|Issue # 116 - May 2012|
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #116. 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.
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!
What is Succussion and Why Do You Do It?
Everyone who takes a homeopathic medicine while working with me gets a set of instructions (paper or by email) on how to take their dose. Step #2 says to "strike the bottom of the bottle firmly against the palm of your hand __ times (succussing the remedy). Last week a relatively new patient asked me why it was necessary to do this and what it was for.
When Samuel Hahnemann started working to develop homeopathic medicines he searched for a way to bring out the medicinal power of inert substances. For reactive plants like Belladonna or toxic minerals like Mercury it was fairly obvious that they could be medicinal. Belladonna was well known as the plant used by Italian women to dilate their pupils (hence the name bella donna-or pretty woman) and Mercury was used by conventional practitioners to basically poison patients as a way to cure them of syphilis.
But what about substances like the spores of Lycopodium-club moss, or oyster shell-Calcarea carbonica, or cuttle fish ink-Sepia? We know these today as three of the most comprehensive homeopathic medicines in clinical practice. They each cover a wide variety of mental, emotional, and physical symptomatology based on provings and clinical practice. Yet, chemically speaking, these are not very active substances. Nothing spectacular happens when you heat them up or dissolve them with solvents. How was Hahnemann, and other homeopaths, able to reveal, in a sense, their innate medicinal power?
That's where succussion comes in. Hahnemann had the inspiration to bring out the dynamic aspect of substances by putting energy into the process of making the homeopathic medicine. With powdered substances this is done by grinding in a mortar and pestle. With liquid substances this is done by striking the container firmly against a hard surface. Each level of potency in making a homeopathic medicine is associated with a specific number of succussions. For example, a 30c potency of a remedy has had 3,000 succussions--100 succussions at each level, or 30 x 100.
The number of succussions, along with the dilution factor, is the fundamental difference from one potency to another. A 30c is different from a 12c because of the number of succussions (and the amount of dilution).
Why is it important to succuss your remedy each time before you take it? This is to insure that you are not taking the exact same dose each time. Because you succuss your bottle 1, 3, 5, 10 or however many times, you slightly change the potency each time. This gives your body the best chance to respond fully to each dose.
Think of what happens when you walk into a room with a bad odor. Initially it's quite strong, then, after a few minutes you notice it much less or not at all. This is the body's natural response to a repeated stimulus--in our example the repeated stimulus is being stuck in the room and having to smell the bad odor, your body adapts to the stimulus and you notice it less. If you repeat your dose without succussing your remedy each time before hand, you give your body a chance to adapt to, and therefore no loner respond to, the dose.
The number of succussions before each dose is determined by a number of different factors; my assessment of your level of sensitivity, the nature of the disease, and to some extent the remedy itself. I might use a higher number of succussions to bring about a response or a lower number of succussions for someone who is reacting too strongly to their medicine.
This may not seem that pertinent to you in terms of your healing response but it is very useful. Changing the number of succussions is one of several ways to modify the dose and individualize it for you and give your body what it needs to heal. Just in the last few weeks I've had 2-3 patients who did not respond well when taking their remedy. In each case I changed (decreased or increased) the number of succussions and the person began to improve in a more consistent manner.
So the next time someone asks you why you have to smack your remedy bottle against the palm of your hand you can say it's to slightly change the potency each time you dose in order to help you heal faster. It really does make a difference.
EWG-The Environmental Working Group- has come out with an updated version of their sunscreen guide for 2012. You can search for sunscreens by brand, look for a specific one, start with the best, or go through all 1807. With summer upon us (hopefully) it's a good time to find a better quality sunscreen. Cosmetics are even less regulated regarding the words "organic" or "natural". EWG's guide will help you make a healthy choice.
VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY ASSOCIATED WITH INCREASED OSTEOARTHRITIS
Study investigators presented data from the UPLOAD (Understanding Pain & Limitations in OsteoArthritic Disease) study at the American Pain Society's 31st Annual Scientific Meeting. They demonstrated that hydroxyvitamin D levels less than 25ng/mL were associated with an increase in osteoarthritis (OA) symptoms and a decreased threshold for pressure pain.
A clinically meaningful threshold value associating vitamin D levels and chronic pain outcomes has yet to be determined. Toni Glover, MSN, ARNP, FNP-BC, from the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, and colleagues conducted a study to determine a clinically useful vitamin D threshold level that would be predictive of individuals' reported chronic pain-related symptoms and response to evoked experimental pain.
