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December 31, 2014

Body Building without Steroids

Choosing Effective Body Building Supplements

By Zoltan Rona MD MSc

Supplements for Natural Body Building by Alive Books

Many people shy away from bodybuilding because they associate it with anabolic steroids, muscle-bound giants (Arnold, The Hulk and company), and the “no pain, no gain” philosophy. Yet, anyone who wants to look trimmer and feel stronger can become a bodybuilder.

Bodybuilding is for women too. In fact, a record number of health-conscious women are avid bodybuilders. Weight and strength training can enhance your bone mass at any age, thus preventing osteoporosis. Exercising to build stronger muscles also decreases body fat, thereby lowering your risk of breast cancer and heart disease.

It seems few people are aware that natural food supplements can be used to duplicate the benefits of anabolic steroids without life-threatening side effects. This is a subject where people get utterly confused and with good reason.

One 53-year-old woman, very knowledgeable about diet and fitness, recently consulted me on what supplements she could take to build up her muscles for better endurance in competitive swimming. She had visited the health food store and was overwhelmed by the number of supplement choices available.

While over 50 different natural supplements are advocated for bodybuilding, in practice, one has only so much time, money and room in the stomach. The supplements I recommended for this woman are discussed below. She found them extremely effective and has continued to use them on and off intensively a month or two prior to competitions.

In my experience, these are also the most cost-effective supplements for anyone wanting to build muscle, burn fat and enhance endurance. All are generally regarded as safe for both men and women.

The good news is that most of these products are available from Canadian health food stores. Fortunately, you won’t need to buy nine different bottles, either, as a number of the ingredients have been combined into fitness formulas.

Amino Acids for Your Muscles

1 Whey ProteinAt least one gram of protein per pound of lean mass is required daily for maximum muscle strength and growth, as well as to prevent muscle deterioration and loss of lean body mass. The highest-quality proteins, in descending order of amino acid composition, are:

* lactalbumin (from hydrolyzed whey protein concentrate) * egg albumin (from egg white) * meat, fish and poultry * casein (from milk)

* soy protein * vegetable protein (half the muscle-building protein quality of lactalbumin)

The right kind of protein optimizes lean tissue health and mass, boosts metabolism, maximizes fat loss, minimizes recovery time and muscle soreness, boosts immune function, and helps prevent muscle and bone damage consequent to weight training.

2) Glutamine (L-glutamine)The most abundant amino acid in the body, glutamine makes up more than half the amino acids found in muscle cells. It enhances stamina and exercise performance. The usual aches and pains we feel after heavy exercise can be significantly reduced by regular use of glutamine. Take 6,000 to 18,000 mg daily in powder or capsule form after workouts or before bed.

3) Arginine (L-arginine)Whatever sport you enjoy, this essential amino acid will better your performance. Arginine works by stimulating the release of various hormones including growth hormone, which helps reduce body fat, improves healing and increases muscle mass. The body uses arginine as a base for making nitric oxide. This chemical relaxes the muscles in the walls of arteries and thereby increases blood flow and tissue oxygenation. The recommended dose of arginine is 6,000 to 12,000 mg daily.

4) Ornithine (l-ornithine) – Like arginine, this amino acid encourages your body to release more growth hormone. Ornithine also boosts the immune system and promotes healthy liver function and liver regeneration by detoxifying ammonia. Ornithine is used for bodybuilding and for improving athletic performance and wound healing. Take 3,000 to 6,000 mg daily.

5) Valine, Leucine and Isoleucine – These three are usually called the branched-chain amino acids because of their common chemical structure. Together they make up about one-third of the amino acid content of muscle. Found in proteins, they are important for mental vigour, alertness, blood sugar control, calm, and muscle co-ordination and muscle damage repair. Take 1,500 to 6,000 mg of leucine and 800 to 3,000 mg of valine and isoleucine daily in divided doses.

Other Aids from Nature

6) Creatine Monohydrate – This supplement has been the victim of much unwarranted criticism, moralizing and political debate. Creatine is not a steroid and is found normally in the body. It is a natural, tasteless and safe nutrient found in animal protein.

Creatine monohydrate is especially popular with competitive bodybuilders because it can make them look five to ten pounds more muscular by attracting water into the muscles. This should not be confused with the bloating and fluid retention caused by allergies, congested organs or other health problems. In such cases, the fluid accumulation is outside the muscles. Creatine also acts as a buffer against the build-up of lactic acid and neutralizes harmful free radicals produced by heavy exercise.

The suggested daily dosage is 20 grams per day (or 0.3 grams per kg of body weight) for five days followed by a maintenance dose of two grams (or 0.03 grams per kg of body weight). Drink at least 64 ounces of water per day while taking creatine.

7) Bovine ColostrumThis is a special non-milk breast secretion produced by all mammalian mothers during the first 49 hours after giving birth. Bovine colostrum is a friend to bodybuilders because it contains many muscle- building complex proteins, hormones and growth factors, including growth hormone. This nutritional package can help you achieve greater athletic prowess. The usual effective dose is four to six 500 mg capsules twice daily on an empty stomach.

8) Chrysin – Chrysin is an extract of a plant called Passiflora coerulea. Studies have shown it bolsters natural production and blood levels of

testosterone by 30 per cent, without the usual conversion of testosterone into estrogen or dihydrotestosterone. Too much estrogen can cause increased fat gain, water retention and breast enlargement in males, while excess dihydrotestosterone can lead to prostate enlargement and accelerated male pattern baldness. Take 500 mg twice daily.

9)Tribulus Terrestris – This herb is also known as gokhru, nature’s Viagra® and puncturevine. It naturally increases luteinizing hormone, a pituitary hormone that stimulates the manufacture of testosterone. Tribulus can increase testosterone by 30 per cent or more within five days, without any clinically proven toxic effects. The benefits for bodybuilders or any athlete are muscle cell growth and greater body strength. Tribulus also offers faster recovery from muscular stress. Further, it acts as a mild diuretic, increases muscle size and lean body mass, boosts immunity, lowers cholesterol levels, revs up libido and enhances mood. Take 750 to 1,500 mg daily in divided doses.

Whether you’re male or female, every one of the above supplements will help you lose excess body fat while gaining lean body mass provided you exercise at least one hour four times a week. It’s best to take your supplements before and/or after heavy exercise for several months at a time, depending on your bodybuilding goals. For more information about these and other remedies, see my  book Bodybuilding Supplements (Alive Books).

December 31, 2014

Blood Pressure Controlled Naturally



High blood pressure can benefit from a natural approach. Implementing a non-drug regime requires the supervision of a health care practitioner, especially for those people already taking prescribed drugs. The scientific literature reports that the following diet and lifestyle changes are effective:

  • cigarette smoking and tobacco chewing cessation                                                     
  • periodic juice fasting (esp. with carrot, celery and beets) 
  • vegetarian (high fiber) diets
  •  stress reduction techniques (biofeedback, meditation, relaxation response, etc.) 
  • aerobic exercise 
  • weight loss programs 
  • food allergy detection and elimination 
  • balancing blood levels of amino acids 
  • balancing trace minerals (especially calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and copper)
  • avoidance of salt, sugar, caffeine and alcohol 
  • oral and intravenous chelation therapy to rid the body of excess toxic heavy metals (cadmium, lead, mercury, etc.)

Vegetarian diets are generally higher in calcium, magnesium, potassium, complex carbohydrate foods, essential fatty acids, fiber and antioxidants. These are the nutrients thought to be the most important for normalizing blood pressure.

Eating more of the following foods also helps reverse high blood pressure:  celery, garlic, onions, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, milled flax seed, green leafy vegetables, broccoli and citrus fruits. Studies have shown that eating as little as 4 ribs of celery daily can lower blood pressure by as much as 14%. The ingredient of celery responsible for lowering blood pressure is 3-n-butyl phthalide.

