Dear Friends and Patients:
This month marks the ten year anniversary of the opening of the Preventive Medicine Center of Gainesville. It has been an enjoyable 10 years on my part to have met and helped thousands of patients in search of improved health and well-being. One of my patients with heart disease recently came to see me after he had seen his cardiologist. I placed this patient on a combination of nutrients to promote heart health and functioning. When he showed his cardiologist the L carnitine, coenzyme Q10, magnesium and Corvaleen (D-ribose), all natural substances the heart needs, the cardiologist responded by saying “why would you want to put chemicals into your body?” He then went on and advocated a higher dose of statin drug even though this patient’s total cholesterol was low at 140mg/mL.
It is sad that some physicians are either biased against nutritional therapies or they forget their basic science and chemistry and poo poo any therapy that is not drug-based. Drugs are blocking agents. They work by blocking something. Beta blockers block beta receptor sites. Calcium channel blockers block the effect of calcium. Statin drugs block the production of cholesterol by the liver. Orthomolecular substances on the other hand do not block, but are facilitators. They can be given in high doses and cause physiological effects without toxicity. In fact, they can be safely given at hundreds of times the nutritional levels needed to prevent disease. A drug’s therapeutic and toxic range in the body is basically the same. In this issue of the newsletter I will discuss some of the natural substances common and essential to the body to treat obesity and diabetes.
According to data published in Epidemiologic Reviews the incidence of obesity increased from 13% of the population in the 1960s to 32% in 2004. Over this same period of time the use of high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener increased by more than 1000%. There is a strong correlation between the consumption of soft drinks sweetened with sugar or corn syrup and obesity. Between 2003 and 2004, two thirds of American adults were overweight and 16% of children and adolescents were overweight.
On average, Americans consume in one year 756 doughnuts, 60 pounds of cakes and cookies, 23 gallons of ice cream, 7 pounds of potato chips and 22 pounds of candy. They also chew 200 sticks of gum, drink 365 servings of soda pop, and eat 90 pounds of fat and 134 pounds of refined sugar. The most commonly eaten foods are coffee, white bread, and hot dogs. Is it any wonder that we are ranked as one of the lowest nations in the industrialized world by the World Health Organization when it comes to the health of our population.
For the past century we have been told if you want to lose weight, eat less calories. A calorie is the amount of energy it takes to increase the temperature of 1 liter of water by one degree centigrade. All foods contain a certain amount of energy so it seems to make sense that simply cutting down on the amount of food energy you consume and your body would burn fat for energy instead. But is this really so? Many of my patients tell me that they eat “very little” but they still cannot lose weight. Could it be that as caloric intake decreases, the body becomes more efficient and runs on less fuel? We have survival mechanisms in place to keep us from starving and to provide us with fuel during times of stress. It turns out that what we eat and when we eat are more important than how much we eat. The endocrine system and brain chemistry hold the key to losing weight and if your body thinks that weight loss is starvation, it will work very hard at preventing it.
In 2009 the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study of 25,000+ teen-aged subjects. Information was gathered on whether they ate breakfast, how active physically they were, and alcohol consumption patterns. What the researchers found was there was a stronger correlation with being overweight or obese if a teen skipped breakfast than with alcohol consumption or inactivity. In another study done with adults, those persons eating breakfast daily were less likely to be obese or to have insulin resistance.
Magnesium deficiency occurs in 25% of diabetics. It is associated with diabetic retinopathy and also elevated blood pressure and heart disease. In one study 63 type 2 diabetic patients received either magnesium or placebo for 16 weeks. Those who received magnesium had lower fasting glucoses, lower Hgb A1C (8.0 vs 10.1%), and less insulin resistance. According to the journal Diabetes Care  “Mg depletion is common in poorly controlled patients with type 2 diabetes, especially in those with neuropathy or coronary disease. More prolonged use of Mg in doses that are higher than usual is needed . . . to improve control or prevent chronic complications.”
Zinc deficiency, which occurs in some diabetics, may play an important role in impaired T-cell function and in the pathogenesis of diabetic foot ulcers. Vitamins A, E and Carotenoids in elderly type 2 diabetics are significantly lower than in the plasma of age-matched controls. This may explain why diabetics are more prone to oxidative stress because hyperglycemia depletes natural antioxidants and facilitates the production of free radicals [Diabetes Metab Res Rev, 2000 Jan-Feb; 16(1):15-9]. Lipoic acid, another antioxidant, in one study of diabetics who had peripheral neuropathy (burning, numbness and pain in the feet) caused significant improvement in symptoms when taken at the 600mg/day level for 6 weeks.
