Monday, June 30, 2014

Fully Vaccinated Children ‘Have Whooping Cough’

Despite most being fully vaccinated for whooping cough, the infection is still present in about a fifth of UK children visiting their doctor with a persistent cough.

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is one of the most common diseases that can be prevented by vaccine. Worldwide, nearly 300,000 children die from whooping cough each year. (Art by clipartlord)

Since 1992, the UK has had primary vaccine coverage for whooping cough of more than 90%. However, following vaccination, immunity is reported to last for just 4-12 years. Immunity following infection lasts longer, about 7-20 years.

In October of 2001, a preschool whooping bough booster vaccination was introduced. However, the introduction of this booster does not seem to have resulted in any significant changes to whooping cough hospital admissions.

The US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany and other countries have also introduced an adolescent whooping cough booster vaccination. The adolescent booster (Tdap) has only been partially effective in preventing whooping cough in the US, possibly due to limited vaccination coverage.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Sperm, Semen Defects May be Tied to Shorter Lives

Men rendered infertile due to defects in their semen and sperm are more likely to die earlier than men with normal semen, new research suggests.

Over a period of about eight years, men with two or more abnormalities in their semen had a risk of death that was more than double that of men with healthy semen, researchers reported in the May 16th issue of Human Reproduction.

Knowing this, doctors who treat men for infertility should advise them to adopt healthy habits that might boost their survival, said lead author Dr. Michael Eisenberg, assistant professor of urology and Stanford University School of Medicine’s director of male reproductive medicine and surgery.

“There may be a window of opportunity here. When they see their doctor they could do some other things that might benefit them.” Eisenberg said. “I see this as an opportunity to pay more attention to your health and be more proactive.”

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wisdom Wednesday: GAIT MECHANISMS

The last step in the QA protocol is the evaluation for gait. The neurological organization required to walk upright is very complex. (Please review my blog “Did Walking Upright Make Humans Smart” posted on Friday, June 6, 2014) It takes most of us about a year to learn the process as infants. These neurological patterns develop from the “cross crawl” human babies use prior to walking.

Gait evaluation examines these patterns looking for distortion as it relates to structural issues. I commonly test the latissimus dorsi or “lat” bilaterally as my last step during an office visit. With the patient standing, feet even, I test for a strong latissimus dorsi with the left arm. Then the patient takes one step backward with the left foot. Now they are in a gaited position, as if they were walking. The left latissimus dorsi should now become weak if there are no abnormal gait patterns at work. The procedure is repeated on the right, looking for the muscle to weaken with the right foot back.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Broccoli Plant Compound Detoxifies Air Pollutants in the Body

John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD has just released the results of a new study on the benefits of broccoli.

Study participants from one of the most polluted regions in China who consumed half a cup of broccoli sprout beverage were shown to excrete high levels of benzene and acrolein – a known human carcinogen and lung irritant, respectively.

Researchers note that broccoli is a rich source of glucoraphanin – a compound that generates sulforaphane when the vegetable is chewed or the beverage is swallowed. Sulforaphane increases enzymes that improve the body’s ability to get rid of pollutants in the body, which is why the study participants exhibited significantly high levels of excreted benzene and acrolein.

For 12 weeks, the research team studied 291 participants who lived in a rural farming community in Jiangsu Province, China. This is an area about 50 miles north of Shanghai – a heavily industrialized region of the country. Their urine and blood samples were taken during the trial to assess measurements of inhaled air pollutants.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Exercise May Spur More Varied Gut Microbes

Exercise can increase the diversity of bacteria found in the gut, possibly boosting the immune system and improving long-term health, British researchers report.

High levels of dietary protein might have the same effect, according to their study, published June 9, 2014 in the journal Gut.

