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Five Keys to a Thriving Integrative Practice

By By Erik Goldman, Editor

Master these five core competencies, and your clinic is much more likely to thrive, regardless of the specific practice model you’ve embraced, says Heal Thy Practice facultymember, Miriam Zacharias.

Want Smarter Kids? Breastfeed!

By By Madiha Saeed, MD, Contributing Writer

Babies who are breast-fed for at least one year grow up to be significantly more intelligent than those breast-fed for less than one month, according to a Brazilian study published in The Lancet Global Health.

Probiotics May Help Prevent Diabetes

By Kristen Schepker

A drinkable probiotic formula containing Lactobacillus casei Shirota (LcS) may help prevent type 2 diabetes, according to a study published earlier this year in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Breaking the Mold: How to Get a Grip on Household Mycotoxins

By Jill Carnahan, MD, Contributing Writer

Indoor air pollutants, including mold and mycotoxins, may be contributing to more than 50% of our patient’s illnesses. All too often, though, we clinicians are unaware of it. Fortunately there are effective strategies that can help us help our patients "break the mold" and minimize the negative effects of mycotoxins.

Vitamin K Promotes Improved Glycemic Status

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

Supplementation with a form of vitamin K may help to improve glycemic status in premenopausal women with prediabetes.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Linked to Microbiome Changes

By Kristen Schepker

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), one of the most common autoimmune diseases, may be triggered by changes in the microbial composition of the gut, specifically the overgrowth of an organism called Prevotella copri.

Healthcare IT: What It Can--and Cannot--Do For Your Practice

By Erik Goldman

If the proliferation of new health info technology has your head spinning, don’t worry. You are definitely not alone. Many doctors these days are suffering from "Future Shock." Dr. Paul Abramson, whose San Francisco-based practice is positioned squarely at the crossroads of IT and integrative medicine, offers insight on how to choose IT that will really make a difference in your practice.

Testing Takes Guesswork Out Of Omega-3 Supplementation

By Janet Gulland | Contributing Writer - Vol. 1, No. 2. Summer, 2015

For many practitioners, omega-3 fatty acids are a standard part of patient care, especially when working with people at high risk of heart disease or inflammatory conditions like arthritis or chronic pain.

The Alkaline Way: Ten Tips for Reversing

By Russell Jaffe, MD | PhD Contributing Writer - Vol. 1, No. 2. Summer, 2015

There's a lot of talk these days about following an "alkaline" diet as a way of restoring health and prolonging life. In principle a lot of the core ideas behind this approach make good physiological sense.

AG Action Triggers New Wave Of Supplement Scrutiny

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief

SchneidermanNew York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's crusade against herbal products earlier this year has triggered a number of state and federal moves that could significantly change the way dietary supplements are regulated.

How to Test for Dysbiosis

By Madiha Saeed, MD | Contributing Writer - Vol. 1, No. 2. Summer, 2015

Disturbance of the gut microbiome, also known as dysbiosis, has a major detrimental effect on human health. As microbiome research continues to explode worldwide, we are learning that microbial dysregulation within the gut is an important contributing factor in a wide range of common disorders.

B Vitamin Reduces Skin Cancer Risk

By Kristen Schepker

A widely available and inexpensive form of vitamin B can reduce the risk of some types of skin cancer, according to new research from Australia.

B Vitamin Reduces Skin Cancer Risk

By Kristen Schepker

A widely available and inexpensive form of vitamin B can reduce the risk of some types of skin cancer, according to new research from Australia. 

Glucosamine/Chondroitin Equals Celecoxib for Knee Arthritis

By Kristen Schepker

The combination of chondroitin and glucosamine may be as effective as a commonly prescribed NSAID in treating painful knee osteoarthritis, according to data from a large multicenter trial headed by investigators at the University of Maryland.

Glucosamine/Chondroitin Equals Celecoxib for Knee Arthritis

By Kristen Schepker

The combination of chondroitin and glucosamine may be as effective as a commonly prescribed NSAID in treating painful knee osteoarthritis, according to data from a large multicenter trial headed by investigators at the University of Maryland.

Making Clinical Sense of the Microbiome

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief - Vol. 1, No. 2. Summer, 2015

It's "the greatest turnaround in science and medicine in the last 150 years," says Raphael Kellman, MD, of the current microbiome revolution.

Heal Thy Practice Spotlight: Temecula Center for Integrative Medicine: "We Need Other Clinics to Do This, Too!"

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief - Vol. 1, No. 2. Summer, 2015

"There is such a big need for this kind of care. We need other clinics to be doing this too!" says Erik Lundquist, MD, of the comprehensive interdisciplinary model he developed for his new Temecula Center for Integrative Medicine.

Aluminum, Alzheimer's & Autism: Understanding the Connection

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief - Vol. 1, No. 2. Summer, 2015

Back in the late 1890s, James Tyler Kent, a forefather of American homeopathy described the nature of someone suffering from aluminum toxicity as follows: "There is confusion of mind, a confusion of ideas and thoughts...The consciousness of his personal identity is confused... he is in a dazed condition of mind... Confusion and obscuration of the intellect."

Ancient Tree Earns New Reputation as Modern Superfood

By Kristen Schepker

For centuries, indigenous African peoples have recognized the vast medicinal and cultural value of the ancient Baobab tree. Widely utilized as a both traditional food crop and a source of medicine, shelter, and clothing, little was known of the prehistoric plant outside its native continent -- until recently.

Surging Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Pediatric Deaths

By Kristen Schepker

Throughout all developmental stages, adequate vitamin D intake is essential for optimal bone health and immune regulation. The medical community has long known that among infants and children, the consequences of vitamin D deficiency can be dire, ranging from rickets -- characterized by softened, weakened bones -- to unexpected death.

FDA Rethinks Homeopathy Regulations

By Erik Goldman

For the first time in nearly 30 years, the Food & Drug Administration is actively considering the possibility of revising how homeopathic medications are regulated.

Teen Asthma Strongly Linked To Insulin Resistance

By Madiha Saeed, MD

Data from a recent cross-sectional study shows a strong link between insulin resistance and poor pulmonary function in a large cohort of adolescents. The correlation held for kids with asthma and, alarmingly, also in those without the disease.

Vitamin D May Improve Colon Cancer Survival

By Kristen Schepker

Among its many other known benefits, vitamin D may improve survival among colon cancer patients, according to new research presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's 2015 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium.

Vitamin B12 Improves Homocysteine Levels, But Not Cognitive Outcomes

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

B vitamins are widely promoted for the treatment and prevention of many forms of dementia. But new research raises questions about the efficacy of B vitamins for slowing cognitive decline.

Vitamin B12 Improves Homocysteine Levels, But Not Cognitive Outcomes (2)

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

B vitamins are widely promoted for the treatment and prevention of many forms of dementia. But new research raises questions about the efficacy of B vitamins for slowing cognitive decline.

NIH Center to Confront Fears Of Herb-Drug Interactions

By Erik Goldman, Editor

“Misplaced fear” about herb-drug interactions is keeping many practitioners from recommending potentially beneficial botanical medicines, said Josephine Briggs, MD, director of the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).

Resveratrol Improves Insulin Sensitivity

By Andrea Strohecker | Contributing Writer

Resveratrol, a polyphenolic compound found in red wine and widely touted for its antioxidant and cell signaling effects, also improves insulin sensitivity, according to a recent study by researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY.

Not Just a Personal Problem, Practitioner Burnout is a Public Health Issue

By Marnie Loomis, ND | Contributing Writer

What can you do if you are feeling burned out?

This is not just a personal question; it's one that has profound implications for patient care. As research reveals more about the negative effects of professional burnout on patient outcomes, medical mistakes, practitioner health, turnover rates and even practitioner suicide, it is increasingly evident that burnout poses a serious risk to patient safety.

How to Bring Intelligence to Antioxidant Supplementation

By Russell Jaffe, MD Contributing Writer

It is a basic fact of physiology that the efficiency of any biochemical pathway is limited by the chemical substrate that is most essential and least available. This is known as Von Liebig's Law of Limiting Substances, and as clinicians we would do well to keep it in mind.

You Don't Have to Be Smarter, Just Give Better Care

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief

The key to success in holistic & functional medicine is simply to give better care than the other doctors in your area. Given how utterly dysfunctional mainstream medicine is, these days, it shouldn't be hard, quipped Mark Menolascino, MD, at Holistic Primary Care's 6th annual Heal Thy Practice conference.

Eating Disorders May Signal Autoimmune Conditions

By Lindsey Davis | Contributing Writer

People being treated for eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating appear to be at increased risk for autoimmune disorders including chronic gasteroenterological, ocular, dermatological, connective tissue, neurological, and hematological autoimmune conditions, according to a new study from Helsinki University.

Eating Disorders May Signal Autoimmune Conditions

By Lindsey Davis | Contributing Writer

People being treated for eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating appear to be at increased risk for autoimmune disorders including chronic gasteroenterological, ocular, dermatological, connective tissue, neurological, and hematological autoimmune conditions, according to a new study from Helsinki University.

Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine: A Test Kitchen for Healthcare’s Future

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief

From the outside, there's nothing about the Cleveland Clinic's new Center for Functional Medicine that suggests a healthcare revolution in the making.

NY Attorney General Assails Herbal Medicine

By Erik Goldman - Vol. 16, No. 1. Spring , 2015

eric schneiderman smJust weeks after ordering big-box giants Walmart, GNC, Target, and Walgreen's to stop selling some of their "store-brand" herbal supplements, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman furthered his assault on herbal products by ordering major manufacturers to turn over data on the authenticity and purity of the products they make.

Calif. Counties Declare a Different "War on Drugs"

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

Drug overdose is the leading cause of injury-related death among Americans. While a portion of overdose deaths result from recreational drug use, a growing body of research points to prescription drugs--particularly opioids-- as an equally significant culprit.

Got Fractures? Milk Raises Risk

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

From a young age, Americans are taught that milk is an essential component of a healthy, well-rounded diet. But new research on the long-term health effects of drinking dairy questions some age-old assumptions about milk’s protective benefits.

10 Cokes a Day Equals 20+ Pounds in a Month

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

In a quest reminiscent of Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 film Super Size Me, a Los Angeles resident set out to raise awareness about sugar consumption by drinking 10 cans of Coca Cola daily for 30 days. The result is not pretty.

Metabolic Syndrome Raises Endometrial Cancer Risk

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

Older women with metabolic syndrome may be at increased risk for developing endometrial cancer, according to new research from the National Cancer Institute.

Mushroom-Derived Compound Shows Promise Against HPV

By Wendy Romig, Contributing Writer

Researchers at  the University of Texas Health Science Center have found that a compound derived from Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes), can eradicate human papilloma virus (HPV), a leading cause of cervical cancer.

