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Posts Tagged ‘remedies’

In a previous article, I wrote about the importance of protein and how much one should consume on a daily basis. Now I’m going to be a bit more specific.

The most abundant protein in the body is collagen. Also, collagen makes up about ninety-percent of connective tissue. This is important for a number of reasons, not the least, musculoskeletal health. If “musculoskeletal health” seems vague, think: degenerative joint disease, degenerative (spinal) disc disease, disc herniations (or “slipped” discs), tendonitis/osis, osteoporosis, sprains and strains, etc.. Collagen essentially provides the tensile strength of tissues. If you don’t have enough collagen or your collagen is “weak” or poorly formed, you’ll be susceptible to injuries and all types of musculoskeletal disorders; among other problems that I’ll touch on briefly as well.

There are twenty-nine types of collagen throughout the human body. Collagen is a major component in many tissues, especially bone, cartilage (including intervertebral discs), tendons, ligaments, muscles, skin, blood vessels, lung tissue, and even the cornea of the eye. Now you can see how the integrity of your collagen is so vital to the functioning of your body. Remember, structure determines function, and collagen is a major part of your structure. So now let’s discuss how to make and maintain strong collagen.

First, you need (to digest and absorb) adequate amounts of protein in order to supply the raw materials. Remember, the building blocks of protein are amino acids. Any amino acids can be used in some areas on the collagen molecule, but the key ones are proline, lysine, and glycine. You shouldn’t have to be concerned with eating large quantities of food that contain these specific amino acids in high levels. Focus on getting an adequate amount of protein from a variety of sources and that should cover your bases. Although, vegetarians and vegans may want to seek out foods high in these amino acids to be sure. And, those with injuries and/or chronic musculoskeletal conditions may want to ensure higher than typical amounts of these amino acids.

Now I’ll discuss the synthesis of collagen. First, in order for your DNA to begin the process (I’ll keep it simple), you need zinc. There is an important zinc-dependent enzyme, DNA polymerase, that allows for the proper function of DNA. This is why zinc is an extremely important mineral in general. The proper function of DNA is an absolute necessity for every cell in your body; especially cell growth.

As mentioned above, the amino acids lysine and proline are necessary. These amino acids then need to be hydroxylated (which means adding an -OH group). For this reaction to occur, you need iron, vitamin C, and alpha-ketoglutarate. Focus on the iron, vitamin C, getting enough protein and you shouldn’t have to worry about the alpha-ketoglutarate (for the most part).

The next step in forming collagen is known as glycosylation (adding glucose basically). This requires available glucose (or galactose) along with vitamin A and manganese. Now don’t go out consuming pure glucose in order make sure this step happens. But do make sure you have good blood sugar metabolism in order to have it available for the cells to use. I have written several articles related to blood sugar. Click here to read my article on “what” to eat, and here to read about “how” to eat.

After glycosylation, pro-collagen is eventually formed which is/are basically chains that are linked with the help of sulfur. So sulfur is essential for collagen formation, but it does have other roles in the body as well. In supplement form, sulfur can be obtained from “MSM” (or methylsulfonylmethane). Additionally, there are “sulfur-amino acids” that can be taken as supplements or gotten from food. These amino acids are cysteine and methionine. Foods that are especially high in sulfur include kale, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, garlic and eggs.

Pro-collagen then requires transport outside of the cells which again requires vitamin A and zinc.

At this point pro-collagen is converted to collagen and then strengthened by cross-linking the fibers (or fibrils) with the help of copper-dependent enzymes. Please note that this enzyme can be inhibited by high levels of the amino acid homocysteine. If you’re not familiar with homocysteine, I have written about it in another article linked here. If homocysteine inhibits this enzyme, the strength of the collagen fibers may be compromised resulting in weak or dysfunctional collagen. This is extremely problematic and may thwart the whole effort. See my article linked above for the “antidotes” to homocysteine. It will “save” more than just your musculoskeletal health.

That essentially covers the formation of collagen. To recap, here is a list of the most important nutrients: protein (esp. the amino acids: proline, lysine, and glycine), zinc, vitamin C, iron, vitamin A, manganese, sulfur, and copper. Don’t forget healthy blood sugar metabolism. And you can also include the nutrients that are necessary to metabolize homocysteine.

