Healing Points Issue 43

Provided by Richard Grossman, L.Ac., O.M.D., Ph.D.

Volume 5, Issue 43
Tuesday, February 09, 2010

This month in Healing Points Healthblog

Every day I read dozens of sites to find up to the minute news that is important to maintaining and improving health.  Some of the recent highlights from February are listed below. Click here to read the full HealthBlog. 

  • STDs Unevenly High in Teens, Young Adults
  • Study Suggests at Home Blood Pressure Tests
  • Kids Don't Fare Well Eating Out 
  • Drinking Fluids During a Cold Not Backed by Medical Evidence
  • Mix of Chemicals Plus Stress Damages Brain, Liver in Animals and Likely in Humans
  • Depression Can Lead To Back Pain
  • Low Vitamin C May Up Asthma Risk
  • More Wonder About What's Safe to Eat
  • Are Teens Dying For A Tan?
  • Breast-Fed Babies Have Lower Blood Pressure
  • Anger Linked to Stroke Risk in Men
  • Anti-Bacterial Soaps Don't Deliver
  • Groups Urging No Antibiotics for Earaches
  • Transporter's Function Provides Support For Eating Vegetables, Limiting Antibiotics


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Detoxification Class

On Monday, March 15 I will be giving a free lecture sponsored by Cooportunity on Healing Through Detoxification. 

A comprehensive detoxification program is one of the most powerful healing and life changing experiences you can give yourself. It can literally change all aspects of your life for the better.

In this lecture, you will learn:

  • To take the first steps towards having more energy and a healthier body, mind, and spirit.
  • To see how toxins are impacting your health.
  • Eliminate hidden toxins from your life.
  • How to reverse aging.
  • How to turn degeneration into regeneration with correct diet, vitamins and supplements

This very special evening will begin at 7:00 pm and will be held at the Santa Monica Synagogue at 1448 18th Street on the Northwest corner of 18th and Broadway. 

Sound Healing

On  Monday March 22, 2004  another group sound-healing experience will be held at The Elder Tree, at 120 North Topanga Canyon Blvd., Suite 117,  in Topanga Canyon. You can find directions on MapQuest.

I cannot put into words how wonderful, healing and transformative these evens have been.  I've heard stories of miraculous insights and healings from many participants. 

The time will be from 7:30 till about 9:00pm, and a $15.00 donation is requested, though no one will be turned away for lack of funds. All are invited to enjoy this profound experience of healing and consciousness.

If you can't make this one, the next Monday Evening Sound Healing event will be held on March 22, 2004, mark your calendars!  A full schedule for 2004 can be found at my Calendar of Events page.

Articles of Interest

Organic milk higher in essential omega-3 fatty acids, study says

A U.K. organic dairy co-op has urged the government to recommend organic milk after a study published in the Journal of Dairy Science found that organic milk contains 64% more omega-3 fatty acids than conventional milk. Some nutritionists suggest many U.K. residents do not get an adequate amount of omega-3 fatty acids.


Vitamin D gains favor as health key
 By Ronald Kotulak Tribune science reporter

As the sun begins to break through over Chicago, its warming rays are resuming a critical role that has lain dormant most of the winter, coaxing our skin to make vitamin D.

Emerging research indicates that vitamin D is more important to our health than previously thought, leading an increasing number of scientists to challenge whether the fear of sun exposure has made us cover up too much.

Doctors are finding an increase in vitamin D deficiencies, even as researchers discover remarkable results from the vitamin that affects nearly every tissue in the body.

Told their pain and muscle weakness would only get worse, and that they would likely remain in wheelchairs the rest of their lives, five patients in Buffalo decided to take a chance on large doses of vitamin D.

In 4 to 6 weeks they were up and about, saying goodbye to their wheelchairs and back to normal activities, pain free.

When women took vitamin D in multivitamin supplements over a long period of time, their risk of developing multiple sclerosis was reduced by 40 percent.

And a disturbing number of children who don't have enough vitamin D in their bodies are showing up with rickets, a crippling bone disorder thought to have been eradicated more than 70 years ago.

Dr. Craig Langman, a kidney and mineral metabolism expert at Children's Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University Medical School, sees a new case of rickets every week, triple the rate of five years ago.

"We're finding more and more kids are presenting with evidence of vitamin D malnutrition," said Langman, who noted that includes fractures and bone pain.

Vitamin D is a critical hormone that scientists are discovering helps regulate the health of more than 30 different tissues, from the brain to the prostate. It plays a role in regulating cell growth, the immune system and blood pressure, and in the production of insulin, brain chemicals and bone.

"We thought that vitamin D was a very narrow-acting substance," said Dr. Hector DeLuca of the University of Wisconsin, where vitamin D was first identified in the early 1900s, leading to the fortification of milk and some other foods that eliminated endemic rickets.

