Stress- Adrenal Burnout

“Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency.” – Natalie Goldberg

Do you wake up in the morning feeling tired?  Does your boost of energy dwindle as the afternoon approaches; causing you to crave something sugary or even coffee?  Just to function at work or home do you need to be constantly stimulating your body with caffeine, sugar or food?  You may be experiencing what is known as Adrenal Fatigue.

How do we get Adrenal Fatigue? 

Adrenal Fatigue is just a name for a long term problem that finally ends in additional stress or overload on the adrenal glands from multiple system failures. Simply stated: our body needs energy to function and also healthy organs and nervous system to manage everything.  Glucose is the first level of energy mostly regulated by the liver.  Thyroid function is also critical to maintaining good energy, repair and overall metabolism.

Foods that are stimulatory like caffeine and sugar adversely affect both of the primary energy maintaining systems: liver and thyroid.  As the liver and/or thyroid functions decline, glucose levels will wildly fluctuate from high to low often quite quickly, such that a constant infusion of caffeine or sugar is needed to keep ones energy at a level high enough to work, live etc.

With progressive use of stimulants like sugar, caffeine as intake of poor quality food, and other environmental insults the liver and thyroid function are further affected.

General Adaptation Syndrome

Dating back to our ancestors, our bodies were designed to protect ourselves from perceived danger from predators and other threats. When faced with an emergency, our bodies kick into gear what is known as the “fight or flight” mode.   During the “fight or flight” response the brain causes the pituitary gland to release a hormone that stimulates the adrenal glands. This ultimately leads to a cascade of events that secretes adrenaline, cortisol and other stress hormones to release energy to prepare for battle or to run away.  Unfortunately, because so many people have abused their system and have sluggish liver and thyroid function, the adrenals are called upon try to provide energy for daily use.  However, that is not what the adrenals were designed for and after prolonged overuse and abuse the adrenals will give out/adrenal exhaustion but adrenals are never the primary problem, just the final failure of long term stress and dysfunction of the liver, thyroid, digestion, nutrient deficiencies, toxicities etc.  This is why just treating adrenals will not have a lasting effect or benefit.  In fact, taking adrenal glandular is like taking thyroid medication.  It will have an initial benefit but then your own adrenals and thyroid will slow down and stop working.

Adrenal Burnout or Exhaustion can cause the following:

  • Low energy production causing difficulty rising in the morning.
  • Muscle and joint function may be compromised. Tissue healing may be slower and can lead to chronic pain syndromes. More prone to osteoporosis.
  • Reduced immune health: more susceptible to infections and allergies.
  • Hypothyroid symptoms.
  • Sleep disturbances: can’t sleep at night but wants to sleep all day

How to Help Your Adrenals

It is important and vital to support the biochemistry of your body. (1)

  • Reduce or restrict caffeine intake
  • Reduce or restrict alcohol intake. Alcohol produces a chemical stressor in the human body. It has the potential to elevate adrenal function which can lead to a disturbance in the sleep cycle.
  • Reduce refined carbohydrates in the daily diet. Refined carbohydrates are typically found in white flour and sugar. If consumed in the daily diet, it may lead to issues in controlling blood sugar levels.
  • Eat small, frequent meals away from the TV or office desk.
  • Exercise (oddly enough) will lead to more energy and better sleep.
  • Guided nutritional supplementation is important to support the adrenal gland and immune system. Vitamin C and E, zinc, magnesium and fatty acids are supplements that support the role of the adrenal glands and help manufacture adrenal hormone. (1)

A thorough nutritional blood test is crucial to identify your problems and from that we can recommend a customized treatment program as well as preventative measures including diet and lifestyle changes, and proper supplementation based upon your individual test results. It is time to take your health into your own hands. Find out where your nutritional status lies by completing a nutritional blood test.  Take a couple of months to try a safe natural drug free approach.  Results can often been seen in just a few days or weeks.  Let us guide you down the right path with an individualized plan that is constructed specifically towards your needs and help you discover a safe and natural option to benefit your health.

We know you are tired, depressed and think nothing will work but do it now: call today to get started!  You will likely be surprised…

It is time to take your health into your own hands.

 

Yours in Health

Dr. Bennett

The Cholesterol Conspiracy

“Cholesterol is the most decorated molecule in history, having contributed to 13 Nobel prizes.” It is generally accepted that Dr. Nikolai Anichkov, the Russian physiologist, was the first to induce atherosclerosis by feeding rabbits a diet laden with cholesterol.  He is therefore credited with originating the cholesterol hypothesis.  It is quite clear that the focus of preventative cardiology for the last half century has been lifestyle modification and cholesterol reduction.2  The research study above, ignores the fact that rabbits are herbivores and would never eat a diet high in cholesterol in their natural environment.

In the 1950’s a physiologist from the University of Minnesota, Ancel Keys, became the Father of the Modern Cholesterol

Hypothesis.  To support his theory he cited the Seven Countries Study which is still considered one of the most rigorous epidemiological studies ever done.3

The aforementioned study focused on seven countries that had a high intake of saturated fat and also a high incidence of heart disease.  He completely ignored the 15 other countries that did not support his theory.  There were countries that have a low level of intake of saturated fat and yet high levels of heart disease.  There were also countries that had high levels of saturated fat and relatively low heart disease.1

According to Dr. Peter Attia, the president and director of the Nutrition Science Initiative;

an independent obesity research center.  He stated the Keys study, “was highly flawed; it was not on the level of epidemiology work today.”4  Malcolm Kendrick, who authored The Great Cholesterol Con, was able to prove the exact opposite hypothesis using the same data set.5               

The American Heart Association in 1957 was not convinced of the validity of the cholesterol hypothesis and called for controlled studies to be carried out.  The studies were started but terminated early citing “lack of funding”.  By 1961 Keys had made his way onto the Board of the American Heart Association and several skeptics had vacated their Board positions.  With no change in evidence the Board abruptly flipped from their previous position in opposition to the Cholesterol Hypothesis, to one that fully supported and embraced this theory.

