Could Vitamin D help prevent Colds and Flu?

A recent research study has shown that daily or weekly dosage of Vitamin D can help protect again colds and flu. The study, published in the BMJ, was a participant data meta-analysis of 25 randomized controlled trials including over 11,000 participants.

We associate Vitamin D with bone health, but low vitamin D levels are also associated with increased susceptibility to acute respiratory infections, or put more simply – colds and flu.

The study found that people with the lowest levels of Vitamin D in their blood got the most benefits, cutting their risk by almost half, but that all participants received some benefit from Vitamin D supplementation. Administration of periodic high dosage Vitamin D appeared to have no benefits.

Colds and flu are a big drain on the NHS in winter. If you think you are at risk, you may want to consider adding vitamin D to your daily or weekly routine.

References
Adrian R Martineau, David A Jolliffe, Richard L Hooper, Lauren Greenberg, John F Aloia, Peter Bergman, Gal Dubnov-Raz, Susanna Esposito, Davaasambuu Ganmaa, Adit A Ginde, Emma C Goodall, Cameron C Grant, Christopher J Griffiths, Wim Janssens, Ilkka Laaksi, Semira Manaseki-Holland, David Mauger, David R Murdoch, Rachel Neale, Judy R Rees, Steve Simpson, Iwona Stelmach, Geeta Trilok Kumar, Mitsuyoshi Urashima, Carlos A Camargo. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant dataBMJ, 2017; i6583 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.i6583

Modern Medicine has few answers to Low Back Pain – so what do you do?

It’s thought that almost every adult at some point in their life will suffer with low back pain, but our medical profession is limited to pain killing tablets or injections or surgery. And did you know that UK Doctors are not allowed to recommend alternative therapies, that may be more beneficial to their patien

ts. I’m guessing in part it’s because the medical degree rarely contains any education on the benefits of complimentary therapies, so doctors aren’t actually qualified to comment on them. They have to rely on personal experience. 

This concern was flagged up in a major study in the Lancet, one of the most prestigious journals out there.

The biggest problem with pain killers is they may reduce pain (and they don’t always) but they mask the symptoms rather than dealing with the cause of the problem, often prolonging the injury and in some cases causing more damage to the spine.

The Chiropractic degree in the UK is a 5 year program, where they study the spine in depth. And if you’re concerned that your chiropractor may miss medical conditions, they spend a significant amount of time studying pathology and general diagnosis, so that when your medical doctor is needed, they will refer you.

Ref: Lancet, 2018 Mar 20

The Important Side Effects of Pain Killers we didn’t know about….

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Having worked as a chiropractor for over 15 years, I’ve seen many people with pain complaints, be it low back pain, chronic neck pain, pain between the shoulder blades, headaches, the list goes on and on. And almost all of them at some point have taken pain killing medication for either a short or often a long time. Because that’s what we do. We injure ourselves and our culture tells us the first line of treatment is medication…. And most of us now know that we have to be careful with certain drugs because of side effects such as stomach bleeding, but we know the risk and we take it.

However, new research is coming out around the common painkillers including paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofren that I for one find quite disturbing. 

A study in Finland looked at people who had been convicted of homicide (that’s murder in English). They 959 convicts and compared them to 9000 individuals who had never been convicted and compared their medications. They were looking for a correlation between SSRIs (anti-depressants) or anti-psychotic mediations. Instead they found a much higher correlation between opioid painkillers such as codeine and non-opiod painkillers such as paracetamol and aspirin (WorldPsychiatry, 2015; 14:245-7)

In another study, people taking common painkillers such as ibuprofen, aspirin and paracetamol had their responses to painful experiences blunted (not just their physical responses), and became less empathetic to other peoples pain and suffering. It appears that they hinder an individuals ability to put themselves in someone elses shoes and feel that persons emotional and physical pain (PolicyInsights:BehavBrainSci, 2018; 5:82-9)

A further study on Paracetamol shows that is dulls our senses, not just our pain. It blocks both the emotional highs and lows (Psychological Science, 2015; doi: 10.1177/0956797615570366).

In the 15 years I’ve worked, I’ve seen a massive increase in the use of these drugs. More and more people seem to have them as a standard part of their lifestyle, popping them with little thought for the potential implications on their mental health. So next time you’re in pain, ask – do I really need to medicate this or is there another way?

Chiropractic is a drug free approach to health and well-being.