There are a large number of nutritional supplements that have been reported to help control blood pressure naturally.

These include calcium, magnesium,   potassium,   coenzyme Q10,   garlicvitamin C,   flax seed oil,   fish oils,   evening primrose oil and tryptophan.

Hawthorn (crataegus oxyacantha) is one herb that has traditionally been used around the world to lower blood pressure, reverse angina and help lower serum cholesterol levels.

Another herb that helps lower blood pressure naturally is coleus forskohlii, a memberof the mint family which comes from India, Nepal and Thailand. Its active component, forskolin, lowers blood pressure and can improve angina, congestive heart failure, eczema, asthma, glaucoma and psoriasis. Other herbs that are helpful in controlling blood pressure includecayenne, chamomile, valerian, fennel, parsley and rosemary.


Watch out for licorice root. It contains glycyrrhetinic acid, which, in excess, can produce high blood pressure in susceptible individuals. Phenylalanine should be avoided since it can elevate blood pressure in some people. Phenylalanine is found in large amounts in the ubiquitous artificial sweetener, aspartame. For more information on natural blood pressure control measures, see your health care provider.

December 31, 2014

B Complex - Benefits and Beyond

B Complex Benefits and Beyond

By Zoltan P. Rona, M.D., M.Sc.

The B complex vitamins are the most underrated of all the nutritional supplements you will find on the shelves of your local health food store. They are far more important for the optimal functioning of the brain, spinal cord and nervous system than any other nutrient or herbal remedy. While glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate and shark’s cartilage are grabbing the headlines in osteoarthritis reversal, we often forget that equally exciting (and less expensive) results can be achieved in osteoarthritis with high doses of several B vitamins, including niacinamide and vitamin B12. And did you know that the often overlooked B vitamin, biotin, can not only help prevent hair loss, fragile nails, and certain types of dermatitis but that it can also fight yeast or fungal infections?


The B-complex vitamins are a group of similarly structured water-soluble compounds that are not stored in the body and must be supplied on a daily basis from the diet or through supplementation. They consist of B1 (thiamine), B-2 (riboflavin), B-3 (niacin, niacinamide), B-5 (pantothenic acid), B-6 (pyridoxine), B-7 (biotin), B-12 (cobalamin), and folic acid (B-9, folate or folacin). Inositol and choline are often included as part of the B complex. The B-complex of vitamins is used in the proper formation of every cell in your body – particularly the heart, liver and nerve cells.


B-complex vitamin deficiencies occur far more easily and frequently than has been generally assumed, especially in people on weight loss diets, fasts, high daily intakes of sugar, refined and processed foods, as well as caffeine, saccharine and alcohol. People under stress or on a long list of medications, especially antibiotics, diuretics, chemotherapy, the birth control pill, hormone replacement therapy, etc, may be at high risk to develop B vitamin deficiencies.


B-complex vitamins are commonly found together in foods and have similar coenzyme (catalysts for enzyme reactions) functions, often needing each other to perform specific metabolic tasks. Some of the B vitamins (B-12 and biotin) can also be made in the body by friendly microbes (bacteria, yeast, fungi, molds) in the large intestine. The majority of B vitamins, however, are obtained from food and then absorbed into the blood, mainly from the small intestine. If we consume too many B vitamins, the excess is excreted through the urine and the skin (perspiration). These excesses, with rare exceptions like B-3 (niacin), are harmless and often helpful, especially for those suffering from various suboptimal mental processes.


B vitamins are vital for:

  • health of the skin, bones, hair and muscle 
  • health of mucosal membranes, particularly around the mouth 
  • intestinal health and bowel function 
  • optimal blood sugar control
  • relief of moodiness, restlessness, irritability, insomnia, fatigue 
  • improved liver and cardiovascular system health 
  • brain cell function and health 
  • relief from skin problems, dry and itchy skin and rashes 
  • relief from PMS, nausea, muscular weakness and sore or dry mouth and tongue.

The B vitamins are found in many foods, occurring together, never in isolation. While the richest natural source of B vitamins is brewer's yeast or nutritional yeast, this is not an ideal food for many hypersensitive people. Other good sources of the B vitamins are the germ and bran of cereal grains, green vegetables, beans, peas, liver, most animal foods and nuts.


The B vitamins function primarily as coenzymes that catalyze many biochemical reactions in just about every cell in the body. They create energy by converting carbohydrates to glucose and also are important in fat and protein/amino acid metabolism. The B complex vitamins are very important for the normal functioning of the nervous system, via their anti-stress effects and energy boosting properties. The B vitamins are also vital for the general muscle tone of the gastrointestinal tract, which allows the bowels to function at their best.


Single B vitamin supplementation is not recommended because the functions of the B vitamins are so interrelated. In therapeutic dosages, they are best taken as a B-complex to relieve stress, fatigue, anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, and hyperactivity. Isolated B vitamin supplements may be therapeutically useful for conditions such as PMS (premenstrual syndrome), which can be helped by higher dosages of vitamin B6 (1000 mg. or more daily) in addition to a balanced B-complex supplement. Similarly, high doses of B-5 for adrenal stress and B-1 for alcohol-induced organ damage are therapeutically helpful.



Practically all the B-complex vitamins are involved in treatment of anxiety and depression. The most important of these are B1, B3, B6, B12 and inositol. When using high doses of individual B vitamins, they must always be in conjunction with all the other B vitamins in relatively high doses to prevent or reduce side effects as well as deficiencies in those B vitamins not supplemented. For example, if using vitamin B1 in doses of 1000 mg. daily, take a B complex of at least 100 mg of most of the other Bs at the same time.


  • B1 (Thiamine): (500 – 3000 mg. daily) reduces or eliminates irritability, disordered thinking and mental confusion in otherwise healthy people. Clinically indicated in Alzheimer’s disease, depression, insomnia, memory loss, alcoholism and all anxiety disorders.


  • B3 (Niacin): (500 – 3000 mg. daily) is recommended for circulatory problems and lowering triglycerides and cholesterol.  Niacinamide does not work in this fashion and is more applicable to anxiety, nervousness and irritability. Niacinamide is effective treatment for anxiety, insomnia, depression and other nervous system problems commonly seen in people who suffer from hypoglycemia and/or diabetes. Dementia, irritability, headaches, mental confusion, attention deficit disorder, hallucinations, amnesia, certain forms of schizophrenia and severe depression can all be signs or symptoms of B3 deficiency.

Adverse Effects and Toxicity:

hepatitis has been observed with the time released form of niacin; Inositol hexa-nicotinate (contains 6 molecules of niacin and 1 molecule of inositol) does not cause flushing or hepatitis. Use caution when taking more than 1000 mg. of niacin per day as it may elevate liver enzymes, which should be monitored during niacin therapy – if elevated, cut back on dosage.


Nausea is first sign of toxicity with both niacin and niacinamide. Flushing occurs with niacin, so it’s best taken with food. Other adverse effects of high dose niacin are gastritis, elevated uric acid levels and reactivated peptic ulcers, the latter of which can be prevented by taking L-glutamine (4000 mg. with each dose) to repair any gastrointestinal damage.


  • B6 (Pyridoxine): (100 – 1000 mg. daily) is clinically effective in practically all anxiety and depression related psychiatric illnesses including anorexia nervosa, attention deficit disorder, autism, bipolar disorder, PMS, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, hyperactivity and dementia. Caution should be taken as some reports of peripheral neuropathy (numbness, tingling, loss of sensation) have been reported with large doses of vitamin B6. Either lowering the dose of B6 or increasing relative doses of the other B-complex vitamins can reverse this.


