Fri, 22 September 2017
When something stressful happens, our body goes into “fight or flight” mode, pumping out stress hormones, raising blood pressure and pulse, and shunting blood away from the organs and towards the limbs. When the stress is over, a healthy body bounces back and returns to normal.
Unfortunately, many people are stuck in fight-or-flight mode. This is especially true in people dealing with a chronic health or brain disorder, as their health itself is a chronic stressor in a self-perpetuating vicious cycle.
The autonomic nervous system, which runs such bodily functions as digestion, heart beat, breathing, etc., consists of two arms:
When you're in a life-or-death situation, you don't need to digest, detoxify, reproduce, or regenerate cells — duties for the parasympathetic rest-and-digest system. The priority is simply to keep you alive. Once you’re safe, the parasympathetic system kicks back in.
The problem is modern life has many of us on hyper drive, in what feels like an ongoing attack. This keeps us in sympathetic mode longer than we should be.
Causes of chronic fight-or-flight mode
It’s not just daily stress that can keep a person stuck in sympathetic mode. It could be stress from the past that has been hardwired into your brain, a concept referred to as negative plasticity. The neuron pathways in your brain have become highly efficient at stress so it takes less and less to trigger a stress response.
The most common example of this is post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. It can also come from long periods of overwork and sleep deprivation that have essentially trained your brain to be agitated all the time, even though your health is being sacrificed.
Signs of chronic sympathetic stress
Signs you are stuck in sympathetic mode include problems with sleep, anxiety, blood sugar issues (even with a blood-sugar-balancing diet), sexual dysfunction, brain fog, memory issues, fatigue, difficulty recovering from exercise or stressful events, getting sick easily, and chronic pain.
Chronic sympathetic stress not only creates negative plasticity, it also damages the gut lining, leading to intestinal permeability, or leaky gut. This allows undigested foods, bacteria, yeast, and other pathogens into the bloodstream, where they trigger inflammation. This chronic inflammation is the foundation to many health maladies.
Getting out of chronic sympathetic stress mode
The most obvious first step to managing sympathetic stress is to address the cause of stress. The cause can be metabolic, such as chronic infection, blood sugar issues, hormone deficiencies, inflammation, or undiagnosed autoimmunity.
Or it can be lifestyle, such as a toxic job or relationship, not sleeping enough, or taking on too much to do and never taking time off.
Another commonly overlooked cause is a brain-based disorder. The less healthy or more degenerated the brain is, the less able it is to dampen sympathetic stress.
If you suffer from brain fog, memory loss, poor cognitive skills, and lack of brain endurance, you may also find you’re often in fight-or-flight mode.
Problems with your vestibular (inner ear) system or cerebellum, both of which play a role in balance, can cause chronic sympathetic stress because the brain is constantly feeling unbalanced.
People may also have issues with the basal ganglia — which acts as the gas and brake pedal of the brain — that keeps them chronically stressed out. These are just a few ways in which a brain-based disorder can contribute to sympathetic stress.
In functional neurology we look at all facets of health to help you unwind sympathetic stress. Sometimes the issue can be as simple as removing certain foods from your diet that are inflaming your body and brain, gluten being the most common.
Other times it takes a neurological exam and some sleuthing to determine whether the issue is brain-based. Often it is a combination of metabolic and brain-based causes.
Ask my office how we can help get you out of chronic sympathetic stress and into a more balanced neurological state that includes plenty of restful and restorative parasympathetic activation.
Category:Blog -- posted at: 11:07am EDT
Wed, 13 September 2017
Your #Health can be looked at as a train on a train track. There are two ways to go, forward or backward. The right way, or the wrong way. Full speed ahead or trainwreck.
If you are living under the typical American paradigm of "I'll eat drink, drink, and be merry and modern medicine will save me with a magic bullet prescription medication" then you're on the wrong track.
Health is a never-ending journey, not a destination.
Health is being created or destroyed every moment with every decision you make.
Do you want full speed ahead but don't know the choices to make? Have you been in a Trainwreck and want to get the most out of what's left of your engine?
Then partner with a train engineer that knows how to diagnose what is wrong with your engine, navigate the tracks, and get you traveling in the right direction.
Category:Blog -- posted at: 1:15pm EDT
Mon, 11 September 2017
#LowTestosterine aka #LowT is a hot diagnosis these days.
I have consulted with many men who have "Low T" symptoms such as #Fatigue #LowEnergy #LowLibido #BrainFog #WeightGain etc.
They went to a hormone replacement doctor or clinic, had their #Testosterone checked by blood work (an incomplete test 100% of the time), and were told they had Low T and needed Testosterone replacement via injection, topical, pellet, and/or oral.
You MUST ASK WHY you have Low T...or better yet, whether you have it at all.
Category:Blog -- posted at: 8:00am EDT
Thu, 7 September 2017
Person presents with 7+ years of #Dizziness #Imbalance #Anxiety and #EmotionalInstability
A history of #TBI #TraumaticBrainInjury from a golf club is one factor.
