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The tragic truth of antidepressants
Why you’re better off passing on the SSRIs—and using natural
solutions instead
If you’re suffering from depression, Even more tragic is that some of serotonin, acetylcholine, and other
the promise of relief in the form of mentally troubled, depressed patients neurotransmitters. And that makes for
a little pill can feel like a lifeline. have thoughts about harming others a healthy mind and body.
So the fact that antidepressants have as well. Disturbing new analysis I’ll tell you more about these natural
few—if any—real benefits is, well… indicates many of the recent violent depression helpers in a minute. But
depressing. tragedies grabbing the headlines may first…
That’s the conclusion published last be the result of antidepressants.
Antidepressants on the rise
month in the British Medical Journal. That’s because depression
Why are prescriptions for
And it’s consistent with views I have has a built-in self-protection. It
antidepressants going up and up,
presented before in Insiders’ Cures. causes people to turn inward, close
while the people taking them continue
My practice in forensic medicine themselves off, and they lack the
slipping down into their depression?
backs it up too. I’ve seen case after energy to carry out actions. Instead
case of depressed patients committing they just endlessly think these Some psychiatrists claim it’s
suicide…after they start taking thoughts, many of them negative. because of a small, but appropriate,
“antidepressant” drugs. Psychiatrists call this thought increase in the length of treatment—
substitution. So even if people have not the number of patients being
Making matters worse
thought of hurting themselves or treated. That is, patients are being kept
It’s not that antidepressants don’t on the drug longer.
others, they often don’t have the
do anything—it’s just that they do the
energy or ability to do it. But why keep people on the same
wrong thing. The newer antidepressant
drugs act as selective serotonin Now give the depressed person tired medication if it’s not working?
reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). They Prozac. You haven’t changed anything The real issue is that too many
artificially raise levels of serotonin about the real causes of the depression. people are being treated for something
in the brain by preventing its normal But, suddenly, the depressed person’s Continued on page 2...
re-uptake into nerve cells after it’s brain is flooded with serotonin. And
released into nerve pathways. now they finally have the energy to act.
This is believed to help depression I’ll leave it to statisticians to debate
In this issue:
symptoms. And it does…but not the whether SSRIs cause suicide in How Ancient medicine can
symptoms that need to be improved. depressed patients. But as a physician, lead to modern healing—
In my forensic medicine practice, the evidence in real cases of suffering without the expense of
I saw case after case of chronically human beings is all too obvious. drugs or supplements............ 4
depressed patients with suicidal Still, serotonin is not just a loaded
thoughts. But they were too depressed gun waiting to go off. And while Tune in to healthly joints....... 6
to take action and do anything about I don’t recommend artificially Stop stressing over
it. Until they got their dose of SSRIs, manipulating your serotonin levels as
being overweight................... 7
that is. Once the drugs kicked in, a treatment for any disease, I can tell
the patients still had their suicidal you that there are natural approaches From spy novel to
thoughts, and now they had the energy that really work. They help the body medicine shelf......................... 8
to act on them. The results were tragic. naturally restore its own proper levels 1

that’s just a normal part of life—not (often with the name of the drug also
Marc S. Micozzi, M.D., Ph.D., is a a disease in need of a pharmaceutical advertised at the top).
worldwide leader in nutritional and cure. The current definition of clinical Perhaps that’s why antidepressant
complementary/alternative medicine. depression is two weeks of “low
He has had a distinguished career as a prescriptions increased by almost 10
mood.” I can think of a number of percent in 2011.
researcher and physician executive at
the National Institutes of Health and
people whose moods were low for a
couple weeks after the last election. The upside of being down
Walter Reed National Military Medical
Center in Washington, DC, and the But I wouldn’t call it a disease—and Occasional “low mood” may
College of Physicians in Philadelphia I certainly wouldn’t want to medicate simply be a fact of life. In fact,
PA. He has published over 30 medical it away! research shows that mildly depressed
and trade books, and founded and people are actually better at assessing
A more serious mental illness is
edited the first scientific journal, and and dealing with life’s circumstances.
the first textbook, on complementary/ being so delusional that you can’t
Sometimes low mood is just our way
alternative and nutritional medicine, recognize when bad and sad things are
of seeing that all is not well, and that
now going into a 5th edition (2014) and happening in reality—and that’s much
continuously in print since 1995. worse than two weeks of “low mood.” we need to protect ourselves.

