|Issue #105 - June 2011|
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #104. 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.
HERE COMES THE SUN
My eBook, "Here Comes The Sun: Preventing Chronic Disease With Vitamin D", is now available for purchase. Thanks for your patience over the last 2 months as publication was delayed by my ankle injury, and my work with Cogan Hose Families For The Environment.
For now the best way to order my book is to mail a check (made out to Dr. Pais) for $9.95 to my office address below. Drop me an email saying your "check is in the mail" and I will immediately email you my book.
I would appreciate any comments or feedback once you've finished reading it. Enjoy!
FIRST ORDER SYMPTOMS
Recently I heard a lecture by one of my favorite teachers, Joe Kellerstein, ND. Dr. Kellerstein is a naturopathic physician who practices homeopathy in Ontario, Canada. He was discussing the nature of how patients report symptoms and described what he termed 'First Order Symptoms' (FOS). I thought this might be helpful as many of you are unsure what to report when you check in or have expressed difficulty in relaying what's happened to you.
First Order Symptoms are the direct experience. They are what you have before you process the overall experience. Everything else is after the fact, having been run through various mental or behavioral filters. Let me offer a really common example.
I often ask you what foods you really like or crave. A food craving is an intense, spontaneous, clear desire for a food. "I love chocolate", or "I could eat bread all day long." The craving itself is a First Order Symptom. It's what you experience. Many people, when they answer this question, run this FOS through a health filter. They think to themselves "I shouldn't eat bread," and they will never say that they crave bread. Even if this person never eats 1 piece of bread, the First Order Symptom is "I really like bread." I'm not judging you if you eat bread or not. I just need to know if the craving for bread exists.
The following situation is another common example. A person finds out at work that someone is talking about them. Immediately in the moment they feel shock, then anger. In their mind they think, "People talking about each other is so common, I shouldn't let this get to me." And the experience gets lumped under the filter, 'work stress'. Which becomes "I'm stressed out." This is not the FOS. The First Order Symptom was what? Shock, with anger. That's what I need to hear to understand what your experience was. When you only relay the category or box you've assigned to your experience-'stress'-I miss out on the richness and diversity of who you are. Which means you miss out on the most individualized care that you can receive.
In working with Homeopathy I need to hear what your 'altered feeling and function' is. What your First Order Symptoms are-anger, shock, surprise, excitement, embarrassment, sadness, burning pain better heat, etc. How you have these experiences, and what they mean to you, is what counts. It's not how you are like everybody else that helps me understand what you are dealing with. It's how your experience is unusual, peculiar, unique, and rare, that can be most telling.
I want to give one more example of how important this is. When I first give a homeopathic remedy, or at any point while someone is taking a homeopathic remedy, I am looking for what's changed. There are times when someone says nothing has changed. But I think that is rarely the case. Let me give an example.
Someone comes to me for a sharp, shooting pain in their legs. They take the homeopathic remedy I prescribe and the following happens. First the pain is worse for a bit. Then it's better for a bit. Then it's worse again back to where it was or slightly less. This becomes, through the patient's filter, 'nothing's changed'. In their mind it's nothing because sometimes their pain is worse, sometimes it's better. Actually, they experienced a highlighting of their symptoms, then a reduction, with a return to a slightly different state. Rather then 'nothing' this response pattern can be an indicator that a higher potency is needed, or a repetition of the dose.
Think of it as a work of art. First Order Symptoms are the primary colors. With them you must paint a picture of your experience that I can successfully match with the homeopathic medicine that is most similar. The more accurate your description of your FOS-mental, emotional, and physical-the more likely you will heal in a gentle, rapid, and permanent manner with the correct homeopathic medicine.
HIP FRACTURES AND VITAMIN D
The primary aim of this study was to examine whether large loading doses in addition to daily vitamin D offered any advantage over a simple daily low-dose vitamin D regimen for increasing vitamin D levels. Patients over age 50 with an acute fragility hip fracture were enrolled from two hospital sites in Ontario, Canada.
Participants were randomized to one of three loading dose groups: placebo; 50,000IU vitamin D2; or 100,000IU D2. Following a placebo/loading dose, all patients received a daily tablet of 1,000IU vitamin D3 for 90 days.
Serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25-OHD) was measured at baseline, discharge from acute care (approximately 4 weeks), and 3 months.
At the end of the study, approximately 75% of the placebo and 50,000 groups had reached the target therapeutic range (75 nmol/L), and 44% of the 100,000 group.
Researchers looked at correcting vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency in elderly patients with hip fracture. Their conclusions were that starting with a lower daily dose of Vitamin D3 achieved similar results as providing an additional large loading dose of Vitamin D2.
They found that a daily dose of 1,000IU vitamin D3 (with or without a loading dose) resulted in at least 25% of patients having suboptimal vitamin D status. They felt that patients with acute hip fracture could benefit from a higher daily dose of vitamin D.
BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2011, 12:135
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: If this seems a confusing study to you, you're right. I have to wonder if the study designers had any nutrition background at all. It makes no sense to mix Vitamin D2 with D3. Several studies have shown that D3 has a much better effect on normalizing body levels than D2. And to mix the two in one study is nutritionally unintelligent.
They did arrive at an interesting conclusion. Folks with an acute hip fracture needed to dose more than 1,000IU/day to raise their Vitamin D levels appropriately. We could have saved them time and money and told them that to start with. The takeaway of this is, take Vitamin D3-cholecalciferol-if you want to raise your Vitamin D levels.
