|Issue #129 June 2013|
Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #129. 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.
BOY’S GETTING MARRIED!! DAD’S GOING ON VACATION!
My oldest son Skylar is getting married Sunday, June 30 at a mountain lodge outside of Boulder. So, for the first time in 15 years, I’m going on vacation. From Wed., June 26, until Thur. July 4 I will be out of town. You’ll still have access to me by email and Facebook and you can leave phone messages at my office.
I plan on doing lots of dancing, cake eating, and mountain hiking. Whoo Hooo!!!
30 MINUTE FREE CONSULTATIONS
For those of you not currently working with me I want to give you a chance to learn a bit more in depth. For any topic I write about in this newsletter, or something of your own, you can ask for a free 30 minute consultation, by Skype or by phone. I have 3 openings available before I leave for CO. If you’d like to learn more about the articles below email me to schedule a consultation. Just another way to say thanks for your support.
WASTING YOUR MONEY ON THESE SUPPLEMENTS?
1. Vitamin D2. Don’t take Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) to increase your Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D2 and D3 (cholecalciferol) follow different pathways in humans. D2, being plant derived, is part of a non-physiologic metabolism, which is different from the natural function in humans.
Vitamin D2 is inferior to vitamin D3 also because vitamin D2 in synthetic form is less stable and has more impurities, which could potentially lead to a high risk of toxicity. It is not a naturally occurring form of vitamin D in humans. In addition, vitamin D3 may be more potent and active for a longer duration of time.
2. dl-alpha tocopherol. This is synthetic Vitamin E. Many times, when you hear those scare studies about how dangerous Vitamin E is, they’re using dl alpha tocopherol. There is no good application of this cheap, synthetic form. Don’t use it!
3. Synthetic beta carotene. Without getting into the biochemistry, let’s keep it simple. Only buy beta carotene sourced from D. salina, an algae. Eat those red, green, orange, and yellow vegetables and fruits too.
4. Soy lecithin. If you’re taking soy lecithin that isn’t certified organic, or at least Non GMO, don’t. Soy lecithin is also found in many supplements and foods. If it’s not stated otherwise, assume it’s GMO (genetically modified organisms) and stay away. Unless you want to be one of Monsanto’s guinea pigs.
5. Coral calcium. Coral reefs cover less than 1% of the planet's surface and they are homes to over 25% of all marine life (over 4,000 different species of fish, 700 species of coral, and thousands of other plants and animals). Since coral reefs are among the world's most fragile and endangered ecosystems, strict laws are enforced to preserve them.
It is very illegal to mine “live” coral reefs. That means coral calcium has to come from a different source. So what is the source? Marketers tell us that it is either taken from old sea beds buried in the so-called desert; or mined from “fossilized coral sands that accumulated on the sea floor;” or harvested from “only coral that washes up on the shore.”
Is coral calcium a superior form of calcium? Not even close. The calcium content of coral calcium ranges from 24% to 38% and is composed primarily of calcium carbonate. The marketers often call it “aragonite” or “calcite” to confuse and mislead but it is basically the chief ingredient of Tums.
Coral calcium may contain high levels of lead and other impurities. Since these sources of calcium are essentially calcium carbonate, it makes more sense to used purified calcium carbonate products.
What is a good supplement source of calcium?
Calcium carbonate (purified forms) may not be adequately absorbed in people with an insufficient output of stomach acid. It should be taken with foods for maximal absorption. It’s inexpensive and easier to take because it is not as bulky as other forms.
Calcium citrate, malate, fumarate, gluconate, or lactate are larger molecules and therefore bulkier than calcium carbonate thus requiring more tablets/capsules to achieve the same dosage as calcium carbonate. But these forms are easily absorbed regardless of the output of stomach acid.
Is It Time To Dose?
It's fair to say that with conventional medicine, more is almost always considered to be better. Or at least stronger or harsher. 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. A recent example is a 4 year old with a rash that almost completely cleared up after we stopped dosing for a few days. Too frequent dosing wasn’t giving his body a chance to heal. How do we figure this out in a practical way to bring about the most rapid, gentle, and permanent cure?
If 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 improvement 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 smallest dose, so as to produce the least possible excitation of the vital force, and yet sufficient to effect the necessary change in it; Third, if this smallest yet powerful dose of the best selected medicine is repeated at suitable intervals.
We want to administer the selected medicine in such a manner that it will exert 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 rare 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 illness, 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)? In my May 2012 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 patient’s vital principle does not accept such unchanged doses without resistance, that is, without other symptoms of the medicine manifesting themselves other than those similar to the disease to be cured. If the first dose has already accomplished the expected change in the patient, then a second wholly similar, unchanged dose of the same medicine no longer finds, therefore, the same condition. Succuss the medicine between doses and you have the best chance to respond and heal.
