All Posts in Category: Articles by Dr. Jacqui

How Much Vitamin D Should We Take?

Every day we are learning more about the benefits of adequate levels of Vitamin D, and this often raises concerns about how much
we should supplement on a daily basis, and what our goal for blood levels should be.  Monitoring of Vitamin D blood levels is
important when supplementing to support a metabolic process or disorder, and should not be done without the care of a trained

Vitamin D also behaves more like a hormone than a vitamin, and is often called a pro- or pre-hormone.  Research confirms that
Vitmain D functions as a unique hormone that can modulate pain and inflammation, support blood sugar regulation, cardiovascular
health, immune system function, as well as mood modulation.  While low to moderate levels of Vitamin D in the blood can help to
prevent the severe skeletal disorder Rickets, higher concentrations of this fat soluble molecule have been shown to be effective /
preventative for several types of cancers.  Serious disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis, Autism, and Diabetes have also been associated
with Vitamin D deficiency.

The attached graph has a very useful, simple outline of blood levels that have been associated with preventative and therapeutic
outcomes from Vitamin D supplementation.

Since Vitamin D is one of the “fat soluble vitamins” (- remember that from biology class) – it can be important to take it along with the other fat soluble vitamins – A, E and K.
Specifically, Vitamin K2 has been shown to be necessary for maintaining calcium deposits in the tissues at a normal level.  Vitamin K is also known for it’s ability to improve
the utilization of Vitamin D.

(If you are on any blood thinning medications or agents; or if you have parathyroid disorder or elevated calcium levels in your blood- it is critical that you talk with your
doctor before adding any supplements or medications to your regimen – especially Vitamin D and Vitamin K.)

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The China Study Dilemma – “Pay the grocer now, or the doctor later.”

Weekly I have people questioning me about why I advocate eating animal products because they have read
the information about the China Study, or watched the movie Forks Over Knives, or have been told that the
“Thrive” diet by McDougall is the ONLY way to eat.

It is almost a daily “battle” to try to defend the validity of other perspectives on eating such as the “Paleo Diet”,
Modern Day Hunter Gatherers, or simply just eating REAL FOOD.

While the China Study and many recent documentaries have certainly increased awareness of the general population
about the connection between diet and health, the details of their studies / research should not necessarily be taken as
“the gospel”, where any other possibilities are immediately refuted as harmful or wrong.

There are truly many inconsistencies and shortcomings of The China Study, but the overall benefit of encouraging people
to eat more fresh, green, alive, nutrient rich foods is far more important than dismissing the entire study and the benefits
people have experienced.  On the other hand, the “Eat Right for Your Blood Type” diet may also provide some useful information
in that some people may do better without animal protein, while others may not.  Adapting the information from the China Study
to apply to other blood types leads us to something like the Paleo Diet again.

In the documentary Forks Over Knives – again an excellent message to add significant quantities of fresh, alive, green, colorful, fruits
and vegetables to your diet – they advocate almost no animal protein at all, and almost villain’ize’ any consumption what-so-ever.  One
detail they seem to pass over is the type of animal products they are truly referring to.  The villains are PROCESSED milk, PROCESSED,
dairy products, PROCESSED beef / chicken / fish, as compare to WHOLE, RAW milk and dairy products, GRASS FEED and FREE RANGE
beef and chicken and WILD fish.  It is the processing of our food supply (whether for safety (ex. pasteurization) or for profit) that has adulterated
the nutritional content of animal protein and products.

It seems to me that Forks Over Knives also discusses the issue in two extremes – all meat and no meat.  In their opinion people either ate dairy products
and meat ONLY at every meal and then they were sick.  Or they ate NO MEAT or DAIRY – ONLY – and then they were healthy. There was no discussion of
plentiful consumption of fresh, local, green, alive, nutrient rich, colorful foods (9-11 servings of fruit and vegetables), AND healthy animal products (grass fed,
free range, minimally processed).

