Health, Healing & Hummingbirds

Scientific information on improving serious disease through nutrition and treating the causes of disease
 – summarised from 100 of the world’s most cutting-edge health books

Finding a good doctor to treat your illness

It is important to be aware that the doctor that is best qualified to diagnose you will not always be the best doctor to advise you on treatments. In an ideal world one doctor would do both of these things, but in practice it is probably best to look at the questions of diagnosis and treatment, very separately.


The differences between the different types of medicine are as follows:

 

Orthomolecular medicine is a system for the prevention and treatment of disease based on the knowledge that each person's biochemical environment is genetically determined and individually specific. Therapy involves supplementation with substances naturally present in the body (for example vitamins, minerals, trace elements and amino acids) in the optimal amounts for that individual at that time to correct nutritional deficiencies and the resulting biochemical abnormalities. The administration of vitamin C in therapeutic doses is one of the most important and commonly used means of treatment in Orthomolecular medicine.

 

Environmental medicine deals primarily with the effects of the environment on humans including water and air pollution, vaccinations and travel, etc.

 

Holistic medicine is a system of medicine which considers man as an integrated whole, or as a functioning unit. It is characterized by its focus on the whole person as a unique individual, on the energy of the body and its influence on health and disease, on the healing power of nature and the mobilization of the body's own resources to heal itself, and on the treatment of the underlying causes, not symptoms, of disease.

 

Other terms may also be used, such as nutritional balancing, nutritional medicine, biomedical treatment, integrative medicine, cellular medicine, functional medicine, nutrigenomics and natural medicine etc., and others may prefer to avoid any type of new terminology whatsoever.

 

 

If possible, find an expert in one of these fields (or more than one of them) that is also a qualified doctor so that you can also have any tests you may need – both private and practitioner-only. Appropriate testing plays a very important role in this type of medicine, as do some prescription drugs at times. All useful treatments and tests are used, without bias. The best is taken from each different type of medicine and all of the resources that are available. Many orthomolecular, holistic and environmental practitioners are also doctors.

 

 

Websites which may help you find a doctor specialising in orthomolecular / holistic / environmental medicine near you

Note that of course the quality of those practicing orthomolecular, holistic or environmental medicine varies widely, as does the principles and methods they employ in their practice. It is recommended that you ring or email a doctor and ask some questions before committing to seeing them

 

Websites from organisations:

 

Websites from individual doctors:

 

If you are interested in having vitamin C or the B vitamins by IV or IM, use the phone book or the internet to ask various qualified orthomolecular medicine practitioners near you if they offer this therapy and if they are experienced in providing it.

 

This is not a complete list. If you’d like to suggest a website that could be added to this list, please do so. The inclusion of a website in this list does not guarantee its quality. HHH takes no responsibility for any problems which may arise as a result of seeing any of the doctors listed here. Investigate any doctor before you see them and proceed with caution.

 

Make sure you arrive at your first appointment with a full written medical history and any a copy of any relevant test results you may have. It is also helpful to have read as much as you can about this type of treatment beforehand.

 

 

Educate yourself about the cutting-edge treatment options available so that you can partner with your doctor to secure yourself your best possible health outcome

It is important for you as a patient to read as much as you can about different types of treatments, nutrients, issues related to diet and gut health, and so on. Medicine works much better when there is a partnership between the doctor and patient with both having some input. The doctor cannot do everything for you, and a patient that relies on the doctor to do everything will not end up getting the best care.

Useful health tests

A number of tests are available privately that can help you and your doctor learn more about how best to treat your illness and how it has affected your body, and just as importantly; which treatments to avoid.

 

These tests are not at all useful for the diagnosis of M.E. or any other distinct disease and abnormalities in these tests are seen in many different illnesses. They are to help with determining treatment only.

 

While some of these tests can be organised without the aid of a doctor, some do require a doctor’s permission. Also, you really do need the help of a qualified doctor to help interpret the results of many of these tests, if at all possible. Some tests can be done entirely by post, while others unfortunately require visits to blood drawing centres or your doctor’s offices.

 

The following list includes some of the tests that may be useful in some way, listed in alphabetical order.

