Latest Articles

The "Wheat Zoomer"--A Game-Changer for Gluten Testing?

By Madiha Saeed, MD, Contributing Writer

A new suite of antigen tests collectively called the Wheat Zoomer is being forwarded as a definitive tool to help clinicians figure out if a patient truly is--or is not--sensitive to gluten and other grain-based proteins. Is the Zoomer all that it's cracked up to be? Experts share their views.

“Why Did We Have to Wait 35 Years?” Raphael Mechoulam on Clinical Cannabis

By Laura Lagano, Contributing Writer

Dr. Raphael Mechoulam is widely recognized as the grandfather of modern cannabis research. In the early 1960s, his team identified and isolated THC. He later discovered the endocannabinoid system in the human nervous system. In this far-ranging interview with Laura Lagano, Dr. Mechoulam--now 86 and still active--shares his thoughts on the strenghts and limits of cannabis medicine, and its implications for clinical practice, research, and public policy.

Soft Drinks Raise Uric Acid...and Gout Risk

By Erik Goldman

Sugar-sweetened beverages—SSB’s as they’re known in public health circles—trigger surges in plasma uric acid levels, typically within 30-60 minutes. While these are temporary, people who drink several soft drinks every day are putting themselves at increased risk for gout.

Endomicroscopy Offers Insight on Leaky Gut Syndrome

By Isaac Eliaz, MD, Contributing Writer

Confocal laser endomicroscopy (CLE) enables direct visualization of cellular and subcellular changes in the intestinal lining of a living patient. This new imaging technique gives the ability to detect subtle inflammatory changes and epithelial gap formations in patients with intolerance to specific food group, providing objective evidence to support the controversial concept of "leaky gut syndrome."

Death and Toxins: Tackling the Main Driver of Chronic Disease

By Erik Goldman, Editor in Chief

If Ben Franklin were alive today, his famous aphorism would likely read, “Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and toxins.” It’s no overstatement to say we are wallowing in new-to-nature toxic chemicals that have considerable power to disrupt our physiology. In his new book, The Toxin Solution, naturopathic pioneer Dr. Joe Pizzorno, outlines the daunting scope of the problem, and offers practical strategies for response.

Cherry-Bombing an Old Foe: Gout

By Sarah Arvelo, MS, Contributing Writer

With gout on the rise in the US and in most of the developed world, many patients are finding sweet relief from a favorite summertime fruit. In one study, daily consumption of cherries reduced the frequency of acute gout attacks by 35%.

Who Cares for the Au Pairs?

By Laura Henderson, Contributing Writer

The saga of Edna Valenzuela, a young Colombian woman who was diagnosed with lymphoma while working as an au pair for a DC-area family, and almost sent back to her home country in the midst of chemotherapy, throws much-needed light on the plight of a very vulnerable population.

What to Do About those "2 AM Wake-Up Calls"

By Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, Contributing Writer

Does it seem like every night at 2–4 AM your internal alarm clock goes off? Or perhaps you have patients who experience this disruptive nightly routine. It is one of the most common problems affecting people with fibromyalgia, and is increasingly common in the general population as well.

But what if it was optional?

Okra: An Unsung Super-Veggie

By Lucy Ruetiman, MS, Contributing Writer

Mention okra to someone you generally get one of two reactions – a passionate declaration of undying love for this humble vegetable, or a repulsed face followed by a dismissive reference to its sliminess. Strong reactions aside, there's no denying that okra is a very healthy vegetable with some interesting medicinal properties.

Probiotics Research Update: Glucose Control, Obesity Prevention & Ulcer Remedy

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

The recent explosion in human microbiome research and its increasing coverage in the media, has made "probiotics" a household word. While many people understand that beneficial bacteria are a crucial component of digestive health, scientists continue to uncover the myriad ways in which probiotics promote good health far beyond the GI tract.

Following are reviews of some of the latest probiotics studies highlighting the roles that gut flora play in regulating blood sugar levels, influencing obesity, and combating H. pylori infection.

How To Restore Gut Flora After Antibiotics

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

Antibiotics eradicate pathogenic infections and save lives -- but in doing so, they also disrupt the integrity of the intestinal microbiome. While many physicians recognize the need for restoring a patient's microbial balance following a course of antibiotic therapy, far fewer understand how to do this effectively.

According to Amie Skilton, ND, restoration of gut flora is both art and science. Done well, it can make a world of difference for patients. In some cases, it can even help patients overcome the illnesses for which the antibiotics were initially prescribed.

But it takes more than just recommending an off-the-shelf probiotic and hoping for the best.

The Centers for Disease Control reported last Spring that of the 154 million prescriptions for antibiotics written in doctor’s offices and emergency departments each year, 30 percent are unnecessary. Most of the extraneous prescriptions, the CDC found, were doled out for respiratory conditions caused by viruses like common colds, viral sore throats, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections, which do not respond to antibiotics. Use of these drugs "put patients at needless risk for allergic reactions or the sometimes deadly diarrhea, Clostridium difficile.”

Further complicating the picture is the reality that antibiotics aren't only dispersed from doctor's offices; they're also fed liberally to livestock and sprayed extensively on produce, leaving minute but biologically active traces in the foods that humans then consume.

Dose, Timing Determine Impactantibiotics pills

As antibiotics kill off infection-causing microorganisms, they also non-selectively destroy communities of beneficial gut bacteria, weakening the stability of the intestinal microbiome. This wholesale destruction can be massive; experimental data collected from a study using qPCR indicate up to a 10-fold reduction in bacterial isolates immediately after treatment with antibiotics (Panda, S. et al. PLoS One. 2014; 9(4): e95476).

"It's truly a decimating effect," says Dr. Skilton, a naturopathic physician and herbalist at the Elysium Clinic of Natural Medicine, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

In a webinar sponsored by Holistic Primary Care and Bioceuticals, she outlined the myriad impacts of antibiotics on the human microbiome, noting that not all antibiotics are equally destructive to gut bacteria. 

The degree to which these drugs damage intestinal microbiota depends on drug type, treatment duration, and frequency of use, Skilton said. Certain antibiotics, for instance, trigger a greater release of endotoxins and cytokines than others. Higher daily doses are more impactful. Prolonged use of high-dose antibiotics can cause extreme damage to the microbiome that may take years of restorative therapy to reverse, if it can be reversed at all.

And contrary to common belief, intravenous antibiotics can have the same negative impact on gut flora as oral drugs. "For a long time it was thought that IV drugs would bypass the gut and not have the same impact. We now know this is not true."

