June 2013 • VOLUME II • ISSUE 6

Three “hands-on” ways to get immediate
relief from back pain
And which of modern medicine’s go-to treatments just don’t work
As far as I’m concerned, the endless cycle of x-rays and MRIs… mammals. This effect results in a
science couldn’t be clearer—the right and certainly before you sign that narrower pelvis, especially at the hips.
treatment for back pain is a settled consent to surgery—please, consider However, humans have developed
question. And it has nothing to do the “alternatives” FIRST. very large brains. So women need to
with drugs or surgery! I’ll tell you more about them in have wider hips to allow infants to
In fact, I was even invited to write just a moment. But first, it’s helpful pass safely through the birth canal.
an editorial about it that was published to know why back pain is such a (Interesting side note: Humans are
in the esteemed Annals of Internal common problem. And believe it or the only animals who have such
Medicine nearly 15 years ago. not, it’s a problem that has evolved potentially difficult delivery, which is
right along with mankind. why we call it “labor.”)
And from 2002 through 2007, I
was principal co-investigator on one The great evolutionary trade-off But since you can’t walk
of the biggest studies on back pain Last month I told you about the effectively if the hips are too wide,
ever conducted. It was funded by the importance of your gait (or how well human infants were born at earlier
U.S. Health Resources and Services you walk) as a key to health and and earlier stages of development,
Administration (HRSA). We gathered longevity, especially as you get older. while the brain is still immature. So
data from over 700 studies from But it’s not about how much you Continued on page 2...
around the world. We organized a walk. It’s about how well you walk.
consortium of over a dozen accredited And indeed, it’s the ability to walk In this issue:
chiropractic colleges and medical upright that sets humans apart—but
schools, such as Harvard Medical it’s also what sets us up for a lot of Rheumatoid arthritis: One of
School and Jefferson University pain as well. medicine’s most agonizing
Hospital, and had committees of Walking has been a key factor in
dozens of clinical researchers to mysteries—UNRAVELED!............ 4
the ability of humans to survive. In
review the results. And we concluded fact, the ability to walk upright on Green tea and Alzheimer’s disease:
the same thing that “hands-on” two legs is a distinctly human trait. Knowing when to hold them,
healers had concluded a century ago, And throughout human history, this and when to fold them.................6
and that modern research had even trait has freed the hands so that,
concluded a decade before: together with larger brains, humans The Great Coconut Craze
Drugs and surgery should be your could express their creativity and Everything you need to know
last resort! productivity to build our modern, about what coconuts can—
There are much more effective “man-made” world. and CAN’T—do for you.................7
strategies for relieving both acute and One important trade-off is that Urgent warning for men:
chronic back pain—no matter what in order to walk (and run) more
the cause. So, please, before you effectively, the legs needed to be
Beware “long-acting” chronic
reach for that bottle of pain pills… placed more narrowly together pain medications..........................8
before you subject yourself to an than they are on other, four-footed

