Tag Archive for health

Erasing autoimmune disorders

A patient recently asked me why I hadn’t recommended he stop eating dairy products. He said all of his symptoms disappeared when he stopped eating dairy products and drastically decreased his grain intake. He was sleeping well, had no joint pain and all his stomach issues had resolved. Concerned that I had neglected making an obvious suggestion, I checked his records and found that at each of his past 2 annual exams, I did suggest he eat dairy free and also explore consuming less grain. We had talked about it, but it fell on deaf ears. I’m good with him finding a resource that finally got him to try giving up dairy because he’s now a believer. Another patient decided to try a vegan diet for 90 days with his wife. He discovered a complete reversal of gastric reflux. Giving up dairy foods was the answer and he shook his head as he said he wished he had embraced my suggestion sooner. No longer in need of acid reducing medication he took for over 10 years, he also lost the last few pounds he had struggled to lose. It’s not uncommon for patients to feel like avoiding a certain food is too extreme, or conversely too simple of a fix to be the answer. But in the context of a lifetime, what is 2-3 weeks without a particular food? The best outcome is you will feel better; at the worst you paid more attention to nutrition for a few weeks. There really isn’t any downside.

In medicine we are seeing more and more people being diagnosed with autoimmune disease or with symptoms that suggest autoimmune disease. To traditional healthcare, many of these symptoms are vague and often get passed off as something other than autoimmune dysfunction: restlessness, upset stomach, diarrhea, aches, pain, reflux, constipation, fatigue, headache. But if you experience symptoms that last more that a few weeks, it could be suggestive of the body not happy with itself. Autoimmune disease occurs when the body fails to recognize it’s own cells and instead begins to attack itself. Subtle symptoms almost always appear, often years before, more devastating symptoms manifest. Below is a short list of common autoimmune disorders and symptoms:

▪  Lupus

▪  Arthritis

▪  Fibromyalgia

▪  Lichen planus

▪  Celiac

▪  Crohn’s

▪  Myasthenia gravis

▪  Multiple sclerosis

▪  Depression

▪  Gastritis

▪  Constipation

▪  Migraine

▪  Chronic fatigue

While we believe several things can precipitate these diseases, we certainly don’t know the exact mechanism. Stress, infections, and even medications have been blamed. Being a first degree relative of someone with celiac disease increases your risk of of non-celiac autoimmune disorders, as does simply being the spouse of an autoimmune sufferer. While the first degree relative risk may be due to shared genetics, in the case of the spouse we must consider a factor that can be shared. One thing we believe all autoimmune disorders have as their origin is compromised intestinal health. The intestines are host to the microbiome, a diverse community of bacteria with specific immune functions. This microbiome is shared among same household family members and so may affect disease resistance for the whole family. The microbiome and autoimmune disease are huge topics, but one step you can take now toward improving your health is to clean up your diet. Ditching added sugars, white flour, preservatives and excess sodium can go a long way toward better gut health. Adding more fiber and fermented foods to your diet can help nuture the protective good bacteria and drinking more water helps too. A healthy diet is the best defense with autoimmune disorders. But if you’ve done all this and symptoms persist, you may need to delve further. My patients above had issues with dairy foods, but not so everyone. By discovering the foods that may be causing your symptoms, you can set the stage to prevent, reverse or control an autoimmune disorder. Even if you don’t test positive for autoimmune disease, you may very well benefit from some diet manipulation to control your symptoms.

Consider that every food we ingest gets broken down into smaller molecules. Each of these molecules acts as a signalling molecule telling the body how to behave. By removing certain signalling molecules we can change how the body responds and reduce or eliminate symptoms. A great example is celiac disease, where a complete reversal is accomplished by eliminating gluten. With a thorough diet and lifestyle history, I can usually help patients narrow the field of usual dietary suspects. Addition of food sensitivity testing can speed the process and help ensure we are identifying the correct foods, additives, colorants, or even herbs you are taking on a regular basis. I’ve seen patients challenged by aloe, inulin, and other seemingly healthy ingredients. Most importantly, don’t be overwhelmed and continue to ignore symptoms. A step by step approach can make this all manageable and there are many resources.

