|Issue #117 - June 2012|
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #117. 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.
STEAM VALLEY FIBER FARM AT WILLIAMSPORT FARMER'S MARKET
Steam Valley Fiber Farm will begin their season at the Williamsport Grower's Market, this Saturday, June 23rd. Featured products will be their farm-raised Mohair & Wool Socks, Natural color Mohair yarns, Hand-dyed yarn, and Chorizo sausage. Visit this Saturday to watch the spinners turn wool into yarn on their spinning wheels.
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!
How Homeopathic Medicines Work Part 1
To understand how homeopathic medicines work, some associated principles need to be understood.
The only thing to focus on in disease is the signs and symptoms of the disease.
Medicines are curative when they can engender disease symptoms in the healthy and take them away from the sick.
Medicines only cure disease by creating an artificial disease state, thereby lifting and eradicating the symptoms already present. These symptoms are the natural disease state we wish to cure.
If you want to cure disease, find the medicine which has been proven to have the greatest tendency to cause symptoms similar to the medicinal symptoms (those similar to the disease). This is the best way to lift disease symptoms and transform them into health, easily, certainly and permanently.
In homeopathy, we look for a medicine that covers the totality of symptoms of the disease, with regard for the originating cause (when it is known) and for the circumstances of the disease. A medicine is sought which has the power and the tendency to engender the artificial disease state most similar to that of the case of disease in question.
The curative capacity of medicines therefore rests upon their symptoms being similar to the disease but with power that outweighs it. Each case of disease is permanently cured only by a medicine that can cause a totality of symptoms that is the most complete and the most similar to the case of disease but that, at the same time, exceeds the disease in strength.
Based on Hahnemann's experience his most probable explanation for how this all came together was the following:
1. Any disease (which is not strictly a surgical case) consists solely of a specific dynamic disease mistunement of our life force (life principle) in our feelings and functions.
2. The life principle, which has been dynamically mistuned by the natural disease, is affected, during homeopathic cure, by the similar yet somewhat stronger artificial disease (homeopathic medicine in potency) selected exactly according to symptom similarity.
3. The action of the natural (weaker) dynamic disease is extinguished and disappears from the life principle which is then occupied solely by the stronger artificial disease (homeopathic medicine in potency).
4. The artificial disease (homeopathic medicine in potency) soon plays itself out, leaving the patient free and recuperated.
Understanding this process is helpful in understanding our work together. Let me know if you have any questions.
Next month we'll see the second part of how homeopathic medicines work.
DEPRESSION AND VITAMIN D
New research suggests that low levels of vitamin D and depression may be linked.
The new study included about 12,600 people aged 20 to 90. Researchers measured the vitamin D in their blood and assessed symptoms of depression. People with the lowest levels of vitamin D were more likely to report symptoms of depression, compared to people with higher blood levels of vitamin D. This relationship was strongest among people with a history of depression.
Exactly how vitamin D and depression may be linked is unclear. Vitamin D deficiency may result in depression, or depression may increase the risk for low vitamin D levels.
For example, depressed people may spend more time indoors, and are less likely to eat a healthy diet and take care of themselves, all of which could affect vitamin D levels. On the other hand, there are vitamin D receptors everywhere in the body, including the brain. These receptors need vitamin D to do their job.
Other studies on the link between low vitamin D and depression have yielded mixed results, but most have pointed toward a connection. The new study is among the largest to date, and shows that the two may indeed be linked.
Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2012.
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: So do I think vitamin D supplements will cure everyone's depression? Not necessarily. But those suffering from depression should have their Vitamin D levels tested; if suboptimal they should supplement to raise their levels to 50-80 ng/ml to see if it makes a difference for them. I expect that a certain percentage will respond well to optimizing their Vitamin D.
