Sunday, August 31, 2014

Looking for Inspiration?

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

Every once in a while I love to share experiences from others that may lead to inspiring you to create change in your life. The story listed below is from a client that I have not seen in years. I reached out to him recently to simply check in to see how he was doing and his response simply left me speechless.

I really do not want to take much credit here as I only played a role at the onset of his journey, reviewing adrenal function, recommending a gluten free diet, Nutritional ID and focusing on his fundamentals of health.

Well, this gentleman took his health choices to a whole other level and as I mentioned, this is truly inspiring for us all.

Hello Glen,

I am doing well.  In the last 1-1/2 years I lost 140 pounds through healthy eating and exercise.  I went off Insulin injections, Insulin pills, Blood Pressure pills, Cholesterol (Statin) pills + most of my other medications 100% and my blood work is better than it ever has been in the past 15 years.  My last A1C was 5.7 without any insulin medication which is within a normal non-diabetic range.  1-1/2 years ago I was taking 34 units of insulin per day + 2 x 10mg pills with each meal.  I no longer eat any processed food, no sugar, no artificial sweeteners, no wheat or grains of any kind, no dairy (except for cage free organic eggs occasionally), no carbohydrates other than complex carbohydrates (primarily non-starchy vegetables), no bad fats (only coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil), no corn, no soy, no peanuts, no genetically modified products of any kind, and no fruit other than berries, and an occasional apple.  I no longer miss any of the foods that I used to love including fried food, french bread and butter, pasta, pizza, ice cream, desserts etc.

I try to eat everything organic as much as possible including grass fed and grass finished beef on occasion, cage free non corn and non soy fed organic poultry, some low mercury wild caught fish, a limited amount of beans, a controlled portion of nuts and berries every day, and lots and lots of non starchy organic vegetables of all kinds, but primarily green in color.  For a special treat I eat several squares of 70-80% dark chocolate.  I limit my meat/fish intake to no more than 3-4 oz. per meal. I drink 4-5 quarts of alkaline water every day.  I also eat seeds every day (chia, hemp hearts, pumpkin, etc.).  I eat naturally fermented sauerkraut every day too, so with these three things added to my diet I get lot and lots of good natural probiotic antioxidants daily. 

I walk one mile each day, ride my stationary bike 5 miles/day, and go to the gym for an hour every day.  I also do Yoga, Tai Chi and stretching exercises on occasion.  1-1/2 years ago I was so out of shape, because I had neuropathy so bad I couldn't walk one block.  My traditional medical doctors told me nothing could be done for the neuropathy other than taking pain medication, but they were wrong.  I still have some large nerve damage from my stroke 18 years ago but my neuropathy has been completely gone since October 2013.  

I have learned so much in the past 1-1/2 years I feel I could write a book why we spend so much more than any other nation on medical care, and we just keep getting sicker and sicker.  The U.S. ranks #38 by the World Health Organization for the quality of health care and Cuba ranks #39.  What does that say about all of the money we spend on medical care in the United States compared to a third world nation like Cuba?  I am not totally against everything that our medical profession does; but I do think they grossly over prescribe prescription drugs, and recklessly perform surgeries when they are not necessary.  I believe in what ever works and now believe that drugs and surgery should only be taken as a last resort.  I also believe that there is a lot wrong with a lot of so called "health foods", but as long as a cure is natural and non invasive at least it is less likely to hurt you.  Every person needs to take responsibility for and control of their own health and do whatever works for them.

I am not a fanatic on any one specific type of diet either, and I believe that every person is different and what might work best today may not work best tomorrow even with the same person.  As long as you follow a natural whole food diet free of chemical additives that is what I feel is important.  I have gone from the SAD diet 1-1/2 years ago to a vegetarian diet,  to a vegan diet, to a whole food diet including limited amounts of organic meats and fish with nuts and berries for snacks and lots and lots of steamed or raw vegetables.  I seldom eat out at restaurants any more, and 1-1/2 years ago I probably ate half of my meals at restaurants or take out food,  with a majority of the other half of my meals some combination of different processed foods. 

