Newsletter Archives > ChiroPlanet.com Monthly Health Newsletter: March 2011 Health Newsletter

March 2011 Health Newsletter


Current Articles

» The Relationship Between Toxicity and Insulin Resistance, Diabetes and Obesity
» How To Increase Athletic Performance
» Apples & Pears Are All The Same To Your Heart
» Zinc Reduces Colds By One Day
» Chiropractic Physicians Meet with Congress during NCLC 2011

The Relationship Between Toxicity and Insulin Resistance, Diabetes and Obesity

  

There is growing acknowledgement in the scientific community that toxins are associated with numerous chronic illnesses. For most of us, an association between toxic chemicals and cancer, for example, does not require any stretch of the imagination. However, research has been demonstrating that environmental chemicals as well as endotoxins (toxins produced within the body) are correlated with the development of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and obesity. The toxins to which the average person is exposed are numerous and include the following:

  • Persistent Organic Pollutants (pesticides)
  • Endocrine Disruptors (pesticides, BPA)
  • PPAR modulators
  • Inorganic Metals (lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, aluminum)

Exposure to these chemicals and toxic heavy metals is commonplace, and our bodies strive to eliminate them before undesirable consequences result. It is with routine blood work that practitioners can identify when we are becoming overwhelmed by toxins and the following laboratory guidelines provide a strong basis for undergoing a detoxification program:


·         GGT:   >40 units/L

·         hsCRP:           >0.7 mg/L

·         Magnesium:    <2 meq/dL

·         ANA titre:        >1:125

·         Uric Acid:        >8 mg/dL

·         Hemoglobin A1c:        >5.5%

·         Vitamin D3:     <30 ng/mL

·         Body Mass Index:       >27

·         Body Composition:     >30% body fat

*It is this author's suggestion that these measurements be taken yearly, along with other routine laboratory testing.

Insulin resistance, the predecessor to type 2 diabetes, occurs when the cells of the body become increasingly unresponsive to the action of insulin. Insulin is the hormone produced by the pancreas that functions to assist with the proper uptake of sugar into all cells of the body. As the cells become unresponsive, they can no longer use sugar effectively and sugar levels will elevate in the blood, resulting in chronic damage to small blood vessels. Although researchers have known for a long time that central obesity (i.e. belly fat) is strongly correlated with insulin resistance, it is only recently that we understand the role toxins and inflammation play in the genesis of insulin resistance and diabetes.

Elevation of hsCRP, uric acid and the liver enzyme GGT, has been correlated with insulin resistance (1). These are several of the blood markers that suggest toxemia as noted above. GGT is a particularly useful measurement since it will elevate when the body is attempting to produce more glutathione as a result of chemical exposure. Glutathione is a very powerful antioxidant and chemical neutralizer produced by nearly every cell in the body. It is found in especially high abundance in the liver and its production will be increased when faced with high levels of chemicals and free radicals, thus causing an elevation in GGT.

Some chemicals interfere with mitochondrial function to cause a cellular energy deficit with resulting production of free radicals and oxidative stress. Mitochondria are found within cells and are responsible for creating energy. If energy production is hampered, such as by toxic chemicals, cells are no longer able to properly repair themselves, nor are they able to efficiently neutralize toxins. Chronic exposure to the herbicide, atrazine, has been shown to cause mitochondrial dysfunction and insulin resistance (2). On a side note, mitochondrial dysfunction has also been strongly correlated with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.

Another group of chemicals to which we are exposed have been termed Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). A 2007 study in Diabetes Care found that "POPs may be associated with type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin resistance, and POPs may interact with obesity to increase the risk to type 2 diabetes" (3). Another study found that "there were striking dose-response relations between serum concentrations of six selected POPs and the prevalence of type 2 diabetes" (4).

Bisphenol A (BPA) is another type of Persistent Organic Pollutant most commonly found in many plastics including water bottles. There are many studies indicating the hazards of BPA including research in JAMA that indicated a "strong relationship between urine concentrations of Bisphenol A and the incidence of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and liver-enzyme abnormalities in a representative sample of the adult US population" (5). BPA has also been shown to cause the proliferation of milk ducts in the breast and is thus correlated with breast cancer.

Obesogens are a new classification of chemical pollutants that promote obesity. They accomplish this by altering metabolic set-points, disrupting appetite controls and modifying fat homeostasis to promote fat cell growth and hyperplasia. Also falling into the category of obesogens are "endocrine disruptors", chemicals known to alter cortisol, estrogen and testosterone levels. Bisphenol A, one of the Persistent Organic Pollutants indicated above, is likewise an obesogen and endocrine disruptor.

