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Dec 16, 2010

Cinnamon Can Lower the Risk For Diabetes

This was a double blind placebo controlled study published in Diab Med 2010 thirty diabetes with a glycolated hemogoblin of greater than 7 were given 2 grams of cinnamon per day for 12 weeks vs a placebo group.  After 12 weeks the glycated  hemogoblin decreased by 0.36% in the cinnamon group vs a 0.12% increase in the placebo group.  Also the blood pressure decreased in the cinnamon group.  What if the study was done over a longer period in other words one year would the glycated hemogoblin  decrease even further? 

Alcohol and Nicotine Feed Each Other

A study conducted in Additions 1995 found that 80% to 95% of alcoholics smoke, compared with 25% to 30% of nonalcoholics.  Even among nonalcoholics, those who smoked were reported to drink twice as much alcohol as did nonsmokers.  This indicates that alcoholic programs should also have smoking cessation programs in there facilities.

Cigarette Smoking Increasing One's Risk for Arthritis

A study reported in the December issue of  Arthritis & Rheumatism states that cigarette smoking increases the risk for rheumatoid arthritis in African Americans.  The study showed a two fold increase in rheumatoid arthritis in African Americans who were heavy smokers.  The study also showed that one in six cases of rheumatoid arthrtis can be prevented through smoking cessation or by limiting exposure to 10 packs per year.  The risk attributed to smoking is highest in African Americans who are positive for the gene HLA-DRB1 SE alleles.

Another Study States That A Healthy Lifestyle Lowers Your Risk For Breast Cancer

A study in Breast Cancer Research 2010 shows that obesity, inactivity and excessive alcohol consumption increases one's risk for breast cancer.  It does matter if there is a family history of breast cancer or not. There were 85,644 postmenopausal women enrolled in this study. Approximately 25% of the sample were over the age of 70 years at baseline, approximately 83% were of white racial/ethnic background, and approximately 39% had completed a four-year college degree.  Twelve percent reported a family history of breast cancer (in a first-degree relative at the age of 45 years or more). Eighty-seven percent of participants drank less than seven alcoholic beverages per week, 24% exercised for at least 20 minutes at moderate/vigorous intensity at least five times per week, and 23% maintained a healthy weight.  The rate of invasive breast cancer among women with a family history of breast cancer who participated in exercise, less than 7 drinks a week and were at their ideal weight was 5.94 per 1,000 woman-years, compared with 6.97 per 1,000 woman who participated in none of the behaviors. The rate among women with no family history for breast cancer who participated in all three behavioral conditions was 3.51 per 1,000 woman-years compared to 4.67 per 1,000 woman for those who participated in none of the behaviors. 

This study indicates that a healthy lifestyle really does reduce one's risk for breast cancer regardless of a family history.

Dec 6, 2010

Another Study Shows That Exercise Reduces Depression

A study published in the Journal of Psychology involved 40,000 Norwegian residents found those who were not active were almost twice as likely to have symptoms of depression that those who were regularly active. Researchers found that even individuals who did light activity were less depressed. As more people today are becoming obese and less active this is effecting both their physical and mental health. Of the participates of this study 4080 participants (10.1%) had case-level symptoms of depression, 6129 (15.2%) had symptoms of anxiety, and 2258 (5.6%) had comorbid depression and anxiety. Those who participated in low level and intense exercise had less depression and anxiety.

Increase Risk for Miscarriages May Be Related to Thyroid Function

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism states that infertility and adverse pregnancy outcomes are more common when the thyroid gland is hypo- or hyperactive. Higher miscarriage rate, more frequent preterm deliveries, increased hypertension, diabetic complications, higher risk for placental abruption, and adverse fetal effects have all been reported with thyroid dysfunction in pregnancy. The study states that women with normal thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels, but with evidence for thyroid autoimmunity, are at approximately a 2-fold increased risk for pregnancy loss. Woman with subclinical hypothyroidism and/or high-normal TSH levels at the beginning of pregnancy may show signs of thyroid insufficiency during pregnancy. The study involved 4123 pregnant women who had their TSH levels measured at the first medical visit during pregnancy. The miscarriage rate was 3.6% in women with a TSH level of < 2.5 mIU/l, and 6.1% in women with TSH levels between 2.5 and 5.0 mIU/l. This indicates that optimal thyroid levels are very important in infertility and preventing a miscarriage.

I have been testing thyroid in all my patients who have had problems getting pregnant and many times it is not at the optimal levels.

Mercury Exposure Increases One's Risk For Alzheimer's Disease

A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease in November 2010 states that mercury which is still used today in dental amalgams is likely a contributing factor in Alzheimer's disease. The researchers found that symptoms of Alzheimer's disease were reproduced or accelerated when mercury was introduced. The study found that some autopsy studies revealed increased mercury levels in the brain tissue of Alzheimer's patients. Because of this study researchers are recommending removal of mercury from the public exposure and replacing it with less toxic substances.

Nov 9, 2010

Healthy Lifestyle Could Cut Our Risk for Colorectal Cancer

A study done in Denmark states that 23% of all colorectal cancers can be prevented by a healthy lifestyle. Five factors were assessed exercise, waist circumference, smoking, alcohol intake, and diet. The study showed that even the modest risk differences in lifestyle may have a substantial impact on colorectal cancer risks.

A lifestyle questionnaire was completed by 57,053 people all were born in Denmark and were 50 to 64 years of age. People with a family history of cancer were excluded, as were those taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and women on hormone-replacement therapy, leaving 55,487 participants.

Most of the participates followed 4 out of 5 of the lifestyle changes:

82% were physically active for at least 30 minutes a day
76% had a waist circumference within the recommended range (below 88 cm for women and 102 cm for men)
64% were nonsmokers (56% had never smoked)
59% had alcohol intake within the recommended limits (fewer than 7 drinks a week for women, and fewer than 14 drinks a week for men).

