Category Archives: Common Ailments

Dealing With IT Band, Low Back or Thumb Pain?

This was an article I produced for the Orange County Wheelmen’s newsletter:

IT band_bikeThere is a common thread between some low back pain, Iliotibial band and thumb pain. When the large intestine is not functioning optimally pain, weakness and/or spasm can manifest in the thumb, the flank (quadratus lumborum) muscles of the low back or in the iliotibial band of the outer leg. IT Band Syndrome can produce pain in the outer knee or outer hip which effects many cyclists and runners alike. The good news is the problem is readily eliminated when appropriate lifestyle changes are instituted. Often the challenge is identifying the true cause. Is it bike fit, a food intolerance, or a nutrient deficiency?

For this article and group it will be assumed that you have already addressed bike fit. A saddle height that is to high may cause outer knee pain or flank area pain as one sways back and forth to compete the peddle stroke. Not to mention robbing valuable energy and power.

If any of these areas have given you grief chronically chances are pretty good that there is a food that you are eating which isIT Band causing the large intestine to dysfunction. A simple place to start might be to log your diet and note when the pain flairs. Did you eat whole wheat products, corn or possibly beef shortly before experiencing the pain? The food possibilities are diverse and different for many, but with determination and diligence can be identified.

Maybe the intestine has not been functioning properly since being sick or on an antibiotic regimen? If this is the case a good probiotic supplement may be in store. I typically find that probiotic supplements are best taken at bed time. Start with a high dose like six capsules for 1-2 weeks to initially repopulate the colon (intestine) then reducing to three at bed for another 1-2 weeks. Another supplement consideration for the colon is chlorophyll. Are you eating enough green leafy vegetables? They are one of the best preventers of colon cancer. Additional benefits for us aerobic athletes come from all the iron we derive from foods like spinach, kale and beets. Iron helps us carry that vital oxygen in the blood for enhanced stamina.

Got fiber? If you are not having 2-3 well formed bowel movements per day the colon is likely sluggish. You might benefit by consuming a good, not wheat based fiber product as well as increasing your veggie consumption. If there is also bloating experienced, digestive enzymes could well be the “Holy Grail” for you. The great news here is that digestive enzymes are also very anti-inflammatory.

LI 4

LI4

There are some therapeutic points that may give you some relief while trying to ID the true cause. IT band pain rollerThere is a very common acupuncture point named LI4 (pictured) on the thumb web which will be tender when active. Firm rubbing on the side of pain will often give some temporary relief of flank area low back pain, IT band pain or even head band pattern headaches. The popular rolling of the hip (pictured) also is a reflex area that helps to relax the colon.

I pray that this information is helpful in empowering you in the pursuit of optimal health. Follow me at https://www.facebook.com/drscott.vrzal for regular health pearls like these.

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Ever Experienced a “Food Coma?”

grandcanyon-colorinthecanyonWhile on a bus tour to the Grand Canyon, we were offered our boxed continental breakfast. It contained a large muffin, peanut butter crackers, chocolate chip cookies, an apple and OJ. Being “others centered” I was relegated to the 1/2 seat left next to a gentleman that took up 1.5 seats.  Fortunately I long ago learned not to count on meals like this, so I had consumed a filling, balanced breakfast befor enjoying the tour. Therefore I was awake and intrigued by the stories and information our fine tour guide had to share.

Remember when you were a child playing the Jello game in the car? Whenever the car turned the objective is to lean and squish the person next to you as if you were a large, unsupported mass of Jello. This game provides hours of entertainment for children, unlike my two hour bus ride. My Jello game partner was a large lifeless, formless mass after consuming a large quantity of simple carbohydrates unbalanced by any sort of protein or good fats. He was in a deep “food coma!”

After the unbalanced, hthe_jello_kingigh carbohydrate meal my Jello game partner certainly experienced a large insulin dump which led to very low blood sugar in the brain (hypoglycemia). Unlike literally every other organ in the body, the brains only energy comes from blood glucose.  The other organs can metabolize proteins or fats for energy when necessary. Since the brain does not, low blood sugar symptoms are primarily mental emotional. Symptoms like the inability to stay awake. poor focus, anger, frustration or even minor seizures can manifest when the brain becomes unfed in a hypoglycemic state. I’ve heard expert criminal witness’ testify that virtually every hate crime done occurs while the offender is in a hypoglycemic state.

