Tag Archives: detox

Don’t Detox Without Performing This Essential Step

Everyone wants to find the most efficient path to health, wellness, and longevity.  This overwhelming demand creates an abundance of products and protocols claiming to be the best.  One of the hottest buzzwords amongst these products is the detox.  And while a true detox/cleanse can not be overlooked as an intricate tool to utilize during the construction or renovation of our health, there exists a separate targeted approach that is just as, if not more important when it comes to creating an internal environment that facilitates the ability to thrive.

What we are talking about is fortifying the site where the bulk of our immune system resides.

We are talking about ensuring that maximum potential is achieved when it comes to reaping the benefits of the foods we consume via absorption of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals; and conversely minimizing the risk for nutritional deficiencies and infection.

We are talking about rebuilding the major barrier systems of our body that protect us from exposure and subsequent damage to our respiratory system, digestive tract, skin, and brain.

We are talking about optimizing and balancing the immune response and not ending up as a statistic representing the alarming growing number of seemingly idiopathic auto-immune conditions sweeping the country.

We are talking about setting the stage to grab control of glucose and insulin levels, weight and minimizing the stress response from within.

The foundation for health that we’re talking about is an optimally functioning GI (gastrointestinal) or digestive tract.  Healing and sealing any intestinal permeability or a leaky gut is absolutely essential when looking to address a countless number of issues.  Improving function on this level often times leads to an attenuation or outright termination of seemingly disconnected signs or symptoms.  When we recognize, respect and comprehend the complex interwoven matrix that is our bodies, this holistic approach becomes not only understandable but mandatory for attaining true health from the inside out.

For a number or reasons (diet [food sensitivities or high sugar/carb], antibiotics, chlorinated water, excessive use of NSAIDs, etc.) our intestinal wall can begin to falter.  This is problematic due to the fact that the majority of our immune system resides there and because it serves as a major barrier system in our bodies.

It’s relation to the three other major barrier systems (blood brain barrier, lungs, and skin) becomes blatantly obvious when gut dysfunction leads to mental fog, fatigue and forgetfulness, respiratory infections and asthma, or psoriasis and eczema, respectfully.  Further strengthening of the relationship is seen when correction of the gut dysfunction leads to a change in many of the aforementioned conditions.

This is where full acknowledgement and respect must be paid to the holistic nature of our bodies.  When one of these barrier systems is effected, damaged or dysfunctional, the effects can be seen amongst the others.  Never is this so obvious as when healing and sealing the intestines, coupled with an elimination diet leads to massive improvements or outright resolution of what appears to be unrelated issues.

If a leaky gut is left unaddressed, undigested food particles and other organisms that would otherwise be refused access, freely enter into our bloodstream.  This causes the immune system to do it’s job and launch an attack on the unwanted visitors.

The problem occurs as the immune system is called upon to perform this search and seizure so frequently that it becomes hypersensitive and begins to attack our own tissues, some of which have a similar molecular structure to the unwanted invaders.  This can manifest as allergies, asthma, rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis, eczema, irritable bowel syndrome (Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis), hypothyroidism; even MS depending on the tissue attacked.

The longer the door is open and an attack persists, the more tissues that can suffer as condition after condition can begin to mount.  It is for these handful reasons, and countless more that fortifying the gut by way of clearing, replacing and rebuilding is at the core; the foundation of attaining optimal health.

More than 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates appeared to be onto something when he stated, “all disease begins in the gut.”  In a relatively short time, the changes I’ve witnessed personally and clinically have been nothing short of game changing for all involved.

The knowledge and path to practical implementation exists and is waiting.

As always, we’re ready when you are.

Cholesterol: Rethinking Statins

As of the spring of 2014 one in four Americans over 45 were taking a cholesterol lowering drug known as a statin.  Over 43 million Americans between the ages of 40-75, along with an increasing number of younger customers are now including a Lipitor or Crestor as part of their daily regimen.

As the lab values that serve as the criteria for prescribing a statin continue to change, the umbrella for those deemed in need of statin therapy continues to widen.  Leaning on the outdated and now uneducated vilification of fats and cholesterol, the multibillion dollar statin industry continues to thrive.  Sad thing is, cardiovascular disease and overall health have not improved despite the low fat, statin fueled culture we know find ourselves in.

