food sensitivities

  1. Natural cures for the ringing in the ear called tinnitus

    Sound therapy helps beat tinnitus

    You don't have to be particularly religious to appreciate the melodic ringing of church bells. But a ringing in the ears is another story.

    It's a condition called tinnitus, and it can range from a slight and occasional nuisance to a constant and maddening presence.

    There's no drug that'll cure it, but natural therapies can work wonders. And now, researchers say some cases of tinnitus can be eased through a combination of simple talk therapy and a little bit of relaxing ocean sounds.

    In the new study, 247 tinnitus patients were sent to audiologists but not given any specific treatment other than whatever that audiologist recommended.

    Another 245 patients were sent off for a combination of two treatments: a sound machine pumping out calming ocean waves in an attempt to "retrain" the ears, and cognitive behavioral therapy (that's a type of psychotherapy).

    A year later, these combo patients reported improvements in quality of life as well as less fear and fewer negative thoughts related to the condition, according to the study in Lancet.

    But it wasn't exactly a cure, either, because the ringing was still there -- the treatments just helped the patients to live with it better.

    That might be an improvement for patients who suffer from tinnitus caused by psychological factors. But most cases of tinnitus have a real cause inside the body -- and a much better and more permanent solution is to find that cause and correct it.

    In many cases, tinnitus is the result of poor blood circulation in the inner ear. Neither talk therapy nor the sounds of ocean waves -- or even the two together -- will do a thing to correct that. But circulation-enhancing supplements such as ginkgo biloba or vinpocetine can improve blood circulation and improve the condition.

    For many other tinnitus patients, the real "cure" isn't a cure so much as avoiding the cause.

    Caffeine, nicotine, and food sensitivities can all cause or worsen the condition. It's also a side effect of common drugs, including antidepressants, diuretics, aspirin, NSAIDs, and antibiotics.

    Learn to find and tune out the cause, and you can tune out the ringing for good. The ocean sounds are nice, but they're entirely optional.

  2. The campaign to limit your options

    One of the reasons I've been able to cure supposedly "incurable" chronic diseases is that I know how to find the cause.

    I know the role food allergies, metals exposure, digestion and detoxification, and hormonal imbalances can play in causing or worsening disease -- and I know how to check for these and other problems inside the body.

    Once I understand the cause, I can get to work fixing it.

    The toughest part of this process isn't the diagnosis or even the treatment. It's watching my patients fight with their insurance companies to get coverage for the tests they need.

    They don't often win, which is why you can expect to pay out-of-pocket for many of the essential services offered by holistic doctors even if you have "good" insurance -- so when I see something like the "Choose Wisely" campaign from Consumer Reports magazine and the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, all kinds of alarm bells go off.

    The campaign is supposedly aimed at eliminating tests and treatments people don't need -- but the problem with that, of course, is that they get to decide what tests and treatments you don't need.

    And you can bet some of them are the very tests that could dramatically improve your life.

    For example, "Choose Wisely" frowns upon the IgG and IgE antibody tests used to detect allergies and food sensitivities despite the fact that even mainstream doctors have used them successfully to uncover the source of common illnesses.

    And if the "Choose Wisely" team wants to discourage those tests, I can't imagine what they'd think of the even more thorough allergy tests I rely on.

    We should be going in the opposite direction and making it easier for patients to get food allergy tests -- not harder to get any allergy testing at all.

    Look, I don't doubt that far too many people get too many tests too often. And I know that many of those tests lead to more tests, biopsies, surgeries, and -- of course -- drugs.

    Most of it's completely unnecessary, and some of them -- like X-rays and CT scans -- are actually dangerous and need to be ordered judiciously.

    But the real problem with medical testing isn't the sheer number of tests -- it's choosing the right tests. And you can't "choose wisely" if you and your doctor aren't given that choice in the first place.

  3. Foods that will ruin your mood

    When I get a patient facing depression, one of the first things I do -- before I run a single test -- is ask what they've been eating. And most of the time, the answer to that question tells me everything I need to know -- because people who eat garbage usually end up with a mood down in the dumps.
  4. Placebos for asthma relief

    Believe it or not, plain old air delivered via an asthma inhaler can actually bring as much relief as an inhaler filled with a common asthma med.

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