Weight Loss and Toxic Exposure

September 16, 2010

A new study (1) published  in the International Journal of Obesity found that those individuals who lost a significant amount of weight had an average of 50% higher levels of six of the most toxic organic environmental pollutants in their blood, as compared to those who gained weight! This is based on data collected from among 1,099 adult participants age ≥40 in the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Toxins are stored in fat cells and once fat cells purge their contents, those toxins will begin to circulate in your blood stream.  There is an association between the increased level of toxins in our environment beginning with the industrial age, and the increased incidence of obesity in our country. This new research provides further evidence that undergoing a 21 Day Purification Program can be a wise step to take on your weight loss journey. This program is clinically researched and includes custom formulas that are proven to bind to environmental toxins and remove them from your body so that they do not cause DNA damage and disease.

If you are interested in learning more about the role toxins play in the body and how detoxification methods help, click here.

To your health,

Dr. G

(1)The authors declared they had no conflicts of interest. Lee D-H, et al “Inverse associations between long-term weight change and serum concentrations of persistent organic pollutants” Intl J Obesity 2010; DOI: 10.1038/IJO.2010.188.


Heavy Metals Increase Risk of Depression and Panic Disorder

June 10, 2010

Even at low levels generally considered to pose little or no risk, exposure to environmental lead might increase – by as much as 2.3 times – the risk of depression and panic disorder but not of generalized anxiety disorder. That was the suggestion of a Canadian study appearing in the December, 2009 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. Gender and ethnicity were also factors and the researchers stressed that lead exposure cannot be determined to be a cause of these psychological problems.

One of the main, and often overlooked, sources of heavy metals, including lead, is our water supply-both drinking water and shower water.   I recommend investing in a quality water filtration and ionization system to all of our patients.  The link between heavy metal exposure and mental illness suggested in this study and proven in many others (including practical, real life studies completed with patients at LTP Medical) is one of the reasons why we always test patients with mental health challenges for exposure to environmental toxins including heavy metals and treat them using the LTP Medical Custom Purification Program to remove the toxins from their systems.  This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to see immediate benefit in patients suffering needlessly with these challenges. Other treatments include custom amino acid therapy, fatty acid therapy, orthomolecular therapy, hormone therapy and food allergy testing and treatment.

In health,

Dr. G


Your Voice Was Heard! McCain Withdraws Support of Dangerous Supplement Bill

March 8, 2010

Supplement Safety Act Loses Senator Support

Thank you to those who took action and contacted Senator McCain to request that he reconsider supporting his new bill that threatened to block your access to natural medicines. According to Alliance for Natural Health USA, Senator McCain was embarrassed by an ad they placed, that pointed out that he was misrepresenting and did not seem to understand his own bill. McCain met with Senator Orin Hatch, who is a strong supporter of natural medicine, and shortly thereafter news came that he was withdrawing his support of the Dietary Supplement Safety Act.

A word of caution…it is likely that another, modified version of this Bill creeps up and we will be watching for this.  In the meantime, I want to extend my gratitude to those of you that were willing to take action and make your voice heard. It is the ONLY way we are going to see genuine, lasting change in our healthcare system.

Let’s start making the  healthcare needs of the people, and of  the future generations known. What I am seeing in practice is that the newest generation is suffering from unhealthy habits of at least the past two generations (e.g. poor diet, lack of exercise, more stress, exposure to industrial chemicals and pesticides, synthetic hormones, introduction of more chemicals in the food supply).

This means that genetically,  they are more vulnerable to chronic illness, which is an area of healthcare where our current system fails to provide real solutions.

These children are much more sensitive to the effects of poor diet, chemicals in the environment, and high potency medications.  They will not  benefit from access to the current system of healthcare that is heavily focused on prescription medications and the suppression of symptoms. The younger generation, and future generations will be seeking to address the root cause of their symptoms-be it mental, emotional and/or physical.

It is time to design a new healthcare bill, where the focus is on optimal health, the principles and practice of naturopathic medicine, treating the cause rather then masking the symptoms, detoxification, and working with and respecting the body’s innate ability to heal itself, given the proper support.

In health,

-Dr. G


Chemicals in your Cosmetics

July 1, 2009

cosmeticsI am always amazed when I read the fine print on the ingredient labels of cosmetics, even some of the natural ones.  The skin is our largest detoxification organ and what we put on it affects how well our body is able to remove the burden of exposure to chemicals in the environment. In that spirit, I am including an article below written about this topic that offers resources on where to go to find out what chemicals are in your cosmetics and where to turn for cosmetics that are safe and nourishing to your skin.