Researchers at the Institutes of Medical Sciences at Aberdeen University in Scotland examined the blood and stool samples of 40 professional rugby players in the middle of a rigorous training program. The athletes were chosen for the study because intense exercise regimens are often associated with extreme diets. (Photo via lifestyleupdated)

The rugby players’ samples were then compared to samples taken from 46 similar men who were healthy, but not athletes. Half of these men had a normal body-mass index (BMI) – a measure that can help determine if someone is a normal weight for their height. The rest had a higher-than-normal BMI.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wisdom Wednesday: Ilio-Transverse Ligaments

The last six steps in the QA protocol involve assessment and treatment of the spine and extremities. This is the cornerstone of chiropractic care and most of you are familiar with spinal and extremity manipulation. However, the evaluation and treatment sequence of QA are what revolutionized my musculoskeletal practice.

Virtually every chiropractor has a core of patients with chronic low back problems. We treat these patients monthly, weekly, or sometimes even daily. In most cases, we are able to provide some measure of temporary relief. The patients are pleased because their pain has been reduced, but they are always vulnerable, seemingly going from one episode of back pain to the next.

My practice had that core. It was the most dissatisfying aspect of my job. All of that changed with QA. As soon as I learned how to reset the neurological patterns that drive most low back pain cases, my chronic patients began to stabilize. With their vulnerability resolved, activities of daily living – arising from bed, walking, sitting, bending and lifting no longer stimulated episodic low back pain.

The key is a pair of ligaments that attach the transverse processes of the L5 vertebra to the inner crest of the ileum bilaterally. Forty years ago, when I was a student, we were taught that the ilio-lumbar ligaments were comprised of proprioceptive fibers. That is, they sense position, and send that information to the brain. So if you are swinging a golf club, those ligaments tell your brain how the pelvis is rotating. However, we now know that only half of the fibers of the ilio-lumbar ligament are proprioceptors. The remainder are nociceptors – they elicit pain.

When stimulated, the ilio-lumbar ligaments send pain signals to the brain that result in low back spasm, restricted range of motion, and, of course, a sense of back pain. This is a protective reflex designed to prevent low back injury. However, when stimulated repeatedly, these ligaments fire spontaneously creating ongoing chronic low back pain and instability.

In my clinical experience, this neurological pattern of pain stimulation is the key factor in almost all cases of chronic low back pain.

Thirty-eight years ago, during my first year in practice, I quickly learned that if I could elicit pain on palpation of the ilio-lumbar ligament, that patient was not stable. Even if they were pain free at the time of examination, they would soon be back with another episode. Unfortunately, I just didn’t know how to correct the problem.

Four years ago, when I began to test and treat the ilio-lumbar ligaments, 95% of my chronic low back patients stabilized within 3-4 visits and no longer required constant care. The remaining 5% are victims of FBSS (failed back surgery syndrome) or have significant neuropathy that limits healing.

When patients have acute low back pain, these ligaments are typically firing constantly. However, in more chronic cases, the ligaments often fire only when the patient is seated as sitting increases weight bearing on the low back ten fold. In the worst case scenario, I can reboot this reflex with the patient lying on their stomach and it will fire again as soon as they sit up. Unless rebooted again while seated, the reflex will continue to fire and create low back instability. This is the patient that “never holds an adjustment” and returns repeatedly for treatment. However, when treated over the course of 3-4 visits, the threshold continues to rise, the ligaments fire less and less often, and eventually the low back stabilizes.

Clinically, I find little or no correlation between the degree of disc damage (herniation, protrusion, prolapse, or rupture) and the response to treatment. As noted previously, nerve damage and previous low back surgery are the significant limiting factors.

If you suffer from chronic low back pain, please seek the help of a qualified QA practitioner. You can visit to find a physician in your area.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Diabetes Rise in the US is 'Alarming,' Says CDC

A new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the number of Americans with diabetes continues to rise, with over 12 percent of the adult population estimated to have the disease, and more than a third of those age 20 and over in the US now thought to have prediabetes.

