Symptoms of hormonal imbalance are more prevalent than ever before. Young ladies with PMS, women struggling through the mid-life transition of menopause, young men with no sex drive and older men with no motivation. These are all symptoms of hormonal imbalance. This condition is so common that clinics are popping up everywhere claiming to help balance hormones.
Why is there such a need for doctors to help re-balance hormones? Wait! Before you answer that question, you might want to ask, “Am I at risk of developing symptoms of hormonal imbalance?” With one deafening word I can answer this question. YES! You are going to develop symptoms. Most of the reason is because of the foods you are choosing. Once you learn what foods are causing your hormonal imbalances, visiting a doctor to help balance your hormones won’t be as necessary.
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance
Symptoms of hormonal imbalance have a funny way of sneaking up on you. Your friends and coworkers start avoiding you because you seem more edgy all the time. Your spouse is noticing that you cannot remember things as well, and if you are honest with yourself, you notice it also. Your desire for the opposite sex is as present as a snow storm in the middle of the summer. Before you know it, you are in the full troughs of hormonal imbalance with no idea how you got there. The days of adequate energy and stable moods are nothing more than a memory. Does this sound like you? If it does, you are not alone. And the thought that it seemed to hit you all of a sudden . . . well it turns out there is some legitimacy to that. More on that to come.
What’s on Your Fork is Causing Your Hormonal Imbalances
It might not seem so obvious that the reason your hormones are out of balance could be because of the food choices you are making. Food is directly related to balancing hormones. In short, if you eat a Paleo Diet, full of vegetables and fruits and some nuts and lean meats, you are far less likely to have symptoms of hormonal imbalances. However, if you are eating foods that are refined, boxed, and look nothing like what you find in the produce section of the grocery store or at the local farmer’s market, it is almost certain that you are going to be labeled “the person that should get their hormones checked”. Unfortunately, if you are this person, I am going to be the barer of bad news and tell you that it is even worse.
The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
You know the story of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. The wolf pretends to be the sheep and part of the natural flock, only to surprise the flock by devastatingly attacking the sheep. Seems pretty gruesome, right. The truth is that it is not that different than the weed killer (herbicide) glyphosate that can be found in your foods. It is supposed to help grow better crops with no effect on humans. Supposedly! Turns out that assumption was wrong and it directly affects your hormones. In men, it can increase estrogen. In women, it can lead to an imbalance of the two primary female hormones, estrogen and progesterone. Simply, it is going to accelerate you toward the label of the “crazy hormone” person.
Glyphosate truly is the wolf in sheep’s clothing. It continues to be pushed as a safe product, even for routine use around your home. Excellent! Now you can get poisoned from the eating foods that are part of the standard American diet as well as taking care of your lawn. Turns out, ingestion in only one way that you can disrupt your hormones with glyphosate. It can also be inhaled. As a water soluble compound, it can easily blend in with your body tissues and become a real problem with hormone disruption being only the tip of the iceberg. Think I am exaggerating. Ask all the farmers and their families in central America that developed Chronic Kidney Disease of unknown origin what their opinion is. My guess is that the symptoms of hormonal imbalance are the least of the concerns they will tell you to worry about.
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance from Out of Nowhere
You will recall earlier that I shared how symptoms of hormonal imbalance can seem to creep in without warning. Well turns out, in humans, that is the presentation of glyphosate. It continues to accumulate and cause undetectable levels of problems. However, at some point, the last drop of water is going to fall into the bucket causing it to begin to spill over. This is the same story for glyphosate. It continues to accumulate until at some point your body cannot clear it out fast enough. When this happens, here come the symptoms, including hormonal imbalances.
What Can You Do
Not all is hopeless. First and foremost, you need to acknowledge that glyphosate is a problem. There is a growing body of evidence casting a larger and larger shadow on glyphosate, and therefore the “foods” that are sprayed with glyphosate. It is rather logical to see why the legislation that was passed allowing for food manufactures to circumvent the necessity to label GMO foods was called the “Dark Act”. Once you accept this truth, you have taken the first step. Unfortunately, accepting that the most common foods in the standard American diet are the problem is not easy. However, before you question the legitimacy of the connection between these foods being sprayed with glyphosate and symptoms of hormone imbalances, you should ask yourself why all chronic diseases continue to be on the rise while our food supply drifts further and further away from what is our ideal diet.
If you are not sure what your ideal diet should be, I have a resource that is going to make transitioning back to the foods that are going to help resolve your hormonal symptoms much easier. If you are a man and want to “be a man” again, or ladies, if you have the desire to return to your youthful, vibrant self again, you have to grab your copy of the Definitive Paleo Immersion Shopping Guide.
