From the monthly archives: "June 2007"

It’s never too late to start thinking about your health. So says a group of researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina. Adopting healthy lifestyle habits, even in middle age, can decrease one’s risk of developing heart disease and premature death.

A study has shown that by practicing healthy habits – eating five or more fruits and vegetables every day, exercising for at least 2 1/2 hours a week, keeping weight down and not smoking – the risk of developing heart disease decreased by 35% and premature death by 40%. Researchers began tracking 16,ooo Americans between the ages of 45 and 64 in the late 1980s, and they found that people who did not practice healthy habits in the beginning of the study, but picked them up four years later, caught up to the people who were practicing healthy habits from the start.

No surprise here but according to the article “men, blacks, people with less education and lower incomes, and people with high blood pressure or diabetes were less likely to follow the health guidelines from the beginning or adopt them later in life.” I find the same thing in my practice. I just don’t understand why men wait so long to take care of themselves. Oh well, you can only lead them to water.

The American Medical Association has said it wants fast-food restaurants to post nutritional factson their menus as a means to combat obesity. These facts should include calories, grams of fat, grams of saturated fat, and grams of trans fat in each fast food item.You probably already know how I feel about this notion if you’ve read my June 18th post, Barking up the Wrong Tree. Not only do I think it’s ludicrous to penalize fast-food chains (what about pizza parlors, ice cream shops, candy stores, Chinese restaurants and burger stands, like Fat Burger and every other junk food supplier?), it ain’t gonna do diddly if people don’t value there health to begin with.

“No, you’re wrong Campos. People will make better choices if they can see how many calories they’re consuming.” Poppycock! This information has been on food packaging for years at our country’s biggest supplier of junk food – the good ol‘ fashioned grocery chain. That’s right, the American institution known as the grocery store is the largest pusher of junk food in the world, and they’ve been advertising calories and fat counts for ever. It hasn’t stopped people yet from stuffing their faces full of Dinty Moore Beef Stew. And neither will it help people choose between the Double Quarter Pounder and the MacSoy Melt.

I find it especially hysterical that the AMA is promoting this idea. Wait. I’ve got a better idea. Why don’t fast-food restaurants include this information on the back of their receipts in technical language and with the smallest print the human eye can distinguish – just like they do with prescription medications? That’ll at least put them up to par with the medical/pharmaceutical industries as responsible informers.

And here’s another good idea: why not have medical offices post the number of deaths associated with adverse drug reactions (also see here) and unnecessary surgeries (and here, and here) in their waiting rooms so that people know just what they’re in for. Think the AMA will push for that kind of responsible advertising anytime soon?

More links on unnecessary surgeries:
Life Extensions Magazine,
Dr. Joeseph Mercola
New York Times

Google unnecessary surgeries or adverse drug reactions and get blown away.

There’s a misconception among some people that a high protein, low carb diet is best – especially for those trying to remain slim. I’ve got nothing against low carb diets if they’re done for a short period of time to reach a goal, and then transitioned to a more balanced diet. But for some people this type of diet seems to be the Holy Grail.

I delight in bursting this bubble because I am convinced that over the long-haul this diet is just unhealthy. A new study shows that whole grains are important to preventing the thickening of arteries – a precursor to heart disease and stroke – so a balanced diet consisting of carbohydrates, proteins and fats is still the best.

I think that those people touting the high protein, low carb diet have evaluated it relative to a diet high in substandard carbs – french fries, bagels, corn dogs, pringles, Pop-Tarts, Cracker-Jacks…need I go on? Relative to diets high in processed carbohydrates, yeah, high protein, low carb is way better. But let’s get serious here.

I’ve always said that eating a diet rich in whole, natural foods is best. And it’s important to fill that diet with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, moderate portions of meat, cheese, fish and eggs, and of course, whole, natural fats and oils (avocados, butter, fish) in moderation. Trying to compare a fad diet to one balanced in junk is not going to lead you down the right road necessarily. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Eat whole, natural foods as you were meant to, and you shouldn’t have any problems.

Well, it’s about time. The FDA has finally set new manufacturing standardsfor the vitamin and supplement industry. Makers of vitamin and herbal supplements will now have to meet government standards to show that their products are free from contamination and contain exactly what the label says, U.S. health officials said on Friday.Some supplements have been recalled in the past, like the contaminated L-tryptophan that killed or injured hundreds of people in 1989. Other companies are selling supplements that contain undisclosed drug ingredients while still others sell products with less than advertised levels of vitamins A, C and folic acid.

