Saturday, June 25, 2016

Effectively Addressing Joint Pain

Dear Readers,

Todd Humphrey, Practice Manager of Vaughan Integrative Medicine, compiled the information in this article. He used to experience significant jaw pain related to TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder). After a number of sessions with Dynamic Reintegration’s Nancy Yow, who traced the pain to his left hip joint, he no longer suffers from jaw pain. The body is a stack of joints; if one joint is out of alignment you may experience pain anywhere above that joint as a result.

- Dr. Vaughan

Discomfort and pain in the joints is extremely common. Caused by injury or disease, joint pain – also referred to as arthralgia – is experienced as mildly uncomfortable to extremely painful. Conditions that lead to join pain include gout, infection (including some sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia and gonorreha), strains, sprains, and other injuries. Another leading cause of joint pain is inflammation which can lead to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and bursitis.

The adult human body consists of 206 bones. Joints are the areas where these bones come in contact with one another and include cartilage, ligaments, bursae, and tendons. Injury or inflammation to any of these parts can result in pain. Symptoms and signs associated with joint pain can include:

  • joint redness
  • joint swelling
  • joint tenderness
  • joint warmth
  • limping
  • locking of the joint
  • loss of range of motion of the joint
  • stiffness
  • weakness.
Joints in body parts that contain include multiple bones and joints that are more active or bear body weight are more likely to experience discomfort and pain. Each foot contains 26 bones that provide structural support for the entire body. Each hand contains 27 distinct bones; the hands and wrists provide the body with flexibility and support to manipulate objects in different ways. The knee joint and the hip joint are the two strongest weight-bearing joints in the body. These joints account for the majority, but not all, locations of chronic joint pain.

Although joint paint can be common, in the most severe cases it is debilitating and interferes with daily living. Making the right choices can help reduce the risk of and effects from joint pain. Here are some suggestions to consider that will help maintain alignment and reduce straining the joints:
  • wear shoes with proper arch support
  • wear sneakers if you’ll be walking a lot
  • reduce the amount of time spent texting
  • hold your cell phone up instead of hunching over to read the screen
  • empty back pockets before sitting
  • take stretch breaks from computer use and game stations
  • be mindful of your posture when seated; don’t slouch or assume contorted positions on the sofa
  • learn to lift without straining your wrists
  • choose rolling laptop cases and rolling luggage (even for airplane carry-on items)
  • sleep on your back or on your side
  • lift heavy objects by bending the knees and the hips
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • incorporate yoga into your exercise routine to keep the body limber.
A primary contributor to joint pain is inflammation. While there are many anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter medications available, they target the symptom and don’t deal with the underlying cause of the inflammation. These pharmaceuticals and medications can sometimes add stress on the body by overtaxing the liver; by addressing the root cause of inflammation it’s possible to keep the entire body healthier. Each person’s physiology is different. To address the root cause, an elimination diet works as an empirical trial that can help identify foods that cause or increase inflammation.

Elimination Diet

An elimination diet requires that for two weeks, someone stop consuming a particular food group completely. For example, to identify sensitivity to dairy foods someone would eliminate all dairy for their diet for two weeks. Dairy elimination would include milk, all cheeses, yogurt, ice cream, coffee creamer, whey protein supplements – everything that is derived from milk. (Although eggs are often included as dairy on food pyramid charts, they are safe when eliminating dairy from the diet.) On the day after the two week elimination of dairy, consume one or more healthy servings of dairy foods. For the next thirty-six hours avoid dairy. All during the elimination phase of this empirical trial, someone should keep a daily journal about physical symptoms, moods – including irritability and lethargy, and any noticeable bloating, gas, and inflammation. When reintroducing dairy, continue to journal noticing if there are any significant physical changes for the next thirty-six hours. Here are some symptoms to watch for:
  • insomnia
  • fatigue
  • new or increased joint pain and/or inflammation
  • skin breakouts or rashes
  • headaches
  • bowel changes or GI pain
  • bloating
  • brain fog
  • sinus or other respiratory issues
  • excessive mucus in the throat.
If any of these symptoms occur, there’s a good chance that dairy is causing or contributing inflammation in the body and therefore increasing joint pain. The elimination diet empirical trial can be done for any food or food group. Most commonly, people do the elimination diet to check for symptoms related to diary, corn, wheat, and sugar. After eating any meal if someone experiences significant joint pain, doing an elimination diet on the foods in that meal would help them better understand what their trigger foods are and help them know what to avoid to keep from experiencing discomfort. For example, if after eating lasagna someone has stiff joints, a headache, and feels bloated, testing wheat (lasagna noodles), dairy (ricotta and mozzarella cheeses), and tomatoes would be appropriate.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Heavy Metals: Toxicity Explained

