Category Archives: Ailments A – Z

Stress affects people of all ages and all walks of life

Stress affects people of all ages and all walks of life, especially with jobs becoming more stressful, so does family life. The word has become such a part of our everyday language, but what does it really mean? It means being in a state of high tension which, if not controlled, can eventually be the precursor of more serious physical or mental illness.

Stress is more often referred to as nervous tension. A stressful situation is one in which a person feels so much pressure that they feel unable to cope. This condition is becoming so common among the symptoms treated by the medical profession, that it is now seriously acknowledge to the point of assembling many symposia and congresses on the subject. It is recognized as a serious threat to our health, as far as even being a potential killer, and we must pay attention to mastering it before it masters us. School children are now also experiencing stress as a result of that passed down from parents.

Stress subsequently leads to chronic fatigue, depression and need for pharma pills, alcohol and drugs.

Stress has presently become a way of life for many people. Its effect is cumulative and becomes harmful when we cannot cope.

One must learn self-discipline, and strengths-based theories to support an individual’s well-being, so they can overcome many attacks that can be experienced. I believe self – regulation is important, it is not so much what happens to us as much as the way in which we choose to react/respond to a given situation or person, to free ourselves.

WE CANNOT CHANGE THE WORLD, BUT WE CAN CHANGE OUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS IT.

What changes in your diet can reduce oxidative stress? Avoid red mead, all refined and processed foods (white flour etc., fried foods, substitute honey for sugar. Observe food combining principles, it is best not to eat carbohydrates with proteins at the same meal

Overload stress can lead to harsh circumstance, and a complete disconnection with your being. I like to encourage, a change of diet, some leisure time, a short holiday, to help break the routine and regain a fresh and balanced perspective of life again.

Wishing Good Health and Good Living Anna R. Dias N.D

You are welcome to visit my website- blog for recent-upcoming health tips and articles.

https://www.naturanna.ca/blog/

The Miracle of the Brain

I have recently read a book called change your brain, change your life by Daniel G. Amen M.D.

He talks about the importance of exercise, good nutrition and positive attitude. He mentioned that there are 4 pillars in life which are particularly important to look at, when studying a healthy brain: Biological, psychological, social, and spiritual. But one thing that stuck to me through the whole book, how are society is suffering, sometimes blamed, and penalized for their behaviors, some feel ostracized from society. To frequently, people suffering from depression, anger, irritability, learning disabilities, impulsiveness, or other mental illness is interpreted as willful misconduct, and serious problems arise. When they should be getting treatment…different treatments that they are not aware that exists. One treatment in particularly is called spect (single emission computed tomography).

Spect is a nuclear medicine study that looks at the blood flow and activity which is different of what most people receive when they suffer from ex; depression or anxiety, ADD/ADHD and addiction.

Psychiatrist are forced to make diagnoses like they did in the 1840. When Abraham Lincoln was depressed says Dr D.G Amen, they used tools, talked to them, observed him and looked-for symptom cluster. How they have learned from these symptoms’ clusters such as ADD, anxiety or depression are not single or simple disorders in the brain, and they all have multiple types. They can have essentially the same symptoms, but radically different scans. Ex: someone with depression had low activity & the other had high activity in the brain. The treatment for these 2 cases should be different but, in most cases, only a handful of psychiatrists ever look at the brains of their patients. ACT or MRI scans, which are anatomy studies that look at the brain structure vastly different than a spect.

A thoroughly examination should be considered, there are other options to look forward and better lifestyle choices which can enhance overall healthier brain.

Some natural supplements that I believe everyone can benefit from.

  • Essential fatty acid Epa-Dha: reduce overall inflammation, helps the cognitive
  • Green tea catechins: help protect plasma and lipoproteins from oxidative damage by increasing blood antioxidant
  • PS (phosphatidylserine): help support the growth of the brain, reduce cortisol (stress hormone) and degenerative disease. PS passes through membrane structure.
  • Gaba: helps with anxiety, sleeping disorder and
  • Vit B complex: help to relieve overall

Watch this movie!! it was an eye opener for me. Brain on fire

Quote: Be grateful for whoever comes because each has been sent as a guide from beyond. By Rumi

Wishing Good Health and Good Living Anna R. Dias N.D

You are welcome to visit my website- blog for recent-upcoming health tips and articles.

https://www.naturanna.ca/blog/

How to Stop Drinking safely

By: Asheville Recovery Center

Alcohol is an extremely addictive substance and it can be difficult to stop drinking safely without professional assistance. Therefore, alcoholics should always seek help when detoxing since the withdrawal symptoms can be strong and painful. They should also get

professional help throughout the recovery process since detox is only the beginning.

