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How to Eat Clean in a Toxic World

Posted By Frank O. McGehee, Jr, MD, CCN, Thursday, May 7, 2015
The reason most food purchased at the grocery store is no longer healthy to eat is the pursuit of profit by the farmers, food companies, grocery stores, popular chain and other eateries, and the inability of most of America to pay or understand the need for "clean" food. Commercials on television also add to the problem, by advertising delicious looking fast food at a cheap price. The reality is that the food is laden with preservatives, nitrites, food coloring, flavor enhancers, growth hormone, anti-biotics, and excess sodium and fat.

Years ago, scientists discovered genetic modified organics or GMO alterations to the food sources. The clever name they gave to the altered food was Genetically Modified Organics, or GMO. The thought process was that placing pesticide inside the seed would lessen disease, and cut the cost of food production. Indeed, that is exactly what occurred. Unfortunately, when the mad scientists rearranged the DNA of the food, they failed to realize the modified food would rearrange OUR DNA! Human beings are not able to digest and process pesticide ridden food.

In addition, minerals and vitamins usually found in fresh vegetables are diminished by the addition of pesticides. The body is so busy trying to store and dispose of pesticides; few minerals are available to nourish the body.

The mad food scientists have not stopped their tinkering with fruit and vegetables. They have also poisoned chicken, pork, hamburger, and all other red meats. The addition of growth hormone in all dairy products has lessened the time needed to raise an animal and get it to market. Costs on meat injected with Growth hormone are much less than organic or grass fed beef.

Years after the addition of Growth Hormone in meats, eggs, milk, and all non-organic dairy, we routinely see young girls at 10 years or younger starting their menses. The age used to be 13 or 14 for this event. No one could think this is a good idea. There are additional problems with cow milk. Non organic cow milk is just that. The milk is replete with antibiotics and growth hormone. Because cow milk is from another species than our own, it creates mucus in the body; because we cannot assimilate it. We are the only species that drinks the milk of another. A great choice for milk is Almond Milk without sugar added. Almond milk actually has more Vitamin D than cow milk, and none of the unpleasant side effects.

In addition, the mad food scientists have discovered that animals injected with Anti-Biotics have less disease. The problem of Fungal overgrowth is rampant in America today. Every day hundreds of thousands of times patients are offered Z packs of antibiotics without benefit of Probiotics. It is really quite a good idea to set up a rampant fungal overgrowth. The situation
guarantees return business in the future. It is our belief and that of other natural medicine providers that all disease can be squarely laid at the door of Fungus.

An additional danger to your food source lies in the chemical substitutes for Butter. Some of the offenders are Country Crock, Better than Butter, and Margarine. These products are CHEMICALS! They are not for human consumption. Buy a stick of non-salted organic butter, and you will not believe how fresh it tastes!

Other areas of danger to your health lie in cereals, protein bars, processed cookies, potato chips, peanuts, and most other "snacks" served at football parties. People need to read the label! If there is an ingredient you cannot pronounce, DO NOT BUY IT!

Another area of concern is the Campbell Soups, the lining is Bisphenol-A, which kills pests on crops. It is a frank poison, but also a preservative. Beware if there is no expiration date on a food! Persons who wish to maintain their health and the health of their family should never eat ANYTHING from a can that is non-organic!

Foods to avoid or drink for healthful eating are processed foods or food in a box. Vegetables that are frozen are acceptable as long as there is no sauce on them. The consumer should not heat and eat in the bag in the microwave. Plasticides are not part of what is for dinner!

A new sugar substitute is called TRUVIA, it is manufactured by a joint venture of the Coca Cola Company and the Cargill Company. Do not be fooled! There is actually no Stevia in TRUVIA!

The ingredients are Erithritol, Rebiana, and "natural flavors". Natural flavors is the loophole given to food manufacturers to place any ingredient in a food that they wish to. Yes that includes MSG, flavor enhancers, color enhancers, preservatives, and any other chemical the mad food scientists can think of that will preserve the product, and make the food taste so good the consumer will continue purchasing the product.

Erithritol is a product of GMO corn. Rebiana is the chemical formula for Stevia. A group of U.C.L.A. Scientists wrote to the FDA to express their concerns about Rebiana. Laboratory testing revealed gene mutations with Rebiana.

Some of you may say why do the food companies not manufacture Stevia? The reason is that natural substances such as vitamin C and stevia cannot be patented. Only chemical combinations can be patented. Another artificial sweetener to be avoided is Splenda. Splenda began as sugar, and was modified by removing one molecule and inserting Chlorine. Chlorine is the antibacterial we use to disinfect swimming pools. I do not wish for it with my glass of ice tea.

Most bread should be avoided. Yes, even multigrain wheat bread. The yeast in bread when consumed, turns immediately to sugar, and feeds fungal overgrowth. The mad food scientists have insinuated pesticide in the wheat seed, to protect the wheat against disease. So if you are eating store bought wheat bread, you are getting a dose of pesticide with each bite,and you cannot detox out of your system.

The best choice for bread is Spelt from a bakery that uses organic spelt. Spelt is also low on the glycemic index, as well as low in yeast. Another good choice is Flatbread. Since there is no yeast, a good choice is Subway. The only problem with Subway is the meats have Nitrites, which are detrimental health. Sometimes though, there is not a choice if one is on the road.

Carbonated drinks of almost any kind should be looked upon as poison. Have you ever noticed the obese women in the grocery store with suitcases full of diet drinks? The reason is the phosphate or fizzy actually dehydrates the body. The aspartame then works its wicked ways, and causes gene mutations as it permanently deposits itself in the cell. One little known fact is that Aspartame is one molecule away from formaldahyde. When ingested, the aspartame becomes formaldahyde. Persons drinking diet drinks are beginning the funeral home work to their body in advance of death!

Earlier, we touched on sodium nitrites, which is a preservative for deli meats, beef jerky, bacon, sausage, hot dogs, frozen pizza with meats, canned soups with meat, frozen meals with meat, kid's meals containing meat, sandwich meat served at public schools, hospitals, hotels, theme parks, and most popular eating establishments.

"In 2005, the University of Hawaii reported processed foods increase he the risk of pancreatic cancer by 67%!" . “Another study revealed that for every 50 grams of processed meat consumed daily, the rate of colon cancer increased by 21%.!” .

The answer to protect your family against these carcinogenic chemicals is to eat grass fed or organic meats. Many varieties are available on the Internet and at Whole Foods, and most large grocery stores.

Eating fish purchased at the grocery store can also be dangerous to your health. Atlantic salmon is so polluted; red food coloring must be added to make it look edible. There are many sources for fresh caught Pacific salmon; always a good choice, another source of concern is Tuna fish. Tuna is a large fish, and not a deep water fish, meaning it lives a long time, allowing it to absorb the toxic metals in the ocean. Years of ongoing medical and industrial dumping have severely polluted the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. If one insists upon eating Tuna, do so no more than once a month. The best fish choices are deep water fish, such as Halibut.

It is not a coincidence that millions of people are now suddenly gluten sensitive; and unable to eat the bread and most other foods in the main stream food sources. Eating at most restaurants is potentially dangerous for gluten sensitive people. The flat top is heat source for most restaurants. Food is cross-contaminated with gluten by the buns being toasted on it. Gluten will now be imparted to chicken, pork, and meat eaten by the patrons of the restaurants.

If families wish to “eat clean”, all meat, chicken, and pork should be organic. In the case of red meat, should be grass fed. The only fish that should be consumed is Pacific caught. Atlantic fish has been corrupted by extensive dumping of waste in the waters.

Luckily, organic fruits and vegetables are readily available. We cringe when we see advertisements for vegetables that “cook in their own bag in the microwave”. Really? We do not wish for plasticides as an addition to our dinner. Plasticides also incorrectly convert to estrogen when ingested. Hormonal cancers are one the rise in spite of more sophisticated diagnostic testing.

All products consumed in the home need to be organic. A list of some is: butter, half and half, eggs, ice cream, frozen treats, sour cream, jams, jellies, pancake mix and syrup, tomato sauce, bread, bacon without nitrites, peanuts, chips, cereal, fruit drinks, coffee, sugar, flour, dry spices, cake mix, deli meat, chicken and beef broth and salt and pepper. In other words, everything one eats should be organic if possible.

One of our dear friends, who is now departed, wanted to argue the point with us about organic food. He said, “Show me a credible study that proves organic food is better for you than conventionally grown with pesticides?” No I do not have a study proving organic food is better for you. What I said to him was, “this is America, and if I do not wish pesticides in my food, it is my right to purchase it.” As I said, he departed with cancer in 2012.

Last but not least is the wine produced in America. The grapes if not organic are sprayed with toxic pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides. We are the richest country in the world and also the only country using pesticides on our wine. Even the least expensive wine from another country is better for you than non organic wine for the USA. Beer has not escaped the mad food scientists either. Have you ever wondered why beer from other countries always tastes better? The technology of GMO is not accepted by even the poorest country in Africa. Yes beer drinkers, the genetically altered wheat, barley, and malt seed is infused with pesticides in this country.

Tags:  Frank McGehee 

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Ask the Expert: What is a FODMAP? Should I be avoiding FODMAPs?

Posted By Laura Elayne Firetag, ND, Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Q: What is a FODMAP and how do I know if I should be avoiding FODMAPs?

A: Dr. Sue Shepherd, PhD discovered FODMAPs , or Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols, aggravated many digestive complaints and subsequently developed the low FODMAP diet in 1999. Foods high in FODMAPs include honey, apples, mango, pear, watermelon, high fructose corn syrup, leek, onion, wheat, rye, barley, inulin, milk, yogurt, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, apricots, avocado, cherries, nectarines, plums, mushrooms, sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol.