Dear Readers,

This post was written by Ami Ingram, MD, the newest addition to the Vaughan Integrative Medicine (VIM) team.

- Dr. Vaughan

Environmental factors play an important part in the overall health and wellness of individuals and contribute significantly to community health. There is now a greater awareness of environmental toxins because of the publicity surrounding the Flint, Michigan water crisis. If you followed the news, you are aware of the toxic levels of lead in Flint’s water supply. While there are many sources of environmental toxins, one of the most prevalent is heavy metals.

Heavy metals are naturally occurring elements that have a high atomic weight and a high density compared to water. Some heavy metals are required in varying amounts by living organisms for proper cellular function; these metals include iron, cobalt, copper, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc. Other heavy metals include aluminum, antinomy, arsenic, beryllium, bismuth, cadmium, lead, mercury, nickel, platinum, thallium, thorium, tin, tungsten, and uranium. Many of these metals now have a wide distribution in the environment because they are used in industrial, domestic, agricultural, medical and technological applications. All metals are toxic at higher concentrations. The potential for a metal to become toxic depends on factors including the dose, the pathway of exposure, along with the age, gender or at the nutritional status of the individuals exposed to the metals.

Heavy metals become toxic when they accumulate to the point that they disrupt metabolic functions. This happens in two ways:

1. They accumulate and thereby disrupt function and vital organs and glands such as the heart, brain, kidneys, bone, liver, etc.

2. They displace the vital nutritional minerals from their original place, thereby hindering their biological function. For example, lead can displace iron and inhibit the body's ability to make hemoglobin.

The degree to which an individual will experience the symptoms of heavy metal toxicity vary greatly from person to person. Children and the elderly are more susceptible to experiencing symptoms. Some individuals never develop symptoms because they are genetically predisposed to more efficiently detoxifying the body. Other people may not show symptoms of toxicity for many years and late in life develop a chronic degenerative disease that is sometimes the result of slow ongoing exposure to toxins.

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine and the American College for the Advancement of Medicine teach that exposure to heavy metals contributes to an individual’s chance at being affected by cardiovascular disease, some cancers, and many neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), and many other autoimmune diseases.

Each of the heavy metals has a slightly different effect on the body. Common symptoms of heavy metal toxicity include:
  • altered metabolism,
  • asthma and chronic lung disease,
  • cancer,
  • damaged immune system,
  • high blood pressure,
  • atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease – resulting in heart attacks, strokes, per referral vascular disease, and congestive heart failure,
  • neurodegenerative diseases,
  • psychiatric illnesses,
  • kidney and liver damage,
  • reproductive system diseases in both men and women, and
  • skin disorders.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) provides information and fact sheets on many substances that are considered toxic including heavy metals, how exposure to the toxins occurs, and how they can impact human health. Three of the most common heavy metals that impact people's health are cadmium, lead, and mercury; here’s information from ATSDR on these three heavy metals:


Cadmium is a natural element in the earth's crust. It is usually found as a mineral combined with other elements such as oxygen (cadmium oxide), chlorine (cadmium chloride), or sulfur (cadmium sulfate, cadmium sulfide). All soils and rocks, including coal and mineral fertilizers, contain some cadmium. Most cadmium used in the United States is extracted during the production of other metals like zinc, lead, and copper. Cadmium does not corrode easily and has many uses, including batteries, pigments, metal coatings, and plastics.


  • Exposure to cadmium happens mostly in the workplace where cadmium products are made, for example a battery factory.
  • Living near industrial facilities which release cadmium into the air.
  • Cadmium is used in cigarette production therefore smoking cigarettes or breathing cigarette smoke exposes individuals to this potential toxin. 
  • Eating foods containing cadmium; low levels are found in all foods (highest levels are found in shellfish, liver, and kidney meats). 
  • Drinking contaminated water.
  • Breathing fumes from combustion of petrol and other fossil fuels (cadmium oxide is one of the main by-products of combustion). Living near or exercising along major roadways can cause exposure to high amounts of cadmium.
  • Yellow paints, especially oil paints are high in cadmium. 

