Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bone Density and Osteoporosis

Have you had a bone density test?

Do you know what information a bone density test provides you?

Do you know if your calcium or vitamin D levels are in an optimal range?

Your bones are not just bones. Bones are actually a living organ system that protects your internal organs, give you strength and the ability to move, and they are a vital part of blood cell production.

All of the systems in your body, including your bones, are constantly being torn down and rebuilt. The old cells are recycled and new ones are created to take their place. As a growing child bones are very flexible, but as they age they become more brittle. If proper nutrition is not provided to nourish the bones they can become brittle or weak, because they are not able to properly rebuild. This process is called bone loss. Bone loss causes the bones to become more porous and less flexible; therefore, more breakable!

Using prescription drugs to prevent osteoporosis actually defeats the purpose. These drugs stop the bones from tearing down and rebuilding the old bone cells. Which results in more dense, but old, fragile bones. Some drugs claim to stop bone loss, however if we stop the body from doing what it is meant to do, we can not expect it to function properly. Preventing bones from getting rid of old, used bone cells does not result in stronger bones. Supporting the body's natural process of rebuilding is what we should be focusing on.

Calcium alone does not make strong bones. It requires vitamin D, phosphorus and magnesium in the proper ratios (among other things) to provide the nutrients that bones need to rebuild. This said, these nutrients must be in the proper ratios in order to be effective. For Example; eating a diet high in phosphorus can cause the body to pull calcium from the bones to help the body process excess phosphorus. Carbonated beverages are high in phosphorus, and phosphorus requires calcium to be utilized by the body; so by consuming soft drinks (soda) and having insufficient calcium in your diet, you are depleting your bones every time you drink a soda. The same process happens if you have a low blood calcium and your body needs calcium for something, it pulls it from your bones! Sugar can also upset the balance of phosphorus/calcium in your body. Osteoporosis is not just a problem for the elderly any more!

Vitamin D has been found to be a very important nutrient and is essential for calcium absorption. Most Americans are low in vitamin D because of a lack of sun in the winter time, and many use sunscreen when outdoors. It is important to know what your vitamin D levels are, and take a supplement if necessary. Vitamin D supplementation can be very tricky and if you do not use an easy to absorb form, you are wasting your money. Vitamin D supplementation should be monitored by a health care practitioner. Vitamin D is responsible for helping calcium to be absorbed, building the immune system, fighting some kinds of cancers, and believe it or not, scientists are still learning about this wonderful vitamin.

Magnesium is found in the bones, but is also used in other body functions. It is known to assist in muscle relaxation, cardiovascular function and many other processes in the body. Calcium and magnesium also work together just as calcium works with phosphorus and vitamin D. If magnesium levels are too low or too high, it can be a serious condition.

The acid in your stomach is also an important factor in the utilization of calcium and other nutrients. If antacids are taken to reduce stomach acid, then calcium is not properly broken down and it can not be utilized by the body. Some antacids brag that they have calcium in them, but the calcium in those antacids (calcium carbonate) is not easily absorbed by the body, and if the stomach acid is reduced by the antacid.... how are you supposed to digest that calcium anyway?

All forms of calcium are not created equally. Calcium citrate is the most readily absorbed by the body. Calcium lactate is great for muscle cramps, and calcium gluconate is most often used for children. Again, taking a calcium supplement without the supporting minerals and vitamins doesn't provide the proper balance, so it's important to discuss this with your doctor.

Osteoporosis can be prevented, and in most cases reversed. Nutrients are very important in this process, but weight bearing exercise is also very important. The bone's ability do stay dense hinges on the body's need for bone strength. If you compare a sedentary person and an active person of the same age and sex with similar diets, the active person will have a higher bone density than the sedentary person. The body only does what it deems is necessary for survival and if you are not using your bones, you lose them!

Most hip fractures are not caused by a fall, but instead, actually cause the fall. Spontaneous hip fracture is common in the elderly. Sometimes they are the result of a simple twist which snaps the bone and causes the person to fall. These hip fractures caused by osteoporosis tend to force the individual to be confined to a wheelchair and can be very painful. Many people never fully recover from this type of fracture. Many times these painful falls could be prevented by proper dietary changes, regular weight bearing exercise, and necessary supplementation.

A bone density test can be done at any age, and provides you a comparison of what your bones look like compared to other healthy people your age. This information can be a pivotal point in your own personal health care goals. Having your bone density and vitamin levels checked is crucial in managing bone loss. Call us today to schedule an appointment to make sure that your bones are healthy and strong.

For a short video on Osteoporosis click here.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

You really are what you eat!!!