The timing of antibiotic delivery also makes a difference. Individuals who frequently use antibiotics early in life are more vulnerable to many types of illness as they age. In a paper published earlier this year, researchers demonstrated an association between antibiotic use during infancy and subsequent poor neurocognitive outcomes, suggesting that antibiotic consumption in a patient's first year of life was associated with small but statistically significant differences in cognitive, behavioral, and mood measures during childhood (Slykerman, R. et al. Acta Paediatr. 2017; 106(1): 87–94). 

Others have linked fetal and early childhood antibiotic exposure to the subsequent development of asthma later in life (Örtqvist, A. et al. Brit Med J. 2014; 349. doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g6979). Antibiotics have also been associated with obesity and weight gain in children as well adults (Million, M. et al. Clin Microbiol & Infec. 2013; 19(4): 305–313). Researchers attribute these changes to the altered gut microbial composition.

Antibiotics can trigger the release of toxic lipopolysaccharides (LPS), large molecules found in the outer membranes of pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria. Some suggest that antibiotic-induced LPS release may contribute to the development of septic shock in patients treated for severe infections caused by Gram-negative bacteria. Others have demonstrated that LPS triggers an immune response by releasing inflammatory cytokines, a problem that worsens after antibiotic treatment, noted Skilton in her webinar (Wu, T. et al. Toxicol Lett. 2009; 191(2-3): 195-202).

From a pathogen's point of view, production of LPS is a survival strategy. These molecules interact on cell surfaces to form a barrier, preventing the antibiotics and other hydrophobic compounds from entering and allowing Gram-negative bacteria to live even in harsh environments (Zhang, G. et al. Curr Opin Microbiol. 2013; 16(6): 779–785).

How to Restore the Flora

Probiotics are one aspect in a comprehensive strategy to restore gut flora following antibiotics. Given the microbial diversity of a healthy gut ecosystem, Skilton recommends using products that contain many different species of beneficial microbes rather than "monocropping" with one or two single strains.

As a general rule, she advises one month of probiotic treatment for every week that a patient was on antibiotics. Those who have been on prolonged continuous antibiotic regimens, will likewise need long-term restoration. She stressed that for most people,  there are no health risks associated with extended probiotic supplementation.

Patients receiving IV antibiotics should also take commensal probiotics. Some clinicians who are aware of this issue will start the probiotics as early as four hours after a dose of IV antibiotics.

Rebuilding the Glycocalyx

People who have been on long-term or multiple courses of antibiotics typically show a severe erosion of the glycocalyx that normally coats the  intestinal microvilli. This is usually accompanied by a loss of brush borders and a marked reduction in secretory IgA production.

GlycocalyxIn some cases, these changes are caused by the effects of antibiotics themselves. In others, they reflect the impact of the infection for which the antibiotics were prescribed. Either way, the effect is the same: establishment of a microenvironment that is hospitable to opportunistic pathogens like Candida, but increasingly difficult for normal commensal bacteria.

Fungal infections are almost always accompanied by insufficient IgA production, as Candida consumes both glycocalyx and sIgA as fuels. It becomes a vicious cycle: low IgA begets Candida which further depletes IgA. Chronic urinary tract infections, and mucosal infections like thrush are red flags for low sIgA production, Skilton pointed out.

Without a healthy glycocalyx, organisms like Lactobacilli and Bifidobacilli have great difficulty establishing themselves. In this context, supplementation with ordinary probiotics will usually fail.

"Even if you recommend the best probiotics in the world, theres’ no way for them to stick and colonize if the glycocalyx is eroded," Dr. Skilton explained. "You can actually exaggerate the GI symtoms by giving probiotics, if the there's loss of ability to produce glycocalyx."

To restore a healthier microenvironment in these cases, you need to leverage the unique characteristics of Saccharomyces boulardii, an antibiotic-resistant, probiotic yeast originally isolated from lychee fruit in Indochina. Though not a true commensal organism, S. boulardii is a potent inducer of glycocalyx production and IgA secretion. It also stimulates brush border enzymes, and promotes polyamine production, which feeds the intestinal microvilli and can be helpful for healing ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.

S. boulardii is able to work in the context of highly pathogenic antibiotic-resistant bacteria like Clostridium difficile and has actually been used as a preventive therapy against C. difficile–associated diarrhea (Goldstein, E. et al. Clin Infect Dis. 2015; 60 (suppl_2): S148-S158). S. boulardii may reduce some of the toxic effects of enterotoxin A by inhibiting toxin A-receptor binding and preventing the formation of enterotoxin B.

But the most remarkable thing is it's ability to quickly colonize the damaged endothelium and displace pathogenic yeasts while simutaneously creating a healthier microenvironment for commensal bacteria. "S. boulardii actually forces a physical evacuation of the Candida," said Dr. Skilton noting that it is specifically active against 7 out of the 8 most common pathogenic Candida species. The one exception is C. tropicalis.

"Think of the situation like the aftermath of a hurricane hitting a village. The antibiotics are the hurricane. S. boulardii is like the contractor that comes in and repairs the damage to the village. You can then repopulate the village with commensals."

BioCeuticals, an Australian practitioner-only nutraceutical company, recently introduced a product called SB Floractiv, providing 250 mg S. boulardii (also called S. cereviciae) per capsule.

For patients who've been on long-term antibiotics, begin slowly with one capsule (250 mg) per day for 3-4 days, then increase to two per day for another 3-4 days, and then increase in a similar step-wise pattern up to four per day (1000 mg) that should be continued for the remainder of a 4 week period.

S. boulardii is very safe, and the only true contraindication is in patients with true IgE-mediated reactions to yeasts, manifesting as anaphylaxis or Saccharomyceshives. That said, it is important to be aware that in the first few days of taking S. boulardii, some patients may experience a noticeable "bowel flush" as the probiotic yeast displaces the Candida species. Candidal die-off can also make people feel ill. It is best to advise patients of these possibilities beforehand, so they're not surprised if they occur.

According to Dr. Skelton, in 9 out of 10 patients, four weeks of intensive S. boulardii supplementation is siffucient to restore a healthy glycocalyx layer and induce adequate IgA secretion. This then sets the stage for a much more effective round of restoration with a multi-strain probiotic.

Bioceuticals has designed a product specifically for use after antibiotics. Called BioFloractiv 500, it contains 500 billion CFUs, 12 species, and 14 strains of beneficial bacteria. Dr. Skilton recommends a maximum of 14 days, though one week of daily therapy is sufficient for most, according to Skilton.

Patients with irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease, however, may need longer-term support to rebuild a healthy microbiome after taking antibiotics.

A Comprehensive Approach

Probiotics are just one part of the picture. And if a patient cannot tolerate any type of probiotic, its a red flag that a patient's immune system is not functioning properly.