Category:Blog -- posted at: 8:00am EDT
Wed, 6 September 2017
#Depression is no longer (and hasn't been for a while) considered to have a primary cause of #NeurotransmitterDeficiency
The most up to date #ScientificResearch shows that the primary driver is #NeuroInflammation
If we are seeking to truly #AddressTheCause then we must ask, "What is causing the neuroinflammation?"
The answer to that question is the key to cracking the case of the individual in question.
The cause(s) could be many: #TraumaticBrainInjury #TBI #Infection#GutDysbiosis #Excitotoxicity #ChronicStress #PoorDiet #NutrientDeficiency#Autoimmunity #PoorLiver #GeneticDefects #HeavyMetals #CorporateToxins#Medications and more.
So if you go to a doctor and complain of depression and they immediately want to put you on #Prozac or some other #SSRI drug, you know one of two things.
1. They are not current with the research.
2. They are not thinking critically enough and asking "why?".
If you think you can get more than 8 minutes out of your visit, try asking them what they think could be causing it and what treatment options are available beside medications.
Category:Blog -- posted at: 8:30am EDT
Tue, 5 September 2017
The #FluShot nonsense has to stop. Every year they come out and say how ineffective that year's shot was.
It'd be one thing if the shot was ONLY ineffective. But it's also #Toxic and #Dangerous
So why is it continually pushed on the public by the #FDA and #CDC in the name of safety? Probably because they answer to and are run by #BigPharma
Nowhere else in the marketplace can a product be such a failure and continue to be pushed on the people.
Not only is it recommended, but as you can see from the picture, it is commonly offered with inducements and enticements to #Poison yourself and your family.
Don't fall for it.
Category:Blog -- posted at: 11:38am EDT
Fri, 1 September 2017
I had a 12 year old female yesterday morning with OCD, Anxiety, Panic Attacks, and a Tic that has seen many neuros, pediatric neuros, had EEGs, etc that cannot diagnose her. This person came in from 3 hours away.
Beyond the obvious Basal Ganglionic issues, she also has Absence Seizures and Vestibular Migraines that the previous doctors denied and supposedly ruled out with EEG.
I was able to induce an Absence Seizure immediately followed by a Vestibular Migraine during my examination, confirming that she has them..
Mom saw it before I even asked her if she saw it. It was great.
As a mentor of mine says, "how can you treat it if you don't diagnosis it first?"
This poor girl has been through the ringer with no help because no one has examined or diagnosed her thoroughly enough, combined with the tunnel vision of only focusing on their "specialty".
Chronic neurologic issues will not be helped if not examined and diagnosed properly. They also will not be helped if there is underlying metabolic dysfunction that has never been considered.
We are excited to see lab results now investigating metabolic, autoimmune, etc contributions. With the results, I can then create an individualized and specific action plan to address her unique constellation of contributing factors.
Category:Blog -- posted at: 9:41am EDT
Sat, 6 May 2017
I sprained my ankle today running in a workout. Most people go right to the R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) strategy when they sprain an ankle or sustain an injury.
If your goal is to HEAL FASTER and return to the gym and/or quality of life ASAP, then the R.I. of R.I.C.E. is NOT a good strategy.
Rest (assuming no fracture) and Ice slow healing. Yes, Ice does decrease pain (for a short period) by numbing nerves, but it also slows healing by causing blood vessels to constrict. This means that the swelling and inflammation (which are causing the pain along with tissue damage) remain in the injured area (especially when paired with Rest).
To speed healing you want to C.H.E.M. (copyright Dr. Bartemus): Compress, Heat, Elevate, Move.
Compress with an ACE bandage or my favorite tool from MobilityWOD.com, Voodoo Floss.
While Compressed, you want to Move for a couple reasons:
Heat augments the benefits of Movement by causing blood vessels to open up (vasodilation). This increases the Movement of swelling and inflammation away from the damaged area and increases the Movement of white blood cells and healing factors to the area.
Elevation of the injured area (my ankle in this case) above the level of the heart uses gravity to increase Movement of swelling and inflammation away from the injured area, especially when the area is being Compressed. To really create synergy while Compressing, Heating, and Elevating (and therefore likely sitting/laying still), add Movement by putting a TENS or e-stim unit on the area and turning it up enough to create passive Movement (make the muscles jump).
In conclusion, to heal faster get rid of R.I.C.E. and use C.H.E.M.!
Category:Blog -- posted at: 7:50am EDT
Mon, 1 May 2017
Recent studies have shown rice can be dangerously high in inorganic arsenic, particularly rice grown in the southern United States. This is bad news for gluten-free people who eat rice-based products — one study showed people on a gluten-free diet have twice as much arsenic in their urine compared to controls (and 70 percent more mercury).
