Archive for the ‘Integrative Medicine’ Category
So should you take any supplements? The answer to this question cannot be based on broad generalizations made from singular studies. I believe this is an ongoing conversation with your doctor, who hopefully sees him or herself as a team member in your care, not the sole director of it.
A recent study brought into question the utility of supplements in enhancing health, and even questioned whether supplements increased the risk of death. What was omitted in the spectacular headlines was the author’s own conclusion: “It is not advisable to make a causal statement of excess risk based on these observational data…” In other words, you cannot say that supplements lead to more deaths, simply because it was observed that the group of women taking supplements seemed to have a higher mortality rate.
In rebuttal to the study’s apparent conclusions, two interesting viewpoints have been published, for which I provide links here.
Vitamin supplements: more harm than help? by Dr. Ian Chapman
Thorne Research’s Rebuttal to the Question of Safety of Dietary Supplements. by Alan Miller, ND and Robert Roundtree, MD
The debate is on, but we need to read through these studies with a fine-tooth comb before drawing conclusions. The sensational title in the NY Times, “More Evidence Against Vitamin Use,” is a bit fantastical given the actual conclusions that can be made from this observational study, with a number of flaws as pointed out by the two articles above.
My patients know that I recommend different types of supplements, sometimes for brief periods and targeted uses.
First and foremost, I recommend a balanced diet rich in nutrients we can only get from whole foods. Supplements are just that — supplements. They are not substitutes for a poor diet, no more than lipitor should be an excuse to eat a steak every night.
An integrative, functional approach to patient care takes into account the individual circumstances of each person when designing what is right for them. To simplify care into broad statements based solely on singular study conclusions is hubris and a mistake often made in Western medicine.
A person is not a study, no more than a study is one person.
Yes, we need our studies, but we have to analyze what types of conclusions can be drawn from them carefully. As a doctor in clinical practice, the challenge is always to interweave what we know is the best evidence with how we know the individual patient in front of us responds to treatment. They don’t always coincide. And therein lies the art of medicine.
Ultimately, we are in charge of our own health with our doctors as team leaders. You should be a co-director in your healthcare. Your doctor should be someone you can have a conversation with about these issues, and together make a decision that makes the most sense for you and your individual circumstances. This individual approach to healthcare makes the most sense.
An article I wrote recently with seven natural remedies for spring allergies was featured on Yahoo! Green and The Early Show on CBS this Friday, May 13th, and I am writing to follow-up with a few more natural remedies that can help provide relief to those that suffer from spring allergies:
- Butterbur: this European herb shows great promise as a natural treatment for allergies. In a study published in the British Medical Journal, taking one tablet of butterbur four times a day was effective in controlling hay fever symptoms without the usual drowsiness accompanying many traditional antihistamines. Butterbur has been used medicinally since ancient Greece.
- Chrysanthemum: taken both as a salve and tea, the flower pods of this herb provide relief from red eyes, itchiness, and sinus pressure headaches associated with allergies. Steep the dried flower pods in boiling water for 1 minute, then let sit for 5-10 min, strain, and drink the tea. Place the boiled flower pods inside a paper towel and apply directly over the eyes for 10 minutes for relief from itchy, watery, red eyes associated with seasonal allergies.
- HEPA Filter: a High Efficiency Particulate Filter can filter out the tiniest particles floating in the air, including pollen grains. Use one in your bedroom, or other rooms where you tend to spend a lot of time indoors, and it will help relieve allergy symptoms by reducing your exposure to the allergens. A HEPA filter is a great idea to have in any bedroom to improve the quality of indoor air.
Hope you find these additional suggestions useful as you seek to reduce your allergy symptoms. Here’s to no sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, or itchy eyes and nose!
Read my latest post on Ecomii. If more of us would live a heart-centered life, the world would be a better place. Follow this link: http://www.ecomii.com/blogs/food/2011/01/20/the-benefits-of-coherence-a-heart-centered-life/
If you could only find that sweet spot in your cardio workouts, you could burn off that extra tire of weight around your waist. Well, calculating your target heart rate is a simple equation for which you’ll need your 1) age, 2) resting heart rate, and 3) the Karvonen formula. Here is an example:
Resting Heart rate: 80 beats per minute (bpm)
206.9 – (0.67 x 45 (age)) = 177
177 – 80 (resting heart rate) = 97
97 * 65% (low end of heart rate zone) OR *85% (high end) = 63 OR 82
63 + 80 (resting heart rate) = 143
82 + 80 (rhr) = 162
The target heart rate zone for this person would be 143 to 162.
For this individual, the “fat burning zone” is 143 bpm or below. So if they want to burn fat, you want to keep within this target heart rate zone. To burn the most calories, the “cardio” zone is 143 bpm or greater. To best increase your metabolism, you will want to do Interval training, where you exercise to reach your target heart rate zone for a few minutes then decrease your intensity to go below your target heart rate zone, and repeat.
Remember, as your Resting heart rate improves (slows down), your target heart rate calculation will change. So, as you engage in the cardiovascular fitness program, you should periodically monitor your resting heart rate for changes. Your resting heart rate is best checked when you are relaxed, at east with both feet on the ground.
Never begin an exercise program without the advice of a physician, especially if you may have any underlying medical issues.
Exercise is one of the best ways that you can improve your health and your longevity.