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Fibromyalgia’s Link to Cipro Toxicity

Fibromyalgia has been one of those “mystery” ailments that can create tremendous amounts of pain, yet doctors still don’t have a definitive answer as to its cause, nor is there a cure. A wide net has been cast as to possible risk factors, including chronic stress, certain infections, autoimmune disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, traumatic injuries and more, most of which puts pretty much everyone at some level of risk.

The number of people suffering with this life-changing, debilitating condition is growing; today it affects about 10 million people in the US alone and about 6 percent of people worldwide, according to the National Fibromyalgia Association. The chance of being diagnosed with fibromyalgia increases with age—currently 8 percent of people suffer with this disorder by the age of 80.

One other important risk factor associated with developing fibromyalgia that has come to light more recently is the use of a certain class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones. While you may not be familiar with the term, you’ve probably heard of Cipro (generic name ciprofloxacin); in fact, chances are you or someone you know has been prescribed Cipro at some time. A common “go to” broad-spectrum antibiotic, Cipro is readily prescribed for UTIs, bronchitis, ear infections, sinusitis, and a wide range of other bacterial infections. Some doctors also prescribe Cipro for infections caused by viruses—viral illnesses don’t respond to antibiotic treatment and shouldn’t be treated with them.

Fluoroquinolones aren’t just associated with fibromyalgia—Baylor College of Medicine reports that these antibiotics have received an FDA black box warning due to the fact that they may “disrupt the normal functions of connective tissue, including tendon rupture, tendonitis, and retinal detachment.” When a drug receives a black box warning—the most serious the FDA can give—doctors are supposed to inform their patients of the warning and the potential harm the drug can cause. However, many doctors are not communicating any of this information to their patients, putting them at risk without their knowing or giving them the opportunity to request a different approach.

In addition to the above side effects, there is concern that there may be a connection between fluoroquinolones and cardiovascular problems as well as “severe aortic problems”, including aneurysms. A 2016 FDA news release states that the potential disabling side effects that may affect joints, the central nervous system and muscles can be permanent, occurring anywhere from hours to weeks after use. (Dangerous side effects can happen after just one dose, as the article in The New York Times illustrates.) It concludes that fluoroquinolones should only be prescribed for serious bacterial infections or when there is no alternative treatment.

While antibiotics definitely have their place in medicine and are necessary to fight certain illnesses and, in some cases, can save people’s lives, the problem is that Cipro use should be limited to more powerful bacterial strains, including life-threatening infections. As reported in The New York Times, University of British Columbia pharmacological epidemiologist Mahyar Etminan stated that fluoroquinolones are being overprescribed “by lazy doctors who are trying to kill a fly with an automatic weapon.” In fact, the Drug Law Center reports that over 26 million people are prescribed fluoroquinolones annually.

Many common viral and bacterial infections can clear up on their own with proper care; you can help your body fight back by increasing your intake of “natural antibiotic” foods, such as manuka honey, cinnamon, garlic, foods rich in vitamin C and more. If necessary, safer, less powerful medications can be prescribed. Of course, the best treatment is prevention, which means strengthening your immune system and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome.

Find out what you need to know about your thyroid hormone or health disorder diagnosis today, and get health news updates via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and The Wellness Essentials newsletter.

If you’d like to leave a question for me to answer in a future blog, you can do that via social media or email.

For more information about my clinic in Oradell, NJ, including Functional Medicine, Neurology & Nutrition, and The Grassroots Medicine Initiative, please call (201) 261-5430.

Is Psoriasis Reversible?

Anyone who has psoriasis knows the discomfort it can cause—itching, burning, stinging, soreness. It can even prevent some people from participating in the social activities they enjoy if they’re uncomfortable being seen in public with the telltale raised red patches, sometimes with silverish-white scales on their skin.

