Hyperbaric update and special offer

About this time a year ago I decided to buy a new soft-shelled hyperbaric oxygen chamber. I had had one like it years before and knew its benefits, and also wanted to make it available at more affordable prices than those charged elsewhere.

Since that time a number of families with autistic children have taken advantage of it. In almost every case the effects were beneficial to the child, and speech, eye contact, as well as behavior improved to varying degrees.

Interest in hyperbaric is high among families with autistic children because there have been studies showing benefits, and these have been discussed at many parent conferences. However, benefits are equally significant for children with cerebral palsy, as well as for anyone who suffered a closed head injury or stroke. Benefits have also been reported in people struggling with fatigue and/or muscle pain, and of course the chamber greatly speeds up recovery from athletic events.

There has been some discussion of whether the benefits of the chamber are just temporary. Without a doubt there is a component of the benefits that is temporary and if anyone uses the chamber at any given time they are likely to feel great energy, which of course only lasts for a while. On the other hand, when hyperbaric oxygen is combined with physical, speech, or other form of therapy, gains are achieved at an accelerated pace and these are permanent.

Even at my low prices the chamber remains beyond the reach of many families battling health challenges. As a result, I decided to offer a 20% discount to anyone buying a package during May. For more information on how the chamber can help you or your child and to learn about available packages please read Hyperbaric Therapy on my website or call my office.

Catching happiness

Evidence has been mounting that chronic low-grade inflammation in the body plays a role in causing every modern malady: from cancer and heart disease, to brain disorders including Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, autism, and now it seems depression and anxiety too.

However, where this inflammation comes from is not always clear. A study now reveals that airborne pollutants lead to widespread inflammation in the body by activating a certain pro-inflammatory component of the immune system (read about this study here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110414131834.htm).

How we go from the immune system to the brain is a different story. In fact, modern medicine has long held that what happens in the immune system has no bearing on the nervous system or the brain. The reason is that the nervous system is protected by a so-called Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) that keeps the immune system and all of its components from making contact with the delicate structures of the brain.

This seems pretty clear-cut but things are often not as they seem. A fascinating new article in the journal New Scientist entitled “Happiness is catching” reveals that inflammation causes the BBB to break down, making it leaky and enabling components of the immune system to reach the brain with sometimes dramatic consequences. Read More »

Spirulina for radiation, mercury detoxification and health

The tragic earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan last month brought about death and destruction at a level that most of us cannot fathom. The ensuing explosions and near-meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant gave this tragedy a dimension never seen in the past.

Miles of densely populated land had to be evacuated. Within a matter of days radiation was detected in food and even the water supply and, tragically, the consequences of these events will be felt for decades to come among the Japanese people.

It only took a few short weeks for radiation from the Fukushima plant to be detected throughout the planet reminding us once again of how small and connected our world really is. Measurable levels of radiation were found in both the East and West coast of the US as well as in several countries in Europe. Wherever you are at the present time you can be sure that some radiation from Japan has already reached you.

At the same time experts from around the globe have been assuring us that levels of radiation detected in Western countries are minimal and pose no risk even to newborn babies. Can such reassurances be trusted? Read More »

Running update, and why being crazy like me could be good for your health…

Last month in Austin, TX I achieved a goal I had set for myself two years ago– to run a marathon– and I did so at age 58. When I started running and told people that I had this goal, many friends and colleagues, some of whom I respect greatly, told me that it was a bad idea: I was too old, I would hurt myself, and might end up needing knee-replacement surgery. A few even mentioned the term crazy when referring to my plans…

My reply at the time was that I was prepared to take the risk of injury because running a marathon was a long standing dream of mine. Today, after running three half marathons and a full one I feel far more confident. If anything my knees have become stronger, and I was more vulnerable to aches and pains before I started running than I am now. As a result I plan to keep on going and hope to run another marathon early next year if not sooner…

If you think that this proves once and for all that I am crazy, you may want to think again. An odd titled study published last February shows that there might be more sanity than meets the eye to my future running plans. Read More »

State of the art neurofeedback: a major new upgrade for my practice

Neurofeedback is a brain-training therapy backed by dozens of studies proving its effectiveness. It uses computerized EEG technology to identify areas of dysfunction in the brain and then trains the brain to correct them. As a training tool, neurofeedback has been compared to teaching a child to ride a bicycle. Difficult at first, but once the skill is acquired it is never lost.

