More people are reaching a ripe old age than ever before in history. In the early 1800s, life expectancy was a mere 45 years. But today, in Australia, Canada, Japan, and most European countries, people can expect to live to 80 and beyond. If the trend continues, a majority of babies born in these countries will live past their 100th birthday. But this increase in longevity comes with some bad news. Although we manage to survive longer than preceding generations, we often gain time without being healthier in those extra years.

The Difference Between Thriving and Surviving as We Age

Studies worldwide indicate that after age 60, most people have at least one chronic disorder, such as heart disease or diabetes. A recent population-based study in Sweden found that at age 80, only one of 10 individuals were living well and not suffering from either a chronic disease or Frailty Syndrome.

In the U.S. almost one-third of people older than 85 have received an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, often combined with other types of dementia such as that caused by vascular disease.1

What’s Wrong with Our Modern Medicine Healthcare Model?

Modern Medicine faces fundamental challenges in that we are removing the human element and attempting to reduce everything to a single cause and effect.  Given the functional interdependencies between the molecular components in a human cell, disease is rarely a consequence of an abnormality in a single gene, but reflects the perturbations of the complex intracellular and intercellular network that links tissue and organ systems.2


read more

“Success is never final, and failure is never fatal”
-John Wooden

If you have recently been diagnosed with advanced cancer or another serious life-threatening disease, remember that everything you might think about it—positive or negative—is merely an interpretation. You are the one who decides how you will relate to the diagnosis.

My advice, based on my three decades of working with people with serious illness, is simple. Do not limit yourself by assuming that you or anyone else knows what the outcome will be. The truth is that no one knows. Surrender to the unknown and focus your attention on living your best life.

It is blessedly freeing to accept what is in this moment, without projecting into the future. Use your mind and heart to seek out and consult with trained, experienced, well-respected professionals whom you trust. And use the power of prayer to help guide you.

Love is the Virtue of the Heart

read more

In my blog on proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) a couple of weeks ago, I discussed the dangers of these drugs that are commonly prescribed for treating GERD and indigestion. Patients often ask me if there are natural alternatives to PPIs.

I recommend complete digestive support that focuses on safely alleviating symptoms and restoring digestive tract health. The goals should be to:

  • Neutralize stomach acid to relieve heartburn, acid indigestion, bloating, GERD, and upset stomach.
  • Support digestion and normal gastrointestinal (GI) health and response.
  • Support normal GI immune and inflammatory response.
  • Support normal GI tract healing, provide support and protection to the mucosal lining, enhance GI permeability health, and address leaky gut syndrome and immune dis-regulation.
  • Provide optimal support for the epithelial lining of the GI tract, esophagus, throat and mouth.
  • Support nervous system/digestive system connection and assist the gut, nervous system, and brain network.
  • Support gum and oral tissue health.

read more

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are among the 10 most widely used drugs in the world. In 2012, there were 157 million prescriptions written for these stomach-acid inhibiting drugs.1 More than likely, either you or someone you know is taking these medications.

While PPIs may alleviate the problem of excess stomach acid, many people don’t realize that these drugs are associated with an increased risk of gastric cancer, pneumonia, c. difficile infections, osteoporosis (you need stomach acid to absorb nutrients such as magnesium and calcium into bones), and vitamin B12 deficiency, among other serious diseases.2

The Rationale Behind PPIs

The stomach secretes digestive fluids with a pH2 value, which creates a highly acidic environment. These acidic gastric secretions sterilize bacteria in foods that are eaten, and are essential for the digestion and absorption of various nutrients, including protein, iron, calcium, and vitamin B12.