Psoriasis can be confused with eczema because the two share some symptoms, but there are a couple of symptoms that can set psoriasis apart—stiff, swollen joints and patches of inflamed redness. People can be genetically predisposed to contracting psoriasis if one or especially both parents suffer from it, but it can also arise from environmental triggers.

At its core, psoriasis is an autoimmune disease; it’s an immune system response in which the body’s T cells that normally protect it against disease go awry and start attacking healthy skin cells. This, in turn, triggers other immune responses, creating more severe reactions.

Flare-ups can last from weeks to months and can be cyclical; outbreaks can range from mild to severe, showing up in small spots or spreading over large areas. Some of the most common triggers are chronic stress, obesity, food allergies or sensitivities, medications, drying environmental conditions, infections, over-consumption of alcohol, and smoking.

The National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) states that there are five different types of psoriasis, ranging from common to rare: plaque (most common type), guttate, inverse, pustular, and erythrodermic (rare and most severe; can become life-threatening). Each type presents with a different appearance and usually shows up in specific areas of the head and body, but flare-ups can occur anywhere.

There are further risks to having psoriasis, and among them is the possibility of developing psoriatic arthritis, a debilitating condition marked by inflammation, pain, and progressive joint damage. The NPF estimates that approximately 30 percent of people with psoriasis will be diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. If left untreated, psoriatic arthritis can cause permanent joint damage; in addition, more than 30 percent of patients with psoriatic arthritis developed hearing loss, and more than 26 percent had inner ear damage.

Other possible serious health conditions that could arise from having psoriasis include cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, Crohn’s disease, kidney disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, osteoporosis, depression, diabetes and more. The NPF states that there is a “significant association between psoriatic disease and metabolic syndrome”, which includes several health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure and abdominal obesity; approximately 40 percent of psoriasis patients develop metabolic syndrome.

Dermatologists typically treat psoriasis with topical creams and moisturizers in an effort to minimize discomfort and lessen the appearance of flare-ups; they may also use phototherapy or prescribe immune-suppressing medications. However, these creams and medications merely suppress the symptoms to some degree—and many have dangerous side effects that can lead to new serious health issues.

While conventional medicine looks to suppress the immune system, functional medicine works to strengthen it. Specialists like dermatologists, endocrinologists and others focus only on the affected organ system of their specialty rather than the whole person; therefore, if the root of the condition stems from a different part of the body or another undetected disorder, it will remain overlooked and the problem continues…and usually worsens.

As with any autoimmune disease, there is an underlying cause that goes far deeper than the skin reactions you see on the surface. And the only way to truly manage any autoimmune disease, including psoriasis, so that you don’t have to endure the constant cyclical flare-ups is to find out why your immune system has become confused enough to attack healthy tissue. Standard blood, urine, and other tests don’t dig deep enough to unearth the real problem, but your functional medicine doctor will conduct extremely comprehensive tests to reach the “why” of your psoriasis.

The answer to reversing or preventing your psoriasis—or any health issue—from progressing further lies in finding both the root cause and your specific triggers. Everyone’s triggers are different, and there can be a combination of culprits including food sensitivities or allergies, stress, environmental toxins, nutritional deficiencies, undiscovered infections, genetic factors, leaky gut and others. Through a correct diagnosis of the true cause of your psoriasis, proper lifestyle changes will help to heal the source—which not only helps your skin, but can also prevent other health issues from developing.

Find out what you need to know about your thyroid hormone or health disorder diagnosis today, and get health news updates via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and The Wellness Essentials newsletter.

If you’d like to leave a question for me to answer in a future blog, you can do that via social media or email.

For more information about my clinic in Oradell, NJ, including Functional Medicine, Neurology & Nutrition, and The Grassroots Medicine Initiative, please call (201) 261-5430.