"You first need to address any aspects of the nervous system, especially sympathetic dominance, that may be affecting the digestive tract," said Dr. Skilton. She has found fish oil, zinc, vitamin A, and colostrum to be of value in many cases. The latter, "is really good for restoring sIgA. Do this for a week or so before even trying probiotics." Slippery Elm and glutamine supplements can also be helpful in some cases.

Plant-based medicnes like oregano oil, tea tree oil, or pau d'arco extract may be helfpul in ridding the GI tract of pathogenic yeast. But Dr. Skilton stressed that these will do nothing to stimulate sIgA production, and chronic yeast infections are almost always associated with low IgA.  These natural yeast-busters should never be used at the same time as S. boulardii; this "friendly" yeast is just as vulnerable to things like oregano and tea tree as the pathogenic yeasts.

A number of probiotic and prebiotic foods can aid the process of gut restoration. Tom O'Bryan, DC, founder of the Gluten Summit and the Certified Gluten Practitioner training program, recommends several foods to eat -- and several to avoid -- when rebuilding the gut after antibiotic treatment.

"When your gut has been compromised, you don’t want to tax your gut," O’Bryan says. "Taxing" foods include wheat, dairy, sugar, unhealthy fats, and fried items. These foods, he notes, "throw gasoline on the fire" of a recovering intestinal system. 

On the other hand, one should eat plenty of foods that promote the growth of healthy commensal organisms. O'Bryan recommends organic stewed apples, cooked until soft and shimmery, as one good option. Cooking apples, he explains, releases pectin -- a soluble fiber that provides fuel for beneficial bacteria.

The pectin present in stewed apples can also help to heal a damaged intestinal lining and seal off the tears in a leaky gut, preventing large food molecules from slipping through.

Similarly, collagen helps to seal a leaky gut. O'Bryan also encourages patients recovering from antibiotic treatment to eat chicken bone broth, a good source of collagen, which also acts as a natural prebiotic, feeding the healthy bacteria in the gut.

Butyrate -- a natural substance made in the intestine -- is another important player in gut bacteria restoration. O'Bryan explains that the cells lining the inside of the gut reproduce rapidly and that butyrate fuels the rebuilding of new cells. Insufficient butyrate production and a slow turnover of intestinal cells make the body more vulnerable to the development of cancer cells, resulting in a higher risk of colon cancer.

An array of prebiotic fruits and vegetables, including foods bananas, sweet potatoes and other tubers help to rebuild the gut microbiome, providing insoluble fiber that feeds good -- but not harmful -- bacteria.

Fermented, unpasteurized vegetables like sauerkraut, kimchi, and fermented beets, are another excellent source of natural probiotics. Every vegetable produces different families of beneficial bacteria during fermentation, O’Bryan notes, encouraging patients to eat one forkful of fermented vegetables twice a day. "The key to health in your gut is the diversity of your microbiome," he argues, pointing out that thousands of different families of bacteria live and interplay in the gut with wide-ranging impacts on our health.

END

What Can Holistic Medicine Expect from GOPcare?

By Erik Goldman, Editor in Chief

How will holistic medicine fare under the Trump administration? It’s a big question with no obvious answer. yet A lot depends on what the new administration does with healthcare at large. And that is still full of unknowns. Some thought leaders applaud the GOP's support for expanding health savings accounts (HSAs). Others see big danger in deregulation.

A Role for N-Acetyl Cysteine in Treating Parkinson's Disease

By Madiha Saeed, MD, Contributing Writer

People with Parkinson’s disease may benefit from supplementation with N-acetyl cysteine (NAC). Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University recently showed that Parkinson’s patients who took NAC daily for three month showed significant improvements of mental and physical abilities, as well as beneficial changes on brain imaging. 

FTC's Crackdown Blows Chilly Wind Down Memory Lane

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

The Federal Trade Commission's (FTC's) recent crackdown on a popular product marketed for memory improvement has supplement companies thinking twice before making claims that nutrients or herbs can enhance cognitive function. Was the move really about consumer protection or is it evidence of regulatory over-reach?

Gram-negative Bacteria Implicated in Alzheimer’s Pathology

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

University of California researchers have discovered the presence of marker compounds from Gram-negative bacteria--including Escherichia coli--in brain tissue from people with Alzheimer's disease, providing further support for the notion that there is a microbial component in the etiology of this common form of dementia.

How to "Beet" Hypertension

By By Elizabeth Herbert, Contributing Writer

Drinking roughly one cup of raw beet juice daily can markedly reduce blood pressure, while simultaneously quelling systemic inflammation and improving lipid profiles in people with hypertension.

New Botanical Combo Promotes Fat Loss, Weight Management

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

A novel botanical combination that includes extracts of Coleus forskohlii, Salacia reticulata, and sesame, can limit the absorption of excess dietary fats, p, according to the results of a study published in the Journal of Functional Foods

Why Probiotics Should Be Part of Pregnancy Care

By Belinda Reynolds, Contributing Writer

In recent years, microbiome researchers have uncovered a wealth of new information about how beneficial microbes promote fertility, pregnancy, and postnatal child health, all of which suggests that probiotics should become a routine part of prenatal healthcare.

The Best of Medicine X 2016

By Erik Goldman, Editor in Chief

The annual Medicine X conference is a great place to learn about potentially transformative new medical technology. Here are a few that captured our attention this year.

Medicinal Mushrooms: Nature's Original "Smart Drugs"

By Isaac Eliaz, MD, Contributing Writer

With a therapeutic legacy spanning millennia and a body of scientific research that continues to expand, medicinal mushrooms have earned a rightful place  as broad-spectrum adjuncts. Think of them as nature’s original “smart drugs.”

Ancient Medicinal Mushroom Improves Renal Function

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

The Poria fungus--little known in the West but long-used in traditional Asian mediicne--has recently attracted the attention of health researchers and practitioners. Compounds in this unique mushroom have particularly positive effects on the kidney.

STRAIN: A New Tool for Psychosocial Stress Assessment

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

Chronic stress can wreak havoc on the body, and emerging field of human social genomics is illuminating the mechanisms. A new tool called the Stress and Adversity Inventory (STRAIN) can enhance clinicians' abilities to assess the impact of stress in patients with chronic disease and identify points of leverage for reducing the toll it takes.

The Fed’s Misguided “War on Pain,” And What We Can Do Instead

By Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, Contributing Writer

About a decade ago, with roughly one-quarter of all Americans suffering some form of chronic pain, the US government did what it does best, and declared a “War on Pain.” Doctors responded by doing what they do best: prescribing painkillers. The result? Thousands of preventable deaths due to overdoses and side-effects, a surge of addiction, and even more people in chronic pain. Fortunately, as pain expert Jacob Teitelbaum points out, holistic and integrative medicine offers many safer, more effective options.

