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Posts Tagged ‘remedies’

The previous article titled “Hypothyroidism” was written to allow for an understanding of the function of the thyroid gland; the symptoms of hypothyroidism; and the medical approach to treatment. In this article I will focus on what I see as the potential causes of hypothyroidism in the first place based on my experience. Remember, many people have the same “diagnosis” but for different reasons. That is why I focus on treating patients and not their diagnosis or blood tests. By the way, I have yet to see the cause as a deficiency of taking drugs.

OK, in the first article I mentioned 7 different possible reasons for clinical or sub-clinical hypothyroidism. Let’s begin.

1) Structural imbalances in the cranium or TMJ (possibly affecting the pituitary)
The pituitary is nestled in the brain and sits in a little “saddle” that’s part of the sphenoid bone. This bone happens to be the center of cranial bone motion. If there are muscular imbalances in the muscles of the neck and TMJ, you can be sure that undue stress will be placed on the pituitary. Remember, structure determines function, not the other way around. There is even a particular cranial fault, which is corrected via the “pituitary drive technique” in applied kinesiology. It targets sphenoid bone motion specifically. But you must correct the muscle(s) involved as well, as muscles move bones; the “heart” of applied kinesiology principles. Just like adjustments to the spine and extremities; if the muscles haven’t been balanced, you can be sure the joint problem will come right back. I unfortunately don’t have research on this topic, as I wouldn’t be surprised if the government or drug companies are NOT handing out grants to people interested in researching structural stress on the pituitary. I could be wrong though.

2) Weakened/stressed out adrenal glands
The adrenal glands are the “stress” glands. They produce the hormone cortisol (and others) and neurotransmitters adrenaline and noradrenaline. One quick mention about thyroid hormone first. T3 is a much more (perhaps 90-95%) metabolically active hormone than T4. T3 is “made” by a conversion of T4 into T3, by removing one of the iodine molecules on the T4 (hence 3 molecules instead of 4). This is enormously important for the thyroid hormone to ultimately do its job appropriately. High or low levels of cortisol can however inhibit that conversion of T4 to T3. As a result, the circulating thyroid hormone will not work very effectively, and often cause the symptoms of hypothyroidism. One more thing – high or low cortisol can cause the body to convert T4 into “reverse T3”. This is when the iodine is pulled off the wrong part of the T4 molecule. This will result in a metabolically inactive hormone, that may even get tallied into the total T3 reading on blood tests. So it may look like there is plenty, but much of it may be inactive “reverse T3”. Reverse T3 can be ordered on blood tests, but I’ve never seen it, unless I instructed the patient about it and they asked for it to be ordered. There are ranges of normal on the test results for reverse T3, but there is usually a clause saying it’s not been studied enough to determine it’s accuracy. I would still look to get it in normal ranges if this is the suspected cause (you’ll see how soon). By the way, the reasons for imbalances in cortisol levels are too plentiful to mention here; but poor blood sugar metabolism is of prime importance (this does not mean you need to be diagnosed with diabetes or hypoglycemia). Most people have faulty have blood sugar metabolism (and stressed adrenal glands) to some degree.

3) Heavy metal toxicity
By now you probably know that heavy (toxic) metals can cause a wide array of problems. Well, here’s one more. Just like high or low cortisol, heavy metals can cause an inhibition in the conversion of T4 to the more active T3. Especially consider mercury, cadmium, and lead; but I wouldn’t stop there. By the way I often say “toxic” metals because aluminum is not “heavy”, it is actually “light” in molecular weight – and I wouldn’t want to avoid including it, as it is certainly toxic. [aside: check those salt packets you get from the deli – you just may find an aluminum compound on the list of ingredients]

4) Imbalances in estrogen and progesterone (commonly thought of as female hormones) – however, males also produce these hormones
According to Janet Lang, DC, an imbalance in estrogen and progesterone can lead to thyroid hormone being inactive at the cellular level. I’m not sure of the exact mechanism she proposes, but I agree, as I’ve seen it in patients who have these imbalances (usually a condition known as “estrogen dominance”). Janet Lang has dedicated almost all of her research to (functional) hormone problems.

5) Vitamin, mineral, and amino acid deficiencies
First, the amino acid tyrosine and the mineral iodine are the raw material to make T4 and T3. The “T” stands for tyrosine and it is an essential (must be obtained from diet) amino acid we get from eating protein. The number “4” or “3” refers to the number of iodine atoms attached to the tyrosine. So these are obviously necessary. Next, the mineral selenium in necessary for the conversion of T4 into the more active T3. A deficiency in this mineral would not allow for that conversion. Additionally, there are a number of vitamins and minerals that are necessary for the thyroid hormone receptor (where it “docks” in to the cells) to function properly; and for the manufacturing of the hormone. These include, but are certainly not limited to: iron; zinc; potassium; manganese; vitamins A, B1, B2, and E. Don’t forget digestion and absorption of these nutrients.

