Vitamin Mystery Solved at Seattle’s Vitality Medical Clinic

Seattle, how do you choose your vitamins?

From unknown manufacturing processes to mystifying ingredients, trumped up labeling claims, and sponsored research studies, there are few topics quite as confusing as vitamin and mineral supplementation.

Yet most Americans purchase vitamins and supplements one of two ways: either buying them in bulk at a local discount warehouse, or choosing the one with the best-sounding label off the pharmacy shelf.  Neither of these methods is an optimum solution for many reasons, but mostly because every human body is not created equal.

The same is true of vitamin equality—some brands don’t have the right combination of vitamins and nutrients (did you know that some nutrients can cancel out the effectiveness of others when taken together?). Other brands contain fillers, woefully inadequate levels, or non-certified ingredients that aren’t effective no matter how high their dose is.

Inadequate intake or subtle deficiencies in several vitamins are risk factors for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.” — The Journal of the American Medical Association

Put simply, taking vitamins and supplements while being “in the dark” about what your body needs is dangerous—causing imbalances, pro-oxidant effects and actually inducing deficiencies in other nutrients as a side effect. Add in some of the recently published reports about the “dangers of vitamins,” and you might think it’s better to avoid vitamins altogether…

Can vitamins really kill you?

Two recent supplementation studies sparked all sorts of “your vitamins may be killing you” headlines in mainstream media last month. Both studies implied that vitamins could be dangerous, yet what the media didn’t make clear is that both studies were based on blind versus targeted supplementation.

The first report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that vitamin E supplements increased the risk of prostate cancer by 17%.1 However critics quickly argued that the vitamin E study was flawed because only one of the eight naturally occurring forms of vitamin E was given, causing an imbalance in alpha vs. gamma tocopherols that ironically is linked to cancer 3,4 (a similar difference exists between Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids).

The second report in the Archives of Internal Medicine concluded that the incidence of death increased in elderly women who took common supplements such as B vitamins and certain minerals.2 Critics of this study emphasize that actual nutrient levels were never tested; instead the data about pre-existing vitamin levels was estimated from questionnaires.

So how’s a body to know? Let your body tell you!

There is only one way to know exactly what your optimum vitamin supplementation needs are: a SpectraCell micronutrient test at Vitality Medical Clinic in Seattle.

This incredibly comprehensive blood test analyzes exactly what nutrients are getting inside your cells—not just floating around in the serum around your cells. A SpectraCell test directly measures the functional status of 33 nutrients and antioxidant capacity of T-cell lymphocytes—those cells with a comparatively longer lifespan relative to other cells.

The results? An in-depth 4-6 month picture of your body’s nutritional history from the inside out, along with a close indication of overall immune function—both of which enable the physicians at Vitality Medical Clinic to create a customized vitamin program designed specifically for your body’s nutritional needs.

And because Vitality’s vitamin programs prescribe only medical grade supplements (also known as “neutraceuticals”), you can be sure that you are finally giving your body exactly what it needs, in the most healthy form possible, with the greatest chance of preventing future health conditions.

Micronutrient testing is quite simply the only objective, scientific approach to vitamin and mineral supplementation. For more information, call Vitality Medical Clinic in Seattle at (206) 622-5300 today!

Sources:
1Klein EA ,Thompson IM Jr, Tangen CM et al.  Vitamin E and the risk of prostate cancer: the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT).  JAMA 2011;306(14):1549-1556.
2Mursu J, Robien K, Harnack LJ et al.  Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older Women: The Iowa Women’s Health Study.  Arch Int Med 2011;171(18)1625-1633.
3Helzlsouer KJ, Huang HY, Alberg AJ et al.  Association between alpha-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, selenium, and subsequent prostate cancer.  J Natl Cancer Inst.  2000;92(24):2018-2023.
4Lippman SM, Klein EA, Goodman PJ, et al.  Effect of selenium and vitamin E on risk of prostate cancer and other cancers: the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT).  JAMA. 2009;301(1):39-51.

