Tag Archives: diet

New Insight into Weight Loss

The weight loss industry is now and forever will be alive and strong as individuals struggle to keep the pounds off.  The majority of motivation may be aesthetics, but the need to shed the excess body weight goes well beyond simply feeling good about your counterpart staring back at you in the mirror.
I become discouraged with loud and large celebrities who look to spearhead the movement of embracing obesity as being comfortable in their own skin.  Being comfortable and happy with yourself is no doubt a justifiable desire, but pushing personal acceptance of obesity is reckless to say the least.
This is not about looks or appearance either, although the message of “accepting you for you” will incorrectly cite this.  This is about an outright unhealthy state for the body to be in, and the cascade of consequences that follow.  Body fat is not a static or silent tissue; rather quite the contrary.  Adipose tissue or body fat is actually a highly active metabolic tissue that when in excess disrupts hormonal signaling (including those responsible for appetite, blood sugar and sleep regulation).
It is also a pro-inflammatory tissue, meaning the more you have the more inflamed you will be throughout the body.  This lends it’s hand not only to elevated pain levels, but it increases the common denominator behind virtually every condition known (from plantar fasciitis to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s); inflammation.
The bottom-line here is that it’s not about the looks from a quantity and quality of life standpoint.  We are talking about a truly taxing state to ask a body to operate in, especially over time, with a list of concomitant issues that far exceeds the few listed above.
This brings us to today’s topic, which is not meant as a standalone solution to the issue, but rather another piece of the intelligently assembled, holistic puzzle.
If you’ve read any articles on this site before, you know we rightfully place an abundance of emphasis on intestinal health or “the gut.”  The major player in this system and thus our overall health is our intestinal flora, or the “probiotic” good bacteria that populate our digestive tract.
Researchers have discovered that there is a certain type of bacterial organism (firmicutes) that is more prevalent in obese individuals as opposed to the majority of bacteroidetes found in their lean counterparts.  This makes sense as firmicutes are notorious as “fat loving” bacteria with a higher propensity to digest complex carbs, extracting the energy from food and ultimately storing it as fat.
These bacteria communicate directly and indirectly with our brains, and if we are dominated with a strain of flora that thrives off of carbohydrates, the message is sent to our brains to crave and potentially overconsume these fat generating foods.  What’s more, we’ve just learned that higher levels of these firmicutes actually turn on genes (epigenetics) that not only increase the risk for obesity, but diabetes, dementia, and cardiovascular disease.
In an individual’s personal war on obesity this serves as a powerful foundational weapon.  As previously stated, obviously a variety of lifestyle strategies must be implemented to successfully attain and maintain a healthy weight.  However, this piece of information should be universally utilized in order to better control cravings from within, optimize metabolism for the goal at hand, and further substantiate a quality probiotic (and a healthy intestinal tract for it to flourish within) as one of the cornerstones to optimal health and longevity.

Side Effect Free Options to NSAIDs

It is estimated that of the 238 million adults in the US, 116 million suffer from chronic pain.  Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are the most common allopathic approach to the management of these chronic pain patients.  However, there are more complaints filed to regulatory agencies worldwide against NSAIDs than any other classification of drugs.
Due to pro-inflammatory lifestyles (diet and physical, chemical and emotional stressors), pain and other subsequent signs or symptoms of internal disfunction runs rampant.  This leads to the perceived need for routine NSAID use (tylenol, aspirin, advil, ibuprofen, etc.) to get through the busy day.  While the underlying cause of the inflammation should always be addressed, what we are talking about here is a short term, safer alternative to the NSAID.
The reason a smarter option should be exercised is due to the fact that like all drugs, over the counter or prescribed, these magic pills are not sans side effects.  NSAID use and overuse is responsible for an alarming number of hospitalizations and even deaths each year.  Common side effects include internal hemorrhaging, liver and kidney damage, digestive dysfunction including degradation of the stomach and intestinal wall (ulcers), and stroke; with the likelihood of occurrence increasing with usage.
So when you see these commercials with the delivery man or mother of three relying on her her alieve or advil to get through the day, best believe reliance on an even longer list of meds will follow to address the aforementioned issues.
To understand viable options, we need to understand the physiologic mechanism of action behind the NSAID.  These drugs work by inhibiting a part of the inflammatory pathway that leads to the formation of something called a prostaglandin (PGE2) that would normally lead to stimulation of pain fibers.  They do this by inhibiting an enzyme in the pathway called COX-2, and are thus noted as COX-2 inhibitors.
What most people don’t know is that there are actually other ways to block the formation of PGE2, and thus the pain.  In addition to a laundry list of other systemic benefits, Omega3 (Fish Oil) supplementation also serves as a COX-2 inhibitor, and thus a potentially powerful, natural anti-inflammatory. (Provided this is a high quality Omega 3 supplement and at a therapeutic dose.)
Another fascinating option that works in a similar COX-2 inhibitory
manner is the application Low Laser Therapy or LLT.  These are often classified as cold lasers (due to the lack of heat) and work by utilizing a specific wavelength and frequency of light to achieve a desired therapeutic purpose within the tissues.  One of the effects of Low Level Laser Therapy is that it too blocks the COX-2 enzyme, and thus the formation of PGE2 and the sensation of pain, but without the side effects.
As previously stated, the long term objective should always be to identify and eliminate the cause of the problematic inflammation so the use of natural or chemical anti-inflammatories is minimized.  However, due to the well documented hazards associated with these seemingly harmless and casually over consumed drugs, wiser options, that work in the exact same manner, should be exercised.
As with any adjustment to your healthcare regimen, always consult with you knowledgable and trusted healthcare coach before making any changes.  Whether it’s the all natural temporary relief of pain, or a combination of short term relief to get you through while we work on a long term solution, we are here to collaborate with and coach you to a better quantity and quality of life.
We’re ready when you are.