While Keys continued to gain notoriety by actively promoting the Cholesterol Hypothesis, the Sugar Research Foundation was secretly funding research by Harvard nutritionists; Frederick Stare and Mark Hegsted; both PhD’s.  They were paid the equivalent of $50,000 in today’s dollars to try to influence and minimize the effects of sugar’s role in heart disease.6  The findings from their research were published without acknowledging the financial conflict of interest in the NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine) in August 1967.7

“Early warning signals of coronary heart disease risk and the connection with sugar (sucrose) emerged in the 1950’s.  We examined Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) internal documents, historical reports, and statements relevant to early debates about the dietary causes of CHD and assembled findings chronologically into a narrative case study.  The SRF sponsored its first CHD research project in 1965, a literature review published in The New England Journal of Medicine, which singled out fat and cholesterol as the dietary causes of CHD and downplayed evidence that sucrose consumption was also a risk factor.”8

Then the government got involved in the controversy.  On January 14, 1977 the Senate Committee lead by George McGovern announced the release of “Dietary Goals for the United States.”9

  • Increase carbohydrate consumption to account for 55 to 60% of energy/caloric intake
  • Reduce overall fat consumption from approximately 40 to 30% energy intake
  • Reduce saturated fat consumption to account for about 10% of the total energy intake; and balance that with poly-unsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats, which should account for 10% of energy intake
  • Reduce cholesterol consumption to about 300mg/day
  • Reduce sugar consumption by 40% to account for about 15% of total energy intake
  • Reduce salt consumption by about 50-85% to approximately 3g/day

At this time it was still very controversial as to whether or not saturated fat was the cause of the disease.  In fact numerous studies contradicted the cholesterol and fat hypothesis.10,11,12

When asked later for his thoughts Senator McGovern is quoted as saying, “I would only argue that senators don’t have the luxury that a research scientist does awaiting until every last shred of evidence is in.”13  McGovern wasn’t the author of the guidelines, instead this task fell on the shoulders of Nick Mottern, a former labor reporter, with no background in nutrition.  Mottern sought counsel from Harvard nutritionist Mark Hegsted PhD.  Dr. Hegsted was also known to be the co-author of the study commissioned by the Sugar Research Foundation previously mentioned in this article.  His financial conflict was once again, not revealed to the committee.14

Perhaps the most significant development was the recognition of previously unpublished data from the Minnesota Coronary Experiment conducted from 1968-1973.  The lead investigators of the MCE were Ancel Keys and Ivan Frantz.  There data was kept from McGovern’s committee.  Those findings were in direct conflict with the Cholesterol Hypothesis and would likely have had a dramatic impact on the guidelines.15

In summary, the Cholesterol Hypothesis has since its inception been highly controversial considering the data and political influence.  Ancel Keys, who worked his way onto the board of the American Heart Association to further promote his own flawed theory.  It became the official government policy based upon the work of the McGovern committee which was not aware of all the research findings at the time.  The second conflict arose when the American Sugar Foundation hired Dr. Mark Hegsted.  McGovern’s previous quote, “he did not have the luxury of waiting until all the information was in” rings true as further evidence of impropriety.

The final quote is from author Gary Taubes book, Good Calories Bad Calories, “as I emerge from this research, though, certain conclusions seem inescapable to me, based upon the existing knowledge:  1. dietary fat whether saturated or not, is not the cause of obesity, heart disease, or any other chronic disease of civilization.16

Meeting with and getting your health information from a qualified clinical nutritionist is paramount.  At our practice we use a complement of diagnostic testing to put together natural health plans to address a wide variety of ill-health conditions.  Getting you and your family tested properly may be the next most crucial decision you make.  Let us know how we can help.

Is It Really Low Thyroid?

Thyroid medication topped the list of prescription drugs dispensed in the United States in 2015.  For many, symptoms are not improving when put on thyroid medication by their doctor; however, most of these people still affirm that they are tired, exhausted, and have trouble getting motivated.1

“It’s a strong signal that this is an overused medication,” said Dr. Juan Brito, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic. “Some people really need this medicine, but not the vast majority of people who are taking it.”

As people age, they tend to see their doctors more.  Many patients will have the complaints of fatigue, low energy, weight gain, constipation, mental “fogginess”, etc. Clinicians will typically order a Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) and T4 blood tests as part of a routine panel.  The pituitary gland detects low thyroid function, which is indicated with low T4 and more so with T3 Free.  In response to low thyroid function, the pituitary gland produces TSH to stimulate the thyroid to produce more T4 hormone. The T4, then needs to be converted into the more active T3 Free to be used by the body.  A high TSH and low T4 and/or T3 indicate common low thyroid function.  Thyroid medication would then be prescribed, even when TSH and T4 readings are only slightly outside of the clinical ranges.  A slightly elevated TSH may represent a normal consequence of aging or maybe even just a temporary problem. Patients with these test results rarely develop serious hypothyroidism.1

Many people relate weight gain to low thyroid.  But there are a number of signs and symptoms that low thyroid can cause:

-Depression

-Fatigue

-Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

-Fibromyalgia

-Anemia

-Infertility

-High Cholesterol

-Accelerated aging

-Muscle weakness and stiffness

These are just to name a few.

The prevalence of hypothyroid symptoms can be vague and non-specific.  This is one reason why so many people are placed on medication.  If you are taking medication for your thyroid, but aren’t feeling better, then you may need to look a bit deeper.

Proper Testing

Thyroid function should never be based on just testing the TSH and T4 in the blood.  Levels vary day to day, even hour to hour, and often stabilize on their own.1  Other thyroid tests that should be included are T4 and T3.  T4 converts to T3 outside the thyroid in most all tissues, with the liver and kidney doing the most conversion.  In fact, 80% of the most active T3 is produced outside the thyroid.  T3 is most responsible for increasing metabolic rate.  The T3 Free test is unbound levels of the hormone and what is available for use by the body.  There are however, many environmental factors, illnesses and drugs that can affect conversion of T4 to T3.

Auto Immune Disease

Hashimoto’s disease is seen or causes low thyroid function and is usually autoimmune inflammatory that will show elevated levels of various antibodies such as TPO Ab, Tg Ab and Reverse T3 that can or should be tested.

