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Vitamin D Levels

To get an idea of what “normal” is, let’s look at populations living near the equator where we all evolved from. At or near the equator, the average person has vitamin D levels around 50 ng/mL. Here are the generally accepted graduated levels of vitamin D deficiency:

Extreme deficiency: 20 ng/mL (high risk of various conditions)
Clinically deficient: below 32 ng/mL (increased risk of various conditions)
Borderline deficient: below 35 ng/mL
Acceptable: 35-45 ng/mL
Healthy: 45-55 ng/mL, or
Optimal: 55 ng/mL
Excess: greater than 100 ng/mL
Intoxication: greater than 150 ng/mL


Inflammation & Food Allergies

By Dr. Jeffrey Tucker
Everyone is talking about the detrimental effects of low-grade systemic inflammation. Inflammation is involved in a variety of conditions from neurological to degenerative conditions, and is considered a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Low-grade systemic inflammation can be measured easily with the inflammatory biomarker called ‘highly sensitive C-reactive protein’ (hs-CRP). This is the same marker used as a cardiovascular risk factor, and is an inexpensive blood test that you can ask your Doctor for.

Inflammation is important and appropriate to produce an effective immune response when needed to eliminate pathogens and illness. But chronic low grade systemic inflammation is tissue-destructive, and cardiovascular tissue, joint tissue and muscle tissue is no exception.

Men with the highest level of C-reactive protein (CRP) showed in a study to have three times the incidence of myocardial infarction and two times the incidence of ischemic stroke when compared with men having the lowest level.

Low grade inflammation causing joint aches & pains, as well as difficulty losing weight may be due to the fact that you are eating foods that you’re allergic to! Food allergies that you are unaware of can also be responsible for a number of health issues including gas, bloat, fatigue, rashes, irritable bowel type symptoms and migraine headaches. When chronic pain patients come see me, I am very interested to hear about there responses to certain foods.

Patients who struggle with trying to lose extra weight may have food allergies as well.

One of the most allergic foods and therefore a high inflammation producer is dairy. Many patients are sensitive to dairy and don’t know it. Even those on a low carb diet, which I strongly advocate, may have switched to eating more dairy. You may need to perform a trial of cutting out cow’s milk, cheeses, and dairy products altogether to see how you feel.

There are seven foods responsible for almost all food allergies — wheat, peanuts, other tree nuts like walnuts, fish/shellfish, soybeans, eggs, and cow’s milk. For most of my clients, I usually start with limiting eating wheat and cow’s milk dairy. Why? Through years of clinical practice, I have found that wheat and dairy are usually the most problematic. Avoid breads, crackers, cereals, and chips that contain wheat. You can try goat and sheep’s milk dairy products. I find that food allergies and the excess inflammation in patients body contributes to weight gain, joint aches & chronic pains.

I don’t want you to feel hungry but I want you to have a food plan to promote your optimal health. I recommend medical foods called the UltraInflamX shake to help reduce inflammation in the body. to order.
Kagan RS (February 2003). Environ. Health Perspect. 111; (2): 223–5.
Zar S, et al. (July 2005). Scand. J. Gastroenterol. 40 (7): 800–7.
Arroyave-Hernandez CM, et al. Rev Alerg Mex. 2007 Sept-Oct; 54(4):162-8.


Did You Know That I Perform Body Fat Analysis?

A critical question I often get is: how much should I weight? What should my body fat be? The appropriate weight for each individual may vary. What’s the best way to achieve fat loss?
I tackle these questions everyday in the office. I draw on my 27 years experience at helping people lose weight and on new sports scientific findings into optimal weight loss techniques for both men and women. I look at the relationship between body fat, exercise, stress, diet, supplements and performance. I help clients identify complicating factors to weight loss and performance enhancement, because it is not enough just to say that the more you workout, the thinner you get, the better you feel. If only it were that easy…
I love to see body fat content decrease when I work with clients. The test I perform to measure body fat is called BIA (Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis). I have a machine that tells us how much body fat you have and how much lean muscle mass you have. It also tells me the number of calories you burn a day, as well as your water content amounts. Fat stores account for about 15-18% of total body weight in normal young men, and in young women the figure is about 25-30%.
Our fat stores are important and the fat cells play many key roles. As well as acting as a reserve of energy that can be called upon at times of need, fat is important in the structure of tissues, in hormone metabolism, and in providing a cushion that protects other tissues. Moreover, there’s good evidence that the immune system is impaired when body fat stores are too low. A reduced ability to fight infections means more interruptions to training and more chance of being sick on race day.
Let me help you identify strategies you can safely use to control weight and body fat, come into the office for your easy to perform body composition analysis.


