Living Well Blog: Saratoga's Holistic Health Forum

September 2009 Archives

Follow up Bonus 1st because I'm very excited about this!: A recent article by Dr. Mercola explaining the impact of your habits on genes and how genetic subtypes have predispositions to weight gain. This makes the study of nutrigenomics an exciting study and shows its potential as the future of medicine. This article explains that testing for the FTO gene varient can tell us if you have a predisposition to a slower metabolism. Another example is testing the MTHFR gene to see how your methylation potential, which is needed for detoxification and heart health. Furthermore, as a follow up on my health feedback from last week, the article discusses "the skinny on fat!"

A recent study in Science Direct tested Vitamin C's role in skin health. 

We propose that vitamin C may protect the skin by promoting fibroblast proliferation, migration, and replication-associated base excision repair of potentially mutagenic DNA lesions, and we discuss the putative involvement of hypoxia-inducible transcription factor-1 and collagen receptor-related signaling pathways.

So, eat your organic oranges!

Flu Vaccine Exposed (Dr. Mercola)
8 minute video on statistics on the flu vaccine that aren't well known.


What many people do NOT know, however, is that death caused directly by the flu virus is very rare. The vast majority of so-called "flu deaths" are in fact due to bacterial pneumonia - a potential complication of the flu if your immune system is too weak.

Other complications can include ear- or sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic health conditions.

The elderly and people with other pre existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease, are at higher risk of developing pneumonia after a bout of the flu.

According to the CDC, the majority of flu vaccines contain thimerosal. Some contain as much as 25 mcg of mercury per dose. This means that it may contain more than 250 times the Environmental Protection Agency's safety limit for mercury.

By now, most people are well aware that children and fetuses are most at risk of damage from this neurotoxin, as their brains are still developing. Yet the CDC still recommends that children over 6 months, and pregnant women, receive the flu vaccine each year.

In addition to mercury, flu vaccines also contain other toxic or hazardous ingredients like:

Aluminum -- a neurotoxin that has been linked to Alzheimer's disease
Triton X-100 -- a detergent
Phenol (carbolic acid)
Ethylene glycol (antifreeze)
Betapropiolactone - a disinfectant
Nonoxynol - used to kill or stop growth of STDs
Octoxinol 9 - a vaginal spermicide, Sodium phosphate

A Naturopathic Approach to Preventing the Flu (SF Chronicle)
Naturopathic Medicine focuses on preventing diseases and building health, rather than treating an illness. This article gives an example of one licensed Naturopathic Doctor's approach to working with the body's innate healing power. She recommends dietary changes, lifestyle strategies, and herbal support.

In health, Dr. Sarah :)

IV Use of Vitamin C for Swine Flu (Dr. Mercola)
Vitamin C at high doses is a powerful anti-oxidant, anti-viral, and strengthens your immune system. This article states how it was only method that provided relief for a man with a diagnosis of swine flu. 

Excerpt from the article on other benefits of vitamin C: Here are three other sources discussing the remarkable benefits of vitamin C for infectious diseases such as the flu:
  1. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1999 found that vitamin C in mega doses administered before or after the appearance of cold and flu symptoms relieved and prevented the symptoms in the test population compared with the control group.

  2. The Clinical Experiences of Frederick R. Klenner, MD states that cases of influenza, encephalitis, and measles were easily cured with vitamin C injections and oral doses.

  3. - Dr. Robert Cathcart, MD, also offers personal case studies where intravenous administration of vitamin C turned out to be lifesaving in cases of acute flu complications. 

    Make sure if you use high doses of one vitamin, you are supplementing with a good multi-vitamin from a whole food source. Short term mega doses are ok, but can deplete the body of its competing nutrient. For example, too much vitamin C (ascorbic acid) depletes copper.

    Here's a Link to my latest health feedback post:

    Eating More Fat Can Help your Heart AND Slim Down your JEANS! ( Dr. Sarah LoBisco, ND)


    "Today heart disease causes at least 40% of all US deaths. If, as we have been told, heart disease results from the consumption of saturated fats, one would expect to find a corresponding increase in animal fat in the American diet. Actually, the reverse is true. During the sixty-year period from 1910 to 1970, the proportion of traditional animal fat in the American diet declined from 83% to 62%, and butter consumption plummeted from eighteen pounds per person per year to four.

    During the past eighty years, dietary cholesterol intake has increased only 1%. During the same period the percentage of dietary vegetable oils in the form of margarine, shortening and refined oils increased about 400% while the consumption of sugar and processed foods increased about 60%." -Mary Enig, PhD. & Sally Fallon.

    In TJ Moore's book, Heart Failure, the belief that cholesterol is the cause of heart disease is de-mythed. He explains how the results from the famous Farmington study could have been a manipulation by pharmaceutical companies to sell more statin drugs. Furthermore, other studies have supported his citations finding favor with Mediterranean diets over low fat, high carbohydrate ones. So, if fat isn't related to heart disease, what is?

