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Lowering Cholesterol Without Statin Medications

Posted By Administration, Monday, June 20, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

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by Allan Magaziner, DO

Just last week, the FDA issued yet another warning regarding the use of  a statin medication, this time Simvastatin, which is frequently prescribed to lower cholesterol levels.  They noted that there is a significant risk of muscle damage (myopathy) in those patients taking high dose Simvastatin (brand name: Zocor).  In addition, the FDA warned against taking this drug along with some commonly utilized anti-fungal, antibiotic and cardiac medications.

I have always been critical of the use of high dose and, often, low dose, statin use especially in light of the numerous alternative treatments that are extremely effective.  In fact, in my previously published book, The All-Natural Cardio Cure, I highlighted many of the problems with statin drugs such as Zocor (Simvastatin), Lipitor (Atorvastatin), and Crestor (Rosuvastatin) and presented many effective options.  

Do all people with high cholesterol levels require cholesterol-lowering medications?  Of course not.  Drew, a 48 year old male, consulted with me when  struggling with seasonal allergies and a long history of sinus problems.  After a thorough evaluation, his cholesterol level was found to be high at 255 (with a normal range of 120-199) and the “bad” LDL cholesterol was also elevated at 184 (normal <99).   

Rather than starting him on a statin to lower his cholesterol, he was placed on an anti-inflammatory diet and I recommended the use of natural supplements including red yeast rice, plant sterols and omega-3 fatty acids.  

Within three short months, Drew’s lipid profile was greatly improved.  His latest total cholesterol had declined to a normal level of 177, while the LDL also fell to 101. Best of all, perhaps, Drew’s energy was better than ever, he felt his immune system was far stronger, he had not been sick at all and his allergy symptoms were completely gone...and all of this without any statin medications or any other prescription medicines!   

Drew is one of hundreds of patients who have been successfully treated at the Magaziner Center for Wellness for high cholesterol without the use of statins or other medications. 

In my opinion, statins should not be taken as first line therapy and should be used only as a last resort.  We have plenty of effective options…let’s use them. 

For more information about lowering your cholesterol level or other cardiac risk factors, contact the Magaziner Center for Wellness at 856-424-8222.

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Sickness Syndrome Depression - The Link Between Seasonal Allergies, Inflammation, and Depression

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

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by Gina Nick, NMD, PhD

A recent article in the New York Times discusses several large studies that link seasonal allergies to  depression and anxiety. The cause is an increase in inflammatory cytokines that lower serotonin levels.  This is a classic example of Sickness Syndrome Depression, a condition identified years ago and finally gaining media attention.  We often see cases of wrongly diagnosed anxiety and depression at our practice where patients are prescribed antidepressant medications instead of being treated for Sickness Syndrome Depression. To learn more about the syndrome click here. One treatment that is not yet mentioned on the site but that we have recently been using successfully in practice to treat Sickness Syndrome Depression and other psychiatric illnesses with an inflammatory component is BRM4 by Daiwa Health Development- an immunomodulator that alters levels of inflammatory cytokines throughout the body. The effective dosage is 4 capsules three times per day for 4 weeks, and then 4 capsules per day thereafter.

In health and healing,

-Dr. G

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Ease Anxiety Naturally

Posted By Administration, Monday, June 6, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

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by Andrea Purcell, ND

In this fast paced life anxiety is presenting itself in many different forms. Patients will describe nervousness, irritability, edginess, heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, hurriedness, and inability to turn off the mental motor. These are just a few descriptions that I hear daily in private practice. Stress is present, people become overwhelmed by it and then get stuck in an anxiety cycle that leads to sleeplessness and becomes very difficult to get out of.

Here are a few tools that can be used on a daily basis to help re-boot our nervous system and break the fight or flight cycle.

The top three-lifestyle ways to soothe anxiety are physical exercise, breathing exercises, and meditation.

Physical exercise has physical in the name so we forget how much it helps our mental health. Daily exercise can lift our moods, influence our food choices, which influence our moods, and act as a mental stress reliever. It helps us get out of our heads, and allows us to take a mental health break.

Deep breathing increases the amount of oxygen in the blood which acts to boost our immune system and give us more energy. It also calms down the sympathetic nervous system and in turn decreases our adrenalin output. So we feel like there is less of an emergency all the time. Breathing abdominally is better than chest breathing. I recommend the “breathing in a box technique”. Inhale slowly for 4 counts, hold your breath for 4 counts, exhale for four counts, and hold for four counts. And repeat. The slower you do it, the more you can focus on the air entering, moving through, and exiting your body. Posture is important! Sit up straight with your shoulders down and pulled back, align your neck over your spine and breathe. Poor posture promotes shallow breathing and more anxiety.

Meditation is a daily practice just like exercising and breathing. Many patients say that they have difficulty completely emptying their mind and find this practice hard to do. My recommendation is to get yourself a tape that will take you through a very short say 1 minute meditation to begin and then expands as you practice your meditation muscle. The Chopra Center has free online meditations; they gradually introduce a new-comer to meditation.

www.chopra.com/library/guidedmeditations
You do have to subscribe to their free online library.

Supplements to use when you are overwhelmed:
Rescue remedy by Bach flower
Calms forte –homeopathic remedy for an over stimulated nervous system.
Double bag of chamomile tea
L-theanine – found in green tea it has calming properties. 200mg capsule, 1-2 capsules usually help take the edge off.

Note from Dr. P
Stress is here to stay, so we all need to get a game plan that works for us to manage stress on a regular basis. I recommend calendaring everything, yes, even exercise. Items on your calendar will not get pushed to the side they will get done with everything else. Every woman I know has a daily list of items to accomplish that is greater than what is humanly possible. Have the immediate list and then the list that can be done over more time. I call it my doing “now” list and my “not” doing now list.
Another stress reduction tip is to be present! The gift is in the present! The present is all we have, so enjoy it, soak it up like a good piece of Italian bread in garlic and oil, ummm, that will help diffuse the anticipation of what is next on the to do list.
Finally, if you find that you just can’t keep it together, and that your day is running you instead of you running your day, there could be other factors that need to be evaluated by a trained professional. You may have a hormonal imbalance and need good council by an integrative doctor. So get the help, get balanced, and get on with your life!

-Be Happy, Healthy & Holistic

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Case Study - Neuroendocrine and Immune Contributors to Fatigue

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 3, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014
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Marni N. Silverman, PhD, Christine M. Heim, PhD, Urs M. Nater, PhD, Andrea H. Marques, MD, PhD, and Esther M. Sternberg, MD
 
Abstract
 
Central fatigue, a persistent and subjective sense of tiredness, generally correlates poorly with traditional markers of disease. It is frequently associated with psychosocial factors, such as depression, sleep disorder, anxiety, and coping style, which suggest that dysregulation of the body's stress systems may serve as an underlying mechanism in the maintenance of chronic fatigue (CF). This article addresses the endocrine, neural, and immune factors that contribute to fatigue and describes research regarding the role of these factors in chronic fatigue syndrome as a model for addressing the biology of CF. In general, hypoactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, autonomic nervous system alterations characterized by sympathetic overactivity and low vagal tone, as well as immune abnormalities, may contribute to the expression of CF. Noninvasive methods for evaluating endocrine, neural, and immune function are also discussed. Simultaneous evaluation of neuroendocrine and immune systems with noninvasive techniques will help elucidate the underlying interactions of these systems, their role in disease susceptibility, and progression of stress-related disorders.
 
 
INTRODUCTION
 
Fatigue comes in various forms. Acute fatigue is a normal, protective mechanism in healthy individuals, is usually linked to a single cause, and is often relieved by rest or life-style change (ie, diet, exercise, rest, stress management). Rarely is it associated with long-term cognitive dysfunction, a state that most often returns to baseline after rest and recovery. However, chronic fatigue (CF) is considered maladaptive or pathologic, lasts 6 months or more, adversely affects physical and mental function, and may have multiple and unknown causes. Generally, no relief is gained from usual restorative measures aimed at relieving fatigue [1]. CF is especially apparent in individuals with chronic disease, such as autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis [RA], multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus [SLE]), psychiatric disorders (major depressive disorder [MDD]); neurologic disorders, eg, stroke; cancer (during and after treatment); and idiopathic chronic multisymptom illnesses, eg, chronic fatigue syndrome [CFS] and fibromyalgia (reviewed in [2]). Peripheral fatigue is observed in chronic diseases associated with muscle wasting and inflammation or joint abnormalities, as often occurs in RA and SLE, myasthenia gravis, and cardiorespiratory diseases. Peripheral fatigue can be attributed to organ-system dysfunction and usually is not associated with cognitive loss.
 
Central fatigue generally correlates poorly with traditional markers of disease [2] and is frequently associated with other psychosocial factors, such as depression, sleep disorder, anxiety, and coping styles [3,4], which suggests that dysregulation of the body's stress systems may serve as an underlying mechanism of CF. Indeed, there appears to be an intricate interplay between the neural, endocrine, and immune systems in regulating the body's response to stress and the maintenance of homeostasis.
 
 


 
CROSS TALK AMONG NEURAL, ENDOCRINE, AND IMMUNE STRESS SYSTEMS
 
That the nervous and immune systems communicate with each other in a bidirectional manner is well established (reviewed in [5-12]). There are 2 main pathways by which psychogenic stress is relayed from the brain to the body: (1) via the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis with the resultant release of glucocorticoids (cortisol in humans and primates; corticosterone in rodents) and (2) via the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), with the resultant release of catecholamines (noradrenaline and adrenaline). These neuroendocrine stress systems coordinate the response of many other physiologic systems to a stressor, including the immune and cardiovascular systems, as well as energy production and/or utilization and behavior, therefore, bringing the physiologic systems back to homeostasis [13].
 
However, maintenance of homeostasis during an immune challenge involves activation of the immune system, resolution of the challenge, and protection of the host against potentially detrimental inflammatory processes. Relevant to the latter, interleukins (IL) and/or cytokines (tumor necrosis factor [TNF]-α, IL-1, and IL-6 in particular) activate the same stress pathways to coordinate an appropriate immune response [5,6,12]. Cytokine receptors have been detected at all levels of the HPA axis, and, therefore, each level can serve as an integration point for immune and neuroendocrine signals [5]. In turn, glucocorticoids negatively feedback onto immune cells to suppress the further synthesis and release of innate proinflammatory molecules. Glucocorticoids also shape immunity by influencing immune cell trafficking to sites of inflammation and alter downstream adaptive immune responses by causing a shift from cellular (Th1 inflammatory) to humoral (Th2 anti-inflammatory) type immune responses [14,15]. Therefore, in contrast to the traditional view of glucocorticoids as immunosuppressant hormones, a more accurate view is that they are immunomodulatory hormones that stimulate as well as suppress immune function, depending on glucocorticoid concentration, type of immune response, immune compartment, and cell type. Glucocorticoids also play an important role in the regulation of the SNS. In addition to subserving permissive effects on relevant synthetic enzymes and receptors for catecholamines, endogenous glucocorticoids restrain SNS responses under resting conditions and after stress [16].
 
In addition to HPA axis-immune interactions, there is strong evidence for interactions between the immune system and the autonomic nervous system (ANS) (SNS and parasympathetic nervous system [PNS] pathways) and peripheral nerves. Whereas, circulating hormones, such as glucocorticoids, regulate immunity at a systemic level, neural pathways regulate immunity at a local and regional level. The SNS and peripheral nervous system innervate immune organs, where sympathetic influences can be both pro- and anti-inflammatory, depending on the type of adrenergic receptor to which the catecholamine binds [8,9]. Neuropeptides released from peripheral nerves, such as substance P, tend to be proinflammatory [7]. Locally released norepinephrine or circulating epinephrine also affect lymphocyte trafficking, proliferation, function, and cytokine production. With regard to the peripheral nervous system, both afferent and efferent parasympathetic activities have been shown to be immunomodulatory. Whereas, afferent vagal fibers express IL-1 receptors on paraganglia cells situated in parasympathetic ganglia [12], efferent vagal fibers have been shown to exert anti-inflammatory action via the release of acetylcholine [10, 11]. Therefore, the vagus nerve also serves as a source of negative feedback on the immune system, with the brain being an integral relay station.
 
Dysregulation of any of these stress systems can lead to dysregulation of multiple physiological and behavioral systems, which leads to a maladaptive response to stress [13-17]. Indeed, dysregulation of neural-immune interactions is described in many stress-related disorders, including inflammatory, autoimmune, metabolic, and cardiovascular disease, as well as psychiatric and somatic disorders.
 
The capacity of proinflammatory cytokines to cause changes in behavior, including symptoms of fatigue, psychomotor retardation, anorexia, anhedonia, hyperalgesia, somnolence, lethargy, muscle aches, cognitive dysfunction, and depressed mood, has led to the suggestion that proinflammatory cytokines may contribute to the behavioral features of depression [18,19] as well as somatic disorders, such as CFS and fibromyalgia [20].
 
The first indication that inflammation may induce psychosomatic symptoms came from research about depression. There is a strong similarity between neurovegetative symptoms (anorexia, sleep disturbance, psychomotor retardation, fatigue, and pain) of depression and inflammation-induced sickness behavior [21]. Indeed, cytokine-based immunotherapy (interferon [IFN]-α) induces 2 distinct behavioral syndromes: a neurovegetative syndrome, which appears early, persists, and is minimally responsive to classical antidepressants; and a mood-cognitive syndrome, characterized by depressed mood, anxiety, and cognitive dysfunction, which appears later and is responsive to classic antidepressants (ie, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs]) [22]. Moreover, differential clustering of mood-cognitive and neurovegetative syndromes is observed in patients with cancer. Indeed, cancer-related fatigue does not respond well to antidepressants, which suggests that it is not exclusively a mood or behavioral problem. [23]. Of note, cancer-related fatigue has also been associated with elevated inflammatory biomarkers and impaired HPA axis function [24,25].
 
It appears that these 2 categories of symptoms are mediated by different biological mechanisms. For example, dopaminergic pathways may play a more prominent role relative to other monoamine neurotransmitters (serotonin, norepinephrine) in the neurovegetative subset [3,22]. In support of this notion, Meeusen et al [26] proposed a central fatigue hypothesis and suggested that an increase in the brain ratio of serotonin to dopamine is associated with feelings of tiredness and lethargy, which accelerates the onset of fatigue, whereas, increased dopamine levels favor improved performance through the maintenance of motivation and arousal.
 
