Wednesday, October 21, 2015

80% of medications recalled for side effects are recalled for the side effects they have on women!

             I was shocked and confused when I learned this today.  Why are women experiencing so many more drug side effects than men?  The answer to this question is probably not what you think.  Before I answer this question, lets talk a little bit about what goes into testing a medication before it becomes available for prescription by your doctor.  First, there has to be problem or a disease.  Then, someone has to have an idea for a drug that can cure or treat this disease, along with millions of dollars in funding.  Testing typically starts with cells in a laboratory.  Once favorable results have been achieved at this stage, drugs are tested on animals.  Finally, human trials are conducted and if the outcomes are favorable here, the drug will become available for use by the public.  But what do all of these testing stages have in common?  All of the testing is done almost exclusively on male subjects1.  The cells in the lab are male cells; the animals are males, and the human test subjects are also almost exclusively males as well1. 
            This might not seem like that big a deal at first glance (which is what scientists have also believed up to this point) but we are now finding that certain drugs are metabolized completely differently by women than they are by men.  For example, an extensive study recently found that the recommended daily aspirin for people 45-65 of age to prevent heart disease can actually have very dangerous consequences for women2.  It has been recommended that even healthy individuals in this age group take a daily aspirin to help prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease.  We have recently learned that for women, the risks involved with this treatment far outweigh the benefits2.  Previously healthy women (no history of cardiovascular disease) who are placed on a daily aspirin regimen are at high risk for gastrointestinal bleeds that can cause severe anemia, and may even lead to a necessity for hospitalization and blood transfusions2.  Why are we just now learning this? Because the aspirin recommendation was made after testing was conducted on men.  It was just assumed that women would have the same benefit. 
            Realizing that women and men have very different physiology, and therefore very different needs when it comes to health care is vital when we consider what is in the best interest of our unique bodies.  For more information on this topic, read the original research below, or listen to the TED talk that I’ve cited below.  I highly recommend watching this video if you’d like more information on the topic.  For further questions or concerns, be sure to contact your health care provider.  Be sure to talk to him or her before altering your medications in any way. 


1.  McGregor, A.  (September 2014).  Alyson McGregor: Why medicine often has dangerous side effects for women [Video File].  Retrieved from:

2.  Kruijsdijk, R., Visseren, F., Ridker, P., Dorresteijn, J., Buring, J., van der Graff, Y., Cook, N. Individualised prediction of alternate-day aspirin treatment effects on the combined risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and gastrointestinal bleeding in healthy women.  Heart.  2015; 101:5 333-334. 

3.  Fleming, Alesha.  Natural Health and Wellness Chiropractic., Daytona Beach, FL, 2015.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Your back pain may be affecting you in ways you’d never even have thought!

It is estimated that approximately 31 million Americans are experiencing low back pain at any given moment1.  Needless to say, that’s a lot of people.  Medical treatments for back pain can range from rest to surgery, but almost always involve some type of pain medication.  A study that reviewed medical records of over 11,000 individuals with back pain, found that the chronic use of pain medications, which is very common in individuals who suffer from chronic back pain, may be associated with erectile dysfunction (ED)2.  Crazy to think about right?  Another study, which compared the presence of erectile dysfunction in patients with low back pain to those without, made some interesting discoveries as well.  Researchers found that as many as 60 percent of patients with low back pain suffered from ED, while only 25 percent of patients without were affected3. 
Although there are varying causes of ED, many are associated with a compromise in blood flow4.  Citrulline and arginine are amino acids that help to relax blood vessels and increase blood flow4.  Although these amino acids have other important functions as well, it is the role that they play in circulatory health that has suggested them as a treatment of ED.  Several studies have been conducted on supplementation of these two compounds that have shown significant improvement in ED symptoms4.  Since there is also a link between low back pain and pain medications and ED, it is also important to seek out other treatment options for you low back pain.  Several studies have found that chiropractic treatment is often the most effective treatment for low back pain, and it does not involve the use of pain medications5.  Erectile dysfunction is a difficult topic to discuss and many people who suffer from it often never seek treatment because of embarrassment or uneasiness about discussing the topic.  Even so, it is important to talk to your doctor before attempting to treat the condition yourself, including taking any supplements or changing your diet.  Ask your doctor what treatment options are right for you. 

1.   Jensen M, Brant-Zawadzki M, Obuchowski N, et al. Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Lumbar Spine in People Without Back Pain. N Engl J Med 1994; 331: 69-116.

2.  Deyo, R., Smith, D., Johnson, E., et. Al. Prescription opioids for back pain and use of medications for erectile dysfunction.  Spine.  2013; 38 (11) 909-15.    

3. Nikoobakht, M.,  Fraidouni, N., Yaghoubidoust, M., Burri, A., Pakpour, A.  Sexual function and associated factors in Iranian patients with chronic low back pain.  Spinal Cord.  2013.

4.  Schuler, C., Appleton, J.  Arginine and citrulline to the rescue:  You have options in addressing problems with erectile dysfunction and blood flow.  Chiropractic Economics.  2014; 21-24.   

5.  Schneider M. et. Al.  Comparison of Spinal Manipulation Methods and Usual Medical Care for Acute and Subacute Low Back Pain.  Spine. 2015.  Vol. 40. No. 4 pp 209-217. 

6. Fleming, Alesha.  Natural Health and Wellness Chiropractic., Daytona Beach, FL, 2015.

Monday, September 28, 2015

“What are saturated fats? Butter is high in saturated fat and I heard I should be eating more of it. Is that true?”

