Sunday, December 15, 2013

Aches, Pain, Stiffness, Why?

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

You may know of someone that suffers from one of more of these challenges.
  • Do you find regular joint pain a part of your daily life?
  • Are regular body aches beginning to annoy you regularly?
  • Is your body stiff when you wake in the morning or after sitting for some time?
If any of these are a challenge for you, it is likely that you are suffering from chronic inflammation. If this is your challenge, I do not have to tell you how this affects your daily life, your mood, your health and your happiness. The unfortunate reality is that most with chronic inflammation live with daily aches, pain or stiffness. For those that do not recognize this expression, look at this question.

Did you also know that chronic inflammation is a key component at the core of basically every chronic illness?

With this said, I don't want you to get the impression that inflammation itself is the problem. The true problem are the triggers for this inflammation and the ongoing feed back loops that continue this chronic inflammatory state.

We can first look at the triggers.
  • Mental/emotional stress
  • Gluten and other cross reactive food intolerance
  • Infection
  • Obesity
  • Chemotherapy
  • Addiction
The primary triggers that we see with clients on a regular basis are the first three that are in bold, stress, food intolerance and infection. Obviously a major aspect of eliminating your inflammation is tied directly into reducing or eliminating your triggers, but that's not all. Once chronic inflammation has been your "friend" for a longer period, you can potentially develop one or more of the following feed back loops that continue this inflammation. These feed back loops are listed below. 
  • Understand that chronic inflammation will often inhibit phase I and phase II liver detoxification pathways. This occurs due to the fact that the NF-kB state can create a suppression of cytochrome P450. This suppression leads to a compound hepatic biotransformation, thus activating hepatic end products. It helps to understand that biotransformation is the process of rendering fat-soluble compounds to water soluble compounds so they can be excreted via the urine, feces and sweat. Hormones, toxins and drugs undergo hepatic transformation by phase I and phase II pathways in the liver and are eventually eliminated by a phase III pathway. A significant key though to this biotransformation, phase I, phase II and phase III pathways is the initial release of cytochrome P450. As noted above, chronic inflammation suppresses this cytochrome P450 thus inhibiting the entire liver clearance pathways. When this occurs, further inflammation is initiated and round and round you go. Simply put, the chronic inflammatory state leads to a multiple challenges within the liver, thus leading to more inflammation.  
  • Chronic inflammation can also cause and increase in fat cell production. This increase in fat cells leads to insulin surges which in turn leads to insulin resistance. And guess what this leads to? If you said more inflammation you are right on.
  •  Another challenge created by chronic inflammation is the creation of leaky gut. Leaky gut occurs when the tight junctures, or openings, in your small intestines that allow your macro-nutrients, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and and co-enzymes, actually become enlarged. When this occurs, whole food substances will be allowed through these tight junctures and lead initially to an autoimmune reaction. As this autoimmune reaction continues this can lead to a true TH-17 response AKA, tissue destruction and your guessed it, more inflammation.
  • Last but not least, when you are living with chronic inflammation, your body may respond by raising cytokine production. Cytokines are proteins secreted by immune cells that act on other cells to coordinate appropriate immune responses. When these cytokines are responding to chronic inflammation, this often leads to autoimmune disease and more inflammation.
So based on what I am saying, it may sound hopeless and I hear you. Thankfully though, it is not hopeless. I know this personally, because I lived with chronic inflammation for decades before I finally overcame this issue. My inflammation was due to an initial injury followed by years of consuming intolerant foods and life's stressors. Here's my story for your education.

During this video, I mention the "More Than Just Weight Loss" program. During the six week span of this program, my knee pain was actually eliminated because for the first time in decades, I was able to eliminate my chronic inflammatory state. This too can be you.

Follow the link below to get more information on your potential of walking away from aches, pain and stiffness.

More Than Just Weight Loss

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Your Reset Button!

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

Wouldn't it be nice if we could hit a reset button and most of the symptoms of our poor health choices could simply go away? Oh, and especially after all the stress, poor food choices, too much alcohol and too little sleep of the holidays. Heck, just over the Thanksgiving weekend I personally put on 10 pounds. Two Thanksgiving dinners, a birthday party and some alcohol at each was obviously a disaster. All with Christmas, traveling and New Years yet to arrive. 


Well thankfully, there is a reset button and I hit it every year after this holiday mess. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the holidays. I love to be with people, the engagement with others, the yummy food and even the occasional Christmas margarita. It's really not a different margarita, just a homemade margarita made around Christmas time. LOL!

As you can imagine, this leaves me a mess just as it does the rest of you reading this article. So what do we do?

Hit the reset button!

For me this is the 6 week "More Than Just Weight Loss" program. I have done this the last 3 years in a row and I am already craving this time again. You may ask, why do I crave this and what is it all about?

First of all, most of us gain weight at this time of the year and while a percentage of this is fat, there is often a significant weight gain accompanying an increase in inflammation. The weight gain isn't even the biggest issue with weight gain, but the aches and pains of inflammation are actually the more significant challenge. In addition to weight gain and inflammation most of us are also dealing with a gut/brain issue due to the holidays. Eating intolerant foods, alcohol affecting your brain function, stress and your lack of sleep are all feeding the gut/brain issue.

Along with this immune system function takes a hit. This is due to a couple of factors. Number one is the fact that about 70 to 80% of your immune function actually originates in your gut, so when there is a gut/brain connection issue, there is an immune issue. Secondly tied into the inflammation, this chronic inflammation actually creates an immune dysregulation that can be scary. Scary because this can lead to multiple chemical sensitivities and the shut down of apoptosis, which long term can lead to cancer. Another factor that is huge for the immune function is the lack of sleep that leads to a weakened immune function also.

