Category Archives: Dr Giudice Associates

Exercise This Body Part to Help Your Brain

Math problems and crossword puzzles seem like a logical way to boost your brain but getting up from your chair and using your legs is much preferable. A recent study showed that exercising your legs, especially with weight-bearing exercises, triggers your brain to create new nerve cells. These findings can not only help people boost their brain function but also answer the question, “why losing leg function leads to rapid decline?” and provide insight for improved therapies.

Considered a groundbreaking study that will change neurological medicine, it sheds a light on how vital load-bearing exercises are to brain function. It can help explain the decline seen in patients who lose leg function to multiple sclerosis, motor neuron disease, spinal muscular atrophy, and other diseases of the nervous system.

The procedure also affects those who are bedridden, astronauts in space who do not have gravity to work against when using their legs, and those who sit all day. The “sitting disease” can raise the risk of many common diseases namely diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.

Researchers found that not using your legs changes your body chemistry. It lowers the amount of oxygen in the body and changes the expression of genes involved in cellular growth and regeneration. These changes can drastically decrease the numbers of neural stem cells and therefore the ability to produce new neurons.

Lack of leg function also hinders the function and development of specialized cells that insulate the nerves.

It’s easy to prevent this, you just need to use your legs regularly, especially in weight-bearing activities and exercise regularly. This will help grow new nerve cells.

Without this, your brain function will suffer, and your ability to handle the daily stress and challenges in life will decline. This study just proves why regular exercise helps combat stress, anxiety, and depression.

It also tells us that no matter how much you engage your brain intellectually or artistically, your brain’s health and function depends on regular exercise that incorporates the large leg muscles. A sedentary lifestyle is as damaging as and possibly even worse than smoking.

To back up this claim, the researchers restrict the hind legs of mice for 28 days. The mice went on with their daily routine. It had no troubles in eating and grooming and did not appear stressed. At the end of the study, researchers examined the area of the brain in the mice responsible for maintaining nerve cell health and producing new nerve cells in mammals.

The results showed that the mice who had their hind legs restricted showed 70 percent less stem cell activity compared to the control group of mice who had full use of their hind legs. The study mice also did not have full support or development of the cells that insulate neurons.

Although the research suggested a lot of forms of exercise, going for regular walks can significantly boost your brain health and function if you have a sedentary lifestyle. You can also try squats, leg lifts, lunges, and other simple exercises that strain your leg muscles.

Also, even though any form of exercise is great for the brain, increasing your heart rate through aerobic exercise and high-intensity interval training boosts metabolism, hormones, and chemicals that will boost brain function, and improve and maintain brain health.

However, it is vital to avoid overdoing your exercise or workout routines because it can cause stress and inflammation. Both of these will work against you by sabotaging you hippocampus’ function which causes it to degenerate quicker. This is important because the hippocampus is responsible for learning and memory, and this is the first area of the brain that degenerates if you’re suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Ask my office about how to improve your brain health and function.

Flossing Your Teeth and Strokes

You probably heard common stroke-prevention strategies like regular exercise, more greens in your diet, minimizing your stress and keep inflammation at bay. But you probably haven’t heard of this one, taking good care of your teeth and gums can lower the risk of stroke.

A new study found a significant link between stroke and oral bacteria. 75 ischemic stroke patients were tested and almost 80 percent of them had oral bacteria DNA concentrated in the blood clots that weren’t found in the other blood samples from the same patient.

The presence of oral bacteria in blood clots shows that gum disease and oral bacteria affects cardiovascular and neurological health.

The same study found that blood clots containing oral bacteria cause heart attacks and brain aneurysms. Thrombosis in the leg veins and arteries contain oral bacteria, and that oral bacteria is linked to a heart infection.

Other research has linked oral bacteria from gum disease with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. The bacteria produce toxin in the brain that can increase the risk of misfolded proteins or aggregates in the brain which leads to Alzheimer’s.

An ischemic stroke happens when there’s a blood clot in a part of the brain which hinders blood flow and vital oxygen. This causes massive tissue damage. It is typically caused by the narrowing and hardening of the arteries from plaquing or atherosclerosis.