In 2010, there were 26 million people in the US with diabetes – the new CDC report shows that this has gone up to 29.1 million. Moreover, 25% of people – 1 in 4 – do not realize they have the disease, which increases the risk of serious complications including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, amputation of toes, feet or legs, and early death. (Junk Food Aricimboldo by Andy Council)

The CDC figures show that in 2012 alone, 1.7 million Americans age 20 and over were newly diagnosed with diabetes and 208,000 people under the age of 20 have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

The report says 86 million adult American have prediabetes, where blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes.

“Diabetes is costly in both human and economic terms,” says Dr. Ann Allbright, director of the federal agency’s Division of Diabetes Translation, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. She describes the new figures as “alarming”. The estimated total cost in medical bills and lost work and wages due to diabetes and related complications is $245 billion dollars for 2013, up from $174 billion in 2010.

If these numbers continue to rise, then 1 in 5 Americans will have diabetes by 2025, and 1 in 3 by 2050, she warns, adding that: “We simply can’t sustain this trajectory – the implications are far too great – for our families, our healthcare system, our workforce, our nation.”

She says we already know that the most effective way to prevent type 2 diabetes is to adopt a healthier lifestyle, and it also improves health in those already with the disease.

“The sooner people find out they have prediabetes and take action, the better their chances of preventing type 2 diabetes,” she adds, and suggests that CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program is a good example of how to help people change their lifestyle for the benefit of their health.

I have written about this issue frequently and will continue to harp on this message. I believe these figures are too conservative. I think we are already at 1 in 5 and will reach 1 in 2 by 2050.

We just eat too much. The only diet that has been proven to extend life is one that reduces caloric intake. We also eat the wrong stuff. The refined carbohydrates have to go. I don’t care whether you adopt the Paleo Diet, the Mediterranean Diet, the Paleo-Mediterranean Diet, or just cut out the junk.

The formula is really quite simple – eat 3 servings of protein, 5 vegetables and 2 fruits every day. If you eat a big salad, that’s 2 vegetable servings. So a salad at lunch, another at dinner, then just one more vegetable serving with dinner and you’ve met your goal for vegetables. Have a serving of protein for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Eat a banana, an apple, or some other fruit as a snack in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Now you’ve met your macronutrient needs for the day and maintained a nice level blood glucose, avoiding any serious demands on the pancreas. (Photo by tmcpics)

These is a preventable and even reversible disease. Begin today. Ask your doctor to order a glycohemoglobin A1c to measure your average blood glucose level for the past two months. The normal range is below 5.7%. If you are 5.7% or higher, you are in trouble. If you are above 6.0%, you are a diabetic.

Source - Medical News Today -Thursday, June 12, 2014

Friday, June 13, 2014

High Statin Doses Increase Risk of Diabetes

In a study covering more than 100,000 patient records in three nations, researchers with the Canadian Network for Observational Drug Effect Studies (CNODES) found that patients taking higher strength statins face an increased risk of developing diabetes.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 (Health Data management)

The study published in the British Medical Journal, found a 15 percent relative increase in the risk of diabetes within two years of starting treatment with high potency statins, as compared with low potency statins. Patients included in the study had started statin therapy after experiencing a major cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke. About two-thirds of these patients were prescribed a high-potency statin.

Statins considered to be high potency were rosuvastatin (e.g. Crestor) at doses of 10mg or higher; atorvastatin (e.g. Lipitor) as doses of 20mg or higher; and simvastatin (e.g. Zocor) at doses of 40mg or more. All other statins were considered lower potency.

To conduct the study, CNODES researchers from across Canada examined the health records of 136,966 patients who were 40 years of age or older in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. As its mandate, CNODES has the ability to analyze a large amount of anonymous patient data to assess questions of drug safety more reliably that would otherwise be possible in smaller studies.

I keep saying it, but few are listening, statin drugs are dangerous. Statins do reduce the risk of CVA (cardiovascular accident) slightly. But they do so because they reduce vascular inflammation, not because they reduce cholesterol levels.

