Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Life After Adrenal Fatigue?

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

Today's article will be short, direct and to the point. This is easy because I see this issues with clients in the clinic all the time.

You have heard me talk about adrenal issues more than once so you already understand that this is a huge issue for so many reading this article and you most likely already "get" the reasons behind your adrenal issues. One area that I have not covered in great detail though, is what does life look like after you have been living with adrenal issues for some time.

Well, today is the day you get a glimpse at life after adrenal fatigue. I will review the main challenges that are created in your body as a direct result of poor adrenal function.

Let's start with other affects on the endocrine function. When your adrenals are "off" this may lead to challenges with the function of your thyroid, pancreas and/or ovaries. If this is an issue, it likely shows up as hypothyroidism, type II diabetes or insulin resistance and/or PMS or menopause symptoms for women.

Another area that is affected is with your metabolism of fat and protein. Ultimately this can lead to an inability to regulate body fat and weight properly, poor absorption of fat and protein and well as a breakdown in your mucosal lining. This is the lining for the nose, mouth, esophagus, gastro-intestinal tract and for women the vagina. This lining is your immune systems first layer of defense that is positioned where you are easily exposed to the outside environment. This lining is the Marines of your immune system and a breakdown here is an overall immune system weakness. Also understand that if you feel that you are doing everything necessary to lose weight and you cannot, this is likely due to an adrenal issue.

We also want to recognize that your adrenals play a role in every level of detoxification. Since we are all toxic on some level, we require optimal adrenal function for optimal function of the detoxification system. Poor adrenals equal a toxic body.

Two other areas that work in conjunction with each other  and depend on your adrenal function is your immune system regulation as well as pro and anti-inflammatory states. Lack of immune system regulation can lead to chemical intolerance as well as challenges such as cancer. The inflammatory states, which would be a healthy response to and immune reaction also depends on the adrenals. Understand that your body needs the ability to create inflammation and take it away as needed. With poor adrenal function, you lose this ability and often become chronically inflamed.

A huge area for so many is the adrenals ability to assist in regulating blood sugar and its affect on cellular energy. Honestly, who doesn't want more energy these days and how many people struggle with poor blood sugar regulation? Without proper adrenal function, you can kiss energy goodbye and good luck with your blood sugar. Those in early stages of adrenal dysfunction may not notice this but long term it creeps up on you.

The next area is with your muscular/skeletal system. Understand that your adrenals play a role in bone and connective tissue turnover as well as muscular integrity. As an example, it is normal to to be sore after a hard workout or up and down in the garden all day, but it is not normal for muscles to be sore with normal daily activity, yet this occurs more often than not for so many.

The last area is with neural tissue health. With this we are looking at your quality of sleep and mood, ability to memorize and learn and your overall neural connectivity. Heck with this we are talking about your autonomic nervous system that is simply the master regulator of everything in your body.

Wow! I get it...

So now you know, if you have an adrenal issue, this is much more than it sounds. This is actually an issue with your health on an ultimate holistic level. I am also sure that most of the people reading this article have some challenges with their health that are affected by poor adrenal function as listed above.

So you tell me, is adrenal health important to you?

I think I know your answer...

Friday, July 26, 2013

Mystery Stomach Bug!

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

So have you heard of the mystery stomach bug that has sickened more than 250 people in 8 states and sent 10 or more people to the hospital?

Follow this link to view video.

So of course I wanted to write about this today so you can be afraid and run out to take care of this menacing bug, right?

Flat out wrong!

I wanted to discuss this to bring up the fact that we are so often driven into fear via the partnership of conventional medicine and mass media. Motivating via fear has been around well, likely as long as human beings have been on this earth. 

I would definitely like to address the difference between fear and caution. Fear actually locks you up emotionally and often leads to action being taken out emotion rather than intellect. Always remember that when emotion is up, intellect is down. Caution though, allows you to look at the big picture and all of your options. Do you want to consider that you could have the dreaded "mystery stomach bug?" With caution, the answer is of course. But this is no more of a consideration than any other pathogen that you may pick up somewhere in your life.

