Dr. Gott: File this gallbladder ‘cure’ under Q for quackery
DEAR DR. GOTT: I have a family history of gallbladder trouble, and I react badly to fatty foods. Have you heard of Dr. Hulda Clark’s recipe for a gallbladder cleanse? It is very popular, but is it safe? Sign me cautious.
DEAR CAUTIOUS READER: During Dr. Hulda Clark’s lifetime, she claimed to cure cancer, AIDS and a number of other diseases. She claimed to have held a bachelor and master’s degree from the University of Saskatchewan and a Ph.D. in physiology from the University of Minnesota. The Register of Ph.D. degrees from U of M, however, indicates that Dr. Clark actually held a doctorate in zoology and minored in botany. She also listed a degree in naturopathy from the Clayton College of Natural Health. This college is a non-accredited correspondence school in Birmingham, Ala. The course has been described in a magazine article as a 100-hour course with a tuition of $695.
Dr. Clark claimed that many diseases and all cancers are caused by pollutants, parasites and toxins, and the body can be cured simply by ridding itself of these substances. Accordingly, she invented a “parasite Zapper” that passes an electric current through the blood, thus becoming effective against the AIDS virus, herpes, obesity, parasites and numerous other serious conditions.
In 2004, the respected publication New England Journal of Medicine reported that a 52-year-old man with a cardiac pacemaker experienced dizziness and near fainting after using the equipment. It was determined the Zapper caused his pacemaker to malfunction and disrupted his heart’s rhythm. In fairness to Dr. Clark, a warning was posted on the packaging, but the patient apparently didn’t read it.
In 1999, Dr. Clark was arrested in San Diego based on a fugitive warrant from Indiana, where she faced charges of practicing medicine without a license. She was apprehended in California and returned to Indiana to stand trial. In April 2000, a judge hearing the case dismissed the charges on the grounds that too much time had elapsed between the filing of the charges and her arrest. The judge did not address the merits of the charges but only the issue of whether the delay had compromised her ability to mount a defense and her right to a speedy trial.
The irony of it all is that in September 2009, Dr. Clark died of complications of multiple myeloma, a form of lymphoma. I could continue with volumes of information, but enough is enough. My recommendation to you is an emphatic NO.
Avoid large meals, fatty foods, alcohol and other triggers that cause indigestion. While low-cholesterol meals will not prevent gallbladder stones, they can keep pain and symptoms from occurring. Avoid crash diets. Lose weight and keep it off. If appropriate, review your medications with your physician, since estrogen, some cholesterol-lowering medications and oral contraceptives are known to increase the risk of developing stones. If appropriate, request a referral to a gastroenterologist.
To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report “Medical Specialists.” Other readers who would like a copy should send a self-addressed, stamped No. 10 envelope and a $2 check or money order to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092-0167.
DEAR DR. GOTT: In regards to the person who was irritated because he or she thinks your answers are too long, thus he or she did not enjoy your column as much as when the answers were shorter, I think if this person wants only short answers, he or she should get a medical encyclopedia.
I hope you keep your answers just as they are. This person obviously does not have a serious health issue right now or has not had a health concern, whereas many letter writers have suffered for months, if not years, and are still suffering after seeing many doctors and specialists without relief.
Maybe if more doctors would give an in-depth explanation to their patients as you do, the world would be better off. I enjoy your column very much, so please keep it as is. Thank you.
DEAR READER: And thank you. It’s difficult at any time, but particularly in today’s society, to satisfy people. We all think differently, finding some things acceptable and others totally unacceptable. We are less tolerant, more opinionated and want things done our way, which, of course, is the best way. What a fickle society we’ve become.
If I have pleased you with what I am doing, it’s all worth it. Thank you again for making my day.
DEAR DR. GOTT: I have had recurring nausea for several years that occurs only in warm weather over 75 F. It starts in April and continues until September.
I’ve been to six doctors, including a cardiologist, neurologist, physiologist, ear-nose-and-throat specialist and the VA. I’ve had all their tests but no diagnosis.
DEAR READER: It may be a surprise to you to discover that heat-induced nausea is rather common. These illnesses occur when a person’s body-temperature control system overloads. We cool our bodies by sweating. With some of us, sweating is inadequate and body temperatures rise.
This may occur because of high humidity that prevents sweat from evaporating as quickly as it ordinarily would, or we may have a fever, be dehydrated, be overweight, have poor circulation, be on specific medications, or use alcohol to excess. When any of these things occur, nausea may result.
There may be steps you can take to prevent this. Hydrate by drinking additional fluids, whatever your level of activity. Consider sports drinks to keep your mineral and electrolyte levels up. By all means, avoid as much sun exposure as you can. Choose lightweight fabrics that will allow your skin to breathe better. When possible, avoid warm outdoor temperatures and keep your home air-conditioned. It’s obvious we cannot walk around in a bubble; however, these are simple suggestions that might get you through days with higher-than-acceptable temperatures for you.
When you feel a bout of nausea coming on, consider eating olives, crackers or a lemon. In fact, keep ice water in the refrigerator and rub the edge of the glass with a lemon wedge. These food items may settle your stomach acid and help with the nausea. Then you might consider light exercise, yoga or tai chi for additional support.
To provide related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report “More Compelling Home Remedies.” Other readers who would like a copy should send a self-addressed stamped No. 10 envelope and a $2 check or money order made payable to Newsletter and sent to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092-0167. Be sure to mention the title or print an order form off my website at http://www.AskDrGottMD.com.
• Dr. Peter H. Gott is a retired physician and the author of several books. His website is http://www.AskDrGottMD.com. Write to him at Dr. Gott c/o United Media, 200 Madison Ave., 4th fl., New York, NY 10016.