The French study used Prednisolone, a synthetic steroid that acts as a substitute for cortisol, that is produced by the Adrenal glands. Two adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys in the lower back that produce a number of hormones that affect metabolism and immune function, both humoral and cell-mediated. The connection between adrenal hormones and the immune system is just now beginning to be understood.
The Prednisolone study was done at the University of Rene Descartes in Paris, France. An article by Jean-Marie Andrieu and W. Lu appeared in BMC Med. 2004 May 5:2(1):17.
AIDS has been defined since the mid-1980's as when a person with HIV infection has fewer than 200 functional CD4 Helper cells. The CD4 cells are instrumental in directing other types of white blood cells to search out and destroy infections of various kinds both inside and outside of the cells.
For two decades, some researchers have sought to preserve or increase the CD4 Helper cells and have had some success with using interleukin-2, a TH1 type cytokine. A few researchers have tried using anti-inflammatory steroids like Prednisolone, Prednisone or the natural form known as hydrocortisone.
Hydrocortisone and cortisol are the same thing while cortisone is the spent or bound form of cortisol.
The researchers in Paris, Andrieu and Lu, wanted to test the hypothesis of down-regulating the immune system destruction process to determine its effects on the CD4 Helper cells after in vitro research found that Prednisolone (PDN) had no effect on the viral load but had strong activity in preventing the death (apoptosis) of the CD4 cells.
They designed the study to evaluate the clinical, immunologic and virologic effects of PDN. The drug (PDN) was given to a group of 44 HIV+ patients who had CD4 cells counts of over 200/microl.
After one year the mean CD4 count of the group had increased from 441 to 553 plus or minus 43 cells/microl.
The study got underway between July 1992 and Feb, 1993. A total of 44 patients with CD4 cells/microl ranging from 207 to 775 were treated with Prednisolone, 0.5 mg/kg/d, over 6 months and 0.3 mg/kg/d thereafter.
RESULTS: No clinical AIDS developed under Prednisolone; side effects were mild. Serum viral loads remained stable. The percentage of patients maintaining CD4 cells over entry was 43.2% at two years, 11.45 at five years and 4.5% at 10 years. Prednisolone postponed CD4 cell decrease in a viral load dependent manner for a medium of two years and for up to 10 years in a fraction of the patients.
Comment from the editor: It appears that the two French researchers were clueless as to how Prednisolone helped preserve the CD4's. Most likely, the benefits of PDN are from lowering and normalizing the interleukin-6 levels that in turn stabilized the viral load and increased the CD4's.
New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ. Wallis RS et al (1)
Like the French study, this one used a cortisol substitute (Prednisone) in what I would consider a high dose or 40 mg per day 40 mg/d and it was used in persons with a similar range of CD4s (over 200). However, unlike the French study, antiretroviral drugs were also used along with the Prednisone. 24 patients were enrolled. After 8 weeks, CD4 counts increased 40% over baseline and CD28+ CD8+ T cells increased. Prednisone also inhibited TNF alpha production without affecting T cell responses to antigens and mitogens. The authors stated that further studies of other agents to limit cellular activation in AIDS was warranted.
Note from M. Konlee: It appears that these researchers observed one immunological effect, the reduction in TNF-a, but missed the link to IL-6 reduction, another immunological benefit from the use of Prednisone. While increases in the CD4's were observed in both the French and New Jersey study, the average 21 mg Prednisolone used daily in the French study and 40 mg of Prednisone in the New Jersey study are in my opinion too high for safe long term use. As one mg of Prednisolone or Prednisone is the equivalent to about 5 mgs of hydrocortisone and the body produces about 40 mg daily of cortisol, you see just how high these doses were.
Persons currently using 20 mg of hydrocortisone daily to treat HIV are using the equivalent of 4 or 5 mg of Prednisone or Prednisolone daily. 20 mg of hydrocortisone and 5 mg PDN or Prednisone would be considered equivalent amounts for therapeutic purposes. Long term studies using low dose hydrocortisone or low dose synthetic substitutes like Prednisolone have not been done.
From our perspective, hydrocortisone is preferred as it is the natural form and has the same molecular structure as the cortisol produced by the adrenal glands.
Ref: 1. J Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. 2003 Mar 1;32(3):281-6
David Miyauchi MD, Honolulu, HI 808-949-8711 Richard Simmons MD Westerville, OH 614-895-0102 Susan Groh, MD Merrick , NY Ronald Peters MD Cave Creek, AZ Bruce Levine DC Syosset, NY 516-364-3382 Gayle Eversole CRNP, PhD, AHG Lake Stevens, WA Christina White BA, Richland Center, WI Robert Carson MD, Hawthorne, NY
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This past year, Cortef, a brand name of Pfizer, was unavailable for several months and we had reported in 2004 that it had been discontinued. However, sources at Pfizer this past month told us that they are making this natural form of cortisol (hydrocortisone) available in 5 mg, 10 mg and 20 mg tablets.
I was unable to find any published studies that used thyroid supplementation along with either Prednisone, Prednisolone or hydrocortisone in the treatment of HIV or AIDS. No published study replicated the work of Alfred Plechner DVM who successfully treated over 35,000 pets in his career with this combination. The studies that showed mixed results always combined the steroids with the drug cocktails also known as HAART (Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy).
The more I research this subject, the more I appreciate the work of Dr. Plechner. Plechner said improving IGA levels are critical to recovery. He is certainly on point here. IGA improves mucosal immunity, reduces HIV and viral replication in the intestines and reduces stress on the immune response to digestion thereby reducing allergies and food sensitivities. Reduced food allergies then reduces stress on the Adrenal glands and reduces the demand for more cortisol.
Plechner said the diet must be modified to remove foods to which the patient is sensitive for recovery to take place. In many respects, this is similar to the Gerson diet and other hypoallergenic diets that reduce adverse immune responses to the byproducts of digestion and thus reduce adrenal stress.
Milk products: This is a big problem area. Milk, ice cream and hard cheese can increase inflammatory reactions including increasing COX-2 enzymes causing rheumatoid arthritis, sore joints and stressing the adrenal glands thereby depleting free cortisol levels and thus increasing interleukin-6 levels. However, some people can tolerate cultured milk products including buttermilk, sour cream, yogurt, whey protein and kefir. Butter which contains no proteins is not a problem.
Gluten from Wheat: Gluten is a protein found in wheat and some other grains like oatmeal that can cause intestinal distress and stress the immune response causing depletion of adrenal hormones like cortisol thereby increasing inflammatory responses possibly including IL-6 and PGE2. All persons immune compromised need to avoid all wheat products and follow a gluten free diet using only gluten free grains like rice, quinoa and others.
There are other common food allergens including eggs and some night shade plants green tomatoes, green peppers and green hot peppers. Most people can tolerate red potatoes, red or yellow peppers and red tomatoes. The ripened state of these foods is better tolerated.
Testing for food allergens is the only sure scientific way to determine what to use and what to avoid.
More than 20 years ago, HIV infection was named "Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome" or AIDS for short. After studying how the immune system inter-reacts with HIV infection for the past 15 years, It appears that AIDS is not a "deficiency syndrome" at all but rather a "dysfunction syndrome." What is the difference? Acquired Immune Dysfunction Syndrome still spells AIDS. Yes, but in dysfunction you have an imbalance of the immune system while in deficiency you have a complete downgrading of the immune response at all levels.
The difference in treatment is that in a dysfunction syndrome, you need to suppress the overactive part of the immune system that is not effective (TH-2) against the disease process in order to strengthen the arm of the immune system (TH-1) that is effective against the disease process.
In a strict deficiency syndrome, you do anything to stimulate the immune system, the entire immune system.
What is now known about AIDS and cancer is that while interleukin-2 and IL-12 (TH-1 cytokines) and gamma interferon are deficient, IL-6 and TNF-a (TH-2 cytokines) are overproduced. The over production of IL-6 and TNFa is the immune profile that drives both AIDS and cancer progression. When Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha (TNFa) is high, it contributes directly to wasting syndrome or loss of lean muscle mass in both AIDS and cancer. When IL-6 is elevated, it drives cancer growth and the replication of the HIV virus.
In both AIDS and cancer, the elevated IL-6 stimulates B cell production and excess antibody and even auto-antibody production. This is part of what is called "Humoral Immunity." Humoral immunity protects a person from the common flu and cold. However, the common cold and flu are two illnesses that rarely exist in persons with either AIDS or cancer. Persons with AIDS and cancer need not be given a seasonal flu shot. The Flu shot increases the antigenic load and this is counterproductive to a cell-mediated immune response (TH-1) that is essential for recovery in persons with either AIDS or cancer.
by Kulkarni AS, Kulkarni SS. Int Conf AIDS 2004 Jul 11-16;15:abstract no. D10076. Sushrut Ayurvedic clinic, Ichalkaranji,
India. The use of plants, herbs as a source of medicines and food is as old as Humanity. Herbs are probably the complementary therapy most widely used by HIV-positive people. Why are they so popular? What can these therapies offer people with HIV?
Description -Today, people are attracted to herbal therapy because they want to live healthier lives. People with HIV continuously explore herbal medicines in search of treatments that will help to rebuild the immune system, address drug side effects and HIV-related conditions
I observed herbal supplements that can provide nutritional support to help prevent or relieve health problems.
Some herbs used as immune therapies include Ashwagandha, Astragalus, Atractylodes, Ginseng, Shatavari. Herbs used as antimicrobials include garlic, goldenseal, neem, propolis, Some of the antioxidant herbs are ginger, ginkgo and turmeric.
Some people living with HIV use herbs to help treat or prevent conditions related to the virus. e.g. Aloe vera for skin problems.
Some people use herbs to cope with the side effects of the drugs they take to combat HIV infection. E.G.ginger for nausea.
Ashwagandha, ginseng and shatavari are herbs used for general well-being. Lesson learned - The basis of Herbal Supplements is to support the body's Vital Force to assist the body to heal itself.
HERBAL THERAPY helps HIV+ patient by 1. maintaining health, 2. reducing chances of infections, 3. improving quality of life, 4. Regaining confidence of life.
Recommendation - In the absence of a vaccine or cure for HIV/AIDS, care becomes important. Herbs as microbicides, antioxidants, immunomodulator, rejuvenator play an important role in the treatment & care of PLWHAs. Herbal therapy, though, is not substitute for antiretroviral therapy but can be used as an cost effective complementary therapy.
My interest in Ashwagandha was peaked when someone left a message about an article in the Townsend Letter that this botanical, that has been used in India for the past 3000 years, could regulate and balance the body's hormones.
A search of the medical data bases retrieved information that Ashwangandha was not only an adaptogen, but an antioxidant and increased thyroid function as well. Ashwangandha should improve body temperature as it increase T3 the active form of thyroxin. It should reduce adrenal stress, increase energy and well being and help anyone with chronic fatigue.
Withania somnifera, also known as Ashwagandha, Indian ginseng, or winter cherry, has been an important herb in the Ayurvedic and indigenous medical systems for over 3000 years. Historically, the plant has been used as an aphrodisiac, liver tonic, anti-inflammatory agent, astringent, and more recently to treat bronchitis, asthma, ulcers, emaciation, insomnia, and senile dementia.