More than half the people who suffer their first heart attack have normal or even low cholesterol. The medical response to that statistic is “see everyone should be taken statin drugs”. Putting statins in our drinking water has been a topic of discussion at cardiac conferences across the country.

Statin drugs disrupt the chemistry of cholesterol metabolism. It also limits the production of CoQ10, another fat produced in the liver. CoQ10 is necessary to run the Krebs’ Citric Acid Cycle (CAC) that produces energy for every cell in the body. (Please refer to my blog on CAC posted on Wednesday, May 7, 2014.) CAC takes glucose (blood sugar) and coverts it to energy. Without adequate CoQ10, the CAC just doesn’t work.

I believe that all statin drug therapy impairs glucose metabolism. This extensive records review suggests that high doses of statin drugs impair glucose metabolism to the extent that Type II Diabetes more frequently develops.
In all fairness, Metabolic Syndrome is a precursor to both cardiovascular disease and diabetes. This is a vulnerable population that is likely to become diabetic anyway. The statins are just pushing them over the edge before their time.

Several recent research articles have been published questioning the emphasis on cholesterol lowering therapies. A few brave scientists in the field of cardiology have even come forward to question the validity of the original research in support of statin drug therapy. However, they have been quickly criticized and silenced by their peers.

Statin drug therapy is big pharmaceutical business. It is by far the most commonly prescribed drug in the world today. Until there is a financial penalty associated with statins, rather than a financial incentive, use of these drugs will continue to increase regardless of any research articles.

If you are concerned about cardiac risk factors, have your glycohemoglobin A1c, CRP (high sensitivity C-reactive protein), homocysteine, and L(p)a checked in addition to the serum lipids. Those tests are much more indicative of your risks than the serum lipids.

If you choose to take statin drugs, at least supplement with CoQ10 to reduce some of the risk factors associated with this class of drugs.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Widsom Wednesday: GERD

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD is a condition where food is regurgitated from the stomach into the throat. In QA evaluation, we test the GERD reflex for a variety of digestive issues. Although GERD testing follows the endocrine system in the QA format, it can be tested accurately out of sequence. I frequently with test the GERD reflex immediately after inflammation is addressed.

First, we look for mechanical issues in the stomach, ileo-cecal valve (ICV), and Valves of Houston. Each of these structures must function independently and together to promote healthy digestion. The symptoms of GERD can often be relieved immediately just by treating the stomach reflex. Diarrhea and constipation associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can also be relieved with treatment of the ICV and/or Valves of Houston.

After the mechanical issues are addressed, we look for chemical imbalances with the stomach, small and large intestine, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. Often it is a communication issue between two or more of these digestive organs.

Proton-pump inhibitors (PPI) are frequently prescribed for the treatment of GERD. In fact, if you complain to your physician that you burp, Prilosec or some other PPI will often be prescribed. Although these drugs can provide short term relief, they actually inhibit digestion by preventing the production of hydrochloric acid (HCl) in the stomach. Several studies have linked the long term use of PPIs to osteoporosis, anemia, and other nutritional deficiency states.

The concept behind PPIs is to reduce the heartburn by reducing the acid in the stomach. However, as we age, most of us produce too little HCl not too much. The lack of HCl allows the formation of organic acids in the stomach that produces the heartburn associated with acid reflux.

Reduction of gut inflammation is typically the first step in resolving digestive issues. Then we must support repair of the gut lining.

The lining of the digestive tract is epithelium, just like our skin. However, the digestive lining is only one cell thick, while the skin has five layers of cells. The entire lining of the digestive tract is replaced every 24 to 48 hours. (By comparison, you replace every cell in the liver every 7 years.) If new epithelial cell production lags, then the integrity of the gut wall is lost and partially digested food, bacteria, and viral particles can “leak” into the blood stream. This creates an immune response that is the cause of most autoimmune disease.