How Prescription Drugs Can Cause More Pain Than They Relieve

Studies have clearly shown that lowering the number of medications taken by people over 65 significantly reduces accidental deaths and extends the life of this cohort by nearly 40%. Whether from overdose, misuse or unwanted side effects, research has revealed that far too many seniors are taking way too many drugs. Yet the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recently cited that prescriptions for multiple drugs affecting the central nervous system are on the rise. These include opioids, anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, sleep aids, and antipsychotic drugs.

What makes this noteworthy – even alarming – is the fact that the number of seniors being prescribed these medications has more than doubled (tripled in rural areas), even though at least half of these seniors have no diagnosis. Even worse – many of these patients are being prescribed not just one, but at least three psychiatric drugs despite the FDA issuing warnings against combining such drugs. Additionally, most doctors fail to use a physician’s cross-check guide or monitoring database before handing out an additional prescription and rarely, if ever, look for signs of abuse and addiction.

This significant increase came to light by 2004 when Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).CSA is the statute establishing federal U.S. drug policy under which the production and prescribing of certain substances is regulated; prior to this, patients had easy access to any number of mind-altering and pain-relieving drugs from their doctors. To put it in perspective, these numbers translate to approximately 3.68 million people aged 65 and older taking three or more psychotropic drugs. The side effects to each of these types of drugs can be extremely severe and even lead to death, especially when taken in combination.

Although the AMA recognizes this ongoing trend and the FDA has issued a black-box warning against the prescription of multiple central nervous system medications, there is not yet a full understanding as to why these drugs are being prescribed so frequently, especially to patients who don’t present with symptoms warranting such dangerous medications. Is it because doctors are so pressed for time in their appointments with patients that offering a new prescription is the fastest solution? Or because masking the real problem with a drug is simpler than doing the hard work of healing? These drugs are meant to be used as short-term interventions while the detective work is under way, not as quick-fix solutions.

Regardless of why this is happening, the fact is that even when a patient is having trouble sleeping, having pain issues or feeling depressed, drugs are not the answer. A medication is merely an ineffective bandage, not a solution to the problem. While a medication may help for a short time, the problem typically returns with additional issues attached to it, either because of the medication or because the underlying condition has worsened.

The only way to improve a patient’s quality of life and heal or improve a health problem is by getting to the root cause of the issue, not by temporarily covering up symptoms. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions to healing, and multiple medications are not the answer. Generic blood tests don’t provide enough information; more comprehensive testing along with an individual’s medical history and an understanding of lifestyle and diet all need to be considered. Only then can each person’s path to wellness be discovered.

Find out what you need to know about your thyroid hormone or health disorder diagnosis today, and get health news updates via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and The Wellness Essentials newsletter.

If you’d like to leave a question for me to answer in a future blog, you can do that via social media or email.

For more information about my clinic in Oradell, NJ, including Functional Medicine, Neurology & Nutrition, and The Grassroots Medicine Initiative, please call (201) 261-5430.

The NSAID Pain Trap

Most people don’t think twice about popping over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers like Advil, Tylenol, Aleve or other NSAID medications for everything from headaches to muscle pain to arthritis. In fact, sales of nonprescription NSAIDs rank in the billions in the US annually. There’s a general assumption that because these painkillers are nonprescription and readily available, they’re safe to use as much as necessary. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

NSAIDs can cause a host of serious problems in the body, including leaky gut (which can trigger autoimmune diseases), bleeding ulcers and joint deterioration – and that’s just the start. They can also impede healing (including broken bones) and increase the risk of heart and kidney disease, stroke and hypertension. In fact, the April 2017 issue of the European Heart Journal – Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy reports that NSAIDs have been “associated with an increased cardiovascular risk” in a nationwide study. In addition, Science Daily reported that a study conducted and published by the American Gastroenterology Association showed that long-term NSAID use “causes severe intestinal damage”, including “increased risk of bleeding and visible damage to [the] small intestine”. Those are just two of the many cited studies about NSAID-associated risks.

