Archive for March, 2012
On a recent flight from London to Los Angeles, I was asked a question that comes up rather frequently in my line of work: Should coffee be avoided because it’s acidic and, therefore, promotes cancer? The basis for this inquiry is almost always sensational information found in select books, magazines or websites advancing the theory that good health depends on a proper balance of acid and alkaline forming foods in one’s diet. In most instances, the proponents of this hypothesis claim that an overly acidic diet contributes to lower systemic oxygen levels which, in turn, provides a fertile breeding ground for cancerous cells.
Tags: Cancer, Coffee, Tea
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 3 Comments
Part of my responsibility as a medical researcher and natural health consultant is to present breaking information that your doctors may not be aware of and/or ready to share with you. Mainstream medicine is notorious for not advocating certain important health practices until they’re widely accepted by the institutions that govern it. On the other hand, holistic practitioners often veer to the opposite end of the spectrum and assign too much importance to theories that are only backed by preliminary evidence. Today’s blog features an evidence-based snapshot of a trend I’ve been seeing over the past few years. I believe the data contained herein will eventually be accepted by the alternative and conventional medical camps. But, you don’t have to wait until the Journal of the American Medical Association or some other pillar of modern medicine gives its seal of approval to enact the forthcoming research.
Tags: Alzheimer's, Dementia, Vitamin D
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Memory, Nutritional Supplements | 8 Comments
In previous columns, I’ve described the health benefits of various forms of deep breathing in diseases ranging from asthma to GERD (gastroesophageal reflux). But, there’s another, vastly different school of thought in the world of breath retraining. The Buteyko Breathing Technique (BBT) contrasts from practices such as diaphragmatic and Senobi breathing in that it actually recommends reducing depth and frequency of breath in order to assist asthmatics to better control their symptoms.
Tags: asthma, Breathing, Buteyko
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Exercise | 5 Comments
Oral lichen planus (OLP) is an inflammatory autoimmune disease that, as it’s name implies, affects tissue in and around the oral cavity – the esophagus, gums, palate and tongue. In most cases, it is a chronic condition that manifests itself in patches, rashes or sores that may or may not be accompanied by burning, pain and/or sensitivity. While uncomfortable, it is not contagious. In terms of long term complications, OLP may increase the risk of a specific form of cancer (squamous cell carcinoma) and, if present in the esophagus, could cause difficulty swallowing. As with many other autoimmune diseases, OLP is often managed with the judicious use of corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive medications. However, a growing body of research also points to several natural and safer alternatives.
Tags: Curcumin, Green Tea, Lycopene
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Dental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 6 Comments
I’m always on the lookout for all-natural food products that make healthy living more practical. Based on what I saw at this year’s Expo West, many manufacturers are hoping to provide just that. However, my idea of what constitutes a healthy snack often differs from theirs. In many instances, natural food makers simply replace conventionally refined grains and sweeteners with organic counterparts. This is a step in the right direction. But, ultimately, these “new and improved” products are still largely comprised of nutrient-poor ingredients that are likely to cause unhealthy blood sugar fluctuations.
Tags: Kale, Low Carb, Olive
Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Product Reviews | 3 Comments
Among the trends spotted at this year’s Natural Products Expo West, was an attempt to make dairy or dairy-alternatives accessible to virtually everyone. To that end, some manufacturers catered to consumers who prefer organic over conventional milk. Other products offered vegan versions of cheese, milk and even yogurt. There was cream on top or unhomogenized dairy and nonfat options galore. The one common denominator was an undeniable sense that health conscience consumers want more variety in the dairy aisle.
Tags: Diabetes, Fatigue, IBS
Posted in Dental Health, Food and Drink, Nutrition | No Comments;
This past weekend, over 60,000 members of the natural product community converged at the Anaheim Convention Center in Orange County, California. Among them were manufacturers, product spokespeople and retailers. In all, over 2,000 companies exhibited products and services on a show floor that spanned an impressive one million square feet. This all bodes well for an industry that reported 8% growth in 2010, which equates to a total of $127 billion in sales in the U.S. alone. As in years gone by, I took part in the proceedings as an information gathering observer.
Tags: Constipation, Seniors, Whey Protein
Posted in Food and Drink, Nutritional Supplements, Product Reviews | 6 Comments
The integration of natural medicine and rigorous science is becoming increasingly evident in the current medical landscape. Dr. Eric Ding exemplifies the philosophical shift that is presently underway. For starters, he has allopathic credentials that are beyond reproach: graduating Johns Hopkins University with Honors in Public Health and Phi Beta Kappa, then going on to become the youngest student at Harvard to complete a dual doctoral program in epidemiology and nutrition. Dr. Ding is now a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and Women’s Hospital, and is also the director and founder of the non-profit Campaign for Cancer Prevention.
Tags: Antioxidants, Chocolate, Cocoa
Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Interviews | 5 Comments
Several of the most pressing health care issues of the moment can be vastly improved by making a few minor alterations to the modern diet. The addition of more dietary fiber, omega 3 fatty acids and phytochemicals into our daily menu plan is a great starting point. An economical and simple way to do so is by including more (ground) flaxseeds into common foods such a hot cereals, muffins and yogurt.
Tags: Cholesterol, Diabetes, Diet and Weight Loss
Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Nutrition | 5 Comments
Those living with chronic pain frequently turn to over-the-counter NSAIDs or nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs for acute or long term symptom management. As expected, this approach generally makes day to day living more tolerable. However, there can be steep consequences to pay for the temporary relief these medications provide. Adverse reactions ranging from compromised bone healing to damage to the gastrointestinal tract have been attributed to regular NSAID use. In fact, the concern about the side effect profiles of NSAIDs is so profound that drug companies themselves are scrambling to find ways to minimize the downsides of this popular class of drugs. Some pharmaceutical manufacturers are even going so far as to combine NSAIDs with natural agents (dietary fiber, lactoferrin and probiotics) that may allow for these synthetic antiinflammatory agents to work in a safer manner.
Tags: Inflammation, Massage, Pain
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Interviews | No Comments;
The November-December edition of the journal Pain Research and Management describes a sad state of affairs that many patients and physicians are frustratingly aware of: “Despite many recent advances in the past 40 years in the understanding of pain mechanisms, and in pain diagnosis and management, considerable gaps in knowledge remain, with chronic pain present in epidemic proportions in most countries.” An underutilized resource known as trigger point therapy may very well help fill some of these noted gaps. And, there’s nobody better to address this potential avenue of healing and recovery than Valerie DeLaune, LAc.
Tags: Acupuncture, Inflammation, Pain
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Interviews | 6 Comments
According to a recent review in the journal The Lancet, disturbed sleep and insomnia affect upwards of 25% of the adult population. Not only does this impact quality of life, but it also predisposes those with sleep disorders to a much higher risk of numerous diseases including depression, diabetes and heart failure. In addition, insomnia contributes to “substantial economic and societal burden through poor productivity, absence from work, and high health-care costs”. The problem is increasingly evident. However, the solution is much more nebulous if you judge by the difficulty that many people find when searching for an effective and safe solution.
Tags: Anxiety, Lavender, Massage
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements | 7 Comments