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Vitamin K and Your Healthy Lifestyle

Foods like romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, and spinach are particularly plentiful in Vitamin K. So if you follow our recommended Diet, you likely don’t need to worry about getting enough.

Vitamin K is another nutrient we don’t frequently hear much about.

That is unless, of course, you suffer from Afib or a clotting disorder. But more on that story later!

Like all vitamins, a deficiency here can kill us! You see vitamin K gets is name from a German word for coagulation (Koagulationsvitamin). The reason is, without proper levels of Vitamin K, we could bleed to death!

Like all nutrients, there is so much more. Vitamin K1 occurs naturally in green plants. Foods like romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, and spinach are particularly plentiful. So if you follow our recommended Diet, you likely don’t need to worry about getting enough.

Good dietary intakes of green leafy vegetables and this supplement they contain are associated with less risk of diabetes, some cancers, and heart disease.

Exceptions or those at risk for deficiency are those patients with bowel disease, alcoholism, or long-term antibiotic usage which can kill normal bacteria in our bellies.

In humans, K1 is converted to, and then stored as, K2. There are also several other forms—some are even used used in medicine for treating bone loss.

The three major areas Vitamin K has a role in are blood clotting (coagulation), helping the maintenance of normal healthy bone, and in normal blood vessel health. Bone health is of particular concern as we age. We do know that patients with osteoporosis or thinning of the bones have low levels of Vitamin K2.

The one area that concerns patients more than others with vitamin K is that its intake in your diet needs to be limited if you take Coumadin. Coumadin (Warfarin) is the drug given as a blood thinner when patients suffer from conditions like the heart disorder atrial fibrilation. Afib, as it is called, is common in diabetics

As a side note, lots of the preventive diet and nutrition strategies we discuss can benefit—and possibly prevent—Afib in the first place.

There are newer blood thinning drugs without Vitamin K interactions, but some of them are far riskier than the time-tested drug Warfarin.

So, now you know the essentials. But we have not heard the last on Vitamin K and good health, I am sure!

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

Cyberchondria vs. Informed Caution

The next time you have a headache…

Or indigestion…

Or even muscle cramps or twitching…

Go online and “Google” any of those terms and see what you come up with. I’m willing to bet you’ll be terrified by the results.

For headache you’ll see anything from brain tumor to bleeding in the brain to meningitis and encephalitis.

Indigestion will lead you to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease, cancer, or even abnormality of the pancreas or bile ducts.

And muscle cramps or twitching will run the gamut from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease to ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Your search will also give you the more common reasons for any of these symptoms.  Many people latch on to the more dramatic reasons and begin living like every day is their last.[1]

Others will downplay symptoms, assume that they have something simple to treat and go to the corner drug store and buy whatever over the counter remedy “seems” to treat their symptoms.

Either of these reactions could be courting disaster.  Especially if you have a condition that can lead to more serious complications.  Delaying medical treatment may lead to severe lifelong ailment that could destroy your quality of life.

Expecting the Worst

If you fall into the “I know I’m dying” category, you will probably begin doctor shopping.  Going from specialist to specialist looking for someone to confirm the worst.  Even beyond the physical damage the stress of this process can do to your body, your emotional well-being is destroyed.

You live day to day expecting the worst with the specter of the Grim Reaper hanging over your shoulder.  That is no way to live.

The first thing you need to do is make appointment with your primary care provider.  Tell them your symptoms and let them do some diagnostic testing.  If the results warrant it, they will get you started on a treatment protocol to not only alleviate your symptoms but treat the root cause of your medical problem.  Our treatment protocol includes nutrition counseling, diet planning, stress management techniques, and hands on adjustment to properly align your nervous system.

If you actually do have a serious condition, the earlier you start this process, the better off you’ll be.  The earlier you receive appropriate treatment, the less your chances of developing permanent issues.

Ignoring the Obvious

The other end of the spectrum is the patient who does their own research, opts for the condition easily treatable with over the counter meds, and puts off seeing a specialist until their symptoms are much worse.

Let’s take the muscle twitching or cramping symptom as an example.  Yes, this could be caused by overworking the muscle or even a vitamin deficiency.   Either of those are easy to fix. But what if it’s something more serious?

