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Magnesium and Its  Health Benefits

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center

Magnesium is a nutrient that helps the body stay healthy. Magnesium is important for many processes in the body. It helps regulate muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, blood pressure and aids in making protein, bone, and DNA. It is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body and used in over 300 different physiological processes.

What Foods Provide Magnesium?

  Magnesium is in many natural foods and is added to fortified foods. You can get the recommended daily amounts of magnesium by eating a variety of foods. These foods include legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, avocados, dark chocolate, bananas, milk, yogurt, and other milk products.

Am I Getting Enough Magnesium?

The diets of many people in the United States provide less than the recommended amounts of magnesium. Men older than 70 and teenage girls and boys are most likely to have low intakes of magnesium.

What Happens If You Do Not Get Enough Magnesium?

In the short term, getting too little magnesium does not produce obvious symptoms. When healthy people have low intakes, the kidneys help retain magnesium by limiting the amount lost in urine. Low magnesium intakes for long periods, however, can lead to a magnesium deficiency. In addition, some medical conditions and medications interfere with the body’s ability to absorb magnesium or increase the amount of magnesium that the body excretes. 

Very high doses of zinc supplements can also interfere with the body’s ability to absorb and regulate magnesium.

Some symptoms of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. Extreme magnesium deficiency can cause numbness, tingling, muscle cramps, seizures, personality changes, and an abnormal heart rhythm.

People with gastrointestinal diseases (such as Crohn’s disease and celiac disease), type 2 diabetes, long-term alcoholism and older people are more likely to get too little magnesium.

What Are Some Effects of Magnesium On Health?

Research has shown that magnesium has positive effects on high blood pressure and heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and migraine headaches.

Magnesium that is naturally present in food and beverages is not harmful and does not need to be limited. In healthy people, the kidneys can get rid of any excess in the urine. However, magnesium in dietary supplements and medications should not be consumed in amounts above the upper limit, unless recommended by a healthcare provider.

High intakes of magnesium from dietary supplements and medications can cause diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramping. Extremely high intakes of magnesium can lead to irregular heartbeat and cardiac arrest.

Signs of Magnesium Deficiency

Following are some signs of magnesium deficiency. Always check with your health practitioner if you think you are having a health issue.

Poor Cognitive Processing

Are you having bouts of brain fog, poor concentration, or constant memory issues? The brain contains the highest concentration of mitochondria in the male body (females have a higher concentration in their ovaries). Mitochondria are heavily reliant on magnesium for energy production so a deficiency can hamper your brain performance significantly.

Headaches & Chronic Migraines

Sufferers of chronic migraines often have lower levels of magnesium in their bodies. Magnesium also plays the additional key role of regulating neurotransmitter production, which can also influence migraines.

Constipation & IBS

Proper magnesium intake softens stools by drawing water into the bowels, which supports healthy elimination. If stools become too hard, they move slower through the colon and become a problem. Additionally, magnesium plays a major role in regulating muscle contractions in the intestines. This is why a magnesium deficiency often results in constipation.


Magnesium is highly involved with energy production. As mentioned before, the mitochondria in your cells heavily rely on magnesium to produce energy. Your mitochondrial function primarily determines your energy levels. Additionally, magnesium supports the adrenal glands, which can play a part in energy production as well.


You can see improvement with insomnia because magnesium is involved in the production of GABA in the brain. GABA is a chemical that promotes relaxation. If you do not have enough magnesium to produce adequate amounts of GABA, your sleep may suffer.

Muscle Spasms & Cramping

Magnesium is important for proper nerve transmission and plays a vital role in muscle contraction. When magnesium is depleted, muscle contractions can become weak and uncoordinated, leading to involuntary spasms and painful cramps.

In addition, when magnesium stores are low in the body, the nervous system can become hyper-excitable (meaning easily overstimulated) which can increase muscle tension. Magnesium can play a role here by helping to elicit an overall calming effect on the mind and body while soothing and relaxing the muscles.

Heart Arrhythmia

The heart is a muscle that constantly contracts inside our bodies without needing to be consciously controlled. Just as with other muscles in the body, the heart relies heavily on magnesium for proper contractibility. This is thought to be due to its role in regulating calcium and potassium concentrations in the muscle tissue. This includes rapid heartbeats, slow heartbeats, and sudden changes in heart rhythm for no apparent reason.

Numbness and Tingling

If you often feel numbness or tingling sensations in your body, such as in the hands and feet, this is likely due to a change in nerve activity. Because of its role in healthy nerve transmission, magnesium deficiency may be partly playing a role. Some studies have shown that magnesium may be able to relieve or prevent numbness and tingling in the extremities.

Supporting Your Magnesium Levels

Follow these strategies to boost your magnesium levels.

Magnesium Rich Foods

There are great food sources that are easy to incorporate into your daily life. Pick a few high magnesium foods and incorporate them on a regular basis.

Epsom Salt Baths

Perhaps one of the most relaxing ways to get more magnesium into your body is by taking an Epsom salt bath. Epsom salts are actually a form of magnesium that can absorb into the body through the skin. 

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Visit the website at

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center

Are You Taking Care of Your Lymphatic System?

Your lymphatic system is crucial for your immune system and for protecting you from inflammation and illness. If your lymphatic system is congested, it cannot protect you as effectively and can make you prone to infections and disease. Keeping your lymphatic flow smooth and free from lymph congestion can be critical to your health.

What Does Your Lymph System Do For You?

Your lymph system is a network of blood vessels and lymph nodes working together to carry fluids from your tissues to your blood and vice versa. It is your body’s inner drainage system.

You can find lymph nodes in your throat, groin, armpits, chest and abdomen.

Besides your lymph vessels and nodes, your lymph system includes several organs such as your tonsils, spleen, thymus, and adenoids.

All of these play a critical role in fighting infection, recovering from illness, and healing wounds. They recognize harmful organisms and trigger the creation of infection-fighting white blood cells called lymphocytes.

Your lymph system also helps to keep bodily fluids in balance and takes care of fluid buildup or swelling due to injury or health issues.

Ways Your Lymph System Can Become Congested

Being under a lot of stress can lead to lymph congestion. When you are under stress, your body creates stress-fighting hormones, which result in free radical waste products that can lead to a variety of health problems.

Chronic illness may lead to lymph congestion, because when your body is fighting microbes, your body is creating more white blood cells to fight them and may fill up your lymph nodes, backing up the system, and creating swelling.

Another reason for lymph congestion is digestive imbalance. Digestive imbalances may irritate the intestinal villi causing lymph congestion because a majority of your lymphatic system surrounds your gut.

Not drinking enough water and lacking physical activity can result in your lymph fluid slowing down. Your lymph system relies on pressure from muscle movement and breathing to move fluids around. A sedentary lifestyle or chronic dehydration may slow and congest your lymph system.

In addition, nutrient deficiencies may lead to lymph congestion as well. Iodine, magnesium and vitamin C are all important to mitigate the harmful effects of environmental toxins and to support your lymph system in protecting your body.

Ways to Improve Your Lymphatic System

Exercising daily may be one of the easiest and most effective ways to boost the health of your lymphatic system. Whether you are lifting weights at the gym, dancing around your home with your kids, or going for a jog with the dog you are encouraging the health of your lymphatic system and improving immune function.

Another excellent way to purify the lymphatic system is through the practice of rebounding. Rebounding is a low impact exercise, which involves jumping on a trampoline. It promotes the flow of lymph through the body and is believed to increase the drainage of toxins from organs and muscle tissue.

Use Stress Reduction Techniques to encourage the flow of lymph through your body. Some of these techniques may involve yoga, Pilates, deep breathing exercises, stretching, and maintaining good posture. These practices relieve congestion and stimulate the circulation and detoxification of lymph through the body.

When lymph becomes stagnant in extremities, a buildup of pathogenic substances, inflammatory markers and cellular debris can wreak havoc on the immune response leading to a decline in health.

These stress reduction techniques encourage the contraction and relaxation of muscle, which push debris out of organs, and decreases the likelihood of debris buildup and becoming stagnant. A simple stretch upon waking up is an easy way to initiate the circulation of lymph fluid throughout your body.

The rib cage is a major lymphatic pump in our bodies, which is essential for increasing lymphatic flow. So take in deep breaths throughout the day if possible.

One key mechanism by which our bodies remove toxins is through perspiration. That can be through exercise or using an infrared sauna. Infrared saunas offer a non-invasive form of light therapy, which heats internal muscles and organs thereby pushing toxins into circulation for their removal from the body.

The Ayurvedic practice of dry brushing boosts circulation and therefore boosts lymph flow and detoxification. Dry brushing helps to remove dead skin cells and toxic waste as well as stimulate sweat glands by opening pores and promoting underlying lymphatic circulation.

This practice is as simple as using a coarse bristle brush and moving the brush along the skin towards the heart.

Consuming a diet of anti-inflammatory foods, specifically fruits and vegetables, helps to hydrate the body and promote an alkaline environment.

Some of the best foods that detoxify the lymphatic system are red fruits and vegetables like pomegranates, cranberries, beets, cherries and raspberries. These foods boost lymphatic function and help thin bile, which is a major component to the regulation of the immune response in the gut. Consuming a diet rich in omega-3s is also critical to fighting inflammation and fighting infectious agents. 

Hydration is key to the proper function of the lymphatic system as it is primarily made up of about 95% water. Sipping on lemon water is a great detoxification strategy because it not only hydrates the body but it also encourages an alkaline environment.

Your clothes may be restricting lymphatic vessels, which may hinder the adequate flow of lymph fluid, so choose your attire appropriately.  Try not to wear tight-fitting undergarments which can cause the inability for fluid to be drained from the breast, arms and chest into surrounding lymph nodes. It is also recommended to never wear tight-fitting clothes while sleeping.

Getting a massage can also help. Connective tissue massages such as shiatsu massage can relieve symptoms of chronic pain and fatigue. Therapeutic self-massage treatments can be found online and offer techniques for increasing the flow of lymph fluid throughout the body.

Patients who suffer from the most common lymphatic disease known as lymphedema can benefit from a type of massage called the Manual Lymph Drainage technique performed by specialized practitioners.

Chiropractic care may also help remove anatomical disruptions, which block the flow of lymph fluid. Chiropractic care assists to remove these obstructions and relieve tension from the lymphatic vessels stimulating detoxification.

Lymph congestion can affect your entire body. Symptoms of lymph congestion may include fatigue, stiffness, muscle and joint pain, bloating, holding onto water, breast swelling during your cycle, itchy and dry skin, brain fog, headaches, weight gain, swollen glands, cold hands and feet, chronic sinusitis, colds, sore throats, or ear issues, skin problems and cellulite.

So using some of the above techniques can be a good way to help the lymph system stay decongested.

Your lymphatic system is essential for your immune system and for protecting you from inflammation and illness. Keeping your lymphatic flow smooth and free from lymph congestion can be crucial to your health and well-being.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation.  Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing ® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center

Omega-3 Fatty Acids & Why We Need Them

Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids that are important for a number of functions in the body. This makes them vital to your health and wellbeing. Every single cell in your body—and especially the tissues of your brain—require omega-3 fatty acids to function properly.

The two most important (that are often deficient in people today) are EPA and DHA, which are derived from fish and certain types of algae.

You find omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, in seafood, such as fatty fish (e.g., salmon, tuna, and trout) and shellfish (e.g., crab, mussels, and oysters). A different kind of omega-3, called ALA, is in foods like nuts and seeds (such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts). 

What Are the Benefits of Consuming a Diet Rich In Omega-3?

Omega-3 fatty acids are some of the most important nutrients you can put in your body. Not only are they extremely anti-inflammatory, but they actually make up some of the most important structures of the body, like your brain and nervous system. Not getting enough in your diet increases your risk of many chronic illnesses.

EPA and DHA are found in mother’s milk, algae, fish, and grass-fed meat products. EPA and DHA can be synthesized in the body from ALA; however, it is a very inefficient process and can put excess stress on the liver. ALA is derived from plant sources of omega-3, such as green plants, flax, chia, hemp, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts.

Omega-3 is most beneficial when consumed in proper ratios. The most important balance to consider is omega-3 fats in relation to omega-6 fats. Omega-6 fats are important for inflammatory processes in the body; however, consuming too much in relation to omega-3 can become excessively inflammatory.

Our cells actually need these fats in order to function properly. Every cell in the body is made up of a combination of cholesterol, saturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats.

Saturated fats and cholesterol help to maintain the structural integrity of the cell membrane, while polyunsaturated fats allow fluidity. This fluidity is important for the transportation of materials, cellular communication, and other processes that occur across the cell membrane. The polyunsaturated fats that make up part of our cell membranes are actually the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA.

Health Issues Can Improve When Consuming Omega-3

Depression and anxiety have been associated with something called neuroinflammation. This means inflammation in the brain. Because increasing omega-3 intake can be highly anti-inflammatory, this can make it an important consideration in anxiety and depression. This is backed up by several studies demonstrating the effectiveness of EPA and DHA in mitigating depressive symptoms.

Some evidence suggests that lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids are correlated with higher levels of corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH), which is normally released in response to stress. Chronically elevated CRH due to inadequate omega-3 intake could contribute to depressive or anxious feelings.

Some preliminary evidence from a study published by Oxford in 2014 suggests that higher levels of dietary omega-3 intake are associated with lower instances of insomnia and fewer interruptions in sleep. Another factor to consider is that chronic inflammation can have a detrimental impact on sleep quality due to increased levels of circulating stress hormones. Omega-3 intakes can help to mitigate inflammation and improve sleep by lowering associated stress hormones.

DHA is particularly important for the development and maintenance of eye health. DHA is found in high amounts in the retina where it plays important roles in maintaining photoreceptor membrane integrity and ensuring optimal production of vision through light transmission. Inadequate intake has also been associated with conditions of dry eyes and poor eye structure development in children. And low intake of omega-3 is associated with increased rates of macular degeneration and retinopathy. 

Poor immune function is often a result of chronic inflammation, especially in cases of autoimmunity (overactive immune system), so targeting underlying inflammation is extremely important for improving immune function. In fact, a study performed on children up to the age of three showed that adequate DHA early in life is important for lowering instances of allergies and upper respiratory infections.

Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, are incredibly important for the development of healthy brain tissue. It has been shown to provide many benefits such as improved cognition, lowered stroke risk, improved cerebral blood flow, improved ADD/ADHD symptoms, reduced migraines, and decreased risk of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Adequate omega-3 intake has been shown to be important for optimal bone health. Like several of the conditions listed so far, poor bone health is associated with chronic inflammatory conditions in the body. Additionally, omega-3 intake may improve bone health by helping to regulate calcium balance and osteoblast activity. It has been mostly animal-based studies pointing toward the importance of DHA for bone health.

Fish oil’s ability to mitigate inflammation has a powerful impact on the development and progression of cardiovascular diseases. One of the primary heart conditions, calcification of the arteries, is heavily influenced by inflammation and improper calcium metabolism. Adequate omega-3 intake helps to promote a healthy calcium metabolism. The anti-inflammatory benefits of omega-3 fats further promote heart health by helping to prevent the oxidation of the artery lining and cholesterol.

Omega-3 fats have been shown to also improve cholesterol, triglyceride values, and may help to lower blood pressure in some cases.

What Are the Best Food Sources of Omega-3s?

Now that you understand the many benefits of increasing your intake of omega-3 fats, the best sources are getting plenty of EPA and DHA from food-based sources such as wild-caught fish, shellfish, and algae.

Some of the top sources include sockeye salmon, sardines, mackerel, mussels, crab, and algae. There can be some conversion of ALA into DHA from foods like walnuts, flax, and chia. Conversion of ALA into DHA is typically not enough to reach optimal levels, however.

It may be beneficial for vegans and vegetarians to consume high DHA algae on a regular basis to meet their needs.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107 in Frederick. For more information, check out the website at

Sleep Apnea & Natural Ways to Help You Cope With It

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center

Sleep apnea is a common condition in which a person’s breathing is interrupted or paused during their sleep and is often preceded by heavy snoring. It is most common in men and older people, affecting more than 18 million Americans.

This condition is linked to obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, and other health conditions.

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and complex.    

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type, affecting three to seven percent of the population, and is caused by a blockage in the airway. With obstructive sleep apnea, breathing stops because the throat muscles relax and the airway narrows as you sleep. The person struggles to breathe but cannot inhale effectively because the airway has collapsed.

With central sleep apnea, the airway is not blocked, but the brain does not signal the muscles to breathe. Your brain does not send proper signaling to the muscles that control breathing—your brain does not tell your muscles to breathe. People with central sleep apnea periodically do not breathe at all or breathe so shallowly that oxygen intake is ineffectual.