TRICLOSAN SAFETY QUESTIONED
The chemical Triclosan is found in thousands of household products - toothpaste, kids' toys, face creams, computer keyboards, yoga mats, and especially soaps. It has been around for 40 years, and for nearly all that time U.S. officials have been investigating the chemical for safety and effectiveness. Now the Canadian government has just declared the antibacterial agent an environmental toxin, and has proposed regulations that would sharply curtail its use in Canada. The environmental group Beyond Pesticides is leading a coalition of 80 organizations trying to get Triclosan banned in the United States.
Almost every product that triclosan is in, is essentially washed down the drain and directly goes into the environment. In surface water, it degrades to another chemical, 240CP, which is known under the Clean Water Act as a priority pollutant, which means that EPA is supposed to regulate that chemical. It is probably taken up by plants and by crops that we eat, and we don’t actually know what the effects are because no one is looking at this. Yet, like thousands of other potential dangerous chemicals we are putting this chemical out into the environment. We allow too many chemicals into the environment without sufficient human and environmental health overview.
Triclosan is an endocrine disruptor, meaning that it impacts our hormones and so if we have this chemical out there in the environment, this is a concern, because it may accumulate up the food chain, we may be ingesting this chemical unbeknownst to us, so what are we doing to our bodies? Triclosan has been found in urine, it has been found in breast milk, it has been found in umbilical cord blood.
There is some evidence that bacteria exposed to triclosan eventually become resistant to triclosan. And once resistant to triclosan, they may have cross-resistance to other antibiotics, which is a serious public health concern.
When triclosan is combined with chlorine, which is in many water supplies, it forms chloroform. If you’re brushing your teeth, and a lot of toothpaste contains triclosan, are you being exposed to chloroform through the chlorine in the tap water? And chloroform is very toxic; it’s not something that you want to be inhaling.
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: The EPA regulates triclosan as a pesticide. Two years ago the FDA presented a paper that says, “At this time the Agency does not have evidence that triclosan in antibacterial soaps and body washes provides any benefits over washing with regular soap in water.”
So why use this stuff? If there's no benefit over soap, and it's a toxic chemical, where's the upside? Too much fear of contagion drives the marketing of Triclosan products and people are scared into falling for it. To their own detriment.
NEW HIGH IN U.S. AUTISM RATES
About one in 88 children in the United States have autism or a related disorder, the highest estimate to date. The estimate released on Thursday March 29, 2012, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, represents an overall increase of about 25% since the last analysis in 2006 and a near-doubling of the rate reported in 2002.
Among boys, the rate of autism spectrum disorders is one in 54; almost five times that of girls, in whom the rate is one in 252. "One thing the data tells us with certainty - there are many children and families who need help," CDC Director Thomas Frieden said at a press conference. Many feel that some change in the environment contaminant might be responsible. In recent years suspicion has focused on mercury, a known neurotoxin, found in air and food.
The new analysis from the CDC comes from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, which currently operates at sites in 14 states. To determine whether a child has autism or a related disorder, what CDC calls "clinician reviewers" examined the medical and school records of 337,093 eight-year-olds in those states in 2008 and conducted screening. Children whose records included either an explicit notation of autism-spectrum disorder or descriptions of behavior consistent with it were counted as falling on the autism spectrum.
The prevalence of autism in the states monitored by CDC varied widely, from a high of one in 47 in Utah to one in 210 in Alabama. Experts said that variation likely reflected differences in awareness of the disorder among parents, teachers and even physicians, as well as differences in the availability of services, rather than any true "hot spots" of autism.
Autism spectrum disorders are marked by a suite of symptoms, all arising from atypical brain development that results in problems with socialization, communication, and behavior.
Although the disorder can be mild or severe, in general children with autism have difficulty communicating and making friends. Many find it painful to look other people in the eyes, which impairs their ability to understand what others are thinking and feeling.
There are 16 criteria that are used to diagnose autism including symptoms involving social interaction, communication, and repetitive or restricted behaviors and interests.
