Monday, August 29, 2011

A Walk in the Forest

The world is changing. Global populations continue to migrate to urban areas. These ongoing relocations lead to substantial distortions in human biosystems. In a word and to no one's surprise, living in big cities comes with a big cost. The good news is that by taking simple, doable, healthful actions on our own behalf, we can become healthier and happier members of our great urban communities.
Chiropractic Care and Healthy Living
To be healthy it's important to cover all the bases. We want to exercise and we want to eat right, not just one or the other. We want to get enough rest and we want to have a positive mental attitude, not just one or the other.
Regular chiropractic care is also part of this equation. To reap the full benefits of all the other good things we're doing, it's important to make sure that our nerve systems are doing their part, too. The nerve system is the body's master system, coordinating the activities of all the other systems. The nerve system tells our digestive system what to do with the good food we're eating. The nerve system tells the muscles, tendons, bones, and ligaments how to benefit from the exercises we're doing.
With regular chiropractic care, the nerve system is able to make sure that all our other body systems are doing their jobs, at the right time, in the right amount, and in the right place. Regular chiropractic care helps keep us vibrant, healthy, and well.
The world is changing. Global populations continue to migrate to urban areas. These ongoing relocations have a profound impact on deeply interconnected environmental systems and also lead to substantial distortions in human biosystems. In a word and to no one's surprise, living in big cities comes with a big cost in terms of our health and well-being.

The takeaway is not to turn around and go back to the countryside. Most persons living in large cities would not desire to pack up and move. Worldwide, people head to the cities seeking employment, a greater variety of opportunities, and hopefully an improved standard of living. The fact that frequently these aspirations are not fulfilled does not deter their friends, family, and fellow villagers from following the same course. Most large cities continue to get larger.

The takeaway relates to the methods and means we can employ to counter the effects of living in the big city. These often deleterious effects are well-known and yet worth repeating. Urban air quality is notoriously poor. We all can easily conjure up a mind's-eye view of the oily ochre tint of many metropolitan skies. Food in many urban areas has lost much of its nutritional value owing to the great distances meat, dairy products, and fruits and vegetables have to travel to get to the city supermarkets and marketplaces. Water quality is often degraded by nearby industry and sewage treatment plants. Green space is at a premium in most urban environments - there are few places in which to play outdoors.

How can we combat these tradeoffs in air quality, water quality, food quality, and lack of nurturing green space? First, it's important to recognize that these tradeoffs exist. The human organism was not designed to live in crowded cities. Our bodies were designed to thrive in a richly diverse outdoors environment, sowing and reaping in various ways and participating in complex ecosystems. 

Now most of that is gone and we pay the price in terms of lifestyle diseases - diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disorders.1,2,3 The good news is that there are many action steps we can take to restore precious health to ourselves and our loved ones. 

Two specific actions focus on food quality and outdoor activity. First, whenever possible, buy food produced locally. In general and all things being equal, the less distance food has to travel to get to the dining table the more nutritious it is. Food produced nearby is always best. Increasingly, farmers markets are making locally produced food available to urban populations in even the biggest cities. All that's required is to find out where the local farmers are setting-up their stands.

The other specific action involves engaging in outdoor activities several times per week. Getting outdoors is important in big cities, even though air quality leaves much to be desired. Being in the presence of sunlight, trees, flowers, birds and small wildlife, and shrubs, plants, and ground cover provides nourishment that is not measured in calories. Humans need to interact with other living species in order to thrive, in order to become more fully alive.

By taking simple, doable, healthful actions on our own behalf, we can become healthier and happier members of our great urban communities.

