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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Home arrow Naturopathic News arrow Issue #87 - December 2009
Issue #87 - December 2009
  6. HUMOR
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #87. It's my mission to help you find optimal solutions to health problems. This newsletter is one way to do that. The more educated you are about your health options the better able you will be to take control of your health. If you would like to stop receiving my newsletter please send me an email and let me know. If you have a friend or family member who you think would appreciate the information provided, send me their email address.

Thanks to the reader who suggested that I change the order of what you read to make it easier to get to the new material. You’ll find the sections on Website Services, Vit. D test, Williamsport Farmer’s market, and Ithaca Optimal Health, at the end of the newsletter. 
If you have any suggestions about how to better bring you the health information you want, let me know.

Pretty much an oxymoron at this point, the health care reform bill passed the US Senate on Christmas Eve. As it stands there are many aspects of this bill that are unpalatable to me. (Warning, no ridiculous ‘death panel’ lies propagated here.) 

First is the Individual Mandate. If you aren’t already getting health insurance through your employer, Medicare, or Medicaid or from private insurance, you have to purchase health insurance. Private insurance because the Public Option and Medicare Buy-in are gone from the Senate bill. This means that there will be no financial competition for the private insurance companies. Without competition what will hold their premiums in check? They’ll get 30 million new customers. What will we get? If you qualify for a government subsidy that will help you purchase this mandated insurance. Without competition from the public option the insurance companies can continue to raise their premiums without concern that you’ll go somewhere else. 

Under current law, insurance companies are exempt from anti-trust laws—laws designed to prevent monopolies and price-gouging. In the House version of the Health Reform Bill, this exemption is cancelled. In the Senate version, the insurance companies are still exempt from anti-trust laws.

Much has been said about pre-existing conditions. In the Senate bill insurance companies can no longer refuse to cover your pre-existing condition. But they can charge you more money if you have a pre-existing condition. In some cases a lot more money.

The Health Care Reform that is being considered is deficit neutral. It’s not going to increase the deficit. The question is how are we paying for the reforms? In the House version, a surtax is being proposed that would repeal some of the tax breaks passed for the wealthiest people in the last 30 years. Obviously, this affects a very small, but very rich, percentage of Americans. In the Senate version, some union insurance plans will get the surtax. This would greatly affect the middle class. This is the wrong approach. Why? These union insurance plans were negotiated in good faith by unions who gave up decades of wage and other benefits in exchange for better health care. 

What can be done at this point? The House and Senate will come together in conference to merge the two bills. We need to turn our attention now to leaders in the House, insisting they stick to their guns on important elements of their bill and improve on what the Senate has passed. I’m not optimistic that this will happen. At the very least the House should add language to strengthen the regulation of insurance companies and close the loopholes that would allow them to circumvent the intent of the legislation. 

There is a strong case to be made to pass this bill and then improve it later. Millions of people are counting on it. Many of them won't live to see the next debate if we don’t begin the process now. I have to see what comes out of Conference before I can take up that refrain.

Breast ultrasounds found 100% of suspicious cancers in women under 40 years of age who found lumps or other suspicious areas of the breast. Ultrasound offers a safer, cheaper, less-invasive alternative to surgery or biopsies.

Researchers say that targeted ultrasound—which examines just the area of the breast where a lump is identified—should become the standard of care for women under 40.
These findings may address some of the concerns raised by a federal advisory panel about breast exams done by women or doctors to investigate lumps or hot spots in the breast, which most often turn out to be harmless.

In November, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, in a controversial recommendation, asked that women not be taught to perform self breast exams because they often result in worry and expense for tests, biopsies and unnecessary surgery.

"That concerns us because while breast cancer in young women is rare, it absolutely does occur. Often, those cancers are only diagnosed because the woman noticed the lump in her breast or her doctor noticed a lump in her breast," said Dr. Constance Lehman of the University of Washington and director of imaging at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, who presented her findings at the Radiological Society of America meeting in Chicago.

"There are harms that follow after a woman does a self breast exam—unnecessary surgeries, unnecessary biopsies. To that point, what we're saying is if you use imaging appropriately you can avoid those harms," Lehman said in a telephone interview.

Lehman did two studies testing the effectiveness of ultrasound to distinguish between potentially cancerous lumps and harmless masses in younger women. In one, they studied more than 1,100 ultrasound exams of women under age 30. In the second, they studied 1,500 exams in women aged 30 to 39. In both studies, ultrasound correctly identified the cancers and all of the benign breast changes. 

