Category Archives for "Uncategorized"

June 25, 2019

What is the Difference between Near and Far Infrared Light Therapies?

by Nicola Schuler, CNTP, MNT and Dr. Miles Nichols, DAOM, MS, LAc

Infrared radiation (IR), or infrared light, is a type of energy that’s invisible to the human eye but that can be felt as heat (1). IR is a type of electromagnetic radiation.

Electromagnetic radiation is a continuum of frequencies produced when atoms absorb and then release energy (1). From highest to lowest frequency, electromagnetic radiation includes gamma-rays, X-rays, ultraviolet radiation, visible light, infrared radiation, microwaves and radio waves (1). Together, these types of radiation make up the electromagnetic spectrum.

Within the electromagnetic spectrum, infrared waves occur at frequencies above those of microwaves and just below those of red visible light. Waves of infrared radiation are longer than those of visible light.

You might be thinking that radiation sounds bad for the body especially when you hear that microwaves are next on the spectrum.

However, there are two types of radiation:

  1. Ionizing – can damage DNA (genes)
  2. Non-ionizing – tends not to damage DNA

Infrared radiation is a non-ionizing form of radiation, which does not damage DNA (2). Ionizing radiation exposure can damage DNA. Ionizing forms are far ultraviolet radiation and x-rays.

Infrared radiation can be categorized into three groups according to wavelength, namely near infrared (NIR, 0.8–1.5 µm), middle infrared (MIR, 1.5–5.6 µm), and far infrared (FIR, 5.6–1000 µm) (3).

Infrared energy explains the concept of thermal imaging. Some infrared energy can be seen as heat. Some objects are so hot they emit visible light, such as fire (2). Other objects, such as humans, are not as hot and only emit infrared waves (2).

The human eye cannot see these infrared waves but instruments that can sense infrared energy, like night-vision goggles or infrared cameras, allow us to see the infrared waves emitting from humans and animals (2).

Everything in the universe emits some level of IR radiation (1). The two most obvious sources are the sun and fire. All living organisms benefit from the natural electromagnetic radiation of the sun.

Thermal radiation (or infrared) is a band of energy that has been used effectively for millennia to treat and ease certain maladies and discomforts (4). Heated saunas are one of the oldest methods of delivering radiation in a controlled environment and within a convenient treatment time (4).

What is Far InfraRed:

Far InfraRed Radiation or FIR relates to the longer wavelengths of radiation in the infrared spectrum, between 5.6 and 1000 micrometers (3). FIR wavelength cannot be perceived by the eyes, but its heat penetrates up to 1.5 inches (almost 4 cm) beneath the skin (4). FIR has been found to stimulate cells and tissue and is considered a promising treatment method for certain medical conditions (4).

There are new techniques for delivering FIR radiation to the human body. In fact, you may have heard of a far-infrared sauna. If not, you can Google the term and find lots of information and products.

Specialty lamps and saunas, delivering pure FIR radiation (eliminating completely the near and mid infrared bands), have become safe, effective, and widely used for the therapeutic benefits of FIR (4).

Clothing made with fibers containing FIR emitting ceramic nanoparticles, which is woven into the fabric, is being used to generate FIR radiation, and attain health benefits from its effects (4).

Benefits of FIR:

There are multiple medical applications of FIR that can improve health and reduce or even treat disease:

  • Reduces pain and inflammation (4)
  • Promotes cell repair post exposure to FIR (4)
  • Enhances circulation in the skin (4)
  • Protects against oxidative stress (4)
  • Enhances weight loss (4)
  • Stimulates cell proliferation, increases tissue regeneration (4)
  • FIR sauna therapy has been used to improve cardiac and vascular function and reduce oxidative stress in patients with chronic heart failure (5).
  • FIR saunas have a beneficial effect on quality of life in patients with type II diabetes. Physical health, general health, stress and fatigue all improved in the treatment group receiving FIR (6).
  • A study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis showed a reduction in pain, stiffness, and fatigue during far infrared sauna therapy (8).
  • FIR has the effect of reducing the proliferation of some cancer cell lines (4). This suggests that FIR radiation may be used as an effective medical treatment for some cancer cells (4).
  • FIR therapy reduced symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage in highly-trained athletes after a trail running race (8).
  • Modulates sleep: one study used a blanket containing FIR emitting ceramic discs and reported improved quality of sleep in the study subjects (9).
  • Gloves have been made out of FIR emitting fabrics and these gloves can be used to treat arthritis of the hands and Raynaud’s syndrome (10).
  • FIR therapy is effective in relieving pain in patients with chronic pain, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia (3).
  • FIR benefitted patients who experienced persistent and progressively increasing phantom limb pain after amputation (3).
  • FIR stimulation alleviated depression in patients with insomnia by increasing serotonin (3).
  • FIR can reduce the pain of wounds after standard medical wound treatments. Wounds exposed to FIR had lower healing times (11).

Risks:

FIR is generally quite safe compared to other medical interventions. However, there are risks of infrared radiation exposure to the skin and the eyes. A potential concern is an increase in photo-aging (skin aging due to light) (12).

Infrared radiation can also harm tattooed skin and cause skin inflammation (13). The lens of the eye is very sensitive to infrared radiation and long-term exposure can contribute to cataract formation (14).

How to access FIR:

There are three main ways to benefit from FIR radiation:

  • FIR saunas
  • FIR ray devices
  • FIR emitting ceramics and fabrics (4)

FIR saunas are quite popular and there are many brands of FIR saunas that can be purchased for home use. In addition to saunas, there are also FIR lamps and clothing that can be purchased. For recommendations on a far-infrared sauna, call our office at 720-722-1143 or use our contact page.

What is Near Infrared:

Near Infrared Radiation or NIR relates to the shorter wavelengths of radiation in the infrared spectrum; NIR, 0.8–1.5 µm (3). NIR is used in the therapy called Photobiomodulation or PBM. We have just written an extensive article on Photobiomodulation, which you can find here.  It is a form of light therapy that uses near-infrared light over the brain, inside the nasal cavity, or over injuries or wounds (15).

The light is used to heal, improve tissue repair in wounds, bones and tendons, reduce pain and inflammation and restore and stimulate multiple physiological processes which repair damage caused by injury or disease (15). The healing occurs wherever the beam is applied. The light stimulates the cell’s natural healing and pain relief processes.

Benefits:

Photobiomodulation is used for a huge variety of health issues as it has a significant anti-inflammatory effect. (Again, please refer to our article on PBM for the full details)

  • The key applications of PBM for the future are in the areas of inflammation and autoimmunity (16).
  • Cognitive performance or brain injury (16)
  • Wound healing (16)
  • Arthritis (16)
  • Muscle healing (16)
  • Inflammatory Pain (16)
  • Lung inflammation and asthma (16)
  • Abdominal fat, obesity and type 2 diabetes (16)
  • Cancer (17)
  • Achilles tendinopathy (16)
  • Thyroiditis (16)
  • Psoriasis (16)
  • Hair loss (16)
  • Cognitive performance, memory and mood (18)
  • Cosmetic and aesthetic improvements (18)

Risks:

There are no known risks or side effects associated with PBM.

How to Find out More:

If you live in Colorado or are willing to travel to the Greater Denver Area, please book a discovery call with our clinic to find out more about PBM therapy. You can also call or text “PBM Therapy” or “FIR Sauna” to 720-722-1143. Click here to book a complimentary 15-minute discovery call now.

Which Type of Infrared Radiation – NIR or FIR – is Recommended to be Better for Health?

Based on multiple factors, we recommend NIR therapy over FIR therapy if you have to choose one. However in many cases we may suggest both!

This is because the sun emits 37% of its total energy in the near infrared range, and 3% in the far infrared range (19). Humans are biologically designed to use near infrared light, more so than far infrared light (19). It is now understood that the human body is partially photosynthetic and that we need sun light and near infrared for optimal health (19).

Near infrared is received at the cellular level in a way that far infrared is not. As we discussed in our article on PBM, the effect of near infrared on the cells of the body is an increase in cellular energy production that can then be used to repair and rejuvenate at the cellular level. Far infrared does not have the same cellular effect on the mitochondria of the cells (19). Thus, Near Infrared can provide greater rejuvenating effects over FIR.

Near Infrared as a wavelength has deeper tissue penetration. NASA has measured tissue penetration as deep as 23cm with near infrared (19), whilst FIR penetrates to only 4cm into the skin (4).

Thus, we recommend Photobiomodulation therapy (using Near Infrared Radiation) in most cases as an effective means to treating specific conditions and improving health versus using Far Infrared therapy. That being said, there can be enormous value to the detoxification from sweating that can be stimulated through FIR sauna therapy. This is very beneficial in many cases, but can also be achieved with standard saunas and does not require FIR technology in the sauna. For those purchasing a sauna, we do recommend the FIR technology to add some extra benefit.

 

References:

  1. Live Science. 2019. What is Infrared? https://www.livescience.com/50260-infrared-radiation.html. Accessed June 11, 2019.
  2. NASA Science. 2019. Tour of the Electromagnetic Spectrum. https://science.nasa.gov/ems/07_infraredwaves. Accessed June 11, 2019.
  1. Shui S, Wang X, Chiang JY, Zheng L. 2015. Far infrared therapy for cardiovascular, autoimmune and other chronic health problems: A systematic review. Exp Biol Med. v.240(10); 2015 Oct.
  1. Vatansever F, Hamblin 2012. Far infrared radiation (FIR): Its biological effects and medical applications. Photonics Lasers Med. doi: 10.1515/plm-2012-0034.
  2. Fujita S, Ikeda Y, Miyata M, Shinsato T, Kubozono T, Kuwahata S, Hamada N, Miyauchi T, Yamaguchi T, Torii H, Hamasaki S, Tei C. Effect of Waon therapy on oxidative stress in chronic heart failure. Circ J. 2011;75(2):348–56.
  3. Beever R. The effects of repeated thermal therapy on quality of life in patients with type II diabetes mellitus. J Altern Complement Med. 2010;16(6):677–81.
  4. Oosterveld FG, Rasker JJ, Floors M, Landkroon R, van Rennes B, Zwijnenberg J, van de Laar MA, Koel GJ. Infrared sauna in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. A pilot study showing good tolerance, short-term improvement of pain and stiffness, and a trend towards long-term beneficial effects. Clin Rheumatol. 2009;28(1):29–34.
  5. Hausswirth C, Louis J, Bieuzen F, Pournot H, Fournier J, Filliard JR, Brisswalter J. Effects of whole-body cryotherapy vs. far-infrared vs. passive modalities on recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage in highly-trained runners. PLoS One. 2011;6(12):e27749.
  6. Inoué S, Kabaya M. Biological activities caused by far-infrared radiation. Int J Biometeorol. 1989;33(3):145–50.
  7. Ko GD, Berbrayer D. Effect of ceramic-impregnated “thermoflow” gloves on patients with Raynaud’s syndrome: randomized, placebo-controlled study. Altern Med Rev. 2002;7(4):328–35.
  8. Lin YH, Li TS. 2017. The Application of far Infrared in the Treatment of Wound Healing: A Short-Evidence Based Analysis. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med.2017 Jan;22(1):186-188.
  9. Holzer AM, Athar M, Elmets CA. 2010. The other end of the rainbow: infrared and skin. J Invest Dermatol.2010 Jun;130(6):1496-9. doi: 10.1038/jid.2010.79.
  10. Chiang C, Romero L. 2009. Cutaneous lymphoid hyperplasia (pseudolymphoma) in a tattoo after far infrared light. Dermatol Surg.2009 Sep;35(9):1434-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2009.01254.x.
  11. Aly EM, Mohamed ES. 2011. Effect of infrared radiation on the lens. Indian J Ophthalmol.2011 Mar-Apr;59(2):97-101. doi: 10.4103/0301-4738.77010.
  12. Joovv. 2019. Photobiomodulation and Cancer: What is the Truth? www.//joovv.com/blogs/joovv-blog/photobiomodulation-cancer-truth. Accessed May 28 2019.
  13. Hamblin MR. 2017. Mechanisms and applications of the anti-inflammatory effects of photobiomodulation. AIMS Biophysics, 2017, 4(3):337-361. doi: 3934/biophy.2017.3.337.
  14. Hamblin MR, Nelson ST, Strahan JR. 2018. Photobiomodulation and Cancer: What is the Truth? Photomed Laser Surg.2018 May;36(5):241-245. doi: 10.1089/pho.2017.4401.
  15. Hamblin MR, de Sousa MVP, Agrawal T. 2017. Handbook of Low Level Laser Therapy. Singapore: Pan Stanford Publishing.
  16. Lifestyle Integration. Near Vs. Far Infrared Benefits. https://www.lifestyleintegration.com.au/learning-centre/articles/119-near-versus-far-infrared-benefits.html. Accessed June 11, 2019.
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June 6, 2019

Photobiomodulation and Near Infrared Light Therapy

by Nicola Schuler, CNTP, MNT and Dr. Miles Nichols, DAOM, MS, LAc

What is it?

Photobiomodulation (or PBM) is a form of light therapy that uses red or near-infrared light or a low-level laser over the brain, inside the nasal cavity, or over injuries or wounds (1). The light is used to heal, improve tissue repair in wounds, bones and tendons, reduce pain and inflammation and restore and stimulate multiple physiological processes which repair damage caused by injury or disease (1). The healing occurs wherever the beam is applied. The light stimulates the cell’s natural healing and pain relief processes.

Originally PBM was called “low level laser therapy or LLLT”. It has also been called red light therapy (RLT), low level light therapy (LLLT), soft laser therapy, cold laser therapy, bio stimulation and photonic stimulation. Actual lasers are not required because LEDs or light emitting diodes work equally well (2).

For much of the time since its discovery approximately 50 years ago, the mechanism of action or how PBM worked was not really known (2). It is now understood how PBM works on the cellular level.

How does PBM work?

PBM works by producing a biochemical effect in cells that strengthens the mitochondria (2). The primary site of light absorption in cells has been identified as the mitochondria and PBM works by increasing the mitochondria’s potential (3).

All cells in the body have mitochondria. Mitochondria are commonly called the powerhouses of the cells as they provide most of the energy of the cell. They produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the chemical responsible for energy release within cells which promote cellular and physiological functions including injury repair and pain relief.

When a cell is damaged through injury or trauma, the mitochondria’s efficiency is impaired. As a result, less ATP will be produced. The reduction in ATP will decrease the cells’ healing time dramatically.

When exposed to infra-red light/low level laser at the right frequency and intervals, the mitochondria will be stimulated to immediately begin to increase the production of ATP (2). By increasing the function of the mitochondria using PBM, a cell can make more ATP (2). With more energy, cells can function more efficiently, rejuvenate themselves and repair damage.

How can it be used?

Photobiomodulation is used for a huge variety of health issues.

Cognitive performance or brain injury: PBM is being used to treat traumatic brain injury, stroke, neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia) and psychiatric disorders (4). PBM has anti-inflammatory effects on the brain which can help with brain injuries (4).

Wound healing: PBM has been used on both acute wounds and chronic non-healing wounds such as diabetic ulcers (4).  What has been found is faster healing and reduced inflammation (4).

