Category: Chiropractic Blog

Ginger…Amazing & Zesty & oh, So Healthy!

Ginger spice is probably the most common cooking spice in the world.  We find it in nearly every culture and used for food preparation on most continents.  More importantly, it has been used medicinally for thousands of years in both India and China.  It’s been used in tonics and tinctures and other medicinal forms in India for more than 4800 years!  And what is so special about this spice and what gives it such potential to help and heal?  Quite simply…it’s an oily resin in the ginger root itself called gingerol.  It’s also the element that renders that wonderfully zesty and fragrant character to ginger.

Ok…it’s great for health….but what, exactly, can it do?  There are many key benefits to using ginger regularly and we’ll address several of the top ones:

  1. Pain:  ginger is an exceedingly potent anti-inflammatory element.  As a matter of fact, there is research showing it to more effective than NSAIDs (non-steroidal drugs) in certain pain problems!  Ginger has been shown to affect the vanilloid receptors on nerve endings.  So it decreases our perception of pain as well as reducing inflammation…a major contributor to causing pain itself!
  2. Indigestion, Tummy Ache, Morning or Motion sickness: Gingerol has a wonderfully soothing effect on the smooth muscles of the intestine helping to decrease discomfort and facilitate movement of foods through the tract itself.  For morning sickness in pregnancy, it’s been shown to be exceedingly effective and thoroughly safe for both baby and mom.  So if you’re bloated, constipated or have other GI disorders this is an effective tool to use.  Eating whole ginger, drinking fresh ginger juice and inhaling diffused ginger essential oil are great ways to incorporate its use.
  3. GERD and Stomach Ulcers: It’s been shown in research that ginger can actually heal ulcers and the pain they cause but, interestingly, more recent studies have shown using ginger can be very effective at reducing the symptoms of GERD.  As a matter of fact, Molecular Nutrition and Food Research published research demonstrating that ginger was 6-8 times more potent than the most common drug used to treat GERD, prevacid.  Inflammatory problems of the bowel also respond very favorably to using ginger!
  4. Bacterial Infections: Properties of ginger have a wonderfully anti-microbial effect on bacteria as demonstrated in study published in the Journal of Microbials and Anti-Microbials that ginger proved more effective than chloramphenicol, ampicillin and tetracycline for staph aureus and strep pyogenes infections!  (Don’t let those names throw you…they’re just bacteria!)
  5. Anti-fungal: Yes, another type of infection….a fungal infection….has been shown to respond to ginger oil!  Ask any physician and they will tell you that fungi are always difficult to treat and even more so in the last several years.  You can prepare your own solution of 4-5 drops of ginger oil, 4-5 drops of tea tree oil in one teaspoon of coconut oil.  Apply this to the affected area 2-3 times a day and get prepared for results!
  6. Cancer: Studies at both the University of Minnesota and the University of Michigan showed “profound growth inhibition” and “delayed cell growth” in ovarian and colorectal cancers respectively.  It has been demonstrated to be helpful in the prevention and treatment of several forms of cancer and GI cancers seem to respond very favorably, as demonstrated in another study.

These are just some of the many benefits regular ingestion of ginger can do for us.  So what are the simplest ways to use this herb?  Cooking is an obvious answer and we can incorporate powdered ginger or use whole ginger in its root form.  Juicing the root itself and pouring the juice into recipes or even drinking it straight or in combination with other juices or beverages. (We’ve all heard of GINGER ale, right? …Not the healthiest thing…but there’s the idea!)  Ginger tea is amazing either hot or cold and, of course, quality standardized supplements of the spice are terrific, too….a preventative dose would be 500-1000 mg daily.

So avail yourself of the ginger and it many health benefits…you’ll only be glad you did!

Turmeric…An Herb Probably in Your Spice Cabinet…Amazingly Potent for Healing!

Everyone has heard of the herb Turmeric and some of us actually cook with it rather regularly.  It’s a staple in nearly every home in India and throughout China, it’s been used in oriental medicine and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years (research shows as much as 5000 years!) but most people in the US aren’t really aware of its benefits.  The spice itself is rather pungent and it’s difficult to consume enough of it to get the health benefits unless you’re eating it daily.  Since that’s almost never going to happen for most people, supplemental Turmeric will work great.

