Saturday, September 29, 2007

Benefits of Vitamin D to Life Expectancy

Vitamin D supplements may lower your risk of dying from any cause, according to a new European study.

Researchers from the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, Italy, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, reviewed 18 trials of more than 57,000 people.The trials involved doses of vitamin D ranging from 300 international units (IUs) to 2,000 IUs. The average dose was 528 IUs.

After a period of six years, the data showed that people who took vitamin D supplements had a 7 percent lower risk of death compared to people who did not take the supplements. Further, according to the nine trials that collected blood samples, people who took vitamin D supplements had a 1.4- to 5.2-fold higher level of vitamin D in their blood than those who did not.

Because vitamin D can reduce the proliferation of cells, which occurs in cancer, the researchers believe their finding could lead to new drugs to fight cancer and other illnesses. Vitamin D also helps your body to uptake calcium for bone health.The researchers recommend taking between 400 IUs and 600 IUs of vitamin D daily. Your skin can also produce its own vitamin D by getting moderate sun exposure each day.

Archives of Internal Medicine September 10, 2007;167:1730-1737 September 10, 2007

This is an important study as it is one of the first ones that seems to confirm a benefit on mortality with supplements rather than sun exposure. I still firmly believe, though, that the best way to raise your vitamin D level is NOT with supplements, but by exposure to sunshine on your bare skin. However, getting sun exposure is not always practical. During the winter, or during other times of the year when sun exposure is not a possibility for you, then supplementation is an option.

If you decide to supplement your diet with vitamin D, there are two crucial things to know: It IS possible to overdose on oral vitamin D supplements (there’s very little risk of overdosing on vitamin D from the sun, however), so you need to have your blood levels of vitamin D measured regularly.

Only vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), the type of vitamin D found naturally in foods like eggs, organ meats, animal fat, cod liver oil, and fish, is appropriate for supplementation. Do NOT use the highly inferior vitamin D2. Talk with someone knowledgeable about quality supplements in choosing a good manufacturer of vitamin D3.

Gratitude & Positive Mental Attitude

What are you grateful for? Your grandchild’s smile? Having breakfast with your spouse? A new opportunity that’s come your way? A beautiful sunny day? Yet, when is the last time you really expressed your gratitude for the things that really matter?

Giving thanks for the good things in your life will help to reinforce your positive mental attitude, and even help you to cope with stress.Focusing on the good in your life, instead of focusing on what’s missing, is also important to attract more good into your life. In fact, whatever you focus your thoughts on you tend to manifest in your life. So take a break from your busy day to think about what you’re grateful for -- Make a list of everything you are grateful for. Focus on this daily.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Green Tea

Last month, I wrote to you in House Calls about the positive benefit that green tea is showing in the treatment of inflammatory skin diseases. I want to remind you: Don't forget the other health benefits it provides— especially when it comes to staving off some nasty diseases.

Smoking is a major cause of heart disease and lung cancer—you don't need me to repeat this, but I will until everyone is on the nonsmoking bandwagon. Yet, for some reason, these two diseases aren't as big a problem in Asian countries, where smoking is just as popular and common as in America (if not more so). It looks like the difference comes in a teacup: green tea.

Over the past couple of years, there has been a good deal of evidence linking green tea to better heart health and a lower risk of cancer. In a lot of Asian countries, drinking green tea is a commonplace social custom. The researchers thought this could explain the noticeably lower rates of cancer and heart disease among Asian smokers.

Heart disease develops when your arteries become hard and narrow, usually due to a build-up of cholesterol-containing plaque (which are often the result of LDL "bad" cholesterol) on your artery walls. Smoking makes it worse, because it lowers your levels of HDL "good" cholesterol, which can help prevent heart disease. Here's where the green tea comes in.

Green tea is rich in natural antioxidants called catechins, which are known to protect you from all sorts of things, including inflammation, cancer, and heart disease. Antioxidants help fight off free radicals that can damage your body's cells and eventually lead to disease. Research suggests that the antioxidants in green tea can actually thwart the artery-destruction process by fighting off bad cholesterol. They also help keep your artery walls functioning properly and prevent blood clots. And it gets better, because even more research suggests that green tea antioxidants can block tumor formation in your lungs.

Now don't get me wrong: I would never tell a patient to keep up the smoking and just pick up some green tea. But how about picking up the tea anyway, whether you smoke or not? For a great-tasting, antioxidant-rich pick-me-up, I sweeten my own green tea with a little bit of grape or pomegranate juice. Also, you need to make sure you're drinking the caffeinated form -- the decaffeination process actually diminishes the levels of antioxidants in this drink. If you're not a caffeine lover, don't worry. Green tea has really low levels of caffeine as it is.

Dr. Alan Inglis House Calls

Hypnotherapy for IBS

Dr. Alan Inglis (House Calls)
Visualize an end to a stomach problem
Even though it's not fatal, irritable bowel syndrome can make life just about unbearable for people who suffer from it. In fact, research has shown that the psychological effects of this illness— such as anxiety and a fear of going out in public—can be downright crippling.

And for the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients who deal with chronic constipation, the hard-to-control diarrhea caused by the prescription medication they often have to take can make venturing out a really hard thing to do in the first place (anxiety or no anxiety).

But researchers are getting closer to finding drug-free ways of treating this problem. Some research that mainstream medicine may dismiss but that you should know about is hypnotherapy—it can have a profound effect on fixing IBS problems.

In a study of 75 IBS patients (both men and women), participants received between five and seven half-hour hypnotherapy sessions over a three- month period. During the sessions, the patients were asked to put their hands on the place where they felt the most abdominal discomfort to create feelings of warmth and comfort in that area. Then, the patients were told to imagine their guts as a river. Constipated patients were supposed to envision the river as freely flowing. Patients with diarrhea were supposed to imagine the river moving slowly.

When it was over, all the patients—regardless of which form of IBS they suffered with—reported reductions in pain and bloating. They also saw improvements in their emotional stability, energy levels, sleep, diet, anxiety levels, and in their overall physical health. Talk to your doctor about a referral to someone who practices hypnotherapy. It's worth seeing if it will work for you—and keep you from hiding in the house.

The Art of Compromise

The Art of Compromise
Sonya Hamlin

Sonya Hamlin Communications he key to successfully handling a difficult situation is thinking through not only your goals and needs but also the other person's goals and needs. How can both of you come out with some "wins" instead of ending with "I win, you lose"? Helpful...

Begin with a question to engage the other person in arriving at a solution rather than giving the solution yourself.
Example: "We're having a problem getting reports out on time. What's needed to turn this around? Can you help?" Sincerely asked questions help keep situations from becoming accusatory and adversarial.

Use the word "I" instead of "you." "I must not have explained that well," rather than, "You got this all wrong." This helps others save face, which allows them to hear you and change what's wrong.

Look down rather than making eye contact with the other person. Do this when presenting a problem that needs solving. This helps him/her get over his embarrassment and focus on the issue. Avoiding eye contact makes the problem objective, not personal. Resume eye contact after you have outlined the problem.

Edit what you say. Some people give so many details when they talk that the main points get lost. Simply refer to what the other person already knows, then add your point of view about the situation.

