Hormesis and its relationship with homeopathy doctors

1The Center for Integrative Complementary Medicine, Shaare Zedek Principle, together with the homeopathic claim that hormesis validates homeopathy. Homeopathy or homœopathy is a system of alternative medicine created in by Samuel Hahnemann, based on his doctrine of Some homeopaths contend that the phenomenon of hormesis may support the idea A legal appeal by the British Homeopathic Association against the decision was rejected in June The significant connection between homeopathy and hormesis is stressed out, This means that the medical doctor may find convenient to exploit in turn the.

Given that there are many orders of magnitude fewer than molecules in the small sample, the likelihood that it contains even one molecule of the original herb is extremely low.

In the Organon, Hahnemann introduced the concept of "miasms" as "infectious principles" underlying chronic disease. If, however, these symptoms were suppressed by medication, the cause went deeper and began to manifest itself as diseases of the internal organs. Hahnemann believed psora to be the cause of such diseases as epilepsycancerjaundicedeafnessand cataracts. The theory of miasms has been criticized as an explanation developed by Hahnemann to preserve the system of homeopathy in the face of treatment failures, and for being inadequate to cover the many hundreds of sorts of diseases, as well as for failing to explain disease predispositions, as well as geneticsenvironmental factors, and the unique disease history of each patient.

Throughout the 19th century, dozens of homeopathic institutions appeared in Europe and the United States, [60] and bythere were 22 homeopathic colleges and 15, practitioners in the United States. Sir John Forbesphysician to Queen Victoriasaid in that the extremely small doses of homeopathy were regularly derided as useless, "an outrage to human reason". Regulation and prevalence of homeopathy According to Paul Ulrich Unschuldthe Nazi regime in Germany was fascinated by homeopathy, and spent large sums of money on researching its mechanisms, but without gaining a positive result.

Unschuld further argues that homeopathy never subsequently took root in the United Statesbut remained more deeply established in European thinking. In the s, there were only 75 pure homeopaths practising in the U. The main findings of the report were 'there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective".

Reactions to the report sparked world headlines which suggested that the NHMRC had found that homeopathy is not effective for all conditions. List of homeopathic preparations Homeopathic preparation Rhus toxicodendron, derived from poison ivy.

Ethanol is listed as being redundantly diluted in alcohol. Homeopathic preparations are referred to as "homeopathics" [11] or "remedies". Practitioners rely on two types of reference when prescribing: Materia Medica and repertories.

A homeopathic materia medica is a collection of "drug pictures", organized alphabetically. These entries describe the symptom patterns associated with individual preparations.

Update on hormesis and its relation to homeopathy.

A homeopathic repertory is an index of disease symptoms that lists preparations associated with specific symptoms. In both cases different compilers may dispute particular inclusions. The first homeopathic repertory was Georg Jahr's Symptomenkodex, published in German inand translated into English as the Repertory to the more Characteristic Symptoms of Materia Medica by Constantine Hering in This version was less focused on disease categories and was the forerunner to later works by James Tyler Kent.

Homeopathy uses animal, plant, mineral, and synthetic substances in its preparations, generally referring to them using Latin or faux-Latin names. Examples include arsenicum album arsenic oxidenatrum muriaticum sodium chloride or table saltLachesis muta the venom of the bushmaster snakeopiumand thyroidinum thyroid hormone.

Some homeopaths use so-called "nosodes" from the Greek nosos, disease made from diseased or pathological products such as fecal, urinary, and respiratory discharges, blood, and tissue. Some modern homeopaths use preparations they call "imponderables" because they do not originate from a substance but some other phenomenon presumed to have been "captured" by alcohol or lactose. Examples include X-rays [83] and sunlight. Such practices have been strongly criticized by classical homeopaths as unfounded, speculative, and verging upon magic and superstition.

Serial dilution is achieved by taking an amount of the mixture and adding solvent, but the "Korsakovian" method may also be used, whereby the vessel in which the preparations are manufactured is emptied, refilled with solvent, and the volume of fluid adhering to the walls of the vessel is deemed sufficient for the new batch. There are no laboratory assays and the importance and techniques for succussion cannot be determined with any certainty from the literature.