In health,

Dr. G


Chemicals in your Cosmetics
by Dr. Gina Nick

It’s 7 AM, and time to get ready for your workday. First, touch up your nails with ethyl methacrylate and then line your lids with chromium hydroxide green. Brush some titanium dioxide across your cheekbones, pizzazz your pucker with some D&C Red No. 27 (the pearly effect courtesy of bismuth oxychloride) and you’re good to go!

Or are you? While your appearance may be great, behind the scenes there is a chemical war being waged on your body, courtesy of all the health and beauty aids you sprayed, rubbed, brushed and rolled on. Choosing makeup involves more than selecting the right shade and formulations for your skin color and type. You also want cosmetics that won’t have a negative impact on your body.

What’s in your makeup?
According to the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), (established in 1976 by the Cosmetic, Toiletry & Fragrance Association with support of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the Consumer Federation of America.), chemicals used in cosmetics fall into four main categories[i]: ingredients found safe , ingredients found safe with qualifications, ingredients for which there are insufficient data and ingredients found unsafe.

However, critics of the findings have pointed out that there may be flaws in some of the research. For example, the decision to categorize phthalates (which, according to research mimics estrogen in the body-which is implicated in hormone-specific cancers and conditions such as PMS, premature menopause and infertility) as safe for cosmetic formulations overlooks information gaps, according to the Environmental Working Group. These include[ii]:

• The failure to establish a NOEL [No Observed Effects Level] for the male-specific reproductive side effects of the phthalate DBP.

• The failure to determine the amounts of DBP that are absorbed in people’s bodies from cosmetics.

• The failure to determine the full range of products that include DBP (among them, deodorant, hair spray, and fragrances)

Phthalates aren’t the only chemicals that are under fire. Breast tumor tissue has shown estrogenic industrial chemicals called parabens, and, noted the Environmental Working Group (EWG), even the hormone systems in wildlife have been disrupted thanks to common water pollutants such as personal care products that enter the water system by way of your bathroom drain.[iii]

Surprising enough, except for cosmetics containing color additives, cosmetic manufacturers do not need to gain FDA premarket approval before putting their product on the shelves. Instead, they are expected to authenticate “the safety of their products and ingredients before marketing,” says Safe Cosmetics[v] — rather like asking the fox to check the performance of the lock on the hen house door.

With at least 25 percent of women and one out of every 100 men using at least 15 products daily (according to the EWG 2004 product use survey), this adds up to quite a lot of chemicals being applied to our skin (and possibly ingested into our body) in a 24-hour time period![vi]

What you can do
So what is the solution? Do you cross your fingers and hope for the best each time you apply blush or nail polish, roll on deodorant, highlight your hair or chemically de-fuzz your legs? Or do you avoid the risk and go au naturel?
Strike a balance between the two extremes by following these tips:

1. Read the labels. While the multi-syllabic chemical recipe might look overwhelming at first glance, reviewing the components at a database such as http://www.deancoleman.com/cosmetics.htm or http://www.smartskincare.com/ingredients/glossary is the first stage of your “Cosmetic Chemical Class.” Also check for a “Warning Label” that would indicate any health hazards associated with the product.[vii] The label (or packaging) will also alert you to products that are “past their prime.” At Aubrey Organics you can find a list of 10 synthetic cosmetic ingredients to avoid. Your local health food store is another great place to check out labels of “better for you” cosmetics and body products.

2. Review product ratings. Don’t buy products based on advertisements, recommendations or out of habit. Sites such as The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ Skin Deep (a searchable product guide covering 14,838 products and the 7,084 ingredients that form them) will help you choose safer products for you and your family. [viii]

3. Understand “Cosmeceuticals.” Multi-tasking has entered the cosmetics industry with a myriad of products that purportedly not only make you look better but actually improve your skin by virtue of addition of active ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acids and vitamins. Some research, particularly on topical vitamin C, certainly demonstrates benefit with regard to cell regeneration and cancer prevention. However, some experts have voiced concern that there has been a lack of clinical trials measuring their effectiveness and overall safety. [ix]

4. Support your body’s natural detoxification mechanisms. On a daily basis, your system is exposed to a variety of toxins and environmental attacks. Give it a boost by eating broccoli, radishes, and green vegetables and drinking fresh vegetable juice or wheatgrass juice. Focus on exercises that encourage deep breathing (such as yoga) and consider a trip to an infrared sauna to “sweat out” the toxins.