Ask another question if the person seems to have stopped listening to what you are saying. The secret to giving and getting information is dialogue, not monologue.

Diet for a Pain-Free Life

Diet for a Pain-Free Life
Harris H. McIlwain, MD
University of South Florida College of Public Health s many as 150 million Americans live with ongoing pain. This usually is caused by such problems as arthritis or injuries to the neck or back.

Being overweight and having a poor diet are crucial factors. Fatty tissue is an endocrine (hormone-producing) organ, just like other organs in the body. Studies show that patients who are overweight produce high levels of cytokines, C-reactive protein and other proinflammatory chemicals -- substances that promote joint and tissue damage and increase pain.

Good news: Losing as little as 10 pounds can significantly reduce inflammation, pain and stiffness -- regardless of the underlying cause of the discomfort. People who combine weight loss with a diet that includes anti-inflammatory foods (and excludes proinflammatory ones) can reduce pain by up to 90%. The effect rivals that of ibuprofen and similar painkillers -- without gastrointestinal upset or other side effects.

The saturated fat in beef, pork, lamb and other meats is among the main causes of painful inflammation. People who eat a lot of meat (including poultry) consume arachidonic acid, an essential fatty acid that is converted into inflammatory chemicals in the body.

Although a vegetarian diet is ideal for reducing inflammation and promoting weight loss (no more than 6% of vegetarians are obese), few Americans are willing to give up meat altogether.
Recommended: A mainly plant-based diet that includes little (or no) meat and poultry... at least two to four weekly servings of fish... and plenty of fiber and anti-inflammatory foods. Patients who follow this diet and limit daily calories to about 1,400 can lose 10 to 25 excess pounds within three months.

Helpful: It takes at least two to three weeks to establish new dietary habits. People who give up meat entirely usually find that they don't miss it after a few weeks -- while those who continue to eat some meat may find the cravings harder to resist.

My favorite cookbooks: Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz (Marlowe) and Pike Place Market Seafood Cookbook by Braiden Rex-Johnson (Ten Speed).

Here are the best painkilling foods and beverages. Include as many of these in your diet as possible...

Red wine contains resveratrol, a chemical compound that blocks the activation of the COX-2 enzyme, one of the main substances responsible for pain and inflammation. Resveratrol may be more effective than aspirin at relieving pain from osteoarthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Other beverages made from grapes, such as white wine and grape juice, contain some resveratrol, but not as much as red wine. Servings: No more than two glasses daily for men, and no more than one glass for women. Alternative source of antioxidants for nondrinkers: Two or more cups of tea daily. Both green and black teas contain epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG), a chemical that blocks the COX-2 enzyme.

Virtually all fruits contain significant amounts of antioxidants, which prevent free radical molecules from damaging cell membranes and causing inflammation. Berries -- particularly blueberries, cranberries and blackberries -- are among the most powerful analgesic fruits because they're high in anthocyanins, some of the most effective antioxidants. One-half cup of blueberries, for example, has more antioxidant power than five servings of green peas or broccoli. Servings: One-half cup of berries daily, fresh or frozen. Bonus: Berries are very high in the antioxidant vitamin C, a nutrient that builds and protects joint cartilage.

Fresh pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain, which is in the stem and fruit of the pineapple and inhibits the release of inflammatory chemicals. It has been shown in some studies to reduce arthritic pain. I advise patients with sports injuries to eat pineapple because of its healing powers. Servings: At least two half-cup servings weekly, more if you're suffering from injuries or an arthritis flare-up. Bromelain also can be taken in supplement form -- 200 milligrams (mg) to 300 mg, three times daily before meals.

Ginger contains potent anti-inflammatory substances and was found in one study to reduce knee pain in 63% of patients. Servings: One teaspoon of ginger daily. Fresh and powdered ginger are equally effective and can be added to food.

I advise patients to substitute oily fish (such as salmon, tuna and sardines) for meat. Fish has little saturated fat (the main proinflammatory nutrient in the American diet) and is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s increase the body's production of inhibitory prostaglandins, substances that lower levels of inflammatory chemicals and can reduce arthritis pain.
Servings: Two to four three-ounce servings of fish weekly or 1,000 to 2,000 mg of fish oil (available in capsule form) daily. If you don't like fish, omega-3s also are found in flaxseed, walnuts and soy foods.

These are among the best sources of B vitamins -- especially important for people who eat a lot of processed foods, which are usually deficient in these nutrients. Studies suggest that vitamins B-1 (thiamin), B-6 (pyridoxine) and B-12 (cyanocobalamin) may reduce inflammation. Other B vitamins, such as B-3 (niacin), also reduce inflammation and may increase natural steroid levels and reduce the risk of osteoarthritis. Servings: At least one-half cup of whole grains and/or beans daily. Good choices:Brown rice, lentils, chickpeas, black beans and kidney beans. Bonus: Grains and beans are high in fiber. High-fiber foods promote weight loss by increasing a sense of fullness and maintaining optimal blood sugar levels.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ningxia Wolfberry Testomonials

Ningxia Wolfberry Testomonials:

My mother-in-law had been suffering with Fibromyalgia for some time and was slowly getting worse. She is a nurse in an O.R. department and works long hours, up at 4:30a.m. and to bed around 9:30 p.m. For pain she was on Tramadol HCL two to four times per day, she took 600mg of Ibuprophin 4 times a day and was taking a muscle relaxer Orphenadrine Citrate ER twice a day as needed. (In the evening). She was unable to sleep in her bed any more and still couldn't sleep all the night through in her recliner. My wife Sara and I had just joined Young Living and had our new Essential Oils Desk Reference and When my mother-in-law came over she wanted to know what it said about Fibromyalgia.

On page 336 it says 'Fibromyalgia is an acid condition in which the liver is Toxic.' On page 463 in the section on Ningxia Wolfberry research it says it 'protects liver function'. So we thought if she only tries one thing it may be a good choice to try Ningxia Red. So she ordered a bottle 'to help us out'. She started drinking 2 Tbs each morning, for about two weeks then she felt kind of better so she figured she would just quit drinking it. Within a couple days she noticed the pain returning and thought 'maybe it was working' and started her two Tbs per morning again and within one more week of starting back up she was off ALL the meds even Ibuprofen. She sleeps through the night in bed. She tells us she feels energetic and pain free, and will not go with out it again. So by trying one bottle she knows it helps her to get through her day and feels like doing things in the evening, even after a long day at work. I have seen the difference in her, it's almost like two different people. If someone you know suffers from Fibromyalgia it is worth mentioning.

My youngest daughter, 26, has been suffering with severe soreness in her chest, back, hips, knees, shoulders, and neck for several years. Six different doctors have called it six different things. I suggested she not give it any power and not call it anything but symptoms. We have tried oils and supplements with some success but not enough. Then in February, I started her on the Ningxia Wolfberry Juice because by that time, it had progressed to her jaw, head and ears and doctors were going to add more medicines to her regimine. She was taking the juice three times a day at first and could eliminate the first medication after 4 days. She continues on the juice, now using it twice a day and is on only one medication at the lowest dosage. Her plan is to get off of all meds and only take the juice indefinitely. She has no pain, is sleeping so much better and has stopped grinding her teeth which was causing the jaw and ear pain.

