The Skinny on Fats

Do you know the “skinny” on fats? There are two different omega 3-fatty acids that come from cold-water fish: one is called EPA, the other DHA. Another essential fatty acid comes from either flax, hemp or walnut oil. EPA, DHA and flax in certain ratios are natural anti-inflammatories that are VERY well-documented in the literature.

Omega 6’s are saturated fats from processed vegetable oils, red meat, and transfats. While omega 6’s are essential (you must get them from the diet, the body cannot make them), the typical American diet is laden with linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid that never needs to be supplemented. Omega 6’s are more rigid than omega 3’s. For instance, butter (an omega 6) is solid at room temperature and thus more solid inside your body . Fish oil, however, is liquid at room temperature. And EPA & DHA—the crucial oils from cold water fish—-are still liquid at freezing temperatures (it’s a natural anti-freeze for coldwater fish)!

So EPA and DHA are more fluid and flexible than fried fats or butter. This fact is important when looking at individual cells in your body. Every cell covering is made out of a special complex fat (called a phospholipid). The cell covering is supposed to be a fluid, flexible membrane. Molecules that are SUPPOSED to get into cells CAN when the cell membrane is fluid and flexible enough. But when the cell membrane is stiff from the traditional Western diet fats (fried foods, snack foods, red meat, dairy), molecules CAN’T get in easily.

For instance, serotonin, a mood hormone, can’t get in (easily), thus the use of anti-depressants to bombard the brain with serotonin. The brain is 60% phospholipids and when there is a lack of omega-3’s, the brain doesn’t work right: coordination, normal ability to think, and nerve development can be altered or inhibited.

Through piles of research, a very exact combination and dosage of omega 3’s and their cofactors have been developed for maintaining good health. You need a supplement that contains at least a 2:1 ratio of EPA: DHA. Many formulas of fish oils that I found at Whole Foods only had 3:2. A GLA (gamma linolenic acid) is also needed as a carrier molecule (this is a special Omega 6 that needs to be supplemented). GLA comes from evening primrose oil, borage oil or black currant seed oil. Natural Vitamin E in (d-alpha tocopherols) is necessary. And then an excellent source of antioxidants is needed to combat the oxidative stress. The fish oil must be distilled for purity because all fish are contaminated with heavy metals.

An excellent fish oil formula is available in my office–one bottle of Nutriwest comes with 90 500 mg oil capsules. (The co-factors are separate.) Prices at Whole Foods don’t compare to this product; they didn’t contain the GLA, meaning you’d have to buy that separately; the dosages were SMALL, meaning you would need LOTS of pills per serving. Besides, the ratios in most brands weren’t correct.

An overload of omega 6’s promote inflammation, leading to pain, infection, cancer, hardened arteries, degenerating cartilage, rheumatoid arthritis, abnormal behavior, learning problems, mood disorders, even bed-wetting!

Omega 3’s are the opposite—they relieve inflammation. The most immediate, practical aspect of using omega 3’s for patients is halting the inflammation cycle. Using Nutriwest along with your chiropractic protocol will provide you with building blocks for repairing cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bones and muscles.

In the journal Surgical Neurology, 250 nonsurgical candidates for neck and back pain were asked to take EPA and DHA. After 75 days of use, 59% discontinued using non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS—over-the-counter or prescription strength ibuprofen or aspirin). 88% of them were pleased enough with taking the fish oil that they continued to do so. No significant adverse effects were noted. The authors noted that high doses of fish oil are extensively documented to reducing joint pain from old-age arthritis as well as rheumatoid, improve dry eyes and macular degeneration, and reduce chance for heart attacks. Reduce your need for pain relievers, know the skinny on fats!

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Whiplash and Statins both Cause Pain

Many people are surprised after a car accident to realize that they are sore—that’s because they always thought people with whiplash were faking it. They’re surprised to find out that whiplash is real. There’s an actual mechanism that accounts for it! During trauma, cells are torn and destroyed. Torn parts of the outside fatty layer of the cell enter the pathway that makes inflammatory chemicals (called prostaglandins). That’s why taking over-the-counter pain relievers can give you relief—the drug inhibits the enzyme that makes prostaglandin.