But some parties have reason to Shakespeare was no stranger to low
be in a good mood about the overuse mood when he wrote the character
Dr. Micozzi’s Insiders’ Cures is published of Hamlet. When Hamlet perceives
monthly by OmniVista Health Media, L.L.C., of antidepressants. Three-quarters
of psychiatrists who write the that “something is rotten in the state
702 Cathedral St., Baltimore, MD 21201 for
$74 per year ($6.16 an issue). definitions of depression used in of Denmark,” it leads to his famous
the psychiatric manual have links soliloquy: “To be, or not to be—that
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to drug companies.1 So they have is the question…whether to suffer
to Insiders’ Cures, 702 Cathedral St.,
good motivation to put people on the slings and arrows of outrageous
Baltimore, MD 21201.
prescriptions and abandon more fortune, or take arms against a sea of
time-intensive—but effective— troubles, and by opposing them, end
Author: Marc S. Micozzi, M.D., Ph.D. them.”
Publisher: Katherine Wheeler mental health treatments! (Think
Executive Editor: Amanda Angelini psychoanalysis, talk therapy, and even Sounds like an appropriate response
spiritual approaches.) to a dangerous situation, doesn’t it?
All material in this publication is
Depression may be the perfect To most of us anyway… But not to
provided for information only and may
condition for the drug industry: some ever-alert psychiatrists, who
not be construed as medical advice or have used that soliloquy to diagnose
instruction. No action should be taken Incurable, common, long-term (even
with these so-called “treatments”), and Hamlet as depressed.
based solely on the contents of this
publication; readers should consult involving multiple medications. Some Nature’s answer to depression
appropriate health professionals on any experts say contemporary psychiatry’s While antidepressant drugs may
matter relating to their health and well- relationship with the drug industry has be worse than worthless for many or
being. The information provided in this
created a pharmaceutical mindset to most people, many natural approaches
publication is believed to be accurate
treat mental illness. can enhance brain, mind, and mood.
and sound, based on the best judgment
available to the authors, but readers But the National Institute for Health And of course all of those work
who fail to consult with appropriate and Clinical Excellence does not even together, especially when talking
health authorities assume the risk of any support the use of antidepressants about neurochemicals like serotonin.
injuries. The opinions expressed here do for mild depression. Instead it favors Here are just a few natural ways to
not necessarily reflect the views of the get serotonin levels to their natural,
psychological talk-based therapies.
publisher. The publisher is not responsible
optimal levels.
for errors or omissions. Of course, the government-
industrial-insurance complex doesn’t Omega 3s. Omega 3–rich foods
Copyright © 2013 OmniVista Health want to pay health professionals (salmon, sardines, walnuts,
Media, L.L.C., 702 Cathedral St., Baltimore, for the time it takes to really help flaxseeds, and olive oil for
MD 21201. Reproduction in whole or example) may help depression.
patients. Instead they push the quick
in part is prohibited without written
treatment—the few seconds it takes And we already know they’re
permission of the publisher.
to scribble on a prescription pad powerhouses in other areas of


health. Researchers think omega St. John’s wort. This European folk the day and relax you at bedtime.
3–rich foods affect structural fats in remedy has been used for centuries I generally recommend replacing
brain membranes, making it easier as natural treatment for depression your 8-glasses-a day with 4-6
for nutrients to enter cells. and anxiety. In Germany, for glasses of rooibos tea—hot or
Folic acid (and other B vitamins). example, St. John’s wort has long iced. IC
Low levels of folic acid and high been approved for its effectiveness
Citations available online at
in treating mild depression.
levels of an amino acid–like
General dosage is 300 mg three
chemical called homocysteine are
times per day (at 0.3% standardized
associated with depression. Folic
hypericin extract). A truly depressing drink
acid, as well as vitamins B2, B6,
and B12, have all been shown to Antioxidants. A new study in the You know from reading my
decrease levels of homocysteine Journal of the American Academy Daily Dispatch emails that diet
and protect against heart disease, of Nutrition and Dietetics found drinks are chock-full of nasty
as we document in The Insider’s that foods high in antioxidants stuff. A new French study shows
(but not dietary supplements that diet drinks pose a higher
Secret to Conquering High Blood
themselves) help stem depression diabetes risk than even regular
Pressure and Protecting Your
in older adults. This is not soda! And now we’re finding
Heart, which you received as a
surprising since foods contain a out they can affect your mood as
new subscriber. Find B vitamins
biological matrix that is important well.
