Lifestyle, Uncategorized

How to Tell a Friend to Get Help

How to Tell a Friend to Get Help How to Tell a Friend to Get Help

We all have friends and family that are struggling and could benefit from therapy. I often hear people say “He/she really needs some help.” It can be quite obvious when someone needs additional support, but how can you possibly suggest that someone see a psychologist or therapist of some sort?

Recommending professional help is a delicate issue. You certainly risk being met with anger and resentment. However doing nothing can be even more harmful than having to encounter some resistance. When someone you know is showing obvious signs of being in distress, you can assume that they have been struggling for quite some time and might actually be desperate for some help and change.

Here are a few pointers that might make your conversation easier:

– Listen to their story and how they are doing

– Ask some questions and look for signs of hope for change

– Ask the person what they have tried to get better

– Offer some personal experiences with therapy (if you are willing to disclose)

– Ask what kind of change the person is hoping for in life

– Recommend therapy as a tool to find support, healing, and growth

It is scary and it might feel inappropriate to suggest to someone that they get professional help. You’d be surprised by how cared for and understood some people feel by such a suggestion. People don’t want to feel miserable and struggle, and they often don’t know how to create positive change. With a gentle nudge in the right direction you can have a big impact on someone’s direction in life and you might even be able to save a life!

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

Dir: P Carrothers

Director of Personalized Health Care

Preventative and Restorative Medicine

312-972-9355

https://www.facebook.com/HealthAndWellnessAssociates/

HealthWellnessAssocaites@gmail.com

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Anti-Aging Supplements That Can Lead to Ultimate Skin Renewal

Anti-Aging Supplements That Can Lead to Ultimate Skin Renewal

antiaging

Anti-aging supplements – are they even a thing? Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, they are very real. They can contain potent nutrients which have been proven to be capable of staving off signs of aging. In fact, a few of these nutrients are also some of the main ingredients in natural anti-aging creams and serums too. These supplements are becoming very popular among consumers as well as doctors.

 

If you are thinking about trying them but don’t know where to begin, check out the list below. These are some of  the best in my opinion.

 

Alpha-Lipoic Acid

 

Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) is one of the naturally found compounds in every cell of your body. It is a potent, yet versatile, antioxidant that fights against inflammation and counteracts the reactive free radicals. This fat and water soluble antioxidant also balances blood sugar, as it gets converted into energy. What makes it special is the way it boosts the effectiveness of other oxidants in the body. Thus, making it one of the finest anti-aging supplements that you can take.

 

Even though your body does produce ALA, it often does not make as much as is needed to keep your skin healthy and young. So, you can look for external sources, such as from supplements or in your diet. If you are over age 40, ALA should be one of your “go to” supplements.

 

Resveratrol

 

The scientific literature indicates that resveratrol is one of the most effective compounds for maintaining optimal health as well as promoting longevity. It works to cleanse the body of pollutants and other contaminants, which helps to keep your skin fresher, healthier, and more elastic. This also helps to prevent the formation of new wrinkles and reduces the appearance of any existing ones.

 

Argireline

 

Most of you have heard about Botox. Botox works by preventing muscle contraction where wrinkles usually form easily. This is done by blocking protein from connecting with cells in the body to trigger muscle contraction. But have you heard about Argireline? Argireline is found in Botox, but Argireline only temporarily disables the proteins in order to relax the muscle, whereas Botox destroys these proteins. Thus, Argireline is considered a safer way to reduce the appearance of deep wrinkles.

 

S-Acetyl Glutathione

 

Glutathione is one of the best known detoxifiers which can protect you against the toxins found in food, air, and water. But, what’s even better are its remarkable anti-aging properties. It is made of 3 amino acids and is one of the single most powerful antioxidants produced by the liver. Low levels of glutathione have been linked to every major aging process in the human body. After the age of 20, natural production of it slows down and by the time you reach age 60 you will be producing only half of what you did in your teens. Thus, taking this supplement can help slow this process.

 

Coenzyme Q-10

 

Coenzyme Q-10 is a remarkably powerful antioxidant that facilitates and regulates the oxidation of fats and sugar into energy. It boosts energy, supports cellular health and even protects the heart. To choose the right form of CoQ-10 look for it in ubiquinol form as that is more readily used by the body than the more commonly available ubiquinone form.

 

Please consult with your physician before adding these supplements to your diet, just to make sure they don’t conflict with anything else going on in your body or with any medications you might be taking currently. If you do further research on your own you’ll probably find a few more you might want to add to your list as well.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

Dir: P Carrothers

Director of Personalized Health Care

Preventative and Restorative Medicine

312-972-9355

https://www.facebook.com/HealthAndWellnessAssociates/

HealthWellnessAssocaites@gmail.com

 

 

Foods, Uncategorized

Easy-Brezzy! Chicken and Broccoli Stir-fry!

Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry

easybreezychicken

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms if you don’t like mushrooms you can add more broccoli instead
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth or water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the broccoli and mushrooms and cook for approximately 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

  2. Add the ginger and garlic to the pan and cook for 30 seconds more.
  3. Remove the vegetables from the pan; place them on a plate and cover.
  4. Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel and turn the heat to high. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil.
  5. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and add them to the pan in a single layer – you may need to do this step in batches. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through.
  6. Add the vegetables back to the pan and cook for 2 more minutes or until the vegetables are warmed through.
  7. In a bowl whisk together the oyster sauce, chicken broth, sugar, sesame oil and soy sauce. In a small bowl mix the cornstarch with a tablespoon of cold water.
  8. Pour the oyster sauce mixture over the chicken and vegetables; cook for 30 seconds. Add the cornstarch and bring to a boil:  cook for 1 minute or until sauce has just started to thicken.
  9. Serve immediately, with rice if desired.

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Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Best and Worst Health Choices at McDonald’s

Best and Worst Health Choices at McDonald's

Best and Worst Health Choices at McDonald’s

 

McDonald’s Nutrition Facts: Menu Choices & Calories

 

The best thing to do is never eat at McDonalds.  When taking a trip, or visiting friends, sometimes it is a must.  But don’t make it a routine!

 

Convenient food doesn’t have to ruin your diet. You can eat healthy McDonald’s fast food meals under 500 calories if you know how to navigate the menu. Use this guide to find out which is the most healthy McDonald’s food item to choose, which foods to avoid, and how to combine different menu items so you can enjoy a low-calorie McDonald’s meal without suffering dieter’s remorse.

 

Analyzing the McDonald’s Menu

McDonald’s and many other fast food restaurants post calorie counts for each of their food products.

But if you are in the drive-thru lane you might not have time to grab your calculator and do the math. So be safe and stick to sandwiches that include grilled meat or chicken to keep the calorie count low. You’ll also boost your daily protein intake with those choices.

It’s also a good idea to skip the French fries and choose fruit instead. If you want to indulge, get a small size of fries and choose a smaller sandwich. And your best bet for saving calories? Skip the soda! Get water and add lemon to make the water taste better.

The best way to stay healthy at McDonald’s is to order a la carte. That means you bypass the popular Value Meals and only order the menu items that you love so you don’t waste calories on foods you don’t need.

 

Most Popular McDonald’s Food

Big Mac Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 burger

Per Serving          % Daily Value*

Calories 540

Calories from Fat 252

Total Fat 28g      43%

Saturated Fat 10g            50%

Cholesterol 80mg            27%

Sodium 960mg  40%

Carbohydrates 46g          15%

Dietary Fiber 4g 16%

Sugars 9g

Protein 25g

Vitamin A 10% · Vitamin C 2%

Calcium 25% · Iron 25%

*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

 

Whether you’re living with diabetes or just want to get healthy, there are simple steps you can take to lose weight and feel great without sacrificing your sweet tooth.

 

GET STARTED TODAY

While you might imagine that burgers rule at McDonald’s, French fries, chicken sandwiches, and chicken nuggets are also very popular. Even breakfast items rank very high on the McDonald’s must-have list. These are calorie counts for some of the most popular items:

A 4-piece order of Chicken McNuggets provides 180 calories, 11 grams of fat, 10 grams of protein and 11 grams of carbohydrate.

The more popular 10-piece order of Chicken McNuggets provides 440 calories, 27 grams of fat, 24 grams of protein and 26 grams of carbohydrate. Double those numbers for the 20-piece chicken nugget calories and nutrition.

An Egg McMuffin provides 290 calories, 12 grams of fat, 17 grams of protein and 29 grams of carbohydrate.

A McChicken sandwich provides 350 calories, 15 grams of fat, 14 grams of protein and 40 grams of carbohydrate.

One Quarter Pounder with Cheese provides 540 calories, 27 grams of fat, 31 grams of protein and 42 grams of carbohydrate.

A Filet-O-Fish sandwich provides 390 calories, 19 grams of fat, 17 grams of protein, 38 grams of carbohydrate.

A Cheeseburger provides 300 calories, 12 grams of fat, 15 grams of protein and 33 grams of carbohydrate.

If you choose to enjoy your meal with one of McDonald’s popular sweetened drinks, you’ll have to add more calories. A large McDonald’s Sweet Tea contains 160 calories and a large Coca-Cola contains 300 calories.

 

Healthiest Options on the McDonald’s Menu

There are some items that are lower in calories. Depending on the meal you choose to enjoy, there are several different ways to enjoy a full meal for under 500 calories.

