Monthly Archives: December 2015
When cold or allergy season rolls around, it is not uncommon to ask yourself how to stop a runny nose. As we have likely all experienced, having a runny nose is a nuisance. On top of that, you have to deal with the constantly sniffling. This is especially true since there never seems to be a tissue within arm’s reach. If you are routinely blowing your nose, you know that you can begin to develop an uncomfortable irritation of the surrounding skin. And rarely does a runny nose occur alone. There is often the accompanying stuffy sinuses and pressure. While we are all prone from time to time, I want to share how to stop runny nose based on some practical experience.
Allergies, but NOT Just Environmental
No doubt one of the most common causes of a runny nose is allergies. When we have a runny nose from an environmental allergen, there is actually nothing wrong. In fact, this is part of the natural mechanism of clearing foreign substances from the body.
However, when we deal with numerous allergens, our immune system starts to feel overwhelmed. This is where food begins to enter the equation. Foods such as dairy and grains, especially wheat and corn, are notorious for contributing to a runny nose. The more these foods are eaten, the more mucous is produced. Sometimes this mucous is noticed as “post-nasal drip”. Regardless, it puts your immune system on high alert and contributes to a runny nose. Therefore, one of the most important steps to figuring out how to stop a runny nose may just be changing what you eat.
Number Two on the Runny Nose List
If you have a cold, you are going to have a runny nose. Therefore, the faster you can kick your cold, the sooner a runny nose will end. So let’s talk about ways to bolster your immune system to overcome a cold. Number one of your list should be sleep. We have all experienced not getting enough sleep. We feel run down and less enthusiastic. Your immune system is no different. The less sleep you get, the less effective your immune system, the chance you have of getting sick. From there your nose might as well be an open faucet. The second most important thing you can do bolster your immune system is eat differently. As I previously noted, dairy and grains can contribute to a runny nose. If those are foods you should not eat, what foods should you eat to stop a runny nose. At the top of your list should be plants and spices. Plants have several compounds that are often anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and help support the immune system. The more efficient your immune system is at overcoming a bacteria or virus, the less chance you have of a runny nose. The Paleo Diet is stacked full of allergen-free options to help you end a runny nose.
The Common Thread Between the Nose and the Gut
If you are trying to figure out how to stop a runny nose, you should first ask to I have something that is continually triggering mucous production, or snoot. As I stated before, foods and bacteria can be a culprit. But what if you have an infection right where the problem is. A sinus infection can be the worse cause of a runny nose. This is not just because it is an infection, but because the location of the infection in the sinuses causes a seemingly endless supply of mucous. The sinuses fill with mucous and there is a notable increase in pressure. Many sinus infections are related to fungus. If they become too prevalent, an imbalance is created. Just like the gut, the sinuses have their own residential bacteria. When they become overwhelmed by the presence of too much fungus, the immune system compensates by producing more mucous and you have a runny nose.
How to Stop a Runny Nose with Silver
One of the methods that can be employed to alleviate a runny nose is using ionic silver gel. This is not only good for a temporary fix to purge the sinuses of the buildup of mucous and relieve some pressure, but is also good for a long term solution. The application of ionic silver gel destroys both fungus and bacteria. Therefore if these are causing more mucous production, they can be eliminated. Ionic silver gel can be applied into the nose and sinus cavities with a cotton tip applicator. However, as beneficial as this method is, caution should be used when applying this method. Repeated applications are needed to eradicate an infection. Liquid ionic silver can also be safely used internally.
Chronic Sinus Infections as a Cause of Runny Nose
If you are one of the unfortunate ones that are prone to chronic sinus infections, you likely have a malalignment of the bones that surround your sinuses. In these cases a visit with your local chiropractor could mean the difference between reducing the amount of nasal discharge and sinus infections. Of course your other option is continuing to suffer. Just as a chiropractor adjusts the spine, they too can adjust the bones surround the sinuses.
