These Ratios Are One of the Most Accurate Indicator for Heart attack

Dear readers,

Recently a new patient was referred to me because of her lower back discomfort during cycling.  She is a 27 years old female athlete with good diet and exercise regiment.  During the consultation, she told me her MD was about to put her onto cholesterol lowering drug because her cholesterol test came back higher than 200 from her last blood test.  She doesn’t want to take mediation and also doesn’t want to have heart attack, she asked me what to do.  While I personally don’t have the power(outide of our practice scope) to prescribe OR take her off medications, what I can do is giving rightful information to educate her as well as rest of the community.  Here is a great article about cholesterol myth written by Dr. Ronald Grisanti DC, the director of Functional Medicine University:

“The published evidence is quite clear in documenting that the actual total cholesterol level itself is not the most important risk factor of cardiovascular disease.

It is the ratio between the level of HDL-“good” cholesterol and total cholesterol

that we need to be concerned about.

Therefore, in adults, the HDL-“good” cholesterol/total cholesterol ratio should be higher than 0.24 (just divide your HDL level by your cholesterol).

Or more precisely, the HDL/total cholesterol ratio:

  • 0.24 or higher is considered ideal
  • under 0.24 – low
  • less than 0.10 – very dangerous.

Generally speaking, the higher the ratio, the better (the lower your risk of a heart attack).

However, HDL is closely related to triglycerides. It appears common for people with
high triglycerides to have low HDL’s, and these same people also tend to have high levels of clotting factors in their blood stream, which is unhealthy in protecting against heart disease.

Therefore, in adults, the triglyceride/HDL-“good” cholesterol ratio should be below 2  (just divide your triglycerides level by your HDL).


Or more precisely, the triglyceride/HDL ratio:

  • 2 or less is considered ideal
  • 4 – high
  • 6 – much too high
And, since HDL (high density lipoprotein) is protective against heart disease, the lower the ratio, the better.

In other words, the lower your triglycerides, or the higher your HDL, the smaller this ratio becomes.  It is now believed that the triglycerides/HDL ratio is one of the most potent predictors of heart disease.

 

A Harvard-lead study author reported:

“High triglycerides alone increased the risk of heart attack nearly three-fold.

And people with the highest ratio of triglycerides to HDL — the “good” cholesterol — had 16 times the risk of heart attack as those with the lowest ratio of triglycerides to HDL in the study of 340 heart attack patients and 340 of their healthy, same age counterparts.”

Dr. Wu DC’s comment:

Just like my last functional medicine blog stated, looking at the total cholesterol number alone doesn’t mean you are about to have heart attack.  It is really the ratio that speaks all.  A 200 lbs body builder is going to have a completely different cholesterol level than 100 lbs high school kid.  Using one standard method to measure cholesterol level is wrong to start with;  and further to put everyone on statin (cholesterol lowering drugs) because they are out of the range is even worse.  This simple and more accurate measurement serves better indicator for your general health, along with other bio markers such as Hs-CRP, BMI and glucose level.  Drop us a line if you have health challenges or questions, we will be more than happy to see what we can do to help get your health back on track.

Yours in health,Dr. Wu DC

Reference:

  1. The ratio of triglycerides to HDL was the strongest predictor of a heart attack, even more accurate than the LDL/HDL ratio (Circulation 1997;96:2520-2525).”
  2. http://www.functionalmedicineuniversity.com/public/796.cfm

 

 

The Wonder of Melaleuca (Tea Tree) Oil

Dear readers,


Melaleuca, commonly known as tea tree oil, is one of the nature’s best defense for bacteria, viruses and fungus.  In fact, it  is so powerful and has been shown to destroy MRSA (methicillin-resistant staph) in vitro (1).  Tea tree oil was also found to inhibit 301 different types of yeasts isolated from the mouth of cancer patients suffering from advanced cancer, including 41 strains that are known to be resistant to anti fungal drugs (2). It is also a strong anti-inflammatory substance which been documented to shown positive affects on acnes and dermatitis  (3,4).

