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The Role of Diet in ADHD…

29 Oct

Due to concern about the side effects and the long-term use of medications typically prescribed to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), there is an increasing demand for alternative forms of treatment for patients with the condition, with dietary medications and supplementation showing promise.

Research has shown that deficiencies in zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium, selenium, glutathione, and/or omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to oxidative stress and altered neural plasticity needed for brain development and healing. For children with ADHD, this can manifest as poor concentration and memory and learning challenges.

Hypersensitivity to foods and/or additives can increase inflammation in the blood, which presents in children as atopy (hereditary allergy like asthma, hay fever, or hives), irritability, sleep issues, and prominent hyperactive-impulsive symptoms. Studies have demonstrated that taking a probiotic can help manage inflammation, which may benefit children with ADHD as well.

The link between ADHD and food additives including (but not limited to) preservatives, artificial flavorings, and colorings has been debated for decades. A 2007 Lancet publication reported that sodium benzoate and commonly used food colorings may exacerbate hyperactive behavior in children under the age of nine. A 2010 follow-up study concluded that children affected by these types of additives may share common genetic factors.

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) and phospholipids are both essential for normal neuronal structure and function, of which diet is the only source of these important nutrients, especially during critical periods of development (childhood). Dietary deficiency early in life has been reported to increase the risk of developing ADHD signs and symptoms.

Past studies have established the importance of maintaining a healthy balance between the omega-3 vs. omega-6 fatty acids in one’s diet to reduce systemic inflammation. When the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 becomes too high (3:1 is favorable), it’s considered a risk factor for ADHD.

Diets low in protein and high in carbohydrates (refined carbs/sugar) are also a well-known risk factor for developing ADHD because the amino acids that make up proteins are essential for our body to manufacture neurotransmitters.

 

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.
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Chiropractic and Hypertension

27 Sep

In a blood pressure reading, the higher number (“systolic”) represents the pressure that blood exerts against the arterial walls when the heart beats. The lower number (“diastolic”) represents the pressure blood exerts against the arterial walls when the heart rests between beats (measured in millimeters of mercury or mmHg). The definition of hypertension (HT), like so many other aspects of health, has been defined and redefined over the years. Let’s take a look at the current definition and what (if anything) chiropractic provides to help this VERY common condition.

The American Heart Association defines (as of November 2017) “NORMAL” as being   <120/ and <80; “ELEVATED” as 120-129/ and <80; STAGE 1 HT: 130-139/ or 80-89; STAGE 2 HT: >140/ or, >90; HYPERTENSIVE CRISIS: >180/ and/or >120. Between the two numbers, the systolic blood pressure (BP) is generally given the most attention as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease for people over age 50. A gradual increase in systolic BP normally occurs with increasing age as arteries gradually stiffen due to plaque build-up. Recent studies report that the risk of death from ischemic heart disease and stroke DOUBLES with every 20mmHg systolic or 10mm Hg diastolic BP increase in people from age 40-89.

So, CAN chiropractic help patients with hypertension? The answer is YES… at least in some cases. A placebo-controlled study published in 2007 (and spotlighted on “WebMD”) reported a specific type of chiropractic adjustment applied to the Atlas (C1) vertebra that SIGNIFICANTLY lowered both systolic (by 14 mm Hg) and diastolic BP (by 8 mm Hg) in 25 patients with early-stage HT. This improvement did not occur in 25 control patients who received a sham procedure. This beneficial effect persisted for eight weeks during which time the patients took no medication for their condition.

Dr. George Bakris, the director of the University of Chicago hypertension center and lead author of the 2007 study wrote, “This procedure has the effect of not one, but two blood pressure medications given in combination. And it seems to be adverse-event free. We saw no side effects and no problems.”

