Itis for Inflammation – Bromelain

We are pleased to introduce the addition of a new product, itis-for inflammation.  Comprised of bromelain, boswelia serrata, cats claw, devils claw, feverfew tanacetum, tumeric (curcumin), and tart cherry fruit, itis is formulated to relieve the inflammation specific to Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, arthritis, and inflammatory conditions of the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis (MS).  Over the next few weeks, we will take a closer look at each of these ingredients in turn, beginning with bromelain.

Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme that inhibits the migration of white blood cells to sites of injury or infection, and removes the chemical receptor necessary for inflammation to occur.  In a study of 77 individuals with knee pain, daily doses of 200-400mg effectively reduced pain and increased reported perceptions of well-being.  In addition, Bromelain acts as an immunomodulator against tumor cells, via the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines–chemical signalers–such as tumor necrosis factor-a (TNF-alpha) and interleukin II.

In the next post, we will examine boswellia serrata’s ability to reduce painful swelling and increase the range of motion in patients with inflammatory conditions.

What is Ozone Therapy? Q & A

In Principles and Applications of Ozone Therapy (2011), Dr. Frank Shallenberger tells of his introduction to ozone therapy via the work of his predecessor, Dr. Charles Farr. In the 1980s, Dr. Farr began treating patients with Auto Immune Disease Syndrome (AIDS)—caused by the accumulation of molecules called oxidants—by injecting hydrogen peroxide, a powerful oxidant, directly into their veins. Dr. Farr’s success at alleviating symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, brain fog, joint and muscle pain, and muscle weakness suggested that “the reason people get sick and diseased as they get older might have something to do with how they utilize and process oxygen” (Shallenberger, 2011).

The following Q & A is intended provide an introduction to ozone, and the various ozone therapies our clinic provides:

Q: What is ozone?

A: Consisting of three oxygen (O2) atoms that share a common electron, ozone (O3) is a naturally occurring molecule—called an oxidant—in the earth’s atmosphere.

Q: What is ozone therapy?

A: Working in a manner similar to vaccines that promote the production of viral antibodies, ozone therapy stimulates the formation of oxidants in the blood, essentially training the body to utilize them efficiently.

Q: How is ozone administered?

A: There are three administration techniques for ozone therapy. The first, called an Ozone Sauna, involves the patient entering a hyperbaric chamber into which heated ozone is pumped. The heat causes the patient to perspire, while the ozone promotes the formation of oxidants in the blood that the body must then dispose of. When someone says they are “sweating it out,” this is the technique to which they are referring.

The second option, called minor-Auto-Hemo-therapy (mAH), involves the blood being drawn out of the body, mixed with ozone, and then injected directly into the treatment site, while the third option administers blood-ozone intravenously, and is referred to as Major-Auto-Hemo-therapy (MAH).

Q: What conditions can ozone therapy treat?

A: Here at Restorative Health Clinic, we offer ozone therapy for patients with Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and the chronic infections typically related to such illnesses. Essentially, any condition that impairs the body’s natural immunity can be treated with ozone, as it stimulates auto-immune defense mechanisms, necessary for tissue and cellular repair.

Q: How do I know if ozone therapy is right for me?

A: Consult your physician regarding the potential benefits and appropriate administration method for your particular condition. Dr. Vosloo and Dr. Hatlestad look forward to providing their guidance to anyone looking to improve their health and vitality.

If you would like to schedule an appointment, please give us a call at 503.747.2021.

Grapes For Your Heart: It’s all about the glutathione.

Grapes For Your Heart: It’s all about the glutathione.

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Grapes are already renowned for their abundance of health enhancing polyphenals, vitamins & minerals. They are an antioxidant superfood, known to support the cardiovascular system and provide important nutrients for all tissues of the body. A recent study released by the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry has taken our understanding of grapes & heart failure prevention further: it’s all about the glutathione.

In patients with heart disease caused by chronic hypertension (high blood pressure), the glutathione enhancing effects of grapes help to reduce heart failure.

Glutathione is the most important antioxidant to your heart, and the most abundant. According to the study, glutathione deficiency is statistically linked to a greater occurrence of heart failure in both human & animals. The ability for grapes to reduce heart failure in patients with hypertension is now believed to be due to the increase in glutathione production. Grapes “turn on antioxidant defense pathways” that lead to higher blood levels of this vital antioxidant.

 

Grapes Aren’t the Only Way to Enhance Glutathione
Three amino acids are necessary for your body to produce glutathione: L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid & L-glycine. While glutamic acid and glycine are abundant in the body, cysteine is harder to find and is key in supporting glutathione production. Selenium, too, is necessary for activation of the antioxidant. Such nutrients can be supplemented or found naturally in food:

Example Sources of L-cysteine:
NAC (N-acetyl-cysteine)
Dairy products
Poultry & eggs
Onions & garlic

Example Sources of selenium:
Brazil nuts
Shellfish
Liver
Sunflower seeds

Glutathione supplementation is also available in the form of IV’s, subcutaneous injections and oral forms.


