Using Non-Drug Enhancement to Gain an Athletic Competitive Edge

176872789 lowOnly an athlete understands why spending a lifetime to shave off a second, claw an extra inch, or lift another pound seems like a fair trade off. Pain, imbalance, and performance issues arise for various reasons.  At Fundamental Health Solutions, we use a non-drug based, health building approach which has helped athletes ranging from Hall of Fame Professional Caliber to Junior Varsity.   We sell the same nutritionally based products that have been adopted by pro athletes, to gain a competitive edge.  By optimizing your cellular health, we can help eliminate many of the physical issues that prevent you from taking your performance to the next level.

  • Nutritional Depletion
  • Reducing and eliminating Fibrin- scar tissue
  • Strengthening the overall health of your blood
  • Increasing Blood Oxygen Levels
  • Decrease Recovery Time
  • Managing Inflammation Associated with Training
  • Reducing Injuries and Oxidative Stress

Nutritional Depletion
Nutritional depletion can contribute to a number of physical issues.  For the athlete, this can include impaired peak performance, range of motion, pain, stiffness, joint and fascia restrictions.Athletes utilize nutrients more rapidly than non-athletes.  Neglected nutrient depletion can contribute to lack of stamina and endurance, improper coordination, inability to provide “bursts” of strength, stiffness, a decreased range of motion, poor flexibility, and a feeling of “heaviness” in the limbs.

How fibrin can slow your athletic performance
Athletes and others who engage in physical activity, including competition and training, experience more frequent, and severe traumas.  Your body begins the repair process with a protein called fibrin. Fibrin surrounds damaged tissue in order to provide stability.  Strains, sprains, tears, cuts, running, leaping, colliding, throwing, punching, pedaling, and kicking can lead to increased fibrin deposits throughout the body.  Our body creates fibrin-removing enzymes (fibrinolytic) whose function is to clear scar tissue and facilitate healing. Insufficient amounts of fibrinolytic enzymes in the body can delay healing and repair needed to accelerate recovery times. This can result in physical performance limitations.

Fibrin is required to stabilize an injured area, however, one of the unfortunate side effects is called “Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (D.O.M.S.).” This pain is felt most intensely from 24-72 hours post exertion, and is largely the result of uncleared fibrin.  When uncleared fibrin chokes the much needed blood supply delivering nutrients to our muscles and tissues, our recovery is prolonged.  Because fibrin creates a “mesh net” around muscles, tendons and ligaments, we begin to experience range of motion limitations as fibrin layers grow. This leads to distortions in the fascia- the connective tissue network that surrounds everything in the body. This distortion creates resistance, which has a limiting affect on how well you sprint, throw, hurdle, leap, press, push or pedal.

Increasing blood oxygen at the cellular level
Therapies that only rely upon exposing the blood to oxygen, such as breathing oxygen from concentrators or hyperbaric chambers, or artificially increasing the number of red blood cells such as with blood doping, fail to recognize the most critical part of blood oxygen saturation: the red blood cell’s ability or inability to carry greater amounts of oxygen. Exposing the blood to oxygen does not guarantee it can deliver it to our tissues.

To increase your blood’s ability to carry oxygen, debris in the blood needs to be cleaned up, and your red blood cells must be an ideal size and shape. The cleaner the blood, and the more ideal shape your red blood cells are, the more effectively they can transport oxygen to essential body parts such as muscles and the brain. Achieving peak performance requires foundational changes that need to occur at the red blood cell level.  Debris includes high serum protein levels, and oxidized solids such as plaque, uric acid and fibrin, all which decrease the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.

Reducing Oxidative Stress and Inflammation
Any amount of physical exertion increases something called “oxidative stress” which includes harmful byproducts called “free radicals”.  Free radicals damage our cells making it difficult for our cells to heal, and carry oxygen and nutrients.  Exertion also yields an increase in pro-inflammatory proteins.  In controlled amounts, inflammation is critical and essential to help us heal.  However, in larger amounts inflammation can have an adverse affect on our health and make it difficult to deliver peak performance.

Blood tests to identify these conditions can be done in our office via live blood cell analysis, and out of office via our comprehensive functional blood chemistry analysis and specialized functional lab tests.  Jump start your athletic competitive edge in sports by calling our office, or clicking the link above, for more information on how we can help you reach that next competitive level.

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How alcohol consumption makes you age faster

?????????????????????????????????????Having the proper nutrients can affect everything from your DNA to how happy you feel. Proper nutrition is an important factor in maintaining good emotional and physical health. Alcohol consumption and eating refined foods negatively exacerbates both your emotional and physical health.

Drinking alcoholic beverages requires your body to use nutrients more rapidly. When your liver begins to feel the strain brought on by alcohol, your bloodstream, organs, glands and skeletal system then become the source by supplying much needed nutrients to boost liver function needed to detoxify alcohol, and its toxic metabolites. As a result, there are several physical issues that often occur when people try to stop drinking alcohol such as muscle weakness, blood sugar imbalances, fatigue, and generally feeling “hungover”. More serious issues include tremors, “the shakes”, nervousness and tension, poor sleep and insomnia, appetite issues, and memory issues. In many cases these issues are the result of nutrient deficiencies and chemical imbalances.

Alcohol also perpetuates a cycle of dependency which stems from a person’s lack of ability to ‘feel relaxed’ in their body. Many people reach for an alcoholic beverage because they feel they cannot relax without it. This tension stems from overly toxic organs and glands, strained to their limits, which in turn can communicate with our muscles creating ‘muscle tension’, besides an overall feeling of unease and agitation. When this occurs, the body cannot produce the adequate levels of hormones, neurotransmitters, and chemicals needed to achieve relaxation, and a deep restful sleep with few interruptions. This also can prevent your muscles from relaxing.

After a stressful event
Following a stressful event, if your body is healthy, your muscles and your mind can calm and relax itself in a ‘normal’ period of time. As a chiropractor, when palpitating the backs of patients, I frequently find that they have overly tight (‘stiff as a board” as I call it) muscles that are rigidly locked in tension. This is a result of an overly toxic burden resulting from poor diet and reliance upon medications, and alcohol plays a role in this process. Alcohol merely numbs us from feeling this tension, but does nothing to address the cause of why we feel stressed. This perpetrates a continued cycle of reliance on alcohol.

How alcohol makes you gain weight, and makes you “fatter”
Many people are unaware that alcohol, in any form, makes you fatter. Any benefits to drinking “low carb” alcoholic beverages are an advertising gimmick to fool you into thinking that you won’t gain as much weight. Believing that you can avoid the carbs and not gain as much weight, and fat, if you drink more concentrated forms of alcohol such as vodka instead of beer, isn’t accurate.

Alcohol metabolism yields a highly toxic metabolite called Acetaldehyde, which is hugely damaging to liver and pancreas; both of these organs are required for sugar metabolism. Ingesting alcohol has shown to create large spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels in certain studies. Higher blood sugar and insulin levels not only perpetuate inflammation, but also fat accumulation! Alcohol increases Triglycerides, which is a type of fat made from sugar. Triglycerides elevate in our blood, which in turn can travel and deposit anywhere in the body, but especially around our belly, and can also transform our liver into a ‘fatty liver. Every patient who has quit or cut out alcohol, and moderately changed their diet to include more whole foods, all mention how easily the fat fell off their body, and many times this was without adding exercise.

Alcohol destroys critical vitamins you need for good health.
Vitamin B-complexes are easily destroyed by alcohol. These vitamins are essential to mental and emotional well-being. Strict vegetarians can also often have Vitamin B deficiencies. Vitamin B deficiencies can trigger depression and irritability can cause neurological and cardiac disorders among alcoholics, contribute to feeling anxious, depressed, fatigued, chronically stressed and depressed. Often these feelings trigger an alcoholic’s need to ‘self-medicate’ which leads to more alcohol consumption.

Vitamin B12 is also known as “the energy vitamin” because your body requires it for a number of vital functions. These functions include energy production, blood formation, DNA synthesis, and myelin formation. According to an article by Dr Mercola, MD, “Recent studies from the U.S. Framingham trial show one in four adults in the United States are deficient in this vitally important nutrient, and nearly half the population has suboptimal blood levels.”

Other nutrient deficiencies can cause chronic depression and fatigue (Vitamin C), confusion, apathy, loss of appetite, weakness and insomnia (Magnesium), apathy, lack of appetite and lethargy (Zinc), and so on. Calcium depletion affects the central nervous system as it is required for nerve impulses.

How we detect nutritional and health related issues
Even if you take the RDA (Recommended Daily Amount) of micro-nutrients, how can you be sure you are absorbing them? Drugs can also play a role in nutrient deficiencies, as they may interfere with the proper absorption of nutrients in your body http://fundamentalhealthsolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/DrugNutrientDepletion.pdf. You may be eating the right foods and yet you may still be deficient in key health building and maintaining nutrients.

Our practice uses the TRIAD Blood Spot test. This is a simple test that our patients perform in the comfort of their home. It requires obtaining a blood spot/smear, and a urine collection, all contained within the kit performed by the individual and does not require a lab. This test, which is billable to insurance, collects a large amount of data, more than most lab tests used today, that tells us what nutrient deficiencies you are experiencing, how well your body is healing and repairing itself, neurotransmitter status required for optimal brain function, gut health, any hidden infections, food sensitivities which can hinder your energy and fatigue levels, energy production and maintenance. We continually hear from patients how amazed and appreciative they are from the results, which are printed in a neat, easy to read 10 page colored report, which also outlines your nutritional deficiencies.

This test can provide answers for many people who feel as if they are aging faster than they should, or for those who are approaching their senior years but who want to maintain an active and vital life.

Call or contact us now for more information on how we can help you feel good again, avoid the nutrient depletion “pull” to drink again, have more energy, and reduce aging related issues that can be reversed.

References:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/05/19/warning-potentially-life-threatening-vitamin-deficiency-affects-25-percent-of-adults.aspx

https://www.bouldermedicalcenter.com/articles/Alcohol_Nutrition.htm

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Vitamin Deficiencies and healthy bones

116864727  150kbHaving the proper nutrients can affect everything from how healthy and strong your bones are, to how happy you feel. Proper nutrition is an important factor in maintaining good emotional and physical health. Often we think of people who easily break their bones as being elderly, and in obvious poor health. Lifestyle choices that include alcohol consumption, strict vegetarianism and refined foods can contribute to early onset of poor bone health and other issues, as a result of nutrient deficiencies. Many strict vegetarians also are very diligent about their nutrient sources and for good reason.

I was recently told of a woman who was an avid runner, and a strict vegetarian. She was not diligent about addressing her nutrition. At around 40 years of age, one day she took what seemed like a misstep on a sidewalk and fell, screaming in pain. Part of her shin bone had shattered in pieces and she now has metal plates in her leg. At no time previous nor after this event were any nutritional tests run, so this woman still runs the risk of further injuries.

Vitamin D is important to your bone health
According to the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:”
“For adults, vitamin D deficiency has more subtle effects on the skeleton, and can lead to a situation of reduce bone mineral density and ultimately precipitate or exacerbate osteoporosis. Vitamin D deficiency causes a mineralization defect of the collagen matrix that is laid down by osteoblasts. The rubbery matrix does not provide structural support, which increases the risk of fracture.”