www.DrMicozzi.com 1
DR. MICOZZI’S INSIDERS’ CURES

human young are the most immature (“pinched nerves”). And on a chronic
Marc S. Micozzi, M.D., Ph.D., is a creatures in the universe, and require basis, they can cause the familiar
worldwide leader in nutritional and a prolonged period of dependency— condition of sciatica.
complementary/alternative medicine. with implications for nuclear family,
He has had a distinguished career as a In the spine itself, the middle 12
extended family, and human social vertebra are held relatively rigid
researcher and physician executive at
the National Institutes of Health and
organization as a whole. by the ribs, but the seven cervical
Walter Reed National Military Medical Consider it a grand evolutionary vertebrae in the neck, and the five
Center in Washington, DC, and the biological compromise between lumbar vertebrae of the lower back
College of Physicians in Philadelphia upright posture, freeing the hands, have more degrees of freedom, and
PA. He has published over 30 medical and having bigger brains. less support. Which is why lower
and trade books, and founded and
edited the first scientific journal, and But there’s another tremendous back pain is such a universal source
the first textbook, on complementary/ impact that walking upright has had of discomfort in humans.
alternative and nutritional medicine, on humans. One that millions of Of course, when there is a sudden
now going into a 5th edition (2014) and people struggle with every day—back rupture of a spinal disc (or cushion),
continuously in print since 1995. pain. or even a traumatic fracture of a
Dr. Micozzi’s Insiders’ Cures is published From discomfort to disability portion of a vertebra, there can be
monthly by OmniVista Health Media, L.L.C., The spine provides structure to the sudden debilitating pain.
702 Cathedral St., Baltimore, MD 21201 for entire body and helps protect the vital However, even without a sudden
$74 per year ($6.16 an issue). organs. It also provides the protective rupture or traumatic fracture, low
POSTMASTER: Send address changes conduit for the “wiring” that runs to back pain can be disabling. In fact,
to Insiders’ Cures, 702 Cathedral St., all the parts of the body—the spinal it’s the most common cause of
Baltimore, MD 21201. cord and the spinal nerves. disability in working Americans
Author: Marc S. Micozzi, M.D., Ph.D. In animals that walk on all fours, (those who still have work).
Publisher: Katherine Wheeler
the natural design of the spine is like But regardless of the origin of your
Executive Editor: Amanda Angelini
a simple suspension bridge. But over pain, the treatments are the same.
All material in this publication is time (millions of years, probably),
provided for information only and may The best ways to beat lower back
humans began to stand erect. And the
not be construed as medical advice or pain, naturally
shape of the spine converted from
instruction. No action should be taken
a suspension bridge to a shallow While it may seem counter-
based solely on the contents of this intuitive…one of the most important
publication; readers should consult S-shaped (or sigmoid) curve…to
provide balance, structural support, and simplest things to do when
appropriate health professionals on any
matter relating to their health and well- and some “suspension” as well as your back is sore is to actually keep
being. The information provided in this “shock absorption.” moving! Gentle exercising, such as
publication is believed to be accurate walking and swimming, are good
and sound, based on the best judgment
But as you can imagine, pounding for your lower back, provided you
available to the authors, but readers away against hard surfaces while have not developed a disabling
who fail to consult with appropriate walking not only affects the joints of condition. In fact, not moving
health authorities assume the risk of any the legs, but the shock waves work enough contributes to developing the
injuries. The opinions expressed here do their way up through the pelvis to discomfort in the first place.
not necessarily reflect the views of the the spinal column and the individual
publisher. The publisher is not responsible vertebrae. The result is degenerative And a new study conducted at the
for errors or omissions. arthritis, or osteoarthritis in the spine. University of Tel-Aviv in Israel shows
For questions regarding your subscription, that walking is as effective as clinic-
And just like in other joints,
please call reader services at 443-353-4398 run rehabilitation programs for back
osteoarthritis of the spinal vertebrae
(8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EDT Mon.-Fri.) pain.1 And it only takes as little as 20
can lead to stiffness. As well as
Copyright © 2013 OmniVista Health minutes twice a week.
contribute to bony outgrowths that
Media, L.L.C., 702 Cathedral St., Baltimore, In addition to walking, acupuncture
can impact and irritate the spinal
MD 21201. Reproduction in whole or
nerves that branch out from the spinal (as featured in last month’s issue of
in part is prohibited without written
permission of the publisher. cord. These kinds of irritations are Insiders’ Cures) is another extremely
common in the arms and the legs successful treatment for relieving low

