From the yearly archives: "2007"

To begin I want to thank all the readers of this blog for tuning in. I’m excited to keep this little quip going in 2008. Here are some of 2007s notables:

  • Most hysterical: Instructions for weight-loss drug Alli suggest wearing dark clothing in case of bowel accident–yeccch! From Dr. Nick Show, Episode 3 on Lifestyle Drugs

To know what topics I found most important, just look at the number of times I mentioned each:

  1. Chiropractic (eight times)
  2. Exercise, sleep and yoga (six times each)
  3. Children and vaccine (four times each)
  4. Cholesterol, essential fatty acids, flu, flu vaccine, health, immune system, immunity and LDL (three times each)

Keep checking in in 2008 for more health news and information…with a twist. See you then.

Have I told you how stellar my blood panel was? Not to brag, but…

I did have exceptional cholesterol and triglyceride levels–you know, the stuff that’s supposed to predict the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. But how can that be? I salt everything; I eat red meat three time a week. Shouldn’t I be the MI poster-boy?

Not necessarily. I exercise regularly and take lots of essential fatty acids (EFAs). EFAs are essential nutrients–that is, they are not produced in the body–so they must be obtained in the diet, or through a supplement. There are two classes of EFAs–omega 3s and omega 6s. We get plenty of omega 6 fatty acids in the typical Western diet. It’s the omega 3 variety that most of us are lacking. You’ll find omega 3 fatty acids, naturally, in fish; but you can also get them from a good EFA supplement (ask me, I carry the best).

Without going into the long list of benefits (you can catch them, here, in the following article), EFAs are important for cells, blood vessels, the brain, the skin, and many, many other tissues, organs, and processes. I’ve been pushing these babies for years. And I’ll keep pushing them here: If you aren’t taking omega 3 fatty acids regularly, what the heck are you waiting for?

Listen to this: According to this recent study, fish oil capsules do an equally good job of enriching the blood and other body tissues with healthy omega 3 fatty acids as fresh fish does. Wow! Get it? You can do just as well with fish oil capsules as you can with gulping down the fishy stuff. Not a big deal for sushi lovers; but for someone like me, who can’t stomach the taste of fish…well, it’s nothing short of extraordinary.

Let me reiterate. You’ve gotta get proper amounts of omega three fatty acids in your body. By doing so, you will do wonders in reducing your risk of heart disease. Trust me, it’ll show in your chem panel over time. However, exercise plays a big part, too; so you’d better get the fever for it, real soon. Omega three fatty acids plus exercise equals good heart health–enough to give you bragging rights.

What is 7,000 years old and promulgated in the Sutras? would be the Jeopardy question. Recent studies show that yoga has multiple benefits, some that go well beyond getting in shape. Things like a greater sense of well-being and reversing the biochemical changes associated with metabolic syndrome (a combination of obesity and diabetes) have been observed in people doing regular yoga.

What’s Dr. Campos’ hands down (and feet up) favorite form of exercise?

Yoga combines physical exertion with mental conditioning–the perfect challenge for mind and body. Many people go into yoga thinking that they’ll relax, they’ll go Zen. Uh, not. Yoga is grueling if you’re a newcomer, or haven’t done it in a while. True, some classes will go easy on you if you’re new to the practice; but the sheer act of doing asanas (postures) is a challenge to beginners and veterans alike. It’s supposed to be. It’s yoga, dude…

What reduces waist circumference; lowers blood pressure, blood sugar, and triglycerides; and raises levels of “good” HDL cholesterol levels?

Yoga is not just the physical aspect of doing postures but also has a breathing component and a meditation component. When researchers looked at these two aspects of yoga, they found that people who practiced yoga for six weeks showed lowered stress levels, lowered feelings of anxiety and depression. Whoa! But we knew that, right?

Listen, try yoga. It’s incredible. Give it six weeks–no! six months. I guarantee that if you commit to it for this stretch of time, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Happy twisting.

At the dawn of a looming bird flu pandemic, researchers say they have found a new use for the standard flu vaccine. Scientists at the National Institute for Infectious Diseases Lazzaro Spallanzani in Rome, have found that some volunteers inoculated against the seasonal influenza virus showed antibody protection from the bird flu. Although preliminary, experts are using these results as a way to step-up yearly influenza vaccinations.

It’s no secret how I feel about the flu vaccine–pretty useless as far as I’m concerned; but I will not discount the possibility of cross-over immunity. If, indeed, the annual flu vaccine provides a progressive tolerance to a more virulent viral strain like H5N1 (the nefarious bird flu virus) the more often it is used, then it would certainly warrant mass use. But what I can’t ignore is the convenient opportunity to use fear as a foolproof method of mass marketing.