Here are details of this powerful Melaleuca (Tea Tree)oil:

Properties: Analgesic (ease pain), antibacterial, anti fungal, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory.
Historical Uses: The leaves of the melaleuca tree have been used for centuries by the aborigines to heal cuts, wounds, and skin infections.  With twelve times the antiseptic power of phenol, it has some strong immune-building properties.
French Medicinal Uses: Athlete’s foot, bronchitis, colds, coughs, diarrhea, flu, periodontal (gum) disease, rash, skin healing, sore, throat, sunburn, tonsillitis, vaginal thrush.
Other Possible Uses: This oil may help burns, digestion, hysteria, infection disease, mites, and ticks.
Body System (s) affected: Immune and Respiratory Systems, muscles, bones and skins.

Ways to use:

Aromatic Influence: it promotes cleaning and purifying microorganism in the air.
Topical: Blend with coconut oil for affected area.  Repeated use can possible result in contact sensitization.

Dr. Wu DC’s comment:

You might have heard me said this multiple times before, and Melaleuca is one of my favorite and travels with me all the time.  It is powerful, effective and pleasant immune enhancer and bacterial destroyer.  Speaking of travel, with holiday seasons coming up, lots of us have already planned out travel itineraries.  Melaleuca, along with On Guard oil (from last essential oil post) are two of the best defenders in crowed areas such in planes, trains or bart.  Dab some on your neck to enhance your immune system so you don’t catch bad bugs and enjoy this holiday season.  I have also seen very profound results with acne, athlete’s foot and skin infection.  This is a really good one to have and should be part of your essential oil kits.  With that being said, for disclaimer, it is always recommended to dilute with carrier oil for kids and make sure you consult with your physician if you are pregnant.

References:

  1. Antibacterial effect of tea-tree oil on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus biofilm formation of the tympanostomy tube: an in vitro study. Park H.,  2007 Nov-Dec;21(6):1027-30.
  2. Antifungal, Cytotoxic, and Immunomodulatory Properties of Tea Tree Oil and Its Derivative Components: Potential Role in Management of Oral Candidosis in Cancer Patients. Ramage et al., Front Microbiol. 2012; 3: 220
  3. A comparative study of tea-tree oil versus benzoylperoxide in the treatment of acne. Bassett IB et al., Med J Aust. 1990 Oct 15;153(8):455-8.
  4. Tea tree oil reduces the swelling associated with the efferent phase of a contact hypersensitivity response. Brand C et al., Inflamm Res. 2002 May;51(5):236-44.
  5. “Modern Essentials: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 5th edition.

 

 

 

 

 

Cholesterol Struck Again! For Good!!

Dear Readers,

For the longest time, we have heard saturated fat is bad for you and it can clogged up your artery which leads to heart attack.  Well, the science is in (for one more time) and apparently this is not the case.  A study was released August 29, 2017 in one of the most prestige cardiology journal.  It  examined the dietary habits of 135,000 people and came to the resounding conclusion that “high fat intake – including saturated fat – was associated with a REDUCED risk of mortality.” Furthermore, this study found that a high carbohydrate (didn’t distinguished refined or not) diet increased the risk of mortality (1).   Shocking? perhaps not.  Look into human anatomy and chemistry than you will know how important these fats are.  Human bodies need fat for many different reasons, such as to create hormones, maintain healthy cell membranes, and have excellent neurological function.  In addition, approximately 60% of brain is composed of fat (2).  Why would it make sense to cut down good quality fat intake and replace with carbohydrates?   Besides the benefit of the intake fat, here are three other take away from this articles.

  1. Three or four daily portions of fruit and vegetables appear to have similar benefits as the current recommendation of five. Meaning, it’s unnecessary to over-stress about getting exactly five servings of fruits and veggies each day. In this study three to four servings worked out to be 375-500 grams. Just for reference, 100 grams of fruits and veggies is about the equivalent of two cupped hands of raw, diced fruit or veggies. This means you should try and get at least 8 cupped handfuls of fruits and vegetables per day.
  2. The benefits of the fruits, vegetables, and legumes is greater if they are consumed raw. The science behind the idea that raw is better is fairly complicated. But what’s most important is that you’re eating plenty of vegetables and fruits, so if cooking them means you’ll eat more, then by all means, cook ‘em
  3. Replacing saturated-fatty-acid intake with carbohydrates had an adverse effect on blood lipids. This study examined the impact of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins on total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) and HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and apolipoprotein A1 (apoA1) and B (apoB).