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Though many have claimed that autism was mostly driven by genes, a 2011 study of twins by scientists at Stanford University concluded that genes account for 38% of autism risk and environmental factors 62%.
There is evidence that any environmental culprit is present during the second or third trimester, the peak of synapse formation. Scientists believe that faulty brain wiring underlies autism.
CADMIUM LINKED TO HIGHER BREAST CANCER RISK
In a finding that strengthens the link between environmental pollutants and rising rates of breast cancer, new research finds that women whose diets contain higher levels of cadmium are at greater risk of developing breast cancer than those who ingest less of the industrial chemical in their food.
Cadmium is a heavy metal long identified as a carcinogen. It leaches into crops from fertilizers and when rainfall or sewage sludge deposits it onto farmland. Whole grains, potatoes, other vegetables and shellfish are key dietary sources of cadmium. Cadmium becomes airborne as a pollutant when fossil fuels are burned, and is likely inhaled as well as ingested.
The new study found that among 55,987 post-menopausal women the one-third with the highest cadmium intakes were 21% more likely to develop breast cancer than the one-third with the lowest intakes. The study offers new evidence in a large human population that environmental chemicals that mimic the effects of the female hormone estrogen may contribute to women's risk of certain cancers, including endometrial and breast cancers.
Cancer Research and March 15 2012
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Don't stop eating vegetables and whole grains because of Cadmium. Limit your exposure to other sources. In 2010, consumer watchdog groups warned that toys and costume jewelry manufactured in China and marketed to children throughout the United States contained high levels of cadmium, as well as lead.
The latest research follows two other studies, published in 2006 and 2010, that first singled out cadmium as a factor in breast cancer. Those studies measured cadmium in the urine of smaller groups of pre- and post-menopausal women, and found that those who had high cadmium exposures were more than twice as likely to develop breast cancer as those with the smallest exposures.
Each year, about 230,000 women in the United States are newly diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Breast cancer rates are rising worldwide, with 1.6 million cases in 2010. A woman's lifetime exposure to estrogen — a hormone made by her own body and present in medications such as birth control pills and hormone-replacement treatments — powerfully influences her risk. In animals and in laboratory tests, cadmium has been shown to exert estrogen-like effects more powerfully than other environmental pollutants, and so suspicion has fallen on the heavy metal as a possible promoter of breast cancer.
LOW MATERNAL VITAMIN D LINKED TO CHILDHOOD WEIGHT
The objective of this study was to determine how maternal vitamin D status relates to lean and fat mass of the offspring.
The children of 977 pregnant women, who had serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D measured at 34 week gestation, were followed up within 3 weeks of birth and at 4 and 6 years of age for assessment of lean and fat mass.
The results showed that lower vitamin D status was associated with lower fat mass in the offspring at birth but with greater fat mass at ages 4 and 6 years. It was not associated with lean mass at any of the ages studied.
Am J Clin Nutr May 23, 2012, doi: 10.3945/?ajcn.112.037473
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Women who lack vitamin D when pregnant may end up with fatter children. By the age of six they were 6% to 8% fatter than children whose mothers had a healthy intake of vitamin D.
The researchers felt that there could be programmed effects on the fetus arising from a lack of maternal vitamin D that remain with the baby and predispose him or her to gain excess body fat in later childhood.
In the context of current concerns about low vitamin D status in young women, and increasing rates of childhood obesity in the US, we need to understand more about the long-term health consequences for children who are born to mothers who have low vitamin D status. For obesity concerns, heart disease, diabetes, and other serious diseases.
HIGH LEVELS OF PCBS TIED TO DEFECTIVE SPERM IN INFERTILE MEN
Research shows for the first time that increased levels of organochlorine chemicals PCBs and a DDT breakdown product in men are associated with an extra sex chromosome in sperm that can contribute to reproductive problems.