She said ultrasound is a quick and easy test that uses sound waves to create an image of the breast. It typically costs $100 to $200 per exam. Lehman said using ultrasound could help balance some of the harms of overtreatment with the benefits of self breast exams in women under age 40.

The task force also recommended against routine mammogram screening for women in their 40s for many of the same reasons.
Radiological Society of America December 2, 2009
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: It’s rare to see such honest comments concerning the harm caused by unnecessary breast biopsies and surgeries. Don’t miss the last part about the task force recommending against mammogram screening for women under 40. 

Mammograms are a growing revenue stream with lots of political and financial support. Without looking at the actual science, there’s a blanket view that mammograms are good. It’s practically heresy to suggest otherwise, even for such a specific group. Kudos for the task force’s effort to change the discourse.

Excerpt from Orthomolecular News Service, December 3, 2009
One of the most frequent questions from Orthomolecular Medicine News Service readers is, “Just how much vitamin C should I take?”

Our bodies cannot make vitamin C (ascorbate), although most animals can. We must get it from our food and from supplements. But how much do we really need? Persistent arguments on this question may be settled by looking at how much vitamin C animals manufacture in their bodies. The answer is: quite a lot. Most animals make the human body-weight equivalent of 5,000 to 10,000 milligrams a day. It is unlikely that animals would have evolved to make this much vitamin C if they did not need it and use it. Indeed, cells in many human body tissues concentrate vitamin C by 25-fold or more over blood concentration.

Each person's need for vitamin C differs because of differences in genetics and individual biochemistry. Further, our bodies undergo different stresses, and we certainly eat different foods. Therefore, the daily need for ascorbate to maintain health for an adult varies between 2,000 - 20,000 mg/day. Linus Pauling personally took 18,000 mg of vitamin C daily. Although he was often ridiculed for this, it is interesting to note that Dr. Pauling had two more Nobel prizes than any of his critics. He died at age 93. Abram Hoffer, MD, a colleague of Pauling's, took megadoses of vitamin C and successfully gave it to thousands of patients over 55 years of medical practice. Dr. Hoffer died at age 91.

Antiviral Function
When we are challenged with a viral infection, our need for vitamin C can rise dramatically, depending on the body's immune function, level of injury, infection, or environmental toxicity such as cigarette smoke. Ascorbate at sufficiently high doses can prevent viral disease and greatly speed recovery from an acute viral infection. 
Surprising to some, this was originally observed by physicians in the 1940s and has been verified and re-verified over the last 60 years by doctors who achieved quick and complete recovery in their patients with ascorbate mega-doses. The effective therapeutic dose is based on clinical observation and bowel tolerance. Clinical observation is essentially "taking enough C to be symptom free, whatever that amount may be." Bowel tolerance means exactly what you think it means: the amount that can be absorbed from the gut without causing loose stools. Very high doses, 30,000 - 200,000 mg, divided up throughout the day, are remarkably non-toxic and have been documented by physicians as curing viral diseases as various as the common cold, flu, hepatitis, viral pneumonia, and even polio. 

Several mechanisms for vitamin C's antiviral effect are known or suggested from studies. The antioxidant property of ascorbate promotes a reducing environment in the bloodstream and tissues, enhancing the body's response to oxidative stress from inflammation, thereby helping to fight microbes and viruses that propagate in stressful conditions. Ascorbate has been shown to have specific antiviral effects in which it inactivates the RNA or DNA of viruses, or in the assembly of the virus.

Vitamin C is also involved in enhancing several functions of the immune system. Ascorbate can enhance the production of interferon, which helps prevent cells from being infected by a virus. Ascorbate stimulates the activity of antibodies, and in megadoses seems to have a role in mitochondrial energy production. It can enhance phagocyte function, which is the body's mechanism for removing viral particles and other unwanted debris. 

White blood cells, involved in the body's defense against infections of all types, concentrate ascorbate up to 80 times plasma levels, which, if you take enough vitamin C, allows them to bring huge amounts of ascorbate to the site of the infection. Many different components of the immune response, B-cells, T-cells, NK cells, and also cytokine production, all with important roles in the immune response, are enhanced by ascorbate. 

Vitamin C at high doses is effective in preventing viral infection and enhancing recovery. Several mechanisms are known, including specific viral anti-replication processes and enhancement of many components of the body's cellular immune system. When taken at an appropriate dose in a timely manner, ascorbate is our best tool for curing acute viral illness.

