Category Archives: Blog

Is Niacin Safe? The Media is Confusing Us Again!

Here is a great article by Dr. Michael Jurgelewicz from Designs for Health about the recent niacin news and why the reports are so deceiving.

There has been some recent negative news about niacin based on the HPS2-THRIVE study, and now we see it again, this time in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Let’s take a closer look at all of this.  First, in the recent HPS2-THRIVE study, which examined an investigational drug from Merck, the researchers state that niacin does not provide any benefits. The drug they looked at is a combination of extended-release niacin and laropiprant, a drug which partially blocks the flushing effect of niacin.  This niacin combination was given to subjects already well controlled on statin therapy; in essence meaning that they tested a drug on individuals with no apparent need to take it. Added to this is the fact that there have been numerous studies over the years that have pointed to niacin’s benefits in heart disease, with these accolades having been supported by the National Lipid Association (NLA).

The HPS2-THRIVE study also reported that niacin caused greater harm than the statin arm.  The media picked up on this, and associated any reported adverse events (such as diabetic and GI complications) with the niacin component, which is misleading, given the fact there are documented mechanisms of harm that are actually associated with laropiprant.  In fact, this drug was pulled from over 20 countries due to these findings.

Now let’s take a closer look at niacin and liver toxicity. There are no known toxic metabolites of niacin; the stress to the liver comes from the continued metabolizing of nicotinates into useful metabolites. The concern of liver toxicity really has more to do with the dosing than the risk of niacin itself. Work in the 1990s by Pharma companies (most likely trying to discredit niacin) demonstrated that 2 g of sustained or extended-release niacin T.I.D. caused elevated enzymes. This has far more to do with the constant metabolizing of niacin than the dose (2 grams) of the niacin itself. Designs for Health’s controlled release niacin delivers niacin in a controlled rate only over a 6-8 hour period, which reduces the potential increase of liver enzyme production.

Niacin has had a long history (over 50 years) of safe use. The vast majority of research with niacin, either when used as a solo nutrient or in conjunction with other lipid-lowering drugs, shows significant benefits, suggesting that this B vitamin remains a safe and effective nutrient in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

Fertility Issues? Sub-clinical Hypothyroidism may be causing your issue

A properly functioning thyroid is a very important aspect for fertility BUT unfortunately often missed in infertility workups. Most fertility clinics and reproductive endocrinologists check the basic markers for thyroid such as TSH but do not look at the actual thyroid hormones which are Total and Free T4 and Total and Free T3. Time and time again I hear endocrinologists tell patients that there is nothing wrong with their thyroid because their TSH is ok and completely ignore the actual thyroid hormones. This type of analysis is very incomplete and is one of the reasons that people have trouble conceiving and prone to miscarriages.
In our practice, we see so many patients that have unfortunately been struggling with infertility and have had multiple failed IVF’s and after further investigation, their thyroid proved to be an issue even though their TSH was completely normal. It is extremely sad to hear their stories and know that they didn’t have to suffer all this time as the fix is quite simple once the issue is properly identified.
If you are struggling with infertility, please be sure to test all your thyroid levels including Total T4, Free T4, Total T3, Free T3 and Reverse T3 to make sure your thyroid is truly functioning properly and is optimized. You can read more about how all these levels are related and why we can’t just look at TSH in this article.

Introducing Our Very Own Dairy-Free Protein Shake

Creamy Chocolate
Essential Base Dairy Free Protein

Many of our patients have allergies and sensitivities to dairy and therefore cannot tolerate whey protein. There are a few options on the market for dairy free protein powders but most people have reported (and we can’t disagree) that they are not the tastiest. After hearing frustrations from many people, we took it upon ourselves to find a better option and developed a shake that will not only be hypoallergenic (dairy, whey and soy free) but also truly delicious!