6) Imbalances in the output of pituitary and/or hypothalamic hormones
I spoke about this above regarding cranial and TMJ imbalances. The hypothalamus, which “controls” the pituitary can also be a problem in hypothyroidism. In addition to cranial treatments, there are some specialized supplements that can help the function of these glands.

7) Liver toxicity or malfunction
The liver is one of the main sites where the conversion of T4 to T3 takes place. An imbalance in liver function, for any number of reasons (usually toxicity or a build up of fat) can impede this conversion. For these cases, detoxification through diet, lifestyle and targeted nutrition is usually necessary.

Notice how the list of 7 problems above, doesn’t even mention the thyroid! That’s because I’ve never encountered a problem with the thyroid directly that causes a problem. I suppose that makes sense because most problems that exist arise through lifestyle (nutrition, stress, etc.) complications. Even a liver, adrenal, nutrient deficiency or absorption, or structural problem isn’t THE problem – it is the result. There is usually a combination of the factors mentioned that contribute to thyroid problems; which of them is primary depends on the person.

By the way, there are many people taking thyroid hormone in the form of drugs, and they still exhibit the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism. I find that this is usually a nutrient deficiency that presumably prevents the thyroid hormone receptors from working properly. Unfortunately, the conventional approach to this is usually to simply increase the dose, which may help temporarily.

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

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Arthritis simply means inflammation in a joint. I feel it’s a diagnosis given too loosely, too often. And I agree with the late Dr. David Walther in that: “Arthritis is often used as a wastebasket term for joint pain.” When people use the term/diagnosis “arthritis”, they are almost always referring to osteoarthritis; as opposed to rheumatoid, psoriatic, or others. The prefix “osteo” refers to bone involvement. Osteoarthritis specifically, is considered the most common joint condition, and that’s what I’ll be discussing in this article. In general the joint symptoms consist of: pain, swelling, aching, stiffness (especially in the morning), crepitus (a grinding noise or sensation), limited range of motion, and pain or stiffness in rainy weather. In general, the signs of osteoarthritis are basically a wearing down of the cartilage between the bone; and eventually destruction of the bone with possible bone spurs. Other more technical changes can occur, but that’s the basic idea. I will use the terms arthritis and osteoarthritis interchangeably.

Unfortunately, as with many diagnoses, the cause and most appropriate treatment is rarely investigated. Almost all pain accompanies inflammation, and many times people experience joint pain. And this is why I feel it’s a wastebasket diagnosis. However, many people experience the same symptoms and have the same diagnosis for entirely different reasons. With this being such a common problem, you’d think the medical and chiropractic community would look a little deeper into the cause and most effective treatments. I’m not saying every case of arthritis is “curable”, I’m saying a lot more can be done than the typically prescribed treatment of rest, anti-inflammatory medication, weight loss if “necessary”, surgery, braces or supports, ice or heat, and/or physical therapy. Sometimes a healthy diet will be recommended, which is obviously a good idea whether or not you have arthritis.

Usually the cause of arthritis is considered unknown. Although the following list has been considered as a cause or exacerbation: over-use, or wear-and-tear; genetic factors; structural or mechanical factors; and perhaps metabolic factors.

I believe a doctor should diagnose the process in which a person acquires a disease, not simply it’s name. It can be very helpful to diagnose the names of conditions, but that doesn’t mean you should stop there and try to cover up the symptoms. Again, that may be all that’s possible in certain cases, but I feel the physicians can do better in almost all cases. Additionally,  I’m not saying medication is not necessary at times, and I’m not saying that diagnosing the process can resolve a condition completely. However, you can be sure that you have a much better chance of overcoming your condition (or at least some of it’s nagging symptoms) if you figure out how it began in the first place.

This leads me to my next point in some of the proposed causes and treatments. The wear-and-tear scenario doesn’t totally add up because many people who don’t have arthritis in fact put more wear-and-tear on their joints than those who do have it. Second, many normal or underweight people have arthritis, though I agree being overweight may exacerbate the condition. Genetic factors may certainly play a role, but I think it’s way too prevalent for that to be a major concern; and lifestyle changes should be implemented in order to overcome those limitations if that is found to be the reason. I certainly think metabolic (chemical/nutritional) problems are an issue, and should get a lot more attention. And lastly, mechanical problems will definitely play a role, and that’s where chiropractic and applied kinesiology is key. Hmmm, NO! – it’s definitely not a deficiency of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs). Although your joints may feel better, a lot more damage will most likely occur in other areas of your body as a side effect.

