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Controversial Diagnosis #4: Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky gut syndrome, also known as intestinal hyperpermeability, is a disorder that never appeared in any medical textbook I encountered in school. Nor have I seen articles about it in JAMA or the New England Journal of Medicine. I first learned of its existence at an integrative medicine meeting many years ago, and since then I’ve lost count […]

The Care and Feeding of Your Microbiome

If you read the history of alternative medicine in the US, you’ll be as intrigued as I was by its preoccupation with your gastrointestinal system and feces. Diet, digestion, absorption, elimination, and possessing a wondrous “inner hygiene” were recurring themes originating in the late 19th century, when Kellogg’s cereals were the mainstay health food at […]

Zinc/Copper

The minerals zinc and copper can be purchased as single products, but there’s good reason to consider a combination product that pairs the two.

Zinc blocks the absorption and enhances the excretion of copper when taken over time. So, when zinc is recommended long term (over many months) for any condition–from arthritis to prostate problems or even Alzheimer’s–it’s important to get some copper as well. A combination product will help prevent a copper deficiency and the anemia that can develop as a result.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is called the sunlight vitamin because the body produces it when the sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays strike the skin. It is the only vitamin the body manufactures naturally and is technically considered a hormone. Essential for building strong bones and teeth, vitamin D also helps to strengthen the immune system and may prevent some types of cancer.

Vitamin C

In the eighteenth century, seasoned sailors found that by sucking on lemons they could avoid scurvy, a debilitating disease that often developed during long voyages when fresh fruits and vegetables were scarce. When the lemon’s key nutrient was formally identified in 1928, it was named ascorbic acid for its anti-scurvy, or antiscorbutic, action. Today ascorbic acid is widely known as vitamin C.

Vitamin B12

In l948, scientists were successful in identifying a nutritional substance in calf’s liver that could prevent pernicious anemia, a potentially deadly disorder that mainly affects older adults. The compound—vitamin Bl2 (or cobalamin)—turned out to be the last vitamin to be discovered.

Vitamin B Complex

A high-quality vitamin B complex supplement will provide, in one convenient pill, a full range of B vitamins, including biotin, choline, folic acid, inositol, PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid), and the six “numbered” B vitamins–vitamin B-1 (thiamin), B-2 (riboflavin), B-3 (niacin), B-5 (pantothenic acid), B-6 (pyridoxine), and B-12 (cobalamin). Combination products can simplify the process of taking individual B vitamins for a range of ailments including alcoholism, depression, diabetes, hair problems, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and stress.

Vitamin A

This famed vision-enhancing nutrient was isolated in 1930, the first fat-soluble vitamin to be discovered. The body acquires some of its vitamin A through animal fats. The rest it synthesizes in the intestines from the beta-carotene and other carotenoids abundant in many fruits and vegetables.

Slippery Elm

Well before the first European settlers arrived in North America, Native American tribes had discovered that by scraping away the rough outer bark of the majestic slippery elm tree (Ulmus rubra), they could uncover a remarkable healing substance in the inner bark. They beat the bark into a powder and added water to create a “slippery” concoction ideal for soothing toothaches, healing scrapes, and dispelling constipation.