Achieving & Maintaining Your Iron: The Right Balance Is Critical to Your Health

Natural Way to Health
Achieving & Maintaining Your Iron: The Right Balance Is Critical to Your Health

Dr. David Brownstein’s
July 2009
Vol. 2, Issue 7

In This Issue . . .
Optimal Health
– Get the Right Iron Test Done
– A Special Warning for Young Women
– Case History: Stop Fibromyalgia Pain
– A Quick Way to Good Iron Levels
– In the News: Vitamins Keep You Young
– Too Much Iron Is A Real Issue
– Iron Overload Behind Some Chronic Illnesses
– Ask Dr. Brownstein

An inexpensive blood test for a single, essential element is one of the most important tests you can run. What’s more, my experience has shown that more than half of all people, men and women, have a problem with this element, one neither they nor their doctors recognize. Iron affects your daily health, how you really feel every waking hour, in profound ways. The best part is, treatment for deficiency (or excess amounts) of this element costs less than $10 a month.

This month’s Natural Way to Health will educate you about iron. I know iron does not have a lot of “bling” to it, but ensuring that your body has the correct iron level is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Iron is one of the few nutrients (iodine, vitamin D, and magnesium are others) that can have a life-impacting change.
Iron is a chemical element and part of the metal family in the periodic table. It is the sixth-most abundant element of the planet. Iron is a trace element in the human body and is used by all living organisms, except for a few that live in severely iron deficient environments.

First, a little science background: In the cells of the body, iron is not stored as “free” iron because of its ability to produce damaging free radicals. Instead, iron is stored as the metal ion incorporated into the heme complex. A heme complex consists of the iron atom in the center of a compound called a porphyrin. Different heme complexes are found in different cells, including the thyroid gland (attached to thyroid peroxidase) and white blood cells (attached to eosinophil peroxidase). The biological functions of these molecules include the transport of oxygen, electron transfer, and energy production.
Almost two-thirds of the iron in the body is in hemoglobin, present in circulating red blood cells. Most of the remaining iron is in the muscle tissues. A 160-pound man has about 4 grams of iron, while a woman has about 20 percent less. Iron is stored in the body primarily as ferritin, and it is found in the liver, bone marrow, spleen, and skeletal muscle. Iron is a double-edged sword, as both too little and too much iron can cause serious problems. Our body was designed to use and maintain iron levels on a daily basis. Slight deviations in the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis with iron, however, can have disastrous consequences.
Unfortunately, a lot of patients with iron problems are being misdiagnosed. I will discuss these problems and why they are being misdiagnosed below. Many different foods can be good sources of iron, including red meat. For those deficient in iron, eating organic, hormone-free red meat can prove to be a major health benefit. Other foods that can supply adequate sources of absorbable iron include rice, poultry, lentils, beans, leaf vegetables, and peas. Many carbohydrates have been fortified with iron, such as breads, pastas, and cereals. Blackstrap molasses also has absorbable iron.
The dietary reference intake (DRI, formally the RDA) for iron is about 8 mg/day for men, 18 mg/ day for menstruating females, and 27 mg/day for pregnant females. In order to ensure that pregnant and menstruating women get the minimum iron needed, many foods are fortified with iron. Approximately 1 mg of iron is lost daily in the body through elimination and cellular turnover. During menstruation, women can lose more iron.

Get the Right Iron Test Done

Doctors frequently are confused about iron testing. Many feel that, if a hemoglobin level is normal, then the iron level is normal. That is not true. It takes moderate to severe iron deficiency to result in a lowered hemoglobin level. Therefore, a patient can have a low iron level long before he or she displays a low hemoglobin level. The testing to order for diagnosing an iron problem includes not only a hemoglobin level but also a ferritin level.

