|Issue #99 - December 2010|
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #99. 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.
2011 OPTIMAL HEALTH LECTURE SERIES
These are the first planned lectures for the 2011 season. It would be great to see you there. Final place and time will be on my website calendar. RSVP by email or phone.
January 28, 2011 Health Effects of Gas Drilling
Endocrine disruptors, radioactivity, methane, the list goes on and on of the toxins related to gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. This lecture will focus on 3 or 4 of the main culprits and what you can do to protect yourself.
Be sure to RSVP early as seating is limited.
Breast Cancer Prevention
Heart Disease Prevention
Vitamin D and Your Health
How Does Homeopathy Work
BREAST CANCER SURVIVAL AND VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY
More than a third of postmenopausal breast cancer survivors have vitamin D deficiency, researchers announced Dec. 12, 2010 at the 33rd annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
Researchers at the New York University School of Medicine, collected data from 391 post-menopausal women with stage I to III breast cancer who were receiving aromatase inhibitor therapy. Researchers think there may be a relationship between vitamin D levels and aromatase inhibitor-associated joint pain.
Results showed that 35% of the study population had vitamin D deficiency. About 25% of patients who reported taking vitamin D supplements remained deficient. Although breast cancer survivors with osteoporosis were more likely to have a vitamin D level recorded by their physician, roughly 30% of them remained vitamin D deficient.
Overweight or obese breast cancer survivors and non-white breast cancer survivors were at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency even though they were supplementing vitamin D.
San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium Abstract P2-14-11
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: Vitamin D deficiency is especially problematic in breast cancer survivors because it has been associated with increased rates of breast cancer recurrence and death and is also independently associated with an increased likelihood of hip fractures and falls.
Known risk factors for vitamin D deficiency include sun avoidance behavior, darker skin pigmentation, older age, obesity, low dietary intake, and liver or kidney disease.
I think part of the reason why breast cancer survivors were Vitamin D deficient even though taking Vitamin D is because their Docs probably aren’t testing actual levels and they think that the laboratory reference range is good enough. It’s not. I had a patient last week who was told their D level was good because it was 32.1--.1 above the lab reference range. Most nutrition competent physicians think that the lab range for healthy people should be 50-70 or 80. If you’re not healthy you want your levels on the high end of that range.
HEART DISEASE AND FISH OIL
Recently you may have seen headlines yelling that fish oil doesn’t help heart disease. It’s all based on this double blind randomized intervention (means that researchers did not know who was taking what) study that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The 4,837 participants were aged 60-80 years, and 78% were male. They all had a previous history of heart attack. In the study they were given omega 3 fatty acid margarines designed to provide 400 mg per day of omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil or 2 grams per day of alpha linolenic acid (ALA), both, or placebo. The actual amounts were 226 mg EPA. Plus 150 mg DHA; 1.9 grams ALA; both; or placebo. The average length of time on the protocol was 40 months. Major cardiovascular events (MCEs) were the marker for success or failure.
The EPA/DHA combo had no effect on the risk of MCEs, and the ALA only lowered MCEs a non-significant amount. When they just looked at women the ALA lowered the risk of MCES 27%-not quite significant enough.
Kromhout D, Giltay EJ, Geleijnse JM. N-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular events after myocardial infarction. N Engl J Med 2010;(10.1056/NEJMoa1003603)
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: These results are why you saw news reports saying fish oil doesn’t do anything. Yet, a 2008 British Medical Journal analysis showed a 20% reduction in MCEs with fish oil consumption. So why didn’t this study show something similar?
First, the balance in nature is foods with DHA more than EPA. So the product used was skewed the opposite direction. Second, 376 mg efa is a very low dose compared to what has been shown to be useful in previous studies. This is such a low dose that it did not lower triglyceride levels, a result that we almost always see when sufficient efa are supplemented.
The placebo margarine used contained oleic acid instead of the omega 3 efas. Oleic aid may also protect against MCEs. All the margarines used contained more saturated fats than the EPA/DHA. It’s very weird that they used these ‘plastic’ margarines rather than the standardized fish oil supplements used in most other studies.
4.7% (or more) of subjects admitted to having taken additional omega-3 supplements during the course of the trial. Even those clearly identified as having broken the protocol were not removed from the analysis.
