Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Doctor, Why Is My Blood Pressure High?

The Quality of Your Life Comes Down to the Questions You Ask Yourself.

Most people and doctors fail to ask the right questions when it comes to health and disease.  They run a myriad of tests and if they see a certain  up or down, they prescribe a drug/supplement or cut out an organ to raise or lower the #.  The key question that must be asked is why is that # up or down? 

The body was created with an incredible healing & life forming power that took us from 2 half cells to nearly 75 trillion cells.  This same power runs every system and function in our body. 
The body has certain natural needs and requirements that when met create an inner peace, harmony, & homeostasis.  This is health.  When there is a dangerous level of toxicity or deficiency in any of these necessary requirements, a state of disharmony occurs causing decreased function and disease.

It is known today that 95% of all cases of high blood pressure are completely preventable & reversable.
When the body encounters any physical, chemical, or emotional stress certain hormones and neurotransmitters are stimulated.  If the conditions go uncorrected or unregulated, the body turns from acute stress mode (normal and natural) to chronic stress mode (abnormal and dangerous for long-term health). One of these hormones secreted under these conditions, cortisol, has several key distinguishing functions:

1.   Increased blood sugar:  Under stress, our bodies need quick energy, this is the good This increases insulin secretions, causing a switch towards fat storage, & pro-inflammatory pathways.  This continued cascade of high cortisol/high insulin eventually causes weight gain through fat storage, protein depletion and massive inflammation destroying the endothelial wall of the arteries, causing scarring, rigidity, reduced pliability & high blood pressure.

2.  Decreased Cellular Oxygenation:    Under stress, our bodies revert to short, shallow breathing habits causing lowered oxygen content and increased levels of carbon dioxide in our tissues.  This causes our metabolism to switch to anaerobic (without oxygen) sources of fuel (stored sugar and protein).  Anaerobic sources of fuel leave behind high levels of metabolic waste and free radicals which damage organ and tissue cells.     

3.   Increased CholesterolCholesterol is a fatty substance in the body that is necessary for brain and neurological function in that it is a vital component for memory and learning.   Cholesterol is also needed for sex hormones (testosterone, progesterone) as well as vitamin D.  Cholesterol is a repair mechanism.  When our bodies are in stress mode, there is a need for cellular repair, therefore cholesterol naturally rises in response.  Short-term this is a good response.  Long-term, if the body is inflamed the cholesterol will get oxidized by the constant cascade of free radicals.  This can severely damage the blood vessel walls.       

4.  Acidic Blood Stream:  High cortisol causes a lowered oxygen state within the body.  This lowered oxygen state, causes the blood stream to be acidic due to greater levels of carbon dioxide binding to the hemoglobin.  When the blood stream is acidic, the body must compensate by utilizing more water and alkaline buffering minerals to neutralize (stealing fluids & nutrients from joints, blood vessel walls and other structures such as  bone, muscle and ligaments).    
5.  Disrupted Sleep Cycles:  Cortisol should naturally lower at night to allow the body to relax and fall asleep and should elevate in the morning to provide instant energy and wakefulness. When our bodies are in a chronic stress mode, we have abnormal flocculation's which disrupt our sleep cycles and leave us groggy in the morning and exhausted throughout the day.
6.   Ligament Laxity:  Elevated cortisol levels cause ligaments to become more lax. This reduces joint stability, leading to increased susceptibility to injury.  The most important area this affects is the spine, which houses and protects the spinal cord and nerves which control the function and healing processes of the organ systems. Chronic stress causes uncontrolled damage to the spine and nervous system, called subluxation, leading to a number of possible symptoms including pain, restricted motion, & organ dysfunction.  The most sensitive areas of the spine are at the top and the pivot from the neck to the mid-back.  When subluxation is present in these areas it affects heart and vascular function causing increased blood pressure.

