|Issue #107 - Aug. 2011|
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #107. 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.
Just a reminder that my annual Stay Healthy With the Season article will be in next month's newsletter. As I have for the last few years September's newsletter will include some great tips to keep you and your family healthy through the cold and flu season. Don't miss it!
A glass of milk can contain a cocktail of up to 20 painkillers, antibiotics and growth hormones, scientists have shown. Using a highly sensitive test, they found a host of chemicals used to treat illnesses in animals and people in samples of cow, goat and human breast milk.
The doses of drugs highlight how man-made chemicals are now found throughout the food chain. The highest quantities of chemicals were found in commercial cow’s milk.
Researchers believe some of the drugs and growth promoters were given to the cattle, or got into milk through cattle feed or contamination on the farm. The Spanish-Moroccan team analyzed 20 samples of cow’s milk bought in Spain and Morocco, along with samples of goat and breast milk. Their analysis revealed that cow’s milk contained traces of the following chemicals:
Niflumic acid--antiinflammatory, painkiller
Dr Ballesteros, one of the developers of the very sensitive test said: ‘We believe the new methodology will help to provide a more effective way of determining the presence of these kinds of contaminants in milk or other products. Food quality control laboratories could use this new tool to detect these drugs before they enter the food chain."
July 7, 2011 Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: What a chemical stew! The higher up the food chain you go the more likely we are to see these chemicals in concentrated amounts. It's been reported for several years now how antibiotics, antidepressants, blood pressure drugs, cholesterol drugs, and others are in our food and water supply. This new test method helps to screen for these chemicals. Wouldn't you like to know if that glass of commercial cow's milk that you've been told is so healthy for you has antibiotics or antimalarial drugs?
This is why I have supported organic farming and sustainable agriculture since 1979.
VITAMIN D GUIDELINES
The Endocrine Society recently released new clinical practice guidelines calling for vitamin D concentrations of 30-60 ng/ml.
"Our objective is to provide guidelines to clinicians for the evaluation, treatment, and prevention of vitamin D deficiency with an emphasis on the care of patients who are at risk for deficiency. The recent Institute of Medicine's recommendation was not a medical model and was not intended to direct physicians on care of patients. It is up to professional associations to establish guidelines for care," according to Michael Holick, Ph.D., MD.
It has been estimated that 40-75% of the world's population is vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D deficiency puts one at risk for osteomalacia, rickets, falls, tuberculosis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, type-1 diabetes, high blood pressure, increased heart failure, myopathy, breast cancers, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and others. It is projected that the incidence of many of these diseases could be reduced by 20% to 50% or more, if the occurrence of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency were eradicated by increasing vitamin D intakes through increased UVB exposure or supplements.
The Society recommends that everyone at risk be screened for vitamin D deficiency. Those especially at risk are infants and children (all ages), pregnant women, those who are over 65 and in community dwellings (without enough sunlight), darker skinned individuals and obese individuals.
At the same time as the Endocrine Society, two additional medical associations, the Ontario Society of Physicians for Complementary Medicine and the Section of Complementary and Integrative Medicine of the Ontario Medical Association in Canada called for serum levels in the range of 40-60 ng/ml. According to Dr. Robert Banner, Chair of the Section, "We have to pay attention to the health of our patients. Our group will actively help patients get the testing and education they need for their health with vitamin D. It is vital to be proactive with people's health to prevent diseases that my happen 10 or more years down the road."
Endocrine Society, June 6, 2011
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: I think this is a step in the right direction. Though both group ranges are lower than my current recommendations (50-80 ng/ml) it's helping to put a focus on the problem of Vitamin D deficiency. Prevention is very much key here. Vitamin D supplements are relatively inexpensive, well tolerated, and non-toxic if proper testing is done. We still have much to learn about the relationship of Vitamin D to chronic disease. The more doctors (and patients) are aware of the science, the healthier we will all be.
ANTIDEPRESSANTS LINKED TO HEART DISEASE RISK
Antidepressant use has been linked to thicker arteries, possibly contributing to the risk of heart disease and stroke, in a study of twin veterans. This research was presented
at the American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans. The findings strongly suggest Prozac and similar medicines could raise the risk of heart disease and stroke.
This groundbreaking study involved 513 middle-aged male twins who both served in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. Twins are genetically the same but may be different when it comes to other risk factors such as diet, smoking, and exercise, so studying them is a good way to factor out the effects of genetics.
The research team measured the thickness of the lining of the main arteries in the neck by ultrasound (carotid IMT). The results showed that among the 59 pairs of twins where only one brother took antidepressants, the one taking the medication had a significantly higher carotid IMT -- even when heart disease risk factors such as smoking were taken into account. In fact, the thicker arteries were found in antidepressant users whether or not they had ever had a stroke or heart attack in the past.
In the new study, the scientists documented higher carotid IMT in research subjects who used SSRIs (60% of those who took antidepressants) as well as those who used other kinds of antidepressants. Higher levels of depressive symptoms were associated with thicker arteries only in those taking antidepressants. The drugs themselves seem to be the key to this disturbing change in the cardiovascular system.