2 www.DrMicozzi.com
DR. MICOZZI’S INSIDERS’ CURES

back pain. Sir William Osler, who was a chiropractor or osteopath wasn’t all research tends to be that we still
a leading physician at the University just about getting effective physical need more research, the problem
of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins, and treatments. Opting for osteopathic of low back pain has continued to
then Oxford, during the late 19th and or chiropractic therapy saved people be studied. Long after the average
turn of the 20th century recommended from dangerous, unpleasant, and less doctor and patient should have had
acupuncture for the treatment of effective (or completely ineffective the results they needed to guide
lumbago (lower back pain) through and even toxic) regular medical sensible and safe treatment.
the 3rd edition of his classic textbook treatments. A good plan for our Even today, large hospitals are still
of medicine in 1910. (Unfortunately, present day as well. doing studies proving that patients
all mention of acupuncture Unfortunately, despite the with low back pain can be sent
disappeared in subsequent editions of evidence, the benefits of chiropractic directly for physical therapy the same
his textbook issued after his death.) therapy got overshadowed by the day for successful relief—without
But the No. 1, proven treatment supposed “breakthrough” of back even waiting to do an x-ray or MRI.
for relieving back pain and restoring surgery. Meantime, back surgeons got (See the news brief “Back Pain?
function, based on decades of into a crisis of their own… Skip the MRI!” that appeared in the
indisputable science and data is… December 2012 issue of Insiders’
Don’t wait until it’s too late
Cures for more details.)
Spinal manual therapy—or About 10 years ago, the problem of
an “adjustment” carried out by a “failed back” surgery had become so Having to wait for more studies
chiropractor or a physical therapist. common that in some states, insurers just prolongs the agony.
The original “bone setters” were refusing to provide malpractice So if you suffer from low back
helped pave the way for insurance to doctors who perform pain, skip the expensive medical
“drugless healing” back surgery. tests and surgery. And stay as far
The problem of low back pain I attended Congressional field away from steroid injections as you
was primarily responsible for the hearings in Pennsylvania to can! (For more on this topic, refer
success of two entirely new medical determine whether or not patients back to the Daily Dispatch from
systems that arose in the American should be able to obtain back surgery May 10th, titled “A shot in the dark.”
in the state at all. Gov. Ed Rendell You can view it on my website,
mid-west during the late 19th century.
testified in these hearings. We had www.drmicozzi.com).
First osteopathic medicine and then
chiropractic medicine sprang up met before, when I opened the C. You can get rapid relief from
in regions where there were fewer Everett Koop Community Health a licensed chiropractor, physical
doctors practicing. Education Center in Philadelphia therapist, acupuncturist, or qualified
in 1996, and we spoke afterward. massage therapist. And if you can,
There had been a tradition in
He was quite open to the idea that keep moving. IC
both European and Asian societies
most patients with back pain do not Citations available online at www.DrMicozzi.com
(whose members emigrated to the
require surgery, and should not get
American west) of folk healers Three herbal pain
back surgery. If only the medical
and “bone setters” that offered
community was as open-minded. soothers worth a try
“adjustments.” So osteopaths’ and
chiropractors’ ability to “lay on Of course, it wasn’t a secret. In
While they’re not a substitute for
hands” and physically manipulate the fact, it was known for a long time in
effective spinal manual therapies,
back and the body back into shape— the U.S. that acupuncturists, massage
there are several herbs that can help
and health—was a big attraction to therapists, spinal manual therapists
relieve pain. They include:
suffering patients. (chiropractors), and even herbalists
were helping people with back pain. Boswellia serratta extract (gum)—
Another big attraction of these 400 -500 mg/day
hands-on healers was that they Granted, it was usually after a
patient had received an ineffective Curcuma longa (root)
promoted “drugless healing.” Which
medical therapy. At which point it (Tumeric)—200 mg/day
allowed people to avoid taking the
drugs of the time. Some of which was often too late to be able to heal Withania somnifera (root extract)
contained toxic compounds like naturally. (Ashwaganda)—500 mg/day
arsenic, lead, and mercury. So, seeing And since the interpretation of

INSIDERS’ CURES, JUNE 2013 3
DR. MICOZZI’S INSIDERS’ CURES

Rheumatoid arthritis: One of medicine’s most
agonizing mysteries—UNRAVELED!
Plus 5 true complementary therapies that can help soothe your pain,
starting today

Modern medicine botches a rheumatoid arthritis (RA). But, as is just a minute. First, it’s important to
lot of things. But the way it treats the case in many other auto-immune understand how it all ties together.
rheumatoid arthritis may be one of disorders, there’s also a strong mind- It’s all connected
the worst examples. body connection. And, more recently,
I’ve talked a lot about the mind-
For centuries, rheumatoid arthritis yet another factor has come to light—
body connection here in Insiders’
the nervous system connection.
(RA) has largely been a mystery. A Cures. But I have to—because
very painful one at that. Finding real relief from this western science separated the two
mysterious chronic condition long ago. And that was—and is—a
The problem is, once again, that
requires treating all three aspects. huge mistake. Other ethno-medical
western medicine only focuses on
Unfortunately, most doctors simply traditions in Asia and around the
ONE aspect of the disease.
aren’t. world never separated them. This
Modern medicine has classified is one reason these other medical
That said, make no mistake: RA
RA as an auto-immune disease. Of traditions appear more “wholistic” to
is a dangerous systemic condition
course, when I was in training during us today.
that requires management by a
the 1970s, that’s what the experts competent rheumatologist. And the But even based on modern science,
ended up calling a lot of diseases they good news is, more and more doctors growing evidence shows the mind
simply didn’t understand. are recognizing that there are also and body are linked—or “married.”
Today, we know there is indeed complementary approaches that can For better or worse, in sickness and in
an immune component involved in help soothe RA. More on that in health.

