Are there AutoImmune Drug Alternatives? ~ Natural Treatments Require Commitment

Are there Autoimmune Drug Alternatives?

Consider the cost of treatments that are currently available for autoimmune disorders. They have been developed using a large amount of technology that’s evolved over a number of years. Some of those drugs cost $6,000 a month in order to gain control of your autoimmune condition. These diseases are powerful. Imagine a natural treatment that does something similar for you, and you can get an idea of how much commitment it would require to get a handle on something that challenges your body this much.

Let this give you an idea how much energy is required from you and how much holistic medicine commitment is required in changing your lifestyle and in delving into the various causes in order to get a handle on it and to reverse the condition.

So if you want to avoid the $6,000 a month costs, and the potential dangers that go along with these powerful drugs, you have to make serious long-term commitments to dietary and lifestyle changes. And to the medical expenses related to testing and holistic treatments.

Keep digging until you get to the bottom of the causes that are going on for your system, so that you can get control of your own condition naturally. There are alternatives to autoimmune pharmaceuticals, but they’re not for everyone.


Why Does the Body Attack Itself? ~ Holistic Medicine and Autoimmune Disease

Why Does the Body Attack Itself?

Your body ought to know who’s you and who’s not you, right? This is what whole immune system is set up to figure out: who is you and who is not. This is an extremely important task, and this task is done by a whole network of different cells. Indeed, when you’re born, your body determines who is you and who is not. The immune system becomes tolerant of cells that are you. When there is an external attacker, like a bacteria, your body produces antibodies to destroy it.

But, when there is a subtle threat, such as one of your own cells transforming into a tumor (or virus or a fungus) living inside your cells, altering your cells, then it takes a very subtle immune system to detect that there is a difference and to recognize and attack those altered cells.

When your immune system becomes confused, perhaps because of various issues, you can become sensitized to that cell or foreign agent that looks a little bit like your own cell. With the confusion from something else going on, you can attack your own self by mistake, and that’s what we call autoimmune inflammation. The following can sensitize or confuse your immune system, especially if more than one of these things is present in your body at once:

  • stress
  • a virus
  • infections
  • vaccinations
  • medications
  • exposure to something that looks like some particular cell or cell component

Just the wrong set of circumstances can cause this “confusion” so that perhaps a bacteria or virus entering your body looks a little like some particular cell in your body. Your body attacks that bacteria and then begins to attack that cell in your body.

For example, certain viruses can cause an attack on the cells in the pancreas that make the insulin, which can cause Type One Diabetes. There are whole number of examples that are known and there are probably thousands or even millions more that have not been recognized.

These are some of the ways that autoimmune conditions can arise in your body and that your body might even attack itself. You can treat autoimmune disease with holistic medicine, but it requires real commitment.


Inflammation & Autoimmune Disease ~ Holistic Dermatology

Inflammation & Autoimmune Disease

Interviewer:   Good, so what got you interested in inflammation, inflammatory conditions, and autoimmune disease before you were doing holistic dermatology?

Dr. Dattner:   Well, when I was in college, I was volunteering at a little place up in Rye called Sloan Kettering.

Interviewer:   Little place?

Dr. Dattner:   It was. It’s now a big village, the place where that was. It was a laboratory where they were testing all kinds of stuff that they could find and seeing if it could kill tumors. But there was one little laboratory in there that was doing tumor immunology. I went and started volunteering there and that was where I first learned about lymphocytes and cellular-immune reactivity and tumor immunology.

Interviewer:   Right..

Dr. Dattner:   From there I went to a series of different laboratories where I was studying cellular-immunology and winding up at the National Cancer Institute. I had a long interest in the basic science behind this. In fact, I translated into my clinical understanding of how these things work and it helps me see somebody’s picture and pull it together in a way that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Interviewer:   Yes, so refreshing. I have to tell you with your background as a medical doctor to be engaged in all these alternative methods you use in holistic dermatology and integrative medicine, and seeing them work so well, you love it.

