Everyday Toxins, Everyday Diseases, Everyday Pain

Everyday Toxins, Everyday Diseases, Everyday Pain

toxin-solutionIt’s a shame that we have come to accept a world where there is such a thing as “everyday” pain, “everyday” disease and “everyday” toxic exposure and that is simply our current reality. But with the help of The Toxin Solution, I believe we can find a new reality.

Follow this link for the Article Source

Meet Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, ND.

“Dr. Joe” has been on the forefront of natural medicine since founding Bastyr University.

And, in his groundbreaking new book, ‘The Toxin Solution, Dr. Joe lays out:

  • the single primary driver to unexplained symptoms and fatigue
  • the cause of the rise of chronic disease effecting over 51% of adults
  • why once rare, now diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions and 37% are prediabetic (and 9 out of 10 don’t even know it).
  • why masking symptoms with medications is exacerbating the issue
  • where toxins are hiding in your everyday foods, and in products we use

    In his words, “Through deep research, I found the one link causing (1) unexplained symptoms, (2) chronic disease and pain, and a way to reverse them. The impact toxins are having on our health are devastating, but the reversal is astounding.”

Dr. Pizzorno’s research and clinical direct findings, mapped the solution to address your unique toxin-load (you must follow 4 steps to be successful), to lower your risks, and restore your inner vitality, helping you to shine from the inside-out…turning your body into a toxin-releasing machine, just like when you were a young, vibrant, child.

Click here to get your copy:  www.thetoxinsolution.com

I’ll be following this protocol along with you!

 

Meeting Dr. Joseph Pizzorno

Meeting Dr. Joseph Pizzorno

Last month I was in San Diego attending a week long conference of the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM). What a refreshing gathering of so many different health specialists and generalists, truly representative of my ideal in holistic and integrative care of patients.

img_6156-3

Dr. Joseph Pizzorno at the AIHM conference 2016 – Looking dapper as ever despite three consecutive lectures without break!

One of the highlights for me was to attend a set of lectures given by Dr. Joseph Pizzorno and then to meet him for the first time. He is one of the founders of Bastyr University. I’ve been in touch with him for the past couple of years now because of his kind willingness to pen the foreword of my first book in the Every Body’s Guide to Everyday Pain series, Volume One – Put Out the Fire. Until now we had only corresponded remotely and so this was the first chance I’d had to meet in person this man I’m so grateful to.

I was in disbelief for quite some time that this natural health care giant was willing to associate his name with a project like mine – very much still in its infancy.

What I’ve learned about him during the process is how generous, gracious and humble he is and all of this was just confirmed by our in-person meeting in San Diego. He was practically mobbed by eager attendees after his lectures and despite being worn out from travel and an unusually long consecutive series of lecture hours without a break, he responded with patient kindness to everyone’s questions.

The topic of Dr. Pizzorno’s most recent research and writing work is environmental health.

The area of study referred to as “environmental health” concerns itself with the effect that inorganic compounds in our environment  exert on our overall well-being, whether those be naturally occurring or human-made.

It is an essential piece to the puzzle when considering the three possible triggers of everyday pain.  Exposure to these compounds can be one of the significant influences responsible for triggering an imbalance in our biochemistry – the precise factor that can add to our inflammatory toxin load and set us up for pain.  When chemistry is out of balance it can profoundly change our emotional coping and in turn our mechanical stressors as we translate emotion into posture.

Environmental toxin exposure is an awesome topic demanding supreme command of the research which Dr. Pizzorno clearly has with unique affinity.  He is in the process of preparing for the release of a new book on the topic:

The Toxin Solution: How Hidden Poisons in the Air, Water, Food, and Products We Use Are Destroying Our Health, and What We Can Do to Fix It

And there is another book in the works for a few years down the road of a more didactic nature.  I’m very excited to see both and will be heavily referencing this work for Volume Two – Fix the Fire Damage of my pain book series.