The heart of the matter
Rheumatic fever was relatively common through the mid-20th century. It’s less common now…but it has left some
lasting damage. You see, when a child came down with rheumatic fever, their immune system made antibodies
to fight it. Unfortunately, these antibodies also attacked the heart valves. So the children would recover from the
infection, but they would grow up with damaged heart valves (“leaky” valves) that didn’t work.
When open heart surgery was first developed it was a blessing for adults who suffered from rheumatic heart
disease. They could have their damaged heart valves replaced, either with valves harvested from pigs (as they
seemed to provide the best match from nature), or mechanical valves.
Heart valve replacement was a very effective use of open heart surgery. However, by the 1970s only about 20
percent of open heart operations were being done for heart valve replacement. What kept the heart-lung bypass
machines pumping was the new technique of coronary-artery-bypass grafts, whereby blood vessels are cut out of
the legs to sew into the heart to bypass blockages of coronary arteries.
More recently, there are approaches where blocked coronary arteries are opened from within with stents and
balloons, introduced through the blood vessels of the legs.
Unfortunately, as I described in Daily Dispatches last summer, there remain a lot of questions as to whether these
dramatic but dangerous, expensive, uncomfortable procedures, actually have any real benefits in terms of reducing
heart disease and mortality. But don’t count on surgeons and “invasive” cardiologists to give them up any time
soon.

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DR. MICOZZI’S INSIDERS’ CURES

It boils down to three inter- But now there’s a third piece RA is the result of your immune
connected components: being added to the puzzle— system attacking the cartilage in
1. “Psycho”—the mind/brain “immunology.” your joints. This confusion can
connection stem from a true bacterial infection,
Like neuro-peptides and nerves,
the immune system is also present like “rheumatic fever” (see sidebar
2. “Neuro”—the nervous system on page 4). Or it can appear more
connection throughout the body. Immune
cells (white blood cells) travel mysteriously from a stress-related
3. “Immunology”—the immune throughout the blood. And there immune imbalance—this is the
system connection mind-body-immune connection.
are specialized concentrations of
In fact, today there’s an entire these cells in the adenoids, tonsils, While there is accordingly a
field of medicine called “psycho- spleen, appendix, and throughout mind-body component, caution
neuro-immunology.” Which provides the gastrointestinal tract (without must be exercised with rheumatoid
a tangible scientific approach, a fully understanding their role, 20th arthritis. It causes real, physical
physiologic model, and a growing century surgeons considered them damage with serious complications
body of data proving the mind-body all to be expendable). They are also that require experienced medical
connections. concentrated in the thymus gland management. The best thing you
Here’s how each component during childhood. can do is to consult a rheumatologist
works… When you look at how each of who can help determine which of
For the “psycho” component, these three components impacts the drugs for RA appear to be safe,
we know that the mind-brain the body from head-to-toe on their effective, and appropriate for you.
is connected through thoughts, own…it’s not hard to see how And whether there older ones that
emotional feelings, and levels of they are all inter-related as well. are more reliable (as in the case with
consciousness to influence the body. The psycho-neuro-immunology- blood pressure medications).
But it’s not just a one-way street. The connection becomes quite apparent. That said, doctors and patients
biochemicals, called neuro-peptides, alike are realizing that there are also
that we associate as being in the So what causes rheumatoid
arthritis? natural approaches you can take to
brain, such as neurotransmitters, are help alleviate RA. Especially when
actually present throughout the body. One way the immune system
it comes to addressing the mind-
In fact, neurotransmitters are found in works is by making antibodies
body connection.
even greater quantities in the gut, for that match to antigens on invading
example, than they are in the nervous bacteria and viruses. Antigens are True “complements” to RA
system. foreign substances that stimulate treatment
the immune system. The antibodies A wide range of “mind-body”
Further, the production of specific
attack the antigens and then white approaches can reduce the stress that
hormones (which occurs throughout
blood cells can destroy the microbes. inevitably accompanies the pain with
the body in the thyroid, pancreas,
These microbial antigens are which RA patients struggle on a daily
adrenal glands, and ovaries or testes)
often made up of proteins and/ basis. For those best suited to your
is controlled by specific neuro-
or polysaccharides that are emotional type take the short quiz
peptides released by the pituitary
commonly found in nature. These featured on www.drmicozzi.com, or
gland of the brain. These hormones
are some of the same proteins and in my book with Michael Jawer Your
are released into the circulatory
system and carried to all parts of the polysaccharides that exist in normal, Emotional Type.
body in the blood. healthy biological substances as Gentle movements—as in
For the “neuro” part of the well. Unfortunately, when the traditional yoga or tai chi—can also
equation, the nervous system immune system can get out of synch, be helpful. Likewise, swimming
originates in the brain and spinal some of the antibodies it makes can provide just the right kind of
cord as well. Nerves also travel to against microbes get confused and low-stress movement and physical
all parts of the body, both sensing cross-react with certain normal exercise. Light massage, low-impact
and influencing all tissues at tissues. Thus, the immune system exercise, and just getting outdoors
both voluntary (conscious) and can attack our own bodies—causing
an “auto” immune disease. Continued on page 6...
involuntary (unconscious) levels.