Only 2% of participants followed all of the dietary recommendations, which included eating at least 600 g of fruit and vegetables daily, eating 500 g or less of red and processed meat a week, eating at least 3 g of dietary fiber, and getting 30% or less of total energy from fat.

During a follow-up of 9.9 years, colorectal cancer was diagnosed in 678 individuals. The more lifestyle recommendations that were followed, the lower the risk for colorectal cancer.

Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease Have a Higher Risk For Osteoporosis

According to the American College of Gastroenterology a study of 161 patients with iriitable bowel disease such as ulcerative coloitis and Crohn's disease found that 22% of the patients had a reduction in bone density and a diagnosis of osteopenia or osteoporosis. Of those with low bone density 50% were younger that 40 years old and 40% were deficient in Vitamin D 25-hydroxyvitamin D below 30 ng/mL. The individuals low in Vitamin D had nine times the risk of developing osteoporsis. This is another reason that everyone should get their vitamin D levels checked along with a Dexa scan for preventing osteoporsis.

Vitamin B6, B12 and Folic Acid Can Lower Our Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

A study in Nature Reviews Endocrinology 2010 showed that supplementation of pyridoxine (vitamin B6), folic acid (vitamin B9) and vitamin B12 has been used to decrease levels of plasma homocysteine and the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, these vitamins can effect kidney health and increase the risk of vascular disease in patients with diabeteic nephropathy. So these supplements should not be given in all patients with cardiovascular disease.

Naturopathic Medicine is Cost Effective

"A Focus on Diet, Supplements, and Lifestyle"

A Canadian study showed the the employee's of the Canada Post at risk for cardiovascular disease found that naturopathic treatment produced an overall $1,025 cost benefit per participate.
The participates were provided individual plans with a focus on dietary, supplements and lifestyle. This included a diet of whole foods, exercise at least 30 mins 5 times a week, stress reduction and fish oil supplements. 
Total cost of naturopathic treatment for one year of healthy living was $1,477 compared to $6631 for high blood pressure medication, $6134 for statin drugs, stop smoking program $4238 to $7829 and $626 for aspirin. With the naturopathic approach participants gained seven additional work days compared to 2 days with conventional medicine.
The study showed that 3.3 out of 100 workers will avoid a major cardiac event that they would have suffered without any form of lifetime intervention.

Oct 28, 2010

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Often Missed in Primary Care

Vitamin B12 deficiency is present in 5% to 20% of the elderly population and may begin in middle age. One common cause, malabsorption, is affected by many factors often seen in the primary care setting, including prolonged use of proton pump inhibitors or metformin, or as a result of gastric bypass surgery. 
The traditional sign of B12 deficiency, macrocytic anemia, can be masked by the folic acid supplementation in all enriched cereals/grains mandated by the US Food and Drug Administration since 1998. Vitamin B12 deficiency often causes neurologic deficits such as numbness and tingling in the arms, dizziness, loss of memory, burning mouth and fatigue etc. 
B12 is vital for optimal function of the immune system. B12 is stored in the liver, but it can take 5 to 10 years for a person to become B12 deficient due to malabsorption; however, demand for B12 markedly increases during times of physical stress, which depletes stores as well. B12 deficiency is common with celiac's disease and crohn's disease. Homecysteine levels are often high with Vitamin B12 deficiency. B12 levels should be checked if any of the above symptoms are present.

Vitamin D effects Testerosterone Levels in Men

Currently, there is great interest in vitamin D because poor vitamin D status is common and has been associated with an increased risk of various chronic diseases including cancer, diabetes, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, musculoskeletal diseases, depression and cardiovascular diseases as well as all-cause mortality. This study of 2299 men from Clin Endocrinol (2010) shows that low vitamin D levels are associated with decreased sperm count and motility and histological abnormalities of the testis in mice. Low vitamin D levels are also associated with low testerosterone levels.

Men who are having issues with sperm count or moitilt issues should get their vitamin D levels checked. And older men with low testerosterone levels should get their vitamin D levels checked.

The Time Spent Sitting is Independently Associated with Total Mortality

A study done in the American Journal of Epidemiology (2010) shows that reducing time spent sitting, regardless of activity, may improve the metabolic consequences of obesity. The US obesity epidemic is attributed to reduced overall physical activity expenditure. And reduced physical acitivity increases our risk for many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and various types of cancer including colon and postmenopausal breast cancer.
Numerous studies support an association with sitting time and obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and unhealthy dietary patterns in children and adults. Men and women who spent the least leisure time sitting were leaner, more likely to have never smoked cigarettes, more likely to be employed, and had lower total energy intake. In this large prospective cohort, women who reported sitting for more than 6 hours during their leisure time versus less than 3 hours a day had an approximately 40% higher all-cause death rate, and men had an approximately 20% higher death rate. Mortality rates were approximately 25% lower among men and women who reported the most versus the least daily physical activity.

Oct 19, 2010

B12 May Lower Your Risk For Alzheimer's Disease

A Finnish study showed a group of elderly subjects followed up for 7 years with elevated baseline serum homocysteine levels were independently associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Several studies linked elevated homocysteine levels with an increased risk for stroke, cognitive decline, and dementia, including Alzheimer's. Homocysteine can directly promote cerebrovascular disease and neuronal injury through a variety of mechanisms. Many individuals with high homocysteine levels also have low B12 levels. Therefore, B12 may also play a role in Alzheimer's disease.