Save

Taking My Own “Medicine”

Taking My Own “Medicine”

Dobbins'_medicated_toilet_soap,_advertising,_1869When you’re a chiropractor, what does it mean to “take your own medicine” ?

“Walking my own talk” consists of more than just making sure I receive chiropractic care myself.  It’s about seeking balance in all areas of health.  With balance in sight, the need for professional treatment decreases.

My motivation is maybe a bit more intensely fueled than for most people because my body is my essential work tool.  If mechanical, biochemical or emotional balance is off, it directly affects the ability to fulfill my commitment to patients which in turn could potentially risk my livelihood.  This is an intense interdependence that I would never trade for anything but it can be more than stressful to be even just a little bit laid-up.

In last week’s post I alluded to a recently renewed return to health by restoring balance to my own life, after a year of pushing to get my book out, followed by the release and adventures in promotion.

Block Quote 4I cannot emphasize enough how much this pursuit of balance can differ from person to person.  I am taking a moment to briefly outline what this looked like for me at this particular juncture, to give you a very general idea of the factors to consider when thinking about your own balance in wellness.  In particular I want to illustrate some of the principles outlined in my book (Every Body’s Guide to Everyday Pain, Volume One – Put Out the Fire). Don’t wait until you’re in pain to find your true healthy balance. The everyday variety of pain is always a sign that something has fallen by the wayside in one of the three main categories (mechanical, biochemical or emotional) but things can be “off” long before pain strikes.

In my case, this time I needed first to focus on returning to a more regimented sleep/wake schedule.  I’ve learned that my body and mind operate optimally with 6,1/2 – 7 hours of sleep per night and this means I need to exercise a little discipline about getting to bed on time because I am not willing to get up late.  The morning hours are treasured time and important to my emotional well-being.  I’m very lucky to have good sleep hygiene and my body cooperates well when put to bed.  For times when that’s not the case (as everything ebbs and flows), I reach for homeopathic remedies, herbal teas or magnesium to calm the nervous system before bed.  A controversial trick that isn’t advisable for everyone but that works well for me, is to have a small bite to eat before bedtime as well.

Test tubes science backgroundRe-balancing my biochemistry is something that I dedicated the better part of two consecutive months to. Resetting my organ systems and aiding the natural detoxification, involved some herbal and food therapy.  I returned to eating simply by avoiding my known sensitivities: dairy, all animal protein, simple starches (sugar), nightshades and a few other specifics that I’ve come to recognize over the years as taxing to my system.  I’ve since then slowly returned to more variety based on what my appetite dictates.

Block Quote 2Some signs that will tell you about your sensitivities can be as subtle as an increase in heart rate within 1/2 hour of eating. Sometimes it’s just a little tickle in the back of the throat that passes quickly but is still a significant sign of intolerance.  Other times it can be a generalized increase in mucous production and that might be harder to spot.  The need to clear your throat or blow your nose in the morning might be signs of excess mucous production in response to a food trigger from the day before.  The point is that foods (sometimes very delicious food), not overtly considered as “allergenic” like peanuts, can still be considered by your body as a burden for your biochemistry.  So, it’s always important to pay attention to subtle reactions.

When I commit to helping my body unload excess waste, I also utilize dry sauna sweats, infrared if possible and pay extra attention to optimizing kidney and bowel function.  This makes a big difference in the associated discomfort of “detox”-related headaches and body aches that can happen when large amounts of waste are mobilized throughout the body for elimination.

My herbal and nutrient based regimen was also targeted, in part to facilitate elimination via the kidneys, liver and colon.  There are many different philosophies on which herbs are most appropriate and this is something that is best done with the advice of a natural health care doctor.  Focusing on aiding natural elimination is the best way to help decrease your body’s chemical burden from exposure to complex molecules in our air, food and water.