Hippocrates said "Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food." This statement is as important now as it was then. Nutrition that we gain from our foods and nutritional supplementation are more beneficial than drugs for most any condition. The body knows what to do with food substances. It many times does not know what to do with chemicals or drugs. Drugs cause the body to have a specific reaction, which is why they are used. Unfortunately, forcing the body to react a certain way in one area... may cause other body parts, organs or processes to be negatively effected. If you watch the commercials on TV about prescription drugs, they are always followed by a disclaimer that says what all of the side effects could be, and some of them say that liver (or other) testing is required, to monitor possible negative effects.

The body is so complex, and has the innate ability to heal itself when the components that it requires are made available. The sources of these components are very important. Using food as a source for nutrients is multifaceted when it comes to the benefits that the body receives. For example, a medium sized apple contains about 80 calories. These 80 calories not only contain necessary fiber and vitamin C, but potassium and natural sugars. These small things are utilized by the entire body, not just one part. Apples also burn more calories during digestion than they provide when consumed. The same with broccoli, grapefruit and many other fresh food options. For more information on negative calorie foods visit our website at

In healthy individuals most of the nutrients that are required by the body can be delivered by a well balanced diet. On the other hand, if a body is not functioning properly or a disease process has already developed, higher concentrations of nutrients may be required to reverse the effects. In this situation supplementation is necessary. As we age we also lose the ability to process, create and absorb some nutrients that our bodies need to stay healthy. A good example of this is calcium. As we age our stomach acid becomes weaker and this makes the absorption of calcium more difficult. This process, coupled with other changes that happen to our bodies as we age (like lack of physical activity, and reduced sun exposure) can lead to osteoporosis in some individuals. As you can imagine, nutritional supplementation is required to combat these types of conditions.

Poor dietary choices and malnutrition have been linked to Fibromyalgia, ADHD, ADD, Heart Disease, Diabetes and many other preventable illnesses. Most times with nutritional counseling and supplementation to level out the body's functions, persons in an ill state of health find their symptoms are greatly reduced or eliminated.

In most cases, a pharmaceutical drug is not necessary to achieve optimal health. Of course in an acute situation, drugs may be required to quickly restore a bodily function. Prevention of these acute situations is the best way to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Each of us is created differently, and our body's ability to process nutrients varies. Proper nutrition and necessary nutritional supplementation will differ from person to person. As I mentioned before, the body is a complex system, and each of its functions depends on another equally important function to operate at its optimum level. If one of our body's systems is not functioning at an optimal level, it affects the entire body.

In short... a healthy life requires that you do a few important things, and not do a few things

  • Eat a well balanced diet - lean protein, fresh vegetables, raw fruits, whole grains, healthy fats....
  • Exercise regularly - one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy
  • Drink lots of CLEAN water - The body requires water free from chlorine, fluorine and other chemicals.
  • Take your supplements - if your body is not functioning at its optimal level, dietary changes and supplementation maybe required to return it to a healthy level.
  • Get some sun - 10-15 minutes of unprotected sun 3-4 times a week is important for health
  • Avoid inflammatory foods - Cows Milk, Pork, Chocolate, fried foods refined sugars and processed flours

  • Smoke - if you do, STOP
  • Eat hydrogenated/trans fats - change to healthy oils and fats (olive oil, nuts etc...)
  • Eat refined sugars and processed flours - if it comes in a package.... it's likely not good for you
  • Drink carbonated beverages - Diet or not, avoid all soda. It has no nutritional value and depletes nutrients that your body needs

Following these simple rules can help your body function as it was meant to. Eating a healthier diet can reduce inflammation, help maintain a healthy weight and increase energy! Each of us must be responsible for our own health, and if something doesn't seem right, check it out. The doctors in our clinic focus on whole body health, and we think that you should too!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Homeopathic HCG

Homeopathic remedies are created based on the idea that “Like treats Like.” For hundreds of years, people have been treated using this philosophy. Homeopathic physicians learned that if you find a substance that causes a specific symptom in an individual, when you reduce it down to minute particles in water, it can cure those symptoms. The final result of this dilution leaves only a “pattern” of the original substance, but because the body knows how to react to the substance, it also recognizes the pattern of it. This works very well in instances where the substance itself causes side effects, because the homeopathic version will not cause side effects.

Recently, our office started to offer a homeopathic HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) to our patients who wish to lose weight, and we are seeing amazing results. This product is less invasive than the original HCG, which was a daily shot. It is also much more economical than the actual hormone, and as I mentioned before, it has none of the well documented side effects. Watching people lose 20-30 pounds in a month has to be one of the most exciting things we get to do in our clinic. Not to mention that many of the people who have used the HCG homeopathic drops to lose those stubborn extra pounds are keeping the weight off. Some of these individuals have continued to lose weight after they completed their drops.