Health Risks from Over-Exposure:

  • Breathing high levels of cadmium can severely damage the lungs. Eating food or drinking water with very high levels severely irritates the stomach, leading to vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Long-term exposure to lower levels of cadmium in air, food, or water leads to a buildup of cadmium in the kidneys and possible kidney disease. Other long-term effects are lung damage and fragile bones.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that cadmium and cadmium compounds are known human carcinogens.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

FULL-Fat Diet

Dear Readers,

This post was written by Ami Ingram, MD, 
the newest addition to the Vaughan Integrative Medicine (VIM) team. 

- Dr. Vaughan

Americans are getting fatter. According to The State of Obesity, obesity rates for adults more than doubled from 1960 to 2012. The average American adult is 24 pounds heavier today than in 1960! A 2012 study – the most recent statistics available – indicated that more than two-thirds of the American adult population were overweight or obese. The same study showed that more than 30% of children were also overweight. Along with higher rates of obesity come higher rates of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and dementia. This increased rate of obesity is true despite years of promotion of a LOW FAT DIET. For 30 years we have been eating products labeled low fat because the food industry and health care industry have been telling us, “Eating fat makes you fat.” In truth, it is not eating fat that makes us overweight and unhealthy; it is when we eat certain kinds of fats, along with carbohydrates and sugar, that we end up overweight and unhealthy. We need fats and fatty acids for our bodies to work properly – so we have to make sure we choose types of fats that promote these functions.

The campaign against fat has had tremendous success. In the effort to avoid eating fats, many people have focused their grocery shopping on buying products that are marketed as low fat, reduced fat, and fat-free. Many low fat, reduced fat, and fat-free food options are overly processed and loaded with refined sugar and carbohydrates (which are also broken down into sugar). Sugar enters the blood, stimulating insulin release. Insulin tells the body to take sugar out of the blood and store it in muscle, liver and fat cells for use as energy when needed. When we consume high carbohydrate, high sugar foods and beverages throughout the day, our insulin levels remain elevated and the excess sugar is converted into triglycerides. Triglycerides are stored for energy for times when we are not eating, for example at night when we are sleeping. As the body continues to convert sugar into triglycerides, they are stored in ever enlarging fat cells and in the liver causing fatty liver disease. This is why a diet high in carbohydrates and refined sugar leads to being overweight.

When we consume healthy fats, our body breaks them down into fatty acids which are immediately used for energy. Fat has three times the energy of sugar and stays in the blood longer causing you to feel satisfied so you don’t get hungry for a longer period of time. Starting your day with healthy fats keeps you from getting hungry in the late morning and helps your brain work better. The brain is sixty percent fat; each nerve and brain cell is covered and protected by fat. Fat is a critical energy source for the brain and is essential for proper brain development, so children especially need healthy fat. Every cell in our body has a fatty or lipid layer that regulates nutrients going into the cell and toxins going out of the cell. The building blocks of hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone come from fat. Your body cannot make Vitamin D and Vitamin A or absorb calcium without fat.

Dietary fats come from both plants and animals. Based on their structure, fats are described as saturated, mono-unsaturated, poly-unsaturated, and trans fats. Nutritionists suggest we get 20 to 35 percent of our required calories from fat. An average, moderately active adult, trying to maintain their weight, would consume about 2,000 calories a day. That person would optimally have 40 to 70 grams of fat a day. Those fats ideally would be 1/3 or less from healthy saturated fat, 1/3 or more from mono-unsaturated fat and 1/3 or more from poly-unsaturated fats. TRANS-FATS are unhealthy and should be avoided. POLY-UNSATURATED FATS can be classified as omega 3, omega 6 and omega 9. Omega 3 and omega 6 are essential fats that we must get from food. Our Western diet provides an abundance of omega 6 fatty acid in processed oils, as well as naturally in nuts and seeds and the oils from them. Omega 6 fatty acids promote clotting, cell proliferation and immune system support whereas Omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory, working opposite of Omega 6 fatty acids. The body needs both in the correct ratio, which is about 2 - 4 Omega 6 to 1 Omega 3. Our modern diet provides 15:1 to 22:1 ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3! Safflower and Cottonseed oil are high in poly-unsaturated fats, have a higher ratio of Omega 6, and should be limited. Macadamia nuts and oil have a ratio of 1 omega 6 to 1 omega 3 and are highly recommended.

