OBESITY, DEPRESSION, LOSS OF LIBIDO, AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO POOR GUT HEALTH Image by J. Delanoy
The word "libido
" not only entails one's sex drive or desire to engage in sexual activity, but includes things like sexual thoughts and responsiveness as well. Here in America, loss of libido (formally referred to as HSDD or Hypo-Sexual Desire Disorder
) is said to affect approximately 1 in 5 males. But according to 2006's giant PRESIDE study, almost 45% of America's females have a sexual dysfunction, with 'lack of interest
' coming out on top at almost 40% of these (nearly double what was seen in the NHSLS Survey of 1999).
When you look at lists of what most commonly affect one's sex drive in an adverse manner (whether male or female), two things seem to come up over and over and over again; Depression
If you follow my blog, you'll see that I have written about both topics extensively. My goal is to help those of you dealing with this unhappy triad of OBESITY
(it's possible to fall into this category even if you are 'SKINNY
, and Low Libido, get your lives back without feeling the need to resort to dangerous and addictive drugs. The truth is, if you want a good marriage, you need to be having sex. Period --- end of story. Buying into the myth that, "as long as both parties agree, even once a year is fine," is missing the point on many different levels. Not only is sex going to deeply connect you to your spouse, the peer-reviewed scientific literature is absolutely chocked full of its known benefits including things like.....
- Relieving Stress / Lowering Stress
- Immune System Booster / Less Illness / Less Cancer
- Increased levels of Oxytocin / Increased Intimacy / Increased Connectedness
- Endorphin Release / Natural Pain Relief
- Look Younger / Live Longer
- Strengthens Pelvic Floor and Core Muscles / Can Act as a form of Exercise
In fact, the Bible itself speaks to healthy sexual relationships. Just check out Pastor Tommy Nelson's study on the Song of Solomon
. And if you look at First Corinthians 7: 3-5, you'll see several reasons that married couples are commanded by God to have sexual relations. But unfortunately, not only are increasing numbers of couples not having much sex, many are actually in marriages that are, by definition, "sexless" (less than once a month or less than 10 times per year). This begs the question as to how much sex is "normal"? Although every couple is different, over the past twelve years, the average for married couples has dropped from 132 times per year to 103 times per year (22%).
IF SEX IS SO GOOD FOR PEOPLE, WHY IS THE FREQUENCY DROPPING SO DRAMATICALLY?
There a whole host of reasons that either men or women would not desire sex --- many of which are emotional or spiritual. However, it is no coincidence that during the same twelve years mentioned above, the incidence of Diabetes, Uncontrolled Blood Sugar, Syndrome X (Metabolic Syndrome), Obesity, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Endocrine Problems, and LEAKY GUT SYNDROME
have all skyrocketed --- all of which are associated with diminished libido. As far as men are concerned, the number one reason (other than serious illness) that they do not desire sex would be Low Testosterone. And guess what? Both Blood Sugar Dysregulation and Depression are intimately associated with "Low Testosterone", which is itself intimately tied to Obesity --- particularly CENTRAL OBESITY
. Although this is also an issue with women, women usually tend to be a bit more complicated than men.
| || | Obesity is associated with depression.... Persons with severe obesity may represent an “at-risk” population...... This association between severe obesity and depression is also of interest to clinicians, since depression is associated with poorer treatment outcomes [for their Depression]
. Is Obesity Associated with Major Depression? Results from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Johns Hopkins University, from the 2003 issue of The American Journal of EpidimiologyOverall, poor health has a negative impact on sexual function. Illnesses that interfere with ENDOCRINE SYSTEMS are particularly important in the impairment of female sexual desire. Several lines of evidence have revealed a link between sexual desire and levels of androgens [Too little or too much testosterone --- PCOS] in women. Consequently, disorders of ovarian function and of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis have been associated with decreased sexual desire and arousal..... Some drugs (especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and antipsychotics) have also been linked to orgasm disorders...... Untreated depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders have been linked to problems with sexual desire and arousal. Excerpted from From Hence Comes HSDD? Sharon J. Parish, MD Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, Department of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Director of Psychosocial Training, Department of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York, from the July 2009 issue of the Journal of Family Practice.