In 2010 research was conducted to study the correlation between several pesticides (PCB, DDE, and hexachlorocyclohexane). The results demonstrated a strong correlation between these pesticides, insulin resistance and increased body mass index (6).

There are many studies that have identified the role of environmental chemicals in causing obesity, as well as the worrisome fact that extremely small amounts of these chemicals can alter the physiology of humans—much smaller amounts than are necessary to cause cancer. This fact is disturbing considering that chemicals are routinely tested to determine their capacity for causing cancer and death, not for their ability to adversely impact metabolism and physiology.

At this point in this discussion all of the chemicals to which I have referred are known as "exotoxins". Exotoxins are chemicals to which humans are exposed that originate from the environment, or externally. However, there are chemicals to which we are exposed that originate within the body, or internally. These chemicals are termed "endotoxins" and have their origin in the gut.

Intestinal microflora, the bacteria that inhabit our intestines, far outnumber the cells of the human body. Intestinal microfloral composition is almost entirely dependent upon the composition of our diets and the use of medications that can alter the numbers of various bacterial residents. When it comes to intestinal health, it is all about the balance between the various bacteria, some of which are good for us, and some of which are bad. When the balance is compromised, termed dysbiosis, bacterial production of harmful chemicals can result that damage the intestinal lining causing a "Leaky Gut Syndrome". These bacterial waste products will also increase the total toxic load to which we are faced, further burdening detoxification pathways, making it more challenging to effectively cope with externally-derived chemicals and pollutants.

It may seem far-fetched that bacteria in our intestines can contribute to diabetes and obesity, yet this is exactly what research has been demonstrating.

In research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers asserted that their "work provides evidence of an elevation of serum endotoxin after eating a high fat meal by people that are presumed to be 'normal, healthy volunteers'" (7). Additional research has demonstrated that not only do the types of bacteria in the gut contribute to increased toxins, but that bacteria can actually cause obesity: "Existing evidence warrants further investigation of the microbial ecology of the human gut and points to the modification of the gut microbiota as one means to treat people who are overweight or obese" (8). Furthermore, "Animal models of obesity connect an altered microbiota composition to the development of obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes" (9).

There is an abundance of research correlating insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity with toxic chemical exposure. In fact, the expansion of the information contained in this brief article would result in a book. Suffice it to say that this information is giving us a very different perspective on these chronic illnesses.

My suggestion is to have blood work performed, including the specific tests at the beginning of this article, and undergo a detoxification program with the long-term goal of making lifestyle modifications. These modifications should include avoidance of environmental toxins, treatment of microbial imbalances in the gut, as well as dietary changes to limit chemical exposure while facilitating healthy detoxification.

Sources:

  1. Nagoya J Med Sci  2008; 70:1.
  2. PlosOne 2009; 4:1186-90.
  3. Diabetes Care 2007; 30:622-28.
  4. Diabetes Care 2006; 29:1638-43.
  5. JAMA 2008; 300:1353-54.
  6. Obesity 2010; Jun 17.
  7. Am J Clin Nutr 2007; 86:1257-58.
  8. Mayo Clin Proc 2008; 83:460-69.
  9. Diabetes Care 2010; 33:2277-84.

Author: Dr. Nick LeRoy, DC, MS
Source: Dr. Nick LeRoy, DC, MS
Copyright: Dr. Nick LeRoy, DC, MS 2011


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How To Increase Athletic Performance

Athletes would agree the ability to know the precise position of their extremities and joints in space are essential to optimal performance. Playing tennis, hitting a baseball and swinging a golf club are just a few examples of where this is critical. New research indicates chiropractic adjustments can significantly improve joint position sense in those with a history of neck pain who currently are asymptomatic. In the recent study, asymptomatic subjects with a previous history of neck pain significantly improved their elbow joint position sense immediately following a chiropractic adjustment to the neck. While only the position sense of the elbow was evaluated in this particular study, it's not a stretch to assume other parts of the upper extremity and potentially lower extremity could also be positively affected. This could be very significant for those wishing to achieve optimal athletic performance in a number of sports.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: JMPT. Volume 34, Issue 2, Pages 88-97 (February 2011)
Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2011


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Apples & Pears Are All The Same To Your Heart

It was previously widely believed that those with a pear-shaped figure were less at risk for developing heart disease when compared to those with an apple-shaped figure. However, a new study has found that the shape of one's body does not have any impact on their risk for heart disease. Rather, the risk for heart disease is based on one's BMI (body mass index) and specifically having a body mass index of 30 or more, regardless of one's body shape. BMI is determined by dividing one's weight in kilograms by one's height in meters squared. The 10-year long study was based on 220,000 people and involved almost 200 scientists from 17 different countries.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: The Lancet, Early Online Publication, 11 March 2011.
Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2011