Here is how I approach osteoarthritis. Evaluation of the patient should always include an assessment and treatment of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia (specific connective tissue), joint motion, bursa(s), and even skin (receptors) in some rare cases. Additionally, you should never simply focus on the joint in question only. Assessment of the joints above and below where applicable is always recommended. My patients are always keen to this as they never wonder why I’m looking to another area while still focused on their area of complaint. By the way, you’d be surprised how much the TMJ and cranial joints can affect other joints (and muscles) in the body. Lastly, when it comes to structural treatments, the muscles need to be neurologically facilitated before you begin strengthening them. So physical therapy is fine after that facilitation is done properly. You can read more about muscle facilitation in my article on applied kinesiology.

Next, let’s talk about metabolic or nutritional treatments. If NSAIDs work to relieve your arthritic pain, you can almost be certain that you have a deficiency in essential fatty acids (Omega 3 or 6 oils); as these both work on the same anti-inflammatory pathways. It’s just that NSAIDs block the production of inflammatory mediators (with side effects), while essential fatty acids work to promote the production of anti-inflammatory mediators. And remember, they are considered essential (not just by me)!

Also, the nutrients necessary to build collagen and cartilage need to considered, as an arthritic patient is most definitely deficient in those nutrients. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be degenerating cartilage and connective tissue faster than they are regenerating. These would include protein and vitamin C (the most basic nutrients) to build collagen; in addition to possibly zinc, manganese, iron, vitamin A, sulphur, copper, and perhaps others indirectly. Don’t forget blood sugar metabolism as glucosamine (the popular nutritional supplement that your body should naturally be making) is very important for joint cartilage. Note the first half of that word – “glucos(e)”, or sugar.

Calcium metabolism can also be of prime importance. This may prevent the bone spurring that occurs. Bone spurring essentially occurs because the calcium is not being “directed” to the proper place. Also, chronic inflammation in general will tend to cause calcification in areas of the body where it shouldn’t. For this, the most basic things to think of are magnesium and, again, essential fatty acid deficiency. I’ll speak more about calcium metabolism in another article as it can be complex and is beyond the scope here.

In conclusion, diet and food choices are key, as always. First, consider getting off of ALL food allergens, sensitivities, and those foods that cause lectin reactions. More can be read about that, and other natural anti-inflammatory compounds in my article on inflammation. Foods that promote an alteration of the body’s normal pH (acidity or alkalinity) can often be a problem. I’ll talk about that another time. For now, think whole foods, instead of processed. Lastly, consider a 3-4 week dietary “detox” program and see what that does for you. And please don’t forget the nightshades.

I can go on and on as you can see. I’ll end it with making one last point about making sure to rule out any underlying infection (local, systemic, or gut-related) of any kind. This includes fungal, yeast, (very important), parasitic, protozoal, bacterial, and viral. Toxic metals and other environmental chemical sensitivities can play a role as well.

The purpose of this article was obviously to share information. But perhaps more importantly, to get you to think. Please look for what  process is occurring in your body that is causing your problem, not just a name for it.

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

sources: some basic reference information for this article was obtained from google health

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The word inflammation comes from the Latin word inflamatio, which translates into: “to set on fire”. It is a term that describes the biological response to an injury or protection from a microbe. Essentially, this “injury” can only come from about 5 things: 1) physical trauma (e.g.: ankle sprain, etc.); 2) allergic reactions; 3) infections; 4) chemical toxins (e.g.: toxic metals, environmental chemicals. etc.) and 5) ionizing and UV radiation (e.g.: x-ray, sunlight, etc.). The”hallmarks” of inflammation are a change to the micro-circulation and build-up of inflammatory cells in the damaged area. The five key signs of inflammation are pain, redness, edema (or swelling), heat, and loss of use. You may not have all five, but in the most extreme case they all exist. These five signs are generated by the biochemicals which respond to any sort of tissue damage.

The biochemicals released are designed to help heal the damage that has taken place. They help clean up the debris from the damaged cells, bring more blood to the area to restore new growth, and improve the drainage. There is much controversy over when to “artificially” (through ice, nutrients, or medication) reduce inflammation. However, it’s generally accepted that acute (24-72 hours) inflammation is necessary to begin the healing process. Inflammation (that is one or all of the five key signs) that persists for longer than this time (that is sub-acute or chronic) may indicate an inability to repair properly; appropriately coined a “cumulative repair deficit” by Dr. Stuart White. Therefore, intervention in the sub-acute or chronic stages is usually necessary and certainly desired by the patient.

Let’s now discuss some natural ways to deal with chronic inflammation, considering that it is normal to have inflammation in the acute (and sometimes sub-acute) time-frames. First and foremost, the source(s) of inflammation needs to be avoided. For example, exposure to food allergies/sensitivities, chemicals, toxic metals, radiation, etc.. Additionally, if the inflammation is the result of a structural impediment, you may need muscle and joint re-balancing done by a doctor. If the source is not avoided or addressed, you are simply “painting over the rust” and dealing with symptoms as opposed to the cause.

