Dr. Darshan S. Khalsa's Blog

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Will nutritional supplements improve our health? January 20, 2012

Filed under: enzyme therapy,stress,wellness — Dr. Darshan S. Khalsa @ 4:23 pm
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Do we benefit from taking nutritional supplements?   Do we need nutritional supplements?  Why can’t we get the nutritional support that we need from just our food?  These are some  of the most common questions we get asked.

After all, people have historically gotten all their nutrition from their foods, and in many environments and eras people were able to lead long and healthy lives.  What is different about now?

Part of the  answer is that today’s food is not the same food that our great grandparents ate.  Today’s food is generally grown on deficient, chemicalized soils, so there is less nutritional content to start with.  To make things worse, the food is often stored for long periods before we are able to eat it, losing nutritional value each hour.  Finally the food is often heavily processed and this causes additional nutritional losses.  One more obstacle:  our factory farmed food is bred and grown for ease of bringing to market and ease of storage rather than for nutritional content.  Much of the food we eat today is genetically modified or excessively hybridized, and so it may have far less nutritional content than the food our great grandparents ate.

The other side of the equation is that we generally live in a much more toxic environment than our great grandparents.  We may need additional nutritional support to help us process these toxins.  The toxins are found in the foods we eat in the form of herbicides, fungicides, or insecticides.  In addition to these toxins in our foods, other toxins such as heavy metals or industrial chemicals are  found in our air, water, and building products.  Finally, some of the chronic stresses of modern life may produce additional toxic burdens in our bodies.

So even though in most ways are lives are much superior to our great grandparents, in the question of food and nutrition we are not necessarily better off, even though we can get relatively fresh foods from all over the world simply be going to our local grocery store.  The food looks good, but the nutrition we need may not be there.

In practice, most of our patients benefit greatly from some moderate nutritional supplementation of their diet.  As with most therapies, we are looking for the balance point of not too little and not too much.  Too much supplementation can lead to imbalances also!   We often have patients who come in with grocery bags full of supplements and they often benefit when we help them identify what they really need–more is not necessarily better!

In general, supplements that are too refined and concentrated often don’t test well.   Plant based enzymes and herbs often do test well.  Vitamin and mineral supplements may or may not test well.  More on the topics of nutrition and nutritional testing in future blogs….

And remember, supplements can not take the place of a good diet!

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Preventing Cancer October 8, 2010

In a sense, we all have cancer.   We all have a small proportion of cancer cells among the trillions of cells that make up our bodies.  The normal healthy immune system easily deals with these, breaking down the cancer cells harmlessly while performing all the other immune functions.  What is normally called Cancer, (groups of cancer cells that become large enough to diagnose) usually occurs after a long period of immune dysfunction.  Allergies, inflammation, poor diet, stress, genetics, poor digestion, exposure to environmental toxins and inability to detoxify all can contribute to this immune system dysfunction.

Our task with WholeHealth WellnessTM is to do everything we can to maintain healthy immune system function before cancer can develop. It seems significant that to my knowledge no patient who has had regular care using WholeHealth WellnessTM has ever been diagnosed with cancer. This is probably not statistically significant and will undoubtedly change at some point; still it is very comforting both for patients and for me as a practitioner.

Acupuncture, herbs, enzyme therapy, homeopathic detoxification, stress reduction, and bioenergetic clearings are all components of WholeHealth WellnessTM .   Using these modalities, we seek to balance and enhance your immune system so that cancer and other diseases never develop in the first place.

Remember the old saying:  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

 

 

Did you know that acupuncture is often used to relieve the side effects of chemotherapy?

The National Cancer Institute recently compiled numerous studies showing the beneficial effects of acupuncture on chemotherapy patients.  Reduced pain, less fatigue and less nausea are the main effects. Patients who receive acupuncture while undergoing chemotherapy experience reduced pain, less fatigue and less nausea than patients receiving chemotherapy alone. There is also an enhancement of immune function that occurs with those who receive acupuncture.