An Oldie, but a Goodie
One of the classic ways to open the nasal passages and stop a runny nose is using steam. The two most common ways of doing this are placing one’s head over a pot of boiling water or taking a hot steamy shower. The use of steam heats up the nasal passages causing dilation, loosening of mucous and easier expulsion. Even though this is not a long term fix as some of the aforementioned methods, it is easy to do and very effective.
How to Stop a Runny Nose – Quick Fixes
Inhale Essential oils – Eucalyptus, Camphor, Peppermint
Essential oils are definitely one of nature’s gifts. These oils found in plants are well known for their positive effects on human health. However, as more people distance themselves from routine contact with nature and become victims to Modernosis, they don’t receive these benefits. Luckily however, essential oils can be purchased and used to help open the nasal passages. A longtime favorite and one that can be used for numerous breathing and respiratory challenges is eucalyptus. It is well known as a decongestant. This oil is often best applied under the nose or on the upper chest. For additional support, camphor and peppermint can also be used. The strong, but pleasant, smell of these oils has strong therapeutic properties.
Another approach to stopping a runny nose that many find beneficial is nasal irrigation. This can be done with a neti pot or syringe. The goal of this is to directly apply liquid into the nasal passages to break loose and flush out mucus and debris. This helps not only clear mucous, but also remove debris that was responsible for causing mucous formation in the first place. Nasal irrigation can be performed with warm, but not hot, water. Warm salt water is an additional option.
Turmeric, Ginger, Cayenne, Horseradish, Mustard, Wasabi
Previously I mentioned the benefits of plants and spices / herbs. While I elaborated on the benefits of plants as a long term approach to stopping a runny nose, I delayed discussing spices. Why? Simply because not only do spices have benefits that can stop a runny nose long term, some of them can also stop it immediately. The therapeutic properties of turmeric, ginger, cayenne, horseradish, mustard and wasabi are all similar. They are anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antihistaminic, and antiviral. Moreover, they can provide immediate relief, especially horseradish, mustard, and wasabi. If you have ever eaten one of these three and had too much at one time, you know exactly what I am talking about. Your nasal passages open up and your eyes may even water. But one thing is for sure, you will breathe better and you will not be left figuring out how to stop a runny nose.
Modernosis is a term you want to be familiar with but it’s probably one that you’ve never heard of. When we look at a word like modernosis, this O-S-I-S on the end means there is a condition or a state of. Essentially as it relates to modernosis, it’s a state of ill health related to the modern world around us. Why should you be concerned about this? Quite simply, the modern world around you is not going anywhere. If anything, it’s going to become more technologically advanced. This means that our modern society is going to continue to drift further away from the natural world of which we all used to be a part of, but which we have seemingly become disconnected from.
Another term that can be used for modernosis is Paleo-deficit disorder. When you look at the Paleo Deficit Disorder, it’s just what it sounds like it is. It’s a disorder that has arisen as a result of a deficit from not being in our normal Paleo environment and interacting through our normal Paleo habits.
What I want to share and emphasize and a couple of key points that really can help you understand how modernosis develops and further, how modernosis can lead into a chronic disease. At the end of the day, if you are not addressing modernosis, then you’re not taking steps towards improving your health. So let’s start by taking a look at the different ways we are affected.
Light and Dark are Backwards in a Modern World
What is the natural environment? The natural environment in part is light and dark. As a part of our modern world, we’ve taken a turn and flipped this backwards. That means that we are exposing ourselves to more artificial light like lighting in our homes and our work spaces. On the opposite side of that, we’ve also decreased the amount of dark time that we have. What we’re doing during the night is extending the day time by using artificial light. During the night time when it should be dark, we’re using light. During the day time we are inside and not getting natural exposure to daylight. The problem with this is that when we don’t get exposure to natural blue light outside from the sunlight, that’s not giving adequate stimulation to our brains for full activity. It’s not completely allowing for the function of our pineal gland. The pineal gland is important because it has a direct regulation on our sleep/wake cycles. If we’re not getting full sleep or if we’re not stimulating our brain as fully as it should be from exposure to blue light outside, or if we’re not getting our brain completely shut down and suppressed because we’re getting light input that’s inhibiting the activity of our pineal gland and not allowing for full melatonin secretion, then we’re not going to rest as adequately as we should. That’s important because it also means that you’re probably not going to be healing and recovering and just simply producing some of the natural healing hormones that you should through the night time hours. Sleep is obviously important. We know individuals that don’t have good sleep are more prone to not just being overweight, but they’re also more prone to chronic diseases, even cancer which is evidenced now.