What we’re really after is the active agent in the spice which is called curcumin.  Thousands of studies have shown its effectiveness for conditions from diabetes to rheumatoid arthritis and even to cancer.  Let’s look at the largest benefits and how we most commonly use curcumin in our office.  The first of these is the anti-inflammatory character of the herb.  Studies show it has the action to be more diminishing of inflammation than the preponderance of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs without the toxic side effects such as ulcer formation, internal bleeding and a lowered white blood cell count.  It actually stops the transfer of a molecule across the nucleus of a cell which turns on a gene for inflammation.  Since inflammation in general is implicated in as the beginning stage of nearly every illness and curcumin is so effective at diminishing it, it is a super strategy to use for prevention as well as symptoms arising from inflammation.

Curcumin has probably been the most widely researched botanical in regards to cancer treatment and prevention.  It has been demonstrated time and again to facilitate recovery and treatment.  It does this predominantly by:

  1. Stopping the spread of cancer cells (metastasis)
  2. Helps destroy new cancer cells (apoptosis)
  3. Stops the formation of new blood vessels to feed a tumor (angioneogenesis)

So in the prevention and treatment of many cancers, particularly those of the digestive system, it can be super helpful.

Curcumin has been shown to be effective in the treatment and prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  It has the ability to reduce and retard development of those amyloid protein plaques that grow in AD, the retard nerve cell degeneration and improve memory.   So a simple and safe means of working to prevent and attempt to improve these disorders.

Curcumin has been demonstrated to be super effective at off-setting the damage done by free radicals in the body.  Those chemicals can cause cellular changes and diseases and are responsible for much of the aging of our cells.  The more free radical damage we can stop and repair, the healthier we are and the slower we age!  So once again, a simple and safe strategy for health as we age.

The simplest and, I believe, easiest way to incorporate curcumin is in a tablet form with a dose of 500-1000mg daily.  More than that is truly a medicinal dose and should be cleared with your health care provider before you undertake it.  Also, the formula should have bioperin in it to improve the absorption of the curcumin and is best to take with a meal that may have more fat in it.  So for an inexpensive, safe and amazingly way to improve your health….curcumin is a ticket!

Diet Drinks…Three Times the Risk of Alzheimer’s & Stroke…and More!

 

Diet drinks seemed like such a good idea…right?  The flavor and enjoyment of your favorite soda without all of those calories and the added sugar that comes with drinking a soda, it seemed like such a great concept.  If one happened to be a diabetic, it’s even better because you get all of that PLUS not make my condition worse!  It’s a win….right?  Wrong!  Many studies in the last 10 years are linking diet sodas to lots of different health problems, including heart attack, diabetes and even obesity.  But a recent study published in the journal Stroke, found that people who consumed one diet soda daily were 300% more likely to suffer from ischemic stroke (the kind of stroke where a blood vessel has a plug or blockage).  In 2012, another study demonstrated a much smaller risk or 30% but this time for typically less common hemorrhagic stroke (the kind of stroke where a blood vessel ruptures/leaks and then bleeds)  Compounding the scary results of this 2017 study was the elevated risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, too.  This wasn’t a small elevated risk either….but fully another 300% increased risk of developing the disease when compared to people who drank one diet soda each week rather than daily.  The current research is simply the latest in a pretty long line of studies demonstrating problems with diet soda consumption.  Three different studies published in 2007 and 2009 demonstrated between a 30 and 55% increased risk of Type II Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome (a group of conditions putting us at increased risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease).  Two other studies in 2012 added to these findings and showed an increased risk of death from all causes, elevated stroke risk and a 45% elevation of heart attack risk!  Yikes!

