Fri, 12 May 2017
I recently sprained my ankle during a workout and thought I'd use the experience as a teaching platform. Today I dig in to the idea that the commonly voiced R.I.C.E. strategy for soft tissue injury is hurting you and slowing your return to action. I cover the science proving that ice is a poor recovery strategy, and I present a strategy that truly is effective and allows you to get back into action as fast as possible.
Thu, 4 May 2017
It’s commonly thought that sleep apnea is simply a problem of obesity or structural issues that interfere with breathing. However, a commonly overlooked cause of sleep apnea in men and women is the brain. When the brain is not functioning properly, this can interfere with the body’s ability to maintain proper breathing function while asleep.
Sleep apnea and the brain in women
The brain’s influence on sleep apnea can be seen in women during perimenopause and menopause if their estrogen drops too low.
Insufficient estrogen causes the brain to fail in signaling the palate and tongue to maintain tone during sleep. The resulting lack of tone blocks the airway.
The brain-related cause of sleep apnea is different in men. In a rat study, young male rats responded to normal episodes of oxygen deprivation during sleep by automatically increasing brain activity to take deeper and more frequent breaths. However, the older male rats did not respond in the same way due, it’s theorized, to more aged brains.
Researchers observed a much different response to these normal episodes of sleep-induced oxygen deprivation in female rats. For one thing, older female rats responded much more positively to these hypoxic events than the older males.
Younger female rats had an even better response, especially during specific times in the menstrual cycle. This led scientists to believe female hormones play a role in how they respond to normal episodes of oxygen deprivation during sleep.
This theory is what leads researchers to believe estrogen deficiency contributes to sleep apnea in women during perimenopause and menopause. Estrogen influences serotonin, a brain neurotransmitter chemical that plays a role in giving the tongue and palate tone, including during sleep.
Estrogen tells the brain to breathe in women
To test the theory that the interplay between estrogen and serotonin plays a role in sleep apnea, researchers induced menopause in female rats by removing their ovaries. Sure enough, post-mortem brain biopsies showed less serotonin in the area of the brain that controls the tongue. This had made it harder for the female rats to respond to episodes of oxygen deprivation during sleep. This helps explain why sleep apnea affects more women in midlife.
Sleep apnea and the brain in men
Middle-aged men also experience higher rates of sleep apnea due to the effect of declining testosterone on the brain.
In midlife, men snore more and have more episodes where they stop breathing.
Middle-aged women, however, more commonly complain of insomnia, as well as headaches, fatigue, and irritability caused by sleep deprivation and poor sleep quality. That estrogen deficiency promotes weight gain, and restless leg syndrome only worsens the problem of sleep apnea.
Hormone status that plummets too low in midlife can be the result of chronic stress, poor diets, lack of exercise, and other standard bad habits of modern living. These are areas we can address through functional medicine.
Functional neurology and sleep apnea
Sleep apnea can also arise in relation to traumatic brain injuries, childhood brain development disorders such as autism, or other brain-related issues. In functional neurology we can identify areas of dysfunction related to sleep apnea, such as with nerves traveling from the tongue to the brain through the brainstem. Based on findings, customized rehabilitation exercises may help address problems with sleep apnea.
Functional medicine and neurology strategies can profoundly improve both brain and hormone function so you not only sleep better, but also feel and function better. Ask my office for more advice.
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 6:00am EDT
Thu, 2 March 2017
Brain Fog and associated signs and symptoms such as decreased mental clarity, decreased mental performance, increased occurence of loss of keys, and increased occurence of forgeting names with faces should not be shrugged off as old age. This may be an early sign of neurodegeneration that could progress to Parkinson's or Alzheimer's.
How can we know our risk? Are there lab markers that we can use to give us an indication of where we are on the spectrum of neurodegeneration?
Yes, there are. In today's show we will dive into a couple and discuss what to do about it if your levels of these biomarkers are unhealthy.
