From the monthly archives: "January 2009"
Last month I wrote a post on the “Cheat Death” marketing campaign for POM–the pomegranate juice. I said I thought the advertisement was going a little far in their claims. I have since learned something about pomegranates in general, and the juice specifically, that is leading me to retract that post.

Here’s what I found out: Drinking three ounces of pomegranate juice every day reduced thickening of blood vessels (particularly the tunica intima layer) in people with severe carotid artery stenosis. The effects were cumulative, so that the longer study subjects drank pomegranate juice, the greater the effects. See the details here.

Carotid artery stenosis is narrowing of the blood vessels that carry blood to the brain. As the lumen of the arteries gets smaller, less blood can get through to the brain over time, and blood pressure increases as a result. High blood pressure can lead to heart disease or stroke–the two leading killers in the U.S.

If drinking pomegranate juice decreases blood vessel narrowing, which in turn lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke, then it does, in fact, cheat death. Thus, POM’s advertisement claiming such is…well, correct. I was wrong, they were right.

So here’s what I’m going to do in retribution. I’ve committed to drinking 3 oz. of POM pomegranate juice every day–for one year! One 16 oz. bottle costs $5.69, so my total cost for the year will be $389.41–a small price to pay for good health…and for passing false information. I’ll let you know how the experiment goes.

There’s a new trend sweeping the nation, and that’s home births–Au natural. Many women are opting for a more relaxed, less sterile experience and home births are it. Home births are typically aided by a midwife, a practitioner that provides pre- and postnatal care as well as attending the birth itself. Aside from their skills in labor and delivery, midwives are trained in recognizing and dealing with any deviations from the norm. For the most part, they are hired to assist in low-risk pregnancies and childbirth.

Today’s costly medically-assisted deliveries, where non-cesarean births can run as much as $20K ($35K+ for a C-section), a cheaper alternative is sorely needed. This is especially true for women who don’t want the accompanying drugs; and at a fraction of the cost (approximately $3,000), midwife-assisted home birth might just be the perfect option.

Great–let’s recognize and certify midwives, and even better, let’s make home births reimbursable. Not so fast, Campos–home birthing and midwifery have some pretty powerful opponents, specifically the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The arguments against home births are questions of safety and training. The AMA and ACOG just don’t respect the current level of training of midwives, and they stress that the absolute safest way to have a baby is through the monitoring and observation of a hospital staff, period.

Hmmm….you know, this debate isn’t about safety or training at all–it’s about control. Not control of people, but of an industry. It’s the same old same with the AMA. They want complete authority over all matters health. If it ain’t supervised by Big Papa, it ain’t hapnin’. Sorry. Any healthcare professionals practicing “on the fringe” of the mainstream deal with this reality on a daily basis; but is it based on truth?

Home birth or hospital birth is a choice. Obviously higher risk pregnancies should be managed where the pros who deal with that stuff operate. However, lower risk pregnacies in relatively healthy women can be experienced joyfully in the comfort of one’s home. Hey, I’m no hippy–my wife and I had our girls at Cedars Sinai (she liked the cocktails way too much to pass up that option). But it was simply a choice–not better, not worse–just how we wanted to do it. Looking back, we could have easily done it at home with a midwife. Frankly, my wife did all the work. The nurse watched. I napped. And the OB walked in like a rock star for the last half hour, yelled “push”, and pulled the baby out–something a midwife could have done just as well, only cheaper.

Our hospital birth was cool; I enjoyed the experience. My wife got her fix, and we got to eat hospital food. And we had good insurance so we didn’t end up paying that much. But for people who don’t have great insurance; or for those who want a more serene birth (ours wasn’t rough, mind you–I got to watch lots of ESPN and presidential debate highlights, while Erika was a pack of Pall Malls short of a party), a home birth is a nice option.

Oh man, I can’t make this stuff up. Three men remain critical after eating blowfish testicles. Digest that for a while.

Apparently fugu balls are a delicacy in Japan. Fugu is Japanese for pufferfish, and it contains tetrodotoxin, a potent neurotoxin with no known antidote. Seven men ate the off-the-menu special and reported feeling numb soon afterward. Three of the seven are still hospitalized and critical. Fugu must be prepared by specially-trained chefs, but the owner of the Northern Japanese restaurant did not have a proper licence to prepare fugu. He is now in police custody. God help him.

Like I’ve said before, sushi is a delicay that takes special skills and knowledge–there’s an art to preparing it. I don’t recommend eating in sushi restaurants that don’t have a bonafide top-quality chef. And definitley not the puffer balls, especially if you ever find yourself in Northern Japan–they have less stringent rules there. Eat a blowfish testicle there and you might come home in a bodybag.

