Living Well Blog: Saratoga's Holistic Health Forum

July 2009 Archives

Hi Dr. Sarah! I was wondering if you could talk about mercury fillings? Thanks. -Lisa Hi Lisa, That's a great subject. In 1976, the FDA classified dental fillings as a "pre-amendment device" that were considered "low risk". However, in 2002, due to an overwhelming amount of research and comments presented to them, the FDA re-assembled a panel to review the latest findings on its safety. After reviewing over 200 studies, the FDA's classification of amalgams was raised to "moderate" risk. Special attention was given by neurotoxicolgy experts regarding mercury's harmful effects on pregnant women and children. Today, many dentists are still using mercury fillings, though porcelain, a more neutral material, is available. Even though the FDA offers a special warning to dentists for adequate ventilation and removal precautions when handling mercury, some dentists still view it as safe to put in your mouth. One leading expert in the interaction of mercury and the immune system, Artisto Vojdoni, PhD, has demonstrated in various studies the immuno-modulating effects of mercury with auto-immune disease. Furthermore, holistic dentist, Dr. John Roeder, states that mercury vapor in the mouth can be released into the system causing various symptomology that may be the cause of many underlying symptoms. As a Naturopathic Doctor, I always evaluate my clients dental hygiene. If I believe they are contributing to their wellness concern,and they are unable to have them removed, I use natural and safe binders. Chlorophyll along with other herbals and supplements can help prevent the mercury from causing havoc in the system. For more information on the FDAs viewpoint visit: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm173992.htm

Yes, for people with dry or lifeless skin.  One to three times per week at most, cut back if your skin begins to feel taxed. 

No, for people with breakouts or oily skin -- the friction may excite your oil glands causing the production of yet more sebum.  As far as those with active breakouts, you may be moving that infection around your face to new sites. 

Lastly, make sure that the "scrub" material is not sharp, i.e. made from fruit pits, or you can cause micro tears in your skin, thereby making the transfer of pimples easier.  Look for words like "beads" or substances like oats, corn meal, etc., which are create friction but are relatively soft.

Pain is an all too common concern and struggle for Americans. Recently, the FDA has changed Tylenol warnings to the following: 1. Lowering the maximum daily dose of nonprescription acetaminophen for adults (the max is currently 4,000 mg, and there was no word on what the lowered dose might be) 2. Reducing the maximum single adult daily dose from 1,000 mg to 650 mg 3. Switching the 1,000 mg OTC dose to prescription-only status 4. Eliminating prescription acetaminophen combination products (such as painkillers Vicodin and Percocet, which contain acetaminophen). It's unclear whether this recommendation suggests banning the drugs altogether or simply eliminating the acetaminophen from the drugs. It is well known that acetaminophen causes liver toxicity, maybe due to its depletion of glutathione, a potent antioxidant. One solution, even conventially recognized, is to take the supplement NAC to increase glutathione. In ERs they use NAC for acetaminophen over dosages. As an Integrative practitioner, I would be interested in not just preventing damage from the medication, but addressing the cause of the pain. My Naturopathic and Functional medicine background allows me to find the cause using conventional, integrative testing. and case history. Some common underlying issues I have seen with pain are inflammation, food sensitivities, hormonal, and chronic stress. Once these are addressed and natural anti-inflammatories are used, I have seen that people do not need to rely on these pain medications and therefore, the concern for liver toxicity becomes a mute point. Sources: Dr. Mercola: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/07/21/FDA-Changes-Tylenol-Warnings-But-Doesnt-Tell-You-How-to-Take-it-Safely.aspx Times: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1908408,00.html?iid=digg_share
What to expect when you go for a spa treatment.
I recently read an article that compared the blood chemistry of caregivers to brain cancer patients with a control group. They concluded that caregivers had increased pro-inflammatory cytokines in the blood stream and less response to the anti-inflammatory hormone, cortisol. What does that mean? That those who are taking care of others in stressful situations should be aware that they can themselves get sick if they don't take care of themselves. Here are some positive actions for someone to take in this situation: 1. Practice good self care and stress reduction: Eat your regular healthy meals, get movement, take your supplements, and find some "me time" when possible. Relaxation, breathing techniques, and positive visualizations can be very helpful. 2. Find a "vent buddy": Don't keep your emotions bottled up. They will store in your body and convert into sickness, this is being proven more and more in scientific journals. Find someone you can trust to share with. You need support as well! 3. Be aware: Know that you are going through a hard time and don't try to downplay it. Practice extreme self-acceptance of your human reactions and be gentle with your imperfections. Stress doesn't always bring out the best in people. For more information on stress reduction techniques, visit my website, or come into Living Well for a nice relaxing massage! In health and blessings, Dr. Sarah [Reference article]
One little girl's dream coming full circle.

I'm still always amazed at the workings of the universe.  We broadcast our hopes, intentions, and wishes, and are presented with opportunities in answer.

Dear Dr. Sarah,

I read an article that linked pesticides and cancer. Can you talk more about this? Thanks. - Mani

Hi Mani-

I recently came across an article that summarized how prevalent pesticides are in our food supply as well. According to the Department of Health and Human Services organophosphate pesticides (OP) are now found in the blood of 95% of Americans. The levels of these OPs are twice as high in children. Due to the fact that these OPs are linked to behavioral issues, learning disabilities, developmental delays, and motor dysfunction, and cancer as you mentioned, chronic exposure to insecticides is a major health risk, especially for the young, who have more delicate immune systems.

One way you can help yourself to decrease exposure of these chemicals is to eat organic or locally grown produce. One study tested the blood samples of children aged 2 to 6 years old and found that the children who ate conventionally grown produce had six times higher concentrations of pesticide residue than their organic eating friends.

Here's another great resource!  A website which lists all grocery items and their levels of exposure to pesticides: http://www.whatsonmyfood.org Thanks for your great question!

In Health,
Dr. Sarah

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Reisa Mehlman

As a New York State Licensed Aesthetician, New York State Licensed Nail Specialist, and the Director of Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa, Reisa combines her love of spa services and healing arts to achieve optimum skin and nail health, create greater overall wellness and bring forth our optimal, individual beauty.

"I believe that the day spa should be an instant getaway; a place that is quiet without being stuffy, relaxed, elegant and yet entirely comfy. You should feel warm and welcome, surrounded by people who care about you and what they are doing. This is the environment we strive to create at Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa. Here, you are never just the "next" number; we allow ample time for your services, offer a flexible schedule and can be reached after hours. After all, to me, spa craft is not really a business, it's a lifestyle." Read more...


Dr. Sarah Lobisco

Whether the goal is to lessen pain, find an alternative to pharmaceuticals, or improve your quality of life, Dr. LoBisco's Naturopathic Medicine lets you get the best of both worlds conventional medicine, combined with safe and proven complementary therapies.

Dr. Sarah LoBisco has been involved in wellness for over 8 years. Her experience includes mentoring with holistic practices throughout New York, Vermont, and Connecticut. Read more...