  • B12 (Cobalamin): (1000 – 3000 mcg. daily). B12 goes by many names: Cyanocobalamin – oral, sublingual, or intranasal administration of B12 is only rarely effective; Hydroxycobalamin (injectable) is longer acting and achieves higher B12 levels than cyanocobalamin; Methylcobalamin (oral lozenges) - brain active form especially useful for mercury toxicity and other neurological problems (M.S., chronic pain syndromes). The most spectacular benefits of B12 are seen with depression, chronic fatigue, memory loss, neuropathy and bipolar disorder. Although effective against anxiety, other B vitamins, especially B3 in high doses, appears to be most effective.


  • Inositol: (1000 – 6000 mg. daily) has been reported in recent psychiatric journals to be as effective as prescription anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drugs without the side effects. The powdered form is most effective but also the costliest (equivalent in price to most commonly prescribed anti-depressants). One side benefit in large doses is that it helps remove fat from the liver.



Nov 18, 2011) A recent study [1] of the effect of B vitamins on a large group of participants reported an inverse relationship between blood serum levels of vitamin B6, methionine, and folate and the risk of lung cancer. High serum levels of vitamin B6, methionine and folate were associated with a 50% or greater reduction in lung cancer risk. This exciting finding has not been widely reported in the media, but it confirms a growing body of evidence gathered over the last 40 years that B vitamins are important for preventing diseases such as cancer.


The study gathered information about the lifestyle and diet of 385,000 people in several European countries. The average age was 64 years, and most had a history of drinking alcohol daily. Blood samples were then taken from these participants, and some of those (889) that developed lung cancer were analyzed for the level of several B vitamins and related biochemicals such as methionine, an essential amino acid. These nutrients were studied because they are known to be important in the metabolism of single carbon compounds, which is necessary for the synthesis and repair of DNA in the body's tissues [2]. Thus, B vitamins are helpful in preventing defects in DNA which can cause cancer [2-4].


Specifically, a high level of either vitamin B6, or methionine, or folate reduced the risk for lung cancer. High levels of all these nutrients together produced an even lower risk.The effects were large, so the results are highly significant.

The study divided the participants into three categories, depending on whether they currently smoked, had previously smoked, or had never smoked. While smoking is the most important lifestyle factor in the risk for lung cancer, interestingly, the effects of vitamin B6, methionine, and folate were fairly constant among the three categories. That is, those with higher levels of these B vitamins had a significantly lower risk of lung cancer no matter whether they smoked or not. The report emphasizes that this result strongly suggests that the effect of these essential nutrients in lowering the risk for cancer is real and not purely a statistical correlation. And, the report reiterates that smoking is dangerous, greatly increasing the risk for lung cancer in older people after decades of insult to the lungs.


Some widely-reported health studies have suggested that B vitamins can increase the risk of cancer. The theory is that these vitamins can help to prevent cancer from their effects in strengthening DNA synthesis and repair, but that when cancer is present, the vitamins supposedly help the cancer to grow [5]. However, there is a long history of health studies, including the above mentioned study, reporting that B vitamins including folate and vitamin B6 can help to prevent many types of cancer, such as breast, prostate and colorectal cancer [1-6].


It is just amazing how the news media could have missed this, but they pretty much did. In one much-publicized study [7] it was widely claimed that "Multivitamins increase deaths in older women!" Actually, the study found that B complex vitamins were associated with a 7 percent decrease in mortality, vitamin C was associated with a 4 percent decrease in mortality, vitamin D was associated with an 8 percent decrease in mortality, and several minerals were associated with a decrease in mortality.


Essential nutrients in a well-balanced diet, including B-complex, C, D, and E vitamins, are crucial to maintaining good health into old age for a variety of reasons. Persons taking adequate levels of vitamins will live longer, with fewer heart attacks [8] and other serious diseases such as diabetes [9], multiple sclerosis [10], and dementia [11].


The question begged by the report is, what role did vitamin supplements play in the blood levels reported for these essential nutrients? Taking a multivitamin that includes B-complex vitamins will obviously increase the blood levels of these essential nutrients. However, the value of supplements was not emphasized in the report.

So we will emphasize it here. Vitamins dramatically lower lung cancer risk. Supplements provide these nutrients in abundance. Modern diets do not.



A good B complex should contain something called alpha lipoic acid. R (+) is the most natural form of alpha lipoic acid, a potent antioxidant vitamin used by the mitochondria, the energy producing organelle of all cells in the body. Not only is alpha lipoic acid important for high energy but also it is a nutrient that helps control blood sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity, support cognitive function, optimize neurological function and prevent aging. An optimal dose for most people would be between 100 and 300 mg daily. Much higher doses could be used for treatment of diabetes, hepatitis and other liver disorders. 


Your natural health care practitioner can recommend the right amounts of B complex and alpha lipoic acid for you to supplement but for most individuals, one or two capsules taken with each meal should be fine. 


Dr. Zoltan P. Rona practices Complementary Medicine in Toronto and is the medical editor of “The Encyclopedia of Natural Healing.” He has also published several Canadian best-selling books, including “Return to The Joy of Health.”



Gaby, A.R., M.D., Wright, J.V., M.D.; Nutritional Therapy in Medical Practice, Reference Manual and Study Guide 2000 Edition; Wright/Gaby Seminars; Kent, WA; 2000.


Levine, J. Controlled trials of inositol in psychiatry Eur Neuropsychopharmacol, 1997 May


Hendler SS, Rorvik D (2001). Physicians' Desk Reference for Nutritional Supplements. New Jersey: Thompson PDR


Robert G. Smith, PhD. Vitamins Decrease Lung Cancer Risk by 50%



1. Johansson M, Relton C, Ueland PM, et al. Serum B vitamin levels and risk of lung cancer. JAMA. 2010 Jun 16;303(23):2377-85.

2. Xu X, Chen J. One-carbon metabolism and breast cancer: an epidemiological perspective. J Genet Genomics. 2009;36: 203-214.

3. Larsson SC, Orsini N, Wolk A. Vitamin B6 and risk of colorectal cancer: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. JAMA. 2010;303:1077-1083.

4. Ames BN. Prevention of mutation, cancer, and other age-associated diseases by optimizing micronutrient intake. J Nucleic Acids. 2010 Sep 22;2010. pii: 725071.

5. Mason JB. Unraveling the complex relationship between folate and cancer risk. Biofactors. 2011 Jul;37(4):253-60.

6. Giovannucci E. Epidemiologic studies of folate and colorectal neoplasia: a review. J Nutr. 2002;132(Suppl):S2350-S2355.

7. Mursu J, Robien K, Harnack LJ, Park K, Jacobs DR Jr. Dietary supplements and mortality rate in older women. The Iowa Women's Health Study. Arch Intern Med 2011. 171(18):1625-1633.

8. Pfister R, Sharp SJ, Luben R, et al. Plasma vitamin C predicts incident heart failure in men and women in European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition-Norfolk prospective study. Am Heart J. 2011 Aug;162(2):246-53.

9. Harding AH, Wareham NJ, Bingham SA, et al. Plasma vitamin C level, fruit and vegetable consumption, and the risk of new-onset type 2 diabetes mellitus: the European prospective investigation of cancer--Norfolk prospective study. Arch Intern Med. 2008 Jul 28;168(14):1493-9.

10. Solomon AJ. Multiple sclerosis and vitamin D. Neurology. 2011 Oct 25;77(17):e99-e100.

11. Selhub J, Troen A, Rosenberg IH. B vitamins and the aging brain. Nutr Rev. 2010 Dec;68 Suppl 2:S112-8.

December 31, 2014

Asthma, Nutrition and Drug Alternatives


Asthma is a hypersensitivity condition of the lungs associated with spasm of the bronchial tubes, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, wheezing,, coughing and the excessive production of bronchial mucous. There are basically two types of asthma:

1) Extrinsic/Atopic asthma caused by allergies mediated by the IgE family of antibodies, commonly dust, molds, pollens, animal danders, tobacco smoke and foods.

2) Intrinsic asthma due to cold air, exercise, infection, emotional and other stresses.

