Cough Control the Natural Way

Cough Control the Natural Way

Chris D. Meletis, N.D.

Cough is the most common presenting symptom seen in a general family practice. Clinically, a cough is almost always merely a symptom of an underlying condition. It is important to look beyond the cough to treat the cause and, hence, achieve maximal relief.

Cough is a normal protective mechanism for clearing the airway of secretions, irritants, and foreign materials. Air expulsion in excess of 500 miles per hour has been recorded during a coughing episode. The emphasis when treating a cough is to help the body expectorate more efficiently and lessen undue irritation, thus, lessening the need to cough.

Among the leading causes of coughs are colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, allergies, and asthma. Coughs are also induced by drugs, nonspecific upperrespiratory-tract irritations, infections, and environmental triggers. Because coughs can also be symptomatic of other conditions, such as respiratory cancers, congestive heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, unremitting coughs must always be investigated further.

Whether a cough is caused by viral or bacterial infection or by another condition, many of the same natural medicine interventions can be beneficial in alleviating the discomfort.

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Nutritional Considerations in Treating Anemia*

Nutritional Considerations in Treating Anemia*

Chris D. Meletis, N.D.

Anemia is not a disease per se but rather a symptom that arises from either a reduction in the number of red blood cells (RBCs) or the quantity of hemoglobin in the blood. Even the slightest sign of anemia represents an imbalance in the body that is worthy of clinical investigation. Only an in depth review and methodical elimination of possible etiologies allows for an accurate and reliable diagnosis that measures the severity of the anemia. Healthy RBCs have an average survival period of 120 days, thus, during each day, roughly 1 percent of a patient’s RBCs must be replaced. However, during the rare occasion of complete cessation of RBC production, a 10 percent decrease in RBC count might be noted per week. If RBC counts drop more rapidly than 10 percent per week then destructive processes, such as hemolysis, must be considered. The causes of anemia can be broken down into three basic categories: Blood loss, decreased production of RBCs, or increased destruction of RBCs.

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Natural Approaches to the Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease*

Natural Approaches to the Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease*

Chris D. Meletis, N.D.

There are nearly 2 million Americans, mostly men, that suffer from Parkinson’s disease. Since it was first described in 1817, it has been well researched, and much is now known about its etiology and the precise symptoms associated with the progression of neurologic degeneration. From a pathologic perspective, this condition results from the degeneration within the nuclear masses of the extrapyramidal system. Among the classical symptoms that are observable and that serve as measures of therapeutic success are the characteristic tremor of resting muscles, a slowing of voluntary movement and gait, altered posture, and overall muscular weakness.

Understanding the disease process, the manifestation of symptoms, and the physiology of proper neurologic activity, allows the clinician the opportunity to offer alternative therapeutic approaches that can augment standard drug therapy. Simply put, the manifestation of symptoms arises from an imbalance between dopamine and acetylcholine. As the dopamine levels become depleted, the now less-opposed acetylcholine results in parkinsonism.

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Natural Alternatives for the Treatment of Impotence and for Improving Men’s Health*

Natural Alternatives for the Treatment of Impotence and for Improving Men’s Health*

Chris D. Meletis, N.D.

Impotenceis now a topic for open conversation. Even politicians are talking about impotence. Medically speaking, the term erectile dysfunction more specifically describes the inability to sustain physically an erection that is sufficient for intercourse. Impotence includes a broader grouping of conditions that contribute to less than fully successful intercourse, including diminished libido, inability to reach orgasm, and premature ejaculation.

Current estimates report that approximately 20 million American males experience erectile dysfunction. This number is likely to double within the next decade or so, as baby boomers begin to experience the health challenges that often contribute to this problem, most notably atherosclerosis and prostate disease. Statistical data suggest that one in four men over the age of 50 suffers from erectile dysfunction.1 This number may even be higher because many men have traditionally not sought medical intervention for this frequently anxiety-provoking and stressful condition.