Carninutrients, what are those? Well, if you’re familiar with the term carnivore or meat eater then carninutrients is probably going to start to make some sense to you. We think about meat eaters as having different nutrients or exposure to different nutrients as compared to individuals who are going to be predominantly plant eaters or herbivores. Now most of us are not on either extreme of the category. We’re not carnivores and we’re not herbivores. We fall in the middle. We’re pretty much omnivores. However, when we look at our diet there are some very important nutrients that come from meat and we call these carninutrients.
Now one thing to understand about carninutrients, and this varies a bit when you look at the medical literature with some experts suggesting that carninutrients solely come from meat sources, or that with others expressing that carninutrients come predominantly from meat sources. The bottom line is that if you’re not consuming any carninutrients you’re probably not getting an adequate amount of certain nutrients that are specifically found in protein. Now what nutrients are we particularly talking about here? There are a couple we want to keep in mind and we can break them down into two different categories.We’ve got the nutrients that are amino acids and then we’ve got nutrients that are non-amino acids.
Amino Acid Sources of Carninutrients
The name definitely shows the correlation here, carninutrients, carnitine exaggerating the carni on that. When we talk about carnitine it is going to be found predominantly in red meat. It’s found in all proteins, but the more red meat we have the greater the amount of carnitine we’re likely to find in that, and carnitine is pretty important. Most people really like carnitine because carnitine is what helps us take our fat from our diet and put it into the energy burning components of the cell and actually burn that fat for energy. Now if you can be a more efficient fat burner then you’re likely to have less accumulation of body fat overall. So, carnitine is extremely important in that. That’s not the only role that carnitine has. It also is beneficial in the structural components, our lean muscle tissue, as well as having some positive effects on overall brain health as well. So, carnitine is pretty important.
Another one that falls in is a nutrient that has a similar name called carnosine. Now carnosine is actually what is considered an anti-glycation nutrient. Now what that means is that carnosine is going to have some antioxidant-type properties and it’s going to inhibit some of the negative effects that blood sugar has on various proteins throughout the body. It’s very protective so we can think about carnosine as having antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties to it.
The third one that falls into this amino acid category is going to be creatine. Now creatine, most people think about creatine as being associated with working out, muscle building, body building, these types of things and yes, while it does have very positive associations with that, one of the things that we should also consider here is that creatine is a very important part of our body’s muscle tissue. What we know now is that individuals who have better overall muscle composition tend to have better aging characteristics as well. If you want to age better you should probably start trying to find ways to develop better muscle tissue, and creatine is very important in this process. The nutrients or the three additional amino acids that help build creatine are going to be pretty favorably found from protein sources. If you want to have good muscle tissue development, good anti-aging, good longevity characteristics make sure you’re getting creatine into your diet through adequate protein consumption.
Taurine is definitely one that is less talked about. One of the things that we in this society have a tendency to do is become more overactive. We tend to be more in a stress model and taurine is important because it calms the brain down. It brings down the overactivity in the brain. It’s very calming to the brain. It’s what we call an inhibitory neurochemical. In addition to that, when we start thinking about the activity of the platelets, if you think about the sticky part of our blood, if we cut ourselves what allows our blood to begin to clot those are the platelets that are doing that. Our platelets are very rich in taurine, and taurine is what helps drive and promote that clotting mechanism, or prevent that mechanism from over clotting I should say. For individuals that don’t adequately consume taurine they actually clot too easily. If we want to prevent some of that, taurine is great in inhibiting clotting because of the action that it has on calcium.
Non-Amino Acid Sources of Carninutrients
What is so unique about iron? The first thing is that iron is going to be necessary for building good red blood cells. If we want to carry oxygen around and prevent anemia and be energetic then you’ve got to have good iron around. However, we shouldn’t just pitch iron thinking about its relationship to blood and to prevention of anemia. The additional role that iron has, one of which I’ll mention here that is extremely important in this day and age is that it’s important for detoxification enzymes. We have these great little unique enzymes called cytochrome P450 enzymes, and while the name of that is not so important what is important is the fact that these enzymes help us detox. If we want to keep our inflammation down, keep our bodies healthy, prevent aging at a more rapid rate then we have to be able to efficiently detox.
The other area where iron is extremely important and much less talked about is the role that it has in good neurological health. Some of the different conversions that we need to make from different types of chemicals, different types of metabolites to get to the neurochemicals we actually want to be at requires iron as a co-factor in that process. Without iron you don’t make a metabolite, you don’t make the likely neurotransmitter either.
The next nutrient is going to be B12. B12 is another very common nutrient. Most people think about B12 as being also associated with energy and that’s for just cause also because we don’t build good healthy red blood cells if we don’t adequately have B12. It’s a very important carninutrient as well. Yes, you can get it from other sources outside of meat, but it’s just not going to be very efficient. B12 is so important in regards to red blood cells because it’s going to help with a process known as methylation. Methylation has a number of different applications from helping produce healthy DNA, you’re helping to replicate your genes, helping to detoxify, and keeping an inflammatory protein named homocysteine nice and low and under control. Homocysteine has many damaging effects so we certainly want to keep that down and B12 is very important in doing that.
