Menu Content/Inhalt

Main Menu

About Dr. Pais
Naturopathic News
Contact Us

Subscribe to Naturopathic News


Lost Password?
No account yet? Register
Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
Find me on Facebook

Home arrow Naturopathic News arrow Issue #91 - April 2010
Issue #91 - April 2010









Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #91. 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.

There’s an interesting double standard that pokes its head up periodically. It’s almost unconscious and goes unnoticed unless pointed out. Sometimes new patients, or even long standing patients, will suddenly become very concerned about what’s in their natural medicine or how safe it is. Given the state of conventional medicine this is a smart attitude to have. Prescription drug mistakes kill thousands of people every year. Heck, taking prescription drugs correctly often leads to severe side effects, hospitalizations, even death. Over the counter medicines aren’t much better. A bit of medicine paranoia is probably a good thing; it might save you from something nasty.

The fact of the matter is, practitioners are human, we make mistakes. So it helps to be your own advocate. I encourage everyone to know what they’re taking and why. It’s important whether we’re discussing a supplement or prescription drug. Here’s the interesting thing that happens.

A lot of people walk in my door because of a terrible experience with conventional medicine. Side effects, drug interactions, whatever it may be. Now they’re particularly on guard because they’ve been burned in the past. So they look at everything with a jaundiced eye. It does take some effort to understand the differences between what they’ve been used to and what they’re doing now.

This is so important that I’ve left the same article on the front page of my website for a couple of months. It’s entitled “No Deaths From Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids, or Herbs”. The title says it all. In 2008 there were no deaths from these substances. Over half the American population takes nutritional supplements, to the tune of over 56 billion doses per year. Add to that fact the awareness that licensed naturopaths receive the best medical nutrition training of any practitioners in the US and you’ve got the best situation possible.

Homeopathic medicine is even harder to wrap your mind around. When people ask me if homeopathic medicines are safe I recommend that they do some reading to really understand the answer to that question. Because we have to talk about potency and how homeopathic medicines are made. In the potencies that I use 99% of the time there is no physical substance present from the source material. So by definition there is nothing to react to. That’s why some of the most powerful substances from the natural world—snake venoms, spider venoms, animal toxins, plant poisons, etc.,--can be used as homeopathic medicines in a safe, effective manner.

What you want to remember is the following. Anything that has the power to heal has the power to harm. The more experienced the practitioner, the more individualized the approach, the more gentle the therapeutic, the less likely to cause problems.

A research team from Princeton University has shown that all sweeteners are not equal regarding weight gain. Rats that consumed high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) gained significantly more weight than those who ate table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.

Long term consumption of (HFCS) syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides. The researchers state that their work sheds light on the factors contributing to obesity in the United States.

"Some people have claimed that high fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn't true, at least under the conditions of our tests," said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction. "When rats are drinking high fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they're becoming obese -- every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don't see this; they don't all gain extra weight."

The first study showed that male rats given water sweetened with high fructose corn syrup in addition to a standard diet of rat chow gained much more weight than male rats that received water sweetened with table sugar, or sucrose, in conjunction with the standard diet. The concentration of sugar in the sucrose solution was the same as is found in some commercial soft drinks, while the high fructose corn syrup solution was half as concentrated as most sodas.

The second experiment—the first long-term study of the effects of high fructose corn syrup consumption on obesity in lab animals—monitored weight gain, body fat and triglyceride levels in rats with access to high fructose corn syrup over a period of six months. Compared to animals eating only rat chow, rats on a diet rich in high fructose corn syrup showed characteristic signs of a dangerous condition known in humans as the metabolic syndrome, including abnormal weight gain, significant increases in circulating triglycerides and increased fat deposition, especially visceral fat around the belly. The animals with access to high fructose corn syrup gained 48% more weight than those eating a normal diet.

"These rats aren't just getting fat; they're demonstrating characteristics of obesity, including substantial increases in abdominal fat and circulating triglycerides," said Princeton graduate student Miriam Bocarsly. "In humans, these same characteristics are known risk factors for high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, cancer and diabetes."

High fructose corn syrup and sucrose are both compounds that contain the simple sugars fructose and glucose, but there at least two clear differences between them. First, sucrose is composed of equal amounts of the two simple sugars—50% fructose and 50% glucose. However, the typical high fructose corn syrup used in this study features a slightly imbalanced ratio, containing 55 percent fructose and 42 percent glucose. Second, as a result of the manufacturing process for high fructose corn syrup, the fructose molecules in the sweetener are free and unbound, ready for absorption and utilization. In contrast, every fructose molecule in sucrose that comes from cane sugar or beet sugar is bound to a corresponding glucose molecule and must go through an extra metabolic step before it can be metabolized.

What happened was that the rats in the Princeton study became obese by drinking high fructose corn syrup, but not by drinking sucrose. This may be explained by the fact that excess fructose is being metabolized to produce fat, while glucose is largely being processed for energy or stored as a carbohydrate, called glycogen, in the liver and muscles.

"Our findings lend support to the theory that the excessive consumption of high fructose corn syrup found in many beverages may be an important factor in the obesity epidemic," one of the main researchers said.
Feb. 26 2010 Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior

DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: In the 40 years since the introduction of high fructose corn syrup as a cheap sweetener in the American diet, rates of obesity in the U.S. have skyrocketed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 1970, around 15% of the U.S. population met the definition for obesity; today, roughly one-third of the American adults are considered obese, the CDC reported. High fructose corn syrup is found in a wide range of foods and beverages, including fruit juice, soda, cereal, bread, yogurt, ketchup and mayonnaise. On average, Americans consume 60 pounds of the sweetener per person every year.