Clinical trials and animal research support the use of Ashwaganda for anxiety, cognitive and neurological disorders, inflammation, and Parkinson's disease. Ashwaganda's chemopreventive properties make it a potentially useful adjunct for patients undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. Ashwaganda is also used therapeutically as an adaptogen for patients with nervous exhaustion, insomnia, and debility due to stress, and as an immune stimulant in patients with low white blood cell counts.
The importance of Ashwagandha root extract in the regulation of thyroid function with special reference to type-I iodothyronine 5'-monodeiodinase activity in mice liver has been investigated. Although the root extract (1.4 g kg administered daily for 20 days by gastric intubation increased serum 3,3',5-triiodothyronine (T3) and tetraiodothyronine (T4) concentrations and hepatic glucose-6-phosphatase activity, hepatic iodothyronine 5'-monodeiodinase activity did not change significantly.
Furthermore, Ashwagandha root extract significantly reduced hepatic lipid peroxidation, whereas the activity of antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase and catalase were increased. These findings reveal that Ashwagandha root extract stimulates thyroidal activity and also enhances the antiperoxidation of hepatic tissue.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this paper is to review the literature regarding Withania somnifera (ashwagandha, WS) a commonly used herb in Ayurvedic medicine. Specifically, the literature was reviewed for articles pertaining to chemical properties, therapeutic benefits, and toxicity.
DESIGN: This review is in a narrative format and consists of all publications relevant to ashwagandha that were identified by the authors through a systematic search of major computerized medical databases; no statistical pooling of results or evaluation of the quality of the studies was performed due to the widely different methods employed by each study.
RESULTS: Studies indicate ashwagandha possesses anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antistress, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, hemopoietic, and rejuvenating properties. It also appears to exert a positive influence on the endocrine, cardiopulmonary, and central nervous systems. The mechanisms of action for these properties are not fully understood.
Toxicity studies reveal that ashwagandha appears to be a safe compound.
CONCLUSION: Preliminary studies have found various constituents of ashwagandha exhibit a variety of therapeutic effects with little or no associated toxicity. These results are very encouraging and indicate this herb should be studied more extensively to confirm these results.
In 2003, I interviewed Alfred Plechner DVM on his theories and protocols for normalizing endocrine (hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal) [HPA] and thyroid hormones to normalize immune function in animals with chronic immune dysfunction such as cats with FIV (feline immune deficiency) and pets with allergies, cancer, fatigue and other chronic conditions. Most of this interview is published in two chapters in the "Immune Restoration Handbook."
To recap Plechner's theories, a defect in the Adrenal Cortex limits the amount of cortisol it can produce. Under stimulation from ACTH produced by the Pituitary, Plechner theorized that this causes the Adrenal glands to produce estrogen from the middle adrenal cortex when the adrenals are unable to produce more cortisol. Plechner states that the excess estrogen levels then impairs immune function.
Over a period of several decades, Plechner reports he has successfully treated over 30,000 pets by using a low-dose of thyroid in combination with low-dose cortisol. He has observed improvements in the health and conditions of these animals and frequent remissions of their illnesses. Many aspects of Plechner's work are corroborated by other researchers but the link of immune dysfunction to elevated estrogen levels is not conclusive and has inconsistencies.
For example, I have talked to many persons who have chronic fatigue syndrome and/or multiple food allergies that actually have low rather than high estrogen levels. A search of the scientific literature fails to link elevated estrogen to immune dysregulation such as a predominance of TH2 cytokines (interluken 4, 5 6 and 10) with IL6 being the most consistent and problematic of the TH2 cytokines. In cancer and AIDS, there is substantial research linking high levels of IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) to wasting syndrome and HIV progression to AIDS.
In candidiasis, chronic insomnia and CFIDS, elevated plasma levels of IL6 have been widely and consistently reported for several years. Elevated IL-6 is linked to increased replication of HIV, HHV-6, CMV, EBV, herpes and other viruses.
Today, in TV ads to sell new weight loss products (Cortislim Relacore etc), cortisol produced for protective effects from stress is being portrayed as the cause of obesity. The causes of obesity are really complex and involve food allergies and sensitivities along with overeating, liver toxicity, insulin resistance, low levels of serotonin and lack of exercise among other things.
Cortisol has a reputation for being immunosuppressive. Why would anyone with Candidiasis, Cancer, HIV/AIDS, allergies, rheumatism and CFIDS want to use low-dose hydrocortisone or "Cortef"??? Why?
The answer is that like a teeter-totter, the TH1 arm of the immune system is on one side and the TH2 is on the other. When the TH2 arm is over-active, it depresses the TH1 arm. Lowering the TH2 arm of the immune system raises the TH1 arm. In the middle is, in theory, the TH3 balance point with TH3 being the digestive tract. When food allergies and sensitivities develop and a person develops leaky gut syndrome, these conditions will lead to inflammatory reactions by increasing IL-6 and antibody production.
IL-6 is an essential TH2 cytokine needed to support the function of humoral immunity particularly antibody production, although researchers have reported neuroprotective effects as well. The problem of imbalance occurs when levels of IL-6 do not return to normal and as a result depresses TH1 cytokine function. Several factors appear to contribute to elevated interleukin-6. They are:
Researchers have found that in acute stress, both cortisol and IL-6 levels increase. With lower levels of stress, cortisol and other glucocorticoids reduce IL-6 secretion. IL-6 has been found to stimulate the pituitary to release ACTH, the hormone that then stimulates the adrenals to produce more cortisol. Over time, the body has evolved a unique set of checks and balances to control the effects of stress and immune challenges. It is now very evident that proinflammatory cytokines like TNF and IL-6 influence the functioning of the HPA (Hypothalamus, Pituitary and Adrenal) axis.
There are several components to any successful program to balance the immune system including a hyper allergenic diet and anti-inflammatory supplements including cortisol have a supportive role.
By helping to normalize IL-6 levels, low-dose cortisol along with low dose thyroid therapy has many benefits to offer. Besides reduced food allergies and chemical sensitivities, these benefits include reduced replication of HIV, candidiasis, CMV, HHV-6, CMV, EBV, herpes, less fatigue during the day and more restful sleep at night along with improvements in Natural Killer cell function and macrophage function.
Now, I am about to show you through published scientific research that one of the main side effects of low levels of free cortisol and adrenal exhaustion is elevated levels of interleukin 6. In so doing, I propose that it is elevated IL-6, not estrogen, that was the primary cause of immune dysfunction in Plechner's 30,000 pets that he successfully treated with low dose thyroid and cortisol. The correct use of low dose cortisol may also help restore normal circadian cycles of cortisol (high in the morning and low at night) essential to restore normal sleep patterns.
The use of low-dose cortisol would probably not be needed if we learned how to get the liver to convert cortisone (the inactive form) to the active form of cortisol. In immune-compromised patients, levels of bound cortisol ( called cortisone) will sometimes be high while levels of free cortisol - the active form - will be low. In persons under the stress of chronic infections, the need for free cortisol will be higher than in the normal population. Normal or lower cortisol levels should not necessarily be considered good news for this group while elevated cortisol levels should not necessarily be considered bad news.
An important test is to measure for plasma levels of IL-6. Ask your physician for a "TH2 cytokine panel test." This test will measure IL-6 and other TH2 type cytokines.
Cortisol supplementation can be given and then adjusted up or down to bring IL-6 levels back to the normal reference range which is a desirable goal and will have wide range benefits and symptomatic relief for many chronic conditions of inflammation. There are also several other supplements (i.e. fish oil, some anti-oxidants etc) and other dietary factors that can increase free cortisol levels and help return IL-6 to normal reference ranges.
The Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratory (www.gsdl.com) states in their Adrenal Cortex Stress Profile "Researchers have proposed that CFS is actually a disease of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Unlike ordinary fatigue, however, CFS is typically characterized by low free cortisol levels and adrenal insufficiency. Raising cortisol levels by even small amounts has been found to improve unexplained fatigue symptoms in many CFS patients."
Geneva, Italy. J. Rheumatology.
Cutolo M et al from the University of Genoa in Italy report in the J Rheumatology April 29, 2002 on a 12 month study involving 41 patients recently diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR). Basically this is a form of rheumatism associated with muscle pain. Patients were monitored for serum cortisol levels, DHEA, androstenedione and IL-6 concentrations at baseline and after 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months of glucocorticoid treatment.
They report that "serum concentrations of IL-6 at baseline were significantly higher in PMR patients than in controls. During 12 months of glucocorticoid treatment IL-6 levels dropped significantly at one month; thereafter they remained stable and did not increase again despite tapering of the glucocorticoid dose."
They concluded: "This study found reduced production of adrenal hormones (cortisol, DHEAS) at baseline in patients with active and untreated PMR. The defect seems mainly related to altered adrenal responsiveness to the ACTH stimulation (i.e. increased 17-OHP), at least in untreated patients. The 12 month glucocorticoid treatment of patients reduced the production of inflammatory mediators (i.e. IL-6) in a stable manner that persisted after glucocorticoids were tapered off."
This study validates the use of low-dose anti-inflammatory steroids (cortisol etc) long-term to down regulate an over active TH2 cytokine (i.e. IL-6). Researchers have also found that in humans, injections of IL-6 increases ACTH secretion, but more so in males than in females (1) Since ACTH stimulates the adrenals to produce more cortisol, the use of low-dose cortisol to reduce IL-6 ultimately reduces ACTH that in turn reduces the signals to the Adrenals to produce more cortisol. Thus the HPA axis comes back into balance and helps to restore a normal 24-hour hormonal and cytokine cycle.
1. Differential male and female adrenalŠ. cortisol responses to interleuken-6 in humans. Silva C et al.; ANN NY Acad Sci 2002 Jun;966:68-72
Straub RH et al report in March 2002 (1)
Straub et al reported that the number of swollen joints correlated inversely with the ratio of serum cortisol to serum IL-6 in rheumatoid arthritis patients. In rheumatoid arthritis and reactive arthritis patients, they found lower levels of ACTH, cortisol, ASD, DHEAS, and 17-OH-progesterone in relation to levels of IL-6 and TNF (tumor necrosis factor). They concluded that the level of cortisol and ACTH are relatively low in relation to levels of IL-6 and TNF in untreated patients with early rheumatoid arthritis and reactive arthritis.
1. Arthritis Rheum, 2002 Mar;46(3): 654-62
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD was first brought to my attention after the Vietnam War although media reports state it was first diagnosed after World War II. Interrupted sleep, fatigue, nightmares and uncontrolled nervous reactions to loud noises that bring back reactions to the trauma of past combat experiences are some of the symptoms.
According to an article published in "Neuroimmunomodulation" in 2001 by Baker SDG et al, at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Baker et al report that "Interluken-6 (IL-6) secretion is suppressed by glucocorticoids and stimulated by catecholamines. Patients with PTSD have decreased cortisol and increased catecholamine secretion."