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Increase your Testosterone Naturally

New statistics show that Americans are living longer. The same, however, cannot be said about quality of life. Thinning hair, weight gain, muscle atrophy, memory problems, fatigue, and disease are just a few of the signs of aging and depending on severity can impact our quality of life. Many doctors prescribe medications that can help with these symptoms individually but neglect to look at the underline cause. What is the common denominator that both sexes share and can be linked to many of the symptoms of aging? The answer: hormones or rather declining hormone levels.

For men, testosterone is the culprit and it starts a slow decline after the age of 35. Testosterone is most commonly known for its role in building muscle, masculinizing men, and increasing libido. Testosterone, however, does so much more. It plays a role in cardiovascular health, bone health, and increases energy and drive. There are many ways that a man can increase testosterone naturally, here are a few:

Diet
Sugar and processed foods can all negatively impact testosterone levels. Limiting sugar and focusing on an organic whole foods diet, which limits our exposure to pesticides, has a positive impact on testosterone levels. Benefits are also seen when limiting alcohol consumption. Alcohol stimulates an enzyme called aromatase, which converts testosterone into estrogen. Aromatase is found in fat tissue, so losing weight can positively affect testosterone levels.

Exercise
Low testosterone increases weight gain and being overweight reduces testosterone. One answer, then, is to lose weight. Weight loss requires both a healthy diet and exercise program. In addition to aiding in weight loss, exercise helps build muscle, and muscle promotes testosterone. Try weight lifting 2-3 times per week. Studies also show that doing cardio exercise after lifting weights helps to distribute testosterone throughout the body.

Sleep
Sleeping 7-8 hours a night has numerous health benefits. When it comes to testosterone it turns out sleep promotes testosterone. Ways to improve sleep and quality of sleep include: no screen time 1 hour before bed, go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, avoid eating/drinking 3 hours before bedtime, and sleep in a dark, cool room.

Stress management
Chronic stress opposes testosterone, and when testosterone is at an optimal level can oppose chronic stress. Cortisol is one hormone that is preferentially made at times of stress. It is made at the expense of testosterone, so finding effective ways of managing stress is crucial. Try new techniques for managing stress like diaphragmatic breathing, acupuncture, massage, or herbal supplements.

While the above strategies are helpful, sometimes men need more. Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) offers another option for those who feel they need a little more or need a push. Women have long been enjoying the benefits of BHRT, but it is not just for women. Men too can see the affects of aging slowed by taking bio-identical hormones. Bio-identical hormones, unlike synthetic hormones, are made from precursors found in plants, typically soy or wild yam. They are identical to the ones made by the human body and are extremely safe to use. They effectively mitigate many of the symptoms of aging.

Optimizing hormone levels is an effective strategy for slowing the aging process. Whether it is through diet and lifestyle changes, through the use of bio-identical hormones, or a combination of both, optimal hormone levels may be the answer to bringing our health and wellbeing span more in line with our lifespan. For more information about optimizing hormone levels, schedule a free 30 minute consult with Drs. Tami Meraglia or Scott Moser.

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Does Adrenal Fatigue Have you Down?

Tired? Grumpy? Depressed? Gaining weight? Stressed? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may be battling adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is a non-specific collection of symptoms that affects multiple body systems and is caused by chronic stress.

Adrenal glands are two pyramidal shaped glands, about the size of a walnut, that sit on top of each kidney. They release hormones that are involved in blood pressure regulation, electrolyte balance, blood sugar usage, and the stress response. A small amount of estrogen and testosterone is also made here. Stress puts these organs into overdrive but over time their function becomes diminished causing a whole cascade of negative effects.

