A review of allopathic and holistic products, devices and therapies.

To clarify one thing before answering it is not the treatment of yeast infection but rather a fungal infection.  Candida is a dimorphic microbe meaning it can exist in two forms.  It can exist as a benign yeast or a pathogenic fungi. 

Every person has Candida as it is a natural and beneficial inhabitant of the body in its yeast form.  Not everyone has Candida overgrowth (candidiasis) though , which occurs in Candida’s fungal form.   In is fungal form Candida forms finger-like projections called hyphae that allow the Candida to dig in to and damage tissues.

Whether Candida exists as yeast or a fungus depends on the pH of the terrain the Candida is in.  In areas where Candida is naturally found beneficial acid forming bacteria known as flora are also found.  These are primarily the colon, sinuses, skin and vaginal cavity.  The acids produced by the flora turn off the Candida growth gene and keep the Candida in its benign yeast form.

When the flora are destroyed from antibiotics use or certain other drugs, illness, poor diet, etc. the pH of the tissues where Candida and the flora are found shift from the normally slightly acidic pH to an alkaline pH.  The shift from an acidic to an alkaline pH turns on the Candida growth gene and converts the Candida to convert in to its pathogenic fungal form.

Taking probiotic supplements such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium help restore the natural acidic pH that keeps the Candida under control.

When trying to treat candidiasis people often make the mistake of trying to kill off the Candida with antifungal herbs, enzymes, oils, etc.   This rarely works and can actually make the problem worse in some cases.

The primary problem is that as long as the pH of the terrain remains alkaline all it takes in one surviving cell for the Candida to rebound since the alkalinity will keep the Candida growth gene turned on.

Antifungal herbs and oils generally pose the same problem since they rarely adjust the tissue pH back to the normal acidic pH.  A secondary problem with many antifungal herbs and oils is that they often also kill off the beneficial  intestinal flora that naturally keep the Candida under control.  Some of the worst offenders are the berberine containing herbs goldenseal, barberry and Oregon grape root. 

There are some herbs and oils though that can help knock back Candida due to their anti-fungal properties without damaging the flora.  Yucca root powder, Gynostemma pentaphyllum (jiaogulan) and unprocessed coconut oil are a few examples.

I have also seen discussions where products containing the enzymes cellulase and hemicellulase were being recommended to treat Candida.  The concept is that these enzymes will digest the cellulose and hemicellulose in Candida killing it.  There are several problems with this hypothesis. 

Cellulose and hemicellulose are partial components of Candida cell walls consisting of long chain sugar molecules (polysaccharides) made up of repeating glucose units.  As the cellulose and hemicellulose of the Candida cells are broken down in to glucose these glucose units simply become food for the surviving Candida cells.

A second issue with these products is that the flora feed on glucose from fibers by breaking the fibers down using cellulase and hemicellulase.  Fermentation of these fibers by the flora lead to the production of beneficial acids that among other functions help control Candida overgrowth and pathogenesis.   When people take cellulose and hemicellulase for Candida these enzymes do not digest the cellulose and hemicellulose in the Candida solely.  The enzymes also digest the fibers that the flora use for food producing more glucose that can feed the Candida.  In the process the flora are deprived of food decreasing their numbers.  This further reduces the natural acidity allowing the Candida to thrive even more and increasing the risk of the Candida converting in to its pathogenic fungal form.

The safest and most effective way of dealing with candidiasis is by restoring the natural acidic pH by rebuilding the flora so they once again become the predominant microbes. 

Both probiotics and prebiotics can be used to restore the flora.

Probiotics are actual sources of the beneficial bacteria such as capsuled bacteria, liquid Acidophilus,  live culture yogurts, fermented vegetables,  miso, tempeh, kefirs, etc.  These are best for the short term to jump start the growth of the flora.

For long term boosting the growth of the flora though I prefer prebiotics.  Prebiotics are fibers used by the flora as food sources and to generate the beneficial acids that keep the Candida under control.   Examples include brans, fructooligosaccharides (FOS), inulin, vegetable gums, etc.

