Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cost of obesity?

Cost of obesity?

Over $4,000 if you're a woman

Study: Annual cost of being obese is $4,879 for a woman, $2,646 for a man


Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Obesity puts a drag on the wallet as well as health, especially for women.

Doctors have long known that medical bills are higher for the obese, but that is only a portion of the real-life costs

George Washington University researchers added in things like employee sick days, lost productivity, even the need for extra gasoline - and found the annual cost of being obese is $4,879 for a woman and $2,646 for a man.

That is far more than the cost of being merely overweight - $524 for women and $432 for men, concluded the report being released Tuesday, which analyzed previously published studies to come up with a total.

Why the difference between the sexes? Studies suggest larger women earn less than skinnier women, while wages don't differ when men pack on the pounds. That was a big surprise, said study co-author and health policy professor Christine Ferguson.

Researchers had expected everybody's wages to suffer with obesity, but "this indicates you're not that disadvantaged as a guy, from a wage perspective," said Ferguson, who plans to study why

Then consider that obesity is linked to earlier death. While that is not something people usually consider a pocketbook issue, the report did average in the economic value of lost life. That brought women's annual obesity costs up to $8,365, and men's to $6,518.

The report was financed by one of the manufacturers of gastric banding, a type of obesity surgery.

The numbers are in line with other research and are not surprising, said Dr. Kevin Schulman, a professor of medicine and health economist at Duke University who wasn't involved in the new report.

Two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese, and childhood obesity has tripled in the past three decades. Nearly 18 percent of adolescents now are obese, facing a future of diabetes, heart disease and other ailments.

Looking at the price tag may help policymakers weigh the value of spending to prevent and fight obesity, said Schulman, pointing to factors like dietary changes over the past 30 years and physical environments that discourage physical activity.

"We're paying a very high price as a society for obesity, and why don't we think about it as a problem of enormous magnitude to our economy?" he asks. "We're creating obesity and we need to do a man-on-the-moon effort to solve this before those poor kids in elementary school become diabetic middle-aged people."

A major study published last year found medical spending averages $1,400 more a year for the obese than normal-weight people. Tuesday's report added mostly work-related costs - things like sick days and disability claims - related to those health problems.

It also included a quirky finding, a study that calculated nearly 1 billion additional gallons of gasoline (3.8 billion liters) are used every year because of increases in car passengers' weight since 1960.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

More on Fruits & Vegetables

This article by Steven Reinberg - Health Day Reporter with Fox News is compelling...

The truth is consuming Fruits and Vegetables can extend your life and its quality. USDA recommends 7 to 13 daily servings, how difficult is that?

Juice Plus is an easy and convenient way to boost your intake of Fruits and Veggies and it’s inexpensive!

Learn more…

Monday, August 16, 2010

Should you try acupuncture?

That depends on a variety of factors.  Most new people to acupuncture can usually be categorized into three groups:

1. Patients who have tried more familiar therapies without success, particularly for a chronic or recurring problem, are good candidates for acupuncture.

2. Someone who is reluctant to endure the side effects of some more conventional Western therapies.

3. The person who wishes to emphasize wellness and prevention over the disease model of medicine and is willing to make concomitant lifestyle changes to achieve optimum health.

The complete article can be found here:

For questions about acupuncture or to schedule and appointment please contact us at:

Monday, August 9, 2010

5 Fitness Myths You Need to Forget

By Reader's Digest Magazine, on Thu Jul 29, 2010
To be fit you need to stop letting myths like these hold you back.

1. Walking is not as effective as running.
Sure, you'll burn about twice as many calories running for 30 minutes than walking for 30 minutes. But if a runner and a walker cover the same distance, they burn about the same number of calories. So if you're willing to take the 'slow route,' you'll likely lose just as much weight. In fact, studies have proved that how long you exercise matters more than how hard you exercise.

