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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Detoxifying' Foot Pads are a Scam

An NPR experiment on Kinoki foot pads tested to see if they'd drawn anything out of a reporter's body.
Reporter Sarah Varney and her husband bought some "detoxifying" Kinoki foot pads and wore them to bed. In the morning, they both awoke find the pads covered in the brown mess that the advertisement had promised. But when they took the foot pads to a lab and had them analyzed and compared with unused pads, the used pads were almost identical to the blank.
Further experimentation showed that the "gunk" in the pads shows up if you hold the pad over a pot of boiling water. Who knew steam had "metabolic waste"?
The Consumerist August 19, 2008
ABC News April 11, 2008
MSNBC June 19, 2008

I have received quite a number of emails from readers lately asking questions about these types of detoxifying foot pads; seems a lot of people desperately want to believe they work as advertised.  
The Kinoki foot pads -- as well as other brands -- promise to draw out everything from heavy metals to metabolic wastes, toxins, parasites, cellulite and more, to restore your vitality and health. 
I always questioned the value of this tool for detoxification, and, despite the lack of scientific research, the independent investigative reports above seem to agree: The likelihood that detoxifying foot pads work is slim to none.  
However, certain foot pads may still offer some value – just not necessarily what they're advertising. And, you're not likely to get it from most brands.  

Toxicology Lab Found No Toxins in Used Foot Pads 
Like reporter Sarah Varney, 20/20's correspondent John Stossel also took used pads in for toxicology testing. And, like hers, Stossel's results came back negative.  
20/20 asked NMS Labs, a national laboratory in Willow Grove, Pa., to analyze used Kinoki and Avon pads from eight volunteers. They tested for heavy metals, including arsenic and mercury, and 23 solvents such as benzene, tolulene and styrene.  
None of these common toxins were found in the used pads. 
So what's that brown, foul-smelling gunk? 
It's just a natural reaction between the ingredients and the moisture from the bottom of your foot.  
Exposing the pads to moisture, either by placing them over a steaming pot of water, or putting a few drops of water on them will make the ingredients turn a darker color and emit an unpleasant odor.
Dr. Devra Davis, director of the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh and an expert on toxins, also conducted a similar experiment on her own, leaving the pads out overnight without their protective packaging. In an article for MSNBC she stated the pads contain "little more than green tea and vinegar," and that the color and odor are likely the result of these ingredients "interacting with oxygen, heat or moisture."
20/20 asked Avon and Kinoki for scientific test results showing the pads do what they claim to do, but neither company fulfilled the request. 

Detoxing… For Real
Your environment does indeed have a profound impact on your health. Everything from the quality of the air you breathe to what you put into, and onto, your body makes a difference. Mercury alone can mimic or cause any illness currently known, or at least contribute to it. Detoxing and cleansing your body of toxins periodically can definitely help.
But what is the best way to rid your system of toxins?

When Should You NOT Detox?
Do not start a detox regimen when you are sick. 
You need to start your healthy lifestyle FIRST, before you start detoxing, so you have a reserve that your body can draw on to allow your liver to do its job properly.

If you fail to do this you can easily overwhelm your liver's ability to process these toxic substances that are being eliminated and you will become VERY sick, wishing you had never done the detox in the first place. I have seen this many times, so please use some caution.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Vitamin D Provides a Wide Range of Health Benefits: Implications for Cancer Prevention and the Treatment of Inflammatory and Metabolic Diseases

