How to Avoid (or Ditch) acid blocking medications

Some of you will simultaneously reach for a hot dog and for your heartburn medication this summer. You may be shocked to know that both can increase your risk of a heart attack.

A study published in June in the journal PLOS ONE showed that the powerful acid-blocking medications called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) were associated with a two-fold higher risk of cardiovascular death. Earlier studies revealed an increased risk of death for people taking the blood thinner Plavix with a PPI, but this new study showed the higher death rate for all. There’s also evidence that PPIs increase the risk of community acquired pneumonia, anemia, and osteoporosis. With 21 million people in the US currently using PPIs, the public health implications are staggering.

Acid-blockers can cause the very probl...

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How I discovered a coffee pot was making my patient sick

coffeepot imageThe evidence for the health benefits of coffee may be growing, but what if your coffee pot were contributing to chronic disease?

A recent patient of mine fit this picture. She was having troublesome symptoms that looked classically perimenopausal, but also suffered from a worsening skin condition that left bumps on her shins. She asked me if there might be a common cause.

I listened carefully for clues—food sensitivities, a low vitamin D level, uterine fibroids, an autoimmune disease. I ordered tests and asked her to begin an elimination diet (avoiding wheat, dairy, soy, citrus, and eggs) and keep a symptom record. I also gave her my environmental handout, which covers a wide range of recommendations like avoiding artificial fragrances and insecticides.

Twelve days later when I calle...

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Supplements can be helpful but need better oversight

In February, NY State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman accused GNC, Target, Walgreen’s, and Walmart of selling supplements that contained little, if any, of the herb they purported to contain. This has caused tremendous uproar among consumers, providers, the dietary supplements industry, and retailers alike. The stores, in response, have pulled the products from their shelves. American consumers have been portrayed as stupid and gullible for using worthless and ineffective products. But what if the results of the tests aren’t credible?

The attorney general used a relatively new method of testing for the presence of herbs called DNA bar coding, but DNA testing isn’t particularly useful with herbal extracts, because little to no DNA remains after the commercial extraction process. Dr...

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Eating for Pleasure, Vitality, and Health

Diet fads come and go. Currently, there are many popular diets and a great deal of diet confusion! Gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan, organic, whole, raw, grass-fed, probiotic, non-GMO, no-carb, low-carb, slow-carb, Atkins, Paleo, Mediterranean.

With so many diets and options for selecting food, the best choices for our health are unclear and only seem to get more complicated. Why are so many people now avoiding dairy and wheat – foods once considered mainstays of the American diet?  Why are food allergies on the rise? Are fecal transplants really the future?  What do I need to know about the microbiome?

In this forty minute talk I will provide the current science to demystify the latest diet trends and offer strategies for selecting food for pleasure, vitality, and health.


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Practical Actions for a Healthier Pregnancy

Recent articles have raised concerns about whether taking antidepressants may increase the risk of having a baby with autism. While frightening, these reports help raise awareness of the value of a careful self-assessment before you become pregnant. I recommend that you ask yourself these 10 questions before attempting to conceive:

1. Do you take prescribed medications? Find out if your medicine is safe during pregnancy by talking to your physician or pharmacist or look it up on this NIH website

2. Are you taking a prenatal multivitamin multi-mineral with folic acid, iron, and iodine? These multis are associated with easier conception, fewer miscarriages, fewer birth defects in your baby, and a reduced risk of autism in your child...

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