Nutrigenomics: Understanding the Link between Food and Genes, Part 1

Close up image of human hand holding test tube.

You and two friends decided to try a ketogenic diet because you read that this type of high-fat, low-carb approach has been scientifically proven to help people lose weight safely and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

After three months on the diet, one of your friends has lost 15 pounds and feels great. You haven’t gained or lost a pound. Your other friend has actually gained five pounds and is becoming depressed.

How is it possible that three people could respond so differently to the same diet? Nutrigenomics often has the answer.  Continue reading

15 Years of Natural Healthcare Center, Part 3: A Future Full of Optimism

Dr. James Proodian owner of Natural Healthcare CenterNatural Healthcare Center opened its doors in July of 2003. All this month, we’re celebrating our 15th anniversary by looking at our humble beginnings, how Natural Healthcare Center has evolved, and what lies ahead. We couldn’t be more thankful for our patients, friends and family who help us make Natural Healthcare Center such a special place.

I’ve always told the Natural Healthcare Center team that this practice started as an infant. It had to grow through adolescent and teen years to become a young adult. Today, Natural Healthcare Center is a mature adult. We’re in our prime.

The heavy lifting has been done in terms of branding and name recognition. Although we’re always looking to become better, we have an all-star team now. Most team members have been at Natural Healthcare Center for many years. Our process has been perfected and we operate like a well-oiled machine.

The emphasis has always been on the patient experience and patient outcomes. That will never change. But I’m very excited about what the future holds.

The work being done in nutrigenomics is taking our clinical nutrition department to a whole new level. I’m looking forward to bringing a podiatrist on board in 2018. Natural Healthcare Center in expanding to take full advantage of our third-floor space, which will provide our team with more room to grow and allow us to establish our own fitness studio.

As you can probably tell, I despise complacency. I don’t like to stand still. Natural Healthcare Center and my role as a health educator are constantly evolving.

I’m planning to write a book. I’m having a number of videos produced to supplement my live, in-person speaking engagements. I’m considering an opportunity to become a college professor.

Dr. Proodian with Photos of his 5 Children

As my five children get older, I’ll have the bandwidth to take my public speaking to organizations all over the country. My goal is to touch as many people as possible and empower them with the knowledge to take control of their health. I’ll continue to teach people how to prevent, treat and even reverse chronic illness.

As optimistic as I continue to be, there is one thing that has me somewhat discouraged. When I came out of school, I thought my generation would radically change healthcare. I didn’t think I would be sitting here, entering my 25th year in clinical practice, and seeing people continue to decay into chronic illness.

At the same time, I’m inspired every day by Natural Healthcare Center patients who look at the bottles of pills in their medicine cabinet, recognize that they’re not getting any better, and say, “Enough is enough.” They’re ready to make permanent lifestyle changes and commit to healthy living.

These are the people who motivate me to take health education and public speaking to a national audience. These are the people who motivate the Natural Healthcare Center team to expand our model across the country.

We’ll continue to do everything possible to help people break free from the “sick care” mindset that reactively treats illness with medication. We’ll continue to encourage people to embrace true “health care,” which focuses on disease prevention and maintaining a state of balance and wellness.

This was my mission when I opened Natural Healthcare Center 15 years ago this month. And this continues to be the mission of an exceptional team that I’m honored and proud to lead.

To all who have contributed to the success of Natural Healthcare Center and the health of our patients, there are no words that can express my full gratitude. I thank God for allowing me to use my skills at this wonderful place, and I humbly approach each day for His praise.

I hope you’ll continue with us on the next phase of our journey as we look to end the chronic illness epidemic and help society as a whole feel better, function better and live longer.

15 Years of Natural Healthcare Center, Part 2: The Early Years

Dr. Proodian outside Natural Healthcare CenterNatural Healthcare Center opened its doors in July of 2003. All this month, we’re celebrating our 15th anniversary by looking at our humble beginnings, how Natural Healthcare Center has evolved, and what lies ahead. We couldn’t be more thankful for our patients, friends and family who help us make Natural Healthcare Center such a special place.