Foods low in FODMAPs include meat, poultry, fish, oils, bok choy, bean sprouts, bell peppers, butter lettuce, carrots, celery, chives, corn, eggplant, green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, spinach and ripe bananas.

Carbohydrate digestion and absorption is surprisingly complex. In order for carbohydrates to be properly digested, the wall (“brush border”) of your small intestine has to produce specific enzymes. If you do not optimally produce the enzymes or if the brush border of your small intestine is inflamed, carbohydrate digestion will be compromised. One gene, succinctly referred to as MGAM, codes for the intestinal brush border enzyme maltase-glucoamylase alpha-glucosidase which is one of two membrane-bound digestive enzymes required for the final stage of starch digestion. Many people have single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) or mutations in the MGAM gene which could lead to suboptimal enzyme production and activity. Once carbohydrate digestion is compromised, the microorganisms that populate your digestive tract, known as your microbiome, will feed on the carbohydrates by fermentation. Candida, in particular, is one microorganism that feeds on undigested carbohydrates. Carbohydrate digestion by your microbiome can lead to dysbiosis (an imbalance of the microbiome), “leaky gut,” abdominal bloating and distension, flatulence, abdominal pain, nausea, changes in bowel habits, diarrhea and constipation. These symptoms are commonly resolved by the low FODMAP dietary approach.

The low FODMAP diet has two phases. The first phase is a strict elimination diet when all high FODMAP foods are avoided. The initial phase should be followed for 6-8 weeks. After the initial phase, an expert such as a naturopathic physician will guide you through the second phase. The second phase is a challenge phase where you try one food at a time and wait for symptoms. The purpose of the second phase is to personalize your low FODMAP diet so a less restrictive, clinically effective, long-term diet can be established.
If you have ever been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), if you have many symptoms related to your digestive system or if you have MGAM SNPs, a low FODMAP diet might be highly beneficial. Please ask your physician for guidance about how to properly initiate the low FODMAP diet.

1. Vincent-Chong, Vui King et al. “Genome Wide Analysis of Chromosomal Alterations in Oral Squamous Cell Carcinomas Revealed over Expression of MGAM and ADAM9.” Ed. Tao Jiang. PLoS ONE 8.2 (2013): e54705. PMC. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.
2. "The Low FODMAP Diet Approach: What Are FODMAPs?" - International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, 15 Sept. 2014. Web. 24 Apr. 2015. <>.
3. "Low FODMAP Diet." Shepherd Works. Web. 24 Apr. 2015. <>.

Tags:  Digestive complaints  Disaccharides  Fermentable Oligosccharides  FODMAP  high fructose corn syrup  Monosaccharides  Polyols 

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Cancer Center Leaps to Wrong Conclusions After Reviewing Faulty Supplement Studies

Posted By Tim Reihm, Director of Communications & Outreach - Alliance for Natural Health, USA, Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Health advocacy group calls the University of Colorado’s analysis “grievously flawed” and “premature”

April 22, 2015 — The Alliance for Natural Health USA (ANH-USA) today recommended caution regarding the University of Colorado Cancer Center’s claim that dietary supplements have been “shown to increase cancer risk.” According to Gretchen DuBeau, ANH-USA’s legal and executive director, the center’s conclusions, which were presented at a forum at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2015, are based in part on studies that have been largely discredited.

“Leaving aside the hysteria with which media outlets have been reporting this very minor story, with headlines like ‘Too many vitamins can give you CANCER, major new study warns the millions who take them,’” DuBeau said, “the research on which these dire conclusions are based is not new, by any means. This was a meta-analysis of twelve trials conducted with wildly varying parameters, inputs, and controls over two decades, and some of those studies were grievously flawed. This reduces the significance of any findings tremendously, since one study cannot be directly compared to another. And because this new analysis has not yet been published, it hasn’t been subjected to any peer review process, so any real conclusions are premature at best.”

According to scientists and reviewers familiar with the analysis, one of the trials was the SELECT study, the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial of 2008. In it, participants were given vitamin E in the form of synthetic alpha-tocopherol—an incomplete form of the vitamin not found in nature. “Vitamin E is comprised of mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols,” DuBeau explained. “Too much alpha-tocopherol can interfere with your body’s use of the arguably more important gamma form. No information was kept on the participants’ dietary or exercise habits or other lifestyle considerations. And a peer-reviewed study published in the respected Journal of the National Cancer Institute demonstrated a 32% reduction in prostate cancer incidence in response to daily vitamin E supplementation! Studies in other scientific journals tell a similar story.”

The current meta-analysis also noted concerns over vitamin B and a risk of colon cancer. “But once again, the researchers tested the wrong stuff,” says DuBeau. “They used folic acid, a synthetically produced form that is widely used to fortify processed foods. The important thing to remember is that folic acid is not itself biologically active, and 30% to 40% of the population can’t efficiently convert synthetic folic acid into folate, the naturally occurring form of the vitamin that the body can actually use. So of course these people would never see any benefits from supplementing with folic acid.”
DuBeau has some sound advice for consumers worried about all the contradictory, frightening warnings about supplements being disseminated by the media: talk to an integrative physician or other healthcare professional who understands things like co-factors (which supplements need to be taken together), take appropriate therapeutic doses, and choose the highest quality supplements possible.

# # #

About the Alliance for Natural Health USA (ANH-USA) 
The Alliance for Natural Health USA is part of an international organization dedicated to promoting natural, sustainable healthcare through good science and good law. We protect the right of natural health practitioners to practice, and the right of consumers to choose the healthcare options and treatment modalities they prefer, including complementary and alternative medicine. As a membership-based organization, we unite consumers, practitioners, and industry to speak with a common voice and have worked since 1992 to shift the medical paradigm from an exclusive focus on surgery, drugs and other conventional techniques to an “integrative” approach incorporating food, dietary supplements, and lifestyle changes.

Tags:  cancer  dietary supplements  university of colorado 

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Cross Training & Caprese

Posted By Carol L Hunter, PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, April 21, 2015

This month we address the concept of cross training, not to be confused with “cross trainers,” a synonym for the elliptical exercise machine. Cross training is a concept that is easy to grasp because it is based on good old common sense. Rather than continually working the same muscle group when you pursue your favorite form of exercise, try out different activities that work different muscle groups. This broadening of activities provides better overall conditioning. Just as an aside, there is much repetitive muscle use on an elliptical machine which can lead to contracted hip flexors without proper stretching techniques. That is just another reason to add in some variety to your exercise routine. So it’s simply a matter of expanding your interests. If you are a regular walker or runner, try out an activity that requires side to side motion like tennis or skating. Remember to wear your protective gear. For skating try knee pads and or wrist splints, similar to those made for roller blading. Just because you have knee problems, you don’t have to shy away from activities like tennis, basketball or hiking. Knee braces allow those with mild to moderate osteoarthritis an opportunity to continue participating in their favorite activities and even try new ones.

When beginning a new activity, it might be worth your time to do some reading on it first. Look for tips from experts and recent study results to develop your understanding. Put some consideration into the lifestyle requirement of the activity. Does it require a partner(s) like tennis or can you engage in it alone? Is it expensive like snow skiing or getting into the world of horses? You don’t want to start an activity that you may later need to ditch due to financial constraints. How often will you participate in the new activity? In order to develop skill, there must be consistency. Will you have to drive to get there or can you simply walk out your front door?

Variety is important and keeps us engaged. Doing the same exercises over and over can get boring and boring leads to lack of motivation. Don’t worry about the number of calories burned per unit of the exercise. That is not as important as your enjoyment factor because that is what will keep you moving over the long haul. It is fun to have an exercise buddy but hopefully you will enjoy the activity as much as your friend. Participating to please someone else may lead to burnout. Depending on someone else to participate in an activity may result in disappointment if you’re buddy is not as committed as you are. So consider these factors as you make your choices. I have taken some energizing group classes over the years that keep me coming back for more. It’s a great way to squeeze in some socializing time as well. On the other hand, solitary activities offer their own benefits. Walking in the solitude of the alfalfa fields allows me an opportunity to have that important “alone time” to think and sort things out. I call it my “therapy.”

The assumption of our discussion is that our cross training activities will have a cardiovascular benefit so make sure you do not forget to include your resistance training, an even more effective fat burner that revs up the metabolism. You don’t need to go to the gym although a gym will have complete equipment and the ability of socialize. I prefer barbells or a straight bar where I can adjust the weights. Shoot for multi joint moves like squats and overhead presses to decrease the amount of time you need to spend. Do start slowly if you are just beginning weight resistance exercises. DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness is no fun and it’s unnecessary. Twice a week is an effective schedule to maintain. Depending on your fitness level, you might want to start with only one set of 8 repetitions, then 2 sets and then the standard 3, gradually increasing the weight as you get stronger. There are many how to videos on the internet showing you the proper way to perform an exercise or you can seek the professional advice of a certified fitness instructor.

Don’t feel discouraged when you miss a day; just pick the activity back up when you can. Over time you will start to see the positive changes in your mind and body. Stay motivated by surrounding yourself with trainers/instructors and family/friends that are inspirational, whether they are on a tape you are following in your living room or in the flesh at the gym. An excellent instructor will support your limitations as well as inspire you to try harder. If something doesn’t feel right or you feel uncomfortable, look for a different trainer. Attitude is important and there are some trainers who should not be teaching. An example is a former spinning instructor who used to like to ask us why we were doing the spinning. Her answer was “because we can.” Not everyone “can” and the instructor’s job is to make all feel welcome even when the participants are on different levels. One well known trainer is Billy Blanks who developed Tae Bo, a form of cardio boxing and kicking. I consider him to be an excellent trainer who combines both the inspirational power to bring out the best in someone while supporting their efforts to get there.