‘I would rather have migraines or diarrhea’ said no one ever. If you have or suspect you have an autoimmune disorder, I highly suggest viewing the Betrayal series. It explains how traditional medicine has failed many and why your diet is the best place to start. It’s free to view this weekend, or can be purchased for a nominal fee to view at your leisure. Don’t hesitate to take steps to better health. There are many great websites with information, recipes and lifestyle suggestions. Below are a few more to get you started.

For more information on food sensitivity testing, click here. I’ve helped hundreds of people get tested to understand their food sensitivities, and would be happy to help you feel better too!

March Against Monsanto San Diego

Monsanto MarchThanks to Dan Osman and the Organic Consumers Association for planning the great rally at Balboa Park today. Here’s a quick recap of speakers, their websites (below) and a bit of my talk today.

Monsanto would like you to believe that the glyphosate residue on genetically modified food is safe and doesn’t cause cancer. But these statements are  based on studies that are too short to show cancer, and are not looking at the myriad of other health issues that have dramatically increased since the early 1970’s when GMO seeds and high nitrogen fertilizers hit the fields, and the use of herbicides and pesticides dramatically increased. Geneticists tell us that daily small pulses of noxious chemicals can be more harmful than a single large exposure. The subtle changes in nutrients and chemical compounds affect our DNA and our ability to defend our bodies from everything from cancer to autoimmune disorders, gastrointestinal problems, mental health issues, autism, and healthy pregnancies. Everything we ingest is a signalling molecule, especially the nutrients in food. Whether it’s chemicals in air pollution, vitamins, medications, food, herbicide or pesticide, it all signals a reaction in the body that affect how the body reacts. It makes a difference if your liver is compromised and can’t remove or detoxify harmful compounds efficiently or if you are so overloaded your liver and kidneys can’t keep up. Small children are particularly susceptible to growth and developmental issues due to exposure to harmful chemicals. We have the right to know how our food is grown and what’s in it. It’s time for Monsanto and other chemical companies to stand up for our health rather than their profits, protect our valuable resources and be good stewards of our food supply.

Remember it matters where you spend your food dollars. You may spend a little more for healthy food, but you won’t pay as much at the doctor’s office! Stay informed! The EU and Canada are considering revoking their approval for glyphosate. California is listing it as a probable carcinogen and the WHO found glyphosate to be a probable carcinogen as well before reversing its opinion. Those scientists who are responsible for reversal of their opinions are withholding their names, not willing to stand behind their own opinions. That should tell  us something.

Presenters at the event today in San Diego:

Peter Mathews — Political Science professor, internationally recognized pundit and author of “Dollar Democracy: With Liberty and Justice for Some; How to Reclaim the American Dream for All”

D’Marie Mulattieri — activist, speaker, writer. Organizer, Occupy Orange County, March Against Monsanto Laguna Beach, Expose the TPP – USA. Ran for Congress in 2012. California Clean Money Campaign and OC4BERNIE. Wrote the foreword for the book, “We’re Monsanto: Still Feeding the World, Lie After Lie.

Leslie Goldman, a grassroots food activist, recipient of a United Nations Peace Medal, writer and blogger www.plantyourdream.net

Carol Grieve, Certified Life Coach, Holistic Nutritionist, radio host of Food Integrity Now, www.foodintegritynow.org

 

Functional foods: help lower blood pressure naturally

Functional food is a term to describe a specific food or food components that have specific effects in our bodies. It’s a bit of a misnomer since food IS the building block of our bodies, and so effects almost every aspect of our health. Blood pressure is one aspect of our health that responds quite favorably to changes in our dietary intake. This study published November 6, in the British Journal of Nutrition, illustrates how grape seed extract can lower blood pressure. Subjects were given a grape seed extract containing beverage to drink twice daily for 6 weeks. Test subjects with pre-hypertension (borderline high blood pressure), reduced their systolic and diastolic blood pressures by 5.6% and 4.7%,  respectively.  Interestingly, those with higher blood pressure experienced almost twice the blood pressure lowering benefit. The amount of grape seed extract used in the study was 150 mg, twice daily (300 mg/day), easily found in an over the counter supplement.