Anger Has Been Associated With Increase Pain

Two studies published in Arthritis Care & Research reported that anger amplifies clinical pain in women with and without fibromyalgia. Women with fibromyalgia not only experienced negative emotions more frequently and with a larger intensity, but also processed and dealt with their emotions in less healthy ways. The women with fibromyalgia had more difficulty identifying and describing their emotions and suppressed their emotions more, which are related to worse functioning, including more pain. The study found that negative emotions as experienced in daily life are able to increase pain above the already high pain levels in women with fibromyalgia. Because women with fibromyalgia experience negative emotions more frequently than women without fibromyalgia and already have heightened pain levels, the increase in pain due to negative emotions is especially relevant in this patient group. The study strongly suggests that negative emotions may cause an increase of the pain.

Medications for Insomnia & Anxiety Increase Mortality

According to the Canadain Journal of Psychology seditive drug use has been associated with 36% increase in Mortality. Although the mechanisms by which sedatives contributed to increased mortality risk were undetermined, these drugs can impair reaction time, alertness, and coordination, thereby increasing the risk for falls and other accidents. Respiratory inhibition may aggravate sleep-disordered breathing, and central nervous system inhibition may impair judgment and increase the risk for suicide. Where possible, physicians should consider possibilities for nonpharmacological treatment of sleep disturbances and anxiety.

Sep 22, 2010

Vitamin C Prevents Cancer, Stroke, Diabetes, and Heart Disease

Vitamin C is a vital nutrient that can prevent major diseases such as diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. Some animals can even produce their own vitamin C, but for humans we must find it in food sources.

Vitamin C has been studied extensively for its effects on the body. We have known for years that it is essential in preventing scurvy. It also has many other functions in the body. It creates collagen, which aides the body in tissue repairs in everything from skin to bones and tendons. It simulates neurotransmitters and aids in brain function, and provides energy for cells. It is also important in reducing cholesterol and preventing gallstones. Just small amounts reduce heart attacks, cancer, and stroke risks. In larger amounts it has been shown to lower diabetes risks.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Sep 21, 2010

Study Shows Infant Formulas are Badly Contaminated with Aluminum

Researchers have measured the aluminum content of several milk-based and soy-based formulas and found very high levels of aluminum content in each brand. The levels are especially high in soy-based and lactose intolerant substitutes. Levels of up to 700 micrograms per liter were found, which means infants could be ingesting up to 600 micrograms of aluminum per day. Even more concerning, levels are highest in pre-term formulas for premature infants. To compare, these levels are about 40 times higher than the content of breast milk, and much higher than levels allowed in drinking water.

Manufactures are not required to measure or filter aluminum content. It is considered to be a contaminant most likely from equipment used to pasteurize, process, and store formulas. The soybean plant itself is known to absorb aluminum from soils.

A research article from Keele University in Staffordshire demonstrates the vulnerability of infants to early exposure of aluminum. Aluminum has been associated with Alzheimer’s and has been shown to have both an immediate and delayed toxicity in infants.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Sep 16, 2010

Vitamin D proven far better than vaccines at preventing influenza infections

Vitamin D appears to be 800% more effective than vaccines at preventing influenza infections in children.

A clinical trial led by Mitsuyoshi Urashima and conducted by the Division of Molecular Epidemiology in the the Department of Pediatrics at the Jikei University School of Medicine Minato-ku in Tokyo found that vitamin D was extremely effective at halting influenza infections in children. The trial appears in the March, 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Am J Clin Nutr (March 10, 2010). doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.29094)

The results are from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 334 children, half of which were given 1200 IUs per day of vitamin D3.
In the study, while 31 of 167 children in the placebo group contracted influenza over the four month duration of the study, only 18 of 168 children in the vitamin D group did. This means vitamin D was responsible for an absolute reduction of nearly 8percent. Flu vaccines, according to the latest scientific evidence, achieve a 1 percent reduction in influenza symptoms.

This is just one more benefit to the long list of the benefits of vitamin D. Unfortunately, these days the best way to get adequate levels of this super vitamin is through supplementation. Our exposure to the sun (only 15 min a day provides vitamin D synthesis) is not keeping up with demands on the body. As fall and winter cold season nears, it is important to get a good daily dose in.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Aug 26, 2010

The Link Between an Unfavorable Lifestyle and Recurrent Headaches Among Adolescents

Researchers in Norway created a study to examine the relationship between recurrent headache disorders (migraines, and tension headaches), and lifestyle factors (overweight, low physical activity, and smoking), among adolescents. Over 5000 students in Norway were interviewed about headache complaints and completed a comprehensive questionnaire including items concerning physical activity and smoking. Each participant also had a clinical examination with height and weight measurements.

Adolescents with high physical activity who were not current smokers and not overweight were classified as having a good lifestyle status. These students were compared to those with 1 or more of the negative lifestyle factors present in regard to headache diagnosis and frequency. The study showed that overweight, smoking, or low physical activity are independently and in combination associated with recurrent headaches among adolescents. The higher combination of these risk factors leads to increased risks.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Aug 24, 2010

FDA warns that Zocor Can Cause Fatal Kidney Damage

The FDA has issued a warning that the commonly used cholesterol medication simvistatin, (also known as Zocor, Vytorin, and Simcor), increases the risk of severe muscle and kidney damage more than previously thought. These medications, known as statins, have a long, well known history of increasing a patient’s risk of muscle damage by a condition called rhabdomyolysis that can lead to kidney failure and death.

The research behind the warning suggests that the risk of muscle injury is dose dependant, the higher the dose, the higher the risk. Patients taking the highest approved dose of 80mg had 50 times higher the risk than patients taking 20mg dose. Also linked with higher rates of risk of rhabdomyolysis was combining even small doses of simvistatin with other cardiovascular medications. Commonly, patients treated for cardiovascular disease are on multiple medications so it is common to combine a cholesterol medication with other medications. Many different medications were tested, which, when combined were linked to increased risk. These include the blood pressure medication diltiazem (marketed as Cardizem, Cartia, Dilacor, Diltia, and Tiazac); anti-arrhythmia drug amiodarone; and verapamil (marketed as Calan, Covera, isoptin, and Verelan), used for arrhythmia, blood pressure, headaches and migraines.

