|Issue #110 - Nov. 2011|
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #110. 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.
VITAMIN D3 WORKS BETTER THAN D2
Recently, a review of 50 randomized controlled trials (RCTs), with a total of 94,000 participants, that used some form of vitamin D, reported mortality rates as either primary or secondary outcomes. Within these RCTs, 32 of the studies used D3 (74,000 subjects) and 12 of them used D2 (18,000 subjects). There was a 6% relative risk reduction when supplementing with vitamin D3, as opposed to a 2% relative risk increase when supplementing with vitamin D2.
Murff HJ. Review: Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) reduces mortality in adults; other forms of vitamin D do not. Ann Intern Med. 2011; 155:JC5-04.
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Prescription vitamin D (D2) has consistently been shown to be less effective than over-the-counter vitamin D (D3). This meta-analysis reconfirms that idea. Several of my patients have reported being prescribed Vitamin D by their conventional doc. Across the board it's been vitamin D2, not vitamin D3. Remember, our bodies don’t produce vitamin D2 in response to sun exposure. D2 (ergocalciferol) is made by irradiating fungus and plant matter. D2 just doesn't raise vitamin D levels the way D3 does. Bottom line, if you're taking vitamin D, take D3, cholecalciferol.
BPA IN POPULAR THANKSGIVING CANNED FOODS
Add the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) to your list of 'Do Not Eat." BPA has been found in canned products commonly used in Thanksgiving dinners, according to a new report by the nonprofit Breast Cancer Fund. Research studies have shown that BPA could increase the risks of getting breast and prostate cancer and other diseases.
The organization tested four cans of each of the following: Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup, Campbell's Turkey Gravy, Carnation Evaporated Milk, Green Giant Cut Green Beans, Libby's Pumpkin, Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce and Del Monte Fresh Cut Sweet Corn, Cream Style.
The amount of BPA found in cans of the same product was inconsistent. But for half of the items tested, a 120-gram serving of the product contained a BPA concentration of more than 11 parts per billion, the level that lab studies have shown to have negative health effects.
Scientists at the Breast Cancer Fund said that the inconsistencies may be due to different canning facilities, batches, and storage and transportation conditions.
BPA is used to make the resin lining of many metal food cans. Legislation banning BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups exists in 11 states, including California.
"BPA In Thanksgiving Canned Food", Breast Cancer Fund, Nov. 2011
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: BPA is considered an endocrine disruptor. These are chemicals that have negative effects on hormonal systems. BPA mimics the hormone estrogen. Studies have shown that exposure to doses as low as parts per billion (or even parts per trillion)--levels found in food packaging--can increase the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, infertility, early puberty, diabetes, obesity, and ADHD.
If you use commercial canned products for your Thanksgiving celebration you should check out these results.
VITAMIN C DEFICIENCY UPS HEART RISK
Low vitamin C intake may worsen heart failure and put patients at a higher risk for cardiac events, according to a study conducted in three U.S. clinics.
The findings showed that patients who had low intakes of vitamin C were 2.4 times as likely to have higher levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) – a marker for inflammation – compared with those who had high vitamin C intake. They also had shorter intervals without cardiac events.
In other words, "adequate intake of vitamin C was associated with longer survival in patients with heart failure," said Eun Kyeung Song, Ph.D., of the University of Ulsan, who is the lead author of the study and a registered nurse. "We generally attribute high CRP to increased weight in the midsection," said Dr. Blumenthal. "But this study suggests that it may be dietary inadequacies that may also increase inflammation and may be even a stronger predictor than just the CRP blood test by itself."
After taking a detailed, 4-day food diary, the authors measured the serum hsCRP of 212 patients at three outpatient heart failure clinics in Kentucky, Indiana, and Georgia during a 12-month follow-up.
Of the total, 82 patients (39%) had low vitamin C intake, as defined by the Institute of Medicine’s guidelines. In all, 98 (46%) had hsCRP greater than 3 mg/L, which is the cut-off point for being at high risk of having cardiac events. The patients with low vitamin C were 2.4 times more likely to have a high hsCRP level.
During the follow-up, 61 patients (29%) had cardiac events. After the authors controlled for age, sex, body mass index, New York Heart Association class, ejection fraction, comorbidities, total caloric intake, and medications, the results showed that the patients with low vitamin C levels were exactly twice as likely as those with adequate levels to have shorter cumulative cardiac event–free survival. Furthermore, those with hsCRP levels of at least 3 mg/L were 1.9 times as likely to have that outcome.
"The data suggest that one possible mechanism by which vitamin C deficiency contributed to poor health outcomes is through inflammatory pathways in [heart failure] patients," they concluded.
11/15/11 American Heart Association
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: CRP is an independent marker for heart disease that many practitioners, including myself, think is more useful than cholesterol levels. You can lower your CRP by 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day, eating foods high in fiber, eating brightly colored vegetables and fruits, as well as dark green or dark red vegetables.
PARKINSON'S DISEASE LINKED TO INDUSTRIAL SOLVENT
Researchers found a six-fold (600%) increase in the risk of developing Parkinson's in individuals exposed in the workplace to trichloroethylene (TCE). Although many uses for TCE have been banned around the world, the chemical is still used as a degreasing agent. The research was based on analysis of 99 pairs of twins selected from US data records.
Parkinson's can result in limb tremors, slowed movement and speech impairment, but the exact cause of the disease is still unknown, and there is no cure.
The researchers from institutes in the US, Canada, Germany and Argentina, wanted to examine the impact of solvent exposure - specifically six solvents including TCE.
They looked at 99 sets of twins, one twin with Parkinson's, the other without.