Both my parents started drinking 1oz of Ningxia Red daily and taking the Master Formula His/Hers vitamins. My dad says he hadn't slept more than 3-4 hours a night in about 20 years. Now he is sleeping 7-8 hours a night! He says it must be the Ningxia Red. Both of them feel like they have more energy also. Ningxia Red is Great!!

After drinking NingXia Red for about 4 days, I felt like I had more energy and was getting more done. I realized that I had begun to work (and do house chores) after 1:00 AM when I was used to shutting down by 11:00 or 11:30. I also realized that my thinking seemed clearer and that the right words were coming to me easily when talking and writing. Plus, as soon as I would drink NingXia Red, I seemed to crave even more. It was like my body was saying: 'hey, this is really good stuff ... keep it coming.'

I have been drinking about 2 ounces of Ningxia Red for the last two years on a daily basis. I have noticed that my allergies have cleared, my hair has grown and is healthy, no morning aches and pains, improved memory, no menopause symptoms and most notable & verifiable--my eyesight has improved in both eyes and this has been verified by my eyeglass and contact lens prescriptions coming down .25 and .50 points. I am sure there are other benefits that I don't even know are happening to my body. Ningxia Red is my lifetime elixir.

I can't say enough about the new Ningxia Red from Young Living. I feel fantastic everyday! My best success is that just after 1 month on the Ningxia Red, my blood sugars have found balance. I no longer find myself crabbing and feeling sick due to low blood sugar when I do not eat every 2 hours. I have struggled with that most of my life and this is really helping me a lot! I also notice that I am waking up earlier with a lot more energy and mental alertness, my sleeps are deeper and more restful and my general energy is better throughout the day.

I started drinking Berry Young Juice, now NingXia Red, since March of 2004. I had noticed the increased energy immediately and over time I noticed that it made me physically strong although I didn't have a regular exercise program. About six months later I did get a complete physical and the doctor was not only astounded that my HDLs (good cholestorol) was so high, but that my LDLs (bad cholestorol) was very low. In total my level was 127 at the time. Six months earlier it was 165!

Click on: Ningxia Red to order or for more information.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Hidden Danger in Lotions and Sunscreens & A Natural Sunscreen

Many consumers have long known their favorite lotions and sunscreens contained parabens, or synthetic chemicals used as preservatives. But with more and more products being touted as “paraben-free," many are now wondering, "What, exactly, are parabens, and are they dangerous?"

Parabens, which inhibit the growth of bacteria, yeast, and molds, have been used in personal-care products like shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, and sunscreens for years, allowing these products to survive for months, or years, during shipping and on store shelves.
Studies have now shown that parabens mimic the activity of the hormone estrogen, which is associated with certain forms of breast cancer.

Posted by Dr. Mercola, September 25 2007

Emu Oil is a natural sunscreen that has been used for hundreds of years. See product store for more information.

Alternative Relief for Depression

Before beginning a drug regimen for depression, try these alternative methods:

  • Daily exercise
  • Complete abstinence from junk food and highly processed foods
  • Avoidance of sugar and high glycemic foods
  • Improved sleep habits
  • Folate supplements
  • B complex supplements
    Magnesium supplements
  • Increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Increased intake of vitamin D (through daily sun exposure or supplements)
  • St. John's wort
These steps won't alleviate every case of depression, but they help many. Remember, the quality and type of supplement you take is critical to the success. In addition, consistency is important. Discuss the best brands/types of supplements to take with someone knowledgeable in this area.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Just Five Minutes on a Cell Phone Can Trigger Cancer

Just five minutes of exposure to mobile phone radio wave emissions can trigger cellular changes that occur during cancer development, according to new research.

Scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, found that mobile phone signals induced the production of natural chemicals that stimulate cell division and growth – central to the growth of tumors -- even at very low power levels.
Until now, the mainstream scientific assumption has been that electromagnetic radiation could only pose a health hazard as a result of thermal heating. However, this may not necessarily be the case.

According to Professor Rony Seger of the Weizmann Institute, “The real significance of our findings is that cells are not inert to non-thermal mobile phone radiation... The changes we observed were clearly not caused by heating.”

Other scientists are quick to point out that cell division occurs naturally, as tissues grow and constantly rejuvenate within the body, and that this study does not prove any health effects.
Graham Philips with the campaign group Powerwatch said, “Further research is required, however guidance based purely on thermal effects is clearly out of date.”

The Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme (MTHR), a government and industry-funded investigation into the potential health hazards of cell phones, launched in 2001, is scheduled to publish its final report next month. August 31, 2007

NOTE: We recently joined the Safe Wireless Initiative and have become involved in the education of others about this huge and growing 21st Century problem of electropollution. We found a reputable company that provides devices to protect us from electropollution. We starting protecting ourselves several weeks ago and have already noticed changes in how we feel. Let's face it, none of us are likely to give up our cell phones, computers and other electrical devices, they are part of our lives, but we need to at least protect ourselves from this growing environmental concern. Learn more about electropollution

Well Spouse Support

Well Spouse is a non-profit membership organization that provides emotional support to the spouses and partners of the chronically ill and/or disabled. We fulfill this function through support groups, respite weekends, mentor programs, an on-line chat board, an annual national conference and a quarterly newsletter. Their motto is "When one is sick... two need help."

If you would like more information about Well Spouse go to The website includes information on their support groups. (800)838-0879

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Virus Identified in 82% of ME/CFS Patients

Virus Identified in 82% of ME/CFS Patients
by Rich Carson - 09-18-2007
I was delighted to see the new research suggesting a possible viral cause in a significant subset of ME/CFS patients.

The big news is that 82% of 165 patients had evidence of chronic enterovirus infection using gastric (stomach) biopsy, compared with only 20% of non-patients. The research, with its statistically significant numbers, was impressive enough to be published in the September issue of the respected Journal of Clinical Pathology.

Enteroviruses are the second most common viral infection in humans next to the common cold, and two notable enteroviruses are polio virus and Coxsackievirus. Infection usually causes asymptomatic gastric and respiratory infection, and the virus has previously been isolated from ME/CFS brain, muscle, and heart tissue.

It is too early to jump on the cause and effect bandwagon, and I am sure many of you remember earlier “breakthroughs” including EBV, CMV, retrovirus, stealth virus, spuma virus, HHV-6 and HHV-7. Nevertheless, it was determined that the virus was causing a chronic, inflammatory condition in the study participants, and it is pretty hard not to be impressed with a positive rate of 82%. Could we finally have a smoking gun?

I do not mean to suggest that the viruses above do not play at least some role in many cases of ME/CFS. In fact I am convinced that HHV-6A plays a major part in a good percentage of cases of ME/CFS. Please visit the website of the respected Human Herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) Foundation for compelling evidence -

The take away? Patients will have a reason for hope if it is determined that this enterovirus is indeed a cause of ME/CFS. I find this research impressive and worthy of optimism. ProHealth will keep you informed as the research unfolds.

Perimenopause - Menopause

You might be suffering from climacteric syndrome and not even know it – probably because you call it something else.
Here are some of the symptoms that characterize this syndrome:
Depression and anxiety
High cholesterol
Chronic headaches
Hot flashes
That last item gave it away.