The FDA also warned that patients taking cyclosporine, Danazol, and Gemfibrozil should not take more than 10 mg simvistatin. Further, any person taking HIV protease inhibitors, Clarithromycin, Erythromycin, Itraconazole, Ketoconazole, Nefazodone, or Telithromycin should never take simvistatin.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Aug 20, 2010

Dark Chocolate Associated with Lowered Blood Pressure

Small amounts of dark chocolate can modestly lower blood pressure in people with untreated hypertension, a study published in JAMA concludes.

The study, took 44 older adults with either prehypertension or stage 1 hypertension. The participants consumed 6.3 grams of either dark or white chocolate daily. After 18 weeks, systolic blood pressure fell about 3mm and diastolic fell 2mm in those consuming dark chocolate only. It is known, that dark chocolate does have a role in increasing production of nitric oxide in the vascular endothelium, and this is the likely mechanism of the blood pressure lowering effects. Dark chocolate also has antioxidant properties.

Similar effects on lowering blood pressure are noted with lifestyle and diet modifications. A little dark chocolate probably tastes better than most things that help with blood pressure. The best approach is diet and lifestyle modifications with a little dark chocolate as a healthy and beneficial treat.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Aug 18, 2010

Weight and Metabolic Outcomes After 2 Years on a Low-Carbohydrate Versus Low- Fat Diet

In hopes of deciding this eternal debate once and for all, researchers decided to put low-fat and low-carbohydrate diets to the test against each other. They evaluated these two diets for two years. The primary measured outcome was weight loss after 2 years. The participants had a mean age of 45 years and BMI of 36.1, they were also part of a comprehensive lifestyle modification program. The low-carbohydrate diet limited carbohydrate intake to 20grams a day for 3 months with unrestricted fats and proteins, while the low-fat diet limited caloric intake to between 1200-1800 calories with less than 30 % calories from fat.

The weight loss was 11 kg at year 1, and 7 kg at year 2 with both diets. There were no differences in weight, body composition, or bone mineral density between the groups at any time. The low-carbohydrate group did have greater reductions in diastolic blood pressure, triglyceride level, and low-density lipoproteins cholesterol levels, while having higher increasing rates of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, up to a 23% increase. This study’s findings show that while both diets had similar weight loss results, the low-carbohydrate diet had more favorable changes in cardiovascular health after 2 years.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Aug 16, 2010

Controversy over Calcium

Recently, there was a study published in the British Medical Journal, which stated that they found nearly a 30 percent increased likelihood of having a heart attack among people older than 40 who were taking calcium supplements. The study combined data from 8 previous studies and pooled them together to determine risk. The risk was not increased in those who got their calcium from natural sources, or in those who took vitamin D with their calcium supplements.

There are some who say this study is flawed. There are thousands of studies on calcium; the authors of the study only selected 8 to do the analysis. None of the selected studies had cardiovascular outcomes as end-points, and data on cardiovascular events were not gathered in a standardized manner, so it would appear much more of a predetermined outcome versus one of great scientific rigor. In addition, it is shown that majority of Americans do not eat a balanced diet to get sufficient enough calcium for daily needs. There is not enough proof yet to steer people away from calcium supplements, especially among populations with a high risk for fractures.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Aug 11, 2010

Bisphenol-A and Breast Cancer—It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like DES

Bisphenol-A, BPA, is the subject of a study looking at its risk for increasing breast cancer, or precisely, the mechanism by which breast cancer risk may be increased after in utero exposure to either the substance or DES. Researchers looked at mothers ingesting either of these estrogen-like compounds during pregnancy and then determined what effect they had on the female offspring after they had been born as adults. DES, commonly used in the 1950s-1960s to prevent miscarriage, has long been studied and shown to increase risk of breast cancer to offspring of mothers who were given it during pregnancy. In animal studies, BPA is showing similar effects on breast tissue even though in a straight comparison between DES and BPA, DES is a much stronger substance.

The mechanism of why both these substances may increase breast cancer risk was the basis for the study. It was observed that one gene closely linked to breast cancer is permanently elevated in mice exposed to these substances, and leads to a permanent lifelong elevation of a molecule called enhancer of zeste homologue (EZH2), which, when elevated increases risk for cancer. Women who had biopsies that turned out to be benign but showed elevated EZH2 had a greater chance of developing breast cancer. Furthermore women with breast cancer who have expressed this gene have a worse prognosis. This change in gene formation only appears to happen during pregnancy. Exposure to these substances after birth does not express the gene change.

BPA is found in many substances. Most common forms are plastic bottles, hard plastic food containers, and cans. BPA is found in many more substances and has been around for years. There are some efforts to eliminate BPA from products. In California and Connecticut, there is a law to remove them from children’s toys, and nalgene has taken them out of their water bottles. The best way to avoid BPA as much as possible is to switch to stainless steel water bottles, buy fresh fruits, vegetables, beans so you are not using canned foods, and not cook or heat anything in plastics.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Aug 9, 2010

Nonoptimal Lipids Commonly Present in Young Adults and Coronary Calcium Later in Life

A study out of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, has correlated dyslipidemia levels in young adults and their risk for coronary heart disease in their middle ages. In a study of over 2000 people of various ages from 18-30 years old, black and white, male and female; the participants were followed for 20 years to evaluate lipid levels and risks for heart disease. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, and coronary calcium were measured in multiple serum measurements over the 20 year span. Coronary calcium is considered a strong predictor of future coronary heart disease.

