Posts tagged ‘naturopathic medicine’

August 5, 2013

Fish oil and prostate cancer risk

Recently a study was published suggesting that intake of fish oil supplements could increased prostate cancer risk. The majority of my male patients take a fish oil supplement and so I have certainly been fielding a lot of questions on this subject. Below is a response published by Thorne Research, which is a nutritional supplement company. I just thought I’d share another perspective on this hotly debated subject.

Presently, I am recommending that any male who is taking fish oil should personally discuss the risk with his doctor. For most of my patients, I believe the clinical benefit from a high-quality fish oil supplement is too critical to consider eliminating because of one retrospective study that found a correlation.

Here are some thoughts in more “sciency” terms for those of you who like that!

As you may be aware, an article published in the July 2013 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests there is an association between elevated plasma omega-3 fatty acid levels and a heightened risk of prostate cancer.

This study must be interpreted with a significant degree of caution for a variety of reasons:

The data came from what is referred to as a retrospective, nested, case-control study. The data was extracted from another, much larger, previously conducted trial that was not originally intended to examine the relationship between omega-3 fatty acid levels and prostate cancer. In other words, the original s tudy was not designed to determine any of the conclusions reached in the analysis contained in the article.
The study’s results conflict with the results from other studies that do suggest that omega-3 fatty acids offer a protective benefit against prostate cancer; and these other studies were, in fact, designed to analyze that very outcome. (See link)http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3629172/
Identifying one particular physiologic marker in a group of individuals with a given condition – in this case, an elevated omega-3 level in men with prostate cancer – does not prove causation, especially when that marker can be influenced by diet or behavior and is only measured at a single point in time.
It is also hugely important to realize that the authors of this study did not assess any of the participants’ dietary intake of fatty fish or omega-3 nutritional supplements – the study’s conclusions are based wholly on the results of a single blood test.
The omega-3 index, which measures both EPA and DHA within red blood cells, is a much more accurate indicator of long-term omega-3 intake and tissue status than is the plasma omega-3 level, which is subject to significant day-to-day variability.
A number of confounding risk factors might have influenced the purported outcomes in the study, despite attempts by the investigators to account for them:
53 percent of the subjects with prostate cancer were smokers.
64 percent of the cancer subjects regularly consumed alcohol.
30 percent of the cancer subjects had at least one first-degree relative with prostate cancer.
80 percent of the cancer subjects were overweight or obese.
Considering the extensive body of literature that supports the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids, there is no credible biological mechanism, nor is one suggested in the article, that would explain why these essential fatty acids might increase tumorigenesis.
Summary: Given the inconsistent data attributable to omega-3 fatty acids and prostate cancer, and acknowledging the broad range of health benefits that are almost universally accorded to omega-3 fatty acid consumption, it would be premature to stop eating fish or to discontinue taking omega-3 nutritional supplements on the basis of this study.

In Health,

Robert Rountree, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Thorne Research, Inc.

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January 19, 2012

WSJ article on Brain-Gut connection

Here is a great article a friend shared with me from the Wall Street Journal: A Gut Check for Many Ailments… I hope you read it!

This article is a succinct and well-written summary of a branch of scientific research some call “psychoneuroimmunology.”  A study of the connection between the brain, the mind and the immune system.  In this article, the author presents a few important research studies that have helped us understand the role of another key palyer: our gut!  When addressing any disease, one system your naturopath may always ask about is the gastro-intestinal system.  Why? Because, often the GI ‘runs the show’ in the body more than any other system — some scientists even refer to gut as having its own ‘brain.’

The author discusses research revealing the importance of maintaining healthy gut flora in order to maintain proper neurotransmitter balance – which affects things like anxiety and depression; and, in this study, autism.  Just another good reason to eat lacto-fermented foods on a regular basis or include a high-quality probiotic in your diet.

The author also mentions research showing that stimulation of the vagus nerve – the largest nerve connecting the brain and the GI system – could significantly alter someone’s experiences of depression.  We often talk about food as medicine, but I love this article because it brings together a nice sampling of mainstream research to illuminate how we can see gut health as playing a central role in achieving balanced health in the mind and body.

October 24, 2011

hydration better than “five hour energy?!”

Living in the city means we are constantly bombarded by toxins in our environment – not to mention, all the toxins we may be consuming in our food, absorbing from products we put on our skin or that we drink from unfiltered water.

