Posts for category: Uncategorized
Education – Not Medication
Our practice specializes in medical care of adults and children suffering from chronic illnesses. Typically, these problems are treated with drugs (sinuses with antihistamines, wheezing with inhalers and headaches with pain killers). This is a temporary fix; that’s how the sick get sicker.
New research shows:
- If you are sick, there is always an underlying cause
- By finding the cause and treating it, you can feel better, get off drugs, avoid their side effects and save money.
Our emphasis is on patient education — not medication, and learning about the causes, how they affect you and what to do about them
The list of conditions responding to such treatment is growing and includes:
*Colitis/Irritable Bowel Syndrome
*Bloating and Stomach upset
*Hives & Eczema
*High Blood pressure
*Pre-menstrual Syndrome (PMS)
*Frequent Respiratory Infections in Both Children and Adults
*Hyperactivity and Learning Disorders in Children
*Candidiasis or Recurrent Yeast Infections
Call 314-921-5600 today and start your journey toward Optimal Wellness.
Chronic Viral Infections
Viral infections are widespread. Our immune system is capable of fighting these viruses so resulting infections are often short term. However, there are a number of viruses which once into the body, the immune system is not capable of getting rid of them. Therefore, these viruses may flare up now and then causing recurrent symptoms. Most of these viruses belong to the Herpes group and include Herpes I, Herpes II, Epstein Barr Virus (EBV), and Cytomegalic Virus (CMV). There are other viruses that do not belong to this group but behave the same way. Toxoplasma Gondii is a protozoan (single cell parasite) which can also cause chronic recurrent symptoms.
- We check four antibodies against EB Virus. Normally, all these antibodies should be less than 1:20. Depending on the pattern of these antibodies, a diagnosis of inactive infections (past infection) or recent or reactivation (chronic infection) is made. We will further elaborate on this point a little bit later.
- CMV Titers are:
* Normal = < .91 * Equivocal = .91 – 1.09 * Positive = > 1.09
* High Positive = > 3.49
- Rubella titers are: (normal less than 1).
- Toxoplasma Gondii titers are:
* Normal = < .91 * Equivocal = .91 – 1.09 * Positive = > 1.09
* High Positive = > 3.49
- Herpes Simplex: Herpes Simplex is of two types:
- Herpes Simplex Type I: This is involved in causing canker sores. Almost everyone is infected by it.
- Herpes Simplex Type II: This is involved in genital herpes.
Both these viruses closely resemble each other and can cross-react. Therefore, precaution is needed in interpreting the lab results. Here are the titers:
Herpes Simplex I & II titers:
* Normal = < .91 * Equivocal = .91 – 1.09 * Positive = > 1.09
* High Positive = > 3.49
Please note: If Herpes Simplex Type II titers are positive and if you did not have genital herpes, then this most probably represents cross reactivity.
Infections caused by these agents are worldwide and most of us had some or all of these infections sometime in the past. For a variety of reasons, the immune system is incapable of getting rid of these viruses. However, the most simple and straightforward reason is that after entering the body, these viruses immediately invade various cells and hide themselves inside the cell so they do not present themselves to the immune system. They sit there and do not reproduce, so nothing happens. They may stay there for a long period of time without any ill effects. However, if for any reason the cell is stimulated which forces the cell to divide, it causes the virus also to divide and reproduce. In such a situation, the virus multiplies at a rate much faster than the cell itself, so the virus is released from the cell into the bloodstream causing an episode of infection which results in flare-up of symptoms. As the virus enters the bloodstream, it causes the immune system to produce antibodies against the virus. Before the immune system has a chance to kill all the viruses, these go and invade more cells and hide themselves once again from the immune system. This process is infinite and goes on and on, continuously infecting more and more cells. As the virus goes into hiding again, the antibody response diminishes over a period of time leading to a pattern of inactivity (past infection).
In summary, during reactivation there is an evidence of active infection and during the inactive period there is evidence of past infection. This is what we had initially referred to as two different antibody patterns in relation to EB Virus. EB Virus is one of the most well-studied viruses. Therefore, if your EB Virus titers show past infection, all it means is that you did get the infection. In order to make a diagnosis of reactivation, one may need to do several blood tests during flare-ups to see if those symptoms are being caused by reactivation. Similarly, in other viruses during the inactive state, these antibody titers go down and increase during flare-ups.