After 2 decades, participants who maintained optimal levels of less than 100 LDL, greater than 60 HDL, and triglycerides less than 150, the risk of heart disease was calculated at 8%. In participants who had non optimal levels of these measurements, the risk increased to 44%, universally across race and gender. This study shows that the earlier cholesterol levels are monitored and in optimal range, the less risk one has for coronary atherosclerosis in the middle years of life.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Aug 6, 2010

Grape Seed Extract Offers Many Benefits

Used throughout Europe to prevent and treat many health concerns, grape seed extract is a powerful antioxidant with many benefits to the body. It is considered to be an anti-aging wonder. Its health protective properties include, antioxidant, antiallergenic, antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, and immune boosting properties. The bioflavonoids in grape seed extract, considered to be stronger than vitamins C and E, help strengthen and protect cell membranes from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Specific conditions which it can help prevent include cardiovascular disease, reduce diabetic complications, prevention of plaque in the arteries, varicose veins, edema, arthritis, macular degeneration, cataracts, and eye strain. It acts as a natural anti-histamine, moderating allergic responses. There is also evidence that it is one of the few antioxidants which crosses the blood brain barrier thus protecting nerve and brain tissue; this has implications in the use of it for ADD and its ability to help regulate neurotransmitters.

Another area in which grape seed extract has been studied is its effects on the skin. Wrinkles and sagging skin are partly caused by free radical damage. Since grape seed is a powerful antioxidant, it works on the skin to reduce free radical damage. It also helps to repair connective tissue while promoting skin enzyme activity. Lastly, it is anti-bacterial, therefore it aids in wound healing by helping to regenerate damaged blood vessels and clearing harmful bacterial from the wound.

These are just some of the benefits that one can derive from grape seed extract. It is a powerful supplement that will be continued to be studied for its positive benefits.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Aug 5, 2010

Resveratrol Revs Up Metabolism, Promotes Weight Loss

Resveratrol, a polynutrient, is found in the skin of grapes, wine, peanuts, and berries, and has often been hailed as a life extending natural compound. Numerous studies have been completed on the nutrient using mice or lab rats, indicating its benefits in obesity, diabetes, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory effects.

For the first time a study has been completed using resveratrol on primates. The study showed resveratrol’s ability to rev up metabolism and spark weight loss in primates. The study was competed at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, France. After four weeks of a diet supplemented with resveratrol, there was significant decrease in the animals’ food intake along with a reduction in the body-mass gain of 13 percent. It also had significant changes in the animals’ body temperature, thus increasing resting metabolic rate by 29 percent.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Aug 4, 2010

Expectant Mothers Who Take Probiotics Have Healthier Babies

"Definitive link between probiotics and eczema prevention"

A study out of a Norwegian research project being conducted called “Prevention of Allergy Among Children in Trondheim” has found that mothers who drank a probiotic-supplemented milk during pregnancy cut their children’s risk of developing eczema by 40%. Eczema, a common skin condition, is often related to allergies and is connected to a familial pre-disposition. In the study, women were given either milk with probiotics or milk with a placebo, the participants were not aware of which they were given. Women and their children were evaluated from pregnancy until the children were two years old. Probiotics have been studied for many years for their ability to favorably alter intestinal flora, promote good digestion, boost immune function, and increase resistance to infection. The Norwegian study is the first to identify a definitive link between probiotics and eczema prevention, particularly as the effects are passed down from mother to child.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Jul 26, 2010

Chronic Constipation? Hold the Milk!

Cow’s milk has been linked with chronic constipation in children in theory due to an immune response in the protein. In a trial conducted in Spain, researchers studied the effects of milk on children who presented to a gastroenterology clinic for complaints of chronic constipation. The trial involved removing cow’s milk from the children’s diet for a period of time, then reintroducing it into diet, and then removing the milk again from the diet. For many of the children, the constipation resolved within 1 to 5 days after removing cow’s milk from the diet and returned when milk was reintroduced back into the diet.

Not all children responded to the removal of milk from the diet. The study does not completely support an immune response mechanism as to the cause of the constipation in children, but does lead researches to believe milk may often be related to a delayed allergic response. While this was not a randomized blinded study, researchers find the results compelling and supports this simple intervention when working with children suffering from chronic constipation.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Eating Fish Prevent Eye Disease Later in Life

Fish oils have been studied for years for their beneficial effects on the body ranging from its anti-inflammatory effects, cardio protective properties, and recently eye health. They are found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna. A recent study in the journal Ophthalmology, found that people who eat fatty fish at least once a week are less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is an eye disease that causes vision impairment and blindness.

The study involved over 2500 adults who completed a questionnaire and had eye exams. Researcher compared the results of the questionnaire with results from eye exams and correlated the participants who ate one or more servings of healthy fish a week were 60% less likely to develop advanced AMD than those who ate less. Fish oil contains DHA, a substance concentrated in the retina of the eye.

Dr.Kerry Ferguson

Jul 16, 2010

Obesity’s Effect on Sexuality

Reports from a French survey report interesting sexual behaviors and functions when comparing overweight and obese individuals with normal weight people. In general, compared with normal-weight individuals, obese men reported more erectile dysfunction; obese women did not have any increased sexual dysfunction, but were more likely to report unintended pregnancies.

French investigators conducted a national survey of sexual behaviors in 4635 men and 5535 women, ages 18-69. One of the main focus areas of the study was the effects of obesity and sexual behavior and function. 9% of the participants were obese, 21 % of the women overweight, and 35% men were overweight.