As I point out in my upcoming book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, public fear is often exploited as a way to pass legislation or sell product. The greater the threat, the more insidious the exploitation. Remember when North Korea had a nuclear bomb pointed at the West Coast? In L.A. it was used to scare locals into buying duct tape, plastic sheeting and other survival gear in the event of a nuclear blast. Now we’d better prepare for–gulp–the bird flu!

No doubt, an infectious pandemic is long overdo; the world hasn’t seen a bona fide one since 1968. But didn’t we hear the same things about e-bola, hanta virus, and the West Nile virus too? Just think about how many threats we’d have to protect ourselves against every year if we were to allow our fears to get the best of us. We might have to sit through a few more Dustin Hoffman duds at the very least. So why is this one any different?

The truth is that, just as experts believe that each successive flu inoculation adds strength to the vaccinated person’s growing immunity, wouldn’t it be just a likely that catching the flu every year or so would also add to one’s protection? Uh, now let’s just think about that for a minute.

One of my strongest arguments in The Six Keys to Optimal Health is to focus on strengthening our internal defenses–the immune system among other things. Only in this way can we increase our chance of surviving any catastrophe. It almost seems counterproductive to rely on the supply of vaccine and antidote for our continued survival; however, I guess it could happen. But I need way more, by way of information, than what we’ve got now to jump on that train. Until we know more–like does the annual flu vaccine provide protection for a large percentage of people, and can one develop an equal amount of immunity, naturally, through routine exposure and fighting off illness every year–then I’ll avoid the flu vaccine for now. Prove its need beyond a reasonable doubt, and you might just see me standing in the flu-line one day, after all.

OK, this is it; my final fitness update. It couldn’t come at a more opportune time as I have just turned 40 today. Woohoo! As my brother told me, I have officially entered an age where each year will seem to pass in six month increments. Woosh

I made my proclamation to become Fit in 90 Days on September 5th, so officially, my run should have ended December 5th. I was vacationing in Palm Beach at that time, so I actually needed another 14 days; which is probably the amount of time throughout the whole endeavor that I did nothing. No worries, 90 days, 100 days, it’s all the same.

As I’ve been reporting, I tried to exercise (gym) three times a week. I did several private yoga sessions with an instructor, and fined tuned my practice, which I carried out faithfully every day (OK, nearly every day). That was huge. I resolved some fairly irritating muscular imbalances that were causing low back discomfort, and I also did quite a bit of work on my shoulders. My new yoga routine improved my posture. I feel the difference.

I kept a regular chiropractic regimen–very important with all the moving and stretching and lifting and hiking. A combination of yoga and chiropractic is powerful, indeed.

I followed a pretty solid nutritional program–ate more fresh fruits and vegetables, drank lots of water, and took my daily vitamins. As usual, I was diligent about taking my essential fatty acids and alpha lipoic acid, the powerful anti-oxidant.

I think the most profound health habit I adopted through all of this, though, was seriously minimizing my consumption of refined sugar (started November 8th). As I described in an earlier post, I had a brief roller coaster ride with regard to my energy levels, but that evened out. Once I got over that withdrawal stage, my energy skyrocketed. And I lost weight as a result. Before “no sugar,” I lost four pounds (to 163 lbs.); afterward, eight pounds (to 155 lbs.). Nice. So in total, I’ve lost twelve pounds. Twelve pounds in twelve weeks. Very healthy.

Let’s review my goals: I wanted to lower my weight by seven pounds–I beat that. I wanted to lower my body fat. Oops, forgot to check it for this update. Sorry. I wanted to do unassisted handstands–didn’t do it (remember what the Yogi said?) Wanted to run Runyon Canyon. Nope, didn’t do that either.

So, you might wonder, what did I accomplish then? In my mind, I just made my routine a regular habit; I really am happy with that. It’s not a cop out. What I want from a health regimen is improved or maintained health. What I really want is optimal health. Without a doubt, I’ve accomplished that. I know with complete certainty that by putting this kind of consistent and careful attention into my body, there is no other possible outcome to be had. But as serendipity has it, I happened to take a blood test as a part of a life insurance policy I was pursuing, and they were kind enough to send me the results. I normally don’t put too much stock into these tests, because, as I’ve said, I know that if I do the right things, I’ll have a good functioning and healthy body. But hey, I was happy to check it out; I mean, it is my physiology. Here are the results:

  • Cholesterol–217 mg/dl. Between 200-239 is considered borderline high.
  • Triglycerides–58 mg/dl. Anything under 150 is normal. Hmmm.
  • HDLs–68 mg/dl. Anything above 40 is desirable, above 60, very good.
  • LDLs–137 mg/dl. Should be under 160 if have only zero or one risk factors.
  • Chol/HDL ratio–3.20. A desirable ratio is under 5; optimum under 3.5. Booyah.