When your immune system attacks these particles, commonly carbohydrates or proteins, it then may attack tissues in the body whose structure is similar to that of the offending particle. For example, if that protein particle has the same amino acid sequence as the myelin sheath of the nervous system, the immune system may attack that sheath causing Multiple Sclerosis. This process is call molecular mimicry.

We support the digestive tract with L-glutamine and Slippery Elm Bark to reduce inflammation. Folic acid stimulates new cell production. We may have to reduce unfriendly bowel flora with Oil of Oregano, Oil of Anise, and Andrographis or other products. Probiotics and/or prebiotics may be needed along with HCl for the stomach, beets for the gallbladder, and/or digestive enzymes for the small intestine. The process is quite involved and must be implemented in a step-wise fashion to be successful.

Fifty percent of my new patients list digestive issues as their primary complaint. Of the remaining 50%, half of those have digestive issues as the driving force behind their heath issues. However, on entry, neither of us have are aware of the root cause of their illness.

Digestive issues are behind a majority of our health issues. If you have digestive complaints, do not ignore them or just treat the symptoms. Seek help from a qualified nutritionist and begin to reclaim your health.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Growing Up on Raw Foods

What are the benefits of feeding your children raw foods?
June 2, 2014 (The New York Times)

Meals for Levi Bowland are pretty much the same every day. For breakfast, it’s melon. For lunch, a heaping bowl of coleslaw and three bananas. Dinner involves more fruit, and a salad. (Photo by elachica)

Levi is 10 years old. Since birth, he has eaten almost exclusively raw and vegan, meaning no animal products or food heated over 118 degrees.

The Bowlands are among a growing cadre of families who are raising their children on entirely uncooked fare: fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and sprouted grains. While most of these diets tend to be vegan, some do include raw meat or fish, as well as raw or unpasteurized milk, yogurt and cheese.

But many doctors are cautioning against the trend. A child’s digestive system may not be able “to pull the nutrients out of raw foods as effectively as an adult’s,” said Dr. Benjamin Kligler, a family practitioner with the Center for Health and Healing in Manhattan.

Over the last year, Dr. TJ Gold, a pediatrician in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with a strong focus on nutrition, has seen about five families who are feeding their children, including toddlers, raw diets. Some of the children were severely anemic, she said, and the parents were supplementing the diets with vitamin B12. “If you have to supplement something for children in order to do it, is that really the right diet for them? Dr. Gold said.

Dr. Anupama Chawla, director of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, points out that although fruits and vegetables are very good sources of vitamins and fiber, “they do lack protein.” Legumes, lentils, chickpeas and red beans, which have protein, she said, “can’t be eaten uncooked.”

Others fear that the rigidity involved in such strict diets may border on pathology. In many instances, a raw diet could be “an extension of the parents’ eating obsessions, and maybe even a clinical eating disorder that they have sort of packaged in this raw diet mentality.” Said Dr. Margo Maine, a specialist in eating disorders in West Hartford, Conn., and author of the “The Body Myth.”

Raw enthusiasts insist they are raising vibrant, energetic children who have never had a sick day in their lives.

Julie Rodrigues, 31, mother of two, credit a raw diet with clearing up her eczema and acne, and helping her and her husband, shed a combined 150 pounds. Like others who eat on raw, or “live,” food, Ms. Rodrigues believes that cooking destroys immune-boosting minerals, enzymes and vitamins.

Andrea Giancoli, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, agreed that cooking may diminish some nutrients. “Enzymes are proteins, and proteins unravel when they are cooked, to a degree.” But, she said, enzymes are also naturally rendered inactive by the acidity in our stomachs. And several studies have shown that levels of some nutrients, like lycopene, are enhanced by cooking.

How far to you have to go back in history to find a time when humans did not cook their food? The answer – every archaeological record of early man shows evidence of cooking our food. Fire appears to be one of our earliest tools and the home cooked meal quickly followed.