The reason I prefer prebiotics  over probiotics for the long run is that there are literally thousands of different beneficial strains of flora in the human body.  Probiotic sources generally only contain between one to twenty different strains of beneficial bacteria.  This leaves several thousand strains of beneficial bacteria not being replenished when candidiasis is present.  Antibiotics and other flora destroyers never kill off all the flora though.  There are always survivors from different strains that can be built back up if properly fed.  Therefore,  prebiotics have the advantage over probiotics in the fact that prebiotics can restore the growth of all the flora rather than just replacing a limited number of strains.

The best probiotic source in my opinion are kefirs, which contain a much broader range of probiotic bacteria than supplements or yogurts.  And they are liver, active cultures.  Many people do not realize that most commercial yogurts do not have liver cultures despite having that claim on the label.  The cultures are killed prior to sealing the containers to prevent further fermentation of the sugars that would make the product less sweet and more acidic and would pop the tops off the containers from the carbon dioxide gas.

Drinking large amounts of kefir helps ensure sufficient bacteria will survive passage through the stomach to reach the safety of the intestines.  

Oral probiotics can also help with vaginal candidiasis.  There is no direct route from the intestines to the vaginal cavity though.  Vaginal flora actually come from the bacteria excreted during defecation and that remain on the perianal skin.  From there these beneficial bacteria migrate in to the vaginal cavity.  

Because of this it can be difficult to get enough of the bacteria to migrate to the vaginal cavity for quick relief from vaginal candidiasis.  Therefore, some women will insert kefir or other probiotic sources directly in to the vaginal cavity, which speeds up the process considerably.

A small amount of water kefir or coconut kefir is best for this purpose.  If these are not available then another option is to put some probiotic powder or open a probiotic capsule in to a small container.  Add just enough water to make a thick solution.  Then an eyedropper is used to suck up some of the solution, the woman lays on her back and squirts the liquid in to the vaginal cavity.  A small amount of the liquid is used so that it does not run out and the bacteria remain to re-colonize the tissues.  This is repeated several times a day.  This will normally clear up vaginal candidiasis within a few days.


Candex is a product sold to kill Candida by digesting the cell walls of the Candida.  Candex contains the enzymes cellulase and hemicellulase that break down the compounds cellulose and hemicellulose in the walls of Candida microbes.  This can kill some of the Candida present, but this does not mean it will successfully treat the overgrowth of Candida (candidiasis).

To understand why it is important to first understand a few facts.

First of all Candida is a normal part of the body, and everyone has Candida.  Not everyone has candidiasis though.  Therefore, there are clearly some specific factors that cause candidiasis, and the only way to control the Candida overgrowth is to change the terrain that promoted the overgrowth  in the first place.

There have been all sorts of unproven hypotheses as to what causes candidiasis from heavy metals to sugar consumption.  One of the problems with these hypotheses though is that not everyone who fits these claims has candidiasis .  For example, I still have my mercury amalgams and I consume foods with sugar yet I do not have candidiasis.  I also consume fermented foods that some also claim promote Candida overgrowth yet I am still healthy.

The fact is that it is not heavy metals, nor sugar consumption nor the consumption of fermented foods or foods that contain yeast that lead to candidiasis.  How Candida grows in the body is controlled by pH.  In every part of the body where Candida naturally exists we also have beneficial bacteria (flora) that naturally exist.  One of the roles of the flora is to produce acids that control the growth of Candida.  They do this because the acids turn off the Candida growth gene as research has shown.  In addition, Candida is a dimorphic microbe meaning it can exist in two forms.  In a properly acidified environment the Candida is kept in a benign and beneficial yeast form that does not harm us.  When the pH of the terrain changes to an alkaline state though, such as from the use of antibiotics that kill off the acid forming flora, the Candida growth gene is turned on.  In addition, the Candida is morphed in to a pathogenic and highly aggressive fungal form.  In this fungal form the Candida form finger-like projections known as hyphae that allow the Candida to dig in to the tissues causing damage.

