Medical Secrets

What Your Doctor Might Not Know or Tell You!

In my books I reveal information that most doctors might not know or tell their patients.

Here you will discover more medical secrets that will help you become a more informed patient, make better health care decisions, and maybe even save a life!

This is a collection of some of the information I have posted on our Rapid Recovery online group website. To read more, please visit the archives:

If after reading these posts you have any questions or need additional information, please contact me via email or schedule a phone consultation session.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of a trained health care professional. All matters regarding your health require medical supervision. You should regularly consult a physician in matters relating to your health and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.

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Heart Attack: Avoid Angiograms, Angioplasty, and Bypass Surgery

My father passed away suddenly due to chest pain. Yes, chest pain!

He was a healthy, active, vibrant eighty-two-year-old with no chronic illness who worked out with weights regularly and was in excellent shape.

When he complained of chest pain on November 18, 2012, he was taken to the emergency room (ER). There, the angiogram showed one blocked artery, known as the "widow maker." At that point, an angioplasty was performed, and a stent was placed in the artery. His heart stopped twice during the procedure and he passed away.

Studies have shown that there is no advantage to angioplasty and medications work just as well, with less chance of death.

Here I share with you important information regarding heart attacks. With this knowledge, you could save a life:


  1. Six out of seven heart attacks do not happen at the site of the blockage.

  2. A blockage discovered after a heart attack might be the result of a heart attack, not the cause.

  3. An angioplasty (balloon) and stent procedure is no better than medications, and it can be very dangerous.

  4. The angiogram is not the most accurate test for heart disease.

  5. The blocked arteries seen in an angiogram might have been there for many years and might not be the cause of a heart attack.

  6. The heart makes its own natural bypass through angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels from preexisting blood vessels. So it does not matter how many blocked arteries an angiogram shows, the heart muscle function tests are the most important indicators of heart health.

A story and more detailed info:

This is the account of one of my relatives, a man in his late sixties who had a heart attack in June 2009.

He was taken to the ER, where he was diagnosed with a heart attack. His heart rate was down to 30 beats per minute. An angiogram revealed that he had three blocked arteries, including the one doctors call the "widow maker," and he was schedule for triple bypass surgery. His son receives my health updates and knew what to ask the doctors.

"Is it possible that those blocked arteries been there for many years?" The doctors said yes.

"So it is possible that he has been living with these blocked arteries for many years with no symptoms?" Yes.

"What did the diagnostic tests for heart function (i.e., the Echocardiogram and Thallium test) show?" The tests showed minor damage to the heart muscles themselves.

"So if the heart muscles are overall okay and my father's heart over the years has made its own bypass around the blockages to provide blood and nutrients to the muscles, why do bypass surgery?" The doctors did not refute his sound argument but said, "You can't take a chance."

His father decided against surgery despite the insistence of the doctors and despite his wife's fears. Imagine it: You are lying in a hospital bed after a heart attack. The doctors tell you if you do not have bypass surgery you will die-but you refuse surgery? He is a brave man!

After a week in the hospital, my relative's heartbeat was up to 70 beats per minute. After signing the against-medical-advice release forms, he was able to walk out of the hospital. Since this incident in 2009, he has not had anotherheart attack and is alive and well, living an active life.

Yes, it is possible to avoid bypass surgery and angioplasty and recover from a heart attack. In fact, studies have shown that medications are more effective than invasive procedures (see the research cited at the end).

The late cardiologist Howard H. Wayne, MD, author of Do You Really Need Bypass Surgery? A Second Opinionin which he cites more than 300 studies, concludes the following:

  1. A number of studies have shown people as young as nineteen can have blocked arteries. This means that people with blocked arteries might not know that they have them and living normal lives. How can this be? The heart forms a natural bypass around those arteries (known as angiogenesis), and the heart functions well despite the blockage.

  2. An angiogram might show a blockage that has been there for many years harmlessly. Blockage is not necessarily the cause of chest pain or a heart attack. What is important is that the heart muscle functions. Even a 90 percent blockage might not lead to a 100 percent blockage. In fact, the 90 percent blockage might be an old, stable blockage that is more stable than a newer, smaller blockage.

  3. Angiograms can show arteries and veins that are as small as 0.5mm but no smaller. Many smaller veins that are not seen on an angiogram provide blood to heart muscles. As long as the heart function is determined to be okay according to

    a. a treadmill stress test,
    b. an echocardiogram, and
    c. Thallium tests

    that is what is most important. If the heart function is determined to be not okay, then medications to lower blood pressure and take the load off the heart work better than surgery along with aspirin.

    Note: Dr. Wayne argues that the routine physical exam, in which the doctor listens to your heart and does an electrocardiogram (ECG), is not sufficient to detect a problem. I know of cases where the patient did great during a checkup, only to have a heart attack shortly afterward. If you are at risk for a heart attack due to high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, a family history, or another reason, insist on having the preceding three, more accurate, tests done.

  4. Dr. Wayne quotes many studies that show that bypass surgery and angioplasty are not effective, and in fact might cause many side effects, including heart attacks, memory loss, and even death.

  5. Many population studies conducted both in the United States and outside the United States, have shown that treatment with medications is equal to or even far superior to invasive angioplasty and bypass surgery.

  6. The financial incentive is great for many cardiologists, who have lately become technicians and do angioplasty routinely, even when there is really no need for it. Dr. Wayne recommends finding a cardiologist who does not do angiograms or angioplasty.

  7. Dr. Wayne points out that there is really no case where a patient has to have emergency bypass surgery or angioplasty.

  8. He also does not give his patients either cholesterol-lowering drugs or blood thinners, as he believes the current theory of how a heart attack happens has not been proven. In fact, six out of seven heart attacks do not happen at the site of blockage!

You can find out more at Dr. Wayne's website:

I highly recommend his book, Do You Really Need Bypass Surgery? A Second Opinion, for the many studies he cites and his alternative view of cause and treatment of heart disease.

Read the book and then consult your doctor.