Symptoms of menopause are the symptoms that comprise climacteric syndrome. But typically, these symptoms begin gradually, ushering in perimenopause, the transitional stage that precedes menopause. Call this time of life what you like – perimenopause, menopause, the climacteric – it all adds up to the same thing: You need relief and you want it to be safe and free of synthetic hormone replacement therapy.

Maybe a little pine bark extract can help. Steady improvement-Pycnogenol has been featured in several e-Alerts over the years – primarily for its ability to help manage cholesterol levels. This extract, taken from the inner bark of pine trees that grow in a French maritime forest, has also been shown to reduce menstrual pain and calm hyperactivity, so a team of researchers at Ham-Min Hospital in Taiwan designed a study to investigate the effects of Pycnogenol in relieving symptoms of climacteric syndrome (CS). Researchers recruited more than 150 women who were diagnosed with perimenopause. In each subject, status of depression/anxiety, dilation and constriction of blood vessels, memory, sleep habits, sexual activity, menstrual activity, etc., were assessed with the Women's Health Questionnaire (WHQ). Then the women were divided into two groups to receive either 200 mg of Pycnogenol daily, or a placebo. During the six-month intervention, each subject was checked three different times to assess blood pressure, antioxidant and cholesterol levels, and body mass index measurements.

After just one month, subjects in the Pycnogenol group reported improvement in symptoms
Antioxidant levels were boosted, compared to placebo
Overall, every WHQ symptom improved in the Pycnogenol group but not in the placebo group
LDL cholesterol dropped by 10 percent overall in the Pycnogenol group
In addition, LDL/HDL ratio was improved in the Pycnogenol group, but not in the placebo group
No side effects were reported -Bonus benefit - Pycnogenol contains a powerful antioxidant and a variety of polyphenols with anti- inflammatory properties that have been shown to benefit the cardiovascular system by promoting proper blood flow. But as I noted in the e-Alert "Slow Sugar" (3/22/07), Pycnogenol may provide another significant benefit for menopausal women: improved blood sugar control.

In a trial that included nearly 80 subjects with type 2 diabetes, half received 100 mg of Pycnogenol daily and half received a placebo. After 12 weeks, subjects in the Pycnogenol group significantly lowered their plasma glucose levels compared to placebo. Pycnogenol subjects were also found to have improved artery function.

In a trial of 30 type 2 diabetics, researchers gave subjects Pycnogenol doses of 50, 100, 200, and 300 mg each day in three-week intervals. Subjects who received 100 to 300 mg of Pycnogenol significantly lowered their fasting glucose levels. About five years ago, William Campbell Douglass, II, M.D., told readers of his Daily Dose e-letter that Pycnogenol might compete with aspirin as the "wonder drug" of the 21st Century. But there's one important thing that Pycnogenol doesn't do: It doesn't promote gastrointestinal bleeding.

You can find more information about Pycnogenol – including links to additional research – at You can't purchase Pycnogenol through that site, but links to several vendors are provided. If you have menopausal symptoms, type 2 diabetes, or are at high risk of heart disease, talk to your doctor or health care professional before taking Pycnogenol.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Report Links Power Lines to Cancer

After looking at a database of 850 patients diagnosed with lymphatic and bone marrow cancers between 1972 and 1980, researchers from the University of Tasmania and Britain's Bristol University found that living near high-voltage power lines might increase the risk of leukemia, lymphoma, and related conditions later in life. People who lived within 328 yards of a power line up to the age of five were five times more likely to develop cancer. Those who lived within the same range to a power line at any point during their first 15 years were three times more likely to develop cancer as an adult.
Internal Medicine Journal September 2007; 37(9):614-9 August 24, 2007

Protection from Electropollution

Dr. Mercola comments about GMO Foods

The next time you’re at the supermarket, you can use The True Food Shopping Guide to decipher which foods contain genetically engineered ingredients and which do not.The True Food Network, the grassroots network of the Center for Food Safety, compiled this essential list.

You can browse through the online guide according to food category; there are 20 in all, including:
Dressings and salad oils
Tomatoes and tomato sauce
Baby food
The True Food Network was established in 2000 to stop genetic engineering of food and farm crops, and to create a socially just, democratic, and sustainable food system. They have 40,000 members. True Food Now

You may be surprised to learn that you have a 75 percent chance of picking a food with genetically modified (GM) ingredients when you’re at the supermarket. This is because at least seven out of every 10 items have been genetically modified.In fact, the United States leads the world in GM crop acreage with 123 million acres in all (that’s close to one-third of the agricultural land in the United States planted with gene-altered crops). And the blight of genetically engineered crops across the globe continues to grow.

Worldwide, there are at least 222 million acres planted with GM crops, and the number keeps rising.Although the major food giants are carrying on with their claim that GM foods are no different from conventionally grown varieties, the research begs to differ. Here is just a sampling of the unsavory findings associated with GM foods:
GM peas caused lung damage in mice
GM potatoes may cause cancer in rats
Bacteria in your gut can take up DNA from GM food

They may be spurring the creation of weed-killer-resistant superweeds. Aside from the potential risks to your health, genetic modification known as “terminator technology” is now being used to create, you guessed it, seeds that “self-destruct.” In other words, the seeds (and the forthcoming crops) are sterile, which means farmers must buy them again each year (as opposed to using the seeds from their harvest to replant the following year, which is the traditional way). This, of course, means bigger profits for the food companies that are patenting GM seeds, and more money shelled out from farmers. Worse still, this practice could actually threaten the entire food supply because the sterile seeds may spread to nearby fields.

There is an incredibly important documentary on this topic that I urge you to watch yourself and then pass on to ALL of your friends and family. This should be required viewing for everyone that is living in the 21st century. It will open your eyes to the dangers of GM foods and do it in a way that is very easy to learn. It is one of the most important videos I have ever viewed.Again, you simply MUST watch this video!!It’s called The Future of Food. This documentary will help you understand the very real threat that ALL future generations face as a result of genetic engineering.

You may also be interested to know that I am actually working strategically with Jeffery Smith, the leader of the anti-GM movement in the United States, to facilitate the end of GM foods in the U.S. within the next two years.This shopping guide is an excellent start, as you can print it out and take it with you to the store so you can avoid GM foods like the plague.

Along with using The True Food Shopping Guide, you can also follow these tips to avoid GM ingredients:
Examine produce stickers on the fruits and vegetables you buy. The PLU code for conventionally grown fruit consists of four numbers, organically grown fruit has five numbers prefaced by the number nine, and GM fruit has five numbers prefaced by the number eight.
Buy organic produce as often as you can. By definition, food that is certified organic must be free from all GM organisms.
Stay away from processed foods. Most of these contain corn and soy products, and most corn and soy are genetically modified.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Relieving Fibromyalgia Pain with Yoga

By Catherine Tardif, RYT, CPT

As sufferers of the condition we all know, there is no definitive test to diagnose Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS). A disorder marked by debilitating pain and exhaustion – its cause is still largely mysterious. Naturally, if you have Fibromyalgia, you want to know why.