Before I finish, I want to touch on another point. Collagen can form adhesions, so to speak. This is the result of excessive cross-linking of collagen. Essentially, when this happens, the fibers don’t glide along one another smoothly. Adhesions can result in decreased range of motion in a joint; and it can be caused by decreased range of motion (usually post-injury or post-surgery). Adhesions in other structures that require collagen (such as blood vessels) may affect their function as well. The key nutrients for preventing this excessive cross-linking (thus aiding in normal cross-linking) are bioflavanoids. In nature, bioflavanoids are found in the white, pithy part of citrus fruits under the rind. They’re also contained in most fruits and vegetables as well as green tea. So in addition to structural treatments designed to increase range of motion, bioflavanoids may be particularly helpful. These can be obtained from supplements as well as food.

I’ll give you an example of how helpful bioflavanoids can be, as well as collagen formation in general. A 42-year-old patient who had undergone a double-mastectomy was referred to me for herniated discs in her neck as well as shoulder and rib pain (in addition to hip and knee pain). I surmised that most of her symptoms were a result of scarring and adhesion formation from the surgery (in addition to a lack of regeneration or degeneration of collagen in her neck/discs, hip and knee). The reason I felt this was because she had never injured any of those areas and there was no history of “overuse” as in repetitive sports. The surgery can be considered an injury, but regardless, she didn’t recover well if pain and decreased range of motion persisted.

I treated her structurally to get her muscles, ligaments, joints, and even skin functioning optimally. In thinking about the nutritional component of her pain and realizing this concept of adhesion formation and collagen; I instructed her to take a bioflavanoid supplement containing dried fruits and vegetables; and she also began juicing fresh fruits and vegetables (even better!). I also had her take a specific mineral related to sulfur metabolism. After about one month of treatment she reported “I feel better”, “I finally feel good”. After about two months, she was doing great and reported a “75%” improvement in her neck, shoulder, and rib pain and was able to walk long distances without pain in her hip or knee. This is a significant improvement, especially after undergoing surgery, in addition to chemotherapy and radiation. I recently saw her after a three-to four-week hiatus and she reported that a fair amount of the pain and discomfort had come back. Sure enough, the holiday season and her busy schedule interfered with her juicing and taking the supplements which allowed the adhesions to reform and decrease her range of motion, while increasing her pain. It may be unfortunate that she’s currently relying on supplements to remain pain-free, but it sure beats pain medication. With more time and consistency, she should be fine on a well-rounded, whole-food diet.

In conclusion, the array of nutrients necessary for collagen formation and maintenance helps explain why a well-rounded diet is so important. And remember, collagen is important for more than your musculoskeltal health. It’s absolutely vital for your (cardio)vascular system. Oh right, and something as simple as anemia (iron or folic acid/B12 deficiency) and hypochlorhydia can (and most certainly will) affect your musculoskeletal and cardiovascular health. You see, it does all fit together if you can find the missing pieces.

Also, remember that skin is dependent on collagen (among other things), and without sufficient amounts, wrinkles will result. I wonder if those collagen injections people get could be used for more than just vanity. And when the visual effects wear off, does the body “steal” it from (say) the lips to put it where it’s more important for survival? I hope so.

Source: http://www.metabolics.com/

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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imagesA bursa is fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion; and lies between a tendon (or muscle) and bone, which allows for virtually “frictionless” movement between these structures. When a bursa gets inflamed, it can lose it’s ability to create a smooth gliding surface and become irritated. The result will be pain (sharp or dull) and decreased range of motion. The pain can occur with or without movement. Bursitis (inflammation of a bursa) is a relatively common condition that I see in patients.

There are several ways a bursitis can occur. The most common would be due to structural imbalances and faulty calcium metabolism. Typically I see these two occur together. An infected bursa will also get inflamed, but that is much more rare, though still usually treatable with conservative, non-invasive methods. There are bursa all over the body, so to speak, but the common ones that get inflamed are in the shoulder, “hip” (outside of the upper thigh), and spine.

Treatment directed towards balancing the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, and sometimes even skin will resolve the structural imbalances. Because “everything is connected”, it’s not uncommon for muscle and joint dysfunction in one part of the body to result in a bursitis in another. For example, the most common structural reason for “hip”, or trochanteric bursitis is excessive foot pronation (or “flat feet”). [the (greater) trochanter is bony eminence on the upper, outer part of the femur, or thigh bone] A bursitis of the shoulder can be caused by neck, TMJ, or pelvic dysfunction, and sometimes even foot dysfunction. Bursitis in the spine can occur for any number of reasons including postural distortions (due to muscle dysfunction) and spinal, pelvic or extremity structural imbalances.