People with alcohol use disorders need safe ways to avoid relapsing or swapping one addiction for another. If alcohol is causing problems in your life, you may be wondering how to quit safely. This article will provide some helpful tips, but you should reach out to a treatment professional for personalized advice.

Avoid the Temptation to Drink

In the early stages of your recovery, it’s best to avoid situations in which you would be tempted to drink. This may mean cutting out partying for a while or only going to restaurants that don’t serve alcohol. If you usually drank at a particular time of the day, you should schedule something else for that period. If you usually had a drink with colleagues after work, you could meet friends for a movie or take a class. Jogging or going to the gym can also help to fill the time. Another aspect of avoiding temptation is identifying and managing your triggers. If particular people or emotions lead you to drink, you need to develop new, healthy coping mechanisms.

Let Others Know About Your Plans

One of the first steps in quitting drinking is to tell people you trust about what you intend to do. A support system will be essential if you want to avoid the urge to drink following detox and rehab. Your loved ones can only help you when they know what you’re going through. You can turn to them when you feel like you need to drink. They can also look out for you at events where alcohol will be served. If you’d rather not be around alcohol, they can warn you so you can decide whether to attend. If you don’t think you can confide in a relative or friend, find a therapist or sponsor.

Develop New Hobbies

When people stop drinking, they often find themselves with time on their hands. If that time isn’t filled with positive activities, they can give in to the urge to drink. If you want to be successful in your attempt to stop drinking safely, you need to find new hobbies. Staying busy can help you to avoid relapse. You may even need multiple hobbies to keep you occupied, depending on how much free time you have. Some people find that having both morning and evening activities is helpful.

Reward Yourself When You Make Progress

Making major lifestyle changes is difficult. Quitting drinking and adopting healthier practices takes discipline. It is important to be patient with yourself when you slip up. However, you also need to reward yourself when you make progress in the right direction. Give yourself short-term goals and treat yourself when you reach them. Maybe you can try to stay sober for a week then try to go a month without drinking. Since you’ll save money when you stop drinking, you can use that cash for a new outfit or a spa day.

Be Prepared to Manage Your Cravings

Cravings for alcohol can occur at any time. They typically occur in 20 to 30-minute waves and you need to find something to fill the time. If you don’t take precautions, you may give in to these cravings.

Seek Professional Help to Stop Drinking Safely

If you’ve tried to stop drinking on your own but you weren’t successful, don’t give up. Many people are able to overcome their addiction when they seek professional treatment. That’s because they get an opportunity to understand the underlying factors behind their addiction. Whether you’re dealing with trauma, a mood disorder or excessive stress, you can address these issues and find strategies to manage them. When you take a holistic approach to your health and wellbeing, you’ll be better able to quit drinking.

At Asheville Recovery Center, we provide comprehensive evidence-based treatment via programs designed by people who’ve dealt with addiction. We can provide the guidance you need as you work towards sobriety. Moreover, we’ll help to ensure you are as safe as possible. We take a variety of treatment approaches based on each client’s needs. Instead of trying to get your addiction under control on your own, contact us today and set up a consultation. We can help both you and your loved ones during this difficult time.

For more information on how the team at Asheville Recovery Center can help you or a loved one, please call or check our our website!

855-961-2457

Www.ashevillerecoverycenter.com

What is Addiction?

By Asheville Recovery Center

We see it every day, the banter back and forth of whether or not addiction is a choice or a disease.

The medical community widely accepts the brain disease model of addiction, and substance use disorder is listed in the DSM V, essentially explained as “patterns of symptoms resulting from the use of a substance that you continue to take, despite experiencing problems as a result”.  Additionally, the brains of addicts have been proven to have a higher affinity to certain drugs, meaning the effects are much more rewarding to addicts than someone not prone to addiction.

12 step programs explain alcoholism/addiction with the “allergy” and “tri-fold disease” concept.  Meaning that those with alcoholism/addiction react abnormally to ingesting mind/mood altering substances, much in the same way that hives are an abnormal reaction to eating peanuts.  The “tri-fold disease” refers to the three aspects that make up addiction: allergy of the body, an obsession of the mind, a malady of the spirit.