Arthritis: Arthritis involves significant inflammation of the arthritic joint. Sometimes this inflammation is systemic as well. Studies have found that swelling and inflammation is reduced with PBM (4). Both osteoarthritic and rheumatoid arthritis have been ‘successfully treated with PBM’ (4).

Muscles: PBM can work well on muscles; it helps to heal muscle injuries and reduce muscle soreness and pain after excessive exercise (4). Unsurprisingly, PBM has many applications in sports. Light delivered to muscles before exercise and after exercise can increase sports performance in athletes (5). Studies have found that PBM can increase muscle mass gained after training, and decrease inflammation and oxidative stress in muscles (5). PBM increases the amount of work and power that can be produced by muscles and can increase the speed of recovery after exercise. This is very helpful in the intense training regimens of top athletes. PBM can also be used for enhancement of performance in amateur and recreational athletes.

Inflammatory Pain: PBM can reduce inflammatory pain and decrease pro-inflammatory markers, chemicals produced at the site of pain and inflammation (4). In fact, PBM is perhaps most relevant in cases of inflammation and inflammatory disorders (4).

Lung inflammation and asthma: PBM has been found to reduce acute lung inflammation and lung edema (4). Another study concluded that in asthma, the reduced lung inflammation and the beneficial effects on lung airways of PBM seem to be a result of increased anti-inflammatory chemicals and less mucous in the airways (6).

Abdominal fat, obesity and type 2 diabetes: The use of PBM to fight one of the biggest health problems of the modern age; obesity, excess fat deposits and type 2 diabetes; is also starting to take off (2). A study on mice found that PBM reduced inflammation in abdominal fat and significantly reduced blood sugar (4).

Cancer: PBM has been found to be effective in reducing the side effects of cancer treatment therapy (7). For example, oral mucositis is a common side effect of cancer treatments, particularly chemotherapy and radiation (7). It is when the mucosal lining of the mouth begins to break down, which can lead to ulcers in the mouth. It results in several problems, including pain, an inability to eat causing poor nutrition, and increased risk of infection due to open sores in the mucus area of the mouth. PBM helps to reduce this issue as well as other complications with cancer treatment (8). An important concern was whether the use of PBM for relief of side effects might encourage the growth of malignant cells and cancerous tumors, given its healing and strengthening effect on cells in general (8). Research has shown that this is not the case and that light can directly damage the tumor, enhance other cancer therapies and stimulate the patient’s immune system (7). There are some clinical trials showing increased survival in cancer patients who received PBM therapy (7).

PBM has been shown in studies to improve Achilles tendinopathy (less pain and reduced inflammation) and thyroiditis (overall improved thyroid function, a reduction in autoimmune antibodies to thyroid and reduced inflammation of the thyroid) (4).

Psoriasis, a chronic autoimmune disease of the skin, is greatly improved with PBM because of its anti-inflammatory effects (4).

Hair loss: PBM is successful in treating the various types of hair loss; alopecia areata, male pattern baldness and chemotherapy induced alopecia (4). Stimulation of hair regrowth is now well established (2).

PBM can also improve cognitive performance, memory and mood (2). It is expected that further research in this area will be emerging soon.

PBM is also useful for cosmetic and aesthetic improvements (2). Improvement of fine lines and wrinkles in the face is growing in popularity, as some people seek aesthetic improvements (2).

Improved understanding of how PBM works at a molecular and cellular level provide the rationale for its use for multiple diseases. The key applications of PBM for the future are in the areas of inflammation and autoimmunity (4).

There is also much promise for its application in brain health, given its ability to reduce neuroinflammation (4). 

The chronic diseases of our times, which are on the rise, are frequently tied to inflammation. Thus type 2 diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, cancer and heart disease can all potentially benefit from the anti-inflammatory effects of PBM.

The benefits of PBM are quite clear: It has a significant anti-inflammatory effect (4). The exact cellular signaling pathways responsible for this anti-inflammatory action are not yet completely understood (4). But it is becoming clear that both local and systemic mechanisms are at work. The reduction of edema, and reductions in markers of oxidative stress and pro-inflammatory cytokines are well known. However there is also a systemic effect when light is delivered to the body that can positively benefit distant tissues and organs (4).

Because of the mitochondrial benefits, PBM can also be used preventively for those interested in longevity and long-term wellness. Those who are looking to optimize their cognitive performance, people who want to be at the top of their game, are also using PBM to boost their brain.

What are the Risks of PBM?

PBM has an almost complete lack of reported adverse effects (4). It is non-invasive. It does not require anesthesia. It is painless. It can be a sound approach for patients who have become disillusioned with conventional medical and pharmaceutical approaches to a range of chronic conditions, with their accompanying unpleasant side-effects.

How much Time is required?

More than one treatment is required to see results, in almost all cases. Treatment times can be quite short at 8-20 minutes (9). After an initial set of treatments, a schedule for maintenance therapy can be established. The frequency and length of treatments required would depend on the condition or illness being treated and its severity (9). Sessions can be anywhere from daily to weekly (often a take-home unit is used in conjunction with in-office treatmnets for ease of frequent use).

What is the Cost?

Clinics are offering PBM therapy for a variety of prices. It appears to be available in some clinics for around 100$ per session (9), whereas another clinic charges 4000$ for 20 sessions (10).

A New Kind of PBM with Great Promise

Innovations in technology have led to the production of intranasal PBM units. These use specific frequencies of light that pulsate inside of the nasal cavity. This produces a direct path to the dorsal area in the brain. This can offer significant stimulation of important parts of the brain. This therapy is being used with great success for many of the cognitive-related functions of PBM.

This therapy may be a great complimentary treatment option for those with cognitive decline and people who simply want to boost brain health or prevent cognitive issues.

How to Find out More

If you live in Colorado or are willing to travel to the Greater Denver Area, please book a discovery call with our clinic to find out more about PBM therapy. You can also call or text “PBM Therapy” to 720-722-1143. Click here to book a complimentary 15-minute discovery call now.

References:

  1. Joov. 2019. Photobiomodulation and Cancer: What is the Truth? www.//joovv.com/blogs/joovv-blog/photobiomodulation-cancer-truth. Accessed May 28 2019.
  2. Hamblin MR, de Sousa MVP, Agrawal T. 2017. Handbook of Low Level Laser Therapy. Singapore: Pan Stanford Publishing.
  3. Hamblin MR. 2018. Mechanisms and Mitochondrial Redox Signaling in Photobiomodulation. Photochem Photobiol.2018 Mar;94(2):199-212. doi: 10.1111/php.12864.
  4. Hamblin MR. 2017. Mechanisms and applications of the anti-inflammatory effects of photobiomodulation. AIMS Biophysics, 2017, 4(3):337-361. doi: 3934/biophy.2017.3.337.
  5. Ferraresi C, Huang YY, Hamblin MR. 2016. Photobiomodulation in human muscle tissue: an advantage in sports performance?. J Biophotonics.2016 Dec;9(11-12):1273-1299. doi: 10.1002/jbio.201600176.
  6. Rigonato-Oliveira N, Brito A, Vitoretti L, et al. 2017. Effect of low-level laser therapy on chronic lung inflammation in experimental model of asthma: A comparative study of doses. Lasers Surg Med49: 36.
  7. Hamblin MR, Nelson ST, Strahan JR. 2018. Photobiomodulation and Cancer: What is the Truth? Photomed Laser Surg.2018 May;36(5):241-245. doi: 10.1089/pho.2017.4401.
  8. de Pauli Paglioni M, Araújo ALD, Arboleda LPA, et al. Tumor safety and side effects of photobiomodulation therapy used for prevention and management of cancer treatment toxicities. A systematic review. Oral Oncol.2019 Jun;93:21-28. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2019.04.004.
  9. NovoTHOR. 2019. Photobiomodulation Therapy. https://www.connectedptw.com/novothor. Accessed June 4, 2019.
  10. Westword. 2017. Can lasers Heal Brain Injuries? Two Colorado Docs Shine a Light. https://www.westword.com/news/colorado-doctors-using-lasers-as-a-weapon-against-tbi-other-brain-injuries-9223729. Accessed June 4, 2019.

 

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May 29, 2019

Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy

by Nicola Schuler, CNTP, MNT and Dr. Miles Nichols, DAOM, MS, LAc

PRP or Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy is a relatively new therapy used to repair and regenerate tissue in the body (1). It was first used in 1987 to promote healing in dental, orthopedic and plastic surgery procedures (2). It has potential to treat both chronic and acute musculoskeletal injuries of the tendons ligaments and muscles (2).

In the United States, it is estimated that approximately 86,000 athletes are treated with PRP annually (3).  Famous elite athletes such as Tiger Woods and Rafael Nadal have used PRP therapy to repair injuries. A study in 2017 states that even though the popularity of PRP is rising, its true effectiveness has yet to be fully established (3).

What is PRP exactly?

PRP uses a preparation of the person’s own blood (4). A solution of PRP is prepared by first taking blood from the patient. The blood is then centrifuged to allow for the separation of the various components based on the relative density. This allows for separation and collection of the platelet-rich plasma and not the other components of blood (3). By concentrating and separating the portion of the blood that has more platelets, the resulting liquid is packed full of potential for repairing tissues.

The repair potential of platelets stem from growth factors that can stimulate repair processes in the body. This high concentration of platelets in the PRP preparation provides a meaningful concentration of essential growth factors not found in normal blood. PRP contains a platelets concentration that is 4 -5 times higher than normal blood (3).

The increased concentration of platelets means an increased number of growth factors such as platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and epithelial growth factor (EGF) (3).

The purpose of PRP injections is to enhance the healing process since an increased number of platelets results in an increased number of secreted growth factors, thereby theoretically improving the healing process (3).

The PRP solution provides a stimulus to promote repair in tissues with low healing potential (4). It is the additional growth factors that increase cellular healing in the damaged tissue. The prepared PRP solution is then re-administered to the site of injury via an injection.

Applications & Effectiveness of PRP

PRP is used in many clinical situations such as orthopedics to treat musculoskeletal conditions, sports medicine, dentistry, dermatology, and other applications (1). The use and effectiveness of PRP in chronic diseases is controversial because patient outcomes only show partial improvements (1).

In the realm of orthopedics, some studies find that injecting PRP to the site of injury does not provide any significant benefit in clinical outcomes; however, many others report the opposite conclusion (3).

Thus far, the evidence appears to suggest that PRP may provide benefit in patients with knee osteoarthritis or elbow injuries. Other uses have either shown minor benefit or not shown benefit or there has been insufficient data to know whether PRP is helpful (3).

Because of the mechanisms of increased growth factors, many athletes and progressive clients are choosing to experiment with PRP in joints and for cosmetic applications. Because PRP is minimally invasive when compared with conventional alternatives like surgery, its popularity is increasing.

For these reasons, PRP therapy is being used in many different types of musculoskeletal applications despite the fact that carefully controlled studies for these different applications do not exist (2). The success of PRP in one type of injury may not translate to other injuries but the hope and expectation is that it will.

  • One study from January 2019 found that PRP appeared to be safe and effective in reducing back pain. It admitted that although the clinical evidence of tissue repair of disc-related back pain by PRP treatment is currently lacking, there is a great possibility that the application of PRP has the potential to lead to a feasible therapy for the treatment of degenerative disc diseases (5).
  • Another study from Feb 2019 looked at the application of PRP therapy in osteoarthritis and concluded that clinical effectiveness of PRPfor knee osteoarthritis treatment is still under debate (6).
  • PRP injections into worn out or partially torn tendons in tennis elbow has been effective for the majority of patients (2).

Anecdotal and clinical evidence suggests that, at best, PRP therapy does work and, at worst, has no effect. PRP is an alternative to the other options; cortisone injection, surgery, or no treatment except pain medications or physical therapy (2). In many cases, the potential benefits outweigh the risks (2).

How Long is the Recovery from PRP?

Most people can resume their normal activities soon after having a PRP injection. Recovery time may take a few weeks depending on the precise injury and circumstances, location of the injection and age of the patient. It may take up to 3- 6 months to see the full benefits of PRP, as the cells at the injection site require time to regenerate and heal the tissue involved.

What is the Investment?

The investment for PRP injections vary depending on where the injection is administered, the skill level of the practitioner administering the injection, and how many injections are recommended. One study found an average of approximately $840.00 USD for a single PRP injection (3). Currently, PRP therapy is not covered by medical insurance. This may change with time and more research studies on PRP and its effectiveness. Often a series of 3-6 injections is recommended for certain issues. For individuals facing the alternatives of either surgery, chronic debilitating pain, or the inability to perform in a sport, the investment is often well worth the potential for benefit (hence 86,000 US athletes opting for PRP injection every year) (3).

Are there Side Effects?

Complications of PRP injection are extremely rare. Because PRP is derived from the patient’s own blood, it would be extremely unlikely to have an allergy or immune reaction (2). Side effects of PRP should be minimal; such as irritation, pain, or bleeding related to the injection site. The main risks include local infection (< 1% chance) and pain at the site of injection (2). Nerve injuries or tissue damage at the injection site are possible, but this would be more likely to result from the skill of the doctor than from the PRP therapy.

How to Find out More

If you live in Colorado or are willing to travel to the Greater Denver Area, please book a discovery call with our clinic to find out more about PRP injections. You can also call or text “PRP Info” to 720-722-1143.

 

References

  1. Andia I, Abate M. 2018. Platelet-rich plasma: combinational treatment modalities for musculoskeletal conditions. Front of Med. April 2018, (12):139-152.
  2. Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford University medical Centre Dept. of Radiology. Platelet Rich Plasma (Prep) Injection – Information and Instructions for Patients. file:///C:/Users/New%20Owner/Downloads/petctscan-pdf-prpbeaulieuletter.pdf. Accessed May 20, 2019.
  3. Hussain N, Joha H, Bhandari 2017. An evidence-based evaluation on the use of platelet rich plasma in orthopedics – a review of the literature. SICOT J. 2017; 3: 57. doi: 10.1051/sicotj/2017036
  4. Wu PI, Diaz R, Borg-Stein J. 2016. Platelet-Rich Plasma. Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am. Nov 2016. Doi: 10.1016/j.pmr.2016.06.002.
  5. Akeda K, Yamada J, Linn ET, Sudo A, Masuda K. 2019. Platelet-rich plasma in the management of low back pain: a critical review. Jour. Of Pain Res. 2019:12 pp. 753-767. Doi: 10.2147/JPR.S153085
  6. Gato-Calvo L, Magalhaes J, Ruiz-Romero C, Blanco FJ, Burguera EF. 2019. Platelet-rich plasma in osteoarthritis treatment : a review of current evidence. Ther Adv Chronic Dis.2019 Feb 19;10:2040622319825567. doi: 10.1177/2040622319825567.

 

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May 20, 2019

Food Allergies, Sensitivities and Intolerances

by Nicola Schuler, CNTP, MNT and Dr. Miles Nichols, DAOM, MS, LAc

More than 20% of the population in industrialized countries suffers from food intolerance or food allergy (1).

The terms ‘allergy’,’ sensitivity’ and ‘intolerance’ to certain foods are used frequently. What is the difference between these different types of reactions? More importantly, what can you do to manage symptoms, or better yet, resolve the problem?