in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole
grains, and legumes. If you’re for proper absorption and A just-off-the-press study
taking a supplement, look for 800 metabolism. Plus most antioxidant links artificially sweetened
mcg folic acid, 2.5 mg thiamine, 5 supplements are of poor quality beverages—especially diet
mg B6, and 20 mcg B12. and not based on real science. drinks—with higher depression
Proper hydration. What and how risk in adults. (Coffee, on the
Amino acids. Tryptophan is an amino other hand, slightly lowered
acid needed to make serotonin. For much you drink can influence
mood as well. A small study of 25 risk).1
many years higher tryptophan has
been found to be associated with women suggests dehydration can Researchers studied 263,925
lower depression rates. Tryptophan cause headaches, loss of focus, people for about 10 years. Those
is high in foods containing proteins fatigue, and low mood. Now here’s who drank more than four cans
(which are chains of amino acids), the really interesting thing. Even of soda per day were nearly
minor dehydration (about 1 percent one-third more likely to develop
such as meat, fish, beans, and eggs.
lower than optimal) was enough to depression than those who drank
Nucleic acids. Research at McLean cause serious effects. no soda. The same amount of
Hospital in Belmont, MA, has fruit punch caused an almost 40
South African Red Bush (Rooibos).
shown foods high in uridine percent increased risk. The same
Of course, water alone is not
improves mood. Uridine is a amount of coffee, on the other
enough to prevent dehydration. You
nucleic acid found at high levels hand, came with a 10 percent risk
need fluid and electrolytes—but not
in beets and molasses. Beets are reduction.
from so-called sports “hydration”
also a rich source of betaine, which Think it’s just the sugar?
beverages. Instead, I recommend
is critical in maintaining proper Think again. As with the French
the little-known South African
antioxidant balance in cells. study on diabetes, this study
Red Bush (rooibos). You’ve heard
Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates me sing this herb’s praises before showed an even greater risk for
are broken down into sugar your for all sorts of conditions. But it people who drank diet versions
brain needs to function properly. also packs a one-two punch for of these drinks.
However, simple sugar or too depression. It keeps you hydrated So, do your mood a favor.
much carbohydrate can cause or while also providing antidepressant Pass on the sweet drinks and go
aggravate depression. Avoid this effects and benefits for brain, mind, for a cup of Joe or rooibos tea
problem by eating a diet low in and mood. As a true adaptogen instead.
refined carbohydrates and sugar (helping the body adapt to stress),
Citations available online at
and high in fruits and vegetables. red bush will refresh you during


How Ancient medicine can lead to modern healing—
without the expense of drugs or supplements
China is the birthplace of Healthy digestion comes first As for the what, Chinese diet
many of the world’s most useful In Chinese medicine, the therapy emphasizes high-quality,
technologies—animal domestication, foundation for treating and preventing properly prepared foods. Since foods
plant cultivation, and irrigation disease starts in the digestive were developed over thousands of
agriculture to name a few. But, for system—represented as the spleen years, it does not directly address
us today, its ancient healing system and stomach in the Chinese organ the problems of modern agricultural
may stand out as China’s brightest practices such the use of antibiotics,
accomplishment. There is a fine line between food processing, herbicides, or
genetic manipulation. But by focusing
Thousands of effective medicines foods and herbs in Chinese on the principles of traditional
from plants, and to a lesser extent
from animal and mineral sources,
medicine, and they are Chinese medicine, you can have good
often used together. Even digestion and health. Eat only fresh,
were identified in China starting
high-quality, unprocessed foods,
more than 3,000 years ago. And in the West we use herbs and you’ll avoid a lot of the modern
what’s even more surprising is that to spice our foods. But in dietary traps. Bonus: Fresh foods are
those discoveries have endured for also higher in both nutrients and vital
thousands of years. Billions of people Chinese medicine, plants
energy (qi).