Since you asked all is good on my end.  Thanks for thinking of me.


I trust that you found this story as inspiring as I have and will use this as a platform to move forward into your desired state of health and happiness. As Jerry shared "all is good on my end."

If you have any comments and questions regarding this article, please leave a post below and we will address this personally.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Are you feeding your BRAIN?

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

What foods does your brain love? 

Understanding that nearly 60% of your brain is made up of fat, it would make sense of getting more of them as a primary source of fuel. 

This is not getting just any fat though...

The artificial trans fats are some of the most damaging fats for your brain and overall health, leading to factors associated with memory loss, depression and so many challenges in your body. Add in the fact that an over-consumption of fats like omega 6 fatty acids can actually work against your goals by fueling pro-inflammatory pathways. Unfortunately with all the vegetable oils in our standard American diet we are now getting a 20:1 ratio, or more, of omega 6 fatty acids to omega 3 fatty acids. This should be closer to a 3:1 ratio.

This is important to understand since these may be the reasons that your memory may not be as sharp as it used to be, among many other challenges.

So what fats are the key?

Your brain loves a variety of fats.

Some of the best fats associated with enhanced cognitive function are Medium Chain Fatty Acids, with many studies even hinting towards the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases like Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. 

You can get more medium chain fatty acids by consuming coconut oil. There has even been some recent information available as a strong benefit of coconut oil for those diagnosed with ALS.

Another important “Brain Fat” are omega 3 fatty acids, specifically the super charged omega 3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The DHA component of your omega 3 simply put, is brain food.

DHA has been found in your brain’s cell membranes and retina. The consumption of DHA has also been associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease in the early stages. 
One of the more recent studies from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that people who regularly eat DHA and EPA rich fish have larger and healthier brains than those who don’t.

Many experts believe that DHA achieves its cognitive effects by limiting the impact of stress and enhancing the synaptic neuron connection in your brain. You have heard me mention many times in the past that stress has an accumulative effect on the brain and this absolutely needs to be addressed.

In a recent randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study, elderly people with mild cognitive impairment received either DHA fish oil or placebo capsules. After a year, the fish oil group showed significant improvements in short-term working memory. 

The next study is very interesting because medical students acted as test subjects.
In this recent double- blind study, coming from The Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at Ohio State University, 68 healthy medical students were given EPA and DHA supplementation for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, supplementation with EPA and DHA showed a significant decrease in inflammatory markers and reduced symptoms of anxiety on the student’s test day. 

These studies are just some of the impacts on why I take omega 3 fatty acids myself and why I recommend these to my clients. Actually every adrenal client I work with is recommend a EPA/DHA-CoQ10 liquid supplement.

If you’re struggling with memory loss, poor cognitive performance, or depression, take a good hard look at what you are using to fuel your brain. Is it the high omega 6 fatty acids in vegetable oils or the high omega 3's in high quality fish, grass fed beef or a quality liquid omega 3 fatty acid supplement.?

Only you can answer this question...

Let's not forget the medium chain fatty acid in coconut oil also.

If your fats are processed and pro-inflammatory, your brain will NOT like it, and your brain will let you know by being slow, unhappy, and not sharp enough when you most need it. 

The point is to cut out the junk food and the foods that promote pro-inflammatory pathways and you can easily do this by reducing your omega 6 intake. That means moderation on the nuts and seeds and simply saying no to industrial and highly processed vegetable oils.  

Simply put, give your brain the what it craves!

So I do recommend you increase your intake of omega 3’s (DHA and EPA to be more precise) by eating more wild caught fish and grass fed beef while using a high quality liquid omega 3 supplement.

