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Posted: December 11, 2005

Spiritual Caregiving

Pondering the Latest in Alternative Therapies

(Editor’s Note: Here are a series of vignettes on some of the latest information on alternative therapies, taken from Updates & Observations and editor-in-chief of Spirituality & Health magazine, Stephen Kiesling.)


A Vote for Integrative Medicine from the National Academies of Science

Acupuncture for knee pain. B vitamins for cardiovascular disease. Meditation and relaxation techniques for high blood pressure. These and other approaches, once considered to be outside the medical mainstream, are increasingly being integrated into our healthcare system and lifestyles.

According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science, about one-third of adults in the United States have used complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). That figure climbs to nearly two-thirds when prayer specifically directed toward health is included as CAM. To address this paradigm shift, the Institute has issued a 368-page report, Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States, calling for medical care and education that integrates scientifically proven complementary and alternative therapies with mainstream medicine.

"Ideally, healthcare should be comprehensive, grounded in the best available scientific evidence, and centered on patients’ needs and preferences," said committee chair Dr. Stuart Bondurant of the Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington. "Health professionals and patients should have sufficient information about safety and efficacy to take advantage of all useful therapies, conventional as well as complementary and alternative."

In particular, the report advocates developing new standards for regulating dietary supplements as well as research to determine the quality of those products. However, the panel also recommends new approaches to scientific research on CAM, noting that these therapies may not readily lend themselves to mainstream research methods, such as randomized controlled trials, and should be studied using innovative designs.

The report’s authors also include such leading health care experts as Dr. David Eisenberg of the Harvard University Medical School; Dr. Brian Berman of the University of Maryland, Baltimore; Susan Folkman, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Francisco; and Dr. Harold C. Sox, editor of Annals of Internal Medicine.

Copies of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States are available from the National Academies Press.

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The Return of the Alchemist

By Stephen Kiesling

There is a saying that when the student gets hit upside the head with a two-by-four, his eyes will blink open and he may glimpse the teacher standing in front of him. In my case, the two-by-four was a state-of-the-art CT/PET scan of my heart at one of the world’s top cardiac centers, the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in La Jolla, California. The teacher who appeared was an old-time pharmacist, James Mattioda, owner of the very modern Arcana Pharmacy located at the Scripps Center.

Mattioda was 16 when he got a part-time job stocking shelves at the new pharmacy in his small Midwestern hometown. "Ten feet in the door on my first day, I had an epiphany," he says. "The whole place lit up and I realized that I was going to be a pharmacist. Within an hour I was reading about the healing agents used in the pills." Mattioda’s passion for healing agents has never let up, and so it is worth noting that virtually all the medicines and dietary supplements he now sells come from plants. Half his stock is herbs. The other half contains only the "vibrations" or essences of herbs -- homeopathic remedies.

Click here to read more of this article.

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Supplements Proven Effective for Heart Health

One night at an Indian restaurant with Mimi Guarneri, M.D., Rauni King, R.N., and colleagues, I ordered a dish of lamb buried in spinach. It was as I passed it around that I learned that none of these heart specialists ate red meat. Oops. Some ate fish for the Omega-3’s, but many were vegetarians. This was not a group that bounced between Starbucks and Pinots. They drank lots of water and herbal teas. And it hit home that once one starts to look seriously at the health benefits of herbs and supplements, one becomes much more conscious of what one eats. In other words, Guarneri’s list of scientifically proven supplements can help your heart, but the first and most important step is a heart-healthy diet.

Also keep in mind that herbs can have dangerous interactions with other substances, so it is important to let all of your health professionals know what you are taking. The information that follows is not medical advice. Consult your medical professional before taking any supplements. For more information, go to www.ArcanaPharmacy.com or contact James Mattioda at (858) 554-2033.

Omega-3 fatty acids to lower triglycerides and to prevent arrhythmia
Found in oily fish such as mackerel, albacore tuna, salmon, herring, and anchovies; walnuts; flax seeds; and canola oil. Recommended supplement brands include:
Pro Omega from Nordic Naturals
Mega Omega from Ortho Molecular

Soy foods to lower cholesterol
Select soy foods rather than soy supplements.

Soluble fiber to lower cholesterol
Select high-fiber foods such as oats, barley, rye, prunes, apples, and psyllium seed husks. Recommended supplements include:
Fiber Plus from Ortho Molecular
Meta Fiber from Metagenics

Plant-based sterols to lower cholesterol
Recommended supplement brands include:
Cholestapure from Pure Encapsulations
Ultra Meal Plus from Metagenics

Red yeast rice to lower cholesterol
From Complimentary Rx

Niacin to raise HDL and lower triglycerides
From Squibb/Apothecon

Chelated magnesium to prevent arrhythmia
Magnesium glycinate from Metagenics

Coenzyme Q 10 to prevent arrhythmia, a good adjunct to statin therapy
From Vitaline or Ortho Molecular

Horse chestnut for lower extremity swelling
Varicosin from PhytoPharmica
Venastat from Pharmaton

B Vitamins for elevated homocysteine, a risk factor for blockage in the blood vessels
Cardio B from Ortho Molecular
Methyl Max from Integrative Therapeutics

_____


This article originally appeared in Spirituality & Health magazine, www.SpiritualityHealth.com. For subscriptions call 1-800-876-8202 or see www.SpiritualityHealth.com/subs. Editor Stephen Kiesling and his staff contribute weekly columns, features and articles published every Friday as "Spiritual Caregiving" at www.caregivershome.com. Contact staff directly via email at ASKspirituality@spiritualityhealth.com.

© 2005 Pederson Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.

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