Advocates for naturopathic remedies state their treatments may help combat menopausal symptoms, depression and even cancer. For example, “bio-identical hormone therapy” looks promising for relieving the symptoms of menopause, one study found, while an age-old herbal remedy for cancer is proving effective — at least in the laboratory and in pets. That’s according to naturopathic physicians presenting their research at the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians annual meeting, held previously this month in Portland. Ore. Naturopathic physicians are trained in “natural” health care at accredited medical colleges, according to the AANP. Their strategy is founded on the belief that it’s the nature of all what to return to balance. Treatments include dietary changes, counseling for lifestyle modification, herbal medicine, nutritional supplements and homeopathy.”Bio-identical hormones,” an all natural alternative to synthetic hormone replacement therapy, were effective in reducing the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause, said business lead researcher Dr. Jan M. Seibert, a naturopathic doctor in Pleasant Prairie, Wis. She gave the hormone regimen, including estradiol/estriol via a skin cream or in drops, plus a progesterone cream and a multivitamin, to 50 women who were either menopausal or perimenopausal. Seibert’s group after that followed the women’s improvement for one yr.”Eighty-two percent of the ladies showed improvement in estrogen-related symptoms, such as popular flashes,” she said. “Seventy-four percent showed improvement in progesterone-related symptoms such as for example irritability and fluid retention.”Seibert also looked at symptoms related to low thyroid working, which can affect women in menopause. “When the thyroid begins to have complications, it can result in a condition of depression and weight gain,” she described. In the study, “44 percent showed improvement with thyroid-related symptoms and 8 percent got worse. The other 48 percent experienced no change.”What is needed next, Seibert said, can be a large, randomized trial of natural hormone therapy to see if it works aswell as synthetic hormone therapy without the side effects. Long-term hormone substitute therapy (HRT) with synthetic estrogen and progesterone boosts risks for breast malignancy and stroke, as the large-scale Women’s Health Initiative study found.
That research was stopped early in 2002, and its troubling outcomes caused many older women to abandon HRT. “That is a great begin in terms of providing preliminary proof benefits for menopausal issues,” stated Dr. Wendy Weber, a research associate professor of naturopathic medication at Bastyr University, Seattle, who was not involved with Seibert’s study but is familiar with its findings.”Based on this research, it seems there is likely to be benefits, but we are still lacking [data on] the efficacy and security.” And, she noted, the study didn’t possess a control group, which would have allowed a direct head-to-head assessment of bio-identical and synthetic hormones. The study is “interesting” but not unexpected, added Dr. Rick Frieder, a gynecologist at Santa Monica–UCLA INFIRMARY and a medical instructor of obstetrics and gynecology at UCLA’s David Geffen College of Medicine.”It doesn’t convey anything new,” he said. Whether hormone replacement is synthetic or the more natural “bio-identical” compounds, he stated, they are regarded as effective in enhancing the symptoms of menopause, such as incredibly hot flashes. One drawback to the analysis, he said, is definitely that they studied several items and doses, instead of take a more scientific strategy, such as comparing one dose of bio-identical hormones to the same dosage of synthetic medicines. In another study presented at the meeting, the herbal formula Essiac — utilized by cancer patients for decades — was found to involve some antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity as well as the capability to kill cancer cells in the laboratory, said Deborah Kennedy, the lead writer of the laboratory study and a co-author of another study looking at the effect of the treatment in animals. The research were funded by the maker of Essiac. Kennedy found that the formula, when applied to ovarian and prostate malignancy cell lines, did kill the cellular material. “We could actually slow down and trigger the ovarian and prostate cancer cellular lines to die,” she said. When the formula was found in animals, they discovered it protected the stomach but didn’t boost the disease fighting capability significantly.”The in vivo [lab] study discovered antioxidant activity,” noted Dr. Christine Girard, chief medical officer at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Ariz., who chaired the study committee for the conference. She called the results “encouraging,” and noted that the formula also seemed to have an anti-inflammatory effect.”It’s a good first step,” she said, but added that it is tough to translate animal results to humans. In the animal study, the formula did demonstrate gastric security and security to the liver, she stated. Not everyone is convinced Essiac fights malignancy.
The American Cancer Society declined comment, noting that the study hadn’t undergone peer review and was merely submitted for presentation at a gathering. On its Web site, nevertheless, the ACS cautions that, “There have been no published clinical trials showing the potency of Essiac in the treatment of cancer.” While it notes that a few of the natural herbs in the mixture have shown anti-cancer impact in lab research, it notes that no scientific evidence exists to aid its use in human beings with cancer. Study after study, conducted in animals by researchers in the U. S. Nationwide Cancer Institute and additional prestigious institutions, possess concluded there is no evidence the formula functions, according to the American Cancer Culture. In additional presentations at the meeting:A researcher
at the University of Toronto warned that St. John’s wort, a popular herb used to take care of depression symptoms, ought to be used with caution by pregnant and breast-feeding females, as it can interact with some medications prescribed during pregnancy and may cause colic or drowsiness in babies. The analysis received no outside financing. Another Canadian study found that naturopathic care — acupuncture, relaxation exercises and lifestyle adjustments — relieved low back pain better than standard care in a study of 80 Canadian postal workers. Low back discomfort declined by 20 percent in the naturopathic group following the 12-week research but increased 8.8 percent in a group receiving standard care. The analysis was sponsored by the Canadian federal government and the postal workers union. A team at the National University of Naturopathic Medicine discovered that three common herbs — Echinacea purpurea, Astragalus membranaceus and Glycyrrhiza glabra — helped increase key lymphocytes in the bloodstream, which will be the basic blocks of the immune system. In the analysis, 16 healthy individuals were assigned to obtain an herb just, all three, or a placebo. Each got a 7.5 milliliter dose twice daily for a week. Blood testing showed all three herbal products boosted the immune system. The analysis was funded by a grant from the American Medical Association.