One of the big problems I see with Candex is that it does not address the cause of the candidiasis.  In fact, this is a very common problem with many anti-Candida products and diets.  If the terrain is not changed to get the Candida under control it does not matter what you throw at it the Candida will simply grow back rapidly.  In this case this means restoring the flora and thus the natural acidic pH of the tissues where Candida is naturally found.

Candex does not address the terrain though.  Instead the enzymes only digest the walls of some of the Candida cells killing them.  Since the terrain remains conducive to Candida overgrowth though the surviving Candida cells rapidly multiply back once again leading to an overgrowth.

To make matters worse the cellulose and hemicellulose the Candex breaks down are composed of repeating units of glucose (glucose-glucose-glucose-glucose-glucose-…………).   As the Candex breaks down the cellulose and hemicellulose it provides plenty of individual glucose molecules to feed the surviving Candida.  In my opinion this is akin to trying to get rids of weeds in the yard by pulling a few while fertilizing the rest.

I saw a post on Curezone about oleander extract as a treatment for cancer.  The post was about oleander extract passing phase 1 FDA trials.  But the author, Tony Isaacs, claims that according to the study oleander “apparently can be effective against a wide variety of cancers”.  Why is this claim a problem?  Simple, this is not what the study determined.

One of the cardiac glycosides in oleander, oleandrin, was found to inhibit a few cancer cell lines in culture.  Just because something has an effect in culture though does not mean it has the same effect in the body.  Vitamin C can kill semen cells in culture.  Yet it does not do this when consumed. If it did none of us would have ever been born.  This is why animal and eventually human studies are conducted.  So far the actual human studies have shown oleander extracts to be a failure in the treatment of cancer.

Mr. Isaacs implied the therapy was effective because “7 of the 46 trial participants had their cancers stabilized for 4 or more months”.   “Stabilized” does not mean cured and thus does not mean effective.  You can stabilize a fractured leg but this does not mean the fracture is healed and you can go running.  So this was a very misleading statement.

There were more cases of potentially serious side effects than there were “stabilized cancers”.  These included proteinuria in 8 trial participants and cardiac (heart) abnormalities in 10 trial participants:


Stabilization of only 7 of 46 cancers for 4 months is not a good track record by any means, especially when all the trial participants had to be in the earliest stages of cancer.:


Inclusion Criteria:

  1. Participants must have an ECOG performance status score of 0-1”

See explanation of ECOG score here:


And without long term follow up it is impossible to say if the extract had any success in eliminating any of the 7 cancers or if each of these 7 trial participants still succumbed to their cancers.

So how can Mr. Isaacs honestly claim that oleander extract was “effective against a wide range of cancers” when there is absolutely no evidence to back this claim?  And how does Mr. Isaacs come to conclusion “a wide range of cancers”?  Of the 7 trial participants, all of which had early stage cancers, there were only 6 forms of cancer showing at least a temporary stabilization.  With hundreds of different types of cancer six is hardly a “wide range”.  And “effective” is impossible to say without long term follow up.  Therefore, the initial claim is not fact, it is merely more hype.

The first report on this study only showed 15 early stage cancer trial participants, not 46.  Out of these 15 trial participants only 3 had stabilized cancers for 4 months or more.:


This brings up an interesting point.  This first report was written in 2009 and the final report in 2011.  Therefore, the researchers had 2 years before their final report, which means they could have done a 2 year follow up on the original 3 trial participants to see if their cancers were still stabilized, or if the participants succumbed to their cancers.

This was never done though.  Instead all future participants, who also had to be in early stages of cancer, were also evaluated on the 4 month stabilization criteria based on RECIST as shown by the abstract:

“Of the 15 evaluable pts, 3 had stable disease for > 4 months, with bladder, colorectal, and fallopian tube cancer pts having an 11, 16, and 10% reduction by RECIST respectively. “

“RECIST” means Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors.  This simply is a set of standards by which it is determined if a patient gets better, worse or remains stable during the course of treatment.  This is primarily by the measurement of tumor size.  One problem that has been reported with RECIST though is that there is no standard for how measurements are done, which has called the whole RECIST program in to question.

