are-supplements-dangerous-concierge-doctor-jupiter

Is There Danger In Your Supplements?

When those of us who practice concierge medicine visit with our patients, we often find they’re self-dosing with numerous over-the-counter supplements, everything from multivitamins to herbal supplements to mysterious concoctions meant to prevent various illnesses, aid in weight loss and body building, even enhance sexual performance.

With over 30,000 supplements on the market today, most of them unregulated, we are concerned that our patients may be unaware of hidden side effects and even dangers with many of the pills or concoctions they innocently consume. Between 2007 and 2012, the FDA received reports of more than 6,300 reports of serious adverse events linked to dietary supplements, including 115 deaths and over 2,100 hospitalizations.

And yet, many continue to take these vitamins and supplements in the belief that—because they’re “natural” or that they’re sold over the counter—they can’t do you any harm. A 1994 law (the Dietary Health and Education Supplement Act) actually prevents the FDA from regulating dietary supplements, or removing them from sale unless it can prove a supplement is unsafe.

Thus, many supplements sold over the counter are unregulated; analysis of some supplements have found little or none of the advertised content actually existed in the product. But even when the ingredients in supplements contain exactly what they’re supposed to, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re safe. They can interact with other supplements and prescription medications you’re taking, interfering with effectiveness. And they can cause other problems.

Most people have heard of the dangers associated with some of the diet supplements targeted for weight loss and body building. However, sometimes even the most innocuous-seeming supplements may do more harm than good. For example, you may not be aware that vitamins A and E are not water soluble, and will not be excreted in the urine. Instead, they can build up in the body’s tissues and lead to an inadvertent overdose. Another example: Vitamin E and beta carotene supplements can actually increase the chances of developing lung cancer in smokers.

Herbal supplements raise similar concerns. St. John’s Wort, for instance, is sold over the counter for mild depression. Some potential side effects include dizziness, sun sensitivity, insomnia, anxiety and headaches. It can also reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills and certain heart medications. Fish oil can cause nausea and diarrhea, and increase the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase the risk of bleeding. Some people have suffered such severe liver damage with green tea extract that they required a liver transplant.

The fact is, any foreign substance introduced into the body can cause a negative reaction. Just ask anyone with a peanut allergy. Remember: “Natural” doesn’t necessarily mean safe. Tobacco is “natural.” So is poison ivy, ragweed, and deadly nightshade.

Before you take any supplement, check out the source for quality, and always mention it to your doctor. We here at MD 2.0 Jupiter are thoroughly conversant with dietary supplements and their pros and cons, and stand ready to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

Earthing

Taking Off Your Shoes Might Be Good For Your Health, Research Suggests

So Earth is now a verb? It is if you believe the latest research on the positive health effects of slipping off your shoes and walking barefoot on the ground.

Something we all did as kids—and probably haven’t done much since—has been said to: reduce blood sugar levels by 31%; increase levels of immune-boosting globulins; increase concentrations of the thyroid hormone thyroxin; combat insomnia; speed wound healing and reduce pain.

Other claims for “Earthing” include higher energy levels and a better response to stress. Advocates contend that the exposure to the free electrons available when your feet touch the ground reduces inflammation in the body and thus impacts such varied ailments as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and thyroid disorders, among others.

Not bad for something that’s free and as simple as cloud-watching.

 

The term “Earthing” was coined by Clinton Ober who, with Dr. Stephen T. Sinatra, led the research into the effects of barefoot contact with the earth. It is based on the principle that our bodies’ electrical rhythms connect with the earth’s electrical field when we are in direct contact with the ground. It doesn’t work if you’re wearing shoes, because the soles interrupt the electrical connection.

Scientists have known for decades that the surface of the Earth releases a supply of free and mobile electrons in unlimited quantities. What they’ve discovered in the last few years is that, when your skin comes into contact with the ground, millions of these negatively charged particles are released into your body, according to Sinatra.

While some critics (such as Dr. Andrew Weil) advocate more research to confirm the many claims for the benefits of Earthing, most say it can’t hurt to try it. Which is all its proponents are suggesting.

What does this mean for you? It means that, for the price of slipping off your shoes and standing on the earth, you may be able to improve your well-being in ways you wouldn’t think of.

