Uncategorized, Health and Disease

Foods That Fight Back Pain

Foods That Fight Back Pain

Foods That Fight Back Pain

 

As reported by the University of Maryland Medical Center, back pain is the second leading cause for doctor visits, with up to 80% of adults in the United States suffering from this type of pain. Inflammation is a common cause for back pain. While inflammation is a natural response to disease or injury in the body, making small changes to your daily diet can help reduce this inflammatory response.. There are many different types of foods that help fight inflammation and reduce back pain. Dietary changes can be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments as recommended by your physician.

 

Fatty Fish

 

Fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel, contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce both inflammation and pain in the body, and can be especially effective for non-surgical back pain according to research at the University of Pittsburgh. However, there is a risk of bleeding with certain forms of omega-3 fatty acids that may be increased if you take blood-thinning medications so check with your doctor.

 

Red Grapes

 

Red grapes contain a compound called resveratrol. Resveratrol has been shown to help prevent deterioration of tissue and damage to cartilage in the back. Other foods that contain this beneficial compound include blueberries, cranberries, and red wine (but not too much!).

 

Cherries

 

Tart cherries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have been shown to be effective in reducing inflammation, joint pain, and muscle pain.

 

Berries

 

Berries contain high amounts of antioxidants, helping to reduce inflammation. Certain berries also contain anthocyanins and ellagitannins, which can fight inflammation and pain. Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, acai, and pomegranate all have pain-fighting components.

 

Pineapple

 

Pineapple is well-known for helping to relieve pain due to the enzyme, bromelain. Bromelain helps suppress the inflammatory response, can reduce swelling, and ease pain. However, bromelain can increase bleeding, affect ulcers, and interact with medications, including certain antibiotics.

 

Broccoli

 

Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain a compound called sulforaphane that can reduce inflammation before it starts and block certain damaging enzymes to help prevent destruction of joint tissue.

 

Spices and Herbs

 

How you season your food can help fight pain as well. Use herbs and spices such as ginger, turmeric, boswellia, white willow bark, and devil’s claw. Some herbs may interact with medications, so check with your doctor before you start taking any new supplements.

 

Foods that Create Inflammation

 

Just as there are foods that can fight inflammation and pain, there are also foods that can potentially trigger an inflammatory response from the body, increasing inflammation and pain. The Cleveland Clinic recommends avoiding gluten, tobacco, and foods from the nightshade family, including the following:

Tomatoes

Peppers

White Potatoes

Eggplant

Paprika

 

Because all individuals react differently to different foods, try avoiding these foods for a couple of weeks to see if the pain improves. This can help you to identify your dietary inflammatory triggers.

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Uncategorized, Health and Disease, Lifestyle

Whole Person Cancer Care

Whole-Person Cancer Care

Whole-Person Cancer Care

 

 

Why lifestyle-based therapies — including nutrition, exercise, acupuncture, and other alternative practices — are becoming essential components of traditional cancer treatment.

 

When I was a kid, my dad spent a lot of time in the bathroom. He didn’t have a large intestine, so things moved through him fast. The loo was his home inside our home.

 

He lost his colon, piece by piece, at his other home, Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester, Minn., where he sought treatment for a rare genetic condition that causes polyps to grow in the intestinal tract. Every year, his gastroenterologist would do a series of scopes and cut the polyps out. A couple inches of intestine usually went as well. Eventually he had no colon left.

 

My dad didn’t seem to mind the hospital or the bathroom. He loved to read, and both places gave him ample opportunity. My mom, my brother, and I found the whole situation unfortunate, but also something to tease him about. Leave it to my dad to get the world’s least romantic disease, one that entailed an annual colonoscopy.

 

We joked, that is, until his Peutz–Jeghers syndrome (PJS) was reclassified as a hereditary cancer disorder. It turns out the gene mutation that triggered those annoying but benign polyps also increased his cancer risk manyfold.

 

My dad didn’t have a lot of time to ruminate on his new circumstances. Just as PJS was getting reclassified as a cancer syndrome, his lungs proved the point. He was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that same year.

 

He died six months later, and he left a legacy: I have PJS, too.

 

Cancer, Then and Now

My dad was diagnosed 20 years ago by the calendar, but light years away in terms of cancer research. Back then, the disease was considered primarily genetic, and genes were viewed as an immutable part of our biological architecture: The only cancer-prevention strategy was to cross your fingers and hope you didn’t get it. If you did get it, the only treatment options were chemo and radiation, so you crossed your fingers again and hoped they worked.

 

Today, we know that genes are only a part of the picture, and that there is a lot we can do in our daily lives to prevent cancer. Even more promising, many of the strategies that help prevent cancer can also help combat the disease if it crops up.

 

“It seems like the big, bad cancer-cell story is just that — a story among stories. It holds up when viewed from certain angles, but it doesn’t hold up when viewed from every angle,” says Michelle Gerencser, MS, a nutrition consultant in North Logan, Utah, who specializes in cancer nutrition and nutritional immunology.

 

While most medical protocols for curing cancer are still based on the timeworn theory that the disease is a genetic mutation, Gerencser says, that theory is no longer supported by contemporary research.

 

There are plenty of reasons to question the genetic hypothesis: Cancer can be triggered by smoking or viruses like human papillomavirus (HPV) and Epstein-Barr. Conversely, the damaged nucleus from a cancer cell can be injected into a healthy cell and not turn the healthy cell cancerous. Genes may play a role, but they don’t tell the whole story.

 

So what does?

 

Almost all cancer experts agree on one factor: inflammation.

