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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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carpalpartsCarpal tunnel syndrome affects many people, so chances are you’ve heard of this condition. Unfortunately, though, I find that most people don’t really understand what it is and what can be done to help it. Sadly, this group of people who do not understand what it is, often have been diagnosed with it themselves. In this article I’ll discuss carpal tunnel syndrome and my approach to helping people recover from it.

“Carpal” refers to the bones in the wrist. There are eight small “carpal” bones that lie between the lower forearm and the bones of the hands. Now picture them forming a sort of oval tunnel with the help of other tissues in the wrist. A nerve (called the median nerve) and nine different tendons that are part of the finger and thumb muscles go through the carpal tunnel. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the roof of the tunnel (so to speak) drops or narrows due to muscle or ligament dysfunction resulting in a narrowing inside the tunnel. If this occurs, pressure may be applied against the median nerve and result in weakness and changes in sensation of the hand (particularly the thumb, index, middle and ring finger). Sensations can vary but include, pain, numbness (or no sensation), tingling, burning, and temperature changes. Degenerative changes in the tendon(s) can also cause the median nerve to become compromised. Additionally, swelling can occur in the carpal tunnel, again causing increased pressure on the nerve. Swelling can be the result of a systemic problem like “water retention” and even go as far as hypothyroidism. I find those to be the extremely rare exception though. The National Institution of Neurological Disorders and Stroke say this: “contributing factors include trauma or injury to the wrist that cause swelling, such as sprain or fracture; overactivity of the pituitary gland; hypothyroidism; rheumatoid arthritis; mechanical problems in the wrist joint; work stress; repeated use of vibrating hand tools; fluid retention during pregnancy or menopause; or the development of a cyst or tumor in the canal.”

Typically, this condition is thought to be the result of repetitive use of the hand as in typing, etc.. However, an article on MSNBC had this to say: “A 2001 study by the Mayo Clinic found heavy computer users (up to seven hours a day) had the same rate of carpal tunnel as the general population. Harvard University headlined a 2005 press release “Computer use deleted as carpal tunnel syndrome cause.””

elbowligmedNow I’ll discuss how I treat people with carpal tunnel syndrome. Obviously, (as with most conditions) I’ll start with a head-to-toe evaluation of the patient. This approach can (and often does) uncover other sources of imbalance that may be contributing to carpal tunnel syndrome or symptoms that resemble carpal tunnel syndrome. For example, I always consider it prudent to evaluate the elbow, shoulder, neck, pelvis, and (sometimes) the feet with this. The median nerve travels from the neck, down the arm, and then into the hand. This is is why I evaluate the elbow, shoulder, and neck, which is basically “following” the nerve along it’s path to see if there is a compromise in the nerve between the neck and the wrist. Because of this nerve pathway, a person can have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome while the source of the pain is actually coming from somewhere other than the wrist. These are certainly the “failed surgery” cases. As mentioned, I also evaluate the supporting muscles and joints of the pelvis and feet, as they can both be sources of reflexive muscle tension in the neck.

That considered, let me now talk more about particulars focusing on treatment to the actual wrist. One very important muscle attaches to the bones of the forearm, the radius and ulna, just above the wrist. This muscle, the pronator quadratus, acts to essentially turn the palm downward, in addition to holding the radius and ulna firmly together. So, it serves to keep the ends of the radius and ulna from “separating”. Now imagine that the ends of those bones are “widened”. This would essentially “flatten out” that area and possibly cause a “stretching” of the tissues just before the “entrance” to the carpal tunnel. Picture a rubber band glued to two pencils while allowing for the rubber band to maintain a ring-like shape. Now, if you pull the pencils away from one another, that ring will become compromised and “flatten out”. Very often the pronator quadratus is inhibited in its function usually from repetitive stress and micro-trauma. As a result, this can cause the muscle to lose its tone and function, thus compromising the wrist. Treatment would be directed to restoring normal muscle function and perhaps doing very simple rehabilitation to regain any lost strength. By the way, ligament laxity (usually from adrenal stress) in the wrist can also cause a problem similar to that of a dysfunctional pronator quadratus.