 

  • ·        AA/EPA ratio tests. “The AA:EPA ratio is a measure of the pro-inflammatory potential of your cells. The higher the ratio, the greater the amount of silent inflammation you have.”
  • ·        Amino acid testing. “The Amino Acids Urine Test provide different views into body function and can be utilized by the medical practitioner for different purposes. Urine amino acids are discarded by the body as excess, or “wasted” because of kidney malfunction or nutritional imbalance. Amino acids play a role in many other body functions as well, including neurotransmitter functioning, cholesterol and carbohydrate metabolism, and detoxification processes.”
  • ·        Biochemical antioxidant profile test. “This test may be useful if problems absorbing vitamin E are suspected as this test measures the levels of beta carotene, vitamin A and vitamin E in the blood (and how well antioxidant enzyme systems are functioning). In all, nine measures of antioxidant status are measured, giving a comprehensive indication of your antioxidant status. There is also the new less expensive and ‘TRAP’ test (total reactive antioxidant potential). This will indicate if there’s an antioxidant problem but doesn’t define which nutrients are missing.”
  • ·        Blood type test.
  • ·        C reactive protein test.
  • ·        Candida Antibodies (IgG, IgA, IgM) and Candida Antigen testing.
  • ·        Celiac Profile testing.
  • ·        Cell-free DNA in blood plasma test. This test measures cell degeneration.  Low levels are found in healthy people, and increases are associated with serious disease (eg. M.E., cancer, stroke, etc.). Cell degeneration is one measure of how ill you are, but most/all people with M.E. will have increased cell degeneration, so it's not clear whether this test is necessary. Similarly, C-Reactive Protein tests measure the total amount of inflammation within the body. This will likely be high in M.E., but also in many different diseases.
  • ·        Comprehensive Detoxification Profile: This test analyses saliva, blood, and urine after challenge doses of caffeine, aspirin, and acetaminophen, to assess phase I and phase II functional capacity of the liver to convert and clear toxic substances from the body. This profile includes markers for oxidative stress and important antioxidants.
  • ·        . “The Comprehensive Stool Analysis detects the presence of pathogenic microorganisms such as yeast, parasites, and bacteria which contribute to chronic illness and neurological dysfunction. It provides helpful information about prescription and natural products effective against specific microorganism strains detected in the sample. The test also evaluates beneficial bacteria levels, intestinal immune function, overall intestinal health (presence of occult blood, short chain fatty acids analysis, pH, and mucus) and inflammation markers.”
  • ·        Comprehensive Parasitology.
  • ·        Detoxification Profile Testing: This test analyses saliva and urine after challenge doses of caffeine, aspirin, and acetaminophen, to assess phase I and phase II functional capacity of the liver to convert and clear toxic substances from the body. It can be a very useful test to have before beginning a detoxification program.
  • ·        DetoxiGenomic Profile: This test evaluates SNPs associated with increased risk of impaired detoxification capacity especially when exposed to environmental toxins. It also identifies individuals potentially susceptible to adverse drug reactions.
  • ·        DNA Oxidative Damage. “Biomarker of DNA oxidative damage/stress. Nonivasive, first morning urine void specimen. Highly sensitive and specific immunoassay.”
  • ·        Fatty acid analysis. “The Comprehensive Fatty Acids Test report includes 30 markers and total levels of saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, omega 3, omega 6, and fatty acids. The primary reason for this test is to determine if levels of essential fatty acids and other beneficial fatty acids are adequate. Additionally, peroxisomal and mitochondrial disorders of fatty acid metabolism can be determined. *This test is available only in the US and Canada. (The Essential Fatty Acids Test includes 17 markers, including levels of nutritionally important omega 3, omega 6, omega 9 fatty acids and saturated fatty acids.)”
  • ·        Genomic testing. This is relevant to methylation problems. This test is often extremely expensive, and so some suggest trying the protocol and just seeing if it works for you. It includes a stone age diet, a good multi-vitamin and mineral supplement with no copper or iron in it, essential fatty acids, vitamins C and D, D-ribose, CoQ10, Acetyl L-Carnitine, NAD, Phosphatidyl serine complex, probiotics, and help for methylation with activated folate and methylcobalamin B12 sublinguals. ‘23 and me’ testing may now be only $100 however. M.E. patients in particular need to start at much, much lower doses and may only ever be able to tolerate far lower doses than this as we have more severe illness than many other patients that this protocol is specifically designed for. (Note that Dr Cheney has recently said that methylation supplements recommended byYasko, are not appropriate for M.E. patients and will make them sicker. He has also said that while there is a methylation block in M.E. patients, this is protective in M.E. and so trying to treat it may be counterproductive.) Methylation problems are just one of many in M.E. This also means that we are unlikely to experience the same miraculous results as those on the protocol that do have primarily methylation related illnesses (which may be misdiagnosed as ‘CFS’). M.E. is far more complex than this unfortunately.
  • ·        Hair elements tests or hair mineral analysis. An easy and useful hair test which tests for heavy metals such as mercury as well as the levels of various trace minerals. Remember that this test does NOT in any way indicate the body’s total load of mercury or other heavy metals in the body. It is a hair test and it shows how much of each mineral is contained in the hair. During detoxification regimes which mobilise heavy metals, more heavy metals may appear in the hair, for example. This is a good sign as it means that your heavy metal burden is being lowered. There are several other complexities when it comes to reading and interpreting hair tests also. They should not always be taken at face value and they require proper interpretation. For more information see Dr L. Wilson’s book on hair mineral analysis.