EB Virus titers:
- IgG Anti-VCA LESS THAN 1:20
- IgM Anti-VCA LESS THAN 1:20
- Anti-EA LESS THAN 1:20
- Anti-EBNA LESS THAN 1:20
EB Virus has a special preference for the lymph glands which play a very important role in our overall immunity. As more and more cells get infected, this can lead to weakening of the immune system. As a result of the weakened immune system, allergies to inhalants, foods, chemicals, Candida, etc. may get exacerbated. Some researchers feel that this provides a link between chronic viral infections and allergies.
Herpes virus has a special preference for the nerve cells. So flare-ups occur along the route of the nerve fibers. This is evidenced by recurrent canker sores in the mouth. As Herpes virus resides in the nerve cells, it has been implicated as a possible cause for headaches, including migraine headaches.
Here are some of the most common symptoms that are associated with chronic viral infections:
- Chronic fatigue for which no other cause is found.
- Recurrent sore throats with recurrent swollen glands in the neck.
- Repeated flu-like symptoms–at times low grade temperature.
- Liver and spleen disorders including enlargement of liver and spleen.
- Blurred vision, inflammation of the iris and sensitivity to bright light.
- Meniere’s Disease, dizziness, vertigo, balance problems, headaches.
- Abnormal liver function tests without any obvious cause.
- As some of these viruses invade the immune system, these should be suspected in any patient with severe allergy problems.
- Arthralgia – non-specific joint aches and pains and muscle aches and pains.
- Memory loss and inability to concentrate.
- Various neurological disorders including temporary paralysis, numbness, sensitivity to heat and cold.
- Various psychological complaints, especially anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, phobias, and mood changes.
- History of infectious mononucleosis in earlier life. EB Virus causes infectious mononucleosis as a primary infection.
- Recurrent canker sores (Herpes Virus I).
- Recurrent genital sores (Herpes Virus II).
- Polysymptomatic Multisystemic Disease–a wide variety of non-specific symptoms referred to many organs in the body for which no physical cause is found. Most common symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, weight loss, swelling of eyelids and extremities, rashes, bladder problems, and intolerance to alcohol.
Blood tests give us a tentative diagnosis only (and at times we may have to repeat the tests several times to make such a diagnosis). However, the final diagnosis is made if you respond to the treatment.
CHRONIC VIRAL INFECTION
The role of these viruses in chronic illness has been brought to the attention of the medical community only in the past few years. We do not have all the answers. However, the following things have been found helpful in various combinations. The usual length of treatment is six months.
- Antiviral Medicines:
A. Symmetrel 100 mg per capsule
B. Tagamet 800 mg per tablet – Tagamet is an anti-ulcer medicine which has been found to have antiviral properties.
C. Flagyl 250 mg per tablet – Flagyl is used for Trichomonas infection but also has been found to have antiviral properties.
D. Zovirax 200 mg per capsule
A combination of two drugs is used — usually Symmetrel and Tagamet.
- Build up the Immunity: For most of these viruses, no specific vaccine is available. However, two vaccines have been found to boost up the immunity.
A. Flu Vaccine: Influenza virus resembles Herpes group of viruses. Therefore, flu vaccine can be given to build up the immunity and neutralize the symptoms. You need to be tested to find the neutralization dose. Flu vaccine can be taken either by subcutaneous (under the skin) injection once in four days or as sublingual (under the tongue) drops up to four times per day. Subcutaneous injections are preferred.
These viruses have many different ways to escape the assault from the immune system. One of the ways is by the process of mutation. During flare-ups, they may change their structure a little bit and thus present themselves to the immune system as a new species for which there are no antibodies. By the time the immune system manufactures antibodies, these “newly mutated viruses” go and hide inside the cells. This may necessitate repeated testing to find new neutralization doses.
B. Staph Lysate Vaccine: This vaccine is made from staphylococci and provides specific immunity against recurrent staphylococcal infections. However, this vaccine plays a very important role in boosting the immunity as a whole. Therefore, this may play a very important role in controlling chronic viral infections. Testing is done to determine the dose. The dose is taken once a week.