How we detect nutritional and health related issues
Even if you take the RDA (Recommended Daily Amount) of micro-nutrients, how can you be sure you are absorbing them? Besides RDA values being outdated and insufficient, drugs can also play a role in creating nutrient deficiencies, as they can interfere with the proper absorption of nutrients in your body. You may be eating the right foods and yet you may still be deficient in key health building and maintaining nutrients.

Our practice uses the TRIAD Blood Spot test. This is a simple test that our patients perform in the comfort of their home. It requires obtaining a blood spot/smear, and a urine collection, all contained within the kit performed by the individual and does not require a lab. This test, which is billable to insurance, collects a large amount of data, more than most lab tests used today, that tells us what nutrient deficiencies you are experiencing, how well your body is healing and repairing itself, neurotransmitter status required for optimal brain function, gut health, any hidden infections, food sensitivities which can hinder your energy and fatigue levels, energy production and maintenance.

Bone Health
We also work with the NTx Urinary test, which is a non-radiation based test that provides information on bone health. NTx urinary assay measures a specific amino acid unique to bone which is found in the urine and detects subtle changes in bone loss, which occurs in everyone over the age of 50. This test provides more information than traditional tests, such as a DEXA scan, without radiation exposure. Read more about this on our main website: (http://fundamentalhealthsolutions.com/services/diagnostics/bone-density/)

Both tests can provide answers for people who are concerned about their bone health, and are wondering if nutritional deficiencies are contributing their feeling suboptimal in terms of vitality and energy.

Call or contact us now for more information on how we can help you feel good again, avoid nutrient depletion, physical and emotional drain, and to assess how good your bone currently is, compared to where it should be.

References:
http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/80/6/1678S.full
http://fundamentalhealthsolutions.com/services/diagnostics/bone-density/

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What is pH and why it is important for your health

126508950We’ve heard the term “pH” but what do we really know about it? Basically, pH refers to the acidity of a substance. The term stands for “potentiometric hydrogen ion concentration”, because acidity means the number of hydrogen ions floating around in a solution, and can be measured or determined several ways.

Human blood pH needs to remain around 7.4, which makes it slightly alkaline. This helps it carry proper amounts of oxygen. When our pH goes below 6.8 or above 7.8, it can have serious if not lethal consequences, therefore is crucial that we maintain optimal pH throughout our body to run critical health giving processes. pH is one part of the overall health picture.

The reason why blood pH levels generally remain stable is due to our body’s buffering system that generally insures quantities of compatible acid and base are already present. This provides a stabilizing effect so that the addition of acidic or basic material from outside does not overwhelm the preexisting balance.

Why is pH Important?
The stomach pH is one of the most acidic, so that we can digest food and to kill many types of germs. Germs and microorganisms can take advantage of unbalanced pH levels, causing infections.  If your stomach is not acidic enough, you can have problems digesting your food, including making your minerals usable for your cells. High amounts of acid in the stomach are evident in Reflux.

pH determines the activity level of all our cells. Our metabolic enzymes contained within our cells run every single process in the body and are extremely sensitive to pH. Improper pH can prevent reactions from occurring therefore make it difficult for our cells to carry out their tasks. This can include growing healthy nerves or repairing our joints and skin.

According to Medline Plus, kidney conditions, diabetes, dehydration and lung problems can all cause forms of acidosis, a condition in which the blood pH drops below normal. This can result in shortness of breath, confusion and fatigue, and in serious cases can lead to potentially fatal shock.

The pH levels — or balance between acid and base chemicals — of the lungs must remain constant to ensure proper detoxification when we breathe.  Inhaling toxic chemicals, pollutants, and fumes can damage the delicate avleoli of the lungs—where oxygen exchange occurs– and may contribute to unhealthy carbon-dioxide levels in the blood. This is important because high carbon dioxide levels in the blood can lead to many health problems including serious organ damage.

Other chronic conditions which include metabolic acidosis, such as diabetic acidosis, in which the kidneys cannot remove the excess acid and contributes to the build-up of ketone bodies. Hyperchloremic acidosis, which results from excessive losses of sodium bicarbonate; and lactic acidosis, which results from a build-up of lactic acid caused by alcohol, cancer, excessive exercise, low blood sugar levels and seizures.

Alkalosis
If your body’s pH gets too high, a person can experience mental confusion, light headedness and muscle twitching. Many times alkalosis can result as an overcorrection by the body to a long term overly acidic state. Having your pH levels is a fairly easy test that can be done in our offices through blood work.

Correcting pH levels
pH levels can be corrected by diet and nutritional supplementation, after we have determined the cause that created the imbalance.

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Why Am I Tired?

99082046Are you constantly tired? Fatigue easily? Have little to no stamina? Do you experience fatigue after eating meals? Require caffeine, nicotine, quick energy drinks like “Monster” and “Rock Star,” and refined sugars just to stay mentally alert and be physically capable?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’re part of a growing group of Americans who suffer from daily drowsiness due to “adrenal burnout.” Adrenal Burnout makes life harder by impacting your daily life activities, such as driving a car, work related activities, sex interest, regular sleep pattern disruptions, and can cause you to miss family events and leisure time activities (according to the National Sleep Foundation). Alarmingly, growing numbers of Americans are now being diagnosed as “chronically fatigued!”

Fatigue can be caused by many health related issues; if you have been feeling fatigued on a consistent basis, we suggest that you visit our Functional Medicine practice. We are trained to look at all of your body’s energy producing systems, in order to best ascertain why you have low energy levels. This includes your environment, work, home, and lifestyle, as well as your physical issues.

Many nutrients play a vital role in maintaining your energy levels.

Co-Enzyme Q10, or Ubiquinone
Co-Q10 is responsible for pumping up the mitocondria in your cells. Mitocondria are considered the “powerhouses” of your cells and regulate cellular respiration. Without healthy mitochondrial function, your cells underperform their duties. Co-Q10 is also helpful in liver function as well as maintaining a healthy heart and kidneys, and is known for helping to lower blood pressure.

B-Vitamins
Several B Vitamins are needed to perform chemical reactions in your liver, adrenal glands (the energy organ in your body that produces bursts of energy when needed), brain tissue, nervous system cells, our heart, and many other areas of the body.

Vitamins B1 (Thiamine), B3 (Riboflavin), B6 (Pyroxidine), B12 (Cobalamin), Biotin, and Folic Acid are also critical B Vitamins necessary for carbohydrate and protein metabolism. This is carried out in our liver and other digestive organs. B-Vitamins are also lost in greater amounts, and beverages such as coffee, taken at the same time as Vitamins, can inhibit their absorption. Many Americans have Vitamin B deficiencies, and in many cases their medication may be a contributing factor. Not taking bio-available vitamins also contributes to deficiencies. Often people are surprised to find out that their body is not absorbing what they are taking as supplements.

Enzymes
Many of us have rapidly depleted our digestive enzymes required to break down and utilize our nutrients. According to Nobel Prize Enzymologist Ronald K Schneider, we lose approximately 10% of our digestive enzyme producing capacity per decade, after puberty. For example, if puberty ends in a person at the age of 20, by the time they are 60 years old, they will have 40% less enzyme producing capacity then when they were 20 years old. Enzymes are required to break down and assimilate your nutrients. Without nutrients, our cells have no fuel to carry out their duties. (see our blog on enzymes for more information about this nutrient)

There are many things that “rob” us of our energy:

Insufficient Sleep
Many Americans lack sufficient sleep today. Many Americans cannot sleep soundly through the night! Without sufficient sleep, our body cannot perform the deep healing and recuperation necessary to carry out the next day’s activities. Most commonly, sleep issues boil down to thyroid and adrenal gland issues brought on by inadequate diet and system toxicity. Having too many EMF generating electronics in the bedroom also contributes to quality of sleep issues. EMFs, or Electromagnetic fields, are a part of the invisible light spectrum. Having light waves bathe you while you sleep may contribute to your body’s ability to produce melatonin, which is a major hormone in the body and affects many major functions, including the immune system.

Low grade and hidden infections steal our enery
Many Americans are suffering from low grade infections, many of which can remain “hidden” from traditional lab tests and can slip by undetected. Parasitic Bacteria, fungal infections, Candida Albicans Yeast infection, Lymes, Herpes Simplex I and II, Shingles are several examples of infections that go undetected in the body for a long time. We use functional lab tests, which do a better job of detecting these infections before they fully manifest.

Hypothyroidism
The Thyroid Gland is considered a very important gland when it comes to energy management in the body. When operating normally, our body temperature operates at an ideal range so that we can function in a body in an optimal manner. When our body temperature gets too low, our cell function begins to slow and we can feel tired.

Adrenal Fatigue
Our Adrenal glands produce many hormones and chemicals provide bursts of energy that help us live well despite having stress. Unfortunately, most Americans have “adrenal burnout” because our fast paced lifestyle and inadequate diet are major contributors to adrenal insufficiency. Instead of eating the foods and taking the supplements that continue to build good adrenal health, it is often much easier for people to opt for the ‘band aid’ approach and quick fix, by reaching for poor quality, and high sugar energy drinks in an attempt to ward off fatigue. The real adrenal energy that your body needs is not in an energy drink can or bottle. While these products provide the sensation of a “quick pick up,” they drain our adrenal glands more rapidly. This is because they fail to replace nutrients needed for our adrenals to function healthfully. The best way to detect adrenal insufficiency is with an Adrenal Salivary Index (ASI).

Alcohol
Alcohol robs us of our energy by disrupting normal R.E.M deep sleep patterns. Many people drink alcohol before going to sleep, because it is a depressant which provides a temporary feeling of relaxation. This helps many people fall asleep more easily. Alcohol does not help us maintain the deep sleep patterns necessary to feel energized the next day. Web MD summarized 27 studies showing us how alcohol and quality sleep don’t mix!

Electro Magnetic Frequencies (EMFs)
Besides the EMF issues that can impact our levels of Melatonin production, our bodies are constantly being stressed by being bathed in these man made frequencies, 24/7. Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are both analog and digital. The human body evolved with the Earth’s natural analog frequencies. Man made EMFs first interacted with humans when motors and other electric devices became a part of our quality of life. In the late 1970s the Wertheimer and Leeper study revealed the connection between indoor electrical wiring and health issues; certain wiring configurations were known to create higher levels of EMFs within the home. By the 1980s, Power Lines were also an issue because of their “always on” effect if you lived close to one.

By 2013 we now also have a swathe of digital EMF waveforms that our human, analog body interacts with. Virtually every electronic item we live with and use is emitting EMFs. Dr Robert O. Becker, MD had done much research on the negative bio-effects of EMFs on the human body. These EMFs affect subtle areas of our brain, such as the pineal gland, which can disrupt healthy sleep needed to feel energized the next day.

To learn how you can achieve more restful sleep, contact us today!

References:
http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-related-problems/excessive-sleepiness-and-sleep
http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20130118/alcohol-sleep

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Successful Ways to Decrease Joint Pain, Versus Managing Joint Pain

78619732Getting relief from joint pain has long been associated with going to the Chiropractor. Chiropractors have been successfully treating back and neck pain for decades. According to the medical journal. Annals of Internal Medicine, Chiropractic care is considered “More effective than medication in both short and long term for acute and sub-acute neck pain.”

