Thursday, November 19, 2009

Trans-Fatty Acids: Info from a Raleigh Holistic Health Center

Found in hydrogenated and partially-hydrogenated fats

  • Research is being reported on adverse effects of trans-fatty acids related to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, low birth weight, obesity and immune dysfunction.
  • Although research clearly shows no amount of trans-fats in the diet are considered safe, the FDA has given food manufacturers a large loop-hole in the new trans-fat labeling laws. Trans-fat content of 0.5 (1/2 gram) grams or less per serving can be labeled as 0 trans-fats. Therefore, any label with the words hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated contains trans-fats even when the label states 0 trans-fats.
  • As early as 1958 researchers were claiming trans-fats were culprits in heart disease. The edible oil industry successfully squelched that information, and at the same time, shifted the blame to saturated fats where it has since erroneously remained.

  1. Damage to the functions of cell membranes, when trans-fats become part of membrane structure. (Cell membranes are responsible for transporting nutrients, hormones, etc. in, and waste products out. Cell membranes become “stupid” when made of trans-fats.)
  2. Negatively affects fat-based steroid hormone balance and levels (female and male hormones, and adrenal hormones)
  3. Increases insulin levels in the blood and contributes to Insulin Resistance
  4. Decreases the response of the red blood cells to insulin and contributes to Insulin Resistance even more
  5. Escalates the adverse effects of essential fatty acid (EFA) deficiency
  6. Blocks the conversion of Omega 6 and Omega 3 EFAs into their elongated fatty acids and eicosanoids (cellular hormones)
  7. Increases total cholesterol
  8. Decreases HDLs and increases LDLs in a dose-dependent manner (The more trans-fats you eat, the more it disrupts your cholesterol balance.)
  9. Raises the atherosclerosis-forming repair protein (lipoprotein [a]), whereas saturated fats lower this repair protein. (That means that trans-fats irritate the inner artery walls, and saturated fats protect them. This is just the opposite of the food industry propaganda.)
  10. Lowers the volume of cream and the quality of breast milk
  11. Correlates with low infant birth weight
  12. Decrease visual acuity in infants in a dose-dependent manner when they are fed breast milk containing trans-fats
  13. Precipitates childhood asthma
  14. Weakens immunity
  15. Causes adverse alterations in enzymes that metabolize carcinogens
  16. Causes alteration (enlargement) of adipose cell size, cell number, lipid class and fatty acid composition. (Interferes with fats and fat metabolism in the body)1 Enig, Mary G., Ph.D., Know

Your Fats: The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol, Bethesda Press, (2000) pp85-862
DeMaria, Dr. Robert, DC, Trans Fat Survival Guide, Drugless Healthcare Solutions, 2005 or visit
Revised 10/06/2006 Digestion & EFAs - 11 - ©Copyright 2002,2006, 2009 byLang Restorative Endocrinology

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Deflating Inflammation

Experts recommend natural alternatives for treating inflammation.
By Nataliya V. Schetchikova, PhD

When patients with chronic pain and other conditions report to chiropractic offices, David Seaman, DC, MS, DABCN, of Port Orange, Fla., believes that, as part of lifestyle counseling, it’s beneficial to explain that they eat “chronic pain meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner for years on end.”

“We eat linoleic acid that is concentrated in various oils, grains and packaged foods, and then linoleic acid is converted within our bodies to arachidonic acid—a precursor of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), the primary eicosanoid associated with pain. We also ingest arachidonic acid directly in domestic animal products, particularly in fatty meat, chicken skin and farm-raised fish such as tilapia and catfish. Sooner or later, the outcome will be a chronic inflammatory disease,” he explains.