Vitamin D Provides a Wide Range of Health Benefits: Implications for Cancer Prevention and the Treatment of Inflammatory and Metabolic Diseases and the Importance of Attaining Optimal Serum Levels of 25(OH)D
Alex Vasquez, D.C., N.D.
An increasingly well-documented and consistent body of literature shows that vitamin D has clinically-significant anticancer and anti-inflammatory benefits, and that the attainment of optimal serum levels of vitamin D also confer protection against diabetes mellitus, insulin resistance, and hypertension. In this brief review, we will also discuss clinical trials that have used vitamin D in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome, migraine headaches, depression, epilepsy, and musculoskeletal pain. We also elucidate new guidelines for the interpretation of serum 25(OH)vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D deficiency is an underappreciated epidemic that has heretofore received insufficient attention from clinicians in all disciplines. Given the clinical consequences of hypovitatminosis D, it is indefensible that doctors fail to diagnose and treat this condition (ICD-9 code 268.x) since numerous studies have documented the remarkably high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in medical patients (Kauppinen-Makelin R, et al. J Intern Med.
2001 Jun;249(6):559-63 and Thomas MK, al. N.Eng! J..Med. 1998 Mar !9;338(12):777-83). This article will ­serve to update clinicians on the diagnosis and treatment of this important and common health problem, and we have included our recommendations for laboratory testing to facilitate the clinical applicability of this information.
Vitamin D is metabolized in two distinct pathways: 1) endocrine-relevant to calcium absorption and bone metabolism, and 2) autocrine-relevant to the modulation of intracellular processes such as differentiation, proliferation, inflammation, and gene transcription. Relatedly, vitamin D deficiency is seen in two distinct forms: 1) acute deficiency diseases such as rickets and hypocalcemia, and 2) long-latency deficiency diseases which
manifest only after years of subacute deficiency (Heaney RP. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Nov;78(5):912-9). According to the current research literature, long-term vitamin D deficiency contributes to an increased risk for cancer, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, and insulin resistance, and each of these clinical entities will be discussed in the sections that follow.
· Cancer: Cancer risk and vitamin D deficiency go hand-in-hand. The risk of cancer in humans increases in direct proportion to the reduction in sun exposure, a fact that has been repeatedly verified since its first publication more than 60 years ago. Based on this extensive data, Dr William Grant has estimated that at least 23,000 and perhaps as many as 47,000 cancer deaths might be prevented each year in America if we employed simple interventions to raise vitamin D levels (Cancer 2002;94:1867-75).
· Hypertension: Suboptimal levels of vitamin D increase the risk for and severity of hypertension, and augmentation of vitamin D levels with sunlight or oral supplementation safely and consistently reduces blood pressure in hypertensive patients (PfeiferM, et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2001 Apr;86:1633-7
· Insulin resistance: Patients with vitamin D deficiency show an increased prevalence of insulin resistance.
Authors of a recent study concluded that improving vitamin D status such as with oral supplementation could improve insulin sensitivity by 60%, indicating that vitamin D treatment ''is more potent than either troglitazone or metformin treatment (54% and 13% improvement in insulin sensitivity, 0 respectively.)"o (Chiu KC, et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2004; 79:820-5).
· Depression: Vitamin D administration was shown to improve mood within 5 days of treatment in a controlled clinical trial of patients with wintertime depression (Lansdowne AT, Provost SC. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1998;135:319-23)
· Epilepsy: VitapJin D deficiency can cause seizures. Medications used to treat epilepsy commonly cause vitamin D deficiency, which can then result in iatrogenic epilepsy (All FE, et al. Ann Pharmacother . 2004;38:1002-5). Administration of vitamin D shows an anticonvulsant benefit (Christiansen C, et al. Br Med J. 1974;2:258-9).
· Polycystic ovary syndrome: Vitamin D deficiency was highly prevalent among 13 women with PCOS, and supplementation with 1,500 mg of calcium per day and 50,000 IV of vitamin D2 on a weekly basis normalized menstruation and/or fertility in nine of nine women with PCOS-related menstrual irregularities within three months of treatment (Thys-Jacobs S, et al. Steroids 1999;64:430-5)
· Osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal pain: Osteoarthritis develops more frequently and progresses more rapidly in patients who are deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is alarmingly common in patients
We have an inexpensive BIOAVAILABLE emulsified Vitamin D that lasts a few months. Best yet, it is not a pill!
Ask our staff for the Bio-D-Mulsion.

Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder causing restlessness and the urge to move the legs. A recent study, published in the January 1, 2008 issue of Neurology suggests that people with RLS have an increased risk for stroke or heart disease.
The subjects of the study were 3,433 men and women, with an average age of 68. They were participants in the Sleep Heart Health Study. Nearly 7% of the female participants and about 3.3% of the men had RLS, as determined by a questionnaire. The participants also answered questions about cardiovascular disease and stroke. The presence of RLS was associated with a two-fold likelihood of cardiovascular disease or stroke. This association was especially strong among those with severe symptoms more than 16 times each month.
Nutrition may play a role. In the journal Age, Ageing (May 1994;23(3):200-203), a small study was published, involving 18 elderly subjects with RLS and 18 controls. The serum ferritin was inversely associated with the severity of RLS symptoms. Ferrous sulfate was given to 15 of the subjects and the RLS score improved in eleven of the patients—with greater improvement going to those with the lowest ferritin levels. Another article in the journal Sleep (June 15, 1998;21(4):371-377) looked at 27 patients between the ages of 29 and 81 and found a correlation between the severity of symptoms and low ferritin levels.
Magnesium supplementation was used in a small pilot study published in the journal Sleep (1998;21(5):501-505). Ten subjects with RLS were given magnesium supplementation over a period of four to six weeks. There was a reduction in leg movements (from 33 to 21 per hour) and sleep efficiency also improved.
Exercise may also be beneficial. Another small study appearing in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine (2006; 19(5): 487-93) involved 23 subjects with RLS. They were divided into two groups. On group was put on an exercise program that included aerobic activity and lower body resistance training, and the other served as a control. At the end of the 12 weeks of the study, the group doing the exercise had a significant improvement in symptoms.
Granted, these are small studies. Considering that the treatments in these studies are very low-risk, they may be worth a try. Iron should only be given if there is a deficiency, so it is wise to check ferritin levels before supplementation. Magnesium is a very common deficiency and there are no side effects with supplementation (although taking too much magnesium can make the stools loose). Exercise should be recommended, even if RLS is not a problem.

Medication vs. Natural Health Care for Pain

Here is some of the research about pain and the use of natural health care. A common misconception that many patients have about treating pain is that the drugs they are taking are actually doing some good. Pain medication does not heal or repair a problem—it only offers temporary relief. That relief comes at a price. Pain medication causes problems.
Arthritis patients take NSAIDs regularly without realizing that they actually interfere with cartilage repair. These drugs are linked to high blood pressure, kidney failure, heart failure, ulceration of the GI tract, and some drugs even interfere with bone repair.
According to research appearing in the American Journal of Medicine, “Conservative calculations estimate that approximately 107,000 patients are hospitalized annually for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)-related gastrointestinal (GI) complications and at least 16,500 NSAID-related deaths occur each year among arthritis patients alone. The figures for all NSAID users would be overwhelming, yet the scope of this problem is generally under appreciated”
The drugs have side effects and some would even say that they are dangerous, but what are we to do? Many people have pain, and relief is a priority for them. Chronic pain is the most costly health problem in America, with an estimated annual cost of about $90 billion per year. This cost includes lost productivity, legal costs, doctors’ visits and medication; 80% of all visits to the doctor are pain related. An estimated 40 million Americans have arthritis or other rheumatic condition. That number is expected to climb to 59.4 million, or 18.2% of the population, by the year 2020, according to a new report published as a collaborative effort between the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Arthritis Foundation, and the American College of Rheumatology. Approximately 12% of all Americans suffer from migraine headaches. Nine out of 10 migraine sufferers report they can’t “function normally” during days in which a migraine strikes. Three out of 10 migraine sufferers require bed rest when suffering from a migraine.
In 2001, over 13 million people saw a physician for the treatment of back pain. According to the NIH, 65 to 80% of all people have back pain at some time in their life. Half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year. Back pain costs an estimated $50 billion each year.
Our politics and the FDA seem to favor drug therapies. For example, there is a product made from a patented extract of skullcap that would have been worth mentioning in this article. The manufacturer is worried about any claims being made about the product—because it may cause problems with the FDA.
It has outperformed COX-2 inhibitors in clinical studies, but the manufacturer can’t compare the product head-to-head with drugs. It has improved WOMAC scores on arthritis patients, but the manufacturer can’t say that the product treats joint pain. They can say that the WOMAC score is improved, but can’t say what WOMAC is—because it contains the word “arthritis” (it is a pain-rating scale).
In the mean time, products that are linked to high blood pressure, kidney failure, heart failure, and death can make claims. Maybe the reason so many older Americans take so many drugs is because they start young—with pain medication (that help to destroy joints—making sure that they continue to need them) and safe alternative products are not allowed to make claims.

