Back pain comes in many forms and behaves quite differently from person to person. Treatments can vary from manual therapy to psychological. As a Denver chiropractor, my job is to figure out why a person is having back pain and figure out the best approach for that particular person. Each problem with the spine may require a unique approach, depending on the cause, which in some cases may be due to a vitamin D deficiency.

When treating a particular person, I believe a holistic approach is best suited for the most favorable outcomes. This approach must take into account all health related factors, including dietary and supplementation. Spinal related pain can come from a multitude of issues, further necessitating a holistic approach, these can include; long term muscles imbalances, degenerative joints, scoliosis, trauma, excessive regular postural stress, genetic factors, poor movement patterns, excessive phone and computer use, dietary choices, and as it shows in the literature, is related to Vitamin D deficiency (1,2,3,4)

Back pain is currently an epidemic, and the treatment of it is not so simple and straight forward. Attacking back pain from my perspective should encompass the possibility of a Vitamin D deficiency. The “sunshine” vitamin is lacking in most people, and in part is determined by your ethnic origin and lifestyle. Most people are stuck indoors during the prime hours of sun exposure needed to make Vitamin D. Another large factor is that when people are outside that they cover themselves in sunscreen, thus preventing the bodies manufacture of Vitamin D. Estimates (5) range  from 41.6 % to 82.1% of people are deficient in Vitamin D, and some studies have much higher numbers of people being deficient or insufficient.

The best way to determine if your Vitamin D serum levels are low is to have a blood test. This is an inexpensive test and can help determine how much supplementation is needed. Supplementation has been shown to decrease and in some cases completely alleviate back pain (6).

1. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2003 Jan 15;28(2):177-9.
2. Scand J Prim Health Care. 2011 Mar; 29(1): 4–5.
3. BMJ. 2005 Jul 9; 331(7508): 109.
4. Curr Rheumatol Rev. 2013;9(1):63-7.
5.  Nutr Res. 2011 Jan;31(1):48-54. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2010.12.001.
6. June 2008 issue of the journal Pain and Treatment Topics.

Trent Artichoker MS, DC
Doctor of Chiropractic

Denver Chiropractic, LLC
3890 Federal Blvd Unit 1
Denver, CO 80211


By Nathan Seppa, Science News

A large survey of postmenopausal women has found that fish oil may guard against breast cancer. Although the study wasn’t designed to show a cause-and-effect relationship, it sets the stage for an upcoming trial of fish oil consumption that may clarify the issue.

Meanwhile, 14 other over-the-counter dietary supplements had their hopes dashed, showing no apparent benefit against breast cancer, researchers report in the July Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

While other studies have found that fish oil supplements or a diet high in fish shows promise against cardiovascular ailments, (SN: 2/15/97, p. 101) the new study is the first to suggest a link between fish oil and a lower risk of breast cancer, says study coauthor Emily White, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

White and her colleagues used data from a massive survey of women in western Washington who filled out questionnaires between 2000 and 2002 regarding their diet, supplement intake, exercise habits and overall health and lifestyle. The analysis included more than 35,000 postmenopausal women ages 50 to 76 who didn’t have breast cancer at the study outset. By the end of 2007, 880 of these women had developed breast cancer.

Women who reported taking fish oil at the start of the study were roughly half as likely to develop ductal carcinoma of the breast, the most common form of breast cancer, during the follow-up years. Women taking fish oil showed no reduced risk of the less-common lobular breast cancer.

The scientists accounted for factors that might have influenced the women’s cancer risk such as age, body weight, fruit and vegetable consumption, aspirin use, smoking status, age at which they first gave birth and age at menarche.

“It seems to me that this is not a fluke or a false positive finding, as least with respect to the methods — it’s pretty solid work,” says Timothy Rebbeck, an epidemiologist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. “Short of a randomized trial, this is as about as well as you can do. This is really something that has to be followed up.”

Researchers at Harvard Medical School are now beginning a five-year randomized trial of 20,000 people to examine the effects of fish oil and vitamin D on the risks of cancer, heart disease and other ills.