 Find out how to quiet down this epidemic chronic stress cascade and allow your body to heal as it was intended.  Discover exactly how people are coming off of blood pressure and cholesterol drugs in droves at Exodus Health Center. 
Learn the new science of health and healing and take back control of your life & health. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Make Your BBQ Healthy

This time of year everyone is excited to pull out the grill and get the Barbeque started.  Personally, I love the taste of barbeque.  Unfortunately, grilling out regularly is a dangerous habit that radically increases one's risk of heart disease and cancer.

There are 3 major cancer causing molecules that are present when meat gets heated at a high temperature.  One is caused by the smoke that is released when fat drips from meat or fish onto a heat source. This potent carcinogen is called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAH's for short.  The second set of molecules formed by cooking meat at high temperatures are heterocyclic amines (HCA's).  HCA's are formed through a chemical reaction between naturally occurring amino acids and creatine in the meat. 
Finally, grilling meat at high temperatures increases the amount of advanced glycolytic enzymes (AGE's) present in the meat.  When you eat the meat the AGE's get transferred to your body.  AGE's cause inflammation and oxidative damage in the tissues of your body.  These are the leading causes of degenerative diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, etc.   
Fortunately, there are certain steps we can take to enjoy our barbeque while minimizing exposure to these toxic molecules. A report published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2008 showed that marinating meat in anti-oxidant rich substances can be effective.  The researchers found that an olive oil, lemon juice and garlic marinade cut HCA levels in chicken by as much as 90%. Marinating in red wine for 6 hours before grilling cut down HCA levels by up to 90% compared to unmarinated steak.
Healthy BBQ Tips:
1.      Cook at Lower Temperatures:   Lower temperatures cause more of a "roasting" effect than grilling, but they significantly cut down on the amount of HCA's formed in the meat.  Well-done meat has much higher levels of HCA's than meat cooked medium-rare. 
2.      Avoid Char-Grilling or Blackening Your Meat:  This causes the largest amount of HCA's to form.  Do your best not to char-grill your meat and avoid eating any blackened regions.
3.      Prevent Flaring:  Flames from grill cause the formation of both HCAs and PAHs. Keep an eye on your grill & turn meats frequently to minimize flaring.
4.      Use Grass-Fed Meat Sources:  Grilling grain-fed meat causes more AGE's to form due to a higher sugar content within the meat.  Grass-fed meat is lower in total fat than grain-fed meat.  Cooking leaner meat reduces the PAH formation.  Grass-fed meat also contains a significantly higher amount of healthy omega 3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid. 
5.      Marinate the Meat in Anti-Oxidant Rich sources:  Not only is this tasty but it reduces HCA levels by as much as 90%.  Use lemon/lime, red wine, apple cider vinegar, & superfood herbs.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Healthy Hormones

"As a species, we're on a fast track to extinction," says Ori Hofmekler, author of The Anti-Estrogenic Diet. "In the past few decades, men have lost 50% of their sperm count and within only one generation, the average man's sperm count and testosterone have dropped by 20%. Women are no better. Staggering figures show that most women today are suffering from female disorders and three out of ten women between the ages of 35 to 60 will develop breast cancer."
In spite of the ever growing number of diets, health products, medications and drugs, in spite of the billions of dollars annually spent on health care, people are getting fatter and sicker than ever before with ever growing rates of sterility, obesity, diabetes and cancer among men, women and even children.
"If the human species were an animal, zoologists will render us as a species becoming to be extinct," says Hofmekler.  As a health care practitioner, I see countless men & women coming in daily with all kinds of hormone based issues. Something is seriously wrong with our current level of hormonal health.  So what's to blame?   
The over reliance on highly processed, chemically-laden industry based goods and products seems to be the major culprit.    Xenoestrogens are artificially made compounds produced by industry.  These differ chemically from archiestrogens (naturally occurring) produced by living organisms.  
Xenoestrogens mimic the effects of true estrogen and interact with cellular receptor sites.  This process contributes to estrogen excess and blocks the effects of true estrogen. To make matters worse, these endocrine disruptors lodge in fat cells where they are resistant to breakdown.  Many of these chemicals will act in a synergistic effect when combined with other endocrine disrupters.  This synergistic process exponentially enhances their effects within the body causing major problems at the cellular level.
The most common sources of xenoestrogens include: 
a.       Commercially-Raised Animal Products: 
b.      Plastics & Canned Goods 
c.       Personal Care Products
d.      Oral Contraceptives
e.       Pharmaceutical medications
f.       Food Additives & preservatives
g.      Styrofoam products
h.      Laundry & Dishwashing detergents
i.        Household cleaners & air fresheners
j.       Pesticides & Herbicides
Take back control of your hormonal health by following these recommendations:
Minimize the Usage of Endocrine Disruptors as much as Possible.  Get off all oral contraceptives, hormone creams, and hormone based prescription medications, etc.  You should consult your doctor about this and weaning stages may be necessary.  

