Gall Bladder Health

Poor digestion? Trouble handling fatty foods? Poor energy? Blood lipid levels getting worse? High blood pressure? Though there can be many reasons for these issues, it could pay to start treating the gall bladder better. After so many miles, a car benefits from an induction service, where internal components are cleaned out. Likewise your gall bladder can benefit from being cleaned out. Thin, smooth bile works much better than thick sludge. Too much sludge and stones and you may have your gall bladder taken out! The thing is, I have met people with no gall bladder who still complain of gall bladder- sounding issues, often the same complaints they had before the gall bladder was taken out. What do you do to prevent these problems? Maintenance with nutrition.

Do this protocol every 2 months.
Mix 2 cups finely grated raw beets with fresh lemon juice. Add two tablespoons extra virgin cold pressed olive oil. Eat half of this between breakfast and lunch, and the other half between lunch and dinner. Do this for ten days. Repeat in 2 months.

The beets have betaine, which is great for inflammation, blood pressure and blood vessel health (remember the betaine-homocysteine lowering effect). Beets do have natural sugar though, so if you believe you need to do this but are diabetic, ask me about great alternatives. So, don’t be “melancholic” (black bile), clean your human machine and feel better.

Prostate

Men, this article summarization is for you. It is time to face the music. And women, you know you are gonna have to share this with your man, because if I know people, he is probably not as pro active as you are. It is time to talk about the prostate.

Prostate cancer is 27% of all male cancers and the second leading cause of cancer death in men in this society (1). A large study done in the January 2016 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition with 26, 346 participants showed that men who are vegan have an approximate 35% less chance of developing prostate cancer. Now, if you are not willing to become vegan, the good news is you can still make some crucial changes and reap big benefits.

Some major factors that help reduce chance of prostate cancer are reducing animal fat intake, so eating leaner meats (primarily chicken and fish). Another big one is avoiding fried foods. Of course increasing Omega 3 fatty acids is also a big factor. The following foods are very noteworthy as well.

Some foods with anti cancer properties- the cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy.) These have the sulphoraphanes that have anti cancer effects. Then there is tomatoes, which have lycopene which demonstrates anti cancer effects. Next beans and peas, which have lignins, phytates and protease inhibitors, which show anti cancer properties. Now for green tea- it has polyphenols which have shown the ability to prevent the progression of precancerous prostate lesions (2,3). Now for pomegranate juice- 8 oz of this juice daily helps lower PSA levels in advanced cases of prostate cancer(4). Then there is ground flaxseed, which has phytoestrogens which have shown the ability to slow the replication of prostate cancer cells. (5).

Your general diet, these specific foods, and lifestyle make a real difference in this serious, prevalent condition. Be proactive and get healthy.

Summarized from article “Prostate Cancer Risk” in Acupuncture Today, August 2016 by Dr. James Meschino DC, MS.

1. Tantamango-Bartley T, Knutsen SF, Knutsen R, et al. Are strict vegetarians protected against prostate cancer? Am J CLin Nutr. 2016; 103(1) : 153-160

2) McLarty J, Bigelow R, Smith M et al. Tea polyphenols decrease serum levels of prostate- specific antigen, hepatocyte growth factor, and vascular endothelial growth factor in prostate cancer patients and inhibit production of hepatocyte growth factor and vascular endothelial growth facto in vitro. Cancer Prev Res J. 2009; 2:673.

3) Bettuzzi S, Brausi M, Rizzi F et al. Chemoprevention of Human Prostate Cancer by Oral Administration of Green tea catechins in volunteers with high grade prostate intraepithelial neoplasia: A preliminary report from a one year proof of principle study. Cancer Res. 2006; 66: 1234.

4) J. Pantuck, N. Zomorodian, M. Rettig, W.J. Aronson, D. Heber, A.S. Belldegrun. “Long term follow up of phase two study of pomegranate juice for men with prostate cancer shows durable prolongation of PSA doubling time”. Journal of Urology 2009; 181 (4): 295.

5) Demark-Wahnfried W. Flaxseed supplementation (Not Dietary fat restriction) reduces prostate cancer proliferation rates in men presurgery. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2008; 17 (12):3577-87.