There are records that oral bacteria activates platelets and increases the risk of atherosclerosis and blood clotting.

Still not convinced to diligently floss?

We know that flossing can be tedious. It’s tempting to just brush your teeth and go on with your day.

Here’s a little tip to keep you motivated to floss and brush regularly! After you floss, smell your floss. If it has a foul odor, it’s a sign that you have oral bacteria accumulating on your teeth and gums. Check the smell of your floss when you’re done flossing each section of teeth. You might find areas that need extra attention.

Familiarize yourself with healthy flossing and brushings practices and consider getting a water flossing device. These devices use water for extra teeth cleaning power and stimulate gum tissue. It’s important to note that a water floss should be a supplement to flossing and not a substitute. It is not as effective as flossing with dental floss.

Use functional medicine to prevent strokes

A healthy diet and lifestyle help keep our teeth and gums healthy. 90 percent of strokes are caused by poor dietary and lifestyle practices.

Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of disability.

Studies have found the following factors are the most common causes of strokes:
• High blood pressure
• Smoking
• Poor diet
• Lack of exercise
• Excess alcohol
• Stress and depression
• Diabetes
• Excess abdominal fat
• Heart disorders

As research continues, poor oral hygiene may get added to this list.

Functional medicine strategies to prevent stroke
Focus whole foods, plenty of vegetables, and healthy fats in your diet. Avoid sodas, desserts, sweet coffee drinks, and processed foods. It might be hard adjusting at first but the sacrifices will be worth it when you’ll start feeling heaps better.

Stabilize blood sugar
High blood sugar caused by high sweets and processed carbohydrates intake causes chronic inflammation. This damages and thickens arterial walls and encourages the formation of arterial plaques and blood clots. Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance, or pre-diabetes, increase your risk of stroke by two to four times.

Regular exercise not makes you feel awesome but also presents strokes
Exercise is the most effective way to prevent stroke and promote a healthy brain. Regular physical activity keeps blood vessels strong, improves brain oxygenation, and increases your metabolism. Proper exercise after a stroke can also significantly reduces the severity of repercussions and speeds up recovery.

Ask my office how we can help you lower your risk of stroke and support your brain health.

Do You Have a Weak Immune System or Are You Toxic?

We can’t avoid toxins nowadays. Even if we eat all organic foods, drink filtered water, and use non-toxic home and body products, we can still come in contact with numerous toxins and carry significant amounts of heavy metals and environmental toxins in our bodies.

Thankfully, we can combat these and lower the impact of these toxins on our bodies in different ways. One of which is a healthy diet that helps your body detoxify regularly and minimizes toxic exposure. That also includes anti-inflammatory protocols to lower the inflammatory effects of toxins in your body, supporting the pathways of elimination, including binders in your regular protocol to “sponge up” toxins in your system.

Anti-inflammatory diet
Toxins are inflammatory to the body. Having an anti-inflammatory diet is one of the best things you can do to reduce your inflammatory load. Even organic foods contain toxins these days due to air, water, and soil contamination. To avoid inflammation, choose foods that have not been produced with pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics will reduce your overall toxic burden.

Keep your blood sugar stable by lessening sugar and foods that are high in processed carbohydrates intake. Always remember not to let yourself crash from low blood sugar and not overeating into a food coma.

Avoid food that triggers your inflammatory response. If you have food sensitivity or intolerance, eating food that flares your immunes system will keep it in a state of constant red alert, stoking inflammation throughout your body. The most common immune reactive foods are gluten, dairy, soy, egg, and corn.

You can also minimize your dietary sources of inflammation with certain supplements that can tame and reduce inflammation.

Studies show that taking larger doses of the antioxidants resveratrol and curcumin can help protect the body from the damage of toxins, especially if you take them together in a liposomal form.

Glutathione that is liposomal or in another absorbable form is another way to lower inflammation and protect your body. In fact, the lack of glutathione intake increases your risk of developing chemical sensitivities. In addition to taking absorbable glutathione, you can also raise glutathione levels inside your cells with n-acetylcysteine, cordyceps, Gotu Kola, milk thistle, L-glutamine, and alpha-lipoic acid.