A newer theory is that any type of addiction is simply learned behavior.  Our bodies have a reward system called the limbic system.  This reward system releases the “feel good chemical” dopamine when we do something beneficial to survival such as: have sex, make money or eat calorically dense foods.  This was at one time helpful when these things were in short supply to our ancestors.  However, in modern society, many of the things that make us feel good, are readily available and can harm us when done to excess.  Drugs release dopamine as well.  This theory states that it is simply human nature, and with enough repetition, those pathways strengthen overtime causing addiction.

To those that call addiction a choice, the argument generally boils down to: “it was the addicts choice to pick up the first one”.  To that, I would ask: Who has not experienced a mood or mind-altering substance?

Is it a 12-year-old child’s “choice” to pick up the codeine cough syrup a doctor prescribes?  Is it an 18-year-old college student’s choice to take Vicodin after having wisdom teeth removed?  Should the 15-year old that took a hit of a joint, the same 15 years old we don’t give a driver’s license to, be doomed to a life of addiction? Does the woman in her early 30’s “deserve” to be addicted benzodiazepines, because she was prescribed a few valiums when she went through a difficult divorce?  Do any of us know a single person who never had a can of beer, or partook in a toast with champagne?

We are all exposed to alcohol or drugs at some point in our lives.  Some people end up addicted, others do not.  Should the importance not be placed in getting those who suffer help, rather than finding where to place the blame?

To learn more visit Asheville Recovery Center’s website https://ashevillerecoverycenter.com/

Benefits of Acupuncture for Women’s Health

by Healing Alternatives

  • Increases Fertility – Acupuncture regulates the Psycho-Neuro-Endocrine-Immune system as it consistently evolves during the varying stages of a woman’s fertility.
  • Balances Hormones – Acupuncture releases endorphins into the body, which balances excess cortisol and in turn reduces inflammatory pain and stress.
  • Supports Bodily Processes – Acupuncture can improve the efficacy of contractions in labor and eliminate menstrual cramps by stimulating the nerves that innervate the uterus.
  • Relaxes the Mind – Opioid addiction in women and their newborn babies is an epidemic. These drugs treat psychosomatic pain, but drug tolerance and addiction make them very dangerous. Acupuncture supports the body’s natural feel-good hormones, the same released during exercise, sex, and birth. It also effectively treats pain by decreasing inflammation and activating the immune system.

For more information visit www.healingalternativesinc.com

Cosmetic Acupuncture

by Healing Alternatives

In traditional Oriental Medicine, facial rejuvenation is achieved by inserting acupuncture needles at different points along designated channels to attain tonification or sedation effects.  Treatment benefits include elimination of some wrinkles and decrease in length and depth of others, decrease of facial edema, decrease of acne, improvement of facial muscle tone, improved skin texture with tighter pores, and decrease of sagging around the eyes, cheeks, chin and neck

Homeopathic cosmetic injection therapy is a natural cosmetic treatment, which helps rejuvenate the skin primarily in the face, neck and decollate. The treatment involves the use of fine injections and works by combining the effectiveness of acupuncture and homeopathy. These are great as a single treatment for events and special occasions but are ideal as a package for longer lasting results.  After an initial treatment series (standard protocol is 8-10 sessions), maintenance is recommended monthly or quarterly.  Individual results will vary but with regular maintenance results can last 3-5 years.

BENEFITS:

No side effects

Non-Toxic

Lasting Results

Naturally fill deeper lines and wrinkles

Improve elasticity for less sagging

Encourage fullness of the cheeks and lips

Increase hydration

Revitalize dull looking skin

Improve skin tone

 

For more information visit www.healingalternativesinc.com

Acupuncture Treatment Protocol for Acute Pain in the Hospital Setting

by Dr. Thomas Kouo, DAOM, L.Ac., Dipl.OM*

“Give me something for the pain
Give me something for the blues
Give me something for the pain when I feel I’ve been danglin’ from a hang-man’s noose
Give me something for the rain
Give me something I can use To get me through the night
Make me feel all right…..”