Raw food has its’ place and most of us don’t eat enough of it. However, it is unhealthy to eat 100% raw. Cooking is a form of pre-digestion. We can not adequately digest complex proteins with the aid of cooking to break some of the chemical bonds and allow the proteins to unravel. This allows HCl and pepsin to further break the bonds holding the amino acids together.

Just think about the toughness of a raw piece of meat, fish, or even beans prior to cooking. Then compare that with how tender, easy to cut and chew these proteins become once cooked.

Yes, cooking does destroy some nutrients, especially vitamins and enzymes, but it makes others much more available. The key is a mix of both raw and cooked foods. That assures the broadest spectrum of nutrients in the diet.

The comment by Dr. Gold about the need to supplement indicating the diet is inadequate is, in my opinion, naive. It is virtually impossible today to meet all the nutritional requirements of the body with the food that is available. Virtually all of us need to supplement omega 3 fatty acids and calcium. Those anemic children needed vitamin B12 supplementation because their diets lacked any real source. However, the lack of complete protein also means they are not secreting enough HCl to absorb the B12 in their food. They need a bio-available form.

Work toward a diet that is 50% raw fruits and vegetables. Eat a big salad for lunch and dinner, and have two fresh fruit servings as snacks everyday. Add a cooked vegetable at dinner and some cooked protein at all three meals to balance the diet. A vegan diet can work but it is really hard to get enough protein and you will have to supplement vitamin B12. I think it is just a lot easier to add some lean meats. Supplement omega 3 fatty acids and calcium as a minimum.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Did Walking Upright Make Humans Smart?

Dr. Mac Shine, a neurology researcher at the University of Sidney, Brain and Mind Research Institute and his father, Rick Shine, Professor in Evolutional Biology, have recently published a paper in Frontiers in Neuroscience.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 (Medical News Today)

The inspiration came from watching their son/grandson learn to walk. When toddler Tyler Shine began, they observed how every step required his full attention. But as walking became routine, Tyler began to pay attention to his surroundings. He was also able to balance better, which helped free up his attention and focus on more interesting tasks. (Photo via CG-links)

They developed the idea that Tyler was transferring control of balance to “lower” parts of the brain. This released the cortex from the drudgery of routine, lower order processes, freeing it up to focus on unpredictable challenges such as obstacles.

Tyler’s father, Dr. Shine, says that at first all complicated tasks – for example driving a car or playing and instrument – take up our full attention, but they eventually become routine.

“Studies of brain function suggest that we shift the control of these routine tasks down to ‘lower’ areas of the brain, such as the basal ganglia and cerebellum,” he explains. “So, humans are smart because we have automated the routine tasks; and thus, can devote our most potent mental faculties to deal with new, unpredictable challenges.”

He and his father propose that the change from walking on all fours to walking on two legs- bipedality- was the key event in the early history of humans that prompted a change in the way we use our brains.
They postulate that the onset of walking on two legs posed “massive nerocomputational challenges” to the brain, and this drove the “rapid expansion of human cognitive capacity.”

“Specifically, the ability to rapidly ‘delegate’ well-learned behaviors into subconscious processes liberated higher neural centers to be available for flexible, ‘online’ processing fitness-relevant stimuli,” they note.
Dr. Shine says while new technology allows us to find out more and more about how the brain works by looking inside it, in order to interpret what we observe, we also need new ideas. He says he is “delighted” that his son inspired one of these new ideas.

This novel look at neurological and evolutionary development fits many of the patterns I see everyday in the clinical setting.

Eighty percent of my new patients have an ‘injury reflex’ upon entry. This neurological imbalance impairs higher areas of the brain with aberrant input from a site of former injury. Once corrected, improved neurological function is noted in both the brain and spinal cord.

Injury Reflex Technique (IRT) works by stimulating the lower brain centers and the injury site simultaneously. This has a ‘rebooting’ effect, much like erasing the memory buffers in a computer when you turn it off and back on again. Much like a computer, the nervous system is now free to function without the glitches that caused the computer to freeze initially.