So is this widening spread use of statins necessary?  Is it safe?  Here are some facts about statins and cholesterol that should at the very least provoke some individual concern and subsequent investigation.

In 2012 the FDA issued a statement declaring statin drugs can cause cognitive side effects such as memory lapses and confusion.

An AMA (American Medical Association) study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine demonstrated a 48% increased risk of diabetes (a powerful risk factor for type III diabetes aka Alzheimer’s) among women taken statins.

It is well known that statins paralyze cells’ ability to make coenzyme Q10, a vitamin like substance found throughout the body, where it serves as an antioxidant and energy producer.  Depletion of CoQ10 leads to fatigue, shortness of breath, mobility & balance problems, muscular pain & weakness. CoQ10 deficiency has also been linked to heart failure, hypertension & Parkinson’s.  CoQ10 has actually been proposed as a treatment for Alzheimer’s.  At the absolute very least, individuals currently undergoing statin therapy should consult with their physician about adding CoQ10 to their regimen.

How about Vitamin D deficiency? Vitamin D is derived from cholesterol in the skin. When statins lower cholesterol, the ability to generate Vitamin D is hampered leading to (amongst other things)  a heightened risk for diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease and ultimately dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Consider the fact that our sex hormones are also derived from cholesterol.  Lowering cholesterol through use of statins and diet can lead to lower testosterone levels and subsequent decreased libido and ED (erectile dysfunction) which are common complaints amongst statin users.

LOWER levels of cholesterol have been linked to depression, dementia and even earlier death.

This type of information and suffering will hopefully continue to provoke reconsideration and remodeling of the current paradigm.  As we learn more through research and prior failures, the appropriate response is to act on this newfound knowledge and improve.  Unfortunately pride and profits appear to be standing in the way, so it is on us as individuals to educate and investigate when it comes to our health.

When it comes to evaluating cholesterol levels, they are usually included in a lipid panel. This entire process should be reevaluated as well, but there are ways to alter and more accurately measure your triglyceride and small LDL.  Before resorting to a statin, why not attempt to uncover the reason for the unfavorable levels, and attempt to remedy it?

How about starting with rethinking the dietary approach?

No not the seemingly logical, oversimplified and outdated, disproven theory that dietary fats and cholesterol are the main culprits behind “bad” cholesterol and cardiovascular disease.

You must once again look to carbohydrates and the subsequent release of insulin, which triggers fatty acid synthesis in the liver.  This starts the chain that eventually leads to the rise of triglycerides and “bad” cholesterol.  It is no coincidence that diabetes (a disease which features erratic blood sugar and insulin levels) is associated with the lipid triad of low HDL or “good” cholesterol, and high triglycerides and small LDL or “bad” cholesterol.

(Calling HDL and LDL cholesterol is actually incorrect as the “L” actually stands for Lipoprotein, and the “HD” and “LD” stand for High or Low Density.  These are carrier proteins that transport cholesterol throughout the body.)

The majority of type II diabetes can be reversed by reducing carb consumption, and the same holds true for naturally improving your lipid panel.

Another area to look at is thyroid function.

Patients with hypothyroid symptoms often display a lipid panel that includes high triglycerides and high LDL due to the body making fat much quicker than it can burn it.  The slower metabolism seen with hypothyroidism leads to:

…a sluggish liver and gall bladder making fat less likely to be metabolized and cleared from the body.

…it causes cells to be less receptive to LDL circulating which sets the stage for the LDL to accumulate and be oxidized.  This is actually when LDL becomes harmful, not merely its presence alone as it is actually necessary to deliver vital cholesterol to our body’s tissues.

…leaves an individual less able to burn fat as fuel as a healthy person would.  This creates a reliance on glucose (carbs/sugar) for fuel and the subsequent insulin release, fat storage and higher triglycerides and small LDL.