-Bon Jovi – Something For The Pain

The long time usage of opioid drugs in the treatment of pain has come under scrutiny despite the wealth of documentation as to its efficacy to manage both acute and chronic pain conditions related to advanced medical illnesses (Rosenblum, 2008). Approximately 20% of pain patients presenting with non-cancer pain conditions are prescribed opioid drug treatment by their physicians with a resulting more than 165,000 deaths from overdose over a 15-year period starting in 1999 (Dowell, 2016).

One of the obstacles to the clinical examination of acupuncture as an alternative to conventional treatment methods is the lack of consensus as to the physical mechanism by which acupuncture works. Acupuncture treatments based on diagnostic Zheng (pattern) discrimination also introduces variability into studies and brings to light the complexity by which acupuncture’s mechanism(s) work (Fang, 2013). Treatments assigned to the traditional Zheng (pattern) methodology follow a more empirical path from the practitioner in terms of chosen acupuncture points, and the lack of a clear linear model remains a challenge for western scientific process research.

Another confounding issue in the treatment of pain is the consideration of the stages of injury/healing. Acute injury and the subsequent healing process occurs in three general stages: (1) Destruction phase; (2) Repair phase; and (3) Remodeling phase (Jarvinen, 2013). Each of these phases has a different treatment goal and likely exhibits a different dominant Chinese medical Zheng (pattern). It has therefore been a challenge to create and verify a single acupuncture treatment that can reliably treat acute pain conditions throughout these stages.

There is a wealth of studies that verify and measure the clinical effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of various diseases. New Jersey acupuncturists are not currently designated as primary care practitioners and although we practice independently without necessary referral, most practices are primarily focused on the treatment of pain. Hospitals in New Jersey, as well as around the country are integrating acupuncture into their available treatments for patients and the practice is becoming more widely known and accepted. Despite increasing visibility in New Jersey’s medical centers, the methodologies and approaches utilized in integrative and allopathic medical settings remains un-standardized.

The US Department of Health and Human Services Opioid initiative lists numerous studies including several measuring the clinical viability and effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of pain (Affairs, 2017). These studies aim to document the mechanism by which acupuncture is effective in the treatment of pain and to measure the reliability of its effectiveness. Other studies measure acupuncture’s effectiveness versus conventional treatments or utilize acupuncture in a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach towards pain management.

The Eastern School of Acupuncture and Traditional Medicine and Hackensack Hospital have been working together towards the creation in early 2018 of an acupuncture shift providing treatment for pain patients in the emergency department. Partially based on the doctoral research and work of Dr. Jeremy Steiner, DAOM, L.Ac. (Dr. Jeremy Steiner, 2017), a team has been assembled under Dr. Thomas Kouo, DAOM, L.Ac., Dipl.OM., Academic Dean at Eastern School, to create and test a treatment protocol to be used in the treatment of acute pain in the emergency department of Hackensack Hospital. The task has included identifying the main Zheng (patterns) covering acute pain as well as researching the most recent studies and theories relating to acupuncture’s physical mechanisms. These parameters are the defining principles by which the team will assemble the protocol to be named HESAPP (Hackensack/Eastern School Acupuncture Pain Protocol).

Team members are currently reviewing literature covering the various microsystems of acupuncture (scalp, auricular, electroacupuncture, etc.) as well as reading through various Chinese Classical Texts and major historical acupuncture texts to compile guidance on which to base the protocol. The protocol form will be a base group of points that will be the standard treatment with further standardized points added to the treatment based on the stage of injury. The protocol will be tested at the acupuncture clinic at the Eastern School by identifying qualified patients and measuring the treatment’s effects over a three (3) week fifteen (15) treatment trial. Dependent variables to be measured include both total reduction of pain and the timing of the pain reduction. Results will be brought to the integrative medical team at Hackensack Hospital under Dr. Joseph Feldman (Chairman of the Emergency Trauma Department / Director of Medical Education Hackensack Hospital) for a further review. HESAPP will ultimately serve as the standardized treatment administered and studied in the Hackensack Hospital emergency department by Eastern School acupuncture professionals and clinical interns.

