Ask Dr. Zarkov

I have been using DHEA supplements for at least 6 years...

Q:I have been using DHEA supplements for at least 6 years, and I really like the extra energy, sexual interest, and zest for life that it has given me. But I’ve read that the U.S. government is planning to criminalize the possession of DHEA as part of its War On Drugs. Government officials claim that DHEA has no medical value and is dangerous. To me, the part about no medical value seems like an outright lie — it has certainly been of value to me, and also, I think, to many others. Can you tell me what is known about this subject? I see no reason why I should be considered a criminal for trying to improve my mental and physical health.

A:Some other countries have already banned DHEA. In Australia, for example, people have been arrested, jailed, and fined thousands of dollars for bringing a few DHEA capsules into the country. In 2005 a group of arrogant politicians in Washington tried to ban DHEA in the U.S.
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Alzheimer’s Disease seems to run in my family.

Q:Alzheimer’s Disease seems to run in my family. My father, mother, and my mother’s sister all died from it, and now one of my own sisters has developed symptoms. A friend who takes lots of supplements has told me that curcumin supplements may be a preventative against Alzheimer’s. Is this true? If so, I certainly want to be using it.

A:There is a very short discussion of the anti-Alzheimer’s effects of curcumin in LifeLink’s monograph about PriMeric™, their curcumin product. The references in that discussion are good ones, and I particularly recommend that you look at the one by Frank and Gupta because it contains a list of substances that show promise for treating Alzheimer’s.



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I see that LifeLink is offering a new product, PrimAGE...

Q:I see that LifeLink is offering a new product, PrimAGE, which is their tradename for pyridoxamine. There’s a lot of promotional hype on the Internet these days about pyridoxamine as a treatment for diabetic symptoms. I find it a little hard to believe. After all, pyridoxamine is just a form of vitamin B6, and B6 has been around for a long time. If it really has a major impact on diabetes, then why didn’t we hear about this a long time ago? Besides, how can a mere vitamin have much impact on a serious disease like diabetes?

A:There is nothing ‘mere’ about vitamins. Vitamins have always had impacts on serious diseases. Vitamin C prevents scurvy, for example. Vitamin D prevents rickets. These are serious diseases, but are rarely seen in the industrial world precisely because vitamins are available to prevent them.

However, diabetes is not a vitamin deficiency disease like scurvy or rickets. So your question perhaps should be rephrased as “How can a vitamin have much impact on a non-deficiency disease like diabetes?”


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I have psoriasis patches on my face, neck, and arms.

Q:I have psoriasis patches on my face, neck, and arms. I’ve used several prescription drugs to treat them, but the results have been disappointing and the side effects have been scary. Are there any supplements that might do a better job?

A:There are quite a few supplements that might do better, but very little research has been done on this subject. Moreover, due to human genetic differences, a treatment that benefits one patient may not benefit another. The only way to find out which, if any, of these supplements will work for you is to try them, individually or in combinations.

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The fern Polypodium leucotomos is becoming a hot topic on...

Q:The fern Polypodium leucotomos is becoming a hot topic on Internet forums that deal with multiple scerosis. Do you have any information about the value of this herb as an anti-MS treatment? Are there other anti-MS supplements that MS patients should be considering?

A:First I want to point out that I could not find a single scientifically conducted study of the use of Polypodium leucotomos for treating multiple sclerosis. Nevertheless, I did find many anecdotal reports of success from MS patients who use this substance, and I found some of these reports impressive. If I were an MS patient I would certainly give this herb a try, but would keep in mind the fact that it clearly does not work for everyone.

Before looking at this and other supplements in more detail, readers unfamiliar with the biology of MS may appreciate the following brief overview.


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Last February Dr. Zarkov’s article on the LifeLink website discussed Bird Flu...

Q:Last February Dr. Zarkov’s article on the LifeLink website discussed Bird Flu and the use of supplements to fight it. Now, nine months later, Bird Flu is big news in the mainstream media. Are there any new developments we should know about?

A:There are three developments I’d like to mention: the spread of Bird Flu, the irresponsible responses by officialdom, and a new understanding of how Bird Flu damages the body. I’ll outline the typical course the disease takes if not treated. Then I’ll discuss some supplements that are in my own survival kit for the pandemic.


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Spring is here again, and my hay fever is worse than ever.

Q:Spring is here again, and my hay fever is worse than ever. Over the years I’ve tried using a variety of drugs, such as anti-histamines, but I hate their side effects. Are there any supplements that are effective against hay fever that don’t have unpleasant side effects?

A:Hay fever (a.k.a. ‘allergic rhinitis’) is an allergic reaction to airborne particles such as pollen or mold spores. When the immune system responds to these particles, the upper respiratory tract becomes inflamed — i.e., histamines and other chemicals are produced that make the tissues swell and malfunction.

There are many dietary supplements being promoted as treatments for hay fever, many of them worth trying. Unfortunately, what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. Furthermore, only a few of these remedies have been subjected to enough scientific study to determine whether they work for anyone. Consequently, if you want to use the supplement approach, you’ll probably have to do some self-experimentation.

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There is a growing epidemic of the deadly Marburg virus...

Q:There is a growing epidemic of the deadly Marburg virus in Africa right now. If efforts to contain it fail and it spreads to the rest of the world, what can individuals do to protect themselves?

A:The Marburg virus is a close relative of the Ebola virus. Both are examples of ‘hemorrhagic’ viruses, which means that they cause victims to bleed to death. The strain of Marburg that is currently loose in Africa is easily transmissible and very virulent — the death rate so far has been 100% of those infected.


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My young son has been diagnosed with Perthes...

Q:My young son has been diagnosed with Perthes Disease. Standard medical treatments have little to offer except surgical correction after the hips become damaged. Are there supplements that might help to prevent Perthes symptoms from developing?

A:Maybe. Before discussing them, let’s take an overview of the ailment.

Perthes Disease (aka ‘Legg-Calve-Perthes’) is a childhood condition with symptoms that continue into adulthood. Since it is defined by its symptoms rather than by its causes, it may actually encompass several different diseases with similar symptoms but entirely different causes.

The main feature of most Perthes cases is damage to the head of the femur — the leg bone that forms the ‘ball’ of the hip’s ball-and-socket joint. In Perthes, the blood supply to the femoral head is interrupted during childhood, and the bone tissue dies.

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There is now a bird-flu epidemic occurring in Asia...

Q:There is now a bird-flu epidemic occurring in Asia which is wrecking the poultry industry there and scaring the public. But so far, only a few dozen humans have died from it. Should we consider this disease a serious threat to us? And if so, what can we do to avoid getting infected?

A:Avian Influenza (‘bird-flu’) is a serious threat to us all. The strains of bird-flu virus that are killing chickens and other birds in Asia happen to be passed easily between birds, but they infect humans only with difficulty. This is why birds are dying by the hundreds of thousands, but only a few dozen humans have been infected. However, of those people who have been infected, about 80% have died of the disease within a few days.

Unfortunately, the characteristics of viruses can change quickly. A viral strain that today finds it difficult to infect a human being may evolve tomorrow into a strain that infects humans easily.

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