Here's also an interview with Dr. Nortin Hadler on the same topic:

For three decades Nortin Hadler, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been rigorously examining statistics generated by his medical colleagues' practices and arriving at startling conclusions about their effectiveness. To take just one example, Hadler is credited with leading a complete rethinking about the treatment of back pain, which he finds excessive. He wrote the editorial accompanying a landmark study in The Journal of the American Medical Association two years ago suggesting that the benefits of surgery for back pain are overrated.

He has also taken on heart treatment, testifying before Congress and the Social Security Advisory Board and publishing papers arguing that very little data back up the value of modern treatments like bypass surgery and angioplasty. He took his case about cardiac care and other health issues to the public in The Last Well Person: How to Stay Well Despite the Health-Care System (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2004) [Worried Sick (2008), Rethinking Aging (2011)].

Your book makes the case that too many people are having bypass surgery without much advantage. Under what circumstances do you think bypass surgery is appropriate?

H: None. I think bypass surgery belongs in the medical archives. There are only two reasons you'd ever want to do it: one, to save lives, the other to improve symptoms. But there's only one subset of the population that's been proved to derive a meaningful benefit from the surgery, and that's people with a critical defect of the left main coronary artery who also have angina. If you take 100 60-year-old men with angina, only 3 of them will have that defect, and there's no way to know without a coronary arteriogram. So you give that test to 100 people to find 3 solid candidates-but that procedure is not without complications. Chances are you're going to do harm to at least one in that sample of 100. So you have to say, "I'm going to do this procedure with a 1 percent risk of catastrophe to find the 3 percent I know I can help a little." That's a very interesting trade-off.

So you believe the vast majority of those who have had this major surgery have suffered through it for no reason? That seems so counterintuitive. Everyone seems to know a father or uncle who's been given a new lease on life after their bypass surgery, with more energy and less chest pain.

H: This analysis is upsetting for people to hear-feel free to yell at me if you need to. I'm really asking people to rethink common sense. But people don't realize that angina is an intermittent illness. It comes and goes. You can have it for months and then months off. Classic cardiologists used to help people handle the symptoms by treating it like a chronic illness. Well into the 1960s and 1970s, they helped people cope with the anticipation of pain, prescribing drugs like nitroglycerine and helping patients learn to wait until things calmed down a little bit.

But for those people bypass surgery helps, it's not intermittent-it makes the pain go away altogether. Isn't that worth something?

H: You have to consider how much of that relief is a function of natural history and placebo effects. In one controlled trial of surgery for angina, half the people with the condition underwent an operation in which doctors merely made a skin incision and closed it up; in the other half, the patients had a particular kind of bypass. The numbers from each group whose symptoms were significantly alleviated were about the same. Angina is particularly susceptible to the placebo effect because the anticipation of pain adds to the intermittency of it. FDA-approved pharmaceuticals for alleviating angina have about a 55 percent effectiveness level in randomized controlled trials; the placebo runs about 45 percent. Even if surgery could be proved to alleviate the discomfort, you'd have to consider if that offsets the risks of bypass surgery-about half the patients suffer severe depression after the surgery, a third suffer measurable memory loss, and many never go back to work again. Then there are the added risks of any major surgery.

You analyze the definitive studies and find that the number of people whose lives are saved by bypass surgery, angiograms, and cholesterol-lowering drugs is statistically insignificant-and yet life expectancy has risen since the advent of all three of those treatments. If it isn't better cardiac care that's extending lives, what is?

H: The start of the rise in longevity kicked in long before cardiac intervention became popular. Looking at life-course epidemiological studies, the secret lies in two questions: Are you comfortable in your socioeconomic status, and do you like your job? With regard to socioeconomic status, the central question relates to relative wealth-in other words, the smaller the income gap in a given area, the better the longevity. Where the income gap is larger, the poor die sooner. These are powerful associations. The answer does not lie in modern medicine but in modern society.

Let's say we could come up with a magic pill that would dramatically reduce deaths by heart attack-then do you think we'd see an even further rise in life span?

H: We'd still die at around age 85 of something. When people die of heart disease at that age, it's not just heart disease they're dying of, even though that might be the official diagnosis-it's usually multisystem disease, or as it's more commonly known, frailty. That's the most common cause of death.

Surgery is obviously invasive, but why do you object to the widespread prescription of statins, the cholesterol-lowering drugs?

H: In men with normal cholesterol levels, the risk of death for those between ages 45 and 65 over the course of the next five years is only a fraction of 1 percent lower than it is for men with high serum cholesterol in the same category. The most thorough study to date had some 3,000 men with "high" cholesterol levels take a statin every day for five years, while 3,000 similar men took a placebo. When all was said and done, there was no difference in cardiovascular deaths between the two groups. Statins do reduce the risk of heart attack in those who have a strong family history of people in their family having heart attacks very young-but that's a small percentage of the population. You could argue, looking at the data, that they're helpful for people who've already had one heart attack. But for everyone else, the possible advantage is marginally and clinically insignificant.

You're 62-do you get your cholesterol checked?

H: I don't want to know. We have data that tell me if you stigmatize me by labeling me somehow, it will change my sense of well-being. I have nothing to gain from that in this case. I would be infuriated if any doctor checked my cholesterol without my asking and told me if it was up or down. I would think that would be an abuse of science that offered me a chance of feeling less well for no good reason.

If the data are not prompting so much interventional cardiology, what is?

H: Money. Interventional cardiology is what supports almost every hospital in America -it's an enormous part of our gross domestic product. Every year in this country we do about half a million bypass grafts and 650,000 coronary angioplasties, with the mean cost of the procedures ranging from $28,000 to $60,000. There are a lot of people involved in this transfer of wealth. But no Western European nation has such a high rate of those procedures-and their longevity is higher than ours.

Do you think your book will have any impact on the decisions cardiologists make?

H: I want it to start a dialogue, the way we did with back surgery 10 years ago, to shift the debate so that people are not just talking about how good you are at doing an angioplasty but if it should ever be done.

So what are patients supposed to take away from your critiques?

