Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Trifecta You Don't Want To Cash In

The implication is that if a person has one or more of these abnormal findings, he is at risk for the others.
What's Right For You?
You might be thinking, "What's right for me? I want to have a healthy diet. I want to do regular exercise. I want to get enough sleep. How do I know what's right?"
First, what works for someone else may not necessarily achieve the same results for you.
One person may love the elliptical machine for aerobics. Another may say that running is the only way to go. Biking, fast walking, swimming timed laps - they all work. The exercise you want to do - the one you like and makes you feel good - that's the one for you.
Likewise with rest. You may read that everyone needs 8 hours of sleep every night. Next month you may read about some hot-shot that thrives on 6 hours per night. What's right? The amount that helps you feel active, alert, and well-rested. Some nights you need a little more. Sometimes you can get by on 5 or 6 hours.
Bottom line - what works for you works for you. The key is to be consistent and intend to want to be healthy and well.
High serum glucose. High cholesterol. High blood pressure. This is a trifecta you definitely don't want to have. This combination of laboratory findings is known as metabolic syndrome, a new medical term that has been in existence for less than ten years. It's well-known that there is an epidemic of obesity in America. Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Thirty percent of American children are overweight or obese. The numbers continue to increase. The United States is also in the midst of an epidemic in diabetes. Eight percent of Americans over age 20 have diabetes - one in twelve people. Again, the numbers are increasing. 

Recently, public health researchers discovered that people who were overweight and had diabetes also had high blood pressure - the combination of findings was termed metabolic syndrome. The implication is that if a person has one or more of these abnormal findings, he is at risk for the others.1,2,3 If a person has high blood glucose she is at risk for high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. Being overweight increases the risk of developing diabetes and developing cardiovascular disease - heart attack and stroke. 

The statistics and medical conclusions are sobering, and yet there is good news. Each of these serious disorders - diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure - is a lifestyle disease. Lifestyle contributes significantly to developing any and all of these conditions. Making long-lasting changes in the way we live has long-lasting effects on our health and well-being. Lifestyle recommendations are not breaking news. Everyone knows about the benefits of healthy nutrition and regular vigorous exercise. Research has consistently shown that diet, exercise, and proper rest significantly improve one's health. The great challenge is to cause people to engage in these activities which are in their own interest.

An additional important lifestyle change is to engage in regular chiropractic care. Chiropractic care ensures optimal functioning of the nerve system which ensures optimal functioning of all other body systems. If the nerve system is over- or understimulated, physiology will break down in various ways and disease will result. Chiropractic care balances nerve system activity via gentle manipulation of spinal joints. Proper function of the spine results, with normalization of nerve activity. Chiropractic care enhances all other lifestyle activities. Healthy nutrition and regular exercise can have maximum benefit when your spine and nerve system are functioning properly.
1McNaughton SA, et al: Dietary patterns, insulin resistance, and incidence of type 2 diabetes in the Whitehall II Study. Diabetes Care 31(7):1343-1348, 2008
2Brunner EJ, et al: Dietary patterns and 15-y risks of major coronary events, diabetes, and mortality. Am J Clin Nutr 87(5):1414-1421, 2008
3Roman B, et al: Effectiveness of the Mediterranean diet in the elderly. Clin Interv Aging 3(1):97-109, 2008

Making Sense of Blood Sugar Handling

If you need a little extra help with blood sugar handling, there are steps you can take to naturally manage it.

What Part Do Stress and Cortisol Play?
When exposed to stress, the body initiates a chain of events (releasing stimulatory hormones) that prepare the body for either a “fight” or “flight” response.  These events, which alter metabolism, require significant energy or fuel—the body needs glucose.
Anything that causes us to feel stress raises Cortisol (referred to as the “stress hormone”) levels.  If we feel stressed on a regular basis, Cortisol levels remain elevated.  This affects metabolic processes that serve to increase blood glucose levels.  Hormones affected by elevated Cortisol levels include:
·         Thyroid
·         Progesterone
·         Estrogen
·         Testosterone
Because one of the primary roles of Cortisol is to encourage the body to refuel itself after responding to a stressor, an elevated Cortisol level keeps the appetite ramped up—so a stressed person will feel hungry ALL the time.