Although guidelines exist to minimize arsenic exposure (buy rice from California, eat white rice, wash rice thoroughly before cooking, and cook rice like pasta in a ratio of about 6 to 1 water to rice), what about rice-based gluten-free foods? It's nearly impossible to know where their rice comes from, how it’s processed, and what the arsenic levels are.
Arsenic levels in popular gluten-free foods
Keep in mind that what is considered an acceptable amount of arsenic varies. Codex, an international collection of safety standards, proposes a maximum of 200 parts per billion in white rice. The European Union proposes 100 parts per billion.
However, arsenic expert Dr. Andrew Meharg proposes a maximum of 50 parts per billion for children, who carry a heavier toxic body burden, and a maximum of 100 parts per billion for adults.
Arsenic levels in rice-based gluten-free foods
For results of inorganic arsenic testing on various brands of gluten-free foods that you can browse by category, visit Gluten-Free Watchdog. A paid subscription is required to access the reports. However, below are examples of arsenic level ranges in some categories of popular gluten-free foods.*
Inorganic arsenic in gluten-free breads
Inorganic arsenic in popular gluten-free breads ranged from 10 parts per billion to 40 parts per billion.
Inorganic arsenic in popular gluten-free pastas ranged from 20 parts per billion to 150 parts.
Inorganic arsenic in popular gluten-free cereals ranged from 70 parts per billion to 280 parts.
Miscellaneous rice products (rice bran, rice milk, rice syrup, rice cakes)
Inorganic arsenic in miscellaneous rice products ranged from 20 parts per billion to 540 parts.
Inorganic arsenic in several rice brands ranged from 80 parts per billion to 140 parts per billion. (Brown rice has more than white rice. Gluten-Free Watchdog reports a brand called Mighty Rice grown on the island of Mauritius shows very low levels of inorganic arsenic in their tests.)
Factor in frequency and amount of consumption
It's important to understand these numbers tell us the concentration of inorganic arsenic in each product. The frequency and amount of any item eaten and whether the eater is an adult or a developing child are also very important factors in the equation. For example, at 540 parts per billion of inorganic arsenic, one rice bran product looks pretty bad. But consumed in very small quantities as brans typically are, it may not pose as much a problem, relative to the other foods listed, as it first may seem.
It would be better if rice were not high in inorganic arsenic. Thankfully groups such as Gluten Free Watchdog are around to help us reduce exposures. Also, there is a group based at Cornell University working to shift the world to a rice farming method that uses up to 50 percent less water while increasing yields, thus saving precious water while reducing the amount of arsenic in the rice produced.
*Ranges included with permission from Gluten-Free Watchdog LLC.
Category:Blog -- posted at: 7:00am EDT
Sat, 29 April 2017
Humans have been fasting for millennia, either for religious or spiritual reasons or simply due to lack of food. Today, a new form of fasting called intermittent fasting is increasingly popular among those seeking it’s anti-aging and health benefits.
Intermittent fasting, or IF, makes fasting an everyday part of life versus something you do once or twice a year. Many people use it successfully for weight loss and inflammation control, as well as to improve brain function and insulin sensitivity. The promise of increased longevity is another reason people choose to fast regularly.
Different forms of intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting can be done in a number of ways:
Intermittent fasting for weight loss
Restricting caloric intake can lead to weight loss, but intermittent fasting seems to help with weight loss in more ways than that. For one thing, studies show intermittent fasters have better insulin sensitivity and glucose regulation. Among other things, this makes a person crave less sugar and use glucose more efficiently for energy production instead of being stored as fat. Intermittent fasting also causes your body to burn more fat. Because it depletes glycogen, the storage form of glucose, your body switches over to burning stored fat for energy.
Intermittent fasting for brain function
Studies show intermittent fasting can benefit brain function and potentially even stave off Alzheimer's disease and depression. This is likely due to better glucose and insulin control (Alzheimer's disease is often called type 3 diabetes), as well as production of ketone bodies for fuel. Ketones provide a ready source of clean-burning fuel for the brain that leave behind fewer free radicals than glucose does. High-fat ketogenic diets have long been used to help prevent seizures.
Intermittent fasting has been shown in trials to reduce blood pressure, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and insulin-like growth factor, a hormone that is linked to cancer and diabetes. There is still much to learn about the benefits and pitfalls of intermittent fasting. Fortunately, it is an area of great scientific interest and research is happening at a rapid pace.
Intermittent fasting is not for everyone
Children and teens, pregnant women, people with eating disorders, as well as those with hypoglycemia should not fast. Also, diabetics taking insulin should only attempt this diet under supervision of a doctor.
Women often find less stringent forms of intermittent fasting are more suitable for them. For example, a woman might start by trying a 12:12 eating window plan and potentially lengthen her fasting time gradually, or not, as it suits her.
As always, it is important to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all remedy to any health concern. Contact my office to discuss if intermittent fasting might be right for you.
Category:Blog -- posted at: 5:59pm EDT