Other factors to consider when the thyroid is suspected to not be working properly

Vitamin D Status

Studies show that many people who have low thyroid, or hypothyroidism, suffer from low Vitamin D and low Calcium and that the degree and the severity of their low thyroid was associated with the deficiency levels.3  The population of vitamin D deficient individuals is a lot higher than you might think. One study showed that almost 82% of the autoimmune thyroid disease patients had low Vitamin D.4 So, can low levels of vitamin D actually cause low thyroid?  Researchers who presented their work at the American Thyroid Association annual meeting in October 2014 showed that among the Hashimoto’s patients in their study, a lower level of Vitamin D was associated with a higher TSH level and larger thyroid.  The researchers conclude that: “low vitamin D is involved in the disease process that causes Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and that vitamin D and autoimmune thyroid disease are linked.5

Testing your 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test is the best way to determine your vitamin D status and how much vitamin D you need to take.  Adults can usually safely take 5000 iu/day.  Infants and young children should have their vitamin D levels checked as well.  Infants can safely take vitamin D daily at around 400 iu/day.

Iodine and L-tyrosine Deficiency

Did you know that Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body that can absorb iodine?  These cells are what make T4 and T3.  You don’t want too much Iodine nor too little.  This is why Iodine supplementation needs to be taken with precautionary measures and under the guidance of an experienced nutritionist that tests properly.  Just small changes in iodine intake are sufficient to reset the thyroid system.  The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Iodine is 150-300 mcg.  To give you an idea on how little this is, one teaspoon of iodized salt contains approximately 400 mcg iodine.  Foods rich in Iodine include seaweed, kelp and chlorella are examples.

L-tyrosine works with Iodine to make T3 and T4.  Although it is rare to be deficient in tyrosine, foods rich in this amino acid are meats, fish, eggs, nuts, and beans.

Selenium

Selenium has a very important role in your thyroid’s function.  Selenium helps antioxidants and enzymes within the thyroid to control damage done by free radicals created from making T4.  Too many free radicals means too much inflammation.  If you have a selenium deficiency then your thyroid’s production of T4 is effected and therefore so is your energy and metabolism.  There is no consensus on the dose of selenium required to optimize any person’s thyroid function, however a safe amount to take would be 200 mcg daily.

Soy

Excess consumption of soy can affect thyroid function.  If you have elevated thyroid antibodies or autoimmune thyroid disease that is not being treated, be aware that soy can be a trigger for developing hypothyroidism.2  A 2011 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that in people who have mild or subclinical hypothyroidism, “there is a 3-fold increased risk of developing hypothyroidism with dietary supplementation of 16 mg soy phytoestrogens.”2  If thyroid function is lowered by soy then the pituitary tries to stimulate more thyroid function hence, the elevated TSH.

Overconsumption of soy is probably more common than you think.  Be sure to read all the labels of foods and supplements.  It is recommended to avoid soy milk, soy nuts, soy protein isolate, soy in cereal and in candy.  In the U.S., however, some people take in as much as 80 to 100 mg of soy isoflavones a day (compared to Asians consuming between 10 to 30 mg).2

Think you have thyroid dysfunction?

When the various amino acids, proteins, and hormones are out of sync there are a variety of diseases and symptoms that may appear.  Altered thyroid function can produce symptoms that are pretty vague.  Instead of chasing symptoms, proper testing is advised to avoid taking medication or even supplements that you may or may not need.  It is important to do a comprehensive blood test and hair tissue mineral analysis to detect deficiencies or toxicities that may be affecting your health.  This testing is also important to know exactly what vitamins or minerals your body needs to work efficiently.

Contact us today to get started and improve your body safely and naturally.

Reasons to Eliminate Dairy part 2

Today’s Milk

In part 1 of this newsletter on Reasons to Eliminate Dairy, we discussed documented research which correlates dairy consumption with many types of cancer, constipation, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease. While we hope you were convinced of the need to severely reduce and eventually eliminate dairy from your diet, you were probably left wondering “What about my calcium?”.

Calcium Deficient

In 2001, Americans consumed 23 gallons of milk per person and 30 pounds of cheese. [USDA’s Economic Research Service]  Despite the country’s appetite for dairy products, one out of every two women over 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in her lifetime. The number of physician visits for osteoporosis increased 4- fold between 1994 (1.3 million visits) and 2003 (6.3 million visits). Even stranger, in many dairy-avoiding countries, people get through life with far fewer of the age- related hip fractures that plague Americans.

Calcium Supplementation (not dairy) Associated with Greater BMD in Women Cross-sectional results indicated that higher dairy product consumption is associated with greater hip bone mineral density (BMD) in men, but not in women. Calcium supplementation protected both men and women from bone loss in the longitudinal study.

Dairy intakes affect bone density in the elderly. Am J Clin Nutr 2004

Supplements of calcium (792mg/day) have been effectively shown to increased the build up and bone mineral content in teenage girls

Calcium supplementation and bone mineral accretion in adolescent girls: an 18-mo randomized controlled trial with 2-y follow-u“. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. February 2008

Dairy, Calcium and Osteoporosis

Milk and other dairy products contain only small amounts of magnesium. Without the presence of magnesium, the body only absorbs 25% of the available dairy calcium content. In turn, the excess remaining calcium can cause problems. Calcium builds up the mortar on arterial walls which becomes atherosclerotic plaques. It can be converted by the kidneys into painful stones that can block the urinary tracts.

Excess calcium also contributes to arthritis. Osteoporosis is not a problem that should be associated merely with lack of calcium intake.

Processed Foods and Bone Health

Research has found that lifelong consumption of foods rich in potassium and magnesium, notably fruits and vegetables, made for strong bones in aging men and women. Am. Journal of Clinical Nutrition, [3/99] People who consume highly processed foods often don’t get enough potassium and magnesium. Sources of potassium are bananas, oranges, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, and melon. Sources of magnesium are whole grains, nuts, beans, dark green vegetables and fish.

What is a “processed food”?

Convenience canned foods with lots of sodium like ravioli or chicken noodle soup would be considered “processed foods”. Other processed foods and ingredients would be white breads and pastas made with refined white flour, white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, packaged snack foods (like chips and cheese snacks), frozen fish sticks and frozen dinners, packaged cakes and cookies, boxed meal mixes (really read the ingredient label on these!), sugary breakfast cereals, processed meats (see our July 2006 newsletter). This is not an exhaustive list, but we think you get the idea. We strongly encourage you to eat food is in freshest, most natural state. Use frozen varieties only when fresh are not available.

