Volume 12 • Number 2 • February 2011

Congress is reviving the debate on Health Care reform. And a federal judge has ruled that forcing people to buy health insurance is unconstitutional. In the heat of all the ideologies driving the discussion, one point is not being emphasized enough: Health Care reform changes very little how we provide care; it only improves ACCESS to a system that is dysfunctional, ineffective and downright chaotic. In other words, reform would make it easier for Americans to get pharmaceutical therapies that mostly treat symptoms, not the root of problems (That insurance companies and Big Pharma love Health Care reform should be a clue.) They would have better access to more expensive and often unnecessary tests that often are ordered to cover the provider’s butt from a possible lawsuit. Patients would also get more surgeries that have been proven to provide little relief, like back surgery.

We should not be forced to eat better,[1] nor should we be forced to pay for a dysfunctional health care system we don’t believe in; I don’t want to pay for symptomatic care I am trying to avoid by staying healthy. Sure, “you never know;” I may take ill one of these days, but I like my chances of avoiding that. To be driven by fear to buy into such a system does not seem right to me. Should we be compelled to get health insurance as we are compelled to buy car insurance? I say no, because they are not the same; mandatory car insurance makes sense, because a screw up often affects many people, most of them innocent victims. Health insurance is only for one person’s consequences of poor lifestyle choices that only affect him/her.

I am against Health Care reform for these reasons. I would much prefer a PUBLIC OPTION, underline option: let those who want to joint do so, and not compel every American to finance a broken system. The Public Option was opposed by the health Insurance Companies, a very good sign that it was good for us, the people. The big boys argued that a Public Option would put them out of business. Really, like Medicare/Medicaid did? The government-run Post Office has never threatened UPS of Federal Express, has it?

Hugo Rodier, MD

2010 leftovers

Even though the immune system in the gut is a reoccurring theme in this newsletter, I still cannot pass up on reporting on the article “Has the Microbiota Played a Critical Role in the Evolution of the Adaptive Immune System?”[2] It was published in the Journal Science, December 24th, 2010. When such august journal focuses its considerable attention on any issue, it is high time that doctors listen. Soon, you will see many doctors treating the gut more aggressively to improve immune system function, thereby catching up to what naturopaths have been doing for the last 100 years. It’s about time that our “Body’s Hardworking Microbes Get Some Overdue Respect.”[3] J. Science, December 17th 2010;330:1619

The other two articles that we cannot pass up are “Residential Proximity to Freeways and Autism[4] and “Serum Fluoride Level and Children’s Intelligence Quotient in Two Villages in China.”[5] Their implications are enormous. As previously reported, environmental toxins are causing a lot of health problems, especially in the developing brain of children. The former confirms previous reports that autism is likely an inability to properly detoxify pollutants and the latter shows that fluoride does dull the brain. It is no accident that fluoxetine or Prozac, has fluoride in it..

Eat breakfast!

Most Americans either eat some sugary cereal on the run, or skip breakfast altogether. Then, they wonder why they are so tired all day long. ahhh! There is “5 hour Energy” to rescue them. For starters, the commercial tells you right there what may be compounding the problem: it shows a rushed mother coming home from her fulltime job to take care of the kids, cook dinner and clean the house. To give her the energy she needs, she finally accepts her husband advice to take 5 hour energy, who happens to be sitting on the couch playing on his computer.

The other reason for being so tired is skipping breakfast.[6] Think of a rocket taking off into orbit; most of the fuel needed is precisely at take off (breakfast.) Fueling up the right way, with a meal that could well be dinner as far as the kinds of foods you eat, will likely fill you with the energy you need for the rest of the day. If rushed in the morning, fix a very large dinner the evening before and warm up the leftovers as you go get the paper, wake the kids up and let out the dog.

Skipping breakfast is likely to trigger a yo-yo effect on your blood sugar[7] the rest of the day; this problem is often referred to as “hypoglycemia,” which, obviously, will make your engine sputter. If this condition is present for protracted periods of time, you will get depressed, which further zaps you of energy.[8] And stress building up by running around, eating poorly and letting your husband get away with not pitching in on the housework will eventually wear out our glands of stress, the adrenals. Of course, you could always take the 5 hour energy and continue to whip a “tired horse.” Eventually, anyone living like this will break down, with considerable health consequences for the individual, his/her family and even the community at large. The cost of being rushed and frazzled has been found to be significant.[9]

The Tin Man growing obese

By now you know that oxidation/inflammation of the cell membrane leads you down the slippery slope of insulin resistance that will inexorably end in obesity and/or diabetes. Thinking about energy use or metabolism may help us focus on the problem and its solutions. First, we need good fuel/food to heal the cell membraneb>, or foods that are anti-inflammatory and carry optimal amounts of antioxidants, like whole foods, plants, fruits and nuts do.[10] We may also supplements antioxidants; they have been shown to reduce the risk of insulin resistance and even diabetes.[11] The best antioxidant is glutathione,[12] which may be increased in our body by supplementing SAMe, N-Acetyl-Cysteine, Alpha Lipoic acid, whey protein, etc.

Second, we need to eliminate toxins that not only “jam the engine,” but also act as oxidants and inflammatory agents on the cell membrane. This newsletter has previously reported on toxins being associated with diabetes and obesity. Articles to this effect continue to come out;[13] yet, our health care system consistently ignores the catastrophic implications of this emerging field.