 

“Inflammation is fertilizer for cancer,” says Colin Champ, MD, a radiation oncologist and assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. He notes that pathologists often find inflammatory cells near cancerous sites on pathology slides. “The more inflammation people have, the more likely they are to get certain cancers.”

 

Many factors fuel inflammation, including toxic exposures and chronic stress. But one of the biggest drivers is imbalanced nutrition — consuming too much nutritionally bankrupt food and not enough whole, unprocessed fare.

 

Researchers have also examined other potential triggers for cancer: mitochondrial function, microbial DNA, even the effect of our thoughts and beliefs on the immune system.

 

We still don’t know if cancer is the result of one, some, or all these things. We do know, however, that it’s a condition that involves multiple changes in health over time, and that the environment and our daily habits and behaviors are important factors.

 

As such, there’s good reason to think that the nutrition and lifestyle choices we make can improve our chances of avoiding the disease — and minimize its progress if it does take hold.

 

Better Together

Significant research in recent years has shown that lifestyle interventions and complementary therapies can help prevent and heal cancer. Most practitioners, however, insist that these are not replacements for conventional therapies — the two approaches are often most powerful when used together.

 

“There are plenty of lifestyle approaches that show promise,” says Champ, who’s a strong advocate for paleo-style nutrition to support cancer patients. But he’s firm about employing a multipronged plan. He dreads hearing from patients who had a treatable cancer a year earlier but refused standard treatment in favor of a ketogenic or vegan diet — and have recently learned the cancer has spread.

 

Acknowledging that cancer has environmental and lifestyle components does have a downside: a temptation to blame the victim. “We’re a society that likes to assign guilt,” says Cheryl Johnson, an oncology massage therapist and president of the National Alliance of Medical Massage and Bodywork. “We want to say that patients ‘did something wrong’ or ‘made bad lifestyle choices.’ But illness is not a punishment.”

 

For my part, I was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and was shocked at how quickly I slipped into self-blame. Was cancer brewing because I hadn’t meditated or exercised enough? Was I doomed because of my genes? No, no, and no. But it took time to realize this — as well as to wrestle back the frightening idea that torrents of stressful thoughts might make me even sicker.

 

Rather than continuing to accuse myself, I soon started to focus on the degree to which I controlled my situation. I fell back on my health-journalist training and set out to learn about everything I could do to prevent cancer’s recurrence. I’ve kept up the high-risk screenings that I get for PJS, while researching every other means of cancer prevention and support, much of which I’ve integrated into my daily life. Here are some of the practices with the strongest research backing.

 

Exercise: Keep Moving

A wide body of research shows that movement has a powerful, positive impact on cancer prevention and treatment. The National Institutes of Health is especially laudatory of exercise’s positive effects, highlighting studies that show exercise can lower insulin and estrogen, both of which have been linked to cancer development and progression. Exercise also can reduce inflammation, improve immunity, and alter how the body handles bile acids that have been linked to gastrointestinal cancers.

 

A 2008 study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine found that qigong improved symptoms, side effects, and quality of life for cancer patients. And studies show that regular exercise of any kind lowers breast-cancer risk in women by up to 20 percent, while decreasing breast-cancer-specific mortality risk.

 

“The improvement in the quality of life that exercise provides is well known. For some reason, we often forget that exercise can provide the same benefits for the cancer patient,” writes Champ on his website, CaveManDoctor.com. “Living longer is great, but living longer and feeling better is a whole different level of happiness.

 

“Cancer treatment is no walk in the park. It is clearly a physically and emotionally taxing time,” he continues. “However, whether it is during treatment or after, maybe we should take more walks in the park — and vigorous ones at that.”

 

Nutrition: Eat Your Plants

With the recent surge of research on nutrition and cancer, it’s tempting to believe in magic-bullet foods and miracle diets — but paths that lead to cancer are multiple and overlapping, and every body, and every cancer, is different. There’s no one “right” anticancer diet.

 

“Don’t listen to anticancer claims that tell you what to eat,” says Gerencser. The right nutritional approach will be based on an individual’s specific needs, she adds, not on “one study, or on doing what someone else did.”

 

Although there’s no one magic diet, some approaches are more effective than others. While no integrative oncologist encourages consuming crates of doughnuts, most will emphasize the need to eat more plants. The antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber in dark leafy greens, vegetables, and deeply hued berries are unmatched in their capacity to fight inflammation and support overall health. (For more on this, see “Cancer-Fighting Diets,” below.)

 

Experts also tend to agree on a couple of other tenets for cancer prevention and support during treatment:

 

  • Ditch the sugar. Low-glycemic dietary protocols help keep insulin and inflammation in check. These protocols emphasize proteins and fats — avocados, extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, and grassfed meats — and steer clear of foods that spike blood sugar, including processed grains and sweet fruits.

 

Still, experts note that even blood-sugar regulation is highly individual.

 

“I have clients with perfectly low blood sugar who eat white rice three times a day,” says Gerencser. “Then I have other clients who seem to become prediabetic from just looking at a sweet potato.”

 

She encourages experimentation with starches and fruits to test your tolerance, rather than blindly following any one protocol. Pay attention to whether certain foods tank your energy, and, above all, monitor your efforts with blood work. Regardless, cutting out high-sugar processed foods and beverages is key.

 

  • Fast intermittently. A 2016 meta-analysis found that periodic fasting — even brief fasts of 16 to 18 hours — improves insulin resistance and supports mitochondrial health. (For more on fasting, see “The Insulin Connection,” next page, and “The Case of Intermittent Fasting“.)

