Turns out Melatonin and Vitamin D may be useful in preventing recurrent melanoma formation, and may even have a preventative effect.
This might be most helpful in patients with Parkinson’s disease, who have an increased risk of melanoma, and also in those with a history of excessive sun exposure, other skin cancers, a family history of melanoma, or use of Viagra, which now is suspicious for increasing the incidence of melanoma.
A prospective study published in the June 5th 2014 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), had some ominous correlations. It was carried out with matched controls from the years 2000 to 2010, on 25,848 men, who had no previous history of skin cancer.
The study showed an increase in melanoma in me who used sildenafil, the chemical in Viagra. There was not an increase in the incidence of the two other major skin cancers, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, suggesting that this was not caused by other factors. Factors such as increased sun exposure, in those who took sildenafil. Those who used Sidenafil had roughly twice the liklihood of developing melanoma compared to those who did not.
Mechanisms of activity of suggest that sildenafil by the nature of its activity as a phosphodiesterase activity inhibitor, may act like the gene activation (BRAF) that is known to be related to increased invasiveness of melanoma.
This study suggests possible association with the use of Viagra regarding risk of developing melanoma, but is too limited to absolutely prove this association. (Even after studying 25,000 men.) It is, however, a caution that use of Viagra, even once, may cause serious side effects that last more than 4 hours.
Conventional physicians have a default expectation about alternative medical therapies: that they’re bogus and don’t work.
This often runs contrary to my observations, and what I hear from patients and fellow physicians.
For years, I have heard about the benefits of chelation therapy in cardiovascular disease. This method of reducing heart attacks and other cardiac issues was categorically frowned upon as fraud by the more conventional physicians.
So, it interesting to read that analysis of the results of a recent study on the effects of chelation, called the TACT study, showed that chelation has positive benefits in protecting heart disease patients from further damage, compared to those who got control treatment only. Click here to read the study.
This makes me think of all the people who cannot get alternative treatments because no-one has invested in proving their benefits. Like for chelation, many other alternative treatments are not considered scientific until the proper science is done. Perhaps it’s time to do more research.
I just spent a weekend day at a seminar on mitochondria. Mito… what? You may remember vaguely from biology, those little oval energy generators inside cells. So what do they have to do with the skin and the environment, and why bother to read about them?
The answer is that are the key producers of the energy currency of the cells, known as ATP, and they have a number of roles in signaling and affecting the fate and function of other organs of the body. Good energy, control of obesity, avoidance of diabetes, all require good mitochondrial function.
Mitochondrial function decreases with aging, and DNA mutations, that we have limited control over. But we do have some control over our exposure to persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and other environmental toxins and medications that harm the mitochondria and reduce their function. Toxins include the ever-present BPA, and plasticizers in vinyl. Caloric excess, alcohol, and fructose are also toxins to mitochondria. Drugs that poison mitochondria include aspirin, acetaminophen, Metformin, and Statins.
We can increase the activity of mitochondria by fasting, moderate exercise, cold exposure. Green tea, tumeric, resveratrol from grapes, and quercetin from capers, onions and apples are all natural food substances that support the mitochondria. Magnesium, Co Q 10, and alpha lipoic acid are supplements that help mitochondria.
So if you are interested in maximizing your energy, slowing aging, losing weight, and preventing or controlling diabetes, some do’s and don’ts are listed here as a starting point. You have an opportunity to take control of the chief energy source in your cells.
A Rising Tide in Complementary and Alternative Medicine
In an estimate from the National Health Institute, a nationwide government survey from December 2008 states that approximately 38 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 years and over and approximately 12 percent of children use some form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). And almost half of the adults between 50-59 use some form of CAM. In the six years since that study, the number has risen considerably.
The World Health Organization estimates that between 65 to 80 percent of the world’s population–about 3 billion people–rely on what we call alternative medicine as their primary form of health care.
In 1998, the American Medical Association (AMA) introduced Resolution 514, “encouraging its members to become better informed regarding alternative medicine and to participate in appropriate studies of it.” Almost one-third of American medical schools–among them Harvard, Yale, John’s Hopkins, and Georgetown Universities–now offer coursework in alternative methods. It’s a relief to be able to practice Holistic Dermatology in the open now, and to treat skin naturally.