H: I think the patient's job is really to find the right person, the right doctor. You need a relationship with a physician who can listen to your experience of illness and consider with you the benefits and risks of all options. The system is not set up to benefit you in this fashion, because it's set up as part of an enormous business model. There's too much that we're doing that doesn't help. That doesn't mean we don't need physicians or that many aren't caring people. But if I had my way, cardiologists would no longer take care of hearts. They'd take care of people with heart disease, and if they were doing that, they wouldn't be doing angioplasties.

The kind of statistical analysis you do is laborious and often yields results people don't want to hear. Why have you made this form of research your sideline?

H: I pursued medical training as a young man in order to serve in what I saw as a ministry, a calling-that's what I felt. And I sought out and received some elegant education on how to implement the classic Greek warning to "do no harm," to be sure that what you're doing is good. We now have the wherewithal, thanks to issues in statistics and experimental design, to actually put meat on this question: Am I doing better or worse with the common practice or the not-so-common practice? It's the theme of my life as an educator.

Your arguments seem to demand a major rethinking of how we practice modern cardiac care. Has the response from the medical community, many of whose practices you condemn, been fierce?

H: Not really. The book review in The Journal of the American Medical Association, about as establishment a journal as you can find, was so positive I'm convinced my mother wrote it.


Please also see

When it comes to heart attacks, now you know what your doctor might not know or tell you.

Here are two studies that show there is no benefit to having an angioplasty compared with just taking medications.

  1. Coronary revascularization with stenting or balloon angioplasty combined with optimal medical therapy is no more effective in preventing a heart attack, other major cardiovascular events or death in patients with stable heart disease, than optimal medical therapy alone, results of a new study conducted in 50 hospitals in the U.S. and Canada has shown.The new findings, which are expected to change the way stable heart disease is treated in the future, will be presented March 27, 2007 at the American College of Cardiology's 56th-annual scientific session by William E. Boden, M.D., professor of medicine and public health in the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.Read the full article at

  2. Angioplasty no better than drugs for heart attack victims who delay treatment. Medical Studies/Trials Published: Wednesday, 15-Nov-2006 In what will come as a surprise to many doctors, researchers in the United States have found that contrary to current belief, heart attack survivors with mild or no symptoms who wait three days or more to seek medical help, will achieve little benefit from the procedures used to open clogged arteries. Read the full article at

Stay informed. Stay well.

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Diabetes Is Not a Blood Sugar Disease

You might be surprised to learn that type 2 diabetes is not a blood sugar disease!

In the case of type 2 diabetes, elevated fasting blood sugar (126 or higher) is only a symptom of the disease. The real problem is the body's resistance to insulin. However, current medical treatments focus on controlling the blood sugar, not making the body more sensitive to insulin.

That is why current medical treatments for type 2 diabetes, which work to control blood sugar with pills and insulin shots, have not been shown to slow down the degenerative effects of type 2 diabetes on the eyes, kidneys, nerves, veins, heart, and so on. Controlling blood sugar levels might give patients a false sense of security, keeping them from making necessary dietary and lifestyle changes!

Note: Here we are discussing type 2 diabetes not type 1 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin, and patients must receive insulin daily. Without it, they risk coma and death.

What Your Doctor Might Not Tell You About Screening for Type 2 Diabetes!

The US Preventive Services Task Force, a government agency that reviews current medical practices, makes the following recommendations for screening and treatment for type 2 diabetes:

  1. For those with diabetes symptoms-such as extreme thirst, frequent urination, or retinal damage-and who have blood pressure greater than 135/80, screening for diabetes is recommended. In such cases, diabetes accelerates the vascular damage caused by high blood pressure. The Task Force recommends keeping the blood pressure at or less than 135/80. However, the Task Force makes no recommendations about controlling blood sugar with medications or insulin, because no studies have shown these effective in delaying or stopping the damage caused by diabetes.

  2. For those with no diabetes symptoms and blood pressure at or less than 135/80, the Task Force does not recommend testing for diabetes because knowing you have it might cause worry and anxiety and lead to ineffective treatments. Of course, not testing does not mean not taking care of yourself. It just means that because there is no effective treatment for those without symptoms yet, there is no point in knowing you have diabetes!

Here's a summary of their recommendation:

So if you have type 2 diabetes or want to avoid it, what can you do to become more sensitive to insulin?

Ron Rosedale, MD, is a metabolic specialist who has treated thousands of diabetic patients with proper diet. He explains what you can do here.

His book, The Rosedale Diet, explains more about how you can make your body more sensitive to insulin.

The book is well written. I differ with him regarding the inclusion of Splenda in the diet. Although Splenda does not raise blood sugar, it is a chemical sweeter of questionable safety. You can learn more from his website at

What is most important here is to take proper dietary action to prevent or treat diabetes. If you add regular exercise with weights, that will also help to make your body more sensitive to insulin.

Stay informed. Stay well.

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Cancer: Should I Be Tested for Cancer? Maybe Not and Here's Why

I just finished reading Should I Be Tested for Cancer? Maybe Not and Here's Why by H. Gilbert Welch, MD, MPH, professor in the Departments of Medicine and Community and Family Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School.

It is truly an eye-opener. A brief summary follows, but first here's an editorial review from the New England Journal of Medicine:

"The author maintains that cancer screening may have been oversold to the public and health care practitioners alike. By challenging commonly held assumptions, Welch stimulates a critical dialogue between patients and providers regarding the effect of screening on cancer-associated morbidity and mortality, the sequelae of false positive results, and the slippery slope of diagnosing and managing incidentally detected cancers, many of which may pose no immediate health threat. To balance this cautious approach to cancer screening, the author acknowledges the successes of rigorously proven screening methods and weighs them against the high costs that invasive cancer imposes. Indeed, leading health economists recently estimated that as little as a 10 percent reduction in cancer would translate into a savings of $4.4 trillion to society.