1Zhao Z, Kaestner R: Effects of urban sprawl on obesity. J Health Econ 29(6):779-787, 2010
2Coombes E, et al: The relationship of physical activity and overweight to objectively measured green space accessibility and use. Soc Sci Med 70(6):816-822, 2010
3Sallis JF, Glanz K: Physical activity and food environments: solutions to the obesity. Milbank Q 87(1):123-154, 2009

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Built to Last

Just like the well-known, best-selling American truck, your body is
Connective Tissue – Use It or Lose It
What's so good about regular exercise? Apart from the well-known and significant cardiovascular benefits, regular exercise helps you maintain, strengthen, and continually upgrade your store and supply of connective tissue - muscle and bone.
Weight-bearing exercise is the key. One of the primary structural purposes of bone is load-bearing. Your long bones are designed to support the weight of your body and carry that weight around in three-dimensional space. Your skeletal muscles (voluntary muscle) support the functions of bone. Muscles are the tissues that move bones and joints. The bones passively bear the loads and the muscles actively move around those weight-bearing loads.
But your body is very smart. If you're not doing enough physical work your body will begin to break down muscle and bone tissue and use those biochemical components elsewhere, where the need is greater. In order to maintain the optimal health of your muscles and bones, you need to do sufficient exercise - regularly and ongoingly.
Just like the well-known, best-selling American truck, your body is built to last. But if it's built to last, why do so many people have serious problems with their bodies? If a human body is built to last, why does it seem to break down so easily?
The pharmaceutical industry earns billions of dollars each year, profiting from the tendency of so many people to suffer from debilitating disease. For example, osteoporosis affects more than 10 million women in the United States. The disorder involves loss of bone mass and may lead to fractures of the hip and lumbar vertebras, both of which may have severe consequences. In June 2010 a new drug was approved by the FDA to help prevent such fractures in postmenopausal women.
It is estimated that 55% of all Americans older than age 50 either have low bone mass or have lost sufficient bone mass to have received a diagnosis of osteoporosis.1 But if our bodies are built to last, why is the prevalence of osteoporosis so high? It doesn't make sense that our internal systems are simply designed to fail.

It is much more likely that our bodies are designed to withstand a tremendous amount of wear and tear. Human bodies are self-healing, self-renewing, and self-replicating machines. A human cell's most basic survival systems are based on deep complexity. Yet once a woman reaches menopause she joins a group of individuals at risk for losing a significant amount of bone mass and developing osteoporosis. What is wrong with this picture?

The hidden factors, revealed only upon close analysis and understanding, relate to lifestyle - what it is that we're doing with our bodies. If your driving style consists of flooring the accelerator and alternately slamming on the brakes, you'll quickly burn out the brake lines and ruin the tires of your fine built-to-last truck. If you rarely change the oil and oil filter your truck's performance will seriously degrade. If you ignore traffic signals and highway signs you'll probably crash your vehicle.

Defective care and maintenance and dangerous driving will drastically shorten the useful lifespan of your truck. The truck may be built-to-last but you've effectively voided the warranty. The day will quickly come, much sooner than anticipated, that you'll be forced to junk your truck.

This extended metaphor is exactly analogous to how we live our lives. Much recent research demonstrates that lifestyle is responsible for a large proportion of all cases of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. For example, 82% of coronary deaths in women may be related to individual health behaviors.2 The main strategy to prevent loss of bone mass and osteoporosis is to engage in regular vigorous, weight-bearing exercise.3

From a broader perspective, the main strategy to preventing disease in general is to eat a healthy, diverse diet, do vigorous exercise regularly, get sufficient rest, and ongoingly engage in rewarding, fulfilling activities with family and friends. Our bodies are built to last. How long they last, to a large extent, is up to us.

1National Osteoporosis Foundation -
2Aldana SC: The Culprit and the Cure. Mapleton, UT, Maple Mountain Press, 2005, p 52
3Dionyssiotis Y, et al: Association of physical exercise and calcium intake with bone mass measured by quantitative ultrasound. BMC Women's Health 7:10-12, 2010

Monday, August 22, 2011

Don't Become A Statistic In These Categories

We're in the middle of several deadly epidemics in the United States. Obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are affecting more and more people every year. Recent statistics show that two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Thirty percent of American children are obese. Approximately 21 million Americans have diabetes. One child out of every 500 has type I diabetes. In America, 72 million adults have high blood pressure. These are shocking statistics, considering that U.S. health care expenditures totaled $2 trillion in 2006. That's 2 TRILLION dollars. 

