Monday, October 12, 2015

For many months now I have been getting a lot of benefit out of yawning for stress relief. It's such a simple practice--just 10 (or more) yawns in a row--reduces stressful feelings and replaces them with a sense of calm, peace, and connection. Like so many bright ideas, this came my way from a patient, who recommended the book How God Changes Your Brain by Andrew B. Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman. Never mind that the book's title is a bit misleading. They have a list of the eight or ten best things to do for your brain. I was already doing all but one of them, and that was yawning.

Since reading the book I have shared this tidbit with many patients, and they, too, report success. It's so simple to do. You can do it almost anywhere.  No special equipment or training is required. If you try it, let me know how it goes for you.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Magnesium Plus Malic Acid: One-Two Punch for Pain & Fatigue

A combination of magnesium and malic acid tops the list of recommendations for easing pain and fatigue, especially for those with fibromyalgia or ME/CFS.

Magnesium (Mg) is one of the most important nutrients required by our bodies. It is necessary for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body and is essential to human life. A few of magnesium's functions include:

•    Maintaining normal muscle and nerve function.
•    Keeping heart rhythm steady.
•    Supporting a healthy immune system.
•    Keeping bones strong.
•    Regulating blood sugar levels.
•    Promoting normal blood pressure.
• Supporting energy metabolism and protein synthesis.(1)

Since our bodies don't produce this essential nutrient, it is critical that we replenish our supply of magnesium daily through diet and/or supplementation.

According to a USDA survey, 75% to 85% of American adults consume less than the recommended daily amount of magnesium.(2)

Why We're Not Getting Enough Magnesium

One reason Americans tend to run low on magnesium is that we eat a lot of processed foods, which usually contain very little magnesium. Magnesium is mostly found in green vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, some legumes, and – you're going to love this – chocolate.

But wait - that's not the whole story.  What we gain by eating those magnesium-rich foods can be depleted by eating breads and pastas made from bleached and refined flour. Natural diuretics like coffee, tea and alcohol are also magnesium depleters.

A poor diet is not the only culprit, though. Another big reason so many people have a magnesium deficiency is that several commonly prescribed drugs strip our bodies of magnesium. These include oral contraceptives, estrogens, diuretics, corticosteroids, some diabetes drugs, and a number of antibiotics.

A magnesium deficiency can be related to a surprising number of illnesses including fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, migraines, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease and PMS. 

It can be difficult to detect a magnesium deficiency.

Most nutritional deficiencies can be revealed through a blood test. But because adequate serum levels of magnesium are essential for the heart to function properly, the body works overtime to maintain its blood serum Mg levels - at the expense of our cells and bones. So, even if a blood test shows normal serum magnesium levels, your cells, bones, and muscles may be severely deficient.

Fibromyalgia and Magnesium Deficiency
Researchers have found that people with fibromyalgia are commonly deficient in magnesium. Therefore, it's not surprising that the symptoms of a magnesium deficiency are quite similar to many of the symptoms common to FM:

•    Insomnia
•    Fatigue
•    Irritability
•    Headaches
•    Muscle spasms and cramps
•    Poor memory
•    Confusion
•    Nervousness
•    Anxiety
•    Depression

Several of magnesium's functions are directly related to FM symptoms:

Magnesium is involved in the production of serotonin.  Serotonin is a neurotransmitter involved in regulating sleep cycles, pain perception, mood and the immune system. People with fibromyalgia typically have low serotonin levels, which can be related to the sleep disturbances, increased pain and mood problems they often experience. 

A magnesium deficiency can cause an increase of substance P.  Substance P is a neurotransmitter that serves as a pain messenger. People with fibromyalgia usually have exceptionally high levels of substance P, which can contribute to their hypersensitivity to pain.