As mentioned above, I recommend the Pure Encapsulations liquid EPA/DHA-CoQ10 to my clients and take this myself. I always recommend liquid omega 3's for two reasons. Number one, the liquids are much easier for your digestive system and allow for an ease of absorption and assimilation into your body. The second reason is tied into the importance of consuming a "fresh" omega 3 fatty acids. It has been brought to my attention that the gel caps of omega 3 fatty acids run to risk of actually being rancid and adding a rancid fat into your body is not a good idea. With the liquid, you would absolutely know if this was rancid because you would recognize a foul odor that you would not recognize if you were taking a gel cap.

Note that you can bite into your gel cap to see for yourself if your product is fresh or rancid. Trust me, you'll know that difference.

The other benefit of the EPA/DHA-Coq10 liquid is the CoQ10 aspect. CoQ10 is a coenzyme that is the driving force behind every mitochondria, which is the little engine that drives every cell in your body. Sounds kind of important, huh?

If you have any comments or questions, feel free to post these below. I will respond personally.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Something Illegal?

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

On  a recent trip back to the Chicago area to visit my father, I just happened to be listening to a sports talk radio show as a I was driving. The shows host were talking about LeBron James and some other well known athletes that have seemingly overnight, become very lean as compared to the past. Now they did not insinuate that they had done anything illegal but they did mention that in professional sports, it is hard to not question the use of some type of illegal drug when witnessing a quick change in somebody's body. Heck, I get it, as we recently witnessed the "steroid era" in baseball as well as so many other recent "questionable" acts by professional sports icons.

So I guess the question may be, can these athletes become so lean seemingly overnight without the use of any illegal substances? The answer to this question is a resounding YES! 

It is first important to understand that for many of us, of our weight or "puffy" issue is really not an issue with too much fat on our body, but rather an inflammatory issue. I will share that when people address their personal triggers for inflammation and actually follow a rather simple, yet effective, anti-inflammatory protocol, the inflammation can fall off extremely quickly. This can leave you with a lean, healthy body in a short time frame and honestly, shock most people that witness this shift. I have seen this many times with programs that I have used with clients in my office as well as those that I have worked with online via programs that are delivered within webinar series.

Actually, such a program will be released soon referred to as "The PAIN of Inflammation." In this program we address the triggers for inflammation, the inflammation itself and the feedback loops that recycle inflammation.

What are the triggers?

The most common triggers for inflammation would be the SAD or standard American diet, high in processed foods and sugar, food sensitivity, infection and chronic stress. These are the most common but we could also include obesity, addiction and the use of chemotherapy as secondary triggers. Understanding and addressing your triggers are a key because following an anti-inflammatory protocol without getting to the core cause of this is futile.

Addressing the inflammation is not as easy as simply taking an anti-inflammatory supplement either. Yes, using a powerful anti-inflammatory protocol is important but you to create a high level of success quickly you also have to support other areas that play a role in inflammation such as your immune function, gut health, gut/brain connection and detoxification. When you pull all this together, it provides optimal support in assisting your body in the anti-inflammatory process.

It is also essential to address the missing piece of the puzzle for most anti-inflammatory programs which is the recycling of inflammation in your body. Understand that even once you remove your triggers, there are feedback loops that can continue your chronic inflammatory response. Here are four feedback loops that cannot be ignored.
  • Inflammation - rise in cytokine production - autoimmunity - more inflammation
  • Inflammation - breakdown in the tight junctures of the gut - leaky gut - autoimmunity - more inflammation
  • Inflammation - poor liver biotransformation - inadequate phase I & phase II liver detoxification - more inflammation
  • Inflammation - increase in fat cell production - insulin resistance - insulin surges - more inflammation
So you see, addressing inflammation is more than just taking your omega 3 fatty acids and when inflammation is not taken care of properly, this can leave us in a very challenging space. This is due to the fact that chronic inflammation is not just about looking "puffy" or being overweight, chronic inflammation is actually at the core of almost every chronic illness known to man.

