What is the Efficacy of Naturopathy Against Cancer and Menopause?


Advocates for naturopathic remedies state their treatments can help combat menopausal symptoms, depression and also 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 malignancy is proving effective — at least in the laboratory and in pets. That’s according to naturopathic doctors presenting their research in the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians annual meeting, held previously this month in Portland. Ore. Naturopathic physicians are been trained in “natural” health care at certified medical colleges, based on the AANP. Their approach is based on the belief that it is the nature of all things to return to balance. Treatments include dietary changes, guidance for lifestyle modification, herbal medicine, nutritional supplements and homeopathy.”Bio-identical hormones,” a 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 physician in Pleasant Prairie, Wis. She offered the hormone regimen, including estradiol/estriol via a skin cream or in drops, and also a progesterone cream and a multivitamin, to 50 ladies who had been either menopausal or perimenopausal. Seibert’s group after that followed the women’s progress for one yr.”Eighty-two percent of the women showed improvement in estrogen-related symptoms, such as sizzling flashes,” she said. “Seventy-four percent demonstrated improvement in progesterone-related symptoms such as irritability and fluid retention.”Seibert also looked at symptoms related to low thyroid functioning, which can affect women at menopause. “When the thyroid starts to have complications, it can result in a state of depression and weight gain,” she described. In the study, “44 percent demonstrated improvement with thyroid-related symptoms and 8 percent got worse. The other 48 percent experienced no change.”What is needed following, Seibert said, can be a big, randomized trial of organic hormone therapy to find if it works as well as synthetic hormone therapy without the side effects. Long-term hormone alternative therapy (HRT) with synthetic estrogen and progesterone boosts risks for breast malignancy and stroke, as the large-scale Women’s Wellness Initiative study found.
That study was stopped early in 2002, and its own troubling results caused many older women to abandon HRT. “That is a great start in conditions of providing preliminary evidence of benefits for menopausal problems,” stated Dr. Wendy Weber, a study associate professor of naturopathic medication at Bastyr University, Seattle, who was simply not associated with Seibert’s study but knows its findings.”Predicated on this study, it seems there is likely to be benefits, but we are still lacking [data upon] the efficacy and basic safety.” And, she mentioned, the study did not have got a control group, which could have allowed a primary head-to-head assessment of bio-similar and synthetic hormones. The study is “interesting” however, not surprising, added Dr. Rick Frieder, a gynecologist at Santa Monica–UCLA INFIRMARY and a clinical instructor of obstetrics and gynecology at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.”It generally does not convey anything new,” this individual said. Whether hormone alternative is definitely synthetic or the more organic “bio-identical” compounds, he said, they are regarded as effective in improving the symptoms of menopause, such as scorching flashes. One drawback to the analysis, he said, is certainly that they studied several items and doses, rather than take a more scientific approach, such as comparing one dosage of bio-similar hormones to the same dose of synthetic drugs. In another study presented at the meeting, the herbal formula Essiac — utilized by cancer patients for decades — was found to have some antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity along with 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 result of the remedy in animals. The research were funded by the maker of Essiac. Kennedy discovered that the formula, when applied to ovarian and prostate malignancy cell lines, did kill the cells. “We could actually slow down and trigger the ovarian and prostate malignancy cellular lines to die,” she said. When the formula was used in animals, they discovered it protected the stomach but didn’t boost the disease fighting capability significantly.”The in vivo [lab] study found antioxidant activity,” noted Dr. Christine Girard, chief medical officer at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medication in Tempe, Ariz., who chaired the study committee for the meeting. She called the outcomes “encouraging,” and noted that the formula also appeared to have an anti-inflammatory impact.”It’s a good first step,” she said, but added that it’s tough to translate animal results to humans. In the animal study, the formulation did demonstrate gastric security and protection to the liver, she stated. Not many people are convinced Essiac fights cancer.
The American Cancer Culture declined comment, noting that the analysis had not undergone peer review and was merely submitted for presentation at a gathering. On its Web site, however, the ACS cautions that, “There were no published medical trials showing the potency of Essiac in the treatment of cancer.” Although it notes that a few of the natural herbs in the combination have shown anti-cancer impact in lab studies, it notes that no scientific evidence exists to support its use in human beings with cancer. Study after study, conducted in pets by researchers at the U. S. National Cancer Institute and other prestigious institutions, possess concluded there is no evidence the formula functions, based on the American Cancer Culture. In other presentations at the meeting:A researcher
at the University of Toronto warned that St. John’s wort, a favorite herb used to take care of depression symptoms, should be used with caution by pregnant and breast-feeding females, as it can interact with some medications recommended during pregnancy and could trigger colic or drowsiness in babies. The analysis received no outside funding. Another Canadian study discovered that naturopathic treatment — acupuncture, relaxation exercises and lifestyle changes — relieved low back pain better than standard treatment in a report of 80 Canadian postal workers. Low back discomfort declined by 20 percent in the naturopathic group following the 12-week study but increased 8.8 percent in an organization receiving standard care. The study was sponsored by the Canadian federal government and the postal employees union. A group at the National University of Naturopathic Medicine found that three common herbs — Echinacea purpurea, Astragalus membranaceus and Glycyrrhiza glabra — helped boost crucial lymphocytes in the bloodstream, which will be the basic building blocks of the disease fighting capability. In the study, 16 healthy people were assigned to obtain an herb only, all three, or a placebo. Each got a 7.5 milliliter dose twice daily for a week. Blood lab tests showed all three herbs boosted the disease fighting capability. The analysis was funded by a grant from the American Medical Association.

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