STATIN DRUGS WORSEN HEART FUNCTION
This study found that statin drugs are associated with decreased heart muscle (myocardial) function. We already know that statin use is known to be associated with myopathy, muscle weakness and rhabdomyolysis, a breakdown of muscle fibers. For this study, myocardial function was evaluated in 28 patients.
When the group using statins was compared to the group not using statins, there was better heart muscle function in the no statin group.
Clinical Cardiology December 2009; 32(12):684-9
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: It's known what harm these big money making drugs cause. It never seems to enter the conversation-does it make sense to use a drug that causes heart muscle damage to protect the heart muscle? People take statin drugs to lower their cholesterol because that's supposed to prevent heart attacks and strokes. This is either the epitome of irony or stupidity in action.
HIGH FOLIC ACID DOESN'T WORSEN B12 DEFICIENCY
High intake of folic acid from fortified food and supplements is not likely to worsen B12 deficiency, according to the results of this new study. Individuals with low serum B12 and high serum folate were looked at to see if this high folate/low B12 ratio led to B12 abnormalities.
The study sample consisted of 2507 university students who were questioned about medical history and use of folic acid and B12 supplements and who gave blood samples for testing of serum and red cell folate, hemoglobin, plasma homocysteine, and MMA, holotranscobalamin (holoTC), and ferritin in serum.
"Our findings are reassuring for people who have low vitamin B12 levels," said one of the researchers, Dr. Mills in a news release. "We found no evidence that folate could worsen their health problems. Consuming higher amounts of folate does not seem to interfere with the body's use of vitamin B12 in otherwise healthy individuals."
"In our study, we carefully checked for people who had intestinal surgery or disorders that disrupt the absorption of B12, to be sure that they did not bias our analysis," Dr. Mills said. "High folate does not appear to increase the risk of anemia among healthy people with low B12 levels." Dr. Mills said.
Am J Clin Nutr, June 8, 2011
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: This is another 'let's state the obvious here'. I'm glad that they were able to demonstrate a lack of harm. But there's a very easy way around this issue in the first place. Don't supplement folic acid without supplementing B12 at the same time.
Which is what I've done for the last 18 years of practice.
L-CARNITINE BENEFITS PERSONS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS
In this randomized, placebo-controlled study, 30 subjects diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) were supplemented with L-carnitine (50 mg/kg body weight) for a period of 3 months.
This supplementation was found to be associated with significant improvements in clinical measures of ASD severity, including scores on the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS), modified clinical global impression, and Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC).
Additionally, serum carnitine levels were significantly associated with positive clinical changes in terms of hand muscle strength, cognitive scores, and CARS scores.
"A prospective double-blind, randomized clinical trial of levocarnitine to treat autism spectrum disorders," Med Sci Monit, 2011 June; 17(6): PI15-23.
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Because of unique biochemical individuality many different factors come to play in the expression of ASD. Each nutrient that might be helpful can be examined to see if it makes sense to use it.
The amino acid l-carnitine helps to maintain cellular energy metabolism by assisting in the transport of fat through the cell membrane and into the mitochondria (energy factories) within the cell, where these fats are oxidized to produce the cellular energy. L-carnitine is safe but the d isomer is toxic. Dl-carnitine or racemic carnitine is a very different compound than l-carnitine. Dl-carnitine contains about 50% of the dextro or right-handed molecule of carnitine. This substance does not occur in normal foods, so during evolution the human body did not develop the mechanisms to deal with it. The body cannot use d-carnitine, and its presence inhibits use of 1-carnitine, the levo or left-handed molecule. Dl-carnitine is therefore a toxin that causes carnitine deficiency and all its negative consequences.
AMERICAN COLLEGE OF OBSTETRICIANS AND GYNECOLOGISTS IS WRONG
From the height of hubris and all encompassing ignorance, The American College Of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has declared that most pregnant women do not need to be screened for Vitamin D deficiency. ACOG based their declaration on "lack of conclusive evidence."
Where does ACOG derive its standing to make this declaration? Are they experts in nutrition? Have they studied Vitamin D biochemistry? Have they clinically tracked a pregnant woman's response to taking Vitamin D in pregnancy? The answer to these questions is no. OBGYN docs don't receive any training in nutrition in their 6-8 years of medical school. By no measure are they experts in nutrition. They don't use nutrition in their clinical practice.
Why do I think this is nutritional ignorance? In the research I'm doing for the 2nd edition of my Vitamin D eBook, there are several references to different diseases that can be prevented if the mother maintains optimal Vitamin D levels during pregnancy. Some of these are diabetes, respiratory syncytial virus (a severe disease of infants), and rickets (making a comeback in the last 20 years).
I conclude that preventing these diseases by optimizing pregnant mother's Vitamin D levels is worth the cost of testing. Both in terms of prevention of suffering and long term reduction of health care costs.
Back up my hard drive? How do I put it in reverse?
I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.
Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don't have film.
When the chips are down, the buffalo is empty.
Seen it all, done it all, can't remember most of it.
Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.
I feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe.
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, and then used against you.
I wonder how much deeper would the ocean be without sponges.
Honk if you love peace and quiet.
Despite the cost of living, have you noticed how it remains so popular?
Nothing is fool-proof to a sufficiently talented fool.
A day without sun shine is like, you know, night.
Save the whales. Collect the whole set.
Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
On the other hand, you have different fingers.
Change is inevitable. Except from a vending machine.
Here are some pages that are of particular interest:
Store: There are 320 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