Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Time for a New Year's Resolution

Since it is the holiday season, I would like to take a second and wish all my readers a healthy and happy holiday season and new year! Since many of us make new year’s resolutions, let me help you make one—to exercise.

One of the biggest frustrations that I have is trying to convince my patients to participate in some form of daily or semi-daily exercise. Exercise does not have to mean going to a gym and taking a class. Exercise can be as simple as walking for twenty to thirty minutes per day.

What can exercise do for you? Let me rephrase the question; what can’t exercise do for you?

Literally any illness can be helped with exercise. Diseases improved or prevented from exercise are numerous and include heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, depression, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

In the case of hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease, there are literally hundreds of studies showing that exercise can improve these illnesses. There is no question that exercise helps prevent and treat obesity and diabetes. In fact, it is nearly impossible for an overweight person to lose weight without some form of exercise.

One in ten Americans are presently being treated for depression with an antidepressant medication. These numbers are unacceptable. There are many studies showing exercise outperforms the commonly prescribed antidepressants. Exercise certainly costs a lot less and has less adverse effects as compared to the antidepressant medications.

In the case of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, studies have also shown the benefit of exercise. I know patients with these illnesses are very fatigued and don’t want to exercise. However, I can assure you, a mild exercise program will improve these illnesses. Patients can start with a short walk (five minutes or so) and increase the length of time by one minute per day.

What prompted this article? A study from my alma-mater, The University of Michigan (playing in the Sugar Bowl January 3, 2012—GO BLUE!) found that patients with melanoma who had decreased core muscle density were more likely to see their cancer spread to distant parts of their body. In fact, the researchers reported that every 10 units of decreased muscle density was correlated with a 28% increase of recurrence of melanoma. (UofMhealth.org/news/cancer-mlanoma-0830). Furthermore, the scientists reported that frailer patients had more complications from surgery. Finally, the researchers said, “These new results distinguish that it’s the underlying vitality of the patient, not age that really matters.”

What can you do? First, do not let your body become frail. Exercise daily with a program that you like—walking, cycling, aerobics, or whatever activity you like doing is fine. Twenty to thirty minutes every day or every other day is a reasonable goal.

Finally, eat good food and keep your body hydrated. I call this “doing the basics”. Treating your body right can pay off in many ways, particularly when you are hit with a serious illness.

Monday, December 5, 2011

How to Treat Elevated Triglycerides with a Holistic Program

Ray is a 52 year old physician who has had high triglycerides his whole life. His triglyceride level would range from 500-1200mg/dl when normal triglyceride ranges are less than 150mg/dl. A triglyceride is a fat which contains three fatty acids and glycerol. There are many triglycerides normally found in nature including those found in vegetable oil and animal fats.
Triglycerides are produced in the body by breaking down the fat we ingest. Furthermore, carbohydrates can be converted into triglycerides.

Triglycerides are transported to the liver and packaged into lipoproteins such as LDL and transported to the tissues that need them. Fats, like
triglycerides, can be used as a source of energy.

Excess triglycerides can be taken up and stored by fat tissue. As previously stated, this storage of fat can be used for energy when needed. High triglycerides are a risk factor for heart disease and pancreatic disorders. Obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome have also been associated with high triglyceride levels. High triglyceride levels can be caused by eating a poor diet full of refined foods, hypothyroidism, kidney disease as well as genetic conditions.

The most common cause of high triglycerides is eating a poor diet filled with refined carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, and cereal. Frequently, adjusting the diet by lowering the amount of refined carbohydrates effectively treats high triglyceride levels.

Ray did not have any health issues. He ate well and ingested little refined carbohydrates. Although he tried eliminating carbohydrates, balancing his hormones with natural testosterone, as well as correcting nutrient deficiencies, his triglyceride levels stayed elevated.

Two months ago, I asked Ray to undergo a liver detoxification program. I had him take TLC (Total Liver Care) powder--one scoop two times per day for six weeks. My partners and I (Drs. Ng and Nusbaum) formulated TLC to assist the liver’s detoxification pathways. It contains vitamins, minerals and herbal products that we have found to effectively support the liver's detoxification pathways. TLC contains such items as milk thistle, L-glutamine, and green tea extract.

Ray’s response to this program was astounding. His triglyceride levels fell from 708mg/dl in August to 264mg/dl in November. The 708ng/dl reading puts him at risk for pancreatic problems. The 264mg/dl reading is not perfect, but it negates his risk for pancreatic problems. Ray assures me he did not change is diet or his habits during this time period.

I have seen many patients improve their triglyceride, lipid and blood sugar levels as well as liver function tests with TLC. More information about TLC can be found at my website: www.centerforholsiticmedicine.com.