"This book, which offers a sobering view of the status of cancer screening today, deserves to be widely used by patients and providers as they navigate an expanding and often bewildering array of screening options. Nevertheless, improvements in our understanding of carcinogenesis, enhanced performance characteristics of early-detection technology, and noninvasive approaches to diagnosing early neoplasia are likely to narrow the gap between the detection of disease and its appropriate medical management. These advances are likely to recalibrate the risk-benefit ratio of cancer screening. Indeed, transient uncertainties and potential harm should serve as an impetus for scientific advancement, rather than as evidence of conceptual failure. In an evolutionary sense, the dilemmas so well detailed in this book may be viewed as natural preconditions for continued progress." -Jaye L. Viner, MD, MPH

Millions of people are being screened for cancer every year, but is it really necessary? Is it really making a difference? Are people harmed by these tests in any way?

Dr. Welch explains brilliantly what these cancer screenings really mean. He argues that we are taking healthy, symptom-free individuals and looking for cancer.

Here's what most people don't know:

  1. There is no evidence that these screenings have actually saved lives. In fact, despite increased detection of early stages of prostate cancer and breast cancer, the death rate for prostate cancer has stayed the same and the rate of late-stage breast cancer has increased over a twenty-five-year period.

  2. Autopsies of people who have not died from cancer have shown cancer in the lungs, thyroid, kidney, and so on. This means that millions of people live with cancer but die of another cause without ever knowing they had cancer.

  3. If the screening finds cancer, it does not necessarily mean that it is the type that will grow rapidly.

    a. It could regress on its own, as the immune system eliminates abnormal cells, including cancers, regularly.
    b. It could stay the same for many years and never cause a problem.
    c. It could grow so slowly that it causes no health problems and the person dies of something else before it can.

  4. Studies conducted by Johns Hopkins, Harvard, and others have shown that different pathologists give different diagnoses for the same tissues. They may look at the same tissues and some will think it is cancer while others will think it is not. This is especially true when it comes to the few abnormal tissues taken in screening a healthy individual.

  5. Between screenings, it is possible to develop a fast-growing cancer. So how often do we need to do mammograms and colonoscopies?

  6. The statistics, such as the five-year survival rate, are not always reliable and might be calculated in a misleading manner.

So you have a mammogram, PSA test, colonoscopy, or fecal occult test done. This is what might happen:

  1. You end up with a false positive. Although it varies from test to test, a 10 percent false positive rate is the average.

  2. You get the cancer scare unnecessarily.
  3. This can begin a cycle of retesting, biopsies, and other tests. Some can be very unpleasant and have side effects.

  4. If they find abnormal tissues, what does it mean? Maybe the pathologist made a mistake, maybe the cancer has been there for many years; maybe it is a slow-growing cancer; maybe it will go away on its own, or maybe it is a fast-growing cancer! Of course, your doctor can't take a chance with your health, and also does not want to get sued for malpractice, so most likely he or she will recommend the most safest (which could be the most aggressive) course of action!

Here you were, living a relatively healthy, symptom-free life, and now you are told you need surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.

Once you know that cancer has been found, it is hard to know what to do-not to mention the emotional toll of the diagnosis. That's why Dr. Welch believes sometimes it is better not to know.

Caution: If you have any unusual symptoms, such as a lump in your breast or blood in your stool, and your doctor recommends testing for cancer, make sure you are tested.

After reading the book, I decided I do not need any screening. As long as I am symptom-free and healthy, why put myself through tests that might (or might not) extend or save my life-or that might harm me. As long as I don't do anything to harm my immune system, such as smoking, and instead do the things that enhance my immune system, such as exercise, I believe that I don't need to become a patient.

Each individual needs to make a decision about cancer screening based on his or her priorities, family history of cancer, and other factors. My recommendation is to read the book and consult your doctor for your best options.

Another good book on this topic is Seeking Sickness: Medical Screening and the Misguided Hunt for Disease by Alan Cassels and Dr. H. Gilbert Welch.

Stay informed. Stay well.

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Cancer: Nontoxic Treatments

Here are some nontoxic treatment options and resources for cancer patients.

  1. Angiogenesis therapy. Watch this talk on TED:

  3. A medical center directed by Robert Gorter, MD, PhD, in Cologne, Germany, with a branch in Cairo works with stage 4 cancer patients and has had good success. They use fever and immune therapy to activate the immune system to fight cancer. Cancer cells do not like heat. Fever makes them die while it increases immune cell activity.

    Dr. Gorter gained valuable insight into activating the immune system after working for many years with AIDS patients in San Francisco.

    Also, most cancers thrive on carbohydrates. If you can avoid all sugars, sweets, grains, and starchy vegetables, that can really help. At a minimum, cut sugar (including the sugar found in fruits) out of your diet until you are well.

  4. Here's a good site in general on cancer treatments:

  5. Nancy's List provides many useful resources and support:

  6. Here's another good book: Never Fear Cancer Again. I do not agree with its premise of a low-salt, nondairy, vegetarian diet. (Please see my article. "Disease-Preventing Diet," on this page.)But it does take a comprehensive look at how you can avoid cancer.

  7. Nicholas J. Gonzalez, MD, has done some amazing work using diet, enzymes, and detoxification.

  8. Check out the work of Stanislaw R. Burzynski, MD, PhD, internationally recognized physician and biochemist-researcher. Since 1967, he has pioneered the development and use of biologically active peptides in diagnosing, preventing, and treating cancer.

Stay informed. Stay well.

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Stroke: Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy

I have met several relatives of stroke patients who were not aware of this very effective therapy for stroke. Here's what the American Stroke Association says about it:

"Constraint-induced movement therapy (CI) forces the use of the affected side by restraining the unaffected side. With CI therapy, the therapist constrains the survivor's unaffected arm in a sling. The survivor then uses his or her affected arm repetitively and intensively for two weeks."

See it in action in this news report:

In some cases acupuncture, when applied soon after a stroke, can have dramatic results.

Stay informed. Stay well.

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Worried Sick: A Prescription for Health in an Overtreated America

If you want to save yourself from being labeled as having a disease you don't have and take medications you don't need, then you must read Worried Sick: A Prescription for Health in an Overtreated America by Nortin Hadler, MD.