Receiving quality Chiropractic care is excellent for managing pain and increasing function. When a patient comes in and needs corrective Chiropractic adjustments to their physical structure, and if your joints and cartilage are in optimal health, then we typically do not need to see you again until there is another misalignment occurring.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 3 Americans today have joints and cartilage that are not in top-notch health. If this is you, this indicates that there re other problems that go beyond what an adjustment can do. At this point we need to address turning around, i.e., reversing what is contributing to joint degradation, which can be done via nutritional adjustments. When our joints degenerate there is a breakdown, and ultimately a loss of cartilage, along with inflammation. In order to reverse cartilage loss we need to replace the ingredients that make cartilage in the body. Those ingredients are: Type II collagen (specific to joints and connective tissue), Hyaluronic Acid (also called H.A.), chondroitan sulfate, glucosamine and MSM. These ingredients make up all joints and connective tissue in the body, and must be replaced if we are to halt or reverse the process of joint degeneration.

Less Chiropractic maintenance and better joint health can be achieved!
Lower levels of these joint and cartilage nutrients begin to occur after the age of 35; and we begin to lose some after birth! It makes sense that we replace these nutrients to minimize our losses, and more importantly raise the levels of these nutrients in higher amounts in our body. Most over the counter nutritional supplements that contain the needed replenishment ingredients are not completely bio-available. Their cellular forms tend to be very large. In order for your body to effectively utilize these nutrients, they must be modified into a smaller form or your body cannot absorb them. There is a modified version of these nutrients called Liquid Biocell Collagen that provides optimum absorption, which translates into being able to more fully reverse many of the symptoms associated with joint degeneration caused by illness or injury. Chiropractors have been successfully treating back and neck pain for decades; our patients who are on both protocols have reported feeling more energy and not noticing their joints the way they used to when they would walk, run, exercise or climb stairs.

Using our approach, pain levels not only noticeably decrease within a 90 day period, but our patients report that their pain levels continue to decrease as they continue on their home based nutritional therapy. During this time, our patients are able to decrease the frequency of chiropractic treatments. Unlike targeted injections, this nutritional support helps every joint in the body, not just your neck and spine. Our ultimate goal is to hear our patients come into the office for a maintenance appointment while telling us how much their mobility and range of motion has improved, all without surgery! This doesn’t mean that you should entirely stop your maintenance schedule of care with your Chiropractor, but our goal should be to get you to the point where you’re not as dependent upon your Chiropractor, or at all, in order to manage your joint concerns.

We can create better outcomes by reversing the causes of joint degeneration
We provide both the physical therapy via Chiropractic treatments and other Physical Therapy modalities used in our office. We work with a clinically proven joint formula that’s backed by clinical trials. This is liquid Biocell collagen, which contains all the ingredients that comprise our joints such as: Type II collagen, Hyaluronic Acid, Chondroitan, Glucosamine, and MSM. Many of these ingredients are not new to joint nutrition: however, a very important aspect of nutritional therapy involves taking the right supplementation that provide optimum bio-availability to your body.

Bio-availability means that these ingredients are in a more absorbable form that can be assimilated by our joints. Liquid Biocell simultaneously addresses joint pain anywhere in the body. This allows for quick results that continue to improve with time; this is aligned with our goals for our Patients, to get your quickly and firmly on the path of healing and recovery.

http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1033256
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22486722

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Your Heart Health, your CRP levels, and Inflammation

134976059Have You Had Your C-Reactive Protein Levels Checked Today?
C- Reactive Protein, abbreviated “CRP,” is a protein that is produced by the liver as a response to high levels of inflammation in the body. High CRP levels are associated with an increased risk of Heart Attack and Stroke.  CRP is also considered to be a reliable indicator of inflammation in the body. High levels of inflammation also contribute to feeling stressed.  

Inflammation has a positive health function… for awhile
Inflammation is a required response by your body that springs your immune system into action.  This helps your body to call in nutrients and chemicals when tissues are damaged, and to whisk away toxic debris, dead tissues and waste. Without inflammation, a simple injury could leave an area of our body permanently disabled. After inflammation has played its essential role in managing the acute response, your body also needs the capacity to shut it off when it is not needed.

Chronic inflammation
Chronic inflammation is a state where many body tissues remain in a perpetual state of stress, which creates more damage and problems. Only our body’s innate intelligence can decide when it is appropriate to turn off, but we have to do our part by supplying the proper nutrients which allow it to do so.

In physiological terms, inflammation operates as a “positive feedback loop.”  What this means is that small inputs, in this case inflammation, creates instability that will grow exponentially and affect many areas of your body unless a signal tells it to stop. Sometimes when people suffer acute inflammation in the body, often they lack the nutrient “chemical intelligence” which directs your immune system to turn off this process when it is appropriate, which leads to chronic inflammation.  When inflammation is stuck in the “on” position due to missing nutrients, a state of “chronic” or “systemic” inflammation occurs.  Inflammation can be attributed to nearly every disease and injury in the body in varying degrees. Reducing inflammation can change the way your body feels.

Are Statin Medications A Good Way to Lower CRP?
The short answer is NO! Even though certain Statin medications have been shown to lower CRP values, they do not address the cause of inflammation, and allow inflammation to continue unnoticed in the body. As mentioned earlier, C- Reactive Protein, abbreviated “CRP,” is a protein that is produced by the liver as a response to high levels of inflammation in the body. Because “CRP” is made by the liver, we first must have a healthy liver in order to make adequate amounts of this protein.  If our liver is sick, then we will not make adequate amounts of this protein, even when we have high levels of inflammation in the body, and therefore may not even realize it.  

People who have diseases that affect the liver, or people with high liver enzymes, such as Hepatitis patients, people suffering from cirrhosis of the liver, patients on multiple drug therapies, and people taking Statin medications all have hindered liver function.  A Statin medication lowers cholesterol in the body by impairing the function of the liver, so it doesn’t produce cholesterol…this is how this drug works. When Statin’s impair our liver function, they essentially make our liver sick; it also cannot produce adequate amounts of CRP, even as inflammation levels rise in the body. Statins can give us a false sense of security that we have inflammation under control, when we really do not.

Identifying CRP (C- Reactive Protein) levels and lowering CRP levels naturally
In order to detect CRP levels, we use a Comprehensive Bioscreen blood panel, which is part of our general screening. We also use the Inflammation Panel developed by cardiologists at Cleveland Heart Lab, and this test is considered the premiere blood test when it comes to detecting heart disease or stroke.  We work with a blend of several nutrients to help reduce your CRP levels, addressing the cause of inflammation, which provides longer lasting results.

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Why do our brains seem to degenerate?

459300731 webBrain degeneration affects the old and young alike! It can also happen more rapidly in people who have had head trauma. “Neurodegeneration” is a broad term describing the progressive loss of nerve cells in our brain and peripheral nervous system. Neurodegeneration occurs in everyone, but at different rates for different people. Noticeable symptoms of neurodegeneration includes memory loss, a decreased sense of smell and taste, and various stages of dementia that can range from mild to serious. This can include Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Common examples of neurodegeneration are:

  • Speaking abilities deteriorate and the pace of speech is sluggish;
  • The person frequently struggles to remember people, places and events;
  • Low or no “affect” – the ability to show outward facial emotions and expression;
  • Presence of poor body posture: this indicates the body is unable to sustain proper muscle tone in our postural muscles. The result is a tendency to slouch and have a “stooped over posture.”
  • Our gait refers to how we walk and move, and can indicate brain degeneration and brain neuron loss:
    • A decreased gait, from a full stride to some form of a shuffle.
    • The loss of our normal opposing arm swing while walking, or a diminished arm swing.
    • A loss of balance, or feelings of “vertigo” is another indicator of a rapidly deteriorating brain.

Many people either have these warning signs or see it in people they know, but feel helpless to change what they think is just a natural occurrence (aging) or a condition that they have no way to control the problem or even or even to reverse it. There are non-drug options that can help this brain degeneration, which can help improve a person’s quality of life.

The chemistry that happens when the brain degenerates:

Much of our brain damage is the result of “free radicals” that lead to a lack of sufficient oxygen to the brain. Free radicals are stray electrons that damage our cells and tissues, and are a key contributor to “oxidative stress,” inflammation, and lack of sufficient oxygen to the brain. This can lead to a buildup of plaque in our brain, and the rapid deposit of “Tau Proteins.” In combination, these factors have been shown to be at the center of many neurodegenerative diseases and conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and memory loss.

Minimizing and reversing your brain’s neurodegeneration is possible
The saying, “use it or lose it” applies here. Our brain is the master control center for our nervous system, and if we don’t exercise it, then we start to lose it more rapidly. It’s important to participate in daily activities that help to stimulate the memory. Playing the card game “Concentration” we played as kids is a great way to have fun, and maintain healthy brain neurons. Crossword puzzles provide another great way to challenge a person’s recall of events, places, words and details, as is studying a new language or learning a new skill.

Physical exercise and exertion activates areas of our brain in other important ways. Our muscles are directly wired to specific areas of our brain and provide stimulation to these areas when we move. Exercise temporarily increases blood oxygen levels which gives our neurons an essential fuel needed to function, which is important for brain and memory health.  Whenever we experience or see a diminishing ability, we need to challenge this system by engaging in therapeutic activities. Diminishing abilities include poor speech quality, balance, or movement.

Nutrients to protect our brain
We want to look at brain essential nutrients that can protect our brain from free radicals, inflammation and oxidative stress, so that our brains can continue to be sharp as we age.

  • Co-Q10 is a co-enzyme that increases the efficiency of energy production, and serves as a potent brain and heart antioxidant.
  • Alpha-Lipoic Acid regenerates other important brain antioxidants such as Vitamins C, E, and Glutathione, thus extending the life of other antioxidants while providing powerful antioxidant properties.
  • N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) dramatically increases the body’s production of glutathione, another very important brain antioxidant. It also helps detoxify our brain.
  • Acetyl-L_Carnitine, like Co-Q-10, enhances our nerve cell energy production. This benefits damaged brain neurons, which have low energy production. Studies show that this nutrient profoundly slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It enhances our nerve cell energy production by transporting fuel into the mitochondria (energy plants) of our cells.
  • Vitamin E has been shown to limit free radical damage in the brain and has been noted to outperform an Alzheimer’s drug in clinical trials, per the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. Diets rich in Vitamin E, when supplemented with Vitamin C, have been shown to reduce the risk of Parkinsons by 61%.
  • Gingko Biloba improves brain metabolism, increases brain blood flow and provides additional antioxidant protection according to double blind placebo trials published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Gingko Biloba was also shown to stabilize Alzheimer’s progression, and was cited in contributing to actual improvement results in standardized psychological tests.
  • Vitamin D has been shown in studies to have many free radical scavenging abilities that help the brain.
  • Vitamin B12 is essential for maintaining the “myelin sheath” around your neurons, which is the equivalent to the protective coatings on electrical wires. The myelin sheath not only helps to conduct electrical nerve signals throughout your body, but helps to prevent “mixed messages” when neurons cross. When neurons messages become “crossed” we can see problems such as neurological tremors.
  • Phosphatidyl Serine produces the important neurotransmitter Acetylcholine, which is responsible for healthy muscle contraction, organ function and most of all memory.
  • Flavonoids are found in citrus fruits and many types of berries. These nutrients function like antioxidants and help build the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) which keeps toxins out of our brain.

Other nutrients that are also essential to a healthy brain include Magnesium, Calcium, all of the B-Vitamins, Sodium, Potassium, EPA, DHA, and many amino acids. Many of these nutrients and more are already included in the highly bio-available daily multivitamin our patients take.

