|Issue #119 - August 2012|
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #119. 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!
STEAM VALLEY FIBER FARM AT WILLIAMSPORT FARMER'S MARKET
Last Two Weeks!
This is the time to pick up Chorizo sausage and those strikingly pretty Christmas socks. Steam Valley Fiber Farm will be at the Williamsport Grower's Market for 2 more weekends. Saturday, Sept. 1--Labor Day weekend--is the last day. So, if you've been forgetting your 'sock money' or haven't had a cooler to put your chorizo in remember these next two weekends. Featured products are their farm-raised Mohair, Wool Socks, Natural color Mohair yarns, Hand-dyed yarn, and Chorizo sausage. Visit this Saturday. Maybe you'll get a chance to watch the spinners turn wool into yarn on their spinning wheels.
When Is It Time To Dose?
It's fair to say that with conventional medicine, more is almost always considered better. Or at least stronger, or faster. If your anxiety med or your acid blocker isn't suppressing your symptoms strongly enough, you'll probably get more of that drug. If you're hypersensitive to prescription drugs--they cause a bad reaction, you get all of the listed side effects, or you're unlucky enough to have some weird side effect that's making you miserable, you're just out of luck. That's your only choice--be miserable or not take the drug. Sometimes you're made to feel that your sensitivity is your fault or that you're making it all up somehow.
When dosing with homeopathic medicine it's a completely different story. More is definitely not always better. Sometimes you need to dose less to feel better. Or at least change how you dose to see if that will bring about the desired improvements in your health. How do we figure this out in a practical way to bring about the most rapid, gentle, and permanent cure?
Assuming you are taking the medicine most homeopathic to your case (see June and July 2012 Homeopathy 101 for articles on How Homeopathy Works), the focus is then on your response to the homeopathic dose. What we're looking for is progressive improvement in your symptoms. But which symptoms are most important? If your itchy skin is better but your irritability is out of hand that isn't necessarily success. Unless the itchy skin was overwhelming your function--preventing sleep or driving you mad with its constant intensity--it's likely that the irritability is more central to the case. With homeopathy, best results are obtained when looking at the whole person, with extra attention paid to the strange, rare, peculiar, most characteristic symptoms of the case.
Progressive amelioration of symptoms will occur under three conditions; first, if the medicine selected with the utmost care was perfectly homoeopathic; second, if it was given in the minutest dose, so as to produce the least possible excitation of the vital force, and yet sufficient to effect the necessary change in it; and third, if this minutest yet powerful dose of the best selected medicine be repeated at suitable intervals.
We want to administer the selected medicine in such a manner that it will exercise its entire efficacy without injury to the patient, that it may elicit all the good it is capable of performing in a given case of disease. To achieve this result we must be guided by the nature of the patient and the magnitude of their disease.
This is where the sensitivity of the patient can be worked with unlike in the conventional example I gave earlier. If someone tells me that they are chemically sensitive to odors, perfumes, prescription medicines, etc. I know to adjust the potency and the dose accordingly. I can do this in about six or eight different ways so it's rear that someone is 'out of luck' and just can't take a homeopathic medicine. By individualizing the potency selection and the method of dosing we can fine tune the response to get improvement without too much sensitivity reaction.
Dosing is also affected by the nature of the disease. If it's a sudden intense acute the potency and repetition of the dose will be different then if I'm dealing with a slowly progressive chronic disease. The guiding principle is the same however. We're choosing the smallest dose at the best interval, to obtain the most improvement with the least disturbance.
Why don't we just have you dose every day, or 2x/day, as a routine, without any change, and then see you next visit? Won't this speed up results and work great (more is better idea)? Back in my May newsletter I wrote about succussion (striking the bottle firmly against the palm of your hand) and why we do it. It is ineffective to repeat the same unchanged dose of a remedy once, not to mention frequent repetition at short intervals. The vital principle does not accept such unchanged doses without resistance, that is, without other symptoms of the medicine manifesting themselves than those similar to the disease to be cured. Because the first dose has already accomplished the expected change in the vital principle and a second wholly similar, unchanged dose of the same medicine no longer finds, therefore, the same conditions of the vital force.
The patient may indeed be made sick in another way by receiving other such unchanged doses, even sicker than he was, for now only those symptoms of the given remedy remain active which were not homoeopathic to the original disease. No step towards cure can follow, only a true aggravation of the condition of the patient. If the succeeding dose is changed slightly every time, namely potentized somewhat higher (succussed) then the vital principle may be altered without difficulty by the same medicine and thus the cure brought closer. Think of it as an adaptation process. When you first walk into a room with a strong odor after a few minutes you no longer smell it--you adapt. By succussing before each dose we slightly change the potency and you continue to respond to the remedy. Adaptation does not happen.
It seems as if the best selected homoeopathic remedy has its best effect, especially on long standing chronic disease, when it's applied in slightly altered form each time. In this way, the dose of the same medicine may be repeated several times according to circumstances, but only so long as until either recovery ensues, or the same remedy ceases to do good and the rest of the disease, presenting a different group of symptoms, demands a different homoeopathic remedy.
NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENT IMPROVES COGNITIVE FUNCTION
This published article describes the finding of a three year study that evaluated the effects of a nutritional supplement on cognitive function in older men and women.
Forty-one participants aged 65 and older in Japan's "Tone Project" were assigned capsules providing 1,182 milligrams purified fish oils containing 290 milligrams eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 203 milligrams docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); 84 milligrams lycopene from tomato and 240 milligrams Ginkgo biloba extract daily for three years. The control group consisted of 622 participants with no supplement intake or serious diseases. Tests of cognitive function, including attention, memory, language and reasoning skills, were administered at the beginning and end of the study.
Although memory scores improved in both groups, the increase was larger in those who received the supplements compared to the controls. Language ability and attention declined in those who did not receive the supplements, while remaining stable in supplemented participants. When test scores were evaluated as a whole, a significant improvement occurred only in supplemented subjects.
Mechanisms for EPA and DHA in maintaining cognitive function are well known, and include the fatty acids' anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. However, although omega-3 fatty acids have an antioxidant effect, they are also subject to lipid peroxidation, therefore, combining them with compounds that have antioxidant properties such as lycopene could improve their benefits.
"When just one of these agents or nutrients is used by an elderly person, its effect on cognitive function is not enough to prevent aging decline, at least not with the usual dosage in human trial studies," the authors remark. "When these agents or nutrients are used in combination, they may cover the vulnerability of other agents and synergistically potentiate their respective antioxidant properties, which might then be effective for the improvement of cognitive function.
Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, August 9, 2012
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: It's good to see real world application enter into research studies. I have not seen much cognitive improvement based on using ginkgo or DHA/EPA by themselves. Combining them and ensuring their efficacy with lycopene might give some clinically useful results. My focus would also be to recommend a low inflammatory diet in conjunction with the supplement for optimum effect. As well as the usual caveat for quality fish oil extracts.
LOWER BREAST CANCER RISK LINKED TO VITAMIN B6
A new study suggests that taking vitamin B6 supplements or eating foods high in the vitamin may help prevent invasive breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
The study showed postmenopausal women with the highest serum levels of pyridoxal-5'-phosphate, an active form of vitamin B6, were 30% less likely to be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.
Thirty percent reduction in invasive breast cancer risk could mean that 10,000 women may not have to die from the disease each year in the United States.
Experimental and epidemiological studies have suggested that vitamin B6 may reduce risk of breast cancer, researchers say in their report. The current study was based on data from 706 cases and 706 controls matched on birth dates, ethnicity, study site, date of blood draw, time of blood draw, hours of fasting prior to blood draw and use of hormones.
The association between intake of vitamin b6 and risk of invasive breast cancer seemed to be limited to cases of hormone receptor-positive tumors, according to the study report.
Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, August 11, 2012
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: An estimated 220,000 women are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the United States and about 37,000 die from the disease, treatment, and complications annually.
Other important preventive measures include avoiding medical radiation used in diagnostics and treatment, hormone therapy, exercise, and Vitamin D.
Some B6 foods
Pork loin chop (broiled) 3oz .78 mg
Watermelon 1 slice .69
Banana 1 med .66
Salmon, raw 3oz .63
Avocado 1 medium .56
Sunflower seeds 1/4c .45
Broccoli, raw 1 med. stalk .29
It is possible to take too much Vitamin B6, especially if you do so for a long period of time. Best to have your naturopathic doctor review your supplements and make appropriate recommendations concerning amount, quality, and form.
MAMMOGRAMS HAVE LITTLE EFFECT ON REDUCING BREAST CANCER DEATHS
A new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute has shown that mammograms have little or no influence on reducing the number of women who die from breast cancer.
This confirms a 2010 study that found a reduction of 2.4 deaths per 100,000 person-years as a result of mammogram screening.
This new study followed women in Sweden where breast cancer death rates have been declining since 1972--two years before mammogram screening was started. The study's lead researcher Dr. Philippe Autier, at the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon, France, noted: "Information to women on mammography screening should better reflect uncertainty on the effectiveness of that test, and underline the risk of overdiagnosis and overtreatment."
What are these risks?
As I wrote about earlier this year, the Cochrane Center issued a report stating that, based on the available research, it no longer seems reasonable for women to attend breast cancer screening. After systematically reviewing the randomized trials of mammography, they concluded that:
"If 2,000 women are screened regularly for 10 years, one will benefit from screening, as she will avoid dying from breast cancer because the screening detected the cancer earlier.
From the Cochrane center report, "screening results in treatment of many women for a cancer disease they do not have, and that they will not get. Based on the randomized trials, it appears that: If 2,000 women are screened regularly for 10 years, 10 healthy women will be turned into cancer patients and will be treated unnecessarily. These women will have either a part of their breast or the whole breast removed, and they will often receive radiotherapy, and sometimes chemotherapy. Treatment of these healthy women increases their risk of dying, e.g. from heart disease and cancer."