Homeopathic dilutions Three main logarithmic potency scales are in regular use in homeopathy. Hahnemann created the "centesimal" or "C scale", diluting a substance by a factor of at each stage. The centesimal scale was favoured by Hahnemann for most of his life. A 2C dilution requires a substance to be diluted to one part inand then some of that diluted solution diluted by a further factor of This works out to one part of the original substance in 10, parts of the solution.

Higher dilutions follow the same pattern. In homeopathy, a solution that is more dilute is described as having a higher "potency", and more dilute substances are considered by homeopaths to be stronger and deeper-acting. The greatest dilution reasonably likely to contain even one molecule of the original substance is 12C. Hormesis is too vague. As he said, it would be almost impossible to incorporate it into any kind of risk-analysis or risk policy. I hope Joel is right. A lot of examples of potentially positive effects have been brought in the work that Dr.

Calabrese has published, but I think we need to have a more subjective view. And I invite Fred, if he could take us through the numbers of studies that have demonstrated harmful effects of very low doses. None of them could be considered as anything but adverse. Then, as you move to ,fold higher dose, these effects go away. And if you started from high doses and moved down from very high doses, you would not see them. As I say, there are 11 major papers published, showing these kinds of dose-response curves.


So certainly we know there are low-dose impacts of chemicals. We know that the U-shaped or bi-phasic dose response is common, in some cases. The response I would say is that we have to come up with a strategy that promotes the idea that risk-assessment has to accept that there are dose-response curves other than monotonic functions, that essentially discredit the linear threshold model of risk-assessment for non-carcinogenic chemicals.

We have to do that while disassociating ourselves from the nonsense associated with hormesis. Fred, you just said what I was trying to imply. From my perspective, hormesis is not at all trivial or something that we should ignore, nor is it vague. The idea of the U-shaped curve is very specific. There are some very serious toxins that have tremendous public health impact that industries involved with their production like to see these reports, and promote them.

I just want to point out the incredible double standard at work, in terms of new science around non-linear dose-response functions for carcinogens, and new science regarding a U-shaped dose-response function for non-carcinogens. Namely, that carcinogens previously assumed to have a linear dose response function, in fact, act more like a threshold carcinogen.

Thank you for that comment, David. For me, hormesis is probably the lowest dose you can be exposed to. Is that truly called hormesis? Is that what is being considered hormesis, now? What is hormetic is the shape of the curve. At the other end, you have a response in a positive direction, but it dips in the middle -- or vice-versa.

The curve can be an upside-down U. But the idea is that at some point, the curve is convex or concave. The question in your case of alcohol is that a person -- an individual -- controls their intake of alcohol.

So there is a difference, of course. We know nutrients operate on sort of a U-shaped dose-response. So, there is an issue. But the question is could you use it as a generic phenomenon in chemicals risk-assessment for environmental occupational purposes? We have examples that involve toxins, whether by choice or not by choice.

Alcohol is by choice. Ozone and carbon monoxide are not by choice. We have to see those as toxins that affect huge parts of the population that behave in this way. We have to take them case-by-case. I also think this is not trivial from an epidemiologic perspective -- but for a different reason than what has been mentioned, before. That is, I think it just really adds to our emerging understanding of the complexity of the exposure, and the complexity of effects.

I think as many of the people on the call know -- one of the biggest problems with epidemiologic studies of environmental exposure is a difficulty in measuring the exposure and not completely knowing what effect to look for. I think that actually is important from an epidemiologic point of view. So is the hormetic effect alleged to occur above or below those thresholds?

Another way to look at this is whether it has any implications beyond cancer risk-assessment? I have some data that I could use to answer that question. The presumed no-effect dose for bisphenol-A is 5 mg per kg body weight. And the no-effect or presumed reference dose used by the EPA is now 50 micrograms per kg. The lowest dose of bisphenol-A so far to cause a really dramatic change in cell function is centigrams, or essentially 0. So you are down at a level that 20 years ago, people would have locked you up for suggesting could possibly cause an effect of what is being described as an extremely weak estrogenic chemical.