So after that great workout, how about some lunch? One of my favorites is a caprese salad, although as you can see in the picture, I usually prepare an expanded version, based upon what veges I happen to have on hand. The traditional salad is a slice of mozzarella cheese, topped by a slice of tomato and a sprig of basil and drizzled with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The serving size is one cup or one small bowl or approximately 135 grams. Calories usually range from about 250 to 330 per serving. If you add in more veges, you will not greatly increase the number of calories. I like to add cucumber slices, spears of bell peppers, radishes, carrot curls and celery but most of all, avocados. If you add in the recommended serving size of an avocado, one fifth or approximately two slices, it is only an additional 45 calories. Add in a half of avocado and it becomes 114. Avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fat and along with the extra virgin oil, you are consuming a “healthy fat” lunch. If you need to increase the protein requirement, just add slices of hard boiled egg, offering an extra 76 calories. Vegans can add in tofu crumbles or chia seeds. I top it off with sunflower seeds, feta or goat cheese crumbles and a sprinkling of turmeric and cayenne pepper that goes on just about everything I eat. The orange and red colors also increase the eye appeal of the dish. If you like you can substitute the balsamic vinegar with 2 teaspoons of dry white wine, and 4 teaspoons of lemon juice whisked with the 3 tablespoons of olive oil, one half teaspoon of fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. If there was ever a dish to bring out your artistic talents, it is a caprese salad. It is as lovely as it is nutritious and delicious!

Bon appetite!

Tags:  caprese  cross training  nutrition 

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Teeth-Whitening SCOTUS Decision Deals Blow to Monopolistic State Medical Boards

Posted By ANH-USA, Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Teeth-Whitening SCOTUS Decision Deals Blow to Monopolistic State Medical Boards

On February 25, the US Supreme Court ruled that North Carolina’s dental board violated antitrust laws by shutting down hair salons and day spas that offered teeth whitening services. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The decision preserves the power of antitrust enforcers to scrutinize professional licensing organizations, even if they are designated as state-government entities.”

The dental board had claimed they were exempt from antitrust law because they were a government body, but the court found that the board was acting without proper state supervision.Writing for the court, Justice Kennedy stated that antitrust law “does not authorize the states to abandon markets to the unsupervised control of active market participants, whether trade associations or hybrid agencies.”

This ruling is a clear message of caution to all state medical boards that use their power to protect their monopoly on the practice of medicine, typically to the detriment of CAM doctors.

Take, for instance, the state of Washington’s Medical Quality Assurance Commission (MQAC), a state board infamous for its malicious treatment of integrative physicians.

Consider MQAC’s ongoing attacks against integrative medical practitioner Dr. Jonathan Wright. In the most recent case, Dr. Wright’s Tahoma Clinic had hired a medical doctor who had been licensed in another state, under the condition that he apply for a Washington medical license. He did so, and the doctor’s Washington license was listed as “pending” on MQAC’s website. During this period, Dr. Wright followed the legal advice he had received and monitored him closely as required by Washington law.

Suddenly, MQAC charged Dr. Wright with “aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of medicine” because the doctor’s out-of-state license had been revoked! To add insult to injury, it soon became known that at least four MQAC staff members knew from the beginning that the doctor’s out-of-state license had been revoked and that he could therefore not be licensed in Washington, but they never put that information on the MQAC website or made any effort to inform Dr. Wright. It seems apparent that the intent was to entrap Dr. Wright by denying him any information.

Sadly, this is just one example among many of MQAC harassing integrative doctors. Examples abound where infractions by conventional doctors are overlooked entirely or given a slap on the wrist by MQAC and other state medical boards. When integrative doctors engage in similar behavior, however, MQAC throws the book at them.

This Supreme Court ruling offers hope to consumers, practitioners of integrative medicine, and all who oppose monopolies in healthcare—monopolies that usually have nothing to do with protecting public health and everything to do with protecting turf. That is why various nurses’ groups opposed the NC medical board.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) has also been at this game for a while in its efforts to pass “scope-of-practice” laws whereby only Registered Dieticians (RDs) can offer nutrition services. This, of course, explicitly excludes other nutrition professionals, who are often better educated, more experienced, and better qualified than RDs.

We can only hope that this Supreme Court decision serves as a precedent— not only for monopolistic state medical boards across the country, but for state nutrition/dietetics boards as well. The recent victory of Steve Cooksey in North Carolina offers another glimmer of hope that governmental and legal bodies are starting to crack down on medical and nutritional monopolies, and we at ANH-USA applaud these actions.

Tags:  dentistry  medical boards  SCOTUS  Supreme Court  Teeth whitening 

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Bastyr University's Master of Science in Ayurvedic Sciences Now Open to Licensed Massage Therapists

Posted By Bastyr University, Thursday, April 16, 2015

Licensed massage therapists have a new option for meeting the increasing client demand for ayurvedic treatments and bodywork. Bastyr University's Master of Science in Ayurvedic Sciences is now accepting applications for its Fall 2015 class. Previously open only to licensed medical professionals such as doctors and nurses, the program was recently revamped to allow qualified applicants with a "license to touch" and a bachelor's degree to enter the program.

The two-year graduate program, which is the first regionally accredited program of its kind in the United States, offers hands-on clinical training with experienced faculty, and includes an optional externship in India where students observe and assist ayurvedic practitioners in clinics and hospitals.

"After years of hard work we are thrilled to see Bastyr University's ayurvedic program become a reality," said Bastyr University Senior Vice President and Provost Timothy C. Callahan, PhD, who collaborated with the National Ayurvedic Medical Association and ayurvedic experts in both India and the United States to design the program. "We believe that this form of natural medicine is growing in popularity as people seek preventive solutions to their medical issues, and the need for providers with accredited training will increase in the coming years."

Ayurveda, which has ancient roots dating back 5,000 years in India, is the Hindu science of health and medicine based on healing and prolonging life. According to a 2007 National Health Interview Survey, more than 200,000 U.S. adults had used ayurvedic medicine in the previous year, citing reasons such as the high cost of traditional health care, side effects from prescription drugs and ineffectiveness with other forms of medicine. That number is sure to grow as more people gain exposure to ayurveda.

Many licensed massage therapists looking to expand or augment their services with other healing modalities may find ayurvedic medicine to be a perfect fit to meet their clients' needs and interest in time-honored healing traditions from around the world.

"Ayurveda addresses the purpose of life and how to live your life to its full potential with minimal suffer," said Dhaval Dhru, MD, director of Bastyr's ayurveda program. "It offers a way to keep ourselves and other healthy and happy, and to proceed with the full benefits of what life has to offer."

For more information, visit

Tags:  ayurvedic  Bastyr  massage  science 

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Guest Editorial: Supplements & Your Practice

Posted By Daniel Breeman, Editor-in-Chief, Natural Practitioner Magazine, Wednesday, April 15, 2015

On the surface, the recent front page news regarding the New York Attorney General's cease and desist notification to four of the nation's largest retailers (Walmart, Target, Walgreens and GNC), ordering them to pull from their shelves certain store-brand herbal supplements, may not mean much to those physicians who have already been hesitant about encouraging their patients to use nutritional supplements.

 But a closer look should stir up some cause for concern, especially among the complementary, alternative and integrative physician world, about what this attach on supplements may potentially mean for their practice going forward. Many integrative physicians support or even encourage their patients to supplement their diets with nutritional supplements, and nearly all trust that the products they are purchasing from their vendors and promoting to their patients are safe and effective.

Is there a way to guarantee the safety of these products? Regardless of which side you stand on regarding the attorney general's actions (not to mention the alleged flawed DNA barcode testing methods), the front page news should make all health care practitioners re-examine their selection process for purchasing herbs and other nutritional supplements for the safety of their patients and the good of their practice.

The chances are pretty good that those physicians who have historically turned away from nutritional supplements will continued to do so, equipped with only more "evidence" to say, "I told you so." This many be especially true among conventional physicians, many of whom have waited for an incident like this one to find greater justification in turning a blind eye to nutritional supplements.

So as alternative, complementary and integrative health care practitioners looking to treat the whole person, should you now be scared off by the attorney general's findings and move away from nutritional supplement use in your practice?

As mentioned previously, perhaps the best way to approach this for both your practice and your patients is to not lose faith in herbal products or other nutritional supplements that may indeed by the right call for what ails them. Instead, a closer look at your purchasing methods, who is involved in making those decisions, and perhaps asking a few more questions of your supplier is the right path to choose. Remember, there's nothing wrong with asking questions, which in the long run will likely only enhance the relationship between you and your supplier.

Review each product you select carefully, perhaps bringing in the opinions of other physicians in your practice if possible, along with an herbalist and/or nutritionist to make sure all the bases are covered.

As health care practitioners, you are likely receiving higher quality grade supplements products than those that were pulled off the store shelves at your favorite retailer. Make sure the pharmaceutical-grade supplements you recommend are top of the line, not taking anything for granted.

Remember, your patients are worth it.

Tags:  supplements  your practice 

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What is the Metabolic Diet?

Posted By Dennis Harper, DC, NMD, Monday, April 6, 2015
Virtually anyone who has been to Dr. Harper’s office or been to one of the classes that we have been holding this year has probably heard about the “Metabolic Diet.”