Another intriguing concept that my Jello partner experienced is the accumulation of fat. Insulin is a self preservation hormone. When insulin is secreted it causes nearly 40% of that meal to be stored as fat, like triglycerides. The perceptive mind can then recognize that this is part of why the 1980’s low fat mentality led to the fattening of America. If my Jello Partner had simply consumed a good source of protein like eggs, or turkey with some good fats like olive oil, avocado, or almonds he may have also learned from our fine tour guide and if done consistently, would not likely require 1.5 seats.

The take away: When you get sleepy after a meal, something in that meal caused an insulin dump. That insulin dump starved your brain of energy and will likely be stored in large part as fat. The better you learn to manage this experience the better you can capitalize on this God given life and the better your long term health outlook will be.

BRAIN BUILDING BASICS

memory puzzle picture

There are three primary neurotransmitter’s (brain chemical’s) associated with learning. They are noreadrenalin (NA), Dopamine, and Acetylcholine (ACh). NA is responsible for learning the information. NA is typically reduced in blood sugar problems and is the main brain chemical associated in most ADD challenges. When blood sugar drops the brain is unfed and basically won’t retain the material. One becomes unfocused and unattentive. May even lead to petite mall seizures.  Limiting sugar, treating yeast, and eating Blood Type beneficial foods are often helpful in this condition.

Dopamine is responsible for retaining the material. Dopamine is a precursor to estrogen and is typically reduced in hormonal imbalances. You have experienced the benefits of Dopamine if you have ever experienced the “runners high.” This is part of why cardiovascular exercise is beneficial to learning, happiness, and contentedness. Exercise also enhances the health (neuroplasticity) of the brain. With poor diet and lack of exercise the brain literally gets mushy.

exercise for the brain

Acetylcholine (ACh) is the brain chemical for um, um, um, um, ah … Oh yea, Recall. When ACh is low then the good news is the info is in there, one just can’t access it. ACh is the brain control for the liver and gallbladder. So often “recall” problems are actually a detox problem. You may have heard me say this before… I find tomatoes to disrupt ACh metabolism potentially causing memory problems, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Trans fatty acids and processed foods can disrupt this pathway, as can B6 or choline deficiencies.

Chronic stress is a huge contributor to dementia type brain deterioration.  True dementia is quite often a literal atrophy of the brain due to the negative effects of the stress hormone cortisol. This is minimized by maintaining proper balance in life. Taking a Sabbath day, and vacation’s to allow the body (adrenal’s) to restore. Vitamin’s like B5, zinc, eleuthero, and adrenal glandular’s are a few consideration’s.

Excitotoxins like MSG and aspartate also can literally kill brain cells leading to memory loss. These fake foods excite nerve cells (open calcium channels causing the nerve to fire) to the point of death. The damage may be irreversible but minimized by nutrients like B6, folic acid, or B12.

Autoimmune problems of gluten sensitivity can also cause damage to the brain if untreated as the brain and the gut function are very closely related.

Take care of your brain. It is the only one you have. Fortunately, we have billions of brain cells since we are all losing them to some degree. The rate at which we loose them can be very determined by your lifestyle choices. Will you choose to flourish in those “golden years,” or flounder. The choice is now in your hands.

WHAT ARE THE FINGERS SAYING?

Regrettably the left hand picture were my fingers after a few very long bike rides which created an EFA (essential fatty acid)  deficiency for me. This is evidenced by the dry, peeling skin on the ends. The good news is that this is very temporary when understood. When my fingers look like this, I take and extra 1-2 fish oil capsules and they skin is better within hours.

The white spots in the right hand picture demonstrate a zinc deficiency. This sometimes magnified by a need for HCl (stomach acid). Zinc is necessary to make stomach acid, it helps the hormone system, and it helps the immune system. Notice the poor circulation and immune problem of the last 2 fingers. Sugar consumption and stress depress zinc levels.

Cracking or brittle nails are often a need for calcium and HCL which will help one metabolize the calcium.

Perpendicular ridges across the nail are periods of protein deficiency. A sign that you need more protein in the diet. Don’t let this continue or you will end up quite ill.

Loss of the half moons at the nails beds are an indicator that there may be some hypothyroid issues. This needs to be correlated with symptoms and appropriate testing.

Anemia is another issue that may show up as spoon shaped nails or possibly as deeper longitudinal lines. Correlate with signs like a lack of redness in the “life lines” of the palm, slow color recovery after squeezing the finger and lab tests.

finger's EFA

Need for EFA’s

white spots in nails

White spots, need for zinc and maybe HCl

ARE THE RED DOTS ON MY SKIN CAUSE FOR CONCERN?