Most asthmatics have a mixture of the two types, the extrinsic type being more common. Asthma prescription inhalers (“puffers”) and pills provide temporary relief, but do nothing to halt the progression of the disease and may actually hasten it. Most conventional medical treatments of asthma do not address the underlying cause(s) and are generally aimed at symptom suppression.

Since 1980, the prevalence and incidence of asthma has increased by 80%. It affects at least 5% of the population and is most common in children under the age of 10 with boys affected twice as often as girls. Asthma is now the major cause of school absenteeism for children under 15 years of age in North America and can be a potentially life threatening condition. In fact, the mortality rate from asthma has increased by 300% since 1980.

Why is this happening? Most experts say it’s due to air pollution, increasing chemicals in the diet and the weakening of the immune system by antibiotics, fluoride, chloride, lead, mercury and other toxins. Some of the sources of these toxins include chemical household products, wood preservatives, floor and wall treatments, carpets, rugs, drapes, and synthetic- impregnated furniture.

Less well recognized reasons for the higher incidence are aspartame consumption and vaccines (especially hepatittis B, chickenpox and the flu shot) containing mercury, formaldehyde, aluminum, foreign genetic material and other potential toxins. Still other reasons for the increasing asthma ratesare a relative increase in indoor house mite infestation, indoor natural gas from furnaces, water heaters, and stoves that generate nitric oxide residues. Some authors have also questioned the connection between rising asthma rates and the greater use of the microwave oven, a cooking tool capable of creating never before seen molecules of unknown toxicity. The same can be said for the ever-increasing availability of genetically engineered foods, many containing the DNA of other species of plants and animals.

Natural Treatments

Practical things to start with are to push fluids to loosen bronchial secretions. The average adult should consume at least 2 liters of spring water daily, proportionately more if activity level is higher. Avoid chlorinated or fluoridated tap water. Use a vaporizer with added eucalyptus, thyme, tea tree oil or oil of oregano.

If possible, get food allergy testing done via an elimination – provocation procedure (described in my book,” Childhood Illness and The Allergy Connection” or Dr. William Crook’s “Tracking Down Hidden Food Allergies”). An alternative way of testing for food allergy problems is blood tests that measure antibodies or immune complexes directed at specific foods. Tests that I feel are usually reliable for this purpose are the IgG RAST and various other ELISA tests. Environmental allergies (dust, grasses, trees, pollens, etc.) can best be determined by skin testing done by an allergist. Generally, the younger an asthma patient, the more the allergen triggers are likely to be foods. The older a patient, the more likely the allergens are environmental inhalants.

Asthmatics should avoid sugar and white flour products because of their negative effects on the immune system. Decrease consumption of foods with arachidonic acid (red meat and dairy products) because of their pro- inflammatory, acid-forming effects in the body.

It has been known for over 60 years that at least 80% of asthmatics produce too little hydrochloric acid in their stomachs. In these cases asthma can be improved by supplementing acid (glutamic acid, betaine and pepsin hydrochloride, stomach bitters, other digestive enzyme supplements). Many asthmatics also have poor pancreatic function and inadequate secretion of digestive enzymes. As a result, high protein foods may not be digested completely and, when absorbed into the bloodstream, may evoke an allergic reaction such as wheezing. This is especially the case if the individual suffers from what is called “the leaky gut syndrome” in which there are microscopic sized perforations in the usually intact gut lining. A repair program using supplements such as L-glutamine, gamma oryzanol, bioflavonoids and other potent antioxidants can be implemented.

Also, eliminate food additives like tartrazine, sodium benzoate, sulfur dioxide and all sulfites (sodium bisulfite, potassium metabisulfite, potassium bisulfite).



Eat foods that reduce inflammation and open up the bronchi: garlic, onions, leeks, turnips, endive, green leafy vegetables, carrots. Celery, spinach, horseradish, daikon apricots. Cherries, elderberries, grapes, pineapple, figs, papaya, mango, lemon and honey high omega-3 and –6 fatty acid foods like salmon, herring, mackarel, sardines, almonds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds., walnuts, flax seed oil, evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil and borage oil, sprouted seeds and grains.

Avoid known food allergies and mucous forming foods: cow’s milk and other dairy productswhite bread, sugar and other refined or processed carbohydrates, chocolates,salty and fried foodsfoods high in arachadonic acid like beef, pork and cold cutscanola oil, corn oil, peanuts, pistachios and margarine


Natural Anti-inflammatory Supplements (doses depend on age, tolerance and severity of the condition) all help decrease leukotriene formation and reduce inflammatory compounds.


Essential Fatty Acids e.g. fish oils (cold water fish like cod and halibut, herring, sardines, salmon and trout), hempseed oil, evening primrose oil, flax seed oil, borage oil, black currant seed oil – all have powerful anti- inflammatory effects and can reduce or eliminate asthma symptoms through their content of omega-3-EPA.

Vitamin B12 injections – Dr. Jonathan Wright has shown that daily vitamin B12 shots will reverse asthma, especially in children. The exact mechanism of how this takes place is unknown.

Vitamin C – asthmatics have been shown to have lower serum levels of vitamin C as well as lower levels in white blood cells.

AOR Pro-bioflavanoids 

Other Anti-inflammatory Supplements:

Carotenoids – anti-oxidant Vitamin E – anti-oxidant Selenium – anti-oxidant N-acetyl-cysteine –precursor to glutathione, a very powerful antioxidant; also has strong mucolytic (dissolving mucous) effect

Coenzyme Q10 – antioxidant especially important for healthy cellular (mitochondrial) respiration and energy Magnesium – relaxes bronchial smooth muscle Molybdenum – a mineral that activates an enzyme capable of neutralizing sulfites.

Potassium iodide liquid – effective mucous expectorant and natural antibiotic: lymphatic stasis and chronically inflamed or enlarged lymph glands are also helped by liquid iodine solutions Querecetin and other bioflavonoids (rutin, grape seed extract, pycnogenols, catechin, hesperidin) are all powerful antioxidants which help stabilize the mast cell membrane and strengthening capillaries and other blood vessels. They help prevent or weaken any allergic reaction to a food or chemical.


Herbal and Other natural Remedies

Astragalus – boosts immunity and lung strength; boosts interferon production thereby helping to reduce the number of infectious episodes. Ephedra (Ma Huang) – controversial because of its effects on the heart and blood pressure but used for over 5000 years in Chinese Medicine as an effective bronchodilator. It’s best used in lowest effective doses in combination with herbs and nutrients that support the adrenal glands like licorice root, ginseng, vitamin C, zinc, vitamins B5, B6 and magnesium.

Herbal Expectorants Lobelia, Licorice Root, Grindelia, Euphorbia, Sundew and Senega – help clear irritants from airways.

Chinese Skullcap (Scuttalaria Baicalensis) – an anti-inflammatory herb high in bioflavonoids which stabilize the mast cell membranes and help prevent histamine release caused by allergens.

Angelica Sinensis – prevents the formation of IgE antibodies. Elecampane - effective as a cough remedy but also has anti-microbial properties.

Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza Glabra) – works to reduce inflammation and asthmatic symptoms due to its ability to prolong the half life of the bodys own cortisone.

Curcumin - the yellow pigment of tumeric (Curcuma longa) is primarily an anti-inflammatory agent comparable to cortisone, ibuprofen and other NSAIDS.

Forskolin - is a derivative of the herb Coleus Forskoli and has been found to be a good natural bronchodilator. It does this by inhibiting the release of pro-inflammatory compounds and inhibiting the smooth muscle contraction in the airways.

Garlic and Onions – high in vitamin C and quercetin inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory chemicals called leukotrienes

Probiotics (lactobacillus acidophilus and bifido bacteria) are friendly bacteria that help prevent colonization of the gastrointestinal tract with unfriendly/pathogenic microbes like candida and parasites.