Dr. Wu DC’s comment:

Part of the reason I am posting this blog was because American Heart Association (AHA) released an article lashing out on saturated fat not long ago (3).  That publication, of course, back-fired them as physicians around the world were questioning the motivation behind it.  I am still baffled why they would recommended replace good saturated fat (coconut oil) to monounsaturated fat (canola oil) while science clearly stated otherwise.

The other point I would like to point out is the total cholesterol level.  We have been told higher cholesterol could potentially lead to heart attack that’s why doctors put almost every body on statin (cholesterol lowering drug).  In fact, statin drugs are one of the most profitable drugs which has made over 22 billions per year.  This, in some degree is true but that’s not everything.  While it is important to make sure one’s cholesterol level in check, not everyone should have the same cholesterol level.  A man weights 200 lbs should have different cholesterol level compare to 100 lbs woman, that makes sense right?  Using one standard method to measure cholesterol level is wrong to start with;  and further to put everyone on statin because they are out of the range is even worse.  Cholesterol is extremely important in our body for proper nerve functioning, hormone production and wound healing.   It is imperative not to undercut them.  I would highly recommend to consult with your physician or qualified functional medicine practitioner to go over this issue, and oh yeah, go ahead take that spoonful of coconut oil.

One last thing about this article; while consuming vegetables, it is worth the effort to go out and get organic produces.  The nutrients in there are much higher with less pesticides compared to conventionally grown.

Yours in health,

Dr. Wu DC
ICON Chiropractic

 

References:

  1. Dehghan M, Mente A, Zhang X, et al., Fat and Carbohydrate Intake and CV Mortality. American College of Cardiology. Aug 29th 2017.
  2. Chang Cy, Ke DS, Chen JY., Acta Neural Taiwan. 2009 Dec;18(4):231-41.
  3. Http://news.heart.org/advisory-replacing-saturated-fat-with-healthier-fat-could-lower-cardiovascular-risks
  4. Sources: www.functionalmedicineuniversity.com/public/1266.cfm  (Thanks to Functional Medicine University for the majority of sources).

 

 

Take Probiotics Can Help with My Immune System?

Dear readers,

It has been said close to 80% of our immune system are coming from the gut, or more specifically, little critters in our colons. Probiotics, literally means For-Life in Latin, are microorganisms when consumed (as in a food or a dietary supplement) maintains or restores beneficial bacteria to the digestive tract.  These microorganism, usually in amount of trillions, are key elements to help us fight off foreign objects, bacteria, viruses and maintain general health.   However, the increased consumption of meats, fats, processed carbohydrates, preservative, and antibiotics can alter our bacterial population(1-3).  Also, let’s not forget the overuse of antibiotics as well (4).   As a result, our delicate microbiome (beneficial intestinal bacteria) is becoming disrupted and imbalanced, which results in a condition called dysbiosis.  Research have shown dysbiosis is associated with almost every known disease process, from flu, obesity and
cancer to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, allergic reactions, neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, and even mental health issues such as depressions (5,6).

Research have shown probiotics can enhance nonspecific cellular immune response characterized by activation of macrophages, natural killer (NK) cells, antigen-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocytes, and the release of various cytokines in strain-specific and dose-dependent manner.  In other words, they can detect and destroy foreign objects such as viruses and bacteria.  It has also shown taking probiotics could improve the gut mucosal immune system by increasing the number of IgA(+) cells and cytokine-producing cells in the effector site of the intestine (7).