Given the role of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) in behavioral and HPA-axis activation, it has been hypothesized that defective central CRH synthesis and/or release may also contribute to symptoms of fatigue [27]. Indeed, abnormal central CRH pathways have been detected in various chronic disease states with a fatigue component, including SLE, multiple sclerosis, RA, fibromyalgia, and CFS [2,27]. Moreover, both psychogenic and immune stressors can induce similar neuroendocrine and neurotransmitter changes in the brain, therefore, sensitizing the brain to subsequent stressors, and, hence, inducing a state of increased stress vulnerability as seen in various psychiatric and psychosomatic disorders [28].
 
In the next section, we discuss how hypoactivity of the HPA axis, ANS alterations characterized by sympathetic over-activity and low vagal tone, as well as immune abnormalities, may play a role in CFS.
 
BIOLOGICAL CORRELATES OF FATIGUE: DYSREGULATION OF STRESS SYSTEMS EXEMPLIFIED BY CFS
 
A diagnosis of CFS requires that an individual displays severe CF for more than 6 months without a defined cause (with all other medical conditions being excluded), as well as the presence of 4 of the following 8 symptoms: myalgia, arthralgia, sore throat, tender nodes, cognitive difficulty, headache, postexertional malaise, or sleep disturbance [29]. (See Clauw later in this supplement.)
 
HPA Axis
 
A substantial body of research on the pathophysiology of CFS has focused on dysregulation of the neuroendocrine systems. The HPA axis is the key neuroendocrine system that adapts the organism to various challenges, including emotional, physical, chemical, and immune stressors. These stressors have been associated with risks for developing CF. The secretion of glucocorticoids from the adrenal cortex results in multiple metabolic, behavioral, and immune regulatory responses that help the organism adapt to such challenges. Dysregulation of these regulatory functions may be causally associated with symptoms of CFS. Thus, insufficient glucocorticoid signaling has been associated with increased immune activation and inflammatory responses, potentially promoting symptoms of fatigue, malaise, somnolence, myalgia, and arthralgia (reviewed in [13,17]).
 
Dysfunction of the HPA axis, characterized by lower than normal cortisol secretion, is one of the hallmark biological features of CFS, although the literature is somewhat inconsistent. Poteliakhoff [30] first described attenuated basal plasma cortisol levels in patients with CFS. After these initial observations, Demitrack et al [31] reported lower than normal cortisol excretion in patients with CFS. Results of several subsequent studies confirmed lower than normal cortisol levels in plasma or saliva [32-39], flattened cortisol diurnal secretion [38-40], and decreased urinary free cortisol secretion in patients with CFS [41-44].
 
However, results of a substantial number of studies failed to identify hypocortisolism in CFS (eg, reviewed in [45-46]). Similarly, results of an array of endocrine challenge studies revealed signs of hypocortisolism in CFS, including enhanced negative feedback inhibition of the pituitary [47-50] or mild adrenal insufficiency [31,51], although results are inconsistent [45,46]. Results of a recent study found decreased glucocorticoid sensitivity of immune cells in persistently fatigued adolescent females [52], which suggests decreased cortisol signaling, consistent with the idea of a lack of cortisol effects contributing to CFS. However, in vitro studies on glucocorticoid sensitivity are also inconsistent [53]. Of note, glucocorticoid sensitivity was shown to be regulated in a tissue- and cell-specific manner (reviewed in [6]).
There may be important subgroups of patients with CFS, depending on etiologic pathways or clinical features. Heim et al [54], for example, demonstrated, in a population-based sample, that only those patients with CFS who reported childhood traumatic experiences exhibited low cortisol levels compared with well controls, whereas patients with CFS and without a history of severely stressful circumstances had normal cortisol levels. Thus, it is plausible that several of the neuroendocrine features of CFS covary with risk factors other than illness state and reflect a vulnerability to develop CFS in response to challenge [54]. Of note, hypocortisolism, as reported in patients with CFS, has been observed in animal models of early life stress (reviewed in [55]). Thus, CFS could be conceptualized as a disorder of adaptation that is promoted by developmental risk factors.
 
Some researchers have suggested that hypocortisolism in CFS might be a consequence of having the disorder, because low cortisol secretion has been associated with illness features, for example, inactivity [56]. In addition, the stress of symptoms themselves, such as fatigue, sleep and mood disturbances, and pain, can contribute to the further dysregulation of biological stress pathways, which lead to a positive feed-forward cascade. Whether or not hypocortisolism is a cause or a consequence of CFS remains to be evaluated in longitudinal studies. Perhaps it is both.
 
ANS
 
A number of studies examined the involvement of the ANS in the pathophysiology of CFS. The rationale for these studies is based on the observation that several symptoms of CFS, namely fatigue, dizziness, diminished concentration, tremulousness, and nausea, could be explained by autonomic dysfunction. In addition to the neuroendocrine system, the ANS is another key regulation system that adapts the organism to challenge. Thus, autonomic dysregulation could further trigger symptoms of CFS in response to challenges that disturb homeostasis.
 
Initial studies found an increased prevalence of neurally mediated hypotension and orthostatic intolerance in patients with CFS, measured by using a prolonged standing or a head-up tilt table test [57-64]. However, results of several studies failed to find differences between CFS and control groups regarding dysautonomia [65-68].
 
Another line of research in the study of ANS alterations in CFS has focused on cardiovascular autonomic measures. Results of most studies found increased heart rate measures in CFS, both at rest and in response to challenge [65,69-74]. Increased heart rate and/or reduced heart rate variability (HRV) is in accordance with other studies that reported low vagal tone [69,75-77] or general sympathetic overactivity [62,78-80], although inconsistent results exist (reviewed in [46]). Whether or not there are subgroups with CFS and altered autonomic function based on etiologic factors or illness features is unknown. Sympathetic overactivation, in concert with low glucocorticoid signaling, may contribute to an overactive immune system, particularly in response to challenge, which may lead to symptoms of CFS.
 
Immune System
 
Many findings suggest that infectious agents (viral and bacterial infections) and immunologic dysfunction (eg, inappropriate production of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines) may play a role in the pathophysiology of at least some cases of patients with CFS (reviewed in [81-83]). Indeed, persistent postinfection fatigue has been well documented [84]. Results of early studies showed that many individuals with CFS had evidence of enhanced antibody responses to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). However, subsequent reports showed that many patients with CFS lacked evidence of EBV reactivity, although they displayed elevated antibody titers to a number of other viral agents. Interestingly, acute viral infection studies found that initial infection severity was the single best predictor of persistent fatigue [85]. Taken together, results of these studies suggest that, although some cases of CFS may be triggered by an infectious agent, the chronic symptoms of this syndrome are unlikely to be caused by an active infection.
 
Results of other studies indicated signs of immune disturbance in patients with CFS, especially in the form of elevated proinflammatory cytokine levels [86,87], such as IL-6 and TNFα in serum and cerebrospinal fluid [88,89]. Consistent with these findings, increased in vitro inflammatory cytokine release has been reported in stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells of patients with CFS [90]. Other indices of cytokine-mediated immune alterations that have been reported in patients with CFS include increased levels of auto-antibodies, decreased natural killer cell activity, high levels of type 2 cytokine–producing cells, activated T lymphocytes, CD19+ B cells, neopterin (a marker of activated cell-mediated immunity), and activated complement [91-94]. In addition, alterations in the expression of genes involved in immunity have been detected [95]. However, despite multiple indications of immune system activation in CFS, the best-replicated immunologic findings in this disorder are suppression of several immune functions, especially natural killer cell activity and mitogen-induced lymphocyte proliferation [94-96]. Nonetheless, these multiple findings need to be interpreted in light of a meta-analysis [81] that found no evidence for clear immune abnormalities in CFS.
 
Interestingly, results of a recent and robustly designed study by Raison et al [97] showed that fatigue not only in its severe and chronic form, as in CFS, but also in its milder forms, is associated with increased inflammation, as indexed by elevated plasma C-reactive protein levels and white blood cell count, even after adjusting for depressive status. This study further supports the notion that the symptom of fatigue, rather than a diagnosis of CFS itself, may be what is clinically associated with inflammation. In addition, childhood traumatic experiences appear to be an important risk factor for a hypocortisolemic profile in CFS [54], and adults with a history of childhood trauma exhibit elevated markers of inflammation, even in the absence of depression [98]. Moreover, patients with depression and childhood trauma show even higher levels of inflammation than with either risk factor alone [98,99]. Whether immune status is different in patients with CFS, with or without a history of childhood trauma, remains to be determined.
 
In summary, chronic (pathologic) fatigue can be attributed to hypoactivity of the HPA axis; ANS alterations characterized by sympathetic overactivity and low vagal tone; and immune abnormalities, including reduced cellular responses and enhanced inflammation and humoral responses. CFS is an exemplar, but not the only example, of fatigue conditions, with these associations. Disparate findings among various studies may be because of (1) differences in methodology, recruitment, and analysis; (2) comorbidities, including depression and/or other chronic diseases; (3) lack of an epidemiologically comparable control group; and (4) biological changes not present in all cases of a heterogeneous disorder, such as CFS, but rather related to particular symptoms or risk factors of the disorder. The latter indicates the importance of grouping by symptom subtypes rather than an arbitrarily defined disorder. Indeed, different symptom categories of CFS may be mediated by different biological mechanisms, as seen in cytokine-induced depressive symptomatology [22]. To help elucidate a “molecular signature” for clinical sub-types within a heterogeneous disorder, noninvasive methods for evaluating neural, endocrine, and immune function are available without causing further pain or distress, which could confound outcome measures of interest.
 
NONINVASIVE METHODOLOGIES TO EVALUATE STRESS SYSTEMS
 
Measurement of hormones, cytokines, and neuroactive substances has frequently posed a problem for clinicians and investigators because of the need to perform invasive tests, such as drawing blood. Noninvasive and ambulatory methodologies of neural, endocrine, and immune biomarker collection can overcome several limitations intrinsic to invasive methods, reducing the stress triggered by collection of samples and allowing a wider application to community-based settings. Collection of sweat and saliva and measurement of HRV are noninvasive methods that can be applied to evaluate neuroimmune interactions. Ultimately, simultaneous evaluation of neural and immune systems with noninvasive techniques will help elucidate the underlying interactions of these systems and their role in disease susceptibility and progression of stress-related disorders.
 
HPA Axis: Salivary Cortisol
 
Because (1) the HPA axis is a self-regulated dynamic feedback system and (2) cortisol is secreted in a pulsatile fashion, single time-point measures of cortisol cannot be used to accurately interpret HPA axis function. An adequate assessment of HPA axis function requires multiple serial sampling (to test basal activity and circadian profiles) or dynamic testing by using pharmacologic or psychologic challenges (to test reactivity and/or feedback sensitivity). More recently, the salivary cortisol response to awakening has received considerable scientific attention and has been shown to be sensitive to detect HPA axis dysregulation related to stress and disease, including CFS [39,100]. When collected in the context of such sampling protocols, cortisol can be reliably measured in saliva as an index of HPA axis function [101].
 
The majority of circulating cortisol is bound to corticosteroid-binding globulin, which inactivates the biological actions of cortisol. Only the free fraction of cortisol is biologically active and can bind to glucocorticoid receptors to influence gene expression and protein synthesis. In saliva, only the free fraction of cortisol can be measured. Free cortisol measures in saliva reliably reflect the amount of free cortisol circulating in the blood stream [101]. In studies that focus on the actions of cortisol in target systems, it is advantageous to measure the free and biologically active fraction of cortisol. However, for studies that focus on assessment of total cortisol output of the adrenal gland or ratios of bound versus unbound cortisol and corticosteroid-binding globulin activity, blood measures are necessary. These differences must be considered when interpreting data from salivary cortisol studies.
 
ANS: Salivary α-Amylase and Heart Rate Variability
 
Because the transfer of norepinephrine from blood to saliva takes approximately 1 hour [102], which is too long for accurate assessment of stress-induced changes, salivary α-amylase (sAA), a digestive enzyme, has become an emerging biomarker for stress as an indicator of SNS activity. Both the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the ANS innervate the salivary glands, where SNS stimulation increases protein secretion and PNS stimulation increases salivary flow rate [103]. sAA has repeatedly been found to increase in response to physical stress or exercise, as well as psychological stress, and also correlates with plasma norepinephrine responses to those same stressors, although to a lesser extent to psychosocial stress (reviewed in [104]). sAA concentration can also serve as an index for pathologic dys-regulation of the ANS in specific clinical and subclinical conditions, such as anxiety and somatic disorders [104]. One important caveat of measuring sAA is that, in the presence of stress and SNS activation, the PNS is inhibited, which leads to reduced salivary flow rate, and hence, decreased saliva production. Therefore, stress-induced increases in sAA could be confounded with parallel decreases in salivary volume, thereby increasing sAA concentration.
 
Evaluation of the ANS can also be performed noninvasively through measurement of HRV. The heart is under tonic control by parasympathetic influences. Heart rate is characterized by beat-to-beat variability, which also implicates vagal dominance, because the sympathetic influence on the heart is too slow to produce rapid beat-to-beat variability. HRV is a term that describes variations of both instantaneous heart rate and the interval between consecutives beats. A prominent circadian variation in HRV, with significant increases during the night and decreases during the day, is observed in healthy individuals. Results of previous studies showed that this increase in nighttime HRV is blunted by acute stress and that decreased HRV is associated with increased overnight urinary cortisol and increased proinflammatory cytokines and acute-phase proteins [105]. Decreased HRV, indicative of reduced parasympathetic-vagal tone, is an independent risk factor for morbidity and mortality.
 
