Sunday, July 3, 2011

Digestive system - the foundation of our health part 1 - GERD and Food sensitivity

Happy July 4th. Let’s celebrate July 4th by claiming our Independence from the disease-based medicine, working to make holistic medicine a viable choice for Americans. Being one of the countries spending most for health care and being one of the unhealthiest nations among the developed countries speaks for itself how our current health care system doesn’t serve us well.

I have been wanting to write about our digestive system for the longest time. It’s true that we are only as young as our oldest system and as strong as our weakest organs. Every organ and system in our body is indispensable. The digestive system is still the most basic and plays more roles than we realize. The digestive system is where we assimilate our nutrition from outside; where we host a huge population of friendly bacteria to produce many essential vitamins and to detox our bodies; where we produce so many neurotransmitters as to win the title of “The Second Brain” (the book by Michael D. Gershon, MD); where our first line of defense takes place and contributes big time to our immunity over all; and, of course, where we remove waste. Since it’s such a big system, I would like to address a part of it each time. Today, let’s start from the top - the stomach, including gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD).

GERD medicines have been big sellers for many years, and they are used widely even in children now. GERD medicine decreases the acidity of our stomach, which encourages the growth of H. Pylori, yeast, and candida. The overgrowth of harmful bacteria decreases Vitamin B12 absorption and has other side effects. There are actually very effective natural, alternative treatments for GERD. More than 90% of my patients do not need GERD medicine after finishing the program.

First, we remove the food that bother our stomach from our diet. I usually do a food sensitivity test. Food sensitivities are a delayed IgG response, different from an immediate IgE reaction such as peanut butter anaphylactic shock. IgG food sensitivities take 2-3 days to show symptoms, thus escaping most people’s notice. The test is not expensive, but needs to be done by an out-of-network lab. This test shows our sensitivities to 110 common foods. It frequently yields information such that patients know what to eat. Avoiding sensitive foods benefits every symptoms of the GI tract, including GERD, bloating, indigestion, gas, leaking gut syndrome, constipation, and even allergies, eczema, and asthma.

The second is to give acid back to stomach. Most of people think GERD is due to too much acid. Many of my colleagues (Jonathan Wright, MD’s Why stomach acid is good for you ) and my clinical experience suggest most GERD patients have actually less than sufficient amount of acid when they eat. As a result, the gastroesophageal junction muscle does not sense the acidity and does not tighten the junction to prevent acid regurgitation. Most of us have less acid production as we age, which contributes to poor Vitamin B12 and other nutrition absorption and many lower GI tract problems, like over growth of candida which we will address in the future. The acid I prefer to use is raw unfiltered organic apple-cider vinegar, which not only provides acidity, but also provides fermented enzymes and helps the body to become more alkaline and to control sugar better.

The third will be a broad spectrum digestive enzyme. We need to put the enzyme back to our food because most of them are processed and their natural enzymes are destroyed. Digestive enzyme decreases bloating and gas and many mal-digestive symptoms. Apple-cider vinegar taken with a good digestive enzyme at the beginning of each meal, facilitates food digestion and decreases GERD symptoms. Two teaspoons is a good dose to start with and can be increased to the dosage at which patients feel best.

Do not try to stop your GERD medicine by yourself. The adjustment of medication need to be done under the supervision of a medical doctor. I will continue to discuss the other aspects of our digestive system in the next few newsletters. Our guts are the beginning and the end of many of our health problems. If you have a complicated health condition and don’t know where to start to heal yourself, our digestive systems is always a good place to start. Have a healthy and happy summer.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Japan Nuclear crisis and Iodine supplement

The Japan nuclear crisis seems to be under control now. If a melt down ever occurred, the cloud could carry enough radiation to danger our health in US. Now come to think of many nuclear power plants we have here in continental US. Unthinkable natural disasters do happen, what’s the best way to protect ourselves?

Many stores run out of Iodine supplements in many area of the country during this crisis. This crisis taught us that we should be in charge of our own health. One of the important way is to eat healthy and take proper supplements. Iodine is the most deficient mineral for the whole globe population because only sea vegetables like kelp, seaweed and wild caught fish contain significant amount of it.

Iodine binds to many iodine receptors in our bodies. When we expose to radioactive iodine, the radioactive iodine will bind with any receptors that were not bound by regular iodine, and destroy the tissue around it. It can also damage the DNA of the nearby tissue and increase our risk of cancers. Most of the iodine receptors are in our thyroid, fat tissues, breast, uterus and prostate. It was even suggested that sufficient iodine intake may decrease the risk of breast cancers. But remember every cells of our body needs iodine to function properly.

What’s the best iodine supplements we can take? I check iodine level of all my new patients and almost all of them are low. I started them on the Iodine solution which has proper proportions of iodine and iodide with the dose pending on the test results. I will check the level few months afterward and adjust the dose accordingly. It tastes bad, but I have to say that it was one of the supplements patients felt most helpful and ask for refill on regular basis.

Dear patients, please do not forget to take the supplements after you feel better. The best way to protect yourselves against nuclear iodine and also for your better health is to take it with proper dosage regularly so all iodine receptors were bound instead of taking a large dose without testing when disaster happen.

You can also get more info from my blog at my website under thyroid and iodine. You are welcome to forward this to your families and friends. But iodine is not without side effects, especially if the dose was not followed by test levels. So please consult your physician before taking the iodine supplements.

My health recovery with Dr. Wendy Huang (Andropause and Ulcerative Colitis)

My first appointment with Dr. Wendy was made to address andropause symptoms that I felt I had been experiencing/suffering through for roughly 1 year.