Now selenium, a little small micronutrient here, mineral, and we don’t really hear a lot about selenium but selenium has some very important roles in the body. The first role is that selenium is going to be considered an antioxidant. One of the things that selenium is very important in doing is that it helps to re-synthesize some of our other antioxidants. If we’re looking at all the antioxidants and how they work together selenium is a critical co-factor in making sure these other antioxidants all have the horsepower that they need to keep inflammation nice and suppressed. Selenium is predominantly going to be found in skeletal muscle tissue and the reason being is that it binds up to other proteins. This is one of the carninutrients that you can find in non-animal sources, but again it’s predominantly found in animal sources.
Another one is going to be phosphorus. Phosphorus is an important carninutrient simply because if you look at it by weight phosphorus is going to make up about 1% of our overall body weight. In addition to that, it’s the second most abundant mineral so you can see just from those two numbers it is fairly important. When we start talking about what the utilization of phosphorus is going to be, it’s going to be involved in your bones, your teeth, in your overall growth and repair processes so it’s pretty important for those mechanisms as well. One of the things to note about this is that while you can get a small amount of this from fruits and vegetables it’s not an appreciable amount to really make any significant difference. Therefore, it means that you’ve got to be able to get that phosphorus from your protein sources in the diet.
Now in concluding this conversation about carninutrients one of the things to keep in mind is that while plants are a very important part of our diet and in many cases you could probably argue that they should make up the majority of our diet because of the numerous health benefits. I want you to keep in mind that these carninutrients that we find in proteins are not likely to be found in any appreciable contribution in a vegetarian diet. If you are consuming a vegetarian diet there are some limitations and supplementation might be necessary.
Don’t forget these carninutrients, and if you’re looking at rationale for why should I bring protein into my diet, or how much protein should I be eating, keep in mind that without that adequate and consistent protein consumption you’re losing some very important nutrients that quite honestly apart from supplementation just really aren’t found anywhere else. This should stresses the importance of why these carninutrients should be a routine component in your diet.
Do you think carbohydrate source is important? It’s pretty common to hear from time to time from patients that if I get my carbohydrates from grains, or if I get my carbohydrates from fruit, or if I get my carbohydrates from say starchy vegetables it doesn’t really matter as long as I get an equivalent amount of carbohydrates. That’s not technically accurate, and what I want to share with you is the reason why.
I picked two examples, pasta and butternut squash, as the carbohydrate sources to compare. Pasta we know can be made from several things, but for this example I’m going to utilize wheat as the source of where it is coming from. The other carbohydrate source example is butternut squash. Let’s just for simplicity sake make the argument that this is 40 grams of pasta versus 40 grams of starchy vegetable and in this case butternut squash. I want to point out a couple of the differences here and why it’s not just about the amount of carbohydrates that you’re consuming. Butternut squash is going to have a much broader nutrient profile to it which means you’re going to get a broader array of vitamins and minerals that are going to be more consistent with supporting your overall health. Pasta or wheat can’t make that argument. You are going to be limited in what you are going to be getting from it. Yes, you will get some B vitamins, a few minerals, but you also get a couple of what are known as anti-nutrients in there as well that are not going to be found in butternut squash in this example.
Vegetable vs. Grain Carbohydrate Source
Now to be fair if we make the argument for whole grain pasta or wheat in its lesser refined form does it have fiber? Yes, it does have fiber. However, the amount of fiber that it has per the amount of total carbohydrates is not that high. It’s actually fairly insignificant. If we look at the fiber source for butternut squash it actually makes up a pretty large contribution. If you’ve ever eaten butternut squash, for example you bake a butternut squash, when you cut it in half and look at it and start to pull it apart with a fork you can actually see the fibery components of that. It’s very dense in fiber and there are many benefits, one of which is that it supports good gastrointestinal health.
Potassium is something that we routinely need to find in our diet, and choosing the right carbohydrate source will ensure some is included. It is something that helps keep our body alkaline and it’s not something that we’re going to find in the grain category, and again pasta in this example. But, potassium because of its alkalizing nature it’s one of the things that helps form optimal neurological function. We tend to lose potassium easily so we have to continually consume foods that are going to replete potassium. Even from the standpoint of something like blood pressure, potassium is extremely crucial in helping maintain the volume of water in our blood.
Next let’s discuss Non-GMO. Butternut squash is not genetically modified. Now whether you’re a GMO fan or on the fence about it, the bottom line with genetically modified organisms right now is that we just don’t know. There are a lot of ifs, ands and buts about it that we just are not sure about. Many of these foods that are genetically modified, apart from the genetic modification issue and how that is going to interact with our own genome and how we’re consuming foods, that may not be ideal for us to consume because we have not consumed them throughout our history, the other issue that comes into this and that actually links us in to the next point here is toxicity risk.