            It has long been debated whether or not diets high in saturated fat are correlated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease.  A large study conducted by Hooper, et. al. concluded that a diet lower in saturated fats decreased risk for cardiovascular disease by as much as 14%2. The real problem with this study seems to be that individuals who consume diets high in saturated fats, also consume diets high in simple carbohydrates and other food items that generally bad for your health.  Eating diets lower in saturated fats will generally also indirectly lead you to choose food items that are healthier.  Furthermore, several recent studies have concluded that there was no positive association between increased cardiovascular disease risk and saturated fat consumption, and that further research is required to assess the association1, 4, 5. Many of these researchers conducted large extensive studies to investigate the current belief that saturated fat consumption contributes to heart disease.   Although the findings in the studies did not generally support this idea, the authors of each of these studies do admit that further evidence is needed to support their findings, and that there are many different factors that must be considered when concluding what effects saturated fats may have on both healthy and unhealthy individuals. 

            So, are saturated fats good or bad? Although the effects of saturated fats on cardiovascular health are not entirely conclusive, another study demonstrated that substitution of monounsaturated fat for saturated fat in the diet resulted in increased resting energy expenditure (more calories burned at rest), as well as mood elevation3. In this study, one test group received a diet high in saturated fat, while the other group received a diet low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat.  Each group received the same foods with only the ratio of saturated fat to monounsaturated fat differing3.  These diets were implemented for a course of three consecutive weeks3.  Researchers found that resting energy expenditure (energy burned by the body in a 24hr period) had increased significantly in the group receiving monounsaturated fat and was significantly lower in the group receiving saturated fat3.  They also found that individuals consuming saturated fat were angrier than those in the monounsaturated fat group3. 

            Although there is some conflicting research on the benefits of decreasing saturated fat intake and cardiovascular health, there is a lot of research supporting the limiting of saturated fats in the diet.  The bottom line is that the typical western diet that most Americans consume is high in a number of macro and micronutrients that negatively affect health when consumed in excess.  Moderation is key! Time magazine recently posted an article telling people to "eat butter".  Although we've learned that butter is probably not as terrible as we've previously thought, most of us already eat much more butter and other sources of saturated fat than we should be eating on a daily basis.  Research suggests that limiting your intake of many of these foods will have significant health benefits. 


1. Chowdhury, R., Warnakula, S., Kunutsor, S., Crowe, F., Ward, H., Johnson, L., Franco, O., Butterworth, A., Forohul, N., Thompson, S., Kahw, K., Mozaffarian, D., Danesh, J., Angelantonio, E. Association of Dietary, Circulating and Supplement Fatty Acids with Coronary Risk.  American College of Physicians, 2014; (160) 6: 398-406. 

2. Hooper, L., Summerbell, C., Thompson, R., Sills, D., Roberts, F., Moore, H., Smith, G. Reduced or modified dietary fat for preventing cardiovascular disease.  The Cochrane Collaboration. 2011; 7: 1-214. 

3.  Kien, C L., Bunn, J., Tompkins, C., Dumas, J., Crain, K., Ebstein, D., Koves, T., Muoio, D. Substituting dietary monounsaturated fat for saturated fat is associated with increased daily physical activity and resting energy expenditure and with changes in mood.  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2013; 97: 689-97.

4.  Siri-Tarino, P., Sun, Q., Hu, F., Krauss, R.  Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease.  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2010; 91: 535-546. 

5.  O’Sullivan, T., Hafekost, K., Mitrou, F., Lawrence, D. Food Sources of Saturated Fat and the Association With Mortality: A Meta-Analysis.  American Journal of Public Health. 2013; 103: 31-42. 

6.  Fleming, Alesha.  Natural Health and Wellness Chiropractic., Daytona Beach, FL, 2015.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Green Smoothies!!

Smoothies are an excellent way to enjoy your breakfast.  Also, if you do it the right way, they can be packed with nutrients, low in sugar and calories, and help you stay full until your next meal!  Below I’ve provided some delicious recipes that I use personally, and that can be used for breakfast, between meals or as a meal replacement. 

But first, some nutrition information on some of the ingredients!

Kale:  Kale is very high in vitamin C and vitamin A.  It can also be a significant source of iron, fiber, potassium and B vitamins. 

Banana:  Bananas are a good source of vitamin B6 and potassium. They are also a good source of fiber. 

Almond Milk:  Almond milk is a great alternative to cow’s milk.  It is very low calorie and packed with nutrients.  Once cup contains as much as a gram of fiber and a gram of protein.  Because it is made from almonds, it also contains all of the nutrients that almonds do.  It is high in vitamin E, magnesium, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. 

Flax seed:  Flax seed is a great source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids and has been shown to have a number of health benefits. 

Agave Nectar:  Agave nectar is a low glycemic index sweetener that is about 1.5 times sweeter than sugar.  Although it has more calories than sugar by volume, you should be able to use less of it because of the added sweetness it provides, making it a good alternative to table sugar.  It is also used as a vegan alternative to honey. 

Kale and Banana Smoothie
1 cup freshly chopped organic kale
1 frozen banana
½ cup original unsweetened almond milk
½ cup water
1 tsp groud flax seed
Agave nectar to taste

Kale and Pineapple Smoothie
1 cup freshly chopped organic kale
1 cup frozen pineapple
½ cup original unsweetened almond milk
½ cup pineapple juice
½ tsp cinnamon

Kale and Mixed Berry Smoothie
1 cup freshly chopped organic kale
1 cup frozen berries (any variety!)
1 cup original unsweetened almond milk
Agave nectar to taste


Visit for more health information!!


1.  Fleming, Alesha.  Natural Health and Wellness Chiropractic., Daytona Beach, FL, 2015.