Nutrition


How to Treat and Prevent Asthma Attacks with Nutritional Medicine
Nutrition
Written by Ronald J. Grisanti, D.C.   
Monday, 26 December 2005 23:34

Asthma is a disease that affects a person’s essential ability to breathe and is one of the most demanding pathologies on the human being, both physically and mentally.

Asthma Facts

• 20.3 million Americans report having asthma.
• More than 70% of people with asthma also suffer from allergies.
• The prevalence of asthma increased 75% from 1980-1994. From 1982-1996, the prevalence of asthma increased by 97 percent among women, compared with 22 percent among men.
• 6.3 million children under 18 report having asthma.
• Asthma rates in children under the age of five have increased more than 160% from 1980-1994.
• There were 1.8 million asthma-related visits to emergency departments in 2000 (more than 728,000 of these involved children under 18).
• There are more than 5,000 deaths from asthma annually.
• More than 14 million school days are missed annually due to asthma.
• Asthma accounts for approximately 14.5 million missed workdays for adults annually.

Overview

Asthma is a chronic lung disease characterized by bronchoconstriction that is reversible, airway inflammation resulting from edema in the lining of the bronchial tubes, and increased airway responsiveness to a variety of stimuli. Symptoms usually occur during the first five years of life in 65 percent of the patients. A key feature of the disease is a hyper-responsiveness of the airways to various triggering stimuli, which causes the airways to react to irritation with severe bronchospasm and inflammation, resulting in symptoms of wheezing, shortness of breath and tachycardia.

Classifications of Asthma

There are two classifications of asthma: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic asthma usually develops in adulthood and may begin with risk factors such as cold air, exercise, or emotional trauma. Extrinsic, or atopic asthma, is considered an immunologically mediated condition with a rise in serum IgE.

Non-Allergic Causes of Asthma Attacks

• Grass/Tree/Plant pollen
• Animal dander
• Cat hair, saliva, urine
• Dog hair, saliva
• Cockroaches
• Dust mites
• Mold
• Foods (peanuts, corn, citrus, milk, wheat, yeasts)
• Food additives (sulfites, MSG, dyes, other preservatives)
• Pharmaceutical drugs (ASA, beta-blockers, estrogen, NSAID’s, PCN)

Allergic Causes of Asthma Attacks

• Additives
• Air pollution (ozone, smog)
• Chemical odors (cleaners, nail polish, paint)
• Coal smoke
• Cold air
• Cold drink
• Cooking fuel (kerosene, natural gas, propane)
• Emotional stress
• Exercise
• Foods (wine)
• Gastroesophageal reflux (heartburn)
• Heating units (coal, gas, kerosene, wood)
• Infection (upper respiratory)
• Nutritional deficiencies (magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C)
• Paint fumes
• Scents (air fresheners, colognes, perfumes)
• Tobacco smoke
• Weather changes
• Wood smoke

Dysbiosis: An Overlooked Cause

Dysbiosis refers to a state of disordered or dysfunctional intestinal microflora that causes ill health, which can produce symptoms ranging from mere discomfort to outright disease. The human intestinal microflora is an enormous microcosm that is estimated to contain over 100 trillion living bacteria, comprised of from 100 to 400 different species of bacteria. When dysbiosis develops, toxin-producing intestinal bacteria can cause a wide variety of symptoms.

Many individuals that present symptoms of minor respiratory problems, including allergies, sinus, and asthma, may have dysbiosis. Usually, an overgrowth of Candida albicans is present, causing problems associated with fungal overgrowth, including allergies, food and chemical sensitivities, malabsorption of nutrients, autoimmune disorders and asthma. A primary cause of dysbiosis is the consistent use of antibiotics without supportive probiotics. When an individual takes a course of antibiotics, the drug not only kills off the bad bacteria, it also kills off a majority of the beneficial bacteria.

Digestive complaints are most common, including flatulence, bloating, intestinal pain and inflammation, cramping, and constipation and/or diarrhea. Intestinal dysbiosis should be considered as a contributing factor in patients with asthma and allergies.