Diet and hampered thyroid function are just two possible reasons for an unfavorable lipid profile, and in many cases can be improved with lifestyle changes and the application of functional medicine.  Depending on the individual, cleaning up the menu, fortifying the digestive system, balancing the immune system, supporting the adrenal and thyroid glands and detoxification pathways can all be used to improve underlying function, which in turn creates a healthier human who can hopefully steer clear of statins and the accompanying baggage.

As always, consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes.  If you are interested in a unique, knowledgable approach based on the most current research, experience and understanding of the underlying function of the body and would like to learn more, call us today.

The Sour Side of Sugar’s Sweet Seduction

In the ever evolving world of nutrition a clear villain has emerged. It is a villain cloaked in mouth-watering and opioid receptor stimulating deliciousness. It is a villain that can be somewhat of a chameleon, hiding in large volumes in seemingly “healthy” foods. I am of course speaking of your favorite and mine: sugar.

(Unfortunately this sugar classification also includes high carb foods like grains. Translation: all that bread will eventually be broken down into the simple sugar: glucose.)

Mounting research implicates sugar (namely high fructose corn syrup and other processed/refined varieties) as a major culprit behind a plethora of diseases well beyond the obvious, but never understated obesity and diabetes. As a realist I realize that complete elimination of sugar is not much of a practical or desirable option, however a reduction in consumption would serve us all well, especially if you are having other seemingly unrelated health issues.

So other than coming to terms with the fact that you may be consuming way too much sugar, how do you know if you possibly are having issues with the way your body handles sugar? And why is this an issue anyway? Well, sit back, relax (dump your soda down the drain) and I’ll try to give it to you in a raw, unsalted nutshell.

We’ve heard the terms hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), but we will mainly be referring to dysglycemia and reactive hypoglycemia. These are conditions in which your blood sugar levels are not being handled properly and can be anywhere along the chain of dysfunction. Therefore addressing and correcting becomes imperative for health.

If you are someone who is consuming too many carbohydrates or sugar on a regular basis it is likely that your pancreas will become overactive in its secretion of insulin. This will lead to blood sugar levels rapidly swinging from high to low after a meal.

A clinical picture of this is marked by a drop in energy levels, mood swings, and overall cognition. This can be seen as spacing out easily, poor short term memory, becoming agitated if going too long without eating, and being prone to crashing in the later part of the afternoon. This is what’s known as reactive hypoglycemia, a form of insulin resistance which goes hand in hand with diabetes.

This person typically misses meals, eats foods high in sugar, craves sugar and salts throughout the day, depends on caffeine to function, and has a hard time waking up in the morning or sleeping through the night. Fatigue, brain fog, and headaches are also amongst the effects of this condition.

This could also lead to or be a contributing factor behind becoming hypoglycemic. This condition is marked by fatigue, mental confusion, lethargy and headaches and can also be caused by adrenal fatigue, poor diet, hypothyroidism or drug side effects.

A clinical picture of this would be someone who craves sweets throughout the day, is irritable if they miss a meal, eating can relieve fatigue, feeling shaky, jittery or having tremors, depending on coffee to get started or keep going, feeling lightheaded if meals are missed, getting agitated, easily upset or nervous or being forgetful.

Another possibility is to escalate from the reactive hypoglycemia to insulin resistance. The chronic release of insulin due to high carb/sugar loads eventually fatigues the cells to the point where they no longer want to accept the insulin or the glucose it is trying to deliver.

Clinically this entails feeling like you need a nap after every meal, craving sugar after every meal, being constantly hungry even after big meals, increased belly fat, insomnia, and facial hair or thinning hair in women (due to the fact insulin resistance promotes testosterone production in women), or breast and hip growth in men. It can also include frequent urination, migrating aches and pains, and overall difficulty losing weight.

Insulin resistance has also been linked to other coveted conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea, obesity, hormone metabolism disorders and certain types of cancer.

A key factor to be aware of is that if you are dysglycemic in any way, your adrenal glands will also be activated in the body’s attempt to stabilize your blood sugar. The same holds true in reverse, as when your adrenal glands (stress glands) are on overdrive and they severely alter your body’s ability to effectively handle blood sugar.