 

Here are the basics of Earthing:

  1. Water is a conductor, so if possible try to walk on wet grass or sand. Salt water conducts better than rain, dew or pool water, so if you can walk on the beach, so much the better.
  2. The sole of the foot has more nerve endings, inch for inch, than any other part of the body, so while it will be beneficial to place any part of the body on the ground, contacting the earth with the soles of the feet will give the most satisfactory results.
  3. If you’re worried about stepping on bees, fire ants or other hidden hazards while walking, get a lawn chair and sit in a single spot and read a book or listen to music. The important thing is to make bare-skin contact with the earth.
  4. Try to “Earth” at least 40 minutes a day, if possible, but any amount of time should produce noticeable results. The more you do it, the faster you’ll see the effects.

Chee-What? The Scoop On Qigong

You may not have heard of qigong (pronounced “chee-kung”), but you’re almost certainly familiar with tai chi, the ancient form of Chinese exercise. Qi (sometimes spelled “chi”) means breath or energy, and gong means work. So qigong means energy or breath work, and tai chi is the moving or exercise form of qigong. Unlike tai chi, however, qigong is not related to the martial arts.

While self-treatment should never replace competent medical care, the practice of qigong may complement whatever treatment you’re receiving from your doctor.

It entails specific body postures, gentle movement, rhythmic breathing and visualization. The gentle, flowing qigong exercises can help calm the body and mind, as well as replenish energy depleted by day-to-day stress, poor health habits, or illness. It has been reported to benefit such diverse conditions as depression and anxiety, headaches and other chronic pain, addictions, insomnia, and heart ailments, including high blood pressure. It also has been shown to improve circulation, balance and muscle control. Studies done at the University of California, Irvine, have shown that the practice of qigong increases both alpha waves in the brain, which are calming, and beta waves, which help to sharpen focus.

Not bad for a low-impact, equipment-free, low-cost or even free activity!

The postures and breathing techniques are simple enough that anyone, at any age and in any state of health, can learn them, quickly and easily. Unlike tai chi, there are no long forms to memorize. Qigong may be done standing, sitting or even lying down—different exercises have different requirements. It can be done anywhere indoors or outdoors, in any comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. You can even do some of the postures, movements, breathing and visualizations while standing in line, and no one will know!

You can take classes in qigong (costs average $10-$20 per class), learn from a book or DVD, or from the numerous online courses available.

Meanwhile, here’s a quick exercise that will introduce you to the immediate benefits of qigong.

Stand with your feet comfortably apart, tailbone tucked under. Breathe slowly and deeply through your nose (your mouth stays closed).

Now slowly reach your arms overhead (as if signaling a touchdown) and imagine you’re holding a beach ball filled with positive energy. Still breathing deeply, slowly lower your hands to chest height, then pause, breathe once more, then bring your hands to your tummy, and imagine you’re guiding that positive energy into your body. Smile!

Diabetes – Complications and Proper Management

Diabetes Mellitus or DM is a serious, non-communicable disease that affects a body’s capability to produce insulin, use insulin, or both, to stabilize blood glucose level. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) statistics report, about 29.1 million Americans are suffering from it, where 21 million are diagnosed cases while 8.1 million remain undiagnosed. It is also the 7th cause of death in the US in 2010. A common misconception about the condition states that only people who are 40 years old and up suffer from it. Truth be told, the prevalence of diabetes to people who are less than 30 years old is gradually increasing. In fact, about 1.7 million cases were divulged in 2012.

Diabetes Complications

Diabetes should be managed properly at all times. Unfortunately, if you continue to have an unhealthy diet or if you fail to control your blood-sugar through medications, complications may arise. Here are some medical conditions that you have to face, caused by the uncontrolled glucose:

  1. Neuropathy – Half of the recorded cases suffer from nerve damage. The condition’s symptoms include tingling and numbing sensation, or stabbing pains, particularly in the hands and feet. This transpires
  2. Eye Complications – Diabetic patients are susceptible to Glaucoma, Cataracts, and Retinopathy, to name a few.
  3. Cardiovascular Problems – Including coronary heart disease (CHD) and diabetic cardiomyopathy.
  4. Kidney – Lack of adequate amount of insulin in your body damages the tiny blood vessel clusters, called glomeruli, inside your kidneys. The damaged filtering system can cause chronic kidney failure which will require kidney transplant or dialysis.
  5. Foot Infection – Caused by neuropathy, cuts, and blisters on the lower extremities will poorly heal. When the infection reaches the bone, amputation may be required.