Glutathione Protects More Than Just Your Heart
Glutathione is in nearly every cell of your body. It plays an invaluable role in immune function, reduction of the oxidative effects related to everyday metabolic processes, cleansing the blood through neutralization of toxins for disposal in bile, heavy metal detoxification, DNA repair and more.

To best support your body’s glutathione protection and overall health, enjoy a diet rich in fresh vegetables and fruits (don’t forget your grapes!), nuts, seeds & lean meat. Speak with your healthcare provider to assess your need for further glutathione support.

 

Dr. Kaley Bourgeois

 

 

Sources:
University of Michigan Health System (2013, May 2). Mechanism for how grapes reduce heart failure associated with hypertension identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 2, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2013/05/130502120259.htm

Understanding IUD’s

Understanding IUD’s

According to a 2012 study which sought to reveal how American woman view intrauterine devices for birth control, the majority of those surveyed had inaccurate information about the efficacy and health concerns associated with IUD’s. Areas of misinformation included:

Efficacy: Most women did not know that IUD’s are more effective than the pill
STD’s: Nearly half of the women did not know that IUD’s do not increase STD risk
Cost: Most women did not know IUD’s are more cost effective over time than the pill

In other developed countries, especially throughout Europe, IUD’s are a leading form of birth control. For comparison’s sake, consider the following: IUD’s were used by only 2% of U.S. women on contraception in 2002, whereas countries such as Norway reported usage rates of greater than 20%.

I cannot speak to why IUD’s lack popularity among American women, but I do believe this lack of popularity, in part, explains why so many of us have incorrect information. With less popularity comes less use, and therefore less exposure to information (both professionally and through the experience of friends and family). IUD use appears to be on the rise in the U.S., but many woman are still hesitant to consider this form of birth control due to a lack of understanding. IUD’s are not ideal for everyone, and when appropriate, I advise patients to look elsewhere for contraception. However, in many cases IUD’s are a reasonable and safe alternative to systemic hormonal options, such as oral contraceptive pills and the Depo-Provera shot.

Below is the basic information I share with my patients when they are considering an IUD. If knowledge is indeed power (and I believe it is), I hope that the following basics of IUD contraception empower you to select your best form of birth control.

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IUD’s are ideal for women seeking long-term, reversible birth control, and especially those in monogamous relationships with least exposure to STD’s.

There are 3 types of IUD’s available in the U.S.:
1. Paraguard — Copper, hormone-free, lasts approximately 10 years
2. Mirena — Localized progestin, lasts approximately 5 years
3. Skyla — Localized progestin, lasts approximately 3 years (recently FDA approved)

Paraguard is the better choice for hormone-sensitive women. However, it does increase bleeding and cramping and should not be the first choice for those with irregular, heavy, or painful cycles.

Mirena is the better choice for women with heavy, painful periods. The localized hormone decreases bleeding and calms the smooth muscle of the uterus. For some women, there may be minor systemic symptoms from the progestin, including nausea, breast tenderness and headaches.

Skyla is a recently FDA-approved IUD that (like the Mirena) supplies localized progestin, but in a smaller dose. Whereas the Mirena contains 52mg of Levonorgestrel at time of insertion, Skyla contains 13.5mg. Skyla may be a more appropriate choice for women with heavy, painful menses who are more hormone sensitive, and also for those hoping to conceive in the next five years.

For women hoping to conceive in the near-future:
1. I do not recommend an IUD unless you plan to wait at least 2 years before trying to conceive.
2. This recommendation is based on cost and inconvenience of discomfort. IUD’s cost between $500-$1,000 and the insertion process can be painful, as can removal. In some cases, the IUD will be expelled by the uterus and insertion must be repeated.