Research has connected inflammation with a myriad of health problems, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoarthritis, cancer and Alzheimer’s, but converting these research findings into practice remains a problem,1 says Dr. Seaman, an associate professor at Palmer College of Chiropractic Florida, where he teaches clinical nutrition, and author of a Web site dedicated to reducing inflammation,

To deal with inflammation and pain, more than 14 million patients turn to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which suppress the symptoms of headaches, musculoskeletal pains, arthritis, sports injuries, menstrual cramps and allergies—and are responsible for more than 100,000 hospitalizations and 16,500 deaths a year in the United States alone. While NSAIDs can provide acute pain relief and reduce swelling at the injury site, long-term use has been shown to cause serious health problems.

“Traditional NSAIDs inhibit enzymes called cyclooxygenase-1 (COX1) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2). The enzymes serve numerous beneficial homeostatic functions, such as converting dietary fatty acids into eicosanoids. Acute inhibition of the enzymes [by NSAIDs] poses no danger; however, long-term use of NSAIDs does, and gastrointestinal ulceration is the most well-known example,” says Dr. Seaman. “Long-term use of COX2 inhibitors [prescribed to prevent heart disease and stroke] can lead to serious side-effects, including heart attack and stroke in susceptible individuals,” he adds.

Since NSAIDs do not provide a viable solution to the problem of inflammation—and, instead of protecting from chronic diseases, may actually promote them, “the only real alternative is adopting a lifestyle change that does not create the biochemical need for NSAIDs,” says Dr. Seaman.

Essential Fatty AcidsOne such change may be restoring the proper balance of essential fatty acids in the diet. “Many Americans tend to have chronically inflamed bodies and brains because they are eating too many omega-6 and too few omega-3 fatty acids,” says Nancy Emerson Lombardo, PhD, adjunct research assistant professor of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, who has been involved in several research projects on the effect of nutrition on Alzheimer’s disease. “Experts believe that for optimum health we need a 1:1 to 4:1 range of ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, but we are eating a ratio of 20:1 to 30:1.” In excess, omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory, she explains.

Consumption of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids may decrease chronic pain and inflammation and reduce the need for prescription NSAIDs, agrees Joseph Maroon, MD, a board-certified neurosurgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, whose research has focused on prevention and treatment of injuries and diseases of the brain and spine. One of his studies2 showed that 2 g of EPA/DHA daily reduced joint pain and the need for NSAIDs in 59 percent of patients with neck and low-back pain. “The omega-3 fatty acids counter to some extent the poisons we put into the body in the form of trans fatty acids, nitrates, and various chemicals and pesticides from non-organic foods,” he says.

While omega-3 acids are contained in green leafy vegetables, flax seed, flax seed oil and canola oil, many patients, “especially older adults, need direct marine sources of EPA and DHA, namely fish, seafood, seaweed and fish oils,” says Dr. Emerson Lombardo. “DHA seems particularly important for cognitive health and the health of the retina of the eye, while EPA may be more important for heart health and for emotional health.” She cautions, however, that omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA, have blood-thinning properties, so those taking Warfarin or other potent blood thinners need to communicate with their physicians before introducing or increasing consumption of fish oils, as well as green tea, garlic, ginkgo biloba or vitamin E. Fighting Chronic DiseaseIn addition to increasing intake of anti-inflammatory compounds, returning to a healthy diet and nutritional support can help reduce inflammation and the risk of chronic diseases. “From a dietary perspective, we need to eat more low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods, such as lean meat, fish, skinless chicken, vegetables and fruit. A modest amount of nut intake is also appropriate. From the perspective of supplementation, the available evidence favors a multivitamin, magnesium, fish oil, vitamin D and probiotics,” says Dr. Seaman.

Some hypothesize that proper nutritional support, which includes anti-inflammatory components, may be effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease. In Dr. Emerson Lombardo’s double-blind randomized controlled clinical trial, funded by the Alzheimer’s Association and scheduled to start in the spring through Boston University School of Medicine, a combination of anti-inflammatory supplement Zyflamend®, a fruit and vegetable powder BerryGreen®, and two fish oil products will be administered to persons with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease to determine if they can slow progression of the disease when compared to placebos. Zyflamend, a supplement based on herbal compounds, which is mainly used for painful joints, has been shown effective in preliminary trials at Columbia School of Medicine to slow down prostate cancer, says Dr. Emerson Lombardo. “It should help the brain, as well.”