The main natural remedy to alleviate inflammation would be Omega-3 fatty acids. I’ve often used Omega-6 fatty acids also; particularly gamma linoleic acid or GLA (found in black currant seed, evening primrose oil, and borage oil) with great success in patients that have chronic musculoskeletal inflammation. Generally speaking though, most people have too many Omega-6 fats compared to 3’s in their diet; so Omega 3’s are generally recommended more often. Omega 3’s are best found in fish and krill oil. Flax oil does contain Omega 3’s, however, many biochemical steps need to occur before they are converted into to EPA (the anti-inflammatory substance). And very often, these steps can be disrupted through faulty sugar metabolism, alcohol, and trans-fats. As a result, it’s quite possible that you’ll never achieve the potential anti-inflammatory effects you are looking for. Fish and krill oil on the other hand need no conversion, as they actually contain EPA. I do not recommend that you eat fish unless you absolutely know it’s “clean”, click here to read why.

Other natural anti-inflammatory compounds include turmeric, resveratrol, ginger, quercetin, garlic, onion, boswellia, rosemary, vitamins C + E, and should also be considered. However, keep in mind that no one ever has an “herb-deficiency”. Therefore, make sure you’ve covered your nutritional bases first; that is essential Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins C +E at a minimum. There may be other natural anti-inflammatory compounds as well, but the ones I mentioned should be more than enough.

Additionally, don’t forget that you need certain nutrients to rebuild the damage that has occurred from the inflammation. For this, think about rebuilding collagen, the most abundant connective tissue in the body. Therefore make to sure you have a sufficient amount of protein and vitamin C (the most basic nutrients) to build collagen. Some other nutrients for collagen formation would include: zinc, manganese, iron, vitamin A, sulphur, copper, and perhaps others indirectly.

In conclusion, it’s usually not apparent when you have chronic inflammation. The 5 key signs more often accompany acute inflammation and often are not observed with chronic inflammation if you don’t have pain or some sort of loss of function. This is especially true when there is inflammation in the arteries, which can lead to hardening of the arteries and ultimately cardiovascular disease. I most commonly see chronic inflammation as a result of poor dietary choices, environmental chemicals (and metals), and sub-clinical infections. Inflammation was the topic of a front-page article in Time Magazine titled “Inflammation: The Secret Killer”. It mentions the links between chronic inflammation and heart attacks, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases. So make sure you are getting anti-inflammatory compounds on a daily basis, through diet and/or supplements.

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

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These days cholesterol still gets all the attention when it comes to heart disease. In fact, I think way too much attention. There are other, often better predictors of heart disease than standard cholesterol tests. And these are routinely missed, even when the patient’s (and doctor’s) motive is to assess the potential risk of future cardiovascular events. I’ll talk about one very important one of those risk factors now. It is an amino acid called homocysteine.

Homocysteine was discovered by a man named Dr. Kilmer McCully. He is a Harvard Medical School graduate; and discovered this amino acid was responsible for arteriosclerosis (or hardening of the arteries) while researching a rare condition called homocysteinuria, forty years ago. He was researching two cases where an eight year-old child and and a two-month old child both had arteriosclerosis. Through further research he eventually made a connection between homocysteine and arteriosclerosis. Unfortunately though, when he first voiced this discovery, he was shunned by just about every medical professional. In 1976, the (“new”) chairman at Harvard said the “elders” at the school “felt” he had not proved his theory; and unless he could get grant money he would lose his position. They went as far putting his lab in the basement so he would have no contact with others, and then he decided to leave. For the next 27 months he could not find a single position in North America that would allow him to continue his research. McCully was later told that Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital did not want to be associated with his work, because it did not go along with the conventional wisdom that cholesterol and fats caused heart disease. You can read more about that story in an interview with McCully here. By the way, one main reason that he was discredited might be because one of the most common ways to treat excess homocysteine levels is through nutritional supplements.

Anyhow, homocysteine is naturally produced in the body through the necessary breakdown of the essential amino acid, methionine. However, just because it is naturally produced does not mean that it is benign. An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded this: “An increased plasma total homocysteine level confers an independent risk of vascular disease similar to that of smoking or hyperlipidemia” (or high blood lipids/fats). There are many more studies in existence that speak of the risk of high homocysteine levels in relation to (cardio)vascular disease so I won’t bore you with repeating this information.

