Category Archives: Immune system

Glass of Milk

FDA Milk Prohibition

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives warnings about consuming raw milk, but the wholesome and natural food has a loyal and growing following. Until the 19th century “pasteurization” did not exist. It actually allows the proliferation of the milk coming from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOS) that can be produced in filthy conditions, and then heated until all the pathogens are gone. Not only killing the germs, but it also kills off the beneficial organisms in the milk and prevents natural souring. The FDA has begun a war against raw milk producers who are actually producing far healthier milk. This is all under the guise of protecting the public health, but in essence, they are taking away Americans’ food freedom.

The FDA is actually squeezing out the small farmers. The 10th Amendment reads “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Therefore, the FDA is in violation of the Constitution by trying to enforce raw milk bans within the states. This ban favors the industrial dairy at the expense of small family farms, according to Mike Maharrey, national communications director for the Tenth Amendment Center.

Hawaii, North Dakota and Alaska have introduced bills to legalize raw milk in their states. In Hawaii, this would legalize the sale of raw milk in retail stores as long as it contains a warning label about the “risks” of consuming unpasteurized milk. Farmers would also need to maintain records of everyone who purchased their raw milk. In North Dakota, farmers would be allowed to sell raw milk directly to consumers where they now have to purchase a share of the cow or herd to buy the raw milk. In Alaska, it would be legal for farmers to sell raw milk directly to consumers but have a warning label.

The media continues to spread inaccuracies and reports fear-based information related to raw milk consumption. West Virginia has historically been one of the least open states to raw milk and in 2016 legalized the distribution of raw milk through herd-share agreements.

It isn’t raw milk that makes people sick, even though that happens to be the target. The majority of food making people sick is coming from CAFOs and not the small organic farmers. You can get self-serve dairy straight from the vat in New Zealand. I remember 30 years ago when we used to buy raw milk directly from a small farmer near our home. It was self-serve. After turning on the agitator to mix the milk and cream that had risen to the top, we could fill our jugs from the spigot and then left our money in a jar. Everything was on an honor-based purchase. My kids loved it and were NEVER sick from it. If only that were still available, we would be buying it there again.

The grass-fed raw milk contains healthy bacteria that are good for your gastrointestinal tract, has more than 60 digestive enzymes, growth factors and immunoglobulins, contains conjugated linoleic acid, has beneficial raw fats, amino acids and proteins in a highly bioavailable form and contains vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K in highly bioavailable forms.

I believe in food freedom and we should all be able to consume whatever we believe to be healthy for us. If you happen to be allergic to the milk proteins or insulin resistant, you would be better off avoiding raw and pasteurized milk. The grass-fed raw milk from a high-quality source is usually superior in nutrition and flavor. We need to demand our rights for the 10th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Sick Girl

Mistakes We Make When Getting Sick

We all want to get better really fast when we get sick. Some of our habits may actually make our symptoms worse though.

Some things we should avoid when evading that common cold and flu as we fight our way to recovery are:

  1. Strive to power through and don’t keep the usual routine. Our body needs energy to fight off that cold or virus so make rest a priority. Stay home from work or school to recover. Not only for your own benefit, but think of those around you that you are spreading those germs to.
  2. Flu symptoms should prompt you to call the doctor, but not if you are just feeling those run-of-the-mill cold symptoms. An antiviral drugs can help with the signs of flu such as a high fever, body aches and fatigue. Your symptoms can be eased and your illness shortened by 1 or 2 days by beginning an antiviral drug in the first 48 hours.
  3. Do not skimp on sleep as it weakens your immune system and makes it harder to battle that infection. Those who get less than 6 hours of shut-eye each night are 4 times more likely to get sick than those sleeping at least 7 hours. Hit that bed early and take naps during the day. Use a nighttime cough syrup with a little honey and use that humidifier to help breathe easier.
  4. Bugging your doctor for an antibiotic will not result in feeling better. Antibiotics will only kill bacteria and these colds and flu are caused by viruses. Plus, nearly 1/3 of antibiotics are unnecessary and can raise your risk of side effect, such as diarrhea and allergic reactions as well as contributing to a global health problem of antibiotic resistance.
  5. It may be hard to swallow liquids but you need to stay hydrated so that you can thin your mucus and break up congestion. It will fend off your headaches, too, so drink plenty of water or sip a warm beverage like herbal tea or broth. This can help ease cold symptoms such as fatigue or a sore throat.
  6. You may not have much of an appetite but you need those calories and nutrients that will fuel the immune cells that attack cold and flu viruses to make you get better faster. Even if it’s a bowl of chicken soup as this will actually relieve some of the symptoms.
  7. Smoking should be avoided as it damages your lungs and irritates your throat that can make your cold symptoms worse. Ditch those cigarettes and keep away from that secondhand smoke.
  8. Do NOT stress out as this creates a hormone that is hard on the immune system and increases inflammation. This can make your stuffy nose even worse so make an effort to focus on relaxing and recovering and you will be back on our feet before you know it!
    • Dr Fredda Branyon