    Top 10 Reasons to Exercise (Dr. Mercola)

    1. Decreases Belly Fat

    2. Controls Calories

    3. Helps maintain weight 

    4. Boosts metabolism

    5. You will gain lean muscle which burns more fat

    6. Curbs emotional eating

    7. Creates healthy chain reactions (good healthy habit builder)

    8. Brings more fun

    9. Stops hunger

    10. Increases energy

Eat this Food or Take this Pill? A choice for Diabetics?


According to a recent article in medpage today, a study demonstrated that diabetics given a higher fat, lowered carbohydrate diet was effective in managing blood sugar and prevented the need for hypoglycemic agents.

An excerpt from the article stated:

"Among diabetics who followed a Mediterranean-style diet, only 44% required antihyperglycemic drug therapy, compared with 70% of patients who followed a standard low-fat diet (95% CI -31.1% to -20.1%, P<0.001), according to a report in the Sept. 1 Archives of Internal Medicine."

The conclusion in the abstract at the Archives of Internal Medicine stated:

"Conclusion: Compared with a low-fat diet, a low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean-style diet led to more favorable changes in glycemic control and coronary risk factors and delayed the need for antihyperglycemic drug therapy in overweight patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes."

My thoughts:

This is great news- conventional medicine is studying the importance of prevention and how lifestyle is a key component to the causation of disease. This article validates the fact that disease does not just happen when serum lab values reach the magic number for an ICD-9 diagnostic code, but that underlying factors and lifestyle choices effect a person's health outcomes.


To Eat the (organic) Twinkie Now or Later?? ;)

Another recent study in the Obesity journal focused on the timing of eating and weight gain. According to the summary on medpage, mice fed at times that they should be sleeping gained more weight than mice that ate during normal feeding hours. This was true despite the amount of food consumed.

Can this effect transfer to humans? Maybe. Dr. Mercola summarized an article in June that also reported weight gain in sleep-deprived individuals.  

Different mechanisms for this "late night gain" effect have been suggested. One common  sense reason stated by Dr. Hyman in his book, Ultra Metabolism, was that less sleep and its resultant fatigue led to increasing food intake as an attempt to build up more energy. Another explanation could be the deregulation of hormones in the gut, such as leptin, from an off balance circadian rhythm. Whatever the reason, and regardless of weight, most experts will agree, that sleep is important!


Gingko and Your Brain

Gingko Biloba, is used by many versed herbalists to increase circulation and improve brain function. However, it now is being studied as preventative medicine! In February, I had mentioned on my webpage  that Gingko Biloba (GB) was shown to be protective against EMFs from cell phones in one study. That's worth a second look!

Summary: Gingko serves as a potent antioxidant which prevents free radical damage to the brain from cell phones.

And here's a link to my past article which discusses GB and my belief that therapeutic essential oils may also provide this protection!

Fish and Blood Sugar

Astaxanthin is an orange carotenoid found in algae, plants, and seafood. Recently, krill oil has been studied as the next best source of anti-inflammatory fish oil source. What makes krill so fantastic? It contains not only high omega 3 fatty acids, but also phosphitdylcholine, and this antioxidant compound, astaxanthin. A recent study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, showed this compound to have an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and protective effect to the kidneys from high glucose levels.

For you science whizzes, here's the mechanism of action excerpted from the Journal of Agriculture Food Chemistry brought to my attention via DFH:  Results showed that astaxanthin effectively suppressed lipid peroxidation, total RS, •O2, NO•, ONOO−, iNOS and COX-2 protein levels, NF-κB nuclear translocation, and pro-apototic Bax, whereas it increased anti-apoptotic Bcl2 protein levels. 

Bonus Tips:
Anesthesia? Drink your Ningxia Red Juice and take your Resveratrol beacuse Anesthesia increases free radicals

Are you sure you want to cut that out?? The Appendix has a vital function after all- a storehouse for good bacteria to re-populate your gut after diarrhea. Read more on Dr. Mercola's site here.

Why do half of health care workers surveyed say they would deny the swine flu vaccine? Read about Dr. Mercola's take here and check out my compilation on the swine flu in the left hand column of my webpage.

Here is a youtube video on swine flu from Dr. Mercola's interview with Dr. Blaylock (approx. 36 minutes).