A small study showed that a lifestyle modification protocol may be effective in reducing the pain associated with fibromyalgia,3 says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, medical director of the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers ( and author of Pain Free 1-2-3: A Proven Program for Eliminating Chronic Pain Now. “Our placebo-controlled study showed that 91 percent of fibromyalgia patients improve, with the majority becoming pain-free, using our SHINE Protocol: Sleep, Hormones, Infections, Nutrition and Exercise,” he says. As part of the protocol, Dr. Teitelbaum advocates eight hours of daily sleep for tissue repair; thyroid and adrenal hormonal support; elimination of infections, including yeast overgrowth; nutritional support through proper diet and supplementation; and exercise. For those whose pain may prevent them from exercising, he recommends starting a walking program in a warm-water pool.

Natural Alternatives to NSAIDsWhile lifestyle changes can help prevent and manage chronic diseases, NSAIDs have their place for acute pain and inflammation relief, says Dr. Seaman, adding that “on the rare occasion, I take over-the-counter NSAIDs for acute pain relief because I do not think there is a natural product that compares.”
For managing chronic pain, however, some natural anti-inflammatory products may be helpful, according to some clinicians and researchers. In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, Dr. Maroon advocates the use of boswellia and turmeric and “tapering off drugs after the blood levels of the products are sufficient.”

Hundred of herbs possess anti-inflammatory properties, says Dale Bellisfield, RN, AHG, clinical herbalist in private practice in New Jersey ( For example, “turmeric is protective against Alzheimer’s, liver problems and cancers,” she says, adding that it’s a good idea to regularly include turmeric in the diet as curried spices or to take a standardized curcumin extract (which can be irritating to the stomach in large doses, she notes).

Willow bark has been shown “as effective to twice as effective as Motrin, but without the toxicity,” says Dr. Teitelbaum. “Boswellia hits several different enzyme systems, as opposed to NSAIDs, and is very effective for both arthritis and muscle pain,” he adds.

Just as any other healthcare intervention, however, herbs should be selected for patients individually, based on a thorough history, assessment and lab work, says Bellisfield. Adding anti-inflammatory compounds is warranted in the presence of high levels of c-reactive protein, high sedimentation rate, pain, inflammation, and in patients who have conditions co-factored by inflammation, such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer, she suggests. “A good herbalist creates patient-specific protocols, selecting the fewest herbs to cover the most conditions for that patient,” she says—adding, as an example, that boswellia may help someone with musculoskeletal pain and asthma. Ginger, in addition to reducing inflammation, is good for those with poor circulation or nausea.

Ultimately, reducing inflammation and the risk of chronic diseases boils down to maintaining healthy lifestyles, which include proper nutrition. “Research has demonstrated that many factors can augment the inflammatory state, including insufficient sleep, mental stressors and too much or too little exercise. In other words, the healthy lifestyle pursuits that many chiropractors recommend are known to be anti-inflammatory,” concludes Dr. Seaman.


References1. Seaman DR. The Diet-Induced Proinflammatory State: A Cause of Chronic Pain and Other Degenerative Diseases? J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2002 Mar-Apr;25(3):168-179.2. Maroon JC, Bost JW. Omega-3 Fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory: an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for discogenic pain. Surg Neurol 2006;65(4):326–331.3. Teitelbaum JE, Bird B, Greenfield RM, Weiss A, Muenz L, Gould L. Effective Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia—A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Intent to Treat Study. J Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 2001;8(2):3-28. (Full text available at

ACA News Extra...A Word About NSAIDsNon-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs include the following:

• Products containing ibuprofen, naproxen, and ketoprofen, also known as Advil®, Motrin®, Aleve® and Orudis®
• Aspirin—Bayer® and Excedrin®
• Common cold and flu medications, such as Advil Cold and Sinus®, Dimetapp Sinus®, Motrin IB Sinus® and Aleve Cold and Sinus®
• Selective COX-2 inhibitors, such as celecoxib (Celebrex®), valdecoxib (Bextra®) and rofecoxib (Vioxx®)

Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) is not an NSAID.

