Kenneth R. Kafka, M.D.
955 Carrillo Drive, Suite 210, Los Angeles, CA 90048 Tel: 310. 888.7778 Fax: 323.938.1028
204A Pirie Road, Ojai, CA 93023
Office Hours By Appointment
Kenneth R. Kafka, M.D.
DECEMBER 10, 2020 COVID-19
an excellent, descriptive graph outlining a common course Covid-19 can
take. This is taken from The American Journal of Medicine and was compiled
by Dr. Peter McCullough, MD, MPH and a consortium of physicians of many
subspecialties from academic and community medical centers throughout
the United States and Italy.
TREATMENT FOR COVID-19
At the top center white bar is the patient with either Covid-19 symptoms or confirmed illness. The top left white bar is patients who are under 50 yrs old and healthy. For those, stay home, open windows to get fresh air circulating to avoid breathing in one’s own virus particles as best as possible and take zinc sulfate 220 mgs (first yellow bar) once per day. This form of zinc has been used in protocols that have been studied, and please note it has exactly 50 mgs of actual zinc in it with 170 mgs of the sulfate carrier. Not in this diagram is the high dose vitamin C, quercetin and robust doses of vitamin D, which I would add (more on that later). Then comes watchful waiting (light blue bars on left) and complete self-quarantine. There is nothing else to do unless symptoms worsen (large yellow bar in center to be discussed shortly).
The second from top center peach colored bar is for people over 50 or people who have a single underlying condition that has been shown to predispose to worse Covid-19 symptoms and outcomes. These include obesity, pulmonary (lung) disease like asthma or COPD, diabetes, cardiovascular disease like hypertension, chronic kidney disease or cancer. For these patients zinc and fresh air are recommended as is (second yellow bar) starting treatment with a combination choice of two medications. These include hydroxychloroquine and an antibiotic (either a z-pak or doxycycline) OR Ivermectin plus either of the same antibiotics. This treatment generally last 5-7 days, but can be longer depending on response.
The third medication shown, Favipiravir, is not available in the United States, but is used in 30 countries around the world.
I am not going to address any of the political/medical controversies generated earlier this year about hydroxychloroquine. It has been difficult enough to discern what is true and real these days, so I see no reason to risk adding to that angst here. Please see links at end of newsletter.
Suffice it to say, I have done my due diligence looking at multiple studies generated world-wide for both Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin and I whole heartedly recommend them as outlined in this treatment algorithm, especially for early, outpatient treatment of Covid-19 and most especially if you are over 50 and have underlying medical problems as outlined above.
The remainder of the algorithm discusses adding prednisone (steroids) if respiratory symptoms progress (as is very commonly done when someone has a bad asthma attack or a severe allergic reaction for example) as well as blood thinners to combat the tendency for blood clot formation. For me personally, these are best done in a hospital setting, although certainly treatment could be initiated to get a jump-start as an outpatient.
On the top right are people who are older than 50 with one or more underlying medical problems. It is recommended that they have a pulse oximeter (a way to measure oxygen in your blood) and are started on the entire regimen.
One last thing, aspirin along with other blood thinners are mentioned only in the last ruby colored bar at the bottom. I personally would start aspirin in the beginning as the clotting issues have been one of the most unpredictable and dangerous properties of getting Covid-19.
I decided to share this now because these coming winter months promise to be very challenging. Overall, I am optimistic that in 2021 this pandemic will begin to subside significantly because with time, we continue to understand this disease process better and treatments will continue to improve. I am cautiously optomistic that the vaccines will help, but how much and for how long I don’t know. That said, this outpatient treatment protocol, which will be routinely updated, or others that are similar can make a large impact until either the cavalry arrives or nature, science and the great unknown lead us through these challenging and transformative times.
For a synopsis and abstract of Dr. McCullough et al recommendations, go to American Association of Physicians and Surgeons website: https://aapsonline.org/mccullough-protocol-3-page.pdf
To see Dr. MucCullough’s webinar presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxmhvZ6eEI4
Dr. McCullough and several colleagues have recently been to Congress to present their suggestions and protocol for early outpatient treatment of Covid-19.
You can go to American Association of Physicians and Surgeons website to download a copy of early treatment handbook: https://aapsonline.org/CovidPatientTreatmentGuide.pdf
a Graph from Dr. Didier Raoult’s early study showing the rapid decrease
in Covid-19 PCR positive samples comparing those on placebo, Hydroxychloroquine
alone, and then Hydroxychloroquine combined with a Z-pak.
HCQ is one of the top 200 most prescribed medications in the U.S., with
greater than 5.6 million prescriptions in 2017. HCQ was first approved
in the U.S. in 1955 as an antimalarial and has since been repurposed as
a cornerstone of contemporary rheumatology. Their consensus leans positively
without lingering questions.
A graph published
by the American Association of Physician and Surgeons back in June showing
relative fatality rates in countries that either allowed and encouraged
hydroxychloroquine use and those that banned or discouraged it:
In the Spring
of this year, researchers found that it was a remarkably potent inhibitor
of Sars-CoV-2 in cell culture. The lab results were nothing short of spectacular.
“The FDA-approved drug ivermectin inhibits the replication of SARS-CoV-2
in vitro”: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166354220302011
A Florida Pulmonologist, Dr. Jean-Jacques Rajter tried Ivermectin as a last resort for a patient dying from Covid-19, and thus his journey of clinical use and study began. Here is a great interview with him describing his experiences. It is about thirty minutes and is an excellent story to listen to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzqnAIfEbv4
Here is the
link to the preliminary results of his first study, “ICON (Iveremctin
in Covid Nineteen) study: Use of Ivermectin is associated with Lower Mortality
in Hospitalized Patients with COVID 19”. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.06.06.20124461v2.