 

 

McDonald’s Breakfast Under 500 Calories

There are some items you should avoid if you are watching your waistline.

The Sausage, Egg & Cheese McGriddle provides 550 calories. And the Bacon Egg & Cheese McGriddle doesn’t fare much better at 420 calories. These items, however, should keep you satisfied and won’t ruin your daily calorie count:

 

Fruit & Maple Oatmeal: 310 calories

Apple Slices: 15 calories

Coffee: 0 calories (no cream or sugar)

Lowfat Milk: 100 calories

Total: 425 calories

 

Fruit and Yogurt Parfait: 150 calories

Iced Latte: 60 calories (medium with nonfat milk)

Hash Browns: 150 calories

Total 360 calories

 

Egg McMuffin: 290 calories

Hash Browns: 150 calories

Black coffee: 0 calories

Total: 440 calories

Low-Calorie McDonald’s Lunch or Dinner

Most dieters will visit McDonald’s for their popular lunch or dinner burgers and fries.

 

So can you enjoy these popular favorites and still keep your weight loss program on track? Yes! Just stay away from the super-sized items and high-fat condiments like mayonnaise and cheese.

 

Milk: 100 calories (1% low fat)

Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad (no cheese or tortilla strips): 260 calories

Fruities (Mandarin orange): 35 calories

Total: 395 calories

 

Premium Grilled Chicken Sandwich: 380 calories

Side Salad: (no dressing) 20 calories

Water: 0 calories

Total: 400 calories

 

Hamburger: 250 calories

Kids Fries: 110 Calories

Small Diet Soda

Total: 360 calories

 

Cheeseburger: 300 calories

Side Salad: 20 calories

Newman’s Own Low Fat Dressing: 80 calories

Water

Total: 400 calories

 

Hamburger: 250 calories

Small fries: 230 calories

Water

Total 480 calories

Unhealthiest Food on the McDonald’s Menu

As you might expect, the fries won’t do wonders for your diet. An order of large French Fries contains 510 calories, 24 grams of fat, and 66 grams of carbohydrate. And you might also want to avoid the Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese which will add 780 calories and 45 grams of fat to your daily total.

 

 

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HealthWellnessAssocaites@gmail.com

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Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

6-Ingredient Chinese Chicken

6-Ingredient Chinese Chicken

6-Ingredient Chinese Chicken

 

6-Ingredient Chinese Chicken

 

Ingredients

 

 

Marinade

1 tablespoon peeled and minced ginger (about 1″ ginger root)

1 tablespoon garlic chili sauce or chili paste

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon lite soy sauce

Chicken

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced horizontally and then into small cubes

1-1/2 tablespoons canola oil

Directions

 

Whisk together the marinade. Put the chicken pieces in a bowl and toss well to coat evenly with marinade. Cover and place in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Add canola oil to a sauté pan over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot and shimmering (but not smoking) add the chicken pieces. Cook the chicken for 3- 5 minutes until cooked through and the juices run clear. If the chicken pieces are larger, cook longer.

Serve over brown rice, brown rice noodles, or quinoa. Garnish with chopped cilantro or chopped scallions, if desired.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/HealthAndWellnessAssociates/

 

 

 

Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Is Kale Killing You?

kale

 

Is Kale Killing You?

 

You’d never eat rat poison — you’re a health nut!

 

But that’s exactly what the residents of California’s wealthiest county were doing, without their knowledge.

 

Sounds crazy. But Dr. Ernie Hubbard saw it day after day in his office.

 

Patients coming in with fatigue, digestive troubles, brain fog, and nausea.

 

(One poor woman had her blonde hair falling out in clumps!)

 

The culprit was a shocking neurotoxin — too much kale!

 

You see, thick leaf-vegetables like kale can actually absorb too much of a heavy metal toxin called thallium out of the ground.

 

But thallium was originally a rat poison.  That’s right, some kale leaves contain thallium — the same neurotoxin that Saddam Hussein used to assassinate his political enemies!

 

So once Dr. Hubbard’s patient stopped eating so much of it, her hair grew right back. And her other symptoms went away too.

 

You should be okay if you just have a kale salad every once in a while…

 

But be careful not to overload on it, especially if you are eating Kale from California.

 

Tip:  Never eat kale if you have a tendency to have UTI, or have had kidney problems.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

P Carrothers

Preventative and Restorative Medicine

Dir. Of Personalized Healthcare

312-972-9355

 

HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com

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Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Popular Heartburn Drugs Linked to Chronic Kidney Disease

nexium

Popular Heartburn Drugs Linked to Chronic Kidney Disease

 

In a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers from John Hopkins University found that the drugs that treat acid reflux and heartburn (like Prevacid, Prilosec and Nexium) may not be as safe as once thought. While most considered the drugs effective and relatively free from side effects, this new study shows two things: a large number of people taking the meds don’t actually need them and proton pump inhibitors (PPI) raise the risk of kidney disease from 20 to 50 percent. And those facts come on the heels of another study from last June done by Stanford University which found those medications contributed to a higher chance of heart attacks.