Complex or combined sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive and central types. This type is often referred to as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea.

Some Causes of Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea is usually associated with a serious illness, especially an illness or injury in which the lower brainstem (which controls breathing) is affected. Risk factors include being 65 or older and being male. Other risk factors include having congestive heart failure, having had a stroke, neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s or kidney failure, and using narcotic pain medications.

Risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea are mostly due to the narrowing of the airway. Excess weight greatly increases your risk because the fat deposits around your throat and neck can obstruct your breathing.

A narrowed airway can also be due to enlarged tonsils or adenoids. Nasal congestion from seasonal allergies can also cause difficulty in breathing. This increases your likelihood of developing sleep apnea. There is also a close association between obstructive sleep apnea and asthma.

Using alcohol, sedatives, or tranquilizers relaxes the muscles in your throat. Smoking can also cause or worsen your condition.


Symptoms of sleep apnea include severe snoring, excessive daytime fatigue or sleepiness, morning headaches, waking with a dry mouth, irritability, difficulty concentrating, low energy, and unrefreshing sleep.

One of the main symptoms is loud or severe snoring. Gasping for air or choking during sleep. You may awaken out of breath during the night. Usually, people with sleep apnea have difficulty staying asleep.

Sleep apnea also impacts your daytime function, so you may notice excessive daytime sleepiness and difficulty with concentration or attention.

Some Natural Strategies

Some natural strategies may help you achieve optimal sleep. While the following strategies are not FDA-approved to prevent, mitigate, treat, or cure sleep apnea, they can improve overall sleep quality. By addressing factors in your life contributing to sleep apnea, there is a good chance you can lessen the health impact it has on you.

One of the best strategies for improving sleep apnea is to consume a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods and eliminate foods that promote inflammation. Even healthy foods can be inflammatory if you have a sensitivity or intolerance to that food, so be sure to remove any foods to which you are sensitive.

Healthy fats are an essential part of a healing diet. Healthy fats are found in coconut, olives, avocados, and their oils, as well as in grass-fed butter and ghee. These healthy fats are an efficient source of fuel for the body to combat inflammation and support brain function.

High inflammatory foods that may aggravate sleep apnea are refined sugars and grains and any foods that are easily metabolized into sugar. In addition, highly processed vegetable oils, such as canola, grapeseed, and safflower, are highly inflammatory. They upregulate inflammation and create extra acidity in the tissues.

Foods rich in antioxidants are good to consume. They are found in many fruits and vegetables. Look for colorful fruits and vegetables such as berries, avocados, citrus fruits, spinach, sweet potatoes, kale, and red peppers.

Losing excess weight can be helpful. Around 60-70 percent of people with obstructive sleep apnea are overweight or obese. Weight loss has been shown to be very effective in reducing the symptoms related to obstructive sleep apnea.

Regular exercise is beneficial for preventing and improving sleep apnea. Exercise has many health benefits, including increasing your energy level, helping you lose weight, and strengthening your muscles.

Research shows that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids are linked to better quality sleep, falling asleep more quickly, and improved daytime performance. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that your body cannot produce. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are fatty fish such as salmon and sardines, nuts (especially walnuts), and seeds such as flaxseeds and chia seeds. If you opt for a supplement, you will want to find a brand that is molecularly distilled to take out any heavy metals and other unwanted contaminants. If you do take a supplement, be sure to discuss this with your practitioner, as they have a blood-thinning effect and can be contraindicated if you are on blood-thinning medications.

Low vitamin D levels have been linked to obstructive sleep apnea and the activation of numerous inflammatory processes. Low levels of vitamin D can contribute to and worsen the impact of sleep apnea on glucose metabolism.

Ensuring you have healthy levels of magnesium can be helpful in improving sleep apnea. Magnesium is an essential macro-mineral that the body needs in large amounts. Low magnesium levels are linked to poor quality sleep. Foods high in magnesium are dark leafy greens, seeds and nuts, dairy products, and certain vegetables like broccoli. You can also do Epsom salt baths to support your magnesium levels.

Breathing through your nose, rather than your mouth, as you sleep promotes more restful and better quality sleep. When we breathe from our noses, this activates the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system signals rest, regeneration, healing, and digestion. Nose breathing lowers stress hormones, aids digestion and healing, and promotes relaxation.

Mouth breathing, on the other hand, activates the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system activates our fight or flight response, signaling the production of greater amounts of stress hormones and elevating blood sugar. This can interfere with sleep and contribute to sleep apnea.

Signs that you may be breathing from your mouth at night are bad morning breath, dry mouth/thirst in the morning, and poor oral hygiene issues.

Changing your sleep position can relieve obstructive sleep apnea by improving airflow. Sleeping flat on your back causes the throat to relax and block your airway.

Elevating your head and sleeping on your side can prevent relaxed throat muscles from blocking your airway and make breathing easier. Elevating your head around four inches helps your tongue and jaw move forward during sleeping.

Following these additional strategies to improve sleep quality may help improve your sleep apnea. If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health.

The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

Lactose Intolerance

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center

Lactose intolerance means that you have trouble digesting foods with lactose in them. Lactose is the natural sugar found in milk and foods made with milk. Between 30 million and 50 million Americans are lactose-intolerant.

For most people, lactose intolerance does not require treatment. Instead, you may want to avoid foods that have lactose. Other than dairy products, lactose is sometimes added to prepared foods such as breads, cereals, frozen dinners, instant potatoes, soups and breakfast drinks. You can also find lactose in lunchmeats, margarines, cake, cookie, pancake and biscuit mixes, powdered coffee creamers and salad dressings.

Taking a lactase tablet just before eating foods with lactose can also be helpful. The tablet will give your body the lactase it is missing. You can also choose lactose-free dairy products.

Remember to check the Nutrition Facts label on products you buy to see if they have lactose, milk, or milk byproducts, which may also be listed as whey, curds, or nonfat dry milk powder.


If you have lactose intolerance, your body cannot digest lactose. Most people are born with the ability to digest lactose, but up to 75 percent of people lose the ability, as they grow older.

Lactose intolerance can causes symptoms such as stomach cramps and diarrhea after you eat foods with lactose. Other symptoms may be nausea and stomach cramps. Although it is uncomfortable, the condition is not medically serious. Symptoms of lactose intolerance usually begin within 30 minutes to 2 hours after you eat or drink foods with lactose.

Dairy sensitivities may also lead to chronic symptoms, including headaches, bloating, fatigue, skin problems, and gas. They also increase inflammation in your body and may lead to leaky gut syndrome, digestive troubles, autoimmune conditions, and other chronic health problems.

Lactose intolerance and a milk allergy are two different issues. Lactose intolerance is a problem with the digestive system. It causes uncomfortable symptoms but is not life threatening.

A milk allergy is caused by a problem with your body’s immune system. Milk allergies are more common in children younger than three years old. Symptoms can range from mild (rashes or itching) to severe (trouble breathing or wheezing). A life-threatening reaction caused by an allergy is anaphylaxis and it is a medical emergency.

If you cannot tolerate any amount of milk or milk products, you should find other ways to get enough calcium and vitamin D. Calcium and vitamin D are needed for healthy bones and teeth and essential functions of the body like a steady heartbeat. Alternatively, you can try lactose-free dairy products.

Non-Dairy Alternatives

If you cannot tolerate dairy at all here are some great alternatives to try; coconut, hemp, almond, cashew, and flax milk are great plant based options. Though be mindful if you have a nut allergy.

Coconut milk comes from the coconut’s white flesh. To produce thick coconut milk, manufacturers extract the liquid of the grated flesh of mature coconuts by squeezing them with cheesecloth. To create thin coconut milk, they use the flesh inside the cheesecloth and mix it with water. Thick coconut milk is fantastic for coconut rice, rice pudding, and baked goods. It is also higher in healthy fats. Thinner coconut milk, on the other hand, is perfect for smoothies, shakes, and as a plain milky drink. Coconut is rich in healthy fats. It is also a fantastic source of magnesium, potassium, calcium, and iron and offers anti-inflammatory and antibiotic benefits

Hemp milk has an earthy and nutty flavor. It is made of hemp seeds and water. You can even make it yourself by blending hemp seeds with water at a 1:3 or 1:4 ratio depending on the consistency you prefer. You may want to add stevia for sweetness. Hemp milk is a source of healthy fats, protein, calcium, and iron.

Almond milk is also a popular alternative. It has a creamy texture, which can remind you of regular dairy. It also offers a nutty flavor. You may also make your own almond milk at home. Blend one part raw, soaked almond with two parts of water, then strain to remove any solids for creamy, homemade almond milk. It is low in calories and much lower in carbs than cow’s milk. It is rich in magnesium, riboflavin and thiamin. 

Cashew milk is getting increasingly popular. You may also make your own. Just like with almond milk, blend one part raw, soaked cashews with two parts of water, then strain to remove any solids. It is a great source of healthy fats, protein, magnesium, potassium, and iron.

Flax milk is another non-dairy alternative. You can buy it flavored or plain. It is rich in vitamins A, D, and B12. It is low in calories and sugar. Just like hemp milk, flax offers anti-inflammatory benefits with a good balance of omega fatty acids.

When shopping for plant based dairy, always read the labels as some brands use added sugar and other added ingredients. Try to buy organic, natural, without added sugar or many other additives or make your own.

Best Dairy If You Can Tolerate It or Are Taking Lactase Pills

Some people are simply unable to tolerate any dairy, while others are able to enjoy some healthier options.

Grass-fed raw milk is one of the healthy options out there if you can tolerate dairy. It is rich in protein, enzymes, calcium, vitamin K2 and E, beta-carotene, selenium and other nutritional benefits. It can be difficult to find raw milk in some states, but most stores do carry raw cheese.

If you cannot get grass-fed raw milk from your local farmer, grass-fed pasteurized milk is your next best option.  It is widely available. It offers a good omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acid ratio and is rich in conjugated linoleic acid to support metabolism and immune health.   

Many people who are sensitive to dairy may actually only have issues with cow’s milk. If you are one of these people, goat or sheep milk may be a fantastic option for you. They both offer a rich taste and are much easier to digest than cow’s milk. The form of the casein protein in goat and sheep’s milk is different and more easily digested than cow’s milk. 

They are rich in calcium, magnesium, riboflavin, and phosphorus. Most goats and sheep are pastured and are not treated with antibiotics and hormones like cows are. However, it is crucial that you make sure that you pick true pasture-raised options. Both of these are rich in healthy fats and clean protein, however, sheep dairy is a bit higher in both.

Camel milk has been a dietary staple in the Middle East and a medicinal drink in Middle Eastern, African, and Asian countries. Recently, it has been gaining popularity in the West and is increasingly available in the US at health food stores, family farms, and online. It has a smooth and refreshing taste with plenty of health benefits. It is rich in calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin B1, selenium, and zinc

Final Thoughts

Here are some great ways to manage and support your digestive symptoms other than relying on taking lactase pills on an ongoing basis.

•    Reduce the amount of dairy foods in your diet, or choose only lactose-reduced or lactose-free milks.

•    It is important to include calcium-rich foods in your diet if you avoid dairy products, as well as to get enough vitamin D (from the sun and/or supplements). Eat plenty of foods high in calcium, such as broccoli, leafy greens, beans, salmon, sardines and almonds. Studies indicate that these steps can help protect your bones and support cardiovascular health.

•    You can experiment with eating yogurt and aged cheeses to see if these are better tolerated than milk. Yogurt is fermented and it contains active cultures (beneficial probiotics) that can help with digestion.  Aged, hard cheeses contain less lactose and may be tolerated in small amounts.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107 in Frederick.

Check out the website at

*Sources: Office on Women’s Health (OWH); &


by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center

Endometriosis is one of the most common health issues experienced among women and one of the leading causes of infertility.

It may affect more than 11 percent, more than 6½ million women in American between the ages of 15 and 44. It is especially common among women in their 30’s and 40’s. 

For women with endometriosis, the lining tissue of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. The misplaced tissue responds to the monthly hormones by thickening and shedding with every menstrual cycle; however, the thick tissue is outside of the uterus and is unable to pass through the vagina and out of the body. The endometrial flow is then trapped and may cause inflammation and pain. Adhesions, or scar tissue, may form and stick one organ to another. It can even cause the fallopian tubes to close, which can lead to infertility.

Most often, endometrioses is found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, tissues that hold the uterus in place, and outer surface of the uterus. Other sites for growths can include the vagina, cervix, vulva, bowel, bladder, or rectum. Rarely, endometriosis appears in other parts of the body, such as the lungs, brain, and skin.

Symptoms of Endometriosis

With many women, the progression of endometriosis symptoms is slow, developing over many years. Each woman experiences a different range of pain, which can make a diagnosis difficult. The pain typically begins in the lower abdomen and intensifies during a women’s menstrual period or sexual intercourse. As the pain becomes more severe, it may begin to radiate through the lower belly, back, and legs—it is often described as cramp-like pain.    

The most common symptoms of endometriosis can include very painful menstrual cramps, chronic lower back and pelvis pain, painful periods, irregular periods, painful intercourse, increased pain during bowel movements, increased pain during urination, excessive bleeding, spotting and bleeding between cycles, painful digestion, constipation, nausea, abdominal pain, infertility, joint pain, nerve pain, chronic fatigue, and bloating.

Inflammation is also an issue and the forming of scar tissue and adhesions (type of tissue that can bind your organs together) can be a problem. The scar tissue may cause pelvic pain and make it hard for you to get pregnant.

Causes Endometriosis

No one knows for sure what causes this disease, but possible causes are problems with menstrual period flow. Retrograde menstrual flow is the most likely cause of endometriosis. Some of the tissue shed during the period flows through the fallopian tube into other areas of the body, such as the pelvis. Genetic factors can be a reason because endometriosis seems to run in families.

A faulty immune system may fail to find and destroy endometrial tissue growing outside of the uterus, and research shows that the hormone estrogen appears to promote endometriosis.

Treatments for Endometriosis

While there are many conventional treatments for the symptoms of endometriosis, there are also many natural ones as well.

A healthy diet is a great way to start when attempting to relieve symptoms naturally.

Begin by eliminating foods that lead to inflammation. This includes dairy, processed foods, refined sugars, caffeine, and carbohydrates. Eliminate these foods from your diet for at least three weeks, paying close attention to your body. You may also want to eliminate alcohol, soy, and other high-estrogen foods from your diet because of their estrogenic effects.

A 2004 study published in Human Reproduction found that there is a significant reduction in the risk of developing endometriosis in women who consume green vegetables and fresh fruit.

So, try to add these beneficial anti-inflammatory foods to your diet: green leafy vegetables, celery, beets, broccoli, blueberries, salmon, pineapple, walnuts, coconut oil, chia seeds, flaxseeds, turmeric, ginger, and bok choy.

Magnesium-rich foods also help soothe the uterus and reduce pain. These include pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, black beans, avocado, almonds, bananas, chard, and spinach.

Iron-rich foods are important as well because they replenish the loss of iron in the body, which is a result of excess bleeding. Some foods containing iron include liver, beefsteak, navy beans, black beans, spinach, egg yolk, prunes, artichokes, and collard greens.

In addition, you can help to reduce inflammation, relieve joint, and muscle pain, and regulate hormone production, with omega-3 foods.

Add flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, salmon, trout, tuna, sardines, anchovies, and mackerel to your diet.

If you are suffering from constipation as an endometriosis symptom, eat high-fiber foods like quinoa, vegetables, berries, coconut, figs, artichokes, peas, okra, brussel sprouts, turnipsand acorn squash.

Acupuncture may also be effective, safe, and well-tolerated as an adjunct therapy, according to a study conducted at Harvard Medical School for endometriosis-related pelvic pain. For the study, 18 young women, ages 12–22 with laparoscopically diagnosed endometriosis-related chronic pelvic pain, were analyzed. Participants in the active acupuncture group experienced 62 percent less pain after four weeks, which differed significantly from the control group’s average reduction.

In addition, the essential oil, clary sage, was found to help balance hormones naturally and has been found to effectively reduce pain and cramping when applied topically.  You can apply two to four drops added to a carrier oil, then apply it topically over the abdomen, and then apply a warm compress over the area to relieve the pain.

Can You Prevent Endometriosis?

You cannot prevent endometriosis. However, you can reduce your chances of developing it by lowering the levels of the hormone estrogen in your body. Estrogen helps to thicken the lining of your uterus during your menstrual cycle.

To keep lower estrogen levels in your body, you can exercise regularly (more than four hours a week). This will also help you keep a low percentage of body fat. Regular exercise and a lower amount of body fat help decrease the amount of estrogen circulating through the body.

