Tag Archives: health

Why Exercise?

Exercise might be one of the most overlooked factors in dental health. While most people are at least aware that physical activity is part of being healthy, far fewer know that it helps their teeth and gums, too.

For instance, as we noted before, research shows that those who exercise have a much lower risk of periodontitis (gum disease) than those who don’t, especially former smokers. (For most, smoking pretty much guarantees gum disease and tooth loss.)

Physical activity also helps your body better assimilate nutrients like calcium, a crucial mineral for the remineralization of teeth.

Here are 5 more “hidden” benefits, courtesy of integrative physician Dr. Eudene Harry, author of Live Younger in 8 Simple Steps:

  1. Younger looking, more blemish-free skin
    The increase in circulation and perspiration that occurs with exercise delivers more nutrients to your skin while allowing impurities and waste to be removed. The result? A healthier complexion!
  2. Natural “feel-good” chemicals
    Exercise releases endorphins, the brain chemicals that boost your mood and make you feel happy, as well as relieve stress, and enhance your self-esteem and self-confidence. Exercise has also been shown to increase neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which gives us a natural high and allows us to sleep better.
  3. Constipation prevention
    Exercise increases the contractions of the wall of the intestine, helping to move things along through the intestinal tract more easily, and decreasing the time it takes to pass through the large intestine. But wait an hour or two after eating before exerting yourself: Exercising too soon after a meal can divert blood flow away from the gut and toward the muscles, weakening peristaltic contractions (and slowing down the digestion process).
  4. Prevents brittle bones
    Walking, jogging, dancing, weight training and yoga are all weight-bearing exercises that help strengthen bones. Swimming and bicycling are exercises that are considered non-weight bearing. During weight-bearing exercises, bones adapt to the impact of the weight and the pull of muscles by building more bone cells, increasing strength and density and decreasing the risk of fractures, osteopenia and osteoporosis.
  5. Enhanced immunity
    Physical exertion increases the rate at which antibodies flow through the blood stream, resulting in better immunity against sickness. The increased temperature generated during moderate exercise makes it difficult for certain infectious organisms to survive.

40 more reasons to exercise

We hope you and yours have a joyful Thanksgiving – a wonderful start to your holiday season ! We’ll be back to our regular posting here on November 30.

Image by bookgrl, via Flickr

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The Future of Food

Heading toward next week’s election and the vote on GMO labeling here in California, a documentary worth watching again:

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Fluoridation Politics

If you keep up with developments on the fluoridation front, you’re likely aware that Portland, Oregon’s City Council opted for it, despite vocal opposition. Anticipating such an outcome, citizen activists had already mobilized to put fluoridation on the ballot, and it’s likely they succeeded.

According to the Salem Statesman Journal, Clean Water Portland submitted more than double the signatures needed – more than 43,000 total – and a day before deadline, too!

If the petitions are certified, the City Council could choose to put the issue before voters next year. Otherwise, the election would be in May 2014.

It’s hard to imagine the council would put it to ballot any sooner than necessary, especially in light of recent news that its members met with pro-fluoride lobbyists yet failed to disclose those meetings as required.

Promoted by then-Commissioner [now Mayor] Sam Adams beginning in 2005, the lobbying and reporting rules are supposed to preserve integrity in city decision-making. The requirements affect both lobbyists and city officials and are meant to reveal who attempts to influence city leaders – and on what topic.

Upstream Public Health is behind the push to add fluoride to Portland drinking water. But its plan has since been challenged through a referendum effort that may block the City Council’s Sept. 12 unanimous approval.

According to a recently filed disclosure, lobbyists reported meeting with Commissioners Randy Leonard on July 26, Dan Saltzman and Nick Fish on Aug. 2, Amanda Fritz on Aug. 6 and Mayor Adams on Aug. 27 to push for fluoride in public drinking water.

But those same city officials –who are required to publicly post their calendars on a quarterly basis – either didn’t disclose the meetings about fluoride or left a vague subject heading. Adams and Leonard say they weren’t actually present at the meetings.

Regardless of fluoride’s potential role dental health, giving it to everyone via a necessity such as drinking water whether they need it or not is, as we noted previously , ethically dubious at best. As Dr. Paul Connett has asked, “What other drug have we ever delivered through the public water supply?”

None. And for obvious reasons: 1) You cannot control the dose, 2) You cannot control who gets it, and 3) It violates the individual’s right to informed consent to medicine.

Fortunately, more people become informed every day and choose to take a stand for their right to choose. And education is what Clean Water Portland is focused on now.

One teaching tool is the powerful documentary An Inconvenient Tooth, which was released at Portland City Hall just about a week before the council vote – and which you can watch in its entirety below.

Learn more about Clean Water Portland.