The "mystery stomach bug" as mentioned actually is not a mystery at all. The name of this stomach bug is cyclospora. I actually asked another practitioner in my office if he has seen this recently and he replied, "yes, just last week." What I want you to "get" is that these bugs are not uncommon and generally not a mystery. Once more note to make is that they are not uncommon. If you read my article a couple of weeks ago, I personally picked up a couple of stomach bugs myself that I am currently following a supplement protocol to assist my body in eradicating these bugs. If you missed the article, you can read it here.

Media and the doctor being interviewed in the video makes it seem like this is something new, different and unusual but it definitely is not. Based on years of using comprehensive stool test kits in my office, I would suggest that most people with health challenges are actually living with some type of stomach bug. It could be the cyclospora as mentioned in the video or others listed below.
  • Hookworms
  • Threadworms
  • Tapeworms
  • Roundworms
  • Ascarids
  • Flukes
  • Whipworms
  • Amoebae
  • Giardia
  • Blastocyctis
  • Cryptosporidium
  • Pathogenic bacteria
This is simply a small sampling of different pathogens that you can pick up but I think you get the picture.

You may also not that the video mentioned that you may have diarrhea, cramping, bloating and/or weight loss from the "mystery stomach bug." Actually these are common symptoms of almost any stomach pathogen that you may pick up. Here is a longer list of potential symptoms you may feel. 
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Chronic diarrhea or/alternating with constipation
  • Nausea
  • Intestinal cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Changes in appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Fowl-smelling gas
  • Indigestion
  • Bloating
  • Multiple food allergies
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Itching around the anus - especially at night (indicating pinworms)
  • Restlessness and difficulty sleeping
  • Sore and aching intestines
  • Weight loss (although not necessarily)
  • Itching on the soles of the feet - sometimes accompanied by a rash
  • Bloody sputum in some cases
  • Fever followed by loss of appetite
  • Palpitations (indicating hookworms)
  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Facial swelling around the eyes (indicating trichinosis).
  • Wheezing and coughing, followed by vomiting, stomach pain and bloating (suggesting ascariasis or threadworms)
By the time most people recognize that they have some type of stomach pathogen, they have typically been living with this for some time, maybe years or possibly even decades. This is the reason why I complete a four day comprehensive stool test kit every year or two. Just to make sure...

I always feel that the $297.00 investment every year or two is a much better alternative than living with some type of bug that is inflaming my gut, blowing out my adrenals, weakening my immune system and wreaking havoc on my brain function. Yes, that is definitely worth the investment.

Let's also talk about the difference of simple food poisoning and these stomach bugs. Typically food poisoning does only last about 2-3 days and these "bad" bacteria can be assisted by taking high amounts of probiotics. If I pick up food poisoning when out, which is generally recognized by bloating and diarrhea, I simply take about 100 billion count of the Depke Wellness Prebiotic/Probiotic Formula. or five capsules. Taking this does not "cure" the food poisoning per say, but the "good" and "bad" bacteria are fighting for survival in your gut and introducing high amounts of the "good" stuff assists your body's ability to get rid of the "bad" stuff.

To also share, when you are living with a gut pathogen, you may not always recognize this as a gut symptom. Often the symptoms may appear more brain related such as lack of clarity, poor memory or inability to control moods.

So in the end, don't be afraid of the "mystery stomach bug" but be cautious. Recognize that this is so much more common than the video leads you to believe, this actually occurs with most of us on somewhat of a regular basis. I also want to add that almost every gut pathogen you run across can also be treated naturally and antibiotics are often not necessary. There is a time and a place for antibiotics but this generally is not one of them.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Why haven't I heard off adrenals?

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

To complete that question as asked by a client of mine, " Why haven't I heard of adrenals from anyone else?"

Understanding this situation a bit further, it is important to know that this was a client that had already spent tens of thousands of dollars with many other conventional and holistic practitioners. Even after spending the time, money and effort she still felt hopelessly lost in her chronic fatigue and overall chronic health issues.