Neural and Immune Biomarker Profiles: Cutaneous Sweat Patch
 
Another noninvasive and nonstressful approach to evaluating neural and immune systems is through collection of sweat via a 24-hour cutaneous sweat patch. In our initial validation studies, we showed that immune biomarkers, such as proinflammatory cytokines, in sweat were tightly correlated with plasma levels in healthy women [106]. In addition, we have shown that a population of women with MDD in remission exhibited elevated sweat levels of proinflammatory cytokines, sympathetic neuropeptides (neuropeptide-Y), and pain-related neuropeptides (substance P, calcitonin gene–related peptide) but decreased parasympathetic (vasoactive intestinal peptide) neuropeptide levels relative to controls, which strongly correlated with plasma levels [107]. This pattern is consistent with a shift in MDD from parasympathetic to sympathetic tone and an underlying proinflammatory state that could account for enhanced susceptibility to conditions known to be comorbidly expressed with MDD, including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and diabetes. Moreover, biomarker levels strongly correlated with symptoms of depression and anxiety, which indicate functional significance of these biomarker profiles. A similar biomarker profile was reported in pain- and fatigue-related syndromes [2].
 
Ultimately, these noninvasive methodologies could provide a “molecular signature” for clinical subtypes within a heterogeneous disorder to be used for (1) diagnostic and prognostic purposes; (2) earlier intervention in asymptomatic conditions; (3) optimization of individualized treatment regimens; (4) patient monitoring in remote areas and in large-scale epidemiologic settings; (5) monitoring patients in whom invasive methodologies are unfeasible, especially vulnerable populations, including pregnant women, infants, children, and the elderly; and (6) to shed light on mechanisms that underlie individual vulnerability or resiliency to develop stress-related diseases and/or disorders.
 
CONCLUSION
 
In summary, CF states have been shown to be attributable to a dysregulation of stress systems, including hypoactivity of the HPA axis, ANS alterations characterized by sympathetic overactivity and low vagal tone, and immune abnormalities, such as reduced cellular responses and enhanced inflammation and humoral responses. Hypocortisolemia may develop through reduced synthesis or depletion of HPA-axis hormones, receptor downregulation, and/or increased negative feedback sensitivity [108]. Fries et al [108] proposed that the phenomenon of hypocortisolism may occur after a prolonged period of hyperactivity of the HPA axis because of chronic or traumatic stress, in which this “switch“ may prevent possible deleterious effects of excessive glucocorticoid exposure. CFS and related pain and fatigue disorders may then be interpreted as a maladaptive overadjustment, in which the HPA axis is then functioning at an alternate, more stress-sensitive steady state [109]. Interestingly, the consequences of insufficient glucocorticoid signaling, including hyperactive SNS activation and enhanced inflammation, result in similar deleterious effects to that of hyperactive glucocorticoid signaling, such as altered metabolic, cardiovascular, immune, neurologic, and behavioral functions [17], including the potentiation of fatigue and related symptoms. Given the complex nature of fatigue, with its many physiologic and behavioral risk factors and correlates, the most effective therapeutic strategy may require multimodal action. The simultaneous evaluation of a large array of neural, endocrine, and immune biomarkers, when using noninvasive methodologies, may help inform the design of more effective pharmacologic therapeutic interventions to be used along with nonpharmacologic interventions, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. It may also inform clinicians of mechanisms by which these interventions act and how successful they are in altering the neuroendocrinologic and immunoregulatory aspects of fatigue.
 
Contributor Information
 
Marni N. Silverman, Section on Neuroendocrine Immunology and Behavior, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD.
 
Christine M. Heim, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA.
 
Urs M. Nater, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, University of Zurich, Switzerland, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.
 
Andrea H. Marques, Genetic Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.
 
Esther M. Sternberg, Section on Neuroendocrine Immunology and Behavior, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Integrative Neural Immune Program, 5625 Fishers Lane (MSC-9401), Rockville, MD 20852.
 
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Bran Cancer Risk from Cell Phone Use

Posted By Administration, Thursday, June 2, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

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by Nalini Chilkov, LAC, OMD

A scientific report released Tuesday by the World Health Organization concludes radio frequencies and electromagnetic fields – including those routinely emitted by mobile phones – are “possibly” carcinogenic to humans.

The World Health Organization and its subsidiary investigative panel, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, or IARC, stated today what many scientific studies have been suggesting for decades: that there is a possible connection between mobile phone use and malignant brain tumors.  Dr. Jonathan Samet, who heads IARC’s Working Group of 31 international scientists from 14 countries, made the announcement at the conclusion of the group’s week-long meeting in Lyon, France.

“The working group classifies the radio and electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans; that is within the classification used by the International Agency for Research on Cancer,” he said.

The group advised that, because five billion people around the world currently use mobile phones, therefore, much further research in the subject is needed.  The report places at most risk those with the greatest use of cell phones and exposure to other sources of radiation. ”We also carefully consider the sources of exposure of populations to radio frequency electromagnetic fields, the nature of these fields as they come from various devises, including wireless phones, and we look carefully at the physical phenomenon by which exposure to such fields may perturb biological systems and lead to cancers,” he said.

The IARC working group had gathered in France for the past eight days, reviewing all previous studies done on electromagnetic radiation’s effects on humans and animals over the past decade.

Health advocacy groups that have been warning of possible cell phone-cancer links are praising the WHO pronouncement.

Camilla Rees, the founder of a U.S. based group called Electromagnetic Health, says she is pleased but said much more needs to be done. ”They focused on brain cancer, and brain cancer includes a relatively small number of people.  But we only have had this technology for about 15 years and most carcinogens will take several decades before they develop into a cancer.  Early indicators from scientists are projecting a tsunami of brain cancer unless we do something to educate people to lower their exposure,” she said.

Rees says there are many other health effects of radiation, including damage to human cell tissue, that the World Health Organization has yet to recognize. But for now, she believes the most urgent need is to begin a campaign to protect children from the effects of electromagnetic fields, and in  particular, from cell phones.

“What microwave radiation does in most simplistic terms is similar to what happens to food in microwaves, essentially cooking the brain,” said Dr. Keith Black, chairman of neurology  and world class brain surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. “So in addition to leading to a development of cancer and tumors, there could be a whole host of other effects like cognitive memory function, since the memory temporal lobes are where we hold our cell phones.” Dr Black recommends using ear buds or texting to keep the cell phone away from the head.

While wireless carriers instruct users to keep cell phones a certain distance from their heads, such as Apple’s iPhone 4 safety manual that says to keep the device at least 15 millimeters from the body, CTIA – The Wireless Association noted that WHO’s announcement does not mean that cell phones cause cancer. In addition, the association denounced WHO’s results since it “did not conduct any new research, but rather reviewed published studies.”

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My Kid has ADD/ADHD

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

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by Matt Angove, ND, NMD

No doubt, genetic susceptibility plays into the whole ADHD paradigm but that goes for everything. Whatever your state of being, good or bad has to do with how you bathe your genes.

I find it to be a modern day miracle that more people aren’t suffering from ADHD, depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar, schizophrenia, and the like considering the laboratory derived concoctions we douse our bodies with daily.

Before you put your child on Ritalin, a compound that has marked similarities to amphetamines and actions consistent with cocaine, just dampened somewhat, let us consider our options.

Let us Consider

Consider the Red No. 40, Yellow No. 5, MSG, aspartame, Splenda, partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, soybean oil (Is there anything in a box it is not in?), caffeine (Monster drinks, Red Bull, Soda, coffee), phosphorus (soda pop) and refined sugars.

Consider the refined foods and naked grains they are consuming.

Consider the hormone buffed and corn stuffed meats they are putting on their sandwiches.

Consider the hours of reckless television and video games that are being sprayed across their eyes and mind.

If you or your child is consuming items such as JELL-O, Lucky Charms, Pop-Tarts, Butterfinger bars, Skittles, Hostess Twinkies or Frito-Lay Doritos, to name a few, you should fully expect marked neurological dysfunction.  It is only natural!!!

Nutritionally based therapies for ADHD can be EXTREMELY beneficial!!!  Understand that 8-10% of school age children are considered to be in this spectrum.  So, there are plenty of children who are suffering and in most cases, I would suggest needlessly.

Available therapies

Sports

Avoidance of possible food sensitivities (start with gluten, refined sugars, dairy, chocolate, citrus, peanuts, eggs, soy) –an elimination and reintroduction diet may be in order.

Elimination of synthetic sweeteners, colors and whatever isn’t FOOD from the diet.

Evening Primrose oil coupled with Fish Oil

Flaxseed oil with Vitamin C

Nutrient optimization ( Magnesium, Zinc, Calcium, Iron, Potassium, B vitamins)

Probiotics

Amino acid combination’s (as monitored by your health provider)

Lifestyle is High Style

You have to realize that getting ADHD under control isn’t an overnight affair.  Just like any other chronic condition, you must set forth and live out a lifestyle conducive to the sustaining of life.  I know it is not easy.  Our current available knowledge state has given everyone the opportunity for abundant health.  However, the societal pace rarely allows us to utilize and practice that knowledge.

You simply have to choose what lane you want to live in.

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Gluten Free - The Latest Fad Diet

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

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by Andrea Purcell, ND

The shocking news in 2003 was that 1 in 133 people had celiac disease. Celiac disease is a genetic intolerance to gluten contained in wheat, rye, and barley. Eating and cooking gluten free means consuming a whole food diet devoid of gluten containing grains.

Celiac disease once considered rare, is now a common autoimmune disease afflicting 1 in 133 people. If you or a loved one has Celiac disease there is a good chance that first and second-degree relatives have the diagnosis as well. As a medical necessity, there are three groups of people who should avoid gluten.

*Any person with a diagnosis of Celiac disease.

*Any person with an allergic reaction to wheat as determined either by an IgG or an IgE blood test.

*Any person with gluten sensitivity.

Many people are sensitive to wheat and/or gluten but do not have the diagnosis of celiac disease. Sensitivities can cause symptoms such as skin reactions, congestion in the throat, ears, or sinuses, digestive upset, or other body inflammation such as fatigue and aching joints. A recent study in 2010 found that people could lose their tolerance to gluten as they age. These people are not born with the genetic intolerance commonly seen with celiac disease but are developing the intolerance later on in life. This suggests a weakening of digestive function due to repeated exposure to gluten, which can cause leaky gut, toxin exposure, antibiotics, medications, and even vaccines.

The information about gluten and the awareness around celiac disease seems to have thrown the nation into a gluten free frenzy. Many people are eating gluten free as a type of fad diet. These people have heard that gluten is bad and have chosen to avoid it as a way to be healthy. As the awareness builds so does the variety of gluten free products. It is easier than ever to find gluten free cake, cookie, brownie mixes, breads, need I say more? Even if you are going gluten free filling your day with these will not bring you closer to health. Moving towards a plant-based diet however, will.

 


Cooking Gluten Free…

For those first diagnosed with Celiac disease the act of cooking and eating initially becomes very stressful. Learning a few tried and true recipes that you know you can whip up in a flash will be extremely helpful.

The first thing you should do when you find out that you need to eat gluten free is to focus on a plant based diet. This includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins. These foods will become the foundation of your daily food plan.

Experiment with alternative grains such as brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, sorghum, and teff.

There are many benefits to home cooking. You have complete control over what you eat and the quality of ingredients, plus there will always be leftovers for lunch the next day, hooray!

Baking Gluten Free…

Cooking is one thing and baking is another. The general rule of thumb for mastering any gluten free baked good recipe is to experiment with the recipe at least three times. The first will be a flop, the second will be better, and you will try a different flour, moisture ingredient or sweetener, and by the third try you will be satisfied. Then you can actually bring the finished product to a social gathering. Making a bread or cupcake with one type of flour is not recommended, the success in baking gluten free comes from mixing the flours. You can mix bean flour with a gluten free flour to help with the texture. In gluten free baking many things can come out dry and crumbly so items must be added that create more moisture. These items could be mashed banana, tofu, honey, eggs, pumpkin, or xantham gum. In order to succeed you must experiment with a variety of flours. Become familiar with the tastes and textures of the alternative flours, then you can combine them. Once you master the moisture content, then you can experiment with the level of sweetness. Many recipes just have you add plain old white sugar but I prefer stevia, agave, brown rice syrup, honey or a combination of two sweeteners to reduce the calorie and sugar content of the recipe.

Note from Dr. P

In order to determine if you are sensitive to gluten you can do this simple experiment at home. Avoid all gluten for 14 days. This means all gluten. Read labels carefully because many items contain hidden gluten such as cereals, deli meats, and canned soups. After 14 days reintroduce gluten containing foods 1-2x daily for three days in a row. Observe your body for any signs of gluten sensitivity that I listed above. Looking for healthy gluten recipes? Get my book!

 

-Be Healthy, Happy, & Holistic

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You Have a Right to Make Healthy Choices!

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

It's no secret that pesticides are harmful to humans and the environment. According to the National Institutes of Health, pesticides are linked to diabetes, Parkinson's Disease, cancer and more. Below is a letter from the Environmental Working Group that invites you to sign their petition to urge the FDA not to cave in to the chemical agribusiness's campaign to limit the public's information to pesticides.


Dear Friend,

Since 1991, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been testing fresh produce for pesticide residues and releasing the findings. Environmental Working Group analyzes these detailed technical reports to produce our Shopper's Guide to Pesticides. But this year, the USDA may cave in to an industry campaign to alter the results and give consumers less information. That's bad news for us all.

Chemical agribusiness interests have launched an expensive all-out campaign to silence EWG and deny you information you need to make healthy choices. Just last year, nearly $200,000 of taxpayers' money was used to support a misinformation campaign run by the Alliance for Food and Farming, a pro-agricultural chemicals lobby dedicated to combating pesticide critics like EWG.

Chemical agribusiness interests want to suppress the truth about pesticides. We can't let them get away with it. USDA officials need to hear that you want the truth, all of it and nothing but. Please join the more than 36,000 people who have called on USDA to not cave in to industry.

Click here to sign our petition that tells USDA officials to not cave to industry pressure and to stop funding industry's disinformation campaigns!

The evidence linking pesticides to health problems -- such as increased risk of cancer -- is overwhelming. New studies show that pesticide exposure may lead to developmental delays and lower IQs in children. Last year, the President's Cancer Panel recommended that consumers avoid foods with pesticide residues.

Instead of kowtowing to industry groups like the Alliance for Food and Farming, the USDA and other federal agencies should compile and analyze more information about pesticides. Industry spin should not drive disclosure of critical information about pesticides in our food. If you want to know whether your kids' lunch boxes contain fruits and veggies high in pesticide residues, take action today!

Click here to sign our petition today. It's unpalatable that your tax dollars fund disinformation about pesticides in food.

Thank you for standing with EWG against the pesticide lobby.