Avoid large amounts of alcohol because it raises estrogen levels. No more than one drink per day is recommended for women.

Avoid large amount of drinks with caffeine. Studies show that drinking more than one caffeinated drink a day, especially sodas and green tea, can raise estrogen levels.

Does Endometriosis Go Away After Menopause?

For some women, the painful symptoms of endometriosis improve after menopause. As the body stops making the hormone estrogen, the growths shrink slowly. However, some women who take menopausal hormone therapy may still have symptoms of endometriosis.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107 in Frederick. Check out the website at

What Are Endocrine Disruptors and Should You Be Concerned?

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center

Endocrine disruptors are natural or synthetic chemicals that mimic or block the action of natural hormones and that may disrupt the body’s endocrine system. Your endocrine system is made up of several organs called glands. These glands, located all over your body, create and secrete hormones. Hormones are chemicals that coordinate different functions in your body by carrying messages through your blood to your organs, skin, muscles, and other tissues. These signals tell your body what to do and when to do it.

A wide range of substances, both natural and man-made, are thought to cause endocrine disruption. They are found in everyday products, including plastic bottles, metal food cans, detergents, flame-retardants, food, toys, skin creams, and pesticides.

Endocrine Disruptors: The Dose Does Not Make the Poison

When it comes to chemicals and toxicology, it seems logical to think higher doses of something are more dangerous because the health impacts are immediate and obvious. However, with endocrine disruptors, even seriously tiny doses can lead to devastating health effects. Sometimes, these health impacts do not show up for years or even decades down the line after exposure. In addition, unlike high-dose poisonings, it is not as easy to make the cause-and-effect connection.

Our hormonal systems are so delicate that even tiny exposures to endocrine-disrupting chemicals at key points of development could set us up for disease later in life. We are talking exposures measured in the parts per billion. To put that into context, it is like one drop in 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

The ‘Dirty Dozen’ Endocrine Disruptors

With more than a thousand potential hormone disruptors out there, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) scientists created a list of the 12 most damaging and prominent endocrine disruptors to avoid.


This synthetic hormone can trick the body into thinking it is the real thing. It has been linked to everything from breast and other cancers to reproductive problems, obesity, early puberty, and heart disease. According to government tests, 93 percent of Americans have BPA in their bodies.

You can avoid BPA by eating fresh and avoiding food out of cans. Say no to receipts, since thermal paper is often coated with BPA. Avoid plastics marked with a “PC” for polycarbonate, or recycling label #7. Not all of these plastics contain BPA, but many do. For more tips, check out:


Dioxins form during many industrial processes when chlorine or bromine are burned in the presence of carbon and oxygen. Dioxins can disrupt the delicate ways that both male and female sex hormone signaling occurs in the body. Recent research has shown that exposure to low levels of dioxin in the womb and early in life can both permanently affect sperm quality and lower the sperm count in men during their prime reproductive years. Dioxins are very long-lived, build up both in the body and in the food chain, are powerful carcinogens, and can affect the immune and reproductive systems.

It is very hard to avoid because the ongoing industrial release of dioxin has meant that the American food supply is widely contaminated.


Researchers have found that exposure to even low levels of this herbicide can turn male frogs into females that produce completely viable eggs. Atrazine is widely used on the majority of corn crops in the United States, and consequently, it is a pervasive drinking water contaminant. Atrazine has been linked to breast tumors, delayed puberty, and prostate inflammation in animals, and some research has linked it to prostate cancer in people.

You can avoid it by purchasing organic produce and get a drinking water filter certified to remove atrazine. For help finding a suitable filter, check out EWG’s buying guide:


Did you know that a specific signal programs cells in our bodies to die? It is totally normal and healthy for 50 billion cells in your body to die every day! However, studies have shown that chemicals called phthalates can trigger “death-inducing signaling” in testicular cells, making them die earlier than they should. Studies have also linked phthalates to hormone changes, lower sperm count, less mobile sperm, birth defects in the male reproductive system, obesity, diabetes, and thyroid irregularities.

You can avoid it by avoiding plastic food containers, children’s toys (some phthalates are already banned in kid’s products), and plastic wrap made from PVC, which has the recycling label #3. Some personal care products also contain phthalates. It is best to read the labels and avoid products that simply list added “fragrance,” since this catchall term sometimes means hidden phthalates. Find phthalate-free personal care products with EWG’s Skin Deep Database:


This is a component in rocket fuel and contaminates much of our produce and milk, according to EWG and government test data. When perchlorate gets into your body, it competes with the nutrient iodine, which the thyroid gland needs to make thyroid hormones. This means that if you ingest too much of it, you can end up altering your thyroid hormone balance. This is important because these hormones regulate metabolism in adults and are critical for proper brain and organ development in infants and young children.

You can reduce perchlorate in your drinking water by installing a reverse osmosis filter. As for food, it is difficult to avoid perchlorate, but you can reduce its potential effects on you by making sure you are getting enough iodine in your diet.

Fire Retardants

In 1999, some Swedish scientists studying women’s breast milk discovered that the milk contained an endocrine-disrupting chemical found in fire retardants, and the levels had been doubling every five years since 1972! These incredibly persistent chemicals, known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs, have been found to contaminate the bodies of people and wildlife around the globe—even polar bears. These chemicals can imitate thyroid hormones in our bodies and disrupt their activity. That can lead to lower IQ, among other significant health effects. While several kinds of PBDEs have now been phased out, they are persistent, so they will contaminate people and wildlife for decades to come.

It is virtually impossible to avoid, but passing better toxic chemical laws that require chemicals to be tested before they go on the market would help reduce our exposure. A few things that you can do in the meantime include: use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, which can cut down on toxic-laden house dust; avoid reupholstering foam furniture; take care when replacing old carpet (the padding underneath may contain PBDEs). Find more tips at


Lead harms almost every organ system in the body and has been linked to a staggering array of health effects, including permanent brain damage, lowered IQ, hearing loss, miscarriage, premature birth, increased blood pressure, kidney damage, and nervous system problems. Few people realize that another way lead may affect your body is by disrupting your hormones. Research has also shown that lead can disrupt the hormone signaling that regulates the body’s major stress system.

You can avoid lead exposer by keeping your home clean and well maintained. Crumbling old paint is a major source of lead exposure, so get rid of it carefully. A good water filter can also reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water. Studies have also shown that children with healthy diets absorb less lead.


This toxin is in your food and drinking water. In smaller amounts, arsenic can cause skin, bladder, and lung cancer. It also messes with your hormones! Specifically, it can interfere with the normal hormone functioning that regulates how our bodies process sugars and carbohydrates, which has been linked to weight gain/loss, protein wasting, immunosuppression, insulin resistance (which can lead to diabetes), osteoporosis, growth retardation, and high blood pressure.

You can reduce your exposure by using a water filter that lowers arsenic levels.


This naturally occurring, but toxic metal, gets into the air and the oceans primarily though burning coal. Eventually, it can end up on your plate in the form of mercury-contaminated seafood. Pregnant women are the most at risk from the toxic effects of mercury, since the metal can concentrate in the fetal brain and can interfere with brain development. Mercury can also bind directly to one particular hormone that regulates women’s menstrual cycle and ovulation, interfering with normal signaling pathways. The metal may also play a role in diabetes, since mercury has been shown to damage cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, which is critical for the body’s ability to metabolize sugar.

You can avoid mercury in your seafood by choosing wild salmon and farmed trout.

Perfluorinated Chemicals


This is what industry used to use when making non-stick cookware. They are so widespread and extraordinarily persistent that 99 percent of Americans have these chemicals in their bodies. One particularly notorious compound called PFOA has been shown to be “completely resistant to biodegradation.” That means that even though the chemical was banned after decades of use, it will be showing up in people’s bodies for countless generations to come. This is worrisome because PFOA exposure has been linked to decreased sperm quality, low-birth weight, kidney disease, thyroid disease, and high cholesterol, among other health issues.

You can avoid this by not using non-stick pans (also older ones found at secondhand stores), as well as stain and water-resistant coatings on clothing, furniture, and carpets.

Organophosphate Pesticides

Neurotoxic organophosphate compounds that the Nazis produced in huge quantities for chemical warfare during World War II were never used. After the war ended, American scientists used the same chemistry to develop a long line of pesticides that target the nervous systems of insects. Despite many studies linking organophosphate exposure to effects on brain development, behavior, and fertility, they are still among the more common pesticides in use today. A few of the many ways that organophosphates can affect the human body include interfering with the way testosterone communicates with cells, lowering testosterone and altering thyroid hormone levels.

You can avoid these compounds by buying organic produce and using EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which can help you find the fruits and vegetables that have the fewest pesticide residues:

Glycol Ethers

Shrunken testicles is one thing that can happen to rats exposed to chemicals called glycol ethers, which are common solvents in paints, cleaning products, brake fluid, and cosmetics. The European Union says that some of these chemicals “may damage fertility or the unborn child.” Studies of painters have linked exposure to certain glycol ethers to blood abnormalities and lower sperm counts. In addition, children who are exposed to glycol ethers from paint in their bedrooms have substantially more asthma and allergies.

You can reduce your exposure by checking out EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning ( and avoid products with ingredients such as 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME).

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation.  Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing ® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center

Meditation is a mind and body practice that has a long history of use for increasing calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with illness, and enhancing overall health and well-being. Mind and body practices focus on the interactions among the brain, mind, body, and behavior.

Many studies have looked at how meditation may be helpful for a variety of conditions, such as high blood pressure, stress, certain psychological disorders, and pain. A number of studies also have helped researchers learn how meditation may work and how it affects the brain.

While there are many definitions of mindfulness, one that encompasses the basic idea is “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment.” Being present involves acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, while not being overly reactive or overwhelmed by them.

What Is the Difference Between Mindfulness and Meditation?

Meditation is an ancient practice, and there are many ways to meditate—mindfulness being one of them.

There are usually four elements in common with all meditative practices. The first is being in a quiet location with as few distractions as possible. The second is being in a specific, comfortable posture (sitting, lying down, walking, or in other positions). The third is focusing your attention (a specially chosen word or set of words, an object, or the sensations of the breath). The fourth practice is having an open attitude (letting distractions come and go naturally without judging them).

What Science Studies are Finding About the Effectiveness of Meditation?

Many studies have investigated meditation for different conditions. There is evidence that it reduces blood pressure, as well as symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and flare-ups in people who have had ulcerative colitis. It also is helpful for symptoms of anxiety and depression and for helping people with insomnia.

In a 2016 NCCIH-funded study, adults ages 20 to 70 who had chronic low-back pain received one of the following treatments: either mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) training, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), or traditional care. The MBSR and CBT participants had a similar level of improvement, and it was greater than those who got traditional care, including long after the training ended.

Results of a 2009 NCCIH-funded trial involving 298 university students suggest that practicing Transcendental Meditation lowers the blood pressure of people at increased risk of developing high blood pressure.

The findings also suggested that practicing meditation helps with psychological distress, anxiety, depression, anger/hostility, and coping ability.

A 2014 literature review of 47 trials of 3,515 participants suggested that mindfulness meditation programs show evidence of improving anxiety and depression.  A 2012 review of 36 trials found that 25 of them reported better outcomes for symptoms of anxiety in the meditation groups compared to control groups.

In a small, NCCIH-funded study, 54 adults with chronic insomnia learned mindfulness-based stress reduction, showing a significantly greater reduction in insomnia severity compared with non-meditative procedures.

A 2014 research review suggested that mind and body practices, including meditation, reduce chemical identifiers of inflammation and show promise in helping to regulate the immune system.

Results from a 2013 NCCIH-supported study involving 49 adults suggest that eight weeks of mindfulness training may reduce stress-induced inflammation better than a health program that includes physical activity, education about diet, and music therapy.

Some research has also suggested that meditation may physically change the brain and body and could potentially help to improve many health problems and promote healthy behaviors.

   In a 2012 study, researchers compared brain images from 50 adults who meditate and 50 adults who do not meditate. Results suggested that people who practiced meditation for many years have more folds in the outer layer of the brain. This may increase the brain’s ability to process information.

In addition, a 2013 review of three studies suggests that meditation may slow, stall, or even reverse changes that take place in the brain due to normal aging.

What Are the Basics of Mindfulness Meditation?

People practice mindfulness meditation in order to become intentional and aware of their thoughts and surroundings. While mindfulness meditation can be a formal practice in which you sit down in silence with your eyes closed, you can also practice in many other ways, such as paying closer attention to the things you do each day, rather than multitasking or being distracted.

Here is what you can expect when practicing mindfulness:

     Rather than completing tasks while “going through the motions,” daydreaming or zoning out, instead you practice focusing on what you are actually doing and feeling. You notice your thoughts and emotions, rather than letting your mind wander.

     The idea is to be aware of what you are experiencing right now, rather than reviewing the past or planning for future events.

     During guided mindfulness meditation, you typically keep your focus on something constant, such as your breath or sounds in your environment. Your exact focal point varies depending on the meditation techniques you are using.

     You may choose to focus on a prayer, chant, or an image in your mind, a candle flame or a religious image. For example, in transcendental meditation, you repeat a mantra to yourself silently, which serves as your focal point, while in Vipassana meditation (one of the oldest Buddhist meditation practices), you usually fixate your attention on your breath.

     While trying to pay attention to the object in focus, you listen to your own thoughts without being caught up in them. You notice how thoughts continuously pop up but then leave or change if you do not follow them.

     You use the practice to gain self-awareness. Rather than trying to stop your thoughts or judge them, you approach them with curiosity and compassion.

How To Start

Here is how to practice mindfulness if you are a beginner, using a basic meditation technique that focuses your awareness on your breath:

     Start by deciding how long you want to practice. In the beginning, it is recommended that you stick to short but consistent sessions, such as 5 or 10 minutes per day, in order to build a habit. As you advance, you may want to meditate for as long as 20 to 60 minutes daily.

     Choose a location where you are comfortable and undistracted.

     Decide which posture works best for you, choosing one that allows you to feel comfortable but alert. You may want to sit with crossed legs and a straight spine or lay down, but keep in mind that the goal is not to fall asleep. You can also use a chair, a meditation cushion, bolster, blanket, etc.

     Keep your body relaxed, eyes either closed or slightly open but soft, and arms loosely dangled by your side. Try to relax your muscles but not to hunch or stiffen your back or neck.

     Bring your attention to your breath, focusing on the sounds, feelings in your body, or anything else that grabs your attention regarding your breath.

     This is when your mind will start to wander, which is expected and normal. Gently return your attention to your breath. Your mind will likely keep generating thoughts that distract you, but the whole point of the meditation is to practice observing your thoughts without needing to react.

     No matter how much your attention keeps drifting away from your breath, try not to judge yourself or give up. When time is up, take a moment to notice how your body feels and any change in your emotions. Pause for a few moments and notice if you feel any more clarity or calmness.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo will demonstrate Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body and determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health.

The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

Ulcerative Colitis: What Is It?

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes long-lasting inflammation or sores in the digestive tract. Ulcerative colitis affects the innermost lining of the large intestine and rectum.  It happens when abnormal reactions of the immune system cause inflammation and ulcers on the inner lining of your large intestine.

Ulcerative colitis can begin gradually and become worse over time. However, it can also start suddenly. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. In between periods of flares, most people have periods of remission. Periods of remission can last for weeks or years.

How Common Is Ulcerative Colitis?

Research suggests that about 600,000 to 900,000 people in the United States have ulcerative colitis and is more likely to develop in people between the ages of 15 and 30, although the disease may develop in people of any age. Those with a first-degree relative—a parent, sibling, or child—with IBD are more likely to develop ulcerative colitis, especially those of Jewish descent.

What Are the Complications of Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative colitis may lead to complications that develop over time, such as anemia, bone problems, such as osteopenia or osteoporosis. Problems with growth and development in children, such as gaining less weight than normal, slowed growth, short stature, or delayed puberty. Colorectal cancer, because patients with long-standing ulcerative colitis that involves a third or more of the colon are at increased risk and require close screening.

Some people with ulcerative colitis also have inflammation in parts of the body other than the large intestine, including the joints, skin, eyes, liver and bile ducts.

People with ulcerative colitis also have a higher risk of blood clots in their blood vessels.

What Are the Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis?

Symptoms of ulcerative colitis vary from person to person. Common symptoms of ulcerative colitis include diarrhea, passing blood with your stool or rectal bleeding, cramping and pain in the abdomen, passing mucus or pus with your stool, a constant urge to have a bowel movement even though your bowel may be empty and an urgent need to have a bowel movement. Symptoms can also include fatigue, or feeling tired, fever, nausea or vomiting and weight loss.