Regulatory Actions Signal Storms Ahead for Integrative Medicine

By Erik Goldman, Editor in Chief

Over the last six months, federal agencies have made regulatory moves that could have significant impact on the practice of holistic, functional, and integrative medicine in the coming years. While none represent a direct threat to practice freedom, they set precedents that could greatly limit access to foundational practice tools.

Stop Fighting, Start Restorative Healing: A Functional Approach to SIBO

By By Russell Jaffe, MD, Contributing Writer

The key to helping people dealing with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is to initiate restorative healing of the affected tissues. We need to shift physiology so that the internal environment no longer favors the overgrowth of hostile bacteria in the small intestine. If we fail to do that, treatments aimed at eradicating the bugs will have little long-term efficacy

Hypermethylation: Are We Overdoing It with Methylation Support?

By Romilly Hodges, MS, CNS, Contributing Writer

Over the last few years, clinicians have become increasingly aware of the importance of methylation as a determinant of health. In general, that's a good thing. But over-methylation, driven by zealous use of supplements like methylated folate and methylcobalamin (vitamin B12), can be as much of a problem as under-methylation.

Strong Fathers, Glass Ceilings & the Neurobiology of Politics

By Erik Goldman, Editor in Chief

Cognitive scientist George Lakoff has spent four decades studying how the human mind makes meaning, and how that factors into politics. He concludes that while people may believe they are “voting their conscience,” for the most part they are voting their “un-conscience.”

Obama in JAMA: Reform Has Achieved Two Main Goals, Says Prez

By Erik Goldman, Editor in Chief

Outgoing President Barack Obama became the first American president to publish an article in a major peer-reviewed medical journal.

And not just any old medical journal, but the Journal of the American Medical Association. In it, he claims that healthcare reform has more or less succeeded in achieving its two main goals: expanding insurance coverage and curbing costs. But other health policy analysts aren't so sure.

Meditation: A Low-Cost, Low-Risk “Blockbuster” Therapy

By Madiha Saeed, MD, Contributing Writer

For many people, the word “meditation” sounds like something that requires a great deal of practice, patience, time, and effort. So people put it off.  But it is really very simple, and the health benefits are profound. If it were a drug, it would be a "blockbuster."

To Prevent Burnout, Get Rid of “Junk” Emotions

By Madiha Saeed, MD, Contributing Writer

Feelings of resentment, anger, and envy are really just “junk” emotions. Like junk food, these junk emotions are  bad for one’s health. In their new book, Psychological Nutrition, psychologists Shoba Sreenivasan and Linda Weinberger explain that many people--including a lot of healthcare professionals-- live in a state of “psychological malnutrition.” As with physical food, changing the emotional diet can make a big difference.

Ph360: Can “Phenomics” Give Clues to Better Health?

By Madiha Saeed, MD, Contributing Writer

ph360 is a new algorithm for determining phenotypes and epigenetic profiles, and then figuring out custom-tailored exercise, and lifestyle plans. “The real key to our health is written in our body’s unique code. And we’ve cracked it," says company founder Matt Riemann. HPC's Dr. Madiha Saeed test-drives the system with her patients and shares her experience. 

Anti-Inflammatory Side-Effects Carry High Price Tag

By Rachael Adams, Contributing Writer

Anti-inflammatory drugs hold the top spot for specialty drug spending in the US, accounting for 23% of all dollars spent on specialty medications. They're also among the most common culprits when it comes to adverse effects, and those end up costing us billions---$2.2 billion to be exact.

Lead Astray: Environmental Toxins Threaten Community Health Nationwide

By Isaac Eliaz, MD, Contributing Writer

The toxic drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan, recently put the danger of lead contamination in the national spotlight. While the situation in Flint was arguably the most dramatic and egregious example of careless and negligent environmental policy, it is by no means the only one. Not by a long shot. And the fallout is showing up in clinics all over the country.

Labeling Advocates Vow To Fight GMO “DARK” Act

By Erik Goldman, Editor in Chief

Late in July, President Obama signed a nationwide GMO disclosure law that critics say does just the opposite. GMO labeling advocates, as well as the attorney general from Vermont--the only state to fully implement a true GMO labeling requirement--have vowed to fight it.

Probiotics: Benefits Beyond Gut Health

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

Probiotics are widely touted for their capacity to improve digestive function and strengthen gastrointestinal health. But according to new research, the effects of beneficial bacteria extend far beyond the gut alone.

Is Marijuana a Viable Remedy for Migraines?

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

In recent years, both an upsurge in medical cannabis research and also changes in the plant’s legal status in many US states have led health practitioners and patients alike to shift their views of cannabis from goofy recreatinal drug to serious medicine. 

New Urine Test Detects Roundup Residue

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

First marketed as a commercial product in the mid-1970s, glyphosate now has the dubious honor of being the most widely sprayed synthetic herbicide in agricultural history. For years, prevailing scientific consensus was that this weed killer was harmless -- but increasing reports of toxicity associated with glyphosate exposure suggest otherwise. Recently, the Kansas-based Great Plains Laboratory (GPL) introduced a new urine test that allows for more accurate assessment of an individual's glyphosate exposure.

Black, White & Green: Race Has Major Impact on Physician Income

By Erik Goldman

American medicine has a long way to go in terms of racial and gender pay equity. According to a new study published in the British Medical Journal, White male doctors earn nearly 35% more than their Black male counterparts, and that's across all specialties and practice settings. Female doctors earn, on average, 40% less than males, again after adjusting for specialty, practice setting, and patient volumes.

Low FODMAP Diet Offers Road to Relief for IBS

By Kristen Schepker

When it comes to treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), prevailing wisdom encourages eating more dietary fiber to help manage unpleasant digestive symptoms. But new research indicates that a group of fermentable carbohydrates referred to as FODMAPs -- found in many high-fiber foods -- might actually make IBS symptoms worse.

Losing Ourselves to Diabetes…Then Alzheimer’s

By Erik Goldman

Alzheimer’s affects about 5.4 million Americans, and that number is expected to rise. In part, it’s being driven by the rampant prevalence of diabetes.The epidemiology is clear: people with type 2 diabetes are nearly twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as non-diabetics.

Three Safe & Simple Ways to Detox

By Russell Jaffe, MD, Contributing Writer

There are simple steps our patients can take can take that could go a long way in reducing their overall toxic burden. These steps, combined with diligent efforts to limit the uptake of toxins--whether pollutants, pesticides or heavy metals—can and should be a part of anyone’s overall health maintenance and disease prevention strategy.

Should Metformin Come with a B12 “Prescription”?

