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  • Male hot flashes? Acupuncture works for prostate cancer care..
    April 25, 2011
  • Radio Interview: WHRC, NY
  • Calcium Supplements Linked to Heart Attacks
    10-16-2010



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    Omega 3s and Osteoarthritis (OA)

    Thanks to it’s high supply of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, fish oil is one of the best anti-inflammatory substances we have. Given that almost all chronic pain (and all chronic disease for that matter) has at its root some degree of inflammation, it’s no surprise that higher intake of Omega 3 fats may be helpful.

    Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common chronic pain condition. Historically, it was considered to be a non-inflammatory breakdown of healthy bone. We now understand that this characterization is not accurate, and that reducing inflammation is an important component of comprehensive care. Many anti-inflammatory medications (like NSAIDs, Cox-3 inhibitors, and corticosteroids) come with unwanted side-effects. Omega 3s work by reducing inflammation at its source, helping the body make compounds that “put out the fire”.

    Multiple studies show that people with OA who take Omega 3s from fish have reductions in long-term symptoms. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology (source below), Omega-3 Fatty acids seem to be an effective (and safe) strategy for those dealing with OA (as well as other rheumatic disease like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus).


    PMID: 28816722

    More about Dr. Kachko Here

     


    Sleep and Chronic Pain

    Sleep: the ultimate reset switch. We’ve got tons of research about just how important sleep is to our long-term health and well-being. It turns out that between 67% and 88% of people who deal with long-term pain also have trouble sleeping well. Poor sleep, in this way, is both a cause and effect of pain.

    Without the right levels of REM Sleep and Deep/Slow-wave sleep, our bodies are simply unable to regenerate effectively. Sleep deprivation impacts many areas of the brain that have a role in pain, including: opioid processing, neurotransmitter production (like serotonin), immune function, melatonin production, the endocannabinoid systems, and the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis.

    If there was a medication that could impact ALL of those systems at once, it’d probably be in the water supply. Instead, we have to sleep. So, what factors impact our quality and quantity of sleep the most?

    1. Regularity: getting to bed and waking up at the same time every day is essential for deep sleep
    2. Light exposure: the room has to be pitch black. Our cave-dwelling ancestors wouldn’t have had it any other way. Similarly, blue light from screens is terrible for our transition into sleep, preventing production of the all-important sleep hormone melatonin.
    3. Temperature: in order to fall asleep, our core body temperature has to fall 2-3 degrees. Sleeping in a cool room is essential (65-67 degrees seems to be ideal). This is the same reason people like a hot cup of herbal tea or a hot shower before bed: it brings our core body temp up to facilitate it dropping
    4. Coffee and Alcohol consumption: Depending on your genetics, it may take up to 24 hours to process the amount of caffeine in just one cup of coffee. Similarly, drinking alcohol (especially before bed) can impact REM sleep for up to 4 days!
    5. Stress: Avoid stressful conversations or television (turn that news off!) before bed. More importantly, don’t do anything in bed (people who work on the laptop right up until they close their eyes, i’m looking at you) other than sleep and sex. Journaling may be one exception, if it lets you process the day - so long as you leave your feelings there and don’t take them with you to sleep.

    What’s been most helpful for you to get effective sleep?

    PMID: 31207606

    More about Dr. Kachko Here

     


    Holistic Pain Care Series

    According to the CDC, 20 Million Americans deal with “high impact” chronic pain on a daily basis. This means it impacts their quality of life regularly - limiting the ability to work or sometimes even take care of themselves. To make matters worse, we’ve got an opioid epidemic in the United States that has put people with chronic pain into an even more difficult position: getting access to appropriately prescribed medication that for years has allowed them to sustain some quality of life.

