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Ask Dr. Gott 12/07
Reader seeks cure for pica
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: I have a habit that I have developed off and on for the past two years. I love the taste of clay. It's not dirty as far as I can see. I eat almost a 1/2 cup at least once a week. I know this is not normal behavior. Tell me a bad side of this problem that might make me stop the habit. I live in South Carolina, where clay is easily found. Please help.
    DEAR DR. GOTT: As I have written before, pica is a compulsive craving for eating, chewing or licking nonfood items, or foods containing no nutrition, including clay, chalk, baby powder, paint chips, ice and more. This condition may be a marker for anemia, or a link to mineral deficiencies such as iron or zinc.
    Complications can include lead or mercury poisoning and more. Visit your doctor for a complete blood count (CBC). Your habit may be cured if this simple blood test reveals anemia or other related abnormalities.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my updated Health Report "Eating Disorders." Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: I've had a terrible problem with bruising on my forearms for the last few years. I merely touched my arms on something, and it resulted in a large bruise to the point my forearms were constantly covered in ugly welts in various stages of healing. Both my mother and grandmother had the same problem.
    When I saw my dermatologist a short time ago, her nurse asked me about the bruising. When I explained, she said she had a vitamin regimen for me to try, but not to get discouraged because it takes four to six weeks for improvement to be seen. At her recommendation, I take 1,000 milligrams vitamin C, 50 micrograms selenium, 400 units vitamin E and 1,000 milligrams bioflavinoids, all with a meal. It's like a miracle! After just one week of her vitamin therapy, I stopped getting bruises, and the old ones healed faster. I now enjoy bruise-free forearms. I can't explain it but can now certainly enjoy wearing short sleeves, especially in the summer.
    DEAR READER: Spontaneous bruising often accompanies the normal aging process; thus, it may be difficult to cure. Your pattern and family history suggests that your bruising may be inherited. You should have blood tests to check your clotting factors.
    With respect to your interesting experience with alternative therapy, I am publishing your letter in hopes that it may help other readers.

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