In part 1 of this post, I discussed the frustration I encountered in trying to partner with an existing practice and then trying to find a facility to purchase. Looking back, I know God wanted me to be at Natural Healthcare Center. He wanted me in this building, with this kind of practice, working with this incredible team, serving this wonderful community.

As I said at the end of the first post, people tend to resist change, and the previous practice had been doing things a certain way for 25 years. After opening Natural Healthcare Center, I implemented changes gradually, whether it was adding a new service or installing hardwood floors. Continue reading

15 Years of Natural Healthcare Center, Part 1: How This Wonderful Place Came to Be

My 2004 donation of all the Atlantic Chiropractic Center fitness equipment to the Long Branch Police Department.

Natural Healthcare Center opened its doors in July of 2003. All this month, we’re celebrating our 15th anniversary by looking at our humble beginnings, how Natural Healthcare Center has evolved, and what lies ahead. We couldn’t be more thankful for our patients, friends and family who help us make Natural Healthcare Center such a special place.

The first five or six years of my associate career working for other people were very enjoyable. I loved the 60-hour work weeks. I couldn’t soak up enough knowledge. My patients were incredibly happy.

But the last two years or so of my associate career were intensely frustrating. I put together business plans and buy-in strategies to become a partner in several practices, only to have door after door shut in my face.

I eventually realized God’s plan for me was to have no other partner besides my wife, Stacy.

Toward the end of 2002, I was commuting from Red Bank to Bridgewater and Wyckoff every day, we had just bought a fixer upper home, and Stacy was pregnant with our third child. I switched gears and looked for a place where I could launch my own practice.

I called Dr. Dennis Nitto, who I heard was selling his practice in West End. He said someone else had agreed to buy the practice, so it wasn’t available. I started trekking out to Princeton three days a week to look at available spaces.

At one point, I thought everything had finally fallen into place with a facility in Princeton Forrestal Village. My credit was excellent, the bank had approved my loan, and I had a solid business plan that I had spent years developing.

In March of 2003, I remember sitting at the desk I had set up in the basement – hardly a home office at that point – and finding out from the landlord in Princeton that the deal fell through.

Five minutes after hanging up the phone, I got a call from Dr. Nitto. I didn’t even remember calling him months earlier. He said the deal with the other interested buyer fell through and asked if I was still interested.

I went to meet Dr. Nitto that day. We agreed on a deal and I immediately began working for him at Atlantic Chiropractic Center.

I had never been to West End. I lived in Red Bank and spent my summers in Sea Bright. But I felt an instant connection with the community.

The next step was financing. The debt load was more than $1.5 million.

My house was collateral on the loan and I had to borrow money from my mother. Without a second thought, she took out a second mortgage so she could lend me the money I needed. Stacy, who was pregnant at the time, signed every piece of paper that was put in front of her. The unconditional love, trust and support of my mother and wife are why they’re still the two most important women in my life.

Me with the Mayor of Long Branch after first renovations in 2005

The purchase of Dr. Nitto’s practice and facility closed in early July. My attorney said it was the fastest commercial closing he had ever seen.

A week later, my son, James, was born.

I can state unequivocally that God had his hand on my back. This is where He wanted me to be. This is the kind of practice He wanted me to have. As always, He was right.

I finally had my own practice. Of course, the real challenge would be getting it up and running.

When you buy an existing practice, you normally spend at least a year in their office learning about the patients. I was only there for a few months, so not a single patient of Dr. Nitto’s knew me, and my business model and approach to care were nothing like the previous practice.

People usually hate change, but big changes were coming.


How to Identify Nutritional Imbalances and Toxicities

laboratory technician holding a blood tube testBecause there’s no license for nutrition in New Jersey, a lot of different people make nutritional recommendations, from those with degrees in nutrition to dietitians and gym owners. In many doctor’s offices, “nutrition” amounts to a brief patient history and stepping on a scale.

If your weight is appropriate, you’re told everything is fine. If you’re overweight, you’re told to go on a certain diet and take a few supplements. The problem is, this approach typically fails to identify and address the root cause of nutritional imbalances, genetic issues, and conditions like intestinal permeability.