 

Researchers looked at the records of more than 10,000 people and found that the, “risk of the onset of chronic kidney disease was 20 to 50 percent higher in those who took the PPIs. No increased risk was seen in people who took a different class of heartburn drugs like Pepcid and Zantac, which work by blocking histamine production in the cells lining the stomach”(PPIs block the secretion of acid into the stomach).

More from the article:

“JUST AS IT IS A FALLACY THAT PPIS ARE SAFE TO TAKE EVERY DAY FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME, SO IT IS ALSO A FALLACY THAT HEARTBURN IS CAUSED BY TOO MUCH STOMACH ACID, ACCORDING TO NOTED NATURAL HEALTH PRACTITIONER DR. JOSEPH MERCOLA. CONTRARY TO WHAT IS WIDELY BELIEVED, REFLUX IS CAUSED BY TOO LITTLE ACID. FURTHERMORE, TAKING DRUGS THAT SUPPRESS STOMACH ACID MERELY TREATS THE SYMPTOMS RATHER THAN ATTACKS THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM. IN FACT, THE MEDICATIONS ACTUALLY WORSEN THE CONDITION THAT PRODUCES THE SYMPTOMS, A RESULT THAT PERPETUATES THE PROBLEM. HE RECOMMENDS THAT PEOPLE WHO TAKE PPIS SHOULD GRADUALLY WEAN THEMSELVES OFF OF THEM INSTEAD OF STOPPING COLD TURKEY. AFTERWARDS, MERCOLA ADVISES TAKING NATURAL REMEDIES AND ADOPTING LIFESTYLE MODIFICATIONS.”

What many health practitioners have known for a long time is that it’s possible to treat heartburn naturally- and therefore- safely; some people use yellow mustard, many take apple cider vinegar (from the Mother is always best and either straight or in water), and still others have found success using a different type of salt, like a pink himalayan (if you use added salt in your food).

Some of those lifestyle modifications would be eating foods that help, rather than hurt and stress, your gut biome; fermented vegetables (kimchee/sauerkraut), kefir, and for those non-vegans, yogurt made from raw milk, are all great. And don’t be afraid to move your body! Exercise is good for you and will help. Then there are the more obvious things like smoking, caffeine and excessive alcohol.

Sadly, some kidney problems are irreversible and chronic kidney disease can result in kidney failure (which necessitates either dialysis or a transplant). Now, the research doesn’t prove PPIs cause chronic kidney disease but their findings should be considered serious enough to at least pay attention to and unless you really, really need them, you shouldn’t take them. In fact, it almost makes more sense to try alternative therapies first and use the PPIs as a last resort. Once you start to look at the issue, you really only have two options- treat your body better or take PPIs (and maybe play russian roulette with the outcome).

 

Please share with family and loved ones and call with all your healthcare concerns and for your personalized healthcare plan.

 

 

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

Dr A Sullivan

312-972-WELL

HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/HealthAndWellnessAssociates/

 

 

Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Synthetic Opiods Flooding Post Office

bottle of pills

 

Synthetic Opioids Flooding Into US Via Postal Service

 

According to U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50.1 Preliminary data for 2016 reveals the death toll from drug overdoses may be as high as 65,000,2 a 19 percent increase since the year before, and the largest annual increase of drug overdose deaths in U.S. history. Data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests over 202,600 Americans died from opioids between 2002 and 2015.3

 

Opioid abuse has also been identified as a significant factor in rising unemployment among men. A 2016 paper4 found nearly half of all unemployed men between the ages of 25 and 54 are using opioids on a daily basis. Two-thirds of them, about 2 million, are on prescription opioids. A follow-up study5 looking at the opioid epidemic’s impact on the American labor force suggests chronic opioid use accounted for 20 percent of the increase in male unemployment between 1999 and 2015.

 

Synthetic Opioid Use Is on the Rise

The most common drugs involved in prescription opioid overdose deaths include6 methadone, oxycodone (such as OxyContin®) and hydrocodone (such as Vicodin®). Tragically, synthetic opioids like fentanyl are also being abused by a rising number of people. Deadly overdoses involving fentanyl rose by 50 percent between 2013 and 2014, and another 72 percent between 2014 and 2015. Over 20,000 of the drug overdose deaths in 2016 were attributed to fentanyl and/or other synthetic opioids.7

 

With a potency nearly 1,000 percent greater than morphine, synthetic opioids like fentanyl are very easy to distribute via mail. A single standard envelope can hold enough fentanyl to get 50,000 people high. Last summer, The New York Times8 reported the deaths of two 13-year-old boys who died after taking the synthetic opioid U-47700, also known as “pinky.” They got the drug from a friend who bought it on the dark web using bitcoin.