Signs and Symptoms

Wheezing, coughing, and dyspnea are the major symptoms associated with asthma and are of variable duration and severity. These symptoms are frequently precipitated by upper respiratory tract infections (viral and bacterial), exercise, exposure to irritants (allergic, chemical and physical), psychological problems or climate. A deterioration in airflow may precede overt symptoms.  A diagnosis of asthma should be considered when wheezing and coughing accompanies respiratory difficulty, especially when associated with upper respiratory tract infection in the pediatric population.

Clinical Lab Assessments

Some of the following laboratory testing can provide information necessary for the diagnosis and treatment of asthma. In addition, the tests listed may also give insight to functional metabolism and functional nutrient status in the body.

• Parasites:  Gastrointestinal pathogens play a role in efficient digestion and absorption of nutrients as well as the production on toxic metabolic products. A stool evaluation for these microbial agents can provide useful information regarding causes for nutrient deficiencies contributing to the disease process in asthma.

• Allergy and Food Sensitivity Response Assessment:  Allergic responses to foods, inhalants, environmental chemicals, and other substances can cause a variety of responses that induce or aggravate asthma.

• Fatty Acids:  There is evidence that increased omega-6 fatty acids and decreased levels of omega-3 fatty acids are involved in the etiology of asthma.

• Organic Acids:  Organic acids analysis is a useful method for measurement of biochemical intermediates in urine. Vitamin B12 has applications in preventing bronchospasm. Organic acids assay provides an excellent functional assessment of B12. A subset of organic acids, the dysbiosis markers, may provide useful information regarding gastrointestinal pathogens that can contribute to immune compromise.

• Magnesium Level:  There is considerable attention in the scientific community regarding the significance of magnesium in various chronic disease conditions, including asthma.

Treatment Options

1) Conventional

Common Medications Include: anti-inflammatory agents, corticosteroids, sodium cromoglycate, NedocromilBronchodilators, sustained release theophylline, Ketotifen, anticholinergics

2) Nutritional Therapy

• Vitamin B6:  It was found that people who regularly take theophylline-containing medications could be at a greater risk of developing a vitamin B6 deficiency. In fact, several studies have documented that patients taking theophylline medications do have depressed levels of vitamin B6. Thus, people taking theophylline medications might consider taking additional vitamin B6.

• Vitamin B12:   Studies report improvements in asthma patients receiving vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is also effective in reducing the incidence of bronchial asthma attacks in individuals who are sensitive to sulfites.

• Magnesium:  Asthma patients have been found to have significantly lower magnesium levels than normal controls. Low cellular concentrations of magnesium in asthmatic patients are associated with increased airway hyper-responsiveness. Studies report that inhaled magnesium provides a mild bronchoprotective effect for asthmatic patients.

• Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA):  Administration of 1,800mg/day of EPA to asthmatics produced improvements in symptom score, therapeutic score, asthma score, and peak flow.

• L-Glutamine:  Glutamine can reduce intestinal inflammation that leads to increased permeability, with a subsequent enhanced potential for antigen load in the gut. Glutamine is capable of improving intestinal integrity by protecting and rebuilding the mucosal lining of the intestine.

3) Herbal Medicine

• Cordyceps:  Cordyceps has traditionally been used for its improvement in respiration and in individuals with decreased lung function, such as in asthma and bronchitis, by increasing oxygenation.

• Tylophora:  Tylophora has been used traditionally in Ayurvedic medicine for problems with the lungs and breathing. Tylophora is used in the nutritional support of bronchial asthma and symptoms of allergies. Numerous studies report the beneficial effects of tylophora in the treatment and management of bronchial asthma.

4) Diet & Lifestyle

• Drink plenty of quality water.
• Avoid food additives, coloring and preservatives (aspartame, dyes, MSG).
• Avoid refined, pre-packaged and boxed foods, when possible.
• Be cautious of excess salt intake.
• Avoid alcohol, soft drinks and chronic use of caffeine and sugar-containing beverages.
• Reduce dietary arachidonic acid, which can lead to inflammatory mediators (leukotrienes) and precipitate asthmatic attack; diet should be low in meat, eggs, shellfish, vegetable oils  (omega-6), and dietary fat. Reduce excess carbohydrate load, especially refined carbohydrates (may increase insulin secretion and inflammation).
• You may want to begin a “vegan” diet—elimination of all animal products, including dairy.
• Patient education, including initiation of home peak flow monitoring and aiding in establishing a self-management program.
• Proper diet and exercise program.
• Address allergy issues and potential immune-triggering events.
• Make sure that the home is free of any mold or mildew problems.
• Limit the use of carpet, whenever possible.
• Take steps to purify whole house air.
• Use hypoallergenic bedding and wash bedding frequently.