Dr. Dattner:   Well, it’s only because I had heard about them and I sort of believed it. But, when I did my work on immune recognition and saw how the equations could be so different than one could have imagined otherwise in terms of one thing stimulating another thing as a response, I started to understand why those things make sense and knew that there was truly a science behind it. That science didn’t become understood generally until almost 20 some odd years later when people started talking about this in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Interviewer:   That’s amazing, it’s great.


Autism: Trying Most Things, But Not Everything

6a00e55255b462883401901b97af0f970b-200wiI recently read a column in the New York Times by Jane Brody titled “Trying Anything and Everything for Autism.” In it, parents of an autistic child find success with alternative treatments, but are unsure whether the treatment relates to the child’s improvement. The article quotes a physician from England who suggests that alternative treatment for autism like avoiding dairy is like returning to the Dark Ages.

What emerges from Jane Brody’s column minimizes the two important positive responses that the boy, Casey showed to the alternative treatments of dairy-free diet and hyperbaric oxygen. The difficulties of avoiding certain foods are emphasized, but compared to the Behavioral Approach, which is promoted but requires working with a child for 30-40 hours per week, dietary restriction should be relatively simple.
Nothing is mentioned about the science related to casomorphin from milk affecting brain function, nor anti-gliadin antibody levels indicating wheat sensitivity.
Other non-conventional treatments are also based on scientific data. Genetic defects found in some autistic children in a biochemical pathway called “methylation,” respond to correction with a combination of B-vitamins and other
supplements. Yeast overgrowth in the intestines irritates the lining and allows undigested food molecules to leak into the circulation and irritate the immune system.  This can be corrected by diet changes and supplements. Since specialized immune cells are involved in the nervous system, it is not hard to imagine that improper dietary stimulation of the immune system could interrupt proper brain development.  Far from the Dark Ages, we can begin to understand multifactorial Autism by connecting scientific basis to anecdotal evidence.

My medical colleagues who specialize in autism treatment use the above science-based and other forms of analysis and therapy.  It would be a shame if parents, physicians, and researchers don’t vigorously pursue these connections that may lead to effective treatment.

To your health,

Dr. Alan M. Dattner, MD

Holistic Dermatology
New York, New York

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As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.

 


The Secret to Natural Acne Treatment

6a00e55255b462883401a511657216970c-200wiFor years I have been writing and lecturing that acne is caused by inflammation that comes from within.

It’s not just a “local” process caused by plugged follicles. It’s not just caused by the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes that lives in the follicle. Over the years, more data has accumulated to support this thinking.

The big news is that just this month, an article came out in the most scholarly of all the dermatology professional journals, showing that acne is not only related to inflammation, but also has characteristics of an autoimmune disease.

An article in the February issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology showed that extracts from the acne bacteria cause formation of “TH 17 Lymphocytes,” a type of white cell characteristic of autoimmune disorders. This same type of lymphocyte was also found in acne lesions themselves.

The other factors, such as diet, have yet to be connected to the findings in this study, but the evidence is growing stronger that something is lighting the fire to cause the inflammation in acne.

Since most people have this Propionibacterium (acne-related) organism in their skin, the flame that sets it off the fire of acne may well be coming from what you eat.

If you break out in acne, pay very close attention to what you put in your body the few days before the acne explosion. Studying your breakout cycle is the start of natural acne treatment.

To your health,

Dr. Alan M. Dattner, MD

Holistic Dermatology & Integrative Medicine


Natural Skincare: Have a Sweet Holiday…

6a00e55255b4628834017eea9532aa970d-200wiBut not too sweet! 

 
The Holidays are a time for parties, celebrations, and special treats.  Candies, cookies and cakes appear as gifts and thank you’s at all sorts of homes and businesses at this time of year. It is not uncommon to hear a nudge to eat that “forbidden treat”- “Go ahead, it’s the holidays.”  In the process, a lot more sugar gets eaten at this time of year. Other rich foods, like egg nog, and alcoholic drinks, and even foods suspected of being allergic, get consumed as well. 
 