This PAIN of inflammation can show it ugly head in many ways such as:
  • Obesity
  • Chronic aches and pains
  • Mental/emotional disorders
  • Chronic disease states
  • And so much more...
With this information provided today, I truly hope you understand that chronic inflammation is a significant issue for almost everyone with a health issue. More importantly, these inflammatory challenges can be overcome and much quicker that most would be led to believe. When using these programs in the past, I have seen people lose more than 30 pounds in 6 weeks and often 10 pounds or more in just the first 7 to 10 days. So when you see recent pictures of LeBron James or other athletes that have achieved that "lean" look very quickly, recognize that any one of you can achieve this naturally also. Of course this does not mean we are all going to look like LeBron James, but we can tap into the athlete within us that is much leaner, much happier and much healthier.

Look for the upcoming "The PAIN of Inflammation" coming out soon and until then at least make sure you begin by cutting back on processed foods and sugar and assess the most common food sensitivity which is gluten sensitivity. Get your complimentary gluten assessment by visiting and visiting the Gluten Intolerance page. Here you will find a complimentary gluten sensitivity assessment to gain a simple understanding of your personal challenges with gluten.

If you have any comments or questions about this article, please feel free to leave a post below for us to answer personally.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

What's the BUZZ about Methylation?

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath
Methylation Pathway

What's the buzz about? How about the fact that methylation is essential to regulate genetic expression in the body. Kind of like the traffic cop for your genes and genetic expression. In essence, you need proper methylation to function at a high level and to heal properly.

Before we go any further, let's define methylation in the simplest way possible:

The methylation cycle is part of the basic biochemistry of the body, and is believed to operate in every cell. In biological systems, methylation is catalyzed by enzymes; such methylation can be involved in modification of heavy metals, regulation of gene expression, regulation of protein function, and RNA processing. Methylation of heavy metals can also occur outside of biological systems.

Lower levels of methylated DNA could lead to over activity of genes, including over activity of the genes that control immune responses  and the body's tendency to attack its own cells. Methylation also regulates proteins, histones and stem cells. This is not simply methyl group regulation at a DNA level, this is truly a holistic regulation.

It is also my intention to make methylation understandable. When researching this subject, the technical aspects can be overwhelming to most health care practitioners as well as the general public. I sincerely hope this article, and more to come, will shed light on methylation that is easily understood.

There are critical roles that methylation plays in your body's biochemical reactions. 
  • Without an adequate supply of methyl groups, you cannot form certain base molecules that make DNA and RNA and without these, the function of making new cells that your body needs to renew itself as the old ones die and slough off is impaired
  • You are not likely to be able to form cells with fast turnover as quickly as you need them and red blood cells are especially vulnerable to this problem
  • Other fast growing cells that are impacted by low methyl group availability are the white blood cells needed to mount an immune response
  • Cells of your gastrointestinal mucosa normally turn over very rapidly, thus creating a challenge will slow cell formation
  • You age more rapidly
  • You do not learn new tasks readily or have the ability to adapt to the changes in your environment easily
  • Your energy may sink to new lows
  • You may develop high homocysteine and the vascular inflammation and heart disease that come with this condition
  • It takes methyl groups and methylation to deactivate histamine and to reduce the inflammatory response to the allergen, thus leaving individuals suffering with chronic inflammatory responses
  • If you do not have adequate methyl groups and you are pregnant, you are at risk for having a child whose spinal cord does not fuse properly, a child with a neural tube defect, or spina bifida
  • A child's ability to grow may be impaired by insufficient methylation
  • One of the causes of Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is the inability to properly regulate the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine due to the lack of proper methylation needed to deactivate
  • The metabolism of tryptophan, the precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, and melatonin formation requires proper methylation
  • Methylation is essential for neuronal cell survival, development, function, and longevity

What are some common challenges with methylation?

Heavy metals:
Heavy metals is to impair your ability to make methyl groups, thus hindering your ability to methylate other molecules is reduced. Ultimately, reduced methylation diminishes your body's capacity to rid itself of heavy metals. So you are less able to deal with toxins if you can't methylate properly. And round and round we go...