Magnesium activates adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Energy is supplied to our bodies by the mitochondria in the form of ATP.  Researchers have found evidence of mitochondrial dysfunction in fibromyalgia patients, which would result in the severe fatigue reported by most.(3)

Fibromyalgia and Malic Acid Deficiency

Researchers have found that people with fibromyalgia have decreased levels of oxygen in their muscles, also known as muscle hypoxia. Biopsies of those muscles have shown muscle tissue breakdown, mitochondrial damage, and low levels of ATP, which helps explain the widespread muscle pain characteristic of FM.

Evidence suggests that malic acid can help ease pain caused by muscle and tissue hypoxia. It allows the body to make ATP - and thereby energy - more efficiently, even under low oxygen or hypoxic conditions. Malic acid also enhances cellular stamina and endurance. (Malic acid is derived from food sources such as tart apples and is used/synthesized in the mitochondria as part of the ATP-producing citric acid or 'Krebs' cycle.)

As a team, malic acid and magnesium work together especially well to fight aluminum toxicity, which is thought to play a role in fibromyalgia. Malic acid acts as a potent aluminum detoxifier, while magnesium prevents future aluminum build-up.

Magnesium and Malic Acid Combo Reduces FM Symptoms

In a 1992 study, 15 fibromyalgia patients were given 300-600 mg of magnesium and 1200-2400 mg of malic acid for periods of four and eight weeks.  Participants reported reductions in pain across a tender point index. Notably, six of the patients experienced improvement in 48 hours.(4)

Magnesium and malic acid are essential nutrients, yet most people are deficient in them. Their pain relieving, energy producing and mood stabilizing qualities can be particularly beneficial for people with fibromyalgia and ME/CFS.

1.  Wester PO. Magnesium. Am J Clin Nutr. 1987 May; 45(5Suppl): 1305-12.  [There is a link to a full-text pdf on this abstract.]
2.  Morgan KJ, et al. Magnesium and calcium dietary intakes of the U.S. population. J Am Coll Nutr. 1985;4(2):195-206.
3.  Cordero MD, et al. Mitochondrial dysfunction and mitophagy activation in blood mononuclear cells of fibromyalgia patients: Implications in the pathogenesis of the disease. Arthritis Res Ther. 2010;12(1):R17. Epub 2010 Jan 28.
4.  Abraham GE, Glechas ID. "Management of fibromyalgia: A rationale for the use of magnesium and malic acid." Journal of Nutritional Medicine,1992;3:49-59.

From an article by Jim Miller, executive director of New Health Vitamins, a brand we carry in our office.  Please contact our office for ordering information.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Confidently Create and Maintain Your Own Healthy Eating Program

The holidays are coming and so is the temptation to eat foods we love but know aren't necessarily good for us to eat. Are you dreading the challenge of eating healthily throughout the holiday season? Come learn some new ways to think about and react to these potentially difficult situations.

Our eight-week program of weekly classes/support group with NLP practitioner Jacqui Alpert, MA-ABS, will update you with the latest dietary information, help you create new, beneficial habits, effectively deal with the logistical and social challenges of maintaining your eating program, and help you understand and change your response to the events that trigger emotional eating.

The group meets weekly starting Thursday, October 17th at 6:30pm, skipping November 28th (Thanksgiving) at Ki Chiropractic's new office.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Recent news concerning Omega 3 and prostate cancer...

Until we see the original article, here are some thoughts from James, Chestnut, DC, wellness expert:

"Recently the public media has been widely distributing a news story relating to the alleged link between high blood levels of Omega-3 and the risk of prostate cancer.  This story seems to be getting some traction and we are aware that some of you are facing questions in your clinical practices.  Our first response is to remind you that we base all of our decisions on the BODY of EVIDENCE related to any issue; not on singular studies.  So there is no need to panic.  In fact this is a great opportunity to be the health LEADER that your community needs and wants. 
Remember to ask the right questions.  Here are some that we are already asking:
  1. Was this “study” designed as an interventional study to determine cause and effect; or is it merely an observational study that demonstrates correlation?  Dr. Chestnut’s favorite example of correlation is that drowning victims have often consumed ice cream prior to drowning.  Does this mean eating ice cream causes drowning, or increases the risk of drowning?  Of course not.  It merely means that people often eat ice cream at the beach.  We may find the same factors at play here, such as:
  2. Were the study subjects also taking multi-vitamins? The people most likely to adhere to taking a daily fish-oil supplement are also the ones most likely to be taking a daily multi-vitamin. Unless they have been trained by you, these people will not know that almost all multi-vitamins on the market contain SYNTHETIC vitamins, which have been demonstrated to increase the risk of cancer. 
  3. Does the study indicate the SOURCE of the Omega-3s?  The media says it’s “marine source” but they don’t indicate if it’s actual fish consumption or if it’s from supplements.  The reason we recommend supplementing with a product derived from small fish and tested by a third-party for purity is that our oceans are becoming increasingly polluted, and large fish such as salmon and tuna contain high levels of toxins such as mercury and PCBs – known carcinogens.
  4. Ask yourself if you have ever heard of high levels of prostate cancer (or any other cancer for that matter) in populations that lived naturally and consumed very high levels of Omega-3s (such as North American Inuit or Australian Aboriginals)."

Friday, July 12, 2013

And good news for people suffering from chronic rhinosinusities...

Here's another study about low level laser therapy, this time studying the effects on chronic rhinosinusitis, with positive results lasting for an average of 5 months:

Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is a common inflammatory disease of the nose and paranasal sinuses that has a significant impact on patients' quality of life. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of LLLT in patients with CRS. Fifteen adult patients with CRS participated in this pilot pretest-posttest clinical study...

Patients were asked to score their symptoms in accordance with a four-point scale (0-3), and a total symptom score for each patient was calculated. Percentage improvement of TSS was considered as the primary outcome measure. TSS was calculated at baseline, at 2 weeks, and at 4 weeks. The TSS was improved significantly at 2 weeks (39%) and at 4 weeks (46.34%). The therapeutic effect was sustained for a mean of 5 months. [Emphasis added.] This pilot study indicates that LLLT applied for 4 weeks improves symptoms in patients with CRS.

Physiother Theory Pract. 2013 Mar 22 (Epub ahead of print)

Who do you know... who has muscles?

A  review of the literature regarding low level laser therapy and muscle function has been published* with the following conclusion:

"The use of low level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) has recently expanded to cover areas of medicine that were not previously thought of as the usual applications such as wound healing and inflammatory orthopedic conditions. One of these novel application areas is LLLT for muscle fatigue and muscle injury. Since it is becoming agreed that mitochondria are the principal photoacceptors present inside cells, and it is known that muscle cells are exceptionally rich in mitochondria, this suggests that LLLT should be highly beneficial in muscle injuries. The ability of LLLT to stimulate stem cells and progenitor cells means that muscle satellite cells may respond well to LLLT and help muscle repair. Furthermore the ability of LLLT to reduce inflammation and lessen oxidative stress is also beneficial in cases of muscle fatigue and injury. This review covers the literature relating to LLLT and muscles in both preclinical animal experiments and human clinical studies. Athletes, people with injured muscles, and patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy may all benefit." [Emphasis added.]

*Photonics Lasers Med. 2012 Nov 1; 1(4):267-286

Monday, May 20, 2013

Congratulations to Jon Silliman, L.Ac.!!!

Many of you have been following along with Jon's lengthy and intensive training, and so I'm sure you will be happy to learn that Jon is now a licensed acupuncturist!

Jon practices Classical Five Element Acupuncture, which is a synthesis of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean techniques.  It incorporates heat therapy (including low-level laser therapy in his case) and East Asian bodywork such as shiatsu and tui na, as well as needling.

As a Five Element Acupuncture practitioner, he is equally concerned with the body, mind, and emotions of his patients. He believes that true health is possible only when the whole of a person's being is addressed and nurtured.

Jon's office hours are on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. For additional information or to schedule an appointment, you may call Jon directly at 206.326.8559.  Just so know, I've already booked the 1:00 pm appointment on Wednesday for myself!