Remember, the amount of cholesterol is not nearly as important as the amount of HDLs in your blood, and even less important than the cholesterol/HDL ratio (read the post, here). So, as to not bore you, all the other test were good to optimal too. Yes, I love tests, especially when they work in my favor.

So what did I accomplish? I motivated myself to exercise, eat well, get regular bodywork, sleep, and focus on my health in a proactive manner. I feel better, have more energy, feel more rested, look better, and have less physical discomfort all around. And, hopefully, I’ve shown you that with a little planning, and a large commitment, you can create a better place for yourself physically. You can achieve optimal health if you want it.

I know nobody in L.A. drinks tap water–it’s bottled water for everyone. However, all Los Angeles residents need to be aware that the Metropolitan Water District is adding fluoride–a known toxin–into the city’s water supply. Water fluoridation has been a topic of controversy for decades, and L.A. water has gone unadulterated for years, but not any longer.

As of last month, fluorosilicic acid has been added to L.A.’s water supply in an attempt to decrease dental caries (cavities). Fluorosilicic acid is a known poison, even in small amounts. Proponents–the American Dental Association, the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–believe that minute amounts help in fighting cavities. But fluorosilicic acid is highly unstable; that means it dissociates in water. It is potentially linked to skeletal fluorosis (check out some gnarly pictures, here), bone cancer, thyroid disease and other diseases. It is so toxic that an accidental spill of fluorosilicic acid on a Florida interstate a few years ago sent more than 50 people to hospitals. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Drinking an ounce would probably kill a person.” Yet, we are being fed this stuff by health organizations and government as a health remedy. Doh!

I spend quite a bit of ink on this topic in my upcoming book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, collaborating with an expert in the area to get much of my information. No surprises how I feel about it. Despite the purported benefits, many European countries have bypassed the practice and continue to have low rates of tooth decay anyway.

If you don’t mind having a known toxin added to your drinking water, or you think it’s a good thing, then do nothing–ignore this post and move on. But if you think like Martin Sheen that “We are not lab rats and reject any attempt to be treated as such,” then you might want to keep informed and do what you can to stop the practice. That’s all I’ve got to say…for now.

Check out 50 Reasons to Oppose Fluoridation.

Like I’ve told you a million times: Chiropractic maintains the integrity of the nervous system by removing subluxations. The nervous system, when free of subluxations, works at an optimum level, allowing the body to operate the way it’s supposed to–by taking in information from one’s surroundings, processing it, and delivering a response–giving human beings the ability to survive in an often challenging and unforgiving environment.

We rely on our nervous system for every body process–digestion, immune function, respiration, everything–as well as every action needed for survival–like movement, communication, learning. When our nervous system is hampered by subluxations, necessary process are also hampered and the body starts to become out-of-sync. When subluxation free, we have a greater ability to move, to communicate, to learn.

I adjust my daughter Delilah to guarantee that her developing nervous system functions at its highest level. All children should be checked for subluxations and receive chiropractic care when appropriate. I adjust Delilah because I know how much it means to her health.

Check out this video showing my daughter’s incredible ability to control her fine motor movements:

Keep your nervous system–and your children’s–functioning optimally at all times with safe, natural chiropractic care.

Guess what’s “in” for 2008. Give up?–a fresh bout of syphilis, that’s what. Yup, you heard right. Ol’ Treponema pallidum, that crazy spirochete of yesteryear, is back in fashion, especially in Europe. Whether in London, Amsterdam, Paris or Berlin, if you’re looking for a good heapin’ helpin’ of this bad boy, just have some wild, unprotected sex. It’s there for the taking, baby. Just make sure you’ve got lots of penicillin, cuz this is one infection you’ll not want to ignore.

Syphilis comes in three flavors–primary, secondary, and tertiary. Whatever your speed, syphilis has got the complication for you. Unsightly and painless* chancre your thing? Then you’ll want to try primary syphilis. Don’t worry, you can have it on any location, even on your finger; very becoming, I might say.

Maybe you like to live on the edge. Maybe you’d prefer a full body rash, or white, flaky crust on your head. How about fever, sore throat, malaise, weight loss, headache, meningismus, and enlarged lymph nodes? Then you’ll want to ignore that bout of primary syphilis, and go for the secondary version. Nice. You’ve got balls, man. But not for long…

If you just don’t have the patience for the two more mild forms of the syph, then you’ve absolutely got to try tertiary syphilis. WooBoy! Ain’t nothing like it! Gummas, chronic inflammation, neuropathies, aortic aneurysm, heart failure, blindness, dementia, memory loss, insanity, death–you get it all with this one.