Dr. Hadler is a graduate of Harvard Medical School, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the author of 15 books and 200 medical papers. He is a frequent reviewer and editorial writer for the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and other publications. He is also a regular contributor to ABC News. You can read his articles at

In Worried Sick,Dr. Hadler examines many common diagnoses and treatments, and he questions their validity and scientific basis. He shows clearly that many diagnoses and treatments are not based on science, that treatments can be of questionable value, and that some treatments might be harmful.

Here's the review of Worried Sick from the May, 8, 2008, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine:

"Hadler, a rheumatologist and occupational medicine specialist, concentrates on medical decisions. He indicts doctors for peddling fake diseases and promising false cures, and he also indicts patients for refusing to accept the normal infirmities of age and the inevitability of death. Like many contrarians, he sometimes overstates his case, but the case is often a strong one.

"Hadler offers a withering critique of the invasive treatment of chronic stable coronary artery disease, echoing the view that has long been advocated by noted cardiologist Bernard Lown. The single-minded focus on opening (or bypassing) narrowed arteries relies on an oversimplified model. Most acute occlusions do not occur at sites with previous high-grade stenoses; stenotic lesions often stimulate the development of collateral circulation that attenuates their danger; and modern medical management often stabilizes plaques. Moreover, randomized trials have shown that few patients with chronic stable angina benefit from mechanical intervention-apart from the 3 percent of patients with left main coronary artery disease.

"Hadler also takes on screening for breast, colon, and prostate cancer, which has not been shown to decrease all-cause mortality but does increase radiation exposure, surgeries, and worry. He criticizes tight glucose control, prefiguring the unexpected results of a recent randomized trial."

The following is a brief overview. For the whole story, read the book.

  1. Cholesterol screening: This is a test for which there is no sound scientific basis. In fact, Dr. Hadler has never had his blood cholesterol checked! The statin drugs, such as Lipitor, are of no benefit to a well person. They neither reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke nor prolong life. Patients who have had a heart attack and then start on Lipitor experience a 2 percent reduction in their risk of having a second heart attack. Taking statins will have a minuscule effect on increasing survival rate after a heart attack. So why should a person who has not had a heart attack take a drug that can cause liver damage and muscle wasting, and reduce an essential enzyme (CoQ10) for heart function?!

  2. Type 2 diabetes: Dr. Hadler mentions that an increase in blood glucose level is an expected part of aging, and the effort to regulate blood sugar with medication has shown no effect in terms of preventing damage to the eyes or kidneys, heart disease, or stroke. In fact, ten years of intensive therapy offered no real advantage to 1,000 middle-aged hyperglycemic people (those with a high blood glucose level). Why would anyone want to be on such medication and suffer its side effects without gaining a real benefit? Dr. Hadler argues that changes in diet, weight loss, and exercise are much more effective. Also, what is considered a high blood glucose level? Those levels are set by committees. They are not necessarily based on science; many times, they are based on the influence of pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Hadler proposes that these levels be adjusted for age. A normal blood sugar at age fifty will naturally be higher than for a person at age twenty. And although medications and insulin can help control symptoms, such as excessive thirst and frequent urination, which even people with normal blood sugar may experience, they have not been shown to prevent vascular damage.

  3. Hypertension: Dr. Hadler points out that science has not proven that lowering mild high blood pressure can make a real difference in preventing heart disease or damage to organs. He recommends that elderly people who have diabetes and hypertension be treated with medication only if regular exercise, weight loss, and diet modifications do not help. A focus on keeping blood pressure at 120/80 and prescribing medication to those who have blood pressure at 140/90 or greater-but who have no symptoms and are feeling well-is not supported by research. One thing research has shown is that a cheap first-generation diuretic works just as well as the latest (and very expensive) antihypertension drugs. The scientific evidence shows that the elderly with type 2 diabetes and hypertension are the only patients who benefit from medical intervention. I would add to Dr. Hadler's comments that according to the authors of Selling Sicknessthe risk of a heart attack for a sixty-five year-old man who does not smoke, does not have diabetes, and has blood pressure of 160/90 is 5 percent until age seventy. If he takes blood pressure medication to lower it to 120/80, his risk of having a heart attack by the age of seventy is 4 percent. Is it worth taking a drug every day and suffering its side effects when the benefit is so small?

  4. Ruptured disc: Dr. Hadler points out that the concept of a ruptured disc as a cause of back and leg pain was proposed some seventy years ago-and it should have remained there, in the past. There is no evidence that a ruptured disc causes any harm. All the spinal changes due to age detected in an MRI or CT scan are normal. More than 300 randomized studies show that all the treatments of a ruptured disc, ranging from spinal manipulation to shots to surgery, are of no benefit. All studies have shown that patients who refused treatment recovered as well or better than those who were treated. He recommends that patients take steps to relieve the pain and discomfort and get back into their regular routines and work.

  5. Knee, shoulder, and hand pain: Dr. Hadler asserts that knee, shoulder, and hand pain should be treated like back pain. The current diagnoses, such as a torn meniscus, a torn rotator cuff, or carpal tunnel syndrome, and conventional treatments for them are of no value. Perhaps the solution is for the patient to take medication for the pain and keep going until recovery.

    Hip replacement surgery, according to Dr. Hadler, is the only surgery that is acceptable to relieve joint pain.And even so, pinning the hip is less costly and has a faster recovery rate than hip replacement surgery. However, as John E. Sarno, MD, professor of rehabilitation medicine at New York University, points out in his books The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain and The Divided Mind: The Epidemic of Mindbody Disorders, hip pain, as well as back, neck, leg, arm, and hand pain, is caused by tension and can be resolved without surgery.

  6. Hormone replacement therapy: This treatment is touted as a way of preventing heart disease and osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Dr. Hadler points out that not only has this treatment failed, but the equipment used for testing the results is not accurate most of the time, and the medications used in hormone replace therapy don't really work. Exercise is a better alternative.

  7. Cancer screening: Like Dr. Welch, author of Should I Be Tested for Cancer?, Dr. Hadler finds no scientific basis for the idea that screening well people for cancer has any benefit. He calls it, "looking for a small needle in a big haystack."