By Sherryl Van Lare, Contributing Writer

Metformin, a first-line drug treatment for type 2 diabetes, has been prescribed to over 120 million people worldwide.It’s a safe bet that a large proportion of those people are deficient in vitamin B12, thanks to the use of this medication.

Link Between HPV Vaccines & Ovarian Failure Raises Concern

By Jessica Best, Contributing Writer

The vaccine against Human Papillomavirus (HPV) may possibly be associated with ovarian dysfunction and the rare condition of premature ovarian failure (POF), according to a statement released earlier this year by the American College of Pediatricians.

FDA Squelches Home Cancer Tests, Encourages Physician-Guided Liquid Biopsies

By Gina Cushenberry, Contributing Writer

Should consumers have free access to at-home cancer testing kits without physician oversight? Definitely not, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The agency has moved to squelch the marketing of direct-to-consumer cancer tests, at least for the forseeable future. At the same time, FDA has given the green light to the further development of so-called “liquid biopsies” provided they're ordered and interpreted only by physicians.

Wearable Fitness Trackers: They’re Popular, But Are they Accurate?

By Leandro Pucci, Contributing Writer

Wearable fitness trackers are everywhere these days. Consumers are using them to monitor exercise, sleep, and a host of other health-related parameters. Sure, they're popular, but are they reliable? Can we trust the numbers they give us? Leading researchers weigh in on that question.

Antioxidants Attenuate Potential Risks of EMF Exposure

By Isaac Eliaz, MD, Contributing Writer

The dramatic increase in the use of mobile phones, wireless networks, and smart devices around the world in the past decade has fueled concerns about the potential of electromagnetic fields (EMF) to adversely influence human physiology. Fortunately, a wide variety of foods, herbs, and botanicals can provide antioxidant support to attenuate the potential oxidative stress caused by EMFs.

Psoriasis is a Real (Migraine) Headache

By Madiha Saeed, MD, Contributing Writer

People with psoriatic disease — autoimmune conditions characterized by over-expression of proinflammatory cytokines — also had an increased risk for migraine. The connection? Chronic systemic inflammation.

Zika, Climate Change, and the Need for Planetary Stewardship

By William B. Miller, Jr, MD

Zika is all over the news these days, despite the fact that there have not yet been any locally transmitted cases in the US. Some people argue that the threat is overblown. Yet, Zika is rightfully making headlines. Its greater significance extends beyond any current spread.

Will FDA Start Regulating Fitness Trackers?

By Gina Cushenberry, Contributing Writer

Fitness and Health trackers hit the market strongly a few years ago, and they are evolving far faster than the federal regulatory framework for health-related products. Are they "medical devices" or "general wellness products?" FDA's recent draft guidance provides clues to the futurre regulation of these popular products.

Glyphosate: A Root Cause of Chronic Inflammation?

By Zach Bush, MD, Contributing Writer

Glyphosate, the herbicidal compound in Roundup, is dumped on us at the rate of 300 million pounds per year, almost one pound for every person in the US. In the intestines, glyphosate is a profound zonulin stimulator. It damages the epithelial tight junctions on contact, weakening the intestinal barrier function, and fueling chronic inflammation.

"Cleaner" Proteins Scrub Arteries, Reduce Cardiovascular Risk

By Jessica Best, Contributing Writer

Patients at risk of atherosclerosis may have new hope for cleaner arteries thanks to a naturally occurring “scrubber” protein that exists within the body. Alpha-1-microglobin (A1M), referred to as a "circulating wastebasket," scavenges free radicals as well as blood fats that have already been oxidized, potentially opening up a new avenue for reversing atherosclerosis.

Why Probiotics Don’t Always Work

By Zach Bush, MD, Contributing Writer

The optimally healthy human gut should contain between 20,000 and 30,000 species of bacteria. Variety is key. The greater the diversity, the healthier the microbiome. Zealous use of probiotics, while reflecting a positive trend overall, could be causing problems by "monocropping" the GI tract with a relatively small number of species at the expense of ecosystem diversity.

Documenting Hope: New Film Profiles Families That Beat Chronic Disease

By Madiha Saeed, MD, Contributing Writer

Asmorechildrenarediagnosedwith chronicdisorders — 1 in every 2 kids according to some statistical models — an ever-growing number of parents are witnessing the light in their childrens' eyes grow dim with the burden of disease and medication. Butin every darkness, therecan be a light. One organization is giving parents a glimpse of hope and prove that kids with a wide range of chronic conditions can get better with lifestyle and nutritional changes.

Is Allulose the Next Sweet Thing?

By Amy Burkholder, Contributing Writer

Allulose, a naturally-occurring sugar found in small quantities in jackfruit, figs, and raisins, that was recently introduced into the world of food production. Manufacturers say this monosaccharide is absorbed via the small intestine but not metabolized by the body, rendering it essentially calorie-free. But novel no-cal sweeteners have a spotty track record in terms of overall health effects. Is allulose a godsend for the calorie-conscious or just another metabolic trickster?

The Myths & Realities of Precocious Puberty

By Kathleen Jones, MS, Contributing Writer

Early puberty—especially in girls—has become a topic of mainstream conversation, one that has raised significant concern for many parents, and everyone concerned with the issue has a pet theory about what’s to blame.

The downward shift in female pubertal age been well documented epidemiologically, and in recent years it has received considerable media attention.

But is it really a new phenomenon? Probably not. Does it have real health consequences? Very definitely.

Anticholinergic Meds: Bad News For Aging Brains

By Jeannie Hall, Contributing Writer

People who take Benadryl every night to sleep should probably think seriously about an alternative method….if they can remember to do so. A recent report published in JAMA Internal Medicine,  provides convincing evidence that frequent and long-term use of anticholinergic drugs like Benadryl raise the risk of dementia.

Crowdfunded Research Shakes Medicine's Ivory Towers

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

For most of its history, medical and scientific research has been funded by grants from government institutions, nonprofit foundations, and private companies. But an emerging trend suggests a new potential source of future funding: the internet.

Healthcare’s Balloon-Twisters Blow It on Cost Assessments

By Erik Goldman, Editor in Chief

Like clowns at children's birthday parties, there’s a whole cadre of healthcare policy professionals who ply a statistical version of balloon-twisting

They take claims data sets and twist them into forms that purport to be evidence-based pictures of the medical system. By extension, these statistical balloon-twisters are tweaking the lives of actual practitioners and patients because federal healthcare programs and private insurers use these statistical balloon animals to shape and re-shape healthcare payment systems. 

When the balloon doggie pops--and it turns out the statistics are wrong--the tears start to flow.

