At this time of year, many folks recommit to their health in a number of ways, including making New Year’s resolutions. Check out Woodie Guthrie's well-stated resolutions on our Facebook page! While resolutions may help us to refocus our energy, often times they can make us feel guilty for what we have not been doing. How about, instead of approaching this year's resolutions with the guilt of eating poorly over the holidays or the shoulds of what you think you ought to be doing more or less of, consider resolving to spend more time doing what you love and enriching your life in ways you genuinely look forward to. This month, the physicians of Stowe Natural Family Wellness invite you to think about the year ahead in a positive manner that will allow you to accomplish great things without the guilt.
SNFW's Top 10 Tips for this New Year
1. Focus on what you love to do and do more of it.
2. Chart your successes and visualize yourself achieving your goals.
3. Move your body everyday, no matter what!
4. Talk about what you want and don't hesitate to ask for support in achieving it.
5. Be realistic about how your body, life, house "should" look and focus on healthy instead of appearances.
6. Strive for more meaningful relationships with friends, colleagues, family. Decide what this means to you.
7. Get the blood work, dental visits, or home chores completed that you have been putting off. Don't use precious mental space on guilt over tasks uncompleted.
8. Compare your progress in life to your own goals, not others. You are not them.
9. Smile and laugh as often as possible. Cry when you need to..
10. Make a collage or vision board of everything you would like to create in your life this year. Next year you can look back and be surprised at how much of your vision came to fruition.
A delicious soup recipe to help keep you warm this winter:
COCONUT SQUASH SOUP
3 shallots, unpeeled
5 cups cubed organic pumpkin (peeled, 1/2in cubes)
2 cups coconut milk
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ tsp sea salt
2 Tbs fish sauce or vegetarian fish sauce
4 Tbs lime juice (optional)
1 tsp sugar (optional)
1 tsp crushed red pepper (use less for milder heat)
¼ cup minced green onions
1 lb chicken, cooked and chopped (optional)
In medium skillet, dry roast shallots over medium heat until softened and blackened. Peel and cut in half lengthwise. Set aside.
In a large pot bring to boil coconut milk, broth, pumpkin, shallots and cilantro over medium-high heat. Once brought to boil, reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes or until pumpkin is tender. Add chicken. Stir in fish sauce, chili, salt, lime and sugar. Cook 2 more minutes. Serve and sprinkle with minced onions.
We hope you all are staying warm! If there is any topic you would like us to address in future newsletters, please let us know! We appreciate the opportunity to assist you along your path to wellness.
SNFW Staff and Practitioners
It’s October, and Naturopathic Medicine
The US Congress just this year passed a resolution naming this week (October 7-13)
Naturopathic Medicine Awareness Week. Pretty great that Naturopathic medicine
is making big enough headlines for a week of public interest/awareness! Pretty
amazing to share part of the month with breast cancer awareness. And maybe a
little ironic to start the month with Naturopathic medicine awareness and end it on
What do you do for Halloween? Gone are the days when one could pass out apples
or carrots in place of candy—people worry they will have been tampered with at
worst, and at best they are scorned in favor of the commercialized, over-processed,
candy all our kids covet and crave. How do you still have fun with your kids and not
sugar them up until they have a major melt down or worse?
1. The Halloween fairy visits some kids and leaves an inedible present in
exchange for Halloween candy.
2. In some families, kids collect candy but don’t eat it.
3. Especially in neighborhoods where everyone knows each other, families can
make healthier sweets to hand out.
4. To avoid the candy crazy altogether, folks hand out pencils or other small
5. Some parents figure it’s just one night per year.
In my opinion, the wonderful parts of Halloween are the dressing up, the being out
past bedtime, the wandering the streets that are crisp with late fall rotting
leaves and spooky pumpkins, and of course knocking on foreign doors with the
canned plea, “Trick or Treat!” I try not to buy candy I wouldn’t eat—which means,
for me, no food dyes and minimal (if any) ingredients I don’t recognize, and no
gluten. Ideally no dairy either. I like making my own sweets best, though admittedly
I still don’t know how to package it so that a trick-or-treater would find it appealing
fare. (See below for some of the recipes I like!)