“Everything Wrong with Medicine Can be Traced to This”-- A Conversation with Dr. Leo Galland

By Erik Goldman, Editor in Chief

According to Leo Galland, MD, an early pioneer in the now burgeoning field of functional medicine, conventional diagnostic thinking has become so rigid, so codified, and so fixated on the notion that diseases are discrete entities, that it is doing more harm than good.

Are Oats Really Gluten-Free?

By Cara Lynch, Contributing Writer

As gluten awareness has grown in recent years, so has the controversy over one common grain: oats.

Medical Drones Bring Aid from “Above”

By Kristen Schepker, Contributing Writer

Drones, aka Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, have a bad rep these days, conjuring up images of warfare and surveillance. But medical technologists are developing new and innovative ways to turn remote-controlled flying objects into tools for healing.

PLMI Leadership Consortium: Notes from a Parallel Universe

By Niki Gratrix, BA, DipION, mBANT, Contributing Writer

With a stellar line-up that included leaders in preventive health science research, biotech, academia and functional medicine, last Fall’s Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Institute (PLMI) Thought Leaders Consortium was a vivid snapshot of life at the crossroads of communication technology and whole-systems biology.

Special MD Mortgages Give New Meaning to “Medical Homes”

By Kristen Schepker, Contributing Writer

A growing number of banks are creating specialized mortgage loan programs specifically for young doctors.

Eat Bugs, Improve Health, Save the Planet, Says UN

By Kristen Schepker | Assistant Editor

Scientists project that by 2050, the world's population will reach a staggering 9 billion people. Our growing presence will undoubtedly impact the health of the planet in untold ways, raising significant questions regarding land use, agricultural production, and food security.

Big Ag, Junk Food Interests Spend Big to Defeat GMO Labeling Bills

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief

For many people concerned with food, health, and the environment, the main focus of the mid-term elections was not on which party would dominate Congress, but rather on which states might pass GMO labeling laws.

Starbucks Takes Heat for Non-Recyclable Hot Cups

By Kristen Schepker | Assistant Editor

On its iconic white cups, Starbucks urges consumers to "help us help the planet." But in recent years, the coffee shop mega-chain has come under fire for its allegedly eco-unfriendly approach to recycling.

Carotenoids May Prevent Macular Degeneration & Dementia

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief

kale-smDaily supplementation with plant-derived carotenoids can reduce the risk of age-associated macular degeneration, and may also have a role in prevention of Alzheimer's disease, according to James Stringham, PhD, of the Nutritional Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Georgia, Atlanta.

Stanford’s Medicine X Conference: Fostering Healthcare’s “Moon Shot”

By Mette Dyhrberg | Contributing Writer

Health is a big topic everywhere we turn today—especially in the tech sector. Aging demographics, rising healthcare costs, and rapid technological innovation are fueling tremendous momentum in Silicon Valley, as tech-minded entrepreneurs reckon with the nearly $4 trillion healthcare sector in the US.

Honeybees Are Allies in Fight Against MRSA

By Kristen Schepker | Assistant Editor

Swedish researchers recently discovered 13 unique lactic acid bacteria in fresh honey and in the honey-producing organs of bees that are strongly active against several virulent human pathogens, including Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

What to Do When Patients Demand Unnecessary Antibiotics

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief

It's a common clinical scenario—especially this time of year.

A patient comes in with a respiratory infection---most probably viral—and requests--make that demands--a Z-Pak, saying that he cannot afford to be absent from work, and that antibiotics have "always worked" well in the past.

Carotenoids May Prevent Macular Degeneration & Dementia

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief

Daily supplementation with plant-derived carotenoids can reduce the risk of age-associated macular degeneration, and may also have a role in prevention of Alzheimer's disease, according to James Stringham, PhD, of the Nutritional Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Georgia, Atlanta.

How Bias and Stigma Undermine Healthcare

By Dennis Rosen, MD | Contributing Writer

Anthropologist Janelle Taylor got it right when she observed that, "Physicians' medical knowledge is no less cultural for being real, just as patients' lived experiences and perspectives are no less real for being cultural."

More than ten years on, her essay, Confronting 'Culture' in Medicine's 'Culture of No Culture' (Acad. Med. 2003;78:555–559), remains one of the most penetrating analyses of one of healthcare's most challenging issues: practitioner bias and how it affects patient outcomes.

Naturally Gluten-Free, Sorghum Packs a Powerful Nutritional Punch

By Kristen Schepker | Assistant Editor

Every day, an estimated 100 million people consume sorghum worldwide. Most of them are not in the United States.

But that could change very soon, as Americans begin to discover sorghum's tremendous potential to support both human and environmental health.

Starbucks Takes Heat for Non-Recyclable Hot Cups

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

On its iconic white cups, Starbucks urges consumers to “help us help the planet.” But in recent years, the coffee shop mega-chain has come under fire for its allegedly eco-unfriendly approach to recycling.

Maternal Iron Deficiency Linked to Autism Risk

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

Iron supplementation may reduce a woman’s risk for having children with autism spectrum disorders.

Probiotics Plus Vitamin C Prevent Colds

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

Cold and flu season can be a dreaded time of year for families with young children. But according to new research published last month in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vitamin C and probiotics can be real allies for parents wondering how to protect their kids from common school-borne illnesses.

With GMO Law, Green Mountain State Has Industry Seeing Red

By Kristen Schepker | Contributing Writer

Earlier this year, the small state of Vermont passed an historic GMO food labeling bill with huge implications for business and agriculture nationwide.

Fed Vitamin D Guidelines Off by an Order of Magnitude

By August West | Contributing Writer

The Federal RDAs for vitamin D are, "grossly inadequate" for most ordinary people, let alone people with pronounced vitamin D deficiencies, according to a detailed analysis of 3,885 episodes of vitamin D supplementation in over 1,300 individuals.

Fed Vitamin D Guidelines Off by an Order of Magnitude

By August West | Contributing Writer

The Federal RDAs for vitamin D are, "grossly inadequate" for most ordinary people, let alone people with pronounced vitamin D deficiencies, according to a detailed analysis of 3,885 episodes of vitamin D supplementation in over 1,300 individuals.

Mastering the Omega-3/Omega-6 Balancing Act

By Russell Jaffe, MD | PhD Contributing Writer

Anthropologists and medical historians agree: Healthier people consume about equal amounts of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats. This is true for all cultures, ethnic groups and geographies that have been studied. In industrial societies like ours, Omega 3s, which soothe and repair, tend to be low in peoples' diets while Omega 6s, which activate and inflame, are high.

Making Sense of MTHFR Polymorphisms

By Jill C. Carnahan | MD Contributing Writer

Heart attack and stroke. Multiple miscarriages. Chronic migraine headaches. irritable bowel syndrome. Depression. Autism.

Iron Deficiency Often Overlooked in Irritable Bowel

By Elizabeth Credi | Contributing Writer

As many as one-third of all patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have iron-deficiency anemia (IDA), and primary care clinicians can play a key role in identifying and remedying this common but often overlooked comorbidity.

The Greatest Job in the World

By Lillie Rosenthal, DO | Contributing Writer

I have the greatest job in the world. I'm a doctor. I love my work and I look forward to walking to my office each day to take care of my patients.

SAFE or DARK? Federal GMO Labeling Bill Raises Questions

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief

Public voices demanding greater disclosure of genetically-modified ingredients in food products have definitely reached ears in Congress.

Cleveland Clinic Gets "Functional"

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief

The Cleveland Clinic has teamed up with functional medicine pioneer, Mark Hyman, MD, to establish a multi-million dollar Functional Medicine Institute, slated to open on September 23, 2014.

Dietary Supplements Benefit from Innovations in Capsule Technology

By Janet Gulland | Contributing Writer

As the number of people taking dietary supplements has grown, and products such as omega-3s and probiotics have become a more common part of clinical practice, there has been increasing scrutiny on the quality of the ingredients that comprise them.

Welcome to the Microbiome: Holistic Medicine’s New Frontier

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief

DANA POINT, CA -- Think of it as a physiological version of cloud computing, says functional neurologist, David Perlmutter, MD.

"The microbiome in the human gut represents over 3 million different genes.

Heal Thy Practice 2014: Skill-Building for Empowerment

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief

Holistic Primary Care's sixth annual Heal Thy Practice conference, on October 17-19, at the Renaissance Westchester Hotel, just north of New York City, will focus on clinical and practice management skills that empower practitioners to cultivate better health for their patients, their communities and themselves.

Oral Immunotherapy Highly Effective for Childhood Peanut Allergy

By August West | Contributing Writer

Oral immunotherapy is a safe, highly effective modality for desensitizing children with peanut allergy, according to data from a recent UK trial.

Fed Vitamin D Guidelines Off By Order of Magnitude

By Erik Goldman

The Federal RDAs for vitamin D are “grossly inadequate” for most ordinary people, let alone people with pronounced vitamin D deficiencies, according to a detailed analysis of 3,885 episodes of vitamin D supplementation in over 1,300 individuals.

Forget the 'Triptans, Treat Migraines Gingerly

By Meg Sinclair, Contributing Writer

A 250-mg dose of powdered ginger can be just as effective as sumatriptan in staving off the severity of acute migraines, according to a new study of 100 adult migraine patients.

Questioning a "Diseased Illusion:" An Interview with Jeff Bland

By Niki Gratrix, BA, Dip ION, mBANT, Contributing Writer

With his newest book, The Disease Delusion, functional medicine pioneer, Jeff Bland, PhD, endeavors to help practitioners and patients alike fundamentally change how we view illness, health, and healing. HPC correspondent, Niki Gratrix, caught up with Dr. Bland for an in-depth interview.

Probiotics Add Punch To Treatment of H. Pylori

By August West, Contributing Writer

Two new studies indicate that adding oral probiotics to the therapeutic mix boosts the efficacy of conventional drug protocols in eradicating Helicobacter pylori, the most common bacterial pathogen worldwide, and a main driver of peptic ulcers.

Lymphocyte Response Assay: A Window on Tissue Repair Capacity

By Russell Jaffe, MD | Contributing Writer - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2014

Though it is most often thought of as the body's defense department, the immune system also serves many important repair functions, identifying and neutralizing foreign substances and repairing the body's tissues from daily wear and tear.

Overmedication: An Underrated Problem Among Seniors

By Bettina Krasner | Contributing Writer - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2014

It's no secret that medication management is a major health concern for seniors.

Making Sense of Natural Non-Nutritive Sweeteners

By Contributing Writer - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2014

The following article is an excerpt from, Supplementing Dietary Nutrients—A Guide for Healthcare Professionals, a new book by Thomas G. Guilliams, PhD.

