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

April 2011 Health Newsletter


Current Articles

» The Relationship Between Toxicity and Insulin Resistance, Diabetes and Obesity
» Heart Troubles For Workaholics
» Hospital Errors Far More Common Than Previously Thought
» Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help Prevent Age-Related Vision Loss
» ACA Continues to Fight Boy Scoutsí Discriminatory Policy, but Public Support...

The Relationship Between Toxicity and Insulin Resistance, Diabetes and Obesity

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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 humansómuch 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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Heart Troubles For Workaholics

British scientists have found those working more than 11 hours per day increase their risk of heart disease by 67 percent. Considering heart disease is one of the leading causes of death, a two-thirds increase is very significant. This should be a wake-up call for all those workaholics thinking hard work can't kill you. With that said, scientists were not positive of whether it was the long work hours specifically or the things that working long hours could be associated with (poor diets, lack of exercise, increased depression, etc.) that negatively affected heart health. At this point, for those who are stuck working longer hours, it is recommended to minimize other potential risk factors by getting adequate exercise, adhering to a healthy diet, ensuring they receive adequate rest and sleep as well as effectively dealing with any bouts of depression.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: Ann Intern Med April 5, 2011 154:457-463.
Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2011


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Hospital Errors Far More Common Than Previously Thought

A new study finds an astounding one in three hospital stays within the U.S. will be associated with a medical error or mistake. These new findings indicate medical errors are significantly more common than previously thought. In this study, researchers utilized a new tool to help identify medical errors in a review of 795 patient records. In doing so, they were able to identify 10 times the number of medical errors as compared with those found by using the Agency for Healthcare Research's (AHR) process for identifying medical errors. Previous reports of medical errors, many of which were based on the AHR's methods, are likely to have reported far fewer errors than what likely actually occurred. Of the 795 records reviewed in this study, the new method found 354 errors while the AHR's method resulted in the finding of just 35 medical errors. A separate study of medical errors based on insurance claims estimated the annual cost of medical errors resulting in patient harm to be in excess of 17 billion dollars. They found the three most common medical errors were bed sores, post-operative infections and persistent back pain following back surgery.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: Reuters. April 7, 2011.
Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2011


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Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help Prevent Age-Related Vision Loss

According to a newly published 10-year study on 38,022 women, omega-3 fatty acid consumption (found at high levels in fish) may help to lessen age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD affects millions of older adults in the U.S. alone and is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. Doctors have been able to prevent the progression of AMD once identified but are still not able to reverse the disease. This study was therefore important to identify what factors if any might be able to prevent AMD for occurring. Researchers found women who consumed foods with higher levels of DHA and EPA, both omega 3-fatty acids, experienced a 38 percent lower risk for AMD and a 34 percent lower risk for AMD, respectively. However, researchers were not positive if the omega-3 fatty acids were responsible for the lower incident of AMD or that those who consumed more omega-3s were also leading healthier lifestyles that were responsible for the lower incidence of AMD. Clearly more research is necessary. Previously, the only known way to help prevent AMD was to never smoke or for smokers, to stop smoking.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: Archives of Ophthalmology, online March 14, 2011.
Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2011


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ACA Continues to Fight Boy Scoutsí Discriminatory Policy, but Public Support...

ACA Continues to Fight Boy Scouts' Discriminatory Policy, but Public Support is Crucial

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) today announced that it has developed a template letter for members of the public who oppose the Boy Scouts of America's (BSA) policy change affecting the types of providers allowed to perform annual medical examinations for its youth and adult members. For over a year, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has not allowed chiropractic physicians to perform annual evaluations.
Medical doctors, doctors of osteopathic medicine, nurse practitioners and physician's assistants are all eligible to perform these exams. The template letter is available online.

 ACA has sent two letters to BSA headquarters supporting the fact that DCs are qualified to perform annual physicals, voicing its concerns about the policy change and requesting that the previous policy be restored to recognize the state-authorized ability of doctors of chiropractic (DC) to provide annual exams to BSA. The group's decision was not supported by any evidence; in fact, chiropractic physicians performed these evaluations for BSA for more than 22 years prior to the change last year. Furthermore, many DCs are involved with BSA as volunteers, leaders or parents.

 While ACA is doing its part to rescind this policy, support from the public is crucial. The new template letter is designed to be completed by individuals within the scouting community, such as parents of scouts, troop leaders, troop committee members or council leaders. ACA encourages members of the chiropractic community to inform others about the online template.

 DCs and others within the chiropractic community are encouraged to contact BSA to voice their concern as well. A template letter for DCs, as well as BSA's phone number and talking points, are available online.

 The online template letter, when completed, is automatically sent to BSA. The letter for DCs has already generated considerable action by doctors throughout the country. However, despite this action, BSA has refused to rescind or even discuss this policy.† 

The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) and National University of Health Sciences (NUHS) have also sent letters in opposition to this policy, clearly identifying the qualifications of chiropractic physicians to perform annual physical examinations. NUHS has even extended an invitation to BSA to take part in classes on its campus to learn more about chiropractic education.

 "Chiropractic physicians across the country have enjoyed a long-standing involvement with scouting," said ACA President Rick McMichael, DC. "Chiropractic physicians are primary care doctors who are educated and trained to diagnose health problems, treat conditions that are within their scope of practice and refer patients to other health care practitioners when appropriate. The Boy Scouts of America does everyone a disservice with this discriminatory policy. This policy must be changed."

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, online March 15, 2011.
Copyright: American Chiropractic Association 2011


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