Monthly Archives: February 2016

The Mystery of Homeopathy Explained

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Most homeopathic remedies are very dilute. In fact any homeopathic remedy of 24X or 12C potency and above has been diluted to the point that statistically speaking, not even one particle of the original substance remains. Herein lies the major complaint about homeopathy.

We are all very familiar with the pharmacological, linear, dose-response curve. A small dose of medication causes a small effect and the larger the dose, the larger the effect. So, the more dilute the medication, the more reduced the biological effect. At very low dilutions no effect is expected. Diluting a medicine to the point that statistically there is none of the original substance left, certainly results in it having no biological effect. Therefore, homeopathy is quackery – so the thinking goes.

This conclusion is valid given the assumption that homeopathic remedies are ordinary dissolved and diluted bulk-form pharmaceutical chemicals that act pharmaceutically with linear dose-response activity. However, modern research disproves these assumptions.

Recently, numerous laboratories around the world have studied high-potency homeopathic remedies (those diluted beyond Avogadro’s number) using many analytical techniques. Specific high-potency remedies have been found to differ from each other and from succussed solvent controls in their release measurably excess heat and electrical conductivity.1,2 They have been shown to differ using Ramen and UV-vis spectroscopic methods,3,4 NMR spectroscopy,5 infrared spectroscopy,6 REDEM technology,7 gas discharge visualization,8 and thermoluminescence.9 Clearly, even though high-potency homeopathic remedies are void of chemicals that can be detected conventionally, there is evidence that they contain some unique information. The answer may lie in the budding science of nanoparticles (NPs).

NANOPARTICLE BASICS

NPs are particles measuring in the range of one-billionth of a meter in any external dimension. For perspective, typical body cells range from 1-100 micrometers in diameter. NPs range from 1-100 nanometers and there are 1,000 nanometers per micrometer.

PNs have different properties than their bulk forms. Any compound that is not in a NP form is a collection of atoms or molecules. The outer surface molecules are available to react chemically while the interior remain inactive. NPs have a high percentage of exterior, reactive molecules compared to their bulk forms and they have a higher surface area. One kg of particles of 1 mm3 has the same surface area as 1 mg of particles of 1 nm3. Their increased surface area combined with their small size contribute to NPs unique properties including adsorptive, electromagnetic, optical, thermal, and quantum properties, as well as increased chemical reactivity, bonding, high conductivity, strength and durability.10-17

NANOPARTICLES AND HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES

In vivo, NPs can easily penetrate the body’s usual barriers including the skin and blood-brain barrier, as well as the lining of the GI tract and airways. NPs of a compound can have different toxicological profiles than the bulk form because of their size and unique chemical characteristics. Due to the increased bioavailability and reactivity of NPs the dose needed for their biological activity is lower than that needed for herbs, nutriceuticals, drugs, or antigens by orders of magnitude.12,18-21

Like modern methods for producing nanoparticles, the succussion used in homeopathic remedy production causes intense turbulence, particle collision, and shear forces that break the source material into smaller and smaller particles.22 The result is the production of remedy source NPs. In fact, remedy source nanoparticles have been detected in commercially produced, high-potency, homeopathic remedies.23,24

It appears that the more succussion and dilution a homeopathic remedy is exposed to (the higher its potency), the more NPs are produced and the smaller those NPs become. Cellular interactions with NPs can cause systemic effects.25 The NPs in homeopathic remedies may therefore act as low level stressors of the body, thereby triggering a systemic stress response.

Have you had success with homeopathy?