Typically, healing from trauma leads to fibrotic or scarred tissue and this leads to pain and degeneration. Fibrotic tissues are sensitive and weaker; they reduce messages into the spinal cord while opening the pain gate to the brain. So it stands to reason that a person’s body will need nutrients to heal the injured areas.

In addition to physical trauma, people can endure chemical trauma to the cells when they use statin drugs (cholesterol-lowering medications like Lipitor). They have very poor collagen-making abilities. Apparently the medication robs so much CoQ10 (ubiquinone) out of the cells, that there isn’t enough left for making energy (ATP). Tendon and ligament injuries are frequently reported. And new collagen virtually falls apart! A person would have to supplement with 600 micrograms of CoQ10 a day to overcome the depletion from taking statin drugs. The risk of peripheral neuropathy goes up by 1600%! [Neurology May 2002 and Statin Drug Side Effects by Graveline (retired astronaut/physician)]

In our office we can’t accept new patients who are taking statin drugs. Their prognosis would be so poor that it would appear their care would fail, when in fact it is the body’s inability to heal and repair collagen, the stretchy material in muscles, ligaments, tendons and arteries.

The most current research says that cholesterol levels are NOT a true risk of heart/stroke problems. Rather, C-Reactive Protein levels are. To reduce your risk of heart/stroke problems in a healthy way, then take heed of prevalent research that has shown a minimum of 1500mg of Omega 3 fish oils a day for 3 months drastically reduces the risk of a first heart attack. At the same time, Omega 3’s are well-known in the research to decrease pain levels.

Injury Prevention from a Vitamin?

Even if you’re not a health nut that takes a handful of vitamins everyday, chances are you’ve heard of “antioxidants.” These are chemicals that you need to consume (like Vitamin A, B, C & E) because your body can’t make them. After normal chemical reactions take place inside your body, there can be unstable products left over known as free radicals. Free radicals can do lots of damage to the cells, particularly DNA. So antioxidants neutralize free radicals as well as provide the substances for vital reactions throughout the cells.

But did you know there’s an important antioxidant that your body CAN make? It is called glutathione. And glutathione is perfectly adapted for cleaning up toxic elements in your body like mercury, lead and arsenic.

Mercury is considered the most toxic, non-radioactive element in existence (Neuroendocrinology Letters Vol. 26 NO. 5 Oct. 2005 p. 439-446) There is 25 ug of ethyl mercury in each (adult) flu shot (www.fda.gov); all American diphtheria & tetanus shots contain ethyl mercury (www.fda.gov). Arsenic is added to feed for chickens to fatten them up (USA Today 2005). There is considerable mercury released into the air via burning of coal and waste—300% more than before the Industrial Revolution 200 years ago. It ends up in the ocean which has caused virtually all fish stocks around the world to be contaminated with varying degrees of mercury (Madison Declaration on Mercury Pollution 2007). So you’ve got insidious accumulations of heavy metals in your body.

Glutathione is the body’s #1 detoxifier and targets these pollutants for elimination. However, there is a “rate-limiting” factor for making enough of it. That means, there is one step that doesn’t happen because there isn’t enough quantity of an ingredient to make it happen. “N-acetyl cysteine” (NAC) is that ingredient. When NAC is combined with homocysteine, vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid, then you can boost your production of glutathione. One of my baseline recommendations is for patients to include boosting this antioxidant as a baseline for basic nutrition.

Nutriwest makes two products designed to boostglutathione. One is a tablet (Complete Glutathione, containing NAC) and the other is Complete Whey G, which is a protein powder with the necessary ingredients. You can’t just swallow glutathione, which is why you need the pre-cursors (those ingredients needed to make it.) Usage of Tylenol depletes glutathione. Overdosing on Tylenol for even a few days depletes so much glutathione, that it can lead to liver failure, which can be a grisly death.

Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld, MD has reported that NAC is the antidote for Tylenol poisoning—the ingredient for making glutathione! Since exposure to heavy metals and toxins is so prevalent, it’s a very good line of defense for disease to include a supplement like this. It also helps clean up your body if you’ve consumed aspartame or MSG. Together, MSG and apartame are called excitotoxins — they stimulate glutamate receptors.

MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a flavor enhancer that makes the flavor “pop”. Dr. Blaylock says that excitotoxicity from MSG make animals grossly obese—MSG causes you to prefer carbs and sugar over protein-rich foods. (Health and Nutrition Secrets that Can Save Your Life by Blaylock, MD).

Nutrasweet is the brand name for the artificial sweetener,aspartame.

Excitotoxins can cause acute (sudden) stroke, hypoglycemia, trauma epilepsy or chronically can cause neurodegenerative diseases like Huntington’s Disease, AIDS, dementia, ALS (Lou Gherig’s disease) and Alzheimers [New England Journal of Medicine 1994 330 (9): 613-622)] The authors of this study said excitotoxins literally cause neuronal death. Toxicity can occur within minutes of exposure, thus the acute onset problems just listed.

These authors also note that the SIMPLEST cause of excess glutamate is injury! This definitely has implications for chiropractic patients. In fact, in a study of brain-traumatized rats (yes, it sounds very cruel), NAC was administered after trauma and it significantly reduced neuronal decay, improving survival of the nerves. It only took a single dose within 15 minutes of the trauma for this improvement. The group that DIDN’T get NAC had extensive neuron degeneration. (Neurochemistry May 9, 2006) This supports my current recommendation for new patients to include Complete Glutathione as part of their protocol. I take it daily in one form or the other—tablet or powder—since I
might not have a bottle handy within 15 minutes of a new trauma or after unknowingly consuming MSG products.

I think it would be pretty handy as a preventative for future traumas because there would be
a steady supply of NAC in the system to prevent neuronal degeneration.

As for the chemical-induced
trauma from excitotoxins, you should know what ingredients are MSG-in-disguise. The following
ingredients that you find on food labels always contain MSG: hydrolyzed protein, plant protein extract, calcium caesinate, textured protein, hydrolyzed oat flour, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed plant protein, sodium caseinate, yeast extract and autolyzed yeast.

Other ingredients that FREQUENTLY contain MSG include: malt extract, bouillon stock, natural flavoring, seasoning, broth, beef or chicken flavoring, spices.

The following MAY contain MSG: carrageenan, soy protein, whey protein, enzymes. (The Taste that Kills by Dr. Russell Blaylock, MD)

Dr. Blaylock says he’s gotten lots of people off of their seizure medications just by getting them off of MSG and giving them magnesium; he says that most neurologists don’t know about this. His tips for blocking absorption of excitotoxins include the use of the following supplements: leucine, isoleucine, lysine, curcurmin, gingko, most flavonoids, magnesium, vitamin E as succinate (very powerful), antioxidants and B vitamin combos.

Complete Glutathione by Nutriwest contains Vitamins B1, B2 , B6, B12, Vitamin E as succinate, magnesium and zinc as chelate, alpha lipoic acid, folic acid & Vitamin C. I personally experienced brain fog first-hand after (accidentally) consuming a 20 oz. coffee product with Nutrasweet (aspartame). I was away from home for several hours and even had trouble driving home—it was an outright effort to concentrate. Within an hour of taking Complete Glutathione, I normalized!

The bottom line is that boosting glutathione will prevent brain/nerve damage if you have trauma; it will block the absorption of MSG and aspartame–excitotoxins that are known to cause neuronal death; and it targets environmental, medical and nutritional toxins from the body for elimination including mercury exposure from air, water, fish and vaccines; arsenic in chicken; and cadmium that is used in the hydrogenation of processed foods/oils.

Call our office to get Complete Glutathione and start protecting yourself from these chemical and physical assaults on the nerves!

