Dr. Bray Links

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Kids And Screen Time: Cutting Through The Static

"We recently reported on a study out of the University of California, Los Angeles. The short of it: Researchers found that sixth-graders who spent just five days at an outdoor camp, away from their electronic devices, improved remarkably at reading emotion in other people's faces.

The experiment comes with lots of caveats. It was small (roughly 100 kids). And removing screens from the equation did not, by itself, improve these kids' social skills. What likely led to the improvement was the fact that, instead of texting or gaming, the students were working together, face-to-face, constantly decoding each other's expressions, voice tone and posture.

The take-home: Social skills require constant maintenance.


The more practice kids get reading emotion in voices and posture, the better they'll be able to navigate the turmoil of early adolescence.

That kind of social learning just won't fit in the palm of your hand."


In our digital world, are young people losing the ability to read emotions?


Monday, September 29, 2014

What makes us get sick? Look upstream


Published on Sep 15, 2014
Rishi Manchanda has worked as a doctor in South Central Los Angeles for a decade, where he’s come to realize: His job isn’t just about treating a patient’s symptoms, but about getting to the root cause of what is making them ill—the “upstream" factors like a poor diet, a stressful job, a lack of fresh air. It’s a powerful call for doctors to pay attention to a patient's life outside the exam room.

Cycling or walking to work 'improves psychological health'

"The team studied 18 years of data from almost 18,000 commuters in the UK aged 18-65. The data took in various aspects of psychological health including feelings of worthlessness, unhappiness, sleepless nights and capability of dealing with problems.

Factors that are known to affect well-being, such as income, having children, moving house or job, and relationship changes were also taken into account by the researchers.

The results suggest that people benefited from improved well-being when they stopped driving and started walking or cycling to work. Commuters reported that they felt better able to concentrate and "less under strain" if they used these methods of travel, rather than driving a car. "



Dr. Hyman helps the Stallmans

"Hearing that your blood sugars show you are diabetic (when you didn’t know it) or that your C-reactive protein (CRP) levels show extremely high levels of inflammation are not things any of us wants to hear.  Especially when we know that the root cause of being sick is our diet or our lifestyle.
The truth is that the Stallmans have been duped into eating a diet that has made them sick.  They, like many, believed that “low fat” and whole grains were healthy and that diet drinks helped them lose weight.  They didn’t get the tools or information they needed to care for themselves, so they kept on eating convenience foods that tasted amazing, were affordable and were easy to make.
The Stallmans have amazed me.  For the past month, they have followed my program earnestly and have celebrated several successes and have worked through some hurdles as well.  In the last couple of weeks they have learned how to create low glycemic (sugar) meals that remind them of their Italian and French heritage but without the flour, dairy, sugar, alcohol, or other toxic ingredients they once relied on."


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Senator Pushes to Ban 10 Toxic Flame Retardants From Children’s Products


"The legislation comes on the heels of new research released by scientists at EWGand Duke University that found evidence of exposure to TDCPP (also known as TDCIPP), a fire retardant linked to cancer, in the bodies of all 22 mothers and 26 children tested. The average level of BDCIPP, a metabolite formed when TDCPP breaks down in the body, was nearly five times higher in children than in the mothers. In the most extreme case, a child had 23 times more BDCIPP than the mother."


"Since being banned, the average human body burdens of DDT and PCB have been declining. Since their ban in 1972, the PCB body burden is 1/100 of what it was in the early 1980s (Weschler 2009). Monitoring programs of European breast milk samples have shown that PBDE levels are increasing. An analysis of PBDE content in breast milk samples from Europe, Canada, and the US shows that levels are 40 times higher for North American women than for Swedish women, and that levels in North America are doubling each year."


“The general population of the U.S. has constant, chronic exposure to these chemicals,” said Heather Stapleton, assistant professor of environmental chemistry at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. “In some homes, it’s a much higher concentration than in other homes” – depending on myriad factors including the house’s size and ventilation rates, where the furniture was bought and what kind it is, and the type of home insulation.

“We focused on four or five flame retardants in this study (including TPhP, ip-TPhP and EH-TBB), but there are actually dozens if not hundreds of flame retardants out there,” she said. “They’re also used in electronics, cars, planes and more.”



"TBBPA is one of the 75 different brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and the largest BFR in terms of production volume globally, used to improve fire saftey. TBBPA is produced in Israel, the United States, Jordan, Japan and China. 70% of TBBPA is used as a reacted flame retardant in electrical and electronic equipment and 20% is used as an additive to plastics. The use of TBBPA is permitted worldwide."


"TBBPA is an endocrine disruptor and immunotoxicant. As an endocrine disruptor, TBBPA may interfere with both estrogens and androgens. Further, TBBPA structurally mimics the thyroid hormone thyroxin (T4) and can bind more strongly to the transport protein transthyretin than T4 does, likely interfering with normal T4 activity. TBBPA likely also suppresses immune responses by inhibiting expression of CD25 receptors on T cells, preventing their activation, and by reducing natural killer cell activity.
TBBPA degrades to bisphenol A and to TBBPA dimethyl ether, and experiments in zebrafish (Danio rerio) suggest that during development, TBBPA may be more toxic than either BPA or TBBPA dimethyl ether."


"They detected a total of 21 chemicals in the house dust, including polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD) and tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA). They also detected 18 of the dust chemicals in the laundry wastewater. Chlorinated organophosphate flame retardants were present at the highest concentrations in both dust and laundry wastewater.
The researchers then took samples from two wastewater treatment plants, which discharge into the Colombia River, and analysed them for the same group of flame retardants. Flame retardant levels in the plants fit well with those predicted from lab data, and the researchers suggest that laundry wastewater may be a primary source of the chemicals to rivers."


