More health Benefits of Tai chi Chuan

As you may know, Karen, Valerie and I are long-time practitioners of Tai Chi Chuan (TCC). TCC is an ancient martial art from China. When practiced properly, it encompasses moving meditation, gentle physical exercise, Chi Kung (energizing), Taoist philosophy and self defense.

There are many benefits to TCC. It develops strong legs as well as helping maintain upper body strength. It greatly improves sure-footedness and balance. Several studies have found that senior citizens who practice Tai Chi have fewer falls and fewer broken bones. It also helps reduce stress and improves coordination and mental focus.

One of the things I noticed when I first started Tai Chi was an improvement in my immune system. At that point I would succumb to a cold or flu about twice a year. Not bad considering I get exposed dozens of times a week whenever there’s something going around. When I started Tai Chi, that was cut to one or none/year!

Here’s a couple of links to stories on Reuters reporting on studies demonstrating the ability of Tai Chi to improve immunity and help the body fight shingle and type 2 diabetes.

http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSCOL87507220070308 Diabetes

http://www.reuters.com/article/gc08/idUSL234039820070323
Shingles

Tai Chi has been known for years as a useful form of exercise for arthritis sufferers. Here’s a link to a study that was done showing real benefit for patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knees.

http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE49P0VB20081026

We’re fortunate to have one of the best Tai Chi Chuan instructors in the country right here in the Quad Cities. Scott Caulpetzer teaches classes in the evenings on Monday and Wednesday as well as several day classes. His main class is Saturday morning at 10:00. if you’re interested in Tai Chi classes, you can contact him at: 322-4002 or ask about classes next time you’re in the office.

Dr. Hogg

Improving Eyesight

(Please note: This article was written six years ago, before I had cataract surgery in my right eye Spring of 2016. Since the surgery, I’ve needed glasses for close to medium range work like reading patient files. The artificial lens is not as flexible as my natural lens was but I’m in the process of seeing what I can do to improve my near vision using the principles below)

 

Many of you have noticed that I am not wearing my glasses in the office. I’ve been asked if i had eye surgery or switched to contacts. I haven’t done either of these but instead have been working to improve my natural eyesight. At age 60, I’ve finally gotten to the point that I don’t need my glasses for most activities, including reading.

I’ve worn glasses since I was 9 years old. Year by year, my prescription kept increasing in strength until, in my 20’s my vision was 20:400. This meant that, at 20 feet all I could see was what someone with normal vision could see at 400 feet!

This started changing when I got under care with chiropractic applied kinesiology. I’ve had a number of my patients need to get less powerful eyeglass prescriptions as their eyesight improves. Keys include cranial and cervical spine adjusting as well as improving stress handling (adrenal function), digestion and detoxification. I also had the advantage of a good behavioral optometrist, Brent Neilson, OD. He uses lenses in a way to encourage better eyesight as well as improving posture and balance. Together, we got my eyesight in the area of 20/200, quite an improvement!

About 2 years ago I started working with the Bates system for improving eyesight. This system uses techniques to relax the extra-ocular eye muscles (the muscles that move the eyeball). The concept is that these muscle become tense and strained, distorting the shape of the eye and causing the lens to focus in front of the retina for nearsighted (eyeball becomes elongated) like me or behind the retina for farsighted (eyeball becomes shortened) folks. After using the system for a couple of months, I tried going without my glasses in the office. I was good in most areas but wasn’t able to see my notes well enough. As I continued to use the system improved my eyesight has improved to the point that I can now read my notes fairly easily (sloppy handwriting aside 🙂 ). The best book on this system I’ve found is “Relearning to See” by Quackenbush.

One more variable in the last 2 months has been very regular and systematic aerobic exercise, using a pulse monitor to make sure I was in the right pulse range for highest benefits. I’ve always been a regular exerciser with Tai Chi Chuan, Ballroom dancing, walking and race-walking but recently I’ve added very specific step aerobics which makes it easier to stay in my optimal pulse range. I’m not sure how big a role this has played but there may have been some relaxation and circulation benefits which were positive for my eyesight.

I no longer need my glasses to do routine tasks in the office or at home. I can see well enough to drive without them in the daytime, although I can’t yet read the smaller street signs until I’m about 10 feet away. I use my glasses for the movies and sometimes for TV (sometimes not) but I don’t need them for computer work or reading. At this point, I’m only wearing my glasses about 10% of the time which, according to Dr. Bates, should help my eyes improve faster.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress. If you are interested in trying this approach to eyesight improvement for yourself, I’ll be happy to work with you on a combination of specific adjustments, nutrition and “exercises” as well as referral to Dr. Neilson.

Here’s Looking at You!

Dr. Hogg

Preventing the Flu With Nasal Irrigation

By now we’ve all heard about a number of common sense precautions to help keep us from getting infected with flus and colds. Along with drinking lots of fluids (especially water), getting good rest and sleep, avoiding sugar and eating a good diet high in fresh vegetables and fruits we know that frequent hand washing will clean off any viruses we may touch before we can transport them to our mouth, eyes or nose. Well, here’s an interesting and effective variation on the hand-washing theme.

