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Austin Chiropractor Blog

Study confirms vitamin D protects against colds and flu

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, November 26, 2019
TexStar Chiropractic - Austin, Buda, TX

Daily or weekly dose had greatest benefit for those with significant deficiency

A new global collaborative study has confirmed that vitamin D supplementation can help protect against acute respiratory infections. The study, a participant data meta-analysis of 25 randomized controlled trials including more than 11,000 participants, has been published online in The BMJ.

“Most people understand that vitamin D is critical for bone and muscle health,” said Carlos Camargo of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the study’s senior author. “Our analysis has also found that it helps the body fight acute respiratory infection, which is responsible for millions of deaths globally each year.”

Several observational studies, which track participants over time without assigning a specific treatment, have associated low vitamin D levels with greater susceptibility to acute respiratory infections. A number of clinical trials have been conducted to investigate the protective ability of vitamin D supplementation, but while some found a protective effect, others did not. Meta-analyses of these trials, which aggregate data from several studies that may have different designs or participant qualifications, also had conflicting results.

To resolve these discrepancies, the research team — led by Adrian Martineau from Queen Mary University of London — conducted an individual participant data meta-analysis of trials in more than a dozen countries, including the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. While traditional meta-analyses compare average data from all participants in each study, individual participant data meta-analysis separates out the data from each individual participant, producing what could be considered a higher-resolution analysis of the data from all studies.

The investigators found that daily or weekly supplementation had the greatest benefit for individuals with the most significant vitamin D deficiency (blood levels below 10 mg/dl) — cutting their risk of respiratory infection in half — and that all participants experienced some beneficial effects from regular vitamin D supplementation. Administering occasional high doses of vitamin D did not produce significant benefits.

“Acute respiratory infections are responsible for millions of emergency department visits in the United States,” said Camargo, who is a professor of emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School. “These results could have a major impact on our health system and also support efforts to fortify foods with vitamin D, especially in populations with high levels of vitamin D deficiency.”

The study was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Health Research (U.K.).

Source: news.harvard.edu


New Evidence of Knee and Hip Steroid Injection Risks

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, November 20, 2019
TexStar Chiropractic, Austin, TX

In October of this year the Boston University School of Medicine released a study that is turning traditional hip and knee pain treatment on its head.

The healthcare world has known for a long time that continued corticosteroid use is not good for us. In fact, it is one of the few drugs we regularly use that, without a doubt, causes at least some damage to the body.

The accepted standard of care has generally been that getting an injection of corticosteroids into the joint space of the knee or hip every 3-4 months didn’t do enough damage to outweigh the benefits.

This made sense … sort of. After all, an injection is far less invasive than surgery and especially in cases dealing with arthritic pain, there aren’t a lot of good surgical solutions available other than total joint replacement.

The way these powerful drugs work is by mimicking the effects of cortisol, your body’s long-lasting fight -or-flight hormone. This is the stuff that is released after you have escaped from the lion, but when you know he is still out there hunting for you. It’s often referred to as our stress hormone.

Cortisol and therefore corticosteroids affect everything from brain chemistry to immune system function. In the case of joint tissue, it suppresses the body’s inflammatory response and immune functions. This anti-inflammatory effect is what makes it so effective at treating arthritic joint pain.

The problem arises with the fact that it also suppresses the normal repair mechanisms which allow our bodies to heal damaged cells in our bones, cartilage and ligaments.

What this new study shows is that the side effects and complications with these drugs appears to be far worse and much more common than we originally thought.

In the study they took a large group of people who had received a corticosteroid injection in their knee or hip some time in the previous year and re-evaluated them for changes. 4% of the knee patients and 10% of the hip patients already had radiologically visible complications less than a year later. That means on average, 8% of these patients had serious complications. This is a much higher rate than previously expected.

The most common complications seen were rapidly increased arthritic changes like degeneration of the bone and cartilage. Osteonecrosis which is a dying off of the cells in the bone was also seen along with fracture due to loss of bone density.

So, what does this all mean as a patient? The big take away from this is that you need to be pro active in discussing the pros and cons of any medical procedure with your doctor. That doesn’t just go for steroid injections. As we have seen in the news over the last few years there are quite a few other medical treatments that turned out to be more dangerous than previously thought, such as the use of opioid pain medication.

This does not mean that steroid injections are not still an option for some people. It does mean that this treatment has fallen much further down the list of things to try to treat your knee or hip pain. Luckily there are more noninvasive therapy approaches available than ever before and in response to the opioid epidemic, there is a push at the national level to remove barriers to people accessing this type of care. In many states insurance companies are enacting policies that will allow patients to see their chiropractor or physical therapist with no out-of-pocket expense in an effort to promote the use of safe alternatives to drugs and surgery.

References:

Boston University School of Medicine. "New evidence that hip and knee steroid injections more dangerous than thought: May accelerate arthritis, joint destruction." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 October 2019.

mayoclinic.org



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TexStar Chiropractic

4601 Southwest Pkwy #101,
Austin, TX 78735

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