Dustin Rudolph

Cancer and Heart Health Risks Associated with Alcohol Consumption

Cancer and Heart Health Risks Associated with Alcohol Consumption

Many of us have heard that moderate drinking is actually beneficial to our health. Stories in the media like these from ABC News, Reuters, and CBS News all claim a lower risk of heart failure or a better chance of surviving a heart attack for those who drink in moderation.

Is drinking in moderation really healthy though? Does drinking increase heart health? Even if it is heart healthy, what about other health effects like cancer risks with alcohol consumption? These are the questions you should be asking yourself before you pick up that beverage at night or during a night on the town.


Alcohol and Atrial Fibrillation Risk

The heart healthy aspect of moderate drinking actually came under fire in a 2016 article in the Journal of the American Heart Association. In this article, the more alcohol an individual drank the higher their risk of developing atrial fibrillation, a common heart arrhythmia.

Drinking 10 gm (slightly less than one drink) per day increased the risk of new-onset atrial fibrillation by 5%. Atrial fibrillation puts people at risk for blood clots, heart attacks and strokes. Any reduced risk of heart failure or increased chance of surviving a heart attack previously reported in studies may not be worth the risk for some people. You have to decide this for yourself.


Alcohol and Cancer Risk

Alcohol has long been noted to increase the risk of several types of cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Research recognizes this and recommends not to drink alcohol at all to prevent cancer.

I’ve found several studies linking alcohol to various cancers, including liver, breast, prostate, esophageal, and stomach just to name a few. For a more extensive look at this please visit my page on alcohol consumption.


Plant-Based Pharmacist – Alcohol Consumption



In the end, we all need to make the decision we feel is best for our lifestyle. Some people may choose to drink daily, others once a week, and still other people may choose to abstain completely from alcohol.

What’s important is that you are aware of the facts surrounding health and alcohol consumption so you can make an informed decision on your future and your health going forward.

Wish you all my best in your journey towards optimal health!

Dustin Rudolph, PharmD, BCPS


Breast Cancer – The Facts on Screening and Treatment Options

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the CDC, in 2013 a little over 230,000 individuals were diagnosed with breast cancer and over 40,000 people died from breast cancer. 

Breast cancer is serious business. It scares the living daylights out of the women and men affected by it. That’s why it’s important to understand what goes into this disease so you can make an informed decision when facing it. 


Mammogram Screenings to Detect Breast Cancer 

Many women will undergo annual mammogram screenings in preventative efforts for breast cancer. This is what women are taught from an early age. Get a mammogram, prevent breast cancer. However, it is important to understand that mammograms do not prevent breast cancer. They only detect it. So, early detection is truly what is being sought after with this approach. Early detection typically results in early treatment, which may or may not be successful. 

What are the statistics when it comes to mammograms and lives saved due to early breast cancer detection? For every 2,000 women screened for breast cancer throughout 10 years, one will avoid dying of breast cancer due to early detection. 

Women may also be harmed from routine annual mammograms due to false positive tests and the resultant unnecessary treatment. Remember, there are always side effects with any form of medical treatment, especially when it comes to chemotherapy. 

So how many women are harmed due to getting mammograms? For this information and more on breast cancer please read my article, The Business of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (And How to Prevent Breast Cancer in the First Place). 


Preventing and Treating Breast Cancer - Diet vs Drugs 

If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer you will naturally be looking for treatment options. These come in many varieties – chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, diet, alternative therapy, etc. 

It’s important to research as much information as possible when assessing your treatment options. After all, this is a matter of life and death. There are no right or wrong answers to this. Ultimately, you have to live with the decisions you make and the benefits and risks that come along with them. 

While I think it a wise decision for every cancer patient to adopt a whole foods, plant-based diet as part of their treatment plan, we currently have no hard data on using this approach in terms of success rates with breast cancer. But it certainly isn’t going to make anything worse so make sure you eat your veggies. 

Chemotherapy is often a common form of treatment for breast cancer. The most common chemotherapy agents have approximately a 3%-8% success rate over 5 to 10 years. 

To learn more details about these treatment forms in relation to breast cancer please read my article, Preventing and Treating Breast and Prostate Cancer – Food vs. Medicine. 

May your journey to prevent and/or treat breast cancer be a successful one. Remember, the more informed you are the better decisions you can make. 


Dustin Rudolph, PharmD, BCPS 


I am having a hard time falling asleep

Dear Dr. Rudolph,

I am having a hard time falling asleep.  I have to take Clozapine, and I am wondering if there is something natural I could take instead.

I really appreciate you and your work.




Hi Heather,

I'm happy I could help in some small way.

In regards to your follow up questions, it is not wise for any individual to stop taking clozapine on their own. This MUST be done with the help of a qualified physician. Many of the psychotropic medications may cause withdrawal symptoms and/or a re-occurrence or relapse of the treated medical condition so it is imperative you work with a physician on this.

Unfortunately, there are no OTC or herbals that I can recommend for sleep while taking clozapine due to the many interactions clozapine has with both medications and supplements.

I do have a page on sleep on my website that you may find some lifestyle tips to help with this - http://www.plantbasedpharmacist.com/lifestyle/sleep/

Please don't give up hope in regards to living with a mental illness. There are people and approaches to helping individuals with mental illness regain some sense of normalcy back. I have two physicians I usually refer people to when looking for answers to mental illness. You can find their information below:

Walter Jacobson, MD - https://walterjacobsonmd.com

Neil Nedley, MD - http://nedleyhealthsolutions.com/ or http://depressionthewayout.com

I hope you find this information of some assistance.

All my best,
Dustin Rudolph, PharmD

A New Line of Diabetes Pills, Same Old Results

A new line of diabetic drugs has arrived. You’ve probably seen them in commercials during the 60-second slots between nightly newscast segments. They’re called sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors and include Farxiga, Invokana, and Jardiance.

So how do these new arrivals work?

SGLT2 inhibitors work by increasing the amount of glucose excreted in the urine. This is unnatural for humans because glucose is not supposed to be in the urine at all. In spite of this, glucose does spill over into the urine of diabetics. It’s part of the disease process. SGLT2 inhibitors also enhance this part of the disease process. The thought is, by getting rid of more glucose through the urine there will be less in the bloodstream, which would ultimately lower blood sugar levels and be good for diabetes.

This line of thinking is correct. Blood sugar levels do go down with these drugs. However, the reason why a type 2 diabetic’s blood sugar is high in the first place is not due to the fact that not enough glucose is being dumped into the urine. The reason is because of an excessive amount of fat in the body (specifically in muscle cells), which causes insulin resistance to occur in the first place. SGLT2 inhibitors do not target this extra fat in the body. Only diet can do this. This is why this new class of diabetic drugs is considered to be lifelong therapy for type 2 diabetics.

As with all drugs there are side effects with SGLT2 inhibitors. The most noteworthy side effect of these medications is an increased incidence of urinary tract and yeast infections in both men and women. Bacteria and fungus love warm, wet, and sugar-filled environments to live in and prosper. These drugs make this environment possible as they increase the amount of glucose in the urinary tract. This is definitely something to consider if you are going to use these medications.

Better yet, you could adopt a whole foods, plant-based diet and reverse type 2 diabetes without medications. If you’re on diabetic medications there is a good chance you could reduce or eliminate their need by adopting this diet and lifestyle. To learn more about this, and for an in depth look at the root cause of type 2 diabetes, read my article – Type 2 Diabetes–The Cause and the Cure.


Wishing you the very best in your quest to defeat type 2 diabetes!


Dustin Rudolph, PharmD