Archives For January 2014

Vitamin MakeOver

January 24, 2014 — 1 Comment

ImageVitamin MakeOver:

 

DS is a 51 yr old male who took several pills because he heard they were good for him. He has no medical knowledge. This is what he put himself on: high dose vitamin C, vitamin b complex, calcium, multivitamin, arthritis herbal cocktail, magnesium, vitamin D, co-enzyme Q10, l-carnitine, d-ribose, fish oil. His doctor put him on Nexium, an acid blocker, for barrettes disease. 

 

This is how I changed or reinforced his regimen:

 

#1, keep taking the Nexium. You may read articles on natural ways and dietary changes to help a person get off their acid reducing medications, but that does not apply to DS. Those changes are only for people with bad diets who drink too much coffee and diet cokes. They are on a downward spiral of bad consequences as a result of their diet. DS, on the other hand, will develop esophageal cancer if he stops taking Nexium. But he has to deal with the consequences and that involves taking sublingual (under the tongue) vitamin b12 supplement and magnesium. He needs a healthy stomach and digestive system to absorb vitamin b 12 from food. He can have his doctor test him for the deficiency and get the shots, called cyanocobalamine. Or he can take the under the tongue formulation. Vitamin b12 deficiency mimics neurological symptoms of normal aging such as memory loss, mood disorders, loss of balance…. etc. If caught early, they can be reversed with supplementation.

 

Next, keep the magnesium. Nexium causes a deficiency of magnesium and it is essential for good health. See my blog entitled Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements so Powerful we use them in the Hospital.

 

 

DS eats 5-8 servings of vegetables a day, therefore we are going to get rid of the vitamin b complex, multivitamin, and arthritis cocktail. Too many weird things happen with these pills and your body takes what it needs from the food. The exception is someone who has malabsorption disease like celiac, chrones, gastritis, gastric bypass surgery, stuff like that.

 

Another pill we can eliminate is calcium. DS’s mother live to 72 and she had the thickest strongest bones that the doctor has ever seen for a woman of that age. Men don’t even start to lose bone mass until the age of 70. In addition several experts don’t recommend taking calcium supplements because they have been linked to increase risk of prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease. Calcium, after all, is part of the plaque that occludes arteries. DS’s dad had a very aggressive for of prostate cancer and he is at risk. He also has low good cholesterol, and family members who died prematurely of heart disease. DS should eat foods high in calcium instead.

 

We will keep him on fish oil for the cardiovascular benifits, but the fish oil has to be a good quality brand since the less expensive brands have a lot of junk oil in them. Fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties, references will be provide in the book, and that will benefit his early stage of osteoarthritis.

 

Next, we are going to put a cap on this vitamin c intake. He’s taking too much because he believes he needs it since he had his spleen remove after a fall. Instead I’ll lower his vitamin c dose and add one of the 3 probiotics that were proven in studies to reduce infections and strengthen the immune system. The key here is the pills have to be the same exact ones used in the study, otherwise they don’t work the same.

 

Next, get rid of the coq10 and l-carnitine. DS was taking them to enhance his athletic performance and give him energy. I believe L-lysine is better at doing that because it also releases growth hormone which has other benefits as well.

 

Keep the d-ribose for energy. If it keeps DS moving and working-out then its a keeper.

 

Keep the vitamin D and have DS periodically check his vitamin D levels. Read my blog on the One Vitamin that can Save Your Life. Vitamin d is actually a prohormone that serves as a back-up for the various other ones.

 

And that’s it. Before DS took 12 pills: Nexium, vitamin c, vitamin b complex, calcium, mvi, arthritis herbal cocktail, magnesium, vitamin D, coenzyme Q10, l-carnitine, dribose, fish oil. After his make-over we reduced that number to 9 pills with a specific purposes and proven evidence for each one: Nexium, vitamin b12 under the tongue, magnesium, fish oil, probiotics, lysine, vitamin d, dribose, vitamin C with a dose limit.