Dr. Wu DC’s Comment:

Fall is here which means lots holidays are coming your way.  In translation: lots parties and foods.  While it is good to catch up with your friends and family to have a great time, let’s not forget to take care our little friends inside our gut as well.  Wine, cheese, and other delicious foods are pleasant to eat but might be damaging our microbiome therefore it is extremely important to replenish them while you can.  There are many different kinds and strains of probiotics and it’s quite confusing.   Here are the most investigated probiotics cultures for their immunomdulation properties: Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, Lactobacillus casei Shirota, Bifidobacterium animalis Bb-12, Lactobacillus johnsonii La1, Bifidobacterium lactis DR10, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae boulardii. While it’s difficult to have all of them in one capsule but more is merrier.
I take 20 billion cutlures once in the morning and once before I go sleep with empty stomach.  The reason taking  it with empty stomach is because foods in stomach will release stomach acid which could potentially reduce the quantity of them.

Back in the days if you told me taking bacterias would help with my immune system I would said you are out of your mind.   Apparently times have changed so is the science.  Time to take care little fellas in our gut so we can have better immune system and health in the upcoming cold season.

References:

  1. Van Den Abbeele P, Verstraete W, El Aidy S, et al.  prebiotisch, faecal transplants and microbial network units to stimulate biodiversity of the human gut micro biome.  Microb Biotechnol. 2013;6(4):335-40
  2. Brown K, ADeCoffe D, Molcan E, et al.  Diet-induced symbiosis of the intestinal microbiota and the effects on immunity and disease.  Nutrients.  2012;4(8):1095-119
  3. Pendyala S, Walker JM, Holt PR.  A high fat diet is associated with endotoxemia that originates from the gut.  Gastroeneterology.  2012;142(5):1100-1 e2.
  4. Carding S, Verbeke K, Vipond DT, et al.  Dysbiosis of the gut microbiota in disease.  Microbial Ecology in Health and disease.  2015;26:10.3402/mehd.v26.26191
  5. Daulatzai MA.  role of stress, depression, and aging in cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.  Current To Behave Neurosci. 2014;18:265-96
  6. Sun J, Chang EB.  Exploring gut microbes in human health and disease: Pushing the envelope. Gene & Diseases.  2014;1(2):132-9
  7. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54(7):938-56. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2011.619671.

The next miracle trace mineral : Magnesium

Recently most of the emphasis has been focusing on the miracle vitamin D (especially D3) and let’s not forget there are other trace minerals and vitamins just equally important.  In this blog, we will focus on one of the most important trace mineral in the body, Magnesium (Mg).

In the book “The Magnesium Factor: How one simple nutrient can prevent, treat, and reverse high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions” by Mildred S. Seelig and Andrea Rosanoff, they stated “Magnesium is a necessary catalyst for all sorts of life reaction.   Amount the enzymes that have been studied intensively, over 350 need magnesium, directly, to do their job properly.” (p.11)  What does this mean? That means without adequate Mg in the body, majority of bodily systems (such as heart and muscles to name a few) will not function at the highest level.

Here are some of the potential signs and symptoms if you are Mg deficiency

  1. High blood pressure
  2. Angina (chest pain due to heart disease)
  3. Muscle contraction
  4. High cholesterol
  5. Type 2 diabetes
  6. Obesity
  7. Low energy
  8. Anxiety

Besides signs and symptoms, how else can we know if we are Mg deficiency?

Serum (blood)  magnesium represents only 1% of magnesium stores. Magnesium is homeostatically controlled in the serum and measuring serum magnesium levels provides many false negatives. By the time an individual’s serum magnesium is low, they are very deficient in magnesium, as the body cannot maintain the serum magnesium levels. RBC magnesium is definitely a better choice and the most accurate test out there.

Why are we so Mg deficiency?

The reason lies in our soils.  Soils today are very different from 20 years ago.  Due to the evolution of farming practices, pesticides and herbicides play a major role of depleting micronutrients in soils.  In addition, incomplete grown fruits and vegetables harvested before they are fully ready for transportation purposes hence reduced the vitamins and trace minerals even more. Lastly, refined processed foods such cookies, croissant and others will rob even more Mg from our body.

What food groups contain most Mg? list from most to least in each categories.