In a study that measured the IL-6 and norepinephrine levels in the Cerebrospinal fluid of PTSD patients vs. healthy controls, the researchers found that "PTSD patients had increased concentrations of IL-6 in their Cerebrospinal fluid." They report that low cortisol secretion in patients with PTSD may account for the elevated IL-6 secretion.
Chronic fatigue syndrome most likely is associated with defects in the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands or HPA axis. This could involve overactive B cells that produce cytokines (TH2 types IL-4, 5 6 and 10) and antibodies that are not effective against infections and inflammatory conditions. The cytokines may contribute to daytime fatigue.
Vgontzas An et al report in the journal of "Metabolism" (1) "interluken-6 and tumor necrosis factor are fatigue-inducing cytokines, and the daytime secretion of IL-6 is negatively influenced by the quantity and quality of the previous night's sleep."
The researchers hypothesized that fatigue during the day is caused by increased secretion of IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) during the daytime hours.
Eleven insomniacs and 11 healthy controls were matched for this study. Patients were tested for 4 days in a sleep laboratory and on the 4th day, plasma levels of IL-6 and TNF were taken during the 24-hour period.
The authors concluded "that chronic insomnia is associated with a shift of IL-6 and TNF secretion from nighttime to daytime, which may explain daytime fatigue."
At the same time, the pituitary continues to pump out ACTH that stimulates the adrenals to produce more cortisol until the adrenals become exhausted and are unable to keep up with demand.Ref:
1. Chronic insomnia is associated with a shift of inteulukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor secretion from nighttime to daytime. Vgontzas An et al, Metabolism, 2002 Jul;51(7):887-92
Barber MD et al reporting in Nutr Cancer. 2001;40(2):118-24 from Edinburgh, UK that nutritional supplements with fish oil given to pancreatic cancer patients who were losing weight resulted in weight gain. In this study, 20 patients who were wasting away were asked to consume daily a 600-calorie nutritional supplement that contained 2 grams of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) derived from fish oil. After 3 weeks of consumption of the fish oil-enriched supplement, they reported "a significant fall in production of IL-6, a rise in serum insulin concentration and a fall in the proportion of patients excreting proteolysis inducing factor." These blood parameter changes were associated with a median weight gain of 1 kg per patient. They stated, "Various mediators of catabolism in cachexia are modulated by administration of a fish oil-enriched nutritional supplement in pancreatic cancer patients. This may account for the reversal of weight loss in patients consuming this supplement."
Note: If using "EPActive" by Jarrow Formulas, it would take 10 capsules daily to reach the level of 2000 mg of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).
In an article titled "The Traditional Diet of Greece and Cancer" Simopoulos AP (1) writes that the diet on the island of Crete represents the traditional "Mediterranean diet" prior to 1960. Analysis of the diet shows a number of protective substances including selenium, glutathione, high fiber and antioxidants and Resveratrol from red wine and polyphenols from olive oil and a balanced ratio of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids. The Omega 3 (DHA and EPA) fatty acids from fish "exert protective effects against some common cancers, especially cancer of the breast, colon and prostate." The Omega 3 fatty acids suppress "Cox-2, IL-1 and IL-6 gene expression." Other Cox-2 inhibitors (Pharmaceutical or botanical) may also inhibit IL-6.
Note: Cox 2 inhibitors are widely marketed for treatment of arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Treble T et al (2) reports that tumor necrosis factor and Il-6 decreased with dietary fish oil supplementation in healthy men in a dose dependent manner.
1. The Traditional diet of Greece and Cancer, Simopoupos AP Eur J Cancer Pre 2004; Jun;13 (3):219-230
2.Inhibition of tumor necrosis factor and interluken 6 by mononuclear cells following dietary fish oil supplementationŠ.. Treble T et al Br J Nutr. 2003 Aug;90(2):405-12
In an article published in the Br J Nutr by Wallace FA. Miles and Calder titled "Comparison of the effects of linseed oil and different doses of fish oil on mononuclear cell function in healthy human subjects" the authors report on 3 types of Omega 3 fatty acids and their effects. In Linseed oil also known as flaxseed oil that is high in alpha-linolenic acid, they reported an increase in EPA but not DHA in plasma phospholipids. With fish oil (DHA and EPA) they reported a decrease in IL-6 in a daily dose between .44 and .94 grams daily. That would be 440 to 940 mg daily in healthy adults. It is important to remember that this dose was in a population of healthy adults, not a group of seriously immune compromised patients.
In the study with patients with pancreatic cancer, 2000 mg of EPA was used daily. However, I have read research that both DHA and EPA have similar anti-inflammatory effects and reduce IL-6, (Note: The "Max DHA" product from Jarrow Formulas will provide 2088 mg of DHA/EPA at about 6 capsules daily or 3 twice a day).
It takes about 3600 mg of sardine oil to yield around 2088 mg of a mixture of DHA/EPA and other Omega 3 fatty acids. Six capsules of Jarrow Formula DHA/EPA will yield that exact amount. Based on published research, that level of supplementation should reduce IL-6 plasma concentrations within a few weeks and bring a noticeable improvement in symptoms.
Note: Avoid taking rancid fish oil or rancid flaxseed oil as these can have the opposite effect of actually increasing IL-6 levels. Buying the lowest priced fish oil supplements on the market from mass merchandisers could be detrimental to your health. Fish oil should always be sealed in a dark capsule that prevents entrance of light or sealed in a can (canned sardines are good choice). Also avoid cod liver oil that is bottled in a clear bottle that allows light in and sits on a store shelf. Avoid all fish oil capsules that are "clear." The capsules must be brown or black in color to prevent the entrance of light and prevent rancidity from forming while on the shelf.
Never use flax oil or fish oil that has been long exposed to either light or oxygen (example a nutritional bar that sits on a store shelf with either flax oil or deodorized sardine oil added should be considered rancid and avoided).
You can tell rancidity by the taste. If it has a fresh taste it is not rancid. If it tastes bitter, sour or flat, it may be rancid or going in that direction. Freezing or refrigeration helps prolong the shelf life of all oils.
Okayama, Japan. Kohno K et al report (1) that when supernatants of Royal Jelly, the food of the Queen Bee, were added to a culture of mouse peritoneal macrophages that were stimulated with lipopolysaccharide, the production of proinflammatory cytokines such as TNF-alpha and IL-6 were efficiently inhibited in a dose-dependent manner without having cytotoxic effects on the macrophages. Macrophages are a type of white blood cell that fight infections in the body. The factors that had this effect in Royal Jelly were not identified and the dose was not mentioned in the abstract. Based on other research, a dose of 1000 to 2000 mg daily should be a good starting point.
My own opinion is that the least processed Royal Jelly is likely to have the most benefits (i.e. fresh Royal Jelly rather than freeze dried). Royal Jelly should to be kept under refrigeration or sealed in opaque (light resistant) capsules.
1. Royal Jelly inhibits the production of proinflammatory cytokines by activated Macrophages, Kohno K et al; Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2004 Jan;68(1):138-45
Chiba Univ. Hayashi N et al in Japan measured the effects of intravenous Omega 3 from fish oil (DHA/EPA) versus Omega 6 (poly unsaturated fatty acids) or PUFAs from vegetable oils on delayed-type hypersensitivity reactions in burned rats. They concluded that the Omega 6 from vegetable oils increased proinflammatory cytokine levels (IL-6, TNF etc) while the Omega 3's from fish oil prevented immunosuppression in burned rats receiving TPN.
The pro cancer effects of high fat diets are widely reported and the fats themselves are almost universally the wrong kind of fats (processed vegetable oils, margarine, hydrogenated fats etc). Compare the high cancer and heart disease rate of the western use of "vegetable oils" to the "Mediterranean diet" that uses olive oil and the Eskimos who eat high fat diets from fish that have little or no heart disease or cancer. The results speak for themselves.
Note: It is evident that under stress conditions, the consumption of these vegetable oils (canola, soybean corn, sunflower, safflower etc) promote inflammatory cytokines (IL-6, TNF etc) and would weaken the immune response against cancer, HIV, HHV-6 etc). The safe oils to use would be palm oil and olive oil, the latter containing 90% monounsaturated fatty acids.
Note on Flaxseed oil: The research I have read thus far suggests that the Omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil are more effective than the alpha linolenic acid from flax seed oil for their suppression of inflammatory cytokines. This does not mean that there are fewer benefits from using fresh flaxseed oil, except that there are more documented benefits from using high quality fish oils. The quality of these oils is critical for obtaining their benefits. If either is rancid, (oxidized), the effects will be the opposite of what is expected.
Copenhagen. Fischer CP et al report (1) that 400 i.u of vitamin E daily inhibited the release of interleuken-6 from contracting human skeletal muscle after 3 hours of knee-extensor exercise. Lipid peroxidation levels did not increase in the group treated with the vitamin E. This was a small controlled study involving 7 volunteers.
Godbout JP et al report in experiments in mice that vitamin E inhibits peroxide formation and interleuken-6 secretion. (2)
1. Vitamin C and E supplementation inhibits the release of interleukin-6 from contracting human skeletal muscle. Fischer CP et al, J Physiol. 2004 May 28 Univ of Copenhagen.
Note: Other researchers report that vitamin C when used in doses above 500 mg daily can increase oxidative stress.
2. Alpha-Tocopherol reduces lipopolysaccharide-induced peroxide radical formation and interleukin-6 secretionŠ" Godbout JP et al. J Neuroimmunol. 2004 apr;149(1-2):101-9
Researchers Yu WK et al (1) in China found that increases in glucose levels in the blood raised macrophage production of IL-6, TNF and insulin. These conditions are more pronounced in persons with impaired glucose tolerance or have type 1 or 2 diabetes, sepsis or hyperglycemia. What does this say about the stress effects of consuming corn syrup and white sugar found in soda and thousands of processed foods? These simple sugars clearly promote IL-6, TH2 dominance and immune imbalance.
1. World J Gastrolenterol, 2003 Aug;9(8):1824-7
1. Low-dose cortisol 5 to 10 mg Cortef (Pfizer) taken early 8 and/or 9 am and again at 1 or 2 pm. I don't recommend taking oral hydrocortisone late at night because in a normal circadian cycle, cortisol levels are lowest at bedtime while highest in the morning. Taking oral hydrocortisone late at night may also interfere with sleep. According to David Brownstein MD, do not exceed 30 mg daily without medical supervision as amounts higher than this may stop adrenal production of cortisol. 1% Hydrocortisone Cream - can be purchased over the counter - 1/2 teaspoon contains about 20 mg cortisol. Adults use 1/2 teaspoon before bedtime or upon rising if oral hydrocortisone tablets are not available. Massage into skin
Use low-dose thyroid 1/2 grain once or twice daily as prescribed increases IgA, helps the liver process cortisone into cortisol. Avoid using cortisol long term without also using a thyroid supplement at the same time.
2. Fish oil DHA and EPA Sardine and/or Salmon oil. Max DHA from Jarrow Formulas and/or EPActive. Three capsules twice daily should lower IL-6 based on the scientific literature. Fish oil lowers tumor necrosis factor as well as IL-6. Critically needed for all cancer, CFIDS and HIV patients.
