Friday, October 29, 2010

Vit D Can Prevent the Flu!

Winter is fast approaching and unfortunately that means that increased colds and flu are on the horizon as well.  Vitamin D is associated with a gene that modulates anti-microbial function – meaning that it will kill viruses.  And yes, both the cold and the flu are caused by viruses.

The recommended strategy is to mega-dose Vitamin D at a dose of 50,000 IU for two or three days (please note ONLY two or three days) to up regulate this very important gene’s activity.  When would you start?  If you had any sign, based on the way you feel, that your immune system is compromised,  if you’ve been taking care of a family member with the flu or a bad cold, or you’ve had a lot of fellow coworkers get ill.  Remember to take Vitamin D3, not D2 that is less effective.  Personally I take a liquid form that’s not only palatable but very bioavailable.

If you haven’t had your vitamin D levels checked recently now would be a good time.  It’s well worth the slight cost to ensure a healthy winter, not to mention all the other benefits that D provides such as anti-cancer properties, bone protection and the like.  We like to see your levels between 50 and 75 on a lab test.  If you have or have had cancer, the higher end is recommended.

Another test you may want to run is vitamin K.  While deficient vitamin D has been much discussed, one can also create an imbalance if vitamin D is high normal with a deficient vitamin K.  Such an imbalance could create calcification in the body’s soft tissues.  We obviously want strong bones but we don’t want calcification occurring where it shouldn’t , creating such problems as painful kidney stones. So consider checking your vitamin K levels. If you eat the dark green leafy vegetables that I heartily recommend you should be in good shape in the vitamin K department. Excellent sources include: spinach, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, green beans, asparagus, broccoli, kale and mustard greens.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance and here’s wishing you and yours a very healthy winter.  

To your good health,

Dr Vikki Petersen
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Why I Allow Butter On A Dairy-Free Diet

A reader sent in this very good question:
“In your article "Gluten Free but Still Feeling Ill" you mention that you sometimes recommend avoiding dairy products to your patients but then say you tell them that organic butter is ok in moderation.  Can you explain how a product derived from cow's milk is not a dairy product?”

I can definitely see where the confusion is coming from so let me clarify:
The problem with dairy products is the protein portion of them.  The protein is pro-inflammatory and much like the protein portion of the grains wheat, rye and barley, it seems that the human body doesn’t respond well to it.  Many researchers state that while we are designed to digest our own mother’s milk for the first few years of life, we were never designed to glean nutrition from the milk of another mammal such as the cow, goat or sheep. For that reason plus a few decades of clinical experience showing that to be the case, I recommend to my patients that they exclude dairy from their diet.

How is butter different? Butter is about 80-82% fat (higher fat butters are available if you look for them), 17% water and only about 1% milk solids (protein).  For some patients I find that the minimal amount of protein is insufficient to bother them.  And, thosewho prefer to avoid all milk protein can enjoy clarified butter or ghee where virtually all water and protein are removed with only the fat remaining.

Organic is important because the fat is where the hormones and toxins might reside in a non-organic product.  The organic version is free of such contaminants.

Unfortunately, the majority of patients don't tolerate butter well either. Is it because of the small amounts of protein remaining, or due to the toxins and hormones found in the fat? Likely a bit of both. But for those who do and who only consume the organic variety, enjoy!

And why not simply cook with olive oil (medium heat only please), avocado, walnut or coconut oil and be done with it?
Other than the fact that it’s enjoyable to cook with butter or ghee, butter contains an interesting saturated fat that is also an omega-6 fat called CLA (conjugated linoleic acid).  In the spirit of “never saying never”, CLA is actually a saturated, trans fat that’s very good for you.  It has the unique status of being the sole trans fat that is considered to be healthy and there is quite a lot of information about it because it in fact tends to act like a “good” omega-3 fat in the body.

While CLA does seem to have some nice benefits, it doesn't outweigh the negatives found in milk and dairy products in general. There are plenty of other areas in your diet where you can get those same benefits without the liabilities associated with dairy.

So there you have it. I hope this clears up any confusion.
Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.If your health is not to the level you'd like it to be, consider calling us for a free health analysis - call 408-733-0400. We are a destination clinic and treat patients from across the country and internationally. We are here to help!