But you don’t have to take pills. Simply eating more vegetables, legumes, and fruit can significantly lower blood pressure, so much so that vegetarians and vegans have almost no risk of developing high blood pressure. How does this work? The compounds in plant foods help make nitric oxide in the blood vessels which relaxes the muscles that line the arteries. Yes, you have muscles in your arteries! These ‘smooth muscles’ as we call them, like nitric oxide and minerals, particularly magnesium. Legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds are good sources of magnesium, so a diet high in plants naturally lowers blood pressure.

Researchers have described another functional food, flax seed, as having ‘one of the most potent antihypertensive effects achieved by a dietary intervention.’ In a study published in 2013 in Hypertension, just 30 g of flax seed daily for 6 months reduced systolic (the top number) pressure by 10 mm Hg, and diastolic (the bottom number) by 7 mm Hg. That’s enough to push a person with high blood pressure into the normal blood pressure range.  Thirty grams of flax seed is 4 Tbsp. which may be a lot for some to eat everyday. But remember, in the study, they didn’t encourage any other dietary changes. So a more practical daily routine might include 2 Tbsp. of flax seed, 1/2 cup beans or whole grain like quinoa, a cup of blueberries and some hibiscus tea. Yes, you can drink functional food blood pressure lowering compounds too. This study in Fitoterapia found hibiscus tea to be as effective as a common blood pressure medication, and published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers Diana McKay, et al, found just 3 cups of hibiscus tea  to lower systolic pressure by 7 mm Hg.

Want more evidence? Just complete your own search on PubMed on functional foods and hypertension. And don’t forget to check your blood pressure…high blood pressure is a risky business!

 

 

 

What to do for cold and flu

The flu is running rampant but you don’t need to be a victim of it. Basic good nutrition with plenty of vegetables and fresh fruit will do wonders, but a few key supplements with anti-viral and bacteriocidal properties can keep you germ free. Tried and true: Vitamin C 300-1000 mg/day. This old favorite has been shown to shorten the duration of a cold and even significantly decreased the length of  hospital stay due to pneumonia. Newcomer:  NAC or N-acetyl cysteine 500-1000 mg/day. NAC boosts the cell’s ability to recycle glutathione, a large anti-oxidant that protects the cell. In addition, NAC reduces virus replication and can reduce the severity of symptoms, and speed recovery if you do get the flu. Take 500 mg/day throughout cold and flu season for prevention. If you opt out of a preventive strategy, begin NAC as soon as you feel symptoms. You only have 48 hours to stop a virus from replicating and running its course. Sunshine in a bottle: Vitamin D3 1000-2000 IU/day. Vitamin D3 is a big player when it comes to your immune system. Ask your doctor to check your blood levels of Vitamin D to determine your best dose. Maintain blood levels between 50-70 ng/ml for the best disease prevention. Personal favorite: Quick Defense by Gaia. 1-2 capsules every 6-8 hours, up to 48 hours. Echinacea, andrographis and elderberry pack a punch against viruses. Again, the key is beginning this supplement at the first sign of illness. I’m often asked, what supplements do you take? There are two main brands I recommend and then several others for particular supplements like calcium (Nature’s Plus) and Quick Defense above. You can use the links below to access my favorite supplements!

Designs for Health Supplements

Prothera/Klaire Supplements  Use patient code ‘H36’ to order from Prothera.