Emphasize a Healthy, Holistic Lifestyle
When it is evident a person needs help with blood glucose handling, it is important to address all facets of your lifestyle, including:
Stress Management
There are factors that contribute to how the body responds to a stressor:
1.      Whether there is an outlet for the stress.  Go for a run.  Talk to a friend.
2.      Whether the stress is predictable.  The more accustomed a person is to the stressor, the less pronounced the response to the stress will be.
3.      Whether there is control over the stressor.  Learn to accept those things that cannot be changed

Stress: The Thief of Sleep
Many studies have shown that getting less than eight hours of sleep per night causes metabolic changes.  Less sleep means insufficient time for Cortisol levels to drop.  An increase in Cortisol decreases the ability to fall asleep as well as the amount of time the mind spends in the most restful stages of deep sleep.
To foster a good night’s sleep, a person should exercise early in the day, be consistent with lights-out and waking times, and avoid caffeine late in the evening.  A person may want to add deep-breathing techniques, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation to their sleep regime.

Regular participation in “moderate” exercise can reduce body fat, reduce appetite, build muscle and bone, improve mental and emotional function, and stimulate the immune system.  Aerobic exercise is recommended because it makes the patient breathe more deeply and makes the heart work harder.  Intense exercise can be detrimental by elevating Cortisol levels.

Learning what affects blood sugar handling in your body can make you feel more in control.  You probably already know to avoid carbohydrate-laden snacks and sweets, but sometimes product labeling can be deceptive.  A person may not know what ingredients to watch for, like high fructose corn syrup in sports and energy drinks.  Other things to look for are excitotoxins—substances that are believed to kill or damage nerve cells through excessive stimulation.  The biggest offenders are monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame, which can both interfere with the normal functioning of the endocrine system.
To level out blood sugar levels, a person should eat more whole-grain foods containing fiber Whole grain bread and fresh fruits and vegetables) and avoid refined carbohydrates like white flour, white rice, white pasta, and white sugar.  Whole grains take longer to digest due to their denseness and fiber content and won’t cause blood sugar to spike.

In addition to relieving stress, eating right, and exercising, whole food supplements and herbal products can encourage healthy blood sugar levels when combined with a healthy diet.
Cataplex GTF from Standard Process
·         Supports healthy carbohydrate digestion
·         Supports healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels when already within normal ranges
·         Encourages healthy blood sugar utilization at the cellular level
Diaplex from Standard Process
·         Supports healthy sugar handling
·         Supports healthy pancreas function
·         Supports healthy bowel and gall bladder function
Gymnema 4g from Mediherb
·         Maintains healthy blood sugar levels when combined with a balanced diet
·         Maintains cholesterol levels in a normal range

After a person has embraced these lifestyle changes, it is important to re-evaluate a person’s blood sugar levels.  Encourage yourself to continue following these tips/techniques so you maintain your health and wellness.

Blood Sugar Handling Workshop
For more information on Standard Process Whole Food Supplements and MediHerb herbal products that support healthy blood sugar handling, attend our upcoming blood sugar workshop being held in March.  Please call the office for registration details at (845)561-2225.

What's In Your Water

     I originally asked that question after I observed what was being made available at a cycling event I participated in.  The water that was being offered was purified water, which made me a little leery, as I knew what my body needs when it is going to compete, and purified water doesn't have what my body needs to maintain a high level of efficiency when exercising continuously for the better part of 3 hours straight.  Being that it was the only water being offered, I had no choice, but was then inspired to write this newsletter for you, the reader.  My intention is to help you appreciate the difference between all the different types of water that are out there, and then help you to make better choices for your health.
     Having seen the various types of water that are available on the market, we have the following 14: Artesian, Mineral, Purified, Spring, Well, Alkaline, Filtered, Distilled, Reverse Osmosis, Ozonation, and UV Light treated or irradiated water.  And let us not forget the flavored and vitamin waters either.  So which one(s) are helpful, and which are not in your best interest to drink?  I'll just go right in the order they are written. 