Binding toxins in your body
Taking nutritional compounds that bind with toxins for easy removal regularly is another way to buffer your body.

Binders can help remove heavy metals, environmental toxins, mycotoxins from molds, infectious bacteria, and fungal infections from your body.

Here are some examples of effective binders:

Modified citrus pectin: This is derived from citrus peel and processed in a way that it allows it to enter the bloodstream and bind with toxins for safe elimination from the body. Modified citrus pectin also serves as a great “prebiotic,” or a nutrition source for your good gut bacteria. A healthy gut microbiome is critical to protect you from toxins. Be sure to look for a source that is free of fillers.

Activated charcoal: Activated charcoal is a popular and affordable binder for toxins. It can also help soothe common digestive complaints.

Bentonite clay: Bentonite, montmorillonite, and illite (French clay) are used to bind toxins. When mixed with water, these clays develop a sponge-like quality and take on an electrical charge to attract harmful compounds. Be sure to look for a quality product that does not have lead contamination.

Zeolite: Zeolite is formed from volcanic rock and ash. It is a well-known binder for heavy metals and other toxins.
Chlorella: Chlorella is a blue-green alga that has an affinity for mercury and lead. It is rich in B vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. You may need to avoid chlorella if you take blood thinners.

Silica: Most people think of silica to improve their hair, skin, and nails, but it’s also good at binding metals that are harder to detox such as thallium.

You must support your pathways of elimination when you detoxify

Binders work great at latching onto toxins, but if your body’s pathways of elimination are faulty, you could make your body more toxic.

You also want to ensure you have sufficient minerals — heavy metals can bind to cellular receptors in the absence of necessary minerals.

Ways to support the elimination of toxins include; supporting healthy liver and gallbladder function, supporting healthy bowel elimination, staying hydrated and taking care of your kidneys and bladder.

Eating 25–38 grams of fiber a day, staying well hydrated, eating foods that are good for the liver (like bitters and greens), exercising regularly stimulates the lymphatic system, and regular are some examples of how to keep toxins flowing out of your body.

Avoiding chemical sensitivities
Although we want to minimize our overall toxic burden, we mostly want to avoid developing chemical sensitivities. In the end, your overall toxic burden may not matter as much as whether you have an immune reaction to these toxins. You can react to a toxin the same you can react to gluten or dairy. This is problematic as it’s much harder to eliminate a toxin from your environment than food from your diet, especially if that toxin is prevalent in the air, such as benzene, or in plastics, such as BPA.

This is why it’s so important to live an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. If you already have chemical sensitivities, ask my office about methods to lower your sensitivity so you can go on with your day without dealing with this sensitivity.

A Free Strategy to Help Anxiety and Depression

Depression and anxiety came into the lives of millions of Americans as unexpected guest. Sending them in search of relief. Some found relief in ways to reduce or eliminate symptoms, particularly functional medicine protocols that reduce chronic inflammation but one should still consider tending to the health of the psyche. Voluntary commitment for depression and anxiety is overlooked but it is one of the powerful relief.

Studies have shown that voluntary commitment for depression and anxiety lowers blood pressure, release the social bonging hormone oxytocin, improve contentment, and trigger the same dopamine reward centers in the brain that food, drugs, and sex gives.

The human brain is wired to help others that’s why the studies on volunteering suggested that it’s beneficial for all of us. Although human traits includes greed and selfishness, researchers have also found that altruism and cooperation are inherent qualities that set us apart from animals.

Most Americans live in single-family homes with no relationship with the neighborhood and community. This puts us at risk of depression and anxiety. Social isolation and loneliness are considered just as a risky as obesity and smoking to our health.

Voluntary commitment for depression and anxiety
Depression and anxiety gives you’re the feeling of separation and isolation from others. The common complaints from the patients with these disorders are the feeling of uselessness and being a burden to others.

Voluntary commitment for depression and anxiety has been shown to help people connect to others, more optimistic, and gave the sense of purpose and being useful. Volunteering triggers our oxytocin, a “love and bonding” brain chemical that is also released during sex or from cuddling a baby or pet.