Lastly, how about our livers' screaming out at us after the holidays. Heck, daily living is enough of a stress on our liver. Throw some alcohol, stress, poor food and the typical response to dealing with a hangover are all so taxing to the liver. Ouch!

So in the end, you know what to do? Hit the reset button!

The 6 week "More Than Just Weight Loss" program really isn't even a weight loss program. Don't get me wrong, if you have inflammatory or fat weight to lose, this will happen, but the program is actually quite different. It is actually a  gut/brain supportive, immune building, liver detoxifying, anti-inflammatory program.

The first year I did this I lost 16.9 pounds, last year I lost about 12.4 (don't remember exactly) and this year I hope to lose about 9 or 10. But more important than the weight loss and the fact that my pants will be a bit more comfy and I will get back into the "skinny" pants again, I will feel amazing! 

That's what feeds my drive for this 6 week program every year. I LOVE feeling amazing! Don't you?

Find out more about the 6 week "More Than Just Weight Loss" program.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Perfect Storm

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

So what is the perfect storm?

The holidays of course!

I know, we like to think of the holidays as a time for giving, spirituality, joy, love and so on. Think about it though. What do you often recognize during the holidays? Stress, less sleep, poor nutrition and far too much alcohol. Now I'm not asking you to not enjoy yourself, but let's look at how we can quiet this storm a bit.

Let's look at the stress first. During this time of the year, one of the biggest issues is that many of us over commit and make promises that are almost impossible to keep. This is the most important time of the year to use the power of "NO." I "get" that you want to make everyone happy and make every gathering, but one of two things will most often occur. Either you do not keep your integrity of being somewhere that you have committed to or you are so completely stressed out because it ends up being another thing that you have to do. Yikes to both!

A reality during this time of year for all of us is the fact that there will be more stress than other times of the year. To assist with dealing with this stress I would recommend visiting and registering for the complimentary 4 part video series on the home page. The fourth video will provide easy to use yet powerful tools to assist with the stress of the holidays.

The next area is lack of sleep. Very often during the holidays we just simply do not get to bed early enough. I would suggest setting some boundaries for the times you are going to leave your holiday parties and of course, honor those boundaries. If you have an agreement with yourself to leave the parties at 9:00PM you will still have time to be in bed soon after that and get a full nights' sleep. The challenge for most is that they do not set a leaving time. Just show up a bit earlier and hold your integrity to the boundary you set.

Another factor is trying to fit "things" in late at night. I would suggest that instead of adding extra work at night, which ultimately lead to a lack of quality sleep, simply get up earlier. This will still allow some extra time to accomplish your tasks, but this will also mirror more of a natural sleep cycle and likely provide you more energy and mental clarity through the day. Understand that it is healthier to sleep from 10:00PM to 6:00AM than it is to sleep from Midnight to 8:00AM. Got it?

Poor nutrition is often an issue for most during the holidays. This is not only poor choices such as too much sugar, gluten and alcohol, but also typically far too much of all of these. Now for those that know they have a gluten intolerance or other cross reactive food intolerance, the holidays are not a time to "sneak" some in. Remember that if these foods are an issue for you, eating them will lead to inflammation in your gut, a weakened immune system and adrenal fatigue. Now as far as the sugar and alcohol are concerned, if this is not a huge issue for you, go ahead and indulge. Understand though that having one piece of fudge or one drink will typically not be an issue for most, but have several drinks, many sweets and throwing in some gluten can be a HUGE issue for so many. To assist with proper absorption and assimilation of your food choices during the holidays, make sure you are using your 1,2,3 of Digestion.

Also, when you are thinking about alcohol specifically, the timing is very important. The worst thing you can do is walk into your party and start with a glass of wine or a cocktail. If you have this on an empty stomach, watch out! This is an issue because alcohol is actually absorbed right through the stomach wall and an empty stomach allows a quick trip to the blood and the brain. All I can say is, not good! So if you are going to drink, make sure this is after you eat and not before. One more trick is to also eat fat when you are drinking, such as nuts, cheese or guacamole. The added fat will slow the release of the liquid sugar you are drinking and help to normalize blood sugar for you.

I would also add the focusing on all your fundamentals of health during this time will assist you in quieting this perfect storm. Remember that you can easily receive the complimentary 4 part video series for your fundamentals of health on the home page.

Here is a late entry info for you...

A study, led by University of California at San Diego sociology professor David Phillips, looked at 57.5 million death certificates from 1979 to 2004. It found 42,325 more people died of natural causes -- which make up about 93 percent of all deaths -- during the two-week Christmas/New Year holiday period than would normally be expected, given the typical winter increase in deaths.
There also were increases in every major disease group of 1 percent to 10 percent and in every demographic group of 3 percent to 9 percent. In particular, the study looked at deaths from natural causes in which the patient either was dead on arrival (DOA) at a hospital or died receiving emergency care, and it found significant spikes throughout the holiday period. In fact, the three days when the most people die of natural causes in either a DOA situation or in an emergency setting are Dec. 25, Dec. 26 and Jan. 1.

Thanks to Dr Dan Yachter at for sharing this info.

Begin your focus on quieting the storm today and you may survive the holidays like never before. Here's to a happy and healthy holiday season!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cholesterol is an issue, right?

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

If you read last week's newsletter "Heart Disease, out of sight, out of mind?", you might remember this exchange, "now that I have your attention in regard to the impact of heart disease, let's talk about the main contributing factors to this cultural challenge."