Having a history of heart or kidney issues increases the likelihood of NSAID-related complications, especially in people over 50, regardless of whether the medication is prescription or OTC. Add to that the possibility of dangerous drug interactions with other prescription and nonprescription medications that a person may already be taking and there’s potential for serious problems.

Ironically, when NSAIDs are taken for joint pain including pain caused by arthritis, the short-term pain relief is outweighed by the long-term negative effect of permanent joint damage. NSAIDs merely offer temporary symptom relief, they don’t cure the cause of pain nor do they prevent progression of the underlying problem. And long-term use creates a need for more frequent doses as well as higher dosages; as these become less and less effective over time, additional drugs are needed just to achieve temporary pain relief. The cycle only grows larger and more dangerous.

So how does a person manage chronic pain without daily NSAID use? The answer is different for everyone, but clearly it shouldn’t include an automatic prescription for painkillers or a recommendation for continued use of OTC pain relievers. Each person needs to be evaluated individually – their medical history, comprehensive test results, dietary habits and lifestyle all need to be taken into consideration by their doctor to determine the root cause of their pain.

While inflammation is, many times, a key component of pain, there may be undiscovered food allergies or sensitivities that may also be contributing to the previously unidentified cause of the painful condition. Gut health is also extremely important; an unhealthy gut can result in any number of different health issues that cause seemingly unrelated pain in other areas of the body. Pain is a symptom, an indication of a deeper problem; masking pain won’t heal the root cause.

Find out what you need to know about your thyroid hormone or health disorder diagnosis today, and get health news updates via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and The Wellness Essentials newsletter.

If you’d like to leave a question for me to answer in a future blog, you can do that via social media or email.

For more information about my clinic in Oradell, NJ, including Functional Medicine, Neurology & Nutrition, and The Grassroots Medicine Initiative, please call (201) 261-5430.

Thyroid, Electrical Hypersensitivity and Grounding

Next to diabetes, a sluggish thyroid (or hypothyroidism) is the most common endocrine disorder in the United States. It is perceived as a so-called lifestyle disease, meaning that lifestyle choices are equally to blame and needed to correct the problem. And whereas millions of dollars are spent annually to research and develop pharmaceuticals to manage the symptoms of diabetes and to make the public aware of the complications of diabetes, the same is not true for thyroid.

The thyroid gland’s small size belies its enormous importance in regulating your metabolism. If the production of thyroid hormone slows down, you’re likely to gain 5 to 10 extra pounds (or more). The general symptoms include constipation, depression, dry skin, fatigue, hair loss, intolerance to cold, muscle cramps, and slow heart rate. More to the point, and often overlooked, is that symptoms are comprehensive and affect all systems of the body: neurological (e.g. brain fog and depression), vascular (e.g. slow heart rate and intolerance to cold), ophthalmological (e.g. blurred vision), gastrointestinal (e.g. constipation), and so on.

I have long suspected that the flood of changing environmental exposures over the past generation has contributed to the dramatic increase in both hypo- and hyperthyroidism. More of my patients today suffer with thyroid problems than ever before. Industrialization and the introduction of plastics and other synthetic materials have not only disconnected us from the Earth, they showered us with chemicals that our immune systems cannot tolerate. Thyroid autoimmunity involves loss of tolerance to thyroid proteins in genetically susceptible individuals in association with environmental factors.

For the past 50 years or so, we’ve added carpets, plastics, synthetic-soled shoes, and athletic sneakers, all serving as nonconductive barriers between the Earth and us. If you’ve ever shocked yourself after walking across a carpeted floor, then you know that your body is a conductor. Why is this important? When you are ungrounded, electric fields are attracted to your body and create a surface charge—a voltage. Thyroid sufferers, as you probably know, have an already weakened immune system and are vulnerable to both Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and Electric Hypersensitivity, each of which is born out of this changing environmental pattern over the past 50 years.