The brain chemical, oxytocin, not only makes you feel better, but also reduces stress levels and lowers down inflammation – two powerful factors in causing depression.

We need sufficient dopamine to help us get things done as well as to get the sense of self-worth and purpose in life, two things patients suffering from depression often lack. Volunteering can do wonders on this powerful neurotransmitter that’s helps with mood, Dopamine. This “pleasure and reward” neurotransmitter is released when we have the sense of accomplishment, pleasure, or reward.

Dismissing your woes, doesn’t make them go away. Researchers pointed out that volunteering simply takes you out of yourself. Volunteering can give you a new compassionate perspective for other’s struggles and can help put your own in healthier perspective.

Even though volunteering can help improve our mental health, a caretaker position as a career is commonly linked with increased stress and burnout.

The paradox of “being too busy” to volunteer
A lot of us use our overly busy lives and booked schedules as an excuse not to volunteer. But frequent volunteers testifies that there’s a paradoxical effect when you work it into your schedule anyways. It will lower down your stress levels and boost your mood, reduce the sense of chronic overwhelm that many of us experience daily.

Voluntary commitment for depression and anxiety can calm us and relax the muscles and breathing.

Functional medicine and depression
Although voluntary commitment for depression has astounding proven benefits, it also important for you to pay attention to physiological factors that cause depression.

Depression is linked to symptoms like chronic inflammation, lack of gut bacteria diversity, overpopulation of bad gut bacteria, leaky gut, and compromised brain health, such as brain inflammation or from a past brain injury.

These dysfunctions can stem from food intolerances, blood sugar imbalances, poor nutrition, a sedentary lifestyle, undiagnosed autoimmunity, hidden infections, or other underlying disorders that antidepressants cannot address.

Ask my office for more ideas on how functional medicine can help you relieve depression and anxiety.

Chiropractic Adjustments Can Strengthen Muscles?

Spinal manipulation helps to decrease pain and improve the functional abilities related to many musculoskeletal disorders through a multi-layer mechanism of action. Sufficient studies have looked upon the effects of altered afferent input due to spinal joint dysfunction.

One study from JEK has taken the research one step farther and examines the sensorimotor effects of spinal manipulation. The results showed shortening of TMS-induced cortical silent period and an increased strength due to an increase in l-wave amplitude after spinal manipulation.

The research’s potential clinical implications are astonishing. Increasing ones strengthen is a critical component; from rehabilitation to sport-specific performance enhancement. We applied this knowledge through passive and active care, which help us achieve remarkable results for our patients suffering from musculoskeletal issues.

“…chiropractic manipulation significantly increased the amplitude of the first I-wave. Finally, the CSP (cortical silent period) duration was significantly reduced after spinal manipulation in the lower limb muscle.”

“The changes observed in the I-waves and CSP duration in this study provide evidence that spinal manipulation can result in a significant increase in the excitability of the motor pathways to low threshold motor units of human tibialis anterior muscle.”

“These findings may have important clinical implications as they provide the support that spinal manipulation can be used to strengthen muscles.”

Chiropractic Adjustment Outperformed Stretching For Neck Pain

Repetitive use, postural issues, or trauma often introduces myofascial pain and restricted range of motion as we’ve observe on our patients suffering with neck pain. Spinal manipulation has established the ability to reduce pain, increase range of motion, and decrease muscle sensitivity. However, the study of the effects of both HVLA (high-velocity low amplitude) spinal manipulation was done in random. Although, the results showed that both stretching and manipulation can provide positive effects on pressure pain threshold levels. In addition, the manipulation group had significant improvements in range of motion. Our experience combining two modalities, manipulation and stretching, provided us with fantastic results for patients suffering from neck pain.

“Spinal manipulative therapy has been associated with onset of LTP (long term potentiation) at both spinal and supra spinal levels.”

“Previous studies have also found a reduction in inflammatory cytokines and pain mediators in surrounding joints after manipulation.”

“This study demonstrates the effectiveness of HVLA thrust manipulation at the CT junction compared to manual stretching of the upper trapezius in increasing pressure pain thresholds in the upper trapezius and improving range of motion.”

Can Your Gall Bladder Cause Gut Problems?