Note: In our discussion on water, I am always advocating that the source of water be from a clean reliable source – I personally prefer to drink water that has been filtered through reverse osmosis. If you do not have access to this, the next best is to invest in a charcoal filter for your water (ie. “Brita” filters). Bottled water is okay if you confirm its source, but obviously contributes to more landfill issues and is rarely cost-effective.

 

 

Why drink water?  I know its cheesy but, I truly believe it…. The Solution to Pollution is Dilution!

Environmental toxins (air pollution (VOC), pesticide in foods, etc.) can decrease immune function: Toxins can eat up all your antioxidants needed to fight infections, white blood cells (your immune cells) need them to function properly, when your toxic burden is too high, you are prone to getting sick more often. In addition to reducing toxic burden in the body, hydration will increase fluidity of the blood so your white blood cells can move to the target area with ease.

Daily, you should make a goal to drink 1/2 your weight in pounds in fluid ounces. So if you weigh 120#/2=60 so drink 60oz. Add 8oz for every 1 hour of sweating and 8 oz cup of coffee or soda (carbonated sugar drinks).

Our total body is 70-85% water. We lose water through evaporation, and urination. So it may be obvious that hydration is important but many people forget to drink water. Hydration is important for cardiovascular health, energy level and weight issues.

5% of water loss can lead to 20% of energy loss and thirst is often mistaken for hunger – so next time you are feeling that afternoon lull in energy try reaching for a glass of water (or maybe two) because it is likely dehydration kicking-in… not a deficiency in an energy supplement! I had a patient ask – “you mean drinking water is better than five-hour energy?!”  ha ha, (of course) I said “yes!!!”

Your body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste and lubricate joints. Water is essential for good health. You lose water each day when you go to the bathroom, sweat, and even when you breathe. You lose water even faster when the weather is extremely hot, when you exercise, or if you have a fever. Vomiting and diarrhea can also lead to rapid fluid loss. If you don’t replace the water you lose, you will become dehydrated.

What to do when you are dehydrated:

– Start drinking water – your body cannot absorb more than 8 oz in 20 minutes so do not exceed this rate.

– Avoid dehydrating beverages such as coffee, soda and alcohol.

– Help increase movement of water into the cells by adding electrolytes to your water: I like “EmergenC” packets although they do have some sugar. Coconut water is another good option and is naturally infused with electrolytes! Avoid “sports drinks” that are sweetened with artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup.

What to do to maintain good hydration:

– Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. Consider carrying a reusable water bottle and filling it from a filtered tap rather than purchasing bottled water, which is expensive and creates plastic bottle waste.

– If plain water doesn’t interest you, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your drink.

– If you’re going to be exercising, make sure you drink water before, during and after your workout.

– Start and end your day with a glass of water. If you have trouble waking in the night to urinate, do not drink water right before bed.

– When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. The sensation of thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water. Drinking water may also contribute to a healthy weight loss plan, as some research suggests drinking water will help you feel full.

– Drink on a schedule if you have trouble remembering to drink water. For example, drink water when you wake up; at breakfast, lunch and dinner; and when you go to bed. Or drink a small glass of water at the top of each hour.

– Drink water when you go to a restaurant. Not only does it keep you hydrated, but it’s free! (Although, I do advise ensuring the water comes from a filtered source.)

…don’t you feel thirsty now?! ;o)

Be well,

Dr. Rachelle

October 5, 2011

Update on Classes…

Monday we held the Natural Healthcare for Families class at Northgate library where we discussed how parents and kids can get involved in promoting their health in practical ways… both grown-ups and little ones were in attendance and it was a lot of fun!  We even learned how to make a tasty snack with kale (I will share the recipe here sometime soon…)!!

Just a reminder, our series on the FIVE pillars of health is in full swing at the Meadowbrook Community Center, Saturdays 10-11am.  If you would like to attend just one class that is fine… or attend the final THREE!

Saturday, 10/8 – Nutrition

Saturday, 10/15 – Exercise

Saturday, 10/22 – Natural Supplements

Every week students go home with fun new facts and a healthy treat, so don’t miss out!!!

Questions? – post them, and I will reply!

 

Be well,

Dr. Rachelle

September 27, 2011

more classes!! a free class on natural healthcare for families…

Next Monday – October 3rd – I will be offering an exciting, interactive class for parents and kids to learn more about natural healthcare basics.  This class is the first in a series and will be an overview of all that’s to come.   If you know any homeschooling families, this could also be a great supplement to Health Classes!

Check it out, I hope to see you there!

Dr. Rachelle

 

Natural Healthcare Basics for Families

A FREE educational class for Parents and Kids!!!

