Menu

The Wine Guy: Raise a glass and breathe easier

Best of The Wine Guy

The Wine Guy
with Anthony Scarano

The therapeutic use of wine in the treatment of respiratory infections was greatly popular among ancient Greek and Roman physicians, as well as the physicians of Latin countries in recent years.

While grape wine is the most well-known and most popular wine, the beverage can be produced from nearly any fruit; and many of these fruits can produce wine that can be extremely helpful to the body during illness.

A winemaker by the name of Graham in 1750 referred to raspberry wine as a "great cordial" capable of cleansing the blood, comforting the heart, easing pains in the stomach and dispelling vapors from the brain. Graham said raspberry wine can remove obstructions from the lungs, and prevent pestilential air from causing free breeding of bacteria in the lungs. The wine of blackberries is also particularly helpful in the prevention of pestilential infection from the air we breathe, and the wine of the English fig is helpful in treating lung defects, dyspepsia and inflammation.

In recent times small doses of various wines and cognac have been prescribed for the treatment of many pulmonary ailments including bronchitis, bronchopneumonia, asthma and pulmonary congestion. Warm, sweet wine can prevent or abort both acute respiratory infections and influenza, especially during a chill; and a glass of wine before bedtime will often forestall a cold by acting as a sudorific.

It is usually not advisable to drink alcoholic beverages during the acute phases of respiratory diseases, however, in convalescence from pneumonia and other severely debilitating diseases the use of wine is highly recommended. Drinking wine improves the appetite and promotes a feeling of well-being.

We may conclude that alcohol in moderation exerts a minor but appreciable effect on pulmonary ventilation. It produces slight increases in the total volume of air that can pass through the lungs and the amount of oxygen passing through the alveoli. Wine and brandies that contain large amounts of esters exert a more noticeable effect on the respiratory system than ethyl alcohol and simple wines.

Anthony Scarano is not a doctor. He is an 88-year-old Evergreen Park resident, winemaker and certified naturopath. Suggestions in this space are solely the opinions of Mr. Scarano based on years of independent study and personal experience, and may not be beneficial to health. Wine should be consumed in moderation, as overindulgence may be harmful to health.

Dee Woods: Injections into spine may not ease pain

MIXING IT UP FOR GOOD HEALTH
By Dee Woods

Alternative and integrative medicine exists in every specialty, and integrative/alternative orthopedic treatment is no different.

Years ago, I wrote about Dr. Ross Hauser's alternative/integrative practice in Oak Park. Just last week, he released an interesting article that I found most enlightening.

Hauser spoke of recent studies showing a common procedure used for spinal stenosis and low back pain is not nearly as effective as once thought. That procedure is known as an epidural steroid injection (ESI).

The results of a study showed even fewer positive results for persons more than 60 years old. The studies, surprisingly, indicate ESI injections are of little help and actually can lead to complicated surgeries.

The research was published in the Dec. 12, 2012 issue of Spine magazine. The researchers explained the study was conducted to show that persons treated with ESI would have improved clinical outcomes and fewer surgeries than those not treated with epidural steroid injections, so the results surprised the researchers.

Hauser notes the study indicated patients receiving ESIs showed temporary improvement or no improvement at all, and had a greater need for surgery.

The basis of epidural steroid injections is to reduce inflammation and swelling in the epidural space, according to Hauser. He believes the reason the injections may not work as effectively as they theoretically should is that in some cases an accurate diagnosis may not have been made, and there may be additional other causes of severe pain, especially in cases where there is continuing significant pain after surgical intervention.

Hauser addressed another study that found that postmenopausal women are at risk for bone mineral density (BMD) loss when treated with ESIs. Researchers studied 28 postmenopausal women who were treated for radiculopathy with ESIs to the L4 and L5 vertebraein the low back. They recorded significant decline in hip bone mineral density at six months when compared to the original baseline measurement. They also noted a chance of abnormal uterine bleeding among postmenopausal women.

I admire Hauser because he believes the whole person must be treated and not just a body part. He is a strong advocate of proper nutrition.