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On the Latest “Organics Are No Better for You” Story…

Notice any headlines this week that looked like this?:

Since news of the study broke, a lot of excellent commentary has already been published about it and the way much mainstream media chose to spin it. So rather than sound like a broken record, here’s a sample of key points, followed by an article I received via email from the Cornucopia Institute.

  • Sarah Pinneo: “Media Coverage of Stanford’s Organic Foods Study Is Half Baked” (HuffPo)

    Informed buyers of organic aren’t expecting to get more vitamin C from their strawberries. It’s what’s not in the strawberries that makes organic better: toxic pesticides. And it’s what’s not running off the fields and into the water supply. And it’s what’s not poisoning the people who work in those fields, and the honeybees who pollinate them…
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  • Tom Philpott: “5 Ways the Stanford Study Sells Organics Short” (Mother Jones)

    In reality,…the study in some places makes a strong case for organic — though you’d barely know it from the language the authors use. And in places where it finds organic wanting, key information gets left out. To assess the state of science on organic food and its health benefits, the authors performed what’s known among academics as a “meta-analysis”—they gathered all the research papers they could find on the topic dating back decades, eliminated ones that didn’t meet their criteria for scientific rigor, and summarized the results.

    In another post I’ll get to the question of nutritional benefits — the idea, expressed by the Stanford authors, that organic and conventional foods are roughly equivalent in terms of vitamins and other nutrients. What I want to discuss now is the problem of pesticide exposure, and why I think the Stanford researchers are underestimating the risks…
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  • Michael Pollan: Interview with KQED News (KQED)

    I think we’re kind of erecting a straw man and then knocking it down, the straw man being that the whole point of organic food is that it’s more nutritious. The whole point of organic food is that it’s more environmentally sustainable. That’s the stronger and easier case to make.

    * * *

    It depends on your values. If you’re concerned about nutritional value and taste, you might find that the local food, which is more likely to have been picked when it was ripe, is better. Because any food that’s traveled a few days to get to you or been refrigerated for a long time is going to have diminished nutritional value. That argues for fresh being more important than organic.

    But if you’re concerned about pesticides – let’s say you’re pregnant or have young kids you’re feeding – than you might choose organic, because it will have on balance fewer pesticide residues. You may also be concerned with the welfare of the people picking and the farmers growing your produce, or you may be concerned about soil health – that would argue for organic too…
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Thinking Outside the Processed Foods Box — Health and Safety Advantages of Organic Food

By Mark A. Kastel
Senior Farm Policy Analyst
The Cornucopia Institute

 
I have enjoyed a virtually exclusive organic diet for the past 30 years. But I was deeply unsettled by a September 4 New York Times article and a similar Associated Press story casting doubt on the value of an organic diet.

In terms of the extra cost and value of eating organically, I have always subscribed to the adage “pay now or pay later.” While my personal experience does not provide much in terms of a scientifically legitimate sample size, in the last 30 years, after suffering from pesticide poisoning prompted my shift to an organic diet, I have exceeded my insurance deductible only once, due to an orthopedic injury. And my doctor keeps telling me how remarkable it is that I, at age 57, have no chronic health problems and take no pharmaceuticals.

Unfortunately, the analysis done by Stanford University physicians in the articles noted above did not look “outside the box” as many organic farming and food advocates do.

They discounted many of the studies, including by the USDA, that show our conventional food supply’s nutritional content has dropped precipitously over the last 50 years. This has been attributed to the declining health of our farms’ soil, and healthy soil leads to healthy food. Organic farming’s core value is building soil fertility.

Furthermore, there are many externalities that impart risk on us as individuals and as a society, which the physicians failed to look at. For example, eating organic food protects us all from exposure to agrichemicals contaminating our water and air.

Additionally, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have become ubiquitous in processed food with an estimated 80%-90% contaminated with patented genes by Monsanto and other biotechnology corporations. The use of GMOs is prohibited in organics.

Interestingly, there have been virtually no long-term studies on human health impacts of ingesting GMOs, although many laboratory animal and livestock studies have led to disturbing conclusions. The best way to operate using the “precautionary principle,” as European regulators mandate, is to eat a certified organic diet.

Current research now indicates that some of Monsanto’s genes are passing through the placenta into human fetuses and into the bloodstreams of adults and children. Organics is a way to prevent your children from becoming human lab rats testing genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH) or a myriad of other novel life forms.

Stanford researchers, cited in the recent press accounts, dismissed statistically significant differences between agrichemical (pesticide, herbicide, fungicide, etc.) contamination in conventional and organic food.

The researchers might trust the FDA to set ” safe levels of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals in the food we serve our families but many parents have decided to set a lower threshold close zero as possible. even doctors at stanford confirm demonstrably pesticide contamination organic food.