    Something has to change! Every National and International task force on chronic pain has clearly stated that a comprehensive, “biopsychosocial” approach to pain is the ONLY appropriate course of treatment. Sometimes, this may involve a prescription for opioids. But it ALWAYS involves:
    1. Meeting people where they are
    2. Helping them feel heard and understood
    3. Comprehensively assessing the ROOT cause of their pain
    4. Providing education on the nature of the pain to empower each person to help themselves

    A holistic, integrative treatment plan for pain will usually involve education around nutrition, sleep, digestion, and appropriate movement/exercise. It will usually also involve helping the person to reframe their experience of pain, acupuncture, and manual therapy.

    Together, we can change the lives of over 100 million Americans. Stay tuned for this month’s Holistic Pain Care Series, where we’ll get into the science of what works (and what doesn’t) for chronic pain.

    Source: Center For Disease Control


    Holistic Pain Care
    Dr. Robert Kachko

    More about Dr. Kachko Here

     


    Is It Safe to Take Supplements with Antidepressants

    Are supplements safe to take with Antidepressants? if so, which ones.

    Dr. Peter Bongiorno examines this question and reviews a new study that reviewed over 5000 studies to uncover which supplements showed the best results in stringent tests.

    Find out which ones, and if these are safe to take with medications on Dr. Peter's Psychology Today blog

    CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE IN PSYCHOLOGY TODAY

     


    The Benefits and Risks of Dandelion Tea

    Dr. Kachko was interviewed on the benefits of this wonderful herb

    "The compounds in the root "stimulate digestion, increase bile flow and can act as mild laxatives," says naturopath Dr. Robert Kachko, ND, LAc. This part of the dandelion works on regulating the liver and stimulating digestion. "Most conditions of the liver/gallbladder can have a use for dandelion root, but it should be prescribed by someone with training," cautions Kachko. The leaf is used to treat ailments of the kidneys its chief function is as a diuretic. However, unlike prescription medication, it is high in potassium -- so it replenishes lost electrolytes immediately. In high enough doses, its effect is similar to that of common prescription diuretics like Lasix. "It also may reduce the occurrence of urinary tract infections in women," says Dr. Kachko. "

    More about Dr. Robert Kachko: here



    Photo credit: www.Livestrong.com

    Read the entire article here!

     


    Healing Anxiety and Depression - News interview

    11.18.2015

    Mary Mucci of News 12 in Long Island interviews 2 of Dr. Bongiorno's patients who recovered from mood disorders by working with his natural recommendations.. One patient suffered from significant obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), worrying and anxiety, and a second patient suffered from years of difficult anxiety and depression. Both patients were able to avoid using medications by working with a holistic plan.

    There is a second extended interview available here: http://longisland.news12.com/multimedia/extended-interview-with-marceill-kiernan-about-anxiety-1.11118443

    CLICK HERE FOR NEWS PROGRAM

     


    Valerian for Insomnia, and Weaning Off Anti-Anxiety Medications

    Dr. Peter Bongiorno's latest blog talks about how this ancient herb can help fix the modern problems of insomnia, anxiety and anxiety drug withdrawal.

    More about Dr. Peter Bongiorno: here

    CLICK HERE TO READ AT PSYCHOLOGY TODAY

     


    Essential Fatty Acids Block the Depression Effect of Interferon Therapy

    Study suggests fatty acids may prevent medication-induced depression

    02.04.15

    Dr. Peter Bongiorno's latest blog explains how old reliable fish oil can block the depression effects of interferon, a commonly used drug for hepatitis, blood cancer, multiple sclerosis, herpes viruses, and many other diseases.

    Interferon can cause depression. A new study shows how fish oil can prevent this.

    Published in Natural Medicine Journal - February 2015 Vol. 7 Issue 2

    CLICK HERE TO READ ARTICLE AT NATURAL MEDICINE JOURNAL

     


    Why Repressed Emotions Affect Our Health

    12.10.2014

    Do our cells have embedded memory? Why is that important to know?

    Unquestionably, research has proven that every experience we have, has been imprinted into our cells. This occurs on every level and encompasses all the five senses. All this information is being logged into our bodies and stored in our cells. Our cells even “listen” to what we think. Our bodies respond to our thoughts. Be they positive and uplifting or negative and depressing.