Results of the study showed that while obese men had twice the rate of erectile dysfunction as normal weight men, obese women had no increase in sexual dysfunction. Obese and overweight woman had more changes in their sexual behavior while men had no change in this area. Younger obese women (18-29), were threefold more likely to have met a partner on the internet and have obese partners. Obese women of all ages were less likely to see a clinician for contraception despite being sexually active, less likely to use oral contraception, and more likely to use the withdrawal method as birth control. This explains the increase in unintended pregnancies among obese women. These results have suggested that clinicians need to create an environment in which women, especially obese and overweight women, can seek advice and contraception in an open and nonjudgmental place.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Angiotensin-Receptor Blockers (ARBs) Linked to “Modest” Increase in Cancer Risk

According to a meta-analysis published in an oncology journal, angiotensin-receptor blockers are associated with a modestly increased risk for cancer. Researchers examined date from five randomized studies including more than 62,000 patients. They found those taking ARBs had a significantly greater risk for new cancer than did the controls. When analyzing different cancer types, lung cancer was the greatest increased risk. The authors of the study call the increase risk “modest” and the mechanism of why there is an increased cancer risk “uncertain.” One ARB in particular used in the study was telmisartan, approximately 85% of patients studied. Often ARBs are used as an alternate treatment for patients who do not tolerate ACE inhibitors. Guidelines from the study suggest that ARBs should be used with greater caution and ACE inhibitors to be used when tolerated.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Jul 8, 2010

Anti-atherogenic Effects of Resveratrol

Resveratrol, a polyphenol compound found in grapes, nuts, and berries has been believed to decrease cardiovascular disease. Many have heard of the health protective qualities of a glass of red wine, well it is due to the presence of this compound. Its effects on cardiovascular health come from its believed ability as an anti-atherogenic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer compound. Also studied, is its ability to prevent lipid oxidation, platelet aggregation, arterial vasodilation, and ability to modulate the levels of lipids in the blood.

In the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a research article was written analyzing a multitude of studies regarding the health claims of resveratrol. It looked at every possible mechanism for the effects on cardiovascular disease. The researchers found that the combination of mechanisms found in this polyphenol accounts for its ability as a cardioprotective. It reduces atherosclerotic plaque formation and prevents oxidation of LDL cholesterol. It also prevents arterial vasodilation and influences infarct size, as well as apoptosis and angiogenesis. Furthermore, its ability to reduce oxidative stress as a strong anti-oxidant reduces free radicals and hydrogen peroxide production. It also suppresses inflammation by down regulating pro-inflammatory cytokines. Inflammation is a risk factor for atherosclerosis. In conclusion, there is promising evidence depicting beneficial effects of resveratrol and its health claim that it can be used in the prevention and treatment of several diseases including cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Jul 2, 2010

FDA Finds Lead in All Lipsticks Tested

The FDA tested lead in 22 brands of lipstick last year, and found lead in every single one of them. It is estimated that the average woman inadvertently consumes four pounds of lipstick in her lifetime. According to a report from Florida’s Department of Health there is no amount of lead in the blood that is safe. Even low levels of lead in the body have been linked to developmental delays, aggression, hyperactivity, brain damage, learning disorders, and more. Newborns are regularly found to have lead in their umbilical cord. Lead is found many places in our environment including paints, plastics, PVC, inks, dyes, building materials, and various consumer products. The concern with lipstick is its application directly on the body, and lips are more porous than even our skin. The lipstick with the highest level of lead had 34 times more lead than the lipstick with the lowest level.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Increased with Diabetic Medication.

A recent study, examined the effects of two diabetic drugs rosiglitazone and pioglitazone, both in a category of diabetic drugs called thiazolidinedions, and their effect on cardiovascular illnesses such as acute myocardial infarctions, stroke, heart failure, and death. Interestingly, when the two prescriptions were compared to each other, rosiglitazone was associated with a higher increased risk of stroke, heart failure, and all-cause mortality than pioglitazone. According to these studies, as a general rule pioglitazone has the same actions on blood sugar, but appears to be safer than the other option in this category. While safer, all thiazolidinediones are associated with higher heart failure risks compared to other diabetic medications and placebo.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Jun 24, 2010

Link between Cancer and Sunscreen

Recently the FDA has raised concern over products used in sunscreens. In particular, one of the products making the rounds of public awareness is an ingredient called retinyl palmitate. This is a synthetic form of vitamin A used in products for its anti-aging effects. Retinyl palmitate is converted in the body to its natural form, retinol, which is used by the cells. The study on this compound was actually published in 2005. In the study they used retinyl palmitate on cells and exposed them to high levels of UV radiation. It was found that cells covered in retinyl palmitate when exposed to UV light showed an increase in tumor growth. Natural retinoids are known for their cancer protective elements. In general, retinoids are applied at night due to their sun sensitizing effects; therefore there really is no reason for them to be included in sunscreens that are worn during the day. There is much study that needs to be done in this area.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Why Skin Cancer IS on the Rise

As more people pursue a perpetual summer-style tan through the use of tanning beds, there has been an alarming increase in the rate of skin cancer, especially among young women. Most specifically, melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, has risen among women ages 25-29, especially among chronic tanning salon customers. In a recent study by the University of Michigan, frequent tanning bed users proved three times more likely to develop melanoma than non-users. The darker pigment the skin develops as a result of exposure is actually the body’s response to damage and it’s inherit need to protect itself. The study also showed that tanning beds can actually become addictive by producing endorphins that tanners become accustomed to. Fortunately, skin cancer is a highly preventable disease when measures are taken to protect oneself from high levels of UV exposure. Unfortunately there are millions of young people exposing themselves daily to increased risks of developing this very deadly cancer.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Jun 11, 2010

Pain Relievers Connected to Heart Deaths

Research from a Danish study was recently published in a journal of the American Heart Association, stating that pain medications are associated with higher risks of heart-related deaths in healthy people. The study looked at the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). They found that ibuprofen; the main ingredient in Advil and Motrin, was associated with a 29 % greater risk of fatal or nonfatal stroke. Rofecoxib, sold as Vioxx before it was recalled in the United States, was associated with a 66% greater risk of cardiovascular death. Naproxen, commonly known as Aleve, was not associated with heart problems. All prescription NSAIDS carry the same cardiovascular warning and may cause increase of serious cardiovascular thrombotic events, myocardial infarction, and stroke, which can be fatal. The American Heart Association advised in 2007 that NSAIDS, except aspirin, for chronic pain upped the risks for heart attack and stroke.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