People tend to disregard their gallbladders unless gallstones become a painful and debilitating problem in need of surgery. But you shouldn’t disregard your gallbladder. They could cause gut problems or chronic inflammatory issues, even if you have no overt gallbladder symptoms.
The most common reason for chronic gastrointestinal is gallbladder issues due to gallbladder health negligence.

The gallbladder is a reservoir for bile, responsible for emulsifying fats in the diet.

Many cases of poor gallbladder health aren’t gallbladder stones, it is biliary stasis. This is a condition when the bile becomes overly think and doesn’t secrete well to help digest fats.

Gallstones are obvious and easy to diagnose. Symptoms of gallstones include:
• Severe and sudden pain in the upper right abdomen and possibly extending to the upper back.
• Fever and shivering.
• Severe nausea and vomiting.
• Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
• Clay-colored stools or dark urine.
Typically, gallstones can cause you a trip to the emergency room and a gallbladder removal surgery, one of the most commonly performed surgeries today.

You can prevent unnecessary surgery that raises the risks of developing other health problems by giving your gallbladder health attention. You can also improve your gut function and lower inflammation.

In some biliary stasis cases, an ultrasound show gallstones that have formed but not yet obstructed the gallbladder. However, for many patients, overly thick bile is the problem. Biliary stasis can be identified by these symptoms:
• Bloating after meals
• Burping after meals
• Fish oil burps from fish oil capsules
• Fatty foods make you feel worse
• Floating stools
• Chronic constipation
These are the symptoms that a conventional doctor may disregard altogether, and that can also be caused by other imbalances.
Biliary stasis is common in overweight women over 40 who have hormonal shifts on the gallbladder.

Gallbladder function and biliary stasis should be address immediately as sufficient bile flow is necessary to digest fats. When fats aren’t digested, it causes imbalances elsewhere in the body.

Undigested fats can lead to poor sphincter function in the digestive tract. This can lead the transport of bacteria from the large intestine into the small intestine causing a condition called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). SIBO causes multiple symptoms, including chronic constipation, chronic diarrhea or both, and bloating.

Biliary stasis backs the liver’s detoxification pathways. As a result, the liver can’t effectively detoxify hormones, toxins, and other metabolites. This leads to an increase in the toxic burden on your system, which will also increase your inflammation.

Patients with poor gallbladder function and biliary stasis should start avoiding fats, and no exceptions. Even healthy fats like olive oil and avocado oil. They also should consider avoiding fish or fish oils because they can get “fishy burps.” This increases health risks, particularly for the brain and the hormones, because we need sufficient healthy fats for our system to function well. It can also lead to deficiencies in the vital fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

If you are taking all the right GI supplements and changing your diet into a healthy gut diet but your gut problem is still not improving, you should consider your gallbladder health.

How to improve your gallbladder health
Fortunately, various nutritional compounds support gallbladder health, fat digestion, and liver detoxification, like dandelion root, milk thistle seed extract, ginger root, phosphatidylcholine, and taurine

These compounds can also help if your gallbladder has been removed, along with ox bile.

To improve and maintain your gallbladder health include these practices in your everyday life:
• Eat 25–38 grams of fiber a day.
• Avoid processed and excess starchy carbohydrates (white flour, sugar, potatoes, pasta, etc.).
• Avoid trans fats, hydrogenated fats, and processed vegetable oils.
• Get plenty of essential fatty acids and omega 3s.
• Eliminate foods to which you have an immune response; gluten and dairy are the two most common.
• Support low thyroid function or autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

Ask my office for more advice on how to support your gallbladder health or your general health if your gallbladder has been removed.

9 Reasons Why You Cannot Lose Weight

For some people losing weight is easy. They just need to cut out sodas and sweets and go to the gym regularly. For people with a chronic health disorder, losing weight remains hard and gaining weight happens too easily despite doing everything right.

Weight gain and weight loss resistance are common symptoms among people with chronic health disorders. Contrary to popular belief, inability to lose weight or keep a healthy weight is a flaw in your metabolic, immune, or neurological health instead of a character flaw.

