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


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Tribute to Relationships

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath
Thank you mom!

I would like to dedicate today’s article to my mother who passed away on Tuesday 6/10/2014. She was a loving mother in ways most would not recognize.  I know that my parents played the most significant role in the person that I am today and I am so grateful for all they have been to me. My mother will always be in my heart and thank you for everything mom! She was and always will be my first relationship…

This leads into relationships and our health and happiness. When I was interviewing the experts in the Adrenal Summit, two of the experts made a point of bringing up the importance of quality relationships in your life to assist with your overall health and happiness. Dr Daniel Kalish discussed this in the kick off interview. I remember him mentioning that a healthy communicative relationship was one of the keys to healthy adrenal function. Dr Jonny Bowden also mentioned the importance of healthy relationships when we were discussing the cortisol/insulin connection. Both of these men are not only leaders in their fields but both have hearts of gold and passion for life.

So really, how important are your relationships across the board? They play such a significant role because they can make or break the foundation of your fundamentals of health which is tied into energy. Now this energy is not energy that one would use to pick up a weight or go for a run, this energy can be categorized as vibrational, spiritual or perhaps the movement of “light” through your body. I cannot begin to tell you how many names I have heard this called; chi, qi, prana, life force, vital force, God, Buddha, Allah, Jesus Christ, the universe and this list goes on. To me, what each of us categorize or call this energy is a personal choice for each and every one of us. But regardless of what you categorize or call this energy, this needs to flow through you in every moment to be in your best of health and heightened states of happiness.

For clients of mine or those that have heard me discuss this in the past, this is when I would typically bring up patterns of suppressed emotions but I may be looking at this differently in this moment, recognizing that much of what is going on inside of us emotionally is built on relationships. So how are your relationships? Are they troubled, dysfunctional, non-communicative and full of blame and judgment or are they alive, rewarding, highly communicative and full of acceptance and unconditional love? As any of us read this, myself included, it is essential that we look at our relationships as a predictor of our overall health and happiness. I have seen my own personal challenges in the past with relationships and recognize that even if I am focused on my functional health, my relationships can easily throw the best laid plan for health right out the window.

I would be willing to bet that as many read the previous paragraph, judgment of another’s inability to communicate and enhance your relationship has likely come up. Trust me, I have judged others in my life the same way (and still do at times), but somehow I see this in a different light right now. You see, it is not others in our life that create challenges with our relationships and our health, we truly have to look deep within ourselves. Not that other people do not play their own role because they do. But perhaps we have to ask who we are to recognize why we have picked the situations and relationships, so in essence, it still comes back to us.

I understand this clearer looking back at my own mother’s life. While I do not know my mother’s entire detailed history, it is easy to recognize that she was raised in a less than loving environment with little teachings of relationships herself. She did not hug with purpose and compassion, she often “lost herself” in of all things, soap operas for most of her life and honestly, I do not recall ever hearing “I love you” from my mother until I was 48 years old. While that may sound sad or appalling to some, I now truly see and understand that my mother was the best mother that she was capable of being and she showed love in every level that she understood. What I learned and continue to learn from this is that my relationships are up to me. There really could be no blame or judgment of my mother, only love and compassion. After all, isn’t that all we truly want from those in our lives, love and compassion?

In essence, when we are looking at our relationships and we are judging and blaming others, perhaps it would be best to provide some love and compassion and truly be the change that we want to see in our lives and in our relationships. And please do not mistaken my words as if I am the expert in this. I am still learning and growing on this level and have a long way to go and I accept this. Any of my clients reading this, you know that I always say that acceptance is the beginning of change in yourself. That is where your world and your relationships change, in yourself, beginning with self acceptance. What a concept, accepting of the relationship that you have for yourself.

So when you look at your relationships, whether this is a spouse, child, parent, friend, coworker, mailman or simply the person you stand behind in line at Starbucks, “be” the relationship that you want to receive and watch your health and your world change.

I actually witnessed this in my father over the last couple of years as he was the primary caretaker for my mother as she laid in a hospital bed in the living room of my childhood home. He fed her, changed her diapers, share with her lovingly, caressed her cheek and even rubbed noses with her saying that they were kissing like Eskimos. I have never witnessed my father treat my mother this way in the past, but he was taking it upon himself to be the change that he wanted to see in his life. Witnessing this and recognizing how I can learn from this personally is potentially life altering for me and for anyone. Again, “be” the change you want to see in your life.

So if you really want to create change in yourself, your health, your life and your happiness, look at your relationships. And if you do not like what you see, be that change within yourself and watch the world change around you. If you see a troubled, dysfunctional, non-communicative relationship that is full of blame and judgment, look at how you can do this differently within yourself first and make the choice to treat yourself and others in your life to create relationships that are they alive, rewarding, highly communicative and full of acceptance and unconditional love.