Diabetes

Some nutritional considerations for diabetes:

-Chromium helps insulin attach to cell receptors, which increases glucose uptake into cells. Chromium deficiency can cause insulin resistance.
-Biotin stimulates the Beta cells of the pancreas to secrete insulin in response to rising glucose levels.
-Magnesium deficiency lowers insulin sensitivity. (Don’t get magnesium deficient).
-Zinc is used for the production, storage and secretion of insulin. Zinc protects the beta cells of the pancreas from damage.
-Lipoic acid improves glucose uptake into skeletal muscle. Good for diabetic neuropathy.
-Cysteine is an amino acid that is needed to produce glutathione. The beta cells of the pancreas are vulnerable to oxidative stress (free radical damage), but glutathione protects the beta cells from this damage. Cysteine increases the antioxidant protection.
-Co10 protects the kidney from diabetic related damage.
-Glutamine helps regulate insulin secretion after meals. (By way of stimulating glucagon-like peptide 1).
– Carnitine reduces pain from diabetic neuropathy and improves insulin sensitivity.
-Inositiol may treat diabetic neuropathy.
-Vitamin C lowers HbA1c.
-Vitamin E protects pancreatic beta cells from oxidative stress.
-Vitamin D lowers risk of inflammation of pancreatic bets cells.
-Vitamin B3 (niacin) is part of glucose tolerance factor which facilitates insulin binding.
-Vitamin B12 gets depleted by the diabetes drug metformin, so B12 deficiency is common among diabetics.

Antioxidants

Hello all, it is time to talk about the mitochondria again. I just finished a short seminar with a doctor from Spectracell labs, and as usual I will share the important take home points. First off as you know, mitochondria are very important organelles inside most of our cells. They have been receiving attention in recent years due to their important roles in cellular health. These organelles produce energy (the ATP molecule, produced by aerobic respiration), store calcium, detox ammonia (especially in the liver), and help form blood components and hormones. The idea realized lately is that if mitochondria die, cells die. Mitochondria are a big deal.
The goals of studying mitochondria are to eliminate dysfunctional mitochondria, support healthy mitochondria, and protect against damage to mitochondria. There seem to be five main factors that lead to mitochondria dysfunction.
1-nutritional deficiencies within the cell
2-too much fructose and high fructose corn syrup and carbs in general
3-infections and microbes
4-zenobiotics: antibiotics, sulphites, pharmaceuticals
5- oxidative stress: the wear and tear from free radicals (which can be managed)

Some health issues from unhealthy mitochondria include gastrointestinal distress, cardiovascular myopathy, obesity, epilepsy, cancer and diabetes to name a few.

Some ways to help your mitochondria. First, it seems exercise culls the dysfunctional mitochondria, helping your body replace with healthy organelles instead. Most effective for this effect is short, higher intensity exercise, or interval training. This seems more effective than long drawn out exercise such as long distance running. Second, intermittent fasting is helpful. One full day of fasting reduces dysfunctional mitochondria in half.

Some chemicals and medications are able to damage your cellular energy makers. Roterone (Monsanto’s Round Up) stops the electron transport chain inside the mitochondria. Yes, Monsanto is actually hurting you at the aerobic respiration level. Cyanocobalamin ( a synthetic vitamin B12) also hinders the function of mitochondria. (At Tampa Bay Acu Health and Spine, we only use methylcobalamin, the form your body naturally forms and prefers). So get your B-12 from food sources and methylcobalamin supplements only. Now for antibiotics. If you didnt have enough reason to avoid these, here is another. Ciprofloxacin causes significant damage to your cellular energy makers. Ever take cipro and feel wiped out? Cipro also causes achilles tendon damage, but any antibiotic is harmful to your mitochondria. Never forget that antibiotic means anti-life.

Now for the good news. SOD (super oxide dismutase) protects your energy makers. SOD has been shown to help protect against ALS, Alzheimers, premature aging and cancer. But SOD needs copper, zinc and manganese to function.
Glutathione, the master antioxidant in your body, also protects against damage to your mitochondria. To make glutathione, your body needs selenium, and the amino acids cysteine, glutamine, and glycine.
Your brain uses a compound called acetylcholine for memory and for pain control. Acetylcholine is made from phosphatidylcholine, which your body makes from dietary choline. You can get choline form wheat germ, turkey heart, turkey liver, beef liver, eggs and pork.
All of the nutrients discussed above can be tested for metabolic activity within your cells with micronutrient testing, done at Tampa Bay Acu Health and Spine.