Neurofeedback has been proven to have beneficial effects for ADD and ADHD, high-functioning autism, depression, anxiety, insomnia, addictions, gait and balance problems, headaches, behavioral problems, fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, and more. It helps balance the brain and the brain is truly the central computer that regulates every function of the body. When it is in balance many seemingly unrelated problems simply vanish.

Neurofeedback is nothing new for my practice as I have been offering it to my patients since the late 90’s. The equipment I used to have was the best available when I purchased it, but over time it had become outdated. Its main drawbacks were that it was not user-friendly, especially not child-friendly, results were slower to achieve than with newer equipment, and it did not offer the full range of diagnostic and treatment options now available. Read More »

Could Nitric Oxide deficiency be the cause of your health challenges?

You may not yet have heard about nitric oxide (NO), but this is one tiny molecule the scientific community is excited about. There are new studies published about it every month and there is even a medical journal called Nitric Oxide dedicated entirely to covering research on this topic!

NO is tiny because it is made of just two elements: nitrate and oxygen bound together. Nevertheless it has very powerful effects. It was first identified in the human body in the 1970’s but its function in health was not yet clear at the time. By 1998 enough was known about its critical roles that the scientists who first discovered it were belatedly awarded a Nobel Prize.

NO is produced in the inner layer of the arteries called endothelial layer where it promotes relaxation of the artery wall, thus increasing blood flow and regulating blood pressure. It also acts as a powerful antioxidant and controls inflammation now known to be at the root of heart disease and many other health problems, including cancer and dementia. Read More »

6 supplements that really work

As a nutritionist I am very aware that some in my profession have a bad reputation for putting people on a long list of supplements that do little or no good. Whenever feasible, I always look for the smallest number of supplements that will do the job. Here are six supplements that I have found to be particularly effective either on their own or when taken with just a few other products.

If you like this article, post a comment below or email me and next month I’ll cover a few more of these supplements. There are probably a dozen more that could fit in this category.

1. BioEssence: immune system support
This was the first Chinese herbal combination I started to use in my practice based on the recommendation of a friend from Tennessee, Dr. Dan Kalb, who used to head the Family Practice department at St. Joseph Medical Center in Houston. It turned out to be incredibly effective for everything connected with the immune system. This includes rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout, skin disorders including eczema and psoriasis, not to mention allergies and asthma.

What amazed me the most about this herbal combination is that it does not work by suppressing the immune system, like western drugs for these conditions do, and has few or no side effects. I will not claim that is works in every case, but it does often enough, and when it does the results can be almost miraculous and remarkably fast.

Results I saw with this product gave me the incentive I needed to study Chinese herbal medicine, and I am glad I embarked on this project because it is now enabling me to help many more people in ways I couldn’t do before.
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UltraLite: at last a healthy weight loss program that really works (and one that I like)

Over the years a small but consistent number of people have always come to see me wanting to lose weight as their primary goal or one of multiple goals. I always tried to help these people and gave them diets I felt were healthy and could help them achieve their weight loss goals.

Even though we all know how difficult it is to lose weight and keep it off, I felt that my results in this area were often unsatisfactory. In time it became evident that, to be successful, people need more than just a diet outline. They need specific guidelines, resources to help them select and prepare their meals, and a structure to monitor their progress and support them if something goes wrong. This is more than a single practitioner like me with a busy practice can put together.

Last fall I was approached by an Australian company that offers a weight-loss program called Ultra Lite exclusively through doctors.  You can read about this company and their program here: http://www.weightlossforlife.info. This company has been in operation for more than ten years and has an impressive track record of success.
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Essential minerals: supercharge your (or your child’s) diet with homemade beef bone stock

When it comes to maintaining or regaining health, nothing plays as important a role as proper mineral balance in the body. Although we no longer hear much about it, leading experts in the field of nutritional medicine sounded the alarm as early as the 1930’s and 40’s: modern agricultural practices were depleting the soil, generating widespread mineral deficiencies and imbalances. This in turn left us vulnerable to weakened immunity, digestive and nervous system disorders, and more. When combined with the dramatic spread of environmental chemicals and other toxins over the past half century, the recipe for disaster is complete.