Proper Diabetes Management

Once you have learned that you have an abnormally concentrated blood glucose, you have to make sure that you will manage your condition immediately to avoid complications. Visit MD 2.0’s concierge doctors and medical practitioners. We can provide you personalized and comprehensive health care to help you treat this properly. Appropriate medication will be given, depending on your condition. You will either be required to receive oral medicines or insulin shots to stabilize your blood glucose.

You must not rely on these medications. It is important that you maintain a healthy lifestyle, too. First, you have to alter your diet. Eat well by choosing carbs that are packed with fiber as these will not spike your blood sugar. Learn how to balance your diet by portioning your food. It can be hard at first but you will eventually get the hang of it. There are a lot of meal guides available on the internet. Choose the right recipes that will not aggravate your condition and always consult your doctors.

Physical activities must also be done 30 to 60 minutes a day to improve the production and efficiency of the insulin in your body. This will also help enhance weight loss, improve blood circulation, and decreases chances of hypertension. If you want to increase your activities, you need to visit MD 2.0 once again to evaluate the presence of macro- and microvascular complication that could possibly be worsened due to exercise programs.

Proper diabetes management should be executed to keep you healthy at all times. It may be hard at first, but knowing the basics will help you ensure that you can lessen the complications your condition brings. Ask support from your family. Educating them about your condition will also help you live a healthy lifestyle.

 

healthy-summer-snacks-image

Tips for Healthy Summer Snacking

Creating healthy, creative snacks in the summertime is practical and easy, especially since there’s so much healthy delicious produce in season! Summers are busy, so quick, on-the-go foods are often your best option. On top of that, summertime allows you to have variety in your healthy eating, since almost every fruit and vegetable is available at your supermarket. All of these things make summertime the best time for optimal healthy snacking. Here is a list of some of the best and healthiest summer snacks!

Avocado Toast
Perhaps one of the easiest summer snacks is some avocado on a piece of toast, with salt and pepper. It’s best to use a very ripe avocado, mash it with a fork and then spread on your favorite toast. A drizzle of olive oil gives it a nice flavor and an extra boost of healthy fat!

Mini Caprese Skewers
Assemble toothpick skewers of cherry tomatoes, small pieces or rolled balls of fresh mozzarella cheese, and basil leaves. Drizzle with a balsamic glaze or just a dash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Add some sea salt for a little crunch!

Frozen Fruit and Yogurt Bites
You can do this with just about any fruit. Some that we have found to taste great are blueberries, raspberries and strawberries – all summer favorites. Simply mix the fruit with greek yogurt, spread out onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper, and freeze. When you take it out of the freezer it will break apart like bark. These are great on an especially warm day and pack a little protein from the yogurt.

Oven-Dried Strawberries
Bake fresh strawberries in the oven for 3 hours at 210 degrees. They will dehydrate and taste like candy, but are completely healthy and all-natural. The nice thing about this snack is that they can be taken on-the-go for a quick snack when you need it. These are much better than hitting the vending machine when you just need a snack!

Frozen Grapes
Wash your fresh grapes and put them right in the freezer. Although this is such a simple maneuver, the results are delicious and super refreshing during the hottest season of the year! Frozen grapes are like nature’s candy and so easy to make!

Healthy “Banana Split”
Cut a banana down the middle and fill it with greek yogurt, fruit of your choice, and an optional sprinkle of mini dark chocolate chips. This snack is full of protein and healthy goodness, while still satisfying your sweet tooth. This is also a great snack for the kids!

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas
Love potato chips but looking for a healthier option without losing the crunch? Place chickpeas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. After they are done baking, mix them with olive oil and seasoning of your choice. Yum!

Summer is one of the best times for snacking. Whether you are going to soccer games, on family vacations, or keeping busy at home, snacks come in handy for everyone! Snacks don’t have to be full of fat, fried, or packed full of preservatives. Take advantage of the vast array of fruits and veggies available in the summertime, and make them into healthy snacks that are delicious for the whole family!

summer-hazards-image

Avoid These Summer Hazards!

It’s definitely a HOT summer here in South Florida! While you might only be thinking of enjoying grilled food, swimming in the pool, or playing fun summer sports like volleyball or baseball, it’s important to be aware of some common summer hazards during this sunny season. Here are the most common health effects during summer months, and what you can do to prevent them.