Our office offers nutritional counseling for those who are interested, and with our help you can reset your metabolism for permanent results. Following the HCG diet has its benefits also. We are finding that once a person stops eating carbohydrates and sugar for the 23-40 days that they are taking the drops, they no longer crave these things like before. This benefit is an amazing one, because it makes following a healthy eating plan much easier. We recommend that once the drops have been completed a person eat at least 6 small meals/snacks a day and choose good healthy foods. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, lean protein and whole grains are what we suggest for a healthy lifestyle.

Packaged foods are typically very low in nutrition and high in calories. If you eliminate these types of food from your diet, you will feel better, have more energy, avoid many chronic illnesses and live a longer more active life. Adding exercise to this great eating plan increases the benefits of a healthy diet even more!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Are Energy Drinks a good idea?

Do you or your children drink energy drinks such as Red Bull, Monster or Rock Star? Have you ever read the label on these drinks?

I think that everything you put in your body should be considered for its nutritional value. Empty calories are definitely one of the reasons that America is the most overweight society in the world. What I mean by empty calories is, food or drinks that we consume which have very little nutritional benefit per calorie.

Energy drinks, though they do give you a burst of energy, are full of caffeine and sugar. One energy drink may have as much as 6 times the caffeine as a similar sized soda. Caffeine raises heart rate, and if consumed in high quantities, a person with heart problems could die from altered heart rhythm.

Some of the symptoms caused by energy drinks are:

  • Heart Rate Acceleration or Irregular Beat

  • Dehydration (caused by the diuretic effects of caffeine and excessive sweating)

  • Stomach Problems

  • Fatigue

  • Insomnia

  • High Blood Pressure

  • Weight Gain

  • Irritability

Energy drinks were not designed to quench your thirst. They do not hydrate the body, in fact, they cause dehydration through excess sweat production and frequent urination. This can cause an imbalance in electrolytes, which are what help your heart function properly. Caffeine can also cause heart burn.

Many people find that when they use energy drinks they have a boost of energy, but then they feel tired later, which causes them to drink more energy drinks. If you consume high doses of caffeine in the afternoon, it can disrupt normal sleep patterns and cause you to feel less rested in the morning. Which leads to weight gain, and irritability. Some things never change. Remember the Dr. Pepper sign is 10, 2 & 4, denoting the time of day you should consume it to cure the craving.

Consumption of sugar is linked to a low functioning immune system, ADD, ADHD, Fibromyalgia and many other physical ailments including Candida overgrowth. Reducing daily intake of sugar is recommended for all ages.

The natural approach to eliminating these drinks from your diet would be:

  • Get enough sleep ( most people need 7-8 hours a night to feel rested)

  • Get daily exercise - 20 minutes of walking at a fast pace

  • Eat more nutritious foods - get the best out of the calories you consume

  • Take a multi vitamin with B-Complex ( B vitamins help the body process glucose and turn it into energy)

Using chemicals to alter your body function is never recommended to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Doctors are still learning what high amounts of caffeine can do to a growing child. Parents should definitely limit intake of caffeine in children.

For a list of foods and their nutrients go to

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

March Madness - Health Check Up

March is spring cleaning time, and the start of exterior home maintenance. The cold temperatures and freezing precipitation tend to take a toll on everything they come in contact with. As you walk around your home and yard this spring, surveying your next home improvement project, think about the other place you live, your body.

Over the years, time and environment take a toll on our bodies. Some of the wear and tear can be easily seen, like dry flaky skin, eczema and wrinkles. Other things like arterial plaque, cholesterol levels, bone density and organ health are not so easily spotted. Many people are not well versed on how to provide their bodies with nutritional food, and most get little or no exercise.

Fortunately, the residents in and around Rolla, MO have Kessinger Health and Wellness Diagnostic Centre to assist them with everything from aging gracefully, to whole body health. Providing nutritional information, top of the line supplements and holistic health care to people from all over the US, is something that makes us very proud. Each year, during the Month of March, we offer a great deal on a comprehensive health checkup. March Madness provides our patients with an economical option for an annual whole body check up.

Participants of March Madness have two options; for $199 you may receive a complete blood profile, Blood Pressure, Pulse and Oxygen levels, and a choice of one diagnostic test, or for $250 add all of our diagnostic testing options such as:

  • Computerized EKG/ ECG (for heart)
  • Computerized Spirometry (lung function)
  • Microscopic/Chemical Urinalysis (kidney)
  • Bone Density Testing (for Osteoporosis)
  • Body Fat Analysis (BMI)
  • Doppler Carotid Study (for circulation)

This spring while you are surveying your yard and home for repairs, check in with your body, and schedule a comprehensive health checkup. Let us help you live a longer, more active life.