State Boards Eye Informed Consent for Telemed Consults

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

In a landscape of increasingly complex medical procedures and treatments, healthcare practitioners are advised to pay close attention to informed consent regulations in their states--especially those pertaining to remote teleconsultations

Want to Gain Weight? Drink Diet Soda

By Amy Burkholder, MS, Contributing Writer

Contrary to public expectations, consumption of diet sodas might actually be causing weight gain, rather than promoting weight loss. According to a recent study from the University of Texas, we may be able to fool our tastebuds, but we cannot fool our microbiomes.

CoQ10: A Valuable Ally for Male Fertility

By Kelly Kremnizer, Contributing Writer

CoEnzyme Q10 positively impacts all three of the basic semen parameters (morphology, concentration, motility) and seems to have the greatest overall effect on motility. The majority of clinical studies of Q10 in infertile males have indicated positive outcomes on semen parameters and/or pregnancy rates.

Postpartum Depression: When a “Bundle of Joy” Brings Bushels of Despair

By Madiha Saeed, MD, Contributing Writer

For about 1.3 million new mothers, the long-anticipated bundle of joy is also accompanied by a bushel of sadness and woe. Postpartum depression (PPD) is the most common complication of childbirth but unfortunately, only five percent of physicians screen for it. With her new documentary film, Dark Side of the Full Moon, Dr. Shoshana Bennett sheds healing light on the shadow side of the motherhood dream.

X-Ray Selfies and Uber-Docs: A Glimpse of Medicine’s (Near) Future

By Monya De, MD, Contributing Writer

Each year, the Medicine X conference invites tech- and social media-savvy practitioners, patients and business leaders to explore the new frontiers of healthcare technology and the ways in which it is transforming medical practice and the lives of people with chronic disease. Dr. Monya De, HPC's HolisTech correspondent shares the latest from the 2015 MedX gathering. 

For Practice Success, Know Thy Biller!

By Kristen Schepker, Contributing Writer

A good billing service can make the difference between a thriving integrative practice and one that flounders. This is especially true when utilizing "incident-to" billing to obtain reimbursement for services given by non-MD practitioners. Not all billers are the same, and it’s crucial that practitioners align with billers who share their values.

Mercury & Adjuvant-Free, A New Flu Shot Offers Cleaner, Greener Option

By Erik Goldman, Editor in Chief

This flu season, practitioners have a new adjuvant-free option to offer people who’ve been reluctant to take conventional flu shots. The new vaccine, called Flublok, delivers up to three times as much antigenic protein as other flu shots, without additives like thimerosal or aluminum. And, no chicken eggs are involved in its production.

Gluten Sensitivity, Food Allergies & The Gut-Brain Connection

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

To improve the care of patients struggling with food intolerances and to help them restore their health, clinicians need to understand the gut-brain axis and the ways in which allergen-induced inflammation ripples out through multiple organ systems, including the brain.

NSAIDs Implicated in Female Infertility

By Sara McNulty, MS, Contributing Writer

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs trigger temporary but reversible reductions in female fertility. Women wishing to conceive but having difficulty should avoid taking these ubiquitous medications.

Citicoline Reduces Cocaine Use In Bipolar Patients

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

Citicoline, a readily available over-the-counter nutritional supplement may help reduce illicit drug dependency in patients with psychiatric illness, according to researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Probiotics Quell Fire of Childhood Chronic Disease

By Madiha Saeed, MD, Contributing Writer

One in every two American children has a diagnosed chronic illness and the numbers keep rising. As a result, many parents are searching for ways to prevent and heal these conditions. The answer lies in the microbiome, which affects and alters functions from the immune system to the nervous system, and deeply affects gene expression, inflammation and the likelihood of chronic disease.

When Confronting Lyme, Think Beyond The Spirochete

By Russell Jaffe, MD, Contributing Writer

One of the key features of LD is the broad impairment of the affected individual’s innate immune response. The usual process of phagocytosis and lysosome recycling does not occur properly. Without improved immune defense and repair functions, the remissions obtained with antibiotics alone will seldom be more than fleeting.

Restoring Health Where the Heart Meets the Brain

By Erik Goldman

Cardiovascular disease and neurocognitive problems may be more alike than they are different, says physiologist Scott Minton, PhD. The key to a more holistic and multi-system treatment approach for both types of disorders is to look at physiological mechanisms that modulate cell membrane receptors, channels, and associated signal transduction pathways.

Clinicians Play Catch-Up With the Genome Revolution

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief - Vol. 1, No. 2. Summer, 2015

genomics graphicIt's an increasingly common scene, playing out in clinics all over the country: A patient comes in with a worried look and a fat printout from 23andMe. She wonders what all those scary red boxes mean, and whether cancer, Alzheimer's, or some other bad disease is lurking in her genes.

Rethinking the Role of Stress in Stomach Ulcers

By Kristen Schepker | Assistant Editor

New research published recently in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology provides strong evidence that psychological factors need to be brought back into the clinical picture of peptic ulcer disease.

Metabolic Medicine for Monday Morning

By Erik Goldman

Based on more than 3 decades of clinical practice experience, the Metabolic Code is a system for reframing clinical lab information in a way that enables physicians to choose treatment approaches that will have the most impact for each patient.

Probiotic Lozenges Improve Oral Health

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

The rapid surge of microbiome science in recent years has spurred an equally rapid growth in the number of probiotic supplements, foods, and beverages hitting the consumer market.

Five Keys to a Thriving Integrative Practice

By By Erik Goldman, Editor

Master these five core competencies, and your clinic is much more likely to thrive, regardless of the specific practice model you’ve embraced, says Heal Thy Practice facultymember, Miriam Zacharias.

Want Smarter Kids? Breastfeed!

By By Madiha Saeed, MD, Contributing Writer

Babies who are breast-fed for at least one year grow up to be significantly more intelligent than those breast-fed for less than one month, according to a Brazilian study published in The Lancet Global Health.

Probiotics May Help Prevent Diabetes

By Kristen Schepker

A drinkable probiotic formula containing Lactobacillus casei Shirota (LcS) may help prevent type 2 diabetes, according to a study published earlier this year in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Breaking the Mold: How to Get a Grip on Household Mycotoxins

By Jill Carnahan, MD, Contributing Writer

Indoor air pollutants, including mold and mycotoxins, may be contributing to more than 50% of our patient’s illnesses. All too often, though, we clinicians are unaware of it. Fortunately there are effective strategies that can help us help our patients "break the mold" and minimize the negative effects of mycotoxins.

Healthcare IT: What It Can--and Cannot--Do For Your Practice

By Erik Goldman

If the proliferation of new health info technology has your head spinning, don’t worry. You are definitely not alone. Many doctors these days are suffering from "Future Shock." Dr. Paul Abramson, whose San Francisco-based practice is positioned squarely at the crossroads of IT and integrative medicine, offers insight on how to choose IT that will really make a difference in your practice.