Numerous studies exist with the aim of identifying the specific mechanisms of how acupuncture is effective and measuring its effectiveness versus conventional treatments. Conversely, there is a noticeable lack of studies measuring the effectiveness of a specific treatment that can be widely administered to aid in the search for viable alternatives to the prescribing of opioid drugs in the treatment of acute pain. The development, future testing, and validation of HESAPP will serve to be a part of the steps by which acupuncture can be used for acute pain as an alternative to opioid drug use and thereby bypass the inherent drug safety and potential addiction dangers that exist if we maintain the status quo. Our long term goals include expansion of the scope of treatment from acute pain to also include chronic pain conditions. The establishment of a reliable and effective alternative in the treatment of pain can essentially and effectively redefine modern medicine and provide the foundation for the concept of Integrative Medicine. We, at the Eastern School are honored and grateful to be working with the Hackensack Hospital towards the validation of a treatment that can potentially better the lives of the many sufferers of acute and chronic pain and turn our fates towards a complete physical and spiritual recovery.

Affairs, A. S. (2017, June 15). The U.S. Opioid Epidemic. Retrieved July 8, 2017, from HHS.gov: https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/about-the-epidemic/index.html Dr. Jeremy Steiner, D. L. (2017). The Treatment of Severe Traumatic Brain Injury with Electroacupuncture. Fort Lauderdale: Atlantic Institute of Oriental Medicine. Fang, J. Z. (2013). Understanding Acupuncture Based on ZHENG Classification from System Perspective. Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 1-10. Jarvinen, T. A. (2013). Regeneration of injured skeletal muscle after the injury. Muscle, Ligaments and Tendons Journal, 337-345. Rosenblum, A. M. (2008). Opioids and the Treatment of Chronic Pain: Controversies,

Current Status, and Future Directions. Experimental Clinical Psychopharmacology, 405-416.

Dr. Thomas Kouo

Academic Dean of the Eastern School of Acupuncture and Traditional Medicine in Bloomfield, NJ

To learn more visit http://www.esatm.edu/

Quintessential Applications Clinical Protocol: Neurological Rationale

By Dr. Glen Matejka

The QA Clinical Protocol is all about excitation and inhibition of neural pathways. It utilizes the manual muscle testing response (inhibited, facilitated, over facilitated-biased toward facilitation) as a reflection of the status of the anterior horn motor neuron pool (AHMN) for the muscle being tested. Sensory receptor based diagnostic challenges result in muscle testing outcomes (changes in AHMN) that are then used to direct appropriate therapy.

Though strong (facilitated) or weak (inhibited) muscles are utilized in sensory receptor based diagnostic challenges, weak muscles best serve the needs of our initial investigations. Postural analysis and TS line analysis help to identify muscle weakness. Posture, range of motion, pain, etc. are used to objectively measure the clinical presentation and subsequent treatment response.

Injury recall (IRT) patterns must be addressed first. Correction of injuries with IRT reduces cortical and/or cerebellar asymmetry and restores normal muscle spindle control mechanisms necessary for muscular and postural control. Many neurological signs and autonomic effects are also significantly changed by IRT corrections. Similar responses occur when applying pain relief techniques (NSB, Set Point). Addressing these patterns of aberrant neurological function in the beginning optimizes response to subsequent therapies and helps avoid recidivism.

Systemic nutritional factors essential for cellular, neuromuscular and neurological support must be addressed early regardless of presenting symptoms. These factors are vital for proper healing and have a direct impact on nerve, brain, and immune function, inflammation, energy production, tissue oxygen supply, cartilage, and connective tissue repair. Brain function may be comprised by 3 major factors: 1) neurotransmitter imbalance-usually a combination of excessive and lowered neurotransmitter activity, 2) inflammatory activity inside the brain, associated with microglial activity, and 3) neuronal firing rates which are dependent on both afferentation and the metabolic activity of the neurons themselves.

Brain and Brainstem issues playing a fundamental role in problems, regardless of the nature of the person’s complaints. Fundamentally, almost any physiological activity can affect brain function and brain function can of course, affect any tissue in the body. Three factors affecting the brain: 1) Neurotransmitter (NT) imbalances, 2) Inflammation (locally created in the brain from peripheral influences on microglia), and 3) altered peripheral and central sources of neuron firing must be identified and corrected for a complete resolution of these problems.

