Wednesday, January 27, 2010

February, Heart Health Month at NFC!

With February and upcoming Valentines Day the majority of us are focused on matters of the heart, and this February at NFC we are taking a slightly different approach to this by educating our patients on Cardiovascular Health.

We have a plethora of exciting events this year, and this month don't miss out on all we have to offer our patients and the community.

Starting February 1st our our own Dr. Marie will be instructing yoga classes Monday evenings at 6pm. There is no cost for these classes (just donation) and they are open to anyone in the community. Just bring a yoga mat, comfortable clothes and an open mind.

On Thursday, February 11th Dr. Jesika Dicampli with be giving a free informative talk on Cardiovascular Health and Dr. Phranq Tamburri with be helping you in Evaluating Your Supplements on Wednesday, February 24th.

Please RSVP for these events via the Meetup links above or on NFC's Facebook.

Now some articles from our NFC doctors. . .

In this edition:
Dr. Jesika DiCampli - Cardiovascular Health
Dr. Marianne Marchese - Environmental Links to Heart Disease
Dr. Marie Niechwiadowicz - Cholesterol - Its More Than Just a Number
Dr. Phranq Tamburri - Prostate Cancer: Shocking New Study on Your Diet

Top 3 Ways to Increase Your Cardiovascular Health
Dr. Jesika DiCampli, NMD

1) Blood work: get your C-Reactive Protein checked with your cholesterol screen.

Did you know that not only cholesterol plays a role in possible risk of cardiovascular events? INFLAMMATION can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, or heart disease. An article from NEJM concluded that the addition of CRP screening to lipid levels may provide an improved method of identifying those at risk for cardiovascular events. What is CRP? Well, it is an inflammatory marker when tested with high sensitivity can determine an important aspect of cardiovascular risk. Do you know if your C-Reactive Protein is being checked with routine blood work?

2) Supplement: take at 1,000mg of Fish oil daily.

An article by the American heart association suggested that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) supplementation significantly reduces cardiac mortality. Fish oil will help decrease inflammation and maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Make sure your omega-3 fish oil is from a reputable company so that it is molecularly distilled to maintain purity and free from heavy metals like mercury! Also, the dosage of Omega-3 should be 1,000mg of EPA and DHA not a total amount of ‘oil’. How much good quality fish oil are you getting a day?

3) Diet/Nutrition: 1 tablespoon GROUND flax daily.

What can you add daily to your diet to help improve your cardiovascular health? FLAX! The Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that ground flax seed helps lower LDL, Lp(a), and can improve insulin sensitivity in adults with high lipid profiles. So put some flax seeds in your smoothie, over salad, or in your morning oatmeal for extra cholesterol fighting fiber. Its easy and tastes yummy!

February is Heart Health Month!!!
For more information on heart health or if you have specific questions make sure to attend
Dr. DiCampli's talk this month on the subject…

Environmental Links to Heart Disease
Dr. Marchese, NMD

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the number one leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Heart Association. Cardiovascular disease and the term heart disease are often used interchangeably and could mean a patient suffers from atherosclerosis, hypertension, arrhythmias, congenital heart defects, and more. When assessing a patient for cardiovascular disease it is important to address environmental toxins. Chemicals such as heavy metals, solvents, bisphenol-A, and others have been linked to heart disease. We are exposed to these through air pollution, drinking water, cigarette smoke, plastics, and food. These toxins play a role in the initiation or progression of heart disease. They affect the heart by causing inflammation, atherosclerosis, affecting aortic smooth muscle cells, oxidative metabolism, phospholipid turnover, and protein and enzyme function in the heart and vessels.

Heavy metals linked to heart disease include;


Testing for the presence of heavy metals in the body is inexpensive and easy to do. Dr. Marianne Marchese is a specialist in environmental medicine with years of experience in treating heart disease, testing for heavy metals and providing treatment. There are numerous risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease. Low dose exposure to environmental toxins through the air, water, food, and products has not received much attention in the past. They are directly linked to heart disease. Attention to these environmental risk factors, educating patients and the public, creating health-protective public policies, modifying our behavior at home and work is likely to decrease cardiovascular disease in the US. Make your appointment with Dr. Marchese today.

