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A Doctor's Guide To http://www.adoctorsguideto.com Pregnancy, health, diet, exercise, and more Sun, 22 Aug 2021 01:59:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 Stress Managementhttp://www.adoctorsguideto.com/stress-management/ http://www.adoctorsguideto.com/stress-management/#comments Sun, 22 Aug 2021 01:59:13 +0000 http://www.adoctorsguideto.com/?p=619 Read More]]> Do women handle stress differently than men?   If you were to guess,  who would you think feels more stressed out on a day to day basis–men or women?   According to a study  done by the American Psychological Association,  women rated their stress worse than men.  What happens to your body when you are stressed?    The heart rate goes up,  you feel more tense  and cortisol is released to make your body ready to either fight or flee.   After the stress passes,   you feel more relaxed  and your heart rate returns to normal.    On the short term, the stress response has its purpose to get the body ready to deal with the situation;   however, in the long term,  chronic stress actually can be very harmful.    In our current society there are threats ALL of the time–getting the kids ready for school,  dealing with illness, driving to work (or using public transportation to get to work, or the store), and now dealing with the constant worry about either getting Covid or about side effects from the vaccine.   The American Institute of Stress has indicated that this constant stress is the primary reason for about 60 % of visits to the family doctor.     So why do women react to stress differently?  In general the hormones released are the same in a stress response,  except in women, there is more oxytocin released.   And because women tend to be in more of the caregiver roles–either for children or aging parents,   this can contribute to feeling the effects of stress differently–especially in middle-age.

So what are the symptoms that people experience that are related to stress?  The most common symptoms are headache,  insomnia,  irritability, depression/poor mood,  and drug usage.  However, women may experience depression and low mood more frequently than men.   Women experience  tension headaches  more frequently in a study done by the U. S. Office on Women’s Health.    When more cortisol is released in the body,  this leads to weight gain, especially around the upper abdomen  and this weight is very hard to lose.   Higher stress levels can also contribute to infertility (partly through irregular periods),  and PMS  symptoms can be worse as well.    Not only that,   chronic high levels of stress can impact interest in sex, and also it may take longer to become aroused.  To top it off  if  someone has more stress chronically, it can lead to an increased risk for cardiovascular issues, brain loss and memory problems.  Plus one’s immunity also seems to fail, when one is chronically stressed, putting a person at greater risk for contracting some form of viral illness, particularly Covid.

Obviously,  it is important to be able to manage and handle stress appropriately to mitigate these health issues.  There are are variety of steps one can take to do this.   The first is to try to improve one’s sleep habits and getting adequate sleep is vital to manage stress.  Secondly, regular exercise –even as simple as going for a walk or spending 10-15 min of the day doing yoga, tai chi, slow deep breathing, and getting a massage are effective ways to release some of the stress from day to day activities.  Even when you get super busy, it is still important to include these simple steps.   Of course, it goes without saying that having a healthy nutritious diet is paramount to making sure that your body has the capacity to handle the stress.  Reduce your sugar intake as high sugar levels  contribute to higher cortisol levels.   There are some herbal supplements that are known to help deal with stress–these include ashwaganda,  rhodiola,  ginseng, holy basil,  and cordyceps. Vitamins and minerals that are known to help with sleep and stress include magnesium, L-theanine,  and  taurine.  Immune support is also helpful, and there are various mushroom extracts that have been shown to support the immune system.   Essential oils have also been helpful to reducing stress,  particularly lavender which promotes sleep.  Finding things to be grateful for and laughing are great stress management techniques as well.

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Brain Health/Gut Healthhttp://www.adoctorsguideto.com/brain-healthgut-health/ http://www.adoctorsguideto.com/brain-healthgut-health/#comments Tue, 25 May 2021 14:51:24 +0000 http://www.adoctorsguideto.com/?p=608 Read More]]> I would propose that everyone is interested in keeping his or her brain healthy.   No one wants to end up in the nursing home because of Alzheimer’s or dementia where a person has forgotten not only who they are,  who their family members are,  but also most of their life experiences.    Studies  do show that in a majority of the cases, this decline in memory and brain function can be slowed down or even the progress halted with just a few simple steps.  Also it is known the the onset of these problems begins many years before anyone  starts to suspect that there is an issue.   So with these simple steps begun at an earlier age,  perhaps being admitted to a nursing home or long term care facility can either be averted or delayed by many years.     There are some populations were brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and dementia are very rare  and in most instances the diet and life style are  implicated in these populations. One of the main things that has been discovered is that there is a huge connection between the gut and the brain.   If the gut is not functioning optimally it has  a very profound effect on the brain,  not only with moods, but also with sleep  (which is very important for brain function), and memory.