So the idea of the diet soda seemed like a good one….but the as the old saying goes….”the proof is in the pudding”.  The associated health risks simply show this isn’t the case. Even risk of increased obesity, one of the very reasons people drink diet sodas, is notable in the body of research data.  If that isn’t depressing enough, depression is another potential by product of diet soda consumption.  Interestingly, one artificial doesn’t seem to be better than the other and they all appear to have associated problems but of different types.  The data of cause and effect for specific artificial sweeteners simply isn’t out there yet.

So what’s really the take away from all of this?  Drink regular soda???  No…We already know there appreciable risks with that…but simply to drink either one in limited quantity (one or two a week) would be okay.  The optimal concept would be to drink water to hydrate….but who would dream of that?

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Oh, Nuts!!

How many times have I said that on the golf course?  More times than I care to count…so let’s use that expression in different way and speak about the crunchy, chewy and delicious food…the nut.

Nuts and seeds are amazing foods and are nearly always overlooked as being not only helpful but actually critical to gaining and maintaining good health!   It wasn’t even addressed or researched until the early 1990s when several large studies addressed nut consumption and found those who consumed them regularly (5 or more servings per week) were 35% less likely to die from heart disease!  Really? …from the nut?  Also, nuts have a significant cholesterol lowering capacity as well.  A huge compilation of studies was published in late 2015 which demonstrated each daily serving of nuts was associated with approximately a 5 mg/dl reduction in both total cholesterol and LDL (bad) fat in the blood!!  So eating a full serving of nuts daily can lower total cholesterol by nearly 30 points!  This is simply a remarkable finding.

At this juncture, most people are saying,”yeah, but if I eat all of those nuts I’ll get big as a house from all the weight I’ll put on!”  This simply isn’t true and nut consumption has been associated with a lower BMI, waist circumference and a lower likelihood of gaining weight or becoming obese. Now, of course, this doesn’t mean I sit down with 16oz of almonds at a time…but this has been demonstrated with eating 1-2 ounces of nuts each day.

Further, it’s remarkable to know that people eating nuts on a regular basis also enjoy greater longevity!  The risk of death from any cause for folks who eat nuts and seeds consistently is reduced by 27%  and in addressing heart disease only….the risk of dying from heart ailments of any kind is decreased by a whopping 39%!!

Among these other benefits, seed and nut consumption also reduce the risk of diabetes as both improve the glycemic of the diet significantly…thus, reducing insulin resistance which affords the beneficial protection!  Clinical trials have shown replacing carbohydrate foods with mixed nuts improves the HbA1c in patients with diabetes and the addition of pistachios to the diet was found to reduce insulin resistance in patients with prediabetes!

So one has to wonder…..does it get any better than the nut or it’s side kick the seed?  Eating them raw is the best means by which to eat them…or roasting them briefly ourselves.  Unsalted is also preferable and once you get used to them without salt, it’s very difficult to eat them salted again!  So please…eat up…nuts and seeds are great for you!

Exercise is Great for You….but Maybe not Your Sex Life!

 

“Everything in life can kind of be summed up in one word….balance!”  …So said a mentor of mine while I was growing up.  It took many years for me to begin to grasp the truth of that statement and now, it would seem, it applies even to the realm of physical exercise!  The expression “too much of good thing” holds dramatically true when it comes to physical exercise….particularly for men.

For many years, women were cautioned against over-training as it can readily lead to alterations in the menstrual cycle, miscarriages, general hormonal shifts and other symptoms.  Diminished training nearly always remedies the issue and normalizes the individual’s body.  But not so with men, who were often over-looked in this regard as it was thought the more a man can do, accomplish and push the more virile, strong and masculine you are!  WRONG!

Recent research from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill demonstrates that Mae West was off the mark when she stated, “Too much of good thing is even better”!  Too much of this good exercise thing leads to reductions in both interest/libido and actual engagement in relations.  Anthony Hackney, the professor of exercise physiology and nutrition at UNC, related they didn’t have clear understanding as to why, though they speculated diminished testosterone levels and simple fatigue lead to the decline.

So by all means move, move, move….it’s essential to health! But remember…too much of a good thing may easily lead to less of something better!