Artesian water:  comes from an artesian well, which draws water from a confined aquifer (an underground, porous rock or sand formation that bears water and is under pressure from a layer of rock or clay above it).  The pressure from the confining layer forces the water from the aquifer upward.  The level of the water supply the artesian well is drawing from must sit above the uppermost layer of the aquifer. 

Mineral water: is spring water that has at least 250 parts per million (ppm) of total dissolved solids (TDS) in it.  These "dissolved solids" are minerals like calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium, and they must be present in the water at the source, not added later.  By contrast, regular spring water typically has about 50 ppm of TDS. 

Naturally sparkling water: comes from a spring or artesian well and has natural carbonation in it.  The carbonation may be removed during processing and then replaced, but the carbonation levels after the replacement must be the same as the level of carbonation at the source.

Purified water: comes from either a protected underground source or from a municipal drinking-water supply (public tap water).  It has been "demineralized" -- treated by one or more of several processes to remove dissolved solids.  If the water comes from a municipal water source that uses chlorine as a disinfectant, the manufacturer may further treat the water to remove the chlorine, or they may not want to incur the expense and leave it in.

Spring water: comes from a protected, underground water source from which the water flows to the surface on its own.  It may be collected either at the source of the spring or through a sanitary, protected hole drilled directly into the source feeding the spring.  If the water is collected through the hole drilled at the source, it has to have exactly the same composition as the water in the surface spring.

Well water: is drawn from a protected well that taps directly into an unconfined aquifer.  Ideally, this is a great source to drink.  Unfortunately, many of the local waters can become contaminated due to building on property that has been a land fill area at some point in the last 100 years prior to building a housing community.  The residues from the land fill may make the water unsafe. 
Of the basic types of bottled water, the only one required by definition to undergo further treatment once it's drawn from the source (or purchased from a municipal water supply) is purified water.  The most common treatment processes for purified water include:

Alkaline water: There is a theory that when we eat too many refined and processed foods high in sugar, we alter the pH of our body.  Your tap water is run through a machine that allows the water to be split into Alkaline water for drinking and Acid water for cleaning.  The machine will pass the water through a series of titanium plates designed to split the water into those two types.  Sometimes drinking this water will cause the person to lose their minerals and can lead to health imbalances.

Filtration: the water is sent through filters or membranes whose holes will only let through extremely small particles, typically those smaller than 1 micron.  Contaminants larger than 1 micron, including many germs and inorganic solids, can't make it through the filter and the water that results is free of those larger contaminants.  This will usually filter out the necessary minerals needed by the body.

Distillation: The water is vaporized.  Since minerals don't vaporize, all that is left after the vapor recondenses is demineralized water.  This water is really only oxygen and hydrogen, as all the minerals necessary for the body have been removed.

Reverse Osmosis: the water is forced through semipermeable membranes not porous enough to let minerals or other molecules through.  Therefore, the water, like distilled water is mineral deficient.

Ozonation: ozone gas typically created by subjecting oxygen to electrical current, is an antimicrobial agent -- it kills microorganisms.  The water is infused with ozone (O3) molecules as a disinfecting process, and the molecules naturally break down and leave the water fairly quickly.  As an additional benefit, when the ozone molecules degrade to O2 and molecules, this leaves free oxygen ions to bond with the other contaminants like iron and sulfur.  When the oxygen bonds to these molecules, it turns them into oxides, which are insoluble.  These now-insoluble contaminants are now filtered out.