 

“Fasting isn’t fun,” says Thomas Seyfried, PhD, professor of biology at Boston College. “But it works really well.” Fasting stimulates a cellular process called autophagy, which destroys junk cells and clears their debris, he explains. Researchers theorize that this process helps eliminate malfunctioning cells that might otherwise become cancerous.

 

Acupuncture: Go With the Flow

Many hospitals now offer alternative or complementary treatment options for battling cancer. Chief among them is acupuncture.

 

Research backs its effectiveness in relieving cancer-treatment side effects, including radiation-related hot flashes, dry mouth, peripheral neuropathy, and fatigue. A 2017 report published in Current Oncology found that acupuncture significantly reduced gastrointestinal symptoms from chemotherapy.

 

“It’s not a magic bullet and it doesn’t work for everyone,” says M. Kay Garcia, DrPH, LAc, associate professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. “But for many patients, it works when nothing else does.”

 

Acupuncture tends to be inexpensive, especially compared with pharmaceutical options. And for some patients, it can provide as much pain relief as opioids do, with fewer side effects.

 

Studies emphasize acupuncture’s utility in relieving side effects of treatment, but show it can be part of a preventive strategy, as well.

 

“Cancer is usually the result of a lot of imbalance that has been going on for a while,” says Tomás Flesher, LAc, owner of Three Treasures Natural Healing in Minneapolis.

 

“We often hear people say, ‘It just came out of nowhere,’ but it didn’t really.”

 

The body is a collection of dynamic energies, Flesher explains. Acupuncture practitioners often compare these energies, called chi (pronounced “chee”), to a river in the body: When it’s high, everything flows as it should; when it’s low, debris gets stuck, causing illness.

 

Acupuncture works to balance those energies before disease sets in.

 

“What’s interesting about acupuncture and other energy medicine,” Flesher says, “is that they seek to influence the changes that are happening in the body way before they manifest symptomatically.” (For more, go to “Acupuncture: Getting to the Point“.)

 

The Best of the Rest

Acupuncture is one of the most common alternative interventions, but it’s not the only one. While clinical evidence for other therapies lags behind public demand, the anecdotal evidence that they work is strong.

 

The following are a few less-studied, but often effective, therapies.

 

  • Oncology massage: Cancer patients are like the athletes of the medical world — their treatment schedule is physically taxing, and massage can mitigate the side effects. It helps reduce anxiety, support relaxation, and boost immunity.

 

“After a medical massage, cancer patients often express appreciation for being reminded that they still can feel good in their body,” says Johnson. “I don’t know if it’s a physical response or a psychosomatic effect, but if they feel better, that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?”

 

Oncology massage may feel a lot like conventional massage, but therapists are specially trained to work around active treatment sites and modify touch for each client’s needs. They also help patients tap into their bodies’ intrinsic self-healing wisdom.

 

“I don’t interpret what I do as ‘me healing someone,’” says Nissa Valdez, a holistic and oncology massage therapist in Minneapolis. “The person’s body is already set up to do that on its own. I’m there to help them be closer to parts of themselves, so they can heal themselves.”

 

Patients in active treatment should check with their oncologists first to make sure massage is safe. (If they’re in the middle of a course of radiation, for example, it could feel miserable.) They should seek only certified therapists.

 

“The bottom line is to find someone experienced to work with,” says Valdez. “Even if someone has been your massage therapist for 15 years, if he or she hasn’t worked with someone with cancer, I’d think twice about continuing.” (The Society for Oncology Massage website, http://www.s4om.org, offers a list of certified practitioners.)

 

  • Music therapy: Now used at most integrative cancer centers around the country, music therapy may help reduce acute, cancer-related pain, according to a 2017 study published in the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing. A 2017 survey of integrative interventions during breast-cancer treatment found that many doctors recommended music therapy — which typically involves listening, singing, and improvisational dancing — for anxiety and depression during treatment. In addition to boosting mood and relieving pain, singing and movement often help cancer patients express difficult emotions.

 

Board-certified music therapist Sara Fisher works in three Denver-area hospitals. She doesn’t need research findings to know that music therapy works. She relies on the feedback of those who work most closely with the patients: nurses.

 

“A nurse will grab me and say, ‘You need to go work your magic on so-and-so. They just got a tough diagnosis and they won’t talk to anybody, but they’ll talk to you,’” she says.

 

  • Psychoneuroimmunology: Though only recently named, the connection between emotional and spiritual experiences and the immune system has been recognized in some cultures for hundreds of years.

 

“The idea of immune surges that lead to immediate healing has been around since the 13th century, or the beginning of recorded cancer,” says researcher Kelly Turner, PhD, author of Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds.

 

Turner began her career as a thera-pist working with cancer patients. After encountering hundreds of terminal patients who had exhausted conventional treatments but then found their cancer in inexplicable remission, she started studying their cases by asking them what they believed helped them heal.

 

“When we think about cancer, we think of a problem with the physical body,” Turner explains. “So, I expected people to tell me what they did to their bodies.”

 

But most patients recounted emotional changes — how they’d forgiven an ex-spouse or found antidotes to their boredom. Some were confident that watching four minutes of funny cat videos a day had made a difference. Others told her that gardening or burning ceremonies or having a weekly “girls’ night” had helped put them into remission — because these things helped them come into the present moment.

 

“Our emotional state impacts our immune system, often instantly,” says Turner. “It’s immunotherapy — just the natural version.”

 

Turner identified eight common factors in radical remission cases: Survivors took control of their health, deepened spiritual connections, overhauled their diets, used herbs and supplements, got more social support, increased positive emotions, followed their intuition, and found strong reasons for living. Of these, only two were physical: changing diets and taking herbs and supplements.

