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Adrenal Fatigue & Adrenal Insufficiency

March 15, 2017

The Adrenal GlandsAdrenal glands
This pair of tiny hormone secreting organs sit on top of your kidneys. They are orange in color and measure about a half inch tall and three inches wide. They weigh in at a mere 3-5 grams each. Gram for gram, the adrenal glands receive more blood flow than any other part of the body–including the heart and the brain. The body is a very efficient machine and so this relatively massive dedication of blood flow is an indication of how important these often overlooked organs are.

The Adrenal Medula & Cortex
The adrenal glands each have two layers that secrete different sets of hormones. The inner layer (the adrenal medulla) secretes epinephrine (adrenalin) and norepinephrine. These two immediate “fight or flight” hormones are released in large amounts in response to sudden major stressors, low blood sugar and exercise. Together epinephrine and norepinephrine raise blood pressure, mobilize glycogen and fat stores to increase blood sugar, and dilate blood vessels in the large skeletal muscles to prepare them for major action.

The outer layer of the adrenal gland Read more…

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A Functional Approach to Thyroid Health

August 17, 2017

Optimal thyroid hormone production is one of the most important factors to whole body health. In response to TSH signals from the pituitary gland, the thyroid gland produces the vital T4 and T3 hormones that set the basic metabolic rate for every cell in the body. This includes brain, heart, lung, bone, muscles, your immune system, digestion, liver and kidney function and everything else.

Sub-optimal thyroid function can cause a wide range of chronic or debilitating symptoms including: fatigue, depression, weight gain, brain fog, cold intolerance, hair loss, constipation, low bone density, and poor immune function.

With a system this important, you might think that conventional medicine would be completely up to date on how to keep track of this vital hormone. However, if you thought that conventional medicine had this well in hand, you’d be completely wrong. Read more…

How to Grow And Protect Your Brain Function

July 26, 2017

It was long believed that neurons in the human brain were incapable of growth and repair after maturity. We now know this to be false and that the human brain retains the potential for self-renewal throughout our lives. Even more exciting is that self directed neuroplasticity is a real possibility.

Neuroplasticity: The ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience or following injury. Even more exciting is that self directed neuroplasticity is a real possibility.
Neurogenesis: is the process by which neurons are generated from neural stem cells and progenitor cells.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF): A growth factor encoded by the BDNF gene that promotes both neuroplasticity and neurogenesis.

Much to the chagrin of the pharmaceutica industry, there is no “silver bullet” for preventing and reversing cognitive decline and diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Instead, what we do have is “silver buckshot” in the form of numerous dietary and lifestyle interventions that can increase the body’s production of BDNF.

Things you can take to increase neuroplasticity, and neurogenesis and BDNF levels include: Read more…

Is the form of a supplement important?

March 23, 2017

The quick answer is yes. Absolutely. AND, we should always be looking first to spend our time and money on picking good foods high in the nutrients we are concerned about.

Food vs supplemetns

For minerals, I do prefer zinc picolinate. For calcium and magnesium, I always recommend chelated forms, and there are many (citrate, malate, aspartate, etc.). I don’t usually care which chelated form they take so long as there is no magnesium oxide or calcium carbonate in the product.

For patients with documented methylation defects (e.g. MTHFR 667, high or highish homocysteine, or a high normal MCV), I prefer Read more…

How do we reduce and manage stress?

March 23, 2017

One of my favorites ways to get patients to reduce and mediate their stress levels is to use a free “breath trainer” on their smart phone or computer. There are a lot of free apps to do this, and my favorite is MyCalmBeat. It works for both androids and iPhones. It’s as simple as a metronome with a breathing visual. Read more…

What’s “Normal” in a Lab Range?

March 23, 2017

It is true that experience functional medicine practitioners often read conventional labs differently than the normal reference ranges suggest. This can be a bone of contention.

I like this analogy regarding lab interpretation and shoe size. Most labs define “normal” as the average result plus or minus two standard deviations. This covers about 90% of the “normal” population. If you were to use this standard to determine what the average shoe size was, it would probably be somewhere between 6 and 12. Given biological individuality, it becomes rather absurd to suggest that you could give any human being a shoe between size 6 and 12 and expect it to fit. Read more…

How do you help patients get off medications?

March 23, 2017

I frequently get asked by practitioners new to functional medicine how and when to take patients off of medications.

vitaminmyth

When I am thinking of helping a patient get off a medication, I always have lifestyle, diet, and nutriceutical interventions in place first. The time to consider whether to taper off of a medication is after several months of consistent practice and clear benefits from lifestyle changes.  Read more…