The men with higher levels of persistent organochlorine chemicals PCBs and p,p'-DDE in their blood were more likely than those with lower levels to have a higher percentage – sometime 60% more – of sperm with too many sex chromosomes. An abnormal number of chromosomes in the embryo or fetus is the largest known cause of failed pregnancies in people. It can also lead to birth defects.
Sex chromosomes are part of the genetic material donated by the mother in the egg – always the X chromosome – and the father in the sperm – either an X or a Y. At fertilization, the chromosomes normally come together in one of two ways: XX for a girl and XY for a boy.
The abnormal number of sex chromosomes – in this case sperm with an extra sex chromosome – occur in 5% of clinical births. Overwhelmingly, the extra sex chromosome originates from the father. Studies show infertile men have higher than normal frequencies of these types of abnormal sperm.
Several triggers may cause chromosome errors during sperm production in the testes. Research suggests environmental exposures may play a role. Prior studies show benzene and some pesticides are associated with sperm having more than one sex chromosome. Human studies find a link between decreased semen quality and exposure to the organochlorine chemicals PCBs and DDT.
There are more than 200 different types of PCBs. The chemicals were once widely used as coolants in electrical transformers and motors. Some types of PCBs chemically resemble the insecticide DDT. DDT was banned in the 1970s in the United States yet is still used in some tropical countries to combat malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
The United States and other countries have banned PCBs and DDT because of their health effects, which include toxicity to developing nervous and endocrine systems. PCBs and DDT's main breakdown form – p,p’-DDE – are incredibly stable, persist in the environment and accumulate in fatty tissue. Despite the bans, they are found in most people.
In the study, researchers examined whether exposure to PCBs or p,p’-DDE was associated with heightened rates of extra sex chromosomes. They measured blood levels of 57 different types of PCBs and p,p’-DDE in 341 men that were part of a couple seeking help for infertility. Researchers examined subject’s semen to look for the abnormal presence of an extra sex chromosome – a condition called disomy. Normal sperm should carry a single sex chromosome – either X or Y. With disomy, sperm carries two – XX, XY or YY.
To understand the association between chemical exposure and abnormal sex chromosome number, researchers separated the subjects into four groups. Group 1 contained 25% of men enrolled in the study that had the lowest levels of the chemicals in their blood whereas Group 4 contained 25% of subjects with the highest levels.
In comparison to the men in Group 1 with the lowest levels of p,p’-DDE, men in Groups 2, 3 and 4 with higher levels of the chemicals were more likely to produce sperm with XX or XY disomy. For example, men in the highest exposure group had a 60% increase in the rate of XX-carrying sperm than the men in the lowest exposure group. p,p’-DDE exposure was not associated with elevated rates of YY disomy.
Researchers also looked for an association between sex chromosome number and levels of the four most commonly found PCBs. Again, when compared to the men in Group 1 who had the lowest chemical levels, elevated PCB exposure was associated with increased rates of sperm with YY or XY disomy.
Researchers also categorized the PCBs into groups of estrogenic and dioxin-like PCBs. Increased exposure to dioxin-like PCBs in groups 2, 3 and 4 was associated with higher rates of XY containing sperm while the estrogenic PCBs were associated with both XY and YY disomy. Again, higher levels of both estrogenic and dioxin-like PCBs were associated with lower rates of XX disomy.
Environmental Health Perspectives http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1104017
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: You might wonder, "Why are we still dealing with these chemicals?" Many remember that DDT and PCBs were banned. The problem is that certain uses were still permitted and stores of the chemicals at the time were allowed to be sold and used. Add to that the fact that these chemicals are use in other parts of the world--and those products end up back in the US--and that helps explain why we must address this problem.
Currently we are reactionary in our chemical regulation, prove it hurts us and then struggle to get rid of it. All proposed new chemicals should prove that they don't hurt us first, before they're widely utilized. Then we wouldn't have to deal with PCBs, DDT, Triclosan, BPA, etc.
Here are some pages that are of particular interest:
Store: There are 351 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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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