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Zinc Reduces Colds By One Day

According to a review of research published by the Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research, zinc supplements appear to shorten the length of colds by approximately one day as well as lessen the symptoms. Their findings are based on based on 13 trials with close to 1,000 participants who either took zinc or a dummy treatment at the beginning of their symptoms. Two other trials indicated zinc helped stave off colds, but the research quality of the studies were considered poor. Exact zinc dosage and formulation for optimal effectiveness is not known, nor is the mechanism of how zinc reduces the length and symptoms of colds. It should also be noted that taking zinc over a long period of time should be done carefully as it can interfere with other metals in the body resulting in unpredictable consequences.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: Reuters. February 16, 2011.
Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2011


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Chiropractic Physicians Meet with Congress during NCLC 2011

Nearly 500 chiropractic physicians, students and supporters converged on the nation’s capital Feb. 14-15 as part of the American Chiropractic Association’s 2011 National Chiropractic Legislative Conference (NCLC) with the Chiropractic Summit. Those in attendance listened to speeches from government leaders, received advocacy training and urged elected officials to support pro-chiropractic measures that seek to provide patients, veterans and active-duty military personnel with greater access to the essential services provided by chiropractic physicians.  While last year’s conference focused on the first phase of health care reform, congressional debate surrounding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), this year’s meeting concentrated on the next phase, implementation of the law.  Among the speakers this year, Iowa State Sen. Jack Hatch (D-Des Moines), a member of the White House Legislative Working Group on Health Care Reform, stressed that while the work being done on Capitol Hill to expand patient access to chiropractic care is vital to improving health care for all Americans, at this stage important work is also being done in every state capital. “This is both a challenge and an opportunity,” he said.  The meeting’s keynote speakers were Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Ret. Brig. Gen. Becky Halstead, spokesperson for the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress. Harkin, who was instrumental in the inclusion of the provider non-discrimination language in PPACA emphasized chiropractic’s role in transforming the U.S. health delivery system.  “Patients want options, alternatives and noninvasive care” said Harkin. “We need to keep moving forward, away from the current sick care system to a health care system. Chiropractic physicians must be a part of the health care team.”  Halstead, a fierce advocate for chiropractic care for our nation’s veterans and active-duty military talked about prescription drug addiction in the military as a result of rampant chronic pain. She cited a recent USA Today newspaper article about another general’s struggle with addiction and back pain, cautioning, “If it’s happening in leadership, it’s rampant at lower levels.” Halstead then shared her personal struggle with fibromyalgia and chronic pain, which was finally resolved through chiropractic care. “If I had had more access to sustained chiropractic care [when I was in active duty], I would probably still be in the military,” she said.  Also on behalf of the nation’s Armed Forces, Rep. Michael Rogers (R-Ala.) urged attendees to ask their congressional representatives to support H.R. 409, the Chiropractic Health Parity for Military Beneficiaries Act, which would require the U.S. Secretary of Defense to develop a plan to allow any beneficiary covered under TRICARE to select and have direct access to a chiropractic physician. Rogers recently re-introduced this legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius addressed NCLC attendees in a video message. Sebelius said that chiropractic care has been “proven to be effective care that is also cost-effective,” and that chiropractic physicians are a “vital part” of the U.S. health delivery system. Like Harkin, Sebelius called for an end to the current “sick care” system.  ACA President Rick McMichael, DC told attendees, “[T]his is about a transformation in health care. This is about our patients and the public we serve. We have a window of opportunity—right now—and we must rise to the challenge, take action and persist. Working together as one team with one voice and one message, we can, and we will, help improve health care for America.”  The Chiropractic Summit and ACA House of Delegates Meeting
Following NCLC, Chiropractic Summit XII took place on Feb. 16. First convened in September 2007, the Chiropractic Summit represents leadership from more than 40 organizations within the profession. With the common goal of advancing chiropractic, the Summit meets regularly to collaborate, seek solutions and support collective action to address challenges facing the profession. Each year NCLC is held in conjunction with an official business meeting of the ACA House of Delegates (HOD). ACA President Dr. Rick McMichael presided over both meetings and opened each with praise for the profession for working together to address critical issues.  Additional coverage of both NCLC and the House of Delegates meeting will be available in the April 2011 issue of ACA News, the association’s flagship publication.  A selection of photographs from the meetings can be found on the ACA Web site at www.acatoday.org/Gallery.  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 www.acatoday.org.

Author: American Chiropractic Association
Source: American Chiropractic Association. February 21, 2011.
Copyright: American Chiropractic Association 2011


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