As is often the case, a recent new patient asked if I would review their choice and use of supplements and herbs. Why does this happen so often? For many, taking a vitamin or herb is their introduction to natural medicine. Their desire to be healthier drives them to take supplements and herbs. The death, pain, discomfort, and side effects experienced with over the counter and prescription drugs compels people to look elsewhere. It’s very different with supplements and herbs which, when used correctly, have an incredibly low risk of harm.

Some people take this to an extreme and take every supplement or herb that someone tells them is ‘good for them’. It might be a clerk, an internet ‘expert’ source, or a friend who is marketing the latest or greatest fad. Most of these individuals or companies have no professional training or experience in the medical use of the supplements or herbs that they’re selling. The people they’re selling to come into my office with 5,10,15, or more supplements that they’re taking. Sometimes it’s been so long since they started taking them that they don’t remember why they’re doing it. When I ask, they can’t tell me what, if anything, a particular product is doing for them. Yet, they can be quite fearful of stopping any of these items, as if their health would careen off a precipice without them.

Why do I think my approach is any different? Partly, it’s because of my background. I’ve literally been working with nutritional supplements since 1974. That’s 35 years assessing the quality and effectiveness of supplements. Starting in 1980 I started working with Western and Chinese herbs. The quality of herbs used and how they’re combined together has the greatest effect on the efficacy of the final product. Because I’ve grown, identified, harvested, and produced medicinal herbal products I recognize a good formula when I see one.

Licensed naturopaths like myself receive the most extensive academic and clinical training in the use of nutritional supplements and herbal medicines of any professional in the United States. Nothing can substitute for such hands on experience, especially when you see, and are responsible for, the results of your treatments. Very different from the clerk in the store, or coworker who’s part of a MLM scheme. 

What I’m offering to kick off the New Year 2010 is access to this experience and training. For you and your family. If you have questions about the supplements or herbs you are taking, or are thinking about taking, now is the time to ask. Send me an email with the brand and name of the product you’re taking. Let me know that you want to bring the bottles in at your next visit, so I can see what you’re taking. Either way I’ll give you honest feedback about what I think is good, and what isn’t. We’ll fine tune what you’re taking to maximize effect and eliminate waste. 

Let me hear from you and we’ll get started. This is one New Year’s resolution that we can achieve.


Ratio of an igloo's circumference to its diameter = Eskimo Pi 

2000 pounds of Chinese soup = Won Ton 

1 millionth of a mouthwash = 1 microscope 

Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement = 1 bananosecond 

Weight an evangelist carries with God = 1 BilliGram 

Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour = Knotfurlong 

16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling 

Half of a large intestine = 1 semicolon 

1,000,000 aches = 1 megahurtz 

Basic unit of laryngitis = 1 hoarsepower 

Shortest distance between two jokes = A straight line 

453.6 graham crackers = 1 pound cake 

1 million - microphones = 1 megaphone 

2 million bicycles = 2 megacycles 

365.25 days = 1 unicycle 

2000 mockingbirds = 2 kilomockingbirds 

52 cards = 1 decacards 

1 kilogram of falling figs = 1 Fig Newton 

1000 milliliters of wet socks = 1 literhosen 

1 millionth of a fish = 1 microfiche 

1 trillion pins = 1 terrapin 

10 rations = 1 decoration 

100 rations = 1 C-ration 

2 monograms = 1 diagram 

4 nickels = 2 paradigms 

I don’t have any current flu cases to report on. What I am seeing are a few people who have a residual cough. Sometimes it’s slight, more like a throat clearing. Sometimes it’s strong enough to keep the person awake at night. These residual coughs can respond well to Chinese herb formulas or the Vitamin C protocol. 

Why not treat with an acute homeopathic remedy? In my experience, if an acute cough is successfully treated, the chronic case can be disrupted. For example, someone’s depression returns when the cough is eradicated. That’s why I recommend working with Vitamin C or Chinese herbs.

Here are some pages that are of particular interest:

Store: There are 243 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 85 issues of my health newsletter, "Naturopathic News”.

Optimal Health Points: This is my blog that I update periodically. Check out Michael Pollan’s Dietary Do’s and Don’t’s.

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 a long time I looked 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 $55 each. I am charging $65 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.

I’m excited to announce that I have opened a new office in Ithaca, New York. Why Ithaca? We feel very drawn to the area—socially, culturally, and politically. Now with the help of some friends we’re practicing there. Joy Weber, a massage therapist, has graciously opened her massage space to me, every 2nd Saturday of the month. I’ll be seeing patients there starting August 8. If you have any friends or family in the area let them know. 
My Ithaca office address is 329 South Geneva St., Ithaca NY 14850.

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
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