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Natural Medicine Approaches for the Treatment of Degenerative Arthritis*

Natural Medicine Approaches for the Treatment of Degenerative Arthritis*

Chris D. Meletis, N.D.

Arthritis literally means “inflammation of the joint.” If the diagnosis and treatment of this disorder was easy, the 40 million Americans who are currently suffering from the most prevalent form of arthritis, osteoarthritis, would not be suffering the consequences of joint degeneration.

Although arthritis can take on many forms, including gouty, septic, psoriatic, and rheumatoid, the ultimate degeneration that occurs in all forms involves cartilage loss. Therefore, this review of the literature focuses on osteoarthritis and general approaches that can be taken to nourish and support healthy cartilage and its formation.

It is estimated that 80 percent of people over the age of fifty suffer from some degree of osteoarthritis. Degenerative arthritis affects more men prior to age 45, and more women thereafter. Generally speaking, weight-bearing joints, such as the hips, spine, knees, and hands, are most commonly involved. These joints are especially prone to degeneration as a result of greater wear and tear they experience than other tissues throughout the body experience.

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Posted by DrMeletis in Articles, Dr. Meletis Presents
Nutrient Support to Minimize the Allergic Cascade*

Nutrient Support to Minimize the Allergic Cascade*

Chris D. Meletis, N.D.

The symptoms that are associated with an allergic response serve an important and significant role—to flush out irritants that challenge the body’s well-being. However, when the allergic cascade gains too much momentum, the surge of histamine, leukotrienes, and other biochemical mediators can trigger an overwhelming avalanche of symptoms.

Currently, the trend in the United States is towards increased reactivity and there is a significant per capita rise of allergy-based conditions. Among the most common are hayfever, extrinsic asthma, allergic rhinitis, dermatitis, and sinusitis. It is estimated that 3 percent of the U.S. population suffers from one of the most severe forms of allergic reaction, extrinsic asthma. The overall rise in frequency of clinically significant reactions has been attributed to a triad of factors: total allergic burden, enhanced reactivity, and decreased resistance.

When addressing allergic symptoms clinically, removal of the offending agent(s) is critical to successful long-term treatment. It is equally critical to nourish the body so that it is capable of maintaining control over the allergic and inflammatory responses that it faces on a daily basis.

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Posted by DrMeletis in Articles, Dr. Meletis Presents
Basic Nutrient Support for Proper Immune Function*

Basic Nutrient Support for Proper Immune Function*

Chris D. Meletis, N.D.

An ever increasing number of patients are presenting to primary care practitioners with immune dysfunctions and various common infections. Of course, the challenge for a practitioner who is faced with such a patient is to intervene acutely while addressing the underlying cause of the illness to prevent a chronic pattern from developing. Proper nutrition is truly the best approach to preventing illness and supporting the immune system in order to protect the body maximally.

Indeed, foods can be “the best medicine,” if the right foods are consumed. Ingesting the proper balance of macronutrients, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates is the first step toward more optimal immune functioning. The basic dietary rule is moderation and diversification: If your patients are eating whole foods, that have had a minimum of processing, from each of the basic food groups, these patients will have a head start when it comes to fortifying their bodies against immune challenges.

Marginal deficiencies are by far the most prevalent dietary problems seen in the United States. These problems can take the form of protein or caloric deficiencies. However, the largest problem is that most patients consume a relatively limited diet that is high in repetition and is all too often lacking in whole foods, such as fresh fruit, vegetables, and unrefined grains.

America’s fascination with sugar also contributes largely to immunosuppression. The average person consumes 500 calories (125 g) directly from sucrose and an additional 200 calories (50 g) from other refined sugar sources. Research has documented that consumption of 100 g (less than the average daily intake) of sugar leads to reduced immune function. Within 30 minutes of consuming 100 g of carbohydrate, white-blood-cell activity become depressed; this lasts for approximately 5 hours. During the course of this carbohydrate-triggered immunosuppression, there is commonly a 50 percent decrease in white-blood-cell functioning.1’2

Even when patients consume relatively healthy diets, augmentation of such diets can prove to be helpful when patients are suffering from acute or chronic illnesses. Health-oriented patients often choose to engage in preventive supplementation. However, when it comes to immune modulating, nutrient selection should take into account whole-body health and not merely perceived needs. When the right nutrients are selected, not only can immune support be offered, but patients’ other health conditions may also be addressed. Many nutrients frequently support multiple biochemical pathways and assist in correcting physiologic imbalances.