Immune System Drugs for Multiple Myeloma


The immune system takes a real hit with multiple myeloma and makes it much harder to fight infections.  For this reason, your immune system is a focus in many of the mainstream treatments for multiple myeloma.  You might want to consult with your doctor to consider the different immune system drugs out there, what they do and how they work. You may also want to speak to an alternative physician to educate yourself on more natural ways to fight cancer.

Biologics are medicines that believed to help your immune system to control your myeloma. These drugs are made from living organisms and some can boost the immune system to help the body fight the disease.  Some suppress it to do the same thing and yet more destroy cancer cells directly or reduce the side effect of other treatments. We at New Hope Unlimited believe it is best to use your own biologicals to enhance the immune system.  But for the purpose of this article, I am reporting on what mainstream medicine is doing with a lot of synthetic drugs.

There are three medications taken as pills that is said to help your immune system point out and attack cancer cells.  They are also called immunomodulators or immune-modifying drugs.

These three are:

  • Thalidomide (Thalomid) that lowers the blood supply to cancers.  Prior to its use to treat myeloma in the late 1990’s, it was used as a sedative and nausea medication for pregnant women until it was found to cause birth defects.
  • Lenalidomide (Revlimid) is a stronger form of thalidomide and has fewer side effects, but it can still cause numbness, rashes and fatigue that thalidomide does.  They both have a risk of shortness of breath or seizures.
  • Pomalidomide (Pomalyst), the newest drug of this type, which was approved by the FDA for multiple myeloma, is similar to the others.  One big difference is that it has been found to be effect longer.

Common side effects of all three of these drugs include low blood counts, a “pins and needles” feeling or pain in the arms and legs and a higher risk of blood clots that can travel to the lungs from the leg.  There are even more side effects for each drug that your doctor will discuss with you.

Other drugs are:

  • The drug interferon boosts the immune system and encourages healthy cells to move toward the cancer cells to destroy them.  This drug is injected into the skin 2 to 3 times a week and you may feel flu-like symptoms after it’s given to you.
  • Monoclonal Antibodies are man-made and supposed to work on one type of target.  
  • Daratumumab (Darzalex) attaches to multiple myeloma cells and will kill them and signal your immune system to attack them. If one of the other treatments hasn’t worked, you will get this one.  There may be a reaction a few hours after getting the drug such as coughing, wheezing, trouble breathing, runny nose, headache or rash. If any of these happen to you, your doctor may need to adjust your dose or add another medicine with it to lessen or stop your symptom.
  • Elotuzumab (Empliciti) works much in the same way as daratumumab with the same reactions and side effects.  More side effects are weakness or numbness in your hands and feet and respiratory tract infection.

Some biologics are in development in clinical trials.  Your doctor might suggest you join in one of these to try.  They are adoptive T-cell transfers, which use the body’s T cells (white blood cells that help fight disease) to destroy the cancer.  Vaccines would work like more-common vaccines to jump-start the immune system to attack cancer cells.

Wouldn’t there possibly be a natural alternative treatment to build the immune system? Consult with your doctor as to the best drug that will fit for you. There are many options for edications listed above.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Smart Needles

A smart needle is embedded with a camera to help doctors perform safer brain surgery. The device was developed by the University of Adelaide researchers in South Australia and uses a very tiny camera to identify at-risk blood vessels. The probe is the size of a human hair and uses an infrared light to look through the brain.