Testing Takes Guesswork Out Of Omega-3 Supplementation

By Janet Gulland | Contributing Writer - Vol. 1, No. 2. Summer, 2015

For many practitioners, omega-3 fatty acids are a standard part of patient care, especially when working with people at high risk of heart disease or inflammatory conditions like arthritis or chronic pain.

The Alkaline Way: Ten Tips for Reversing

By Russell Jaffe, MD | PhD Contributing Writer - Vol. 1, No. 2. Summer, 2015

There's a lot of talk these days about following an "alkaline" diet as a way of restoring health and prolonging life. In principle a lot of the core ideas behind this approach make good physiological sense.

AG Action Triggers New Wave Of Supplement Scrutiny

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief

SchneidermanNew York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's crusade against herbal products earlier this year has triggered a number of state and federal moves that could significantly change the way dietary supplements are regulated.

How to Test for Dysbiosis

By Madiha Saeed, MD | Contributing Writer - Vol. 1, No. 2. Summer, 2015

Disturbance of the gut microbiome, also known as dysbiosis, has a major detrimental effect on human health. As microbiome research continues to explode worldwide, we are learning that microbial dysregulation within the gut is an important contributing factor in a wide range of common disorders.

Making Clinical Sense of the Microbiome

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief - Vol. 1, No. 2. Summer, 2015

It's "the greatest turnaround in science and medicine in the last 150 years," says Raphael Kellman, MD, of the current microbiome revolution.

Aluminum, Alzheimer's & Autism: Understanding the Connection

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief - Vol. 1, No. 2. Summer, 2015

Back in the late 1890s, James Tyler Kent, a forefather of American homeopathy described the nature of someone suffering from aluminum toxicity as follows: "There is confusion of mind, a confusion of ideas and thoughts...The consciousness of his personal identity is confused... he is in a dazed condition of mind... Confusion and obscuration of the intellect."

Ancient Tree Earns New Reputation as Modern Superfood

By Kristen Schepker

For centuries, indigenous African peoples have recognized the vast medicinal and cultural value of the ancient Baobab tree. Widely utilized as a both traditional food crop and a source of medicine, shelter, and clothing, little was known of the prehistoric plant outside its native continent -- until recently.

Surging Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Pediatric Deaths

By Kristen Schepker

Throughout all developmental stages, adequate vitamin D intake is essential for optimal bone health and immune regulation. The medical community has long known that among infants and children, the consequences of vitamin D deficiency can be dire, ranging from rickets -- characterized by softened, weakened bones -- to unexpected death.

Teen Asthma Strongly Linked To Insulin Resistance

By Madiha Saeed, MD

Data from a recent cross-sectional study shows a strong link between insulin resistance and poor pulmonary function in a large cohort of adolescents. The correlation held for kids with asthma and, alarmingly, also in those without the disease.

NIH Center to Confront Fears Of Herb-Drug Interactions

By Erik Goldman, Editor

“Misplaced fear” about herb-drug interactions is keeping many practitioners from recommending potentially beneficial botanical medicines, said Josephine Briggs, MD, director of the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).

Resveratrol Improves Insulin Sensitivity

By Andrea Strohecker | Contributing Writer

Resveratrol, a polyphenolic compound found in red wine and widely touted for its antioxidant and cell signaling effects, also improves insulin sensitivity, according to a recent study by researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY.

Not Just a Personal Problem, Practitioner Burnout is a Public Health Issue

By Marnie Loomis, ND | Contributing Writer

What can you do if you are feeling burned out?

This is not just a personal question; it's one that has profound implications for patient care. As research reveals more about the negative effects of professional burnout on patient outcomes, medical mistakes, practitioner health, turnover rates and even practitioner suicide, it is increasingly evident that burnout poses a serious risk to patient safety.

How to Bring Intelligence to Antioxidant Supplementation

By Russell Jaffe, MD Contributing Writer

It is a basic fact of physiology that the efficiency of any biochemical pathway is limited by the chemical substrate that is most essential and least available. This is known as Von Liebig's Law of Limiting Substances, and as clinicians we would do well to keep it in mind.

You Don't Have to Be Smarter, Just Give Better Care

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief

The key to success in holistic & functional medicine is simply to give better care than the other doctors in your area. Given how utterly dysfunctional mainstream medicine is, these days, it shouldn't be hard, quipped Mark Menolascino, MD, at Holistic Primary Care's 6th annual Heal Thy Practice conference.

Eating Disorders May Signal Autoimmune Conditions

By Lindsey Davis | Contributing Writer

People being treated for eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating appear to be at increased risk for autoimmune disorders including chronic gasteroenterological, ocular, dermatological, connective tissue, neurological, and hematological autoimmune conditions, according to a new study from Helsinki University.

Eating Disorders May Signal Autoimmune Conditions

By Lindsey Davis | Contributing Writer

People being treated for eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating appear to be at increased risk for autoimmune disorders including chronic gasteroenterological, ocular, dermatological, connective tissue, neurological, and hematological autoimmune conditions, according to a new study from Helsinki University.

NY Attorney General Assails Herbal Medicine

By Erik Goldman - Vol. 16, No. 1. Spring , 2015

eric schneiderman smJust weeks after ordering big-box giants Walmart, GNC, Target, and Walgreen's to stop selling some of their "store-brand" herbal supplements, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman furthered his assault on herbal products by ordering major manufacturers to turn over data on the authenticity and purity of the products they make.

Calif. Counties Declare a Different "War on Drugs"

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

Drug overdose is the leading cause of injury-related death among Americans. While a portion of overdose deaths result from recreational drug use, a growing body of research points to prescription drugs--particularly opioids-- as an equally significant culprit.

Got Fractures? Milk Raises Risk

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

From a young age, Americans are taught that milk is an essential component of a healthy, well-rounded diet. But new research on the long-term health effects of drinking dairy questions some age-old assumptions about milk’s protective benefits.

Mushroom-Derived Compound Shows Promise Against HPV

By Wendy Romig, Contributing Writer

Researchers at  the University of Texas Health Science Center have found that a compound derived from Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes), can eradicate human papilloma virus (HPV), a leading cause of cervical cancer.

Medical Drones Bring Aid from “Above”

By Kristen Schepker, Contributing Writer

Drones, aka Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, have a bad rep these days, conjuring up images of warfare and surveillance. But medical technologists are developing new and innovative ways to turn remote-controlled flying objects into tools for healing.