Let’s assume though that there was a standardization.  If we look at the improvements they are not that impressive.  Over a 4 month period there was only between a 10-16% reduction of tumor size in the three evaluable patients.  To start with a 10-16% reduction in tumor size of an early stage cancer over 4 months is nothing really.  Many chemotherapy drugs have a better track record than that, and many people such as myself consider chemotherapy to be quackery based on their low success rates.

There is another statement in the study that really bothers me though.  First they state “To date 15 pts have received PBI-05204″ (oleander extract).  So they claim 15 patients to date have received the oleander extract, but then state “Of the 15 evaluable pts”.  If there were only 15 patients to begin with then why are they stating “of the 15 evaluable patients”?  To me this would imply that there were more than 15 patients to begin with since there were only 15 that were evaluable.  So is this another case where patients are being dropped from studies if they die or do not respond to make the drugs appear effective?

This is a common tactic of pharmaceutical companies, especially when testing chemotherapy drugs.  If a test subject dies or does not respond to the drug the test subject is dropped from the study so the failure will not skew the test results towards the negative.  This makes the ineffective drug “appear” effective.  I first saw this tactic reported by a couple of doctors in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) over 20 years ago.

Regardless, the results were not as impressive as were being portrayed by Mr. Isaacs.  Out of the 46 trial participants only 7 of the trial participants had a stable disease equal to or greater than 4 months.  This means that virtually all the participants had no benefit from the drug whatsoever.  Of the small number of participants that appeared to have some benefit there is no long term follow ups given.  If the cancers became unstabilized at 5 months they can still list the cancers were stable for 4 months or more, even if the participant still dies from the cancer.

Cancers do tend to come back within a few years with most therapies.  This is why cancers are not considered cured until the person reaches the 5 year mark cancer free.  Using such a short time duration of 4 months of stability can make a therapy appear more effective than it really is.  This would be like claiming someone who goes in to remission from chemotherapy for 4 or more months is cured of their cancer even if the cancer comes back later and kills the person.

In my opinion MD Anderson Cancer Center should have held off until the expected completion date of 2014 to write their “final report” so they could have included long term results instead of short term results only.

The claims made about oleander being effective shows how easy it is to misinterpret or misrepresent findings to mislead the public on the effectiveness of a product.


For related information see:


Chromium polynicotinate

Trivalent chromium, unlike the toxic hexavalent chromium, is essential to the human body.

Chromium supplements are used in small amounts to help in the regulation of blood sugar and triglycerides.

Chromium works in conjunction with magnesium to maintain insulin receptors. If these receptors “close” due to deficiencies of either chromium or magnesium the body’s insulin will not be able to utilize its own insulin. Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes are examples of the cells not being sensitive to insulin.

I have posted abstracts for chromium and magnesium for blood sugar control here:



There are different forms of chromium supplements though. The best known of these supplements is chromium picolinate, which is chromium bound to picolinic acid. It gained most of its popularity when it was promoted as a multilevel marketing product.

Being the best known though does not make it the most effective. Chromium polynicotinate has been found to be 300 times more effective than chromium picolinate. Chromium polynicotinate is chromium bound to four niacin molecules. It is one of the forms of chromium classified as a glucose tolerance factor (GTF) chromium. Of the different forms of GTF chromium though, chromium polynicotinate is still the best choice.

Because of the significantly higher cost of chromium polynicotinate though it is less often seen in supplements or supplemental form. Cheaper, but less effective forms of chromium are more commonly used by manufacturers to reduce costs.

Several companies do offer chromium polynicotinate as a straight supplement including Solaray, sold under the name of ActiChrom and by Nature’s Way under the product name GTF Chromium.

Recommended dose of chromium polynicotinate is 200mcg one to three times daily with meals.


