Posts Tagged ‘United States


What Are Food Cravings? Is Your Body Really Trying to Tell You Something?

SwisschiropracticFor some years, researchers had believed that having cravings for a particular type of food may be an indication that you are missing a particular nutrient in your diet. For example, if you crave red meat then you may have an iron deficiency, or if you crave ice cream you must need calcium. Studies have shown, however, that cravings have nothing to do with a nutritional deficiency, but are actually caused by chemical signals in the brain. Nutritionist Karen Ansel says, “If cravings were an indicator of nutritional deficiency, we’d all crave fruits and vegetables. The fact that we all want high carb, high fat comfort foods, along with the research, is a pretty good indicator that cravings aren’t related to deficiencies.” Yes–it’s really all in your head.

When you crave a food, the same reward centers in the brain that are responsible for drug and alcohol addiction are more active: the hippocampus (memory), the insula (emotion and perception) and the caudate (memory and learning). These areas are all very receptive to dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters that are responsible for feeling relaxed and calm and which spur reward-driven learning. The reason you crave things such as ice cream, potato chips and chocolate is that these items are full of fat and/or sugar. Both fat and sugar are involved in an increased production of serotonin and other chemicals that make us feel good.

There is a large societal aspect to cravings as well. For instance, women in Japan tend to crave sushi and only 6 percent of Egyptian women say they crave chocolate. Approximately half of American women claim that their cravings for chocolate reach a peak just before their period. However, research has found no correlation between fluctuations in women’s hormones and cravings. In fact, postmenopausal women do not report a large reduction in cravings from their premenopausal levels.

Studies have found that the more people try to deny their cravings, the greater the craving they have for the forbidden food. Researchers suggest that it is better to give in to the craving in a controlled way rather than denying yourself altogether. Just be sure to restrict what you consume to a reasonable amount. If your dopamine receptors are constantly bombarded with high-fat and high-sugar foods (or drugs and alcohol), they shut down to prevent an overload. This makes your cravings even greater and you end up eating more in an attempt get the same reward, but you never really feel satisfied.

Exercise and distraction are two good ways to reduce food cravings. One study found that a morning workout can reduce your cravings for the whole day. Smelling a non-food item can also help. Keep a small vial of your favorite perfume with you when a craving comes on and take a whiff when the craving hits you. It will occupy the aroma receptors that are involved in food cravings.



Applied Kinesiology Found To Benefit Chiropractic Patients with Urinary Incontinence

chiropractor Chapel Hill NCTwo American chiropractors have used applied kinesiology (AK) to aid the treatment of 21 patients experiencing urinary incontinence (UI), with considerable success.  Applied Kinesiology is a technique that uses the strength of a particular muscle (often a muscle in the arm) to diagnose problems in certain organs or in other parts of the body.  The practitioner places pressure on whichever of the patient’s muscles that corresponds the particular part of the body being assessed, and the amount of resistance it gives determines if there is a problem in that area.

Urinary incontinence affects 10% of men and 40% of women at some point in their lives, with women being particularly susceptible to UI following childbirth.  Current evidence suggests that weakness in the pelvic floor muscles, which leads to UI, can result from problems in other areas of the pelvis or lumbar spine as well as weakness in the pelvic floor itself.  Chiropractic manipulation may thus be of considerable benefit in correcting these problems with a concomitant improvement in the symptoms of UI.

Chiropractors Scott Cuthbert and Anthony Rossner assessed patients who had UI by using AK muscle testing to determine the presence and location of musculoskeletal disorders in the lumbar or pelvic regions.  The precise nature of the problem was then assessed by physical examination.  Muscle testing was again used to guide chiropractic manipulation treatment. Interventions that improved muscle strength were continued, and those that failed to do so were not pursued.  Patients were seen for up to thirteen treatments, and for no more than six weeks.

All of the patients treated experienced an improvement in UI symptoms, with nearly half (ten out of 21) reporting complete resolution of their condition following treatment.  It is particularly significant that ten of the patients had presented with long-standing symptoms of UI (at least five years, but greater than 40 years in two cases!).   Annual check-ups for at least two years confirmed that these improvements were maintained post-treatment.