around the world—in the east and are recognized for their
the west—still rely on the healing The properties of herbal
potential as medicines. medicines
powers of the substances discovered
by the ancient Chinese. There is a fine line between foods
system. The strength of the spleen and and herbs in Chinese medicine,
Since writings ascribed to the the stomach are critical to preventing, and they are often used together.
semi-mythical divine emperor Shen treating, or recovering from just about Even in the West we use herbs to
Nong began guiding the Chinese every condition. The reason? They spice our foods. But in Chinese
people in the use of plants as food are responsible for taking in food and medicine, plants are recognized for
and medicine thousands of years fluids, transforming them to qi (vital their potential as medicines. After
ago, the link between cuisine and energy) and blood, and transporting all, plants contain biologically
healing has been sealed in Chinese them throughout the body. active constituents to protect against
cultural and medical practice. And predators and as a means of survival.
For a strong stomach and spleen,
as food growing is by nature a And some of those protective
Chinese (and other) medical experts
seasonal practice, Chinese medical properties make them useful for
point out that it’s not just what we
approaches differ accordingly with humans. In fact, the antibacterial
eat, but also how we eat that makes
the seasons. a difference. Eating at odd times, properties of many spices allow them
In fact, the food-medicine link wolfing down food on the run, to preserve meats and other foods.
is so integral to the Chinese culture and eating iced foods all weaken That’s why they were so valuable
that many traditional restaurants the spleen and stomach. That’s an during the colonial period to motivate
and hospitals in China serve dishes important lesson to take from Chinese Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, French,
to treat specific conditions. And medicine, where digestion is at the and British explorations of Asia and
the foods that are used in medical heart of every condition. In western the “Spice Islands.”
therapy are also routinely prepared medicine, we make the mistake The five flavors
by families when seasons change, of thinking about digestion only In Chinese cuisine, you can
when illness strikes, to strengthen a when people are having digestive actually taste a food’s healing
woman after birth, and to nourish the problems—and considering only what properties. Everything is identified
elderly in their declining years. we eat, and not how we eat. as having one or more of the five


different tastes. And each of those • Floating (dispersing) foods aid or cold. Energy is diminishing and
tastes has different actions in the body: in the common cold and promote substance is growing. Eat foods that
perspiration. are moderate in nature.
1. Sour (including astringent).
Actions: Retains and stops loss • Sinking foods treat constipation, • In winter, eat foods that tonify and
of fluids (for diarrhea, sweat). high blood pressure, and mania. rebalance, such as beef and mutton.
Generates fluids, promotes proper A food’s propensity determines the Of course, our air-conditioned-
digestion. Examples: Hawthorne organ channel(s) to which it’s likely in-summer/heated-in-winter homes
berries (cardioactive), lemon, to travel. Most foods go to at least two and offices work against the natural
apricots, cherries, and grapefruit. channels. For example, lemons, pears, effects of the seasonal cycle. And both
2. Bitter. Actions: Drying and and tangerines clear heat from the lung artificial cooling and heating of the
purging (for constipation, reflux, channel to stop coughs. Tangerines air in which we live and breathe takes
cough). Examples: Bitter melon moisture out of the air year-round,
and dandelion greens. In Chinese cuisine, you contributing to chronic dehydration.
Add some warming foods to your light
3. Sweet. Actions: Tonify and can actually taste a summer diet of fruits and vegetables.
strengthen blood (for pain and food’s healing properties. In winter, add moistening foods.
spasms). Examples: Chicken, eggs, Everything is identified as Seasons of life
fruits, mutton, and root vegetables.
having one or more of the Just as with the seasons of the year,
4. Pungent. Actions: Expels Chinese medicine guides us through
pathogens and promotes qi and five different tastes.
the seasons of life. In children, internal
blood flow. Examples: Chili, damp syndromes frequently lead to
ginger, pepper, and spring onions. also go to the stomach channel to stuffy or runny noses, asthma, and ear
address loss of appetite and nausea. infections. Cold and moist foods such
5. Salty. Actions: Softens and
resolves masses (such as goiter). The flavor, nature, and channel as dairy aggravate damp conditions—
Examples: Kelp and seaweed. propensity of a food helps determine which makes the Western obsession
its medicinal value. with pushing dairy and milk (and
Nature and propensity tell the especially feeding cow’s milk instead
rest of the story Everything in season
of breast milk) on infants and children
In addition to having different Just as time of day is important in
seem like a bad idea.