Read more
superfoods-for-summer-image

Top Summer Superfoods

Due to the high levels of nutrients found in  superfoods, they are able to stand alone as one of the healthiest snacks a person could ever munch on – especially in this South Florida heat! Paired with something else, though, and these foods are virtually unstoppable. Of course, people enjoy seasonal foods that work well for the months they are eaten in. Summer, for example, is a time when people’s appetites are suppressed, thus altering what they will eat. Well, fear not: Summer has seasonal superfoods, too!

Read more
safe-exercise-tips-image

Exercising Caution: Safety Tips For Your Fitness Regimen

Medical professionals and fitness buffs alike advocate for the myriad of health benefits that come with working out regularly. Increased energy, strength, and other pluses are serious motivators for getting active. However, exercise can also lead to a variety of health problems if not done properly. Follow these essential tips for safer workouts!

Read more
vitamin-d-essential-image

Why Vitamin D is Essential

For those of us living locally in South Florida, we’re pretty familiar with vitamin D! But did you know that even though we live in the sunshine state,  a lot of us are low in vitamin D? It’s not uncommon! Vitamin D is an essential nutrient, of which bodies should have sufficient amounts. It is a bit of a challenge to get enough vitamin D in a normal, everyday diet, so oftentimes people choose to supplement their intake with medical supplements that can be purchased over the counter. Vitamin D is found at a cellular level in the body. Vitamin D is found in some foods, as well as natural sunlight, and is needed for health and the maintenance of strong bones. It helps bones by increasing calcium absorption in the body, which is one of the main building blocks of bones. People who are deficient in vitamin D may have thin and brittle bones, which leads to osteomalacia. Vitamin D is used for many functions of the body, including muscle movement, nervous system communication, and immunity against disease. Vitamin D, with its strong ties to calcium, helps protect aging people from osteoporosis.

Read more
safe-summer-tips-image

Tips for a Safe South Florida Summer

It’s already beginning to feel like summer here in South Florida! With even hotter summer weather in Florida right around the corner, it is essential for you to protect your health with several habits that can prevent medical problems. Have a safe & healthy summer with these tips!

1. Drink Enough Water throughout the Day

Dehydration is a serious problem that can occur at anytime of the year but is more common in the summer because you perspire more. If you are accustomed to drinking caffeinated beverages such as coffee, soft drinks or tea, then you will urinate more often, leading to additional loss of body fluids. While you do not need to give up your favorite flavored beverages during the summer, you should make sure to drink at least eight glasses of pure water each day. You can supplement your hydration by eating fruits that are high in water content.

2. Protect Your Skin with Sunscreen 

Florida has year-round sunny weather, but in the summer, the sun’s ultraviolet rays are more intense. If you are outside more often because there is no rain, then applying protective sunscreen products is essential to prevent skin damage. Sunburned skin is uncomfortable, and it can lead to medical problems immediately or in the future. Not only does skin damage from the sun lead to wrinkles, but also, it can lead to some forms of skin cancer.

3. Use Safety Precautions while Swimming

Swimming is a favorite activity in Florida in either a pool or the ocean, and to avoid injuries, you must use safety precautions. Make sure to have a written list of rules for anyone using a swimming pool at your home, and also, provide life jackets or floatable devices. Install a fence around a swimming pool at your home, and make sure that everyone knows that they should only swim at the ocean or in a pool when another person is nearby.

4. Use Protective Gear while Riding a Bicycle

If you enjoy riding a bicycle in the summer, then invest in protective gear, including a helmet that fits properly. It is also a good idea to wear specialized pads on your elbows and knees in case your bicycle tips over. To ensure drivers in vehicles can see you, place reflectors on various parts of your bicycle and wear a light-colored shirt, jacket or shorts. Learn how to maneuver a bicycle correctly on streets or sidewalks to avoid an accident that can lead to a serious injury.

5. Use Insect Repellents to Avoid Bite and Stings

When you are outside more often in the summer, there is a greater chance of receiving a sting or bite from an insect – especially those pesky mosquitos! Several types of insects can transmit diseases that lead to itchy or painful bumps, and some species of spiders are venomous. Protect your health by applying insect repellents to your skin to avoid contamination from mosquitoes, ticks or wasps.

1 2 3 4 5