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8 Good Reasons Why You Should NOT Take Statin Medications!

453504347 webStatins have been considered a standard prescription drug by western Medicine practitioners as an effective treatment to reduce or prevent heart disease. Despite the large numbers of Americans taking Statin medications, according to the Centers for Disease Control (2012, CDC), heart disease was still ranked as number as the number one illness related cause of death, and has maintained this position for over 10 years. Statins have been used in the US for over 30 years, yet Heart Disease has been edging out cancer, which is a close second place.

The Statin-Heart Disease connection came about when cholesterol was identified as an indicator of heart disease. The study responsible for this is the Framingham study, and was conducted during the 80’s. The outcome of this study then focused on a need to keep one’s cholesterol levels low as being a good indicator of heart health. The common ways this was addressed was by taking Statin medications, and to adopt a so called, “heart healthy low fat” diet. Without proper nutritional balance, many Americans adopted a high carbohydrate diet of refined foods and refined sugars, but “low fat.” This type of diet has contributed to the prevalence of heart related illnesses, diabetes and obesity.

For decades, organized healthcare has touted the effectiveness of Statin medications amidst the ever-growing prevalence of heart disease. Today, Statins are the most widely prescribed medications throughout America, with some estimated 32 million Americans taking Statin Medications today according to Harvard School of Medicine. http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/statin-use-is-up-cholesterol-levels-are-down-are-americans-hearts-benefiting-201104151518

What you should know about Statin Drugs:
1.The health risk calculator for cholesterol appears flawed
Leading Cardiologists admit that the cholesterol “over predicts” heart attack risk is “flawed”, and now Dr Peter Libby MD, chairman of the department of cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Women’s hospital says they have a “real disaster in terms of credibility”, and “something is terribly wrong”. (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/18/health/risk-calculator-for-cholesterol-appears-flawed.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0&nl=todaysheadlines)

2.Statin drugs are good for lowering cholesterol, but not at reducing heart disease. According to Cardiologists at Cleveland Heart Lab, at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, 50% of all heart attacks and strokes occur in people who have normal to below average cholesterol. This indicates that high Cholesterol alone is a poor predictor of heart attacks and strokes.

3. A byproduct of taking Statins is that the liver becomes “more sick,” which contributes to a lowered level of health for you. In your liver, 80-90% of your cholesterol is made by your liver, versus dietary intake of cholesterol containing foods. The use of Statin medications serves to shut down the enzyme in the liver that produces cholesterol, which limits the amount of cholesterol produced. It does not heal the cause of why your body is producing more cholesterol than it should.

Other known issues with Statin drugs
4. Statin drugs cause neuropathy. Neuropathy refers to “nerve pain”. The outer coating of our nerve cells, called the Myelin sheath, is a cholesterol based fatty sheath. Statin drugs inhibit our ability to make this sheath, which leaves our neurons in a damaged, weakened, and irritated state; as a result we can experience pain. Neuropathy is a common side effect of Statins.

5. Statin drugs cause myopathy, which is the most common side effect. Myopathy is a term that means muscle pain. Your liver also processes and packages most of your body’s proteins, and proteins are needed to repair muscle. Statins disrupt protein synthesis, leaving your body unable to adequately repair muscle tissue. Interestingly, your heart is also a muscle, therefore places the Statin user at an even greater risk for heart troubles!

6. Statin drugs can cause elevated blood sugar levels.
The FDA now requires this risk to be labeled on all Statin medications. Erratic blood sugar contributes to a host of additional problems, including diabetes. One of the most common complications of diabetes is heart attack and stroke!

7. Statin drugs can cause memory loss.
The FDA has mandated this warning be added to the labels as well. Memory loss is a symptom of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and traumatic brain injury.

8. FACT: Cholesterol is needed by your body!
Cholesterol is used to make many of your hormones, to include your sex hormones. Taking Statins is a powerful and unintentional way of throwing your hormonal system into an unnatural state of disarray.

We require cholesterol in order to metabolize cholesterol!
Cholesterol makes up “bile salts” which are a component of bile. Bile is the mostly green fluid produced by the liver, stored in the gallbladder, which is used to emulsify, digest and remove cholesterol and other fatty acids. Statin drugs make it harder to make bile, and cholesterol, which in turn makes it harder for your body to metabolize cholesterol, in spite of seeing lower cholesterol values in the blood after taking Statins.

Not all cholesterol is the same

Oxidized cholesterol is the culprit of plaque, not the non-oxidized type of cholesterol tested in a standard lipid panel. Oxidized cholesterol has been transformed into a solid, which can now clog blood vessels. The non-oxidized form cannot. Oxidized cholesterol can be detected, and even lowered with proper care, but your doctor has to use the right test, and have a good protocol in place to create a favorable outcome. We use the Ox-LDL lab test developed by cardiologists at Cleveland Heart Lab.

Elevated cholesterol levels indicate a metabolic problem.

Elevated cholesterol indicates that we have a liver metabolism problem, not necessarily an impending heart disease problem. Usually when our liver starts to raise cholesterol levels in the body, it due to nutritional deficiencies, including: Vitamin C, many of the B vitamins, plant sterols, chromium, selenium, glutathione, copper, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, and enzymes.

Because our liver produces most of your body’s cholesterol in our body, when these levels elevate, this indicates that your liver is losing its ability to metabolize cholesterol. Tumeric and krill oil are two supplements among many that can be used to help your liver metabolize cholesterol, thereby lowering its levels.

Alternative healthcare protocols for heart disease
The real cause of heart disease is inflammation!
Inflammation is what damages and scars the inner lining of our blood vessels, which in turn allows oxidized solids, such as plaque, to deposit into these freshly cut scars. The byproducts of inflammation transform cholesterol into its oxidized, solid form. It’s the oxidized form of cholesterol that we need to be concerned about, but this is not what’s tested in your standard lipid panel. The standard lipid panel tests for the pre-oxidized form of cholesterol.

Identifying oxidized solid cholesterol in your body and determining heart attack risk
There is a test to detect oxidized solid cholesterol in the body, called Ox-LDL. This test measures the amounts of oxidized cholesterol in your body, which is the kind of cholesterol found in plaque. This test was developed by leading cardiologists at Cleveland Heart Lab. The other test looks at a very specific enzyme, called Myeloperoxidase, that is capable of detecting “vulnerable plaque.” Vulnerable plaque is plaque embedded in your blood vessel walls that is capable of clogging your circulation. It can be large enough to break away, float through your bloodstream and block a smaller blood vessel further downstream. These tests provide a more accurate method to detect heart disease, and is a part of a larger Inflammation Panel that we recommend to many of our patients.

Besides providing the capability of predicting these impending heart events, our protocol is designed to help your body reduce the inflammation that lowers the level of health, well-being, energy, and quality of life that we all deserve to have. We have a choice as to how we want to lower the inflammation and restore healthy cholesterol levels, and reduce these levels in a way that promotes health and well-being. Contact us today for more information on scheduling a consultation or taking the Cleveland Heart Lab test.

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Vertebral Disc Degeneration can lead to pain

78619465 webAnyone who has experienced a degeneration of their vertebral disc knows associated pain, stiffness and discomfort that occur in the spinal area.

When our discs degenerate, many things can happen:

  • The outer walls of our discs, which hold everything intact, can become weak and give way, resulting in a protrusion or “bulge”, and even tear in serious cases. This may cause impingement upon a nearby nerve root, with pain being the result.
  • Our discs become “irregularly shaped”, and have a “lumpy” and “bumpy” appearance on X-Ray or MRI. These irregularities can create stiffness and discomfort in our spinal joints.
  • Our discs “dessicate”, or dehydrate. When this happens, our disc height shrinks due to fluid loss; the fluid lost is largely water, supplied by synovial fluid. This is one of the most common occurrences people experience when they have vertebral disc degeneration.

According to Dr Louis P Brady MD, who pioneered hip replacement surgery in the US, our joints begin to degrade when our joints no longer produce adequate amounts of a special fluid, called “synovial fluid” that nourishes our joints. This fluid contains the ingredients needed to repair and rebuild our joints from the inside. A lack of this fluid contributes to disc degeneration.

Why Do Our Vertebral Discs Shrink?
The discs in our spine, called Vertebral Discs, or Intervertebral discs, are made up of cartilage. This cartilage is very tough, resilient, and long lasting, especially when you have the proper therapeutic activities and nutrients in your diet to support the repair and healthy maintenance of your discs. Under healthy circumstances, cartilage can withstand intense pressures and torsional forces, even into old age. Cartilage tends to not fail unless it is neglected from proper care. Our discs degrade due to wear and tear, trauma, injury, chemical and emotional stress, and an American diet that not only fails to support healthy discs and cartilage, but can also hasten their deterioration and demise.

Disc Degeneration Can Be Reversed!
Many of us have varying degrees of disc degeneration in our spine, but may not yet be expressing outward symptoms. It is unfortunate that conventional healthcare typically views disc degeneration an irreversible part of the “natural aging” process. Alternative health views that focus on nutritional effects address the cell biology, and the many ways that our discs can be nourished to re-establish healthy growth.

Drugless and non-surgical solutions to rehydrate our vertebral discs
Many of us have been told of the multiple healthful benefits of drinking pure, quality water. While one such benefit is that it replenishes lost water in our tissues, including our joints, drinking water alone is not enough to rehydrate our discs. Our joints need to transport and retain water, and a vital, missing ingredient in this chemical process is called Hyaluronic Acid, or H.A.

Hyaluronic Acid, or H.A., also makes up synovial fluid. This all important protein is supposed to be present in our joints, and is capable of holding 400 times its own weight in water. Our body’s loss of this important protein is most evident when we begin to show wrinkles. Our skin begins to wrinkle because H.A. holds water in the good places of our skin and joints. This all important protein, Hyaluronic Acid, or H.A. not only lubricates and nourishes our joints, but it “holds” the water in our discs keeping them hydrated so they don’t shrink.

As we lose H.A. in our discs, they begin to lose their hydration. As a result, we can begin to experience stiffness and possibly impinge nearby nerves. This occurs because of lost “disc height space” needed to keep our spinal vertebrae from collapsing upon each other.

Hyaluronic Acid, or H.A. can be effectively replaced
In our clinic, we use a unique and highly absorbable clinically proven form of H.A. called “low molecular weight Hyaluronic Acid.” The low molecular weight allows this very large protein to be absorbed when consumed orally. Without this modification, the H.A. is too large to be absorbed and must be injected if it is to be of any use; if not, it will pass through our digestive tract unabsorbed, and exits via the bowel. Low molecular weight H.A. has an additional benefit; it has been shown in studies to inhibit the enzyme Hyaluronidase, which is responsible for breaking down H.A. in our body.

Drinking this low molecular weight H.A. inhibits the enzyme Hyaluronidase; this allows your H.A. levels to rise by over 60 fold (6000%) in the blood as demonstrated in clinical trials. The result for you is a better nourishment of your joints which provides better outcomes, and delays the effects of aging throughout our entire body.

For more information about how to increase disc, and skin hydration, and decrease joint discomfort and stiffness, contact us today. (link to FHS contact page)

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HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) versus Hormone Rejuvenation Therapy

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is one, but not the only method for correcting your body’s hormonal imbalance. It is important for you to have your hormones in balance because having hormone imbalances are an indication of poor health.

