Beta glucan is derived from many mushrooms like the ones shown here.


Beta glucan is a polysaccharide derived from bakers’ yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, oat and barley fiber and many mushrooms. Although beta-1.3 glucan is effective in activating the immune function of white blood cells, glucan is equally effective in lowering cholesterol, especially LDL cholesterol, while raising HDL cholesterol.

In fact, it is the glucan which accounts for oat bran’s benefit in lowering cholesterol. It also slows the absorption of dietary sugar and may increase tissue sensitivity to insulin. To date, no complications or drug interactions have been reported.

Some years ago one of the popular folk remedies was Kombucha or sacred mushroom tea, containing the Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast. Any benefits theoretically were from the glucan.

Incidentally, the mushroom-shaped yeast contains 22 amino acids and this yeast is one of the most effective mechanisms for converting sugar to useful protein, a potential which has yet to be made useful in some of the protein-deficient societies where sugar is more easily grown.

The yeast itself is rather tough and has virtually no significant flavor. I consider it highly superior to soy protein.

Beta glucan stimulates macrophages as well as natural killer cells, even increasing precursors in the bone marrow, making it one of the most significant anti-cancer immune-enhancing factors known.

Beta glucan increases tumor necrosis factor, interleukins 1 and 6, antibody formation, and hydrogen peroxide, improving the entire immune mechanism. It prophylactically protects against anthrax infection and cancer.

Interestingly, beta glucan stimulates immune response without promoting toxic side reactions, and is effective in viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections. Clinical studies have demonstrated the benefit of beta glucan in sepsis, in protecting against the negative effects of radiation and in enhancing both myeloid and erythroid cell production. It should be used routinely when there is chemotherapy-associated myelosuppression.

Beta glucan has been effective in skin regeneration and wound healing and has even been used as a wound dressing in burns, with excellent cosmetic results. And beta glucan reduces C-reactive protein. It is of some importance that Vitamin D3 maximizes the benefits of beta glucan. Glucan improves outcome in acute necrotizing pancreatitis, as well as improving survival after serious high-risk gastrointestinal operations.

Although there are many small dosage capsules of beta 1, 3 glucan available, they tend to be rather expensive. I used the commercially available glucan, available as a thickening agent for commercial bakeries, and found it to be quite adequate for enhancing production of DHEA. As little as 6 mg is helpful.

For optimal immune enhancement, a minimum of one teaspoon of the powder is a valuable supplement. In more serious situations, a tablespoon may be used.

It is available at

All individuals with cancer, AIDS, chronic infections, chemotherapy, radiation, immune incompetence and most autoimmune diseases may benefit from the addition of glucan.

C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D. is the father of holistic medicine. He recommends autogenic focus (the basis of the Biogenics System) as part of your overall commitment to self-health. Register to download your FREE autogenic focus MP3 now.

Woman doing sit-ups as part of her exercise routine to keep her high sensitivity c-reactive protein at optimal levels.

Lowering High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein Naturally

For some 8 months I have been exploring natural and safe ways to lower High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein.

There is virtually no circumstance under which I would take statin drugs. Personally I consider them dangerous and one of the next epidemics of The Emperor’s New Drugs. It may take another 20 years but ultimately they are not the answer, for either cholesterol or for high sensitivity C-reactive protein.

Here are some natural ways to optimize this most critical indicator of the risk for heart attack, as well as stroke and many cancers.

  • Keep Body Mass Index between 18 and 24
  • No smoking
  • Eat a diet low in Glycemic Index foods
  • Deal with your anger, guilt, anxiety and depression!!! They inflame.
  • Exercise a minimum of one hour a day

Optimal Supplements for lowering high sensitivity c-reactive protein are:

  • Arginine, 2 grams twice daily
  • Co-Q 10, 200 mg daily
  • Glutamine, one tablespoon daily
  • Alpha Lac Colostrum-400 Central Ave., Nebraska City, NE. 68410

There are some other possibilities. Nothing works in everyone. If the above supplements do not lower your high sensitivity C-reactive protein within one month, try:

  • Boswellin, 1000 mg daily
  • Curcumin, 1500 mg daily

Incidentally, as I reported in another post, much higher levels of iodine than previously though adequate are essential. Since iodine is a major protector against infection, I suspect that it may help lower high sensitivity C-reactive protein. Stay tuned.

Optimal levels of high sensitivity C-reactive protein are BELOW 1 ng/L. The average level is between 1 and 3 ng/L. Here is one of the critical areas where you want to be below average!