So in summary, it is important to get regular interval training, do periodic fasts, optimize your nutrition, avoid antibiotics at all costs, avoid HFCS and corn syrup, eliminate all refined carbohydrates, and if possible, find out your vitamin, mineral, amino acid and antioxidant status at TBAHS.

Probiotics

Did you think you were entirely human?

Well you are not. None of us are, and thank goodness. (Yes I have been delving into one of my favorite subjects again, the GI flora. ) We know that our bacterial flora are very important because they are a part of our immune system and they can synthesize certain vitamins for us, but their integral symbiotic relationship and usefulness is still being learned.

There are helpful bacteria in all parts of the intestines, but the highest concentration is in the large intestine. We have up to 500 species of bacteria in us, and their total cell numbers are more than our total human cell numbers. Any inflammatory conditions of the GI affect our microflora. Conditions such as IBS, Celiac, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis.

And why is that a problem? Because disruptions in our bacterial counterparts lead to problems that seem far removed from the GI. Problems such as joint pain, eye issues, ankylosing spondylosis. (Current Rheumatology Reports, March 2013). Yes, lactic acid producing probiotics demonstrate immune regulating and anti-inflammatory effects.
How anti-inflammatory? Here’s a useful example: mothers who take probiotics during pregnancy and lactation have babies with less risk of eczema. (Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2012).
In other examples, people with many varied health issues, including RA, can often improve with probiotic use.

A loss of probiotic flora with inflammation can lead to the varied problems listed above, but often starts with what is now termed leaky gut. Needless to say it is very important for our health to prevent this. Leaky gut, or intestinal permeability, is often the initiator for problems like allergies, asthma, even autism. Some factors that promote leaky gut are gliaden (gluten), also stress, infections, medications like anti biotics. even heavy long term exercise without adequate nutritional support.

There are some fundamental nutrients to consider in reducing intestinal permeability. The first and foremost is the amino acid glutamine. This amino acid supports GI lining repair, is the main fuel used by GI cells for energy, and when deficient, is shown to increase leaky gut. Zinc also helps stop leaky gut, and it is needed to make many enzymes used in the GI system. Next is vitamin A, which is needed for epithelial (cells that line surfaces) repair.
Some other considerations are not using stomach acid blockers for any significant period of time, and controlling stress.

Asthma and Nutrition

Nutrition plays a large role in chronic asthma treatment, let me give you some info on individual nutrients that are involved.

Vitamin C- This is important because we know that oxygen radical are involved in the pathophysiology of asthma, and vitamin C is an antioxidant. Vitamin C can also have an antihistamine effect, but it can take 1000 mg a day to do so. (If this is an issue, dont worry, there are antioxidant effects described from other sources below). Vitamin C can raise the FEV1 (forced expiratory volume, a breathing test) in asthmatics.

Niacinamide- this vitamin can inhibit damage to cells in the respiratory passages, and lowers histamine release. Higher serum niacin levels have less amounts of wheezing.

B6- the active form of B6 in the body is pyridoxal 5-phosphate (PLP). Asthmatics have lower amounts of this vitamin compared to non asthmatics. 50 mg of pyridoxine, 2 times a day, resulted in less asthma flare ups and less wheezing. It is also important to know that use of the theophylline bronchodilator lowers levels of the active form of B6 (PLP), due to depletion due to theophylline metabolism.

B12- Some asthmatics claim that they are “tired all the time”. Asthma tends to deplete B12, and the ones with fatigue may need to be checked and treated with B12. Use of a proton pump inhibitor increases B12 deficiency as well.

Vitamin D- Important in immune function and could have a role in development in asthma, per Spectracell laboratories.

Magnesium- Low Mg levels are common in asthma, and lowest in severe cases. A large study in England with 2.633 people showed that higher intakes of Mg were associated with higher FEV1 breathing scores.

Zinc- Asthmatics have lower plasma zinc levels. Zinc deficiency hinders the immune system. (Switches Th1 response to Th2 response). Zinc deficiency also lowers NK Cell activity. (immune blood cells).