The probe uses the Internet of Things to send the information to a computer in real-time that alerts doctors of any abnormalities. The University of Western Australia and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital were in collaboration for the project where a 6-month pilot trial of the smart needle was run.

Robert McLaughlin, research leader and Chair of the University of Adelaide’s Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics, said the researchers were also looking at other surgery applications for the device, including minimally invasive surgery. Surgeons previously relied on scans taken prior to surgery to avoid hitting blood vessels but the smart needle was a more accurate method that highlighted their locations in real-time.

There are approximately 256,000 cases of brain cancer a year and about 2.3% of the time you can make a significant impact that could end in a stroke or death. The smart needle would help that as it works sort of like an ultrasound but with light instead. There is also smart software that takes the picture, analyses it and then can determine if what it is seeing is a blood vessel or tissue.

There was a trial at the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital that involved 12 patients who were undergoing craniotomies. A needle with a 200-micron wide camera was successfully able to identify blood vessels during the surgery. Professor Christopher Lind said having a needle that could see blood vessels as surgeons proceed through the brain was a medical breakthrough.

This will open the way for safer surgery and allow them to do things they’ve not been able to do before. The smart needle will be ready for formal clinical trials in 2018. According to Professor McLaughlin, they hope manufacturing of the smart needles will begin within five years.

This project was partially funded by the Australian Research Council, the National Health and Medical Research Council and the South Australian Government. It’s only too bad that it takes so long to get something this promising up and operating. Just think of the lives this could save!

Why couldn’t this be used in conjunction with Naturopathic/Alternative treatment to overcome cancer by having that strong immune system?

Dr Fredda Branyon

Complementary Cancer Treatments

There are therapies to ease your symptoms of cancer or the treatment side effects that might include pain, nausea, fatigue or anxiety. You might want to consider looking beyond the tandard medicine for some alternative solutions. The complementary therapies may not always cure the disease, (but certainly might) but many of them can help you feel better and blend safely into your care. Be sure to talk with your doctor prior to initiating any of them.

Some therapies are:

An exercise that focuses on breathing, stretching and physical poses that is a low stress way to move and feel better. Some people taking up this exercise are less anxious, less tired and feel better overall. Talk to your teacher after getting approval from your doctor to choose the right style of class for you.

Acupuncture. By placing very thin needles into specific points on your body this therapy aims to control your symptoms. It may help your nausea and vomiting from chemo, according to studies. Look for a licensed, certified acupuncturist or get a recommendation from your doctor.

Acupressure. This is something like acupuncture, but without the use of needles. They use a special bracelet to stimulate a spot on the inside of your wrist. Again, this type of therapy can ease nausea, a common symptom of cancer and its treatments, like radiation and chemo.

Massage. A massage by a licensed therapist just plain feels good, and it can east the symptoms of pain, fatigue, anxiety, nausea and depression. This type is safe for those even in the advanced stages of the disease. Let the therapist know you have cancer so that he/she can offer some options that will best work for your condition. With radiation you should have them avoid those areas of radiation, as well as any skin are that is red or swollen.

Tai Chi. Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that focuses on slow movement, meditation and breathing. It could help you feel better overall and could reduce fatigue from cancer. The scientists believe it may boost your immune system, which is a key in fighting cancer, but more research is needed to confirm this.

Aromatherapy. Using essential oils such as peppermint and eucalyptus as home remedies has been used for centuries. Rub them on your skin, breathe them in or add a few drops to your bathwater or compress. They may help you feel less anxious and depressed along with better sleep. They might have an allergic reaction on your skin so watch out for that. If you have a tumor that is sensitive to estrogen, do not use lavender or tea tree products.

Biofeedback. This will help you relax and manage your pain. Special machines are used to monitor some of your body’s basic signals, like heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension and breathing. Using a licensed technician will allow you to access the info to control how your body is working.