The numbers speak for themselves. 12% of American women and nearly 7% percent of American men aged 18 and older (over 12 million and 6 million respectively) deal with Chronic Depression. Depression is a disturbance in one's mood, which is characterized by feelings of sadness, anger, low self-esteem, loss, and loss of interest in pleasurable activities. The scientific-medical literature on the subject also strongly associates it with a PATHOLOGICAL CRAVING
for processed carbohydrates. When you look at the fact that the vast majority (90 - 95%) of the body's serotonin (a 'feel-good' neurotransmitter) is manufactured in the Gut (HERE
), some of this starts making more sense. Let's see why.A 1995 study that was done at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and published in the medical journal Obesity Research, called Brain Serotonin, Carbohydrate-Craving, Obesity and Depression
, had this to say, "Serotonin-releasing brain neurons are unique in that the amount of neurotransmitter they release is normally controlled by food intake: Carbohydrate consumption. Serotonin release is also involved in such functions as sleep onset, pain sensitivity, blood pressure regulation, and control of the mood. Hence many patients learn to overeat carbohydrates (particularly snack foods, like potato chips or pastries, which are rich in carbohydrates and fats) to make themselves feel better. This tendency to use certain foods as though they were drugs is a frequent cause of weight gain, and can also be seen in patients who become fat when exposed to stress, or in women with premenstrual syndrome........
"I would think that we would all agree with the statement that Depression needs to be treated. The problem though is that treating Depression with anti-depressant medications can be a double-edged sword that often produces a vicious (and sexless) cycle.
This is because not only is Depression a libido destroyer in and of itself, but so are the medications used to treat it.Depression is a double-edged sword because it saps sex drive while the antidepressants prescribed to treat it do do the same thing.
The conclusion of a large meta-analysis of studies on this topic was published in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry
in 2010. The study called, Overweight, Obesity, and Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Longitudinal Studies
, said that, "This meta-analysis confirms a reciprocal link between depression and obesity. Obesity was found to increase the risk of depression, most pronounced among Americans and for clinically diagnosed depression. In addition, depression was found to be predictive of developing obesity.
" And the kicker is that despite most drug's warning labels saying that somewhere between 2 and 16% of those on antidepressants (SSRI's) will develop sexual side effects, many experts say that 40% of those on anti-depressants develop diminished libido. Both groups might be significantly underestimating the problem.The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
published a study clear back in 2001 that looked at the medical records of 1,000 individuals who were being treated for Depression at the University Hospital of Salamanca (Spain). A whopping 57% of the women reported sexual side effects (most common were loss of libido and orgasm dysfunctions such as inability to orgasm or painful orgasm). And while the women's side effects were considered to be more severe, men were affected at a rate that was actually 5% higher than the women. This is similar to a South Korean study that was published in a 2010 issue of the medical journal Psychiatry Investigations
. After looking again at the effects of SSRI's on sexual health, the authors concluded that, "The incidence of sexual dysfunction was substantially high during antidepressant treatment..... Our study suggests the need for clinicians to consider the impact of pharmacotherapy on patients' sexual functioning in the course of treatment with antidepressants.
Could dealing with one's obesity have positive effects in the bedroom? In 2009 one of the true experts in the field, Dr. Mitu Shah, an OB / GYN professor at the University of Missouri Saint Louis Medical School, weighed in on the matter in the conclusion of a study published in a 2009 edition of Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America
. This expert in the field of Menopause and Female Sexual Disorders stated that, "The treatment of obesity will have a positive effect on a woman's sexual health, with a likely improvement in FSD (Female Sexual Dysfunction) and a decrease in risk factors related to contraception, pregnancy, infertility, and menopause
". Did you catch that? Not only is dealing with one's weight going to help boost libido, it is going to help a wide variety of female reproductive issues. This should not come as a surprise for those who read THIS POST
a couple of weeks ago.The bottom line is that I could quote the scientific research all day long, as there are literally hundreds --- probably thousands of studies on the topic.
Instead of doing that, I want to leave you with a few things that you can do to boost your sex drive naturally. These are not sex-specific and unless otherwise noted, will work equally well for both men and women. They are in no particular order.
BOOSTING LIBIDO NATURALLY
- KILL STRESS: I get it. Getting rid of stress is not as easy as simply wishing it away. But remember this. Prolonged stress leads to ADRENAL FATIGUE (the older name for Fibromyalgia). If you cannot get the stressors in your life under control (family, relationships, job, diet, etc), it will be difficult to deal with the underlying causes of diminished libido. By the way, there are lots of studies saying that sex itself is a great stress reliever. Think about this treatment cycle for a moment; more sex, less stress, increased libido, more sex, less stress, increased libido. I realize it's not that easy, but it is definitely a noble goal.
- WORK ON THE RELATIONSHIP: I do not claim to be some sort of 'Relationship Sherpa'. However, my wife is --- she's a marriage counselor, and some of her wisdom has rubbed off on me. You'll need to communicate well, spend quality time with your spouse (can anyone say "Date Nite"?), along with MANY OTHERS. Remember though that even though the emotional side of diminished libido gets a lot of play, you cannot neglect the physical side and hope to solve your problem(s).