Seems like people are tired of safe sex. I know, I know–boring! So they’re doin’ it without protection. It seems like the biggest adventurers are HIV+ men (but everyone’s doing it–straight, gay, no matter–it’s the thing). According to experts, HIV+ men are seeking each other out on the Internet specifically to have unprotected sex. They figure: Hey, I’ve got the virus, you’ve got the virus–let’s party. I understand the concept. But what they might not count on is syphilis. Seriously, syphilis scares me a hell of a lot more than HIV does. But that’s just me. I’m definitely boring.

Listen, if syphilis or gonorrhea or chlamydia ain’t your thing, then don’t stop using rubbers–it’s simply foolish. I know that it may sound like fun at the time, but just ask anybody who’s ever had any of these infections if the 2.5 minutes was worth it. I’ll bet a million dollars they’ll say, “Hell no!” C’mon, let’s all chant together now: No glove, no love, no glove, no love, no glove, no love…

*thanks Anon.

Flap your arms like a chicken, flap your arms like a chicken
bawk-bawk-bawk-bawk
Make a sound like a chicken, make a sound like a chicken
bawk-bawk-bawk-bawk

How would you like to have that lyrical prose running through your head day and night?

Elmo wants to be a chicken, Elmo wants to be a duck
bawk-bawk-bawk-bawk

Pure genius. OK, you must know I’m being facetious here. Our daughter was given the Chicken Dance Elmo doll by some very well-meaning, and quick-thinking loved ones (quick enough to get rid of this toy, fast). Let just me say this now: Chicken Dance Elmo is about one of the most mind-numbing toys you can ever get your kid (see it in action, here). There I’ve said it. Flap your arms like a chicken, indeed.

When choosing toys for your children, you should pick ones that stimulate mental and motor development and reinforce personal relationships, experts say. Toys should stimulate creativity, imagination, and change…hmmm…yes! things that serve any human being regardless of age. Picking toys that are simply the latest fad may not only submerge your child in banality, but might also hamper necessary developmental skills so crucial for young ones.

Toys that stimulate important mental and physical skills include blocks, video games, dolls or any other toy that forces a child to create scenarios. Unless your child is creative enough to devise an end to Chicken Dance Elmo–with a sledge hammer, perhaps–then this toy probably isn’t it. According to Paula Kramer, chair and professor of occupational therapy at the University of the Sciences, Philadelphia, “Parents often feel like they have to rush out and get ‘the toy of the moment’; these toys may be interesting, unique and novel, but they’re not always the best thing for the child or the toy with the longest life.”

I can vouch for that. My daughter definitely finds Chicken Dance Elmo a novelty…for now; but I can’t imagine any kid finding it interesting beyond a couple of months. Maybe, just maybe, if mechanical engineering is their thing; but outside of that, I doubt it.

Experts also say that any toy which promotes interaction with parents, siblings, or playmates is a big plus. So if your child asks you to color with him–color. If he asks you to play video games–play. The time and energy spent is well worth it; and Junior will benefit from the exchange. The only thing I can’t recommend is flapping your arms like chicken. Ever.

More on choosing toys, here.

Jawohl! You’ve got it–National Socialism is alive and well in the good ol’ US of A. Seems like one state is making flu vaccination mandatory for preschoolers. New Jersey State Health Commissioner Dr. Fred M. Jacobs has approved the requirement that all children attending preschool or licensed day care centers will need to get an annual flu shot. Heil, Herr Commandant!

You all know my feelings on mandatory vaccinations in general, and you definitely know how I feel about the flu shot–it’s pure bunkum! I get the concept of public health; but the flu shot hasn’t been proven to protect anybody, except maybe the manufacturers of the vaccine.

According to recent reports, preschool children are “being targeted because their developing immune systems make them as susceptible to flu complications as senior citizens, and because they are more likely than older kids to spread the virus.” Uh, let me see here….don’t we need to encounter microorganisms to develop immunity? There is no long lasting immunity derived from the flu vaccine anyway, since the virus mutates rapidly and new strains pop up every year. So why force it upon the public? Isn’t it better for kids to contract the flu and strengthen their systems? I just don’t get it.

One thing I do get is the concept of herd immunity. Herd immunity is the protection of non-vaccinated individuals by the large number of vaccinated people in a population. The idea is that an illness has less of an opportunity to spread as there are not enough links in the chain (non-vaccinated people) to create a full blown epidemic. So if people want to vaccinate (and, of course, many will) then, by the process of herd immunity, the population as whole will be safe. Go ahead, give ‘em out like candy. There’ll be plenty of takers. There is enough fear of illness to make the flu vaccine business boom. Why make it mandatory for everyone to subject their children to a questionable substance?

I wouldn’t want to give my child the flu vaccine (and believe me, our pediatrician tries; oh boy, does she try). Thank goodness California isn’t yet a part of the Third Reich. Put simply–the flu just isn’t a menacing enough illness for me to go there. What’s next? Chicken Pox. Oh, they try that one too. Haven’t most adults alive today had the chicken pox? But the powers that be are trying to sell us on that nonsense as well. Can’t wait till they come up with the vaccination for stupidity.