Selenium- We need selenium to make glutathione peroxidase, which protects against oxidative damage. Asthmatics tend to have lower selenium levels, higher oxidative activity (from free radicals), and less activity from glutathione peroxidase (a protector against free radicals).

NAC- N-Acetyl cysteine. A precursor to glutathione. An antioxidant, but also a compound that reduces mucous. One of the more important supplements in the battle against asthma.

CoQ10- Decreases histamine release from lungs.

Tryptophan- This amino acid converts to serotonin, which leads to broncho-constriction. A low tryptophan diet can help some asthmatics.

Probiotics- Lactobacillus rhamnosus gg and lactobacillus F19 may reduce allergic sensitization.

Quercetin- Helps with histamine reaction and reduces hyperreactivity of airways.

Omega 3 fatty acids- decrease internal inflammation overall.

Also, asthmatic people should avoid food allergens, stay hydrated, and limit sodium intake.

If you know someone who struggles with asthma, share with them and let them know that nutrient testing at Tampa Bay Acu Health and Spine can find deficiencies that contribute to asthma.

Alzheimers

It is a big problem and getting bigger, so I have to share some important info from an article from “Acupuncture Today”, January 2017.

There are many potential reasons for the accelerating rate of Alzheimers, some of them having to do with low fat diets and possibly drugs such as statins and benzodiazepines. From the 1960’s until now, cholesterol was demonized as a huge danger.

Actually, cholesterol is 25% of the human brain by mass, so probably not the anti-christ of foods after all. Also saturated fats were demonized, but it seems unnecessarily so. In fact, Pacific Islanders, who may get up to half their calories from coconut oil (a high saturated fat food) have historically had almost no heart disease.

One in four Americans over 55 are taking statin drugs, which may be a factor in the rise of Alzheimers. Even more directly, the British Medical Journal states that taking benzodiazepines for more than three months is associated with a 51% increase in risk of Alzehimers. (Don’t take benzos. Do meditation, exercise, positive neurolinguistic programming, acupuncture.)

Enter Coconut oil. This oil has largely medium and short chain fatty acids. The medium chain fatty acids form ketones, which are able to be a direct fuel source for brain cells. (This is important because brain cells can become insulin resistant also, leading to a chain of events that cause Alzheimers.) So coconut oil can fuel brain cells (ketones naturally can cross the blood-brain barrier), it has phenolic acid which is a strong antioxidant, and it has lauric and capric acid which can help reduce insulin resistance. Coconut oil- it is a hero in the war against illness. To aid in your battle against Alzheimers, also use the detox from heavy metals on this blog, avoid cooking in aluminum, consume high antioxidant foods (such as turmeric, garlic, rosemary, blueberry), exercise your mind and body, control stress, and ask your natural health physician about specific nutraceuticals for antioxidant activity to help the brain. Please share this with anyone with Alzheimers in their family.

Affecting arthritis with nutrition.

Affecting arthritis with nutrition.

In keeping with the idea that internal inflammation can manifest in different ways and seems to be a culprit behind many chronic diseases, it becomes apparent that nutrition is a key in managing these types of inflammatory disorders, such as arthritis.

It would appear, both from research and from clinical observation, that arthritis is related to gastrointestinal health. Consider for instance that 5-10% of ankylosing spondylitis cases also have a GI disorder such as Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis. Also a much larger percentage of ankylosing spondylitis patients have subclinical gut inflammation as shown by endoscopic findings.

All this means that arthritis then should be helped by helping the GI system. And in fact, arthritis patients who use the probiotic Lactobacillus casei report better symptom control.

Other supplements to consider for arthritis are vitamin A, vitamin D, and Omega 3 fatty acids. As far as fatty acids are concerned, it is also important to limit the omega 6’s. Look at the list and see which one you get more of.

Omega 3- fish oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil, walnut oil.

Omega 6-borage, cottonseed, grapeseed, peanut, primrose, safflower, sesame, corn oil.

Keep in mind subjects took 3 grams of fish oil for at least 12 weeks before joint swelling and stiffness decreased.

