Above Normal Blood Sugar Levels, Foot Problems and Vitamin B-12

The condition of having higher than normal blood sugar levels is called Diabetes, a disease that also affects, among other things, the vascular system (blood vessels and such) and is a cause of the nerve disorders called diabetic neuropathies.A personal experienceThere are many diabetics like me who suffer some numbness or unusual sensations in the feet, especially the soles of the feet and for me, when laying down in bed I so often experience a feeling that my feet are very cold – even though they are not actually cold.I would like to pass the following information on to my fellow diabetics, in case they are unaware, as I was, of what to do about such foot numbness and lack of sensation, advice to me from the medical point of view.At the first visit to my new doctor, an endocrinologist, who is treating me for my diabetes, a condition I have had for more than 20 years, I mentioned the above, numbness in my feet etcetera.Her response was to tell me to purchase a well-known over-the-counter supplement called B-12, also known as cobalamin, one of the family of B vitamins, and that I should take 1000 mcg of B-12 per day.In a subsequent visit to the local health food store, I discovered on the shelf there, two forms of B-12, cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin, and without a convincing explanation from the proprietor about which to use, I then checked the library and elsewhere for information about which form would be the best for me.Here is what I found out:From available credible literature, I learned that there are several forms of B-12 in addition to the two most readily available mentioned above. My conclusion is that methycobalamin is the form for me, it seems that it is better absorbed by the body’s nerve tissues and is also retained there in greater amounts, making it more effective in treating a variety of nervous system problems such as numbness and loss of feeling, tingling, burning sensations, muscle cramps and othersAs a diabetic I have often been told to be aware of any such sensations or lack of sensations, especially in the lower extremeties, the feet in other words. Most of us have heard of or have read about amputations in diabetes patients and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that for some prior years there had been more than 70,000 lower limb amputations related to diabetes, more than 60% of all such amputations in the United States. Diabetes UK states that diabetes is a major cause of lower-limb amputations throughout the world and that foot problems are most often the reason for hospitalization of patients who have diabetes.If we are not already aware of those statistics, we should now take them into consideration as we try to control our blood sugar levels and manage our diabetic condition.There are many other health conditions that apparently react favorably to the administration of methylcobalamin, said to be the specific B-12 form required to support the health of the nervous system. Included in the conditions mentioned as benefiting from methylcobalamin are Bell’s Palsy, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, Diabetes, Impotence, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease, and others, that’s quite a list.If you too have foot problemsIf you are experiencing the same foot problems that I have, as mentioned above, and which I assume are due to my current inability to achieve normal blood sugar levels (although I’m trying to get them back under control), perhaps it is worthwhile for the sake of your diabetic health to check with your own physician on the merits of B-12.

