Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

26 Adar II 5765 - April 6, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Home and Family

Your Medical Questions Answered!
by Joseph B. Leibman, MD

Vitamins are a broad subject, but there is no evidence that one needs to take supplements in most developed countries. Vitamin A is poisonous to the liver in high doses. Coenzyme Q10 does have some benefit in heart patients and Parkinson's, but it is extremely expensive. DHEA was reported to help retard aging and help in dementia. It does not work.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin do help in arthritis, but there may be kashrus questions. Melatonin may help night shift workers, but its effect is minor. Omega 3 fatty acids are good for reducing triglycerides. The best way to get these is eating fish. Selenium has no proven benefit other than in dandruff control. Vitamin B1 is essential in alcoholics who do not get enough of this and it may help against diabetic neuropathy - the loss of feeling they develop.

Riboflavin B2 may prevent migraines. Niacin — which is Vitamin B3 — can help against cholesterol, but it causes flushing, and this is the cause of many people stopping therapy. B6-Pyridoxine is good for lowering risk for heart attack, nausea and vomiting of pregnancy and is actually an antidote against TB drug overdoses. Folate is essential to prevent some birth defects, so it is often taken in pregnancy. It may lower risk of colon cancer.

Vitamin B12 is lacking in vegetarians who do not eat any animal products (eggs, milk etc) and this can cause anemia. Vitamin C probably helps little in colds, and can cause kidney stones. Vitamin E has been touted for everything. The good news is that it is safe. Vitamin K is for clotting, so no one recommends taking too much of this one.

What happened to Vitamins F, G, H, I and J? Vitamin K was discovered by a German scientist who called the Koagulation vitamin, shortened to Vitamin K.

Again, a good healthy diet full of vegetables provides you with most of these nutrients.

Meningitis is a scary disease, with a high mortality. Those who survive it often have many deficits. Recently we have learned that the use of steroids can help prevent these deficits, but still, it is a disease for wich antibiotics must be started at once, and often that is not enough. Dormitories are a common place for this bug to spread, but there is a vaccine to at least one type of this disease. Signs include confusion, stiff neck and rash with high fever.

A recent New England Journal of Medicine article challenges whether epidurals cause a slowing of labor and more c-sections. Is your obstetrician buying it? See the article in the February edition. Write me in care of the Yated or at

A message from GlaxoSmithKline, sponsor of this column. I have a cold now, and my usual migraine, but Imitrex came to the rescue. These medications work for migraines, but should be started early. These are the best medications for migraines.


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