Saturday, October 13, 2018

Nutrition and Tooth Decay


Did you know tooth decay is a (relatively) recent problem for mankind?  Until the advent of farming approximately 12,000 years ago, cavities were rare in our ancestors. With the addition of grains to the diet, the bacteria in our mouths began to change. The bacteria, once benign, started evolving.  Thus, tooth decay was “born.”  As more food processing developed people started eating flour, breads, sugar, and processed foods. This encouraged the oral bacteria to become even more aggressive and destructive. 
A researcher from the turn of the 20th century, a dentist named Weston Price, was a man well ahead of his time.  He and his wife traveled to many points on the globe, exploring the mouths and diets of people living in isolated tribes or communities.  These people had not had exposure to the processed foods, flour or sugars that were the main diet staples of the then current “modern” societies.  Dr. Price photographed and documented the many big, beautiful, healthy smiles of these indigenous people. 

Monday, August 20, 2018

Food and Dieting Myths - Healthy weight loss

In trying to maintain a healthy weight I needed to unlearn many of the myths surrounding food and dieting.


I used to believe that the number of calories I ate were the key to weight gain. I believed the myth that calories in and calories out accounted for all weight changes. This was very frustrating for me because I just couldn’t seem to eat small enough portions to lose weight. Also, eating these small portions left me very hungry and unsatisfied.

Eventually a doctor I consulted recommended a low carbohydrate diet and suddenly I started to shed my excess weight without difficulty. What I came to learn is that contrary to popular belief, calories are NOT the only thing you need to concern yourself with when it comes to losing weight. Research over the last 20 years has made remarkable progress in understanding adipose tissue (body fat cells) and how we gain and lose weight. Calories have very little to do with this process. Some calories (carbohydrates and sugar) can turn straight to excess body fat and some simply cannot.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Water Therapy - the gentle pain reliever

I have experienced chronic pain since I suffered a spinal injury when I was a teenager. Prior to my injury, I was able to run, hike, backpack, bike and do just about any other exercise that a healthy young woman could do. In fact, I loved all kinds of exercise. However, after my injury things were different because many types of exercise started causing me discomfort. Eventually, I discovered water therapy and water became my friend. Especially, natural salt water because it does not have any chlorine and it nourishes my body with minerals from the ocean.

Not all of us have access to the ocean but many of us have access to some kind of swimming pool, whether it be at your local YMCA, JCC or sports club. There are also many water therapy programs that specifically work with patients in chronic pain.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Withdrawing from Opiates - Part 2 of 2.

(Read Part 1 at this link.)

After 1-2 weeks of taking opiate analgesics our bodies develop tolerance and become dependent on them. This means that it might be very uncomfortable to suddenly discontinue the use of opiates. There are several key concepts to helping withdraw comfortably from opiates.

Prevention of withdrawal symptoms:

Before we discuss strategies for withdrawing from opiates, let’s discuss how to help to mitigate the inevitable onset of tolerance and dependence to begin with.

If your doctor feels that you will need to be prescribed opiates for longer than 1-2 weeks, then ask that they prescribe a long acting opiate right from the start. Long acting opiates smooth out the highs and lows of the medication in your system which decreases the development of tolerance and abuse. With short acting opiates the body gets a high dose and then quickly switches to a lower dose after just a few hours. Your pain level with increase with each low that occurs, potentially making you feel like you need a higher and higher dose to keep you comfortable. In this case you don’t need a higher dose but a formulation that smooths out the highs and lows, so you stay in a steady state of pain relief over time. This also makes it much easier to withdraw when it is time to discontinue the use of opiates.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Opioid Crisis – the problems of tolerance, physical dependence and hyperalgesia. Part 1 of 2.

The news is full of stories about the addictive potential of opioids and deadly opioid overdoses. What seems to be missing in the news stories is the subtler issue of separating out the concept of true addiction from the tolerance, physical dependence and hyperalgesia that develop over time, for patients who take opiate analgesics.

Our body naturally makes opioid like compounds. If we use man made opioids (opiate analgesics) our body gradually decreases the creation of natural opioids and we start to need a greater and greater dose to get the original pain-relieving benefit. This is called opiate tolerance. In other words, we start to tolerate the artificial dose of opiates  Inevitably, if you start to rely on pharmaceutical opiates you will start to feel the need for more pharmaceutical opiates to get the same effect. It's easy to understand how this might lead to a dangerous spiral of increasing opiate use which may ultimately become life threatening. Once you have developed tolerance to opiates your body becomes dependent on the artificial medicine to replace your normal production. This is called physical dependence. Once you have developed physical dependence on opiates withdrawal of the opiate medication will cause unpleasant physical symptoms. Physical dependence to opiates may be confused with addiction. Just because patients may be unable to wean themselves off the opiates at the end of their treatment may not mean that they have somehow become an “addict”.