    There is a saying, “Perception is Reality”. Your reaction to circumstances is based on your personal experiences and belief system. It is the way you see, feel, and express yourself in your life.

    So what does this have to do with our health and well being? Everything!!

    We all come from different walks of life. Some have had a very difficult childhood which could range from family trauma and abuse, to various debilitating health issues. Of course, experiencing trauma can come at any time of our life. Accidents, loss of loved ones, job loss. All these misfortunes affect our cells. Ultimately our health is compromised.

    How did we digest these occurrences, or did we? Perhaps consciously we didn’t and we just went into survival mode. This path takes us into the concept of repressed emotions and the toll it takes on our health in the years ahead.

    Candence Pert, (1944-2013), neuroscientist and pharmacologist, former Chief of the Section on Brain Biochemistry, Clinical Neuroscience Branch, at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), stated in her book Molecules of Emotions, “repressed emotions are stored in the body, the unconscious mind, via the release of neuropeptide ligands, and that memories are held in their receptors (i.e. emotions). The neuropeptides and receptors, the biochemicals of emotion are the messengers carrying information to link the major systems of the body into one unit called the body-mind.
    These chemicals in our body are the substrates of the emotions, and they are in constant communication with our immune system, the mechanism through which health and disease are created”.

    With more that 80 types of auto-immune diseases, the medical society is still wondering what causes them. Many have similar symptoms, which makes diagnosis difficult.

    Medications are helpful in treating certain symptoms, but the individual suffering needs to get to the source of the emotion to find out what may be repressed and causing their quality of life to deteriorate.

    Sondra Barrett, PhD, in her book Secrets of Your Cells, cites a study by psychologist James Pennebaker, in which he claims that when people hold back a painful or fearful story, the very experience of holding back is stressful, and their cells respond accordingly with symptoms of stress and anxiety. Once those thoughts have been released, there was a wave of relief, and their cells initiate the chemistry of peace.

    How To Take Control of Emotional Health

    There are effective ways one can take control of these emotional health issues holistically, since emotions are just one dimension of a greater whole. This is the body, mind, and spirit connection imperative to maintaining harmony and balance within.

    Integrating a supportive natural health care approach with your holistic healthcare practitioner will help you to maintain an emotionally balanced body-mind system. A custom tailored nutritional program will also give you a big boost in emotional stability and maintaining optimum energy levels.

    Speak positively to your cells. Remember. They’re listening!

    Bio: Donna L. Nesteruk is a Licensed Acupuncturist with National Diplomat NCCAOM Board Certification. Certified Instructor and Practitioner of Acutonics® Tuning Fork Therapy. Donna is advanced certified and specializes in Constitutional Facial Rejuvenation incorporating various modalities including acupuncture, non-invasive tuning forks, and facial cupping with jade stone gua sha. Donna is a Reiki Master, Certified in EFT, a Certified Drum Circle Facilitator, and Certified in Sound Healing, Vocal Toning, and is a member of the Sound Healers Association. If you are interested in more information, you can make an appointment with Donna in Huntington Long Island, or the NYC office by contacting her at (631) 848-8856 or e-mail: donna@innersourcehealth.com
    More about Donna here: here

    sculpture: Aristide Mallilol, Bronze, c. 1904, photo credit: P Bongiorno

     


    Gua Sha - for pain, musclar tension, colds and more

    Ancient chinese remedy for modern day issues

    05-30-2103 by Cynthia Hewett LAc, Certified Herbalist

    When we think about Chinese medicine, we usually think about acupuncture needles and herbs. Another wonderful tool and healing technique used in Chinese medicine is Gua Sha.

    Gua Sha is performed by swiftly rubbing (called ‘Gua’ in Chinese medicine) the surface of lubricated skin with a round-edged, comb-like instrument in downward strokes. This action intentionally raises a small temporary rash (known in Chinese as ‘Sha,’ also known as petechiae/rash in Western terms) in the treated area. You will feel a rubbing and slight burning sensation, but it is not painful.