The most important time to be grounded is while you’re sleeping. There are two reasons for this. First, the average bedroom typically contains more electrical noise than any other room in a house, especially near where your head rests on your bed. You’ve probably got a tangle of wires behind the wall, as well as wires running under the floor if you’re in an upstairs bedroom. Second, you spend a third of your life lying there. This is the time when your body should be repairing and regenerating, and electrical noise interferes with this process, potentially causing chronic stress and inflammation.

With continued exposure to dirty electricity people get progressively worse. Most sufferers tend to be women, often over 40, and symptoms tend to worsen over time with continued exposure to environmental factors. The issues of grounding and heavy metal toxicity in relation to electrical hypersensitivity may be one of the most significant. The more your system is contaminated with heavy metals, particularly your thyroid, whether from silver amalgam fillings, eating contaminated fish, living downstream from coal-burning power plants and so forth, the more your body becomes a virtual antenna that actually concentrates radiation, making it far more destructive.

Find out what you need to know about your thyroid hormone or health disorder diagnosis today, and get health news updates via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and The Wellness Essentials newsletter.

If you’d like to leave a question for me to answer in a future blog, you can do that via social media or email.

For more information about my clinic in Oradell, NJ, including Functional Medicine, Neurology & Nutrition, and The Grassroots Medicine Initiative, please call (201) 261-5430.

Thyroid Hormones Part I: Misunderstood and Mismanaged

Statistics indicate that 27 million otherwise healthy people suffer with thyroid hormone disorders. Thyroid hormones are metabolic hormones, meaning that they are your energy producing hormones. This is significant because the 70+ trillion cells in your body require energy, and all are affected by thyroid function. The failure to meet this energy requirement affects every organ and system in your body, including the brain, which requires over 20 percent of the total energy demand.

That is why thyroid problems are not isolated problems. Think of the thyroid gland as the gas pedal – the feature that allows you to produce energy at the cellular level and function throughout the day. When the thyroid fails, you do too. When you suffer with anxiety or depression, you must look at the thyroid; high cholesterol, digestive problems, and diabetes – think thyroid. Obvious symptoms can include brain fog, constipation, insomnia, weight gain, fatigue, hair loss, dry skin, brittle nails, chronic pain, and more. Extreme cases can be debilitating.

The standard of care, medically speaking, for anyone with low thyroid is to prescribe replacement hormones forever and to monitor the results periodically, usually every six months, and adjust the dosage accordingly. For a minority of patients this is sufficient; for most, it is not. Unfortunately the replacement model might make your labs look normal, but it does not allow you to feel any better. The laboratory range for making a diagnosis is too narrow, and many people who need help are told they are “fine.”

An expanded blood test would perhaps indicate a T3, T4 conversion problem. Without a full thyroid panel, you’d never know. Nor would you know about a resistance to thyroid hormones problem, or a pituitary problem that does not show up on blood tests at all. Related to this is the fact that nine out of ten hypothyroid sufferers are actually autoimmune, which isn’t often tested for in the conventional medical model because it does not change the standard of care.

A second problem that is deeply misunderstood has to do with iodine supplementation. Nearly every single natural solution for thyroid includes a remedy based on iodine deficiency. Not only is this faulty science, but it is downright dangerous for the 90 percent of autoimmune thyroid patients to be supplementing this way. The unfortunate reality is that iodine is a cheap, commercially available ingredient used in almost every nutritional product targeted toward thyroid sufferers. The usage of iodine as a natural substitute for hormones is as altogether antiquated as the replacement model itself!

We live in a toxic world where the ability to maintain healthy thyroid function is crucial. Most doctors aren’t trained to think about the underlying causes of disease, such as toxic buildup, microbes, poor fuel delivery and nutrition, the ability to detoxify and eliminate wastes and manage blood sugar or restore health. From a functional medicine perspective, a good way to understand low thyroid function is to view it as a downstream problem, part of a whole health approach. Ruling out autoimmunity is step one, followed by a complete workup to assess hormone and nutrient status, gut barrier integrity, detoxification and waste elimination capabilities, liver function, infection, brain fitness, and so on.