Tissue-Culture Cuisine: The Implications of Lab-Grown “Meat”

By Kristen Schepker | Contributing Writer - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2014

When the Oxford English Dictionary released a list of contenders for its prestigious 2013 Word of the Year award, among the runners-up was the word "schmeat." Defined as, "a form of meat produced synthetically from biological tissue" schmeat ultimately lost out to the far more ubiquitous "selfie."

“Tricorders Are Not Sci-Fi Anymore:” Tech Tips for Today’s Clinicians

By Contributing Writer - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2014

"In the near future, we won't just be prescribing drugs, we'll be prescribing apps," says physician-futurist Daniel Kraft, MD.

Mymee App Reveals Disease Clues Hidden in Daily Life

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2014

Anyone involved in healthcare knows that patient self-reporting is the least reliable form of data collection. Yet in many cases, that—and a few lab measures—is all a clinician has to guide medical decisions.

European Ash Tree Holds New Key for Better Glucose Control

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2014

The fruits and seeds of the European Ash tree, long used in traditional botanical medicine for their digestive, urinary and hepatic benefits, could be a valuable new herbal ally in the effort to stem the tide of diabetes.

Coconut Oil: From Food to Medicine and Back

By Kristen Schepker | Contributing Writer - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2014

For thousands of years, indigenous peoples in tropical regions have recognized the vast nutritional and medicinal value of the coconut palm. Referred to as the "tree of life" among tropical cultures, virtually all parts of the coconut palm have found use in traditional foods and medicines.

Coconut Oil: From Food to Medicine and Back

By Kristen Schepker | Contributing Writer - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2014

For thousands of years, indigenous peoples in tropical regions have recognized the vast nutritional and medicinal value of the coconut palm. Referred to as the "tree of life" among tropical cultures, virtually all parts of the coconut palm have found use in traditional foods and medicines.

Is Neuro-Regeneration a Reality?

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2014

For generations, the prevailing medical wisdom has been that neurodegeneration is irreversible, and that adults simply cannot re-grow lost or damaged neurons.

Is Neuro-Regeneration a Reality?

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2014

For generations, the prevailing medical wisdom has been that neurodegeneration is irreversible, and that adults simply cannot re-grow lost or damaged neurons.

HPC Readers on ObamaCare: So Far, So So

By August West | Contributing Writer - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2014

How is the rollout of the Affordable Care Act affecting holistically-minded primary care clinicians?

Errors in Heart Risk Assessment: All-Too-Common, Easily Avoided

By Mark J. Tager, MD | Contributing Writer - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2014

Ancient Chinese philosophy defines two basic types of error: "Near-error," characterized by a myopic focus on what is closest at hand to the exclusion of the bigger picture and; "Far-error," an obsession with the horizon at the expense of what is in proximity.

An Ancient Grain Eases A Modern Ailment

By Janet Gulland, Contributing Writer

Data from a randomized cross-over trial indicate that Khorasan wheat, an ancient Near Eastern grain better known by its commercial name, Kamut, appears to be a much better option than conventional wheat for people with irritable bowel syndrome.

Medical Marijuana for MS: “There’s a Place For It”

By Erik Goldman, Editor

New guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology hold that there is a place for cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds as therapies for multiple sclerosis. A comprehensive systematic review suggests that cannabis can attenuate muscle spasms, pain and bladder symptoms asssociated with the disease, though it does not appear to reduce frequency or severity of MS tremors.

Dr. Dog & Dr. Jenny Join the Diabetes Care Team

By August West, Contributing Writer

Specially trained Diabetes Alert Dogs and the commercial weight loss programs marketed by Jenny Craig are proving to be highly effective elements in comprehensive self care for people living with diabetes.

Rheumatoid Arthritis in Women: Looking Beyond Hormones

By Janet Gulland, Contributing Writer

New lines of research are prompting a re-think on the issue of gender disparities in incidence of rheumatoid arthritis. X-linked genetic factors, as well as greater thymic activity early in life, appear to play as much of a role as hormones.

Minty Fresh & Symptom-Free

By Erik Goldman

Peppermint can help take some of the “irritable” out of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, according to a recent metanalysis of 9 randomized trials.

In Praise of Alligator Pears

By Erik Goldman

There are many reasons to love avocados: they're tasty and satisfying; they're packed with healthy fats, B vitamins, potassium. lutein and zeaxanthin; and they fit nicely into a wide freshavocados logorange of culinary styles.

But did you know that inclusion of half an avocado in one's lunch can markedly increase satiety and reduce the desire to eat over the next 5 hours? Or that consumption of avocados can mitigate post-prandial insulin spikes, providing plenty of calories without substantially raising blood glucose levels? Or that they can increase the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins from other foods? Or that they're the only fruit source of monounsaturated fats?

Or how about the fact that addition of fresh avocado to a hamburger lunch will substantially reduce post-meal inflammatory cascades, improve peripheral vascular blood flow, and attenuate the triglyceride surge that usually follows consumption of guac-less burgers.

You can discover these and dozens of other reasons to eat more avocados on the brand new Avocado Central website, sponsored by the Hass Avocado Board (and note that it's "Hass" not "Haas"....named after a postman named Rudolph Hass, who began planting the small, black & bumpy variety in the 1930s).

recipe sweet-potato-and-avocado-empanadasUnder the banner "Fresh Avocados: Love One Today," the Avocado Central site amasses just about everything known to mankind about the versatile and delicious "alligator pear." There's a host of in-depth nutritional analysis, summaries of scientific studies aimed at healthcare professionals, avo-centric meal plans and culinary lessons, how-to videos, and of course bushels of recipes--many from renowned chefs--that go way beyond guacamole (who knew avocados could be combined with chocolate to make gluten-free fudgy bread?).

You can be sure that Avocado Central will have some impact here at the Upshots test kitchens, and we're looking forward to expanding our culinary "avocacy."

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Climate Panel: “Uncertainties Are Mostly on the Bad Side”

By Erik Goldman

A new report from the American Academy for the Advancement of Science strikes an urgent tone on climate change. The generally conservative organization holds that there's a near unanimous consensus among top climate scientists that: A) serious change is real and largely man-made; B) we’re pushing the limits of the planet’s adaptive capacity; and C) there’s much we can still do to avert disaster if we act right now.

There's a NAC to Treating COPD

By August West, Contributing Writer

Twice daily supplementation with N-Acetylcysteine improves respiratory function and markedly reduces morbidity in elderly people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to data from a large, year-long, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

“Tricorders Are Not Sci-Fi Anymore:” Ten Tech Tips for Today’s Clinicians

By Erik Goldman

In the near future, we wont just be prescribing drugs, well be prescribing apps, said physician-futurist Daniel Kraft, MD, at the recent NEXT Innovation Summit. Dr. Kraft said that a Star Trek-esque world of tricorder-enabled Dr. McCoys tailoring treatments and tweaking human biology based on real-time physiologic data is already here. Its just not evenly distributed.” Dr. Kraft also reviewed 10 essential tech advances that should be part of any practitioner's digital tool bag.

23 Skidoo: FDA’s Genomics Clampdown Gets Mixed Reviews

By Erik Goldman - Vol. 15, No. 1. Spring, 2014

skidoo-main-imageThe FDA’s recent regulatory action against popular genomic testing company, 23andMe, is generating mixed responses among integrative clinicians. While many share regulators' concerns over the validity of the tests and the public's unguided use of genomic information, they also believe in peoples' right to know how to read their genomic "Book of Life."

Clearing the Air? The Benefits & Risks Of Electronic Cigarettes

By Kristen Schepker - Vol. 15, No. 1. Spring, 2014

In recent years, there has been an explosion in the popularity of electronic cigarettes. Marketed as a trendy alternative to traditional tobacco products, electronic cigarettes--known as e-cigs--are often touted as a safer, healthier habit.

How One Physician Changed Aetna’s Attitudes on Holistic Medicine

By Erik Goldman - Vol. 15, No. 1. Spring, 2014

A few years ago, it would have been a pipe dream to suggest that a naturopathic physician might have a hand in shifting attitudes—and policies--of one of the nation's largest health insurers.

Homocysteine: Rethinking a Predictive Biomarker

By Russell Jaffe, MD, PhD - Vol. 15, No. 1. Spring, 2014

In 1968, Dr. Kilmer McCully, a Harvard researcher, reported that a genetic defect that caused sharp elevations in homocysteine led to early, aggressive atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. This was the first of many studies that pointed to homocysteine as an independent risk factor for heart disease.

Restoring the Therapeutic Alliance

By Amber Vitse, LMT, CN - Vol. 15, No. 1. Spring, 2014

LONG BEACH, CA -- A wealth of new practice models are erupting in the field of integrative medicine, as more physicians and other practitioners seek ways of practicing that are more holistic and embracing of all aspects of their patients' lives.

Heart-Healthy Beverages: Think Before You Drink!

By Erik Goldman | Contributing Writer - Vol. 15, No. 1. Spring, 2014

When it comes to cardiovascular disease risk, what someone drinks can be as important as what he or she eats. But too often, clinicians overlook the beverage factor when making nutritional recommendations, says Steven Masley, MD, director of the Masley Optimal Health Center in St. Petersburg, FL, and author of the new book, "The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up (Hachette)."

Heart-Healthy Beverages: Think Before You Drink!

By Erik Goldman | Contributing Writer - Vol. 15, No. 1. Spring, 2014

When it comes to cardiovascular disease risk, what someone drinks can be as important as what he or she eats. But too often, clinicians overlook the beverage factor when making nutritional recommendations, says Steven Masley, MD, director of the Masley Optimal Health Center in St. Petersburg, FL, and author of the new book, "The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up (Hachette)."

“So What Is It, Exactly, That You Do?” Reflections on Hospital-Based Holistic Medicine

By Anita Boeninger, BSW, RYT - Vol. 15, No. 1. Spring, 2014

I didn't always know what response I would get from other health care practitioners when I showed up in a patient's room. A referral would come in from a nurse or doctor stating, "Patient in such-and-such room is really anxious, can someone from your team come up and work your magic?"

Curcumin Equals Fluoxetine for Major Depression

By Janet Gulland - Vol. 15, No. 1. Spring, 2014

In a head to head comparison trial, a standardized form of curcumin—a bioactive compound found in the spice, Turmeric--proved as effective as fluoxetine in reducing signs and symptoms of major depression.

Curcumin Equals Fluoxetine for Major Depression

By Janet Gulland - Vol. 15, No. 1. Spring, 2014

In a head to head comparison trial, a standardized form of curcumin—a bioactive compound found in the spice, Turmeric--proved as effective as fluoxetine in reducing signs and symptoms of major depression.

