Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Hormone Trilogy

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath
The Adrenal Summit

You've heard me discuss estrogen dominance in the past but today we need to dive deep into this health issue for both men and women. Yes, I did say men and women.

Most often it is thought that estrogen dominance is a female issue. While it is true that many women in my practice are challenged with estrogen dominance for a variety of reasons, it is equally as challenging for men in my practice.

First off let's look at the primary causes for estrogen dominance. For both men and women I feel that the main issue is an overproduction of an enzyme aromatase. Too much aromatase in the body will convert testosterone into estrogen type hormones and leave both men and women with low testosterone and high estrogen hormones. High estrogen is a risk factor for breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men, both of which are a significant concern for each gender. The other issue is tied into the health challenges due to low testosterone. Testosterone influences mood, memory, metabolism, bone density, energy, and ability to burn fat and build muscle. In women, a small amount of testosterone is produced in the ovaries while most is produced in the adrenal glands. Testosterone binds to receptors inside the body’s cells where it exerts its effects.

As an example, I had a male client that came to see me due to symptoms of hormone imbalance. He had seen another practitioner in the past that tested his testosterone due to symptoms shared. Low energy, lack of motivation, lack of sex drive and weight gain. When his testosterone testing came back, this did show low testosterone. At this time, this practitioner suggested the implants of "rods" under the skin that would slowly release testosterone over the next year to help this person achieve optimal testosterone levels. By the time this client came to Depke Wellness and we reviewed a comprehensive adrenal panel, he not only showed very little improvement but this estradiol specifically was at 16. This was for a man that should have an estradiol level of 1-3. Yikes! I knew this gentleman personally and I joked that he was becoming a woman, except it really was not a joke. When I shared this he mentioned that his breast tissue was increasing and his moods were changing dramatically. Basically what was happening is that the increased testosterone due to supplementation was being converted into estrogen hormones. That is not what we're looking for.

Obviously with this example, the low testosterone was not the issue but rather the conversion of testosterone into estrogen hormones. This is not just a male issue though, I see this in women with regularity also.

From here there are two different focal points. Number one, if you do have elevated estrogen hormones, this should be addressed ASAP because as mentioned above, this is a risk factor for breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. When I do find this estrogen dominance, I recommend Myomin, which is a collection of Chinese herbs that assist the body in lowering the aromatase. Remember, this is the enzyme that converts the testosterone into estrogen hormones.

But let's not stop there. I feel that it is important to get to the bottom of why the aromatase is high in the first place. This is where the insulin comes in. When we are consuming foods that are high glycemic foods or if we are chronically stressed, this will leave us with high blood sugar levels. This high blood sugar will require an increase in insulin to assist in removing the sugar from the blood. In the end, the high insulin will lead to an increase in aromatase, thus the conversion of testosterone into estrogen hormones.

Hopefully you can see the necessary steps already. First, when you are looking at hormones, look at all of them and not single hormones. At Depke Wellness, we do this with a comprehensive adrenal test kit. You really want the full picture of what is going on in your adrenal glands as well as ovaries and testicles. Once you recognize estrogen dominance, address this ASAP with Myomin and also be sure to focus on your nutrition and stress to get to the core of your challenge.

There is one more disturbing challenge for estrogen dominance that I have to share. I often see women estrogen dominant due to the use of estrogen creams. I do not want to say that other practitioners do it wrong and Depke Wellness does it right, I am just going to say that we do it different. At Depke Wellness, we never recommend estrogen creams because these vascular creams tend to build up in the fat tissue with very little making it into the blood, which is where it needs to be actually. This build up in the fat tissue will often leave women estrogen dominant, and we see this so often in our clinic.

The other challenge with using estrogen creams is that this is simply a symptom care because you are working with a "end result" hormone. If you are tested with low estrogen hormones, we recommend that you focus on balancing your adrenal gland function and get to the bottom of what is triggering this. That's dealing with your estrogen issues where it's really off.

So in the end, be sure to understand that your potential low testosterone, estrogen dominance and insulin are creating a trilogy that is less than enjoyable for you.

Thankfully, this can all be balanced when tested and addressed properly.

Please leave a post below if you have a comment or question about this article or visit us at The Adrenal Summit Facebook page for ongoing discussions on similar topics.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

An AMAZING Discovery!

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

Last week I wrote and article "One of our BIGGEST Challenges" in which we discussed the issues created by food sensitivity and how to properly test to discover your underlying nutritional issues. While I do recommend the BloodPrint154 from Immunolabs as discussed last week, I also wanted to provide further opportunities for you in regard to food sensitivity. After all, not everyone has the ability to afford proper testing, but we do not want finances to get in the way of your health and happiness.