If you do well on a low animal product nutrition program – that is excellent – however, this may not be the best thing for your spouse, your child, your neighbor,
your co-worker, your mother….  If you have a chronic or terminal disease, avoiding animal products (for a period of time) might be beneficial for you…. I am not
saying there is no benefit to a vegetarian or vegan diet, but at the same time I am not saying that everyone has to consume massive amounts of (processed) animal

Although the sweeping generalizations gather media attention – the beauty is in the details.  If you are concerned about a nutrition program that is right for you and
your lifestyle, especially if you have a history of disease, or family history of disease it is likely in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable practitioner to
determine where you are today, and what might work for you today and possibly plan for how to modify your nutrition in the future.  Your life situation is always
changing, your stress, your exercise, your daily demands, your goals….. your nutrition might need to change to help support you during your different life stages!

For a detailed analysis of the China Study and why it may not “extrapolate” and apply as simply as Campbell ascertains please see:

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Gluten Sensitivity is Not as Severe / Significant as Celiac Disease….

Today I received an email from one of my highly educated, well researched clients.

She came across an article on Gluten Free Society .com, and was seeking my input
on the “validity / quality” of the information.

In a nutshell the article and the study it referred to seems to present the perspective
that serious health consequences are not associated with “Gluten Sensitivity” (GS),
but only with true “Celiac Disease” (CD).

They state that only Celiac Disease is associated with other autoimmune dysfunction
and disease or more severe issues like cancer.  I would have to challenge this opinion
in a bitter fight, since I know that I have what are considered the Non-Celiac-Gluten-
Sensitivity genes.  (The HLA-DQ genes 2 or 8 are considered the Celiac Gluten-Sensitivity
genes, in that most people who develop Celiac Disease have at least one gene of the 2 or the
8 variety).  Having Non-Celiac-Gluten-Sensitivity genes simply means it is more likely that
you will not develop “Celiac Disease” as defined by 1) testing positive for certain antibodies,
and 2) testing positive to a biopsy of the small intestine (showing atrophy of the small finger-
like projections called villi).

Both of these tests commonly used in traditional medicine have several shortcomings.  If you
are interested in additional details on how these test produce many “false negatives” I would
be happy to go into detail in another post, or directly with you.  For now I will stay focused on
the above mentioned article / study.

The study goes on to say that the “Gluten Sensitive subjects do not test positive for transglutaminase…..”
This is a very interesting statement since just yesterday Cyrex Labs – the true GOLD STANDARD for
gluten testing and research announced that they are adding two additional transglutaminase tests to
their packages.  Highlighting the fact that there is indeed more than one transglutaminase!

Transglutaminase is best known for its connection to Celiac Disease in that gluten stimulates and an
anti-transglutaminase antibody (ATA), which leads to the autoimmune attack on the gastrointestinal tract.
Even Wiki mentions that the common transglutaminase (TG) that is associated with Celiac Disease and the
gut is TG2 – which is expressed in epithelial cells of the gastrointestinal tract.

The other transglutaminase enzymes are tTG3 (dermis) and tTG6 (neuronal). It is well known that there are
several neurological and skin disorders associated with Celiac disease AS WELL AS non-Celiac disease gluten-reactivity.

I personally do not test positive for tTG2 but do have anti-bodies for BOTH tTG3 and tTG6!

On January 17, 2012 the Wall Street Journal published an article A Gut Check For Many Ailments where they state the following:

“New research indicates problems in the gut may cause problems in the brain, just as a mental ailment, such as anxiety, can upset the stomach”

So, what do I say to my confused well informed patient about the “accuracy / quality of the info” of a study performed
by Anna Sapone, Karen M Lammers, Vincenzo Casolaro, Marcella Cammarota, Maria T Giuliano, Mario De Rosa,
Rosita Stefanile, Giuseppe Mazzarella, Carlo Tolone, Maria I Russo, Pasquale Esposito, Franca Ferraraccio, Maria Carteni
Gabriele Riegler, Laura de Magistris, Alessio Fasano published in BMC Medicine 2011, 9:23    doi:10.1186/1741-7015-9-23?

