Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More on H1N1

The "Swine Flu" or H1N1 virus is here and still spreading.

The H1N1 vaccine is slowly becoming available as distributors have started shipping out the vaccine.

The question still stands: Should I get the vaccine and should I have my kids get the vaccine?

I had a call today from the mother of a family I have known for quite a while.

Here is a little of the conversation we had:

Mom: Thanks Doc for taking my call !

DrH: No problem! What can I do for you?

Mom: My child's school has been hit with the swine flu. Six (6) kids have already contracted the flu and the school will now be offering the vaccine to all student's, with parent's permission. What is your opinion doc?

DrH: Would you like the short or the long version?

Mom: I would like your answer as a parent first.


Score One for Mom!!!

Right to the point!

BTW, I try to make all my medical decisions as if I were treating my own family. I would not give you any treatment or medication that I would not take if I were sitting in your seat.

But back to the H1N1 question.

The H1N1 virus is here and spreading. So far, this virus has not been any worse than traditional seasonal influenza virus. In fact it seems to be less harmful. Unfortunately, any influenza illness will still cause hospitalizations and some deaths. But the H1N1 flu seems to cause more problems for children as opposed to adults. The theory behind this is that the H1N1 virus causes our immune systems to overcompensate. This overcompensation contributes greatly to the severe illness that can lead to bad outcomes. Children's immune systems appear more prone to overcompensation than adults.

That being said, I am not ready to give this vaccine to my child. This vaccine was rushed into production before proper testing. While I understand the "Why's" of it being rushed, that does not mean that I should recommend the vaccination to my family and my practice. If this vaccination program is a nationwide test of the vaccines ability to prevent H1N1 infection, I prefer not to be a "testee". Please, no puns intended!!

There are a few variables that can change my opinion.

1) If the H1N1 vaccine makes it through proper testing showing both effectiveness against contracting the virus and safety equivalent to or better than the seasonal flu vaccine, then I will advocate for vaccination.

2) If the H1N1 virus does morph or change into a deadlier strain, causing increased hospitalization and death, then the pros and cons of getting the vaccine may tilt towards receiving the vaccine.

As of today, neither of the above have occurred.

But, I do not expect everyone to agree with my views.

As George Patton once said, "If everyone is thinking alike, someone is not thinking!"

So if you want to receive the H1N1 vaccine, please click on the link to a Burlington County Health Department update on the H1N1 Vaccine distribution. It will indicate where you can go to receive the vaccine.

There are other options to help prevent contracting the H1N1 flu.

While not proven by large medical studies, Vitamin D has been shown anecdotally to help prevent and treat influenza.

We do have Vitamin D in the office for those that want to try this method.

We use RX Vitamins Liqui-D3, which is an oil based supplement that contains olive oil and Vitamin D3.

The usual dose is between 1-5 drops a day, equivalent to 2,000 to 10,000 iu per day. It is helpful to obtain a blood test to monitor Vitamin D levels if on this supplement, although I have not yet had anyone have harmfully high levels on the above doses.

To Good Health!!!

Steven Horvitz, D.O.
Board Certified Family Practice
Founder of The Institute For Medical Wellness
128 Borton Landing Road, Suite Two
Moorestown, NJ 08057
Phone 856-231-0590
Fax 856-294-0311

Monday, October 05, 2009

Butter...... Parkay !!!

October 5, 2009

Butter..... Parkay !!!

Remember that commercial.

I do!

Here is a link to its youtube video !


I am often asked whether to eat butter or margarine.

Growing up it was cool to eat margarine instead of butter. Better eating through better science, or so we thought!!

Here is how butter is made.
Milk a cow.
Skim off the cream.
Add salt.
Churn the cream until it’s thick and chunky and tastes awesome.

Here is one of the processes for making margarine:
Farmers grow seeds.
The seeds are harvested.
The seeds are crushed to extract some of the oil.
The rest of the oil is extracted by mixing the seeds with hexane, a chemical solvent.
The hexane is (supposedly) all removed.
The oil is pumped full of hydrogen gas and nickel powder.
The remaining oil is subjected to heat and high-pressure CO2 gas.
The oil is mixed with sodium hydroxide and passed through a centrifuge.
The oil is mixed with water and passed through another centrifuge.
At this point, the margarine is a gray, speckled, oily mass that doesn’t smell so good.
The oil is mixed with hydrated aluminum silicate that binds to and filters out the unwanted pigments.
The mix is heated again and the oil is extracted.
The oil is passed through a steam distillation chamber to remove unwanted odors.
Yellow food coloring and artificial flavors are added.


Mmm Mmm good!!!

Not !!!

So what would you rather eat?

Most margarines are chemically altered vegetable oils and contain dangerous and unhealthy trans-fats otherwise known as trans-fatty-acids. While vegetable oils have received good press coverage, most contain an abundance of omega-6 fatty acids, which may counter the healthy effects of omega-3 fatty acids.

So what are we supposed to eat?

Cardiologists say butter is bad, because it contains saturated fat which they argue is responsible for an increased rate of heart disease.

But is this fact or fiction?

Let us look back at history for a moment.

In America, the rate of heart disease soared during a period when saturated fats consumption fell sharply while cholesterol intake remained roughly unchanged.Before 1900, heart disease was rare in America, affecting about 8 percent of the population.

By 1950, heart disease caused 30 percent of all deaths in America. Today, it causes about 45 percent of all deaths.During this period, consumption of butter, which is high in saturated fats, fell from over 18 lbs per person per year at the turn of the century, to about 10 lbs per person per year by 1950.

Today it is even lower, yet the rate of heart disease continues to escalate.In the same period, Margarine consumption rose from about 2 lbs per person at the turn of the century to about 8 lbs per person.

Ok now.

Do we follow the advice of clever advertisers and marketers?

Or do we follow the logic of our ancestors who relied on a very low processed foods diet?

Listen to your ancestors !!!

They ate saturated fats.

They did not eat processed food.

Pass on the Parkay and vegetable oils.

Eat butter!!

To Good Health!!!

Steven Horvitz, D.O.
Board Certified Family Practice
Founder of The Institute For Medical Wellness
128 Borton Landing Road, Suite Two
Moorestown, NJ 08057
Phone 856-231-0590
Fax 856-294-0311