 

Fentanyl Flooding Into US Via Regular Mail

As recently reported by STAT News9 and ABC News,10 Chinese drug sellers are exploiting the federal government’s inability to track and identify shipments of illicit drugs sent via international mail.

 

They’re simply shipping fentanyl to the U.S. via the U.S. Postal Service, as this is a “virtually guaranteed route to not get caught” — this despite a 375 percent increase in international mail seizures between 2016 and 2017. (Interception and seizure of domestic packages containing opioids increased by 880 percent.) As explained by STAT News:11

 

“Part of the reason for this confidence has to do with differences in how well Customs and Border Protection [CBP] can track packages from the various carriers … Much of CBP’s tracking is done using advanced electronic data — basic shipping information required on FedEx and other delivery services packages, but not required for USPS shipments. Only about 36 percent of USPS shipments have the advanced data, a fact which complicates CBP’s tracking efforts.

 

CBP flags potentially problematic shipments to the carriers, which find and turn over the packages for inspection. CBP can also ask USPS to monitor all packages from a specific country, but has struggled to address the large volume of shipments from China. Some sellers also routed their packages through other countries to avoid that detection.”

 

Federal Report Calls for Improvements to Identify and Track Illicit Drug Shipments

The potency of fentanyl makes exposure to even minuscule amounts an extreme hazard. As reported by CBS News in May 2017,12 a police officer nearly died after being exposed to fentanyl dust during a routine traffic stop. Fortunately, he survived, but needed no less than four doses of naloxone. Drug-sniffing dogs are also at risk, as inhaling just a few flakes of the drug can be lethal. It stands to reason the drug may also pose a risk to mail and customs workers, should the package rupture during transit or handling.

 

Disturbingly, a report by the Senate subcommittee on investigations suggests hundreds of millions of dollars of fentanyl are entering the U.S. via the Postal Service, as the federal government is simply not equipped to track or prevent it. A majority of these drugs are coming from China. Of six online sellers offering fentanyl, five are located in China while the location of the sixth is as yet unknown.

 

According to the report, more than 300 individuals based in the U.S. have received shipments from these vendors, and more than 500 Western Union transactions totaling $230,000 have been identified. While buyers were found in 43 states, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania received the greatest number of shipments.

 

The street value of these orders is estimated to be around $766 million. The investigation also concluded that at least seven individuals have died from overdosing after receiving a shipment of fentanyl from these vendors.

 

The bipartisan report is now calling for a number of improvements within the federal government, including advanced electronic data for all international mail. It also urges CBP to increase inspections of packages to identify shipments of illicit drugs, and to automate processing of packages from targeted locations.

 

Doctors Receive Kickbacks for Prescribing Opioids, Including Fentanyl

Another factor that contributes to rising opioid addiction is kickbacks to doctors for prescribing them. According to a study13 published in August 2017, between August 2013 and December 2015, more than 375,000 non-research opioid-related payments were made to more than 68,000 physicians, totaling more than $46 million. This means 1 in 12 U.S. physicians is collecting kickbacks from drug companies producing prescription opioids.

 

The top 1 percent of physicians received nearly 83 percent of the payments, and fentanyl prescriptions was associated with the highest payments. Many of the states struggling with the highest rates of overdose deaths, such as Indiana, Ohio and New Jersey, were also those showing the most opioid-related payments to physicians. In other words, there’s a direct link between doctors’ kickbacks and patient addiction rates and deaths.

 

While back pain has been cited as one of the most common reasons for opioid use, a significant number of people get their first opioid prescription from their dentist.14 This is particularly true for teenagers and young adults.15 Half of all opioids are also prescribed to people with mental health problems such as anxiety.16

 

What these statistics are telling us is that doctors really need to take greater responsibility for their prescribing habits, and be far more prudent when it comes to handing out prescriptions for opioids. In many cases, an over-the-counter pain reliever may be just as effective, and far safer.

 

Opioids, Not Cannabis, Are a Priority, Federal Prosecutor Says

While many U.S. states have legalized marijuana either for medicinal and/or recreational use, on January 4, the White House administration rescinded the federal government’s policy to limit enforcement against marijuana sale in states where it is legal under state law.

 

This creates a convoluted and complex situation for vendors, as they may still face federal prosecution. U.S. federal prosecutor for Massachusetts, Andrew Lelling, recently clarified his stance on marijuana prosecutions in the state, saying “The No. 1 enforcement priority for my office is the opioid crisis … 2,100 people in Massachusetts were killed by opioid overdoses last year, not marijuana overdoses.” As noted by Reuters:17

 

“The new policy gave U.S. attorney’s offices discretion in how they enforced the law. Lelling, a Trump nominee who took office in December, said on Jan. 8 he would not promise to refrain from prosecuting state-sanctioned marijuana businesses.