Low protein intake or poor protein absorption:

A major source of methyl groups in your body is the amino acid methionine. It comes from meat and other protein sources in your diet. The answer is not just eating enough protein but also protein absorption. This is why I am such a strong proponent of a quality Prebiotic/Probiotic Formula, a quality full spectrum enzyme such as the Prime Enzyme Support and stomach acid supplementation such as the Prime Stomach Acid Support. All three of these can be found in the 1, 2, 3 of Digestion.

Low lithium:
Lithium enhances the uptake of B12 and folic acid into your cells. As such, it is critical to methyl group production. At the same time that you are activating the shortcut pathway, you are holding B12 supplementation to minimal amounts until you see from the Hair Elements Analysis test in particular, and the Urine for Toxic Metals and Essential Elements test to some degree, that lithium has increased in your body. Too much B12 before this time can further deplete lithium and lead to a stalemate. After lithium has come more into balance, you add B12 carefully so as not to deplete lithium again.

Low vitamin B12:
When there isn’t enough methylcobalamin, methionine synthase has to slow down its reaction. Its reaction lies at the junction of the methylation cycle and the folate cycle, so when this reaction slows down, it affects both these cycles. This is why the use of vitamin B12 in the liquid methylcobalamin form is essential. A key with both the methylcobalamin form of B12 and folate below is to start slow because this can activate a fast release of toxins and further symptoms. I always recommend the Pure B12 5000 liquid in the methylcobalamin form.

Low folate levels:
The importance of folate to the human body’s ability to remain in optimal health has recently been emphasized. Folate is a member of the B vitamin family of supplements. Its main function is to enhance the body’s metabolism and promote and restore cellular growth.The vitamin folate is a key source of the one carbon group used to methylate DNA and low levels of folate can also lead to homocysteine accumulation. The use of vitamin B12 as mentioned above will likely assist in the conversion of folate but it would almost always benefit to supplement with folate. In my office I recommend a liquid sublingual product called Folidreen, which contains Folic Acid (folate), B6 and B12 (methylcobalamin). A key with both the folate and methylcobalamin form of B12 above is to start slow because this can activate a fast release of toxins and further symptoms.

Low glutathione levels:
Glutathione plays many important roles in the biochemistry of the body, including serving as the basis of the antioxidant enzyme system, participating in the detoxication system, and supporting a cell-mediated immune response. The key here is to understand the implication that glutathione plays with methylation. When an individual is undergoing protocols to lift the partial methylation cycle block, this value usually rises into the normal range over a period of a few months. This is very important, because glutathione normally participates in the intracellular metabolism of vitamin B12 and if it is low, a deficiency of vitamin B12 results, leading to an insufficient methylation cycle. This means that when you are suffering from glutathione depletion methylation will also suffer. At Depke Wellness we recommend an A/C glutathione to build up glutathione levels, then switching to a glutathione recycler to assist in maintaining these levels.

So in the end I want you to understand that methylation plays a significant role in your personal health and happiness and if this process is dysfunctional, the ability to heal can and often will be severely hindered or restricted. For those challenged with methylation due to lifestyle issues, correcting these challenges and using the recommended supplementation can assist your body into achieving this natural cycle over time. For those with genetic challenges in methylation, life long supplementation may be needed. With that said, I would also argue that the many of the "so called" genetic issues can also eventually balanced when addresses your underlying triggers.

If you have any comments or questions on this topic, feel free to leave these below and I will address this personally.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Addison's Disease, Adrenals & Autoimmunity

by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath

Addison’s disease is an autoimmune, inflammatory condition of the adrenal glands, resulting in the gradual destruction and inability to make sufficient amounts of adrenal hormones. 