We are happy to announce that the Essential Base shake is finally here. It comes in a delicious Spiced Chai flavor (with a hint of pumpkin- yum!), Creamy Chocolate and Peanut Butter! Essential base combines protein from peas and rice and sweetened with stevia.  Its creamy and smooth and blends great with all types of beverages. Great as a snack in water or almond/coconut milk or mixed in a smoothie with fruit of your choice. Check it out here or stop by the office to try a sample today!

We Are Getting Ready For Allergy Season – Take 10% off Natural D-Hist

Natural D-Hist
Natural D-Hist

As nice as this warm weather has been, the trees are blooming and allergy season is upon us. But why suffer when there is a great natural solution. Now you no longer have to let pollen keep you from enjoying the outdoors (or just making it through the day). Natural D-Hist has been our trusted friend in completely natural anti-histamine relief that works extremely quickly without drowsiness or other side effects of conventional allergy medications. Take 10% off D-Hist from how through May 15th.

Do you “C” what we “C”?

C+Bio Fizz
C+Bio Fizz

I think that we can all agree it has been one tough winter here in the northeast. But as the weather is trying to get warmer, we are not out of the woods yet. The changes in weather and especially the back and forth from cold to warm is still the prime season for all types of viruses. Over the winter, we have talked about many wonderful herbal combinations such as viracid, immunitone and mycoferon that are amazing for the immune system. However there are certain circumstances where herbs may not be appropriate such as with pregnancy or nursing or if someone is specifically sensitive to that herb. The great news though is that in those cases there is still a great option. Many people may underestimate the power of vitamin C because it may seem basic but this wonderful vitamin has amazing immune boosting effects and antiviral properties and it is safe for all.

There are many vitamin C options available online and at your local health food store.  We love C+Bio Fizz because it is effervescent, tastes great  though not sweetened with sugar or any artificial ingredients and works extremely well. At a first sign of a cold or infection, mix a teaspoon of this delicious vitamin C in a little water and do this every few hours for the next few days and watch it work. It is very helpful to take vitamin C at higher doses for about 2 to 3 days at the onset of the infection or during the cold to help your body fight the infection. While all vitamin C is effective, we find effervescent works the quickest.

Please be sure NOT to do this protocol with emergen-C though. While it is effervescent and okay to use here and there you do not want to mega dose the way we are recommending with regular vitamin C. The reason is that emergen-C is not just vitamin C but also a multi vitamin and mineral formula. It’s okay to take once a day or as needed but in this situation you would want to take 2 to 3 grams of vitamin C every few hours and you will overdose with all the other vitamins that are in it if you take that much. Furthermore, it contains some sugar and taking a packet every few hours will give you a huge amount of sugar that will have a weakening affect on the immune system.

We hope that you will stay healthy this spring but if you find yourself getting a cold, try this vitamin C protocol it works!

Do Antioxidants Spread Cancer?

A big article on antioxidants made headlines this week talking about antioxidants such as vitamin E and how they can actually cause cancer to spread in those already sick. We wanted to comment because there are many things in the study that did not make complete sense (similarly to the recent fish oil/prostate cancer study which was completely flawed).

In the article, they talked about the antioxidants helping repair DNA and thus the cells would not receive a signal to stop the malignant cell from spreading. One thing they did not mention however is the type of vitamin E used. Many of you may already know that synthetic vitamin E (dl-alpha tocopherol) can cause damage because its not natural. D Alpha tocopherol is natural, however in nature, vitamin E is found as a group of tocopherols and thus taking too much of only alpha will actually deplete the others (gamma, delta and beta) and can lead to disease. (For more information on mixed tocopherols please check out our previous post here). The article mentioned that their results were found with supplements but not foods containing E and other antioxidants which brings up the point that we always speak of about only taking good quality vitamins so they are natural and complete and are the same as what is found in foods. Would their conclusion of vitamin E causing cancer to spread would necessary hold up if mixed tocopherols (full spectrum vitamin E) were used?

There was also another big study a few years ago speaking of beta carotene promoting lung cancer in smokers and we think this was a similar situation because foods that contain vitamin A are usually a combination of mixed carotenoids and not just Beta Carotene… Just food for thought…

Does Your Body Have Toxic Levels of Arsenic?