References

1. Kolbe J, Fergusson W, Garrett J. Rapid onset asthma: a severe but uncommon manifestation. Thorax. Apr1998;53(4):241-7.

2. Tarlo SM, Broder I, Corey P, et al. The role of symptomatic colds in asthma exacerbations: Influence of outdoor allergens and air pollutants. J Allergy Clin Immunol. Jul2001;108(1):52-8.

3. Lutchen KR, Jensen A, Atileh H, et al. Airway constriction pattern is a central component of asthma severity: the role of deep inspirations. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. Jul2001;164(2):207-15.

4. Black PN, Sharpe S. Dietary fat and asthma: is there a connection? Eur Respir J. Jan1997;10(1):6-12.

Ronald Grisanti DC, DABCO, MS, is a board certified chiropractic orthopedist with a master’s degree in nutritional science. He has created an innovative Web-based program in helping chiropractors develop a nutritional, functional medicine-based practice, called Chiropractic Mentors. He can be reached by e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or through his website, www.ChiropracticMentors.com.

 
How Enzymes Can Help You Eliminate Mood Swings
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Nutrition
Written by Ellen Cutler, D.C.   
Monday, 26 December 2005 23:27

moodswings

W
e tend to think of mood swings as emotional responses to the situations we encounter as we move through our lives. Most people do not realize, however, that what we feel emotionally is largely driven by what’s going on physically. Everyone has heard the saying, “The mind influences the body,” but the opposite is every bit as true. The body has a tremendous impact on the mind.

 

In my over twenty years or practice, I have found that enzymes play an enormous part in overcoming mood disorders. Most people don’t realize how poor digestion and nutrient deficiencies can undermine their emotional health, contributing to mood swings. For example, I had a 9-year-old patient named Michael who was physically aggressive and had been throwing regular tantrums since he was 3. Once we treated his food sensitivities and began enzyme therapy, the change was astonishing. At one point he said to me, “Dr. Ellen, I haven’t screamed in 3 weeks.”

By helping our bodies utilize key brain nutrients, enzymes profoundly affect our minds and moods. In combination with nutritional supplements, they even may eliminate the need for powerful prescription medications, which often have serious side effects.

Getting Off the Mood Swing

Over the years, as I have treated thousands of patients in my BioSET clinic, I have observed that chronic mood swings are a common sign that a person has food sensitivities, the inability to completely digest certain types of nutrients. While almost any food can trigger sensitivity, the most common culprits are those that contain nitrites, glutamates, aspartic acid, tyrosine, caffeine, brewers or baker’s yeast, or sugar. Soy, wheat, corn, peanuts, milk, eggs, citrus fruits, and tomatoes are also frequent offenders.

When you are unable to digest a food to which you are sensitive, these undigested food particles pass through your intestinal wall into the bloodstream. There, they trigger an immune response, prompting immune cells to release antibodies. These antibodies act like the defensive unit of a football team, attacking the opponents while guarding their teammates.

If enough antigens and antibodies are present, they join to create larger molecules, called circulating immune complexes (CIC’s). Under normal circumstances, CIC’s recognize and eliminate infectious microorganisms, such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and toxic chemicals. They immobilize these invaders and then stimulate other immune cells, called macrophages, to gobble them up and get rid of them.

Although CIC’s are beneficial in small numbers, in excess, they trigger the release of immune mediators, messenger chemicals that alert the immune system to attack and destroy the CIC’s. The presence of too many immune mediators in the body can cause an array of symptoms, including mood swings.

How Enzymes Break Down CIC’s

One of the primary roles of enzyme therapy is to safely break down CIC’s, allowing the macrophages to clear away the remaining debris. This limits the number of CIC’s in the bloodstream, which curtails the release of immune mediators. When immune function returns to normal, your mood stabilizes.

I’ve seen this phenomenon in my patients, who have reported immediate, positive changes in mood and spirit once they began using enzyme therapy.