I’ll say it again – it’s about time. The vitamin and supplement industry has for too long escaped regulation, opening it up to scheisters and crooks to scam the public. I applaud the FDA for seeing the need to step in and do something. Granted it’s taken thirteen years to finally implement the rule set forth by the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), but any action in this area is welcomed.

Take it from a health care practitioner who is inundated by advertisements touting one miraculous supplement after another. I sometimes scan through these marketing materials just to see what the latest gimmick is – it really is quite amusing. And I especially love that every company says they have the research data, all of which was compiled by – their own labs! Har har har…does that one really still slip by consumers?

Here’s what I want as a clinician recommending supplements to my clients – high quality vitamins offered singly (as in vitamin C or E), in a complex (as in vitamin B complex) or with a few other ingredients that are known to enhance absorption, assimilation or function (as in vitamin C with bioflavanoids) – that’s it. I don’t want the heart function formula, or the women’s formula, or the male enhancement formula – just the isolated vitamin, mineral or multivitamin that has, well…vitamins. I don’t need rhinoceros horn or bovine adrenals or magic mushroom tops from Belize (um…no, no I don’t want those either) or Chinese herbal mixes. No thank you. Just the vitamins, please.

If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: vitamin supplementation is absolutely necessary if you want to live in Optimal Health. But we need some group to watch the rats who’ll sell us ground oregano and tell us it’s as good as eating a whole week’s worth of vegetables.

Scientist have reported that our human ancestors won a significant battle against an ancient retrovirus millions of years ago, one

that may have ultimately left us susceptible to HIV.
According to experts, human beings have a gene, called TRIM5a, which was successful in fighting the ancient PtERV1 retrovirus. This retrovirus infected chimpanzees, gorillas and old world monkeys about 4 million years ago but not humans. Scientists believe that the presence of the TRIM5a gene in humans neutralized the retrovirus and therefore prevented infection.
Monkeys were not so lucky. Without a copy of the virus fighting gene, apes’ were susceptible to the retrovirus lodging itself into their genome, thus causing disease. In monkeys that did not die, the retrovirus mutated, and was passed on to offspring. These mutations led to future immunity to the HIV virus, something humans did not get.
Sounds right to me; from my understanding of evolution, this is one mechanism in which an organism can develop immunity. As I say in my upcoming book, The Six Keys To Optimal Health, we actually need to be exposed to infectious agents – it’s the only way for our immune system to evolve. The virus and other microorganisms we encounter today, may protect us from new diseases tomorrow. Microorganisms evolve just like we do, as does our immune system. Think of it in the same way you would a computer virus-scan program – gotta do the updates, otherwise you’re susceptible.
So, in my opinion, it’s futile to eradicate microorganisms. We need them to further our own evolution. What’s more important is keeping the body healthy, so that we can effectively stave off infection, illness and disease on our own – just as chiropractors have been preaching for over a century. Do the right things – eat well, sleep well, get regular chiropractic adjustments – and appreciate those bugs for what they are: accomplices in the evolution of life on planet earth.

What the heck are they doing in NYC? Has that city gone mad? Is the Big Apple now the food fascist capital of the world? When a society believes that its citizens can’t think for themselves they start to pass silly laws, like making trans-fats illegal. Or their newest one – requiring some restaurants to list calorie counts on their menu boards next to the price.

Now I understand the rationale behind what they’re doing – I mean for God’s sake some people act as if they don’t have a sensible brain cell in their noggin – but to impose this kind of regulation on the public and the food service industry is just ridiculous.

I just don’t believe that this is the answer to get people healthy. On the contrary; when you start forcing businesses to prepare food in a particular way you are removing the responsibility from the consumer. And I’m sorry but that’s not in the public’s best interest. What next? Tell them when to exercise, when to get vaccinated (this is actually happening to some degree right now, especially in Texas), when to have sex? Gimme a break!

Pulling the responsibility away from the consumer is actually disempowering her. What it says is, “We know you are a mindless sheep, you stuff yourself full of unhealthy food and drink, and since you can’t control yourself, we’re just going to make it unavailable. And as far as what we will offer you, here’s how many calories it has, Ding Dong.” Yeah, that’s the answer.