The American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA) was founded in 1978 to unite licensed physicians who practice holistic medicine. It is the oldest holistic medicine organization of its kind, and many of today’s national leaders in holistic medicine got their start as members of the AHMA. Since its first meeting in Denver, Colorado, the AHMA has continued to strive toward creating fellowship and collaboration among practitioners and those they work with–bringing an understanding of how the mind, the body and the spirit all have a part to play in healing.
While people in Germany and France have been using homeopathic medicine for the past hundred years and considering it normal, the US has taken much longer to return to the roots of natural and holistic medicine. One out of three drugs prescribed in Germany is herbal. In medicine as in many other arenas, California tends to lead the nation in progressive modalities, with the rest of the country following decades later.
Early in my medical career, I had to keep my practice of complementary methods very quiet. It was dangerous to let people know that I was pioneering the creation of the field of Holistic Dermatology. Speaking up about my work at medical meetings in the 1970s, 80s, and into the 90s, I was sharply criticized and threatened by other physicians, who were towing the line of conventional medicine.
But over the past two decades, there has been a very powerful sea change in what patients are demanding in natural skin care and what practitioners are providing in natural skin treatments. Patients want answers that make more sense. Let’s take a look at some signs of this sea change in the next post.
Drugs known as “Biologics” were developed because they block the effects of the agents in the body that trigger the inflammation in psoriasis. The problem is that certain people depend on that blocked path to control dangerous infections or cancers. It’s kind of like locking up the only police who look after people whose last names begin with P. Most people have no severe consequences. But for those whose names begin with P…
According to Dr. Maoshing Ni, author of “Secrets of Longevity,” a study shows that the side effects of pharmaceuticals kill 140,000 people in the US and cost the country over $136 billion each year—in fact, the side effects of prescribed drugs are thenation’s fifth leading cause of death. The same study found that herb-related deaths amounted to fewer than 50 per year, according to 10 years of statistics and research. In light of this information, natural skin care and natural treatment of skin conditions starts to look better and better.
To continue the discussion on why to go holistic with your skin care, I’d like to share about the dangers of traditional medicine. As I’ve discussed in the previous parts of this series, traditional western dermatology can be a vital tool for treating certain skin conditions. My training as a board-certified dermatologist was invaluable for understanding the necessity of “brute force”.
But when a cutting-edge “wonder” drugs is pulled off the market because it causes a new form of viral brain degeneration, it is not surprising that people now pause before taking the latest medications for their skin problems.
That drug was Raptiva, a biologic (a drug made by genetic engineering to inhibit a specific portion of the immune response). Raptiva was recently withdrawn from the market because of that rare side effect, along with an increased incidence of lymphoma and tuberculosis. This woder drug wasn’t so wonderful.
When confronted with this reality, natural skin care and natural treatment of skin conditions starts to look better and better. More on going holistic in the next post.
When working with traditional western medicine, one problem is that many people are beginning to doubt what they are being told by industry, medicine, and the government agencies that approve the drugs we take.
People are suffering serious side effects and even dying from approved drugs. When we see FDA regulators leave the agency and go right into cushy jobs within the pharmaceutical industry they were just regulating, it makes us wonder if the fox is watching the chicken coop.
The same kind of problem happens throughout government and industry, which has fostered mistrust about the whole process of government regulation and approval. Natural skin care has the benefit of being regulatd by… your own body. More on this in the next post.
Having practiced Holistic Dermatology for over 30 years now, I see the first problem that we are recognizing is that each person with a given skin condition, has his or her own individual circumstance that contributes to developing that disorder. Each person has their own colorful pallette of environmental factors, genetic triggers, and more that help or harm them.
In traditional medicine, the concept of “disease” made it much more possible to classify and treat disorders. But the idea of every person with the same disease needing to be treated in exactly the same way breaks down in face of knowledge of either human genetic individuality or various folk healing systems.
So does the insurance payment system, based on suppressive therapy to make symptoms “go away”. It is almost impossible for a well-trained professional to take the time to get a detailed history and transmit all the new information to change a patient’s diet and lifestyle within the timeframe paid for under insurance. This system is unable to address each patient’s unique issues individually. Natural skin care focuses on more than making the symptoms “go away” temporarily. More on natural skin care the next post.