To your good health,

Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN


Friday, October 15, 2010

October is Non-GMO Month

Genetically modified foods have been slipping their way into our grocery stores for some time.  Most people, when given the choice, choose non-GMO foods over their genetically modified counterparts. Why?  I guess we inherently understand that fooling with mother nature is a bad idea, or we have been following this movement and have grown wary by its use of deceptive practices to get us to embrace these laboratory made “foods “.

In Europe, where they not only eat healthier but their food quality is much better than ours, they successfully banned GMOs a decade ago.  Did the government step in?  No.  Quite the contrary this was a consumer driven movement.  Articles, such as this one, were written, education was offered and the result was that all major food companies willing stopped utilizing GMO ingredients in their food due to the public’s outrage over them.

What would it take to accomplish that feat here in the US?  Surprisingly, not that much.  If just 5% of US shoppers supported this movement, we could tip the scales to alert US companies that we mean business! 

Organic is best but if you can’t buy organic at least opt for non-GMO. Many natural food grocery stores are becoming involved with this movement as well.  Whole Foods promises that their personal brand is completely non-GMO and the rest of their offerings are clearly marked so that there will be no confusion.

Jeffrey Smith is founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology and he is helping to lead this movement.  If you go to: you can get a Free shopping guide to help steer you in the right direction.

Mr. Smith is interviewed at this site if you’d like some more information:

I believe that GMO foods are one of the factors causing inflammation and a leaky gut and therefore they should be avoided at all costs.  Nature is rather magnificent in what she has created. Science is an unwelcome intruder when it comes to engineering our food.  Let’s keep it natural and enjoy better health!

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Making “Light” of Gluten Sensitivity Will Harm More than Help

A patient sent me a response from an “As the Doctor” column hosted by Drs. Oz and Roizen entitled “Don’t buy into gluten phobia by cutting grains”. This response was to a reader’s question who asked: “My family consumes a lot of 100 percent whole-grain wheat products, but I've heard so much about gluten problems that I'm worried we're harming our health. Should we cut back? — Anonymous”
Part of their response was as follows: “Because gluten gets more bad press than Lindsay Lohan, gluten-free foods have become a fad. We're going against the grain and suggesting you keep doing exactly what you're doing.”

My patient was irate and I don’t blame her.  She stated that: “Oz and Roizen are showing their ignorance when they did not even ask the gluten concerned person to look at a family history for autoimmune diseases before dismissing the issue.  Personally, I think these men are doing a lot of damage and are missing the mark.” 

She went on to state: “…the general public does not understand gluten sensitivity and the dangers involved.  After reading this little sound bite over their morning coffee and a bagel, people will be less likely to be checked for gluten sensitivity.  The financially strapped person will be more likely to disregard the issue since it is easy and cheap to fill up a hungry family's belly with bread than nutritious fruits and vegetables.”

In the authors’ defense they made a brief attempt to define celiac disease and how it affects the small intestine and they did include that “Some experts feel that gluten sensitivity affects far more people than the 1 percent of Americans who know they have celiac disease“. But when listing symptoms associated with a gluten intolerance that their reader should be on the lookout for, all they could come up with was the following: “itchy, blistery rash, having really awful smelling poop or even vague symptoms, like feeling unusually irritable”.
Hmmm. What about: 

  • Depression, anxiety
  • Infertility/miscarriages
  • Neurological disorders
  • Headaches / Migraines
  • Memory Loss
  • Unexplained chronic fatigue
  • Increased liver enzymes
  • Iron-deficiency anemia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Craving for  gluten
  • Obesity
  • Diarrhea and/or constipation
  • Gas, bloating, abdominal pain
  • IBS, colitis
  • Frequent canker sores
  • Dental problems
  • Psoriasis, eczema or unexplained rash

I know it’s a long list but that’s the point isn’t it?  My patient was exactly right, Dr Oz and Roizen’s dismissal of gluten-free as a “fad” and “phobia” will certainly prevent many people who had been considering looking into it from doing so.  And what a terrible shame that is.
Well, I’m not on Oprah but I am committed to getting the word out.  Let’s overcome any negative influence this article may have had by investing some time and effort into enlightening friends, family and co-workers of the TRUTH about gluten. 
Please let me know what I can do to assist.

To your good health,

Dr Vikki Petersen
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”