When you look at genetically modified foods a lot of the reasons that these foods are modified have to do with the fact that they can have toxins applied to them. You don’t see that with butternut squash or with other starchy vegetables. You don’t want this inherent risk of potentially consuming your food that doesn’t match up to your own genetics, and also considering a food having a very high toxicity risk associated with that. Those risks do increase with your grains or with pasta or something of that nature.
Again, you may or may not be in the camp of gluten is a problem. Basically what I’m going to leave you with on this is if you read the medical literature the medical literature is pretty emphatic that gluten is a problem, and it’s not just someone who has celiac disease. We’re also talking about individuals who have what is known as gluten sensitivity. Now again you’re looking at the consistent consumption of a protein that is part of the standard American diet. It’s routinely consumed and the more it is consumed in food the more problematic that food becomes. Butternut squash doesn’t really have risk because it doesn’t have that big allergen in protein in it so it does not have the allergen risk associated with it. There are also some issues that come into play with the irritation and inflammation that comes along with consuming pasta, wheat, gluten that that’s going to create an inflammatory response, and you just don’t get that inflammatory response and accompanying allergen risk from butternut squash or other starchy vegetables.
Rich in Color
That moves us into the next point which is these starchy vegetables are going to be very rich in color. Just think about this as an example, let’s say you have some pasta in one hand and a butternut squash in the other hand, pasta is very dull. It’s either going to be white or brown whereas a butternut squash is going to be very rich and vibrant in color. It’s going to be very orange. Think about the sweet potato having that deep orange color, or maybe even beets, another starchy vegetable, having a very deep red color. The red color that we think about, those are polyphenols, but we also think about those antioxidants. They keep inflammation under control.
Another added benefit that we get from these is that the bacteria in our gut which we all like to talk about now with these probiotics, they like polyphenols. They like antioxidants. They love that color. That color supports their growth. If we’re trying to modify the bacterial environment in our gut consuming foods that are rich in color is very favorable to those organisms. It’s much more complicated than this, but in very simplistic terms if we’re trying to promote the growth of the beneficial organisms and inhibit the growth of some of the non-beneficial organisms that really comes back down to the color component. You completely miss that benefit from consuming pasta and wheat and grains and this whole category of carbohydrates. The same thing can be said going back to the fiber component because fiber additionally is going to enhance the growth of those bacteria as well. It’s going to give them a nice environment in your gastrointestinal tract that helps them flourish and do all the beneficial things that they can do for us.
Now when we think about plant estrogens a lot of times plant estrogens are thought about as it relates to soy, for example. I’m not advocating soy here by any means, but what I am suggesting is that whether it’s butternut squash, beets, turnips, rutabaga, or okra, all of these different types of food with all of this color in them also have a wide variety of plant estrogens in them. The beneficial thing about this is that these are estrogen-like compounds that are not over stimulatory. They stimulate just enough to get the positive benefit from estrogen, but they don’t over stimulate.
So, does the carbohydrate source really matter? I think we can easily answer the question and say yes, it absolutely matters where you get your carbohydrates from. It’s not about 40 grams of carbohydrates versus 40 grams of carbohydrates. It’s much different than that. We have to stop thinking in such a narrow viewpoint of our food and look at what food has to offer beyond just simply calories. It’s not calories in and calories out. This is why two people that can consume 40 grams of pasta versus 40 grams of butternut squash will receive different end results. An individual that makes this a mainstay of their diet is going to be a much healthier individual.
It is not uncommon for a patient to visit my office after having been seen by other doctors. In fact, it is the norm. Many patients have seen between 7-8 doctors for the same symptom before visiting my practice. At first, this seemed very odd to me. However, after some reflection, the answers became more obvious. Keep in mind, that many of these patients have seen doctors from some of the most prestigious healthcare institutions from around the country. What is ironic is that when I talk to trusted colleagues, they are seeing patients that are in the same situation. Why are our practices able to help, when others have not? What is the common theme?
The Philosophy of Addition and Subtraction
While the number of well intended, state-of-the-art healthcare facilities continues to increase and become more accessible, the real question we should be asking is why are they necessary. The numbers of such facilities is more in demand now than ever to attempt to manage the growing number of people with healthcare needs. The majority of these patients have needs related to chronic disease. However, traditional approaches to chronic disease are not showing significant impact. In fact, they are losing the battle in many areas. Why? In spite of cutting edge science, we are still losing the battle. The answer is simple. The focus of care, while patient-centered, assumes that by adding medications, a toxin in their own right, and performing appropriately needed surgeries, that health can be restored. The reality is that this approach has never restored health, nor will it ever.