 

The rest were emotional and spiritual, and the details, highly individual. Whatever connected a person with the present moment — whether growing dahlias or playing with dogs — seemed to do the most good.

 

“Cases like these are plentiful,” says Turner. “They’re just severely underreported. The real problem is that we’re not studying them, and we should study everyone who has healed from cancer.”

 

The New Anticancer Life

My genes predispose me to cancer, but I don’t live in abject terror.

 

I feel empowered because the research of the past 20 years tells a new and different story. I know that I can talk to my genes through food and lifestyle medicine. I balance my energy with acupuncture and yoga. I avoid dairy and eat more vegetables in a day than I used to eat in a week. I still don’t meditate, but I’ve embraced the spiritual outlet that works for me: dumb action movies. I relax on a deep cellular level (and thrill like an 11-year-old boy) whenever I watch  Vin Diesel race across Siberia in a Dodge Charger.

 

The cancer that came for me in 2012 has (blessedly) remained at bay. I’ve got some suspicious spots in the rest of my body, so I embrace my PJS-screening protocol, and I watch and wait. Every year, like clockwork, I drink a giant jug of laxative and get a colonoscopy, while my long-suffering gastroenterologist tolerates my efforts to fight him off — kung-fu style — each time I go under anesthesia. Then I go home, chug a low-glycemic green smoothie, and cue up an action film.

 

Cancer is a multidimensional disease. I want a multidimensional plan of attack.

 

The Insulin Connection

The pancreas secretes the hormone insulin every time we eat. Insulin’s main role is to escort glucose into our cells, where it can be used for energy.

 

No matter what we eat, the pancreas releases insulin, but it releases more of it when the foods are sweet. When the body produces substantial amounts of the hormone for too long, cells stop responding, becoming insulin resistant.

 

“High insulin levels and insulin resistance are closely linked to mitochondrial damage,” says Jason Fung, MD, coauthor of The Complete Guide to Fasting. “Damaged mitochondria might be the underlying problem with cancer cells.”

 

Too much insulin may cause another problem, too. “Insulin is a growth factor, and cancer is uncontrolled growth, so anything that causes growth can make things worse,” he explains.

 

Brief periods of fasting can help lower insulin levels and reduce insulin resistance. Nutritionist Michelle Gerencser, MS, notes that it can produce beneficial metabolic changes in as little as 13 hours (which can include sleep time). So, if you stop eating at 7 p.m. and don’t resume again until 8 a.m., you can help restore lower insulin levels.

 

Low-glycemic foods — dark leafy greens and vegetables, grassfed meats, and low-sugar fruits like berries — also keep insulin in check and help reduce inflammation.

 

Cancer-Fighting Diets

Eating more plants and less sugar, while avoiding processed foods and beverages, is the foundation of all cancer-fighting diets. From there, the best approach is the one that works best for you.

 

So how do you know what that is? When you try a new anticancer food protocol, work with your healthcare provider to test your inflammation and blood-sugar levels after a few weeks. When your blood sugar and fasting insulin are well controlled and your inflammatory markers are low, you’ve likely found an effective food plan.

 

You can also use your current health status or treatment protocol as a guide. You might generally eat an anti-inflammatory diet, for example, but if you enter active treatment and your platelets are low, you might want to temporarily kick up the sesame oil and tahini, both high in inflammatory omega-6 fats, to help the platelets recover.

 

These are three of the top nutrition protocols you can use to prevent and heal from cancer.

 

Vegan

  • What it is: A 100 percent plant-based diet that eliminates meat, dairy, and honey.

 

  • Benefits: Plants and more plants supply a load of phytonutrients, antioxidants, and fiber.

 

  • Challenges: Blood sugar can be harder for some to control on a vegan diet. It’s critical to get enough healthy fats for blood-sugar regulation and to avoid processed foods like faux meats.

 

Paleo

  • What it is: A nutrition protocol that focuses on grassfed meats and wild-caught fish, high-quality fats and oils, and as many plants as you can eat; avoids dairy, cereal grains, legumes, potatoes, and refined sugar.

 

  • Benefits: A diet rich in healthy fats and lean protein helps keep blood sugar under control. The omega-3 fats in grassfed meat and coldwater fish like salmon are anti-inflammatory. The absence of sugar keeps insulin well-regulated.

 

  • Challenges: There’s a tendency to overconsume meat and neglect vegetables. Consuming meat from factory-farmed animals, which contains fewer omega-3s and more omega-6s, can promote inflammation. Healthful paleo eating means sticking with grassfed and wild-caught protein, in modest amounts.

 

Ketogenic

  • What it is: A metabolic therapy that requires getting 75 to 80 percent of daily calories from fat, 10 to 15 percent from protein, and 5 to 10 percent from carbohydrates. Periods of fasting also boost nutritional ketosis, a state in which your body burns fat for energy.

 

  • Benefits: Tightly restricting glucose while increasing fat intake forces the body to switch from burning glucose to burning fat; this improves mitochondrial health and puts stress on tumor cells. (Fasting also puts stress on tumor cells.)

 

  • Challenges: It’s hard to eat so much fat and so few carbs. If you decide to adopt a full ketogenic protocol, it’s best done under the care of an experienced health practitioner. And if you do not have cancer, most researchers advocate avoiding prolonged periods of ketosis, as it can lead to phytonutrient deficiencies. “It may be good to go in and out of nutritional ketosis for general health and cancer prevention, but it may not be optimal for those using it for clinical management of existing disease,” says Dominic D’Agostino, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida. He suggests intermittent fasting and low-glycemic-index diets as a good alternative.