Because twins are genetically very similar or identical and often share certain lifestyle characteristics, twins were thought to provide a better control group, reducing the likelihood of spurious results. The twins were interviewed to build up a work history and calculate likely exposure to solvents. They were also asked about hobbies.
The findings are presented as the first study to report a "significant association" between TCE exposure and Parkinson's and suggest exposure to the solvent was likely to result in a six-fold increase in the chances of developing the disease. The study also adjudged exposure to two other solvents, perchloroethylene (PERC) and carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), "tended towards significant risk of developing the disease".
"Our study confirms that common environmental contaminants may increase the risk of developing Parkinson's, which has considerable public health implications," said Dr Samuel Goldman of The Parkinson's Institute in Sunnyvale, California, who co-led the study. He added: "Our findings, as well as prior case reports, suggest a lag time of up to 40 years between TCE exposure and onset of Parkinson's, providing a critical window of opportunity to potentially slow the disease before clinical symptoms appear."
TCE has been used in paints, glue, carpet cleaners, dry-cleaning solutions and as a degreaser. It has been banned in the food and pharmaceutical industries in most regions of the world since the 1970s, due to concerns over its toxicity. In 1997, the US authorities banned its use as an anesthetic, skin disinfectant, grain fumigant and coffee decaffeinating agent, but it is still used as a degreasing agent for metal parts.
Groundwater contamination by TCE is widespread, with studies estimating up to 30% of US drinking water supplies are contaminated with TCE. In Europe, it was reclassified in 2001 as a "category 2" carcinogen, although it is still used in industrial applications.
PERC, like TCE, is used as a dry-cleaning agent and degreasing agent, and is found in many household products. CCl4's major historical use was in the manufacture of chlorofluorocarbons for use as refrigerants, but it has also been used a fumigant to kill insects in grain.
November 13, 2011, Annals of Neurology
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Parkinson's disease is a disorder of the brain that leads to shaking, tremors, difficulty with walking, movement, and coordination. It most often develops after age 50--which corresponds with the 40 year development span listed above. It is one of the most common nervous system disorders of the elderly.
Nerve cells use a brain chemical called dopamine to help control muscle movement. Parkinson's disease occurs when the nerve cells in the brain that make dopamine are slowly destroyed. Without dopamine, the nerve cells in that part of the brain cannot properly send messages. This leads to the loss of muscle function. The damage gets worse with time.
Several years ago I wrote about the link between Parkinson's and pesticide use. Now we see a potential cause residing in carpets, glues, and adhesives.
ODDS ARE 66.6 TO 1 FLU VACCINE WON'T HELP YOU
A major new study has cast fresh doubt on the effectiveness of flu vaccination, with researchers warning evidence of high-level protection was ‘elusive', particularly in high-risk patients.
US researchers collated influenza-specific outcomes from 31 studies of flu vaccination, after concerns reporting of non-specific outcomes such as death rates could have over-estimated vaccine benefits. Their systematic review was published In October by Lancet Infectious Diseases.
The study highlights stark gaps in evidence for effectiveness in certain age groups, saying evidence in patients over 65 – one of the Department of Health's at-risk groups – is ‘lacking'.
Study leader Professor Michael Osterholm, director of the center for infectious disease research and policy at the University of Minnesota, US, said: "Evidence for consistent high-level protection is elusive for the present generation of vaccines, especially in individuals at risk of complications or those aged 65 years or older."
Lancet Infectious Diseases Oct. 26, 2011
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: You probably didn't hear much about this study, and likely what you heard was grossly distorted. Here are the actual facts from the study:
The "control group" of adults consisted of 13,095 non-vaccinated adults who were monitored to see if they caught influenza. Over 97% of them did not. Only 357 of them caught influenza, which means only 2.7% of these adults caught the flu in the first place.
The "treatment group" consisted of adults who were vaccinated with a trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine. Out of this group, according to the study, only 1.2% did not catch the flu.
The difference between these two groups is 1.5 people out of 100. That means you have to give 100 people the flu vaccine, with all the associated costs and side effects, in order to prevent the flu in 1.5 people. Another way of looking at it is that odds are 66.6 to 1 that getting the flu vaccine will actually prevent the flu. That's 'scientific medicine'? More like huge profit being made by scaring everyone into getting the flu shot. According to Professor Osterholm it's especially doubtful that it will help someone 65 or older, or someone whose health is already compromised.
STEROID USE CAN CAUSE VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY
Researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University reported that the use of oral corticosteroid drugs is associated with double the risk of having severely deficient levels of vitamin D compared to non-use of the drugs.
Einstein College assistant professor of pediatrics Amy Skversky, MD, MS and her associates analyzed data from 22,650 children, adolescents and adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2006. One hundred eighty-one subjects reported oral steroid use over the thirty days prior to being questioned. Among steroid users, 11% had serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels of less than 10 nanograms per milliliter, which is considered severely deficient, compared to 5% of the remainder of the study population. For oral steroid users under the age of 18, severe vitamin D deficiency was fourteen times as likely to occur compared with nonsteroid users in the same age group.
September 28, 2011, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: This finding is of great concern due to the increased risk of conditions such as beast cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, colon cancer, etc., that are associated with vitamin D deficiency. Other research has revealed decreased levels of vitamin D in children with asthma and those with Crohn's disease who are often prescribed steroid drugs. The drugs may lower vitamin D levels by increasing the level of an enzyme that inactivates the vitamin.
What happened to "First, Do No Harm?" How about not prescribing steroids in the first place for non emergency conditions? Steroids work by suppressing the immune system. They don't cure anything.
HERE COMES THE SUN
My eBook, "Here Comes The Sun: Preventing Chronic Disease With Vitamin D", is now available for purchase. 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 340 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 110 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”.
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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