by Tammera J. Karr, PhD, BCHN, BCIH
In May of 2012 I attended the National Association of Nutritional Professionals (NANP) Conference in San Francisco. The first day of the conference I heard from an emergency room nurse- Sally Pacholok, RN, BSN and co-author of the book, Could it be B12? An epidemic of misdiagnosis. The information she shared was staggering on how a $36.00 vitamin treatment that is being overlooked by medical practitioners could save over 54.5 billion dollars a year in medical costs for fall related injuries only. The numbers only go up when you add dementia, depression, MS, hospitalization…..
Why aren’t doctors checking B12 levels? That is obviously the billion dollar question.
Part of the answer is doctors don’t think of the obvious anymore, An estimated 15% to 25% of older adults have a B12 deficiency, but many of them are never tested or diagnosed. B12 deficiency causes suffering and serious injury—even death. Yet many health care professionals mistakenly attribute signs and symptoms of B12 deficiency to aging;
Next comes no one wants to take responsibility, B12 awareness involves reeducating the health care community, educating the public, and holding health care professionals and health care institutions accountable to the patients they serve.
Healthcare providers like Sally are working hard to expose health care’s dirty little secret and putting an end to not screening symptomatic and at risk people. Until the health care community is reeducated and up to date, the public is at great risk for unnecessary injury and poor health. The result of the healthcare community’s ignorance results in you the patient being passed from one doctor to another, and lab values are woefully out of date. And the one answer with the strongest strangle hold is money. Why would a pharmaceutical company, hospital or doctor for that matter want to treat and cure your health challenges with a $36.00 yearly treatment when there are billions to be made with other designer drugs, therapies and tests?
Many of the case studies Sally went over with us are pending malpractice cases that she is on the review committee for. These cases involved a 26 year old male who will never be able to walk again, a young woman who had surgery with nitrous oxide without being tested for B12 deficiency before hand – she will need a walker or wheel chair for the rest of her life. As I said earlier the information was staggering, and now you see it was also infuriating to see what has been buried from public view.
Untreated B12 deficiency results in:
4.Use of other costly prescribed medications
6.Nursing home placement
Falls are the leading cause of death and disability for individuals over 65. Only 50% of those hospitalized for hip fractures are able to return home or live independently after injury. Seniors at high risk for misdiagnosis exhibit the following symptoms.
•Difficulty explaining symptoms
•Already having a diagnosis for their symptoms
B12 deficiency mimics:
Neurologic signs & symptoms
•Weakness of legs, arms, trunk
•Unsteady or abnormal gait
•Urinary or fecal incontinence
The 10 cent secret
•For < 10 cents per day—treatment for B12 deficiency for an entire year!
$36 divided by 365 days = 0.098
•1,000 mcg/ml 1ml IM or SC qd or qod x 6 (I left in the dosing information for the many healthcare providers who have taken to reading this column)
•1ml q 2 wks for next 12 months
So before you think this is a deficiency of the elderly only – I want to stress the error of that thinking. Research supports this deficiency effects newborns, children, teens, adults as well as the population over 65. It is my opinion after hearing this lecture and following up with additional research after I got home that not only is this widely overlooked and miss diagnosed but it is a travesty and criminal that the American population is being denied this inexpensive and efficacious therapy.
Why Is B12 Deficiency So Frequently Misdiagnosed?
- Most doctors and health care providers don’t know the facts about B12 deficiency.
- Most patients who have B12 deficiency symptoms or are at risk for B12 deficiency never get tested.
- The current standard for “normal” serum B12 levels is actually far too low.
- Doctors frequently don’t diagnose B12 deficiency until the patient has enlarged red blood cells and/or macrocytic anemia—which are often late signs of advanced B12 deficiency.
- People over 65 are frequently misdiagnosed because doctors blame their B12 deficiency symptoms on preexisting diseases and comorbid conditions.
- The current Daily Required Intake (DRI) and Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for B12 health for adults, during pregnancy, and during child growth and development are grossly outdated.
B12 screening is not included for:
Older adults who fall or are at risk for falling.
Older adults who have cognitive changes or dementia.
Patients presenting depression or mental illness.
Patients who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
What tests to ask for?
- B12 serum test with
- Methylmalonic acid
- Homocysteine and
- Holotranscobalamin II which measures one of the blood binding proteins used to transport B12.