And to top it all off, that glorious Reichian state New Jersey has recently had a recall on one of its most common children vaccines. Ah very good, you guessed it, the Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine. Granted this is the vaccine for the bacterial flu strain and not the viral one, but it’s still a recall. Appears that 14 million doses of the vaccine produced by Merck (them again?) were contaminated. Contaminated? Scary, man. According to the report, “It was unclear how many of the 1.2 million doses [that got out] were administered to children.” Yikes!

The report goes on to say, “Should the vaccine later prove contaminated, health officials believe most children will experience, at worst, skin irritation around the shot site. Problems could be worse for children with weakened immune systems (emphasis mine).” Isn’t that the group they are supposedly protecting? That really scares heck out of me.

Here’s my advice: Stay up on this story, and any story like it; do whatever you can to prevent its passage in your state. And if you live in New Jersey, get out as fast as you can. Heil Hib-ler!

In an unusual display of rationality, the FDA rejected drug maker Merck and Co.’s bid to make it’s cholesterol lowering statin, Mevacor, available as an over-the-counter medication. Hallelujah! I almost can’t believe it.

Statins lower blood levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad stuff) by blocking a key enzyme necessary for the production of these lipoproteins. LDLs, or low density lipoproteins, are known to be precursors of atherosclerotic plaques, which harden the arteries and can lead to such cardiovascular diseases as heart attack and stroke, our leading killers in this country. As a result of this number one killer distinction, modern medical science has championed statin drugs as the savior of American heart health.

But wait, statins are drugs, and all drugs have physiological side effects, some of which can themselves cause illness and disease. To paraphrase 16th century alchemist and physician Paracelsus, “Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy.” Ah, so very true. Should we, therefore, really make what’s currently only obtainable by prescription available to the masses at the local drug store?

Well according to some brilliant and sound-minded physicians (and one altruistic pharmaceutical company), the answer is yes. Proponents believe that everyone, not just people with high levels of LDL cholesterol should be on statins. Statins are today’s aspirin, you know, the drug one celebrity doctor claims we should name a town after. Ha, ha, ha. Oh, the folly of it all.

According to one brilliant mind, the sharp intellect known as Dr. David Nash of Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson Medical College, “You should put this drug in the drinking water.” Whoa! Do you all feel as safe as I do? That’s awesome. I’m so happy to see that some of our nation’s most highly esteemed physicians think that mass medication is the answer to our health woes. Even better that they hold so much influence over public health policy. Effin’ right aye!

But, thankfully, wiser heads have prevailed…for now. In a 10-2 vote, an FDA panel rejected Merck’s bid. The panel felt that “too many of the wrong people would use the drug if it no longer required a prescription.” Uh, yeah. They based their conclusions on a study of nearly 1,500 people, where many wanted to buy the drug although they were poor candidates. I guess the drug companies want to maximize profits by pushing out the middle men–namely, doctors! Call me crazy, but I still think the physician is the best person to evaluate a person’s need for a potent drug–yes, even more than television commercials. I know, I’m so yesterday.

Here are some of the risks associated with statin drugs: permanent liver damage, rhabdomyolysis (read about this man’s experience here), nervous system damage, neuropathy, kidney damage, erectile dysfunction, temperature regulation problems, and amnesia (careful, you’ll forget to take your statins). For a more comprehensive list of dangerous side effects linked to statins look here.

Why rely on statins when blood cholesterol can be lowered most effectively through sensible diet (read my book, read my book), exercise, and supplementing with essential fatty acids. Furthermore, we know that LDLs alone are not “bad”. Only when they are oxidized (mostly by free radicals) do they become sticky, leading to plaque formation on the arteries. So by taking a good antioxidant (read my book, read my book), you can seriously lower your risk of developing atherosclerosis.

Unfortunately wellness isn’t as hip as mass medication is in the current health (?) paradigm. Summing up this idea is yet another proponent of mass statin consumption, New York‘s Mount Sinai Medical School physician and Merck consultant, Dr. Valentine Burroughs, “We’re still failing to prevent this epidemic (heart disease). It’s time to take bolder action, to try new approaches.”

Yeah, like spiking our drinking water. Sign me up, man.

Birth by cesarean section (c-section) has doubled in the last ten years. Statistics show that one in three American babies is now delivered by cesarean. A c-section is a form of childbirth where a surgical incision is made through a woman’s abdomen and uterus to extract the baby (or babies). While many of these procedures are medically necessary–to save the life of the mother or baby–a large number of women are electing to have cesarean sections as their first option, that is, without trying to deliver vaginally. In fact, elective c-section is all the rage in Hollywood today, with many a young starlet opting for one (or two as is purportedly the case with this out-of-control Hoochie Mama).