Ferritin is a measure of the iron storage cells in the body. A ferritin level is the best single test to order when checking an iron level. However, in patients with inflammation, ferritin can be abnormally elevated. In these cases it is best to also get a total iron level and a TIBC (total iron-binding capacity). Checking all of these factors can lead to the proper evaluation of the body’s iron status.
As previously mentioned, iron can be either too high or too low. This section will deal with iron deficiency. Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies worldwide.2 Iron deficiency can be mild, moderate or severe.

• Mild iron deficiency results from iron depletion, yet there are no impairments in hemoglobin levels. Patients usually feel well and this is picked up on routine blood work that looks at iron levels.

• Moderate iron deficiency is due also to iron depletion. Other than low iron levels, there are no other abnormalities of the blood tests but patients with this problem complain of being fatigued and having aching muscles and joints. Headaches can be common for sufferers of moderate iron deficiency.

• Severe iron deficiency manifests as low iron on blood testing and, additionally, lowered hemoglobin levels. This is how iron-deficient anemia is diagnosed. In this stage, the red blood cells cannot carry adequate amounts of oxygen to the tissues. Patients have a myriad of complaints of severe fatigue, coldness, poor hair and nail qualities, shortness of breath with exertion, and a pale skin color. Severe iron deficiency is not uncommon in my practice.

Two main factors which cause iron deficiency: increased iron needs and inadequate iron intake or absorption from the diet. Infants and young children have higher iron requirements compared with older children because their bodies are growing so rapidly. Children who drink a large amount of milk or eat a large amount of dairy products can have problems with iron absorption. Milk products have been shown to inhibit iron absorption. 3, 4 One of the first things I recommend for children with iron deficiency is to avoid dairy products.

Vegetarian diets are notoriously deficient in iron. Although there is some iron in plant products, it is not absorbed as well as iron from animal products. In fact, iron from meat, poultry, and fish is absorbed from three to five times more efficiently as iron from plant-based foods. Also, antacid medications, especially proton-pump inhibitors such as Prilosec and Nexium, by their action of decreasing the amount of hydrochloric acid, will decrease iron absorption. Iron absorption requires and uses hydrochloric acid from the stomach.
Calcium, phytates (from nuts), and polyphenols from tea and coffee have been shown to decrease plant-based iron. Phytates from nuts are a problem with raw nuts. They can be minimized by soaking and roasting the nuts. Finally, you can increase iron absorption by eating foods high in vitamin C.

A Special Warning For Young Women

Iron-deficient anemia can cause severe health problems. Among pregnant women, iron-deficient anemia during the first two trimesters of pregnancy is associated with a 200 percent increased risk of pre-term delivery and a 300 percent increase in delivering a low-birth weight child.5,6 Iron deficiency can delay normal infant motor function (normal activity and movement) or mental function. 7 It is important to ensure adequate iron stores before a woman becomes pregnant. It also can affect the memory or other mental functions in teens.8 (As the father of teens, I say most of them have altered mental function!)

Unfortunately, iron deficiency is common in younger women. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that 12 percent of non-pregnant women ages 12 to 49 had iron deficiency.9 If you are a female between these ages I believe it is important to have a yearly laboratory test for iron. Iron deficiency is also common in children, so I recommend periodic iron testing, which I will discuss later in this issue.
Shelly is a friend of my daughter Hailey. She is an active 14-year-old ninth-grade student. She plays school sports and loves to play soccer. During her soccer training, Shelly was having trouble keeping up. She was getting winded in practice. “She was complaining of having less stamina during the games. It was so subtle we hardly noticed it,” her mother said. After complaining about her legs aching, Shelly came to see me. I took one look at her and felt like she was anemic — she was very pale. Shelly had just started menstruating and was having heavy bleeding from her cycles. I found her hemoglobin low at 8.8 mg/dL. Further analysis found her ferritin stores low at 3 ng/ml, and her other iron indices were low. Shelly was started on iron supplementation, as well as vitamin C (3,000 mg/day) and vitamin A (10,000 U/day for 30 days).
Vitamin C helps with iron absorption and vitamin A helps to slow down heavy menstrual bleeding. Within two weeks of beginning the supplements, all of her complaints started to go away. Shelly now has normal iron stores (ferritin levels), feels well, and is able to keep up with her busy schedule.
The treatment of iron deficiency includes oral supplementation with iron. There are many different iron products available. Some people can tolerate History of the Month any iron product; others get stomachaches when supplementing with iron. There is no question that I hear more complaints from iron supplementation compared to any other supplement. One way to minimize gastrointestinal problems with iron supplementation is to take it with food.