When a bursitis is the result of faulty calcium metabolism, nutritional supplements are almost always indicated. Keep in mind that structural imbalances will almost always accompany a calcific bursitis. Therefore, treatment should be directed towards correcting both issues. The reason a bursa gets calcified may be two-fold. First, anything that is chronically inflamed will usually begin to calcify. Second, calcium won’t be directed properly if there is a nutrient imbalance. I’ll discuss calcium metabolism in relation to bursitis in this article. Click here if you are interested in reading my article about inflammation.

Typically the person with a calcific bursitis will have stiffness upon waking and feel better after movement. This type of pain pattern will usually be the case with any type of “calcific pain”. As far as nutrients go, the main ones to consider are vitamin D and essential fatty acids or EFA’s (usually omega-3’s). This is because the problem usually begins with an excess amount of blood calcium that gets deposited in the bursa instead of the bone. Vitamin D raises blood calcium levels by absorbing it from food (or supplements) in the digestive tract, or by extracting it from bone. [Having calcium taken up from the bones is never a good idea as it can lead to osteoporosis.] Omega-3 fatty acids (or oils) will take calcium out of the blood and deposit it in the bones. The problem arises when there is an excess amount of vitamin D, or a lack of EFA’s; either of which can cause excess levels of calcium in the blood. The former is less likely, unless you’ve spent a fair amount of time in the sun or supplement excessively.

The next factor that plays a role is when the body is overly alkaline. This will cause any excess blood calcium, assuming there is an insufficient amount of EFA’s to drive it into the bone, to precipitate into the tissues, bursae in this case. So the solution is two-fold. Adequate amounts of EFA’s and an environment that is NOT overly alkaline. The remedy would be to make sure you get adequate amounts of EFA’s and possibly supplement with an acidic type of calcium. I often use both with great success.

Keep in mind that you will not always have a calcific bursitis show up on an x-ray for there to be a calcium metabolism problem. If it does show on an x-ray, the problem is quite chronic. Fortunately, in my experience with patients, bursitis (calcific or not) is usually something that resolves completely with conservative care.

There are many other potential calcium metabolizing nutrients that may be necessary, with the most common being magnesium and vitamin B6. Lastly, if these don’t work, one needs to consider further complicating factors including: infections, digestion, general pH balance, and chemicals that may be affecting calcium metabolism.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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Understanding the biochemical pathways involved in nutrient and drug actions is of prime importance when working with patients. Using this information can help the practitioner choose the best treatment while also helping to inform a patient about the processes that occur in their body.

In studying these these interactions over the years, I’ve long-noticed a primary distinction between the way drugs affect the body and the way natural therapies affect the body. From what I can see, many drugs work “against” the body, while natural therapies work “with” the body. I’ll detail a few examples to show you my point.

1) statin cholesterol-lowering medications
These drugs interfere with (or block) the body’s natural production of cholesterol. This is turn lowers the cholesterol level in the blood.

A natural approach would be to increase the body’s natural ability to break down cholesterol, and hopefully look in to addressing the reason why the body is making more than is considered healthy.

2) aromatase inhibitors
Aromatase is an enzyme involved in the production of estrogen. Excess levels of estrogen have been implicated in breast and ovarian cancer. So these drugs are mainly used in those with breast and/or ovarian cancer, in order to block the production of estrogen.

A natural approach might be to help the body (specifically the liver) break down, detoxify, or “clear” these estrogens from the system more efficiently; rather than to outright block the natural production of estrogen.

3) “osteoporosis” medications
Bone is constantly remodeling. That is, new bone is continuously being formed, while old bone is continuously being broken down. Certain medications used to treat osteoporosis (known as bisphosphonates) are designed to inhibit the body’s natural breakdown of (old) bone; in an attempt to maintain the bone density that already exists.

A more natural approach would be to facilitate the growth of new bone cells through supplying the body with the raw materials necessary to build bone; amongst other methods.

4) antidepressant medication or SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)
A lack of the neurotransmitter serotonin is commonly considered one of the hallmarks of depression. Let me first say that serotonin and other neurotransmitters are constantly “floating” in the area between nerve cells called the synaptic cleft. Generally, one nerve cell (the pre-synaptic) will release serotonin into the cleft in order for an adjacent nerve cell (the post-synaptic) to take-up the serotonin and allow it’s effects to take place in the body. Normal metabolism dictates that the first nerve cell (pre-synaptic) will also naturally “reuptake” (i.e.: take back if you will) much of the serotonin it released into the cleft or space. These SSRI drugs are designed to prevent serotonin from naturally being removed (or re- taken up) from the area between nerve cells. Again, it blocks the normal action of the body, in turn leaving more serotonin “around” in hopes that the second nerve will use it and allow its action(s) to take effect.