Hauser writes, "Temporary pain relief is not what pain patients should be seeking. Permanent healing and pain relief should be the goal. Maybe pain patients don't believe there is a cure for their pain, so they seek as many pain relief options as possible. The problem is that many pain relief treatments include steroids and anti-inflammatory agents that can make the injury even worse. As the injury gets worse, a person is forced to look for stronger and more complex pain relief. It's a vicious cycle."

Over the last few years, I've spoken with several people who have suffered unremitting pain and sought all available conventional treatments. They explained that Hauser was able to relieve their conditions along with their symptoms.

If all else has failed, it might be time to take a look at the practice of Hauser and other integrative physicians. You can learn more at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Dee Woods is available to give presentations about alternative health treatments and healthy living. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Health Scan

Dist. 230 offers fitness centers use

District 230 opens its fitness centers to school district residents for an affordable price.

Membership provides access during operating hours to all three District 230 Fitness Center facilities including Sandburg and Stagg high schools.

During the school year, the hours of operation are 6 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays at both schools. On Saturdays, the hours at Sandburg are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and at Stagg from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The fitness center is free for District 230 students on Monday through Thursday from 3:15 to 5 p.m.

Membership fees for District 230 residents who are 18 or older are $30 for three months, $50 for six months and $90 for a year. An additional adult at the same address or senior citizens and college students with valid ID pay $20 for three months, $40 for six months or $80 for a year.

Residents can sign-up during the hours listed. The application form can be found at www.d230.org.

Dentist joins Worth Twp. clinic

Worth Township Supervisor John F. Murphy has announced the addition of Dr. Lori Woodburn, a dentist, to the clinic staff.

Dr. Woodburn's position as township dentist began Oct. 11. She sees patients on Thursdays between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Dr. Woodburn will screen, clean, do fluoride treatments and apply sealants to patients of all ages.

For an appointment, call 371- 3393. The prices for these services are less than most dentists and are published on the township website (www.worthtownship. com). Click on 'Health Clinic' on the left side of the homepage. Prices are also posted on the website for non-residents of Worth Township.

Dee Woods: Vitamins D and K make a good couple

MIXING IT UP FOR GOOD HEALTH
By Dee Woods

Once I learned of the importance of vitamin D and the fact that most of us are deficient in the vitamin (especially in the northern United States), I located the finest quality vitamin D3 and began to supplement. But, I recently learned, that may not be the proper approach.

I learned there is much more involved in supplementing with vitamin D3. It seems vitamin D has a partner that must be taken along with it for efficient results. The reason for this marriage of the two is that the function of D3 cannot be totally complete without the assistance of vitamin K2.

The K vitamins are associated with green leafy vegetables, and in the case of one type of K2 it acts as an adjuvant to vitamin D. Unfortunately, this approach may not be acceptable for those taking blood thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin), Plavix, Pradaxa or other anticoagulants.

The reasoning behind this combination was explained by Dr. Cees Vermeer, one of the world's top researchers on vitamin K. He began a research group in 1975 to study vitamin D exclusively.

Dr. Joseph Mercola interviewed Vermeer several years ago and wrote about the significance of Vermeer's studies on the synergy created by vitamin D and vitamin K2 when taken together. Vermeer has discovered that K2 and D3 should be considered as the doorkeeper and the cop, respectively. In other words, while D3 helps the body to absorb calcium, vitamin K2 directs the calcium to the bones where it belongs.

The type of K2 Vermeer is speaking of is obtained mostly from a Japanese fermented food known as natto. It can also be obtained in certain fermented cheeses. Natto is a food that must take some getting used to. The Japanese eat it for breakfast and other occasions, but most Americans reject it because of its slimy consistency as well as its strange odor. For that reason, I will take it in pill form along with my D3.

We already know that many diseases can develop as a result of lack of vitamin D3, however, it seems even more significance is given to vitamin D and a particular type of K2 when coupled. The health benefits appear to increase for preventing many diseases including heart disease, osteoporosis, hardening of the arteries, prostate cancer, and many other diseases, according to Vermeer.

