Bang for your Buck

 

Some people don’t like taking supplements, and others feel like they’re taking too many.  If you’re looking to cut down on your pill load or thinking that maybe the 3 meals a day your eating from McDonalds may not be sufficiently meeting all your nutritional needs and it would be a cold day in hell before you ate a piece of kale, this one’s for you.

When people ask me what one thing they can add to an already moderately healthy diet to ensure their body has what it needs to operate at a high level, I would recommend Thorne’s Mediclear Plus.  It’s the supplement equivalent to the pool table that moonlights as a ping pong table.  Only imagine it also turned into a pinball machine, a hot tub, and cleaned your bathroom when you while simultaneously giving you a foot massage.

Not only is it a multivitamin, multi mineral, organic rice and pea based protein supplement, it also contains a useful combination of herbal extracts like green tea, curcumin, grape seed, and quercetin that can help treat and prevent many common chronic diseases.  And for all you pill haters out there, it happens to be a powder you can mix into your smoothies or drink with juice.

We at Spokes Clinic are featuring the product for the rest of the Summer and offering a 20$ discount off the 98$ MSRP through August 31 ($78 for those who are arithmetic averse).  We will also be blogging through some of the ingredients that help make this a winning combination for the athlete and couch potato alike.

 

So you got an Autoimmune Disease. It’s time to Stop Beating Yourself Up.

Autoimmunity is an unfortunate situation where your immune system starts wreaking havoc on your own tissues.  This results in debilitating symptoms characteristic of the tissue being attacked.

People develop autoimmunity via “molecular mimicry”, a process based on cross reactivity between proteins found on infectious agents and those found in our body.   It starts with a relatively benign infection in a genetically susceptible individual that leads to our body’s mounting of an immune response against a part of a bacteria or virus that looks very similar to our own.  Our immune molecules can’t tell the difference between the proteins in our body and the ones on the bacteria and end up attacking our own tissue, and subsequently destroy the innocent bystander.  The result is inflammation, fatigue, and destruction of important parts of our body.

One recent example that illustrates this point was learned from the recent H1N1 Swine flu vaccinations in Finland.  This was one of the most powerful examples of this concept to date.  Following mass immunizations of all the kids in Finland, there was a dramatic rise in the number of kids developing narcolepsy.  Upon further analysis, there’s a protein sequence on the H1N1 virus (hemagglutinin protein) that looks very similar to a proton in our brain that keeps us awake called hypocretin.  In genetically susceptible individuals, the immune reaction against the vaccine triggered the destruction of their hypocretin, and subsequently their daytime alertness (read more here: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0033723#pone-0033723-g003).  Other examples tissues susceptible to autoimmune conditions are:

  • Brain (MS),
  • Joints (Rheumatoid arthritis, Ankylosing spondylitis),
  • Thyroid (Hashimoto’s and Graves disease)
  • Hair (Alopecia Totalis),
  • Skin (Psoriasis, Dermatomyositis),
  • Bowels (Crohn’s, Celiac, Ulcerative colitis),
  • Liver (Primary Biliary Sclerosis), or
  • Any other part of our body (Lupus).
  • And many more…

Many people who have one autoimmune condition likely have others as well.  Medicine has traditionally employed an arsenal of sledge-hammer like immune suppressants that can be expensive, difficult to tolerate, and have a myriad of side effects.  These drugs can certainly help people feel better and slow progression of the disease, but they do nothing to address the underlying cause.   There are also some instances where despite being on one or more of these drugs, flare ups still occur.  So what can we do about it?

Fortunately, we now have an invaluable tool to pull the rug out from under the autoimmune process. Just like being able to desensitize against allergy to pollens, we can desensitize people to the proteins that caused their illness. It’s an adaptation of Low Dose Allergen therapy, a bimonthly injection immunotherapy to desensitize people to allergens. The only difference is that in stead of using inhalant allergens to desensitize hay fever, we use proteins that are known triggered your autoimmune disease.  You would get an injection on 2 month intervals to start, and we would space them out further once remission is sustained.

This therapy does not require that one stops their current medication, however medications can often be reduced or eliminated once there’s objective evidence that the inflammation has ceased. If you have an autoimmune condition (or allergies for that matter -it works for those too), and you’d like to possibly be free from it, please give us a ring.  If you live nowhere near Summerland BC, either move here or email us to help you find a trained LDA physician in your area.

Kindly,

Dr. Bentham

 

For the Snow Birds

It’s almost that time of year up here in Canada where those of us who are able to get the heck out of dodge before the winter hits start making our way south.

Whether your getaway is short or long, if you’re planning on spending the winter months basking on sun-filled beaches, the biggest impediment to an enjoyable time away is the dreaded traveller’s diarrhea.

While viruses and parasites are sometimes the culprit, the most commonly identified bacterial cause is from ETEC (enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli).   ETEC secretes toxins that can wreak havoc on your intestines.  Who’s at risk for developing traveller’s diarrhea?  If you are immunosuppressed, have an inflammatory bowel disease, or diabetes, you’re a little more at risk.  Also, if you’re taking an acid blocking medication, you will also be at higher risk.  The harsh acidic environment of our stomach kills most bugs before they reach our intestines.  It’s our intestines main line of defense.