For years I’ve recommended using a nasal rinse or nasal “douche” for sinus infections. I’ve helped many patients clear out even severe infections with this approach. For established infections I recommend 1 teaspoon each of sea salt (not regular table salt which contains sugar and other additives) and apple cider vinegar in 8-10 oz of warm water. This makes a good gargle and nasal rinse.

Recently I’ve run across some interesting studies using the nasal douche to prevent or speed healing from the flu. One found that it takes up to 48 hours for the flu virus to establish itself in the mucus membranes of the sinuses and throat. If you can wash these areas out during that 48 hours it can keep the virus from getting established and growing into a full-fledged flu. Another study was done with school children, some who had the flu and some who didn’t…..yet. As compared to the control group, the kids who used a nasal douche 2-3 times/day got over the flu faster and fewer kids got sick to start with.

In both these studies the nasal douche solution was simple salt water. It seemed the benefit was two-fold. The solution washed viruses out of the body and also cleared the “filter” mechanism of the cilliary escalator in the nose and throat. Kind of like changing the filter on your furnace when it gets clogged up.

I’m suggesting using the salt water (one tsp/10 oz coffee mug) for prevention and to speed up recovery. The salt is important. You want to keep the solution about the same salinity as your cells or slightly higher. Otherwise your nasal cells will suck up the water, swell and cause painful nasal congestion…not the effect we’re trying for! Some people need to use less than 1 tsp of salt. You should be able to definately taste the salt but the salt taste should not be overwhelming. Use the salt water as a gargle daily. To rinse the nose, you can pour a little salt water into your cupped palm, block off one nostril and suck up a little water with the other. Tilt your head back and let the water run back into your throat and spit it out. Do this 3 times on each side, 1-3 times/day, once a day for prevention, up to 3 times/day if you’re actually sick. To make things easier and get more volume through your nose, you can use a “Netti Pot” to pour salt water through your nose. They’re available in most health food stores and we have them for sale at the office.

So, to help prevent flu and colds, wash your hands frequently and keep your nose clean!

Dr. Hogg

Wash your Hands and……..

By now we’ve all heard about a number of common sense precautions to help keep us from getting infected with flus and colds. Along with drinking lots of fluids (especially water), getting good rest and sleep, avoiding sugar and eating a good diet high in fresh vegetables and fruits we know that frequent hand washing will clean off any viruses we may touch before we can transport them to our mouth, eyes or nose. Well, here’s an interesting and effective variation on the hand-washing theme.

For years I’ve recommended using a nasal rinse or nasal “douche” for sinus infections. I’ve helped many patients clear out even severe infections with this approach. For established infections I recommend 1 teaspoon each of sea salt (not regular table salt which contains sugar and other additives) and apple cider vinegar in 8-10 oz of warm water. This makes a good gargle and nasal rinse.

Recently I’ve run across some interesting studies using the nasal douche to prevent or speed healing from the flu. One found that it takes up to 48 hours for the flu virus to establish itself in the mucus membranes of the sinuses and throat. If you can wash these areas out during that 48 hours it can keep the virus from getting established and growing into a full-fledged flu. Another study was done with school children, some who had the flu and some who didn’t…..yet. As compared to the control group, the kids who used a nasal douche 2-3 times/day got over the flu faster and fewer kids got sick to start with.

In both these studies the nasal douche solution was simple salt water. It seemed the benefit was two-fold. The solution washed viruses out of the body and also cleared the “filter” mechanism of the cilliary escalator in the nose and throat. Kind of like changing the filter on your furnace when it gets clogged up.

I’m suggesting using the salt water (one tsp/10 oz coffee mug) for prevention and to speed up recovery. The salt is important. You want to keep the solution about the same salinity as your cells or slightly higher. Otherwise your nasal cells will suck up the water, swell and cause painful nasal congestion…not the effect we’re trying for! Use the salt water as a gargle daily. To rinse the nose, you can pour a little salt water into your cupped palm, block off one nostril and suck up a little water with the other. Tilt your head back and let the water run back into your throat and spit it out. Do this 3 times on each side, 1-3 times/day, once a day for prevention, up to 3 times/day if you’re actually sick. To make things easier and get more volume through your nose, you can use a “Netti Pot” to pour salt water through your nose. They’re available in most health food stores and we have them for sale at the office.

So, to help prevent flu and colds, wash your hands frequently and keep your nose clean!

The Perfect Exercise

My patients often ask me “What’s the best type of exercise for me?” There are lots of types to choose from:

  1. Aerobic types like walking, jogging, swimming, bicycling, treadmill etc.
  2. Strength and toning types like weight lifting, calisthenics, palliates
  3. Flexibility types like stretching programs, palliates and yoga
  4. Other types like Tai Chi Chuan, Aerobic dancing etc that may fall into more than one category

While there are pros and cons for every type of exercise, one principle stands out above all others when considering an exercise program. The one thing all these types of exercise have in common is that they will only work if we do them on a regular basis. So when figuring out what type of exercise is best for you, a good question to ask yourself is “What type of exercise would I be able and want to do on a regular basis for a long time?”. I find that, for someone to really stick to an exercise program long enough to get real benefit, it has to be fun.

