Functional Health: Boron, Vanadium, and Other Ultra Trace Elements

We spoke before about the role of trace elements in health and nutrition.

By definition, trace elements are those necessary for life and growth however, only in the tiniest amounts.

Vanadium and Boron are two more ultra trace elements we should talk about.

In some studies the element Boron has been found to help reduce the loss of calcium in our bodies. Therefore, it may actually have a positive and protective role in bone density maintenance.

In most situations, boron is relatively nontoxic in the forms most consumed by people. Boric acid for example has long been used as a preparation in health care with very rare adverse incidents.

Vanadium, another ultra trace element seems to have a role in potentiating the activities of insulin and blood sugar control. This of course could possibly be the connection between vanadium, neuropathy, diabetes, fibromyalgia and other forms of chronic pain.

I will caution you however, never to self-treat with vanadium supplements alone. To do so could be very dangerous!

Like everything, however you will find individual supplements and claims made for so many individual nutrients. Boron and vanadium are no exception. Be very careful here.

If you consume a diet that is high in vegetables, seeds nuts and the lean proteins, a deficiency of trace elements is extremely rare. Although, not impossible, there are variations in the quality of food based upon such things as the soils in which they are grown and the regions they come from.

Also, if you are supplementing your diet as we recommend, trace elements in very tiny absorbable forms are included.

Rarely should they be prescribed alone and in our opinion, always under close medical supervision.

Because everybody is different, in rare situations deficiencies of these elements can cause significant health issues. There are different tests available.

This is another reason why it is difficult to diagnose conditions, trace element analysis by hair and urine are often very helpful.

Once again, you can see the need for working with a healthcare professional who is trained in managing your neuropathy and chronic pain.

Look at all possible facets, dig deeper for answers whenever necessary.

That’s why we are here!

Please call us to schedule a visit at 781-659-7989 today and we’ll call you ASAP!

Biotin Deficiency

Biotin is one of those nutrients that are not commonly known any longer as a vitamin.

In the so-called “normal” healthy population, real deficiencies are rare because our normal intestinal bacteria can manufacture large amounts of this nutrient. There are, however, some things it has in common with other vitamins.

Biotin is another of those vitamins commonly added to cosmetics in products for hair, nails and skin. Unfortunately, the real hard evidence supporting such usage appears to be relatively slim.

Primarily, biotin deficiency, like other B-vitamin deficiencies, tends to show as a skin rash, as well as fatigue and depression. This deficiency can affect hair and skin health; such is the rationale for adding it to personal care products. This may be more severe in diabetics and alcoholics.

In diabetes, it may actually be that the need for biotin is greater than average. We also know that when diabetic patients are given this supplementation, along with the other B-vitamins, blood lipid and sugar profiles can improve.

It is largely available in a wide variety of foods. But unlike some other nutrients we have recently discussed, it is present only in very small amounts.

Follow our advice with regard to frequent leafy green and other vegetable consumption.

There are, of course, exceptions. If you have been on long-term antibiotics, which can kill normal intestinal bacteria, you could be at risk for a biotin deficiency.

Some genetic disorders means certain patients need higher amounts of biotin than others.

Lastly, intestinal surgery and gastric bypass procedures affect absorption of many vitamins. This is no exception.

Eggs and swiss are said to contain the highest amount of biotin foods. Raw eggs are not a good food source; cooked ones actually contains fair amounts of available biotin. Because of the danger of salmonella, we don’t recommend raw egg consumption anyway.

So you can see again that, like in so much of good nutrition, a wide variety of foods are really key to helping prevent deficiencies, low intakes, and the health problems they can cause.

Please call us to schedule a visit at 781-659-7989 today

Functional Health: Vitamin E and Your Health

Vitamin E is an essential nutrient for all of us, especially those who suffer from many forms of pain.

As a member of the fat-soluble vitamin family that includes vitamins A, D, E and K, it is also lacking in many modern diets.