Hormone imbalance is not an inevitable and natural consequence of old age, but really results from an organ or gland(s) inability to produce optimal amounts of a hormone due to the presence of unhealthy conditions in the body. Research shows that we are capable of producing normal amounts of hormones well into our later years of life. In order to do so, it is crucial to correct the underlying unhealthy conditions causing the imbalance, because hormone imbalance can occur at any age.

Hormones are chemical messengers that bind to our cells which create changes in our metabolism that affect our mood, memory, libido, fat metabolism, energy levels, temperature regulation, appetite, and much more. Because hormones affect so much of our quality of life, including weight gain issues and a feeling of sluggishness and our mental and emotional outlook in life, having the proper amount and types of hormones is important if we are going to enjoy life.

Hormone Replacement Therapy
With HRT, a deficient hormone, or hormones, is introduced into our body. A problem with HRT is that the gland or glands involved then “go to sleep.” This reduces the amount of hormone that the body is able to then naturally produce, because your body will sense higher amounts of a hormone and adjust production accordingly.

Disruption of Bio-rhythms
Another problem with HRT is that our body no longer undergoes the natural hormonal bio-rhythms that normally occur throughout the day. Because HRT doses are largely static, it does not allow our hormones to fluctuate naturally throughout the day as we are designed, even when the dose is adjusted and monitored closely by a health professional. Most significantly, this previously considered “safe” process, paradoxically carries many significant health risks such as increased rate of heart attack, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer. This study, the largest of it’s kind, was conducted by the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI, 2004), initiated by the National Institute of Health (NIH), concluded that many of the risks outweighed the benefits of hormone replacement therapy.

Bioidentical hormones – are they really safer?
According to The Harvard Newsletter on Hormone Replacement, the fact that hormones are bioidentical does not guarantee that they are safer than regular hormone replacement. Bioidentical hormones carry the same “black box” warning (the strongest warning in prescription labeling) that non-bioidentical hormones carry.

Although bioidentical hormones can contain naturally occurring hormones in their composition, they also carry unnatural modifications required to qualify as a drug: prescription drugs must be modified chemically because naturally occurring substance cannot be patented.

Celebrity Suzanne Somers, who popularized the use of biodentical hormones, stated that despite daily applications of bio-identical progesterone cream, she required a hysterectomy due to endometrial hyperplasia (a precancerous transformation).

Common physical complaints related to hormonal imbalance

Feeling too hot and sweaty?
Thermoregulation, or the healthy maintenance of body temperature, is a common complaint that we see in our practice. This includes looking at two main areas, the Thyroid Gland and Estrogen levels. Estrogen is considered to be the “thermogenic”, or heat producing hormone in the body. An overactive Thyroid Gland can also cause a person to feel “overheated.” An often overlooked factor is that if your blood sugar, which plays an important role in estrogen fluctuations, can be the primary cause of your discomfort. This is due to an enzyme called Aromatase, which is responsible for a key step in the biosynthesis of estrogens. In this case, looking at your blood sugar must be a focal point.

Low Libido, in both men and women?
For women, the common complaint is vaginal dryness, which is related to insufficient estrogen levels. Libido relates largely to testosterone levels for both men and women, but other sex hormones much also be in balance. In these cases, we address nutritional and other issues that help the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, adrenal gland and ovary (testes in men) to work properly again, and “in concert” with each other.

Drugs Affect Hormone Levels
Very often people take medications without knowing that a common side effect is that the medication suppresses your body’s hormone production. When there are multiple medications involved, the problem is further exacerbated. The ability of your organs and glands to produce and regulate hormone levels becomes impaired as multiple medications interfere with your body’s natural process to regulate hormone production. Not only does the presence of multiple medications interfere with hormone production, but they also interfere with hormonal transport and utilization. Other artificial chemicals such as artificial food additives and preservatives can contribute to hormone imbalance much like medications.

The HPA Axis
The Hypothalamic- Pituitary- Adrenal Axis, or HPA axis, involves a master regulatory area of your brain, your hypothalamus, which serves as a type of “command center” that communicates with a very important part of your brain, the Pituitary Gland. The Pituitary gland, is known as the “regulator of regulators” and is considered a master gland that directs all the glands in your body.

Your Pituitary gland tells your Thyroid Gland to make Thyroxine, also called thyroid hormone. It tells your testes (or ovaries for females) to secrete reproductive hormones, and so on. Another very important communication channel your Pituitary gland has is with your adrenal glands, which produce cortisol, known as the stress hormone. Your adrenal glands produce other hormones, besides cortisol.

If you have a weak adrenal function, there will be cortisol fluctuations. When cortisol levels are high, it throws other hormones out of balance. Overproduction of cortisol suppresses overall hormone production. It is difficult for most everyone to have normal cortisol levels due to the stressors of daily living such as poor diet, improper exercise, chemical exposure, pollution, radiation, harmful drug side effects and electro-magnetic pollution.

The role of your liver, kidney and colon
The body’s major detoxifying organs are the liver, kidney and colon. New research shows how these organs play a role in hormone clearance in the body. Because these organs play a role in hormone clearance in the body, they cannot easily process and eliminate hormonal excess when toxins build up in the body. Interestingly, dietary fiber has been shown to assist with the clearance of excess hormones in the blood.

A build up of toxins can have the opposite effect as well. Toxic excess can stress an organ to the point where it can suppress gland activity, resulting in lower than normal amounts of a hormone. Toxins in your body can contribute both to unnaturally high and low amounts of hormones.

What is Hormone Rejuvenation Therapy?
Hormone Rejuvenation Therapy involves the use of appropriate foundational ingredients to stimulate the glands so that it makes healthy amounts of a hormone on its own. Hormone rejuvenation therapy can also work for people who have an organ or gland missing due to surgical or radiation treatment as verified from our clinical results using lab tests. Even when a gland is considered to be “entirely removed”, there are still levels (low) of hormones being produced. Hormones are made in many areas of your body; for example, people who have their thyroid gland missing from a thyroidectomy they will still produce levels of thyroid hormone. Women who have had a hysterectomy still produce levels progesterone and estrogen. This is largely possible because of the compensatory effects of the adrenal glands, and other areas of the body, which are capable of producing many of our hormones as a backup. With Hormone Rejuvenation Therapy, these other areas of your body are stimulated to help produce healthy amounts of deficient hormones.

Salivary Testing versus Blood Testing
At Fundamental Health Solutions, we use a home testing hormone salivary kit by Diagnos-Techs, which provides for a more accurate depiction of hormone levels in the body than can be provided by blood testing. Salivary hormone testing measures the “free fraction” of hormones floating around our body. Many of our hormones also circulate in a protein bound form, which is not usable by the body. Salivary testing measures the amounts of hormones that are an unbound form that the body can readily use. It is important to know what hormones your body can use, as these levels change most quickly in response to illness or a proper schedule of care.

References:
Women’s Health Initiative Data: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/whi/whi_faq.htm
The study, which spanned over 15 years, included over 160,000 women ages 59-70, had to be prematurely terminated by the WHI Data Safety and Monitoring Board due to the marked increase in cardiovascular disease and breast cancer incidences.

PUBMED http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12117397

Bioidentical hormones: Help or hype?  
http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Womens_Health_Watch/2011/September/bioidentical-hormones-help-or-hype

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Insomnia and sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation is a serious problem for most Americans.  Sleep is related to the autonomic nervous system, which enables allows our body to do perform necessary functions without thinking about it.  Examples would be swallowing, blinking, stretching, and sleeping.  Trying to fall asleep should be easy, after all, when we were children, the function of sleep did not require sleep aids!  Insufficient sleep is associated with many chronic health issues, including weight problems.  This is because the ill effects span throughout the entire body, disrupting normal metabolic functions.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night, and children and teens need more. Approximately 29 percent of U.S. adults report sleeping less than 7 hours per night and an estimated 50-70 million has chronic sleep and wakefulness disorders. Ten percent of American adults report experiencing chronic insomnia.

Sufficient sleep is increasingly being recognized as an essential aspect of health promotion and chronic disease prevention in the public health community. Insufficient sleep is associated with chronic diseases such as diabetes>, cardiovascular disease, and mental illnesses including depression. It can also result in drowsy driving which can lead to motor vehicle accidents.
http://www.cdc.gov/media/storyideas/2010.html

Newer research shows we may require more than this, and less can interfere with important metabolic bodily functions.  Most of us have experienced problems trying to fall asleep, and the frustration that comes with it.  Many insomniacs also feel the fear of insufficient sleep and how this can impair their ability to be fully present and able to work or take care of others when they feel so tired and foggy the next day.

Research confirms the serious consequences resulting from lack of sleep.  Several studies indicate that insufficient sleep can cause insulin and blood sugar levels to fluctuate erratically, resulting in sharp increases in cortisol (the “stress hormone”),  which mimics blood sugar behavior that occurs in diabetics.

Consequences of insufficient and quality sleep
Most importantly, our lack of deep sleep prevents us from achieving the cellular healing needed for our cells to repair themselves from chemical, emotional and physical stress most of us experience daily.  Lack of sleep impairs our immune system, opening us up to opportunistic infection. Lack of sleep contributes to impaired mental clarity and problem solving. Experiencing insufficient sleep on a nightly basis leads to what is called a cumulative “sleep deficit”. This means if we miss more than one night of normal sleep, we can’t just “make it up” with one good nights rest following the period of sleep deficit.  Instead, it may take several nights of normal sleep to correct the deficit.

Types of insomnia
Most of us think that insomnia is only one type, but there are actually two main types of insomnia:  “sleep onset insomnia” and “sleep maintenance insomnia.”  Sleep onset insomnia is the inability to fall asleep, while sleep maintenance insomnia is the inability to stay asleep.  Both types of insomnias can occur simultaneously.  When considering nutritional deficiencies for insomniacs, we must start by looking at the areas of the body that deal with energy production and regulation.

Adrenal Glands, Cortisol levels and Sleep
Having the appropriate levels of cortisol during the right times of the day is an important factor.  When cortisol levels are high, we can pop out of bed in the morning. When cortisol levels are low in the evening, we can relax and fall asleep at night.  The health of our adrenal glands is a key factor in how cortisol translates to helping us to feel alive in the morning and ready for a good night’s sleep in the evening.  We can get insights to what is happening by using the Adrenal Stress Index Test.

The Adrenal Stress Index (ASI) test is done via saliva, and can help determine the health of your adrenal glands.  The ASI monitors the adrenal gland’s secretion of cortisol, which influences a person’s circadian rhythms, also known as your biorhythms or sleep/wake cycle.  An important factor in assessing ASI results is to identify both the cortisol quantity and the circadian rhythm of the cortisol, produced by the adrenal glands.  Having the right quantity of cortisol but at the wrong time of the day will not help you sleep, or wake feeling rested.  Identifying and correcting the circadian rhythm of your cortisol can make the world of a difference in your sleep cycle.

Cortisol production, which yields an energy increase, should peak when we wake up in the morning, then taper off gradually during the day, and then dip to its lowest levels a few hours after we fall asleep, allowing us to reach a deep restful sleep.  For many people, this is not the case.  Some people may actually show a reversing trend with cortisol levels peaking later in the day, or even at night, thus making sleep extremely difficult.