 

Arm and Hand Tingling & Pain….Can Chiropractic Care Help?

neck-and-arm-pain

 

In the hallways of our office, on the telephone and in the examination rooms one can often hear people making references to neck, arm and hand pain or pain accompanied by tingling and numbness.  Gratefully, most of these good people are commenting on how much better they feel or that the problem is resolved!  Unfortunately, many of them underwent long periods of time suffering and not getting the clinical assistance they need….as they didn’t realize chiropractic could help them!

Neck pain with associated arm and hand symptoms are extremely common.  Such problems come from many sources and our first job is to determine exactly where it’s coming from.  While problems of the blood vessels to the arms may be a cause, entrapped nerves in the arm itself or even a problem centrally in the brain….the absolute most common cause is irritation of nerve in the neck which then travels into the arm.  This can start from muscle imbalance causing irritation on the nerve, a joint moving abnormally or too little or even a slipped disc causing irritation in the neck and then on the nerve next to that disc.  Many of our patients have been told to use heavy pain killers, offered or received epidural spinal injections or been told to get spinal surgery before they arrive in our facility.  Depending on the individual problem….chiropractic care can absolutely help!

As demonstrated in an article in The Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, a 61 year lady with neck and arm pain received care from a chiropractic physician who had identified aberrant function of the joints in the lower neck area.  Following a course of prescribed care, she enjoyed full resolution of her complaints.  Fantastic!  Improving the function of the affected joints around the irritated nerve, thus removing the cause of the irrigation….provided her with the stable resolution she’d been looking for!

So if your spouse is telling you you’re a pain in the……….neck, arm and hand……a visit to a chiropractic physician for a consultation may be the best move to resolving it!

Dizziness and Chiropractic Care…Can it help?

dizzy-lady

So often we’ll hear our patients tell about issues and symptoms that have resolved and often the statements are accompanied with the comment, “I didn’t know chiropractic and spine care could help that?”  Such is the case with dizziness.

Anyone who has ridden too many rides at the fair or spun around in circles is familiar with the fairly awful feeling that can be described as dizziness or vertigo.  There are many causes of vertigo but the most common diagnosis rendered to those afflicted is  Idiopathic Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV.  A very long title to describe dizziness that comes and goes and it’s unclear what’s causing it.  Often, small calcium particles called canaliths are thought to be causing pressure on nerve endings in the middle ear which create abnormal signals to the brain.  Often, the condition is simply attributed to age…presumably occurring for no apparent reason. Many times medications are attempted to control the dizziness and the accompanying nausea or special maneuvers are attempted to dislodge the offending calcium bodies. Yet this is far from the entire story.

It is well established that the first two vertebrae in the neck, those just under the head, are responsible for creating nerve signals to brain which tell the body where it is relative to gravity.  When these vertebrae move normally, the healthy signals keep us upright and comfortable and able to walk and navigate normally.  Should abnormality of function in these upper neck spinal joints occur (vertebral subluxation), abnormal signals or diminished signal may result which then causes the brain to get faulty information….thus, resulting in dizziness.

A recent article published in The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research demonstrated just such a problem and full resolution of that problem with the application of chiropractic care.  As is often seen in our facility, a young lady, 33 years old, was suffering from dizziness of unknown origin.  She had present to an otolaryngologist (ENT) for medication and the maneuver described. Unfortunately, this wasn’t successful and she then visited a chiropractic physician who diagnosed upper neck/cervical joint dysfunction (vertebral subluxation) and prescribed a course of care.  She enjoyed full resolution of her dizziness with the care provided.  The problem was abnormality of the movement of the two vertebrae in the upper neck sending faulty movement information to the brain….and, as the doctor of chiropractic corrected those patterns of movement, the information to the brain normalized and the dizziness resolved.

So if you or someone you love is experiencing dizziness….a visit to a chiropractic physician just might have you also saying, “I didn’t know chiropractic helped that”!

Artifical Sweetners…A Downhill Slope to Obesity…Not at all What You were Told!!

splenda sucralose

 

So you thought that using that Splenda or Equal or Sweet n Low was going to help you enjoy something sweet without the calories, right?  That we could enjoy an upside…sweetness….without any of the downside….fat.  Unfortunately, it would appear that’s not the case.