Find out what you need to know about your thyroid hormone or health disorder diagnosis today, and get health news updates via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and The Wellness Essentials newsletter.

If you’d like to leave a question for me to answer in a future blog, you can do that via social media or email.

For more information about my clinic in Oradell, NJ, including Functional Medicine, Neurology & Nutrition, and The Grassroots Medicine Initiative, please call (201) 261-5430.

Peripheral Neuropathy Caused by Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy drugs spread through the whole body, and certain types can damage different nerves. Symptoms tend to start farthest away from the head, and in most cases, people will notice chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) symptoms in the feet, then later in the hands; symptoms will then travel upward (or inward) to the ankles and the legs, or move up from the fingers to the hands and arms. CIPN sufferers tend to also report extreme fatigue and depression as the mitochondria (the tiny factories in each of our cells that turn the food we eat and the oxygen we breathe into energy) throughout the body and neurons in the brain die.

Certain chemotherapy drugs are more often linked to CIPN. These include:

  • platinum drugs like cisplatin, carboplatin, and oxaliplatin
  • taxanes including paclitaxel, docetaxel, and cabazitaxel
  • epothilones, such as ixabepilone
  • plant alkaloids, such as vinblastine, vincristine, vinorelbine, and etopside
  • thalidomide, lenalidomide, and pomalidomide
  • bortezomib and carfilzomib
  • eribulin

There are numerous additional factors including your age, the numbers of additional prescription drugs you are taking, other cancer treatments like surgery or radiation, infections in the nerves, an underlying history of autoimmunity, diabetes, poor circulation, and so on, that can contribute to or cause these symptoms.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology issued new guidelines on the prevention and management of CIPN on April 14, 2014. Unfortunately, although the group was convened to discuss this particularly important adverse side effect, the expert consensus was that no approach exists that can be recommended for prevention. In other words, peripheral neuropathy is recognized as a potentially serious, long lasting, and even permanent disability, affecting everyday activities of daily living from buttoning your shirt to driving your car to pressure sensitivity from even light touch and so on. The side effect is seen as a serious but unavoidable compromise, yet alternative measures are not discussed.

Interestingly, the American Society of Clinical Oncology did make one strong recommendation against the use of one supplement, acetyl-L-carnitine, in its new guidelines for managing CIPN. A phase 3 study showed that patients (taking oral chemotherapy) who took that supplement actually fared worse than patients in the placebo group. They did not, however, discuss a 2008 investigation into the use of alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) as a neuroprotective agent. Preliminary studies indicate that ALA rescues the mitochondrial toxicity and induces the expression of frataxin, an essential mitochondrial protein with anti-oxidant properties. These findings suggest that halting oxidative stress might reduce the risk of developing peripheral nerve toxicity in patients undergoing chemotherapy and encourage further confirmatory clinical trials.

It is important for patients to be aware that they should let their physicians know as soon as they start to experience numbness, tingling, or pain. At the very least, there may be other cancer treatment options; at most, methods for reversing mitochondrial decay. Stress, sedentary lifestyles, free-radical damage, and exposure to infections, allergens, and toxins all cause our energy-generation network to falter.

Find out what you need to know about your thyroid hormone or health disorder diagnosis today, and get health news updates via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and The Wellness Essentials newsletter.

If you’d like to leave a question for me to answer in a future blog, you can do that via social media or email.

For more information about my clinic in Oradell, NJ, including Functional Medicine, Neurology & Nutrition, and The Grassroots Medicine Initiative, please call (201) 261-5430.

3 Steps to Finding Dr. Right

Your doctor sees a lot of patients every day. You need his or her help; you want to stand out and get the care you so desperately need. What do you do?

1. Maximize Your Time Together

It’s your first appointment. You want to make a great impression and be sure the doctor is committed to your case. Do this by calling to receive your paperwork so that you can complete it ahead of time. Gather any additional records, including blood tests, hormone analyses, radiology reports, and so on, and send those in too. This is what we do in our practice and it makes a difference.