Friday, September 26, 2014

Thyroid 101

Christopher Bray MD PhD

This is a condition where your thyroid (a major endocrine organ that controls metabolism) is not producing enough of the normal hormone. This is often treated with a replacement of this hormone that is given by mouth. One form is called levothyroxine or Synthroid. There are other forms of this replacement, which can be recommended (Tirosint, Armour, Nature-Throid, WP Thryoid – my favorite bioidentical, Cytomel, Thyrolar). Make sure you take the thyroid replacement 30 minutes before breakfast, on an empty stomach in the morning to prevent variable absorption. We often need to adjust the dose of your medication and use blood tests to determine these adjustments. Once you are stable, then checking these hormone levels every 6 months is appropriate.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism (or under treatment):

fatigue, exhaustion, depression, difficulty concentrating, unexplained weight gain, dry skin, dry/thinning hair, feeling cold, constipation, muscle cramps, increased menstrual flow, more frequent periods, infertility

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism (or over treatment):

nervousness, irritability, increased sweating, thinning of the skin, fine brittle hair, shaky hands, insomnia, racing heart, frequent bowel movements, weight loss despite good appetite, light menstrual flow, less frequent periods

Thyroid disease and pregnancy:

You should continue your thyroid medication during pregnancy. Often we need to increase your dose during pregnancy due to changes that happen in your protein levels during pregnancy. Please discuss with your physician.

Thyroid disease and diet / lifestyle:

  • Consume foods with natural iodine regularly (each T4 needs 4 iodine atoms): Fish and shellfish, grass-fed cow’s milk and yogurt, and pasture-raised eggs. Iodized salt is not correctly balanced and not very helpful. Sea salt has a better balanced form of iodine and many more trace minerals. Seaweed flakes (Dulse flakes, Wakame, Kombu Kelp, Alaria, and Nori) are also a good source of iodine.
  • Consume foods with natural selenium regularly: Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, onions, fish, shellfish, mushrooms, turkey, chicken, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised eggs, and garlic. Our soil in Florida is selenium (and magnesium) deficient. Taking selenium with iodine helps prevent complications with hyperthyroidism.
  • Iodine is a halide and is blocked by other halides. Reduce exposure to alternative halides like bromine found in baked goods, plastics, soft drinks and fruit drinks (Pepsi recently replaced its toxic brominated vegetable oil – BVO – with sucrose acetate isobutyrate in Gatorade, but left it in Mountain Dew), certain medications, pesticides, and fire retardants (carpets, mattresses, upholstery).
  • Other blocking halides include fluorine and chlorine which are commonly found in drinking water, toothpaste, and some medications. Be cautious about over exposure.
  • Open the windows on your car when you first get in, most of the inside parts are made with bromine and chlorine which leach out into the air in the hot sun.
  • Reduce exposure to chlorinated and bromine-based pools and hot tubs.
  • Be cautious about perchlorate exposure (rocket fuel), found in drinking water, vegetables and fruit (even organic ones), and milk. 97% of samples of breast milk were recently found to have perchlorates.
  • Be cautious with too many goitrogens, which are foods that can interfere with thyroid function. Goitrogens include broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, rutabaga, turnips, millet, spinach, strawberries, peaches, watercress, peanuts, radishes, and soybeans.
  • Autoimmune thyroid disease may require additional measures to keep things under control.

Advanced Thyroid Issues:

  • T4 is considered the storage form as it makes up 80% of the circulating thyroid hormones. T3 makes up the other 20% and is considered the active form. T3 is 300% more potent than T4 at the receptor level.
  • The body can control the amount of T3 in circulation by shifting T3 to reverse T3 (to tone down the metabolic rate, for example with rapid weight loss or stress).
  • Hashimoto’s is a situation where you are producing antibodies directed against the thyroid which render it inactive.
  • Basal body temperature (temperature of your body at rest) is useful to check for thyroid problem. Normal temperatures are 97.8 to 98.2 F. If low, hypothyroidism is suspected. Women in their childbearing years will have a higher temperature in the second half of their menstruate cycle due to progesterone and so this test is less accurate.
  • Humans usually have a ratio of T4 to T3 of 11 to 1. Thyroglobulin is a protein in the blood that usually binds T4 and T3.
  • Armour Thyroid, Nature-Throid, and WP Thyroid (pig thyroid extract) have a T4 to T3 ratio of 4.22 to 1 (different from humans).
  • Compounding of thyroid products to an exactly “tuned” dose and balance of T4 to T3 is possible.
  • There is very little molecular difference between “synthetic” levothyroxine (L-thyroxine) and “natural” thyroxine, except that in glandular thyroxine it is bound. D-thyroxine (the mirror image of thyroxine) was previously on the market, but removed due to cardiac side-effects and is not in any of the thyroid products.
  • Natural thyroid preparations (dessicated thyroid / thyroid glandular) also contain a small amount of T1, T2, and calcitonin. T1 and T2 are hormone precursors and byproducts of thyroid hormone synthesis. They do not act on the thyroid hormone receptor and are believed to be totally inert (inactive). However this is a controversial point.
  • T3 replacement is best done through twice a day dosing due to a shorter half-life for T3 (as compared to T4) unless it is taken in a protein bound form.
  • Herbs / supplements that mau support the thyroid include: Ashwagandha, B-complex, Guggul, L-Tyrosine, Magnesium, Manganese, Rhodiola, Selenium, Zinc.
  • The molecular structure of gliadin, the protein portion of gluten, closely resembles that of the thyroid gland. When gliadin breaches the protective barrier of the gut, and enters the bloodstream, the immune system tags it for destruction. These antibodies to gliadin also cause the body to attack thyroid tissue. This means if you have autoimmune thyroid disease and you eat foods containing gluten, your immune system will attack your thyroid. This can last for 6 months or more after exposure to gluten.

Drugs, foods, and conditions that may decrease T4 absorption.