What Causes Ulcerative Colitis?

The following factors may play a role in causing ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis sometimes runs in families. Research suggests that certain genes increase the chance that a person will develop ulcerative colitis. Abnormal immune reactions of the immune system may play a role in causing ulcerative colitis. Abnormal immune reactions lead to inflammation in the large intestine. The microbes in your digestive tract—including bacteria, viruses, and fungi—that help with digestion are called the microbiome. Studies have found differences between the microbiomes of people who have IBD and those who do not.

Eating, Diet, & Nutrition

If you have ulcerative colitis, you should eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Ulcerative colitis symptoms may cause some people to lose their appetite and eat less, and they may not get enough nutrients. In children, a lack of nutrients may play a role in problems with growth and development. Healthier diets appear to be associated with less risk of developing ulcerative colitis. It may be helpful to keep a food diary to help identify foods that seem to make your symptoms worse.

It is important to understand that a healthy diet is the foundation. Certain foods trigger an aggressive immune response and inflammation in the digestive tract, and these foods need to be pinpointed and removed from your diet.

Some problematic foods include dairy products, spicy foods, and refined sugar. There are also beneficial foods that reduce inflammation and help with nutrient absorption, like omega-3 foods and probiotic foods.

People with ulcerative colitis may also want to swap out unhealthy fats for healthier options. This is because unhealthy fats, such as hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, trans-fats and refined vegetable oils, can cause chronic inflammation. Healthy fats, on the other hand, are essential for everything from hormone production to cancer prevention, brain development, and weight loss.

Removing refined sugars and grains can also be helpful. During processing, refined grains are stripped of many important vitamins and minerals, producing a final product high in calories, carbs, and sugar, but lacking in essential nutrients.

White rice, pasta, and noodles are a few examples of refined grains that are low in the important micronutrients that your body needs. Swapping these foods out for healthy whole grain alternatives is a great way to squeeze some extra vitamins and minerals into your diet.

Exercise is also an important factor in treating ulcerative colitis, since the benefits of exercise are so wide-ranging. Moderate-intensity exercise reduces stress, which is a root cause of this inflammatory disease. Exercise (especially yoga and swimming) also stimulates digestion, boosts the immune system, and aids relaxation.

Relaxation is a vital element in combating ulcerative colitis because it calms the body and allows it to digest food more easily. Meditation, stretching, and breathing practices can help improve circulation, regulate the digestive system, and keep the body out of fight or flight mode.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Better yet, come to our Free Nutritional Seminars, held on the third Wednesday of every month. Call us for the time of the class. Dr. Lo will demonstrate Nutritional Response Testing®, using it to analyze the body and determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

What Are the Causes of Varicose & Spider Veins?

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center

What Are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are twisted veins that can be blue, red, or skin-colored. The larger veins may appear rope-like and make the skin bulge out.

Varicose veins are often on the thighs, the backs and fronts of the calves, or the inside of the legs near the ankles and feet. During pregnancy, varicose veins can happen around the inner thigh, lower pelvic area, and buttocks.

What Are Spider Veins?

Spider veins, or thread veins, are smaller than varicose veins. They are usually red. They may look like tree branches or spider webs. Spider veins can usually be seen under the skin, but they do not make the skin bulge out as varicose veins do.

Spider veins are usually found on the legs or the face.

Who Is Most Likely to Get Varicose and Spider Veins and What Are The Symptoms?

Women are more likely to have varicose veins and spider veins. Pregnancy, older age, and obesity can also increase your risk of varicose veins and spider veins.  They are often painless and do not usually cause health problems.

Some people do not have any symptoms with varicose veins and spider veins. If you do have symptoms, your legs may feel extremely tired, heavy, or achy. Your symptoms may get worse after sitting or standing for long periods. Your symptoms may get better after resting and putting your legs up.

Other symptoms that may be more common with varicose veins include throbbing or cramping, swelling and itching.

Changing hormone levels may affect your symptoms. Because of this, women may notice more symptoms during certain times in their menstrual cycle, during pregnancy or menopause.

What Causes Varicose Veins and Spider Veins?

Problems in the valves in your veins can prevent blood from flowing normally and cause varicose veins or spider veins.

Your heart pumps blood filled with oxygen and nutrients through your arteries to your whole body. Veins then carry the blood from different parts of your body back to your heart. Normally, your veins have valves that act as one-way flaps. However, if the valves do not close correctly, blood can leak back into the lower part of the vein rather than going toward the heart. Over time, more blood is stuck in the vein, building pressure that weakens the walls of the vein. This causes the vein to grow larger.

Also sitting or standing for a long time, especially for more than 4 hours at a time, may make your veins work harder against gravity to pump blood to your heart.

Being overweight or obese can put extra pressure on your veins. Women who have obesity are more likely to get varicose veins than women are with a healthy weight.

During pregnancy, the amount of blood pumping through your body increases to support your unborn baby. The extra blood causes your veins to swell. Your growing uterus also puts pressure on your veins. Varicose veins may go away within a few months after childbirth, or they may remain and continue to cause symptoms. More varicose veins and spider veins may appear with each additional pregnancy. For some women, varicose veins shrink or disappear after childbirth. For others, varicose veins stay after childbirth, and symptoms continue to get worse.

As you get older, the valves in your veins may weaken and not work as well. Your calf muscles also weaken as you age. Your calf muscles normally help squeeze veins and send blood back toward the heart as you walk.

The hormone estrogen may weaken vein valves and lead to varicose veins. Using hormonal birth control with estrogen and progesterone, or taking menopausal hormone therapy, may raise your risk of varicose or spider veins.

What Can I Do At Home to Help Varicose Veins and Spider Veins?

If your varicose veins or spider veins bother you, you can take steps at home or work to make blood flow in your legs better.

However, you may not be able to prevent varicose veins and spider veins, especially since you cannot control certain factors like heredity, pregnancy and aging

You can get regular physical activity. Muscles in the legs help your veins push blood back to the heart, against the force of gravity. If you have varicose veins or spider veins in your legs, any exercise that works the muscles in your legs will help prevent new varicose veins or spider veins from forming.

Lose weight, if you are overweight or obese. Extra weight makes it more difficult for your veins to move blood back up to your heart, against the force of gravity. Losing weight may help prevent new varicose veins or spider veins from forming.

Do not sit or stand for a long time. If you have to sit or stand at work or home for a long time, take a break every 30 minutes to stand up and walk around. This makes the muscles in your legs move the blood back up to your heart more than when you are sitting or standing still without moving around.

Wear compression stockings. Compression stockings help increase blood flow from your legs.

Put your feet up. Rest your feet on a stool as much as possible when sitting to help the blood in your legs flow back to your heart.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Better yet, come to our Free Nutritional Seminars held on the third Wednesday of every month. Call us for the time of the class. Dr. Lo will demonstrate Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body and determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at


by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center

Hemorrhoids, also called piles, are swollen and inflamed veins around your anus or in your lower rectum. There are two types of hemorrhoids: the external hemorrhoid and the internal hemorrhoid. 

Hemorrhoids are normal in all individuals from birth. These vascular structures or “cushions” help regulate bowel movements at the end of the rectum. People who experience the discomfort of hemorrhoids are often dealing with enlarged hemorrhoids.

Many people are reluctant to talk about their problems with hemorrhoids, but this is a common issue and can cause challenges for many people’s quality of life.

Hemorrhoids are common in both men and women, equally, and affect about 1 in 20 Americans. About half of adults older than age 50 have hemorrhoids.

Are There Complications from Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids sometimes cause complications, including blood clots in an external hemorrhoid, skin tags (extra skin left behind when a blood clot in an external hemorrhoid dissolves), and an infection from a sore on an external hemorrhoid. The hemorrhoid can also become strangulated when the muscles cut off the blood supply to an internal hemorrhoid that has fallen through.

Symptoms and Causes of Hemorrhoids

The symptoms of hemorrhoids depend on the type you have. If you have external hemorrhoids, you may have anal itching, one or more hard tender lumps, and an ache or pain, especially when sitting.

Also, be aware that too much straining, rubbing, or cleaning around that area may make your symptoms worse. For many people, the symptoms of external hemorrhoids go away within a few days.

If you have internal hemorrhoids, you may have bleeding from your rectum (bright red blood on stool, on toilet paper, or in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement) or a hemorrhoid that has fallen through the opening, called a prolapse. Internal hemorrhoids that are not prolapsed most often are not painful. Prolapsed internal hemorrhoids may cause pain and discomfort.

Keep in mind that although hemorrhoids are the most common cause of these symptoms, not every symptom is caused by a hemorrhoid. Some hemorrhoid symptoms are similar to those of other digestive tract problems. For example, bleeding from your rectum may be a sign of bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or cancer of the colon or rectum.

Ways to Treat Hemorrhoids

You can try treating your hemorrhoids at home for a week by making some lifestyle changes. Try adding foods high in fiber to your diet, or take a fiber supplement such as psyllium. Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day, and stop straining during bowel movements. Also, do not sit on the toilet for long periods and avoid regular heavy lifting.

If your hemorrhoids are painful, you can try sitting in a tub of warm water (called a Sitz bath) several times a day to help relieve the pain. You can also try applying over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams or ointments made for hemorrhoids, which may relieve mild pain, swelling, and itching from external hemorrhoids.

Also, maintaining a healthy digestive system is one of the simplest ways you can prevent and treat uncomfortable hemorrhoids. Increasing oral fluids is one of the first lifestyle changes recommended to patients struggling to find relief from their hemorrhoids. Optimal hydration improves lymphatic drainage and has total body inflammation-reducing effects.

Straining the abdomen and pelvic floor muscles while having a bowel movement may be easily treated by avoiding constipation. Hydrating throughout the day with purified water is a great way to loosen stool, making bowel movements easier.

Our toilets may be one reason that people suffer from hemorrhoids. Once you find your way to the toilet, do not sit, but rather squat. One tip on doing so is to have a step stool nearby your toilet, on which you can then place your feet.

Squatting is common in undeveloped countries and is a natural position to go to the bathroom. Doing so removes strain off the rectum while relaxing muscles, which better allows the passing of a bowel movement and prevents bleeding from swollen veins. Furthermore, when you have the urge to use the bathroom, allow your body to have a bowel movement immediately rather than waiting, thus avoiding problems like constipation, which can lead to hemorrhoids.

Following are some more helpful tips to help you avoid hemorrhoids. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can cause dehydration and constipation. Avoid both unhealthy fats like fried foods and processed foods and certain spices, which can irritate and worsen hemorrhoids. Eat well and add fiber-rich fruits and vegetables into your diet to improve digestion and decrease the transit time that stool sits in the colon. Eliminate any known allergens from your diet that can cause constipation: common triggers include gluten, eggs, dairy, and shellfish. Include fermented foods into your daily meals to maintain healthy gut bacteria and improve stool evacuation from the digestive tract. Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is a common risk factor that is associated with hemorrhoids. Exercising regularly increases the likelihood of having a regular bowel movement. Do not wait for a big urge to use the bathroom. The bowel not only loses its softness from water being taken back up into the body, but it also allows toxins to be absorbed as well, so try to train your bowels to evacuate by squatting on the toilet the same time every day. Try to limit being seated for long periods; doing so puts pressure on the veins, the same as if you were sitting on a toilet for too long.

Foods You May Want to Avoid If You Have Hemorrhoids

If you have hemorrhoids, your doctor may recommend eating more foods that are high in fiber and avoiding foods that have little or no fiber, such as cheese, chips, fast food, ice cream, processed meats, microwavable dinners, and prepared packaged foods and snack foods such as cakes, cookies, candy, and so forth.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Better yet, come to our Free Nutritional Seminars held on the third Wednesday of every month. Call us for the time of the class. Dr. Lo will demonstrate Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body and determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health.

The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107 in Frederick. Check out the website at office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107 in Frederick. Check out the website at


Are You Dealing With Constipation?

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center

Constipation is a condition in which you may have fewer than three bowel movements a week; your stools are hard, dry, or lumpy; they may be difficult or painful to pass, or you may have a feeling that not all stool has passed.

Constipation is not a disease, but it may be a symptom of a medical problem and can last for a short or a long time.

How Common is Constipation?

Constipation is common among all ages and populations in the United States. About 16 out of 100 adults have symptoms of constipation, and it rises to about 33 out of 100 for adults over the age of 60.

Certain groups of people are more likely to be constipated, including women, especially during pregnancy or after giving birth; older adults; non-Caucasians; people who eat little to no fiber; people who take certain medications or dietary supplements; and people with certain health problems, including functional gastrointestinal disorders.

What Causes Constipation?

You may be constipated for many reasons, and constipation may have more than one cause at a time. Causes of constipation may include slow movement of stool through your colon; delayed emptying of the colon from pelvic floor disorders; colon surgery; functional gastrointestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome; and certain medications and dietary supplements.

Certain medications and dietary supplements that can make constipation worse are antacids that contain aluminum and calcium; anticholinergics and antispasmodics; anticonvulsants; calcium channel blockers; diuretics; iron supplements; and medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease, depression, and ones used to manage pain.

In addition, life changes and changes to your daily routine can cause constipation. For example, your bowel movements may change if you become pregnant, as you get older, when you travel, when you ignore the urge to have a bowel movement, if you change your medications, and if you change how much and what you eat.

Certain health and nutrition problems can also be a cause of constipation, like not eating enough fiber; not drinking enough liquids or dehydration; not getting enough physical activity; celiac disease; and disorders that affect your brain and spine, such as Parkinson’s disease and spinal cord or brain injuries.

Conditions that affect your metabolism can also cause constipation. Conditions such as diabetes; conditions that affect your hormones, such as hypothyroidism; inflammation linked to diverticular disease; as well as intestinal obstructions, including anorectal blockage and tumors and anatomic problems of your digestive tract.

What Helps Get Things Moving?

Oftentimes, there are many things you can try at home for constipation.

Try changing what you eat and drink. This can make your stools softer and easier to pass. Try eating more high-fiber foods and make sure you drink plenty of water. Adults should be trying to get 25 to 31 grams of fiber a day. Reducing your consumption of caffeinated and sugary beverages throughout the day may be your first battle in getting proper hydration. These drinks can offset the osmotic balance of the gut and inhibit gut motility.

Increase your water consumption to include drinking a minimum of half of your body weight in ounces daily and three-quarters of your body weight in ounces during the summer. Drinking 16 ounces of water when you first wake up is a great way to support healthy bowel activity.

Increasing the amount of physical activity you perform daily will also help treat symptoms of constipation. 

One movement that is particularly effective for stimulating bowel activity is rebounding off a small trampoline. This light bouncing motion helps to stimulate intestinal contractions and move fecal material. 

Exercise has countless other health benefits, including combating fatigue, relieving stress, reducing signs of depression and anxiety, lowering pain sensitivity, as well as improving the frequency of your bowel movements.

Try to train yourself to have a bowel movement at the same time each day to help you become more regular. For example, try to have a bowel movement 15 to 45 minutes after a meal, because eating helps your colon move stool. So, sit on the toilet 15 to 45 minutes after you eat if that is convenient for you. If that is not, then find a time that will work for you every day.

Make sure you give yourself enough time to have a bowel movement and use the bathroom as soon as you feel the need to go. Try to relax your muscles or put your feet on a footstool to make yourself more comfortable. Our ancestors used to poop in a hole in the ground. In many cultures, the toilet is much lower to the ground than the traditional western world has it. Squatting down deep is not only very good for our back and legs, but it also helps to open up the colon in such a way as to get a better release of fecal material.

This process has been shown to relieve the tension from your intestines and allows for a much easier elimination process. 

If you think certain medications or dietary supplements are causing your constipation, talk with your doctor. He or she may change the dose or suggest a different medicine that does not cause constipation. Do not change or stop any medicine or supplement without talking with a health care professional.

The body demands fat for the optimal functioning of our organs and cellular processes. Fat helps regulate hormone function and is partly responsible for intestinal motility. One clinical study showed that consuming a high-fat diet for only three days decreased the period for which food remained in the stomach. Good fats to consume include coconut oil, coconut butter, coconut flakes, grass-fed butter or ghee, avocados, olives, and olive oil.

Salt is a life-sustaining nutrient that promotes thyroid function, adrenal health, and electrolyte balance. Alterations to these life processes very easily can create symptoms of constipation.

Research supports that you should be consuming a minimum of 1.5 teaspoons of salt per day. You can consume the sum of the salt you need from natural sources, such as beets; carrots; spinach; turnips; fish; and sea vegetables like kombu, kelp, and dulse.