Consideration of the citric acid cycle (CAC) nutritional factors is deferred until CAC-inhibiting immune modulators (cytokines-interleukins, TNF) have been addressed. Manual muscle testing provides a real-time somatic window on neurological and neurochemical function that allow the clinician to penetrate the uniqueness of each person’s brain function. Imbalances in nutrition create or aggravate problems with NT’s and inflammatory mediators. Each imbalance summates with other imbalances and is aggravated by excess or deficient sensory activity from muscles and joints, visceral dysfunction, and cortical functions. MMT assesses for the most appropriate therapy (ies) for each patient on each office visit in a manner that is unparalleled in the healing arts…

Systemic structural factors (K-27 Switching, Cranial, TMJ) result in aberrant postural patterns that must be considered prior to addressing local problems or manipulating  the spine. When neurological “switching patterns” are present, immune system dysfunction is most often the underlying cause. Attention to these structural factors has a direct impact on the mesencephalic reticular formation, among other things, pattern generation (flexion, extension, rotation, lateral flexion), TMJ muscle function, and autonomic expression.

CAC and ETC (Electron Transport Chain) function are now assessed assuring adequate ATP production, the production of CO2 synthesis of bicarbonate ion (CSF, HC1, and Pancreatic Enzymes), and optimal neuron “firing”.

Heart-focused (HF) activity positively influences autonomic, endocrine, and immune function. This self-induced, positive emotion driven therapy is preferentially performed after favorably influencing neuro immunologic function.

Systemic endocrine effects are now considered, since sources of endocrine disturbance (Injuries, Immune Dysfunction, Histamine Elevation) have already been addressed. First, we must identify the need for increasing or decreasing endocrine function, realizing that excess hormone may be a result of over production or faulty liver detoxification, and faulty liver detoxification may be GI Tract (esp. Large Intestine) related. Hyperinsulinism, present in many endocrine problems, must also be considered.

Sources of autonomic dysfunction (Injuries, Stress) and sources of GI disturbance (Allergens, Bad Fats, Endocrine/Bowel/Liver) previously corrected make further assessment of the GI Tract appropriate at this time. Evaluating for hiatal hernia/GERD is critical prior to examining the ICV as part of a fully integrated digestive system. Autonomic dysfunction is corrected first clarifying subsequent enteric nervous system evaluations.

Relieving persistent somatic manifestations of emotional stress is now appropriate as biochemical (Nutrients for Neurotransmitters, Adrenal Stress), neurological (Injuries, Pain, HF) and GI (Psychological/Physiological Reversal, Toxicity) factors adversely affecting our ability to cope have been ameliorated.

Presenting symptomatology is often greatly reduced or entirely absent prior to the assessment of “local” problems. However at this juncture, origin-insertion, Chapman’s reflexes, fascial sheath shortening, iliolumbar ligament, pelvis, spine, and extremities are definitively more responsive to our focused therapeutic effort as remaining dysfunction is relieved of the systemic interference caused by previously aberrant descending neural pathways.

At or near the end of each treatment session, gait assessment provides essential feedback confirming that necessary mechanical corrections have been effectively made and assuring that no further (e.g. Pancreas Chapman’s Reflex Stimulation) is needed prior to releasing the patient to daily activity.

After attending to all of the parameters mentioned above, if pain persists, LQM, and/or Tonification Point Techniques are most effective, as the general systemic effects on the cortex, cerebellum, structure, viscera, and chemistry have been effectively redressed.

To learn more visit Dr. Glen Matejka’s website:    https://www.comprehensivebackcare.com/

IRON is essential for human life

By Dr. Glen Matejka

Iron is essential for human life, as it:

  • Forms hemoglobin (the protein in red blood cells), as iron binds to oxygen and provides it to tissues for their metabolic needs
  • Is a key component of various proteins, as well as enzymes that catalyze cellular oxidation reactions
  • Helps regulate cell growth and differentiation
  • Helps maintain your brain function, metabolism and endocrine function
  • Is involved in energy production and immune function

Having either too much or too little iron can have serious health consequences and, while iron-deficiency anemia is commonly checked for, many doctors are still seriously misinformed about the dangers of iron overload is actually a far more common problem. In fact, most men and postmenopausal women are at risk for iron overload due to inefficient iron excretion, since they do not bleed on a regular basis and blood loss is the primary way to lower excess iron, as the body has no active excretion mechanisms.

There’s also an inherited disease, hemochromatosis, which causes your body to accumulate excessive and dangerously damaging levels of iron. If left untreated, it can damage your organs and contribute to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases and many other health problems.

