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News in Brief
Patriot Project: Serving Those Who Served; CTCA Chiropractor Receives Clinical Innovation Award.
Managing Hallux Hypomobility Disorders (Part 2)
In part one of this series we discussed the unique properties and significance of the first toe in the propulsive phase of gait. In particular, we discussed the importance of the first metatarsophalangeal joint (MPJ).
Gallop Confidently Into The New Year
Happy New Year! As you may know, this is the year of the Wooden Horse. I received a wonderful gift for Christmas. It is a beautiful glass sculpture of a horse, by Luili Gong Fong, a Chinese artist.
Grape Seed Extract: A Multifaceted Herb for Promoting Healthy Circulation
One of my favorite herbs is grape seed. Modern research has identified some intriguing health benefits attributable to the seed of this ancient fruit. I particularly use grape seed as an extract standardized for OPCs (oligomeric procyanidins).
The Power of Words: DCs Share Drug-Free Approach
There's no doubt that words are powerful and important – especially in the chiropractic profession, where we have been struggling for years to find the right words to describe who we are and what we do.
Giving Testosterone Levels a Boost (Part 3)
Since testosterone and insulin status are inversely correlated, it's important to keep insulin low so testosterone will remain high.
Gaining an Independent Occupational Code with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
One of the most important national activities currently taking place in relation to the development of the field of AOM profession is the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) revision of the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system.
Peer Points: Spreading The Word
Pedram Shojai describes his venture into Traditional Chinese Medicine as a journey led by various "mystical experiences." Shojai decided to change the course of his career when he looked deeper into the basics of TCM.
Eucommia Bark Helps Maintain Strong Bones
Eucommia bark is a major tonic herb used in Asia, and now throughout the world, that supports and helps mend the skeletal structure and its related tissues. Eucommia bark is collected from Eucommia ulmoides trees that are more than 10 years old.
An Alternate Method For Choosing The Right Formula For Your Patients
A constant question for us in the clinic is when to make adjustments and when to stay the course. A patient comes in and says, "Things are the same as last week."
Acupuncture Ambassadors: A Chat with Leader Anthony M. Giovanniello, MSAc,LAc
When you first meet Anthony Giovanniello, you realize he's a humble practitioner, yet is bursting with a type of dedication that you can't help but be overwhelmingly inspired by.
Embracing the Light
Four years, ago I was diagnosed with a labral tear in my hip that was excruciating and "required surgery" according to an orthopedic surgeon. I tried everything and although the symptoms had mostly abated, I had to give up Yoga practice and everything that could exacerbate the tear.
Using Facial and Scalp Acupuncture To Treat Neuromuscular Facial Conditions
As a practitioner and instructor of facial rejuvenation acupuncture I have gotten many calls over the past 10 years from individuals seeking help for various conditions affecting the facial muscles, nerves, and overall function of the face.
Weighing in on Weight Loss
If your practice trends anything like the U.S. population, you are probably noticing over two-thirds of your patients could benefit from weight reduction, particularly if their main complaints include chronic back or joint pain.
The Deficiency Myth
If you went to the same kind of medical school I did and took the same kind of licensing exam I took, you were trained to seek out and expect to find primary deficiencies here in the U.S.
Qigong to Empower Our Youth
Qigong is an ancient form of exercise and meditation used to promote longevity and health. This practice has traditionally been used by adults to balance the body through mindfulness, focused breathing and gentle movements.
Ever Heard of the Lateral Raphé?
We have all had acute patients enter our offices listing laterally to the side at the level of the lumbar spine or expressing pain on lateral lumbar bending.
Preserving the Natural Resources and Culture of Chinese Herbal Medicine
As the world experiences unprecedented population growth and ever-increasing ecological pressures, the topic of preserving Chinese medicine's natural resources has attracted steadily increasing attention from practitioners.
Asymmetrical Pronation: Effect on Adjustments
When your patients don't respond as well as expected to their chiropractic adjustments, oftentimes there is a source of interference in the pedal foundation – asymmetrical pronation.
Don't Believe It
One of our staff came into my office last week, very concerned about an article she had just read on a news media website. The article suggested researchers found "no health benefits" associated with taking multivitamins.
The Importance of Staying Focused
Our world is so full of over stimulation and constant information. We live in a fast paced, ever-changing society. If you seek you will receive.
Diagnosing Flexion-Intolerant Lower Back Pain (Part 2): Exercise Rehab
One of the things that has puzzled us for years is the presentation of the flexion-intolerant patient. We have realized there is a large overlap with sacroiliac indicators. In acute lumbar pain, the SI often twists, subluxes, goes haywire.
The Urinary Bladder Official
The Bladder Official is known as the Official Who Controls the Storage of Water. In Western medical terms, this organ collects the urine excreted by the kidneys.
Common Disorders of the Temporomandibular Joint
The evaluation and management of craniofacial pain is a complex endeavor, which often encompasses the presence of temporomandibular joint disorders.
VA Names Sites for Pilot Chiropractic Residency Program
The Veterans Administration has announced the five VA medical facilities that will serve as initial sites for the administration's recently established pilot chiropractic residency program.
August, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 08
The Natural Effects of Melatonin
By John Upledger, DO, OMM
As manual therapists, it's vital that we continue to study the human organism - inside and out - to fully understand our role in helping individuals achieve optimal health and well-being.As part of that quest, I've been researching a helpful natural chemical called melatonin. This lipophilic indole, chemically known as 5-methoxy-N-acetyl-tryptamine, is a derivative of serotonin, which in turn is derived from the amino acid tryptophan.
Until recently, researchers thought melatonin was secreted only by the pineal gland. Since it was synthesized within and secreted by a gland, it became known as a hormone. Scientists have also speculated that melatonin was only secreted at night and primarily to induce sleep, and that artificial light could reduce the amount of melatonin secreted by the pineal gland. Since then, we've learned a lot more about the powers of melatonin. Yes, it's confirmed: The pineal gland is a major source of melatonin, which does indeed induce sleep. And yes, when the eyes take in artificial light, sleep is somewhat inhibited.
About 30 years ago we discovered that the appendix also generously synthesizes and secretes melatonin, which suggested that appendectomies might reduce melatonin levels. We've since found out that melatonin is also produced by the intestines, the fundus of the stomach, the testes, the spinal cord, the raphe nuclei of the brain stem, and the striatum areas of the brain. We now also understand that a significant amount of melatonin is synthesized within the body cells. Many of these melatonin molecules do not even leave their cells of origin, but instead remain inside them to protect them from being damaged by oxygen and nitrogen radicals and other toxicants.
You might even call melatonin a "double whammy" protector. After it neutralizes damaging reactive species, the metabolites that are produced in the process are even more effective at protecting the cells than the original melatonin molecules. In general, melatonin seems especially protective of DNA inside the nuclei and mitochondria. It also protects cell-membrane lipids and cytosol-contained proteins.
Personally, I believe every cell in our body contains some melatonin, whether it was produced in that cell or, less likely, entered through extracellular body fluids. Yet there are also other sites in the body with high levels of melatonin. The level of melatonin in the bile of the liver and gallbladder exceeds that of the blood and bone marrow. And the level of melatonin in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is much higher than that of the blood. In the CSF, melatonin is greatest in and around the third ventricle of the brain, probably because of the pineal-gland secretions. CSF melatonin levels are also greater at night, as is the pineal gland's production of melatonin. It's also interesting to note that the fluid in the Graafian follicle is higher than the blood level of melatonin.
Now let's look at some of the positive effects melatonin offers in specific dis-ease processes. Probably most important at this time is the fact that melatonin reduces degenerative activities in the brain, spinal cord and spinal nerve roots. Degeneration of these nerve tissues and cells often occur from the effects of reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species, as well as excessive or prolonged inflammation.
Beta amyloid peptides (BAP) are metabolic byproducts of the degradation of amyloid precursor proteins (APP). When these proteins (which are normally part of cell membranes) are metabolized as they wear out and lose their functional abilities, they break down into BAP. When these peptides aren't effectively cleared away by the natural flushing of CranioSacral Therapy (CST) or other fluid-moving techniques, they can form plaques and tangles that cause neuronal dysfunction and death. The result? Increased tissue inflammation that leads to cerebral and/or spinal cord degeneration. The name of any resulting disease depends on the location of the degeneration. When it takes place in the hippocampus and cerebral forebrain, it's called Alzheimer's disease. When it takes place in the lower aspect of the brain (the substantia nigra), it's called Parkinson's disease.
Melatonin helps by neutralizing BAP to keep the peptides from forming disease-producing plaques and tangles. It also removes metals that may be involved in the plaques and tangles. These metals include cobalt (often found at higher levels with Alzheimer's disease) and aluminum. Occasionally, high levels of iron may damage the brain or spinal cord, while excessive copper may affect the central nervous system (CNS) in a similar way. Melatonin removes excess iron and copper as needed.
On the opposite side of the fence, melatonin may link up with zinc. This combination seems to enhance thymus-gland function and the whole immune system secondarily. When CNS neurons have been damaged, melatonin also promotes the production of neuronal growth factor, which may help reestablish neuronal circuits that have been injured or interrupted. (I have also had success dialoging with stem cells and getting them to replace damaged or dead neurons as needed.)
Other conditions I believe to be helped by melatonin: stroke damage; damage due to ionizing radiation; diabetic neuropathy; heavy-metal toxicities; non-metallic toxicities; viral infections; seizures; excitotoxicities; homocysteine damage; ischemic damage; reperfusion injury; degenerative CNS diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, senility and so on.
From a therapeutic perspective, I've found the following tactics helpful in enhancing melatonin effectiveness:
* I administer these in divided doses as tolerated by the client. Please note: The information presented here is strictly intended for educational purposes only, and is not to be construed as medical advice.
By continuing to explore the valuable role of melatonin in our bodies and by learning tools to enhance its effectiveness through complementary care, we give our clients more opportunities to enjoy good health, naturally.
Click here for previous articles by John Upledger, DO, OMM.
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