The Tin Man growing arthritic

It follows from the above statement that toxins also play a role in arthritic conditions:

Short-term variations in air pollution may influence disease activity in established autoimmune rheumatic disease in humans. Our results add weight to concerns that pollution may be an important trigger of inflammation and autoimmunity.”[14]

It seems incredible that air pollution affects more than just the lungs; yet, articles continue to pile up that air pollution, and for that matter, any pollution (other toxins in water, food, soil, etc), affects all organs, from the brain to the heart and even unborn children. Come to think of it, pollution even affects sperm and eggs. So, pollution stinks; but, trying to make the problem smell better with scents won’t do: chemical scents have been shown to add to our toxicity burden.[15]

Arthritic conditions have exploded in our society, no doubt from pollution and pro inflammatory refined diets. We concede that our dogs get more arthritis eating out of cans and bags, yet, we have trouble associating our processed diets with our aches and pains; instead, our society prefers to take anti inflammatory drugs and suffer the side effects. It would be better to address these issues and take some anti inflammatory supplements already discussed herein (SAMe, Boswellia, Stinging nettle, Omega oils, vitamin D, goat’s whey, cherry juice, MSM sulfur, etc.) add to that list White button and Shiitake mushrooms.[16] In other words, take more MSM and eat less M&Ms.

Another thing you can do is optimize your immune system in the gut (see above.) We have previously discussed how the inflammation in your joints has its genesis in the imbalance of organisms in the gut, a result of bad foods lacking in fiber, antibiotics, acid-blocking drugs, chlorinated water, etc.[17] Correcting those problems and adding probiotics, or friendly bacteria will likely decrease inflammation throughout the body, including our joints. This is why this newsletter will always keep you updated on the latest research validating their use in many conditions, such as decreasing the risk of premature deliveries,[18] which are safe to take in pregnancy and very small babies.[19]

Not surprisingly, there is a strong association between Ulcerative Colitis and Chron’s (serious inflammatory diseases of the intestines) and arthritis.[20] And why is that so? The answer is the compromising of our healthy bacteria in the intestines. In fact, the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in childhood (and Accutane for acne treatment) has contributed to the high incidence of colitis.[21] This is yet another reason for the liberal use of probiotics when we take antibiotics; it would help to avoid taking the latter with every sniffle, cough or runny nose. After all, “it is not the germ, but the (inflamed/oxidized) terrain.” Pasteur.

[1]Can Congress Make you Buy Broccoli?” NEJM 2011;364:3

[2] J. Science 2010;330:1768

[3] J. Science, December 17th 2010;330:1619

[4] J. Environmental Health Perspectives, December 2010 ahead of print:-. doi:10.1289/ehp.1002835

[5] J. Environmental Health Perspectives, December 2010 ahead of print:-. doi:10.1289/ehp.1003171

[6]Effects of Eating Frequency, Snacking, and Breakfast Skipping on Energy Regulation: Symposium Overview,” J. Nutrition 2011;141: 1144

[7]Breakfast Frequency and Quality May Affect Glycemia and Appetite in Adults and Children,”
J. Nutrition 2011;\ 141:1163

[8]Association of Depressive Symptoms With Impaired Glucose Regulation, Screen-Detected, and Previously Known Type 2 Diabetes,” J. Diabetes Care, 2011;34:71

[9]Economic Costs of Neuroticism,” J. Archives of General Psychiatry 2011;67:1086

[10]Pecans Acutely Increase Plasma Postprandial Antioxidant Capacity and Catechins and Decrease LDL Oxidation in Humans,” J. Nutrition 2011 141: 156

[11]Multivitamins, Individual Vitamin and Mineral Supplements, and Risk of Diabetes Among Older U.S. Adults,” J. Diabetes Care 201; 34:108

[12]Glutathione Synthesis Is Diminished in Patients With Uncontrolled Diabetes and Restored by Dietary Supplementation With Cysteine and Glycine,” J. Diabetes Care 201;34:162

[13]Environmental Exposure, Obesity, and Parkinson’s Disease,” J. Environmental Health Perspectives 2011;119:20

[14]Associations between Ambient Fine Particulate Levels and Disease Activity in Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus,” J. Environmental Health Perspectives 2011;119:45

[15]Scented Products Emit a Bouquet of Volatile Organic Compounds,” J. Environmental Health Perspectives 2011;119:a16

[16]White Button and Shiitake Mushrooms Reduce the Incidence and Severity of Collagen-Induced Arthritis in Dilute Brown Non-Agouti Mice,” J. Nutrition 2011;141:1131

[17]The Gut-Joint Axis: cross reactive food antibodies in rheumatoid arthritis,” J. Gut 2006;55:1240

[18]Intake of probiotic food and risk of spontaneous preterm delivery,” Am J. Clin Nutr 2011;93:1151

[19]Probiotics for pregnant women and preterm neonates ,” Am J. Clin Nutr 2011;93:3

[20]The Clustering of Other Chronic Inflammatory Diseases in Inflammatory bowel Disease,” J. Gastroenterology 2005;129:827

[21]Antibiotic Use and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases in Childhood,” J. Gut 2011;60:49

Hugo Rodier, MD is an integrative physician based in Draper, Utah who specializes in healing chronic disease at the cellular level by blending proper nutrition, lifestyle changes, & allopathic practices when necessary.

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