    In Chinese medicine, pain and disease are said to be caused by stagnation or congestion of qi and blood. Gua Sha increases the movement of qi and blood and allows the body to restore its natural functioning.

    What Conditions Can Gua Sha Help?

    Gua Sha can help release unwanted neck and shoulder tension that comes with computer work and the busy-ness of our day (like running around and commuting). It is also prescribed for chronic muscle tightness from overuse or injury. It can be effectively used in the treatment of colds and coughs to relieve congestion and help increase the body’s immune response.

    How Does Gua Sha Do This?

    The secret of gua sha lies in how this treatment encourages the vigorous movement of blood to the surface of the body. When blood moves and circulation is enhanced, the body can help heal the area that needs to be healed. This is how gua sha helps the body’s own healing process.

    Is there Scientific Research About Gua Sha?

    In the last decade, Western studies have started to investigate how Gua Sha works. A study from 2007 confirms that Gua Sha increases the surface circulation of blood by 400% and that increased surface circulation continued at a significant level for 25 minutes following treatment. Each individual experienced a subjective decrease or complete resolution of pain [1]. A 2009 study showed that as enzymes are released to breakdown the petechiae (small broken blood vessels under the skin created by the Gua Sha treatment), an anti-inflammatory effect is created [2]. This helps explain why Gua Sha is useful in the treatment of colds and even allergy symptoms.

    Other studies have looked at Gua Sha in the treatment of migraine [3], neck and lower back pain [4], chronic neck pain [5], and hepatitis [6]. Current studies have been small but warrant further investigation especially in understanding Gua Sha’s effects on the body’s immune process.

    Gua Sha Conclusion

    Gua Sha is a safe, non-invasive treatment that is usually applied to the back of the body or the limbs. The rash usually fades in 2-4 days and patients are advised to relax the day of treatment, avoiding working out, fasting or large meals and alcohol, to allow the body to repair.

    1. Nielsen, A., Knoblauch, N., Dobos,G., Michalsen, A., Kaptchuk, T. (2007),The Effect of Gua Sha Treatment on the Microcirculation of Surface Tissue: A Pilot Study in Healthy Subjects. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 3: 456-466. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2007.06.001)

    2. Kwong KK, Kloetzer L, Wong KK, Ren JQ, Kuo B, Jiang Y, Chen YI, Chan ST, Young GS, Wong ST. (2009), Bioluminescence imaging of heme oxygenase-1 upregulation in the Gua Sha procedure. J Vis Exp. 2009 (30): 1385. doi: 10.3791/1385.

    3. Schwickert ME, Saha FJ, Braun M, Dobos GJ. Gua Sha for migraine in inpatient withdrawal therapy of headache due to medication overuse. Forsch Komplementmed. 2007 Oct14(5):297-300. doi:10.1159

    4. Lauche R, Wübbeling K, Lüdtke R, Cramer H, Choi KE, Rampp T, Michalsen A, Langhorst J, Dobos GJ. Randomized controlled pilot study: pain intensity and pressure pain thresholds in patients with neck and low back pain before and after traditional East Asian "gua sha" therapy. Am. J. Chin. Med. 40, 905 (2012). DOI: 10.1142/S0192415X1250067X/000107731.

    5. Braun, M., Schwickert, M., Nielsen, A., Brunnhuber, S., Dobos, G., Musial, F., Lüdtke, R. and Michalsen, A. (2011), Effectiveness of Traditional Chinese “Gua Sha” Therapy in Patients with Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Pain Medicine, 12: 362–369. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2011.01053.x

    6. Chan ST, Yuen JW, Gohel MD, Chung CP, Wong HC, Kwong KK, (2011) Guasha-induced hepatoprotection in chronic active hepatitis B: A case study. Clinica Chimica Acta, Volume 412, Issues 17–18, 17 August 2011, Pages 1686-1688. doi:10.1016/j.cca.2011.05.009

    Click Here for PDF version of article

     


    Dr. Peter Bongiorno interview on Five to Thrive Live!