INSIDERS’ CURES, JUNE 2013 5
DR. MICOZZI’S INSIDERS’ CURES

(walking, riding a bike, or light immersing the joints in warm sand.
gardening) can also be good. This can easily be accomplished on RA strikes rich and poor
For the pain itself, acupuncture a sunny beach (while also providing alike
can often work wonders. you, and your bones and joints, with
During ancient and historic periods,
some much-needed vitamin D).
In China and India, rheumatic many infectious and inflammatory
conditions are associated with Whatever complementary therapy diseases were associated with lower
“cold and damp.” So while the you decide to try, don’t go it alone. socio-economic status. But it was
inflammation may seem hot, it The best way to ensure you get noted that even members of the
actually helps to seek warmth and the most relief is to work with a elite came down with “rheumatic”
avoid cold and damp circumstances rheumatologist who can recommend conditions—showing there’s “rheum
and climates. In fact, one ancient the best complementary therapies for at the top.”
Ayurvedic treatment involves your particular needs. IC

NEWS BRIEF

Green tea and Alzheimer’s disease:
Knowing when to hold them, and when to fold them
You’ve probably heard about EGCG (or epi-gallo-catechin-3-gallate) before. It’s the chemical that gives green tea
it’s impressive health benefits. In fact, a recent study in Egypt found that EGCG can cause remission of cancer (see
“Egyptian researchers cure cancer with the help of two herbal remedies” in the September 2012 issue of Insiders’
Cures). Now another new study shows EGCG may also help fight Alzheimer’s dementia.
Researchers found EGCG prevents the abnormal folding of specific proteins in the brain.1 The grouping of these
proteins, called “metal-associated amyloids,” is thought to play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s dementia
and other degenerative diseases of the nervous system.
All proteins are made up of chains of amino acids. In a longer protein, the amino acids in the chain interact with each
other so the protein is folded into a certain shape.
The folded shape of a protein is critical to how it works in the body. Consider the protein hemoglobin, for example. It
has the important role in binding the metal iron, and carrying oxygen in the blood. That function, the ability to carry
iron, is based on its folding, and resulting shape (not just its chemical composition). In fact, Linus Pauling received his
first Nobel Prize for discovering how protein folding occurs to create the correct shape of hemoglobin.
When genetic variations of the hemoglobin molecule substitute specific amino acids in the chain, it causes the
protein to fold into different shapes. These changes cause diseases such as sickle cell anemia, Thalassemia, and
others.
So, as I’ve said before, just understanding a molecule’s chemical content is not enough. You have to understand its
folding and shape to understand its role in the body. And it’s not enough to measure the quantity of biochemical in
the blood; we also need to know their quality—literally what shape they are in.
In this study, EGCG prevented formation of amyloid groupings and even broke down existing groups in proteins that
contain metals (specifically copper, iron, and zinc). As with the folding of the hemoglobin protein, the folding of these
amyloid proteins to contain metals appears critical to whether or not they cause disease.
The researchers pointed out that many studies are investigating small molecules and metal-associated amyloid
proteins in Alzheimer’s dementia—but most are looking from a limited perspective. And most are also overlooking
the dementia-fighting abilities of natural products like green tea.
By remembering some biochemistry 101, it looks like these chemists, biochemists, and biophysicists have found a
new and promising approach.
Citations available online at www.DrMicozzi.com