Data shows that in about 80 percent of cases, a serious stomach problem or gastrointestinal bleeding caused by NSAIDs comes with no warning symptoms. A November 2005 study in the Journal of Rheumatology also shows that the majority of patients taking NSAIDs are not aware of the side effects.

Factors that increase the risk of gastrointestinal problems due to NSAIDs include:
• a history of ulcers
• regular alcohol consumption
• taking several different medications that contain NSAIDs
• using a higher-than-recommended dosage
• concurrent use of steroid medications (such as prednisone) or blood thinners (such as warfarin or Coumadin®)
• use by people over the age of 60.

For more information:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Battling the Winter Blues in Raleigh NC

Sunday marked the Fall time change ( if you haven't changed your clocks yet, chances are you've been pretty confused for a few days ;p) which means in one fail swoop we lost precious hours of daylight. Suddenly the sun is going down on our commutes home rather than after dinner. Not only is this irritating and confusing it also poses some health related concerns that require proacivitity...The imposing "winter blues" monster lurks around every shadowy corner and it's time to take action to keep it at bay.

In all seriousness though, the winter blues are a common condition among many. In definition, the winter blues are a mild case of Seasonal Affective Disorder a form of depression that occurs in relation to the seasons, most commonly beginning in winter. Signs of SAD include
  • Significant, lasting, downturn of mood
  • Apathy; loss of feelings
  • Irritability
  • Less energy
  • Fatigue
  • Boredom
  • Overeating; weight gain
  • Cravings for carbohydrates
  • Sleeping too much; difficulty waking up or staying awake
  • Less interest in being around other people
  • Less interest in activities one used to like

There are several components of the fall time change in time and daylight hours that contribute to SAD. A few of the main culprits behind this disorder are the Pineal Gland, Melatonin, and Vitamin D and their relation to the lack of sunlight.

Pineal Gland and melatonin
“The pineal gland…was thought to be essentially non-functional until several important findings in the early 60’s revealed that the gland is highly metabolically active and that it exerts considerable control over reproductive physiology (Hoffman and Reiter, 1965). Since these early observations, knowledge of the cell biology of the pineal (Reiter, 1991) and of its physiological interactions (Bartness et al. 1994) has accumulated at a rapid pace. It is now clear that this endocrine gland, which for so many years labored in obscurity, may be the most widely acting gland in the body.” (145 Bittar) It's main function involves the wake-sleep cycle in the body. This cycle, known as the circadian rhythm, is governed in part by the regular rise and fall of hormones, especially melatonin. Melatonin is the master sleep hormone; it is produced in the pineal gland. Researchers have identified a regular ebb and flow to human physiology and behavior throughout a normal 24-hour cycle (Hirota T et al 2004). Our overall pattern of wake-sleep depends on the proper functioning of an internal circadian clock, which lies deep in the brain. This circadian clock works with photosensors in the eyes to sense darkness. When darkness falls, the body begins to secrete melatonin, which is one of the factors that cause sleep. Melatonin continues to be secreted throughout the night, although the levels alter, and toward dawn, melatonin secretion gradually diminishes, allowing for wakefulness in the morning.
When there is a problem with this system, sleep disorders and other psychological problems can occur.
To further explain the enormous effect light exposure has on the physiology and functioning of the body, we need to take a closer look at melatonin. Researchers have found that the pineals melatonin releasing system is disrupted in people with SAD. When SAD patients were compared with healthy controls, it was found that the SAD patients had consistently higher daytime melatonin levels during the winter months (6). High daytime melatonin levels would be expected to produce the symptoms of excessive daytime sleepiness and the lack of motivation and desire to hibernate, that is seen in SAD sufferers.

