Natural Joint and Bone Health

Joint and bone health

Bones- vitamin D3 with Vit. K2 seem to be a great pairing for bone health.

It has been shown in many studies that the intake of Vitamins D3 (cholecalciferol) helps absorption and maintaining blood levels of calcium.  Recently K2 has been shown to help the body move calcium into the bones with studies showing reduction of hip fractures, increased bone density and maintaining skeletal height.

Vitamin D3 doses vary and getting blood levels can be helpful

I usually recommend a dose of 1-2000 IU for people in the summer then increase dose to 2000-4000 IU in the Winter.

Vit k2 doses for osteoporosis or osteopenia in the range of 50-100 mcg daily( beware if taking blood thinners)

Inflammation- Fish oils. EPA/DHA, Tumeric/ginger, Digestive enzymes,Glucosamine/chondroiton

There are many things we can do to moderate inflammation of the joints.  I will be focused on some of the more common natural medicines that can be used to help with the inflammatory process

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Fishoils- have the active essential omega 3 fatty acids of EPA and DHA.  EPA is more directed to inflammatory response mediation while DHA is geared more for Brain health and functions.

Typical doses need to be high to have a physiological effect.  1-2000 mg of the active EPA/DHA is a good place to start.  This can have some blood thinning qualities so tell your doctor and discontinue before surgeries. 

Tumeric/ ginger- are two very well know anti inflammatory herbs that may be in your cabinet.  They can be found in many anti inflammatory herbal medicines.  

Tumeric can be taken at 500 mg 3 x a day and usually starts to show affects around 6 weeks to 8 weeks time

Ginger can be taken 500-1000 mg 2 x a day with similar time to show affects

Digestive Enzymes- As we age our ability to produce stomach acid and our ability to digest our foods decreases.  Digestive enzymes are a great supplement to get the most out of our foods. They can also be used to help with inflammation if they are taken on an empty stomach.  For inflammatory reduction it is useful to take protein lysing enzymes.  

Bromelain, Papain, and protease are great enzymes to be used for anti inflammatory actions. 

They should be taken away from food 2 hrs after meals or 30 min before meals.  Usually 1 -2 capsules.  

Glucosamine/Chondroiton  These can be taken together to help with arthritis by increasing the lubrication in the joints.  Can start with 1500mg glucosamine and 1200mg chondroitin then move to lower doses if affect is noted.  

Exercise- Weight bearing exercise is great for bone health.  Light weights, walking, qi gong shaking etc. are all great ways to have the bones remodel to help support our weight.  

 

Elderberry Wild Harvest and Recipies

Elderberries(Sambucus spp.) are a local plant, free, and abundant around the Park City area.  Even though fall has come quickly to Park City with early snows and cold temperatures, there are still berries to be picked.  Just around the first frost the elderberries tend to be their sweetest having had most of the summer to mature and ripen.  The berries make great jellies, syrups, liquors and tinctures.

How to pick them

Elderberries grow in large clusters or umbrellas on a hollow stemmed shrub usually in open sub alpine meadows and mountainsides.  The whole cluster is picked at the stem or cut off with a knife and gathered in bags. ( It is important to remember that the blue and black varieties are safer to eat while the red varieties are reported to be more Toxic.  The stems, bark, roots and leaves have cyanide producing glycosides and should not be eaten.  Will cause nausea, diarrhea, vomiting). In general I like to keep consumption down in any one sitting, usually less than a handful at any given time.

The Quickest way to de-stem the berries is to freeze the entire umbrella, then once frozen, the berries literally fall off the stems.

Elderberry juice

Step 1)  De-stemmed berries are put in a large pot.  Fill pot with enough water to cover berries. ( can also slice a few apples, crab apples, serviceberries or other berries and add them to the pot )(for syrup can add ginger, cinnamon, lemon peel, and cloves)

Step 2)  Bring to a boil and keep at a low boil on medium high heat for 30-45 min.  Can use a potato smasher to crush some of the berries.

Step 3)  Strain and press the liquid through a tea cloth and strainer into a large bowl or pot. After the berries are completely drained and pressed they can be discarded.  Measure and pour juice back into a pot and put back on burner.

Step 4)  On medium heat bring to a boil and add sugar at a 1-1 ratio to the Measured juice volume.  Continue to stir until all the sugar is dissolved.

This concentrated juice can be stored in prepared sterilized jars for use later.  Mixed 3-4 parts water with 1 part concentrated juice and enjoy.

This Concentrate can be used as a syrup or further modified into a  jelly by adding pectin.