Lymphatic Enhancement Technology: Treating the “Other Circulatory System”

By Erik Goldman - Vol. 15, No. 1. Spring, 2014

let-therapy-2When physicians use the phrase "lymph node," it's more often than not followed by the word "excision" or "biopsy."

Lymphatic Enhancement Technology: Treating the “Other Circulatory System”

By Erik Goldman - Vol. 15, No. 1. Spring, 2014

let-therapy-2When physicians use the phrase "lymph node," it's more often than not followed by the word "excision" or "biopsy."

Clearing the Air? The Benefits & Risks Of Electronic Cigarettes

By Kristen Schepker - Vol. 15, No. 1. Spring, 2014

In recent years, there has been an explosion in the popularity of electronic cigarettes. Marketed as a trendy alternative to traditional tobacco products, electronic cigarettes--known as e-cigs--are often touted as a safer, healthier habit.

Empowerment is the New "Compliance"

By Erik Goldman, Editor

Facilitating lifestyle change can be one of the most frustrating aspects of clinical practiceor the most rewarding.  It all depends on how you approach it. A spirit of teamwork, and a few simple tools can make all the difference, says nutrition counselor Gabriel Hoffman.

Recognizing Subtle Signs of Early Stage Neurodegeneration

By Janet Gulland, Contributing Writer

A few simple physical tests can reveal a wealth of information about early-stage neurodegeneration and open up a window for lifestyle-based interventions.

Childhood Obesity Dip: Score One for the Nanny State?

By Erik Goldman

New data from the Centers for Disease Control offer a glimmer of hope in our national struggle with obesity. From 2004 to 2012, there was a 43% drop in prevalence of obesity in 2-5 year-old children, the CDC study says.

“Food Flags” Tell Tales About Global Nutrition & Health

By Erik Goldman

A recent photo exhibit at the Sydney International Food Festival tells an interesting tale about culture, cuisine and by extension, health.

A SANE Approach to Chronic Pain

By John Otrompke, Contributing Writer

Better sleep, physical activity, good nutrition and reducing stress and environmental toxins are the keys to reducing chronic pain, especially in women, said Dr. Robert Bonakdar, at the 2nd annual Lifestyle Medicine Summit in Chicago.

Functional Blood Chemistry Sheds Light on Patients with Non-Specific Symptoms

By Datis Kharrazian, DC - Vol. 14, No. 1. Spring, 2013

Routine blood chemistry analysis can be useful to rule out overt pathology, but it is not much help to us in dealing with patients who have complex but non-specific symptom patterns. Functional blood chemistry (FBC) analysis is an emerging approach that provides functional reference ranges that identify problems not yet pathological.

The Obesity Epidemic: It's a Guy Thing

By Erik Goldman

obesity-epidemic-in-men-smThe current obesity epidemic is really an epidemic among men, said John La Puma, MD, at Holistic Primary Care's fifth annual Heal Thy Practice conference in Long Beach earlier this month.Though the attention is most often focused on women, overweight is more common in men and has devastating long-term consequences.

 

Inflammation Revealed, Tamed and Resolved

By Russell Jaffe, MD, Contributing Writer - Vol. 14, No. 3. Fall, 2013

To make good clinical use of the last half-century's scientific study of inflammation, we need to re-think inflammation and understand it more correctly as a repair deficit--something blocking the innate ability of the body to heal.

Root Veggies, Not Other Produce, Cut Diabetes Risk

By Kristen Schepker | Contributing Writer

It's common knowledge that a healthy intake of fresh fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A recent prospective study and meta-analysis takes this piece of advice one step further, claiming that a specific type of produce may take the (sugar-free) cake when it comes to diabetes prevention.

Hemoglobin A1C: The “Swiss Army Knife” Of Diabetes Assessment

By Russell Jaffe, MD, PhD | Contributing Writer

Hemoglobin A1c (HgbA1c) is one of the most useful and important biomarkers available to us as clinicians. It accurately predicts the risk of diabetes long before the disease advances, and it can be used to assess the impact of any form of therapy aimed at regulating blood sugar and insulin sensitivity.

Vitamin D Deficiency Raises Obesity Risk

By August West | Contributing Writer

Researchers in Spain have shown a definitive link between low serum vitamin D and the prevalence of obesity. Rather than being a consequence of obesity, the vitamin deficiency may play a causative role.

Link Between Gluten and Obesity Challenges “Classic” Picture

By Kristen Schepker | Contributing Writer

Historically, medical textbooks have presented Celiac disease patients as small, thin, anemic individuals--a depiction that still dominates many physicians' views of gluten intolerance and the people who have it.

D-Ribose Improves QOL For People with Chronic Fatigue

By Kristen Schepker | Contributing Writer

D-ribose, a naturally occurring pentose carbohydrate, has great potential as a remedy for CFS.

Fructose-Sweetened Beverages Drive Significant Lipid Changes

By John Otrompke | Contributing Writer

CHICAGO -- Researchers are nearing completion of a multi-year study that they hope will further our understanding of the physiological impact of fructose and glucose in the human diet.

NANP Fosters Interdisciplinary Forum on Nutrition

By Danielle Hart, Contributing Writer

Last Spring, over 250 holistic health professionals gathered for the National Association of Nutrition Professionals' annual conference in Del Mar, CA. The organization is committed to building bridges between various healthcare professionals, to improve public access to effective nutritional guidance.

"Odd Omegas" an Important Part of the Heart Health Picture

By John Otrompke | Contributing Writer

The Cleveland Clinic is beginning a series of clinical trials to assess the potential cardiovascular effects of Omega-7 fatty acids, a category of unsaturated fatty acids scientists are just beginning to understand.

Chelation Vindicated for CVD Risk Reduction in Diabetes

By Erik Goldman

New data from the NIH-funded Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT), has vindicated this controversial treatment as a method for preventing cardiovascular events in people with diabetes. The data show a clear 15% reduction in index events among treated patients.

Cardio-Chaos: New Statin Guidelines Cause Consternation

By August West, Contributing Writer

For decades, the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and other guardians of conventional wisdom about heart disease have urged physicians to follow rigorous "evidence-based" protocols based on defining treatment targets for LDL cholesterol, and then focusing statin prescriptions to reach these goals.

Autologous Serum Therapy Offers New Option for Osteoarthritis

By Bianca Garilli, ND, Contributing Writer - Vol. 14, No. 3. Fall, 2013

A new injection-based modality that uses the body’s own cytokines to reduce joint inflammation was recently introduced in the US, and it has great promise for relieving joint pain, back pain, tendonitis and other symptoms of osteoarthritis (OA).

Blue Mamma, Big Baby

By Marijke Vroomen Durning, Contributing Writer

New research suggests that maternal mental health is a significant influence on childhood obesity. In particular, maternal depression seems to correlate with overweight in young children.

Blue Mamma, Big Baby

By Marijke Vroomen Durning, Contributing Writer

New research suggests that maternal mental health is a significant influence on childhood obesity. In particular, maternal depression seems to correlate with overweight in young children.

Blue Mamma, Big Baby

By Marijke Vroomen Durning, Contributing Writer

New research suggests that maternal mental health is a significant influence on childhood obesity. In particular, maternal depression seems to correlate with overweight in young children.

The Obesity Epidemic: It's a Guy Thing

By Erik Goldman

The current obesity epidemic is really an epidemic among men, said John La Puma, MD, at Holistic Primary Care’s fifth annual Heal Thy Practice conference in Long Beach earlier this month.Though the attention is most often focused on women, overweight is more common in men and has devastating long-term consequences.

For Women with CVD, Lipid-Centric Strategies Often Fail

By John Otrompke, Contributing Writer

Cardiovascular disease manifests itself very differently in women compared with men, and in many cases, the cholesterol-centric approach results in a “treatment gap,” failing to prevent cardiac events in women, said Mark Houston, MD, at the recent Lifestyle Medicine Summit.

Sound Medicine: How “Harmonic Listening” Affects Healing

By Erik Goldman
For vocalist & composer David Hykes, the connection between chanting and medicine is very natural. For nearly 40 years, Hykes has been exploring and teaching Harmonic Chant--a non-dual sacred vocal music practice based on the natural harmonics found in all voices, music, and throughout the vibratory universe.

How to Craft Effective Patient Ed Videos

By Erik Goldman

Good go-to video resources for patient education can help you make much better use of their limited face-to-face time with patients, says practice development consultant James Maskell.

Healthcare Globalization in the "Land of Smiles"

By Gabrielle Zastrocky, Contributing Writer
A growing number of people are now visiting the Southeast Asian paradise not for a swim at Phuket or trek in Chiang Mai, but for another commodity: Thailand's low-cost and high-quality health care options. HPC offers an inside look at the opportunities & drawbacks of globalized medicine.

Oral Vitamin C No Remedy for Gout

By John Otrompke, Contributing Writer
High doses of vitamin C taken orally will increase the excretion of uric acid, but not enough to significantly reduce the symptoms of gout, according to a recent study from New Zealand.

For Integrative Doctors, a New Turn On the Road to Specialty Recognition

By Gabrielle Zastrocky, Contributing Writer

The long and winding road toward creation of a widely recognized medical specialty in holistic medicine has taken a new turn, one that leaders of the effort believe can take physicians a lot farther toward that goal.

Holistic Marketing Mentors: Creating Systems to Beat the System!

By Erik Goldman

Clinicians think a lot about organ systems, but far fewer think systematically about their own practices. That's unfortunate, because well-designed practice systems can greatly improve clinical outcomes and fiscal health, say consultants Gail Sophia Edgell & Traci Brosman.

Beyond Balance: T'ai Chi Dramatically Improves Seniors' Overall Health

By Kathy Capobianco, Contributing Writer

The practice of T'ai Chi is one of the safest and most beneficial forms of exercise for elderly people. It builds muscle strength and bone density, reduces CVD risk, improves sleep, and prevents neurocognitive problems. Plus, it's fun!

Are Grains Destroying Our Brains?

By Erik Goldman - Vol. 14, No. 3. Fall, 2013
In his forthcoming book, Grain Brain, functional neurologist David Perlmutter contends that America's grain-heavy diet is a prime driver of dementia. That means dementia's preventable, but it requires eliminating grain foods.

Are Grains Destroying Our Brains?

By Erik Goldman - Vol. 14, No. 3. Fall, 2013
In his forthcoming book, Grain Brain, functional neurologist David Perlmutter contends that America's grain-heavy diet is a prime driver of dementia. That means dementia's preventable, but it requires eliminating grain foods.

New T-Cell Test a “Game-Changer” for Lyme

By Erik Goldman - Vol. 14, No. 3. Fall, 2013

A new test that measures T-cell response Borrelia burgdorferi has the potential to vastly improve Lyme disease diagnosis—especially in the early phases. Physicians who've used the test say it's a game-changer.