Unfortunately, the list of what is known and generally accepted about FMS is small and rapidly changing.At this time it is classified as a neuroendocrine condition. This means that FMS seems to affect the way the body communicates pain to the brain and the systems that govern this communication and additional communication that occurs within your body. A study published in the Journal of Medical Virology in December 2003 found that a chronic viral infection appeared in the muscles of some FMS patients. Even so, some physicians still believe that FMS does not exist; instead they attribute symptoms such as severe pain, muscle tenderness, fatigue, and sleep troubles to a psychiatric problem. This misconception does little to help sufferers and can leave them feeling demoralized and discouraged.

Fortunately, yoga can provide two invaluable things to people with Fibromyalgia: hope and relief from symptoms. Though it is not a cure, yoga can offer better quality of life. A study in 1999 led by Patrick Randolph Ph.D., at Texas Tech University’s Health Sciences Center, found that a program of gentle yoga stretches and mindfulness meditation helped reduce pain and improved patients’ ability to deal with it. From my own experience as a Fibromyalgia sufferer and Yoga Teacher here is what I suggest for a yogic approach to managing FMS.

The Gentle Approach Regarding a Yoga Practice is Best. I recommend regular practice of at least 10 minutes of meditation, breathing and stretching. The beauty of this exercise form is that it is not necessary to be able to do all the postures. You can choose to work within your own limitations. I commonly remind my students “You are never the same person twice. Adapt your yoga routine accordingly.”

Symptoms Vary from Day to Day. On a good day it can be tempting to practice vigorously. While physical activity can be very helpful, it is important to begin slowly and progress gradually to avoid a flare-up of symptoms. On days when you are particularly tired, stick with restorative poses, such as legs up the wall and forward bends with a bolster. On good days practice backbends such as, Cobra or Upward Facing Dog to create more opening to breath and energy. Be sure to have some kind of inversion such as, Downward Facing Dog or Bridge. Inversions help relieve stress and doubles as an energy booster as well as a way to settle down. Always conclude with Corpse. Corpse pose is a conscious relaxation done lying down. It relieves insomnia and over all levels of fatigue. It also helps to rebalance hormones.

Learn When to Work Through PainMuch of the pain caused by Fibromyalgia seems to be due to inappropriate amplified nerve cells, so even though a posture might feel slightly painful, you are not damaging your muscles or connective tissue. It is important however, to differentiate between the dull discomfort that comes from stretching tight muscles, which is safe to work with, and the sharper pain that comes from compressing a joint or straining a ligament.

Reversing Energy Expenditure
Typically, people with Fibromyalgia are go-getters, with high energy levels, who give selflessly of their time and energy to others, more frequently than not putting others’ needs before their own. From an energetic expenditure perspective, the energy people with FMS expend dramatically exceeds the energy returned, leaving their energetic body depleted over time until the physical body finally follows.

Many behavioral shifts must take place to reverse the flow of energy so balance is achieved. Because sufferers do not reverse this energy expenditure on their own the body forces them to take care of themselves. The illness’ debilitating symptoms alone compel such care. But permanent behavior shifts need to occur as well.

The more debilitating the illness, the more sufferers need to help themselves by taking more time for themselves first before servicing others’ needs. This is the first step toward healing - a major and most difficult step. This is where yoga comes in. If you are new to yoga you may want to enroll in a beginner’s class or even private classes. Those of you already taking time out of your schedule to incorporate a yoga class or two see the benefits of treating your body to some revitalizing stretching and strengthening. This time for yourself in a healing and healthy way is a vital step toward reversing energy expenditure.

Try a Diverse Approach. In addition to postures, try breathing and guided imagery. Regular meditation can teach you to modulate pain and quiet internal chatter that can heap mental suffering on top of physical discomfort. As a sufferer of FMS I find western medicine, chiropractic, massage, and other forms of body work to be very helpful. (Choose a practitioner who has experience treating people with FMS).

Chocolate for CFS and Fibromyalgia

By Jacob Teitelbaum, MD
Scientists have discovered that dark chocolate helps to prevent chronic illnesses. Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), which many feel is part of the CFS and Fibromyalgia complex of illnesses, leaves sufferers exhausted and with neurological problems. People taking part in a study at Hull Royal Infirmary found they felt better after eating specially-formulated dark chocolate every day for eight weeks. But chocaholics will have to search around – only chocolate made with 85% cocoa was found to have health benefits.

Professor Steve Atkin said: “No one has examined the effects of chocolate on ME before, so this is a very exciting result for us. Participants took 45g of special chocolate high in polyphenol chemicals for eight weeks. They then had a two-week rest before taking a placebo chocolate, low in polyphenols, for the same time. After the first period they felt less fatigue and once they moved to a placebo chocolate they began feeling more tired again. They did not experience any significant weight gain either. Polyphenols can reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and strokes. Chocolate also increases serotonin and phenyl ethylamine (PEA), which regulates mood.

What Is Coenzyme Q 10?

By Steven Lipschutz, MD

Coenzyme Q 10 or ubiquinone is a vitamin critical to all cellular functioning. It acts as a catalyst for chemical reactions in each cell of our body that produces ATP, which is essential for the energy that produces cellular function. Coenzyme Q 10 is the subject of intensive scientific investigation in many areas. Researchers are testing this unique vitamin to see its affects on heartfailure, cancer, and aging. Dietary enhancement with Coenzyme Q 10 has demonstrated effectiveness by alleviating certain types of hearing loss, improving certain clinical parameters in cystic fibrosis, and preventing cell death in restorative plastic surgical procedures.

The growing clinical and scientific evidence makes Coenzyme Q 10 worthy of inclusion in any treatment regimen to improve physical function at the cellular level, and particularly for patients with CFIDS and Fibromyalgia.

Role of Nutrition in Treating and Managing Chronic Pain

By Hal S. Blatman, MD

Healing from pain is like healing from any other malady, and nutrition plays a significant role in the healing process. When we consider the relationship of food and healing, there are three rules to live by.

Do not put poison into your body.
Give the body the best octane to run.
Provide the body with the best raw materials to build new parts and repair old parts.

I suggest that patients never put poisons into their body including margarine and aspartame which is frequently marketed under the name “NutraSweet.” Margarine puts hydrogenated fat into our body. This is a dangerous substance that has been linked to several chronic diseases. Aspartame converts in the body to methanol and formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is embalming fluid and has been linked to cancer. Methanol causes brain injury, and in many people, also pain. Drinking more than 2 diet sodas per week may form more methanol in your body than you can detoxify, causing this substance to build up in your system. It may take two months to detoxify when you stop ingesting aspartame.

The human body is a high performance, biochemical Ferarri. Look at any 10 yr old. They take off from a dead stop at the crack of a bat, corner hard at each base, and wear out their tires. Just like the Ferarri, we are built to run on 100 octane fuel. Too many of us try to run on budget 20 octane fuel, run out of energy, and wonder why. The three biggest low energy foods culprits are:

The worst of these are sugar and white flour. Most people will function better, have less fatigue, pain and irritable bowel symptoms if they avoid these foods.

In addition to high-octane fuel, the Ferrari uses racing oil. Our bodies also run best on racing oil. The oil we eat is the fat that becomes the most important of the raw materials our bodies use to build new parts.