Homocysteine causes several problems. For instance, it can oxidize cholesterol (making it harmful to blood vessels), cause scarring inside the lining of blood vessels, and increase blood clotting. Essentially, high levels of homocysteine will ultimately damage cells and the walls of the blood vessels. As a result, cholesterol will get deposited in the arteries in an attempt to “patch” up the damage. That is why cholesterol can “cause” cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes. Also, this damage can lead to peripheral arterial disease, usually in the legs and feet, which in a worst case scenario can eventually result in the need for amputation like in diabetics. So does cholesterol really “cause” vascular problems? Well, that can be argued, but it is really the body’s attempt to heal. Hmmm, I guess cholesterol is not so bad to begin with. I will talk about that in another article. By the way, there are many causes of blood vessel damage.

High homocysteine levels have been implicated in coranary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, deep vein thrombosis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease and more.

So what’s the solution? Some fancy well-marketed drug? No, B-vitamins of course! That’s right vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid (in addition to other biochemicals) will metabolize homocysteine properly and prevent high levels in the bloodstream. Folic acid and B12 will recycle homocysteine back into methionine and B6 will convert it down to cystathionine (and then hopefully down into cysteine and sulfate). So if these vitamins lower homocysteine levels, then a deficiency in them can cause high blood levels. McCully also reports other causes such as imbalances in thyroid and “female” hormones, in addition to kidney problems.

Please don’t get me wrong, many doctors are aware of homocysteine, but not enough in my opinion. I have seen blood tests from patients with known peripheral artery disease and cardiovascular complications without reporting their homocysteine levels. Also, some patients show me their blood tests with normal cholesterol levels (but no homocysteine); and report that their doctor has told them they don’t need to be concerned with heart disease. Also, look at a recent blood test of your own and (depending on the lab) you may find that they claim to determine your heart disease risk factor based on cholesterol levels alone.

One more thing, measuring homocysteine can also be used to find out if you have a deficiency in these B-vitamins. Again, there could be other causes, but it’s as simple as doing a follow-up test after supplementation for a few months.

PS: One common sign I have discovered in patients, which stems from high homocysteine (perhaps B-vitamin deficiency) is easy bruising. Bruising is basically damage to blood vessels. This is true even in those who “should” be bruising like some of the professional aerial acrobats (or intense athletes) I work with; but it’s also common in people who are not extremely active. The flip side to easy bruising would therefore also mean an inability to heal the vessels as well. And interestingly your body will not produce collagen (a main component of blood vessels and other structures) properly if your homocysteine levels are too high. But that concept, along with the other necessary nutrients to make proper collagen is for another discussion. Now don’t go trying to judge your homocysteine levels based on if you bruise easily or not; that’s just one observation I’ve made working with patients. It is worth asking your doctor to run this test – and remember those B-vitamins are necessary for a lot more functions than homocysteine metabolism.

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

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Digestive problems are one of the most common conditions I see in my patients. And they are usually one of the easiest to “fix”. Now I want to discuss one possible reason that people can have faulty digestion, related to hydrochloric acid (HCl).

The chemical aspect of digestion begins in the mouth with salivary enzymes contacting food and beginning the breakdown process. It would certainly be feasible to argue that digestion actually begins in the brain when we first look at appetizing food and begin to salivate. Regardless, I will focus this article on the role and critical importance of HCl as it relates to the digestive process in the stomach.

The pH (i.e.: acidity, neutrality, or alkalinity) of  gastric (stomach) acid should normally be between 1.5-3.5, according the National Institutes of Health, some sources report an even lower pH. This is the most acidic area in our body and is a result of HCl. There are other components of gastric acid, mostly water, but let’s focus on HCl. I’ll now discuss the four roles HCl plays in the stomach. Two roles relate directly to digestion and the other two indirectly.

1) Hydrochloric acid denatures proteins. Essentially, it cleaves the bonds and basically “melts” the proteins. This is what it is generally thought to do, but there is more. [By the way, undigested proteins tend to result in allergic reactions, as the body can’t recognize the substance (when undigested) and the immune system then “attacks” it causing the reaction]

2) Hydrochloric acid also activates a substance called pepsin, via its conversion from a substance called pepsinogen. It is pepsin that mainly digests the protein we eat. Protein is critical for just about everything in our body and every cell in our body; namely collagen, elastin, hormones, neurotransmitters, enzymes, antibodies, hair, skin, nails, and muscle; and other bodily functions.

3) Indirectly HCl assists digestion further down the gastrointestinal tract by acting as antiseptic in the stomach. This occurs through literally killing microorganisms that exist in the food we eat. These organisms can come from the handling of food, natural organisms that may be present on raw food, and the unfortunate result of spoiled, semi-spoiled or uncooked meat and fish. Hydrochloric acid will also assist in the prevention of food fermentation that may occur in the dark, moist environment of the stomach. This function of HCl is of critical importance in order to prevent food-poisoning, and clinical or sub-clinical occurrence(s) of yeast, bacterial, viral, parasitic, and protozoal infections – which all happen to be a very common cause of digestive distress.