Well, what about me. I’m not obese. I don’t overindulge in Whoppers (BTW, only 10% of the city’s restaurants – read: national fast-food chains – are required to abide by this regulation). I happen to enjoy an occasional trans-fat laden McDonald’s French Fry. Why do I have to suffer? Because your fellow American can’t control himself, that’s why.

I got news for you NYC: people who don’t care for their health aren’t going to care for it more by imposing regulations. People care for their health when they value it, plain and simple.

And it’s a slippery slope too. What next? Can’t have ice cream – it’s gotta be frozen yogurt. Can’t smoke cigars anywhere except in Cuba…oh, but you’re American so you can’t go there, sorry. Oh no, can’t run marathons or box or play football – heavens forbid, you might get hurt.

Listen, I’m all for taking care of one’s health. But I know for certain, that it’s got to be a part of your consciousness. Removing the pleasures of life – and yeah, for some people (like me), fast food is nothing more than an occasional pleasure – is not going to make people value their health more. I think it will do the opposite. I think it actually will turn people into mindless sheep. Baaaaah!!!

Suffering from insomnia? Trouble falling asleep or getting back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night? Visualization might be just the thing for you.

About one in every eight persons suffers from some form of insomnia. Not being able to sleep stinks. I’ve been there and it’s miserable. If you don’t know beyond a rough idea how important sleep is to your body’s functioning, please read my eye opening article on the subject.

Insomnia can be caused by many things including stress, anxiety, drugs/medications, caffeine and other stimulants, jet lag and overeating. There’s even something called behavioral insomnia which is when a person worries too much about not being able to fall asleep (me when I have to be up especially early the next morning) and tries too hard to do so. For a great piece on insomnia with excellent tips, check out this great article.

A recent study has shown that by doing a practice called guided imagery – the use of mental visualization to promote physical healing or attitudinal or behavioral changes – insomniacs have been able to improve both the quantity and quality of their sleep. According to Dr. Yara Molen, of Federal University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, subjects “listened to an audio CD right before bed that teaches breathing, relaxation and guided imagery that helps them get rid of their worries and imagine drifting off to sleep.”

I’m not all that surprised of these results, since I’m a huge advocate of visualization in general, and am certain that these techniques can move mountains, let alone get you sleeping restfully. The mind is a powerful thing, and when you think about it, it’s all in our heads anyway. In my upcoming book, The Six Keys To Optimal Health, I discuss in detail the nature and function of sleep, insomnia and some of its many causes (particularly the behavioral aspect), and the power and practice of visualization. Check it out this August on the book’s release.

Researchers at the University of Oregon have found that giving money to charities stimulates pleasure centers in the brain the same way as, get this, sex or food does. In the study, nineteen women were given $100 each and then told they had to give the money away. Their brains were scanned by MRI as the women watched automatic transfers go from their accounts to a local food bank.

The areas of the brain that were stimulated were the caudate nucleus and the nucleus accumbens – areas known for pleasure.
Here’s what I find questionable: would the pleasure centers have been stimulated if the women had to give away their own money. Ha, ha, ha – and they call this science. Sheesh. Please University of Oregon, do the next study on a group of insurance adjusters, would ya? Now that would be moolah well spent.
Well, Kellogs Co., the maker of Frosted Flakes and Fruit Loops, says it’s going to make its cereals and snacks targeted at kids healthier or stop making them altogether. Following threats of lawsuits by parent and advocacy groups who worry of childhood obesity, Kellogs has decided to step it up and make a healthier version of these long time sugary snacks.
Now wait just a doggone minute here – I like Pop-Tarts. Geez, do you gotta change them just cuz some child abusers have been actually feeding this product to their children forbreakfast? C’mon, most of us levelheads know its candy. What next – organic Abba Zaba?
As we discussed a few days ago, the consequences following the death of a young lady who had used excessive amounts of sports cream is that experts are now urging clearer warnings to be used on labels. Some are even suggesting that creams should be only used with medical supervision.
Gotta say it again: don’t take the safety of over-the-counter (OTC) medications for granted. All chemicals are poisons if administered in high doses or over an extended period of time. Read warning labels and teach your children to do the same. Definitely make it your business to know what your kids are taking – and keep abreast of what’s happening in health. It can save your kid’s life.

My wife told me today of a mommy she met at the park. The mommy asked my wife if she gives my daughter soy milk. My wife said no – we don’t drink it so she didn’t really see the point in starting my daughter on it. The mommy then said she only gives her child soy milk, and never cow’s milk, although she has been noticing her child’s teeth were decaying.