Those sounding the alarm were the likes of Henry Bieler, MD, and Max Gerson, MD. Dr. Bieler wrote the book “Food is Your Best Medicine.” He believed in drug-free medicine and was well-known at the time for being the personal physician to Greta Garbo and other stars. He was also known because his patients had a habit of living well into their nineties. Dr. Gerson authored “A Cancer Therapy.” He used food, vegetable juices, and little else to successfully treat diseases ranging from migraines to diabetes and even cancer.

Mineral supplements can help correct deficiency in some instances; however, many essential minerals are poorly absorbed from supplements. In addition, manmade supplements that are not properly balanced can aggravate any existing imbalance. The bottom line is that only natural unprocessed foods contain minerals in optimal ratios and, in fact, the body is ideally suited to absorb minerals from food rather than supplements.
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Tips for lowering your risk of breast cancer

Canadian naturopath Natasha Turner author of the book “The Hormone Diet” has an interesting list of 10 simple steps you can take to lower your risk of breast cancer. I agree with all except one. Here they are:

1. Don’t wear underwire bras because the underwire may compress lymphatic drainage from the breasts.

2. Sleep in pitch black. Any light inhibits production of the sleep hormone melatonin, which not only helps us go to sleep and stay asleep, but also has a balancing effect on estrogen and has been shown to protect from breast and other hormone-related forms of cancer.

3. Eat two cups of broccoli a week. Broccoli and related vegetables like cauliflower and kale contain compounds that help promote a healthy balance of estrogen.

4. Avoid excess alcohol. While small amounts of alcohol actually lower the risk of cancer, too much raises it quickly. Dr. Turner recommends not exceeding one drink per day for four days a week.
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Do you have high cholesterol? High blood sugar? Gout? Weight gain around the waist? Inflammation? Try cherries!

Though this may seem hard to believe, if research now spanning several decades is accurate, natural cherries or cherry extract have all these benefits and more.

Gout sufferers who are tuned in to natural remedies have known for decades that drinking a bottle (or two) of cherry juice can put a stop even to a severe gout attack. The earliest published study on this that I was able to find is dated 1950 (Cherry diet control for gout and arthritis, Tex Rep Biol Med).

Recent studies show that compounds in cherries lower both uric acid (the direct cause of gout) and inflammatory markers in blood. In particular cherry consumption was shown to lower C-reactive protein (CRP), an indicator of inflammation in blood that is now considered a better predictor of cardiovascular disease than cholesterol levels (Kelley, J Nutr 2006).
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Try iron before you give your child sleeping pills or a stimulant drug

Pediatricians routinely order a complete blood count (CBC) at children’s periodic health evaluations. If there are signs of anemia, a child is prescribed iron, but if results are normal it is assumed that iron levels are adequate.

Unfortunately only running a CBC misses milder forms of iron deficiency that are not severe enough to cause anemia but can still lead to meaningful symptoms including sleep disturbance, hyperactivity, lack of focus, and delayed cognitive development.

To fully assess iron levels it is necessary to order a test called serum ferritin. Levels of ferritin roughly below 10 are associated with anemia. However, levels between 10 and 50 are indicative of so-called non-anemic iron deficiency and supplementing iron in these cases can lead to significant improvements.
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Coconut oil, Alzheimer’s disease, Seizures, Autism and more

As I mentioned a few months ago in this newsletter, researchers are now looking at Alzheimer’s disease as a new form of diabetes and the expressions “Type 3 Diabetes” and “Diabetes of the Brain” have been coined. More specifically, in Alzheimer’s disease the brain loses its ability to burn glucose or blood sugar for energy.

As we are all taught in school, the brain – unlike other tissues – cannot burn fat for energy, so as it loses the ability to burn sugar it rapidly becomes starved for energy and begins to die. One thing that is always omitted in physiology classes is that while there is no doubt that brain cells cannot burn fat, they do have an alternative energy source, aside from sugar: ketones.

Not only can the brain use ketones for energy, it will use them preferentially over glucose when they are available, and it appears to function optimally when using ketones as its main source of energy.
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Two classes of harmful chemicals we can avoid: Phthalates and Parabens

There are virtually thousands of chemicals in the environment that have not been properly assessed for safety, and in many cases there is evidence, whether direct or indirect, that they can have harmful effects on health. Many chemicals are fat-soluble and remain in the body for decades, sometimes for life, and can even be passed from generation to generation after being removed from circulation. A typical example of this is DDT, which continues to turn up in people’s tissue samples, decades after being banned.