Obamacare: How to Soften the Blow

Are you one of the millions of Americans who are feeling negatively affected by the ever evolving heathcare reform? Elevated premiums, ridiculous deductibles, limited network provider selection has patients and providers sick to their stomachs (pun intended).

As promised, change did indeed come, and was definitely needed. And while an abrupt upheaval and reconfigurment of an intact system can be quite unsettling on numerous fronts, only time will tell how the future chapters of this book will be ascribed; for better or for worse.

The question we are left with is: now what? How is one to advantageously navigate this new system in order to reap optimal available benefits, while mitigating the economic blow as much as possible?

Like it or not, it is what it is for the time being. And alas, we are left choices. There is always the option to whine, complain, bitch, moan; even get angry and stressed, which will make healthcare all the more necessary for you.

Unless you plan on getting involved in politics and joining the ranks of policy proposers and lewd lobbyists, then the aforementioned option doesn’t do anyone any good.

Let’s talk about an intelligent strategy here to hopefully save some dollars, sanity and ultimately, your health.

First off you will either need to continue to carry a now inflated health insurance or pay a fine for rolling the dice without. This is still an option and the appropriate alternative varies dependent upon your specific situation. This part appears to be an unavoidable reality at the moment so unless you plan on joining the circus in D.C., you may as well come to terms with your decision and move on.

Let’s now talk about how you can really take control of the situation. Are you infuriated by your seemingly unattainable deductible? Are you disgruntled because you feel you have been forced to change physicians or pay them thousands to join their preferred, VIP patient club?

Well, a simple solution exists to eliminating both of these issues. Stop sitting back complaining while you consume the same diet that perpetuates the need for frequent doctor visits in the first place. Stop sitting altogether. Stop talking about exercise or becoming more active, and get up and do it.

The information, research and evidence implicating lifestyle (diet, exercise, stress, sleep, toxins, etc.) as the main driver of genetic expression (epigenetics) and thus chronic disease (diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, auto-immunity, Alzheimer’s, cancer, etc.) now exists, and is thankfully becoming more mainstream. Ignorance is no longer an excuse. The information, and thus the knowledge and power exists to play a more active role in your health, well being and life than ever once imagined.

You see if you don’t like the current sickcare, excuse me, healthcare system, then take a stand on a personal level and remove yourself from it as much as possible. Stop playing the loud, opinionated, helpless victim who does nothing to help themselves.

No matter where you sit on the spectrum of health, there are basic foundational changes that can be implemented and built upon from there. The stronger that intelligently constructed foundation, the less of a need for all those prescriptions and visits to the specialist.

Thus you have improved two aspects of your relationship with healthcare in that you can now pick a plan that makes emergencies more economical, rather than routine visits to attenuate this new symptom and modify dosage of that med. You have also now enabled yourself to take some space from the this new provider who you didn’t much care for to begin with.

Now I realize everyone’s situation is different, especially when it comes to health. Some people may need plans for frequent specialist visits and access to medications, and that’s all good.  That’s what they’re there for.

However, the majority of the population can do themselves a service and make the effort to take the proactive step towards optimal health, and thus more independence from the system they declaratively loathe.

The seemingly healthy individual can arm themselves with knowledge and begin to cultivate a lifestyle relatively free of issues down the line; true responsible, wellness care.  The boomers and elder set can break some of the lifelong habits and be sure to attentuate the inevitable degeneration as much as possible, leading to a higher quality of life in those golden years.  Even the individual with seemingly hopeless, devestating disease diagnosis can explore all options, and do all they can to stack the remainig deck in their favor.