This was recently published in the journal CHEST.
triple therapy for infected elderly and frontline workers, “Ivermectin
Triple Therapy Protocol for COVID-19 Released to Australian GPs for Infected
Elderly and Frontline Workers”: https://sg.news.yahoo.com/ivermectin-triple-therapy-protocol-covid-030000687.html?guccounter=1
If one gets sick, the dosage can be increased enormously. As a general rule 6000 to 10000 mgs can be taken with food in divided doses if one gets a bad flu or Covid-19. I’ve been using intravenous vitamin C in my practice since 1990 and strongly recommend it both for Covid-19 and the flu.
Many other herbs and nutraceuticals can be supportive and helpful. Adding quercetin, 500 mgs once or twice per day will help your body get the zinc into your cells, thereby enhancing its effectiveness.
Here is a compilation put together by the Institute of Functional Medicine. “COVID-19: Nutraceutical and Botanical Recommendations for Patients”: https://p.widencdn.net/kvdwlh/COVID-19_Nutraceutical-and-Botanical-Recommendations-for-Patients_v4
I am hoping this affords you a bit of reassuring knowledge that if you do get sick, there are very effective medical treatments you can utilize at home under a doctor’s care over the next several months before vaccines and other newer therapies become widely available.
Stay Healthy, Be Mindful and Happy holidays,
MARCH 30, 2020 COVID-19
I wanted to give you an update on the logistics of my practice and some information about the recent headlines of an old malaria drug being used to treat Covid-19 abroad and as of today, here in the United States.
The practice is open. Currently I am doing facetime, skype or phone consultations remotely. Sharla, God bless her, is in the office answering phones, packaging supplements, dealing with medication requests and doing an occasional IV, blood draw or other tests. My and her room are being ozonated with additional UV light daily to sterilize the air and surfaces and everything is being wiped down repeatedly. So, we are here for you as best as we can be right now.
That is changing rapidly. There are several companies that are releasing Covid-19 test kits that can give results in 15 minutes. Over the next few weeks, it appears these will be increasingly available. I have ordered some in office test kits that test for antibodies to Covid-19. This is not a swab test to see if you are currently infected. This is a blood test that can tell us whether you have been exposed in the past or perhaps you are even presently fighting it off in the early stages. I should have them available by the end of the first week of April.
His study, in Marseille,
was accepted in March 5th by the National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM).
The study included 25 Covid-19 patients, five aged 12-17, ten aged 18-64
and ten aged 65 or over. After 6 days of treatment with hydroxychloroquine,
the percentage of patients testing positive fell to 25% versus 90% for
those who did not receive treatment. In addition, comparing untreated
patients, those receiving hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin (the antibiotic
in a Z-PAK) had an even more dramatic reduction with viral load down to
5% by day 6. Your commonly used Z-PAK does have some antiviral properties
as well anti-bacterial properties, which is why it is so effective in
treating common upper respiratory infections that can sometimes be a combination
of both virus and bacteria. (That’s another discussion). The study
has been both lauded as a breakthrough and criticized for its small number
of participants and the way it was designed.
There are studies going on in China using this drug combination, some of which were started as early as December 2019, Italy, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea and many other countries with international cooperation amongst researchers. A large study was started in NYC a few days ago. The World Health Organization has started a large study, which will include Hydroxychloroquine with Azithromycin.
I will spare you the details of the various studies, but summarize by saying that there are numerous drugs and drug combinations being studied. In addition, reports from China include successful use of mesenchymal stem cells (which may decrease the inflammatory response) in some critically ill patients. They are also employing the 100-year-old remedy called passive immunization. This is done by infusing plasma that has antibodies from patients who have already recovered from Covid-19 to treat those who are very ill. As you read this, passive immunization is being utilized and studied at Sloane Memorial Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC. In addition, IV vitamin C, at what we in holistic medicine would consider to be relatively low or moderate doses, is being used in China as a daily infusion for three successive days and is showing clear benefit. There is a vaccine trial that was started last week and more than you can imagine in the pipeline.
The main drugs being studied around the world are hydroxychloroquine with azithromycin, Remdesivir, an antiviral that has been being studied for other viruses, a combination of antiretroviral drugs used for HIV called Kaletra and various other combinations of anti-viral medications. Frankly, there are countless substances, old and new, being researched.
Chloroquine phosphate, an old drug for treatment of malaria, is shown to have apparent efficacy and acceptable safety against COVID-19 associated pneumonia in multicenter clinical trials conducted in China. The drug is recommended to be included in the next version of the Guidelines for the Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Pneumonia caused by COVID-19 issued by the National Health Commission of the People's Republic of China for treatment of COVID-19 infection in larger populations in the future.
Chloroquine phosphate is not the same as Hydroxychloroquine. They are similar in chemical structure except for the small molecular addition of a hydroxyl group. This small change can make a significant difference in how it impacts one’s physiology. They are being referred to interchangeably in the media, which I find unusual. Chloroquine phosphate is an older and harsher drug than Hydroxychloroquine. Chloroquine phosphate has been used both for prophylaxis and treatment of malaria for many decades since its discovery in 1934 and is considered very safe. That said, simply taking double the recommended dose can be very harmful to the point of putting one in the ICU and can even be fatal. Do not treat yourself with these medications if you come across them without being under the strict guidance of a medical doctor.
There are various dosage regimens for both Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine. Again, do not self-medicate without being under a physician’s care.