- CONTROL YOUR BLOOD SUGAR: One of the single most important things that you can do for your sexual health and libido is to deal with UNCONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR. Listen up men. Your pot belly is feminizing you! You are not only causing Depression, lethargy, and diminished physical performance, you are essentially castrating / neutering yourself with high blood sugar, high insulin levels, and the subsequent weight gain which, sooner or later, is sure to follow. By the way, if you are a woman who is struggling with female issues in general, please take a few minutes to read my piece called BEATING INFERTILITY NATURALLY (it is not just about fertility). Oh, and what is the best way to control your blood sugar...............?
- EAT A LOW CARB DIET: Have you picked up on the fact that the scientific literature is showing that both depressed and obese individuals lean heavily toward sugar / carb addictions? HERE is the information on using a Low Carb Diet to break the cycle. These individuals are looking for a serotonin boost. As I stated earlier, over 90% of the "feel good" neurotransmitter Serotonin is found in the gut. Thus, it only makes sense to........
- FIX YOUR GUT: I have already shown you that Gut Health is intimately tied to Depression. My blog also happens to be full of posts on the relationship between Gut Health and Obesity. But did you know that POOR GUT HEALTH is being tied as a root cause of nearly every health issue you can imagine (MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE YOU READ THIS)? One of the best ways to positively affect Gut Health is to....
- GO GLUTEN FREE: In case you have not been reading my blog on a regular basis, let me just remind you that almost every health problem you can name is being linked back to GLUTEN. Just a few short years ago (2010), a study published in The Journal of Reproductive Health showed how Gluten was directly involved with a plethora "Reproductive Symptoms" seen in prior studies on sexual health. The bottom line is that sick people usually see incredible improvement when they go GLUTEN FREE. Oh, and if you do not understand GLUTEN CROSS REACTIVITY, read the link.
- EXERCISE: Do I even need to talk about this? There are about a jillion studies linking moderate exercise to lower incidence of Depression, Stress, and Obesity. There are probably almost as many showing the link between exercise and improved sex drive (I Googled 'exercise sexual health' and got nearly 17 million hits). I am not going to belabor this point, but you should value yourself / your spouse enough to EXERCISE 20-30 minutes, 3 or 4 times a week. If you are discouraged about exercising, READ THIS.
- BEWARE OF MEDICATIONS: Have you seen the list of meds that can ruin one's sex drive? It is downright freaky. There are a host of meds (including birth control pills, high blood pressure medications, ANTIBIOTICS that all destroy Gut Health, and STATINS) that diminish sex drive. It is critical to remember that the number one class of medication for fouling up libido is anti-depressants. Of these, SSRI's lead the way. Interestingly enough, another leading class of drugs known for messing up one's sex drive are meant to affect the Gut (anti-nausea and anti-ulcer drugs).
- UNDERSTAND INFLAMMATION: Although everyone has heard the term "INFLAMMATION" used about a million times, few people really have any idea of what it is. And since Obesity, Depression, and Diabetes are all considered to be "Inflammatory Diseases", it would behoove you to understand a little bit more about Inflammation, what drives it, and how to squelch it.
- UNDERSTAND YOUR THYROID: If you Google "Thyroid Low Libido", you get over three quarters of a million hits. I would suggest you take the time to visit the THYROID EPIDEMIC site for a better understanding of how this all works. The really cool thing is that many thyroid problems can be effectively dealt with by following the bullet points on this list.
- TAKE THE RIGHT SUPPLEMENTS: What do I recommend? Firstly, I recommend WHOLE FOOD SUPPLEMENTS as just that ---- a "supplement" to a healthy diet. The problem is that most people want a Viagra-like supplement that allows them to keep on destroying themselves with their diets and self-destructive lifestyles (INTERESTED IN FEMALE VIAGRA?). The best natural Testosterone booster is Tribulus Terrestris. A great general libido booster is Ginkgo Biloba (both by Medi-Herb). I am also sold on Symplex M and Symplex F by Standard Process (for men and women respectively). Again, it is far more about your diet (what you are eating or not eating) than it is about spending a lot of money on supplements.
- GIVE UP THE SMOKES AND DRINK ONLY IN MODERATION: One of the biggest problems with smoking is that it hinders blood flow. Without good blood flow, both men and women are going to struggle with satisfactory sex. Too much alcohol not only does the same thing, it is metabolized very similarly to sugar.
- BALANCE YOUR HORMONES: The big driver of libido for both men and women is Testosterone. That's right ladies, the very substance that drives your husband's libido, also drives yours. However, more is not always better as it is heavily associated with PCOS --- the most common female hormonal problem in America. Although I have a lot of information on balancing hormones on ENDOGUT, the best thing you can do for yourself (other than following these bullet points) is to make sure you are getting just a little bit of high quality protein every two hours. Also make sure to visit our post on XENOHORMONES as well (toward the end). Understanding this concept is critical to those of you who are in a state of Estrogen Dominance (possibly the majority of you, both women and men). Remember just a few points back when I accused overweight men of feminizing themselves? Estrogen causes weight gain, while fat cells (along with the female organs) manufacture Estrogen. Repeat. See the vicious cycle setting up?