tastes, each food has a specific Chinese beliefs about eating, so is the
season of the year. Beyond the fact The elderly have weakening
nature—cold, cool, warm, or hot—
that different foods are available in digestions, so they should eat small,
depending on its effects on the body.
different seasons, in Chinese medicine frequent meals, and well-cooked and
If it lowers a fever, it is considered
the seasons have a direct effect on the easy to digest soups and stews.
cold. If it promotes blood circulation
and warms the extremeties, it’s warm body. And that helps determine which In pregnant women, fluids collect
or hot. types of food are appropriate in each in certain channels while others are
season. relatively dry. So drying foods such as
After food is digested, it can spices and wines should be avoided.
affect the direction of the flow of qi: Here’s some guidance for what
ascending, descending, floating, or types of food to eat in each season: Emotional states also have an
sinking. Chinese medicine experts • In spring, eat warming foods, more effect on digestion. Stress hinders
take this into account when choosing sweet than sour, to nourish spleen qi spleen and stomach function and calls
foods to treat different conditions. when liver qi is strong. for an easy-to-digest diet that tonifies
the spleen. Anger and disappointment
Here are a few examples: • In summer, digestion slows, so require a diet that soothes the liver qi.
• Ascending foods are used for eat light foods to clear heat and
diarrhea and organ prolapse. generate fluids. Focus more on Scratching the surface
fruits and vegetables and less on Even though the traditional system
• Descending foods help belching of Chinese medicine is thousands of
and indigestion, hiccups, nausea,
• In autumn, avoid extremes of hot Continued on page 6...
and vomiting.


years older than Western medicine, its China and East and Southeast Asia, (NCCA), in Washington, D.C.
wisdom is applicable even today. But available through They have a directory available on
as you can tell from this brief article, If you want to tap into this ancient their website at
it’s a complex system that requires healing system to treat or prevent where you can search for a certified
a great deal of study to understand disease, work with a traditional practitioner near you. Or, you can
properly. Chinese medicine practitioner. There try the The American Association of
You can learn more through my is an organization called the National Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
book Celestial Healing: Energy Mind Certification Commission for at IC
and Spirit in Traditional Medicines of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Tune in to healthly joints
A breakthrough discovery can help joints, even when tired old tests—
and tired old supplements—can’t
When you’re suffering from joint That’s what makes the music. stop this friction in your joints. And
pain, the last thing you want to hear But when your joints make those that’s by improving the condition of
from a doctor is, “The X-rays don’t little sticks and slips, it’s anything your joint (synovial) fluid. This fluid
show anything wrong,” or “the scans but musical. But it does make noise. is critical to preventing and healing
are normal.” And with the new testing device, damage.
Because even if the tests—X-rays, the “surface force apparatus” (SFA), Controlling inflammation in the
CAT scans, MRIs—show “normal” doctors can hear those vibrations. joints and joint fluid is crucial, since
results, you know you’re in pain. And inflammation is both a result of
Instead of just relying on a
that’s not normal. wear-and-tear and a cause of more
shadowy picture of what your joints
Luckily, doctors in the know look like, the SFA allows doctors damage. It creates a vicious cycle
can use a common-sense approach to hear what’s actually happening that can overcome our innate healing
to determine how your joints are in your live joints as they move in ability. Getting your inflammation in
really doing…without painful and real time. With an understanding of check is the best way to let damaged
expensive tests that are largely useless joints heal at the microscopic
the condition of your joints—at a
anyway. Or even counterproductive, level, while the damage can still be
microscopic level—you can monitor
as I’ve cautioned readers in the past. undone.
wear-and-tear, as well as whether
In fact, the approach relies on using your joint supplements are working. As I’ve discussed before, there are
one of the five senses to get insight ways to help nourish joint cartilage
into the joints, like they have been Get help…before it’s too late
and underlying bone, and help
doing with the heart and lungs for It’s important to know what’s your body control inflammation.