Most people with chronic constipation have very low stomach acid levels. Stomach acid is important for triggering the entire digestive system by properly breaking down proteins and stimulating the release of bile from the liver and gallbladder, as well as pancreatic enzymes from the pancreas.

Stress depletes our ability to produce adequate stomach acid, which then causes poor digestion and inflammation in the gut, worsening stress and inflammation in the body. 

Increase the healthy bacteria in your gut by consuming fermented foods and beverages. Fermented foods contain live and active cultures of bacteria, which support intestinal health. Add fermented veggies like sauerkraut, kimchi, and homemade pickles into your diet, as well as coconut water, kefir, and kombucha.  You do not need much. Start with one to two tablespoons per day and see how you feel. Try to work up to a half-cup, daily.

Magnesium is one of the most popular supplements used to treat constipation for its ability to relax the muscles, encouraging the movement of stool. Increasing your uptake of magnesium-rich food sources can help you overcome constipation.  Excellent plant sources include green veggies, nuts, and seeds.

The signs you would be getting too much magnesium would be loose stools, light-headedness, or leg cramps, in conjunction with high-dose magnesium intake. 

Seeds, such as pumpkin, chia, and flaxseeds, are excellent sources of fiber in your diet. Combined with increased water intake, chia seeds swell and form a gelatinous substance, which easily moves through the digestive tract.

Flaxseeds exhibit much of the same laxative activity as chia seeds and can be easily added to your foods.

Pumpkin seeds are a nutrient-dense food source and contain minerals that promote digestion. 

You may want to try an over-the-counter laxative for a short time. There are fiber supplements, osmotic agents like milk of magnesia, stool softeners, lubricants, and stimulants.

If you have been taking laxatives for a long time and can’t have a bowel movement without taking a laxative, reach out to your practitioner.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health.

The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107 in Frederick. Check out the website at

*Source: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and https:

Heart-Healthy Living

Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women.

Understanding a heart-healthy lifestyle is important. It involves understanding your risk, making good food choices, and taking steps to reduce your chances of getting heart disease, including coronary heart disease, the most common type. Taking preventive measures may lower your risk of developing heart disease and improve your overall health and well-being.

Understand Your Risks

Your risk for heart disease depends on many factors, some of which are changeable and others that are not. Risk factors are higher for heart disease if you: Have high blood pressure; have high blood cholesterol; are overweight or obese; have prediabetes or diabetes; smoke;        do not get regular physical activity; have a family history of early heart disease (your father or brother was diagnosed before age 55, or your mother or sister was diagnosed before age 65); have a history of preeclampsia (a sudden rise in blood pressure and too much protein in the urine during pregnancy); have unhealthy eating behaviors; are older (age 55 or older for women or age 45 or older for men).

Each risk factor increases a person’s chance of developing heart disease.

Some risk factors cannot be changed. These include your age, sex, and a family history of early heart disease. However, many others risk factors can be modified. For example, being more physically active and eating healthy are important steps for your heart health.

Women and Heart Disease

Women generally get heart disease about 10 years later than men do, but it is still the number one killer of women. After menopause, women are more likely to get heart disease, in part because estrogen hormone levels drop. Women who have gone through early menopause are twice as likely to develop heart disease as women of the same age who have not gone through menopause. Middle-age is also a time when women tend to develop other risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure.

Get Your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Checked

Two of the major risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.

Your blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage your heart and your blood vessels.

Most adults should have their blood pressure checked at least once a year. If you have high blood pressure, you will likely need to be checked more often.

Your blood pressure is considered high when you have consistent systolic readings of 140 mm Hg or higher or diastolic readings of 90 mm Hg or higher. Based on research, your doctor may also consider you to have high blood pressure if you are an adult or child age 13 or older who has consistent systolic readings of 130 to 139 mm Hg or diastolic readings of 80 to 89 mm Hg and you have other risk factors for heart disease.

High blood cholesterol is a condition in which your blood has unhealthy levels of cholesterol—a waxy, fat-like substance.

Many factors affect your cholesterol levels. For example, age, sex, eating patterns, and physical activity level can affect your cholesterol levels.

A blood test can show whether your cholesterol levels are in range. Your cholesterol numbers will include total cholesterol, “bad” LDL cholesterol and “good” HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. Ask your doctor what your numbers mean for you.

The following foods are the foundation of a heart-healthy eating plan: Vegetables such as leafy greens (dandelion, collard greens, kale, cabbage), broccoli, and carrots); fruits such as apples, cherries, oranges, pears, grapes, and mangoes; whole grains such as plain oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa; fat-free or low-fat dairy foods such as  organic milk, cheese, or yogurt; protein-rich foods (fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids; lean meats such as lean beef or pork tenderloin or chicken or turkey; eggs; nuts and seeds; legumes such as kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, and lima beans); foods high in monounsaturated fats (nuts such as walnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, and pine nuts; nut and seed butters; salmon and trout; avocados).

Foods to limit would be processed foods high in added sugar and salt, trans fats, and alcohol. Understanding nutrition labels can help you choose healthier foods.

Limit Sodium

Adults and children over age 14 should eat less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. If you have high blood pressure, you may need to limit sodium even more.

Read food labels and choose products that have less sodium for the same serving size.

Choose low-sodium, reduced-sodium, or no-salt-added products.

Choose fresh, frozen, or no-salt-added foods instead of pre-seasoned, sauce-marinated, brined, or processed meats, poultry, and vegetables.

Eat at home more often, so you can cook food from scratch, which will allow you to control the amount of sodium in your meals.

Flavor your foods with herbs and spices instead of salt.

When cooking, limit your use of premade sauces, mixes, and instant products such as rice, noodles, and ready-made pasta.

Limit trans fats as much as possible. This includes foods made with partially hydrogenated oils such as some desserts, microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, stick margarines, and coffee creamers.             Read nutrition labels and choose foods that do not contain trans fats. Dairy products and meats naturally contain very small amounts of trans fats. You do not need to avoid these foods because they have other important nutrients.

Limit Added Sugars

You should limit the amount of calories you get each day from added sugars. This will help you choose nutrient-rich foods.

Some foods, such as fruit, contain natural sugars. However, added sugars do not occur naturally in foods. They include brown sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, raw sugar, and sucrose.

Read the labels and choose foods without added sugars. 

Limit Alcohol

Talk to your doctor about how much alcohol you drink. Your doctor may recommend that you reduce the amount of alcohol you drink or that you stop drinking alcohol.

Alcohol can: (1) Add calories to your daily diet and possibly cause you to gain weight; (2) Raise your blood pressure and levels of triglyceride fats in your blood; (3) Contribute to or worsen heart failure in some people, such as some people who have cardiomyopathy; (4) Raise your risk of other diseases such as cancer.

If you do not drink, you should not start. You should not drink if you are pregnant; are under the age of 21; taking certain medicines; or if you have certain medical conditions, including heart failure.

Manage Stress

Research suggests that an emotionally upsetting event, particularly an angry one, can serve as a trigger for a heart attack or angina in some people. Stress can contribute to high blood pressure and other heart disease risk factors. Some of the ways people cope with stress—drinking alcohol, using other substances, smoking, or overeating—are not healthy ways to manage stress.

Learning how to manage stress and cope with problems can improve your mental and physical health. Consider healthy stress-reducing activities such as: (1) Talking to a professional counselor; (2) Participating in a stress-management program; (3) Practicing meditation; (4) Being physically active; (5) Trying relaxation techniques; (6) Talking with friends, family, and community or religious support systems.

Get Regular Physical Activity

Regular physical activity can help you lose excess weight, improve physical fitness, lower many heart disease risk factors such as “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, increase “good” HDL cholesterol levels, and manage high blood pressure. Physical activity can also lower stress and improve your mental health, as well as lower your risk for other conditions such as type 2 diabetes, depression, and cancer

The more active you are, the more you will benefit. Participate in aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes at a time throughout the week. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ recommends that each week, adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.

Another way you can begin to increase your activity level is by reducing how long you sit at a given time. Breaking up how long you sit will benefit your overall health.

Quit Smoking

If you smoke, quit. Smoking can raise your risk of heart disease and heart attack and worsen other heart disease risk factors. Talk with your doctor about programs and products that can help you quit smoking. Also, try to avoid secondhand smoke.

If you have trouble quitting smoking on your own, consider joining a support group. Many hospitals, workplaces, and community groups offer classes to help people quit smoking.

Talk to your doctor if you vape. There is scientific evidence that nicotine and flavorings found in vaping products can damage your heart and lungs.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. Not getting enough sleep or good-quality sleep over time can raise your risk for chronic health problems. The amount of sleep you need each day will change over the course of your life.

Sleep helps heal and repair your heart and blood vessels, helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry or full, helps support healthy growth and development, and helps support a healthy immune system.

Over time, not getting enough quality sleep, called sleep deficiency, can raise your risk of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.

You can take steps to improve your sleep habits. First, make sure that you allow yourself enough time to sleep. Some sleep strategies are to: (1) Spend time outside every day, if possible, and be physically active; (2) Avoid nicotine and caffeine; (3) Avoid heavy or large meals within a couple hours of bedtime; (4) Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed; (5) Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day; (6) One hour before you go to bed, shut off all electronic devices and avoid exercise and bright light; (7) Take a hot bath or use relaxation techniques before bed; (8) Keep your bedroom quiet, cool, and dark.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

Symptoms & Risk Factors of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer starts when cells in the prostate begin to grow out of control. The prostate gland is a small, walnut-shaped gland in men that produces the seminal fluid. The size of the prostate can change as a man ages. In younger men, it is about the size of a walnut, but it can be much larger in older men. Sometimes prostate cancer is referred to as a silent disease because in the earlier stages—sometimes lasting for years—the tumor in the prostate gland is not big enough to cause any pain or prostate cancer symptoms.


When a man does develop prostate cancer the early warning signs can be:

     A man can start having difficulty with normal urination, to include the feeling of a burning or painful sensation, having trouble starting and maintaining a steady stream of urine, weak urinary stream, experiencing dribbling or leaking of urine, more frequent need/urge to urinate, excessive urination at night, or urinary retention (not being able to urinate).

     He may have erectile dysfunction, painful ejaculation or a decrease in fluid when ejaculating.

     He may have blood in the urine or semen.

     A man may develop pressure or pain in the groin and rectum.

     He may also have pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, pelvis, or thighs.

Prostate Cancer Risk Factors

Different cancers have different risk factors. Some risk factors, like smoking, can be changed; others, like a person’s age, cannot be changed.

However, having a risk factor, or even several, does not mean that a man will get the disease. Many people with one or more risk factors never get cancer, while others who get cancer may have had few or no known risk factors.

The following describes several factors that might affect a man’s risk of getting prostate cancer.

Age: Prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 40, but the chance of having prostate cancer rises rapidly after age 50. About 6 in 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men older than 65.

Race/ethnicity: Men of African descent are an estimated 73 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer compared with white men. In addition, when it does develop in these men, they tend to be younger. Asian men who live in Asia have the lowest risk, but their risk increases if they adopt a “modern Western lifestyle.”

Family history: Prostate cancer seems to run in some families, which suggests that in some cases there may be an inherited or genetic factor. Still, most prostate cancers occur in men without a family history of it.

   Having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than doubles a man’s risk of developing this disease. (The risk is higher for men who have a brother with the disease than for those who have a father with it.) The risk is much higher for men with several affected relatives, particularly if their relatives were young when they got the cancer. 

Obesity or being overweight:    Certain studies have found that obese men have a greater risk for developing aggressive prostate cancers (but not slow-developing types). They are also more likely to have a difficult time recovering from surgery, and they have a greater risk of dying from prostate cancer.

Other dietary/lifestyle factors: A man is more likely to develop prostate cancer if he smokes or uses drugs and if he has poor dietary habits, especially eating a highly processed diet that includes refined or trans fats, lots of added sugar, and processed carbohydrates.

There also seems to be an association between a lack of vegetables in the diet (especially cruciferous veggies, like cauliflower and broccoli) and a higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

A lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle, along with low vitamin D levels, puts a man at higher risk. In addition, due to little sunlight exposure, men who live north of 40 degrees latitude (north of Philadelphia or Utah in the U.S.) have the highest risk for dying from prostate cancer of any men in the United States.

Excessive calcium intake, particularly from supplements, can put a man at higher risk, along with exposure to certain toxic chemicals.

In addition, tall height in a man, especially those who are tall and obese develop prostate cancer more commonly.

Reduce Chances of Getting Prostate Cancer

The following are ways to mitigate your chances of getting prostate cancer:

(1) Eat a Healthy Diet and Manage Your Weight. Many studies have evidence that lifestyle changes, especially diet modifications, can decrease the chances that you will develop prostate cancer, as well as reduce cancer recurrence and help slow the progression of cancer. A healthy, unprocessed food diet is also important for preventing obesity.

Avoid all trans-fatty acids (found in many fried foods, fast food, highly processed foods, and margarine).

Try to eat about 2.5 cups or more of veggies every day as part of an anti-inflammatory diet. Try to include a variety of veggies in your diet, especially leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables, which have recently been connected to cancer prevention.

Eat wild-caught fish, which provide omega-3 fatty acids.

Eat foods high in zinc and selenium, which support prostate health.

(2) Get enough exercise. Studies suggest that people who are more physically active have better protection against developing many types of cancer, as well as overall improvements in health and better protection against obesity. Getting daily exercise has numerous benefits, both for your mind and body. Exercise helps reduce inflammation, improve circulation, support the immune system, and can help you control your weight. It can also improve feelings of well-being and reduce stress, depression, or anxiety.

(3) Treat other health conditions and check your medications. Many of the same lifestyle habits that lead to conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and depression can also increase your cancer risk. These are also associated with worsened sexual function, including contributing to erectile dysfunction. Work on overcoming health challenges through diet and lifestyle changes as much as possible. Recovery from serious diseases, including cancer, is easier if you’re metabolically healthy and not battling other health problems.

If you’re taking any medications, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor about how they may contribute to negative side effects. For example, some medications, such as SSRIs (used to treat depression), beta-blockers (used for high blood pressure), and medications used for insomnia and anxiety, can affect your prostate. These may have a negative impact on sexual dysfunction because they can cause decreased libido, impairment in arousal, erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation, and delayed or absent orgasm.

(4) Do not supplement with calcium. Taking high doses of calcium may increase your risk, so talk to your doctor about whether calcium supplements are needed. It is suggested that you avoid taking more than 1,500 milligrams of calcium from supplements per day, although calcium from food sources (like leafy greens and fermented dairy) is unlikely to be a problem.

(5) Do not smoke and modify your drinking of alcohol. If you currently smoke, get help with quitting. Talk to your doctor about useful interventions, speak with a therapist, or start an online program that specializes in smoking cessation. Drink alcohol only in moderation and avoid use of recreational drugs.

(6) Get quality sleep and manage stress. Find ways to relax; connect with others and wind down. If your job is a major source of stress on a daily basis, consider what you can do to change your situation. Take up hobbies, stay active, and join groups in your community to connect with others. Studies have found that people with more social support tend to live longer, happier lives.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

*Content Source:;

Helpful Hints for Those With Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are hard, pebble-like pieces of material that form in one or both of your kidneys when high levels of certain minerals are in your urine.

Kidney stones vary in size and shape. They may be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a pea. Rarely, some kidney stones are as big as golf balls. Kidney stones may be smooth or jagged and are usually yellow or brown.

A small kidney stone may pass through your urinary tract on its own, causing little or no pain. A larger kidney stone may get stuck along the way. A kidney stone that gets stuck can block your flow of urine, causing severe pain or bleeding.

What Types of Kidney Stones Are There?

There are four main types of kidney stones. Calcium stones, including calcium oxalate stones and calcium phosphate stones, are the most common types of kidney stones. Calcium oxalate stones are more common than calcium phosphate stones. Calcium from food does not increase your chance of having calcium oxalate stones. Normally, extra calcium that is not used by your bones and muscles goes to your kidneys and is flushed out with urine. When this does not happen, the calcium stays in the kidneys and joins with other waste products to form a kidney stone.

Uric acid stones may form when your urine contains too much acid. Eating a lot of fish, shellfish, and meat—especially organ meat—may increase uric acid in urine.

Struvite stones may form after you have a UTI. They can develop suddenly and become large quickly.

Cystine stones result from a disorder called cystinuria that is passed down through families. Cystinuria causes the amino acid cystine to leak through your kidneys and into the urine.

Who Is Likely to Develop a Kidney stone?