Vitamin C levels are often significantly decreased in insulin dependent diabetics. The cellular uptake of vitamin C is promoted by insulin and inhibited by hyperglycemia. IV administration of vitamin C and other nutrients helps improve immune status in diabetics. High doses of IV Vitamin C in the 25-75 gram range helps treat and prevent viral and bacterial infections according to Dr. Julian Whitaker, a well-know integrative physician.
B vitamins are often low as well in diabetics. This may explain why associated elevated homocystine levels occur. B vitamin deficiencies are a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease and are also associated with insulin resistance. B vitamins are essential for metabolizing glucose. Niacinamide is one of two principle forms of vitamin B3. High doses in the 25mg/kg range protected beta-cell function in patients with early onset type I diabetes. In an ongoing European trial, 40,000 first-degree relatives of type I diabetics are being treated with niacinamide until disease develops or for five years. Efficacy of 50% is expected. Vitamins B6, folic acid and B12 help prevent nerve damage. In diabetes the kidneys can be hit particularly hard, and diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, accounting for almost 50% of the cases. One sign of kidney problems is trace amounts of albumin in the urine, where a damaged kidney allows this protein to leak out of the blood. In a double-blind placebo-controlled study, researchers gave patients with early-stage diabetic kidney disease 300mg of thiamine (vitamin B1) or a placebo on a daily basis. After 3 months, the thiamine group experienced a 41% decrease in urinary albumin excretion, and one third of the thiamine group had complete clearing of the protein leakage.
Chromium picolinate is also important in glycemic control. In the journal Diabetes [November 1997 issue], a study of 180 type 2 diabetics took 200 to 1000 mcg of chromium picolinate or placebo for 4 months. Drops in blood sugar, insulin, cholesterol and Hgb A1C with chromium were most dramatic with the 1000mcg dose. Chromium promotes expression of insulin receptors and improves insulin sensitivity, facilitating glucose uptake into the cells. Prolonged, severe deficiencies are associated with insulin resistance. According to Dr. Whitaker, while not a miracle cure for obesity, chromium improves body composition by increasing muscle mass and decreasing body fat. This helps improve insulin sensitivity. A similar mineral, vanadium, in the form of vanadyl sulfate, has similar effects. It needs to be given in doses around 150mg daily, but even at twice this dose it is relatively non-toxic. Unlike insulin, when you take away vanadium, the decreased blood sugar and cholesterol effects remain.
In a European study of children, giving Vitamin D3 in a dose of 2,000 IU daily, significantly reduced the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes as an adult. This is a significantly higher dose of vitamin D3 than the 400 IU recommended daily allowance suggested by the U.S. National Academy of Science Food and Nutrition Board needed to prevent rickets.
Some of the unique products we carry at the Center are intended to provide nutritional support for obese patients and diabetics. Ultrameal® and UltraGlycemX® were developed by Metagenics for patients with metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes, respectively. They can be used as a meal replacement. Diaxinol® is a product produced by Ortho Molecular and has biotin, 800mg of chromium, gymnema leaf extract, alpha lipoic acid, cinnamon bark extract, and vanadyl sulfate. It is helpful in improving glycemic control in some diabetic patients. Glucobalance® is a product manufactured by Biotics Research and was formulated by Jonathan V. Wright, M.D. and Alan R. Gaby, M.D. to provide high amounts of chromium and vanadium as well as the water soluble vitamins and minerals diabetic patients lose in their urines. This product can also be used in obese patients.
The glycemic index reflects the effect that food has on a person’s blood sugar on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after eating. A low (good) glycemic index is at levels of 55 or less; a medium glycemic index is 56-69; a high (bad) glycemic index is at levels of 70 or higher. Foods with a high glycemic index, such as white potatoes, are those which are rapidly digested and absorbed and result in marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Low glycemic index foods, such as most vegetables, produce gradual rises in blood sugar and insulin levels by virtue of their slow digestion and absorption. Low glycemic index diets have been shown to improve both glucose and lipid levels in people with both types of diabetes. They have benefits for weight control because they help control appetite and delay hunger. Low glycemic index diets also reduce insulin levels and insulin resistance. Recent studies from Harvard School of Public Health indicate that the risks of diseases such as type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease are strongly related to the glycemic index of the overall diet.
Low glycemic index foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. High glycemic index foods include many carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, and baked goods. There are quite a few books that list the glycemic index and glycemic load of various foods. I don’t have a particular preference but some examples are the South Beach Diet book by Arthur Agatston, MD or the Zone Diet, created by Dr. Barry Sears.