I find chelated iron products to be the best absorbed forms of iron. One product that has been shown to be absorbed well is FeZyme from Biotics Research (available at my office via or (866) 877-6467). I usually tell my patients to take it with vitamin C to enhance absorption of the iron. Also, it is important to take iron supplements away from dairy products or calcium supplementation.

In a menstruating woman, very low iron levels can be very difficult to treat. Very low iron levels usually manifest as ferritin levels below 15 ng/ml. In these patients, I have found it particularly difficult to increase iron levels by using just oral supplements. These patients are usually not feeling well, with complaints of severe fatigue, muscle aches, joint aches, a sense of coldness, increased susceptibility to infection, and poor quality hair and nails. Unfortunately, I find this frequently in my practice.

A Quick Way To Good Iron Levels
When I go to medical meetings, I always ask my colleagues what new things they have found that work for them. About two years ago, I was at a meeting in California and met up with a good friend, Dr. David Goldstein (he’s in Pittsburgh, Pa.). I told him that I was frustrated with the slow response of oral iron therapy in younger women. He told me about a new intravenous therapy for iron that was working well with his patients. Since that time, I have found intravenous iron therapy a wonderful treatment for women and men with very low iron levels. In fact, after hundreds of treatments, this therapy has truly proved itself to be invaluable.

Ferrlecit is an intravenous form of iron. Its use has been shown to lead to significant improvements in anemia outcomes and iron parameters.10 Ferrlecit is indicated for repletion of total body iron levels. Many times, after the first dose, the result has been almost miraculous. Patients with low iron levels are pale, tired, brain-fogged, and have other symptoms. If their ferritin level is below 15, seeing how they look before and after the first iron injection is astounding. The paleness can abate by the end of the injection. Most importantly, as they are getting the IV dripped in their veins, my patients say they start to feel better. The first symptom that improves is the brain fog. Not everyone needs intravenous iron therapies. For those with very low iron stores (ferritin less than 20ng/ml), however, intravenous iron therapies should be considered.

Jean, age 35, was feeling very fatigued. “I feel like I have aged 20 years over the last year. My brain doesn’t work. I feel like an idiot,” she said. Jean said she had not been feeling well for about a year. She complained of unrelenting fatigue, brain fog, persistent coldness, and poor hair and nail quality.

When I was taking my history from her, she told me she had been having heavy menstrual periods for more than a few years. “When I have a period, I have to be careful. I feel like I am hemorrhaging every month,” she told me. “At the end of my bleeding, I
feel like I have been through a war.”
Jean had many signs of iron deficiency upon examination. She had pale conjunctivae (the sack under the eye), a pale complexion, a bluish tinge to the whites of her eyes, pale nail beds, and triggerpoint tenderness throughout her muscles. When I received the laboratory tests from her initial examination, I was not surprised. All of her iron indices were low and her ferritin was 3 ng/ml (optimal is 100 ng/ml). Furthermore, her hemoglobin and hematocrit were both low. I told Jean to eat organic, hormone-free red meat (as rare as she liked it), increase her intake of vitamin C containing foods (fruits and vegetables), eat blackstrap molasses, and to supplement with vitamin C (5,000 mg/day).
Furthermore, I asked Jean to supplement with iron (FeZyme from Biotics Research) and to receive a series of four iron intravenous treatments. When I saw Jean back in the office four weeks later, she looked like a different person. I remarked to her, “You look healthy now. Welcome back.” She told me that she felt immediately better with the first IV “After the first IV, when I got up out of the chair, it was the first time I did not feel dizzy in years. My head felt better. Each time I got another IV, I felt better. I feel as if I have been reborn,” she said. Jean’s story is not unique. We see it repeated in my office on a regular basis.