By pulling together your records and returning these a day or two ahead of schedule, you allow the doctor time to review and prepare his notes. He will get to know you inside and out. He will be able to make an initial assessment based on years of experience and clinical expertise. Being prepared means that he will know immediately where to look for clues.

2. Tell Your Side of the Story

As you sit down to write your narrative, begin with a simple exercise: List everything leading to what brought you here today. List your medical appointments, surgeries and hospitalizations, and when you developed your most pressing symptoms.

The doctor wants to get to know the details of your life. He wants to know what you’ve tried that did not work for you, and perhaps what did. He wants to know what medications you are taking and if you are experiencing side effects.

As you think about your timeline, you want to layer in any emotional blocks or deep personal wounds that could be detrimental to your health. Sometimes it’s no accident that your first trip to the doctor ten years ago came just after your second child left home, and that in addition to the empty nest, you started to develop sleepless nights.

3. Prepare Yourself for What’s Next

You have a list of pressing questions that start with “I take black cohosh, is that okay? ” and end with “Do you think I’m crazy? My other doctor said I was nuts.” Rest assured the doctor is going to emphatically say “No!” to that last question.

The distance between these two questions is what’s important. It helps to write down your talking points because even though the doctor’s main goal is to listen, really listen to what you have to say, his mind is working immediately to piece everything together. There is a framework, a clinical picture in his mind that filters out the nonessential from the truly significant.

That’s your goal, right? To figure out what’s really going on. So go ahead and dazzle the doctor with all your thoughts on the problem, everything you’ve tried, all the research you’ve put into this, all the years of pain and anguish you’ve suffered. Just start at the beginning and then move on to the next question. There’s a lot of material to cover.

Find out what you need to know about your thyroid hormone or health disorder diagnosis today, and get health news updates via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and The Wellness Essentials newsletter.

If you’d like to leave a question for me to answer in a future blog, you can do that via social media or email.

For more information about my clinic in Oradell, NJ, including Functional Medicine, Neurology & Nutrition, and The Grassroots Medicine Initiative, please call (201) 261-5430.

Toxic Metals in Vital Organs and the Bloodstream

One of the fad medical concepts of recent years is called “chelation” (KEY-lay-shun) therapy, which is a treatment that is designed for heavy metal poisoning. Medicines and nutritional compounds called chelators are used to bind to the metals in the bloodstream; this metal-chelator compound is then eliminated in the urine. An example of an intravenous (IV) metal chelator is called edatate calcium disodium. A nutritional compound would be dimercaptosuccinic acid, or DMSA. Both are examples of products designed for use in extreme and rare cases to rapidly remove metals and prevent further damage from exposure.

Chelation therapy has serious side effects. It is approved for limited use in documented cases of heavy metal poisoning when carried out under medical supervision with prescription drugs. In 2007, the National Center for Health Statistics cited statistics that many more people (111,000 adults, along with 72,000 children) reported having used chelation therapy than would be likely for the limited number of approved indications. There are numerous side effects, along with more serious risks that include kidney failure, brain damage, coma, and death. What this tells us is that patients are concerned about the effect of their toxic load on their health and are willing to risk serious complications for better health.

Purported uses include:

  • treating damaged arteries (atherosclerosis) by removing calcium from arterial plaques
  • treating intermittent, painful leg cramps due to arteriosclerosis (claudication)
  • curing or improving symptoms of autism
  • preventing or curing neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease
  • treating diabetes and heart disease

The problem with this is that most if not all of these patients already have compromised immune systems and underlying, often untreated, inflammatory conditions. Their health is poor to begin with and in the process of chelating, their bodies are flooded with free-floating, unbound metals.