Now, pediatricians will o.k. a child’s drinking soy milk instead of cow’s milk if the soy product is fortified with vitamin D and calcium. That’s because soy milk is not as great a source of these two nutrients. Furthermore, soy milk contains compounds – called phytates – that decrease the absorption of calcium and other minerals. Vitamin D is necessary for proper bone development, immune function and cell growth. Calcium is necessary for healthy bones, muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. Both nutrients play a major role in tooth development and health. Deficiency in either can cause weakened or underdeveloped bones and teeth, including tooth decay.

O.k. here’s my problem with what my wife told me. I think there is a major cultural shift happening in this country, and it’s towards natural health. I’m all for natural health – heck, I’m a chiropractor, for crying out loud (and I did write a book about it – The Six Keys To Optimal Health) – however, I think that if you are going to do things naturally, you’ve got be smart about it.

You see, the medical paradigm is actually the safest alternative for people who do not want to think for themselves. On a purely statistical basis, medical wisdom is the safest, lowest maintenance way to care for your body. Do what your doctor tells you and, for the most part (probably around 75% – I’m pulling this number out of my keester, but it’s more for illustrating a point, anyway), you should be o.k. True, for the minority of people, following the conventional wisdom might be harmful, useless, or minimally beneficial at best. So for these people, thinking outside of the box is often necessary.

That’s where “alternative” health practices originated (and in this case we’re discussing natural, but it can just as well mean any other alternative therapy – magnets, leaches, exorcisms, whatever); they came from man’s desire to heal himself outside of what he was told worked, but, unfortunately, hadn’t for him (or his parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, etc.). As the alternative therapy began helping more people, it began to rise within the mainstream, moving closer, itself, to becoming conventional wisdom.

Here’s the point: if you are going to practice natural or alternative health methods, be informed. Don’t give your child a product without knowing everything about that product, and definitely do not substitute a well-known health product (vitamin/nutrient) for one of today’s latest health-food flavors of the month. I know, I know, soy is safe – I just said it, didn’t I? However, if you notice your child’s teeth decaying – WAKE UP! Either look it up and educate yourself, or call your pediatrician or dentist and find out if there’s a vitamin deficiency causing it.

The bottom line is this – if you are going to be the master of your own health, then you gotta know the way to do it: read the instructions, watch the demonstration video, take the weekend seminar. If you don’t have the time to buck up, then just do what conventional wisdom (read: modern medical science) tells you – it’s simply the safest way to go.

Some people mistakenly believe that malnutrition is a condition restricted to the underfed and starving. The truth is that anyone can be malnourished regardless of body shape and size. Malnourishment means simply–lack of adequate nutrition. Case in point: Experts in Britain have disclosed that 2 million obese people in that country are also malnourished.

Total calories is not the definitive factor in the amount of nourishment – energy, nutrients and sustenance – a body receives. To be healthy, and to function adequately, the human body needs calories (for energy), vitamins and minerals (for metabolic processes), and enzymes and antioxidants. If one takes in a large amount of nutrient poor foods – like most processed fast foods – then malnutrition, and obesity, will result.

As I point out in my upcoming book, The Six Keys To Optimal Health, obesity can actually be countered by adopting a diet high in nutrient rich foods. By making sure the body is getting adequate nutrients, one can actually stave off the hunger response, which, along with other things, can then lead to a decrease in weight.


On another note, many chiropractors, including me, use sports muscle cream to massage sore, stiff and spasmed muscles before administering a chiropractic adjustment. They are very useful in working out those tense, tight areas and they feel good, giving the client a warm soothing feeling for about a half an hour following treatment.

A story has just broke of 17-year-old girl in New York who has died following the overuse of such creams. It seems that the girl, a cross country runner, was using the creams “to excess” according to the medical examiner, which included spreading the cream on her legs, wearing adhesive pads, and also using an unspecified third product. These products contain methyl-salicylate, an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever (or analgesic).

As this story gets more attention, please don’t be afraid to have this product used occasionally. As with any medication, it’s overuse that causes problems – addictions, toxicity, death – and not moderate use. Having this lotion used as an adjunct to massage is totally safe, as was pointed out by the medical examiner in the case, this was “the first time that her office had reported a death from using a sports cream”. And another important aspect to the story is just because a medication, spray, salve or ointment is sold over the counter doesn’t mean it is safe to be used indiscriminately. Read labels and use medical products MODERATELY. Nuff said.