One of my personal favorite types of exercise is dancing. Dancing is great exercise whether it’s ballroom, latin, hip-hop, folk or free form. Karen and I have been dancing for years, starting out with free form and, in the last three years, adding ballroom and latin. It’s something we can do together and combines some of our favorite music with good exercise and a lot of fun!

For a long time I kind of resisted the whole formal dancing idea because I thought I wouldn’t be able to learn it. My teen years were a bit socially deprived and I was kind of a klutz. When I finally decided to go for it, I was delighted to find that, with a good teacher, learning ballroom and latin dancing wasn’t hard at all. A good dance course will take you, literally, step-by-step, teaching very simple movements at first (think the basic “box” in waltz) slowly adding more complex (and fun) moves as you master each level. In very little time Karen and I found ourselves looking pretty darn good in a variety of dances like waltz, cha cha, rumba, swing and foxtrot. The best part has been that every step of the way has been a lot of fun…….so we kept it up!

Karen and I have had several great dance instructors. Out favorite instructor, Gunter Schluter, has started a “Meetup group” website. One of the things I like about this meetup site is that Gunter has made it a resource for every dance studio and dancing event in the Quad Cities, not just the ones he’s involved in. It’s really a one stop shopping site whether you’re looking for dance lessons, trying to find dances to go to or just where and when great dance bands are playing. It also includes non-ballroom events like square dances and folk dancing. If you’re interested, you can become a member of this meetup group by going to www.meetup.com/qcsoda

So what’s the central point of my message today? The “perfect” exercise has to start with being perfect fun!

Dr. Hogg

The Perfect Exercise

My patients often ask me “What’s the best type of exercise for me?” There are lots of types to choose from:

1. Aerobic types like walking, jogging, swimming, bicycling, treadmill etc.
2. Strength and toning types like weight lifting, calisthenics, palliates
3. Flexibility types like stretching programs, palliates and yoga
4. Other types like Tai Chi Chuan, Aerobic dancing etc that may fall into more than one category

While there are pros and cons for every type of exercise, one principle stands out above all others when considering an exercise program. The one thing all these types of exercise have in common is that they will only work if we *do* them on a regular basis. So when figuring out what type of exercise is best for you, a good question to ask yourself is “What type of exercise would I be able and *want* to do on a regular basis for a long time?”. I find that, for someone to really stick to an exercise program long enough to get real benefit, it has to be *fun*.

One of my personal favorite types of exercise is dancing. Dancing is great exercise whether it’s ballroom, latin, hip-hop, folk or free form. Karen and I have been dancing for years, starting out with free form and, in the last three years, adding ballroom and latin. It’s something we can do together and combines some of our favorite music with good exercise and a *lot* of fun!

For a long time I kind of resisted the whole formal dancing idea because I thought I wouldn’t be able to learn it. My teen years were a bit socially deprived and I was kind of a klutz. When I finally decided to go for it, I was delighted to find that, with a good teacher, learning ballroom and latin dancing wasn’t hard at all. A good dance course will take you, literally, step-by-step, teaching very simple movements at first (think the basic “box” in waltz) slowly adding more complex (and fun) moves as you master each level. In very little time Karen and I found ourselves looking pretty darn good in a variety of dances like waltz, cha cha, rumba, swing and foxtrot. The best part has been that every step of the way has been a lot of fun…….so we kept it up!

Karen and I have had several great dance instructors. Out favorite instructor, Gunter Schluter, has started a “Meetup group” website. One of the things I like about this meetup site is that Gunter has made it a resource for every dance studio and dancing event in the Quad Cities, not just the ones he’s involved in. It’s really a one stop shopping site whether you’re looking for dance lessons, trying to find dances to go to or just where and when great dance bands are playing. It also includes non-ballroom events like square dances and folk dancing. If you’re interested, you can become a member of this meetup group by going to www.meetup.com/qcsoda

Gunter’s group, Quad Cities Social Dancing (QC SODA) is organizing a Winter Dance event on December 4. There will be raffles and door prizes. As a sponsor of QC SODA our office is participating in a scavenger hunt. So don’t be surprised if you notice some new faces dropping in to the office to answer questions about dancing or doing 20 seconds of their favorite dance steps (Truth or Dare) to win prize points for the Winter Dance.
It promises to be great fun!

So what’s the central point of my message today? The “perfect” exercise has to start with being perfect fun!

Alternatives to Antibiotics

With the cold and flu season approaching, I thought this article from Dr. David Williams was particularly timely. He outlines some of the, sometimes life-threatening, problems with indiscriminate use of antibiotics, suggests strategies to make sure antibiotics are really needed and lists some common effective alternatives to antibiotics. I’m adding some suggestions of my own at the bottom of his article.

Dr. Hogg

The development and widespread use of antibiotics has undoubtedly made one of the greatest impacts on our health this century. While targeted use of antibiotics has saved thousands of lives, their overuse and misuse has undermined the health of millions.