Dealing with your anger, guilt, anxiety and depression

I have dealt with these striking issues in over 30,000 patients. No one can afford the luxury of unresolved emotional distress.

In one of my favorite booklets, IRRITATION, THE DESTRUCTIVE FORCE, Torkom Saraydarian states that irritation produces IMPERIL, a toxic chemical which destroys the etheric nervous system.

The evidence is equally clear that these destructive emotional issues raise High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein, leading to heart attack, as well as stroke and cancer. If you need help, ultimately you MUST solve your issues. I strongly recommend my book 90 DAYS TO STRESS-FREE LIVING. It was written for my patients and has served as a key to recovery for many thousands of individuals.

C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D. is the father of holistic medicine. Register and get his book 90 Days To Self-Health free

Eggs and bacon like this is what the Barnes diet recommends for breakfast.

The Barnes Diet

Dr. Broda Barnes was a family physician who revolutionized our concepts of nutrition and hypothyroidism. He also had a Ph.D. in thyroid biochemistry. He emphasized the wide variety of symptoms in hypothyroidism, from cold intolerance to heat intolerance; from weight loss to weight gain; from high to low blood pressure, etc.

But above all, he felt that that the diagnosis was best made by finding a body temperature below normal. And, he realized that an enlarged thyroid gland, goiter, was not common. In the 1970’s he estimated that 40% of the population is relatively hypothyroid, despite ‘normal’ blood studies of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone or Thyroxin. I have found that 90% of individuals today have a subnormal temperature.

Barnes’ major contribution, however, is his demonstration that a RELATIVELY low carbohydrate diet is best for losing weight, maintaining optimal weight, and lowering cholesterol.


The diet he recommended consisted of 70 grams of protein, 90 grams of fat, and 50 grams of carbohydrate.


Breakfast consisted of:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3 strips of bacon, or sausage or ham
  • 2 oz of orange juice
  • Coffee or tea, with cream if desired

Lunch and Dinner:

  • Meat, fish, or fowl
  • Vegetable with butter
  • Salad with lots of dressing
  • One serving of fruit
  • One glass of milk, tea, or coffee
  • A good B complex supplement

This Barnes diet satisfies most appetites, lowers total cholesterol, raises HDL cholesterol, and improves health in most people. It does get monotonous.

I found that the following works well:



  • Eggs, with cheese
  • Bacon, ham, or sausage if desired
  • 4 oz of fruit juice
  • One slice of sourdough bread, toasted

Lunch and Dinner:

  • Unlimited fish, fowl, or meat
  • Unlimited non-starchy vegetables with unlimited fatty dressing on salads
  • One more piece of sourdough bread at one meal and one serving of fruit at one meal

This diet is much more palatable to most people and is much better tolerated than the Atkins diet.

Barnes often recommended thyroid supplementation. For anyone with low body temperature — below 98.6 orally after 9 AM, iodine supplementation of 1500 to 2000 micrograms daily. And of course, take an excellent multivitamin.

Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D. is the father of holistic medicine. He recommends autogenic focus (the basis of the Biogenics System) as part of your overall commitment to self-health. Register to download your FREE autogenic focus MP3 now.

Woman drinking water with glutamine powder dissolved in it.

Glutamine – For Intestinal and Immune Health

L-glutamine has marked anti-inflammatory and moderate analgesic activity. Indeed, its anti-inflammatory activity is comparable to the NSAID phenylbutazone! (Agents Actions, 1981, 11:243-249).

Glutamine is used at a high metabolic rate by both lymphocytes and macrophages. In fact, macrophage phagocytosis is dependent upon its availability. Levels of glutamine are decreased in both muscle and plasma in sepsis, injury, burns, surgery and even endurance exercise, all of which can lead to immune suppression.

Added glutamine may increase survival in bacterial infections, even in animals; and it greatly enhances the ability of neutrophils to produce nitric acid as well as to perform their normal phagocytosis activity.

Glutamine infusions have been of considerable use in patients following surgery, radiation, trauma and bone marrow transplantation. (Amino Acids, 1999, 17: 227-241). Other immune-enhancing nutrients include omega-3 fatty acids and L-arginine and many others which are too numerous to list here.

Perhaps glutamine’s greatest benefit is in assisting intestinal integrity. Even when given parenterally, it prevents deterioration of gut permeability. And given orally, no therapy is as useful in leaky gut or intestinal dysbiosis. (Lancet, 1993, 341:1363-1365). Glutamine enhances jejunal absorption of water and electrolytes, even in diarrhea. Equally important, PGE -1 does not decrease this beneficial effect.