So what exactly is “The Metabolic Diet” and why do some call it “crazy”, or worse? The Metabolic Balancing Diet is a diet that consists of protein and carbohydrates from select vegetable sources. It is broken out into a three meal a day plan (although I tell patients that it can be divided into 5-6 smaller meals or really into whatever works best for your particular lifestyle.) For our purposes we will look at the three meal a day example. A protein shake or other protein food (veggie omelet, steak and veggies) for example depending on if you’re a breakfast vs no breakfast person; coffee or tea with 1-2 oz. of Almond milk and Stevia if you don’t like it black, and that’s breakfast. Lunch consists of 8 oz. protein, Fish, Seafood, Beef, Poultry or Veal; 2 cups of select vegetables and unlimited Lettuce. Sea salt is recommended to insure that you are getting some trace minerals, and let’s not forget water, water, water! Drinking at least 64oz. of water (minimum) each day will hydrate the body, and is important for assisting the body to access nutrients stored in the fat cells. Dinner is a repeat of lunch in portion size and content; however feel free to eat a variety of permissible vegetables and proteins. This helps to eliminate boredom which is the greatest danger of the diet. You also get a snack which can be a shake or other protein source. Olive or Grape seed oil, 1-2 teaspoons are recommended daily, as is Magnesium and Vitamin D. That and a short list of permissible seasoning options are what make up the “Metabolic Diet”.

So now that you actually see what the diet consists of let’s discuss the purpose of the diet as well as the things that you don’t see listed. We will also explain the rational for excluding them from the Metabolic Balancing Diet. The first thing that may jump right out at you is “where is the fruit? Fruit is healthy right?” The reason that fruit is restricted is twofold: first we are trying to reset the metabolism. Fruit has excessive amounts of natural sugar in it and when we consume it our body, (which breaks ALL food down into a form of “sugar” that we use for fuel) quickly becomes flooded with an overabundance of sugar that your pancreas then has to try and deal with. What can’t be dealt with is either stored as fat or is voraciously digested by disease which feeds on sugar. The high sugar content is also the rationale behind prohibiting corn, carrots, peas and most root vegetables. The second reason for the sugar restriction is to make the body as inhospitable as possible to disease. These are the reasons for restricting fruit and high sugar vegetables during the 4-6 week course of the diet.

We will take the other two food groups that are conspicuously absent from our plan together, as they are prohibited for the same reason. Grains and Dairy are not permitted due to the inflammatory response they encourage in the body in general and in the vascular and digestive systems in particular. Inflammation in the veins produces an oxidative effect which stimulates the release of “free radicals” into our systems this combined with excess calcium in the veins causes narrowing of the vessels, plaque formations and hardening of the arteries. This is why the term “antioxidant” which we all hear so much about is such a desirable thing to take into the body. To our way of thinking ELIMINATING inflammatory food groups makes much more sense, stopping the inflammation BEFORE it causes damage. Taking a pill that may or may not even reach these areas seems rather pointless. One of the first things our patients notice after having been on the diet for about a week is that they feel less “puffy.” The aching joints that bring many of them in to our office initially, pretty much disappear, and as the body becomes more adept at accessing nutrients from our fat stores that low energy feeling subsides and most feel increased energy and a sense of well-being that may be completely foreign to them. Outwardly we notice that the doughy skin disappears, eyes that were dull and at times clouded with pain are bright and sparkling. Brain fog begins to clear and the light goes on! An additional benefit although unseen but perhaps the most significant in terms of overall health is that this diet will increase the alkalinity of the body, which is also a deterrent to disease. Research is suggesting that Vitamin D levels above 75 and blood sugar levels below 100 are major deterrents to cancer. Both of these concerns are addressed with the Metabolic Diet. Dr. Harper recommends the Magnesium for its anti-inflammatory effect, and prefers the powdered form because it is easily and quickly assimilated into the body.

So there you have it "the crazy diet" when you actually take a moment to see what it consists of and look at why we restrict certain foods and food groups it does make sense. We DO NOT tell people that this is a forever diet, but we strongly encourage folks to make this the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. Other foods when eaten in moderation should then be metabolized better by a more efficient system.

At Harper Chiropractic our primary concern is the health and well-being of our patients. We recognize that we don’t have all the answers; however we never stop striving to create or find the best available treatment options for our patients. We never belittle or dismiss treatments out of hand simply because they didn’t originate with us or are “outside the box.” Your health is your responsibility; invest some time and effort in it and you will be “WELL“rewarded.


Tags:  metabolic diet  nutrition 

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Ask the Expert: Questions about Genome Interpretation

Posted By Laura Elayne Firetag, ND, Monday, April 6, 2015
I just received my genome interpretation and I have hundreds of questions. Right now, I’m most concerned that I’m double positive for all BCMO SNPs. What is this BCMO gene and are these positives something about which I should be concerned?

Great question!
Since there are readers who might not be familiar with SNPs, I will begin with a very brief explanation of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). SNPs are the most common type of genetic variation among people and are found in DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). DNA holds the biological instructions necessary to create every cell, tissue and organ in our bodies and it is passed along from generation to generation. While many SNPs have no impact on health or may even reduce the risk of disease, physicians who use genetics to recommend clinical interventions will hone in on the SNPs that could lead to the development of imbalance or disease and then offer recommendations to optimize health.

Now, to answer your question - yes, if you are homozygous positive for all of the reported BCMO SNPs, there is a reason for concern. The BCMO gene is the gene that codes for the enzyme known as beta,beta-carotene 15,15'-monooxygenase. Research in the field of precision medicine (also referred to as nutrigenomics), or medicine based on your unique genome, is just beginning and while we do know a lot, there is MUCH more to be learned. For now, we know this enzyme is responsible for the conversion of dietary carotenoids (provitamin A carotenoids) from foods such as carrots and pumpkin into Vitamin A. Vitamin A is necessary to maintain healthy skin and the tissue that lines your respiratory, digestive and genitourinary tracts. Vitamin A also plays a significant role in immune function, embryonic development, antioxidant activity, DNA expression, visual function and the formation of sperm. There is speculation that the presence of BCMO SNPs could contribute to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. Fortunately, even with the presence of BCMO SNPs, true vitamin A deficiency is very rare in the United States.

The fact that you are homozygous positive for all of the clinically relevant SNPs, though, means that if anyone has a tendency towards deficiency, it is you. Vitamin A is stored in the liver and blood levels remain relatively constant as the liver releases what is necessary. One research study concluded that blood levels of retinol (Vitamin A) are similar in people with and without the BCMO SNPs but researchers have yet to assess liver stores of vitamin A based on genome. I have had a few friends who “turn orange” when they consume foods high in carotenoids on a daily basis. While I have not asked them about their genome, I suspect they might be homozygous positive for many BCMO SNPs.

For you, supplementation with a physician-recommended dose of Vitamin A would most likely be beneficial. High and/or long-term doses of Vitamin A can be toxic so it is best to seek the advice of a licensed naturopathic physician for optimal dosing and monitoring. Serum calcium, triglycerides and liver enzymes should be periodically assessed when supplementing with Vitamin A. While Vitamin A toxicity is not likely in your future, especially if under the supervision of a physician, early signs of vitamin A toxicity include joint pain, muscle aches, dry skin, bone pain, headaches and fatigue so please seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms while supplementing with Vitamin A. Also, for women of child-bearing age, vitamin A supplementation can cause birth defects. Until you consult with a physician, dietary sources of Vitamin A include fish oil, fish liver oil, dairy products, eggs and foods fortified with Vitamin A. Fish liver oils such as cod liver oil can have a rather high amount of Vitamin A so if you do begin to supplement with cod liver oil, be sure to mention the amount you are consuming to your physician. Women of child bearing age must be extra cautious when supplementing with cod liver oil.

As a silver lining, the fact that you have the BCMO SNPs could be beneficial as long as your intake of Vitamin A is adequate. A recent study, published in 2015, concluded that carotenoids, in the absence of the BCMO enzyme, appear to inhibit atherosclerosis while the retinoids (Vitamin A) produced from carotenoids in the presence of the BCMO enzyme appear to contribute to the development of atherosclerosis in mice. This is only one study performed on mice, not humans, so don’t jump to a concrete conclusion just yet about the relationship between BCMO SNPs, Vitamin A and atherosclerosis! As more people have their genomes sequenced and new research studies are performed, we will know more. In the meantime, consider consulting with a physician who specializes in precision medicine or nutrigenomics.

• Sources:
o Meyers KJ, Mares JA, Igo RP Jr, et al. Genetic evidence for role of carotenoids in age-related macular degeneration in the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study (CAREDS). Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014;55:587–599.
o Zolberg Relevy N, Bechor S, Harari A, Ben-Amotz A, Kamari Y, Harats D, et al. (2015) The Inhibition of Macrophage Foam Cell Formation by 9- Cis β-Carotene Is Driven by BCMO1 Activity. PLoS ONE 10(1): e0115272.
o Hendrickson, S. J., A. Hazra, C. Chen, A. H. Eliassen, P. Kraft, B. A. Rosner, and W. C. Willett. B-Carotene 15,15'-monooxygenase 1 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in Relation to Plasma Carotenoid and Retinol Concentrations in Women of European Descent. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2012): 1379-389. Web. 14 Mar. 2015. .
o Gaby, Alan. Nutritional Medicine. Concord, N.H: Fritz Perlberg, 2011. 125-9. Print.
o Groff, James L., Sareen S. Gropper, and Jack L. Smith. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. 4th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2005. 361-7. Print.