Vegetables: butter beans, soy flour, legumes, beet green, red seaweed, chard, spinach and collards.
Fruits: Coconut, dates, dried apricots, and dried figs.
Meat and poultry: Liver, bacon, corned beef, roast beetf, steak, chicken and turkey.
Nuts: Cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts, peanuts, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts.

How much Mg supplements should we take?

Everyone is different, and a good general rule of thumb in our office is 300 mg of Mg for every 100 pounds of body weight.  This might seems a bit over daily recommended dosage and the reason is because majority of population is Mg deficiency.   Based in our clinical experience with adults, we started with 300 mg of Mg/day and slowly added 100mg a day after until that dosage cause loose stool then we back off 100mg.  For example, we started John with 300 mg of Mg on Monday,  400 mg on Tuesday, 500 mg on Wednesday and 600 mg on Thursday and he reported with loose stool; then we back off to 500mg and that’s the dosage we stay with until further evaluation.  This process is called “up to tolerance” which can be apply to vitamin C as well.  However, if you are experiencing kidney disorder, Crohn’s disease or  taking antibodies it is imperative to work with your physician on this subject.
It is extremely important to know if  you have adequate Mg because it tights to so many chemical reactions in your body.   However, we don’t recommended blindly start taking Mg supplements and to hope change your current health conditions; it is strongly recommended to work with health care professional certified in functional medicine to perform necessary laboratory testing to determine how much Mg you really need.

Yours in health,

Dr. Wu DC

The lesser known powerful oil – Spearmint Oil

While peppermint oils are popular amount essential oils and culinary worl, a lesser known spearmint oils are equally powerful and profound.  Studies now show that spearmint can “wake up” the brain and boost cognitive function.
The study revealed spearmint leafs contains a group of phenolic compounds called rosmarinic acid, which can improve

  • attention
  • concentration
  • brain function
  • working memory
  • sleep pattern

In the study, the group took spearmint extract increased their attention and concentration measuring by 46% and 121% after 4 hours.  In the same study, the group also showed a 39% improvement on planning abilities[1].

On the different study, the subjects were average 59 years old male with memory impairment but not dementia.  What they found out was subjects were given spearmint extract demonstrated a nearly 3 times improvement on working memory compared to placebo group.  In addition, the same group received spearmint extract also shown better sleep pattern[2].

Editor’s note:
With lots technology gadgets flowing around kids, they are easily distracted and can become very handful when school starts.  One of the easiest and clean way to help them concentrate is to diffuse spearmint oil in the background.  Not only it can help them concentrate and perform better, it also has a sweet and refresh smell which makes everything more pleasant.  Any questions? Drop us a line here so we can get back to you as soon as we can.

Dr. Wu DC
Team ICON

 

[1]Nieman KM, Sanoshy KD, Bresciani L, et al. Tolerance, bioavailability, and potential cognitive health implication of a distinct aqueous spearmint extract.  Functional Foods in health and Disease. 2015;5(5):165 of 87
[2}Nieman KM, Sanoshy KD, Fonseca BA, et al. Spearmint extract improves Working Memory in Men and Women with Age-Associated Memory impairment 2016

 

Detox, What Detox??

Hi there,

First of all, I want to congratulate you step into my world. Never in my life I would thought that I would be sitting in front of computer and purging out my feelings and opinions. As an ESL student whom busted his rear end and managed to put himself thru college and doctor degree, I wish you find my blog funny but yet informative. My goal of blogging is to express what I see “health” thru the lans of holistic doctor with training in both chiropractor and functional medicine.
Throughout the blog if you see any grammatical errors… well, just let it be. Cut me some slack alright? As if writing the blog itself is not hard enough.. alright enough of that, let’s get back to the point.

First topic we gonna talk about is……drum roll please…….. Detox!

Detox, what detox??

Well, day in and day out, we are exposed to toxins around us at any given moment; such as lead in the paint, fluoride in the water, mercury in the fish, GMO, refine sugar/carb, and not to mention all the second hand smoke and fumes up in the air just to name a few (scare yet? no worries, ICON is here to rescue you!). These heavy metals and chemicals (which I grouped them “toxins”) have strong impact to our bodies. As a trained functional medicine practitioner, we have learned how these toxins can cause hormones in the body go haywire and can potentially caused wide arrayed of chronic diseases such ash high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, thyroid issue and depression just to name a few.

