Dr. Oz claims Dr. Joe Mercola is one of the most controversial figures in the world of alternative medicine and has millions of online followers. However, the government and the mainstream medical establishment see many of his unconventional views as misleading and possibly even damaging to your health.
Read More On Segment on Dr. Oz & Dr. Mercola Wednesday January 4 2012 - The Prescription Drugs Dr. Mercola Doesn’t Want You to Take-Statins, Blood Pressure-lowering Drugs & Antidepressants In case You Missed It!
Dr. Mercola wrote this article that has more in-depth information on the topics covered on the show.
The Dr. Oz Show: Dr. Mercola - 'Information I Couldn't Share'
DrMercola.Com: Dr. Mercola Vitamin D
Vitamin D is one of the most crucial nutrients for a healthy life. The powerful "sunshine vitamin" is becoming increasingly well-known for its many phenomenal benefits, including protection from colds and flu, diabetes, MS, cancer, and a wide variety of other ailments.
While a lot of the focus on vitamin D ends up being about vitamin D supplementation, the IDEAL way to optimize your vitamin D levels is not by taking a pill, but rather allowing your body to do what it was designed to do—create vitamin D from appropriate sun exposure. In a recent interview, Dr. Stephanie Seneff really brought the importance of getting your vitamin D from sun exposure to the forefront. While I've consistently recommended getting your vitamin D from regular sun exposure whenever possible, her input really convinced me of the wisdom of this natural strategy.
She believes that when your skin is exposed to sunshine, it synthesizes not only vitamin D3, but also vitamin D3 sulfate.
Your sulfur levels are intricately tied to your cholesterol levels, and play an important role in the prevention of heart disease. So getting regular sun exposure has much greater health ramifications than "just" raising your vitamin D levels and preventing infections. Sun exposure also appears to play a role in heart and cardiovascular health, and much more!
The sulfated vitamin D formed in your skin in response to sun exposure is water soluble, unlike an oral vitamin D3 supplement, which is unsulfated. The water soluble form can travel freely in your blood stream, whereas the unsulfated form needs LDL (the so-called "bad" cholesterol) as a vehicle of transport. Dr. Seneff's suspicion is that the oral non-sulfated form of vitamin D may therefore not provide all of the same benefits as the sulfated form, because it cannot be converted to vitamin D sulfate...
As I said on the Dr. Oz show, if you cannot get your vitamin D requirements from sun exposure, I recommend using a safe tanning bed (one with electronic ballasts rather than magnetic ballasts, to avoid unnecessary exposure to EMF fields). Safe tanning beds also have less of the dangerous UVA than sunlight, while unsafe ones have more UVA than sunlight. If neither of these are feasible options, then you should take an oral vitamin D3 supplement. It will definitely be better than no vitamin D at all.
Vitamin D Serum Levels and Dosages
Some 40 leading vitamin D experts from around the world currently agree that the most important factor when it comes to vitamin D is your serum level. So you really should be taking whatever dosage required to obtain a therapeutic level of vitamin D in your blood.
However, while there is no specific dosage level at which "magic" happens, based on the most recent research by GrassrootsHealth—an organization that has greatly contributed to the current knowledge on vitamin D through their D* Action Study—it appears as though most adults need about 8,000 IU's of vitamin D a day in order to get their serum levels above 40 ng/ml. This is significantly higher than previously recommended! For children, many experts agree they need about 35 IU's of vitamin D per pound of body weight.
At the time GrassrootsHealth performed the studies that resulted in this increased dosage recommendation, the optimal serum level was believed to be between 40 to 60 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml). Since then, the optimal vitamin D level has been raised to 50-70 ng/ml, and when treating cancer or heart disease, as high as 70-100 ng/ml.
If you're over 25, your body becomes increasingly challenged to convert oxidized CoQ10 to ubiquinol. Why is that important? Well, ubiquinol is one of the single most crucial nutrients for energizing every cell in your body. It is especially useful for protecting your mitochondria, which supply most of your body's energy currency in the form of ATP. I believe virtually everyone over 30 benefits from supplementing with this but is imperative for anyone taking statins to be on it.
Ubiquinol is the active form of CoQ10 needed to help your cells take fat and other substances and convert them into usable energy. But if your body cannot convert Co Q10 to ubiquinol, you can come up short on some or all of its benefits.
