Archives for August 2015 | Integrative functional medicine blog

"Any fool can Know. The point is to understand" - Albert Einstein

Is Our Water Poisoning Us?

Unless you’re doing something about it, YES IT IS!
poison in the water A vast array of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows.
But the presence of so many prescription drugs, and over-the-counter in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to human health.

How do the drugs get into the water?
People take pills. Their bodies absorb some of the medication, but the rest of it passes through and is flushed down the toilet. Then, some of the water is cleansed again at drinking water treatment plants and piped to consumers
Researchers have found alarming effects on human cells and wildlife.
Just Some of the pharmaceuticals found in the water include medicines for
pain, infection, high cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy, mental illness, Anti-epileptic and anti-anxiety medications, metabolized angina medicine and the mood-stabilizing carbamazepine, sex hormones.

These have been found in Many water supplies from Southern Ca all the way to New York. Contamination is not confined to the United States. More than 100 different pharmaceuticals have been detected in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and streams throughout the world.

Perhaps it's because Americans have been taking drugs — and flushing them unmetabolized or unused — in growing amounts. Over the past five years, the number of U.S. prescriptions rose 12 percent to a record 3.7 billion.

Some drugs, including widely used cholesterol fighters, tranquilizers and anti-epileptic medications, resist modern drinking water and wastewater treatment processes. Plus, the EPA says there are no sewage treatment systems specifically engineered to remove pharmaceuticals.

One technology, reverse osmosis, removes virtually all pharmaceutical contaminants but is very expensive for large-scale use.

Something you can do at home is to add a reverse osmosis water filter for your own drinking water.
Here are a couple of my favorite options (I try to buy made in the US. That is were I live.)

APEC Water - Top Tier - Built in USA - Certified Ultra Safe, High-Flow 90 GPD Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System (RO-90)

APEC - Top Tier - Built in USA - Ultra Safe, Premium 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System (ROES-50)
5 Stage Home Drinking Reverse Osmosis System PLUS Extra Full Set- 4 Water Filter

Another issue: There's evidence that adding chlorine, a common process in conventional drinking water treatment plants, makes some pharmaceuticals more toxic.

Human waste isn't the only source of contamination. Cattle, for example, are given ear implants that provide a slow release of trenbolone, an anabolic steroid used by some bodybuilders, which causes cattle to bulk up. But not all the trenbolone circulating in a steer is metabolized. A German study showed 10 percent of the steroid passed right through the animals. Where does the rest go? If the public consumes this meat much of it ends up in our systems.

Ask the pharmaceutical industry whether the contamination of water supplies is a problem, and officials will tell you no (Not surprisingly). "Based on what we now know, I would say we find there's little or no risk from pharmaceuticals in the environment to human health," said microbiologist Thomas White, a consultant for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

But at a conference last summer, Mary Buzby — director of environmental technology for drug maker Merck & Co. Inc. — said: "
There's no doubt about it, pharmaceuticals are being detected in the environment and there is genuine concern that these compounds are getting into our water sources.”

Recent laboratory research has found that small amounts of medication have affected human embryonic kidney cells, human blood cells and human breast cancer cells. The cancer cells proliferated too quickly; the kidney cells grew too slowly; and the blood cells showed biological activity associated with inflammation.

Also, pharmaceuticals in waterways are damaging wildlife across the nation and around the globe, research shows. Notably, male fish are being feminized, creating egg yolk proteins, a process usually restricted to females.

"I think it's a shame that so much money is going into monitoring to figure out if these things are out there, and so little is being spent on human health," said Snyder.

Our bodies may shrug off a relatively big one-time dose, yet suffer from a smaller amount delivered continuously over a half century, perhaps subtly stirring allergies or nerve damage.

Many concerns about chronic low-level exposure focus on certain drug classes: chemotherapy that can act as a powerful poison; hormones that can hamper reproduction or development; medicines for depression and epilepsy that can damage the brain or change behavior; antibiotics that can allow human germs to mutate into more dangerous forms; pain relievers and blood-pressure diuretics.

For several decades, federal environmental officials and nonprofit watchdog environmental groups have focused on regulated contaminants — pesticides, lead, PCBs — which are present in higher concentrations and clearly pose a health risk. However, some experts say medications may pose a unique danger because, unlike most pollutants, they were crafted to act on the human body.