My wife was reading my earlier blog on government funded gastric bypass surgery, and while looking at The Biggest Loser before and after pictures, noted that many of the people submitting photos had cut out soda.

Ah, soda–the lowest common denominator in obesity. If someone is obese, I’ll bet the farm they drink soda. And diet soda is no healthy alternative, yet I’m sure many people think it is.

Without a doubt, my lovely wife was astute in picking out that common act–quitting soda–that leads to dramatic weight loss. I’ve said it again and again and again: Cut the soda or you’ll never lose weight. And if you do kick the habit, you’ll see the pounds shed quickly and permanently–that is, as long as you remain permanently abstinent. Read the interview I conducted with comedian Eddie Pence. He lost 15 lbs like that (finger snap), just by kicking Diet Coke.

It’s up to you: Lose the soda and lose the pounds, or keep drinking that crap and settle for a stomach staple.

What’s old is new again, especially in the world of sex. It seems that we just can’t get enough of the good old days. Let’s reminisce: Free love, orgies, John Holmes, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Joy of Sex, bath houses–man, that’s hot. Oh wait, let’s not forget our old friends gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia. No, no, no…we couldn’t leave them out now, could we? Don’t worry, here they come again.

According to the latest numbers from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), 2007 saw another rise in syphilis cases–the seventh year in a row–driven by homosexual and bisexual men. Chlamydia has reached an all time high, and gonorrhea is still way up. Blacks are disproportionately affected. Although the black population is only 12%, they make up 70% of gonorrhea cases and almost half of chlamydia and syphilis cases. Black women aged 15 to 19 have the highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea, and gonorrhea rates for blacks overall were 19 times higher than for whites, the CDC reports.

Untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and ectopic pregnancy in women–unfortunate since both bacterial infections are preventable, and treatable if found early enough.

Syphilis infection is up 81% since 2000. Damn! Sixty five percent of all cases are among gay and bi men. as I reported in this blog back in 2007, many infections are the result of HIV+ men having unprotected sex with other HIV+ men. The idea behind the practice is, “Hey, you’re +, I’m +…let’s party.” But gentlemen, have you forgotten?…the syph? Bad, bad stuff, man.

Here’s the bottom line on all the above STDs–condoms are critical. It’s that simple. Unless you’re in a committed, monogamous relationship (married?), then you better wear the glove, period. Any practice other than that is plain stupid.

What’s the best way to combat an obesity epidemic? Have insurance companies–or better yet, the government–pay for gastric bypass surgeries. You heard me right, let somebody else pick up the tab for one’s disregard. At least that’s what some crackpot lawmakers want to do.

According to a recent story, the obesity epidemic may throw a wrench in President Barack Obama’s universal health plan. I couldn’t agree more. Throw in a few professional patients, and a few more prescription drug addicts, and I think the President’s plan is in for a world of hurt. How do I know? Because that’s exactly why health care costs are currently out of control. We’re all paying for the “sick care” of the relatively few.

But fear not–one New Hampshire politician has it all figured out. Turns out all of State Senator Bob Clegg’s health troubles went away following his gastric bypass surgery in 2007. The surgery helped him deflate from a whopping 380 to a respectable 240 lbs. Not bad, Senator, not bad. So he believes this must be the answer: Government funded gastric bypass–or at least have the surgery covered by private medical insurance. He’s so convinced of it’s effectiveness, that he authored a bill in January 2008 requiring New Hampshire insurers to offer surgery as a treatment option, just as the state’s Medicaid program for the poor does. Apparently other states are looking at the “Live Free or Die” credo of New Hampshire and taking it literally. But to take it one step further, some think that the law should be extended federally.

All I can say is, “Oy vey!” Senator, Senator, Senator…you are wrong, dead wrong. Why should taxpayers pay for an elective surgery? Let me be frank, sir: Obesity–despite what some enablers in the medical and psychology field may wish us to believe–is not a disease. Not. It’s a condition. One that is mainly the result of lack–lack of information, lack of understanding, lack of discipline, lack of responsibility, and lack of accountability.

In my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, I say very clearly to people battling their weight, “You have the power to overcome obesity; it’s in you.” I also say run–don’t walk–away from anybody who tells you that you are not in complete control of your weight. Run! Run from New Hampshire, and run from Senator Bob Clegg cuz’ that man’s dangerous. Implying that obesity is a disease that needs surgical intervention* (paid for by you and me in taxes and insurance premiums) is the road to hell. Here’s the laugh: Clegg’s impetus to pull the wool over New Hampshire’s eyes was that he had to pay $20,000 out of his own pocket. His rationale: he’s saving the state $3,000 per month in doctor’s visits.