3. Avoid vegetable oils high in Omega 6 PUFAS that stimulate the secretion of inflammatory TH2 cytokines. These oils include canola, soybean, corn oil, sunflower and safflower oil primarily. Peanut oil that has 50% monounsaturated fatty acids and is less problematic but the best choices are the oils very high in monounsaturated fatty acids like olive oil all types even the ultra light have 90% monounsaturated fatty acids. Special strains of safflower oil are also very high in monounsaturated fatty acids and are so labeled. Avoid eating in restaurants where fats of unknown origin are used.
4. Low-Calorie, low glycemic diet normalizes IL-6 while starvation diets do not. Eat small meals 5 times a day snack only, do not eat large multi course meals. Avoid simple sugars and corn syrup that increases IL-6 levels. Absolutely no canned sodas. Avoid all refined carbohydrates (including white sugar, white flour etc). Avoid large quantities of fruit juices except for cherry and grapefruit better to eat whole fruit instead, preferably raw.
5. A Hypoallergenic diet reduces stress on the digestive tract and thus IL-6 levels. (Avoid milk, ice cream, soy flour, and gluten from wheat if you are gluten intolerant etc). Note: You can try using cultured milk products (yogurt, kefir) and cultured soy products (Tofu, Miso). Soy milk is usually well tolerated while soy flour causes digestive problems. Consider using fiber and probiotics together daily.
6. Complex carbohydrates (with no added fat or protein) normalize IL-6 and other inflammatory cytokines. For an anti-inflammatory breakfast, consider plain whole grain toast with natural applesauce and tea (green/licorice). Whole grains, fruits and vegetables with little or no oils added and some fish are the ultimate diet for balanced immunity and health.
7. Cox-2 inhibitors, NF-Kappa B inhibitors and anti-oxidants with variable anti-cancer properties [Ashwagandha, Tumeric, Holy Basil, Skullcap, Green tea, Hu Zhang aka Solomon's Seal (high in Resveratrol), Rosemary, Ginger, Red grapes, Oregano, Hops, raw potatoes - high in catalase breaks down H2O2 into O2 and H2O]
8. Licorice root. One study suggested that the use of the herb "licorice" helps the liver convert cortisone to cortisol. Should be used in the morning and at noon only. Too much licorice will raise blood pressure. Suggestion: Find an herbal tea with licorice root as the 2nd, 3rd or 4th ingredient mentioned on the label. (e.g. Red Zinger" by Celestial Seasonings")
9. Vitamin E use "mixed tocopherols" only for best results for adults 400 i.u daily.
10. Royal Jelly supports Adrenal function fresh only 1000 mg to 2000 mg daily.
11. DHEA lowers IL-6 Adult dose: 25 mg daily for men. Five to 10 mg daily for women. Test for DHEA levels before and after 2 months of continuous use.
In response to my last quarterly report (Vol 2, No 2) that low-dose Cortisol and other supplements normalize IL-6, thus balancing the Th1/Th2 arms of the immune system and significantly improving immune function (NK cell, CTL's etc) in HIV/AIDS, CFIDS, Candidiasis, Cancer and many other conditions, Alfred Plechner faxed me a l4 page report previously published titled "An Innovative Cancer Therapy that saves Animals. Can it help humans as well?
Plechner makes no mention of IL-6 being lowered by low-dose cortisol and continues to express the belief that excess estrogen is the primary culprit in immune dysfunction. Barnes reports that impaired thyroid function increases ovarian estrogen in women and offers a broad range of other possible theories why estrogen levels in men may be higher.
Plechner reports that cancer not only kills humans but dogs as well and states that it "accounts for almost half of canine deaths over the age of ten years."
Plechner states that "Cortisol is an essential adrenal hormone with a paramount regulatory influence over immune and inflammatory activity in the bodyŠthat a defect triggers a domino effect of problems, among them a profound destabilization of the immune system." He goes on to list several forms of cancer that are a result of cortisol deficiency including skin cancer, mammary cancer, lymphoma, fibrous sarcoma and leukemia and states: "I have successfully treated many cases by addressing this cortisol defect, in my opinion, a major causal factor."
by Alfred Plechner:
I June, 2003, I treated a dying Siberian Husky. The dog had been diagnosed two months before by another veterinarian with multiple metastasis tumors of the lungs. The site of the primary cancer had not been identified. The patient was eating poorly, breathing with difficulty, and coughing persistently. The animal had lost 12 pounds since the original diagnosis.
I suggested doing an endocrine-immune test and proceeding directly with steroid injections before the results came back. The owners agreed.
I injected the dog with 5 mg Vetalog (long acting hydrocortisone) and 60 mg of Depomedrol (methylprednisilone). Test results showed the animal had endocrine-immune imbalances including 52 mg/dl IgA suggesting probable malabsorption.
Two weeks later, the owners returned with a healthier dog. He had regained four pounds and was breathing easier. I rechecked the blood levels. The key estrogen and antibody levels had improved significantly. I now switched the dog to 6 mg of oral Medrol daily.
After another two weeks, I retested. The levels had normalized even further. Thoracic X-rays revealed that the lung lesions had disappeared. There was no evidence of tumors. The dog now weighed 78 pounds and had regained his appetite. Breathing was normal.
Although the dog has been on the therapy program for only a short period of time, the initial response has been excellent and not unusual. The potential exists for normal health as long as the dog is maintained on the program.
For humans, Plechner writes: "The testing and therapy program I have described here has produced outstanding results for many years in the treatment of many different types of cancer. Can cortisol deficiency increase the risk of cancer? Do my findings in animals with cancer apply to humans?"
Editor's note: The successful Gerson Treatment for cancer, developed over 50 years ago includes thyroid supplementation and adrenal support. Coincidence?
The above case with a dog is one of several reported by Plechner who states he has successfully treated over 30,000 pets with these methods since 1978 including cats with FIV (Feline immunodeficiency virus), the cat equivalent to HIV.
For a thyroid medication for dogs, he has used Soloxine. Interestingly, he finds that cats often do not need thyroid supplementation although they still respond to the steroid (cortisol) treatments the same as the dogs do.
Plechner reports that researchers have found that soy and soy-based products decrease cortisol levels and impair thyroid function. Soy products are also listed as depressing thyroid function in David Brownstein MD book "Overcoming Thyroid Disorders." The exceptions listed are two soy-based products Miso and Tempeh. According to Brownstein, soy milk, tofu, soy ice cream, soy cheese and numerous other soy products should be avoided. Brownstein listed several factors that impair the conversions of thyroid hormones T4 to the active form T3. I list them here as it is increasingly apparent that the health of the thyroid is linked to the function of the adrenal glands and in particular cortisol production.
Besides the above list, Brownstein cites research that in a state of hypothyroidism, hydrocortisone production and metabolism is usually low. Hypothyroidism can be established by chronic low basal body temperature as measured by the Barnes method upon rising. Thus a direct link has been established between subnormal thyroid and inadequate adrenal production of hormones.
Toxemia or the buildup of toxins in the body and an impairment of the detoxification pathways can be a major cause of impaired thyroid function. Link by link, the health of one organ affects the health of another. The liver, the organ through which most detoxification occurs, has the greatest burden of all.
Today, I reasonably estimate that due to toxins in the diet, air pollution and contaminants in the water we drink and electromagnetic pollution, that the combined effect contributes to overworked adrenal and subnormal thyroid activity in at least a third or more of the population in the United States.
Pregnenolone, the mother of all the hormones produced by the adrenal glands is made from cholesterol. Adequate cholesterol levels are needed to insure a supply of raw material to produce adrenal hormones. Adrenal and thyroid function may be impaired when cholesterol levels fall below 125. Some drugs to lower cholesterol could cause a whole range of illnesses from cancer to heart disease if they cause cholesterol levels to drop below 125. Recently, some pharmaceutical companies are bordering on quackery in their health claims in mass markets such as cable television that everyone should take cholesterol lowering drugs and reduce their cholesterol to 70! Bad advice. Oh! will there be the lawsuits when millions of people get sick from this ill conceived marketing propaganda.
The demonization of cholesterol on TV for many years heavily promoted margarine that is made from hydrogenated vegetable oils. Margarine with its transfatty acids has caused more heart disease than had the public eaten butter all those years. For a very long time, eggs were also demonized for their cholesterol but have recently been vindicated.
Today the demonization of cortisone by marketers of Cortislim and Relacore also misleads the public. If these products really lower cortisol levels as their promoters claim, they will lead to more than weight loss around the belly . They will cause immune system failure, hypothyroidism, fatigue, depression, cancer, arthritis and other illnesses associated with a failure of cell-mediated immunity and natural kill cell function.
Brownstein states that the adrenal hormones are Pregnenolone (a precursor hormone). Various adrenal hormones can be made from Pregnenolone. Other Adrenal hormones include Adrenaline, Epinephrine, Progesterone, Cortisol, Androgen, DHEA, Estrogen and Testosterone.
The Pituitary gland produces human growth hormone (HGH) and HGH levels improve when other adrenal hormones are normalized. Chronic illness affects hormone production and balance and the process of aging results in steadily lower levels of cortisol, DHEA, testosterone and HGH.
Brownstein cites research that low thyroid hormone levels is linked to low pregnenolone levels in hypothyroid patients. He recommends 10 to 20 mg daily of pregnenolone along with thyroid hormones and reports patients recover their energy and regain their memory.
Straub RH et al report from Germany that "In chronic inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, an alteration of the HPA stress response results in inappropriately low cortisol secretion in relation to adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) secretion. Furthermore, it has recently been shown that the levels of another adrenal hormone, DHEA, were significantly lower after ACTH stimulation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis without prior corticosteroids than in healthy controlsŠWe recently confirmed that DHEA is a potent inhibitor of IL-6, which confirmed an earlier study in mice."
Straub also reports that DHEA inhibits NF-Kappa B and that DHEA deficiency is linked to osteoporosis. Thus the authors concluded that a combined therapy of hydrocortisone or other corticosteroids be used along with DHEA in chronic inflammatory diseases.
Brownstein in his book recommends the natural hydrocortisone over Prednisone and other synthetic steroids and he suggests a maximum of 30 mg daily of hydrocortisone (but more preferably 10 to 20 mg daily). For DHEA, he suggests 10 to 15 mg daily.
One of our readers from Miami who has HIV/ AIDS and osteoporosis is trying 20 mg hydrocortisone daily along with 25mg of DHEA every other day plus two Red clover capsules twice a day and 1/2 to 1 grain of natural thyroid daily. So far, he has tolerated this 4 part combination well and reports feeling much better even though he has taken a vacation from his anti-HIV meds. Since he has just started he has no lab results to share with us at this time. He also takes coral calcium and a number of other nutritional supplements.
He also uses hydrocortisone cream on his leg and the bone pain is nearly gone. This is just after a few days. He has added red clover capsules and low dose DHEA to help increase his bone density. He also plans on adding 1/2 grain of thyroid daily to his regime. He is currently on his new regimen while taking a drug holiday from his HIV meds.
Oct, 2004: One person with chronic fatigue and symptoms of Lupus told me that he took 20 mg of hydrocortisone last year for several months and all his symptoms disappeared. When he stopped using the hydrocortisone, his symptoms have re-emerged.