Guided imagery. This will harness the power of your mind, and you can imagine yourself in a favorite spot that is free of pain just by closing your eyes. Combine this with progressive muscle relaxation to tense and release parts of your body. People in a study found they had less pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, anxiety and depression.

Reflexology. This is a massage that will put pressure on specific spots on the soles of your feet that can help your symptoms. Those with breast cancer reported that it especially helped with fatigue and shortness of breath, and there is no downside to a really good foot rub!

Most people, even without the symptoms of cancer, would enjoy being pampered with one or all of these different therapies. You will most likely receive many benefits from using complementary treatments for your cancer.

Dr Fredda Branyon


New Food Trend, Koji

KojiConsumer behavior is beginning to change in regards to food and is embracing more traditional foods. They are also relearning ancient culinary methods such as fermenting. This could be one of the most positive food trends in many decades as these fermented foods are really important for optimal gut health and plays a crucial role in how the microbiome plays in our overall health and mental wellbeing.

Your microbiome is one of the environmental factors that drives genetic expression that turns the genes on and off, depending on which microbes are present.  According to research, many are deficient in beneficial gut bacteria.

Koji (Asperfillus oryzae) is now embraced by chefs around the world.  It is a type of fungus that has been used for millennia in China and Japan.  Asperfillus ferments and produces a number of enzymes known to be beneficial for animal and human health, which aids digestion and promotes a healthy gut.  Sake, soy sauce, rice vinegar and miso soup are Asian foods and beverages made with koji. Western chefs are experimenting and coming up with all sorts of new koji-fermented products.

Koji is used to tenderize meats, cutting the time required to dry and age the meat from 45 days to as little as 48 hours.  Koji looks a bit like rice pudding or little grains covered in powder. Over time the enzymes in the koji breaks down the connective tissue in steak and rids the meat of its moisture.  The meat is beginning to decompose, and that is what makes it so tender.

Another use for koji is to use it as a marinade for fish, chicken and vegetables.  Marinade for as little as 30 to 60 minutes and keep in mind that the food may burn faster than normal when cooked.  It’s salty enough so do not add extra salt. Koji can also be used as a salt substitute.

The fermentation process produces:

  • Beneficial healthy bacteria that promotes gut health
  • Beneficial enzymes
  • Certain nutrients, including B vitamins, biotin and folic acid
  • Increased bioavailability of minerals
  • Short-chain fatty acids that help improve your immune system function

Optimizing your gut health is a foundational step.  Most people have poor gut health and would benefit from eating more fermented foods.  Fiber serves as a prebiotic and is another important component. Ways that probiotic foods influence your health and well being are: enhancing nutritional content of the food, restoration of normal gut flora when taking antibiotics, immune system enhancement, improvement of symptoms of lactose intolerance, reduced risk of infection from pathogenic microorganisms, weight loss aid, reduced constipation or diarrhea, can help prevent allergies in children, antioxidant and detoxifying effects, reduced risk for helicobacter pylori, improvement of leaky gut, reduced urinary and female genital tract infections, improvement of premenstrual syndrome, improvement of and reduced risk for atopic dermatitis and acne, reduced risk for type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, improved mental health, mood control and behavior, improvement of autistic symptoms and reduced risk of brain diseases.

Optimizing your microbiome could be a potent disease prevention strategy.

Dr Fredda Branyon


Cancer Cells Hijack DNA Repair Networks

Cancer Cells Hijack DNA Repair Networks

The university of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) scientists have completed research that has revealed how cancer cells hijack DNA repair pathways to prevent telomeres, the end caps of chromosomes, from shortening and allowing the tumor to spread.  The findings of this research are published in the journal Cell Reports.

When a cell is formed, a countdown clock begins ticking that determines how long the cell can live.  This is the telomere, a series of repeating DNA letters at the ends of each chromosome in the cell.  But, the cancer cell cleverly hijack this telomere clock and reset it, thus lengthening the telomere every time it shortens.  The cell is then lead into thinking it is still young and can divide, spreading the tumor.

Most of the cancers do this by increasing the activity of an enzyme that lengthens telomeres, however, approximately 15% of cancers use a different mechanism for resetting the clock, called alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT).  There is also evidence that suggests tumors that activate the ALT pathway are aggressive and more resistant to treatment.  ALT was identified close to two decades ago and identified how this mechanism works and has proven elusive.