When you go to the doctor, it’s their job to tell you what’s wrong with you – the root cause, not the symptom – and what you should do about it. If you took your car to the shop because it was making a weird noise, the mechanic wouldn’t just give you ear plugs to block out the noise. They’d find out what was causing the noise and fix it at the source. Continue reading

What Is Myofascial Release Therapy?

Massage therapist trigger point release Myofascial release therapy is often confused with massage therapy because both involve hands-on manipulation of the soft tissue. While massage focuses primarily on muscles, myofascial release focuses primarily on the fascia.

Fascia is the connective tissue that runs from the top of the head to the bottom of the feet, almost like a three-dimensional spider web with gel between the strand of web. Fascia strengthens, supports and cushions the human body.

There are three layers of fascia. Superficial fascia is the top layer that lies below the skin and allows muscles to move the skin. Nerves run through this layer. Deep fascia surrounds muscles, bones, nerves and blood vessels, while the visceral or parietal fascia holds organs in place within their cavities. Continue reading

New Study Finds Pesticides in Nearly 70% of Non-Organic Produce

Tractor spraying wheat field with sprayerIf there was ever a case for buying organic foods and supporting local farmers and farm markets, this is it.

Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. This report is based on the analysis of tests performed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on more than 38,800 non-organic produce samples.

This year’s report revealed that nearly 70 percent of samples of conventionally grown produce were contaminated with 230 different pesticides and pesticide breakdown products.

Here is the Dirty Dozen list of the most contaminated produce, according to the EWG report: Continue reading

What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

Woman lying in bed suffering from insomniaRecent research conducted by a UCLA professor and reported by NPR found that brain cells actually slow down when you don’t get enough sleep. Lack of sleep causes the bursts of electrical activity in brain cells to become slower and weaker, which affects the ability of brain cells to communicate.

This helps to explain the mental lapses that occur after a bad night’s sleep. You forget things. You have trouble thinking clearly. You react more slowly to things around you. All these things can affect your mood, performance at work and school, and how you function throughout the day.

As the NPR article points out, drowsy driving is responsible for more than 70,000 accidents each year. That’s not because all those people are falling asleep at the wheel. In many cases, it’s because the driver’s brain isn’t recognizing and processing the activity around them. Continue reading

Nutrigenomics: Understanding How Food Affects Our Genes

Nutrigenomics: genesIt’s not uncommon for people to chalk up poor health to genetics. Occurrences of heart disease, stroke, obesity, cancer, Alzheimer’s and other conditions are often viewed as inevitable by people with a family history of those conditions. It runs in the family.

The fact is, chronic illness is far more likely to be caused by the choices you make – physically, psychologically and nutritionally – than the genes you’re born with. Not only that, but it’s possible that the genes you’re born with can be changed by the food you eat.

What Is Nutrigenomics?

Nutrigenomics is the scientific study of how specific nutrients interact with genes and influence genetic behavior.

For example, nutrigenomics can tell us why one person can eat a high fat diet without having cholesterol issues, while another person with the same eating habits sees their cholesterol levels go through the roof. It can tell you why you struggle to lose weight even though you’re making what you believe are smart lifestyle choices. Continue reading

Cox Technic Spinal Decompression: Heavily Researched, Tremendously Effective

Dr. James Proodian sitting on Cox8 Table

One of three Cox8 Tables NHC has for administering Cox Technic Flexion Distraction and Decompression therapy.

There are very few things that change how a practitioner treats patients. Cox Technic Flexion Distraction and Decompression therapy has been one of those rare game-changers for me. That’s why I’ve invested so heavily in Cox Technic equipment.

I can say without reservation that Cox Technic is by far the best chiropractic technique for treating certain conditions that might otherwise require epidurals and surgery. These conditions include but are not limited to disc herniations, bulges and degeneration, spinal stenosis, pelvic pain, arm pain, leg pain (sciatica), headaches and scoliosis.