Numerous research studies and even congressional hearings have concluded that between 40 and 60 percent of all antibiotics prescribed in this country are unnecessary.

Your body ordinarily does an effective job of protecting you; the immune system produces natural antibodies to recognize and destroy foreign bacteria. Indiscriminate use of antibiotics, however, can both weaken your immune system and create the antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” that have begun to surface over the last several decades.

The most common misuse of antibiotics probably occurs when they are prescribed for known viral infections such as the common cold or flu. Antibiotics are only effective against bacteria. Both the cold and flu are viral diseases. There’s no way antibiotics will speed up the healing process or stop viral infections. They can, however, make you more susceptible to the more virulent super-strains of bacteria such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant S. aureus) and VRE (vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus) now showing up in our hospitals.

Childhood ear infection (otitis media) is another area in which use of antibiotics should be questioned. Although 98 percent of the physicians surveyed in the US routinely prescribe antibiotics for the condition, recent studies show that drugs are no more effective than placebos. Even more shocking, using antibiotics increases the risk of recurrent ear infections as much as sixfold!

Despite what we’ve been conditioned to believe, the human body was designed to deal with foreign bacteria. Every time your immune system overcomes an infection it emerges stronger. Through the body’s production of natural antibodies, it becomes better able to deal with future assaults on your health.

If, however, antibiotics are given at the first sign of infection, several serious events can occur.

  1. The body’s own immune system becomes suppressed. Fewer natural antibodies are produced. And worse, studies have shown that the body’s white blood cells are less active in attacking bacteria that have been treated with antibiotics. This suppression of the immune system explains why many seemingly minor infections appear to recur over and over again, thus requiring multiple courses of treatment.
  2. As bacteria are repeatedly exposed to antibiotics, they begin to mutate. Through a series of mutations, they can quickly become immune to the drug’s effect. Our inability to stop the spreading infection of these mutant bacteria costs thousands of people their lives each year. Drug-resistant bacteria have become especially dangerous in the fertile breeding grounds of hospitals. Many times hospitals are the worst possible place a sick person should be.
  3. Hundreds of thousands of hospital patients die each year from infections caused by these drug-resistant bacteria. We all know someone who was admitted to the hospital for one condition, but while there, developed a near-fatal or fatal case of drug-resistant pneumonia.
  4. Estimates are that over 20 percent of those who enter hospitals leave sicker than when they entered, if they’re able to leave at all. About 2 million patients acquire what are called nosocomial infections (infections from microorganisms that reside in hospitals). In approximately 3 to 5 percent of these cases, the infection will be the cause of their death. Pneumonia is the most common hospital-acquired infection. It now appears to be responsible for as many as 15 percent of all hospital-associated deaths.
  5. Antibiotics destroy the beneficial bacteria that reside in the intestinal tract. In a healthy intestinal tract, trillions of beneficial organisms help form vitamins and enzymes, deactivate cancer-causing compounds, help regulate cholesterol and hormone levels, and protect against the overgrowth of disease-producing bacteria and fungi.
  6. Anyone who takes antibiotics without replenishing beneficial intestinal bacteria is subject to developing a long list of problems. Some of the more common ones include eczema, Candida infections, hyperactivity, parasitic infections, depression, fatigue, decreased mental abilities, food allergies (particularly to milk and milk products), recurrent vaginal or bladder infections, PMS, irritability, constipation, diarrhea, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and even cancer.

Before discussing any alternatives to antibiotic therapy, you should know of the safeguards that can be taken when antibiotics must be used.

First, make sure there’s really a need for antibiotics. Have your doctor take a culture of the area involved. This will establish if you actually have an infection. If so, it will identify the specific organisms involved, allowing the proper antibiotic to be prescribed.

Next, always supplement your diet with cultured foods like sauerkraut and live yogurt, and make sure to take a high quality probiotic regularly to keep your intestinal flora in balance and resistant to “bad” bacteria.

Natural Alternatives

Several natural items that fight infections are so well known I won’t spend an excessive amount of time discussing them. I will mention them briefly, however, to provide the doses that are generally recommended and any synergistic factors and precautions.

Obviously, I’m not suggesting that all of these items should be used simultaneously.

Vitamin C

At the first sign of infection, it is recommended that 500 to 1,000 mg be taken every two hours. This can be continued until you reach what is called bowel tolerance—the beginning of diarrhea.

Vitamin C works effectively in both bacterial and viral infections.

Zinc

Zinc gluconate lozenges also exhibit anti-viral properties and can lessen the duration of the common cold.

One study tested an over-the-counter zinc product called Cold-EEZE on 99 individuals. Half the group took a zinc lozenge (containing 13.3 mg of zinc gluconate) every two hours at the start of a cold, while the other half of the group took a placebo.

The colds of those who took zinc lasted about four-and-a-half days compared to seven-and-a-half days in the non-zinc takers. In addition, the zinc takers experienced fewer days of nasal congestion (four days vs. six days for those not taking zinc), nasal drainage (four days vs. seven days), headache (two days vs. three days), hoarseness (two days vs. three days), sore throat (one day vs. three days), and coughing (two days vs. four-and-a-half days).