By identifying the parts that the cancer cell tweaks to reset the countdown time might provide targets for developing new cancer drugs or making existing ones more effective, according to senior author Roderick O’Sullivan, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmacology and chemical biology at Pitt’s School of Medicine and a member of UPCI.

The team used a recently developed technique called proximity dependent biotinylation (BioID), which allowed them to quickly identify proteins that were physically close to, and potentially associated with, telomere lengthening in cancer cells.  When they compared cancer cells in which either telomerase or ALT were active, the BioID technique identified 139 proteins that were unique to ALT-activated cells.  The team took a closer look and one enzyme, DNA polymerase, took them by surprise.

They expected to see DNA repair proteins but saw Poln was activated only in cells that were damaged by UV light that they did use in their experiments.  Knowing the molecular players in the ALT pathway opens a whole new area of research as well as potential drug targets.

The co-first authors of the study were Laura Garcia-Exposito, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in O’Sullivan’s lab, and Elodie Bournique, a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Jean-Sebastien Hoffmann at the Cancer Research Center of Toulouse, France.

The research was funded by grants from the Competitive Medical Research Fund and Stimulating Pittsburgh Research in Geroscience at the University of Pittsburgh, National Institutes of Health grants and La Ligue contre le Cancer.

Dr Fredda Branyon




Halting Spread of Lung Cancer


A component of cancer cells, which act like a cellular post office, was found by the scientists at the Universities of York and Texas could be the key to preventing the spread of lung cancer to other parts of the body.  These findings could lead to new therapeutics, targeted at a particular communication mechanism in the cell. This could trigger a change in the scaffolding of the cell perimeter, altering from a fixed shape, attached to an organ and to a less stable one that is moving freely around the body.

The Golgi apparatus or the “post office” of the cell, has the ability to package proteins in order to transport them to other parts of the cell or to deliver them to areas outside of the cell.  A protein called PAQR11 has been identified by researchers. This PAQR11 is inside the cellular post office that receives a signal from another proteins called Zeb 1. This communication of the two proteins then prompts the transport of membrane sacks inside the Golgi.  These vesicles, or sacks, change their delivery routes and fundamentally alter the perimeter of the cancer cells, making it possible for the cell to detach from its fixed position in the lung and travel to other areas of the body.

It was stated by Dr. Daniel Ungar from the University of York’s Department of Biology that they think of the cancer cell like a tent structure.  The sides are fixed to hold its shape and are firmly anchored to the ground in order to secure its contents. It cannot then be moved until its architecture is altered somehow.  To be able to move the tent, they have to rearrange its contents and collapse its sides in order to lift it out of its anchored position and carry it away. When cancer metastasizes, a similar process also happens with the outer edges altered and results in it becoming un-anchored.

The delivery center for communications between proteins receives the communication between two proteins, which signals that the movement of membrane sacks around the cell should be changed.  This delivery center of the communications between proteins is called the cellular post office. The change in movement changes the perimeter of the cancer cell and collapses, much like a tent’s sides, and allows it to move from its original resting place to anywhere in the body.

Now that they recognize this system, the potential is there to develop a drug that interferes with this communication and prevents the Golgi apparatus from facilitating the movement of the membrane sacks.  They will be looking at how to target this process without interrupting normal cellular functions of non-cancerous cells.

This research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society and the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas.

                                                                                                                          Dr Fredda Branyon


High BP Meds Block Cancer

Postdoctoral Researcher Guillaume Jacquemet and Academy Professor Johanna Ivaska have screened already approved drugs and discovered that calcium channel blockers can efficiently stop cancer cell invasion in vitro.  These blockers are currently being used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) but their potential use in blocking cancer cell metastases has not been previously reported.

Cancer’s ability to kill is because of its spreading throughout the body and forming metastases.  Developing drugs that can block the ability of these cancer cells to disseminate is a major anti-cancer therapeutic avenue.  It is a very lengthy and expensive process to develop new drugs and many of the promising drugs fail the clinical trials because of unanticipated toxicity and side effects.  Finding some new targets for the drugs already in use to treat other diseases is an emerging area in developing anti-cancer therapies.