Dysfunction on both fronts can be at the root or a main contributor to hypothyroidism, a weakened and inflamed digestive tract, a weakened immune barrier of the gut, lungs and brain, hormonal imbalances, clogging of the body’s attempts at detox and impairment of fatty acid metabolism.

So what to do? If any of these pictures we painted sounds like you it would be wise to investigate further and take action prior to escalation and emergency reactions. Rather than addressing each one of these symptoms separately with a potential side effect causing pill, imagine if you could clear up many issues simply be addressing your diet.

As we’ve said in the past, the phrase “garbage in, garbage out” holds true in a variety of venues, but never more so than with the diet. Outside of the obvious weight gain, the systemic effects can be devastating.

If you are ready to get serious and commit to investigating and potentially remedying your issues, please give us a call (321-848-0987) as it would be our pleasure to collaborate with you on your liberating journey towards optimal, all natural health.

It’s what we do.

Come join us.

Picking Protein: Weighing the Whey

The mission to achieve optimal health is an evolving journey.  A key component of that journey is finding the best source of nutrients.  In many instances this becomes a case of the least offensive option.  Something that’s going to give you what you’re looking for without leaving too large a trail of collateral damage behind.

Rarely do I find this to be more true than when it comes to protein powder.  Now, in an ideal world all of our protein would safely and conveniently be derived from grass fed animals, free range chickens and eggs, wild fish, etc.  Unfortunately this is not the case and due to convenience, availability and lack of consistently strong alternatives, supplementing with a protein powder is something many (self included) find themselves doing.

All day, everyday we are constantly using protein to carry out life’s functions.  This constant turnover makes it imperative to obtain an adequate amount from an outside source in order to thrive.  Add consequences of life such as elevated stress, physical activity, injury or a virus to the equation and the need for a sustained quality protein source grows .

My personal search for the “best” appears to be a never ending process.  It is a process that also accompanies the search for the best nutritional choices and supplement supply for myself and my patients.  Just when you get comfortable with a product, new research emerges or your own school of thought changes.  Even worse, a report surfaces that your go to product contains traces of antibiotics or metals (true story).

Being that individually we lack the time, knowledge and overall resources to whip up our own concoctions, we will always be at the mercy of a third party manufacturer who to varying degrees, has that bottom line on their mind.  It is our choice and has become my professional and personal duty to avoid the comfort of blissful ignorance and stay diligently abreast on the latest information pertaining to what we put in our one and only body.

One of the most popular, powder protein sources is whey.  And while I personally have not used whey in a couple of years as I try to refrain from dairy products, I do recognize that it does possess many endearing and attractive qualities highlighted by its superior bioavailability.  What I’ve listed below are some buzz words and guide lines to look for if selecting a whey product.

The list is by no means perfect and can be hard to use as a checklist to satisfy all criteria.  It is however a good starting point as you decide which factors are most important to you.  This list has been loosely compiled from research.  Feel free to interject or add your own suggestions as we continue on that quest for the perfect products.

•             NON-DENATURED

WHY:     Traditionally, even the most expensive whey products available (isolates, ion exchange and hydrolyzed) are by-products of cheese manufacture. The milk goes through a heating process at high temperatures (163 degrees F) which damages the whey proteins.

Many manufactured whey proteins are also high in MSG (manufactured glutamic acid), which is toxic to neurological patients. In fact, typical whey protein powders may be detrimental to patients with neurological disorders because they contribute to an excess of glutamate in the body which can damage the nervous system, especially the brain.

True non-denatured whey protein on the other hand, is not a by-product of cheese manufacture; it is a “native” whey protein, which means it is not manufactured at all. It is the optimal natural precursor of glutathione (powerful antioxidant, antiviral, antimicrobial, detoxifier, etc.). It contains exceptionally high levels of non-denatured Cysteine and Glutamine, the amino acids required for intracellular glutathione production.

•             COLD PROCESSED/MICROFILTERED or ULTRAFILTERED

WHY:     Native Whey protein is obtained through a very specific process that differs from standard whey protein: the proteins are extracted directly from skimmed milk using membrane technologies, preferably COLD PROCESSED or at low temperature (microfiltration and ultrafiltration). The state of the art low temperature process removes casein and lactose to leave only the purest, most biologically active whey protein.