You can find Cold-EEZE and other brands of zinc gluconate lozenges in most drug stores, as well as many of the larger health food stores.

Vitamin A

This vitamin also has virus-killing abilities. Initial doses as high as 100,000 IU daily for the first couple of days of infection can be very beneficial. The dose is then dropped back to 10,000 to 25,000 IU daily to avoid problems with toxicity.

Aloe vera

The general healing properties of aloe vera gel have been known and utilized for hundreds of years. Recently, however, scientists have discovered that a large number of aloe vera’s more potent healing compounds reside in the sap and rind of the plant’s leaf.

Several years ago, none of the commercially available aloe vera products contained the sap and rind portions of the plant. Most processors intentionally eliminated this portion because it contained a natural laxative called aloin and the FDA limits the aloin content of any non-pharmaceutical aloe product to only 50 parts per million. A process has recently been developed, however, in which the laxative aloin is converted to salicylic acid. This enables the entire leaf (gel, sap, and rind) to be used.

There are thousands of aloe vera products on the market. Most consist solely of the gel. We now know, however, that these lack most of the primary healing components. Look for a high quality whole leaf aloe vera juice product. My favorite is Aloe-Ace, made by Bio-Nutritional Formulas. You can find it online by searching on the product name and company.

Reserve Antibiotics for When You Really
Need Them

There are probably a thousand other natural alternatives to antibiotics. Others include gargling with salt water, saunas, fasting, rest, et cetera. The items I’ve mentioned provide you with several natural alternatives to antibiotics. They shouldn’t, however, be used in place of antibiotics to treat serious infections. If there is any question consult your physician.

There is no question that the use of antibiotics has gotten totally out of control. Fortunately, in recent years as the news has gotten out, the public has been revisiting the previous assumptions that antibiotics have few, if any, adverse side effects and they should be used at the first sign of any infection. Of course, when used judiciously, antibiotics can be lifesavers. Indiscriminate use, however, weakens the immune system and creates dangerous new strains of microorganisms that can threaten your life.

Reserve the use of antibiotics for those times when either your own immune system can’t handle the problem or you are faced with more threatening infections. This caution may very well lengthen your life in the long run.

Take care,

Dr. David Williams

 

Dr. Hogg’s comments

This excellent article should be read by everyone, especially parents of small children. The paragraph on using antibiotics for treating childhood otitis media is especially important and, thought it’s really not new information, very few people know about it.

In addition to Dr. Williams suggestions I’d add the following;

  1. Spirulina is a very nutritious algae. Numerous studies show that it boosts the immune function, increasing white blood cell (WBC) production and effectiveness in killing viruses and bacteria. It also helps increase antibody production. I suggest one 500mg tablet/waking hour at the start if any infection. Follow with at least two weeks at two tablets three times/day after you’re well.
  2. Vitamin D is a major factor in immune function. One of the reasons people have more infections in the Winter is because of the lack of exposure to sunlight needed for your body to make vitamin D. Vitamin also helps prevent autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and autoimmune thyroid disease as well as several types of cancer including skin cancer! The best way to get D is from moderate sun exposure, about 10-20 min four times/week with as much skin exposed as possible. Avoid burning because that will make you more prone to skin cancer, just as not getting enough sun exposure will. If you can’t get out in the sun or that’s not working well enough for you (as we get older our skin loses some of it’s D producing ability) an alternative is to take a good quality D3 supplement. For most people, taking up to 2000 IU/day during the Winter will be safe. Many people need more than this to get blood D levels up to the optimal range for best health. Unfortunately, you can also get too much vitamin D and it can become toxic. That’s why I run blood tests on my patients for higher doses. Ask me next time you’re in for an appointment if you’re someone who could benefit from a blood test to see how much vitamin D you need.
  3. I can’t emphasize enough how important adequate sleep is for your immune system. We need an absolute minimum of 6 hours of good quality sleep/night and most people need around 8 hours for best health.
  4. Oil of Oregano is a very potent substance that has been shown effective for a wide variety of bacteria. It is especially usefull for intestinal pathogens and a recent study demonstrated that a specially emulsified preparation of oil of oregano was very effective against several protozoal intestinal parasites! Herbal antimicorbials have an advantage over pharaceutical antibiotics in that they are several orders more chemically complex than a drug and therefore much harder for the bacteria to develop immunity to.
  5. Water is used by your immune system in a process called “hydrolysis” to kill germs. Most people don’t get enough water, especially in the Winter when we feel less thirsty. It needs to be pure water, by the way, not juice, tea, (green tea does help to fight infection but should not be used instead of water) milk, etc. Shoot for 6-9 cups/day based on your body weight and activity levels.