My main concerns with this spooky holiday are few, but disturbing all the same.
Candy sales start in September now, two whole months of junk sneaking in to our
days! And that feeds straight into pie etc. for the month of November which then,
of course, barrels forward to the December holidays. That’s almost 1/3 of the
year dedicated to various forays away from “what we think we should be eating.”
I do object to the over-promotion of unhinged sugar/high fructose corn syrup/
unknown ingredient-ed/ food dyed “food” consumption. It’s no wonder our bodies
and waistlines can hardly keep up, and it doesn’t promote good values about food.
(For instance, candy in fact is not food, contrary to popular belief.) When you’re
preparing for the holiday, either on the doling out of treats or the wandering around
with costumed children, consider whether or how you might change the tradition to
have a positive outcome/message. At the very least feed your kids and healthy meal
with protein and vegetables before they head out on the block!
Back to Naturopathic Medicine Awareness Week—at Stowe Natural Family
Wellness we’ve started a Facebook page for posting interesting articles about
health, well-being, Vermont or other interests, and office news. We welcome your
visit-- “Like” us and pass us on to friends! We’re a small office with a lot to offer our community; thanks for being a part of it!
Check out these links to read more:
Other News: We are excited to welcome Karen, our new front desk assistant! She’ll
be filling in on Wednesdays and Thursday afternoons, so listen for that
new friendly voice when you call in!
Sweet Recipes… to die for (only on Halloween!)!
(Delicious truffles that help you get your essential fatty acids!):
Almond Goji Berry Truffles
(Bright red centers are eerily frightening! Chock full of vitamin C, beta carotene and
iron, if you can believe it!):
Chocolate Coconut Clusters
Halloween Jokes, for a chuckle or groan:
Q: Why didn’t the skeleton cross the street?
A: He didn’t have the guts!
Q: How did the monster predict his future?
A: He read his horror-scope!
Q: What spook lives in the Hundred Acre Wood?
A: Winnie the Boo
Q: What is in the red blood cells of monsters:
May you have a delicious and spooky end of the month!!
In Health and Humor,
SNFW Practitioners and Staff
Welcome Spring with a Detox!
By: Kitt Guaraldi, ND
Though the snowy fields and slant stark light would suggest that winter has nestled in to stay indefinitely, the birds and buds, running sap and longer daylight hours say otherwise. What better way to welcome the spring than with a discussion about detoxes?
There are many ways to cleanse and detoxify the body. Many companies advertise pill-based detoxes, and juice fasting and water fasting have had their heydays. However, my favorite form of detox (particularly considering that most people have hectic, stressful lives that make it difficult to restrict calories) is a food-based detox. There are so many foods that support the ability of the liver, kidneys, lungs and skin to export toxins and purify the cells – leafy greens, lemons, and blueberries just to name a few. We can still feel satiated while focusing on delicious foods rich in vitamins, nutrients, anti-inflammatory fats and proteins and fiber. A month-long detox is a fun way to experiment with new recipes and new foods; most people end up adding some of the recipes to their food repertoire after the detox is over.
I love offering detoxes in the springtime. The earth, too, is turning over nutrients and investing energy into creating those first green shoots, which are so cleansing for humans and earth alike. We cast off the sleepy cloak of winter, welcome the lighter fare of spring and summer, and breathe in the fresh springtime air. We connect with our natural environment through eating with the seasons, and feel rooted to our innate rhythms and local community.
I have led both individual and group-based detoxes – and I’m eager to have a group detox this spring if folks are interested! Email or call the office if you’d like to participate or want more details.
I’ve been with SNFW for a year now, and will be full-time with SNFW starting in May. Both Angela and I welcome the growth of the practice as it enables us to bring the benefits of naturopathic medicine to the greater Stowe community. Feel free to spread the word! There is no better way to help others learn about our practice than from the experience and expertise of our patients. Thank you!