One of its other great benefits is protection of the stomach and intestines from the damage of non-steroidal drugs. For those individuals who need non-steroidal drugs, glutamine supplementation is an essential protectant.

And glutamine may be life-saving in hepatic damage from acetaminophen. Of course, I consider acetaminophen one of the world’s most dangerous and useless drugs!!

Glutamine can be life-saving for patients with Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel disorders as well as in irritable bowel syndrome. It may be a particularly good preventative for colon cancer.

Interestingly, it is essential for synthesis of glutathione, the major antioxidant in mammalian cells. Glutamine supplementation suppresses mammary carcinogenesis by activating tumor apoptosis (death) in tumor cells. (Breast Cancer Res. Treat., 2004, 88:247-256.) Other studies suggest that glutamine supplementation may be beneficial in all cancer patients. (Ann. Surg, 1993, 218:715-728)

The finding of lower concentrations of glutamate in the motor cortex of older individuals may be due to lower levels of glutamine and is consistent with the loss of brain cells. (Neurobiol. Aging, 2005, 26:665-672.) Finally, total ICU and hospital costs are reduced 50% and survival rates increased in critically ill patients given glutamine supplementation. (Nutrition, 1997, 13: 295-302.)

Glutamine powder contains approximately 750 mg in 1 teaspoon. Recommended dosage is one teaspoon to one tablespoon three times daily. This should be considered in all individuals with intestinal problems, immune challenges and cancer. It is minimally sweet tasting and may be taken in water or any liquid.

C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D. is the father of holistic medicine. He recommends autogenic focus (the basis of the Biogenics System) as part of your commitment to self-health. Register to download your FREE autogenic focus MP3 now.

Man smoking and at risk of elevated HS-CRP.

Inflammation and High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (HS-CRP)

In the past few years, HS-CRP has emerged as the single most sensitive indicator of the risk for atherosclerosis, acute coronary artery disease, hypertension and even atrial fibrillation. And HS-CRP is consistently more indicative of the risk of atherosclerosis than total or LDL cholesterol.

Of course this broad indicator of inflammation is not restricted to atherosclerosis, as it is found in rheumatoid arthritis, macular degeneration and colon cancer, as well as a number of other diseases. Even in patients with ruptured lumbar discs, higher levels of HS-CRP are associated with poorer outcome after surgery.

The inflammatory reaction may be initiated by many different factors. High-fat diets, smoking, obesity, high glycemic loads, metabolic syndrome, high-stress lifestyle, elevated levels of homocysteine, and aging have all been correlated with elevated HS-CRP. And a variety of infectious agents have been co-factors: viral infections, periodontal disease, Chlamydia pneumoniae, and Helicobacter pylori. Total body fat is one of the strongest factors influencing HS-CRP. And even anger, hostility and depression can elevate CRP!!

Dietary factors are also significant in HS-CRP levels.

After controlling for body mass index, smoking, alcohol consumption, exercise and total caloric intake, individuals with the highest intake of fiber in the diet had the lowest HS-CRP. Saturated fat, although important, is less a factor than fiber.

A high intake of sugar and high glycemic foods is particularly dangerous, perhaps at least partially because they are low in fiber. In general, higher intakes of fruit, vegetables, legumes, fish, poultry and whole grains are protective.

The usual American diet, high in meats, sweets, desserts, French fries and ”refined” grains, contributes to the inflammatory process.

Interestingly, honey has the opposite effect of sugar and fructose. Honey has striking anti-inflammatory effects and even lowers triglycerides.

Neither current nor previous year physical exercise appears to affect this inflammatory marker. Subclinical hypothyroidism, as diagnosed by slightly elevated TSH levels, is also associated with increased HS-CRP. Of course, blood studies of TSH show subclinical hypothyroidism in only 19% of young adults, whereas low body temperature, found in 90% of Americans, may be a more accurate reflection of hypothyroidism.

Interestingly, a low intake of vitamin B6 is also associated with high HS-CRP. In a study done by me, 80% of smokers and 35% of non-smokers had deficient blood levels of B6. I have not found a study of B6 blood levels in patients with high HS-CRP.

Treatment of elevated HS-CRP has been almost exclusively reported with the statin drugs, a very risky endeavor, in my opinion.

Statin drugs are associated with marked muscle weakness, damage to the heart muscle, brain deterioration, liver damage and loss of one of the most important protective nutrients, Co-Q 10.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including aspirin, have no beneficial effect on HS-CRP and may increase hypertension.