Actually, I have to thank my wife for sharing a book with me that not only changed my life but the lives of so many others also. This book is called "The Plan" written by Lyn-Genet Recitas and it is AMAZING! Lyn-Genet has spent decades working with individuals nutritional and has developed a protocol to understand what foods are most likely to be issues for you. This is done by following a regimented way of eating for 20 days while weighing yourself daily to understand the effect of food on your body based on and inflammatory response.

Remember how many times you have heard me mention that food sensitivity will lead to inflammation in your body?

My wife had originally followed this program with great success, recognizing weight loss, decrease in inflammation and even noticed and improvement in hormone balance. After she had this success, of course I had to give it a try and honestly, it was the last missing piece of my food sensitivity puzzle for me. Personally this helped me achieve a much deeper understanding of food combinations that while didn't have an effect on their own, showed as inflammatory challenges when eaten together.

One of the enjoyable aspects of Lyn-Genet's process is that she actually adds some "fun" foods relatively early in the process. You'll test wine and chocolate soon in the program because she recognizes, as do I, that it is not about a rigid nutritional program. We actually need to enjoy our food choices but also be sure that we are not making choices that are creating deeper issues overall.

I was so impressed with Lyn-Genet's book, her plan and honestly, who she is as a person, that I have agreed to create a bit of a partnership with her. Lyn-Genet had asked me to jump on her Facebook page to discuss adrenal function with her followers twice weekly as well as assisting her clients with personal adrenal care, which shows me the type of person that she is. Lyn-Genet is the "community" focused individual that truly cares about everyone that she touches and wants to offer the best care available. 

First and foremost, I would recommend that you purchase Lyn-Genet's book "The Plan" and not only read through this gift of information but more importantly, follow her program and make some discoveries in your life that may assist you in finding a deeper level of health and happiness.

Most clients or followers of Depke Wellness would also benefit from Team Planning. These are individual groups that are formed the assist in walking your through the process of the plan with professional guidance and creating a true community experience for you all.

I will provide this information for you below. Even if you are working with me one on one, this will still be amazing experience for you.



OATMEAL. SALMON. GREEK YOGURT. STRAWBERRIES. ASPARAGUS.
Think these foods are healthy? Think again!

Surprisingly, it’s not the carbs, calories or fat that sabotages your weight; it’s that they cause an inflammatory response, which is the basis for premature aging, disease and weight gain. Discover which foods do and don’t work for your unique chemistry!

The Plan improves weight loss, thyroid function, and digestive function, skin conditions, sleep patterns, energy levels and well-being.

The Plan is not about deprivation, in fact Planners consume 2,000 calories a day and wine, cheese and chocolate are part of the regimen!

        Sign up for The Lyn-Genet Team Plan*

A special three-week weight loss program with the support of a Health Coach, Lyn-Genet and your peers.  During this program, you’ll receive:


·         Access to Lyn-Genet via a kick off webinar
·         Access to a Health Coach who you will guide you during our 20 day menu, under the direct supervision of Lyn-Genet
·         Daily email check-ins with your Health Coach for the 20 days, M-F
·         Access to our private Facebook group
·         Menu planning guidance for future success

August upcoming kick-off meetings include Wednesday, July 30th at noon EDT. The fee for the program is $275. To enroll, please email info@lyngenet.com. Please put your preferred program date in the subject line of the email and include your full name, address and phone number within the email.  Space is limited for up to 10 participants per Team.

What Team Planners are saying:

“I learn so much from LG and the other people on Team Plan. Folks ask great questions. I started planning "on and off" since LG was on Dr. Oz. Doing The Plan "on and off" I have lost 20 lbs and have 10 more to go. It is amazing having access to LG…PRICELESS!”
Could I do this on my own? Yes, maybe, but participating in the Team Plan makes me accountable and gives me a support group that I find helpful. I'm just a week into my restart, but down a few pounds and noticeably up in my energy and enthusiasm, so I'm certainly motivated to continue.”


* Weight loss results vary with each individual.
 
If you have any comments or questions about Lyn-Genet, "The Plan" or food sensitivity, please leave these below and I will address them personally.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

One of our BIGGEST Challenges

By Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

By far one of the single biggest challenges I see for my clients and those that follow Depke Wellness are tied directly into food sensitivity. You may ask yourself, why is this such a significant issue when you do not feel this is a problem for yourself personally? The answer to this is simply this, if you have a food sensitivity it is approximately a 86% chance that you are almost completely asymptomatic to this. That is correct, most of you living with a food sensitivity do not even know this is a significant health issue for you.

To define, when you have a food sensitivity, this will lead to inflammation in the gut. This inflammation will hinder you digestion, weaken your immune function and eventually blow out your adrenal gland function. Beyond this, since you have inflammatory receptors throughout your body, over time this will also lead to chronic inflammatory states and from there any chronic ailment known to man can develop. All because of a simple food choice. Yikes!