Detox Introduction Class: either Saturday 4/13, 11-1230 pm or Thursday 4/11 from 6-730pm.
Detox Wrap Up Class Thursday May 9th or Saturday May 11th depending on the size of the group interested.
Cost: $25.00/person or by donation!
Please contact us by Monday April 8th to put your name on the list! We will contact the group that collects via email for details of when the classes will be held.
Over the last few months, we here at SNFW have been busily getting our clinic prepared to transition to become a medical home! It has been alot of hard work, but we are nearing completion in April. This is very exciting for many reasons.
First of all, SNFW will definitely be the first naturopathic medical clinic in Vermont to become a medical home (maybe in the whole U.S.!!) This is a huge step on the path to federal recognition, which will eventually allow for greater access for people to "alternative" healthcare. It also places the clinic in a good position with insurance companies if the transition to a single-payor system becomes reality. We will be able to smoothly make that switch without a hitch.
Secondly, this will enable greater access for our patients to community health resources that are within the "medical home". This means that if someone needs help with a non-medical related concern, whether it is housing, dental services, or employment, we will have someone who will be on stand-by to assist those in need, free of charge, since we are a designated medical home. Of course, all of those aspects of life greatly impact our health, so we are excited to get support in helping those who have those unique needs. We are all very excited to bring this project to completion and be able to offer a higher level of service to our community.
In other news:
4 months ago, I applied to Copley Hospital for affiliate membership. I have since that time, received numerous phone calls from Copley asking why I am interested in membership and who I am!!
In response to those questions, I told them that about a year ago, I had referred a patient in for physical therapy. Well, they denied my referral because I am not an MD. I couldn't believe this was allowable and had been searching for a way to ensure that this never happens again, short of calling the PT department and making a complaint. I wanted to, instead, build stronger ties with the greater healthcare community, and seek a more positive way to ensure my patients always have access to the same services that MD patients have. As an affiliate member, I will be able to refer a patient in for any specialty services within the hospital without a hitch.
I am also scheduled to present to the Copley medical staff this month on what naturopathic medicine is, our education, and scope of practice. I am very excited to have the opportunity to educate my colleagues about the breadth of naturopathic medicine and that yes! we are physicians, but we have a very different approach to healthcare. I personally believe that somewhere in the middle ground between the NDs and the MDs, we will find an amazing, integrated, high-quality system of healthcare that will benefit the patient the most. We just need to understand each other and foster collegial respect so that the best of what we do can support and enhance the best of what they do. My hope is that as an affiliate member, I can begin to pave the road to this middle ground.
So, there is our update! Phew!! Lot's going on in this spring season! Here's to longer days and warmer sun!!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
For a Friend:
I wanted to take a moment and share this with you all. I had the extreme pleasure of rafting down the Grand Canyon for three weeks with this amazing woman and her guitar. She has an incredible story to tell. She had the unfortunate luck of developing a severe intestinal infection after taking a course of antibiotics for a simple urinary tract infection. She had to have multiple surgeries and most of her colon removed when it was all said and done. I think about her and my oath to "first do no harm," every time I prescribe antibiotics. But besides all that, she is a fabulous musician and writer who is trying to do what she loves in the world. I hope you take a moment to listen to her story and a song if nothing else. Remember her name because she is going to be famous someday! Check it out: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/meganburtt
Other Important News:
Please take the time to read and sign this petition which would allow Licensed naturopathic physician to be primary care physicians in the Federal Healthcare Law. Hopefully we can get enough signatures to at least begin a conversation and increase federal recognition, thus increase access to insurance reimbursement...
Maybe it is the changing weather, the cool, short days turning minds inward and encouraging introspection. Maybe it is a theme I need to revisit for myself, but I wanted to talk a little about this topic. What does it mean?