Other chemicals are rapidly eliminated from the body and become harmful only through daily exposure. Because they don’t stay in the body for long, avoiding them can lead to quick health benefits or at least limit any damage that has already been done. Two classes of chemicals that fall in this category are phthalates and parabens.
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Government “discovers” that chemicals cause cancer and advises we eat organic

Since President Nixon declared war on cancer in 1971 we have had a presidential panel with the duty to report to sitting presidents on progress in this war. In the past all the reports focused on new research findings, drug development or new surgical procedures.

In May of this year a President Bush-appointed panel rocked to boat and chose for the first time to report on the role that environmental chemicals play in causing cancer.

In a letter to President Obama, the panel discussed the evidence that chemicals in the environment cause many cancers, and went on to state: “The Panel urges you most strongly to use the power of your office to remove the carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water, and air that needlessly increase health care costs, cripple our Nation’s productivity, and devastate American lives.”
Among its recommendations, the panel stated that eating organic “is vitally important” for children who “are far more susceptible to damage from environmental carcinogens and endocrine-disrupting compounds than adults”. Pretty strong words if you ask me. Now I wonder if other government agencies, like the FDA, will continue to belittle the benefits of organic food or claim that chemicals are harmless…

Nutrition in pregnancy: a determining factor of health throughout life

It is no mystery to anyone today that pregnant women’s lifestyle and diet can affect the health of the baby to be. Research continues to show that maternal diet and possible deficiencies not only have a determining effect on the mental and physical health of babies and children, but also that of adults even late in life. This article will touch briefly on the major aspects of diet and supplementation during pregnancy but also provides interesting reading for anyone seeking to improve their health.

In fact scientists in this field now consider maternal nutrition to be a risk factor for cancer, diabetes and heart disease, regardless of when these might occur in life. Not only, but this risk factor is independent of other known factors like a person’s own diet, lifestyle and genetics. Lack of nutrients in pregnancy can turn on genes that would otherwise lie dormant and cause no harm, but that once activated become triggers for illness at any time in life.

In most cases, aside from being told to “eat well” and take a multivitamin, women are not informed of new research in this field or all the components of a healthy pregnancy that contribute to thriving babies who grow into healthy adults.

The three major dietary factors that were found to adversely affect the baby are insufficient protein, excessive sugar and starchy foods, and lack of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Protein is basically what the body is made of. It is the most essential building-block for the baby to be, but it is also as essential for the mother’s own health maintenance. Lack of protein in pregnancy can deplete the mother setting the stage, among other things, for post-partum depression.

The body has no way of storing protein, so it has to be consumed on a daily basis, and preferably several times a day. In the excellent book (now out of print) “Metabolic Toxemia of Late Pregnancy”, Thomas Brewer, MD showed how pre-eclampsia and eclampsia can be effectively prevented by making sure women eat enough protein during pregnancy.

According to the FDA a pregnant woman weighing 150 lbs needs 75 grams of protein a day. This is likely to be an underestimate because of a medical anti-protein bias that exists today and therefore it should be considered as a strict minimum. To give you an idea of how much food is involved, 2 large eggs contain a total of 12 grams of protein, lean meats or seafood around 7 grams per ounce, hard cheese 10 grams per ounce, and beans 7-10 grams per half cup cooked.
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The benefits of Chinese herbs

Throughout my years of practice I heard of the amazing results achieved with Chinese herbs and herbal combinations. Compared to Western medicine that only came to be in the past century or less, Chinese medicine has had thousands of years to build its knowledge base. In addition, Chinese medicine uses herbs that have boundless potential whereas in the West we have limited ourselves to synthetic drugs that often cause side effects or are later found to be toxic.

The drug companies would like us to believe that synthetic drugs are used because they are more effective, but in reality they are chosen only because they can be patented and become a source of enormous profit. In fact, not only are herbs powerful medicines, they are far less toxic, and can at times achieve results that are impossible with drugs.

