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Naturopathic Aids

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Bucky Engineer by Education, Self Professed Expert in Nothing Find out more about Bucky
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  • Naturopathic Aids

    Question after question.....they never stop.

    Curious again.....has much work been done in the area of Naturopathic products as aids to our condition. For instance, I am now a strong believer in CoQ10 because it does diminish some of my symptoms (namely fluid balance) when I take it. When I ask my cardio about CoQ10 he raises his hands and says, "you got me, I don't know why it works, but if it does keep taking it". I kind of get the idea that he is humoring me....but that's OK, most regular Drs. aren't into Naturopathic stuff anyway.

    So my question is this......has much research been done on products that actually try to "cure" (that is probably not the right word, but it's all I can think of now) the condition (ie greatly reduce swelling and enlargement, etc, etc.) rather than "treat" the condition.


    OK I am dumb enough think there is some great flower in the middle of the South American jungle that has super curative powers (wasn't that a movie with Sean Connery?)

    But seriously, .....any progress on the Naturopathic side of the equation that anybody knows about. We know CoQ10 does something and we also saw on a post the other day that an herb called Curcumin (sP) helps mice with enlarged hearts. (Micky Mouse, if you have HCM we're coming to the rescue)

    Any other info or sources of info that is interesting out there?

    bucky
    Last edited by Bucky; 04-11-2008, 11:05 AM. Reason: grammer
    Diagnosed in June 2007, Pacemaker Oct 2007, Myectomy in Feb 2009 at Cleveland Clinic, Two daughters, both checked with Ultrasounds in 2008, all OK so far. Two grandchildren both check with Ultrasounds and all is OK to date. OH YES....Harry, the Doggie, says Hi also. sigpic

  • #2
    Re: Naturopathic Aids

    Europe is way ahead of the curve on herbs/supplements. Only just starting to get real research over here and I doubt HCM tops the list of things they worry about.

    My naturopath (I see a cardiologist, internist/PCP, and a naturopath) wants me to take hawthorn but I probably can't b/c I'm on Coumadin. I would be on CoQ10 except for the Coumadin, too. Am seriously considering swapping Coumadin for Vitamin E and fish oils but this is a tricky/risky thing and need to sort it out.

    Oh, magnesium is also excellent--get an electrolyte level from your doctor to make sure you are getting enough potassium, mag, sodium, and calcium as they run your heart. As does selenium.

    While vitamins/supplements will make you feel MUCH better, nothing is going to cure HCM except a genetic treatment b/c it is a genetic disorder. Western medicine included. It can only reduce symptoms and sometimes prevent them (symptoms used broadly here to include sudden death, stroke, etc.)

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    • #3
      Re: Naturopathic Aids

      While naturopathy and standard medicine have very different viewpoints, the fact is that a large proportion of drugs we take are derived from plants. True, we usually take synthetic versions of the same thing (because that way the dosage can be controlled and standardized), but the compounds still were derived from plants. There is a very large ongoing research effort, both in academia and in drug companies, to find more such drugs. While there's not going to be a single miracle cure for HCM (for the reason Sarah mentions), there are fewer and fewer secret compounds hiding out there.

      That said, a word or two of caution.

      First, "natural" doesn't mean "good for you" or even "safe." I regularly have this debate with students . . . who see the point when I suggest they not inject rattlesnake venom or poison ivy extract. Not only are these things toxic, but so are a LOT of compounds found in nature. In particular, plants devote a large amount of their energy to making stuff that discourages (sometimes by killing) the animals that make living eating plants. There's a reason that herbs like tobacco, for example, pack such a punch.

      Second, precisely because plant (and some animal) extracts are very bioactive, in general you shouldn't take them without consulting your physician -- this goes especially for people with conditions like HCM. Some of these things can be dangerous! I'm not telling you not to drink chamomile tea, ordinary tea, hot chocolate, or even coffee (though the latter three can cause problems for some with HCM). But several years ago, as you may recall, there was a scandal in the US because of the marketing of weight-loss preparations made from the desert shrub Ephedra, which also caused serious heart problems (including some deaths) in some people. A milder example is garlic (not in the doses available in food, but in larger doses from supplements), which lowers blood pressure. Well and good if you need it, but other drugs (like beta blockers) that people with HCM take also lower blood pressure; the combination can be a bad idea.

      Third, if you think physicians know little about HCM, imagine how much most naturopaths know about it. Well-intended people may still give you bad advice.

      Most people use at least a few herbs now and again -- to realize this don't use "herbs" as defined by what's sold in the local natural foods store, but by whether it's a plant product being consumed because of a perceived or real effect on your body. Yes, coffee falls under this definition, as do many other things people use.

      Back to the point I started with . . . there's a lot of research on plant compounds, but much more needs to be done. I really don't object to people using herbs for all kinds of things. But (1) people sometimes use herbs unwisely, trusting that "natural" products are safe, and (2) people with HCM need to be more cautious than others.

      Gordon
      Myectomy on Feb. 5, 2007.

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      • #4
        Re: Naturopathic Aids

        Gordon makes a lot of excellent points.

        When you are trying to mix Western meds and herbs/supplements, you have to be VERY careful. So many things interact and so many things that are ok in most people are hard for HCMers (sugar, cold drinks, heavy meals, coffee, alcohol, etc.).

        You can find all kinds of info on what herbs are contraindicated with which drugs, but some of it isn't reliable and some is contradictory. Big sigh.

        The naturopath I see works with my internist in the same practice and is highly educated on this stuff--much more than most doctors I've run into.

        As much as seeing a real Chinese herbalist interests me, I'm terrified of the interaction potential and they usually require you to quit taking all of your Western meds for that very reason.

        No easy answers here.

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        • #5
          Re: Naturopathic Aids

          As I have said before, I think that some Chinese meds are amazingly effective (I tested one on part of an enormous bruise and only the treated area healed, leaving a square of healed area in the middle of a huge bruise), but when one of the top CTM doctors at the top Chinese Traditional Medicine university in Beijing tried to treat my HCM, he nearly killed me with congestive heart failure.

          Rhoda

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          • #6
            There are three major areas where naturopathic medicine might help HIV-positive people. The first is in the management of drug adverse effects. While the drugs are incredibly successful at suppressing HIV replication and thus maintaining T cell levels, they come with a slew of side effects, some of which are severe enough to jeopardize a patient's ability to stick to their treatment regimen. Antiretroviral drug compliance is critical, as viral resistance might develop if the meds are not given on a regular basis. Patients are able to continue taking their drugs on schedule and lower their chance of developing viral resistance by reducing adverse effects.

            Another area where naturopathic medicine may have an influence is in extending the period an asymptomatic HIV+ person can go without using HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) drugs. This will be covered in further detail at holistic family practice.

            Finally, a naturopathic physician may be called upon to encourage a patient to begin using antiretroviral drugs. Some individuals have a strong aversion to allopathic therapy, either because they have had a poor experience with it or because they have witnessed friends suffer significant adverse effects from the first generation of HIV drugs. It is our responsibility to assist debunk any illusions regarding the medications that these patients may take if their CD4 count is fewer than 200, indicating that the risk of life-threatening opportunistic infections is increasing.

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