Balancing RocksFor me, restoring mechanical balance can’t happen without first adequate rest and attention to nutrition.  After re-setting sleep and nutrition I found my energy returning and started to increase activity based on that, but not until then.  If fuel or rest and recovery are lacking, then the exercise output ends up adding stress to the system instead of strengthening it.  This is why sleep and nutrient intake is first priority. It sets the stage for successful return to exercise.  Without this in place, workouts are pointless and counterproductive, potentially resulting in inflammation-causing stress.

Block Quote 3What my body and mind are willing and able to do changes with the seasons, years and stages in life.  This Spring, yoga was the doorway back to physical empowerment.  It helped me begin to feel able to return to swimming and weightlifting.  Now, my routine includes one yoga class per week and two other days of gym workouts which consist of a warm-up swim followed by an upper body or lower body weight resistance workout.  That’s three days a week of 1-2 hours of exercise. They are strategically spaced from my days with patients so that I am not too sore to be effective in the office, but also to avoid muscle fatigue related injuries.

There’s nothing rigorous about this current exercise schedule which is what makes it completely sustainable.  When starting a new routine, being consistent is more important than making a huge impact.  Come wintertime, it’s possible that my needs will change and I will change my exercise accordingly.  Perhaps in a future post I will take some time to address the how of tuning in to your own changing needs from season to season or depending on life and work situations.  It’s mostly a lifelong process of trial and error.

It can be tricky to walk the fine line between the intended exertion of exercise and inescapable demands of work life. But as you slowly increase physical activity, what always holds true is that you increase your body’s capacity for emotional, chemical and physical stress to keep from rebounding into exhausted inactivity.  It must be done in a loving way. Self-care routines are best implemented with gentle caring instead of harsh reprimands.  If you’re someone who thrives on hard line tactics for motivation – find a trainer or someone outside of yourself to play that role.

Even though it’s not an easy daily practice for many, being loving and yes even permissive with yourself makes room for healthy choices.  Remember real health can and does exist in imperfect bodies everywhere.  It’s about balance, not perfection.

Block Quote 1Lastly, you should know that it takes at least two full months – often three months – of consistent activity in order to surpass the “transition reaction” of new exercise.  When introducing a change in routine or physical demands, the brain and body will express themselves by exhibiting physical sensations that aren’t always 100% comfortable.

Sometimes the transition to a better balance in life includes re-visiting old pain that might feel like re-injury as we work to strengthen around these old vulnerabilities.  This is why it’s important to line up some outside help during these transitions either via massage, acupuncture, or chiropractic.  It’s the time when I see the greatest need for support in my patients.

Food for thought while you consider your own healthy balancing act: When we act in reaction or opposition to an idea or a feeling, we set the stage for inevitable failure. When we act out of caring and acceptance for the imperfection that is, we make good and sustainable choices.


Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons, Fotolia

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Tissue Acidity is Real. Debunking the “Debunkers”.

Tissue Acidity is Real. Debunking the “Debunkers”.

strumenti laboratorio chimicoThe controversial issue concerning the role of pH in health is one with heated opinions on both sides of the fence. But what are those sides of the fence? Well, there is a strong cohort opposed to the concepts that acidity or alkalinity (measured on a scale of pH) is in some form or another related to health and, in particular, that the food we eat has any bearing on our body’s pH value. The other side is preoccupied with promoting products like pH-regulated water that will supposedly “cure” you of all diseases. Neither position on the matter is doing justice to the facts.

I write about the influence of pH in my book Every Body’s Guide to Everyday Pain. There is no scarcity of research to support the fact that low tissue pH (acidity) is associated with inflammation, which can lead to pain.1-6 This is an extremely relevant point when considering the paradigm shift necessary to recognize early indicators of dysfunction and imbalance — these will help us learn to avoid the perplexing everyday variety of pain that often seems to appear out of nowhere.