"We know we are being exposed to other people's drugs through our drinking water, and that can't be good,"
says Dr. David Carpenter, who directs the Institute for Health and the Environment of the State University of New York at Albany.
This article was found on the front page of yahoo news on – line and is not some abstract finding. Wellness is a choice that we all have to make on a daily basis. We are being besieged from all angles even if we are not aware of it. Inform yourself and fight back as best you can.

Fight on,

Dr. Craig Mortensen

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Antibiotics. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Such a cool picture.
Anyway, onto the good stuff, and bad, and the ugly.

antibiotics. The good, bad, and the ugly.
First, the good. Antibiotics were first discovered back in the late 1880's. When they first came out they were thought to be the miracle cure that was going to save the world from all disease. To a certain extent, they did a very good job and saved many lives. Until, that is, the diseases and bacteria got smarter, which brings us to the bad.
good and bad
The BAD! Over the last 50 years, the bad of antibiotics has been getting exponentially worse. The really bad part is it's all our own fault. That's right, we may have screwed ourselves. Here's the run down on basically what's happened. Antibiotics worked so well for years that everyone wanted to take them whenever they got sick. Whether it was a little sniffle, runny nose, flu (which is viral by the way, so antibiotics don't work anyway) everyone was asking their doctors for antibiotics. Doctors were handing them out like candy, and still do. Eventually, the bacteria started to change and mutate into strains that are resistant to antibiotics.

In the last year alone these drug resistant bacteria have killed over 65,000 people. This is more than prostate cancer and breast cancer COMBINED!

The Ugly! Really ugly!
Even if you have never taken antibiotics, the odds are that you have still ingested large amounts of them. The only way to completely avoid them is to be informed and aware of what you ingest. Did you know that antibiotics are used in cows to produce more milk and in livestock to make them grow bigger so they can make more money (The antibiotics are passed to use through the milk and in the meat).

Antibiotics are even in our water (
always drink reverse osmosis water). It's hard to avoid them but it can be done. The really bad part about all this is even if you do everything perfectly, other people are messing it up for us. They are the ones that are over using antibiotics for everything from ear infections (which 9 times out of 10 are viral) to tummy aches (I'm not joking!). They become the hosts for the antibiotic resistant bacteria and if someone that does everything right happens to get an infection they are up a creek without a paddle. The damage is done!


I could go on and on about this subject. Here is an article that I actually read on my blackberry and was amazed to see it there. Please take the time to read it. It really is in the best interest of everyone's health.

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
While there may be little pieces of the sky falling there are some people taking action and there are some things you can do to help.

This topic is getting so big (finally) and so important that our federal government and other governments of the world are taking strong actions to prevent this from getting worse.

The WHO (World Health Organization) is even involved.

There is a worldwide campaign to reduce the usage (which is mostly unnecessary) of antibiotics. They are pressuring doctors big time to actually test before prescribing antibiotics and only use them in severe cases. Even if antibiotics would help, unless it is life threatening your body
WILL heal itself and get better. Give it time.

I usually recommend giving it a week and if at the end of the week you are not ANY better then get it checked out. Here is the problem with relying on doctors for the best health possible. They get paid to prescribe those antibiotics and drugs. So its kind of in their own best financial interest to prescribe more not less.

So that leaves you and me. Leave antibiotics for use as a last resort. Always ask for testing before taking antibiotics and give your body a chance to heal itself. It will make you healthier in the long run.

If you would like some recommendations on different supplements I recommend to help boost the immune system take a look at the short list below. While not all inclusive to every condition they are very helpful.

This is a great all around immune system booster.
Pure Encapsulations - Daily Immune - 120ct [Health and Beauty]
This is a good Kids option.
Gaia Kids Echinacea Goldenseal Herbal Drops, 2-Ounce Bottle

And for all you garlic lovers, you know I love it. Good for sooooo many things.
See my previous post on garlic and vampires.

Vital Nutrients - Garlic Extract 300 mg 60 caps

his is a list to just start with. If you are looking for other check out Healthwave for you supplement needs.

That's enough for now. I'm sure there will be more later.