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Dietary Guidelines for Patients Who Wish to Live Healthy

Posted By Frank O. McGehee, MD, CCN, Monday, April 6, 2015
Our bodies are 70 to 90% made of water. Sufficient hydration with water is critical for health. Few if any patients who come to us drink enough water. For those people who wish to nourish their kidneys and bodies, people should drink only spring water, or reverse osmosis filtered water. Green and white tea is good for your immune system, and the kidneys read these teas as hydration. For however much you weigh, you should drink ½ your body weight in water (in oz.) daily. Ex: 100 lbs = 50 oz. water. This amount of water is without any extra physical exertion. The ideal water purification system for the home is called Reverse Osmosis, or R.O. The R.O. System should be connected to the home at the point where the water enters the home. The reason for the water treatment system location is the toxic elements found in municipal and well water sources. A 15 minute shower in chlorinated municipal water imparts the equivalent of drinking a cup of chlorinated swimming pool water.

Soy products should be avoided, unless the soy has not been modified. The body “registers” the soy as Estrogen. Women do not need any additional Estrogen with the prevalence of birth control pills, hormones in meat and dairy, and “convenient Estrogen patches”. Most of the soy in America has been genetically modified, and humans cannot assimilate it. The GMO or Genetically Modified Organism process alters the DNA of the fruit or vegetable. When we humans ingest GMO food, the food re­ arranges our DNA!

Unknown to most Americans, 70% of all processed, foods in the supermarkets contain GMO ingredients. Nearly 90% of all corn and soy products sold in the United States age GMO. Many European countries have recognized the danger and have rejected these crops, as have most African countries; the poorest countries on Earth.

Exactly what are GMO foods? GMO foods were critiqued in a recent article in the Journal of Biological Sciences. (2009; 5:706-726) "In this critique, they show that data, when analyzed demonstrated potential kidney and liver problems, as well as damage to the heart, adrenal glands, and spleen, resulting from eating all three varieties of GMO corn." 1

Microwave cooking should be strictly avoided. Plastic containers should never be placed in a microwave, nor should plastic wrap be placed in this cooking source. Many prepared foods advise you to pop the dish into the microwave, and enjoy. Unfortunately, the heat from the oven releases plasticides and chemicals into your food.

Routinely, in the grocery store we witness cases of diet soft drinks being purchased by obese mothers for their family. Carbonated drinks, with sugar or sugar free, are particularly worrisome. In addition to the health danger of the sugar or aspartame in carbonated sodas, additional health dangers lie elsewhere. The “fizzy” part of the drink is phosphate. The pH of a carbonated drink is 2.3, which is extremely acid. Ideal pH level for the body is alkaline: 6.5 to 7.0; acid is a disease state; which allows cancer and other diseases to thrive. Ingestion of one carbonated beverage keeps body pH in the basement for three hours!

Canned foods and drinks are lined with a preservative called Bisphenol A. It is a preservative, and also a poison. Bisphenol A is a poison used to kill pests in crops. It is also a preservative for food. Health conscious people should never consume anything packaged in a can, unless it is certified organic.

An acceptable substitute for sugar is Stevia. Stevia is available packaged in individual packets, or in a liquid form. Stevia sweetener is derived from is a plant grown in South America. Ingestion of stevia does not raise glucose in diabetics, nor is it full of calories like sugar. The “sweet level” is one hundred times that of a teaspoon of sugar.

Most other sugar replacements are to be avoided at all cost. Aspartame found in Sweet and Low is a chemical, which studies have linked to brain cancer and other illnesses. Splenda begins as sugar. The manufacturers remove one molecule from the configuration, and substitute chlorine! Chlorine is commonly used to disinfect swimming pools and unfortunately municipal water. It is toxic!

Bread should be wheat and gluten free, unless it is organic. The reason for this is that the majority of wheat seeds have also been genetically modified. Unfortunately, we humans cannot assimilate genetically modified grain, nor the herbicides and pesticides infused into the seed. Today, we are witnessing a pandemic of gluten sensitivity and allergic responses to the food consumed in our country. Without a doubt, the genetically engineered wheat, corn, and soy seeds are reason for this phenomenon.

Some delicious alternatives to genetically modified wheat bread are available in the frozen food section of most large grocery stores. We enjoy flax and rice seed bread. Other alternatives are sprouted grain bread and Ezekiel bread. Patients with of over growth of fungus, (and most of America) should avoid bread with yeast. Traditional trade pasta is not recommended, nor are white potatoes. Sweet potatoes are fabulous for our health when baked, (no sugar added). The Glycemic Index should be consulted to determine how quickly foods turn into sugar. Some fruits and other foods turn to sugar more quickly than others. Blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries rank low on the index.

Any fruit with a non-porous skin is desirable to protect us against pesticides. Berries and peaches of any kind should be organic; because the skin of the fruit is porous. Conventionally grown fruit has tested routinely positive for at least ten pesticides/herbicides.

For breakfast, we usually juice fresh fruit such as organic baby spinach, kale, organic strawberries, blackberries, oranges, McIntosh apples, egg or hemp protein powder, and 1 cup of almond milk (no sugar added). In addition, a container of yogurt adds creaminess. This delicious drink will carry us until lunchtime. If we are hungry mid-morning, we consume one organic hard cooked egg/or ½ protein bar.

Lunch could be roasted chicken breast, avocado, tomato, cucumber, and a salad of field greens. The dressing is organic balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and a 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard. The next day, we will probably make chicken salad with the leftover chicken with celery, boiled eggs, organic mayonnaise, and fresh dill. Mid afternoon snack could be organic whole roasted almonds with Celtic salt or a small piece of fruit or string cheese, or a boiled egg or ½ protein bar. The more raw food you can ingest, the healthier you will be; our goal is to eat 80% raw food daily.

Dinner can be an organic hamburger patty, chicken, steak, or fresh caught Pacific fish, with a baked sweet potato, usually with vegetables or a salad. Soups and stews in a crock pot are great because you can freeze them in small quantities. NO FAST FOOD- IT IS POISON!

I know this probably sounds hard, but please believe me, you will feel a lot better if you observe this diet, at least until you are better. If you want to read about Candida or yeast, Dr. Sherri Rogers has written extensively on yeast. If you want to have a "cheat day" once a week, by all means do so. What you will find though is once you start eating "clean" you won't really want the stuff you should not have. Your body is capable of “speaking” to you once you clean it up. When bad foods or good foods are eaten, the body will tell you how it feels about what you have eaten. People just need to “learn to listen”.

Please email:
or call Vivienne McGehee, BA, CN at (936)291-3351
Our office is located at:
1909 22nd Street, Huntsville, Texas 77340

1 Dr. Russell Blaylock, M.D.. "Genetically Modified Food: Is the Food Industry Serving Up Poison?" Vol. 7 No. 6 Newsletter, June 2010

Tags:  diet  guidelines  healthy  McGehee  nutrition 

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The Best Way to Detox Heavy Metals

Posted By Dr. Murray Susser, Monday, April 6, 2015 - The Best Way to Detox Heavy Metals

Dr. Murray Susser is an expert in chelation therapy. He discusses the benefits as well as some of the preferred methods of removing heavy metals from the body. He also mentions some things you need to be aware of before starting a therapy.

Tags:  calcium  chelation therapy  detoxification  heavy metals  kidney health  lead  magnesium  mercury  zinc 

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Is Organic Gardening/Farming Really That Much Better Than Non-Organic?

Posted By Carol L Hunter, PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Monday, April 6, 2015
Updated: Thursday, April 2, 2015
The promise of spring is a gift; a gift that instills hope into all of us. March is our gateway month when garden plans are laid down and seeds planted indoors. This month we celebrate heirloom seeds and organic gardening. We are showcasing some of the devoted folks who give us those rare, yet hardy heirloom seeds so that we may harvest vegetables that contain the flavor and nutrient content of plants that have survived and flourished over the long haul. The designation “organic” has largely become a legal term. To qualify as a “certified organic” farm, gardeners must present a ream of paperwork over a three year period. It can be a daunting proposition. But for those of us who are not operating a business but want the best that nature has to offer, there are many inventive methods for “organic” gardening.

Is organic gardening or farming really that much better than non organic? Let’s examine some of the data to help us make our decision. A good place to begin is to read Our Stolen Future, published back in 1996,a book that presents an astonishing story of just how toxic our environment has become, particularly in terms of the impact of hormone disrupters and implications for future generations. You can find information on the website : and Unfortunately, the battle continues today as the FDA refuses to ban bisphenol A (BPA), a compound found in polycarbonate plastics and the lining of food cans. When it comes to farming, exposure to pesticides is a grave concern. Organic farmers must comply with regulations to avoid the use of such contaminants. Some novel methods for insect control are simple yet effective. A spray bottle of water mixed with hot green chile juice or cayenne pepper can do the trick. Some insects like tomato worms can be picked off by hand although such a task would not be welcomed by all.

When I interviewed Julie, owner of Annies, it would be hard to walk away without becoming a believer in the goodness of heirloom seeds. Julie told a story from about 5 years ago when a tomato blight decimated the tomato crop in Michigan. Among the hybrids she had planted, there were some heirloom plants sprinkled throughout. Although the heirlooms eventually succumbed, they survived long enough to produce a crop of cherry tomatoes, holding out a good three weeks longer than the hybrids. Friends and neighbors couldn’t believe it as most of the state lost its tomato crop that season. Heirlooms have survived for many years, at least fifty or more, and over the course of their propagations the plants have fought off a variety of insects and blights, only to become stronger and more resistant to disease. In addition, heirlooms contain more sugar than hybrids and with the sugar, greater nutrient content. Julie and Scott’s farm is on an island in Lake Michigan and there are benefits to being off the grid, so to speak. “We don’t have to worry about our neighbor’s corn field cross pollinating with ours.” The goal is to continue to produce the pure genetic characteristics of the heirloom seeds.