 

Bringing the Genomics Revolution Into Patient Care

By Erik Goldman - Vol. 14, No. 3. Fall, 2013
As companies like 23andMe take sophisticated genomic testing directly to the consumer market, a growing number of people are seeking guidance on how to respond to the test results. According to Dr. Deanna Minich, that spells major opportunity for holistically-minded clinicians.

Glycation: Tackling an Underlying Driver of Chronic Disease

By Gaetano Morello, ND, Contributing Writer - Vol. 14, No. 3. Fall, 2013

Glycation--a process by which sugars bind to proteins forming inflammatory compounds--is at the center of the chronic disease storm. Clinicians need to understand as much as possible about this process and the interventions that can be used to attenuate it.

Escape Fire's Dr. Erin Martin on Reverse-Engineering Healtcare

By Erik Goldman
Holistic physicians often start out by trying to cram things like nutrition counseling, stress management or herbal medicine into conventional care frameworks--with limited success. Erin Martin, DO, a physician profiled in the popular film, Escape Fire, took the opposite route. At her new clinic she made lifestyle-based medicine the core and gradually adds conventional primary care services.

Helping Men Get Proactive About Health: A Conversation with John La Puma, MD

By August West, Contributing Writer - Vol. 14, No. 3. Fall, 2013

It's no secret that women tend to be a lot more proactive about their health than men. Dr. John La Puma, author of the forthcoming book "Men Don't Diet, Men...Refuel" hopes to change this. HPC's August West caught up with the "Chef MD" and got his thoughts on how to engage more guys in prevention & self-care.

Low Vitamin D Raises Obesity Risk

By Erik Goldman
Researchers in Spain have shown a definitive link between low serum vitamin D and the prevalence of obesity. Rather than being a consequence, the vitamin deficiency may play a causative role.

Group Visits are a Great Fit for Functional Medicine Practice

By Erik Goldman
Shilpa Saxena, MD, has tailored the basic group visit model--increasingly popular in family practice--to fit the principles of functional medicine. The result is a big win for patients, for the doctor herself, and even for the insurers.

Overcoming Fear of Change on Path to Practice Transformation

By Erik Goldman

More than anything else, it is fear that keeps many doctors from building the kinds of practices they really want to have. Heal Thy Practice conference chairman Jeff Gladd, MD, who's built a thriving cash-pay practice in Ft. Wayne, IN, has the remedies for those fears.

Bring a Little PEACE to Your Practice

By Erik Goldman

A five-step method called the PEACE Process, developed by Heal Thy Practice speaker, Miriam Zacharias, can help clinicians develop thriving integrative practices, "without losing your shirt, your sanity, or your soul!"

The Concierge Journey: Tips for Successful Transition

By Erik Goldman

The concierge model is a great option for physicians seeking more control over their personal and professional lives. But it won't cure financial woes overnight, says Marcela Dominguez, MD, a featured speaker at HPC's upcoming Heal Thy Practice conference.

Weight Loss Improves Health, But Not CVD Risk in Diabetics

By Erik Goldman
Lifestyle interventions that help diabetic people lose weigh confer many health benefits—including marked reductions in depression, retinopathy, renal disease, hospitalization, healthcare costs. But they may not reduce cardiovascular events, according to a massive new study.

Calcium for Women: Moderate Doses Are Safe, Beneficial

By John Otrompke, Contributing Writer

A new long-term Canadian study of over 6,000 women suggests that calcium intake of up to 1,000 mg per day is not only safe, but it can reduce all-cause mortality by as much as 22%.

Drug-Resistant TB “Extraordinarily Sensitive” to Vitamin C

By John Otrompke, Contributing Writer

Researchers looking for options to control multi-drug resistant tuberculosis were surprised to learn that many strains can be eradicated with vitamin C given along with iron--at least in vitro.

When Questioning Clinical Dogma Is a Doctor’s Duty

By Erik Goldman | Contributing Writer - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2013

Twenty years ago, Dr. Stephen Sinatra was like most American cardiologists: firmly convinced that elevated cholesterol was the key driver of heart disease, and that thanks to statin drugs, he and his colleagues would soon be cutting the nation’s number one killer down to size.

When Questioning Clinical Dogma Is a Doctor’s Duty

By Erik Goldman | Contributing Writer - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2013

Twenty years ago, Dr. Stephen Sinatra was like most American cardiologists: firmly convinced that elevated cholesterol was the key driver of heart disease, and that thanks to statin drugs, he and his colleagues would soon be cutting the nation’s number one killer down to size.

Blood Pressure & CVD Risk: Are We Measuring the Right Thing?

By Peter Bottemanne | Contributing Writer - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2013

Despite our nation’s best effort to treat all forms of cardiovascular disease aggressively, we seem to be losing the struggle.

Blood Pressure & CVD Risk: Are We Measuring the Right Thing?

By Peter Bottemanne | Contributing Writer - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2013

Despite our nation’s best effort to treat all forms of cardiovascular disease aggressively, we seem to be losing the struggle.

Vitamin D Deficiency Widespread Among Elders with Hip Fractures

By John Otrompke | Contributing Writer - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2013
CHICAGO-- Living in a southern, sunny climate is no safeguard against hip fractures, according to a new study by researchers at Kaiser Permanente showing that Vitamin D insufficiency is rampant among people hospitalized for hip fractures.

Avoidance of Toxins Helps Couples Wishing to Conceive

By Lauren Brandstadter | Contributing Writer - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2013
All too often, couples struggling to conceive a child undergo expensive, complicated and unsuccessful fertility treatments. Careful assessment of environmental toxin loads and nutritional status of both partners, and judicious implementation of lifestyle change strategies could avert the need for these treatments in some cases.  

Available statistics show that infertility is on the rise among men and women in the US. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the numbers of US women aged 15-44 who have “impaired fecundity” topped 6.7 million in 2010. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health, studying data from 7,600 women, estimate that as many as one in six couples seeking to have a child were unable to conceive after 1 year of contraception-free sex (Thoma ME, et al. Fertility Sterility. 2013: 99(5): 1324-31).

The trend is attributable to far more than later marriage and deferred childbearing. There are many factors in our environment, and in the products we use daily, that could be contributing to infertility.

Xenoestrogens, drug residues, pesticides, bioactive compounds in personal care products, and toxins in our environment are interfering with fertility levels. How does one peel back all the layers of information (and misinformation) about the myriad of toxins and their effects?

“Environment is definitely a factor in rising infertility rates”, says Victoria Maizes, MD, Executive Director of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, and author of Be Fruitful, The Essential Guide To Maximizing Fertility and Giving Birth to a Healthy Child. In her new book, she stresses the importance of minimizing toxin loads.

“Avoiding fruits and vegetables that have been sprayed with toxic pesticides, foods grown from GMO seeds, and packaged foods containing ingredients that originate from GMOs, and processed foods, should be at the top of the list of “do’s” when trying to conceive,” Dr. Maizes told Holistic Primary Care.

The organophosphates in pesticides have been shown to be endocrine disruptors. While there is not yet a definitive prospective study showing that exposure to pesticides causes infertility, the available science does provide cause for strong suspicion.

Roundup Risks

There’s good reason to believe that glyphosate, the main compound in the widely used Roundup herbicide, is interfering with human reproductive function.

One study found that glyphosate is increasing the number of birth defects in vertebrates, contributing to stillbirths and miscarriages (Paganelli A, et al. Chem Res Toxicol. 2010, 23(10): 1586-95). The data suggest that glyphosate alters retinoic acid signaling in developing embryos.

“The direct effect of glyphosate on early mechanisms of morphogenesis in vertebrate embryos opens concerns about the clinical findings from human offspring in populations exposed to glyphosate-based herbicides in agricultural fields,” the authors note.

Well over a decade ago, Canadian researchers published a study showing that exposure to this herbicide increased the risk of spontaneous abortion among female agricultural workers exposed to glyphosate (Arbuckle TE, et al. Environ Health Perspect. 2001; 109(8): 851–857). “For late abortions, preconception exposure to glyphosate….was associated with elevated risks. Postconception exposures were generally associated with late spontaneous abortions. Older maternal age (> 34 years of age) was the strongest risk factor for spontaneous abortions, and we observed several interactions between pesticides in the older age group.”

Investigators around the world have looked at possible mechanisms by which glyphosate interferes with reproductive function. Richard and colleagues at the University of Caen, France, showed that the compound is toxic to human placental cells at concentrations lower than those found with agricultural use. The toxic effect increases with duration of exposure and concentration (Richard S, et al. Environ Health Perspect. 2005 June; 113(6): 716–720)

In 2009, another group based in Caen looked at the toxicity of four glyphosate-based herbicides at dilutions corresponding to residue levels found in common foods. They found that the compounds could induce apoptosis and necrosis in human umbilical, embryonic, and placental cells (Benachour N, et al. Chem. Res. Toxicol., 2009, 22 (1), pp 97–105).

Also in 2009, a team at Indiana University tracked agrichemical residues in surface water, and found a strong correlation between elevated concentrations during the months of April to July, and higher risk of birth defects among women whose last menstrual periods were in the period from April to July (Winchester PD, et al. Acta Paediatr. 2009; 98(4): 664-91).

A New Threat?

Glyphosate is just one of 84,000 known toxins in our environment. Only a few thousand have been studied thoroughly with regard to their effect on human biology.

According to Dr. Maizes, it makes good sense for couples trying to conceive to minimize exposures as much as possible. “An organic diet is the best way to increase your ability to conceive. Eating organic grains, fruits, and vegetables, washing them with filtered water, and avoiding GMOs are very important factors in a person’s fertility.”

She contends that GMO foods are as dangerous as the pesticides that are sprayed on them. GMO foods have been shown to contribute to changes in the number and size of offspring in rats. They may also be contributing to the evolution of new animal and human pathogens.

Two years ago, Dr. Don Huber, emeritus professor of plant pathology at Purdue University, stated that he had discovered a previously unknown pathogenic microorganism associated with Roundup Ready GMO crops. The organism seemed to be linked to infertility and miscarriage among cattle, swine and horses. In an open letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Dr. Huber described the organism as having, “an approximate size range equal to a medium-sized virus…able to reproduce and appears to be a micro-fungal like organism.”

Dr. Huber, a long-standing and outspoken critic of GMO technology, claims that the organism is found in much higher concentrations on Roundup Ready soybeans, corn and alfalfa, and that it is also linked to several plant diseases.

“For the past 40 years, I have been a scientist in the professional and military agencies that evaluate and prepare for natural and manmade biological threats, including germ warfare and disease outbreaks. Based on this experience, I believe the threat we are facing from this pathogen is unique and of a high-risk status. In layman's terms, it should be treated as an emergency,” he wrote.