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way;
On purpose, in the present moment, and
nonjudgmentally.” – John Kabat-Zinn
John Kabat-Zinn is a well-known teacher of mindfulness meditation and the founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Mindfulness means paying attention “on purpose,” consciously directing our awareness to our in-the-moment experiences. For example, eating; when we pay attention to our eating patterns, consciously aware of the process, we might notice the sensations and textures in our mouths. We might taste every minute flavor and chew more thoroughly, thereby enhancing digestion and absorption of nutrients. By slowing down our experience with food, we might appreciate more the act of eating. By this approach, we might observe the mind wandering, and purposefully bring it back to the task at hand.
Instead of this lovely picture, usually what happens is we are thinking about this or that, driving to work, watching television, talking with friends and family, or reading. So when it comes down to it, a very small part of our whole awareness is devoted to the act of eating. And, we may be only barely aware of the physical sensations, not to mention our associated thoughts and emotions. Becoming and remaining aware of our actions and thoughts in present time allows our consciousness to recognize and change patterns that may not be serving us well.
Are you a multi-tasker? I certainly am! Is it good for our health? Probably not... A study from Stanford University showed that those who multi-task have poorer attention and memory than those who complete one task at a time. Our brains were not meant to focus on many different things all at once. If we do this too often, we find that we become forgetful, confused, and mostly fatigued. While technology is great, use your email, cell phones, and T.V.s within reason and one at a time! You will be more successful in your task if you do.
What do you Want Your Life To Be Like?
What a big question! But, how can you get somewhere if you don't know where you are going? Bonnie Ware, hospice RN, recently wrote about lessions she learned from her dying patients. These following insights were taken from her website Inspiration and Chi.
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honor as many of your dreams as possible along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it might be too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip, but it all comes down to love and relationships in the end.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
Dr. Angela Robens
Fall is around the corner! Where did the summer go? It always seems to fly by way too fast! I hope that you all are enjoying these wonderful August days we have left. We have been so blessed with good weather this summer. As we head into the fall and cold/flu season, remember, Prevention is the Best Medicine. SNFW has put together a wonderful flu prevention program as well as a "Cold and Flu First Aid Kit". Please give us a call if you'd like to participate or would like to purchase the first aid kit!! Often times, colds and other viral infections are easily managed at home. With the first aid kit, you will have access to highly recommended herbal and homeopathic remedies for common illnesses. It is never too early to start building your immune system!
New Offering at SNFW:
We are proud to announce a new collaboration with the VT Department of Health Newborn Hearing Screening program. This program allows us to offer hearing screening right here in the comfort of our office, to newborns born at home or in the hospital, as well as all age groups, young to elderly. If you have concerns about your child's hearing or someone you know, please call to schedule a hearing screening today, free of charge.
In September, Dr. Robens will be traveling to San Diego (with babe in arms:) to participate in the annual Advancement of Restorative Medicine conference which is a 4 day event! She is very excited to attend and bring home exciting new advances in the studies of cardiovascular and endocrine medicine. Restorative Medicine is:
"a cross-disciplinary approach for the 21st century medicine based on
restoring organ function and repairing tissue damage. It is not simply
treating symptoms and palliating medical conditions. The restorative approach
to medicine aligns with the body's innate healing nature for restoring a
harmonious state of health."
By participating in the conference, Dr. Robens will be empowered to give expert advice regarding specific cardiovascular prevention, regeneration, and treatment programs as well as cutting edge thyroid management approaches. Lecturers include Dr. Mark Houston, a world-renowned cardiologist and Associate Clinical Professor at Vanderbilt University, Dr. Guarneri, founder and Senior Consultant for the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, and Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, ND who is one of the world's leading authorities on science-based natural medicine as well as the founding president of Bastyr University. Angela looks forward to returning refreshed with exciting new approaches to promote health and wellness in her patients!
SNFW Practitioners and Staff
Announcing the birth of Blaze Walker Robens, born happy and healthy at home on May 6th weighing in at 8 pounds 12 ounces! He is very sweet and good natured. I hope you all get to meet him soon!
SNFW is hosting New England Clinical Thermography for a thermography clinic on June 20th for non-invasive, non-radiation, breast cancer screening. All images are interpreted by physicians trained and certified by the ACCT (American College of Clinical Thermography). For more information about thermography or New England Clinical Thermography, please visit their website: http://nemedtherm.com/index.shtml Please call the office at 802-253-2340 to schedule now as spots fill up quickly.