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Uncategorized, Health and Disease, Lifestyle

Crucial Lifestyle Changes for People with Rheumatoid Arthrits

rA2017

Crucial Lifestyle Changes for People with Rheumatoid Arthrits

Improving your diet using a combination of my nutritional guidelines, nutritional typing is crucial for your success. In addition, there are some general principles that seem to hold true for all nutritional types and these include:

 

Eliminating sugar, especially fructose, and most grains. For most people it would be best to limit fruit to small quantities

Eating unprocessed, high-quality foods, organic and locally grown if possible

Eating your food as close to raw as possible

Getting plenty high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fats. Krill oil seems to be particularly helpful here as it appears to be a more effective anti inflammatory preparation. It is particularly effective if taken concurrently with 4 mg of Astaxanthin, which is a potent antioxidant bioflavanoid derived from algae

Astaxanthin at 4 mg per day is particularly important for anyone placed on prednisone as Astaxanthin offers potent protection against cataracts and age related macular degeneration

 

Incorporating regular exercise into your daily schedule

 

Early Emotional Traumas Are Pervasive in Those with Rheumatoid Arthritis

With the vast majority of the patients I treated, some type of emotional trauma occurred early in their life, before the age their conscious mind was formed, which is typically around the age of 5 or 6. However, a trauma can occur at any age, and has a profoundly negative impact.

 

If that specific emotional insult is not addressed with an effective treatment modality then the underlying emotional trigger will continue to fester, allowing the destructive process to proceed, which can predispose you to severe autoimmune diseases like RA later in life.

 

In some cases, RA appears to be caused by an infection, and it is my experience that this infection is usually acquired when you have a stressful event that causes a disruption in your bioelectrical circuits, which then impairs your immune system.

 

This early emotional trauma predisposes you to developing the initial infection, and also contributes to your relative inability to effectively defeat the infection.

 

Therefore, it’s very important to have an effective tool to address these underlying emotional traumas. In my practice, the most common form of treatment used is called the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).

 

Although EFT is something that you can learn to do yourself in the comfort of your own home, it is important to consult a well-trained professional to obtain the skills necessary to promote proper healing using this amazing tool.

 

Vitamin D Deficiency Rampant in Those with Rheumatoid Arthritis

The early part of the 21st century brought enormous attention to the importance and value of vitamin D, particularly in the treatment of autoimmune diseases like RA. From my perspective, it is now virtually criminal negligent malpractice to treat a person with RA and not aggressively monitor their vitamin D levels to confirm that they are in a therapeutic range of 50-70 ng/ml.

 

This is so important that blood tests need to be done every two weeks, so the dose can be adjusted to get into that range. Most normal-weight adults should start at 10,000 units of vitamin D per day. If you are in the US, then Lab Corp is the lab of choice. For more detailed information on vitamin D, you can review my vitamin D resource page.

 

The best way to raise your blood levels is by sensible exposure to large amounts of your skin. Most can’t do this in the winter so if you take supplements make sure to take 500 mg to 1000 mg of magnesium and 150 mcg of vitamin K2, (not 1) which are important cofactors for optimizing vitamin D function.

 

Call us for your RA personalized plan.

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Promote Healthy Teeth and Gums

healthyteeth

Promote Healthy Teeth And Gums 

 

There is more than dental health at stake if you fail to brush and floss. Research suggests that the bacteria that cause gum infections can also lead to or worsen atherosclerosis, the arterial disease that contributes to heart attacks and strokes. Start practicing these good oral habits if you don’t already:

Use dental floss at least once a day (such as immediately after you brush in the morning or evening). I suggest using unwaxed dental floss if possible, and get it under the gum line to scrape the tooth surface. If you have the opportunity, ask a dental hygienist to teach you how to floss effectively.

Whenever you have a chance, wash your hands and massage your gums with your fingertips. You can also stimulate your gums by running the end of a round wooden toothpick under the gum line.

If your gums are sore, mix hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to a paste and work this mixture into and under your gums with a toothbrush. Leave the mixture on for a few minutes, then rinse.

Use a goldenseal mouth rinse.

Have your teeth and gums cleaned by a dental hygienist twice a year, and get treatment for any signs of infection that are discovered.

You may also consider toothbrushes incorporating ultrasound – they have been clinically shown to treat gingivitis more effectively than regular toothbrushes. Ask your dentist about them.

There are several causes of gingivitis, and we can help you determine how to cure this problem. Treating the symptoms is important, and finding the cause of this condition lifesaving.

 

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Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

2 Ways to Practicing Visual Imagination

2 Ways To Practicing Visual Imagination

2 Ways To Practicing Visual Imagination

 

Visual imagination or visualization can be a potent tool for emotional well-being. It is mostly what we focus on when we daydream, and it can totally fascinate us when we engage in imagining what we desire.

 

A significant portion of the brain, the visual cortex, is responsible for processing visual imagination and other data coming from the retinas and optic nerves. When the brain is not occupied with that task, it is free to generate pictures of its own – from your brain’s perspective, the distinction between what you see and what you visually imagine is not large. The visual cortex can act as a conduit between the conscious and unconscious mind, giving access to parts of the nervous system that regulate body functions normally considered involuntary.

 

Meditation on visual images is a religious practice in Hinduism and Buddhism, where geometric designs of spiritual significance are used. Apart from its religious purpose, this sort of meditation is said to calm the mind and body.

 

Visual images that we pay frequent attention to can determine the set point of our emotions just as habitual patterns thought can, possibly more so, because they influence physiology so strongly.

 

To get a sense of the power of visual imagination, close your eyes and picture a lemon wedge, freshly cut and glistening with juice. Concentrate on making the image as clear and detailed as you can. Then visualize bringing the lemon to your lips, sucking on it, and biting into it. As you do this, chances are you will experience sensations in your mouth and salivation, just as if you had sucked on an actual slice of lemon.