A total of 155 patients with chronic knee pain, regardless of X-ray evidence of OA were recruited. Patient demographics were 73% female, mean age of 56 years, and racially diverse (48% African Americans/Blacks and 52% Whites). Upon X-ray exam of the knees, 67% of participants had OA scores from 2–4 (mild to severe).
Of the patients, 73% had vitamin D levels < 30ng/mL and 9% had severe deficiency at <10ng/mL. Vitamin D supplementation of < 1000 IU/day was taken by 28%, 20% supplemented with >1000 IU/day, and 52% did not supplement.
Patients completed the Osteoarthritis Index and underwent testing at the knee to determine thresholds for pressure pain (PPT). Compared with vitamin D levels ? 25ng/mL, patients with vitamin D levels < 25ng/mL had significantly increased arthritis total scores and diminished threshold pain, indicating greater self-reported OA symptoms including pain, stiffness, physical dysfunction and increased pain sensitivity to mechanical stimulation, respectively.
These findings demonstrate that low levels of vitamin D are associated with chronic knee pain and that levels < 25ng/mL may be used as a clinical threshold to treat vitamin D insufficiency with the goal of alleviating chronic pain.
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Optimal Vit. D levels for healthy individuals are estimated to be 50-80 ng/mL. Even if your Vit. D levels are between 26-40 ng/mL it might be useful to raise your Vit. D levels to optimum and see if that helps your osteoarthritis symptoms.
A NUTRITIOUS BREAKFAST HELPS KIDS DO BETTER IN SCHOOL
A study released May 11, 2012 by the Toronto District School Board, shows that giving children a nutritious breakfast each morning has a direct effect on their academic performance.
The two-year study, Feeding Our Future, followed 6,000 Toronto students. It found those who were fed properly had improved marks and better behavior.
Grade 7 and 8 students who ate a healthy breakfast at school "achieved or exceeded provincial reading standards by a rate 10 per cent higher than those who did not have breakfast," the school board said in a news release.
Edward White Chacon is one of the students who has benefited from the study.
"When I get up I have to fix my hair, pick out my outfit, sometimes I do homework so there's no time [for breakfast]," he said. For the past two years he's been a big fan of the food program at Toronto's Emery Collegiate. He says it helps him concentrate, keeps him from getting angry and it's pumped up his marks. "I've been getting in the 60s, high 60s, sometimes low 60s. But now I have a 79," he said.
According to the study, 78% of students who ate breakfast on most days were on-track for graduation compared to 61% of students who ate breakfast only on a few days or not at all.
The study authors say it's the first of its kind in Canada to provide proof that when students are hungry, it's hard to learn.
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Sorry, but this falls into the category of "Duh..." It always seems so strange to me when such common sense ideas are promoted as being so ground breaking. 'Wow, if we feed kids a healthy breakfast they will do better.' Shocking! Amazing! Who could have guessed??
Now, if they got rid of all the junk food franchises located within schools or within 1-3 miles of schools, that would be worthy of note. And if they emptied school cafeterias of all vending machines. And made sure that high fructose corn syrup was not an ingredient in any food served, then we'd really see some changes.
Famously a public school in Wisconsin did all of the above and saw good changes.
At least Canada is focusing in the right area--nutrition. In the United States, when you start talking about healthy food on a national level, you hear complaints of the 'nanny state' and has-beens fly in to make sure kids have cookies. I'll take Canada's approach, even if I do think it's a no-brainer.
HOW TO INTERPRET VITAMIN STUDIES
Recently a study was released proclaiming that taking vitamins E and C may do nothing to protect aging eyes from macular degeneration (MD). MD is the leading cause of vision loss in older adults. The condition involves damage to the center of the retina, which makes it hard to see fine details.
This latest study is the longest-running one to test vitamin E for eyesight in men, and the first to try out vitamin C alone, said lead researcher William G. Christen, of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.
According to the study, there was no benefit of either vitamin in MD, for older men who took supplements for eight years. So most folks on hearing these findings will conclude that there is no evidence to support taking vitamins E or C to ward off MD.
The report, which appears in the journal Ophthalmology, is part of an ongoing study of more than 14,000 U.S. male doctors age 50 and older. The men were randomly assigned to take either 400 international units (IU) of vitamin E or a placebo pill every other day, along with a daily dose of either 500 milligrams of vitamin C or a placebo. That meant the men were either taking both vitamins, only one of them, or neither.
After eight years, 193 men had developed macular degeneration that was serious enough to interfere with their vision. But the risk was nearly identical among vitamin and placebo users.
In the U.S., an estimated 7.2 million people have some degree of macular degeneration, and 890,000 of them have advanced disease.