Annie’s offers a variety of different seed packages for every type of gardener. If you have never gardened before, do not despair. Even if you live in New York City, you could have a window or rooftop container garden that would prosper. Here are a few of the collections available for purchase: Beginner’s Garden Collection, Southern Homestead, Northern Homestead, Master Homestead Garden, Asian Garden Collection, Summer in Italy Garden Collection and Mexican Salsa Garden Collection, just to name a few. Depending on what part of the country you live in, advice from a professional about preparation of the soil would be a good idea. Here in New Mexico, we have heavy clay soil in the green belt and sandy soils on the mesas. Last year I used a product from Back to the Earth called Cottonburr Blend, a natural compost soil builder designed to loosen clay soils and increase moisture retention. It worked well in my area which is about a mile from the Rio Grande River. Along with basic soil preparation, don’t forget the fertilizer. I use a 2-1-1 premium all purpose fertilizer called “Yumyum Mix” by Soil Mender Products out of Tulia, TX. I was pleased with the results and will use it again this year.

Another great way to begin gardening is to have a small culinary herb garden as close to the kitchen as possible. Last summer I had an amazing basil plant that grew to about two feet tall and was beautifully bushy and pleasing to the eye. A few snips with a pair of scissors before dinner added an incredible flavor to many summer dishes. Annie’s offers a basic culinary herb collection as well as a gourmet culinary herb collection. Herbs are not just pretty and tasty. Thyme, rosemary, basil, oregano and cayenne are all excellent detoxifiers in the body. Julie has graciously allowed me to present her recipe for pesto sauce, a wonderful unique sauce with that wonderful basil aroma, perfect for pastas and fish. This is an interesting variation on the classical Italian recipe. Julie uses sunflower seeds and arugula but encourages her customers to “think outside the box” and experiment with different herbs and nuts or seeds.

Sunflower seed, basil and arugula pesto sauce:

2 cloves garlic
½ cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup packed fresh arugula
¾ tsp. sea salt
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup sunflower seeds
“In a food processor, mince the garlic with the basil, arugula and salt. With the machine on, add the olive oil in a thin stream and continue processing until well blended. Add the sunflower seeds and process until the seeds are finely chopped. Serve over pasta, or as we love it, over fish. Local Michigan Lake Trout is our favorite, but salmon would be excellent as well,"

Courtesy of Annie’s Heirloom Seeds. You can order a seed catalog at or call 1-800-313-9140. For those who can’t plant a garden this season for whatever reason, please support your local growers. With your zip code, you can find them at and sign up for their newsletter.
Bon appetite!

Tags:  farming  gardening  nutrition  organic  pesticides  sunflower 

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Motion Sickness Medicine

Posted By Murray Susser, MD, Thursday, March 19, 2015
Motion sickness occurs in certain people when they travel, especially in a cars, trains, airplanes and boats. It’s symptoms include queasy and/or dizzy feelings and cold sweats. It also can lead to nausea and vomiting.

Motion sickness is different from Vertigo, which is often caused by an inner ear problem. Vertigo is a sensation of spinning, as if the room you are in is moving around you.  Motion Sickness, unlike Vertigo, is dependent on the person traveling, as in a car. READ MORE

Tags:  arthritis  Calcium  inner ear  magnesium  medicine  motion sickness  vertigo  Vitamin C 

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Fiber: Just One of Those Health Topics That Won't Go Away

Posted By Carol L Hunter, PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Thursday, March 5, 2015
Welcome to the first edition of Link, ACAM’s new publication for the general public, devoted to achieving optimal health through natural approaches. It is my honor and pleasure to be a contributor for nutrition and exercise topics. Your feedback is always welcome. If you have any ideas for future articles, I will listen and do my best to present them as I see this as a partnership. As we make our way into 2015, I wondered how everyone was progressing with New Year’s resolutions. Have you eliminated those sodas? Stuck to that early morning exercise routine? Lost those first five pounds? If you haven’t achieved a perfect score, take solace. 

The heart of my first article is self-acceptance, a tool that will serve you well once you learn to embrace it. As we head into a new year, give yourself this precious gift and see what a difference it can make in your life. We humans fall short of our goals for as many reasons as the mind can comprehend. I like to attribute shortfalls to “life getting in the way,” my umbrella term for missed opportunities. Most people are their own harshest critic, berating themselves for days after a botched plan to get out on the trail or go to the gym. A family member had a birthday and it would have been rude not to indulge in a piece of cake. Stop beating yourself up mentally and learn to take a deep breath and realize that not all is lost when there has been a slip in plans. Acknowledge to yourself that eating that piece (or forkful) of cake is an important part of living with a glass half full. And that nap you took on your day off? Maybe your body needed it. Remember the words to the old song “pick yourself up, dust yourself off, then start all over again?” Perseverance can’t really exist without acceptance of our human failings; it is what makes perseverance so noble, so hard and so worthwhile. There’s only one way to become better at accepting yourself and that is practice. Don’t let the negative thinking of lost opportunities hold you back. Instead, understand that when you are human, there is no perfect plan and no one size fits all. But there is the power of your thoughts and the belief in your ability to reclaim your goals. Forgive yourself and get on with it. Right now that “it” is fiber, a most formidable tool in our dietary planning.

Fiber is just one of those health topics that won’t go away and for many good reasons. Let’s do a quick review of the benefits and then we’ll get into the yummy stuff: recipes!! My oldest daughter first brought this recipe to my attention and at first I must admit I was skeptical. One bite and I became a believer that beets and sweet potatoes are perfect partners after all!

Root vegetables are a great source of soluble fiber. The combination of beets with sweet potatoes and other vegetables makes for a colorful and hardy wintry side dish. The flavors blend together beautifully into a naturally sweet casserole dish without the addition of any sweetener at all. Not only is it nutrient dense in terms of vitamins and minerals, especially with the added skins, but it provides a good portion of daily fiber.  The fennel has the most wonderful aroma. Gone is the old sweet potato casserole laden with brown sugar and covered in marshmallows, once a holiday staple in our household.  The fiber content of this dish slows down digestion and helps to prevent rapid insulin release and blood glucose spikes resulting in less fat storage. Fiber also assists with the removal of unhealthy fats, like low density lipoprotein (LDL) or commonly known as the “bad cholesterol” from the body, improving the overall lipid profile.

The only starchy vegetable in the recipe is the sweet potato but don’t let that deter you. Sweet potatoes are a potent source of vitamin A, beta carotene, potassium and quercetin, an anti- inflammatory phytochemical. They are low in calories and contain no fat.  Beets are usually considered “sweet” but they only have a glycemic load of five on a scale of 0 to 100 with 0 being the lowest, meaning that they do not trigger an insulin surge due to their natural sweetness.

A caveat about this dish is the variability of the cooking time. With the same number of ingredients, I have had different cooking times, so a bit closer monitoring is required for it to turn out the way you like it. If you like dishes crispy and crunchy, then an hour of cooking time may be sufficient. But if you like food moist, like I do, you may want to cook longer checking the tenderness every 10 minutes until done. I like to drizzle some water on the dish at the one hour mark to make sure it stays moist. Another way to retain moisture is to cover the dish. Experiment until it turns out the way you like it. A further recommendation is to prepare the dish a day ahead of time and rewarm it on the day you will serve it. It gets better with each rewarming!

Time needed
40 min preparation (if you hand chop) + 60 min cooking plus

Serving Size / Yield

12 one half cup servings; calories per serving: 35; fiber per serving: 2.5 grams


  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 3 medium fresh beets cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1purple globe turnip, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 fennel root, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 med. onions, coarsely chopped
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes with skins on, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 C.)
  • 5 cloves garlic, cut into thin slices
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves or fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
  • 1 Cup Vegetable Broth ( Certified Organic preferred)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 425°F. Spray a 17 x 11-inch roasting pan or shallow baking sheet with the cooking spray.

Skins can be left on the beets, turnip and even the sweet potatoes. Cut off both ends and scrub well with a vegetable brush under cold running water. If you want to get your veges squeaky clean, let them soak for 10 minutes or so in a bath of white vinegar (a healthy splash) and water.  Peel and chop the onions and garlic. Chop the fennel from the green sprigs to the bulb.

Stir the sweet potatoes, beets, turnip, onions, fennel, garlic, rosemary and oil in the prepared pan. Roast the vegetables for 30 minutes. Pour the broth over the vegetables and stir.

Roast for an additional 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender when tested with a fork.  The next time I make this dish I am planning to add green chile, hot of course, in honor of my home state, the Land of Enchantment! Use your imagination to give this dish your own local flavor.

Bon appetite!

Tags:  fiber  nutrition 

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Ask the Expert: Is Hormone Replacement Safe?

Posted By Amber Passini, MD, Thursday, March 5, 2015

Q: My physician says hormone replacement is not safe.  Why does he not feel they are safe? I heard bioidentical hormones are safer than pharmaceutical hormones. What’s the difference?

A:  First of all the human body makes many hormones and we depend on them for virtually every system in the body.  Our sex hormones, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone help us to feel young, vibrant, energetic, and sexual, among other things, and when they start to fall people generally just don't feel well.  Symptoms can range from poor sleep, foggy thinking, low energy, and irritability, to low sex drive, depression, anxiety or weight gain.  Balancing our hormones can be a challenge and it is important to have a physician who is knowledgeable and experienced with bio-identical hormones.  Bio-identical hormones are just what it sounds like, they are exactly identical to the hormones your body makes, or used to make.   Estrogen, Progesterone, and Testosterone, are the three main sex hormones that most people are talking about these days although there are different forms of each.   Hormones that are patented by drug companies for hormone replacement therapy are not bio-identical and can be harmful. Pharmaceutical, genetically altered or horse derived, hormones are foreign to human bodies and are often more potent and more toxic to the human body.  This is especially true if they are metabolized a certain way.  In fact, the breakdown products of synthetic hormones can be several times more toxic than the original hormone.  They can help alleviate symptoms of hormone deficiency and menopause, but it comes with a price.

