|Issue #76 - January 2009|
Here are some pages that are of particular interest:
Store : There are 236 products from Emerson listed on this page. If yours isn't one of them please let me know and I will add it so you can order online. This is particularly convenient after hours or on the weekend. Of course, you can always order by phone from Emerson at 800-654-4432.
Newsletter : Here you will find all 76 issues of my health newsletter, "Naturopathic News".
Optimal Health Points : This is my blog that I update every week. Check out the entry for January 6 2009 concerning how Transcendental Meditation helps kids with ADHD.
GET YOUR HEALTH QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Are you confused by the health claims you read on the internet or hear in the store? Do you think that you're taking too many supplements but not the 'right' supplement for you? Do you never have the time to ask the important questions regarding yours or your family's health?
Then the 2009 OPTIMAL HEALTH LECTURE SERIES is for you!
After a long hiatus, I am presenting an ongoing series of free health lectures. The first two will be at my Williamsport office on 3rd St. These will occur on Tuesday, January 27, and Tuesday, February 24, from 7:30-8:30pm. The choice of the January 27 lecture topic, as requested, is "Keep Away The Winter Blues". I'm still waiting to hear a choice for the Feb. 24 lecture-I'm leaning towards Vitamin D.
The topic of these lectures is determined by the interests of you, my community of patients, families, and interested individuals. Each lecture will focus on a health issue that is important to you. Below is a list of topics that you can pick from. If there is another subject that you'd like to have me speak on, let me know.
I'll announce the schedule each month in this newsletter and in the calendar on my website (or you can email me after the 15th of the month). Just send me an email and let me know the health questions you want answered.
PROSPECTIVE LECTURE TOPICS
Do You Need The Flu Vaccine?
How Does Homeopathy Work?
What One Vitamin Are You Deficient In?
Keep Away The Winter Blues-January 27th
How To Stay Healthy With The Season
Healing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Keep Your Heart Healthy
Preventing Breast Cancer
I need to find a venue for my March lecture, as it won't be at my office. I'm open as far as time and place. If you'd like to organize a lecture for your work, your place of worship, or have an interested group of 5 or more, I'll come to you. All you have to do is choose a health topic that is most important to your group and we'll make it happen.
If you can't make it to a scheduled lecture each will be recorded and available for later purchase.
I'm looking forward to seeing you this year!
GET YOUR VITAMIN D TEST WITH ZRT LABORATORY
It just happened again the other day. A patient sent me a copy of the Vitamin D test she just had done. With frustrating results. The wrong test was done. After all these years, and all the information available, MDs and laboratories still order the wrong test. What a waste of money and time.
For the last 6 months I've been looking for a home Vitamin D test. One that would be simple, easy, and accurate to do on your own. I finally found one. ZRT Laboratory in Beaverton OR. ZRT emphasizes research and technological innovation.
Until now, venipuncture blood serum has been the standard medium for testing Vitamin D. ZRT has developed and refined Vitamin D testing in blood spots. A few drops of blood from a quick and nearly painless nick of the finger, placed on a filter paper to dry are all that is needed. The total 25 (OH) Vitamin D is then determined by liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). This method has been shown to be as accurate as the assay standard.
Ordering A Vitamin D Test
ZRT allows anyone to order a Vitamin D test kit for $95 plus shipping and have it sent to their home. ZRT will let me prepay for kits and send them to my office for $75 each. I am charging $85 per kit for patients to cover my overhead and analysis of results.
If you are interested in getting a Vitamin D test done through my office please prepay so I can order you a kit. Then you can either pick it up at my office or have it shipped to your home. Once you've taken the sample and sent it back to ZRT it's only a matter of time before your results are sent back to me. I can even look at them online before the mail arrives.
If your doctor has refused to order a Vitamin D test or worse, ordered the wrong one, this is the fastest, least expensive, most accurate way to do it ourselves. Once we know what your Vitamin D levels are, the next step is making sure that you achieve optimum levels for prevention of disease and maintenance of health.
THE MINIMUM DOSE
A fundamental principle of homeopathic practice is the concept of minimum dose. How this idea gets applied in practice directly determines how I manage your case. All within the backdrop of establishing the most rapid, gentle, and permanent route to cure. Let's look at these three pieces.
What does rapid mean? Isn't it just, "get rid of your symptoms as fast as possible"? When the symptoms you're getting rid of are acute-trauma, cold/flu, pneumonia, etc., the answer is yes. When the symptoms are a repeat of a chronic state the answer is more complex. Let's look at a case of migraine. For purposes of this example we will assume that issues of hygiene related to the migraine occurrence-caffeine, diet, chemical exposure-have been addressed.
