|Issue #113 - February 2012|
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #113. 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.
2012 NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE LECTURE SERIES
Are You Suffering From Acid Reflux?
Do you or your child have heartburn or regurgitation? Along with chest pain, and trouble swallowing? Find out what you can do for yourself. Learn natural ways to take care of yourself and your family.
Acid Reflux is far more widespread than you might believe. As many as 25 million Americans, or one in twelve people, have symptoms of acid reflux, making it one of the most common medically diagnosed disorders.
Dr. Pais will discuss the basics of Acid Reflux and how you can support your health and prevent illness. Come to this free 1 hour lecture from 7:00-8:00 pm Tues., February 28, 2012 at Solley Chiropractic, 580 E. 3rd St. Williamsport. Dr. Pais will discuss nutritional and lifestyle factors that can improve quality of life and help you let get your health back. Learn the best that natural medicine has to offer.
Seating is limited. You must RSVP to the phone number or email above to attend this lecture. Remember to mark your calendar for Tues., February 28, from 7:00-8:00 pm at Solley Chiropractic, 580 E. 3rd St., Williamsport.
DID YOU JUST EAT CHICKEN?
Urinary tract infections are common conditions that occur when bacteria from the intestines enter the urinary tract. New research, however, suggests that the bacteria causing these infections may come from contaminated food -- especially chickens.
Studies from Canadian researchers show that stricter chicken-farm anti-contamination practices may help curb cases of urinary tract infections. In 2010, researchers showed that the most common cause of the infections -- E. coli bacteria -- can originate in food. In a study published Feb. 15, the authors show that chicken is the likely culprit.
The scientists, led by Amee R. Manges of McGill University, tested 320 samples of beef, pork and chicken. They found that the bacteria from beef and pork were far less likely to be genetically related to human urinary tract infection bacteria strains than chicken, which were closely related.
Proper kitchen handling and cooking of chicken can reduce the chances of E. coli infection. But, Manges said: "the many examples of foodborne outbreaks that occur regularly makes it clear that we still have problems with food safety."
Given the strong link between E. coli-related urinary tract infections and chicken, it makes sense for chicken farms to step up efforts to stop bacterial contamination, the authors said.
E. coli is well known as a cause of diarrheal illness, but the bacteria's foodborne link to urinary tract infections should not be underestimated, they note.
"During the past decade, the emergence of drug-resistant E. coli has dramatically increased," the authors wrote. "As a consequence, the management of UTIs, which was previously straightforward, has become more complicated; the risks for treatment failure are higher, and the cost of UTI treatment is increasing."
March 2012 Emerging Infectious Diseases
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Where does the foodborne link come from? It comes from factory farms, chicken CAFOs, where chickens are raised with too many antibiotics. This is where the antibiotic resistant bacteria come from. Simple solution. Eat organic, pasture raised chicken.
VITAMIN D2 FAILS TO IMPROVE HEART HEALTH
In the PRIMO trial, paricalcitol (vitamin D2) did not improve measures of cardiac structure, function or left ventricular mass in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), as researchers had hoped.
CKD has adverse effects on vitamin D metabolism, and up to 80% of patients with stage three to five disease have vitamin D deficiency.
"There is much interest in vitamin D and several studies suggest there may be a link between vitamin D and heart disease," Dr Ravi Thadhani of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, who led the study, explained in an email to Reuters Health.
"We specifically examined the effect of a potent form of vitamin D and cardiac structure and function and found no major effect over a one year period. We did find other interesting effects such as a reduction in episodes of cardiac related hospitalizations from heart failure, but these require additional studies to confirm," Dr Thadhani added.
The PRIMO trial was conducted in 11 countries during 2008-2010, with 227 patients (mostly hypertensive men) who had an estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of 15 to 60 mL/min and mild to moderate left ventricular hypertrophy.
Paricalcitol appeared to be associated with fewer cardiovascular-related hospitalizations. Dr Thadhani told Reuters Health, "The suggestive effects we uncovered related to heart failure are worth studying further."
The PRIMO study was funded by an investigator-initiated grant from Abbott Laboratories, which markets paricalcitol as Zemplar.
Feb. 15, 2012 Journal of the American Medical Association
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: You might have seen the headline--Vitamin D no help for heart, or something like that. In almost every negative study related to Vitamin D there are major research problems that underlie the headline. This study is no exception.
The drug company that makes the drug studied put the money up for the study (a very common situation). So they used their drug version of Vitamin D2. Vitamin D2 is the form of Vitamin D that most knowledgeable physicians avoid. Because it is not the most potent biological form. Any intelligent researcher would test Vitamin D3, the most potent biological form. But they don't make a drug form of D3 so they're not interested.
ANTIBIOTICS WON'T HELP SINUS INFECTIONS
Roughly 20% of the antibiotic prescriptions written in the United States for adults each year are for sinus infections. That's an impressive statistic, given that doctors and public health officials have long doubted that antibiotics can successfully treat the condition.
A new study appears to confirm those doubts: The antibiotic amoxicillin was no better than placebo at improving the congestion, cough, runny nose, pain, and other symptoms that accompany sinus infections (also known as acute sinusitis), researchers found.
"Compared to placebo, amoxicillin doesn't seem to provide any benefits," says lead author Jane Garbutt, an associate professor at the Washington University School of Medicine, in St. Louis. "In terms of patient satisfaction, side effects, symptom relief, days missed from work, et cetera, we did not see any difference."
Most sinus infections are caused by viruses, which don't respond to antibiotics. But even bacterial sinus infections rarely require antibiotic treatment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In most cases, both types of infection go away on their own in less than two weeks.
"Most patients get better despite antibiotics, not because of them," says Garbutt. "There is a high rate of spontaneous resolution."