The thyroid gland’s role to getting a good night’s sleep
Our thyroid gland also plays a major role in regulating energy output in our body, which in turn affects our sleep.  Every single cell in the body has a receptor for thyroxin, or thyroid hormone. In situations of hyperthyroidism, the production of thyroid hormone becomes elevated which affects our entire body to include specific areas of the brain that regulate sleep; the result can be a lack of normal sleep producing signals from these areas of the brain.

Brain health and sleep
Our brain also requires the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and melatonin. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that affect our nervous system and are considered chemical messengers. Neurotransmitters not only contribute to feelings of pleasure, euphoria, happiness and help us concentrate, but inadequate amounts of neurotransmitters make it difficult for us to sleep.  Similar to the body’s needing the appropriate amount of cortisol during different times of the day, we also need to have the proper amounts of these neurotransmitters at the proper time of day if we want to achieve a deep restful sleep.

While over the counter and prescription medications can provide some chemical assistance, usually it will mask the problem of why a person’s sleep is not restful, versus providing corrective help at the cellular and foundational levels that your body needs.  We use specific nutrients to help the body boost its natural production of neurotransmitters, and bring balance to these areas of the brain.

According to a Harvard newsletter, over the counter and prescription medications can disrupt healthy sleep.  Medications such as cold and flu medicine (Nyquil, Dayquil, Theraflu), nicotine replacement products (nicoderm), antihistamines (Benadryl, Dimetapp), thyroid medications (thyroxin, Levathyroid), antidepressants (Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac), pain relievers (Anacin, Excedrin), high blood pressure medications such as beta blockers and diuretics , steroids, drugs used to treat heart arrhythmias, and any medication that contains alcohol to name a few.  You can view the list yourself by clicking on the link that follows.

http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Womens_Health_Watch/2010/July/medications-that-can-affect-sleep

Alcohol and sleep
Although alcohol may help someone fall asleep due to its relaxing and calming effects, it interferes with certain areas of the brain that allow us to achieve a deep restful sleep.  The result is that we feel less rested the next day.

Adrenal Stimulants
Common food related stimulants are often used to mask a person’s feelings of fatigue.  This is done in place of correcting the problem at the cellular level, and using these substances will often end up rapidly depleting our energy and contributing to poor sleep. Examples of these products are concentrated quick energy drinks and sodas, both of which contribute to “adrenal burnout.”

Adrenal burnout occurs when we burden and stress our adrenal glands with foods that provide a “quick fix” as well as stimulants.  Examples of these would be refined sugars and excessive caffeine, both of which can cause our adrenal glands to severely malfunction.  The use of these types of stimulants give us a temporary feeling of energy at the expense of our adrenal glands, which is similar to the tale of robbing Peter to pay Paul.  At some point Peter will run out of money.  There are consequences to stressing our adrenal glands with excessive stimulants rather than allowing our adrenals to be healthy and provide the proper nutritional support.  Malfunctioning adrenal glands contribute to erratic circadian rhythms and cortisol production leading to poor quality sleep.

By working with the Adrenal Stress Test and other blood work, we can help correct adrenal gland issues while developing the most effective nutrient program to repair and correct the problem, which in turn can help you get the quality sleep that your body needs to maintain good health both physically and mentally.

—————
References:
Insufficient sleep:  http://www.cdc.gov/media/storyideas/2010.html

Functions of the autonomic nervous system:
http://www.medlink.com/medlinkcontent.asp

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2701283/

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The Puzzle of Fibromyalgia

functional medicine austinTo understand what causes Fibromyalgia, we need to first look at the meaning of the word. Fibromyalgia received its name due to its connection with Fibrin. With Fibromyalgia, there is an elevation of a type of protein called fibrin, which is used to clot blood and repair damaged tissues in our body. Originally Fibromyalgia was called “fibrositis” by researcher Mohammed Yunus, due to the appearance of white fibrous tissue that appeared around muscle tissue. Current analysis of all fibrous tissue, or scar tissue, shows us that it is made of fibrin. Hence Fibromyalgia has the root word “fib” in its’ name

Fibrin’s role to protect the body
Fibrin is the main protein found in any type of scar tissue, and is elevated anytime we have injury or trauma in the body as a result of a stressor. It is normal to see high amounts of fibrin in the blood when we injure ourselves: cuts, bruises, a broken bone, athletic injury of any sort, or experience anything that can create swelling and inflammation. No matter how tiny an injury, our body instantly elevates levels of cortisol, known as the “stress hormone,” which then initiates an enzymatic cascade of reactions which transform the inactive form of this protein, called fibrinogen, into the active form fibrin.

Once this protein is in the active form, called fibrin, it creates a mesh-like barrier used to hold tissues together, and can be seen under a microscope. This is a healthy and normal response by the body to protect itself. When we cut or bruise ourselves, or traumatize any area of our body, we need this net-like structure to bind damaged tissues together which have become torn apart and porous, as they can no longer do the job (for example, a blood vessel with a hole in it). The inactive form of this protein, fibrinogen, stands ready for action, waiting its signal from the body via cortisol needed to transform and provide assistance.

Unintended consequences of a good thing
Anytime we have an injury, fibrin is one of the first proteins to appear on the scene used to start the clotting and repair process. In addition to binding damaged tissues together, it also slows blood circulation by “choking” the flow of blood, thereby trapping nutrients and other components needed for repair. Unfortunately, this can have unintended consequences by also trapping harmful toxins and restricting the flow of much needed oxygen to tissues, especially when a person’s body becomes overwhelmed with excess fibrin and we do not have the enzymes to remove it. Fibromyalgics lose their ability to clear the excess amounts of fibrin being produced by their body which is typically done by protein dissolving enzymes made in the body.

What is the pain of “ischemia”
When we were kids, many of us tried wrapping a rubber band around the end of our finger, and then noticing it would first turn red, then purple, and then then it started to hurt! It hurt because there was a lack of oxygen to that area. This pain, caused by a lack of oxygen, is called the pain of “ischemia”. When you have ischemic pain, or the pain caused by lack of oxygen, there’s very little relief that can be gained by using pain relievers. The only thing that can relieve this type of pain is to cut the rubber band restricting the flow of blood (oxygen) to that area, which will begin to provide relief. Similarly, this is what is occurring in the body of a Fibromyalgic. Imagine millions of tiny rubber bands wrapped around organs, glands and muscle tissue, choking the flow of oxygen to these tissues, only instead of actual rubber bands, the blood is being restricted by an overabundance of fibrin which is doing the same thing.

Why fibromyalgics have more fibrin in their blood than other people
Fibromyalgics agree that they feel worse when they’re “stressed out,” or under stress. We now understand why after the explanation above, however let’s look at additional stressors. Previously, we identified physical trauma as a source of stress, but we must also include emotional stress, as this elevates cortisol too. Feeling “stressed out” from another person or emotional event most definitely raises cortisol. Furthermore, chemical stress is one of the most commonly overlooked mechanisms of fibromyalgia which can be triggered by food allergies, poor diet, weak adrenal glands, pro-inflammatory foods such as refined sugars, and toxins such as insecticides, pesticides, toxic fumes, hydrogenated oils, and harmful chemicals (gasoline, kerosene, propylene glycol-found in commercial products), to name a few. All of these chemicals can elevate fibrin levels. Ironically, most medications elevate fibrin levels in the blood to include many of those that are anti-inflammatory, such as aspirin, or those that reduce pain. There is more ongoing research suggestive that certain Electro Magnetic Frequencies (EMF’s) from cell phones, satellites, etc. may contribute to higher amounts of stress in the body, creating more fibrin.

Reducing excess fibrin
The first, and most important step in providing solutions for the Fibromyalgic are to remedy their severe deficiency of fibrinolytic (fibrin dissolving) enzymes. There are some very strong fibrinolytic enzymes that break down unwanted levels of fibrin in the blood, while maintaining normal levels, without harmful side effects (1). Once excess fibrin is cleared, tissues such as muscle can begin to receive normal amounts of oxygen and Fribromyalgics begin to experience dramatic relief from tenderness, discomfort and fatigue.

There are additional factors to address in Fibromyalgia. To find out more about our complete health and wellness protocol for Fibromyalgics, please visit us at www.austinhealthdoc.com and contact us for our free 15 minute consult for new patients.

1. Certain exogenous enzyme preparations have repeatedly been shown to favorably impact normal bodily levels of fibrin, without adversely affecting other bodily functions. This information is validated from the studies from Nobel Prize finalist, and Immuno-enzymologist, Ronald K. Schneider. The degradation of fibrin by fibrinolytic enzymes has also been validated by Dr. Max Wolf MD, and further elaborated by Dr.’s Miehlke, Williams and Lopez MD’s in the book Enzymes, the Fountain of Life.

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World Class Nutritional help for athletes

78457345When Dr Phil was researching nutritional supplements, he met and studied with Nobel Prize Finalist Ronald K. Schneider, an Enzymologist. Ron, the founder of Enriching Gifts, was nominated for a Nobel Prize in Science and Medicine in 2001 (Medicine and Science), and was a personal friend of Tom Manno. Tom Manno was a multi-world record holder and an advocate for drug free training.

Ron introduced his exclusive formulas to Tom, who at the time could bench press over 400 pounds. Tom Manno is considered to have been the world’s strongest man over 40 years of age. He shattered 53 world records and 80 American records. At his peak, he bench pressed slightly less than 900 pounds. Tom used the Enriching Gifts product line (which we carry at Fundamental Health Solutions) to achieve his amazing results.

Identifying nutritional depletion that contributes to performance issues, range of motion, pain, stiffness, joint and fascia issues is key to maintaining optimum health. All athletes utilize almost every nutrient more rapidly than non-athletes, so it is important to focus on areas of deficiency so that athletes can compete at optimum level. Neglected nutrient depletion can contribute to: lack of stamina and endurance, improper coordination, inability to provide “bursts” of strength, stiffness, decreased range of motion. It is important to find out what nutrients are missing in your body if you want to maintain your competitive edge.

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What is GERD and are there non-drug alternative solutions?

125168899GERD, which is short for “Gastroesophogeal Reflux Disease” is also known by other common names:  “Acid Reflux” or “Reflux.”  GERD affects an estimated 1 in 4 Americans, according to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

Why Do We Produce Stomach Acid?
Our stomach needs to secrete stomach acid so that our body can use the food we ingest.  This is done via digestive enzymes.  Digestion for certain foods, such as starch and sugar, begins in the mouth. When we eat, our stomach needs enzymes to perform this process, which include enzymes called proteases.  Protease enzymes are needed for digesting proteins, which are found in many types of foods, including vegetables, grains and certain types of starch.

All enzymes require a specific pH (acid/alkaline environment) in order to work optimally.  Our protease enzymes require a very acidic, or low pH environment.  HCL, also known as Hydrocholoric Acid, is secreted to provide the right environment for our protein digesting enzymes to work.  It’s important to note that hydrochloric acid itself does not digest protein, only protease enzymes do.  The acid merely creates an optimal working environment needed for these enzymes to operate.