Also useful is vitamin B6, which can lower pro-inflammatory compounds IL-6 and TNF-alpha. 100 mg of B6 for 12 weeks was needed to affect a change on arthritis with B6. (Due to possible neurotoxicity, I would not recommend going over 100 mg of B6, and also lowering to 50 mg after the initial 12 weeks, for a maintenance phase. Individual needs vary and nutrient testing gives best custom info.)

Many arthritis patients will have lower than normal zinc levels. Zinc can reduce internal inflammation by altering histamine release.

And why is it so important to treat arthritis with nutrition instead of just using drugs? Because that is how your body prefers it, and there is just no fooling nature. One potent drug for arthritis is methotrexate. This drug actually raise homocysteine levels, which is a marker of internal inflammation. Corticosteroids, also used for pain, can lower absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and cause a need for higher levels of folate, vitamin D, B6, C and protein.

In finding the best outcomes for chronic problems such as arthritis, an individualized nutrition profile test can be very helpful.

Measuring Cardiovascular Risk

Cardiovascular Risk Factors.

The 1980’s were great, but we can’t stay there forever. Knowledge, science, and research move forward every year, as does empirical evidence. This is certainly the case when it comes to our knowledge of dietary factors and heart disease risk. You see in the 1980’s, the understanding of heart disease risk was really just beginning and much of the information spewed then was a knee jerk reaction to new found discoveries which had yet to be really understood.

Today, tons of work has been done to try to control cholesterol and LDL levels. However, we are discovering that there is more to the equation than just these two villainized components. Some experts say that total cholesterol and even LDL make no difference in heart disease risk. We know that our bodies use cholesterol to try to patch damage to the lining of our blood vessels. In my opinion, not enough attention has been paid to how to prevent the damage to blood vessels in the first place. Fortunately, other people thought the same thing before me and we do know there are certain markers of damage to watch for. Three of the main ones are C-reactive protein, homocysteine, and fibrinogen.

C-reactive protein is produced in our liver and is known to rise with inflammation. Inflammation in the arteries is associated with increased risk of heart disease, heart attack (MI), and stroke. A physicians health study with 18,000 subjects showed that increased CRP meant a 3X higher risk of heart attack. What affects CRP levels in the blood? Diet seems to be the largest risk factor. As expected, processed and artificial foods raise CRP. Other bad habits are stress, toxins, and lack of exercise. No surprise there, we know those factors are bad for the heart. The only news here is that these effects can be, to a certain degree, measured in terms of overall inflammation.

Another factor to watch for is homocysteine. Homocysteine is a metabolite of the breakdown of amino acid methionine. So we naturally produce homocysteine. Its just that it seems we produce more when we are unhealthy. Newer epidemiological data suggests that levels over 6.3 micromoles/L are linked with higher risk of heart attack (Life Extension magazine, 1999). The Linus Pauling Institute says that Higher homocysteine levels are a risk factor for coronary heart disease, heart attack, stroke, atherosclerosis and thromboemolism (“The vascular toxicity of homocysteine and how to control it”, Linus Pauling Institute). So how can we reduce homocysteine levels?

First, homocysteine can be converted to safe by-products with an enzyme called CBS (cystathionine beta synthase) ( Linus Pauling Institute). But this enzyme needs vitamin B6 to work. ( Remember, b vitamins are enzyme catalysts). This may be a reason why people who are b vitamin deficient have higher rates of CV disease. So B6 and the other b- vitamins are a good idea. I recommend using B6 food sources such as lean meat, mushrooms, yams, broccoli, turnip greens and sunflower seeds. Another way to lower homocysteine is through foods that have betaine. Betaine, also known as TMG, has the ability to re convert homocysteine to methionine. Beets are perhaps the best known source of betaine. Interestingly (at least to me), traditional Chinese medicine has always said that beets strengthen the heart. Once again, traditional empirical evidence supports modern nutrition science, or vice versa. Regardless of how you choose to see it, beets help the heart, so put some in your juicers at home.