Most of the supplements in this email, both Dr. Williams suggestions and mine should only be used at these levels for the short period of time needed to get well. You can get too much zinc, causing imbalances in other vital minerals. Many immune system builders seem to become less effective if they are taken continuously so they don’t work as well when you really need them. Vitamin C, at 500-1000mg/day, spirulina at 3-6 tablets/day and Vitamin D at whatever dose indicated by blood work can be taken continuously for optimizing health.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Dr. Hogg

Alternatives to Antibiotics

With the cold and flu season approaching, I thought this article from Dr. David Williams was particularly timely. He outlines some of the, sometimes life-threatening, problems with indiscriminate use of antibiotics, suggests strategies to make sure antibiotics are really needed and lists some common effective alternatives to antibiotics. I’m adding some suggestions of my own at the bottom of his article.

Dr. Hogg

The development and widespread use of antibiotics has undoubtedly made one of the greatest impacts on our health this century. While targeted use of antibiotics has saved thousands of lives, their overuse and misuse has undermined the health of millions.

Numerous research studies and even congressional hearings have concluded that between 40 and 60 percent of all antibiotics prescribed in this country are unnecessary.

Your body ordinarily does an effective job of protecting you; the immune system produces natural antibodies to recognize and destroy foreign bacteria. Indiscriminate use of antibiotics, however, can both weaken your immune system and create the antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” that have begun to surface over the last several decades.

The most common misuse of antibiotics probably occurs when they are prescribed for known viral infections such as the common cold or flu. Antibiotics are only effective against bacteria. Both the cold and flu are viral diseases. There’s no way antibiotics will speed up the healing process or stop viral infections. They can, however, make you more susceptible to the more virulent super-strains of bacteria such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant S. aureus) and VRE (vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus) now showing up in our hospitals.

Childhood ear infection (otitis media) is another area in which use of antibiotics should be questioned. Although 98 percent of the physicians surveyed in the US routinely prescribe antibiotics for the condition, recent studies show that drugs are no more effective than placebos. Even more shocking, using antibiotics increases the risk of recurrent ear infections as much as sixfold!

Despite what we’ve been conditioned to believe, the human body was designed to deal with foreign bacteria. Every time your immune system overcomes an infection it emerges stronger. Through the body’s production of natural antibodies, it becomes better able to deal with future assaults on your health.

If, however, antibiotics are given at the first sign of infection, several serious events can occur.

The body’s own immune system becomes suppressed. Fewer natural antibodies are produced. And worse, studies have shown that the body’s white blood cells are less active in attacking bacteria that have been treated with antibiotics. This suppression of the immune system explains why many seemingly minor infections appear to recur over and over again, thus requiring multiple courses of treatment.

As bacteria are repeatedly exposed to antibiotics, they begin to mutate. Through a series of mutations, they can quickly become immune to the drug’s effect. Our inability to stop the spreading infection of these mutant bacteria costs thousands of people their lives each year. Drug-resistant bacteria have become especially dangerous in the fertile breeding grounds of hospitals. Many times hospitals are the worst possible place a sick person should be.

Hundreds of thousands of hospital patients die each year from infections caused by these drug-resistant bacteria. We all know someone who was admitted to the hospital for one condition, but while there, developed a near-fatal or fatal case of drug-resistant pneumonia.

Estimates are that over 20 percent of those who enter hospitals leave sicker than when they entered, if they’re able to leave at all. About 2 million patients acquire what are called nosocomial infections (infections from microorganisms that reside in hospitals). In approximately 3 to 5 percent of these cases, the infection will be the cause of their death. Pneumonia is the most common hospital-acquired infection. It now appears to be responsible for as many as 15 percent of all hospital-associated deaths.

Antibiotics destroy the beneficial bacteria that reside in the intestinal tract. In a healthy intestinal tract, trillions of beneficial organisms help form vitamins and enzymes, deactivate cancer-causing compounds, help regulate cholesterol and hormone levels, and protect against the overgrowth of disease-producing bacteria and fungi.

Anyone who takes antibiotics without replenishing beneficial intestinal bacteria is subject to developing a long list of problems. Some of the more common ones include eczema, Candida infections, hyperactivity, parasitic infections, depression, fatigue, decreased mental abilities, food allergies (particularly to milk and milk products), recurrent vaginal or bladder infections, PMS, irritability, constipation, diarrhea, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and even cancer.

Before discussing any alternatives to antibiotic therapy, you should know of the safeguards that can be taken when antibiotics must be used.

First, make sure there’s really a need for antibiotics. Have your doctor take a culture of the area involved. This will establish if you actually have an infection. If so, it will identify the specific organisms involved, allowing the proper antibiotic to be prescribed.

Next, always supplement your diet with cultured foods like sauerkraut and live yogurt, and make sure to take a high quality probiotic regularly to keep your intestinal flora in balance and resistant to “bad” bacteria.

Natural Alternatives

Several natural items that fight infections are so well known I won’t spend an excessive amount of time discussing them. I will mention them briefly, however, to provide the doses that are generally recommended and any synergistic factors and precautions.

Obviously, I’m not suggesting that all of these items should be used simultaneously.

Vitamin C

At the first sign of infection, it is recommended that 500 to 1,000 mg be taken every two hours. This can be continued until you reach what is called bowel tolerance-the beginning of diarrhea.