 

Practitioners of visualization therapy, visual imagination and interactive guided imagery teach patients to modify health conditions by taking advantage of this mind/body phenomenon, often with good results. Over the years, I have referred many patients to such therapists and have seen benefit with problems ranging from atopic dermatitis (eczema) and autoimmunity to cancer and recovery from surgery.

 

To improve emotional well-being, I am experimenting with visualization in two ways:

 

Practice shifting attention from negative thoughts to mental images that evoke positive feelings. For example, think of an actual place where you experienced contentment, comfort, and serenity.

Select an image that you associate with your most positive moods and focus on it frequently. Take that scene from earlier, and recreate it in your mind’s eye. Each time you do, concentrate on sharpening the details, making the colors brighter, imagining sounds, physical sensations, and scents that might have been part of the experience. Keep that image as a place you can go to in your mind whenever you feel stressed, anxious or sad.

Find your own such place, and visit it mentally whenever stress threatens to overwhelm you.

If the negative mental and physical effects of unhealthy stress are affecting your day-to-day life, take steps to address it. Proper diet, lifestyle and supplements may be beneficial.  Call us at Health and Wellness Associates to get you on your personal wellness plan.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Dr M Williams

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Diets and Weight Loss, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Energy Drinks

energydrinks

Recent research reveals some troubling side effects of these popular beverages.

Energy drinks are one of America’s most popular dietary supplements, according to the National Institutes of Health, but that doesn’t mean they’re actually a boost for your health. There’s been a lot controversy surrounding the drinks following several recent overdoses — and even deaths — linked to the beverages. In 2014, World Health Organization researchers labeled the rise in energy-drink consumption a “danger to public health.”

So, what’s in an energy drink, and how does it affect your body?

A 2015 Mayo Clinic study, published in JAMA, examined the effects of drinking a single 16-ounce can of a popular energy drink (Rockstar Punched). Researchers conducted the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study on 25 healthy volunteers with an average age of 29.

THE EFFECTS

  • 74%: The average percentage increase of the fight-or-flight stress hormone norepinephrine in study participants’ blood levels.
  • 6.2%: The average percentage increase in study participants’ systolic blood pressure.

THE INGREDIENTS

Researchers observed that the effects could be the results of the following stimulants in Rockstar Punched.

  • Caffeine: 240 mg (by comparison, a shot of espresso has about 64 mg)
  • Sugar: 62 grams (15½ teaspoons)
  • B vitamins and ginkgo biloba (additional stimulants)

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Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Can Eating Walnuts Lower Your Cholesterol?

walnuts

Can Eating Walnuts Help Lower Your Cholesterol?

You Only Need a Handful of Walnuts Each Day

 

Walnuts are not only good for cooking – they are healthy nuts that can also help your heart.

 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recognizing the cholesterol-lowering properties of walnuts, accepted a petition filed by the California Walnut Commission in March 2004 to list the health claim that walnuts can aid in reducing cholesterol levels on product labels.

 

The discovery of the benefits of walnuts come from many clinical studies performed by various research institutions all over the world.

The results show consuming walnuts is beneficial in lowering cholesterol levels.

Walnuts are also noted for reducing the risk of heart disease and inflammation.

 

Walnuts Are Heart-Healthy

Walnuts demonstrate heart-healthy benefits due to the presence of high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and phytosterols.

 

Omega-3-fatty acids reduce triglycerides levels and slightly reduce LDL levels (low-density lipoproteins, also know as the bad cholesterol). In fact, walnuts contain the highest amount of omega-3-fatty acids in 1 ounce of nuts (i.e. one handful) in comparison to other nuts (2.5 g of omega-3-fatty acids versus less than 0.5 g found in other nuts).

 

Phytosterols appear to slightly lower LDL cholesterol levels, however, the mechanism by which it does this is not entirely known.

In addition to heart-healthy ingredients, walnuts also contain a wealth of other nutrients, including vitamin E, the B vitamins, fiber, and several minerals.

 

Lower Your Cholesterol with Walnuts

Many studies on walnuts suggest that you only need to consume a handful of walnuts each day to receive the cholesterol-lowering benefits of these tree nuts.

 

The FDA agrees with this health claim, which will be on every bag of walnuts you purchase and will state the following: “supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 oz of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet, and not resulting in increased caloric intake may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

 

The Proof Walnuts Lower Cholesterol

 

Many studies indicate the usefulness of walnuts in reducing cholesterol levels. Some of the most important include:

 

The first study involving the benefits of walnuts was from Loma Linda University in 1993. This study revealed a controlled diet containing walnuts reduced LDL cholesterol significantly in comparison to the Step One diet produced by the American Heart Association. The controlled diet was a modified version of the Step One diet, with the exception that walnuts replaced the fatty acid portion in the diet.

A Harvard study outlining the benefits of nuts concluded that high dietary nut consumption decreased the risk of sudden cardiac death in 2002. In addition to this, many studies have elucidated the benefits of consuming walnuts and other omega-3 fatty acid-containing foods, citing that consuming high amounts of these products reduced the risk of stroke and clogging of arteries.

The bottom line is that walnuts are a healthy snack packed with important nutrients that can help keep cholesterol levels — and your heart — healthy. It’s amazing that most studies have shown that it takes only one handful daily to achieve this beneficial effect.