Yes, that’s right, even chiropractors need a good adjustment some times. In fact, they probably need it more than the average Joe.

I tweaked my neck ten days ago while drying my hair after a shower. Oh, it was bad – I could barely move my head without excruciating pain. I toughed it out at work, but…it wasn’t good.

I had a subluxation of my first cervical vertebra (the atlas); it was rotated and wedged to the right. Aside from the pain, I had severe muscle spasms of the upper trapezius muscle (upper back and shoulder) on the left, which meant…more pain. I was having trouble sleeping. Every night, I woke up several times throughout my sleep despite the fact that I’m usually a very sound sleeper. And on several occasions, I woke up at 4 or 5 am and couldn’t fall back to sleep – a definite anomaly for me.

I also noticed an increase in symptoms related to allergies. Now, granted it’s been windy here in L.A., I guess I am connecting the allergy symptoms to my subluxation, because the second after I was adjusted today, the symptoms cleared up.

I feel better now, but I know that I’ll have to be adjusted again in a couple of days. I generally try to get adjusted once a week, but in these types of situations I need more. All in all, I’ve been adjusted three times since developing the tweak, each time I felt better than the last. That’s how it works – sometimes it only takes one adjustment, other times, more.

Hey, I’m just happy I’m feeling better. I accept pain an an occasional part of life, but like most people, I don’t love it. I take the presence of pain as a sign that something is not right, and I’ve got to get it checked out and corrected. BINGO – that’s the way the body works.

So, if you’re feeling pain – go visit your chiropractor – don’t wait for it to “go away on its own”, because, the fact is, it probably won’t.

Look who’s singing chiropractic’s praises now – Johnny Damon of the New York Yankees!

The Yankee’s center fielder has this to say about chiropractic care: “Without chiropractic, I wouldn’t be able to play consistently throughout the season. I’ve been under the care of a chiropractor for eight years. I first went [to a chiropractor] because my body was really out of whack from the constant grind of a 162-game schedule.” – taken from interview with To Your Health magazine.
But like many people, Damon was a little nervous about being adjusted at first: “Initially, I admit that I was a little freaked out about the whole neck [adjustment] thing, but now, chiropractic is a must for me.” If you haven’t checked it out yet, read my latest article on what makes the Pop!ping sound during a chiropractic adjustment.
It’s not just Johnny Damon utilizing the incredible power of chiropractic to his advantage but the whole NY Yankees team: “Last year, we had tons of back problems [on the Yankees]. There is no way we could get back and ready for another season without chiropractic.”
He sums it up this way: “Maintaining your health just leads to a better way of life for each individual. Chiropractic, specifically, can improve your posture, your circulation and just really benefit your quality of life in the long run.”
Thanks Johnny – I couldn’t have said it better myself.
If you’ve ever wondered what the popping or cracking noise is when you receive a chiropractic adjustment, log onto: The Pop! for a detailed explanation.

In the news today: Omega-3 fatty acids reduce blood pressure: study. O.k. – if you’re not taking omega-3 FAs today, the question is – why not? Please read my 2005 article: EFA’s – Nature’s Beauty Secret for Healthy Skin. There are so many benefits to taking this supplement that it really needs to be a part of your regular health regimen.

You know what’s the biggest cause of missed work in the European Union’s 27 member states? BACK PAIN!!! Well, you don’t say? What about in America? Same here. Check out these facts from The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Isn’t it fascinating that these countries – our own included – haven’t adopted a chiropractic health plan benefit for all workers. Some company health insurance policies still don’t cover chiropractic, and it’s plain and simple foolishness. Chiropractic has been shown to significantly lower musculoskeletal pain symptoms. View some of the studies here. If your company is not providing you with access to chiropractic care, get on them. They’ll improve productivity, decrease absenteeism, and ultimately create loyal employees (who wouldn’t be grateful?) if they do.
Looks like medicine is looking at a performance enhancing drug to treat congestive heart failure. Sounds interesting anyway, but we’ll have to wait for the conclusion.

Greetings and welcome to Optimal Health – Dr. Nick Campos’ blog on health and wellness news and information.

I will be posting regularly and will discuss some aspect of health, be it tips or news.

My purpose is to bring you health news and information from a slightly different perspective than what you may be used to.

So, come back daily and find out what’s really happening out there in the world of health and wellness.

Dr. Nick Campos

Copyright © 2013 Dr. Nick Campos - All Rights Reserved.