First, my office will be officially in network with San Juan Regional Medical Center's insurance January 1st. That is to say, all those overworked nurses, doctors, therapists, and even custodial and IT personel will now be able to get Farmington's best body tune-up at a great price. Might as well, if you're getting their insurance, you're paying for it.
Second, my Christmas present to myself.
Why on earth would I be bragging about such things? Well, because I got such a gift (mostly) for you. With it I'll be able to doodle and explain at the same time, something that is absolutely necessary for my brain. An added benefit will be increased clarity for all of you out there who learn more with a picture than with me just babbling in a podcast. It'll end up looking something like this when I plaster a wellness video on the website.
Third: It's official, I'll be the Team Doc for Farmington High School's Track & Field team. Which means that FHS's Track Team will be the most injury free, fast-recovering high school team in the state. That's my job, and I think I'm pretty good at it.
2012 is going to be great! We're going to learn more and spread that knowledge around like a thick butter on hot toast. We're going to do miracles on pain without drugs or surgery. We're going to go to state with FHS. And we're going to have fun doing all this.
On my intake paperwork, the paperwork someone fills in when they come into my office, I had a special question for people to fill out. This question was so important that I even highlighted the whole section grey and bolded the letters to make it stand out. I also labelled it "The Most Important Information." I was trying to make a point.
In pursuing brevity, patient's almost always skipped this question. After some research I found out why. They didn't think it was important.
The bolded, underlined, color coded question was this: What is your health goal or dream? I even threw in some example answers to spark the creative juices. "I want to be able to play with my kids without being tired." "I want to be able to work without pain." "I want to look in the mirror and like what I see."
But no one filled this part out. Yes, you're coming to me because you have a headache, but if we stop our mental processes at headache, then we're missing the big picture. We're being reactionary, not proactive, with our healthcare. Why not go beyond just ridding yourself of the bad, and start reaching for the good? Why not go beyond mediocre, average, what everyone else is doing, and have a dream to reach for?
Every year I sit down and make New Year's resolutions. Sometimes these goals work real well, sometimes they don't. A friend of mine shared these four videos from Anthony Robbins. I don't share self-help stuff often (if at all, this'll be the first of such posts on this website), so that should say something about how important I think these videos are. All the videos end up being around a half an hour, and there are action steps that must be taken to make a change after watching.
Tell your inner cynic to shut up and check these out. I know that if we all did this (I have, and did do this again, changing some things to make my goals for 2012 even more effective) this world would be a better place. And that is exactly what this website is all about: making the world a better place.
Much love to you all, and I hope you had a great Christmas surrounded by family and friends, and that you have an even better 2012.
We need a new energy food. Something small. Something that'll fit in a purse or a backpack. Something with a neat, bright wrapper that attracts kid's attention. Something sweet, as well, with the perfect combination of sugar molecules. We'll chemically alter it, though, so that it doesn't spike kids blood sugar. We'll pack it with so many vitamins and minerals that it makes the RDA look like a famished, weakling. Then, to make this product stand out even more from the other things on the shelf, we're going to go with the Green Theme that is so popular -- we'll make a biodegradable wrapper, something that leaves no impact behind.
Oh, wait, that's already been done. They call it "fruit."
I got caught yesterday, a friend called "Hello Dr. VanBuskirk" from the line behind me... at McDonald's. I was ashamed, and even admitted to being caught, and then my friend touched a wellness truth that I wanted to share. She said, "Oh, that's OK, as long as it's not what you do all the time."
That's so true. Perfection in being healthy is often an obstacle to reaching our health goals.
"I'm not going to the gym today, because I ate a shake... it's pretty much useless."
"No sense in eating my brocolli, because I'm never going to stop drinking beer and eating pizza."
But this thinking is false. A positive health action and a negative health action do not cancel each other out. This isn't math. The positive effect of eating brocolli is not wiped clean because of eating pizza, it's still realized. The vitamins are still absorbed, the gut flora in the stomach is still elated that it is getting fiber, and our muscles still love the veggie protein from the brocolli, even if we still eat the pizza later on.