There has been controversy about the health benefits of SATURATED FATS, which are solid at room temperature. What matters is the source of the saturated fat. Lard and Butter are examples saturated fat that when conventionally raised, are considered unhealthy. However, when meat, eggs and dairy come from organic, grass fed animals, they provide healthy saturated fats as well as other nutrients. Butter and Ghee from pasture-raised/grass fed animals contain nutrients such as calcium and Vitamin K2, which helps build strong bones. Ghee is butter that has the lactose and casein removed and is usually safe for those sensitive to those components. Coconut oil is gaining popularity as a saturated fat and is good for cooking because it is stable at higher temperatures and has a nutty flavor. Coconut oil has antimicrobial and antifungal properties and is easy to digest. Some people add it to coffee, use it to make chocolate candy, or spread it on toast to help sustain energy for the brain.

When buying coconut oil and other oils, look for one that is not heated and does not have chemicals added for extraction. Avoid oil that is hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. In general cold press, raw, unrefined products are healthier and have a mild coconut smell and flavor.

MONOUNSATURATED fats are liquid at room temperature and are healthy but not recommended for cooking because they become oxidized and lose beneficial properties. They are best added to food after it has been cooked or prepared. Olive oil is an example of monounsaturated fat that is perfect for drizzling on salad, steamed vegetables or cooked meat. Avocados and macadamia nuts have monounsaturated fats and their oils can be extracted. Avocados are a good source of vitamin E, Vitamin K, B vitamins and fiber as well as healthy fats.

It is important to understand that natural foods are a mix of fats, not 100% one any one kind. For example sesame seed oil is 41 % mono-unsaturated fat, 44% poly-unsaturated fat, and 15 % saturated fat and has a ratio of 137 omega 6 to 1 omega 3. Hemp seed oil is 12% mono-unsaturated fat, 79% poly-unsaturated fat and, 9 % saturated fat and has a ratio of 3 omega 6 to 1 omega 3. Sesame seed oil has an unfavorable omega 6 to omega 1 ratio, but is a good balance of saturated/mono-unsaturated/poly-unsaturated fats. Hemp seed oil is mostly poly-unsaturated fat and has a good omega 6 to omega 3. Both sesame seed and hemp seed oil are recommended.

Most TRANS FATS are man made by hydrogenating liquid oil to make it a solid. This process makes the oil last longer and makes it reusable and inexpensive. Think about the oil used for fast food deep fryers in restaurants, as well as in vegetable shortening and margarine. These are the fats that we want to limit in our diet. Trans fats/ partially hydrogenated oils come from corn, peanut, and canola.

Increasing healthy fats in your diet does not cause cholesterol build-up in arteries, leading to heart attack and stroke. Scientists are learning there is more to “clogged” arteries, atherosclerosis, than cholesterol. One of the factors is the size of the cholesterol or lipid. Smaller lipid particles are more dangerous than large “fluffy” cholesterol particles. To find out the size of particles your doctor can perform a more detailed lipid test called NMR or Advanced lipid profile. One way to make more fluffy lipids is to increase your intake of Omega 3 from fish, flax seed, chia seed, hemp seeds or Omega 3 supplements. It is important to choose a good quality Omega 3, from krill or fish low in toxins, with at least 500 mg of both EPA and DHA.

Don’t be afraid to enjoy fats in your food. Fats are important for functions of your body and brain and help you feel full. Choose foods with healthy fats that also provide nutrients rather than low fat processed foods that are high in carbohydrates.

Recommended fats

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Flax seed
  • Macadamia nut
  • Avocado
  • Grass fed meat, ghee or butter
  • Sesame seed
  • Hemp seed
  • Chia seed
  • Omega 3 fish: salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, 

Non-Recommended fats
  • Margarine
  • Corn oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Canola oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Conventional fed meat, ghee or butter 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Big Four

The National Institutes for Health (NIH) recommends these habits to help reduce the risk of heart disease. Help commit yourself to these lifestyle changes by creating written goals or working with an accountability partner until these actions become habits in your life!