Here is the link to the National Cancer Institute compilation about acupuncture and chemotherapy:

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/acupuncture/HealthProfessional/page5

In addition to acupuncture, our chemotherapy patients often receive digestive enzyme supplements to help with healing and energy.  We generally do not give herbs while a patient is receiving chemotherapy since there could be some interactions with the chemotherapy and we view our role in cancer treatment as an adjunct to the Western Medicine primary care.  However, once the course of chemotherapy is completed, there are many wonderful herbs that can help patients to recover rapidly.

Of course prevention is always easier and more effective than treatment after an illness has occurred.  The true and higher calling of our medicine is to prevent illnesses from occurring in the first place.  I’ll discuss how this applies to cancer in the next post.

 

 

Did you know that very popular heartburn/reflux medications contribute to osteoporosis? October 1, 2010

From an article in Health Daily News on May 25, 2010:  “Blockbuster heartburn medications such as Prevacid, Prilosec and Nexium will now carry a warning on their labels linking the drugs to a heightened risk for fractures, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced.”

Here’s a link to the rest of the article:

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=116609

While these heartburn medications are advertised as harmless, in fact long-term use significantly impairs your ability to metabolize proteins and minerals.  The most obvious result we see in our practice is fatigue.  However, it is now apparent that reduced bone mass is another long-term side effect.   You need your stomach acid to digest your foods!

We have a better way.  Acupuncture along with some of our herbs and enzymes can dramatically improve your digestion and eliminate reflux symptoms.  Plus you will feel more relaxed!

 

Stress, Digestion, and Allergies June 22, 2010

In our practice we find stress and poor digestion to be the two health problems at the root of most others.  We find that up to 80% of the symptoms that people initially present with are improved when stress and digestion are dealt with first.  We also find that the remaining symptoms become much easier to deal with.   We see less pain, less fatigue, better sleep, improved fertility, moods improved, and reductions to allergies when we deal with stress and digestion first.

When stress is reduced, immune system function is automatically improved.  Good digestion gives us the energy to heal.  This is why simultaneously reducing stress and improving digestion results in improvements to so many other symptoms.

 Keys to digestion improvements:

  • Reducing long term chronic stress:  Stress initiates the “fight or flight” syndrome—our body energy goes to where it is needed for “fight or flight” : To the arms, legs, and short term mental functions.  Consequently our energy goes away from digestion, immune system and all of the bodies repair and restore functions.   Long term chronic stress substantially impairs our digestion system.
  • Avoiding highly processed foods (the center aisles of a supermarket mostly contain highly processed industrial foods)
  • Avoiding foods grown on soils with heavy fertilizers and pesticides use.  These result in nutritionally deficient foods.  Our bodies have to work harder to draw nutrition from these foods.
  • Supplementing with digestive enzymes:  Digestive enzymes are what our bodies use to break down the foods we eat.  As we get older our bodies produce less of these; supplementing can result in great improvements to digestion.

 

 What are the usual results of chronically impaired digestion?  

  • Fatigue
  • The creation of food sensitivities and food allergies.

 

 How does impaired digestion lead to the creation of food sensitivities and other immune system dysfunctions?

  • When food is poorly digested in the stomach, incompletely broken down food passes into the intestines.
  • The intestinal walls gradually become inflamed, allowing larger than normal molecules to pass through the intestinal walls into the blood stream.  This is sometimes called “leaky gut” syndrome.
  • The immune system senses these incompletely broken down foods in the blood stream and reacts to them as though they were pathogens.  Gradually allergies to certain foods can be developed.
  • The immune system can become exhausted by having to continually react to foods and may become unable to react to true pathogens, leading to chronic illnesses.  Alternatively, the immune system can become too reactive in general, and begin to attack the bodies own tissues.   This can lead to auto-immune conditions such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

 

Remember:  Poor digestion can be successfully treated.  Improving digestion is the first step to clearing allergic sensitivities.  Energy and overall health will also greatly improve once the digestive system is functioning optimally.

 

Another Long Deep Breathing Newpaper Article! February 26, 2010

This article form the Fairfax Times actually came out in December, 2009.   In addition to talking about the Long Deep Breathing App, it talks  about our practice.