Once we can start patting ourselves on the back for the little things, we'll suddenly realize that we are accomplishing the big thing: health.
A friend of mine sent me this picture on the phone (thank you, Bushannon):
He gave his son the option of picking out a veggie to eat. He chose a yellow bell pepper. What some might call one of the nastiest tasting veggies out there. (Shoot, even I might say something like that.) Notice how the bell pepper has teeth marks all over it? That's because the boy has been eating it "like candy," as the dad put it.
Do kids not like vegetables, or have they not been given the chance to like vegetables?
The best vitamin is useless if it doesn't get into your system. What affects vitamin absorption? Well, a lot of things. Read this if you want a full, drawn-out picture. I'll attempt to summarize:
- Gut flora composition. The bacteria in your stomach break down certain things so they are absorbable by the body. It's a symbiotic relationship that ends up being good for all. Bad flora, bad gut absorption. Get on a good probiotic, make sure get tons of food to keep the flora healthy (fiber is a must!), and your vitamin will be great.
- Proton-Pump Inhibitor Medication. This is under the spotlight now since they found a correlation between taking a PPI for your upset stomach and an increase in hip fractures. They think it has been shown to impair calcium absorption, and in a review of the studies done, PPI repeatedly decreased vitamin B12, iron, and magnesium absorption as well.
- Liquid vs. Pill Form. Although a liquid vitamin is already in the vitamin's simplest, and therefore most easily absorbed form, there is little to no solid research that proves that liquid vitamins absorption is any better than the pill form. One study found that an average vitamin dissolves in about 20 minutes in the stomach, and this was a concern due to the fact that if the vitamin was taken on an empty stomach, it might be put into the intestines when it wasn't fully dissolved, and therefore decrease absorption. Such wasn't ever verified by testing, although another study found that vitamin D was better absorbed when it was taken with meals. An easy fix to this is to chew vitamins. I practice this on all vitamins I take (that I can handle, some taste downright nasty!) because taste receptors on the tongue have been repeatedly shown to prep the body to absorb certain nutrients. I like to up my changes of getting the most nutrition for my supplement. But this is still just a theory, with little research showing chewing a vitamin will help in absorption.
Liquid vitamins are always much more expensive than vitamins in the pill form, I'd pass them and go on a solid, third-party tested multivitamin pill rather than spend the extra money on a liquid vitamin. Lastly, if I'm going to do a liquid vitamin, I'd rather juice instead. That's the best, freshest liquid vitamin there is. In fact, that's the best multivitamin you can take (remember how I said that we're still discovering new vitamins? This will insure you that you get most of the vitamins mother nature intended).
So here are a list of some of my favorite multivitamins:
- Douglas Labs Ultra Preventative X. This is a great company, who performs well under 3rd party testing, fairly affordable, as well.
- Standard Process Catalyn. This company is the mothership for whole foods supplement, while Douglas Labs is more specific with their supplements, Standard process is basically powdered juices from different harvests, packed all together and put into a pill. It's a great way to get a wide variety of nutrition. The only bad part with whole food supplements is individual patient allergies. For example, if you have a problem with wheat (and a lot of us do), this supplement would aggravate you, as there is defatted wheat germ in it.
After we've figured out what foods a human being needs to be able to express health, then and only then do we look at supplementation. Supplementation is "supplementing" the diet, it does not take its place. I cannot express this enough: taking a multivitamin with a crappy diet is practically useless. We have to remember that vitamins are a product of nature, pointed out by man. We are still discovering new vitamins! So chances are that if you get all your nutrition from a vitamin shake, that you'll be missing some very important nutrients that we don't know about yet. Play it safe, eat good food first.
The sad thing is that nutrient levels in our foods seemed to have decreased, so supplementing with a multivitamin is probably not a bad idea.
So what do we look for in a multivitamin?
- Third party testing. There is little to no oversight over vitamins, as there are with pharmaceuticals. Therefore, it's easy to make bold claims on a label, and then fill a bottle with nothing but soy, corn, cosmetic colors, and other nasty stuff. Find something that holds up to 3rd party testing that shows that what's actually in the bottle is in the bottle. A couple of organizations that are doing this testing is:
United States Pharmacopeia - has it seal of approval with the Dietary Supplement Verification Program. This isn't the most rigid test, but it's still something.