Can Dairy Consumption Cause Calcium Loss?

The massive amounts of protein in milk results in a 50% or greater loss of calcium in the urine.   In other words, by doubling your protein intake there will be a loss of 1-1.5% in skeletal mass per year in postmenopausal women and this, multiplied over 20 years, is considerable. The calcium contained in leafy green vegetables is more easily absorbed than the calcium in milk. Don’t get us wrong…protein is very important for other bodily processes. However, if you are concerned about calcium intake, getting your calcium from milk may not be the best option.

Douglas Kiel, MD of Harvard Medical School states, “Normal digestion produces increased acidity. In this environment, bone acts as a buffer base. Minerals of are drawn out of the bone to neutralize the acid, thereby reducing the strength of bone. Fruits and vegetables help to prevent this loss of bone mineral density because they create a more alkaline environment in the body. They neutralize the acid without depending on the buffering effects of the bone minerals.”

D3 and Calcium Supplementation Reduces Fractures Among Elderly Women

Each day for 18 months, 1634 women took 1200mg of elemental calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D3, and 1636 women received a double placebo. The number of hip fractures was 43% lower and the total number of nonvertebral fractures was 32% lower among the D3/calcium group than among those who received placebo. The bone density of the proximal femur increased 2.7% in the D3-calcium group and decreased 4.6% in the placebo group. Vitamin D3 and calcium to prevent hip fractures in the elderly women. N Engl J Med. 1992

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the best source of Vitamin D to take. Be sure to visit our website newsletter archives for our October 2007 Newsletter on Vitamin D.

Where Should I Get My Calcium?

For a reference point, 1oz of cheese has 207mg and 8oz milk has 300mg of calcium.

1 cup collar greens 357 mg              1 cup rice milk (plain, calcium-fortified) 200-300mg 1 cup turnip greens 249 mg  1 cup black eyed peas 211 mg

1 cup kale 179 mg                              2 tablespoon sesame seads 176 mg

1 cup okra 176 mg                              1 cup bok choy 158 mg

5 medium figs 135 mg                       1/4 cup almonds 97 mg

1 cup broccoli 94 mg                          1/2 cup amaranth 74 mg 1/2 cup dried apricots 43 mg                                    1/2 cup quinoa 25 mg

1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses 137 mg

Alternatives to Dairy: Nut and Rice Milks

Non-dairy milks are good choices for those who choose to avoid cows’ milk. You can use them for cooking or on your cereal for breakfast. Nut milks (e.g. almond milk) are usually the most nutritious, since rice milk is almost purely carbohydrate (and therefore high glycemic and not recommended for diabetics) and soy milk may act as a hormone imbalancer.

Yours in Health

Dr. Bennett

Reasons to Eliminate Dairy Part 1

Today’s Milk

Modern feeding methods substitute high-protein, soy-based feeds for fresh green grass and breeding methods to produce cows with abnormally large pituitary glands so that they produce three times more milk than the old fashioned scrub cow.

These cows need antibiotics to keep them well. The pasteurization destroys many valuable enzymes in the milk that are needed to aid digestion. The human pancreas is not always able to produce these enzymes which will over-stress of the pancreas can lead to diabetes and other diseases.

Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone

Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) is a genetically engineered, potent variant of the natural growth hormone produced by cows. Injection of this hormone forces cows to increase their milk production by about 10%.   rBGH makes cows sick.  Monsanto has been forced to admit to about 20 toxic effects, including mastitis, on its POSILAC label.  rBGH milk is contaminated by abnormally high pus levels, due to the mastitis commonly induced by rBGH, and antibiotics used to treat the mastitis.  rBGH milk is chemically and nutritionally different than natural milk. rBGH milk is contaminated with rBGH, traces of which are absorbed through the gut. rBGH milk is supercharged with high levels of a natural growth factor (IGF-1), which is readily absorbed through the gut.  Excess levels of IGF-1 have been incriminated as a cause of breast, colon, and prostate cancers.  IGF-1 blocks natural defense mechanisms against early submicroscopic cancers.

Some researchers and “experts” suggest that IGF-1 from outside sources cannot be absorbed because the digestive enzymes destroy it while it’s in the GI tract.  In 1999, the ADA published research demonstrating that people who consumed 3 servings of milk daily had a 10% higher serum IGF-1 level and almost a 10% lower level IGF Binding Protein 4 (IGBP-4) than those drinking less than 1-1/2 servings.

Constipation

A double-blind trial found that chronic constipation among infants and problems associated with it were triggered by intolerance to cows’ milk in two-thirds of the infants studied. Symptoms disappeared in most infants when cows’ milk was removed from their diet. New England Journal of Medicine 1998;339: pp,1100-4

Dairy Induces Immunization to Insulin

Cow’s milk feeding is an environmental trigger of immunity to insulin in infancy that may explain the epidemiological link between the risk of type 1 diabetes and early exposure to cow’s milk formulas.   Diabetes, Vol 48, Issue 7 1389-1394.

High intakes of milk, but not meat, increase serum insulin and insulin resistance in 8-year-old boys.

The possible role of hormones in milk from cows in the development of breast, ovarian and corpus uteri cancers.