1. Get Regular Physical Activity

Most adults should plan for 20-to-30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise at least five days a week. Brisk walking, cycling, and swimming are great options. For individuals who are easily bored with the same routine, vary your activities every few days and move your aerobic exercise routine outside when the weather permits. Couple your aerobic exercise with at least two days of strength training that focus on all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

2. Maintain a Healthy Weight 

While obesity is an epidemic in America, be aware that being either overweight or underweight can significantly increase your chances for heart disease. Talk with your health care provider about what a healthy weight would be for you instead of relying solely on an online Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator. BMI calculators don’t account for age, body type and body fat percentage. Maintaining a healthy weight requires a combination of regular physical activity, making appropriate food choices to meet nutritional needs, and controlling portion sizes. Some general guidelines include having a nutritious breakfast that includes lean protein and healthy fats, avoiding excessive sugar intake, and staying hydrated. Make sure you drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water a day; for example: if you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water daily (150 ÷2 = 75). For every caffeinated beverage you drink, add another 8 ounces of water. A physician or dietician can help you with a plan that will support you achieving an optimal weight for your best health.

3. Avoid Smoking

According to the NIH, tobacco smoke harms nearly every organ in the body. Specifically, the chemicals in tobacco smoke damage blood cells, damage the function of the heart, and the structure and function of blood vessels. Smoking significantly increases the risk of plaque building up on arterial walls, causing heart disease. There are lots of resources available to assist people who desire to quit cigarette smoking. Your health care provider can help you identify the right resources for you if quitting is a priority.
Exposure to secondhand smoke is also a significant risk factor. As a non-smoker, protect yourself by asking others to smoke outside and not in a closed vehicle. Also avoid places where smoking is allowed.

4. Eat A Healthy Diet

Choosing healthy meals and snacks is important to avoid heart disease. Eliminating processed foods from your diet and creating meals that focus on brightly colored vegetables and fruits wil lower your risk of heart disease. Incorporate 4 to 6 ounces of lean meat or fish or choose alternate protein sources like beans, eggs, or nuts. Cook using healthy fats like olive or coconut oil and avoid hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils. Instead of using iodized table salt spice your foods with fresh herbs and spices or choose Celtic Sea Salt or pink Himalayan Salt; these salts have essential minerals that can actually help regulate blood pressure unlike regular table salt. Eliminate processed sugars and artificial sweeteners as much as possible from your diet.

Monday, January 25, 2016

How to Love Your Heart

Hearts are everywhere! Even before we flipped the calendar page to February, the shelves in retail stores were stocked with heart-themed gifts and cards that declared our love in fancy words and pretty pictures. Boxes of questionably flavored crème-filled chocolates were stacked strategically though out the store under signs reminding us that “Valentine’s Day is February 14.” 

While Valentine’s Day started as a religious holiday – in fact some denominations still celebrate the feast of St. Valentine – it has evolved into a secular holiday. Heart-shaped symbols, winged baby cupids, and bouquets of roses proclaiming romantic love are its distinguishing characteristics.

With all the decorative hearts and Valentine cards, it could be easy to miss that February is also the American Heart Association’s annual campaign to inform the public about the importance of maintaining a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. With 1 in 4 deaths in America being attributed to heart disease annually, it’s clear that we as a nation have an opportunity for better cardiovascular health. A heart-healthy lifestyle includes wise dietary choices, nutritional supplements, and regular exercise. From an integrative approach, having a healthy heart not only includes care for the physical heart, it also includes care for the intellectual heart and the spiritual heart! Here are some ways we can love our hearts – body, mind, and spirit – better.

The Physical Heart
The physical heart is a muscular organ that is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body via the circulatory system. The blood travels through the body delivering oxygen and other nutrients to cells for essential metabolic function. If the heart fails to pump, eventually all metabolic function will cease. Heart failure is typically the result of heart disease.