UV-light treatment: Ultraviolet light is a disinfecting agent -- it kills microorganisms, including bacteria and viruses, although some microorganisms are less affected by it than others.  The process uses no chemicals.  Instead, the water is subjected to intense UV light inside a chamber.  The UV light damages microorganisms at the cellular level, either killing them or causing them to lose their ability to replicate.  A virus that can't replicate is harmless.  So what is left in the water are organisms that can't harm you.

Vitamin water: synthetic vitamins (non-natural) are added to filtered water in an attempt to create a nutrient based water.  Unfortunately, the synthetic vitamins are incomplete and will not be absorbed.  Essentially, they have no benefit to the consumer, but can lead to deficiencies as your body will need to give up any of the missing ingredients in a vitamin complex in an effort to process the less than whole, synthetic ones being offered within the water. 

Flavored water: artificial flavors are added to the filtered water in an effort to give it some taste.  This is simply adding some synthetic flavoring which will respond the same way as the vitamin water.  Since you are starting with filtered water to begin with, you'll be missing the necessary minerals required by the body to be healthy.  The added flavoring, especially if it is a sugar based flavoring, will inhibit you from absorbing any of the "vitamins" they put in the water.  Don't be fooled by the advertisements, or the flavoring and drink this type of water. 

So Which Water Is Best? 
     The best water you could drink will always be local bottled spring water.  You can enhance this by also drinking local bottled mineral water about 1 liter a week (perhaps more if you really exercise a lot and sweat a lot).  And if you have access, Artesian water is good, if you can find a local source.  Again, about 1 liter a week.  The reason why these are best is because, believe it or not, you help build strong immunity by drinking local spring water.  This occurs because within the local spring water will naturally be all the microbes (viruses and bacteria) that help to stimulate immune cell growth within the body.  And you want to be able to develop these immune cells to fight off any viruses or bacteria local to your area.  This was what the researchers found when they traveled around the world examining the water of local communities.  The Asians never developed any polio, for instance, because the local spring water contained the polio virus within it.  By drinking the hard water out of the ground, the people were able to develop a natural immunity to any of these viruses, without ever needing to be vaccinated. 

     Another important component to enhance strong immunity within a person is the calcium content of the water.  Calcium necessary for building strong immunity comes naturally in mineral and spring water in the form of calcium bi-carbonate.  This form of calcium is what creates the hard water that causes the pipes in your house to deteriorate, or the white residue within your tea-kettle, when the calcium precipitates out.  This is why a water softener was created.  Unfortunately, the water softener removes the calcium bi-carbonate and this interferes with building strong immunity and healthy bones.  Appreciate that the higher the calcium bi-carbonate levels within the water, the better it is for being healthy.  Of course you want all the other naturally occurring minerals to be there as well.  Since the body needs all of them to naturally maintain normal function, this is why it is important to have all of them, and to consume them regularly.   

How Do I Know What Is In My Water?
     By calling the spring water bottler and getting a breakdown of the mineral content within the water would be a good exercise for anyone to do.  Using the 800 number on the bottle will allow for you to do this, as the bottler has to keep this information on hand.  But this will only be true for Artesian, Mineral and Spring waters.  All others have been treated and purified and have had those trace mineral components removed.  So then it becomes pointless to drink any of the other waters available on the market.  Something to consider for your health and the health of your family. 
     I hope you have found this information helpful, and will consider it strongly when deciding which water is best for you to drink.  And remember, it is best to drink one quart for every 50 lbs. you weigh, every day.  This is the quantity a person will need to keep their metabolism functioning at a balanced rate.

My Offer To You
     If you would like me to evaluate the water you currently drink to see how your body feels about it, please bring some of it with you and let's see what your body says.  Simply call The Office and ask me to schedule you in for the What's In My Water Check.  It only takes a couple of seconds, and by allowing us to do this, you can know for sure if your water is best for you, and more importantly, how much your body is asking for.  Since this is the one thing you can do to improve or destroy your health, why not take the time and have me do this evaluation with you.  Please call The Office at (845)561-BACK or 561-2225.  It would be my pleasure to help you.