Studies over a couple of decades have demonstrated that people who use artificial sweeteners gain more weight over time than those who don’t consume such sweeteners.  It’s an interesting finding and had many scientists and nutritionists asking “Why?” for quite a while.  Well, a new piece of research recently published in the journal, Cell Metabolism, is showing how that’s exactly the case.  Simply put, these sweeteners (and this study looked at Sucralose, the sweetener in Splenda) aren’t merely as inert or non-causative of any response inside the body.  It turns out that in the part of the brain where pleasure registers (That would be that great feeling when you’re eating that pie and say, “Yummmmm!”) there is also a mechanism that measures the amount of energy/calories associated with it.  What that means is if the amount of stimulation to the pleasure centers doesn’t match up to an amount of energy…it actually stimulates the hunger mechanism to increase the desire for more food!!

When test subjects (lab animals) were place on diets including Sucralose for a 5 to 7 day period and provided no foods with naturally occurring sugars.  Then they were given food that was naturally sweetened thereafter.  Wow….in the timeframe after the Sucralose use, they consumed 30% FEWER calories (less food) than when they were on the zero calorie artificial sweetener!!  Amazing!!

Professor Greg Neely, of the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Science and contributor to the research said, ” When we investigated why animals were eating more even though they had enough calories, we found that chronic consumption of this artificial sweetener actually increases the sweet intensity of real nutritive sugar and this then increases the animal’s overall motivation to eat more food”!    The bottom line to what he’s saying is that artificial sweeteners change how animals perceive the sweetness of their food and this is accompanied by a discrepancy between and energy levels…this then prompts an actual increase in caloric consumption.

This is incredible news!  People who are simply trying to lose weight, diabetics looking to control sugar intake (but will actually cause an increase in weight and, thus, a worsening of their diabetic presentation!) or people simply trying to be healthier by eating less sugar will need to rethink the use of such artificial sweeteners.

Maybe consumption of things artificial just isn’t such a great idea….

“What About Mary”? Facial Pain!

trigeminal-neuralgia-woman

 

Let’s call her Mary….a 74 year old lady who came to our office in pain:  A lot of pain.  The left side her face felt like it was burning all of the time…to greater and lesser degrees….and then there was the electric pain.  Shooting, sharp shocks searing right from her cheek bone to the center of her head.

Amazing pain…and Mary had been experiencing this to greater and lessor degrees for over 20 years.  Over the course of this period of time she’s seen more than 12 specialists and undergone numerous procedures.  She’s suffered many needles injected into her face, the side of her head and even in the roof of her mouth.  In Mary’s words, “I’ve been given more pills than there are in any Walgreen’s” and she’s undergone brain surgery on two separate occasions with an instrument know as a gamma knife.

Yet here was Mary….20  plus years later….still suffering.  She was experiencing symptoms from a condition called Trigeminal Neuralgia…an abnormal condition of the 5th Cranial Nerve (one of the 12 big nerves in the head).  Sometimes called a palsy or simply put…a nerve that’s not doing its designed purpose.  For this big 5th facial nerve, it would be providing normal sensation to one side of the face.  So if a man is shaving, he feels the pressure; if a woman is applying makeup, she feels the light touch of the brush; if a mosquito bites my forehead…I feel the sting. These normal day to day feelings are provided by this nerve but become abnormal and unsolicited with a condition like Mary’s….they become sharp, burning, electric, stabbing and searing pain WITHOUT anything to actually stimulate those feelings. Anything can then set off these very terrible pains…lack of sleep, brushing one’s teeth, chewing, smiling, shaving or any activity at all.  No doctors are truly certain of where it comes from and, as is clear in Mary’s case, know how to get rid of it.

Mary had heard from a friend that she had had very good results coming to our office for migraine headaches from which she suffered for ten years and was now headache free.   Her advice to Mary was, “What do you have to lose?”