Lose of Touch, Sight and Sound from the Natural World
The second way modernosis affects our health is that we don’t have as much touch and visual stimulation and sense stimulation from the natural world around us. Why is this important? When I was thinking of an example to give you, music came to mind. I’ll give you two extremes. When you think about heavy metal music, it is very intense. It’s very stimulating. It amps the body up, right? On the opposite side, if you have something like jazz or classical music that is very lulling and soothing to the body, it puts us in a more relaxed, calm state. The same thing is true of the natural world around us. Think about a bird or crickets chirping. Think about taking a walk on the beach and hearing the waves breaking or the wind rustling through trees. Those things are all very soothing and calming to our brains. If our brains are chronically stimulated over and over and we don’t give it downtime, that is just as damaging to our brain as not giving it any stimulation. We have to have a middle ground, being in contact and having calming activities, calming visual stimulation. These ultimately allow our moods to be more balanced.
I want you to think for a minute. Just picture in your mind a building, a picture of a city full of lights, full of activity and then picture a beautiful, scenic mountain area. Which of those two has a more calming and relaxing sensation to your body? For just about all of us, it’s going to be the scenic mountain view. That is having a direct input on balancing the excitatory and inhibitory activity of your nervous system. Again, if we are chronically stimulated, that’s degenerating our health and we don’t get into a relaxed, healing phase. We need down time and the visual and physical cues around use help establish that.
The Need for Microbes in a Modern World
The next thing I want to discuss and point 3 on the topic of modernosis is microbes. There is far more attention than there has been in the past. Microbes, or our probiotics, we well know now because of commercials on TV or ads that we see in various places promoting the benefits of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. One of the things that is less appreciated about these bacteria, especially the ones in the gastrointestinal tract, is that they are influenced by other microorganisms in our environment. For example, if you touch a tree or let’s say you’re a gardener and you touch soil, you’re coming into contact with different types of microorganisms. There are different organisms on the tree; there are different organisms in the ground. The more contact you can have with different plants, different vegetation, different soils in the natural world, the more exposure you have to different types of microorganisms.
We certainly recognize now that microorganism colonies are different in different parts of the body. What’s important about that is that they all further enhance diversity. The more diversity we have from the natural world around us and the more species of beneficial microbes that we come in contact with, the more impact that is going to have in the diversity in our gastrointestinal tract. At the end of the day, the gastrointestinal tract is where so much matters. Not to minimize the impact that the microbes on our skin have, but the microbes in our gastrointestinal we’ve come to recognize as extremely important.
If we’re working in a concrete jungle, if you will, that concrete jungle is not an environment that is an ideal habitat for microbes to function in. When I say microbes, I’m talking commensal microbes, not harmful or pathogenic organisms. These are organisms that support our natural health. We do things for them, especially when they are in our gastrointestinal tract, and then in turn, they provide benefits for us like production of vitamins. They also produce calming chemicals such as GABA that tune down our brain and takes the edge out of our emotions. Microbe exposure from the natural world is extremely important from the top to bottom, or stated differently, brain to gut.
You Need the Right Spark in Your Life to Avoid the Effects of Modernosis
Negatively charged ions are the fourth point to understand when battling the onset of this health-robbing condition. Lack of negatively charged ion is just another reason individuals are more prone to what I’ve termed modernosis. Negatively charged ions are something that we encounter relatively often and in abundance in our environment. What we find is that city environments that are away from the natural world tend to have a greater concentration of positive ions, sometimes called cations, which are not overly promoting of health. Negative ions, otherwise termed anions, are promoting of health. We find this in the natural world, from things like waterfalls or water crashing down, lifting those negative ions up into the air. They can also be found around thunderstorms. These are just two examples that increase the production of negative ions.