Block Quote #1The science of pH in human physiology is complex. There is no easy cause-and-effect scenario to follow, and no straightforward way exists to measure pH in the body in real time. For example, urine pH values do not accurately represent the pH values in your joints and tissues, and salivary pH is not directly representative of your intestinal pH status because normally food is processed by your gastrointestinal tract and, in doing so, the composition of what you ingested has changed. The reality is that the acid/alkaline status of your body is a moving target and is not uniform across all systems.  These crude measurements (urine and saliva) act as red herrings and provide—at best—educated guesses about what the body is actually going through at any particular moment.

One very important truth that every pH “debunker” gets right is that blood pH does not fluctuate. This tight control over blood pH levels is essential to keeping us within the very narrow parameters needed by our cardiovascular system to keep us alive. Keeping our blood pH from fluctuating is so important that, when we are exposed to acidifying influences that could disrupt our blood chemistry balance, an elaborate biochemical dance occurs in all other body systems in an effort to “take the hit” for us. Our body copes in other ways to handle the stress and temporarily becomes compromised in some way to protect the blood pH from potentially life-threatening fluctuations.

What sorts of things cause this kind of pH-shifting biochemical stress? Anything that our cells are exposed to in the course of daily life can cause a shift—air, food, and water act as the three main vectors. Our air is filled with byproducts of industrial exhausts and at different times of the year with complex plant proteins that become airborne and act as allergens. Food comes in many formats in our society of “now” and modern conveniences. Packaging, processing, and preservatives introduce chemical compounds that our bodies were not Block Quote #2designed to tolerate on a regular basis, and what we think of as water is no longer just H2O (two molecules of hydrogen and one of oxygen). Water is generally considered safe, but the measures needed to create safe drinking water in developed countries may also introduce miniscule amounts of foreign molecules into the water supply.

The key realization here is to understand that the issue isn’t necessarily exclusively about the pH value of these substances themselves, rather that, in large part, it’s the body’s protective responses in the face of biochemical stressors that change our tissue chemistry

Let’s look at a common response to biologic “invaders”: Histamine. Histamine is an irritant produced in response to a wide array of allergens, and evidence suggests that histamine itself presents an acidifying effect.7-9 These inevitable acidic influences have to hit us somewhere and, if not the blood, then where?

An important distinction often missing from these discussions about pH is that blood pH is not the same as tissue pH. Tissues are bathed in interstitial fluid made up of lymphatic and cellular materials (amino acids, hormones, sugars, fatty acids, coenzymes, neurotransmitters, salts, and cellular waste)—none of which equates to blood. In processing biochemical stress from any source—whether dietary, environmental, or emotional—it turns out that the tissues of the body, not the blood, are the most affected.

Armed with these facts about pH in the body and its association with inflammation, it’s compelling to consider the following possibility: It seems that every food theory that aims at decreasing inflammation and enhancing gut and brain health (based on the acidity/alkalinity of your food or not) are successful to at least some degree. Could the true reason for this be because of the net effect on tissue pH? Well, it’s not quite that simple. There’s a catch: People report a wide variety of results. So, does that mean all this food hype is bunk?

It’s certainly not “bunk,” per se, but it’s worth remembering that, if no measurable correlation exists between the acidifying influence of the food itself and a particular person’s body pH, then any results seen (whether good or bad) are likely a factor of that person individual’s biologic response based on his or her unique genetic profile. So, what does that mean? It means that results are highly variable.

Which foods or airborne particles do your cells consider to be allergens (ie, foreign)? Firstly, this is something that changes as we age; secondly, it’s dictated by your genetic profile; and, thirdly, to complicate matters, outside influences (environmental, including stress) can change the responses of your genes to allergens.

These are the facts:

  1. In general, inflammation is at the root of dysfunction and disease.10
  2. Tissue acidity provides an environment conducive to inflammation.11

If we can avoid providing the perfect playground for pain and disease, then why shouldn’t we try? Exploring the foods and substances that expose your cells to the least amount of acidifying stress is a very personal journey. The array of widely touted food theories may be appropriate for some people and represent a good place to start, but you may find you’ll require some guidance from a natural medicine practitioner at some point to help you pinpoint what your specific situation calls for and the individual needs of your body.