"Of course the biggest issue is cholesterol right? BIG FAT NO"

Today we address that "BIG FAT NO!"

I want to start by sending out a special thank you to my good friend and wellness extraordinaire Dr Jonny Bowden for co-authoring the book, The Great Cholesterol Myth with Dr Stephen Sinatra, a well known holistically minded cardiologist. While I have done countless research on cholesterol myself, these two gentlemen took it to another level. Bits and pieces of this article are directly from their book and I would recommend this read to anyone interested in learning about cholesterol and heart disease.

First off, what are some key points to understand in regard to cholesterol?
  • Cholesterol is a minor player in heart disease
  • Cholesterol levels are a poor predictor of heart attacks
  • Half the people with heart disease have "normal" cholesterol levels
  • Half the people with elevated cholesterol have healthy hearts
  • Lowing cholesterol has extremely limited benefits
When we think of cholesterol, we often have a belief that it is a "bad guy." Well, guess again! Life cannot go on without cholesterol which is basic raw material made by your liver, brain and basically every cell in your body. This cholesterol is used to produce hormones and bile acids, to create the membranes for every cell in your body and for every myelin sheath in your nervous system. And this is just the beginning...

So is cholesterol really the "bad guy" and if cholesterol is not the big challenge with heart disease, what is?

Again, if you remember from last week, we mentioned stress, inflammation and oxidative damage as the main causes but there are more. The are other areas to address:
  • Don't smoke
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Engage in moderate to vigorous exercise for at least half hour per day on average
  • Maintain a healthy weight with a BMI under 25
  • Eat a wholesome, low glycemic, low sugar diet with plenty of omega 3's and fiber
When discussing cholesterol, it is important to update your information and once again, I thank Dr Jonny Bowden and Dr Stephen Sinatra for this shared info from their book, The Great Cholesterol Myth.

We have been taught that HDL is the good cholesterol because it removes the LDL or so called bad cholesterol. When reviewing your HDL results, you would like to see these above 60 per Dr Bowden and Dr Sinatra, while I have been saying at least 55. Maintaining a healthy weight, physical activity and a diet that includes health fats is believed to keep HDL levels higher.

The "new" information on HDL tells us that these levels are more tightly controlled by genetics. A study in 2011 showed that raising HDL did nothing to protect against heart attacks, stroke or death. It is now known that there are two different types of HDL (HDL-2 and HDL-3) and while number 2 is protective and anti-inflammatory, number 3 is actually inflammatory. With this said, the function of the HDL rather than the straight number is most important.

Now for LDL or the "bad" cholesterol. This was thought to be "bad" because it would build up in the arteries and impede blood flow and it's levels should be low. Too much saturated fat, inactivity and being overweight were thought to be the most significant contributing factors.

So here's the "new" info on LDL. First off, all LDL is not the same. The LDL-A does no harm unless it is damaged by oxidation. The LDL-B is the culprit that promotes atherosclerosis. There is also a Lp(a) which is highly anti-inflammatory and provides much of the repair and restoration of damaged blood vessels. However, if the need for repair is chronic this can lead to the promotion of deposits of oxidized LDL into the wall of the vessels and lead to inflammation and eventual plaque build up, while also promoting the formation of blood clots.

I think you can recognize one word that continues to come up in these conversations. That word is oxidation. Obviously reducing oxidative damage is very important in regard to LDL's and heart disease as discuss in last week's newsletter.

So with this new information, what do you want to look at?

If you really want to know what's going on with your cholesterol and if this is truly an issue, look at the newer particle tests for cholesterol. This would tell you how much of your LDL is type A or B, measure the number of particles and the amount of the potentially dangerous Lp(a).

Another "old" that needs to be replaced is that saturated fat is bad and nutritional cholesterol raises your blood cholesterol levels. This is now shown to be very insignificant from a dietary perspective. Actually the cholesterol that would potentially raise by consuming saturated fat is HDL and the LDL-A, which is the positive LDL. There is actually NO evidence that supports a direct relationship between saturated fat and heart disease. If you go back to the early 1900's when heart disease was virtually non-existent, saturated fat was in very high consumption.

In the end you can see that cholesterol is not the issue we once believed but understanding the breakdown of your cholesterol can also be very education for you.

Remember, for a complete understanding of The Great Cholesterol Myth, I would recommend Dr Bowden's and Dr Sinatra's book. You'll love it!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Heart Disease, out of sight, out of mind?

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

You almost never hear about heart disease any more. It is basically out of sight, out of mind.
  • Is this because it is not longer an issue?
  • Is this because it is simply no longer in vogue?
  • Is it because we are winning the battle against this deadly chronic illness?
Here are your answers.

Prevalence of cardiovascular disease in adults ≥20 years of age by age and sex (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey: 2005–2008). Source: National Center for Health Statistics and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. These data include coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, and hypertension.

This shows that by the time you reach the age of 40, there is basically an over 30% chance that you will develop heart disease or similar. Over the age of 60 the chances are almost 75% and make it to 80 years old and you are over 80% likely. YIKES!

Obviously this is still and issue and we are not winning the battle, so I guess it is simply not in vogue to discuss heart disease anymore. Heck, we've got so much else to talk about right? Cancer, autoimmunity, diabetes and the list goes on.

So where does heart disease fall in with these other in vogue issues?