 

Now, DS should tell his doctor about the changes I’ve recommended AND WHY I’ve made them. If she disagrees with any of the recommendations, DS must defer to his doctors recommendation instead of mine. There could be something that his doctor knows that I don’t. Maybe DS has bad kidneys and the magnesium could accumulate to toxic amounts. There are various reasons she might take him off some of his vitamins. Doctors always have the most information on your health. And they should get the final say.

 

We’ll check back with DS and see how he feels in a few months.

 

 

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The Vitamin Concept

January 16, 2014 — 2 Comments

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Some people say vitamins are a waste of money and healthy people don’t need vitamins to stay healthy. Other people say you can prevent certain cancers and cardio vascular disease with specific supplements regardless of your health. These groups hold two polar opposite views and nothing will make them agree. They are worse than democrats and republicans. They will even read the same study and come to two different conclusion. Even if the facts are undeniably against their cause they will claim that the study was a poorly designed and had weak evidence. So where does that leave us, the general public? Here’s what I say after 20 years of looking this stuff up, reading news letters, listening to lectures and trying to provide my patients with the best information possible.

A multivitamin will extend your life if you are malnourished, (references for all will be provided in the book). Vitamin D3 will extend your life if your levels are low. Vitamin C will help a wound heal if you’re deficient in vitamin C. Zinc increased the survival rate of children in third world countries, but only because they were deficient in zinc and that made them susceptible to pneumonia, other infections and severe diarrhea. Calcium will strengthen your bones if you are deficient in calcium, but does nothing to reduce fractures if you are well nourished. Iron will give you energy only if you are deficient in iron, otherwise it harms you. It’s the same concept with selenium, zinc, silver and all the other metals. The list goes on and on. In general it seems that whoever came up with the minimum daily requirements for vitamins got it right.  The recommended daily allowance (RDA) is the amount needed to prevent disease.  deficiency equals disease and vitamins have the amazing power to restore your health and keep you healthy if you have a poor diet or malabsorption problems.

However, we have to be careful not to think that if a little is good, then a lot is really good. That is a dangerous misconception. For example, if we get too much sugar in our system is that good?  After all LOW sugar is bad really bad.  People go into seizures and die when their blood sugars get too low. But high blood sugar is also really bad.  There has to be a perfect middle range.

Is that how it is with vitamins and minerals?  That is the way it is with food, water, oxygen, and sunshine. Is that a law of nature?  Possibly.

Some researchers have now come up with safe upper limits to vitamins. In a future blog and in my book I will discuss vitamins and minerals that can harm you if not taken properly. I will also tell you which vitamin deficiencies are the most common here in the USA and which deficiencies mimics normal signs of aging, but can be reversed with vitamins.

death cartoon

How long can you expect to live? Answer a few questions on this on-line calculator and find out.

http://www.lifeexpectancycalculator.co.uk/index.php

What is your risk of developing prostate cancer? http://www.prostatecancer-riskcalculator.com/assess-your-risk-of-prostate-cancer

What is your risk of developing breast cancer? http://www.cancer.gov/bcrisktool/

What is your risk of developing colo-rectal cancer? http://www.cancer.gov/colorectalcancerrisk/default.aspx#

What is your risk of having a fracture from osteoporosis? https://riskcalculator.fore.org/default.aspx

What is your risk of having a heart attack or stroke? This is how 1/3 of all americans die. http://cvdrisk.nhlbi.nih.gov/calculator.asp

Chances are that you will die of a heart attack/stroke/blood clot/aneurism. 1/3 of all Americans die of cardiovascular disease and that is what I just describe.

According to the CDC, their lasts posted findings show that in America for the year 2010, people died from the following disease:

  • Heart disease: 597,689
  • Cancer: 574,743
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 138,080
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 129,476
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 120,859
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 83,494
  • Diabetes: 69,071
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis (also known as kidney disease): 50,476
  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 50,097
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 38,364

According the American Heart Association, in a report published in this month in Circulation magazine if you have high blood pressure you have a 40 .6% of dying from cardiovascular disease. 13 .7%  if you smoke, 13 .2% if you have poor diet; 11 .9% if you are inactive, and 8 .8% if you have high blood sugar.