Interestingly enough, this client was referred to me by a friend of hers and she was very resistant to evening coming in to visit Depke Wellness. Thankfully her friend insisted that she visit me but I can share that she came in 'kicking and screaming." I completely understand though because when you are dealing with such low energy and chronic health issues, while already putting a huge strain on your pocket book with little to no results, this is not an uncommon response.

As I went through the parameters of the protocols used at Depke Wellness, we discussed adrenal function. Recognizing that the adrenals tie into the thyroid, pancreas and ovary function, metabolism of fat and protein, regulation of body weight, mucosal tissue integrity, detoxification processes, immune system function, pro and anti-inflammatory states, cellular energy, glucose balance, bone and connective tissue turnover, muscular integrity, quality of sleep and mood, ability to memorize and learn and overall neural connectivity. I know, it sounds like a lot but this is so completely factual and so unbelievably misunderstood. I also explained to her that based on my past clients, I find that less than 1/10th of 1% of my new clients actually have balanced adrenal function. 

In fairness, I work health challenged individuals as people are not walking off the street telling me that they are in the best of health yet the want to be better. People come into Depke Wellness because the have health challenges.

I explained to my client as I do with all new clients that due to the fact that it is an almost 100% likelihood of adrenal insufficiency, it is essential that we begin our work together by looking at adrenal function as well as the imbalanced fundamentals of health that are actually leading to this adrenal insufficiency. 

If you are following other protocols and/or supplement programs and they are not working for you, it is very likely that you simply did not get your adrenals into a state of balance which is hindering progress across the board. This is why this client asked me, " Why haven't I heard of adrenals from anyone else?"

I cannot speak for other practitioners in regard to why they do or do not look at adrenal function. I understand that from a conventional standpoint, this is not a focus because there is not a prescription alternative to adrenal insufficiency. A simple understanding that medicine is medicine and without this, there are little if any options. Another aspect to consider from a conventional perspective is the fact that most conventional doctors look at blood testing. When you use blood testing for cortisol as an example, this only gives you a total cortisol level. This is often not a complete picture because you want to see cortisol levels through the day to make a comprehensive assessment of this function. Often I have clients come into Depke Wellness after their naturally minded conventional doctor completes a blood test for adrenal function, only to say that everything is fine. Many of these people end up as clients in Depke Wellness only to find that their adrenal function truly is not fine, based on more comprehensive saliva testing throughout a full day.  From a more holistic perspective, perhaps some practitioners have yet to learn the importance of adrenal function and refer out clients that do not progress with their particular programs. The focus or lack thereof with other practitioners in regard to adrenal gland function is likely multifaceted and not worth our time and effort to figure out the why or why not, but simply find someone to look at your adrenal function.

I want to be very clear with everyone that your adrenal function is not the sole challenge for your overall health issue but I would almost guarantee that it is a significant aspect of why your health is an challenge for you. This will be potentially different from one client to the next. I have some clients that feel much better the first day they are on their adrenal protocol, some that feel significantly better within a couple of weeks while some will have to get deeper into gut/brain challenges, infection and/or inflammation before they feel the benefits of our work together.

In the end for the client that asked me, "Why haven't I heard of adrenals from anyone else?", she ended up with a significant shift in her energy and health within only a couple of weeks and for this women, it was a boarder line miracle. 

Could you be next?  

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Really, What Kind of Fat?

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

It used to be that we would simply worry about being fat or not but it is not that easy any more. We hear of terms such as body fat, brown fat, white fat, visceral fat, skinny fat and the list goes on. While fat has a bad reputation, it is essential for optimal health and wellness. We just want the right kind of fat and in the best amounts of each of us individually. So "get" that you do not have to agonize over this or try to exercise it all away. Just have a healthy relationship with your fat. 

Fat is intriguing and becoming more so every day. We are just beginning to understand fat and honestly, this is a very fascinating subject. Fat plays a huge role in brain health and did you know that you produce much more energy breaking down fat rather than carbohydrates. So much for the carb loading we all focused on in the 80's.