Next, the carpal bones can get “jammed” (or lose proper mobility) potentially causing undue tension on the median nerve and tendons that pass through the tunnel. This aberration cannot be overlooked in my opinion, because any tension on the tendons can cause them to hypertrophy (or get larger) and often compromise the median nerve due to pressure. A simple, painless chiropractic adjustment can “fix” this.

Also, cold laser therapy directed at the carpal tunnel can often be helpful in eliminating very stubborn conditions. There really is not much more to say about treatment directed at the wrist. It is very straight forward. By the way, I almost always have to look to the elbow and neck to “fix” dysfunction there that usually contributes significantly.

From a “chemical” standpoint, vitamin B6 is almost considered “the” carpal tunnel nutrient because of its “anti-swelling/fluid balancing” effect. Many studies have shown that is has helped, though I can’t say I’ve found it very useful. I usually opt for nutrients that may help nerve damage, like Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids, and antioxidants. Also, collagen-building nutrients can be helpful in cases where there is damage to connective tissue(s).

In conclusion, don’t forget that it might be a good idea to get a second opinion if the only treatment you’ve been offered is surgery. And, in my experience and opinion, anything can cause anything and perhaps result in symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. I have yet to see a case of carpal tunnel syndrome that does not respond favorably to conservative care.

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

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Any time I find out a new (or existing) patient is taking supplements not prescribed by me; I ask that they please bring them in on the next visit. I want to make sure that the supplement(s) are not detrimental to the patient in any way. And ideally, that they are in fact beneficial. A supplement can cause a problem for a number of reasons. Namely: 1) they contain (known or unknown) toxic fillers or contaminants, 2) they contain poor “forms” of the nutrient (e.g.: calcium carbonate vs. calcium citrate), 3) they are unnecessary and create an extra burden on the liver and/or other organs, and 4) they are completely inappropriate and actually exacerbating problems the patient has (or may develop).

Normally, my approach is to use a measurement of the nervous system such as applied kinesiology manual muscle testing, pulse rate, and pain threshold to possibly determine if the supplement is “good, bad or indifferent”. I simply have the patient ingest the nutrient, and then take one or more of those measurements to see if a change is elicited. Your nervous system responds (whether you realize it or not) once you taste something. If it didn’t, you wouldn’t perceive the taste in the first place. If you are not convinced, simply think of the reason some schools don’t allow peanuts to even be brought into the building. Children with peanut allergies can respond dramatically to even the slightest exposure. The same goes for shellfish allergies. A potentially fatal reaction (if untreated) can occur if a person with a shellfish allergy simply puts it in their mouth. Digestion and absorption does not always need to occur for shellfish to cause a reaction in an allergic individual, which demonstrates the immediate responsivity of the nervous system. I’m not saying the changes in the nervous system from ingesting/tasting a supplement will cause such a profound effect as that in a person with a severe peanut or shellfish allergy; however, subtle changes can certainly be detected if your practitioner knows how to look for them.

I would say that about 70-80% of the time, the supplement(s) my patients bring in have either no beneficial effect or a detrimental one. By the way, many times I don’t even need to “check” their supplements because it clearly contains toxic ingredients listed on the label. Below are some ingredients that were listed on a patient’s supplements bottle. There were two supplements; a multivitamin and a calcium supplement. I won’t mention the brand name.

Multivitamin (and multi-toxin) — Titanium Dioxide (color), Polyethylene Glycol, Sucrose, Corn Starch, Dextrose Monohydrate, Glucose, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, FD&C Yellow #5 Lake, FD&C Yellow #6 Lake, FD&C Blue #2 Lake

Calcium supplement — Titanium Dioxide (artificial color), Polyvinyl Alcohol, Polyethylene Glycol, Talc, Polysorbate 80

I have no idea why “they” decided to include these ingredients. Why are artificial colors in there? Do you really care if your supplement is a “pretty” yellow or pink color? – probably not, unless you’re wearing it as jewelry. Also, I’m not sure why forms of alcohol or sugar (the -ose words) are necessary either. In fact, they must be unnecessary because many supplements work very well and don’t contain them.