In addition to positively demonstrating the benefit of using muscle testing techniques to aid with chiropractic diagnosis, this research is important in showing the relationship between UI symptoms and musculoskeletal weakness in parts of the lower back and pelvis.  A particular observation here was that the restricted breathing noted in many patients due to trauma to the diaphragm (and other muscle groups associated with inhalation such as the rectus abdominus and oblique abdominal muscles) was also found to impact on urinary continence.

This study suggests that combination of AK and chiropractic manipulation of the lower back and pelvis may be very helpful for patients with UI symptoms.  Please call us or visit our office with any questions.



How Chiropractic Care Has Helped Me: Introducing Brigadier General Becky Halstead


Can chiropractic help?Retired Brigadier General Becky Halstead is no stranger to pain. She spent her entire adult life in the military, and was the first female graduate from West Point to become a general officer. She has seen battle all over the world, including in Iraq. But she has also fought her own personal battle—with fibromyalgia.


Fibromyalgia is a condition that is still not fully understood, but it involves symptoms that include headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, anxiety and depression. “It’s as if your whole body is a bruise … You hurt everywhere,” Halstead says. Even something as simple as showering was painful. “The water hitting your skin, it would feel like it was tearing.”


The conventional treatment for fibromyalgia involves pharmaceuticals, which Halstead took for a number of years. However, the drugs have only limited effectiveness, and she did not want them to affect her job. She said “I knew it wasn’t going to kill me—I was just in pain, so I took myself off all prescription drugs when I went into combat. I was in charge of 20,000 soldiers. That’s a huge command, a huge responsibility. I wasn’t going to have someone doubt or wonder whether the prescriptions influenced me or my decisions.”


However, it became impossible to continue in the military while dealing with debilitating pain, so she retired from the army in 2008. It was then that she began semi-monthly visits to a chiropractor, and that’s when her health began to turn around. Within a year of beginning chiropractic treatment, she was able to discontinue taking pharmaceuticals entirely by combining regular chiropractic spinal adjustments with nutritional supplements.


Halstead says of chiropractic care and how it has helped her, “It’s not like you’re cured, but you feel so much better. They set me on a path of getting well. I’m the healthiest I’ve been in 10 years. I was taking eight or 10 prescription drugs in 2008. The more I went to the chiropractor, the less prescriptions I needed.” She continued, “When I retired, my pain was easily a 9 or 10 (on a 10-point scale) every single day. My pain now is a 2 or 3, and maybe even sometimes a 1. I don’t think I’ve hit a 10 since I started regularly seeing a chiropractor.”


“If I had known how much chiropractic care would help me when I was a commander in Iraq and in the United States, I could have taken better care of my soldiers.” Although chiropractic care for military personnel was approved by congress, there are still many treatment facilities that do not have a chiropractor on staff, which Halstead would like to see changed.


“Until we’ve done that we have not fulfilled our leadership responsibility,” Halstead said. “If you want to help them, see a congressman and ask ‘aren’t our men and women getting these benefits?’ I’m not a chiropractor I’m a satisfied patient, a beneficiary of their talented hands, minds, and hearts. Go find yourself a chiropractor and change your life!”




Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP


Dr.Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois,a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care. (first of a 4-part series)






Fluoride in Our Water: Is There Reason to Be Concerned?

Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts in groundwater throughout the country.  In the 1940s, researchers observed that those areas with the highest amount of natural fluoride in the water had significantly lower rates of dental caries.  Scientists found that adding fluoride to water a level of 1 mg per liter (which has since been reduced to 0.7 mg/L) was optimal for preventing tooth decay, and public water systems throughout the US began adding fluoride to the water supply.  Today, Sapproximately 72 percent of the population lives in areas where the water is fluoridated.  However, significant controversy has sprung up in recent decades over whether the benefits outweigh the risks of this practice.