Tax Savings Tips For The Small Business

Deferring incomeShifting taxable income from the current to the next tax year is useful only if you expect your next year’s income to be equal or less than your current year’s one.o Waiting for a bonus? Keep waiting. Applies only to Cash-Basis-Tax-Payers. See if you can receive it in January of next year. Doing so will exclude the bonus from this year W2 / 1099 (and taxable income) and reduce your taxes for this year.o Postpone interest income – Transfer money market account balance (savings), to a Certificate of Deposit. Make sure that the CD pays interest only at maturity. Interest income generated by the CD will be taxable only when the CD matures, so you will still get interest income only it will be taxed next year.o Selling gaining stocks – Sell gaining stocks (current market price is higher than your original cost) after January 1st of next year. There are two exceptions:1. Exception that Price will decrease – sell now.2. Own losing stocks that can offset the gains.o Converting regular income to long-term capital gain – In general, gains from selling stocks you hold for 12 months or more, are subject to a 15% long-term capital gain while gains from selling stocks you hold less than 12 months are taxed subject to your highest tax bracket.Accelerate expensesCash-Basis-Tax-Payer will benefit from paying next year expenses before the end-of-the-year. Those expenses which will be paid anyways will be deductible this year if paid before December 31.o Donation – if you are planning to donate cash or property, do it before December 31.o Property taxes – pay next year real estate tax before the end of the year.o State taxes – pay your state taxes on your capital gains and business income.o Medical expenses – do so only if your overall medical expenses are over 7.5% of your Adjusted Gross Income, otherwise it is not deductible.o Employee’s unreimbursed expenses – only if they are over 2% of your Adjusted Gross Income otherwise it is not deductible.Maximize tax creditso College / high education tuition – Paying tuition for you or a dependent? make the payment before the end of the year and benefit from a credit (note that the credit has very strict income threshold which causes you to loose the credit)
o Childcare credit – for two working parents (or students), you can get up to $480 per child. If you have flex plan to cover it – spend your unused “Flex” balance.Retirement PlanningThere are several retirement plans that allow self employed and micro business owners to make contributions and achieve both:1. Tax deductions to offset self employment or business income
2. Financial planning for the future(SEP) IRA———A simplified employee pension (SEP) IRA allows an employer to make contributions toward his or her own (if self-employed) or employees’ retirement. Employers can contribute a maximum of 25% of an employee’s eligible compensation or $42,000, whichever is less.Self-employed’s contribution is based on the net profit from the business (self employment income and not the gross income).Per IRS regulations employers must include all eligible employees who are at least age 21 and have been with a company for 3 years out of the immediately preceding 5 years.For calendar year corporations with a March 15, 2006 tax filing deadline, SEP-IRA contributions must be made by the employer by the due date of the company’s income tax return, including extensions.The contributions are deductible for tax year 2005 as if the contributions had actually been contributed within tax year 2005.Sole proprietors have until April 15, 2006, or to their extension deadline, to make their SEP-IRA contribution if they want a 2005 tax deduction.Solo 401(k)———–Established by the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, Solo 401(k) plan provides a great tax break to micro business owners. In addition to the possibility to shelter from taxes a large portion of income, some Solo 401(k) plans offer a loan feature for cash-strapped small business owners.Eligibility for a Solo 401(k) plan is limited to those with a small business and no employees, or only a spouse as an employee. This includes independent contractors with earned income, freelancers, sole proprietors, partnerships, Limited Liability Companies (LLC) or “S” corporations.The key benefits of the Solo 401K plan include:o High limits on contributions: elective salary deferrals and employer contributions allows sole proprietors to contribute up to $42,000 ($45,000 if age 50 or older) in tax year 2004, based on salary deferral plus profit sharing (see below).o Contributions are fully-tax deductible and are based on compensation or earned income.o Assets can be rolled from other plans or IRA’s to a Solo 401K. There is no limit on roll-overs.o The account holder can take a loan that is tax-free and penalty free from the Solo 401K, if allowed by the plan, up to the lesser of 50% or $50,000 of the account balance.
The contribution limits depend on how the business is established. Overall, the total of deferred salary and profit sharing that can be put in one of these accounts in one year is limited to $40,000:o For businesses that are not incorporated, the salary deferral and the profit-sharing contributions are based on net earned income. The maximum contribution limit is calculated based on salary (max deferral of $12,000) and profit sharing up to the current max contribution. Contributions are not subject to federal income tax, but remain subject to self-employment taxes (SECA). The owner receives a tax deduction for both salary deferral and employer contributions on IRS Form 1040 at filing time.o For corporations, the maximum elective salary deferral amount for 2003 is 100% of pay up to $12,000 ($14,000 if age 50 or older). The maximum employer contribution (profit sharing) is 25% of pay, and is based on the W-2 income. It is not subject to federal income tax or Social Security (FICA) taxes. The salary deferral contributions are withheld from your pay and are excluded from federal income tax but are subject to FICA. The business receives a tax deduction for both salary deferral and employer contributions.Keogh plan———A Keogh plan is a tax-deferred retirement savings plan for self-employed. In general self-employed individual may contribute a maximum of $30,000 to a Keogh plan each year, and deduct that amount from taxable income.Profit Sharing Keogh——————–
Annual contributions are limited to 15% of compensation, but can be changed to as low as 0% for any year.Money Purchase Keogh——————–
Annual contributions are limited to 25% of compensation but can be as low as 1%, but once the contribution percentage has been set, it cannot be changed for the life of the plan.Paired Keogh————
Combines profit sharing and money purchase plans. Annual contributions limited to 25% but can be as low as 3%. The part contributed to the money purchase part is fixed for the life of the plan, but the amount contributed to the profit sharing part (still subject to the 15% limit) can change every year.Taxes are due when the individual begins withdrawing funds from the plan. Participants in Keogh plans are subject to the same restrictions on distribution as IRAs, namely distributions cannot be made without a penalty before age 59 1/2, and distributions must begin before age 70 1/2.Setting up a Keogh plan is significantly more involved then establishing an IRA or SEP-IRA.