A few things about these ingredients you need to know. If you’re not sure, hydrogenated soybean oil is a trans fat which has gotten a lot of press for its ill effects not long ago. NYC has gone as far as banning its use in restaurants. Some of the ingredients listed may be food allergens or sensitivities, such as soy and corn. And here’s some info on talc. More terrible news… According to drugs.com, polyethylene glycol can have numerous side effects including: “bloating; dizziness; increased thirst; nausea; rectal irritation; stomach cramps; tiredness; vomiting”. Preservatives like Polysorbate 80 is another example of ridiculousness in my opinion. Drugs.com reports its potential side effects as: “constipation; cough; diarrhea; dizziness; headache; muscle, joint, back, or stomach pain; nausea or vomiting; pain, swelling, irritation, redness, or bruising at the injection site; unusual tiredness or weakness”. Check the link, the side effects don’t stop there. I’ll stop there though and feel free to search the rest. By the way, there were other suspect ingredients not mentioned.

images-16I recommend supplements from many different companies that are (supposed to be) only sold to healthcare professionals, although they seem to be getting more and more accessible to consumers directly. Ideally you want supplements that have undergone third-party testing. I’ve been told by people who have private label supplements made that you and I can go out tomorrow and contact a supplement manufacturer with specifics of what we want in the product(s). We’ll then receive a certificate of quality assurance from the manufacturer themselves. See why a third-party certifier can be important?

The supplement industry is not tightly regulated. Personally, I feel this is good and bad; and do in fact prefer that it never becomes regulated (by the “wrong people” at least). Good because the manufacturer can decide the ingredients and the amount thereof. Bad because “no one” (except high-quality manufacturers themselves) is making sure that harmful ingredients are left out. So it can be a double-edged sword. Remember, regulation will not always assure safety anyway. All prescription drugs are regulated and if you’re not sure of the outcome of Vioxx and some hormone replacement medications, I encourage you to look it up.

Be careful, and as always I suggest you consult a qualified, licensed healthcare professional before taking supplements. Ideally someone who is well-versed in nutrition and can spot potential toxins on the ingredients. AND, if you are using someone who solely relies on others muscle testing you… I hope they know the “ins-and-outs” of it. Assumptions need to be left aside. For example, people with strong detox capabilities and sufficient nutrient stores may not show a potentially detrimental nervous system response to the toxins mentioned. That still doesn’t mean it’s not causing harm, and in fact it probably will if they continue to consume them on a daily basis. I’ve seen muscle testing “abused” time and time again from lay people AND practitioners who have a preconceived notion of the outcome. The most common example I can think of is when people claim that EVERYONE “weakens” (or shows an aberrant nervous system response) to sugar. This simply is not true. If a person has healthy blood sugar metabolism, they (should) may not respond negatively to it on one simple exposure. This may result in your muscle tester “finding” false, forced outcomes of a muscle test. The late George J. Goodheart Jr., DC, DIBAK (founder and developer of applied kinesiology) used to something like this: “Your patients should be able to go to Coney Island and have and hot dog and a beer and feel fine…just don’t do it everyday”.

In conclusion, I am not claiming that all the supplements I carry will “strengthen” (or show a beneficial nervous system outcome) on everyone. If you don’t need something, or it’s causing improper stimulation or inhibition of an organ or gland, you very well may “weaken”. Be careful — and click here one last time to see why [I’m especially referring to the “leaded” (meaning the toxic heavy metal) women’s multivitamin from a popular health food store)! And by the way, I’d like to stress this point mentioned in the first paragraph; simply because a supplement contains what the label says and doesn’t have any contaminants or toxic fillers does not mean it will be good for you. One of the most common ways consumers get duped by supplements is when the form of vitamin or mineral is poorly absorbed or utilized (it’s usually a very inexpensive form, comparatively). A few examples: magnesium oxide vs. citrate; dl-alpha-tocopherol vs. d-alpha tocopherol; calcium carbonate vs. calcium hydroxyappatite; etc.. Then again, even if the form is acceptable, in that it can be absorbed and utilized well – who’s to say you don’t need magnesium lactate vs. magnesium citrate?

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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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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