The philosophy of addition and subtraction does not focus on restoring the body from the inside out. In fact, it does just the opposite. It addresses it from the outside in. The assumption being that if I add or remove to the body from outside means, health will be restored. Yet health comes from within. When the body has the necessary cofactors and the interferences to healing and normal body function are removed, wellness is easily achieved. The body does not need direction to achieve wellness. It just needs the necessary cofactors and the interferences removed. Here are 5 ways to make sure your body gets what it needs and you are getting the interferences out of the way.
Good Health Starts with the Right Foods
It almost seems cliche to say that you need to eat good to have good health. However, the importance of diet can never be understated. In a world that is plagued with unhealthy food options and driven by a healthcare system that places little emphasis on food, few are going to get this basic requirement for good health. Hopefully you have not been to a hospital lately. But if you have, you know that the food options there don’t have much in common with good health. In fact, many of the items I have seen on these trays contains some interferences to optimal health. For example, jello. A combination of gelatin and food coloring, both of which can cause inflammation. What is even more concerning is that most don’t even make the connection of just how important food is to their health. It literally can be the one factor that builds your body up, or breaks your body down.
What’s Missing that you Need?
If you are missing your vitamins and minerals, your body’s metabolism is inefficient. I am not just referring to how you burn fat when I speak of metabolism. I am talking about the entire operation of your body. Your metabolism is everything from brain function to detoxification. If you are not getting adequate amounts of nutrients to meet you bodily needs, you are not going to be healthy. Just like having the right components to make the engine in your car run, your body also needs the right components. Your vitamins and minerals are literally your metabolic spark plugs and without them, you are running in low gear and moving at a snail’s pace towards wellness. In fact, you are probably moving away from it.
What Is Getting in the Way of You Healing
Allergies and sensitivities – Allergies are associated with seasonal changes. However, there is far more to allergies than just the common runny nose and itchy eyes that comes with seasonal allergies. In fact, allergies, or the immediate response from the immune system, are a significant contributor to interfering with healing. They misdirect the immune system causing it to focus on foods and substances that otherwise should not be a problem. Just how common are allergies, specifically food allergies? Well they are common enough that the FDA has issued a list of the top 8 allergens. What may surprise you is that this list contains some of the most commonly consumed foods in the standard American diet. Maybe it is not so coincidental that the standard American diet and food allergies are both interferences to optimal health. And just as allergies are immediate reactions by our immune system, sensitivities, sometimes also called immune intolerances, are delayed reactions. They can cause similar problems, but just often take longer to develop.
Toxicities – Do you drink or shower in pure, filtered water every day? Do you work inside and inhale contaminated air? These may be simple things that you overlook. Municipal water systems remove some of the toxins that can be found in water. Yet, they do not even come close to removing all of them. Industrial chemicals, pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals are commonly found in the water supply. When you ingest these or inhale them as through a hot shower, they begin to build up in the system. Such toxicities often cause nutrient deficiencies and other negative effects. It is literally a slow poisoning.
Infections – Infections are a major source of interference that are often overlooked. Yes, obvious infections are easy to deal with. But what about infections that are not so obvious. Subtle indicators often give clues to just such as infection. These can harbor in the gastrointestinal tract, the sinuses, the mouth and other areas that are hospitable for growth. Such infections go undetected by standard methods, but not by the immune system. As a result, the body spends precious resources bolstering immune responses to chronically deal with an infection, or even infections. All of this takes place at the expense of good health.
You Heal From the Inside Out
When the body is provided with the necessary co-factors that it needs to heal and health-robbing interferences are removed, the body only knows one state of being; Optimal Health! Battling chronic disease and ending the continual increase in the number of those suffering from them will never end until the paradigm changes. A paradigm of wellness that focuses on health from the inside out always has been, and always will be, the only way to true health.
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is often thought about as part of diabetes, but there is also non-diabetic hypoglycemia. Non-diabetic hypoglycemia is just as equally problematic. When blood sugar is too low, the cause is not as important as realizing the impact. Some of the effects of hypoglycemia are immediate while others take time to manifest, resulting in long term deficits in your health.
What is Non-Diabetic Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia, which again is the same as low blood sugar, is most often thought about in diabetics. This group of individuals often uses medications, including insulin, to lower their glucose, which is often high. When their glucose drops too low as a result of the medication, they are considered in a hypoglycemic state. However, an entire different segment of the population deals with non-diabetic hypoglycemia. Non-diabetic hypoglycemia occurs for reasons that are almost the exact opposite of why someone would develop diabetes.
While diabetes arises as a result of excess carbohydrates in the diet, non-diabetic hypoglycemia occurs from a lack of carbohydrates in the diet. Carbohydrates are essential as the preferred energy source for our body. Yes, the total amount of carbohydrate and the source should factor in, but carbohydrates are necessary. In addition to not eating enough carbohydrates, insufficient production of hormones and neurotransmitters (nervous system communicators) can lead to non-diabetic hypoglycemia. Contrary to common medical thought, this does not require the presence of a named disease of the glands that produce the chemicals that helps us keep glucose balanced.