Several scientists at Purdue have challenged the “doomsday scenario” outlined by Dr. Huber. However, none has claimed that his discovery is fallacious. His work has yet to be replicated by other researchers, and the organism he believes he has found has not yet been further characterized. Predictably, the USDA has taken no action in response to his letter.

Avoid Processed Foods

Couples trying to conceive should eliminate—or at least minimize consumption of processed foods. This includes some foods that most people regard as “healthy.” Low-fat milk, for example, is very popular with reproductive-age women who believe it is a healthy alternative to full-fat milk.

Dr. Maizes says that’s highly questionable. “When the fat is removed from the milk, the product has less taste and a bluish hue. So the dairy company puts in powdered whey protein, which is technically milk, so they don’t have to put it on the label (as an additive).  The end result is a processed food - far from what the cow, and nature, intended.”

She added that regular consumption of low-fat milk actually promotes weight gain in many people – not the other way around. “If you’re going to drink milk, drink it whole, unprocessed, with all the nutrients intact.  In some cases, dairy companies add sugar (to low-fat milk) for a better taste. The more processed sugar someone consumes, the lower the production of the sex hormone binding globulin, which influences the body’s production and regulation of hormones.”

In general, she advises patients to avoid “low-fat” foods: they are usually heavily processed, and no longer “whole” foods.  

Dr. Amos Grunebaum, a gynecologist with over 30 years experience with high-risk pregnancies, had this to offer about environmental toxins.  “Yes. There is now scientific evidence that environmental toxins such as pesticides and exogenous hormones are potentially interfering with fertility in the United States.  Research shows that male and female reproductive health is especially susceptible to the impact of these chemicals.”  

He went on to say that reproductive toxicologists are constantly uncovering new evidence about how environmental toxins are contributing to suboptimal sperm health, reduced egg quality in women, menstrual disorders, pregnancy complications, low-birth weight and child development issues.

Minimizing Toxin Loads

“There is scientific evidence to support this claim that exposure to agents such as BPA affects fertility.”  The most dangerous compounds in plastics (BPA), pesticides (dioxins and organophosphates), and drug-residues are definitely endocrine disruptors.

Some can mimic the action of a certain hormone (such as estrogen) by binding to that hormone’s receptor and activating the same response that would be triggered by the natural hormone. Others prevent hormonal action by binding to hormone receptors, thereby leaving no room for the real hormones.  Still others bind to carrier proteins, thereby reducing the availability of these proteins to transport hormones like estrogen and testosterone through the blood stream to target tissues.

Some endocrine disruptors negatively impact hormone levels by either accelerating the breakdown of hormones or by deactivating the enzymes that facilitate their breakdown.


Dr. Grunebaum says avoiding canned foods, unless the can has a BPA-free liner, is a simple way to begin minimizing exposure to endocrine-disrupting compounds like phthalates and BPA. The website, www.treehugger.com has posted a guide to canned products rated for likelihood of containing BPA. Purchasing jellies, jams, sauces, and prepared vegetables in glass containers, whenever possible, is a safer alternative.

Other toxins affecting fertility are right in our homes. Chemicals in beauty and skin care products, shampoos and other hair care products, toothpastes, oral products, as well as deodorants, contain toxins that inhibit fertility. Dr. Grunebaum and Dr. Maizes both suggest using only non-toxic cleaning supplies.  To learn more about potential toxins in common household products, visit http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/.

A Bit About Fish

For many reproductive-age women, the subject of fish consumption has become cause for confusion. On the one hand, they hear the message that ocean fish are a healthy, lean protein source rich in omega-3s. On the other, there are the frightening reports of mercury and other toxic metals found in some types of fish.  

Dr. Maizes suggests that fish should not be eliminated from the diet of women wishing to conceive. Omega-3’s found in wild caught salmon, herring and other oily fish help raise fertility levels, and also aid in averting or lessening postpartum depression after childbirth.  Trout, though a fresh water fish, is also high in Omega-3s.

People should avoid wild fish that are known to have high levels of mercury, such as tuna, swordfish, mackerel and shark. The best fish to eat with the highest levels of Omega 3’s are wild-caught salmon, trout, herring and anchovies – and no more than 2-3 servings a week of about 6 ounces per serving, says Dr. Maizes.

The key, she says, is “wild caught.” Farm-raised fish are also eating processed foods – not algae—and this creates an imbalance in the ratios of omega-3 and omega-6’s. She recommends against eating a lot of farmed fish, as they produce higher omega-6 levels, which are inflammatory.

While it is true that we need both types of omega fats, Americans in general tend to be imbalanced in the omega-6 direction. There’s certainly no benefit in pushing this imbalance even further.

She noted that elevated omega-6 is a common finding among infertile men. Men with low sperm counts should also be taking Omega 3 oils, which are an important determinant for fertility (Saferinejad MR, et al. Clin Nutr. 2010: 29(1): 100-5).

Both Dr. Grunebaum and Dr. Maizes suggest incorporating detox programs into the care of couples trying to conceive. This is especially true if either or both partners are trying to lose weight. As people shed weight, they release toxins stored in the adipose tissue, and this can have a detrimental effect on the odds of conception.

The shedding of fat cells and release of toxins should be eliminated before conception occurs. It is important to ensure that calorie restriction is not too severe and that all nutrient requirements are met.

Trying to conceive can be very stressful, and any treatments that improve a couple’s sense of wellbeing and increase the partners’ energy levels should be encouraged.  Women who are having difficulty conceiving might also inquire about other approaches such as acupuncture and acupressure, which can increase the body’s ability to naturally balance energy and organ processes.

Avoidance of Toxins Helps Couples Wishing to Conceive

By Lauren Brandstadter | Contributing Writer - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2013
All too often, couples struggling to conceive a child undergo expensive, complicated and unsuccessful fertility treatments. Careful assessment of environmental toxin loads and nutritional status of both partners, and judicious implementation of lifestyle change strategies could avert the need for these treatments in some cases.  

Available statistics show that infertility is on the rise among men and women in the US. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the numbers of US women aged 15-44 who have “impaired fecundity” topped 6.7 million in 2010. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health, studying data from 7,600 women, estimate that as many as one in six couples seeking to have a child were unable to conceive after 1 year of contraception-free sex (Thoma ME, et al. Fertility Sterility. 2013: 99(5): 1324-31).

The trend is attributable to far more than later marriage and deferred childbearing. There are many factors in our environment, and in the products we use daily, that could be contributing to infertility.

Xenoestrogens, drug residues, pesticides, bioactive compounds in personal care products, and toxins in our environment are interfering with fertility levels. How does one peel back all the layers of information (and misinformation) about the myriad of toxins and their effects?

“Environment is definitely a factor in rising infertility rates”, says Victoria Maizes, MD, Executive Director of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, and author of Be Fruitful, The Essential Guide To Maximizing Fertility and Giving Birth to a Healthy Child. In her new book, she stresses the importance of minimizing toxin loads.

“Avoiding fruits and vegetables that have been sprayed with toxic pesticides, foods grown from GMO seeds, and packaged foods containing ingredients that originate from GMOs, and processed foods, should be at the top of the list of “do’s” when trying to conceive,” Dr. Maizes told Holistic Primary Care.

The organophosphates in pesticides have been shown to be endocrine disruptors. While there is not yet a definitive prospective study showing that exposure to pesticides causes infertility, the available science does provide cause for strong suspicion.

Roundup Risks

There’s good reason to believe that glyphosate, the main compound in the widely used Roundup herbicide, is interfering with human reproductive function.

One study found that glyphosate is increasing the number of birth defects in vertebrates, contributing to stillbirths and miscarriages (Paganelli A, et al. Chem Res Toxicol. 2010, 23(10): 1586-95). The data suggest that glyphosate alters retinoic acid signaling in developing embryos.

“The direct effect of glyphosate on early mechanisms of morphogenesis in vertebrate embryos opens concerns about the clinical findings from human offspring in populations exposed to glyphosate-based herbicides in agricultural fields,” the authors note.

Well over a decade ago, Canadian researchers published a study showing that exposure to this herbicide increased the risk of spontaneous abortion among female agricultural workers exposed to glyphosate (Arbuckle TE, et al. Environ Health Perspect. 2001; 109(8): 851–857). “For late abortions, preconception exposure to glyphosate….was associated with elevated risks. Postconception exposures were generally associated with late spontaneous abortions. Older maternal age (> 34 years of age) was the strongest risk factor for spontaneous abortions, and we observed several interactions between pesticides in the older age group.”

Investigators around the world have looked at possible mechanisms by which glyphosate interferes with reproductive function. Richard and colleagues at the University of Caen, France, showed that the compound is toxic to human placental cells at concentrations lower than those found with agricultural use. The toxic effect increases with duration of exposure and concentration (Richard S, et al. Environ Health Perspect. 2005 June; 113(6): 716–720)

In 2009, another group based in Caen looked at the toxicity of four glyphosate-based herbicides at dilutions corresponding to residue levels found in common foods. They found that the compounds could induce apoptosis and necrosis in human umbilical, embryonic, and placental cells (Benachour N, et al. Chem. Res. Toxicol., 2009, 22 (1), pp 97–105).

Also in 2009, a team at Indiana University tracked agrichemical residues in surface water, and found a strong correlation between elevated concentrations during the months of April to July, and higher risk of birth defects among women whose last menstrual periods were in the period from April to July (Winchester PD, et al. Acta Paediatr. 2009; 98(4): 664-91).

A New Threat?

Glyphosate is just one of 84,000 known toxins in our environment. Only a few thousand have been studied thoroughly with regard to their effect on human biology.

According to Dr. Maizes, it makes good sense for couples trying to conceive to minimize exposures as much as possible. “An organic diet is the best way to increase your ability to conceive. Eating organic grains, fruits, and vegetables, washing them with filtered water, and avoiding GMOs are very important factors in a person’s fertility.”

She contends that GMO foods are as dangerous as the pesticides that are sprayed on them. GMO foods have been shown to contribute to changes in the number and size of offspring in rats. They may also be contributing to the evolution of new animal and human pathogens.

Two years ago, Dr. Don Huber, emeritus professor of plant pathology at Purdue University, stated that he had discovered a previously unknown pathogenic microorganism associated with Roundup Ready GMO crops. The organism seemed to be linked to infertility and miscarriage among cattle, swine and horses. In an open letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Dr. Huber described the organism as having, “an approximate size range equal to a medium-sized virus…able to reproduce and appears to be a micro-fungal like organism.”

Dr. Huber, a long-standing and outspoken critic of GMO technology, claims that the organism is found in much higher concentrations on Roundup Ready soybeans, corn and alfalfa, and that it is also linked to several plant diseases.