Eight ounces of red wine daily leads to HS-CRP reductions of 21%. But a decrease from 3mg/L to 2.4 mg/L is not adequate for serious reduction of coronary artery disease.

”Average” levels of HS-CRP are reported as 1 to 3 mg/L. Of course, ”average” is hardly desirable, considering the fact that the most common cause of death is coronary artery disease! Each quartile of increase in HS-CRP levels increases the risk of a heart attack. The safest level is well below 1mg/L of blood. In subsequent weeks, I will report on other approaches that may reduce the most remarkable indicator of coronary disease. And they will NOT include statin drugs!

C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D. is the father of holistic medicine. He recommends autogenic focus (the basis of the Biogenics System) as part of your commitment to self-health and relieving depression. Register to download your FREE autogenic focus MP3 now.


Magnesium deficiency significantly contributes to:

  • High blood pressure
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Anxiety
  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Asthma
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Epilepsy
  • Acute and chronic pain
  • Osteoporosis
  • Immune dysfunction
  • Migraine

Unfortunately, a huge majority of Americans do not ingest even the recommended daily intake of magnesium. And, magnesium absorption is significantly worsened by:

  • Excess calcium intake
  • High phosphate intake (meat, pop)
  • High intake of sodium, protein, fat
  • High potassium intake
  • Alcohol
  • Sugar
  • Caffeine

Magnesium is a critical component of over 350 enzymes so that its deficiency may manifest in virtually any organ system. Unfortunately, blood, serum and plasma levels of magnesium do not reflect adequate levels of magnesium since magnesium is much more concentrated in cells than in blood. Indeed, only two tests are adequate:

A magnesium load test with two 24 hour urine output measurements, the second after a magnesium ”load” given intravenously.

X-ray dispersion analysis (EXA), which actually measures cellular concentration of magnesium, as well as 5 other minerals.

Restoring Magnesium Levels

All magnesium salts are potential laxatives and may increase intestinal excretion of magnesium. The best oral preparation is Magnesium Taurate, which requires 6 to 12 months of daily supplementation for intracellular restoration.

Intravenous magnesium, 2 grams daily of magnesium chloride over 10 days does restore intracellular levels but is more expensive and clinically intensive.

Transdermal magnesium lotion will restore intracellular levels within 4 to 6 weeks and is the method of choice (available at: 888-242-6105;

Since 80 to 90% of individuals are deficient in this essential mineral, virtually everyone can improve health and mood by using magnesium lotion. The only contraindication is kidney failure.

Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D. is the father of holistic medicine. He recommends autogenic focus (the basis of the Biogenics System) as part of your overall commitment to self-health. Register to download your FREE autogenic focus MP3 now.

The Glycemic Index

Most intelligent individuals know that sugar is not good for you. Indeed, it is downright harmful, not only raising blood sugar but also depleting you of many essential nutrients, mobilizing insulin, and eventually wearing out the pancreas.

Glucose’s ability to raise blood sugar is rated as having a Glycemic Index (G.I.) of 100. The higher a food’s G.I., the more strain on the body, with resultant obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Ideal foods have a G.I. below 55.

Here is a table of foods to avoid because they have a Glycemic Index of above 55:

Foods containing G.I. above 55
Ice cream
58 (the best of the sweeteners)
Rye Bread
Graham crackers
Vanilla Wafers
Water cracker
Crisp bread
Gator Aid
Corn Chips
Most candy
White bread
Whole wheat bread
Taco shells
Rice Krispies
Short grain rice
Corn Flakes
Shredded Wheat
Baked potato

Some of the best foods with a G.I. of 55 and below are:

Foods with desirable G.I.
Brown rice
Sourdough bread
Stone-ground whole wheat bread
Most beans (except broad)
Most non-root vegetables
Oatmeal cookie
Skim milk
Whole milk
Yogurt, flavored, low fat
Orange juice
Plain non-flavored yogurt
Sweet potato
Most nuts
Most meat

For the Glycemic Index of other foods, visit

Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D. is the father of holistic medicine. He recommends autogenic focus (the basis of the Biogenics System) as part of your overall commitment to self-health. Register to download your FREE autogenic focus MP3 now.

Four pills in a woman's hand.

A Review Of WORST PILLS, Best Pills

Worst Pills, Best Pills, edited by Sidney Wolfe, M.D, et al. Pocket Books, N.Y., 2005 This remarkable 900+ page book is an encyclopedia that anyone who is even vaguely considering a drug should consult.