The continued increase in incidence of some hormone-related cancers worldwide is of great concern. Although estrogen-like substances in the environment were blamed for this increase, the possible role of estrogens from food has not been widely discussed. Cows’ milk contains a considerable quantity of estrogens. When we name cows’ milk as one of the important routes of human exposure to estrogens, the general response of Western people is that “man has been drinking cows’ milk for around 2000 years without apparent harm.” However, the milk that we are now consuming is quite different from that consumed 100 years ago. Modern dairy cows are usually pregnant and continue to lactate during the latter half of pregnancy, when the concentration of estrogens in blood, and hence in milk, increases. The correlation of incidence and mortality rates with environmental variables in worldwide countries provides useful clues to the etiology of cancer.  Among dietary risk factors, we are most concerned with milk and dairy products, because the milk we drink today is produced from pregnant cows, in which estrogen and progesterone levels are markedly elevated. Medical Hypotheses. 2005;65(6):1028-37. Epub 2005 Aug 24

Testicular Germ Cell Cancer

Results of a November 2006 case control study suggest that milk fat and/or galactose (a milk sugar) may explain the association between milk and dairy product consumption and seminomatous testicular cancer.  Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention Vol. 15, 2189-2195, November 2006

Dairy: Colon Cancer Risk Triples

High childhood total dairy intake was associated with a near-tripling in the odds of colorectal cancer in adulthood. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 86, No. 6, 1722-1729, December 2007

Ovarian Cancer

Women who consume dairy products on a regular basis, have triple the risk of ovarian cancer than other women. The Lancet 1989; 2

In an evaluation of 80,326 women; women who consumed 1+ servings of dairy per day had a 44% greater risk for all types of invasive ovarian cancer compared with those who ate the lowest amount (3 or fewer servings monthly).  American Journal of Epidemiology, 1999;150

Lymphoma

In Norway, 1422 individuals were followed for 11 ½ years. Those drinking 2 or more glasses of milk per day had 3.5 times the incidence of cancer of the lymphatic organs. British Med. Journal 61:456-9, March 1990.

Prostate Cancer

“At least 16 research studies now link milk consumption to prostate cancer, and milk fat is also linked to heart disease,” – Neal D. Barnard, M.D.   High consumption of dairy products was associated with a 50% increased risk of prostate cancer. Cancer Causes Control 1998 Dec;9(6):559-66

Dairy Increases Risk of Squamous Cell Carcinoma in those with History of Skin Cancer — International Journal of Cancer. 2006 Oct 15;119(8):1953-60

Dairy product consumption was positively associated with risk of Parkinson’s disease — American Journal of Epidemiology 2007 165(9):998-1006

 

Yours in Health

Dr. Bennett

Saunas

Saunas: what they can do for your health!

Saunas have historically been a strategy used in Eastern European, Asian and Scandinavian cultures for relaxation and detoxifications.  Athletes are using extreme heat of saunas for more than just post-workout stress reduction and relaxation.  Increasing the body’s core temperature actually offers conditioning that may improve athletic performance by increasing endurance.1

Exposure to extreme temperatures also has a beneficial effect on mitochondrial functioning, the minute powerhouses in your cells that provide your body with the energy required to function.  The key to continued energy production is to remove old and worn-out ones and generate new mitochondria, a process known as biogenesis.

Researchers had previously determined that exposure to extreme heat can help reduce the risk or cardiac death and high blood pressure.  They have now identified the direct effect that sauna heat has on a vascular health, blood pressure and heart rate.2

The team of researchers publishing the current study also published data from a previous study that was purely observational and suggested sauna use improved health outcomes, including sudden cardiac death, fatal coronary heart disease and all-cause mortality.3 During the current study the team recruited 102 people and monitored the biological effects of sauna use immediately before and after a 30-minute   session.4

Cardiovascular and blood-based biomarkers were measured in the participants to evaluate arterial stiffness and blood pressure.5 Data was collected immediately before and promptly after a single 30 minute session of 30 minutes in a sauna set to 164 degrees Fahrenheit and in between 10 and 20 percent humidity.

The participant’s systolic and diastolic blood pressure measurements both decreased after the sauna session and carotid-femoral pulse velocity decreased, indicating beneficial effects on arterial stiffness.6 Dr. Jari Laukannen, the study’s co-author and cardiologist at University of Eastern Finland, believes that while a sauna session does not give the same muscular benefits as exercise, the cardiovascular responses may be similar.7

Mitochondrial Function

The health of your mitochondria is vital to your life and in the prevention of chronic disease, they are found in nearly all the cells of your body except for skin and red blood cells.  If all of your mitochondria where to simultaneously fail you would succumb to an immediate death.  The mitochondria are responsible for apoptosis, or programmed cell death, without which cancer cells can freely replicate and grow.

As with most cells, your mitochondria are supported by some of the foods you eat and harmed by others. Nutrition is an essential factor in supporting the health and function of your mitochondria.  The majority of humans who eat processed foods are burning carbohydrates as their primary fuel, actually can shut down the body’s ability to burn fat and support healthy mitochondria.

There are four strategies to help the body build or regenerate new mitochondria.  Exercise, exposure to extreme heat or cold, intermittent fasting and certain supplements like resveratrol (which may be recommended based on blood test findings).

Exposure to sauna heat and exercise raise your body’s core temperature, essentially creating a short burst of heat stress.  Mild heat stress, as experienced in both exercise and sauna use, increases the expression of mitochondrial biogenesis regulatory genes.8

Additional Benefits of Sauna Use

In laboratory studies athletes who used saunas for three weeks (4 times per week ) out-performed the control group by 32 percent when performing an endurance run to exhaustion and also decreased their 5k times by nearly 2%.  The athletes also benefitted from an increase in RBC (red blood cell) production responsible for transporting oxygen to their cells.

Sauna has additional ancillary health benefits that include the production of growth hormone, necessary for bone, muscle growth and longevity factors.  Left ventricular ejection fraction from the heart has also been a demonstrated benefit of sauna use.

Safety Precautions

The moderate use of a sauna is safe for most people, however if you are pregnant or have a heart condition it would be wise to gain clearance from your doctor first.

  1. Stay Safe: by using the sauna with a friend so that if you were to experience a drop in blood pressure or severe dehydration you can be assisted.
  2. Avoid alcohol: for many obvious reasons but heart effects, dehydration and sudden death are the highest likelihood options.
  3. Prevent dehydration and mineral loss: increases the amount of fluid lost through sweating. It is important to replace the fluid with clean pure water and proper vitamin/mineral supplements.

All the information above cannot serve as a substitute for a full blood assessment in improving one’s overall health and especially targeting specific aspects of detoxification.

Call our office today to find out which steps you can take next to get your body on the right track this summer!

Yours in Health,

Dr. Bennett

Cholesterol

A little golden bee tells us nearly every time we turn on the TV that lowering your cholesterol will give you a healthy heart. Over the years high cholesterol has been the scapegoat for a plethora of heart/age related problems and foods containing higher amounts of cholesterol (like nutritious eggs – see our newsletter from May 2007) have gotten a bad rap. But cholesterol is not necessarily the demon made out by the media. In fact it is an essential part of our cellular makeup, is necessary for fat digestion, the utilization of vitamin D and hormone production. While optimal cholesterol levels are best, high cholesterol can work as a protector for your heart if underlying conditions arise. Low levels however, are dangerous.