With the abundance of information out there, getting started can be a daunting, seemingly insurmountable task, but it doesn’t have to be. There exists forward thinking healthcare providers like myself, who are passionate about collaborating with individuals in order to unlock the potential to thrive.

Find one you can develop a relationship with, along with some level of trust. Find one who will take the time to not only listen, but explain the anatomy, physiology, and logic and reason behind each aspect of a plan; ultimately creating a more knowledgable, independent advocate of their own health.

This is what we pride ourselves in doing professionally and personally, and are here to guide all those looking to take their lives into their own hands.

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.

Why Can’t I Fall Asleep?

Insomnia can be one of the most frustrating conditions to deal with. And while not all cases of sleep disturbances fall under this overused and often incorrectly utilized label, when you are sleep deprived you know it, and end up suffering on numerous physiologic fronts far beyond simply feeling tired.

But why does this happen?

How can we fix it?

Unfortunately there are plenty of reasons why our sleep cycle can be thrown off, ranging from diet and stress to outright neurological dysfunction. However, if we utilize our knowledge of physiology and start with a least invasive approach, we can start the balling rolling in the right direction.

We first need to understand and appreciate our body’s natural 24 hour cycle. This is called the circadian rhythm and is our built in sleep-wake cycle. This cycle is heavily contingent upon the inverse relationship between two chemicals: melatonin and cortisol.

Our adrenal glands secrete cortisol in response to stress (chemical, physical and emotional) in order to provide our body with energy to deal with that stress. The adrenals and thus the release of cortisol can be set into overdrive when we are stressed or from constant blood sugar swings. This is important to grasp as cortisol has an inverse relationship with melatonin and is a driver behind the wake portion of our circadian rhythm. This means that when cortisol is elevated, melatonin and thus your ability to sleep is down.

Melatonin on the other hand drives the sleep portion of our 24 hour cycle. When all is functioning properly, our melatonin level rises throughout the day (as cortisol is dropping), ultimately culminating in its peak in the later evening, sending us off to a refreshing slumber. During the evening our melatonin level begins to drop as our cortisol levels begin to rise in response to our lower blood sugar during the mini fast that takes place when we sleep.

Cortisol then peaks in the morning (while melatonin level bottoms out) providing us with wide eyed energy for the day. As the day goes on cortisol level slowly dips and melatonin rises, and we repeat the cycle all over again.

Does this picture of perfect balance and physiological harmony sound like you?

If it doesn’t, you’re not alone as adrenal dysfunction is overwhelmingly common in contemporary lifestyles filled with poor diets and high stress.

Again, starting with a least invasive, general approach, there are things you can do in an attempt to recalibrate your circadian rhythm. The first thing you can do is to start your day out with 10-15 minutes of sun exposure. This exposure to natural light will signal the body that it is day time and lead to increased production of serotonin, which is the reason people tend to feel happier with higher levels of sunlight.

Serotonin is the precursor to melatonin and thus the more serotonin, the more potential melatonin that can be produced. This is why people who are suffering from depression due to a lack of serotonin also tend to have issues sleeping.

In addition to the sun exposure, you can also make sure to provide fuel for serotonin by consuming the amino acid tryptophan as this is the precursor to serotonin. In order to boost the likelihood of this conversion, adequate amounts of magnesium and vitamin B6 are also necessary.

Taking this step can start you on your way to more serotonin, more melatonin, and hopefully more sleep. However, there are some common pitfalls that hinder the pathway from serotonin to melatonin. One of the last steps in this conversion is called methylation. Potential attenuators of the methylation process include a junk food diet (high carb/sugar), birth control pills, hormone replacement therapies, and the bacterial gut infection, H. pylori. Working with a qualified health care provider to identify and rectify each of these situations is a must when attempting to correct that 24 hour cycle.

By far the most common cause of low melatonin is the aforementioned high cortisol. When one of these is up, the other is down. The most common cause of abnormal cortisol is dysglycemia or blood sugar issues. We have covered the causes of this extensively in past posts and it truly is a deal beaker when it comes to ALL aspects of health and longevity. Other than modifying the diet, having fasting insulin and HbA1c levels monitored can point you in the right direction.

A regular recharge by the way of natural, refreshing sleep is another vital pillar to optimal living and longevity.

Use this information.

Contact us for a consult.

Dig deeper.

Do what you have to do to ensure you are stacking the deck in your favor as much as possible in order to live this one and only life to the fullest.