Tuesday, February 24, 2009

NFC March Newsletter

Hello Everyone!

Our doctors have written some great articles for this month's newsletter.

Buy the Organic Strawberries - Dr. Psenka
The Wet Socks Treatment- Dr. DiCampli
New Test Available for Prostate Cancer- Dr. Tamburri
The Vitamin D and Pain Connection- Dr. Kerievsky

Also, our online pharmacy is up and running! We've added dozens of our most popular pharmacy items, and are adding more daily. Visit nfcpharm.com to have all your supplements shipped right to your door!

Strawberry Bummer- Dr. Psenka
Who doesn’t love strawberries? I could probably eat my weight in strawberries on any given day. Strawberry rhubarb pie, strawberry shortcake, strawberry preserves they’re fantastically delicious no matter how you eat them. Unfortunately, not everything about strawberries is good. It has long been recognized that strawberries are one of the most heavily contaminated foods we eat. Strawberries, along with apples, cherries, and peaches have been on the “10 Most Contaminated List” for a long time.

I decided to look into what was contaminating the strawberries after paying five bucks for a pint at Whole Foods. My daughter can plow through a pint in about 3 minutes and they happen to be one of her favorite foods. Paying five bucks was a hard pill to swallow considering that I grew up down the road from a strawberry farm. I wanted to find out exactly what it was that made the organically grown berries so much better, were they really worth twice the price?

Here’s what I found: There are currently 371 pesticides approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for use on strawberries (Kind of makes the name Environmental Protection Agency sound like an oxymoron, eh?) Growers of conventional strawberries may use methyl bromide, chloropicrin, Captan, malathion, Diprom, Kelthane, and Avermectin to bring a crop of strawberries to market. The highlights of these pesticides include:

1. Methyl bromide (aka. bromomethane) a soil sterilizer. Was supposed to be phased out of use according to the Montreal Protocol. In the US it has been granted a “critical use” exemption for use on certain crops including strawberries. Respiratory, kidney, and neurologic effects are of the greatest concern to people. No cases of severe effects on the nervous system from long-term exposure to low levels have been noted in people, but studies in rabbits and monkeys have shown moderate to severe injury.

2. Chloropicrin (aka PS) is currently used as a fumigant, but made it’s first appearance as a chemical warfare agent. It is sometimes used to kill vertebrates such as rabbits. Chloropicrin is a highly dangerous and toxic chemical. At concentrations above 1.1 ppm (that’s parts per million), chloropicrin irritates the eyes; between 1 to 3ppm can also cause excessive crying. Above 4ppm will limit a person's ability to participate in work or activity. A one minute exposure to chloropicrin above 15ppm can cause respiratory damage.

3. Captan, a fungicide. The EPA has this chemical classified as a “probable human carcinogen.” Enough said.

4. Malathion- This one is particularly interesting for Phoenicians, as it is used in mosquito control programs. You know, it’s sprayed from those helicopters that fly over the city at night....Currently labeled as “insufficient data to classify as a carcinogen” by the EPA. Animal studies suggest otherwise. Interesting study in April, 2008 issue Environmental Health Perspectives showed that dietary intake of organopesticides was the major source of exposure in young children. See the whole article here.

5. Dibrom (aka Naled)- this is another little beauty developed by the wonderful people who brought you chemical warfare. Originally used as a nerve agent, it can effect reproductive health and development, is toxic to aquatic organisms, and is a ground water contaminant. Spelled backwards is “morbid.”

After reading about the chemicals that are used for growing conventional strawberries, I decided to do my best to only eat organic strawberries. Additionally, there is no way that I can ever feed either of my kids something that is tainted with chemicals born from chemical warfare and known carcinogens.

I sometimes make jokes with patient about how pretty soon there won’t be anything left to eat. It’s turning out that this really isn’t a joke. The good news is that the locally produced organic food movement is gaining speed. Phoenix has several great farmer’s markets during the week. For a listing of all the markets look at the link on the right side of your screen.

Wet Socks Treatment- Dr. DiCampli
Cold/flu prevention at home.....WET SOCKS!

It sounds strange, but it works. What is it? Well, take a pair of thin cotton socks, saturate them with COLD water, and wring out. Next, get ready for bed and slip them on. Finally put DRY wool socks over the wet socks and crawl into bed for a good nights sleep and wake rejuvenated. Why do you want to do this to yourself? Because it is one of the easiest ways to stimulate your body's immune system while you are sleeping and it is fabulous for removing stagnation (stuffy nose, runny nose, head pain, cough, and just about any other symptom that goes with a cold/flu) Use it to prevent sickness during cold and flu season or use it nightly if you have a cold/flu. Children surprisingly love this hydrotherapy technique because it makes them feel so great! So TRY it and see for yourself what wet socks can do for you and your entire family.

Important and Promising Recent Finding For Prostate Cancer Assessment- Dr. Tamburri
The 2/11/09 issue of Nature announced that a potentially new urine test may help determine the severity of prostate cancer. Read the article here This test would be a crucial addition to the current testing of the faulty PSA and help contribute to decreasing unnecessary biopsy. Although numerous molecules were tested for their correlation to more severe prostate cancer variants (high chance for metastasis), the one which was highlighted is called sarcosine. Sarcosine is a derivative of the amino acid glycine. Some NFC patients may be familiar with this common amino acid given as a powder as a natural treatment for anxiety. The only new conventional laboratory test for prostate cancer released in the last few years (available at Naturopathic Family Care) is the Prostate Cancer Antigen 3 (PCA3) molecular test. A sarcosine adjunct test would be fantastic for the integrative patient to better determine the best treatment options, whether natural or conventional. This study will take years to better analyze its correlation to metastatic disease however once it is available it will be incorporated into our Advanced Prostate Cancer Assessment Program.

Vitamin D deficiency and pain? Is there a link? Dr. Kerievsky
New research is showing a wide range of problems associated with low levels of Vitamin D. I currently have been recommending all my patients over 40 be screened for Vitamin D deficiency due to the increased risk for developing cancer, heart disease as well as other conditions. Research is also indicating that people with unexplained muscle or bone pain should be screened for Vitamin D deficiency. A study of 150 children and adults with unexplained muscle or bone pain showed that almost all of them had Vitamin D deficiency. A simple blood test of 25 (OH) hydroxyvitamin D can be done to determine if you have low levels of Vitamin D. Please contact our office if you are concerned about your Vitamin D levels and are suffering with chronic pain.