Sincerely,

Ken Cook
President, Environmental Working Group

 

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Saffron - Research Shows Anti-Cancer Activity

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

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by Nalini Chilkov, LAC, OMD

 

Saffron, Crocus sativus, also known as Hong Hua in Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine, has been used both as a culinary spice and as a medicinal botanical on many continents throughout history for over 3,000 years. Recent research demonstrates that a component of saffron, a orange-red colored carotenoid called crocetin shows promise as an anti-cancer agent. Saffron also contains other carotenoids including zeaxanthin, lycopene, and various alpha- and beta-carotenes

According to researcher Fikrat Abdullaev, who is so impressed with saffron’s multiple medicinal properties that he suggests there be a new scientific discipline called “saffronology”

Considerable scientific evidence has suggested that plant-based dietary agents can inhibit the process of carcinogenesis effectivelySince cancer is the most common cause of death in the world population, the possibility that readily available natural substances from plants, vegetables, herbs, and spices may be beneficial in the prevention of cancer warrants closer examination. Saffron in filaments is the dried, dark red stigmata of Crocus sativus L. flowers and it is used as a spice, food colorant, anda drug in medicine. A growing body of research has demonstrated that saffron extract itself and its main constituents, the carotenoids, possess chemopreventive properties against cancer.

Studies show that crocetin, only one of several carotenoids found in saffron, acts affects four important functions in cancer cells:

  • inhibiting nucleic acid (DNA and RNA) synthesis (affecting gene expression, growth and replication)

  • enhancing anti-oxidative system (acting as a free radical scavenger and reducing oxidative stress)

  • i

    nducing apoptosis – promoting normal cell death

  • hindering growth factor signaling pathways (growth inhibition)

 

These are the characteristics of a valuable anti-tumor, anti-cancer therapeutic agent.

 

 


Here is the abstract of the recent study

Crocetin: An Agent Derived from Saffron (Hong Hua) for Prevention and Therapy for Cancer

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and accounts for approximately 8 million deaths per year worldwide. Although there is an increasing number of therapeutic options available for patients with cancer, their efficacy is time-limited and non-curative. Approximately 50-60% of cancer patients in the United States utilize agents derived from different parts of plants or nutrients (complementary and alternative medicine), exclusively or concurrently with traditional therapeutic regime such as chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. The need for new drugs has prompted studies evaluating possible anti-cancer agents in fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. Saffron, a spice and a food colorant present in the dry stigmas of the plant Crocus sativus L., has been used as an herbal remedy for various ailments including cancer by the ancient Arabian, Indian and Chinese cultures. Crocetin, an important carotenoid constituent of saffron, has shown significant potential as an anti-tumor agent in animal models and cell culture systems. Crocetin affects the growth of cancer cells by inhibiting nucleic acid synthesis, enhancing anti-oxidative system, inducing apoptosis and hindering growth factor signaling pathways.

Gutheil WG, et al. Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 4801 Linwood Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 64128, USA. adhar@kumc.edu. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2011 Apr 5. Source: PubMed

Prior Studies include:

Oost, Thorten K. et al Discovery of Potent Antagonists of the Antiapoptotic Protein XIAP for the Treatment of Cancer J. Med. Chem., 2004, 47 (18), pp 4417–4426

FIKRAT I. ABDULLAEV Cancer Chemopreventive and TumoricidalProperties of Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) Laboratory of Experimental Oncology, National Institute of Pediatrics, Mexico City 04530, Mexico Cancer Lett. 1991 May 1;57(2):109-14.Antitumour activity of saffron (Crocus sativus). Nair SC, Pannikar B, Panikkar KR. Amala Cancer Research Centre, Kerala, India

Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2009;10(5):887-90.Crocin from Kashmiri saffron (Crocus sativus) induces in vitro and in vivo xenograft growth inhibition of Dalton’s lymphoma (DLA) in mice. Bakshi HA, Sam S, Feroz A, Ravesh Z, Shah GA, Sharma M.

Exp Oncol. 2007 Sep;29(3):175-80. Crocin from Crocus sativus possesses significant anti-proliferation effects on human colorectal cancer cells.

Aung HH, Wang CZ, Ni M, Fishbein A, Mehendale SR, Xie JT, Shoyama CY, Yuan CS. Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research, The Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.

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High-Dose Vitamin C for People with Cancer: A Promising Adjunct to Mainstream Cancer Treatment

Posted By John C. Pittman, MD, and Mark N. Mead, MSc, Monday, May 16, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

It may come as a surprise to learn that most people with cancer do not die from the disease itself, but from life-threatening infections such as sepsis.  A great many cancer sufferers also die from chronic inflammatory problems that are associated with the disease, such as cancer cachexia.  A recent report published in the March 2011 Journal of Translational Medicine presents a powerful argument for using intravenous (IV) vitamin C in the context of life-threatening infections and cancer.  The authors report that IV vitamin C has been effective in directly treating cancer as well as in helping to reverse chronic inflammation and stave off life-threatening infections in these patients.

Vitamin C is the most widely used single-nutrient supplement in the United States, and has long been lauded by the general public for its supposed powers to treat many ills, from colds to cancer, from herpes to heart disease.  Back in the 1970s, two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling did much to bolster the vitamin’s profile by touting it as an immune-enhancing and tumor-killing therapy.  Pauling asserted that the anti-cancer potential of vitamin C depended on getting the proper dosage, and toward the end of his life, he further emphasized that vitamin C was best combined with various other anti-cancer agents that worked synergistically with the vitamin.

Dr. Pauling was among the first scientists to recognize that it’s impossible to attain the therapeutically optimal level of vitamin C by taking the vitamin orally—that is, in the form of the standard vitamin C pills or tablets.  On one hand, it's virtually impossible for people to overdose on oral vitamin C, since the body only assimilates a certain quantity through the mouth and then stops allowing it to build up.  On the other hand, this prevents health care professionals from being able to achieve the blood levels that have been linked with killing tumors.  One solution, of course, is to use intravenous (IV) vitamin C.

With IV vitamin C, you can bypass the digestive system and thus circumvent the body’s normally tight regulation of vitamin C levels.  As researchers recently reported in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, IV vitamin C generates hydrogen peroxide which will destroy primitive cells like bacteria, viruses and cancer cell, and this in turn leads to the shrinkage of aggressive tumors—including ovarian, pancreatic and brain tumors—in laboratory animals.   Despite the very high levels of vitamin C used in these studies normal cells appear to be completely unharmed by the therapy.  The researchers stated that it’s feasible to intravenously boost levels of vitamin C in humans to the same levels used in the mice.
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Indeed, numerous studies have suggested that high-dose IV vitamin C may help eliminate cancer, even when combined with conventional treatments.  For example, in a report for the August 8th 2010 issue of Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology, Dr. Mark Levine, chief of the U.S. National Institutes of Health's Molecular and Clinical Nutrition Section, concluded that exposing tumors to vitamin C made them more vulnerable to the killing effects of at least four widely used chemotherapy drugs.  Previously, Dr. Levine had published research with mice suggesting that IV doses of vitamin C could one day reduce the size of malignant tumors in people.

Dr. Levine’s findings confirm what we have been seeing for the past 15 years at the Carolina Center for Integrative Medicine.  On numerous occasions, we have observed that IV vitamin C enabled patients with advanced cancers to respond to chemotherapy drugs to which they had previously failed to respond.  We therefore believe that it can enhance the effectiveness of cancer chemotherapy and pave the way for therapeutic success.  In a recent issue of PloS One, Dr. Levine concluded that high-dose IV vitamin C is in wide use by integrative practitioners and that “high dose intravenous vitamin C appears to be remarkably safe. Physicians should inquire about IV vitamin C use in patients with cancer [and] chronic, untreatable, or intractable conditions…”

A Short History of Vitamin C Therapy
Vitamin C has long been the most widely used dietary supplement, and much of the initial excitement surrounding this vitamin can be traced back to studies conducted in the 1970s by Dr. Pauling and his Scottish colleague Ewan Cameron, MD. The scientists published two studies that demonstrated an approximate quadrupling in survival in “terminal” cancer patients who received vitamin C by a combination of IV and oral routes.  These findings were subsequently replicated by a clinical trial in Japan.  In addition, the Scottish and Japanese clinical studies found significant improvements in the quality of life for cancer patients receiving high-dose vitamin C.

A chemist by training, Dr. Pauling had publicly questioned the adequacy of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C, and he suggested that taking gram doses of vitamin C—that is, 1000 milligrams (mg) or more—could be effective in the prevention and treatment of colds.  At the time, the RDA was a mere 45 mg per day, an amount considered sufficient to prevent scurvy, the classic disease of vitamin C deficiency. (Today, the RDA is 90 mg per day for men, and 75 mg per day for women.)

Pauling took the controversy up another notch when he proposed daily doses of 5 to 30 grams—5000 to 30,000 mg—for the treatment of advanced cancers.  To this day, the very mention of Pauling’s vitamin C research still sparks heated arguments among medical professionals, oncologists in particular.Clinical studies of the potential therapeutic value of high-dose vitamin C began in Scotland in 1971.  The findings from these early investigations were dramatic indeed.  In addition to the aforementioned three studies showing a four-fold increase in survival, one other study of 100 “terminal” cancer patients showed a nearly six-fold increase in survival for patients with advanced cancer.  

To date, six out of a total of seven clinical studies have concluded that high-dose vitamin C did increase survival in patients with advanced cancers. Many of these patients also noted significant improvements in their energy levels, pain reduction, appetite, and other measures of quality of life. Understandably, these findings attracted much media attention and ignited an explosion of public interest in using vitamin C for cancer therapy.  Many thousands of cancer patients began self-prescribing the vitamin.  At the same time, however, some scientists sharply criticized Pauling’s research on the grounds that his early studies were not randomized controlled clinical trials, the “gold standard” of medical research.  For this reason, the studies’ findings were deemed unreliable or preliminary at best.Controlled clinical trials are indeed the best way to assess the true value of any proposed treatment strategy.  In the case of vitamin C, the ideal study would randomly assign cancer patients to receive either vitamin C or a placebo (a substance having no biological or therapeutic activity), and to do so without the patients knowing which one they were receiving.

In the late 1970s, researchers from the Mayo Clinic did conduct two randomized clinical trials, but alas, these studies only focused on oral, not intravenous, vitamin C.  In the first study, the cancers were too far advanced to reasonably expect any intervention to affect the outcome. (the average survival for all patients was only 51 days).  In the second trial, there was no difference in survival for colorectal cancer patients who received the high-dose oral vitamin C.  Strangely, neither study adhered to Dr. Pauling’s recommended protocol for achieving “bowel tolerance”—that is, in order to prevent diarrhea, the oral dose was supposed to have been increased gradually over time.

Because neither of the Mayo Clinic studies provided vitamin C in oral form, they have no bearing on the issue of whether high-dose IV vitamin C can be an effective treatment for advanced cancers.  Thus the jury is still out on vitamin C as a potential cure for cancer, and no one has adequately tested Pauling’s hypothesis with the appropriate controlled clinical trial design. 

Intravenous Vitamin C May Be Essential
In order to achieve the doses that have a therapeutic impact, as noted earlier, it seems necessary to use intravenous (IV) vitamin C.  The original protocol recommended by Drs Pauling and Cameron involved a 10-day course of IV vitamin C in which the vitamin was given as a slow-drip infusion of 10 grams sodium ascorbate. After this, vitamin C was given orally in the form of a syrup, at a dose of 2.5 grams every 6 hours for a total dose of 10 grams per day.  This strategy enables patients to avoid the diarrhea that otherwise accompanies vitamin C doses in excess of 6 to 7 grams per day.   Subsequent studies used oral and intravenous doses ranging from10 to 30 grams per day.

The recommended dose for IV vitamin C has steadily increased over the past two decades, and physicians continue to report striking benefits.  In the March 2008 issue of Puerto Rico Health Sciences Journal, researchers reported that, “only by intravenous administration, the necessary [vitamin C] levels to kill cancer cells are reached in both plasma and urine.”  By giving the vitamin intravenously, one can readily achieve the blood levels (at least 20 mM) that have been reported to selectively kill tumor cells.   In at least two clinical trials now in progress, scientists are trying to determine the safety, tolerability, best therapeutic dose, and other key aspects of using IV vitamin C.

The power of this approach has been well documented in mainstream medical journals.  In March 2006, the Canadian journal CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) told the story of three patients with advanced cancer who had received IV vitamin C.  One was a 49-year-old man with “terminal” bladder cancer who had declined chemotherapy. Nine years after receiving the deadly prognosis, he was still alive and apparently free of cancer. Another patient, a 66-year-old woman, had an aggressive lymphoma with an extremely poor prognosis. After IV vitamin C, her disease went into remission and she was alive and well 10 years later.  In a third case, IV vitamin C was given to a 51-year-old woman with kidney cancer that spread to her lungs.  Two years later, she had a normal chest X-ray, and a pathologist confirmed the findings.  

Why did these patients succeed where others have not?  It could be that the secret is in the dosage.  Only two controlled clinical trials of vitamin C have been done, and both used oral vitamin C rather than the IV route.  But oral doses can never achieve the high blood levels provided by IV methods, the levels necessary for killing cancer.  Dr. Levine recently demonstrated that, indeed, only IV vitamin C can achieve the desired blood levels.  The reason for this is that your kidneys will get rid of vitamin C as fast as your gut can absorb it.  With the IV approach, the blood levels are immediately elevated, and it takes much more time for the kidneys to eliminate the excess. Thus, for an extended period, you’re able to expose cancer cells in your body to the levels that can make a difference.

Dr. Levine also confirmed that vitamin C is metabolized to hydrogen peroxide.  Unlike normal cells, cancer cells lack the internal defenses to protect themselves from this highly unstable and reactive ( compound.  As a result, they die.  (Many chemotherapy agents operate, in part, through a similar mechanism.  Green tea, resveratrol, and artemisinin may have similar effects; taken in combination, these natural agents may reach levels of peroxide lethal to malignant tumors.) These days, IV vitamin C doses may range from 10 grams to as high as 300 grams per day (300,000 mg!), though most doses are in the range of 30 to 80 grams per day.  The optimal strategy, as designed by Dr. Hugh Riordan, includes certain other nutrients, such as alpha lipoic acid.  

