|Issue #106 - July 2011|
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #106. 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 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!
PROCESSED MEAT INCREASES STROKE RISK
This study involved 40,291 men between the ages of 45 and 79 years with no history of cardiovascular disease or cancer at baseline, who were followed up with for a mean 10.1 years during which time 2,409 incident cases of stroke were identified (1,849 cerebral infarctions, 350 hemorrhagic strokes, 210 unspecified strokes), consumption of processed meat was found to be associated with stroke.
Comparing the highest to the lowest levels of processed meat consumption, there was a higher risk for processed meat consumption. In addition, processed meat intake was associated with increased risk of cerebral infarction.
The authors state, "The findings from this prospective cohort of men indicate that processed meat consumption is positively associated with risk of stroke."
"Red meat consumption and risk of stroke in Swedish men," Larsson SC, Virtamo J, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2011 June 8
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: The obvious question here is, "What is processed meat?" Processed meat is made from all parts left from what butchers don't sell as steaks or good cuts from other animals like chicken, turkey, pork etc... The rest of the meat is pureed together and usually sold as bacon, breakfast sausage, bologna, beef jerky, pepperoni, sandwich meat, ham, hot dogs, and even the meats found in canned soups. hot dogs, or other sandwich loaf.
One of the reasons processed meats are so unhealthy is the continued use of an additive called sodium nitrite. This ingredient is actually highly carcinogenic once it enters the human digestive system. There, it forms a variety of nitrosamine compounds that enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body affecting organs like the liver.
Sodium nitrite is used because it turn meats bright red. It makes poor quality meat products appear fresh. Basically, it sells more meat products. Agribusiness knows that consumers are strongly influenced by the color of grocery products and when meat products look red, people will buy them.
So the next time you pick up that piece of pepperoni pizza, or have that breakfast sausage, take a look at the label. If it says sodium nitrite, put it back.
HIGH VITAMIN D NEEDED FOR BONE DENSITY DRUGS TO WORK
This report suggests that, to optimize any benefit from drug therapy for osteoporosis and low bone mineral density (BMD), patients should maintain vitamin D levels above the minimal limits recently recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM).
This study demonstrated that maintaining a circulating vitamin D level above 33 ng/ml is associated with a seven-fold greater likelihood of having a more favorable outcome with bisphosphonate therapy. Last November, the IOM issued recommendations that 25-Hydroxy vitamin D levels of 20-30 ng/ml were adequate for normal, healthy people.
"You are seven times more likely to respond to bisphosphonates if your 25-Hydroxy vitamin D level is 33 ng/ml and above. If you want to see a particular outcome from this treatment, then maybe 20 to 30 is not appropriate," said Richard Bockman, M.D., who directed the study. "When you see a seven times greater effect that is pretty impressive."
More than 20 million people have been convinced to take bisphosphonates to reduce the risk of fractures caused by low BMD and osteoporosis. There are questions how well these drugs truly work, and many patients can not tolerate the side effects. Because vitamin D is important to bone health, the researchers investigated whether they could identify levels of vitamin D that are associated with improved outcomes in patients that take bisphosphonates.
They conducted a retrospective chart review of patients seen in an osteoporosis practice of Hospital for Special Surgery. They identified subjects who were female, postmenopausal, had been taking one of four FDA-approved bisphosphonate drugs for at least 18 months, and had undergone at least two BMD scans separated by 18 to 60 months. The four drugs are alendronate, residronate, ibandronate and zolendronate.
The researchers collected data on age, body mass index, type of bisphosphonate taken, treatment duration, concurrent calcium supplementation, fracture prior to and during bisphosphonate therapy, BMD and T-score at four sites—lumbar spine, femoral neck, trochanter, and total hip—from the two most recent bone scans. "The way the data are expressed for a bone density is how many standard deviations are you away from the normal," explained Dr. Bockman. "One standard deviation from the normal is a T score of one. Two standard deviations is a T score of two. Below the normal, it is a minus two and above the normal is a plus two. If your bone density is more than 2.5 standard deviations below the normal that defines a low bone mass that is considered to be osteoporosis." The researchers also collected data on circulating levels of vitamin D, obtained with and between the two most recent bone scans.
Patients were deemed nonresponders if they had more than a 3% decrease in BMD between the initial and follow-up bone scans, a low-trauma fracture or a T-score less than -3.0 despite at least 24 months of bisphosphonate therapy.
The study included 160 patients, of whom 89 were responders, and 71 were nonresponders, with 42 having decreased BMD, 17 sustaining a fracture, and 12 having a persistent low T-score. The investigators found that only 16.8% of responders whereas 54.9% of nonresponders had vitamin D levels less than 33 ng/ml. Patients with an average circulating vitamin D level of 33 ng/ml and above had a seven-fold greater likelihood of having a favorable response to bisphosphonates. "We selected 33 as the cutoff and subsequently showed that it was the right choice, with more being better," Dr. Bockman said. Nonresponse rates were higher in patients who had low levels of vitamin D: < 20 ng/ml (83.3%), 20-30 ng/ml (77.8%), 30-40 ng/ml (42.3%), and >40 ng/ml (24.6%).
"If you look at the medical literature, researchers talk perhaps about a 20 percent increase in response rate, occasionally a doubling, but when you see a sevenfold improvement in outcome, you have to be impressed that it is probably important," said Dr. Bockman.
The American Geriatric Society, Endocrine Society, and the American College of Rheumatology are coming out with or have guidelines that recommend vitamin D levels higher than the IOM recommended levels for healthy people.
Endocrine Society's Annual Meeting in Boston, June 6, 2011
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: I'm not a big fan of bisphosphonates. It's questionable whether they actually make bone stronger or just denser. They have serious side effects like jaw necrosis (bone death). The digestive pain and disturbance caused by these drugs makes them useless for many.
