Integrative Health Blog

Turmeric, Curcumin and LDL Cholesterol: Natural Ways to Lower Oxidative Stress

Posted by on Mon, Apr 12, 2021

What is LDL and Why is it Called the "Bad" Cholesterol?

LDL, “bad” cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) gets a bad rap as a risk factor for atherosclerosis and increasing the risks of heart attacks and stroke, which together are the number one cause of death. LDL may serve some useful functions and it should be understood physiologically instead of indicting it as “bad” and blindly taking potentially harmful medications to lower it.[1] LDL is simply oxidized fat, like rancid olive oil or butter left out of the refrigerator too long. LDL and rancid fat acquire oxygen molecules and become less dense when the fluffy gas molecules (oxygen) attaches itself to the fat molecules, much as dense wood becomes less dense, left-over, dusty ashes in a fireplace after wood is burned or oxidized. When oxidized fat proceeds to flow through our blood vessels, burning and oxidizing its way, too much of it may proceed to light little fires, like taking tiny blow torches to the inside of our arteries. The damage caused by this “oxidative stress,” is sealed over by plaque in a repair process, which is usually composed of a hodgepodge of clot, fat and calcium. If a lot of repair plaque builds up, one may be diagnosed with atherosclerosis, arteriosclerosis or coronary heart disease. No wonder doctors prescribe medications to lower LDL.

The Dangers of Plaque Build-up 

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Tags: heart disease, functional medicine, supplements

How to Get Pregnant 101

Posted by on Mon, Apr 05, 2021

You may think you learned about this in your middle school sex ED class. So why then are so many couples having a hard time getting pregnant?

Infertility rates are on the rise affecting around 11% of reproductive age populations and 25% of these couples have more than one contributing factor.

Why the rise in Infertility?

Has the female anatomy transformed over the years?

Is the sperm not what it used to be?

Actually… yes!

There are structural as well as cellular changes occurring in the male and female body which contribute to infertility. Often these adverse effects on the body are the direct result of how we are living our lives.

The Outside Environment is Affecting Women’s Internal Systems:

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Tags: functional medicine, Dr. Tapscott, infertility

Mindfulness for Astronauts; Why Not for Landlubbers Too?

Posted by on Mon, Mar 01, 2021

I recently read that NASA is providing Mindfulness Meditation.

Well, if NASA provides this for astronauts, why not for everyone? After all, we are all occasionally exposed to events and unconscious people who “push our buttons,” so why should we not also be prepared for all manner of threats and emergencies just like our astronauts. That is precisely what mindfulness training does. Besides lowering sympathetic fight/flight stress, mindfulness training prepares us for life’s unexpected challenges which might normally push the buttons of unprepared minds and cause us to react unconsciously.

Coping Skills for Space Flight or ANY Life Stressors

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Tags: mindfulness, functional medicine, mind-body

Mindfulness and Sobriety: Help for Substance Use Disorders and Recovery

Posted by on Wed, Dec 23, 2020

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

~ The 11th Step in AA

The holidays leading into New Years is often stressful and a time when many will over-use and abuse alcohol and other psychotropic chemicals. The holidays may present challenges for those of us who are committed to sobriety and they can be a risk for relapse. Understanding and applying the unique faculty of consciousness, mindfulness, may be extremely helpful during these celebratory times.

Mindfulness is Another Tool for Addiction Recovery

Mindfulness is not a cognitive faculty (thinking), nor is it emotional, sensory, or behavioral. Mindfulness is separate faculty of consciousness that is largely conferred by our prefrontal cortex or 1/6th of our brain, the part of our anatomy which mostly distinguishes us from animals. Kabat-Zinn has defined mindfulness meditation as “the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally. By focusing on the breath, the idea is to cultivate attention on the body and mind as it is moment to moment, and so help with pain, both physical and emotional.” In this series of articles on mindfulness, research is presented on many kinds of physical and psychological ailments and how mindfulness practice relieves them.[1] I teach mindfulness to augment positive outcomes in my medical practice and have found it to be an extremely powerful intervention.

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Tags: mindfulness, addiction, functional medicine

Mindfulness Shows Improvement in Irritable Bowel Syndrome, IBS

Posted by on Tue, Dec 15, 2020

In last week's group, Weight Loss and Mindfulness we had some nice sharing about the positive effects of mindfulness on various aspects of life!
 
So now it is appropriate now to inquire into one of my favorite topics (and maybe yours?) - food.
 
Food, Glorious Food
In this week's Mindfulness and Healing group (12/20), we will examine each step of eating and attempt to slow the process down.
 
I would like everyone to bring some raisins or little chunks of fruit of some kind and have it available during the group. We will attempt to use the characteristics of the visual, taste, smell and the behavior of chewing of food as a mindfulness exercise, much as we would notice the breath moment to moment.
 