Stabilize Your Blood Sugar:  Unstable blood sugar causes enhanced fat storage, decreased cellular detoxification and hormone signaling.  The healing diet is critical for quick effective blood sugar stabilization.

Do a Quarterly Detox:  Begin by cleansing the liver & gallbladder so they can effectively transport excess estrogen out of the system.  Enhance your estrogen metabolism with key nutrients & herbs.  Finally, support the pituitary gland with adequate rest, movement, and nutritional components.  
Maximize Your Nerve Supply:  Be sure that the brain-body pathway is clear and free of interference.  This maximizes internal repair mechanisms. With a healthy nervous system, the glands and tissues are able to self-detoxify and eliminate poisonous chemicals.  Forward head posture and loss of the natural curve in the neck dramatically affect this self-detoxification process.  

Burst Training:  High intensity exercise opens detoxification pathways (sweating), enhances cellular oxygenation, stabilizes blood sugar, and promotes reparative hormones among other things.  Additionally, it allows the body to burn fat more effectively and metabolize excess estrogen molecules. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Thyroid Epidemic

As a health care practicioner, I am amazed at how often I hear about thyroid malfunction.  It is estimated that 10% of the US population suffers with thyroid problems with 95% of those being hypothyroid, where there is too little thyroid hormone being produced.  The other 5% of diagnosed thyroid disorders are hyperthyroid, as in excessive thyroid hormone production. 

Thyroid hormone stokes our metabolic furnaces causing increased heat production and energy formation. When thyroid production is low, energy levels as well as body heat are also low.  This also causes the heart to function at a reduced level of efficiency, resulting in low oxygen state within our tissues and cells.  This creates an environment prone to cancer development.  In addition, low thyroid is linked to high cholesterol, blood pressure abnormalities, other hormone dysregulations, etc. 

People with low thyroid levels often have a higher level of inertia and need a larger push to get up, get moving, and take proactive steps in their life.  This is clearly evidenced in older people who move so slowly that it seems like every action is a huge chore.  On the flip side, hyperthyroidism creates too much energy, leaving the individual hot, wired, and over anxious/stressed.      
The thyroid gland becomes sick when it is:  Toxic, Deficient, or both Toxic & Deficient. 

Common Toxicities.
1.   Fluoride that is in our water, toothpaste, & pesticides. 
2.  Soy Products
Three factors within soy that combine to block the production of thyroid hormone are Goitrogens, Genistein, and Phytates.

3)  Pesticides, Hydrocarbons, & Ionizing Radiation:  Allaffect hormone function.