  1. Elia V, Napoli E, Germano R. The ‘Memory of Water’: an almost deciphered enigma. Dissipative structures in extremely dilute aqueous solutions. Homeopathy. 2007;96(3):163–169.
  2. Elia V, Niccoli M. New physico-chemical properties of extremely diluted aqueous solutions. Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry. 2004;75:815–836.
  3. Rao ML, Roy R, Bell IR. The defining role of structure (including epitaxy) in the plausibility of homeopathy. Homeopathy. 2007;96(3):175–182.
  4. Wolf U, Wolf M, Heusser P, Thurneysen A, Baumgartner S. Homeopathic preparations of quartz. sulfur and copper sulfate assessed by uv-spectroscopy. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:692798.
  5. Demangeat JL. NMR relaxation evidence for solute-induced nanosized superstructures in ultramolecular aqueous dilutions of silica-lactose. Journal of Molecular Liquids. 2010;155:71–79.
  6. Sukul NC, Ghosh S, Sukul A, Sinhababu SP. Variation in Fourier transform infrared spectra of some homeopathic potencies and their diluent media. J Altern Complement Med. 2005;11(5):807–812.
  7. Witt C, Ludtke R, Weisshuhn TE, Willich SN. High homeopathic potencies are different from potentized solvent when investigated with the REDEM technology. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2005;12(1):6–13.
  8. Bell IR, Lewis D, Brooks AJ, Lewis S, Schwartz GE. Gas discharge visualization evaluation of ultramolecular doses of homeopathic medicines under blinded, controlled conditions. J Altern Complement Med. 2003;9(1):25–38.
  9. Rey L. Can low-temperature thermoluminescence cast light on the nature of ultra-high dilutions? Homeopathy. 2007;96(3):170–174.
  10. Liu L, Randolph TW, Carpenter JF. Particles shed from syringe filters and their effects on agitation-induced protein aggregation. J Pharm Sci. 2012;101(8):2952–2959.
  11. Chi EY, Weickmann J, Carpenter JF, Manning MC, Randolph TW. Heterogeneous nucleation-controlled particulate formation of recombinant human platelet-activating factor acetylhydrolase in pharmaceutical formulation. J Pharm Sci. 2005;94(2):256–274.
  12. Iavicoli I, Calabrese EJ, Nascarella MA. Exposure to nanoparticles and hormesis. Dose Response. 2010;8(4):501–517.
  13. Bell IR, Koithan M. A model for homeopathic remedy effects: low dose nanoparticles, allostatic cross adaption, and time-dependent sensitization in a complex adaptive system. BMC Complement Altern Med 2012;12:191.
  14. Montagnier L, Aissa J, Ferris S, Montagnier J-L, Lavallee C. Electromagnetic signals are produced by aqueous nanostructures derived from bacterial DNA sequences. Interdisciplinary Sci Comput Life Sci. 2009;1:81–90.
  15. Roduner E. Size matters: why nanomaterials are different. Chem Soc Rev. 2006;35(7):583–592.
  16. Buzea C, Pacheco II, Robbie K. Nanomaterials and nanoparticles: sources and toxicity. Biointerphases. 2007;2(4):MR17–71.
  17. Yao P, Hughes S. Macroscopic entanglement and violation of Bell’s inequalities between two spatially separated quantum dots in a planar photonic crystal system. Opt Express. 2009;17(14):11505–11514.
  18. Prakash DJ, Arulkumar S, Sabesan M. Effect of nanohypericum (Hypericum perforatum gold nanoparticles) treatment on restraint stress induced behavioral and biochemical alteration in male albino mice. Pharmacognosy Res. 2010;2(6):330–334.
  19. Nair HB, Sung B, Yadav VR, Kannappan R, Chaturvedi MM, Aggarwal BB. Delivery of antiinflammatory nutraceuticals by nanoparticles for the prevention and treatment of cancer. Biochem Pharmacol. 2010;80(12):1833–1843.
  20. Armstead AL, Li B. Nanomedicine as an emerging approach against intracellular pathogens. Int J Nanomedicine. 2011;6:3281–3293.
  21. Bershteyn A, Hanson MC, Crespo MP, Moon JJ, Li AV, Suh H, Irvine DJ. Robust IgG responses to nanograms of antigen using a biomimetic lipid-coated particle vaccine. J Control Release. 2012;157(3):354–365.
  22. Bhattacharyya SS, Mandal SK, Biswas R, Paul S, Pathak S, Boujedaini N, Belon P, Khuda-Bukhsh AR. In vitro studies demonstrate anticancer activity of an alkaloid of the plant Gelsemium sempervirens. Exp Biol Med (Maywood) 2008;233(12):1591–1601.
  23. Chikramane PS, Suresh AK, Bellare JR, Kane SG. Extreme homeopathic dilutions retain starting materials: A nanoparticulate perspective. Homeopathy. 2010;99(4):231–242.
  24. Upadhyay RP, Nayak C. Homeopathy emerging as nanomedicine. International Journal of High Dilution Research. 2011;10(37):299–310.
  25. Zhu M, Li Y, Shi J, Feng W, Nie G, Zhao Y. Exosomes as extrapulmonary signaling conveyors for nanoparticle-induced systemic immune activation. Small. 2012;8(3):404–412.