Cholestyramine, cholestipol
Aluminum Hydroxide
Ferrous Sulfate
Calcium Carbonate
Cation-Exchange Resin
High Fiber Diet
Infants Fed Soybean Formula
Excess Soybean in Adults
Proton Pump Inhibitors
H-2 Blockers
Malabsorption Syndromes
Jejunum-ileal Bypass Surgery
Short Bowel Syndrome
Antiseizure medications (e.g., phenobarbital, phenytoin, carbamazepine, and rifampin)

Lifestyle, Enviromental, Pathologic Events causing decreased T3 (and increased  rT3)

Calorie restriction and fasting
Chemical exposure
Cold exposure
Chronic alcohol intake
Free radical load
Hemorrhagic shock
Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
Liver disease
Kidney disease
Severe or systemic illness
Severe injury
Stress (and elevated cortisol levels)
Toxic metal exposure (cadmium, mercury, lead)
Nutritional issues (iodine, selenium, zinc, niacin, Vitamin B12, lipoic acid, Vit E, Vit C)

What else is in your thyroid medication?

WP Thryoid Ingredients:
• Natural desiccated thyroid (porcine / pig)
• Inulin (from chicory root)
• Medium chain triglycerides

Tirosint Ingriedients:
• Levothyroxine (aka T4)
• Glycerin
• Gelatin
• Water

Nature-Throid Ingredients:
• Colloidal Silicon Dioxide (from mined ore: natural desiccant to protect from moisture and humidity)
• Dicalcium Phosphate (from mined ore, holds tablet together)
• Lactose Monohydrate (traceable amount as part of desiccated thyroid powder USP)
• Magnesium Stearate (from a vegetable source like palm oil; lubricating agent for tablet compress)
• Microcrystalline Cellulose (synthetic fiber base to provide volume & bulk: also binds thyroid hormones, sadly)
• Croscarmellose Sodium (aids in disintegration in stomach and sadly, even more cellulose!)
• Stearic Acid (from vegetable source–typically palm oil; holds ingredients together)
• Opadry II 85F19316 Clear (contains polyvinyl alcohol USP, talc USP and polyethylene glycol NF)
• Porcine Thyroid Powder, U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP)

Armour Ingredients:
• Porcine Thyroid Powder, U.S. Pharmacopeia
• Dextrose, Anhydrous (anhydrous means any water has been removed and makes the tablet more stable)
• Microcrystalline Cellulose, NF
• Sodium Starch Glycolate, NF
• Calcium Stearate NF (stabilizer and lubricant)
• Opadry White (Titanium dioxide used as whitening agent, but also contains trace amounts of PEG (polyethylene glycol), Polysorbate 80, and Hydroxypropyl Methycellulose)

Cytomel Ingredients:
• Liothyronine (aka T3)
• Calcium sulfate
• Gelatin
• Starch
• Stearic acid
• Sucrose
• Talc

Synthroid Ingredients:
• Acacia
• Confectioner's sugar (contains corn starch)
• Lactose monohydrate
• Magnesium stearate
• Povidone
• Talc
• The following are the color additives by tablet strength:
  • 25 FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake
  • 50 None
  • 75 FD&C Red No. 40 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Blue No. 2 Aluminum Lake
  • 88 FD&C Blue No. 1 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake, D&C Yellow No. 10 Aluminum Lake
  • 100 D&C Yellow No. 10 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake
  • 112 D&C Red No. 27 & 30 Aluminum Lake
  • 125 FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Red No. 40 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Blue No. 1 Aluminum Lake
  • 137 FD&C Blue No. 1 Aluminum Lake
  • 150 FD&C Blue No. 2 Aluminum Lake
  • 175 FD&C Blue No. 1 Aluminum Lake, D&C Red No. 27 & 30 Aluminum Lake
  • 200 FD&C Red No. 40 Aluminum Lake
  • 300 D&C Yellow No. 10 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Blue No. 1 Aluminum Lake

Common medications with fluoride
  • Anesthetics (several agents for general anesthesia)
  • Antacids: Prevacid
  • Anti-axiety: Flurazepam, Halazepam, Hydroflumethaizide
  • Antibiotics: Cipro, Tequin, Levaquin, Avelox, Linezolid
  • Antidepressants: Celexa, Lexapro, Fluoxetine, Paroxetine, Fluvoxamine
  • Antifungals: Diflucan, Flucytosine, Voriconazole
  • Cholesterol: Lipitor, Zetia, Fluvastatin
  • Anti-malarial: Mefloquine
  • Chemo: Aprepitant, Fluoruracil
  • Arthritis: Celebrex, Sulindac
  • Psychotropic: Fluphenazine, Haloperidol, Trifluoperazine
  • Steroids: Betamethosone, Clobetasol, Dexamethasone, Flunisolide, Fluocinolone, Fluticasone (Flonase)

Is it possible to get off thyroid medication?
In short ... it depends, but the chances are not good if they thyroid is damaged.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Screening Mammography Controversies, What’s a Woman to Do?

Breast cancer screening should involve shared-decision making (an active and in-depth conversation between physician and patient) with true informed consent about risks and benefits like many of the other cancer screening tests we have. Many women feel that a yearly mammogram is the only thing they have to do for breast cancer prevention. What makes this even easier is that radiology departments are sending letters directly to patients and independently ordering a yearly mammogram without allowing for any discussion with the physician. Unfortunately mammograms are not breast cancer "prevention", they are however helpful in breast cancer "detection". A self exam and clinical exam are important elements as well in early detection. Breast cancer "prevention" strategies should be emphasized more during the regular preventative visit with your physician. Dr. Tori Hudson has a very good discussion of the issue in her recent post.


"When speaking with patients, I let them know that there are 4 camps regarding screening mammography that differ greatly:

Camp 1 is the dominant school of thought held by organizations including ACOG, ACR, ACS, and Komen Foundation. They all recommend screening mammography yearly starting at age 40 and ending approximately mid-70s, although this is based on individual health and ability to withstand treatment regimens.