Stimulation of the lower brain centers is most often performed by quick dorsiflexion of the ankles. This stimulates the rich neurological bed in the ankles associated with walking. Having the patient in weight bearing, with the feet firmly on the floor is also used to reinforce these same walking neurological patterns.

Checking for an IRT reflex is the first thing I perform with each and every patient. The last thing I check, after any evaluation, is the gait mechanism. This looks for altered neurological patterns associated with walking. Once any imbalance in gait is corrected, I know I have restored function of the nervous system to the best of my abilities.

What these researchers have postulated may be an over simplification of a very complex process, but their theory has merit. I look forward to more novel ideas and approaches to the human body.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wisdom Wednesday: The Pancreas

The pancreas is the last organ in the endocrine system that we evaluate. We began with the endocrine system as a whole – adrenal, pineal/pituitary, thyroid, and reproduction. Then we looked at hidden adrenal issues. Last week we reviewed liver function; now finally, the pancreas.

The head of the pancreas secretes digestive enzymes. Digestion will be discussed next week. The tail of the pancreas secretes insulin and other hormones. Insulin binds to glucose in the blood stream and facilitates entry to most cells of the body.

Over the course of our lives, most of us become insulin resistant. Excess refined carbohydrates and just eating too much in general tax the system. Insulin receptors in the cells of the body become less responsive to insulin so the pancreas must produce ever increasing quantities of insulin to force sugar into the cells. This is early stage Type II Diabetes.

Eventually, the pancreas just wears out, insulin production falls and the body becomes dependent on insulin injections to maintain some semblance of glucose control.

There are four tissues that do not require insulin to absorb glucose – the small capillaries, the kidneys, the nervous system and the eyes. These tissues are saturated with excess glucose for years prior to the diagnosis of diabetes. The result is progressive degeneration of these tissues resulting in neuropathy, blindness, amputation of the lower extremities, kidney failure, and ultimately death.

It is estimated that by the year 2050, 50% of the US population will be diabetic. Diabetes is an epidemic that is preventable and often reversible just by making good choices in diet and exercise.

When evaluating the pancreas, we correlate function with the remainder of the endocrine system. Sometimes pancreas dysfunction is secondary to an adrenal issue or a thyroid problem. However, most commonly, the problem begins with general inflammation.

When the body is inflamed, from just about any cause, it produces arachidonic acid. This most frequently results in the production of prostaglandins (PG2), primarily from the liver. (Please review my first Wednesday Wisdom blog on QA evaluation, “Inflammation – part 1”, posted on March 19, 2014) Adequate intake of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids should produce PG3 and PG1 respectively, which counterbalance the inflammation from PG2. However, early on in insulin resistance, the conversion of healthy omega 6 fatty acids from the diet is shunted into the arachidonic acid pathway creating more inflammation rather than less.

Supplementation with sesame seed oil prevents this shunting and restores the omega 6 to PG1 pathway. This simple change in body chemistry often dramatically improves glucose metabolism, even in drug dependent diabetics.

In resistant cases, the herb Gymnema can be most effective. Gymnema actually helps restore the beta cells of the pancreas that secrete insulin. In Ayurvedic medicine, Gymnema means “sugar destroyer”. For thousands of years, it has been used to eliminate the sickly sweet smell of urine produced when diabetics spill glucose into the urine in an attempt to reduce blood levels.

If you are not yet diabetic, the odds are quite good that you will become one. Have your glycohemoglobin A1c checked yearly. It will detect problems in glucose metabolism years before the fasting glucose is out of control and the diagnosis of diabetes is given. Maintain a regime of regular exercise and reduce the refined carbohydrates in your diet.