Here are a list of companies that offer safer options for your skin:

Product Recommendations

Aubrey Organics (http://www.aubrey-organics.com/)

Aztec Secret

Certain Dri

Chandrika

Crystal Body Deodorant

Jurlique (http://www.jurlique.com)

Longview Farms

Natra Bio

Simplers Botanical Company

Valhalla Essences

Weleda (a personal favorite)

References:

[i] http://www.cir-safety.org/findings.shtml

[ii] http://www.ewg.org/issues/cosmetics/20021119_panelmtg.php

[iii] http://www.ewg.org/reports/skindeep2/info_why.php

[v] http://www.safecosmetics.org/about/policies.cfm

[vi] http://www.ewg.org/reports/skindeep2/info_why.php

[vii] http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/%7Elrd/cfr740.html

[viii] http://www.safecosmetics.org/your_health/skindeep.cfm

[ix] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmeceutical


Your Body Has the Ability to Heal Itself

January 26, 2009

painLast week I was interviewed for an upcoming PBS Series on Naturopathic Medicine. The topic was chronic pain. Throughout the interview I found myself repeating the notion that “the body has the ability to heal itself,” provided you give it what it needs and you remove the barriers to cure.  What the body needs can range from a particular combination of nutrients, herbs, and natural hormones, to more positive emotions.  Some of the most prevalent “barriers to cure” that I see in my  practice are stress, food allergies, and toxin overload.

Most people suffering with chronic pain are handed a prescription for pain killers and muscle relaxants and/or advised to get psychological help.  The Naturopathic approach to chronic pain involves identifying the cause of the pain; be it emotional, physical, stress-related, toxin-related or hormone-related. Then treatment is individualized to suit the patients’ unique situation. No two treatment protocols are the same.  My experience has been that by addressing the cause of the chronic pain at the emotional, mental and physical levels brings about the most successful long term results and allows for freedom of movement and a pain-free life.

The most important message here is that if you are experiencing chronic pain, you do not need to suffer.  There is a way to find relief. One of the best ways to find that relief is by addressing the underlying cause(s) of the pain rather then chronically masking the symptoms with medication…and allowing your own body, in its innate wisdom, to heal itself.

In health,

Dr. Gina


Toxic Chemicals in our Hospitals

November 14, 2008

A hopeful new report entitled “Taking Toxics out of Maryland’s Health Care Sector: transition to Green Pest Management Practices to Protect Health and the Environment” was recently published by the Maryland Pesticide Network and Beyond Pesticides, in collaboration with Maryland Hospitals for a Healthy Environment.

The report discusses the results of a statewide survey that revealed a general reliance on toxic pesticides at Maryland Hospitals and elder care facilities.  There were 25 pesticides identified by the survey that are used at these facilities. And of these, 11 the cockroachare linked to cancer, 12 are associated with neurological effects, 10 are associated reproductive harm, 5 cause birth or developmental defects, 10 cause liver and kidney damage, and 6 are suspected endocrine disruptors.

Pesticides are extremely toxic to the body and it does not make sense that they are being used in healthcare facilities. Even though they are classified as “safe” by the federal government, there is a compounding effect.  This means that if you were only exposed to a “safe” dose of a single pesticide, and you were otherwise a healthy individual, then you may not see immediate effects. However, these toxins accumulate in fat cells and, over time, lead to cellular damage.  Also, you are never only exposed to one toxin at a time.  Your body is exposed to many different toxins at one time, and the added exposure to a known toxic pesticide will lead to a combined damaging effect on the body, regardless of its classification as being “generally recognized as safe.”

The Human Detoxification System is equipped to remove toxins from your body on a minute by minute bases. And it is a brilliant system.  However, it is not designed to handle the sheer volume of toxins that we are exposed to in our society today- through our food, water, air and the mental and emotional stresses of our time.  So eventually, your body’s ability to remove toxins slows down, and the toxins get stored near your cellular DNA, causing damage.

To learn more about toxins, and their impact on the body click here. Eight years ago I published a medical textbook on the effects of toxins on the human body and the use of herbal and nutritional medicines to support the Human Detoxification System, and protect the body from harm. My intention with writing the book was to bring scientific evidence to the timeless health tradition of cleansing the body and to inspire physicians and medical students to employ this simple health program to prevent and treat many diseases of the human body, mind and spirit.