At the Northgate Public Library

10548 Fifth Ave. NE
Seattle, WA 98125

Monday, October 3rd 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Call 425-213-0003 or email dr.r.forsberg@gmail.com to reserve a spot!

Interested in caring for your family’s health from a natural perspective?  Come to this interactive class taught by Dr. Rachelle Forsberg, a local naturopath dedicated to helping families prevent and treat illness naturally!

In this class Dr. Forsberg will discuss the essentials of natural healthcare for parents and kids:

  • Sleep
  • Nutrition
  • Hydration
  • Exercise
  • Natural Supplements

Come get your “check-up” with Dr. Forsberg on the fundamentals of health, gaining new insights for healthier & happier living for you and your family.

Children of all ages welcome when accompanied by a parent!

September 16, 2011

Our gut bacteria make us unique!

Earlier this year research from Germany, published by Dr. Peer Bork, was released revealing evidence that there are three specific gut bacteria associated with the human gastrointestinal system.  It appears that each individual’s gut is hospitable to only one of three bacterial enterospecies and this could make it easier for us to understand how different individuals respond to certain diets, prescribe probiotics specifically fashioned for the individual and may even help us understand why certain people manifest particular gastrointestinal complaints while others do not.

This is an exciting discovery because just as we can categorize individuals by blood type, in the future we may do so also by gut bacteria type!

Regarding this research, a a New York Times article states:

“Instead of trying to wipe out disease-causing bacteria that have disrupted the ecological balance of the gut, they could try to provide reinforcements for the good bacteria. “You’d try to restore the type you had before,” [Dr. Bork] said. ”

In other words, instead of utilizing anti-biotics to fight disease, why not take a proactive stance and build up our body’s natural defenses?  Well, Naturopaths have been doing this for centuries!  Too bad we had to wait for modern science to catch-up with our treatment philosophies, but better late than never… and next time someone shrugs their shoulders and asks why your Naturopath prescribes probiotics you can direct them to this research!

I hope you find this information useful and applicable – let me know your thoughts and questions…

Be Well,

Dr. Rachelle

May 31, 2011

A Naturopathic Perspective on Sleep

Whenever I see a patient for the first time, one of the biggest questions I have for them is “How’s your sleep?”  – the answer to this question can tell me so much about what is going on with them and where we need to direct our treatment.  Often times patients ask me why sleep is so vital for maintaining overall health.  Although entire books have been written and dedicated to the topic of sleep, this is just a brief overview on the subject with a few of my favorite clinical pearls. I hope these few thoughts might help you begin to get the most out of your sleep, and I’d love to hear your questions on the topic so we can chat about more specific in this HUGE subject!

One of the major reasons we know sleep is vital to our health is because much of the cellular repair and growth that occurs in your body happens while you sleep. Between 10pm and 12am your body is at its peak production for growth hormone and white blood cells — these are the building blocks for your ability to grow, heal and maintain vibrance and vitality! In addition, achieving deep sleep sufficiently helps to decreases mental and emotional stress by allowing the mind to utilize dreaming to process emotions felt during the day. Before the 1950’s American’s got an average of 11 hours of sleep per night — now that number is down to 6 or 7 hours a night! One of the biggest factors in this significant reduction in average sleep time is our access to television and internet 24 hours a day. Not only does this create an easy distraction keeping us awake far longer than our bodies prefer, but the blue light emitted from these devices interferes with the body’s secretion of sleep-inducing hormones (such as melatonin). Therefore, the number one thing you can do to improve your sleep is turn off all electronic devices – computers, smart phones, televisions… etc. at least 30 minutes before heading to bed so your body can begin preparing for sleep.

Other tips for getting great sleep:

– Plan your bed-time and wake -time in order to get 8-9 hours of sleep per night – for most individuals this will allow three REM cycles to take place.

– Stick to the same bed-time and wake-time every day.

– Avoid using the bedroom for work, TV…etc. this is your sleep sanctuary!

– Engage in a consistent “going to bed” routine (e.g. face wash, meditate, read…)

– Exercise at least 3-5 times per week.

– Avoid consuming caffeine after noon.

– Avoid naps during the day.

– Don’t use alcohol as a sleep aid.

– Take time to create a comfortable and soothing sleep environment for yourself.

– Address sources of mental and emotional stress during the day through journaling, counseling or talking with a trusted friend.

– Breathe – deep breathing in bed and throughout the day helps induce a state of relaxation throughout your entire body.