"The big surprise is that it's got a lot of important biological effects that probably contribute to our health and we're just now beginning to uncover them," said DeLuca. "Are we getting enough vitamin D? No we're not, especially in the winter."

Vitamin D is one of the body's many control systems. It acts like an emergency brake that helps stop cells from perilously misbehaving, as immune cells can do when they cause such autoimmune diseases as MS and as breast and prostate cells do when they turn cancerous.

Variable protection This protection declines as vitamin D levels drop. University of Chicago microbiologist Yan Chun Li discovered just how that happens with high blood pressure. Vitamin D helps normalize blood pressure by keeping a pressure-increasing switch called renin in check.

Vitamin D's importance for health goes back more than 750 million years to the earliest life forms that left the ocean for the Earth's surface. All vertebrates today depend on sun exposure for vitamin D production.

The lack of vitamin D is known to cause rickets, osteoporosis and osteomalacia (soft bones). New research indicates that vitamin D malnutrition may also be linked to many chronic diseases such as cancer (breast, ovarian, colon and prostate), chronic pain, weakness, chronic fatigue, autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and Type

1 diabetes, high blood pressure, mental illnesses--depression, seasonal affective disorder and possibly schizophrenia--heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, tuberculosis and inflammatory bowel disease.

"A lot of people with aches and pains and marginal weakness could be helped by vitamin D supplements," said Dr. Paresh Dandona of the State University of New York at Buffalo who reported the first five cases of vitamin D deficient myopathy three years ago in the Archives of Internal Medicine (news - web sites).

Undiagnosed pain is the chief complaint of more than one-third of patients.

Studying 150 children and adults with undiagnosed pain, Dr. Greg Plotnikoff of the University of Minnesota discovered that 93 percent were severely or profoundly vitamin D deficient. All were put on prescription doses of the vitamin.

"One patient with chest pain had multiple balloon angioplasties and his pain never went away," Plotnikoff said. "He also had surgery for his low back pain but he didn't get any better.

"I measured his vitamin D level and it was basically zero," he said. "His chest and low back pain were not due to cardiac or spinal disease but to low vitamin D. We put him on prescription strength vitamin D and he got much better. We had spent over $200,000 on him in the hospital for these other procedures without doing a $20 blood test."

A study in the British medical journal Lancet found that infants receiving 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily were protected from developing Type 1 diabetes. Various forms of vitamin D have become a major treatment for psoriasis and preliminary evidence suggests it reduces blood pressure, reduces hip fracture risks in older people and improves symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

Research help "Our study supports a possible role for vitamin D in the prevention of MS," said epidemiologist Kassandra Munger of the Harvard School of Public Health. "Further studies are needed to confirm the findings, but taking a multiple vitamin as part of a healthy diet can't hurt."

Researchers are finding that the current recommended daily allowances of vitamin D--ranging from 200 international units for infants, children and adults up to age 50 years; 400 IU for men and women from 50 to 70; and 600 IU for people older than 70--are probably far lower than the minimum amount necessary for optimum health.

Scientists are quick to warn that although people may need more vitamin D, mostly in the form of supplements in higher latitudes where sunlight is weak during winter months, they should consult a physician before consuming large doses. Taking too much vitamin D can elevate levels of calcium in the blood, a potentially serious condition that can lead to nausea, vomiting, or even death. It is especially easy for children to overdose on vitamin D supplements.

Dr. Michael F. Holick of Boston University Medical Center, one of the world's foremost vitamin D experts, recommends 1,000 IU daily for everyone through a combination of safe exposure to sunlight and supplements.

Summertime sun exposure on the face, arms and hands around noon for only 5 to 15 minutes for people with light skin 2 to 3 times a week provides sufficient vitamin D, he said.

Blacks have the highest risk for vitamin D deficiency because dark skin needs 5 to 10 times more sunlight than white to produce the same amount of the vitamin. One study found that 42 percent of African-American women in the U.S. were vitamin D deficient.

Chronic diseases associated with vitamin D deficiency are 25 to 50 percent more frequent in northern climates than among people living closer to the sunny equator, where humans first evolved. As people migrated away from the equator, it is thought, skin evolved lighter shades to absorb more sunlight for vitamin D production.

Limited menu Vitamin D is not available in most foods (oily fish, egg yolks, liver and cod liver oil have some), but it is abundantly made when sunlight strikes the skin, which normally produces about 90 percent of the body's store of the vitamin.

People living in northern latitudes don't get enough sun from December through February to make vitamin D. A person living in Chicago, Boston, Detroit or New York can stand naked outside all day in the winter and not make any vitamin D, said Holick, author of "The UV Advantage."