Vitamin C works effectively in both bacterial and viral infections.

Zinc

Zinc gluconate lozenges also exhibit anti-viral properties and can lessen the duration of the common cold.

One study tested an over-the-counter zinc product called Cold-EEZE on 99 individuals. Half the group took a zinc lozenge (containing 13.3 mg of zinc gluconate) every two hours at the start of a cold, while the other half of the group took a placebo.

The colds of those who took zinc lasted about four-and-a-half days compared to seven-and-a-half days in the non-zinc takers. In addition, the zinc takers experienced fewer days of nasal congestion (four days vs. six days for those not taking zinc), nasal drainage (four days vs. seven days), headache (two days vs. three days), hoarseness (two days vs. three days), sore throat (one day vs. three days), and coughing (two days vs. four-and-a-half days).

You can find Cold-EEZE and other brands of zinc gluconate lozenges in most drug stores, as well as many of the larger health food stores.

Vitamin A

This vitamin also has virus-killing abilities. Initial doses as high as 100,000 IU daily for the first couple of days of infection can be very beneficial. The dose is then dropped back to 10,000 to 25,000 IU daily to avoid problems with toxicity.

Aloe vera

The general healing properties of aloe vera gel have been known and utilized for hundreds of years. Recently, however, scientists have discovered that a large number of aloe vera’s more potent healing compounds reside in the sap and rind of the plant’s leaf.

Several years ago, none of the commercially available aloe vera products contained the sap and rind portions of the plant. Most processors intentionally eliminated this portion because it contained a natural laxative called aloin and the FDA limits the aloin content of any non-pharmaceutical aloe product to only 50 parts per million. A process has recently been developed, however, in which the laxative aloin is converted to salicylic acid. This enables the entire leaf (gel, sap, and rind) to be used.

There are thousands of aloe vera products on the market. Most consist solely of the gel. We now know, however, that these lack most of the primary healing components. Look for a high quality whole leaf aloe vera juice product. My favorite is Aloe-Ace, made by Bio-Nutritional Formulas. You can find it online by searching on the product name and company.

Reserve Antibiotics for When You Really
Need Them

There are probably a thousand other natural alternatives to antibiotics. Others include gargling with salt water, saunas, fasting, rest, et cetera. The items I’ve mentioned provide you with several natural alternatives to antibiotics. They shouldn’t, however, be used in place of antibiotics to treat serious infections. If there is any question consult your physician.

There is no question that the use of antibiotics has gotten totally out of control. Fortunately, in recent years as the news has gotten out, the public has been revisiting the previous assumptions that antibiotics have few, if any, adverse side effects and they should be used at the first sign of any infection. Of course, when used judiciously, antibiotics can be lifesavers. Indiscriminate use, however, weakens the immune system and creates dangerous new strains of microorganisms that can threaten your life.

Reserve the use of antibiotics for those times when either your own immune system can’t handle the problem or you are faced with more threatening infections. This caution may very well lengthen your life in the long run.

Take care,

Dr. David Williams

Please let us know if you found this article helpful. And tell us if there is anything else on this topic (or another topic) that you’d like Dr. Williams to address in the future.

Send your feedback to feedback@drdavidwilliams.com

Dr. Hogg’s comments

This excellent article should be read by everyone, especially parents of small children. The paragraph on using antibiotics for treating childhood otitis media is especially important and, thought it’s really not new information, very few people know about it.

In addition to Dr. Williams suggestions I’d add the following;
1. Spirulina is a very nutritious algae. Numerous studies show that it boosts the immune function, increasing white blood cell (WBC) production and effectiveness in killing viruses and bacteria. It also helps increase antibody production. I suggest one 500mg tablet/waking hour at the start if any infection. Follow with at least two weeks at two tablets three times/day after you’re well.

2. Vitamin D is a major factor in immune function. One of the reasons people have more infections in the Winter is because of the lack of exposure to sunlight needed for your body to make vitamin D. Vitamin also helps prevent autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and autoimmune thyroid disease as well as several types of cancer including skin cancer! The best way to get D is from moderate sun exposure, about 10-20 min four times/week with as much skin exposed as possible. Avoid burning because that will make you more prone to skin cancer, just as not getting enough sun exposure will. If you can’t get out in the sun or that’s not working well enough for you (as we get older our skin loses some of it’s D producing ability) an alternative is to take a good quality D3 supplement. For most people, taking up to 2000 IU/day during the Winter will be safe. Many people need more than this to get blood D levels up to the optimal range for best health. Unfortunately, you can also get too much vitamin D and it can become toxic. That’s why I run blood tests on my patients for higher doses. Ask me next time you’re in for an appointment if you’re someone who could benefit from a blood test to see how much vitamin D you need.

3. I can’t emphasize enough how important adequate sleep is for your immune system. We need an absolute minimum of 6 hours of good quality sleep/night and most people need around 8 hours for best health.