ConsumerLabs.com - This is a great one, but it has a cost: $2.25/month. It's the only way they are able to fund the testing, which takes cash. So for the price of one RedBull you can have great information on which products have passed the test, and which are garbage. It's an investment which will save you money in the long run (buy one bottle of garbage multivitamin and you've paid for the subscription for almost a year).
- No fillers. Soy. Titanium color additives. Corn?! If you read this on the label, this is code language for a filler. While I'm on the subject, Centrum, the number one selling multivitamin, is junk, in my humble opinion. Magnesium stearate is a particularly nasty filler that is a trans fat, avoid it like poison (because it really is). I believe eating junk vitamins like this is the reason why one study found an increase in mortality rates in those that were taking vitamins, opposed to those that didn't.
- Whole food supplement. Vitamins are lonely molecules that don't work well without their co-factors - the extra packaging that comes with the vitamin that makes it do its job. Nutrients in whole foods work synergistically to get the job done. When available, always opt for the whole food vitamin over the singular vitamin.
Next Post: What About Vitamin Absorption?
I got this question (if YOU have questions, send them at email@example.com and add to the discussion):
What is the best Multi-vitamin on the market? I would like to know what works the best for the cheapest price. Which brands to go with and which to stay away from? Websites to compare them and so on? Do certain kinds absorb into the body better than others? What do you think?
This is a few questions in one, but I think it's so important because there are so many products out there with so many different claims that it can be a challenge just to figure out the label. I hate to be negative, but a lot of people are dishonestly cashing in on this wellness craze -- which sucks! The wellness revolution is needed, and a good thing, but please don't be deferred by those people that are abusing this trend.
Before we ever even consider supplementation, we must ask the question: What does a human being require, nutritionally, to maintain and express health? On the most fundamental level, this should be answered using the benchmark of the human genome. Meaning that, if when we eat something, the genome works, that it is good for us. This level of thinking will also give us a diet for our species. Meaning, that diet which is beneficial and healthy for one human being should be beneficial and healthy for the human next to you (see the comments below for exceptions to this rule - Thanks Jared!). This destroys fad diets. Our genome doesn't change in a matter of months, but every month there's a diet being touted as the new best thing. This is silly, and dangerous! Stick a dog in a cage, and drastically change his diet every 2 months and see how healthy he is -- he won't be! And neither are the dieters. You all know that person; the person who is very smart and loves reading the newest research, and is always trying a new diet. What do these people look like? They're skinny, pale, dark circles under their eyes, and then they try to tell you you're being unhealthy when you eat "x" food!
After that question is answered, then, and only then, can we talk about a multivitamin, or, a supplement.
And, I will work on the answer to the first question in another post. It requires some time.
Tomorrow's Principle 2: Supplementation
Pain is like a foreign language that we learned about it highschool. We get the gist of what you're saying, but when sometimes it is too much. In the previous post I pointed out how pain is good.
But what if you don't know why you're hurting? You know you're in pain for a reason, thanks to the last article, but you just can't figure out why.
That's when I, and the rest of the field of doctors in their various fields, come into play. We help you figure out what the pain really means. That pain that you've had in between the shoulders that Aspirin can't touch, maybe we can help with that. Those headaches you've been getting on a nearly daily basis, maybe we can help with that. That pain in your lower back that you get when bending over to pick up a pencil, maybe we can help with that.
I don't like to use fear as a motivator, but it's necessary to provide a warning: It's possible that -- that minor pain you're having -- if left alone, becomes something serious, and something more expensive than conservative preventative measures could have corrected. (I calculated that the price to have one spinal disk in your neck replaced would pay for my chiropractic services for over 12 years. 12 years!)
Call our office to see if we can help you decipher your pain, we're the most thorough therapy you'll ever have. If you're a candidate for our care... our therapy works, and works fast (no "two times a week for the rest of your life" type of stuff).