Food allergies are increasing:

  • Approximately 1 in 13 children and 1 in 25 adults in the US suffer from a life-threatening food allergy (2)
  • From 1997 to 2011 there was a 50% increase in food allergies in American children (3)
  • In the United States, food allergies affect 8% of children (4)
  • A study done in 2013 found that the overall economic cost of food allergy was estimated at $24.8 billion annually ($4184 p.a. per child) (2)

 

Food Allergies

A food allergy is when the immune system believes a particular food to be pathogenic or dangerous and creates an IgE (immunoglobulin E) antibody to that food. The antibody will bind to that food (the irritant or antigen) which signals to the immune system that this ‘dangerous’ substance must be removed. Immune cells called macrophages then destroy the substance. During this process, histamine and other chemicals are created which can cause an allergic reaction.

Symptoms vary and can include: digestive problems, tingling or itchy mouth, hives, itching, eczema, swollen airways and difficulty breathing. Severe reactions can be life-threatening.  Symptoms can appear immediately or take a few hours to appear.

Common food allergens are: eggs, dairy products, nuts, soy, wheat/gluten, and shellfish. People can have allergies to other foods not on this list.

Food Intolerances or Sensitivities

A food intolerance is thought to be caused by a specific gut issue like an enzyme deficiency (i.e. lactase to digest lactose found in dairy products), difficulty processing a certain chemical (i.e. caffeine), poor absorption or other issue that impairs proper digestion of the particular food (1). With a food intolerance, antibodies are created in an IgG (immunoglobulin G) or IgA (immunoglobulin A) reaction. These reactions are thought to be more related to gut permeability (i.e. leaky gut) than to a true allergy (5). Food intolerances are thought to be more common than food allergies and can occur with any food, food additive or preservative.

Symptoms vary and can include: rashes, skin issues, asthma, GI symptoms like cramps, constipation, diarrhea and neurological symptoms such as migraines. Symptoms can take hours or days to appear which makes identifying the issue a challenge.  They are typically not life-threatening. They can be addressed, though, and addressing them can reduce inflammation in the gut and improve overall gut health.

A food sensitivity is another term for a food intolerance.

Gut Health

As you may have picked up from our previous blog articles, many conditions link back to the health of the gut. This is the case with food allergies and even more so, with food intolerances.

Both allergies and intolerances create inflammation. With a food allergy, it can push the immune system into overdrive or overreaction to a certain food which creates inflammation. A food intolerance creates inflammation in the gut.

As we mentioned in the last blog post on seasonal allergies, 70-80% of the immune cells is located in the gut so we need a well-functioning gut for optimal health. There is a risk with both food allergies and intolerances to potentially develop an autoimmune (AI) condition in the future, if they are not adequately addressed.

So What Can You Do?

Unfortunately a food allergy is usually an allergy for life so strict avoidance of the allergenic food is necessary to avoid symptoms, particularly if the allergy is severe. There are, however, things you can do to support your immune system and gut health which may help to mitigate symptoms. A food intolerance can potentially be reversed with diet changes and gut healing.

Work on Your GUT: Work to eradicate any GI infections or overgrowths that you might have. Work with a qualified functional medicine practitioner to test for these. This would involve a stool test like a GI-MAP or CDSA with Parasitology to check for dysbiosis, parasites, yeast, etc. and a 3-hour lactulose breath test to check for Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth or SIBO. Once you and your practitioner have eradicated any issues identified in testing, then follow a good gut healing program implementing some of the tips we recommend below:

Diet:

  • Eat a whole foods-based, non-inflammatory diet. Focus on organic whole foods like vegetables, fruits and organic animal products.
  • Legumes, nuts, and seeds are fine if tolerated.
  • Cruciferous vegetables have compounds that can be specifically helpful for T-Regulatory cells in the immune system. Eating 3-5 cups (measured before cooking) of cruciferous veggies daily can be helpful. When having cooked crucifers like broccoli, it is helpful to have a small amount of raw crucifer like daikon radish, mustard, or arugula for some myrosinase enzyme that can help produce sulforafane, a helpful compound that can improve detoxification and reduce oxidative stress.
  • Some full-fat grass-fed dairy can be healthy if tolerated. However, if you do not know if you might have a sensitivity to dairy, it might be helpful to remove dairy for 30 days and then re-introduce it with one normal portion per day for 3 days. Some people react to lactose (a sugar in dairy that gets reduced in the fermentation process so fermented dairy has less than non-fermented dairy). Others react to casein (a protein in dairy).
  • Be sure to eat fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, miso, and yogurt. Fermented foods contain live probiotics. Also eat prebiotic foods which feed the good gut bacteria and strengthen gut health. Prebiotic foods are lentils, potatoes that have been cooked then cooled at least 24 hours (eaten cool or at room temp but not re-heated), green plantains, onions, garlic, leeks, apples, green banana, asparagus.
  • Bone broth contains glycine, gelatin and glutamine which are all very healing to the gut lining.
  • Avoid as much as possible: alcohol, processed / junk / fast foods, GMO’s and excessive refined sugars as these are all damaging to gut health.
  • Reduce sugars and grains in your diet as these are inflammatory and can lead to poor gut health.
  • Reduce inflammatory omega 6 fats (vegetable oils) and increase anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats (fatty fish like wild salmon, sardines, anchovies, mackerel) to reduce gut inflammation.

Supplements:

  • Vitamin D is important for immune system health. Studies have shown beneficial effects of vitamin D on immune function, particularly in the context of autoimmunity (6). You can test your vitamin D levels with a functional medicine practitioner. An optimal level is in the 35-60 range. Parathyroid hormone (PTH) between 15-30 is a further sign that vitamin D is sufficient. If PTH is >30, typically either Vitamin D or Calcium is sub-optimal.
  • Vitamin A is important for T-Regulatory cell function / production. T-reg cells have Vitamin A and D receptors on them (see the seasonal allergies article for more details). Taking cod liver oil (1 tsp per day) or eating about 4-6 oz liver per week can provide a good dose of pre-formed Vitamin A.
  • Probiotics help to populate the gut with good beneficial bacteria. It can be helpful to take a daily probiotic supplement in addition to adding fermented foods to your diet. There are three classes of probiotics that can be helpful. One class often contains various lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. Another class is actually a healthful yeast called saccharomyces boulardii. The third class are soil-based or spore-based organisms usually containing bacillus species like bacillus subtilis and/or bacillus coagulans. Try each of these three probiotics, one at a time for 2 weeks to see if you notice benefit. If you do notice benefit, keep that one in and go to the next one. You can take one, two, or all three groups at the same time if beneficial.
  • Stomach acid is necessary to break down foods and for good digestion. In experiments done over 70 years ago, the effects of stomach acidity on food allergen uptake were studied. It was found that increased stomach acidity and the presence of other food in the gut decreased absorption of the offending allergenic food, while decreased stomach acidity, such as from H2-blockers and proton pump inhibitors, and ingestion of alcohol, increased absorption of the allergenic food (7). Ensuring that your stomach acid is sufficient will help then with both food intolerances and food allergies. You can take HCL betaine and bitter herbs. It is best to work with an experienced practitioner in determining the right levels of HCL for you. Do not use HCL if you have an ulcer.
  • Digestive enzymes can help break down proteins, carbs, and fats. Breaking proteins down helps reduce the immune system trigger from a food because the more undigested the protein, the more potential it has to trigger the immune system. The more broken down the protein is, towards the amino-acid building blocks of the protein, the less likely it is to trigger the immune system. Taking digestive enzymes with every meal may help in cases of food sensitivities.
  • Quercetin has anti-allergic properties that stimulate the immune system, inhibit histamine release and reduce inflammatory immune cells. Based on a study in rats with peanut allergies, quercetin was found to reduce the histamine reaction and to suppress the IgE responses against peanut proteins (8). The study concluded that quercetin can be used to defend against IgE-mediated food allergies (8).
  • Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant and can also help support t-cells. Taking 200-1000 mg per day may be helpful.

If you suffer from known food allergies or intolerances, or simply have undiagnosed symptoms, then get in touch with us today. We can help to identify your food allergies or intolerances and more importantly, help you to get to the root causes and work towards minimizing symptoms. Book a discovery call today where someone from our staff can answer your questions and help you book an initial consult with one of the functional medicine doctors in our clinic.

 

References:

  1. Zopf Y, Hahn EG, , Raithel M, Baenkler H-W, Silbermann A. 2009. The Differential Diagnosis of Food Intolerance. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2009 May; 106(21): 359–370. doi: 3238/arztebl.2009.0359.
  2. Gupta R, Holdford D,Bilaver L et al. 2013. The Economic Impact of Childhood Food Allergy in the United States. JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167(11):1026-1031. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.2376.
  3. Jackson KD, Howie LD, Akinbami LJ. 2013. Trends in allergic conditions among children: United States, 1997-2011. NCHS Data Brief.2013 May;(121):1-8.
  4. Gupta RS, Springston EE, Warrier MR,  et al.  The prevalence, severity, and distribution of childhood food allergy in the United States [published online June 20, 2011].  Pediatrics. doi:10.1542/peds.2011-0204.
  5. Shakoor Z, AlFaifi A, AlAmro B, AlTawil LN, AlOhaly RY. 2016. Prevalence of IgG-mediated food intolerance among patients with allergic symptoms. Ann Saudi Med. 2016 Nov-Dec;36(6):386-390.
  6. Prietl B, Treiber G, PieberTR, Amrein K. 2013. Vitamin D and Immune Function. Nutrients 2013, 5(7), 2502-2521; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu5072502.
  7. Sampson HA. 2016. Food allergy: past, present and future. Allerg. Intl. October 2016Volume 65, Issue 4, Pages 363–369. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.alit.2016.08.006.
  8. Mlcek J, Jurikova T, Skrovankova S, Sochor J. 2016. Quercetin and Its Anti-Allergic Immune Response. Molecules. 2016 May; 21(5): 623. doi: 3390/molecules21050623.
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May 16, 2019

Seasonal Allergy Relief

by Nicola Schuler, CNTP, MNT and Dr. Miles Nichols, DAOM, MS, LAc

Seasonal allergies (also called allergic rhinitis), hay fever, or any other type of allergy can be deeply uncomfortable. Symptoms usually feel like the first signs of a cold; sneezing, runny nose, red, watery, puffy or itchy eyes, itchy nose, nasal irritability and congestion, itchy throat, hoarseness, shortness of breath or wheezing, coughing, skin rash and/or itchy ears. With hay fever, symptoms usually appear when a person encounters an allergen, such as pollen, dust or mold.

Allergies are increasingly common. From 1988 to 2006, the prevalence of self-reported physician-diagnosed seasonal pollen allergy (or hay fever) increased from 8.8% to 11.3% (1). Asthma prevalence in the US population in 2005–2006 was estimated to be 14.1% (1).  Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as seasonal allergies or hay fever, has been associated with a lack of sleep, reduced productivity at work or school, emotional distress, and embarrassment (2).

Over the counter (OTC) non-prescription medications exist, with mixed results in terms of effectiveness. Current medications for allergies can have undesirable side effects such as dry mouth, drowsiness and sleeplessness (2), which may affect quality of life. It is far from ideal to be reliant on these OTC medications. Getting to the root cause of seasonal allergies and addressing that is preferable for many.

Seasonal allergy is typically triggered by airborne allergens: pollens, animal dander, dust mites or mold.

Causes of seasonal allergies:

Modern hygiene has been blamed for the increasing prevalence of allergies. The increasing incidence is thought to be related to a reduced microbial exposure (3). Children who have fewer exposures to allergens in early life, such as those in small families, are more likely to develop seasonal pollen allergy or eczema (1). Children in households with at least 2 dogs or cats are 70% less likely to test positive for allergies (1). In Europe and other modern societies, risk for allergy and asthma are lower for children on farms (1). Asthma prevalence increases with migration from a less to a more highly industrialized country (1).

Allergies are an immune system reaction to an allergen. The immune system reacts to a foreign substance such as pollen or pet dander, and creates antibodies which tag the foreign substance as if it is a harmful pathogen, even though it isn’t. When confronted with the allergen, the antibodies produced by the immune system will react and release certain substances such as histamine that will cause inflammation and allergy symptoms.

Inflammation is part of the allergic reaction. Histamine is stored in white blood cells of the immune system (in basophils and mast cells) and is a significant contributor to allergy symptoms, particularly in allergic rhinitis or seasonal allergies (4). Increases in both plasma and tissue levels of histamine have been observed in allergic reactions in the skin, nose and lungs (4).

Given that 70-80% of the immune system is based in the gut, allergies are, like many other conditions, closely related to gut health. This is one of the big root causes of allergies.

Gut issues that may be at the root of allergies include:

  • Intestinal permeability (aka ‘leaky gut’)
  • Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Yeast overgrowth (like candida as one example)
  • Dysbiosis (excessive bad bacteria that have been linked with immune issues and autoimmunity)
  • Other gut infections like parasites, worms, or certain viruses

These gut issues can be problematic for the immune system and lead to the development of allergies. Gut function should be addressed when treating allergies and a good functional medicine doctor will screen for and treat gut issues for those with allergies as a complaint.

Multiple studies show that the health of the gut microbiota influences allergy reactions:

  • One study states that altered gutmicrobiota is associated with several diseases, including allergic diseases (5)
  • Another study found that American adults with allergies, especially to seasonal pollen, have low diversity in gut bacteria and an imbalance in the types of gut bacteria strains (1). This is indicative of a gut that is not optimally healthy. The source of the dysbiosis is unknown but the authors of the study suspect that Caesarean births may play a role in the cause of the dysbiosis (1).
  • A study looked at people with a confirmed allergy to birch and gave them a probiotic combination of the strains acidophilusand B. lactis Bl-04 during peak birch allergy season (3). The results showed that the probiotics positively influenced markers of respiratory allergy, and showed a reduction in reported nasal symptoms (3).
  • One study found changes in the production of inflammatory immune cells were observed in patients treated with probiotics. These data show that probiotic supplements modulate immune responses in allergic rhinitis and have the potential to improve the severity of symptoms (6).
  • Quality of life for seasonal allergy sufferers improved when given a combination probiotic (Lactobacillus gasseriKS-13, Bifidobacterium bifidumG9-1, and  longum MM-2) for 8 weeks at a dose of 3 billion colony-forming units (or CFUs) during spring allergy season (2). The study subjects were healthy individuals with self-reported seasonal allergies (2).

In addition to addressing the root causes of allergies (typically related to the gut and immune system), there are other interventions beyond OTC medications that can help reduce symptoms, often with fewer side effects. We will first cover solutions that get to the root cause of allergies, and then look at remedies to help with acute symptoms during allergy season.

Solutions – getting to the root: What can you do to reduce or eliminate your seasonal allergies for good?

