Everyone is talking about Vitamin D, but is it something everyone should take? Currently, we are including a vitamin D level on most routine laboratory exams, but labs will never tell the whole story. Let's look at conditions associated with vitamin D deficiency.
The flu – In our profession of natural medicine we do not believe a person gets the flu from being sneezed on, breathed or from a door handle. We believe you get it because your immune system is not up to par. In a study published in the Cambridge Journals, it was discovered that vitamin D deficiency might lead children to respiratory diseases. A study was than conducted which showed that vitamin D reduced the incidence of respiratory infections in children. There is no reason in my opinion to think that the same protection wouldn’t be available for adults.
Muscle weakness – There are many reasons for muscle weakness, which include a lack of healthy protein and exercise in the diet. However, according to Michael F. Holick, a leading vitamin D expert, muscle weakness is usually caused by vitamin D deficiency. He states that for skeletal muscles to function properly, their vitamin D receptors must be sustained by vitamin D. Interesting.
Psoriasis - Vitamin D, along with Zinc, vitamin A, beta-carotene, and essential fatty acids have been a stalwart of treatment for chronic skin conditions including psoriasis. In a study published by the UK PubMed central, it was discovered that synthetic vitamin D analogues were found useful in the treatment of psoriasis. Hmmm.
Even at a young age, I was putting on my thinking cap and truly trying to “think things through”. You see, for a period of my childhood I was totally “into” having a parakeet as a pet. I would name them all names starting with “B” like, Bert the bird or Ben the Bird.
The reason I had more than one (bird’s tend to live a long time) is because they kept dying. Every few months, I was dealing with a dead bird. I was devastated when I would come home from school and my bird was lying lifeless at the bottom of its cage.
The devastation inspired my curiosity as to what the heck was happening. I started thinking about where the birds lived, what was the environment like? The bird cage (I would never cage an animal again, by the way) hung near the kitchen so I started to wonder what they might have been breathing that contributed to their demise. My inquisitive mind popped out the answer one day when my Mom was making dinner and smoke was filling the kitchen. I asked her what kind of pans she was using to cook in. She stated proudly, “Non-stick Teflon. Easy clean up, they are the best!”
Well, they weren’t the best for my birds and they are NOT the best for us either. STOP USING THEM!! (Please.)
I said "It’s changing your microbiome." "Your What?" she said. "Your Microbiome, or the bacteria inside you." "Ugh" she said "That’s disgusting." "Maybe" I said, "but there may be something you could take or just avoiding it that could give you more energy for many years, as well as keep you healthy, and that’s invigorating."
You see, on a recent radio show, a guest with great expertise in this area, Adam Bernstein, MD,SciD, reviewed the hazards of eating red meat - and, yes, pork and bacon are red meats - a 20% increase in risk of stroke and type 2 diabetes for every 4 ounce portion you have a week. That is a doubling of risk for 5 servings (or one big portion, if you eat big at a place like Morton’s or The Heart Attack Grill. Yes, there is such a place).
Yes, you are literally committing suicide by eating red meat.
Cows milk, some see it is a wonderful calcium containing super-food. Others say it is a fattening, mucous stimulating, allergy causing disaster. Let's break this issue down by looking at the pros, misconceptions and cons of milk.
Pro: Milk is easily available.
Pro: It contains protein.
Pro: It is a food based calcium source.
Pro: It contains some Vitamin A, B6, Biotin, and Potassium.
Pro: May benefit teeth.
Misconception: Milk’s protein is easily accessible, and healthy? Milk proteins such as a hydrolyzed whey, or whey isolate have to be separated out of the milk, and than sold separately. So the muscle building, immune supporting milk properties are not necessarily available in the glass of milk you drink, but rather in the protein powder sold at the health food store.
Here are the four relaxation techniques I spoke of on a recent show. Welcome Decker’s “stress countermeasures”.
Imagery (or visualization)
Imagery involves using your imagination to create a sensory experience of sights, sounds, feelings or taste that is relaxing. Imagery can help relieve stress, pain and depression; decrease side effects of chemotherapy like nausea; decrease blood pressure; improve sleep; boost immune function; shorten hospital stays; and speed healing. Guided imagery is when you use an outside person to help guide the images in your mind. It is sort of like telling you a story, but coaching you to “see” it in your mind.
Hypnotherapy (hypnosis therapy)
Hypnotherapy uses guided relaxation to arrive at a state of deep, attentive, focused concentration, sometimes called a trance, that can make it easier for you to relax and to control your body and mind. Hypnotherapy can enable you to block an awareness of sensations like pain, discomfort, nausea and fatigue; reduce fear and anxiety; create a sense of calm; speed recovery; and promote healing.
