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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.