To be clear, Cox Technic is not for everyone requires a spinal diagnosis, often through x-ray or MRI, and patients have to qualify to become a candidate for spinal decompression. However, having these tools (three Cox8 Tables) and heavily researched protocols in the Natural Healthcare Center shed is a tremendous benefit for our patients. Continue reading

Big Food Manufacturers: What We’re Up Against

Big Food Manufacturers: What We’re Up AgainstIf you’ve been treated by me, attended one of my presentations, or read articles on this blog, you’ve heard me express my frustration, to put it mildly, with the food industry. Aisle after aisle at the average grocery store is filled with “food” that has little or no nutritional value and contributes to the chronic illness epidemic in our country.

That’s why I talk about the importance of doing your homework and becoming educated about the food you put into your body – what the ingredients are, where it was grown or produced, how it was processed, what it might have been exposed to, etc.

By and large, the people I encounter, both in clinical practice and during speaking engagements, want to do the right thing. They want to make better choices for themselves and their families. They want to choose healthy, nutritious foods.

Unfortunately, big food manufacturers are making it difficult for well-intentioned adults and children to make good choices. Here are a couple frightening examples of what we’re up against. Continue reading

What Is Kombucha, and What Makes It Healthy?

KombuchaWalk through the aisles of a grocery or health food store, or visit a trendy coffee shop or restaurant, and you’re likely to find kombucha tea. Some establishments promote kombucha as a healthy alternative to soda because of its sweet flavor and fizziness. You can even buy kombucha home brewing kits.

But what exactly is kombucha, and what is it about kombucha that makes it healthy?

Kombucha originated in the Far East about 2,000 years ago. Typically consumed as a tea, kombucha is a fermented drink with black or green tea, sugar, probiotic bacteria and yeast, and prebiotics (microcellulose).

Kombucha tea is made by combining a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) with sugar and tea and allowing it to ferment. After fermentation, kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, B vitamins, and short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which serve as a nutrition source for cells in the colon. Continue reading

How to Run Safely and Reduce the Risk of Running Injuries

Runners running a raceDid you know running can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and death? It can also improve body composition and help with stress management and anxiety.

Maybe you’ve been hesitant to start a running program because you know runners dealing with serious injuries and chronic pain, or you’ve heard that running can cause joint damage. Running injuries are common, but most injuries are the result of training errors, or a lack of muscular strength or endurance specific to running.

Also, recent studies have shown that running can actually improve joint health. With appropriate mechanical loading, the stress of the articular surfaces can improve joint health if correctly modulated.

So what’s the biggest difference between a running program that causes injuries and a running program that delivers the health benefits we just mentioned?

The right guidance. Continue reading

Beware of Fake Organics from Overseas

chalk board with vegetables

I’ve written previously about the confusion surrounding supposedly organic foods. Big food companies are capitalizing on the organic movement by using the word “organic” in their marketing.

Because these companies have proven for decades that we can’t trust them to tell us what’s in their foods in a clear, transparent way, here’s a quick primer on organic labeling requirements from the USDA National Organic Program (NOP):

  • “100% Organic”: Must contain only organically produced ingredients other than water and salt.
  • “Organic”: Must contain at least 95 percent organic ingredients.
  • “Made with Organic Ingredients”: Must contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients and list up to three organic ingredients.

Any product with less than 70 percent organic ingredients cannot use the term “organic” except to identify specific organic ingredients. Here is the official definition of organic food from the USDA NOP:

Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Continue reading

What Happens During a Chiropractic Adjustment, and Why Do You Need One?

Dr. James Proodian performing chiropractic adjustmentThere’s no shortage of misconceptions about chiropractic care. Most of these misconceptions are spread by people who have never had a chiropractic adjustment and by doctors who haven’t been educated in chiropractic care.

For example:

Chiropractic adjustments are excruciatingly painful. Once you start, you have to go forever. Chiropractic is only for back pain. Chiropractors aren’t real doctors.

I could spend a lot of time debunking various myths about chiropractic care, but I’ll just focus on reality. To understand what happens during a chiropractic adjustment and why you need one, you need to first understand the philosophy and goals of chiropractic care. Continue reading

FDA Finally Wakes Up to the Benefits of Chiropractic and Acupuncture

fda approved stamp. sign. sealThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released proposed changes to its “Education Blueprint for Health Care Providers Involved in the Management or Support of Patients with Pain.” FDA guidelines now recommend that doctors learn about chiropractic care and acupuncture as treatment methods.