Keep in mind that food sensitivities are quite different from food allergies, although both involve an overzealous immune system. In general, allergic reactions occur immediately after exposure to the food. They can be quite serious and may require medical attention.

Protein Intolerance Causes Low Blood Sugar

Protein intolerance may be a factor in mood swings, because it deprives the brain of glucose from proteins—the brain’s preferred energy source. Under ideal digestive circumstances, the liver should convert up to 57 percent of the proteins from any given meal into glucose for the brain.

I find that a significant number of patients test sensitive to protein, which means that they have trouble breaking down the proteins in foods. This leads to a decline in glucose—a condition known as hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar—in which the adrenal glands respond by releasing cortical and adrenaline, hormones that prompt the liver to release its stored glucose. Although this ensures adequate glucose for the brain, the increased levels of cortisol and adrenaline lead to emotional arousal. This hypoglycemic cycle causes mood swings, among other emotional symptoms.

Dr. Ellen’s Prescription

Since mood swings can be a sign that the brain isn’t getting enough energizing glucose from protein sources, I advise everyone who’s prone to this mood disorder to eat high-quality proteins such as fish, nuts, and seeds—and to take a pH-balanced, full-spectrum, vegetarian formula digestive enzyme with every snack and meal. Giving your body the ability to fully digest and utilize the nutrients from the proteins you eat will do wonders for your energy level and your ability to avoid mood swings. I suggest a product with the following ingredients:

• Amylase (3,000 to 9,000 DU)
• Lipase (150 to 450 LU)
• Cellulase (200 to 600 CU)
• Lactase (75 to 225 ALU)
• Invertase (75 to 300 SU)
• Peptidase (1,000 to 3,000 HUT+)
• Alpha galactosidase (10 to 30 GAIU or 25 to 75 AGSU)
• Glucoamylase (2 to 12 AGU)
• Malt diastase (75 to 300 DP)

Dr. Ellen W. Cutler is the nation’s leading authority on enzyme therapy and the founder of BioSET, an innovative healing system that combines the use of enzyme supplements with other complementary medicine disciplines to treat a variety of chronic illnesses. She is the author of The Food Allergy Cure and MicroMiracles: Discover the Healing Power of Enzymes, among other books. For more information, visit www.bioset.net.

In 2006, Dr. Cutler will be speaking at The American Chiropractor Magazine Symposium in Panama, Feb. 13-15, 2006.

 
Are You "Corn Oiled" and Chronically Inflamed?
Nutrition
Written by David Seaman, D.C., M.S., D.A.B.C.N., F.A.C.C.   
Monday, 26 December 2005 23:21

cornoilIs corn a vegetable, seed, or grain? I am not exactly sure. In her excellent text, Know Your Fats, Dr. Mary Enig (lipid chemist) tells us that whole corn is an herbaceous plant.1  In The Paleodiet, Dr. Loren Cordain places corn in the cereal grain category, and urges us to avoid the consumption of corn.2 Cordain is currently a professor of exercise science at Colorado State University and one of the world’s experts on paleolithic nutrition.

The fatty acid profile of corn absolutely places it into the seed or grain category. Nearly all vegetables have an omega-6 (n-6) to omega-3 (n-3) that is about 3:1 or better. The n-6 fatty acid found in vegetables, fruits, and seeds is known as linoleic acid, while alpha-linolenic acid is the n-3 fatty acid. So, when we see n-6:n-3 ratios for these foods, we are being referred to the linoleic acid to ALA ratio.

Our dietary n-6:n-3 goal should be 4:1 or better. Ratios above 4:1 promote inflammation.3 The n-6:n-3 ratio of corn ranges from about 25:1 to 60:1, which certainly removes it from the vegetable category. Only grains and seeds have such high ratios.

After reading the above, some will ask, “Does this mean that corn is bad?” And the answer is, “No and yes.”  Consider that a serving of corn (1/2 cup) has only .5 grams of total fat, and .24 grams or more of n-6, AND, like other grains and seeds, corn has virtually no n-3 fatty acids. This represents a low-fat food and the n-6 level can be balanced by other n-3 foods (green vegetables, fish, n-3 eggs, etc.).