  • Probiotics: Clearly there are multiple studies that show how probiotics can help prevent and alleviate seasonal allergy symptoms (2, 3, 5, 6). Probiotics boost the immune system and help to populate the gut with good bacteria. There are various strains that show up in research; most of them are strains of lactobacillus and/or bifidobacterium. A professional-grade multi-strain lacto/bifido blend probiotic of at least 15 billion CFU (preferably 25-100 billion for a time when working on a root causes of allergies) can be helpful. You can order professional grade probiotics here (we like Ortho Biotic 100 if you want to try a product with 100 billion CFU that is also multi-strain)
  • Heal the gut: The health of the gut microbiome is now known to be associated with good health. Poor gut health is linked to so many conditions and diseases. Again, given that 70-80% of the immune system resides in the gut, this makes perfect sense. Find out if you have any gut infections or overgrowths (SIBO, parasites, candida, dysbiosis, leaky gut or others). A SIBO lactulose breath test (be sure it is 3 hour and measures hydrogen and methane) together with a stool test like the GI-MAP or a CDSA with Parasitology will help to rule out many gut conditions as well as show what strains of bacteria and how many are in your gut. Once armed with this information, you can implement targeted therapeutic approaches to improve your gut health. Working on gut health will improve your reaction to seasonal allergies. To work with a functional medicine doctor and get comprehensive testing for gut health, click here to book a free 15-minute discovery call to answer any questions and give you the opportunity to schedule with one of the functional medicine doctors in our clinic. We consult with clients world-wide.
  • Nutrients for T-Regulatory Cell activation: T-Regulatory cells are involved in calming overactive immune responses by producing regulatory cytokines. Cytokines are usually inflammatory molecules, but certain cytokines like IL-10 can help prevent immune cells from attacking your own body (autoimmunity) or reacting to food or environmental triggers. These cells have receptors for Vitamin D and Vitamin A right on the cells themselves. A nutrient in cruciferous vegetables can also help T-reg cell production.
    • Getting enough sunlight on unprotected skin (skin without sunscreen, but not enough sun to burn or even turn pink) for at least 5 days per week between 11am – 3pm can optimize vitamin D production for most people. For fair skinned individuals, this can be as little as 15 minutes 5 days per week.
    • Eating at least 4oz of liver per week or taking 1 tsp Cod Liver Oil per day provides a good amount of pre-formed vitamin A. The nutrient in carrots is actually called beta-carotene and needs to be converted in the liver to retinol. Retinol is vitamin A. Some people have poor conversion of beta-carotene to retinol so we recommend getting some pre-formed retinol through diet.
    • Eat about 3-5 cups (measure before cooking) of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, etc.). You can cook the cruciferous vegetables, as this makes them easier to digest. It can help to get more nutrients like sulforafane from cooked cruciferous vegetables like broccoli if you have a small amount raw crucifer like daikon radish, mustard, or arugula in the same meal. These provide the myrosinase enzyme that helps your body extract sulforafane. You do not have to have the raw crucifer in the same bite as the cooked cruciferous veggies, just in the same meal.
    • Short chain fatty acids can also help produce T-reg cells. These are made by gut bacteria (yes, back to the gut again). The gut bacteria convert fiber into these short chain fatty acids and so having some prebiotic fibers by eating things like lentils, potatoes that have been cooked then cooled 24 hours (eat them cool or room temp to keep the starch resistant so it will feed the bacteria), green bananas, green plantains, onions that are raw or partly cooked but still crunchy, leeks, and dandelion greens.
    • Glutathione can also support T-cells. Taking between 200-1000mg per day may be helpful.
  • Keep a diary. In order to identify what causes or worsens your allergic symptoms, track your activities and what you eat, when symptoms occur, and what seems to help. This may help you identify triggers for your allergies. Reducing exposure to allergens when possible can prevent symptoms.

Supplements that are useful in lessening allergy symptoms are:

  • Quercetin: Quercetin is a flavonoid found in onions, broccoli, apples, some herbs, tea and wine. Use caution with wine and alcohol though as it can worsen histamine and allergies. Quercetin is a strong antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties. It inhibits histamine and other inflammatory immune cells, which cause allergy symptoms (7). It is effective in the treatment of hay fever (7).
  • Nettle: Nettle, or stinging nettle, is a plant that has medicinal properties. It is anti-inflammatory. It specifically has been found to reduce inflammatory events that cause allergy symptoms (8). It inhibits histamine, certain enzymes involved in inflammation and other inflammatory substances that cause hay fever symptoms (8).
  • Bromelain: Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapples. It is also available as a supplement. It is anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic. In one study, it prevented allergic sensitization (9).It has an inhibitory mechanism on allergic responses and can help in the treatment of allergies and asthma (9).
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an antioxidant which helps in the reduction of oxidative stress and inflammation. This can be beneficial in people with allergic diseases (10). This study observed that the use of high-dose vitamin C in daily practice in the treatment of allergic diseases reduces allergy-related symptoms (10). Furthermore, it was found that patients with allergic diseases had a vitamin C deficiency (10). Another study found that Vitamin C prevents the secretion of histamine by white blood cells and increase its detoxification (11). Histamine levels were found to increase exponentially as ascorbic acid levels in the plasma decreased (11).
  • N-acetylcysteine or NAC: NAC is an anti-inflammatory substance that can also break up and help to dissolve mucous (11). It reduces the thickness of mucous which helps it to be expelled from the body and from nasal passages (11).
  • Histamine supplements often combine many of these together for relief from symptoms of allergies. We like Hista-Eze by Designs for Health as a good option. You can purchase this at our online store here.

What diet should you follow to better manage allergy symptoms?

Research looking into what diet should be followed to avoid or reduce allergic diseases has found that a healthy diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids consumed by the mother during pregnancy and by the child during childhood may significantly decrease the prevalence and incidence of allergic diseases (asthma, allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis) even in children with a hereditary predisposition (12).

We recommend a gut-friendly, anti-inflammatory diet like the Mediterranean diet, which includes:

  • Unprocessed, whole foods
  • Lots of vegetables and fruit, which provide antioxidants and contribute to a healthy gut
  • Focus especially on brightly colored fruits and vegetables (for antioxidants) as well as cruciferous vegetables (for compounds like sulforafane)
  • Fish contains omega 3 fats which have an anti-inflammatory effect (1-2 pounds of cold-water fatty fish per week or some high-quality cod liver oil to get pre-formed Vitamin A + EPA and DHA from fish oil, especially if you aren’t eating a lot of fish and/or liver)
  • Unprocessed meats
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Raw nuts and seeds, legumes, garlic and onion are other beneficial foods in the Mediterranean diet

Avoid:

  • Sugar/ processed foods/ fast food/ soda and other sugary drinks
  • Gluten can damage the lining of the gut and can contribute to gut issues like leaky gut. Minimizing or avoiding gluten is helpful in many cases of people suffering with allergies.
  • Dairy foods as dairy products can increase mucous production. If you tolerate dairy (no digestive or skin symptoms that you know of) then having full-fat grass-fed dairy is fine when you are not having an excess of mucous.
  • Conventional meat can contain inflammatory fats that will contribute to inflammation. Organic, pastured grass-fed meats are preferred.
  • Alcohol can contain and promote the release of histamine, especially wine and champagne. All alcohol can also worsen many gut conditions. Avoiding alcohol can help reduce allergies.
  • Any foods which you know you are sensitive to as these will increase inflammation as well

Specific foods that can help with allergies:

  • Local Raw Honey: Eating raw honey made locally can help reduce allergies and symptoms. The honey contains beneficial bacteria and trace amounts of local pollen, which, when introduced in small amounts, can sensitize the immune system so that it can better tolerate the local pollens. A study using birch pollen honey found a 60% reduction in symptoms in allergic people who ate local birch pollen honey during the birch pollen season (13). You can also buy local bee pollen and have 1tsp per day for several months to help build tolerance to local allergens.
  • Fermented Foods: Fermented foods support good gut health. They contain probiotics and can help to rebalance and maintain healthy gut flora. This includes foods like sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, yogurt and kimchi. However, fermented foods also contain histamine. If you are already overburdened by histamine from active allergies, such as during allergy season, you may want to avoid fermented foods and take probiotic supplements instead. Fermented foods when not in allergy season, if you tolerate them without histamine reaction, can be a great aid for improving gut health.
  • Ginger: A study on mice with allergic rhinitis found that ginger in the diet decreased the severity of sneezing and nasal rubbing in the mice (14). The anti-inflammatory effects of ginger can help to prevent and improve allergy symptoms (14). Making tea from or juicing fresh ginger and drinking regularly can help. Mix with a small amount of raw local honey and some lemon for a great-tasting, allergy-fighting drink.

Other helpful tips to minimize allergy symptoms:

  • Avoid known triggers: If you are allergic to pollen, stay inside with windows and doors closed when the pollen count is high. If you are allergic to dust mites, dust and vacuum and wash bedding often. You can also get an air filter for your home. A high-quality filter works much better than cheap options due to filtering finer particulate and moving more air. We recommend IQAir. You can use our affiliate code to get 5% off: IQ50470
  • Try nasal irrigation:Allergy symptoms improve with regular nasal irrigation, using a neti pot and a saline solution (or filtered water with a small amount of sea salt) (15). Nasal irrigation rinses out the sinuses with a salt and water solution.  It helps to flush out thickened mucus and irritants from the nose. One study found that it improved nasal symptoms by 28%, led to quicker mucous clearance from the nose by 31%, caused a 62% reduction in allergy medicine use and improved quality of life by 28% (15).
  • Household airborne allergy symptoms.Reduce your exposure to dust mites or pet dander by frequently washing bedding and stuffed toys in hot water, maintaining low humidity, regularly using a vacuum with a fine filter such as a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter and replacing carpeting with hard flooring.

 

References:

  1. Hua X, Goedert JJ, Pu A, Yu G, Shi J. 2015. Allergy associations with the adult fecal microbiota: Analysis of the American Gut Project. 2015 Nov 27;3:172-179. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2015.11.038.
  2. Dennis-Wall JC, Culpepper T, Nieves C Jr, Rowe CC, Burns AM, Rusch CT, Federico A, Ukhanova M, Waugh S, Mai V, Christman MC, Langkamp-Henken B. 2017. Probiotics (Lactobacillus gasseri KS-13, Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1, and Bifidobacterium longum MM-2) improve rhinoconjunctivitis-specific quality of life in individuals with seasonal allergies: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Mar;105(3):758-767. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.140012.
  3. Ouwehand AC, Nermes M, Collado MC, Rautonen N, Salminen S, Isolauri E. 2009. Specific probiotics alleviate allergic rhinitis during the birch pollen season. World J Gastroenterol. 2009 Jul 14;15(26):3261-8.
  4. White MV. 1990. The role of histamine in allergic diseases. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1990 Oct;86(4 Pt 2):599-605.
  5. Harata G, Kumar H, He F, Miyazawa K, Yoda K, Kawase M, Kubota A, Hiramatsu M, Rautava S, Salminen S. 2017. Probiotics modulate gut microbiota and health status in Japanese cedar pollinosis patients during the pollen season. Eur J Nutr. 2017 Oct;56(7):2245-2253. doi: 10.1007/s00394-016-1264-3.
  6. Ivory K, Chambers SJ, Pin C, Prieto E, Arqués JL, Nicoletti C. 2008. Oral delivery of Lactobacillus casei Shirota modifies allergen-induced immune responses in allergic rhinitis. Clin Exp Allergy. 2008 Aug;38(8):1282-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.2008.03025.x.
  7. Mlcek J, Jurikova T, Skrovankova S, Sochor J. 2016. Quercetin and Its Anti-Allergic Immune Response. Molecules. 2016 May 12;21(5). pii: E623. doi: 10.3390/molecules21050623.
  8. Roschek B Jr, Fink RC, McMichael M, Alberte RS. 2009. Nettle extract (Urtica dioica) affects key receptors and enzymes associated with allergic rhinitis. Phytother Res. 2009 Jul;23(7):920-6. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2763.
  9. Secor ER,Szczepanek SM, Castater CA, Adami AJ, Matson AP, Rafti ET, Guernsey L, Natarajan P, McNamara JT, Schramm CM, Thrall RS, Silbartt LK. 2013. Bromelain Inhibits Allergic Sensitization and Murine Asthma via Modulation of Dendritic Cells. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 2013: 702196. doi: 1155/2013/702196.
  10. Vollbracht C, Raithel M, Krick B, et al. 2018. Intravenous vitamin C in the treatment of allergies: an interim subgroup analysis of a long-term observational study. J of Intl Med Res. June 27, 2018. org/10.1177/0300060518777044
  11. Thornhill SM, Kelly AM. 2000. Natural Treatment of Perennial Allergic Rhinitis. Altern. Med. Review. Volume 5, Number 5.
  12. Saadeh D, Salameh P, Baldi I, Raherison C. 2013. Diet and Allergic Diseases among Population Aged 0 to 18 Years: Myth or Reality?. Nutrients. 2013 Sep; 5(9): 3399–3423. doi: 10.3390/nu5093399
  13. Saarinen K, Jantunen J, Haahtela T. 2011. Birch Pollen Honey for Birch Pollen Allergy – A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study. Int Arch Allergy Immunol 2011;155:160–166. doi:0.1159/000319821.
  14. Kawamoto Y, Ueno Y, Nakahashi E, Obayashi M, Sugihara K, Qiao S, Iida M, Kumasaka MY, Yajima I, Goto Y, Ohgami N, Kato M, Takeda K. 2016. Prevention of allergic rhinitis by ginger and the molecular basis of immunosuppression by 6-gingerol through T cell inactivation. J Nutr Biochem. 2016 Jan;27:112-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2015.08.025.
  15. Hermelingmeier KE, Weber RK, Hellmich M, Heubach CP, Mösges R. 2012. Nasal irrigation as an adjunctive treatment in allergic rhinitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Rhinol Allergy. 2012 Sep-Oct; 26(5): e119–e125. doi: 2500/ajra.2012.26.3787.
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May 6, 2019

An Anti-Hypertensive Meal to Manage Your Blood Pressure

by Nicola Schuler, CNTP, MNT and Dr. Miles Nichols, DAOM, MS, LAc

We’ve just written two articles on hypertension, or high blood pressure (BP), in recent blogs, Hypertension Part 1 and Hypertension Part 2 . This week we wanted to give you a practical guide to eating to help manage blood pressure. So we’ve put together an anti-hypertensive meal, complete with recipes and photos, to help you eat to manage blood pressure.

In our recent blog articles, we identified the following nutrients as important for a healthy BP; potassium, calcium, magnesium and vitamin D; and certain foods that help; beets, hibiscus tea, fatty fish, nuts, olive oil, garlic. Our anti-hypertensive meal includes these foods and nutrients. We’ve kept the recipes quite simple, to save on time and to avoid complicated ingredients in the recipes.