OK, One more....information on the withdraw of natural desiccated thryoid drugs. (Dr. Mercola)
Well, we've all heard of it, we've all practiced it, and we've all used it to explain that extra glass of wine at dinner. What am I talking about? The French paradigm. It's the belief that the French stay skinny because they eat a diet high in mono-unsaturated fats and drink lots of  red wine. (By the way, it's the grapes, not the alcohol, that contains beneficial polyphenols and resveratrol). However, this pardigm may just become a Mediterranean myth, because drinking healthy phytonutrients and including olive oil in your diet is not the whole picture to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

In his book, Ultra Metabolism, Mark Hyman debunks the belief that the French are fit from wine and oil. He explains that the real reason behind this seeming contraindication of pleasure seeking Europeans and health are due to the fact that the French eat real food, eat less food, eat slower, and walk more. These reasons may not be as appealing to quick-fix diet seekers, but they do withstand the test of time. 

Eating less food and walking more are self-explanatory, but what about eating slower? Marc David's book, The Slow Down Diet, discusses the biochemical differences in digestion that occur as a result of eating for pleasure versus eating in a hurried, stressful state. High stress eating decreases absorption of nutrients because digestive enzyme production is suppressed under stress. Your body determines that the most crucial place for energy during a run-in with a saber tooth tiger is to your muscles, not your gut.This is modulated by an increase in cortisol output, the stress hormone. Cortisol increases insulin release to bring sugar into the muscle cells, this decreases blood sugar levels and causes you to feel more hungry, even though you just ate! 

My favorite reason for the French paradigm: the French eat local, fresh, minimally processed foods which are bought on a daily basis. The new field of nutrigenomics studies how nutrition effects your DNA expression and ability to modulate risk factors of disease. Although eating kale and high methyl-containing vegetables won't change your DNA, these beneficial compounds can interact with cell receptors and modulate cancer oncogene expression to your favor. In other words, good foods can help your body at the cellular level to prevent disease. Therefore, you literally become what you eat, be it a Twinkie or a piece of broccoli.

In health and wellness,
Dr. Sarah 

For more information and references:
The Genotype Diet. Peter D'Adamo, ND
Ultra-Metabolism. Mark Hyman, MD
The Biology of Belief. Bruce Lipton, PhD

As a Naturopathic Doctor & Integrative Medical Specialist, I am trained to look for the root cause of an illness. There are many controversies that exist in medicine today regarding cholesterol. These include:

What is the magic number?

What's the best way to lower it?

What  foods should be avoided in connection with it? 

I'm going to step out of box even more than a toe, and suggest that maybe cholesterol isn't the enemy. Maybe it's just an innocent bystander that's trying to help save you from the REAL bad guy. Is it getting all the blame because it's doing such a good job at covering up the real issue?

A recent article about Red Rice Yeast and Cholesterol by Dr. Mercola was recently posted. In this article, Dr. Mercola explained all the functions of cholesterol how it serves vital roles  in the body.I encourage you to read it.

Cholesterol is a healing agent, it is the structural component of  all cell membranes. It therefore serves to promote the fluidity and receptor function of all cells. It is also the precursor to all sex hormones and fat soluble vitamins. (Hmmm....Vitamin D issues everywhere today with statins on the rise??!). Cholesterol is the main component of your brain and eyes (in the form of DHA), and it is linked to thyroid function. In fact, according to Kerry Bone, PhD, the second leading cause of high cholesterol is low thyroid function. This includes sub clinical hypothyroid, meaning you have all the symptoms of low thyroid without the winning test numbers!

Therefore, do you really want to lower this vital substance, or do you want to allow your body to use it? What if that theory that heart disease and clogged arteries are related to insulin and inflammation is true? This means that cholesterol is transported to the site of damage for repair, not to clog you up your arteries and cause blockage. What if the side effects of lowering something that your body makes and needs for so many vital functions can cause serious side effects??

I think high cholesterol is more a symptom than a disease. I do recommend it be used as a measure. I've had the joy of  watching "high" cholesterol  in my clients lower when we began treating the underlying pathology of their chief issue, which may not necessarily be the heart, by the way.
Read Dr. Mercola's article. Think about it from a biochemical standpoint? Make an educated decision from both sides of the equation. A few might call me crazy, but can you argue with consistent results in practice?? I suppose so, a lot of people do.. ;)

In health,
Dr. Sarah (search cholesterol for more information)

Ch-ch-ch Changes


 ~Turn and erase the strain~


The adrenal glands are our "flight or fight" glands. They are responsible for producing hormones that help modulate the stress response through maintaining normal blood sugar, inflammatory responses, immune function, hormonal levels, heart rate, blood pressure, and electrolyte balance.

The three classes of hormones that the adrenal glands produce are:

Glucocorticods, such as cortisol, which regulates energy, blood sugar, hormonal balance, growth, sleep, and inflammation.

Mineralcorticoids, such as aldosterone, which regulates blood pressure by normalizing mineral and water output in the body.

Catecholamines, such as adrenaline, which regulates heart rate, blood flow, and blood sugar.

Recently, Dr. Mercola posted an article discussing adrenal fatigue as one of the main causes of fatigue in today's society. This condition manifests when the adrenals are no longer able to keep up with the body's physiological response to chronic stressors. I think you would agree that stress definitely impacts most Americans from a variety of modern day factors.