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ADHD IN CHILDREN LINKED TO OBESITY LATER IN LIFE
A new study from the medical journal Pediatrics
has determined that men who were diagnosed with ADHD
as children, were twice
as likely to be OBESE
in later life. For more information on the best ways to deal with both problems, please follow the links. Just be aware that the authors declared support from Eli Lilly, Shire Pharmaceuticals, GLAXOSMITHKLINE
, and Genopharm. This means that soon, these companies will be coming out with new drugs for the problems,
WHAT IS NEUROPATHY
HOW IS IT RELATED TO BLOOD SUGAR AND GLUTEN?
Image by Milorad Dimic MD
Image by Stan Shebs
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Because nerves are damaged by the "mildly" elevated blood sugar levels that most doctors ignore [see my first link below], almost one half of people with Type 2 diabetes already have detectable neuropathy by the time they have been diagnosed with diabetes. Many other people who are never officially diagnosed with diabetes but have higher than normal blood sugars also get "diabetic" neuropathy. It may be a major cause of the impotence so common among men in their 40s and older. Jenny Ruhl, from Blood Sugar 101
Today is the last day of "Neuropathy Awareness Week
" so I thought I would write a short post on the topic. Because of our poor diets, Neuropathy is quite common here in America, affecting (according to the Neuropathy Association
) at least 7.5% of the population --- 1 in 15 people or 20,000,000
. The feet are the most commonly affected area, followed by the legs. Next comes the hands and arms. Notice the pattern? The further away from the heart, the more likely the area will be affected by Neuropathy if the causal conditions are present. Some of the most common Symptoms associated with Peripheral Neuropathy include:
- Numbness, Tingling, or Burning --- particularly in the toes / feet, or reduced ability to feel changes in temperature, especially in your feet and toes
- A reduced ability to feel pain --- OR a heightened ability to percieve pain (the lightest touch can be agonizing)
- Muscle weakness and difficulty walking / Painful walking
- Severe foot problems, such as ulcerations, infections, swelling, and arthritic changes
A popular online encyclopedia defines "Neuropathy" (aka "Peripheral Neuropathy
") thusly: "Damage to nerves of the peripheral nervous system, which may be caused either by diseases of or trauma to the nerve or the side effects of systemic illness.
" The thing that catches my eye here are the words "Systemic Illness". Would Diabetes be considered to be a Systemic Illness
(a whole-body illness that affects multiple body systems)? You better believe it would! In fact, the number one factor in developing Neuropathy is whether or not you have UNCONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR
. Be warned; huge numbers of you have this problem even though you do not realize it. The other thing heavily associated with Neuropathy is.......Gluten (wheat / grain protein) is strongly associated with Neuropathy as well.
When I Googled "Gluten Neuropathy
" I got well over one million hits. I am not going to go into great detail about why GLUTEN
is particularly NEUROTOXIC
, but if you click links in the next paragraph, you will see that most of these are associated with Gluten Sensitivity.Although there are lots and lots of causes of Neuropathy, some of the others that are common include HASHIMOTO'S HYPOTHYROIDISM, TOXIC DRUGS, FLUROQUINOLONE ANTIBIOTICS, STATINS, Alcoholism, MERCURY AND OTHER HEAVY METALS, some anti-seizure / anti-epileptic drugs, Cancer Treatment (radiation & chemotherapy), numerous AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES, and Vitamin Deficiencies --- most particularly the B-Vitamins.
HOW WOULD YOU BEST TREAT YOUR NEUROPATHY?
Seriously, this is not as difficult as you might think. If Uncontrolled Blood Sugar and Gluten are two of the most common factors in developing the problem, a starting point for everyone would be to go on a Low Carb (or PALEO
) Diet, and figure out what it will take to get to GLUTEN FREE
. As far as something to actually do for these patients, by far the best thing would be COLD LASER
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WHY IS BELLY FAT PARTICULARLY BAD, WHAT DOES IT MEAN, AND WHY IT IS CRITICAL THAT YOU DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT ---- TODAY
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Faced with these risks, it’s no wonder that you want to know how much you should weigh. But this common and important question is actually the wrong question. For health, the issue is not how much you weigh, but how much abdominal fat you have. The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide
A mirror or photograph is a far better gauge than a scale of whether or not you are at a healthy weight. Doctor Russell Schierling
The picture above is a depiction of the various female body types as seen thru the eyes of Georges Hébert --- an early pioneer in Physical Education. The pictures come from a French book called L'éducation Physique Féminine, which was written almost a century ago. My how things have changed. The picture on the right is a woman chowing down on fast food and a monster-sized soda at one of the local fast food joints.