Fat shaming is rampant in today’s society, particularly against women. The truth is, some overweight and obese people have the healthiest diets and lifestyle practices you’ll encounter. They have to follow a strict diet or else they would quickly balloon out of control.

Instead of beating yourself up about not losing weight or gaining weight, consider if any of the following underlying causes may apply to you.

Here are the nine possible reasons why you can’t lose weight and none of which are due to being lazy or undisciplined.

1. You’ve been on a diet your whole life. The multi-billion-dollar industry along with the society of today’s of unrealistic body image standards have enforced low-calorie diet into a way of life. It can work well when you’re still young, but as you age your metabolism fatigues from constant famines.
Our bodies respond to famines by decreasing our metabolism and increasing fat storage hormones. As a result, a low-calorie diet can make you gain weight more than a normal calorie diet. This explains why diets have long-term success.

A TV reality show entitled, The Biggest Loser, further poignantly illustrated this phenomenon. Researchers found the majority of the participants, which were burning 800 fewer calories per day on the show, returned to their pre-show weight and had to under eat 400-800 calories a day to not gain weight.

2. Your hunger hormones are out of whack
Conversely, if you eat ample sugar and desserts and carbohydrates (slices of bread, pasta, white rice, etc.) regularly, you’ll most probably have leptin resistance and skewed hunger hormone function that causes constant food cravings and hunger. You can improve your leptin sensitivity so your hunger cues and fat burning returns to normal by minimizing or eliminating processed carbohydrates and exercising regularly.

3. Your thyroid isn’t working well
One of the most common causes of weight gain and weight loss resistance is hypothyroidism or low thyroid activity. An autoimmune disease that attacks and damages the thyroid gland called Hashimoto’s ranks as the most common cause. This is why many patients have a hard time losing weight even after they start taking thyroid medication. You should address the underlying causes of Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism immediately to improve your health and lose weight.

4. You are chronically inflamed
Chronic inflammation disrupts hormone function, metabolism, and gut health which leads to promoting fat storage and prevent fat burning.

Many people can easily lose weight by following an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle. Nutrient-dense foods invalidate inflammatory triggers also manage pain, gut problems, autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure, depression anxiety, and other health issues.

5. You’ve had a brain injury or have compromised brain function
Patients who have suffered head concussions and brain injuries are gaining a lot of weight and having troubles losing them. The reason for which is because brain injuries cause inflammation in the brain, which impacts brain function, and disrupts metabolic, hormone, and immune that leads to weight gain and restrain fat burning. Patients often struggle with fatigue, exercise intolerance, depression, and other symptoms that interfere with appropriate fat burning and storage.

6. You have mold illness
Mold illness has been identified as an underlying cause of many health disorders and symptoms, including weight gain and weight loss resistance. Almost a quarter of the US population is suffering from mold illness. Toxicity from mycotoxins, the byproducts of molds, can have a great impact on our metabolic, immune, and neurological health which leads to unexplained weight gain and weight loss resistance. This refers not just to the dreaded black mold but also the more commonly found strains of mold caused by leaks and water damage in buildings.

7. You were born with an obese gut microbiome
Research into the gut microbiome, our trillions of gut bacteria, impacts every aspect of our health, including whether we are more likely to be thin or heavy.

Results on both mice and humans have shown that obese subjects are immunized with the gut bacteria of thin subjects went on to quickly and easily lose weight.
Different factors affect your gut microbiome “signature” in a way that promotes obesity. These factors are: being delivered via C-section, being formula-fed versus breastfed, and frequent antibiotic use during your childhood.

8. You are a victim of childhood sexual abuse or sexual assault or have PTSD
After more than two decades of studying why most obese people regained the weight that they lost, an obesity researcher accidentally made a discovery. Most of his test subjects were sexually abused as children or sexually assaulted right before the time their weight gain began. Women use food addiction to cope with their PTSD.

Likewise, researchers have found a correlation between food addiction and PTSD in women.

9. You have a brain-based disorder that promotes food addiction and an eating disorder
For many people with weight issues, they run to food as their comfort. Food becomes the source of torturous addictive behaviors that can morph into eating disorders. Research shows that addictions and eating disorders are linked to brain-based disorders such as ADHD. Skewed neurological function leads to obsessive thought patterns that lay the foundation for addictive eating and eating disorders.