Desk Distress Disorder Identified

A pain complex that results from prolonged hours of sitting at a desk, working on a computer and talking on the phone.

After working with white collar office workers for well over a decade, a condition has manifested itself that is shown over and over to be a verifiable problem. In our office, we call it “Desk Distress Disorder”. It is the gradual tightening of the shoulders that creeps into the necks eventually leading to neck and/or shoulder pain, can spread into headaches, cause numbness and tingling in the hands/fingers/arms with soreness in the wrists or elbows and causes back soreness when trying to sit up straight.

A hallmark of this condition is that repeated stretching doesn’t relieve it. Exercise may give temporary relief, but after resuming desk work, the symptoms return. The symptoms USUALLY appear gradually over time and begin to last longer, come more frequently until the symptoms become constant.

While many professionals may attribute this problem to a worker’s comp injury, we have found that the symptoms are due to a pre-existing misalignment from previous trauma, predisposing the patient to pain from chronic bad sitting posture.

At Atlas, we specialize in improving the mechanics of the skeleton, taking tension off of the muscles and nerves. We improve the symptoms associated with Desk Distress Disorder continually by peeling off layers of bad mechanics and supporting the new alignment between visits with better sitting, sleeping and standing posture.

Find out if you have Desk Distress Disorder and how to get pain relief on your own at home or when you should know that it is time to seek professional help at my new website, Desk Distress Disorder

What Exercises Will Stop My Pain?

Exercising Strengthens the Existing Misalignments

In our culture it is very common for patients’ primary care doctors to refer them to physical therapy when they have pain. So there is a very ingrained idea with patients that the way to get rid of pain is through exercise.

There appears to be some workability with exercising and stretching because patients may get some relief for a period of time. However, when they discontinue the stretches or exercises, many patients have told me the pain comes back. Other patients find exercising kind of hurts and others barely get relief from stretching or exercising.

When in pain, patients already naturally stretch the tight areas to get relief. So it is interesting that patients want to know what secret exercise might actually finally make them better when I meet with them.

Unfortunately there isn’t any exercise that will fix the problem. When the bones are twisted out of place in a way they cannot realign themselves, stretched muscles will eventually tighten back up because they are connected to misaligned bones. The muscles DON’T pull the bones out of place. Bad alignment twists muscles, causing them to tighten. Exercising your body temporarily changes the positions of the bones and muscles. But due to the mechanics of the spinal column and the inability of a vertebrae to realign itself BACKWARDS, there is limited workability in exercising to fix pain.

For many problems, there ISN’T any exercise that can fix certain misalignments because there’s no muscle that pulls the vertebrae backwards.

Once patients begin ABC care, their spine is realigned in the direction that the spine CANNOT fix on its own. Then they don’t NEED to stretch the muscle to get relief from the tightness or pain. But after beginning a course of care, any exercise they do WILL benefit them tremendously. Stretching will feel more natural and easier. And strengthening exercises will give the postural muscles better tone. Stronger muscles hold the body in place, making it less likely for the spine to misalign. Exercising will also FEEL better to the patient who is under ABC care once they aren’t so twisted up. Exercising a very twisted spine will merely strengthen the misaligned posture that it is already in.

Do you worry you just haven’t exercised ENOUGH to finally get rid of the pain? Don’t beat yourself up. We have treated Pilates instructors, fitness trainers, hard-core exercisers, Cross-fit athletes, triathletes, cyclists, runners and horseback riders who exercise more than you would ever DREAM of exercising. And they have badly misaligned spines that do not just “straighten out” from a lot of exercise. Once these athletes have begun our program, their training enters a whole new realm of possibilities due to improved posture, untwisted bones and looser muscles.

On my Secrets to Good Posture DVD, I demonstrate the most effective stretches and strengthening moves for supporting good posture. But those exercises cannot FIX the actual problem. They can only hold the spine in the existing alignment pattern, good, bad or indifferent. So get the chassis lined up and then take the old girl for a good spin. The drive will be much better and you won’t chew up the tires due to a bad rear-end alignment!