Vitamin D Deficiency:
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is prevalent when vitamin D stores are typically low. Broad-spectrum light therapy includes wavelengths between 280-320 nm which allow the skin to produce vitamin D. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that vitamin D deficiency might play a role in SAD. A prospective, randomized controlled trial was conducted in a group of 15 subjects with SAD. Eight subjects received 100,000 I.U. of vitamin D and seven subjects received phototherapy. At the onset of treatment and after 1 month of therapy subjects were administered the Hamilton Depression scale, the SIGH-SAD, and the SAD-8 depression scale. All subjects also had serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OH D) measured before and 1 week after intervention therapy. All subjects receiving vitamin D improved in all outcome measures. The phototherapy group showed no significant change in depression scale measures. Vitamin D status improved in both groups (74% vitamin D group, p < r2="0.26;" p="0.05).">

To further strengthen the case that vitamin D deficiency causes some cases of depression, evidence should exist that the incidence of depression has increased over the last century. During that time, humans have reduced their sunlight exposure via urbanization (tall buildings and pollution reduce UVB ), industrialization (working inside reduces UVB exposure), cars (glass totally blocks UVB), clothes (even light clothing blocks UVB), sunblock and misguided medical advice to never let sunlight strike you unprotected skin.
All these factors contribute to reduce circulating 25(OH)D levels. Klerman and Weissman's claim that major depression has increased dramatically over the last 80 years is one of the most famous (and controversial) findings in modern psychiatry. Klerman GL, Weissman MM. Increasing rates of depression. JAMA. 1989 Apr 21;261(15):2229–35. Something called recall bias (a type of selective remembering) may explain some of the reported increase, but does it explain it all?

So what can we do about this?

Eat Well

Eating a diet high in processed food increases the risk of depression, research suggests.
What is more, people who ate plenty of vegetables, fruit and fish actually had a lower risk of depression, the University College London team found. Data on diet among 3,500 middle-aged civil servants was compared with depression five years later, the British Journal of Psychiatry reported. The team said the study was the first to look at the UK diet and depression. The UK population is consuming less nutritious, fresh produce and more saturated fats and sugars Dr Andrew McCulloch, Mental Health Foundation. They split the participants into two types of diet: those who ate a diet largely based on whole foods, which includes lots of fruit, vegetables and fish, and those who ate a mainly processed food diet, such as sweetened desserts, fried food, processed meat, refined grains and high-fat dairy products. After accounting for factors such as gender, age, education, physical activity, smoking habits and chronic diseases, they found a significant difference in future depression risk with the different diets. Those who ate the most whole foods had a 26% lower risk of future depression than those who at the least whole foods.
By contrast people with a diet high in processed food had a 58% higher risk of depression than those who ate very few processed foods. A great diet to follow is the mediterranean diet.

Phototherapy (lightbox therapy)

As shown in the Vitamin D Study above, light therapy is one option for treating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The use of a therapeutic light box is the most effective of light therapies. It has a specially designed light, that is placed near the patient. Providing a dose of 10,000 lux., usually for 30-60 minutes daily. The person stays by the light-box, with their eyes open and unshielded.

Personalized Nutrition/Supplementation

Nutritional consultation is required to create a specified supplement plan for your individual needs. Comprehensive Nutrition is a program that targets your specific health care concerns from a nutritional, dietary, and lifestyle vantage point. It involves regular nutritional consultations to create the balanced nutritional environment your body craves for optimal health and wellness. Nutrition is the basis of our bodies ability to function, to fight disease, and to thrive. If your body is not well there is most likely a large nutritional component to your condition. Working with your doctor (holistic health care practitioner) to assess your specific needs will help you to find the root cause of your discomfort as well as a means of relieving your fatigue, apathy, depression and sensitivity to seasonal sensitivity to light and rebuilding your health for the LONG TERM.


  • Keep a regular routine/schedule
  • Have a regular pattern of sleep; get enough sleep
  • Exercise regularly
  • Do fun things

There is hope for feeling better. It just requires diligence and proactive concern for your health and wellness.