Believe it or not, fat does not make people fat. People more likely get heavy because they eat low octane fuels. Good fat also does not cause heart attacks. Macadamia nuts are very high in fat, and eating them has been shown to lower bad cholesterol in people.

We need fat to run. Among other things, the fats we eat become the raw materials making cell membranes. Cell membranes function to bring good things into the cell, and send bad things out of the cell. In white blood cells, cell membranes contribute to immune system function by killing invading organisms. We need healthy fat diets and remember, low or no fat diets are generally not healthy for us.

Hal S. Blatman, MD is the founder and medical director of The Blatman Pain Clinic, and a globally recognized specialist in myofascial pain. He is board certified in both Pain Management and Occupational and Environmental medicine.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


What To Do About Osteoporosis
September 10th, 2007

A lot of HSI readers have been asking about mainstream osteoporosis drugs like Boniva, Fosamax, and Reclast – the newest once-a-year IV treatment. They’ve been concerned about potential side effects, and want to know if there are any safe, natural, effective alternatives out there. There are, and we’ll get to those in a minute.

But first let’s address the potential side effects of standard prescription drugs for osteoporosis. There are different brands of osteoporosis drugs – though most are in the same class of drugs called bisphosponates – and each comes with its own (pretty long) list of negative side effects. As you’d expect, though, there’s a lot of side effect crossover within the bisphosphonate family.
Typically, bisphosphonates (which include drugs such as Fosamax, Boniva and Actonel) require standing for at least 30 minutes (sometimes as long as 60 minutes) after you take them – no drinking or eating during that time, either. That’s because they’re hard for your body to absorb. Along with that annoyance – and, believe me, you HAVE to do it if you take these drugs – come the side effects (to keep this post from getting too long, I’ve only included about a dozen).

These may include:
· flu-like symptoms· diarrhea or constipation· bloody vomit· bone, joint, and muscle pain· back, arm and leg pain· headaches· eye pain· painful urination· blisters or peeling skin· swollen or painful gums· jawbone problems, including numbness and heaviness· death of the jawbone (yes, you read that right) Luckily, you have a lot of safe, natural choices when it comes to treating and preventing osteoporosis. Here are a couple of the most studied. For a more complete listing of alternatives, you can search through the HSI Archives.

Monitor your minerals. Most people load up on the calcium when they’re worried about osteoporosis, but that’s NOT the right thing to do. What’s even more important than getting enough calcium is absorbing and retaining enough calcium. In fact, just taking calcium mega-doses can negatively impact your overall health. Instead of increasing your calcium intake, make sure you’re getting enough of these supporting players: magnesium, manganese, potassium, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin B-12, phosphorous, boron and plenty of essential fatty acids (like omega-3s).

Try going gluten-free. More than 1.5 million people in the U.S. may have celiac disease (CD), a condition in which gluten (a component of grains) reduces the small intestine’s ability to absorb essential nutrients, including calcium. Unfortunately, many people don’t even know they have it. But a 2005 study found a strong link between CD and osteoporosis. When newly diagnosed CD patients switched to gluten-free diets, their bone density improved.

To learn about one proven natural bone-building formula, check out this free report from the HSI research team.

Hope says: there are natural and more effective ways to treat osteoporosis. Please check them out before going the drug route!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Chronic Stress and Inflammation Increase Disease

Chronic stress and inflammation will take you right over the edge of the cliff as far as disease is concerned—especially if you're already standing on the rim of it. They increase your risk of developing certain neurodegenerative diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, as well as a host of other inflammation-based diseases.

Also, they can elevate the severity of the disease process. Using mice, researchers simulated a chronic-stress situation by placing three young males together for a few weeks. Once the mice had become situated and comfortable living together in this environment, establishing their own natural hierarchy, the researchers then upset the applecart. An aggressive male mouse was introduced into the mix for a couple of hours each night for three consecutive nights. To throw the mice off a bit, they got the next night off from the aggressor before an entirely new aggressor was introduced. This guaranteed that the young mice never knew what to count on next and were in a state of chronic stress. To add to their environmental stress, the mice were given Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis (TMEV)—an infection of the central nervous system that is similar to multiple sclerosis in humans.

The result was an increase in their cytokines (particularly interleukin-6), which is a pro- inflammatory protein that helps the inflammation process along. This cytokine regulates the infection-fighting portion of the immune system. And an increase in this cytokine was found to increase the severity of their infection from the TMEV. This was enough to spur on inflammation, resulting in a weakened early immune response to that infection.

Once the early immune response is affected adversely, the stage has been set for later immune response—which means it will continue to be weak. What this means for you is that whether you are currently dealing with a disease or are simply at risk for one, chronic stress will tip you over the edge. Not only will it make current conditions worse, it can actually fire up the disease process to take hold faster.

I recommend that you master a stress-fighting strategy that works for you. Many community hospitals and colleges offer courses in stress-management techniques, whether they are based on ancient Eastern practices like tai chi and meditation or on a modern-day alternative like biofeedback. Make it a priority to get stress under new management.
Dr. Alan Inglis House Calls

Certain Foods can Help or Hinder Arthritis Symptoms

For arthritis patients – especially those with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) – certain foods can help or hinder arthritis symptoms. But many patients aren't aware of the effects these foods produce.
Tomatoes contain solanine, an alkaloid known for its toxicity. Potatoes, eggplants and peppers are also members of the Solanum family. These plants are known as nightshade plants, and the solanine in their leaves and roots provide natural protection against insects. For most of us non-insects, solanine is neutralized in the intestine. But because solanine foods often trigger joint pain, some researchers believe that arthritis patients may lack the intestinal mechanism that undoes solanine's toxicity.

One report noted that a solanine-free diet won't reduce joint pain right away, and for some patients it may have no effect at all. Meanwhile, a study from Europe shows that rheumatoid arthritis patients may require an entirely different dietary change in order to find relief.

Meat of the matter - Scientists at university research facilities in Norway and Sweden conducted a study to investigate reports that certain foods may increase RA severity. Their plan: Measure antibody response. Antibodies are proteins produced by the body as an immune response to the presence of antigens; substances the body perceives as toxic.

Researchers recruited 14 patients with RA, and 20 healthy control subjects
Blood samples and intestinal fluids were examined for antibody activity
Irregular antibody response was significant among many of the RA patients, but not among the healthy subjects

In particular, high levels of antibodies were detected in the intestines
Researchers concluded that milk, pork, cod, eggs and cereal triggered antibody activity In recent years, we've seen reports that a high intake of red meat might be linked to RA risk. This study sheds new light on that link, recognizing that certain people may be predisposed to develop RA when their diet includes plenty of high-protein foods. More research is needed to clarify the RA/protein link. In the meantime, researchers point out that doctors should pay close attention when RA patients report suspicions about foods they think may play a role in the severity of their condition.

High C - While we're on the subject of rheumatoid arthritis and diet… In the e-Alert "Behavior Mod Squad" (10/2/03), a University of Manchester (UM) study that analyzed the association between RA and dietary vitamin C intake among 25,000 subjects over an eight-year period. Only 73 subjects developed RA, and their diets had one thing in common: low intake of fruits and vegetables.

