Thursday, February 18, 2010

March is Nutrition Month at NFC!

For the month of March, Naturopathic Family Care is focusing on various areas of health education; Nutrition, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia.

This month we will be hosting several free health lectures:

Wednesday, March 10th Dr. Ross Kerievsky will be educating us on
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

Tuesday, March 30th Dr. Marianne Marchese will be speaking on
Detox for Cancer Prevention and Treatment.

We are also still providing FREE Yoga every Monday evening at 6pm at NFC taught by our our Dr. Marie.

For details on these or any other events at Naturopathic Family Care use the links above or visit NFC's Facebook Page.

March Articles. . .

FREE Drugs - Dr. Jake Psenka, NMD
Fighting Fatigue - Dr. Raushanah Najeeullah, NMD
Mediterranean Diet and Diabetes - Dr. Shahrzad Orona, NMD
Osteoarthritis Pain - Dr. Ross Kerievsky, DC, NMD

Free Drugs
Dr. Jake Psenka, NMD

People who knew me in my younger days often comment on the fact that I seem to be a more mellow and easy-going person these days. Considering that fact that I moved from a rural area to a major metropolitan area, it’s tempting to believe that the opposite might be true. You know, country boy moves to the big city and pretty soon I ends up in a Joe Francis production. Not me, instead I ended up spending more and more time in the library. On occasion I wondered what could be the driving force behind this transformation. I thought that perhaps maturity could be settling in, however, the people I see on a daily basis assured me that this wasn’t the case.

Then, last week while teaching to a class of aspiring young health professionals it dawned on me. One of my students brought up the fact that drugs are being discovered in the drinking water of many US cities. Could my switch from drinking well water in a rural location to drinking municipally treated water be the culprit?

As it turns out this just well might be the case. Several studies have tested the water in different US cities, and international ones as well, and found high levels of pharmaceutical drugs in drinking water. In fact, the Associated Press completed a study in which they found drug contamination in 24 different major US cities. This contamination is thought to be present in the drinking water of roughly 41 million Americans.

In Philadelphia 56 different drugs or drug by-products were found in the drinking water, including medications for infections, pain, high cholesterol, asthma, and mental illness.

Three medications were found in Tucson’s water, including an antibiotic.

Sex hormones were found in the drinking water in San Francisco (no joke).

Anti-epileptic and anti-anxiety drugs were found in the drinking water in Southern California.

In reality this contamination really shouldn’t be that big of a surprise. We very rarely, if ever, absorb 100% of anything we put in our bodies. Some gets absorbed, and some gets flushed. Once flushed the water is treated and then released back to the watershed, or recycled back as drinking water.

It is important to remember that the vast majority of drugs are being identified in extremely small amounts, from parts per billion to parts per trillion. These amounts are generally way below the minimal therapeutic dose. However, it is important to remember that many drugs are approved only for certain subsets of the population. It shouldn’t be news to anyone that not all drugs are good for all people. I most certainly don’t think that I need, or want, any type of anti-bacterial medication in my cup. Sadly, you and I are most likely the unwilling recipients of this misplaced medical waste. At this point we really don’t have any idea what the long-term consequences of daily low-dose exposure to these drugs actually is.

In my opinion the presence of certain molecules together can be thought of as the foundation of an environment. Remember the theory of abiogenesis? Take a mix or primordial elements, add electricity via lightning bolt and you have the start of life on earth. While this may or may not be how life originated on this planet, it does serve as a good example of how a few micro-molecules can be combined to produce drastic results. In fact, the presence of minute traces of pharmaceutical drugs in pristine environments has been found to have severe effects on the natural inhabitants of that area. Fish are one species whose exposure has been evaluated by the scientific community. It seems that when some male fish are exposed to tiny amounts of drugs they undergo feminization. Male fish begin to produce proteins normally only produced by females, their activity levels decrease, and they reproduce less often. The studies warning of this problem don’t stop with fish, birds, invertebrates, and plants are being adversely affected as well.

At this point there are no regulations that determine what the “acceptable” levels of pharmaceutical contaminants in water are. There is beginning to be some discussion of this problem in the medical literature. In the January 2010 issue of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, an article titled “Therapeutic dose as the point of departure in assessing potential health hazards from drugs in drinking water and recycled municipal wastewater,” the authors state that more information needs to be considered when proposing legislation. Considerations such as whether or not drugs are carcinogenic carry pregnancy or lactation warnings, or whether there is potential for drugs to react synergistically with other compounds to produce heightened toxicity are all areas that need to be evaluated.

As might be expected the pharmaceutical companies are denying any risk. A representative for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Thomas White, has stated that “based on what we know, there is little to no risk from drugs in the environment to human health.” Yeah, right.

Water producers are also being deceiving. With these groups it’s not only about what they are saying, but what their not saying. Full disclosure is apparently not part of their plan. Their feeling is that the general public doesn’t need to be educated about drugs in the water because “…they don’t know how to interpret the data.”

EPA research biologist Vickie Wilson told the AP. "It could be that the fish are just exquisitely sensitive because of their physiology or something. We just aren’t that far along.” Come on Vickie, you’re being naive.

I’d like to be able to report that drinking bottled water was a safe bet, but it’s not. Some bottled water manufacturers simply bottle city water and sell it. Many don’t test for drugs, as they currently are not required to do so. Reverse osmosis will remove the contaminants, but the process produces more polluted water than it does purified water. It might be a good time to start thinking about that home purification system….