  • ·        HEMEX blood clotting tests and Homocysteine blood tests (link 2)
  • ·        Hepatic Detox Profile. “Assessment of status phase l and phase ll detoxification. Assessment of chemical exposure and impaired liver function.”
  • ·        IgE Inhalant Allergy Advanced Test 
  • ·        IgG (ELISA) food allergy tests test for around 100 different IgG food allergies.Tests must be quantitative; they must tell you not just that you have a certain allergy, but how severe it is also. (The IgG/IgE test offered by US company VRP is around half the price of the one offered by York Labs in the UK.) There is also the ALCAT - Food Allergy & Chemical Sensitivity/Intolerance Test.
  • ·        Immune Deficiency Profile 
  • ·        ION tests from MetaMetrix. The Metametrix ION (Individual•Optimal•Nutrition) Profile is a combination of analyses that measures levels of organic acids, fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • ·        Leaky gut test (intestinal permeability). “This test is a powerful and non-invasive assessment of small intestinal absorption and barrier function in the bowel. This test analyzes urine for the clearance of two non-metabolized sugars, lactulose and mannitol.  The Intestinal Permeability Assessment directly measures the ability of two nonmetabolized sugar molecules mannitol and lactuloseto permeate the intestinal mucosa. Mannitol is easily absorbed and serves as a marker of transcellular uptake, while lactulose is only slightly absorbed and serves as a marker for mucosal integrity. To perform the test, the patient mixes premeasured amounts of lactulose and mannitol and drinks the challenge substance. The test measures the amount of lactulose and mannitol recovered in a urine sample over the next 6 hours. This test identifies Leaky Gut and malabsorption.”
  • ·        Live Blood Microscopy and the Dried Layer Blood Test.
  • ·        Metabolic Panel, Comprehensive. The Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (14) checks your body’s metabolism. It can identify metabolic deficiencies and imbalances and tell you if you need to add certain dietary supplements.”
  • ·        Oxidative Stress Analysis, Blood & Urine: This test identifies markers of hydroxyl radical activity, urine lipid peroxides, reduced glutathione, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione peroxidase, following a challenge dose of aspirin and acetaminophen.
  • ·        Ph test strips. Urine or saliva pH test strips are available from VRP and iHerb.
  • ·        Purged parasites test. This test induces loose stools to check the digestive tract for parasites. It is a stoll sample test.
  • ·        Quantitative H. Pylori antibodies test.
  • ·        SMAC test. “This test is a useful combination of electrolyte, kidney profile, and liver profile data. Additional tests found in the SMAC-25 (tests can differ from lab to lab) screen for levels of calcium, magnesium, phosphate, cholesterol, triglycerides, and others.”
  • ·        SpectraCell. This blood test can identify missing vitamins and minerals for targeted nutritional replacement.
  • ·        Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) Assay. “Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is one of the most important antioxidative enzymes. It catalyzes the dismutation of the superoxide anion into hydrogen peroxide and molecular oxygen. The sensitive SOD assay kit utilizes WST-1 that produces a water-soluble formazan dye upon reduction with superoxide anion. The rate of the reduction with a superoxide anion is linearly related to the xanthine oxidase (XO) activity, and is inhibited by SOD (see below). Therefore, the inhibition activity of SOD can be determined by a colorimetric method.”
  • ·        The Nutrition and Vitamins Panel. “The Nutrition and Vitamins Panel is comprised of the following tests: Metabolic Panel Vitamin A, E, and Beta Carotene Profile Vitamin B1, Blood Vitamin B6, Plasma Vitamin B12 and Folates Vitamin C Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy Vitamin E, Serum Nutrition & Vitamins Panel is a complex analysis of your vitamin and nutritional status, coupled with a check of your body’s metabolism.”
  • ·        Thermography testing. This test can help identify sites of inflammation, pain and cancers.
  • ·        Urinary organic acids test. “The Organic Acids Test (OAT) provides a metabolic “snapshot” based on the products the body discards through the urine. These small, discarded organic acid molecules are byproducts of human cellular activity, the digestion of foods, and the metabolism of gastrointestinal flora. At certain levels, organic acids in urine may be indicators of toxicity or “markers” of metabolic pathways. Metabolites of yeast or gastrointestinal bacteria appear against the background of normal human metabolites and provide an assessment of yeast and bacterial activity.”
  • ·        “Urine toxic and essential elements analysis is an invaluable tool for the assessment of retention of toxic metals in the body and the status of essential nutrient elements. Toxic metals do not have any useful physiological function, adversely affect almost every organ system and disrupt the homeostasis of nutrient elements.”
  • ·        Vitamin D test/ 25(OH)D test. This test is available through your doctor and also from the Vitamin D Council and other organisations without a doctor’s permission. The Vitamin D council test can be done by post.
  • ·        Water quality testing. This test analyses the contaminants in your drinking water.
  • ·        Yeast Culture w/ Sensitivity Test. “We have frequently found that some children or adults may not adequately respond to antifungal treatment. In some cases, this response failure may be due to the use of inappropriate antifungal treatment. This stool testing for common yeast includes sensitivity to both drugs and natural products.”
  • ·        Zinc taste test. This very simple test can be done in-office by most nutritionally trained doctors. A very inexpensive test kit is also now available from VRP.