If the condition lasts longer than a few days, you need to see your healthcare provider. For instance, you could have a condition leading to peripheral neuropathy.  Failing to treat the underlying cause quickly can lead to lasting nerve damage, muscle degeneration, and ultimately, even amputation of the affected limb.[2]

Cyberchondria vs. Informed Caution

Before you think we’re advocating running to the doctor every time you have a hang nail, that is definitely not the case.  We’re not advocating the spread of Cyberchondria[3] (i.e., the rising epidemic of online diagnosis and treatment), just asking that you approach any medical condition with informed caution.

An informed and educated patient is a gift for any physician.  Informed patients are much more likely to participate in their own care and keep their physician apprised of any changes in their condition.  That’s a win for both sides.

Instead of using the internet as a tool to diagnose (or, in many cases, misdiagnose) your own conditions, choose to use it as a means of educating yourself enough to provide your health care provider with all the information he needs to accurately and quickly diagnose your illness.

You’ll be making your life, and your healthcare provider’s life, much easier.

Call us today at 781-659-7989 to schedule an evaluation.

Learned Helplessness: A Pill for This And A Pill For That

I once the opportunity to film a video and write an article about “learned helplessness”. Learned helplessness was discovered many years ago, as a response by animals that are under tremendous stress. In a nutshell, this is a behavioral response that occurs when animals or in fact people believe there is no way out of their current situation.

Unfortunately, too much of drug advertisements and naming of this syndrome and that syndrome, a pill for this and pill for that mentality has led many patients to believe they have 10 more things wrong with them. And the reality is so often many conditions for which patients are treated have single underlying causes!

These could include things like acute infection, inflammation, elevated blood sugars, and perhaps even genetic disorders. More often than not, it is simply the accumulation of years of poor health habits.

But all of this consumer direct drug advertising helps make patients both consciously and unconsciously feel out of control. This is not healthy, not by a long shot.

No this is not to say that sometimes multiple medications are not necessary.

I’m more specifically talking about patients who self-medicate and will present with perhaps up to five or more prescription medications and then 15 or more dietary supplements, home remedies etc. I am not exaggerating.

It is not at all unusual for patients to literally bring half filled shopping bags into the office full of bottles, tubes, and creams.

Now some of this is certainly a byproduct of the times we live in, with poor access to qualified healthcare professionals. The problem is, when we feel helpless, we tend to reach in numerous different directions instead of focusing on one at a time.

When we feel empowered, we make different choices. We have a focus, purpose, and direction. This is why we strongly recommended patients take a very hard look at everything they are doing, and why, on their journey back to health. This is also why investing in some confident professional guidance can go along way towards restoring your mental, physical, and emotional health.

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

Functional Health: Healthy Recovery From Injury (Exercise Myths and Truths)

After sustaining an injury, many people have common misconceptions about exercise during the recovery period. The goal of this newsletter is to help dispel some of the most commonly-held myths about exercise after injury.

Myth #1: You should avoid exercise altogether after an injury.

Fact: The right workout plan can help you keep your muscles strong and limber to help you avoid further injury. Avoiding exercise can leave you weak and unbalanced and more prone to injury than not exercising at all.

Myth #2: If you worked out regularly before your injury, you should jump back into your regular routine as soon as possible.

Fact: While it is important to keep yourself moving, you also need to be careful about the type of exercises you do. Even if you were in tip-top shape before your injury, your body still needs time to recuperate. You should start off slowly and ease into a regular exercise regime that incorporates safe exercises and plenty of rest on your off days.

Myth #3: If you’re not getting quick results, you should just give up.

Fact: Recovery from any injury takes time, so you shouldn’t get discouraged if you can’t pick up where you left off. You will likely need to build up your strength again, which can be frustrating, and it’s possible that your injury will prevent you from reaching your previous level of exercise intensity. That doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy physical activity again, however. It just means that you may need to switch up your exercise routine. Which leads us to our next myth…

Myth #4: Now is not the time to try new things.

Fact: On the contrary, an injury is the perfect excuse to make changes to your exercise regime. If you were a seasoned runner who experienced a leg injury and find running difficult now, you may want to consider low-impact activities such as Pilates or water aerobics.