SenTraMin “75 Powdered Plant Derived Minerals”

Sentramin “75 Plant Derived Minerals” liquid

Claim: Plant derived minerals.

Truth: The minerals are not even close to being plant derived. The minerals in these products are provided by the Rockland Corporation, who owns and operates the Body Toddy Mine in Emery County, Utah. The minerals are derived from rock known as shale that is ground up in to a fine powder and either capsuled or has water percolated through it to form the mineral products. Rockland, and their competitor T.J. Clark provide crushed shale products often sold under the name “colloidal minerals” or “plant based minerals” to a variety of companies.

Shale is not a plant, nor really derived from plants. Shale is a form of rock containing fossils of plants. But this does not mean the shale was derived from plants, nor that the minerals derived from the shale is plant derived. In fact, plant fossils are formed in rock by being trapped in mud, which is also not a plant. The Mud covers the plant and the plant rots away while the mud eventually compresses forming in to rock.

The companies providing these rock based minerals go to great lengths though to hide the fact that their minerals come from shale deposits. Just look at this quote from one sales site:

Most mineral products are made from ground up metallic rocks, soil or Sea Salts and should not be confused with VeggieTrace™ Plant-Derived Colloidal Minerals. Even colloidal silver products are made using citric acid or electrolysis to dissolve metallic silver into a liquid solution. So beware, “Not All Colloidal Minerals are Plant-derived”!

Our rich source of plant minerals is mined in Emery, Utah from a deposit of plants known as Senonian Vegetate®. The vegetate is saturated with pure water and then filtered to a concentrate of 40,000mg/L of pure unadulterated plant derived minerals providing a complete spectrum of an average of 75 minerals by certified tests.

It amazes me that they think people are so stupid that they are not going to see the contradiction in their statement. They claim that not all colloidal mineral products are plant derived implying that their minerals actually come from plants. In their next paragraph though thy clearly state that their “source of plant minerals is mined”. Plants are not mined, rock minerals are.

In another claim about these minerals they state:

Rockland developed a method to slowly remove the water base from the liquid by low temperature evaporation. All of the moisture is removed by a high volume of warm air which never exceeds 100 degrees F. This low temperature maintains the integrity and enzymatic activity of the water soluble plant minerals.

Again they are trying to deceive people in to believe that their minerals are actually derived from plants by mentioning the “enzymatic activity”. The wording is carefully chosen to deliberately mislead people while actually being truthful. The truth part of their claim is that minerals are needed for enzymatic reactions in the body. Heat does not affect this though since the minerals are not affected by the heat used to dry them, which can far exceed 100F. Therefore, their claim was made to imply that the enzyme activity is coming from the plants. As pointed out though, the minerals never came from plants in the first place.

Even the name VeggieTrace™ Minerals falsely implies that the minerals were directly derived from plants.

They continue by claiming their minerals have been naturally chelated, but then continue by saying ” and metabolized by plants and vegetation as they grew during the prehistoric Senonian Period”. I will start by pointing out the fact that rock based minerals are not naturally chelated. Therefore, that claim is also fraudulent. Chelation refers to the mineral being bound to amino acids, which are not naturally occurring in shale. The only rocks that I am aware of that have been found to contain amino acids naturally are meteorites.

Note that they say “the prehistoric Senonian Period”. This points to the fact that the minerals were not derived from plants. Plants from this prehistoric period in what is now Utah have not existed in millions of years. Again, these minerals come from the shale deposits that formed from the hardening of mud, not plants.

Why would companies using these rock based minerals go to such great lengths to try and hide the fact that their minerals actually come from Utah shale deposits instead of actual plants? The safety of these minerals have been called in to question numerous times partly due to the very high aluminum content of the shale. These minerals also contain various toxic minerals such as arsenic, beryllium, lead, cadmium, nickel, mercury, etc. Unlike actual plant based minerals though these minerals do not contain compounds to protect the body from these toxins. Plants can contain various compounds that help bind, and protect us from toxic elements. These compounds include algins, phytates and pectins that bind and remove heavy metals and some other toxic metals from the body.