Cardiovascular disease and other major causes of death for all males and females (United States: 2008). A indicates cardiovascular disease plus congenital cardiovascular disease (International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision codes I00–I99, Q20–Q28); B, cancer (C00–C97); C, accidents (V01–X59, Y85–Y86); D, chronic lower respiratory disease (J40–J47); E, diabetes mellitus (E10–E14); and F, Alzheimer disease (G30). Source: National Center for Health Statistics and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
You can see that these other challenges still pale in comparison to heart disease. Regardless of public discussion, this is a huge impact for our culture. So while cancers get most of the headlines these days, we are missing the boat on a much bigger issue.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) deaths vs cancer deaths by age (United States: 2008). Source: National Center for Health Statistics. CVD includes International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision codes I00–I99, Q20–Q28; and cancer, C00–C97.
Taking this one step further, let's look at the breakdown of chronic cardiovascular issues as related to deaths.

Percentage breakdown of deaths attributable to cardiovascular disease (United States: 2008). Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute from National Center for Health Statistics reports and data sets. *Not a true underlying cause. With any mention deaths, heart failure accounts for 35% of cardiovascular disease deaths. Total may not add to 100 because of rounding. Coronary heart disease includes International Classification of Diseases (ICD), 10th Revision codes I20–I25; stroke, I60–I69; heart failure, I50; high blood pressure, I10–I13; diseases of the arteries, I70–I78; and other, all remaining ICD I categories.
If you would like the complete PDF of this release follow this link.

Now that I have your attention in regard to the impact of heart disease, let's talk about the main contributing factors to this cultural challenge.

Of course the biggest issue is cholesterol right? BIG FAT NO! I don't even want to get into the cholesterol myth here, so if you want my deeper opinion on cholesterol visit this article.

I had the opportunity to reach out to my friend Dr Jonny Bowden, who is also the co-author of the Great Cholesterol Myth with cardiologist Stephen Sinatra, M.D.. In this book they collectively debunk cholesterol and statin drugs, while getting to the core of heart disease. According to Dr Jonny, the three main challenges that contribute to heart disease are:
  • Mental/emotional stress
  • Inflammation
  • Oxidative damage
The big question now is, what do you do about these three areas?

Mental/emotional stress

So how do you deal with the mental/emotional stress? Eliminate your stress right? Well, not likely. It is next to impossible to eliminate the stress in our lives but there is a way out of this. The key is not eliminating the stress but in dealing with stress in a healthy way.

One way to do this is to practice deep breathing techniques. To assist in stress relief follow the directions below.
  • Take at least 3 to 5 deep belly breaths every waking hour
  • Always take 3 to 5 of these during times of stress
  • Inhale through your nose for about a count of 7 while protruding your stomach while allowing your breath to flow down into the area of your belly button
  • Hold that breath for a count of 4
  • Exhale forcefully through your mouth while contracting your stomach muscles for about a count of 8
Try this when you feel stressed out and you will recognize that you will almost immediately relax. For further tips go to the home page and register for the complimentary video series. The last video of that series provides many different techniques to reduce the affect of stress.


Inflammation is most often a significant factor in regard to heart disease. The big challenge though, is that so few really understand the complexity of inflammation, it's triggers, the NF-kB state, your adrenal tie, the self imposed feed back loops and proper dosing of anti-inflammatory protocols.

I have mentioned chronic inflammation many times in the past and for those that are not aware, I refer to this as a NF-kB state. Often clients in my office ask me what NF-kB stands for and honestly, my response generally does not help much, but here we go. NF-kB stands for nuclear factor kappa beta and is defined as a complex group of proteins that controls the transciption of DNA. Obviously DNA transcription play a huge role in any chronic illness including heart disease.

NF-kB controls the expression of genes encoding the pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines adhesion molecules, inducible enzymes and growth factors. It is found in all cell types and is involved in cellular responses to stress, cytokines, free radicals and antigens. In short, the chronically activated NF-kB state has been linked to any chronic illness including heart disease.

This NF-kB state is triggered by stress, food intolerance, infection, obesity, addiction and chemotherapy. The frustrating part of this for so many, is that even if you remove all the triggers, the NF-kB state will likely continue to be an issue for you. I cannot tell you how often I have clients in my clinic that feel hopeless and frustrated because they have done so much to be healthy, yet cannot reach their goals. This is often due to the NF-kB self amplifying feedback loops. Understanding this NF-kB state and the feedback loops is the key to one of the biggest impacts in heart disease.

The most important point to make in this article is the fact that you can address the NF-kB state. I have listed the steps used with success at Depke Wellness to address this properly. 

*I do not recommend addressing this on your own, so please work with a natural health practitioner that would be considered and expert in the NF-kB state.
  • Address food intolerance and nutritional challenges
  • Learn healthy ways of addressing stress
  • Address any chronic infections (generally gut related)
  • Balance adrenal function
  • Increase peripheral circulation
  • Balance immune function with glutathione and vitamin D
  • Address phase I & phase II liver detoxification pathways
  • Take the correct dosage of curcumin and resveratrol (the dosing and form of both is of utmost importance)
I have seen this work with consistency over the years with not only the clients in my clinic but with myself personally. Simply put, if you want to significantly reduce your risk of heart disease, address your NF-kB state. 

Oxidative damage

A simple way to define oxidative stress is the damage made to a cell through the oxidative process. Oxidation is a very normal process as it occurs all the time to our bodies. When there are disturbances in the natural oxidation process, such as the attraction of a free radical to another molecule in your body, the results are often toxic effects.