A more natural approach would be to see if perhaps the body’s production of serotonin is low is the first place. If so, a natural approach would work with the body in order to produce more serotonin, as opposed to blocking the natural self-regulating mechanism of reuptaking it.

There are many other examples of how the action of drugs work to block or impede the body’s natural functions; while the aim of natural therapies is to help facilitate or enhance the body’s natural functions in order to accomplish a desired result. Perhaps the reason that natural therapies have few known side-effects is because they work “with” the body’s natural processes as opposed to working “against” them. When looking to achieve a desired result, wouldn’t you rather work “with” your body than “against” it?

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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The word “detoxify” has become somewhat of a buzz word in the natural health field. Many patients ask about it, and so I will share some thoughts on it. As you probably suspect, detoxification is a general term that refers to the body breaking down potentially toxic chemicals and eventually excreting them from the body. According to Chris Astill-Smith, DC, DIBAK, there are more than 75,000 synthetic chemical that exist.

There are five major organs of detoxification: 1) the liver, 2) the kidneys, 3) the colon (large intestine), 4) the skin, and 5) the lungs. Of these five organs, most people are aware that the liver is a major, if not the major organ of detoxification. Therefore, I’ll focus on the liver’s role and function in this process.

The liver has 2 major phases of detoxification: creatively named, “phase 1” and “phase 2”. There is actually a “phase 3” that is being talked about, but let’s keep it simple.

First of all, there are 2 main classifications of toxins: endogenous (those created within the body) and exogenous (those from outside the body or the environment). Endogenous “toxins” (or biochemicals that need to be cleared or detoxed) mainly consist of neurotransmitters, hormones, eicosanoids, certain fatty acids, and retinoids. Exogenous toxins (or xenobiotics) are just about every man-made chemical or pollutant (including drugs, cancer-causing chemicals, pesticides, etc.). Interestingly, Dr. Bruce Ames says that 90% of the body’s detoxification processes probably deal with toxins that are endogenously produced.

Many, but not all toxins are fat-soluble. Therefore, many toxins are stored in fat cells. So a person who has more (essentially excess) fat, could mean they have more toxins. And very often, as I frequently see, the body needs to shed those toxins before it is capable of shedding the excess fat. Regardless, the main purpose of the liver’s detox phases is to make a toxin more water-soluble in order for it to be excreted effectively. That said, some toxins will stay in fat tissue indefinitely if they are not converted to a water-soluble form.

I’ll keep it simple (so not entirely precise) and say that phase 1 deals with making a toxin water-soluble, in order for phase 2 to be able to rid it from the body. Keep in mind that many chemicals are actually MORE toxic after they go through phase 1. That is, they can then be considered carcinogenic (or cancer-causing) after phase 1 detox whereas if left “alone” they were only potentially carcinogenic. So a deficit in phase 2 detox can be extraordinarily dangerous. Then again, a problem with phase 1 detox can also cause a host of problems.

The bottom line here is that you need precise nutrients for each phase in order to detox effectively. Here they are (although there may be a few more than listed).

Phase 1:
Vitamins B2, B3, B6, B12; folic acid; glutathione (made of the 3 amino acids; cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine); branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine); flavanoids (found in many fruits and vegetables); and phospholipids (fat-derived chemcials).

In order to protect the body from the damaging effects of toxins that are in the intermediate stage; which have gone through phase 1 but not yet phase 2, we need: Vitamins A, C, and E; along with (minerals) selenium, copper, zinc, manganese; coenzyme Q10; thiols (found in garlic, onions, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, etc.); and bioflavanoids (found in fruits and vegetables).

Phase 2: the amino acids (or building blocks of protein): glutathione, glycine, taurine, glutamine, ornithine, and arginine

Again, there may be some more nutrients that are helpful, but if you cover your bases with those mentioned, chances are your liver will be well-equipped to handle most, if not all toxins. Please note that phase 1 mainly consists of B-vitamins, phase 2 mainly amino acids (essentially protein), and the “in-between” stage needs mainly antioxidants.

Unfortunately, there is no one nutrient that can take care of everything. Therefore, the most important nutrient that one needs in order to detox effectively is the one they are deficient in.

A thorough history, and in-office applied kinesiology methods can be effective in helping determine what nutrients may help you. There are also many laboratory tests that can help determine what you need most to detoxify effectively.