The good news is that, in contrast with conventional chemotherapy, IV vitamin C is not a particularly expensive therapy. If you have cancer, talk to your Integrative Medicine physician about IV vitamin C.  Preliminary reports from a clinical trial in Kansas City indicate that giving IV vitamin C prior to chemotherapy can dramatically reduce the toxicity of those treatments while bolstering the tumor-killing impact of the chemo.  


John C. Pittman, MD, is the Medical Director of the Carolina Center for Integrative Medicine in Raleigh, NC, and is certified by the American Board of Clinical Metal Toxicology.  Mark N. Mead, MSc, serves as the Center’s Integrative Medicine Research Consultant.


References

  • Ichim TE, Minev B, Braciak T, Luna B, Hunninghake R, Mikirova NA, Jackson JA, Gonzalez MJ, Miranda-Massari JR, Alexandrescu DT, Dasanu CA, Bogin V, Ancans J, Stevens RB, Markosian B, Koropatnick J, Chen CS, Riordan NH.  Intravenous ascorbic acid to prevent and treat cancer-associated sepsis?  J Transl Med. 2011; 9:25

  • Duconge J, Miranda-Massari JR, Gonzalez MJ, Jackson JA, Warnock W, Riordan NH.  Pharmacokinetics of vitamin C: insights into the oral and intravenous administration of ascorbate. P R Health Sci J. 2008; 27(1):7-19.

  • Padayatty SJ, Riordan HD, Hewitt SM, Katz A, Hoffer LJ, Levine M. Intravenously administered vitamin C as cancer therapy: three cases.CMAJ. 2006; 174(7):937-42.

  • González MJ, Miranda-Massari JR, Mora EM, Guzmán A, Riordan NH, Riordan HD, Casciari JJ, Jackson JA, Román-Franco A.  Orthomolecular oncology review: ascorbic acid and cancer 25 years later. Integr Cancer Ther. 2005; 4(1):32-44.

  • Riordan HD, Riordan NH, Jackson JA, Casciari JJ, Hunninghake R, González MJ, Mora EM, Miranda-Massari JR, Rosario N, Rivera A.  Intravenous vitamin C as a chemotherapy agent: a report on clinical cases. P R Health Sci J. 2004; 23(2):115-8.

  • Block KI, Mead MN.  Vitamin C in alternative cancer treatment: historical background.  Integr Cancer Ther. 2003;2(2):147-54.

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Food Allergy and Disease

Posted By Administration, Friday, May 13, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

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by Matt Angove, ND, NMD

Food allergies are no doubt becoming a bigger and bigger part of our lives.  Unfortunate indeed for food lovers everywhere.  But  to be fair to our body, it can only be dragged through so much before its ability to continue in pristine rhythm gets interrupted.

How do we get allergies to food?

Allergies to foods are generated by an over-reactive immune system coupled with a porous digestive tract.  What happens is that small undigested protein particles, namely polypeptides and peptides of food pass through the intestinal wall into the blood stream and are recognized by the immune system as an invading factor.  This occurs because the genetic make up of the food proteins doesn’t belong to you.

The immune system is actually doing precisely what it was engineered to do.  However, this overactive arm of the immune system against food proteins actually makes us more susceptible to cancer.   The immunoglobulins that cause the allergic symptoms, actually depress the production of  your bodies own immune cancer killers.  Most notably, natural killer cells and tumor necrosis factor.   What you end up with is an imbalance in the immune system.

Imbalances in the immune system not only create opportunity for cancer but also a host autoimmune and inflammatory conditions.

There are many ways to check for food sensitivities.  The gold standard is to limit a food category (i.e. dairy products) for a certain period of time.   After that time has elapsed you then reintroduce that food category in its purest form (i.e. glass of milk) to your diet.

Example

Cut out dairy for 4 weeks and then at 4 weeks drink 8 ounces of milk at breakfast, lunch and dinner.  If you had any symptoms previous to cutting out the dairy write them down and notice if any symptoms disappeared and then notice if any symptoms reappeared upon adding dairy back in.

Something to note is that allergic reactions to food are not always instant and can show up days later.  This makes it all the more important to take note of your symptoms during this time period.

You may also get blood tests to check for food sensitivities.  These tests also allow you to see your allergic intensity to specific foods.

Most Common Food Allergies

The most common allergenic foods are milk, wheat, eggs, corn, peanuts, non-organic soybeans, chicken, and shellfish.

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When Medicine Fails...A Holistic Approach to Allergies, Chronic Fatique, Fibromyalgia, & Chronic Pain

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 12, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

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ACAM member Charles Scott, DC, wrote the book When Medicine Fails... A Holistic Approach to Allergies, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, and Chronic Pain. Within its pages reveals a synthesis of Dr. Scott's 25 years of clinical experience as a holistic nature doctor. This book presents proven, comprehensive and highly effective holistic approaches to the major chronic, degenerative diseases that plague mankind.

Dr. Scott is the founder of Scott Chiropractic and Wellness Center in Odessa, Texas. His holistic clinic focuses on helping patients become pain free, healthy and optimally functional. Among his services and therapies he provides are: nutritional programs, allergy elimination techniques, applied kinesiology (AK), and detoxification.

Visti Dr. Scott's website at: www.scottchriopracticwellness.com

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Natural Migraine Relief

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

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by Andrea Purcell, ND

Twelve percent of Americans suffer from migraines. Women are affected three times more than men. Of migraine sufferers 98% rely on acute treatment and symptom suppression.

Natural Integrative medicine asks the question, why? Why does this person suffer with migraines? Typically, the cause is different for each person.

Integrative medicine is effective as a preventative therapy for migraine sufferers and works the best through identifying the underlying cause of the migraines. Successful treatment is more likely if we determine each individual’s cause of migraines.

Every person’s biochemistry is unique and individualized care is the only way to ensure successful treatment.

CAUSES

1) Triggers: Many things can trigger Migraines; food, stress, environment, wherein the patient is hypersensitive to these stimuli and it initiates a headache.

2) Histamine release: This most often happens in allergic patients wherein some allergen causes a release of histamine and triggers constriction and head pain. Often an avoidance of environmental and food allergens as well as anti-histamines can prevent this migraine. The herb Butterbur works as a natural anti-histamine and will help these migraine patients.

3) Lack of energy production from brain cells: Recent data has confirmed that some migraine sufferers actually cannot produce adequate energy from brain cells to meet the demands, which results in vasospasm. Supplements such as CoQ10, Magnesium, Riboflavin (vitamin B2), and d-ribose can be beneficial in these patients.

4) Dietary allergens: Food allergens should be determined via IgE (acute) and IgG (delayed) allergy testing. Avoiding allergic foods can decrease body inflammation, eliminate triggers, and prevent migraines long term.

Note from Dr. P:

If you have migraines or know someone who does this is a terrible disease. Especially since conventional medicine only suppresses the acute symptoms with drug therapy. Symptom suppression is fine short term but isn’t it better to find out why the cycle is continuing and what you can do about it? This is where Integrative Medicine shines, as we work to uncover the underlying cause and the unique biochemistry of the individual.

Tags:  migraines 

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Patch Up Your Menopause

Posted By Administration, Friday, May 6, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

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by Shira Miller, MD

You are at the top of your game.  Why not stay there?  

Menopause causes permanent hormone deficiencies which accelerate the aging process, make you feel old, and increase your risk of chronic diseases.  The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way.  Believe it or not, menopause is already a luxurious experience for many proactive and well-informed men and women.  Yes, even after Mother Nature quits, you can keep your mind, body, and sex life healthy as you age!

This is the premiere post of the “Patch Up Your Menopause” blog, where I will teach you how the hormone deficiencies caused by menopause and male menopause can be, and need to be, safely patched up with bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.  My unique concierge wellness and anti-aging practice, The Integrative Center for Health & Wellness, uses bio-identical hormones and a cutting-edge, science-based, holistic approach to help educated and motivated men and women stay healthy and productive as they age.  

As both menopause and male menopause occur at different ages for different people and may have inconspicuous symptoms, the sooner you know about them the better, especially if you are over 40.

What are your thoughts about menopause and male menopause?

To your luxurious menopause!

 

Tags:  menopause 

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Prolotherapy for Pain

Posted By Administration, Friday, May 6, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014
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Medical innovations are transforming the science of pain management.

Many South Jersey sports fans remember several years back to when former Flyer Simon Gagne was benched mid-season due to severe post-concussion symptoms, including debilitating head, neck and shoulder pain. Gagne, his coaches and the fans all wondered if he would ever return to the ice.

Dr. Scott Greenberg of the Magaziner Center for Wellness and Anti-Aging in Cherry Hill had also suffered from severe head and neck pain for more than a decade. None of modern medicine’s advanced treatments worked—until he discovered prolotherapy, a nonsurgical, holistic procedure that Greenberg says stimulates the body’s own ability to heal.

Greenberg cured himself by injecting an irritant directly into the affected area, causing his immune system to react and heal the damaged tissue or tendon. Then, he went to work on Gagne—who eventually went on to play in the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals—and many other professional athletes and South Jersey residents of all ages.

Chronic pain is a condition that affects many people. Many hope at most to merely manage that pain, whether with over-the-counter painkillers like Motrin or Tylenol or narcotics like oxycodone. But pain-management specialists in South Jersey say there are better ways. These include everything from plasma injections to tiny needle-pricks to attack muscle spasms, to interdisciplinary treatments that target psychosomatic symptoms. The results, say local doctors, have been entirely revolutionary revolutionary.

“Chronic use of anti-inflammatory medications can actually make joint problems worse,” Greenberg says. “It’s well documented that they accelerate arthritis, they’re not good for kidneys and liver, they can cause ulcers. They block the healing processes that happen in the body. Instead of masking pain, we want to cure the pain.”

Greenberg does this by seeking out the source: damaged tissue, joints, muscles, nerves, ligaments or tendons. In many cases, he says, prolotherapy can be the solution. “Patients that have tried chiropractic, epidural steroids, nerve blocks and even surgery, can be cured by prolotherapy and platelet-rich plasma treatments,” Greenberg says. Greenberg makes several injections to the damaged area with either a prolotherapy solution or platelet-rich plasma taken directly from the patient’s own bloodstream. Treatment can be effective in as little as a few months or up to a year, depending on the extent of the problem. These therapies can even treat post-concussion symptoms such as dizziness and loss of balance, for which there is no traditional medical remedy. Greenberg says he’s also found success treating cumulative pain problems, too, such as arthritis, tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.


One of the more unique pain management treatments currently available is biopuncture, in which patients are injected with natural, FDA-regulated homeopathic products that stimulate the immune system to promote natural healing. This practice, popularized in Europe, is gaining steam in the United States.

Locally, Dr. Polina Karmazin and Dr. Robert Davis of Integrated Family Medicine in Voorhees are among just a handful of physicians in the country trained to administer the treatment, which can help with everything from localized pain and arthritis to bronchitis and the flu. After a consultation and evaluation, each patient receives a customized treatment targeted to their specific condition.

Thanks to the positive response from South Jersey patients, including 610-WIP radio personality Angelo Cataldi, biopuncture is surging in popularity. “This year, we have been seeing a number of new patients with a serious interest in biopuncture,” says Davis.

Adds Karmazin: “With biopuncture, the healing effect comes from within your body, as opposed to some conventional drugs that tend to simply suppress the symptoms or potentially cause significant side effects.”

As interest in the treatment grows, Davis warns that biopuncture is not the cure-all some may be looking for, but it certainly has a place in pain management.

It has also been indicated for a broad range of other purposes. For one, he notes, “Biopuncture is a great, natural way to prevent and treat colds. Of course, nothing can truly replace the flu shot, but biopuncture is a safe and gentle therapy that can modify a patient’s illness and shorten its duration and intensity.”

However, as people age and cope with life-threatening diseases like cancer, the nature of pain management changes focus. Dr. Stephen Goldfine, chief medical officer for Samaritan Hospice in Marlton, must often address the chronic pain associated with end-of-life care, and his approach is more than physical.

“What I try to bring to the table is looking at the whole person,” Goldfine says. “I really look at who that person is and then try to handle the physical pain as well as the spiritual and emotional side. I even engage with chaplains, who will come in and help me hold spiritual counseling.”

Goldfine finds that, in his patients, physical pain is often compounded by depression. “Looking at a life-threatening illness, the depression can be overwhelming, which turns up the volume on the pain,” he says.

So, he partners with specialists including psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers, to work with clients on things like setting goals for the future. “This is a way we create hope,” Goldfine says. As well, he notes, anti-depressants can also be helpful, taken along with traditional counseling.

Treating both physical and emotional pain is the key to truly improving quality of life for patients—both in palliative care and elsewhere. “We don’t focus on death,” Goldfine concludes. “We focus on our patients living their life.”

Source: Twining, Stephanie. 

Pain, Pain, Go Away. South Jersey Magazine. May 2011 Issue.

 

Tags:  pain  prolotherapy 

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Autism and the Environment: An Undeniable Link

Posted By Administration, Friday, April 29, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

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by Allan Magaziner, DO

I just returned from the annual meeting of the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM), on whose Board I serve. As always, I left excited about the many advances being made in the field of integrative medicine. 

At the conference, there was much discussion about the impact of the environment on a person’s health and wellbeing. I felt compelled to touch on this topic here immediately as April is Autism Awareness Month and, in my professional opinion, there is no way to deny the link between environmental factors and the appearance – and, often, the severity – of autism and related disorders. 

Consider this alarming finding from a recent study of 10 newborn children: Upon birth, the average person has already been exposed to more than 200 chemicals. In fact, when the cord blood of these infants was analyzed, 287 different chemicals were identified…at birth!  

This is incredibly dangerous since, at birth, the blood-brain barrier is not yet developed so these chemicals are not blocked in any way and therefore can adversely impact brain function. 

So what does this have to do with autism? 

There’s been an increase in recognition of autism over the last 10 years – presently one out of every 90 children have some form of the disorder, which is a condition that causes difficulties with perception, thought, language, behavior and sociability. 

To really understand autism, we need to look at what has changed during this period of rapid diagnosis of the disorder. We know that genetics hasn’t changed. What has changed are environmental factors, including the increasing number of chemicals we are exposed to from pesticides, flame retardants, plasticizers, solvents, personal care products, medicines, artificial sweeteners and flavors. These varied factors have a clear impact on the expression of our genes. 