Elderberry  Liquor  or Tincture

Dried or frozen elderberries with a large slice of ginger and some zest of lemon are put in a jar and covered with vodka and covered with a lid.  I also like to put in some ripened service berries to sweeten the mixture.  This mixture is stored in a dark, room temperature place for a minimum of 1 month. This is mixed occasionally and opened to let out any condensation. The longer it is stored the darker it becomes. After 1 month it is strained through a tea cloth and can be stored for years in a jar.  To sweeten as a dessert liquor 1/3 cup sugar may be added to 1 quart tincture and mixed till dissolved.

 

 

Chinese and Herbal medicine as alternative to antibiotics

Antibiotic resistance is a growing concern for every human on the planet.  That is why we need to make choices in our health care to prevent the possibility of drug resistant bacteria causing epidemic infections that could hurt our families and loved ones.  Much of the resistance to antibiotics come from wrongly prescribed or misused antibiotics.  Each time we take antibiotics the small amount of organisms that are not kill by that drug have a higher tolerance to the antibiotic.  Those organisms then reproduce and spread though the populace.  When taking antibiotics for viral infections or giving them to livestock food we are creating super bugs that do not respond to antibiotics.  The use of Chinese and Western Herbs may be a solution to the problem.

Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections.(CDC publishing)

The use of antibiotics is the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance around the world.  Simply using antibiotics creates resistance.  These drugs should only be used to manage infections.(CDC publishing)

Antibiotics are among the most commonly prescribed drugs used in human medicine and can be lifesaving drugs.  However, up to 50% of the time antibiotics are not optimally prescribed, often done so when not needed, incorrect dosing or duration.(CDC publishing)

One way to help curb the resistance is to be treating with substances that have multiple attack properties.  Herbal medicine usually uses a combination of plants in a formula to combat a know and or unknown pathogen from many angles.  With a multi pronged attack by herbal therapies, the organisms do not get a chance to become resistant to any one antibiotic pathway so they cannot create a single strain that is resistant to any one antibiotic.

Another way that Chinese and Herbal medicine can be helpful is in the case of Viral infections.  Many Herbal remedies have anti-viral properties as well as anti-microbial properties.  When treating infections that may have a viral origin we boost our own immune systems to deal with the viral loads as well as protect from subsequent bacterial opportunistic infections.

Am J Chin Med. 2007;35(6):1047-60.

Antibacterial properties of Chinese herbal medicines against nosocomial antibiotic resistant strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in Taiwan.

Abstract

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is well-recognized as a nosocomial pathogen, which exhibits inherent drug resistance. In this study, the antibacterial activity of ethanol extracts of 58 Chinese herbal medicines used in Taiwan were tested against 89 nosocomial antibiotic resistant strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The results gathered by the disc diffusion method showed that 26 out of the 58 herbal extracts exhibited antibacterial activity. Among the 26 herbal extracts, 10 extracts showed broad-spectrum antibacterial activities and were selected for further antibacterial property assay. The minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of the active partition fractions ranged from 0.25 to 11.0 mg/L. The presence of flavonoid compounds in the active fractions of test herbal extracts was observed by the TLC-bioautography. The results from the time-kill assay revealed that most of the herbal extracts completely killed the test organisms within 4 hours. Exposure of the test strains to a sub-MIC level of the herbal extracts for 10 consecutive subcultures did not induce resistance to the active components. A combination of the active herbal fractions with antibiotics showed that one of the herbal medicines, the hexane fraction of Ramulus Cinnamomi, possessed a synergistic effect with tetracycline, gentamycin, and streptomycin. In conclusion, the tested Chinese medical herbs have the potential to be developed into natural antibiotics. This is the first evaluation for screening large amounts of medical plants against nosocomial antibiotic resistant bacteria in Taiwan.

This study is just one case in how Herbal medicine can be useful in the rising number of antibiotic resistant bacteria.  It is also showing how herbal medicine can be an answer to resistant bacteria that have already become a problem.
Check your local area for an herbal medicine doctor or come into the clinic here before you ask for the antibiotic.
Be well and stay well
Dr Bradford Lester ND, LAc.

 

Cough, Colds and Kids

As winter starts to grab ahold on the world, Coughs, Colds, and the Flu seem to take reign as well.  Anyone with children knows that tis the season for runny noses, missed school days, and Passing the Flu around with the gravy.  Some simple ways to keep the kids healthy as we move into the holiday season and break the tradition of getting grandma sick during family gatherings.