Imagine a piece of iron lying on the ground. As it weathers years of rain, environmental exposure, sun, and other factors, it begins to rust. The rust is caused by oxidation. Free oxygen radicals are created during the metabolism of normal oxygen cells also known as oxidation. These free radicals are missing a simple electron and are in search of another molecule that they can combine with to become whole. In their quest to become whole they fire charges that damage other cells and structures around them. This in turn causes the rust.

In effect your body is "rusting" as it goes through its lifetime, with free oxygen radicals wildly running through your system searching for a mate. Understand that the more free radicals your body contains the more damage that's likely to be done. The best way to see this damage is through our normal aging process.

To date science has discovered that oxidative stress may very well be the cause of over 70 chronic ailments in your body with heart disease toward the top of the list.

Depending on what form of toxin or stress your body is exposed to on an ongoing basis, you could find yourself suffering, even at an early age, from diseases that could be prevented if only you'd have minimized the harmful free radicals in your system.

Here are just some of the diseases are caused by oxidative damage:

• Heart Disease
• Cancer
• Arthritis
• Lung Disease
• Fibromyalgia
• Diabetes
• Neuro-degenerative Diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's
• Autoimmune Diseases
• Eye Diseases like Macular Degeneration

Even back in the early days of man free radicals existed and caused oxidative stress.

They're inherent to life and a normal byproduct of regular oxygen molecule metabolism. However our bodies were only made to withstand so much exposure to free radicals (even though our body does an amazing job at neutralizing them in a normal, low-toxin setting).

The increased and prolonged exposure to these wild and reckless free radicals cause a faster build-up of "rust" or disease in our bodies.

So what are some of the most common reasons our body's oxygen molecules oxidize themselves into an increased amount of free radicals? Some of them you're probably well aware of, and some of them may come as a surprise.

• Environmental and Air Pollution
• Cigarette Smoking
• Excess Stress
• Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications
• Radiation
• Excessive Exercise
• Over-Exposure to Sunlight

So what do you do to combat this oxidative damage?

The key ingredient to reducing the amount of free radicals in your system is antioxidants. Antioxidants are fantastic little substances that wander through your body, giving up an electron to the greedy free radicals charging through your system. They neutralize the free radicals and allow your body to do its business of excreting them safely and without harm.

Our bodies already make several different types of antioxidants all on their own. But as our exposure to harmful free radicals in the environment and through our lifestyles increase, our need for outside supplies of antioxidants is vital in the war against aging and degenerative disease.

While a good supply of antioxidants come from natural sources like healthy food, we also need to supplement those sources.

Increasingly, our food supply is being degraded through harmful growing practices and soil depletion, and can no longer be relied upon to protect us from the oxidative stress all around us.

With a healthy supply of free-radical-neutralizing antioxidants, you can see how our bodies are better able to withstand and ward off the "rusting" for decades longer than we currently do.

Based on the information in this article you can see that heart disease is still a huge issue in our culture. Hopefully you also recognize the main culprits here behind heart disease and more importantly, the fact that you have the power to make some changes in your own health and wellness to balance these issues.

If you would like to learn more about Depke Wellness addressed heart disease, feel free to call our office at (949)954-6226 and set up your complimentary 20 minute intro today. We can do this in office or over the phone.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Why the Heck are YOU so Tired?

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

Really...why the heck are you so tired??? 

More importantly, doesn't it sound like a good idea to address this before we get into the hustle and bustle of the holiday season?

You've likely heard all the reasons why this is so, but energy still eludes you. Frustrating, huh?

Let's look at the common challenges:
  • Insomnia
  • Poor diet
  • Poor digestion
  • Poor brain function
  • Lack of exercise
  • Iron anemic
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Poor adrenal function
  • Poor thyroid function
We've talked about many of these in the past but today we are going to focus on the tie between the thyroid and adrenal glands. Most of you have heard me talk about adrenal function many times but for those that are not familiar please take note.

Your adrenal glands play such a significant role in whole body function. To be more exact, your adrenal glands play a direct role in every area listed below.
  • Thyroid
  • Pancreas
  • Ovaries
  • Mucosal tissue lining
  • Metabolism of fat and protein
  • Ability to regulate body weight and fat
  • Detoxification
  • Immune regulation
  • Pro and anti-inflammatory states
  • Cellular energy
  • Blood sugar stability
  • Bone and connective tissue turnover
  • Muscular integrity
  • Quality of sleep and mood
  • Ability to memorize and learn
  • Neural connectivity
Of the list above, I recognized the most challenging areas with energy by placing these in bold. So you can see that poor adrenal function itself can have a huge impact on your energy.

For this reason, if you find that your energy has been low for some time assessing adrenal function is a must. To do this we always recommend that use of saliva testing for the most accurate understanding of overall adrenal function. Whether you are completing this testing with Depke Wellness or another holistic practice, we recommend a #205 adrenal saliva kit with BioHealth. If finances are a challenge for you, you could utilize the basic kit which is a #201 adrenal saliva kit. The reason why this is so essential is because here at Depke Wellness, we have assessed over 4,300 adrenal saliva kits over the years and have only seen 5 of these kits come back normal, healthy and balanced. Yes, ONLY 5. What this tells us is that if you have a health issue, it is almost a 100% likelihood that you also have an adrenal issue.

Once you have an idea of where your adrenal function is you can use appropriate supplementation to assist your body in finding its balance. The simple start for you is the use of the Prime Adrenal Support which contains the vitamin B5 needed as the beginning of all hormone production in your adrenals. There are deeper levels of supplementation needed but this is a good start for you.