For more in-depth information on this epidemic I encourage you to read Sally’s book and go to her website – http://b12awareness.org
by Tammera J. Karr, PhD, BCHN, BCIH
Brain food is a terrific example of what we can do every day and with every meal to change not only how smart we are but how likely we are to develop age related brain dysfunction. Cultures throughout the world incorporate food into their “health care plan”, since most of these countries have socialized medicine it is in the governments best interest to encourage “wellness care” verses “disease management”. After all it is the tax payer footing the bill, and these counties are bankrupt, so they require efficacy over subsidy.
We are currently programed to disregard the thousands of medicinals in our kitchens, gardens, rivers and woods. If it isn’t made by a drug company it has no efficacy, right? Brain food is every ware, and it is available at affordable prices or free if you’re willing to work for it.
1. Blueberries—Blueberries serve a wide range of functions for improving mental function. Research has found blueberries can reverse age related declines in motor function, balance, and coordination. What blueberries do is strengthen the brain by taking advantages of the brain’s tremendous redundancy, “old neurons are like old married couples — they don’t talk to one another very well anymore. Old neurons are like old married couples — they don’t talk to one another very well anymore.” Blueberries have compounds that boost neuron signals and help turn back on systems in the brain that can lead to using other proteins to help with memory or other cognitive skills. In contrast, people with Alzheimer’s disease have weaker neuron signals.
2. Salmon— December 2011, researchers reported people who eat baked or broiled fish at least once a week may be protecting their brains from Alzheimer’s and other brain problems and were likely, a decade later, to have more gray matter in several key parts of the brain, including the hippocampus, the posterior cingulate and the orbital frontal cortex.
Gene Bowman of the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland and colleagues tested blood samples from 104 elderly volunteers for a variety of nutrients; they also gave them a battery of tests to measure their memory and thinking abilities. And 42 of the subjects underwent MRI scans to measure the overall size of their brains. Those who tested high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, which are commonly found in fish, and in vitamins C, E and B, which are often found in vegetables, were less likely to have their brains shrink, and were more likely to score higher on the memory and thinking tests (Dec. 28 issue of the Journal Neurology).
In contrast, those who ate a lot of food containing trans fats — found in margarine, packaged food, fast food and baked goods — tended to experience more brain shrinkage and score poorly on the thinking and memory tests. (Now do you believe me when I talk about the dumbing down of America through Fast Food!)
An article published online on April 26, 2011 in the Journal Translational Psychiatry reports the discovery of the beneficial role for the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in mood, bipolar disease and alcohol abuse.
Associate professor of psychiatry Alexander B. Niculescu, MD, PhD and associates gave diets containing low or high amounts of DHA to a group of mice bred to develop bipolar disease symptoms; “The mice given DHA normalized their behavior, they are not depressed and when subjected to stress, they do not become manic.” “When we looked into their brains, using comprehensive gene expression studies, we were surprised to see genes that are known targets of psychiatric medications were modulated and normalized by DHA.” Dr. Niculescu reported. (think of the money saved by eating fish and taking great fish oil for those with bipolar disease!)
3. Coffee—Regular coffee drinking has been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and other mental disorders. In 2011, scientists concluded that coffee may be the best source of the caffeine shown to protect against cognitive decline. Another unknown component in coffee appears to synergize with the caffeine to increase blood levels of a factor associated with improved cognitive function in Alzheimer’s.
Caffeinated coffee has also been associated with protection against Parkinson’s disease, the second most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s. A study of 29,000 individuals found one to four cups daily decreased the risk of Parkinson’s by 47% and 5 or more cups decreased the risk by 60%.
4. Nuts— walnuts, almonds, cashews and pecans, contain properties that help with everything from fighting insomnia to promoting mental clarity and strong memory. Walnuts are rich in fatty acids while almonds contain natural mood-enhancing neurotransmitters. But wait – the FDA has listed walnuts as an unregulated drug… What ever shall we do?
5. Avocados—Don’t let the avocado’s fat content fool you. It’s a healthy fat that promotes blood flow, keeping your mind functioning at its peak. Avocados have been shown to reduce blood pressure as well.
6. Eggs—Egg yolks are rich in choline, an essential nutrient to improving memory function. B vitamins are a must for brain health, if you can’t eat eggs or don’t have a good free range source for them, take a whole food B-complex.