What do you think of when you hear the word arsenic? Fatal images of skull and cross bones or 17th century poisonings? Today, arsenic is no longer just a story from history and can be found in everything from the air we breathe to the foods we eat and drink.

Arsenic is an abundant natural element that can be found in soil, minerals, rocks, volcanic eruptions as well as mines and ores. Additionally, chemical compounds containing arsenic have been created to preserve wood and for use as pesticides. These inorganic chemical forms of arsenic have been linked with long term health effects. However, both forms of arsenic have been found in soil and ground water for many years and that is why it may be found in certain food and beverage products including grains, fruit, vegetables, fruit juices, juice concentrates, baby formula, and some seafood.

The arsenic found in grains, fruit, and vegetables is due to the absorption from soil and water. Plants absorb arsenic regardless of the growing method so unfortunately crops will still have traces of arsenic even if they were not conventionally farmed.  One crop that absorbs arsenic more readily than other grains is rice. This is due to the fact that it is essentially grown in water. While we all know that brown rice is healthier than white, unfortunately brown rice will tend to have higher levels of arsenic because it contains the germ within the grain.

Animals that we consume can also contain arsenic. It was recently discovered that animal feed was being enhanced with an arsenic based drugs to promote growth and give meat that pretty pink color. Roxarsone, was one of the drugs that was studied ad showed higher levels of carcinogens. According to a study by the Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), the highest levels were found in conventional cooked chicken and lowest in USDA organic certified cooked chicken meat. One more reason to go organic!

Exposure to arsenic can have a myriad of negative health effects. Long-term exposure to high levels of this chemical are associated with higher rates of skin cancer, bladder cancer, lung cancer as well as heart disease. Researchers at Dartmouth University found that long-term exposure to even low doses may change how cells communicate and reduce their ability to function.

A 2012 study by Consumer Reports found the following products to contain levels of 50% or more of inorganic arsenic:


365 everyday Value Long Grain Brown (Whole Foods)

365 everyday Value Organic Indian Basmati White (Whole Foods)

365 everyday Value Organic Thai Jasmine White (Whole Foods)

Archer Farms Organic Basmati (Target)

Archer Farms Organic Jasmine (Target)

Carolina Jasmine Enriched Thai Fragrant Long Grain

carolina Whole Grain Brown

Della Basmati White

Doguet’s Enriched Long Grain

Goya Enriched Medium Grain

Great Value Brown (Walmart)

Great Value Parboiled (Walmart)

Jazzmen Louisiana Aromatic Brown

Lundberg California White Basmati

Lundberg Short Grain Brown

Mahatma Extra Long Grain Enriched

Market Pantry Enriched Long Grain White (Target)

Martin Long Grain Brown,Martin Long Grain Enriched

Rice Select Organic Texmati White

Texas Best Organics Long Grain Brown

Texas Best Organics Long Grain White

Trader Joe’s White Basmati From India

Uncle Ben’s Original Enriched

Parboiled Long Grain

Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain Brown

Baby Cereal:

Beech-Nut Homestyle Rice

Earth’s Best Organic Whole Grain Rice

Gerber SmartNourish Organic Brown Rice

Hot Cereal:

Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice Farina Creamy Rice,

Bob’s Red Mill Organic Brown Rice Farina Creamy Rice

Cream of Rice

Ready-to-Eat Cereal:

Barbara’s Brown Rice Crisps

General Mills Rice Chex Gluten Free

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Gluten Free

Rice Cakes & Crackers:

Edward & Sons Organic Brown Rice Snaps Unsalted Plain

Lundberg Brown Rice Organic

Suzie’s Whole Grain Thin Cakes

Rice Pasta:

Annie Chun’s Maifun Rice Noodles

Rice Flour:

Arrowhead Mills Organic Brown

Rice Drinks:

Pacific Rice Low Fat Plain Beverage

Rice Dream Original Classic Rice Drink

Rice Syrup:

Lundberg Sweet Dreams Organic Brown

Lundberg Sweet Dreams Eco-Farmed Brown

Rice Vinegar:

Asian Gourmet-Plain

Whether it’s natural or chemical, one thing is for certain; too much arsenic is just not healthy. With no federal limit on arsenic in foods it is hard to know how much is being consumed in our diet and this is a cause for concern.