There is much more discussed in the book, from fish oil to heart bypass surgery, that you'll need to read for yourself. Unfortunately, we are dealing with a medical system that ignores science and is heavily influenced by pharmaceutical companies. Physician and health educators like Dr. Hadler provide a great service.

Here's the Amazon link for Worried Sick:

Another excellent book on this topic is Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health by Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, Dr. Lisa Schwartz, and Dr. Steve Woloshin.

It's good to see that there are still doctors out there who are willing to stand up to the pharmaceutical industry and put the welfare of their patients first.

Stay informed. Stay well.

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Alternatives to Toxic Soaps and Cosmetics

Watch the "Story of Cosmetics" to find out how shampoos (even baby shampoos), soaps, personal care products, and cosmetics are loaded with carcinogens, such as formaldehyde, lead, and arsenic:


Read the article on toxic chemicals in baby shampoo:

Safer products are available at many grocery stores, natural food stores, and pharmacies. Look for those made by Tom's of Maine, Kirk's, Weleda, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps,and others.

For more alternatives, go to the website of the Environmental Working Group (EWG):

EWG provides a list of companies with less toxic personal care products.

Tips about safer products and what to look for and avoid:

Stay informed. Stay well.

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Alzheimer's Diet Cure

Here's an interesting TED talk by Mary T. Newport, MDabout how she cured her husband's Alzheimer's disease with coconut oil.

As she explains, the main cause of the disease appears to be insulin resistance of the brain cells, making it a type 2 diabetes of the brain. You can reduce your risk of Alzheimer's by avoiding a diet that leads to sudden and regular secretion of insulin. This means no sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, white flour, white rice, starches, fruit juices, and so on.

Dr. Newport has written a book titled Alzheimer's Disease: What If There Was a Cure?

Here is a detailed interview on Dr. Newport's work:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Her ideas are worth considering.

As always, I encourage you to do your own research.

Stay informed. Stay well.

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Colloidal Silver for Infections and More

I want to thank my brother for introducing me to colloidal silver, a safe and effective alternative to antibiotics.

Colloidal silver is also known as ionic silver and silver nanoparticles in water. Is it safe? Is it effective?

Considering that my brother had been using it for many years for colds, flu, eye infection, and gum pain, I decided it was worth researching.

I discovered that EPA allows for ingestion of 1,000 mg of silver per day, and it has been used for centuries as an antiseptic and antibiotic.

NASA uses colloidal (ionic) silver to disinfect potable water in its spacecrafts. According to the NASA website, "The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has identified silver fluoride for use in the potable water system on the next generation spacecraft."

So I started it using it. Thus far I have used it for sore throat, cuts, sensitive gums, and pimples with great results. My daughter used it for an eye stye and it cleared it within four days. No hot compresses or antibiotics.

In large doses-several cups a day-it can cause a person's skin to turn blue! But you won't need to use very little for treating a bacterial or viral infection.For most conditions, all you need is a teaspoon or two of 10 ppm concentration three or four times a day.

The best explanation I have found so far as to how it works is that colloidal silver deactivates the respiratory system of pathogens without harming good bacteria. This method is a great advantage over antibiotics, which destroy all bacteria in your system, which can lead to the creation of antibiotic-resistant germs.

The best and safest one I have found is Sovereign Silver. It is 10 ppm colloidal silver and is available at Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppe, and Amazon.

Some physicians and health care practitioners prescribe colloidal silver. You can contact the company to see if there is one near you. They have very helpful customer care reps.

1-888-328-8840 (Toll free-from the United States and Canada only)
+1-954-979-0885 (International calling)

Their first aid gel is amazing. It heals skin problem, cuts, and burns really fast. Just check out the reviews of it on Amazon.

The ways I have used this product so far:

Generally, the manufacturer recommends that you place a teaspoon of the product under the tongue, let the nanoparticles get absorbed for 30 seconds, and then swish the product around in the mouth and swallow.

A good source for learning how people use it is the reviews for various Sovereign Silver products on Amazon.

There is research being done on its use for cancer, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and more.

One of the first sites that I found on colloidal silver was It considers it most likely unsafe. But I noticed there were more than 130 comments on how effective colloidal silver is. Later, I found out that WebMD receives most of its funding from pharmaceutical companies, who prefer that we use antibiotics.

Disclaimer: Keep in mind that, as always, this article is for informational purposes only. Consult your physician or health care professional regarding the use of colloidal silver and your health. Also, as with any supplement, monitor how your body responds to use of a new product.

Personally, I'm grateful for this discovery. You can discover more on your own online.

Stay informed. Stay well.

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Dangers of Radiation Treatment

Some excellent medical articles have appeared in the New York Times on the use of radiation for diagnosis and treatment of various conditions and the not-so-known dangers of radiation.

Some points from these articles:

  1. As a rule, avoid X-rays, CT scans, and airport body scannersas much as possible. Whenever possible, choose ultrasound or an MRI instead of X-rays or a CT scan. Consider the cumulative effect of radiation over time. All these radiations, as well as what is in the environment, can increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and so on.
  2. Always ask for a thyroid shield when having a dental X-ray or mammogram done.
  3. Inquire if alternative imaging technologies or treatments are available that don't use radiation.

These are the New York Times articles:

Radiation Worries for Children in Dentists' Chairs

Price of a Smile

Radiation Boom

National Public Radio did a story on why a CT scan might not be necessary for many kids with a head injury:

Stay informed. Stay well.

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Dental Health: Best Book on the Subject

Mouth Matters is perhaps the best book I have read thus far regarding teeth and gum and overall oral health for adults and children.

It is a must-read for those who want to keep their teeth until they are 100 and for parents who work to help their children have perfect teeth and beautiful facial features. Mouth Matters discusses the latest in dental technology, from ozone treatment to air abrasion and biomimetic dentistry, all of which help save teeth and gums and keep them in good health much longer than the conventional drill, fill, and bill approach.

I have noticed that many dentists know about these advances in dentistry but are slow to incorporate them into their practice because of the cost and training involved. Meanwhile, as their patients we allow them to chip away our teeth every time they drill deeper and deeper to fill a cavity.