Both of these drugs are derived from quinine an extract of the bark of the Cinchona tree
*** As of this morning,
the FDA has given approval of Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine for potential
treatment of Covid-19. Multiple drug companies are releasing millions
of doses to hospitals for the sickest populations. I do not know the timeline
In an earlier email, I suggested supplementing with selenium. I no longer recommend that at this time.
If you feel sick, please rest, stay at home, hydrate with only warm fluids, take your temperature and don’t overreact nor overeat for that matter! Call the office if you have real concerns. Remember, if you feel the symptoms of a cold or flu, it is most likely just that! Gargle with warm salt-water a few times per day and use the Neil Med nasal rinse (or neti pot) once or twice per day, if you start developing cold/flu-like symptoms. Increase your vitamin C intake as well.
There is a product I’ve been made aware of that has been around for a long time and that is a natural antiseptic and disinfectant that is used in wound care. It is completely safe and has remarkable anti-viral properties. It has been used in dermatology for years. It’s cheap and available online. It is called Hypochlorus Acid, HOCL. It can be used to disinfect your hands, face, nose, eyes and pretty much anything you spray it on. Sounds a bit too good to be true as it doesn’t burn and has no downside that I can find. The more I read about it, the more convinced I am to recommend it, and I’ve been using it myself. Google it so that I can spare you more scientific information. I use the Briotech Brand, but other companies make it as well.
The use of masks has been a little controversial. In my opinion, masks should be worn when going out shopping etc. not only to protect yourself from aerosolized virus particles, but even more so to prevent yourself from touching your face. Touching one’s own face after touching things like door knobs, mailboxes, elevator buttons etc. can be a way to infect yourself and so using a mask to prevent you from touching your face can be a key to prevention.
Wash your clothing frequently.
It isn’t completely clear how long the virus may stay on surfaces, but it could last several hours to several days depending on the type of surface.
real and self-created:
There will always be conspiracy theories and we will probably never know about Covid-19, be it about bats, pangolins, bioterrorism, intentional release of biologic warfare, China, the United States, 5G etc. Perhaps in 50 years, Martin Scorsese will release another Netflix special and we’ll finally know the truth. For now, this type of focus will increase your stress response and not help with what might be trying to happen on a larger scale. Instead, try to look more broadly at the opportunity this circumstance provides for humanity to cooperate more. Care more for yourself and others. Reach across the aisle spiritually, emotionally and psychologically. Appreciate differences and see how alike we all are at the same time. This is an incredible opportunity to feel a part of the interconnectedness of all humans. Last week, seven patients in Italy who were in need of ventilators were transferred to a facility in Germany where ventilators were available. My hope is that this type of cooperation will become more commonplace….a growing acceptance that we are more alike than not, with increasing cooperation and support.
There is a great quote from the movie Starman, a personal favorite sci-fi thriller from 1984. Jeff Bridges who plays the alien says to Karen Allen the heroine:
“You are a strange species. And you’d be surprised how many there are. Intelligent but savage. Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are at their worst.”
We have that opportunity right now. This challenging time will pass, and right now, we must do our best to cooperate amongst ourselves, minimize blaming others and see if as a species we can emerge with a more unifying consciousness based in compassion, acceptance of each other and cooperation.
To relax, take warm baths, do some breathing exercises, try some yoga. Many of you know that I recommend Yoga Nidra for deep relaxation. You can find numerous guided sessions on u-tube. Look around until you find one that works for you.
I’ll leave it
here for the moment with another quote, this one from Levon Helm:
PS: If you are on
a blood pressure medication in the ACE inhibitor family, the one I commonly
prescribe is called Lisinopril, please contact the office. It is not urgent.
First, know the main
trio of symptoms:
Most people infected with COVID-19 virus have mild disease and recover. Mortality increases with age and those over 80 are at the greatest risk. People over 60 and those with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, compromised immune systems, asthma or other underlying respiratory conditions are more prone to develop bronchitis, pneumonia or respiratory failure and the vast majority of fatalities are in that group.
rates are estimated to be between 1-3.4%, which is a wide range. Unfortunately,
testing has been very limited so far and we really don’t know how
accurate these numbers are. Most likely, they are very overestimated.
Anywhere in that range is quite significant if it ends up being accurate.
As a reference point, fatalities from influenza are in the range of .1-.2%.
Facemasks should be
worn by people who show symptoms to prevent the spread of the disease,
however, they are not recommended to people who are well. As a caveat,
facemasks are vital for health care workers who have greater exposure
and to anyone who suspects they may be in the presence of someone who
may have the disease.
to Dr. James Robb MD, an American pathologist and molecular virologist
who has been studying corona viruses since the 1970’s, one very
important piece of information about this virus is its lifespan on common
surfaces which can last over a week. Therefore keeping latex or nitrile
latex gloves on is very important when shopping, opening doors, using
the gasoline pump and myriad outside activities when you are in potentially
I listened to an interesting lecture by Dr. Marco Ruggiero MD PHD. He is a molecular biology researcher who has been studying viruses for several decades. This corona virus has spikes protruding on its surface. These spikes become activated by enzymes in the body and once activated they more readily infect one’s cells. On a molecular level, the spikes have three points on their structure. The points carry a strong positive charge. To neutralize this charge, substances with a negative charge can be helpful. There is a long list of substances that have this neutralizing effect, and some are common supplements. As they are all health promoting, I recommend adding the following for prevention if you are at increased risk or simply want to optimize your body’s defenses in this situation.
• Folic acid,
or methyl folate 1000 mcgs per day
You can chew
the herbal lozenges for direct effect on your oropharyngeal mucus membranes.
