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Stepping up to the plate

Stepping up to the plate

Ways to help your patients eat well to stay well
Fall 2009


Stepping up to the plate

Ways to help your patients eat well to stay well
This fall, The New York Times reported that a Delaware daycare center is doing its part to slow obesity in preschoolers by serving grilled chicken with fresh fruit for lunch.

October’s Archives of General Psychiatry featured a Spanish study where participants that followed a mostly Mediterranean diet were 30 percent less likely to develop depression than those eating a less strict diet over the same four-year period. And “The Biggest Loser” is now in its eighth season.

When it comes to the latest information on nutrition and chiropractic, Palmer College is making headlines of its own. In fact, many of the experts in these two fields are Palmer faculty members, Palmer graduates or both. This article features just a sampling of those who have made the combination of chiropractic and nutrition their specialty.
Chiropractic and healthy eating go well together

mixed fruit on white plate

Susan St. Claire, D.C., a West Campus professor and 1984 graduate, strongly believes that proper nutrition and chiropractic care complement each other. She is a board certified nutritionist and has written extensively on the benefits various nutrients provide our bodies. Most recently she wrote a chapter on nutrition for a public health textbook by former West Campus professor Michael Haneline, D.C.

“Eating well is one of the top ways to prevent disease and be healthy,” said Dr. St. Claire. “D.D. Palmer emphasized that toxic, unhealthy food can cause subluxations and make us sick.”

Since 1986, Davenport Campus Nutrition Professor Moin Ansari, Ph.D., and Physiology Professor Saeed Faruqui, M.S., Ph.D., have each played an integral role in the coordination of Palmer’s six Nutrition and Chiropractic Symposiums. These events gathered chiropractors and other healthcare practitioners to share and exchange information on food and its nutrients.

Said Dr. Faruqui, “The precursors for the synthesis of neurotransmitters are nutrients, most of which come from our dietary intake of food. Removal of the subluxation by a chiropractor will have optimal effect if the patient has balanced nutrition.”

Nutrition: An important side item to offer

fried egg in shape of heart

Along with recommending stretching techniques, giving advice on fitness programs and taking part in community activities, encouraging healthy eating has become one of the many ancillary services chiropractors use to support and augment the adjustments they perform.

“As chiropractors, we promote health and wellness,” said Davenport Campus Coordinator of Clinical Academics Nancy Kime, D.C. “It is very logical for us to promote all aspects of health, including healthy eating.”

Steven Silverman, D.C., Davenport ’95, a Davenport Campus associate professor, is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in nutrition and finds that it’s only natural that chiropractors are big supporters of good nutrition. “Nutrition provides the body with the building blocks to heal and maintain health,” he said. “Without proper nutrition, a healthy state is not possible.”

The influence dietary choices have on the body’s inflammatory process has been a continuing theme for Florida Campus Parttime Instructor David Seaman, D.C., in class, at his practice and in the papers he has written. He recommends diets that largely consist of lean animal protein, vegetables, fruits, nuts and supplements as an alternative to anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). “This is because NSAIDs inhibit the enzyme that converts inflammatory dietary fatty acids into inflammatory prostaglandins,” he said.

For Steve Osterhout, D.C., Davenport ’04, an interest in learning about and doing research on nutrition began at the age of 12 when he developed diabetes. As an undergraduate student, he added appropriate supplements to his diet and noticed encouraging changes.

“My positive results motivated me to do further research and pay extra attention during my biochemistry courses at Palmer,” said the board certified clinical nutritionist, who does public health presentations and practices in Kalamazoo, Mich. “Since I personally experienced the benefits of appropriate nutrition I was eager to add it into my chiropractic protocol with patients.”

Practice what you eat

two fish fins

“Each and every one of us could do better, by avoiding fast foods and fatty foods,” said Casey Crisp, D.C., Davenport, ’97, who is a staff clinician in the Davenport Clinics. “The more you take care of yourself, the better you’ll be able to talk to your patients about ways they can improve their lives.”

He also shares the belief of other D.C.s we interviewed, that the only person who should bring up a patient’s weight is the patient.

“You have to work up to it, adding advice when that person’s diet comes up,” he said. “A lot of times, though, a patient with a weight problem who has tried many things to address it will say, ‘What else can I do?’ That helps open the door to a wholehealth discussion.”