Iron deficiency is all too common. It needs to be recognized and treated appropriately. This is one condition for which regular iron testing can help avoid serious problems. IV iron therapy should be considered in patients with very low iron levels. Finally, if you are on an acid-lowering medication, consider stopping it if you have iron deficiency. Iron requires adequate amounts of stomach acid for absorption.

Too Much Iron Is a Real Issue
Iron is no different from any other item found in the body. You can have too little or too much. This section will deal with excess amounts of iron or “iron overload.” Excess amounts of iron in the bloodstream can literally thicken the blood. This thickening results in a markedly increased risk of stroke and heart attacks.
An estimated 1.5 million Americans carry a genetic defect that will almost guarantee that they will develop iron overload at some point in their lives. This illness is known as hemochromatosis. Up to 32 million more Americans may be carriers of this gene defect and may experience iron overload at some point. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these millions at risk are not diagnosed until they have severe tissue damage or death. There are more than 10 disorders that also can cause iron overload. Iron overload disease can present itself as an excess amount of iron in the body. At diagnosis, most patients are not symptomatic. It usually is detected by finding elevated iron levels as part of a routine blood test. Sometimes it is picked up when a patient is found to have elevated liver function tests on routine blood tests.
I make a point to check every new patient’s iron status with the tests previously mentioned. Doing these tests enables me to ascertain whether any iron problems are occurring.
The list of illnesses caused or exacerbated by iron excess is extensive. This includes diabetes, heart disease, liver problems, neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. Keep in mind, iron overload is diagnosed easily, as well as being easily treatable and preventable — if you are looking for it.
Doing the proper iron tests makes the diagnosis relatively easy. It is important to check serum ferritin, total iron, and TIBC and percent saturation of iron. If the percent saturation and the ferritin are elevated, it confirms an iron overload problem. The treatment for this condition is relatively simple: therapeutic phlebotomies (blood donation), or the removal of blood on a repeating schedule, until the iron levels normalize.
In a few patients, I have found it necessary to pull a pint of blood off weekly for six months in order to lower their iron to acceptable levels. There is DNA testing for iron overload. But it is vastly over-hyped. There are more than 40 mutations in the gene that causes hemochromatosis. Presently we check for only two mutations. The benefit of
testing is to alert family members to begin their own testing. In any case, I believe anyone with iron excess should alert all relatives to begin testing for their iron status.
Phlebotomizing a patient for iron overload can be one of the most satisfying treatments given in medicine. Why? Because patients feel so much better, and feel better quickly. Usually, after 1 or 2 pints are removed, patients will remark how much better they feel. Aches, pains, and brain fog begin to recede. As the iron levels normalize, they usually feel better. Iron overload is a problem that is not being recognized and treated. It is important to have your iron status ascertained at once a year. The laboratory cost is minimal. The upside of an inexpensive, safe, and effective treatment is immeasurable.

1 From Iron Metabolism in Man. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific. 1979
2 WHO. 1989. Demayer, EM. Preventing and controlling iron deficiency anemia through primary health care: a guide for health administrators and programme managers.
3 Arch. of Int. Med. Vol. 165. N. 20. 11.14.2005
4 Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 1991;53.112-19
5 Am. J Clin. Nut. 1992;55:985
6 MMWR.4.1998. 47 (RR-3):1-36
7 From Accessed 4.25.09
8 IBID. Accessed 4.25.09
9 MMWR. Vol. 51. N. 40. . 10.11.2002
10 Am J Kidney Dis. 1999;33:471–482