Hey, I’ve got no beef with that…if it were reality. But it’s not. Clegg could have lost the weight himself through diet and exercise. No? Don’t think so? Sorry, The Biggest Loser proves it. That T.V. show has single-handedly buried any hope for the “I just can’t lose weight no matter what I try” set…definitively. Have you seen the show, Clegg? It’s incredible. Slap in the face of perpetual victims. If anybody reading this hasn’t seen Biggest Loser yet–one of the best shows on T.V. as well as an unexpected public health phenomenon–you simply must. If you can’t stomach T.V., then at least check out the website, especially the before and after photos. Disease my arse. The contestants of the show do it purely with diet and exercise–the only way to lose weight effectively. I hope the former Senator’s dangerous bill gets no farther than New Hampshire.

*I’m not against gastric bypass surgery, at all. I just don’t want to pay for yours, as I’m sure you don’t want to pay for my penis enlargement.

**Thank you to a great client and regular reader, Kelly D.

My wife and I bought a lamp on this Martin Luther King Day weekend. OK, three lamps and a mirror, but who’s counting. Wait, this is a health story, I swear.

So, one of the lamps we bought was too big to fit in my car. It was light enough, however, for me to carry. Since I live close to the furniture store–Blueprint in West Hollywood–I thought I’d just carry it home.

As I was carrying the oversized box, I noticed how much I was using my abdominal core to stabilize my body as I walked. It occurred to me–we really do rely on our abdominal muscles for everyday movements. You know, sometimes we know things intellectually, or perhaps even practically but forget, then we do something–like carry a box–and we are reminded of that which we know (have I confused you, yet?)

In my West Hollywood chiropractic office, I give abdominal core exercises to anyone presenting with low back pain. That’s because a functional core is essential to long-term low back pain prevention. And interestingly, the fundamental movement I teach my is called an abdominal hollow. Abdominal hollowing is the pulling inward of the core muscles and upward of the diaphragm. It’s creating a concavity of the midsection. Hollowing is a movement we do naturally when we carry things, such as I was doing while carrying the box. When people lose this ability to hollow–through deconditioning and such–they are unable to stabilize the body, specifically the low back. As a result, the force is transferred to the lumbar spine especially the disks and guess what?…POP! Herniation.

So keep your core strong: Visit a chiropractor and go to the gym, or drop down and give me twenty crunches. Better do it if you want to save your back and save on delivery charges.

BTW–here’s the lamp. What do you think?

Two more sports superstars plugging chiropractic:

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher and World Series MVP, Cole Hamels, has been using chiropractic since 2005. He originally went to see a chiropractor for low back pain that had been plaguing him since high school. Hamels has also used chiropractic to relieve him of an elbow injury that disrupted his 2007 season.

Says Hamels, “I felt a difference right off the bat. A lot better than my physical therapy and the prescription drugs the doctors were giving me.” Hey, that’s a progressively-minded young man. Hamels also does yoga, spins (bike-riding), and has a supplement tray in the locker room filled with vitamins and fish oils. Nice.

Also speaking out for chiropractic is NFL legend and former San Francisco 49er, Jerry Rice. Rice was named the national spokesman for chiropractic by The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP); he has been featured in full-page advertisements in ESPN the Magazine with positive statements on how chiropractic helped him become one of the greatest receivers in the game. According to the F4CP, Rice’s ESPN ad is the beginning of a comprehensive public relations effort for the chiropractic profession.

Booyah! See the video below to hear Rice’s words on how chiropractic helped him. Rice also talks about chiropractic’s role in his success on Dancing With The Stars.

Thank you Cole Hamels and thank you Jerry Rice. As more and more athletes step up and tout the miraculous benefits of safe, effective chiropractic care, the more the general public will feel inclined to try it. And the better off we’ll all be.

In my article last month on protein and vitamin B deficiency I speak about a woman who called me about her vegetarian daughter’s lack of energy and ability to concentrate. I pointed out that my advice was to kick the vegetarianism.

However, what I failed to mention in the article was that I also said, “If [quitting vegetarianism] is out of the question, then you should, at the very least, make sure your daughter is getting her protein through dairy and/or eggs.” This is essential. As I said last post, you can get some protein from most vegetable sources, but meat, by far, is the best source. Eggs and dairy are the next best sources.