In addition to ginger as mentioned above, Elderberry syrup (commonly branded
as Sambucol) may be helpful for its proven anti-viral properties.
As one can see, there
is an enormous amount of information available to begin to help us understand
this virus and how it impacts us individually and collectively. It is
too early to know exactly where this is going. There is more information
that needs to be gathered and understood. Researchers are hard at work
and governments all over the world are cooperating with each other. Although
fear is rising with each headline, rest assured there are great forces
at work to help all of us.
I hope you are safe. Just spoke to an old neighbor of mine who is back home in Ojai. As I imagined the beloved little town of Ojai has very hazardous air quality and is covered with ash in different places, some visible and some not. It has been hard for me to imagine what this past week must have been like for all of you there, in Ventura and some areas of LA as well.. My heart has been with you as I’ve been in touch with many of you through text etc.
Someone asked me for some general medical advice and I thought I’d share what I wrote to her with all of you:
First off, if you have a history of respiratory problems or are generally frail and vulnerable, please wait as long as you can for the air quality to improve before going home. Be careful with newborns or very young children as well.
Don’t exercise outside. Of course if you have to exert yourself to tend to your property, the environment etc, then please wear a mask. The most effective mask is the N95 mask which they hopefully have at ACE, True Value, Lowes or home Depot. Any mask, even a surgical mask will help a little but the N95 filters out particulate matter very well. Stay extremely well hydrated, more than usual. In addition to the ash both visible and microscopic, there is undoubtedly an increase in chemicals from the various structures that have burned.
The main supplements to take are Antioxidants; Vitamin C 1-3000 mgs per day in divided doses, Vitamin E at least 200 IU's, Alfa Lipoic acid 2-600 mgs, n-acetyl cysteine (NAC) 4-600 mgs twice per day (especially good for lung mucus), lots of greens, green powders and berry powders and any other antioxidants you have at home. Add 10,00 units of Vitamin A as well and maintain adequate levels of vitamin D for your immune system. Gargle twice per day with either salt water or any oral antiseptic mixed with warm water and rinse your sinuses with a neti pot or a Neil Med nasal rinse (can purchase at any drugstore and probably Vons) twice per day.
Drink plenty of green tea if you like it. It is rich in
In this month’s Endocrine News journal, there is a very interesting article about how biotin levels can affect thyroid blood test results. Many people are taking high doses of biotin (vitamin B7) because it is believed to help the body make keratin, which can improve hair, nails and skin. It is in numerous supplements in a dosage of 5, 10 or more mgs. This is significantly higher than what is recommended by the Institute of Medicine. While these dosages appear to be safe, it turns out most labs use biotin in the majority of their assays in order to measure all manner of thyroid tests. As a result, when a person’s blood level of biotin is elevated from supplements, it can interfere with the lab test result. Levels of the various hormones can either be higher or lower than the actual values depending on which thyroid hormone is being tested and which assay is being used. This can lead to confusion, further unnecessary testing and even misdiagnosis and wrong or unnecessary treatment. Cortisol and testosterone lab results can also be affected.
While the vast majority of lab test results I have ordered appear reliable, it is possible that a few results have been affected. In order to avoid this possibility in the future, I recommend that you stop taking biotin 24 hours before your next blood work when you are doing any hormone testing. Biotin is water soluble and will wash out of the body pretty quickly. That will take care of the potential problem. If your lab tests are done fasting, odds are that will be adequate as it will likely be 24 hours since your last biotin dose. There is no cause for alarm here, just be mindful about your biotin supplement intake before your next lab draw.
In Peace and Health,
Autumn is upon us, nature is preparing for winter and its best for us to follow her example.
As daylight grows shorter, the temperature drops, and humidity and barometric pressures alter, many facets of our daily biological rhythms make changes in order to adapt. According to recent research, it turns out that our genes modify their activity with the seasons. In a study published in May of this year, as many as 4,000 genes were found to have different seasonal expression. From a common sense point of view, this makes perfect sense. For example, genes that stimulate the immune system and enhance the body’s inflammatory response to help fight off colds and flu are more active in the winter. Genes that affect our vitamin D metabolism change. Nearly 25% of our DNA alters expression with seasons. This affects our behavior, our moods, our sleep cycles, our sex drive, our metabolism, and much, much more.
Our endocrine or hormonal cycles also respond to seasonal change. Our adrenal glands start to rev up as summer ends and reach a peak expression around the time of Thanksgiving. This helps our body to adapt and be prepared for the stress to winter weather. The thyroid gland starts a slow rise in activity around mid summer and eventually begins to peak around the time of the New Year to help manage our metabolism for the mid-winter months. Together, the adrenal and thyroid glands help us achieve the innate ways that we naturally adapt to seasonal change.
What can you do to assist your body/mind to prepare for the coming months? As temperatures cool, consider eating more warm foods and drinking hot beverages. Always remember to maintain proper hydration even as the weather cools off. In Ayurvedic medicine, warming the body is of paramount importance to maintaining an overall energy balance within the body’s many energy systems. If you have been eating predominantly raw foods, be careful as the temperature drops. Too much raw food is not an optimal part of a winter diet unless you have a very strong digestive system and have the right constitution from both an Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine vantage point. Eating raw is an art and science that requires a great deal of medical expertise. The body is already exerting much of its energy to staying warm because of the colder temperature, so help it along by eating more cooked foods.
In additional to healthy proteins and fats, an abundance of vegetables and whole foods are optimal. Choose veggies that are seasonally local. Start cutting back on the amount of summer fruit and begin replacing that sweetness with root vegetables. The less sugar the better, and root vegetables are nature’s best substitute and they can be very grounding. Now is a great time to reduce flour products and eat only whole grains. Start adding anti-inflammatory and warming herbs. Ginger is terrific for gastrointestinal health as is garlic, either cooked or raw. Turmeric or curcumin have strong medicinal qualities and when mixed with black pepper have widespread anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial affects throughout the body.