C. MRV (Mixed respiratory vaccine): This consists of bacteria that commonly cause respiratory infections. This vaccine builds up the immunity against such bacteria, and, in addition, it is also a general immunity booster. Testing is done to determine the dose and the allergy technician will explain to you the dosage.
PLEASE NOTE: For treatment purposes, we usually use a combination of all three vaccines, called Triple Vaccine. Sometimes we may use these vaccines individually.
D. Rubella Vaccine: If your Rubella titers are elevated, you will be tested for Rubella vaccine. This is done by the neutralization method.
E. Vitamin C: Vitamin C has strong antiviral properties. Vitamin C is available in the following forms:
- Sodium Ascorbate . It is derived from corn. If you are allergic to corn, use Vitamin C derived from sago palm.
- Buffered Vitamin C. This is derived from sago palm. This contains calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
- Ascorbic Acid. This is also derived from sago palm. This is sour in taste.
During acute flare-up, the need for Vitamin C is increased. In this situation, you may need Vitamin C. The only side effect of large doses of Vitamin C is diarrhea.
F. Multivitamin and mineral preparation (without copper and iron).
Essential Fatty Acids Deficiency
Over the past decade, progress has been made in nutrition concerning “Essential Fatty Acids” (EFA). The EFA are nutrients required to produce the enzymes needed for various bodily functions and especially for immunity against infection and cancer.
There are two kinds, or families, of EFA. The Omega-6 family is found mainly in seeds grown in temperate climates (safflower, sunflower, and soy oils are examples). The EFA famine in America mainly involves the other family: Omega-3 EFA. The best sources of these fatty acids are fresh, oily, cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines. There is one good, inexpensive source of both Omega-6 and Omega-3 EFA: dried beans, such as kidney beans, navy beans, and soy beans.
Unfortunately, today’s diet is increasingly high in factory-processed, packaged foods and the naturally occurring EFA are chemically altered by hydrogenation and made nearly useless to the body. In addition, the content of sugar and salt in these processed foods further impairs the body’s utilization of what little EFA remain.
The common symptoms of EFA deficiency are: dry skin, “chicken skin” of the upper arms or thighs (tiny rough bumps like a plucked chicken), dandruff of the lower legs in winter, excess callouses on the feet, fragile fingernails, and straw-like or falling hair. Usually, one or two of these symptoms are present, rarely all of them.
To supply the needed EFA, a combination of flaxseed oil, black currant oil, and fish oil is needed. These should be taken on the following schedule:
- 1. FLAX SEED OIL: 1/2 to 1-1/2 Tablespoonsful twice daily
The best way to take flaxseed oil is either to put on the food and mix it or use on salad as a salad oil. You cannot use flaxseed oil in cooking, otherwise it will destroy the essential fatty acids. It is hard to swallow any oil by itself; therefore, do not attempt to drink flaxseed oil by itself.
You may make salad dressing from Flax Seed Oil. Here is the recipe:
2 oz. Flax Seed Oil, 2 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 oz. water, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 tsp. maple syrup (optional), salt to taste, 1/8 tsp. Turmeric (optional). Put mixture in a mini blender and blend until smooth.
You may vary the amount of ingredients to suit your taste.
- BLACK CURRANT OIL SOFTGELS: Three softgels, twice daily, for a total of six.
- FISH OIL CAPSULES: Three capsules, twice daily (total of six).
For improved immune function, the following vitamins are also needed:
- VITAMIN B6: 100 mg, once daily
- VITAMIN C: 1000 mg, twice daily
- VITAMIN E: 400 IU, once daily
- BETA CAROTENE: 15 mg, once daily
As the symptoms of EFA deficiency improve (generally after one to three months), you may decrease the amounts of the first supplements to as follows:
- FLAXSEED OIL: Two teaspoons, daily
- BLACK CURRANT OIL: Two, twice daily (total of four)
- FISH OIL: Two, twice daily (total of four)
The oils are all available from your local health food store.
Ask for high lignan flax seed oil, which means the fiber is still in the oil and has not been filtered out.
Always try to obtain hypo-allergenic foods and supplements.
Guidelines Regarding Timings For Taking Supplements
The most important part of taking supplements is absorption. Anything that is not properly absorbed into your system is ultimately of no use to you.