Each of us is biochemically different, which is why two brothers may have the same genes, but one may develop a disorder while the other never does – even if exposed to the same environmental factors in utero or beyond. Simply put, some people are predisposed to react to a chemical substance differently than others.

It has been found that many autistic children have a defect in their ability to excrete certain chemicals; therefore, they were more genetically susceptible to the chemicals’ effects. Many also have mitochondrial dysfunction and an inability to metabolize high levels of metals which results in neuro-inflammation, oxidative stress, impaired mitochondrial function and neurotransmitter imbalances.  They also often have liver toxicity and gastrointestinal problems. 

What does this mean for prevention of autism? 

While the cause of autism is still not clear, nobody can say definitively at this point that doing one thing or another will completely prevent the disorder. However, looking at the data and reviewing the common denominators in these children, what is clear is that there is an undeniable link between the chemicals found in our environment and autism. The best we can do – to help reduce the numbers and/ or the severity of cases – is to eliminate these chemicals from our lives as much as we can by eating a healthy diet of natural, unprocessed foods rich in vitamins and nutrients, rounding out our diets with nutritional supplements as advised by a healthcare professional and reducing our exposure to phthalates (like those in nail polish), organophosphates (often found in pesticides), PCBs, (found in plastic products including most baby bottles), solvents (found in furniture and new carpets) and heavy metals such as lead and mercury. These measures should, if possible, begin with the mom in the pre- or peri-conception time, at the latest, and continue with the birth of the child.

And what if my child has autism? 

At the Magaziner Center for Wellness, our goal is to help maximize a child’s potential by setting up an individualized program aimed at diagnosing and treating often hidden problems that may be impeding his or her development. We support the use of behavioral counseling and speech, physical and occupational therapies that are often recommended as part of the overall treatment regimen. 

We analyze each patient individually – because, as I’ve said before, each person is biochemically different and, even among those on the autism spectrum, not every treatment works for every person. We administer safe, nontoxic dietary supplements, antifungal agents, and dietary modifications. We also place great emphasis on the detoxification and evaluation and treatment of toxic metals, including mercury, lead, cadmium and aluminum. Treatment may also include improving digestion and assimilation and asking a child to avoid certain foods which could be harmful to his or her wellbeing. We often recommend hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which greatly increases oxygen uptake to the brain, nervous system, skeletal muscle, and all body tissues and has been been found useful in the treatment of the symptoms of autism.

What’s Next? 

While autism is still quite a mystery, great strides have been made in increasing the awareness of the disorder and uncovering some clues to its potential causes. With more research, increased commitment and willingness for doctors and patients alike to ask tough questions and demand a change in our environment, I am confident the next 10 years will yield much better news on this front than the previous decade has.

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Natural Treatments for Autoimmune Infertility Concerns

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 28, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

by Fiona D. McCulloch, BSc, ND

Infertility is a reproductive disease which has an enormous impact on the quality of life for millions of patients. It affects 1 in 5 of all couples, and most patients undergo extensive diagnostic and treatment interventions on their journey to create a family. Infertility has a myriad of causes including endocrine disorders, gynecological disease, infectious disease, circulatory disease and aging and cellular health. Autoimmune disorders are also implicated in reproductive disorders and may especially play a role in unexplained cases of infertility.

It is known that autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, autoimmune thyroiditis and systemic lupus erythematosis are linked to decreased fertility. Other causes of infertility such as premature ovarian insufficiency, endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome include autoimmune components. In many unexplained cases of infertility, inflammatory processes may be involved or antibodies may be directed against hormones, clotting factors, or reproductive tissues such as the ovaries or testes. The research into autoimmune infertility is just in its beginning, but as naturopathic physicians there are valuable tests and treatments we can provide to our patients who present either with known autoimmune disorders and difficulty conceiving, or with the ever enigmatic diagnosis of “unexplained infertility”.

The biological factors involved in autoimmune infertility are various. These include a multitude of cellular and inflammatory changes. Some of the most common factors are discussed below.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis has many autoimmune components including elevated levels of cytokines, and T- and B-cell abnormalities. Peripheral monocytes are more active, and peritoneal macrophages are present in higher numbers with higher activity levels. This causes increased inflammatory cytokine release.

There are alterations in B-cell activity and an increased incidence of autoantibodies in women with endometriosis. Like classical autoimmune diseases, endometriosis has been associated with polyclonal B-cell activation, immunological abnormalities in T- and B-cell functions, increased apoptosis, tissue damage, multiorgan involvement, familial occurrence, possible genetic basis, involvement of environmental cofactors, and association with other autoimmune diseases. TNF-a, levels are elevated in the peritoneal fluid of patients with endometriosis. In women with endometriosis, TH2 mediated immunity humoral responses are commonly elevated.

A 2001 study found that 50% of endometriosis patients had autoantibodies to candida enolase. The same study found increased levels of these antibodies in patients with a list of other autoimmune conditions.

Autoimmune thyroid disease and infertility.

Thyroid diseases involving antithyroid antibodies have been correlated to infertility and increased pregnancy loss. Autoimmune thyroid disease, even in the absence of hypothyroidism has been associated with infertility and reduced response to fertility treatment. It has also been associated with gluten related autoimmunity. Autoimmune thyroid disease can lead to hypo or hyperthyroidism which can impact fertility and cause miscarriage.


Other Autoimmune Diseases and Fertility

Antinuclear antibodies (ANAs ) which have been associated with infertility can be present in conditions such as SLE, Sjogren’s syndrome, Raynaud’s syndrome, and can also be detected in women with a history of exposure to chemicals such as bisphenol-A.

Addison’s disease is associated with anti-ovarian antibodies which can reduce ovulatory function and cause premature ovarian failure in severe cases.

Patients with celiac disease may have multiple nutritional deficiencies that can lead to infertility. Celiac disease has been linked to recurrent miscarriage, pregnancy complication and infertility. A 2010 study found that between 5-10% of women with a history of stillbirth, recurrent miscarriage, intrauterine growth restriction, and infertility were seropositive for transglutaminase IgA compared to 1% of the control group. Latent celiac disease may be a major cause of unexplained infertility.

In approximately 20% of women with premature ovarian insufficiency(POI), autoimmune factors can be found. POI can be linked to autoimmune thyroid disease, Addison’s disease, or SLE or may have unknown etiology. Women may have antibodies against the ovarian tissues, or reproductive hormones such as FSH.

Antisperm antibodies are another cause of infertility. These can be present in either male or female patients. They are commonly found in males after vasectomy procedures, and their presence can make vasectomy difficult to reverse. Antisperm antibodies affect the ability of the sperm to penetrate the egg or reduce motility by attaching to the tail of the sperm . They have also been associated with antiphospholipid antibodies. Antisperm antibodies are generally produced by CD19+/5+ B cells and are associated with elevated natural killer cells and anti-dna antibodies.

Autoimmune blood clotting disorders

Disorders with increased antiphospholipid antibodies( APAs) including anti-cardiolipin antibodies cause a hypercoagulatory state in the blood and can be associated with reproductive failure and recurrent miscarriage. These antibodies can be found in systemic diseases such as SLE, or on their own.

Immunological Considerations for Patients with Reproductive Challenges

TH1/TH2 Ratios

A condition of TH1 cytokine dominance can be associated with the inability to conceive or maintain a pregnancy. In women with high TH1/TH2 ratios there is an increased incidence of pregnancy loss and infertility however for different autoimmune conditions the predominant immune pathway may differ.

Natural killer(NK) cells

Elevated peripheral NK cells are associated with many systemic autoimmune diseases but can also be found in women with unexplained infertility conditions. NK cells produce TH1 cytokines including TNF-alpha and Interferon gamma. These cytokines are normally involved in cellular toxicity directed at cancerous cells and viruses . If increased in early pregnancy, the presence of NK cells and their cytokines can disrupt the growth and development of the embryo. TNF-alpha works as a signal to other immune cells which then migrate to the uterus to attack the non-self invader which has been immunologically detected. A 1999 study found that in women who had repeated miscarriage, there was markedly increased NK cell cytotoxicity associated with a rise in CD56+CD16+ and a drop in CD56+ cells. Another special type of NK cell called uterine NK (uNK) cells have a protective immunosuppressive effect locally in the endometrium. Dysfunction of these cells has been associated with pregnancy loss

Homocysteine and Folate Metabolism

ciency and hyperhomocysteinemia are known to be risk factors for infertility and pregnancy complications. Errors in these pathways caused by genetic mutations have been associated with autoimmune diseases Patients with a mutation of the MTHFR gene have difficulty reducing 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate to 5-methyltetrahydrofolate. 5- methyltetrahydrofolate is used to convert homocysteine to methionine by the enzyme methionine synthase. A 2010 study on a group of 71 Swedish and Finnish female patients with unexplained infertility found a higher incidence of folate metabolism polymorphisms compared to women in the general population. Folate receptor blocking autoantibodies have also been related to subfertility

Folate metabolism disorders can can lead to reduced cell division, inflammatory cytokine production, altered nitric oxide metabolism, increased oxidative stress, abnormal methylation reactions and thrombosis. This causes problems with folliculogenesis and implanting or maintaining a healthy pregnancy. In males, defects in this pathway can impair spermatogenesis.

Diagnostic testing in the naturopathic clinic

In addition to general and endocrine panels for infertility, consider testing for homocysteine, CRP, ESR, ANA panels, APA panels, PTT, Partial PTT, DHEA-S, TSH, Antithyroglobulin, Antithyroid peroxidase, HBA1C, CBC, diurnal cortisol, assessments for candida, and gluten sensitivity testing.

Clinically, I have found that optimal homocysteine levels should be 8mmol/L or below in patients with autoimmune infertility factors.

TH1 to TH2 ratios can be a very helpful tool for designing treatment plans. NK assays and testing for genetic variants of MTHFR are also available.

Conventional treatments:

These vary depending on results found and can include low dose aspirin, anti-coagulants, corticosteroids, IVIG, Lymphocyte immunization therapy (LIT) and TNF-alpha blockers. These are often combined with IVF or other assisted reproductive technologies.

Treatments in the naturopathic clinic

Some of the following treatment options may be considered after a thorough assessment determines specific autoimmune factors.

  1. To reduce TH1 dominant inflammatory responses in patients who require it, maritime pine extract (100mg bid), resveratrol ,(100mg bid) , and green tea EGCG (300mg catechins bid), . Maritime pine, and resveratrol also inhibit platelet aggregation and thrombosis,,. The antioxidant effects of these substances are also beneficial.
  2. Proline rich polypeptides such as those found in bovine colostrum may favour a shift towards TH1 and downregulate overactive TH2 responses.
  3. High quality omega 3 fish oil. 2 – 3g of EPA and DHA qd to aid with inflammatory and thrombotic disorders . A 2007 study on mice found that a ratio of 23:14 EPA :D HA decreased tnf alpha in 8 hours. EPA also regulates autoimmune markers in endometriosis
  4. L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate 5mg daily, vitamin B12 1000mcg qd and vitamin B6 75mg qd to improve homocysteine and folate metabolism. Screen for history of cancer before using high dose folate. Trimethylglycine 1000mg qd may also be used to lower homocysteine levels in selected patients.
  5. N-Acetyl Cysteine 600mg bid. Reduces inflammatory cytokines. Improves autoimmune thyroid disease NAC also enhances semen parameters and the oxidative status and quality of the endometrium . NAC also protects the integrity of ovaries subjected to physical and oxidative damage, and aids liver detoxifcation pathways.
  6. For patients with thyroid antibodies, l-selenomethionine 200mcg daily,,,. If hypothyroid, use of bio-identical hormone therapy may be indicated to prevent miscarriage. Trace minerals for thyroid function are also be beneficial.
  7. Thyroid protomorphogen may be useful for patients with antithyroid antibodies to act as a decoy. Increase dosage slowly to 1 tablet tid.
  8. Elimination of gluten should be implemented as required for patients with positive serology.
  9. Probiotics 20 billion CFUs daily. Rotate strains monthly to modulate immunity and repair gut lining. Treat candida if present.
  10. Support liver detoxification pathways.
  11. Bio-identical progesterone is a potent immunosuppressive agent capable of blocking both cytokine release and action . May be used in the luteal phase of the cycle to support early pregnancy.
  12. DHEA – can be useful in premature ovarian insufficiency and to improve pregnancy rate and reduce miscarriage in advanced maternal age. It has also been found to be beneficial in the treatment of autoimmune disease,, and to reduce NK cell activity. DHEA should only be used after serum DHEA-S and androgen evaluation. Dose adjusted according to patient need but is often 25mg tid or less.
  13. Addressing stress is very important in all patients suffering from the effects of reproductive challenges. Autoimmune diseases are aggravated by stress as it can increase humoral immunity and shift TH1:TH2 ratios. Adrenal therapies, sufficient sleep, yoga, meditation, movement therapy, and prayer can all positively effect patients in this journey

