Monday, December 13, 2010

Vitamin D – The Super Vitamin

Every day, I have patients interested in the new, hot vitamin du jour.  This year it seems to be Vitamin D.  I have included in my blog today a number of studies that talk about the benefits. I really believe the video of Joe Prendergast, MD that I have included below gives the best synopsis of why Vitamin D is an essential nutrient. He has been a leader in this area and speaking about it long before it was in fashion. 

Bottom line, most people need to supplement with Vitamin D, especially those that are living in winter climates like Chicago where there is an appalling lack of sun. Sun is essential to making Vitamin D in our bodies. Most MDs are now including Vitamin D levels in the yearly blood work done at a physical. Don't wait, this vitamin can be added TODAY to help your immune system, mood, heart, and a host of systems of your body. Check out details below...

Vitamin D – The Super Vitamin

U.K. and Canadian scientists have found vitamin D to be even more so vital to health and well- being than previously thought. Their new findings have revealed vitamin D as a direct influencer of more than 200 human genes. One such gene is related to both cancer and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. According to scientists, vitamin D deficiency makes us susceptible to a wide host of diseases. Other diseases thought to be influenced by vitamin D deficiencies include rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes and dementia. Vitamin D is naturally produced in the body as a result of direct sun exposure to the skin. Vitamin D is also present in larger amounts in fish oils – a common source for most vitamin D supplements. It’s important to note that in larger quantities, vitamin D is also toxic. A number of experts recommend daily dosages of vitamin D ranging from 2000-5000 IU/day.

Source: Reuters. August 24, 2010

Vitamin D To Conquer Your Cold

New research indicates vitamin D may be effective at reducing infections and colds. In this new study, researchers found that a group of young military men who supplemented with 400 IU’s (international units) daily for 6 months versus those who supplemented with a placebo experienced a significantly higher likelihood of having no days missed from work due to a respiratory illness. Moreover, of those taking the vitamin D supplement, half remained healthy during the 6-month study as compared with approximately just one third of those taking the placebo. While more studies are needed, this new research does appear to indicate some benefits of vitamin D in reducing sickness or at least, the severity of sickness. It should be noted that vitamin D when taken in higher dosages is toxic and negative side effects can and do occur beyond 2,000 IU’s per day.

Source: Journal of Infectious Diseases Online. July 15, 2010.

Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Colds
Study Shows Vitamin D May Have a Role to Play in Preventing Colds and Flu

A walk in the sun may be better than popping a vitamin C tablet for boosting your chances of preventing the common cold or flu.

A new study adds to mounting evidence that vitamin C may have been stealing the spotlight all these years from the real cold fighter, vitamin D.

The study, the largest to date on the link between vitamin D and common respiratory infections, shows that people with the lowest vitamin D levels report having significantly more cases of cold and flu than those with higher levels. Vitamin D is produced by the body in response to sunlight and is also found in fortified foods such as milk.

Researchers say that although vitamin C has been used for the prevention of common colds and other respiratory infections for decades, there is little scientific evidence to support its effectiveness. However, several recent studies have suggested that vitamin D, better known for its role in building strong bones, may also play a critical role in immune system function.

"The findings of our study support an important role for vitamin D in prevention of common respiratory infections, such as colds and the flu," says researcher Adit Ginde, MD, MPH, of the University of Colorado, Denver, Division of Emergency Medicine.  "Individuals with common lung diseases, such as asthma or emphysema, may be particularly susceptible to respiratory infections from vitamin D deficiency."

Dr. Stephanie Maj has a thriving family practice in the heart of Chicago. Her clinic is located at 1442 W. Belmont Ave., 1E, Chicago, IL 60657. 773.528.8485.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Safety of Chiropractic: It's literally is safer than aspirin!

The safety of any procedure, medical or chiropractic, is the first concern for the public safety. One wonders what this means when it comes to drug ads that end with a laundry list of side effects, including serious health problems and even death. Does chiropractic present any dangers to the public and if so, what are they?

The risk of chiropractic procedures has been the subject of much study. With millions of chiropractic adjustments given each and every day around the world it's important to the public, the profession and of course, the malpractice insurance companies. Because chiropractic has historically kept itself separate and unique from the medical profession it has found itself to be the object of attacks from medicine. Since evidence for the effectiveness of chiropractic in many health conditions continues to grow, the attack on chiropractic has moved to safety. What do the facts say regarding risk?

You are seven times more likely to get hit by lightening than have a stroke from a chiropractic adjustment.

No one pays closer attention to injury statistics than Malpractice Insurance carriers. Scott Haldeman, MD, DC reviewed malpractice claims records for a 10-year period between 1988 and 1997. In reviewing the outcomes following the application of 134.5 million cervical manipulations (commonly referred to as the chiropractic adjustment), the records indicated that there were 23 reported cases of stroke or vertebral artery dissection (VAD). Of this group, 10 of the patients had the complicating factors of high blood pressure, use of oral contraceptives, or a history of smoking, all of which are associated with vascular disease. The actual incidence of stroke or VAD following cervical manipulation was found to be one per 5.85 million cervical adjustments. That means that the average chiropractor would work for 1430 years (or practice 48 full chiropractic careers!) before they would see a single case of this type of incident.

The chart below shows the comparative risk of a number of common procedures and events to that of a chiropractic adjustment. Even the risk for stroke of something as common as birth control pills is over 200 times greater than a stroke from a chiropratcic adjustment.

Risk forcompared to chiropractic
Death from spinal fusion surgery100,000
Death from cervical (neck) surgery34,483
Death from hospital mistake30,000
Death from laminectomy (spinal surgery)25,000
Death from prolonged Aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, Aleve use.4,166
Paralysis or stroke from back or neck surgery3,571
Death from automobile accident750
Stroke from Birth Control Pills235
Get struck by lightening7
Death from aviation accident2.5

Notice you are 7 times more likely to get hit by lightening! Other reports listing a higher frequency of adverse events have been compromised by the tendency of those authors to inappropriately list the practitioner as a chiropractor, even when it turned out that the injury was caused by a medical doctor, a physical therapist or even a kung fu teacher and a hair dresser! And yet the reports typically refer to the treatment as a "chiropractic adjustment."

The National College of Chiropractic Clinic reported that over a 15 year period over 5 million neck adjustments were given without a single vascular injury - and this is a student clinic with relatively inexperienced doctors performing the procedures.

Rather than raising concerns about the safety of chiropractic, these studies emphasize that spinal manipulation, in the hands of a in the hands of a trained chiropractor, spinal adjustment is extremely safe. However, in the hands of unskilled practitioners they can be dangerous, and the practice must be closely regulated. This is why chiropractic exists as a separate profession. To provide you with safe and effective care, not a physical therapist or a medical doctor who attended a weekend course on spinal manipulation (yes, they do have these). All chiropractors complete 2 years of pre-doctoral training followed by 4 years of doctoral training and a one year internship. I had my Bachelors of Science in Nutrition from Ohio University prior to chiropractic school.

The American Journal of Pediatrics found that chiropractic is the most used alternative health care choice for children. One of the largest studies on chiropractic safety is the New Zealand Federal Government's 18 month "Inquiry on Chiropractic" published in 1979. The study concluded that "chiropractic is remarkably safe" and further stated that "chiropractic is the only health profession equipped by their education and training to carry out this procedure."

Dr. Stephanie Maj has a thriving family practice in the heart of Chicago. Her clinic is located at 1442 W. Belmont Ave., 1E, Chicago, IL 60657. 773.528.8485.