What this means for vegans–no meat, no eggs, no dairy–is that they really have to be diligent in getting their daily protein. Since very few vegetables are high quality proteins–that is, containing all essential amino acids in sufficient concentrations–many different vegetables must be consumed throughout the day. It can be done, no question; but the average busy person (vegetarian)…isn’t doing it.

And what about those high quality proteins (soybeans, quinoa, and spinach)? Well, you’d have to eat them solely, or eat the low quality vegetarian protein sources at such a high quantity that it would be virtually impossible to do so for long. According to one vegetarian website, you’d have to eat “12-1/3 cups of cooked corn OR 6-1/2 large potatoes OR 2-1/2 cups of tofu OR 15-1/2 cups of cooked brown rice.” And you know that isn’t going to happen.

So…just eat meat.

Have you heard? 1 out of every 200 kids is a vegetarian. Dang, that’s dumb!

A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that a whopping 367,000 youths don’t eat the meat. Some vegetarians eat fish and dairy, others are vegan–no meat, no dairy, nada. The typical teen vegetarian is female, from higher-income family, living on the East or West coast. Sound familiar?

Vegetarianism, isn’t just for girls anymore; plenty of boys are doing it, too. Rarely is this dietary lifestyle taken up for health reasons. Most kids cite animal welfare as the reason they’re doing it. They don’t eat meat because…it’s inhumane. Swear. And with the popularity of certain chicken slaughtering videos on You Tube…well, I guess you can figure out the rest.*

Wow! I’m sure you can guess my feeling on this. If you read my monthly articles, you definitely know I think it’s a dangerous health game to be playing–vegetarianism for kids, that is. I said so in my last article on protein and vitamin B deficiency. Kids keep growing until they are 25 years old. They need protein; they need nutrients (vitamins B, D, iron and calcium); the best foods to get them from is meat, fish, and dairy. Yes, you can get protein from vegetable sources. But it’s hard; and it requires lots of planning and preparing–something that most adults have a hard time doing, let alone your average teenager.

But the conscience of the typical teen vegetarian guides them, along with some good old fashioned parental ignorance. Listen up parents: vegetarianism isn’t in the best interest of your child’s health. I predict we are going to see some ill adults within the next 20-30 years as a result of this fad.

*I talk about the unacceptable conditions of many of the country’s poultry farms in my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health; but I don’t think that endangering one’s health with vegetarianism is the answer.

“Cool” wellness and “hot” prevention is it. So says incoming Health and Human Services Department Secretary, Tom Daschle. President-elect Obama’s new health secretary says that the real answer to the current health care crisis is, well…wellness.

That’s right. About time somebody in government gets it. Duh! What’s costing the country big bucks right now is the high price of “sick care.” And what do illness and disease come from, primarily? C’mon, what do you think? Random chance? Roll of the dice? Tough luck? George W. Bush? C’mon, what?

That’s right, the most common cause of illness and disease is not taking care of one’s health. Very good. Give yourself a gold star.

And give a gold star to Daschle, too. According to the former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, getting people to focus on wellness will be all about marketing. “Wellness has to be cool,” he said, “And prevention has to be a hot thing. And we’ve got to make prevention hot and wellness cool.”

Yup, T.D., that’s what I’ve been saying for a long time–hot wellness and cool prevention. Or was that cool wellness and hot prevention? Either way, here’s what I propose:

  • Jennifer Aniston, nude yoga, televised
  • Nationwide Guitar Hero geek battles in gym class every week
  • Barack Obama 3 on 3 White House Basketball Tourney every summer
  • Jonas Brothers aerobics (oh sorry; we were talking about cool, weren’t we?–my bad)
  • Matthew McConaughey swingin’ sac boot camp (instructional video not to be missed–definitely not for the squeamish)

I adjust pregnant women in my practice–babies too!

This is what it looks like adjusting an infant. That’s my daughter Violet in the video. She’s three months old. I’m just adjusting her thoracic spine in the vid. Slight distraction, that’s it–tiny pops, like bubble wrap.

I love my family, so I adjust them all. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

Whether you have sons or daughters might be programmed into your genes. That, at least, is the latest coming out of evolutionary genetics research in the UK. According to a recent article published in the journal Evolutionary Biology, there may be a gene in males that determines whether he will father more sons, more daughters, or equal numbers of each. Wow!

Now mind you, this is simply a hypothesis; but British researcher Corry Gellatly of Newcastle University showed, through his study of family trees and population genetics, that sex ratio is heritable. That is, the number of males born versus females at any given time can be determined by a gene in the father.