Another factor is addressing the areas that cause your adrenal dysfunction in the first place. Refer to this list below:
  • Reduce your stress levels by practicing deep belly breathing
  • Assess your likelihood of gluten intolerance and eliminate if this is an issue
  • Address chronic inflammatory states
  • Assess and address potential chronic infections (likely gut infections)
While understanding the adrenal aspect as tied into fatigue. Let's now look at the tie between your adrenal function and thyroid.

The first issue with your adrenal/thyroid connection is the fact that your adrenals create hormones that have an affect on your hypothalamus. The hypothalamus then decodes the message sent from the adrenals and sends a message to the pituitary. From here, the pituitary then determines how much TSH to make which is your thyroid stimulating hormone. This TSH then tells your thyroid how much thyroid hormone to produce. Without getting too deep into this (I know, I may have already) you need to produce and convert thyroid hormones for energy.

Another issue with the adrenal and thyroid, is the fact that adrenal dysfunction has an affect on something referred to as reverse T3. Let me make this connection as simple as I can. When your adrenal function is off, your body ill over produce this reverse T3. When we look at T3 as compared to reverse T3, look at it this way. T3 itself is the "gas pedal" for energy, while reverse T3 is the "brake" for energy. So in the end it looks like this.
  1. Poor adrenal function
  2. Confused production of TSH
  3. Over production of reverse T3
  4. Fatigue
Here at Depke Wellness we assess your adrenal function, assess a "complete" thyroid function and address the deeper causes of the entire imbalance.

For a more comprehensive understanding in this area I suggest talking to our Depke Wellness thyroid specialist Lynda Buitrago by calling (949)954-6226. You can set up a complimentary 20 minute consultation with Lynda to how she can help you find your energy.

After all, isn't your energy worth it?!?!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

What's up with Movember?

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

Funny but I was getting a hard time in the gym last November for not growing facial hair in November, AKA Movember. Little did I know that this had a significant tie into prostrate cancer awareness. 

I stood corrected.

Movember (a portmanteau word from moustache and "November") is an annual, month-long event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of prostate cancer and other male cancers and associated charities. The Movember Foundation runs the Movember charity event, housed at The goal of Movember is to "change the face of men's health."

By encouraging men (which the charity refers to as "Mo Bros") to get involved, Movember aims to increase early cancer detection, diagnosis and effective treatments, and ultimately reduce the number of preventable deaths. Besides getting an annual check-up, the Movember Foundation encourages men to be aware of any family history of cancer, and to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Since 2004, the Movember Foundation charity has run Movember events to raise awareness and funds for men's health issues, such as prostate cancer and depression, in Australia and New Zealand. In 2007, events were launched in Ireland, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Spain, the United Kingdom, Israel, South Africa, Taiwan, and the United States.

It has spread from Australia to South Africa, Europe, and North America. As of 2011, Canadians were the largest contributors to the Movember charities of any nation. In 2010, Movember merged with the testicular cancer event Tacheback.

In 2012, the Global Journal listed Movember as one of the top 100 NGOs (non-government organization) in the world.

I have to share the same sentiment about prostate cancer awareness for men as I do for breast cancer awareness for women. In my mind the awareness needs to be on prevention and obviously addressing the key factors that lead to prostrate cancer.

Understand that this year, more than 238,000 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. In most cases, the cancer consists of small knots of abnormal cells growing slowly in the walnut-sized prostate gland. In many men, the cancer cells grow so slowly that they never break free of the gland, spread to distant sites, and pose a serious risk to health and longevity. 

With this said, get your prostate exam and your PSA tested (even though the accuracy is questionable) because you can absolutely follow some aggressive natural steps to assist your body in overcoming this challenge.

So if you find yourself diagnosed with prostate cancer or there is a family history, what do you do?

Here are some keys...

  • Support immune function
  • Support the system of apoptosis
  • Reduce or eliminate inflammation
  • Normalize estrogen levels
  • Address the over production of aromatase
  • Release emotional suppression
  • Find "your" space
Let me pick a couple of these areas to discuss.

The first is the process of apoptosis. The way I explain this is to refer apoptosis as cellular suicide. You see when a cell becomes "broken" it is actually designed to die. Yes, "broken" cells in your body should commit suicide. The problem though is the for so many women, this process had been significantly reduced or shut off by chronic inflammation. Understand that when you are living with chronic inflammation, this creates an immune system dysregulation. This dysregulation can and does turn off apoptosis. 

So what happens when apoptosis is turned off? Simple. One broken cell becomes another broken cell and so on and so on. In the end, this ends up being diagnosed as cancer. So with this said, is the cancer the issue or is the inflammation the issue? Take this one step further, is the inflammation the issue or whatever causes inflammation the issue?

You should be getting the idea about now.

The other area to discuss is the elevated estrogen. While this can be caused by estrogen in our environment and/or food sources, the biggest issue is when overproducing and enzyme referred to as aromatase. Did you know that high levels of aromatase can and will convert testosterone to estrogen? Too high of estrogen is a risk factor for what...breast cancer. So is the high estrogen the cause or the overproduction of armomatase? Take this a step further, recognizing that a diet high in sugar and processed foods raises insulin and leads to an overproduction of aromatase, perhaps the high sugar and processed foods is the issue? You decide... 

I have to say that I see more and more men in my clinic with elevated estradiol which is very dangerous for a man. I once had a consultation with a male friend of mine that I was able to be very candid with and I told him, "dude, you're becoming a woman!" His response was so interesting though. He mentioned that his breast tissue was changing and becoming more voluminous and his moods were definitely shifting. He actually agreed with my light hearted chuckle that he was becoming a woman in a sense. After all, his estradiol levels should have been between 1 and 3 and they were in the teens. Yikes!

