Newsletter Archives > Monthly Health Newsletter: November 2010 Health Newsletter

November 2010 Health Newsletter

Current Articles

» Inflammation: Enemy #1
» Chiropractic Profession Honors Veterans for Their Service
» Chiropractic Care First, Surgery Second for Sciatica
» Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Healthy Gums

Inflammation: Enemy #1

 In providing a wide range of therapies for a broad scope of conditions in the last 15 years, one thing has become overwhelmingly clear to me: Inflammation is at the root of all diseases. Many of you will likely find this statement hard to believe, but it is nevertheless a medical fact that is supported by a plethora of medical research.

Inflammation is the process whereby the immune system releases chemicals in a specific area of the body, such as in the case of an injury. Typically this process is a normal and healthy function, necessary for the healing response. However, this inflammatory process is often excessive and counterproductive or even out of place. An example of the latter is in the case of coronary artery disease (yes, heart disease is likewise an inflammatory process). Another disadvantage of inflammation is that it causes the sensitization of nerve endings in tissues that results in pain. Short-term pain can be beneficial because it alerts you to a potential problem and a resulting change in behavior (eg. limping when you sprain your ankle). However, if inflammation is unchecked, chronic pain will result even when the area is already healed. Fibromyalgia is an example of chronic pain-signaling in the absence of injury (yes, fibromyalgia is an inflammatory-based pain process. Google "neurogenic inflammation and fibromyalgia" if you are doubtful).

My point in discussing this: If you diminish your body's ability to generate inflammation, you will decrease your risk of all disease. All disease. This includes Alzheimer's disease, asthma, heart disease, fibromyalgia, diabetes, menstrual pain, osteoporosis (yes, osteoporosis), autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, Multiple Sclerosis--even cancer. The amazing thing is that the type of inflammation involved in all of these seemingly unrelated diseases is exactly the same! And the wonderful thing is that the prevention and treatment is likewise the same!

Our bodies regulate inflammation via "chemical mediators". Chemical mediators, such as cytokines, prostaglandins, and leukotrienes, are made from the types of fats we eat on a daily basis. "Good" fats, such as omega-3, produce chemical mediators that inhibit inflammation. "Bad" fats, such as omega-6 and arachidonic acid, result in the production of mediators that promote inflammation. A healthy diet is one that has a balance of these good and bad fats. In other words, a ratio of 3:1 of omega-6 to omega-3 fats. Additionally, high calorie diets and diets that rely heavily on grains and vegetable oils contribute to inflammation. Another problem with high calorie diets, especially when the calories are from starches and grains (this includes whole grains!) is the deposition of fat around the mid-section.

Body fat that accumulates in the belly, known as visceral fat, does not act like other body fat deposited in the limbs and the hips. Abdominal fat becomes a "secondary endocrine organ" due to the fact that this fat secretes a host of chemicals--just like other endocrine glands such as the thyroid or the adrenal glands. None of these chemicals are beneficial. In fact, these chemicals will cause insulin resistance, a condition that allows blood sugar to elevate thereby damaging all organs, as well as contribute to increased inflammation. Losing abdominal body fat is the single most important thing a person can do to improve health and prevent disease!

What can you do? Have a thorough diet history taken and analyzed to determine if you are eating in a way to prevent the aforementioned conditions and change your diet accordingly. Also, have blood testing conducted to check hsCRP (a blood marker of the amount of inflammation you have), hemoglobin A1c (a 3-month check of blood sugar), and lipids (assist in identifying insulin resistance).

Author: Nicholas R. LeRoy, DC, MS
Copyright: Nicholas R. LeRoy, DC, MS 2009

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Chiropractic Profession Honors Veterans for Their Service

The men and women of our nation’s Armed Forces make huge sacrifices in service to our country, including sacrifices to their health. This Veteran’s Day, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) would like to thank veterans for their service and remind them that doctors of chiropractic who work with VA medical centers across the country are available to help restore their health and wellness. Members of the military serve in austere conditions and routinely wear gear weighing up to 80 pounds. A February 2010 Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) report cites “diseases of Musculoskeletal System/Connective System” such as back pain as the No. 1 ailment of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans accessing VA treatment. Doctors of chiropractic are experts in the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal problems and their natural approach can eliminate or reduce the need for drugs and surgery in some cases. ACA has worked diligently over the years to ensure that America’s veterans have access to chiropractic services. Today, more than 30 VA treatment facilities in the United States offer chiropractic care. VA health care providers can also refer veterans to doctors of chiropractic in their local communities. “America’s heroes simply do not have to suffer in silence with the common neuromusculoskeletal ailments associated with their service,’” says ACA President Dr. Rick McMichael. “This is one time when they do not have to ‘tough it out.’ It is the chiropractic profession’s honor to be a part of the health care system that treats our veterans. We are here to serve them.”

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA), based in Arlington, Va., is the largest professional association in the United States representing doctors of chiropractic. ACA promotes the highest standards of patient care and ethics, and supports research that contributes to the health and well-being of millions of chiropractic patients. Visit

Author: American Chiropractic Association
Source: American Chiropractic Association. November 8, 2010.
Copyright: American Chiropractic Association 2010

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Chiropractic Care First, Surgery Second for Sciatica

A new study comparing chiropractic spinal manipulation versus microdiskectomy in patients with sciatica (pain running down the leg) as a result of lower back disk herniation was published recently indicating the effectiveness of chiropractic care. Patients included in this study had already failed to respond positively to at least 3 months of non-operative management including treatment with analgesics, lifestyle modification, physiotherapy, massage therapy, and/or acupuncture. Patients were randomly assigned to either the chiropractic spinal manipulation group (the most common specialized procedure used by doctors of chiropractic) or the microdiskectomy group where patients received microdiskectomy surgery. The results indicated that 60 percent of patients with sciatica (NOTE: they had already failed other medical management) benefited from spinal manipulation to the same degree as if they underwent surgical intervention. Thus, it makes sense for those suffering from lower back (lumbar) disk herniation even with sciatica to strongly consider chiropractic care even if other forms of care have been unsuccessful – at least prior to going under the knife, so to speak.

Source: JMPT Volume 33, Issue 8, Pages 576-584 (October 2010).
Copyright: LLC 2010

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Healthy Gums

Researchers have recently found omega-3 fatty acids may actually lower the risk of gum disease. This finding came after studying data of more than 9,000 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted between 1999 and 2004. Omega-3 fatty acids are primarily found in fish oils and have a number of healthy benefits including their ability to significantly reduce harmful inflammation in the body. The data indicated that the top one third of participants in the survey in terms of those who consumed the most omega-3s in their diets had an approximately 22 percent reduction in their likelihood of developing gum disease, as compared with the bottom one third. While more research is needed, this is more positive news for the consumption of higher quantities of omega-3 fatty acids and thus, more reason to eat foods high in omega-3s (primarily fish) as well as consider a quality omega-3 supplement.

Source: Journal of the American Dietetic Association, November 2010.
Copyright: LLC 2010

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