So what can you do other than the standard “don’t drink the water” type recommendations?  I suggest you put together a travel arsenal and take it with you.  I like to refer to the strategy as a “weed and feed” approach.  In a ziploc bag, I suggest you bring the following:

1.  ”Weeding” agent number 1: Oil of Oregano.  The idea here is to have a regular flow of naturally occurring, safe, and effective agents that will nuke the bugs that you are likely to encounter.  A 2005 study looked at 324 different strains of disease causing bacterial strains from Mexico and tested them against 11 common essential oils.  Origanum vulgare (oregano), Cinnannomum verum (cinnamom), and Thymus vulgaris (thyme) exhibited the highest and broadest antibacterial activity against the tested bacteria including E. coli.  If you have any of these already, take what you’ve got.  If not, here’s what I recommend.

This stuff is potent, I recommend putting a few drops in a bit of juice rather than taking it on it’s own.  Tomato juice, in my experience, cuts the taste the most.  Warning: you may smell like pizza for a few minutes.

2.  Weeding agent number 2:  Allisyn.  Allisyn is a potent extract of garlic and cinnamon that covers for other parasites (like Giardia) and the bacteria that causes cholera (Vibrio cholerae).

2.  The Feeding agent.  Some high grade probiotics.  I recommend HMF Forte by Genestra.   This is something you take prophylactically.  You want the healthy bacteria there to crowd out the harmful ones.

With the three agents listed above, I recommend taking the probiotics in morning, and the oil of oregano and Allisyn in the evening rather than together.

If you’re planning a trip, and you’d like us to put this kit together for you, give us a ring (250-494-9496) or send us an email (info@spokesclinic.com) and we’ll send it out to you ASAP.  If you have any further questions about health concerns related to travel or prescriptions you may want to have on hand when you go, come see us in Summerland before you leave.

Godspeed,

Dr. Bentham

For more information and some nerdy science, see the link below.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3847712/

Do you have Eczema, Asthma, and/or Seasonal Allergies?

These are common problems caused by an inappropriate immune response toward certain food and inhalant allergens.  The mainstays the naturopathic treatment of these conditions include the identification and avoidance of the things that trigger them.  While this often produces excellent results, there are instances where food avoidance is unsustainable and giving away your favourite pet is not an option.  I’m pleased to now be able to offer a therapy that directly targets the underlying cause of these conditions – the inappropriate immune response.

LDA (short for “low dose allergens”, or ultra low dose enzyme activated immunotherapy) is a method of immunotherapy enhanced by a minute dose of the enzyme, beta glucuronidase.  The beta glucuronidase activates extremely miniscule doses of various allergens and stimulates the production of T Regulator (T Reg) cells.  These cells actively “switch off” helper cells that are erroneously causing patients to be ill by misidentifying normal substances in the body to be allergens.  T-cells may live for long periods of time in the bloodstream, so LDA needs to be administered only every 2 months at first, and then less often as time passes, generally with one to three tiny (1/20 c.c.) intradermal (in the first layer of skin) injections on the inner aspect of the forearm.

Note this is not the same therapy as traditional allergy shots.  No testing is required before therapy, as the injections are a combination of a number of common environmental and food allergens.

Speak soon,

Dr. Bentham

 

"Start me up!" -Mick Jagger on Sublingual Immunotherapy

Spokes Clinic is proud to announce we now offer skin scratch testing and sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) for allergy desensitization.  SLIT is a safe and effective alternative to subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots) for the treatment of seasonal allergies, asthma, and eczema.

What is sublingual immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy treats the cause of allergies by giving small doses of what a person is allergic to, which increases “immunity” or tolerance to the allergen and reduces the allergic symptoms. Unlike injection immunotherapy, which is given as shots, sublingual immunotherapy is given as drops under the tongue.

How does the process work?
The first step is to confirm a patient’s allergies through allergy testing. Then, a custom-mixed vial of drops is prepared for the patient. The patient takes drops under the tongue daily. During the first few months, called the “escalation phase,” the dosage is gradually increased. After that, in the “maintenance phase,” the patient takes the same dose of drops each day.

Is sublingual immunotherapy safe?
It is very safe, for both adults and children. Patients take the drops in the convenience of their own homes instead of going to the doctor’s office every week for shots. The World Health Organization (WHO) has endorsed sublingual immunotherapy as a viable alternative to injection immunotherapy.

Does it work?
Many published scientific studies have shown that it significantly reduces allergy symptoms.

How long must I continue the treatment?
We recommend that patients keep using the drops for three to five years so that the body will build up a lasting “immunity.”

How do I start sublingual immunotherapy?
Call Dr. Bentham’s office (250-494-9496) for allergy testing and an evaluation to see if you are likely to benefit from sublingual immunotherapy. If you are, the vials take one to two weeks to mix. Dr. Bentham will see you up to 2-4 times per year to monitor your progress. During therapy, when your last vial is half empty, please call our office to order your new vial.

What are the costs?
Following an initial consultation, skin scratch testing costs 150$ and is covered by many extended health providers.  Treatment then costs about 80$/month.

Speak soon,

Dr. Bentham