Obviously, stomach acid that can digest food can also damage delicate intestinal mucosa. The body has protective mechanisms—including mucosal mucous/bicarbonate secretion and sphincter contraction of the gastroesophageal junction—to prevent gastroesophageal damage. But if the sphincter is weakened, stomach acid can flow back into the esophagus. The backwash of acid irritates the esophageal lining, causing heartburn and the regurgitation of food. If the condition persists, it may cause chest pain, difficulty swallowing, chronic cough, hoarseness, and disrupted sleep. Left untreated, GERD can lead to esophageal ulcers, narrowing of the esophagus, and precancerous changes known as Barrett’s esophagus. 


read more

 I discovered that technology’s quest towards the unknown
requires us to accumulate more and more control,
whereas growing in virtue requires an altogether different capacity:
more and more surrender.
~Nipun Mehta

 

 

Believe it or not, I do not own a smartphone. I’m not averse to technology. But I spend so much time on my computer engaged in research and writing that when I take a break from my work, I truly take a break. I want to be fully present in life without the temptation of looking at my smartphone. Instead of focusing on my phone, I walk down the street enjoying my surroundings and smiling at people as I pass by. If I need directions, I ask someone directly, engaging in real communication with another human being.

Along with the benefit of being engaged in life, removing myself from the seductive pull of technology frees up time for my mind to wander, which is essential to creative thought and wellbeing.

On average, people in the U.S. check their smartphones 46 times per day (up from 33 times per day in 2014). And it’s worse for users in the U.K. A study by Nottingham Trent University found that adults ages 18-33 checked their smartphones 85 times a day, or once every 10 minutes—and they don’t even know they are doing it.1

We are giving up our uniqueness as individuals, becoming mere facts and statistics plugged into technology and artificial intelligence. Many believe this is a good thing and will improve our lives. But as we create smarter robots that are increasingly human-like, humans are at the same time becoming more robot-like. What happens to the human spirit in this race for technology?

I am deeply concerned about the physical, emotional, and spiritual price we are paying for technology, which is advancing at a speed that is impossible for us to adjust to. Drug addiction, drug overdosing, and suicide are epidemic in our society, and feelings of isolation are a primary cause. Social interaction is emerging as perhaps the single most important factor to a long, healthy and happy life, but overdosing on technology leads to isolation, not interaction.

My new motto has become: “Together we heal.”


read more

Understanding Neutrophil to Lymphocyte Ratio (Part 2): Research Demonstrating its Role as a Valuable Prognostic Marker in Cancer

A large body of research (as well as my clinical observations) point to chronic inflammation as a powerful force in the initiation, growth, and spread of cancer. As a result, an essential component of my protocol for health includes addressing inflammation.

As I discussed in part 1 of this series, there are three points to consider when evaluating the role of inflammation in cancer. First, a chronic inflammatory state can initiate cancer development. Second, it’s important to discover and address the root cause of the inflammation—for example, pathogenic (chronic infection), life-style, stress, and/or poor dietary habits. And third, recognize that the cancer itself creates inflammation—as the cancer energy mutates and gains intelligence, it manipulates the immune system, creating a pro-inflammatory micro-environment favorable to cancer growth.

Research indicates that the systemic manifestations of inflammation can provide a valuable biomarker for prognosis and treatment stratification. In particular, numerous studies indicate that a simple indicator of systemic inflammation—based on neutrophilia and/or lymphocytopenia—can provide prognostic information in a wide range of cancer types. In particular, the value of one index (the dNLR) derived from total white cell and neutrophil counts, is enabling large retrospective studies to be carried out.

Neutrophil to Lymphocyte Ratio May Be a Predictor of Mortality in All Conditions

White blood cell (WBC) count is one of the useful inflammatory biomarkers in clinical practice. For example, even if WBC is within normal range, subtypes of WBC including N/L ratio may predict cardiovascular mortality.

N/L ratio is a readily measurable laboratory marker used to evaluate systemic inflammation. There are many different conditions that can affect N/L ratio, including hypertension, diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome (1), left ventricular dysfunction, acute coronary syndromes, valvular heart disease, abnormal thyroid function tests, renal or hepatic dysfunction, known malignancy (2,3,4), local or systemic infection, previous history of infection (<3 months), inflammatory diseases, and any medication related to inflammatory conditions.

Here’s one example of how the N/L ratio can be useful as part of the evaluation of a specific cancer and the treatment protocol: not only N/L ratio but also mean platelet volume, red cell distribution width (5), platelet distribution width, CRP, uric acid and gamma-glutamyl transferase (6) are easy markers to evaluate the prognosis of colon cancer patients (7). However, one should keep in mind that N/L ratio itself alone without other inflammatory markers may not give exact information to clinicians about the prognosis of colon cancer patients. (8,9).


read more