But, once again, I must point out that surgery is not without risks. This is especially true for the now routine c-section: Recent research shows that babies delivered by non-emergency c-section have a four times greater chance of having breathing problems. According to Anne Hansen of the Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark, one of the lead researchers in the study, the greatest risk is seen when the procedure is performed early on–before the 39th week of pregnancy. Therefore, she states, if a woman is going to elect for this procedure, it probably shouldn’t be done before this time. It is as of yet unclear why babies born by cesarean might have breathing difficulties, but researchers believe that stress hormones produced by the mother during labor actually help the baby’s lungs mature.

C-sections, without a doubt, are a blessing to any family who has had the horror of experiencing a dangerous labor. There was a time when either mother or baby, or both, might be lost during difficult birthing. Thanks to c-sections, though, many lives have been spared; and probably everyone reading this has a loved one in the world today because of this blessed procedure. But saying that, isn’t it a shame that so many women are choosing not to experience the incredible process of giving birth the old fashioned way? Aside from the bond that is established between mother and child during this laborious process, there must be physiological, hormonal, and–excuse my metaphysics, but–energetic benefits to the entire process. To just bypass this most natural act, this integral part of our evolution, seems a bit detached to me. What’s next? Portable colostomy bags? I mean, what the heck–it’s uncomfortable and…I really can’t be bothered, so…sheesh.

Listen, this isn’t a morality trip but, unless you know it’ll be a hazard to your health or the health of your baby, don’t opt out of the beautiful birthing experience. The labor is worth the pain. It was by far the greatest experience my wife and I have ever had (yes, better than mushrooms and whiskey, much better). And besides, it turns out it’s better for your baby too.

Check out this blogger’s hysterical take on elective c-sections.

And something on the more serious side.

A new study shows that a spoonful of honey goes a long way in quieting nighttime cough in children. When compared to cough syrup or no treatment at all, honey showed better results. Chalk one up for natural home remedies.

The authors of the study, which appears in the December issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, believe that the honey may work by coating and soothing an irritated throat. The importance of these findings come on the heels of federal health advisories, which have recently warned that over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold medicines shouldn’t be used in children younger than 6 (129 reported deaths from these products since 1969). As a result, manufacturers are taking some products for babies off the market.

I am personally pleased by these findings, not because I’m a “natural products” guy–I think medications are necessary in many instances–but because I really believe that people run far too often to what I think are useless OTC medications. No medication can carry out the healing process–only the body does that; they are simply easing symptoms that accompany, and are necessary for, healing to occur. So give the kids a dollop of honey and let it ride, baby–just let it ride.

Wanna know what the newest trend in health-care is? genetic testing. Basically, companies provide a complete genetic profile for the consumer at the cost of several hundreds of dollars, and these test are supposed to predict which diseases the buyer is susceptible to. Oy vey! What will they think of next?

First off, why would anybody want or need to know this information? Why, so they can do something about it, say proponents. Yeah, yeah–interpret that to mean: so they can seek out the appropriate medical treatment. Is that what life is about? Call it what it is–a new and lucrative market to exploit people who are afraid of illness and death.

A doctor recently asked somebody I know, “Do you want to know when you are going to die?” I thought that was such a profound question. Do you? Does anybody? What a useless way to occupy space and time in one’s mind, thinking about that junk.

Anyway, according to some experts, genetic testing is a waste of money and tells people little more than they would know from studying family history. No kidding. Christine Patch, a genetic counselor at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and a member of Britain’s Human Genetics Commission, said, “My message is you are wasting your money.” The reality is that genes do not work in a linear fashion–gene A always causing result B. Instead, many genes work in a complex manner, “and their ultimate effect is is influenced by environmental factors in ways that are poorly understood.”

With a few exceptions, humans pretty much have every gene–it’s just what is expressed at any given time. Environmental factors, emotional factors, and psychological factors all influence gene expression. These are some of the things I’d like to see investigated in the field of genetics. Until this time comes, save your money and live your life; nobody really wants to know when it’s their time to go.

Have I mentioned how important sleep is? Just another reason to catch enough shuteye–researchers have found that shift work (work that can disrupt normal sleep patterns like firefighting or long rounds in emergency rooms) can actually cause cancer by repeatedly disturbing the body’s internal clock. The internal clock is responsible for regulating circadian rhythms, a complex mechanism involved in many body functions including hormonal and neurological balance.

The study was carried out by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the French-based cancer agency of the World Health Organization, which looked at several studies showing the links between shift work and cancer. In one study, it was found that women who work night shifts may have a 60 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer. In another study, tests in mice showed that circadian clock genes are disrupted in tumor cells. And in yet other studies, evidence shows that firefighters, who breathe in smoke, chemicals and dust and who also work shifts, have a higher risk of cancer and heart disease.