The Women’s Health Initiative a large clinical trial, which studied patented pharmaceutical hormone replacement (NOT bioidentical hormones replacement) found increased risks of breast cancer, strokes, blood clots, and heart disease. I do NOT recommend replacing hormones with synthetic estrogen and progesterone.   It is not safe!  Due to the Women’s Health Initiative many physicians do not feel any form of hormone replacement therapy is safe, but what they fail to realize is that the study used a horse estrogen and fake progesterone.  Sadly, most physicians are not educated on bioidentical hormone replacement and do not understand the difference between bioidentical hormone replacement and non-bioidentical hormone replacement.  It is something we are not trained on in medical school and those of us who are well versed in it have had to seek extensive additional training after medical school and residency.  

Human bodies have been making hormones for hundreds of thousands of years. Our bodies are at their best in our youth when our hormone levels are optimal, so having healthy hormone levels in and of itself is not the problem.  When our hormones fall we feel bad, (tired, irritable, depressed, achy, can't sleep, no energy or motivation, etc.).  In order to alleviate the symptoms of hormone deficiency we should be replacing hormones with bioidentical estrogen and progesterone in doses NO higher than what naturally occurs in the human body.  If bio-identical hormones are administered correctly they are as safe as the hormones that exist naturally in our body. Careful monitoring should be done to assure the hormone levels are balanced and are at appropriate levels for each person.  If you suffer from symptoms of hormone deficiency find a physician well versed in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to help you get back on the track to feeling healthy and vibrant again.  

Tags:  bioidentical hormones  hormone replacement 

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Why Is Integrative Dentistry So Important?

Posted By Liz Pullman, Monday, February 16, 2015
Updated: Thursday, March 5, 2015
There is a changing paradigm in dentistry, not completely new, but one that fits the time. Forward thinking dentists are redirecting their focus from the repair of teeth to oral health conditions effecting the entire body. These issues include chronic infections, mercury and other heavy metal toxicities, periodontal disease, TMJ and chronic pro-facial pain, and sleep disordered breathing. Increasing evidence links these conditions to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic pain, anxiety and depression, poor performance and learning, dementia, and even cancer.

Dentists who are cognizant of this important medical/dental connection are seeking collaboration with integrative physicians to provide appropriate interdisciplinary medical/dental solutions. Removing toxic metals from the mouth requires medical support to detoxify the body. Airway/sleep disorders (ASD) is a hidden, ubiquitous problem affecting all parts of our society. ASD effects the brain, immune system, and ANS and other vital functions. ASD is often expressed in the form of one or more of the prevalent chronic diseases and syndromes today. Treatment of a manifestation of ASD can provide relief, but not necessarily long term benefits. Without recognition of the underlying problem, ASD will be present again in another form. Integrative dentists and healthcare practitioners of ACAM are the ideal collaborators in co-diagnosis and co-treatment.

For over 20 years our practice, the Hindin Center for Whole Health Dentistry had been located adjacent to Michael Schachter’s office. My son Jeff, his wife Jill, and I have utilized the resources available next door and from other complementary physicians in the area for the benefit of our patients and practice.

I am honored to be the first dentist elected to the ACAM Board. I have always promoted the medical/dental connection. I have done this in the past as president of the Foundation for Innovative Medicine, (FAIM) and as the Founder of the American Academy of Physiological Medicine and Dentistry (AAPMD), and now as a ACAM Board member. I look forward to the day where every integrative dentist will have a close working relationship with a complementary physician. Expanded programs for interdisciplinary education and training are needed to better understand the connections and develop protocols for co-diagnosis and co-treatment. I look forward to bringing our AAPMD resources to a collaborative relationship with ACAM for the benefit of our memberships and our patients.

Tags:  dentistry  howard hindin  integrative 

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The Road to TACT2: Updates from the Second Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy

Posted By Reprinted with permission from CardioSource WorldNews, Thursday, January 22, 2015
Updated: Thursday, March 5, 2015
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Tags:  chelation  Lamas  TACT  TACT2 

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2014 Annual Meeting: Save the Date!

Posted By Administration, Friday, April 18, 2014
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The Future of Medicine is Here: ACAM conferences, DigiVision Media and the Art and Science of Real Healing

Posted By Mike Adams, Editor of (reprinted with permission), Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Updated: Friday, June 19, 2015
(NaturalNews) Given the medical brainwashing, propaganda, drug company bribes and all the other nonsense that goes on in conventional medicine today, it's very difficult to find a group of physicians and clinicians who have any real understanding of healing. But I've found them! They all seem to be members of ACAM, the American College for Advancement in Medicine, found at

Over the last year, I've been intently listening to the advanced medicine lectures given by ACAM and provided as interactive training DVDs by DigiVision Media (, and I have to tell you this is the most valuable advanced medicine information available today.

Learn more:

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Go Social: The Benefits of Professional Networking

Posted By Administration, Sunday, May 5, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 29, 2014
I have attended many professional conferences, but what continues to astound me after planning and executing 10+ ACAM conferences is the long-lasting camaraderie that our guests build with one another. The complementary, alternative, and integrative medicine community is such an open group of individuals that have such a spectacular common goal of wellness through whole body approaches that it is always a pleasure to see practitioners and corporate supporters that I have the pleasure of working with throughout the year get to meet each other and continue to strengthen their bonds conference after conference.

Of course, attending an ACAM conference is primarily about receiving cutting edge research straight from industry experts. However, we strive to provide a robust experience for attendees to satisfy their educational, business, and personal interests when they join us. Whether you are meeting old friends or enjoying the company of physicians you are meeting for the first time, we want you to make memories and provide a network of experts and thought leaders you can rely on.

We are infusing this concept into the core of our upcoming spring meeting by:

  1. Inviting new members and attendees (and long-time ACAM members!) to participate in our mentorship program and an introductory reception.
  2. Encouraging you to join us for pre-conference and General Session activities by saving with passport packages.
  3. Inviting anyone attending the General Session through regular a la carte and passport package rates to ask a colleague to join them in the General Session for $399, a 50% savings!
  4. Providing breaks and lunches in the exhibits areas and centralizing these areas with education so you will be able to find business solutions for your practice.
  5. Hosting the Friday evening Havana Nights reception to provide your mind much needed rest!

Our events are ever evolving based on feedback we receive from our guests. Anyone who missed the opportunity initially can still participate through our online survey!

About the Conference

ACAM will be hosting our Spring conference May 29th - June 2nd at the beautiful Westin Diplomat Resort in Hollywood, FL.

Pre-conference workshops will be hosted Wednesday, May 29th and Thursday, May 30th. Topics include Basic Chelation Therapy, Integrative Psychiatry, Lyme Diseas & Biotoxin Illnesses Co-Presented by BioResource, Inc, and Hands-On Hyperbarics Presented by International Hyperbarics Association.

ACAM's General Session, Mitochondria in Health and Disease: A Clinician's Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment, is designated for 12.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ and will be hosted Friday, May 31st - Sunday, June 2nd.

Join ACAM in welcoming Dr. Gervasio "Tony" Lamas on Saturday, June 1st at lunch where he will discuss the ground breaking Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy, which he served as study chair for.

Please visit for more information and contact ACAM at 1-800-532-3688 with any questions. See you there!

In Good Health,

Megan Marburger, Director of Operations

Tags:  Annual Meeting  Education Summit 

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ACAM Welcomes John Dearlove as Advisor to the Board of Directors

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 8, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 29, 2014

ACAM welcomes John Dearlove as an Advisor to its Board of Directors. Mr. Dearlove brings a wealth of experience serving the integrative medicine community to ACAM. He has served as CEO of and founded and managed a marketing and communications agency for over 20 years. More recently Mr. Dearlove has created Health Realizations Inc.

"John brings years of business experience and passion to our organization," states Michael Boutot, Executive Director of ACAM. "I have grown to appreciate his level of knowledge in our industry and his professionalism," added Boutot. "I am honored to be invited to participate on the ACAM Advisory Board," stated Dearlove. He continued, "I have found ACAM to be a group of the most open and inviting physicians. This is an organization of medical professionals truly focused on advancing the cause of integrative medicine and I welcome the opportunity to assist ACAM in disseminating cutting edge information on the prevention and remission of disease."

Please join ACAM in welcoming John Dearlove!

Tags:  ACAM Board of Directors  Welcome 

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ACAM Welcomes Naturopathic Physicians into Professional Membership

Posted By Administration, Friday, April 5, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The complementary, alternative, and integrative medicine community has always been comprised of forward thinkers committed to treating a patient well using the latest research. ACAM has experienced an influx of interest from naturopathic doctors (NDs) during the past few years and have had the opportunity to welcome many as faculty and as attendees at our conferences.

It is with tremendous pride that we announce that our voting membership, historically composed of MDs and DOs, has voted by nearly a 9-1 margin to provide full active voting professional membership to licensed naturopathic physicians. Licensed naturopathic physicians have been provided professional affiliate membership at ACAM in the past, but did not have voting rights relative to membership measures.