6 www.DrMicozzi.com
DR. MICOZZI’S INSIDERS’ CURES

The Great Coconut Craze
Everything you need to know about what coconuts
can—and CAN’T—do for you
I received a question from a reader athlete or an average Joe. To read And to point to coconut oil’s high
recently regarding the health benefits more about it, refer back to my report saturated fat content as the culprit.
of coconut oil. Indeed, coconut oil Miracle at Red Bush, which you But these alarms were based on
and, more recently, coconut water are received when you subscribed to misunderstanding of natural products
taking their turn in the spotlight of the Insiders’ Cures. I recommend RedJoe and nutrition, as well as the actual
natural product industry. brand water-soluble red bush powder studies that were done.
And like any new industry darling, from ELEV8. Call 941-623-8811 or Those early studies used
there are all sorts of wild claims about 941-487-8008 to order.) chemically altered, partially
what coconut can do for you. Some of Of course, long before coconut hydrogenated coconut oil. Partial
them more accurate than others. Will water was trendy, coconut “milk” hydrogenation creates the toxic trans
coconut help you shed 50 pounds by was a common ingredient in Indian, fats that we now know are the real
summer? Probably not. But coconuts Southern Chinese, Thai, Burmese and killers. It also destroys many of the
do have some impressive—and Vietnamese cuisines. Coconut milk beneficial natural essential fatty acids,
surprising—health benefits. is made by soaking shredded, dried antioxidants and other components in
Nature’s perfect IV solution coconut “meat” (or copra) in water. virgin coconut oil.
During the late 1970’s on the Asian cultures use it to add healthy Most of the fats in virgin coconut
southern island of Mindanao, while essential fats and some protein to oil are saturated. But as I’ve pointed
tracking down the origins of a their carbohydrate-rich diets. Coconut out before, science shows that
parasitic tropical disease, I met with milk also neutralizes the bitterness of
Continued on page 8...
an insurgent group known as the the fresh herbs and vegetables that are
“New Peoples’ Army.” They had built staples of these cuisines.
“bamboo hospitals” in the jungle and The reason that the interior of Coconuts’ early sea
were using coconuts as intravenous the coconut has all these nutrients voyage
drips. Which isn’t as crazy as it (electrolytes, essential fats, protein)
sounds. This use was also known in The first record of the coconut palm
is to support the growth of a new
the South Pacific during WWII. in the west was by an Egyptian
coconut palm when it washes ashore
writer Cosmos, who reported seeing
You see, the water naturally on sandy soil after an ocean journey
them in India and Sri Lanka. Marco
present inside coconuts contains of potentially thousands of miles (see
Polo saw them in Indonesia in 1280.
sugar and electrolytes and mixes the sidebar at right).
When Portuguese maritime explorer
easily with human blood. And the But the real coconut “superstar” Vasco da Gama sailed around the
hard shell surrounding the water these days is coconut oil. Cape of Good Hope in South Africa
keeps it sterile until it’s opened. in the 15th century he brought back
The controversial coconut
Coconut water’s electrolyte cure-all what would be the first coconuts in
content is one of the attributes that Of course, as you might remember, the Atlantic. Eventually, coconuts
has propelled it to recent fame as back in the 1990s there were all sorts made it from Cape Verde in South
well. There are dozens of different of warnings against coconut oil. Africa to Puerto Rico in 1549.
coconut water beverages on the Botanists have concluded that
market now. They’re being touted as In the early research studies,
coconut oil raised the cholesterol coconuts originated in the Malay-
a healthier “sports drink” for athletes. Indonesian region of southeast Asia
(Of course, I still believe red bush levels of laboratory animals. Of
course, the medial research complex and probably floated on their own to
tea is the best beverage to give your the Pacific coast of Central America
body the hydration it needs for peak and consumer “watch dog” groups
were quick to pounce on this detail. before the Spanish got there.
performance—whether you’re an