Keep things moving. If your digestion gets sluggish, try some digestive bitters a few minutes before eating. These stimulate the pancreas, enhance digestive flow, and can decrease bloating. Eat ample amounts of cooked kale, chard, mustard greens, and collards and always add veggies of different colors. The more fiber, the better. If you have sensitive digestion and need soothing, glutamine powder, marshmallow leaf, slippery elm powder, aloe vera gel and deglycrrhized licorice (DGL) are all excellent demulcents. Artichoke has a surprising amount of beneficial soothing digestive qualities as well.
Load up on probiotics. Your immunity is directly related to the trillions of bacteria that inhabit your gut. This is called your microbiome and is one of the most powerful forces in our overall health. These gut bacteria break food down, convert it into absorbable nutrients, strengthen the lining of your intestines, and have very powerful direct immune enhancing qualities. They can even affect our appetite and cravings. A minimum of 10-20 billion cfu’s per day is a good start. You can also add small amounts of fermented foods to your meal as these add probiotics and create beneficial enzymes to improve digestion.
Finally, optimize your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is used by most cells in the body and is converted into a hormonal form by the kidneys. It is a very potent immune booster and can be highly protective in preventing respiratory infections as well as supporting bone, breast, ovarian and prostate health. There is very little in foods, but it is easy to obtain as an inexpensive supplement that comes in tablets, capsules, or liquid forms. There is an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency even here in sunny SoCal. Work to get your levels between 50-65. I commonly start patients on 5,000 units a day for a few months until their levels are in mid range, 50-65, and then I taper the dosage accordingly if need be. Optimizing your vitamin D levels before flu season can save you from many sick days and has numerous long lasting beneficial effects on your body.
Finally, see an acupuncturist to have your meridians balanced for the up and coming changes and do a ritual, acknowledging your connection to the earth and her seasons. Begin preparing your focus to be a bit more inward for self-reflection. Winter can be a time of very important self-discovery.
To your Health,
“How much water do you drink”? Every week I ask that question to new patients and about half the time the response is “not enough”. It’s as if many people know they ought to drink more water than they do. Especially now, during the summer heat spells, proper hydration can be of paramount importance to your health and well being. So, I ask you, how much water do you drink and why is this important?
About 14 years ago, my attention was brought to a book titled “Your Body’s Many Cries for Water”, by F. Batmanghelidj, MD. It’s a quirky, offbeat medical book that, like many of these types of books, holds a kernel of truth that the observant author unfortunately extrapolates a bit too liberally as the cure for most disease. In this case, however, you don’t want to throw out the baby with the salt water…you’ll see what I mean in moment.
In essence, this physician noticed, while working with prisoners who complained of a wide variety of problems such as gastric ulcers, asthma, allergies and the like, that all of them appeared to be dehydrated. He discovered that these conditions healed with adequate hydration. While many of the patients were drinking sufficient water, he determined that they weren’t absorbing it well. He experimented adding small amounts of sea salt to their water intake and found that the added minerals and electrolytes in the salt enabled the body better to absorb the water. In this way, his patients were able to rehydrate themselves more easily, and remarkably, many of their medical conditions improved or were completely healed.
The recipe is to use 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt (Celtic Seasalt Flower of the Ocean brand is delicious) per quart or liter of water. Do not use plain table salt. Drink 2-4 or more quarts per day depending on the weather, your condition, body size etc. I tried this for a few months after moving to Ojai years ago. It took a week or so to get used to the very mild salty taste but over time, I found that my body was conducting basic life force much better. We are after all, biological conduits of electrical forces. A variety of symptoms I was experiencing improved and overall my energy was stronger. I also noticed that when I drank filtered water without the added minerals from the salt, it felt very empty. This is not so surprising because many of us (hopefully most) drink filtered water at home, which usually has most, if not all, of the minerals removed. Over a short time, I grew to prefer the taste of mildly salted water until it simply didn’t taste salty, but rather hearty.
Over the years I have recommended this to many patients and have witnessed a variety of conditions improving, especially headaches, generalized achiness, low energy, crummy moods, a variety of abdominal complaints, asthma and other inflammatory conditions. Some patients with asthma have also noted that adding a pinch of sea salt directly under their tongues at the onset of an asthmatic attack has decreased their need for medication. High blood pressure is one condition that is an exception to this suggestion as that conditions is commonly salt sensitive.
Please keep in mind that caffeinated beverages actually make you lose water by increasing your heart rate, respiratory rate, and frequency of urination. If you’re drinking much caffeinated coffee, tea or sodas, you will be actively dehydrating yourself. If you fancy these types of pick me up beverages, as many of us do, you actually need to drink extra water to keep up with the loss. I recommend a 1:1 ratio. For example, whenever you drink a cup of coffee, make sure to drink the same amount of water sometime afterwards.
So, as it heats up and you know you need to drink more water, try this approach. Start your day with a glass of water with a good squeeze of fresh lemon or lime in it. This will help move toxins that have accumulated overnight to pass through more quickly and alkalize your system a little bit. Then throughout the day, drink at least two to four or more quarts or liters of water per day, each with an added pinch (1/4) teaspoon) of sea salt. The minerals will help you absorb the water more efficiently and hydrate all your bodily tissues. This also supports your adrenal health and maintains a more alkaline environment within your cells so they will function better. Do it for 4-6 weeks and see if you notice a reduction in any nagging symptoms and an overall improvement in your energy and sense of well being.