I know this first hand. I am just about to turn 50 soon (very excited!) and I first went gluten free at 42 years of age. When I originally did this, I did not even think I had a gluten issue, I simply did this because this was what we were recommending to patients when I was working along side Dr Mercola in the Chicago area. At the time, I figured that if I was going to suggest that everyone do this, I should do the same. Low and behold, I found that I had a gluten issue. So for years, I focused on living a gluten free life with some small windows of time that I would eat gluten on occasion. Eventually I learned that even these small windows were an issue and gluten was completely eliminated, except for the accidental exposure of course.

This all seemed to be fine but I still had some lingering personal health issues that it seemed impossible to find the root cause. Then came the Cyrex Array #4 Gluten Cross Reactive Food testing. This test addressed proteins that were similar in structure as compared to gluten that we could possibly develop and sensitivity to also. When this one came back, I then began to refer to myself as the cross reactive poster boy since I had about 17 different cross reactivities. Choices such as dairy, eggs, corn, rice, soy, coffee and all grains except for quinoa and buckwheat. This was a huge help for me to know that these foods were creating issues because ultimately, I wanted to get to the bottom of this.

While this did help, there was still something missing that had yet to be addressed. The problem though, was the fact that I was ignorant of this "something missing."

Thankfully from there I was introduced to a company called Immunolabs and their Bloodprint panels. I absolutely love Immunolabs words which were taken directly from their website, "70% of chronic diseases are preventable. You could be eating a balanced diet and doing what you can to improve your condition, without suspecting that the very foods you're eating are contributing to (or even causing) your problems."

I could not have said it better myself and the only thing I would add is that I feel they were potentially even a little low with their 70%. I actually feel that this is an even much bigger challenge by looking at my client base over the years.

So how did Immunolabs help me and how can they help you?

First off, when I did the cross reactive food testing, this only tested 27 different possible food sensitivities. This is absolutely correct though since they were only testing gluten cross reactive sensitivity. I needed and likely you need more than this. This is where Immunolabs come in. The actually have several different bloodprint panels, the BloodPrint154, BloodPrint115, BloodPrint88, BloodPrint Kosher and BloodPrint Vegetarian. Personally and professionally I recommend that BloodPrint154 because this assesses the largest amount of food choices. Take a look at the food choices of each test below.

When you are ready to move forward in understanding the nutritional choices that you may be making that are hindering your health and happiness, call our office at (949)954-6226 and we will get your Immunolab test kit sent out to you.

*Be sure to read beyond the test kits for more invaluable content.