My primary physician had prescribed antidepressants for me which I did take for several months and experienced a worsening of my depression instead of relief.

My first visit to Dr Wendy she ordered a comprehensive blood test for me and used acupuncture to treat my andropause symptoms as well as to help me quit a 30 yr old cigarette habit.

Once blood results were obtained she addressed each problem area via vitamin supplementation and bio-identical hormone supplementation and acupuncture. This approach really helped alleviate my andropause symptoms.

In December of 2009, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and prescribed by a gastroenterologist three pharmaceutical formulations which were supposed to keep this condition under control.

I was informed that there was no known cure for U.C. and if the inflammation it causes wasn’t addressed I would be at a much higher risk for colon cancer than the general public.

The meds given me for the U.C. weren’t effective for me and I was told that I would have to switch to infusion therapy to control the symptoms and internal bleeding that I was enduring. If this treatment wasn’t effective I was told that I would have to have my colon removed to lessen my odds of getting that cancer

After researching the infusion procedure and the numerous adverse conditions that it can cause such as lymphoma, depressed immune system and really too many others to list.

I turned to Dr Wendy and asked her if she could help me. She suggested boosting my immune system and prescribed a combination of higher levels of vitamin D, physiological supplementation with Cortef (hydrocortisone) for adrenal hormone deficiency proved by test, iodine supplementation and using the amino acid L-Glutamine as this is being used by some gastroenterologist to help heal the gut.

She ordered periodic blood testing to assure that supplementation was at optimal levels. I’m at least 90-95% better under her care for U.C than I was under more traditional care and while I was taking the pharmaceutical meds. My colonoscope done last months showed 95% improvement with only small effected areas.

In my mind, what really sets her apart from more traditional physicians is that she will really listen to your concerns and encourages her patients to perform research themselves and will consider utilizing findings that you come up with if they are based on medically sound principals and/or have been shown to be effective in clinical studies.

She also is always attending scientific courses/seminars and becoming knowledgeable in anti-aging practices that are on the cutting edge of medicine and then utilizes what she learns to benefit her patients.

In closing, I fully recommend her to anyone that is unsatisfied with the traditional care being offered to them. She truly does a wonderful job incorporating traditional and holistic care.

Thank you Dr Wendy!
Kevin O’D

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Effective holistic treatments for Type 2 Diabetes/So young and so many pills

I hope all is well. Many people probably ate too much during the holiday season and snow-in days. So let’s talk about holistic treatments of type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (we will symbolize it as DM for the rest of the letter) which is 90% of the Diabetic patients.

Type 2 DM occurred in 1 out of 10 Americans now, and we have been seeing more and more children and teens with this life style disorder- eating wrong food, lack of exercise and overweight. Most people don’t know that Type 2 DM has very effective natural treatments and medication is rarely needed to control the sugar level.

No one can deny the most effective treatment for type 2 DM is weight control. Obesity contributes to insulin resistance which causes type 2 DM. Like every health problem, the treatment is always starting with eating right food. Patients should eat low carb diet, avoid the carb from refined grains or Gluten if Gluten sensitive. So carb from vegetables and not-sweet fruits, and small amount of brown rice, quinoa, millets or buckwheat is enough for most patients. Refine sugars, especially artificial sweeteners should be avoided at all cost.

Sufficient high quality protein contain all variety of amino acids is essential. Vegans need to get them from many kinds of beans, legumes, nuts and seeds because one single plant does not have all essential amino acids we need. But if do it right, vegetarian is still the healthiest diet for human.

Sufficient amount of good fat is also important with omega 3, 6, 9 and saturated fats and unsaturated fats balanced. Most people missed omega 3 from fish and saturated fat like coconuts oil. Fat taken at the right way is good for you, but fat-substitutes made from vegetable oils like margarines are bad. Just don’t take artificial substitutes of anything.

Exercise is one of the most effective ways to control DM by making tissue sensitive to insulin again and losing weight. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise, five times a week can do wonder to our sugar levels. Vitamins and mineral supplements are also important, especially Chromium, Vitamin D, B complex and alpha-lipoic acid. Certain herbs like Gymnema Sylvestre and cinnamon were found to be very helpful as well.

My clinical experience has shown a close connection between hormone imbalance and DM. I have found most DM patients have adrenal and thyroid hormones imbalance. Many of my DM patients see their sugar level improved with easier weight loss after bioidentical hormone replacement.

Diabetic medication has many side effects and can be avoided for most patients with the above program. An article in the Wall Street Journal (12.28.10) was titled, “So Young and So Many Pills.” This article pointed out that more than 25% of kids and teens in the U.S. take prescription drugs on a regular basis. Of those drugs, 424,000 prescriptions were given to non-insulin Diabetes at 2009, 5,224,000 prescriptions were for hypertension, and 94,000 were Statins for high cholesterol.

From the time I started my pediatric practice 25 years ago and the following ten years, I rarely seen any kids with those conditions. Now the children are getting those traditional adult onset chronic conditions their parents got at their 40th and their grand parents got at 60th. Within the past 10-15 years, three generations of our population developed those life style diseases around the same time, not the same age. These children will most likely take those drugs for the rest of their life and add more as they grow.

We have to really think what this will do to all of us, our health care system and our future. We need to stop this quick fix with a pill mentality and work hard to remove the problems from the roots. The problem is so profound now that it is not enough just to take care of ourselves; we need to help our families, friends and coworkers. We also need to do something at our legislation and government level. If not, we will have to pay it with our tax dollars, our retirement funds or even with our jobs - an unhealthy health care system like this can cripple our whole economy.

Let’s all work hard for a happier and healthier 2011.

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