Corn becomes most troublesome when we eat corn oil. Consider that 1 tablespoon of corn oil contains 14 grams of fat, 8 grams of which is n-6 and only .1 gram n-3. If we wanted to take in 8 grams of n-6 from eating corn, we would need to consume up to 16 cups of corn. No one eats this much corn—save for, maybe, at a corn-eating contest, if there is such a thing.

The only creature that eats pounds of corn would be domestic cattle and other such animals and, then, we eat the meat from the animals. In short, cattle are eating far too much corn oil, which leads to an inappropriately high ratio of n-6:n-3 fatty acids, such that we eat “inflamed” meat.  For this reason, Cordain and others urge us to eat grass-fed beef, chicken (eggs), and wild game. These animals eat green vegetation that has a 3:1 ratio or better.

The average American uses corn oil (safflower, sunflower, cottonseed oils are as bad as corn) for cooking, eats it in packaged food, and eats meat/chicken/eggs that ate corn oil. Americans are clearly “corn oiled.”

Recall that 4:1 or better is our dietary n-6:n-3 goal. The average American’s ratio can be as high as 30:1, and perhaps higher. Anything above 4:1 is thought to promote chronic inflammation and chronic disease,3 so it is not surprising that Americans are sick and suffer with chronic aches and pains. These very high n-6:n-3 ratios cannot be combated with drugs, chiropractic adjustments, or fish oil supplements. We need to eat less n-6 foods and, then, supplement with n-3 fatty acids from fish oil.

References

1. Enig Mg. Know Your Fats. Bethesda Press: Silver Spring (MD): Bethesda Press; 2000: p.115
2. Cordain L. The Paleodiet. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons; 2002
3. Simopoulos AP. Omega-3 fatty acids in health and disease. Am J Clin Nutr 1999; 70(suppl):560S–9S

Dr. Seaman is the Clinical Chiropractic Consultant for Anabolic Laboratories, one of the first supplement manufacturers to service the chiropractic profession. He is on the postgraduate faculties of several chiropractic colleges, providing nutrition seminars that focus on the needs of the chiropractic patient. He is also a faculty member at Palmer College of Chiropractic Florida, where he teaches nutrition and subluxation theories. He can be reached by e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
Defeat the Energy Robbers with Enzyme Therapy
Nutrition
Written by Ellen Cutler, D.C.   
Saturday, 26 November 2005 22:41

Next to depression and allergies, lack of energy is the third most prevalent health concern in America, affecting 33 million people. In fact, half of the people who come to my clinic complain of exhaustion. Some feel tired when they wake up in the morning. Others experience an energy crisis in the afternoon. Still others have chronic fatigue throughout the day. Through my many years of clinical practice, I’ve seen many cases of fatigue resulting from one or more of the following factors:

• Poor digestion and/or nutrient absorption,
• Immune Dysfunction,
• Sleep Disorders,
• Hypothyroidism.

Your energy level is a clear indicator of the state of your vitality reserves—your body’s ability to remain healthy and resilient under physical or emotional stress. The good news is that you have more control over these reserves than you realize. Enzyme therapy plays a critical role in restoring physical vitality and energy. In fact, 85 percent of the patients who come to my clinic for help with exhaustion and sleep disorders improve dramatically once they begin enzyme therapy.

Let’s look at some of the common causes of fatigue and how enzymes can help you overcome them to regain your lost energy.

Energy Robber #1: Poor Digestion

People routinely ask me, “How can I be so tired when I’m eating all the right foods?” Well, they may have healthy diets, but if the nutrients aren’t getting into their bodies, they won’t feel young and vital.

If the body must struggle to break down and assimilate foods, healthy eating is a losing battle. What’s more, when undigested food particles leak through the gut wall into the bloodstream, the immune system further depletes your energy reserves by attacking them as “invaders.”

While the reasons for poor digestion vary from person to person—based on individual food choices, eating habits, and nutrient deficiencies—one solution that seems to work for everyone is taking digestive enzymes.

For a long time, the mainstream medical community argued that the body could not absorb and utilize enzymes in supplement form because they couldn’t survive in stomach acid. Although this may be true for enzymes from animal sources, the body can easily utilize enzyme supplements from plant sources.

Once my patients with poor digestion begin taking digestive enzymes, they finally experience the full benefit of the nutrients in their diets. Invariably, they report that they feel more energetic than they have in years. So, if you feel as though you’re running on empty, consider whether poor digestion might be to blame.