 

The Good :) and Bad :(

The Good 🙂 and Bad 😦

Little red dots on the skin are called Cherry Angiomas or Petichia. In and of themselves they are not harmful, but what they tell about your body is a very different story… There are two pathway’s in the liver associated with this problem. When one of them does not function properly, then a person ends up with high homocysteine. Homocysteine levels above 11.4 are dangerous. In fact the further above, not only does one’s cardiovascular risk increase, but the likelihood of a cardiovascular accident being fatal also increases. Yuck!

Typically, the larger and/or more numerous the dots, the higher the likelihood that there is strong cardiovascular accident family history. A seminar attendee, where I was once teaching this had a large, raised, red mole sized red dot. Both her parents had died of heart attacks in their fifties. I find them to often show first in the sternal (cleavage) area.

The chart to the left outlines the foods or nutrients that can make this pathway not function properly and the nutrients that can help it work right. When it works right, you live. Capish?

Take the time to keep an eye on your spouses skin, regularly checking for these danger signs. If present, determine which of the above nutrients is missing in their diet and which of the offenders are being consumed and make appropriate changes while you still can.

homo dots w arrows

Medical Emergency, or Minimal Risk?

Medical emergency or minimal risk?

Medical emergency or minimal risk?

Fortunately, lipoma’s like this rarely represent a medical emergency as long as it is relatively soft and movable. They do often tend to return after being surgically removed unfortunately. The most common nutritional cause is an iodine deficiency, especially if there are multiple lipoma’s. Another commonality I see with these is significant emotional triggers stored directly in the mass. With much N.E.T. (Neuro Emotional Technique) and possibly iodine supplementation  these can respond to care.

EAT THIS FOOD TO LOSE YOUR BELLY FAT

veggies to loose belly fat

The Dr. V summary of this ground breaking paper is:

When one eats too many processed, low soluble fiber foods they create an intestinal environment that is conducive to storing belly (visceral) fat. When one consumes appropriate vegetable fiber it promotes a healthier intestinal environment that stimulates metabolism and virtually melts away belly fat. Clinically I have long understood that  fat storage in the lower abdominal area is a consequence of poor intestinal function. This paper confirms what we have known clinically for many years. The now confirmed conclusion is, if you want to loose belly fat eat fewer processed carbohydrates and more vegetables. Vegetables also help one feel satisfied longer from the food that is consumed, as opposed to the desire for further empty calories soon after the consumption of said empty calories. Eat vegetables to be lean and satisfied.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v489/n7415/full/nature11552.html

What Causes “Side Effects?”

ANYTHING GOD MADE IS BETTER THEN EVERYTHING MAN MADE!

The solutions to many of our health problems can be found in nature. Unfortunately, man feels compelled to process out the synergistic elements from wonderful God made remedies so that they have a synthetic product that can then be patented. Then when we the consumer take these drugs or even some supplements we create nutrient deficiencies which create other problems or “side effects.” Here is a list of some of the common nutrient deficiencies caused by a few medications. If you “need” one of these, you might be well served to find a good vitamin to compensate. http://www.spofscc.com/uploads/Drugs_that_Gobble_Vitamins_New.pdf

DO MOSQUITO’S LIKE YOU?

B1 (thiamine) deficiency can cause lactic acidosis, thus making one smell fruity and attractive to the pesky mosquito. Yes, I am referring to the same lactic acid that builds up with over training and thiamine is beneficial there too. I have had many patients who had previously been attacked, get passed over by mosquito’s after adding a good B1 to their diet. A few other possible symptoms of B1 deficiency are spotting or frequent menses, emotional instability, fatigue, headaches, hypoglycemia, or slow metabolism.

LIKE ITALIAN OR MEXICAN FOODS?

Sorry Italian and Mexican food fans. A, B and to a lesser degree, AB blood types do not do well on tomatoes 😦 For the 44% of you that are O’s, you have a better chance of tolerating the fun red food. I know we have seen the press that lycopenes are good for the prostate, etc. But the damage out weighs the benefit in most cases. The lectins (immune trigger) in tomatoes can cause insulin dumping which can lead to hypoglycemia and then diabetes. They can cause ACh (acetylcholine) to decrease, thus memory problems and liver stress, occasionally leading to increases in cholesterol and often leading to increases in blood pressure. In this case, it is usually better to just say no… Thank you. Blessing to you and your health.

Friend or Foe?