Here’s what’s on the menu:

  • Baked Wild Caught Salmon in Foil with Garlic, Lemon, and Herbs
  • Roasted Beets
  • Baked Sweet Potatoes
  • Garlic Sauteed Spinach
  • Hibiscus Tea
  • Optional Dessert: a square of organic Dark Chocolate (75% cacao or higher)

BAKED WILD CAUGHT SALMON IN FOIL WITH GARLIC, LEMON AND HERBS:
Prep Time: 15 minutes, Cook Time: 15 minutes, Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients
– 5 pounds of wild caught or Sockeye salmon — boneless, skin on or off
– 5 sprigs fresh rosemary or other fresh herbs of your choice; do not use dried herbs
– 2 small lemons — divided, plus extra lemon for serving as desired
– 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
– 1 teaspoon sea salt
– 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
– 4 cloves garlic — peeled and roughly chopped
– Additional chopped fresh herbs — such as basil, thyme, parsley, dill, or green onion (optional)

Instructions
1.  Let the salmon stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking dish with aluminum foil.
2.  Lightly coat the foil with oil, then arrange 2 sprigs of the rosemary down the middle. Cut one of the lemons into thin slices and arrange half the slices down the middle with the rosemary. Place the salmon on top.
3.  Drizzle the salmon with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roughly chop garlic cloves then let sit for 10 minutes. This allows allicin, the active ingredient in garlic, to form in an enzymatic reaction and provides the health benefits of garlic which can withstand the heat of cooking. Rub the salmon with oil to coat, then scatter the garlic cloves over the top. Lay the remaining rosemary and lemon slices on top of the salmon. Juice the second lemon then pour the juice over the top.
4.  Fold the sides of the aluminum foil up and over the top of the salmon until it is completely enclosed. If your piece of foil is not large enough, place a second piece on top and fold the edges under so that it forms a sealed packet. Leave a little room inside the foil for air to circulate.
5.  Bake the salmon for 15-20 minutes, until the salmon is almost completely cooked through at the thickest part. The cooking time will vary based on the thickness of your salmon. If your side is thinner (around 1-inch thick) check several minutes early to ensure your salmon does not overcook. If your piece is very thick (1 1/2 inches or more), it may need longer.
6.  Remove the salmon from the oven and carefully open the foil so that the top of the fish is completely uncovered (be careful of hot steam). Change the oven setting to broil, then return the fish to the oven and broil for 3 minutes, until the top of the salmon and the garlic are slightly golden and the fish is cooked through. Watch the salmon closely as it broils to make sure it doesn’t overcook and the garlic does not burn. Remove the salmon from the oven. If it still appears a bit underdone, you can wrap the foil back over the top and let it rest for a few minutes. Do not let it sit too long—salmon can progress from “not done” to “over done” very quickly. As soon as it flakes easily with a fork, it’s ready.
7.  To serve, cut the salmon into portions. Sprinkle with additional fresh herbs or top with an extra squeeze of lemon as desired.

https://www.wellplated.com/baked-salmon-in-foil/

ROASTED BEETS:
Prep time: 5 minutes, Cook Time: 15 minutes, Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients
–  4–5 beets
–  3 tablespoons olive oil
–  Sea salt

Instructions
1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2.  Wash the beets and use a vegetable scrubber to wash the outside. Remove the stem and root end with a sharp knife. Use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to peel the beets. Slice the beets into 1/4″ thick rounds and place them in a small bowl.
3.  Drizzle the olive oil over the sliced beets and then toss to combine. Place the sliced beets in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.
4.  Roast in the oven until the beets are tender, 10-15 minutes.

https://www.blessthismessplease.com/simple-roasted-beets/

BAKED SWEET POTATOES:
Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 1 hour, Yield: 4 servings

Sweet potatoes offer a slight nutritional advantage over white potatoes due to their slightly higher potassium content. Each cup of white potato contains 305 milligrams of potassium, or 7% of the recommended daily intake, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. An equal serving of sweet potato contains 448 milligrams, or approximately 10% of your recommended intake. The potassium from both types of potato is important to balance with sodium and manage healthy blood pressure levels.

Ingredients
–  2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
–  3 large sweet potatoes
–  2 pinches dried oregano
–  2 pinches sea salt
–  2 pinches ground black pepper

Instructions
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat the bottom of a glass or non-stick baking dish with olive oil.
2.  Wash and peel the sweet potatoes. Cut them into medium size pieces. Place the cut sweet potatoes in the baking dish and coat them with the olive oil. Sprinkle moderately with oregano, and salt and pepper (to taste).
3.  Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 60 minutes or until soft.

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/18249/baked-sweet-potatoes/

GARLIC SAUTEED SPINACH:
Prep time: 5 minutes, Cook Time: 5 minutes, Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients
–  1 pound baby spinach leaves
–  1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
–  2 tablespoons chopped garlic (6 cloves)
–  1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
–  1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
–  1 tablespoon unsalted butter
–  Lemon

Instructions
1.  Rinse the spinach well in cold water. Spin it dry in a salad spinner, leaving just a little water clinging to the leaves.
2.  In a very large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and saute the garlic (remember to chop and let the garlic sit for 10 minutes first) over medium heat for about 1 minute, but not until it’s browned.
3.  Add all the spinach, the salt, and pepper to the pot, toss it with the garlic and oil, cover the pot, and cook it for 2 minutes. Uncover the pot, turn the heat on high, and cook the spinach for another minute, stirring with a wooden spoon, until all the spinach is wilted.
4.  Using a slotted spoon, lift the spinach to a serving bowl and top with the butter, a squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkling of sea salt. Serve hot.

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/garlic-sauteed-spinach-recipe-1944598

Dessert: HISBISCUS TEA with an optional square of organic DARK CHOCOLATE (75% cacao or higher)

We put the details of this meal into a software site called Cronometer to get the full nutrition breakdown of the meal:
–  Carbs: 28.2 gr
–  Fats: 30.1 gr
–  Protein: 41.8 gr
–  540 calories

Highlights for hypertension include the following minerals and vitamins:
–  Calcium: 103.8 mg (1’000-1’200 = daily target)
–  Magnesium: 132.6 mg (300-420 = daily target)
–  Potassium: 1’392.5 mg (4’700-6’000 = daily target for BP-related issues)
–  Vitamin D: 949.7 IU (min 800 has shown to lower BP in research)
–  Hibiscus tea: Studies show that the antioxidant properties of hibiscus tea can help lower blood pressure. One study found that 3 cups (8 oz. serving) of hibiscus tea per day for 6 weeks lowers BP in pre-hypertension and hypertension (1).

This meal provides 10% of your daily calcium needs, 30 to 40% of magnesium needs, 25 to 30% of potassium needs and a BP-lowering daily dose of vitamin D. 

Other nutritional highlights of this meal include:
–  5 gr of fiber which aids in gut health and good digestion (daily target is minimum 25 gr)
–  Low sugar of 3 teaspoons of sugar, which is natural sugar from the sweet potato and beets
–  1.36 Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio indicating a good level of Omega 3 fats. The target ratio is between 1.0 -2.0

We recommend preparing meals like this one which include foods to stabilize and balance out blood pressure. For further information, please see our blog Hypertension Part 1 for diet changes to manage blood pressure and Hypertension Part 2 for specific supplements and lifestyle changes to balance blood pressure.

As always, if you need more information or help with your blood pressure, talk to us! Book a complimentary discovery call now.

Recipes and Photos:

  1. https://www.wellplated.com/baked-salmon-in-foil/
  2. https://www.blessthismessplease.com/simple-roasted-beets/
  3. https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/18249/baked-sweet-potatoes/
  4. https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/garlic-sauteed-spinach-recipe-1944598

 

References:

  1. McKay DL, Chen CY, Saltzman E, Blumberg JB. 2010. Hibiscus sabdariffa L. tea (tisane) lowers blood pressure in prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults. J Nutr. 2010 Feb;140(2):298-303. doi: 10.3945/jn.109.115097.

 

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April 30, 2019

Hypertension (Part 2)

by Nicola Schuler, CNTP, MNT and Dr. Miles Nichols, DAOM, MS, LAc

In Part 1 of Hypertension, we defined what hypertension, high blood pressure, is and we discussed dietary changes that can help to lower blood pressure.  In this article, Hypertension Part 2, we will cover supplements and lifestyle changes that will lower blood pressure.

What Supplements can you take to reduce and manage your BP?

Potassium: Potassium has been found to lower blood pressure (1). This is particularly true if the patient has a high sodium intake, is not on anti-hypertensive medication or has a low potassium intake (1).  ‘Salt sensitive’ hypertension responds particularly well to increased potassium intake because the potassium increases the excretion of sodium (through urine) from the body (2). It takes about 4 weeks of potassium supplementation before the reduction in BP appears (2). Potassium should be part of any natural approach to treating hypertension (3).   The typical American diet provides 2,620 mg of potassium per day (4). There is no RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) for potassium, however people with hypertension can benefit greatly from a daily dose of at least 4,700m mg (5). We recommend to eat potassium-rich foods, as per our article Hypertension Part 1, and to supplement potassium to manage your blood pressure. If you are going to supplement with potassium, we recommend you do so under the guidance of a skilled functional medicine practitioner. In our clinic, we primarily recommend potassium citrate powder as a preferred form to be taken with meals. With professional guidance, doses can be as high as 3,000 mg per day in divided doses. However, on your own, it is best to try to get all your potassium needs met from food.

Calcium:  A calcium-rich diet (of >1,000mg/ day) is recommended to manage hypertension. Supplementation has not been found to bring any significant benefits (6, 7). The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for calcium varies depending on age and gender. Adults between 51 and 70 years are recommended to get 1,000- 1,200 mg per day. We think getting this from calcium-rich foods should be adequate.

Magnesium: Taking 500-1,000 mg of magnesium per day can decrease blood pressure (8). Furthermore, the combination of increased intake of magnesium and potassium with reduced sodium intake is more effective in reducing BP than taking a single mineral and is often as effective as one anti-hypertensive drug in treating hypertension (8).

Garlic: Evidence indicates that garlic can lower BP in people with high blood pressure and should be a part of an anti-hypertensive therapy (9, 10).

Vitamin D: Low levels of vitamin D are associated with a higher risk of hypertension (11). One small study gave 800 IU per day of oral vitamin D for 6 weeks to vitamin D–deficient elderly women. This dose of D lowered systolic blood pressure by 9.3% (12). Other studies have shown seasonal variations within the same population, with blood pressure peaking in winter and falling in summer (13, 14). A large dose of 50,000 IU of vitamin D per week has been shown to reduce hypertension in 8 weeks (15).

Probiotics:  A review of nine studies on probiotics and hypertension found a significant decrease in both systolic and diastolic BP in patients who consumed a daily dose of 109 CFU (or 1 billion Colony Forming Units) of probiotics (16).  CFU is the unit of measurement for probiotics and represents how many bacteria in probiotics are capable of dividing and forming colonies. A CFU is basically one distinct bacterium.

The results of this study indicate that probiotic consumption with daily doses from 109 to 1012 CFU (1 billion to 1 trillion Colony Forming Units) for 3 to 9 weeks may improve BP (16). The degree of improvement in BP is greater among people with hypertension who took a daily dose of 1.5 billion CFUs of probiotics (16). Success in lowering BP was improved if probiotics were taken for longer than 8 weeks (16). The study also suggests a greater effect from consuming multiple strains, rather than a single species (of bacteria) of probiotics (16).

The typical recommended dose of probiotics per day is 1 to 100 billion CFUs. If you are already hypertensive, then a higher dose (up to 350 billion CFUs) may be useful (16). Taking probiotics to prevent the onset of high blood pressure (and ensure good gut health) is recommended for everyone including those with normal to low blood pressure.

What Lifestyle changes can you make to reduce and manage your BP?

The standard advice for lowering blood pressure includes some very important tips, which are also advisable for general good health. These include:

  • Manage stress: It is well-documented that stress is a contributing factor for hypertension (17). It is important to work on stress reduction and, more importantly, stress management if you want to reduce hypertension or avoid it developing in the future.
  • Ensure that you are at a normal weight: As hypertension is involved in metabolic syndrome, as is obesity, it is well-known that losing weight, if necessary, will aid in lowering BP. Just losing 5% of your body weight can significantly reduce hypertension, while gaining weight increases the likelihood of hypertension (18).
  • Exercise: All types of exercise reduce blood pressure (19).  Do whatever kind of exercise you prefer. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is more effective at lowering hypertension and requires less time commitment (20), which may make it preferable for some people.
  • Sleep: Too little sleep and poor quality sleep are associated with hypertension (21). Be sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
  • Monitor your BP at home: Self-monitoring of blood pressure appears to reduce BP in hypertension (22). It is most effective when done with lifestyle modifications. This then leads to clinically significant BP reduction which persists for at least 12 months (22). Speak to us if you would like more info or assistance in how to go about monitoring your own blood pressure at home.

Newer, more modern, advice based on recent research on lowering BP recommends the following for hypertension:

  • Heal the Gut: Evidence links gut dysbiosis (higher level of bad bacteria vs. good bacteria in the gut) with hypertension (23). Certain gut microbial strains may play either a pathogenic or a protective role in the development of hypertension (23). As mentioned above under supplements, probiotics can therefore help as part of a hypertension treatment plan (23). Whilst still a new concept requiring more research, it has been shown that eating lots of fruit and vegetables is associated with reduced blood pressure and lower cardiovascular mortality (24). The relationship between diet and the types of gut bacteria in your gut microbiome is well known and growing evidence supports the role of the gut microbiota in the regulation of blood pressure (24). This is a new approach to treating hypertension with diet and probiotics (25). The best way to heal the gut is to work with a skilled functional medicine practitioner who can test for issues like Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), yeast overgrowth, parasites, worms, etc. Getting a comprehensive stool test together with a SIBO lactulose breath test and then treating issues that were identified on those tests is optimal to address the gut in a much more thorough way than probiotics and diet alone. This is a good preventive measure even if you do not notice any gut symptoms. Blood pressure issues, blood sugar imbalance, skin problems, autoimmune disease, and many more have been connected with gut function regardless of whether there are symptoms related to digestion.
  • Avoid plastics: A study done in 2014 tested the impact of drinking from BPA-lined cans and the impact on blood pressure (26). BPA is bisphenol A, a chemical very commonly used in cans and plastic food and drink containers. It disrupts hormone function, raises blood pressure and can impact cardiovascular health over time. The study subjects drank 2 drinks from cans with BPA (26). Two hours later, BPA was found in their urine and their blood pressure was higher than before they consumed the drinks with BPA (26). Based on this evidence, it is strongly recommended to avoid canned and plastic food and drink containers. This is for general health and specifically for managing hypertension.
  • Relaxation techniques such as Meditation, Tai Chi, Music, Deep Breathing: Many forms of relaxation techniques have a positive impact on blood pressure. Studies have found that all forms of meditation are associated with controlling and improving blood pressure (27). Twenty-two studies have reported reductions in BP with Tai Chi and no adverse effects were reported (28). Music has been shown to improve systolic blood pressure and should be used in treatment of hypertensive patients (29). Device-guided slow breathing can significantly lower BP with no known contraindications from the use of the device, and no adverse effects (30). 15-minute sessions of device-guided slow breathing performed at least 3 to 4 times per week reduce BP and more frequent use may lead to further decreases in BP (30). Other forms of regulated breathing such as pranayama were not compared. So it is not known if paced slow breathing can be taught and effectively used to lower BP over the long term without the use of a device (30).
  • Sunlight: Exposure to sunlight can help to lower BP. As discussed above, research has found that a vitamin D deficiency is associated with higher BP which can be remedied with exposure to the sun. Other research has found that sunlight changes the levels of nitric oxide in the skin, which significantly lowers BP (31, 32). Spending about half the time it would take your skin to turn pink from the sun between the hours of 11am – 3pm with arms and/or legs exposed to the sun without sunscreen on those areas for 5 days per week can provide an optimal level of Vitamin D in many individuals. For fair skin individuals, usually 15-20 minutes is sufficient. The darker your skin, the longer it will take. It is best to avoid sunburn so please limit the unprotected sun exposure to an amount of time that will not lead to sunburn.

Book a complimentary discovery call now to find out more about how to get started working with the functional medicine doctors in our clinic. We can work on your gut health, diet and other ways to manage your BP. Ideally do this before you develop a problem with blood pressure so that you can age gracefully with less cardiovascular disease risk. If you already have hypertension, please get this addressed with functional medicine right away!