Practice this every day and build healthy relationships with yourself, whatever you consider your “source”, your spouse, parents, children, friends, coworkers, the other person in line and even the homeless person out on the street. As you accumulate healthy relationships in your life, you will accumulate health and happiness in your life.

Start this today, right now and do not judge yourself or others for the past.  Your past does not dictate your future, your choices today dictate your future, and you get to choose!

Thank you once again mom for everything you have been for me and playing such a significant role in who I am today. You’ve taught me things that I could not have learned anywhere else…

By the way, thank you for never telling dad I broke the window on the front door with my skateboard. LOL!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The PAIN of Inflammation 2014 - Completion

Congratulations to everyone for reaching the conclusion of the 2014 "The PAIN of Inflammation" program! You've enjoyed the benefit of reducing inflammation, reducing pain, supporting immune function, reconnecting the gut/brain connection, anti-parasitic, fungal and yeast protocols, gut restorative and last but not least liver detoxification. That's more than a mouthful!

This is bittersweet because you have been such an awesome group and I have truly enjoyed interacting with all of you. Thank you for that!

With that said though, this is truly not the end but only the beginning. If you remember way back before you even signed up for the program, we discussed the 6 weeks as a long enough period for most to create new, healthier habits that you can move forward into the rest of your life.

As you are continuing these new habits, I will continue to monitor the completion blog to assist you on this level. So please, do not be afraid to reach out for direction.

Thank you all once again!

Wellness for the World,
Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Dr Chi After Party

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

What an amazing turnout for the 3 day visit with Dr Chi visiting Depke Wellness! Thankfully we were able to get most of you in the were looking to visit with Dr Chi either live in the office or via phone consultations.

I wanted to take the time to share with you the three biggest issues that we say almost across the board based on Dr Chi's findings over his three day visit.

Number one was hormone imbalance. This should not be a big surprise to you since you have heard me talk about adrenal insufficiency so much. Dr Chi takes this a step further and often finds challenges with either too high of estradiol or too low of estriol for both men and women. I had regularly witnessed recommendations for Myomin from Dr Chi for this issue. As you can see from the chart below though, Myomin is not only for estrogen dominance and hormone imbalance, this is a key for so many factors with your body.

So how do you recognize if this hormonal imbalance or specifically the estrogen dominance is an issue for you. As Dr Chi has shown, this can show up as red dots on the tongue or cherry angiomas on the body as in a recent article.

Red Dots

If you recognize these markings for yourself personally, Myomin just may be a key for you.

The second significant challenge that was seen across the board was poor circulation. To be more specific, this is poor peripheral circulation. So this is a challenge for getting the blood to the small capillaries in the extremities of your body. These extremities would be your feet, hands and the brain. You may recognize this as cold hands or feet, numbness or tingling of the hands or feet or brain symptoms such as poor mental clarity, poor memory or challenges regulating your mood. To recognize poor circulation, you can view the half moons or lunulae at the base or your fingernails. You should have one on each thumb and the next three fingers with none on your pinkie finger as shown below.

If you find this to be an issue for you, the supplement Veinlite is recommended to assist your body in increasing your peripheral circulation. This is such a key because circulation is a very basic essential need. This is how we move oxygen, nutrients, hormones and so much more throughout or body. Personally a few of my lunulae are smaller than preferred and I take 2 Veinlite twice per day after meals. This is especially important for me personally since I have such a high incidence of neurological challenges in my family.

One step further is to recognize if you only have a lunula on the thumb and none of your fingers, this is likely an extreme lack of oxygen to your mitochondria. Understand that the mitochondria are of the little engines that drive every cell in your body and of utmost important for your heart.

This leads us into the third biggest issue seen by Dr Chi while in our office, which is a lack of oxygen to the mitochondria which I mentioned above. This creates a significant risk factor for heart disease and stroke. An crease in the ear lobe is a risk for heart disease and cherry angiomas on the head is a risk factor for stroke.

If either of these factors are found it is essential to support your mitochondria function,
anti-inflammatory response and oxygen uptake with the use of Oxypower. Here are other factors that are enhanced by Oxypower.

When I say Dr Chi for a session during his visit, I was put on all three of these supplements. Interestingly enough, I was already taking the Veinlite to improve my circulation and when I wrote my article on belly fat recently, I started to take the Myomin to assist in dealing with that last bit of lingering visceral fat that I am dealing with and the Oxypower is now added.

I can share the I started the Oxypower on Friday and actually felt a very quick response. This definitely increase my energy and even at a time when my energy is being depleted with a very busy weekend. Anytime energy is increased, I am very happy about that!

To end, the Dr Chi event was a huge success and this is recognized by the his ability to uncover underlying challenges that are likely for so many individuals. This is such an essential key because preventing these issues is much easier than trying to recover once you are deep into the chronic disease states.