High Cholesterol –

  1. Is Associated With Longevity Among The Elderly
  2. Protects The Body Against Infections
  3. Reduces The Risk Of Death From Heart Failure/Heart Attacks
  4. Protects The Heart From Stress/Injury

Low Cholesterol –

  1. Puts you at greater risk for infection/diseases
  2. Is Linked To Malabsorption/Malnutrition
  3. Decreases Vitamin D Production
  4. Reduces the metabolism of fat soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E, and K.

A large study at the UCLA Department of Medicine and Cardiomyopathy Center in Los Angeles followed more than one-thousand patients with severe heart failure for 5 years. At the end of the study 62% of patients with cholesterol levels below 129mg/l died while the mortality rate for patients with levels above 223 mg/l was only about 30%.

In 1994 the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Yale University reported that elderly people with low cholesterol were twice more likely to die from a heart attack than those with high cholesterol. Nearly every study to date has also found that high cholesterol doesn’t increase the risk of heart attack for women at all. In fact, mortality has been proven inversely associated to both total and LDL cholesterol. This goes against the traditional theory that LDL is your “bad cholesterol” causing plaque build-up followed by cardiovascular disease or heart attacks.

In a similar finding, researchers at the Division of Epidemiology at the University of Minnesota found that low cholesterol levels were associated with an increased risk of dying from gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases. To further study this finding, they followed 100,000 “healthy” people for 15 years and found that those who had low cholesterol levels at the beginning of the study were far more likely to be admitted to the hospital for an infectious disease than those who started with high cholesterol. Their conclusion – low cholesterol makes you vulnerable to infectious diseases.

Doctors are quick to vouch for the benefits of high HDL which delivers cholesterol to the adrenals, ovaries, and testes, is important for the synthesis of steroid hormones and transports cholesterol away from the arteries and into the liver for excretion or re-utilization. It also has valuable protective properties against the onset of cardiovascular diseases as well as dementia. But they fail to understand the potential life-saving benefits of other forms of cholesterol recommending a cholesterol lowering drug instead of finding the cause behind heightened values.

Along with LDL, VLDL is also considered bad for your health and has been dubbed your “very bad cholesterol” due to its buildup on artery walls. But VLDL lipoproteins can also play a part in protection because they are carriers of the largest amounts of Triglycerides through the body. Triglycerides have been proven to rise as a normal immune system response to infection and are especially important at reducing endotoxins produced by gut bacteria.

These bacteria and other microorganisms are now being linked to chronic heart failure which may help redeem cholesterol. A study from the Martin Luther University in Germany found that the strongest predictor of death for patients with chronic heart failure was the concentration of cytokines in the blood. Cytokines are secreted by white blood cells as they battle invading organisms. As seen in all of the above cases, high cholesterol is not necessarily a bad thing and can be a great mode of protection.

If you already have healthy cholesterol levels this does not mean you should strive to obtain high cholesterol, but with so much research proving the benefits of high cholesterol, why are young/middle aged men warned so adamantly about the risk factors for future coronary heart disease associated with high cholesterol? This is where cholesterol is likely made a scapegoat. Think of it this way, high cholesterol is a marker of the problem not a cause. For example cytokines = increased immune system response = higher cholesterol levels.

How Your Sleeping Habits are Affecting Your Health

How many hours sleep do you think is appropriate each night?

Would you be surprised to know that on average it is recommended to get at least 7 hours of sleep a day? According to The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, 1 in 3 adults (ages 18-60) sleep less than 7 hours each night.

Sleeping less than 7 hours for adults has shown an increased risk of critically disturbing the body and brain, causing weight gain, increasing impulsive behavior and the potential of memory loss. (2) Increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and thyroid deregulation are also side effects of not getting the right amount of sleep.

Our bodies produce a natural substance called leptin, which is a hormone produced to trigger our “fullness” or satiety feeling and it is lessened when we are sleep deprived. At the same time, ghrelin which is a hormone that triggers hunger, is heightened. Results of one study conducted at the University of Chicago in Illinois showed that when sleep was restricted, leptin levels went down and ghrelin levels went up, appetite increased proportionally, and the desire for high carbohydrate, calorie-dense foods increased by a whopping 45%.(3) Researchers suspect these cravings were due to the fact that your brain is fueled by glucose, therefore, when lack of sleep occurs, your brain searches for carbohydrates. When we eat carbohydrates, blood sugar levels increase. As a response, insulin is then released to manage concentrations of glucose, keeping it in optimal range. The American Diabetes Association reports that people who regularly do not get enough sleep can become less sensitive to insulin, increasing their risk for diabetes and high blood pressure. (4)

Sleep deprivation also can affect the thyroid. One study showed that after 6 days of only getting 4 hours of sleep, the normal nocturnal thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) rise was strikingly decreased, and the overall mean TSH levels were reduced by more than 30%. (5) TSH stimulates the production of T4 and T3 which fuels the metabolism of almost every tissue in the body. Dr. Nikolas R. Hedberg, author of the book “The Thyroid Alternative”, expressed that any patients who suffer from insomnia and sleep problems also possess low thyroid symptoms and abnormal TSH levels. (6)

What can you do to improve your sleep habits? 

Many people will try turning to medications or the vitamin Melatonin to help with them sleep. The issue with Melatonin is that it can only sometimes be used as a sleep and body clock regulator, but not a permanent sleep initiator. According to research conducted at MIT, the effective dosage of melatonin is 0.3 – 1.0 mg. Most bottles of Melatonin at your local super market or health food store contains 3-10 times the amount your body would need. (8)  If you use Melatonin regularly to sleep, your body’s natural production will lessen, creating even greater dependency for the hormone. There are better options out there to help as a temporary fix while you figure out the root cause of your sleep issues.