 

Those remarks worried advocates for Massachusetts’ nascent marijuana industry. Lelling said on Wednesday people ‘have lost sight a little bit of the prior statements of the office.’ He said the 14 prosecutors he oversees devoted to drug cases were focused on fentanyl and heroin traffickers. ‘That is where my resources are going right now,’ Lelling said. He also said he was open to pursuing cases over corporations’ roles in the opioid epidemic.”

 

Indeed, it is virtually impossible to die from an overdose of marijuana, and the idea that legal vendors of medical marijuana (meaning those operating in states where the sale of marijuana has been legalized) can still be prosecuted under federal law seems like an incredible overreach of power. Medical marijuana, if anything, may actually be part of the answer to the opioid crisis, as it can effectively treat many different kinds of pain, but without the lethal side effects associated with opioids.

 

Feds Cracking Down on Supplements Claiming to Treat Opioid Addiction

Federal regulators are also cracking down on “illegal and unapproved” products claiming to treat or cure opioid addiction and withdrawal, The Washington Post reports.18 So far, about a dozen products, mostly dietary supplements, along with two homeopathic remedies, have been targeted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

 

Eleven companies19 have received warning letters stating that claiming to ease or cure a disease (in this case drug addiction) makes the product subject to FDA authority, and failing to obtain FDA approval means they’re marketing an unapproved drug.

 

While FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has called for increased availability and use of medication designed to treat drug addiction,20 he warns that “phony remedies could divert people from getting the right treatment.” In a statement, the FTC echoed Gottlieb’s sentiments, saying “Health fraud scams like these can pose serious health risks. These products have not been demonstrated to be safe or effective and may keep some patients from seeking appropriate, FDA-approved therapies.”

 

Opioids Have Never Been Proven Safe or Effective Beyond Six Weeks of Treatment

It’s rather ironic, but not unexpected, that the opioid crisis has led to the proliferation of costly drugs to treat opioid addiction. NPR recently reported how Alkermes, a company that makes the anti-addiction medication Vivitrol — a monthly injection that costs about $1,000 per shot — is trying to weasel its drug into state laws, making it the sole treatment recommended for opioid addiction.21

 

What really needs to happen is for the drug industry to be held responsible for creating this situation in the first place, rather than allowing it to profit handsomely a second time. As discussed in several previous articles, the opioid addiction epidemic was no fluke.

 

Evidence suggests opioid makers such as Purdue Pharma, owned by the Sackler family, knew exactly what they were doing when they claimed opioids — which are chemically very similar to heroin — have an exceptionally low addiction rate when taken by people with pain. In fact, the massive increase in opioid sales has been traced back to an orchestrated marketing plan aimed at misinforming doctors about the drug’s addictive potential.

 

The drugs’ general effectiveness against pain has also been vastly exaggerated. In April 2016, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a paper in which it noted that:22

 

“Most placebo-controlled, randomized trials of opioids have lasted six weeks or less, and we are aware of no study that has compared opioid therapy with other treatments in terms of long-term (more than 1 year) outcomes related to pain, function, or quality of life.

 

The few randomized trials to evaluate opioid efficacy for longer than six weeks had consistently poor results. In fact, several studies have showed that use of opioids for chronic pain may actually worsen pain and functioning, possibly by potentiating pain perception …”

 

Addicted? Seek Help!

Some marketing materials for opioids still claim the drug will not cause addiction “except in very rare cases,” describing the adverse effects patients experience when quitting the drug as a “benign state” and not a sign of addiction. This simply isn’t true. Panic is one psychological side effect commonly experienced when quitting these drugs, and this can easily fuel a psychological as well as physical dependence on the drug.

 

It’s important to recognize the signs of addiction, and to seek help. If you’ve been on an opioid for more than two months, or if you find yourself taking higher dosages, or taking the drug more often, you’re likely already addicted and are advised to seek help from someone other than your prescribing doctor. Resources where you can find help include:

 

Your workplace Employee Assistance Program

The Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration23 (SAMHSA) can be contacted 24 hours a day at 1-800-622-HELP

Treating Your Pain Without Drugs

With all the health risks associated with opioid painkillers, I strongly urge you to exhaust other options before resorting to these drugs. The good news is there are many natural alternatives to treating pain. Following is information about nondrug remedies, dietary changes and bodywork interventions that can help you safely manage your pain.