Some of the benefits that have been shown with negative ions are they tend to have a direct improvement on our mood, tending to put us in a more relaxed, calming disposition. They also tend to enhance our respiratory, or breathing, function. Last but not least, they are also going to have anti-bacterial properties. When we talk about inhibition of some of these organisms that are not promoting our overall health, negative ions can shift that in a positive direction. They inhibit the growth of organisms that don’t work for us but do not negatively affect the commensal bacteria that have a mutually beneficial relationship with us.
The Worst Offender and Fastest Accelerator of Modernosis
The last point here and one of the things that probably has the biggest push towards driving individuals into a condition of modernosis is our food supply. Our food supply is laden with processed foods and a lack of phytochemicals. From the old saying that food is medicine, food literally is medicine. I tend to tell my patients that food is not inert. Food is either working for you and promoting your health or is working against you and deteriorating and robbing your health. When we look at most foods that are part of the standard American diet, the standard American diet is laden with foods that have very low nutritional value, that are highly processed, that are going to be now genetically modified more so than ever, that are going to have a higher degree of allergen potential because of manipulation and are going to overly stimulate the immune system thereby driving the promotion of not only immune dysregulation and auto-immune conditions but almost every chronic disease that we tend to be concerned about: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer. The big scary diseases are now going to be in part, if not to a very large extent, the result of refined and processed foods.
The other part about this is the lack of phytochemicals. Phytochemical are also plant nutrients / chemicals that are healthy. When you process food, you strip phytochemicals out. Even more so, the animals that we consume, when they don’t get the nourishment that they need, they in turn don’t give us back that nourishment. These phytochemicals, for example, are going to be things that are mood-modulating, have anti-inflammatory benefits, have anti-carcinogenic effects and anti-bacterial effects. As you can see, the list is long in the benefits that we get from these foods. When we say food is medicine, food literally is medicine in every shape and form. So, it is either working for you or it is working against you. If you are not exposed to phytochemicals routinely, then you are slipping into modernosis.
Should You Really Be Concerned about Modernosis?
When we talk about modernosis, is modernosis real? Modernosis is absolutely real. If you’re not taking steps against modernosis, if you’re not doing things that at least acknowledge, that you live in a modern world and that modern world has detrimental effects to your health, if you don’t take steps to work against that, then you’re going to succumb to the effects of modernosis. Modernosis will lead to chronic disease. What your chronic disease ends up being is a result of your overall state of health environmental triggers and your genetics, but it will lead you there. This is not something that you have to succumb to. You can take action against modernosis by these 5 points:
- Moderating your light/dark. When it’s daylight, be outside. When it’s night, shut it down and go to sleep.
- Being out in nature, having calming input into the brain by listening, touching and seeing nature firsthand.
- Being in contact with microbes from the natural world that are going to be nourishing and commensal to our body and promote health.
- Coming into contact with negatively charged ions, even if you have to have a negative ion generator or a salt lamp at your home. Whatever it takes to get you more exposure to negative ions, you should do. Getting out in nature is a great way to do it. Plants by themselves increase negative ions.
- Eating a true Paleo diet. You can’t replace diet. Diet is either working for you or it’s working against you. Simply the choice is yours to make.
Take modernosis seriously because you’re going to end up facing it.
Probiotics and weight loss are not generally talked about together. However, probiotics should be at the core of the conversation when it comes to weight loss. In fact, if you are not considering probiotics as part of your weight loss process, there is a high probability that you are still overweight and feeling frustrated. For more than one reason, not accounting for the activity of the probiotics is going to leave you depressed when it comes to your weight. Probiotics are common on store shelves and generally promoted for their benefits to alleviating gut problems and helping the immune system. While they do help in these areas, at the top of the list for what they can support should be weight loss.