For professionals in the dietetics field or those in the food industry to claim that what we eat doesn’t affect our health in this way seems a bit ironic and counter to the mission. I hope the conversation continues for the sake of shedding light on ways to minimize biochemical stress—whether that be through dietary changes, lifestyle modification, or in other ways—with the ultimate goal being to increase quality of life for all.

 

References

  1. Bray GE, Ying Z, Baillie LD, Zhai R, Mulligan SJ, Verge VM. Extracellular pH and neuronal depolarization serve as dynamic switches to rapidly mobilize trkA to the membrane of adult sensory neurons. J Neurosci. 2013;33(19):8202-8215.
  2. Ugawa S, Ueda T, Ishida Y, Nishigaki M, Shibata Y, Shimada S. Amiloride-blockable acid-sensing ion channels are leading acid sensors expressed in human nociceptors. J Clin Invest. 2002;110(8):1185-1190.
  3. Wu WL, Cheng CF, Sun WH, Wong CW, Chen CC. Targeting ASIC3 for pain, anxiety, and insulin resistance. Pharmacol Ther. 2012;134(2):127-138.
  4. Birklein F, Weber M, Ernst M, Riedl B, Neundorfer B, Handwerker HO. Experimental tissue acidosis leads to increased pain in complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Pain. 2000;87(2):227-234.
  5. Lin CC, Chen WN, Chen CJ, Lin YW, Zimmer A, Chen CC. An antinociceptive role for substance P in acid induced chronic muscle pain. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2012;109(2):E76-E83.
  6. Steen KH, Steen AE, Kreysel HW, Reeh PW. Inflammatory mediators potentiate pain induced by experimental tissue acidosis. Pain. 1996;66(2-3):163-170.
  7. Uvnäs B, ed. Histamine and Histamine Antagonists. New York: Springer-Verlag; 1991.
  8. Hiller A, The effect of histamine on the acid-base balance. J Biol Chem. 1926;833-46.
  9. Rocha e Silva M, Rothschild HA. Histamine. Its chemistry, metabolism and physiological and pharmacological actions. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg GmbH. 1966:233.
  10. Cohen S, Janicki-Deverts D, Doyle WJ, Miller GE, Frank E, Rabin BS, Turner RB. Chronic stress, glucocorticoid receptor resistance, inflammation, and disease risk. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012;109(16):5995-5999.
  11. Jankowski JA, ed. Inflammation and Gastrointestinal Cancers. New York: Springer; 2011.

Menopause, Andropause and now “Somatopause”?

bodybuilder poseWell it’s no secret what menopause is.  Luckily there’s an increasing body of information widely available out about it these days.  Among other hormonal shifts, the primary change in menopause and peri-menopause occurs with estrogen levels.  Estrogen production decreases as women age, and move away from the reproductive stage of life.

Men have an equivalent transition as their androgens shift and the production of testosterone wanes.

Somatopause is not as commonly discussed and the term might be unfamiliar, but depending on your age you might not be surprised to hear what it is.  This is a change that happens for both men and women as we approach later life.  The prefix soma comes from the Greek meaning “body”.  In medicine the term somatic refers to the physical body – the machine: muscles and bones.

If you’re someone who’s nearing mid life or just past it, then you may already have noticed that your body is definitely changing – possibly even before you notice changes in estrogen or testosterone.  In addition to finding hairs where there didn’t used to be any or skin tags in inconvenient places, skin may not be as firm or as thick, but above all, our muscle mass is suddenly not what it used to be.  Many middle aged people will notice that seeing and feeling the results of exercise becomes harder and harder.  It becomes really easy to lose the effects of exercise.  The decrease in muscle mass and the decreased ability to build muscle is what the term “somatopause” refers to.