References

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  8. Geva E, Lerner-Geva L, Burke M, Vardinon N, Lessing JB, Amit A. Undiagnosed systemic lupus erythematosus in a cohort of infertile women. Am J Reprod Immunol. 2004;51(5):336-40.
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  17. Klotz L, Farkas M, Bain N, et al.  The variant methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase c.1298A>C (p.E429A) is associated with multiple sclerosis in a German case-control study. Neurosci Lett. 2010; 468(3):183-5.
  18. Altmäe S, Stavreus-Evers A, Ruiz JR, et al. Variations in folate pathway genes are associated with unexplained female infertility.Fertil Steril. 2010;94(1):130-7.
  19. Klotz L, Farkas M, Bain N, et al. The variant methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase c.1298A>C (p.E429A) is associated with multiple sclerosis in a German case-control study. Neurosci Lett. 2010; 468(3):183-5.
  20. Safarinejad MR, Shafiei N, Safarinejad S. Relationship Between Genetic Polymorphisms of Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (C677T, A1298C, and G1793A) as Risk Factors for Idiopathic Male Infertility. Reprod Sci. 2010 Oct 26 [Epub ahead of print]
  21. Cho KJ et al.  Inhibition mechanisms of bioflavonoids extracted from the bark of Pinus maritime on the expression of pro inflammatory cytokines. Ann NY Acad Sci. 2001;(928)141-56.
  22. Falchetti R, Fuggetta MP, Lanzilli G, Tricarico M, Ravagnan G. Effects of resveratrol on human immune cell function. Life Sci. 2001; 21;70(1):81-96.
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  24. Zvetkova E, Wirleitner B, Tram NT, Schennach H, Fuchs D. Aqueous extracts of Crinum latifolium (L.) and Camellia sinensis show immunomodulatory properties in  human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Int Immunopharmacol. 2001;1(12):2143-50.
  25. Gillespie K, Kodani I, Dickinson DP, et al. Effects of oral consumption of the green tea polyphenol EGCG in a murine model for human Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease. Life Sci. 2008 Oct 24;83(17-18):581-8.
  26. Araghi-Niknam M, Hosseini S, Larson D, Rohdewald P, Watson RR. Pine bark extract reduces platelet aggregation. Integr Med. 2000 Mar 21;2(2):73-77
  27. Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, Rohdewald P, et al. Prevention of venous thrombosis and thrombophlebitis in long-haul flights with pycnogenol. Clin Appl Thromb Hemost. 2004 Oct;10(4):373-7
  28. Olas B, Wachowicz B, Saluk-Juszczak J, Zielinski T. Effect of resveratrol, a natural polyphenolic compound, on platelet activation induced by endotoxin or thrombin. Thromb Res. 2002 Aug 15;107(3-4):141-5.
  29. Figueras M, Olivan M, Busquets S, López-Soriano FJ, Argilés JM. Effects of Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA). Treatment on Insulin Sensitivity in an Animal Model of Diabetes. Improvement of the Inflammatory Status. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Sep 30. [Epub ahead of print]
  30. Vanschoonbeek K, Feijge MA, Paquay M, et al. Variable hypocoagulant effect of fish oil intake in humans: modulation of fibrinogen level and thrombin generation. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2004 Sep;24(9):1734-40.
  31. Dangardt F, Osika W, Chen Y, et al. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation improves vascular function and reduces inflammation in obese adolescents. Atherosclerosis. 2010; 212(2):580-5.
  32. Bhattacharya A, Sun D, Rahman M, Fernandes G. Different ratios of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic omega-3 fatty acids in commercial fish oils  differentially alter pro-inflammatory cytokines in peritoneal macrophages from C57BL/6 female mice. J Nutr Biochem. 2007 Jan;18(1):23-30.
  33. Netsu S, Konno R, Odagiri K, Soma M, Fujiwara H, Suzuki M. Oral eicosapentaenoic acid supplementation as possible therapy for endometriosis. Fertility and sterility. 2008; (90)4: 1496-1502.
  34. Stanislaus R, Gilg AG, Singh AK, Singh I. N-acetyl-L-cysteine ameliorates the  inflammatory disease process in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in Lewis rats. J Autoimmune Dis. 2005 May 3;2(1):4.
  35. Poncin S,  Colin IM, Decallonne B, et al. N-Acetylcysteine and 15 Deoxy-?12,14-Prostaglandin J2 Exert a Protective Effect Against Autoimmune Thyroid Destruction in Vivo but Not Against Interleukin-1a/Interferon ?-Induced Inhibitory Effects in Thyrocytes in Vitro.The American journal of pathology. 2010;177(1)219-228
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  40. Zagrodzki P, Ratajczak R. Selenium supplementation in autoimmune thyroiditis female patient–effects on thyroid and ovarian functions (case study). Biol Trace Elem Res. 2008; 126(1-3):76-82.
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  51. Calcagni E, Elenkov I. Stress system activity, innate and T helper cytokines,  and susceptibility to immune-related diseases. Ann N Y Acad Sci.2006;1069:62-76

 

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Acupuncture Relieves Anxiety Before Surgery

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

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by Nalini Chilkov, LAC, OMD

Who is calm and relaxed before surgery? I don’t know too many patients who are not anxious before surgery. Patients participating in a study in China who received acupuncture prior to surgery reported a greater than 50% decrease in their anxiety.

When patients have high levels of anxiety and stress hormones, lose sleep and cannot relax before an operation, the capacity to withstand the physiologic stress of surgery is decreased. This compromises the patient’s chances for a good outcome free of complications. Furthermore, having a good healing of surgical incisions, improved resistance to infection, normal digestion and elimination, restful sleep and decreased pain are all enhanced  when a patient is less anxious and is experiencing less stress.

While there are many ways to help patients deal with the stressors associated with surgery, acupuncture is a cost effective method that can be offered to pre-surgical patients.

Although the study participants were all adults, children who are facing surgery would also benefit from the calming effects of acupuncture.

Additionally, other studies have shown that acupuncture modulates immune function further improving resistance to infection which is important after surgery and  especially while in the hospital environment where risk of infection is much higher.

It is common to see patients in Chinese hospitals have the benefit of BOTH modern biomedicine as well as Traditional Chinese Medicine.

We live in a time with access to a wide array of healing and medical modalities. Whether that be the scalpel or the acupuncture needle, it is of great benefit to offer patients an Integrative and Collaborative approach to health care.

 

Tags:  acupuncture  anxiety  surgery 

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Five Foods to Keep you Healthy and Well

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

Dr. Magaziner was interviewed live by Pat Ciarrochi on CBS' "Talk Philly" on April 12th. During the segment, he served up valuable information about the five foods he deems fabulous for health and wellness.
 
These super foods include salmon, which is high in Omega-3 fatty acids and helps reduce inflammation, risk of heart disease and triglycerides, while helping combat depression, memory loss and arthritis; sweet potatoes, which are high in Vitamin A, antioxidants and calcium to help in maintaining bone density; celery, which can help lower blood pressure and stress; buckwheat, which stabilizes both blood sugar and blood pressure and cinnamon, which can help reduce blood sugar.

For more info on "meals that heal," please visit http://www.drmagaziner.com/health-resources/meals-that-heal/.

 

Tags:  diet  food and drink 

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Bacteria to the Rescue

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 4, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

Bacteria 

by Dr, Matt Angove, ND

Your intestinal tract is home to approximately 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) microorganism.  Your gut actually has 10x more bacteria than all the cells that make you a human combined.  Perhaps they have some therapeutic function!

This massive array of bacteria is responsible for synthesizing B vitamins, vitamin K , producing digestive enzymes, metabolizing proteins and carbohydrates, breaking down bile salts, enhancing short term and long term immunity, and inhibiting pro inflammatory mediators.  They also breakdown nondigestable carbohydrates like fiber creating short-chain fatty acids, which lower the pH of the intestines creating an environment that is inhospitable to pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella.  Sounds delicious…

Symptoms and diseases associated with mutant gut flora:

Inflammatory bowel disease

Yeast infections

Skin problems (acne, eczema, psoriasis, fungal)

Asthma

IBS

Malabsorption syndrome

Depression and anxiety

Autoimmune disease (SLE, scleroderma, RA, Sjogrens, etc.)

Obesity

Intestinal cancers (treatment and prevention)

Immune deficient conditions

Build on the Bacteria

If you were going to add one foundational element to your dietary supplement regimen, I would add some living microbes.  Many people think of yogurt as a great way to increase their good bacteria.  It is true many yogurts have bacteria in them that are beneficial to your health.  However, the levels in yogurt or kefir are not enough to overcome disease and dysfunction.  You will need millions of little bacteria to enable the development of a healing environment.

Probiotics are best consumed with a moderate amount of food no warmer than room temperature.

If you are taking antibiotics, probiotics should be taken 1 hour before or 2 hours after the antibiotics.  It is vital if you are taking or have taken antibiotics that you make a concerted effort to reestablished optimal gut flora. 

 

Tags:  bacteria 

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Why 80% of Cancer Patients Use Integrative Medicine

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 28, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

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by Nalini Chilkov, LAC, OMD

Approximately 83 percent of people with cancer use at least one complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) modality (11).

Using my experience as a health and wellness expert, I have compiled a list of what cancer patients say about the choices they make regarding cancer treatment:

  •  To be proactive, to take control, to  take charge of decisions that affect my care, my health, my experience, my results and outcomes.
  • To participate in my own care and my own decisions rather than giving power to make all decisions away to my care providers.
  • To feel a sense of empowerment rather than be disenfranchised and disempowered.
  • To decrease and manage my fear, stress and anxiety and to support, increase and improve my peace of mind.
  • To ask my care providers to work with me as a team and to show respect for my values, my feelings and my choices in all decisions.
  • I choose to reject an approach based solely on a 'war on cancer' that only targets my cancer tumor cells and neglects the whole person and the environment.
  • I choose a comprehensive care approach using a wide range of therapies, tools and resources from many traditions and many points of view.
  • I choose individualized and targeted care which views me and my cancer as unique and in which decisions and choices are based on a careful analysis of the traits and characteristics of my cancer cells and my unique physiology, genetics and risk factors rather than a generic one size fits all approach.
  • I choose humane, caring and compassionate whole person patient centered care for my body, mind and spirit.
  • I choose safe and non toxic therapies whenever possible.


  • To actively manage and reduce both short term and long term toxic side effects from conventional cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormones and other drugs used by oncologists, radiologists and surgeons.
  • To manage and reduce my pain with safe and non-toxic therapies.
  • To enhance and improve the therapeutic benefit and effect of my treatments.
  • To enhance and improve my survival.
  • To use therapies that prevent further cancers and recurrences or that may increase and extend my disease free time to recurrence.
  • To enhance and improve the quality of my life during and after cancer treatment.
  • To support and strengthen my sense of well-being.
  • To feel a sense of hope over hopelessness and despair.
  • To include a plan and a goal for health and wellness in my cancer journey.
  • To clearly recognize that absence of disease is not the same as rebuilding, nourishing and sustaining health and healthy function.
  • To protect, support and stimulate all systems including my immune system, digestive system, heart, liver, kidneys, brain, skin and bone marrow affected by my treatments.
  • To protect my cells, tissues and organs from damage during my treatment.
  • To grow and develop effective coping strategies for myself.
  • To address the continuous small and large traumatic experiences that cancer patients undergo as part of every stage of my cancer journey.
  • To develop and cultivate positive, supportive healing relationships with my care providers, my team.
  • To utilize integrative cancer care and alternative treatments when the conventional oncology treatment offered to me is perceived as worse than the disease itself.
  • To utilize integrative cancer care when there are no conventional oncology treatments that offer me a therapeutic benefit.
  • To utilize integrative oncology care when the known risks of conventional oncology treatments are greater than the known benefits of those treatments.
  • To utilize integrative cancer and alternatives to conventional care and to use integrative cancer care without conventional oncology treatments when there are no effective  conventional cancer treatments recommended or available to me.
  • To meet the diagnosis and experience of cancer as an opportunity to find meaning, to grow, to develop and to transform emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.
  • I have fundamental confidence in the value and benefits of integrative cancer treatments that address the whole person and have my health, recovery, survival, quality of life and peace of mind (not just absence of disease) as both a short term and a long term goal.

Choosing an integrative cancer care approach makes a significant difference for each unique individual cancer patient.  In this model, the patient is a fully empowered participant in making decisions and choices related to their cancer treatment, cancer recovery and cancer survivorship in concert with their team of care providers.  

This is the goal of evidence based, compassionate person centered health care: combining the best of science and nature, modern knowledge and ancient healing wisdom, in order to transform disease, restore healthy function, wholeness and quality of life to each unique individual patient.  

Rather than a model focused primarily on disease management, this is a model which also includes health, healing and the whole person as well as the internal and external environments of each unique individual to form a matrix in which the continuum of health and disease can be more fully met and understood.  

When a health care model includes not only disease management, but also restored health and function, different choices are made by both patients and care providers.

Even if the disease is not eradicated and recovery is not possible, healing and wholeness may still unfold. Even in terminal illness, when compassionate care becomes the primary care, the patient can achieve integration of the experience and a capacity to face the end of life and make peace with what is so.

References

1. Block KI, Gyllenhaal C, Tripathy D, Freels S, Mead MN, Block PB, Steinmann WC, Newman RA, Shoham J. Survival Impact of Integrative Cancer Care in Advanced Metastatic Breast Cancer. Breast J. 2009 May 12. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 19470134

2. Frattaroli J, Weidner G, Dnistrian AM, Kemp C, Daubenmier JJ, Marlin RO, Crutchfield L, Yglecias L, Carroll PR, Ornish D. Clinical events in prostate cancer lifestyle trial: results from two years of follow-up. Urology. 2008 Dec;72(6):1319-23. Epub 2008 Jul 7. PubMed PMID: 18602144.

3. Molassiotis A, Fernadez-Ortega P, Pud D, Ozden G, Scott JA, Panteli V, Margulies A, Browall M, Magri M, Selvekerova S, Madsen E, Milovics L, Bruyns I, Gudmundsdottir G, Hummerston S, Ahmad AM, Platin N, Kearney N, Patiraki E. Use of complementary and alternative medicine in cancer patients: a European survey. Ann Oncol. 2005 Apr;16(4):655-63. Epub 2005 Feb 2. PubMed PMID: 15699021.

4. Mulkins AL, Verhoef MJ. Supporting the transformative process: experiences of cancer patients receiving integrative care. Integr Cancer Ther. 2004 Sep;3(3):230-7. PubMed PMID: 15312264. 5. Nahleh Z, Tabbara IA. Complementary and alternative medicine in breast cancer patients. Palliat

5. Support Care. 2003 Sep;1(3):267-73. Review. PubMed PMID: 16594427.Support Care. 2003 Sep;1(3):267-73. Review. PubMed PMID: 16594427. 6. Ornish D, Lin J, Daubenmier J, Weidner G, Epel E, Kemp C, Magbanua MJ, Marlin R, Yglecias L,

6. Carroll PR, Blackburn EH. Increased telomerase activity and comprehensive lifestyle changes: a pilot study. Lancet Oncol. 2008 Nov;9(11):1048-57. Epub 2008 Sep 15. Erratum in: Lancet Oncol. 2008 Dec;9(12):1124. PubMed PMID: 18799354.

7. Ornish, D., M. J. Magbanua, G. Weidner, V. Weinberg, C. Kemp, C. Green, M.D. Mattie, R. Marlin, J. Simko, K. Shinohara, C. M. Haqq, and P. R. Carroll. 2008a. Changes in prostate gene expression in men undergoing an intensive nutrition and lifestyle intervention. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 105 (24):8369-74.