BloodPrint154
  • Alfalfa
  • Almond
  • Amaranth
  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Barley
  • Basil
  • Bay Leaf
  • Bean, Green
  • Bean, Kidney
  • Bean, Lima
  • Bean, Mung
  • Bean, Navy
  • Bean, Pinto
  • Bean, Yellow Wax
  • Beef
  • Beet
  • Blackberry
  • Blueberry
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Buckwheat
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrot
  • Catfish
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cheese
  • Cherry
  • Chicken
  • Cinnamon
  • Clam
  • Clove
  • Cocoa - Chocolate
  • Coconut
  • Cod
  • Coffee
  • Corn
  • Crab
  • Cranberry
  • Cucumber
  • Cumin
  • Currant
  • Date
  • Duck
  • Egg
  • Eggplant
  • Flounder
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Goose
  • Grape, Concord
  • Grape, White
  • Grapefruit
  • Greens, Mustard
  • Haddock
  • Halibut
  • Herring
  • Horseradish
  • Lamb
  • Lemon
  • Lentil
  • Lettuce
  • Lime
  • Lobster
  • Mackerel
  • Malt
  • Melon, Honeydew
  • Milk, Cow’s
  • Milk, Goat’s
  • Millet
  • Mint
  • Mushroom
  • Mustard
  • Nut, Brazil
  • Nut, Cashew
  • Nut, Filbert
  • Nutmeg
  • Oat
  • Olive
  • Onion
  • Orange
  • Oregano
  • Oyster
  • Papaya
  • Paprika
  • Parsley
  • Pea
  • Peach
  • Peanut
  • Pear
  • Pecan
  • Pepper, B/W
  • Pepper, Cayenne
  • Pepper, Green
  • Pepper, Red
  • Peppermint
  • Perch
  • Pimento
  • Pineapple
  • Plum
  • Pork
  • Potato, Sweet
  • Potato, White
  • Pumpkin
  • Quinoa
  • Rabbit
  • Radish
  • Raspberry
  • Rhubarb
  • Rice
  • Rye
  • Safflower
  • Sage
  • Salmon
  • Sardine
  • Scallops
  • Sea Bass
  • Seed, Caraway
  • Seed, Dill
  • Seed, Rape (Canola)
  • Sesame
  • Shrimp
  • Snapper
  • Sole
  • Soybean
  • Spinach
  • Squash, Yellow
  • Strawberry
  • Sugar, Cane
  • Sunflower
  • Tangerine
  • Tapioca
  • Tea
  • Thyme
  • Tomato
  • Trout
  • Tuna
  • Turkey
  • Turnip
  • Vanilla
  • Venison
  • Walnut, Black
  • Walnut, English
  • Watermelon
  • Wheat
  • White Fish
  • Yeast, Baker’s
  • Yeast, Brewer’s
  • Zucchini
BloodPrint115
  • Alfalfa
  • Almond
  • Amaranth
  • Apple
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Barley
  • Bean, Green
  • Bean, Kidney
  • Bean, Lima
  • Bean, Mung
  • Bean, Pinto
  • Bean, Yellow Wax
  • Beef
  • Beet
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Buckwheat
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrot
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cheese
  • Cherry
  • Chicken
  • Cinnamon
  • Clam
  • Clove
  • Cocoa - Chocolate
  • Coconut
  • Cod
  • Coffee
  • Corn
  • Crab
  • Cranberry
  • Egg
  • Eggplant
  • Flounder
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Grape
  • Grapefruit
  • Haddock
  • Halibut
  • Herring
  • Lamb
  • Lemon
  • Lentil
  • Lettuce
  • Lime
  • Lobster
  • Mackerel
  • Milk, Cow’s
  • Milk, Goat’s
  • Millet
  • Mushroom
  • Mustard
  • Nut, Brazil
  • Nut, Cashew
  • Nutmeg
  • Oat
  • Olive
  • Onion
  • Orange
  • Oregano
  • Oyster
  • Papaya
  • Parsley
  • Pea
  • Peach
  • Peanut
  • Pecan
  • Pepper, B/W
  • Pepper, Chili
  • Pepper, Green
  • Perch
  • Pineapple
  • Plum
  • Pork
  • Potato, Sweet
  • Potato, White
  • Pumpkin
  • Quinoa
  • Radish
  • Rice
  • Rye
  • Safflower
  • Sage
  • Salmon
  • Scallops
  • Seed, Rape (Canola)
  • Sesame
  • Shrimp
  • Snapper
  • Sole
  • Soybean
  • Spinach
  • Strawberry
  • Sugar, Cane
  • Sunflower
  • Tangerine
  • Tea
  • Tomato
  • Trout
  • Tuna
  • Turkey
  • Walnut
  • Wheat
  • White Fish
  • Yam
  • Yeast, Baker’s
  • Yeast, Brewer’s
  • Zucchini
BloodPrint88
  • Almond
  • Amaranth
  • Apple
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Barley
  • Bean, Green
  • Bean, Kidney
  • Bean, Lima
  • Bean, Mung
  • Bean, Pinto
  • Bean, Yellow Wax
  • Beef
  • Beet
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Buckwheat
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrot
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cheese
  • Cherry
  • Chicken
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Cocoa - Chocolate
  • Coconut
  • Cod
  • Corn
  • Crab
  • Cranberry
  • Egg
  • Ginger
  • Grape
  • Grapefruit
  • Halibut
  • Herring
  • Lamb
  • Lemon
  • Lentil
  • Lettuce
  • Lime
  • Lobster
  • Milk, Cow’s
  • Milk, Goat’s
  • Millet
  • Nut, Brazil
  • Nut, Cashew
  • Nutmeg
  • Oat
  • Olive
  • Orange
  • Oregano
  • Papaya
  • Pea
  • Peach
  • Peanut
  • Pecan
  • Pepper, B/W
  • Pepper, Green
  • Pineapple
  • Plum
  • Pork
  • Potato, Sweet
  • Potato, White
  • Pumpkin
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Rye
  • Safflower
  • Sage
  • Seed, Rape (Canola)
  • Sesame
  • Soybean
  • Spinach
  • Strawberry
  • Sugar, Cane
  • Sunflower
  • Tangerine
  • Tea
  • Tomato
  • Tuna
  • Turkey
  • Walnut
  • Wheat
  • Yam
  • Yeast, Baker’s
  • Yeast, Brewer’s
  • Zucchini
Obviously the BloodPrint Kosher would eliminate non-kosher food choices and the BloodPrint Vegetarian would eliminate most animal based meat products.

So why did I provide this information today?

So you can get your butts out there and assess what nutritional choices you are making right now that are leading you down a path of chronic inflammation and chronic disease. I would like to share some inspiring quotes from one of the owners of Immunolabs, who be the way is and amazing man with high intergrity.