Many symptoms and conditions can be traced back to an inability to detoxify effectively, so delving into them all would seem a bit over the top. Simply cover your bases with a good whole-food diet containing adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals, protein, and healthy fats. By the way, drinking organic vegetable juice(s) on a daily basis is by far one of the best ways to up-regulate detoxification. Don’t forget the protein though.

And one last thing: if you have a toxic colon, you may have to deal with that before your liver can get up to speed. I say this because one of the liver’s main functions is to detox the colon. I encourage you to read this article related to digestive health.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

Sources: http://www.metabolics.com/

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Recently I wrote two articles on the topic of (adrenal) stress. Please refer to those articles in order to gain a better understanding of how the adrenal glands and stress play a role in our health.

When I think of experts in the field of endocrinology (the study of the hormone-secreting endocrine glands), Janet Lang, DC comes to mind first. I wholeheartedly agree with her approach(es) to restoring proper endocrine/adrenal gland function in the body, and have applied them successfully with many patients. She has outlined 16 of some of the most important lifestyle factors that should be avoided and 16 “opposite” lifestyle behaviors to “do” in order to recover from adrenal fatigue.

AVOID
1 – Pushing yourself to exhaustion

2 – Sugar, caffeine, and junk food

3 – Being critical and harsh with yourself

4 – Skipping meals

5 – Eating carbohydrates by themselves

6 – Staying up late and catching your “second wind”

7 – Arising early if you don’t have to

8 – Food that you react to or are allergic to

9 – Drinking sodas, coffee, alcohol, juice

10 – Making someone else responsible for your health

11 – People who steal your energy

12 – Taking care of everyone and everything else

13 – Feeling guilty about caring for yourself

14 – Excessive seriousness

15 – “The grind”

16 – Aggressive exercise

DO
1 – Pace yourself

2 – Eat real, whole, fresh food

3 – Be compassionate and kind to yourself

4 – Eat every two hours

5 – Eat a combination of carbohydrate, fat, and protein

6 – Get to bed by 10:00-11:00pm

7 – Sleep until 7:00-8:00am when possible

8 – Eat balanced, nutritious food

9 – Drink water, herbal teas

10 – Become empowered and informed about your health

11 – Be with people concerned for your well-being and helpful in your recovery

12 – Take care of and nurture yourself

13 – Find an inner balance and sense of peace with taking care of yourself

14 – Find things that make you laugh

15 – Do things you enjoy

16 – Mild to moderate exercise

Dr. Lang’s approach has proven to be helpful (and often necessary) in allowing patients to overcome their health concerns and conditions time and time again. I thank her for her contributions, and you might too.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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According to Medline Plus and the Merriam Webster® medical dictionary, dysmenorrhea simply means “painful menstruation”. Other sources report that menstrual pain must be significant enough to interfere with normal activities of daily living to be labeled dysmenorrhea. The information in this article applies to painful menstruation regardless of the severity, in addition to cramping or spasms whether it’s perceived as painful or simply uncomfortable. Additionally, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) mention the following symptoms associated with dysmenorrhea: cramps or pain in the lower abdomen or back, pulling feeling in the inner thighs, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, and dizziness. But again, this article will simply focus on pain and cramping (or spasms). One more thing worth mentioning is that I will be discussing primary dysmenorrhea (caused by the reasons mentioned in the next paragraph) as opposed to secondary dysmenorrhea (commonly caused by endometriosis and/or uterine fibroids).

The ACOG reports that increased levels of prostaglandins which are naturally present cause uterine pain. Prostaglandins are natural biochemicals found in nearly all the cells of the body. And one their functions is to regulate the contraction of smooth muscles (of which the uterus is made of). The ACOG also says that before a female’s period begins, these levels increase; at the onset they are “high”; and during menstruation these chemicals begin to decrease.

The standard medical treatment for dysmenorrhea (as reported by the OCAG) “may include medications and techniques” to relieve pain. The medications include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen to block the body’s production of inflammatory prostaglandins. Also OCAG says: “Hormonal contraception, such as birth control pills, patches and vaginal rings, also reduce menstrual pain. In some cases, the hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) may be recommended”. The “techniques” refer to different surgical methods that are mentioned on their website.

The OCAG also mentions “Other Treatments” which include: vitamin B1 and magnesium supplements, massage, acupuncture or acupressure, and stress management. They do however, say that these approaches will not prevent the condition. I’m not sure if that statement is entirely correct as I found this quote on prevention.com: “Like calcium, magnesium plays a role in controlling muscle tone and could be important in preventing menstrual cramps”. Two scientific references are cited after that statement, but I cannot find the full text of one of the articles, or understand French for the other.