Make informed decisions and ask for testing before taking anything. Keep your body healthy and it will take care of itself.
After all, if you don't take care of your body. Where are you going to live?

As always if you have any question you can always
contact me or make an appointment. I’d be happy to help.

Giddy up!

Dr. Craig Mortensen

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Why vampires hate garlic, and you should love it.

So I will get right down to the good stuff.
vampires and garlic
First off let me state that Garlic makes a wonderful health supplement for many people, but the so-called "garlic cure" is no substitute for the basics: sensible eating, appropriate exercise, taking your vitamins and living a healthy lifestyle.

Garlic should be seen as part of a healthy lifestyle - not as an alternative to it.

After you read why garlic is good for you I think you will be able to figure out why it keeps vampires away.

Personally I eat garlic because I like the taste; any potential health benefits are simply a bonus!

Garlic has long been touted as a health booster, but it’s never been clear why the herb might be good for you. Now new research is beginning to unlock the secrets of the odoriferous bulb.

In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers show that eating garlic appears to boost our natural supply of hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide is actually poisonous at high concentrations — it’s the same noxious byproduct of oil refining that smells like rotten eggs. But the body makes its own supply of the stuff, which acts as an antioxidant and transmits cellular signals that relax blood vessels and increase blood flow.

In the latest study, performed at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, researchers extracted juice from supermarket garlic and added small amounts to human red blood cells. The cells immediately began emitting hydrogen sulfide, the scientists found.

The power to boost hydrogen sulfide production may help explain why a garlic-rich diet appears to protect against various cancers, including breast, prostate and colon cancer, say the study authors.
Higher hydrogen sulfide might also protect the heart, according to other experts.

Although garlic has not consistently been shown to lower cholesterol levels, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine earlier this year found that injecting hydrogen sulfide into mice almost completely prevented the damage to heart muscle caused by a heart attack.

“People have known garlic was important and has health benefits for centuries,” said Dr. David W. Kraus, associate professor of environmental science and biology at the University of Alabama. “Even the Greeks would feed garlic to their athletes before they competed in the Olympic games.”

Now, the downside.

The concentration of garlic extract used in the latest study was equivalent to an adult eating about two medium-sized cloves per day. I don’t see that as a downside. Just an excuse to eat more. In such countries as Italy, Korea and China, where a garlic-rich diet seems to be protective against disease, per capita consumption is as high as eight to 12 cloves per day.

While that may sound like a lot of garlic, Dr. Kraus noted that increasing your consumption to five or more cloves a day isn’t hard if you use it every time you cook. Dr. Kraus also makes a habit of snacking on garlicky dishes like hummus with vegetables.

Many home chefs mistakenly cook garlic immediately after crushing or chopping it, added Dr. Kraus.
To maximize the health benefits, you should crush the garlic at room temperature and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes. That triggers an enzyme reaction that boosts the healthy compounds in garlic.

Garlic can cause indigestion, but for many, the bigger concern is that it can make your breath and sweat smell like…garlic.

While individual reactions to garlic vary, eating fennel seeds like those served at Indian restaurants helps to neutralize the smell.

Some of the other benefits of garlic, which is primarily due to the allicin contained in garlic. If you just can’t seem to get enough garlic in you diet, here are a couple of recommendations that I personally give to my patients.

Vitanica Professional - CandidaStat Yeast Balance Support - 120 Vegetarian Capsules
Pure Encapsulations - GarliActive 120's (Premium Packaging)
Vital Nutrients - Garlic 6000 650 mg 60 caps
Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract Liquid Vegetarian Cardiovascular 4 fl oz (120 ml)

Eating garlic or taking supplements containing high levels and good quality allicin also acts as an antibacterial. In fact, that antibacterial property works great against yeast (candida albicans) infections. Part of the reason this is so great, is that garlic (or the allicin) appears to spare the good bacteria in our bodies, leaving the good stuff to build back our immune systems once the infection is gone. Garlic also acts as a great detox or chelating agent for lead, binding to excess levels of lead in our system(no, its not just from paint chips) and excreting it.

So stock up on some GOOD QUALITY garlic and keep those vampires away while living healthier.