There seems to be no question that a certain amount of fluoride helps to protect our teeth.  Fluoride has been shown to reduce dental cavities by 18%-40%.  However, fluoride is not without its dangers.  And since the mineral also shows up in places other than the drinking water supply, there is some evidence that some people may be getting too much of it.

A large number of other items (in food and elsewhere) already contain fluoride in varying levels.  For instance, a 12-oz. Coke contains .353 mg of fluoride, a head of iceberg lettuce can contain 1.8 mg of fluoride and black tea can contains a whopping 9 mg/L of fluoride!  One of the reasons for this is the fact that conventional farming commonly uses pesticides containing sodium aluminum fluoride.  This is a very sticky pesticide that resists washing unless you are using a rather strong scrub brush.  In addition, much of the water used in agriculture has been fluoridated.  Add to this the amount of fluoride contained in toothpaste and mouthwash and you can receive significantly more than the optimal recommended amount of fluoride for the day.

Numerous studies have shown that there is no association between fluoride and cancer when fluoride is taken in small amounts.  However, larger amounts of fluoride can lead to skeletal fluorosis, a condition causing damage and pain in bones and joints.  Excessive fluoride has been shown to increase bone fractures, particularly hip fractures in older women, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  Other research suggest a link between larger amounts of fluoride and an increase in the incidence of dental fluorosis in children (cosmetic pitting of the tooth enamel).

Considering how much fluoride we might take in on any given day, it may seem unnecessary to fluoridate the water supply.  And as opponents of the practice point out, there is no way of controlling exactly how much fluoride each person actually takes in each day.  Those who drink greater amounts of water get far more than those who don’t, and children are likely to get far more fluoride in relation to their weight than adults.  There is also the issue of essentially force-medicating an entire population.  Most countries in continental Europe have banned the practice of water fluoridation due to the combination of unsettled science and moral ambiguity, even some who had tried it for some years.

If you are concerned that you may be getting too much fluoride in your water, you can opt for water that is either distilled or processed by reverse osmosis.  Conventional home water filters such as the Brita or Pur will not remove fluoride.  Most bottled water is also fluoridated, so be sure to read the label to ensure it is either distilled or has received reverse osmosis.


Dr P. Dubois, DC, CCSP.

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois,a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system.Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.



How to Improve Your Bone Health at Any Age

Childhood is the ideal time to build strong bones.  However, there are always things you can do—even as an adult—to help keep your bones healthy.  And it’s particularly important to do these things as you age.

Our bones are in a constant state of being broken down and rebuilt.  Until the age of about 30, bone buildup exceeds bone loss. Then bone density slowly begins to decline.  If you’re a woman, the reduction in estrogen that comes with menopause can accelerate this bone loss, sometimes dramatically.  But no matter how old you are, there are four simple things to keep in mind if you’re interested in maintaining higher levels of bone density into older age: calcium, vitamin K, vitamin D and exercise.  Let’s look at how these four are related.

Calcium is integral to maintaining bone strength.  However, the number one source of calcium is not what most people believe it is.  Dark green leafy vegetables are the single best source of this mineral.  Ounce for ounce, they’re even better than dairy products (which are also good).  So the key to feeding your bones is to incorporate more spinach, collard greens, broccoli and bok choy into your diet in addition to dairy (milk, yogurt and cheese).  Tofu is often fortified with calcium as well, so a quick stir-fry including tofu, bok choy and sesame seeds (another great source of calcium) makes an excellent bone-healthy meal.

In addition to being a great source of calcium, dark green leafy vegetables are also high in vitamin K, a vitamin key to the production of osteocalcin, a bone protein.  Vitamin K is needed to bind calcium to the bones and reduces the amount of calcium that is excreted in the urine.  It has been shown to promote higher bone density and reduce the risk of fractures.  For maintaining bone health, the best supplement to take is a form of vitamin K2 called MK-7 (menaquinone).