“For the past 40 years, I have been a scientist in the professional and military agencies that evaluate and prepare for natural and manmade biological threats, including germ warfare and disease outbreaks. Based on this experience, I believe the threat we are facing from this pathogen is unique and of a high-risk status. In layman's terms, it should be treated as an emergency,” he wrote.

Several scientists at Purdue have challenged the “doomsday scenario” outlined by Dr. Huber. However, none has claimed that his discovery is fallacious. His work has yet to be replicated by other researchers, and the organism he believes he has found has not yet been further characterized. Predictably, the USDA has taken no action in response to his letter.

Avoid Processed Foods

Couples trying to conceive should eliminate—or at least minimize consumption of processed foods. This includes some foods that most people regard as “healthy.” Low-fat milk, for example, is very popular with reproductive-age women who believe it is a healthy alternative to full-fat milk.

Dr. Maizes says that’s highly questionable. “When the fat is removed from the milk, the product has less taste and a bluish hue. So the dairy company puts in powdered whey protein, which is technically milk, so they don’t have to put it on the label (as an additive).  The end result is a processed food - far from what the cow, and nature, intended.”

She added that regular consumption of low-fat milk actually promotes weight gain in many people – not the other way around. “If you’re going to drink milk, drink it whole, unprocessed, with all the nutrients intact.  In some cases, dairy companies add sugar (to low-fat milk) for a better taste. The more processed sugar someone consumes, the lower the production of the sex hormone binding globulin, which influences the body’s production and regulation of hormones.”

In general, she advises patients to avoid “low-fat” foods: they are usually heavily processed, and no longer “whole” foods.  

Dr. Amos Grunebaum, a gynecologist with over 30 years experience with high-risk pregnancies, had this to offer about environmental toxins.  “Yes. There is now scientific evidence that environmental toxins such as pesticides and exogenous hormones are potentially interfering with fertility in the United States.  Research shows that male and female reproductive health is especially susceptible to the impact of these chemicals.”  

He went on to say that reproductive toxicologists are constantly uncovering new evidence about how environmental toxins are contributing to suboptimal sperm health, reduced egg quality in women, menstrual disorders, pregnancy complications, low-birth weight and child development issues.

Minimizing Toxin Loads

“There is scientific evidence to support this claim that exposure to agents such as BPA affects fertility.”  The most dangerous compounds in plastics (BPA), pesticides (dioxins and organophosphates), and drug-residues are definitely endocrine disruptors.

Some can mimic the action of a certain hormone (such as estrogen) by binding to that hormone’s receptor and activating the same response that would be triggered by the natural hormone. Others prevent hormonal action by binding to hormone receptors, thereby leaving no room for the real hormones.  Still others bind to carrier proteins, thereby reducing the availability of these proteins to transport hormones like estrogen and testosterone through the blood stream to target tissues.

Some endocrine disruptors negatively impact hormone levels by either accelerating the breakdown of hormones or by deactivating the enzymes that facilitate their breakdown.


Dr. Grunebaum says avoiding canned foods, unless the can has a BPA-free liner, is a simple way to begin minimizing exposure to endocrine-disrupting compounds like phthalates and BPA. The website, www.treehugger.com has posted a guide to canned products rated for likelihood of containing BPA. Purchasing jellies, jams, sauces, and prepared vegetables in glass containers, whenever possible, is a safer alternative.

Other toxins affecting fertility are right in our homes. Chemicals in beauty and skin care products, shampoos and other hair care products, toothpastes, oral products, as well as deodorants, contain toxins that inhibit fertility. Dr. Grunebaum and Dr. Maizes both suggest using only non-toxic cleaning supplies.  To learn more about potential toxins in common household products, visit http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/.

A Bit About Fish

For many reproductive-age women, the subject of fish consumption has become cause for confusion. On the one hand, they hear the message that ocean fish are a healthy, lean protein source rich in omega-3s. On the other, there are the frightening reports of mercury and other toxic metals found in some types of fish.  

Dr. Maizes suggests that fish should not be eliminated from the diet of women wishing to conceive. Omega-3’s found in wild caught salmon, herring and other oily fish help raise fertility levels, and also aid in averting or lessening postpartum depression after childbirth.  Trout, though a fresh water fish, is also high in Omega-3s.

People should avoid wild fish that are known to have high levels of mercury, such as tuna, swordfish, mackerel and shark. The best fish to eat with the highest levels of Omega 3’s are wild-caught salmon, trout, herring and anchovies – and no more than 2-3 servings a week of about 6 ounces per serving, says Dr. Maizes.

The key, she says, is “wild caught.” Farm-raised fish are also eating processed foods – not algae—and this creates an imbalance in the ratios of omega-3 and omega-6’s. She recommends against eating a lot of farmed fish, as they produce higher omega-6 levels, which are inflammatory.

While it is true that we need both types of omega fats, Americans in general tend to be imbalanced in the omega-6 direction. There’s certainly no benefit in pushing this imbalance even further.

She noted that elevated omega-6 is a common finding among infertile men. Men with low sperm counts should also be taking Omega 3 oils, which are an important determinant for fertility (Saferinejad MR, et al. Clin Nutr. 2010: 29(1): 100-5).

Both Dr. Grunebaum and Dr. Maizes suggest incorporating detox programs into the care of couples trying to conceive. This is especially true if either or both partners are trying to lose weight. As people shed weight, they release toxins stored in the adipose tissue, and this can have a detrimental effect on the odds of conception.

The shedding of fat cells and release of toxins should be eliminated before conception occurs. It is important to ensure that calorie restriction is not too severe and that all nutrient requirements are met.

Trying to conceive can be very stressful, and any treatments that improve a couple’s sense of wellbeing and increase the partners’ energy levels should be encouraged.  Women who are having difficulty conceiving might also inquire about other approaches such as acupuncture and acupressure, which can increase the body’s ability to naturally balance energy and organ processes.

Bad to the Bone: Smoking Compromises Outcomes of Orthopedic Surgery

By John Otrompke | Contributing Writer - Vol. 15, No. 3. Fall, 2013
CHICAGO-- Among its many evils, smoking is detrimental to bone and connective tissue. Several studies presented at this year’s annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons show that smoking raises the odds of poor outcomes in common orthopedic procedures.

In short, smokers are much less likely to benefit from orthopedic surgeries like hip replacements and fracture repairs, and more likely to have complications.

Hip replacement patients who smoked experienced a higher rate of surgical revision, according to one study presented at AAOS. In a second paper, researchers found that smokers undergoing orthopedic treatment for pain experienced no benefit. A third study concluded that smokers had a higher rate of non-union and longer healing times after surgery.

“Nicotine-mediated vasoconstriction is considered to be the primary etiology of these effects, and we can postulate that decreased blood flow to the operative site results in decreased oxygenation of tissue, which can subsequently lead to soft-tissue and wound-healing complications,” said Bhaveen H. Kapadia, MD, orthopedic research fellow in the Center for Joint Preservation and Replacement at Sinai Hospital, Baltimore. Dr. Kapadia presented the hip replacement study.

Do-Overs

Dr. Kapadia and colleagues reviewed record for all hip replacements performed at Sinai between 2007 and 2009, and found that 110 of the patients were former or current tobacco users, with a mean age of 55. These patients were compared to a control group of non-smokers.  

They found that 8% of the smoking patients required a surgical revision within 46 months of the original procedures, compared to 1% of those who did not smoke. In five of the smoking patients, surgical revisions were required because of infection, while four revisions were done to address pain and component loosening. Of those patients who continued to smoke, six out of 65, or 9.2%, had revisions; in former smokers the number was two out of 45, or 4.4%.

Caleb J. Behrend, MD, a resident in training at the University of Rochester, New York presented data from large study of 6,779 patients who received treatment for painful spinal disorders. Nearly 9% of the patients over age 55, and 23.9% of those under 55 were smokers at the time they sought treatment.

The patients were asked to subjectively assess their pain during treatment. Researchers found that non-smokers had less pain than patients who smoked, regardless of age. In addition, non-smokers and patients who quit smoking during treatment experienced clinically meaningful reduction in pain, but those who continued smoking during treatment had no such improvements.

Those patients in the Rochester study who quit experienced an average reduction of pain by 1.5 points on a ten-point scale, which was statistically and clinically significant.  

“There’s kind of a myth that smoking makes smokers feel better,” said Dr. Behrend. “They may think so, but it certainly isn’t helping them if you actually look at the data. The clinical science shows very profound association between smoking and other chronic pain problems, such as leg and central back pain.”

Fracture Complications

Smoking had a negative effect on rates of bone union following fracture repair procedures, as well as recovery time following surgery, according to a metanalysis presented at the AAOS meeting.

The adjusted odds of non-union was 2.3 times higher in smoking patients than in non-smokers, and mean healing time for all fracture types was 30.2 weeks in smokers, compared to 24.1 weeks in non-smokers. However, this metanalysis did not show a significantly higher rate of infection among smokers.

The report was based on data from 18 studies between 1993 and 2011, representing 6,480 patients, 1,457 of whom were smokers at the time of surgery.

“The main direction for future research is to look at the effects of smoking cessation programs which can be instituted at the time of fractures,” said Mara L. Schenker, MD, an orthopedic surgery resident at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, who presented the metanalysis.

“This context is not like elective surgery where we can say to the patients in advance that they need to quit smoking. In this case, the patients come in and they’re injured, so we want to look at the effects of implementing a smoking cessation program at the time of surgery,” explained Dr. Schenker.

In general, orthopedic surgeons have recognized the detrimental effects of smoking on the musculoskeletal system, and many of them strongly recommend that whenever possible, patients should participate in smoking cessation programs prior to orthopedic surgery.

Environmental Toxins: A Hidden Factor in the Obesity Epidemic

By Linda Clark, MA, CNC | Contributing Writer - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2013

It is no secret that as a nation, the United States is getting fatter.

Over the past 50 years, the prevalence of obesity in adults has nearly tripled, from 13.4% in 1962 to 35.7% in 20101-3. The economic, social, and medical burden this places on our society cannot be overstated.  It is a healthcare crisis of immense proportions.  

Environmental Toxins: A Hidden Factor in the Obesity Epidemic

By Linda Clark, MA, CNC | Contributing Writer - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2013

It is no secret that as a nation, the United States is getting fatter.

Over the past 50 years, the prevalence of obesity in adults has nearly tripled, from 13.4% in 1962 to 35.7% in 20101-3. The economic, social, and medical burden this places on our society cannot be overstated.  It is a healthcare crisis of immense proportions.  