When it comes to adrenal fatigue, the greatest impact is on cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that is released during times of stress and increases blood sugar to be used as quick energy, which is necessary for the “fight or flight” response. Cortisol is also involved in the sleep cycle. Cortisol is typically at its highest level between 6 and 8 a.m. and at its lowest level between 10 p.m. and 12 a.m. When cortisol levels are out of balance, as seen in adrenal fatigue, sleep cycles are greatly disturbed. Waking up in the middle of night is common and further adds to fatigue.

Luckily, adrenal fatigue is easy to detect, yet many doctors do not test for it. A salivary cortisol test is the single best way to detect adrenal fatigue. It requires four samples of saliva to be collected throughout the day. The advantage of this test is that it allows for a very accurate picture of how your adrenal glands are functioning throughout the day.

Treatment for adrenal fatigue is much more complex and requires an individualized approach. Diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management are the four pillars of health, and the treatment of adrenal fatigue often requires addressing one or all of these areas. Being tested for adrenal fatigue and sitting down with your doctor to develop a program specific to you is your best weapon for battling this condition. Say goodbye to adrenal fatigue and have your adrenals tested today.

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Botox® for Migraines? Uncovering other medical uses for the proven wrinkle-eraser

Botulinum toxin is a protein derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It was once considered the most deadly substance in the world. So deadly, in fact, that the US government studied its use as a biological weapon during World War II. The US Office of Strategic Services (OSS) developed a plan to use Chinese prostitutes to assassinate Japanese officials with whom they consorted with. The plan was to use small capsules that could be easily concealed on the woman and slipped into the officer’s food or drink. The capsules were made, but the plan never came to fruition.
 
It is from this same toxin that Botox® and its FDA approved competitor, Dysport®, are made. Scary right? Not really. In minute amounts, which Botox® contains, it is incredibly useful in medicine. Botox® is often just associated with its cosmetic uses, but it actually has over 20 approved medical uses in 80 countries and many more exciting uses are being explored. It is successfully used to treat some forms of incontinence, eye muscle disorders, TMJ, and excessive sweating. Last fall the FDA approved its use in the treatment of migraines.
 
This is exciting news for those who have tried eliminating migraine triggers and have tried multiple supplements and prescriptions without success. Some insurance companies will even pay for a portion of the cost. This is good news because a typical treatment for migraines requires about 150 units to be injected in 31 different sites along the forehead, temples, neck, and upper back. To pup this is perspective, a typical cosmetic treatment requires only about 25-30 units. For those with chronic migraines, however, finding an effective treatment is life-changing, and well worth the cost. By eliminating migraines, Botox® might indirectly help get rid of some of those frown lines!

Botox® provides relief for a whole host of ailments and will undoubtedly continue to be in the news as research uncovers its effectiveness in treating more than just wrinkles. To learn more about using Botox® to treat migraine pain, or to take advantage of Botox’s renowned ability to erase wrinkles, schedule an appointment today.

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Fall: The Perfect Time to Revitalize YOU

Fall is definitely in the air. The harbingers of fall – cooler temperatures, rainy weather, and changing colors – also signal a new beginning.

Have you ever wondered why leaves change colors? As nights grow longer, chlorophyll production slows and eventually stops. Thus revealing two other components of the plant: carotenoids and anthocyanins. The carotenoids provide the yellow, brown and orange, while the anthocyanins provide the reds. Affected by the lack of light, the cold temperatures, and soil moisture, these leaves eventually lose their color and fall. The energy that was once in the leaves is now stored within the branches and promise new life in spring.

In fall, we go through a similar transformation. Many of us become more introspective, providing an opportunity for new insights and awareness. Fall is time to take advantage of that awareness and strive for a healthier, happier, more vital you. Here are tips to help you on your journey:

Eat your Veggies
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, only four percent of women and six percent of men eat enough vegetables. So, what are you eating? We all know vegetables are packed full of healthy, protective nutrients, but many of us do not think of vegetables as fuel. Vegetables, because of their fiber content, give us sustained energy – energy that convenience foods lack. Try eating vegetables as snacks and at every meal.