Synthetic corticosteroids are usually 4 to 6 times stronger than their natural counterpart - hydrocortisone. While Plechner DVM has had success using either hydrocortisone or their synthetic counterparts in treating pets, there are several reasons to prefer the natural hormone. One is that the natural form of cortisol (hydrocortisone) has the identical molecular structure of cortisol produced by the adrenal glands and there is no known toxicity problems when used long term at low doses.
High doses and long-term use of synthetic steroids like Prednisone or Prednisolone (both synthetic adrenocorticosteroids) have been linked to loss of bone mass density (BMD) or osteoporosis. Other side effects from these steroids include dizziness, loss of potassium that may contribute to increased appetite, fluid retention and weight gain. More side effects that can be found in the Physicians Desk Reference.
Hydrocortisone is a natural hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Studies have found that low doses of hydrocortisone (30 mg or less daily) have little or no effect on bone mineral density and a few studies indicate it may actually improve bone mineral density (BMD). According to David Brownstein MD(1) low dose hydrocortisone usually 10 to 20 mg daily does not produce the negative side effects (loss of bone density and other side effects) that are caused by the synthetic steroids.
Brownstein reports that low dose hydrocortisone also improves thyroid function by helping to convert T4 the inactive thyroid hormone into T3, the active form. This is why people with chronic fatigue syndrome report more energy and well being from using low-dose hydrocortisone daily.
Low-dose hydrocortisone may be associated with a slight weight gain (about 5 lbs) due to excreted potassium leaving excess sodium that causes water retention. This small weight problem should not be necessarily blamed on low-dose hydrocortisone but on a diet that is too high in salt (sodium). In fact sodium intake in the diet of most people is 5 to 10 times higher than what is needed and potassium and magnesium intake are about 50% lower than what is needed. The problem is the consumption of processed foods (soups, pizza, lunchmeats etc) that are loaded with toxic amounts of salt. By eliminating foods high in salt and consuming whole natural foods like bananas that are high in potassium, any weight gain while using low-dose hydrocortisone can be prevented.
1. The Miracle of Natural Hormones, by David Brownstein MD (This book cites 40 actual cases and is supported by 82 published scientific references).
A few months ago, I talked with a 31 year-old man from the Midwest who had recently had hip replacement surgery. I said: "31 years old you are too young for hip replacement surgery." He said he was HIV+ and mentioned a long list of HIV meds he was taking. He blamed his hip bone deterioration on the HIV. I told him I disagreed as there is no proof that HIV alone can cause this especially in someone this young. Most of the reported cases of osteoporosis now widespread in the HIV community in the US have occurred since 1996 when the use of protease inhibitors and drug cocktails became a treatment standard. I don't recall hearing of any cases of osteoporosis in HIV+ people before 1996. Today the problem of bone deterioration in HIV+ persons on anti-HIV drugs is an epidemic and may be a serious side effect of some HIV medications.
by Heath KV, Montaner JS, Bondy G, Singer J, O'Shaughnessy MV, Hogg RS.
Curr Drug Targets. 2003 Jan;4(1):13-22.
Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
To provide an overview of the epidemiologic parameters of emerging adverse effects associated with antiretroviral therapy for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease. All available antiretroviral agents are associated with significant adverse drug effects. Of particular interest are newly emerging suspected adverse drug effects which were not generally noted in pre-marketing trials nor captured under current standard clinical care practices. Suspected antiretroviral toxicities meeting these criteria include: HIV-associated lipodystrophy which can include peripheral lipoatrophy, lipohypertrophy and metabolic abnormalities; hyperlactatemia and lactic acidosis; and metabolic bone abnormalities such as decreased bone mineral density, osteoporosis and osteonecrosis.
Results of prospective and observational studies reported to date suggest that these abnormalities, while aetiologically complex, are likely attributable to treatment factors and may be intricately interrelated. The medical management of these symptoms remains unsatisfactory given the unexplored efficacy of traditional approaches in the HIV positive population. While the pathogenic mechanism of these disorders remains obscure, a theory of tissue-specific mitochondrial toxicity has been proposed.
With the continued introduction of novel therapies and standard treatment with combination therapy, new adverse events will continue to emerge among persons being treated for HIV disease. Beyond their immediate clinical implications, these events may contribute to changing patterns of antiretroviral utilization including therapy initiation, adherence and cessation.
Editor's Note: There is disagreement among the experts whether or not HAART for HIV is causing loss of bone density with some studies saying it is and others saying it is not with a few studies finding that the length of time a person is infected is a more predictable factor for osteoporosis. There is a case to be made for both arguments, but suspicions that the protease inhibitors are contributing factors is gaining some traction.
The aging population, women with PMS, and millions of people addicted to soda pop especially Coke, Pepsi, Tab and all the other sodas high in phosphoric acid, are developing weaker bone structures by the day. A lack of quality sources of calcium, dark green vegetables, almonds, etc and lack of sunshine that produces Vitamin D all contribute to the national osteoporosis epidemic.
The end result is that more people are getting surgery for damaged spinal vertebrae, knee and hip replacements. Those not getting these drastic measures have lower and upper back pain and/or bone pain in the legs and arms. When you walk into a grocery store and look at the long isles of soda pop, cookies and sweet rolls, you can see why America's health is going to hell in a shopping cart.
For men over 40 25 mg 3 days a week (Mon, Weds, Fri). For women 10 mg daily for 5 days per week or 25 mg twice a week (e.g. Mon and Fri). Have your physician monitor DHEA levels after 4 to 8 weeks. Brownstein advises against high doses of DHEA (over 25 mg daily) as this can reduce adrenal production of other hormones
Other hormone herbs: For women Dong Quai, Damiana. For men Ginseng, Sarsaparilla.
Black Cohosh inhibits HIV and cancer.
Sakurai N et al reports that Actein, a tetracyclic triterpenoid from black cohosh showed potent activity against the HIV virus. (1) Einbond LS et al researchers at Columbia Univ College in NY found growth inhibitory activity of alcohol based extracts of black cohosh on human breast cancer cells. Research continues as to why Actein and other compounds in black cohosh would inhibit breast cancer. (2)
Powles T writing in Breast cancer Research, states: "Plant extracts such as Red Clover, which contain high levels of isoflavanoids, have been used to reduce menopausal symptoms and have been shown to reduce bone loss in healthy women." (3)
In her book on "Today's Herbal Health," Louise Tenny M.H. states that Red Clover has been used for bronchitis, as a blood purifier, in treating cancer and for the nerves.
Black Cohosh: In a study published in the Journal of Bone Mineral Metabolism (4), Nisselein T et al reported on the results of an extract of Black Cohosh given to rats who were ovariectomized and placed on a soy-free diet. They were given a Black cohosh product called "Remifemin" that has been marketed in Europe for the treatment of hot flashes in women with PMS. The researchers checked for markers of bone loss in the urine including pyridinoline (PYR) and deoxypyridinoline (DPY) and baseline and weekly intervals. The results indicated that the extract of black cohosh significantly diminished the urinary content of PYR and DPY indicating that bone loss was decreasing.
Nisslein stated: "Because extracts of black cohosh are already recognized as safe and effective in the treatment of certain gynecological disorders, a longer-term clinical trial of this herbal remedy for the treatment of osteoporosis is warranted." (4)
Folk medicine uses: Louise Tenny reports Black Cohosh has been used as a tonic for the central nervous system, for hot flashes, for asthma, bronchitis, epilepsy, high blood pressure, hormone balance, menstrual problems, menopause, TB and whooping cough.
Black Cohosh and Red Clover may help prevent and even strengthen bone density as well as be an adjunct treatment for cancer. This is in comparison to low dose estrogen (hormone replacement therapy) that helps prevent bone loss but is also known to be carcinogenic. A search of the literature indicates that black cohosh and red clover are safe choices for both men and women.
Licorice is a herb that taken in small amounts can benefit the adrenal glands of men and women. However, too much may cause high blood pressure.
Holy Basil (Ocimum Sanctum) is used in India as a Cox-2 inhibitor and reduces inflammation in the body. In animal studies, the "Control rats" under noise stress had a decline in cortisol levels while the rats taking Holy Basil and exposed to the same noise stress had cortisol levels that remained the same. This indicates that Holy Basil has anti-stress effects (5).
Freda PU (*) et al report that "Abnormalities of the endocrine system, and of the hypothalamus-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis in particular, are associated with HIV infection. Opportunistic pathogens, neoplasms, and drugs used to treat infections may all contribute to the reported abnormalities, which range from subtle subclinical disturbances of HPA axis regulation to frank adrenal insufficiency. Patients with AIDS should be considered to be at high risk for primary or secondary adrenal insufficiency, and those with symptoms should be evaluated. Subclinical abnormalities may progress to clinically significant adrenal insufficiency as therapies improve and patients with AIDS live longer."*
The hypothalamus pituitary adrenal axis in HIV, Freda PU et al, AIDS READ 1999 Jan-Feb;9(1):43-50
Eledrise MS (1) et al in 2001 report from the Univ. of Texas, Galveston that "Adrenal insufficiency is known to be a complication of HIV infection, although estimates of its prevalence and severity vary. Adrenal insufficiency is the most serious complication that occurs in persons with HIV infection. Patients with AIDS are considered to be at high risk for primary and secondary adrenal insufficiency.
We describe 3 patients with AIDS who had clinical features suggestive of adrenal insufficiency, but their Corticotrophin (ACTH) stimulation tests were normal. Repeat testing confirmed the diagnosis in one patient, and further testing with the overnight Metyrapone test revealed evidence of secondary adrenal insufficiency in the other patients. Persistent clinical improvement was evident on subsequent glucocorticoid therapy.
A normal response to the ACTH stimulation test can be dangerously misleading. Patients with AIDS and suspected adrenal insufficiency who have normal screening by the (high dose) ACTH stimulation test should undergo further testing for secondary adrenal disease."
1. Adrenal insufficiency in HIV infection, Eledris MS et al, Am J Med Sci. 2001 Feb;321(2):137-44
Researchers have found that Metyrapone and low dose (LD-ACTH) test are far more accurate than the standard high dose ACTH test.
The second problem with lab test results whether it is selenium, DHEA, cortisol or something else is that lab reference numbers are based on what is average for normal healthy people. Unfortunately, many people who get these tests are not normal healthy people but suffer from various conditions from HIV/AIDS to CFIDS to MS to cancer to candidiasis to intestinal dysbiosis and much more. People with these conditions most likely will have a need for higher plasma levels of cortisol and many other nutrients including selenium. What would be high levels in a normal person might be low levels in someone with chronic inflammation and immune dysfunction whose need for cortisol is greater than that of the average person.
It is my opinion that the need for cortisol in someone with cancer or AIDS may be up to twice as high as what is found in healthy persons. It is my opinion that it is more important to get interleuken-6 (IL-6) levels back to its normal reference range than to worry about getting cortisol down to its normal reference range. Research published in the last issue of this journal indicates that as free cortisol levels go up IL-6 goes down.