4 Clues that You May Have Non-Diabetic Hypoglycemia
Fatigue: The Number One Symptom of Non-Diabetic Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia is the same as low blood sugar. Blood sugar is the body’s preferred energy source. Therefore, hypoglycemia equals low energy, or fatigue. It is as simple as that. If you don’t have enough fuel in your vehicle, it doesn’t go. If you don’t have enough fuel in you, you don’t go either. Or at least you don’t function very efficiently.
The cells in your brain are no different than other tissues in the body. They need energy. In fact, 25-33% of the total carbohydrates you consume in the diet each day fuels your brain. Therefore, if the brain is not getting fuel, it cannot function efficiently. While the brain can function off of ketones, as seen with lower carbohydrate and higher fat diets, this is not the optimal energy source. Your brain cells need to make energy and do it easily to communicate with each other. If brain cells are not communicating, neither are you effectively. If you want to wake your brain up, feed if the right fuel, predominantly non-starchy vegetables.
Anxiety: Is Following a “Healthy Diet” Your Problem
Non-diabetic hypoglycemia goes hand in hand with anxiety. Anxiety is far more common than in the past, and while there is not one cause, non-diabetic hypoglycemia is often part of the cause. Therefore, addressing it is also part of the solution for anxiety. As blood sugar declines, adrenaline is released, along with a few other things. Adrenaline helps bring blood sugar up, but it also speeds up the brain when released often enough. If you wind the brain up routinely, you end up with anxiety.
The Most Surprising Reason: You Follow a Paleo Diet / Low Carbohydrate Diet
That’s right! Following a low carbohydrate, or even those that sometimes try to follow a no carbohydrate diet, are at high risk of non-diabetic hypoglycemia. As mentioned earlier, hypoglycemia is low blood sugar. Blood sugar levels are directly affected by the carbohydrates in our diet. The fewer the carbohydrates, the greater the chance of hypoglycemia. While low carbohydrate diets have shown benefit for weight loss and improving blood sugar levels when high, they are not ideal for individuals that have normal or more importantly low fasting glucose. If you work out routinely, have been eating a Paleo Diet, or some other form of low carbohydrate diet, and / or do not have sufficient hormone production (many don’t), then you are probably dealing with non-diabetic hypoglycemia and could benefit from the addition of some carbohydrates in your diet. However, before you take off and start just eating any carbohydrate, I am advocating that you get the vast majority of those carbohydrates from starchy vegetables. The Paleo Diet, when appropriately applied, should not be thought of as a low carbohydrate diet, but rather a diet of unprocessed food that emphasizes plants.
How to Start Dealing with Non-Diabetic Hypoglycemia
Step one of managing low blood sugar that is not diabetes related is eat sufficient amounts of the right types of carbohydrates. The type of carbohydrates that you will not go wrong with are starchy vegetables. I have said that a few times in this post. Therefore, it must be important. So in parting, I want to leave you with a tool. I have attached a list of starchy vegetables that you can incorporate into the diet to begin managing your non-diabetic hypoglycemia.
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.
If I can show you 5 natural treatments that are proven to work for ear infections especially in kids, would you be interested? I’m willing to bet you would be and that’s what I want to share. Today, if I look at the incidence of visits to doctor’s offices for kids, one of the most common reasons that kids visit doctor’s offices is for ear infections. In fact, it is probably the most common infection seen in kids today. That’s significant!
What are the standard treatments for ear infections? The most common intervention is antibiotics. Antibiotics are not without their problems, especially when you look at a couple of the facts here:
- If we look at ear infections as a whole, within 24 hours, 60% of ear infections resolve on their own. That means they are self-limiting within 24 hours.
- After 72 hours, 80% of cases of ear infections are self-limiting. So 80% of ear infections, within 3 days, are self-limiting. That’s significant and simply says that there may not be as much need for antibiotics as is probably recommended.
The Most Common Treatment and the List of Problems it Creates
Nonetheless, these antibiotics are still being recommended so we have to take into consideration what are their effects. One of the most common side effects of antibiotics is that it destroys the natural bacterial make-up in the gastrointestinal tract. This has a significant bearing on our nutritional status, given that our B vitamins and our vitamin K are produced in significant portions by the probiotics in our gastrointestinal tract. Not only do they produce those, they also produce chemicals that help support our brain health. That’s extremely important especially when we’re talking about kids and their developing brain to make sure there is a good balance of activity in the brain. Antibiotics also inhibit the natural development of the immune response and over time weaken the immune system.
Probiotics – The Go-To of the 5 Natural Treatments for Ear Infections
To shift direction here, let’s talk about the first of the 5 natural treatments for ear infections. #1 at the top of the list is going to be probiotics. It seems logical, especially if someone has been on antibiotics. We actually want to utilize these probiotics to not just rebuild and repair the gastrointestinal tract but also to help modulate our overall immune function. Probiotics are extremely beneficial in terms of helping with upper respiratory infections. They are very good for ear infections as well. Probiotics should be a consideration. The lactobacillus and the bifidobacterium strains that are common have been well researched. This is a great primary intervention, especially given that most kids probably are not getting good administration or ingestion of probiotics routinely.