Digestive Capability and Aging
According to Nobel Prize Finalist, Ronald K. Schneider, as we age our ability to synthesize all enzymes, which includes our protein digesting enzymes, decreases by roughly 8-10% percent for every decade past puberty.  For example, if we assume puberty ends at 20 in an individual, then when she reaches the age of 60, she will have roughly 40% less digestive capability than when she was 20.  This means we are unable to breakdown and assimilate our food, which means we become more nutrient deficient as we age due to insufficient enzymes. Another complication of incompletely broken down foods in our digestive tract is that they end up in the blood lending to the creation of harmful plaque, uric acid crystals and can cause our cells to stick together.  Also, incompletely digested foods that end up in the blood can end up feeding an environment that is opportunistic to parasites such as harmful bacteria and yeast.  We feel this in a number of ways, such as with bloating, gas, fatigue, joint pain, poor circulation, all stemming from enzyme deficiencies as a key root of the problem.

So Why Do We Overproduce Acid?
Because our ability to make enzymes decreases with age, we can experience a stomach acid conundrum from enzyme deficiency.  We are still eating the same types and amounts of enzyme deficient foods that we did when we were younger;  this rapidly expires our finite supply of enzymes. This forces our stomach to produce higher amounts of stomach acid, in order to recycle the smaller amounts of protein digesting enzymes that we are still able to produce. Our body responds to protease enzyme deficiency by secreting larger amounts of acid to keep our digestion working to the best of its ability.  When we have sufficient amounts of protease enzymes, our stomach doesn’t have to produce large amounts of acid.

How Heartburn connects to “GERD”
Heartburn is typically associated with insufficient stomach acid, and appears when we are incompletely digesting our foods, mainly proteins, which are allowed to ferment in our stomach. The fermentation process releases gas, which is forced up into our esophagus.  There are additional nutrient deficiencies with heartburn, but enzymes are needed to completely digest fermenting foods in order to correct the problem.

Acid Containing Foods Do Not Cause Reflex!
A commonly held erroneous belief is that when we eat acid containing foods, such as citrus fruits, which contain ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), that this  will trigger Reflux.  This is not true, because when acid containing foods are digested, they leave behind an alkaline ash due to their mineral content, not acid ash, provided we are eating a whole food. The triggers of reflux have to do with insufficient stomach acid needed to digest proteins in foods.  Citrus fruits can play a role in Reflux but for different reasons.  When a citrus fruit is eaten within hours of a previous meal that was poorly or incompletely digested, the already strained digestive system has become overloaded.  This is because the fruit has strained the digestive burden by adding to a pile of incompletely digested food (containing protein) that is sitting in our stomachs or upper small intestine.  The is an excellent example as to why so many different types of foods can appear to trigger reflux, and why this can vary widely from person to person, but the underlying fix is still the same.

Conventional Approaches Fail to Address the Cause
The conventional approach to Reflux requires the use of over the counter (OTC) antacids such as TUMS, or prescribed proton pump inhibitors such as Prilosec, Prevacid and Zurcal, or stomach Histamine antagonists such as Tagamet, Zantac and Pepcid. These serve to shut down stomach acid to take away the symptoms of indigestion.

When we force the shut down of stomach acid, we set ourselves up for serious long- term complications, in addition to poor digestion.  Stomach acid provides an initial barrier that kills pathogens that we ingest, such as harmful bacteria, which we ingest on a daily basis. Low stomach acid also sets us up for stomach ulcers, which are partially caused by the H. Pylori bacteria, which can survive in low stomach acid environment.

We need stomach acid to completely digest our proteins, and proteins are used not only to build important tissues such as muscle, but  also used to run thousands of processes in the body such as making antibodies required for a healthy immune system.  Poor protein digestion due to low quantities of stomach acid contributes to frailty and/or insufficient muscle mass for a person’s size.  When we fail to completely digest protein, it can end up in our blood, which congests our cells, and can see this under a microscope.  This in turn leads to a low oxygen environment, which can leave us fatigued. Stomach acid is also required to ionize, or put into a usable form, all of our metal-based minerals such as zinc, boron, iron, manganese and many more required for good bone, brain, and organ health.  Medications that suppress stomach acid can result in a person suffering from poor bone quality and bone loss, as well as many other deficiencies and health problems.

What’s the Fix?
It is clear that reflux is related to enzyme deficiency.  Often, when people are unsuccessful with enzyme supplementation, this is related to the quality of the enzymes being used.  We also need to look at the entire patient, not just the reflux issues.  Enzymes must be able to be activated in a wide range of pHs, but especially an acidic pH.

When quality enzymes are introduced, we typically see the problems associated problems clear up in 6-9 days.  Most people start seeing a change in 2-3 days.  In our office, we have a series of tests that determine how effectively you are breaking down, absorbing, and eliminating what you eat.  By working with blood analysis, you can see if there are debris in your blood that are not only a symptom of overall digestive issues, but how our enzyme protocol can help clean this up and reduce the strain on your digestive system.  This can help your digestion, and stomach acids, operate the way they did when you were younger.

References:
American College of Gastroenterology
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases-test/new-treatment-guidelines-on-gastroesophageal-reflux-disease-gerd-published-by-the-american-college-of-gastroenterology-195355401.html

Dr Mehmet Oz – silent reflex epidemic
http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/silent-reflux-epidemic

Breakthrough (medical) procedure provides relief for Acid Reflux
http://www.nmh.org/nm/breakthrough-procedure-povides-relief-for-acid-reflux

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Austin Fit 2013 Functional Medicine for Athletic Optimization

Fundamental Health Solutions will be at the July 2013 Naturally Fit Super Show at the Palmer Events Center, Austin, TX located at 923 Barton Springs Road.

We will be at Booth #208 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM July 26 (Friday) July 27 (Saturday) Hope to see you there!

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How to Achieve Better Brain Health

Our brain is the most important organ in our body that helps us interact with the world around us.  Everything we know about ourselves is stored in our brain.  How our brain works in terms of optimal versus sub-optimal can determine our mental health, our ability to learn, the type of emotions we feel, how we catalog life, interpersonal and other types of experiences, and our physiology.

The aging brain
We all know the brain appears to suffer aging problems that contribute to memory loss.  Most people who have moved into middle age often notice that their brain does not seem to work as fast as it was when they were in their early twenties.  A degenerating brain is the result of losing more and more neurons as a consequence of normal aging. This process is called “neural degeneration” or “neurodegeneration.”

The process of neural degeneration is different for everyone because our brains, and neurons can be challenged by a number of factors which are different for each of us and can occur in different combinations.  Our brains are constantly dealing with inflammation, overproduction of cortisol (the stress hormone), high homocysteine, improper immune responses, irregular blood sugar, nutrient deficiency and a lack of oxygen and proper stimulation.  One might infer that when we have headaches, it is because our brain hurts.  You may be surprised to know that our brain cannot directly sense pain. Surgeons can cut into it without anesthesia, but the scalp and other surrounding tissues need anesthesia.  Blood vessels within the brain experience innervation (stimulation) that can cause it to expand and contract, and thus transmit pain throughout our head.

Neurotransmitters for brain and overall health
Our brain and nervous system is comprised of neurons that electrically talk to each other. This brain and nervous system communication requires chemicals called neurotransmitters.  Our neurotransmitters are used to relay, amplify and modulate signals between a neuron and another cell. Neurotransmitters are largely responsible for how good we feel.

Neurotransmitters are not just important to the brain but have a profound impact on our entire body. Neurotransmitters are made in the brain, as well as in our organs and glands throughout our body.  If we truly want good health, then we must have good brain and body health.  Because our brain health affects our emotional view of the world and our sense of well-being, it follows that poor brain health will generally reflect itself in kind.  The main neurotransmitters are serotonin, melatonin, GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid), acetylcholine. dopamine and norepinephrine/epinephrine.

Key Neurotransmitters needed for an optimum functioning brain

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain and gastrointestinal tract that is also called 5-hydroxytryptamine, or 5 HTP. When our Serotonin levels are optimal, we are upbeat, calm, peaceful, and can maintain interest in daily living activities, even during periods of low sunlight.  Optimal serotonin levels allow us to enjoy hobbies, have interests, have non-repetitive thoughts, have fewer extreme fluctuations of “highs” and “lows”, enjoy life, experience restful sleep, maintain enthusiasm for favorite activities, have regular bowel activity, and feel more calm or centered when juggling life’s many emotional challenges. Normal amounts of serotonin are associated with a decrease in headaches. Additionally, an area of the brain called the pineal gland requires sufficient amounts of serotonin to make another type of neurotransmitter called melatonin.

Melatonin is required for regulating sleep patterns and the behavioral changes.  When our bodies are under excessive stress from too much caffeine, nicotine, work deadlines, overtraining and poor diet, we experience adrenal overload and levels of a hormone called cortisol elevates (also known as the stress hormone). High amounts of cortisol decreases the amount of melatonin in our body, making restful sleep more difficult.

GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) is a neurotransmitter that our body makes in our pancreas, kidneys and several areas of our brain. Optimal amounts of GABA are associated with feeling calm, focused, and relaxed without fidgeting or excessive body movement, and able to turn your mind off when you want to relax. Healthy GABA levels can help us feel less anxious and to feel calmer in most situations.  Because GABA relaxes, it decreases uncontrolled muscle contractions. Oral GABA supplements are too big to cross the blood brain barrier (BBB) therefore approaches which focus on improving the body’s GABA synthesis show the greatest promise.

Acetylcholine is made in the areas of our brain and spinal cord. This neurotransmitter is responsible for memory and cognition. Optimal amounts acetylcholine is associated with memory recall, quick mental response and processing, creativity, accurate mental calculations and good judgment. More specifically acetylcholine is responsible for recognition such as visual memory (remembering faces, pictures, places and events) and verbal memory (recollecting sounds, voices).

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is mostly made by our brain, as well as our adrenal glands and kidneys. Dopamine is associated with feeling pleasure, increased libido and reward. Optimal levels of dopamine help us experience pleasure in life, manage stressful situations, gives us a feeling of worthiness and importance, stay focused on tasks, helps us stay on task to completion, stay alert, feel comfortable in social situations, and remain flexible and more relaxed during stressful moments. If we have sufficient nutrients in the body to make dopamine, exercise, yoga and meditation may naturally elevate this neurotransmitter and is responsible for the “euphoria” or “natural high” we experience.

Norepinephrine/Epinephrine (Adrenaline) functions as both a hormone and neurotransmitter and is made by our adrenal glands. Optimal levels of this neurotransmitter allows us to experience feeling rewarded.  This also helps us to maintain a state of physical and mental alertness. Additionally, proper levels help us experience a normal heartbeat and blood pressure. Norepinephrine is required to make melatonin, required for healthy sleep.

Low transmitter levels can translate o mental difficulty and challenges
Having a healthy brain requires having a healthy body because healthy adrenal glands, thyroid, gastrointestinal tract, blood sugar metabolism, sufficient enzymes, hormone levels and an efficient immune system all impact the health of our brain and its synthesis of neurotransmitters.  Our neurotransmitters also need specific amino acids, vitamins, minerals herbs and fatty acids for their synthesis in order to be effective. Compromised digestion or a nutritionally deficient diet may mean that we are not absorbing the needed nutrients even though we are consuming them.  Having low transmitter levels often translates to mental difficulty and challenges.

How brain function begins to deteriorate
Everyone knows the brain is important, but we rarely make an effort to keep it healthy until problems become serious. A healthy brain has an intact blood brain barrier (BBB) which serves as a first line of defense preventing the entry of harmful substances. When this layer is compromised, your second line of defense rests with your brain’s immune cells. In people exhibiting brain degeneration, both of these defense mechanisms are not working properly. A healthy brain is a well nourished and stimulated brain, one that has the ability to heal and repair itself in order to deliver optimal output.