There are 2 phases for detoxification; phase 1 – accumulated all toxins within the body and phase 2 – eliminate these toxins out. When we heard the term “Detox” we usually associated it with starving yourself and drink only shakes. Not this one. In this 21 days detox program, we want you to EAT ALL DAY because your body needs proper nutrition and energy to do this, but with right foods in conjunction of organic whole food supplements and shakes. It is a very specific protocol which design to help you stay full and also eliminate toxins the same time (really??).

Last week, I was fortunate enough to lead a small group of 12 warriors (yes, including myself) to conquered this 21 days detox/transformation process provided by Standard Process company and boy oh boy, did we get more than what we signed up for. Let me tell you this, the journey itself was challenging but the result were STUNNING! Feedback from these warriors including sleep better, poo better, more energy throughout the day without afternoon crash, better skin, and someone even lost 14 lbs!!! what did he had in his body before the detox, a nuclear plant??? Personally, not only i have lost 7 pounds but i have also gained so much from this and here are the 3 take away points:

  1. You can live without coffee. Yes, you heard me right. When people say they can’t live without coffee or need coffee to wake up is usually a false statement. I am sure you didn’t have coffee before you were one year old but you still lived to this day don’t you? The key is, if you eat the right foods such fruits/veggie and keep your sugar consistent throughout the day, you will avoid the highs and lows and afternoon crash. Drinking coffee is a luxury but not a necessity.
  2.  you can live without refined carbohydrate, including rice and noodle. Ok, for this one, the difficulty is extremely high for me (being an asian descent) and i am gonna put it up there along with climbing mount everest (which i haven’t been). But guess what, I did it, and it turned out that we really DON”T need these refined carbs. In essence, these refined carb are really just empty calories, cause huge inflammation and turn into fat cells in the liver in the body, so why eat it?
  3. Going back to caveman style is REALLY good for you.  I consider myself a relative heathy person. I ran bunch of 1/2 marathons and a couple of full marathons, I work out, watch what I eat most of the time and I sleep good. But I want to see what this detox has affect on me so I experimented myself with pre and post blood chemistry blood panel testing.   The Pre test was done on 2/17/16 and Post was done on 3/28/16. The result?  See for yourself.  Numbers don’t lie!Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 2.39.51 PM
    • Total cholesterol dropped from 209 to 171, a 38 points reduction.
    • Triglycerides dropped from 53 to 41, a 12 points reduction.
    • LDL cholesterol dropped from 118 to 86, a 32 points reduction.

Cholesterol, is what I considered one of the most controversial and conspiracy topic in medial health. While most people seeing it as the bad guy, but we need them to repair wounds and hormone production. Without them, we are in a serious trouble. However, just like everything else, too much and too little is no good. Medical has been long to say too much cholesterol is linked to heart disease (based off a faulty and disaster research done half century ago), so they reduced the cholesterol range down to 100-199 while I am comfortable of it being around 220 level with my functional training background.

It is better, faster, cheaper, and way safer as compared to the cholesterol drugs you have been taking. Best part? NO side effects!! But wait, you tell me changing your lifestyle is too hard and difficult, but are you really going to use that as an excuses with these results within a month? Imagine how much more impactful if you keep it for longer.

There is an old Chinese saying: “there is no ugly woman but just lazy women“; I think it can also be apply to health as well.

In my opinion, everyone should do this especially if you have chronic conditions such as heart problem, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol. thyroid disease, obese, depression, autoimmune disease just to name a few.  But please do consult with your physician (like me) to make sure your body is ready for this.

If you know anyone that is having challenges/difficulties, or perhaps even yourself want to get better for your health, connect with me and let me see how I can best assist you.

Alright, I think this is good point to stop for my first ever blog.  Hope you enjoyed it and until next time, stay out of trouble.

Yours in health,
Dr. Wu, D.C.