To take this one step further, this man was diagnosed from another practitioner about a year earlier with low testosterone and had implants placed under his skin to slowly release testosterone over the next 12 months. The problem though was that this gentleman had elevated aromatase so this added testosterone was being converted into estrogen type hormones. Yikes again!

In our clinic we regularly use a collection of Chinese herbs from Chi Enterprise referred to as
Cherry Angiomas
Myomin. There was a study confirming that after only 10 days on Myomin there was almost a 50% reduction of estradiol. Every time a man's hormonal panel comes back into our office showing elevated estrogen, the use of Myomin will assist the body in lowering these dangerous levels very quickly. I would note that completing a comprehensive adrenal panel is always recommended prior to use unless of course high estrogen have already been confirmed by your personal practitioner. One clue you can use to recognize high estrogen is the recognition of cherry angiomas on the trunk of your body along with white spots on your nails. These two together show a strong likelihood of estrogen dominance. Also take a look at your tongue. If there are red dots in the back to middle of your tongue, this could also show a possible hormone
White Spot on Nails
imbalance. Recognizing these signs should lead you to complete a saliva hormone test. From there it is much easier to recommend what would assist your body in finding its hormonal balance.

Thankfully there are ways to address all of this. 

  • Address what's causing your inflammation
  • Reduce or eliminate the inflammation
  • Turn the apoptosis back on
  • Address your dietary intake
  • Use an aromatase inhibitor (Myomin)
Now if you find yourself already diagnosed with prostate cancer, don't simply fall into the fear and doom. I know, easier said than done sometimes. We have seen many men walk away from prostrate cancer and living happy healthy lives based on finding their own personal balance and as mentioned earlier, learning to live in harmony with cancer as do most of us. This is a tough concept for many but very true. 

Finding your balance includes everything mentioned above and more but it is absolutely achievable. One addition that is made for men already diagnosed is Angiostop. Recognize that cancer requires a high energy intake and a significant blood flow. The Angiostop as a strong effect on inhibiting new blood vessel formation, thus cutting off nutrient and blood supply to a tumor. This also inhibits fibroblast, platelet-derived and epidermal for broad spectrum inhibitory effects. With the use of thermography, I have seen the results of angiogenesis that are remarkable with the Angiostop. The Angiostop does not directly cure cancer but it does help cut off its life support.

So in the end, let's remember that there truly is not a lack of awareness on prostate cancer but there is a significant lack of awareness on prevention and also holisitic protocols that can be effectively utilized. Also understand that you can easily integrate your conventional care with holistic care when dealing with prostrate cancer. This is not an us and them scenario. 

After all, it's all about your personal health and happiness, isn't it?

*If you would like to learn more about the Depke Wellness approach to prostate cancer, do not hesitate to call for a complimentary new client consultation at (949)954-6226.

Monday, November 4, 2013

How's Your Life Force?

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

Life force is on of those phrases that is thrown around often in holistic care and honestly, there are many different versions and interpretations of this. Today we are going to discuss the enzymes and life force.

So back to our title, how's YOUR life force?

To know this answer let's look a bit deeper at enzymes and life force. First off, enzymes operate on both a biological and chemical level, therefor "science" cannot measure or synthesize their life force. With this said, the life force is the very core of every enzyme. Without the life force within enymzes we would be nothing more than a pile of lifeless chemical substances such as vitamins, minerals, water and proteins. In regard to maintaining your health and healing enzymes, and only enzymes, do the work. They are what is referred to as the metabolism in one's life force.

We can now look at the three main categories of enzymes. These are metabolic enzymes, digestive (pancreatic) enzymes, food enzymes and enzyme supplements. To understand where your life force is within enzymes in your body, you need to "get" these categories.

We'll start with metabolic enzymes. These are enzymes that are produced in the cells of your body to allow the chemical processes of your body to occur at the rate for you to be able to sustain life. If you do not have metabolic enzymes, you have no life. It is truly that simple.

Digestive enzymes or also know as pancreatic enzymes, are enzymes that are produced in your pancreas to be released in the first third of your small intestines to aid in breaking down your food properly to fully absorb and assimilate the necessary nutrients from your nutritional choices. Obviously this is extremely important because you are NOT what you eat, you ARE what you absorb and assimilate.

The next category of enzymes are food based enzymes. This is simply recognized as the enzymes that are in every natural food to properly break this food down. I am sure you can imagine that if a plant or animal or human for that matter would die, the body would decompose. This breakdown of plant, animal or human tissue would occur based on the enzymes within each individual plant, animal or human. The key factor is to understand that this also significantly assist with breaking down plant or animal products that we would consume. Remember as mentioned above, every natural food has within it to break that food source down perfectly. The challenge is, that when we heat a food to a temperature of 118 degrees or above, the enzyme activity is destroyed.

Now you may think, no big deal because we have the digestive or pancreatic enzymes to take care of this.

Not so fast though!

Did you know that for you pancreas to produce digestive enzymes, it has to take in other metabolic enzymes to convert to the necessary digestive enzymes? You may be thinking, this still sounds like a perfect system.

Here's the issue though. You do not have an unlimited amount of metabolic enzymes and remember, I mentioned earlier that you need these to sustain life. While "science" does not have a definitive answer on this yet, there is a theory that I happen to believe in that the body has a predetermined amount of metabolic enzymes it is going to produce and when the end arrives, so does yours.

So with that said, do you really want to use up your metabolic enzymes to breakdown food?

Absolutely a big fat NO!