 

References:

  1. Filippini T, Violi F, D’Amico R, Vinceti M. 2017. The effect of potassium supplementation on blood pressure in hypertensive subjects: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Cardiol.2017 Mar 1;230:127-135. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2016.12.048.
  2. Haddy FJ, Vanhoutte PM, Feletou M. 2006. Role of potassium in regulating blood flow and blood pressure. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol.2006 Mar;290(3):R546-52.
  3. Cappuccio FP, MacGregor GA. 1991. Does potassium supplementation lower blood pressure? A meta-analysis of published trials. J Hypertens.1991 May;9(5):465-73.
  4. US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. Data tables: results from USDA’s 1994-96 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals and 1994-96 Diet and Health Knowledge Survey. ARS Food Surveys Research Group,  http://www.barc.usda.gov/bhnrc/foodsurvey/home.htm(accessed 21 March 2019).
  5. Loren CordainS Boyd Eaton Anthony Sebastian Neil Mann Staffan LindebergBruce A Watkins James H O’Keefe Janette Brand-Miller. 2005. Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st The Amer. J. of Clncl. Nutr., Volume 81, Issue 2, February 2005, Pages 341-354. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn.81.2.341.
  6. Simonetti G, Mohaupt M. 2007. Calcium and blood pressure. Ther Umsch.2007 May;64(5):249-52.
  7. Zemel MB. 2001. Calcium modulation of hypertension and obesity: mechanisms and implications. J Am Coll Nutr.2001 Oct;20(5 Suppl):428S-435S.
  8. Houston M. 2011. The role of magnesium in hypertension and cardiovascular disease. J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2011 Nov;13(11):843-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7176.2011.00538.x.
  9. X J Xiong, P Q Wang, S J Li, X K Li, Y Q Zhang, J Wang. 2015. Garlic for hypertension: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Phytomedicine. 2015 Mar 15 ;22(3):352-61.
  10. Karin Ried. 2016. Garlic Lowers Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Individuals, Regulates Serum Cholesterol, and Stimulates Immunity: An Updated Meta-analysis and Review. J Nutr. 2016 Feb ;146(2):389S-96S.
  11. John P. Forman, Edward Giovannucci, Michelle D. Holmes, Heike A. Bischoff-Ferrari, Shelley S. Tworoger, Walter C. Willett, Gary C. Curhan. 2007. Plasma 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Levels and Risk of Incident Hypertension. 2007;49:1063–1069. doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.107.087288
  12. Pfeifer M, Begerow B, Minne HW, Nachtigall D, Hansen C. Effects of a short-term vitamin D(3) and calcium supplementation on blood pressure and parathyroid hormone levels in elderly women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001; 86: 1633–1637.
  13. Kunes J, Tremblay J, Bellavance F, Hamet P. Influence of environmental temperature on the blood pressure of hypertensive patients in Montreal. Am J Hypertens. 1991; 4: 422–426.
  14. Woodhouse PR, Khaw KT, Plummer M. Seasonal variation of blood pressure and its relationship to ambient temperature in an elderly population. J Hypertens. 1993; 11: 1267–1274.
  15. Mozaffari-Khosravi H, Loloei S, Mirjalili MR, Barzegar K. 2015. The effect of vitamin D supplementation on blood pressure in patients with elevated blood pressure and vitamin D deficiency: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Blood Press Monit.2015 Apr;20(2):83-91. doi: 10.1097/MBP.0000000000000091.
  16. Khalesi S, Sun J, Buys N, Jayasinghe R. 2014. Effects of probiotics on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials. Hypertension. 2014 Oct;64(4):897-903. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.114.03469.
  17. Steptoe A, Kivimäki M, Lowe G, Rumley A, Hamer M. 2016. Blood Pressure and Fibrinogen Response to Mental Stress as Predictors of Incident Hypertension over an 8-Year Period. Ann Behav Med.2016 Dec;50(6):898-906.
  18. Earnest CP, Church TS. 2016. Evaluation of a Voluntary Work Site Weight Loss Program on Hypertension. J Occup Environ Med.2016 Dec;58(12):1207-1211.
  19. Cornelissen VA, Smart NA. 2013. Exercise training for blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Am Heart Assoc.2013 Feb 1;2(1):e004473. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.112.004473.
  20. Boutcher YN, Boutcher SH. 2017. Exercise intensity and hypertension: what’s new?. J Hum Hypertens.2017 Mar;31(3):157-164. doi: 10.1038/jhh.2016.62
  21. Mayer J, Becker H, Brandenburg U, Penzel T, Peter JH, von Wichert P. 1991. Blood pressure and sleep apnea: results of long term nasal continuous positive airway pressure therapy. 1991;79(2):84-92.
  22. Tucker KL, Sheppard JP, Stevens R, Bosworth HB, Bove A, Bray EP, Earle K, George J, Godwin M, Green BB, Hebert P, Hobbs FDR, Kantola I, Kerry SM, Leiva A, Magid DJ, Mant J, Margolis KL, McKinstry B, McLaughlin MA, Omboni S, Ogedegbe O, Parati G, Qamar N, Tabaei BP, Varis J, Verberk WJ, Wakefield BJ, McManus RJ. 2017. Self-monitoring of blood pressure in hypertension: A systematic review and individual patient data meta-analysis. PLoS Med.2017 Sep 19;14(9):e1002389. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002389.
  23. Yongbo Kang, Yue Cai. 2018. Gut microbiota and hypertension: From pathogenesis to new therapeutic strategies. Clincs and Rsch in Hepatology and Gastroenterology. Volume 42, Issue 2, April 2018, Pages 110-117. doi: 10.1016/j.clinre.2017.09.006
  24. Marques FZ, Mackay CR, Kaye DM. 2018. Beyond gut feelings: how the gut microbiota regulates blood pressure. Nat Rev Cardiol.2018 Jan;15(1):20-32. doi: 10.1038/nrcardio.2017.120.
  25. Honour JW. 2015. Historical perspective: gut dysbiosis and hypertension. Physiology. 01 OCT 2015. org/10.1152/physiolgenomics.00063.2015
  26. Bae S, YC Hong. 2014. Exposure to Bisphenol A From Drinking Canned Beverages Increases Blood Pressure. 2014;65:313–319. doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.114.04261.
  27. Koike MK, Cardoso R. 2014. Meditation can produce beneficial effects to prevent cardiovascular disease. Horm Mol Biol Clin Investig.2014 Jun;18(3):137-43. doi: 10.1515/hmbci-2013-0056.
  28. Yeh GY, Wang C, Wayne PM, Phillips RS. 2008. The effect of tai chi exercise on blood pressure: a systematic review. Prev Cardiol.2008 Spring;11(2):82-9.
  29. do Amaral MA, Neto MG, de Queiroz JG, Martins-Filho PR, Saquetto MB, Oliveira Carvalho V. 2016. Effect of music therapy on blood pressure of individuals with hypertension: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Cardiol.2016 Jul 1;214:461-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2016.03.197.
  30. Brook RD, Appel LJ, Rubenfire M, Ogedegbe G, Bisognano JD, Elliott WJ, Fuchs FD, Hughes JW, Lackland DT, Staffileno BA, Townsend RR, Rajagopalan S; American Heart Association Professional Education Committee of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research, Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing, Council on Epidemiology and Prevention, and Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity. 2013. Beyond medications and diet: alternative approaches to lowering blood pressure: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Hypertension.2013 Jun;61(6):1360-83. doi: 10.1161/HYP.0b013e318293645f.
  31. Liu D, Fernandez BO, Hamilton A, Lang NN, Gallagher JMC, Newby DE, Feelisch M, Weller RB. 2014. UVA irradiation of human skin vasodilates arterial vasculature and lowers blood pressure independently of nitric oxide synthase. J Invest Dermatol.2014 Jul;134(7):1839-1846. doi: 10.1038/jid.2014.27.
  32. Science Daily. 2014. Here comes the sun to lower your blood pressure. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140117090139.htm. Accessed April 2 2019.
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April 22, 2019

Hypertension (Part 1)

by Nicola Schuler, CNTP, MNT and Dr. Miles Nichols, DAOM, MS, LAc

Hypertension or high blood pressure: Blood pressure is the pressure against blood vessels and arteries created by the heart pumping blood around the body.  The force of this pressure against the arteries is blood pressure. It increases and decreases throughout the day. If it remains too high, then it is high blood pressure or hypertension. If blood pressure stays too high, it puts a strain on the heart and arteries, possibly resulting in cardiovascular disease, a heart attack or a stroke.

According to the CDC:

  • 32% of Americans or 1 in every 3 adults has high blood pressure (1)
  • About 1 in 3 American adults has prehypertension; blood pressure numbers that are higher than normal but is not yet hypertension (1)
  • This means 2 out of 3 Americans has an issue with blood pressure – either prehypertension or hypertension (1)
  • Only about half (54%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control (2)

How is BP calculated?

Two numbers are used to calculate blood pressure. First, systolic blood pressure is the pressure in blood vessels when the heart beats. The second number is diastolic blood pressure and is the pressure in blood vessels when the heart rests between beats (3). See the chart below (3) to identify if a BP reading is high, low or normal:

Blood Pressure Levels
Normal systolic: less than 120 mmHg
diastolic: less than 80mmHg
At risk (prehypertension) systolic: 120–139 mmHg
diastolic: 80–89 mmHg
High systolic: 140 mmHg or higher
diastolic: 90 mmHg or higher

 

Types of hypertension:

There are different types of hypertension.  Primary or essential hypertension is when the cause is unknown. Secondary hypertension is caused by another disease and is a symptom of that disease. If the root cause of that disease can be addressed, then often blood pressure is reduced or even becomes normal. Less common types of hypertension are:

  • Malignant hypertension has very obvious symptoms like changes in vision, chest pain, anxiety, nausea, numbness or weakness in arms or legs, shortness of breath, headache or reduced urination (4).
  • Resistant hypertension is persistent even after dietary & lifestyle changes have been made and/or the person is taking blood pressure medication (4). It is difficult to treat and may have an underlying cause that has yet to be identified.
  • Pulmonary hypertension is often indicated by a shortness of breath during routine activity, fatigue, chest pain, racing heartbeat, pain in the abdomen near the liver or decreased appetite (4).
  • White coat hypertension is when a person’s blood pressure measures high in the doctor’s office but is normal when the reading is taken at home (4).
  • Isolated systolic hypertension is when the systolic number is too high while the diastolic number is normal (4). It typically affects older people and is normally due to a condition or issue elsewhere in the body.

The exact cause of hypertension is currently unknown. Certain factors are believed to contribute to high blood pressure (3):

  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Too much salt or too little salt in the diet
  • Insufficient intake of potassium, calcium, and magnesium
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Kidney disease, Diabetes, Sleep apnea, Hormone disorders

One study has found that high blood pressure is associated with gut microbiota dysbiosis, both in animal and human hypertension (5). Dysbiosis is when there are too few health-promoting, good bacteria and too many harmful or pathogenic bacteria in the gut.

So what can you do about hypertension?

Fortunately there are numerous action steps you can take to manage hypertension which include diet, supplements and lifestyle factors. Hypertension is part of metabolic syndrome which is very much a lifestyle disease. Thus diet has a strong impact on the incidence and management of hypertension.  We will concentrate on diet changes that can help lower BP (blood pressure) in this article. We will run a second article to cover supplements and lifestyle factors that can help reduce blood pressure.

What Diet Changes can you make to reduce and manage your BP?

  • Reduce Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates: Multiple studies have found that reducing sugar intake in all forms leads to lower blood pressure (6, 7, 8).
  • Sodium and Potassium: Despite conventional wisdom, studies have found that too much or too little sodium can increase blood pressure in some individuals (9). For most healthy individuals, we recommend consuming between 3’000 and 6’000 mg of sodium per day (9). Below 3’000 mg of sodium per day was associated with a 27% increase in cardiovascular disease and death (9). Consuming more than 6’000 mg per day was associated with a 15% increase in cardiovascular disease and mortality (9). It appears that there are a subset of sodium-sensitive individuals whose BP increases from excessive sodium intake. However, this is not everyone. We recommend that those with high blood pressure do an experiment with salt and measuring BP (see action steps at the end of this article). In addition to sodium, other minerals like potassium have a significant influence on BP as well. Another study found diets rich in potassium to be more effective than an aggressive salt reduction to prevent hypertension (10).  Recommended potassium intake per day is 4’000-5’000 mg but the average person only gets 2’800 mg daily (11). Increase your potassium by eating high potassium foods like banana, sweet potato, white potato, orange, winter squash, white beans, beets, parsnip and spinach.  It may be necessary to supplement potassium in addition to adding potassium to the diet.

(Note: One teaspoon of salt is approximately 2’300 mg sodium. One medium banana has 422 mg of potassium.)

  • Magnesium and Calcium: Consuming a healthy diet that provides the recommended amount of the mineral magnesium can be help control BP (12). The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for magnesium is 310–420 mg for adults and can be found in these foods high in magnesium: nuts, spinach & other greens, seeds, avocados, dark chocolate. Calcium, along with potassium and magnesium, may improve blood pressure levels and reduce coronary heart disease and stroke (13). It is recommended to get these minerals through increased consumption of fruits and vegetables (13). Calcium-containing foods include seeds, cheese, yogurt, bone-in fish like sardines, legumes, almonds and whey protein. The RDA for calcium varies depending on age and gender. Adults between 51 and 70 years are recommended to get 1’000- 1’200 mg per day.
  • Reduce Alcohol: It is well established that excessive alcohol consumption is a significant predictor of the development of hypertension and that alcohol reduction in patients with high BP can significantly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure (14).
  • The DASH Diet: DASH or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension is often regarded as the diet to follow for hypertension. In research, it has a reducing effect on both systolic and diastolic blood pressure but there is variation in the extent of the fall in blood pressure in different subgroups of patients (15). We think a generally healthy diet would be equally effective, as long as the sodium potassium balance is well managed and there are sufficient levels of other minerals.
  • Specific Foods can help to reduce blood pressure include: hibiscus tea (16), beets (17), fatty fish such as salmon (18), olive oil (19) and nuts (20).
  • Improve Gut Health: One study indicates that diet changes to re-balance gut microbiota could be a new strategy using nutrition to help reduce hypertension (5). This study goes on to say that probiotics affect BP. Trials showed a significant decrease in both systolic and diastolic BP in patients who took a daily dose of probiotics (21).

In Part 2 on Hypertension, we will discuss the supplements and some lifestyle factors that will significantly work to reduce hypertension. Please stay tuned for these tips.

