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Health Products Review for the New Year
by Jim Martin

Reverse osteoporosis, arthritis and incurable cancers! Restore male potency and female libido with a single herb from the Peruvian rain forest! Sounds like a lot of hype, doesn't it; like claims in all those glossy mass-mailed advertising promos. However, a number of the new products introduced in recent months appear to have great potential as remedies for some of our most common as well as serious health challenges.

After considering topics relative to the New Year, such as resolutions to lose weight, exercise more and so on, I decided, rather, to go back over the past year and review some intriguing products I've been investigating. Each caught my eye for some reason, such as the prevalence of the problem in my office, immediate benefits or the existence of medical studies to support claims.

 If I personally see a many patients with a certain problem, it is certain that many more people out there suffer the same disorder. As for supporting evidence, it is invaluable in an industry where all manner of outrageous and unproven claims are made about product benefits, ingredients, potency and so on. In an unregulated supplements market, many uninformed or misinformed customers are wasting money and time using products that are useless and possibly even dangerous. Consultation with trained professionals can often avoid common pitfalls encountered by self-prescribing or purchasing from questionable sources.

Osteoporosis is the thinning and weakening of bone. You have probably never given it much thought, being a disease primarily of elderly women. Think again. Recent studies have found physically active and seemingly very fit and healthy women in their thirties, to have the bone structures of eighty-year-olds. These women were stunned to learn that they could easily walk outside, step off the curb and fracture a hip. Poor nutrition, including the lack of minerals resulting from replacing vegetables with junk food, and milk with diet soda pop, has been a major contributing factor.

A solution may well be microcrystalline hydroxyappetite complex (MCHC). Calcium is to bone what cement is to concrete - a key ingredient but not sufficient in itself. MCHC is like ready-mix concrete - just add water and you have the finished material, ready to build a solid structure. The Federal Trade Commission challenged the company's medical claims in court, but eventually backed down due to the volume of scientific evidence supporting claims that MCHC can halt and even reverse the progression of osteoporosis,

with no side effects. This is very good news for women of all ages. No drug I am aware of can make any such claim for benefit, let alone lack of unwanted complications.

My first patient this morning related stories of two friends diagnosed with cancers in recent weeks. Chances are that cancer will get most of us if heart disease doesn't get us first. A product made of Chinese medicinal mushrooms and rice bran, MGN-3, has been found to be effective in treating various cancers, including the first patient known to survive multiple melanomas.

MGN-3 addresses all cancers by stimulating multiple components of the immune system, increasing chemicals such as interferon and as well as the activity of NK, T and B cells. The numbers are impressive. 40% of the breast cancer cases were in complete remission after six to eight weeks. Natural killer (NK) cells were destroying 27 times more cancer cells in a four-hour period after just two months of therapy. It is said to be the most powerful natural cancer therapy in human studies, and is non-toxic -- a big advantage over chemo and radiotherapies with damaging side effects.

Peruvian Maca Root was used by the Incas centuries ago. It affects the pituitary and hypothalamus and improves sexual function in both sexes, such as potency in men and fertility or menopausal problems in women. It is said to be a big advance over yam-based natural hormone replacement therapy, which may promote further loss of function of ovaries.

The last product is the Chi Machine, designed by a Japanese doctor to increase blood oxygen levels. You may have seen it at health fairs when you noticed people lying on tables, feet oscillating rapidly side-to-side, grinning and commenting on energy rushes and vibrations throughout their bodies. I have never seen any device that provides so much immediate relaxation, loosening of tight muscles and joints and relief of pain. Users report dramatic relief of serious back injuries and spinal disorders as well.

I now use the machine with most patients, as many pains will be reduced before I begin the acupuncture or shiatsu, making my job easier and the results longer lasting. I feel the machine to be of benefit for many health problems as well as general maintenance for anyone seeking high-level wellness.

Jim Martin, Lic. Ac. is an acupuncturist with offices in Hillsboro (503-640-3668) and Scappoose (503-543-7266). He presents slide and lecture programs about travels in search of strange and wonderful people and places around the world. Email: