Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Be Wary of Grapefruits

Many people are not aware that grapefruits and grapefruit juice can have negative interactions with certain medications. While in the past the list of medications with possible interactions was short, a new study shows many more medicines have potentially dangerous side effects.

How could grapefruits be bad? Grapefruits have active chemicals that act synergistically with certain medications. That is, they can boost the effect of the medicine by putting a much higher amount of the active chemical into the bloodstream. For example, drinking grapefruit juice in conjunction with the drug symvastatin (a common cholesterol medication) led to a concentration of symvastatin 330% higher than normal. Drugs such as symvastatin can have potentially dangerous side effects without this synergy, making the drug especially dangerous when taken with grapefruit.

I always recommend that patients take a minute and talk to there pharmacist to review any and all medications they are taking. Pharmacists are often under-utilized by the public and can be a great asset to evaluate any negative effects of medications. To read more about grapefruits interaction with certain medications, follow this link.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on the web at www.HealingHandsOfSkokie.com!

Friday, November 2, 2012

High blood pressure can lead to early brain disease!

A study from researchers at the University of California - Davis shows that young people with high blood pressure have a higher incidence of brain disease early in life. In fact, the results show that by 40 years of age, a person with hypertension (high blood pressure) has a brain that appears 7.2 years older than the same individual with normal blood pressure.

Taking care of our bodies, especially our hearts, is crucial to living a long and fruitful life. We must make sure that our blood pressure, cholesterol, sugar levels and other markers are all within healthy ranges to prevent very costly and dangerous conditions later in life. This should be done, when at all possible, through diet changes and exercise!

To read more about this study, you can follow this link.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on the web at www.HealingHandsOfSkokie.com!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Acupuncture Study Shows Great Benefits

Acupuncture has been used for centuries as a primary source of healthcare for millions across the world. However, there has always been a debate about how effective the treatments really are at achieving lasting results. We frequently use acupuncture for treatment of various problems at Healing Hands Wellness, but a lack of scientific data for its' effectiveness is hard to explain to patients. We often rely on anecdotel evidence to explain the benefits of acupuncture. A new analysis of 29 studies may help us reference more sound evidence when recommending acupuncture to patients.

A recent analysis of acupuncture in 18,000 patients showed very promising results in reduction of neck pain, low back pain, pain associated with arthritis and headaches. The use of acupuncture showed to relieve pain better than a placebo treatment and significantly better than seeking no treatment at all. These findings are very encouraging to both patients looking for treatment options other than drugs or surgery. It also offers practitioners another treatment option for those with chronic pain.

You can read more about the study analysis here...Acupuncture analysis.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on the web at www.HealingHandsOfSkokie.com!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Pets help young children!

A new study out of Finland (and published in the journal Pediatrics) showed that children growing up with pets (namely cats and dogs) had fewer respiratory infections during their first year of life. Also, the children had fewer ear infections and needed less antibiotics during that year. The theory is that pets help stress a newborns immune system. The stress to the system ultimately strengthens the child's immunity.

Today, there is a lot of paranoia about excessive cleanliness for children. And while we want a clean home and relatively clean environment, too much sanitizing can have a negative affect on our lives and the lives of our children. The immune system becomes strong through "exercise." Our immunity needs to be tested in order to develop antibodies against harmful microorganisms. Overly sanitizing our children prevents them for forming the proper immunity and exposes them to health problems in the future. Perhaps the best example of "exercising" our immune system is the use of vaccines. The vaccines force our bodies to form antibodies against harmful organisms and, hopefully, prevent us from contracting serious conditions.

So, teach your children to wash their hands and use cleanliness in their lives, but let them play in the dirt! Let them exercise their immune systems so that they can grow into healthier adults. If you want to read more on this study, please follow this link.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on the web at www.HealingHandsOfSkokie.com!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ginseng helps with fatigue effect of cancer

Ginseng has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine to help people with fatigue. In a recent study reported at an American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting, ginseng was seen effectively reduce fatigue associating with cancer and cancer treatment. After 8 weeks of ginseng use, patients had significantly less fatigue when using ginseng versus those taking a placebo. More research is needed, but this study shows that ginseng use may be promising to those suffering from cancer-related fatigue.

Seen as a natural "energy-booster," ginseng has been used for thousands of years. While the exact mechanism of ginseng is unknown, it appears to have many benefits.

Ginseng is most commonly credited with:
  • aphrodisiac properties — improving libido and sexual performance (shown in laboratory rats), sometimes a treatment for erectile dysfunction
  • improving mental and physical performance — some use it to increase concentration and information retention, athletes use it to enhance performance
  • boosting the immune system — it has been shown to increase white blood cell counts in humans, also believed to help the ill or weak regain strength and vigor
  • anti-depressive effects
  • sedative effects
  • decreasing appetite
  • lowering blood glucose
  • relieving symptoms related to menopause
Several studies have shown that ginseng can improve thinking and learning when taken in daily doses of 200 to 400 milligrams of standardized extract for 12 weeks. Studies also report that ginseng may stimulate activity of immune cells in the body (T-lymphocytes and neutrophils), and improve the effectiveness of antibiotics and flu vaccines. Use of ginseng has also improved erectile function, sexual desire, and intercourse satisfaction in studies of patients with erectile dysfunction.

How does one herb achieve all this? The "magic ingredients" are most likely the active chemical compounds, called ginsenosides or panaxosides, contained mostly in the root, but also in the leaves and seeds of the plant. Over 20 different ginsenosides have been identified. Perceptive readers may have noticed that some of the uses of ginseng seem to contradict each other, such as acting as both a sedative and a stimulant. This remarkable capability to affect the body in different ways is due to the fact that while the various panaxosides are similar in structure, they can exert opposing effects. For example, the panaxoside Rb-1 acts as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, having a stress-reducing effect with anticonvulsant, analgesic, and antipsychotic properties. But panaxoside Rg-1 is stimulating to the CNS, serving to ward off fatigue, increase performance, and possibly turn you on.

It's recommended that you follow the dosages prescribed on the box, or by an herbalist. A typical dosage is about 0.5 to 2 grams dry root daily, or 200 to 600 ml liquid extract daily. Be careful to avoid taking ginseng in larger doses than recommended, or simultaneously with other stimulants such as tea, coffee, or MAO inhibitors (anti-depressants). Diabetics should also be cognizant of ginseng's potential to lower blood sugar, and take that into consideration when administering insulin or eating. As with many herbs, pregnant or breast-feeding women should probably not take ginseng, as effects are unknown.

Some side effects are possible, and are most likely to occur with overuse, overdose, or allergies. Typical side effects include headaches, insomnia, gastrointestinal upset like diarrhea or vomiting, breast tenderness, menstrual irregularities, high blood pressure, and skin eruptions. If you experience any of these side effects while taking the supplement, you may want to lower your dose, or stop taking it altogether to see if the symptoms cease. Also, inform your health care provider about ginseng or any herbal supplement you are taking, especially if you are taking prescription medication. It's important that people who use ginseng or any herb understand that natural medicines are not regulated by the FDA, and that there may be both long and short-term side effects not yet discovered. Because ginseng and other supplements are not regulated, you always want to choose a reputable supplement company.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on the web at www.HealingHandsOfSkokie.com!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Is it more expensive to eat healthy?

There is a general assumption in our country that eating healthy is too expensive. For this reason, many people (parents included) decide to buy "inexpensive" and unhealthy foods. Examples include pre-processed and junk foods. The fact is, for these people it is better to have cheap, unhealthy food than no food at all. Unfortunately, people are misinformed about the cost of eating healthy!

A new report shows that assuming healthy food is expensive doesn't hold water. In fact, if you're judging food by weight and not calorie content, eating healthier foods is LESS expensive than junk foods. This is a better way to judge the price of food because, simply put, a majority of us consume too many calories each day. Food quality is better gauged by nutrient content than by calorie content. For example, a person can eat a bag of chips and consume 1,000 calories without getting any real nutritional value from the chips. What this type of diet eventually will give people is obesity and a handful of health problems that go along with it.

A better way to approach eating is to eat all kinds of fruits and veggies. In doing this, you won't be consuming countless calories but will be getting all sorts of vitamins and minerals. Throw in some lean meats for protein (or healthy substitutes for vegetarians). With this type of diet, you will get plenty of calories to maintain a healthy weight and all sorts of positive benefits to your overall health. Also, you will quickly see that this eating approach doesn't cost much in comparison to an unhealthy diet. You'll be saving plenty by not buying $5 bags of chips and $6 quarts of ice cream!

To read more on the new report, check out this direct link to it: http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/eib96/.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on the web at www.HealingHandsOfSkokie.com!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Will half of America be obese?

According to a new report by the CDC, nearly half of all adults in the United States will be obese by 2030. To be precise, an estimated 42% will be obese. Not only does obesity in adulthood decrease quality of life, but this epidemic is going to cost the healthcare system about $550 billion. $550 billion...wow!

Right now in the USA the Supreme Court is deliberating whether or not Obamacare is constitutional. Whether you like the regulations Obamacare introduces or not, change is needed to the healthcare system as we know it. Healthcare for many is becoming too much of a luxury and something many among us cannot afford. If we balloon the cost of healthcare spent on obesity to $550 billion, insurance rates are going to skyrocket as well. Even healthy individuals will not be able to afford insurance.

Why is this happening? Why are more and more adults obese? Well, the major reason for such a spike is the fact that way too many children in this country are obese! 3 in 4 obese children will become obese adults. And while some children are genetically predisposed to obesity, the vast majority of kids are at the mercy of their parents for food. Too many parents provide their children with meal after meal of unhealthy options...fast foods, fried foods, pre-packaged foods, etc. Parents need to step up to the plate and give their children the nutrition they deserve.

If you see someone who needs nutritional guidance, encourage them to get help. Also, set a good example yourself! Eat well, feed your children well and live a healthy lifestyle. If we make a good effort, we can start to make a difference in the obesity epidemic and hopefully reduce the estimate for 2030 and beyond!

Read more on the CDC estimate here: http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-obesity-20120508,0,4332050.story.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on the web at www.HealingHandsOfSkokie.com!

Friday, April 13, 2012

FDA wants to limit antibiotics given to animals!

The modern food industry has changed drastically from the days of our grandparents. Today, food is produced much like other products...an assembly line culture. Whereas in the past animals were raised and butchered on family farms, today most animals are confined to CAFO's, or Concentrated Animal Feeding Populations. This confinement allows the food industry to produce very large cows, chickens, turkeys, etc. Larger animals equal bigger profits for the industry. Also, the feeding operations allow the animals to grow to enormous sizes in a very, very short period of time!

But what happens when all of these animals are herded together? Think of a bunch of kids in a classroom. It seems that when one child gets a cold or becomes sick, all of his/her classmates follow. So how is it possible that animals in CAFO's are able to stay disease free? The answer is pharmaceutical drugs...particularly antibiotics. Many animals in CAFO's are pumped full of antibiotics (not to mention other drugs such as hormones). This allows the animals to grow to their huge sizes with little disease.

So now you have a food environment where the products being sold at grocery stores come from a highly medicated population of animals. Ask yourself a question...What keeps all of these antibiotics (and hormones, etc.) given to the animals from affecting me since I eat them? This question is the reason that the FDA is looking to further regulate antibiotics given to animals.

Scientists say that the use of antibiotics in food production has led to the dramatic increase in dangerous, drug-resistant bacteria. This has become a major problem in the United States healthcare industry the past couple of decades. The reason why changing the antibiotic culture in food production is difficult is that the food industry has so much power and they argue the antibiotics are necessary in the modern production of food.

Taking away antibiotics will certainly raise the cost of some foods. However, there will be drastic healthcare savings later because individuals will not be negatively effected by the current practices of the industry. People need to educate themselves about food production so that they can make proper choices on how to shop for food. Education allows individuals to make choices that will positively impact their health for years to come.

If you would like to read more about the FDA's approval, you can check out this article from The Associated Press: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/fda-limits-antibiotics-animals-article-1.1061132?localLinksEnabled=false.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on the web at www.HealingHandsOfSkokie.com!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Walking cuts the effects of obesity genes

A new study introduced at a conference for the American Heart Association showed the significant effects a daily walk can have on a person's health. The study showed that walking each day can cut the effects of a genetic predisposition to obesity in half. The study tracked approximately 12,000 men and women. It used the body mass index (BMI) calculation to determine how much walking helped individuals. People who were found to have the "obesity genes" and walked for one hour each day were found to have a lower BMI.

On the contrary, the study found that watching TV for as little as 2 hours per day could increase the effects of the obesity genes by as much as 25%. Being sedentary and performing acts such as watching TV have long been shown to be detrimental to health in many different ways.

At Healing Hands, we are constantly encouraging patients to get up and move their bodies. In our community, there is a great program in the City of Evanston called WOW or Women Out Walking. This is a yearly 12-week program that encourages people to get out and get fit through daily walks. Many communities have programs such as this, so check with your local health department to see if your town offers any such program. If it doesn't, think about starting one yourself!

For more on this study, you can follow this link: http://www.healinghandsofskokie.com/walking-cuts-obesity-gene.html.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on the web at www.HealingHandsOfSkokie.com!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Can drinking soda cause cancer?

News stories surfaced in the past few days that both Coke and Pepsi have modified an ingredient that delivers the caramel-coloring in their soft drinks. Why would they change something that has worked so well for so many years? The answer...because they would have had to place a cancer warning label on their packaging sold in California if not!

The California law forces beverages that contain a certain level of what they consider carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) to come with a cancer warning label. Therefore, both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo changed their recipes to meet the new California standard.

To be fair, both Coke and Pepsi say that their products were and will continue to be safe and that the California law is scientifically unfounded. They state that the change in their ingredients will not be noticeable to the consumers drinking their soft drinks.

News such as this will certainly be another blow to the soft drink industry that is already in much scrutiny for marketing sugar-rich products to the youth of America. If you would like to read more on this story, please follow this link: http://healthland.time.com/2012/03/09/coke-and-pepsi-change-their-caramel-color-recipes/.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on the web at www.HealingHandsOfSkokie.com!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Antibiotics Not Useful for Common Sinus Infection

According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, using antibiotics for the common sinus infection provides no benefit versus placebo. This shouldn't be surprising, since a vast majority of sinus infections are viral in nature. Antibiotics fight against bacterial infections and typically do not help viral infections.

However, antibiotics are constantly prescribed for sinus infections. In fact, 1 in 5 adult antibiotic prescriptions in the US are for sinusitis. The over utilization of antibiotics for viral infections adds to the developing problem of antibiotic resistance. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that antibiotic resistance is "one of the world's most pressing health problems."

This new study aims to educate doctors about the ineffectiveness of antibiotics for viral infections. Although many doctors are aware of the abundance of evidence showing antibiotics do not help conditions such as sinusitis, they face pressure from their patients who want relief from symptoms. Doctors need to educate their patients about the true benefits of getting a prescription in these cases and resist the urge to simply prescribe medicine to satisfy the patients' desire.

So, what should a person with a sinus infection do to get relief if antibiotics don't work? The answer...watch and wait. Most uncomplicated sinus infections will clear up within 10 days...with or without an antibiotic!

For more information, please call our office or visit us at www.HealingHandsOfSkokie.com!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sitting all day can seriously impact your health!

We constantly tell patients that the way to stay healthy as we age is to keep moving. Unfortunately, many of us live very sedentary lives. Typical days include sitting for 8-10 hours at a desk during work and then spending another handful of hours sitting on the couch during the evening. This type of scenario can lead to some serious adverse affects on your health!

Besides for the negative effects on you muscles and joints from inactivity, a sedentary lifestyle can literally take years off of your productive life. This is due to the effects that sitting has on such things as metabolism and insulin efficiency. Refer to the link below for an interesting article on the effects of sitting!


The best way to combat the effects of sitting most of the day is to be as active as you can be when not at work. Make sure to exercise regularly...whether through a gym membership, league sports or simply a long daily walk. Also, make sure to stand up and walk around regularly at work. This will not only help your health but also prevent fatigue from which many desk workers suffer. Again, refer to the above article on more tips to stay active throughout your day!

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on the web at www.HealingHandsOfSkokie.com!