Qualified naturopathic doctors who are existing members of ACAM have automatically been provided full benefits and new members will automatically be inducted into active voting membership. Benefits of membership include:

  • Discounts on ACAM programming and our Certified Chelation Therapy (CCT) Examination
  • Patient referrals through our Physician + Link system
  • Complimentary access to Natural Standard, a $300 value
  • 10% discount at the ACAM Store
  • Discounts on books, such as savings of up to 50% on Dr. Alan Gaby's book, Nutritional Medicine
  • Opportunities to serve as a mentor, receive mentorship, and serve the Organization through committee work

To qualify for membership, doctors must have graduated from an accredited medical school and professional members must operate in a state that licenses them. Naturopathic doctors who have graduated from an accredited program, but operate in a state that does not currently license naturopathic doctors may still join ACAM as affiliate members.

Please visit for more information regarding benefits and eligibility. Please contact ACAM's membership coordinator, Fatima Quintero, with questions at 1-800-532-3688 x1061 or by emailing

ACAM welcomes NDs to active membership and leadership fully supports your committment to patient care. Following are welcome messages from ACAM leadership.

Those who attend ACAM conferences, those who design our conferences, whether they be allopaths, osteopaths, or naturopaths are striving for intellectual honesty in the practice and educational arena of medicine. This to me means we look at nutritional and environmental influences on illness and health; areas that are the core of naturopathic training. Many of us have naturopaths within our offices and see the validation of their profession by universities where they work side by side with their MD/DO colleagues.

- Neal Speight, MD, ACAM President

Over the years, we have watched the practice of naturopathic medicine evolve into a highly sophisticated, rigorous practice model, with defined standards and scientific substantiation. There is increased legitimization of the field via recognition of naturopaths by universities and government programs like the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.Many ACAM physicians already cooperate successfully with NDs in integrative group practices. Their training and orientation complement the scope of services patients can draw upon.

- Ronald Hoffman, MD, ACAM Past President and current member of the Board of Directors

Many NDs feel more at home at ACAM than with our membership organization; we are a diverse population of providers with diverse modalities...The quality of our continuing education is attractive to a variety of providers and I believe we will continue to attract a substantialmembershipof NDs if we are respectful and willing to treat NDs equally as peers. Certainly, as an ND myself, I feel that I have been treated as a peer, I think I have proven that over the years as a Board Advisor. I believe that we as NDs have a lot to teach and contribute to ACAM as well as a lot to learn. The stakes in our current healthcare catastrophe are too high to be exclusive and I believe it is to our benefit to act inclusively for our sustainability as well as our visibility.

- Lyn Patrick, ND ACAM Board Advisor and Education Planner

Tags:  Naturopathic Physicians  Professional Membership  Welcome 

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ACAM to Welcome Gervasio "Tony" Lamas, MD to Spring Conference

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 4, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It is with great enthusiasm that ACAM announces that we have the distinct pleasure to host Gervasio Lamas, MD to our upcoming Spring 2013 conference and tradeshow. Dr. Lamas will be speaking on Saturday, June 1, 2013 as a special lunchtime presentation during ACAM's General Session proceedings.

Dr. Lamas will be discussing the Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT) which was a multi-center international collaborative study initiated in 2009. Sponsored by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), Dr. Lamas was the lead investigator to determine the safety and effectiveness of EDTA chelation therapy in individuals with coronary artery disease. Dr. Lamas will be covering the TACT findings and its impact on the integrative medicine.

About Dr. Gervasio "Tony" Lamas

Gervasio A. (Tony) Lamas, M.D., is chief of Columbia University Division of Cardiology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Fla. and author of the TACT trial report. Dr. Lamas is the Chairman of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center and Chief of the Columbia University Division of Cardiology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. He received his B.A. in Biochemical Sciences cum laude from Harvard College and his M.D. with honors (AOA) from New York University. He completed his Internship and Residency at the Brigham and Women's Hospital of Harvard Medical School, where he later served as Assistant Professor of Medicine. During the last decade, he has enrolled thousands of patients in more than a dozen U.S. and international trials in order to improve cardiac care and prevent death and disability from heart disease. He served as Chairman of the Mode Selection Trial in Sinus Node Dysfunction (MOST), a trial that led to profound changes in cardiac pacemakers. He served as Co-Chairman for the Occluded Artery Trial (OAT), and Study Chair for the Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT), a $30 million trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. He has authored over 300 scientific publications, and maintains an active clinical practice in Miami Beach and Key Biscayne.

About the Conference

ACAM's Spring 2013 Conference and Tradeshow will be hosted at the Westin Diplomat Resort in sunny Hollywood, FL Wednesday, May 29th - Sunday, June 2nd.
ACAM will offer pre-conference workshop learning opportunities in the areas of Lyme Disease & Biotoxin Illnesses, Basic Chelation Therapy (Heavy Metal Toxicology), Integrative Psychiatry, and Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment presented by International Hyperbarics Association (IHA) on Wednesday, May 29th and Thursday, May 30th.

Our General Session, Mitochondria in Health and Disease: A Clinician's Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment, is designated for a maximum of 12.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ and will be hosted on Friday, May 31st - Sunday, June 2nd. Dr. Lamas will be our guest speaker at Saturday's lunch. All General Session attendees are automatically registered to hear this discussion.

ACAM will also be hosting its Certified Chelation Therapy Examination, is partnering with the Certification Board For Nutrition Specialists to host their examination, and will offer a multitude of bonus learning and networking opportunities.

For more information please visit

Tags:  alternative medicine  chelation therapy  complementary medicine  functional medicine  holistic medicine  integrative medicine  Spring Conference 

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Who is Your Primary Care Giver?

Posted By Holly Lucille, ND, RN, Monday, February 25, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 29, 2014
We love this blog post by Dr. Holly! Perhaps it will inspire a conversation you can have with your patients...

What would you say if I asked you who your "primary care giver” is?

Would you fumble for your insurance card, strain to remember your doctor’s name or claim you don’t have enough money to have one? Well, let me cut to the chase: aren’t YOU really supposed to be primarily in charge of taking care of yourself? Huh..huh?? Well…..AREN’T you? Uh huh….I though you might agree with me.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? Still, countless times after I finish a lecture and there is a period of Q & A, I will have someone ask me what I think about this or that, usually it is a medication they are taking. You see, I have gotten wise in my time and started to catch on to this manner of questioning so I shoot back right away and ask, "why are you asking”? Inevitably, every time, the person asking the questions admits to taking the medication about which they are asking. So I, in turn, ask, "well, what do you think about it?” and they say….”I don’t know, my doctor has me on it”. Here is where things get a little heated, because I get really serious and call them out, exclaiming, "WAIT! You mean to tell me that you are taking a medication that you don’t know how you feel about?!?!

Here is my point. We all have to start taking 100% responsibility for our health. Your doctor has every right to make a recommendation and prescribe anything, but after that, you are responsible for every thing that you put in your body- including (and especially) medications, what they are used for, what the side effects are, and everything else!

Here is some reframing I would like you to try when speaking about your healthcare. Instead of saying "my doctor has me on­­­­_____”, say "My doctor prescribed ______and I am choosing to take it.” This ultimately empowers you as the "boss” of your body! That is what makes a great partnership when it comes to health, but ultimately, you truly are your own primary care giver.

Tags:  primary caregiver 

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Natural Treatments for Autoimmune Infertility Concerns

Posted By Fiona McCulloch, ND, Thursday, February 7, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 29, 2014
This article was published in the March 2011 NDNR Journal

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 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

Both folate deficiency 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 daily to aid with inflammatory and thrombotic disorders . A 2007 study on mice found that a ratio of 23:14 EPA to DHA 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


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  2. Nothnick, WB. Treating endometriosis as an autoimmune disease. Fertility and sterility. 2001 Aug;76(2): 223-231.
  3. Antsiferova YS, Sotnikova NY, Posiseeva LV, Shor AL. Changes in the T-helper cytokine profile and in lymphocyte activation at the systemic and local levels in women with endometriosis. Fertil Steril. 2005;84(6):1705-11.
  4. Gitlits VM, Toh BH, Sentry JW. Disease association, origin, and clinical relevance of autoantibodies to the glycolytic enzyme enolase. J Investig Med. 2001. 49(2):138-45.
  5. Kim NY, Cho HJ, Kim HY, et al. Thyroid Autoimmunity and its Association with Cellular and Humoral Immunity in Women with Reproductive Failures. Am J Reprod Immunol. 2011;65(1):78-87
  6. Ott J, Aust S, Kurz C et al. Elevated antithyroid peroxidase antibodies indicating Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are associated with the treatment response in infertile women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertility and sterility. 2010;94(7): 2895-2897.
  7. Guliter S, Yakaryilmaz F, Ozkurt Z, et al. Prevalence of coeliac disease in patients with autoimmune thyroiditis in a Turkish population. World J Gastroenterol 2007; 13(10): 1599-1601
  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.
  9. Kumar A, Meena M, Begum N, et al. Latent celiac disease in reproductive performance of women Fertility and sterility 24 November 2010. Epub ahead of print
  10. Yamada H, Atsumi T, Kato EH, et al. Prevalence of diverse antiphospholipid antibodies in women with recurrent spontaneous abortion. Fertil Steril. 2003;80(5):1276-1278.
  11. Kwak-Kim JY, Chung-Bang HS, Ng SC, et al. Increased T helper 1 cytokine responses by circulating T cells are present in women with recurrent pregnancy losses and in infertile women with multiple implantation failures after IVF. Human Reproduction. 2003;18(4):767-73.
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Tags:  Autoimmune  Infertility 

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9/14/2017 » 9/16/2017
ACAM 2017 Annual Meeting

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