According to Gellatly, there may exist a gene that controls the X to Y chromosome ratio. Females inherit two copies of the X chromosome, while males inherit one X and one Y. So if this proposed gene is present, it can determine whether the male produces more X containing sperm or more Y containing sperm. Apparently only men express the gene; women are simply carriers that pass the gene on.

This study results from the observation that male to female ratio remains relatively constant despite population changers like war, where the number of males lost is significant. Data shows that the number of males born following events like war increases dramatically. And this isn’t a one time event–the phenomenom was recorded following both world wars. Gellatly believes this is a sort of counterbalancing mechanism programmed into our DNA. As he said in a recent interview, “You can’t get a population that becomes too skewed toward males or too skewed toward females [with this type of counterbalancing mechanism].”

The details of the study are too involved to get into in depth here, but you can check out he primary paper here, or the press release here, both which do a great job of explaining the methods used to come to these conclusions. I find this fascinating, especially since I philosophically believe that the universe is continuously moving into a state balance at all times, and in all things. So this type of hypothesis does a good job of explaining how biologically, or materially, balance is achieved in one universal aspect–organic life. Furthermore, the researchers stated that this gene is likely ancient and exists in all living things that reproduce sexually, including plants.

Yeah, makes sense. Think about it: What if early in human evolution, a disaster wipes out almost all living males. Unlikely, but possible. There has to be a mechanism in place to keep some sort of survivability for the organism. It may not be foolproof–extinction is always a possibility. But my guess is that the wisdom of the universe is much greater than we can ever imagine. Kinda cool, though, to get some inkling of how this magnificent universe operates.

Drunk driving goes up every year during holidays. Christmas, New Year’s, St. Patrick’s Day, Independence Day, Arbor Day–no matter what the holiday, boozers seem to want to drive to the party. Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) report that “more than 1,000 people die every year from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day in car crashes related to drunk driving incidents.” In fact, 4 out of every 10 fatalities are in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes.

However, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) reports that in 2008 the number of driving under the influence (DUI) arrests in Los Angeles County are down 44% from 2007. And DUI arrests are down by one-third across the entire state of California. But not in Arizona…

According to recent reports, former NBA star and current TNT basketball analyst, Charles Barkley was arrested for DUI in Scottsdale’s Old Town area. Barkley was allegedly looking for “oral sex” when he ran a stop sign early Wednesday morning at about 1:30 am.

From TMZ.com: According to the officer who wrote the report, “He told me that he ran the stop sign because he was in a hurry to pick up the girl I saw get in the passenger seat.”

The officer continues: “He asked me to admit that she was ‘hot.’ He asked me, ‘You want the truth?’ When I told him I did he said, ‘I was gonna drive around the corner and get a b**w job. He then explained that she had given him a ‘b**w job’ one week earlier and said it was the best one he had ever had in his life.” And to top it all off, Prince Charles was carrying a handgun in the car. Nice, Chuck.

Well, all I can say is I hope Mr. “I’m no role model,” cleans up his act before his bid for the Alabama gubernatorial race. Between his gambling in the casinos and his gambling on the roads, Alabama might not be ready for his type of not role modeling.

In other driving news, new laws go into effect in California today. Of particular interest is the “No texting while driving” law. As of January 1, 2009 anybody caught text-messaging on a cellphone, Blackberry or laptop will be cited. And this includes while stopped at a stop light. No texting, people. First time offenses will garner a $20.00 fine with subsequent offenses costing $50.00. But beware: as I understand it, processing fees added on to the fines might bring the ticket up to $200-$300. At least that’s what happened with the no cellphone while driving law earlier this year.

So take my advice: don’t drink, text and drive while wielding a handgun for any circumstance whatsoever–not even a BJ.

2008 was a great year for Optimal Health. Here’s the annual recap and most memorable posts of the year:

  • I started the year off with a cracked tooth, infection, and subsequent root canal. I called it an instantaneous perspective creator. No way anything could get worse than that–no writers’ strike, no election results, no recession, nothing.
  • My daughter, Violet, was born.

My favorite health story: Guerrilla Gardening

The story that pissed me off the most: American Academy of Pediatrics recommending statins for children. Idiots.

Most hysterical: Pregnant Man!

Least hysterical: Mandated flu vaccines in New Jersey.

Thank you for tuning in to Optimal Health in 2008. I suspect 2009 will bring lots of more interesting news and information in the world of health, so keep coming back to your premier source of health news and information…with a twist! Happy New Year.

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