     

     

    Places to source tests include:

     

     

    More information on which tests to have and when, and how to interpret the results

    Tests require correct interpretation by a skilled practitioner if they are to be of any use. A qualified orthomolecular, environmental or holistic medicine practitioner that is also a doctor is the best person to advise you on which tests to have and what they mean.

     

     

    Books that contain excellent information on this type of testing include:

    1. ·        No More Heartburn: The Safe, Effective Way to Prevent and Heal Chronic Gastrointestinal Disorders by Dr Sherry A. Rogers. This book has excellent information on the tests involved with Candida and a leaky gut as well as some of the vitamin and mineral and fatty acid profiles. It explains which tests to get done and why they may or may not be necessary, and also explains how to interpret the results.
    1. ·        Detoxify or Die by Dr Sherry A. Rogers. This book has excellent information on the tests involved with detoxification as well as some of the vitamin and mineral and fatty acid profiles.  Dr Rogers recommends the Cardio ION to everyone that is very ill, and can afford this very comprehensive series of tests.
    1. ·        Nutritional Balancing and Hair Mineral Analysis by Dr. Lawrence D. Wilson
    2. ·        Hair Test Interpretation: Finding Hidden Toxicities by Andrew Hall Cutler. (Note that I have not personally evaluated this book).
    3. ·        Laboratory Evaluations in Modern Medicine or Laboratory Evaluations for Integrative and Functional Medicine. An essential book for doctors. “Your evidence-based resource for the biochemical basis of chronic illness. A must-have desk reference for laboratory testing associated with nutritional and metabolic medicine.”

     

    For more information on tests see also the EI resource site and Dr Lawrence Wilson’s website, plus the Doctor’s Data Website.

    Extra information for M.E. patients

    Possible problems getting treatment advice from doctors not educated about M.E. specifically include:

    1. ·        May not understand all the bodily systems affected by M.E. and M.E. pathology.
    2. ·        While the best doctors will be aware that 'CFS' is just a wastebasket diagnosis and be able to tell right away that someone with M.E. has obvious neurological and cardiovascular pathology, some doctors may confuse M.E. with 'CFS' or not see past a 'CFS' misdiagnosis. 'CFS' will also mean very different things to each of these types of doctor, including thyroid or adrenal issues, post-viral fatigue syndromes, burnout, emotional issues and so on.
    3. ·        Doesn't understand the fragility of M.E. patients, how disabled they are physically and cognitively and how easily they can relapse with even minor exertion such as attending a medical appointment.
    4. ·        Doesn't understand or expect the degree of relapse which can occur with treatments and need to go VERY slow compared to other patients. M.E. patients may need to go far more slowly with new treatments, especially treatments that aid detoxification, than other very ill patients.

     

    Despite these drawbacks, good doctors in this field still have a lot to offer M.E. patients. Some may also be quite willing to read and learn more about M.E.


    Please also see Finding a doctor when you have M.E. on HFME


    For more information on testing for M.E. and M.E. diagnosis please visit the HFME website.
    'I have to laugh when people ask me if I do alternative, herbal, acupuncture or holistic medicine. ‘No,’ I reply. ‘We do state-of-the-art medicine. In other words, we find the biochemical, nutritional and environmental causes and cures rather than blindly drugging everything. Sure, herbs are gentler, safer and more physiologic than drugs and holistic medicine attempts to incorporate many diverse modalities, etc.

    But there is no substitute for finding the underlying biochemical causes and cures. This is real medicine. This is where medicine should and would have been decades ago, if it had not been abducted by the pharmaceutical industry.' Dr Sherry Rogers