8. Pud D, Kaner E, Morag A, Ben-Ami S, Yaffe A. Use of complementary and alternative medicine among cancer patients in Israel. Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2005 Jun;9(2):124-30. PubMed PMID: 15944105.

9. Verhoef MJ, Balneaves LG, Boon HS, Vroegindewey A. Reasons for and characteristics associated with complementary and alternative medicine use among adult cancer patients: a systematic review. Integr Cancer Ther. 2005 Dec;4(4):274-86. Review. PubMed PMID: 16282504.

10. Verhoef MJ, Mulkins A, Boon H. Integrative health care: how can we determine whether patients benefit? J Altern Complement Med. 2005;11 Suppl 1:S57-65. PubMed PMID: 16332188.

11. Richardson MA, Mâsse LC, Nanny K, Sanders C. Discrepant views of oncologists and cancer patients on complementary/alternative medicine. Support Care Cancer. 2004 Nov;12(11):797-804.
PMID: 15378417

12. Ruth E. Patterson, Marian L. Neuhouser, Monique M. Hedderson, Stephen M. Schwartz, Leanna J. Standish, Deborah J. Bowen, Lynn M. Marshall. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. August 2002, 8(4): 477-485. doi:10.1089/107555302760253676.

 

Tags:  cancer  integrative medicine 

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VIDEO: iMosaic Speaker Dr. Robert Rowen Discussing Oxidative Medicine

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

Dr. Robert Rowen will speak at the Oxidative Medicine workshop taking place at the iMosaic conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Thursday, April 7, 2011. He will speak about Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation Therapy as well as Ozone Therapy.

Here is a brief video of Dr. Rowen speaking about Oxidative Medicine:

 

Register for this course before next Monday, March 28, and qualify for the iMosaic Early Bird rate! Visit www.imosaic.org or call 1-800-532-3688 to register today!

Tags:  iMosaic  oxidative medicine 

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Magnesium Helps to Heal Type II Diabetes

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

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by Gina Nick, NMD, PhD

A new research study published in Clinical Nutrition looked at magnesium intake and levels in patients diagnosed with Type II Diabetes.  The researchers found that those with Diabetes had lower levels of magnesium in their body and there was a direct correlation between magnesium status and insulin control.  Magnesium is used by the body in over 325 enzyme reactions and in the case of Diabetes, healthy insulin function is dependent upon magnesium! Try to keep your magnesium intake at a minimum of 500 mg per day and if you are not getting enough from food (a common occurrence), then consider supplementing with a high quality mineral supplement with magnesium.  Some of the highest sources of magnesium in foods are dark green leafy vegetables, kelp, wheat bran, wheat germ and organic raw cashews.

Tags:  diabetes  magnesium 

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How to Protect Yourself from Radiation

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 17, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

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by Hyla Cass, MD

We are all saddened as we watch the unfolding events in Japan. There is a growing sense of fear, as well.

The nuclear catastrophe raging through Japan's nuclear power complex is generating an intense fear of radioactive fallout potentially reaching North America. My patients and friends have been asking about how best to protect themselves and their families, as there is considerable confusion in the media about the issue.

Even as government officials and health experts downplay the health risk to U.S. citizens, pharmacies up and down the West Coast of the United States have been stripped bare of their stock of potassium iodide tablets -- a frontline treatment for radiation exposure. Anxious buyers turning to the internet are faced with a similar lack of available supplies. So, what do we do? It's a growing, ever-changing scenario, and here are my current thoughts, certainly open to modification.

Are we really at risk of exposure from radioactive fallout generated by a nuclear meltdown in Japan? I believe this is a question best left to qualified nuclear scientists and meteorologists. But after serving as a consultant to the Independent Safety Committee for the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant from 1990 to 2002, I know firsthand how important it is to be prepared for all possibilities when dealing with nuclear radiation.

One of the greatest dangers following a nuclear accident comes from exposure to gases containing radioactive isotopes of iodine. These highly carcinogenic isotopes are readily taken up by the thyroid gland, resulting in the development of thyroid cancer. Exposure to radioactive iodine calls for immediate treatment with another form of iodine, potassium iodide, to saturate the thyroid and block the absorption of radioactive iodine. This is especially critical for children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers, who are most at risk following a nuclear disaster. A lack of adequate supplies of potassium iodide tablets after theChernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 resulted in thyroid cancer for thousands of untreated children.

Potassium Iodide (KI)
Potassium iodide tablets are commonly stockpiled near nuclear power plants to allow for rapid distribution in case of a radioactive accident. In the absence of tablets, potassium iodide may also be administered as a "saturated solution of potassium iodide" (SSKI) which in the U.S.P. generic formulation contains 1000 mg of KI per ml of solution. Two drops of U.S.P. SSKI solution is equivalent to one 130 mg KI tablet (100 mg iodide).


Recommended Doses 
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the following doses of potassium iodide should be taken as a single dose within three hours of exposure, or up to 10 hours after exposure, although this is less effective.

• Adults : 130 mg (see below as well for CDC addendum) 

• Adolescents: 12-18: WHO -- adult dose; CDC -- children's dose; if adult size (150 pounds or over) they should take the full adult dose, regardless of their age.
• Children age 3-12 years: 65 mg

• Infants : 1 mo. to 3 years, 32. 25 mg (ie half tablet)
• Newborns to 1 mo., 1/4 capsule.

Note: Dosages may be crushed and taken mixed with milk or water. For kids, chocolate milk or raspberry syrup disguise the unpleasant taste.

Precautions
While potassium iodide can be taken by a majority of people without any problems, it should only be used in case of a nuclear emergency. Doses in excess of the single (one time only) daily dose listed above should be taken only upon recommendation by a physician or public health authority. Patients should ask their doctor if taking quinidine, captopril, or enalopril, amiodarone, or if they are sensitive to iodine, or suffer from dermatitis herpetiformis, thyrotoxicosis or kidney problems before taking potassium iodate (or any thyroid blocker).

Prophylaxis
It is best to take iodide prophylactically, prior to exposure. Every family should have a good supply in their homes. At this time we may recommend taking 10-40mg per day. A dose of 30-50mg is the range of dietary intake in Japan and relatively safe to take long term but under practitioner monitoring. Build up gradually: 10mg-20mg-30mg-40mg.

Then, in case there is an official announcement of significantly increased radiation, adults should go to the dose mentioned above: 130mg/day and children to lower doses per body weight, generally 65 mg, age 3-12 years. You can use a loading dose of two drops daily of Lugol's Iodine, a commonly available pharmaceutical form of potassium iodide, or SSKI, and increase to 130 mg if needed. See the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommendations. Adults over 40 should not take KI unless public health officials say that contamination with a very large dose of radioactive iodine is expected, since have the lowest risk of developing thyroid cancer or thyroid injury after such contamination. They also have a greater chance of having allergic reactions to KI. Everyone should check with their doctor, in any case.

Other supplements that may be protective are: vitamin D and vitamin K as they support appropriate apoptosis, which is programmed death of cells that accumulate various DNA errors (due to radiation and other causes), and vitamin D also supports DNA repair.

Avoid exposure to rain that may be laden with radiation if we are exposed. You'll be informed by authorities if that is the case.

Other Radiation Dangers
Besides I-131, there are other toxic radio-isotopes, including cerium 137 and plutonium. Dr. Gabriel Cousens has provided some excellent advice in his book "Conscious Eating." To protect yourself from cesium poisoning, consume plenty of high potassium foods, as potassium competitively inhibits cesium uptake. Foods high in potassium include avocados, sea vegetables, and leafy green vegetables, and are more effective than taking a potassium supplement.

To protect yourself from plutonium poisoning, eat lots of dulse and consume iron from plant sources, namely sea algaes such as spirulina and chlorella, which provide more iron than red meat. Miso soup has also been shown to have a protective effect. See also Michio Kushi's well-referenced book, "The Cancer Prevention Diet." The mineral, zeolite, is being investigated for taking most radioactive materials out of the body.

Additionally, foods and supplements high in antioxidants, will also help the body cope with these higher toxic levels as radioactive materials cause antioxidant depletion and ill health.

Summary
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has admitted it is 'quite possible' that fallout from the Japanese reactors could reach America, though levels expected to be so low as to be almost undetectable. Given the unprecedented circumstances of the current crisis, though, it would be prudent to keep some potassium iodide on hand as a precautionary measure.

Stay tuned to news sources for ongoing information, as this story is clearly developing by the minute.

For both those directly affected and those of us who feel the stress of this tragedy, check out some simple trauma-releasing methods, such as EMDREFT: or download free EFT audio "Tapping for Japan."

If I am able to find sources of tablets, I'll put a note here in comments, and list them on my website, as well. Otherwise, I'd recommend using SSKI which I'll likely be getting for my patients in the absence of tablets or capsules.

Our prayers are with the people of Japan, those who have lost their lives and those who have survived, and are dealing with trauma, grief and unspeakable loss.

 

Tags:  radiation 

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Compounding Pharmacy Quality Assurance Checklist

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

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Fill006lighted 
Safety and Consistency is Our Priority

There is no compromise when it comes to health.

At McGuff compounding pharmacy, we have independent Quality Assurance and Quality Control programs to ensure that our products and patient care meet high quality standards and requirements. Our commitment is to provide a level of service that delivers safe compounded products consistently that patients and physicians can depend upon.

We use industry leading practices to meet your needs. We model our operations to meet manufacturing FDA Current Good Manufacturing Practice standards whenever possible.

When choosing a compounding pharmacy you want to feel confident that you will receive the highest quality compounded products and unparalleled patient care.

The following are some questions that you should ask when selecting a compounding pharmacy. Each affirmative answer should be followed by one additional question… "If so, how can you prove this to me?". The answer to this question, without independent audit reports of their pharmacy from national and international standards organizations, will more than likely be “because we said so”. If a pharmacy is not accredited by PCAB™ or ISO there must be a reason.:

Quality Assurance Checklist

 

TopicQuestionMcGuff Compounding Pharmacy
The Organization Does your pharmacy have specific assignment of quality functional responsibilities as defined in a Quality Assurance plan? Checkmark 
Does your pharmacy have an independent Quality Systems Department whose responsibility is to ensure that the facility, equipment and personnel meet the demanding standards set forth the United States Pharmacopeia? Checkmark 
Does your independent Quality Assurance department have the authority to over-ride the pharmacist-in-charge and stop the release of any compounded medication if the medication quality attributes are suspect? Checkmark 
Independent Standards Reviews Is your pharmacy PCAB Accredited™ which assures that the pharmacy is dedicated to protecting patients by practicing safe, high-quality compounding ? Checkmark 
Is your pharmacy ISO 9001:2008 certified by an independent organization to assure compliance to international standards of customer care and product development? Checkmark 
In addition to your pharmacy license do you have a State Board of Pharmacy sterile compounding license? Checkmark 
The Commitment Is your pharmacy committed to and in compliance with USP <1075>, Good Compounding Practices? Checkmark 
Is your pharmacy committed to and in compliance with USP <795>, Pharmaceutical Compounding – Non-sterile Preparations? Checkmark 
Is your pharmacy committed to and in compliance with USP <797> guidelines for sterile compounding? Checkmark 
Documentation Are all significant procedures performed in the pharmacy covered by Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)? Is there documentation that the pharmacy staff has been trained and understands the SOPs? Checkmark 
Is the Pharmacy’s Quality Assurance plan reviewed annually and when changes are made to the plan? Checkmark 
Does the pharmacy maintain both a master formula and lot-specific compounding history records for all compounds? Checkmark 
Does the pharmacy's master formula document the name, strength, and dosage form of the compounded product, all ingredients and their quantities, assigned a beyond-use date, record the equipments to be used, mixing instructions, packaging instructions, and Quality Assurance checklist? (This documentation ensures that the compound is prepared consistently to reproduce the same each and every time.) Checkmark 
Does your pharmacy prepare a formulation checklist and perform a design review process to determine acceptable strength, quality, and purity of a new formulation request? Checkmark 
The Facility Does your pharmacy’s facility meet or exceed U.S.P. Guidelines for compounding pharmacies? Checkmark 
Does your pharmacy perform sterile filling in a class 100 (ISO Class 5) laminar flow hood located within class 10,000 (ISO Class 7) clean room? Checkmark 
Does your pharmacy have separate areas dedicated to perform sterile and non-sterile compounding, product inspections, labeling, raw material storage, and dispensing? Checkmark 
Is the air quality in your compounding pharmacy engineered for HEPA filtration to reduce particulates? Checkmark 
Environmental Monitoring Does your pharmacy perform daily monitoring and documentation of raw material storage, sterile and non-sterile compounding areas, and final product storage for temperature and humidity? Checkmark 
Does your pharmacy conduct daily tests of air and surface samples of your clean-room and other controlled environments? Checkmark 
Does your pharmacy perform daily, weekly, and quarterly cleaning to assure a clean and safe facility? Checkmark 
Personnel Are your pharmacy’s pharmacists, technicians, and customer service staff dedicated exclusively to compounding? Checkmark 
Is your pharmacy’s staff properly trained to perform aseptic manipulation skills, gowning technique, clean-room use, and successfully perform media fills every six months? Checkmark 
Does your pharmacy’s staff take steps to minimize error and maximize the prescriber’s intent for the patient during the compounding process? Checkmark 
Compounding Materials Does your pharmacy purchase pharmaceutical-grade chemicals (USP, NF equivalent) from FDA-registered suppliers? Checkmark 
Does your pharmacy obtain and keep Certificates of Analysis for all raw materials used in compounding? Checkmark 
Quality Control Does your pharmacy perform sterility testing according to USP <71> - Sterility Tests and USP <85> - Bacterial Endotoxin Test on every lot prepared? Checkmark 
Does your pharmacy verify the potency of finished compounds through weight, volume and yield checks? Checkmark 
Does your pharmacy perform post-filtration filter-integrity testing? Checkmark 
Does your pharmacy have systems in place for handling complaints and investigating sterility failures and adverse events? Checkmark 
Is every step of the compounding process from prescribing to compounding and labeling through dispensing reviewed and verified by a licensed pharmacist Checkmark 

For more information, visit www.mcguffpharmacy.com.

 

Tags:  compounding pharmacy 

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