What might the signs be that your gut is not functioning optimally?   Well, there are several conditions that point to poor gut health.   The first of these is related to problems with digestion–constipation, diarrhea, and bloating–especially if these problems are chronic.   Everyone may experience these on an occasional basis due to dietary changes, travel,  etc., but when these persist for long periods of time, then it is a problem because there is a downstream effect on absorption of key minerals, vitamins,  and other nutrients when these occur.   Secondly, if a person is overweight or obese, then there  tends to be more inflammatory markers present in the blood stream and these inflammatory markers travel  to the brain and create insidious damage to the brain.   Foods high in fat and sugar can send signals to the brain to eat more of these foods, and results of  memory tests done after these foods are consumed are worse.   Thirdly,  if there are food intolerances  or food allergies then these are a definite signal that  there is a problem with gut function.   Somewhere along the line, there has been damage to the gut lining and small food particles get absorbed into the blood stream.  The body then recognizes  these as foreign and the immune system kicks in and food allergies and sensitivities develop.    Fourthly,  if a person struggles with depression and anxiety,  this is a really good indicator that the gut is not functioning as it should and that there is an imbalance in the gut bacteria  (of which we have over 100 trillion gut bacteria of varying types).   Sometimes a good probiotic and prebiotic will get this under control much faster than the antidepressant  being prescribed.  So you may want to have your doctor check for leaky gut, food sensitivities, or a bacterial imbalance, especially if you feel depressed or anxious.     Fifthly,  skin problems  are frequently  an indicator that the gut is imbalanced–conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, acne and various skin rashes  are an external barometer of the internal  gut environment.   Once the gut health is improved, the skin conditions resolve.  Finally,  most  autoimmune  disorders originate from an imbalanced bacterial environment in the  gut, starting with leaky gut and the entry into the body of foreign food particles.   For example,  wheat sensitivities are thought to be potential source for developing thyroid autoimmunity. The point of discussing all these gut issues, is that by fixing the gut–you automatically improve brain health too.

However,  how do people develop all of these gut issues?   (Besides the obvious answer of poor food,  lack of sufficient nutrients, amino acids and healthy fats in the diet,  ie the Standard American Diet–SAD–that is loaded with a lot of inflammatory foods,   nutrient  poor foods, and high calories with minimal nutritional value, and artificial chemicals–all of which can contribute to aging the brain prematurely).  Other factors that contribute to this include stress–which in itself can cause leaky gut.   And in today’s pandemic  there has been plenty of stress on everyone.   Secondly,  poor sleep contributes to the stress and if a person doesn’t get their 7-8 hours of good sleep  (including deep sleep and dreaming)   this can affect the gut function and brain health directly.   And with using all of the sanitizers and disinfectants,  we have reduced our exposure to dirt and the natural environment.   We don’t get out and work in the soil,  that is why gardening is a very helpful activity–it exposes a person to the  bacteria in the soil. However,  getting sunshine and working with plants  also has a calming effect on the brain.  Plus gardening does involve physical activity  which is important  for brain health.   Not enough physical exercise can impact the balance of gut bacteria,  and too  much exercise can also negaively impact the balance of the gut microbiome, by increasing stress.  Toxins are also implicated in  damaging the normal gut microbiome,  specifically glyphosate, other pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium, and aluminum.   Finally,  antibiotics  will specifically destroy the normal balance of about 85% good bacteria and 15% bad bacteria by killing off both good and bad bacteria.   It does take a long time after even a single dose of an antibiotic  to restore the normal balance in the gut.

So how can you fix the gut, and thereby improve brain health.  Well, the first thing that is needed is a change in the diet,  eliminate the bad stuff–pretty much all processed foods, carbs, unhealthy oils,  gluten;  and increase the good stuff–healthy fruits and veggies with fermentable fiber (organic as much as possible), berries,   dark chocolate (at least 75% cacao), bone broth, resistant starch–something  that the digestion does not break down  and improves the bacterial balance in the colon  (think green bananas, cold cooked potatoes or raw potatoes, and  raw oats),  nuts–especially pistachios,  spices such as onions, garlic, turmeric, cilantro, and cinnamon, and fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi.   However, not everyone can consume foods in these categories,  so it is important to work with your doctor or a functional medicine specialist to figure out what is going on if  digestive issues get worse with dietary changes.