4. Water is used by your immune system in a process called “hydrolysis” to kill germs. Most people don’t get enough water, especially in the Winter when we feel less thirsty. In needs to be pure water, by the way, not juice, tea, milk, etc. Shoot for 6-9 cups/day based on your body weight and activity levels.

5. Most of the supplement in this email, both Dr. Williams suggestions and mine should only be used at these levels for the short period of time needed to get well. You can get too much zinc, causing imbalances in other vital minerals. Many immune system builders seem to become less effective if they are taken continuously so they don’t work as well when you really need them. Vitamin C, at 500-1000mg/day, spirulina at 3-6 tablets/day and Vitamin D at whatever dose indicated by blood work can be taken continuously for optimizing health.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Dr. Hogg

Breathe Your Stress Away!

By now probably everyone knows that too much stress can damage your health. It’s usually a factor in every chronic disease like cardiovascualr disease, diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition stress can contribute to:

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Immune system suppression and lowered resistance to infection
  • Digestive disturbance and ulcers
  • Increased vulnerability to injury and slowed injury healing
  • Hormone problems, especially involving estrogen, testosterone, thyroid hormone and DHEA
  • Accelerated aging
  • Fatigue
  • Allergies and asthma
  • Dehydration
  • Low back pain
  • Joint instability and difficulty holding adjustments
  • Impaired mental focus, ADD, ADHD
  • And much more

There are many ways you can help reduce your stress loads involving diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes but that will be the subject of another email. What I really want to cover this time is how you can use breathing to lower your stress levels.

The breath is very interesting. It’s a semi-conscious activity which means that you don’t have to think about it to make it happen…..fortunately! On the other hand, you *can* control it consciously if you want to. Because of this, the breath can act as a sort of back door into the subconscious.

You may know that I taught yoga for many years before becoming a chiropractor. I taught breathing techniques on a regular basis to help my patients relax and lower their stress levels. Recently, I’ve been teaching my patients to help lower their stress and reset their adrenals with these ancient yoga breathing exercises. I want to share two of these with you in this letter.

The first is very simple. Simply find a quiet place where you’ll be undisturbed for at least five minutes. Now close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths. Breathe down deep into your belly and let your chest gently expand. Don’t force the breath. Breathe slowly and deeply but don’t try to fill every little bit of your lungs. Keep it relaxed and pleasant. Focus on the breath, watching it come and go. If your attention wanders, that’s OK, just bring it gently back to the breath. Practice anywhere from three to ten minutes three to seven days per week.

The second technique is more complex but even better for lowering stress and taking a load off your adrenals. It’s called the “alternate nostril breath” or Nadhi Suddhi in the original Sanskrit. Use the same type of slow, deep breathing as above add nostril alteration.

Note: you need to be able to breathe through both nostrils to do this. If you have sinus problems you might want to stick with the first technique.

  1. Fold your index and middle fingers into the palm of your right hand, leaving your thumb, ring finger and little finger out.
  2. Take a slow, deep breath through both nostrils
  3. Block off your right nostril with your thumb and exhale through your left nostril
  4. Keep your right nostril blocked and inhale through your left nostril
  5. Block off your left nostril with your ring and little fingers and exhale through your right nostril
  6. keep your left nostril blocked and inhale through your right nostril
  7. Block off your right nostril with your thumb and exhale through your left nostril
  8. Continue as above for 1 – 10 minutes. Be sure to finish by exhaling through your right nostril
  9. To summarize, the air you breath in through one nostril, you breathe out through the other nostril. Out, in, switch, out, in, switch.
  10. For lefties, feel free to use your left hand
  11. If it’s more comfortable, you can leave your index and middle finger out, just don’t use them to block off your nostrils.

You’ll get best result with daily practice but even three or four times/week will make a big difference. Some people find that it works better to practice several times/day for just a minute or two. This breaks their daily stress cycle and they find it easier to fit in several, shorter periods rather than one longer one.

Use these techniques regularly to improve your life and breathe your stress away!

Dr. Hogg

Autoimmune thyroid and other problems more common than we thought

Recently, I’ve been investigating the possibility of autoimmune reactions (where your body’s immune system attacks your body instead of germs) as a cause of some difficult to treat problems in my patients. In particular, I’ve been looking at patients with chronic thyroid problems, patients who have been on synthroid or armor thyroid hormone replacement products etc.

There are some simple and inexpensive blood tests for autoimmune thyroid problems and for general autoimmune problems. I’ve sent a number of patients out for these tests and I’ve been a little surprised how many have come back positive, especially for the thyroid gland! Most of these patients had thyroid hormone blood tests run by their MD but none of them had the test for autoimmune thyroid run! Treating autoimmune thyroid problems requires a completely different approach than regular thyroid problems and some conventional thyroid treatments can actually make matters worse.

Other possible autoimmune related problems include: arthritis, macular degeneration and other vision problems, fibromyalgia symptoms, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus, scleroderma, connective tissue and muscle pain, allergies, ADD and ADHD.

I have some exciting new methods for testing and treating autoimmune related problems. If you think you may have problems in this area, especially thyroid problems, be sure to let me know. This is providing a key for many of our patients!

Dr. Hogg