Dr. Ellen’s Energy Prescription: Digestive Enzymes

Taking a full spectrum, Ph-balanced vegetarian digestive formula with every meal can do wonders for your energy levels, giving you the ability to fully digest and utilize the nutrients from the wholesome foods you eat. I suggest a product with the following ingredients:

• Amylase (3,000 to 9,000 DU)
• Lipase (150 to 450 LU)
• Cellulase (200 to 600 CU)
• Lactase (75 to 225 ALU)
• Invertase (75 to 300 SU)
• Peptidase (1,000 to 3,000 HUT+)
• Alpha galactosidase (10 to 30 GAIU or 25 to 75 AGSU)
• Glucoamylase (2 to 12 AGU)
• Malt diastase (75 to 300 DP)

Since cooking kills the enzymes naturally present in foods, I also suggest eating as many raw foods as possible. If this is a challenge to you, eat some raw foods every day and choose organic whenever possible. This will give you nonstop energy.

Energy Robber #2: Immune Dysfunction

According to several studies, people with severe fatigue have higher numbers of killer T cells, the white blood cells that fight viruses and other microorganisms. These people also have fewer normal suppressor T cells, another type of white blood cell that stops immune reactions once infectious invaders have been eliminated.

When this suppression mechanism fails, the immune system continues to mount its defense, triggering the release of lymphokines, immune cells that may be responsible for symptoms such as fatigue and muscle aches.

Dr. Ellen’s Prescription for a More Balanced Immune System

One of the main causes of immune system overdrive is food sensitivities (a.k.a., foods you are unable to digest and absorb). When undigested food particles leak through the gut wall into the bloodstream, the immune system depletes your energy reserves by attacking them as “invaders.” Clearing up food sensitivities prevents the reaction that can contribute to immune system hyperactivity and thus prevents fatigue.

One sign of a food sensitivity is an unusual craving for some type of food. For example, in my experience, I have found that many people are carbohydrate intolerant. Because they can’t digest sugars well, they crave sweets.

If you are sensitive to a specific type of food, you can solve your problem by avoiding it. If you are sensitive to a food group, (e.g., if you have a carbohydrate or a fat/protein intolerance), it will help you to take a special enzyme formula to help digest and assimilate those nutrients. You can find these supplements in your local health food store.

Energy Robber #3: Sleep Disorders

A good night’s sleep is essential for optimal energy yet, according to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 50 percent of Americans have insomnia at least a few nights a week. When people don’t get adequate rest, they rely on artificial stimulants such as caffeine or sugar to sustain them throughout the day. In the meantime, they run up an unhealthy, potentially dangerous sleep deficit.

Not everyone needs 8 hours of sleep a night. Generally, if you’re able to wake up on time without an alarm clock, you’re getting enough rest. If even an alarm clock can’t rouse you, you probably aren’t sleeping as much as you should.

Stress and environmental factors such as noise and light certainly interfere with our natural sleep cycles. So, too, can poor digestion and impaired liver detoxification.

The liver and its enzymes are responsible for removing toxins from the blood and eliminating them from the body. In the absence of adequate nutritional support, due to poor digestion, the liver must work even harder to clear out the toxins. Eventually, it may not be able to keep up. When toxins remain in the body, they deplete energy levels as well.

Dr. Ellen’s Sleep-enhancing Enzyme Formula

Take one capsule of a sleep-enhancing enzyme formula 1 hour before bedtime, plus another capsule right at bedtime. The safe and non-addictive ingredients in this formula promote sound, restorative sleep without causing daytime drowsiness. If your sleep is not restful, take at least one of these ingredients, along with a full-spectrum digestive enzyme to help with assimilation. If you have severe insomnia, I recommend taking all of the primary ingredients with a digestive enzyme.

• Valerian root extract (200 to 400 milligrams).
• Passionflower root extract (120 to 240 milligrams).
• Oat straw extract (30 to 60 milligrams).
• Magnesium asparate (60 to 120 milligrams).
• Calcium citrate (30 to 60 milligrams).

Energy Robber #4: Hypothyroidism

The thyroid gland is responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism. For this reason, imbalances in thyroid hormones can have a profound effect on your energy levels. These imbalances can result from many factors, including nutrient deficiencies (especially of vitamin A, riboflavin, and selenium), enzyme dysfunction, chronic stress, and even aging.