It was not that long ago that women hardly ever had "Central Obesity
" (aka Abdominal Obesity). Yes, we men have always tended to accumulate fat stores around our waists (the proverbial 'spare tire' ---- apple shaped), but women have always tended to put weight on in the hip / butt area (pear shaped). Now it is not only common to see women with Central Obesity, it is shockingly
common --- even in women of "normal" weight. These women are often referred to today as "SKINNY FAT
" --- the topic of yesterday's post. The point of this post is not to issue an indictment against those of you who are struggling with this particular problem, but to help you understand why Abdominal Fat is so bad, and why it leads to so many other health problems. The cool thing is that if you understand what is actually causing
you to put weight on around your waist, you can formulate a plan to conquer it.
Abdominal Obesity means that you have too much "Viceral Fat". Don't get me wrong; we all require some fat around our Vicera in order to be healthy. But once you understand that the word "Vicera" means organs, and that Viceral Fat is the fat that surrounds (and potentially entombs) your organs, you will begin to understand why Central Obesity is such a serious problem --- a killer.
When a person has large amounts of fat engulfing their organs, that fat tends to create responses in the rest of the body (particularly the ENDOCRINE SYSTEM
) that can never really keep up with what is being demanded of it. Although the organs (pancreas, liver, ADRENAL GLANDS
, etc) are scrambling to CONTROL BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS
, they eventually fall behind. As the organs fail to keep up, weight gain can end up like a snowball rolling downhill --- picking up momentum and feeding itself as it goes. But be warned.... not all weight gain is equal. Some is worse than others.
WHY ABDOMINAL OBESITY IS WORSE
THAN GENERALIZED OBESITY
In the early 1980's, researchers began noticing that there was an important distinction between abdominal fat and the subcutaneous fat that all of us have underneath our skin. They realized that the more abdominal fat a person carried, the more likely they were to have diabetes (decreased sensitivity to insulin), heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides. They began to realize that Abdominal Obesity was a different kind of animal than General Obesity.As the American diet has gotten worse ----- based more and more on processed grains, TRANS FATS, chemicals, and sugar ---- rates of Central Obesity have skyrocketed. Yesterday's blog proved that at least 7 of 10 American adults are overweight, with about half of those being obese. It gets worse. For the over-50 crowd, 50% of the men and 70% of the women are not only obese, they meet the criteria for Central Obesity. What are those criteria?
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In the picture on the left, we see a woman with normal sized hips and waist. If we take the ratio of the waist to the hips (WHR -- Waist Hip Ratio), we should see about a .6 or .7 for women, and about .9 for men. Anything over .85 for women and .9 for men is considered to be Central Obesity. There is another way to determine Central Obesity without having to do any math. All it requires is a sewing tape.
WAIST CIRCUMFERENCE RISK FACTORS FOR ABDOMINAL OBESITY
LESS THAN 37"
37 - 40"
31.5" to 35"
A high WHR is associated with all of the risk factors / health problems I listed off earlier. And If you were reading my blog last week, you could probably guess that a high WHR is heavily associated with INFERTILITY
as well. What is shocking, however, is that recent research is linking things like lower cognitive ability with a high WHR. My best guess is that as time goes on, you will see more and more health problems associated with a high waist to hip ratio. But the real question is what does it all mean?
WHAT DOES CENTRAL OBESITY
(A HIGH WHR) REALLY MEAN?
If you are a male with Central Obesity --- the proverbial pot belly --- odds are that you simply need to get back on the wagon and lose some weight. If you are a female with Abdominal Obesity, you need to make some serious changes to your life. For one, it is important to realize that you are probably stressed out. Adrenally stressed out that is.
Cortisol (aka Hydrocortisone) is your body's chief stress hormone, and is made by by your adrenal glands in response to stress. Bear in mind that this stress can come in many forms; emotional, physical, dietary, etc. According to a popular online encyclopedia, the chief functions of Cortisol are to, "increase blood sugar through gluconeogenesis; [and] suppress the immune system....
" Did you catch that? Cortisol is an Immune System Suppressor that raises blood sugar via gluconeogenesis (creating sugar from muscle tissue or fat stores). Although creating sugar from fat might sound like a wonderful thing, in many cases it is not.If a person already has high blood sugar levels and gets a subsequent boost in blood sugar, they are going right back into storage mode unless they burn it for energy. This is unlikely. Since these folks are already fighting Central Obesity, the new sugar they create from metabolizing fat is simply re-stored as fat. Only this time it will be stored as belly fat. If occurring on a regular basis, this process will literally exhaust your body. This is why it is called Adrenal Fatigue and is intimately related to
Fibromyalgia (ADRENAL FATIGUE OR FIBROMYALGIA?