Look for the underlying cause of weight gain and weight loss resistance to develop self-compassion.

I hope this article helps you understand some of the factors that play into a chronic struggle with weight gain and weight loss resistance. Our society begs us to gorge on eat sugary foods and drinks through incessant advertising while a multi-billion-dollar diet industry and impossible pop culture body ideals value human worth based on thinness.

As a result, millions of people, the majority of them women, internalize society’s fat shaming and develop shame and self-loathing around food and their bodies when the real sickness is in the society and not the individual.

The body is a miraculous machine that operates in constant service to us. You can learn to live and eat in a way that honors good health and function regardless of your size. Ask my office how we can help you.

Are Statins Helpful or Harmful?

A new study has gain controversy because of its claim that high cholesterol does not shorten life span and statins are essentially a “waste of time,” says one of the researchers. To back this study up, there are some previous studies that statins increase the risk of diabetes.

The study had 70,000 test subjects and found that elevated levels of “bad cholesterol” did not raise the risk of early death from cardiovascular disease in people over 60.

The authors of the study called for statin guidelines to be reviewed, claiming the benefits of statins are “exaggerated.”

The study didn’t just find no link between high cholesterol and early death but also found that patients with high “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) lived longer and had fewer incidences of heart disease.

The co-author and vascular surgeon said that cholesterol is vital for preventing cancer, muscle pain, infection, and other health disorders in older people. He also stated that statins are a “waste of time” for lowering cholesterol and that lifestyle changes are more effective for improving cardiovascular health.

Naturally, the study gained controversies and its conclusions were dismissed by other experts in the field. One in four Americans over the age of 40 take statins making statins the most commonly prescribed drugs. The drug accounts for statins cost more than $20 billion in spending each year.

Statin use has gone up more than 80 percent in the last 20 years.

Statins linked to a higher risk of diabetes and other health disorders

In functional medicine, we recognize cholesterol as a vital compound in the body for multiple functions, including brain function and muscle strength. Overly low cholesterol is linked with an increased risk of several health disorders, including diabetes.

A study with almost 9,000 people as their test subjects, showed that people in their 60s who used stains had an almost 40 percent higher risk of type 2 diabetes. They also had higher rates of high blood sugar and pre-diabetes, or insulin resistance. High blood sugar disorders underpin numerous chronic inflammatory conditions, including Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Previous research found a 50 percent increased risk of diabetes in women who took statins.

In addition to raising the risk of high blood sugar and diabetes, statins also may cause such side effects as muscle weakness and waste, headaches, difficulty sleeping, and dizziness.

Statins do not address the underlying cause of heart disease: Chronic inflammation

Statins may lower cholesterol, but they do not address the underlying cause of heart disease, which is typically chronic inflammation (some people are genetically predisposed to cardiovascular disease). The body uses cholesterol to repair arteries damaged by inflammation — the primary cause of heart attacks and strokes.

For instance, the vast majority of people who have heart attacks have normal cholesterol. In other countries where the citizens have higher cholesterol than Americans, they also have less heart disease. Low cholesterol in elderly patients is linked to a higher risk of death compared to high cholesterol.

Improving heart health through functional medicine instead of statins

Functional medicine is a great alternative to improve cardiovascular health because of the use of drugs that can cause harmful side effects. Changing your lifestyle can be hard but it addresses the root causes of your disorder rather than overriding them. This means you feel and function better.

What does a functional medicine approach to heart health look like?

An anti-inflammatory diet
• Releasing feel-good endorphins regularly through exercise (endorphins are anti-inflammatory)
• Targeted nutritional support
• Identifying and addressing the root causes of your inflammation, which are different for everyone. Possibilities include high blood sugar, poor thyroid function, an undiagnosed autoimmune disorder, chronic bacterial, fungal, or viral infections, leaky gut, or a brain imbalance, such as from a past brain injury.
• It’s important to address things from this angle because cholesterol is vital to good health. It is found in every cell and helps produce cell membranes, vitamin D, and hormones. It’s also necessary for healthy brain function.

