Getting Your Wellness Back

Cortisol, often referred to as the stress hormone, plays a crucial role in maintaining health. But to be effective, circulating levels must be maintained in a fairly narrow range. If levels dip much below optimal, signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue occur. Any lower and the situation can become life threatening. 

If levels climb and remain above optimal for a period of time, signs and symptoms of metabolic syndrome appear. And if they get too high, Cushings syndrome manifests.

The level of circulating cortisol in the healthy body remains between 15 and 24 mcg/dL, producing 20-25 mg of cortisol over a 24-hour period. These optimal circulating levels carry in a diurnal pattern, with low being at approximately 4:30 a.m. and high occurring 30 to 45 minutes after rising or at approximately 7 a.m.  There is also a mid-afternoon low sometime between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., which usually lasts between 15 minutes and two hours.

The following are common signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue:

1) Morning fatigue: difficulty getting up and going without caffeine or other stimulants.

2) Mid-morning low: often compensated for by more caffeine plus sugar with fat. (e.g. coffee and donuts)

3) Afternoon low: typically experienced between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

4) Energy improves substantially after around 6 p.m.

5) Sleepiness may occur around 9:30 p.m.

6) A second wind occurring around 11 p.m., lasting until 1 a.m. to 2 a.m.

7) Sleeping in about two hours beyond usual rising time is more refreshing.

8) Feeling run down and exhausted most of the day.

9) Sleep disturbances

10) Getting sick more often and taking longer to recover from illness and other stresses.

11) Decreased libido

These symptoms can be addressed through stress management , lifestyle modifications, food choices, dietary supplements and homeopathy. 

Much like the spark plugs in your car, the vitamin-like nutrient coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) serves as a vital catalyst to ignite the mitochondrial “spark” that creates cellular energy.     Without adequate CoQ10, cells aren’t able to support normal levels of activity. But this powerhouse coenzyme also boasts antioxidant activity that has been shown to address a growing number of health conditions.

The heart requires a large amount of energy to function properly, so it’s not surprising that some of the highest concentrations of CoQ10 are found in the cardiovascular system. And because free radical damage plays a significant role in many types of heart disease—especially atherosclerosis and congestive heart failure (CHF) —supplementing with ubiquinol has been found to mitigate cardiovascular damage.

CoQ10 has been shown to help with the aging brain, diabetes and liver function, as well as obesity. Routinely eating a diet high in fat and sugar increases inflammation in the liver. CoQ10 seems to lower hepatic inflammation and reactive oxygen species levels in obese individuals.

The evidence suggests that ubiquinol is a potential anti-aging option for most patients—especially for those suffering from cardiovascular disease, neurological challenges or diabetes. 

The Omega-3 Solution

Evidence-based, peer-reviewed science shows, in the right population, adding long-chain omega-3 fatty acids to the diet can:

1) Improve memory, mood, and mental energy

2) Eliminate depression in adults and ADD/ADHD in children

3) Reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s

4) Reduce the risk of heart disease and inflammatory disorders

5) Promote better health and intelligence in children

DHA as present in supplements is fortunately very safe, inexpensive, and convenient to add to the diet. Even more, the exact amount of DHA added to the diet on a daily basis can be calculated, controlled, and delivered with scientific consistency. When it comes to the fish at the grocery stores, supermarkets or restaurants however—or even lakes, rivers, and streams in the USA—its now highly recommended that most sources of fish be avoided because of high concentrations of measureable toxins. In fact, the list of sources or varieties of fish to avoid consuming because of mercury and PCB contamination grows every year. The good news—there are certain varieties that are consistently lower in mercury and contaminants.

The healthiest and most contaminant free omega-3 rich sources of fish available today is wild Alaskan salmon, followed by wild Alaskan sockeye salmon, then sardines, and wild Alaskan haddock. The DHA in pure quality assured supplements is the best source of Omega-3’s to avoid contamination.

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                 Overwhelmingly, research studies are delivering staggering statistics: approximately two-thirds of the American population is overweight, and nearly half of those folks are obese. 

             The causes of obesity are assumed to be well known; too much food and too little exercise. What constitutes good nutrition and effective exercise for this population. There is a three pronged approach to tackle obesity:

1) Identify what constitutes good/proper nutrition.

2) Incorporate a realistic strength training program that doesn’t overwhelm or over-complicate.

3) Educate people on the up-to-date research that sheds the truth on salt, sugar (especially fructose), and saturated fats.

             While lack of exercise is constantly cited as the major cause of obesity, the facts do not support this sweeping generalization. We have come to realize that the majority of people who rely on exercise to lose weight are extremely frustrated with the results.

             Numerous studies over the last three decades show that exercise, in general, is not particularly effective at reducing fat stores. We know people who spend a lot of time in the gym, on the treadmill, or stair stepper, who never see any lasting benefits. We also all know people who have lost weight on an effective eating plan without exercise.

