|Issue #103-4 - April-May 2011|
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #102. 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.
This special issue, combining the months of April and May, has been delayed due to issues finishing my eBook and a bad ankle sprain that happened on April 28. The June issue of Naturopathic News will be released the middle of next month as scheduled.
HERE COMES THE SUN: PREVENTING CHRONIC DISEASE WITH VITAMIN D
I’m pleased to announce that my first eBook has been released. “Here Comes The Sun: Preventing Chronic Disease With Vitamin D” is available for purchase—email me if you’d like to get it now. For those of you who got in on the prerelease special I’ll be emailing you separately with details.
In this downloadable book that you can read on your computer or eBook reader like the iPad or Kindle, I delve into the role Vitamin D plays in preventing chronic disease. I examine 5 of the most serious and common diseases—breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and multiple sclerosis. For each disease I look at its occurrence and how optimizing Vitamin D levels can prevent or reduce it.
In this eBook you will learn:
* The best test for Vitamin D status.
* How to interpret your test results.
* The best form of Vitamin D to take.
* The symptoms of Vitamin D toxicity.
* How to prevent chronic disease with Vitamin D.
If you or someone you know is faced with the risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or multiple sclerosis, read this book. I’ve been collecting research material for the last 5 years; that work has now come to fruition.
Excerpt from eBook:
8 Vitamin D Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make
1. Make sure that you have the correct Vitamin D test done to assess your
This is 25 hydroxy Vitamin D or 25 OH Vitamin D.
1-25 dihydroxy Vitamin D is the wrong test.
2. Thinking that “I’ll just take some Vitamin D and that will be enough”. Vitamin D dosing should be based on test results, especially if you have a disease associated with Vitamin D levels.
3. Assuming that you can take as much Vitamin D as you’d like because it “can’t hurt you.” Remember, cholecalciferol is a fat soluble vitamin. As such it is possible to take too much and cause harm. Repeating the Vitamin D test after 6 months helps us know how fast you are repleting your Vitamin D level.
4. “I get a good amount of sun so my Vitamin D levels should be fine.” A patient of mine said this to me the other day (I’ve heard this many times). This makes sense; we make Vitamin D when we are in direct sun. However, people living in Arizona and Hawaii, getting as much as 20 hours of sun exposure per week, still had suboptimal Vitamin D levels. I assume sun exposure is inadequate until proven otherwise.
The cost for the complete book is $9.95. If you’re interested just send me an email with the subject, “Sunny”.
My pain is your gain. I thought it might be useful to go through my recent ankle injury and treatment to illustrate the process of healing with traditional medicine.
On Thursday, April 28 I fell and severely sprained my left ankle. A little bit of history here. In 1988 I fell off a ladder and sprained this very same ankle. The pain and swelling were so bad that I was on crutches for a week or two. I still remember riding the bus in Berkeley and people stepping on my injured foot as it was sticking out into the aisle. The silver lining was that the injury motivated me to get acupuncture done. I went to my first acupuncturist, Dr. King, in north Oakland. He was probably in his 70s at that point. He spoke very little English. I had no idea what to expect. His treatments introduced me to the power of traditional Chinese medicine as they were the single best thing I did to heal.
With an ankle sprain the joint has twisted when the foot is planted awkwardly, when the ground is uneven, or when too much force is applied to the joint. Ankle sprains are common sports injuries but can also happen during everyday activities such as walking or even getting out of bed.
Sprained ankles are one of the most common joint injuries. About 25,000 people suffer an ankle sprain every day. Ankle sprains happen while playing sports, just walking, or carrying out daily activities.
A sprain is an injury to the ligaments of the ankle joint. Ligaments are elastic, band-like structures that hold the bones of the ankle joint together and prevent excess turning and twisting of the joint. Normally, the ligaments stretch slightly and then retract back to their normal shape and size as you use the foot. A sprain results when the ligaments of the ankle have been stretched beyond their limits. In Grade 2 and Grade 3 sprains, the ligaments may be partially or completely torn.