Scientists believe that the culprit in the cancer susceptibility may be the body’s response to light. The brain’s pineal gland produces melatonin, a hormone necessary for regulating the internal clock, and which also acts as a cancer fighting anti-oxidant. When repeatedly subjected to light and sleep deprivation, the body’s normal melatonin production is disrupted, which can lower the protective and balancing effects of melatonin.

Careers that are primarily shift work include firefighting, health-care, industrial, transportation, communications, and hospitality. I’d also like to point out that regular late-night partying with stimulants and narcotics would also fall under the category of extreme shift work. The agency stresses, though, that these findings are preliminary, and that it would take another five years to understand the situation fully and what can be done about it.

Shift work is going to be with us forever. Some jobs just require round-the-clock availability, period. However, it’s important to get the sleep while you can. If you’re a shift worker, then you’ve got to try to get your seven to eight hours consecutively and consistently. These finding may help employers manage shift schedules more effectively, helping their employees, and their businesses, in the long run. Until then, try to get used to a regular sleep routine within the constraints of your work schedule–it’ll save you years of exhaustion, or worse.

In the latest episode of The Dr. Nick Show (Episode 5) we discussed the question: Are chiropractors real doctors? Consider these knocks against my esteemed profession:
  • Not Educated–Chiropractors complete 4485 hours of study, MDs 4248. Chiropractors get more anatomy, neurology, diagnosis, x-ray, and orthopedics. Medical doctors, on the other hand, get no chiropractic training at all. Hmmm. See the full academic curriculum at my chiropractic alma mater.
  • Quacks–A quack is a person who pretends, professionally or publicly, to skill, knowledge, or qualifications he or she does not possess–sounds like those Dr 90210 boys.
  • Shamelessly sell themselves–Uh huh. And what’s this? Or this? Or this? Hey, I got nothing against shameless selling–wanna buy a book?
  • Not Recognized–Chiropractors are not recognized by any worthwhile institution outside of the Supreme Court, the federal government, state governments, Medicare, the Veteran Administration, and most insurance companies–
  • Not Prestigious–Chiropractors practice all over the world, and treat people from all walks of life including professional athletes, attorneys, auto mechanics, bankers, celebrities, doctors, farmers, mothers, psychologists, and on and on and on….
  • Just Not Real Doctors–doctor in Latin means teacher. Chiropractors have historically been the quintessential teachers of health and wellness, so chiropractors are literally doctors. If any other health care professional treats but does not teach, then perhaps they might need to reconsider the title.

So there you have it. If you still think that chiropractors aren’t real doctors…well, you’re certainly entitled to your opinion; however, let me be the first to tell you that the world is not flat, it does revolve around the sun, women can vote, and that club you’re carrying went out of style millennia ago. Unghhhh!!!

Riggidy-raow, ziggidy gadzuks, here I go…

Want to seriously gross out? Hocking up loogies is common practice in China. Eeeew!

That’s right, walk down any street in Beijing and you’ll enjoy the sights and sounds of people hacking up their lungs. Many people in China believe that spitting is actually good for your health. “It’s good to spit, it’s good for your health,” says a 40-year-old man unapologetically as he rubs his shoe over the foul puddle he has just created.

Spitting in China is culturally acceptable, however, the government is trying to stop it; mainly because it’s “uncivilized” (and the Olympics are coming, so better to be on civilized behavior), but spitting can also spread disease. Phlegm can carry microorganisms like bacteria or viruses, some of the health ills the Chinese have been plagued with. According to Li Yan, a respiratory disease expert at Beijing’s Xuanwu Hospital, air-borne respiratory diseases such as tuberculosis, pneumonia and influenza can be spread by the phlegm of a disease carrier. She said widespread respiratory infections, partly due to China’s polluted environment, and the population’s lack of hygiene awareness contribute to the spitting habit.

Well, apparently the Chinese government will have their hands full trying to curb an age-old habit. And it’s not just the spreading of disease; according to experts, expelled, phlegmy saliva freezes during the winter and becomes slippery like an oil slick, posing a danger to pedestrians and cyclists alike, who often slip and fall from a frozen piece of funk. Oh well, if you plan on going to the Olympics next year, just watch for the Hu Flung Fu.

Wanna guess what’s a huge quality of life issue for the elderly–not getting enough sleep. I know, I know, no surprises here, but my question is: does it have to be? According to a recent study published in The American Journal of Medicine, more than 50% of older Americans get less sleep than they need.