Caucasian ethnicity and male gender are associated with higher rates of kidney stones. Men tend to develop kidney stones in their 40s through 70s; rates increase with age. Women are most likely to experience kidney stones in their 50s.

Kidney stones are on the rise; about 11 percent of men and 6 percent of women in the United States have kidney stones at least once during their lifetime. If you have a family history of kidney stones, you are more likely to develop them. You are also more likely to develop kidney stones again if you have had them once and if you do not drink enough liquids.

Symptoms & Causes

Symptoms of kidney stones can include sharp pains in your back, side, lower abdomen, or groin;  pink, red, or brown blood in your urine; a constant need to urinate; pain while urinating; the inability to urinate or can only urinate a small amount and cloudy or bad-smelling urine.

Your pain may last for a short or long time or may come and go in waves. Along with pain, you may have nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills.

However, many kidney stones are painless until they travel from the kidney, down the ureter, and into the bladder. Depending on the size of the stone, movement of the stone through the urinary tract can cause severe pain with sudden onset. People who have kidney stones often describe the pain as excruciating.

How Can I Prevent Kidney Stones?

In most cases, drinking enough liquids each day is the best way to help prevent most types of kidney stones. Drinking enough liquids keeps your urine diluted and helps flush away minerals that might form stones. Unless you have kidney problems, drinking half your body weight in ounces of water is a good idea. Remember, if you live, work, or exercise in hot weather, you may need more liquid to replace the fluid you lose through sweat.

Studies have shown that the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet can reduce the risk of kidney stones. Studies have also shown that being overweight increases your risk of kidney stones.

The type of kidney stone you have can affect food choices. Based on the type of kidney stone you had, you may be able to prevent kidney stones by making changes in how much sodium, animal protein, calcium, or oxalate is in the food you eat.

For example, if you have calcium oxalate stones, you will want to reduce very high oxalate foods, such as nuts and nut products, peanuts, rhubarb, spinach, and wheat bran.

Eating large amounts of animal protein may increase your chances of developing kidney stones due to uric acid buildup. Although you may need to limit how much animal protein you eat each day, you still need to make sure you get enough protein. Plant-based options are beans, dried peas, and lentils.

Even though calcium sounds like it would be the cause of calcium stones, it is not. In the right amounts, calcium can block other substances in the digestive tract that may cause stones. It may be best to get calcium from low-oxalate, plant-based foods.

Your chance of developing kidney stones increases when you eat more sodium. Sodium is in many canned, packaged, and fast foods. It is also in many condiments, seasonings, and meats. Here are some tips to reduce your sodium intake. Adults should aim to consume less than 2,300 milligrams a day. One teaspoon of table salt has 2,325 milligrams of sodium. If you have had calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate stones, you should follow this guideline.

Check the Nutrition Facts label found on many foods. Low in sodium is 5 percent or less, and high in sodium is 20 percent or more.

Consider writing down how much sodium you consume each day.

Cook from scratch. Processed and fast foods, canned soups and vegetables, and lunchmeats usually have high amounts of sodium.

Look for foods labeled no salt added, unsalted, and lightly salted.

Check labels for ingredients and hidden sodium, such as sodium bicarbonate (the chemical name for baking soda); baking powder, which contains sodium bicarbonate and other chemicals; disodium phosphate; monosodium glutamate or MSG; sodium alginate; sodium nitrate; or nitrite.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of illness or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

Sugar…Why It’s Bad

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo

Ten things you may not realize that can affect your blood sugar and tips to help you handle diabetes.

When you first found out you had diabetes, you most likely tested your blood sugar often to understand how food, activity, stress, and illness can affect your blood sugar levels. By now, for the most part, you have got it figured out. Then, something makes your blood sugar zoom higher. You try to adjust it with food, activity, or insulin, and it dips low. You are on a rollercoaster that no one with diabetes wants to ride.

Do you know all of the blood sugar triggers?

Knowledge is power! Here are some surprising triggers that can send your blood sugar soaring:

1. Sunburn—the pain causes stress, and stress increases blood sugar levels.

2. Artificial sweeteners—more research is needed, but some studies show they can raise blood sugar.

3. Coffee—even without sweetener, some people’s blood sugar is extra-sensitive to caffeine.

4. Losing sleep—even just one night of too little sleep can make your body use insulin less efficiently.

5. Skipping breakfast—going without that morning meal can increase blood sugar after both lunch and dinner.

6. Time of day—blood sugar can be harder to control the later in the day it gets.

7. Dawn phenomenon—people have a surge in hormones early in the morning whether they have diabetes or not. For people with diabetes, blood sugar can spike.

8. Dehydration—less water in your body means a higher blood sugar concentration.

9. Nose spray—some have chemicals that trigger your liver to make more blood sugar.

10. Gum disease—it is both a complication of diabetes and a blood sugar spiker.

What Makes Blood Sugar Fall?

Watch out for other triggers that can make your blood sugar fall.

1. Extreme heat—extreme heat can cause blood vessels to dilate, which makes insulin absorb more quickly and could lead to low blood sugar.

 2. Household chores—cleaning the house or mowing the lawn can lower blood sugar. Many of the chores you do every week count as moderate physical activity. Small amounts of exercise add up.

3. Food with probiotics—foods that have healthy bacteria (probiotics), such as yogurt, can improve digestion and may help you control your blood sugar. Some yogurts have added sugar and fruit, so be careful. Reach for the ones with no added sugar, and count the carbs. Your best choice is plain yogurt without extra sugar.

4. Cinnamon—a sprinkle of this spice can add flavor without adding salt, carbs, or calories. Some studies suggest it also can help the body use insulin better and may lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. Doctors need more research to know for sure. However, too much cinnamon can have negative effects.

5. Sleep—blood sugar can dip dangerously low during sleep for some people with diabetes, especially if they take insulin. It is a good idea to check your levels at bedtime and when you wake up in the morning. A snack before bed may help. For some people, blood sugar can rise in the morning—even before breakfast—due to changes in hormones or a drop in insulin.

   6. Female hormones—when women’s hormones change, so does their blood sugar. Keep a monthly record of your levels to get a better idea of how your menstrual cycle affects you. Hormone changes during menopause may make blood sugar even harder to control.

   If an activity, food, or situation is new, be sure to check your blood sugar levels before and after to see how you respond.

Tips To Find a Balance

While other factors are at work, the food you eat plays a huge role in balancing your blood sugar levels and minimizing the highs and lows. By understanding how certain foods affect your blood sugar, you can take charge of the outcome. Most importantly, you can more easily keep your blood sugar within the right range so that you can feel your best.

1. Carbs—carbs can have a big impact on blood sugar. Essentially, it is the balance of the amount of insulin in your body and the carbs you eat that determine your blood sugar. So, whether you choose whole carbs or empty carbs, you will start to see (and feel) the impact on your body.

2. Read food labels—trying to figure out the healthiest option when comparing two foods is not always easy. Learn how to decode nutrition information and packaging claims on the labels so that you can make the best decisions for your health.

3. Plan ahead—Most people with diabetes would agree: The hardest part about managing blood sugar is timing and balancing meals and snacks while still trying to live a “normal” life. Therefore, plan for the day and always have healthy snacks in case your day does not go as planned. Know where you can quickly get a healthy snack if you do not have one on hand.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health.

The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center

Is Secondhand Smoke Putting Your Health in Danger?

Secondhand smoke is composed of sidestream smoke (the smoke released from the burning end of a cigarette) and exhaled mainstream smoke (the smoke exhaled by the smoker. Most nonsmokers do not want to breathe tobacco smoke. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemical compounds, and secondhand smoke contains many of the same chemicals that are present in the smoke inhaled by smokers. Because sidestream smoke is generated at lower temperatures and under different conditions than mainstream smoke, it contains higher concentrations of many of the toxins found in cigarette smoke. The National Toxicology Program estimates that at least 250 chemicals in secondhand smoke are known to be toxic or carcinogenic.  When nonsmokers are exposed to secondhand smoke, they inhale many of the same cancer-causing chemicals that smokers inhale. The Surgeon General has concluded that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke; even small amounts of secondhand smoke exposure can be harmful to people’s health.

Secondhand smoke contains a number of poisonous gases and chemicals, including hydrogen cyanide (used in chemical weapons), carbon monoxide (found in car exhaust), butane (used in lighter fluid), ammonia (used in household cleaners), and toluene (found in paint thinners). Some of the toxic metals contained in secondhand smoke include arsenic (used in pesticides), lead (formerly found in paint), chromium (used to make steel), and cadmium (used to make batteries).

Children Are Most Exposed in the Home

The home is the place where children are most exposed to secondhand smoke. Children who live in homes where smoking is allowed have higher levels of cotinine (a biological marker of secondhand smoke exposure) than children who live in homes where smoking is not allowed. As the number of cigarettes smoked in the home increases, children’s cotinine levels rise.

Both babies whose mothers smoke while pregnant and babies who are exposed to secondhand smoke after birth are more likely to die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) than babies who are not exposed to cigarette smoke. Mothers who are exposed to secondhand smoke while pregnant are more likely to have lower birth weight babies, which makes babies weaker and increases the risk for many health problems. Babies whose mothers smoke while pregnant or who are exposed to secondhand smoke after birth have weaker lungs than other babies, which increases the risk for many health problems. Secondhand smoke exposure causes acute lower respiratory infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, in infants and young children. Secondhand smoke exposure causes children who already have asthma to experience more frequent and severe attacks. Secondhand smoke exposure causes respiratory symptoms, including cough, phlegm, wheeze, and breathlessness, among school-aged children. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are also at increased risk for ear infections. 

Protecting Yourself and

Loved Ones from Secondhand Smoke

Protecting yourself from secondhand smoke is important because breathing even a little secondhand smoke can be harmful. The Surgeon General has concluded that the only way to fully protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of secondhand smoke is through 100-percent smoke-free environments. Opening a window, sitting in a separate area, or using ventilation, air conditioning, or a fan cannot eliminate secondhand smoke exposure. You can protect yourself and your loved ones by making your home and car smoke-free, asking people not to smoke around you and your children, and making sure that your children’s day care center or school is smoke-free. You can also choose restaurants and other businesses that are smoke-free, thanking businesses for being smoke-free and letting owners of businesses that are not smoke-free know that secondhand smoke is harmful to your family’s health. You can also teach children to stay away from secondhand smoke. You should avoid secondhand smoke exposure especially if you or your children have respiratory conditions, if you have heart disease, or if you are pregnant.

If you are a smoker, the single best way to protect your family from secondhand smoke is to quit smoking. In the meantime, you can protect your family by making your home and vehicles smoke-free and only smoking outside. A smoke-free-home rule can also help you quit smoking

There Is No Risk-Free Level of Exposure to Secondhand Smoke

Scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Breathing even a little secondhand smoke can be harmful to your health. It causes lung cancer. It is known that concentrations of many cancer-causing and toxic chemicals are potentially higher in secondhand smoke than in the smoke inhaled by smokers. It can cause heart disease. Breathing secondhand smoke for even a short time can have immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system, interfering with the normal functioning of the heart, blood, and vascular systems in ways that increase the risk of heart attack. Even spending a short time in a smoky room can cause your blood platelets to become stickier, damage the lining of blood vessels, decrease coronary flow velocity reserves, and reduce heart rate variability. Persons who already have heart disease are at especially high risk of suffering adverse effects from breathing secondhand smoke, and should take special precautions to avoid even brief exposure. It also causes acute respiratory effects. Secondhand smoke contains many chemicals that can quickly irritate and damage the lining of the airways. Even brief exposure can trigger respiratory symptoms, including cough, phlegm, wheezing, and breathlessness. Brief exposure to secondhand smoke can trigger an asthma attack in children with asthma. Persons who already have asthma or other respiratory conditions are at especially high risk for being affected by secondhand smoke, and should take special precautions to avoid secondhand smoke exposure.


Smoking is the single greatest avoidable cause of disease and death. Millions of Americans, both children and adults, are exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes. Also, in some states, it is still legal to smoke in bars.

Secondhand smoke causes premature death and disease in children and in adults who do not smoke. Nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work increase their risk of developing heart disease by 25-30 percent and lung cancer by 20-30 percent.

The scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Conventional air-cleaning systems can remove large particles, but not the smaller particles or the gases found in secondhand smoke. Routine operation of a heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning system can distribute secondhand smoke throughout a building. So only by eliminating smoking in indoor spaces can you fully protect nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke.

Interested in quitting? You can access a telephone quit-line serving your area by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1¬800-784-8669) or visit

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at


Healthy Household Cleaning

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic
& Nutritional Healing Center

Did you know that conventional, store-bought household cleaners could be toxic? Checking the labels is necessary. There are often warning signs of toxicity and instructions to call Poison Control if ingested or exposed to skin and eyes. You will find advice on how to avoid toxic cleaners and how to make non-toxic cleaning products in this article.

Types of Toxic Household Cleaners

Toxic chemicals in conventional household cleaners vary in their severity, from acute hazards such as skin or respiratory issues, chemical burns, or watery eyes to chronic hazards such as cancer, fertility issues, ADHD, compromised immune system, and more.

Some of the most dangerous toxins out there reside in our cleaning products, and many of us expose ourselves to these toxins on a daily basis. Researchers at the University of Washington tested a variety of popular household cleaning products, including air fresheners, all-purpose cleaners, soaps, laundry detergents, dish soap, dryer sheets, and fabric softeners, as well as personal care products, like shampoos, deodorants, and lotions. Most of the toxic chemicals found in these household products fell into these categories: carcinogens, which cause or promote cancer; and endocrine disruptors, which mimic human hormones and cause false signals within the body and lead to issues such as infertility, premature puberty, miscarriage, and menstrual issues, as well as neurotoxins, which affect brain activity and cause problems such as headaches and memory loss.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are also emitted from solids or liquids. VOCs are gasses and are found in many household products, from paints and varnishes to cleaning products and disinfectants. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that some of the risks associated with VOCs are eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches; loss of coordination and nausea; and damage to the liver, kidney, and central nervous system. According to the EPA, nearly half of all the products tested contained at least one of 24 carcinogenic air pollutants that have no safe exposure level.

Household Cleaners You May Want to Avoid

Air fresheners can trigger asthma and allergies. Fabric softeners and dryer sheets can cause asthma, allergies, or lung irritation, as can cleaning products with artificial fragrances. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has found one-third of the substances used in the fragrance industry to be toxic; yet, because the formulas used for these fragrances are trade secrets, companies are not required to disclose the ingredients used. Try to use antibacterial products only when necessary, as these products can encourage the development of drug-resistant superbugs. Corrosive drain cleaners, oven cleaners, and toilet bowl cleaners are the most acutely dangerous cleaning products on the market. The ingredients in these cleaners can cause severe burns on the skin and eyes or if ingested to the throat and esophagus. Bleach and ammonia produce fumes with high acute toxicity to the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs, and should not be used by people with asthma or lung issues. Used together, these products produce a toxic gas that can cause serious lung damage. Products that create suds (shampoo, liquid soap, bubble bath, laundry detergent) have ingredients such as 4-dioxane, DEA, TEA, sodium laurel sulfate, PEG compounds, etc. and are known carcinogens linked to organ toxicity.

Here Are Some Good Alternatives

In many cases, old-fashioned vinegar, baking soda, essential oils, and other inexpensive ingredients found in your pantry can clean just as well or better than conventional or natural store-bought cleaning products. You can make your own homemade cleaners, often for less than a dollar, using the natural ingredients you probably already have around your home.   

The following are a few recipes for household cleaners:

If you need an all-purpose cleaner, use two cups of water with two tablespoons of castile soap, or one cup of water with one cup of white distilled vinegar and half of a lemon juiced.

For a deep-cleaning bathroom cleaner, use one-and-two-thirds cup of baking soda, one-half cup of liquid castile soap, one-half cup of water, two tablespoons of white vinegar, and mix the ingredients until they have dissolved. Pour into a bottle and shake well before using.

To get out carpet stains, use two tablespoons of salt dissolved in one-half cup of white vinegar. Let the solution dry, and then vacuum.    For larger or darker stains, add two tablespoons of borax to the mixture and use the same way.

For glass and mirror cleaner, use one-half cup rubbing alcohol, one-third cup white distilled vinegar, and add to a spray bottle, filling the rest of the bottle with distilled water. For laundry stain and spot remover, mix one-and-one-half cups of water, one-fourth cup liquid castile soap, and one-fourth cup liquid vegetable glycerin; pour into a bottle and treat spots immediately. Let soak before tossing into the wash.

If you are not up to making your own cleaning products, here are some “clean” cleaning products you can purchase at the store: Green Works, Dr. Bronners Castile Soap, Ecos, Seventh Generation, Method, JR Watkins, Mrs. Meyer’s, and Common Good.