I hope you all are enjoying our beautiful spring. Birds are singing, trees are flowering, the air smells wonderful! Here is a fun spring-time recipe to add to your collection.
SNFW staff and practitioners
2 green onions chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
3-4 handfuls grated green cabbage
1 cup mayonnaise or vegan option
1/2 cup chopped nuts (almonds are nice)
1-2 tsp curry powder (2 is better)
2 golden delicious apples
1/2 cup orange juice (optional- see below)
To make ahead of time, chop apples and place in orange juice in refrigerator to marinade. This prevents browning of the apples. Mix together green onion, celery, cabbage, mayo, nuts, and curry powder. Add apples and stir. Refrigerate for 2 hours and serve chilled. Enjoy!!
(Mayonaise can be made fresh from scratch which will add to the taste of the slaw)
Dr. Catharine Guaraldi, naturopathic physician and midwife, has joined SNFWs team of providers. Dr. Guaraldi brings a unique skill set to our healthcare offerings with her ability to perform structural integration and to do naturopathic spinal adjustments when indicated. You can read all about her in the providers section of the website. We are very excited to have her!
Dr. Guaraldi will be covering the practice while I am away on maternity leave and will stay on afterwards as a permanent member of the team. I feel comfortable that you all will be in great, healing hands while I am away!
Lyme Disease Prevention:
It is that time of year... Ticks are out in force, especially this year due to our early, albeit lovely, spring. Please take precautions when out in nature, especially May through mid-July when tick counts are the highest.
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, a naturally derived plant based substance that has been shown in comparative studies, to be as effective as low concentrations of DEET in repelling mosquitoes, black flies, and gnats. Some products also state a 6 hour protection time against deer ticks. Here are a few brands you may want to investigate, or you can simply get oil of lemon eucalyptus by itself and apply as needed.
1. Citrapel Lotion Insect Repellant OR Ctirapel Lotion OR Citrapel Plus by Citrefine International LTD
2. Fite Bite by Travel Medicine
3. Repel Essential Insect Repellant Lotion by WPC Brands, Inc.
4. Treefrog Insect Repellant by Tree Frog Products LLC (2 Hour Protection from ticks)
Deer ticks, the vector for Lyme, are generally found in brushy or wooded areas, near the ground. They cannot jump or fly. Know what to look for. Unfed ticks range in size from the size of a poppy seed to the size of a sesame seed, which means they are easy to miss in the first 24 hours before they grow due to engorgement of blood. Check your body over carefully after you return from a nature outing! If you do find a tick on your skin, follow these recommendations for proper removal:
How to remove a tick
1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal and monitor for signs of infection.
3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
As always, this newsletter is meant to be a source of information for you! If there is a topic you would like addressed in a future issue, please let us know.
Yay! It is snowing! I hope this finds everyone recuperating after the holiday rush. I know I was very busy with the move of the practice and am very glad to have life back to its normal pace! We are all settled in now, so come on by to check out our new space. It is cozy, but nice. I've had a lot of calls from people having a hard time finding the office. Look for the B&B Auberge de Stowe which is directly opposite the driveway to the clinic. You will see the Stowe Land Trust sign hanging there, and eventually SNFW's will be there too! We will continue to make reminder calls through February so you are sure to come to the right place as we would hate to miss you!
A Glance at Some Research:
I wanted to address in this blog, some research studies that I am getting a lot of questions about. Feel free to post comments and continue the conversation after reading this discussion.
Several months ago, two studies that appeared in medical journals achieved lots of media attention and created widespread concern among those of you who are using nutritional supplements. One study concluded that the use of multivitamins or of certain individual vitamin supplements was associated with small, statistically significant increases in the mortality rate. The other study found that taking vitamin E increased the incidence of prostate cancer. The discussion that follows takes a deeper look at the research and helps to put the results into perspective for you. My opinion regarding nutritional supplementation has not changed and I still feel that they are, for the most part, very safe, with the consideration of the individual and their individual health needs and goals taken into account.