). Also be aware that HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP
---- the sweetener most commonly used for practically all modern processed foods ----- is more associated with Belly Fat than other sugars --- far
OTHER HEALTH PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH ABDOMINAL OBESITY
Of course there are the health problems I listed earlier in the post. However, it don't stop there. There are a host of physical ailments that are being directly tied to Central Obesity. Some of them include......
- ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE: Although a number of studies have linked Abdominal Obesity to Alzheimer's, a study from Dr. George Razzy's team of Launceston General Hospital, University of Tasmania, Australia showed that older people with Central Obesity had a 10 times greater chance of developing Alzheimer's than the general population.
- LOW / HIGH TESTOSTERONE: If you are a male who is struggling to hit home runs in the bedroom, odds are that you have some degree of Central Obesity. Clear back in 1990, a Dutch study showed that men with Abdominal Obesity were much more likely to have high insulin and blood sugar levels, while having low testosterone. However, if you are a female, listen to what Drs. Rasa Kazlauskaite (Endocrinologist) and Sheila Dugan (Physical Medicine Specialist) of Rush University Medical Center have to say about testosterone. "When that delicate balance of estrogen to testosterone shifts toward testosterone during the menopausal transition, the distribution of fat also shifts and women tend to accumulate more belly fat. In men, we know that when their testosterone decreases naturally as they age, they tend to accumulate belly fat, but in women it isn’t really about having more testosterone, it’s about upsetting the estrogen-testosterone balance. We used to think estrogen protected premenopausal women against cardiovascular disease and that the increased cardiovascular risk after menopause was related only to the loss of estrogen’s protective effect. But now we know that it’s actually the change in hormonal balance that’s largely responsible for visceral fat. So if you’re a woman in your 30s or early 40s and you aren’t already eating healthy and exercising regularly, you should get started now and work hard to maintain these healthy behaviors throughout the menopausal transition."
- PCOS: Strongly related to the above, if you have PCOS, you are much more likely not only to be INFERTILE, but to have Central Obesity as well. Women with Central Obesity are more likely to deal with a wide range of hormonal issues.
- INFLAMMATION: People with Central Obesity are much more likely to have high systemic levels of INFLAMMATION in their bodies. Inflammation is strongly associated with nearly every health problem you can mention.
- LOW BACK PROBLEMS / ARTHRITIS: Do you think it might be hard on your joints carrying 50, 100, or 150 extra pounds of weight around for years, or even decades? It's a no-brainer.
- GALLBLADDER DISEASE: Who is likely to get GB Disease? People with Central Obesity. The moniker we learned in school was "fat, fertile, female, and forty".
- METABOLIC SYNDROME: What is Metabolic Syndrome? It is essentially a pre-diabetic condition that is in play if a person has at least three of the following ----- a blood pressure of 130/85 or higher, a triglyceride level above 150, a fasting blood sugar level of 100 or greater, low HDL levels, or high LDL levels. By the way, if you were paying attention to yesterday's post, you realize that large numbers of people of "normal" weight have at least one of these.
- FATTY LIVER: Although a Fatty Liver is usually thought of as being a problem of alcoholism, the largest class of people who develop this problem are those with Central Obesity.
- CERTAIN KINDS OF CANCER: The truth is that many kinds of cancer --- particularly the ones that originate in the abdominal area such as colon cancer.
- SLEEP APNEA / BREATHING DIFFICULTIES: Show me a person with Central Obesity who breathes just fine, and I will show you 100 that do not. And if it is bad enough to affect sleep, I promise it will affect your health in other ways.
Although Obesity is bad, Central Obesity is doubly bad.
- BLOOD CLOTS: Enough said.
If you want to live a long, enjoyable, life, and be there for your children and grandchildren, you need to do what it takes to get this problem under control. Fortunately I have created a plan for you. All you have to do is follow the information on THIS LINK
. Granted, it's a ton of information. But there is no way to effectively lose weight, get healthy, and stay that way for life unless you know what made you fat in the first place. Knowledge is power, and if you will follow the advice on my blog, virtually everyone reading this post will know what it takes to get a handle on your Central Obesity. Just remember; the choice is yours.
Photo by Tibor Végh
Photo by David Shankbone
Photo by Sampix
Photo by Russ Anderson
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TWO DECADES OF PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME SOLVED IN ONE TREATMENT
It had been over a year since I treated Cheryl for Piriformis Syndrome. She had really struggled with pain for twenty years. After one treatment, she is dramatically better. Watch her video!