It’s important to note that everyone has toxic metals in their bodies. All children are born with some toxic burden as metals pass from mother to child. After birth, vaccine administration is a source of mercury and aluminum exposure, along with food, drinking water, pharmaceutical drugs of many kinds, over-the-counter drugs, cosmetics, and other environmental sources that accumulate over a lifetime. These include, but are not limited to, air pollution, dental amalgams and other dental materials, as well as contact with toxic metals at home and at work.

In healing, a good practitioner will assume that everyone has toxic metals. Indicators would include a history of fungal infection such as Candida, chronic bacterial or viral infection, autoimmune disease and damage to major organs such as the heart, the gut, and the thyroid, hormone imbalances, and diseases of the joints, bones, nerves, and so on. So toxic metals are not the most important assessment. It is far more important to figure out a person’s energy level, exact oxidation rate, ability to eliminate toxic metals, ability to digest and assimilate nutrients and a few other parameters of health.

Find out what you need to know about your thyroid hormone or health disorder diagnosis today, and get health news updates via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and The Wellness Essentials newsletter.

If you’d like to leave a question for me to answer in a future blog, you can do that via social media or email.

For more information about my clinic in Oradell, NJ, including Functional Medicine, Neurology & Nutrition, and The Grassroots Medicine Initiative, please call (201) 261-5430.

The 3 Most Anguishing Mistakes Patients Make

A doctor can try his hardest to help you, but if you do even one of these things it can destroy your chances of getting better. Whether these are emotional blocks that no one has brought to your attention before or they are just bad habits that you’ve yet to acknowledge, chances are that they interfere with how you proceed. The next time you don’t feel satisfied with your healthcare experience, try reconciling these things so that better communication and healing can finally take place.

Mistake No. 1 – Focusing on Lab Tests Instead of Results

Back in school and while growing into adulthood, we all learn from the elders around us that getting high marks on a test score or an assignment is a good thing. Everyone likes praise and no one more so than the good student inside us that wants to be perfect.

What happens when your doctor circles that elevated cholesterol marker on your blood test and tells you it’s time to think about a prescription? You feel small. Instead of asking questions that would get to the root of why your body is failing, you fall silent.

For perspective, simply remember that a blood test, or any test, is a snapshot of a particular moment in time. It’s neither a mark of failure nor a measurement of your healing potential.

Mistake No. 2 – Fighting Change Instead of Embracing It

A lot of us try to become the best that we can throughout life and most of us learn to play by the rules. We eat the perfect breakfast, exercise or practice a spiritual belief most days, and get a good night’s sleep. Still, something doesn’t feel right and plainly isn’t working the way it should.

The reason for this is that the warning signs your body is sending are missed because habit and routine have set in. What you learned as the “rules” of good health have changed. Not only that, but your own physical, mental, and emotional needs have too. You’re forced to adapt, and it can be hard.

Practice slowing down a little and reconnecting with what’s really happening inside you. Learn to listen, really listen to your inner voice because even though it seems like it, you didn’t just wake up one day with this problem. It festered over time.

Mistake No. 3 – Hoping That Tomorrow It All Goes Away

The hardest thing to imagine is having your health become a burden, because it means that you will have to rely on others for help. To think that this could happen is painful so you’d rather just sleep it off and hope that tomorrow it gets better.

The consequence of doing nothing and hoping for a better day is that, well, nothing happens. Instead of mustering your resources while you have them, your condition worsens. Sometimes panic sets in, or a feeling of dread that might have been alleviated sooner if only you had taken action.

To avoid this isolation, reach out to a trusted advisor. Someone in the community who gains your respect by getting to know you and what you’re capable of. Only then can you take the first step on your healing path to wellness.

Find out what you need to know about your thyroid hormone or health disorder diagnosis today, and get health news updates via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and The Wellness Essentials newsletter.

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For more information about my clinic in Oradell, NJ, including Functional Medicine, Neurology & Nutrition, and The Grassroots Medicine Initiative, please call (201) 261-5430.