Myth #5: I should keep my eye on the prize (i.e. ultimate recovery).

Fact: You’d do better to set attainable short-term goals for yourself. Ask us to help you choose goals that will push you just enough to keep you moving toward recovery without straining your injury too much. Also, try to keep a positive mindset; instead of thinking about all the things you can’t do now that you used to be able to do, think about all the things that you can do now that you couldn’t right after your injury.

Water fitness programs are safe and beneficial for most exercisers.

Research has shown that water exercise can be effective for improving overall fitness as well as losing weight. Many people already know that water exercise is good for older people and those that are injured, but they aren’t the only ones who can benefit from aquatic exercise. In fact, some top athletes religiously implement a water fitness program in their exercise routines. The best part is that water workouts are easy on the joints, so chances of injury are slim. If you’re already suffering an injury that makes exercise difficult, aquatic workout is a great way to keep yourself fit without aggravating your injury.

Practice safe exercise techniques to reduce the risk of injury.

Whenever you work out, you need to make sure that you’re using the right techniques for each exercise, or you risk hurting yourself.

When in doubt, our staff can offer supervised exercise sessions, in addition to providing pointers for safe exercise.

And remember we can work with you or your loved ones to determine the best treatment plans for your health and fitness issues.

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

Chiropractic Treatment: Beating Lower Back Pain

If you’re experiencing pain in your lower back, you’re not alone; about 25% of U.S. adults complain of low back pain at least once each year. The pain can range from mildly irritating to completely debilitating, keeping you or a loved one from enjoying simple, everyday activities such as walking, sitting, and standing.

What Causes Low Back Pain?

Low back pain can come from a wide variety of sources but is most often triggered by strain or injury to the muscles, discs, and ligaments surrounding the spine. In fact, repeated muscle strain can, over time, lead to an imbalance in the spinal structure itself. The constant tension on the spine leaves the back more susceptible to injury.

What often happens with lower back pain is that after injuring another area of their back, people tend to adjust the way they walk in an effort to avoid pain in the injured area. Unfortunately, this produces extra strain on the lower back, which might be moved or twisted abnormally…leading to pain in that area as well.

Other causes of low back pain include vertebrae fractures, a herniated disc, osteoarthritis, and spinal deformities such as those caused by scoliosis.

What Are The Symptoms of Low Back Pain?

Low back pain can come in several forms, including:

  • Muscle spasms or cramping
  • Sharp pains in the back or buttocks

Of course, symptoms will vary based on the cause and the severity of the injury or condition.

Add more pillows to help ease back pain

If you often find yourself waking up with a stiff back, the way you sleep might be aggravating it too!

Fortunately, there is a simple solution. Try either altering your sleeping position or adding pillows in strategic locations to help ease the strain on your lower back.

Side sleepers can add a pillow between their knees, and back sleepers could position the pillow beneath their knees.

Back sleepers might also try rolling up a small towel and placing it underneath their lower back.

Spinal manipulation can relieve pain and improve function.

One of the most commonly used treatments for low back pain is spinal manipulation, which should be performed by a trained chiropractor. During treatment, we use our hands or a special device to apply force to a particular spot on the spine in an effort to ease low back pain and improve the patient’s level of function in daily activities.

Research has shown that spinal manipulation can provide immediate relief of low back pain, with results still in effect as much as 18 months after treatments have been provided.

Side effects, if any, are mild.

Overall, spinal manipulation has been found to be a safe and effective treatment for much low back pain.

We will work with you or your loved ones to determine the best treatment plan for your condition.

Please call us to schedule a knee evaluation at 781-659-7989 today!

Chiropractic Treatment: Real Relief from Knee Pain

Did you know nearly one in three Americans over the age of 45 suffer from some sort of knee pain? In fact, many doctor visits and emergency room rushes are thanks to knee troubles. Common causes of knee pain include things like:

  • Injury, such as from a fall, accident, or contact sport activity
  • Arthritis
  • Infection (rare but very serious)
  • Misuse or overuse of the knee joints, such as performing the same actions over and over again is the one we see most.