Camp 2 is held by the USPSTF, which is quite a bit different with screening mammography. This recommendation is not to start mammography screening in low-risk women until age 50, and then to do it every other year.

Camp 3 is a model common in many European countries: screening mammography every 3 years, some starting at age 40 and others at 50. There is no evidence that countries using this model have any higher rates of breast cancer mortality than countries that employ more frequent screening.

Camp 4. No screening at all in low-risk women, based on calculations from one of the leading U.S. researchers on analyzing screening mammography data. As mentioned earlier, his conclusions are that it would be necessary to screen 2,500 women every year for 10 years to avoid 1 death from breast cancer.

I also point out a few caveats to my patients. The first is that the current scientific data do not explain whether avoiding screening mammograms (and their potential for earlier detection) will result in exposing women to more aggressive treatments and the ensuing impacts on quality of life and adverse effects. The second is that breast cancer diagnosed in younger women, ages 40–49, tends to be more aggressive. So screening mammography in this age group might in fact be more important than screening mammography after age 50 or so.

After sharing all the above information, I feel that my patients are reasonably well informed and can make their own decisions, with my support.

Final Comments

Some readers might conclude that they won’t recommend screening mammography at all or may instead choose to recommend breast thermography. Before going the route of thermography, I recommend the excellent article by Walker and Kaczor: Breast Thermography: History, Theory, and Use. The recent research pointing to more serious questions about the benefits vs. harm of screening mammography in low risk women has not caused me to stop recommending screening mammography or to suggest thermography. Instead it has caused me to have an increased awareness that the mortality benefit is possibly modest and that my recommendations and my patients’ decisions may in fact be a close call with trade-offs of modest benefit and modest harm. This highlights the need for us to make individual recommendations based on known risk factors including obesity, more than 7 alcohol drinks per week, a first-degree relative with breast cancer history, BRCA mutations, and the slight increased risk incurred after estrogen with progestin (and not necessarily progesterone and not estrogen only) use for 3–4 years in postmenopausal women. As a point of clarification though, I would typically recommend annual screening for these higher-risk women 40 and older."







Have a beer ... with MSG, high fructose corn syrup, and fish bladders

“Ingredient labeling on food products and non-alcoholic beverages is required by the Food and Drug Administration. But a whole other federal agency regulates beer, and not very well. The Department of Treasury – the same folks who collect your taxes – oversees alcoholic beverages. That probably explains why we know more about what’s in a can of Coke than a can of Bud. You can also thank the alcohol industry, which has lobbied for years against efforts to require ingredient labeling.”


Foodbabe ... The story behind the blog?

"Ten years ago, while sitting in a hospital bed, Vani Hari made a decision that changed her life and the lives of many more.  

While embarked on a fast paced career to rapidly climb the steps of the American dream she had neglected her body to the point of collapse.  Tired, overweight and taking 8 different medications for her multiple ailments she promised to turn her health into her number one priority.   

The first thing she did was abandon her junk food diet.  But more than that, she decided to investigate the ingredients in those foods and their effects on the consumers.  

Terrified by her findings, she decided to share them on a blog that she named Food Babe which started in 2011. 

In three years the site has become a global movement with more than 4 million readers and has forced members of the powerful food and beverage industry like Kraft, Subway and Starbucks to remove chemical additives and other health damaging ingredients from their products. 

In a few words, what is Food Babe? 
FoodBabe.com is the place you go to investigate what's in your food. We fight for transparency, better ingredients and teach people how to eat real, organic, non-GMO whole foods."

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

"The evidence base supporting a link between persistent organic pollutant exposure and a wide spectrum of diseases continues to grow, particularly for cardiometabolic and neurological conditions. These lipophilic and stable substances include a range of substances, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PDBEs), plastics, phthalates, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), many of which are widespread globally. ...

At least part of their toxicity appears to be mediated via epigenetic mechanisms, which now appear to be on par with genetic polymorphisms for clinical importance. Unlike genetic mutations, epigenetic modifications appear to be reversible with appropriate interventions. While much remains to be determined, avoidance of exposure seems highly indicated, as does nutritional support of relevant metabolic pathways, including glutathione synthesis and methylation, particularly during crucial periods of development."


Thyroid disease, the less obvious dysfunction

"BPA binds to thyroid hormone receptors and estrogen receptors, antagonizing thyroid hormone receptor activation. BPA has also been shown to inhibit the regulation of most T3-dependent responsive genes and affect T3 signaling pathways. In an animal model, BPA exposure produced an endocrine profile similar to that observed in patients with T3 resistance syndrome.
PCBs are persistent organic pollutants that have paired phenol rings with different degrees of chlorination. Their structure is similar to thyroid hormone and can bind to interact with the thyroid hormone receptor acting as an agonist or antagonist to the thyroid hormone receptor. PCBs were widely used from 1930 to 1979, at which time they were banned in the US. They are lipophilic compounds that have a half-life of 7 years and have been found in high amounts in breast milk. Prenatal exposure to PCBs has been shown to be associated with decreased cognitive function in children, impairing executive function, verbal abilities, visual recognition and memory.
PBDEs have a structure similar to thyroid hormone and can displace T4 from serum thyroid-binding protein transthyretin (TTR). PBDEs are widely used as flame retardants and in plastics, foams and building materials, and have also been detected in foods (meat, fish, vegetables and dairy). PBDEs are detectable in 97% of US residents at levels 20 times higher than those seen in European residents. Increased PBDEs have also been associated with lower free T3; TSH declines 16% for every ten-fold increase in PBDEs, increasing the risk of subclinical hyperthyroidism two-fold.
Triclosan is an antibacterial/anti-fungal agent containing chlorinated organic molecules similar to PCBs, PBDEs and BPA. Triclosan suppresses serum thyroid hormone concentrations. According to NHANES 2003–2004, Triclosan has been found in 75% of urine samples and has also been found at detectable levels in breast milk.
Other environmental toxins which affect thyroid function and hormone homeostasis include organochlorine pesticides, which activate hepatic uridine diphosphate glucuronyltransferases (UDPTGs) and increases T4 metabolism, and perchlorate, which lowers both T3 and T4. Some degree of protection has been seen with iodine supplementation."