Some people date the onset or aggravation of their skin problems to this time of year. Sugar aggravates acne and other conditions by a variety of different pathways. It
favors overgrowth of yeast in the digestive tract, which leads to leaky gut, absorption of allergens from food, and inflammation of oil glands. 
 
A spike in blood sugar is answered by a spike in insulin levels, and then a rise in Insulin-like growth factor  (IGF). This IGF has been shown to affect the follicular area in more than one way that leads to acne formation. This is just one way in which too much sugar can lead to a skin problem.
 
Other rich foods, alcohol, and allergy producing foods all have ways in which they can aggravate not only acne, but other skin problems. 
 
So I wish you a sweet New Year and Holiday season, filled with love and deeper joy, but light on the sugar in its many forms. This is the one of best possible natural acne treatments.

To your health,

Alan M Dattner, MD

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As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.


Get rid of acne, eczema, migraines, and fatigue, naturally.

6a00e55255b462883401901b97a4d5970b-200wiI recently read an article in the Science Section of the New York Times by Tara Parker-Pope entitled “Telling food allergies from false alarms”. The article focuses on the efficacy of food allergy antibody tests (only one of many kinds of allergy tests there are.) It suggests that people avoiding a number of foods face malnutrition and inconvenience.

The article overlooks the great value in helping patients eliminate foods which trigger a wide variety of conditions, most of which have an inflammatory etiology. Any blood test, be it of antibody reactivity, neutrophil change, or lymphocyte response, may be helpful to point out foods to test for potential clinical improvement by elimination and challenge.

I have seen numerous conditions including acne, eczema, irritable bowel, hidradenitis, migraines, and fatigue improve with food elimination. A physician experienced in multiple forms of food testing can help associate symptoms with exposures, choose appropriate tests, and interpret results. This kind of natural acne treatment is a lot cheaper than prescription drugs.

One things I do agree on is that allergy tests can give a wide variety of food and allergen sensitivities which may or may not indicate the cause of a patient’s presenting condition.

The absolute best way to learn what foods are causing skin or any other problems is to eliminate all possible trigger foods, check to see if the problem clears, and then every few days, add a food back to the diet to find out which is the culprit. The value of trials of food elimination to improve disease should not be overlooked for lack of definitive testing in major centers.

To your health,

-Dr. Alan M Dattner, MD

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As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.


Safe Cleansers, for the Earth and for your Body

6a00e55255b462883401901b980d3b970b-200wiI encourage everyone to use a holistic approach to their dermatology conditions.
Reducing your exposure to toxic chemicals is a great way to do that.  It can be a challenge at first, but your health is well worth the effort.

Here are some simple cleansing substitutes you can make yourself. They’ll help you avoid bleach, ammonia, alcohol, dyes, fragrances, and detergents, and save money. Be sure to try cleansers on a small, hidden spot of what you are cleaning to make sure it does not cause fading or discoloration of the fabric before more widespread use.

Laundry Detergent: If you use liquid detergent, add half a cup of baking soda at the beginning of the wash.  If you use powdered detergent, add half a cup of baking soda during the rinse cycle.  You can then reduce your detergent by about half.  Try different amounts to see what works best for you.

Fabric Softener: Put two cups of white vinegar in your rinse cycle. Note that vinegar can cause colors to fade a little.

Window Cleaner: Mix three tablespoons of vinegar and one quart of club soda in a spray bottle. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime to air freshener, laundry detergent, and kitchen and tile cleaner for a blast of freshness.

Tub & Tile Cleanser: Mix 1 2/3 cups baking soda, a half cup high-quality liquid soap, a half cup water, and 2 tablespoons vinegar (if you add the vinegar too early it will react with the baking soda.)  