Mullein – decongestant and antispasmodic

Thyme – antispasmodic and immunity booster. Echinacea – natural antibiotic and immune system modulator.

Other herbs advocated by some herbalists for asthmatics include horehound, colt’s foot, blood root, nettles and eyebright.

Asthma can best be treated by using a combination of conventional and natural therapies as needed. The natural approaches are most applicable in the prevention of wheezing attacks and associated infections while conventional therapies should be reserved for serious, acute situations only. See a natural health care practitioner for a personalized regimen.



Bergmann RL, et al. "Allergen avoidance should be first line treatment for asthma." Eur Resp Rev. 1998;8(53):161-163. Bernard A. et al. Increased intestinal permeability in bronchial asthma. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 97(6): 1173-78, June, 1996. Bray, GW. The hypochlorhydria of asthma of childhood. Quart. J. Med. 24:181-97, 1931.

Fulwood, R. et al. Asthma - United States, 1980-1987, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, Vol. 39 No. 29 (July 27, 1990), pgs. 493-497. Gergen, Peter J. et al. National Survey of Prevalence of Asthma Among Children in the United States, 1976 to 1980. Pediatrics, Vol. 81 (Jan., 1988), pgs. 1-7.

Gluck, Joan, Asthma from aspartame, Cortlandt Forum, February 1991;116/36-49. Greene, Lawrence S. Asthma and Oxidant Stress: Nutritional, Environmental and Genetic Risk Factors, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 1995;14(4):317-324.

Gumowski, Pierre, M.D., et al, "Chronic Asthma and Rhinitis Due to Candida Albicans, Epidermophyton, and Trichophyton,"Annals of Allergy, July, 1987;59:48-51. Platts-Mills TAE, et al. "The relevance of allergen exposure to the development of asthma in childhood." J Allergy Clin Immunol. February,2000;105(2 Part 2):S503-S508.

Rothery, S.P., et al. Hazards of chlorine to asthmatic patients. British Journal of General Practice, Jan, 1991;39. Schwartz J, Weiss ST. "Caffeine intake and asthma symptoms." Annal Epidemiol. 1992;2(5):627-635.

Sicherer SH. "Is food allergy causing your patient's asthma symptoms?" J Respir Dis. February. 2000;21(2):127-136 Waikman, Frank. Assessment of cost-effectiveness of ecological therapy on three asthmatic patients. Presented at the 17th Advanced Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine in Colorado Springs, 1983.

Warner, J.O., Food Intolerance and Asthma. Clinical and Experimental Allergy 1995; 25 (Suppl.1) : 29-30. Wright JV. "Treatment of childhood asthma with parenteral vitamin B12, gastric re-acidification, and attention to food allergy, magnesium and pyridoxine: three case reports with background and an integrated hypothesis." J Nutr Med. 1990;1:277-282.

December 30, 2014

Anti-Histamine Alternatives


by Dr. Zoltan Rona MD, MSc

One in every three North Americans suffers from hay fever (sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, nasal and sinus congestion) every spring (grasses, weeds), late summer or fall (ragweed, goldenrod). Synthetic antihistamines are the mainstay for symptom relief and work by interfering with the binding of histamine to cells after it's release. Antihistamines can cause drowsiness, depression, weight gain and serious cardiac complications when combined with antibiotics or other drugs.

Natural alternatives


Avoid dairy, corn, wheat and simple sugars to lessen the body’s allergic load Increase intake of raw fruits and vegetables for their live, anti- inflammatory, enzyme content

Eat more immune system boosting foods: garlic, onions, horseradish, citrus, carrots, greens, cayenne, or other hot peppers as tolerated



One or a combination of the following are effective in given individuals:

Stinging nettles - 1-2 capsules every 4 hours as needed reduces mucous and nasal congestion Cayenne - 1-2 capsules every 4 hours as needed - a mild stimulant to the beta receptors; enhances the release of adrenalin from the adrenal glands to open breathing passages

Bromelain (pineapple enzyme) - 250 mgs. 3 or more times daily for its anti-inflammatory effects Pantothenic Acid (vitamin B5) - 500 mgs. 3 or more times daily - aids in the formation of hormones deflecting stress and allergic reactions. Vitamin C - bowel tolerance doses (6000 mgs. or more) produce a natural antihistaminic effect

Quercetin (a bioflavonoid) - 500 mgs. 3 or more times daily - stabilizes mast cell membranes and prevents histamine release; reduces pro-inflammatory hormones (prostaglandins) in our bodies. Pycnogenol (pine bark extract) or grape seed extract - 150 -300 mgs. daily prevents histamine release, thereby reducing all the adverse effects of histamine, not just their effects on target cells. N-Acetyl-Cysteine - 1000 mgs. 3 or more times daily - an immune support amino acid that boosts the level of the antioxidant glutathione and dissolves excessive mucous (mucolytic).


December 30, 2014

Adrenal Stress and what to do about it



Stressed out? Chronically tired? Burned out? Allergies getting worse instead of better? Catching one infection after the next despite a good diet? Premature menopause? If you are coping with some or all of these health problems, chances are high that you are suffering from varying degrees of adrenal insufficiency.

How do the adrenals weaken?

Most commonly, different types of stress are involved. While some of these stresses are beyond our immediate control (nasty bosses, postal worker strikes, stock market crashes, unfriendly in-laws, hurricanes, etc.), many stresses weakening the adrenals are dependent on our diet and lifestyle choices. For example, a high caffeine and refined carbohydrate intake, cigarette smoking, heavy alcohol consumption and drugs too numerous to list all stress the adrenals by causing a greater than normal secretion of adrenal hormones leading to eventual depletion of stress hormone reserves. Working long hours under fluorescent lights at a sedentary job and getting little to no exercise also weakens adrenal function. So does long hours of watching television, reading newspapers filled with bad news and staring at computer screens.


Menopause is one major life event strongly connected to adrenal glandular function. In the healthy female, once the ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone, the adrenal glands take over production to maintain a comfortable balance. If this transition period does not occur smoothly, women entering the menopause will experience severe and often debilitating hot flashes, vaginal dryness, depression, loss of libido, accelerating osteoporosis, memory disturbances and blood sugar control problems (hypoglycemia). Adrenal insufficiency can cause exaggerated or early menopausal symptoms that create theillusion that prescription hormone replacement therapy is needed.

The ability to deal effectively with physical, chemical, emotional and other environmental stressors such as viruses, ionizing radiation and prolonged physical exertion depends largely on the health of your adrenal response.

The adrenals are a pair of glands shaped like Napoleon's hat that lie just above the kidneys. They secrete more than three dozen hormones derived from cholesterol directly into the bloodstream. Each gland, about one to two inches in length and weighing only a fraction of an ounce each, is composed of two distinct parts, the inner adrenal medulla and the outer adrenal cortex. The outer region secretes hormones known as corticosteroids of which there are three types: mineralocorticoids, glucocorticoids and the 17-ketosteroids (sex hormones).

Adrenal cortical hormones are controlled by ACTH, a pituitary hormone. The inner adrenal medulla secretes epinephrine (adrenalin) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline), the hormones that mediate the “flight-or-flight” alarm response to stress. Adrenal medullary hormones are controlled by the sympathetic nervous system.

The glucocorticoids (cortisol, corticosterone, cortisone) cause blood sugar levels to go higher, reduce inflammation and dampen the allergic response. Abnormal levels of glucocorticoids could be partially responsible for hypoglycemia or diabetes, an exaggerated pain response and poorly controlled allergies. The mineralocorticoids, the most important of which is aldosterone, cause the body to retain sodium while increasing potassium excretion. Abnormal aldosterone levels can therefore create imbalances between sodium and potassium and, consequently, fluid levels in the body. The major sex hormone produced by the adrenal cortex is the androgen, DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) which is then converted into other sex hormones (testosterone, estrogens, progesterone).