We tend to take water for granted. Now however, it costs much more than gasoline for our cars. As you walk through the grocery aisles, the options are numerous and quite costly. The above approach is easy, homemade, and very inexpensive. I urge you to give it try.
In this time of an increasingly toxic environment and rising temperatures, it is smart to think of your water intake not just as a necessity when thirsty, but also as a tincture of medicine that you treat yourself to each day. You might be amazed at how much better you feel.
Below is a wonderful Ayurvedic recipe to create a tasty, healthy salt water beverage shared with me by Michele Melonas of Ojai. Thank you Michele.
Combine water, sweetener, salt and lemon and stir to dissolve the sweetener and salt. Add mint leaves and chill. Serve cold or room temp with a wedge of lime and enjoy!
To your health,
It’s time to optimize your health during the changing seasons. All aspects of our lives match our rhythmic and cyclical environment. Daylight grows shorter, the temperature drops, humidity and barometric pressures change, foliage dies and we naturally begin to turn inward. We exercise less, are exposed to more illness, our vitamin D levels drop from less sunlight, and we turn on the heat, affecting our air quality.
Our neurotransmitters and hormones also change. We can be more prone to feeling the blues and our interest in sex and social interaction might decline. An awareness of these changes can alert us to simple ways to protect ourselves from illness.
Stave Off Winter Illness
Most winter illnesses affect our respiratory tract, starting with the nose, sinuses and throat and then traveling into our larynx, bronchi and lungs. We are prone to colds, sore throats, sinusitis, laryngitis, bronchitis and pneumonia.
Personal hygiene, environmental exposure, air quality and hydration levels can all contribute. It’s smart to wash your hands more often and to gargle daily.
Try a nasal wash. Despite the initial hesitance to put a water solution in your nostrils, it’s easy to adapt to with practice. You can use a neti pot, the Grossan Nasal Irrigator (order from Amazon), or the NeilMed Nasal Rinse sold in pharmacies.
Be sure to purchase a preformed balanced salt complex designed for this purpose or make your own using non-iodized sea salt (to avoid burning) with a tiny pinch of sodium bicarbonate.
If prone to respiratory illnesses, consider investing in a humidifier which can keep your sinus membranes moist while you sleep. Slant/Fin makes a good humidifier with a UV light to keep the water nearly sterile and safe to breathe.
Importance of Vitamins and Herbs
Vitamin D is crucial to good health. We have an epidemic of people with low vitamin D levels. Levels below 40 ng/ml (nanograms/millileters) are suboptimal and a good range is from 50 to 60.
Too little vitamin D results from less exposure to the sun due to overuse of sunscreen or fewer hours spent outdoors, and a decreased capacity of our skin to convert vitamin D into a more useful form as we age or experience significant weight gain.
Vitamin D is used by most of our cells and is ultimately converted to a hormonal form by the kidneys. It improves calcium absorption, helping to rebuild bones. It has been shown to have an anti-cancer effect for the breasts, ovary and prostate. Vitamin D is a powerful immune booster, highly effective in preventing respiratory viral illnesses. Some physicians even consider it a prime treatment for the flu.
Little vitamin D is found in foods, but it’s inexpensive and readily available in liquid or small, easy to swallow tablets or capsules. Optimizing your vitamin D level prior to flu season can save you from illness and provide many long-lasting beneficial bodily effects.
Other vitamins to consider for prevention include vitamins C and A which are very good for your immune system and mucus membranes.
Many herbs boost immunity, including astragalus and various mushroom extracts such as reishi or maitake, a blend of Chinese herbs known as Yin Chao, or Elderberry which has a powerful anti-influenza effect. Elderberry combined with Lomatium and Osha is an extremely powerful combination to fight off severe respiratory symptoms (warning: it tastes terrible). There are numerous commercial herbal preparations available which, if taken at the earliest onset of symptoms can minimize the severity of many viral illnesses.
Both the Ojai and Santa Monica offices will be well stocked with flu remedies for your convenience.
Diet, Exercise, Destressing and Sleep
In cold weather, eat warm foods and drink hot beverages. The body is exerting much of its energy to staying warm, so assist it. In Ayurvedic medicine, warming the body is of paramount importance to maintaining an energy balance among the body’s many energy systems.
If you eat predominantly raw foods, be extremely careful during cold weather. This is an art and science that requires practice and study to become proficient. Raw food is not optimal for a winter diet unless you have a very strong digestive system and are very knowledgable.
Decrease your sugar intake. You’d be amazed how that will decrease your proneness to picking up a virus.
It’s also important to maintain an exercise regimen. This may take a bit more effort than in the spring and summer when the outdoors beckon.
Winter is a good season to spend more time reflecting about your life and paying attention to your inner thoughts and feelings. It’s an excellent time to write a journal to destress and consider your goals. This winter in particular, with all of the ongoing global economic instabilty, is a very good time to clarify your priorities for the coming year.
Be mindful if you tend to isolate yourself as this can affect your moods and lower your immunity. Serotonin, the feel good neurotransmitter and your sex hormones decline a bit during the winter so it is natural to become more low-key, but be take precautions if your moods are too blue.
Finally, catch up on sleep! The hormone melatonin, made in the brain and triggered by darkness, helps you fall asleep. Try turning the lights off and retiring earlier. Nature is speaking to your body, despite the stress of modern life. Allow the earlier nightfall to lure you to bed sooner so your body can restore itself as intended. During sleep, detoxification and regeneration occur. Sleep is vital for your immune system to function optimally.