As you can see another common way to die is of cancer, but that is on the decline, and there is little you can do if you have a strong family history for it. But there are some cancers that are associated with being overweight and inactive: Esophageal adenocarcinoma, cancers of the colon and rectum, kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, endometrial cancer, and breast cancer among postmenopausal women are associated with being overweight or obese. .

Now, when choosing drugs and vitamins, a lot of times you need to weigh the risks and benefits. In other words, would you rather live with the side effects or the disease. Which disease or condition are you most afraid of getting.

For estrogens you need to ask yourself are you most afraid of osteoporosis from not taking estrogens, or are you more afraid of breast cancers from taking them.

For statins you need to ask youself, are you afraid of getting diabetes and dying a slow prolonged death from taking statins, or dying of a quick and sudden cardiovascular death.

With the advancement of medicine we are now able to choose how we want to die to a certain extent.

Choose your risks wisely. It’s called weighing the risks and benefits and only you and your doctor can do this together.

Statins VS Diet

January 3, 2014 — Leave a comment

statins vs diet

After reading my article entitled The Closest Thing To An AntiAging Miracle on the Market Today a reader asked how do statins compare to diet and exercise. I’m thankful he asked that question because if one person asks, several others are probably thinking the same thing.

Dean Ornish, a prominent cardiologist, has written several books on the effects diet has on heart disease. He says “Our studies show that, with significant lifestyle changes, blood flow to the heart and its ability to pump normally improve in less than a month, and the frequency of chest pains fell by 90% in that time.” He also says. “Within a year on our program, even severely blocked arteries in the heart became less blocked, and there was even more reversal after five years. That’s compared with the natural history in other patients in our study, in which the heart just got worse and worse.”

When I first heard that diet could unclog arteries I was shocked and amazed. I didn’t even think it was possible, but the South Beach Diet, also written by a cardiologist, testifies to this as well.

It turns out statins also unclog arteries. According to Web MD, if you lower LDL cholesterol to very low levels and keep it there for two years, you can remove plaque in fairly significant quantities and partially reverse coronary artery disease,<http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/ldl-cholesterol-the-bad-cholesterol>

So what we need is study comparing both.

In 2002 a study enrolled adult 120 men with previously untreated fasting serum cholesterol between 232 and 309 milligrams/deciliter (mg/dL). After 12 weeks of treatment, good and bad changes associated with diet, simvastatin 20 milligrams/day, or the combination were measured. In addition to the good effect of lowering LDL cholesterol, they also recorder the harmful nutrient depletion caused by simvastin. Specifically they recorded betacarotene levels, natural co-enzyme 10 levels called ubiquinol, and insulin function. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11829698

The results are as followed:

MEAN % CHANGES……….DIET……..SIMVASTATIN……….DIET & SIMVASTATIN

LDL-C*……………………….-10.8………………..-29.7……………………………….-40.5

Beta-Carotene……………… +8.0………………-19.5 ………………………………. -11.5

Ubiquinol…………………….+1.4……………..-22.0……………………………… -20.6

Insulin………………………..-14.0……………..+13.2………………………………. -0.8

HOMA Insulin Resistance**…….. -15.1……………. +14.1……………………. -1.0

*LDL-C – low-density lipoprotein cholesterol **HOMA – homeostasis model assessment

As you can see when used in combination, there was an additive effect related to cholesterol reduction and the modified diet counteracted the adverse effects of insulin dysfunction and nutrient depletion. The results would have been even more dramatic if a higher dose of simvastatin was use. Twenty mg’s is considered a starting dose.

But there is one thing diet will do that statins can never do, that is make you look good. Statins do not help you lose weight, have a better complexion, or any of the other wonderful things that come with a good diet.

If you have high cholesterol I highly recommend the combination of both diet and statins. I see statins as a safety-net incase you fail at diet and exercise, which is a big concern. Most people are not motivated enough to sustain the extreme changes in diet and lifestyle that Dr Ornish talks about.

But that’s not the whole story. There is something really major that statins do that diet and exercise will never do. It’s a miracle and I’m only revealing it in my book. Stay tuned.