centuries. really happening in your joints so And it’s not with the tired, old joint
you can fix them before it’s too late. supplement ingredients that may
Doctors can simply listen to your
Without having to stand in the joint- be worse than worthless. Look for
joints to find out whether they’re
moving freely. That’s because at replacement assembly line. a high-quality joint supplement
the microscopic level, painful joints The new SFA device is still under with proven ingredients such as
move like a bow across a violin experimental development, but that Boswellia serrata, cayenne, vitamin
string, instead of sliding smoothly, doesn’t mean you can’t start taking C, and/or omega-3 fish oil. For more
without friction. A violin bow causes some lessons from it. The developers details and recommendations, see
a series of rapid “sticks and slips”— of this brilliant SFA device are quick the July 2012 and February 2013
and thus vibrations—on the string. to point out that there’s one way to issues of Insiders’ Cures. IC
CORRECTION: There was a dosage error in the original printing of the February 2013 Insiders’ Cures article entitled “Why those tired,
old “natural” arthritis fixes don’t work.” On page 5, it states “A healthy dose [of vitamin D] is 1,000-2,000 mg per day.” The correct dose is
1,000-2,000 I.U. (International Units) per day.


Stop stressing over being overweight
Once again, science shows us moderation is the key to health and happiness
If you’ve been obsessing over people. Many of these findings apply the BMI is now being used. It’s
losing those last 15 pounds, it’s time to to people with diabetes, stroke, and nothing more sophisticated than a
find something else to worry about. acute heart disease. measurement of weight and height.
A large analysis by the National Part of the problem with prevailing As a medical research tool in
Center for Health Statistics—which weight research is that it’s built on a larger studies, the fashion is now
used data from nearly 100 countries— flawed measurement. The body mass that scientists are using it to look for
will change the way you think about index (BMI) was designed to measure larger trends. And often, they regard
weight. It showed that moderate weight independently of height. It BMI with “tunnel vision.” Instead
overweight is associated with lower does that using a simple formula: of seeing it for what it is: a roughly
disease and death rates. weight (in kilograms) divided by measured estimate of overall health.
And this isn’t one of those height (in meters) squared. Here’s another problem with BMI.
studies whose authors simply It makes sense that researchers Even though it tells you if a person
report a statistical anomaly without and statisticians need a measure of weighs more than other people of the
understanding science. It is difficult weight that’s independent of height. same height, it doesn’t tell you why.
to discount this kind of analysis of In fact, when I first went to work at Are those extra pounds fat or lean
straightforward vital statistics. I’ve the National Cancer Institute this muscle? Did the extra weight come
seen this apparent paradox in my own simple fact seemed to have become from a healthy diet containing nuts,
practice. Plus, several other recent lost among all the fancy statistics. low-fat dairy, whole grains, fruits,
studies bear it out. An author of one So I actually published a few papers vegetables, and omega 3–rich foods?
of these studies, published in JAMA, in the American Journal of Clinical Or did it come from junk food and
is my colleague Barry Graubard— Nutrition reminding researchers how “empty” calories?
who has never been one to shy away to use the BMI. Unfortunately our healthcare
from the science just because it went system doesn’t allow doctors
This led to a lively debate among
against the prevailing, politically and nurses the time they need to
medical researchers and scientists. We
correct “wisdom.” (Twenty years ago, accurately measure what matters:
eventually titled our entry “expanding
he worked on our analysis with Nobel Fitness levels—not weight! All it
on the three limitations of body mass
laureate Baruch Blumberg that showed takes is an inexpensive, non-invasive
indices.” Ultimately, everyone agreed
excess iron is related to higher cancer and easy-to-use caliper. If only our
that there are important limitations for
rates.) healthcare providers knew how to use
using the BMI.