Even in summer the skin's vitamin D-making ability gets dampened from the increasing use of sunscreen, leading a growing number of health experts to challenge the advice given over the last two decades to avoid the sun at all costs in order to reduce skin cancer risk.

"The amount of vitamin D in our diet is totally inadequate," Holick said. "We are in an era of sunphobia--that is not being exposed to any direct sunlight--that's being promoted widely by the dermatology community and it's probably hurting people's health more than it's helping them."

"That message needs to be modified and moderated to a more sensible approach so that people can get a little bit of safe sun," he said.

The evidence is overwhelming that excessive sun exposure causes skin cancer. More than 1 million cases of squamous and basal cell cancers, which are highly treatable, are expected this year, according to the American Cancer Society. Solar exposure is also blamed for the anticipated 55,100 cases of melanoma in 2004 and 7,910 deaths. Melonama, a potentially deadly skin cancer, usually occurs years after severe sunburns in childhood.

Conflicting research On the other hand, increasing but less conclusive evidence suggests that adequate vitamin D levels from healthy sun exposure may reduce the risk of many other cancers.

A recent study of more than 430,000 death certificates showed that people who had more exposure to sunlight had a 26 percent lower risk of death from colon and breast cancer, said D. Michal Freedman, an epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute.

Testifying in October at a "Vitamin D and Health in the 21st Century" conference called by the National Institutes of Health (news

- web sites)'s Office of Dietary Supplements, William B. Grant, a retired NASA (news - web sites) senior scientist and solar radiation expert, said his studies determined that lack of vitamin D accounts for 45,000 cancer deaths annually and 165,000 new cancer cases.

The conference was prompted by growing concerns of widespread vitamin D inadequacy and how to strike a balance between supplements, dietary fortification, tanning booths and sun exposure, said NIH nutritionist Mary Frances Picciano.

"If you go to the literature where people are talking about sunlight and cancer risk, nobody mentions that you need sun for vitamin D," she said. "By the same token if you go to the vitamin D literature where people are talking about skin irradiation to get vitamin D, nobody talks about cancer.

"One of the first things that might be necessary is to get the skin cancer people together with vitamin D requirement people," Picciano said. "There are questions that need to be addressed before meaningful public health policy can go forward."

Sources: National Institute of health, National Osteoporosis Society Chicago Tribune

Plant estrogens may fight menopausal bone loss

By Amy Norton NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Adding to evidence of the potential benefits of so-called plant estrogens, a new study suggests that isoflavone supplements may help reduce menopausal bone loss.

UK researchers found that, when taken for a year, the supplements appeared to curb spinal bone loss in women between the ages of 49 and 65.

Isoflavones, compounds found in soybeans, chickpeas and other legumes, are similar to the female hormone estrogen. Because of this, researchers have been studying whether soy protein or supplements containing isoflavones might act as a sort of "natural" hormone replacement therapy.

Studies have shown that Asian women, whose traditional diet is rich in soy, have a relatively low rate of hip fracture, as well as breast cancer and heart disease. In addition, animal research has suggested that isoflavones might lessen bone loss related to waning estrogen levels.

Some studies of women, however, have found no evidence of bone benefits, and much of the research on isoflavones has involved only small groups of women followed for a relatively short time.

The new study, which followed 177 women for a year, is one of the largest and longest investigations of an isoflavone supplement to date, according to the authors. They found that compared with women randomly assigned to take a placebo, those who took a daily isoflavone tablet showed less bone loss in the lower spine.

The findings are published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Novogen Ltd., maker of the isoflavone supplement Promensil, provided the tablets and partial funding for the study.

Despite the study's positive results, it's too early to recommend isoflavone supplements for fighting bone loss, study author Dr. Sheila Bingham, of the Medical Research Council Dunn Human Nutrition Unit in Cambridge, told Reuters Health.

For one thing, long-range studies are necessary to determine whether isoflavones can cut the risk of bone fractures, a major cause of disability among older adults.

Also unclear, Bingham noted, is whether a soy-rich diet might be more or less beneficial than isoflavone supplements when it comes to bone health. The supplement her team studied is derived from red clover.

The study involved women ages 49 to 65, most of whom were postmenopausal and all of whom had recently had a mammogram to screen for breast cancer. Women with a history of the disease were excluded.

At the end of the study, women in the supplement group had lost less bone density in the lumbar spine than those in the placebo group had. There was no clear difference between the groups as far as bone density in the hip, according to the report.

To help ward off the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis, experts advise women to get enough calcium and vitamin D, avoid smoking and exercise regularly throughout their lives.

SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 2004.

Copyright © 2004 Reuters Limited.



A thought:

I see trees of green,
red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people passing by,
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
What they're really saying is I love you.

I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world.

Louis Armstrong


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