The basic premise is that garlic has been know for centuries for it's healing abilities and is also believed to be an ANTI-VIRAL. Becoming a vampire was believed to be a viral infection of the blood. So by being exposed or eating garlic it would essentially kill the virus thus killing the vampire.

Happy trails!

Dr. Craig Mortensen

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Antibiotics do NO good for Most sinus infections

This is an article that was all over the news in the Wall Street Journal, yahoo news, CNN and Fox News. This is important not just for our individual health but also for the health of society as a whole.
The following article was in the Wall Street Journal.

antibiotics dont help sinus infections

Most sinus infections are caused by viruses rather than bacteria and shouldn’t be treated with antibiotics — a common practice that contributes to the development of drug-resistant “superbugs,” according to new guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

The  guidelines, which also include new recommendations for treating bacterial infections, are the first issued  by the society, which represents specialists in infectious disease. A panel that developed them included experts from
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Physicians.

Nearly one in seven people are diagnosed with a sinus infection each year. These cases are the fifth most common reason doctors prescribe antibiotics. But as many as  98% of cases are caused by viruses, which aren’t affected by these drugs.

With no test to easily determine whether a sinus infection is viral or bacterial,  many physicians prescribe antibiotics as a precaution.
Deeds done with good intentions often do the most harm.

And, patients may ask doctors for antibiotics on the mistaken theory “
that they can’t harm them and they might help,” says Thomas M. File,  co-author of the guidelines and chair of the Infectious Disease Section at Northeast Ohio Medical University. But in addition to concern about drug-resistant bugs, he adds,  antibiotics can have serious side effects such as diarrhea, rash and headache, and can add to the cost of health care.

Sinus infections,  known as  acute rhinosinusitis, are an inflammation of the nasal and sinus passages that can cause uncomfortable pressure on either side of the nose and last for weeks. Most develop during or after a cold or other upper respiratory infection, but allergens and environmental irritants may also trigger them.

If symptoms last for 10 days without improvement, or include fever of 102 degrees or higher, nasal discharge and facial pain lasting three to four days, the infection is likely bacterial and should be treated with antibiotics, the guidelines say.

Viral infections can also initially seem to improve and then get worse, with the addition of a fever, meaning a bacterial infection has likely developed.

In those cases the new guidelines call for shorter treatment time than older guidance from other groups,  which called for 10 days to two weeks of antibiotic treatment for a bacterial infection. The IDSA suggests five to seven days is long enough to treat a bacterial infection without encouraging resistance in adults, though children should still get the longer course.

Because of increasing resistance to the antibiotic amoxicillin — the current standard of care — the ISDA recommends amoxicillin-clavulanate, a combination which helps to overcome resistance by inhibiting an enzyme that breaks down the antibiotic.

The guidelines also recommend against other commonly used antibiotics, including azithromycin, clarithromycin and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, because of growing drug resistance.

Whether the sinus infection is bacterial or viral, the ISDA says  use of decongestants and antihistamines  may make symptoms worse. Nasal steroids can help ease symptoms as may nasal irrigation using a sterile solution — including sprays, drops or liquid, says  Dr. File, who also  recommends patients  take acetaminophen for sinus pain and drink plenty of fluids.

So whats an aching patient to do with a sinus infection? Our recommendations in our office always include drinking plenty of water and getting plenty of rest. Take Immune system boosting supplements and vitamins. Get adjusted by a chiropractor (which helps the sinuses and nasal passageways drain) and do some sinus rinses. In 98% of all sinus infection cases this will take care of the problem and get you back to normal faster.
Here are some of my favorite supplements for boosting the immune system and fighting infections.
Daily Immune by Pure encapsulations
M/R/S Mushroom Formula
Garlic extract (allicin yield 12,000 mcg/g) 300mg
Echinacea-Goldenseal with Olive Leaf
Do yourself a favor, save some money and get it through Healthwave - sign up in the sidebar
I guarantee you will save money.
It’s routinely 10-20% cheaper than amazon!

For those of you with chronic sinus infections or who seem to always be getting sick, consider this. Taking antibiotics has shown to reduce your own bodies immunity and ability to fight off sickness and infection. So the very drugs you were taking to try to make you better are actually making you worse.

HHHMMMMM........That sounds familiar!

In Good Health,
Dr. Craig Mortensen

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