  • Are you on the right diet, but eating the WRONG foods?
  • Do you know which GOOD foods are BAD for you?
  • If there was just one food that was causing your symptoms, wouldn’t you want to know what it is?
  • 95 out of 100 people are suffering from Toxic Food Syndrome…Are you one of them?
  • When you sit down to eat a meal, how do you know which foods are right for you?
So I welcome you to visit the Immunolabs website and enjoy an amazing video about food sensitivity and grab a "boatload" of free information for yourself. And when you are ready to move forward in understanding the nutritional choices that you may be making that are hindering your health and happiness, call our office at (949)954-6226 and we will get your Immunolab test kit sent out to you.

If you are anything like me, you will greatly appreciate this information, it could just save your life, as it has mine.

Please let me know if you have any comments and/or questions by posting these below and I look forward to discussing your Immunolab results with you soon.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Adrenal/Ovary Connection

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

So how important is adrenal function to ovary function? Maybe comparable to peanut butter and jelly or cheese on pizza, you get the picture...

We'll take a look at this connection today to help you understand not only the importance of the connection but also provide some incite on balancing this if you find yourself challenged in this area.

The first factor to understand is that approximately 2/3 of estrogen type hormones are created in the ovaries for women, while most of the other 1/3 are actually produced in the adrenal glands. Let's take this one step further to understand that men and post menopausal women are almost completely dependent on adrenal function for estrogen type hormones.

It is important to understand that an array of hormones are necessary for optimal function in the body. These would include all the estrogen type hormones, pregnenolone, progesterone, different forms of testosterone, androstenedione, DHEA, cortisol and cortisone, just to name some of the key players. Interestingly enough, all of the hormones listed above are produced in the adrenal glands. Of course as you have learned earlier, the ovaries will also produce estrogen type hormones in premenopausal women and men will produce the bulk of their testosterone in the testicles until andropause.

So as you can see optimal adrenal function is definitely a key here. 

If you had not heard me mention the likelihood of adrenal insufficiency in the past, here is a simple stat that I have recognized in my career in the health field. Through my years I have reviewed over 4,400 adrenal test kits. Now mind you, people that come into my office have health challenges, so these 4,400 plus people are individuals that are dealing with either diagnosed issues or recognized symptoms. Well, out of those 4,400 adrenal kits, I have seen only 5 come back optimal. Yes, ONLY 5! So basically, this means that if you have a health issue, there is only about a 1/10 of one percent chance that your adrenals are functioning optimally. I don't know about you but those do not sound like good odds to me.

Let's now take this a step further into ovary function. As mentioned earlier, premenopause women will produce about 2/3 of their estrogen type hormones in the ovaries with most of the other 1/3 being produced in the adrenals. So if the adrenals are not working well and the adrenals play a direct role in the function of the ovaries, where the heck does the body produce estrogen hormones? Interestingly enough, I asked a client this today and she guessed correctly. In your FAT! So if you are not producing the optimal amounts of estrogen type hormones from your ovaries and/or adrenals, your body will pack on the weight just to maintain hormone balance. This is why women with poor adrenal/ovary function and post menopause women seem to carry extra weight that they simply cannot lose. This is simply because the body is using the extra fat for a necessary hormonal process.

Sounds like a frightening cycle, right?

Well, it doesn't have to be. It is relatively easy to test adrenal function. Here at Depke Wellness we almost always use a #205 adrenal test kit from a company called BioHealth to assess cortisol, DHEA, estriol, estradiol, progesterone, different forms of testosterone, melatonin and androstenedione. This provides us the necessary information to understand what is going on in your body from a hormonal perspective and there are even a few little clues about digestion here also. Once we have this information we can provide some feedback for supplementation to assist your body in resetting and balancing your adrenal function. 

Depending on your current adrenal hormone production assessed, recommendations will vary for assisting the body in resetting the adrenals but there are some overall adrenal supportive supplements you can starting taking right now. The three key factors on this level is the Prime Adrenal Support which is vitamin B5, zinc and vitamin C. These all have very strong supportive factors for your adrenal function. These are very helpful for those that are focused on maintaining proper adrenal function of for those trying to balance an early 
stage I adrenal insufficiency.

For those in stage II or III we are talking a whole other ball game. While it would still be important here to utilize the adrenal support a further step is need and this is due to the fact that these stages are also reflective of a "blown out" HPA axis, which stands for the hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal axis. The job of this feedback loop is to bring your body into a relaxing state after a stressful event. I am sure that you "get" that we all have stress and honestly, stress is a necessary part of life. When the HPA axis is working properly your stress is balanced on a consistent basis, but when the HPA axis is not longer working instead of stress/balance, stress/balance, stress/balance, you end up with stress, stress, stress, stress....yikes!