Cholesterol – It is More Than Just a Number
Marie Niechwiadowicz, NMD

Patient 1 has his blood work run and his total cholesterol is 182. Patient 2 has hers run and it is 232. We are told that total cholesterol should be less than 200. Who has healthier cholesterol levels and less risk for heart disease?

Trick question – without breaking down the total number into LDL, VLDL and HDL the number is useless.

Quick definitions:

HDL – high density lipoprotein. Considered to be protective against heart disease – often called the “good cholesterol.” The higher the number the better. Should be at least 45.

LDL – low density lipoprotein. Causes the formation of arterial plaque – the “bad cholesterol.” Should be less than 130, less than 100 is optimal.

VLDL - very low density lipoprotein. Considered even worse than LDL as a cardiac risk factor. Should be less than 29.

Back to the patients numbers:

Patient 1 HDL 12, LDL 135, VLDL 35 = Total Cholesterol 182

Patient 2 HDL 142 LDL 85, VLDL 5 = Total Cholesterol 232

Obviously Patient 2 has a much lower risk for heart disease even though her total cholesterol would be considered high. Interestingly, half of the people who have heart attacks have “normal” cholesterol levels.

But wait! There is more…

Trigylcerides, apolipoprotien, the size and the density of the LDL, remnant lipoprotein, homocysteine levels, and c-reactive proteins all contribute to your risk of heart disease.

So let’s all chase that shot of fish oil with red wine after exercising and eating oat fiber with red rice yeast extract. Throw in some niacin and maybe a statin drug. Let’s get all those numbers down!

Not a good idea. Cholesterol is the building block for our hormones – estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, aldosterone, and cortisol are all made from cholesterol. It is possible to have too little cholesterol especially through over supplementation/medication.

Bloodwork is available to test all these risk factors in addition to the HDL, LDL and Total cholesterol. These labs are a valuable tool since the strategy to reduce one risk factor is different for another. As always medicine is not one supplement/drug fits all. Make your appointment now to learn about your cardiac risk factors and create a plan to optimize your heart health this month.

Prostate Cancer: Shocking New Study on Your Diet
Dr. Phranq Tamburri, NMD

An eye opening new study published online December 30 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition questions some long standing assumptions on diet for cancer patients, in this case specifically prostate cancer. The finding demonstrated that consumption of eggs and chicken with skin might increase the risk for disease progression by 2 times in men with localized prostate cancer (post diagnosis). However even more perplexing is that the red meat group did not see this same increase, a conclusion that seems counter-intuitive to most cancer diet models. 5 food groups were looked at along with the frequency eaten with 1294 men of processed red meat, unprocessed red meat, fish, poultry, and eggs. As the researchers stated themselves, "postdiagnostic consumption of eggs and poultry with skin were each associated with 2-fold increases in risk for prostate cancer progression. Red meat had no effect on progression." "Our results are entirely novel and it will be important to examine these dietary factors in future studies" said lead author Erin Richman, MS, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts.

It appears that the only plausible scientific rationale (at this point) is that well-done chicken (typically the cooked manner for men who prefer the skin intact) contains high levels of heterocyclic amines which are a known mutagens. They bind and damage DNA in cultured human prostate tissue. How do they explain the chicken eggs? Well they don't exactly except to note that eggs help determine the level of an individual's plasma choline, which is a marker associated with a greater risk of prostate cancer developing in men. As for the red meat not contributing to an increased risk, a closer investigation may be needed.

Although physicians should not simply discard data they don't agree with, this finding is peculiar given the specific reasons red meat is almost universally avoided for cancer an chronic diseases in general. First, it is very hard to digest thereby utilizing high amounts of stomach acid that acidifies the body. Low body pH (acidity) is known to temper your innate immune system (hence the reason for whole food alkaline diets). Second, red meat traditionally is high in hormones (like estrogen) which effect sex hormone linked cancers like prostate cancer (and breast cancer). Third, red meat is strongly inflammatory. Inflammation is thought to retard the immune system further by 'distracting it' from its regular policing action. This can allow cancer (and other disease) to become opportunistic.

Despite these findings, I still recommend a high pH diet therefore avoiding red meat. Chicken should always be cooked without the skin. As for eggs, I will be closely following the new follow up studies. In the meantime, eggs I still support as a fantastic dietary protein source however the amount per day should be curtailed depending upon you cancer staging, its aggression, and your daily egg intake levels.

Phranq D. Tamburri, NMD
Prostate Second Opinions