"A large body of evidence supports cigarette smoking as an important cause of age-related macular degeneration," researchers said. "So avoiding or quitting cigarette smoking appears to be one way to lower your risk,".
Ophthalmology, April 13, 2012.
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: No one study can be the final word on the vitamins and macular degeneration. Other studies have shown that antioxidants (like C and E) can help with MD.
Researchers noted that their study group was a generally "well-nourished" bunch. This means that it's possible the results would be different in people who have vitamin-deficient diets.
More importantly you need to know some nutrition to be able to understand that these results may be meaningless. First, almost no properly educated nutrition practitioner would use 500 mg of Vitamin C, or 400IU of Vitamin E. 500 mg of Vitamin C is too low to be effective in terms of prevention. Multiple forms of Vitamin E (tocopherols) and probably more than 400IU would be necessary.
So, repeat the study, with the appropriate nutritional modifications, and then tell us what the results are. Maybe there wouldn't be any improvement in MD. Maybe there would. But at least the results would be based on the best nutritional science. Not the standard RDA amounts which are worthless.
PARKINSON'S DISEASE AND ROUNDUP
New research published in the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology supports the emerging connection between glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, and neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and Parkinsonian disorders.
Published in April, the new study entitled investigated the potential brain-damaging effects of herbicides, which the authors stated "have been recognized as the main environmental factor associated with neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease."
They found that glyphosate inhibited the viability of differentiated test cells related to dose amount over time. The researchers also found that "glyphosate induced cell death..."
Roundup herbicide is now a ubiquitous contaminant in our air, rain, groundwater, and food, making complete avoidance almost impossible. A growing body of experimental evidence now indicates that it in addition to its neurotoxicity it also has the following
modes of toxicity:
* Endocrine Disruptor
* Genotoxic (toxic to genes)
* Biocide (destroys life by poisoning)
* Cytotoxic (kills cells)
* Bioaccumulator (accumulates in various life forms)
* Hepatotoxic (toxic to liver)
* Teratrogenic (causes developmental defects)
* Clastogenic (causes chromosomal defects)
* Aquacidal (kills life in water)
* Mutagenic (mutates genes)
* Necrotic (causes death to tissue)
* Nephrotoxic (toxic to kidney)
Once marketed as "safe as table salt" by Monsanto, the manufacturer of this glyphosate-based herbicide, evidence now indicates it is toxic to human DNA at concentrations diluted 450-fold lower than used in agricultural applications.
A 2011 case study published in the journal Parkinsonism Related Disorders, entitled "Parkinsonism after chronic occupational exposure to glyphosate," reported the following incident:
Here we report a patient with parkinsonism following chronic occupational exposure to glyphosate. A previously healthy 44- year-old woman presented with rigidity, slowness and resting tremor in all four limbs with no impairment of short-term memory, after sustaining long term chemical exposure to glyphosate for 3 years as a worker in a chemical factory. The chemical plant produced a range of herbicides including: glyphosate, gibberellins, and dimethyl hydrogen phosphite; however, the patient worked exclusively in the glyphosate production division. She only wore basic protection such as gloves or a face mask for 50 hours each week in the plant where glyphosate vapor was generated. She frequently felt weak. Two months before she came to our clinic, she had experienced severe dizziness and blurred vision.
These studies are also backed up by animal research. In the roundworm model of glyphosate exposure the chemical results in neurodegeneration directly associated with damage to the dopamine and GABA producing neurons. In the rat model, glyphosate exposure results in oxidative brain damage, particularly the substantia nigra, where the highest concentration of dopamine-producing cells reside, and which is the primary location of neurological damage in Parkinson’s disease.
"Glyphosate induced cell death through apoptotic and authophagic mechanisms" Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2012 Apr 4. Epub 2012 Apr 4.
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Imagine for a moment that I tried to sell an herb or a nutritional supplement that was known to cause mutations and was shown to cause damage in rats related to Parkinson's. How long would I be able to do this? One day? Three hours? Five minutes? The FDA would be breaking down my door arresting me, ripping my bookshelves off the wall, and otherwise putting a stop to my business.
My point being that a chemical like glyphosphate can be sold to and used by thousands (millions?) of people and there's no way to prevent this from happening. Even though we know it might be increasing Parkinson's Disease.
Just think, for every chemical like glyphosphate that we know something about, there are hundreds of thousands of unregulated, unresearched chemicals being used that we have no idea what they're doing to the environment, our children, and ourselves.
Here are some pages that are of particular interest:
Store: There are 350 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 116 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 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