4) Lastly, HCl allows for proper mineral absorption as it assists in ionizing minerals, like calcium and magnesium to name a few. Minerals are necessary for many functions in the body, especially as catalysts to enzymes that run the important biochemical reactions that take place every second in our body. Additionally, they contribute to structural formation, as in bone.

A need for hydrochloric acid supplementation is definitely one of the most common things I see in patients. Especially those patients who complain of digestive difficulties like bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, yeast overgrowth (even vaginal), and even heartburn. Additionally, patients who complain that they “lost the taste” for meat tend to need HCl as well. Lastly, it should be investigated in everyone with mineral deficiency symptoms, especially osteoporosis. Bone actually has more protein than calcium. To date, I’ve literally only had one patient say that he felt a slight uncomfortable sensation from HCl supplementation, but nothing serious at all according to him. He was willing continue but I chose to have him stop it and use supplements to increase his HCl production instead. This leads me to my next point on how we make HCl.

Here’s how it’s formed. By the way, it takes more energy to make HCl in the body than any other chemical. Additionally, the mineral zinc is absolutely necessary to make it. Hydrochloric acid production is formed by the interaction of carbon dioxide and water, which is mediated by an enzyme called carbonic anhydrase, which is zinc-dependent. As a result, I always supplement zinc when I find a patient needs HCl, and then eventually wean them off the HCl. By the way, a generally accepted reliable indicator of the need for more zinc is white spots on the finger nails. I can’t find conclusive scientific evidence for this, however, I’ve had personal experience with it and also with my patients. Also, chloride is necessary, so don’t be overly afraid to consume sodium chloride (salt) unless it is necessary as determined by your doctor. I find more people need extra salt that not (for reasons beyond the scope of this articles.

One last thing, if HCl supplementation causes irritation to the stomach, or burning in the stomach, you can simply drink down a glass of water and baking soda in order to neutralize the acid right away. Again, I’ve only had it happen to one patient and he felt he didn’t even need the water and baking soda to relieve the discomfort as it was so mild. Warning: if you have been prescribed an acid-blocking medication, you should NOT take supplemental HCl before consulting with the physician who prescribed it. If you take over-the-counter acid-blockers, you should also consult a physician about your problem, as it may be more serious than you think. And remember, those medications were probably prescription-only before they went over-the-counter.

In my experience, digestive symptoms of any sort are quite prevalent. This includes but is not limited to bloating, gas, indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea, and constipation to name the most common. Why those symptoms exist in the first place is key to “fixing” them. And they are also usually the easiest to “fix”. But 90% of the time, the patient must alter their diet. Very often, HCl supplementation is one of the main solutions. But HCl is NOT always necessary. By the way, many, many, many chronic (or acute) low back pain tends to be the result of a dysfunctional digestive system and vice versa. Typically the back pain tends to be dull, achy, diffuse and worse in the morning. Hope this helps!

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

Some of this information came from Chris Astill-Smith, DO, DIBAK – and biochemist.

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Much talk has been generated about how fiber can help lower serum cholesterol levels. So much that some products with it are even “stamped” by the American Heart Association with a label saying: “Can Help Lower Cholesterol”. First of all there are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. They are both necessary, but it’s the soluble fiber that CAN contribute to lowering cholesterol.

OK, let’s discuss how fiber helps. There are in fact three theories as to why this works. And all three may in fact be true. The precise mechanism doesn’t really matter as much as the information I’m going to give you about it at the end of this article.

First, soluble fiber dissolves in water and then becomes gelatinous in consistency. It is in this form that it becomes able to literally bind to substances in the intestinal tract. When these substances are bound, they are then excreted from the body as part of human waste. First, one theory says the fiber is able to bind to bile (which contains cholesterol) in the intestines so that it does not get reabsorbed into the bloodstream.

Second, another theory says that it binds to bile acids in the intestines; again in order to prevent reabsorption. This mechanism would eventually cause a decrease in the amount of bile acids in the liver. As a result, the liver gets a “signal” to make more (whole) bile. The liver will then take up cholesterol from the blood in order to create more bile, as cholesterol is one of its components. So bile contains cholesterol and bile acids (in addition to other biochemicals). By the way, toxins are often bound to bile as well, so it becomes a route for detoxification. Hence, you’ll get lower blood cholesterol levels as it is pulled from the blood to make bile.

The third, more complicated theory basically says that soluble fiber shifts “bile acid pools” which leads to a decrease in the enzyme the liver uses to make cholesterol in the first place. Less production of cholesterol, means less serum cholesterol levels. You can read more technical information about that here, but I’ve covered the gist of it. The other two theories are “common” knowledge.