Hypertension and High Blood Pressure Medications It's important to understand that uncontrolled high blood pressure is a very serious health concern. It can lead to heart disease and increase your risk of having a stroke. It's estimated that high blood pressure affects 90 percent of Americans at one time or another. Like statin drugs, blood pressure drugs are pervasive, with one in three Americans taking them. Of those, an estimated 25 percent are falsely diagnosed! They have what we call "white coat hypertension," meaning they suffer temporary anxiety when at the doctor's office, and as a result, their blood pressure goes up. However, they don't truly suffer from hypertension. When they're given a drug to treat a condition they don't have, it can only cause them harm...
Again, I believe very few people really need them.
Natural strategies are absolutely crucial to address the underlying cause of high blood pressure. Make sure you're getting plenty of high-quality, animal-based omega 3-fats, such as krill oil. Research suggests that as little as 500 mg may lower your total cholesterol and triglycerides, and will likely increase your HDL cholesterol. You'll also want to dramatically reduce grains and sugars in your daily diet, especially fructose, replacing it with healthful fats, such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts and seeds, organic pastured eggs, and grass-fed meats.
Getting the right amount of regular exercise is another key factor.
If you are currently taking any medications to control your blood pressure, please understand that these drugs are not placebos and most work very effectively to lower your blood pressure. But they don't do it in a way that addresses the cause. So if you stop them, there is a chance your blood pressure will rise very high, and sometimes high enough to cause a stroke. So only wean yourself off your blood pressure medications while under careful professional supervision.
The majority of people who use statin drugs for lowering cholesterol are doing so because they've been told it will help prevent heart attacks and strokes. However, just the opposite may be true. There are some 900 studies proving their adverse effects, which run the gamut from muscle problems to increased cancer risk. Many statin drugs have been linked to defects in heart muscle function and even increases in strokes. One study found that statin therapy was associated with decreased myocardial function. This decreased heart muscle function could lead to heart failure.
Dr. Oz is a cardiothoracic surgeon and treats many patients that suffer from the complications of coronary artery disease, and as such is convinced that some people benefit from statins. I take a different position and think that there are only a tiny segment that might benefit, typically those with genetic issues like familial hypercholesterolemia (a condition that causes your body to produce too much cholesterol) or those with very high risk factors. But there is some compelling evidence to suggest that even these groups may not benefit from taking them.
When it comes to the use of antidepressant medication, Dr. Oz is still in somewhat of an allopathic mode—the idea that for nearly every disease or symptom there is a pill that will likely cure it. The conventional approach to treating depression is to prescribe an antidepressant (or two). I firmly believe that antidepressants do more harm than good in most cases of depression.
Dr. Oz seeks to apply natural alternatives like St. John's, SAMe, or tryptophan in lieu of more hazardous antidepressants, but while such supplements are certainly safer, and sometimes effective, you're still not treating the underlying cause of depression. Some will argue that if you're low in serotonin, you might benefit from some tryptophan. But while this may indeed help, you're still not addressing the reason for why you're low in serotonin. There are reasons for that, and once you eliminate the root cause, you won't have to take pills of any kind... I think it's really crucial to address these underlying issues.
As for antidepressants, there's startling evidence and countless research studies that strongly suggest antidepressant drugs simply do not work. Meanwhile, every year, psychiatric drugs kill an estimated 42,000 people—that's an astounding 12,000 more people than commit suicide due to depression.
Rooting Out the Causes of Depression
There are a number of very powerful strategies to address depression. One that has been proven more effective than antidepressants in a number of studies is exercise. Exercise not only relieves depressive symptoms but also appears to prevent them from recurring. Unfortunately, since no one is going to be making tens of billions of dollars on encouraging you to exercise, it has not received the amount of funding for studies that antidepressant drugs have received. However when the studies are performed, exercise continually comes out on top, demonstrating benefits above and beyond what antidepressant drugs can achieve.
Three key mechanisms appear to be that exercise:
Improves insulin receptor sensitivity Regulates serotonin and norepinephrine, two key neurotransmitters in your brain, and "Switches on" genes that increase your brain levels of galanin, a neurotransmitter that helps lessen your body's stress response Your diet is another key factor that must be addressed. There are well-documented studies showing that animal-based omega-3 fat (DHA) is very useful. I'm a firm believer in krill oil, which is far more effectively absorbed than fish oil. You also want to make sure to optimize your diet, meaning removing sugars, grains and processed foods, and replacing them with healthy fats.