First off, fat has two main functions, one being the storage of excess calories and the other is the release hormones that control metabolism. This is just the tip of the iceberg though as we look deeper at the different types of fat in the body.

First we'll look at brown fat. Brown fat has gotten a lot of buzz recently, with the discovery that it's not the worthless fat scientists had originally thought.

In recent studies, scientists have found that lean people tend to have more brown fat than overweight or obese people and that when stimulated it can burn calories. 

It's known that children have more brown fat than adults, and it's what helps them keep warm. Brown fat stores decline in adults but still help with warmth. Brown fat is now thought to be more like muscle than like white fat. When activated, brown fat burns white fat.

Although leaner adults have more brown fat than heavier people, even their brown fat cells are greatly outnumbered by white fat cells. As an example a 150 pound person may have 20 to 30 pounds of fat but only about 2 to 3 ounces of this may be brown fat. But that 2 ounces if maximally stimulated, could burn off enough calories in a day to lose up to a pound in a week.

Understand that white fat is much more plentiful than brown. The job of white fat is to store energy and produce hormones that are then secreted into the bloodstream.

Small fat cells produce a "good guy" hormone called adiponectin, which makes the liver and muscles sensitive to the hormone insulin, in the process making us less susceptible to diabetes and heart disease. When people become fat, the production of adiponectin slows down or shuts down, setting them up for disease.

Subcutaneous fat is found directly under the skin. It's the fat that's measured using skin-fold calipers to estimate your total body fat. In terms of overall health, subcutaneous fat in the thighs and buttocks, for instance, may not be as bad and may have some potential benefits compared to a much more dangerous fat such as visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat cells on the belly may be another story as there's emerging evidence that the danger of big bellies lies not only in the deep visceral fat but also the subcutaneous fat.

Visceral fat, which is the most dangerous fat, wraps around the inner organs and is a leading cause of chronic illness. Visceral fat drives up your risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and even dementia. Visceral fat is thought to play a larger role in insulin resistance, which increases the risk of diabetes more than other fat. It's not exactly clear why, but it could explain or partially explain why visceral fat is a health risk. The link between visceral fat and dementia has been studied and the results are likely not surprising. Those with the biggest bellies and specifically visceral fat had a higher risk of dementia than those with smaller bellies and less visceral fat. The link was true even for people with excess belly fat but overall of normal weight.

This does not explain why belly fat and dementia are linked, but speculates that substances such as leptin, a hormone released by the belly fat, may have some adverse effect on the brain. Leptin plays a role in appetite regulation but also in learning and memory.

Belly fat has gotten a mostly deserved reputation as an unhealthy fat. Understand that belly fat is both visceral and subcutaneous. So if you've got an oversize belly, figuring out how much is visceral and how much is subcutaneous isn't as important as recognizing a big belly is unhealthy, she says. How big is too big? Women with a waist circumference more than 35 inches and men with a waist circumference more than 40 inches are at increased disease risk but recognize that this is not individualized. In our clinic, we measure the visceral fat with every new client to recognize any potential health risk right away.

Abdominal fat is viewed as a bigger health risk than hip or thigh fat and that could mean having a worse effect on insulin resistance, boosting the risk of diabetes, and a worse effect on blood lipids, boosting heart and stroke risk.

While men tend to accumulate fat in the belly, it's no secret that women, especially if pear-shaped, accumulate it in their thighs and buttocks.

Unsightliness aside, emerging evidence suggests that pear-shaped women are protected from metabolic disease compared to big-bellied people. Thigh fat and butt fat might be good, referring to that area's stores of subcutaneous fat. But the benefit of women being pear shaped may stop at menopause, when women tend to deposit more fat in the abdomen.

So when you lose weight, what kind or kinds of fat do you shed? You're losing white fat and people tend to lose evenly all over. The results change a bit, however, if you add workouts to your nutritional plan as exercise plus diet you will tend to lose slightly more visceral fat from your belly.