Dr. Harrison G. Bloom, a senior associate at the International Longevity Center-USA and associate clinical professor of geriatrics and medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City says that “Sleep problems and sleep disorders are not an inherent part of aging (emphasis mine).” So something else is going on that’s keeping our older generations from getting the rest they need. I believe that sleep disorders in the elderly are primarily from three things:

  • Pain–many older people are suffering from chronic aches and pains. If they are seeing a typical medical physician, then they are probably getting plenty of pain pills, anti-inflammatories, and some good ol’ fashioned sleeping pills. However, none of these things actually helps remove the pain. Duh! No wonder they can’t sleep.
  • Multiple medications–many older folk are on more meds than they can count on both hands. Shame, shame American health care system. Check the side effects of any meds you’ve got lying around; I’ll bet $100 that 50% of them have insomnia as one of their potentials.
  • Charged mental chatter–this is the stuff that plagues all of us; however, older people often have more worries, therefore, less sleep.

So to answer the question: Does it have to be this way? The answer is NO. Older people can benefit from many of the same things younger people benefit from:

  • regular exercise
  • wholesome diets
  • pain management–or even better, a solution–see a chiropractor
  • mental exercises–reading, puzzles, mathematics, learning something new
  • mental balance–dissolve the charges (read my upcoming book to find out how)
  • meditation
  • find non-drug alternatives

The final entry above can only be accomplished by taking impeccable care of oneself. Really, everyone, you need to get a copy of The Six Keys to Optimal Health; it’ll show you the way.

Researchers in San Francisco have found that eating fiber-rich foods can reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer significantly. By increasing the amount of grains one eats, one can lower the chances of developing this fatal cancer by 40%. Just another knock against long-term Atkins dieting.

Pancreatic cancer is no joke, as few people survive it. This cancer is more common in men, especially smokers, but it can also be caused by long-standing periodontal disease (floss, people, floss). Knowing this, doesn’t it stand to reason that adding a couple of apples to your daily diet might be sound?

Fiber is the undigestible part of grains and vegetables–like broccoli, brown rice, carrots, lentils, millet, and quinoa to name just a few–which essentially scrape the walls of the digestive tract removing stuck-on food and debris (lay off the debris, rascals). It certainly doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out the benefits of eating this stuff.

Personally, I eat an apple a day. Boy, does it root the olroto. Since you probably aren’t interested in my expounding on this, suffice it to say that an apple a day rolls the debris away quite nicely, indeed.

Here’s the kicker, though: The benefits of fiber do NOT extend to many popular heated breakfast cereals, researchers found. In fact, eating a diet high in packaged hot cereals actually increases the risk of pancreatic cancer. You don’t say? Thus, eating Cream of Wheat, Malt-O-Meal, Quaker Instant Grits and other packaged crapola on a regular basis might actually be worse than eating no fiber at all. Hmm…interesting. I think I read something like that in The Six Keys to Optimal Healthgreat book, read it when you get a chance.

Here’s a great webpage that ranks the best and worst of hot breakfast cereals. I think if you’re going to eat a hot cereal, make it yourself from fresh, whole ingredients. All health food stores sell oats and other cereal grains in bulk, as well as natural honey, and nuts and other good stuff. I’m sure that once you get the hang of making the real deal, you won’t go back to the other junk. Check out how this chick, Vanessa, cooks hers up. Yum. Enjoy your fiber.

It’s been three months and I’ve stayed true to my commitment…well, pretty much. I’ve been taking vitamins–B, C, D, magnesium, some calcium, essential fatty acids, and alpha lipoic acid. I’ve been taking acidophilus every day; and I’ve done chlorophyll for a week once, and five days of apple cider vinegar. The biggest thing I’ve done recently, though, is quit eating sugar (November 8th was my last day). I didn’t stop eating carbs altogether, but when one cuts out refined sugar, the overall carb intake generally goes down. All I can say is WOW! It’s been just incredible. I started feeling different almost immediately. My appetite actually went up at first, but then normalized. My energy went up immediately, but then dropped. Then I felt crappy–withdrawal like symptoms. Now I feel better. I started craving sugar within a few days but practiced “mega-discipline”, and not only have the cravings diminished but I feel sort of empowered by the discipline part. Now I don’t want sugar, cuz it’s my thing. Snicker.

I’ve been working out regularly–gym two to three days per week, yoga every day, Runyon Canyon about once a week. Yoga has been great. It has really opened up some areas in my hips that were hurtin‘–hip flexors and quadriceps, mainly. Mostly I’ve been working on my posture by standing against the wall squeezing blocks between my legs–very powerful stuff. No handstands–none, nada, nunca–and I haven’t run Runyon, except that one time. Sigh.

But wait! Weight is down to 160. Woohoo! Haven’t had the ol‘ body fat recalculated, but I will before the year ends. I think the weight has more to do with cutting out the sugar than with anything else.

Getting sleep, but…running my ass ragged while awake, so I guess I’m balanced.

That’s it. One more month of reporting and we’ll see what I’ve accomplished with all of this. Woof.

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