If you have a blood sugar issue, no matter how advanced, consult with a qualified nutritionist. The damage begins long before you are aware you have a problem. However, it can be reversed with proper guidance.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Iodine Deficiency Common in Pregnancy, Pediatricians Warn

Many pregnant and breast-feeding women are deficient in iodine and should take a daily supplement containing iodide, according to a leading group of pediatricians.
Monday, May 26, 2014 (HealthDay News)

Iodine, generally obtained from iodized salt, produces thyroid hormone, an essential component for normal brain development in the developing baby. (Photo via OshoNews)

But as consumption of processed foods has increased, so has iodine deficiency because the salt in processed foods is not iodized, according to a policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“This is the first time that the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a statement on iodine,” said Dr. Jerome Paulson, medical director for national and global affairs at the Children’s National Health System and chair of the academy’s Council on Environmental Health.

About one-third of pregnant women in the United States are iodine-deficient, according to the background information in the article published in the June issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Severe iodine deficiency is associated with stunted physical and mental growth, and even marginal iodine deficiency can decrease brain functioning, the report said.

Pregnant and breast-feeding women should take a supplement that includes at least 150 micrograms of iodide, and use iodized table salt, the academy said. Combined intake from food and supplements should be 290 to 1,100 micrograms a day. Potassium iodide is the preferred form, the doctors said.

Currently, only about 15 percent of pregnant and breast-feeding women take supplements containing iodide, the researchers said. Why so few women take iodide supplements isn’t clear, said Paulson. “It may be that most people don’t appreciate the importance of adequate iodine in the diet for normal fetal development and that the women with marginal levels have no indication of the iodine status,” he said. Iodine deficiency displays no symptoms.

In the early 60’s studies on iodine by Dr. Wolfe raised widespread fear of iodine poisoning. Subsequently, iodine was removed from all baked goods, the common source in the diet. These studies, later proved to contain faked data, were published a few years after Synthroid (synthetic thyroid hormone) was released as a prescription drug. Subsequently, iodine was added to table salt in an attempt to put it back in our diet.

Synthroid, produced by Abbot Laboratories, has never had FDA approval but is the third most commonly prescribed drug in the US.

Contrary to this articles claim that iodine deficiency displays no symptoms, iodine deficiency results in hypothyroidism. The classic symptoms are fatigue, weight gain, dry skin and loss of hair, especially the lateral third of the eyebrows.

Hypothyroidism has been diagnosed in 4.6% of our population, but estimates of the undiagnosed incidence are much higher. Clinically, about one-third of my female patients suffer from an underactive thyroid, most of them due to iodine deficiency.

Thyroid hormone (T4) is made in the thyroid by combining four molecules of iodine with a molecule of cholesterol. T3, the active form of thyroid hormone is made in the liver and kidneys by cutting off one of the iodine molecules. T3 drives general metabolism, converting glucose into ATP to provide energy in every cell of the body.

The need for iodine in the developing fetus and newborn baby is quite high to facilitate new cell production. In my opinion, the lack of knowledge about the need for iodine stems back to all the misinformation publicized in the 1960’s. The medical misinformation about iodine is very similar to the misinformation about cholesterol and statin drugs. Unfortunately, the dogma is older and therefore more ingrained.

Dr. David Brownstein and Dr. G.E. Abraham have published several research articles and books on the subject of iodine deficiency. You may review the research articles at Dr. Brownstein’s books have been on the New York Times best seller list for non-fiction.

Iodine deficiency is a common problem. It is crucial that pregnant and breast-feeding women supplement iodine. I recommend a 50/50 combination of iodine and iodide, rather than straight iodide.
If you would like to test your own iodine status, rub a 2% solution of iodine tincture (mercurochrome) on the inside of your forearm forming a “patch”. Let it dry, and then observe how long it takes for the iodine patch to fade and ultimately disappear. If the patch is still visible after 8 hours, your iodine status is good. The sooner it disappears, the greater the iodine deficiency.

Do not take more than 3mg of iodine with qualified nutritional supervision.