Heart disease occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle become hardened and narrowed due to a buildup of plaque on the arteries’ inner walls. Plaque is the accumulation of fat, cholesterol, and other substances. As plaque continues to build up in the arteries, blood flow to the heart is reduced. High cholesterol is a marker for heart disease. Although the liver makes enough cholesterol for bodily function, more is introduced through dietary selections making plaques issues worse. Your doctor can order tests on cholesterol and triglycerides to check this marker for heart disease.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women; 50 percent of men and 64 percent of women who die suddenly of heart disease show no previous symptoms of the disease. As frightening as these statistics may be, heart disease can be avoided by making healthy lifestyle choices. The National Institutes for Health has defined the “Big Four” habits that help to prevent heart disease: getting regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding smoking, and eating a healthy diet.

Another way to reduce risk for heart disease is to manage health conditions like high blood pressure. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are 4 times more likely to die from a stroke and 3 times more likely to die from heart disease, compared to those with normal blood pressure.

High blood pressure often shows no signs or symptoms, which is why checking blood pressure regularly is important. Blood pressure screenings are easily available in most doctor's offices and drugstores and can be checked at home using a home blood pressure monitor.

Another significant risk factor for heart disease is diabetes. Diabetics have issues in creating insulin which is the hormone that helps move glucose into the cells. When someone is insulin resistant or doesn’t make enough insulin, glucose accumulates in the blood and adds to blood flow issues involving plaque buildup. Individuals who are diabetic and have suffered a cardiac event may benefit from chelation therapy; the Trial to Access Chelation Therapy study which was funded by the National Institutes for Health suggests that chelation therapy may significantly reduce a recurrent cardiac event. Consult with an integrative practitioner for more information and to evaluate personal benefits of chelation.

Check the suggestions in the NIH’s THE BIG FOUR for ways to reduce your risk for heart disease and check with your doctor for a complete health screening so that your physical heart is in top notch condition!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Diabetes Awareness

Dear Readers,

Todd Humphrey, Practice Manager of Vaughan Integrative Medicine, compiled the information in this article. When his hemoglobin A1c resulted at 5.4 he started evaluating the lifestyle choices he was making. Combined with high blood pressure and a few other high risk factors, he decided it was necessary to pay attention to the possibility of prediabetes. Join him in pursuing a life free of insulin injections.

- Dr. Vaughan

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) more than 8 million Americans have undiagnosed diabetes. Diabetes is a number of diseases that involve problems with insulin in the body. Insulin is the hormone used to regulate blood sugar (glucose); it is the key that opens the door for glucose to enter cells to be used as fuel to support metabolic processes in the body. People with diabetes either don't make insulin or their body's cells are resistant to insulin, leading to high levels of sugar circulating in the blood. Diabetes is classified as Type 1, Type 2, or Gestational. The classification of diabetes helps determine the best course of treatment each individual.

If the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas are destroyed by the body’s immune system and the body ceases insulin production, type 1 diabetes is the result. Type 1 diabetes typically occurs in individuals less than 20 years of age. Symptoms, which can occur suddenly and become severe, include:
  • Increased thirst 
  • Increased hunger (especially after eating) 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Frequent urination 
  • Unexplained weight loss (even though you are eating and feel hungry) 
  • Fatigue (weak, tired feeling) 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Labored, heavy breathing 

Type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes, occurs in individuals who either do not produce enough insulin or whose bodies are insulin resistant. While type 2 diabetes is historically most common in overweight individuals age 40 or older, it is found in those who are not overweight. More recent studies show an increase in the number of youth with type 2 diabetes – in direct correlation with the rising epidemic of obesity in young people. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes may mimic those of type 1. Most often, there are no symptoms or a very gradual development of symptoms. Other symptoms of type 2 diabetes may include:
  • Slow-healing sores or cuts 
  • Itching of the skin (usually in the vaginal or groin area) 
  • Yeast infections 
  • Recent weight gain 
  • Numbness or tingling of the hands and feet 
  • Impotence or erectile dysfunction 

Hormonal changes during a pregnancy can affect the body’s ability to produce and effectively use insulin. When this occurs, the result is gestational diabetes; this affects approximately 4% of all pregnancies. A woman is at higher risk of gestational diabetes if she is overweight before the pregnancy begins, is over 25 years of age, or is Hispanic, black, Native American, or Asian. Left untreated, gestational diabetes increases the risk of complications to both the mother and her unborn child. Within six weeks of delivery blood sugar levels typically return to normal. Having gestational diabetes increases a woman’s chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

While all classifications of diabetes are treatable, the disease is the primary cause of death for more than 69,000 Americans annually. The downside to treating diabetes is the cost associated with treatment. People with diabetes have a health care cost that is 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes. The ADA reports that $245 billion is spent annually in the direct costs (treatment) and indirect costs (disability, work loss, premature mortality) associated with diabetes.