4)  Heavy Metal Toxicity:  Heavy metals such as mercury (vaccines, amalgum fillings, fish, high fructose corn syrup, etc.) cross the blood brain barrier & have a high affinity for the hypothalmus.  
Common Deficiencies:
:  An essential mineral for production of T3 & T4. 
 Zinc:  Zinc is usually high in hyperthyroid disorders & low in hypothyroid disorders.
 Selenium:  Selenium is an active part of an enzyme needed for the thyroid gland to effectively produce the T3 & T4 hormones.
Copper: Copper stimulates the production of the thyroxine hormone (T4), and prevents over-absorption of T4 in the blood cells by controlling the body's calcium levels (Calcium is required for the stabilization of cell membranes and reduces cell permeability).
Nerve Supply:  A deficiency in proper C7 (the nerve that brings life, healing, & function to the thyroid) nerve supply, forward head posture, and advanced spinal degeneration leads to an accumulation of abnormal thyroid cells that function poorly.  
 EPA & DHA are necessary for healthy gland function.
 Vitamin D deficiency:  Vit D and thyroid hormones both bind to similar steroidreceptors. Vit D has a pro-hormone function, enhancing the bodies entire endocrine response.
 Dehydration causes lowered thyroid metabolism.

Thyroid hormone abnormalities are a common day epidemic that is growing to extraordinary levels. The great news is that God created our bodies with an incredible ability to heal.  Learn how to prevent or reverse thyroid problems and stoke your metabolism, your hormone function, and your ability to maximize energy production and maintain a healthy weight. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Brain Poisons

Brain & neurological tissue are extremely sensitive regions of the body that are highly susceptible to damage.  Our culture is loaded with brain poison.  Some of the most damaging brain poisons include gluten, unfermented soy, blood sugar imbalances, poor posture, & a sedentary lifestyle. 
Gluten Sensitivity:  One of the most common nutritional/toxicity issues in our society today deals with the common protein found in wheat, barley, rye, oats, kamut, & spelt.  According to gluten researcher Kenneth Fine, up to 81% of our society has a gluten allergy.  When they are exposed to gluten there body has differing degrees of inflammatory responses.  Some individuals have mild inflammatory reactions while others have severe reactions.
The most vulnerable tissue to the inflammatory cascade in response to gluten is the brain & nervous system.  The immune molecules that are secreted (cytokines) destroy brain tissue and cause massive neurological damage.  The most common symptom associated with this reaction is "brain fog," memory problems, and mental fatigue. 
Unfermented Soy:  One of soy's primary isoflavones, genistein, has been shown to inhibit the enzyme tyrosine kinase in the brain.  The highest amounts of tyrosine kinases are found in the hippocampus, a brain region that is essential to learning & memory.  High soy consumption actually blocks this mechanism of memory formation.
Several studies have associated high intakes of tofu and other unfermented soy products to increased risk of dementia and cognitive impairments.  On the flip side, fermented soy products such as tempeh are associated with greater cognitive abilities.  Researchers hypothesize that this is due to the deep fermentation process removing enzyme inhibitors and phytoestrogens.  In addition, this process increases folate, a critical nutrient for brain & nervous system function.
Blood Sugar Imbalance:  The brain depends on a continual supply of glucose for energy.  A 2003 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that people's memory is harmed by poor blood sugar metabolism. The slower the sugar metabolism in the body, the less fuel is available for the brain to store memories.  Stable blood sugar levels are critical for healthy brain and neuronal cells that fire quickly and efficiently.
Abnormal blood sugar levels also cause neuronal damage and weaken the protective blood-brain barrier.  This makes for easy passage of different toxins and other particles that will disrupt brain function.  A mechanism for Alzheimer's disease is that of poor blood sugar metabolism.  This pre-diabetic disorder opens the door in the blood brain barrier for toxic aluminum particles to cross-over and accumulate in the sensitive regions of the temporal lobe.     
Sedentary Living & Poor Posture:  The brain depends on oxygen and activation from muscle and joint receptors on acontinual basis.  A lack of motion equals a lack of oxygen generating energy getting up into the brain.  Poor posture and subluxation cause spinal joint receptors to fire abnormal, corrupted feedback patterns into the brain.  This causes further brain-body feedback problems and disrupted movement patterns in the body.  Chronically poor posture and uncorrected subluxation is one of the most detrimental factors for brain function.