Current Thoughts On Coffee

I often get asked about coffee so I’ll share my current thoughts on so many peoples favorite morning drink. Clients expect me to disapprove of coffee because they think it increases the body’s acidity; or that health-conscious people are supposed to drink green tea instead; or they just think caffeine is bad for you.

Coffee is not harmful, it contains lots of antioxidants. The average amount of coffee consumed by American adults per day- 1.64 cups- provides 1,299 mg of antioxidants. Tea, the second richest source, supplied only 294 mg, followed by antioxidant-rich (but sparingly eaten) fruits and vegetables, which provide fewer than 75 mg each of antioxidants per day. Believe it or not, coffee even contains fiber- nearly 2 g per cup.

Research shows that drinking coffee reduces the risk of Parkinson’s disease by as much as 80 percent and protects against other neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s. It increases insulin sensitivity, and a high intake- at least six cups a day- lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes by 54 percent in men and 30 percent in women. I wouldn’t recommend six cups of coffee per day especially if you have high blood pressure.

Coffee improves concentration and alertness and boosts mood. Coffee can help control asthma and can even halt a full-blown attack in its tracks. Additionally, coffee can stop migraine headaches, curb appetite, prevent tooth decay, and increase the effectiveness of aspirin and other analgesics (Anacin and Excedrin both contain caffeine). And if you drink it before working out, your endurance will improve and you’ll have less exercise-induced muscle pain.

Compared to people who avoid coffee, those who drink at least two cups a day are 80 percent less likely to develop cirrhosis of the liver (even if they drink a lot of alcohol), half as likely to have gallstones, and 25 percent less apt to get colon cancer. Coffee is also protective against cancer of the liver and kidneys, and although it’s long been suspected of increasing risk of breast cancer, a recent study spanning 22 years and involving nearly 86,000 women found a weak inverse association between the two in postmenopausal females.

Some studies reveal that regular and decaffeinated coffee both have benefits. Caffeine picks up the nervous system, and increases the activity of the neurotransmitter dopamine and enhances delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the muscles and brain.

So, the next time you feel like a cup of coffee, indulge yourself. It’s a good way to boost your mood, your energy, and your overall health.

Schardt D. Caffeine: The good, the bad, and the maybe. Nutrition Action Healthletter. March 2008.



There has been a lot in the news about ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) this week. The statistics are that in the US, 4% of children aged 4 to 8 and 9.7% of children aged 9 to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD. That translates to around 4.5 million young people who have trouble paying attention and finishing tasks. In classrooms and at home ADHD behavior can appear rude, obnoxious, and disruptive because these children have trouble controlling impulsive behaviors.

In my experience, I have found when parents chose healthy nutritious foods for these kids, they notice a difference in reducing the number of behavioral problems and improving academic performance. Diet changes include, drinking juice diluted with water, eliminating sodas, candy, pizza, burgers, tacos and fries foods. Instead of eating lots of processed foods with excess carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, more protein dishes, and entrees free of chemicals and additives can be offered. The changes can be dramatic.

Parents have shared that their kids appear more calm and well-behaved and discipline problems are less after about 3-4 weeks of being on a low carb diet. I also recommend that parents give there kids L-theanine (I use a supplement called Celepro from Metagenics) which is a natural substance found in green tea. This helps kids focus and therefore concentration to study is improved.

The traditional medical treatment for ADHD has been medication. In fact, at least half of these children are taking powerful psycho-stimulant drugs like Adderall or Ritalin to control their symptoms. While these synthetic chemicals are effective at controlling hyperactive and aggressive behavior, there is often side effects that come from these drugs, including dizziness, insomnia, confusion, and an irregular heart beat.

What if these kids are off balance because there body is getting a toxin load from chemicals and processed foods, too much sugar, and dangerous additives that affect neurochemistry? Doesn’t it make sense to try a healthy food plan!

Adderall is a cocktail of four different amphetamines. High-dosage and long term use have been linked to erectile problems and other sexual dysfunctions. Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a central nervous system stimulant.

Let’s continue to pay more attention to nutrition as the first line of therapy. Start making better dietary changes at home. Stop buying junk food and spend the money on organic produce and grass-fed meats.


Happy 2010 & Longevity

Unfortunately, on a daily basis I hear patients tell me similar stories about the way they feel. People find themselves with chronic headaches, neck pain and low back pain. They don’t know what they did to make the pain or symptoms appear…they just want to get rid of it. Pain can cause us to feel irritable, touchy, fatigue, and even depressed. My answer for help is always the same…improve your diet, nutrition and let’s use exercise as therapy.

As the New Year approaches I encourage all of my clients to start to plan for where they want to go as far as health is concerned in the coming year. I know you don’t take health for granted, so lets create a plan, then you can get excited about life and where you are going. Clarify your goals for the New Year – weight loss, increase muscle mass, decrease pain, increase flexibility, feel less irritable, feel more joy. Now is the time to create a destination for your health goals in 2010.
Many of you have been my patients for more than twenty-five years and you know that I have stressed the value of exercise, diet and nutrition for improving our health goals and healthy aging.
The corrective exercise treatment programs I have developed over the years have not only gotten people out of pain, they are keeping men and women looking youthful, allowing active lifestyles, enjoying fitness, and good health.
The bottom line is that how healthy we are as we age is directly related to how much physical activity we get and the nutrition we take in. There are too many people who think it’s too late to turn things around. It’s never too late to change how you live.
What about you? Did you notice your body or fitness level changing this past year? Did that motivate you to make changes in your life?
There are definite other general principles associated with longevity
1. 80% Rule (stop eating when you’re 80% full)
2. Eat more veggies, lean protein (grass fed beef) & avoid processed foods
3. Red Wine – enjoy a little every night, be consistent and always in moderation
4. Know your purpose in life
5. Have spiritual beliefs or religious participation
6. Try to work a little less, take time to rest, and take vacation days
7. Move your body – even gentle exercise will work, but above all be consistent
8. Belong to clubs or groups that help you create a healthy social network
9. Make family a priority

Happy Holidays.


Laser Therapy

Laser therapy is effective for degenerative osteoarthritis
Stelian J, Gil I, Habot B et al. Improvement of pain and disability in elderly patients with degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee treated with narrow-band light therapy. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1992; 40: 23-26.

In an Israeli study the effect of laser therapy in degenerative osteoarthritis (DOA) of the knee was investigated in a double blind study among 50 patients. One group received infrared (GaAlAs) and one red (HeNe) laser. Only the first group could be blinded, while the latter was open. Patients were treated twice daily, 15 minutes each time, for 10 days. The patients treated themselves after instruction. Total dose for each session was 10.3 J for red and 11.1 for infrared. Continuous mode was used for 7.5 minutes, pulsed for 7.5 minutes, rationale not stated. There was a significant pain reduction in the laser groups as compared to the placebo groups. There was no significant difference between the red and the infrared group. The Disability Index Questionnaire also revealed an improvement in the laser groups. All patients in the placebo group required analgesics within two months after laser therapy while the patients in the laser group were pain free ranging from 2 months to 1 year.


Laser therapy

The Effect of Low-Level Laser in Knee Osteoarthritis: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial
Béla Hegedűs, László Viharos, Mihály Gervain, Márta Gálfi. Photomedicine and Laser Surgery. August 2009, 27(4): 577-584. doi:10.1089/pho.2008.2297.
Published in Volume: 27 Issue 4: August 20, 2009 Online Ahead of Print: June 16, 2009

Introduction: Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is thought to have an analgesic effect as well as a biomodulatory effect on microcirculation. This study was designed to examine the pain-relieving effect of LLLT and possible microcirculatory changes measured by thermography in patients with knee osteoarthritis (KOA).
Materials and Methods: Patients with mild or moderate KOA were randomized to receive either LLLT or placebo LLLT. Treatments were delivered twice a week over a period of 4wk with a diode laser (wavelength 830nm, continuous wave, power 50mW) in skin contact at a dose of 6J/point. The placebo control group was treated with an ineffective probe (power 0.5mW) of the same appearance. Before examinations and immediately, 2wk, and 2 mo after completing the therapy, thermography was performed (bilateral comparative thermograph by AGA infrared camera); joint flexion, circumference, and pressure sensitivity were measured; and the visual analogue scale was recorded.
Results: In the group treated with active LLLT, a significant improvement was found in pain (before treatment [BT]: 5.75; 2 mo after treatment : 1.18); circumference (BT: 40.45; AT: 39.86); pressure sensitivity (BT: 2.33; AT: 0.77); and flexion (BT: 105.83; AT: 122.94). In the placebo group, changes in joint flexion and pain were not significant. Thermographic measurements showed at least a 0.5°C increase in temperature—and thus an improvement in circulation compared to the initial values. In the placebo group, these changes did not occur.
Conclusion: Our results show that LLLT reduces pain in KOA and improves microcirculation in the irradiated area.