As an example there are Chinese herbal combinations that can help normalize the body’s immune system, thus helping people with immune system disorders like Rheumatoid Arthritis, without suppressing immunity, which is the only thing drugs can do.

However, Chinese medicine is not only about treatment. First and foremost it is about prevention. To achieve this, Chinese doctors developed complex methods to analyze the human body in order to detect what might be about to go wrong before illness strikes. Looking at the tongue and the nails is a central component of the Chinese diagnostic system.
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Toxins poisoning remote corners of the world

A recent study analyzed tissue samples taken by dart gun from 1,000 whales living in remote areas of the globe. Results showed dangerously elevated levels of cadmium, aluminum, chromium, lead, silver, mercury, and titanium, all of them toxic metals. Though chromium is a nutrient humans (and presumably whales) need, the amount found in the whales was excessive and therefore toxic.

Tissue samples are the ultimate proof when it comes to identifying toxic metals. However, obtaining them is a surgical procedure that is not performed routinely in humans. Blood and urine tests are not reliable because toxins are stored in tissues, not in body fluids. Because of these limitations I often recommend hair analysis; it’s not as good as tissue but better than blood.

Very often children’s hair reports show a buildup of the very same metals found in the whales. Some parents are surprised and wonder where these toxins could be coming from. The reality is that they are everywhere and they are causing the very problems for which parents take their children to see me, including ADHD, mood problems, and so on. A solution is to start a sensible detoxification program. It’s not going to produce immediate results, but can help your child heal over time.

To read more about the study go here: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=11003954. To find out about detoxification programs read the new Far Infrared Sauna and QRS pages on my website and other articles I have written on the topic which can be found in my newsletter archives.

Vitamin C for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFIDS)

Robert F. Cathcart, MD, of Los Altos (CA), has treated CFIDS since the illness was first identified in the 1970’s. He believes that the condition is a result of mitochondrial dysfunction caused by viruses, toxins, genetic susceptibility, or a combination of the above. Mitochondria is the cell component in which energy is produced. Today it is theorized that varying degrees of mitochondrial dysfunction can also be involved in causing autism, some cases of ADHD, and possibly many other modern-day chronic illnesses, including allergies.

Dr. Cathcart points out that when the mitochoindria is damaged it is not able to recycle vitamin C as it normally would. This means that even large doses of vitamin C are rapidly wasted leaving the body deficient in this vitamin and vulnerable to free radical damage.  His solution is to slowly build up the dose of vitamin C until people take the highest amount they can tolerate before developing diarrhea, which is what too much vitamin C will cause. This is called taking vitamin C to “bowel tolerance”.

Dr. Cathcart comments that high-dose vitamin C is not a cure for CFIDS but that it helps ameliorate the condition more than other treatments, including drugs costing thousands of dollars (http://www.orthomed.com/titrate.htm).

Are you pregnant? Here’s more evidence that you should take extra vitamin D

According to a newly released study pregnant women taking 4,000 units of vitamin D daily cut their risk of preterm labor, preterm delivery, and infections by more than half. This dose of vitamin D is ten times greater what was recommended previously. Most prenatal multivitamins only contain 400 units of vitamin D, a dose now understood to be insufficient.

Prior to this study, higher doses of vitamin D had already been shown to lower the risk of infection, strengthen the immune system, reduce the risk of several types of cancer, and promote healthy nervous system development in fetuses.

When selecting the type of vitamin D you take I recommend that you choose vitamin D3, which is the natural form of this vitamin, and avoid the synthetic vitamin D2.

Because the body makes most of its vitamin D from the sun, nutritional needs of this vitamin vary depending on how much time we spend in the sun, what latitude we live in, the color of our skin and, most importantly, whether we use sunscreen, which inhibits vitamin D formation.

Recent research has shown that with regular sun exposure blood levels of vitamin D stabilize around 70-100 ng/ml, a level now considered optimal. For the majority of Americans blood levels of vitamin D are 30 or lower. If you’d like to find out where your levels stand and you are my patient let me know, as this can be found through a simple blood test.  If you are not my patient you can ask your doctor to run a simple and inexpensive blood test called 25-hydroxy-vitamin D, which is the correct way to assess vitamin D levels.

Read more about the study here: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/health/Vitamin%20halves%20risk%20preterm%20delivery%20study/2974828/story.html