And because the health of our teeth and gums reflects our overall health, Mouth Matters also discusses how to maintain a robust immune system, proper diet, and other health-enhancing concepts and strategies.

I initially read the Kindle edition, but there is so much good information in this book, which has many pictures and illustrations, that I just had to have a copy for my book collection. It is also easier to read in the traditional book format.

Mouth Matters is well written, well researched, and well organized. Here's the website for the book:

And here's the link to Amazon:

Stay informed. Stay well.

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Disease-Preventing Diet

When missionary and colonial doctors worked with the native populations of Africa, Australia, the North Pole, the Americas, and the Pacific Islands, they discovered that cancer, dental cavities, asthma, appendicitis, hypertension, diabetes, ulcers, and heart disease were rare or nonexistent in these populations. These doctors also noticed that those among the natives who followed their Western diet developed these diseases.

Of course, this does not mean that the natives of these lands were free of disease. They experienced malaria, cholera, yellow fever, smallpox, and so on.

According to award-winning science journalist Gary Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad Calories, which is endorsed by Andrew Weil, MD, the search began by these doctors and others to determine what in the Western diet causes these diseases. Researchers came up with a number of hypotheses.

Hypothesis #1: Saturated fat in the Western diet must be the cause. The solution: a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet. This ignored the fact that the Masai tribe in Kenya, the Inuit, Pacific Islanders, and other indigenous peoples lived on a diet very high in saturated fat and low in carbohydrates.

Despite a lack of clear evidence, the US Senate published "Dietary Goals for the United States," making the low-fat diet the official recommendation for preventing hypertension, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and so on. One experttestifying in front of the Senate committee said that there was no scientific evidence for a low-fat diet and that to endorse it would be to gamble with the health of the American people.

Mr. Taubes argues that the recommendation of a low-fat diet has led to the doubling of obesity in the United States in the past 30 years, from 15 percent to 30 percent, and an epidemic of type 2 diabetes. Also, many studies have shown that a low-fat diet, which replaces saturated fat, such as butter, with polyunsaturated fats, such as corn and soy oil, increases the risk for cancer.

Hypothesis #2: Lack of fiber in the diet can lead to constipation, and this can lead to disease. Constipation was observed to be rare among indigenous populations, so one influential doctor concluded that lack of fiber in Western diet leads to constipation and disease. This is another hypothesis that has been shown through controlled studies to be invalid. Although a high-fiber diet is good for preventing constipation, it has not been shown to prevent colon cancer or any other disease so far.

Hypothesis #3: Too much salt in the Western diet caused the indigenous peoples who adopted this diet to develop hypertension, heart disease, and so on. So the official recommendation for the past few decades has been to reduce or avoid salt. So far, studies have shown that restricting salt can reduce blood pressure by 4 or 5 points at best. So if your blood pressure is 160/95, restricting salt may lower it to 155/90-not that big of a difference.

Hypothesis #4: The Western diet is high in refined carbohydrates-white sugar, white flour, and starches-which have become available in abundance only in the past 150 years. When the indigenous peoples adopted this diet, they started to experience cavities, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, heart disease, and so on. This hypothesis has been around almost as long as the other ones, but because no one of great influence has espoused it, the hypothesis has not received the kind of attention it deserves. Also, food manufacturers, whose products are made of mostly refined sugar and white flour, do not favor this hypothesis.

It is well known that those with diabetes have a greater risk of developing many of the Western diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer's. Scientists think it could be due to high blood sugar, high insulin levels, or both.

  1. Cancer cells have more insulin receptors than normal cells.

  2. Animal studies have also shown the negative effects of refined carbohydrates and high insulin levels. The constant elevation of blood sugar due to white sugar, white flour, white rice, starches, and so on, leads to a high level of insulin in the blood. Prior to the existence of refined carbohydrates, the human body did not have to process a great amount of sugar daily.

  3. Under stress, our bodies release glucose into the bloodstream to help us fight or flee. This is the case even if the problem is a verbal dispute or a traffic jam. This in turn raises the insulin level in the blood. When we eat foods containing sugars, this exacerbates the situation, leading to excessive sugar and insulin in the blood.

  4. It has been known for the past 100 years that carbohydrates make us retain fluids and can raise blood pressure. Those who go on a carbohydrate-restricted diet tend to lose five to ten pounds in fluids in the first few weeks. One of my relatives with hypertension stopped drinking or eating anything with sugar, white flour, and starches in general, and ate fruits and beans for carbohydrates (by the way, our bodies can make their own carbohydrate). She lost seven pounds in seven weeks, and her blood pressure has gone from 160/90 to 125/65-back to normal. She no longer takes blood pressure medication. With this new eating regimen, she is also no longer thirsty all the time.

  5. Mr. Taubes also examines the prevalence of obesity. Native American tribes developed obesity and diabetes once their diet was changed to the government rations on reservations. Their diets became high in refined sugar, flour, and rice, and they drank a great deal of coffee. Despite an active lifestyle, the majority of adults and even many children became obese and developed diabetes.

  6. There are indications that excess blood sugar and insulin can lead to accelerated aging of the skin and other parts of the body.

In summary:

It appears that saturated fats in red meat, dairy products, and eggs are not bad for you after all. Salt in moderation is okay. And eating fiber is a good way of avoiding constipation.

If we can avoid white sugar, white flour, and starchy foods and keep our blood sugar and insulin levels stable, we can expect to reduce our risk for cancer, cavities, Alzheimer's, appendicitis, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and so on, and stay healthier and feel better too. Certainly our genes, our habits, environmental toxins, how we deal with stress, and other factors can increase or decrease our risk as well.

What to do:
So there you are with a diet full of white sugar, white flour, white rice, pasta, bagels, potatoes, ice cream, cakes, sodas, and fruit juices, and these foods may be causing disease. Now that is a serious dilemma!

Here's a simple way to incorporate this new knowledge into your life. Begin by modifying dinner: Choose red meat, chicken, or wild salmon, nonstarchy vegetables sauteed in butter, and a side of beans or hummus as your source of carbohydrates. If you get hungry before sleep, have some nuts. This way, for twelve hours or so, your body does not have to deal with elevated blood sugar and insulin levels.