Now I’ll discuss how I can help a patient with dysmenorrhea achieve greater health through chiropractic and applied kinesiology care. According to Walter Schmitt, DC, DIBAK, DABCN (one of my mentors) there are 5 possible causes of dysmenorrhea. These are : 1) spinal and pelvic subluxations, 2) ileocecal valve, 3) visceroptosis, 4) calcium metabolism, and/or 5) hormonal imbalance. Let’s look at each individually. The explanations I cite may or may not be exactly the same as Dr. Schmitt’s.

1) Spinal and pelvic subluxations-
Personally, I prefer to use the term joint restriction/dysfunction (lack of full joint range of motion) instead of subluxation (“bone out of place”), but that’s not worth differentiating here; and the two terms are used interchangeably despite an actual difference. Spinal and pelvic joint dysfunction can have an impact on organ function because of the related nerve supply to those organs. The uterus receives its nerve innervation from spinal levels T10-12 (T=thoracic/”mid-back”), L1 (L=lumbar/”low back”), and S2-S4 (S=sacrum). It is thought that there is a positive correlation between the function of the vertebral joints that reside at the same levels as the nerves that control an organ (the uterus in this case). Here is published research on that idea; though I wouldn’t be surprised if you can find research stating no correlation – that seems to be the nature of research. Additionally, if there is “torque” or misalignment in the pelvis, the structure of the organ that resides in it may also be compromised. And remember, structure determines function, not the other way around. This connection has been noted numerous times in my patients. Again, extensive research on this topic has been difficult for me to find; fortunately those patients who have been helped by this approach did not require me to provide them with research before they consented to the treatment. Obviously the treatment in this case consists of manual adjustments to the spine and pelvis (or elsewhere) to restore optimal joint range of motion. Here is one study on chiropractic adjustments specifically related to dysmenorrhea.

2) Ileocecal valve
This is probably one of the most unknown (or least-if ever talked about) parts of the body. It is a sphincter muscle in the cecum (“pouch” between the small and large intestines) that mainly prevents the waste products in the large intestine from refluxing back into the small intestine (specifically the ileum). This is the same idea as the esophageal sphincter becoming “lax” and allowing the contents of the stomach to reflux back in to the esophagus. This structure really deserves its own article because if it is malfunctioning it can cause (direct and indirect) systemic effects throughout the body. Essentially, it can be stuck “open” or “closed”. The “open” variety is much more common; which allows for the (“toxic”) contents of feces in the large intestine to flow backwards. The large intestine should “store” feces in order for eventual elimination, while the small intestines is meant for absorption. So essentially this problem results in a build-up of toxins in the small intestines that may get absorbed into the body and specifically the lower abdomen and back. Because the general “solution to pollution is dilution”, the body may concentrate fluids in that region (where the uterus resides as well) and the result may be swelling and inflammation in the region and its organs. The usual suspects causing the ileoocecal valve to remain “open” is diet (esp. harsh, fibrous, irritating foods), food allergies/sensitivities, parasites, and “emotions” – this is my experience and was brought to my attention from Dr. Scott Walker. I can’t tell you how many times this is the “cause” (well the cause is really the 4 examples just mentioned – of which they may also have another cause) of severe, acute low back pain. The onset is usually sudden, with no trauma. It’s often the person who picks up a piece paper off the floor, or is brushing their teeth and then suddenly experiences terrible low back pain. Click here for more information on the ileocecal valve.

3) Visceroptosis
This refers to when an organ prolapses or “drops” from its normal resting position. Again, structure determines function. In regard to the uterus, I often find this to be the cause of malfunctioning (inhibited or truly weak) abdominal and/or pelvic floor muscles; as those are the muscles responsible for keeping the uterus in its normal position. It can also result from “weak” or lax ligaments that support it.

4) Calcium metabolism-
This can be a result of numerous reasons and will also be the topic of a separate article. There are many causes of muscle cramps and spasms, and calcium metabolism (not necessarily deficiency) is high on the list in my experience. I say “metabolism” because a patient can have adequate stores of calcium in the body, however it may not be “directed” to the appropriate area of the body and result in symptoms (in this case the soft tissue or smooth muscle of the uterus). The relationship between calcium and muscle cramps or spasms is widely known and here is one reference. This certainly can be a result of calcium deficiency (usually from poor food or supplement choices). More commonly though, the calcium needs to be directed into the soft tissues appropriately. I find the most common factors affecting calcium metabolism to be a magnesium deficiency, pH (acid/alkaline) imbalance, and/or essential fatty acid imbalance.