You get the picture.

So once the HPA axis is "blown out" this needs to be reset and you can assist your body in resetting this feedback loop by using sublingual forms of natural pregnenolone and DHEA. I do caution you though. DO NOT use these randomly without proper testing and working with a practitioner that truly understands assisting your body in resetting the HPA axis.

Another key factor is too address the triggers that causes the adrenal imbalance in the first place. These would be:
  • Chronic mental/emotional stress
  • SAD or standard American diet high in sugar and processed food
  • Food senstitivities
  • Chronic inflammatory states
  • Chronic infections (many of which are gut infections)
So in putting this all together to maintain proper hormone production throughout your life please be sure to maintain optimal adrenal function and absolutely stay on top of your triggers. 

If you are not currently a client of Depke Wellness and you would like to understand this deeper, we always offer a complimentary 20 minute phone or in office consult for new clients. Feel free to call our office at (949)954-6226 for this consult.


 



 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Do I Drink Alcohol?

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

I often hear clients tell me that they've heard that drinking a glass of red wine every day or even a beer per day is actually good for your health. Well, in my opinion no alcohol is good for you and the nutrients derived from drinking the wine can be obtained in much healthier ways and without the alcohol content.

So with that said, I don't drink, right? Wrong!

I know that there are many natural health practitioners that "claim" they do not drink and actually there are many that I am sure do not drink an ounce of liquor, but I am not one of them. I am a human being experiencing a human existence and to me, drinking alcohol on occasion is a part of that existence. The key is doing it right though...

So how can drinking fit into a healthy lifestyle?

Let's first look at some facts about alcohol absorption. When a person drinks an alcoholic beverage, about 20 percent of the alcohol is absorbed in the stomach and about 80 percent is absorbed in the small intestine. How fast the alcohol is absorbed depends upon several things:
  • The concentration of alcohol in the beverage - The greater the concentration, the faster the absorption.
  • The type of drink - Carbonated beverages tend to speed up the absorption of alcohol.
  • Whether the stomach is full or empty - Food slows down alcohol absorption. 
So with this information we'll first discuss when we drink. You know the routine, you go out for dinner and the first question asked by the server is "can I start you off with a drink." The is actually one of the worst times to drink. When your stomach is empty the alcohol absorbed in the stomach is on a fast track to your blood and to your brain, so do yourself a favor and leave your drinking for the end of the meal and not the before your meal. If you insist on drinking at the beginning of your meal to "play along" with everyone else at the table, make sure you have a protein and fat snack prior to heading out to eat. I know this is a bit counter-intuitive but it truly works well. We can also take this one step further in recommending that when you drink also eat some fat as you're drinking. Perhaps some nuts, olives, cheese, avocado and/or guacamole because the fat will also slow the absorption of alcohol and also slow the release of glucose in your body.

The next area to consider is what you are drinking based on your food sensitivities. Personally, I am sensitive to gluten, sorghum, corn and yeast to just name a few. So the gluten sensitivity eliminates beer for me and the sorghum even eliminates gluten free beer, since it is typically made out of sorghum. The corn sensitivity removes many other choices due to the use of corn as a sweetener and the high fructose corn syrup typically used in mixes. The yeast also eliminates beer and most wines also. So you may ask, what is left? First off, if you are drinking a spirit that is derived from gluten or another protein source that you are sensitive to, this is OK as long as the spirit is distilled. The distillation process does not allow the gluten or other proteins to cross over. This is not the case with beer and wine though. If you are gluten sensitive beer is off limits and if you are like me and also sorghum sensitive, the gluten free beer is also a no/no. As long as you are not sensitive to yeast, wine is most likely fine for you. If yeast is an issue, wine should be avoided unless you are lucky as I am. Fortunately I am friends with wine makers and I can request the use of a rather expensive (but worth it) filter, to filter out the yeast. I typically have a case of yeast free wine that I can drink through the year and no, I do not share it. LOL!

I am also very careful about my drink of choice. If you are drinking these concoctions that are sugar filled and you cannot even taste the alcohol, think again. Drinking drinks of these types can most often lead to over consumption because they simply taste so good and "sneak" up on you. One of my favorite drinks when I go out and indulge is an Anejo tequila on the rocks with about a half of a lime squeezed. This would lead to sipping and not gulping and I can easily "nurse" one or two of these for the entire evening. For that matter, "nursing" any cocktail is truly the key.

There are other positive choices that you can also make when drinking. Typically when I drink, I will not have another drink until I have had at least a 16 ounce glass of water. Many times when you get "hung over" dehydration plays a significant role because most will replace water with alcohol, not even thinking that the alcohol itself will dehydrate you. I would also add that you should make sure you are properly hydrated prior to drinking.