EPA Moves to Ban DDT Cousin Endosulfan

Endosulfan, a commonly used pesticide and cousin to DDT, is being targeted to be banned by the Environmental Protection Agency. It has been registered in the United States since 1954. Already banned in Europe and many other countries, it is used on vegetables and fruits (including: cherries, apples, peaches, potatoes, grapes), oats, wheat, tobacco, cotton, ornamental shrubs, trees, and vines. The environmental agency said it is moving toward the ban following recent data suggesting the risks of the compound are greater than previously known. There are unacceptable neurological and reproductive risks to farm workers and wildlife. It is an endocrine disrupter associated with birth defects. Endosulfan is persistent in the environment, and accumulates in the tissues of fish and mammals, including people. Like DDT, the chemical is also airborne and has been detected thousands of miles from where it is used.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Jun 8, 2010

Probiotics Prevent Necrotizing Enterocolitis

Studies suggest that probiotics prevent the development of necrotizing enterocolitis, a serious and potentially fatal illness in pre-term infants. Infants treated with probiotics were significantly less likely to develop the illness. While these studies show significant correlation between use and outcome there is still debate whether it should be implemented as standard of care amongst pre-term infants or not, and what the dosage should be in these situations. The implications of this study are far reaching in terms of the use of probiotics for a vast number of illnesses.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Low Levels Vitamin D makes Asthma Worse

In an article published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, researchers from National Jewish Health, have associated low levels of Vitamin D with more severe asthma. The study measured patients’ levels of hyper-responsiveness, which measures the air passages’ tendency to constrict, leading to breathing difficulty. Hyper-responsiveness was twice as high in people with low vitamin D levels. Also in patients with levels below 30, lung function was worse and they had less response to steroid therapy.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

May 27, 2010

Long Term Treatment with Metformin Causes Vitamin B-12 Deficiency

There has been significant evidence as to the effects of Metformin, a popular treatment drug for type II diabetes, and its effects on B-12 levels. Most of the studies have been short term. Recently, a long term study, 4 years duration, studied the cumulative effects of long term Metformin use and B-12, folate, and homocysteine levels. B-12 deficiency increases over time with continued use, while at the same time homocysteine levels increased. Increased homocysteine levels are a marker for cardiovascular disease. It is believed that Metformin decreases the absorption of B-12 which some believe can be assisted by increased intake of calcium. Signs of B-12 deficiency include a form of anemia, neuropathy, and mental changes. Reversing and or preventing B-12 deficiency among patients taking Metformin can be achieved through supplementation either orally or with injections.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Reducing Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages is Associated with Reduced Blood Pressure

The effects of increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has been associated with elevated risks of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type II diabetes mellitus. Until recently the effects on blood pressure had not been studied. A recent study concluded that a reduction in sugar-sweetened beverages was significantly associated with reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressures. A significant decrease was also recorded with decreased sugar intake in general. These finding suggest that sugars may be the nutrients that contribute to the observed association between sugar-sweetened beverages and blood pressure.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Weight Loss Medicine Causing Rare Cases of Severe Liver Injury

The popular weight loss drug Orlistat, prescription name (Xenical) and over the counter name (Alii), has been linked to a rare severe liver injury resulting in two cases of death and need for liver transplantation. FDA has approved new labeling on the drug to alert the public to these risks. Orlistat works by reducing the amount of fats absorbed in the intestinal tract during a meal. Signs of liver damage include anorexia, jaundice, and dark urine.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

May 26, 2010

Increase Resistence to Antibiotics

According to the May 19th issue of the British Medical Journal resistance to antibiotics may last up to 12 months after taking an antiobiotic. In medical practices there are concerns that some common infections are becoming increasingly difficult to treat and that illnesses due to antibiotic resistant bacteria may take longer to resolve. The study showed that longer duration of antibiotic use and multiple courses prescribed were associated with higher rates of resistance.

In the study, individuals prescribed an antibiotic for a respiratory or urinary infections developed bacterial resistance to that antibiotic which can last a month immediately after treatment but may persist for up to 12 months. This effect not only increases the population of resistant bacteria to first line antibiotics, but also creates the conditions for increased use of second line antibiotics.

This is why it is important to only take antibiotics when absolutely necessary. If you do not when you really need them they may not work. As naturopathic physicians we offer botanical medicines with antibacterial properties which are not resistent.

Deborah Wiancek, N.D.

FDA warns that Proton Pump Inhibitors can Increase your Risk for Fractures

FDA recommended that physicians exercise more caution in prescribing proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) in light of evidence suggesting that high doses or long-term administration of the medications may increase the risk for hip, wrist, and spine fractures. The FDA announced that it will add safety information about the possible increased risk for hip, wrist, and spine fractures to the prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) labels for PPIs, which include esomeprazole (Nexium), omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid), and lansoprazole (Prevacid). PPIs treat conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, stomach and small intestine ulcers, and inflammation of the esophagus.

Gastroesphageal reflux, stomach ulcers and inflammation of the esophagus is best treated by focusing on the cause of the problem which can be due to food allergies, poor digestion, bacteria and parasites.

Deborah A. Wiancek, N.D.

Natural Medicine & Diabetes

American Diabetes Association (ADA) that 24 million people in the US (8 per cent of the population) have diabetes and a further 75 million pre-diabetics, you have to wonder what the health care implications are. According to ADA health care costs amount to $116 billion in direct and $58 billion in indirect costs (disability, absenteeism etc). The result is a total health care burden of over $218 billion. With the prevalence of the disease increasing (13.5 per cent 2005-2007) year-on-year and expected to hit 44.1 million by 2034, we can expect healthcare costs to hit $336 billion.