Indeed, this post is being written the very week when three more categories of drugs hit the skids.

One of my least favorite so-called pain relievers (and I have always considered it a hyped placebo!) Tylenol and all its clones, acetaminophens, DOUBLE the incidence of hypertension. Most other real NSAIDS also increase the risk of hypertension, although overall they do not have the other toxic effects of Tylenol.

Then the PILL, that major insult to the entire endocrine system, has finally been reported to increase the risk of breast and uterine cancer. We have known for decades that these pills increase the risk of stroke. And, although ”convenient”, the Pill is no better at preventing pregnancy than a diaphragm with a spermicidal cream.

Worst Pills, Best Pills emphasizes many warnings that do not appear in the PharmacoMafia’s little leaflets that are sometimes provided with prescription drugs.

For instance, there are 14 PAIRS of drugs that can cause life-threatening reactions. Interesting that Viagra is one of those (with nitroglycerine). And even St. John’s Wort with the PILL. And don’t forget Lopid with Mevacor or Lipitor with Tricor.

Of course, all the statins can cause life-threatening reactions even when taken without other drugs! Or Prozac, which significantly increases the risk of suicide, is made even more risky when taken with Mellaril. The book also lists 181 top-selling drugs that should NEVER be taken!!

The list of drugs that can CAUSE depression is almost three pages long. And there are 23 pages devoted to Drug-Induced Diseases.

Remember that over 2000 people die EVERY WEEK from prescription drugs.

Remember also that the BEST antidepressant is at best 42% effective, with at least a 25% complication rate.

If you won’t consult this terrific book, at least go to the Internet BEFORE you take any drug and read extensively, especially all the warnings and complications. You can find most information with a little extra work.

More importantly, NEVER TAKE ANY DRUG ELECTIVELY!! Unless you have a significant illness, which really requires drug treatment, avoid drugs.

Most of those advertised on TV are unlikely to be needed. The PharmacoMafia is pumping them. Before filling any prescription, ask your physician what are the risks of the illness without the drug. And talk with a pharmacist personally to learn all the risks/complications — or side effects, a real oxymoron, if ever there was one. Those side effects may cost you your life.

You do not need birth control pills. You do not need Tylenol/acetaminophen. You do not need statins. You do not need Ativan or Valium. And it now appears you do not need NSAIDS! Try Curcumin, Boswellin, and, of course, aspirin. If you do not have allergies to aspirin, it works better than most NSAIDS. Take it with a 500 mg capsule of glutamine, to help avoid the intestinal irritation.

You can treat depression twice as effectively and totally safely with the Liss CES and Shealy RelaxMate II. You can treat anxiety and tension with magnesium lotion and many forms of deep relaxation, including the RelaxMate. You can control cholesterol far more effectively with beta sitosterol and lecithin. Take control of your life and save your life by avoiding WORST DRUGS

C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D. is the father of holistic medicine. He recommends autogenic focus (the basis of the Biogenics System) as part of your commitment to self-health. Register to download your FREE autogenic focus MP3 now.

Anti-inflammatory herb turmeric and anti-inflammatory drugs are side-by-side.

Anti-Inflammatory Herbs Versus Drugs

Inflammation is perhaps the most common cause of pain. Inflammatory reactions are major contributors to Alzheimer’s disease and to Atherosclerosis, including coronary heart disease. Free radicals and C-Reactive protein are the chief lab tests indicating an inflammatory response. Inflammation may occur because of an infection but also is a reaction to trauma and toxins. Anti-inflammatory drugs are increasingly being touted as useful in treating pain, as well as for preventing Alzheimer’s and coronary heart disease. However, there are several anti-inflammatory herbs that are also important to consider.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are among the most widely OTC products. The ”original”, aspirin, or acetylsalicylic acid, is one of the best.

Incidentally, its major ”competitor”, acetaminophen, is NOT anti-inflammatory. Acetaminophen does help reduce fever but, in my opinion, it is a lousy pain reliever. Acetaminophen is, in my opinion, not a drug worth taking! It has a much higher incidence of liver damage than the N-SAIDS.

Other N-SAIDS, such as ibuprofen, ketoprofen, naproxen, etc all have the same potential complications as aspirin – mainly gastrointestinal bleeding, peptic ulcers, etc.

Of course there are true allergic reactions to all these, including aspirin. Only aspirin has been proven, unequivocally, to help prevent blood clotting, by decreasing platelet aggregation, Many physicians recommend one baby aspirin daily to help prevent stroke or heart attack. There are numerous alternatives for the platelet aggregation inhibition, including gingko biloba and vitamin E.

