First of all, yes, it does work for certain infections – colloidal silver has proven anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties. This is promising news, considering the harm and dangers of antibiotics + antimicrobial resistance. Silver has long been used to address bacteria / bacterial infections for centuries, and has known active properties against both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. Colloidal silver presents an effective treatment option for those looking to deal with a bacterial or viral infection – of course, this should always be done after consultation with a healthcare practitioner and should not be used to replace antibiotics in more serious bouts of illness or infection. Now, is colloidal silver safe? Most information out there online regarding colloidal silver seems to be conflicting and confusing at best – there are countless testimonials from people claiming silver helped them through severe infections or the first sign of illness. At the same time, there are plenty of well-known health sites or regulatory bodies that warn about safety concerns (like the FDA). First, let us establish that colloidal silver is a “solution” of water that contains the suspended silver in nanometer-sized particles that are readily absorbed. The total silver content of the solution should be expressed on the supplement you purchase as “ppm” or parts per million. This is the same as mg of silver per liter of water (mg/L). Silver has been used as an antibiotic up until the early 1940s – this is thanks to various processes that occur once silver is ingested. Silver nanoparticles enter bacterial DNA, attach to bacterial cell membranes directly, and block the cellular process known as cellular respiration within the cells of organisms. Ionic silver is not the same as true colloidal silver. Always ensure you purchase true colloidal silver when looking for a supplement – these do not contain additives, and the solution should only contain nanometer-sized silver particles and purified water. Colloidal Silver is Safe for the Gut and Does Not Destroy “Good” Gut Bacteria After ~28 Days of Use As for colloidal silver being safe, there is plenty of debate online surrounding the use of silver internally. Those noting adverse effects like argyria (turning blue) are often not referring to pure colloidal silver, but rather low-quality, inexpensive products that contain silver that is not a nanoparticle. Generally, when used for 10-14 days internally, it was not shown to cause any adverse side effects, nor was it shown to alter the gut microbiome. This means that even after 28 days of reported use, the diversity of “good” gut bacteria was not altered, destroyed, or changed by colloidal silver. This is a huge deal, especially when compared to the impact of traditional antibiotics on the microbiome. Our stance is that colloidal silver will absolutely work as a potential antibacterial supplement, but it needs to be used/implemented short-term (10-14 days ideally; maximum of 28 days) on a strict dosage as indicated on the product. Dosing Colloidal Silver, and a Word of Caution When it comes to dosing colloidal silver, most supplements are sold as a liquid tincture with a dropper. Depending on the condition, colloidal silver will be applied differently – generally, most practitioners will recommend against taking it for more than 14 consecutive days at a time. Dosages may range depending on the concentration of the suspension itself. Always check/consult with the bottle or container for the most accurate dosing instructions. 2-5 drops can be applied topically to the skin for infections, wounds, and irritation. 5-10 drops can be taken internally, per day, for immune system support or to combat an infection. 1-2 drops can be placed in the eye directly for cases of pink eye. Colloidal silver is always sold as a solution of purified water that contains nanometer particles of suspended silver. While silver has been demonstrated as safe, long-term or excessive prolonged use of colloidal silver may lead to some undesirable side effects – stick to recommended dosages, and only use it for the duration or period of time you need it for (I.E., recovery from a viral infection). Colloidal silver can be applied topically or ingested internally – ensure to opt for a high-quality pure silver product, such as those sold on our website.
So many of us suffer from seasonal allergies or hayfever. For many Canadians, anywhere from the beginning of May right through to October can be difficult either entirely or sporadically depending on the growing season and what affects us. There are so many products on the market. But if you’re like me, these cause a variety of unpleasant side affects, most prominently drowsiness. I am busy, I can’t be having a drowsy day because I am fighting itchiness, sneezes and general discomfort. The great thing is that there are lots of great natural remedies, as expert Dr. Marita Schauch describes in this month’s blog below. I’ve tried Immuno-Care. It’s a great natural product. Here’s Dr. Marita’s great advice: We were fortunate enough this year on the West Coast: while the rest of Canada had it’s share of snow and below freezing weather, Victoria, BC, experienced one of its mildest winters on record. But the warmer weather and the early signs of spring like flower buds and blooming trees for many of us actually mean nasal congestion, sneezing and itchy eyes. This past month allergy season has crept up on many of my patients, which, for some can cause a significant reduction in their quality of life. What is an Allergy? An allergy is an over-reaction of the immune system that causes the release of histamine from mast cells. Allergies create inflammation in the body and can also aggravate existing chronic conditions. What most people don’t know is that the presence of