Monthly Archives: November 2015

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Is Immunotherapy the Cure for Cancer?

Is Immunotherapy the Cure for Cancer?

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The battle against cancer seems never-ending, and cancer treatment is often almost as bad as the disease itself. Harsh chemicals pumped into the bodies of cancer patients cause devastating side effects that lead some to decide to stop treatment entirely. Worse, many chemotherapy treatments have become virtually ineffective, leaving some patients with advanced cancers very little time left to live. Immunotherapy, however, shows promise for cancer treatment, using the body’s own defenses to fight disease.  

  • What is immunotherapy? Also known as biologic therapy, immunotherapy is cancer treatment that utilizes the body’s defense systems to fight cancer. For some reason, our bodies don’t always recognize cancer as a threat. Some researchers have made the observation that cancer, like HIV, has a sort of “secret handshake” that allows it to get past t-cells, and immunotherapy seeks to disrupt this. To do this, medications are developed to improve, target, or restore the function of the immune system.
  • Why is there renewed interest right now? Immunotherapy has been in the works since the 1970s, but for many years the pharmaceutical companies were not interested, because they felt that other medications had more money-making potential. New trials, though, that combine a newly licensed drug called ipilimumab with a not-yet-licensed drug called nivolumab, have shown great promise. In fact the two drugs together shrank tumors in 58% of melanoma patients involved in the trials, and researchers are hoping for similar results with other cancers. These trials have inspired a great deal of interest and excitement in the scientific community. Another interesting development may be the use of aspirin to boost the effectiveness of immunotherapy. In trials with mice, aspirin has been shown to help immunotherapy drugs to substantially shrink tumors; if the same results are seen in human trials, it could drastically reduce the cost of cancer treatment.
  • What’s the future of immunotherapy? As more research yields results, and our knowledge grows, immunotherapy will improve and become more effective in treating cancers. Targeted and personalized therapies are currently being further explored, as are combination therapies, and there are several avenues which show great promise for the future of immunotherapy.

In our clinic, we embrace an integrated approach to wellness, combining traditional Western medicine with alternative therapies, in order treat our patients’ whole bodies and avoid just treating symptoms. We also strive to offer our patients the most up to date information on medical treatments and therapies, to help them stay abreast of the best medical care available. For more information about what our clinic has to offer, visit our website or call today for a free consultation.


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Health Food or Hype?

Health Food or Hype?

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If you’re trying to live a healthy lifestyle, you may be confused by all the claims made about health food. It seems like every week a new food is touted as a “superfood”, and a new concept about how we should eat is introduced. How can you distinguish the truth about health food when there is so much hype? Relax. It’s easy to learn some simple facts about food, and determine the best things to eat for a healthy, balanced life. 

Some foods really are superfoods. 

  • Quinoa is at the top of our list, because it truly is an amazing food.Often confused for a grain, this versatile seed can be used in salads, veggie burgers, and much more. It’s a complete protein, and is high in magnesium, phosphorus, folate, fiber, and other important nutrients, and has a low glycemic index.
  • Chia Seeds can be used in smoothies, sauces, and more, without disturbing the flavor. They’re rich in fiber, thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin, and have more calcium than milk. They’ve also got omega-3 fatty acids, which make them a great health food choice. Unlike flaxseeds, chia seeds can be easily incorporated into food, with no need for grinding.
  • Wheat Germ has been on the public radar for a while, which makes sense, because it’s a legitimate health food.The inner-most layer of wheat, it’s high in fiber, with monounsaturated fats and protein. It’s easy to eat, because you can sprinkle it in foods like oatmeal, cereal, or salad, or even a peanut butter sandwich, but you can also use it as breading for meat. It’s crunchy with a mild flavor, and a great way to easily add some extra nutrition.
  • Avocados and Coconut Oil are both sources of healthy fat. Avocados are delicious and nutritious, containing vitamins K, C, E, B5, and B6, as well as potassium and folate, and they’re easy to eat in salads, sandwiches, or alone. Coconut oil is an antioxidant that can also boost your immunity, thyroid function, and blood sugar control. You can use it for baking, cooking, and even in salads or added to oatmeal.

Other foods’ claims are less impressive.