How to add a daily serving of nutrition to your practice

asparagus spears

Davenport Campus Associate Professor and Clinician Henry Mueller, D.C., Davenport ’86, has written on a number of nutrition topics, such as how prenatal and infant nutrition is negatively affected by trans fat. He suggests that D.C.s starting a program to promote healthy eating should begin by recommending nutritional literature to their patients that’s in sync with chiropractic and holistic health.

Ron Boesch, D.C., Davenport ’91, the assistant director of the Academic Health Center on the Davenport Campus, encourages alumni to promote nutrition to non-patients as well through public events like health talks.

“You can make nutrition a part of a comprehensive health talk,” he said. “For example, a health talk about headaches could cover the common causes of headaches, such as subluxation, stress, neck muscle strain, toxins in the body and foods that may trigger them.”

Davenport Campus Biochemistry Instructor Lia Nightingale, Ph.D., who has written on and about a number of nutrition topics, suggests that any patient interested in developing a healthy nutrition plan should be urged to have realistic expectations.

“Get your patients to see the long-term benefits without focusing on the long road to get there,” she said. “Instead focus on short-term, easily attainable goals. Tell them, ‘This month try to eat one more serving of vegetables a day, then next month add another’.”

Soon, you’re likely to notice some benefits yourself. Said Dr. Osterhout of his own efforts to guide his patients to eat healthfully, “Implementing nutrition into your practice is a great way to help patients achieve their wellness goals as well as create long-standing patient relationships.”

A taste of the latest nutrition research from Palmer faculty
Nutrition and muscle protein synthesis: a descriptive review
Davenport Campus Dean of Academic Programs
Dan J. Weinert, D.C., Davenport ’96
J Can Chiropr Assoc 2009 August; 53(3): 186-193.

strawberry on fork

Since exercise causes muscle to break down and rebuilds protein in response to the stimulus, Dr. Weinert finds promise in new scientific evidence that can optimize the relationship between stimulus and response. It is his belief that the combined effect of protein consumption and exercise “promotes protein synthesis and may impact patient outcomes.”

Dr. Weinert stresses those individuals who participate in intensive exercise but avoid eating soon afterward, or consume less than 25 grams of good quality protein shortly after a workout in an attempt to be healthy, are actually doing the opposite.

He demonstrates this point by referring to a study where those people who received no nutrition for two hours after exercising experienced decreased lean body mass, while the group that consumed 10 grams of protein immediately after exercising increased their lean body mass.

Nutrition for Asthma – The Evidence
Florida Campus Part-time Instructor David Seaman, D.C.
Michigan Association of Chiropractors Journal, February 2007: 18-19.

A specialist on anti-inflammatory foods and supplements, and their positive effect on the musculoskeletal system, David Seaman, D.C., draws on decades of research that points to inflammation being the primary pathophysiology in asthma. To reduce inflammation and prevent asthma, he recommends eating a diet that consists primarily of vegetables, lean or omega-3 meats, chicken, fish, nuts and potatoes.

“The goal with this approach is to reduce the pro-inflammatory state, which then allows for normal tissue healing to occur,” he writes.

Vitamin D
Davenport Campus Biochemistry Instructor
Lia M. Nightingale, Ph.D.
Case Correlations I & II, Summer 2009 Course

In this presentation, Dr. Nightingale advocates adults eat foods that provide them with a total of 800 International Units of Vitamin D a day. She draws on recent studies that have found a correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and chronic low back pain, muscle pain and weakness, osteoporosis, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and several cancers.

To avoid Vitamin D deficiency, Dr. Nightingale recommends a diet containing salmon, milk fortified with Vitamin D, eggs and oatmeal. Because Vitamin D is fat-soluble, she recommends consuming 5 to 10 grams of fat, such as a glass of 2% milk, along with Vitamin D-containing foods or supplements for greater absorption.

Key ingredients for promoting healthy eating in your practice
  • Refer your patients to well-recognized nutrition resources on the Web, such as,, and
  • Incorporate proper nutrition into your health talks.
  • Photocopy the list of healthy eating tips on the right and hand them out to your patients during their visits. Copies of the page also are available online at
  • Set out brochures that demonstrate the importance of a healthy diet.
  • Consider pursuing a Diplomate in Nutrition. Information on this and other diplomates is available at

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