Thursday, March 25, 2010

Energy - Your Health Currency



The currency of U.S. corporations is dollars. In Europe, it's Euros. In Japan, corporations use yen. From a health perspective, the currency of your personal corporation is energy.

When your personal corporation is doing well, you have lots of energy. Energy inputs exceed energy outputs. When a person is frequently tired, fatigued, irritable, and groggy, his personal corporation is losing ground. Energy outputs are exceeding energy inputs. The long-term outcome of such a set of conditions is disease.

Our normal state is to have energy to spare. Even when we have many responsibilities and it seems as if time is always running short, it's still possible to experience an energy surplus. Provided we make the time to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, get enough rest, and keep our bodies in peak condition with regular chiropractic checkups, we'll have sufficient energy reserves to fulfill all our requirements and have enough left over to enjoy our leisure hours.

Our personal bodies require specific raw materials:

•Healthful, nutritious food
•Regular vigorous exercise
•Sufficient rest
•A positive mental attitude

So always Remember to EAT WISE - MOVE WISE - THING WISE!

Thank you for Reading!
Dr. Jon Wise

Wise Chiropractic
5875 S. Rainbow Blvd #201
Las Vegas, NV 89118
702-248-6292
www.wisechiropractor.com

Complex Carbohydrates


Sugar is sugar, right? From a physiological viewpoint, blood glucose is blood glucose, right? Wrong. The source of the glucose is what counts and has everything to do with your ability to use food for energy.

Complex carbohydrates - found in fruits and whole-grain cereals - are digested and broken-down into glucose - the body's usable form of sugar. This process of digestion takes time and the glucose produced is slowly released into the bloodstream, where it is transported to cells for use as an energy source.

When you eat simple sugars - a teaspoon of sugar in your coffee or a sticky bun with icing - you're ingesting ready-made glucose. No digestion is necessary - the glucose is already in its simplest form and goes directly into the bloodstream. Such rapidly available glucose is probably not immediately needed for energy and therefore is stored as fat. Also, the rapid surge of blood glucose stimulates the pancreas to release insulin, setting off a whole cascade of responses.

Bottom line - consuming a lot of simple sugars causes your body to store fat and ultimately impairs the functioning of the pancreas, possibly leading to diabetes. Consuming complex carbohydrates provides glucose for energy and is part of the natural pathway to good health.

Thank you for Reading!
Dr. Jon Wise

Wise Chiropractic
5875 S. Rainbow Blvd #201
Las Vegas, NV 89118
702-248-6292
www.wisechiropractor.com

Healthy Lifestyles



Heart disease, diabetes, and obesity - a formidable triad. These chronic disorders are interrelated and the presence of one will often lead over time to development of one or both of the others.

The good news is that, for the most part, these three entities occur as a result of lifestyle choices. This means we can greatly reduce the likelihood of developing one or all of these conditions.

For example, at present more than one-third of American children are overweight or obese. These kids are very likely to develop diabetes and, later on, heart disease. So, if you're overweight or obese as a child, you can look forward to a lifetime of health problems.

Why do American kids have these problems? The answer is simple - they don't exercise and they eat large amounts of junk food. The solutions are obvious and just as simple.

Developing lifelong habits of regular exercise and good nutrition begins at home. Parents who exercise regularly and provide healthy, balanced meals for their kids help their kids develop the habit of making healthful lifestyle choices, habits that will last a lifetime.

Thank you for Reading!
Dr. Jon Wise

Wise Chiropractic
5875 S. Rainbow Blvd #201
Las Vegas, NV 89118
702-248-6292
www.wisechiropractor.com

How To Have More Energy

How To Have More Energy

So far 2009 has been a rollercoaster ride - many great new developments. And yet the worldwide economic turmoil has been very, very rough on most people. Stress levels have been sky high, and stress saps a person's energy. Even the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is concerned. In March 2009 the DHHS posted "Getting Through Tough Economic Times" to its website1, highlighting possible health risks and strategies for managing stress.

Excess stress causes the adrenal glands to pump out adrenaline on an ongoing basis. This "fight or flight" hormone is designed to be released for short bursts of energy. Continuous release of adrenaline begins to wear down key body systems, resulting in even more levels of internal stress. Precious energy resources are wasted by excessive adrenaline, and cells and tissues begin to fail in critical functions. Breakdown in the form of actual disease is not far behind. Also, high stress levels may cause a person to lose sleep or have less-than-restful sleep. This only adds to the burden of stress.

New energy sources are needed to combat the losses of energy and restore health to the body. One main source of energy, of course, is food. "But I eat enough," you say. "In fact, I'm trying to cut down and lose weight." It's not the quantity of food you eat. Eating the right kinds of food in the right combinations provides the energy we need. Otherwise, food calories are just packed on as additional fat cells, rather than being used for energy.

The right kinds of food are nutrient-dense, rather than being calorie-dense. Whole grains, lean meat, fish, high-quality dairy products, and fruits and vegetables are all nutrient-dense foods. Double cheeseburgers with french fries are calorie-dense and low in nutrition. Sprouted grain breads are nutrient-dense. White bread is calorie-dense.

It takes a little work to figure out which foods are healthy and which are not. But once you've done your homework and gotten used to reading labels, it becomes easy to choose the foods that will provide valuable energy and nutrients to you and your family.

Exercising regularly provides a person with lots of energy.2 People who exercise regularly fall asleep right away, need less sleep, and usually wake up rested and refreshed. They have energy throughout the day to do what they need to do and rarely "crash" in the middle of the day.

How does all this happen? Regular exercise resets your metabolic clock. Training your muscles also trains your metabolism to work efficiently. You spend less energy to make more energy. It's a remarkable system.

Another key part of the energy puzzle is finding some quiet time during the day to recharge your batteries.3 Most of us are not aware of the importance of this "alone time". Our lives are very hectic and we really do need some quiet time to allow us to decompress. "But I'll never find time in the day to do that," you say. That's right. People need to proactively create the time, even though it seems impossible. Once you begin setting aside ten or fifteen minutes each day to just sit and center yourself, you'll find you actually want to make the time to engage in this highly restorative and energizing activity.

The bottom line? More energy is available to each of us - we just need to plan and make sure we're taking the time to do things that support us. Eating the right foods, making time for regular exercise, and making room for quiet time will bring you a new sense of peace, well-being, and true, meaningful accomplishment.

Your chiropractor is an expert in creating lifestyle programs that will assist you in improving your well-being and quality of life. We will be glad to help you develop exercise and nutritional plans that will work for you.

Glucose Levels and Energy Levels

Most Americans skip breakfast, grab a cup of coffee and a muffin at the local chain store, and hit the office vending machines for an extra boost of "energy" (code word for sugar) in the late morning.

The long-term result of these morning habits is blood sugar levels that fluctuate wildly throughout the day. Insulin levels spike and drop in tandem with blood sugar levels, and over time many people develop "insulin resistance". The next likely stage is developing type 2 diabetes, a chronic disease with many potentially severe consequences.

Blood sugar and insulin highs and lows leave a person's body worn out. Much energy is wasted in compensating for these metabolic swings, and people wonder why they "have no energy". Without knowing the real cause, people actually make things worse by loading up on candy and nutrient-depleted carbohydrates as they attempt to gain sufficient energy to get done the work they need to do.

The good news is healthful energy sources are available. One important energy source is making the time to eat a real breakfast. That probably means getting up 15 minutes earlier. But the benefits of those 15 minutes are huge. A half-cup of real oatmeal combined with a pear or quarter-cup of blueberries provides servings of valuable protein and complex carbohydrates. Your body uses this nutrition to provide you with energy for the next two to three hours.

That's all it takes to have an energy-filled morning. If you eat similarly smart meals at lunch and in the late afternoon you'll have as much energy as you need for a highly productive day.

1"Getting Through Tough Economic Times", U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - http://www.samhsa.gov/economy/
2Marshall DA, et al: Achievement of heart health characteristics through participation in an intensive lifestyle change program (coronary artery disease reversal study). J Cardiopulm Rehabil Prev 29(2):84-94, 2009
3Orme-Johnson DW: Commentary on the AHRQ report on research on meditation practices in health. J Altern Complement Med 14(10):1215-1221, 2008

Thank you for Reading!
Dr. Jon Wise

Wise Chiropractic
5875 S. Rainbow Blvd #201
Las Vegas, NV 89118
702-248-6292
www.wisechiropractor.com

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Birthday Poem :-)

Thank you to my nameless patient for email this to me!!!

Instead of counting candles,
Or tallying the years,
Contemplate your blessings now,
As your birthday nears.


Consider special people
Who love you, and who care,
And others who’ve enriched your life
Just by being there.


Think about the memories
Passing years can never mar,
Experiences great and small
That have made you who you are.


Another year is a happy gift,
So cut your cake, and say,
"Instead of counting birthdays,
I count blessings every day!"


By Joanna Fuchs

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Botox: do it or don't do it?


I had a friend asked me for my advice on whether or not she should use botox. Her sister is urging people to get shots in their faces to make them look prettier. By the way, My friend is only 28 years old. So for everyone interested in wanting to know what is botox and whether they should or should not inject this substance into one's body.

Botox like all other chemicals is a toxin. Botox is botulism. It is drived from bacteria. It is a neurotoxic protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. This toxin can cause paralysis to the nervous system. The Botulinum toxin is a lethal naturally occurring substance. Botox is a minute portion of a lethal strain.

But what we dont know is, what happens when the toxin builds up in the body. One might get severe neurological conditions. If that happends 5,10,+20 years later, No one attributes it back to the botox.

Botox is often injected into the face to relax muscles and make wrinkles disappear. In some instances the toxin can spread to other parts of the body, causing the muscles used for breathing and swallowing to weaken and become paralyzed, potentially proving fatal.

Well you may want to put a hold on using Botox for anything, because the FDA has issued a warning against Botox, since 16 deaths have been reportedly caused by it.

Still thinking of using Botox? Remember, it is your body, it is your health, it is your decision. I personally will never inject botox into my body. I do urge you to do research and talk with all health care providers, medical and non medical.

Thanks for reading,
Dr. Jon Wise

Wise Chiropractic Wellness Center
5875 S. Rainbow Blvd #201
Las Vegas, NV 89118
702-248-6292
www.wisechiropractor.com

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Beating the Bugs - Cold and Flu’s



Have you ever wondered why some people are more prone to repeated colds and flus? How is it that even though we are all exposed to the same environment with the same "bugs," some immune systems have to work harder, therefore displaying more symptoms?Well, let's get one thing straight - symptoms aren't the problem. Coughing,watery eyes, sore throats, and low-grade fever are signs that your body is doing a healthyjob of expelling a virus or bacteria. "Bugs" are present everywhere, but the solution lies in your body's defense mechanisms, which are governed by your nervous system. If your nervous system is irritated by spinal pressure, your immune system becomes suppressed and will therefore have to work harder to stave off those "bugs"- and that means more symptoms.

Trying to ease symptoms once they arise does not affect the cause. In fact, medications that counter symptoms are directly inhibiting your body's best efforts to be healthy. If you had an army, would you sedate your strongest fighters because they were loud and obnoxious? Or would you give them better command to make them stronger and more efficient? If nerve pressure exists in the body, the strength of your immune system suffers, leaving the body open for attack by those always-present "bugs." Instead of medicating and sedating your best inner defenses, why don't you look to give them better command by ensuring that there is no nerve pressure in the body? Only then can the immune system function with the miracle of precision that you were born with.

Ways to get into health: Remedy for Preventing the Flu
Chiropractic Adjustments
Increase Sunlight Exposure
Increase Vitamin C, D and E
Avoid fast foods, sugars, soda, breads and Trans Fats
Add fish, Omega Fatty Acids or cod liver oil to your daily diet
Eat fresh raw veggies and fruits
Drink plenty of Water
Exercise (Hot Yoga works well)
Get plenty of sleep
Reduce stress levels

If you would like to set up an Appointment for a Chirpropractic Wellness Check up, please call my office at 702-248-6292 or visit www.wisechiropractor.com

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Types of Muscle Spasm

Types of Muscle Spasm and the reason why we have them...
By Kevin Donka

1. PROTECTIVE/HEALING SPASM – If a muscle is injured, it may contract to keep from being passively stretched and injured further. It is actually protective in this way. In addition, the spasm increases the metabolism in the muscle, increases circulation and speeds healing.

2. TOXIC SPASM – If there is a build up of toxic substances in a muscle (like lactic acid after a workout, blood or if a foreign substance has been injected into the muscle), it may go into spasm to increase the metabolism and circulation in order to more quickly clear the toxin.

3. COMPENSATORY SPASM – Here are several examples of these;

A. PROTECTIVE SPASM – A muscle may spasm to restrict movement in an injured or inflamed joint so that it is not as easily irritated and to speed healing.

B. REFLEX SPASM – This is another form of protective spasm.

C. NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCY SPASM – An example of this might be a calcium deficiency that causes nighttime cramping in the legs.

D. NEUROLOGICAL SPASM – Subluxation (Loss of alignment or function in your spine causing a partial disconnection between your brain and body) may cause an abnormal amount of mental impulse to be sent to the muscle and it may go into spasm.

E. BALANCING SPASM – This spasm is to compensate for a structural imbalance (like an anatomically short leg on one side) or a muscle weakness somewhere else. The primary weakness may be due to disuse, healing from injury/surgery or possibly because of altered mental impulse caused by subluxation.

Whenever you attempt to reduce or remove a primary muscle spasm, whether through medications, creams, ice, heat, stretching, physiotherapy or any other means, I would like to know one thing – Which of these primary healing and protective mechanisms are you attempting to stop – and WHY? If it is a compensatory spasm you are addressing, why are you bothering? Just take care of the primary problem and the spasm will disappear on its own!

Instead of trying to second guess your Innate Intelligence, why not just remove the CAUSE of the spasm and allow this Intelligence to release the spasm at the right time and in the right amount, while always providing and allowing the proper amount of protection?

You see contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as “just a spasm!” Your body’s Innate Wisdom knows when it needs to send a muscle into spasm. This also means it knows when and how to release that spasm – BUT THERE MUST BE AN OPEN LINE OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE BRAIN AND BODY FOR THAT TO OCCUR!

Getting checked and adjusted if necessary on a regular basis ensures that your nerve system is free and clear to transmit any and all incoming and outgoing messages between the brain and the body.

There is another thing to consider here as well. As your constructive and healing Life Force is once again liberated with an adjustment, it will heal whatever most needs to heal NEXT in order for your WHOLE BODY to move to the next level of wholeness. This may be the muscle that is in spasm or it may be something else. If you do not trust that this is true and you apply some kind of “treatment” to the muscle, you will direct the healing forces to go where YOU believe they most need to go (i.e., the muscle) and actually INTERFERE with what your body’s Innate Wisdom is trying to accomplish OVERALL during the healing process. This may in fact bring relief of symptoms, but what harm has it done in the long run?

The point of this article is not to turn you into a physiologist, but to help you see the incredible miracle that you have inside of you – your Innate Life Force! People are always telling me about the miracles they have seen once they are under chiropractic care. Please allow me to share one I experienced myself just this morning.

I had some Cheerios for breakfast this morning. Do you know what has happened to them by now? Well, I don’t know EXACTLY what has happened to them, but it is entirely possible that they are becoming new spleen tissue right now – How exciting! This is a miracle! EVERYTHING that happens in your body is a miracle – not just the “big” things - and it’s all because of the incredible Perfection that has been placed within you.

You may ask why other chiropractors apply treatments to reduce or eliminate muscle spasms. I cannot speak for them. All I know is that we have a saying in our office –

ADJUST IT AND TRUST IT!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Off The Charts! A Story About A Pediatric Visit



Off The Charts! A Story About A Pediatric Visit, and Differentiating Between "Normal" and "Average" by Kevin Donka, D.C.

My sister-in-law Vicki took her daughter Mackenzie to the pediatrician for her required kindergarten physical. Mackenzie is a very healthy five-year-old. She had a natural birth, was breast-fed, she eats well, lives a happy life, has never received any vaccines and I check her often. The doctor did all of the standard tests and told Mackenzie and her mom that she was one of the healthiest kids she has ever seen. She praised Vicki for her obvious attention to their good health, and said that she wished more kids were as healthy as Mackenzie. Then she added, “Let’s see her in six months to check her height and weight again, because she is below where the charts say she should be. If she isn’t on the charts by then, we will need to take some definite actions to get her there.”

Vicki was very confused and said, “Wait a minute, didn’t you just tell me that you wish more kids could be as healthy as Mackenzie?” “Yes I did,” the doctor replied, “But she is not quite as tall as the charts say she should be and her weight is lower than normal too. We like everyone to be on the charts.” Vicki asked, “Aren’t those charts based upon the AVERAGE American child?” The doctor verified that they are. “And isn’t it true that most American kids are OVERWEIGHT?” Vicki continued. “Well, that’s true,” the doctor said, “but she should still be on the charts.” “Are you telling me that you are concerned because she isn’t in the average of overweight kids?” Vicki exclaimed. The doctor didn’t know how to answer Vicki except to say, “Well, that’s what we recommend. We want everyone to be on the charts so that we know they are normal.”

The problem here is that most people (doctors included) don’t differentiate between what is “NORMAL” and what is “AVERAGE.” Regrettably, these terms are very often used in place of one another incorrectly. Science has established what it calls NORMAL figures for all of our bodily functions including heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, height, weight and everything else you can think of. However, what we are really looking at is not what is NORMAL, but what is AVERAGE, and average is rarely a number that is actualized by many individuals in a group. In fact, forcing a person’s body to conform to the average can actually be harmful to an individual. NORMAL on the other hand is something that is not as easy to figure out. In chiropractic, we say that we are ever changing, constantly adapting, self-regulating and self-healing organisms, and that NORMAL is whatever your INNATE INTELLIGENCE needs to do to return to or maintain your natural state of harmony, balance, ease and health.

This is an important distinction to understand. Even though the average heart rate of an adult is 72 beats per minute, it may not be what is necessary for an individual at any given time. In other words, if a person’s body needs to increase its heart rate for some reason, it may not be AVERAGE, but it can most certainly be NORMAL! Consider these things:

1. A healthy baby who is cutting teeth can have a runny nose, fluid in its ears and a fever. These are all normal parts of the process of cutting teeth.

2. A healthy woman will normally gain 1 – 2 pounds per week for nine months – when pregnant.

3. A healthy person who eats a bad piece of fish will vomit and get diarrhea as a way of healthfully expelling toxins.

4. A person who has injured his neck will have muscle spasms to protect the area from further damage while it heals. He will also have inflammation to begin what is called the healing cascade. And, his body will produce pain so that he knows to be careful until all is well.

Chiropractic recognizes that NORMAL is a state that can only be determined by your Innate Intelligence. We do not try to make you conform to a standard or AVERAGE level of function. Rather, we accept you for the unique INDIVIDUAL that you are, and we trust and rejoice in the knowledge that when you have a clear neurological CONNECTION, a healthy lifestyle and a deliberate focus upon creating what you want, your body will do whatever is necessary to keep you growing toward the full expression of your purpose and potential in life. Here’s wishing you a normal day – one that is OFF THE CHARTS!

- This is a Blog my chiro buddy Kevin created last month. We can not keep doing the same things in the past. We will always get the same results! Every year, we have more over weight kids, more type 2 diabetes kids, more kids grabbing for the cookie and chips, then sucking it down with high fructose corn surup when they should have learned to eat the carrots and apples.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Keep Your Immune System Working Right

How a Healthy Lifestyle and Proper Nutrition Help Your Body Defend Against Disease

The concept of "immune defense" is a misunderstood but often talked about topic. It is common to believe that we get cold and flu symptoms when our immune system is weak, which allows us to be overwhelmed by viral invaders.

Accordingly, we believe that the invading viruses give us the cold/flu symptoms, and television commercials, health food store advertisements, and Web sites/articles support this view. As a result, we are naturally led to look for substances that can make our immune systems stronger. This approach, however, is mostly incorrect.

How about allergies? We typically hold the same view, which is that allergies develop because our immune system is weakened. This view is also mostly incorrect and understanding the treatment of allergies can help put immune function into better perspective. Anti-histamines are the most common medication used for treating allergies; each contains antihistamines in addition to pain/inflammation reducing acetaminophen. Allergy symptoms develop because of too much histamine release from the immune system, which is why we take anti-histamines. An overactive immune system is actually the problem. Allergy symptoms develop because of too much immune activity, not too little due to weakened immunity.

The message here is not that we should try to weaken the immune system, but rather to better understand immune function and act accordingly with nutritional and other lifestyle factors. The immune system has both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory functions, and each is needed to be healthy. Too much or too little of one or the other is not healthy. When your immune system's working right, it helps defend against disease and responds to bacteria, viruses and other foreign invaders. When it's not working right, the exact opposite can happen.

Stress and the Immune Response

General cold and flu symptoms include malaise, loss of appetite, physical and mental fatigue, and aches and pains. The scientific term for these symptoms is the acute phase response, which is caused when the immune system actively releases excess amounts of certain inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, the most well-known of which are interleukin-1 (IL-1), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor (TNF).

With this in mind, consider a time when you were psychologically stressed by an event or series of events and you developed cold/flu symptoms - the acute phase response. We have been conditioned to think along the lines of, "I am stressed out and run down, which lowered my resistance to cold viruses and now I am sick." Instead, what appears to happen is that psychologically stressful situations themselves activate the immune system in a similar fashion as viruses; inflammatory cytokines are produced in excess, which causes an acute phase response that we misinterpret as "catching a cold virus."

This relationship between psychological stress and cold symptom expression may seem hard to believe if you have not been exposed to this information before; however, even fever expression, which is a component of the acute phase response, can occur when we are psychologically stressed. It is known that public speaking can give people a fever. And animal research has shown that placing a rat in a new environment can produce a fever.

The key point to appreciate is that we all must learn to more effectively manage the various stressors in our lives so as to keep the immune system from being overactive and pro-inflammatory and thus reduce the expression of acute phase responses. This means getting proper exercise, adequate sleep, maintaining healthy relationships, and generally making the most healthy of lifestyle choices we can, particularly with regard to nutrition.

The Role of Good (and Bad) Nutrition

Researchers have also uncovered that there is an interplay between diet, psychological stressors, and pro-inflammatory immune activation. Stressful events such as taking a difficult academic oral examination leads to an increase in immune activity. The pro-inflammatory acute phase response appears to be greater in students with elevated blood levels of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids and with low blood levels of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.

Excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids are found in deep-fried foods, fatty meat, farm-raised tilapia and catfish, and all foods made with corn, safflower, sunflower, cottonseed, peanut, and soybean oils.

These foods promote inflammation and immune activation and thus should be avoided if we want to reduce acute phase responses. We should instead eat foods with low omega-6 fatty acids and proper levels of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, including (but not limited to) green vegetables, wild game, grass-fed meat, most fish, and hemp, chia, and flax seeds. Supplementation with omega-3 fish oil is also beneficial.

An additional dietary factor that promotes inflammation is overeating. We typically view overeating as merely a means by which we put on additional body fat; however, it turns out that immediately after overeating, we create a pro-inflammatory immune response that includes the excess production of the same cytokines that cause the acute phase response.

This information should make us think about what we do to ourselves during the holiday season - we invite the expression of an acute phase response. We exercise less and eat more inflammatory foods. Psychological stressors also seem to be greater during this time of year, and most of the nation has to deal with a stressful cold environment. It all adds up to a breeding ground for immune response and symptom expression.

Nutritional Supplements to Support Healthy Immune Response

It should not be a surprise that key supplements are those that reduce inflammation and thus, help to reduce the chemistry associated with an acute phase response. Here are a few examples:

Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory functions and thus can support a healthy immune response. Long-term use of vitamin C does not seem to be preventive against acute phase symptoms; however, increasing vitamin C supplementation to 200-1,000 mg per day seems beneficial during an acute phase response.

Many spices: It is common to read/hear that ginger, garlic and other spices are beneficial against cold symptoms and have been used historically in this fashion. Not surprisingly, most spices have multiple anti-inflammatory mechanisms of action, which is likely why they offer some immune-supportive benefits.

Magnesium: Intravenous magnesium has been shown to alleviate symptoms in acute and chronic asthma. Most Americans are known to be deficient in magnesium, which may contribute to the expression of a host of diseases. Typical supplement recommendations (in addition to amounts contained in a multivitamin/mineral) range from 400-1,000 mg per day.

Probiotics are supplemental bacteria that are beneficial to the gastrointestinal system. The most common probiotics include Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium. Research has demonstrated that probiotics reduce intestinal and overall body inflammation and support a healthy immune response.

Vitamin D: The most interesting nutrient regarding immune function is vitamin D. Several papers have been written about a unique function that vitamin D has - it reduces pro-inflammatory immune activity and improves anti-inflammatory immune activity. Adequate vitamin D levels are needed to help the body make a natural antibiotic called cathelicidin. In one study, subjects who took 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day for one year virtually eliminated self-reported incidence of colds and flu.

A Recipe for a Healthier You

So when considering the immune system and nutrition, the focus should be on avoiding the foods that promote inflammation and focusing on the foods that reduce inflammation. The best supplements to support a healthy immune response include fish oil, vitamin C, herbs like ginger and garlic, magnesium, probiotics and vitamin D. Always talk to your doctor before taking any supplement for the first time, particularly if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking prescription medication.

Pregnancy Do's and Don'ts


By Dr. Claudia Anrig

While having a baby is the most natural thing in the world, our Western culture has essentially turned it into a multi-million dollar "disease" industry, convincing women that natural is no longer possible. What used to be a simple process is now complicated by products and services, options and choices. Before you make what are some of the most important decisions of your life, make sure to gather all the information you can. Here's a good starting point for a conversation you should have with yourself, your significant other and your doctor(s): pregnancy do's and don'ts.
DO practice wellness, not "fadness": Just because it's the latest thing doesn't mean it's the greatest - or the safest. Be sure to carefully consider every option presented to you during your pregnancy. Whether it's a new vitamin or exercise regimen, or a new medical procedure, take a moment to discuss your options with your health care provider first.

DON'T get overscheduled: Stress can have a negative impact on your pregnancy, causing health problems such as hypertension, and may potentially cause a miscarriage. It's important to look at your life realistically and not get overscheduled. Spreading yourself too thin during these important nine months won't just negatively affect you, but your unborn child as well.

DON'T be sedentary: What's a sedentary lifestyle? If you aren't active for a sustained 20 minutes at least three days a week, you're living it, which may lead to weight gain. Excessive weight gain during pregnancy has been linked to labor difficulties and gestational diabetes. If you're typically a person who doesn't move a lot, now is the time to change. Consistent (safe) movement is so important for you and your developing baby.

DO a combination of exercises: Regular exercise such as walking, water aerobics, prenatal yoga or riding a recumbent stationary bicycle will increase your heart rate, which will increase your blood flow. However, these types of activities aren't so stressful that they're unsafe for you or your baby. Also, remembering to take deep, even breaths during exercise will increase the oxygen content in your blood.

DON'T forget the importance of good nutrition: Diet plays an important role during pregnancy. Eating whole, living foods begins by understanding that if it's in a box, a can or package, there's a good chance it's been nutritionally compromised. Processed foods are generally less healthy and have already had most, if not all, of their important vitamins and minerals processed out of them. Remember, without sound, complete nutrition, you and your developing baby will suffer.

DO consider the source of your prenatal vitamins: Good prenatal vitamins will have everything your body needs to help your baby develop. Of course, you need the standard prenatal vitamins and minerals (such as vitamin B, iron, etc.) but you also need calcium/magnesium, choline and fish oil (omega-3). More important than the right vitamins and minerals is the right quality. It is always best to purchase your vitamins from a reputable health food store or your health care provider, not your local corner store or department store. Paying a little more for quality prenatal vitamins will ensure you're getting what you and your baby need.

DO reduce your caffeine intake: Research suggests caffeine can cause miscarriages if you're already pregnant and, if you're not already pregnant, can interfere with conception.

DON'T get a "routine" ultrasound: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that ultrasound examinations only be performed for specific reasons, but many health care professionals include at least one ultrasound at 18-20 weeks as part of their routine prenatal care. Since there haven't been any documented negative effects, it's considered safe. The problem is, just because the effects aren't documented doesn't mean they don't exist. Even the Food and Drug Administration says, "While ultrasound has been around for many years, expectant women and their families need to know that the long-term effects of repeated ultrasound exposures on the fetus are not fully known."

DON'T take medication unless absolutely necessary: While it's true that your health is paramount, you need to carefully consider any drugs you take during pregnancy. Studies have shown that many drugs will cross the placenta and negatively affect your baby; these include antibiotics, antihistamines, diuretics, anticonvulsants and diabetes treatments. (Ask your doctor for more information.) While it has generally been thought that if there were only trace amounts of the chemicals you were given in your baby's blood, then the baby was OK, recent studies are proving this to be untrue.

DON'T take antidepressants: A recent study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine (2009) found that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) easily cross the placental barrier.

This was proven by these chemicals being found in the umbilical cords of newborns whose mothers took these drugs during pregnancy. This same study showed that exposure to SSRIs during pregnancy may be associated with a higher risk of pre-term labor, low APGAR scores and admission of the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit.

DO find a "health care team": Many women are choosing to not just have a midwife or OB/GYN, but to have an entire health care team during their pregnancy. Obviously, the first person in this team is going to be your midwife or OB/GYN. This person should be chosen carefully based on your desires for your delivery. Don't be afraid to interview several before making a decision, making a point to ask about their C-section rate. While it's true that C-sections should be treated as a last resort, the fact that the national average has jumped 50 percent in the past decade proves that this isn't always the case. Remember, a C-section is invasive surgery; if you can avoid it (and the potential risks), you should.

DO consider having a doula: A doula is your advocate during your delivery; making sure that your wishes are considered is her primary responsibility. A doula will stay with you throughout the entire labor and delivery, providing emotional support and doing what she can to see to your physical comfort. For more information about doulas or to find one near you, talk to your doctor and visit the Web site of the Doula Association of North America at www.dona.org.

DO rely on your family wellness chiropractor: Many think a chiropractor only treats back and neck pain, but many more women have discovered the benefits chiropractors can provide in terms of prenatal care. Preconception and prenatal chiropractic care for you can mean less morning sickness, less lower back pain and a shorter, more quality labor and delivery. More than that, chiropractic care supports the integrity of your pelvic function, which includes the uterus, the associated muscles and ligaments, and the interfacing of the nervous and hormonal systems, which is important for you and your baby.

DO realize you have a choice between home or hospital: Choosing whether to give birth at home, in a birthing center or a hospital is definitely a decision that you should get to make in most cases. Today, more and more women are choosing to give birth in the comfort of their own home with family and friends nearby, which is typically less invasive and will usually have no medical intervention unless absolutely necessary. Studies suggest women with planned home births have significantly less obstetrical interventions or adverse maternal outcomes, and that newborns delivered at home vs. in a hospital are less likely to require resuscitation, oxygen therapy or meconium aspiration after birth.

DO have a birth plan established: Creating a birth plan is the best thing you can do to make sure your wishes are considered during your delivery. A birth plan should include basic decisions such as moving around during labor, when to start pushing, fetal monitoring and labor induction, but also contingency decisions, including whether to get an epidural, an episiotomy or a C-section. Of course, that's just the beginning. Your birth plan can also have special instructions for the nurse and staff regarding who should be with you during the delivery, who you want to stay with the baby should there be complications, and more. A birth plan tool is available at www.birthplan.com.

DO recognize your right to make decisions: When all is said and done, remember that this is your pregnancy and your baby, and you have the right to ask questions and get second opinions when you are unsure about anything. You are in control and should make your decisions based on the information provided by those you trust. Remember that at every turn, you control what you allow during your pregnancy and delivery, and that at any time it is alright to say, "No," and expect your decisions to be honored. This is not about choosing to ignore medical advice and put you or your baby at risk; it's about making decisions in conjunction with your health care team to have a safe, natural pregnancy.