2. Exercise increases hunger
It's a common misconception: If you burn hundreds of calories during a workout, you'll end up eating more. But research shows that exercise has no effect on a person's food needs, with the exception of endurance athletes who exercise for two hours a day or more. In fact, research shows that exercise often suppresses hunger during and after the workout.

3. It doesn't matter where your calories come from
Calories are not created equal. First, some foods (in particular, proteins) take more energy to chew, digest, metabolize, and store than others. Others (such as fats and carbohydrates) require fewer calories to digest and store. Second, different food types have different effects on your blood sugar. Refined carbohydrates (think white bread, cookies, and fruit drinks) raise blood sugar levels dramatically, which encourages fat storage, weight gain, and hunger. Fibrous foods like apples, as well as proteins, raise blood sugar less, making them friendlier to your waistline. Finally, foods that contain a lot of water, such as vegetables and soup, tend to fill the belly on fewer calories, so you'll stop eating them way before you stop eating more calorie-dense foods.

4. Diet alone is enough for sustained weight loss
You'll lose weight in the short term by slashing calories, but experts say exercise is what keeps pounds off for good. Exercise burns calories, of course. It also builds muscle, which takes up less space than fat. Muscle tissue also requires more calories to sustain it than fat tissue does. In other words, the more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you'll burn at rest. In fact, some studies suggest that over the long term, if you had a choice of eating consistently less or exercising consistently more, exercise would be the better weight-loss choice.

5. There is no best time for exercise
If you're simply walking to get healthy or take off some weight, it doesn't matter when you do it, as long as you do it. But if you're an athlete looking for the best-quality workout, choose the late afternoon, when body temperature is highest. Muscles are warm, reaction time is quick, and strength is at its peak. If you push yourself harder as a result, you will burn more calories.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The MEDCottage-An old idea made new?

Granny flats, the spare room, the in-law apartment just a few of the names we have for the space our family elders might live in when they come to live with family.

Well we can add a new one...a shack in the back. This may be a bit unfair because the MEDCottage is not really a shack, it's a modular unit that can be potentially equipped with monitoring devices to help family members take care of an older or ailing family member. The unit can be placed in the backyard and connected to the power and other utilities of the main house.

What I love about it...
Privacy for the elder and the rest of the family while still being close.
Possibility of monitoring to make sure the elder is safe.
Supports families caring for their elders.
Designed of course to be handicapped accessible.

What I don't love about it...
The cost $65000-$75000 for the unit, proposed rental of unit is $2000 per month.
Being promoted as an alternative to nursing home care. If your family member needs skilled nursing care provided by a nursing home this is not a substitute.
Doesn't address social needs of the elder. If no one is home during the day, who is the senior interacting with?

If you'd like to read the whole article, here's the link

What do you think? Is this a cost effective possibility for eldercare? Would you consider it for a family member?

Friday, July 2, 2010

The following business story was created by the Coastside BNI chapter. It was part of a 10 minute presentation on the power of storytelling as a tool for aligning the energy of thought with desire. I have posted it at the group's request.

The words in blue were contributed by the members, using the criteria of the best feeling word they could find to fill in the sentence. These may or may not be powerful positive words for the reader. If not, simply substitute the words in blue for your own. Again, the only criteria is substitute the best feeling word to you.


I am appreciative to understand the role thought and emotion play in the success of my business.

I feel excited that with a little practice I can deliberately focus my thoughts.

I enjoy the freedom that being in business for myself offers.

I am pleased to be part of a group that is committed to helping each other succeed

I love working with clients who are enthusiastic, loyal, responsive and grateful.

I feel hopeful when I think that focusing my thoughts on the kinds of clients I like draw them to me.

I see myself moving through the many different tasks I do each day feeling excited, terrific.

When challenges come up, I see myself handling them with confidence, ease, flexibility and optimism

I can feel how terrific, how wonderful it will be to experience the financial success of my business.

It's going to be exciting watching my business begin to match my new story.

If you would like more background information on the power of storytelling, please refer to my previous posting.

Monday, June 28, 2010

3 Surprising Ways Modern Medicines Are Making You Sick

The Alliance for Natural Health has posted an article discussing how prescription drugs may be making us all sicker — whether through illnesses brought on because these medicines deplete critical nutrients in our body, or because we’re unwittingly consuming pharmaceuticals in the municipal water we drink.
1. Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion
The number of dollars spent on prescription medications in the US is at all time high, with seniors projected to use an average of 38.5 different medications this year. And while the number of prescriptions issued and dispensed are carefully recorded each year, particularly for those over the age of 65, scant attention is spent on the toll prescription drugs exact on health by depleting vital nutrients.
Metform and B12 Deficiency: In a recent study published in the British Medical Journal, Dutch researchers from the Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands have linked vitamin B12 deficiency with the use of metformin, a commonly-used diabetic medication. Given that 10% of Americans are now diagnosed as type II diabetics — with up to 40% being pre-diabetic — the number of cases of metformin-induced vitamin B12 deficiency may be immense. Vitamin B12 deficiency is commonly manifested by memory loss, though it is also linked to fatigue, anemia, nerve damage (including neuropathy), and other mental changes.
Coenzyme Q10 Depletion: Coenzyme Q10 is a natural substance found in our mitochondria that is required as an essential element in the creation of 90% of the human body’s energy. Statin drugs deplete CoQ10. While some cardiologists advise their patients on statin drugs to take supplemental CoQ10, most doctors are poorly educated on the subject, and consumers don’t know to ask what nutrients a particular drug will affect. Ironically the first patent on statins included a patent combining them with supplemental CoQ10. So Merck, the manufacturer, knew about the damage to CoQ10 from statins but chose to say nothing and do nothing about it.
2. Showers Sending Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients Into Environment
Another way our medications are making us sick is through our daily baths and showers. According to the American Chemical Society (ACS), showers and baths are sending hormones, antibiotics, and other medicines down the drain — which end up cycling right back into our drinking water supplies.
It has long been known that toilets are a source of environmental pollution from Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) that pass through the body to be excreted back into municipal water processing plants. But now the American Chemical Society has published a new studythat links bathing, showering, and laundering with API water pollution.
“These routes may be important for certain APIs found in medications that are applied topically. They include creams, lotions, ointments, gels, and skin patches,” according to Dr. Ilene Ruhoy, director of the Institute for Environmental Medicine at Touro University in Nevada. And topical APIs can have a greater impact on the environment than APIs released in feces and urine, because the latter have been broken down to some extent by the liver and kidneys. “We need to be more aware of how our use of pharmaceuticals can have unwanted environmental effects,” Ruhoy continued.

3. Pharmaceuticals Going Directly Into Water Supplies
Perhaps worst of all, researchers have now found that the pharmaceuticals which have been turning up in streams and rivers may come directly from the drug plants that manufacture them. Researchers from the US Geological Survey (USGS) looked at the effluent from two New York state treatment plants serving drug manufacturers, and compared it to plants not receiving pharmaceutical waste.
Effluent samples from across the country showed evidence of the drugs, but concentrations were all very minor. By contrast, the New York plants that serve drugmakers released seven painkillers in massive concentrations — the highest was the muscle relaxant metaxalone.

Link to full article:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Acupuncture for Sports Injuries and Performance

As the world's soccer fans are captivated by this first week of World Cup play, there's much more going on behind the scenes that do not get publicized.  Take England's team for example.  After their disappointing 1-1, tied match against the US (and to the excitement of the US), the British players have a fully assembled team of trainers focused on optimizing each player to the highest level of performance at this world caliber stage.  Among team England's army of trainers, there's also a sports psychologist and acupuncturist.
Link to full article:

Acupuncture helps promote circulation throughout the body by aiding in recovery from injuries but also in promoting sports performance.  Acupuncture can help a broad range of athletes, from the weekend warriors to the world class professional athlete.

To inquire if acupuncture can help you in your sport contact Johnson:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What is Therapeutic Massage?

Receiving an occasional massage once or twice a year on vacation is such a great gift to give to your body and mind. However, massage can be much more than a “feel good” experience that occurs only on special occasions. Whether you are sitting at computer all-day or swinging a hammer, your body can develop tension areas in specific muscles from repetitive motion that can become chronic problems. For some of us, massage therapy is a necessity that helps to keep us going so that we can continue working and participating in the activities we love to do.
Therapeutic massage sessions are “tailored” to your specific needs according to what is going on in your body at the time of your session. A therapeutic massage therapist will take into consideration past and present health concerns, injuries, and what you put your body through on a daily basis to better determine a “plan of attack”, so to speak. A “fluffy full body massage” may feel good but a therapeutic massage will focus on releasing your tension areas that can be causing migraines, carpal tunnel and low back pain. Advanced techniques like deep tissue or trigger point therapy may be used during this type of session increasing circulation, speeding up the healing process, and breaking down scar tissue. A therapeutic massage therapist will see a client very frequently for the first few weeks or months. This might include half hour massages two or three times a week, or weekly hour massages for a couple of months in order to get the best results.
Remember, that it is important to communicate during your massage letting the therapist know if the pressure is not right and also if something is uncomfortable. You’re the boss and if you are tensing up during your session then it is defeating the purpose. The purpose is to relax, release, and heal. Like proper nutrition and exercise, regular therapeutic massage will help your body stay happy, healthy and strong.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Power of Storytelling

Storytelling as a healing practice is used throughout the world and has a history thousands of years old. There is a very good reason for this. Words are thoughts expressed and thoughts are bio energetic packages that magnetize experiences to us that match our thoughts.

Most of us, consciously or unconsciously, create stories about our bodies, relationships, work and money based on our culture, parents and peers' interpretation of the world. As a result we often find ourselves trapped in the stories of "just the way things are" rather than the way we want our lives to be.

When no matter how hard we try to change some aspect of our lives and nothing seems to work, or work for very long, it indicates that the story we are telling ourselves is splitting our energy field and pulling us out of alignment with our own cause. We are stuck in a bad story and creating our personal version of the movie "Ground Hog's Day".

We can't keep telling ourselves and others the same story without getting the same results. It contradicts thousands of years of spiritual wisdom as well as recent findings emerging from quantum physics, medical and psycho-physiological research. When we begin telling the stories of our lives as we want them to be, our lives begins to match our new story.


The following series of workshops are being offered for those who would like to learn to tell a different story about particular aspects of their lives. They focus on the areas that are often the most important to us and just as often give us the most trouble. Participants will learn the tools and techniques for calling the life they want to them through the power of telling a new story.

MY BODY: Wed., July 7, 6-8 pm

MY RELATIONSHIPS: Wed., August 4, 6-8 pm

MY WORK: Wed., September 1, 6-8 pm

MY MONEY: Wed., October 6, 6-8 pm


All four workshops $160 /Individual workshop price $45
Call 650.238.4901 or 650.355.7409 to register
(Space is limited to 8 persons and is on a first come first served basis)

Skin Care 101

Our face is the first thing people notice about us, so it is no wonder people are searching for the latest and best skin care products.

There are 5 basic steps to any good skin care regimen.

1- Cleanse. This should be done both morning and night to remove oil, dirt and make up.

2- Exfoliate. There are different levels of intensity when it comes to exfoliation. A product with gentle exfoliation beads, such as Mary Kay’s 3 in 1 Cleanser, can be used every day. More intense exfoliation, such as that from an at home Microdermabrasion product, should only be used 2 to 3 times per week.

3- Toner/Freshener. A toner or freshener helps to remove the last traces of oil and dirt and helps to condition the skin.

4- Moisturize. Even people with oily skin need to moisturize regularly. You just want to make sure that the product is oil free and light weight. People with very dry skin need to look for moisturizers specifically formulated for very dry skin.

5- Protect. This step is crucial, yet it is one that many people overlook. Everyone needs to wear sunscreen on their face every day, no matter what the weather is or how much you think you will be in the sun. (See my blog post dated April 27, 2010 for more details on this subject)

There are, of course, many specialty skin care products on the market. Our first line of defense though, should always be a good basic skin care program.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tips for Happy Adrenals

How well do you cope with stress? Do you startle easily or get angry and irritated with the tiniest things? Do you have trouble sleeping at night? Tend to wake in between 2-4 am? Do you tend to put on weight around your midsection and no matter how hard you exercise and how healthy you eat, you can’t seem to get rid of it? Do you get that afternoon crash, where it is a struggle to keep your eyes open? Does a cup of coffee give you the shakes or make you feel like you just want to go back to bed? Does your regular exercise routine seem harder than usual?

On top of our kidneys sit triangular shaped structures called our adrenal glands. These little glands play a huge role in our bodies. They are known as our “stress glands” because they secrete hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine (adrenaline) to help us respond to stress. When we experience constant stress- whether it be physiological or emotional, our adrenal glands have to work harder. Then they start to secrete our stress hormones in overdrive which may contribute to symptoms such as insomnia, weight gain and inability to lose weight, blood sugar and blood pressure disorders as well as some of the symptoms listed above. Once our adrenals have had enough of putting out so much stress hormone, they get tired and tend to slow down. This lack of hormonal secretion can also deeply affect out lives, causing similar symptoms to those above as well as symptoms such as fatigue, depression, salt cravings and headaches.

If you are experiencing some of the symptoms above, your adrenal glands may need a little bit of support. Talk to your Holistic Health Care Provider about ways to test for adrenal hormone imbalances as well as ways to treat them.
Here are a few basic things you can do in your life to help keep those adrenals happy:

1. Stress Management: this is absolutely essential in treating the adrenals, more important than any herb, supplement or medication. Becoming aware of life’s stressors and taking action is one of the best things you can do for yourself. This may mean slowing down, counseling, yoga, meditation, biofeedback, energy work, massage, getting to bed earlier, journaling, tai chi- anything that feels right for you. Start by choosing 1 thing that you know helps with your stress levels and make it your goal to turn into action at least one time per week.

2. Blood Sugar Balance: Blood sugar regulation and adrenal health go hand in hand. This is why it is important to aim to manage your blood sugar through diet and supplementation if warranted. Blood sugar balancing foods include high protein foods and non-starchy vegetables. Aim to have protein with every meal and plenty of vegetables throughout the day. Avoid excess fruit and grains at breakfast to prevent pre-lunch hypoglycemia

3. Avoid Stimulants: Avoid excess caffeine, nicotine and energy drinks that can overwork the adrenals and increase symptoms of adrenal fatigue. Coffee is especially important to go easy on, as it depletes many essential nutrients and minerals which can contribute to adrenal dysfunction

4. Sleep in the Dark!! This sounds simple but it is a key player in adrenal health. Even tiny amounts of light such as from the alarm clock or shining in from the windows, can decrease melatonin production, disrupt our circadian rhythms and throw off other hormone imbalances.

5. Green Power Foods: Green power foods such as spirulina, wheat grass, wakami, nori and other seaweeds help build the blood and increase energy. They are also super rich in vitamins and nutrients especially the B vitamins so not only help prevent deficiencies but also help tonify the adrenal glands

Blog post by: Dr. Sarah Anne Rothman, ND

** The content of this blog is for informational purposes only. Please consult with your health care practitioner before taking any supplements or health care advice**

Image courtesy of BingBing

Monday, May 24, 2010

Time to Move?

It’s never easy to answer the question, “is it time for mom or dad to move?”

You've come to the crossroad that many families face, is it time for my family member to move out of home into some type of supportive living arrangement? It's really natural to feel upset and conflicted about this dilemma.

You have probably made many sacrifices to keep your family member with you or in her own home. It's not easy to undo such a big commitment. It can make you feel like a failure even though without your support, your family member couldn’t have carried on at home as long as she has

Sometimes a health crisis brings you to a natural decision making place. Other times, there are changes to your family member’s needs that are hard to face. Families often decide that an elder will move when the person needs 24 hour care, becomes incontinent or wanders away from home. In other cases, the caregiver's health or personal situation changes forcing a change in living arrangements.

What I most often see in my practice is that people wait way too long before they make a change and then it is often done in haste because the caregiver is stressed out or ill.

Take the time now to talk as a family about what you will do when your family member can no longer live at home. Set some criteria about how you will know it’s time to act. Ask your family member about her preferences for living arrangements and make sure to understand your budget.

Monday, May 17, 2010

How stress steals your memory, and what to do about it!

We all know that stress is bad for us - but did you know that chronic stress actually changes the structures in your brain? We have two main types of memory - long term memory, and short term memory. You can think of short term as being your working memory - it concerns what is happening right now. You know if you are having short term memory problems if you can’t remember where you just put that important file down, or that phone number you just looked up. Your short term memory is a function of your hippocampus - if you have a good hippocampus, you have a good working memory - if you have a damaged hippocampus, you can remember the name of your first grade teacher, but not the name of the person you just met. Chronic stress causes release of cortisol - and cortisol is very bad for your hippocampus. CT scans will show visible, even profound, shrinking of the hippocampus - it actually becomes smaller.

So do you need to go live in a cave? Only if you want to - a state of self hypnosis is the physical opposite of stress. If you want a good working memory throughout your life, learning and using self-hypnosis can decrease your physical stress response and spare your brain.

Friday, May 7, 2010


At he most fundamental level our identity is not blood, flesh and bones but a pulsating electromagnetic energy system of extraordinary complexity. Our bodies produce enough electrical energy to continuously power a light bulb every day of our life. Just as we inhale oxygen, use it to feed our physical body and exhale carbon dioxide, our energetic system draws energy from the environment, uses it to fuel the system and returns it back in another form.

Thoughts are energy packets that we transmit each waking moment. Because they are electromagnetic in nature they have the power to draw out of the environment events that match the thought. The more often we think a similar array of thoughts and the more emotion we experience around that array, the greater their drawing power.

Just as a magnet draws to it paperclips, iron filings, nails, etc., our thoughts draw experiences that match them. Have you ever noticed that the more you worry about not having enough money the less you seem to have available: the car breaks down, the plumbing quits working and the dog racks up a huge vet bill. Have you ever worried about being late and tried to get somewhere faster only to find it took you longer than usual? Do you ever notice that the more mistakes you make; the more mistakes you make? This is thought at work.

The good news is that unlike a magnet, we are conscious beings. We have the ability to choose from an infinite number of possible thoughts what we will think about any subject. Thereby, we possess the innate ability to choose what we draw toward us.

Coming in the next blog by Patricia...How do we choose the thoughts that magnetize what we want and avoid the ones that magnetize what we don't want?

Friday, April 30, 2010

Finding the right workout place for you.

Finding the right place for you to exercise is extremely important. It needs to be a place you feel comfortable going into and is easy for you to get to. There seem to be more and more little gyms and exercise studios popping up as many people are turning to these little shops instead of the big and crowded gyms.
Some things to consider when looking for a gym or studio to join.
  1. Location - Is it convenient for you to get to at the times that you plan to go? Some of the best intentions can be ruined by something just simply not being easy to get to. Try to make it either close to work, home or on the way to one of these.
  2. Amenities - Do they have the facilities and classes that you want? If you plan to exercise on the way to work you will need a place that has a shower. If you are interested in taking classes, make sure that you look over the gym class schedule to see if any of the classes you want are at a time that works for you, before you sign up.
  3. The Staff - Meet as many of the staff as possible. These are people that you will get to know very well, so you should love them! If you are going to hire a personal trainer or take a class try to find out as much info about them as possible. What certifications and experience do they have? You want to make sure that these instructors know what they are doing since they are going to be working with your body!
  4. Do you have friends that work out there? Studies show that when you have a workout buddy you are twice as likely to reach your goals. Having someone to meet you at the gym will help keep you focused and going regularly.

When I started my gym I wanted a place that my clients could come to and would feel safe, un-judged and that I could really have a one to one session with. I hope this helps you to get on your way to finding the best fitness place for you and your needs.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How much sunscreen is enough?

You can protect yourself from the sun with physical blocks such as the umbrellas pictured here, with clothing that has an SPF rating, and with chemical sunscreens that you apply to your skin.

Sunscreen Protection Factor, or SPF, is the measure of protection a sunscreen will give you from the sun’s UVB rays. (There is currently no standardized measure of protection for UVA rays) It works like this: If your unprotected skin burns in 20 minutes, a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 will protect your skin 15 times longer - in this case, about 5 hours.

Products containing an SPF of 15 block approximately 93% of the sun’s UVB rays.

Products containing an SPF of 30 block approximately 97% of the sun’s UVB rays.

Products containing an SPF of 50 block approximately 98% of the sun’s UVB rays.

Products with higher than an SPF of 50 provide negligible additional protection and no sunscreen will protect you from 100% of UVB rays.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Fishy in Fish Oils

Do they taste fishy? What fishies are they made from? What are they good for? What about dose? Brand? How do the Omega 3 sources in essential fatty acids derived from plant sources compare? What about all these fishy reports about toxins in fish oil supplements?

I have been getting a lot of these questions lately, and hope I can help answer some of them for you. Fish oil supplementation has become widespread in the last few years, as we learn more and more about the health benefits of Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs).

These EFAs contain EPA and DHA, two compounds which have a wide array of healthy properties. They have been studied for their positive affects on the cardiovascular system-especially in decreasing the risk for sudden heart attacks and secondary coronary events. They are also known for decreasing Triglycerides (our “bad” cholesterol) and increasing HDL (our “good” cholesterol). EFAs are required for brain and retinal development and recent studies have shown their benefits in psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, bipolar and schizophrenia. They have also been shown to play a protective role in diseases such as MS, Autoimmune disease and any sort of Inflammatory process in the body.

I use a ton of fish oil in my practice for all sorts of health concerns and in a wide range of doses. The benefits for certain health conditions really depend on proper dose administration, quality of the product and on the person sitting in front of me in my office. Different ratios of EPA to DHA should be used depending on the individual and the therapeutic goals. For example, to lower Triglycerides and balance cholesterol I will advise a much higher dose than for someone with high blood pressure or difficulty concentrating.

So where do these supplements come from?

Oily fish. Usually from oily sardines, herring and anchovies. The Omega 3’s we all hype about actually come from the microalgae that these guys feed on. So really, you can take an oil supplement made from different species of Algal oil to get a great vegetarian source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Another vegetarian source of Omega 3's is Flax Seed Oil. Flax Seed Oil has many healing properties and can have a profound affect on hormonal balance but we need an enzyme called Delta-6 Desaturase to convert flax oil to EPA, GLA and DHA in our bodies. Many of us are deficient in this enzyme so it is much easier to obtain these compounds from EFAs from fish or algae sources.

Do they taste horrible? Not necessarily. High quality fish oils often have quite a subtle taste and are mixed with orange or lemon oils to mask the ever so delicious sardine flavor. I actually carry a product made with berry concentrate that my patients can’t get enough of! Be sure to keep all fish oils in the fridge, and if you really can’t get over the taste, try freezing fish oil capsules and taking them that way.

When looking for fish oil on the shelves, don’t underestimate quality and purity. Last month there was a lawsuit in California against several different Fish Oil Supplement manufacturers because harmful toxins such as PCBs were found in these products. Visit this link for more details:

Professional Companies will test all their products thoroughly for contamination and purity, so when you purchase fish oil make sure that it comes from a reputable, high quality source. Look for a label on the bottle that says that they have been tested for heavy metals and impurities. Some Professional Nutritional Companies that I recommend include Genestra, Metagenics, Pharmax, Ascenta and Vital Nutrients. Look for labels such as “USP verified”, “NMP certified”, “pharmaceutical grade” or “species specific” where the names of the types of fish are on the label rather than just the words “fish oil”.


They can be, but fabulous too!

Blog Post by: Dr. Sarah Anne Rothman, ND

* The content of this blog is for informational purposes only. Please consult with your health care practitioner before taking any supplements or health care advice*

Image credit

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Talking with Aging Relatives about the Future

A husband steps into the kitchen and cooks the first the dinner he’s prepared in fifty years.
A daughter hangs up the phone and puts her head in her hands as she considers her mother living in the snow and ice of another east coast winter. Will this be winter that her mother falls and breaks her hip?
A retiree wonders what has happened to her plans for travel and adventure while she makes breakfast for her 90 year old father.
A young mother sighs as she tries to fit in taking her mother to the doctor and attending soccer practice for her son.

Family caregiving has always been with us. You may remember your family caring for a grandparent when you were growing up. In today’s world, caring for an aging relative can be more challenging than ever when families are far apart, when traditional caregivers (the women of the family) are working outside the home and when couples delay having children, bringing the needs of aging relatives and young children into conflict.

The good news is that now more than ever, there are services and tools to help families navigate the eldercare maze. The challenge is that most of us do not prepare or plan for the day when we will care for an aging parent or other relative. We may not plan for the day when our spouse will need our help. This is the challenge that eldercare coaching helps you meet.

Eldercare coaching helps you communicate with your family about your eldercare concerns, make plans for the future and find trusted resources when you need them.

Here are three tips for starting an eldercare conversation between older family members and family members who need your help.

  1. Open the conversation with an example from someone you know or a story you heard on the news. If Uncle Joe’s children struggled to help him because he refused their help, use his situation as a springboard for speaking with your own parent about their wishes.

  2. Keep an open mind. By the time, you talk with your relatives you may have a clear picture in your own mind about the problems and the possible solutions. It’s important to hear everyone’s thoughts and be open to solutions that you may not have thought of.

  3. Be patient. These are serious conversations with high stakes for you and your aging family member. It will take time to come up with solutions that work for all of you. It’s common after reaching an agreement to have second thoughts and experience some backtracking. Know that this is part of the process and plan for several conversations around aging.

What has worked for you when speaking with older relatives about the future?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

What is a hypnotherapist, and should I care?

Most of us have heard that change is hard - you have to really, really want it - and it takes a long time. Nonsense - all living things change. Try not to change - it is impossible. What is difficult, takes time and effort, is trying to consistently do anything your subconscious mind doesn’t want to do. Your subconscious mind never sleeps, never shuts up (even if you are not aware of it) and rarely forgets anything - and your subconscious mind is persistent. If your conscious mind wants something, and your subconscious mind wants something else - your subconscious mind tends to win.

Hypnotherapy is a gentle, easy way of establishing communication between your conscious and subconscious selves - of correcting old misconceptions and perceptions - and of getting all of you going in the same direction at the same time. The persistence of your subconscious mind can work for you - not against you. Hypnotherapy works with making your subconscious mind your best friend, not your worst enemy.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Modern Science Proving how the Ancient Therapy of Acupuncture Works

Left: A specialized MRI scan shows the effects of acupuncture. The top two images show the brain of a healthy subject. In the middle two images, a patient with carpal tunnel syndrome registers pain (indicated by red and yellow). The bottom images show the calming effect (indicated by blue) in the brain after acupuncture. 

Acupuncture is a component of Traditional Chinese Medicine that dates back about 5000 years.  This article was just in the Wall Street Journal showing how modern scientific instruments are proving there is a direct physiological change in the body that occurs with an acupuncture session: 

Wall Street Journal Online: Decoding an Ancient Therapy