The patient may be made sick in 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 following 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.
VITAMIN D REDUCES THE RISK OF ACUTE EAR INFECTIONS IN KIDS
In a randomized study involving 116 children with a history of recurrent acute otitis media (rAOM), supplementation with vitamin D in a dosage of 1000 IU/d for a period of 4 months was found to restore serum values of at least 30 ng/mL and was found to significantly reduce the risk of uncomplicated acute otitis media (26 of the 58 children in the active treatment group) as compared to the occurrence among children who received a placebo (38 of 58 who received placebo).
The authors concluded, "VD hypovitaminosis is common in children with rAOM and associated with an increase in the occurrence of AOM when serum 25(OH)D levels are less than 30 ng/mL. The administration of VD in a dosage of 1,000 IU/day restores serum values of greater than or equal to 30 ng/mL in most cases and is associated with a significant reduction in the risk of uncomplicated AOM."
“Vitamin D Supplementation Reduces the Risk of Acute Otitis Media in Otitis-Prone Children”, Pediatr Infect Dis J, 2013 May 20
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: The gist of this study is that, if kids with ear infections have Vit. D levels below 30 ng/mL, supplement with 1,000 IU Vit. D per day. You should see a reduction in the number of ear infections. Simple, cheap, effective. And no unnecessary antibiotics given.
PESTICIDES AGAIN TIED TO PARKINSON'S DISEASE
Exposure to pesticides and other chemicals is linked to an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease, according to a fresh look at some past research.
Dr. James Bower, a neurologist from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, "We're definitely learning that Parkinson's disease is not caused by one thing. We're finding a lot of risks for Parkinson's and pesticides are just one of many," said Bower, who wasn't involved with the new study.
In 2011, a study of U.S. farm workers from National Institutes of Health found some pesticides that are known to interfere with cell function were linked to the development of Parkinson's disease.
Another study that was published in 2012 also reported that people with Parkinson's disease were more likely to report exposure to pesticides, compared to people without the condition (see Reuters Health story of Nov 13, 2012).
Parkinson’s disease affects about 500,000 Americans.
For this study, Dr. Emanuele Cereda, of the IRCCS University Hospital San Mateo Foundation in Pavia, Italy, and his coauthor pulled data from 104 studies that were published between 1975 and 2011 and examined the link between pesticides and Parkinson's disease. Overall, they found exposure to pesticides was tied to a 58 percent increased risk of developing the disease.
That increase, according to Bower, would be equivalent to 10 more Parkinson's cases among every 1,000 40-year-old residents living in Olmstead County, Minnesota.
Currently, Bower said about 17 of every 1,000 40-year-old Olmstead County residents will go on to develop Parkinson's disease.
The new study's researchers also found that certain pesticides - such as the plant killer paraquat and fungus killers maneb and mancozeb - were tied to a doubling of Parkinson's disease risk.
Cereda told Reuters Health in an email that the study's results suggest that people should avoid contact with pesticides or - at least - wear proper protection when handling the chemicals.
Neurology, May 28, 2013.
DR. PAIS’S COMMENTS: Parkinson’s is such a debilitating disease, anything that can be done to prevent it should be addressed. If you currently use pesticides at home or they’re used where you work—stop. Or at the least, greatly limit your exposure.
EMERSON ORDERING--GET YOUR DISCOUNT!
When I wrote about this in February I thought it would be the last time. That I’d mention it, everyone would read it, and that would take care of it. Not the case. Just last week someone couldn’t order a supplement I recommended because their account wasn’t linked to my practice. So, one more time.
When I discovered Emerson Ecologics a few years ago I was excited to provide physician quality supplements to my patients. One of the aspects I liked most was the opportunity to offer my patients a 10% discount when they ordered. When there was a problem with someone's order last week I called Emerson to help figure out what the problem was.
Turns out, when this patient had set up their account with Emerson, they'd neglected to tell the representative that they were a patient of mine (past or present-no matter). So they were not receiving their 10% discount with every order.
This all came about because I had asked the patient to order one of the products from a manufacturer that restricts orders to physician-linked accounts. When they tried to order the product they were told they could not. That's how we found out their account wasn't linked and they weren't getting their 10% discount.
If you try to order a product from Emerson and they tell you that it is restricted it means that they don't know you are my patient. Hence, no discount.
To be sure you're getting your 10% discount, the next time you order, ask the representative to check that your account is linked as one of my patients. That way you can be sure to receive your discount.
Here are some pages that are of particular interest:
Store: There are 390 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 123 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