Monday, March 16, 2009

Heal Thyself!

Came across two interesting articles about "natural cures". The first was a post about vitamin supplements that appear to prevent noise-induced hearing loss.

"According to researchers, . . . it may be possible to create a pill that protects against noise-induced and even age-related hearing loss in humans."

My immediate thought was, "Uh-oh. A new med for 'NIHLD' ('noise-induced hearing loss disorder'(not a real disorder, I just made that up (or did I?))).

Cynicism (as one psychologist so eloquently put it, "the world is always warped by the lens we are looking through")? No, there was an earlier article that reported our auditory systems can actually adjust themselves to filter out damaging noises to which they are repeatedly exposed in order to prevent long-term damage. (This, by the way, offers fascinating support for auditory training programs like The Listening Program ()(Yeah, I know it's a plug, but it's a good plug)). Anyway, the article then went on to suggest that this finding would point to new treatments for hearing loss prevention. I expected to then read about auditory training programs, and the like, but no, the excitement was about using this research to create new "MEDICATIONS"!

But, much to my surprise, the "pill" the latest article was talking about was not medication related at all. It was about natural supplements!

"Two studies found that giving supplements containing antioxidants [beta carotene and vitamins C and E] and the mineral magnesium to test animals before they were exposed to a loud noise prevented both temporary and permanent hearing loss.

In the first study, vitamin supplements protected guinea pigs exposed to four hours of 110-decibel noise, similar to levels reached at a rock concert. In the second study, vitamin supplements prevented hearing loss in mice exposed to a single loud noise. . . . Previous research showed that antioxidants can also protect hearing days after exposure to loud noise.

What is appealing about this vitamin 'cocktail' is that previous studies in humans, including those demonstrating successful use of these supplements in protecting eye health, have shown that supplements of these particular vitamins are safe for long-term use,' according to University of Florida researcher Colleen Le Prell, senior author of the studies.


The second article appeared today in Newsday, and was about fighting (dare I say, "curing") peanut allergies. What was done? Under close medical supervision, incredibly minute amounts of peanut/peanut flour were given to allergic children over time [WARNING: DO NOT DO THIS AT HOME! There's no way to dice a peanut as small as the treatment doses required!]. Eventually, over several years, the children's bodies learned to tolerate peanuts.

So, basically the doctors helped these children's bodies to "heal themselves" without resort to medication.

This, by the way, is what much of the nutrition intervention practiced by our nutrition counselor, Tina Stevens, BS, MS clinical nutrition, is all about (yeah, yeah, another plug. Shoot me.)

Heal the gut, heal the immune system. Strengthen the body, and what was once troublesome may not present trouble anymore.

Of course, because doctors were involved, the peanut treatment gets a neat name: "oral immunotherapy".

I kid you not.

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