 

Medical cannabis

 

Medical marijuana has a long history as a natural analgesic and is now legal in 28 states. You can learn more about the laws in your state on medicalmarijuana.procon.org.24

 

Kratom

 

Kratom (Mitragyna speciose) is a plant remedy that has become a popular opioid substitute.25 In August 2016, the DEA issued a notice saying it was planning to ban kratom, listing it as Schedule 1 controlled substance. However, following massive outrage from kratom users who say opioids are their only alternative, the agency reversed its decision.26

 

Kratom is safer than an opioid for someone in serious and chronic pain. However, it’s important to recognize that it is a psychoactive substance and should be used with great care. There’s very little research showing how to use it safely and effectively, and it may have a very different effect from one person to the next. The other issue to address is that there are a number of different strains available with different effects.

 

Also, while it may be useful for weaning people off opioids, kratom is in itself addictive. So, while it appears to be a far safer alternative to opioids, it’s still a powerful and potentially addictive substance. So please, do your own research before trying it.

 

Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN)

 

Naltrexone is an opiate antagonist, originally developed in the early 1960s for the treatment of opioid addiction. When taken at very low doses (LDN, available only by prescription), it triggers endorphin production, which can boost your immune function and ease pain.

 

Curcumin

 

A primary therapeutic compound identified in the spice turmeric, curcumin has been shown in more than 50 clinical studies to have potent anti-inflammatory activity. Curcumin is hard to absorb, so best results are achieved with preparations designed to improve absorption. It is very safe and you can take two to three every hour if you need to.

 

Astaxanthin

 

One of the most effective oil-soluble antioxidants known, astaxanthin has very potent anti-inflammatory properties. Higher doses are typically required for pain relief, and you may need 8 milligrams or more per day to achieve results.

 

Boswellia

 

Also known as boswellin or “Indian frankincense,” this herb contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which have been prized for thousands of years. This is one of my personal favorites, as it worked well for many of my former rheumatoid arthritis patients.

 

Bromelain

 

This protein-digesting enzyme, found in pineapples, is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in supplement form, but eating fresh pineapple may also be helpful. Keep in mind most of the bromelain is found within the core of the pineapple, so consider eating some of the pulpy core when you consume the fruit.

 

Cayenne cream

 

Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting your body’s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmit pain signals to your brain.

 

Cetyl myristoleate (CMO)

 

This oil, found in dairy butter and fish, acts as a joint lubricant and anti-inflammatory. I have used a topical preparation of CMO to relieve ganglion cysts and a mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome.

 

Evening primrose, black currant and borage oils

 

These oils contain the fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid, which is useful for treating arthritic pain.

 

Ginger

 

This herb is anti-inflammatory and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea, or incorporated into fresh vegetable juice.

 

Dietary Changes to Fight Inflammation and Manage Your Pain

Unfortunately, physicians often fall short when attempting to effectively treat chronic pain, resorting to the only treatment they know: prescription drugs. While these drugs may bring some temporary relief, they will do nothing to resolve the underlying causes of your pain. If you suffer from chronic pain, making the following changes to your diet may bring you some relief.

 

Consume more animal-based omega-3 fats. Similar to the effects of anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical drugs, omega-3 fats from fish and fish oils work to directly or indirectly modulate a number of cellular activities associated with inflammation. While drugs have a powerful ability to inhibit your body’s pain signals, omega-3s cause a gentle shift in cell signaling to bring about a lessened reactivity to pain.

 

Eating healthy seafood like anchovies or sardines, which are low in environmental toxins, or taking a high-quality supplement such as krill oil are your best options for obtaining omega-3s. DHA and EPA, the omega-3 oils contained in krill oil, have been found in many animal and clinical studies to have anti-inflammatory properties, which are beneficial for pain relief.

 

Radically reduce your intake of processed foods. Processed foods not only contain chemical additives and excessive amounts of sugar, but also are loaded with damaging omega-6 fats. By eating these foods, especially fried foods, you upset your body’s ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty-acids, which triggers inflammation. Inflammation is a key factor in most pain.

 

Eliminate or radically reduce your consumption of grains and sugars. Avoiding grains and sugars, especially fructose, will lower your insulin and leptin levels. Elevated insulin and leptin levels are one of the most profound stimulators of inflammatory prostaglandin production, which contributes to pain.

 

While healthy individuals are advised to keep their daily fructose consumption below 25 grams from all sources, you’ll want to limit your intake to 15 grams per day until your pain is reduced. Eating sugar increases your uric acid levels, which leads to chronic, low-level inflammation.

 

Optimize your production of vitamin D. As much as possible, regulate your vitamin D levels by regularly exposing large amounts of your skin to sunshine. If you cannot get sufficient sun exposure, taking an oral vitamin D3 supplement, along with vitamin K2 and magnesium, is highly advisable. Get your blood level tested to be sure you’re within the therapeutic range of 60 to 80 ng/mL year-round.