Ask Dr. Brownstein

What are the negative effects on the body from longtime use (10 to 20 years) of ibuprofen, 800 mg per day for lower back pain? I’m 81 years old now. I was told that it removes a protective covering, shield, coating, etc. on the surface of my bones.
—Charles L., San Diego, Calif.
Ibuprofen (such as Motrin or Advil) is a class of medication known as NSAIDs — non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Aspirin is another example of a NSAID. These medications function as anti-inflammatory agents and are effective in treating acute and chronic pain. The problems with NSAIDs, ibuprofen included, occur with longer term use.
Adverse effects of NSAIDs include irritating the gastrointestinal tract and causing gastrointestinal bleeding. In fact, the No. 1 cause of gastrointestinal bleeding is NSAID use. In the United States, it is estimated that NSAIDs cause 100,000 hospital admissions because of gastrointestinal problems and more than 16,000 deaths per year. This class
of medications also causes decreased blood flow to the kidneys, which can result in kidney failure. Unfortunately, an under-recognized cause of kidney failure is long-term NSAID use. Finally, NSAIDs can exacerbate asthma problems. Needless to say, these medications should be used for the shortest time period possible.

What other sources can provide anti-inflammatory effects, besides NSAIDs? Enzymes
have potent anti-inflammatory effects, if taken on an empty stomach. In fact, these substances can have superior anti-inflammatory effects compared with NSAIDs. Examples of enzymes include Excelzyme, Vitalzyme, and Wobenzym.
These products need to be taken on an empty stomach. They don’t work immediately like NSAIDs but within two or three weeks, yet their anti-inflammatory effect can surpass that of an NSAID. Other anti-inflammatory agents include methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and fish oils.

My husband recently had a heart attack. Because of a previous problem with hepatitis C (which he miraculously no longer has any trace of ), he is afraid of iodine. Since his liver shows absolutely no trace of the former disease, is there still a problem?
—Sonni G., Grapevine, Texas
Why is he afraid of iodine? Tell him it is not a scary product at all! Iodine has an enterohepatic circulation, which means that when you ingest iodine and it is absorbed into the bloodstream, part of it is absorbed into the liver. My partners and I have found iodine (seaweeds,  iodoral or nascent iodine) therapy a wonderful treatment for those with liver disease. In fact, we have seen positive antibodies to hepatitis viruses decline and become negative with a holistic approach that includes iodine therapy.
Remember, the best results with iodine therapy occur by checking your levels before beginning therapy. In a future newsletter, I will describe the different ways to check iodine levels and how best to treat based on these tests. For your optimal results, I suggest working with a healthcare practitioner knowledgeable about iodine.