The most important test is the TH2 Cytokine Profile which measures IL-6 levels. By tracking the effects of various doses of hydrocortisone from 10 mg to 20 mg to 30 mg daily and adjusting the dose up or down until IL-6 reaches the normal reference ranges, you can determine the effectiveness of the treatment.
In HIV, I am expecting the CD4 counts to rise and viral load to fall as IL-6 returns to a normal level. In CFIDS, fatigue should go away and energy should return to normal. In cancer, tumors should stop growing and start receding. The IL-6 test can also measure the effects of other IL-6 inhibitors and normalizers like fish oil, royal jelly, turmeric, holy basil and others.
James Balch MD states in his book "Prescription for Nutritional Healing" that in Adrenal disorders to avoid alcohol, caffeine and tobacco, Avoid foods that weaken the adrenals including pork, fats, fried foods, ham, highly processed foods, red meats, salt, sodas, sugar and white flour. He states: "These foods put unnecessary stress on the adrenal glands."
For nutrients, Balch recommends Pantothenic acid 100 mg ea 3 times a day. Vitamin B complex and Vitamin C and 500 mg daily of the amino acid L-tyrosine. In herbs, he recommends Astragalus, Milk Thistle and Siberian Ginseng. A low sodium diet is critical as is eating whole foods including lots of dark green vegetables that are naturally rich in potassium. Royal Jelly, Chlorella, Spirulina, raw pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds also support the Adrenals.
IT IS AS IMPORTANT A MATTER AS LIFE OR DEATH! When Il-6 levels are elevated above normal, HIV and AIDS will progress and cancer will continue metastasize and grow. People with chronic fatigue and/or candidiasis will continue to be plagued with these health problems.
Just 20 mg daily of hydrocortisone may arrest HIV progression and may stop and reverse many forms of cancer. Why isn't it being used more? The answer it that it is all about M - the big M that is "MONEY." Hydrocortisone is a generic drug and it is a low-cost treatment of about $10 a month. This is too small a sum of money to feed the pharmaceutical monster on Wall St. What we have instead is a song and dance routine from "Big Pharma" to promote expensive treatments for cancer, AIDS and many other conditions including arthritis costing from several hundred to several thousand dollars a month. What gets the publicity are the drugs that feed the bottom line of the stockholders, not the treatments that save the patients lives and well as money.
When you go to your doctor, make sure you get a prescription for Hydrocortisone, not Prednisone or Prednisolone or some other synthetic steroid.
For the third time in the past 2 years, our supplies of the Miraculous Water from San Damiano were exhausted and yet another long frustrating dry spell ensued. In June, 2004, while requests for the water piled up on my desk, we ran out of the Miraculous Water and sent for two five-liter jugs that were being held for us in Rome. We thought that the water, although shipped by boat, would arrive around the middle of July. We expected the shipment would take 4 to 6 weeks and began to lose hope when it did not arrive by the end of July.
Ten weeks went by before the shipment reach us. We found it was delayed due to leakage from one battle that had damaged the box. The US Postal Service repackaged the bottles and this had delayed its arrival by about a month. Ever since the very first shipment from Italy, the containers that are used to fill the water in San Damiano have leaked in shipment and this has been very frustrating.
In August, after spending over 100 hours searching the internet, I finally located a contact in San Damiano and now have obtained an additional five liter jug of the water along with 60 handkerchiefs and blessed rose petals. According to a Catholic Sister who obtained the water for us, many people have been healed from the water and also from using the handkerchiefs and the blessed rose petals. This last shipment did not leak and arrived in a few weeks after being sent by airmail direct from San Damiano.
In August, before the water from San Damiano arrived, I imported water from Lourdes, France, where in 1858 the Virgin Mary appeared to St Bernadette and directed a well to be dug. The water from this well at Lourdes has healed many thousands of people since 1858.
As a result of importing water from Lourdes and San Damiano, we now have an ample supply of both and expect to be able to replenish supplies when they get low. However, when it comes to the water from San Damiano and the extreme difficulties it has taken to get it here, I take nothing for granted. I would agree with comments people have made about this water that "it has a mind of its own." Persons who use either of these healing waters are asked to write to us and share their experiences.
In May, I had given a bottle of the Miraculous Water of San Damiano to two friends. One friend, Ron B, had the bottle on a table in his living room. When his mother came to visit, she complained to Ron about her knee hurting. She previously had knee replacement surgery due to osteoporosis and arthritis. While she does not believe in the Marion apparitions at Lourdes and San Damiano, seeing the bottle of water with the Madonna's image on it, she asked for the water and placed some of it on her knee. About 10 minutes later, she said, "my knee does not hurt anymore."
The other bottle was given to Patrick R whose mother has diabetes. Earlier this year she had both her legs amputated due to gangrene caused by the diabetes. After the surgery, her wounds would not heal and several weeks had gone by. Patrick brought her the water and she was most grateful. She applied the water to her wounds and said the prayers. Within a few weeks all the wounds had healed.
These are comments from friends who told me the benefits their mothers had received from using the Miraculous Water of San Damiano..
Boston MA. The Marist Fathers distribute a monthly newsletter called "Echoes from Lourdes." The newsletter reports on the experiences of persons whose association with Lourdes has changed their life beginning with the very first written account by St Bernadette who was visited by the Virgin Mary several times beginning on February 11th, 1858. The Marist Fathers distribute Lourdes Water to their readers and publish reports of their experiences using the water. Here are a few of what is half a dozen or more letters received monthly and published in Echoes from Lourdes (Volume 50, No 2 and No 7)
KY. "My eye doctor was watching me for glaucoma in my eyes for a year and a half. I started using Lourdes Water in each eye every night at bed time six months ago, and now the pressure is down in both eyes and there is no sign of glaucoma. The doctor says my eyes look great. I am so grateful to Jesus and His Mother for this healing!" AC.
NJ " "I just want to say thank you to Our Lady of Lourdes and her intercession for me to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I had a small cyst on my eye lid that grew and became itchy, so my eye doctor worked on it and said I would need minor surgery. He gave me antibiotics and asked my to come back in a month for the surgery. I went home and started applying Lourdes Water on my eye lid everyday. Within one week, the cyst fell off! The doctor said most of the time something is left there but it looks so good that I do not need surgery. I am very grateful to the lady of Lourdes and her intercessionŠ." C.W.
July 2004., a resident of California writes:
"This is a gift for a special favor received. I have been using Our Lady's Lourdes Water since 1958 when I had cancer, and thank Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother for so many blessings and thank you so much for the Lourdes Center." M.D.
The monthly newsletter that I have been receiving contains many reports from readers of cancer remission and help from the water and from prayers for all kinds of health-related problems, even in situations where hope for recovery was almost nil. For a sample copy of the newsletter, write to Lourdes Center, Marist Fathers, 698 Beacon St, Boston MA 02215.
October 6, 2004 Conrad LeBeau.
Since I began filling small 2 ounce bottles with water from the well at San Damiano a few years ago, I have found that the water will pour normally one second and then a few seconds later will stop flowing into the jar. It sometimes is difficult to fill the bottles because of the water's unusual behavior. Many times when the bottle is upright and perpendicular to the surface and I try to fill the bottle too quickly, the water just abruptly stops flowing. This can happen even when the bottle is less than one-quarter full. The water just sits there in the funnel and does not move until I tilt the bottle sideways. The tip of the funnel is open and measures at 3/8ths of an inch in diameter. The water acts as though it is lighter than the air in the bottle.
In contrast I have filled the same bottle with the same funnel with tap water, distilled or spring water and it fills up easily and without any difficulty. If I fill the funnel too rapidly, air bubbles move up through the center of the funnel and the water flows into the bottle easily. The water from San Damiano behaves very differently from ordinary water. When the water is poured too quickly and the funnel begins to fill up, the water stops flowing into the partially empty bottle.
Now comes another surprise. When the five liter jug of water arrived from Lourdes, France, in August and I began filling up the same two ounce plastic bottles with the same funnel, the same phenomena happened - the water, if poured too fast, would completely stop flowing and just sit there suspended in midair. Again the bottle had to be tilted sideways to create an air opening inside the funnel for the water to flow into the bottle.
My current observations are that the water from Lourdes, France, where the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette in 1858 has the same paranormal properties as the water from the well at San Damiano where the Virgin Mary appeared to Rosa Quattrini in the 1960s. The pH of the water from Lourdes and San Damiano is also identical at 6.4.
The water from both of these wells is anything but ordinary. What I have described here is a simple experiment that can be duplicated anywhere by any researcher or scientist. It proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the water from Lourdes and San Damiano, both brought to us in different centuries after visits from the heavenly Madonna, have identical properties that are not found in regular water. These properties defy known laws of physics and gravity.
Water with different physical properties than those we usually encounter may have other effects on the human body that could be studied by researchers in a controlled experiment. The many who have come to drink the water from Lourdes and San Damiano and have left behind their wheelchairs and crutches have also left us with a silent testimony of the benefits they have received.
Note: Recently, I have found a funnel that has small ridges on the outside that allows air to escape while the water fills the bottle. A funnel that fits snug against the inside rim of the bottle will produce the antigravity effects I have described here.
The following is reprinted from the Journal of Immunity (Oct Dec 2004)
The second edition of the Immune Restoration Handbook was co-authored by myself and Conrad LeBeau. After more than two months of working on revisions, it finally went to the printers on Nov 28th. Between December 25th and New Years, it came back in printed form, all 2000 copies.
The book has a newly designed cover with a marble stone background. The chapters on the Adrenals, Thyroid and Complementary Therapies were substantially revised. The section on the Adrenals has updated information on the benefits of low-dose hydrocortisone for a wide range of health conditions. An expanded section has information on various ways of reducing and normalizing interleukin 6 levels and stimulating the adrenals to balance hormone production.
A promising low-cost protocol developed by Didi Ananda Rucira that has been used in Africa on AIDS patients with encouraging results has been included in the chapter on "Complementary Therapies."
Specialty Labs, 2211 Michigan Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90404 will test for Interleukin 6 levels. The Code for this test is 3828. Phone 310-828-6543 or 800-421-4449.
Anyone who has cancer, HIV, CFIDS, FM, Lyme, Candidiasis, hepatitis, intestinal dysbiosis and any other untreatable chronic health condition should test for IL-6 levels, IgA and active thyroid T3. This creates a starting point to develop and test immunological and hormonal treatments for these various conditions.
In the last issue of the Journal of Immunity we reported on a case of an HIV+ male (Bob) in Miami who began using 20 mg daily of hydrocortisone (tablet form) taken in the morning once a day. He also takes 25 mg of DHEA in the AM every day, one grain of thyroid daily plus 2 red clover caps twice a day. To this he has recently added 2 capsules of Black Cohosh daily as a source of hormone precursors.
Bob says he started this regimen around October 1st and about the same time stopped using his drug cocktail for treating HIV that consisted of Kaletra, Epivir and Viread. In the last week of September before starting his drug holiday (vacation), his CD4 count was 125 and his viral load for HIV was non-detectable. He had been on this drug combination for several months and his CD4 count had edged upwards very slowly while his condition with osteoporosis and bone pain had worsened.