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Your Earwax Can Tell Us a Lot about Your Health

earwax

Your Earwax Can Give You Important Clues about Your Health

 

 

I have asked many patients about wax and drainage in their ears.  Sometimes they look at me with that unbelieving eye, because no other healthcare worker has ever asked them about it. For the most part, we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the inside of our ears, apart from a very general “are they clean?”. Perhaps we should be giving them more thought because the color of our earwax can say a lot about our general health, and it can give us valuable clues when something is wrong.

The Role of Ear Wax in the Body

Earwax is often viewed as a gross and annoying nuisance, but it is actually a very crucial part of our natural defense system. Ear wax is formed from wax glands in the external ear canal and it protects the skin and ear from water and infection.

Everyone differs in the amount of ear wax that they have, and the consistency. Ear wax can be wet, or dry, and too much or too little can be quite dangerous, increasing the risk of infection. So, you really want to have just the right amount.

 

What is the Right Amount of Ear Wax?

Every individual is different in terms of how much ear wax is the right amount, and the only way to truly know if the amount of earwax in your ears is normal is to give us a call and talk to us about it.

If you’re experiencing the following symptoms you may have a buildup of earwax, and you should call us:

Earache, fullness in the ear or a ‘plugged’ feeling

Partial hearing loss

Tinnitus, ringing, or noises in the ear

Itching, odor, or discharge

Coughing

 

What Your Earwax Says About Your Health

Color

The color of each person’s ear wax can vary, but there are some colors that are natural, and others that indicate a serious health problem.

 

“Normal earwax ranges from light orange to dark brown, but if it’s yellow, green, white, or black, that suggests an infection and you need to see your personal physician, and bring a sample with you” says Benjamin Tweel, MD, an otolaryngologist at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

 

Odd Smell

Your ear wax should never have an odor. If it does, this could be a sign of an infection.

 

“In my experience, it’s the patient who notices a smell, but it’s very possible other people might bring it up as well,” says Tweel. “Regardless, it needs to be treated.”

 

Flakiness

If your ear wax is dry and flaky you could have another skin problem that is prevalent, such as eczema. This consistency, accompanied by soreness could also be psoriasis, though it’s less common.

This is usually one of the first stages of having a problem, and it can be corrected quite easily.

 

Itchy Ears

Scratching your ear every once in a while, doesn’t mean that there’s a problem with your ear, but if you are constantly itching and scratching there is a chance you have a systemic problem.  Again, this is a first stage problem, and if it is not corrected fluid builds up in your ears and if you do not find out the cause will develop an infection.   This is what usually happens in children when ear problems are treated, but not cured.

 

Earwax Removal: Do It the Right Way

Ear wax isn’t bad, it keeps your ears dry and prevents infection, but you do want to keep it from blocking your ears. Ideally, the ears will never have to be cleaned, but this is not always the case. If you are experiencing symptoms that are interfering with your day-to-day life, consult a doctor or clean your ears safely using proper methods.

First things first, when it comes to earwax removal, do not use cotton-tipped applicators (such as Q-tips) because you risk breaking your eardrum. It’s also possible to jam ear wax even deeper into the ear shaft. These applicators may also increase the risk of bacterial infection in the external ear canal

Try this safe ear cleaning method at home:

 

Soften the wax – Use an eyedropper to apply a few drops of natural baby oil or glycerin in your ear canal.

Use warm water – After a day or two, when the wax has softened, use a rubber-bulb syringe to gently squirt warm water into your ear canal. Tilt your head to straighten the ear canal and allow the water to enter the ear, and when you are finished irrigating tip your head to the side and let the water drain out.

Dry your ear canal – When you’re finished, gently dry your outer ear with a clean towel

 

Do not have your ears irrigated if you have diabetes, a hole in the eardrum (perforation), ever had a tube in the eardrum, skin problems such as eczema, cardiac conditions, allergies or a weakened immune system.

 

For something that’s thought about so infrequently throughout the day, earwax can give us some important clues as to our general health and well-being. Taking good care of our ears will ensure that our hearing remains top-notch throughout our lives. Something as simple as changing the way that you clean your ears can have a big impact on your health.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Dr P Carrothers

Dir Personalized Health Care,

Restorative and Preventative Mediciine

312-972-9355

 

HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Do You Think You Have Prostate Cancer?

Prostate Cancer Facts That Could Save Your Life

man

Do You Think You Have Prostate Cancer?

 

Prostate cancer is very common among American men. According to Zero – The End of Prostate Cancer, the organization behind Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death. While all men are at risk, over 65% of prostate cancer diagnoses are in men over the age of 65. There is one death from prostate cancer every 18 minutes in America.

 

Prostate cancer can be treated successfully when diagnosed at an early stage, so early detection is key to saving lives. Recent research shows that a five-year survival rate is nearly 100%, with a 10-year survival rate at 91%. Prostate cancer is the only cancer with a 100% five-year survival rate. This article will help you understand more about prostate cancer, your risks, possible symptoms, and ways you can help support a healthy prostate.

 

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Symptoms of prostate cancer can be elusive because many prostate cancer symptoms are very similar to BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia), prostatitis, erectile dysfunction, or overactive bladder. These include:

 

Strong urge to urinate immediately

Frequent nighttime urination

Pain and/or burning when urinating

Difficulty starting the urinary stream

A weak urinary stream once it starts

Dribbling after you’re finished

Pain in the genital and pelvic area

Pain when ejaculating

Blood in the urine or semen

Frequent urinary tract infections

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other more serious prostate cancer symptoms may include:

 

Unexpected weight loss

Pain in the lower back or pelvic area

Anemia

Fatigue

Keep in mind that in the very early stages of prostate cancer, there are often no symptoms at all, so it’s critical to discuss testing options with your doctor in order to facilitate an early diagnosis. Prostate Cancer Risk

Age, family history, ethnicity, and diet are the leading factors contributing the greatest risk for prostate cancer development.