Other supplements showed no anticancer benefit in the new study. These included glucosamine, chondroitin, grapeseed, black cohosh, soy, dong quai, St. John’s wort, coenzyme Q10, garlic pills, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, melatonin, acidophilus and methylsulfonylmethane.

How fish oil might prevent cancer remains unknown, but inflammation — linked to cancer in many studies — may play a central role. Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which impede a compound called nuclear factor kappa-B, White notes. “Fish oil inhibits this major inflammatory molecule,” she says.


By Mary Brophy Marcus, USA TODAY

Improved living and diet habits — including lots of physical activity, regular tea-drinking and sufficient vitamin D levels — could reduce the risk of brain decline, according to three studies presented Sunday.
“These are encouraging,” says William Thies, chief medical and scientific officer of the Alzheimer’s Association. “These types of studies make people think, ‘Well gosh, maybe I can do something about this disease.’ “

The studies were presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Honolulu.

One of the studies is from the Framingham, Mass., cardiovascular risk study, in which researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, among others, tracked more than 1,200 elderly people over 20 years, 242 of whom developed dementia.

The researchers found that participants who had moderate to heavy levels of physical activity had about a 40% lower risk of developing any type of dementia. Those who reported the least amount of activity were 45% more likely to develop dementia compared with those who logged higher levels of activity.

In a second study, including data on more than 4,800 men and women ages 65 and older, participants were followed for up to 14 years. Tea drinkers had less mental decline than non-tea drinkers. Those who drank tea one to four times a week had average annual rates of decline 37% lower than people who didn’t drink tea.

Coffee didn’t show any influence except at the highest levels of consumption, researchers say. Author Lenore Arab of UCLA says, “Interestingly, the observed associations are unlikely to be related to caffeine, which is present in coffee at levels two to three times higher than in tea.”

In a third study, British researchers looked at vitamin D’s effect on brain health. They examined data from 3,325 U.S. adults ages 65 and older from the NHANES III study. Vitamin D levels were measured by blood test, and cognitive tests were administered. Odds of cognitive impairment were about 42% higher in those deficient in vitamin D, and 394% higher in people severely deficient.

“Vitamin D is neuro-protective in a number of ways, including the protection of the brain’s blood supply and the clearance of toxins,” says author David Llewellyn of the University of Exeter Peninsula Medical School.

“More and more studies are suggesting that lifestyle changes may be able to silence the expression of risk genes, a phenomenon called epigenetics,” says Duke University’s Murali Doraiswamy, an expert on aging. He says learning how to tap into that is going to be a high priority.

A new review came out recently on August 10th supporting the cardiovascular benefits of omega 3 fatty acids. The benefit extends to everyone, and not just people with cardio issues.

This is why the omega 3’s are one of my favorite supplements that I recommend to patients. Everyone can benefit! The omega 3 unsaturated fatty acid is an essential fat. This means that our bodies need this fat, and to boot, our bodies are unable to produce this essential fat.

So, if you are not eating foods containing omega 3’s; such as, walnuts, salmon, or flax seed you could develop unhealthy conditions. The standard American diet (SAD) is very deficient in omega 3’s, and instead very high in omega 6’s. The omega 6’s and 3’s compete with each other to be turned into other compounds that have very important biological significance. If the ratio of 6’s to 3’s is off then problems arise in the body and are manifested. The typical diet has a ratio of 10:1 of 6’s to 3’s which is a big problem as our correct ratio should be 1:1.

Health benefits of omega 3’s; include,
1. stimulation of blood circulation
2. reduce blood pressure
3. reduce triglyceride levels
4. reduce risk of primary and secondary heart attacks
5. decrease symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
6. improve cardiac arrhythmias
7. helpful in depression
8. helpful in anxiety
9. reduce risk of stroke
10. anti-cancer effects
11. decrease atherosclerosis
12. improved immune maturation
13. protect from memory loss
14. improved behavior in children
15. neuroprotective effects

If you are not eating foods containing omega 3’s, you should be supplementing with doses around 500-1000mg. Your dose is specific to gender, age, health status, and diet so it is wise to speak with your doctor about dosage recommendations.

To Your Health,

Dr. Trent Artichoker MS, DC

Denver Chiropractic, LLC
3890 Federal Blvd Unit 1
Denver, CO 80211

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