Scary Proposition: Out-of-Network Doctors

Do you ever go to out-of-network doctors? Probably not! It can be scary not knowing what fees you might incur if you venture to a doctor who will charge more than your co-pay, especially because many medical billing departments are not very efficient or accurate, sticking you with big bills for out-of-network services.

But have you ever been frustrated by getting the “run-around” and not getting your problem solved?

Something you should contemplate if you are having a problem that isn’t resolving is what you are actually getting for your co-pay. If the exchange you are hoping for is an appointment with the doctor, PA, chiropractor or PT then spending a $30 co-pay is clearly better than spending upwards of $80-100 out-of-network. But if the product you want a workable solution for your problem but you don’t get a solution for $30 co-pays for MANY appointments at a multitudes of providers, you now have wasted a lot of time AND money, just $30 at a time.

The funny thing I’ve learned from hundreds and hundreds of consultations with patients is MOST people do not want to take drugs. Yet their first stop is their physician, who will usually give a prescription-strength anti-inflammatory and/or muscle relaxer for aches and pains. And considering that a majority of our patients have struggled with at least one of their aches or pains for YEARS, how many co-pays to doctors were spent? How much of their life was wasted in pain, sleeping poorly or avoiding doing things they love?

When you consider the cost of just sticking to your network doctor versus going to an out-of-network, results-driven doctor, the cost-benefit analysis is a no-brainer. For example a patient who loved coming to our office some years ago used to have good out-of-network benefits that worked at our office. When her husband’s insurance policy changed, she stopped coming. I recently saw her again after 4 years. She told me she had been to four chiropractic offices in Highlands Ranch. She was completely dissatisfied with the service she got for chiropractic adjustments–she said she got a little tweak here and a little tweak there and some therapies. She called it “the Highlands Ranch adjustment.” I’m not sure if all of the offices she went to used a similar technique, but by the time I saw her she said it would be worth $100 to get a “real” adjustment. (Not our price, by the way).

It is common for patients to say they wished they had known about us years ago so they could have done something about their pain way back when.

We charge a competitive fee for our care. We lay out all of the finances before you incur a single dollar. We never balance bill our patients when we accept assignment on insurance, even if the policy turns out to be crummy. (So for that reason, we are choosy about which out-of-network plans we will bill.)

So if you or your friend or family member are not a patient in our office, take the financial consideration away and just come in and see if we can help. If your pain isn’t caused by tumor, infection, fracture, drug side effects or the like, then we can USUALLY help, even if you have been failed many times in the past by physicians or other chiropractors. We specialize in difficult or tough cases. Call us and see how Atlas’ method is worth the extra expense of going out-of-network.

Rehab Now to Hasten Future Recoveries

There is a phenomenon I have noticed about my patients who have completed an initial plan of care: that in the event they have a future accident, they heal remarkably faster than other patients with similar injuries. For instance, a patient who is in his mid-50’s who had 2 low back surgeries prior to our care recently severed his patellar tendon–ouch! His attending doctor said in 20 years he’d never seen someone heal and rehabilitate so fast from such an injury. There was another patient some years ago who was similar–he was an auto mechanic patient who tore all the tendons in his elbow. His attending doctor never saw someone heal so fast from such a serious injury.

More commonly, existing patients get into a car accident after they have started our treatment plan. Those patients return to pre-accident status within a couple of weeks, sometimes within a couple of adjustments! Compare this to new guys off the street who never had an Atlas adjustment and the prognosis for the same kind of mild injury is several weeks and over a dozen treatments to get back to pre-accident status. My existing patients recover from a new injury without residual achiness or soreness while new injury patients tend to have residual aches.

It makes sense when you understand the mechanics of the body. When there are pre-existing twists, tensions and tightnesses, any new injury is more likely to become the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” Existing ABC patients have a more stable base and a new trauma adds one new complexity that is rather easily cleaned up.

Our patients don’t start our care plan hoping it will shorten any future convalescence, but it is a note-worthy benefit that you keep in the long-run!