Should Chemotherapy Patients With Chemo Brain Be Prescribed More Drugs?

It’s a scene fitting for a science fiction movie: across the world thousands of women, men, and children recline in specially designed chairs as they watch lab-attired attendants roll their heavily monitored and controlled, individualized chemical “cocktails” in infusion bags and connect them to an IV or catheter implanted in the patient’s body.In a few moments the toxins begin dripping down the bag, into tubes, and into the veins of the willing patients. Some are frightened, especially if it’s their first infusion. Others make conversation and might tell a few jokes. Most are passive, quiet recipients of noxious liquids they know little about. Paradoxically, the poisons are intended to sustain life. There’s a price to pay, and it’s not just the staggering medical bill: it’s an unknown price called side effects, many of which damage the central nervous system, including the brain.I experienced just the scenario depicted above, as a breast cancer patient. Only in sober retrospect, years later, does the sci-fi analogy occur to me. Six years ago I was fearful and through that fear had to find a way to blindly trust my oncologist and the infusion room nurses. I was worried about nausea and fatigue, completely unprepared for the side effect now called chemo brain. I am still living with the damage.Chemo brain, or chemotherapy induced cognitive impairment, results from the destruction of healthy brain cells in the same way that hair cells are often destroyed. If you have ever experienced memory loss, mental fog, mental fatigue, or confusion, then you may have had a taste of what chemo brain feels like. The episode was devastating for me, since my mind has always been central to my sense of self and to my livelihood. Fortunately, I have largely recovered, and in the course of doing so, became a pioneer in “neuro-nutrition” and brain recovery.The experience of mental problems related to cancer treatment is just now being discussed regularly in medical circles. Often, doctors are so concerned about saving or extending the patient’s life, they minimize major quality of life issues, such as chemo brain. They frequently prescribe antidepressant medications to patients, and these can actually increase mental fog or disrupt sleep, which, in turn, worsens symptoms.The “medical-lite” literature today tells chemotherapy patients not to be concerned because, presumably or according to some narrow research, the symptoms go away within two years. More recent research, however, that extends beyond the patient complaint, indicates that some damage is permanent. And two years is a long time to wait, particularly when strategies are available to minimize damage and to speed up recovery.Patients who continue to work during treatment become fearful of losing their jobs or not receiving promotions, and may be afraid to admit-even to themselves-that they are experiencing this life-altering side effect. Help is needed to minimize long-term damage and to accelerate recovery. Currently, the best conventional medicine has to offer is stimulant medications typically prescribed for attention disorders.Frankly, I’m very concerned about introducing more chemical agents into the brain.Chemotherapy drugs already interfere with the cell cycle or the cell’s DNA, and the disruption caused additional interference with the brain’s normal functions could have severe, unintended, negative consequences. Everyone’s biochemistry is different, and chemotherapy alters it. When the number of drugs in a person’s body increases, so do the potential interactions of those drugs. Doctors have a difficult time understanding more than 2-drug interactions. When that number increases, so does the potential for problems.As a provider of assessment and neurofeedback services, I have observed first-hand the effects of a variety of medications and conditions on the functioning of the brain. Antidepressants, for example, generally increase the alpha wave (8-11 Hz) activity in the frontal lobes, which can increase the symptoms reported as “mental fog.” I am not suggesting that severely depressed patients forego these medications; rather, I believe that oncologists freely dispense antidepressants to patients who express mild to moderate symptoms that can be attributed to the diagnosis alone.As a Stage III breast cancer and chemotherapy survivor, I experienced acutely the desire to return to my “normal” self– my daily routines, my intellectually demanding work, and running, golfing, and generally enjoying a high activity level. I did try antidepressants to help me cope with the overwhelming change in my life, but found that it took me even further away from the self I was comfortable with and wanted to return to being.Nutritional supplements proved to be better performing alternatives. I’ll be publishing a series of articles to help chemo brain sufferers and cancer survivors address their recovery needs. Readers are permitted to email me with questions at [email protected].

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