Some advantages to consider:
1. Compliance is automatic – no need to remember your pill or schedule an injection
2. IUD’s will not suppress your body’s hormonal system (though sensitive women may feel some symptoms of hormonal imbalance when using the Mirena)
3. Most woman can conceive immediately after removal
4. Decreased pain & bleeding with the Mirena

Some disadvantages to consider:
1. Discomfort during insertion (mild pelvic & back pain should resolve after the first few days)
2. Irregular menstrual cycles for up to 6 months
3. Increased pain & bleeding with the Paraguard
4. IUD’s do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases

Though an IUD does not increase risk of STD’s (a common misperception according to the study mentioned above), there are rare but significant health risks that every woman should understand before selecting this form of birth control:

PID – Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
IUD’s do not increase the risk of acquiring STD’s, but they do increase the risk of developing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease if you do become infected. PID is an infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes that lead to infertility and may even become life-threatening if untreated. I recommend an alternative form of birth control for women with a history of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, or those at increased risk for STD’s such as Chlamydia. Remember, IUD’s do not protect against STD’s. Combine with a barrier device such as a condom to prevent spread of infection.
Expulsion

The uterus will sometimes partially or fully expel the IUD via smooth muscle contractions. This is most likely to happen shortly after insertion, but it can occur at any time, causing pain and bleeding. The old IUD must be removed and a new one inserted.
“Lost” IUD
Less commonly, an IUD will slip out of place within the uterus and day surgery may be required to remove the contraceptive. IUD position and need for surgical intervention can be assessed with pelvic ultrasound.
Ectopic Pregnancy
A very small percentage of women may become pregnant while using an IUD. For this group, there is an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy. Similar issues of pregnancy, miscarriage and increased risk for ectopic pregnancy are present with other forms of contraception, as well.

 

Remember, these are only the basics. Make an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss your specific questions and needs.

 

Dr. Kaley Bourgeois

 

 

Sources:

Callegari, LisaS. “Perceptions of intrauterine contraception among women seeking primary care.” Contraception. (2012): n. page. Print. <http://www.contraceptionjournal.org/article/S0010-7824(13)00048-6/abstract>.

FAQ: Contraception.” . The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Web. 25 Feb 2013. <http://www.acog.org/~/media/For Patients/faq014.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130225T1735419185>.

Sonfield, Adam. “Popularity Disparity: Attitudes About the IUD in Europe and the United States.” Guttmacher Policy Review. 10.4 (2007): n. page. Print. <http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/10/4/gpr100419.html>.

In Defense of Coffee

In Defense of Coffee

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A beloved beverage throughout the USA and the world at large, coffee is often blamed for various health woes. While coffee is not appropriate for everyone, and there is such a thing as “too much” for even the most tolerant of sippers, research has shown a vast array of health benefits.

The abundant phytochemicals found in coffee beans are responsible for the various benefits, including potential prevention of diseases such as Diabetes mellitus type II, Alzheimer’s disease and even cancer. Of course, we cannot overlook the well-loved stimulant effect of coffee that reliably provides us with increased stamina during exercise, and temporarily improves our cognitive function. Moreover, coffee simply makes mornings tastier.

Following is a brief overview discussing a few of the benefits to coffee consumption. These are presented in defense of coffee and as a thank you to its many active phytochemicals, including caffeine, caffeic acid, hydroxyhydroquine, chlorogenic acid, cafestol and kahweol.

 

Coffee consumption has been linked with a lower risk for Diabetes Type II.
The leading theory is that active compounds from the roasted coffee bean, including caffeine and caffeic acid, help to decrease the low-level inflammation associated with diabetes mellitus through anti-oxidant action. Coffee may not directly alter how your body metabolizes blood sugar throughout the day, but it does decrease your risk by lowering inflammation!

Coffee may increase total cholesterol, but it improves the LDL to HDL ratio.
A 2010 study found that regular coffee consumption increased total cholesterol, but much of this rise in blood lipids was due to an increase in the “good” cholesterol, HDL. The LDL (“bad” cholesterol) to HDL ratio actually improved. This suggests that coffee intake may offer cardiovascular protection in those with low to normal total cholesterol, and low HDL. Cafestol and kahweol, the coffee compounds believed to cause these effects, are highest in unfiltered coffee.

Six cups a days may prevent colorectal cancer.
A study published 2012 suggested that 4 daily cups of coffee can decrease your risk of developing colorectal cancer by 15%, while 6 daily cups may decrease your risk by as much as 40%. The study looked at nearly 500,000 middle-aged Americans, comparing their reported coffee intake to cancer outcomes over a 10 year period. Sadly, 3 cups or less per day did not significantly decrease risks of colorectal cancer.

Coffee can lift your mood, thanks to caffeine and possibly chlorogenic acid.
Caffeine is already established as a reliable, short term enhancer for cognitive function and mood. Recent findings suggest that chlorogenic acid, a component found in both regular and decaf coffee, may be involved in the mood-lifting effects of coffee. Caffeine or no caffeine, coffee may brighten your day.

 

Stamina, mood enhancement, and cholesterol aside, there are individuals who should limit or avoid coffee. This includes:
1. Individuals with hypertension, especially uncontrolled hypertension
2. Women who are pregnant, suffering from infertility, or symptoms of menopause
3. Individuals with high cholesterol
4. Children and adolescents
5. Individuals with known coffee allergy or food sensitivity

For those limiting their intake, most studies suggest health-altering side effects (both negative and positive) are not experienced with 3 or fewer cups of caffeinated coffee per day.