As Americans, we're getting less healthy by the day. The good news is there are many things we can do about these trends. There is real action that every American, young and old, can take to support and protect their health and well-being. These action steps all focus on lifestyle - the choices we make each and every day.
The first step is an honest self-assessment. When was the last time I exercised? Does my clothes size increase every couple of years? How many times during the week do I eat fast food? When was the last time I ate an apple instead of half a box of cookies?
Regardless of the answers, it is possible to become healthy and fit again, whatever your current circumstances. You CAN lose 10 or 20 or 30 or however many pounds. You CAN climb stairs without getting out of breath. You CAN regain the youthful glow of vitality. You CAN be vigorous and proud of your body, rather than worrying about what's going to be the next thing to break down. 

Healthy eating and regular exercise are essential parts of the solution to combating obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.1,2 These practices have the magical effect of resetting your metabolic clock - your body shifts from a pattern of storing fat to a pattern of burning fat.3 Over time, with a nutritious food plan and consistent exercise, you even burn fat while you're resting! Your body is very smart. You just have to treat it right.
Your chiropractor is a wonderful asset - both as a health care practitioner and as a guide - on your journey toward fitness and wellness. Your chiropractor has extensive resources available on practical nutrition and how to design a supportive food plan. He or she has deep knowledge regarding the types of exercises and activities that will be right for you. You and your chiropractor can design an exercise program that will be both fun and rewarding. Working together, you'll be maximizing your health and vitality. You will begin to fulfill a way of living that will support you in being healthy and well for years to come. 

1Lindstrom J, et al: Sustained reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes by lifestyle intervention: follow-up of the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study. Lancet 368(9548):1673-1679, 2006.
2Orchard TJ, et al: The effect of metformin and intensive lifestyle intervention on the metabolic syndrome: the Diabetes Prevention Program randomized trial. Ann Intern Med 142(8):611-619, 2005
3Yannakoulia M, et al: A dietary pattern characterized by high consumption of whole-grain cereals and low-fat dairy products and low consumption of refined cereals is positively associated with plasma adiponectin levels in healthy women. Metabolism 57(6):824-830, 2008

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Importance of Vitamins H and J