The study adds to the evidence that the current recommendations for vitamin D may be too low. Late last year, the Institute of Medicine issued a report that declined to make changes to the recommendation--despite many new studies supporting the need for more vitamin D than is typically consumed.
In the study, 83% of people with vitamin D levels less than 20 ng/ml had a poor response to bisphosphonates compared with 77% of people with levels between 20 ng/ml and 30 ng/ml, 42% of people with levels of 30 ng/ml to 40 ng/ml and 24% of those exceeding 40 ng/ml.
ERADICATE URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS WITHOUT ANTIBIOTICS
Urinary tract infections can be treated with proanthocyanidins (PACs). It's just dependent on the dose. Higher doses are significantly more effective at maintaining urinary health.
A new study supports the theory that at least 36 milligrams of proanthocyanidins (PAC) are needed to reduce the adhesion of E. coli bacteria to urinary tract walls. A lower dose proved to be less effective. “On the other hand, a higher dose of 72 mg was even more efficient at protecting against bacterial adhesion in the urinary tracts.”
NutraIngredients June 1, 2010
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Urinary tract infections affect up to half of all women over the course of a lifetime and are responsible for 8 million doctor visits each year.
Women are more prone to urinary tract infections than men, in part because of their shorter urethras. It's common experience that drinking cranberry juice can be effective when you have symptoms of a urinary tract infection--and research studies back that up.
I almost never recommend drinking cranberry juice due to the high sugar content (fructose). It will feed the bacteria that are present so it's not a good idea to drink regular cranberry juice. The unsweetened cranberry extract would be ok. But I have a much better choice.
Usually I choose the correct homeopathic remedy for the urinary symptoms. And then add in D-mannose. D-mannose is the active ingredient in cranberry juice responsible for its benefit to your urinary system. D-mannose is often derived from fruit--apples, berries, peaches, etc. It's very safe to use, has no side effects and is very effective. When taken as a supplement it's slowly absorbed by the body and has little effect on blood sugar. Most of the D-mannose is filtered through your kidneys and excreted in your urine where it does its work. It doesn’t kill bacteria—it just makes it impossible for bacteria to stay in the urinary tract. When you take antibiotics for a urinary tract infection (UTI), the good bacteria are killed along with the bad. That's why you end up with yeast infections, gas, diarrhea, etc.
Most UTIs are caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli), which is normally found in your intestinal tract. When it overgrows in your urinary system you can develop symptoms of a UTI. This E. coli (not the dangerous factory food variety) is a normal part of gut flora and is accidentally transferred to the urinary tract when there is poor hygiene. D-mannose acts to prevent E. coli from adhering to cell walls in your urinary system and you urinate away the excess bacteria.
Classic signs and symptoms of a UTI:
Burning with urination
Sometimes blood in the urine
Hygienic prevention of UTIs:
Drink plenty of pure water every day
Don't wait to urinate, urinate when you feel the need
Use unscented, undyed toilet paper
Wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from entering the urethra
Avoid using feminine hygiene sprays which may irritate the urethra
And of course, a healthy diet
MEAT EATER'S GUIDE
Environmental Working Group has just released their latest guide.
Here are some helpful hints:
* Grass fed or pasture-raised meat has fewer antibiotics and hormones and in some cases may have more nutrients and less fat; livestock live in more humane, open, sanitary conditions.
* Lean cuts: less fat will likely mean fewer cancer-causing toxins in your body.
* No antibiotics or hormones: reduces unnecessary exposure and helps keep human medicines effective.
* Certified organic: keeps pesticides, chemical fertilizers and genetically modified foods off the land, out of the water and out of our bodies.
* Certified humane: means no growth hormones or antibiotics were used and ensures that animals were raised with enough space and no cages or crates.
* Unprocessed, nitrite-free and low-sodium: avoid lunchmeats, hot dogs, prepackaged smoked meats and chicken nuggets.
* Sustainable Seafood: avoid air freighted fish and farmed salmon; consult Monterey Bay Aquarium’s list of the most sustainable seafood choices at montereybayaquarium.org/cr/seafoodwatch.aspx
MACULAR DEGENERATION AND VITAMIN D
Taking vitamin D could ward off vision loss from age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in women younger than 75, research has shown. AMD is an eye disease that causes partial blindness by progressive damage to the center of the retina at the back of the eye. AMD affects about 2% of people over the age of 50 in developed countries. Hundreds of thousands are thought to be partially blind because of the disease. In this study, women with the highest vitamin D intake were 59% less likely to develop the disease than those with the lowest vitamin D.
The data of 1,313 women who took part in a large-scale investigation of the disease was examined by researchers in the US. They found that in women younger than 75, both vitamin D blood levels and consumption of the vitamin from food sources and supplements were linked to a reduced risk of early AMD.
However, these results did not apply to vitamin D absorbed via sunlight--the association was only seen with women who consumed the vitamin in foods and supplements.
Researchers found that time spent in the sun did not affect risk levels, even though the most important source of vitamin D is its generation in the skin as a reaction to sunlight.
April 2011 Archives of Ophthalmology
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Macular degeneration is a painless condition that affects the macula at the back of the eye, impairing central vision - the vision used for reading, writing and driving. Macular degeneration does not affect the peripheral vision, which means that the condition will not cause complete blindness.
There are two types of macular degeneration: Dry macular degeneration, which affects the eyes gradually, and Wet macular degeneration, which can develop very quickly, and is more serious. Around 90% of cases of macular degeneration are dry.
For reasons that are not fully understood, AMD tends to be more common in women than in men. There are also a number of other factors, such as smoking, that can increase the risk of developing it.
Here are some pages that are of particular interest:
Store: There are 326 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