OK, what’s the common denominator in all three theories? Bile, of course. By the way, in case you didn’t know, bile’s function is to be released into the gut when fats are available to emulsify them in order for proper absorption of those fats (and fat-soluble vitamins).

Here is where the information stops! My question is: What is going to determine if you have bile in the intestines in the first place? As I stated above, fats must be available in the intestines. So now you go ahead and have a healthy “cholesterol-lowering” breakfast: some oatmeal and some added fruit, maybe you add psyllium to really increase the soluble fiber. More sources can be found here. And don’t forget the skim milk, you certainly wouldn’t want any added fat. Nah, you’re vegan or sensitive to dairy, you use water. Here’s another million-dollar question. Where’s the fat in this meal to stimulate the flow of bile in order for it to get bound by the fiber? As you know, the answer is nowhere. Now what? Well, your good intentions just got flushed down the toilet. No pun intended, but now that I think of it, pun intended.

The take home message is to include fat in the meal. So you can use whole milk and the vegan can use a grain-based milk. Nuts may be sufficient as well, if you’re not sensitive (and CHEW them properly). But if there is no other added fat, don’t use water or skim milk (I wouldn’t even use 2%). If you want to, use added coconut oil, then you’d really be doing yourself a favor. Oh wait, there’s saturated fat in it. So what? This notion of fat (even saturated fat) being bad for you is utter nonsense and terrible misinformation! And avoiding it to lower cholesterol is even worse information. Even if you avoid cholesterol itself, a negative-feedback loop will cause your body to make more cholesterol as your body senses the absence of it. If avoiding cholesterol was key, how could a vegan have high cholesterol? And believe me, some do. That’s all for another time. If you still won’t use any of these “oatmeal” combinations, eat it for dinner in hopes that there’s some bile left over in your gut from breakfast or lunch. Now, there may be a slight amount of bile released into the intestines with any meal, however that amount will be very poor without fat in the meal.

One last thing. Take a look at these foods (excuse me, name-brand products) with the stamp from the American Heart Association. Many of them, especially the breakfast cereals, breads, and desserts are not a good idea if you ask me. Read all the ingredients. It’s kind of like an investment banker showing you a document stamped with a seal that says “guaranteed 10% return on your investment”. Please don’t miss the print in the rest of the document stating that the fees equal 80%. You have to go the extra mile these days. Good luck everyone!

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

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Let’s talk about two common types of anemia I see in my patients.  They are self explanatory like iron-deficiency anemia.  Megaloblastc anemia refers to a deficiency of folic acid and/or vitamin B12, and pernicious anemia refers to B12-deficiency specifically.

Every single cell in your body requires folic acid and vitamin B12 in order to “mature” and therefore function properly.  All cells start off immature (and large in size) and become smaller when they mature.  Thus, the term “megaloblastic” refers to the fact the cells stay large in size (mega) without these vitamins. “Macrocytic anemia” is also a term for this condition.

In regards to folic acid deficiency, we run in to some of the same situations as in iron-deficiency – when asking the question: Why is their a deficiency?

The answers are either: a) insufficient consumption of foods containing folic acid; b) lack of absorption; c) an inability to convert folic acid to its active form, and d) complications of its utilization from certain drugs.

In regards to answer “a”, you must obviously consume folic acid through the foods you eat. Some of the best foods that contain high amounts of folic acid (or folate as it is referred to when in food) are: lentils, beans peas, broccoli, spinach, collards, okra, asparagus, and citrus fruits.

As far as answer “b”, regarding absorption – this could result from:

1) Your intestinal villi are literally clogged up due to poor food choices, thus not allowing for absorption of folic acid (and most definitely other nutrients as well).  To “fix” this, you would need to change your diet, and probably have to take supplements that would help detoxify the small intestine.  Examples would be a whole food diet and/or fiber (to “scrub” them clean), bentonite clay (to absorb the toxins), and/or mucilaginous herbs that could help “dissolve” out the toxins.

2) Digestive conditions that can compromise the absorption of folic acid (and any nutrients) are: Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut syndrome, colon cancer, and perhaps others.

Now for answer “c”.  Folic acid (or folate) needs to be converted to 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF) in order to actually perform its necessary functions at the cellular level.  This inability to convert usually results from a genetic defect. If there is a genetic defect, you may have to take a dietary supplement that contains the converted form.

The medications that interfere with folic acid utilization are: anticonvulsants (dilantin, phenytoin, and primidone), metformin (for diabetes), sulfasalizine (for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), triamterine (a diuretic), and barbituates.

Wait!  A few more things regarding less common causes (that I see) of folic acid deficiency are: alcohol abuse, kidney dialysis, and liver disease.  And as you’ll see below, more is required during pregnancy and lactation to prevent neural tube defects in the fetus; and for the growing baby.