In supporting this cautious approach, there is a growing body of scientific literature that suggests it’s not just the gross level of toxic contamination that pesticides present but rather minute amounts of these toxins can act as endocrine disruptors, or mimickers, sometimes triggering catastrophic and lifelong abnormalities in fetuses and developing children.

Is it worth experimenting with the health of future generations when we know that there is a demonstrated safe alternative—organic food?

To illustrate the difference, researchers at the University of Washington published a paper in Environmental Health Perspectives that documented a tremendous drop in organophosphate pesticide contamination, in the urine of children, after just three days on an organic diet. This is hard science that did sway the Stanford investigation’s conclusion.

Scientists have also recognized that we must take into consideration the disproportionate quantities of food that children consume relative to their body weight, especially of certain fruits and vegetables that have been found to be highly contaminated with synthetic chemicals. Furthermore, their study failed to look at the cumulative effects of contamination in many different food items in one’s diet. Again, children, for developmental reasons, are especially at risk.

Both the New York Times and AP stories did touch on a number of advantages, like lower levels of contamination from antibiotic-resistant pathogens. But that was also dismissed by stating that these could be ” killed during cooking. however we know that inadequate cooking does take place and cross-contamination can easily occur in residential kitchens. so again I pose the question how many potentially lethal antibiotic-resistant organisms do you want to bring into your home?

Although there is conflicting science on whether or not organic food is truly nutritionally superior, there is no doubt that in terms of many parameters, organic food is demonstrably safer.

I will stick with the diet that concentrates on fresh, local, more flavorful food that’s produced without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and genetically modified organisms. And I for one think I’m getting a good value for my own health, while at the same time supporting good environmental stewardship and economic justice for family farmers.

Also see “5 Reasons We Should Continue to Eat Organic Produce” (Mother Nature Network)

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7 Must-See Videos on Mercury “Silver” Amalgam Fillings

Again this year, Dr. Mercola and Charlie Brown of Consumers for Dental Choice have teamed up to promote Mercury-Free Dentistry Week – an event designed to raise awareness of the toxic burden of so-called “silver” amalgam fillings on patients, dental personnel and our planet. As part of the event, Mercola.com has been adding some great new material to their already excellent mercury section. I encourage you to check it out – and to share it on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites you regularly use.

For the sad truth is that even today, less than 25% of consumers realize that “silver” fillings are mercury fillings. But the more who do – and understand their impact on health – the more momentum we can give to all efforts in the fight for mercury-free dentistry.

You may also want to share some or all of the 7 videos I’ve embedded below. Some I’ve featured here before. Many are now standard sources of info on the amalgam problem.

Quecksilber: The Strange Story of Dental Amalgam

 

An Open Letter to Dental Deans & Professors

 

Smoking Teeth = Poison Gas

 

How Mercury Causes Brain Damage

 

Dental Amalgams Leach Mercury Vapor into Your Brain

 

Mercury: The Poison in Your Teeth

 

Safer Amalgam Removal

 

For more ways you can help get mercury out of dentistry, visit the “Take Action” page of Consumers for Dental Choice.

Resources for finding a mercury-free, mercury-safe dentist in your area:

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About All That Sugar…

 

You can read Dr. Lustig’s important paper “The Toxic Truth about Sugar” here.

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Health Care, Sick Care & Real Reform

Is it possible anyone missed the news yesterday that the US Supreme Court upheld most of the “Affordable Care Act,” a/k/a “Obamacare”?

Reading about this and response to the ruling, I thought it might be good to repost what I wrote just after the bill was passed…

Biological Dentistry as Real Health Care Reform

It’s interesting how so many people keep refering to the new health insurance bill as “health care reform.” For all the good things it does, it doesn’t reform health care so much as it reinforces profit-driven medicine.

Like many other holistic health professionals, I believe that any real health care reform must begin with broadening our understanding of health itself. For health is much more than the absence of sickness. It is a process – a way of being, if you will.

If we, as a society, made a real commitment to preventive care and the active pursuit of healthy, positive lifestyles, I think we’d go a very long way toward reducing the amount of money we spend on “sick care.” As Deepak Chopra noted in one of his excellent commentaries prior to passage of the health insurance bill,

To borrow a phrase from [former Health, Education and Welfare] Secretary Califano, we’ve become a “sick-care system” that puts all its efforts in developing newer drugs and offering more surgery once a person is ill. Doctors are not trained to keep people healthy. They are also strongly tempted to perform needless procedures that do not extend life span, such as hysterectomies, lower back surgery, heart bypass, and balloon angioplasty.

We are addicted to the sick-care system, and no money is being allocated in any of the reform bills in Congress to breaking this addiction. Massive public education was successful, over a long period of time, in getting people to quit smoking. Now we need the same massive public education to get them to adopt prevention. Will doctors, insurance companies, and big pharma do the job for us? Well, did big tobacco do the job of ending smoking? Without government action, the private sector will push drugs and surgery because prevention doesn’t show up as profit on their bottom line.