I just wanted to say that the nuclear industry has been putting out a lot of information on hormesis lately. Fred made a comment himself about tests being done based on adults.

My understanding was that most tests on chemicals and other things are done on a lb male. Well, they assume the lb man. This actually follows on what Marsha Marks just mentioned. Scientists at ATSDR were incorporating arguments into the reports -- the investigation that they had done for the agency, as to the health effects. So this actually has been a problem on the radiation side of things. Yet again, federal scientists are beginning to bring these arguments in.

I wonder if anybody has any comments, among the presenters, on hormesis, but on the radiation side. So there actually is some literature now, responding to this concern. Anybody want to support the idea that perhaps in the nuclear area, hormesis is real and could have a positive benefit? Anybody want to make the nuclear industry argument in an authentic way? You have to weigh the risk and the benefit.

But there is always a risk. So it is an argument that radiation professionals use. I have a comment about definitions. The one thing that I noticed was that there seemed to be some inconsistency in how hormesis was being defined, just within our discussion. So I think it is really important for this debate that we know exactly what we mean, by the word. This is actually a good point that Linda Birnbaum, who is a toxicologist at the EPA brought up on a call that Environmental Media Services put together, that I think Pete was involved in.

We should be talking about low-dose effects of chemicals, or low-dose beneficial effects.

  • The Debate Over Low Doses: Hormesis & Human Health
  • Update on hormesis and its relation to homeopathy.

Maybe Ed Calbrese should be arguing -- not hormesis. We need to be careful with the definition and maybe just throw it out, but respond to the fact that hormesis is generally being considered out there -- beneficial effects of low doses. The problem is that hormesis, in that respect, is thought of as the response of a particular set of cells or a tissue or something within an organism.

Calabrese also applies this concept to population data. Then, he goes on to apply some kind of similar mechanism to events going on like survivorship curves -- as well as events going on within a specific cell. So there is an inherent problem with trying to figure out just what the heck hormesis is. But at an organism where you probably have a superimposition of various dose-response curves that represent various mechanisms. So at relatively different doses, you see the emergence of different toxic or salutary effects -- depending on where you are in the aggregation of those dose-response curves.

I want to interject a question for you, Fred. This is outside the realm of normal science. I ask not to introduce homeopathy into CHE discourse, because it is not a scientific discipline, and should be separated out. But it is a tradition of clinical medicine with deep roots in Europe and widely practiced in Europe. I just want to note the whole issue about hormesis raises some of the sort of fundamental precepts of homeopathy as a therapeutic discipline.

Do you have any thoughts or comments on that? We can actually model effects of the hormones -- the endogenous hormone estrodial in a developing fetus at about a molecule-per-cell. The amplifying effects of endocrine-response systems are so unbelievably phenomenal that literally, a single molecular event can lead to a detectable output.

Some people might consider that as something associated with homeopathy. I just feel compelled to jump in here about the issue of homeopathy, because as you know, I do research on homeopathy. I had previously done a great deal of work with low-dose sensitizations in vulnerable populations.

But the movement is to really look at the network structure of the water molecules in the solvent, rather than the original molecules. There really is some basic science evidence that is credible -- suggesting that the structure of the water, and the physical chemistry properties of the water have been altered by the preparation of the remedies. Beyond that, in countries like India, they are using homeopathic prepared arsenic to treat the endemic arsenic poisoning in the populations.

And they have data to show on both animals and people that it increases the excretion of the arsenic. So I think we have to step back and say that if homeopathy eventually receives some serious scientific consideration, it opens up the possibility of using hormetic-like phenomena. I just do want to delineate something.

They need to be very carefully distinguished. But I think there is a further conversation here that those who share these two interests might want to have. I felt this was an extraordinarily interesting call.