A Single Hormone Turns Around Fibromyalgia Pain

In each issue, I will share with you the story of one of my patients and how sometimes simple alternative approaches can solve major health problems. Names and some details have been changed for privacy’s sake, but the problems and their resolutions are real.
— Dr. David Brownstein
Susan has been a patient of mine for more than a decade. She has done well on a holistic program that included diet changes, nutrition, and bioidentical hormone supplementation. However, during the past five months, she said she felt like she was aging.
“I feel like I got old suddenly. I don’t know what happened,” she said. Susan suddenly developed aching in her muscles and joints and fatigue. “It hurt me to get out of the chair,” she said. Susan was also fatigued. “Now, I wake up tired and I go to bed tired. My head always feels tired,” she said.
Complaints of fatigue and joint pains are, unfortunately, very common. Susan would meet the diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by muscular aches and pains, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. It is much more common in women, and it can be debilitating. Many conventional medical doctors do not think that fibromyalgia exists. In fact, many patients who believe they have this condition are often derided by their doctors. One reason many conventional doctors do not think fibromyalgia is a “real” condition is that no specific medication is effective for treating this illness. Some medications do help lower the symptoms of fibromyalgia. These include analgesics such as Tylenol and Motrin. Some doctors will prescribe antidepressant medications, although there are many adverse effects.
Anti-seizure drugs are the conventional treatment for fibromyalgia. These include Neurontin and Lyrica. Nobody really knows how these medications treat the symptoms (particularly the aches and pains) of fibromyalgia. These medications can help some individuals with fibromyalgia. But these drugs also have serious side effects.
Lyrica, the first FDA-approved drug to treat fibromyalgia, has been associated with severe allergic reactions that can cause angioedema — swelling of the throat, head, and neck, resulting in airway compromise. Furthermore, Lyrica can promote weight gain, sleepiness, dry mouth, and brain fog. Finally (as if that were not enough), all seizure medications, including Lyrica, can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
When you look at the adverse effects of Lyrica, I think you will agree with me that it should be used as a last resort.
As previously mentioned, Susan was on a holistic program for the past 10 years. She was eating a fairly clean diet, free of refined foods. She was drinking adequate amounts of water. Furthermore, I was treating her for hypothyroidism.
My experience with fibromyalgia is that most patients with fibromyalgia have endocrine disruptions, including hypothyroidism. I have found it virtually impossible to treat fibromyalgia effectively without ensuring a properly functioning thyroid gland.
When I tested Susan’s hormone levels, her thyroid hormone levels showed that she had adequate amounts of circulating thyroid hormone. When I told her this, she was disappointed. “I really thought it was my thyroid,” she said. I told Susan that I would do a complete check of her hormonal system.
One of the most common hormone deficiencies that can cause or exacerbate fibromyalgia is growth hormone. Growth hormone is secreted from the pituitary gland. Like all hormones, growth hormone levels peak at a young age and decline as we get older.
Susan’s growth hormone level, measured as an IGF-1 level, was very low at 89 units (normal for her age is greater than 150). Growth hormone is one of the master hormones of the body. It can control the release and balance of the other endocrine glands.
‘Back to My Old Self ’
Growth hormone can be given only by injection. It is a bioidentical hormone. There are supplements which are reported to stimulate the release of growth hormone. My experience with those supplements has been mixed at best. They are expensive and do not work nearly as well as the real thing: growth hormone.
I placed Susan on a small amount of human growth hormone injections. Susan came back to see me six weeks later. “It took two to three weeks into the growth hormone before I began to feel it. I started to feel good. Oh boy, did I start to feel good,” she said.
Growth hormone therapy can be miraculous. I would estimate that more than 80 percent of patients who try human growth hormone have a positive experience with it. More than 17 years of using low-dose human growth hormone has shown very little adverse effects associated with its use. At our last visit, Susan told me, “I have tried everything. This is the first thing that made me feel back to my old self.”

In the News: Reading Between the Medical Headlines
Lack of Vitamin D Linked To Dementia
A growing list of diseases is associated with low levels of vitamin D. In the journal Alzheimer’s Disease, a researcher hypothesized that, “To date, the evidence includes observational studies supporting a beneficial role of vitamin D in reducing the risk of diseases linked to dementia such as vascular and metabolic diseases, as well as an understanding of the role of vitamin D in reducing the risk of several mechanisms that lead to dementia.”1 Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. More than 13 million people worldwide are affected. The growing list of illnesses associated with low vitamin D levels is astounding. We have been conditioned to fear the sun and to slather on sunscreen whenever our skin is exposed to the sun. I say this is nonsense.

Skin cancer can be best managed by eating a healthier diet, avoiding sunburns, and maintaining optimal nutrient levels, including vitamin D levels.
Multivitamins Give You A Younger Biological Age
Telomeres are a region of our DNA at the end of our chromosomes that protect the chromosome from destruction. It is thought that the aging of the human body is controlled from the telomeres. As the area shortens, it is associated with the aging of the cell. When the telomeres reach a certain shortened length, the cells expire, undergoing apoptosis, or “cell death.” As a result, telomere length can be a marker for the aging process. Researchers report in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that telomeres
of daily multivitamin users may be on average 5.1 percent longer than in non-users. They found that vitamin C and vitamin E had a positive effect on telomere lengthening.2
The study determined vitamin intake by way of a food questionnaire. The researchers
found an association with multivitamin intake and lowered signs of aging via telomere changes. As our food supply becomes more deficient of vital nutrients, which it has over the past 20 years, I feel it is important to take a multivitamin. A holistic healthcare provider can optimize your supplement regimen.