He adds, “Right now, health-care reform has been couched in terms of economics first and morality second, with little thought to what should really come first: turning sickness into wellness.”

Sad to say, but mainstream dentistry has a pretty bad track record when it comes to privileging sick care over preventive care. I suspect that much of it stems from the long-standing idea that dentists are little more than “glorified mouth mechanics,” as biological dentist Gary Verigin once put it. They see the mouth in isolation from the rest of the body and serve mainly to fix things when they go wrong: filling cavities, performing root canal procedures, repairing broken teeth and so on. This view has made it easy for some to accept many practices that we now know to be harmful yet still continue to be done. They put mercury fillings into decayed teeth. They soak the teeth and gums in fluoride. They do root canals in a misguided effort to “save” dead teeth (Would you keep any other organ in your body if it were dead?) and in the process create harbors for infection that even just the normal pressures of chewing can push into the body’s circulation where it can wreak havoc elsewhere.

The first step in dental health care reform is to stop these practices that put individuals at risk of illness, just as holistic and biological dentists have done. Deeply understanding the relationships amongst the teeth, gums, soft oral tissues and the rest of the body, they can provide nontoxic, health-enhancing care – whether it’s undoing problems caused by profit-driven dentistry or supporting individual patients in their quest for optimal health and wellness.

The concerns of biological dentistry are spelled out concisely in a [then] new book [2010] by longtime biological dentist Douglas. L. Cook, Rescued by My Dentist: New Solutions to a Health Crisis.

Much of it deals with the typical concerns of mercury, root canals and cavitations, but he also addresses several important issues often glossed or ignored in other accessible books on the subject – issues such as oral galvanism and the potential health effects of implants. He also provides much needed discussion on the damage that high speed drilling can do to the complex and delicate structures within the human tooth, as Dr. Ralph Turk, amongst others, showed in his research. (A translation of Dr. Turk’s important paper on “Iatrogenic Damage Due to High Speed Drilling” is reprinted in this book, but for a quick overview of the topic, see Dr. Verigin’s article “10 Reasons Why Your Teeth Might Hurt – and 7 Things You Can Do about It.”)

Cook also spends a good deal of time outlining the concepts of energy medicine as it pertains to the teeth, especially focusing on the tooth-meridian relationships so vital to the understanding of how problems that begin in the mouth can cause or influence problems elsewhere in the body. (According to the great Dr. Voll, cited by Cook, 80 to 90 percent of all systemic health problems can be traced to the oral cavity.) In short, it offers a solid, general introduction to what biological dental medicine is all about, and the strength of that information is what makes this book valuable.

It’s not entirely clear who this book is intended for, though. While the cover, title and much of the information suggests that it’s written mainly for the layperson, a fair amount of material is directed to dentists interested in learning procedures and protocols, such as electrodermal screening for the detection of dental problems (imbalances) and evaluation of dental materials. For those readers, the more general information may be too general, while for the layperson, such specifics may be distracting or at times create the impression that these are the only valid practices. (For instance, many excellent biological dentists prefer serum testing such as that done by Clifford Consulting & Research to evaluate dental materials – an option Dr. Cook doesn’t mention. In my practice, we strongly recommend it for those with autoimmune disorders, multiple chemical sensitivities or other environmentally- aggravated illness, as it gives the surest and most thorough results.)

One aspect of the book that may be extremely interesting and useful to the lay reader is the collection of case histories Dr. Cook has included. These amply illustrate the range of physical problems and health conditions that can be cured through proper attention to dental conditions. And while some might object to this being little more than more authoritative anecdotal evidence, the doctor does back up that evidence with reference to key scientific literature.

In reading the case histories, though, it’s important to remember that cure is seldom instant, especially when health problems have been chronic for years. Yet the overwhelming majority of histories here suggest that cure came fast, typically reporting a remission of symptoms within a few days at most. While such “miracles” do happen – I have seen them myself – it must be stressed that they are “miracles” precisely because they are not the norm. Just as it takes years of negative health influences to damage one’s health, it takes time to heal, and it’s important for every person who seeks biological dental care to understand this before proceeding with treatment. Great things can and do happen, but more often than not, over time.

Though the book could benefit from a really good edit – there’s a fair amount of repetition here, and sometimes the organization is less than clear – as mentioned, the information is valuable, and the main points, put across powerfully and memorably. I would not hesitate to recommend the book to patients – or potential patients – who are just beginning to investigate the possible connections between their health complaints and their dental health, as well as practitioners who want to understand what the biological approach to dentistry is all about. If they then want to know more, they can turn to the many excellent sources Dr. Cook cites, as well those I list on my practice’s website (scroll to the bottom of the page to the section “For Further Reading”).

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