Somatopause, or this decrease in muscle mass, just like the other two ” -pauses”, is also because of a decreasing hormone.  In this case it’s the human growth hormone (HGH).  The human muscle cell (sarcomere) needs HGH in order to grow.   Our body stops naturally making as much growth hormone as we do when we’re younger.

Does this mean we should all just roll over and become flabby and weak?  We certainly can but it’s not a fate we have to accept silently. At the very least this information should make us want to work a little harder at staying with an exercise regimen.  The “Move it or Lose it” adage definitely becomes louder and clearer the older we get.

Incidentally, there’s some really interesting evidence just coming to light recently that seems responsible for feeding yet another trendy exercise fad.  In recent months you may have heard more and more about high intensity interval training.  The allure of this kind of workout is that it touts much less of a time commitment in the gym (for the busy professionals) but promising to deliver the same or better outcomes fitness-wise.

Well, I’m the first to dig my heels in when I notice the frenzy for a fad taking hold and I always advise caution to all patients considering trying this particular one – no matter what age.  The potential for injury is high when we combine speed or time stress with intensity since neither leave much room for focusing on safe form unless closely supervised.  So, I generally don’t advise anyone to do this kind of training, but I am changing my tune a little bit and here’s why:

Studies have shown this kind of training appreciably stimulates an increase in growth hormone production. So, if  it’s done safely, the high intensity, short spurts of exercise can be particularly useful to those of us approaching somatopause.  The added stints of growth hormone production will aid in the building of muscle mass even in someone who has entered this stage of life where the natural decline of HGH has begun!

If you’re struggling to put on muscle mass don’t forget to think about your nutrient intake but you might as well also consider  kicking it up a notch once or twice a week for the sake of these muscle building benefits.  But don’t leave behind the traditional workouts that you enjoy.  It’s far too important to our brain chemistry to leave those behind.  Workouts of a minimum of 30 min. and longer, will be what give you a good dose of “happy chemicals”.  These will become more important as you add the naturally more stress hormone inducing high intensity workouts, simply for balance. (Take a moment to read this post to learn why it’s important for some people to be especially careful with stress inducing activities – you might be adding fuel to the fire despite your best intentions)

I hope you’ll consider the fact that maintaining and gaining muscle mass at all ages is not just about looks. You will look great and feel much better about your looks but more importantly, it’s very much about life sustaining function that will make all aspects of daily living easier, safer and seamless.  It’s a biological fact that movement is ultimately what sustains life and you can’t move if you don’t have muscle!

 

References:

http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2013/06/21/interval-training.aspx

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10442584

One Thing People Don’t Tell You About Peri-Menopause…

Menopause concept.…is that it can be a highly inflammatory time for your body!

All the things you used to be able to get away with like strange sleeping positions, eating the wrong thing, or taking on too much at work; suddenly you start to experience critical mass in all of these areas of your life – not to mention the emotional toll of the added stress from hormonal fluctuations. So now you’re even less well equipped to emotionally cope with these sudden chemically based inflammatory triggers in your life – none of which previously would have been a big deal at all.

Have you ever heard anyone describe the time leading up to menopause as feeling like PMS 24-7?  Well, since every woman’s PMS feels different, regardless of what exactly that means to you, that analogy is not actually too far fetched.  As we approach menopause our hormones start to take on a sustained state of affairs that hormonally mirrors the time in our cycle right before menstrual flow.

The thing about female reproductive hormones is that the multitude of actions they coordinate day in and day out throughout a one month cycle is more like a sophisticated concert symphony rather than a simple switchboard-like action => reaction and on/off function. The harmony of this symphony that is being played by many different hormones at the same time, is highly dependent on how  they interrelate rather than on their individual measurable levels alone.  The concentration and resultant effect of circulating estrogen is to some degree only significant in relation to the concentration of progesterone.  Because they dampen or heighten each others impact on the body, it’s more about proportion than it is about their sole presence.