Osteoporosis prevention starts much earlier than most think

"ABSTRACT: Osteoporosis is a preventable, potentially crippling disease characterized by low bone density and increased bone fragility that affects millions of people. The seeds of this pernicious disease are sown during adolescence, when the skeleton is most active in absorbing dietary calcium and building up nearly all the bone mass that will carry the teenager throughout life. Dietary intake of calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K, particularly vitamin K2, is critical during this life stage for optimal bone growth; unfortunately, the majority of adolescents in the USA do not consume adequate amounts. In addition, many adolescents are now using oral contraceptives or intrauterine devices that prevent ovulation, thus inhibiting formation of progesterone required for the development of osteoblasts. Oral contraceptives also lower blood levels of vitamins B6 and B12, both of which are necessary to prevent elevated levels of homocysteine, whose impact on bone can be significant. In addition to "the pill," many commonly prescribed medications disrupt normal bone remodeling and promote osteoporosis. Other remediable factors that cause excessive bone loss include insufficiencies of key nutrients, such as vitamin D3, vitamin K2, and calcium, required for healthy bone remodeling. It is important to recognize key risk factors and manage those that can be modified to prevent disease and/or minimize risk of fracture. This article presents an overview of osteoporosis, pathophysiology of disease, diagnostic tests, risk factors, and clinical recommendations for healthy bones."
Many commonly prescribed medications disrupt normal bone remodeling and promote osteoporosis. These include benzodiazepines used to manage epilepsy, anxiety, insomnia, depression, schizophrenia, and restless leg syndrome; selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and atypical antipsychotics used to manage anxiety and depression; thiazolidinediones prescribed to manage type 2 diabetes; opioids (e.g., morphine, codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone, tramadol) used to manage chronic pain; glucocorticoids (e.g., prednisone, prednisolone, kenalog, dexamethasone) used to manage allergies, asthma and autoimmune diseases; and antacids, histamine H2-receptor blockers, proton-pump inhibitors used to manage indigestion and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)."

Natural Support for Autoimmune and Inflammatory Disease

"In this paper, we discuss natural therapies that can help regulate the immune system's aggressive behavior without suppressing or altering its necessary defenses. ...
Herbs that reduce inflammation may help down-regulate the autoimmune response. Several herbs that have been traditionally used for this purpose also have been investigated scientifically to determine their mechanism(s) of action. These herbs include: Hops, Artemisia, Sarsaparilla, Reishi Mushroom, Ashwagandha, Nettle, Rehmannia, and Chinese Skullcap (Scute). Other important herbs that may have a role in decreasing both inflammation and the overzealous auto immune response include Boswellia serrata, Green Tea, Ginger, Turmeric, White Willow, Stephania and Chinese Thunder God Vine."

Red Flag for Universal Flu Vaccine

The recent flu vaccine research in pigs raises a huge red flag calling into question the validity of this hypothesis, however. After giving piglets an H1N2 vaccine, they were then exposed to the H1N1 virus in circulation during 2009. As reported in the featured article:
“Instead of being protected, the H1N2-vaccinated pigs developed more severe disease than exposed pigs that hadn’t been pre-vaccinated. When the researchers tested the blood of the vaccinated pigs, they found high levels of antibodies that attached to the stalk of the H1N1 hemagglutinin, but not to the head of the protein.
Vincent said she and her colleagues are still trying to figure out why this produces more severe disease. But the theory is that while the stalk antibodies can’t neutralize or kill invading viruses, they do bind to them. And that may actually help the viruses enter the cells and multiply to higher levels—the paper calls them 'fusion enhancing.'”


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Are You Lower-Carb Than You Think?

A good lesson about carbs from one of the Paleo leaders - Chris Kresser.

"After a few months on the low-carb Paleo diet, Frank did reach his target weight and body composition.
But then the fatigue and insomnia started. A few months after that, he noticed he was having trouble keeping up with his training routine (which is, as you might imagine given his profession, quite rigorous)."

Things You Need to Know About Your Thyroid - Aviva Romm

When I check thyroid function and am suspicious, I look at TSH, fT3, fT4, thyroid antibodies, and sometimes revT3. The numbers must be carefully assessed in conjunction with symptoms. The standard normative scales don't work for many individuals. The good news is that not everyone needs thyroid replacement - as Dr. Romm outlines.
"Make sure your diet and your daily supplement provide you with iodine, selenium, and zinc which are three key nutrients needed by the thyroid gland for basic functioning. Sea vegetables such as 1 tablespoon of dulse flakes daily provides you with a nice dose of iodine, just 1-2 Brazil nuts each day provide you with ample selenium, and zinc is found in beef, oysters, dark meat chicken, cashews, pumpkin seeds, almonds, yogurt, and many other sources."

Russian Prime Minister's thoughts on GMO

"If the Americans like to eat GMO products, let them eat it then. We don't need to do that; we have enough space and opportunities to produce organic food," he said.

The prime minister said he ordered widespread monitoring of the agricultural sector. He added that despite rather strict restrictions, a certain amount of GMO products and seeds have made it to the Russian market.

Genetically Modified Soy Linked to Sterility, Infant Mortality in Hamsters

We need more safety studies on genetically modified foods and widespread Roundup use before they are sold for us to consume. Short-term and limited scope research funded by industry doesn't address the risks.

Focus on real unadulterated food.

