Getting Your Wellness Back

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Regulation of Cortisol the Stress Hormone

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. 

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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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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.

Sugary Drinks Lead to Deaths

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.  

Essentia Mattresses

There are many mattress companies out there that make numerous different mattresses from a number of different materials. Most of these are made from very toxic materials that can be harmful to our health. In researching for mattresses for my own family, we found out about this company that really reflects our beliefs in a non toxic product. This is how the company was started.

             This is what the owner of the company has said about his reasons for starting Essentia.  “I never thought I’d be in the mattress industry. It all started when a family member was diagnosed with cancer. Physicians made me aware of the toxins in everyday items like TVs, microwaves, couches and dashboards. My family had been in the latex foam business for years and supplied most major brands. I studied the industry and realized that mattresses were manufactured with poor quality components, filled with chemically derived foams treated with harsh chemicals and layered together with glue. In looking for alternatives I realized there weren’t any. I decided to research and developed something different, memory foam made from natural ingredients. I tried offering this foam to major mattress brands but most weren’t interested because of the high cost. Those who did buy it only integrated an insignificant amount in order to promote the foam’s natural qualities. As I evaluated brand after brand I realized the industry wasn’t overly concerned about consumer health or product quality, just catch phrases and profit margins. That’s when I founded Essentia, more than a brand; a commitment to comfort and quality, without compromise.”

Their mattresses are made from Hevea Milk, Dunlop Latex, Organic Essential Oils, Natural Plant Extracts, and Liquid Latex and Acrylic Resin Adhesive. Their mattresses don’t contain any adhesives. I had the chance to go to their showroom in Chicago this past weekend and it was well worth the trip. If you are in the market for a new bed please take a look at these great beds.

Most Overlooked Nutrient Deficiencies

In assessing the nutrient adequacy of my patients, there are three nutrients in particular that are commonly overlooked. These include magnesium, selenium, and vitamin D. In the case of magnesium, intake is frequently inadequate to provide RDA levels. In the case of selenium, intake may be inadequate to provide two of this nutrient’s primary benefits. In the case of vitamin D, deficiency/insufficiency may be overt.

Magnesium plays structural roles in bone, cell membranes, and chromosomes, and is also needed for hundreds of metabolic reactions. Magnesium deficiency symptoms include hypocalcemcia, low serum potassium levels, retention of sodium, low circulating levels of parathyroid hormone, muscular tremors/spasms, tetany, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and personality changes. Adults 31 years and older require 420/320 mg/day.

Selenium is incorporated into a number of antioxidant enzymes that offer protection from free radicals, other reactive oxygen species, help regenerate several antioxidants and regulate cell growth and viability, and help produce biologically active thyroid hormone. They are also thought to play a role in muscle metabolism and to function in sperm formation, and may be involved in inflammatory and immune responses. Deficiency symptoms include confusion, depression, anxiety, and uncertainty. It may also include worsened muscle function and an impaired immune system leaving the body susceptible to infection. Adults require 200 mcg daily of selenium.

Vitamin D is best known for its role in helping to facilitate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and so helping to promote bone health. It also helps in the production of specific cells, boosts the immune system, plays a role in insulin secretion, and important for decreasing the risk of high blood pressure. Many symptoms can manifest from a vitamin D deficiency. Adults require at least 2,000 IU’s of supplemental vitamin D daily and if healthy adults and adolescents regularly avoid sunlight exposure, then it is necessary to supplement with at least 5,000 IU’s of vitamin D daily.  There are two forms of vitamin D available as a dietary supplement: cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) and ergocalciferol (vitamin D2). Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) is the form made in the human body, and is more active then ergocalciferol (vitamin D2). So when searching for a vitamin D supplement make sure it is in the form of cholecalciferol (vitamin D3).  

Beating Jet Lag

Frequent travelers know it well: jet lag, that feeling of not being in sync with the local time zone after a lengthy flight. It can produce feelings of fatigue, nausea, headache, dizziness, irritability, and even constipation or diarrhea.

The medical name for it is desynchronosis, and though you may not be able to eliminate it completely from your itinerary, you can minimize its effects upon arrival. Here’s how to get your trip off to a good start.

1) Adjust your sleep schedule before leaving. As much as possible in the days before your departure, try to match your sleep schedule to the time zone you’ll be in. Go to bed and get up a little earlier.

2) Stay in Shape. The better your physical condition is before you travel, the easier the transition will be. Exercise regularly, eat well, and get rest.

3) Wear comfortable clothing. You’ll be able to relax better on the plane if your clothes are loose and your shoes don’t restrict your movement or blood flow.

4) Drink lots of water. Avoid alcohol and caffeine on the plane, but drink plenty of other liquids to minimize the effects of dehydration that can accompany air travel. The body does not detoxify as well at high altitudes which makes water especially important as well as taking your multiple vitamin before and right after being on the plane.

5) Walk around the plane. Once the seatbelt sign is off, follow the crew’s advice and feel free to move about the cabin. Keeping you blood flowing will make you feel better and lower the risk of developing blood clots that inactivity can cause.

6) Adapt to the local schedule quickly. You’ll be tired when you arrive, but don’t go right to bed if the local time is 8 a.m. Try to stay up, or take just a brief nap. Get out into the sunlight as much as possible—exposure to the sun’s rays will help your body adjust to the new clock.

7) If you have purchased a Mini Harmonizer from our office, having this on near you while you are flying can also help with Jet lag. This machine puts off the Earth’s natural frequency which helps re-charge the body.

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