  • Spirulina is a dark green algae, usually dried and powdered. It’s extremely high in protein, and has beta carotene and iron. Unfortunately, it’s also expensive, and if you eat animal products, you can find easier sources of these nutrients for much less money. Unless you’re a vegan, it’s really not worth it.
  • Acai Berries are praised for their high levels of antioxidants. While this claim is true, but other berries, like blueberries and raspberries, are equally high in antioxidants, but easier to come by and cheaper.
  • Agave Nectar is billed as a natural substitute, but actually is comprised of 70-80% fructose. That’s more than what’s found in high-fructose corn syrup! Worse, agave nectar has no nutrients. If you’re looking for a sweetener to take the place of sugar, you’re better off with raw honey, which has anti-viral, antibacterial, antifungal properties, is an antioxidant, strengthens the immune system, and helps alleviate allergies.
  • Skim Milk doesn’t have the fat of whole milk, but it loses vitamins, protein and calcium in processing. It’s then fortified with synthetic vitamins to replace what’s been lost, but the body doesn’t absorb these as well. What’s more, it’s high in calories and sugar. A better option? Almond milk. Low in calories, carbs, and saturated fats, almond milk supplies calcium, as well as vitamins A, D, and E.
  • Margarine without trans-fats may not actually touted as a health food, but it has long been seen as a lower fatoption to butter. In reality, butter is a better bet! High in vitamins A, D, E, and K, butter also contains trace minerals like manganese, chromium, zinc, copper, and selenium, as well as iodine. It’s good for skin health, cognition and the immune system, and can even boost your metabolism.

The secret of healthful eating is to eat a well-balanced diet, not getting caught up in the hype of superfoods or diet trends. Opt for natural, whole foods, lean proteins, and plenty of fruits and vegetables, choosing a variety of colors to work in a wide range of nutrients. At our clinic, we strive to help patients live lives of balance and wellness. Embracing an integrated approach to healthcare, we work with patients to help them learn to meet their body’s needs, rather than just addressing symptoms and ailments. For more information on how we can help you achieve your wellness goals, visit our website or call for a free consultation.


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Boost your Immunity before Flu Season Hits

Boost your Immunity before Flu Season Hits

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The summer is over, cooler weather is right around the corner- is your immune system ready for cold and flu season? The chill in the air means the season for illness is not far behind, but you can boost your immunity and protect yourself from sickness. We have some tips for little life adjustments that can keep you healthier all winter long.  

  • Watch how you eat. First, manage your weight. There’s evidence to indicate that obesity lowers immunity, with at least one using mice finding that the obese mice were 50% more susceptible to the flu virus than lean mice. That’s only part of the puzzle when it comes to food, though; it’s important to choose healthy, immunity boosting foods. Try fresh produce, especially fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C, bioflavonoids, and beta carotene. Nuts and whole grains provide vitamin E, beans, turkey, crab, oysters and beef offer zinc, and foods like salmon, tuna, mackerel, nuts, and flaxseed oil provide important Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Get some exercise. Numerous studies have confirmed that people who get regular exercise take fewer sick days than those who are sedentary. It makes sense, because exercise promotes overall health, and improves circulation, which can lead to a stronger immune system. There’s evidence to suggest, though, that moderate exercise is better than too strenuous; of course, you should not work out if you’re already sick.
  • Have good habits. Don’t smoke. As to drinking, moderation is the key: heavy alcohol can suppress the immune system, but some studies lend credence to the idea that beer and wine in moderation can actually be beneficial.
  • Prioritize sleep. The body uses sleep as a time of restoration and healing, so a regular lack of sleep can be extremely detrimental. Lack of sleep leaves you vulnerable to colds, flu, and other infections, but it also increases your risk of larger health problems, like obesity and diabetes.
  • Protect yourself from stress. Stress hormones can suppress your disease-fighting white blood cells or trigger a hyperactive immune system, increasing your susceptibility to auto-immune diseases. Interestingly, social stress has been shown to be more damaging than physical stress, so part of taking care of yourself should be building healthy relationships and finding outlets for your stress.

Have you noticed, the steps to take to strengthen your immune system are the same practices that make up a healthy lifestyle? At our clinic, we embrace an integrated approach to wellness, treating patients as whole people, and addressing medical complaints through natural therapies and lifestyle changes. For information about how we can help you live your healthiest life, visit our website or call today for your free consultation.


 
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