The other area that is important for brain health is to be sure that the hormones  are in balance as well.   Many women especially during the phase of life of pre-menopause,  menopause, and post-menopause frequently complain of  being more forgetful,  feeling  like they have “brain fog” , and having poor concentration..  So there  is specialized testing to check for hormone imbalances.   The problem with blood testing is that it does  not let you know what the tissue levels are.   So salivary testing and urinary testing are both available to assess hormone status and balance of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA in both men and women.  In addition, neurotransmitters  can also be tested with urine, too.  The reason for testing these elements is that there are supplements, –minerals, vitamins, etc, that can be increased in the diet to modulate the production (either up or down) of the neurotransmitters that are too low or too high.

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Immunityhttp://www.adoctorsguideto.com/immunity/ http://www.adoctorsguideto.com/immunity/#comments Thu, 11 Mar 2021 23:55:02 +0000 http://www.adoctorsguideto.com/?p=600 Read More]]> Well, with what is going on in the world today,  you want to stay as healthy as possible and to keep the nasty bugs away from yourself and your family,  right?    So in today’s blog, I would like to give you a few tips on what you can do to stay healthy.    In reviewing articles about health and wellness, almost all of them mention having adequate Vit D levels,  which means that if you are not taking vit D3 or if you are not in the sun on a regular basis , then your vit D level will tend to be low.  However, to enhance how vit D works in your body you also need adequate Vit K2.   In a study done in Denmark,  mortality was higher among Covid 19 patients that had lower vit K levels.   Vit K works together with Vit D3,  so it makes sense to take them together as a combination supplement (Vit D3/K2), as most of us do not get enough sunshine.   It also goes without saying that it is important to get out in the sunshine on a  regular basis and go for a walk to get some physical activity,  as  sitting for hours at a time also has a detrimental effect on one’s health.

Another important supplement to get is selenium.  Not only does it help keep one’s immunity up, but it also is important for thyroid health.  It helps the antioxidants in the body function better, and studies indicate that it may help to decrease cancer risk, plus improve heart health.   Selenium works by reducing inflammation in the body and also reduces oxidative stress  and may help to decrease the frequency of flare-ups of  autoimmune conditions.    Studies also show that asthma attacks are lessened with sufficient selenium in the diet,  and finally it is important for fertility–particularly in men for sperm function.  You can get your daily dose of selenium in just 2 Brazil nuts a day.    Other foods  high in selenium include halibut, tuna, oysters, shitake mushrooms, sardines, chicken, and eggs.

Vitamin C and zinc are 2 other supplements that are known to help the immune system.   Zinc especially has anti-viral activity.    Other supplements include astragalus, quercetin, and elderberry.  It is thought that these supplements actually prevent  viruses from getting into the cell, or may actually help to kill the virus that does get into the body.  N-acetylcysteine along with vit C definitely helps  the immune system by increasing the body’s glutathione levels.   Dr. Pescatore has his list of 8 supplements that he would not want to be without and these include:  Pycnogenol, Vit D3, Coenzyme Q10, probiotics, fish oil, resveratrol, curcumin, and a good multivitamin.   Another compound that has been linked to improving the immune system is ECGC–one of the main components in green tea.   Studies from Japan  have shown that drinking just 2 cups of green tea a day can inhibit inflammation.  It works by increasing Nrf2 , which  controls the amount of inflammation in the body.  And just to bolster the importance of probiotics,  if  you keep your gut bacterial environment ( also known as the microbiome)  healthy,  you would be  protected from a lot of things.  About 75% of your body’s immune response is in your gastrointestinal tract. and when that is out of balance, then it sets the stage for poor health.  The way that ECGC works is by promoting the growth of good bacteria in the GI tract.   Other foods that improve the gut bacterial balance include pomegranate,   broccoli sprouts, turmeric (curcumin), and walnuts.   Foods high in quercetin are apples, onions, grapes, cherries, spinach,  buckwheat, and berries.    Pomegranate may also lower the blood pressure in large amounts.   Curcumin works hand-in-hand with ECGC,  Vit C, and quercetin to increase the production of enzymes that boost the immune system.   Walnuts and other nuts improve the bacterial balance by generating butyrate.   Then in order for the good bacteria to grow well, you need to add pre-biotics  (the food the supports the good bacteria–essentially indigestible fiber).   Foods that do this include onions , artichoke, garlic, barley, bananas, and flaxseeds.    Yogurt, kefir, kimchee, lassi, sauerkraut, and kombucha are good foods to include for their probiotics.

