Dear readers,

Thyme (pronounce as thīm) oil, is one powerful oil to have.  Thyme, besides it’s culinary property , it also has a pleasant smell and profound health benefits. It is one of nature’s most powerful antibacterial, anti fungal, antimicrobial agent (1, 2, 3).  In addition, it has also been documented to increase antioxidant levels in vi tro (4, 5).

Here are more facts about it:

Properties: Highly antibacterial, anti-fungal, antimicrobial, antiviral, and antiseptic.
Historical uses: It was used by the Egyptians for embalming and by the ancient Greeks to fight against infectious illnesses.  It has also been used for respiratory problems, digestive complaints, the prevention and treatment infection, dyspepsia, chronic gastritis, bronchitis, pertussis, asthma, laryngitis, tonsillitis, and enuresis in children.
French Medicinal use: Asthma, bronchitis, colitis, cystitis, dermatitis, dyspepsia, fatigue,
pleurisy, psoriasis, sciatica, tuberculosis, vaginal candida.
Body systems affected: Immune system, muscles and bones.

Comments from Dr. Alan Wu DC :

Winter is here and we want to help you prepare for this upcoming cold season.  Besides eating healthy, exercise, proper rest, good mental attitude and chiropractic care, it will also be great to have oils with strong antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microorganisms properties.  Clove, melaleuca (tee-tree oil), On-guard are all good to have.  We are providing you options because everyone has different preference on smell and body type.  As usual, check with your physician or doctors before start using these oils.  Other than that, enjoy these mother nature’s gifts and have a sound and safe holiday season.

 

Reference:

  1. Fabio et al., Screening of he antibacterial effects of a variety of essential oils on microorganism responsible for respiratory infections.  Phytother Res. 2007 Apr;21(4):374-7.
  2. Burt et al., Antibacterial activity of selected plant essential oils against Escherichia coli 0157:H7.  Lett Appl Microbiol. 2003;36(3):162-7
  3. Pinto et al., Antifungal activity of the clove essential oil from Syzygium aromaticum on Candida, Aspergillus and dermatophyte species. Journal of Medical Microbiology (2009), 58, 1454–1462
  4. Youdim et al., Dietary supplementation of thyme (Thymus vulgarisms L.) essential oil during the lifetime of the rat: its effects on the antioxidant status in liver, kidney and heart tissues. Mech Ageing Dev. 1999 Sep 8;109(3):163-75.
  5. Youdim et al., Effect of thyme oil and thymol dietary supplementation on the antioxidant status and fatty acid composition of the aging rat brain. Br J Nutr. 2000 Jan;83(1):87-93.

 

 

Does Adjustment Speed Up Post-Surgery Recovery?


Dear readers,

This article was published earlier this year, Jan.18, 2017 from Annals of Thoracic Surgery.  This elite group was established in 1989 and the main purpose is to serve as the benchmark for risk-adjusted outcomes in cardiac surgery and is the foundation for all quality measurement and improvement activities of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.  The aim of this study was to assess whether osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT, similar to chiropractic adjustments) contributes to post heart surgical sternal pain relief and “improves postoperative outcomes.”  They divided them into 2 groups: control group vs manipulated group.  Here are the results:

  • VAS pain scale

    • Control group 3 vs Manipulation group 1
  • Mean Inspiration Volume (ability to breathe):

    • Control group 1400 ± 588 mL vs Manipulation group 1781 ± 633 mL.
  • Hospitalization Days
    • Control group 22 ± 6 vs Manipulation group 19 ± 5
      days.

As a results, the paper showed patients got manipulated (similar to chiropractic adjustments) have significantly reduced pain, improved function, reduced hospital stay  and associated costs, and avoidance of drugs and all the risks.

Comments from Dr. Alan Wu DC:

What a great study.  This paper supports the fact patients went thought chest operation would received tremendous benefits from manipulated/adjustments.  Adjustments should start within 5 days postoperative along with rehabilitation.  Not only it reduced pain, increased function, and it also reduced financial cost as well.   While Chiropractic has been stigmatized into musculoskeletal issue only, this is certainly not the case.  The foundation of chiropractic is based on fixing Subluxation (mis-position of the bone), restore nerve communication between the brain and body in order to achieve highest bodily functions and healing.  It is really a wonderful health care profession to keep us living optimally.  As usual, should you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us at info@ICONChiropractic.com and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Yours in health,

Dr. Wu DC
ICON Chiropractic Center

References: 

  1. Recca V., et all. Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment Improves Heart Surgery Outcomes: A randomized Controlled Trial.  Ann Thorac Sure. 2017 Jul;104(1):145-152. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2016.09.110. Epub 2017 Jan 18
  2. Thanks To Dr. Dan Murphy DC for sharing this article.  As usual, your work and dedication to this profession is tremendous and greatly appreciated.  

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

 

 

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

Curvy Back, less lower back pain?

Lumbosacral sagittal alignment in association to intervertebral disc diseases.

This is a nice study to know.   In this study, authors were studying the relationship between the lumbar lordosis (lower back curve), intervertebral disc pathologies (disc herniation and

/or degeneration) and pain.  Here are the fact

  1. 2 different groups of 50 subjects with lower back pain.
  2. First group is lower back pain with disc pathology and second group is lower back
    pain without disc pathology.
  3. Took MRI of each group and calculated the lumbar lordosis (lower back curve).
  4. People with disc pathologies has straighter lower back curve than without disc pathology.
  5. Authors concluded that “patients with intervertebral disc lesions seem to have more straightened lumbosacral profiles, but it has not been proven which comes first: disc degeneration or changes in sagittal alignment.”

Dr. Wu DC comment:

If you have been to my office then you would known I am very keen on spinal curvatures.  Curves work as suspensions and they are there to protect and preserve your spine.  Too much or too little curves could potentially speed up degeneration (aging) process.  This study has stated the relationship between these two but weren’t sure which one comes first.  Chiropractic has long been known to correct misalignment of spine (we called it subluxation) which can potentially change curvatures of spine. My take is, does not matter which one comes first, loss curve or degeneration of disc, it is important to get your spine check periodically before you hit either one of these.  Prevention always triumph treatment.

Dr. Wu DC

Published online 2014 Dec 17. doi:  10.4184/asj.2014.8.6.813

[Event] 4/19/16 – SF Health Talk – Stomach issue and Chiropractic care?

Dear All,

Do you know the cause of stomach distress can run from irritating foods or an overactive nerve supply to emotional stress and beyond.  Come and join us as Dr. Wu will explain the important relationship between nerve system and organs, and will help you with all the questions that you might have.  Please kindly RSVP to info@ICONchiropractic.com before 4/15/16.  This is a free event and feel free to bring your friends and family.
Refreshment and snacks will be provided.
th
Date: April 19th, 2016 Tuesday.
Time: 6:30 pm 8:00 pm.
Location: 425 Market street, #16th floor, San Francisco. 
Looking forward to seeing you there.
Yours in health,

Team ICON.