So in the end, understand that body fat is a good thing as long as it is under control and the right type. To learn more about getting control of your fat and dropping the "bad" fat visit, Unleash Your Thin.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

It Happened to Me...

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath by all means, it can happen to you also.
Glen Depke

So what the heck and I talking about?

Let me set this up for you first. As you may have heard me share in the past, I typically sleep very well, wake up before the alarm ever goes off and am rocked and ready to go. That is until a few months ago. I recognized that I was now waking to my alarm and getting out of bed was, uggg, almost painful.

Now most of you know that I walk my talk, so what do you think was the first thing I did when this new (ugly) pattern was recognized? I did an adrenal saliva kit of course. If you are a client of mine, you probably already guessed this.

So what showed up in my adrenal results?

I actually found more than one challenge. First of all, I was in a stage II adrenal insufficiency and a late stage II at that. I also had very low DHEA levels and low melatonin. I was actually happy to get these results because this explained the reason behind my new and not so improved sleeping pattern. 

What did not make sense though, is why the heck was I in a stage II adrenal insufficiency. After all, I am definitely balanced emotionally, I do not eat gluten or cross reactive foods and I have been through 2 substantial cleanses this year already. While this did not make sense to me there was a little red flag in my adrenal results. Understand that cortisol levels and melatonin should be exact opposites of each other. My night time cortisol levels were fine but my night time melatonin was low. This would tell me that my low melatonin level is not a hormonal issue, this would then be a digestive issue. 

As a side note, if melatonin is low, what do I never recommend for my clients? If you guessed melatonin, you are correct. Let me tell you why.

Once you have eliminated the hormonal tie into low melatonin, the next major area to address is digestion and here's why. Follow this list below on the sleep cycle for clarity.
  1. It first starts with proper digestion
  2. Next comes the need for regular protein consmumption
  3. With proper protein and digestion, your body will be able to pull out the necessary levels of L-tryptophan
  4. Only about 1% of this L-tryptophan will be needed for this sleep cycle while the rest is needed for B vitamin production and other bodily processes
  5. With the L-typtophan the body can then produce 5-HTP
  6. From 5-HTP the body will produce setotonin
  7. Finally from serotonin, the body will produce melatonin
Knowing this you can probable deduce on your own the simply taking melatonin does not truly resolve the issue. It might help with my sleeping pattern a bit but it would still leave so many other deficiencies. 

Remember I mentioned that there was a red flag that I had a digestive issue causing the low melatonin? Knowing that I am not stressed out and I do not consumed foods that I am intolerant to, what would the cause be? If you guessed pathogens, that is exactly what I was thinking.

With the suspect of pathogens, my next step was to complete a 4 day comprehensive stool collection. I waited impatiently to get these results, and there it was. I was not only dealing with a pathogen, I was dealing with two pathogens. Somewhere in my last 2 years, I had picked up a detrimental bacteria called klebsiella and an amoeba called endolimax nana cyst. You might be thinking "YIKES" but honestly I was happy to get this. It explained my digestive issues as well as my sleep and adrenal challenges. It is also good news to have this awareness because both of these can be dealt with with relative ease now, rather than waiting for future challenges to develop. 

Long term, klebsiella that is not addressed can lead to pneumonia, urinary tract infections, septicemia, and soft tissue infections. Klebsiella species have also been implicated in the pathogenesis of ankylosing spondylitis which is an inflammatory/autoimmune condition that primarily affects the joints of the spine. The endolimax nana cyst often leads to chronic or intermittent diarrhea, which was also becoming an issue for me.

Now does it make sense that I was happy to see these reports?

So why am I sharing all this?

I am sharing this because if this can happen to me with all the positive focus I have on my own health and wellness, this can definitely happen to you. So the next time you recognize that your sleep is a little off or your energy is a bit low, don't simply reach for some melatonin to help your sleep and caffeine to boost your energy. Look deeper and find the real issues so you do not have to live with chronic ailments later in life.

Remember, it happened to can happen to you.