 

Men over the age of 65 are the most likely to develop prostate cancer, as are men with one or more close relatives who have had the disease. For reasons not fully understood, African-American men are 2.5 times more likely to develop prostate cancer than white men. They are also more likely to die from it.

 

Diet is thought to be a significant risk factor with a high-fat diet raising the likelihood of developing the disease. Several studies indicate that obesity may contribute to a higher risk of aggressive forms of prostate cancer, in addition to speeding up the long-term risk of disease progression.

 

Pesticide, chemical, and defoliant exposure has been found to increase risk and severity of prostate cancer. Farmers, Vietnam and Korean War veterans, and those exposed to metal cadmium, such as welders, are more vulnerable.

 

While most prostate cancer is very slow growing and stays in the prostate, a few cases are aggressive and can metastasize to other parts of the body. Men over the age of 40 should discuss their risk factors and testing options with their doctor.

 

10 Things You Should Know About Prostate Cancer

  1. One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.

 

  1. It is estimated that there will be 233,000 new prostate cancer cases in 2014 – more than lung and colorectal combined.

 

  1. Know your risk and take appropriate action. The biggest risk factors are sex, race, and family history.

 

  1. Testing for prostate cancer is quick and easy and can be done with a simple blood test and a physical exam.
  2. There are no symptoms of early stage prostate cancer, making it critical to understand your risk and talk to your doctor about testing after you turn 40.

 

  1. Early detection saves lives.

 

  1. Exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a heart-healthy diet can reduce your risk of prostate cancer.

 

  1. Nearly 100 percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer in its early stages are still alive five years after diagnosis.

 

  1. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men.

 

  1. There are more than 2.8 million men in the US who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

 

Don’t be a statistic. The World Health Organization (WHO) announced earlier this year that it anticipates a 57% increase in cancer cases worldwide over the next 20 years. At least half of all cancers, including prostate cancer, can be prevented with healthy lifestyle choices. When making decisions about your health, go with the facts that have been proven over and over again in countless studies: don’t smoke, limit alcohol consumption, and focus on a healthy diet and exercise.

Contact us for your personalized healthcare plan

Health and Wellness Associates

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Dr Chad Larson

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Preventing and Reversing Anxiety

anxiert

Preventing and Fighting Anxiety

Are you anxious? Well, you’re truly not alone. Millions of people suffer from anxiety, due to either physical, physiological or mental health challenges. Some people deal with their anxiety by seeing a doctor, who will typically prescribe a drug such as Valium, Xanax or an anti-depressant. These drugs might do well at reducing the more immediate feelings that are related to anxiety, but they will not solve any underlying problems, nor are they a cure.

 

Depending on one’s health insurance, these drugs can be expensive if there is a need to take them long-term. They can often cause some frustrating side effects, too. Some anxiety medications even have the potential to lead to addiction. Thankfully, medications aren’t the only way to fight back against anxiety. There are also a few vitamins that can support the body in fighting the stress response naturally.

Don’t sit back and tell yourself that “it runs in my family”.  I agree, we see a lot of it in family lines, but it is mainly due to gender bending DNA, and there are ways to turn it around.

 

B Vitamins – 5 Different Varieties

There are many kinds of B vitamins that are necessary to keep the body’s fight or flight response working properly. You can support your stress levels by being sure you get healthy levels of the following vitamins:

 

B1 aka Thiamin, improves memory and mood.

B3 aka Niacin, helps the body’s natural production of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that is necessary for mental stability.

B5 aka Pantothenic acid, helps to maintain the balance and harmony of the neurotransmitters.

B6 aka Pyridoxine, reduces symptoms that are related to anxiety.

B9 aka Folic acid, helps keep the neurotransmitters balanced.

B12 aka Cyanocobalamin, works to prevent symptoms of things such as changes in personality, depression, irritability, memory impairment, fatigue, psychosis, and mania.

You can consume the B vitamins in food sources that include meat, cereal, poultry, fish, beans, and green peas. Keep in mind to stay in the daily recommendations for the B vitamins, as they can become toxic at high levels when taken as supplements.

Please make sure you are asking a healthcare provider how to take these vitamins. If they tell you to take a One A Day, or a Multivitamin, then they are not knowledgeable of how this should be done.

Never take a B-12 injection.  Never take a B-12 Shot!  Never!

 

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that assists in the transportation of oxygen to the brain. A brain that gets the proper amount of oxygen is more alert and healthier in general. It is found in nuts, some oils, lettuce, and cabbage. It is always best to get your E vitamins through food sources, but if you take supplements, it is best not to exceed the daily recommendations.

 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C supports not only the building blocks in the body and the immune system, but also promotes a healthy fight or flight response. In large doses, it can even have a calming effect. This vitamin can be found in oranges, grapefruit, lemons, peas, lettuce, tomatoes, and cabbage. Unlike many B or E vitamins, you can exceed the daily recommendations of this vitamin with few issues.

 

So, when you power your body with vitamins, you can support healthy stress levels naturally. This can potentially lower or eliminate the amount of medications you need to deal with anxious feelings. Plus, it helps your body run like a well-oiled machine, too.

You can not go to the drug store, and please never go to GNC, or pick vitamins up at the grocery store without knowing how to take these, and which ones you need to take together,and which ones you don’t take together.

We are helping more people undo their vitamin regiment, because it was making them very ill.

Call us, and ask those questions, we will be happy to help you.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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  1. F. Steele

Dr P Carrothers

Dir of Personalized Healthcare,

Restorative and Preventative Medicine

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