Integrative Health Blog

Cardiovascular Disease...an Old Person's Disease?

Posted by on Sat, May 15, 2021

Do you have problems with your performance in the boardroom or the bedroom?

Do you have irregular menstrual cycles or infertility concerns?

Are your hands and feet often cold?

Pay attention, as these could be signs of early cardiovascular disease (CVD)

Many people think of CVD in those who have had a heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure or cholesterol problems. And while these are major diseases of the cardiovascular system, it is important to broaden your understanding as YOU may be at risk and need to intervene early.

For example, if you have been diagnosed with erectile dysfunction you have vascular disease in your penis. This is actually an early sign that you likely have blood vessel problems in other organs throughout your body. Memory problems could also be a sign that you have brain vascular disease. Alzheimers is, in fact, considered type 3 diabetes.

For women, irregular menstrual cycles may be the result of a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which can contribute to infertility. The pathophysiology of PCOS is insulin resistance which is a major risk factor for CVD.

Your body is brilliant at trying to give you clues that something is going on with your vascular system. It is up to you to pay attention to these early signs to ultimately prevent severe disease from happening.

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Tags: heart disease, functional medicine, Dr. Tapscott

The Key Benefits of Digestive Enzymes

Posted by on Thu, May 06, 2021

Digestive enzymes are necessary to break down the food we eat. If we are not breaking down food properly, we do not gain the nutrients needed for the body to absorb and turn into energy for good digestive health

Both kinds of digestive enzymes, animal-derived and vegetarian, are involved in many biological functions, including digestion of proteins and fats and cell signaling. Amylases digest starch, carbohydrates and sugar, Proteases digest protein and Lipases digest fats, the three principle components of food.

The Building Blocks of Life

Proteins are the “building blocks” of life, and the proteins we consume had been assembled, according to the DNA instructions in plants and animals, which we then break down into its amino acids with our digestive enzymes when we eat them, and then use our DNA to reassemble them into new proteins in our body. After we die, they will be broken down again, especially by fungus, so that our amino acids can be recycled and reassembled into another life form. The amino acids and fatty acid that make up our bodies have a long history of being components of many previous life forms, perhaps all the way back to ancient bacteria and dinosaurs.

Digestive enzymes may be the most important nutrients I prescribe for my patients, because when good digestion occurs, a lot of very important healthful benefits will happen as well.

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Tags: functional medicine, digestive health, gastrointestinal issues

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