An Observational Study
In one study of concern, 38,772 women (mean age, 62 years) filled out a questionnaire three times over an 18-year period regarding dietary supplement use. During a total follow-up period of 22 years, the risk of dying from any cause was said to be 6% higher among women who took a multivitamin supplement than among women who did not take a multivitamin. In addition, the use of individual supplements of vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, magnesium, zinc, and copper were said to be associated with increased mortality rates.
One problem with this study is that the researchers did not report actual mortality rates. They compared "adjusted" mortality rates between supplement users and nonusers, by adjusting for a wide range of factors including caloric intake, cigarette smoking, body mass index, blood pressure, educational level, diabetes, use of hormone-replacement therapy, physical activity, and intake of fruits and vegetables. For each of these factors, the supplement users were in the "healthier" category (for example, less diabetes, less obesity, more physical activity, fewer smokers, and higher intake of fruits and vegetables), and would therefore have been expected to have lower mortality rates than the nonusers. In consequence, the mortality rate of the supplement users was presumably adjusted upward (higher mortality), when compared with the mortality rate of the nonusers. When the researchers adjusted the data only for age and caloric intake, there was no statistically significant difference in mortality rate between supplement users and nonusers, a point that was not discussed in the media coverage of this study.
Another problem with this study is that it was observational in nature. In contrast to randomized controlled trials, observational studies cannot prove a direct cause-and-effect. There are tons of observational studies in the history of medical research that have later been contradicted by follow up randomized controlled trials. One widely known example is of that of hormone replacement therapy. Numerous observational studies suggested that the use of hormone-replacement therapy by postmenopausal women would prevent heart disease, but subsequent randomized controlled trials demonstrated that hormone-replacement therapy either has no effect or actually increases the risk of heart disease.
Vitamin E and Prostate Cancer
In the other study I wanted to discuss, 35,533 men were randomly assigned to receive 400 IU per day of vitamin E (in the form of alpha-tocopherol) or placebo for an average of 5.5 years, and the men were then followed for a total of approximately 7 years. During that time, the incidence of prostate cancer was significantly higher by 17% in the vitamin E group than in the placebo group.
This was a relatively well-designed study. However, a major flaw in the study was the form of vitamin E that was used is not the same form that is found in food. Vitamin E is found in 4 different forms in food: alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherol. However, as is the case with most vitamin E research, the men in this study were given only alpha-tocopherol. Early research suggested that most, if not all, of the biological activity of vitamin E is due to alpha-tocopherol, but it is now known that at least one of the other components-gamma-tocopherol-has important functions. Furthermore, treatment with large doses of alpha-tocopherol has been shown to diminish levels of gamma-tocopherol, potentially upsetting the natural balance of the different forms of vitamin E in the body. "Mixed tocopherols," on the other hand, a supplement that contains all four types of vitamin E, would not be expected to cause such an imbalance.
In other studies that looked at vitamin E and prostate cancer, both alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol inhibited the growth of human prostate cancer cells in vitro (in a test tube), but gamma-tocopherol was the stronger acting form of the two. In another study, higher blood levels of alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol were each associated a lower risk of developing prostate cancer, but the protective effect of gamma-tocopherol was higher than that of alpha-tocopherol.
Clinical trials that used alpha-tocopherol in doses lower than 400 IU per day did not find an adverse effect on prostate cancer incidence. In a double-blind study of male smokers, compared with placebo, supplementation with 50 IU per day for 5-8 years significantly decreased the incidence of prostate cancer by 32%. In a double-blind study of male physicians, supplementation with 200 IU per day (400 IU every other day) for 8 years resulted in a nonsignificant 3% decrease in prostate cancer incidence, compared with placebo. Thus, what we can infer from this is that the effect of alpha-tocopherol on prostate cancer appears to be dose-related: protective at low doses (50 IU per day), neutral or modestly protective at intermediate doses (200 IU per day), and harmful at high doses (400 IU per day).