The good news is iron overload is easy and inexpensive to treat. By monitoring your serum ferritin and/or GGT levels, avoiding iron supplements and donating blood on a regular basis, you can avoid serious health problems. In a recent podcast, Chris Masterjohn, Ph.D., delves into the biological imperatives of iron, the effects of low and high iron and how to address both of those issues. Health Problems Associated With High and Low Iron

What’s an Ideal Iron Level?

The serum ferritin test measures your stored iron. For adults, I strongly recommend getting a serum ferritin test on an annual basis as a screen to confirm you’re neither too high nor too low. When it comes to iron overload, I believe it can be every bit as dangerous to your health as Vitamin D deficiency.

As with many other lab tests, the “normal” ranges for serum ferritin are far from ideal.5 In some labs, a level of 200 to 300 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) falls within the normal range for women and men respectively, which is FAR too high for optimal health. In reality, you’re virtually guaranteed to develop disease at those levels. An ideal level for adult men and non-menstruating women is somewhere between 40 and 60 ng/mL. You do not want to be below 20 ng/mL or above 80 ng/mL.

Maintaining a healthy iron level is also important during pregnancy. Having a level of 60 or 70 ng/mL is associated with greater odds of poor pregnancy outcomes.6 That said, iron deficiency during pregnancy is equally problematic. The most commonly used threshold for iron deficiency in clinical studies is 12 to 15 ng/mL.7

GGT Test for Free Iron

Another valuable test is the gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) test. GGT measures liver enzymes. Not only will this tell you if you have liver damage, it can also be used as a screening marker for excess free iron and is a great indicator of your sudden cardiac death risk.

For women, a healthy GGT level is around 9 units per liter (U/L) whereas the high ends of “normal” are generally 40 to 45 U/L. For men, 16 U/L is ideal, while the normal lab range can go as high as 65 to 70 U/L.8

According to Gerry Koenig, former chairman of the Iron Disorders Institute and the Hemochromatosis Foundation,9 women with a GGT above 30 U/L have a higher risk of cancer and autoimmune disease. In the video above, Koenig discusses this and other health hazards associated with iron overload.

What Causes Excess Iron Buildup?

Two of the most common causes of iron overload are:

1.Having one or both genes for hemochromatosis (indicating mild or severe form). In the video below, Masterjohn provides an overview of these two genetic markers. About 1 in 3.5 or an estimated 100 million people in the U.S. have the single gene for hemochromatosis

Approximately 1 million people have the double gene variant, considered the genotype most predictive of liver disease complications. However, this only becomes a serious problem if significant iron overload occurs before a diagnosis is achieved and proper treatment can be administered

2.Inadequate iron elimination. Adult men and post-menopausal women are at increased risk due to the fact they do not have monthly blood loss, which is one of the best and most efficient ways to rid your body of excess iron

Another common cause of excess iron is the regular consumption of alcohol, which will increase the absorption of any iron in your diet. For instance, if you drink wine with your steak, you will likely absorb more iron than you need. Other possible causes of high iron levels include:

  • Cooking in iron pots or pans. Cooking acidic foods in these types of pots or pans will cause even higher levels of iron absorption
  • Eating processed foods fortified with iron
  • Drinking well water that is high in iron. The key here is to make sure you have some type of iron precipitator and/or a reverse osmosis water filter
  • Taking multivitamins and mineral supplements, as both of these frequently have iron in them

Why Excess Iron Is So Dangerous

Your body creates energy by passing the electrons from carbs and fat to oxygen through the electron transport chain in your mitochondria to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Ninety-five percent of the time, the oxygen is converted to water. But 0.5 to 5 percent of the time, reactive oxygen species (ROS) are created.

Iron can react with hydrogen peroxide in the inner mitochondrial membrane. This is a normal part of cellular aerobic respiration. But when you have excessive iron, it catalyzes the formation of excessive hydroxyl free radicals from the peroxide, which decimate your mitochondrial DNA, mitochondrial electron transport proteins and cellular membranes.

This is how iron overload accelerates every major disease we know of, and how it causes the pathologies associated with liver and cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, few doctors understand the molecular biology of this reaction, which is why iron overload is so frequently overlooked.

If you eat unhealthy levels of net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) the situation is further exacerbated, as burning carbs as your primary fuel can add another 30 to 40 percent more ROS on top of the hydroxyl free radicals generated by the presence of high iron.

Unfortunately, most people reading this are burning carbs as their primary fuel. If you struggle with any kind of chronic health problem and have high iron and eat a standard American diet that is high in net carbs, normalizing your iron level (explained below) and implementing a ketogenic diet can go a long way toward improving your health.