One unexpected benefit from eating low glycemic index foods is the effect of a low glycemic index food carries over to the next meal, reducing its glycemic impact. Some foods, such as beef, fish, eggs, nuts, tofu, or seeds have so little carbohydrate that their glycemic index cannot be tested.
Knowing whether a particular food has a low or high glycemic index is a great start. However, other factors change a particular food or meal’s glycemic index: foods eaten together at the same time; how the food was prepared; your own body’s reaction to the food; other components of a food (e.g the amount of fat or protein or fiber content). Pasta has a low glycemic index because of the physical entrapment of starch within a network of gluten-protein molecules. Pasta is unique in this regard and has a glycemic index in the 30 to 60 range. Asian noodles also have low to intermediate glycemic indices. One word of caution, over-cooking pasta increases its glycemic index, so it should be cooked to where it is still firm. Another word of caution is to limit the amount of pasta one eats as eating too much increases the total amount of carbohydrates one is getting and this will have an adverse effect on your blood sugar. Many high fat foods have a low glycemic index but may not be healthy for you e.g. french fries or potato chips which contain saturated fat. Foods such as nuts (they average 50% fat), avocadoes and legumes (peanuts are actually a legume) have good fats and low glycemic indices.
After a comprehensive evaluation, I placed Mrs. U on a combination of bio-identical hormones, vitamin K, calcium citrate, vitamin D, and strontium therapy. After one year of therapy, her bone density in the hip was improved by 10% and in the spine by almost 6%. She remained physically active and well up until the end of 2009. She then had her gallbladder removed. The surgery was complicated by some of the stones being missed in the common bile duct, causing obstruction to the flow of bile. She had to be placed under general anesthesia a total of three times before the problem was corrected. Mrs. U began having crying spells ever since the surgery and felt depressed and just generally “unwell.” When I saw Mrs. U the month following her surgery I felt she was experiencing depression which is very common following surgery, but I also felt the multiple anesthesias she had been given in a short period of time had placed a stress on her body’s detoxification pathways. Her kinesthetic testing showed liver meridian stress. Mrs. U was given an I.V. with glutathione and B vitamins, and she was placed on a special supplement with digestive enzymes and bile salts to replace those no longer available from her missing gallbladder. Within 24 hours her depression and malaise resolved and she was back to her old self.
Glutathione is a substance that is one of the major anti-oxidants your body produces. It is critical for support of detoxification pathways and your immune system. Glutathione in our bodies can go inactive when it becomes saturated from doing it`s work (picking up toxins), but it tends to regenerate itself. Under ideal environmental conditions, 10% of the glutathione remains inactive, or oxidized, while the other 90% is active, or reduced, and continues to balance cell molecules and other antioxidants, as well as remove toxins. This is the function of normal metabolism`s waste removal of free radicals by glutathione. When the body is placed under a large toxin load (drugs, anesthesia, alcohol, environmental chemicals) it is too much to maintain that 90/10 ratio. It has been our experience that patients receiving IV Glutathione often have rapid improvement in symptoms and a lifting of depressive symptoms if they are related to toxicity.
Thermal breast imaging (thermography) is an FDA approved adjunct to mammography, but does not use compression or radiation, and is painless. It can be used safely at any age. Check out the Thermography section on our www.prevent-doc.com website. Also it is used to visualize unexplained pain when x-rays, CT scans, MRI=s, etc., have been negative. Call Gainesville Thermography, LLC. at (352) 332-7212 for scheduling or information. All scans are interpreted by a Board Certified Thermographer and are taken by trained clinical thermographers.
◙ THE DOCTOR IS OUT SCHEDULE – Dr. Erickson, Renee and Nikki will be attending the ICIM (International College of Integrative Medicine) conference in Nashville, TN from March 17th through March 21st. Nikki and Renee will be getting intensive advanced training in IV therapies and Dr. Erickson will be attending a conference entitled “Healthy Brain, Healthy Body: Mental Wellness in the 21st Century.” The Center will also be closed from April 8th through April 12th for our annual staff retreat, except for supplement purchases. If you are an established patient and have an urgent medical problem, please contact your primary care physician or go to an urgent care center.
◙ Product Highlights: Colon Plus powder is a fiber supplement that contains both soluble fiber (to absorb toxins) and insoluble fiber (to promote stool bulk and regular BMs). It contains a unique blend of psyllium, kelgin, apple pectin, peppermint leaf, flax seed, anise seed, bromelain (from pineapple), celery seed, aloe vera, prune, and lactobacillus acidophilus (DDS-1). This product is wonderful in supplementing fiber in one’s diet, absorbing toxicity from the bile so it is not reabsorbed through the colon, and in avoiding constipation. The usual dose is from one to three teaspoons in juice or water, taken once daily.