Here are a few things you can do in addition to what has been discussed in order to reduce toxicity in your home:

One of the best air filters that you can purchase is plants. Consider adding easy-to-maintain household plants into your home.

Consider using a vacuum that has a HEPA filter.

Regularly replace furnace and A/C unit filters.

Open windows to allow fresh airflow and promote the ventilation of toxic gases.

Use microfiber cloths or 100-percent cotton materials to dust and prevent the spread of additional dust to combat dust build-up.

   If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of illness or non-optimum health.

The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic

Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) happens when your stomach contents come back up into your esophagus.

Stomach acid that touches the lining of your esophagus can cause heartburn.

Doctors also refer to GER as acid indigestion, acid reflux, acid regurgitation, heartburn, and reflux.  

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a more serious and long-lasting form of GER.

GER that occurs more than twice a week for a few weeks could be GERD. GERD can lead to more serious health problems over time. A review study published in the journal, Gut, reports the following range of GERD prevalence estimates in global populations: North America—18-28 percent • Europe—9-26 percent • East Asia—3-8 percent • the Middle East—9-33 percent • Australia—12 percent • South America—23 percent.

Who Is More Likely to Have GERD?

Anyone can develop GERD; however, you are more likely to have GERD if you are overweight or obese, a pregnant woman, taking certain medicines, a smoker, or regularly exposed to secondhand smoke.

What are the Complications of GERD?

Without treatment, GERD can sometimes cause serious complications over time, such as esophagitis, an inflammation in the esophagus. Adults who have chronic esophagitis over many years are more likely to develop precancerous changes in the esophagus. Another possible problem is an esophageal stricture, which happens when your esophagus becomes too narrow. Esophageal strictures can lead to problems with swallowing. You may also develop respiratory problems. With GERD, you might breathe stomach acid into your lungs. The stomach acid can then irritate your throat and lungs, causing respiratory problems, such as asthma, chest congestion, or extra fluid in your lungs, a dry, long-lasting cough or a sore throat, hoarseness, laryngitis, pneumonia, and wheezing. GERD can sometimes cause Barrett’s esophagus. A small number of people with Barrett’s esophagus develop a rare yet often deadly type of cancer of the esophagus.

What are the Symptoms of GER and GERD?

If you have gastroesophageal reflux (GER), you may taste food or stomach acid in the back of your mouth.

The most common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is regular heartburn, a painful, burning feeling in the middle of your chest, behind your breastbone, and in the middle of your abdomen. Not all adults with GERD have heartburn. Other common GERD symptoms include bad breath, nausea, pain in your chest or the upper part of your abdomen, problems swallowing or painful swallowing, respiratory problems, vomiting, and the wearing away of your teeth.

What Causes GER and GERD?

GER and GERD happen when your lower esophageal sphincter becomes weak or relaxes when it should not, causing stomach contents to rise up into the esophagus. The lower esophageal sphincter becomes weak or relaxes due to increased pressure on your abdomen from being overweight, obese, or pregnant. Certain medicines, including those that doctors use to treat asthma and high blood pressure, antihistamines, painkillers, sedatives, and antidepressants can also cause GERD, as can smoking, inhaling secondhand smoke, and a hiatal hernia.

How Do Doctors Diagnose GER?

In most cases, your doctor diagnoses gastroesophageal reflux (GER) by reviewing your symptoms and medical history. If your symptoms do not improve with lifestyle changes, you may need testing.

If your GER symptoms do not improve, if they come back frequently, or if you have trouble swallowing, your doctor may recommend testing you for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). To confirm a diagnosis of GERD, or check for complications, your doctor might recommend an endoscopy. Your doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube equipped with a light and camera (endoscope) down your throat to examine the inside of your esophagus and stomach. An ambulatory acid (pH) probe test may be ordered. A monitor is placed in your esophagus to identify when, and for how long, stomach acid regurgitates there. An esophageal manometry test measures the rhythmic muscle contractions in your esophagus when you swallow. Or your practitioner may order an X-ray of your upper digestive system taken after you drink a chalky liquid that coats and fills the inside lining of your digestive tract.

How Do You Control GER and GERD?

You may be able to control gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) by not eating or drinking items that may cause GER, such as greasy or spicy foods and alcoholic drinks, not overeating, not eating two to three hours before bedtime, losing weight if you’re overweight or obese, quitting smoking, and avoiding secondhand smoke.

Making lifestyle changes can reduce your GER and GERD symptoms. You should lose weight if needed. Wear loose-fitting clothing around your abdomen because tight clothing can squeeze your stomach area and push acid up into your esophagus. Stay upright for three hours after meals, avoid reclining and slouching when sitting, and sleep on a slight angle by raising the head of your bed six to eight inches. Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke.

Eating, Diet, and Nutrition

You can prevent or relieve your symptoms from gastroesophageal reflux (GER) or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) by changing your diet. You may need to avoid certain foods and drinks that make your symptoms worse. You may need to decrease fatty foods; eat small, frequent meals instead of three large meals; and avoid eating or drinking items that may make GER or GERD worse, like chocolate, coffee, peppermint, greasy or spicy foods, tomatoes and tomato products, and alcoholic drinks.

Instead, eat healthy and balanced amounts of different types of healthy foods to avoid symptoms of GERD. Good choices are berries; melons; bananas; and vegetables such as spinach, kale, bok choy, green beans, and cucumbers. Lean proteins like eggs, chicken, and turkey are good choices, as are healthy fats like olive oil and avocado. Fatty fish, such as salmon and trout, are good choices, as are oats, ginger, aloe vera, and avocados.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation.  Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing ® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health.

The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is a normal response to stress. However, when it becomes hard to control and affects your day-to-day life, it can be disabling. Anxiety disorders affect nearly 1 in 5 adults in the United States. Women are more than twice as likely as men to get an anxiety disorder in their lifetime.

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or fear about an event or situation and is a normal reaction to stress. It helps you stay alert for a challenging situation at work, study harder for an exam, or remain focused on an important speech. In general, it helps you cope.

Unfortunately, anxiety can also be disabling if it interferes with daily life. It can make you dread nonthreatening, day-to-day activities like riding the bus or talking to a coworker. Anxiety can also be a sudden attack of terror when there is no threat.

Physical symptoms may include weakness, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, nausea, upset stomach, and dizziness.

What Are Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety disorders happen when excessive anxiety interferes with your everyday activities, such as going to work or school or spending time with friends or family. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in the United States.

Major Types of Anxiety Disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Those with GAD worry excessively about ordinary day-to-day issues like health, money, work, and family. With GAD, the mind often jumps to the worst-case scenario, even when there is little or no reason to worry. One may have muscle tension and other stress-related physical symptoms, such as trouble sleeping or upset stomach.

Panic Disorder. A panic disorder is diagnosed when someone has sudden attacks of terror when there is no actual danger. Panic attacks may cause a sense of unreality, a fear of impending doom, or a fear of losing control. A fear of one’s own unexplained physical symptoms is also a sign of a panic disorder. People having panic attacks sometimes believe they are having heart attacks, losing their minds, or dying.

Social Phobia. A social phobia, also called social anxiety disorder, is diagnosed when people become very anxious and self-conscious in everyday social situations. People with social phobia have an intense fear of being watched and judged by others. They may get embarrassed easily and often have panic attack symptoms.

Specific Phobia. A specific phobia is an intense fear of something that poses little or no actual danger. Specific phobias could be fears of closed-in spaces, heights, water, objects, animals, or specific situations. People with specific phobias often find that facing, or even thinking about facing, the feared object or situation brings on a panic attack or severe anxiety.

Each anxiety disorder has different symptoms. They all involve fear and dread about things that may happen now or in the future.

Other Conditions That Are Not Considered Anxiety Disorders But Are Similar

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). People with OCD have unwanted thoughts (obsessions) or behaviors (compulsions) that cause anxiety. They may check the oven or iron again and again or perform the same routine over and over to control the anxiety these thoughts cause. Often, the rituals end up controlling the person.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD starts after a scary event that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm. The person who gets PTSD may have been the one who was harmed, or the harm may have happened to a loved one or even a stranger.

How Are Anxiety Disorders Diagnosed?

Your doctor or nurse will ask you questions about your symptoms and your medical history. Your doctor may also do a physical exam or other tests to rule out other health problems that could be causing your symptoms.

Anxiety disorders are diagnosed when fear and dread of non-threatening situations, events, places, or objects become excessive and are uncontrollable. Anxiety disorders are also diagnosed if the anxiety has lasted for at least six months and interferes with social, work, family, or other aspects of daily life.

How Are Anxiety Disorders Treated?

Treatment for anxiety disorders depends on the type of anxiety disorder you have and your personal history of health problems, violence, or abuse.

What If My Anxiety Disorder Comes Back?

Sometimes, symptoms of an anxiety disorder come back after you have finished treatment. This may happen during or after a stressful event. It may also occur without any warning.

You can also talk to your doctor about ways to identify and prevent anxiety from coming back. This may include writing down your feelings, or meeting with your counselor if you think your anxiety is uncontrollable.

Complementary or alternative medicine can also help manage anxiety disorders. Some alternative medicine therapies that may help anxiety are regular physical activity, which raises the level of brain chemicals that control mood and affect anxiety and depression. Studies show meditation may improve anxiety. Regular meditation may help by boosting activity in the area of your brain responsible for feelings of serenity and joy.

How Do Anxiety Disorders Affect Other Health Conditions?

Anxiety disorders may affect other health problems that are common in women, including depression. Anxiety disorders can happen at the same time as depression. When this happens, treatment for both anxiety and depression may not be as effective. IBS symptoms are common in people with anxiety disorders. Worry can make IBS symptoms worse, especially gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms such as upset stomach or gas. GI symptoms can also be stressful and lead to more anxiety. Although treatments for IBS can help treat anxiety, it is important that you treat both conditions.

Anxiety disorders are common in women with certain diseases that cause chronic pain, including rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and migraine.

Anxiety and depression increase the risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death for American women. Anxiety can also make recovery harder after a heart attack or stroke.

Stress and anxiety can trigger asthma attacks, while the shortness of breath and wheezing during asthma attacks can cause anxiety. Studies show that breathing retraining may help asthma control and ease anxiety.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health.

The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo

   Parkinson’s Disease

What Is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease, the second most common disorder of this type after Alzheimer’s disease. It progresses slowly as small clusters of dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain die. The gradual loss of these neurons results in reduction of a critical neurotransmitter called dopamine, a chemical responsible for transmitting messages to parts of the brain that coordinate muscle movement.

Studies have shown that the symptoms of Parkinson’s usually appear when 50 percent or more of the dopamine neurons in the midbrain have been lost. Symptoms begin gradually and typically worsen over time.

How Many People Does Parkinson’s Disease Affect?

It is difficult to know exactly how many people have Parkinson’s disease, but it is estimated that at least 500,000 people in the U.S. currently have the disease. The average age of onset is about 60, and prevalence is increasing as the population ages.

The majority of people diagnosed have late-onset sporadic Parkinson’s, which does not have a clear genetic cause. About 10 percent have early-onset Parkinson’s that often begins before the age of 50. Parkinson’s strikes people of all races, ethnic groups, nationalities, and income levels. Actor Michael J. Fox, singer Linda Ronstadt, former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, and boxer Muhammad Ali, are among the celebrities who lived or are living with Parkinson’s.

What Causes Parkinson’s Disease?

The exact cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown. Most researchers agree that the disease is caused by both genetic and environmental factors, and by interactions among these factors.

A full understanding of Parkinson’s risk requires integrated efforts to study both genetic and environmental factors. If environmental exposures can be identified, it may lead to new targets for prevention and intervention.

What Are the Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease?

Common motor symptoms of Parkinson’s are tremors or shaking in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face, also rigidity or stiffness of limbs and trunk, slowness of movement, and difficulties with balance, speech, and coordination. There are also non-motor symptoms, which may develop years before the onset of motor problems. These may include poor sense of smell, constipation, depression, cognitive impairment, and fatigue.


Accumulating evidence indicates that pesticide exposure is associated with an increased risk for developing Parkinson’s disease. Many animal studies have provided evidence for this, and several human studies are beginning to reveal that some specific pesticides and classes of pesticides may be linked to Parkinson’s.

Organochlorine insecticides comprise the pesticide class most commonly associated with the disease. Most of these chemicals were banned in the 1970s and 1980s, but because their chemical structures resist breakdown, they can remain in the environment and food chain for a long time. The organochlorine class includes pesticides like DDT, used for mosquito control, and dieldrin, used for termites.

A study published in 2011 by NIEHS (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) researchers and collaborators at the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center in Sunnyvale, Calif., showed a link between the occupational use of two pesticides, rotenone and paraquat, and Parkinson’s. People who reported use of either pesticide developed the disease 2.5 times more often than nonusers did.

Rotenone directly inhibits the function of mitochondria, the structures that create energy to run the cell, while paraquat increases production within cells of certain damaging oxygen derivatives. People who used other pesticides with a similar mechanism of action were also more likely to develop Parkinson’s.

Dietary Factors

Both in-house researchers and grantees are continuing to explore the role that diet and lifestyle play in the onset, progression, and treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

How much fat a person consumes in their diet is one area under study. Unfortunately, the findings over the years have been inconsistent. However, in a new study, NIEHS researchers and their collaborators discovered that some fats in a person’s diet may be associated with lower risk for Parkinson’s.

Researchers are also exploring the role of vitamin D deficiency in the development of Parkinson’s. Vitamin D, which can enter the body through food or sunlight, plays an important role in maintaining good balance and muscle strength, and in protecting the body from infections and diseases. Researchers are looking into if working outdoors may help reduce the risk of Parkinson’s.

Another dietary component under study is the possible role of caffeine in the onset and progression of Parkinson’s. Animal studies have shown that caffeine can protect the brain’s dopaminergic neurons, indicating caffeine may reduce the risk of the disease. Researchers also looked at data from a large sample of older Americans, and found that higher caffeine intake was associated with lower risk of Parkinson’s in both men and women. A collaborative study found that coffee consumption may be more protective among individuals with one genotype as compared to individuals with another genotype.


NIEHS in-house researchers have shown that exercise may protect against Parkinson’s disease. In a large population of U.S. older adults, higher levels of moderate to vigorous physical activity in midlife were associated with lower risk of Parkinson’s.

Exercise may also benefit patients with the disease, by improving balance and reducing depression, and increasing overall quality of life. For example, a recent study found that tai chi training in patients with mild to moderate Parkinson’s improved balance and reduced falls.

Identifying Symptoms

Identifying premotor symptoms that may occur years before the disease sets in is one new area of research that NIEHS is pursuing. By thinking of Parkinson’s as a systemic illness that takes decades to develop, researchers will be better poised to understand the cause of the disease and its initial progression. Some of the early warning indicators of premotor symptoms include constipation, loss of smell, excessive daytime sleepiness, mood or anxiety disorders, and sleep disorders. Many of these symptoms may occur years before Parkinson’s disease is diagnosed. Although it is difficult to identify a single early symptom that is specifically tied to the disease, researchers are working to identify whether a combination of symptoms may help characterize high-risk populations.

Free Consultation

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing ® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health.

The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that affects the bronchial tubes. Your bronchial tubes carry air into and out of your lungs. When you breathe, your lungs take in oxygen. The oxygen travels through your bloodstream to all parts of your body.

In people who have asthma, the lungs and walls of the bronchial tubes become inflamed and oversensitive. When people with asthma breathe in “asthma triggers,” such as smoke, air pollution, cold air, mold, or chemicals, the bronchial tubes tighten in response. This limits airflow and makes it difficult to breathe. Asthma triggers may be different for each person and may change over time.

Who Gets Asthma?

Before age 15, asthma affects more boys than girls. After age 15, asthma is more common among girls and women than among boys and men. Researchers believe the hormones estrogen and progesterone might affect women’s airways. Changing hormone levels throughout the menstrual cycle and during pregnancy and menopause may affect airways in women with asthma.

Some women are more at risk for asthma.

Asthma is more likely to affect Puerto Rican and African-American women than women of other racial and ethnic groups; also, women who live in cities, especially in low-income areas. Air pollution, indoor allergens (such as cockroaches), and tobacco smoke are more common in urban, low-income areas.

How Does Asthma Affect Women?

Women may experience more asthma symptoms than men. Women with asthma go to the hospital for asthma treatment more often and use more quick-relief or “rescue” medicines than men use.

Women with asthma report more trouble sleeping and have more anxiety than men with asthma have.