5) Hormonal imbalance-
This is a topic that definitely requires multiple articles of discussion. Regardless, the most common condition resulting in functional female hormonal imbalances that I see is “estrogen dominance”. This can be the result of an excess of estrogen, a decrease in progesterone, or an imbalance in the proper ratios between estrogen and progesterone. I didn’t search for research citations on this as hormone imbalance is a well-known cause. The fact that birth control pills are a common medical treatment speaks of this. Treatment generally needs to be directed to diet and lifestyle, supplementation (vitamin, mineral, essential fatty acid and herbal esp.) to restore hormonal balance, and reduced exposure to xenoestrogens in my experience with patients.

I would actually add a sixth possible cause to be essential fatty acid imbalance. That is, (usually) the ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid levels in the body. This can result in excess inflammation being poorly controlled and is almost always the result of dietary choices. Essential fatty acid supplements (fish oils or plant-based omega-6 oils) are my usual recommendation, until dietary changes can sustain normal balance. As mentioned above, this problem can exacerbate or result in calcium metabolism problems and/or hormonal imbalances.

Dysmenorrhea tends to be a rather simple condition to overcome, though perhaps not “easy” on an individual level.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

Additional sources: http://healthydevil.studentaffairs.duke.edu/health_info/Dysmenorrhea%20-%20severe%20menstrual%20cramps.html
http://www.metabolics.com/

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“Added value” is in quotes because it is the title of an article written by Sarah Murray, and published in the “Health” magazine of yesterday’s (9/16/09) Financial Times newspaper. The subtitle is: “Public-private partnerships in food fortification are an efficient and sustainable way of improving the health of the world’s poorest”. I will speak about the health related topics. This article is intended to explain the value of nutritional supplements of human health.

Many people believe that supplements are not necessary and some go as far as saying that the body won’t utilize supplements for the intended purposes, basically saying they don’t work. I imagine these people would agree that supplements derived from whole foods (dried and ground into a tablet, capsule, or powder) will work. However, I’ll be referring to both natural supplements and those synthesized in a laboratory; which end up as the exact molecule (vitamin, mineral, or amino acid) contained in food; or even further, it’s activated form (i.e.: the form the body converts it into to make it usable at the cellular level). Let’s begin with some information contained in Murray’s article.

In 2007, health specialists evaluated students in Beijing, and concluded that their ability to learn was not hampered by mental factors, but in fact physical. “Many of the children had iron-related anemia and were deficient in vitamins A and B.” The children were then fed a diet fortified with these nutrients. As Murray states: “The impact was dramatic. There was a fall in the anemia rate from 13.7% to 2.5%, and vitamin B1 deficiency dropped from 24.8 to 4.5%, while vitamin B2 deficiency fell from 17.7% to 7.9%. As a result, the children’s attention rates increased considerably and their performance improved markedly.” The rest of the article speaks mainly about helping feed and nourish the world’s poorest, and the economics of it. This clearly illustrates that supplementing one’s diet (through fortification in this instance) can have a marked, measurable change on a person’s health and functioning. I do not recommend my patients eat fortified food however, because they are often highly refined and processed. And they may even require the body to use up extra nutrients (those that were provided by nature and removed by man) in order to be properly metabolized.

images-1I would also like to bring attention to a book written by Gary Null, Ph.D., titled “The Clinician’s Handbook of Natural Healing – The first comprehensive guide to scientific peer reviewed studies of natural supplements and their proven treatment values“. The inside cover reads: “Covering more than 1.3 million studies, Null looked at each of the primary nutrients found in both foods and herbs as well as in supplemental and higher therapeutic dosages”. Null’s book contains 857 pages of text, but then again the 1.3 million studies says it all. I don’t know the process which he went through to analyze these studies, however, I do know he is probably one of the brightest individuals in the world; and I believe he is a researcher and certainly knows the process well. Also, Appendix C contains “toxicity studies” – this section makes up 21 pages of the 857 pages of text (not including table of contents or index). PS: I bought mine when it was first released, there are now updated versions available (I have no financial connection with this product).