Additionally, they have important immune-modulating effects. When we talk about probiotics, if you’re having a cold or if you’re having a more chronic, infectious state, normally, individuals that don’t have a good balance of probiotics in their gut are more prone. Interestingly, this is one of the conundrums of utilizing antibiotics for an ear infection, especially in repeated courses. We may actually be setting up the predisposition for additional ear infections with the chronic use of antibiotics.
Use Sugar to Solve the Problem
The second of the 5 natural treatments is going to be xylitol. Xylitol is not commonly utilized for ear infections. Probably the most likely reason for that is it’s not really known by parents. If more parents knew about xylitol, they would most likely utilize xylitol with their kids. One of the things that xylitol does is it inhibits the adhesion of different streptococcus species. Just like when we talk about a strep throat, that’s a streptococcal species. Xylitol inhibits strep species from finding their way in and adhering into the eustachian tubes in the ears, into the sinus cavities, in the different sinus regions as well as in the mouth. Xylitol has been used as a treatment for dental caries / cavities for some time and it has really good evidence behind it.
The key with xylitol is making sure we have a good dose. A good dose is usually around 5g about 3 times a day in spread-out dosages. Xylitol comes from different sources. It can come from corn. It can come from hardwood trees such as the birch tree. My recommendation: avoid the corn; find a good birch wood or hardwood source for xylitol. Most kids aren’t going to have a problem with this. It has a nice sweet flavor to it, much like sugar. It is a sugar, but it’s just different from what we commonly know as table sugar. It doesn’t have the same negative impact. Yet, as a sugar, it inhibits the growth of these different streptococcal species.
Baby Humans are NOT Baby Cows
The third of our 5 natural treatments for ear infections is going to be remove dairy. There is a pretty clear stream of evidence that shows that if an infant consumes dairy especially within the first 3 months of life, probably better stated — within the first 6 months of life, that infant is going to have a higher likelihood of developing ear infections. This probably shouldn’t come as a surprise when you think about dairy and it being listed in the FDA’s Top 8 Allergens. It’s right in there with wheat, soy, and corn. Dairy is going to be one of those risky foods, especially in the early stages of life where the immune system is a little more vulnerable and the gastrointestinal tract hasn’t developed competently yet. Definitely take dairy out. Keep dairy away from infants and it will help reduce their incidence of ear infections.
Mother Knows Best
Pretty logical along with the removal of dairy comes the fourth of the 5 natural treatments for ear infections. That’s going to be breastfeeding. It is no secret the benefits of breastfeeding are huge. We know just from a nurturing level, it enhances the bond both physically and hormonally between the mother and the baby. This alone creates less stress for the baby and secondarily promotes a healthier immune system. There are obviously important connections on that level. Also, what we know is that there are numerous compounds in breast milk. It’s not just the milk, the protein, and the nourishment. There are actually immune-modulating compounds in breast milk that are going to have a significant impact on the overall potential for development of ear infection. You also get anti-microbial effects so some of these compounds actually inhibit the growth of the bacteria. You’re going to have anti-inflammatory effects as well. Certainly, no matter what age you are, keeping inflammation down can always be of benefit.
It has actually been shown that if a mother can breastfeed for at least 3 months, then the number of ear infections or the likelihood of a child developing ear infections is dramatically decreased. Most of the evidence on this in part shows that if the time frame of 6 months or greater than 6 months can be reached, the benefits are that much higher. Certainly, we want mothers to try to reach those time frames, if possible.
The last of our 5 natural treatments for ear infections is going to be chiropractic. This seems a little bit different given that we’re looking at a manual therapy as compared to nutritional or bio-chemical interventions. There has been shown to be good benefit in this. Let me make just a couple of points on this. In some studies that we’re going back and looking at the benefits of chiropractic, it has been shown that
- 93% of those individuals who received chiropractic care experienced benefit or experienced complete resolution from ear infections; 93% — that’s a significant number and that’s a number you want to pay attention to.
- 75% of the total individuals saw complete resolution within 10 days or less — another significant number.
- 43% only took 1-2 treatments to achieve complete resolution. Those are not numbers that you want to snuff at; those are important numbers.
These are numbers that should have you thinking about seeking the help of a chiropractor next time your child has an ear infection.
Why am I telling you all this? At the end of the day, what I want you to know is that there are not just 5 natural treatments for ear infections — that’s important and I want you to know that. But I also want you to know that you as a parent for your kids, have options. You don’t have to just go the antibiotic route. There are other proven, scientifically valid options that you can intervene with. I didn’t just pull these out and these are not just things that I randomly use in my practice. These are things that have a very nice evidence base behind them. You can put confidence in these and utilize them with your children. Think about these 5 natural treatments for ear infections before looking at doing some other type of intervention, especially given that 80% of cases are self-limiting within 72 hours.