The next factor to watch for heart health is fibrinogen. This is a plasma protein produced in the liver and is involved in clot formation. It is then a naturally produced and needed protein, but risk arises when it is higher than needed. Several epidemiological studies show that fibrinogen is a major independent risk factor (Vascular Medicine, 1997; 2(2): 115-25). Some foods to help modulate the effects of higher fibrinogen are omega 3 fatty acids and garlic (both blood thinners you’ll notice). In my opinion garlic is underestimated, as it has many positive mechanisms. A trial was done that examined the effects of garlic on plaque development on carotid and femoral arteries in subjects for 4 years. Increases in plaque volume was significantly slowed by garlic, and in some cases was reversed. (Koscielny, J. et al. Atherosclerosis 1999; 144(1): 237-249.

There are more risk factors for heart disease, such as magnesium and free testosterone, but being aware of emerging evidence is helpful in lowering your overall risk. You don’t have to use 1980’s information to assess your heart health.

Homocysteine, C reactive protein and fibrinogen lab work is available through Tampa Bay Acu Health and Spine.

Migraines

According to the Mayo clinic, migraines are characterized by intense throbbing or pulsating sensations in the head, and often have nausea and vomiting as well as extreme sensitivity to light and sound.  The pain may last from hours to days.  Some migraine sufferers may have sensory warning symptoms, referred to as an aura.  These may include flashes of light, and motor and verbal disruptions.    There can also be blind spots or tingling in the arms and legs.

The Mayo clinic also describes Four (4) stages of migraines events.

1-Prodrome stage: Patient may have constipation, depression, food cravings, hyperactivity, irritability, and neck stiffness.

2- Aura stage: patient may have nervous system symptoms that may include flashes of light, sensory changes, motor and verbal changes.  Most migraine sufferers do not have the full aura stage.

3- Attack stage: The head pain occurs from 4 to 72 hours.

4-Postdrome: The patient may feel drained and washed out.  Patient may have deep sleep after the attack.

According to the American Headache Society (AHS), susceptibility to migraines appears to be hereditary.  The causes of migraine are being studied, and the latest research points to a series of neurological changes.  The AHS reports that there is a correlation between the activation of the trigeminal nerve causing a series of events in the meninges and the brainstem and a migraine attack.  Migraine pain shows evidence of inappropriate activation of both primary afferent neurons and higher order neurons.  These events may cause blood vessel dilation, which aggravates the pain and causes more nerve activation.

Migraines also have a pain known as allodynia.  Allodynia is described as a pain, usually on the skin, where pain does not logically need to be.  In migraine sufferers, there is allodynia on the forehead and forearms.  A study has shown that peripheral pain receptors, such as those on the forearms, seem to trigger neurons in the head, leading to migraine pain.  The fact that pain may occur on the forehead and forearm in migraine sufferers, and that it may precipitate a migraine, is very interesting to us when we consider how acupuncture treats migraines.  These areas happen to be where acupuncture points are found that address migraine type pain.  There are major points on the outside of the forearms (between the radius and ulna) that are used for, among many things, all types of headache.  Also, points on the forehead itself are useful for treating headache.  These acupoints have a long history of consistent results in treating a variety of conditions and illnesses.  It would seem modern research and acupuncture practice overlap each other here, as is the case often times.

What can someone who suffers from migraines do on their own to try to help? The following are some acupoints that can be pressed, massaged or squeezed to help reduce the severity or frequency of migraines.

GB 20- In hollow at either side of base of skull, roughly between back of ears and center of back of neck.  Using thumbs, which will slide down right into the point, press-knead into the hollow for a minute or two.

UB2- At the small indentations on the eyebrow where the bridge of the nose meets the inner eyebrow.  Press-knead with finger tips here for  minute or two.

LI4- The center of the muscle that forms a web between the thumb and the knuckle of the index finger.  Find a slightly sensitive area here, and gently but firmly squeeze and manipulate for a minute, each hand.

Lv3- At the top of the foot, in the valley between the first (large) toe and the second toe.  ( This part is usually covered by the “v” of a flip flop sandal). Place the heel of one foot on top of the other foot, and briskly rub the heel on the foot for a minute. Do both sides.

When doing these acupressure exercises, it is best to remember that results come when you also practice deep, calm breathing, practice in a calm quiet place and do them as part of a regular routine for your health.  I hope you find this helpful, and best wishes and health to all!  Thank you,

Stephen Dell-Jones, DOM  Fu Hsing Acupuncture