I have one quick word on therapeutic dosages and toxicity. If you are taking supplements at less than therapeutic dosages or less than recommended time, you may not see any change in your health or health condition. Therefore, it would not be “fair” to say that supplements don’t work, or that you don’t need that supplement. Additionally, if you are taking dosages that are above therapeutic ranges, you may potentially experience side effects. Obviously, therapeutic dosages will vary individually. Remember, too much of anything, including water, can actually actually kill a person. A quick note about myself. My doctor (and one of my mentors), Tim Francis, DC, DIBAK who practices in Las Vegas, NV once prescribed me 180 mg of zinc (in a single dose) for about 6 months before decreasing it. Studies vary tremendously on toxicity levels with some reporting as low as 75mg, some saying 500-1,000mg, and one reporting 10,ooomg or more in one single dose resulting in nausea, vomiting and diarrhea from zinc. The higher doses were reported from the highly reputable National Research Council. The information was obtained here. I only noticed beneficial effects and “watched” excessive levels of lead, mercury, and copper “pour” out of me (via lab tests). And, in case you were wondering; yes, I make it point to travel there at least once a year, consult with him throughout the year, and get treated structurally and emotionally by local doctors.

Here is some information prescription drugs. According to this reference (the article was first released in 2004): “Over 100,000 people are hospitalized each year with GI complications caused by NSAID use, and an estimated 16,500 patients die from NSAID induced GI bleeding. This is far more people than die of AIDS (13,500). In fact, such GI bleeding is the 14th leading cause of death in this country, according to the CDC”. Examples of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are ibuprofen and naproxen (of which one brand name is Aleve®). Let us not forget the complications with Vioxx® and the enormous experiment on the female population with hormone replacement therapy (and it’s devastating effects). There are many, many more examples of death from drugs I choose not to explore. They should be easy to find. One more thing about Null. He co-authored an amazing study with other medical doctors titled “Death by Medicine”. The study begins by saying; “These statistics contained in this report confirm that American medicine is the number one cause of death in the United States”. Additionally, it reports that outpatient adverse drug reactions total 199,000 deaths and $77 billion in cost per year.

Let’s forget about statistics, and go back to why I feel supplements are usually necessary. First, I do believe we should get our nutrients from whole, organically-grown foods. However, I feel it can be close to impossible to correct certain nutrient deficiencies through food alone; especially if you are already suffering from a health concern related to nutrient deficiencies. Also, your condition may not necessarily be “related” to a nutrient deficiency, but high levels of nutrients may be necessary to correct its problem. For example, excessive toxic metals in my case. That may be considered a toxic exposure and not a nutrient deficiency case, however, I can’t figure out how I would have gotten those metals out in that amount of time without supplementing (with high doses of zinc). And I also don’t consider more than 6 months of supplementation very quick. Could it have been done through diet, maybe. Do you realize how many oysters I would have had to eat on a daily basis to get that same amount of zinc. And I really don’t care for oysters. And I’m just like you; how much time are you really willing to wait before you feel better?

I’ll finish off with some simple examples of how nutrients get used up quickly during normal lifestyle activity.
1) The mineral molybdenum is required to detoxify aldehydes. You are exposed to aldehydes every time you smell perfume or cologne, and smell the wonderful fragrances when you walk down the detergent aisle in the grocery store. Here is a patient example for you: after not getting adequate results from treating a woman’s chronic neck pain structurally; I probed deeper into her lifestyle and asked her to avoid spraying perfume on her neck. And sure enough, she no longer noticed that neck pain. This example did not require supplementation; however, if she insisted to continue with perfume, that would have been the next step. I will continue to look deeper to find out if supplementing with molybdenum may help other aspects of her health; as I don’t really think she consumes enough through her diet. This could easily be considered “toxic exposure”, but if her molybdenum stores were optimal, and she was able to detox the aldehydes, would you still call it that?

2) Every time we smell diesel fumes from the trucks that go by, our anti-oxidant stores and depleted. By the way, they are depleted from many other environmental toxins we may not even be aware of. And, you may not have enough stores in the first place. Or they may be used up through the body’s natural and normal production of them to run biochemical cycles. Also, exercise increases free radical production.

3) The alcohol that might be enjoyed at celebrations requires a zinc-dependent enzyme, alcohol dehydrogenase, to be metabolized properly. Don’t forget you may need that zinc to detox heavy metals; and definitely for the enzyme DNA polymerase (necessary for EVERY CELL in the body to grow properly).

There are plenty of more examples. Diet is primary, supplements are secondary. However, supplements are often necessary based on the conditions I see in my patients. If you don’t have a particular health concern, you may consider using supplements for prevention purposes. Here’s another article on wrote on my top 5 recommended supplements for overall health. And another article on why it may be necessary to supplement. Lastly, one great way to get your nutrients through food is by drinking organic green vegetable juices daily. Thanks for reading!

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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