For breakfast and lunch, follow your usual diet for the first week or two, as your body adjusts to no starches or refined carbs. Then begin to change your other meals and snacks accordingly.

Your body will switch from a sugar-burning machine to a fat-burning machine. Use more butter, olive oil, and coconut oil in your diet, and eat whole eggs and red meat. This will help you feel full longer and reduce the cravings that come with sudden sugar highs and the lows that come from eating refined carbs and starches. It will also help your nervous system get the essential oils it needs to function well. I have been on this diet for the past four years and feel great.

A word to parents: I know it's hard to say no to children when they beg for sweets. But you may be putting their physical and mental health at risk by giving them sugary breakfast cereals, snacks, and desserts every day. I have seen parents give children as young as two sodas for breakfast. Each can of soda contains 12-20 teaspoons of sugar. It is not easy to say no, but it is definitely better for their teeth and bodies to offer them healthier alternatives.

The preceding is an overview of Good Calories, Bad Calories. This book gives you 150 years of research on diet and health. Dr. Weil recommends that all doctors and medical students read it. Here's an interview with the author, Dr. Weil, and Dr. Oz on Larry King Live:

This is a link to Gary Taubes' article "What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?" in the New York Times:

Here are short videos made by comedian and former health writer Tom Naughton, based on Good Calories, Bad Calories:

Stay informed. Stay well.

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Fasting as a Treatment for Cancer

From the National Cancer Institute

Cancer in animals appears less resilient and chemotherapy drugs work better when combined with cycles of short, severe fasting, shows a University of Southern California study. Even fasting on its own effectively treated a majority of cancers tested in animals, including cancers from human cells. The study in Science Translational Medicine, part of the Science family of journals, found that five out of eight cancer types in mice responded to fasting alone: Just as with chemotherapy, fasting slowed the growth and spread of tumors.

Watch Valter Longo, PhD, of the University of Southern California discuss how fasting cycles retard the growth of tumors:

Fasting is found in many traditions and faiths as a way of purifying the body and the soul. Here is a preview of American Ramadan which aired on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). It chronicles lives of five families in California and Texas as the fast during the month of Ramadan.

Stay informed. Stay well.

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Fluoride Lowers IQ

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, fluoridated water can cause problems with neurological development in children:

"Thus, children in high-fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ scores than those who lived in low-fluoride areas. Fluoride seems to fit in with lead, mercury, and other poisons that cause chemical brain drain," Grandjean [adjunct professor of environmental health at Harvard School of Public Health] says. "The effect of each toxicant may seem small, but the combined damage on a population scale can be serious, especially because the brain power of the next generation is crucial to all of us."

Certainly, using fluoridated toothpaste, fluoride gels, or getting fluoride treatments can increase your exposure to this hazardous chemical. Although fluoride has some antibiotic effect, which protects teeth, so do other chemicals. Proper brushing, even with saltwater, and flossing can be quite effective.

In FLUORIDEGATE: An American Tragedy, a David Kennedy film, David Kennedy, DDS, author of How to Save Your Teeth, past president of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, and producer of the documentary Smoking Teeth (on the dangers of mercury fillings), demonstrates why fluoride is added to our water and why we need to avoid fluoride:

For more information on how to avoid fluoride, visit this website:

Stay informed. Stay well.

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Multiple Sclerosis: Diet Cure

Here's an excellent TED talk on a food cure for multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurological diseases by Terry Wahls, MD. She was diagnosed with MS. After all the treatments failed, she searched for a nutritional way to heal her body, and she went from disability to full ability. Her diet may very well help other conditions as well.

Stay informed. Stay well.

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Multiple Sclerosis: Low-Dose Naltrexone

I was doing some research and came across some interesting facts about FDA-approved Naltrexone.

Taken in low doses (1.5 mg-4 mg) before sleep, Naltrexone can boost endorphin levels and help the body counter cancer, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, hepatitis, and more.

It was originally approved for treating alcohol and drug addiction at 50 mg to 300 mg doses daily. It was discovered that at low doses it can have other beneficial effects.

It has practically no side effects. It may cause sleeplessness at the beginning, due to an increase in endorphin levels. According to Chris Steele, MD, it is safe even for pregnant women.

The following links will give you additional information. Any doctor can prescribe Naltrexone. Because it comes in 50 mg tablets, it needs to be made low dosage by a compounding pharmacy. You can learn more and locate a pharmacy that compounds it at this website:

LDN information website

LDNers patient website

Chris Steele, resident MD for ITV, UK, talks about the benefits of LDN

Burton Berkson, MD. MS, PhD, uses LDN to treat cancer, MS, and hepatitis. His practice is in Texas. He has presented several medical papers on his work with LDN.

LDN study on Crohn's disease

LDN Yahoo Group with more than 8,500 members

Stay informed. Stay well.

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Vitamin D Extremism

What do I mean by Vitamin D extremism?

First they told us not to eat foods that have cholesterol, such as egg yolks or butter, to avoid heart disease. Our bodies make vitamin D from cholesterol when skin is exposed to sunlight.

Then they told us to avoid sunlight and use sunscreen to prevent skin cancer. So we were not supposed to eat the building blocks of vitamin D and get the sunlight that made it happen.

Not surprisingly, now they are finding an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency!

This deficiency puts us at risk for heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer, and much more, and doctors are prescribing massive doses of vitamin D. What they don't tell us is that taking large doses of vitamin D without balancing it with other fat-soluble vitamins, such vitamin A and vitamin K, may lead to vitamin D toxicity.

Also, if your body has less than 30 ng/dl of vitamin D, you are considered vitamin D deficient. Yet the Institute of Medicine declared in November 2013 that 20 ng/dl is sufficient for good bone health.

So we have gone from one extreme, which promoted vitamin D deficiency, to another, which promotes vitamin D toxicity!

The following is an excellent article, putting things in their proper perspective:

Stay informed. Stay well.

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