Healthy Life Newsletter March 2017


Looking back over the last decade: 

Three big highlights in chiropractic research

1. 2008:  In the only research report ever published simultaneously in both of the two most prestigious spinal-related medical journals, Spine and the European Spine Journal, a comprehensive 220-page report from a multi disciplinary international Task Force on neck pain made headlines.  This detailed literature review found that chiropractic treatment for neck pain was safe, effective and appropriate for most patients with disabling neck pain, and that it was important for patients to choose their treatment and not have it strictly dictated by their physicians.  This report also demonstrated the marked safety of chiropractic treatment of the neck, and that the extremely rare incidence of stroke after chiropractic treatment was exactly the same as the incidence of stroke after routine medical treatment, proving that these rare cases were associated in time with the treatment but clearly not caused by it.
            Spine 33(4S): S176-183
2.  2011: A review in the prestigious British Medical Journal made the case the primary care of patients with back pain and other musculoskeletal problems should be transferred away from general medical practitioners to chiropractors, osteopaths and physical therapists. They cited an accumulated body of research demonstrating that medical care was not particularly effective or cost-effective, and that chiropractic doctors, osteopaths and physical therapists were driving much of the research and advancements in treatment, and that just as non-medical primary providers were widely accepted in oral and dental health, visual health, and many aspects of mental health, these providers should be fully embraced and utilized for musculoskeletal health.
            BMJ 342:d3260
3. 2012: The headline in the New York Times on January 3, 2012 was "For neck pain, chiropractic and exercise are better than drugs."  This came from a major study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the official journal of the American College of Physicians.  In this large high-quality study, researchers compared the effectiveness of medication, home exercises with advice, and chiropractic adjustments for patients with acute and sub-acute neck pain.  They found that after 12 weeks of care patients using chiropractic care or exercises were more than twice as likely to be pain free as those relying on medication and usual medical care.  These differences remained after 6 months and after 12 months following treatment.  And there was not one single significant adverse event after chiropractic treatment.
            Ann Int Med 156:1-10

An ounce of nuts a day keeps the doctor away
Researchers from Norway and the UK analyzed 20 studies reporting the relationship between disease risk and nut consumption.  they reported that eating a small amount of nuts each day was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases by 21 percent, coronary heart disease by 29 percent, cancers by 15 percent, respiratory disease by 52 percent, diabetes by 39 percent, infectious disease by 75 percent, neurodegenerative disease by 35 percent, and kidney disease by 73 percent.
            BMC Medicine, 2016: doi10.1186/s12916-016-0730-3


Vitamin D benefits pregnant women
Vitamin D deficiency is common during pregnancy.  Researchers at UC Davis gave either 400 IU or 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily to 57 women from early in their pregnancy until delivery.  Women taking the higher dose of vitamin D had fewer signs of inflammation and tended to have less of a pregnancy-related increase in diastolic blood pressure.
            Journal of Nutrition, 2016;146:2388-2397

More on vitamin D and pregnancy from

(note the much higher recommended dose: 6400 IU of Vitamin D daily)


GrassrootsHealth led the way, with a paper that took existing data and changed the analysis - from dosage group to achieved serum level. The serum level data came from the two RCTs done by Drs Bruce Hollis and Carol Wagner. We found that raising serum levels from 20 ng/ml to 40 ng/ml reduced the risk of preterm birth by 59%. We also compared the risk of preterm birth for those women who achieved a serum level of at least 40 ng/ml to the reference rate of preterm birth published by the March of Dimes for the same county and found a 46% lower risk overall. Since preterm birth can lead to many more conditions, it is a key predictor in the health of the child and in overall healthcare costs.


Another paper by Drs Hollis and Wagner - cited in our petition - was also on the list. The conclusion of this paper was that 6,400 IU/day for lactating mothers provides adequate vitamin D for both herself and her baby. This RCT showed that giving mothers 6,400 IU/day not only allowed the mothers to be sufficient, but also the babies. The babies in this group had similar serum levels (with no supplementation) as the group of control babies on 400 IU/day vitamin D drops whose mothers also received 400 IU/day. 

Mirzakhani et al. showed a drop in preeclampsia rates with a raise in serum level and De-Regil et al. did a meta-analysis of vitamin D and calcium which found that high dose vitamin D reduced preterm birth, but vitamin D with high doses of calcium did not.



Vitamin D Deficiency in Pregnancy Linked to Childhood Autism
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, "Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a group of complex neurodevelopment disorders characterized by repetitive and characteristic patterns of behavior and difficulties with social communication and interaction." As of 2016, one in 68 U.S. children suffer from ASD, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's too many children suffering from a troubling condition that affects everyday functioning and is frustrating for child and caregivers alike.


While the exact cause of ASD remains unknown, a recent study suggests a modifiable variable - vitamin D intake during pregnancy - may give us a clue to cause (and prevention). Published in the research journal Molecular Psychiatry, the study found that women with low vitamin D levels at 20 weeks of pregnancy were more likely to have a child identified with ASD by age 6.

Autism - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark The study authors make the importance of their findings clear: "Because gestational vitamin D deficiency is readily preventable with safe, cheap and accessible supplements, this candidate risk factor warrants closer scrutiny."
Keep in mind that vitamin D has been shown to confer a host of health benefits when taken regularly, making consistent, adequate intake a critical element of a healthy lifestyle. Talk to your doctor to learn more about the power of vitamin D and the best foods / supplements you should take to ensure you get the right amount every day.


Say No to Migraine Medication and Yes to Natural Care
If you've ever experienced a migraine headache, you know how debilitating it can be. According to the Mayo Clinic, "a migraine headache can cause intense throbbing or pulsing in one area of the head and is commonly accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.
Migraine attacks can cause significant pain for hours to days and be so severe that all you can think about is finding a dark, quiet place to lie down."
Nearly 30 million American suffer migraine headaches, with women more than three times as likely as men to be victims. Too often, medication is the first-line treatment strategy to control symptoms – particularly the pain – despite the fact that natural options are being shown to be just as, if not more, effective.
Case in point: a recent study that divided 91 adult migraine sufferers into three groups for comparison. One group received topiramate (brand name: Topamax), an anti-convulsant also approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment and prevention of migraines; a second group exercised 40 minutes a day, three times a week; and the third group performed relaxation exercises over the course of the study period. After three months, results showed no significant differences between the three groups: all three interventions reduced the frequency of migraine occurrence.
If you suffer from migraines, your doctor of chiropractic may recommend exercise or relaxation techniques to help treat your problem without having to resort to drugs, all of which come with a substantial list of side effects that can make you feel even worse. For example, among the potential side effects of topiramate are nausea, diarrhea and fatigue – just what you don't need when you're dealing with a debilitating migraine.
Of course, your chiropractor may also perform chiropractic adjustments, which have been shown to be effective for headache symptoms. One study showed spinal manipulation to be as effective as amitriptyline for migraine symptoms; another study showed a significant reduction in frequency, duration and severity of migraines, as well as need for medication, following chiropractic manipulation. And nutritional support, such as magnesium supplementation, has also proven to be effective.
If you suffer from migraines, talk to your doctor of chiropractic about the drug-free options. Say no to medication and yes to natural care.