"After feeding hamsters for two years over three generations, those on the GM [genetically modified] diet, and especially the group on the maximum GM soy diet, showed devastating results. By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies."


Where do you draw your line when you shop for groceries? Here is how Washington State and California State supporters in favor of GMO labeling drew their line (the initiative was defeated in 2013. The Grocery Manufacturers Association, rallied and mounted a $46 million campaign via Nestle SA, General Mills Inc., Coca-Cola Co and PepsiCo Inc).


Monday, September 22, 2014

Foods You Don't Have to Buy Organic - Dr. Andrew Weil

"Nearly all of the data used took into account how people typically wash and prepare produce - for example, apples were washed and bananas peeled before testing. Of the fruit and vegetable categories tested, the following "Clean 15" foods had the lowest pesticide load, and consequently are the safest conventionally grown crops to consume from the standpoint of pesticide contamination:

Sweet corn
Sweet peas (frozen)
Cantaloupe (domestic)
Sweet potatoes"

Metformin could cause thyroid and heart problems experts warn

Why are all the pro-drug studies from America and the anti-drug studies from outside America?
"Metformin is commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood sugar levels by reducing glucose production in the liver. 
But new research, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found the drug is linked to having an underactive thyroid."

Reduce your chance of heart attack by >80%

Low-risk behavior included 5 factors:

1.     a healthy diet (top quintile of Recommended Food Score)
2.     moderate alcohol consumption (10 to 30 g/day), no smoking
3.     being physically active (walking/bicycling ≥40 min/day and exercising ≥1 h/week)
4.     having no abdominal adiposity (waist circumference <95 cm)
"Following all five low-risk factors -- refraining from smoking, being physically active and having no abdominal adiposity, in addition to the other two -- was associated with a relative risk of 0.14 (95% CI: 0.04-0.43), wrote Agneta Åkesson, PhD, of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and her co-authors online in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology."

What Obstetricians Aren’t Trained To Care About - Dr. Kelly Brogan

"Obstetrics has traditionally regarded the woman and fetus as two largely separate entities coexisting during gestation, a perspective upended by the advent of epigenetic science and our understanding of the relevance of a woman's lifestyle preconception and during pregnancy. From a gene-centric paradigm, pregnancy complications were not preventable, and genes ruled any manifest pathology. Through the lens of the holobiont, however, genetic information passed from mother to baby includes nuclear, mitochondrial, and bacterial genes, and the bacteria themselves carry out many epigenetic processes that influence the expression of genes including detoxification of chemicals, production of nutrients, and foods."

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Weight of the World: Global Approaches To Tackle Obesity - Dr. Mark Hyman

Mark Hyman mentions some great international solutions to the problem: "America has created the worst diet [and lifestyle] and is now exporting it to every country of the world."
We need taxation of unhealthy habits. These lifestyle choices are bankrupting our healthcare system. Individuals also need to do their part by seeking to avoid obviously destructive habits.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Diabetes Nutritional Factors - Alternative

by Andrew W. Saul
(Introduction by Abram Hoffer, M.D.:
Reading this chapter will report what can be done over and above the use of insulin and classical dietetics. I am very familiar with Type I (insulin dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes), as two members of my family have it. As this is not a medical text, the author does not describe the symptomatology and treatment using insulin. (By the way, doctors who treat diabetes are practicing orthomolecular medicine without knowing it, for they are using a hormone that is naturally present in the body.) Dr. Saul lists and describes both positive and negative factors in dealing with this condition. Thus for Type I, we have on the positive side the B complex vitamins, especially vitamin B-3, and vitamin C. The negative factors are diets which are too rich in free sugars and not rich enough in the complex carbohydrates. Negative factors also include milk, fluoride, coffee and vaccinations.
When it is started at an early age, niacinamide will prevent diabetes from developing in many children born to families prone to the disease. I have also found niacin very helpful in preventing patients from suffering the long term ravages of diabetes, which are not directly due to high blood sugars, but to the side effects involving the vascular system. Niacin lowers total cholesterol, elevates HDL, and prevents the development of arteriosclerosis. Therefore these patients are less apt to become blind and lose their legs. With medical supervision, it may be used safely in dealing with diabetics, but you will need to find a doctor who knows niacin. Dr. Saul provides supporting references to the literature, which physicians will benefit from seeing. I was especially pleased to see that he cited my friend Dr. Emanuel Cheraskin's seven papers on the subject.
Type II Non-insulin dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM) was formerly known as hyperinsulinism or hypoglycemia. The term "hypoglycemia" turned the establishment red with fury. But over time, many books and papers have been published dealing with this very common condition. Positive factors listed are magnesium, exercise, weight control, chromium, fiber, vitamin E, vanadium, vitamin C, and complex carbohydrates. Negative factors are iatrogenic, such as drugs that may actually cause this type of diabetes. I have been using the positive factors for the past 40 years. When patients followed such a program, the results are very good.
This webpage provides complementary physicians who are interested in treating diabetes with information about nutrients that will make their treatment even better. I am convinced that if this information were to be used preventively, it would protect many persons from developing this disease. - A. Hoffer)"

Confessions of a Frustrated Pharmacist

"I'm a registered pharmacist. I am having a difficult time with my job. I sell people drugs that are supposed to correct their various health complaints. Some medicines work like they're supposed to, but many don't. Some categories of drugs work better than others. My concern is that the outcomes of treatment I observe are so unpredictable that I would often call the entire treatment a failure in too many situations."


Friday, September 19, 2014

DrHansen.com | Chemical in Cosmetics Causing Early Menopause

" A group of chemicals known as Pthalates have been found to increase the risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity. and now new research from Washington University, Missouri, indicates they may also cause early Menopause. Pthalates are found in plastics, cosmetics (including make-up and hairspray), household products and food packaging. Women exposed to higher levels have been found to have significant hormone fluctuations that cause the early onset of Menopause, an average of  2  1/2 years before other women."