Equally important to taking steps to detoxify your body, you must also remove sources of toxins from the environment as much as is possible.  To learn about natural alternatives to toxic pesticides click here and here for some straightforward advice.

In health,

- Dr. G


Antioxidants can Protect the Body from Heavy Metal Toxicity

November 10, 2008

A new research study just published in Food and Chemical Toxicology points to the potential benefit of antioxidant therapy as a way to prevent and treat lead toxicity. This study was done on mice, and demonstrated that the underlying cause of lead toxicity is the production of free radicals that causes cellular damage.  Antioxidant therapy is an effective way to neutralize free radicals and potentially protect or treat the body from the damaging effects of heavy metals like lead.  The same mechanism holds true for other toxic metals including mercury, cadmium and arsenic.

This makes a lot of sense since free radicals tend to congregate within the mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell) where the DNA is also housed.  Hence free radicals lead to DNA or genetic damage.  Antioxidants bind to free radicals and render them inactive so that they cannot damage the most vulnerable areas within the cell.

fruits_and_vegetables2

One of my favorite combinations for optimizing antioxidant status in the body is one scoop of ITI greens mixed with one heaping tablespoon of LTP Green Light in about 8 oz of water.  This   combination provides antioxidants in their most bio-available, potent and effective form, as designed by nature in its infinite brilliance – whole foods.  These green products also bind to toxins within the body and pull them out of stored tissues, oxygenates the blood, and are a critical foundational element to overall health and vitality.

I believe that everyone will benefit from taking steps daily to remove heavy metals from their system and to optimize their antioxidant capacity through whole, organic green foods.  I also recommend a 3 week systemic cleanse, at least two times per year to optimize your health and feel energized to fulfill your purpose(s) in Life.

In Health,

Dr. G


Integrative Medical Center Enters the Mainstream

September 19, 2008

On Sept. 2, the prestigious Johns Hopkins opened The Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine and Digestive Center. This is another indication that Naturopathic and Integrative Medicine is coming into the mainstream, with credibility and integrity.  It is not a surprise that the center works primarily on digestive health issues-one of numerous areas where Naturopathic Medicine truly shines.  About 70% of immune system function is housed in the digestive tract, and licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctors are the most skilled-and the most extensively trained- on how to discover the underlying cause of digestive disorders and how to work with the body to support its natural healing response.  One foundational approach is to support detoxification. You can learn more about digestive health and its connection to the immune system by clicking here.

In health,

Dr. G


Wyeth’s Nutritional Supplement Claims Under Investigation

September 18, 2008

Wyeth, manufacturer of synthetic hormones for women is under investigation for making a false claim that it’s Centrum Cardio is the only complete supplement that lowers cholesterol.  That’s interesting because in my medical practice we use several different high quality nutritional supplements to lower cholesterol, that do not contain harmful binders, dyes, and things like hydrogenated oil, found in some Centrum products. One of the most profound treatments for lowering cholesterol levels that I use in my practice is a detoxification program that I researched, formulated and published a book about, entitled Clinical Purification.  I test my  patients’ blood before and after the program.  Patients who have been on statin medications for 10 years are able to discontinue them, with full blessing from their primary care doctor and cardiologist. Nature cure at its best.

-Dr. G


The Power of Probiotics

August 29, 2008

There is a lot of talk these days about the value of probiotics. Probiotics are the “good bacteria” that are naturally supposed to live in your gut. There are literally hundreds of strains of these bacteria, and they play an important role in immune function, weight loss, vitamin status, detoxification, absorption and digestion. When you take antibiotics, they clear out the “bad bacteria” in your gut, but they also clear out the good bacteria, and like every other system in the body, it is vital that you maintain balance in the gut. You need enough good bacteria in your gut to prevent bad bacteria from taking hold and causing symptoms. This bad bacteria can take many forms which can cause a wide range of symptoms such as a cold gas, bloating, fatigue and many others.

In my practice, one mistake I often see patients making is taking too much of one strain of a good bacteria, like acidophillus, to the exclusion of other good bacteria like Lactobacillus GG and sacharomyces.  When I test their levels of probiotics in their gut, I find that they have an overgrowth of one strain.  So again, it is about balance. If you take a probiotic, rotate which one you take, about every three months. Some of my favorites include ABX Support (especially if you are taking or have recently taken antibiotics), Probiotic Pearls and Culturelle.

Here’s to a healthy and happy gut!

-Dr. Gina


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