Shades of Imperfection

Conventional medicine categorizes adrenal function as either normal, low (adrenal insufficiency a.k.a. Addison’s disease) or high (Cushing’s Syndrome, a rare disorder caused by an overactive adrenal cortex). Most individuals affected by suboptimal adrenal function fall between these two extremes and are left without any medical solution to their health problems.

Adrenal weakness is at the bottom of poorly controlled stress conditions ranging from anxiety, allergies and recurrent infections to hypoglycemia, depression, autoimmune disease and chronic fatigue of unknown cause. If the initial screening tests fail to show either low or high levels of various steroids, reductionistic medical thinking, regardless of patient signs and symptoms, is that adrenal function is normal. Studies, however, show that adrenal function can be compromised long before abnormalities start appearing in such laboratory tests and that the use of adrenal glandular support reverses signs and symptoms and replenishes depleted organ reserves.

Signs and Symptoms of Weak Adrenal Function

The many signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency are often brushed off by conventional doctors as “nerves” requiring a prescription for anti-depressants, tranquilizers or estrogen. Many of these signs and symptoms, however, should alert both doctor and patient to look deeper into organic sources with the use of special tests (e.g. glucose tolerance test, cortisol, DHEA, hormone challenge tests, etc.). The results of these tests could provide a more definitive diagnosis.

An inability to concentrate, excessive fatigue, nervousness, irritability, depression and anxiety are the commonest symptoms associated with poor blood sugar control (hypoglycemia or diabetes) and ultimately to adrenal glandular weakness. Lightheadedness or dizziness, faintness or fainting as well as insomnia are also common problematic blood sugar control symptoms. So are cold, clammy palms and red palms or fingertips.

Progesterone is one of the most important hormones secreted by the adrenal gland. Progesterone has a major role to play in healthy menstruation, bone building and fertility. Many women who suffer from hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings and premenstrual syndrome symptoms (fluid retention, depression, food cravings, breast pain and tenderness) are often suffering from relatively low progesterone levels which can often be corrected by normalizing adrenal function.

The adrenal glands are responsible for blood pressure control. If you have access to a blood pressure measuring device there is a simple self test you can use if you suspect low adrenal function. Take or have someone take your blood pressure several times both reclining and standing. If your blood pressure is usually somewhat on the low side (postural hypotension) on standing (105/60) but elevated to (120 or 130/70 or 80) on reclining, chances are high that your adrenals are malfunctioning. There should be very little difference between standing and reclining blood pressures if adrenal function is optimal.

Other, lesser known signs of adrenal weakness or insufficiency are:

Skin thin, dry or scaly Skin pigmentation of temples Exaggerated reflexes Angular appearance with long arms and legs (span is greater than the height) Inflammation of lymph glands of the neck (swelling, pain, or tenderness) Thin-muscle type (asthenic habitus) Sparse hair on body, but usually a full head of fine and abundant hair. Typically blond and blue eyed, or red headed with skin allergies Crowded lower teeth - with a high palatal arch (roof of mouth) Pain and tenderness over adrenal area when pressure is applied.

(Positive Rogoff's sign). Scanty perspiration (except under arms or hands and feet).

The Adrenal Insufficiency Connection

A long list of suboptimal health conditions and diseases are stress-related and stem from a weak or an exaggerated adrenal response. The following is just a partial list of conditions requiring adrenal glandular support:

Anxiety/Panic attacks        Asthma          Autoimmune diseases  (e.g. fibromyalgia & chronic fatigue syndrome,  Graves’ disease,  multiple sclerosis,  rheumatoid arthritis, etc.)       Cancer           Diabetes Mellitus (Type II)         Depression   Headaches (tension, migraine)         Hypoglycemia        Infertility           Premature menopause         Menstrual problems (premenstrual syndrome, dysmenorrhea, menorrhagia, amenorrhea)      Multiple chemical hypersensitivity / allergies            Recurrent flus, colds and other infections

Adrenal Glandular Support

The vast majority of cases requiring adrenal glandular support programs can help themselves without prescription hormones. A combination of diet and lifestyle changes with or without nutritional supplements is usually all that’s required.

Diet: avoid foods and beverages that unnecessarily stress the adrenals, especially alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, fried foods, processed foods, pork, sugar and refined carbohydrates. A high percentage of symptomatic individuals are allergic to gluten (wheat, spelt, rye, barley, oats) and casein (dairy products) and should avoid these foods altogether. Unless allergic to them, eat more deep water ocean fish, salmon, tuna, trout, fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables, garlic, onions, shiitake or maitake mushrooms, olives and legumes.

Lifestyle: regular moderate exercise, meditation, biofeedback or other relaxation techniques to reduce stress; in more severe cases, consultation with a health care provider is required.

Nutritional and Herbal Supplements (dosages are dependent on severity of symptoms and individual tolerances):



Multiple vitamin and mineral supplement Green drink (spirulina, chlorella, barley, kamut, etc.) Bee pollen B complex vitamins with extra vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) or royal jelly Vitamin C and bioflavonoids Raw adrenal extract Raw liver extract Coenzyme Q10 Astragalus Echinacea Licorice root (can raise blood pressure if used excessively) Milk thistle Siberian ginseng.

Hormone replacement: In more severe cases that fail to respond adequately to the natural approach, low dose adrenal hormones could be prescribed for short periods of time. These include:

DHEA Pregnenolone Cortisol Testosterone Progesterone Estrogens

The use of steroid drugs (e.g. prednisone) for extended periods of time can cause the shrinking (atrophy) of the adrenal glands and should be monitored regularly to prevent long term side effects. This is far less likely to occur when one takes low dose DHEA, pregnenolone or other natural steroids but should not be ignored as a remote possibility. For more information on reversing adrenal woes, see the references below and consult a natural health care practitioner for an individualized adrenal enhancement regime.


Cleare, Anthony, J. and Wessely, Simon, C., Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Stress Disorder?British Journal of Hospital Medicine, 1996;55(9):571-574.

Freeman, Roy, M.D. and Komaroff, Anthony L., M.D., Does the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Involve the Autonomic Nervous System?" American Journal of Medicine, 1997;102:357-364.

Goldberg, Samuel, M.D., et al. Adrenal Suppression Among Asthmatic Children Receiving Chronic Therapy With Inhaled Corticosteroid With and Without Spacer Device, Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, March, 1996;76:234-238.

Rubin, Robert T., et al. Adrenal Gland Volume in Major Depression: Relationship to Basal and Stimulated Pituitary- Adrenal Cortical Axis Function," Biological Psychiatry, 1996;40:89-97.

Selye, H. Stress in Health and Disease. Buttersworth, London, UK, 1976.

Tintera, John W. HYPOADRENOCORTICISM, 1969; the Adrenal Metabolic Research Society of the Hypoglycemia Foundation, Inc., 153 Pawling Avenue, Troy, New York, USA 12180.

Tintera, John W. The Hypoadrenocortical State and Its

Management,: N.Y. State J. of Med., Vol. 55, No. 13, 7/1/55.

Wilder, Ronald, L. Adrenal and Gonadal Steroid Hormone Deficiency in the Etiopathogenesis of Rheumatoid Arthritis, Journal of Rheumatology, 1996;23(suppl 44):10-12.

October 10, 2013

My Top 10 Immune Boosting Supplements

Influenza, Colds & Coughs


by Dr. Zoltan P. Rona, MD, M.Sc

In January of this year, Dr. Oz of TV fame (not to be confused with the Wizard of Oz) gave Piers Morgan of CNN a ‘flu shot right on air. A few days later, Piers developed a cough and hoarseness that could only be attributed to the shot he had recently received. Imagine that, getting ‘flu symptoms from the ‘flu shot. This is not as uncommon as one would think. In my practice, I have seen dozens of people who contracted the ‘flu shortly after a ‘flu shot or developed various other reactions (fevers, joint pain, lethargy, fluid retention) shortly after the inoculation.