The new blueprint is part of an FDA initiative that began in 2011 to combat prescription drug abuse. The original version didn’t mention chiropractic or acupuncture, but the FDA is now encouraging health care providers to become informed about a broader range of treatment options, including non-pharmacologic therapies.

The document says health care providers “should be knowledgeable about the range of available therapies, when they may be helpful, and when they should be used as part of a multidisciplinary approach to pain management.”

Chiropractic care and acupuncture made the cut. Imagine that. Continue reading

Breaking Free from Decades of Frustration: A NHC Success Story

Proodian healthcare Patient Success StoryTo protect the patient’s privacy, we’ll refer to her as Mary.

Mary, age 56, came to Natural Healthcare Center with what she called “the frustration of a lifetime.” She had been diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia more than 30 years earlier. Mary had tried infusions, medication and supplementation with no success, and nobody could figure out why.

Mary had been living with chronic fatigue for years. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was causing constipation, bloating and stomach pain. She suffered from hypothyroidism, acid reflux, cold intolerance, hypoglycemic symptoms, and dizziness. She even had miscarriages. Mary was taking prescription medication for iron deficiency, acid reflux and hypothyroidism.

Mary knew there was a history of celiac disease in her family. She never tested positive for it, so her doctors in the conventional medicine community felt gluten wasn’t the cause of her anemia. Continue reading

What Kills More People than Auto Accidents, Terrorists and Alzheimer’s Combined?

Obese business woman walking across a city streetWe’ve heard reports in recent years that sales of soda are down, and more people are drinking water. People are paying closer attention to food labels and choosing organic products. The “farm to table” movement is picking up steam. More people are exploring chiropractic, yoga and massage therapy and trying to reduce their reliance on medication.

Then we got hit with a major dose of reality. According to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly four in 10 adults and nearly two in 10 children are obese in the U.S. Obesity rates are highest among minorities. 47 percent of Hispanic adults and 46.8 of “non-Hispanic black” adults are obese. The study was based on body-mass index of 30 or higher being considered obese.

Obesity at an all-time high in our country. The federal government’s Healthy People 2020 initiative aims to reduce obesity rates to 30.5 percent for adults and 14.5 percent for children by 2020. Chances of these goals being achieved are slim.

Why is this such a big deal? A recent study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that obesity contributed to 7 percent of all deaths around the world in 2015. Top causes of death involving obesity were heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and various forms of cancer. Continue reading

Beyond Turkey and Football: The True Meaning of Giving Thanks

Man holding thank you word in palmEvery year around Thanksgiving, I’m reminded of the biblical origins of giving thanks, and what giving thanks has become in today’s society.

In the Bible, giving thanks is a frequent theme. It comes up 102 times in the Old Testament and 71 times in the New Testament. The Bible talks about giving thanks for blessings, for forgiveness of sins, for delivering us from evil, and for God’s love and strength.

That’s why we give thanks when we say grace, which comes from two Latin words – “gratia”, which means “thanks” and “gratus”, which means “grateful”.

Today, giving thanks is more of a social custom. We’re taught at a young age to say “please” and “thank you” because that’s good manners. It’s polite. We thank people all day long, not just for acts of kindness, but for the simplest things, like pumping gas. We end our emails with “thank you.”

Ask yourself this question. Every time you thank someone, do you mean it? Has giving thanks become trivialized? I sure hope not. Continue reading

Don’t Be Afraid to Fire Your Doctor

male doctor with clipboard and patient meetingIf you pay money to a business for a product or service, and that product or service doesn’t meet your expectations, or you’re not happy with the experience, you move on. You don’t have to tolerate incompetence, poor service or poor results because there are always other options.

Did the dry cleaner shrink your clothes beyond recognition? Did the airline lose your luggage? Did the contractor install your windows incorrectly? Did the financial planner give you bad advice that caused you to lose thousands of dollars?

You fire them. At the very least, you explore other options.

Why don’t we hold doctors to the same standards? Continue reading