Insulin Insensitivity

This issue is high on the list because it is so common—and it responds very well to nutritional therapy. It encompasses three conditions: metabolic syndrome (sometimes called syndrome X), adult onset diabetes and people who are insulin insensitive, but have not developed these conditions yet. Insulin has a lot to do with weight gain and so many other common health problems you see in your office. Sugar and insulin are involved with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, type 2 diabetes, menstrual problems, heart disease, pain, inflammation, depression and even polycystic ovaries. With simple lifestyle changes and some good nutritional products you can help people to easily lose weight and help them with a lot of other health problems. This is easy and it works.
Symptoms of insulin resistance include fatigue, weight gain, brain fog, carbohydrate craving, and periods of hypoglycemia after a high carbohydrate meal (often needing a nap after eating). Approximately 50% of your hypertensive patients are insulin insensitive. Approximately 30% of American adults are insulin insensitive and 25% have Syndrome X. The Journal of the American Medical Association states that if a patient has three or more of the following symptoms then Syndrome X is present.: waist measurement greater than 40” in men (35” in women); triglycerides greater than 150 mg/dl; HDL lower than 40 mg/dl; blood pressure greater than 135/85; or fasting glucose of 110 mg/dl.
Problems with sugar and insulin cause weight gain, along with a variety of other health problems. In general, these patients will have a BMI greater than 30. They carry weight around their abdominal area and crave sugar and starch. Getting insulin production under control is the key to weight loss—and there are some products that will help you to do this.
Dietary changes are, of course, necessary. Patients need to go on a low glycemic diet—avoiding high glycemic foods like refined carbohydrates. Have them follow a low glycemic diet; avoid refined foods, hydrogenated oils and additives. They should eat a large breakfast—with protein. They should eat a lot of fresh produce. You may have some problems with compliance—sugar is addictive. The supplementation should help with cravings. If patients have compliance issues, be patient but be firm in telling them that they need to change their habits. One of the keys to this is getting them to control when they eat (see the next paragraph). They should eat slowly and eat until they are full. They should only eat three meals per day.
Patients need to exercise regularly. They also need to stop snacking. The snacking issue is a tough one; many of these patients are labeled as hypoglycemic. Some feel weak or shaky if meals are delayed or feel the need to snack every two hours (or have been told to do so). You need to wean them from this by increasing the time between snacks. When you first eat, you produce insulin which helps to store the calories of the meal. As time goes on, you produce glucagon, which helps to burn the stored calories. The first three hours after eating, insulin is dominant; after three hours glucagon becomes dominant. You cannot lose weight if you keep producing insulin and snacking makes you produce insulin. It is especially important not to eat between dinner and bedtime.

The dietary changes are difficult, but necessary. Fortunately there are products that help to bring insulin under control and to help with cravings.