And almost two years later, another UM study in the e-Alert "Calming the Flame" (8/23/05), the UM team expanded on their previous research (again using the data from the cohort of 25,000 subjects) and found that subjects who consumed the most foods that contained two key carotenoids (zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoaxanthin) were significantly less likely to develop inflammatory polyarthritis (a form of RA) compared to subjects who consumed the least of the two nutrients. Good sources of zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoaxanthin include oranges, tangerines, watermelon, peaches, papaya, plums, nectarines, apricots, pumpkin squash, corn, carrots, cilantro and pickles.

Monday, September 10, 2007

DID YOU KNOW? One of the biggest new stressors is Electropollution

You are exposed to 100 million times more Electropollution than your grandparents. It comes from the ElectroMagnetic Radiation (EMR) and ElectroMagnetic Frequencies (EMF) that are emitted by every wired and wireless device you use today: Microwaves, computers, game consoles, wireless phones, PDA's, iPods, and cell phones. Many Wellness and Public Health experts believe that they may also be the greatest risk to your health in the 21st Century. Electropollution protection products.

New Completely Revised 3rd edition of From Fatigued to Fantastic!

Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. has just released his new completely revised third edition of From Fatigued to Fantastic!

The complete guide to overcoming: Chronic Exhaustion, Achiness, Brain fog, Poor Sleep, Decreased Sex Drive, Recurrent Infections, and more

Friday, September 7, 2007

33 Secrets to a Good Night's Sleep

If you are having sleep problems, whether you are not able to fall asleep, wake up too often, don't feel well-rested when you wake up in the morning, or simply want to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep, try as many of the following techniques below as possible:

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) can help with insomnia. Most people can learn this gentle tapping technique in several minutes. EFT can help balance your body's bioenergy system and resolve some of the emotional stresses that are contributing to the insomnia at a very deep level. The results are typically long lasting and the improvement is remarkably rapid.

Listen to white noise or relaxation CDs. Some people find the sound of white noise or nature sounds, such as the ocean or forest, to be soothing for sleep. An excellent relaxation/meditation option to listen to before bed is the Insight audio CD.

Avoid before-bed snacks, particularly grains and sugars. This will raise blood sugar and inhibit sleep. Later, when blood sugar drops too low (hypoglycemia), you might wake up and not be able to fall back asleep.

Sleep in complete darkness or as close as possible. If there is even the tiniest bit of light in the room it can disrupt your circadian rhythm and your pineal gland's production of melatonin and seratonin. There also should be as little light in the bathroom as possible if you get up in the middle of the night. Please whatever you do, keep the light off when you go to the bathroom at night. As soon as you turn on that light you will for that night immediately cease all production of the important sleep aid melatonin.

No TV right before bed. Even better, get the TV out of the bedroom or even out of the house, completely. It is too stimulating to the brain and it will take longer to fall asleep. Also disruptive of pineal gland function for the same reason as above.

Wear socks to bed. Due to the fact that they have the poorest circulation, the feet often feel cold before the rest of the body. A study has shown that this reduces night wakings.

Read something spiritual or religious. This will help to relax. Don't read anything stimulating, such as a mystery or suspense novel, as this may have the opposite effect. In addition, if you are really enjoying a suspenseful book, you might wind up unintentionally reading for hours, instead of going to sleep.

Avoid using loud alarm clocks. It is very stressful on the body to be awoken suddenly. If you are regularly getting enough sleep, they should be unnecessary. The Sun Alarm SA-2002 provides an ideal way to wake up each morning if you can't wake up with the REAL sun. Combining the features of a traditional alarm clock (digital display, AM/FM radio, beeper, snooze button, etc) with a special built-in light that gradually increases in intensity, this amazing clock simulates a natural sunrise. It also includes a sunset feature where the light fades to darkness over time - ideal for anyone who has trouble falling asleep.

Journaling. If you often lay in bed with your mind racing, it might be helpful keep a journal and write down your thoughts before bed.

Melatonin and its precursors. If behavioral changes do not work, it may be possible to improve sleep by supplementing with the hormone melatonin. However, I would exercise extreme caution in using it, and only as a last resort, as it is a powerful hormone. Ideally it is best to increase levels naturally with exposure to bright sunlight in the daytime (along with full spectrum fluorescent bulbs in the winter) and absolute complete darkness at night. One should get blackout drapes so no light is coming in from the outside. One can also use one of melatonin's precursors, L-tryptophan or 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). L-tryptophan is the safest and my preference, but must be obtained by prescription only. However, don't be afraid or intimidated by its prescription status. It is just a simple amino acid.

Get to bed as early as possible. Our systems, particularly the adrenals, do a majority of their recharging or recovering during the hours of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. In addition, your gallbladder dumps toxins during this same period. If you are awake, the toxins back up into the liver which then secondarily back up into your entire system and cause further disruption of your health. Prior to the widespread use of electricity, people would go to bed shortly after sundown, as most animals do, and which nature intended for humans as well.

Check your bedroom for electro-magnetic fields (EMFs). These can disrupt the pineal gland and the production of melatonin and seratonin, and may have other negative effects as well. One doctor even recommends that people pull their circuit breaker before bed to kill all power in the house (Dr. Herbert Ross, author of "Sleep Disorders"). - devices to protect you from EMF's.

Keep the temperature in the bedroom no higher than 70 degrees F. Many people keep their homes and particularly the upstairs bedrooms too hot.

Eat a high-protein snack several hours before bed. This can provide the L-tryptophan need to produce melatonin and serotonin. Also eat a small piece of fruit. This can help the tryptophan cross the blood-brain barrier.

Reduce or avoid as many drugs as possible. Many medications, both prescription and over-the-counter may have effects on sleep. In most cases, the condition, which caused the drugs to be taken in the first place, can be addressed by following the guidelines elsewhere on this web site.

Avoid caffeine. A recent study showed that in some people, caffeine is not metabolized efficiently and therefore they can feel the effects long after consuming it. So an afternoon cup of coffee (or even tea) will keep some people from falling asleep. Also, some medications, particularly diet pills contain caffeine.

Alarm clocks and other electrical devices. If these devices must be used, keep them as far away from the bed as possible, preferably at least 3 feet.

Avoid alcohol. Although alcohol will make people drowsy, the effect is short lived and people will often wake up several hours later, unable to fall back asleep. Alcohol will also keep you from falling into the deeper stages of sleep, where the body does most of its healing.

Lose weight. Being overweight can increase the risk of sleep apnea, which will prevent a restful night’s sleep.

Avoid foods that you may be sensitive to. This is particularly true for dairy and wheat products, as they may have effect on sleep, such as causing apnea, excess congestion, gastrointestinal upset, and gas, among others.

Don't drink any fluids within 2 hours of going to bed. This will reduce the likelihood of needing to get up and go to the bathroom or at least minimize the frequency.

Take a hot bath, shower or sauna before bed. When body temperature is raised in the late evening, it will fall at bedtime, facilitating sleep, Remove the clock from view. It will only add to your worry when constantly staring at it... 2 a.m. ...3 a.m. ... 4:30 a.m....

Keep your bed for sleeping. If you are used to watching TV or doing work in bed, you may find it harder to relax and to think of the bed as a place to sleep.