It is generally considered best to take vitamins with a meal since the digestive juices you produce at mealtime enable you to absorb the maximum amount of the nutrient. Fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K require either animal or vegetable fat to be present in the stomach to be optimally absorbed. It is also a good practice to space your vitamins and supplements throughout the day, especially those that are water-soluble, such as the B-complex and vitamin C. If you are taking 3,000 milligrams a day of vitamin C, for example, you should take 1,000 at each of your three meals that day.
A few things to take note of: if you are taking both mineral supplements and a fiber supplement, consider taking them at different times of the day. The fiber makes it difficult for the minerals to be absorbed. Taking too much zinc at once can cause stomach cramps, so you might want to split your dose up, depending on how much you take. And if you are taking any essential fatty acid supplements, you should take your vitamin E at the same time.
Herbal remedies and probiotics, on the other hand, usually require an empty stomach for maximum effectiveness. This means 20-30 minutes before meals, or two hours after.
Of course, no one wants to spend all of their time worrying about when to take their supplements. Perhaps the best strategy is to consult your nutritionally oriented physician, or a compounding pharmacist about the particular mixture of supplements you take and get his or her help planning out your day according to your specific combination. Then stick with the same routine every day. After all, the best plan is one that you can easily follow consistently.
Common Sense Approach to Digestive Problems
Get off junk foods, sugar and devitalized foods. Choose healthful, whole foods.
Avoid foods that you are allergic to or the foods that disagree with you in any way.
Eat when hungry.
Relax when eating.
Chew foods well. Eat slowly and take small bites. Chew the food till it is near liquid. Remember: “Drink your solids and chew your liquids”.
A short walk after meals helps in acid production.
Avoid overeating and eat at appropriate times. Overeating is a common cause of poor digestion. Do not eat in-between meals. Continual snacking between meals and late-night meals may also cause system burnout. Yet, some individuals find that full meals make their digestive tract work too hard. Grazing – having five to six small, frequent meals throughout the day – is often an effective solution.
Do not eat anything after supper till the morning. This fast at night allows digestive tract to recover. Now, when you will have a breakfast, it will be real breaking of the fast. Allow 12-13 hours of rest between supper and breakfast.
Find relative ratio of raw to cooked foods that is right for you. Raw food has enzymes that help in digestion. Some individuals have trouble digesting raw food. Experiment to find out what ratio of raw to cooked foods you tolerate well.
Ensure adequate intake of protein, zinc, manganese, vitamin B6, and magnesium.
Drink modest amount of water with meals (Not iced or very hot. This inhibits pancreatic function.). A small glass of water or a cup of herbal tea is fine.
Drink water up to 30-45 minutes or more before or at least 2-3 hours after main meals.
Avoid constipation. You should preferably have 2-3 bowel movements a day – or at least one good bowel movement a day. The stool should be soft, effortless, and odorless and you should sense a feeling of complete evacuation after the bowel movement. If you are constipated, ask us for advice.
Hypochlorhydria: Low acid production is an important cause for indigestion, especially after age 50.
Helicobacter pylori infection of the stomach may suppress acid production in stomach. A simple blood test may show the infection.
Yet other causes for low acid production include weakened adrenal function and hypothyroidism (low thyroid). Checking for these deficiencies may be important in improving acid production.
Stress may also reduce acid production and secretory IgA in stool. A stool sample can determine and assess intestinal secretory IgA levels.
Finding and treating giardiasis (a parasitic bowel infection), and other parasitic infections, intestinal yeast overgrowth, the “leaky gut” syndrome, and food allergies – all common causes of intestinal inflammation – are paramount in returning normal digestive function. Simple stool and urine tests can help in diagnosing bowel infection and leaky gut respectively.
Pancreatic enzyme deficiency is a very common cause of indigestion.
Bile deficiency is another important cause for indigestion, but it cannot readily be measured. However, some indirect signs may be intolerance to fatty foods, biliousness, constipation, light colored stools, and bad breath.
Drink peppermint, spearmint, papaya-mint, or bancha (kukicha or twig) tea.
Cooking with ginger can also aid in digestion, as can using aloe vera, ½ ounce of juice or ½ Tablespoonful of the gel. Slippery elm tea and aloe vera juice can work effectively to soothe irritation, inflammation, heartburn, indigestion and even ulcers.