– Can’t stay asleep or fall asleep?  Try taking your focus to a new place – I like to tell patients to “put their brain in their lats” – I know it sounds odd, but next time you sense the clock ticking and can’t get to sleep, why not give it a try? (Your lats are the large muscles extending along the lateral mid to lower aspect of your back.)

I hope these tips help you find deeper, more rejuvenating sleep so you have all the energy and stamina during the day to do the things you love!

Sweet dreams,

Dr. R

January 8, 2011

where is naturopathic medicine headed?

The top three places I think you should know to watch for growth in naturopathic medicine:

1. Colorado – As you may or may not know the process of licensure for naturopathic medicine is a state-by-state process.  Currently there are 15 states in the U.S. with licensing laws for naturopaths.  According to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP): “In these states, naturopathic doctors are required to graduate from an accredited four-year residential naturopathic medical school and pass an extensive postdoctoral board examination (NPLEX) in order to receive a license.” These states are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington and the United States Territories: Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands.

So why Colorado next?  Well, for one, it’s my home-state and where I hope to practice in the future.  But, two, and more importantly, this spring the Colorado Association of Naturopathic Physicians (CANP) will again be petitioning for licensing laws from the Colorado state legislature.  Colorado has been the hotbed of debate with strong opposition not only from medical doctors (mainly AMA-associated), but also from the extremely large constituent of unlicensed naturopaths currently practicing in Colorado.  A licensing law for them could mean the end of the career.  If you are in Colorado or just interested in the politics of Naturopathic licensing get plugged in with CANP because we need a voice and we need strategic planning to create harmony within our profession – between naturopaths who have not attended an accredited school and those who have.

2. California – In September of 2010 Bastyr University confirmed its plans to open a second campus in CA.  Although no city or firm start date has been set, they have “optimistic hopes” for the first ND class to begin in 2012.  Initially, this would only be a campus for the naturopathic program … but with hopes of opening up to more programs in the future.

3. Washington D.C. – the biggest obstacle for naturopaths in the U.S. is having proper state legislature supporting our field.  Tireless efforts by NDs, ND students and ND proponents have occurred on ‘the hill’ lobbying for senate support.  If you have been positively impacted by naturopathic medicine and want to see it grow in our country to increase access to alternative healthcare it is imperative that our legislators know what naturopathic medicine is and why it is important for states to have licensing laws.

For more information on naturopathic licensure and the importance of seeing a naturopathic doctor who has graduated from one of the four accredited naturopathic medical schools in the U.S. visit the AANP website – http://www.naturopathic.org – or stay tuned here for further discussions! (There are also accredited schools in Canada: see http://www.cand.ca.)

December 30, 2010

post a day!

As we ring in the new year you may find yourself considering resolutions for your health in 2011…  maybe you will make a healthy change in your daily meal prep (experiment with new oils – like coconut!), park a little

further away to get in a few extra daily strides, wake up a little earlier for your morning meditation?  Or maybe you will finally make that acupuncture appointment — you’ve been meaning to look into that!  Perhaps you will do what your naturopath has recommended for you — taking your vitamin D

every day!

I too have a few resolutions on my list and one of the biggest is in store for this blog – a new post every day!  I really care about contributing to the conversation on healthier living and helping others access the incredible healing power that resides within! (the vis!)  So hold me to it and check back regularly because 2011 is looking like a very health-filled year!!!

be well,

Dr. R

***it is now 1/8/11 and I have already found the busy-ness of my class schedule, patient schedule and volunteer work crowding into my blog time!  As with any resolution, failure to stick to it doesn’t mean we should give it up (read- if you have one too many brownies after dinner or skip your gym sesh for a night at the movies, that doesn’t mean healthier living isn’t within your grasp!).  I will continue to work to keep this blog a priority, I am just experiencing the reality of making room for new habits – maybe you are too?!  I would love to hear your thoughts on how you follow through on making changes in your life habits.

December 28, 2010

high fructose corn syrup – friend or foe?

think twice before grabbing your sweets! image from yahoo.com

Do you have a sweet tooth? Do you know where that sweetness in your treats originates?  High fructose corn syrup is one ingredient worth scrounging your cupboards for – (and changing up your snacking habits if you find it residing there) because of its numerous deleterious effects on your health.

Not only is this highly refined sweetener a threat to good blood glucose management (this is extremely important if you have ever been told you are hypo- or hyper-glycemic), it is far from its original state by the time it makes it into your food and may be one of the top ten contributors to obesity in the US.

Read more here for a useful breakdown on HFCS!