Mercola explains that while vitamin D helps us better absorb calcium, "there is new evidence that it is the vitamin K (specifically, vitamin K2) that directs the calcium to your skeleton while preventing it from being deposited where you don't want it - i.e., your organs, joint spaces, and arteries. A large part of arterial plaque consists of calcium deposits (atherosclerosis), hence the term "hardening of the arteries."

Mercola further explains: "Vitamin K2 activates a protein hormone called osteocalcin, produced by osteoblasts, which is needed to bind calcium into the matrix of your bone. Osteocalcin also appears to help prevent calcium from depositing into your arteries."

Mercola is stating that vitamin D without the help of K2 may well be ineffective in protecting your tissue and organs from calcium deposits. This is a game-changer and I have personally decided that I will only take vitamin D3 along with K2. It appears the latest finding is significant enough to be worth the switch. There are already products on the market with the combination of the two, so it won't be that difficult to try. Just make certain you pick up a highquality brand name product.

Dee Woods is available to give presentations about alternative health treatments and healthy living. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

The Wine Guy: Tips for dealing with a gas crisis

Best of The Wine Guy

The Wine Guy
with Anthony Scarano

Gas is a huge problem these days, as always, but the gas I will discuss here is not the kind sold by the barrel and that fuels everything from automobiles to airliners to the tanks and supersonic jets used by our military.

The gas I am speaking of comes from the foods we eat and accumulates in our stomachs and digestive tracts. How much gas accumulates depends on what types of foods you eat, what combination of foods you eat and how much you eat. Foods that are difficult to digest such as meat, eggs and dairy products can lead to gas formation because these foods sit in the gut and rot; and, as we know, when organic matter rots it produces gas. Any foods not properly chewed will also form gas because they will not pass easily through the digestive tract. Beans, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and onions can also cause gas.

We know when this gas has accumulated when we feel uncomfortable and bloated, but there are many other symptoms caused by gas of which people are not so aware. Gas can accumulate to the point that it causes spasms in the chest and make a person think he or she is having a heart attack. This causes great fear and anxiety - which are themselves harmful to health - and may send people to the hospital for heart bypass operations they may not need.

Gas can also cause pains and discomfort in parts of the body you wouldn't think would be affected by something in your digestive tract. Any pre-existing pains in the body can be made worse by gas, and it can also contribute to headaches and pains in the shoulders, especially between the shoulders. Gas can also lead to poor circulation, which can lead to discomfort and pain, and arthritis and illnesses in general can be magnified by gas.

Chewing your food into a puree and eating foods that don't produce much gas, such as fresh fruits and lightly steamed vegetables, can help avoid too many of these pains and discomfort. If you can't live without meat, try to stick to small amounts of the ground varieties, and stay away from steaks, pizza and baked goods. These foods not only produce gas, but leave behind sludge that builds up on the intestine walls and can lead to constipation and illness. Sure, you can eat them in small amounts once in awhile, but you're diet must be full of fresh, whole foods so that this sludge can be "swept" out of the body.

Regardless of what you do, though, digestion will always produce some gas. When you feel the need to eliminate it, do so. Where is up to you, but don't let it accumulate in you for too long or you will suffer the unpleasant consequences. And don't use laxatives to help you empty your bowels, they are habit forming and upset the natural balance and muscular tone of the intestines.

Drinking wine with your meals will also help some because this wonderful food and medicine stimulates digestion. It will also aid you in many other ways including boosting your immune system, improving circulation and keeping your heart healthy. It is even good for the mind.

Drinking wine with your meals will also help some because this wonderful food and medicine stimulates digestion. It will also aid you in many other ways including boosting your immune system, improving circulation and keeping your heart healthy. It is even good for the mind.

Anthony Scarano is not a doctor. He is an 88-year-old Evergreen Park resident, winemaker and certified naturopath. Suggestions in this space are solely the opinions of Mr. Scarano based on years of independent study and personal experience, and may not be beneficial to health. Wine should be consumed in moderation, as overindulgence may be harmful to health.