It goes without saying that it is important to not forget the basics:   eating healthy and staying hydrated,  in addition to getting adequate sleep.  Junk food and highly processed foods falls in the category of NOT healthy, so it is best to eliminate these.   The problem is that even when we try to eat healthy, the food we eat is devoid of nutrients and minerals because the soil that the food is grown in is depleted of  minerals.  Which is another reason to add the essential proteins to the diet, so you body can make the elements that are going to fight off infection.  Then there is the whole GMO thing going on,  and studies do show that the nutritional value of GMO foods is significantly different than foods that are not GMO.   Of course, learning how to manage stress is also important.

One of the things that I do in the morning is drink a large glass of filtered water with 1/2  of a lemon or lime squeezed into it, and then add a scoop of Prefect Amino protein  powder and a scoop of Arbonne’s Be Well Superfood Greens , and a level tsp of Magna-soothe.   I feel great!

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The Importance of Proteinhttp://www.adoctorsguideto.com/the-importance-of-protein/ http://www.adoctorsguideto.com/the-importance-of-protein/#comments Tue, 02 Feb 2021 00:26:34 +0000 http://www.adoctorsguideto.com/?p=591 Read More]]> Do you get enough proteins in your diet,  how do you figure out how much you should be getting,  and what is the best source of proteins?    There are 21 amino acids that make up all the protein that you need for immunity  (important in today’s day and age of  Covid),   healing,  muscle strength, brain health,  and more.   Some of these amino acids your body can manufacture from ingredients in your diet and some of them have to come from your diet as your body can’t make them.  These ones that your body can’t make are called the essential amino acids and there are 9 of these.   The reason these are called amino acids are because there is  a nitrogen-hydrogen group and a carbon-oxygen-hydrogen group and  another side chain which may contain some other element, such as sulfur or selenium.   The 9 essential amino acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.    Then there are conditionally essential amino acids which your body can form, but you may also need to get them from foods during times of growth,  hard exercise or illness.   Ornithine is another essential acid but this one specifically does not help to form proteins.      Then there are the non-essential amino acids–this means you can make them on your own and you do not need to get them from your diet.      The other amino acids are arginine, cysteine, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, tyrosine, alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid and selenocysteine.

Amino acids are then  broken down into groups:   branched chain,  acidic, basic, sulfur containing,  glucogenic and ketogenic amino acids.   The branched chain amino acids are very important for the muscles, and maintenance of strength.   The  amino acids that contain sulfur are cysteine, homocysteine, methionine and taurine–these are present in animal foods and nuts,  and seeds.  The glucogenic amino acids are those that can be converted into glucose for energy and the ketogenic amino acids are those that can be converted into ketones also used for energy by the brain specifically during times of fasting.

So what do amino acids do that is so important?   1)  they are a source of energy–4 calories per gram;  2) they can be used to make other amino acids, make proteins–such as the muscles,  and be used as glucose;  3)   they act as neurotransmitters, or are the building blocks for hormones or neurotransmitters;   4)  they are also the building blocks for the hemoglobin in the blood and necessary for making DNA–your unique genetic code; and 5) as I mentioned earlier, important for your immune system.   For example,  lysine is one of the amino acids that is thought to decrease the occurrence of cold sores caused by the herpes virus.

Foods that contain all 9 of the essential amino acids are called complete  proteins.   Foods that do not contain all  9 are considered incomplete proteins  and this will limit the functions that are capable based on the amino  acid that is not present.    Most animal proteins are considered  complete proteins.   Plant foods that are considered complete proteins include  spinach, some beans, some nuts and seeds.   Rice, peas, lentils walnuts, peanuts, and almonds are some that are considered incomplete.   For example,  most cereal grains are  low in lysine,  and most fruits  and veggies are low in lysine.   Foods high in lysine are meats, fish, milk and eggs, soybeans, lentils, nuts and seeds.     However, foods that are incomplete proteins can be combined to provide complete proteins–this is especially important for vegetarians  and vegans who limit their intake of meat and animal food sources.

How can you figure out how much protein you need per day?  Well, on the average you need 1 gram of protein for each kilogram of body weight  (or  1 gram per 2.2 pounds of body weight),  then you divide that amount by 3 to get the amount needed at each meal, or by 2 if you only eat 2 meals a day.   For example, for someone who weighs about 150 pounds,  he or she would need about 68 grams of protein,   which works out to a little over 20 grams per meal.  As people get older, a lack of sufficient protein can lead to immune deficiencies and loss of muscle (known as sarcopenia)  which then contributes to osteoporosis, balance problems and  potentially Alzheimer’s.