The study included 166 people with moderate or severe sinus infections. Half of the participants took amoxicillin three times a day for 10 days, and the other half took a placebo on the same schedule. In addition, every patient was given acetaminophen, cough medicine, and decongestants to use as needed.
The two groups of patients improved at approximately the same rate. By day three, just over one-third of those in each group reported a lessening of their symptoms, a proportion that increased to roughly 80% in each group by day 10.
The patients taking antibiotics did feel measurably better than the placebo group on day seven, but the researchers did not consider the difference to be clinically (as opposed to statistically) significant. On that day, the difference in the two groups' quality of life -- as measured by a scale appropriately named SNOT-16 -- was negligible, the study notes.
The results reinforce what many doctors have suspected, even if they've continued to prescribe antibiotics to sinusitis patients, says Daniel Merenstein, M.D., an assistant professor of family medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center, in Washington, D.C. "We don't practice it, but we do know it," he says. "This study might help us give out fewer antibiotics."
The main reason doctors continue to prescribe antibiotics is that patients have come to expect them, Garbutt and her colleagues note. One way of satisfying patients without overusing antibiotics, Garbutt says, is to give them a prescription but advise them not to fill it unless their symptoms persist or worsen -- a protocol that's become popular in Europe.
Patient expectations aren't the only driver of antibiotic use for sinus infections, however.
Mark Shikowitz, M.D., director of the Zucker Nasal and Sinus Center at North Shore--Long Island Jewish Health System, in New Hyde Park, New York, says some doctors prescribe the drugs to guard against the very rare chance that a sinus infection will progress to something much worse, such as a brain abscess, a bundle of cells that can develop following a bacterial infection.
"The chances are quite small, but the outcome if it does happen can be catastrophic," Shikowitz says. "And behind every bad outcome is a medical malpractice attorney."
Some doctors will be reluctant to withhold or discourage antibiotics until physician organizations formally adopt the conservative approach advocated by Garbutt and her colleagues as the new standard of care, he says.
The overuse of antibiotics for sinusitis has important public-health implications in light of the growing concerns about antibiotic-resistant bacteria and viruses. Widespread antibiotic use can lead the infectious organisms that cause disease to adapt a defense, making the drug less effective in the population overall.
Feb. 13, 2012 Journal of the American Medical Association
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: This report is almost a verbatim transcript of what I said to a patient in the office the other day. She had some congestion and sinus pain and went and got an antibiotic for her symptoms. Whenever I hear this I tell patients that antibiotics don't treat sinus infections. The scientific research does not back up that use. I think sometimes patients don't really hear that because their docs are giving them antibiotics.
I'm sorry, I just don't buy it. They're giving patients drugs they know aren't effective. Because their patients expect it? That's medical practice in the 21st century? That's pretty crappy. Downright unethical because giving unnecessary, inappropriate antibiotics is a big reason behind the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Which means antibiotics won't work when you really need them.
This is CYA medicine--docs are afraid of getting sued. I can understand that. So why not follow the European approach and tell patients not to use the antibiotics unless they're really necessary? That would at least renew some credibility.
Of course you could actually address the cause of the symptoms (which isn't the bacteria). Simple things like drinking more water, irrigating the sinus cavities, and avoiding mucus causing foods are much more effective. And they won't cause any harm.
And after the 1st course of unnecessary antibiotics, when you have symptoms of a yeast infection, or a bladder infection, is anybody making the connection? The first is directly linked to the next, and the next, etc. You have to break this cycle to truly get well.
PESTICIDES LINKED TO VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY
Pesticides could be suppressing people's vitamin D levels, leading to deficiency and disease, say scientists. The warning follows the discovery that adults with high serum concentrations of organochlorine pesticides such as DDT have lower vitamin D levels.
Exposure to lose doses of organochlorine pesticides has been previously linked to common diseases like type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. Vitamin D deficiency has similarly been associated with a rise in chronic diseases, but the two have been studied separately by researchers in different fields. 'The known associations between vitamin D deficiency and various diseases can be at least partly be explained by the common exposure to organochlorine pesticides,' says senior author Duk-Hee Lee of Kyungpook National University in Korea.
The US-Korean research team studied 1275 adults in the US aged 20 years or older and checked their blood for seven organochlorine pesticides. DDT and beta-hexachlorocyclohexane levels in study volunteers showed significant associations with lower serum concentrations of a vitamin D pre-hormone, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which is the standard way to assess vitamin D levels in the body.
Organochlorine pesticides were banned in the US decades ago, but are still detectable in people because they resist biodegradation in the environment, are lipophilic and accumulate in fat tissues.
Levels of these chemicals are far lower than they were in the 1960s and 1970s, but Lee believes that they may still be significant because they act as endocrine disruptors. 'One characteristic of endocrine disruptors is that they show their possible harmful effects at levels lower than those which we currently think are safe,' Lee says. 'As chemicals like organochlorine pesticides travel a long distance through a variety of ways, humans can be exposed to these kinds of chemicals even though the country where they live does not use them anymore.'
'We have known for many years that DDT causes egg shell thinning,' says David Carpenter, director of the institute for health and environment at the University of Albany, New York. 'Since egg shell thickness is regulated by vitamin D, this study shows that the same suppression of vitamin D occurs in humans.' Carpenter says he is concerned about the push to bring DDT back into use as a potent pesticide against mosquitoes and other insects. 'It is very important to communicate how harmful DDT is to humans, not just mosquitoes.'
J-H Yang et al, PLoS One, 2012, 7, e30093
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: It would be a huge mistake to bring back DDT use. This study provides another important reason why DDT should remain banned. Another important aspect is that this research gives us a possible cause for the widespread low Vitamin D levels that most people have.
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 342 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 113 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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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 compel 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