Your metabolism is supposed to slow down during the winter months so pay heed and you’ll be more than ready to enjoy the blossoming that comes with spring.
Blessings and good Health,
The flu has been spreading across the US over the last two months and is headed west. Thus far, California has been relatively spared, though the CDC expects it to be more active here over the next few weeks. In anticipation, it is important to be appropiately prepared as well as to maintain a balanced, realistic attitude. Below is a parable that I find to be a good reminder to maintain perspective on the fearful messages that the media is beginning to broadcast.
A STORY THAT TEACHES A NEW LESSON EVERY TIME YOU READ IT.
In India, the Spirit of the Plague passed an old man sitting under a tree.
Man: Where are you going?
the old man heard that in Benares
ten thousand had died.
Man: You lied. You said you would kill one hundred.
I hope you can find a bit of wisdom in the story for yourself and consider the essence of the parable’s message to not let fear get the better of you. Of course, it is equally important to address tangible and practical guidelines.
Now is an excellent time to take some preventative action. Make sure your daily intake of vitamin C is minimally 2000-4000 mgs and double your Vitamin D for couple of weeks. Add at least 10,000 units of vitamin A daily. Whether at home, work or traveling, wash your hands several times a day, and always gargle before bedtime. I find a mixture of half Listerine and half warm water to be very effective in removing mucus with a direct antiseptic effect as well. Blow your nose a couple of times a day and use a neti pot or the Neil Med nasal rinse (sold in most pharmacies) for a deeper sinus cleaning. Herbs such as yin chao, elderberry, osha, oregano oil, lomatium and golden seal have direct anit-viral effects and supplements such as Wellness Formula and olive leaf extracts sold in health food stores can be help to boost your immunity. I strongly suggest a thymic extract, called Proboost Thymic A. It is a very potent immune enhancer and can be purchased over the internet. It is also available through my website (www.kennethkafka.com) on the Emerson Ecologics link. The access code is 646719. For prevention, take one packet under the tongue per day. If you get sick, increase to four times per day and it will shorten the duration of your symptoms. Antiviral medications on the market such as amantadine may be helpful should you get sick or as prophylaxis if you are traveling, working with others in closed quarters and of course, at home, if any family members are sick or exposed. Always remember to stay warm and keep yourself well hydrated.
If you are traveling by plane or train, wear a mask. The air in planes is recycled and filled with many germs at current standards. Excellent masks can be purchased at any good hardware store. Ask for the ones the firemen use. They work well and are inexpensive
Thus far, I have been struck by the number of folks who are having difficulty recovering from their bout with the current flu. This year’s strain seems to lend itself to what is known in medicine as post viral syndrome. Mononucleosis is the classic example. You get sick with fever, chills, body aches, sore throat and perhaps a cough. It lasts a few days to a week or even two, but then instead of fully recovering, there is a tendency to have ongoing exhaustion and low grade symptoms. You think you are better, but as soon as you resume normal activities, the symptoms start to recur. It can be very disconcerting as well as draining.
The absolute best treatment for this is getting one or two infusions of high dose intravenous vitamin C. I first learned about this extraordinary therapy in 1990 when working with AIDS patients in New York, and after using it for many, many years I am convinced that it is one of the most valuable holistic therapies available. I have seen over and over again, patients recovering much more quickly from many significant infectious illnesses, from post surgical recovery and most fatigue syndromes.
The therapy works in at least three very important ways. It flushes the body with antioxidants to neutralize all the free radical toxins that have been building up as your body has been fighting infection. It stimulates the immune system (it has been proven to mobilize your white blood cells, the main immune cells) and it saturates your adrenal glands with vitamin C. Your adrenal glands, which are responsible for producing some of the main chemical components of your life force, require higher levels of vitamin C than any other organ in your body, and so the adrenal glands are restored and resilience returns. Sometimes a single infusion gets people over the hump to full recovery. This therapy is available in both my Ojai and Santa Monica offices.
I hope you find this helpful. Keep warm and enjoy the winter.
health and blessings,
It’s taken a while in these southern Caifornia environs but the winter season is finally here. All aspects of our lives are rhythmic and cyclical. It’s no different for the environment with which we are intertwined. Daylight has grown shorter, the temperature has dropped, humidity and barometric pressures change, foliage dies off and we naturally start to turn more inward. We exercise less, we’re exposed to more illness, our vitamin D levels drop from less exposure to sunshine, we turn on the heaters which affects air quality and what many people may not realize is that our neurotransmitters and hormones also change. One can become more prone to feeling the blues and one’s interest in sex and social interaction might decline. Simply being aware of these things can provide one with simple tools to both take advantage of these changes and protect oneself from getting sick.
Other than less sunshine, many other factors can contribute to the near epidemic number of people having low vitamin D levels. Amongst them are decreased exposure to the sun from overuse of sunscreen, decreased capacity of our skin to convert vitamin D into a more useful form as we age and obesity. I’ve been running a weight loss program in my office for the last several years and have been very surprised by just how low vitamin D levels can become if one is overweight. Vitamin D is used by most cells in one’s body and is ultimately converted by the kidney into a hormonal form. Vitamin D is commonly thought of in relationship to bone health in which it plays a significant role on calcium absorption and helping bones rebuild themselves. It has more recently been shown to have a protective anti-cancer effect for the breast, ovary and prostate. These are local protective effects as well as ones associated with our immune system in general. It is a very powerful immune booster. It is highly effective in preventing respiratory viral illnesses and some physicians feel it is like a cure for the flu. It is easy to increase one’s vitamin D by simply taking it as a supplement. It is inexpensive, easy to obtain and the tablets or capsules are usually very small and easy to swallow. It can also be found in liquid forms. There is very little in foods, hence the need for supplementation. Most laboratories consider levels from 30-100 to be within a normal range but I have found that levels below 40 are suboptimal and that one’s level should range from 50-60. Optimizing your vitamin D level prior to the flu season can save you from many sick days and can have many other long-lasting beneficial effects on your body.