Using just the main two groups of hormones, estrogen and progesterone in our example, here’s roughly how a smoothly played symphony  goes for the duration of a four week / one month cycle:

1st two weeks of the month:

Estrogen rises – going up first then not until a few days later Progesterone starts to rise – going up as well.

Estrogen peaks then starts to decrease – going down but Progesterone is still increasing…going up

Beginning of the 3rd week: (or whenever ovulation occurs for you)

Estrogen still goes up slightly then levels out and stays  steady for a little while but Progesterone is still on the rise…going up

Beginning of the 4th week:

Progesterone peaks and then starts to decrease – going down but Estrogen is still level – same for a few days…

once Progesterone and Estrogen levels are equal again then they both start to decrease – going down together at a similar rate all the way until bleeding phase of the cycle happens.

Then it starts all over again!

When this symphony is in complete harmony, we don’t experience very significant symptoms even during that pre-menstrual time.

If this all happens according to plan, harmony is high and symptoms are few.  Women experience symptoms of PMS mainly when these events happen out of order or each group of hormones rise or dip to strange levels – in relationship to the others and this is what creates disharmony.  It’s not just one poorly behaving hormone it’s the whole symphony of hormones losing their way and becoming unsynchronized – creating noise rather than music.

The three main players are: estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.  Each of these can cause symptoms of excess if they are high in relationship to one or both of the others.

Progesterone Excess = Inflammation

Progesterone can seem high when estrogen is low – this happens to varying degrees during the second two weeks of the menstrual cycle aka: the two weeks before menstrual flow.  This is when women often experience greater levels of inflammation which can lead to sudden strains and sprains or headaches or an increased stress response or simply more generalized aches and pains.

Progesterone definitely will seem high for some women approaching menopause because of the steadily but erratically declining estrogen levels.  Again the body becomes more inflamed  but now at odd times – much less predictable than during the regularly cycling lifetime.

Testosterone = Anti-Inflammation

Women produce testosterone from the ovaries and adrenal glands and this notoriously “male” hormone actually stays the same before and after menopause.   It only seems higher after menopause because of the absence of estrogen and progesterone to dampen its effect, so it becomes dominant and we start to notice symptoms associated with testosterone effects like facial hair, deepening voice, balding etc.

Estrogen Excess = can be Both inflammatory and anti-inflammatory depending on the situation.

Estrogen dominance is a big problem in our society because of all of the chemicals that we are exposed to that mimic the structure of estrogen.  But this is  a much larger topic for a different blog post.

What I want you to take away from this necessarily over-simplified snapshot of peri-menopause, is that if you or anyone you know are in the throws of it, you should be aware of the fact that this can be a very inflammatory time for the body. While this simmering inflammation will be part of what feels discouraging and as though you’re aging before your time, be patient, be careful and respect the process. But know that it will end and if you care for the inflammation now even though it seems so out of proportion, you will be okay and in fact better off once the fluctuations end.

There are many resources out there on natural food based anti-inflammatory nutrients including turmeric (curcumin), boswellia serrata, ginger and quercetin.

Stress management is also a great way to deal with the overall inflammatory response in your body.  Magenesium is an important mineral that can help the nervous system with this.

Speak to your natural health care provider for more specific guidance as to what your body needs during this time.  He or she will know best based on your full clinical picture.

Continue reading

Are You Eating Your Inflammation?

Fotolia_5239498_XS.jpg

Photo Credit: Fotolia

If you’re in pain, you are inflamed. No question. Inflammation is your body on fire (read more about that in this post on my blog-to-book project site Stop Everyday Pain).  To put out this fire, you need to first of all, stop throwing kindling on the flames. Then find a way to put the fire out altogether – smother it or douse it with water.

One of the things we do to feed the fire of inflammation is to eat things that keep the body chemically irritated and inflamed. What are these things that cause and add to inflammation? Processed foods, preservatives, sugar etc. are all evil but that’s yesterday’s news. Did you know that you might also be stoking the fire of inflammation simply by not eating in a balanced way. We might be eating technically well with all the right whole foods and organic meats and unprocessed naturally packaged snacks, but if the proportions are off, then our acid/base balance is also off and too much acidity is what leads to inflammation.