Among thyroid disorders, hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) is the number one contributor to fatigue. Physicians often overlook this condition because so many cases are sub-clinical, meaning that although patients have hypothyroidism, their laboratory tests come back normal.

Sometimes hypothyroidism coexists with other hormonal conditions. For example, a person with low levels of adrenal or sex hormones may also be deficient in thyroid hormone. In a case like this, getting a proper diagnosis is critical, since it will determine the appropriate course of treatment.

Hypothyroidism isn’t the only thyroid disorder that depletes energy reserves. If fatigue occurs in conjunction with chronic insomnia, nervousness, and weight loss, the problem may be hyperthyroidism—too much thyroid hormone rather than too little.

Dr. Ellen’s Thyroid Prescription

If you suspect you have thyroid problems, it is important that you receive a complete evaluation from your doctor and take whatever thyroid medication he or she recommends. As an adjunct, I have found the following formula—combined with limiting stress, regular exercise, a healthy organic diet, and plenty of rest—to be helpful in providing thyroid support. And it will not interfere with your medication. Remember to take this formula with a full-spectrum digestive enzyme to enhance absorption of the ingredients.

• Protease (40,000 to 80,000 HUT)
• Chromium (from Chromium Picolinate) (200 to 400 mcg.)
• Alpha-Lipoic Acid (20 to 40 mg.)
• Green Tea Leaf extract (standardized to contain 70% catechins) (200 to 400 mg.)
• Bladderwrack Kelp extract (10:1) (60 to 300 mg.)
• Guggulipids extract (standardized to contain 10% guggulsterone) (60 to 120 mg.)
 
Plus one or more of the following:

• Banaba Leaf extract (standardized to contain 1% corosolic acid) (64-128 mg.)
• Rhodiola Rosea Root extract (standardized to contain 3% rosavins) (60-120 mg.)
• Gymnema Leaf extract (standardized to contain 75% gymnemic acid) (88-176 mg.)

Reclaiming Energy—and Your Life

Enzyme therapy—along with eating nutritionally, getting plenty of rest, and limiting stress—can increase your health and energy levels exponentially. Enzymes, nature’s “micro-miracles,” can help you move beyond fatigue and discover greater pleasure, passion, and productivity for life.

Dr. Ellen W. Cutler is the nation’s leading authority on enzyme therapy and the founder of BioSET, an innovative healing system that combines the use of enzyme supplements with other complementary medicine disciplines to treat a variety of chronic illnesses. She is the author of The Food Allergy Cure and MicroMiracles: Discover the Healing Power of Enzymes, among other books. For more information, visit www.bioset.net.

 
A Pandemic Vitamin D Deficiency?
Nutrition
Written by David Seaman, D.C., M.S., D.A.B.C.N., F.A.C.C.   
Saturday, 26 November 2005 22:39

Like many of you, I grew up in “healthcare” with the view that vitamin D toxicity is a significant concern for those taking supplements. Even today, individuals with nutrition degrees maintain the notion that vitamin D supplementation is a risky endeavor. Consider your own visceral response to the following:

“Many individuals would do well to take 10,000 IU’s of vitamin D for several months straight, perhaps longer.”

Such a statement can lead to very emotional responses, particularly in those who have been exposed to the infamous vitamin D cliché, i.e., that vitamin D toxicity due to excessive supplementation is a serious concern and has been deadly in the past. And published articles have advanced this notion.

In 1998, an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine contained the following statement: “excess vitamin D causes hypercalciuria (and hypercalcemia), but these complications do not occur unless the daily dose exceeds at least 2400 IU.”1 If this were true, there would be good reason to react to the suggestion that 10,000 IU’s of vitamin D is safe and reasonable for many individuals.