WHAT IS "SKINNY FAT"? PH Kenny
I remember the first time I heard the term "Skinny Fat
". I was reading a post on the PALEO DIET
, which was talking about the epidemic of young women of normal weight, who had spindly arms & legs ---- and big bellies. Believe it or not, there is actually a medical term for this ---- MONW
. It stands for Metabolically Obese -- Normal Weight
. These people do not carry enough lean body mass (muscle), but have too much Viceral Fat (deep abdominal fat surrounding their organs). And although these folks might fit into the perfect spot on a height / weight chart, they are not healthy ---- and they are certainly not "skinny". Don't believe me? Let's take a look at a couple of recent studies from the peer-reviewed medical literature.
Not quite a year ago, the August 2012 issue of JAMA
(Journal of the American Medical Association
) published a study done at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. The study concluded that almost a quarter
of the "normal weight" population would fall in to the MONW category. Think of it another way. According to government statistics, nearly 70% of the adult American population is currently overweight or obese. This latest study brings the total closer to 80%. And here is the real kick in the teeth. These MONW individuals die off at twice the rate of visibly fat people if they have diabetes. But forget the adults for a minute, lets look at the younger generation. If you pay attention, you will notice that a lot of today's teens could be classified as MONW.
A study published one year ago this week in the medical journal Pediatrics
shows us that things are even worse than we thought. Yes, they admitted that teen obesity was a huge problem that is related to a host of serious health problems. But they also admitted that nearly one in four teens of normal weight had at least one of the signs of Metabolic Syndrome (pre-diabetes), such as high BP, HIGH CHOLESTEROL
, UNCONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR
, etc. In fact, many experts are saying that when the rubber meets the road, only about one in five US children could truly be categorized as healthy. This is one of the biggest reasons that our government school's OBESITY PREVENTION PROGRAMS are failing so miserably.
They fall into the trap of modern medicine; always trying to tie one's health to one's weight. The so-called "skinny" people feel they are justified in eating whatever they want since they fall into the proper spot on the Height / Weight Chart. The problem is that they are not only undermining their health with these bad habits, sooner or later they will end up visibly undermining their weight. We all know that skinny guy who is constantly scrounging for food ---- loading up on fast foods, junk foods, and deserts. Trust me. He won't be the "skinny guy" forever. If you think your body will perpetually be able to keep up with the steady barrage of SUGAR
, junk carbs, and TRANS FATS
, and still maintain a normal weight, just show up at your next High School Reunion. You will be in for a rude awakening!
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE SKINNY FAT
OK; so you realize that you likely fall into the MONW (Skinny Fat) category. What can you do about it? Actually you can totally reverse it and
get healthy in the process. And the cool thing is, you are ahead of the game since you do not have lots and lots of weight to lose. For you it will be more about redistributing the weight you currently carry. Make the proper changes to your diet and lifestyle, and let your weight take care of itself. What are these changes you ask? Although I have immense amounts of detailed information on my website, it can be broken down to three simple steps.
- EAT A WHOLE FOOD-BASED DIET: It is imperative that you eat a diet based on WHOLE FOODS and Whole Food Supplements. As you might imagine, this will likewise help you to.........
- AVOID PROCESSED FOODS AND SUGAR: Eating low on the Glycemic Index (LOW CARB or PALEO) will help you CONTROL YOUR BLOOD SUGAR. These first two steps will help get rid of the "fat" part of Skinny Fat. The third step will help you gain some lean body mass (muscle) and change your body's shape as well as boost your metabolism.
- LIFT WEIGHTS / DO SOME SORT OF RESISTANCE TRAINING: Although I am in no ways against things like walking or biking, it is imperative that you add some sort of resistance training to your exercise regimen. In case you need some more information on this topic, go HERE.
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Image by David Shankbone
THE DOG ATE MY HOMEWORK
All of us are guilty of using excuses. It is human nature. Sometimes these excuses are legitimate (I was late to work this morning because my house burned down last nite), sometimes they are not (I can't work out because I don't enjoy sweating).
The bottom line is that when it comes to your health, excuses are going to set you back dramatically. Instead of making excuses, make a plan.
I will leave you with a few of my favorites as far as things you
can do to get healthy and stay that way.
BEATING INFERTILITY NATURALLY Photo by David Roseborough
Infertility. It's a significant issue in the US. And if you are one of the millions of couples dealing with this issue, you are already aware of just how emotionally devastating it can be. According to the latest CDC statistics.....