This is why many people eat raw foods. When you eat a raw food this will begin to predigest in the first third of the stomach, an area I refer to as the food enzyme stomach, which is turn makes digestion down the rest of the gastrointestinal tract so much easier. Here's the other huge benefit. The further your food is broken down in the area known as the food enzyme stomach, the less enzymes produced in the pancreas, thus the smaller amount of metabolic enzymes for your body to give up.

Now that's a great idea!

We can look at the food now. As mentioned above eating raw food would take care of this but this is all your food. Most people are more than willing to eat raw veggies and fruit but mention eating raw animal proteins and fat and they'll run as fast as they can. To put this in perspective a bit further, the enzyme activity of your foods naturally, is a direct correlation to the calories in that food. So a fatty meat, cream, butter or even honey have a much higher food enzyme value than celery as and example.

Now I am not telling you that you have to be a raw food vegan and I am not saying that you have to switch your animal protein meals to sashimi and steak tartar. What I am saying though is that if you eat cooked foods, which most of us do, you will absolutely want to add the last enzyme on our list which is a supplemental enzyme.

Enzyme supplements contain the enzymes needed to assist breaking down your cooked food in the enzyme stomach. Without raw food enzymes or supplements for cooked foods, this make the job of the gastrointestinal tract much more difficult and robs more of the metabolic enzymes from your body that you simply do not want to give up.

There are literally thousands of enzymes on the market today and honestly, any enzyme is better than none, but let's look at this a bit further. Most enzymes on the market are vegetarian based. What are the toughest foods for most to breakdown since they are almost always cooked? Well, animal based proteins and fats of course. So this means you are using plant based enzymes to break down animal products. It doesn't even sound right to say it and it's not. This is why some years ago I decided to formulate the Depke Wellness Prime Enzyme Support (formerly called the Prime Digestive Support). This formula not only contains the necessary plant based enzymes but also the animal based enzymes to break down those animal products. Truly the best of both worlds!

So if you eat cooked food, take and enzyme with your meal. After all, it's YOUR life force we're talking about. 

Here is a list of ingredients in the Depke Wellness Prime Enzyme Support formerly Prime Digestive Support.

Pancreatin 4X ………………...……………………………. 100 mg

Pancreatin is produced by the exocrine cells of the pancreas and contains a combination of amylase, lipase, and protease. While all three of these enzymes play a significant role, we have found empirically that the protease contained in pancreatin has a powerful effect on the breakdown of proteins. This is a significant benefit since a rather consistent challenge for most, is the proper breakdown of the flesh proteins that we consume.

Protease ……………………………………….. 10,000 USP Units

Protease is an enzyme that catalyzes the splitting of proteins into smaller peptide fractions and amino acids by a process known as proteolysis. In simpler terms, this is another significant factor in breaking down one of our more challenging macro nutrients that is so important to our health and wellness.

Amylase………………..………………………..10,000 USP Units

Amylase is an enzyme that breaks down starch into sugar. Amylase is present in human saliva, where it begins the chemical process of digestion. Due to our digestive difficulties, it is still important to include this enzyme in our formula to achieve proper digestion.

Lipase……………………………………...……………..2,000 USP

Lipase is an enzyme secreted in the digestive tract that catalyzes the breakdown of fats into individual fatty acids that can be absorbed into the bloodstream. The breakdown of fat is the other challenging factor for most of us and the reason we include a few components to assist on this level. Fat that is not broken down and emulsified properly can hinder the absorption of other nutrients which can create long term challenges.

Ox Bile ……………………………………………………… 100 mg

Ox bile contains the lipase enzymes you need to break down dietary fat and also aids in the release of bile from the gall bladder. It also includes other substances that help emulsify the fat into small, easily-absorbed micro-droplets. Without this emulsification, the fat from your food acts as a blanket covering other nutrients and create difficulty processing your foods properly. We find that Ox bile is one of the most significant benefits you can utilize in breaking down fat consumed.

L-Glutamic Acid……………………………………………. 100 mg

L-Glutamic Acid is a very effective digestive aid. Intestinal mucosa and normal metabolic function of the small intestines is dependent of adequate amounts of this ingredient. This non-essential amino acid is easily destroyed by high temperatures so food sources are not generally accurate.

Pepsin………………………………….…………………….. 100 mg

Pepsin is an enzyme that would typically be released by cells within the stomach which in turn will degrade food proteins into peptides. This is simply another important step in optimizing prime digestion.

Papain………………………………… 50 mg/ 600,000 USP Units

Papain is a natural plant based enzyme used to assist with protein breakdown and excellent for your non flesh protein intake. This enzyme has been used successfully for centuries.

Bromelain…………………………………………………. 2,000 M.C.O.

Bromelain is a mixture of enzymes found naturally in the juice and stems of pineapples. This not only adds yet another aid to break down protein properly, it appears that this is absorbed by the body intact and is thought to have positive effects even outside of the digestive tract.

Betaine HCL………………………………………………… 100 mg

Betaine HCL is a very common deficiency for most in our culture which is a significant challenge since it is the primary digestive juice responsible for breaking down protein to prepare for assimilation. This also acts as a protective barrier for potentially harmful micro-organisms in our food and also aids in the elimination of excessive tissue acidity.

Alpha Galactosidase………………….…………………. 100 A.G.S.U.

Alpha Galactosidase has the special ability to break down some of our more problematic carbohydrates such as beans, peas, lentils, cauliflower and broccoli. Amylase does not break down these particular carbohydrates very well, but this will no longer be a problem with this addition.