If you've had migraines for a number of years, and have used prescription medicines to treat them, there are several questions that need to be answered if you get a migraine after starting homeopathic treatment. If the migraine is worse in intensity and duration, it may mean that the potency or method of dosing needs to be adjusted. If the migraine is significantly different in nature, a reexamination of the chosen homeopathic medicine may be in order. Managing these factors takes time and detailed re-evaluation of prescribed upon symptoms. In addition to how fast symptoms disappear we must also look at whether any other system suffers anew. If your migraines go away but you develop a tic or tremor that is not a desired outcome.
Any medicine that has the power to heal has the power to harm. Some patients are surprised to hear this. At the same time, homeopathic medicine, when used appropriately, is the safest medicine I know.
There is a lot of leeway in achievement of gentleness when water dosing is used. We can change many factors that impact this-number of succussions, amount of remedy taken, splitting of 1 dose over 1 day, use of 1st and succeeding glasses. These modified dosing methods are very useful, especially when working with sensitive individuals. Typically, there is no reduction in effect of the homeopathic medicine, even when the dose is changed in these ways.
Yes, homeopaths talk about permanent cure of chronic disease, not just control. Setting this high standard necessitates that we deal with the whole person. It's rare that one isolated symptom is the sum total of a person's imbalance. There is an interrelationship between the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical aspects of health. To seek out cure, the whole person, on all these levels, must be addressed. Otherwise, focusing on each chronic symptom by itself leads to a compartmentalized approach doomed to failure.
All together, working with these goals of rapid, gentle, and permanent cure, hinge upon the application of the minimum dose. Each person, even with the same diagnostic label, requires an individualized dosing regime. Some general principles apply:
Fewest doses possible to further clinical effects.
Best to redose right before symptoms worsen.
Better to wait on dosing when there's question of effect.
More is not better. Often less is best.
When in doubt, wait. Then wait some more.
Hopefully this brief description of homeopathic practice will help you understand the why and how of your case management. It might help you ask the right questions and understand the answers.
CHRONIC PAIN AND VITAMIN D
One reason why aches and pains increase during the winter (besides the doggone cold itself) may be depletion of Vitamin D levels. Most people seem to have sub-optimal Vitamin D levels. With the lack of sunshine in winter this is worsened. Bringing on the surge of pain.
Dr. Stewart Leavitt has posted the results of a review of 22 scientific studies on the relationship of vitamin D deficiency to chronic pain- http://pain-topics.org/pdf/vitamind-report.pdf. In total, there were 3,670 patients with chronic pain, and 48% of them showed significant vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D supplementation was very helpful in alleviating the pain. Dr. Leavitt states: "When supplementation was provided for improving vitamin D status, pain and/or muscle weakness were resolved or at least subsided in most cases, and there were associated improvements in physical functioning."
There has been other, equally as impressive research. In a study conducted on chronic pain patients in Minneapolis, Minnesota, it was found that 100% of African Americans, American Indians, East Africans and Hispanics were vitamin D deficient, as were most Caucasians. In summer sunlight, dark-skinned people take up to 6 times as long to produce the same amount of vitamin D as light skinned people, making dark skinned people much more susceptible to vitamin D deficiency.
In addition, during the winter at high latitudes in areas such as Minneapolis, there are several months where little or no vitamin D is produced by the skin due to the sun's position in the southern sky. The UVB portion of sunlight that stimulates vitamin D production is filtered out by the atmosphere during those months. This is known as "vitamin D winter" and is especially important in the northern US, northern Europe and all of Canada.
Plotnikoff G. et al. Prevalence of severe hypovitaminosis D in patients with persistent, nonspecific musculoskeletal pain. Mayo Clin Proc. 2003;78:1463-70.
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: This research reminds us that, during the winter at high latitudes in areas such as Minneapolis, there are several months where little or no vitamin D is produced by the skin due to the sun's position in the southern sky; the UVB portion of sunlight that stimulates vitamin D production is filtered out by the atmosphere during those months. This is known as "vitamin D winter" and is especially important in the northern US, northern Europe and all of Canada. It is absolutely essential for dark-skinned adults to take vitamin D supplementation of 4,000 to 5,000 IU per day year around or regularly use a tanning bed to stave off pain and to reduce the excessive risk of cancer, hypertension, diabetes, etc., that plague them. It is also critical for most Caucasians during winter.
Vitamin D is a potent anti-inflammatory and also helps to strengthen bone, joint and muscle tissue. Vitamin D sufficient to keep optimal levels in the blood can be purchased cheaply, and sunlight-the most natural way to increase vitamin D, is free. There go the sales of Advil and all the rest.