7. Chocolate—Dark chocolate is magnesium and antioxidant-rich, it also improves focus and concentration. Milk chocolate, on the other hand, improves memory and reaction time. (for you Marilyn, you can say ha to you know who now…)
8. Broccoli—Broccoli has been shown to improve memory function as well as slow the aging process. Broccoli is one of the most protective foods known to researchers today, it has been shown to activate more cell receptor sites – protecting your health, than any other single food next to pomegranates, and turmeric.
“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people
under the pretense of taking care of them.” — Thomas Jefferson
To Your Good Health.
by Tammera J. Karr, PhD, BCHN, BCIH
Health is affected by many things – one of those is pets. Not everyone is well suited to having a pet; some may have severe allergies that prevent them from having the standard dog or cat. There is no denying the importance of pets for not only our physical health but also for our mental. This has especially been made apparent to me over the last few weeks with the addition of Sadie a red Tri-Color Australian Shepard to our family.
Our dogs like many of yours are part of the family; they hold war game events with the cats, fiercely protect our home, office and vehicles, supervise gardening and act as drill instructors to get us exercising. But I truly think the most important job they have is to make us laugh, smile and remember to enjoy the simple things.
When patients come to the office to see my colleague who is a pain specialist, it is easy to pick out those who have pets… Some of them bring their pets with them as they are designated therapy animals. More and more hospitals are allowing or encouraging therapy dog and even cat visitations to patients. I have seen Spaniel, Labs and Aussies with their little vests on at St. Charles Hospital in Bend, most everyone, especially the staff stop to say hi to these valuable medical assistants.
Professionally trained helper animals—such as guide dogs for the blind—offer obvious benefits to human folk. However, the average domestic pet, can also provide us with many therapeutic benefits. Pets can ease our loneliness, reduce our stress, promote social interaction, encourage exercise and playfulness, and provide us with unconditional love and affection.
While most pet owners are clear about the immediate joys that come with sharing their lives with companion animals, many remain unaware of the physical and mental health benefits that also accompany the pleasure of playing with or snuggling up to a furry friend. It’s only recently that studies have begun to scientifically explore the benefits of the human-animal bond. Studies have found that:
ü Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
ü People with pets have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets.
ü Playing with a pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
ü Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels (indicators of heart disease) than those without pets.
ü Heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without.
ü Pet owners over age 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.
ü A pet doesn’t have to be a dog or a cat. Even watching fish in an aquarium can help reduce muscle tension and pulse rate.
One of the reasons for these therapeutic effects is most pets fulfill the basic human need to touch. Even hardened criminals in prison have shown long-term changes in their behavior after interacting with pets, many of them experiencing mutual affection for the first time. Stroking, holding, cuddling, or otherwise touching a loving animal can rapidly calm and soothe us when we’re stressed. 
When Chad, a yellow Labrador retriever, moved in with Claire Vaccaro’s family in 2009, he already had an important role. As an autism service dog, he was joining the family to help protect Ms. Vaccaro’s 11-year-old son, Milo — especially in public, where he often had tantrums or tried to run away. Like many companion animals, Chad had an immediate effect. Dr. Melissa A. Nishawala, clinical director of the autism-spectrum service at the Child Study Center at New York University, said she saw “a prominent and noticeable change” in Milo, even though the dog just sat quietly in the room. “He started to give me narratives in a way he never did,” adding that most of them were about the dog.
The need to take care of your pet is motivation to get out of bed or move around, fixing your attention on something besides how bad you feel. This in turn releases endorphins, natural pain suppressors and increases serotonin and dopamine brain chemicals that make us feel good.
So as a proud parent let me share a little about our wild red head – in the weeks we have had Sadie, we are walking 2 to 3 miles daily, she has learned to use the pet door, been indoctrinated on electric fence safety, found she couldn’t dig quite all the way to China at the beach, turkeys are scary and ugly, cats are great fun to play war games with, everything is for chewing on, you can open a gate if you pretend your paws are hands and it’s important to be gentle with elderly family members and clients at the office. No wonder we are exhausted…. And one of her most impressive feet’s has been to steel the son’s cell phone out from under his nose, and run off to her bed with it to hide in wait – without him realizing it! Now that was funny…
So if you live someplace that doesn’t allow pets and you need one for your health, find out if your care provider will write you a statement of need for a therapy animal, dog, cat, fish, reptile or bird – they all provide individuals with connection to another living thing, purpose and motivation.
