Integrative Health Blog

Integrative Cancer Care at National Integrated Health Associates

Posted by on Thu, Aug 18, 2016

Dr. Charles Gant, MD, practices precision medicine, an emerging field of Medicine which specializes in diagnosing the precise metabolic, allergic, immune, infectious, nutritional, toxicological and genetic uniqueness of each patient. As a physician member of the NIHA Integrative Cancer Care team, he is happy to blend his work with some extraordinary skills of other team members to provide our patients with what may be one of the most comprehensive approaches to cancer care in the area.

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Tags: cancer, integrative cancer treatment

Inflammation and Cancer Prevention

Posted by on Mon, Feb 15, 2016

The American Cancer Society states that aside from tobacco use, the most important risk factors that can be changed for cancer prevention are: body weight, diet and physical activity. For disease prevention, an anti-inflammatory diet is second to none! A nourishing, anti-inflammatory diet focuses on whole foods that are colorful, rich in nutrients, and full of fiber and healthy fats.

Nature’s bounty gives us so many vegetables and fruits that are colorful - that’s our clue that a food is full of nutrients. The deeper and richer the color, the more vitamins and minerals are present. It doesn't matter which vitamins or minerals are in a particular food because they are all important for health. Whole foods are essential when creating an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. 

Processed foods don't provide an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. They can cause inflammation in the body. They are usually made with Omega 6 oils like corn, soybean or canola that have been heated at high temperatures and have therefore been damaged. These oils create free radicals in the body, which, along with the high sugar content of most processed foods, creates inflammation. Research has shown that chronic inflammation paves the way for most chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Sugar = Inflammation

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Tags: inflammation, cancer

The Integrative Cancer Program at NIHA

Posted by on Wed, Dec 16, 2015

According to National Cancer Institute:

1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will develop cancer in their lifetime.

It is not surprising that cancer rates are rising to over 40% of the population given:

  1. The exploding levels of environmental toxicity
  2. Steadily increasing stresses
  3. Unhealthy life styles
  4. Critically deficient or imbalanced nutrients in our foods
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Tags: cancer, integrative cancer treatment

The Best Vitamin for Breast Health

Posted by on Tue, Oct 13, 2015

October is breast health awareness month. As a woman I am keenly aware of breast cancer and not just in the month of October. It’s estimated that 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime.

I believe that it is my responsibility to do everything I possibly can for my breast health. For me, that includes breast thermography which is a non-invasive screening tool used to determine a woman’s risk of future breast cancer.

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Tags: cancer, vitamins and minerals, breast health

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Posted by on Wed, Apr 08, 2015

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month 

More than 43,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. According to the National Cancer Institute, oral cancer is more common than leukemia, skin melanoma, and cancers of the brain, liver, bone, thyroid, ovaries, and cervix. It is a major cause of disfigurement and death in the United States.

Oral cancer includes cancers found in the mouth, on the tongue, lips, throat, parts of the nose, and larynx. Seventy five percent of these cancers are caused by tobacco and alcohol. Infection with the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV) has been linked to a subset of oral cancers.

Current Statistics on Oral Cancer

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Tags: cancer, holistic dentistry

Are You D-ficient?

Posted by on Mon, Feb 02, 2015

Teresa Fuller MD, PhD

Vitamin D is critical to health

Winter season is an important time to think about your (and your child's) vitamin D levels because vitamin D deficiency is especially prevalent during this time of the year.  Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient for your health at every age.  In fact, the illnesses associated with vitamin D deficiency are numerous.  Consider the following recent studies:

  • Vitamin D deficiency is associated with greater cancer risk.
  • Vitamin D has been shown to be an effective treatment for psoriasis.
  • Vitamin D supplementation reduces incidence of autoimmune diseases, specifically multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes (when taken during infancy).
  • Vitamin D deficiency  is associated with increased incidence and severity of asthma and wheezing disorders.
  • Vitamin D enhances the immune response and provides protection against upper respiratory infections, influenza, and middle ear infections.
  • Vitamin D deficiency affects the cardiovascular system. Deficiency of vitamin D increases the risk for heart attack, hypertension, peripheral vascular disease, metabolic syndrome, coronary artery disease, and heart failure.

Vitamin D deficiency is very common 

Given the importance of Vitamin D to the function of so many different bodily systems, we need to ensure that our levels are within a healthy range.  The recommended blood level for vitamin D is 30 to 80, but rarely do I find a patient in the healthy range. 

Here are 3 ways to optimize your vitamin D level:

Outdoor Time: First of all, vitamin D is a misnomer.  It’s not a vitamin, but actually a hormone that is produced in your own body.  Vitamin D production requires sunlight.  So inadequate exposure to the sun, which occurs frequently in our indoor-prone, sedentary society, is a big factor in vitamin D deficiency.  The best way to improve your vitamin D level is to make it yourself.  Just ten to fifteen minutes of sunlight exposure can generate 10,000 to 20,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D. (People with darker skin may require five to ten times that length of time for the same resulting levels.) Make sure that you avoid excessive sun intensity resulting in sunburn.