VITAMIN B6 REDUCES COLON CANCER
The intake of Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) in the American diet is often inadequate, even when it exceeds the government recommendations. This study of almost 5,000 persons has shown that consuming more vitamin B6 means less colon cancer. The researchers described the connection as "moderately strong." Any nutrient that has a "moderately strong" influence on reducing colon cancer risk is very important. Almost 150,000 Americans are annually diagnosed with colon cancer; nearly 55,000 die every single year.
Many of us are not getting nearly enough B6 from our diets. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (May, 2008) published a study of nearly 8,000 people showing that B6 inadequacy is common throughout the United States. "Across the study population," the authors said, "we noticed participants with inadequate vitamin B6 status even though they reported consuming more than the Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamin B6, which is less than 2 milligrams per day." Three out of four women using oral contraceptives are vitamin B6 deficient, unless they also take vitamin B6 supplements. Smokers and the elderly are also especially likely to be at risk. Remarkably, even among people who take B6 supplements, one in ten is still B6 deficient.
This indicates that we all might be better taking more B6. But many won't. This is because the public has been warned off of supplementing with this vitamin. So non-factual is this fear that, at one point, a so-called "Safe Upper Limit" for daily B6 intake was set at only 10 mg. Recently, the board that set this limit admitted they were wrong and raised it to 100 mg. However, there have been no reports of B6 side effects at fewer than 200 mg/day.
Modern processed, low-nutrient diets are not providing anything close to 200 milligrams. You can get some B6 from food, if you really like to eat whole grains, seeds and organ meats. A slice of beef liver contains a 1.2 mg of B-6. Chicken liver is only 0.6 mg per serving, and most other foods contain less. Avocados (0.5 mg each) and bananas (0.7 mg each) lead the pyridoxine league for fruits. Potatoes (0.7 mg each) and nuts (especially filberts, peanuts and walnuts) are fairly good vegetable sources.
Many people don't eat nuts, seeds, vegetables, and animal liver. So our diets are low in B6, yet B6 reduces risk of colon cancer. If you have a family history of colon cancer B6 supplementation is probably your best bet.
Theodoratou E, Farrington SM, Tenesa A et al. Dietary vitamin B6 intake and the risk of colorectal cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008 Jan;17(1):171-82.
THE MYTH OF EXPENSIVE URINE
Have you ever heard the idea that your body doesn't absorb extra vitamins? That all you get from taking vitamin supplements is expensive urine. Some people will tell you that any vitamin consumption higher than the lowly recommended daily allowance (RDA) is simply a "waste of money."
Instead of just going with the sound byte, think about this for a minute. Urine is what is left over after your kidneys purify your blood. If your urine contains, say, extra vitamin B6, that vitamin B6 was in your blood. If the vitamin was in your blood, it means that you absorbed it from your vitamin supplement. It is the absence of water-soluble vitamins in urine that indicates vitamin deficiency. If your body excretes vitamins in your urine, that is a sign that you are well-nourished and have nutrients to spare. That is a good thing.
The next time you hear, "We get all the vitamins we need in our diets. Taking supplements only gives you an expensive urine", educate that misguided soul. Your body will utilize what it needs and receive much benefit from vitamin supplements, before anything ends up in your urine.
Think about it. We inhale air and use the oxygen in it to sustain our life. But there's oxygen in what we exhale. Does that mean that we didn't use the oxygen we breathed in?
Of course not.
Good food and good nutrition prevents disease and saves lives. The therapeutic use of vitamin supplements, to both treat and prevent serious diseases, has tens of thousands of scientific references to support it. Can all of those researchers and scientists be dumber than the doctor (with less than 5 hours of nutrition training in medical school) who tells you that you're making expensive urine?
I am often asked what supplements I recommend. Many of you have been surprised to discover that I favor food over pills; lifestyle changes over fads. I have been working with nutrition for over 30 years, herbs for over 20 years. Where and when appropriate I recommend them to my patients. I strive to act from knowledge, experience, and research.
Emerson Ecologics (800-654-4432) carries almost all of the nutritional supplements and botanical extracts that I think are useful. Their customer service is excellent and their delivery is reliable (often only 2-3 days to this region). It's a great way to get physician quality products at reasonable prices.
To offset the cost of shipping, reference my name when you establish your account and receive a 10% discount on every order. If you have any questions about these items feel free to email me.
That's it for this issue of Naturopathic News. If you've thought a bit extra or learned something new, then I achieved my goal. As usual, if you have questions or concerns brought up by these subjects, let me know.
Gregory Pais, ND, DHANP
580 E. 3rd. St.
Williamsport PA 17701