The complications that can result from diabetes are significant: Adults with diabetes are more likely to be admitted to a hospital after a heart attack or a stroke than are adults without diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of kidney failure. 60 – 70% of people with diabetes have mild to severe neuropathy. Hearing loss is is twice as common in individuals with diabetes. More than 60% of nontraumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes.

If current trends continue, as many as 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes by 2050. Statistics indicate that in addition to the 8 million diabetics, there are 86 million Americans who have prediabetes – most of whom are undiagnosed. Prediabetics are individuals who are at a significant risk of developing Type 2 diabetes based on elevated blood sugar levels. The most reliable test in determining if an individual is prediabetic is called a Hemoglobin A1c (HA1c), or the glycated hemoglobin test. This test provides an average of an individual’s blood sugar levels over a 2-to-3 month period. Lab results for HA1c are considered normal by most medical providers if they are between 4 and 5.6. Most integrative providers would advise patients that any HA1c result that it above 5.2 indicates that glucose levels are elevated and that a patient has significant inflammation in the body and the body is aging faster. These are factors that contribute to someone becoming prediabetic, and eventually experiencing type 2 diabetes.

Avoiding Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes

Of the three classifications of diabetes, type 2 diabetes and its precursor, prediabetes, are the only two that have significant risk factors that can be eliminated through healthy lifestyle choices and with supplementation. According to, risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:
  • Obesity or being overweight. Research shows this is a top reason for type 2 diabetes. Because of the rise in obesity among U.S. children, this type is affecting more teenagers. 
  • Impaired glucose tolerance. Prediabetes is a milder form of this condition. It can be diagnosed with a simple blood test. If you have it, there’s a strong chance you’ll get type 2 diabetes. 
  • Insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes often starts with cells that are resistant to insulin. That means your pancreas has to work extra hard to make enough insulin to meet your body's needs. 
  • Ethnic background. Diabetes happens more often in Hispanic/Latino Americans, African-Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Alaska natives. 
  • High blood pressure. That means blood pressure over 140/90. 
  • Low levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol and high levels of triglycerides. 
  • Gestational diabetes. If you had diabetes while you were pregnant, you had gestational diabetes. This raises your chances of getting type 2 diabetes later in life. 
  • Sedentary lifestyle. You exercise less than three times a week. 
  • Family history. You have a parent or sibling who has diabetes. 
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have a higher risk. 
  • Age. If you're over 45 and overweight or if you have symptoms of diabetes, talk to your doctor about a simple screening test. As sex hormones drop during menopause and andropause, the risk for diabetes increases. 

Of these 11 risk factors, only a few cannot be influenced by dietary, exercise, and supplementation choices. Reducing the risk factors that lead to prediabetes and eventually to type 2 diabetes not only slows the body’s aging process, but also reduces the risk of other serious health conditions and can promote lower health care costs over a lifetime. To lower the risk factors of prediabetes, the following lab values should be checked annually (or more often if you or your physician have concerns):
  • Hemoglobin A1c. As discussed earlier, a score of greater than 5.2 indicates elevated glucose levels. 
  • Fasting Comprehensive Metabolic Panel. This lab includes a blood glucose level; a value of higher than 99 is indicative of insulin resistance. 
  • Fasting Morning Insulin. This value should be between 2 and 10. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

From Olive Oil Superior to Mammography in Preventing Cancer

Important information for women to be aware of--this month, in particular. reports:
The researchers noted that extra-virgin olive oil contains a range of polyphenols. One of them is oleocanthanal. It's been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Oleocanthanal has been called an alternative to ibuprofen.[iii] 
Lab studies also show oleocanthanal can kill cancer cells in 30 minutes.
Read the entire article here.