Dr. Reingold Vieth, a Canadian researcher, has cleared up this apparent confusion in a very concise commentary published in 2002.2  There are two forms of supplemental vitamin D; one is ergocalciferol (vitamin D2), and the other is cholecalciferol (vitamin D3). Vitamin D2 is not normally found in humans; and Vieth explains that all iatrogenic cases of vitamin D toxicity in the literature involved vitamin D2 supplementation. Poisonings have occurred with vitamin D3; however, these cases involved unintentional prolonged intake of greater than 40,000 IU’s. Consider the following statement made by Vieth regarding vitamin D intake:  “Long-term use of 4000 IU’s of vitamin D3 per day is, in reality, a physiologic dose that has no effect on calcium levels in serum or urine.”2

This would not likely be surprising if we previously knew that, in just 15-20 minutes of full body sun exposure in the summertime, our skin generates about 10,000 IU’s of vitamin D3; longer sun exposure generates no more vitamin D.2 In fact, about 90% or more of our vitamin D should come from sun exposure. It is impossible to acquire adequate amounts of vitamin D from the diet; indeed, Paleolithic man consumed virtually no vitamin D.3 And now, in modern times, we have been scared out of the sun, for fear of developing skin cancer. Based on this information, it is likely that modern man suffers from a chronic deficiency of vitamin D.

Despite this information, it would not be surprising for readers to remain reticent about vitamin D supplementation; as mentioned earlier, we have all been strongly conditioned to fear and avoid vitamin D. For those with such concerns, there is a simple solution. A blood test for vitamin D is available; 25(OH)D is the recommended test. A recent paper by Dr. Bruce Hollis from the Medical University of South Carolina maintains that 25(OH)D levels below 80 nmol/L represents a state of vitamin D deficiency.4

In an excellent review of the vitamin D literature, Vasquez, et al., propose that 100-160 nmol/L 25(OH)D represents the optimal range, and further state that vitamin excess is reflected by 25(OH)D levels exceeding 200 nmol/L.5 The authors provide us with a detailed list of conditions that are promoted/caused by vitamin D deficiency, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, multiple sclerosis, prevention of type 1 diabetes, depression, epilepsy, migraine headaches, polycystic ovary syndrome, autoimmune/inflammatory conditions, and standard chronic musculoskeletal pain.5

Readers should think for a moment on the last condition listed above. Is it really possible that vitamin D is a cause of chronic musculoskeletal pain? If this were true, this connection might make us re-think how we view spine pain.

In 2002, Faraj and Mutairi reported, in the journal Spine, that chronic low back pain may be caused by vitamin D deficiency. A total of 360 subjects with idiopathic chronic low back pain for at least six months were included in this study. The researchers used 22.5-93.8 nmol/L of 25(OH)D as the normal range, which actually represents a deficient level when compared to the values outlined by Hollis4 and Vasquez, et al.5

Faraj and Mutairi determined that 299 subjects had vitamin D levels bellow 22.5 nmol/L, and 61 were within the “normal” range. All 360 subjects took vitamin D supplements for three months, at doses that will shock most readers. Those who weighed less than 110 pounds, took 5,000 IU’s vitamin D and those who weighed more than 110 pounds took 10,000 IU’s. Out of the 360 supplemented subjects, 341 reported a disappearance of their back pain, and there were no reported side-effects.5 The authors concluded that all patients with chronic low back pain should be screened for vitamin D deficiency.

How many of your patients with chronic pain are not responding to your care? Is it possible that they may be suffering from vitamin D deficiency? If you decide to supplement with vitamin D, make sure to supplement with cholecalciferol and not ergocalciferol.

References

1. Utiger RD. The need for more vitamin D. New Eng J Med  1998; 338:828-29
2. Vieth R, Fraser D. Vitamin D insufficiency: no recommended dietary allowance exists for this nutrient. Can Med Assoc J  2002; 166:1541-42
3. Cordain L. The Paleodiet.
4. Hollis BW. Circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels indicative of vitamin D sufficiency: implications for establishing a new effective dietary intake recommendation for vitamin D. J Nutr 2005; 135:317-22
5. Vasquez A, Gilbert M, Cannell J. The clinical importance of vitamin D (cholecalciferol): a paradigm shift with implications for all healthcare providers. Alt Ther  2004; 10:28-36

Dr. Seaman is the Clinical Chiropractic Consultant for Anabolic Laboratories, one of the first supplement manufacturers to service the chiropractic profession. He is on the postgraduate faculties of several chiropractic colleges, providing nutrition seminars that focus on the needs of the chiropractic patient. He is also a faculty member at Palmer College of Chiropractic Florida, where he teaches nutrition and subluxation. He can be reached by e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
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