boost the immune system

  1. Wriggling away infection

    Letting maggots crawl across your flesh might sound like something out of "Fear Factor" -- but if the latest research is any indication, you might find it taking place at your doctor's office instead of on television.

    Maggots, as it turns out, are proving to be highly effective at treating diabetic wounds that won't heal -- the types of wounds that affect up to a third of all diabetics and often result in disability and even amputation.

    Researchers in Hawaii placed the fly larvae onto the skin of 27 diabetics who had been battling non-healing wounds for as long as five years. In 21 of the cases, the maggots did the trick, according to the research presented at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in Chicago.

    One patient was suffering from gangrene in a leg so severe that doctors had recommended amputation. But after a few months of maggot therapy, he was back on his feet -- both of them.

    The secret is in the secretions: Maggot goo has the ability to boost the immune system, stimulate the growth of blood cells, and even fight infection -- including infections that are resistant to antibiotics.

    Even better, the maggots only seem to have a taste for diseased flesh -- and once it's gone, they stop eating.

    I realize a study of 27 patients is incredibly small -- too small to prove anything in most cases. But we don't exactly need much research to prove the health benefits of these critters: They were used for literally thousands of years, right up until modern times.

    They only fell out of favor when antibiotics hit the scene -- but with those meds now being overused to the brink of uselessness, maggots might start making an appearance in your own doctor's office one of these days.

    P.S. Maggots aren't the only creepy-crawlies worming their way into mainstream medical care: As I told you earlier this year, leeches are becoming essential equipment in emergency rooms, saving both life and limb in cases of severe trauma. Read more here.

  2. Vitamin D can protect against cancer

    Is there anything vitamin D can't do?

    I just told you how the sunshine vitamin can help keep pre-diabetes from turning into the real thing -- and now, a new study finds it might stop melanomas cold.

    Researchers looked at data on 36,282 women between the ages of 50 and 79 who were given either 400 IU of vitamin D and 1,000 mg of calcium, or a placebo, for an average of seven years.

    The study actually didn't reveal a whole lot (more on that in a moment), but one trend stood out: Women on the vitamins who had a prior history of non-melanoma skin cancers had half the risk of melanoma than women who got the placebo.

    The study didn't find any benefit in women without a history of other skin cancers -- and the study didn't include men at all.

    But there's an even bigger problem with this one – and it's that teensy-weensy 400 IU dose of vitamin D, which isn't even close to what you need to boost your health and slash your disease risk.

    Even the Institute of Medicine, which famously lowballed vitamin D just a few months ago, recommends 600 IUs a day -- and mainstream experts agree that number is way too low.

    The Harvard School of Public Health, for example, recommends a minimum of between 1,000 and 2,000 IU per day for most -- and up to 4,000 IU per day for some.

    That's about as mainstream as it gets -- and that's up to 10 times the levels used in the melanoma study. If researchers ever bothered to test this real dose of D against skin cancer, my guess is that the disease wouldn't stand a chance.

    A growing number of studies have shown how higher levels of D can not only prevent melanoma and other cancers, but also slow the progression of the disease when it does strike.

    Studies have also shown how vitamin D can boost the immune system, protect the heart, support the brain, ease allergies, defeat the flu and even help prevent diabetes.

    Yet the mainstream tells you to avoid the sun, the single best natural source of D -- and even blames it for the very
    melanomas it might help prevent.

    No wonder we're sicker than ever -- we're getting awful health advice.

    Take charge of your own health -- get your hands on a D supplement, and don't be afraid to spend a little more time outside.

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