In many cases, knee pain can be treated at home, with rest, anti-inflammatory supplements like glucosamine and MSM, and omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil), and ice applications, but there are some situations where immediate professional attention is required.

  • When Should You Seek Our Care?
  • You should call us ASAP when:
  • Knee pain is severely limiting your daily activities
  • At-home treatments don’t provide significant relief within two days
  • You can’t put any weight on your knee

If Your knee is remarkably swollen or you have redness, pain, and swelling in the knee, accompanied by a fever – which could point to an infection (in which case you need to be seen ASAP!) Let us decide if more aggressive care like antibiotics and an MRI is needed.

Getting to the Root of the Problem

In some cases, knee pain can be referred from other sources, such as the low back, pelvis, or hip joints, so a thorough examination is often required to find out what is really causing the pain. We will perform physical examinations that will lead to an accurate diagnosis of your situation. With the right diagnosis, we can prescribe an appropriate treatment plan for optimal relief – both short-term and long-term.

Lower Your Risk for Knee Pain

While anyone can experience knee pain for a variety of reasons, there are a few factors that could put you at greater risk. For starters, carrying excess weight can put undue stress on your knee joints, even during non-stress activities like walking, so try to keep your weight down to a healthy level.

Secondly, repetitive activities, such as riding your bicycle or running, can wear down the muscles that support your knee joints and lead to tissue damage if you don’t give your body enough time between sessions to heal properly. This is why most medical and fitness experts advise exercisers to avoid working the same muscle groups on consecutive days.

With that being said, it is important to strengthen the muscles supporting your knees, as tight and weak muscles aren’t able to absorb much stress. As a result, the stress of falls and accidents is transferred to your knee joint – often leading to knee injury.

Get Yourself Back on Track

The primary role of our chiropractic treatment and knee pain is to return you to ease, eliminate or reduce chronic pain and return you to the best function possible. To do that, we’ll likely prescribe a full rehab program after doing some light manual therapy and pain reducing therapies. These might include:

  • Flexibility exercises
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Endurance activities

Of course we will work with you to determine the best plan of action, based on your activity level before the knee pain started, along with the current functionality of your non-injured leg. While these rehabilitation programs can be very intensive, by working closely with us, often you will be able to strengthen the muscles that support your knee enough to lessen pain and help avoid further injury.

We can help you assess your knee pain and determine the best treatment plan for long-term relief.

Please call us to schedule a knee evaluation 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!

Functional Health: Calcium and Your Health

Calcium is an element which is essential to life and health.

Like potassium and chloride, too much or too little of this key element can literally kill us! Your body has some aging mechanisms built in to keep calcium levels in our blood nearly constant. So much so that, if we consume too little, our parathyroid glands send hormone messengers that break down bone to release more usable calcium.

Calcium is necessary for proper heartbeat and normal nerve function. A disturbance in blood calcium can cause fatal arrhythmia of our heart, and “tetany”, which is a severe disabling contraction of our muscles!

Now, if you live in the USA, you probably have been lead to believe that dairy consumption is the only way to get adequate calcium. You might even have been told that calcium consumption alone can prevent or treat osteoporosis.

Neither of these assumptions, by themselves, are true.

For example, John Robbins was one of the first to point out in the ’90s that in cultures where daily physical activity and plant-based diets are the norm, osteoporosis was virtually non-existent. These cultures do NOT consume any dairy at all.

Instead, they eat lots of vegetables, nuts, and lean protein like fish, using animal products sparingly. This diet is far healthier than the typical sugar, fat, and soda consumption of the average modern diet!

These cultures also have higher levels of active Vitamin D, secondary to sunlight exposure. Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium in our gut, and among many other things, helps us build stronger bones, ward off infections, and a whole host of diseases.

Calcium is a key player in your health! Unless you have a disease which requires careful monitoring, eating healthy and getting enough vitamin D and exercise are probably all we need.

Most of the time, large amounts of calcium supplementation may actually be dangerous, and could actually contribute to other disease risks.

In nature, calcium often occurs with magnesium. Effective supplementation delivers calcium and magnesium in near-equal concentrations.

Magnesium is another crucial nutrient—in fact, the most commonly deficient in the so-called modern diet. Next, we’ll explore this in detail!

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