My Nutrition Story
I had not thought much about nutrition before chiropractic school. In school we were given the fundamentals of nutrition. Considerably more than our medical counterparts. It was a very good base for what I continued to learn.
My nutrition story is an outgrowth of my Chiropractic Story. You may want to read that first. In that story I explain how I began working for Dr. Hanicke, an instructor in our school, a past chairman of Applied Kinesiology, and an instructor for the 100 hour certification course in Applied Kinesiology.
While working with Dr. Hanicke in St. Louis I was exposed to nutritional care with patients. I saw patients' conditions would improve faster with supplementation. Unfortunately, results were often hit or miss. The hits were amazing! To see how simple supplements could make such a difference in a patients symptoms, overall health, and ultimately their lives truly amazed me. However, the misses were frustrating. Patients were given one supplement after another with limited or no effect. Then the patient would get tired of taking the supplements and often just give up. As in any business, if you help someone, they tell three people. If you do not, they tell 10 people. Not good when you depend on referrals. Never the less, I knew supplementation worked, with the right supplements.
The chalanges in determinng what a patient needed were the tests and techniques; based on symptoms, blood work, pH evaluation, saliva testing, hair analysis, muscle reflex testing, all having their limitations. Outcomes were spotty and often had patients taking supplements for a short while, then switching to another based on the current testing. Then the additional lab tests to see if the supplements were making a change became cost prohibitive for many patients. This was frustrating to me and patients. Poor outcomes, or at least not the outcomes I expected was frustrating. I limited the number of patients I did this work with until about 2010. I had been studying different techniques to deliver an effective analysis of a patients nutritional needs when I came upon Dr. Ulan's work with Nutritional Reflex Testing, a modified Applied Kinesiology technique. I was intrigued with his DVR lectures and could see how he could be getting better outcomes. I traveled to Florida and attended a three day seminar on his technique. The technique made a lot of sense and I had a chance to talk to those taking the 7 weekend certification course that convinced me this would improve my outcomes and improve my patient care. I signed up and went to my first of seven weekends.
At our first of seven seminars we were paired with another doctor to help with our own health needs. I had shoulder pain at the time and was just diagnosed with calcific tendonitis with an MRI. My partner tested me with this muscle testing technique and determined I needed phosphorus along with some other supplements for a chronic rash I had on my leg. There is a balance between calcium and phosphorus that when out of balance can lead to calcium deposits being where they should not be. Within a couple weeks my shoulder pain was gone and never to return as well as the rash. What I did not expect was another condition I had began to improve. I had a calcium deposit in my submaxillary gland, just to the right of my chin below the jaw bone, seen on a CT scan. The ENT doctor told me that I could have it removed, but it would most likely return. The deposit would block the saliva duct causing a golf ball size lump under my jaw. I would keep playing with it until I could eventually push the saliva out through a saliva duct, but it was getting more and more difficult to do and I always had some swelling. About a month or two after I started the supplements I was playing around with the lump when a chunk of calcium popped through under my tongue. I suspect that the supplements helped my body reabsorb the calcium until it was able to work through the duct. I have never had a problem with it since. So I knew this technique had great potential!
I finished the course in 2011 and have been utilizing the technique ever since and have been very happy with the results. I recently made nutrition testing a bigger part of my practice and work at making it as cost effective as possible.
I do not use this technique as a standalone means of determining nutritional needs. A number of other procedures are used to give insight into how various systems are functioning in an individual’s body. A food Diary, Symptom Survey, Blood pressure sitting and then both lying and then standing, and other tests and signs. I also use two objective tests that give base lines.
Before I started using this technique I wanted to have means of determining that supplements were working. The first tool I bought was an Acoustic Cardio Graph(ACG). I always knew how important it is to listen to the heart. When you think of a doctor you always see a stethoscope hanging from a doctor’s neck. When we listen to the heart we are trained to know what normal is and deviations from normal give us clues as to the heart not functioning properly. Interpretation of those sounds is somewhat subjective, meaning it is what the doctor perceives he/she hears. How much better would it be to see the heart sounds on a graph that can be printed out and compared to newer graphs to determine progress or a worsening of a condition? See http://www.acg-info.info/history.htm for more in-depth history of this tool.
The other tool I use is a computerized Heart Rate Variability. This measures the status of the Autonomic Nervous System. This is a fascinating tool that gives insight into the part of the nervous system that runs your body automatically. The Sympathetic and Parasympathetic portions of the nervous system. Parasympathetic Nervous System is the slow down portion dealing with rest, repair and digestion and the Sympathetic is the speed up portion that speeds up the heart when necessary and calls on the adrenal glands to secrete adrenaline when you need to fight or flight (run) and a multitude of other functions. It is also involved with emotional stress and many patients are stuck in this portion of the system. They are then in what's called, Sympathetic Dominence.
There are several other biomarkers (base line tests that give information about the biology or physiology) I use to determine normal or abnormal function. By doing this we can see if the strategies put in place are having the desired effects.
Procedures are constantly being upgraded. I am excited about what we are doing and excited about the future.
Here is my bottom line. Einstein said "the more I learn, the more learn I don't know and the more I don't know, the more I want to learn." Never more true than in the area of nutrition. I find this to be an incredibly challenging aspect of health care. Weeding through all the claims is mind boggling. The claims made about all forms of supplements from very prominent people to ‘well thought out” logic, to TV ads about jelly fish extracts being the brains savor, to olive leaf extracts curing everything under the sun, diets that are the “end all cure all” and the list goes on. If any of this worked completely by themselves it should have ended the discussion on nutrition years ago. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all with nutrition.
I like the program I have. I find it very effective but it is all predicated on a good diet meaning, avoid what is bad for you and eat the things we know are good for you. If not improving, look at the so called good foods you are eating. Perhaps there are one or two foods that do not agree with YOU. That's the hard work you have to do. I can make suggestions based on what I have read and experienced with other patients, you have to carry it out. Meanwhile I have to find the supplements that your body may be missing or may need more of, as opposed someone else's body. That is the hard work I am willing to take on.
I know there is a lot of curiosity about the muscle testing reflex work I utilize in helping to determine which supplements are right for my patients. See "Muscle Testing vs. Reflex Testing". There is a free offer in it!