After 6 weeks off the drugs and while using the hydrocortisone, thyroid and the other supplements, Bob reported less bone pain in this legs. For the first 3 weeks, Bob called about twice a week and said he was feeling great and felt almost normal. He had blood drawn for lab tests on November 18th, 2004. The day after the test, he started back on the drug cocktail at my urging. My concern was that because his CD4 count was low (125) and if the treatment failed, the CD4's could plummet downward leaving him more vulnerable to opportunistic infections. Around December 7th, Bob called with the results of the November 18th test and they were:
CD4 136 and HIV viral load 9000.
I said "interesting" and he said, "that's what I thought" He added: "I expected that if the hydrocortisone treatment failed completely that my viral load should have been over 80,000 and my CD4s would have been below 100. That is the least decline I would have expected if the treatment was having no benefits. Something unusual (beneficial) is happening here."
In the past 5 years, Bob has taken several drug vacations for weeks or months at a time and has tried about a dozen alternative combinations to the pharmaceutical drugs. The only two other OTC treatments that has shown some promise in stabilizing the CD4s and the viral load was high doses of plant based selenium (800 to 1200 mcg daily) and garlic retention enemas. However, even with these, after several months, Bob eventually had to get back on the drug cocktails when his CD4's continued their gradual decline. The reason he stopped the HIV drugs several times has always been due to their adverse effects.
For the time being, Bob has decided to stay on the 3 drug cocktail as well as the hydrocortisone treatment until the next lab test. Depending on the results and his CD4 counts, he will decide whether or not to take another drug vacation and only use the hydrocortisone and the other supplements.
For the past four months, Bob had also taken fish oil supplements that we reported earlier could also lower interleukin 6 levels. In November, he also added Holy Basil, 2 capsules daily, a herb that in stress tests on animals, preserved normal cortisol levels.
The IL-6 levels were not tested and that is something he plans to ask for, whether or not he will get it is another question since he is on SSD and testing for IL-6 is not a standard test approved by the government for measuring the effectiveness of an AIDS treatment protocol. We will continue to follow his case and report on the results.
Dec, 2004: I reached Al Plechner in Idaho where he recently retired from his veterinary practice of the past 35 years. We discussed everything from the pros and cons of synthetic steroids to natural hormones. While Al Plechner agreed that the most desirable hormones to use were the natural ones that are identical to those produced in the body, he indicated that he got some of his best results from methyl prednisolone (Medrol) a synthetic steroid that replaces cortisol. He said that Medrol caused no weight gain and that in some patients the hydrocortisone did. He said that in advanced cases of cancer the most important thing was to keep the patient alive and that is why he used a high dose of a slow released cortisol substitute like injectible Medrol. Later on when the cancer wis in remission, he uses oral hydrocortisone and thyroid to keep it that way.
Research has shown that hydrocortisone and synthetic substitutes like prednisolone and prednisone all have the effect of lowering interleukin 6 and TNF-a. Both of these effects improve Natural Killer cell function and CD8 cytotoxic lymphocyte activity that is critical for an effective immune response in treating cancer, AIDS and other chronic conditions of immune dysfunction. However, the synthetic steroids (E.G. prednisone etc.) are often overused and may eventually cause a number of adverse effects.
Thyroid supplementation helps in many ways. T3, the active form of thyroxin, increases the production of ATP and energy inside the cells and raises IgA levels, a key immunoglobulin needed for intestinal absorption of nutrients and medications and for mucosal immunity, cell-mediated immunity and to reduce food sensitivities and allergies. As IgA levels go up, IgE that is associated with allergies should go down.
I asked Plechner if there were any plants, seeds or herbs that contained natural hormones like cortisol or testosterone. He said he did not know the answer to this question and referred me to a compounding pharmacist, Wally Simons, of Madison, Wisconsin. Plechner said that hydrocortisone could be made from corn, soy or sesame seeds. He said that Wally had started the Women's International Pharmacy (a compounding pharmacy), and would be more knowledgeable in this arena and might have some answers.
On December 15th, I finally reached Wally Simons after several previous attempts had failed. He told me that as far as he knows, there is no human hormones that are naturally occurring in plants or seeds. He said one substance called diosgenin is a precursor chemical found in about 500 plants species that pharmaceutical companies use to make all the hormones produced by the Adrenal glands including pregnenolone, cortisol, DHEA, estrogen and testosterone to name a few. He said there are about 9 steps is converting diosgenin into hydrocortisone. He said Wild Mexican Yam is very abundant in diosgenin as is soy beans. He said the soy beans are cheaper and are now the usual source of diosgenin used to manufacture hydrocortisone.
I asked him if there were herbs, seeds and other nutrients that would increase the body's own production of cortisol and other natural hormones like DHEA and testosterone. He said there probably was but didn't know of any research in this area. I also asked him about cholesterol, the substance that like diosgenin provides the basic building blocks for all the hormones and inquired as to whether high (HDL) or low density cholesterol (LDL) was used by the adrenal glands to make the hormones. He said he did not know but thought the HDL was more likely the source. I told him I had observed significant drops in HDL in lab tests that I have seen from persons under chronic stress and I have observed that in persons HIV+ who have high levels of HDL's that their CD4 counts and viral loads remain stable.
This raises the next question: Can egg yolk lecithin help the adrenal glands produce more of the essential hormones we need to balance out the immune system? Remember Al-721 (egg yolk lecithin) from the 1980s? Egg yolk lecithin is available from soft boiled eggs or poached eggs of range fed or cage free chickens and could be a viable source of HDLs. Chickens that sit is a small cage and get no exercise are less likely to produce eggs with significant amounts of HDLs in them.
Published research indicates that in humans EXERCISE, oils high in monounsaturated fats (olive oil), green tea, niacin, Guggul and L-Carnitine will all increase the good HDL's. Will more HDLs increase adrenal output of cortisol and help normalize IL-6 and TNF levels?
Another question is where do plant steroids like diosgenin fit into this picture? Does diosgenin from Wild Mexican Yam and other sources cause the liver to produce more HDLs or does diosgenin work with HDL cholesterol to help the adrenal glands produce the essential hormones we need for normal metabolic and immune activity? Do these two compounds work separately to achieve the same end or do they work together?
Finally we have to ask how the adrenals that sit atop the kidneys can function normally if the kidneys are toxic and/or we are dehydrated? How can the kidneys function normally if the liver is toxic? Does recovery start with an effective detox program such as a short vegetable or fruit juice fast using raw foods? How about using Cilantro?
Note: Wally Simons can be reached at Women's Int'l Pharmacy at 800-699-8143, ext 100.
Specialty Labs web site at www.specialtylabs.com has an article on "Interleukin-6." IL-6 is an important cytokine to stimulate the B cells and thus antibody production and it is produced in the body by many types of cells including B cells, T cells, monocytes and hepatocytes. However, IL-6 is also produced by carcinomas, kaposi sarcoma cells, other sarcomas and melanomas and is elevated in Hodgkins disease. Specialty labs states that "neutralizing the effect of IL-6 may result in tumor regression. In recurrent breast cancer, IL-6 and IL-8 at the beginning of treatment are predictive indicators of response to therapy and prognosis; continuous elevation of IL-6 levels indicates poor prognosis in heavily pretreated patients. Combination therapy including agents that reduce IL-6 will become a new strategy for aggressively treating recurrent breast cancer."
Specialty labs also reports that "IL-6 was significantly elevated in 28 persons with acute myocardial infarction compared with 15 normal controls, a recent study suggests that IL-6 with its pro-inflammatory role, plays a key role in the pathogenesis of coronary artery disease. The amount of IL-6 produced is closely related to the severity of mycocardial dysfunction." Specialty Labs also reports that persons with the high plasma levels of IL-6 also have the highest mortality rates.
Natural hormones, while manufactured, have the same molecular structure as those produced within the body. Synthetic hormones like prednisone, prednisolone and others replace cortisol in bodily functions but usually have more side effects than their natural counterparts.
Cortef, a brand name of hydrocortisone, comes in 5, 10 or 20 mg tablets or you can ask for a generic brand of "hydrocortisone" tablets. Your physician may know where to obtain them or check with a compounding pharmacy. For general use, 5 mg per 40 lbs of body weight would be a minimum to consider. A 160 lb person (160 divided by 40 = 4 x 5 = 20 mg hydrocortisone). Persons with advanced cancer and other serious conditions will usually need an injectable form of hydrocortisone to get results and they will need a higher dose initially. When IgA levels are below 60, the patient will not absorb the oral form which is why they will need an injectable form, at least for the first treatment.
When dietary supplements and drugs taken orally are not effective, it is often due to low IgA levels. This is something physicians need to check for, especially when the patient is not responding to the treatment. The use of natural thyroid will increase IgA (thyroxin induces IgA) levels after a few weeks and this will enable the intestines to once again absorb oral forms of hormones, drugs and dietary supplements.
Hydrocortisone and other natural hormones are made available in any strength through a compounding pharmacy. To locate a compounding Pharmacist, contact
Int'l Academy of Compounding Pharmacists (IACP), PO Box 1365, Sugarland, TX 77487 800-927-4227 or Fax 281-495-0602. Their web site is http://www.iacprx.org and they can provide you with a list of local compounding pharmacists.
If you cannot afford a prescription for hydrocortisone, you can obtain some benefits from a 1% hydrocortisone cream that is available over-the-counter at your local drug store. In a 1% hydrocortisone cream, there is about 20 mg of hydrocortisone in 1/2 teaspoon. Massage about 1/2 teaspoon daily in the morning on your skin or joints. It may be debatable as to how much is actually absorbed systemically, but some is, and enough to give noticeable results. Some published studies claiming that the hormone is not absorbed through the skin to have systemic effects are, in my opinion, wrong. One should always assume that any substance that is applied to the skin and disappears within the skin is absorbed completely. The liver gets the ultimate job of removing all these substances, toxic or benign. Unfortunately, this list includes everything from soaps to gasoline to toxic chemicals used to remove paint and varnish, glues, epoxy, etc. etc.
Some published reports say that hydrocortisone is not absorbed through the skin into the blood for a systemic effect and cite lab tests to back their position. However, contrary to their tests, logic begs to know where the hydrocortisone goes once it has been massaged into the skin. Does it come back out of the skin? It certainly does not go back into the tube from whence it came.
There are many reasons why a test for blood levels of this hormone might fail to detect an increase in cortisol. One is the time of the test from the skin application - too soon or too late may not give accurate results. Two is that the test might have measured cortisone instead unbound cortisol and three is that the body may adjust downwards its production of cortisol when it detects free cortisol circulating in the blood.
It is important to remember that cortisol and cortisone are not the same thing. Cortisol is the active form of the hormone while cortisone is the bound, oxidized or inactive form of the hormone.
Note: To avoid interfering with the circadian cycle, use hydrocortisone tablets in the morning and afternoon but not in the evening. Because of it slow absorption rate, hydrocortisone cream may be used either at bedtime or early in the morning. The "circadian cycle" means the normal pattern in a healthy person in a 24 hour period.