Lifestyle Psychiatry - Dr. Lynn Johnson

"Psychiatry, as I said, has virtually abandoned psychotherapy, and along with that, isn't really focused on such things as lifestyle interventions. Psychiatry has succumbed to the siren song of 15 minute med check sessions, billing at the hour rate, so as to make more money like the surgeons. But that doesn't allow time to go over lifestyle interventions like eating, exercise, time in nature, social connection (or, compassionate service to others), and other lifestyle changes."


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Link Found Between Food Allergies and Farm Antibiotics

When 80% of the antibiotics in our country are used by the food industry, why are doctors being blamed for creating superbugs? Physicians and patients are comprehending the idea that antibiotics should be a last resort for typical infections. But is our food system?

Opt for organic foods and naturally raised animal products. Food allergies can be reversed with clean food and increasing microdose exposure.

Also, remember that an allergy medication is not a fix, it's a patch.

And, given rest and a healing environment, we have a very sophisticated system working for us. Saying you don't have time to get sick and opting for an antibiotic will often create future problems by disrupting our body's natural flora.


"Researchers now claim to have identified the first case in which a serious allergic reaction was traced to an antibiotic pesticide.5, 6 In this case, a 10-year old girl suffered a severe allergic reaction to blueberry pie.

The culprit turned out to be a streptomycin-containing pesticide that had been applied to the blueberries. According to lead author Dr. Anne Des Roches, this is "the first report that links an allergic reaction to fruits treated with antibiotic pesticides."


On a diet? Just drink diet soda, right?

Many patients opt for diet products because someone told them to cut back on sugar or calories. I have encouraged patients to drink clean room temperature water - preferably not too much at mealtime. Cold water at the start of a meal (like most restaurants give) is not good either - digestion is significantly impaired. Yes there is certainly room for freshly juiced veggies and fruit, tea, coffee, and kombucha, but not chemical-laced soda, sports drinks, sweetened tea, or store purchased juice.

"The study from researchers in Israel was released Wednesday by the journal Nature.
The work suggests the sweeteners change the composition of normal, beneficial bacteria in the gut. That appears to hamper how well the body handles sugar in the diet, which in turn can result in higher blood sugar levels. This impairment, called glucose intolerance, can eventually lead to diabetes."

Massage with Sesame Oil

Getting a massage with oils including essential oils has great benefits. Even your gums can benefit apparently.
" Gum massage with oil reduces bacteria
They found that S. mutans bacteria counts were significantly reduced among all the groups, but the sesame oil group's S. mutans counts were lower - reducing S. mutans counts from 5.47 (log-10 CFU) to 3.06, for a 2.41 average reduction. The olive oil gum massage group experienced a 2.21 reduction in S. mutans while the coconut oil gum massage group had a 2.06 reduction.
In comparison, the chlorhexidine  gel massage group had an average of 1.76 reduction in S. mutans counts."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Potential Driver of Suicide?

We are chipping away at the infinitely complex human brain and its emotional centers, but I sincerely doubt we will ever be able to fully comprehend all the interacting systems. So, in the meantime, eat healthy with lots of colorful magnesium / sulfur rich veggies, zinc rich foods, and healthy fats / essential oils (including a good amount of omega-3), exercise regularly, share often within a nurturing relationship (verbally and physically), strive for adaptability and resiliency in your reactions, and pray regularly. And don't watch the news, it's far too depressing. Instead, learn about your world with your own eyes and through the eyes of trusted friends.


"This stimulation shunts tryptophan from production of serotonin and melatonin to the production of a disruptive excitatory compound called quinolinic acid, at the expense of a more regulatory compound called kynurenic acid...
Natural NMDA modulating agents include magnesium, zinc, taurine, glycine, N-acetylcysteine, and phenibut or GABA. Food additives, on the other hand, such as MSG (often hidden under one of these pseudonyms) stimulates the NMDA receptor in a toxic way that can cause unpredictable neurologic symptoms."

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Why the Use of Glyphosate in Wheat Has Increased Celiac Disease

Bread is far too common in our diet these days and I usually tell patients to minimize bread consumption in favor of more unprocessed foods. If you do eat bread, it needs to be organic and use organic wheat. In Gainesville, The Vine (http://facebook.com/VineGainesville) provides a really good (clean ingredients and good tasting) bread. So can your kitchen. :)

"So what's going on? Dr. Seneff's research reveals that when it comes to gluten intolerance and celiac disease, the problem actually doesn't stem from genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Rather it's related to the use of glyphosate just before the harvesting of many of the non-organic wheat crops, in order to reduce the amount of residue that needs to be cleared and to get a head start on next year's weeds."

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Preventing Disease and Staying Healthy