Bring this list to the store with you, or pull it up on your smart phone. Lets de-mystify the big chemical names and labels to know what to stay away from to protect you and your family’s health.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
The top of my do not consume list! Fructose can affect your brain and body by making you feel less hungry, and encourage over-eating. It is in almost everything sweet like soda, cookies, ice cream and more for one simple reason, it’s cheap. But this low cost to the pocketbook, may be destructive to your health. There is a reason why Mexico and Europe use cane sugar instead of high fructose corn sugar (HFCS) because of safety concerns.
Opt-Out: For non-obese and non-diabetics consider raw sugar, sucanant, or honey. For weight loss and diabetes consider using stevia. Avoid artificial sweeteners. (Read on, they made the list also)
Sodium Nitrate and Sodium Nitrite
This food preservative helps retain red coloring in processed meat products. Research demonstrates it contains carcinogens, which can accumulate in the body. Conditions and diseases they have been linked to include stomach, prostate, and breast cancers. Possible issues may include fetal deaths, miscarriages, and birth defects.
Opt-Out: Seek for nitrate or nitrite-free meat products.
Let’s see if Governor Kasich really cares about jobs for Ohio, and tax reduction for its citizens and businesses.
The largest cost increase that is causing the largest need for increased taxes in Ohio, is the removal by prior Governor Strickland of the 40 million for tobacco prevention in Ohio. I live in Ohio and work at the Cleveland Clinic, so I really care about Ohio.
Since this move, Ohio spends less for tobacco prevention than any other state.
The Result? We have gone from 20.2 % smoking rate for adults in our state in 2009 (similar to the national average) to 25.4% now, while the rest of the USA has fallen to 19.2% (CDC data from every two year surveys).
Each smoker costs about $2000 more per year in direct medical costs.
BPA is a plasticizer common in baby bottles in the plastic baby bottle era of 1970 to 2008, and is common in thermal receipts.
It acts to disrupt testosterone function and maybe to mimic estrogen. Those changes are thought to be very powerful: it appears male infants function with certain brain structures more like females - more of the FOX2 protein, which leads to more chatter (I kid you not) when the mom has a high blood level of BPA during pregnancy. And more asthma in such children too.
Now something even more serious.
Exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) and it’s cousin BPS in the womb or as an infant increases the risk of childhood learning disorders, by changing the function of a gene important to learning in kids (and even us adults.)
These genes produce a protein that gets chloride out of cells. Not enough chloride out, poor development of connections, which means poor learning.
Small amounts of BPA and BPS seem to interfere with brain development by blocking these genes.
Even worse, maybe this endocrine disruptor is responsible for some of the substantial increase in autism in the last two decades.
Gluten, a protein found in some grains, can cause serious problems for many people.
But the issues can go from a genetic intolerance called Celiac’s disease, to a non-specific type of “sensitivity." This “sensitivity” can cause a variety of symptoms from thyroid disorders to gas and bloating.
But why is it that the average medical doctor knows about Celiac’s disease, but knows nothing or denies the existence of gluten sensitivity?
It has to do with a weakness in conventional medical training called “hypofunction”. The great Naturopathic Doctor. Konrad Kail, discussed “hypofunction” in terms of an organ or a system, which is symptomatic to the patient, but not detectable by most or any available testing methods.
For years as gluten content was rising in grains such as wheat and corn, people started to have a variety of symptoms which where “unexplainable”.
But when these patients where tested, nothing showed up.
Throughout my career, I have heard the snickers of my medical doctor colleagues as they lay claim to practicing the only legitimate type of medicine.
I would ask a medical doctor why they would not recommend CoQ 10 or magnesium oratate for cardiovascular issues, and they would answer, "where is the research?" So, I would show them the research, and their answer would usually be that the research was not good enough to meet their standard.
Mark Twain said that there are three types of lies: a lie, a damn lie, and a statistic. The truth is that research is in the eye of the beholder.
Last year I received a letter from the head of McGuff, a medical supply company, saying that they where stopping the production of Vitamin C in an injectable form, due to the FDA’s claim that there was a lack of research for any medical application.
The background on vitamin C is that sailors who lacked it developed a disease called scurvy, which upon taking in vitamin C would be reversed. The FDA says that the use of vitamin C for scurvy was not proven, even though it had been used successfully in various forms for scurvy for over 100 years.
It’s a scene I know all to well. A patient or hospital calls me up, and I spend the next several minutes to hours on the phone, working to resolve the issue.
My whole life in the cell phone era I have been “available” by phone. Each ring I put that phone up to my head, and a little part of me wonders, like a smoker with a cigarette...."is this the one that kills me?"
As a physician I am the first one to admit that I am not a scientist or a researcher. I have no more insight into this issue than the average person, but I honestly can say that cell phones spook me.