This is also one key nutrient that occurs in eight different forms; two are the most biologically active. The most common are gamma and alpha. In your diet this will be found primarily in nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which basically means it helps prevent cells from damage due to “free radicals”, or cell destruction generated by some biochemical reactions.

Although Vitamin E is best known for its role as an antioxidant, it does have some profound roles in protecting the nervous system. Vitamin E is essential to helping healthy nerve function, as it helps us repair and protect myelin, the sheath that insulates our large nerves.

Healthy myelin is largely responsible for normal nerve conduction.

In fact, studies suggest that Vitamin E, when given to diabetics can improve nerve conduction significantly.

But there are some precautions:

First, there are no overnight miracles. Supplementation for months may be necessary to see a significant effect.

Too much Vitamin E can cause the blood to thin; this has an additive effect for anyone who takes Coumadin and other anticoagulant medications, including aspirin. Be especially careful here!

In addition to seeds and nuts (almonds and sunflower in particular), there are some other good dietary sources of Vitamin E, such as palm oil, the principal ingredient in “Earth Balance”, a butter substitute and line of products we recommend. To a lesser extent, leafy green vegetables and avocadoes will provide some active vitamin E.

Generally, safe supplementation is in the range of 200 to 400 international units of mixed tocopherols for most patients.

There maybe other occasions where we may want to prescribe larger amounts of the d-alpha tocopherol form. This is sometimes done in other neurologic conditions including multiple sclerosis.

As we say all the time, there is no one single magic nutrient. But if you lack vitamin E, it will be impossible for your nerves to heal and function properly.

This is another reason why multiple nutrient components are necessary for effective health maintenance and treatment of disease; this is not a short-term proposition.

As always, with chronic pain, it is important to work very carefully with us and make sure that your progress is monitored.

Please call us to schedule a visit at 781-659-7989 today or simply leave your info HERE and we’ll call you ASAP!

Functional Health: Zinc and Your Health

As you know, zinc is a metal. It is used in a process applied to preserve metals from corrosion, especially in salt water. This of course is called galvanization.

What you may not know is that zinc also has a large role in your health, especially neurologic and immune system related issues.

But like so many nutrients, balance is everything. Too much zinc will suppress the immune system and cause difficulties with copper levels. Too little can create problems ranging from memory impairment to prostate disease. Yes, neurologic dysfunction can result when zinc is deficient.

According to Hambridge et al in 2007 in “Zinc deficiency a special challenge” it is stated that zinc is an element with “profound biologic significance”. In fact, zinc deficiencies worldwide are responsible for many disease states.

Perhaps the most important thing to understand is that zinc imbalances are relatively common. This is due both to low levels in foods of modern agriculture as well as elevated levels of copper due to plumbing and environmental sources.

In the clinic, we will measure hair and blood levels of these crucial elements when assessing nutrition status.

In our bodies, zinc can actually act as an antioxidant. This protects us against damage from environmental assaults, as well as natural aging. The presence of zinc is essential for normal nerve function.

It is well-known that zinc can speed the healing process and, in essential amounts, will help stimulate the immune system and possibly prevent prostate disease.

When zinc is used in shampoos and skin lotions, it can act as a sunscreen, a soothing dressing, and also help prevent dandruff.

The reason that zinc is so important is that it participates in many chemical reactions, especially in enzymes.

The recommended dietary allowance is around 15 mg per day.

However modern diets alone sometimes fall short of this.

The good news is, the diet our office recommends is high in nuts and seeds provide relatively good zinc levels. Seafood, shellfish in particular, can be great sources of dietary zinc.

For most patients, safe supplementation level is probably not more than 25 mg per day. More than 50 mg a day could be detrimental. Like so many nutrients, this is one area where working with trained healthcare professionals is essential if there are any questions at all about appropriate zinc dosages.

Please call us to schedule a visit at 781-659-7989 today and we’ll call you ASAP!