Most winter illnesses affect our respiratory tract. This starts at the nose, includes the sinuses and throat and then goes down into our larynx, bronchi and lungs. Hence we are prone to getting colds, sore throats, sinusitis, laryngitis, bronchitis and pneumonia. What to do? Personal hygiene, environmental exposure, air quality and one’s level of hydration can all be contributing factors. I urge people to wash their hands more often and to gargle when you get home from work and at bedtime. Try a nasal wash. They are easy to get used to despite the initial hesitance to put a water solution up your nostrils. There are many different ways to do a nasal wash including using a neti pot, using the Grossan Nasal Irrigator, which can be found online or trying the NeilMed Nasal Rinse which is sold in local pharmacies. If you decide to use a nasal rinse please make sure to either purchase a preformed balanced salt complex designed for this purpose or if you make your own use non-iodized sea salt (made by Hain) with a tiny pinch of sodium bicarbonate added to it. The salt must not have any iodine in it, or it will burn quite a bit. If your respiratory tract is one of your prone areas consider investing in a humidifier for your bedroom. This can help keep the membranes of your sinuses moist while you sleep so that it can do its job better to protect you. Slant/Fin is a company that makes a very good humidifier that you can find online. It has a UV light in it that keeps the water nearly sterile and hence safe to breathe. Supplements to consider for prevention or at the first sign of a cold or cough include vitamin C, and Vitamin A (which is very good for the mucus membranes) and zinc. Many herbs boost immunity, including astragalus and various mushroom extracts such as reishi or maitake, a blend of Chinese herbs known as Yin Chao or elderberry which has a powerful anti-influenza affect. There are many others but I wanted at least to mention a few. I will be carrying numerous immune boosters and natural remedies for colds, coughs and flu in the office.
As the temperature drops consider eating more warm foods and drinking hot beverages. In Ayurvedic medicine, warming the body is of paramount importance to maintaining an overall energy balance within the body’s many energy systems (in addition to being somewhat instinctual). If you have embarked on trying to eat predominantly raw foods please be extremely careful when it gets cold outside. Raw food is not an optimal part of a winter diet unless you have a very strong digestive system and really know what you are doing. It is an art and science that requires lots of practice and study to become proficient at. The body is already exerting much of its energy to staying warm despite the colder temperature so help it along. There is much more I can say about this but perhaps at another time as it goes into another topic entirely.
Other suggestions for you to consider are to try to maintain some kind of exercise regimen. This may take a bit more effort than in the spring and summer when the outdoors beckons. Winter is a good season to spend a bit more time reflecting about your life and paying attention to some of your inner thoughts and feelings that might otherwise be ignored when so much of your attention is directed outwardly. It is an excellent time to write in a journal and think about your goals.
This winter is an especially good time to think about your life. These are very trying times (of course until time ends in a few weeks!!) for everybody. Whether you attribute this challenging era to the poor economy and endless wars or as inevitable changes that we need to go through in order to grow as an intelligent race, spending time really reviewing your priorities and making long awaited changes are in order as never before. There is no time like NOW to take some bold first steps in a new direction.
As the colder weather persists however, please be mindful if you tend to over-isolate yourself as that can affect your moods and ultimately lower your immunity. Serotonin, the “feel good” neurotransmitter and your sex hormones tend to decline a bit during the winter. In other words, it is natural to become a bit more low-key during this time but be watchful if your moods get too blue as there are other precautions one can take based on individual needs.
Finally, it’s time to catch up on sleep! Melatonin is the hormone that helps you fall asleep. It is made in the brain and its secretion is triggered by darkness. Try turning the lights off and going to bed earlier. Nature is speaking to your body, despite the opposing stress of modern life. Try your best to allow the earlier nightfall to lure you to bed sooner so that your body can restore itself in the way it was intended. It is during sleep that so much detoxification and regeneration occur. Enough sleep is vital for your immune system to function optimally. Your metabolism is supposed to slow down during the winter months so pay heed and you’ll be more than ready to enjoy the blossoming that comes with next spring.
Blessings and good Health,
that we’ve had a few weeks of fall-like days I guess I can safely
send a brief newsletter offering some ideas about how to manage the change
of seasons to optimize your health. (Although by the time you read this,
it might be one hundred degrees if you live in Ojai!) All aspects of our
lives are rhythmic and cyclical. It’s no different for the environment
with which we are intertwined. Daylight grows shorter, the temperature
drops, humidity and barometric pressures change, foliage dies off and
we naturally start to turn more inward. We exercise less, we’re
exposed to more illness, our vitamin D levels drop from less exposure
to sunshine, we turn on the heaters which affects air quality and what
many people may not realize is that our neurotransmitters and hormones
also change. One can become more prone to feeling the blues and one’s
interest in sex and social interaction might decline. Simply being aware
of these things can provide one with simple tools to both take advantage
of these changes and protect oneself from getting sick.
A STORY THAT TEACHES NEW LESSON EVERY TIME YOU READ IT.
In India, the Spirit of the Plague passed an old man sitting under a tree.
Man: Where are you going?
the old man heard that in Benares ten thousand had died.
Man: You lied. You said you would kill one hundred.
Peace, health and blessings,
Kenneth R. Kafka, M.D.
|© 2005 Dr. Kenneth R. Kafka|