             The most essential part of a weight lost program is maintaining glycemic control or maintaining normal blood sugar and brain sugar levels.  Reducing the consumption of refined starches and sugars—especially fructose—will result in weight loss and lower blood pressure, both of which will reduce the likelihood of diabetes.  

             A simple guide to get to and maintain a healthy weight includes: keeping insulin levels low, managing stress, sleeping soundly, matching the training approach to ones goals and available time, and addressing the biochemical glitches such as thyroid, environmental toxins that disrupt fat metabolism, and nutrient deficiencies. A simple approach to our country’s chronic obesity problem is to pay greater attention to the root of the problem: the food that we eat. 

The CoQ10 Phenomenon

Supplementation with CoQ10 provides potent neuro-protective benefits useful for prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, preserves the brain structure and slows neurodegeneration, improves heart muscle function by enhancing mitochondrial performance, and protects dopamine-producing areas of the brain.

             Having low CoQ10 levels means more free radical damage to your brain, less energy for the brain to do its work, more tired, sluggish brain cells that don’t learn, think, or remember as well as they should, and a greater susceptibility to neurological diseases. Lack of CoQ10 is more likely in people with cancer and other chronic illnesses, causes cellular damage resulting in altered DNA and a host of poor health outcomes, and contributes to greater cellular damage from free radicals in lipid-rich structures like the brain. 

Research shows that CoQ10:  Is one of the most powerful antioxidants engaged in protecting the brain, body  and heart against the damaging effects of free radicals. Powerfully protects liquid structures. It has been shown to protect brain cells against toxic insults that arise from both neurotoxic and excitotoxic agents. Slows the progression of early Parkinson’s disease by an astounding 44 percent. Protects and preserves mitochondrial function, giving it a profound impact on overall health. Enhances mitochondrial efficiency.

Daily nutritional support with CoQ10 ranges for most people from100-200 mg/day, taken with breakfast or lunch.  People with Parkinson’s disease took anywhere from 800-1200 mg/day. Ubiquinol is the most absorbable form of CoQ10.

I’ve warned people about the dangers of soda for more than a while now and the list of reasons to avoid the beverages just keeps getting longer. Americans in particular get most of their daily calories from sugar, primarily in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in soda and other sweetened beverages. Half of the US population over the age of two consumes sugary drinks on a daily basis, and this figure does not even include 100% fruit juices, flavored milk, or sweetened teas, all of which are sugary too, so the figure is actually even higher.

Preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions suggests sugary beverages are to blame for about 183,000 deaths worldwide each year, including 133,000 diabetes deaths, 44,000 heart disease deaths and 6,000 cancer deaths.

Fructose has been identified as one of the primary culprits in the meteoric rise of obesity and related health problems, and while the majority of the problem is caused by the large quantities of high fructose corn syrup added to so many processed foods and sweetened beverage s, naturally occurring fructose in large amounts of fruit juice is also a problem. Fructose is also a likely culprit behind the millions of US children struggling with non-alcoholic liver disease, which is caused by a build up of fat cells within liver cells. Fructose is very hard on your liver, in much the same way as drinking alcohol.

Don’t fall for the latest “Designer Water” fad. I advise drinking water as your primary form of beverage. Many simply don’t drink enough water these days. But don’t be fooled by slick marketing. There are a number of “designer water” products available. Many products out there do not contain any juice. Rather it’s sweetened with sucralose and “natural fruit flavors.”

Different artificial sweeteners have been found to wreck havoc in a number of ways. Aspartame, for example, has a long list of studies indicating its harmful affects, ranging from brain damage to pre-term delivery. Sucralose has been found to be particularly damaging to your intestines. Unfortunately, most public health agencies and nutritionists in the US still recommend these toxic artificial sweeteners as acceptable and even preferred alternatives to sugar, which is at best confusing. Artificial sweeteners can stimulate your appetite, fat storage and cause weight gain.  

More Pain for Pain Killers

The heart risks associated with taking over the counter pain killers for daily aches and pains is becoming a major debate. Some of the popular pills out there are Celebrex, Diclofenac, Motrin, Advil, Aleve, and Aspirin. The search for a good pain killer has always been frustrating. Opioids like Vicodin work great—except they’re addictive.  Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is powerful—but it can wreck your liver. Even aspirin with all of its known heart benefits, can lead to internal bleeding. Now there’s more painful news for people suffering from conditions like severe arthritis: researchers have confirmed heart risks for those taking large doses of two popular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).

A University of Oxford study reports that the NSAIDs diclofenac and ibuprofen have heart risks similar to those NSAIDS that have already been banned. The study made clear that the danger increases significantly if a patient already has heart problems. The Oxford study found that for every 1,000 patients taking high-dose prescription declofenac or ibuprofen there are three additional heart attacks, four heart-failure events and one death. That difference might seem small, but it becomes significant in proportion to a person’s existing underlying heart-attack risk without the drugs.

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