Avoid Sugar

1.)  Sugar is abundant and it makes us susceptible to catching something we don’t want.  Eating plain sugar lowers our immune system, increases stress on our bodies, and creates phlegm in our systems.  Finding ways to still treat the kids while not overwhelming their bodies with sugar is a must.  Candy exchanges for halloween. (Toys for treats).  Limiting amounts of candy. (only one piece from the bowl)  Eating candy after meals as a treat which will lower the absorption of sugar due to other foods needing to be digested.  Cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar, so using that as an additive to sweet meals.  Get creative with fruit not ice cream.  Warm is better than cold, cook your fruits.  Use stevia to sweeten or Truvia(brand name) like products(alcohol sugars)  These are sweet with no calories.  Sweeten dishes with fruit, apple sauce peanut butter cookies with agave nectar and fruit juice, etc.

Wash Hands Frequently

2.)  Hand washing habits.  As we move indoors the hands look cleaner and often don’t get washed as much.  The problem is that everyone is inside, touching the same door knob, the same table, and it is easy to pass bugs to one another.  Wash with soap and water, do hydrotherapy as you are, start hot end with short blast of cold.

Dietary Practices

3) Eat more soups.  Cold foods damage our digestion and cause phlegm production.  avoid ice water etc.

Build Your Immune System

4) Ask us about immune building tinctures and teas and foods.  Certain herbs can help increase immune function.  Echinacea is well know yet there are many others that can benefit the immune system.  Some mushrooms and foods also have immune stimulating properties.  Some vitamins, nutrients, and minerals also boost immune function.

5) Remember it is always easier to prevent sickness than treat it.  The best way to stay healthy is to be healthy.

Dr Bradford Lester

Alpine Holistic Medicine

Ways to stay healthy as ski season approches

Its finally snowing in Park City.  Are you ready to Ski?  Let Alpine Holistic Medicine guide you to a balance point, remove those aches and pains that may hinder your performance, fine tune your diet for bulking up or toning down, and optimize your health.

Tips on staying healthy as the winter months and skiing arrive.

  1. Dryness seems to always show its face as the days get cold.  Remember to be eating heathy oils to keep the skin happy.  Adding oils to the skin may also help.  Olive, coconut, grape seed are some of my favorites.  Getting good bioflavinoids (colorful fruits and veggies) with vit c, keep the small capillaries in the skin healthy and able to get blood to the surface.  Foods that help replenish the bodies fluids keeping the dry away should be eaten regularly; Squashes, apples, pears, root veggies.  Nature provides what we need to be eating.  What is left in the garden?  Thats what we should be eating.
  2. Its time to get those squatting muscles working again so we can ski all day.  Qi gong has some great poses that help strengthen the core, the thighs and work on balance.  Try the horse stance or universal stance for 5-10 min a day working up to 30 minutes.  Feet are more than shoulder width apart, parallel.  Squat down slightly with knees over feet.  Feels like you are riding a horse.  Hands can be holding an imaginary ball (like hugging a tree)in front of you or placed over lower abdomen in a triangle like position with thumbs at navel level and finger tips just above pubis bone palms inward.  Keep back straight and everything relaxed.  The farther your feet are apart the harder it gets.  Remember to have good posture and keep knees over toes.
  3. Keep your fingers and toes warm.  Using simple hydrotherapy (hot and cold applications) to feet and hands will lead to increased circulation and warmer hands.  Try washing hands in hot water for 1 min then just before finishing give them a short blast of cold.  This will create a peripheral pump in the micro-vasculature moving blood in and out better.  It also creates a small vaso-dialation in those blood vessels warming them up.  I know, end on cold, thats crazy but it works. Also using cinnamon twigs in your tea or shaved onto an apple or pear helps warm the hands and feet.  Fresh ginger helps as well.  These last two can be to warming for some so use with caution and or add to the fruits and veggies listed above to balance them out.

Hope to see you up on the mountain soon.

Let it snow

Alpine Holistic Medicine, Park City Utah

Naturopathic Doctor and Acupuncturist helping Park City learn Tai chi

I am a Naturopathic Doctor and Acupuncturist In Park City.  I have been teaching Tai chi and Qi Gong at the PCMARK for 3 yrs.  Last Fall I Started Teaching Classes at the Park City senior center as well.  Please come join us either at the PCMARK Center in Park Meadows (the racquet club) or at the Senior center just north of library uptown.  Classes are for all ranges beginner to advanced.  There is always something new to learn as we are doing the forms.  Heal through the ancient exercises of China’s energy medicine.

Naturopathic Medicine and Acupuncture in Park City Utah

I’m a Naturopathic Doctor and Licensed Acupuncturist in Park city Utah.  I have been practicing in Park City for 8 yrs.  I have recently started Alpine Holistic Medicine, PLLC, in the Prospector area of Park City.  I have experience in treating a wide variety of conditions, from pain management to general health conditions like Gastrointestinal health, Cardiovascular health, Pediatrics to the well aged individuals. I have a kind heart open ears and a wealth of knowledge to share with you on your journey to health.