Pain and swelling that result from a more severely sprained ankle last for several days to weeks. Grade 2 and higher sprains heal in four to seven weeks. The acronym RICE can be used to remember the standard treatment for a mild sprain:
* Rest: Do not walk on the affected foot.
* Ice: Apply ice packs immediately after a sprain to reduce swelling. Leave ice packs on for 20-30 minutes at a time, up to four times per day.
* Compression: Use of wrap-around elastic bandages helps stabilize the joint and reduce pain and swelling.
* Elevation: Elevate the ankle above the level of the heart for 48 hours after a sprain.
With more severe sprains, you can use an air cast to keep the joint better immobilized for a longer period of time. The recommendation is to begin limited use and rehabilitation exercises as long as you are not increasing pain. NSAIDS like Ibuprofen are suggested to reduce discomfort.
This time around, though I thought about getting acupuncture done once again, homeopathy, herbs, and chiropractic have done the job.
With the severity of the injury, I immediately started taking Arnica 1M every hour or so. Most of you, even if you are new to homeopathy, are familiar with Arnica. Though there are no specifics in homeopathy there are circumstances where a homeopathic medicine’s symptom picture so well matches a particular acute disease or injury that it is commonly indicated. This is true for Arnica and trauma. Whenever there is bruising, swelling, ecchymosis (black and blue), along with fear of being touched or approached (says they’re fine), and better cold applications, you have strong indications that Arnica is the correct remedy. I went with a higher potency, a 1M, due to the intensity of the injury, and the resulting severity of trauma to the joint.
In using Arnica in this manner I reduced the resultant swelling, bruising, and pain by 60-75%. After several doses there no longer was improvement of pain or swelling so I stopped the Arnica. I worked with a colleague of mine to determine the next step. Based on my history and what my symptoms were I applied Comfrey oil (comfrey leaves extracted in organic olive oil) topically to the ankle and foot. This is an herbal application designed to facilitate healing and increase the growth rate of cells repairing the traumatized tissue. More importantly, I used Comfrey because I have 31 years experience using it in these types of situations with excellent results.
I gave up using crutches after a day or two because they were causing more trouble then they were worth. I was able to almost immediately put more weight on my foot as the swelling and bruising were reduced by the Arnica and healing was enhanced by the Comfrey. At the one week mark Dr. Solley worked on my ankle and I got ultrasound and high voltage electrotherapy on it. The rest of that day I had no pain and was able to walk the almost normally.
There’s one additional therapy that I started using at some point in the first week, and continue to use now. That’s Traumeel ointment. This product is a combination of 15 homeopathically prepared medicines, though its use is actually not homeopathic. Homeopathy means ‘similar suffering’. You take the specific symptoms of the individual and match them to the similar, specific symptoms of a homeopathic medicine. When I use Traumeel for pain from my ankle trauma this is not an application based on the Law of Similars. It’s a generic, potshot approach that works sometimes without incurring the liver-damaging side effects of NSAID use.
Due to using my injured ankle to walk and go downstairs I’m feeling more pain, though no swelling or bruising. I use a cold wrap when I’ve been on my feet too long. I still apply the topical comfrey oil. And when the pain in the tissue around my ankle bone and heel is really sore, I apply Traumeel to tone it down.
My goal at 2 weeks was to be walking with a normal heel to toe gait. I’d say I’m about 90% there. I’d like to be running again in 2 more weeks. Though I’m not going to push that timeline—that would make reinjury more likely. This is a great rehabilitation progress report at 17 days post injury. Considering the previous damaging injury to the same ankle the marked improvement so far is even more noteworthy.
Think of using natural medicine the next time you sprain a joint or suffer an acute injury.
You may be aware that the EPA announced on May 5 that it was ending its special monitoring protocols in the US for radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan. Great, right? Doesn’t this mean that we must be safe? As we’re continuing to be told?
No, it doesn’t. On May 13, the highest radioactivity readings at Fukushima were recorded.
As I updated on my Facebook page, at the same time that the EPA stopped its monitoring, international radiation reports indicate that levels of radiation in Pacific waters near the Fukushima plant were 1,000 times normal levels. There is no way to fully track where this radioactivity is going or how extensively it’s affecting the worldwide ecosystem.