PLMI Leadership Consortium: Notes from a Parallel Universe

By Niki Gratrix, BA, DipION, mBANT, Contributing Writer

With a stellar line-up that included leaders in preventive health science research, biotech, academia and functional medicine, last Fall’s Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Institute (PLMI) Thought Leaders Consortium was a vivid snapshot of life at the crossroads of communication technology and whole-systems biology.

Eat Bugs, Improve Health, Save the Planet, Says UN

By Kristen Schepker | Assistant Editor

Scientists project that by 2050, the world's population will reach a staggering 9 billion people. Our growing presence will undoubtedly impact the health of the planet in untold ways, raising significant questions regarding land use, agricultural production, and food security.

Starbucks Takes Heat for Non-Recyclable Hot Cups

By Kristen Schepker | Assistant Editor

On its iconic white cups, Starbucks urges consumers to "help us help the planet." But in recent years, the coffee shop mega-chain has come under fire for its allegedly eco-unfriendly approach to recycling.

Carotenoids May Prevent Macular Degeneration & Dementia

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief

kale-smDaily supplementation with plant-derived carotenoids can reduce the risk of age-associated macular degeneration, and may also have a role in prevention of Alzheimer's disease, according to James Stringham, PhD, of the Nutritional Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Georgia, Atlanta.

Honeybees Are Allies in Fight Against MRSA

By Kristen Schepker | Assistant Editor

Swedish researchers recently discovered 13 unique lactic acid bacteria in fresh honey and in the honey-producing organs of bees that are strongly active against several virulent human pathogens, including Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

What to Do When Patients Demand Unnecessary Antibiotics

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief

It's a common clinical scenario—especially this time of year.

A patient comes in with a respiratory infection---most probably viral—and requests--make that demands--a Z-Pak, saying that he cannot afford to be absent from work, and that antibiotics have "always worked" well in the past.

Carotenoids May Prevent Macular Degeneration & Dementia

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief

Daily supplementation with plant-derived carotenoids can reduce the risk of age-associated macular degeneration, and may also have a role in prevention of Alzheimer's disease, according to James Stringham, PhD, of the Nutritional Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Georgia, Atlanta.

How Bias and Stigma Undermine Healthcare

By Dennis Rosen, MD | Contributing Writer

Anthropologist Janelle Taylor got it right when she observed that, "Physicians' medical knowledge is no less cultural for being real, just as patients' lived experiences and perspectives are no less real for being cultural."

More than ten years on, her essay, Confronting 'Culture' in Medicine's 'Culture of No Culture' (Acad. Med. 2003;78:555–559), remains one of the most penetrating analyses of one of healthcare's most challenging issues: practitioner bias and how it affects patient outcomes.

Starbucks Takes Heat for Non-Recyclable Hot Cups

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

On its iconic white cups, Starbucks urges consumers to “help us help the planet.” But in recent years, the coffee shop mega-chain has come under fire for its allegedly eco-unfriendly approach to recycling.

Probiotics Plus Vitamin C Prevent Colds

By Kristen Schepker, Assistant Editor

Cold and flu season can be a dreaded time of year for families with young children. But according to new research published last month in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vitamin C and probiotics can be real allies for parents wondering how to protect their kids from common school-borne illnesses.

Fed Vitamin D Guidelines Off by an Order of Magnitude

By August West | Contributing Writer

The Federal RDAs for vitamin D are, "grossly inadequate" for most ordinary people, let alone people with pronounced vitamin D deficiencies, according to a detailed analysis of 3,885 episodes of vitamin D supplementation in over 1,300 individuals.

Fed Vitamin D Guidelines Off by an Order of Magnitude

By August West | Contributing Writer

The Federal RDAs for vitamin D are, "grossly inadequate" for most ordinary people, let alone people with pronounced vitamin D deficiencies, according to a detailed analysis of 3,885 episodes of vitamin D supplementation in over 1,300 individuals.

Mastering the Omega-3/Omega-6 Balancing Act

By Russell Jaffe, MD | PhD Contributing Writer

Anthropologists and medical historians agree: Healthier people consume about equal amounts of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats. This is true for all cultures, ethnic groups and geographies that have been studied. In industrial societies like ours, Omega 3s, which soothe and repair, tend to be low in peoples' diets while Omega 6s, which activate and inflame, are high.

Iron Deficiency Often Overlooked in Irritable Bowel

By Elizabeth Credi | Contributing Writer

As many as one-third of all patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have iron-deficiency anemia (IDA), and primary care clinicians can play a key role in identifying and remedying this common but often overlooked comorbidity.

The Greatest Job in the World

By Lillie Rosenthal, DO | Contributing Writer

I have the greatest job in the world. I'm a doctor. I love my work and I look forward to walking to my office each day to take care of my patients.

Cleveland Clinic Gets "Functional"

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief

The Cleveland Clinic has teamed up with functional medicine pioneer, Mark Hyman, MD, to establish a multi-million dollar Functional Medicine Institute, slated to open on September 23, 2014.

Heal Thy Practice 2014: Skill-Building for Empowerment

By Erik Goldman | Editor in Chief

Holistic Primary Care's sixth annual Heal Thy Practice conference, on October 17-19, at the Renaissance Westchester Hotel, just north of New York City, will focus on clinical and practice management skills that empower practitioners to cultivate better health for their patients, their communities and themselves.

Fed Vitamin D Guidelines Off By Order of Magnitude

By Erik Goldman

The Federal RDAs for vitamin D are “grossly inadequate” for most ordinary people, let alone people with pronounced vitamin D deficiencies, according to a detailed analysis of 3,885 episodes of vitamin D supplementation in over 1,300 individuals.

Questioning a "Diseased Illusion:" An Interview with Jeff Bland

By Niki Gratrix, BA, Dip ION, mBANT, Contributing Writer

With his newest book, The Disease Delusion, functional medicine pioneer, Jeff Bland, PhD, endeavors to help practitioners and patients alike fundamentally change how we view illness, health, and healing. HPC correspondent, Niki Gratrix, caught up with Dr. Bland for an in-depth interview.

Probiotics Add Punch To Treatment of H. Pylori

By August West, Contributing Writer

Two new studies indicate that adding oral probiotics to the therapeutic mix boosts the efficacy of conventional drug protocols in eradicating Helicobacter pylori, the most common bacterial pathogen worldwide, and a main driver of peptic ulcers.

Lymphocyte Response Assay: A Window on Tissue Repair Capacity

By Russell Jaffe, MD | Contributing Writer - Vol. 15, No. 2. Summer, 2014

Though it is most often thought of as the body's defense department, the immune system also serves many important repair functions, identifying and neutralizing foreign substances and repairing the body's tissues from daily wear and tear.