Incidentally, if you do choose to take aspirin or naproxen, glutamine is a major protector of the intestine against the potential for intestinal bleeding. One teaspoon of glutamine powder with each dose is advisable.

There are a number of anti-inflammatory herbs, which are much safer than any of the commercial N-SAIDS.

FeverfewNOT RECOMMENDED, as it has other negative properties. Certainly not to be used for anti-inflammatory purposes.

Bromelain – This pineapple digestive enzyme has been proven to be as effective as N-SAIDS. Of course, there is always the potential for allergies, as pineapple is a citrus fruit.

Digestive enzymes – A broad mixture of digestive enzymes has been promoted. Wobenzyme is the one most touted. Vascuzyme has virtually the same ingredients and is much less expensive.

Ginger – There are several extracts of ginger that have been found effective especially for osteoarthritic pain.

Curcumin – Turmeric is a relative of ginger. It has excellent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Licorice – It is anti-inflammatory but may have cortisone-like effects.

Devil’s Claw – An African herb that has some anti-inflammatory effects.

Ganoderma Lucidum – This anti-inflammatory herb has broad anti-inflammatory properties, but much less human study than boswellia.

Boswellia – Boswellia Serrata is Frankincense, one of the most studied herbs. It is significantly anti-inflammatory and has many benefits, including laboratory evidence of anti-cancer properties. Clinical studies have demonstrated benefit in rheumatoid and degenerative arthritis, colitis, asthma and brain edema. Of all the alternative anti-inflammatory herbs, Boswellia appears to be the best with the least negative reactions. Use 60 to 70% boswellic acid extracts, 900 to 1000 mg daily. If no benefit within a week, it is not likely to help. I would then try the other anti-inflammatory herbs before N-SAIDS.

Note: Shealy-Sorin Wellness carries D-Flame. D-Flame is a blend of complementary herbs (many of which are listed above) that may help support a healthy response to normal physiological stress through its ability to support the proper activities of key mediators involved in this process. Learn more about D-Flame.

C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D. is the father of holistic medicine. He recommends autogenic focus (the basis of the Biogenics System) as part of your commitment to self-health and healthy longevity. Register to download your FREE autogenic focus MP3 now.

Silymarin Marianum

Silymarin marianum (milk thistle) has long been recommended as a liver cleanser. Indeed the evidence is fairly good that it may help even alcoholic cirrhosis. (J Hepatol. 1989, 9: 105-113). The results in a double-blind study:
the Silymarin treated patients outlived the placebo by 50%, significant at the 0.01% level.

More importantly, milk thistle has striking immune enhancement benefits. It increases lymphocytes, interferon gamma, interleukin (IL)-4, and IL-10 cytokines (Med Sci Monit. 2002, 8: BR439-443.)

It has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticancer effects. It appears to be particularly helpful in preventing skin cancer and skin damage from ultraviolet light. (Int J Oncol. 2005, 26: 169-176. It inhibits proangiogenic factors from cancer cells, inhibits growth and leads to apoptotic death of cancer cells. (Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2004, 4: 1-11). It inhibits telomerase activity and secretion of prostate specific antigen in prostate cancer cells, even in the presence of the tumor growth enhancer, dihydrotestosterone. There are also tumor inhibition studies of breast, lung and colon cancer.

One of milk thistle's most intriguing benefits is reduction of lipid peroxidation (Bull Exp Biol Med. 2003, 136: 572-575.). It has significant ability to scavenge free radicals (J Ethnopharmacol. 2005, 97: 521-525).

And although milk thistle has been used mostly in liver disease and as a liver tonic, it has significant benefit for the pancreas. It strikingly improves the hyperglycemia of insulin resistance in diabetics with cirrhosis. (J Hepatology. 1997, 26: 871-879).

And, equally impressive is the antioxidant effect of Silymarin. Thus, it may benefit virtually all inflammatory diseases, including coronary artery disease. ((J Pharmacol and Exp Ther. 1996, 279: 1520-1526).

Although I have long used PABA to help prevent sunburn, it seems logical to consider addition of 600 mg of milk thistle before significant sun exposure.

Who might benefit from Silymarin Marianum? Individuals with:

Coronary artery disease
Inflammatory diseases
Sun exposure

Where does it all end? That is, how do you decide which supplements to use? Stay tuned. I will address this issue as we continue.