So, if your diet is deficient in getting these amino acids,  one of the ways to counteract this problem is to supplement with amino acid supplements which can be in tablet, capsule, or powder form.    These forms are especially helpful for people who have problems with their digestion as these forms are easier to assimilate compared to food sources.  Most amino acid supplements are safe in the recommended dosages;  however, it is possible for people to get nausea, diarrhea,  or bloating from large doses, or even allergic reactions–which can happen with practically anything that a person can come in contact with–whether orally or topically.  The amino acid product that I recommend is Perfect Amino  made by Body Health.  Besides their protein powders ( lemon/lime and berry flavors),  they have very delicious dark chocolate protein bars.  Arbonne also makes a delicious vanilla and chocolate flavored protein powders containing 20 grams of protein per serving made from plant sources, which is especially helpful for people with dairy sensitivities or for vegans.

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Covid update #-6http://www.adoctorsguideto.com/covid-update-6/ http://www.adoctorsguideto.com/covid-update-6/#comments Thu, 14 Jan 2021 16:44:01 +0000 http://www.adoctorsguideto.com/?p=588 How can you find out what is in the vaccine to know if you might be allergic to some component?  Well the following article gives a list of the ingredients for the Pfizer vaccine.  Check out the link.   Covid 19 vaccine

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Covid update #5http://www.adoctorsguideto.com/covid-update-5/ http://www.adoctorsguideto.com/covid-update-5/#comments Tue, 12 Jan 2021 18:34:05 +0000 http://www.adoctorsguideto.com/?p=586 Read More]]> Are you planning on getting the covid vaccine?   If so,  you do need to stop a couple of medications (specifically your anti-inflammatory medications)  a few days before getting the vaccine as these medications may reduce the efficacy of the vaccine.   See the article about it here.  Vaccines.   Also if you have severe allergic reactions,  or if you are allergic a component of the vaccine,  you should probably not get the vaccine.  Check this article out:  allergies

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Cadmium ( a toxin) and immunityhttp://www.adoctorsguideto.com/cadmium-a-toxin-and-immunity/ http://www.adoctorsguideto.com/cadmium-a-toxin-and-immunity/#comments Fri, 08 Jan 2021 16:41:14 +0000 http://www.adoctorsguideto.com/?p=583 Read More]]> As I have reported before,  toxins have  a huge effect on a person’s  overall health and immunity, and here is a study from the University of Michigan that shows a definite link between higher levels a cadmium ( a contaminant in the environment, found on food but most commonly in cigarettes) and a higher fatality rate for certain respiratory illnesses such as the flu and pneumonia, but it may have also been a factor in the fatalities associated with Covid-19:  cadmium.  It goes without saying that one simplest ways to reduce cadmium exposure is to quit smoking!

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Covid-19 update #4http://www.adoctorsguideto.com/covid-19-update-4/ http://www.adoctorsguideto.com/covid-19-update-4/#comments Fri, 08 Jan 2021 16:22:22 +0000 http://www.adoctorsguideto.com/?p=581 HI there everyone,  Michigan is ramping up on getting the vaccine out to more people.  Beginning 1/11/2021 people over 65  will be able to get the vaccine .   Please read the following article from the Michigan State Medical Society:   Covid -19 vaccine

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Vaccinationhttp://www.adoctorsguideto.com/vaccination/ http://www.adoctorsguideto.com/vaccination/#comments Wed, 30 Dec 2020 15:35:08 +0000 http://www.adoctorsguideto.com/?p=577 Read More]]> I found an interesting article about vaccinations and how the additives in the vaccine,  such as aluminum  may actually cause more problems than the vaccine itself, particularly in promoting auto-immune disorders of which there are many and the list is growing longer.    Unfortunately,  we may not know if this toxic metal is in the new Covid -19 vaccine.  This article does give a nice breakdown about who may be at a higher risk to develop problems  from any vaccine (in general)   than another person.    This is just food for thought and not a recommendation one way or anther as to whether a person should get a vaccination or not.   Vaccinations have prevented a lot of illnesses, but the question remains as to whether the vaccines (or the additives) are causing problems too.  Here is the link to the  article:  vaccines

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Covid-19 update #3http://www.adoctorsguideto.com/covid-19-update-3/ http://www.adoctorsguideto.com/covid-19-update-3/#comments Sat, 19 Dec 2020 18:09:23 +0000 http://www.adoctorsguideto.com/?p=575 Now that the vaccine is starting to be available,  what are the potential side effects of the vaccine?   This is discussed in a recent article you can access here.   Covid-19 vaccine

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