What you should be using as a natural sleep aid is Valerian Root. The well-known original founders of medicine Hippocrates and Galen have documented and used Valerian for cases involving insomnia. Just what exactly is it? Valerian Root is a perennial plant native to North America and Europe. It has a yellow brown tuberous rootstock (part used medicinally) which produces a flowering stem about 2-4 feet high. It was discovered almost 2,000 years ago and has been well documented on its sedative effects and used to promote relaxation and sleep. It is often times noted or referred to as “Nature’s Valium”. Unlike the typical medication used to help with sleep, Valerian is not at all addictive. (8) Medications used to help with insomnia are associated with such side effects as drowsiness or reduced concentration upon awakening. When taking Valerian Root there are no side effects associated with reaction time, concentration and alertness. In fact, one study in particular used a double-blind test on 102 male and female participants. Participants were examined on reaction time, alertness, and concentration levels following the treatment of Valerian root. The first examination was done the morning after a single dose of either the Valerian Root(600mg) extract, flunitrazepam(medication for insomnia) (1mg) or the placebo. Then the participants continued with the program for 2 weeks and were retested again. It was noted that those on Valerian Root had no visible reduction of reaction time, concentration or coordination.

If you are in search of other ways to help reduce the need for medication or Melatonin to sleep, check out the natural tips and tricks listed below:

  1. Get into a regular exercise routine.  Aerobic activity can help stimulate circulation, hormones and serotonin production. Serotonin is associated with mood, sleep, appetite, memory and learning.
  2. Find a bedtime routine that helps make you feel relaxed and repeat it each night to help regulate your internal clock.  Examples include reading, taking a hot bath, writing in a journal, meditation and prayer. Avoid using tablets, laptops, TV or smart phone before bed.
  3. Avoid drinking a lot of liquid right before bed to reduce the number of times you get up to urinate.
  4. Avoid stimulants such as caffeine several hours before bed.
  5. Avoid alcohol which will keep you from entering the deeper stages of sleep.
  6. Avoid carbohydrate rich night-time snacks and include more protein rich foods. Protein can provide the L-tryptophan needed to produce melatonin and serotonin.
  7. Formula 303- 2 tablets before bed time acts as a natural relaxant and contains valerian root which is used to calm your nerves and mood.
  8. Get your Vitamin D levels checked. Lower levels of Vitamin D have been linked towards depression and low serotonin levels.
  9. Consider supplementing with magnesium. A magnesium deficiency is one of the most common symptoms of insomnia. Those who have low magnesium may experience restless sleep or waking up frequently during the night. Magnesium helps support healthy levels of GABA, which is a type of neurotransmitter that promotes sleep. (10)

It is important to discuss with your nutrition expert your sleeping habits and medications. Could it just be as simple as getting into a nightly routine? Sure. Or perhaps could it be something more important going on? Underlying deficiencies and toxicities can be tested with a comprehensive blood panel and hair test which, in turn, can help direct you towards the proper nutrients you need for your body. Get tested today and see how to enhance your body’s foundation towards optimal wellness…and a full night’s rest.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Bennett

Works Cited:

  1. “CDC Newsroom.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 Feb. 2016, www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0215-enough-sleep.html.
  2. Society for Neuroscience. “Disruption Of Circadian Rhythms Affects Both Brain And Body, Mouse Study Finds.” ScienceDaily, 28 Oct. 2009. Web. May 2018
  3. Bouchez, Colette. Losing Weight While You Sleep. WebMD Jan 1, 2007. http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/lose-weight- while-sleeping. Accessed on 29, May 2018
  4. The Franklin Institute Online. Renew-Sleep and Stress. 2004. http://www.fi.edu/learn/brain/sleep.html. Accessed on 28, November 2012
  5. Van Cauter, Eve. Knutson, Kristen. et.alThe Impact of Sleep Deprivation on Hormones and Metabolism. Medscape             Neurology. 2005;7(1)
  6. Dr.  Hedberg, Nikolas. The Thyroid and Thyroid Hormones. The Immune Restoration Center. February 8, 2011
  7. Dr. Breus, Michael. Melatonin: Not a magic bullet for sleep. September 24, 2010. http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/melatonin- not-magic-bullet-sleep. Accessed on 28, November 2012
  8. Fitness. “Valerian Root: Nature’s Valium.” POPSUGAR Tech, 10 Apr. 2007, www.popsugar.com/fitness/Valerian-Root- Nature-Valium-201025.
  9. Kuhlmann J, Berger W, Podzuweit H, Schmidt U. The influence of valerian treatment on “reaction time, alertness and concentration” in volunteers. Pharmacopsychiatry 1999;32:235-241
  10. “Magnesium – How It Affects Your Sleep.” Your Guide to Better Sleep, TheSleepDoctor, 29 Jan. 2018, www.thesleepdoctor.com/2017/11/20/magnesium-effects-sleep/.

Ear Infections

Nearly two-thirds of children with uncomplicated ear infections recover from pain and fever within 24 hours of diagnosis without antibiotic treatment. Over 80% recover within 1 to 7 days.  More than 5 million cases of acute ear infections occur annually.  Because of the high rate of antibiotics use in the US, it is important to note that in the Netherlands the rate of bacterial resistance is about 1%, compared with the US average of around 25%.

When dealing with ear infections, the first things you want to do is to remove certain habits that can be the cause of the infection.

Avoid Pacifiers…Pacifier use has been found to cause reoccurenent ear infections, failure of breastfeeding, and dental deformities.
Contemp Nurse. 2004 Jul-Aug;17(1-2):109-12.

Don’t Drink Your Milk! Over 50% of children with ear infections will improve and have no further ear infections if they just stop drinking their milk. This is a real tragedy.  According to Dr. Robert S. Medelsohn, MD, “The most common culprit [that causes ear infections] is cow’s milk, in it’s natural form or as found in infant formula.  It causes swelling of the mucous membranes, which interferes with the drainage of secretions through the eustachian tube.  Eventually infection results because of the accumulated secretion.”.

It’s important to note, that breastfeeding does reduce the chances of the child developing ear infections.  The nutritional habits of the mother are the key!  If a child being breastfed acquires an ear infection, the mother should eliminate dairy from her diet.

Cut the sweets!  Although the relationship between sugar and ear infections has not been adequately researched, the effect of sugar on the immune system is very well documented.  Consumption of sugar, specifically white sugar, has been implicated in increasing ones susceptibility to infections.  This would include all candies, soda pop, and baked goods with white sugar and white flour.