INSIDERS’ CURES, JUNE 2013 7
DR. MICOZZI’S INSIDERS’ CURES

saturated fats are not the villains they in heart disease and mortality is does have healthy effects on skin and
were once made out to be. questionable at best anyway. hair. In fact, lauric acid is already
But aside from its effects on an ingredient in many hair products.
Plus, it turns out, not all saturated
cholesterol, a number of additional It helps protect keratin, the protein
fats are created equal. Different types
health claims are being made for found in hair.
of saturated fats behave differently.
lauric acid. According to proponents, And applying coconut oil to the
The secret to coconut oil’s success it’s yet another wonder substance skin helps keep it moist, but doesn’t
The main saturated fat in coconut with possible antibacterial, interfere with absorption of sunlight
oil is called lauric acid. Lauric acid antimicrobial, and antiviral for vitamin D.
does increase cholesterol levels in properties. Which could (they claim) The bottom line? Coconut oil
the blood. But it increases levels of combat H.I.V., clear up acne, and certainly isn’t harmful (in moderation).
both “good” HDL, or high-density speed up your metabolism. However, And it does have some nice cosmetic
lipoprotein, and “bad” LDL, or low- most researchers—myself included— benefits. But it remains uncertain
density lipoprotein. So it doesn’t remain skeptical. whether coconut oil is actively
negatively affect the overall ratio of While debate continues about the beneficial in the way that olive oil, for
the two. And the role of cholesterol internal benefits of coconut oil, it example, is proven to be. IC

NEWS BRIEF

Urgent warning for men: Beware “long-acting” chronic pain medications
An estimated 4.3 million Americans use opioids on a daily basis for pain. Of course, there are a number of natural
alternatives for managing pain (as I’ve discussed both in this issue and in previous editions of Insiders’ Cures). But if
you do take an opioid-based pain relievier (Oxycontin or Vicodin, for example), at the very least, opt for a short-acting
version (taken every 4-6 hours) instead of a long-acting one that you take every 8-12 hours.
This may sound like a strange recommendation. And, in theory, long-acting pain medications seem like a good idea:
longer relief, less medication.
Indeed, doctors were told for years that these longer-acting opioids would be somehow safer, more effective, and less
subject to abuse. Yet no study has been able to show such benefits. However, new research has found a substantial
difference between the short-acting forms and the long-acting versions. And the results are, well…painful.
A large study of 1,500 men who are taking pain pills is currently underway. And researchers have already determined
that the long-acting medications are causing five times the rate of low testosterone.1
Fully three-quarters of the men on long-acting pain medications had low-T compared with only one-third using short-
acting. After controlling for body mass index, the risk of low-T was 4.8 times greater for the men taking long-acting
medications. The researchers didn’t attempt to explain why pain medications could cause low-T.
But Dr. Andrea Rubinstein, lead study author, said that “We are now finding that long-term use of opioids may have
important unintended health consequences.”
Unfortunately the unintended consequences of “low-T” can snowball. Low-T in turn causes decreased muscle mass,
bone density (osteoporosis), cognition (dementia), mood (depression), libido and generally poor quality of life. All of
these are in turn associated with chronic pain as well, leading to a greater need for pain medications—a viscious cycle.
We have commented before on the generally poor quality and status of politically-based (rather than science-based)
pain medicine (See the Premier issue of Insiders’ Cures for more on that topic).
These latest results regarding what should be nature’s most effective form of relief are painful indeed. But for many
conditions you can skip the opioids and go with one of the other natural remedies I discussed a few months ago in
the March 2013 issue. If you don’t still have your copy, you can download and view it for free by visiting the Subscriber
section of my website, www.drmicozzi.com.
Citations available online at www.DrMicozzi.com

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