Like so many contradictions in the modern world, we have all the food we want and often hardly ever taste any of it. We often talk to others as we eat. Others eat according to the “chomp and swallow method,” which does not allow food to be properly masticated so that it can be prepared for digestion.  Chewing is the first step of digestion which increases the surface area of foods to allow a more efficient break down by enzymes. Undigested food then does not get absorbed and arrives in the large intestines where it can feed some of the unfriendly flora and cause inflammation. Mindfulness of food prepares the digestive tract for proper digestion. The general rule of 20 chews per mouthful can help.
 
Mindfulness and IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Digestive Issues
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Tags: functional medicine, digestive health, IBS, irritable bowel syndrome

Weight Loss and Mindfulness

Posted by on Wed, Dec 09, 2020


Mindfulness Practice has been studied and found to be a useful and therapeutic adjunct in weight loss.[1] 

As a functional medicine physician, one thing that mindfulness can do that I have found to be clinically very helpful is to direct it at eating itself.  A lot of people eat by the “chomp and swallow” technique which causes indigestion and gut dysbiosis. 

Mindfulness helps us recognize our eating behavior. Are you gulping food down? Standing at the counter eating dinner and talking while eating?

Eating Mindfully

Mindfulness can help you slow down and eat more consciously. Mindfulness can break each step of eating into its components, from looking at food, enjoying its aroma, to picking up the utensil, to scooping up the food, to lifting it to the mouth, to opening the mouth, to the first contact with the tongues, to tasting the food, to noticing the intention to chew it, to actually chewing it, to noticing the intention to swallow to actually swallowing it.  Done properly, mindful eating can take a while, but for those of us trained to chomp and swallow, its well worth the time.  Also, it can aid weight loss, because food is much more exciting experience when we bring mindfulness into the picture, so satisfying in fact, that we can get by with less.

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Tags: weight loss, functional medicine, Dr. Gant

Stroke and Mindfulness

Posted by on Wed, Dec 02, 2020

Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases) is/are designated as the #5 leading cause of death in the US, killing about 150,000 Americans per year.

Searching the phrase “mindfulness practice improves stroke outcomes” on Google gets 785,000 hits, so I ask, how could a healthcare consumer ever suffer from, or be at risk of, any common medical or psychological disability, including Stroke and cerebrovascular diseases, and NOT be at least offered chance to engage into mindfulness practice?

A corollary to that question is; once informed about how effective the outcomes of mindfulness training is for any common psychological or medical disability, introduced by a clinician or some other information source, why are relatively few Americans NOT taking advantage of the opportunity to live longer, happier, less symptomatic lives.

Activate the Healing Power of the Brain

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Tags: mindfulness, functional medicine, stroke

12 Risk Factors That Affect Brain Function

Posted by on Mon, Jun 22, 2020

June is Brain Awareness Month, which is a wonderful opportunity to discuss or have a national conversation about our brain health, the part of us which makes us distinctly human.

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Tags: functional medicine, integrative medicine, brain health

Improve Your Immune System Health to Fight Virus

Posted by on Wed, Apr 15, 2020

We are ALL concerned about how exposure to coronavirus could adversely affect the health of ourselves and our loved ones. We want to know:

  • Am I at high risk for COVID-19?

  • Is my immune system strong enough?

  • What can I do at home to remain healthy while social distancing?

  • What should I be eating?

  • Are there certain vitamins or minerals that may help?

The key to who gets sick and who does not lies in the strength of their immune system. The healthier you are, the better chance you have at fighting the Coronavirus. To combat coronavirus, or any flu or cold or virus, we must first support the immune system.

But how do we do this?

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Tags: flu, immune system, functional medicine, virus

Coronavirus: Healing the Gastrointestinal Tract to Boost Immunity

Posted by on Sat, Apr 11, 2020

One of the ways to tune up your immune system and give you more resistance to the Coronavirus is to heal your intestines.  A healthy gastrointestinal tract is often synonymous with a healthy immune system, which strengthens your resistance to any and all infections.

Roughly 60% to 80% of our entire immune system is estimated to surround our gastrointestinal tract to keep our microbiome, the bacteria, fungus, parasites and viruses, in check.   If an overgrowth of unfriendly flora occurs or our immune system is reacting to various foods (e.g., food allergy), a lot of our immune systems energy is diverted to the intestines and away from the immune system’s other responsibilities such as resisting or fighting infectious invaders like Coronavirus.

Symptoms of an Unhealthy Microbiome

How can we tell if the immune system is wasting its energy fighting food proteins or the flora growing in our intestines?  One way is to consider symptoms.  If bloating, excess gas, abdominal discomfort, loose stools, acid reflux or constipation are a regular occurrence, you may be suffering with food allergy/sensitivity and/or the overgrowth of unfriendly intestinal flora.  Sometimes it is impossible to figure out which foods are involved, and which micro-organisms are overgrown without diagnostic functional medicine testing, like a stool test, a urine test and blood work.  Once the diagnosis is made, it’s a relatively simple process to correct the flora and get your immune system to then divert its attention away from the intestines to other parts of your body.

Healing the Gut with the 5 R’s

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Tags: immune system, gut, functional medicine, integrative medicine, virus