Preventing Disease and Staying Healthy
Dr. Christopher Bray MD PhD

1.       Exercise is critical for all ages. See the YouTube video “23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?” - http://youtu.be/aUaInS6HIGo. You should try to spend at least 30 minutes a day doing something that gets your heart rate above your normal range. Typically a normal heart rate is 60 to 100 bpm. Exercise is one of the main ways the body grows new blood vessels – for example to bypass blocked arteries. It also helps to prevent diabetes, protects from anxiety and depression, reduces chronic pain conditions, and improves mental focus and mental endurance. Sleep quality is often much improved with regular exercise. Have fun with your exercise. Try to exercise outside in nature. Play sports with friends. Go dancing. Go skiing. Go mountain-biking. Listen to uplifting music or an audio book while you exercise indoors. Take your young kids with you while you exercise – whining, sniffling, hungry, and all.
2.       Eat a diet rich in unprocessed and minimally cooked foods created by nature, not a chemical factory. One aspect of this is seen in a short video on YouTube: “Minding Your Mitochondria: Dr. Terry Wahls at TEDxIowaCity” - http://youtu.be/KLjgBLwH3Wc. Avoid genetically modified foods. Eat a diversity of nuts or seeds (there are lots of great nut / seed “butters” out there now). Try to eat local foods (from Wards or various farmers markets: 441 on Saturday AM, Haile Plantation on Saturday AM, Downtown Gainesville on Wednesday PM, Tioga on Monday PM). Also check out websites: eatwild.com and localharvest.org. Try to eat foods exposed to as few toxic chemicals as possible. Don’t be overly concerned about cleaning vegetables that were grown in clean environments. Sometimes this means eating organic, sometimes, this just means growing some tomatoes or strawberries out in the back yard. Items in grocery stores designed to last for 2 to 100 years on unrefrigerated shelves are usually not good choices for your body.
3.       Drink plenty of clean water. Your water needs depend on how active you are and your medical conditions. Men usually need about 2 liters (64 oz) of water a day, women usually need about 1 ½ liters (48 oz) of water a day. You should put out about 1 (32 oz) to 1 ½ liters of urine per day (to filter out metabolic toxins in the urine and allow enough fluid for your bowels to stay healthy). Avoid bottled water if possible – the water quality is usually poor and they are horrible for the environment. Use reusable glass bottles (such as those made by Lifefactory or Takeya; glass VOSS water bottles can be reused). Use glass cups at home or the office. Municipal water / well water that is appropriately filtered is usually fine. Tea is a great addition to water (green tea, white tea, chamomile tea, etc). Coffee is fine for most people (without artificial additives). Juice is good when made fresh and excessive sugar is avoided (like daily orange juice) [http://gerson.org/gerpress/faqs-juicing/].
4.       Surround yourself with a diversity of people and engage them in conversation. Be patient, be a good listener, and be understanding of different views. But don’t be afraid to challenge their views and opinions. Talk with people face to face. Give people hugs. Shake people’s hands. We are not designed to sit in front of a computer and stare at a light box while tapping our fingers on a keyboard. We are not designed to walk while tapping out texts on our phones. We are not designed to vegetate in front of a television or game system for hours on end.
5.       Interact with children on a regular basis. They will do more for keeping your mind sharp and “young” than any medicine in the pharmacy. Answer their questions thoughtfully.
6.       Have stable relationships. When things go sour with friends or family, forgive them and work with them to try and form a compromise. Life gets messy and complicated; don’t expect people to be perfect.
7.       Make time to physically be involved with nature and animals. Plant a tree or grow some herbs. Go for a walk in a park. Go camping. Float down the river. Go fishing. Get a dog, cat, or even a pet fish.
8.       Listen to music. Music, like art, should be beautiful. Music should stir our soul. Have high standards for music and don’t accept what is given to you free with commercial radio.
9.       Learn new ideas or skills regularly from birth to death. Learn a new instrument. Learn a new language. Learn about a foreign culture. Learn about a historical period. Don’t accept defeat or frustration or failure as an option – just keep trying to learn these new things.
10.   Spend 90% of your time, thinking about where you are now and where you are going tomorrow. Spend the other 10% of your time thinking about where you came from – only enough time to help avoid future mistakes and build on past success. Don’t get fixated on pride, anxiety, or frustration about who you WERE in the past.
11.   Be a problem solver, not a problem reporter.
12.   Be content with what material things you have in your possession and figure out a way to use those things efficiently and creatively. Fix things that are broken. Don’t feel the compulsion to buy new things. However, if you have to buy something, buy things that will last and are not going to break or be useless in a year.
13.   Avoid toxic chemicals in the home (ewg.org). Avoid eating or drinking out of Styrofoam and minimize use of plastics – both substances leak hormone disruptors / carcinogens and degrade poorly in landfills. Pay attention to paints, carpets, and furniture (even children’s pajamas) when buying them as these are sources of toxic volatile organic compounds and flame retardants which off-gas into the home. Use simple cleaning products like baking soda, vinegar, borax, olive oil, and water. Open the windows whenever possible. Use the A/C or heat as little as possible and change the filter often. Try and tolerate some of the seasonal changes within your home. Use as few pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides inside and outside of your home as possible. Insect baits are preferable to sprays. There are many times natural alternatives to toxic chemicals (pouring boiling water on an ant mount).
14.   Cleansing of toxic chemicals can be helpful for the body. Apples and freshly juiced apple juice can help with detoxification. Sweating gives the body a chance to remove toxic substances including heavy metals.
15.   Supplements can be an additional source of contamination and heavy metals. Unfortunately, our government is not as proactive about ensuring quality and purity of supplements (like Germany’s Commission E). For now, keep your supplement list to a minimum of what you need and only use high-quality supplements. My universal rule is that food sources are usually superior to supplemental forms of nutrition. The website consumerlabs.com gives a balanced and fair review of specific brands for various supplements. In general, I am a fan of New Chapter, Integrative Therapeutics, Xymogen, Thorne Research, and Metagenics. I also have success with Jarrow, Irwin Naturals, Garden of Life, Barlean’s, Solgar, and Gaia. Stores in Gainesville include Wards, Earth Origins, GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, Sunflower Health Foods as well as many of the pharmacies.
16.   Be happy with your physical features. Wrinkles, bumps, dimples, and spots make you, you. Let other people see you and not a façade. It’s their addiction to pop-culture that makes them not appreciate these features.
17.   Physicians and psychiatrists are finding that patients with healthy spiritual connections have fewer chronic health problems and mental illness. If this is a direction that interests you, then search for spiritual ideas that have a long history and have survived “the test of time”. Search for guidance from experienced people that are not hypocrites – those who are and have been practicing exactly what they preach. They should feel warm, balanced, and peaceful when you talk with them or are around them.
18.   Take time every day to close your eyes, ears, and mind to the intense, addictive, and overwhelming man-made and highly commercialized world around us and instead turn inward for 15-30 minutes a day and allow some silence back into your life.