Most patients were also multiple prescription drugs that may have affected their results.
Another very strange aspect of this study was that they included patients who did not follow the protocol. In other words, the negative results include people who didn’t actually do what they were supposed to. Of course this will dilute the observed effectiveness of the fish oil. Isn’t that just common sense? It’s almost as if they were purposefully trying to hide the real therapeutic effects, making it more difficult to show positive results n the patients who did follow the protocol.
What you didn’t hear was that fatal rhythm and heart related events decreased by 50% in the group taking the EPA/DHA combo, compared to the other groups. Similarly, the group that got the ALA had 61% fewer rhythm events. None of this was mentioned in the news stories proclaiming fish oil doesn’t work.
The British Medical Journal analysis, as well as 3 different Lancet studies, have reported significant benefit from taking omega 3 efas. With all the problems and omissions of this study its conclusion must be taken with a giant grain of salt—(or maybe not).
MERCURY IN HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP
Average high fructose corn syrup (HCFS) intake for the age group 12-18 is 70 grams day (many consume much, much more). There are 57 micrograms (millionth of a gram) mercury per gram high fructose corn syrup (the high end of levels found in samples that contained mercury). At only 50 grams per day of high fructose corn syrup that’s 28.5 micrograms of mercury per person per day, or 40 micrograms if you're a teenager.
The ‘safe’ level of consumption for methylmercury for a 55 kg (121 lbs.) woman of childbearing age is 5.5 micrograms of methylmercury per day. The weekly allowable limit for a child (45 lbs.) is 14 micrograms per week (a can of tuna is about 50 micrograms).
As I’ve reported previously it’s the caustic soda processing involved in HFCS manufacture that contaminates it with mercury. It is very expensive to convert a system that uses mercury-containing caustic soda to one that uses a mercury-free membrane system. The industry has resisted transitioning to a mercury-free process both because it's expensive and the mercury-processed caustic soda actually works better in high fructose corn syrup because it acts as a preservative.
Mercury is particularly a problem for the developing nervous system in children. And they eat or drink a disproportionate amount of HFCS foods including: soda, yogurt, ketchup, Quaker Oatmeal to go, and many, many more.
Dr. Wallinga published a study where he took 55 brand name foods high in high fructose corn syrup and found mercury in them. The list is at www.healthobservatory.org/library.cfm?refID=105040 .
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy:
BREAST CANCER RATES DROP WHEN HORMONE THERAPY IS USED LESS
Breast cancer rates dropped by 50% when hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was discontinued. This from a new study published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Dr Prithwish De, of the Canadian Cancer Society, and colleagues, found that use of HRT dropped from 12.7% in 2002 to 4.9% in 2004. Between 2004 and 2006 use of HRT was about five% of women aged 50 to 59 but breast cancer rates began to increase again.
Dr De wrote: “The results support the hypothesized link between the use of hormone replacement therapy and invasive breast cancer incidence and indicate that the sharp decline in breast cancer incidence in 2002 is likely explained by the concurrent decline in the use of hormone replacement therapy among Canadian women.”
The study's authors said these numbers support existing evidence of the link between HRT and breast cancer.
Journal of the National Cancer Institute October 6, 2010; 102(19):1489-95
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: Even with this study’s results, as well as past studies supporting the same conclusion, HRT is still used to relieve menopausal symptoms.
Most women are not told of the link between HRT and hormone related cancers like breast cancer and uterine cancer.
When homeopathic medicine and safe herbs like black cohosh can eliminate menopausal symptoms, without increasing cancer risk, why would anyone agree to HRT?
According to last year's cancer statistics, the decrease in breast cancer deaths accounted for a whopping 37% reduction in the death rate among women during the period from 1990 to 2005. The analysts attributed this decline to the decreased use of HRT.
Some of the other risks of HRT are:
High blood pressure
Increased insulin levels
We’ll get into breast cancer prevention measures at my 2011 lecture.
Here are some pages that are of particular interest:
Store: There are 319 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.
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LET ME HELP YOU MAKE WISE SUPPLEMENT CHOICES
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 36 years assessing the quality and effectiveness of supplements. Beginning 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 to is easy 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.
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 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, plus $8 shipping. I am charging $65 per kit for patients to cover the total.
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 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