Another positive choice that I make when I drink is that I always take 4 capsules of Luvos when I drink. Luvos is a clay from a mountain region in Germany that is the most absorptive material on earth. Taking this will actually absorb the alcohol in the gut and carry this out the body with much lower absorption. The less you actually absorb, the less damaging to your body and your brain. Typically after drinking I also take a gut restorative supplement and heavy amounts of antioxidants to help the body with any damage done. This may or may not sound like a lot to you, but it is worth it when putting something into your body that is less than optimal, which is the case with alcohol.

There is another subject to address and this is why you are drinking. If you are drinking socially and have control over how much your drink, or if you simply want to take the edge off your day on occasion, drinking can be a part of your lifestyle. If you are drinking beyond these levels, you may have some work to do. So look at your own drinking habits and recognize that you are drinking for the reasons below, you may want to reach out for some help.
  • You drink to get drunk
  • You drink daily or almost daily
  • You typically drink 3 or more drinks when drinking
  • You drink to relieve either physical or emotional pain
  • You are seemingly out of control of how much or how often you drink
  • You drink alcohol that is derived from a source of food sensitivity
  • You drink to calm yourself down so you can sleep
  • You feel dependent on alcohol
  • You recognize that you are or are potentially an alcoholic
  • Your life revolves around alcohol
  • You cannot give up alcohol for 30 days if desired (if you say you can but you never have, make this your challenge)
  • You use alcohol to "forget" your problems
  • You have a medical condition that is worsened by alcohol consumption, yet you continue to drink
Now of course there are other reasons that we may need to reach out for assistance but at least you have a start here.

I still want everyone to recognize that I do not feel that any alcohol is good for you health but we have to be real, most of us will drink in our lives. If we can at least follow some simple tips, the negative affects of alcohol can be minimized and you do not have to suffer from a health perspective.

There is yet another point to be made.

I personally do not drink any alcohol at all for at least one six week period every year. During this time, I will typically make up my own "fun" to replace drinking alcohol. I may take a martini glass and shake some mineral water with muddled blueberries and ice and poor this into my glass. The fizz, muddled blueberries, all chilled and in the "fun" glass makes a more than adequate replacement for a drink. Often times, if you take this approach, you will find that that alcohol itself is not what you're looking for. It's just that you want something perceived as fun and after all, with the stressful lives most of us live, isn't a little fun welcomed. I would suggest you take on a six week vacation from drinking yourself. If you cannot, seek assistance.

Please, if you do choose to drink, always drink responsibly and never drink and drive. It's simply not worth it for yourself or others on the road.









 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Beat Stress and Fight the Blues...

Thank you to all the kind words that I had received from so many of you in regard to the passing of my mother. I am also very pleased to see that my article "Tribute to Relationships" had such an impact on so many of you.

Due to recent travels to be with my family during this time, I am going to share a very fitting article from Dr Chi that ties directly into my life right now as well as many of those reading this today. I look forward to getting back to my routines for all of our Depke Wellness followers next week. Enjoy this article packed with eye-opening information for you.

“Without Relaxin, I don’t know if I would have been able to cope with all the stress and anxiety I was facing, having a full-time job and having to take care of a family member with cancer. Relaxin helped calm me down so that I could normally function and take care of myself as well as my family. It also helped me sleep more soundly at night.”  – P. from California
Stress, Anxiety, Depression Increases Heart Disease and Mortality Risks

Like in P.'s case above, stress can be a constant presence in today’s fast-paced environment. Dealing with bills, daily errands, or work deadlines can put our bodies in a continuous “fight or flight” mode, often with negative consequences to both physical and mental health.
Chronic stress can cause fatigue, anxiety, the inability to concentrate, irritability, insomnia and depression. These psychological consequences can also have a larger impact, causing cardiovascular disease and even death.
  • Slight psychological distress already increases risk of death from heart disease, cancer, suicide and accidents by 20%.
  • Subclinical levels of depression or anxiety raise the risk of death from heart disease and stroke by 29%.
  • Among individuals with severe anxiety and depression, the risk of death doubles.
We are inundated with medications that are supposed to help people cope with stress, anxiety and depression. But the 400% increase in antidepressant use in the past 20 to 25 years suggests that maybe these drugs are not as effective as they purport to be. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 10 Americans over age 12 takes antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications. For these individuals dealing with chronic stress, anxiety and depression for years, there are more natural solutions. 


CHI HAPPINESS AND RELAXIN: Supplements that Help Manage Stress and Keep the Blues Away
 
Chronic stress and depression often go hand in hand. The constant stress that the body experiences can lead to sustained high cortisol levels which, in turn, reduces serotonin and dopamine (neurotransmitters that regulate mood, energy, alertness, etc.), eventually leading to depression.
 
