What You Should Know About Alternate Therapies

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Alternative Medicine and Health

Alternative medicine, Selenium

Tips On Alternative Medicine

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

January 6, 2001

During 2001 millions of North Americans will continue to die of cancer and other diseases. But can some of these maladies be prevented by the use of alternative, non©traditional medicine? This week, how selenium, green tea, vitamins, flavonoids and milk can help you practice preventive medicine.

Some scientists believe that selenium is an anti©cancer mineral. Studies have shown that people who live in areas where the soil is rich in selenium are at less risk of cancer. Other research studies indicate that patients with cancer have low levels of selenium in their blood.

But how does selenium fight malignancy? Selenium is an antioxidant which protects the body from "free radicals". These substances, formed during the metabolic process, have been linked to the process of ageing and development of cancer cells.

Brazil nuts are high in selenium. Just eating a few Brazil nuts a day will increase the body's supply of selenium. But since these nuts are also rich in fat, be sure to decrease your fat intake in other foods.

How about a cup of Chinese green tea with lunch? Researchers claim that just one cup of green tea a week will decrease the risk of cancer of the esophagus (foodtube) by half.

But Australians and others who bask in the sun should drink black tea. We've known for years that Australians have the highest rate of malignant melanomas in the world.

Exposure to the sun's rays generates free radical oxygen atoms that can change the genetic code of skin cells and make them become cancerous.

Dr. Ivor Dresoti, an Australian researcher in Adelaide, claims black tea increases the skin's resistance to ultraviolet rays. For instance, mice that drank green tea had an 18 percent reduction in skin cancer. Those given black tea showed a 54 percent decrease in malignant skin lesions.

Researchers are not certain why tea protects against skin cancer. But tea contains potent polyphenols which possess antioxidant properties to counteract this mutation.

It's no secret that milk builds strong bones and teeth. Some studies show that consumption of dairy products or calcium supplements fights colon cancer. But many children and adults are not consuming enough milk. Dr Emily White of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center studied patients who had large bowel malignancy. She compared these patients with healthy controls over a 10 year period.

Individuals who took multi©vitamins also tended to add extra vitamins A, C, E, folic acid and calcium. Dr. White reports that these people showed a decreased rate of colon cancer by as much as 50 percent.

Today folic acid, a B vitamin, should be taken by all women who are trying to become pregnant. This decreases the risk of spinal cord defects in the fetus by about 70 percent.

But it's vital to start the folic acid before becoming pregnant as the first few weeks of fetal development are critical. Too many women start folic acid after they become pregnant, thus missing its benefits in the first few weeks of pregnancy.

Folic acid is found in oranges, lemons, grapefruit, beans, broccoli, spinach, whole©grain breads and cereals. Or you can get it by taking a vitamin pill which contains folic acid, B6 and B12.

These same B vitamins also help to fight heart disease by decreasing the level of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine is one of the 20 amino acids used to make protein.

Some authorities believe that too much homocysteine causes more atherosclerosis than high cholesterol. And that a daily supplement of B vitamins is a good insurance policy against coronary attack.

The "French paradox" is an interesting phenomenon. The French consume large amounts of high fat foods, but have a lower incidence of heart disease than other nations. Researchers have speculated for years that it may be due to their large intake of wine.

But suppose you're a teetotaller? Non©alcoholic fruit drinks containing flavonoids also help to fight heart disease. But you'll have to drink about four times as much fruit juice as wine to achieve the same result.

Like Aspirin, flavonoids have an anti©clotting effect on blood. But be sure what you buy is really fruit juice. The nutrition label should say 100 percent fruit juice. Don't accept fruit drinks labelled as "punch", "blend" or "cocktail". Some of these products may have as little as 10 percent fruit juice.

Do you suffer from "the blues"? The British Medical Journal reports that St. John's Wort combats mild to moderate depression. This is no surprise. Hippocrates wrote about this herb 2,400 years ago. But don't self©medicate. Doctors have found that some patients are taking several prescription and herbal medicines at the same time. This can cause a harmful drug interaction.

W. Gifford-Jones M.D is the pen name of Dr. Ken Walker graduate of Harvard. Dr. Walker's website is: Docgiff.com

My book, �90 + How I Got There� can be obtained by sending $19.95 to:

Giff Holdings, 525 Balliol St, Unit # 6,Toronto, Ontario, M4S 1E1

Pre-2008 articles by Gifford Jones
Canada Free Press, CFP Editor Judi McLeod