A multivitamin (designed for glycemic control): Many of the companies who sell to chiropractors sell a product that has a lot of chromium, B vitamins, magnesium and other nutrients to help the patient will glycemic control.
Fish oil: One of the many good things that fish oil does is to help with glycemic control; it also helps to lower cholesterol.
Phosphatidyl choline Works like a fat detergent; it also helps with adrenal issues. Many of your patients needing to lose weight have high cortisol production. Interesting side note—this is good for exercise-induced asthma (as is fish oil).
Phosphorus: Insulin insensitivity is an acidic condition; phosphates help to buffer. Phosphorus also helps with bone loss (a lot of osteoporotic women love their carbs). Sugar upsets the balance between calcium and phosphorus.
Magnesium: Magnesium is also nature’s muscle relaxer, so give it to patients with tight muscles. A woman who is magnesium deficient often will have tender breasts and mood swings related to her cycle. Magnesium causes the stools to soften, so if the patient gets diarrhea, lower the dosage.
Beta TCP or Betafood: Biotics and Standard Process are the only companies (I know of) that make a product like this. It is an extract from beets; it thins bile. Think of it as a detergent for fat (people with Syndrome X tend to get fatty liver).

A Few Words about Statin Cholesterol Drugs

Statins ultimately prevent the production of coenzyme Q 10. Statins work by inhibiting the enzyme methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase. They prevent the production of mevalonate from HMG-CoA. The body converts mevalonate to cholesterol and a variety of other products. One of the things that melvalonate produces is Coenzyme Q 10. Co Q 10 is important for energy production in the cell. Patients taking these drugs commonly do not tolerate exercise well and tend to get sore with activity. If general muscle pain is experienced, it is a serious side effect and a doctor should be consulted. Studies show that these drugs have the potential to cause myopathies (muscle pain) and rhabdomyolysis (muscle damage) with kidney failure. The FDA has warned about liver failure in conjunction with these drugs. These more serious side effects occur in about 1% of the population taking the drugs.
A study published in the journal Diabetes Wellness (May 2005;11(5):4) showed that giving coenzyme Q 10 to patients who take statins reduces muscle pain. Subjects received either 400 IU of vitamin E or 100 mg. of coenzyme Q 10. Eighteen of the 21 subjects receiving the coenzyme Q 10 (90%) experienced pain relief; this compared to three patients out of 20 in the vitamin E group. Coenzyme Q 10 levels decrease after taking a statin drug. In the June, 2000 issue of Archives of Neurology a study was published that showed a reduction in coenzyme Q 10 levels after the subjects took 80 mg. of a statin drug. The mean blood level of coenzyme Q 10 in the 34 participating subjects went from 1.2 mcg/ml to .62 mcg/ml.
The heart contains high levels of coenzyme Q 10 and these levels are found to be lower in people suffering from congestive heart failure. According to an article appearing in The Lancet (1998;352(Suppl. 1):39-41) notes that the incidence of heart failure has dramatically increased in the last three or four decades. The prevalence of heart failure has increased by 70% between 1990 and 2000.
Research on pravastatin appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association (December 18, 2002;288:1998-3007,3042-3044) shows that the drug does indeed lower cholesterol, but does not reduce the risk of death or heart disease in those with moderately high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
There are a number of studies that show that statin drugs may affect behavior, leading to aggressive behavior or depression. Research appearing in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine (1994 Nov-Dec;56:479-84) links aggressive behavior and depression to low cholesterol. It has been postulated that there may be a connection between cholesterol and serotonin.
There are nearly 130 million patients taking statins, and many having serious side effects. It is worth while to take a look at what these drugs do and to take the simple step of giving patients on these drugs coenzyme Q 10.

The message is: if you are on statin drugs, you must supplement with Co-Enzyme Q10 200mg. I have personally selected a potent coenzyme Q10 that actually has the amount assayed on the label of the bottle. This coQ10 is available at our office.

CAVEAT: Other studies have shown that some companies may not have ANY of the product that is on their label.