•             NO GROWTH HOMONES or GMOs

It is important to use whey protein from herds that graze on disease-free, pesticide-free, chemical-free, natural grass pastures and the milking of the cows are not subjected to any chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, or injected pathogens.  While some of these may be removed during the filtration process, some remain and can now wreak havoc within your own body.

•             NO ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS and LOW CARB/SUGAR

•             CONCENTRATE v ISOLATE

Protein isolates are proteins stripped away/isolated from their nutritional cofactors.

Isolates are exposed to acid processing to eliminate the fat, which denatures protein, leaving them deficient in key amino acids and nutritional cofactors.

When you remove fat, you actually remove components of its immune supporting/boosting properties.  Fat provides not only calories; most foods rich in healthful fat – including nuts and seeds like almonds and chia – are carriers of antioxidants, such as vitamin E and phytosterols.

Overall you’re left with an inferior whey protein if you take the fat out.

The Perfect Time of Year For a Cleanse

A new year is upon us and with that comes resolutions involving more trips to the gym and less trips to the fridge.  Resolutions, both big and small, are always heavy on January 1st due to the chance at a new start or big change that the date represents.

While personal cultivation can and should be taking place constantly throughout each year, we can’t deny the symbolic, cultural opportunity the new year presents.  It is because of this that the idea of a cleanse and/or detox is ideal to clean the slate and start you out on the right foot.

No matter how healthy or cautious you may be, exposure to harmful chemicals and toxins is inevitable.  Some of these cause immediate damage, while others can accumulate in your body, leading to future damage, especially as the accumulation builds.  Other times these outside invaders (some invited, some not) can cause damage to various organs in the body like your brain, liver, or gut, leading to future issues due to sub-par function.  Think of a leaky gut here, coupled with food sensitivities, systemic inflammation, autoimmunity, and more.

There are many different types of cleanses that serve to assist in ridding your body of the various wastes and toxins that have accumulated in your tissues throughout the holidays, this past year, or your whole life.  Through various dietary restrictions and supplemental support, your body is allowed the opportunity to calm itself rather than being on heightened defense or attack. Toxins are mobilized and detoxified through the liver and thus prepared for removal by way of excretion.

Depending on the type of cleanse utilized, the intestinal tract is also relieved of the constant bombardment of processed foods, grains, and sugars.  This allows your major barrier system and site of 80% of your immune system to begin to heal.  Providing additional support can then help repair, rebuild, and refortify the wall between you and the chemicals, bacteria, and other pathogens that can and may have already been disrupting your internal systems causing inflammation, organ malfunction and an over or under active immune system.

Depending on your personal goals and individual health condition, it is important to select a cleanse/detox program that is not only going to relinquish the inflammatory external stimuli, but deliver support for the systems involved in the process (liver, intestines, kidneys, etc.).  For example, you want to provide the body with the proper support to mobilize any toxins from the fat cells throughout your body and then provide the necessary co-factors to convert them to a water soluble form so that they can be eliminated.

An added bonus to any adequate program is the opportunity to reap the benefits of a sustained restricted diet.  This involves sticking to a menu where the usual hyper-allergenic and problematic foods are avoided for 3-4 weeks.  This is the basic premise behind a standard elimination diet and allows your body to completely eliminate certain potentially problematic proteins from the body.

At the conclusion of the cleanse you now have the option to reintroduce any of the foods you avoided.  When you do this one by one it provides the opportunity to identify potential sensitivities by way of a rash, headache, fatigue, bloating, etc.  Or after refraining from ingesting a certain food you may decide to forego reintroduction altogether and eliminate it outright from your usual meal routine.

To reiterate, and at the risk of being too cliché, the new year provides the perfect time to clean out and restart, repair, rebuild, and recharge your life.  A cleanse/detox program can serve as an ideal way to not only take your health to the next level, but can be quite physically and mentally liberating as well.

If this sounds exciting to you then please, by all means give us a call (321-848-0987).  Together we can sit down (in person or over the phone), discuss your health history, identify your goals, and ultimately construct a plan to leave you refreshed and recharged for 2014 and beyond.