Dr. Kaley Bourgeois

 

 

References:
1. Butts, MS, et al. “Coffee and its consumption: benefits and risks.” Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 51.4 (2011): 363-73. Print.
2. Cropley, V. “Does coffee enriched with chlorogenic acids improve mood and cognition after acute administration in healthy elderly? A pilot study.” Psychopharmacology (Berl). 219.3 (2012): 737-49. Print.
3. Higdon, JF, et al. “Coffee and health: a review of recent human research.” Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 46.2 (2006): 101-23. Print.
4. Johnson-Kozlow, M, et al. “Coffee consumption and cognitive function among older adults.” Am J Epidemiol. 156.9 (2002): 842-50. Print.
5. Kempf, K, et al. “Effects of coffee consumption on subclinical inflammation and other risk factors for type 2 diabetes: a clinical trial.” Am J Clin Nutr. 91.4 (2009): 950-7. Print.
6. Sinha R, et al. Caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee and tea intakes and risk of colorectal cancer in a large prospective study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Published online June 13 2012

HPV At Any Age – Viral Infections & Reactivation in Women’s Health

With as many as 50% of young, sexually active women presenting with active Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), understanding the risk for cervical cancer due to persistent infection and the need for adequate screening is crucial. Cervical cancer can be prevented and mortality rates decreased so long as there is early detection and treatment.

It is well established that a higher number of lifetime sexual partners is associated with a greater risk for HPV infection, and therefore a greater risk for HPV-related lesions and cervical cancer. A recent study suggests that another factor, viral reactivation, may be involved in the increased risk for active HPV infection and cervical cancer later in life.

Though the rate of HPV infection in the USA tends to peak in the early 20’s and decline into older age, elsewhere in the world there is a secondary peak around menopause. The study, published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases in 2012, looked at HPV infection rates detected via routine screening in women 35-60 years of age. Of those infected, 77% had a lifetime history of 5 or more sexual partners, but nearly all of the participants reported zero new partners in the previous six months. This does not rule out new HPV exposure as the cause of infection, but it does suggest the possibility that active infections later in life may be due to reactivation of an earlier infection.

Other viruses are known to linger in the body at undetectable levels, only to resurface later and cause new illness. Two such viruses are varicella zoster and Epstein-Barr virus. Varicella zoster, the source of Chickenpox in childhood, can give rise to Shingles later in life. Epstein-Barr can repeatedly recur as Chronic EBV Infection and is even linked to certain cancers.

Might HPV also be lingering and reactivating? It is possible, and warrants further investigation. The current belief is that most young women’s bodies clear themselves of the virus within two years of infection. However, this is based on relatively short term studies that do not look beyond one or two negative screenings. Moreover, there are additional studies which show detection of type-specific HPV after many years of non-detection. It is not yet known whether this is due to re-infection or reactivation, but both must be considered.

Why are these new findings significant? Although HPV infection rates tend to decline with age in the USA, the secondary peak seen in some countries suggests that later infection (or reactivation) poses a very real health risk to middle-aged women world-wide. If the virus is reactivating, American women of the same age group are not immune, regardless of statistical averages. As with varicella zoster and EBV, the health of the individual plays a significant role in whether or not a virus can reactivate. For women with a history of HPV infection, and especially those with signs or symptoms of impaired immune system function, risk of HPV reactivation should be considered and discussed with a healthcare provider.

Below are the 2012 recommendations for HPV and cervical cancer screening, via the US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF):

 

Age/Other Factors                                       Recommendation

<21 years old                                                  No screening

21-29 years old                                              Screening pap smear every 3 years

30-65 years old, option 1                            Screening pap smear every 3 years*

30-65 years old, option 2                            Screening pap smear + HPV test every 5 years

>65 years old                                                 No screening if adequately screened before 65

Full hysterectomy                                        No screening unless there is a history of CIN2+

 

*At least one HPV test after 30 years old is advisable

Dr. Kaley Bourgeois

 

References:
Gravitt, Patti E., et al. “A Cohort Effect of the Sexual Revolution May Be Masking an Increase in Human Papillomavirus Detection at Menopause in the United States.” J Infect Dis.. 10.1093 (2012).
Infectious Diseases Society of America. “HPV in older women may be due to reactivation of virus, not new infection.” ScienceDaily, 13 Dec. 2012. Web. 19 Jan. 2013.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “New Cervical Cancer Screening Recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the American Cancer Society/American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology/American Society for Clinical Pathology.” 14 Mar. 2012. Web. 19 Jan. 2013.