Here are the abbreviated action steps you can take based on the information in this article:

  • Significantly reduce sugar and refined carbohydrates by skipping dessert, avoiding pastries, cookies, cakes, and anything made with white flour. You can take it a step further if you like and avoid all gluten and sugar, choosing a moderate amount of fresh fruit and a small amount of raw, unfiltered local honey to satisfy any sweet needs. You could even try avoiding all grains for a period of time and use stevia as an alternative to sweeteners. Allow sweet potatoes, squash, beets, plantains, and carrots to become satisfying sweets. Possibly add a square or two of dark chocolate (75% and higher cocoa content) as this can help with nutrients that can regulate BP.
  • Increase potassium intake by having plenty of starchy tubers like potatoes and sweet potatoes, plantains, avocados, bananas (eat them on the green side to have less blood sugar impact and get more resistant starch for good gut bacteria to feed on), and lots of leafy greens and some fresh fruits. Track with an app like MyFitnessPal for a few days and make sure you are getting at least 4’700mg/day. If BP is high, you may want to shoot for 6’000mg daily (some hunter-gatherer cultures have been reported to get as high as over 10’000mg daily on average).
  • Do a salt experiment by taking precisely 1.5 teaspoons sea salt (just over 3’000mg on the low end of intake that was found to be in the healthy range for cardiovascular disease prevention) and putting it into a small dish. Make this your salt for the day. Cook all your meals at home and consume only food that has no added salt (nothing packaged that has any sodium content to it). Add salt from the dish to food you are cooking and to food on your plate that day. Make sure you have finished the salt in the dish by the end of the day (you will have to adjust things if you are cooking for more than just yourself so that you are getting the full dish worth of salt that day). Take your blood pressure first thing in the morning on this day and 2-3 times throughout the day. Notice if it is higher, lower, or the same as usual. Also keep a note on how it felt. Did that seem like a lot of salt? A small amount? Or about usual for you? Then do the experiment again another day but this time use 2.5 teaspoons of sea salt (just under the 6’000mg high end for healthy salt intake). How did your blood pressure do that day?
  • Consume magnesium and calcium-rich foods and/or supplement to get adequate intake of both of these minerals. Be sure to have some nuts, seeds, plenty of greens including spinach, avocado, and some dark chocolate (1-2 squares at 75%+ cocoa content). Also get a couple of servings of grass-fed full fat dairy if you tolerate dairy (yogurt, kefir, cheese, etc.) and/or bone-in canned fish (canned wild salmon with the bone or canned sardines with the bones – the canning process makes the bones soft enough to eat – of course do not eat bones from fresh fish that are hard and brittle).
  • Limit alcohol consumption to 3 drinks per week (men) or 2 drinks per week (women) or less. And make sure a drink is actually a single drink (i.e. 4 oz pour for wine and not 6 or 8 oz). If it has been a while since you’ve gone a month without alcohol, try stopping entirely for 30-60 days.
  • Drink 2-3 cups of hibiscus tea daily by brewing a gallon of tea using loose leaf hibiscus flowers. Brew it strong and store in the fridge to drink over a few days.
  • Eat fermented foods and/or take probiotics daily. For example you can eat sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented beets, make beet kvass and drink it, unsweetened grass-fed kefir, etc. Or get professional-grade probiotics to take. Also consume prebiotic rich foods like lentils, green bananas, green plantains, potatoes that have been cooked then cooled 24-hours, onions that are still a bit crunchy (not fully caramelized), leeks, and dandelion greens.

 

References

  1. Nwankwo T, Yoon SS, Burt V, Gu Q. Hypertension among adults in the US: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2011-2012. NCHS Data Brief, No. 133. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2013.
  2. Farley TA, Dalal MA, Mostashari F, Frieden TR. Deaths preventable in the U.S. by improvements in the use of clinical preventive services. Am J Prev Med. 2010;38(6):600–9.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. 2016. High Blood Pressure Fact Sheet. https://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_bloodpressure.htm. Accessed March 12, 2019.
  4. 2018. Types of Hypertension – Understanding the Differences. https://www.resperate.com/blog/hypertension/facts/definition-symptoms/types-of-hypertension. Accessed March 12, 2019
  5. Yang T, Santisteban MM, Rodriguez V, Li E, Ahmari N, Carvajal JM, Zadeh M, Gong M, Qi Y, Zubcevic J, Sahay B, Pepine CJ, Raizada MK, Mohamadzadeh M. 2015. Gut dysbiosis is linked to hypertension. Hypertension. 2015 Jun ;65(6):1331-40.
  6. Chen L, Caballero B, Mitchell DC, Loria C, Lin PH, Champagne CM, Elmer PJ, Ard JD, Batch BC, Anderson CA, Appel LJ. 2010. Reducing consumption of sugar sweetened beverages is associated with reduced blood pressure: a prospective study among United States adults. Circulation. 2010 Jun 8;121(22):2398-406. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.911164.
  7. Malik AH, Akram Y, Shetty S, Malik SS, Yanchou Njike V. 2014. Impact of sugar sweetened beverages on blood pressure. Am J Cardiol. 2014 May 1;113(9):1574-80. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2014.01.437.
  8. Brown IJ, Stamler J, Van Horn L, Robertson CE, Chan Q, Dyer AR, Huang CC, Rodriguez BL, Zhao L, Daviglus ML, Ueshima H, Elliott P. 2011. Sugar sweetened beverage, sugar intake of individuals, and their blood pressure: international study of macro/micronutrients and blood pressure. Hypertension. 2011 Apr;57(4):695-701. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.110.165456.9.
  9. O’Donnell M, Mente A, Rangarajan S, McQueen MJ, Wang X, Liu L, Yan H, Lee SF, Mony P, Devanath A, Rosengren A, Lopez-Jaramillo P, et al. 2014. Urinary Sodium and Potassium Excretion, Mortality, and Cardiovascular Events. N Engl J Med. 2014; 371:612-623. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1311889.
  10. Lelong H, Blacher J, Baudry J, Adriouch S, Galan P, Fezeu L, Hercberg S, Kesse-Guyot E. 2017. Individual and Combined Effects of Dietary Factors on Risk of Incident Hypertension. Hypertension. 2017;70:712–720. org/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.117.09622.
  11. Cordain L, Eaton SB, Sebastian A, Mann N, Lindeberg S, Watkins BA, O’Keefe JH, Brand-Miller J. 2005. Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Feb;81(2):341-54.
  12. Kostov K, Halacheva L. 2018. Role of Magnesium Deficiency in Promoting Atherosclerosis, Endothelial Dysfunction, and Arterial Stiffening as Risk Factors for Hypertension. Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Jun 11 ;19(6).
  13. Houston MC, Harper KJ.2008. Potassium, magnesium and calcium: their role in both the cause and treatment of hypertension. J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich).2008 Jul;10(7 Suppl 2):3-11.
  14. Collart F, de Timary P, Dom G, Dor BD, Duprez D, Lengelé JP, Matthys F, Peuskens H, Rehm J, Stärkel P. 2015. Alcohol-induced hypertension: an important healthcare target in Belgium. Acta Clin Belg. 2015 Dec;70(6):389-95. doi: 10.1179/2295333715Y.0000000039.
  15. Saneei P, Salehi-Abargouei A, Esmaillzadeh A, Azadbakht L. 2014. Influence of Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis on randomized controlled trials. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2014 Dec;24(12):1253-61. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2014.06.008.
  16. McKay DL, Chen CY, Saltzman E, Blumberg JB. 2010. Hibiscus sabdariffa L. tea (tisane) lowers blood pressure in prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults. J Nutr. 2010 Feb;140(2):298-303. doi: 10.3945/jn.109.115097.
  17. Coles LT, Clifton PM. 2012. Effect of beetroot juice on lowering blood pressure in free-living, disease-free adults: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Nutr J. 2012; 11: 106. doi: 1186/1475-2891-11-106.
  18. Ramel A, Martinez JA, Kiely M, Bandarra NM, Thorsdottir I. 2010. Moderate consumption of fatty fish reduces diastolic blood pressure in overweight and obese European young adults during energy restriction. 2010 Feb;26(2):168-74. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2009.04.002.
  19. Moreno-Luna R, Muñoz-Hernandez R, Miranda ML, Alzenira F, Jimenez-Jimenez CL, Vallejo-Vaz AJ, Muriana FJG, Villar J, Stiefel P. 2012. Olive Oil Polyphenols Decrease Blood Pressure and Improve Endothelial Function in Young Women with Mild Hypertension. J.of Hypertension, Volume 25, Issue 12, 1 December 2012, Pages 1299–1304, https://doi.org/10.1038/ajh.2012.128.
  20. Mohammadifard N, Salehi-Abargouei A,  Salas-Salvadó J, Guasch-Ferré M, Humphries K, Sarrafzadegan 2015. The effect of tree nut, peanut, and soy nut consumption on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. The Amer. J. of Clncl Nutr., Volume 101, Issue 5, 1 May 2015, Pages 966–982, https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.114.091595.
  21. Khalesi S, Sun J, Buys N, Jayasinghe R. Effect of probiotics on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials. 2014;64:897–903.
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April 9, 2019

To Supplement or Not to Supplement?

by Nicola Schuler, CNTP, MNT and Dr. Miles Nichols, DAOM, MS, LAc

Nutritional or dietary supplements have become popular. Should you be taking them or not?

There are many reasons why, in our modern lives, we do not get adequate nutrition from the food we eat. Given that this applies to just about everyone in modern society, it is often necessary to use supplements.

Why We Need Supplements:

  • Poor diet: About 75% of the US population does not consume the recommended intake of fruit, and more than 80% do not consume the recommended intake of vegetables (1). In fact, 95% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, 94% in vitamin E, 61% in magnesium, 51% in vitamin A, 49% in calcium, 43% in vitamin C, 15% in B6, 13% in folate, 12% in zinc, 8% in iron, 5% in copper and 4% in B12 (2). This is due to our modern diet of inadequate vegetables and fruits coupled with excessive amounts of processed foods. Processed and refined foods have been shown to be so devoid of nutrients that governments have mandated fortification of foods like processed grains with certain vitamins and minerals such as folic acid, riboflavin, vitamin D, iron, calcium, and others. Iodized salt has iodine added because goiter used to be more common due to iodine deficiencies from poor dietary choices.

 

  • Less diverse diet: We do not eat, nor do we even really have access to, the diversity of food types that our ancestors ate. Additionally, many of the foods we do have access to have been bred for taste and flavor, not nutritional content. Many wild ancestors of modern plants had far more nutrition and phytonutrients as compared to the modern varietals that we eat today.

 

  • Poor soil quality: Current modern farming practices, such as over-cropping and overgrazing, have depleted the soil of vitamins and minerals. This has led to a lower nutrient content in the foods grown in the soil. One study found “reliable declines” in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin B2 and vitamin C in vegetables and fruits grown in depleted soil over the past half century (3). In addition, once harvested, the nutritional content of vegetables and fruits declines over time. Produce is stored and shipped for weeks and is unfortunately not very fresh by the time it arrives on our supermarket shelves.

 

  • Toxic load due to chemicals exposure: Our food supply today is contaminated. There are many chemicals found in our food due to farming practices and chemicals in the environment. These include heavy metals, pesticides, industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals, radioactive elements, electronic waste pollutants, plastics, nanoparticles and others (4). Furthermore, we are exposed to countless industrial chemicals. “In reality,” Lynn R. Goldman, Former Assistant Administrator for Toxic Substances at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said, “we really don’t know how many chemicals are currently in commerce in the United States” (5). It is estimated that there are somewhere between 25,000 and 84,000 industrial chemicals in the United States (5).  Our bodies’ toxic loads are therefore increased by this unprecedented exposure to all sorts of chemicals. When subjected to this level of chemicals and toxin exposure, the body requires more nutrients to detoxify and cope.

 

  • Chronic stress: The American Psychological Association’s 2010 Stress in America survey found that “most Americans are suffering from moderate to high stress, with 44% reporting that their stress levels have increased over the past five years” (6). Stress has many negative effects on health and requires more nutrients to combat these damaging effects. It depletes many important vitamins and minerals, namely B vitamins, C, E and magnesium, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies, fatigue, weakened immunity and possibly other illnesses if not addressed.

 

  • Widespread use of medications (birth control, antibiotics, antidepressants, painkillers, NSAIDs, etc.): Nearly 70% of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and over 50% take two (7). 20% of patients are on five or more prescription medications, according to Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center researchers (7). Most medications, including OTC ones, cause a depletion of important vitamins and minerals. The result is that most Americans, on medication, are depleted in some essential nutrients. For a tool to find out researched nutrient depletions associated with particular medications or combinations of medications, visit: https://mytavin.com

 

  • Poor gut health impairs absorption: One function of a healthy gut is nutrient absorption from the food we eat. If gut function is not strong, then nutrients will not be well absorbed from the diet. We have a near epidemic of gut issues today due to all of the reasons mentioned above; poor diet, less diverse diet, exposure to toxins, stress, medications. This reduces our ability to absorb nutrition from our food. The overuse of antibiotics together with excessive hygiene practices and increases in procedures which are elected and not medically necessary, like Caesarean section birth, have all contributed to gut microbiome changes. The bacterial populations in the gut are important for absorbing and even creating certain nutrients in the body. For these and many other reasons, gut health is a critically important variable for nutrient delivery and absorption.

 

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are often common as a result of these factors. Deficiencies often lead to symptoms and physical problems that are difficult to identify. For example, these deficiencies could lead to symptoms of fatigue, reduced ability to fight infections, or impaired cognitive function (concentration, focus or memory issues), mood issues such as depression or anxiety and other problems. Micronutrient inadequacies can also have longer term consequences for health and increase the risk of chronic disease like cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and others.  This is why it can be important to use supplementation for certain health conditions as part of the therapeutic approach.

Even a healthy person can become depleted due to all of the reasons above, so supplements are often helpful for the maintenance of good health. The supplements that are often required for simple maintenance of good health are:

  • B vitamins: Especially if you don’t eat liver, nutritional yeast, and lots of vegetables. Supplemental B12 is very important for vegetarians and vegans who often don’t get enough.
  • Omega 3: Especially if you don’t eat at least 1 pound of cold water fatty fish per week. We typically recommend Cod Liver Oil because it also contains pre-formed vitamin A that is often deficient in people who do not eat liver.
  • Magnesium: We like Magnesium Glycinate as a preferred form.
  • Probiotics: Especially if you don’t eat fermented foods daily like sauerkraut, kim chi, kvass, plain unsweetened yogurt or kefir preferably full-fat and from grass-fed cows.
  • Vitamin D: Especially if you don’t get at least 15 minutes of sun exposure on arms and/or legs without sunscreen between the hours of 11am – 3pm at least 5 days per week. When supplementing with Vitamin D, make sure you add Vitamin K2 as well.
  • Multi vitamin & mineral: Most are not shown to be helpful in the research. This is likely due to a quality issue. Professional supplement brands use better forms and ratios of vitamins and minerals as compared to most products found on the supermarket shelves. For this reason, we have put together a ‘sustain and maintain’ supplement pack that covers the most important vitamins, minerals, probiotics, magnesium, fish oil, and liver detoxification support all in one simple AM and PM packet. For details and ordering, email service@livinglovecommunity.com
  • Collagen protein: Glycine is an amino acid found in collagen. It is generally consumed in insufficient quantities for optimal connective tissue and collagen formation. You can take collagen or you can take straight glycine. It is even more important to do so if there are joint issues, methylation defects like MTHFR genetic mutation or sleep issues.
  • Choline: Especially if you do not eat many eggs or liver, which are the top sources of choline in the diet. Adding sunflower lecithin or phosphatidylcholine as a supplement can help.
  • NAC, ALA, Carnitine, and CoQ10 (as ubiquinol): For people focused on longevity and enhanced energy, mitochondrial support with these supplements can be very helpful.