Have your adrenals checked by a good natural medicine clinician. Scientists have found that insomnia may be caused by adrenal stress (Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, August 2001; 86:3787-3794).

If you are menopausal or perimenopausal, get checked out by a good natural medicine physician. The hormonal changes at this time may cause problems if not properly addressed.

Don't change your bedtime. You should go to bed, and wake up, at the same times each day, even on the weekends. This will help your body to get into a sleep rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep and get up in the morning.

Make certain you are exercising regularly. Exercising for at least 30 minutes everyday can help you fall asleep. However, don't exercise too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake. Studies show exercising in the morning is the best if you can do it.

Establish a bedtime routine. This could include meditation, deep breathing, using aromatherapy or essential oils or indulging in a massage from your partner. The key is to find something that makes you feel relaxed, then repeat it each night to help you release the day's tensions.

Go to the bathroom right before bed. This will reduce the chances that you'll wake up to go in the middle of the night.

Wear an eye mask to block out light. As said above, it is very important to sleep in as close to complete darkness as possible. That said, it's not always easy to block out every stream of light using curtains, blinds or drapes, particularly if you live in an urban area (or if your spouse has a different schedule than you do). In these cases, an eye mask can help to block out the remaining light.

Put your work away at least one hour (but preferably two or more) before bed. This will give your mind a chance to unwind so you can go to sleep feeling calm, not hyped up or anxious about tomorrow's deadlines.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Chronic Back Pain May Shrink the Brain

Scientists Link Long-Lasting Pain With Reduced Levels of Gray Matter. A recent study published in The Journal of Neuroscience has revealed that people who suffer from chronic back pain (CBP) for one year may experience a reduction in the brain's gray matter equivalent to the amount lost by the average person in 10 to 20 years of normal aging.

The study is believed to be the first of its kind to show brain morphometric abnormalities in chronic pain. Also found in the spinal cord, "gray matter" refers to the darker- colored tissue of the brain, which is composed of the bodies of neurons. In the brain, the gray matter includes structures such as the cerebral cortex, the thalamus, the basal ganglia, and the outer layers of the cerebellum.

Gray matter is considered by many to be the "thinking" center of the brain, and is responsible for functions such as memory and information processing. In the study, investigators compared 26 CBP patients with 26 matched normal volunteers. The CBP patients experienced unrelenting pain for one year, "primarily localized to the lumbosacral region including buttocks and thighs, with or without pain radiating to the leg." Of those with CBP, 55 percent had musculoskeletal diagnoses, 20 percent had pure radiculopathy, and 26 percent had a combination of musculoskeletal and radiculopathic pain.

CBP patients were divided into neuropathic and non-neuropathic subtypes, with neuropathic patients experiencing significant radiculopathy, with or without the presence of musculoskeletal pain. The normal decrease in neocortical gray matter volume was found to be 2.8 cm3 (0.5%) per year in both groups. After adjusting for age and gender factors, the investigators found that the resultant gray matter volume loss was 663 ± 27 cm3 in the control subjects and 590 ± 28 cm3 in the CBP patients, reflecting an 11 percent decrease in gray matter volume for those with CBP. CBP patients with sciatica had the largest decrease in gray matter.

In addition, the more years someone had chronic back pain, the more loss of gray matter they suffered. Interestingly enough, the authors found that the "mean gray matter volume was not different between neuropathic (nuCBP) and non-neuropathic (non-nuCBP) subtypes." From their findings, the authors arrived at several conclusions: "The role of the brain in chronic pain conditions remains speculative. Our results imply that chronic back pain (CBP) is accompanied by brain atrophy and suggest that the pathophysiology of chronic pain includes thalamocortical processes. "Our studies show that CBP (sustained for six months) is accompanied by abnormal brain chemistry, mainly a reduction in the N-acetyl-aspartate-creatine ratio in the prefrontal cortex, implying neuronal loss or dysfunction in this region and reduced cognitive abilities on a task that implies abnormal prefrontal processing. "Our results demonstrate regionally specific reduced gray matter in patients with CBP. At the whole-brain level, this reduction is related to pain duration, regionally depends on multiple pain related characteristics, and is more severe in the neuropathic sub-type. "Given that normal whole-brain gray matter atrophy is 0.5% per year of aging and that atrophy caused by CBP is 5-11%, the magnitude of brain gray matter atrophy caused by CBP is equivalent to 10-20 years of aging. However, this analogy only holds for the overall magnitude, because the regional specificity of atrophy in CBP is distinct from that seen with aging." While this is the first study to show brain morphometric abnormalities in chronic pain, it is not the only study of morphometry in pain conditions.

Another study conducted in 2003 looked at migraine patients and found no significant differences. Perhaps even more interesting was the revelation that "only 18% of whole-brain matter variance could be explained by pain duration." The authors note that most of the whole-brain atrophy in CBP patients "cannot be accounted for by the measured pain characteristics." The authors suggest that this may imply "genetic and experiential predispositions contributing to the observed atrophy." While this study opens the door for significant speculation, it tends to generate more questions than it answers.

From a chiropractic standpoint, it is easy to see why chronic back pain can cause additional symptoms beyond those that would be considered mechanical in nature. These findings most certainly serve as a serious warning to patients with back pain to seek care as soon as possible in order to prevent the condition from becoming chronic. While there will likely be a number of studies that follow up on these findings, chiropractic researchers should explore the possibility of communicating with these authors in an effort to better understand the details of their methodology and findings. This is an area of research in which chiropractic could test the impact of musculoskeletal pain, spinal joint function and the subluxation.

1. Apkarian AV, Sosa Y, Sonty S, et al. Chronic back pain is associated with decreased prefrontal and thalamic gray matter density. The Journal of Neuroscience, Nov. 17, 2004 24(46):10410-10475.
2. Matharu MS, Good CD, May A, et al. No change in the structure of the brain in migraine: a voxel-based morphometric study. Eur J Neurol 2003;10:53-57.

Restless Leg Drug (FDA-Approved Drug Makes You Hypersexual and a Compulsive Gambler)

Posted by Dr. Mercola:
Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline has updated the package insert for its restless legs syndrome (RLS) drug Requip. According to the new insert, Requip may cause “pathological gambling” and “increased libido including hypersexuality.”These side effects are reportedly a class-wide effect, which impact all the drugs belonging to the non-ergoline dopamine agonist class of drugs.

Specifically, the insert reads:
“Impulse control symptoms, including compulsive behaviors such as pathological gambling and hypersexuality, have been reported in patients treated with dopaminergic agents.” Another RLS drug, Mirapex (which is also used to treat Parkinson’s disease), has reported similar symptoms.

The Mirapex package insert reads:
“Patients taking certain medicines to treat Parkinson’s disease or RLS, including Mirapex . . . have reported problems with gambling, compulsive eating, and increased sex drive.”
A 2005 study published in the Archives of Neurology also found that dozens of patients using Mirapex or similar drugs developed serious gambling addictions. Hundreds of people have reportedly contacted lawyers about joining class-action lawsuits that allege Mirapex and Requip caused unusual side effects such as compulsive gambling, shopping, painting and eating. August 14, 2007
Archives of Neurology July 11, 2005 (Free Full-Text Article)