Case studies of chiropractic treatment lowering BP date back to the 1980s, and higher quality, larger scaled studies have been published in the last decade. One explanation on how chiropractic adjustments help to lower BP is that adjustments applied to C1 (the Atlas) affect the parasympathetic nervous system, which tends to lower the diastolic BP (lower number), while mid-thoracic manipulation—which stimulates the sympathetic nervous system—tends to lower the systolic BP (upper number) to a larger degree. Chiropractic care includes not only spinal manipulation, but also dietary counseling, and more—all WITHOUT the potential for the sometimes significant side-effects associated with medications.

 

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

ADHD and Chiropractic Care?

27 Aug

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a controversial diagnosis, as there are no clear objective clinical tests that can establish whether or not a patient has the condition. ADHD belongs to a spectrum of neurological disorders with no physiological basis (no clear lab tests exist) and often include other conditions such as learning disabilities, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or Tourette’s syndrome. Early-onset mania or bipolar mixed state can be difficult to differentiate from ADHD or they may co-exist with ADHD.

To complicate matters with regard to diagnosing ADHD, some kids may simply be at the high-end of the normal range of activity or have difficult temperaments. Poor attention may be caused by altered vision or hearing, seizures, head trauma, acute or chronic illness, poor nutrition, insufficient sleep, anxiety disorders, depression, and/or the result of abuse or neglect. Various drugs (such as phenobarbital) may interfere with attention as well.

Since the 1990s, the number of prescriptions to treat ADHD has skyrocketed 700%, possibly due to the increased awareness of the symptoms associated with ADHD and/or an increase in the diagnoses for ADHD, often demanded by frustrated teachers and/or parents. The classic medical model has embraced the use of Ritalin (methylphenidate) to treat ADHD. For parents who would like to explore other avenues of treatment, what can Chiropractic offer?

In a recent study involving 28 children aged 5-15 years with a primary diagnosis of ADHD, investigators randomly assigned 14 participants to a spinal manipulation (SM) group with conventional care and the other 14 to a control group (conventional care only). The researchers found the patients in the SM group experienced better outcomes based on several assessments and that a larger scale study would be necessary to verify their findings.

Nutrition may also have a role to play in the management of ADHD. In a 2015 study, researchers provided Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (a probiotic) to infants at six months of age and then followed them for the next 13 years.  At age 13, six of the children in a placebo group had been diagnosed with either ADHD or Asperger syndrome while none of the kids in the probiotic group had been affected by either condition. The researchers concluded that probiotic use early in life may reduce the risk of neuropsychiatric disorder development later in childhood. We’ll cover this more in a future article…

 

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

Smoking – Is It Really That Bad?

30 Jul

Smoking tobacco causes more than 480,000 deaths annually, which makes it the leading cause of preventable death in the United States (US)—that is nearly one in every five deaths in the country! Smoking causes more deaths than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol abuse, car accidents, and firearm-related deaths COMBINED. More than ten times as many US citizens have prematurely died from cigarette smoking than American soldiers have died in ALL the wars fought by the US over its 240+ year history.

Tobacco use increases the risk of death from all causes in men and women. Smoking causes approximately 90% of all lung cancer deaths and 80% of all COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)-related deaths. Smoking also elevates the risk for coronary heart disease (2-4x), stroke (2-4x), and lung cancer (25x). Cigarette use diminishes overall health, increases absenteeism for employment, and increases healthcare utilization and cost.

Regarding the lungs, smoking damages the airways starting with the small air sacs (alveoli), leading to COPD, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis. Most cases of lung cancer are caused from smoking cigarettes. Tobacco smoke can trigger an asthma attack and/or make an attack worse.

In a reproductive capacity, smoking can increase the risk for preterm delivery, stillbirth, low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), ectopic pregnancy, orofacial cleft in infants, and miscarriage.

Smoking harms virtually EVERY organ of the body. Hence, it’s the cause of many diseases. Smokers have an increased risk for osteoporosis, gum and tooth decay, and cataracts. This does not take into consideration the harmful effects that second-hand smoke inflicts to the innocent bystanders.