Taking extra antioxidants to suppress ROS generated by high iron alone or in combination with a high-sugar diet is inadvisable, as ROS also act as important signaling molecules. They’re not all bad. They cause harm only when produced in excess.

Your best bet is to lower the production of ROS rather than squelching them after the fact. One of the easiest and most effective ways to do that is to eat a diet high in healthy fats, adequate in protein and low in net carbs. Eating healthy fats can make a bigger difference than you might think, especially if you have high iron.

How to Address Low Iron

If your iron is low, you can improve your iron status by:

  • Eating iron-rich foods : i.e., organ meats such as liver, grass fed red meat, dark turkey meat, clams, spinach, pumpkin seeds quinoa, broccoli, dark chocolate (minimum 70 percent cooca) and seaweed.

As a rule, animal-based iron is more readily absorbed while plant-based sources are less bioavailable. Avoid iron-fortified foods, as these provide an inorganic iron that is far from ideal and may actually promote oxidative stress and could cause gastrointestinal side effects

  • Taking vitamin C can help improve bioavailability of the iron in your food. Avoid combining iron-rich foods with calcium-rich foods, as calcium binds to iron, thereby limiting absorption
  • Taking a liposomal iron supplement. Beware of ferrous sulfate, a form of iron found in many multivitamins, including children’s multivitamins, as it is relatively toxic and can lead to significant problems. The biggest danger is acute overdose, which can be lethal. A safe form of supplement is carbonyl iron.

However, keep ALL iron supplements away from children, even carbonyl iron, and do not take any kind of iron supplement if you have hemochromatosis, hemosiderosis or hemolytic anemia such as sickle cell anemia or thalassemia (aka Mediterranean anemia, a type of genetic anemia where hemoglobin is not well formed)

How to Address Iron Overload

If your iron level is high, the easiest and most effective solution is to donate your blood. If you’re an adult male, you’ll want to donate blood two to three times a year once your levels are normal. If ferritin levels are over 200 ng/mL, a more aggressive phlebotomy schedule is recommended.

It is also wise to have a percentage transferrin saturation done. Ideally, this value should be between 30 and 40 percent. If it is higher, and you have an elevated ferritin level, then I am sad to tell you, but you have iron overload that is hurting your mitochondria. This needs to be addressed if you want to lower your risk for chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.

A recent study in Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience notes that iron-restricted diets “affect brain ferritin levels, dopamine metabolism and cellular prion proteins in a region-specific manner” — effects that highlight the importance of adequate iron for general brain health and for the prevention of neurological diseases.

That said, if your iron is high, you may want to avoid combining foods high in vitamin C with foods high in iron, as the vitamin C increases iron absorption. On the other hand, calcium will bind to iron, limiting absorption, so eating iron-rich foods with calcium-rich foods can be helpful.

Avoid using phytate or phytic acid (also known as IP6) to prevent iron absorption and chelate iron out of your body, however, as this can easily result in other mineral deficiencies, such as zinc deficiency. A far safer alternative is curcumin. It actually acts as a potent chelator of iron and can be a useful supplement if your iron is elevated.

To learn more visit Dr. Glen Matejka’s website:    https://www.comprehensivebackcare.com/

Stem Cells for Knee Osteoarthritis

By Dr. Henry Sobo

A small study from the University of Belgrade School of Medicine, assessed nine patients who received stem cell injections for arthritis of the knee.

They followed these patients for eighteen months. The results were the following:

Improvement in the clinical scores of pain and disability, and radiographic studies, were found within the first six months . And the improvement was still seen at the study’s end eighteen months later. To assess the status of the knee they used the following four methods of observation of knee health. 1. X rays , 2. MRIs , 3.Pain scores , and 4. Quality of Life scores.

All of the nine study subjects had osteoarthritis of the Knee, and received a single joint injection of adipose derived autologous mesenchymal stem cells.

The data showed significant improvement in all four clinical scores. The MRI studies were able to show restoration of cartilage by the measurement of a greater volume of cartilage within the treated knee at the end of the study in comparison to what existed before treatment. The authors concluded that their results provides a good basis for more clinical trials to assess the use of Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis of the knee.

For more information, contact Dr. Sobo at (203) 348-8805 or at http://www.drsobo.com.