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Tags: cancer, vitamins and minerals, integrative health, children's health

3 Ways to Cut Your Cancer Risk

Posted by on Mon, Jan 19, 2015

Do you think the genes you’re born with determine what happens to you? 

Whether you’ll be overweight because it runs in your family or whether you’ll get diabetes since your Dad had it?

Whether you’ll develop breast cancer because your Mom died from it?

You might be surprised to know that your genes don’t have as much control as was previously thought. 

Scientific American just published an article reviewing the latest information in the field of epigenetics.  Here’s a quote: “Many of the contingencies of life – what we eat, what pollutants are in or environment, how often we are stressed – affect how our genes operate.”  This is great news, because we have a lot of control over what we eat and how we deal with stress, and even some control over the pollutants in our environment (like our homes and cars).

Have you heard of epigenetics? 

Epigenetics is the phenomenon of how our environment, which includes the foods that we eat, the toxins we're exposed to, and even our stress levels, can turn genes on and off.  A new article published in Scientific American states "epigenetic effects play a crucial role in development, aging and even cancer1."  Even cancer?!  This is great news, that we can make choices that influence whether those cancer genes get turned on or off! We should be aware of the fact that we have significant power over our health destiny.   

So, here are 3 things that you can do to drastically reduce your risk of cancer:

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Tags: cancer, vitamins and minerals, holistic nutrition

Can Half of Breast Cancers Be Prevented?

Posted by on Thu, Jan 01, 2015

Teresa Fuller, M.D., Ph.D

Breast Cancer Prevention Starts in Childhood

According to a recent interview with Dr. Graham Colditz published by Medscape in December 2014, at least 1/2 of breast cancer cases can be prevented, largely by promoting a healthy lifestyle in girls at a young age.  In fact, Dr. Colditz has challenged us to start prevention by age 2 years old!  I recently wrote about this topic in an October 2014 article,  Breast Cancer Prevention Begins in Childhood?, but it’s worth revisiting based on the sheer magnitude of impact that a few simple preventive strategies can yield.

“Cancer risk is accumulating from before the time a girl hits menarche,” says Dr. Colditz.  Menarche is the onset of menstrual periods, which occurs at an average age of 12 years old in the US.  Therefore, clearly the emphasis on early detection and screening for breast cancer is incomplete.  Instead, our focus should be on educating parents and young women about the steps that they can take to eliminate their controllable risk factors. 

Lifestyle Factors Play a Role in Cancer

In the article highlighting this interview, Dr. Colditz demonstrates that 68% of breast cancer cases are attributable to controllable lifestyle factors which are weight (32%), breastfeeding (15%), physical activity (11%), alcohol consumption (5%), diet (3%) and tamoxifen (2%).  I suspect that diet plays a larger role than is suggested in this article, especially since the diet strongly correlates with weight.

So, given that 1 in 3 American children are overweight, and that few children are exercising for the recommended sixty minutes per day, we have a lot of room for improving our children’s risk factors.  Dr. Colditz is not the only one who is making these recommendations.  The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has been long promoting the adoption of a healthy diet in childhood for cancer prevention.  In their booklet Nutrition for Kids, they state: “Cancers of the colon, breast, and prostate are influenced by diet, exercise, and healthy weight control.  Lifelong eating habits are established in childhood, and the longer the exposure to cancer-fighting foods and the avoidance of cancer-promoting foods, the greater the likelihood that cancer won’t strike during adulthood.”

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Tags: cancer, children's health, pediatrics

Breast Cancer Prevention Begins in Childhood?

Posted by on Sat, Oct 25, 2014

Teresa Fuller MD, PhD

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

We often direct the awareness message to women, recommending steps they can take to detect breast cancer early or to reduce their risk of cancer.  But breast cancer prevention actually begins in childhood.  Several recent studies show the relationship of childhood diet to breast cancer risk.

Childhood Diet and Cancer Risk

It’s long been known that early puberty is a risk factor for breast cancer, likely because of the increased length of time the body is exposed to higher levels of estrogen.  Interestingly enough, onset of puberty is significantly impacted by certain dietary factors. 

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2012 showed that increased meat and dairy intake is associated with an earlier age of puberty onset.  On the other hand, a diet higher in vegetable protein intake was correlated to a later onset of puberty.  This study specifically looked at the diet when the children were only 3 to 6 years old. 

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Tags: cancer, holistic nutrition, children's health

Oral Cancer is Not Just a Problem for Smokers

Posted by on Mon, Apr 07, 2014

More than 43,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. 

According to the National Cancer Institute, oral cancer is more common than leukemia, skin melanoma, and cancers of the brain, liver, bone, thyroid, ovaries, and cervix.  It is a major cause of disfigurement and death in the United States. April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, so now is a good time to learn the signs or oral cancer and get screened as part of your holistic dental check up.

Oral cancer includes cancers found in the mouth, on the tongue, lips, throat, parts of the nose, and larynx.  Seventy five percent of these cancers are caused by tobacco and alcohol.  Infection with the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV) has been linked to a subset of oral cancers.

Current Statistics on Oral Cancer:

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Tags: cancer, holistic dentistry