Another study in The Lancet Oncology looked at mammography screening in 650,000 women. This study demonstrated for the first time that women who received the most breast screenings had a higher cumulative incidence of invasive breast cancer over the following six years than the control group who received far less screenings. The study concluded that:
"Because the cumulative incidence among controls did not reach that of the screened group, we believe that many invasive breast cancers detected by repeated mammography screening do not persist to be detected by screening at the end of 6 years, suggesting that the natural course of many of the screen-detected invasive breast cancers is to spontaneously regress." In other words, many of the mammogram detected breast cancers go away on their own.
Journal of the National Cancer Institute July 17, 2012
New England Journal of Medicine September 23, 2010;363(13):1203-10.
Lancet Oncol. 2011 Nov;12(12):1118-24. Epub 2011 Oct 11.
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: To summarize what these studies show:
1. Mammogram screening has little to no effect on whether you will die from breast cancer. They do increase your risk of dying from heart disease and other cancers.
2. It takes screening 2,000 women over 10 years to have 1 benefit from screening.
3. Having more mammograms increases your risk of invasive breast cancer.
4. Many mammogram-detected invasive breast cancers go away on their own over a six year time period.
The next time a health care worker lobbies you to get a mammogram ask them what their opinion is of the conclusions of these studies. Odds are they've never read them. If they have read them they'll probably still recommend that you have a mammogram. With these results, the question is, Why?
LOW VITAMIN D LEVELS MAY MAKE SICK KIDS SICKER
Vitamin D deficiency is common among patients admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and is associated with more severe illness, two studies have showed.
Among patients younger than 21 admitted to medical-surgical PICUs in Boston, 40.1% had deficient levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), according to Kate Madden, MD, of Children's Hospital Boston, and colleagues.
Declining 25(OH)D levels were significantly associated with both worsening illness severity and increasing drug use. And in another study conducted at six Canadian PICUs, vitamin D deficiency was present in 69% of patients younger than 18 and was associated with worsening illness severity, according to James McNally, MD, PhD, of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, and colleagues.
Madden and colleagues examined data on 511 patients (median age 5.3 years) admitted to the PICU over a 1-year period. The median serum level of 25(OH)D at admission was 22.5 ng/mL (remember 50-80 ng/mL is the optimum range).
"The association between vitamin D level and both severity of illness and vasopressor use may be due to its role in innate immune function and inflammation, its role in calcium homeostasis, or influenced by fluid shifts and dilution," Madden and colleagues wrote.
McNally and colleagues, who derived similar results in Canadian PICUs, examined data from 326 children and teens (median age 3.7 years).
Both groups called for studies testing whether aggressive vitamin D supplementation in the early stages of critical illness might improve clinical outcomes. In terms of clinical implications, the results of the two studies "can be understood as supporting programs and interventions designed to prevent vitamin D deficiency," according to Steven Abrams, MD, and Jorge Coss-Bu, MD, of Texas Children's Hospital in Houston.
Pediatrics September 2012
Adrenal Insufficiency in Pediatric Critical Illness
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Again, I really like the idea of research assessing clinically relevant outcomes. What a simple solution to helping sick kids do better. Just make sure their Vitamin D levels are optimum. If they have one of the many diseases related to Vitamin D levels they should be on the higher end of that 50-80 ng/mL range.
TOOTH FILLINGS MADE WITH BPA TIED TO BEHAVIOR ISSUES
Kids who get dental fillings made using BPA are more likely to have behavior and emotional problems a few years later, according to a new study.
"It's a controversial topic in dental research, how much really does leach (from fillings)… and whether or not that would have an effect," said Nancy Maserejian, from New England Research Institutes in Watertown, Massachusetts.
BPA, short for bisphenol A, is a chemical used to make plastics that's also found in some food packaging and canned goods. Last year, a study tied prenatal exposure to BPA to hyperactivity and anxiety, especially in girls (see Reuters Health story of October 24, 2011).
For the new study, Maserejian and her colleagues looked back at data on 534 kids, age six to 10, who had cavities and were randomly chosen to get amalgam fillings or one of two different types of so-called composite fillings. BPA was used in the manufacturing process of one of those newer fillings.
After five years, parents and kids answered a series of questions about anxiety and depression, attitude at school and overall behavior. The researchers found kids who had multiple fillings made using BPA - and who'd had those fillings for a long time - consistently scored two to six points worse on 100-point behavior measures than those who had none of the fillings or who'd only had one for a short time.
Behavior problems seemed especially common in kids who had those fillings on chewing surfaces. This supports the idea that some fillings may begin to break down over time with chewing and leach certain chemicals. Maserejian said it's possible the fillings contain residual BPA that was used in making them, even though the chemical isn't supposed to be a main ingredient in the fillings themselves.
Pediatrics, July 16, 2012.
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: The researchers are quick to point out that they didn't measure BPA directly. And there are many other chemicals present in these fillings. Certainly, with the biological activity of BPA we already recognize, it's not much of a leap to make the connection here. Best of all, the research draws attention to the fillings we put in out mouths and the effects they might have. Whether it's the BPA fillings or the mercury amalgam fillings that are still so common.
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”.
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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