Northwest Center for Optimal Health: Natural Medicine Specialists





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Natural Medicine Q&A
Ask Dr. P
by Kasra Pournadeali, ND
Natural Medicine Specialist

Well, the holiday season is over, and it’s time for New Year’s resolutions. Eating better, exercising, losing weight, or quitting smoking, are some of the most common ones. Other top-ranking requests at our office include doing a "detox," "cleansing" the system, or using natural medicine to maximize overall health. It’s the perfect time to make and act on resolutions, as we all want the upcoming year to be our best. And, we've made it even easier for you to get help when you want to use natural medicine safely. Our new Bastyr University-subsidized teaching clinic is now up and running. You now officially have no excuse for avoiding professional help to guide your use of natural medicine! Call our office if you'd like more information. This month, I’ve chosen reader questions, which illustrate common resolutions. Enjoy!

Q: Dr. P., Are there really any successful diets to help me lose weight? Thanks, Lisa

Dear Lisa, It seems as if there are as many weight-loss diets, products, and drugs, as there are people wanting to lose weight. This is because weight loss is big business. In fact, most people are not satisfied with their weight. Just try asking everyone in a room to raise their hand if they are. You’ll be surprised! DIETS DON’T WORK! And, when they do, the results usually don’t last. Drugs also have a poor track record. One of the newest drugs blocks normal fat digestion and absorption. In a two year study, it helped people lose only 1.5% more weight than those taking a placebo (sugar pill). For a person weighing 200 pounds, this translates to a 3-pound weight loss over a full year of taking the drug. Other drugs also have limited effects, as do the mass marketed supplements and herbal medicines, which are either as good, or only a little better. What works is a plan (food, activity, & supplements) that is specific for you. Finally, food sensitivity, and altered sugar metabolism is a component of weight management that is often missed.

Q: Dr. P., how can I quit smoking? Donna

Donna, If you've tried to quit, you know how tough it can be. I am asked this question often, and what’s funny is, that in the 1940s, my grandfather owned a cigarette factory, which produced Komel (Camel) cigarettes. Unfortunately for him, (lucky for me,) the government regime in power decided he was achieving too much financial & political strength, and decided to assume ownership of his factory. My grandfather died a financially and heartbroken man, but at least did not pass his tobacco legacy on to me. Things would have been different indeed. Cigarette smoking is a costly habit. At $4 a pack, that is $1500 per year for a pack-a-day. What do you spend. Add that to the long-term harmful effects on you, friends, and family, and it becomes a habit that’s not worth the price. For most everyone, THE DRUGS DON’T WORK. The nicotine replacements are about as good as a placebo (sugar pills), and the "new" antidepressant drug Zyban is only a little better than sugar pills. In a recent study, even when participants used BOTH the patch and Zyban, most of them resumed smoking within 12 months. Smoking is NOT just a nicotine habit, or a matter of depression. Smoking is many different habits. Smoking before or after a meal, when consuming alcohol; the way you hold the cigarette, the warmth, the taste, the action of bringing your hand to your mouth, having something to do with your hands, are all habits. Likewise, there are many chemicals in cigarette smoke, which can be addictive, not just nicotine. Successful plans take into account all these habits & addictions. Remember that quitting smoking is the single most important thing you can do to improve your health.

Q: Dr. P., How do I improve my overall health? Chad

Chad, There are many ways. Optimizing digestion, and nutrient availability, creating hormone balance (yes in men too,) and detoxification are some of the best ways to maximize (not just maintain) your health. "Cleaning up" you diet, by eliminating foods with ingredients you don't recognize, or an ingredient list longer than 1/2 inch, is a good idea. Drinking plenty of filtered, (not distilled) water, taking a high quality 3-6 a day multivitamin (not the department store special) are also good ways to get started. Your next step is to speak with your natural medicine specialist to develop a plan appropriate and specific for you.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact the Northwest Center for Optimal Health at (360) 651-9355.

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