Looking reflectively at all of the research together, it seems that alpha-tocopherol has a protective effect against prostate cancer. However, when alpha-tocopherol is given by itself in large doses (400 IU per day or more), it diminishes the amount of gamma-tocopherol, which could more than negate any beneficial effect that alpha-tocopherol might have. If that is the case, then taking vitamin E in the form of mixed tocopherols would not be expected to increase prostate cancer risk, and might even be helpful in the prevention of prostate cancer. Further research is still needed to confirm that hypothesis.
In conclusion, it is important when reading research study results to evaluate the method of the study, the means they used, and then how do they evaluate the results. And as always, the best advice is to be informed consumers of medicine and supplements. Take any blanket statements with a grain of salt. It is most important to think about an individual and their particular needs when deciding whether to supplement with a vitamin or not. I do like one line of media coverage from the multi-vitamin study that stated, “ It’s important to remember, supplement, not substitute. There is nothing in a pill that can replace eating well.”
Happy January! Enjoy the snow while it's here!
Happy Holidays to all!
At this time of the year, I often find that people are a bit frazzled, rundown, and tired. Tired of the busyness around the holidays from planning events and buying gifts to finishing last minute tasks. Tired of having too many commitments and too little time with not enough help to get things done. This holiday season, I encourage you to slow down and breathe, enjoy the holiday season for what it should be: quality time spent with loved ones in celebration of life and giving thanks for what we do have. Here are some healthful holiday tips to help you maintain wellness during this time of year!
In other news: SNFW is Really Moving!!
As of January 1st, we will be seeing clients at 699 South Main St. Unit #1 in Stowe's lower village. Luckily this move will not be too far, as it is only two doors down from the current location! We will be setting up shop in the lower half of the building currently utilized by the Stowe Land Trust, which some of you may already be familiar with. Although the space is a bit smaller than our current location, we hope to make is just as welcoming and warm for visitors! We appreciate your patience and understanding during the transition. If you need directions prior to your appointment, please call the clinic to speak with myself or Amanda, our public relations specialist!
Be on the lookout for an official mailing regarding the move.
Warm Regards and Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy Holiday,
Stowe Natural Family Wellness practitioners and staff
We are moving!!! Sadly, SNFW will have to find a new home in the new year. I have thoroughly enjoyed my current location and its accessibility for clients at SNFW, and of course, the Green Goddess next door! However, the building has sold and the new occupants love my space too! So they will not keep my lease as they plan to occupy this space themselves. Therefore, we will be seeing patients at a new location that is to be determined! I do apologize ahead of time for any confusion this may cause you and our hope is to make the transition as smooth as possible. We will be communicating any new information to you as soon as we have any information to pass along. I am trying to see this as a wonderful opportunity in disguise and I hope that our new home is even better for all. I am excited about the possibilities and am trying to keep this excitement on the forefront as we go through this stressful transition. That being said, we always strive to maintain a high level of care for our patients and you will continue to be what comes first at our office!
New Practitioner at SNFW!
Welcome Lisa-Anne Loucka!! Lisa-Anne is an Independent Reiki Master/Teacher of the Usui lineage. She practices at Stowe Natural Family Wellness and out of her home in Craftsbury. She has worked with individuals and families since the 80’s and has her Bachelor’s in Social Work. She experienced Reiki for the first time in 2004 to assist her in living a life with Epilepsy. Lisa-Anne became seizure free in 2005. Brain surgery and Reiki sessions were a part of her healing journey. Her profound experience with Reiki inspired her to want to share the gift of Reiki, and she took her first Reiki Class in 2006.
Additionally, she volunteers one day a week at Central Vermont Medical Center’s National Life Cancer Treatment Center. http://www.cvmc.org and is the Vermont Reiki Association’s Newsletter Coordinator. http://www.vermontreikiassociation.org. Lisa-Anne’s life is enriched as a mother of a 20 year old son and a 17 year old daughter. She enjoys nature and being outside.
Angela Robens ND, RN