    Recorded Monday, Sept. 17th 2012 at 8PM

    Learn about natural recommendations for depression. Dr. Peter Bongiorno will be interviewed on the acclaimed W4CS Five to Thrive Live! radio.

    During this interview Dr. Peter will discuss:
    - the varying experiences of depression
    - what the underlying causes of depressive illness and low mood
    - how to start the process of healing depression naturally
    - how to work with medications and eventually wean off medications safely using natural therapies
    - his newest book: "How Come They're Happy and I'm Not?",


    Listen to Interview

     


    VIDEO: Dr. Pina LoGiudice on Dr. Oz: Natural Prescription Alternatives Part II for for anxiety, high blood pressure, hypothyroidism and insomnia

    This is part II of another informative appearance by Dr. Pina LoGiudice, where she teaches Dr. Oz about wonderful ways to get healthy and avoid prescription medications:

    Anxiety medication alternative

    High blood pressure alternative

    Low (Hypo) Thyroid Support

    Insomnia Alternatives

    Click Here To View on Dr. Oz Website

     


    VIDEO: Dr. Pina LoGiudice on Dr. Oz: Natural Prescription Alternatives Part I for for anxiety, high blood pressure, hypothyroidism and insomnia

    This is part I of another informative TV appearance by Dr. Pina LoGiudice, where she teaches Dr. Oz about wonderful ways to get healthy and avoid prescription medications:

    Anxiety medication alternative

    High blood pressure alternative

    Low (Hypo) Thyroid Support

    Insomnia Alternatives

    Click Here To View on Dr. Oz Website

     


    Healthletter Sept 2012: Natural Cancer Care, Seasonal Allergies, Tumeric for Diabetes, Statins Bringing You Down?

    Issue 36, September 2012

    This months healthletter includes:

    - latest events

    - seasonal allergies

    - statin medications and low mood

    - tumeric for diabetes

    - Dr. Peter's latest video on natural medicine for cancer

    Click Here for Newsletter

     


    Seasonal Allergies? What You Can Do Naturally to Help

    by Dr. Siobhan Bleakney

    08-25-2012

    Sneezing, watery and itchy red eyes? Puffiness?

    Sounds like seasonal allergies.

    While medications can get rid of symptoms, they do not address underlying causes that can help you balance your body to be less reactive.

    Please read Dr. Siobhan Bleakney's article about what natural remedies can help, and have been shown to be as effective at symptom control, without the side effects.

    Click HERE to read ARTICLE

     


    Are Statin Cholesterol Medications Bringing You Down? (and causing depression?)

    dr. peter bongiorno blogs in Psychology Today?

    08.20.2012

    Cholesterol medications are the most profitable medications of all time.

    But, are they helping the problem and what are they doing to your mood?

    Find out in this blog on Psychology Today... click below to read article.

    CLICK HERE to READ ARTICLE

     


    ISSUE #35: What is Your Dosha?, Dr. Siobhan, Pina's Dr. Oz Video on Natural Alternatives to Drugs

    06-25-2012

    In this issue:

    - learn about the benefits of Ayurvedic medicine

    - learn about Dr. Siobhan Bleakney, our newest associate in the Long Island office

    - see Dr. Pina's June 2012 appearance on the Dr. Oz Show discussing natural alternatives to prescription medications for Insomnia, Hypertension, Anxiety and Thyroid Problems

    - Can You Follow Your Dreams and Still Make It in this World?

    - Why Is Grass-Fed So Important for your meat choices?

    - Sleep Medications vs. Getting A Stroke: which is worse

    Click Here for Health Letter

     


    Anti-Anxiety Drugs - Worth Risking Your Life?

    Anxiety medications increase risk of death by almost 40%

    Dr. Peter Bongiorno Psychology Today blog of 07-19-2011

    Read Dr. Peter's Psychology Today entry where he discusses the risk of anti-anxiety drugs. Learn about natural remedies that can help the underlying cause of anxiety, without increasing the risks associated with the drugs.

