-numbing fashion comes, “In clinical trials, this drug had the following minor side effects: headaches, diarrhea, nausea, cough, bladder infections, depression, suicidal thoughts, colitis, fever blisters, weakened immune system, and hair loss.”

Drugs can and do save lives. However, relying solely on drug therapy for symptom management can be risky, even deadly. Most drugs don’t cure anything. They merely mask the symptoms. This isn’t all bad and we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. However, the public at large is being lulled into a false belief that drugs, particularly cardio drugs, are a safe (and only) option to managing high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Today’s standard, AMA-approved medicine is rooted in treating symptoms, rather than causes. Its dependence on drugs and surgery is ruinously expensive to patients, insurance companies, and society as a whole.”

—Derrick Lonsdale, MD, “Why I Left Orthodox Medicine

Calcium Channel Blockers

Calcium channel blockers include the drugs Diltiazem (Cardizem CD, Cardizem SR, Dilacor XR), Nifedipine (Procardia XL), and Verapamil (Calan, Calan SR, Isoptin, Isoptin SR, Verelan).

Calcium channel blockers slow the rate at which calcium passes to the contractile fibers of heart muscle and into the vessel walls, a sequence that relaxes the vessels. Relaxed vessels allow the blood to flow more easily, thereby reducing blood pressure. Calcium channel blockers are used to treat chest pain (angina), high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and irregular heart beats (arrythmias).
In 1995, the Public Citizen’s Health Research Group filed a petition with the Food and Drug Administration to add a warning to the labeling of all calcium channel blockers. This action was in light of observational studies, which revealed that calcium channel blockers increase the risk of heart attack and death.1

Calcium channel blockers were put on the market without proper testing, according to Dr. Kurt Ferver, Wake Forest School of Medicine. For those who take them, there is not only an increase in strokes, but a five-fold increase in the risk of heart attacks.2

The National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute has warned doctors not to use short-acting Procardia, if at all. The warning comes from 16 studies involving over 8,000 patients. The risk of dying is 1.06 times greater than average when a dose of 30 to 50 milligrams a day is used. However, the risk jumps to 3.0, or three times the average, when 80 milligrams a day is recommended. The maximum dose listed for Procardia is 180 mg a day.

Death is a pretty scary side effect

Why in the world are doctors still using calcium channel blockers for individuals with moderately elevated high blood pressure? Especially when there are safer and more effective drugs to choose from.

One study shows that those taking a calcium channel blocker are 60% more likely to have a heart attack than those taking a diuretic or beta blocker.3

Common Side Effects associated with calcium channel blockers are fatigue, flushing, swelling of the abdomen, ankles, or feet, and heartburn. Less common side effects are changes in heart rate, tachycardia or bradycardia (slow heart rate), shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, dizziness, numbness in hands and feet, gastrointestinal bleeding, chest pains, jaundice, and fainting.5

Calcium channel blockers may increase the risk of developing breast cancer.6 Reports have demonstrated an increased risk of cancer among users of Verapamil, but it is too early to conclude that calcium channel blockers are associated with cancer.7

Beta Blockers

Beta blockers “block” the effects of adrenaline (and norepinephrine) on a cell’s beta-receptors. This slows the nerve impulses that stimulate the heart. Therefore, the heart does not work as hard. Beta blockers are generally prescribed to treat high blood pressure (hypertension), congestive heart failure (CHF), abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), and chest pain (angina). Beta blockers are sometimes used in heart attack patients to prevent future attacks. Commonly prescribed beta blockers include: Atenolol (Tenoretic, Tenormin), Metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), Nadolol (Corgard), and Propranolol (Inderal).

Beta blockers have several potential side effects, including congestive heart failure, shortness of breath, heart block, fatigue, lethargy, drowsiness, depression, insomnia, headaches, dizziness, tingling in the hands and feet, wheezing, bronchospasm, increased severity of asthma or chronic pulmonary obstructive disease, decreased sex drive, muscle fatigue, reduced HDL (good cholesterol), and increased LDL and triglycerides.8

I’m going to guess that if you knew a drug could cause heart death (congestive heart failure), you wouldn’t take it.

I’d surely say, “No thanks doc. I think I’ll pass on that drug.”

Does every female in America suffer from a beta blocker deficiency? There are periods in my practice where every new female patient is on a beta blocker.

Beta blockers must be the drug du jour since anyone with slight mitral valve prolapse, high blood pressure, or migraine headaches is placed on these drugs. Beta blockers can be very valuable for a minority of patients.

However, the majority of patients who take beta blockers don’t need them and suffer all sorts of health-robbing side effects. Depression, poor sleep (depletes the natural sleep hormone melatonin) severe fatigue, and breathing problems (bronchitis, Asthma, etc.) are common side effects in those taking beta blockers. Patients taking these medications often report that they just don’t have any energy.

I remember a recent patient who was on at least three medications to control her beta blocker side effects. She was taking Lexapro, an antidepressant, Ambien to help her sleep, and was using a bronchial inhaler for asthma. Once she discontinued her medications with the help of her family doctor and substituted nutritional supplements I recommended, her mitral valve prolapse and blood pressure returned to normal. The fatigue, depression, and breathing problems are slowly disappearing now that she is off her beta-blocking medication.  There are a number of safe and effective natural approaches to reverse mitral valve prolapse. I share these can’t miss protocols in chapter 9 of my book Heart Disease What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You.

Here’s one of the most important health tips I could ever share-research your medications, be an informed consumer!