With the EPA announcement, air, water, and food testing for radioactivity will no longer be carried out. Yet the EPA has also been reporting that milk and water samples across the country are contaminated with increasing levels (any increase is unsafe) of I-131 and Cs-137, all from Fukushima. Furthermore, the EPA hasn’t been measuring the most toxic Fukushima radioisotope—Plutonium.
The Fukushima story does not end. No matter the assurances of safety.
AGGRESSIVE BREAST CANCER LINKED TO VITAMIN D
Low vitamin D levels among women with breast cancer correlate with more aggressive cancer and a poorer prognosis, according to a study done by the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC).
This is one of the first studies to look at vitamin D and breast cancer progression or outcome. The URMC epidemiology study associates sub-optimal vitamin D levels with poor scores on the biological markers that help physicians predict a patient’s breast cancer survival outcome.
“Based on these results, doctors should strongly consider monitoring vitamin D levels among breast cancer patients and correcting them as needed”, according to Kristin Skinner, M.D., a senior investigator on the study.
Researchers examined predictive factors for 155 women who underwent surgery for breast cancer between January 2009 and September 2010. They also carried out blood tests that provided vitamin D status for all the patients within the one-year period before or after surgery.
They also collected relevant breast cancer data on each patient including age, race, menopause status, stage of cancer at diagnosis, estrogen and progesterone status, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 expression (HER2), gene expression, and Oncotype Dx score. The Oncotype is a newer diagnostic test for early-stage breast cancer that looks at a group of 21 genes within a woman’s tumor sample and issues a score between 0 and 100 that correlates with the likelihood of a recurrence. A higher risk of recurrence is usually reflected in scores greater than 30.
The vitamin D test results were separated into two groups, optimal (greater than or equal to 32 ng/ml) and sub-optimal (less than 32 mg/ml).
Statistical analysis showed that cancers known to be more aggressive related to negative outcome, such as triple-negative tumors (they do not express estrogen, progesterone, or HER2 human epidermal growth factor receptor 2), correlated with low vitamin D levels.
Triple-negative cancers are often associated with younger women and minority women, and the URMC study also found that both premenopausal women and black women tended to have sub-optimal vitamin D levels, compared to older, Caucasian women.
In addition, a strong inverse correlation was found between decreasing vitamin D levels and increasing Oncotype scores. Meaning that as Vitamin D levels went down, Oncotype score (greater cancer progression) went up. More telling, patients with invasive cancer, versus women with less aggressive disease, were more likely to have sub-optimal vitamin D levels.
April 29, 2011 American Society of Breast Surgeons Annual Meeting
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: Hopefully this will spark a new wave of research designed to look at breast cancer outcomes and Vitamin D status. Estrogen receptors status, progesterone receptor status, HER2 receptor status—all are important breast cancer markers. This is a very important finding—that a nutrient is shown to be predictive of breast cancer progression, based on these markers. Even more so in that taking Vitamin D is an inexpensive way to make your breast cancer less progressive.
Every breast oncologist in the country should be testing their breast cancer patients for Vitamin D and supplementing them until they are in the optimum range of 50-80 ng/ml. If yours isn’t, ask them to. If they refuse, find a different oncologist. Or at least work with someone who knows how to test and supplement accordingly.
These quotes were taken from actual Performance Evaluations:
1. "Since my last report, this employee has reached rock bottom and has started to dig."
2. "I would not allow this employee to breed."
3. "This associate is really not so much of a has-been, but more of a definitely won't be."
4. "This young lady has delusions of adequacy."
5. "Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap."
6. "When she opens her mouth, it seems that this is only to change whichever foot was previously in there."
7. "He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them."
8. "This employee is depriving a village of an idiot."
9. "This employee should go far and the sooner he starts; the better."
Here are some pages that are of particular interest:
Store: There are 329 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 100 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 www.facebook.com/NaturalDoc
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 website. 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 www.facebook.com/NaturalDoc 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!
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