Common symptoms of adrenal fatigue that I see in my practice are not just related to fatigue. I have seen sleep issues, hot flashes, hormonal issues, low libido, cravings, weight gain, anxiety or mood imbalances, chronic inflammatory disorders, hypoglycemia and blood sugar imbalances, and many other conditions not commonly associated with the adrenal glands, improve with attention to these vital glands.

The conventional test to diagnosis adrenal pathology, the ACTH test, unfortunately doesn't measure the function of the adrenals glands. Rather, it is a diagnostic for severe pathology of the adrenals such as Addison's or Cushing's disease. However, case history, symptoms, other lab markers, and salivary tests through a licensed integrative practitioner can be used in order to determine if the issue of your fatigue (or other conditions that have not been responsive to treatment), are due to tired adrenal glands.

My Naturopathic and functional training involves looking at the cause of the dysfunction, rather than covering symptoms; therefore, I see a lot of tired adrenal glands. Primary complaints usually doesn't resolve completely unless these important glands are supported. I use a variety of tools such as relaxation techniques, herbal adaptogens, whole food nutrition, and high quality nutraceuticals.

For research references on this topic or to read the full article mentioned, go to:

And be sure to check my webpage for past articles on the same topic which also includes references and tips:

In health,
Dr. Sarah



Recently, Dr. Northrup posted an article on the huffington post regarding the importance of vitamin D for breast health. 

Dr. Northrup cites the following findings:

"A study conducted by Cedric Garland and other prominent vitamin D researchers determined that women with vitamin D levels above 52 ng/ml have half the risk of developing breast cancer as those with 13 ng/ml! Garland (et al) estimates that 58,000 new cases of breast cancer in the U.S. could be prevented per year by raising vitamin D levels to 52 ng/ml. Imagine what the global impact could be!"

Breast health is just one of the reasons why Vitamin D has been getting so much attention. It is not only an essential vitamin for bones, skin integrity, and heart health, it is also an important hormone that can regulate gene expression! This could be why it's deficiency is linked to not only hormonal disorders but also cancer. 

Healthy levels of vitamin D should be between 50-80 ng/ml. Most people are very deficient and in order to obtain this level, your doctor may recommend a very high dose to be taken once a week. This is fine as long as you are being monitored through blood tests. Blood monitoring is necessary, because vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and too much of it can be toxic.

I have found in my practice, that balancing the body and addressing lifestyle as well with supplements, much lower doses of vitamin D are needed to achieve the same increase in levels. For example, the best source of vitamin D is sunlight, and most people don't get enough of this. I have seen how a 20 minute walk outdoors, 800-2000 IUs of vitamin D supplementation along with hormonal support, and addressing liver conversion of this vitamin can create many health benefits beyond simply raising a lab number. 

For more information on vitamin D, be sure to visit my website and search this key phrase at 

Christiane Northrup. Huffington Post.
Dobbins, Michael. The Vitamin Complexes. 3/25/2009.
Dr. Mercola. Warning, potentially life threatening vitamin Deficiency

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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...

About Dr. Sarah Lobisco

Dr. LoBisco has been in holistic healthcare for over 10 years. She became interested in holistic medicine when she was able to heal two herniated discs through nutrition, yoga, supplementation, and chiropractic. She has mentored with holistic practices throughout New York, Vermont, and Connecticut. In addition to her Naturopathic and Functional Medical training, Dr. LoBisco has extensive training in a variety of healing modalities, including therapeutic essential oils, nutraceuticals, herbs, whole food supplements, nutritional medicine, and mind-body therapies. She is a graduate of the accredited, four year post-graduate program in Naturopathic Medicine at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. This program includes clinical rotations and a demanding scientific curriculum in integrating conventional and natural medicine. Dr. LoBisco holds her license from the state of Vermont.

Dr. LoBisco has completed her postdoctoral training as a certified functional medicine practitioner. She is also certified in Applied Kinesiology and holds a BA in psychology from SUNY Geneseo. She has contributed as an item writer for the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE)and has several articles that have been published in the Naturopathic Doctor News and Review Digest (NDNR) and the Townsend Letter, both physician- based journals. Dr. LoBisco is also a hired speaker on integrative medical topics for medical professionals.

Dr. LoBisco currently incorporates her training in holistic medical practices and conventional medicine through writing, researching, private practice, and through her independent contracting work for companies regarding supplements, nutraceuticals, essential oils, and medical foods. She has a small, private wellness consultation practice through telephone and Skype. Dr. LoBisco also enjoys continuing to educate and empower her readers through her blogs and social media. Her new book, BreakFree Medicine, is now available on Amazon and through Barnes & Noble. Please inquire here for more specific information.

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