Naturopathic Medicine is based on 6 key principals:

  • The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae): Naturopathic medicine recognizes an inherent self-healing process in people that is ordered and intelligent. Naturopathic physicians act to identify and remove obstacles to healing and recovery, and to facilitate and augment this inherent self-healing process.
  • Identify and Treat the Causes (Tolle Causam): The naturopathic physician seeks to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms.
  • First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere): Naturopathic physicians follow three guidelines to avoid harming the patient:
    • Utilize methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful side effects, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat;
    • Avoid when possible the harmful suppression of symptoms; and
    • Acknowledge, respect, and work with individuals’ self-healing process.
  • Doctor as Teacher (Docere): Naturopathic physicians educate their patients and encourage self-responsibility for health. They also recognize and employ the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship.
  • Treat the Whole Person: Naturopathic physicians treat each patient by taking into account individual physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, and other factors. Since total health also includes spiritual health, naturopathic physicians encourage individuals to pursue their personal spiritual development.
  • Prevention: Naturopathic physicians emphasize the prevention of disease by assessing risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease, and by making appropriate interventions in partnership with their patients to prevent illness.

As a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in Utah I am a Primary Health care provider.  I can help manage health care in a similar manner as a General Health Doctor.  I am able to prescribe medications, do blood work, order lab work like x-rays, ultrasound imaging, MRIs and manage medications.  I do food allergy and food sensitivity testing as well.  I favor natural remedies for treatment yet if needed I also use prescription medications.  In the office I have an extensive Herbal Formulary including western herbs like echinacea and ginseng while also having chinese herbs to create formulas specific to your needs.  I am trained in Intravenous therapies and do IVs of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to help your body get what it need to heal itself.  I also use physician grade supplements to aid in healing.

I have a masters degree in Chinese medicine and Acupuncture MSOM (masters of science in oriental medicine).  Acupuncture and chinese herbs are a big component in my treatment plans for obtaining optimal health.

The combination of these two medical traditions gives me a deep tool bag from which I can drawl upon in helping you find your optimal health.

 

Summer Is here…and allergies are abundant

Summer Solstice has come and with it allergies.  This past spring has been a wet one with much growth from weeds to trees and grasses.  Pollen counts are up causing much unwanted allergic responses for those with allergies.

Some  basic keys to remember as the seasons change and to avoid unwanted allergic responses.

1) Eat a rainbow of colors every day.  The Bioflavinoids in colorful fruit and veggies help to maintain normal immune function as well has help us avoid damage from solar radiation.  This is simple this time of year because everything is in bloom and ready to be eaten fresh from the earth and trees.  Eat with the seasons to stay healthy.

2)  Keep the pollen off.  Washing hands and face regularly with cold water helps to reduce inflammation and clean off pollens that have accumulated through the day.  Keep the windows closed if you can to reduce in house exposure to pollens.  Use a netty pot to wash out nasal canal or clean with saline water.

3)  Basic anti-inflammatory practices.  Avoid inflammatory foods, use hydrotherapy, eat anti inflammatory foods like Fish oils, Digestive enzymes, Querciten, and possibly anti inflammatory herbs like nettles, tumeric, hibiscus, ginger, mint ect.

4) Acupuncture helps keep the channels clear and reduces reactions to antigens.

5)  Local bee pollens and honey have been shown to help yet must be used cautiously due to possibility of making symptoms worse or causing allergic reactions.

 

 

Spring Cleanse Time

As the grasses green, its time to clean.  Spring is the time for cleansing of the old to make room for the new.  Here in Park City, spring comes a little later than some places so may is the time for spring cleanses.

In Chinese medicine spring time is associated with the Liver organ system.  Doing a gentle Liver cleanse is ideal this time of year to promote harmonious energy movement in the body for the rest of the year.

Just as nature provides, this is the time to be eating more greens and the new shoots of cleansing power sprouting from the earth.

At Alpine Holistic Medicine, Dr Bradford Lester can prescribe a spring cleanse specific for you.  Making sure to keep the Whole Body clean and running smoothly.

Pain Management with Acupuncture

Acupuncture is well known for its ability to reduce and eliminate pain. At Alpine Holistic Medicine, Dr Bradford Lester has had great success treating a wide variety of pain conditions.  Patients have limped, hobbled, shuffled into his clinic full of pain, able to Walk tall and pain free after just one session of Acupuncture and Dao Qi therapies.  Many times a series of sessions is needed to clear a pain pattern.  Usually the more acute the pain the quicker it is to clear, while the more chronic the longer it takes to shift the energy.  Acupuncture helps to balance energies and remove blockages from the body to allow it to move freely.  Acupuncture also increases blood flow and nutrient delivery to painful places so that they may heal more rapidly.