Vitamin K and Heart Disease
Researchers looked at 388 healthy men and postmenopausal women who were randomized to receive either vitamin K1 plus a multivitamin or only a multivitamin for three years. Compared with people receiving a multivitamin, subjects with preexisting coronary artery calcification who were supplemented with vitamin K1 (500 mcg/day) in addition to a multivitamin had a 6 percent decline in coronary artery calcification, the researchers reported. The authors concluded that vitamin K1 (Chiense medicine – raw tienchi ginseng tablet) “supplementation slows the progression of coronary artery calcification in healthy older adults with preexisting coronary artery calcification.”3
This study is important. Heart disease is our No. 1 killer. Treating it with surgery and medications has been a dismal failure for 30 years. Heart disease is not the No.1 killer because of a lack of medication or surgery. It is a complex problem caused by a poor diet as well as hormonal and nutritional imbalances. This study showed the benefit of using vitamin K1 (Chiense medicine – raw tienchi ginseng tablet) to prevent the progression of coronary artery calcification. Vitamin K1 is not the only nutrient therapy that helps with heart disease. Vitamins C, E, CoQ-10, and niacin are examples of other nutrients that can help treat and prevent cardiovascular disease. The best prevention is a healthy diet free of refined foods and adequate amounts of water.

Big Pharma Wants Everyone on Drugs
A recent article in the British Medical Journal states, “Bloodpressure-lowering drugs should be offered to everyone, regardless of their blood pressure level, as a safeguard against coronary heart disease and stroke.”4 Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 147 randomized trials comprising 958,000 people.

Can you believe it? “Whatever your blood pressure, you benefit from lowering it?” We must truly be in Alice in Wonderland. Let’s look at who will benefit most: Big Pharma and docs who are paid by Big Pharma. Worse, the lead authors of this study both hold patents on the formulation of combined medication which treats four cardiovascular risk factors, including blood pressure.
As you age, blood pressure naturally increases (due to poor lifestyle, it is possible to maintain 120/80 if you know how). A good rule of thumb is to take your age, add 90, and that is a normal upper limit of your systolic blood pressure. Certain medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, require more aggressive treatment.

1 Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. May, 2009-
2 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. June,
2009. Vol. 89. N. 6. P. 1857-63
3 Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 89:1799-1807
4 Accessed 6.8.09
at: http://cme.medscape .

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Please note: All information presented in Dr. David Brownstein’s Natural Way to Health is for informational purposes only. It is not specific medical advice for any individual. All answers to reader questions are provided for informational purposes only. All information presented in Dr. David Brownstein’s Natural Wayto Health should not be construed as medical consultation or instruction. You should take no action solely on the basis of this publication’s contents. Readers are advised to consult a health professional about any issue regarding their health and well-being. While the information found in Dr. David Brownstein’s Natural Way to Health is believed to be sensible and accurate based on the author’s best judgment, readers who fail to seek counsel from appropriate health professionals assume risk of any potential ill effects. The opinions expressed in Dr. David Brownstein’s Natural Way to Health do not necessarily reflect those of Newsmax Media.

2 July 2009
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David Brownstein, M.D., is a board-certified family physician and one of the foremost practitioners of holistic medicine. Dr. Brownstein has lectured internationally to physicians and others about his success with natural hormones and nutritional therapies in his practice. His books include Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do!; Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It; Salt Your Way To Health; The Miracle of Natural Hormones; Overcoming Arthritis, Overcoming Thyroid Disorders; The Guide to a Gluten-Free Diet; and The Guide to Healthy Eating. He is the medical director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, Mich., where he lives with his wife, Allison, and their teenage daughters, Hailey and Jessica. For more information about Dr. Brownstein, please go to his Web site at
4 July 2009

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