Here’s the link:

http://www.fairfaxtimes.com/cms/story.php?id=779

Here’s the article:

by Gregg MacDonald | Staff writer

Shamus Ian Fatzinger/Fairfax County Times
Darshan S. Khalsa, of Reston’s Khalsa Integrative Medicine, LLC, displays the iPhone application he helped design to lead users through a series of deep breathing exercises.
A Reston alternative healer has teamed up with a Herndon software developer to create an iPhone software application that helps people practice holistic deep breathing techniques — and it is selling all over the world.
 

Preventive measures for H1N1 Swine Flu August 25, 2009

Yesterday the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology issued their estimate of the possible impact of H1N1 swine flu on the American population:  Up to half the population infected and up to 1.8 million hospitalizations required!  This is much more than a normal flu season—we’ll find out in the next few months how accurate their estimate is.  This H1N1 flu variety is relatively new and people have built up less immunity.  Unlike most influenzas, predictions are that older people will have more immunity and that this flu will disproportionately infect younger school age people. 

Here’s a link to the Center For Disease Control’s H1N1 Swine Flu site with lots of good information:  http://www.cdc.gov/H1N1Flu/

I’m certain the mainstream media will be sufficiently alarmist so the real issue becomes what should we do to prepare for the impending flu season.  Disease is always an interaction between the strength of the pathogen and the strength of our immune system.   How can we strengthen our immune systems to better resist these new pathogens?

The vaccine which may help prevent infections won’t be ready until the flu season is well underway.  Vaccines have their own problems as well, and I’ll discuss these in a future blog post.

 The basic recommendations for strengthening the immune system are still primary:     stress reduction,   regular acupuncture,    good diet along with steps to improve digestion,   good hygiene (frequent hand washing, etc…)

I also teach patients various acupressure techniques that are effective for immune building and disease prevention.  In addition, I’ve been dispensing two different supplements to patients to help build their immunity and one supplement to keep in reserve at home in case a cold or flu starts.  We dispense only to current patients since no formula is indicated for everyone.

Two supplements that we often give to patients to boost the immune system:

The first supplement is a Chinese Herbal Formula called Yu Ping Feng Wan, “Jade Wind-Screen Pills”.  This is a very old formula in continuous use at least for the last 700 years in China.  It contains Huang Qi (Astragalus), Fang Feng (Siler), and Bai Zhu (Atractylodes).  The action of this formula is to build up your immunity, hence the name:  create a precious (Jade) Screen around your body to shield you from pathogenic influences (Wind).  Yu Ping Feng San is a good formula for almost everyone to take as we enter cold and flu season. 

We also sometimes give patients another good modern formula that combines enzymes, Chinese Herbs and Western Herbs called ProSol™ Immune.  Here are some of the ingredients of this formula:  PHysioProtease™ is an enzyme blend that activates the immune system to promote healing and seeks out areas of inflammation and tissue damage.  Astragalus root extract – An antioxidant that helps protect the liver, has many known immune stimulating properties.  Goldenseal root – Contains several alkaloids shown to have anti-microbial and antibacterial properties. Echinacea angustifolia root – Has antiviral, anti-fungal and immune-stimulating effects

What do we do when our immune boosting preventive measures are not adequate and we feel ourselves starting to get a cold or flu? 

I’ve been recommending to patients a Chinese Herbal Formula called Gan Mao Ling to keep on hand for just that time.  This formula has antibacterial and antiviral properties and can be very effective at helping the body overcome an initial disease onset.  This formula is not as effective at building the basic protections as Yu Ping Feng Wan or ProSol™ Immune, but is more effective for initial disease onset.  Here are the ingredients of Gan Mao Ling Wan: Ge Gen (Pueraria Root); Da Qing Ye (Baphicacanthus Leaf); Bo He (Mint); Ju Hua (Chrysanthemum); Jie Geng (Platycodon); Xing Ren (Apricot Seed); Lian Qiao (Forsythia) Gan Cao (Licorice).  Gan Mao Ling Wan, if taken at the onset of a cold or flu, can often help your immune system throw the disease off quickly.

Be prepared for flu season!   If you wish to maintain optimal health through this coming flu season, please schedule an appointment.  We dispense only to our patient base, so if you are not already a patient, you will need to make an initial appointment.  Our best wishes for your good health this flu season!