Let’s now discuss vitamin B12 deficiency.  Why would someone be deficient?  The answers here are either: a) insufficient consumption of foods containing vitamin B12; b) failure to properly absorb B12; c) lack of a substance called intrinsic factor in the stomach (related to absorption); and d) inactive or oxidized B12.

Let’s start with answer “a”. Please be aware that B12 is only contained naturally in animal foods!  You can get certainly get it in vegetarian food sources, but that means it has been “fortified”.  Also, even though the algae product known as spirulina lists B12 on the label; apparently it is simply an analogue of B12 and may actually cause you to become even more B12 deficient.  Read this is you are concerned.  Foods high in B12 are basically every animal product known.

Answers “b” and “c” relate to an inability to absorb B12.  One possibility is for the same reasons as folic acid.  See above. Additionally, vitamin B12 requires a substance called intrinsic factor which is produced by (parietal) cells in the stomach, in order for proper absorption.  Stomach tumors, atrophic gastritis, pancreatic enzyme insufficiency, resection of the part of the small intestine that absorbs B12, autoimmunity towards the stomach cells or intrinsic factor itself, and an excess consumption of alcohol may be prevent B12 absorption through intrinsic factor complications.  See a reference here on the above.  “Pernicious anemia” refers to B12-deficiency anemia when the cause is specifically related to atrophic gastritis/destruction of parietal cells or destruction of intrinsic factor (usually from an autoimmune reaction).

Lastly, I’ll talk about “d”.  Vitamin B12 is known as cobalamin.  This is because the mineral cobalt a necessary part of the B12 complex.  B12 needs to be converted to methylcobalamin or hydroxycobalamin to actually get used properly, which depends on genetic factors.  If this conversion does not occur, B12 will be inactive.  Also, a person under oxidative stress (too many free radicals) may cause cobalt to become oxidized and again not allow B12 to work properly.  In this case, it’s possible to have normal B12 levels on blood analysis, but it will be inactive at the cellular level and thus not work. These people will need to decrease their exposure to free radicals; and mostly likely have to supplement with antioxidants and B12 also.

RDA’s for folic acid and B12 are in the following charts provided by the National Institutes of Health:

Folic Acid

Age
(years)
Males and Females
(μg/day)
Pregnancy
(μg/day)
Lactation
(μg/day)
1-3 150 N/A N/A
4-8 200 N/A N/A
9-13 300 N/A N/A
14-18 400 600 500
19+ 400 600 500

Vitamin B12

Age
(years)
Males and Females
(μg/day)
Pregnancy
(μg/day)
Lactation
(μg/day)
1-3 0.9 N/A N/A
4-8 1.2 N/A N/A
9-13 1.8 N/A N/A
14-18 2.4 2.6 2.8
19 and older 2.4 2.6 2.8

In conclusion, symptoms of folic acid deficiency are as follows: fatigue, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, weakness, sore tongue, headaches, heart palpitations, irritability, forgetfulness, and high blood levels of homocysteine (to be discussed in another article).

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are: fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, weight loss, numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, difficulty maintaining balance, depression, confusion, dementia, poor memory, and soreness of the mouth or tongue.

Blood tests can be run to determine folic acid and B12 status.  Especially a complete blood count (with “random distribution of weight” or RDW; and “mean corpuscular volume” or MCV) to check for the red blood cells’ size and associated anemias.  A blood test can also confirm a problem with the gene associated with failure to convert folic acid to its active form.

Vitamin B12 can be measured in blood, but remember if your cobalt has been oxidized, it can show normal levels when in fact the B12 isn’t working.  Methylmalonic acid is a good test (and rarely or never run) for B12 status.

And finally, homocysteine levels can spot a folic acid and/or B12 deficiency.  Homocysteine is related to cardiovascular and neurological problems.  Again, I’ll discuss that in another article.

I also use in-office, applied kinesiology muscle tests when I suspect deficiencies in these vitamins. HOWEVER, I still consider it prudent to use blood tests to see exactly what my patient’s levels are.

ANOTHER VITALLY IMPORTANT POINT! The blood lab’s ranges are often too wide to pick up sub-clinical deficiencies in these vitamins, that may still be causing your symptoms. I use narrower functional ranges for myself and my patients.

Proper food choices and quantities and/or supplements can correct deficiencies.  HOWEVER, do not take more than 1,000 micrograms of folic acid without B12.  This is because folic acid supplementation this high can trigger B12 deficiency symptoms.  In particular, it can cause IRREVERSIBLE nerve damage because of B12 deficiency.  Most supplements contain both vitamins together to prevent this. And the only supplements I’ve seen with 1,000 micrograms (and NO B12) in one tablet or capsule are prescription only. Go figure.

Well, that’s a lot to consider for just two vitamins.  But then again, they are obviously extremely important!

Some information in this article was derived from the National Institutes of Health website.

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

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