The latest and greatest gift from big pharma to boldly boost our immunity is the shingles vaccine. Just today, one of my long time 80-year- old patients who guinea pigged herself and received the shingles vaccine from her family doctor reported to me that she developed a severe flu-like illness which required emergency intravenous treatments just to save her life. Luckily, she survived the ordeal and wanted to know, like so many other victims of vaccine damage, what she could do naturally to prevent viral illnesses.

Do Vaccines Cause Illness?

Vaccines all have the notoriety of causing the disease that they claim to be preventing. One glaring example of this is the new HPV vaccine, Gardasil. Even the manufacturer admits in their literature that, if one has already been exposed to the HPV (human papillomavirus) prior to injection, Gardasil increases the risk of precancerous lesions by 44.6%. In other words, Gardasil may actually increase the risk of cervical cancer.

It’s that time of the year again when we are all warned by the mass media and other mass hysteria, as well as Dr. Oz, to get our ‘flu shots and are admonished by well meaning doctors for not doing so. Some companies even make it a condition of employment for their staff to receive the annual shot despite the fact that they are not legally allowed to demand that of their staff.

What Are the Best Alternatives?

Besides following a high protein, sugar-free, gluten-free and dairy-free organic diet, while exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and engaging in anti-stress programs like meditation, what else can you do to boost immunity against colds and flus? Taking plenty of vacations in warm climates helps and so does laughter. Are food allergies and sensitivities important?  Can you prevent more serious illnesses such as cancer and autoimmune disorders using a natural supplement regime? And, will these all work without side effects?

Food Allergy/Sensitivity Testing – Food allergies, intolerances or hypersensitivities are unsuspected factors in the development of many worldwide killer diseases such as recurrent infections, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma and just about every autoimmune disease (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, etc.).  Over 90% of the documented adverse reactions to foods are not true allergies, occur on a delayed basis (up to 4 days after exposure), and will avoid detection by conventional skin scratch tests.  They are often referred to as “Type 2 Allergies” and they may have either immune or non-immune system mechanisms.

The most accepted method of identifying these non-classical food reactions is by an elimination diet. This is accomplished by following a hypoallergenic diet for three weeks,  which eliminates the most commonly eaten foods (wheat, milk, eggs, yeast, corn, soy, citrus and other foods eaten on a daily basis). After three weeks, the body is then challenged with the eliminated foods one by one, noting the reactions.

During the three weeks before testing, symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, wheezing, joint pain, headaches, itching and hundreds of others will improve or disappear in those suffering from chronic ingestion of the eliminated foods.  If one then reintroduces the individual to these foods and the symptoms reappear, the person is most probably allergic to the test foods.  He or she is then advised to abstain from these foods for a period of months or years.  This process only works if all the foods are discontinued abruptly or by “cold turkey”.  Easing into this diet slowly or through some other compromise does not work at all.  

This approach is not recommended in severely ill people and is best performed under the supervision of a qualified health care practitioner.  
A safer and more accurate alternative to the elimination diet is the IgG (subclass 4) RAST blood test. This test is now available in Ontario and offered by many pharmacies (no doctor visit required) as well as Gamma Dynacare Laboratories (any MD can order this test). Similar tests are available in England and the U.S. but cost is significantly higher. For information on these tests, contact Gamma Dynacare at 905-790-3000 or ask your family doctor.

Recently published studies conclude that eliminating the foods detected by this test are at least 80% effective in reversing or reducing the symptoms of dozens of chronic illnesses associated with impaired immunity. If you are one of those people who gets one infection after another, do yourself a favour and look into this type of testing. 
Prices for the tests have dropped dramatically in the past few years so it is a now a very good investment in your health.

My Top 10 Immunity Enhancing Supplements

Move over, David Letterman, because here’s my top ten list. In order of importance and supportive scientific evidence, here are 10 natural remedies that can boost immunity:

1) Vitamin D – 5000 to 10,000 IU daily for most adults is safe and effective for the prevention of flus, colds, cancer and approximately 200 different diseases. No other supplemented nutrient has been as extensively studied as vitamin D. Thousands of studies support its use in higher than RDA doses. For the best source of information and documentation of all the benefits, visit
If you have adequate blood levels of Vitamin D it is possible to prevent any and all infections. The trouble is that one has to get enough sunshine in order for the body to manufacture sufficient vitamin D through the action of ultraviolet light on the skin. This may be very difficult to achieve during the winter months in Canada. Hence, regular oral supplementation of emulsified vitamin D drops is almost mandatory. Check your blood levels before supplementing with vitamin D. The optimal average adult dose is between 5000 and 10,000 IU daily. For more information, see my book, “Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin.”
If you happen to have a cold or flu at the moment, it is recommended that you take 50,000 IU of Vitamin D daily for 3 – 7 days and then drop the dose back to somewhere between 5 and 10,000 IU daily, depending on your blood levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D. The reason why vitamin D helps with just about any kind of infection is because it stimulates the production of cathelicidin, a protein with natural antibiotic properties.

2) Omega-3 Fatty Acids – 4000 mg daily for most adults not only prevents heart disease but also powerfully boosts the immune system. Omega-3 is needed to help vitamin D work in an optimal manner and, in effect, helps prevent vitamin D deficiency. Omega-3 supplementation increases the activity of white cells that gobble up dangerous bacteria. Omega-3 also protects the lungs from colds, flus and other respiratory tract infections. No doubt you have heard of the benefits of taking cod liver oil during the winter months. Interestingly enough, the major active ingredients of cod liver oil that work their magic on the immune system are vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. 

3) Probiotics (variable dosing) are friendly bacteria that usually inhabit the gut and are a very well documented optimizer of the immune system. Seventy percent or more of our immune system is controlled by what happens in the gut, and friendly bacteria are the most important component of that immune system. These bacteria modulate the immune system by increasing the numbers of certain while blood cells (T lymphocytes). Probiotics also help improve digestion and protect the body from harmful pathogens such as candida albicans. For a more comprehensive description of the benefits of probiotics see my article “In Praise of Probiotics” in the September 2013 issue of Vitality.

4) Astragalus – 1000 mg or more daily of this well-known Chinese herb stimulates white blood cells to both prevent and fight infections. Astragalus does not work as quickly as vitamin D or omega-3 fatty acids, and may take between 6 – 8 weeks to reach its full effects. Numerous studies attest to the fact that it is well worth supplementing.

5) Zinc – 50 mg daily is an effective preventive for all kinds of infections.  In my experience, the vast majority of people in Canada are zinc deficient. There is some evidence that using zinc lozenges can shorten the length of respiratory tract infections. High dose zinc combined with vitamin C can offset excessive lead levels in the body.

6) Selenium – 200 mcg daily – regular supplementation reduces the risk of cancers of the bladder, breast, bowel, lung and prostate. I usually recommend that people take a vitamin E complex (tocopherols and tocotrienols) – 400 IU with selenium because the two nutrients work synergistically.

7) Vitamin A – 10,000 IU – another component of cod liver oil that plays a major role in preventing infections by influencing the activity of T and B lymphocytes (white cells). I am often surprised to see low blood levels in supposedly healthy people who complain of recurrent infections (middle ear, bladder, chest, bowel and numerous other sites). Vitamin A is a common component of many multivitamin supplements but some people just do not absorb enough of it from their diet because of unsuspected food allergies and insufficient secretion of pancreatic digestive enzymes. For most of these individuals, supplementing pancreatin (pancreatic enzymes) should help resolve the absorption issue.