At this point you might be asking what you can do to protect you and your family from exposure. Me too. While there really isn’t a clear-cut answer for this predicament at the present moment, I do have some ideas. As usual, my recommendations include leading a lifestyle that promotes a healthy body. While eating right and exercising regularly won’t protect you from exposure, they may help in preventing accumulation, and thus unwanted toxicity. Staying well-hydrated helps to flush things through the system (I do realize the hypocrisy here), and when combined with exercise promotes detoxification through sweating. Everyone should be eating healthy foods that provide your body what it needs to perform correctly. It can be very difficult to switch your diet and begin exercising. Write down your goals, make a schedule, start slow, and you’ll do it. Consider taking a class, or visiting your friendly neighborhood ND for advice, or better yet, attending a free lecture at the office of said ND.

I often ask people what kind of gas they would use if they had a Lamborghini. Would you continue to use the cheapest gas, or would you kick down the extra 25 cents for the high octane? Your body is a precision-tuned hot rod, take your foot off the brake and see what it can do.

Fighting Fatigue
Dr. Raushanah Najeeullah, NMD

Your adrenals are glands that sit on top of the kidneys. They are responsible for providing hormones that give us energy. The adrenals can be depleted by stress and other factors such as poor diet, inadequate sleep and excessive caffeine intake. Adrenal fatigue usually first manifests as tiredness during the day, but depletion can lead to other conditions like depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia.
The adrenal gland consists of two parts; an inner section known as the medulla, and an outer shell called the cortex. The medulla produces epinephrine which is also known as adrenaline. Adrenaline gives us energy and is responsible for metabolic regulation. It causes the breakdown of glycogen (energy storehouse) in the muscle into glucose (blood sugar) for use as energy during physical activity.

The cortex of the adrenal gland controls cortisol release. Cortisol is a ‘stress hormone’. Like adrenaline, cortisol raises blood glucose by breaking down glycogen in the muscles. When we have a high amount of stress over an extended amount of time our adrenal glands release more cortisol. When we release more cortisol, this stimulates the release of more glucose to the blood which raises insulin levels. Insulin causes more fat production which manifests as fat around the trunk notoriously known as love handles or muffin top. Increased cortisol release also stimulates the appetite especially for simple carbohydrates like sugar.

Most people handle their daytime fatigue with coffee or energy drinks. The caffeine in these drinks provide a short term burst of energy that puts even more stress on the adrenal glands. The special ingredients touted by some energy drinks like taurine, guanine and ginseng are effective for increasing energy, but only when taken long term or in a higher amount than what’s in the bottle.

If you suspect that you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue, there are many options for addressing this concern. Following appropriate evaluation and laboratory testing by your physician to confirm adrenal fatigue, lifestyle modification and supplementation is the next course of action.

Relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation help relieve stress. Contrast showers are a quick pick me up with stimulate the endocrine system helping to tonify the adrenal glands. Simple dietary changes to combat adrenal fatigue are to increase fruit and vegetable intake. Eating 1 fruit and 1 vegetable from the 5 colors (purple/blue, green, orange, yellow, red) each day is a fun way to get plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet and acquire nutrients needed to feed and restore the adrenals.

Vitamin C and tyrosine are supplements responsible for adrenaline repletion. Vitamin C is also the adrenal’s preferred source of energy. B complex is useful in dealing with stress by enhancing the activity of the adrenals. Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) in particular helps reduce fatigue and the pain of headaches caused by excessive stress and consequent reduction in adrenal output.

Herbal medicines are also effective in combating adrenal fatigue. Adaptogens are herbs that help you deal with and recover from stress. Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogenic herb which regulates thyroid function, prevents adrenal burnout and improves concentration and endurance. This herb in combination with individualized treatment is great for breaking away from energy drinks. Ginseng, Ashwaghanda, and Holy Basil are other herbs to consider but it is best to work with your doctor to figure out which is most appropriate for you.

Mediterranean Diet and Diabetes
Dr. Shahrzad Z. Orona, NMD

A new study has identified that the Mediterranean diet, rich in nuts, olive oil, whole grains, poultry, fish, fruits, and vegetables, reduces the likelihood that patients recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes will need diabetes drugs. In this study, 215 overweight people with diabetes followed either a classic, low-fat regimen based on the American Heart Association guidelines or a higher-fat regimen, Mediterranean-style diet. After 4 years, both groups had lost similar amounts of weight but only 44% of the Mediterranean-style eaters needed diabetes drugs, compared to 70% of the low-fat dieters.

The benefits are partly because the Mediterranean diet is full of healthy, whole foods, not highly refined carbohydrates. These dietary recommendations have been used for years at Naturopathic Family Care to successfully treat high glucose levels, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, as well as other medical conditions being caused by a change in body composition.

New Study Shows Beneficial Effect of Glucosamine Sulfate for Osteoarthritis Pain
Ross Kerievsky, DC ND

A new study published February 12th in Arthritis Research and Therapy has shown some promising results for using glucosamine sulfate for management of osteoarthritis of the knee and hip. The study looked at the effects of combining a walking program of 30 minute walks three times per week plus taking glucosamine sulfate supplementation 1500mg per day. The findings showed decreased pain levels related to hip and knee pain for the participants. This is another study that shows some positive effects of doing moderate exercises for pain. It also showed that pain related to osteoarthritis can be helped with supplementation. This study looked specifically at glucosamine sulfate vs. glucosamine HCL. I advise my patients to take the sulfated form if possible. Adjunctive therapy such as chiropractic manipulation, therapeutic exercises, massage therapy and acupuncture can also be very helpful for osteoarthritis (OA). This study is very important because many patients rely on NSAIDs for pain management of their osteoarthritis (OA). Although these pain medications can be very helpful for patients, there are risk factors related to taking these drugs. They include increased risk for gastric ulcers and GI upset as well as possible cardiovascular risk increases such as raising blood pressure.

Feel free to contact our clinic if you are interested in more information regarding this topic. A personalized treatment plan can be set up for you and your family to help treat and prevent the pain and complications that can be associated with this common condition.