Sun, 26 February 2017
Brain fog is a common symptom suffered by many people each day. In this episode, we will dive into 5 common causes of brain fog. These causes may show up individually or in combination. How many are contributing to your brain fog?
Sun, 1 January 2017
If you’re like most people, you over indulged during the holidays and now you’d like to reboot your health with a detox diet. The autoimmune diet calms inflammation, stimulates repair and recovery, and boosts energy while preventing hunger. It also helps tame autoimmunity and repair leaky gut.
Remove foods that cause inflammation
Many foods people eat daily can be inflammatory, causing fatigue, rashes, joint pain, digestive issues, headaches, anxiety, depression, autoimmune flare ups, and more.
The foods most people react to are gluten, dairy, various grains, eggs, nuts, and nightshades. Sugar, sweeteners, and sweet fruits also cause inflammation.
The autoimmune detox diet calms inflammation
People new to this diet often wonder if there is anything left to eat. There is plenty to eat on the autoimmune diet! In fact, the autoimmune diet more closely resembles what people have eaten for most of human history.
The diet is based on grass-fed and organic meats, wild fish, healthy fats, fermented foods, and lots of veggies. Eating plenty of vegetables will help build good gut bacteria, detoxify the liver, and boost immune health and tolerance of more foods.
Healthy fats include coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, and ghee (if tolerated). Avoid processed vegetable oils and strictly avoid hydrogenated oils, or trans fats.
The rewards of feeling better outweigh the downsides
The autoimmune detox diet is certainly more work than eating fast food or microwave meals. But the rewards in how much better it will make you feel are worth the effort.
This diet requires planning and preparation. You may experience cravings, low energy, and some detox symptoms for a few days in the beginning. Online support groups can be very reassuring and helpful.
However, it doesn’t take long before most people feel an increase in energy and well being and actually come to enjoy the diet. Many also lose unwanted fat.
After following the diet for 30 to 90 days, you may wish to add in some of the eliminated foods — one at a time every 72 hours — to see whether you react to any of them. This will help you customize a lifelong diet that is healthy but satisfying. Many find going off at least gluten and dairy bring substantial health benefits.
Supplements to enhance detoxification and gut repair
Certain nutritional compounds can aid in your health reboot. Some are great at supporting liver detoxification, gut repair, blood sugar balance, and stress handling, all of which can aid you in your new diet. Just call my office for advice, 704-895-2240.
Foods to avoid on the autoimmune detox diet
Foods to eat
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 12:30am EDT
Sat, 31 December 2016
What is the difference between food allergy and food sensitivity? Are food sensitivities real? Or are they just a fad?
Today's episode will answer these questions and more.
Direct download: Food_Allergy_vs_Food_Sensitivity_-_Understanding_Semantics.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 11:10am EDT
Mon, 29 August 2016
Gut health is a massive topic. There is no way to cover it in 1 episode, or 10. This episode lays the groundwork by covering gut anatomy and physiology. It then forays into the microbiota, food sensitivities, GERD, and your stools. This is a nice 10,000 foot view to get you started.
Thu, 25 August 2016
Functional Medicine is the future of healthcare. What is it? What are the benefits? How is it different from mainstream medicine? All of these questions and more are answered using a case example of a patient with an Estrogen Dominance diagnosis.
Direct download: What_is_Functional_Medicine_-_Estrogen_Dominance_Example.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 10:30am EDT
Mon, 22 August 2016
Many doctors in mainstream medicine believe that gluten is harmless unless you have Celiac Disease or an IgE Wheat Allergy. Holistic clinicians and patients have observed otherwise clinically for years. Brand new research now confirms what Holistic clinicians and their patients have known and experienced...Glute Sensitivity is REAL! Now we have objective lab markers to prove it.
Wed, 17 August 2016
"Low T" is an ever growing complaint/diagnosis that men are entering my practice with. What is driving this increase in decreased T? Are testosterone injections the best answer for these men? What is the best way to evaluate testosterone to get the clearest clinical picture? How do lifestyle factors like sleep, nutrition, and exercise affect testosterone levels? What about genetics?