8) Colostrum is the first mammary secretion nourishment that any mammal, including man, provides for its newborn for the first 24-48 hours of life.  It does not contain milk, as we know it. In choosing a bovine colostrum supplement, make sure it comes only from the first milking, ideally within the first 6 hours after birth of the calf. Choose your colostrum carefully as most brands combine the first milking (which is pure colostrum) with several subsequent milkings (which are mostly milk), resulting in products that more closely resemble milk or whey powder than true colostrum.  
First milking colostrum contains numerous immune system and growth factors which trigger at least fifty processes in a newborn, ranging from the development of the immune system to the growth of all body cells.  Laboratory analysis of immune and growth factors from bovine colostrum show them to be virtually identical to those found in human colostrum and bovine colostrum is totally safe, with no known drug contraindications or negative side effects at any dosage level.

Conventional medical doctors were, at one time, enthusiastic about using colostrum for antibiotic purposes.  This occurred prior to the introduction of sulfa drugs and penicillin.  In the 1950s, prior to the wide scale use of corticosteroids as anti-inflammatory agents, colostrum was used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.  Polio vaccine developer, Dr. Albert Sabin, discovered that colostrum contained antibodies against polio and recommended it for children susceptible to catching the disease. Bovine colostrum has been used therapeutically in India for thousands of years by Ayurvedic physicians, and still is to this day.    

Well known colostrum components like interferon, gamma globulin, growth hormone (GH), IgF-1 and protease inhibitors are all used by conventional medical specialists in the treatment of cancer, chronic viral infections including HIV and autoimmune diseases.  There are now over 4,000 clinical studies from around the world detailing research that has been done using colostrum in the treatment of dozens of different diseases.     
First milking bovine colostrum is the ideal vaccination alternative.  The reason is obvious when you look at its components.  The two major components of colostrum are immune factors and growth factors. It’s the immune factors that offer the vaccine benefits. These include:
* Immunoglobulins (A, D, E, G and M) - neutralize toxins, viruses and bacteria in the lymph and circulatory systems.
* Lactoferrin - antiviral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, iron-binding protein with therapeutic effects in cancer, HIV, cytomega-lovirus, herpes, chronic fatigue syndrome, candida albicans and other infections.  
* Proline-Rich Polypeptide (PRP) – a hormone that regulates the thymus gland, stimulating an underactive immune system or dampening an overactive immune system as seen in autoimmune disease (MS, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, chronic fatigue syndrome, allergies, etc.).
* Leukocytes – white blood cells that stimulate the production of interferon which slows viral reproduction and penetration of cell walls.
* Enzymes – lactoperoxidase-thiocyanate, peroxidase and xanthine oxidase destroy bacteria through their ability to release hydrogen peroxide. 
* Lysozyme – a hydrolyzing agent and immune system booster capable of destroying bacteria and viruses on contact.
* Cytokines – interleukins that regulate the duration and intensity of the immune response, are responsible for cell to cell communication, boost T-cell activity and the production of immunoglobulins.  Interleukin-10 is strongly anti-inflammatory, especially in arthritic joints. 
* Trypsin Inhibitors and Protease Inhibitors - prevent the destruction of immune and growth factors in colostrum from being broken down in the GI tract; they also prevent H. pylori from attaching to the walls of the stomach and can have a beneficial role in the treatment of peptic ulcers.
* Lymphokines – hormone-like peptides produced by activated lymphocytes which mediate the immune response. 
* Oligo Polysaccharides and Glycoconjugates – attract and bind to pathogens (Strep., E. Coli, Salmonella, Cryptosporidia, Giardia, Entamoeba, Shigella, Clostridium Difficile Toxins A & B and Cholera)  preventing them from attaching or entering the mucous membranes.
* Other immune Factors – some of the documented immune factors include orotic acid, secretory IgA, IgA Specific Helper, B Lactoglobulin, Lactalbumin, Albumin, Prealbumin, Alpha 1-Antitripsin, Alpha 1-Fetoprotein, Alpha 2-macroglobulin, Alpha 2-AP Glycoprotein, C3, C4 and Orosomucoids.
* Vitamins – A, B12 and E are found in small amounts while traces of all others are also present in colostrum.
* Sulfur – a mineral with multiple uses in metabolism and as part of many structural body proteins.

9) Vitamin C – 1000 mg or more daily has anti-viral and immune enhancing effects. Mega doses above and beyond bowel tolerance (dose that produces diarrhea) are given intravenously to fight serious infections like Lyme disease as well as cancer. The only significant issue with the use of high dose vitamin C beyond the RDA levels is the diarrhea side effect. Backing off the dose should resolve this problem.

10) Echinacea – 1000 mg or more daily is well documented as an immune system booster used to both prevent and treat a long list of infections. It is often said that Echinacea shouldn’t be taken for long periods of time beyond a few weeks, but this has never been proven to be detrimental in any way. This false advice on limiting the length of time that one should be using Echinacea originates from a German study that actually said the opposite. Things are often lost in translation. The bottom line is that one can supplement Echinacea continuously for years without concerns.  The other Echinacea myth is that people who have autoimmune disease should not be taking it due to over-stimulation of their autoimmune disease. This too is nonsense since supplementing with Echinacea increases the body’s production of hyaluronic acid, a well-known anti-inflammatory pain reliever. Once again, to be healthier with autoimmune disease, take echinacea in large doses. (Caveat: If you have a ragweed allergy you might react adversely to Echinacea because it belongs to the same plant family.)


I may have offended David Letterman and some people by not listing their favourite immune booster. There are many other immunity boosting supplements I could have discussed. Below is a short list of other supplements readily available from most health food stores and some pharmacies which have a substantial amount of evidence that supports their use.
Other Immune Boosters – Sterols and sterolins; Beta glucan; B complex vitamins; Garlic; Ginseng; Licorice root; Goldenseal; Pau d’arco; Medicinal mushrooms (reishi, maitake, shitake, agaricus blazei); St. John’s wort; Berberine; Small particle size (0.8 nm) colloidal silver (hydrosol); Oregano oil; Coconut oil; Olive leaf extract. 
These are all excellent for the right person. Of course, numerous homeopathic remedies based on individual needs will also help boost immunity. A natural health care provider can recommend what might work best for you.

CATCH DR. RONA AT WHOLE LIFE EXPO 2013, where he will give two lectures:

1) Saturday, Nov. 23, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm, "Healing Inflammation Naturally"

2) Sunday, NOv. 24, 3:00 pm - 3:45 pm, "Vital Steps to Strengthening Your Resistance to Disease"

For more information, visit: where the Show program will be posted by November 1st, or see print version of Showguide inside NOvember Vitality.


• Braly, J. Food Allergy Relief.  Contemporary Books, Illinois. 2000.
• Piers Morgan Flu shot.
• Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 Dec;74(6):833-9.
• Enhancement of immunity in the elderly by dietary supplementation with the probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis HN019.
• Gill HS, Rutherfurd KJ, Cross ML, Gopal PK.
• Colloidal Silver/Silver Hydrosol.
• Does Gardasil Actually Increase Your Risk of Cervical Cancer.
• Clark, Daniel G. and Wyatt, Kaye.  Colostrum, Life’s First Food.  Salt Lake City: CNR Publications. 1996.
• Heinerman, John.  Dr. Heinerman’s Encyclopedia of Anti-Aging Remedies.  Paramus: Prentice Hall, 1997; pp.85-86.
• Jensen, Bernard.  Colostrum: Man’s First Food, The White Gold Discovery.  Escondido: Bernard Jensen, 1993.
• Rona, Zoltan, P..  Bovine colostrum emerges as immune system modulator.  American Journal of Natural Medicine; March, 1998, pp. 19-23.
• Rona, Zoltan P. Vitamin D, The Sunshine Vitamin. Tennessee, USA: Alive Books, 2010
• Rona, Zoltan. Childhood Illness and the Allergy Connection. Prima Publishing 1997.
• Rona, Zoltan, P.  Natural Alternatives to Vaccination.  Vancouver: Alibe Books. 2000.

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