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Gastrointestinal Integrity and Good Health Key Nutrients for Maintaining the Balance of Life*

Gastrointestinal Integrity and Good Health Key Nutrients for Maintaining the Balance of Life*

Chris D. Meletis, N.D.

The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is the boundary between the external and the internal world. The GI tract’s function is to allow enough of the external world to be absorbed to allow life to be sustained but not so much that homeostasis is disturbed, leading to disease and possible death. The absorptive process of the intestines takes place primarily as a result of diffusion, carrier transport, and endocytosis. When too great or too small a quantity of nutrients and substances is absorbed, the balance of life is challenged. The GI tract’s protective role qualifies it as one of the largest immune organs in the body, responsible for protecting the internal milieu.

A Healthy GI Tract’s
Effect on Overall Health

Many chronic disease states arise from inadequate functioning of the GI tract. Any state of functioning that is less than optimal results in the inability of the body to control its exposure to harmful external factors.

Illness frequently arises when the total load of toxins and external substances accumulates to deleterious levels as a result of increased permeability and parasitic infections. It is critical in the pursuit of health to optimize GI integrity, thus minimizing disruptive xenobiotic  and other exposures. (See box entitled Supportive Measures for Protecting GI Functioning.)

Proper Intestinal Permeability

When the intestinal tract is functioning properly, it allows for the transport of sufficient nutrients to nourish the body yet offers adequate filtration of molecules that can result in harm. Increased intestinal permeability (Leaky Gut syndrome), on the other hand, leads to a myriad of potential health consequences. This arises from the increased absorption of xenobiotics, antigens, immune complexes, intact microorganisms, and endotoxins. Chronic disruption of GI permeability has been associated with a predisposition to developing autoimmune diseases, liver dysfunction, and arthritic and other degenerative diseases. (See box entitled Conditions Associated With Disrupted Intestinal Permeability.)

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Dietary and Lifestyle Interventions for a Healthy Heart*

Dietary and Lifestyle Interventions for a Healthy Heart*

Chris D. Meletis, N.D.

Heart Facts
The heart begins to beat prior to our birth and pumps life-sustaining oxygen and nutrients to the trillion of cells in our body over the course of a lifetime. The human body has more than 60,000 miles of blood vessels that serve as conduits for the passage of more than 3000 gallons of blood per day.

The heart is an amazingly simple, yet marvelous, pump. So many Americans dedicate large amounts of time and energy to gain outward signs of beauty and health; all the while the most important muscle in the body is sometimes working against all odds. Unlike other muscles, the heart doesn’t get to rest between workouts.

Heart disease and stroke represent the number 1 and 3 causes of death, respectively, in the United States. These conditions are often referred to as silent killers, because the first sign of distress is often the last. The statistics are anything but silent, as they call attention to the fact that more than 43 out of every 100 Americans will die from cardiovascular disease.

The first step for most health-conscious patients who have became educated about maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system is to focus on controlling the classic risk factors (see sidebar). Although this is a good start, it does not represent the full picture when it comes to more fully addressing equally critical risk factors.

Controlling the classic cardiovascular risk factors is without a doubt a good start. However, the next step, especially for those patients with personal or family histories of heart disease, should also consider factors that lead to oxidative damage to the heart and vascular system. These risk factors can be just as important as the more classic concerns. Among these other factors are well known yet frequently overlooked considerations (see box entitled “Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease.”).

The following discussion points are some basic and fundamental approaches to decreasing this second group of risk factors associated with cardiovascular oxidative damage and to promote overall good health.

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