Lay off the Caffeine
To make up for the fuel we are not getting from our diet, we reach for caffeine. The average American drinks 3-4 cups a coffee a day. For many this means poor sleep and midday crashes. The remedy: more coffee. To get out of this cycle lay off the Joe for one week. Once over that dreaded caffeine headache, many people report feeling more energetic.

Address your Stress
Stress truly is an epidemic in this country. It causes or worsens many health conditions, and many people have poor ways of dealing with stress.The first step is to recognize your stressors. This may sound simple, but we can reach a point that everything stresses us out. We end up forgetting the thing that triggered it all. Try diaphragmatic breathing. It’s easy, cheap, effective, and can be done anywhere.

Exercise
As days get shorter and nights longer, it is common for many to start feeling down. If this happens to you, change emotion with motion. The exercise you choose does not even have to be strenuous — just move your body. Numerous studies have shown that those who exercise live 3-7 years longer than couch potatoes.

Drink More Water
Very few of us drink enough water. Even mild dehydration can affect our mood, reduce our concentration, and zap our energy. Depending on your lifestyle, the standard recommendation of eight, 8-ounce glasses per day may not be enough. Instead shoot for half you body weight in ounces.

Strengthen your Relationships
The more isolated we feel the more vulnerable to stress we become. Strengthening our relationships with family and friends cultivates a strong support network. Researchers from the Nurses’ Health Study found that women were less likely to develop physical ailments as they aged if they had close friends. Results were so significant that these same researchers concluded that not having close friends or confidants can be just as detrimental to health as smoking or carrying extra weight.

Do a detox
The human body is always detoxing, but we can take steps to enhance its ability. Choosing organic produce and meats and ridding our home of possible toxins are great places to start. A medically supervised detox, however, might be a better choice for you.
Fall’s bounty provides some great detox foods like beets, squash, cabbage, kale and other leafy greens. They all provide powerful antioxidant protection and stimulate enzymes in that help neutralize and excrete toxins.
Some effective ways of minimizing environmental exposures include removing your shoes before entering your home, checking your cleaning and beauty products, stop cooking with non-stick cookware, and drinking water.

Be with Nature
A series of studies published in the June 2010 issue of The Journal of Environmental Psychology all came to the same conclusion: being outdoors and exposed to nature increases vitality. One study, in fact, demonstrated that just the thought of being outside increased vitality. Seattle is full of amazing neighborhoods, parks, and walking trails. Take advantage of the beautiful Northwest and get outside.

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Where Were You on 9/11?

Where were you on September 11?

For many in my generation, 9/11 was our JFK moment.  I remember hearing my parents recite exactly where they were and what they were doing when they received the news that President Kennedy had been shot.  I am sure many of you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when the news of the twin towers in New York hit.

For me, I was in New York.  I was working in the Pediatric Department of a New York hospital.  I remember arriving to work and looking at the TV in the lobby, thinking I needed to change the content due to the violent nature, when I realized it was “live.”

Within minutes we were all gathered to hear the terrible news; an airplane had struck one of the Twin Towers.  A group of us physicians went to the window where we witnessed the second airplane hitting the second tower.  Internal alarms and immediate calculations started to occur in all our minds.  How many survivors, how long before they arrived in our hospital, was there going to be another plane…

We were put on “red alert” and told that we would likely need to make our way to donate blood at some point in the day.  Meanwhile, there were sick children, confused and scared parents, and the day to day work of caring, diagnosing and treating to be done.

To be honest, the rest of the day was a blur.  I would receive updates when I emerged out of a treatment room only to go back in with another sick child.  The day passed somehow and then we started to wait.  We waited and waited for survivors.  But there were none.  Late into the evening we were told to go home.

I usually took the subway back home but all the subways were shut down.  I took a city bus and took in all the sites, sounds and smells of the city as we slowly made our way through the route.  One of the things that anyone present at 9/11 in New York will tell you is that there was an odor.  It was indescribable, it permeated everywhere, and smelled like nothing you can identify.

