[COLUMN] Medical gems


Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a not too well-known disease entity that is becoming more evident and more popular. The symptoms are gastrointestinal in nature: sense of epigastric distress, some anorexia, bloating, diarrhea, and weakness. If left undiagnosed or untreated, it could result in serious complications, dehydration, nutritional deficiencies, and malnutrition. For SIBO, the following should be avoided: lactose dairy, milk, Splenda (sucralose), mannitol sorbitol, corn syrup, soy milk, and many other sweetened food items. Early medical consultation, diagnosis, and treatment are vital, when these symptoms occur at any age.

Physician, RN shortage

As of May 2022, there were 1,073,616 physicians in active practice in the United States, a large number (117,987) in California, followed by New York (98,341) and then Texas (69,123). The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates the country will have a shortfall of nearly 140,000 physicians by 2033. The projected growth jumps up to 45 percent for advance practice nurses, like nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists. This is reminiscent of the late 50s and early 60s when my wife and I came to Chicago on December 31,1963 under the U.S. Exchange Visitors Program for our medical internship and residency training, a program designed by the United States to fill in the vacuum (physician shortage) as thousands of American physicians were drafted in the military. A similar program might be in the offing for both physicians and nurses, because roughly 96 million Americans now live in a designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA).

Physical activity

Physical activity or physical exercise, as tolerated, has been well-known to be good to the body, for man and his pets and other animals. Exercise reduces the risk for chronic diseases, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic illnesses, and for Alzheimer’s and cancer. New studies now show that “moderate-to-vigorous physical activity benefits people with a genetic predisposition to type 2 diabetes.” The most active people lowered their risk by a whopping 74 percent, compared to the least active subjects in this 6.8 year-study of 59,325 participants, 40-69 years old (2006 to 2010, and 2013 to 2015) and the more activity, the better, even among those with genetic predisposition to Type 2 diabetes, according to the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Warning – Lectins!

Lectins, also known as anti-nutrient, is a protein that binds to some carbohydrates, like sugar and soft drinks, which I call “poisonous” in themselves. Lectins cannot be digested by our gut. Some lectins are considered deadly poisons, like Castor beans, which contains a potent lectin called “ricin.” Some lectins bind with the walls of the digestive system and cause gastrointestinal problems. It could aggravate leaky gut syndrome. One particular lectin called phytohemagglutinin can lead to diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pains.

Ten common food items that contain a significant amount of lectins are (white bread made from wheat), raw kidney beans, eggplant, potato, barley, soybeans, wheat in general, tomato, peanuts, and lima and navy beans. Lectin also interferes with the digestion, absorption, and utilization of essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc from food we eat. When enough lectins pass into the blood stream, they activate the immune system, and have been linked to a major cause of autoimmune diseases.

Washing these food items and boiling them can reduce the lectin level. The amount of lectin we usually consume is lower than the toxic level. As individual resistance or tolerance differs from person to person, it behooves us to be conscious of this warning and minimize our “lectin intake” by avoiding food items that contain lectin.

Pre- and probiotics

The role our complex personal microbiome (living gastrointestinal tract), teeming with over 100 trillion microbial cells (1000 species of bacteria), plays in our health and well-being and disease development is mind-boggling. The good beneficial and harmful bacteria in our gut must be balanced to maintain good stable health. Disruption to the gut microbiota has been associated with inflammatory bowel syndrome, obesity, and other illnesses. While eating health and abstaining from tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs and not abusing antibiotics are essential in maintaining a healthy microbiome, the use of both prebiotic and probiotic supplement every day (not only one or the other) is most beneficial to our gut.

Fish from China

There are concerns about seafood imported from China, because some sources use anti-fungal agents, antibiotics, and other chemicals to keep their seafood thriving for export. Some of the other alarming ingredients found in imported seafood include malachite green, fluoroquinolone, and nitrofuran, which the FDA stated “may increase antibiotic resistance to this critically important class of antibiotics.” We have a lot of sources of seafood in the United States. Pompano fish, for one, is safely grown in aquaculture in Florida. This buttery-tasty and expensive fish may be cheaper coming from China, but Pompano lovers prefer ones farmed in the U.S. A standard serving of 28 grams of Pompano contains 5.2 grams of protein, 1 gram of fish oil saturated fats, and 46 calories only. It also provides vitamin D3, vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, C, E, K, folic acid, calcium, potassium, iron, and a lot of amino acids. A healthy food item. Be well-informed always.

Diabetes T2: Reversible?

Diabetes T2 has had the lone reputation of being an incurable metabolic disease, but recent clinical studies and experiences among some health-conscious diabetics have shown that with a healthy style, strict diet discipline, and effective weight control, diabetes could be ”reversed.” With that strategy, even among those taking insulin who are overweight, could “cure” themselves to a point of no longer needing insulin, following a weight loss of 50 pounds or more, to maintain a normal weight within a year. This strategy should be adopted under medical supervision. This is, of course, a great source of hope for the 37.3 million (10 percent) of people in the United States with DMT2.

Let’s take full advantage of the great progress in medical science and technology to attain our potential maximal health and longevity.

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The main objective of this column is to educate and inspire people live a healthier lifestyle to prevent illnesses and disabilities and achieve a happier and more productive life. Any diagnosis, recommendation or treatment in our article are general medical information and not intended to be applicable or appropriate for anyone. This column is not a substitute for your physician, who knows your condition well and who is your best ally when it comes to your health.

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, a Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus based in Northwest Indiana and Las Vegas, Nevada, is an international medical lecturer/author, Health Advocate, newspaper columnist, and Chairman of the Filipino United Network-USA, a 501(c)3 humanitarian foundation in the United States. He was a recipient of the Indiana Sagamore of the Wabash Award in 1995, conferred by then Indiana Governor, later Senator, and then presidential candidate, Evan Bayh. Other Sagamore past awardees include President Harry Truman, President George HW Bush, Muhammad Ali, and Astronaut Gus Grissom (Wikipedia). Related websites: FUN8888.com, Today.SPSAtoday.com, and philipSchua.com; Email: [email protected].


Dr. Philip S. Chua

Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus in Northwest Indiana and chairman of cardiac surgery from 1997 to 2010 at Cebu Doctors University Hospital, where he holds the title of Physician Emeritus in Surgery, is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the Philippine College of Surgeons, and the Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society. He is the chairman of the Filipino United Network – USA, a 501(c)(3) humanitarian foundation in the United States.

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