I was reading a post on Curezone where someone was giving the advice of taking cayenne pepper for an aneurysm and claiming that cayenne was a fibrinolytic and therefore breaks down blood clots.

Let’s start by defining what a fibrinolytic is. A fibrinolytic is a compound that breaks down the protein fibrinogen, which is involved in the formation of scar tissue and blood clots.

By definition cayenne pepper is not a fibrinolytic since it lacks the enzymatic activity needed to break down fibrinogen.

Cayenne does contain a high level of natural “aspirin” though, which is why it thins the blood.  

Thinning the blood is a dangerous idea if a person has an aneurysm. An aneurysm is a weak spot on an arterial wall, which causes the wall to balloon out. If the aneurysm ruptures it can lead to internal hemorrhage. Therefore, the use of blood thinners like cayenne and true fibrinolytics, such as nattokinase or serrapeptase, are not advised with aneurysms as they can contribute to hemorrhaging if a rupture ensues.

In an attempt to back her claim the poster posted this:

But cayenne has been proven to have fibrinolytic qualities :

Visudhiphan, S., et. al. The relationship between high fibrinolytic activity and daily capsicum ingestion in Thais. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 35(6), 1452-1458, 1982.

Wasantapruek, S., et.al. May 30, 1974. Enhanced fibrinolytic activity after capsicum ingestion. The New England Journal of Medicine. pp. 1259-1260.

The problem is that she has no medical background and apparently did not read or understand the actual studies. She just posted the studies because the titles sounded like they were backing her claims.

As I stated previously cayenne is not a fibrinolytic as to be an actual fibrinolytic the herbs must contain enzymes that are capable of digesting the fibrinogen of a blood clot. Cayenne DOES NOT contain these enzymes and thus is not really a fibrinolytic.  Even the studies presented by this poster as “evidence” prove this fact.   

Here are some of the things the study found:

  • They state that cayenne has been shown to activate fibrinolytic activity.  This is not the same as being an actual fibrinolytic.  Unfortunately, some terms get used very loosely in some studies.  For example, when the studies state AIDS is a disease when in fact it is a syndrome, or where the terms lactic acid and lactate are used interchangeably even though they are different things.  The use of the word fibrinolytic is used loosely throughout this study.
  • They point out that Americans living in Thailand had higher levels of fibrinogen than Thais showing a possible genetic factor.
  • They state that fibrinogen levels showed no significant difference either immediately after or thirty minutes after cayenne ingestion.  If cayenne were truly a fibrinolytic then fibrinogen levels would be decreased by enzymatic breakdown.  Clearly this was not the case.
  • Coagulation and platelet factor tests showed no change, which again shows no fibrinolytic activity. Although thrombin production time was shown to be slowed.  It should also be noted though that out of 15 test subjects 8 of them had no changes in fibrinogen levels.  One had an increase, while the rest had decreases.  If cayenne was a fibrinolytic then levels would have dropped in most of the subjects. Instead, more than half had no change with one having an increase.

Therefore, despite the title of the article there is no evidence that cayenne itself is a fibrinolytic.  In fact, the study clearly shows the opposite.  Although, this does not mean that cayenne is not a blood thinner. The effects shown from the cayenne ingestion, after factoring in genetics, shows that cayenne may stimulate the body’s own fibrinolytic activity. Cayenne is also extremely high in “natural aspirin”, which can interfere with blood clotting especially with regular use:


This is a great example of why I recommend people research any medical advice they read on the internet rather than taking the advice on faith. The internet is full of inaccurate and dangerous medical advice.

For related information see my article:

The Dangers of Cayenne for Heart Attacks and Stroke


Welcome to the MedProductReview blog.

When it comes to medical information the internet is full of misleading and dangerous information. This blog was created to provide information on what works, what is hype, what is safe, what is dangerous and the pros and cons of allopathic and holistic products, devices and therapies.

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