Covering Your Ass(ets): Wealth Protection for Clinicians

By Erik Goldman
Many health care practitioners have no clue how vulnerable their assets may be. But a few simple, inexpensive steps can make a world of difference in terms of asset protection, according to Michael Gaeta, LAc, a featured speaker at HPC's upcoming Heal Thy Practice conference.

Cannabis: A Remedy for Crohn's?

By Janet Gulland, Contributing Writer

Medical cannabis, while certainly not a "cure" for Crohn's disease, produced marked symptom  reductions in  a small but compelling study of patients who did not obtain relief from steroids and other conventional drugs.

Omega-3s Reduce Breast Cancer Risk Factors

By John Otrompke, Contributing Writer - Vol. 14, No. 2. Summer, 2013

Daily supplementation with high doses of omega-3 fatty acids markedly reduces breast tissue hyperplasia and key biomarkers for breast cancer in pre- and post-menopausal women.

A New Angle on Nitric Oxide & CVD Prevention

By Erik Goldman - Vol. 14, No. 2. Summer, 2013
It's been more than two decades since nitric oxide was named "Molecule of the Year" by the journal, Science.

Glutathione Shots Reverse Vocal Cord Polyps—Quickly!

By Erik Goldman
Glutathione given intravenously can quickly resolve vocal cord polyps and may have a role in the management of other respiratory tract disorders.

For Crohn’s Patients, Splenda’s Not So Splendid, Equal Equals Trouble

By Erik Goldman

Artificial sweeteners Splenda and Equal may be problematic for people with Crohn's disease because they appear to promote the growth and adherence of E. coli.

Bifido Probiotic Quells Pollen Allergies

By Erik Goldman

Oral supplementation with a specific strain of Bifidobacterium lactis (NCC2818) markedly reduced clinical symptoms as well as inflammatory cytokine concentrations and basophil activation in people with seasonal allergic rhinitis and grass pollen allergies.

How Hyperglycemia Drives Cognitive Dysfunction

By Erik Goldman

Hyperglycemia and insulin resistance cause actual structural changes to key brain regions involved in cognition, greatly increasing the risk of cognitive dysfunction.

Skinny, But Sick

By Erik Goldman

Nearly 40% of normal-weight teenagers in the US show metabolic evidence of diabesity and increased cardiovascular risk.

“Electronic Health Revenue” is Key To Independent Practice Success

By Erik Goldman - Vol. 14, No. 1. Spring, 2013

Integrative medicine in an independent private practice can still fly, even in a difficult economy, as Dr. Jeff Gladd of Ft. Wayne, IN has effectively proven. The key, says Dr. Gladd, is to develop new income streams and to get paid for currently uncompensated practice time.

In Approving GM Salmon, FDA Treads into Fishy Waters

By Kristen Schepker, Contributing Writer - Vol. 14, No. 3. Spring, 2013

Inan unprecedented step, the Food and Drug Administration recently announced that it is about to approve a fast-growing genetically engineered salmon. The fish will become the first-ever GM animal approved for human consumption, marking the start of a controversial journey into uncharted waters of our food supply.

Thylakoids in Leafy Greens May Help Regulate Appetite

By Lauren Brandstadter - Vol. 14, No. 1. Spring, 2013

Everyone knows spinach and other leafy greens are packed with important nutrients. What's less known is that these veggies come with built-in appetite regulators. Thylakoids—the membrane-enclosed photosynthetic "pouches" inside the chloroplasts of green leaves—trigger satiety signals and slow lipid absorption in humans & other mammals.

The Daniel Plan: A Merger of Faith & Functional Medicine

By Gabrielle Zastrocky, Contributing Writer - Vol. 14, No. 1. Spring, 2013

The Daniel Plan, a holistic health initiative co-developed by a mega-church pastor and some of the pioneers in functional medicine is proving highly effective in motivating people to make meaningful and lasting lifestyle changes.

The Daniel Plan: A Merger of Faith & Functional Medicine

By Gabrielle Zastrocky, Contributing Writer - Vol. 14, No. 1. Spring, 2013

The Daniel Plan, a holistic health initiative co-developed by a mega-church pastor and some of the pioneers in functional medicine is proving highly effective in motivating people to make meaningful and lasting lifestyle changes.

Perinatal Choline May Reduce Risk of Schizophrenia

By Gabrielle Zastrocky, Contributing Writer - Vol. 14, No. 1. Spring, 2013
While it is too soon to make clinical recommendations, new research shows that choline supplementation during pregnancy and after may help attenuate one of the key brain changes characteristic of schizophrenia,

Consider Gastrointestinal Problems in Patients with Osteoporosis, Arthritis

By Erik Goldman - Vol. 14, No. 1. Spring, 2013

There are strong correlations between celiac disease and other causes of intestinal permeability and common disorders of the bones and joints. Autoimmune reactions, facilitated by increased intestinal permeability, is sometimes an underlying cause of arthritis and osteoporosis.

Top Tips for Preventing and Treating Childhood Colds & Flu

By Janet Gulland, Contributing Writer - Vol. 13, No. 4. Winter, 2013
With cold and flu season in full swing across much of the US, many parents are seeking safe-non pharma options for protecting and treating their children. Holistic Primary Care asked several prominent integrative pediatricians what they recommend to the families they treat.

Top Herbs for Immune Support

By Kerry Bone, Contributing Writer - Vol. 13, No. 4. Winter, 2012

In the current era of increasing pathogen resistance to antibiotic drugs, there is a great need for new approaches for preventing colds, flu and other common infectious conditions. Key immune support herbs like Echinacea, Andrographis, and Astragalus can be valuable allies.

 

Vitamin D Reduces Fatigue in Cancer Patients

By John Otrompke, Contributing Writer - Vol. 13, No. 4. Winter, 2012

A new study shows that Vitamin D supplementation, at a dose of 2,000 IU per day, reduced the symptoms of fatigue in a cohort of people with various types of cancer.

Escape Fire Highlights Holistic Medicine As Remedy for Nation’s Healthcare Woes

By Walter Alexander, Contributing Writer - Vol. 13, No. 4. Winter, 2012
Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare is not the first documentary to bemoan the inadequacies of healthcare here in the US. But it is unique and commendable for the way it looks at potential solutions already known in "real world" practice.

Organic Labels & Fables

By Kristen Schepker - Vol. 13, No. 4. Winter, 2012
The number of products carrying claims like "all natural" and "all organic" on their packaging has grown rapidly in recent years. In this changing food landscape, it is important for consumers and healthcare providers alike to understand the real meaning behind such terms.

Predictive Antibody Testing Facilitates Early Detection of Autoimmune Disorders

By Erik Goldman - Vol. 13, No. 4. Winter, 2012
Advances in immunology are translating into an array of new tests that enable clinicians to detect  diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac, Crohn's, and autoimmune thyroid disorders at the earliest stages when they are most responsive to lifestyle-based treatment.

Healthcare Reform “No Birthday” For Holistic Medicine

By Gaby Zastrocky, Contributing Writer - Vol. 13, No. 4. Winter , 2013

With the re-election of President Obama, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare, will continue to roll out. In the trenches, holistic practitioners are struggling to understand exactly how the reform plan will affect them. Some are optimistic about greater inclusion of holistic modalities; others see trouble ahead.

GMO Truths, Consequences, & the Right to Know

By Kristen Schepker - Vol. 13, No. 4. Winter, 2012
California's Proposition 37, which would have required labeling for foods containing genetically-modified ingredients, was defeated on November 6, but in many ways, the proposition was still a victory for the movement to raise awareness about the potential health consequences of GMO food consumption.

Pantethine a Safe Option for Patients “On the Cusp” of Cardiac Risk

By Erik Goldman - Vol. 13, No. 4. Winter, 2012

Pantethine, a derivative of vitamin B5, offers a safe option for improving lipid profiles and reducing cardiovascular risk beyond what can be obtained with a low-fat diet and lifestyle modification alone.

Hip Hop & Health

By August West
Hip hop heavy-hitters Method Man and Redman have gone vegetarian, following the lead of their Wu Tang Clan bandmate, GZA, who's been a raw foodie for years. They're part of a wave of health-conscious rappers trying to bring a positive, holistic message to young people.

Probiotics Reduce C. difficile After Antibiotic Treatment

By Erik Goldman
A new systematic review shows that probiotic prophylaxis can prevent Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea, one of the most problematic side-effects antibiotic drugs.

Endothelial Glycocalyx: A New Focus for Cardiovascular Risk Reduction

By Erik Goldman
The endothelial glycocalyx, a gel-like glycoprotein layer that coats the inner surface of the endothelium throughout the vascular tree, has become a new focus for reducing risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular events.

Massive Survey Shows Many Clinicians at a Breaking Point

By Erik Goldman
According to a new survey of more than 13,500 US doctors by the Physicians' Foundation, over 80% feel medicine is in decline, 77% are pessimistic about the future, and over half are planning major changes in their practices. That's a poor prognosis for the future health of the nation's healthcare systems.

Breast Milk May Protect Infants From Deadly Intestinal Condition

By John Otrompke, Contributing Writer

Human breast milk contains a unique substance that may protect newborn infants from necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), an often lethal inflammatory condition that commonly affects premature and low birth weight babies.

 

Breast Milk May Protect Infants From Deadly Intestinal Condition

By John Otrompke, Contributing Writer

Human breast milk contains a unique substance that may protect newborn infants from necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), an often lethal inflammatory condition that commonly affects premature and low birth weight babies.

 

Breast Milk May Protect Infants From Deadly Intestinal Condition

By John Otrompke, Contributing Writer

Human breast milk contains a unique substance that may protect newborn infants from necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), an often lethal inflammatory condition that commonly affects premature and low birth weight babies.

 

Chlorinated Water Increases Risk of Asthma, Respiratory Distress

By John Otrompke, Contributing Writer
Swimming in chlorinated water increases risk of asthma and respiratory problems in children, says Alfred Bernard, PhD, research director at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. In a study of nearly 2,000 children, those who spent 30 or more hours in chlorinated pools before age 3 had triple the risk of respiratory problems.

Chlorinated Water Increases Risk of Asthma, Respiratory Distress

By John Otrompke, Contributing Writer
Swimming in chlorinated water increases risk of asthma and respiratory problems in children, says Alfred Bernard, PhD, research director at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. In a study of nearly 2,000 children, those who spent 30 or more hours in chlorinated pools before age 3 had triple the risk of respiratory problems.

Chlorinated Water Increases Risk of Asthma, Respiratory Distress

By John Otrompke, Contributing Writer
Swimming in chlorinated water increases risk of asthma and respiratory problems in children, says Alfred Bernard, PhD, research director at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. In a study of nearly 2,000 children, those who spent 30 or more hours in chlorinated pools before age 3 had triple the risk of respiratory problems.

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