You’ve all heard of Omega 3 fatty acids. We’re all trying to get more in our diets because of all of the health benefits – one of them being anti-inflammatory. Chickens are even being fed omega 3s so that their eggs can be packaged and labeled as “Omega 3 Eggs”. This seems a little extreme doesn’t it? But this is what it’s come to.

Let’s take a quick look at a couple of important things that are getting overlooked in our crush to gobble up fish oil and flax seed as our main sources of Omega 3 supplementation in our quest for relief from pain and inflammation.

Is Your Fish Oil Making You More Toxic?

First of all, if we mega-dose on Omega 3 oils then there is a possibility that the body will become overwhelmed and unable to properly metabolize the oil via our natural anti-oxidative processes. So, it becomes equally — if not more – important to take in foods that will help with breaking down the inflammatory free-radicals that can accumulate from high doses of Omega 3 supplement sources. If high doses of “good” oils are allowed to accumulate in the body they can pose an inflammatory oxidative stress on our tissues – completely counteracting our good intentions.

Are You Eating More Inflammation-Kindling Than Inflammation-Dousing Food?

Secondly, there needs to be a very important ratio balance between Omega 3 fatty acids and Omega 6 fatty acids. These are both essential to us for survival so we have to eat them – our body does not make them. The problem is that research shows that when we have too many of the Omega 6 variety and not enough of the 3 variety, the result is inflammation and disease. Well, wouldn’t you know it, this is exactly what the average modern diet provides! We are all eating our inflammation by having too much Omega 6 and not enough Omega 3.

If you’re having trouble keeping those two straight you’re not alone. Think: “Omega Three will Set You Free” and whether you’re superstitious or religious or not – you’ve probably heard of the number six associated with “the devil” (666) – well, you can think of Omega 6 as just a little bit (just one third) on the evil side. It’s still important to our health but the 6s are just too easily abundant and tempting.

Here is a really quick over-simplified synopsis of where you find which Omega:

Omega 3 – to “set you free”, you’ll find in one form or another with the following

  1. leafy greens
  2. flax seed or oil
  3. fish

Omega 6 – just a little bit evil, is what you’ll get when you eat the following:

  1. grains
  2. most seeds
  3. vegetables that store energy in the form of seeds like the squashes and some nightshades

The realistic take-away is to do your very best to eat as much from the first group (leafy greens, fish and flax) as you can and just think about it before you stuff yourself with the other.

Some good online sources for more detailed discussion about Omega fatty acids: Dr. Ben Kim’s website and Acupuncturist Chris Kresser’s site

I have no personal or business affiliations with either individual.  I just found their handling of the material to be fair and balance.

Follow along on my blog-to-book site Stop Everyday Pain to discover other unexpected ways we often contribute to the fire of inflammation when we’re in pain.

References:

[i] pH => pain: Bray GE, Ying Z, Baillie LD, Zhai R, Mulligan SJ, Verge VM. Extracellular pH and neuronal depolarization serve as dynamic switches to rapidly mobilize trkA to the membrane of adult sensory neurons. J Neurosci. 2013;33(19):8202-8215. Ugawa S, Ueda T, Ishida Y, Nishigaki M, Shibata Y, Shimada S. Amiloride-blockable acid-sensing ion channels are leading acid sensors expressed in human nociceptors. J Clin Invest. 2002;110(8):1185-1190. Wu WL, Cheng CF, Sun WH, Wong CW, Chen CC. Targeting ASIC3 for pain, anxiety, and insulin resistance. Pharmacol Ther. 2012;134(2):127-138.

[ii] Simopoulos AP. The Importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. Biomed Pharmacother. 2002 Oct;56(8):365-79.