Research from 1979 Refutes Current Dog Food Pyramid

Puppy Selfie 2

There is a common notion that dogs are omnivores. And, the bottom line is that they are omnivores. Of course that’s because they have no choice but to eat what we feed them. This is typically processed kibble containing at least 30% carbohydrates.

Think about this; if we captured all the polar bears in the world and started feeding them nothing but bananas, we could say that all polar bears are bananavores. Of course that is not the best diet for them. They naturally eat what is best for them from their normal environment.

Since dogs have been removed from their natural environment, how can we tell what they were meant to eat? What does their genetics dictate is best for them to eat for optimal health? What does science tell us?

This study, published in the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association in 1979 starts by stating the purpose of the research. “A good deal of disagreement exists within the veterinary profession about the proper diet for dogs… We conducted a review of the available wildlife literature, with the intent that the information gathered concerning food selection among feral carnivores might influence future considerations regarding the feeding of domestic carnivores…”  Unfortunately, today there is little disagreement among veterinary nutritionists – dogs are omnivores they say.

The researchers in this study surveyed the stomach contents of the coyote, fox, wolf, bobcat, cougar, and lynx. That’s an interesting approach to the mystery. But, is it valid? Why would they think that dogs should eat like wild carnivores? What do they have in common? The researchers offer this explanation.

“Anatomically, our domestic breeds of dogs possess gastrointestinal systems similar to those of the feral carnivores studied. They share in common strong carnassial teeth, simple stomachs of great digestive capability, thickly muscled esophagus, stomach and intestine, residual cecae, and simple non-sacculated colons.”

In other words, the fact that the domestic dog’s digestive tract is very similar to that of the wild animals studied indicates they evolved to eat similar diets. Anatomy dictates function. Dogs appear to be genetically programmed to eat like a wild carnivore. I am not saying that dogs are identical to wolves (I would not want one of those in bed with me). However their digestive anatomy indicates that they are adapted to eat similar diets.

So, what did the researchers conclude that dogs should eat? “From these many studies into the food habits of feral carnivores, it may be concluded that the staple diet of carnivores living in a natural setting includes other animals, carrion, and occasionally fruits and grasses… carnivores in their natural environments consume diets high in animal protein, bulk, and roughage (not plant fiber, but indigestible or poorly digestible parts of animal carcasses…) and low in carbohydrates, and caloric density.”

I am not proposing that we feed our pets carrion (dead and decayed animals). But notice that the diets that appear to be best for our dogs are high in animal protein and low in carbohydrates. This is basically the opposite of what dogs foods offer. We need to turn the current, dog food pyramid upside down.

Have you turned the dog food pyramid upside down?

The “Highly Digestible Pet Food” Myth

People Chow

Digestibility is a measure of how easily a pet food ingredient is broken down by the digestive system and absorbed into the body. The more digestible the food, the quicker the nutrients enter the pet’s bloodstream.

 Pet food companies sometimes brag about their food’s digestibility. On the surface, this sounds like a good thing. Who wants to feed their pet a food that is not well digested and assimilated? Why would you not want a pet food that is highly digestible?

Whether or not it is good to have a highly digestible food depends on exactly which nutrients we’re talking about. We certainly do want a food with highly digestible protein. Dogs and cats need lots of readily available protein in their diets because they are genetically programmed to eat lots of it. Dietary protein leads to lean body mass and it sends signals to the brain that make the animal feel satiated so they are less likely to over-eat.

We also want the micronutrients like vitamins and minerals in a food to be highly digestible. These are called micronutrients because the body needs them in very small quantities (compared to macronutrients like protein, fat, and carbohydrates). Even though they are needed in tiny amounts, these vital nutrients are necessary for the body to function properly.

So, what pet food component might we not want to be readily digested? Carbohydrates! Most commercial pet foods are loaded with carbohydrates which are composed of chains of sugar molecules. Highly refined carbohydrates are quickly converted to sugar in the GI tract and absorbed into the bloodstream. They are indeed highly digestible. When these sugar molecules hit the blood stream they trigger the release of insulin (the hormone that allows the absorption of sugar into the cells of the body). An excess of insulin in an animal’s system promotes systemic inflammation and the formation of fat.

It is not good to have a highly digestible food if that food is laden with carbohydrates. So, the desirability of “highly digestible” depends on the composition of the food. Your pet would be better off if they did not digest any of the typical dry pet foods at all. Feed a balanced raw diet.

Has diet made a difference for your pet?