When patients come to us with brain clarity and memory issues, we will conduct a thorough assessment along with appropriate tests.  Brain clarity and memory issues can be related to a number of health challenges, which can include:

  • Inflammation and oxidative stress
  • System wide toxicity which includes liver and bowel
  • Subluxation throughout the neck vertebrae
  • Subtle Energy Blockages that may not appear on an MRI or CT
  • Residual trauma from injuries that can include whiplash, concussion or other brain trauma
  • Physical issues resulting from severe muscle contraction in the occipital region (often related to stress)
  • Allergic reactions to environmental or food
  • Nutritional depletion of certain enzymes, vitamins, minerals or other substances
  • Or other causes…

It is important to be aware that oxidative stress, inflammation and autoimmunity can contribute materially to brain issues.  For example, recent research demonstrates autoimmunity plays a major role in Parkinson’s.  In addition to specific brain boosting nutrients, the importance of reducing inflammation and oxidative stress are crucial places to start when recovering the health of your brain, and yourself.

Because these issues can be related to a variety of triggers, a throughout patient history, interview and assessment are always the best starting point.

References:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3215724 (5-20-2012):  Autoantibodies associated with Parkinsons

http://www.jneuroinflammation.com/content/3/1/1 (5-20-2012):   Antibodies formed against dopamine secreting cells (Parkinsons is a disease of low dopamine; low dopamine is associated with tremors, poor movement patterns, depression and poor cognition;

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1502878 (5-20-2012):  Complement pathway (part of the autoimmune process) with Parkinsons;

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Austin Fit 2013 Competitive Optimization for Athletes

We will be at Booth #208
10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
July 26 (Friday) July 27 (Saturday)
Hope to see you there!

(Click on the poster to see the details).

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The Difference Between a Drug and a Nutrient

What is the Difference Between a Drug and a Nutrient?
Have you ever wondered what the difference between a drug and a nutrient is?  They are very different!  Although many practitioners and patients consider them interchangeable when it comes to their effects on the body, there are fundamental metabolic processes that show that they could not be further from each other in how they can affect your body, and your health.

Understanding how our body works on a cellular level
Before we begin to answer this question, we must understand some basic fundamentals:  All chemical reactions in the body are catalyzed by enzymes, every single one, and an enzyme is simply “stuff that makes other stuff happen in the body”. Within our physiology, there are two categories of enzymes:  Digestive enzymes, and metabolic enzymes.  For this discussion we will focus mostly on metabolic enzymes since this is where “the action” is taking place for all drugs and nutrients. Our metabolic enzymes run every single process in the body.  They make and degrade neurotransmitters which affect our mood, keep us young looking, allow for the expression or suppression of genes, make hormones, grow our hair, allow our brain to form thoughts, they do it all.  Both natural and conventional healthcare practitioners seek to understand and influence metabolic enzymes, but in different ways.  The difference is a drug is a metabolic enzyme inhibitor, while a nutrient is a metabolic enzyme activator.

Why enzymes are a key to good health
Enzymes work like a lock and key mechanism.  When you insert the right key into a lock, the lock opens.  In this analogy, the lock represents an enzyme acted upon by a nutrient, which is the key.  The open lock is now “activated” and can be used for its intended purpose.  Now imagine having a different key that can fit into the same lock, but when you insert this key it doesn’t unlock it.  As a matter of fact, it doesn’t do anything but occupy the keyhole space.  Not only does this key prevent the lock from opening, it blocks any other keys from entering the keyhole.  This is how a drug works.

Drugs occupy a space on an enzyme preventing it from being activated.  Drugs shutdown, suppress, and turn off functions in the body by blocking enzymes from working; while a nutrient activates, expresses, and turns on bodily functions like the key that opened the lock.  Both drugs and nutrients act upon metabolic enzymes.  There are a few exceptions to this rule as there are a small handful of drugs which are enzymatic preparations.  Notably streptokinase and urokinase, which are protease (protein digesting) enzymes used in hospitals as clot busting drugs for people who suffer heart attack or stroke.  Hormone replacement therapy is another exception.  Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are not enzymatic inhibitors as they indiscriminately attack and destroy cells in the body.  But, in the most common application, today’s drugs are largely enzymatic inhibitors.

Examples Of Medications / Drugs Blocking Metabolic Enzymes
These are a few examples of drugs suppressing bodily processes.

  • NSAIDS, (Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Fenoprofen, Naproxen) block the COX enzyme which produces prostaglandins—a pain mediating molecule in the body.
  • Statin drugs (Crestor, Lipitor) block the HMG CoA Reductase enzyme found in the liver which produces cholesterol.
  • Blood thinners (Warfarin) blocks an enzyme in the liver, Vitamin K epoxide reductase (VKOR) which helps to clot blood, therefore making it difficult for your blood to clot, thereby thins the blood.
  • Anti-viral medications (Acyclovir, Valtrex) block enzymes which allow a virus to reproduce, thereby limiting its reproduction ability but does NOT kill a virus, only your immune system can do that.
  • Antibiotics (Penicillin, Vancomycin) inhibit enzymes which maintain the integrity of bacteria’s outer cell wall.  When the cell wall is destroyed, the bacterium break apart and essentially dies. Successful outcomes with antibiotics still require a healthy immune system to win over any infection.

Examples OF Nutrients Activating Our Metabolic Enzymes
These are also called “co-factors” or “co-enzymes,” and they are needed to make our body work properly.

  • Vitamin C- activates enzymes which helps form collagen as well as enhance the lethal granules in immune system cells that destroy pathogens.
  • Vitamin B12- activates the enzyme in the bone marrow which triggers the release of red blood cells into circulation; this release increases oxygen and energy in our body.
  • Calcium- activates enzymes involved with nerve impulse transmission, blood clotting, and muscle contraction.
  • DHA- is an essential fatty acid that is used to form brain and nervous tissue.
  • Arginine- is an amino acid derived from proteins which activates an enzyme called Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS).  This enzyme can dilate blood vessels and decrease blood pressure.

How We Get Side Effects from Drugs
There is more to this story, both enzymatic activators (nutrients) and enzymatic inhibitors (drugs) don’t just fit with one enzyme; they fit with many enzymes in the body.  This is good for nutrients, but bad for drugs.  This is why we get “side effects” with all drugs, and multiple benefits with one nutrient.  One drug will block both the intended enzyme along with numerous other enzymes because they fit together, like a key that fits with many locks.

For example, statin drugs block the enzyme that produces cholesterol by the liver, thereby lowering cholesterol.  Because other metabolic enzymes are blocked as well, we additionally experience weakness, joint pain, insomnia, rashes, muscle pain, headaches, other infections, sinusitis, chest pain and peripheral edema, in addition to the cholesterol lowering effects.  All of the enzymes which control these functions are blocked as well, therefore they don’t work properly.

Conversely, a nutrient doesn’t activate one enzyme, it activates many enzymes.  Magnesium is a nutrient which is known to activate several hundred different enzymes; this is why nutrients are so important.  All nutrients activate many different enzymes, and are the reason why we need a variety of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and other goodies to sustain those life giving metabolic enzymes which run everything in the body.

Nutrients are the “chemical intelligence” that your body needs to be healthy.  Enzymes operate in cascades, which mean once an enzyme is activated by a nutrient, that enzyme seeks out other enzymes to activate and so on.

While there  times when the benefits of using a drug may outweigh the risks, it is important to note that no drug has ever cured anyone of any disease, only the immune system can do that. More importantly, a medication cannot correct the condition which allowed the health problem to present itself in the first place.  This highlights a philosophical difference between functional medicine versus a conventional approach to health.  Functional medicine works with the body to seek out the underlying cause of the health problem or deficiency, and then nudge it in the appropriate direction. 

Fixing your health problems means making a choice
You have a choice when it comes to fixing health problems in the body.  Do you want to force your physiology to behave a certain way by using an enzymatic inhibitor (drug) and deal with harmful side effects, or have someone help you identify the underlying deficient physiology and help it work better with a nutrient in order to increase your vitality and well being?

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Bone Health for Broken Bones

One of our readers asked Dr Phil, “When people break their bones, or have any injury that leave scar tissue such as any trauma or surgery, what can people do to minimize scar tissue? I’m concerned about scar tissue that may cause problems for me later in life.”

Dr Phil reminds us about an effective and versatile liquid nutritional supplement called Jusuru that helps both our joints and bones. “Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. As a matter of fact, our body (bones and all) is mostly protein. Collagen provides the framework to repair and rebuild not only skin and joints, but bone tissue too! Virtually anything in the body, even our cells require collagen. Collagen can provide the structure to replace damaged tissue so the body doesn’t need to use scar tissue (aka fibrin), or as much scar tissue, as a substitute. After the age of 40, our collagen levels begin to plummet. We see and feel the results of this loss with aging.

Scar tissue is different from normal tissue in the sense that it is 1) less flexible/more rigid and leads to immobility 2) transmits and responds to pain signals more sensitively (this is because of its heavier innervation of pain fibers) 3) and can be re-damaged more easily with a subsequent trauma because it is weaker than the original tissue. Scar tissue anywhere in the body is most commonly a substitute for the real thing. Scar tissue is used to “stabilize an area” while our body repairs the damage; it’s the best the body can do. If we are deficient in nutrients used to repair our tissues, the body can create more scar tissue or leave scar tissue in place longer, thus creating problems. When we’re younger, and have higher amounts of resources in our body, we form far less scar tissue than when we’re older.”

Dr Phil has found that both Jusuru and Telezyme can help mitigate scar tissue formation in different ways. Jusuru supplies additional raw ingredients, Telezyme can boost scar tissue dissolving enzymes made by our body.

For those of us who may have had broken bones years ago, and are concerned about fibrin, aka scar tissue, removing this scar tissue (fibrin) on a cellular level can be done with fibrinolytic enzymes, namely serratia peptidase (serra-peptase, serra-peptidase) as it has many names. Vitalzym-XE contains large amounts of powerhouse serratia-peptidase. Bromelain also has some capacity to break down components of scar tissue, or lessen its formation.

Diet, and eating foods that you are compatible with, also plays a big role as to how easily you form, and break down scar tissue. If the fibrinolytic enzymes that your body produces are being used to clean the blood as a result of system wide stressors, there are less available to break down scar tissue at the injury site. The whole process of reducing and eliminating scar tissue involves a number of factors.

When people break their bones, it is a good idea to do an assay that helps identify if you are becoming deficient in some key area of nutrition. Dr. Phil likes the NTX Osteomark urinary assay because it recognizes the rate at which you are currently breaking down the type of collagen unique to bone, and dumping it into the urine. The TRIAD shows us our nutrient status for the big minerals such as calcium and magnesium levels on a functional level.

You may have noticed that we haven’t fixated on calcium to fix bone problems. This is because not all types of calcium can be easily put into our bones, nor is calcium alone capable of providing healthy bones. We like Designs for Health “osteoforce”. It has the right form of calcium and other needed nutrients required for bone. Many people don’t know that bone is a mixture of calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, boron, zinc, vitamin D, K, and C (vitamin C for the collagen). Somehow we have been taught to fixate on only calcium. Doing a nutrient panel and health questionnaire can go a long way to improving your bone health.

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