There is more to good health than the Status Quo.
 New York Times By CARLA BARANAUCKAS Published: October 5, 2009
Excitotoxins ~ chemical brain melters
What if the chemicals, added to food cause brain damage in children, and these chemicals effect how their nervous system formed during development so that in later years they may have learning or emotional difficulties?
|What if the chemicals, added to food cause brain damage in children, and these chemicals effect how their nervous system formed during development so that in later years they may have learning or emotional difficulties? Noted researchers like Russell L. Blaylock, M.D believe these chemicals could damage a critical part of the brain known to control hormones, leading to endocrine problems. They are called excitotoxins and include chemicals like; Artificial colors (FD&C colors) Sodium nitrite and nitrate, BHT (butylated hydroxytohicne) Saccharin, MSG (monosodium glutamate), Aspartame Caffeine, Propylene glycol, Sulfites (especially sodium bisulfite) Sulfur dioxide, BVO (Brominated Vegetable Oil)
For us as adults we may be religiously working out, taking supplements and eating right, but feel as though we are losing our edge, the answer may lie in neurotoxins hidden in even the most healthy sounding foods, including many foods labeled organic. These ingredients often cause serious reactions, including migraines, insomnia, asthma, depression, anxiety, aggression, chronic fatigue, and even ALS. They may be responsible for the swelling numbers of children diagnosed as ADHD.
Evidence strongly suggests that the artificial sweeteners in diet soft drinks, gums, candy and foods may cause brain tumors to develop, and the number of brain tumors reported since the widespread introduction of artificial sweetener has risen dramatically. In addition obesity has skyrocketed with the increased consumption of these fake sugars and their interaction with hormones.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is probably the best known of the neurotoxins but it has more than one name and form; yeast extract, maltodextrin, carrageenan, hydrolyzed vegetable protein – (MSG with a gang of bad excitotoxins), dough conditioners, seasonings, and spices. Hazardous chemicals are added to virtually all restaurant food from your favorite buger joint or fish house to the most exclusive gourmet dining spots. While 1 out of every 4 people is sensitive to neurotoxic food additives, only 1 in 250 is aware that these additives are the source of the reactions they are having.
MSG is natural and has been used in Asian cooking for decades as a flavor enhancer. During World War 2, American food manufactures began using MSG to improve the taste of C-rashens for the troops. Originally isolated from seaweed, MSG is now made from fermenting corn, potatoes and rice. MSG is naturally present in high levels in tomatoes and Parmesan cheese (this may be why some migrain sufferes have problems with parmesan cheese too). These natural foods have built in protection in the form of antioxidants to off-set the damage from naturally occurring MSG. But manmade or modern MSG is highly dangerous to health. An early study reported that the inner layer of the retina was destroyed in neonatal rats receiving a single exposure to MSG. This is an ver important finding considering that humans are 5 times more sensitive to MSG than rats.
The definition of natural flavor under the Code of Federal Regulations is: “the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional” (21CFR101.22).
So what about the flavorings used in organic foods? Foods certified by the National Organic Program (NOP) must be grown and processed using organic farming methods without synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes, petroleum-based fertilizers and sewage sludge-based fertilizers. Organic livestock cannot be fed antibiotics or growth hormones. The term “organic” is not synonymous with “natural.” The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) defines “natural” as “a product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed may be labeled natural.” Most foods labeled natural, including its flavorings, are not subject to government controls beyond the regulations and heath codes.
Food and beverage companies use food additives because they make you crave more of what tastes so good. They cause nerve cells to cry out for repeated stimulation, and keep you buying and consuming more of their products. With large companies buying out smaller natural food product lines it gives one pause to wounder how long till these once trusted foods are also swimming in excitotoxins? If you want to avoid neurotoxic additives, you have to do more than look for MSG in big letters on the front of the pacage or artificial sweetener on the label. Even if products call themselves “all natural” or “organic”, there can still be neurotoxic additives in that product. There is no way to know unless you are willing to take the time to read the label.
Better yet if you can’t understand the ingredients label, if the names are words you don’t recognize like beans, salt, water, don’t put it in your cart. Eliminate processed foods especially for children whose brains and body’s are still developing. Nothing Beat the Real Thing!