Are you concerned your body may have high levels of arsenic? A hair test is an easy and inexpensive way to find out your toxic burden. If your levels are high, we recommend making the below changes:

  • Switch different grains out for rice
  • Avoid products with brown rice or brown rice syrup
  • Avoid juice products from foreign countries
  • Do not give children rice milk
  • Limit your intake of processed foods
  • Eat pesticide free produce
  • Avoid products grown in the Southeast where farmers may have used arsenic-based pesticides to grow cotton before they started growing grains such as rice

Additionally, there are many great nutrients and herbs that help to naturally detoxify the body and pull our arsenic and other metals safely and effectively. Methyl donors such as  L-5 MTHF (methytetrahydrofolate) which is an activated folic acid is extremely helpful and liver/kidney cleanses such as the SP Cleanse and Core Restore are 2 other great options. If you would like more information or to get a hair test and detoxification recommendations, please contact our office and we will be glad to help!

By Jeanette Kimszal

Omega Avail Fish Oils Are Back!

We are excited to report that the Omega Avail Ultra (our number one selling fish oil) is back in stock after what seems like forever on back-order. If you had purchased or requested it in the last few weeks, all orders went out on Monday and you should be receiving them this week. We apologize for this long wait and are glad to finally have them back. While we know how frustrating it is not to have an item that you need, please be assured that when things are on back-order from any of our vendors, it is because they are triple testing everything for absolute purity and stability.

Designs for Health has extremely strict quality controls and tests all the raw materials that come in from their vendors before using anything in their formulations. If there is even a slight issue, they send it back to the vendor and wait for a new shipment. The extra time that this takes is the reason that products are sometimes put on back-order. While waiting can be annoying, this process really helps insure and protect the purity and freshness of the final product so you and your families are getting the very best in every single batch. We are really proud to carry products from companies that do not take shortcuts and will do everything possible to protect the integrity of the product even if it is not always best for their financial interest.

Healthy Pasta Anyone?

Black Bean Pasta
Black Bean Pasta

Check out black bean pasta by explore Asian brand. It is gluten free and the only ingredient is black beans. The amazing thing about this pasta is that it has 25 grams of protein. Yes you read that right! 25 grams of protein, that is as much as a piece of chicken. It also only has 17 grams of carbs and 12 of them is fiber woohoo! I got it at my local whole foods, but I’m sure other local health food stores may carry it as well. Its very filling and has a nice “carby” taste. May just need a touch of salt. Enjoy!

Looking For A Natural Healthy Hair Color?

Over the last year I have noticed more grey hair but have been hesitant to color my hair in fear of ammonia, PPD’s and thousands of other chemicals that dyes often contain. After several months, the grey won over and I needed to do something about it. I have tried various low ammonia lines like INOA but as I did more research, I saw that even though they said they are natural, they still contain quite a bit of ammonia and other chemicals. This left me feeling torn about coloring too often but at the same time feeling down about seeing grey hair.

I have recently stumbled on a website from the UK promoting an organic color called Organic Color Systems. I didn’t know there was such a thing so naturally I wanted to learn more about it. After contacting the company to get more information, I and was very impressed with their research and the apparent results they were getting. They sent me salons in the area that use the line and Emanuel’s right here in Hoboken carries it. Had it done this evening and I am very happy to report that it covered 100 percent of the greys and left my hair very soft and very shiny. There was hardly any smell and the colorist didn’t even use gloves because there are no harsh chemicals and the color doesn’t stain the skin of scalp. I will report back in a few weeks to see how it is holding up but so far I am very impressed.