Gifts from Probiotics
Micronutrients, or what most people think of as vitamins and minerals, are essential for our metabolism. Most of us like to think in terms of our metabolism working too fast or too slow. “I’m getting fat. My metabolism is slowing down.” Sound like something you have heard before? Probably so. The assumption is that because your metabolism is slow, you are fat. Among the things that can make your metabolism slow are micronutrient deficiencies, specifically as it relates to probiotics, B vitamins. B vitamins help produce energy. If we cannot make energy, weight loss is not going to happen because our fat and carbohydrate burning pathways are not going to work properly. We all know that if you are not burning fat for energy, you are probably carrying it around with you every day.
This is where probiotics and weight loss begin to find some common ground. Probiotics make a large percentage of all of our B vitamins. They don’t just make one of the B vitamins, but all of them. B vitamins spark the metabolism. When you have adequate B vitamin production from your probiotics combined with a Paleo Diet, you cannot help but lose weight. B vitamins such as B1, B2, B3 and B5 maximize the rate at which you burn fats and carbohydrates. Therefore, you are making energy and not storing unwanted body fat.
Get CLA from Probiotics and Weight Loss Becomes SuperCharged
Why can one person lose weight, when another eating the same amount of food cannot? The answer may be in the gut. Conjugated linoleic acid, or simply CLA, is a fat produced by the probiotics. The probiotics don’t actually make fat. Instead they convert the fat linoleic acid to CLA. CLA is a true gift. The benefits are substantial and include reducing body, helping to regulate blood sugar and even helping prevent cancer and reduce inflammation. The important point to know about this is that you don’t get CLA through your diet. You have to depend on the probiotics to produce it. Therefore, if the probiotics are in short supply, so too will be your CLA production.
Bad Bugs, Probiotics and Weight Loss Frustration
The gut is a constant battleground. The bacteria of the gut can be divided into several categories, but two of the categories dominate the scene. These are known as Bacteriodetes and Firmicutes. The more Bacteriodetes one has, generally the healthier they are. More importantly though, they are often far more efficient at burning fat and keeping it off. Think about the F in Firmicutes being for fat. The more Firmicutes dominates the scene of the gut, the more inflamed the body and the more calories you are extracting from food. This means that you are going to be more prone to storing fat. Therefore, if you want to be a more efficient at fat burning, then you need to improve your dominance of Bacteriodetes and limit the activity of Firmicutes. Keep reading to find out how.
Support Your Probiotics and Weight Loss Becomes Easy
Using probiotics and weight loss success are a natural combination if you know how to make probiotics colonies grow. Let me start off by saying that just supplementing probiotics is not going to get you there. But in turn, you are not going to have lasting weight loss success if don’t supplement probiotics. How can I make such a direct comment? It’s easy! If your gut does not have a good balance of probiotics, you are absorbing too many calories from food, you are inflamed and you are not getting the benefit of fat burning nutrients. It’s pretty straightforward actually. A good blend of probiotics that can minimize the number of calories you extract from food and ramp up production of fat burning nutrients is what you are looking for.
But to support the growth of your probiotics requires more than just taking probiotics. Once you take them, you have to give them a hospitable environment to grow in. This requires plants. Plants have two things that probiotics love; fiber and plant nutrients. Think about fiber as forming the nest that probiotics develop in. Plant nutrients stimulate probiotic growth and diversity. Just like a nutritious diet enhances our development, probiotics depend on plant nutrients. Additionally, plant nutrients suppress growth of less desirable bacteria. This ultimately changes the landscape of the gut. When this landscape is established, inflammation is low and the probiotics become a factory of fat burning nutrients. This is where the Paleo Diet comes in. The Paleo Diet emphasizes the intake of as many plants as possible. This allows for higher fiber and the more the better your fat burning. Additionally, the more color, the more plant nutrients you are consuming. This all decreases inflammation and helps you shred the fat. Diet is a key to long term weight loss, but only if you do it right by following the Paleo Diet.
Clearly, probiotics and weight loss are a natural fit. It makes me scratch my head and wonder why so few take advantage of the benefits of probiotics when trying to lose weight. If you are feeling frustrated with your weight loss efforts then know that this can end. Your frustration can be as limited as your probiotics and plant intake are plentiful. Step outside of the box and look to probiotics for weight loss success.