In order for your bones to make the most of all that calcium, you also need an adequate supply of vitamin D, which is critical to calcium absorption.  However, vitamin D deficiency can be very common in people who live far from the equator and may not benefit from much sunlight during certain times of the year.  Dr. Michael Holick, a leading vitamin D expert, believes that most Americans do not get nearly enough it.  “We want everyone to be above 30 nanograms per milliliter,” Holick says, “but currently in the United States, Caucasians average 18 to 22 nanograms and African-Americans average 13 to 15 nanograms.”

Most vitamin D is produced from our skin’s exposure to the sun.  But even when the sun is shining strongly in the summer months, we are still unlikely to get sufficient exposure.  Many people sit in an office all day and rarely get outside.  When they do, they are admonished to cover themselves with sunscreen.  Sunscreen is good at helping to prevent UV damage, but it is those same UV rays that spur vitamin D production.  Experts advise that you get outdoors in the summer months with minimal clothing and no sunscreen two to three times a week for 5 or 10 minutes between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Equally important in maintaining bone density is performing sufficient amounts of weight-bearing exercise.  Even if you get adequate amounts of the necessary vitamins, you will still lose bone mass if you become a couch potato.  As your muscles and bones work against gravity, it stimulates bone formation and lowers the rate of calcium loss.  You can help to increase bone density at any age by practicing weight-bearing exercise for 20 to 30 minutes three times a week.  This can include activities such as lifting weights, walking or running, dancing, playing tennis, climbing stairs or jumping rope.

With just a little extra attention to your diet and some regular exercise, you can significantly reduce your risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures and maintain good bone density into old age.

Dr P. Dubois, DC, CCSP

Dr. Dubois,a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system.Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.


Essential Facts About West Nile Virus


West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne disease that has become an increasing problem since it first appeared in the United States in 1999. Over 30,000 people have reportedly become ill with the virus, and outbreaks are becoming more frequent.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have classified WNV as a seasonal illness that tends to flare up in the warm summer months (when mosquitoes are most prevalent) and continues into autumn. It is a serious illness that can lead to death if not properly treated. Following are some essential facts about West Nile virus so you know what to look for and how best to avoid it.

Symptoms of West Nile virus:

  • About 4 out of 5 people (80 percent) infected with WNV will show no symptoms at all.
  • As many as 20 percent of those infected with WNV will experience flu-like symptoms, such as headache, fever, muscle aches, nausea and vomiting. They may also develop swollen lymph glands and a rash on the back, chest and stomach. Symptoms may persist from only a few days to several weeks, even in those who are normally healthy.
  • A few people (approximately 1 in 150) will develop a more serious illness that may be life-threatening. Symptoms may include high fever, headache, disorientation, stiff neck, muscle weakness, tremors, convulsions, loss of vision, numbness, paralysis and coma. The symptoms can last for several weeks, often with permanent neurological damage.
  • Symptoms develop from 3 to 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

Risk of becoming ill from WNV:

  • People over age 50 are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill from WNV and should be sure to take extra precautions when outdoors.
  • Those who work or spend a lot of leisure time outdoors are at greater risk of contracting WNV.
  • There is a very small risk of contracting WNV through a blood transfusion or organ transplant, but the risk is negligible.
  • There is no risk of getting WNV through casual contact, such as touching or kissing someone who has the virus.

Prevention of WNV:

  • Preventing mosquito bites is the best way of avoiding West Nile virus. Some areas of the country have implemented programs for mosquito control to help keep the number of mosquitoes to a minimum.
  • Check to ensure that the screens on your doors and windows are in good shape and adequate to keep mosquitoes out of your house.
  • At dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active, be sure to wear long sleeved shirts and pants and use an effective mosquito repellent.
  • Remove as many areas of standing water as possible, which is where mosquitoes breed. Empty out any standing water in the bottoms of flowerpots or in buckets and barrels, and change the water in pet dishes and birdbaths often.


Question regarding your spine? Call us at 919-484-1400


Dr. P. Dubois, DC, CCSP.

Dr. Dubois,a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system.Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all level swho benefited from his chiropractic care.


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