Women’s lungs are smaller than men’s lungs. This may make women more sensitive to asthma triggers and make it harder for women to breathe during an asthma attack.

What Are the Symptoms of Asthma?

Wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness are symptoms of asthma.

You may have only one or two of these symptoms, or you may have all of them. You may also get asthma symptoms only at night or in cold weather, or after exposure to allergens or other triggers when you have a cold or are exercising.

How is Asthma Diagnosed?

Asthma can be difficult to diagnose. The symptoms can be similar to those of other conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, bronchitis, anxiety disorders, and heart disease. Your practitioner will ask what triggers your symptoms; they may also ask about your health history, do a physical exam, and ask about your daily habits. In addition, what types of allergens or irritants might be in your workplace or home.

Your practitioner may also do tests. Spirometry is a test, using a machine called a spirometer, that measures how much air you can breathe. It also measures how fast you can blow air out. Bronchoprovocation is when stress is put on your lungs while you are exercising or breathing, in increasing doses of a special chemical or cold air.

Your practitioner may want to also test for other problems that might be causing symptoms. These include sleep apnea, vocal cord problems, or stomach acid backing up into the throat.

How is Asthma Treated?

Asthma is a chronic disease. However, some people are able to manage asthma so that symptoms do not happen again or only occur rarely.

You can take steps to control asthma and prevent problems by working with your practitioner to set up and follow a personal asthma action plan and staying away from your asthma triggers.

What are Common Asthma Triggers?

What triggers one person’s asthma may not trigger another person’s asthma. Common triggers include tobacco smoke, animal urine, saliva, and dander. Dust mites, cockroaches, air pollution, mold, pollens, fragrances (including personal care products, lotions, and candles), physical activity, cold air, wood smoke, preservatives in alcohol called “sulfites,” and certain chemicals in cleaning products or other types of chemicals you might use at work or at home.

You may not want to use household products with chemical irritants and stick with “fragrance-free” products if fragrances trigger your asthma. Keep cockroaches away. Clean up food spills and clutter right away. Seal cracks that cockroaches and other pests can get through. Vacuum once a week. If you can, use a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. Dust with a damp cloth to trap dust mites. Stay away from pet dander. If pet dander triggers asthma, keep your pet out of your bedroom and regularly vacuum areas where they spend time. Do not smoke. Do not allow anyone to smoke inside your home or car. Wash off allergens or pollutants. Shower after going outside so that you wash off any allergens or pollution. Wash bedding in hot water regularly to kill dust mites.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing ® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

& Nutritional Healing Center

Alzheimer’s disease is an age-related brain disorder that gradually destroys a person’s ability to remember, think, learn, and carry out even simple tasks. “Dementia” describes a variety of diseases and conditions that damage brain cells and impair brain function, which includes Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia and accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases. It is often difficult to distinguish among the different types of dementias because some of the change processes in the brain are similar to other forms of dementia.

The terms “dementia” and “Alzheimer’s” should not be used interchangeably. The two conditions are not the same. Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia.

Dementia is a broader term for conditions with symptoms relating to memory loss, such as forgetfulness and confusion. Dementia includes more specific conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury, and others with related symptoms. Other types of dementia are vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB), mixed dementia, frontotemporal dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease, normal pressure hydrocephalus, Huntington’s disease, and Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. 

Cognition and Aging

Our brain health and our thinking and reasoning abilities, called cognition, may decline as we get older. Changes are gradual and vary from no change to small changes (mild cognitive impairment) or severe changes (dementia).

Most agree that the components of good brain health include: language, thought, memory, ability to plan and carry out tasks, judgment, attention, perception, remembered skills, the ability to live a purposeful life.

Some people never develop a serious decline in cognitive function, and not all who develop mild cognitive impairment develop dementia.

Possible Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. Memory problems are typically one of the first warning signs of cognitive loss. According to the National Institute on Aging, in addition to memory problems, someone with Alzheimer’s disease may experience other symptoms such as memory loss that disrupts daily life, getting lost in a familiar place, or repeating questions. They may also have trouble handling money and paying bills; have difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure; have decreased or poor judgment; misplace things and are unable to retrace steps to find them; and changes in mood, personality, or behavior.

If you or someone you know has several or even most of the signs listed above, it does not mean that you or they have Alzheimer’s disease.

Some causes for these symptoms, such as depression and drug interactions, are reversible. However, they can be serious and should be identified and treated by a healthcare provider.

Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias

The causes of Alzheimer’s disease are not currently known, but research suggests a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors may contribute and affect each individual differently. The most recognized risk factor for developing cognitive decline and dementia is advancing age. According to the National Institute on Aging, the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease doubles every five years after age 65, and the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia increases dramatically after age 80.

Alzheimer’s Stages

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, which means the symptoms will gradually worsen over time. Alzheimer’s is broken down into seven stages:

Stage 1—There are no symptoms at this stage, but there might be an early diagnosis based on family history.

Stage 2—The earliest symptoms appear, such as forgetfulness.

Stage 3—Mild physical and mental impairments appear, such as reduced memory and concentration. These may only be noticeable by someone very close to the person.

Stage 4—Alzheimer’s is often diagnosed at this stage, but is still considered mild. Memory loss and the inability to perform everyday tasks are evident.

Stage 5—Moderate to severe symptoms require help from loved ones or caregivers.

Stage 6—At this stage, a person with Alzheimer’s may need help with basic tasks, such as eating and putting on clothes.

Stage 7—This is the most severe and final stage of Alzheimer’s. There may be a loss of speech and facial expressions.

As a person progresses through these stages, they will need increasing support from a caregiver.

Who has Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias?

Experts estimate that more than 5.5 million Americans may have Alzheimer’s disease. More than 90 percent of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia cases occur in people age 60 and older. A small number of people, age 30 to 60 years, develop “early-onset” Alzheimer’s disease. This “early-onset” form of the disease often runs in families.

In American communities, only about half of the people who would meet the criteria for Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias have been diagnosed. In addition, there is a higher incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia among Blacks and Hispanics compared to non-Hispanic Whites.

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates 14 million Americans will have Alzheimer’s disease by 2050, with many more affected by other forms of dementia.

Prevention and Treatment

Currently, there are no medications that definitively prevent, treat, or cure these conditions, and medical professionals are unable to diagnose the disease before symptoms occur.

Scientists are evaluating whether strategies like exercise, changes in food habits, maintaining relationships with friends and family, or “brain games” can prevent or slow Alzheimer’s disease or related conditions. These activities also could improve quality of life for the person with memory loss and the care partner. The medical field is still learning about this disease, and health professionals’ knowledge and understanding continues to grow as research, technology, and clinical practices evolve.

Treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia addresses several different areas: helping people maintain mental function, managing behavioral symptoms, and slowing or delaying the symptoms of the disease.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of illness or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

This Is My Story

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic

This year marked my 35th anniversary practicing chiropractic and 13 years using Nutritional Response Testing NRT® in Maryland.

After graduating from National University of Health Science, I started my private practice in Crofton, Maryland, in 1984. I continued my postgraduate training and was awarded as a Fellow of the International Academy Clinical Acupuncture, a Fellow of the American Association of Integrative Medicine, and a Diplomate of the American Academy of Pain Management. I served on the medical team for the 1996 Track and Field Olympic Team and as a treating doctor on the U.S Greatest Athlete Decathlon Club in the 2004 Olympic trial. I have also served as the treating chiropractor for the Ballet Theater of Maryland, the only professional Ballet Company in the State. Along the way, I have taken care of many professional athletes, celebrities, and politicians. I was at the height of my career until misfortune struck and resulted in the very reason I got into NRT®

It all began on December 16, 2006. It was the holiday season and our office was very hectic. I was busy treating patients, trying to close the books for the year-end taxes and getting ready for two big Christmas parties at my house, with 50-70 guests. I had no time for lunch and just grabbed a bite to eat from whatever patients brought in—mainly cookies and chocolates.

On that Tuesday afternoon around 4:00 p.m., I broke out in a cold sweat, felt shaky, and experienced vertigo right in the middle of treating a patient. I ran to the bathroom, throwing up, and returned to finish treating the patient. This went on for about an hour, and I finally could not do that anymore. We had to cancel all the patients in the next two hours, and I asked my chiropractic assistant, Tony, to take my blood pressure. It was 190/165, my pulse was 90, and my temperature was normal.

He drove me to my family doctor who tried to stop my vertigo and vomiting with pills and shots, but had no success. The doctor finally gave me a shot to knock me out, and he asked Tony to drive me home. My doctor tried very hard to help me out and had spent over an hour past their closing time. I was thankful and appreciated that very much. They had been our family physicians since 1984, and we were lucky to have them; they are friendly and open-minded.

Just about a week before this, I had bragged about never missing a day of work because of illness or injuries. Now I had to miss two days in a row. For the next two months, I went through a healing journey, with which some of you can identify. First, I saw a neurologist who could not find anything wrong with me. My blood pressure was back to normal, with no medication. I had an MRI to rule out cancer or a stroke, which came back normal.

Next, I visited an ENT specialist who found I had slight hearing loss in my left ear. All the bloodwork came back normal, and he did not know what caused the vertigo. The next stop was the urologist. The PSA was slightly high, but the digital exam and biopsy was normal. A scheduled visit to the GI doctor and a colonoscopy revealed twelve polyps, but none of them were cancerous.

In the meantime, between medical doctor visits, I was seeing three different chiropractic colleagues. They gave me a variety of treatments, including activator adjustment, manual manipulation, cold laser, and nutrition and diet modification. After all the medical testing, the doctors could still not find the cause of my vertigo. Interestingly, a chiropractic evaluation revealed I had a virus in left ear, malfunctioning kidneys, parasites, adrenal fatigue, and multiple food allergies. All of these came from eating too much sugar and my stressed out body just could not handle it, resulting in an immune system breakdown. I did try acupuncture and some herbal remedies, which did not help at all. While the cold laser helped to eliminate the symptom of vertigo, diet change and nutrition support were the proper treatment for me and got to the root of the problem.

After two months of medical testing and alternative care, I lost ten pounds and felt about 80-90 percent better. I started playing tennis again, but had lost the stamina, quickness, and finesse. Therefore, I continued searching for a better answer and went through many seminars. Finally, I attended Dr. Ulan’s Nutrition Response Testing Seminar and found it to be what I needed. The program is simple, easy to follow, thorough, and relatively inexpensive.

Nutritional Response Testing allows me to pinpoint the cause of your problem with laser sharp accuracy and provide you with your personalized, specific nutrition evaluation. If five patients come in with symptoms and diagnosis of hypothyroidism, each one of them may have a different treatment program; it depends on the cause.

Since I have been on the NRT® Program, I regained my quickness and stamina on the tennis court. I started to win games and matches again. As my opponents have said, “He is back!” Since being in Frederick, I have become quite an opponent on the pickleball court as well!

I sold the practice in Crofton last December to concentrate on my practice in Frederick, which I started in March 2017, as I semi-retired with my wife to Thurmont. We enjoy the slower pace of life in this area, In my spare time, I discovered pickleball and play up to six or seven times a week. When not playing pickleball, I enjoy working out and swimming at the YMCA in downtown Frederick. On the weekends, my wife and I enjoy eating out at local restaurants and hiking a couple of miles in the mountains near our home with our dog.

Life is good, but nothing gives me more pleasure and satisfaction than seeing my patients and helping them achieve their optimal health, especially with the conditions their own doctors could not help them with or diagnose. When I figure out the cause of my patients’ ill health and find out what nutritional supplements and diet changes can help them, their body begins healing itself and they begin the journey to regaining their health and feeling better.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation.  Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing ® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health.

The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

Ask Dr. Lo: Why Can’t I Sleep? ‘

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. If you have insomnia, you may have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. As a result, you may get too little sleep or have poor-quality sleep. You also may not feel refreshed when you wake up.

Is My Insomnia Acute or Chronic?

Insomnia can be acute (short-term) or chronic (ongoing). Acute insomnia is common and often brought on by situations such as stress at work, family pressures, or a traumatic event. Acute insomnia lasts for days or weeks.

Chronic insomnia lasts for a month or longer. Most cases of chronic insomnia are secondary, which means it is the symptom or side effect of some other problem. Certain medical conditions, medicines, and substances can cause secondary insomnia.

In contrast, primary insomnia is not due to medical problems, medicines, or other substances. It is its own distinct disorder, and its cause is not that well understood. Many life changes can trigger primary insomnia, including long-lasting stress and emotional upset.

Digging Deeper into Secondary Insomnia

Secondary insomnia is the symptom or side effect of another problem. It is often a symptom of an emotional, neurological, or other medical disorder. Some examples of emotional disorders are depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Examples of neurological disorders are Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Many other disorders or factors can cause insomnia like conditions that cause chronic pain, conditions that make it hard to breathe, an overactive thyroid, as well as gastrointestinal disorders, stroke, restless legs syndrome, and sleep-related breathing problems.  Menopause and hot flashes can also cause insomnia.

It can also be a side effect of some medicines like certain asthma medicines, allergy and cold medicines, and beta-blockers.

Commonly used substances like caffeine, stimulants, tobacco, alcohol, and sedatives can also cause insomnia.

Treating the underlying cause of secondary insomnia may resolve or improve the sleep problem, especially if you can correct the problem soon after it starts.

Primary Insomnia

Primary insomnia is not a symptom or side effect of another medical condition. It is its own distinct disorder, and its cause is not well understood. Primary insomnia usually lasts for at least one month.

Many life changes can trigger primary insomnia. It may be due to major or long-lasting stress or an emotional upset. Travel and work schedules that disrupt your sleep routine also may trigger primary insomnia.

Even if these issues are resolved, the insomnia may not go away. Trouble sleeping can persist because of habits formed to deal with the lack of sleep.

Who is Affected by Insomnia?

Insomnia is a common disorder. It affects women more often than men. The disorder can occur at any age. However, older adults are more likely to have insomnia than younger people.

People who might be at an increased risk for insomnia include those who have lower incomes, work at night or have frequent major shifts in their work schedules, and those who travel often across time zones and have an inactive lifestyle.

Young and middle-aged African Americans also might be at increased risk for insomnia. Research shows that, compared with Caucasian Americans, it takes African Americans longer to fall asleep. They also have lighter sleep, do not sleep as well, and take more naps. Sleep-related breathing problems also are more common among African Americans.

Sleep History

To get a better sense of your sleep problem, your doctor will ask you for details about your sleep habits. Before your visit, think about how to describe your problems. Some things to think about is how often you have trouble sleeping and how long you’ve had the problem, what time you go to bed and get up on workdays and days off, how long it takes you to fall asleep, how often you are wake up at night, and how long it takes to fall back asleep. Also, think about whether you snore loudly and often or wake up gasping or feeling out of breath, how refreshed you feel when you wake up, and how tired you feel during the day and how often you doze off or have trouble staying awake during routine tasks, especially driving. 

To find out what’s causing or worsening your insomnia, your doctor may ask you more questions. Are you worried about falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting enough sleep; what do you eat or drink and do you take medicines before going to bed; what routine you follow before going to bed, what the noise level, lighting, and temperature are like where you sleep; and what distractions, such as a TV or computer, are in your bedroom.

To help your doctor, consider keeping a sleep diary for one or two weeks. Write down when you go to sleep, wake up, and take naps. (For example, you might note that you went to bed at 10:00 p.m.; woke up at 3:00 a.m. and could not fall back asleep; napped after work for two hours.) Also, write down how much you sleep each night, as well as how sleepy you feel throughout the day.

Lifestyle Changes

If you have insomnia, you may want to avoid substances that make it worse, such as caffeine, tobacco, and other stimulants. The effects of these substances can last as long as eight hours.

Be aware of certain over-the-counter and prescription medicines that can disrupt sleep. Know that an alcoholic drink before bedtime might make it easier for you to fall asleep. However, alcohol triggers sleep that tends to be lighter than normal. This makes it more likely that you will wake up during the night.

Try to adopt bedtime habits that make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. Follow a routine that helps you wind down and relax before bed. For example, read a book, listen to soothing music, or take a hot bath. Try to schedule your daily exercise at least 5 to 6 hours before going to bed. Try not to eat heavy meals or drink a lot before bedtime.

Make your bedroom sleep-friendly. Avoid bright lighting while winding down. Try to limit possible distractions, such as a TV, computer, or pet. Make sure the temperature of your bedroom is cool and comfortable. Your bedroom also should be dark and quiet.

Go to sleep around the same time each night and wake up around the same time each morning, even on weekends. If you can, avoid night shifts, alternating schedules, or other things that may disrupt your sleep schedule.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing ® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at