When Is Tympanostomy (Tubes in the Ears) Justified?

“In all my years of practice I have never seen a case in which a punctured ear drum did not heal itself. The principle justification for the procedure [tympanostomy] is to prevent hearing loss, which is no justification at all.  Controlled studies have shown that when both ears are infected, and a tube is inserted in only one of them, the outcome for both ears is almost identical.  Meanwhile the procedure itself carries many risks and side effects.  Justified as means of preventing hearing loss, tympanostomy can cause scarring and hardening of the eardrum, resulting in hearing loss.”-Dr. Robert S. Mendelsohn, MD

Recommendations  

  1. Don’t panic.
  2. Relieve the pain with a heating pad, two drop of warm olive oil (not hot) inserted in the ear canal, and the appropriate dose of acetaminophen if the pain becomes unbearable.
  3. Avoid ALL Dairy Products [anything with cow’s milk]
  4. Take 1-2 zinc lozenges per day
  5. Take 250 – 500mg of vit C per day
  6. Lauricidin: use ¼ tsp, 4 times per day. Mix with applesauce or other soft foods.
  7. Echinacea: find a children’s liquid Echinacea at your local health food store and take the dosage recommended on the bottle.
  8. Chiropractic adjustments have been shown in many studies to be of great benefit.

If the pain persists after 48 hours, see a doctor–not to treat the infection, if that’s what it proves to be, but to rule out the possibility of trauma or the presence of a foreign body.

If you doctor examines your child and finds a viral or bacterial infection, question the need for antibiotic use.  If the doctor finds a foreign body, let him remove it, but again question the need for antibiotic use.

If your child has chronic, recurrent middle ear infection, it is probably because of allergies or the antibiotics he was previously given.  If your doctor recommends tympanostomy, don’t permit it without trying the recommendations listed above or obtaining a second opinion.  This procedure has replaced tonsillectomy as the favorite of pediatricians, but there is no reliable scientific evidence that it will do any good, and there’s considerable evidence that it may cause further harm.  In 2004, a report was published in the Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology (Jun;113(6):438-44) that tube insertion in childhood was associated with persistent hearing loss in young adults of about 5 to 10 dB. No such hearing loss was detected in subjects who had ear infections and did not get tubes in the ears. Repeated insertions of tubes caused a greater deterioration of hearing than did a single insertion.

The recommendations above are for children 6 months to 1 year ranging from 20-30lbs.  If the child is older and/or heavier, you may increase the dosages according to body weight.  If the child is younger than 6 months and is nursing or on a soy or dairy formula, more direct consulting may be needed.  We can work with the mother by supplementing the child thru the mother’s milk or working to create alternatives to the soy-based or dairy-based formulas.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Bennett

DNA Testing Accuracies

You’ve DONE a consumer DNA Test and are concerned about the results…

You have every right to be concerned, here are just some of the reasons why:

Although only one company is approved to share information about medical risk for some health conditions, nearly all companies share the raw data; research finds nearly 40% of medical data from these tests may be false positives.  Your DNA contains deeply personal information about your health, personality and familial history.  This information can potentially be used to discriminate against you in the workplace, affect your ability to acquire insurance policies and can even be sold, without your knowledge, to research companies.

The number of people requesting a direct-to-consumer DNA test during 2017 more than doubled from one year prior.  According to Ancestry.com they claim the largest DNA database with more than 7 million people’s DNA stored.1 While tests like these are highly advertised and an incredibly popular way of determining your ancestry, these at-home tests may provide false health information and even place your privacy at risk.2,3

Progression and advancements have occurred in science beginning all the way back in the 1920’s when the method first used to identify people and determine relationships was with blood typing.  In the 1970s technology had advanced to using tissue typing called HLA, or human leukocyte antigen protein that was present on all tissues except within a red blood cell.

In the 1980’s the RFLP, or Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism analysis technique was developed which became the first genetic test using DNA.  In our current decade (2010), researchers are using next-generation sequencing or massively parallel sequencing as the newest technique for genetic analysis.4

DNA may potentially be used to map out your family tree, determine the ancestry of your dog, solve crimes or help your physician identify any genetic component to a health condition, such as whether or not a woman carries the HER2 gene, knowledge of which could help provide a more focused and specific treatment.6 However, while solving crimes and identification of specific proteins to drive treatment protocols are completed in highly regulated labs set up to protect your privacy, direct-to-consumer DNA tests are not.

In a limited study completed by Ambry Genetics,7 a small medical lab in California, researchers discovered using at-home DNA tests to assess for  risk of certain diseases or other non-phenotypic traits, such as eye color, resulted in a 40 percent false positive reading.8

What Ambry found was consumer labs test genotype DNA rather than sequencing it, and used just one method.  Although this method is cheaper and quicker than clinical sequencing, it is also less effective and accurate than the clinical lab method of sequencing and using another test to confirm a positive variant.

A spokesperson from 23andMe, an at-home DNA test company, discussed the study with a reporter from Gizmodo, telling them 23andMe customers receive a warning that the raw data is not necessarily accurate or appropriate for medical use.9  Yet how many patients have brought these results into their physicians and had treatment recommendations given, based on potentially inaccurate results?

As 23andMe is the only company with FDA approval to market genetic health risk tests for certain conditions, many companies simply offer raw data without an explanation and post a general disclaimer that the results are not verified for accuracy.

The authors of the featured study noted false results about genetic disorders might lead people to better preventive care, but may also create needless anxiety over a nonexistent issue.10  For instance while you may have a genetic marker for a health condition, you may never develop it and vice versa.  Genetics plays a role in disease development, but in many cases your lifestyle choices and environment play a larger role.  Said differently, genetics loads the gun and environment pulls the trigger.

Your DNA is your most personal data.  In a day and age where many large companies are unable to keep passwords and credit card numbers safe, is it realistic to believe they will be able to keep your DNA data safe?

If testing is what you are looking for then you have come to the right place, set up an appointment today to speak with one of our healthcare professionals.  Testing is the key to finding answers and getting great results.  We look forward to helping you achieve your health care goals.

Yours in Health

Dr. Bennett