Inflammation promotes heart disease
Cholesterol is not the concerning factor in heart disease, its chronic inflammation. The blood marker C-reactive protein (CRP) identifies inflammations. If your results are high, you have a higher heart disease risk than those with high cholesterol. Having normal cholesterol but high CRP does not protect you from heart disease.

By using functional medicine to lower your inflammation and improve your heart health, you not only avoid the risks and dangers of statins but also you get to better enjoy your golden years’ thanks to improved energy and wellbeing.

Gut problems can have different root causes

In the world of functional medicine, it has long been known that gut health is paramount to the health of the rest of the body. For decades we didn’t fully understand why, although we knew the gut was the seat of the immune system and chronic inflammation. Now with the gut microbiome renaissance underway, we also understand how integral gut bacteria is to health. 

As such, addressing gut health has always been one and continues to be one of the first steps in managing a chronic inflammatory or autoimmune condition. However, people tend to fall into the trap of thinking everyone needs to follow the same gut healing protocol, wondering why it works for some and not others.

As it turns out, repairing gut health is not a one-size-fits-all approach. There is not just one diet, one type of probiotic, or one gut healing powder that works for everyone. Although there are some basic foundations to gut healing — remove immune reactive foods, keep blood sugar stable, and create a healthy gut microbiome — the truth is you still need to know why your gut health deteriorated in order to address the root cause.

Examples of root causes of poor gut health

For example, a number of patients can come in with a complaint of constipation. While laxatives may help the patient, it is nevertheless important to understand why they are constipated in the first place. This goes for any digestive complaint and not just constipation.

Here are some different reasons why a person can develop a digestive complaint such as constipation:

  • A past brain injury has dampened activity of the vagus nerve, which carries communication back and forth between the gut and the brain. This slows down motility of the intestines and causes constipation. 
  • The gut’s nervous system, called the enteric nervous system, has degenerated significantly due to chronic gut inflammation from immune reactive foods, too many sugars and junk foods, chronic stress, gut infections, or brain degeneration. Intestinal motility depends on a healthy enteric nervous system, and constipation develops. 
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) releases gases that shut down motility.
  • Medications impact intestinal motility and cause constipation. 
  • Dysautonomia, a dysregulation of the central nervous system, prevents the body from getting into the “rest and digest” state that allows for healthy bowel function.

A one-size-fits-all gut protocol can completely heal one person, create improvement in another, do nothing at all for a third, and perhaps make another even worse. 

It’s also important to screen for more serious conditions. These can include gastric ulcers from an h. pylori infection, intestinal permeability — or leaky gut — from damage to the microvilli of the small intestine, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease. Knowing whether these conditions are an issue also impacts how you manage gut health. 

Also vital is knowing whether gut autoimmunity is the root cause of your gut issues. You can test for this through Cryex Labs. If so, this changes your expectations of your outcomes and how you evaluate your progress. Autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system erroneously attacks and destroys tissue in the body. Eventually this leads to symptoms and breakdown of function.

Although autoimmune disease cannot be cured, it often can be dampened or driven into remission for long periods of time. However, unpredictable flare ups also happen, and the person with gut autoimmunity must have realistic expectations in order not to feel demoralized if their symptoms flare and recede. Also, there is still much we don’t know about autoimmunity. For some people it’s easy to manage and for others it’s a constant battle. In these cases, the goal can be as simple as “more good days.”

This is an overview of why common gut-healing protocols work gangbusters for some people and little to not at all for others. Our digestive system is one of the most fascinating, complex, and influential systems in the body. The more scientists learn about it, the more apparent it becomes that gut health largely determines the health of the rest of the body, including the brain. 

This is why we are seeing so many chronic health conditions in modernized societies that subsist largely on industrialized agriculture and food processing. The commercialization of cheap, processed, chemically laden, and highly sweetened “foods” largely void of produce has inflamed and damaged the digestive tract, decimated the gut microbiome (some researchers call it an extinction event), and ravaged the brain in today’s modern populations.

Fortunately, functional medicine excels when it comes to repairing and maintaining gut health. Ask our office how we can help you.