 

Bodywork Methods That Reduce Pain

The following bodywork methods have also demonstrated effectiveness for pain relief and pain management.

 

  • Acupuncture: According to The New York Times,27 an estimated 3 million American adults receive acupuncture annually, most often for the treatment of chronic pain. A study28 published in the Archives of Internal Medicine concluded acupuncture has a definite effect in reducing back and neck pain, chronic headache, osteoarthritis and shoulder pain — more so than standard pain treatment.

 

  • Chiropractic adjustments: While previously used most often to treat back pain, chiropractic treatment addresses many other problems — including asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, headaches, migraines, musculoskeletal pain, neck pain and whiplash. According to a study29 published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, patients with neck pain who used a chiropractor and/or exercise were more than twice as likely to be pain-free in 12 weeks compared to those who took medication.

 

  • Massage therapy: Massage releases endorphins, which help induce relaxation, relieve pain and reduce levels of stress chemicals such as cortisol and noradrenaline. A systematic review and meta-analysis30 published in the journal Pain Medicine, included 60 high-quality and seven low-quality studies that looked into the use of massage for various types of pain, including bone and muscle, fibromyalgia, headache and spinal-cord pain.

 

The study revealed massage therapy relieves pain better than getting no treatment at all. When compared to other pain treatments like acupuncture and physical therapy, massage therapy still proved beneficial and had few side effects. In addition to relieving pain, massage therapy also improved anxiety and health-related quality of life.

 

  • Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT): EFT continues to be one of the easiest and most effective ways to deal with acute and chronic pain. The technique is simple and can be applied in mere minutes. A study31 published in Energy Psychology examined the levels of pain in a group of 50 people attending a three-day EFT workshop, and found their pain dropped by 43 percent during the workshop.

 

Six weeks later, their pain levels were reported to be 42 percent lower than before the workshop. As a result of applying EFT, participants felt they had an improved sense of control and ability to cope with their chronic pain. In the video below, EFT expert Julie Schiffman, teaches you how to use EFT to address chronic pain.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Dr J Jaranson

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Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Just Beets!

beets1

 

Just Beets

 

Beets….For a long time I was completely turned off of beets as I only thought of them at Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners and their sour, pickly taste that I despised so much as a kid. Now that I have finally given them another go, but this time in roasted, shredded or juiced format, I think that they are absolutely amazing and I am disappointed that I didn’t give them another chance sooner! Beets have a mildly sweet, extremely earthy taste to them and they are LOADED with antioxidants and many other nutrients that can be extremely beneficial to your health.

 

Beets come in many different varieties including the most popular: the red beet. This is the one that you would most often see at family dinners in their sour pickly form. Beets also come in other varieties such as: Golden, Yellow, Chioggia, Cylindra and the very popular beet, the sugar beet. You can find beets in practically any grocery store in their whole form (edible leaves included) or sliced and canned, or pickled and jarred. Beets may not be something you really think about eating very often, or-never, but once you have read about all of the amazing benefits these little vegetables contain, I’m sure you will consider finding ways to incorporate them into your diet more often.

 

1.Beets have no trans fats and no saturated fats, and are quite filling.

 

2.Beets contain a high source of folic acid, which is a b vitamin that helps the body to regenerate new cells.

 

3.Beets are very rich in carbohydrates, which can provide a lot of energy.

 

4.Studies have shown that consuming beets can protect against certain cancers, especially colon cancer.

 

5.Beets contain high sources of magnesium, sodium, potassium and vitamin C.

 

6.The leaves from beets are edible as well and contain many of the same benefits. Beet leaves also are known to combat ‘garlic breath.’

 

7.Studies have shown that beets are also capable of protecting against heart disease, the number one cause of death in the United States.

 

8.Beets contain high amounts of boron. Boron is related to the production of human sex hormones, which is why the ancient Romans consumed beets for the purpose of their aphrodisiac effect.

 

9.Beets cleanse the body and purify blood.

 

10.Beets contain the same chemical that is used to combat depression Trimethylglycine. If you’re feeling down why not treat yourself to a beet salad? It might just make you feel better.

 

How can you start to incorporate beets into your diet?

 

There are many ways that beets can be eaten: raw, shredded, sliced, pickled, roasted, boiled, steamed and juiced. Be careful when preparing them though, well at least the red ones, because their color is so strong that it will stain your hands, clothes and potentially your cutting board! To remove beet juice from your skin, just rub your hands with a little bit of lemon juice. Keep in mind that it is important to be purchasing organic beets, as beets along with all other root vegetables readily absorb the pesticides from the soil from which they are grown. Beets definitely deserve to get some more attention! Be sure to share some of these amazing benefits of beets with your friends and family!

 

 

Happy Holidays

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Dr A Sullivan

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Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

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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