underlying food allergies can actually worsen seasonal allergies (hay fever). These delayed reactions from food can cause cumulative stress on the immune system which makes the body that more sensitive and reactive. The good news: allergy season doesn’t have to be miserable! Here is your survival guide to keep those seasonal allergies under control: Quercetin: As mentioned above, determine underlying food allergies and avoid those foods – especially during allergy season. Common food allergies are: dairy,wheat/gluten, egg, soy and corn. Supplement with the bioflavonoid Quercetin, which has been shown to be effective in individuals suffering from allergies. Quercetin inhibits the release of histamines and other inflammatory compounds from mast cells, thus reducing the allergic/inflammatory response. Look for Bioactive Quercetin (EMIQ) which is a highly bioavailable form of Quercetin. EMIQ has been shown to provide a 40 times greater absorption than regular Quercetin. Vitamin C: Vitamin C is key in any allergy treatment program because it has so many beneficial functions. Vitamin C not only acts as an antioxidant, helping to reduce allergic reactions, but it also has mast-cell-stabilizing properties that reduce histamine release. Probiotics & Fermented Foods: Support the intestines by re-establishing the “good bacteria” (acidophilus and bifidobacteria) to ensure proper digestion of foods and optimal immune function. A good portion of your immune system resides in your gut and the use of antibiotics, the birth control pill or excess sugar, food allergies and stress can affect our gut bacterial balance. A healthy gut is therefore essential for a strong immune system! Omega-3: Omega-3 essential fatty acids are healthy fats that are necessary for the formation of every cell in the body. Supplement with a clean fish oil with a minimum of 1000 mg EPA and 600 mg of DHA daily. Immunocare: Plant Sterols (found in Immuno-Care) help to modulate immune function and reduce inflammation. They also reduce allergies by dampening down basophil, eosinophil and mast cells, the immune cells that release histamine, causing the typical “allergic reaction.” Sublingual Immunotherapy: Sublingual Immunotherapy has shown efficacy for seasonal allergies. Drops of liquid containing minute quantities of the offending allergen are placed under the tongue. This type of therapy is much more convenient as there is no need to go into the doctors office for shots. I always recommend physician supervision with the initial use of the sublingual immunotherapy. Although it is much safer than the shots, allergic reactions may still occur. Happy Spring! References AAAI Board of Directors. J. Allergy Clin Immunol. 1995Amelia, M. et al. Planta Medica. 1985Johnston, C.S. J Am Coll Nutr. 1992Lindfors K, et al. Clin Exp Immunol. 2008Dry, J. Allergy Apply Immunol. 1991http://www.pno.ca/?p=1305&option=com_wordpress&Itemid=201
With the start of spring come the blooms and blossoms and that pesky partner in crime – pollen! Seasonal allergies affect millions of Canadians (approx. 10 million) each year, and many will dash to the pharmacy in search of antihistamine medication so they don’t drip, itch and sneeze their way through springtime. While the viral load at the start of spring can still be high depending upon the region, the differences between allergy symptoms (below) and cold symptoms generally are as follows: No fever or muscle aches Mucous secretions are typically clear and runny Sneezing is common in rapid, multiple sequences Your ears, nose and throat (especially palate in back of throat) are itchy Your symptoms last longer than the typical duration of a cold (i.e. 7-10 days) Instead of reaching for conventional antihistamines this year to manage your symptoms, why not look in the direction of herbal medicine for some assistance. Petasites hybridus – commonly known as Butterbur is one such herbal which may provide you some relief. This plant has been in use in medical formulary since the middle Ages, used commonly in Europe and Asia to address issues of respiratory infection, fevers, coughs, congestion and asthma. For the past several decades in Europe, standardized preparations of Butterbur have been used and recognized as an aid to reduce the effects of histamine, and nasal congestion as well as to improve breathing. For some reason, it is not as well known in the West. Butterbur’s active phytochemicals (petasin, isopetasin) have been shown to reduce spasms in the respiratory smooth muscle, relax swollen membranes, as well as exert an anti-inflammatory effect by limiting the load of inflammatory chemicals known as leukotrienes (1,2). An early randomized, double-blind study of standardized butterbur extract, reported by Swiss researchers in the British Journal of Medicine in 2002, followed 125 seasonal hay fever sufferers. At four clinics in Switzerland and Germany, 61 patients were treated with one tablet of the butterbur extract (containing 8 mg of petasin) four times a day, and 64 patients were treated with 10 mg of cetirizine (Zyrtec®) taken once daily. All participants had suffered seasonal allergies for two or more consecutive years. In skin testing, all but one of the 125 patients proved to be allergic to pollens, most commonly grass pollens (3). After two weeks of daily treatment, all participants were judged by their physicians to be improved in clinical examinations. All were shown to have been exposed to substantial levels of pollen during the preceding two weeks, by cross-checking the treatment period with the German government’s pollen-count service. What the researchers noted as most significant was that in every category, butterbur scored as well as cetirizine in alleviating symptoms. While drowsiness and fatigue accounted for two thirds of the adverse events reported by patients in the drug group during the