    Click Here for Article

     


    Sleepy Foods - Pumpkin Seed, Cherry, Pulque, Oatmeal, Dandelion

    Foods to Help You Hit the Hay

    by dr. Pina Logiudice and dr. Peter Bongiorno

    03-11-2012: Worried about the 300 - 500% increase in death risk from using sleep medications?
    Learn what foods can help you get to sleep and stay asleep.

    Click Right Here to Start Getting Sleepy

     


    FLU: Natural Remedies That Work

    reprint from 2009 blog

    1 - Observe the recommendations to WASH HANDS thoroughly. Use warm water.

    2 - DO NOT TOUCH FACE and NOSE to avoid spreading virus to your mouth, eyes or respiratory system.

    3 - Take your FISH OIL – fish oil is known to balance an over-inflammed immune system, and may be helpful to lower the overall cytokine cascade. Cod liver oil may be the best choice for it has extra D and A. Vitamin A helps protect respiratory passages and is anti-viral itself.

    4 - VITAMIN D, VITAMIN C, ZINC – may be useful. According to Johnathan Wright MD, vitamin C and D may be a more potent anti-viral choice than even medications. Zinc is an anti-viral mineral that has inhibited viral replication in research.

    5 - STRESS REDUCTION helps to lower our stress hormones and balance our immune function to help properly deal with any virus.

    6 - Get plenty of SLEEP – sleep is another important immune balancer which has been shown, when 7 hour or more, to help fight virus by 300% over people who do not get 7hours of sleep

    7 - AVOID SUGAR – which can lower your immunity and allow easier catching of any virus.

    8 - Consider regular NASAL WASHES – if the virus is typically transmitted into the upper respiratory tract, clearing that area may help lower the load that enters our system.

    9 - AVOID INFLAMMATORY FOODS – foods like milk and dairy, wheat for some people, and any food you know you are sensitive too. Excess inflammation in your body may contribute to more of an inflammatory cascade than is healthy.

    10 - EAT ANTI VIRAL FOODS: garlic, onions, berries, green tea.

    11 - There are a few ANTI-VIRAL HERBS worth considering. Licorice, PauD’Arco and Lemon Balm. These have a history of being helpful with flu and colds. There is no research using these in this swine flu period in place of conventional medications and we are not suggesting forgoing conventional medicines.

    12 - EXERCISE – helps move your lymph tissue and blood in your body, which is needed to keep your immune surveillance at its best.

    From a naturopathic perspective, we may need to address the underlying causes of these viral illnesses.

     


    Aug ཇ Newsletter: Organics TV interview with drs. Pina and Peter, anxiety medication risk

    August 18, 2011

    issue 26

    Happy August - the glorious dog days of summer. In this issue:

    - Dr. Peter and Dr. Pina together on FOX NEWS spreading the good word of Organic Foods
    - Why you need to LOSE YOUR COWS
    - Anxiety Medications: worth the risk?
    upcoming lectures: cancer and natural medicine, Naturopathic medicine

    click HERE to READ

     


    Folic Acid - the better equalizer

    Dr. Peter's Psychology Today BlogPost

    6-27-11

    Can a simple B vitamin jump start depression healing better than piling on another medication?...

    Click to article here

     


    Male hot flashes? Acupuncture works for prostate cancer care..

    April 25, 2011

    by dr. peter bongiorno and dr. pina logiudice

    Acupuncture is a well-known treatment for female hot flashes in menopausal women. Did you know that men who are undergoing prostate cancer treatment may also find themselves battling hot flashes as well? Hormonal medications designed to block testosterone cause hot flashes in about 60% of the men who take them.

    One small study suggests that acupuncture can help. In this study, 14 men who were suffering hot flashes were given half hour sessions of acupuncture twice a week for four weeks. The benefit at two weeks averaged around a 70% improvement, and by six weeks the improvement was 90%. Even after 8 months, the improvement was still around 80%, which is pretty remarkable.