"One of the strongest and best-studied factors that thickens someone's arteries is age, and that happens at around 10 microns per year," stated Dr. Shah, one of the main researchers. "In our study, users of antidepressants see an average 40 micron increase in IMT, so their carotid arteries are in effect four years older."
"I think we have to keep an open mind about the effects of antidepressants on neurochemicals like serotonin in places outside the brain, such as the vasculature. The body often compensates over time for drugs` immediate effects," Dr. Shah said.
American College of Cardiology, April 5, 2011
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: I doubt that many patients currently taking Prozac or similar drugs have been called and informed about this research. Yet the same docs are quick to belittle alternatives to drug therapy. At least taking a homeopathic medicine and relieving depression doesn't make your carotid arteries age and increase your risk for stroke.
PROSTATE CANCER AND ZINC
In this population-based study involving 525 men under 80 years of age diagnosed with prostate cancer, out of which 42% died of prostate cancer and 49% died of other causes, high dietary intake of zinc was found to be associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer-specific mortality. This was especially true in men with localized tumors.
The authors conclude that, "... high dietary intake of zinc is associated with lower prostate cancer-specific mortality after diagnosis, particularly in men with localized disease."
Dietary zinc and prostate cancer survival in a Swedish cohort, Am J Clin Nutr, 2011 March; 93(3): 586-93
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: One of the basic nutrients related to prostate health is whether the man has proper zinc status. Here are some foods that are high in zinc:
Sea vegetables-dulse, hijiki, nori, etc.
Pumpkin seeds-raw, unsalted,
Zinc is necessary for the functioning of more than 300 different enzymes and plays a vital role in a large number of biological processes. Zinc is a cofactor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) and is in a number of enzymatic reactions involved in carbohydrate and protein metabolism.
It has immune-enhancing activities and possesses antiviral activity. Zinc is necessary for the maturation of sperm and normal fetal development. It is involved in sensory perception (taste, smell, and vision) and controls the release of stored vitamin A from the liver. In the endocrine system, zinc has been shown to regulate insulin activity and promote the conversion thyroid hormones thyroxine to triiodothyronine.
Zinc may be effective for the treatment or management of a number of conditions, including diarrhea in malnourished children, skin conditions (such as acne vulgaris, eczema, and psoriasis), gastric ulcers, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), immune disorders, sickle cell anemia, leg ulcers, infertility, herpes, taste or smell disorders, diabetes, and diabetic neuropathy. It is probably most popular for its use in the prevention of the common cold.
LYMPH NODE REMOVAL IN BREAST CANCER CARE
A new study has shown that many women with early breast cancer do not actually benefit from the removal of armpit lymph nodes, a painful procedure that has been routine practice for 100 years.
For about 20% of patients, removing the nodes has no advantage -- it neither improves survival nor makes the cancer less likely to recur. What's more, the procedure can cause complications such as infection and lymphedema.
According to the New York Times: "Experts say that the new findings, combined with similar ones from earlier studies, should change medical practice for many patients. Some centers have already acted on the new information ... But more widespread change may take time, experts say, because the belief in removing nodes is so deeply ingrained."
JAMA February 9, 2011;305(6):569-75
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: I was unaware that there was much variation in the removal of lymph nodes. Twenty per cent is 1 out of 5 patients with breast cancer. If you're that person you would want to know it. Avoiding lymphedema is high on the list of most breast cancer survivors. Lymphatic obstruction is a blockage of the lymph vessels that drain fluid from tissues throughout the body and allow immune cells to travel where they are needed. Lymphatic obstruction may cause lymphedema, which means swelling due to a blockage of the lymph passages. This is often quite painful and negatively affects a woman's quality of life.
VITAMIN D AND STOOPED POSTURE IN PARKINSON'S DISEASE PATIENTS
In this study involving 92 patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), results indicate that vitamin D deficiency may help reduce stooped posture. Average serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were significantly lower in stooped PD patients compared with nonstooped PD patients.
During a follow-up of 5 years, 22% of patients in the nonstooped group, compared with 100% of patients in the stooped group developed new vertebral fracture. At 5-year end, average serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D were 7 ng/ml in the stooped group and 14.1 ng/ml in the nonstooped group.
Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "Stooped posture in Parkinson disease may be caused by vertebral fractures resulting from vitamin D deficiency with compensatory hyperparathyroidism. Vitamin D supplementation may reduce stooped posture in patients with Parkinson disease."
"Vitamin D Deficiency-Induced Vertebral Fractures May Cause Stooped Posture in Parkinson Disease," Am J Phys Med Rehabil, 2011, Jan 5
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: It's wonderful to hear of any simple therapy that can help Parkinson's patients. If optimal Vitamin D levels will lessen stooped posture why not test all Parkinson's patients for Vitamin D and supplement if necessary? Seems pretty smart to me.
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!
Here are some pages that are of particular interest:
Store: There are 328 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