To help manage the negative side effects of hyperglycaemia, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of natural products which offer physiological benefits specifically tailored to diabetics, pre-diabetics or related conditions such as metabolic syndrome. Studies are showing that many different supplements, vitamins and minerals along with botanical medicine and diet can effectively treat diabetes. We are currently offering a 4 week program to help you control your blood sugar. For more info please call the clinic at 970-926-7606.

Deborah Wiancek, N.D.

May 21, 2010

Scientific Evidence Confirms the Influence of Diet on Breast Cancer Risk

Researchers have compared multiple studies analyzing the effects of diet and lifestyle on the risk on breast cancer. While most previous studies have focused on single nutrients and their effects on cancer rates, a recent analysis of diet patterns has resulted in a clearer association of reduced risks with healthier diets. There is an approximate 7% risk reduction with healthy diet patterns consisting of high quantities of fruit, vegetables, poultry, fish, low-fat diary, and whole grains. This is in contrast to the Western/unhealthy diet consisting of high quantities of red and processed meats, refined grains, potatoes, sweets, and high-fat diary. The most conclusive evidence in the report is the connection between alcohol consumption and cancer risk above and beyond underlying diet. Greater than 2 drinks daily is thought to raise estrogen levels because of decreased hepatic clearance, increasing cellular susceptibility to carcinogens and to impair DNA repair enzymes.
Reference: “Dietary patterns and breast cancer risk: a systemic review and meta-analysis.” Am J Clin Nut. 2010.

Kerry Ferguson, ND

Flax Oil, Borage Oil Enhance Skin Health from the Inside Out

Researchers from Labatoire in France studied the effects of 2.2 grams of either flax or borage oil on a group of healthy women ranging in age from 18-65. Women taking borage oil for several weeks were found to experience 35% less skin reddening than at the onset of the study, while those taking the same equivalent in flax oil experienced a 45% decrease. Both groups received lessened blood flow to the area in response to irritation. After six weeks the groups experienced a 10% decrease in water loss through the skin and decreased in skin roughness and scaling after 12 weeks.

Kerry Ferguson, ND

Cancer Risks Underestimated

In a recent report posted by the President’s Cancer Panel, it was stated that the public remains by and large unaware of such common cancer risks as formaldehyde, benzene, and radon. Formaldehyde is found in such things as plywood, particle board, carpets, drapes, and toiletries to name a few. We all are exposed to Benzene daily from car exhaust. Radon forms naturally and can occur in the home, it is the second leading cause of lung cancer. The report also faults the U.S. policy for allowing 80,000 commonly used chemicals to go unregulated and unstudied. This report is especially alarming with regards to children’s exposure to environmental toxins and risks for illness. Toxic chemicals remain active longer in children’s bodies and their brains are more prone to exposure.
To reduce chemical exposure it is suggested that:

-Remove shoes before entering home to avoid tracking in chemicals
-Filter tap water
-Use stainless steel, glass, or BPA-free water bottles
-Do not microwave in plastic containers- use ceramic or glass
-Minimize foods grown with pesticides and hormones
-Reduce radiation from x-rays and other medical sources

Kerry Ferguson, ND

Studies Show New Hope for Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is often called the silent killer because there is no good equivalent screening tool. For the last twenty years, doctors have known that a protein called CA-125, is much more prevalent in ovarian cancer cells than healthy cells. A blood test that looks for CA-125 is used to determine whether an ovarian cancer patient's treatment is working. However, the CA-125 test hasn't been an effective screening tool for ovarian cancer because many women who have high levels of this protein don't actually have cancer.

For eight years, researchers followed over 3,200 postmenopausal women age 50 and older who didn't have a family history of the disease. They started by testing the women's CA-125 levels. Based on the woman's age and depending on how high those levels were, the women were asked to get their next blood test one year later, to wait three months, or If their levels were high, they were immediately referred to ultrasound screening and a surgeon.

Using criteria developed by the researchers, 82 percent of the women had low CA-125 levels and were told to come back in a year. They were classified as low risk.
Over the course of the study, about 7 percent of the women were judged to be at intermediate risk based on their protein levels and were asked to get tested every three months. And less than 1 percent were at high risk and sent to get an ultrasound and see a surgeon immediately.
Five women were found to have ovarian cancer, all at an early stage. The study provides early evidence that this new method of using the CA-125 test could be a feasible strategy for screening women over 50 years of age.

Because ovarian cancer is so rare, a much larger trial is needed. Ovarian cancer strikes one in 2,500 post-menopausal women – and one in 10,000 women between the ages of 35 and 50.
This does not mean that all women at the age of 50 should be tested for C-125. Women with unidentified symptoms or a family history should be tested.

May 18, 2010

Pesticide exposure linked to an increase in ADHD

Children exposed to high levels of organophosphates a pesticide commercially grown on fruits and vegetables are more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than children with less exposure. In the study researchers measured the levels of pesticides in the urine of 1,139 children across the United States and found that high levels of pesticides doubled the odds of getting ADHD. Organophosphates have toxic effects on the nervous system. According to a 2008 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture pesticides are present in many of the fruits and veggies sold in the U.S. The produce tested by the agency showed 28% of the blueberries, 20% of celery and 25% of strawberries, 27% of green beans, 17% of peaches and 8% of broccoli contained traces of organophospates. This is another reason to buy organic fruits and veggies as much as possible. National surveys also have shown that fruits and veggies from farmers markets contain less pesticides another reason to buy locally.

Antidepressants shown to be ineffective

According to JAMA studies are showing that antidepressants such as tricyclics and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs: Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac) and the targeted norepinephrine drugs (Effexor, Paxil) are no more effective than a placebo. A JAMA study in January 2010 did an analysis of six large experiments in which depressed patients received either a placebo or an antidepressant and the drugs effect was nonexistent to negligible compare to the placebo in patients with mild, moderate and even severe depression.