So why are you still eating and drinking this stuff?

This new study has discovered that nutritional supplements with vitamin D could help fight Crohn’s disease, which is a chronic form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Researchers from McGill University found a link that ties vitamin D to Crohn’s disease, according to a report published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
It has been observed that people who live in northern countries where they receive less sunlight are more prone to developing Crohn’s disease. Initial research was conducted to determine the nutritional supplement’s affect on cancer, however, when scientists determined the results kept pointing the immune system, they decided to look at other options.

The researchers were quick to point out that siblings of victims of Crohn’s disease that haven’t noticed symptoms yet should consider looking at their vitamin D levels as it may be a way to treat the ailment before it starts.

Researchers at McGill University in Montreal led by endocrinologist John H. White, in collaboration with scientists from the Université de Montréal, discovered that vitamin D acts on the beta defensin gene, which encodes an antimicrobial peptide. The vitamin also affects the NOD2 gene, which informs cells of the presence of invading micro-organisms. Defects in the NOD2 gene mean that the body cannot defend itself effectively against intestinal tract invaders. Both of these genes have been linked to the development of Crohn's disease.

The study's authors say the most promising aspect of the genetic discovery is how it can be quickly put to the test. "Siblings of patients with Crohn's disease that haven't yet developed the disease might be well advised to make sure they're vitamin D sufficient." says Dr. White, a professor in McGill's Department of Physiology.

“This discovery is exciting, since it shows how an over-the-counter supplement such as Vitamin D could help people defend themselves against Crohn’s disease,” said researcher Marc J. Servan. “We have identified a new treatment avenue for people with Crohn’s disease or other inflammatory bowel diseases.”
January 22, 2010 Journal of Biological Chemistry

DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: There had been recent research that uncovered a difference in the rate of Crohn's disease according to latitude. With all the new findings over the last few years, it was considered that vitamin D from sunlight might be protective. Additionally, variations in the vitamin D receptor gene have been linked to susceptibility to Crohn's disease as well as to ulcerative colitis, another inflammatory bowel disease. This is really the first time that it has been shown that Vitamin D deficiency can contribute to Crohn's disease.

In this analysis of 13 prospective studies, results indicated an inverse association between vitamin B6 intake, active B6 levels (PLP) and the risk of colorectal cancer. Nine studies on vitamin B6 intake and 4 studies on PLP levels were included in the meta-analysis.

The highest categories of vitamin B6 intake and blood levels of PLP were independently associated with a 10% reduced risk of colorectal cancer, compared with the corresponding lowest categories. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "Vitamin B(6) intake and blood PLP levels were inversely associated with the risk of colorectal cancer in this meta-analysis."
"Vitamin B6 and risk of colorectal cancer: a meta-analysis of prospective studies," Larsson SC, Wolk A, et al, JAMA, 2010; 303(11): 1077-83.

DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: Previous studies have showed a 21% reduction in colorectal cancer risk at higher vitamin B6 doses. Vitamin B6 is found in whole grain cereals, vegetables, poultry and fish as well as in some fruits like bananas and avocados.

This study analyzed 13 other US, European and Asian studies conducted between 2002 and 2009. In the United States, according to JAMA, 20% of men and 40% of women over the age of 50 do not take in sufficient vitamin B6.

This was a randomized study involving 210 patients affected by unknown calcium stone disease (kidney stones) and hypercalciuria (>300 mg Ca/d in men and >250 mg Ca/d in women), adherence to a low-salt (low-sodium) diet for 3 months in addition to water therapy was found to reduce urinary sodium (from 228 to 68 mmol/d), urinary calcium (from 361 to 271 mg/d), and oxalate excretion (from 32 to 28 mg/d), significantly more than subjects who received water therapy alone.

By study end, 62% of subjects in the low-sodium plus water therapy group were found to have urinary calcium levels within the normal range, as compared to only 34% of those in the water therapy alone group. The authors conclude, "A low-salt diet can reduce calcium excretion in hypercalciuric stone formers."
”Effects of a low-salt diet on idiopathic hypercalciuria in calcium-oxalate stone formers: a 3-month randomized controlled trial," Nouvenne A, Meschi T, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2010 March; 91(3): 565-70

DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: This may be a promising dietary approach to preventing kidney stones. Which are infamously known as one of the most painful conditions to have. Probably best to consult your local naturopath before you make this kind of change on your own.

Here are some pages that are of particular interest:

Store: There are 256 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 91 issues of my health newsletter, "Naturopathic News”.

Optimal Health Points: This is my blog that I update periodically. Check out my latest post, “No Deaths From Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids Or Herbs”.

Come join my fan page at
Help me bring information, news, and stories about natural medicine to the Facebook community.

For those of you who don’t know, Facebook is a social networking. Users can add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. Additionally, users can join networks organized by city, workplace, and school or college.

Facebook pages help you discover new artists, businesses, and communities as well as those you already love. On my fan page I post discussions that you can join in with and relay breaking health news related to disease prevention, clinical nutrition, and ways to make you healthier.

I’m looking forward to exploring this community with you. See you there!

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 compel 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 me 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 is access to this experience and training. Both 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. Start a discussion on my Facebook fan page. Either way I’ll give you honest feedback about what I think is good, or 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.

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
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it