Carpet Cleaner: To absorb big spills, spread cornmeal over the spill. Wait about 15 minutes, then vacuum it up. For stains, a quarter cup biodegradable liquid soap with a third of a cup of water into a blender to make a foam.  Put the foam on the stain and rub. After rinsing, splash vinegar to finish.

Air Freshener: You can absorb odors in the fridge and in your home by putting cups of vinegar or baking soda around the house (on high surfaces to keep out of the reach of kids.)

Drain Clearing: Pour half a cup of baking soda down the sink, add a cup of vinegar. Cover the drain, and then rinse the drain with boiling water and salt. Repeat if it doesn’t work immediately.

There are also a lot of non-toxic household cleaners which are healthier for both your skin and the “skin of the earth” than the traditional cleansers on the market.  Be sure to read the label to avoid being a victim of “greenwashing” (when a product’s label is designed to look environmentally friendly, but the ingredients are the same old toxic mess.)  And as always, keep all cleaning products away from pets and children.

To your health,

Dr. Alan M. Dattner, MD
Holistic Dermatology
New York, New York

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As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.


What’s Toxic Wast Have to Do with You?

6a00e55255b4628834017d43214905970c-200wiIf you saw the movie The Incredible Shrinking Woman back in 1981, you’d have a comical view of how toxic chemicals might be affecting us. In the film, Lily Tomlin begins to shrink uncontrollably after being exposed to the wrong mix of chemicals in her home.

While this is an absurd and comical exaggeration, many chemicals do have mysterious and potentially toxic effects on the body. In fact, a large portion of the people who come to my holistic dermatology practice find their skin disease is somehow related to environmental toxins or allergens the body has come in contact with.

Toxins can be spread through the air and into the lungs, as side-stream smoke or factory pollution. They can come in the water, from plastic water bottles or leakage from factories into aquifers, or acid rain. They can come from the food we eat, in the form of pesticides, additive food colorings, flavorings, preservatives, or rancid oils. And they can come through the skin, from cosmetics, soaps, dish detergent, clothing dyes, etc. 

Please do not take this information as an argument that you should fear your environment. Humans are an adaptable race and will continue to live on regardless of toxins. But some of us will find our bodies have a harder time filtering out the increased toxins and allergens in our environment.

If an unexplained or un-treatable disease is affecting you, you can begin to arm yourself with detailed information about the chemicals you are exposed to in your daily life. Then, you have the opportunity to heal your condition. In the next blog, I’ll outline some alternatives to hazardous cleaning products.

To your health,

Dr. Alan M. Dattner, MD
Holistic Dermatology
New York, New York

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As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.

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Photo credit:

Guy Gorek / Foter.com


My Top 5 Tips for Great Digestion

6a00e55255b462883401901bb9043d970b-200wiParents frequently tell their children, “Chew your food!  You don’t have teeth in your stomach!” In fact, we have lots of enzymes in the body that break food down like very tiny teeth. But enzymes can’t break down big particles of food.

One of the main underlying diseases in my holistic dermatology practice is allergy. Food allergy, in particular, is aggravated and sometimes caused by improper digestion. To keep digestion at its best, follow these top five tips that will help your complexion as well as your digestion:

  • When you eat, you are literally re-creating your body with each bite you consume, incorporating new molecules into your being. Eat your meals sitting at a dining table (not while reading, watching TV, or driving) Chew your food completely, enjoying each bite with each of your senses.
  • Boost your digestion by taking “bitters” before you eat, ginger tea, or enzymes after you eat.
    1. Avoid liquids one half hour before and one hour after meals, sipping water sparingly if you’re thirsty.  This is because liquids kill the “fire of digestion” in the stomach, diluting enzymes that break food into usable components.
  • Your mood matters almost as much as your food. Find a way to eat in a peaceful mood, avoiding eating when angry, sad, or fearful.
  • After a brief rest, take a walk after your meal. This helps the body keep the metabolism up.

To your health,

-Dr. Dattner

Holistic Dermatology
New York

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As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.