Identifying anti-hypertension drugs as potential therapeutics against breast and pancreatic cancer metastasis was a big surprise.  These drugs were not known to be present in cancer cells and no one had considered the possibility that they might be effective against aggressive cancer types.

The research team from the Turku Centre for Biotechnology that is lead by Professor Johanna Ivaska has focused their efforts on understanding how these cancer cells move and invade the surrounding tissue.  The aggressively spreading cancer cells express a protein called Myosin-10, which drives cancer cell motility. These expressing cancers have a large number of structures called filopodia that are sticky finger-like structures.  The cancer cells extend to sense their environment and to navigate.

It was found by the team that calcium channel blockers target specifically these sticky fingers and render them inactive which efficiently blocks the cancer cell movement.  Therefore, it is thought that they might be effective drugs against cancer metastasis. There is much more work required at this stage to assess if these drugs would be efficient against the cancer progression.

The team is currently assessing the efficiency of calcium channel blockers to stop the spreading of breast and pancreatic cancer using pre-clinical models and analyzing patient data.  More information can be found in the Nature Communications journal.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Oh, Those Superbugs!

img c/o pixabay

Common and serious infections are getting even harder to treat with all the bacteria, viruses and parasites that are able to survive some of the drugs we are using, like the basic antibiotics. These also include pneumonia. According to the World Health Organization they are in every country and if it keeps getting harder to prevent and treat these infections, it will affect things like chemotherapy and major surgery and become risky for tuberculosis, HIV and infections that can happen after surgery.

There are 800,000 sick each year and this is in every country. It is harder than ever to prevent and treat the infections, and even chemotherapy and major surgery can become very risky.

The most dangerous superbug found so far is clostridium difficile (C. diff). C. diff is a strain of bacteria that causes life-threatening diarrhea and is No. 1 on the list of urgent threats, according to the CDC. These drug-resistant infections cost about $20 billion in direct health care costs and $35 billion in lost productivity in the U.S. alone. Even using hand sanitizers can spread superbugs. These use alcohol, not antibiotics, to kill germs, but the CDC says soap and water is still the best way to keep your hands clean to avoid these superbugs.

About 30% of all antibiotic prescriptions written are not really needed. Quite often these prescriptions for antibiotics are written by the doctors for people who have illnesses that are caused by viruses like the common cold, sinus infections and ear infections. They only work on bacteria, so they aren’t really an effective treatment for those illnesses.

Bronchitis is caused by a virus and should never be treated with antibiotics. It won’t help and might actually contribute to the rise of a drug-resistant infection.

What is the best way to prevent superbugs? Just avoid infections altogether. Lowering the number of antibiotics that are used each year is the key to staying healthy. Be sure to keep your vaccines up to date and use safe practices when you’re cooking, and be sure to wash your hands before and after with soap and water. This will be the best way to keep drug-resistant bacteria from spreading. Make sure you finish all meds prescribed by your doctor, even if you are feeling better. Do not suggest you take an antibiotic to your doctor.

The resistance to antibiotics is a natural process where over time the bacteria that survive treatment by drugs can pass that ability on to other bacteria. This is happening faster than normal because of the things we do, like using antibiotics too often and giving them to livestock to enhance their growing. Farm animals are getting more antibiotics than people in the US. About 70% of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used on livestock and could lead to drug-resistant bugs that can be passed to humans, according to scientists. A good number of the large companies in the food industry have agreed to use fewer antibiotics in their meat or to stop using them altogether.

Antibiotic resistance in bacteria was originally discovered in 1940 where the first case was a strain of the bacteria that causes staph infections. It was found resistant to penicillin. Alexander Fleming discovered the drug in 1928 and won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1945. He was already talking about the dangers of drug resistance.

Many common ailments can be treated with home remedies in lieu of taking high-powered antibiotics that just might cause more harm than good. Be observant of the antibiotics being given to you and keep those hands washed good with soap and water!

–Dr Fredda Branyon