The million dollar question that I am trying to find the answer to is to locate the foods or herbs a person can consume to promote the normal production of adrenal hormones needed to balance the immune system and to feel great. Countless searches I have placed at the National Library of Medicine (NLM) have turned up only fragments of information that add only small pieces to this puzzle and not enough to fill the mosaic of a landscape.
Many people read this newsletter hoping to find answers to personal health issues that affect them. Some of those answers are here but more are needed as the process of sifting and winnowing continues.
We must summon from within us the wisdom, intuition and good judgment to separate the wheat from the chaff in the information blizzard of our times.
Urine, herbs and plant steroids. Morning urine contains free cortisol. Some alternative physicians have successfully treated cancer by injecting the patients own urine back into their body. Some people drink a glass of their own urine daily for its health benefits. For those who cannot get past the thought or the taste, some people have reported benefits from a urine retention enema. Urine can also be absorbed topically when applied to the skin.
Diosgenin is a plant steroid precursor to Cortisol that can be found in Wild Yam. Some manufacturers claim that wild yam has progesterone in it but fail to cite any research to spport this statement. Black Cohosh and Yucca also contain plant steroids. Black cohosh products have been sold to millions of women in Europe as a treatment for PMS. Black Cohosh has also been reported by Louise Tenny in "Todays Herbal Health" to lower blood pressure.
Black Cohosh, Yucca and Red Clover all have been used in herbal medicine to treat cancer. Are the effectiveness of these 3 herbs in treating cancer due to their ability to raise cortisol levels that lower IL-6 or do the plant steroids (sterols) directly lower the IL-6 without being first converted into cortisol?
Ginseng may contain precursors to testosterone or nitric acid that enhances the sex drive. Licorice root is reported to elevate cortisol but also blood pressure so must be used in small doses or not at all.
Holy Basil has been studied in mice induced under stress and has been found to protect and maintain normal cortisol levels. Other herbs with sterols in them are Saw Palmetto and Pygeum, both of which are used to treat BPH.
Plant sterols may be precursors to Pregnenolone, Cortisol, DHEA and other adrenal hormones. However, research to confirm this is nonexistent in this area. Other sources of sterols are Brown Rice bran and unrefined (black) Sesame seeds or oil, Avocados and most other raw unprocessed seeds and nuts especially sunflower seeds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, seafood, buckwheat and barley.
1. The Immune System Cure, Bouic and Vanderhaeghe; published by Prentice Hall, Canada
In the book "The Immune System Cure" by Lorna Vanderhaeghe and Patrick Bouic, the authors report that plant sterols, beta-sitosterol, campesterol and stigmasterol can alleviate inflammation from interl
These plant sterols also called plant steroids exist in hundreds of foods but especially rice bran, sesame seeds, buckwheat, scallops, clams, oysters, crab, shrimp, salmon, haddock and other seafoods. Lessor amounts exist in nearly all whole grains and seeds. Moducare, a product endorsed by the authors as source of sterols gets its ingredients from soy bean oil. Sterolins are cofactors that come along with the plant sterols.
On the "Con" side of this book, there is a lack of specific clinical data that establishes a specific dosage of these plant sterols or Moducare to a specific decline in IL-6 and TNF in a specified number of patients. Although several patients with chronic fatigue syndrome have used Moducare and have told me over the years that they felt better, I am not convinced of the degree of efficacy until some hard data surfaces. Having used both Moducare and Hydrocortisone in the past, I have the impression that 10 mgs of hydrocortisone daily has been more effective for me personally in relieving fatigue than 3 Moducare capsules I took daily for several weeks.
Kyolic is now distributing Moducare in health food stores. People should try out both Moducare and hydrocortisone at different times and decide what what works best for them.
I have also personally found that one-half teaspoon of a 1% hydrocortisone (Anti-itch) cream massaged into the skin daily to have about the same benefits as 10 mg of hydrocortisone taken orally.
Presently, there is insufficient research on whether on not a combination of certain herbs with hormone precursors combined with seeds and plants with plant sterols will normalize adrenal production of cortisol and the other adrenal hormones and eliminate the need for hydrocortisone supplementation.
Yucca, which is a very effective for arthritis and rheumatism has also been used in Canada to treat cancer. The results suggest that Yucca may be more than a Cox-2 inhibitor, but also normalize IL-6 and TNF as well. Will Yucca raise CD4 counts in HIV+ patients? All botanical treatments for rheumatism and cancer need to be tested for their effects on IL-6 and TNF-a and there are about 200 or more such treatments circulating on the world wide web.
For the past 2 years, regular mercury thermometers for taking one's temperature under the armpit for basal temperature or under the tongue have been banned from sale in the marketplace as unsafe. This is ironic as dentists are still allowed to place mercury amalgam fillings in our mouths that come in direct contact with our teeth and bone structure while a thermometer with mercury encased in glass is considered too dangerous to place in our mouth.
Worldwide, mercury poisoning is now adversely affecting hundreds of millions of people. Most of the mercury polluting our air and water is coming from coal fired electricity generating plants. While hydroelectric and wind power is where the money should be placed, instead we find billions of dollars are being spent to promote the air polluting coal dynasty dinosaurs under the ruse that they will environmentally friendly in another 10 or 15 years. "Silent spring" is fast approaching.
When the mercury shakedown thermometers were discontinued about two years ago, the only alternatives available were the digital thermometers that basically were not designed for under the armpit basal temperature testing.
Last week I found at a local Walgreens store a shakedown thermometer that does not use mercury but instead uses a environmentally safe substance called "Galinstan." The Mercury-Free oral thermometer is manufactured in Germany by Geratherm A.G.. It is distributed in the US by R.G.. Medical Diagnostics in Southfield, Michigan. It cost only $6. If you cannot find one at a local drugstore, go to the web site www.rgmd.com to locate a distributor and a local supplier.
Aga, M. et all and 17 other Japanese researchers studied the effects of Chinese parsley (Coriandrum Sativum), otherwise known a Cilantro, on lead deposits in mice. The researchers report:
"The preventive effect of Chinese parsley (Coriandrum Sativum) on lead deposition was investigated in male ICR mice given lead (1000 ppm) as lead acetate trihydrate in drinking water for 32 days. Administration of Chinese parsley to mice by gastric intubation was performed for 25 days from day 7 after the start of lead exposure up to the end of the experiment. "
They report that "Administration of Chinese parsley significantly decreased lead deposition in the femur and severe lead-induced injury in the kidneys. In addition, urinary excretion of delta-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) which is known to increase with lead intake was significantly decreased after administration of Chinese parsley."
They added: These results suggest that Chinese parsley has suppressive activity on lead deposition, probably resulting from the chelation of lead by some substances contained in Chinese parsley. (1)
In an earlier published study, Omura and Beckman report that "In the spring of 1995, use of Chinese parsley for successful elimination of Hg (mercury) deposits existing in various organs of the first author as the result of the decay of radioactive Thallium 201 injected for cardiac SPECT, was accidentally discovered after eating Vietnamese soup, which happened to contain Chinese parsley, also called cilantro. We also found Chinese parsley accelerates the excretion of Hg, Pb, and A1 from the body though the urine." (2)
The researchers found that antibiotic therapy for a herpes infection was successful only after the Cilantro treatment. They concluded that the heavy metals somehow protected the herpes virus.
1. Preventive effect of Coriandrum sativum (Chinese parsley) on localized lead deposition in ICR mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 2001 Oct;77(2-3):203-8.
2. Role of mercury (Hg) in resistant infections & effective treatment of Chlamydia trachomatis and Herpes family viral infections (and potential treatment for cancer) by removing localized Hg deposits with Chinese parsley and delivering effective antibiotics using various drug uptake enhancement methods.
Authors: Omura, Y; Beckman, S L. Acupunct Electrother Res. 1995 Aug-Dec;20(3-4):195-229.
It should be noted that lead, mercury, aluminum and other heavy metals are strong inducers of interleukin-6 and other TH2 cytokines. Heavy metal toxicity is likely to prevent recovery from HIV/AID, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, candidiasis, herpes and other chronic infections that do not respond to treatment.
One or two tablespoons of fresh cilantro daily sprinkled in salsa, over a salad or in soup should be helpful in reducing heavy metals and IL-6. Cilantro in tablets or capsules is also available. Monitor (lab tests) for heavy metals before and after using Cilantro to determine its effectiveness.
Hope you are well. Did I give you this recipe?
The sisters working in one of the poorest slums in Nairobi are integrating the "Great Health Naturally" (derived from Immune Restoration Handbook) into their program. These PLAs are the poorest of the poor. They put 40 patients on the following items and within a month 70% of the patients started gaining weight (up to 2-3 kgs), slept better, small odd pains receded, skin cleared and so on. They are taking:
Hot Stuff (African Tonic), was invented in order to simplify the delivery of the protocol to poor patients. It's delicious. Try it.
Crush the garlic and ginger. Mix all ingredients in a clean large glass jar. Let marinate (brew!) for 10 days or longer. Shake daily. After 10 days strain through a clean cloth or filter. Wow! Great stuff.
Take 1-2 teaspoons "dose" daily. Sprinkle over food. Or mix into water and drink.
Increases appetite, encourages weight gain, help internal acid-alkaline balance, helps give a better sleep, raises and balances body temperature.
PS: In addition to the African tonic, Didi has HIV+ patients drink one or two cups of Neem Leaf tea daily.
March 1, 2005
From Keep Hope Alive:
We all wish we could treat HIV effectively forever without having to use the Pharmaceutical drugs, but anyone HIV + who is using diet, immune-based or any alternative therapies for HIV published here or in the Immune Restoration Handbook and who find that in spite of their best efforts that their CD4 count drops below 200 must seriously consider using a pharmaceutical drug combination to treat their condition.
Warning! Anyone whose CD4 count drops to 50 or less and chooses not to use drugs to treat the AIDS condition will either go blind with CMV or will die from an opportunistic infection or both.
On the other hand, those who have been on drug cocktails a year or longer and have a low or non-detectable viral load and CD4 counts of 300 or higher and are experiencing adverse effects from the drugs need to take a break (an extended drug holiday vacation) and go off of them for a while and consider the use of diet and immune-based therapies in the interval.
There is no conflict between alternating or combining treatments with pharmaceutical drugs and immune-based therapies like Naltrexone and others mentioned in the Immune Restoration Handbook and in past issues of this newsletter.
The experiences of those who alternate treatment protocols (between drugs and immune-based therapies) indicate that they have far fewer side effects and stronger and more balanced immune systems.
It is important that the mindset that closes the door to complementary therapies be torn down by those who use pharmaceutical drugs exclusively, and those who use only diet and immune-based therapies need to keep an open mind on the benefits of using pharmaceutical drugs when they are needed.
Medical treatments and all available treatment options should not be relegated only to those that have the wand of the government's approval (E.G. FDA approved sic) nor should the non-existence of such approval be a basis to ignore the benefits of hundreds of treatments that have been in use for thousands of years.
To blandly dismiss the claims of thousands of users of botanicals and other low cost treatments on the basis that the results claimed are a fiction of their imagination or just a placebo effect is pure arrogance on the part of the government.
A wiser course is to investigate scientifically why these benefits are occurring and to honestly report on the results.
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