Mary presented to our office and, after extensive evaluation, a plan of care was established.  Mary received corrective functional adjustment using an advanced technology, the Ultralign Technology, to alter the patterns of movement of the spine and other joints.  She received care to poorly functioning joints in her neck and even gentle care of several sutures or joints in her head.  Further, active forms of rehabilitation of the tissues of the neck was prescribed and initiated.  While progress was slow, some three months later, Mary could proclaim, “I’m 95% pain free for the first time in two decades…it’s miraculous”!  Now Mary is a wellness patient of the office and comes in simply to catch early problems before they ever create such issues again….and she’s had no resurgence since her initial corrective care.

Many people have conditions for which they may not no where to turn.  If this is the case for you or a loved one, call today. If we can help, we’ll tell you that…if we can’t, we’ll tell you that, too.

Chiropractic care…it may be just what this doctor ordered!

Pomegranates…Tasty, a bit Odd & Amazingly Healthful!

Pomegranate_ImageAsk anyone who enjoys Middle eastern foods, they’ll let you know pomegranate is found throughout nearly every dish they enjoy.  The fruit itself has both a sweet and tart character and it is this special flavor and unique texture, in conjunction with it obtaining super food status, that has increased its popularity remarkably in the United States in years of late.  The interior of the pomegranate is loaded with seed pods known as arils…clear, ruby-colored fruit that surrounds the crisp seed itself…all of which are edible!  Surprising to many people, the pomegranate fruit actually is one of the earliest fruits to ever be cultivated.  This richly red shelled fruit is even found throughout time in religion, art and culture…having mention in the Bible, Romeo & Juliet and the Greek mythological story of the seasons.

There is a very powerful anti-oxidant known as punicalagan which is the primary anti-oxidant of the fruit’s juice and is the source of over half of the anti-oxidant activity the fruit provides.  This anti-oxidant is both powerful and unique, helping to give pomegranate juice higher anti-oxidant activity than red wine, green tea, cranberry or grape juices or even acai juice.  Drinking the juice of the pomegranate has been shown in research to appreciably reduce oxidative stress (free radical damage) in healthy people.  There is a significant amount of research demonstrating that the potent antioxidant potential of pomegranate juice provides protection against heart disease, cancer and cognitive impairment.

Anti-inflammatory effects of pomegranate may render protection from cancer and other chronic illnesses and pomegranate has something called “anti-angiogenic properties”, which means prevention of new blood vessels to tumors thereby stopping their growth and development.  Since we’re using medical terms, let’s throw in another…”aromatase inhibitor”.  This simply means that like very few other foods (mushrooms being another) pomegranates contain this natural substance that slows or inhibits the production of estrogen which, in turn, can reduce the risk of breast cancer!  Men who have used pomegranate supplements or juice after prostate cancer have been shown to slow the increase in PSA after treatment.  As noted, brain function and memory have been evidenced to be positively effected by both pomegranate juice and supplements.  Supplements taken before and after heart valve surgery or coronary artery bypass prevented the associated post-operative memory dysfunction. People suffering with mild memory complaints performed better on memory task tests and displayed increased brain activation as measured by functional MRI after drinking pomegranate juice for a period of time.  Lastly, enjoying this tart fruit and its juice provides cardioprotective benefits.  The phytochemicals (plant chemicals) in pomegranates reduces damage/oxidation of LDL…which contributes significantly to plaques development in arteries.  Studies have also indicated blood pressure reducing qualities to this exotic fruit’s juice and even a reduction in plugged arteries!  In one study, patients with profound carotid artery blockage (the large artery leading to the brain), after drinking one ounce of pomegranate juice every day for a year, there was a 30% reduction in the plaque that caused the plugging!!  And of nearly equal significance, the study participants who did not take the juice actually had and INCREASE of plaquing of 9%!!

So while many people eat pomegranates because they’re unique and so very flavorful, there are tremendous benefits to regular consumption.  One precaution:  when you purchase pomegranate juice, be sure to buy 100% juice only which is not from concentrate to avoid added sugars.  So eat up…but wash your hands…or you’ll have stained fingers for a while!