Both Chi Happiness and Relaxin have mechanisms that reduce constantly elevated cortisol levels and eventually lead to relieving stress and anxiety and alleviating depression.
Chi Happiness Reduces Cortisol, Serotonin, Dopamine

Chi Happiness contains herbs that naturally increase the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters are responsible for regulating moods, attention, alertness, compulsions and more. In depression and stress, the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is overactive. Chi Happiness regulates HPA activity, leading to reduced cortisol concentration.
In one study, Chi Happiness was shown to reduce serum cortisol level in mice (Figure 1 above). Its reduction in cortisol was more than 90% lower than Prozac.

Chi Happiness’ effect on cortisol levels was seen in a case report from Dr. G. Adams, MD from Florida. He has a 66-year-old male patient with abnormal levels of cortisol. As you can see in Table 1 below, his cortisol levels were constantly high throughout most of the day in July 2013. After 8 months on Chi Happiness and other supplements, his cortisol levels reduced. 


Table 1. Chi Happiness reduces Chronically Elevated Cortisol Levels in Male Patient








 
Chi Happiness has also helped a male patient in his 50s from New York who has been taking Prozac for years. He suffers from depression, paranoia and lack of confidence. Since he started taking Chi Happiness more than five years ago, his emotional health has vastly improved. He is now confident and not afraid to talk to people. He even manages a business and travels often.

A similar effect was seen in a 37-year-old female from California who suffers from depression and had been taking Effexor for 3 years. Then she switched to Chi Happiness. She hasn’t used Effexor since. 
Relaxin on Cortisol for Stress, Anxiety and Insomnia


Combining Chi Happiness with Relaxin will produce a synergistic effect for individuals with depression. Relaxin has been effective in managing stress and anxiety, both triggers of depression. Furthermore, it also helps regulate the sleep cycle so it is helpful for insomnia, a common co-occurrence with depression.
 
What makes Relaxin work is it enhances GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptor activity. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter with anti-anxiety, anti-stress and relaxing effects. It has a calming effect on aggressive behavior and helps curb fighting tendencies. Furthermore, it reduces anxiety.
The elevated-plus maze study was conducted on mice to measure the effect Relaxin has on anxiety (Figure 2 above). In the figure below, anxious animals will obviously avoid the open platform. Mice given Relaxin, however, were found to approach the open platform more frequently and actually spend more time there, showing they had more confidence and less anxiety and stress.

Furthermore, Relaxin also regulates various salivary markers of


stress: Cortisol, Immunoglobulin A (IgA, and Chromogranin A (CgA). We now know that chronically elevated cortisol indicates stress. When IgA is low, it indicates delayed stress effect. CgA, on the other hand, is high in psychological stress. Monitoring these levels can give you a good idea if stress is being successfully managed.



In one clinical study, Relaxin was able to increase IgA, reduce cortisol and reduce CgA levels (Figure 3).

In a recent case report, Relaxin was shown to reduce cortisol level in a 60-year-old female from California with a thyroid tumor. After only 8 days of taking Relaxin, she reports sleeping so well it made her feel better overall. After a little over a month of taking Relaxin, her cortisol level normalized to 11.8 ug/dL.
Table 2. Relaxin Reduced Cortisol in Female Patient





 
Relaxin Helpful for Insomnia
Besides reducing stress and anxiety, Relaxin also helps regulate the sleep cycle for longer and more restful sleep. In an animal study, Relaxin reduced the time to sleep while increasing the duration of sleep. In a clinical study, insomnia patients increased their sleeping habits by 100% while their daytime energy increased by 65%. EKG results show that brain waves during sleep after taking Relaxin are very calm. This means that Relaxin induces a deep and restful sleep, leading to more energy when waking up. Relaxin’s effect on sleep is evident in these cases.

J. Wycoff, DO from Michigan, reports on two female patients with sleeping problems. One could hardly sleep straight at night. After taking 3 capsules of Relaxin, she was able to sleep 5 hours straight. The other patient took 2 capsules for one night and slept much better than before.

J. Wright, MD from Washington, shares that a patient has been suffering from insomnia for years. After only 4 days on Relaxin, the patient has been able to sleep well and regularly.
D.B., a 47-year-old male from California, had a chronic sleeping problem. Melatonin has not helped him significantly. It still took him about 1 ½ hours to sleep after taking it with a sleep duration of only 3 to 4 hours at a time. When he tried Relaxin, he had more favorable results. He was able to sleep easily only 30 minutes after taking it, with his sleep usually lasting 7 to 8 hours.

Try Relaxin now