Doc Rick says, "Appreciating the different nutrients and understanding their importance to your health is valuable, if you choose to be healthy.”
Vitamins H and J: Understanding The Importance Of Them
As we move further into the alphabet, we come across the next two letters that do have representation in the vitamin classification.  Vitamin H is also known as Biotin, referred to as vitamin H and is part of the vitamin B complex group and might be interesting to some people since one of the most visible symptoms of shortage of this vitamin is thinning of the hair, which can lead to total hair loss.
This does not mean that baldness is a sign of vitamin H in short supply -- severe hair loss might just be an indication of biotin being deficient.
Vitamin H - biotin - is required for
Vitamin H is used in cell growth, the production of fatty acids, metabolism of fats, and proteins.  It plays a role in the Krebs Cycle, which is the process in which energy is released from food.
Biotin is also indicated for healthy hair and skin, healthy sweat glands, nerve tissue, and bone marrow, and assisting with muscle pain.
Vitamin H not only assists in various metabolic chemical conversions, but also helps with the transfer of carbon dioxide.  Biotin is also helpful in maintaining a steady blood sugar level.
Deficiency of vitamin H -- Biotin 
Although a shortage of Biotin is very rare, it can happen and may result in dry scaly skin, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, mental depression as well as tongue inflammation and high cholesterol.
The dosage underneath is the (RDA), but be aware that this dosage is the minimum that you require per day, to ward off serious deficiency of this particular nutrient.  In the therapeutic use of this nutrient, the dosage is usually increased considerably, but the toxicity level must be kept in mind.
Adults 300 microgram (0.3 mg) per day and pregnant and lactating women 300 microgram (0.3 mg) per day.
Toxicity and Symptoms of High Intake
No known toxic levels are known, as excesses are easily lost in the urine and feces.  No known side effects are known.
Best used with
Biotin should be taken as part of the whole B complex, and should only be given additional if a true deficiency exists.  Vitamin C, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B-12 and Sulfur are good companions to it.  A tricologist will sometimes add biotin to the diet of a patient suffering from alopecia, to help with severe hair loss, but it must be in the right quantities and associated with the rest of the B Complex to satisfy the inter-dependence of other nutrients.
When More Biotin May Be Required
Bodybuilders and athletes consuming raw eggs should be careful of not running into biotin shortage, since raw eggs contain avidin, which binds to biotin, making it impossible to be absorbed by the body.
Individuals with chronic long term users of antibiotics may also have to look at their biotin levels.
Other Interesting Points
It seems that biotin may affect hair color, together with PABA, folic acid and pantathenic acid.  Some research had varying results with biotin supplements in returning hair to its original color.
This has proved only successful to a limited degree and only when natural vitamins were used, as the synthetic vitamins did not influence the results very much.
Food Sources
Biotin is present in Eggs, Beef Liver, cauliflower, mushrooms, cheese, chicken breasts, salmon, spinach, Brewer's Yeast, nuts and can be manufactured in the body should a small shortfall occur.
Vitamin J
Vitamin J is an old term for Choline.  The term "vitamin J" was also used by some researchers to denote vitamin C2, Chatechol (flavin), a bioflavinoid found in the vitamin C  Complex.  Choline assists in fat metabolism.  It supports the action of bile salts by reducing the surface tension of fat particles, making them more easily emulsified by the bile salts.
Choline is a quaternary amine, often classified as a member of the B vitamin complex; it occurs in phosphatidylcholine and acetylcholine, is an important methyl donor in intermediary metabolism, and prevents the deposition of fat in the liver.
One would need this product, Choline, if you have extreme difficulty digesting fat foods.  Anyone who has venous congestion, hemorrhoids, constipation or a pasty complexion due to incomplete fat digestion, is likely to need Choline in their diet.  People who experience "food poisoning" and find themselves with an upset stomach and feel the need to throw-up, or who suddenly get diarrhea a couple of hours after eating a meal would benefit from some Choline.  Taken every 30 to 60 minutes until the symptoms of nausea and the need to vomit have passed, Choline will help to clear these symptoms pretty quickly.  Then one would want to continue using the Choline for the next several meals until the gallbladder route has been flushed out completely.
The Benefits Of Vitamin J
Choline serves various functions in the body--in the structure of cell membranes, protecting our livers from accumulating fat, and as the precursor molecule for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and more.  Choline has been associated with normal brain development in fetuses and infants, and may help prevent memory loss associated with aging. Choline has been shown to protect the liver from certain types of damage, and can help reverse damage that has already occurred.  Additionally it may help to lower cholesterol and homocysteine levels associated with cardiovascular disease, and may help protect against some types of cancers.
Sources of Vitamin J
Beef Liver, Whole eggs, Ground beef, Cauliflower, Navy beans, Tofu, Almonds and Peanut butter.
Is It Possible To Get Too Much Choline?
Actually yes.  The tolerable Upper Intake level for adults has been set at 3.5 grams (3500 mgs) per day.  Above this, adverse effects can include low blood pressure, diarrhea, and fishy body odor.
 My Offer To You
If you feel you may be deficient in either vitamin H or vitamin J, you should come into the office and let me evaluate them for you.  Simply call the Office at (845)561-BACK (2225) and tell us to put you in for the H and J Check.  During the month of August, it is included in your next regularly scheduled office visit.  Normally this is a $75.00 value.  And during the Month of August, I will include this H and J Check for FREE!  But you must call The Office and schedule your appointment.  So call the Office TODAY and do just that, schedule your appointment.  But don't wait, because September and Back To School is right around the corner.  Schedule this appointment TODAY!