The days following 9/11 were filled with more surreal experiences.  New York City was quiet; no airplanes overhead, no talking, no subways, just a heavy muffled ghost of what used to be.

Eventually people started to talk, to light candles, to smile and look each other in the eye.  New York felt at that moment like a small, close-knit community.  We all came together.  Volunteers arrived to help at the site. I had my massage license so I went down on my days off with my massage table and would give free massages to the firemen, police, iron workers and crew that were working nearly around the clock trying to find something, anything.

The stories I heard were life changing. Stories of loved ones lost, of life nearly lost had that person not been late to work that day.  The stories were the fabric of healing.

I was fortunate to be present at the first Broadway play to re-open after 9/11.  A moment of silence with the entire audience holding hands and shedding tears is something that still makes me stop in gratitude to this day, for the fortitude of the human spirit.

So today, ten years later. Where were you?  Life that has suddenly and irreversibly changed contains important lessons.  These are the lessons I took from that day:

  • Pay it forward.
  • Say I love you before you leave every single time.
  • Hug more.
  • Do something that fills your heart every day.
  • We are not very different from each other.
  • Never underestimate the power of the human spirit.

© Dr. Tami Meraglia, September 2011

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Testosterone and Men’s Health

Calling all men… do any of these symptoms sound familiar?

– Tired all the time / lack of energy
– Not able to play sports or recover from exercise like you used to
– Falling asleep after dinner
– Not refreshed after a full night’s sleep
– Decreased sex drive / enjoyment
– Gaining weight, even though your eating habits haven’t changed
– Feeling overwhelmed, sad or annoyed more than usual

Testosterone optimization can change your life.

If you’re over the age of 35, it’s highly likely that your hormones are no longer functioning at optimal levels. If you’ve pushed yourself to the point of exhaustion for a long time, adrenal fatigue can severely deplete your hormones.

“I don’t feel good, but my doctor says there’s nothing wrong with me…”

Low Testosterone is a medical condition that frequently goes undiagnosed because its symptoms are so similar to other conditions.  Hormone levels are simply not something that most doctors regularly test. As a result, your “standard” medical test results — bloodwork, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and heart rate — can look great, even though you don’t feel great.

We know, you hate going to the doctor.

Men are three times less likely than women to visit a doctor.  You’re too busy, you’d much rather tough it out, and “why see a doctor if you’re not sick?”

But not only do men visit the doctor less than women, on average they live about 5 years less. This is significant considering that the leading causes of death in this country are largely preventable (and largely due to stress).

Our Men’s Health programs at Vitality take a comprehensive approach to renewed vitality. You truly can improve the quality of your life at any age. We’ll even let you do it by dealing with another guy who completely understands your mindset: Dr. Scott Moser.

Talk to Vitality’s Men’s Health Expert.

Here at Vitality, we’ve been seeing an ever increasing number of overworked men with significant adrenal fatigue and/or testosterone deficiencies… no surprise, in light of today’s economy and the impact it has on our daily lives and health.

Dr. Scott Moser has a specific focus and passion for addressing key aspects of men’s health that go unaddressed most of the time. As a busy husband and father of two small children, he recognizes the challenges men face, and has an intimate understanding of the areas of men’s health that are directly affected.

(Best of all, he gets that whole mentality of not wanting to see a doctor).

Take Action Today.

In the words of the male patients we’ve already helped, testosterone treatment has literally “given them their lives back” and “changed their life.”

Don’t worry, it isn’t going to take much time. Take our quick Testosterone self-test on our website. Better yet, call us at 206-622-5300 for a free private testosterone consultation — we’re even open on Saturdays to make it extra easy!

We’re confident we can help you feel better again.

© Vitality Medical Clinic 2011 – Dr. Tami Meraglia and Dr. Scott Moser

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