Xanax or probiotics — which would you prefer to take for anxiety? When I say anxiety, we’ve all had anxiety. We get in certain situations that are unfamiliar to us. We can get a little nervous, a little uneasy — that’s normal. But what about anxiety that’s present every day and that builds up in excess for situations that really shouldn’t cause you anxiety? This is not uncommon, especially when we all live in a more stressful world than we ever have in the past. Sometimes, anxiety becomes so significant that it actually manifests into full-blown panic disorders. Again, if I say to you, you have an option of a medication such as Xanax or probiotics, can we really get the same effect from a probiotic that we can from Xanax? I’m here to make the argument you may not get it as fast, but you may get more long-term —and here’s the important part— more consistent effects on controlling your anxiety with probiotics than you get with Xanax.
The Untold Xanax Story
What is Xanax? Xanax falls into a class of medications called benzodiazepines. The main effect of this group of medications is that they slow down brain activity. They slow down the effects of the central nervous system and make things work at a slower pace than what they would otherwise. Makes sense, especially when you think about anxiety. As the body being more ramped up with anxiety, we’re going to calm the body back down, so as to have the opposite effect. However, these medications are not without their side effects (scroll down the page link to see the numerous side effects). Let me go through a couple with you just so you have a better understanding. These medications can cause drowsiness. They can cause insomnia. Most of the time, we think about insomnia as being awake but paradoxically, it can have the opposite effect and can actually promote that. Again, drowsiness, dizziness, memory problems, and the brain not firing fast enough can be side effects of Xanax. We can also have the problems or side effects that we may associate with the use of alcohol. Alcohol is known to be a suppressant of the activity of the central nervous system. The types of effects that I’m talking about here are slurred speech and loss of balance. These are things that we tend to think about with over-utilization and also long-term utilization in Xanax users. These symptoms can also present in scenarios when someone is a little more sensitive to the medication or the dose is not accurately being utilized for that particular individual.
Xanax or Probiotics – You Have a Choice
I tell you all that to simply say that you have an option to it. That option is, believe it or not, probiotics. Probiotics — the simple, little bacteria that we harbor in our gastrointestinal tract are what we’re talking about here. The first thing you have to appreciate about these micro-organisms is that we have a very commensal, mutually beneficial, relationship with these organisms. There is some give-and-take here. We give them nourishment through the different foods that we consume. In turn, they give us different nutrients and chemicals that benefit our body. For example, they provide B vitamins for us. All of the B vitamins in certain percentages come from the probiotics. They provide vitamin K. They provide the fatty acid call conjugated linoleic acid. That fatty acid is anti-inflammatory and helps promote weight loss.
Probiotic Benefit that Mimics Xanax, And Is Dramatically Better Long-Term
Relative to our conversation, the most important thing that probiotics produce is GABA. GABA is the primary neuro-inhibitory transmitter. What I mean by that is it is the primary chemical that is going to calm the brain back down. Think about where we started our conversation. We began talking about anxiety. Anxiety is the state of over-activity in the brain, too much excitatory activity. We want to counter that by bringing it back down. The way that we find that balance is we bring the excitatory state down by bringing up the inhibitory activity through the action of GABA. Now, you can use a medication that does that but then again, it has side effects. Or, you can take probiotics and repopulate your gastrointestinal tract. These probiotics are going to inherently make GABA for you.
There is a very well-established connection now between our gastrointestinal tract and our brain. This is just one of the mechanisms by which our GI tract has direct influence on our brain. If we don’t have good colonies of probiotics, then we’re not getting good GABA production. Without good GABA production, our brains have the tendency to become more excitatory, or wound up. The more excitatory they lean, then the more likely we are to succumb to the effects of chronic stress. That leads us into anxiety, being a little more apprehensive about different scenarios that we may find ourselves in and even can getting to the point of having a full-blown panic attack, which nobody wants to have to deal with.
The Long Term Solution
Here’s what you have to think on this. May I need Xanax to help me get out of an emergency situation? Absolutely! It’s a medication. That’s what medications are designed for. If you have a crisis or acute scenario, use the medication. Listen, these medications are not meant to be long-term fixes. Your long-term fix comes back to the probiotics and the things that you do to support the health of these probiotics. The Paleo diet does a great job of nourishing the probiotics so that they can enhance GABA production. The food you take in, the foods you avoid in your diet, the amount of stress that you try to reduce overall — those are all directly going to influence your probiotics.
You have an option. If you’re trying to balance your brain chemistry, keep the anxiety and keep the panic disorders under control, short term — maybe you need the meds, maybe you don’t; long term — you have to think probiotics.