The most common symptoms of Addison's disease:
  • weight loss
  • muscle weakness
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • low blood pressure
  • darkening of the skin in many cases, more noticeable on scars, pressure points, lips and mucus membranes
  • low blood sugar
  • mood changes, depression or irritability
  • half of patients experience nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting
Addison’s disease can be difficult to diagnose with the clearest symptom as a darkening of the skin, but it may not be present in some patients and it is never present in secondary Addison’s disease. Diagnosis is made by assessment of Cortisol levels in blood.
Common test used to diagnose Addison's Disease include:
  • ACTH Stimulation Test
  • Insulin-Induced Hypoglycemia Test,
  • CT scan of abdomen,
  • NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance imaging) scan of head
Addison’s disease occurs when more then 90% of adrenal gland tissue is destroyed (primary Addison’s disease). The destruction can occur due to various causes:
  • Most frequently, it is due to autoimmune process, when immune system attacks adrenal glands
  • Tuberculosis as a cause of Addison’s disease is more common in developed countries
  • Rarely, adrenal glands can be destroyed by infections, cancer metastasis, amyloidosis, or hemorrhage. When pituitary gland fails to produce enough ACTH, adrenal glands are not stimulated to produce Cortisol and a secondary Addison’s
*Thank you to Daniela Cihakova MD, PhD from John Hopkins Medical Institutions for some of the stats and info above. See more....
The point that is key to make here is the most frequent underlying challenge with Addison's Disease which would be autoimmunity. When this disease state is diagnosed I see the same issue in conventional treatment as I do with those diagnosed with Hashmoto's Disease (thyroid autoimmunity.) Just as with Hashimoto's viewed as a thyroid issue, Addison's is viewed as an adrenal issue and in my mind, this cannot be further from the truth. The problem is not the adrenals specifically, it is the autoimmune reaction and the triggers for autoimmunity.

Unfortunately, this is often not addressed with the most common treatment is to give the body some form of cortisol. While there may be a time and place for this treatment, I have to share that this is simply a symptom care as the individual continues to lose adrenal function as time progresses.

So what's the key?

As mentioned above, it is the autoimmune reaction and the triggers for autoimmunity.

One of the challenges here is that conventional medicine does not feel that autoimmunity can be overcome and in fairness, this is true. Based on the symptom/prescription model, there is very little on can do with an autoimmune condition. Thankfully from a holistic model, there is quite a bit that can be accomplished with autoimmunity.

The first key here is to take care of your fundamentals of health. You know, the simple things that unfortunately, most of us do not take care of. For your complimentary four part video series on the fundamentals of health go to and click on the purple "Sign Me Up!" button at the bottom of the page. You will have a video emailed to you each day for four days to engage you in your fundamentals of health.

The next step is to assess adrenal function and get yourself on a protocol to assist your body in resetting your HPA axis (hypthalamus, pituitary, adrenal axis) as well as balancing your adrenals at the core. This is a key because the HPA axis plays a significant role in your body being able to balance from stress, whether this is physical stress due to infection, injury or inflammation, mental/emotional stress, chemical stress or even spiritual/vibrational stress. This is a key because without the HPA axis, all your stress is accumulative and this further depletes to adrenal insufficiency and adding to the autoimmune triggers.

After this, it is key to assess your triggers for adrenal insufficiency and autoimmunity. The most common triggers are as listed:

  • food sensitivity
  • chronic mental/emotional stress
  • standard American diet (SAD) 
    • high in sugar and processed food
  • chronic inflammatory condition
  • chronic infection (commonly GI infections)
Of course we would also want to support immune system and gastro intestinal system along with all else mentioned above. After all, about 70 - 80% of your immune function originates in your GI.

So when you can focus on your fundamentals of health, assist the body in resetting the HPA axis and balancing your adrenal function all while addressing your individual triggers while supporting immune and GI function, this provides the best opportunity for shifting the autoimmune response.

So in the end, understand that autoimmunity and Addison's Disease typically go hand in hand and that you do have power to shift this condition.

If you have a comment or question pertaining to this article, please leave this below and I will address this personally.

If this subject intrigues you and you are not currently a client of Depke Wellness, we always offer a complimentary 20 minute phone consultation to assist you in understanding this further. Feel free to call our office at (949)954-6226.