Cigarette smoking can cause cancer almost ANYWHERE in your body: bladder, blood (acute myeloid leukemia), cervix, colon and rectum (colorectal), esophagus, kidney and ureter, larynx, liver, oropharynx, pancreas, stomach, trachea, bronchus, and lung. Smoking also increases the risk of dying from cancer and other diseases among those who have or have had cancer.

If this article scares you, GOOD! Take home message: Don’t Smoke, and if you are already a smoker, QUIT!

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

Are Probiotics Necessary? (Part 2)

25 Jun

As discussed previously, probiotics can benefit patients with gut complications such as enteritis, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Probiotics may also help decrease allergic inflammation, treat nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and fight immune deficiency diseases. Ingesting probiotics can improve calcium absorption and bone calcium accretion to treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. They may even have a role in the management of obesity and type-2 diabetes.

Most probiotics are oligosaccharides and can be synthesized or obtained from natural sources including asparagus, artichoke, bamboo shoots, banana, barley, chicory, leeks, garlic, honey, lentils, milk, mustards, onion, rye, soybean, sugar beets, sugarcane juice, tomato, and wheat. Foods rich in probiotics include kefir, kimchi, yogurt, sweet acidophilus milk, miso, tempeh, sauerkraut, aged soft cheese, and more.

Some probiotics include an ingredient called a “prebiotic.” This is a non-digestible carbohydrate that acts as food for both the probiotic and the good bacteria already residing in the gut. Prebiotic stimulates the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of genus/species in the gut, making the probiotic more effective and longer lasting.

Here are some of the various types of probiotics…

  1. Lactobacillus naturally occur in our digestive, urinary, and genital systems and can treat a wide variety of diseases and conditions.
  2. Bifidobacteria are found mostly in the colon. They help improve blood lipids and glucose tolerance and can alleviate IBS and IBS-like conditions such as pain, bloating, and urgency.
  3. Saccaromyces boulardii is the only yeast probiotic. It’s used to treat C-Dif (an antibiotic complication), traveler’s diarrhea, acne, and more.
  4. Streptococcus thermophilus helps prevent lactose intolerance.
  5. Enterococcus faecium supports the intestinal tract.

Are there side effects? Generally, side effects are rare and if they occur, they tend to be mild and usually relate to the digestive system and include symptoms such as gas or feeling bloated.

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

Are Probiotics Necessary? (PART 1)

28 May

We all know that bacteria can cause disease, so it makes sense to be at least a little leery about taking a supplement that is loaded with bacteria. There is however, a growing volume of scientific support that probiotics (PBs) can both treat as well as prevent quite a few illnesses.

Probiotics literally means “for life” (pro biota), which suggests these must be “good” bacteria and indeed, our digestive system’s health depends on maintaining a balance between the good and bad flora. Since the 1990s, clinical studies have shown that PBs can effectively treat a number of condition such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, H. pylori (causes ulcers), bladder cancer recurrence, C-Diff (Clostridium difficile)—a dangerous gut infection associated with antibiotics, pouchitis (post-surgical complication after colon removal), eczema in children, and more.

Probiotics are not all the same, as different strains of bacteria have different functions and therefore, help us in different ways. For example, some organisms protect our teeth from getting cavities but can’t survive in the highly acidic environment of the stomach.

Solid evidence exists for probiotic therapy in the treatment of diarrhea. Lacotbacillu GG can shorten the course of infectious diarrhea in infants and children (but not adults). The Harvard.edu website describes two large review studies that suggest PBs can reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea by 60% when compared with a placebo.

Vaginal health is also improved by PB use, as it can reduce and/or eliminate recurring yeast infections. Lactobacilli can help treat bacterial vaginosis, which can potentially complicate pregnancies and lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This bacteria can also be used to treat UTIs, especially in women.

Come back next month for more much-needed information regarding probiotics…

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.