Disease by the numbers them…
But then they made the illogical
So if a little extra weight is actually A little extra weight can be
decision to keep using BMI anyway
good for you, why are we always healthy
as the index for overweight and
hearing the scary statistics? You Staying healthy and staying
already know: Two-thirds of adult thin are not the same thing. The
Americans are overweight, and one- Why you shouldn’t pay so much Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study
third are obese. And obesity is linked attention to BMI recently made this clear. The study
to increased blood pressure and higher A BMI calculation that works for was huge—it looked at 14,000 men
risks of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, one population, gender, or individual (average age 44 years) and followed
and kidney disease. may not work well for another. But them for more than 11 years. Higher
to make it simple, medical research fitness levels had far greater impact
We don’t hear as much about
and practice use the same formula for on death rates from heart diseases
studies that show people who are
everyone, and these numbers have and from all causes than did lower
carrying some extra weight actually
become the standards for comparison. weight. In fact, men who maintained
have better outcomes. Or the ones
their fitness level had a nearly one-
that show heavier people have lower So, there’s nothing magic, or even
mortality than “normal” weight precisely accurate, about the way Continued on page 8...


third lower death rate. And if you stay is age. One study showed that three And decades ago science proved that
fit, you’ll maintain healthy muscle years after invasive treatment for being underweight is associated with
mass. Which means you’ll have a little coronary heart disease, overweight or higher death rates—compared to the
“extra” body weight. obese men had a lower risk for death happy middle.
But that doesn’t tell the whole story than normal-weight or underweight The evolution of society’s thoughts
of why extra weight has benefits. men. But the obese patients were about “body image” has drastically
Body fat may protect you by affecting often younger than the slimmer altered what is considered a “normal”
your body’s beneficial biochemicals patients. More and more young body weight, statistics aside.
and hormones. It certainly provides people are obese—and since younger
age is associated with lower death Time and time again, common
extra padding to protect organs from sense tells us what we need in order
traumatic injuries—which can mean rates, the two risk factors may be
getting crossed up. to be healthy and happy. It’s not some
the difference between life and death. arbitrary formula. And it’s certainly
Plus, in times of illness, some caloric In all things, moderation not deprivation. It’s moderation.
reserve may give you the nutritional Is it possible that the health
support you need as you heal. Moderation in all things is the
benefits of a few extra pounds can be
key to health and happiness. And
Are the statistics telling the explained away by any or all of these
happiness itself may be a key. Who
truth? factors?
can be happy while frozen in front of
Discussion of the health risks of Maybe. a mirror, obsessing about body image
obesity is everywhere. Does that Or maybe the simple moderation and pants size? Who can be happy
make doctors more aggressive when associated with moderate overweight when counting every calorie, day in
treating overweight people? Are they has something to do with it. Not so and day out? Eating should be one
more concerned about patient health long ago, and for thousands of years of the most normative and enjoyable
or medical liability when a person is before, it was considered healthy and human behaviors. But we make it a
overweight? If so, that could skew the desirable to have some meat on your struggle. Living in constant calorie-
numbers. bones. It was just common sense cutting mode not only isn’t fun—it
Another possible area of confusion that being underweight was “sickly.” isn’t healthy. IC

From spy novel to medicine shelf
A natural substance’s secret potential revealed …
The natural medicine I’m about to reveal seems more fitting for a spy novel than a health newsletter. So of course, I
couldn’t resist sharing the news…I love a good story!
Turns out the “invisible ink” George Washington used to write letters to spies during the Revolutionary War has been
hiding an impressive secret for centuries. In fact, the organic acid found in many plants—including gallnuts, sumac,
witch hazel, tea leaves, and oak bark—has a history dating back to the Roman empire.
Gallic acid, made from growths on oak trees (galls), was an important part of ink for centuries in Europe. It also was
used to reveal secret messages in manuscripts—clearing off the top “decoy” layer and revealing hidden manuscripts
But now its own hidden messages are being revealed. Science suggests that gallic acid has antifungal and antiviral
properties. It also acts as an antioxidant.
Even more impressive, gallic acid may be toxic to cancer cells, but it doesn’t harm healthy cells. New research sheds
more light onto how gallic acid is able to act against cancer. In experimental cell research, gallic acid inhibited tumor cell
growth, facilitated the “programmed cell death” of cancer cells, and prevented the growth of new blood vessels to supply
tumor cells.
Perhaps gallic acid’s most interesting history is yet to come…
Gallic acid supplements haven’t yet become mainstream, but it is abundant in a number of foods. Tree nuts (walnuts,
for instance), raspberries, hot cocoa, and both green and red bush tea all provide solid doses of gallic acid. There would
be no harm in adding more of those to your diet while we wait to see what more science shows us about this intriguing