    Although this was a small study, the results are quite strong. Previous research, and our clinical experience have shown acupuncture to be a safe and effective adjunct for patients using chemotherapy to reduce side effects, decrease nausea, and increase both mood and quality life. www.innersourcehealth.com

    reference:
    Ashamalla H, Jiang ML, Guirguis A, Peluso F, Ashamalla M. Acupuncture for the alleviation of hot flashes in men treated with androgen ablation therapy. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2011 Apr 179(5):1358-63.

    click for reference here

     


    Radio Interview: WHRC, NY
    Depression, Naturopathic Licensing

    december 2011

    Holiday blues are a well-documented phenomenon that affects many people this time of year. Fortunately, many of these “cases” pass after the New Year. But depression–the debilitating illness– remains for some. It is more than a fleeting period of sadness and can last for years–or a lifetime without proper care. The World Health Organization predicts that in 10 years depression will be the second most diagnosed disease in the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 10 percent of Americans are depressed.

    Today antidepressants are the most heavily prescribed medications. Once they start on the pills, patients are seldom weaned away from them. The drugs and their side effects are controversial. Some studies suggest they don’t help people with mild to moderate forms of the disease. With more people turning to natural medicine, some healers have found natural medicines and lifestyle changes to be more effective.

    In this podcast, WHRC NY talks with naturopathic physician, Dr. Peter Bongiorno. He is the author of Healing Depression: Naturopathic and Conventional Treatments. Dr. Bongiorno talks about natural treatments for some depressed patients, about the acceptance of naturopathic medicine by conventional physicians, and about the issue of licensing doctors who practice this medicine in New York State.

    Click here to listen

     


    Calcium Supplements Linked to Heart Attacks

    10-16-2010

    A no brainer right? You are at risk for osteoporosis - so, you should take calcium? Well, it seems calcium is one of the major contributors to atherosclerotic plaque - the plaque that blocks up the arteries around the heart. Interestingly, conventional medicine prescribes statin medications to lower cholesterol levels, but does not do anything in regards to calcium deposits.

    Alone, calcium itself does not actually prevent or treat osteoporosis. To accomplish this, it is important to use a naturopathic approach that includes changing the diet, strengthening digestion to absorption nutrition, increasing resistance exercise like gardening and weights work, and using a synergy of minerals like magnesium with some calcium (in a high quality form like citrate or malate) and boron, silica and horsetail, and of course checking vitamin D levels. There is also a genetic test that helps to see if a patient has a genetic predisposition to vitamin D imbalance and osteoporosis, and there are urine tests that help decide how much calcium a person is losing from the bone.

    Now, some research is suggesting that calcium supplements not only provide no benefit, but that they can even be harmful, increasing the risk of heart attacks by nearly a third. As expected, these results, do not apply to calcium ingested in food, which is beneficial. As a note, most of these studies were with patients using calcium carbonate, a very inexpensive version of calcium supplementation. And these studies did not use vitamin D, and important nutrient/hormone that helps move calcium into bone, and is also protective of the heart in other ways

    Two studies are supporting this thought: one from 2006 and one in 2008. One study from the University of Auckland in New Zealand and his colleagues combined results from 11 randomized controlled trials of calcium supplements without vitamin D involving more than 12,000 patients. The British Medical Journal reported that there was a 31% increase in the risk of heart attack and smaller, non-significant increases in the risk of stroke and death. While equal numbers of women received calcium or placebo, 143 of those who received calcium suffered a heart attack, compared to 111 who received a placebo.

    The risk increase is small, but given all the women taking poor quality high dose supplementation, this may be a problem.

    Unfortunately, the cardiologist who authored the study recommends no supplementation be used unless drugs are being used to treat. Apparently, he has not read the plethora of information linking osteoporotic drugs to increased fracture rates in other parts of the body, osteonecrosis of the hip and jaw, and esophageal changes that can become cancerous.

    BMJ 2010 341:c3691 doi: 10.1136/bmj.c3691 (Published 29 July 2010)

    click here for reference