I would have to say there is still a lot of information that is not commonly well known out there, and perhaps sometimes there
are people who have agendas to publish research that is in line with some other theory….. However, you cannot lie with chemistry,
and you cannot lie with physiology.  It is what it is.  If there is more than one transglutaminase (which there is) and only one is tested,
it might not be prudent to make generalized conclusions as if other molecules in the human body did not exist…


Cyrex Labs – Important Array 3 and 4 Announcement, February 7, 2012

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Even When The Tests Indicate a Gluten Issue Some Still Find It Hard to See

A few weeks ago in the New York Times there was a “Think Like a Doctor” challenge from
Lisa Sanders, MD, where she outlines a case and asks readers to respond with further testing
they would perform and possible theories on a diagnosis.

There were almost 450 posts and very few pursued a gluten issue or Celiac Disease, which
is what the case turned out to be, even though previous testing did indicate elevated antibodies
to gluten.  The issue that seemed to throw people off was that it was stated that the patient had
tried a gluten free diet and did not experience any improvement.  This is where a detailed intake
and not rushing through a history can be so important.

This patient did try removing some gluten foods from her diet, but perhaps did not understand
the various sources of gluten, nor the hidden sources.  Additionally, many people with Celiac Disease
or gluten sensitivity are also sensitive to other grains that are often used as substitutes for gluten
containing grains.  If these “non-gluten” grains do react (even to a lesser degree), the patient may
not experience the improvement expected and gluten will be ruled out.

Wheat in the United States has been dramatically modified over the past 5 or so decades and is not
the ancient grain it used to be.  The way wheat is stored and processed also contributes to why more
people are experiencing symptoms when consuming wheat products.

Symptoms can be extremely varied, leading to an increased complexity in diagnosis.  Common symptoms
include:  headache, stomach pain, bloating, gas, belching, brain fog, mental sluggishness, acne, obesity,
diarrhea, constipation, skin rash, neurological dysfunction, depression, anxiety, moodiness, muscle pain,
poor digestion, nutrient deficiencies, seizures, migraines, thyroid and sex hormone dysfunction, PMS, the
list is virtually endless.

Just because you have been tested (in the NYT case the patient had an upper endoscopy – thought to be the
gold standard in medicine), and the results come back negative, it does not really mean that you don’t have
a gluten issue or possibly even Celiac Disease.  There are many reason why antibody levels may not be elevated,
why biopsies may not be accurate, or even why the results were misinterpreted.  There are many more false negatives
with gluten or Celiac testing than false positives.

If you continue to have symptoms that do not resolve, or your doctors begin to tell you it’s “in your head”, visit with
another professional who can help you understand the complexities of gluten sensitivity and Celiac Disease.

Dr. Slavin is an adviser to the Eagle County Gluten Free and Celiac Disease Support Group.  She has extensive training
in gluten sensitivity and other bowel dysfunction.  If you are experiencing digestive problems, call Functional Wellness
today to talk with Dr. Slavin.

The details of the case:

The case solved:

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Marine Corps' Camp Lejeune Water Contamination – Male Breast Cancer

North Carolina Marine corps base – Camp Lejeune was contaminated with a toxic brew of industrial chemicals
including trichloroethylene, or TCE a known human carcinogen according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Despite repeated warnings, the Marine Corps leadership took no action to protect their Marines and their families.
Worse yet, many still remain unaware of their exposures. Today, Camp Lejeune has the shameful distinction of being
the largest male breast cancer cluster ever identified – 73 men – and families who lived and worked on the base are
suffering from various rare cancers, chronic disease and birth defects.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Functional Wellness held a donation based informational talk about Gluten.
All donations were sent to the local Shaw Regional Cancer Center for the Pink October theme.

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