treatment period, these side effects were not noted among those taking the butterbur extract (3). In short, butterbur had the same degree of efficacy with respect to symptom relief, and without the side effects that the drug caused. Butterbur may also have additional applications for people suffering from upper respiratory complications such as asthma. Several studies have looked at the possibility of incorporating butterbur intoasthmatic treatment protocols. Because people who suffer from allergic rhinitis have a higher incidence of asthma than does the general population, studies showing butterbur’s effectiveness in treating that upper-respiratory disorders are very encouraging. (4) In 2003, Lee et al. at the University of Dundee found that patients who treated their asthma with inhaled corticosteroids breathed better when they added 25 mg of butterbur twice daily to their treatment regimen (5). AOR offers Butterbur extract in 2 formulas – Petadolex and Allerque. The Petadolex formula is a standalone butterbur formula, and Allerque combines butterbur with quercetin and rosemary extract. Both are effective products that provide good clinical relief from seasonal allergies. So what are you going to do this year? What have you tried in the past? If you have not tried Butterbur, I encourage you to give it consideration. It is proven to be clinically effective in relieving common seasonal allergy symptoms to the same degree as antihistamines and without the drowsiness – a real win/win. Let us know how you are doing. Here’s to a sneeze-free Spring! Source http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/seasonal-allergies-something-to-sneeze-at-1.930532 1. Bickel D, Röder T, Bestmann HJ, Brune K. Identification and characterization of inhibitors of peptido-leukotriene synthesis from Petasites hybridus. Planta Med. 1994 Aug;60(4):318-22. 2. Thomet OA, Wiesman UN, Schapowal A, ...
Almost one-quarter of Canadians suffer from seasonal allergies or allergic rhinitis. Allergy season can last (depending on geographic location) in Canada anywhere from early February (mostly the west coast) to the first frost of the year (October – November, depending on region). Certain allergies are also seasonally dependent and are at their prime at different times of year. With it currently being late summer and entering into fall, typically ragweed is the chief culprit for allergy sufferers. The plant produces large amounts of pollen and releases it super quickly. Ragweed likes to grow in disturbed soil, which is typically soil that has been altered from its natural state. This is bad news for city dwellers, as construction, slightly warmer micro-climate, and earth moving activities typically carried out in urban settings potentiate “disturbed” soil and thus, can cause ragweed to grow faster and larger. Interestingly, the worst cities in Canada for allergies typically tend to be larger urban environments – Edmonton, Toronto, Vancouver, Windsor, Halifax and surprisingly Yellowknife. So especially for you city slickers, here are some natural therapies to possibly aid in your fight against seasonal allergies. 1. Butterbur also known as Petasites.Dr McIntyre’s previous blog post goes into detail about why this is definitely number 1 on the list (Spring has Sprung Have your Allergies Sprung Too?)In short, Butterbur has clinical trials showing its effectiveness against some over the counter antihistamine medications. This is impressive as not too many other natural remedies have this sort of data to draw upon.2. QuercetinAlthough Quercetin does not have the scientific research that Butterbur does, it does have lots of anecdotal and clinical experience being used for seasonal allergies or allergic rhinitis. Its main purpose for being on this list is due to the fact it has been shown in vitro to prevent the release of histamine which is implicated in allergic symptoms such as sneezing and itching.3. EGCG – Green Tea ExtractSurprisingly, Green Tea Extract jumps the list ahead of another staple allergy remedy in Vitamin C. Green Tea Extracthas been shown to block the production of IgE and histamine (in vitro). What makes this potential mechanism unique and intriguing is that, in order for a cell to release histamine it needs this immunoglobulin (IgE) to bind the cell to signal to the cell to release histamine. If Green Tea Extract can work on blocking the signal before the cell knows to release histamine, it actually works one step before Quercetin or Vitamin C in helping with allergies.4. Vitamin CVitamin C is thought to work similarly to Quercetin in terms of preventing mast cells from secreting histamine and ‘stabilizing’ them. It also is thought to help breakdown histamine once it has been secreted from a cell and cause allergic symptoms. According to the Journal “American College of Nutrition” – High-Dose vitamin C therapy (1-2g/day) may help asthma and allergies, however, it takes a few days of supplementation before Vitamin C starts to lower histamine levels.5. Vitamin DSince this list is more about controlling allergies once they have started, Vitamin D falls lower on the list. If the list was for preventing or preparing for allergy season, Vitamin D, probiotics (specific strains is a must) and Omega-3s would have been high on the list. Vitamin D makes the list at #5 as studies have shown it is important in terms of the development of immune tolerance and has been shown higher Vitamin D intake by pregnant mothers reduces the asthma risk as much as 40% in children aged three to five. These studies have shown results as well in allergic disease development. Vitamin D also makes the list as being here in Canada, it has a much larger necessity for ongoing supplementation to prevent deficiency. Disclaimer: Please consult your health care provider regarding Vitamin D supplementation over the long term.