In addition to the importance of taking supplements, it is also critical to take high-quality supplements. There are a number of retail supplements available that have fillers, additives, synthetic compounds and poorly absorbable ingredients. It is best to consult a professional to ensure that you take the supplements that are right for you and are of the best quality. In order to help you choose professional brands that are third-party lab tested, we’ve set up an online store with access to all the supplements mentioned on this page and more. Only high-quality brands vetted by us make the cut. View our store here: http://refill.livinglovecommunity.com

Whether you have a medical condition, want to maintain good health or don’t know which brands are the best and safest quality, don’t struggle with trying to decide on a supplement plan yourself. Come in to see us. We will work with you to develop a personalized supplement program to address your individual health needs. To find out more schedule a discovery call (free 15-minute call with one of our staff). If you just want to get a supplement pack for general wellness without a consultation, email us at service@livinglovecommunity.com for more details on how to get started with supplement packs shipped direct to your door each month.

 

References

  1. US Department of Health and Human Services and US Department of Agriculture. 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans December 2015. Available at: https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/. Accessed 2/27/19.
  2. Fulgoni VL, 3rd, Keast DR, Bailey RL, Dwyer J. Foods, fortificants, and supplements: Where do Americans get their nutrients? J Nutr. 2011;141(10):1847-1854.
  3. Davis DR, Epp MD, Riordan HD. Changes in USDA food composition data for 43 garden crops, 1950 to 1999. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004; Dec. 23 (6).
  4. Thompson LA,Darwish WS. Environmental Chemical Contaminants in Food: Review of a Global Problem. J Toxicol. 2019; doi: 10.1155/2019/2345283.
  5. Identifying and Reducing Environmental Health Risks of Chemicals in Our Society. Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine; Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice; Institute of Medicine. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2014 Oct.
  6. American Psychological Association. 2011. Stressed in America. January 2011, Vol 42, No. 1. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/01/stressed-america. Accessed Feb. 27, 2019.
  7. Mayo Clinic. 2013. Nearly 7 in 10 Americans Take Prescription Drugs, Mayo Clinic, Olmsted Medical Center Find. https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/nearly-7-in-10-americanse-prescription-drugs-mayo-clinic-olm-taksted-medical-center-find/. Accessed Feb. 27, 2019.
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April 2, 2019

What is Functional Medicine? Should you Consider it over Conventional Medicine?

by Nicola Schuler, CNTP, MNT and Dr. Miles Nichols, DAOM, MS, LAc

What is Functional Medicine and Should you Consider it over Conventional Medicine?

There is a lot of frustration with conventional medicine these days. Obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases and other chronic conditions are all on the rise.

6 in 10 Americans have at least 1 chronic disease (defined by the CDC as cancer, heart disease, lung disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, kidney disease) (1).

4 in 10 Americans have 2 or more chronic diseases (1).

Trends show an overall increase in chronic diseases: Chronic diseases are responsible for seven out of 10 deaths in the US, killing more than 1.7 million Americans each year; and more than 75% of the $2 trillion spent on public and private healthcare in 2005 went toward chronic diseases (2).

90% of the 3.3 $ trillion annual health care expenditures are for chronic and mental health conditions (3).

A recent Milken Institute analysis determined that treatment of the seven most common chronic diseases coupled with productivity losses will cost the U.S. economy more than $1 trillion dollars annually (2).

Heart disease and stroke are the leading killer: One third of all deaths are due to heart disease or stroke every year. These diseases cost the health care system $199 billion per year and cause $131 billion in lost productivity on the job (3). 

Cancer is the second leading cause of death: Each year more than 1.6 million people are diagnosed with cancer, and almost 600,000 die from it. The cost of cancer care continues to rise and is expected to reach almost $174 billion by 2020 (3).

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2015 (4): Diagnoses of type 2 diabetes increased from 0.93% in 1958 (5) to 9.4% of the U.S. population in 2015 (4). More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, and another 84 million adults in the United States have pre-diabetes, which puts them at risk for type 2 diabetes (3). Diabetes can cause heart disease, kidney failure, and blindness, and costs the US health care system and employers $237 billion every year (3).  

The overall prevalence of obesity was 39.8% of the population in 2015-2016 (6). Obesity affects 1 in 3 adults and almost 1 in 5 children (3). Over 25% of all Americans aged 17 to 24 years are too heavy to join the military (3). Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. These are some of the leading causes of preventable, premature death (6). The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the United States is $147 billion per year (3).

Arthritis is a leading cause of work disability in the United States (3): Arthritis affects 1 in 4 adults or 54.4 million adults in the United States (3).  It one of the most common chronic conditions and is a common cause of chronic pain. The total cost of arthritis and related conditions was about $304 billion in 2013. Of this amount, nearly $140 billion was for direct medical costs and $164 billion was for indirect costs associated with lost earnings (3).

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death among all adults and the fifth leading cause for those aged 65 or older (3). It is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that affects about 5.7 million Americans (3). In 2010, the costs of treating Alzheimer’s disease were estimated to fall between $159 billion and $215 billion (3). By 2040, these costs are projected to jump to between $379 billion and $500 billion annually (3).

About 20% of Americans suffer from autoimmune diseases (7) and the incidence of autoimmune conditions are rising.

Common autoimmune diseases are rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s, Grave’s, lupus, celiac disease, MS, IBD (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis), Type 1 diabetes and approx. 100 others.  Autoimmune diseases are among the top ten causes of death in girls and women under 65 years (8). 

Between 2001 and 2009, the incidence of type 1 diabetes increased by 23%, according to The American Diabetes Association (9).

The incidence of celiac disease is on the rise. Until the 1970s the estimated prevalence of celiac disease was 0.03%. The current estimated prevalence is 1% in the USA (10).

The incidence of RA appears to be rising: This rise in RA followed a period of 4 decades of declining incidence and appears to be limited to women (11).

Diagnoses of IBD (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis) has risen to 1.3% of US adults in 2015, up from 0.9% in 1999 (12).  IBD seems to be increasing in children, according to a 12-year study showing the incidence rate doubling in the period 1991–2002 (8). 

Most of these chronic health problems have been getting dramatically worse over the past couple of decades and are only going to continue to get worse if effective treatment is not found…and soon. As most of these chronic diseases can be prevented and/or resolved through lifestyle and targeted natural supplements, they are primarily caused by diet and the way Americans live. Many chronic diseases are not inevitable and can be prevented with better diet & lifestyle. They can possibly be reversed with a more appropriate approach to treatment.

Conventional medicine is great at treating acute and crisis issues. For example, in 1900 the top causes of death were from infectious disease (typhoid, tuberculosis, and pneumonia). Today none of those are even in the top 10 causes of death. However, when it comes to treating chronic diseases, Conventional Medicine tends to only offer drugs to manage symptoms, but nothing to resolve root causes. Conventional medicine uses medicine designed for acute conditions for these chronic diseases.

In the midst of this depressing scenario, Functional Medicine emerges as a solution. Functional Medicine truly shines in its ability to work with chronic disease. The rest of this article defines what Functional Medicine is and how it strives for optimal health.

Functional Medicine defined:

Functional Medicine or FM aims to look for and address the root causes of disease. The body is one integrated system. Segregating specialties by organs / systems misses the boat on the researched interconnected impacts between different systems in the body. FM treats the whole system at the root cause level, not just the symptoms at the single organ / system level.

In FM, your doctor or practitioner will spend time with you to assess your case. This is often very difficult to do in the 10-15 minute consultation conventional doctors provide.

FM is not attempting to match your symptoms to a pharmaceutical drug. Rather, it aims to find the underlying root causes and address these causes. For example, a conventional medicine doctor may diagnose hypertension (high blood pressure) and prescribe an anti-hypertensive drug (to lower blood pressure). In most cases there will be little discussed around the root causes of high blood pressure. Perhaps in some cases there will be a vague mention of exercise and possibly a comment about lowering salt intake, but no thorough testing for specific root issues.

In FM, a thorough investigation into the root cause for high blood pressure will ensue. There may be testing around cortisol levels (an adrenal hormone related to stress), gut issues, toxic burden, a thorough dietary assessment, and an investigation into nutrients like potassium (potassium deficiency is one commonly missed root cause of high blood pressure). After the comprehensive assessment, the functional medicine doctor will typically meet with the client for 30-60 minutes and review the findings of the lab work and other assessments about possible root causes. The FM doctor will then prescribe a thorough treatment plan including a prescription of natural supplements like vitamins, minerals, and herbs, plus some specific nutrition and lifestyle changes. In the Living Love clinic, this is then followed up by support from a functional health coach to implement the plan in a step-by-step process with thorough explanations and answers to questions. This allows for the client to understand why they are doing what they are doing, how to overcome challenges that present themselves along the way, and support for tweaking / honing / refining the plan along the way as needed to keep moving towards desired results.

There is more than one root cause in most cases. Addressing the root causes are typically done through natural modalities such as supplement prescriptions including vitamins, minerals, and herbs, diet and nutrition, and lifestyle modifications using exercise, meditation, stress management and other tools. FM may use pharmaceutical drugs but this is not the first reflex. Drugs are typically used in the lowest dose for the shortest time while getting to the root causes and resolving them.

Dr. Mark Hyman, MD, calls FM ‘the future of conventional medicine’.

Principles of FM:

  • Find the root causes. There can be a variety of issues in a complex case. Why is someone suffering from a particular symptom? Get to the underlying reasons for why the symptom or symptoms exist and address those underlying root causes. This may be due to:
    • Chronic inflammation (but what is causing the chronic inflammation?)
    • Nutritional deficiencies (B12, iron, folate, zinc, glycine, potassium, etc.)
    • Toxicity (mold, toxins from Lyme, other biotoxins, metals, chemicals, etc.)
    • Chronic infections (Lyme, Epstein-Barr Virus, or other viral, bacterial, fungal, etc.)
    • A poor diet of inflammatory foods
    • Stress and/ or psychological or emotional issues that can be improved with lifestyle changes
    • A lack of movement or even excessive or the wrong types of exercise for the individual
    • Gut issues like infection, overgrowth, dysbiosis or other, etc.
    • These issues or root causes need to be untangled to really get to the crux of the problem. Then an approach to resolve the root causes can be taken to make the patient well again.

 

  • Test don’t guess. FM uses extensive advanced lab testing to find out what the root causes are. In FM, specific lab testing is used looking at blood, stool, urine and occasionally breath samples. Many of these tests are not used in conventional medicine. Using advanced lab testing helps your FM practitioner to get the full picture to assess what the root causes are. Without testing, a practitioner is forced to make guesses about your health that may or may not be correct.

 

  • Prevention is key. FM seeks to be preventative. There are often signs of a problem lurking years before a person is diagnosed with a disease. We can see antibodies in blood tests years before an autoimmune condition is diagnosed. We can see type 2 diabetes coming if the right blood glucose and insulin tests are examined. Rather than focusing on disease, functional medicine focuses on optimal function. This means that in addition to getting well when chronic disease is present, there is also a focus on longevity, increasing vitality and energy, and not just feeling okay but instead feeling great. There is also a focus on sustaining and maintaining wellness once achieved. Strategies are implemented to help prevent recurrence of issues that had been present in the past.

 

  • FM is very science-based. It draws upon the latest research to understand how the body functions. This is why lab testing is frequently used so that your FM practitioner can see what is happening rather than making assumptions. Peer-reviewed studies are regularly reviewed by the greater functional medicine community and it does not take the 15-20 years that it sometimes takes for research to become integrated in conventional medicine. Instead, research is applied to clinical practice shortly after being published and that means innovative and new interventions are being utilized quickly.

 

  • Health is not just a lack of disease but is rather, a state of optimal vitality. Many of the conditions that society thinks are due to aging can actually be improved or eradicated with a FM approach. Declining health in later years is not a given. A preventative FM approach can improve how a person ages. The last 10 years of a person’s life are important to the functional medicine practitioner. The FM doctor will be thinking about not only how to feel good now, but also how to stay well enough into old age to play with grandchildren, travel the world, and enjoy retirement to its fullest.

 

When to turn to FM:

  • FM is ideal for complex cases in which people have seen many doctors but are still ill
  • FM is great when there are unexplained or unresolved issues that conventional medicine has been unable to identify and/or resolve
  • FM can help to improve and even reverse chronic lifestyle diseases like diabetes and pre-diabetes, and obesity
  • FM can help reverse root causes for immune dysfunction (autoimmune diseases), gut issues (IBS, Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth [SIBO], etc.), hormone imbalance (without the need to take hormone replacement in many cases), chronic infections like Lyme disease, toxic burden like mold toxin illness (also call Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome or CIRS), and many more because the root causes of nearly every chronic illness are similar.
  • FM is for anyone who wants to prevent health problems before they become debilitating, or even appear
  • FM is for everyone who wants to experience optimal health and enjoy life to the fullest! Just because some people feel good now doesn’t mean you can’t feel even better. Longevity, vibrant vitality, unshakeable happiness, and an inspired sense of purpose are all areas of focus for a more holistic kind of functional medicine.

If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about functional medicine, please click here to schedule a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation and/or call or text 720-722-1143 and/or email service@livinglovecommunity.com . We will help you learn more about taking the next steps in a more functional and holistic care model. We work with people who do not live locally so feel free to contact us regardless of where you live. We look forward to playing a part in your health and happiness!

 

References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. November 19, 2018. About Chronic Diseases. https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/about/index.htm. Accessed February 12, 2019.
  2. Raghupathi, W.  and Raghupath, Vi. 2018. An Empirical Study of Chronic Diseases in the United States: A Visual Analytics Approach to Public Health. Int J Environ Res Public Health. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15030431
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National  Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. February 11, 2019. Health and Economic Costs of Chronic Diseases. https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/about/costs/index.htm. Accessed February 12, 2019.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Newsroom. July 18, 2017. New CDC report: More than 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p0718-diabetes-report.html. Accessed February 12, 2019.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. April 2017. Long-term Trends in Diabetes. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/statistics/slides/long_term_trends.pdf. Accessed February 12, 2019.
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. August 13, 2018. Adult Obesity Facts. https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html. Accessed February 12, 2019.
  7. American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association Inc. April 29, 2017. How many Americans have an autoimmune disease? https://www.aarda.org/knowledge-base/many-americans-autoimmune-disease/. Accessed February 12, 2019
  8. Tincture. Jan 29, 2016.  An Invisible Epidemic –  When your body attacks itself –  Autoimmune Disease. https://tincture.io/an-invisible-epidemic-when-your-body-attacks-itself-autoimmune-disease-5738b699de12. Accessed February 11, 2019.
  9. Medical News Today. June 22, 2012. Autoimmune Disease Rates Increasing. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/246960.php. Accessed Feb 10, 2019.
  10. Medical News Today. February 2019. The Spectrum of Celiac Disease: Epidemiology, Clinical Aspects and Treatment. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/720681_2. Accessed February 12, 2019.
  11. Myasoedova E, MD PhD, Crowson C. S., MS, Kremers H. M., MD MSc, Therneau T. M., PhD, and Gabriel S.E., MD MSc. 2011. Is the incidence of rheumatoid arthritis rising? Results from Olmsted County, Minnesota, 1955-2007. Arthritis Rheum. doi: 10.1002/art.27425
  12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. November 14, 2018. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Data and Statistics. https://www.cdc.gov/ibd/data-statistics.htm. Accessed February 11, 2019.
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