- Number of women ages 15-44 with impaired ability to have children: 6.7 million
- Percent of women ages 15-44 with impaired ability to have children: 10.9%
- Number of married women ages 15-44 that are unable to get pregnant for at least 12 consecutive months: 1.5 million
- Percent of married women ages 15-44 that are infertile: 6.0%
- Number of women ages 15-44 who have ever used infertility services (ART --- (Assisted Reproductive Technology)) : 7.4 million
Wow! Almost seven and a half million American women under 45 years old have been through IVF fertility procedures known as ART. And if you throw in male infertility (numerous studies say that this accounts for nearly half of all infertility) and ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION
, you can can begin to see why so many couples are unable to have children. As a woman, what can you do about it? Well, you could
spend a fortune on fertility drugs, hormonal treatments, and procedures that seem more suited for a guinea pig than anything else. Sometimes these work, although there are a bundle of potential side effects. The other option is to beat infertility naturally. Here are some simple (generic) steps toward achieving your Fertility Makeover
. Honestly, it's not rocket science. Some of the very same things that work for various disease processes and hormonal issues are used for Infertility.
- CONTROL YOUR WEIGHT: If you are either overweight or underweight, your chances of getting pregnant diminish substantially. Although there are many reasons that women gain weight, the biggest has to do with the fact that most infertile women are failing to..........
- CONTROL BLOOD SUGAR: This is the number one most important thing on the list --- by far. In case you have not been following my blog, let me share a secret to improving every single aspect of your health --- CONTROL YOUR BLOOD SUGAR! Uncontrolled Blood Sugar is being intimately tied to virtually every single health problem under the sun, including PCOS. PCOS (POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME) is critical to understand because it is not only the number one cause of infertility in America (75% OF IT), it has a known cause. One of my all-time favorite movie lines was delivered by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie Predator. After the Predator (an invisible alien that is stalking a group of mercenaries through a South American jungle) trips a booby trap, everyone in Schwarzenegger's elite para-military unit lets loose with a wild burst of automatic weapon fire. Arnold looks around and finds some yellow blood on a branch. His response; "It bleeds..... We can kill it." The known cause of PCOS is Uncontrolled Blood Sugar. Fix your blood sugar (including HYPOGLYCEMIA) and you have just solved the major cause of infertility! In case you did not understand, let me say it one more time. Deal with your blood sugar regulation issues and you have just dealt with the number one reason women fail to conceive. But in order to do this, you'll have to.......
- MAKE THE NECESSARY CHANGES TO YOUR DIET: Let's not beat around the bush. If you really want to have a baby, you need to go Low Carb, or better yet, PALEO. A WHOLE FOOD-based Low carb diet is going to allow you to deal with your blood sugar. And Paleo ---- the next logical step in the process ---- is going to do two biggies for you. It is going to cut neurologically reactive foods such as GLUTEN out of your diet. It is also going to help you control Inflammation. Getting pregnant will requite that you understand INFLAMMATION and the things that drive it. Let me quote to you from a study that came out just last week from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine as reported in MedPage Today.
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Two-thirds of the women who ate protein rich diets achieved pregnancy versus 31.9%, said Jeffrey B. Russell, MD, of the Delaware Institute for Reproductive Medicine. And the results were even more impressive when a high protein intake was combined with carbohydrate restriction as pregnancy rate climbed to 80%. People talk about obesity and BMI, about not getting pregnant when they are overweight, but we had some patients who were healthy, 110 to 115 pounds, and they were making terrible quality embryos. They were thin, young and healthy, but couldn't get pregnant..... The lessons of this study might also be applied to diabetics who have the highest miscarriage rates, highest abnormality rates, and the highest birth defects and stillborn rates..... Fruits, vegetables, and lean meats will produce better quality sperm, as well as better quality eggs."
- GET ADJUSTED: Although I rarely have patients who come to me specifically for fertility issues, I cannot even begin tell you how many women over the past 22 years have gotten pregnant after being under chiropractic care. If you want to better understand why, just go HERE.
- AVOID XENOHORMONES: Xenohormones are benzene-based chemicals (virtually any chemical with a smell including cleaners, perfumes, gasoline, etc) that mimic the effects of estrogen in your body. Understanding Xenohormones is critical --- especially once you realize that most American women already tend toward Estrogen Dominance. Go to the end of THIS long link and you'll find the section on Xenohormones. Oh; and hopefully you are already aware that soy is a phyto-estrogen that should be avoided at all costs.
- AVOID CHEMICALS & TOXICITY: This can be in the form of alcohol, junk food, caffeine, pesticides, herbicides, etc. If you are trying to get pregnant and still smoking, you are probably already aware that you are shooting yourself in the foot. To avoid all of the crazy estrogen-based hormones contained in commercial meats (again, Xenohormones), make sure you are consuming organic. You will also need to watch out for VACCINES as they contain all sorts of toxic chemicals and elements, including mercury --- a known fertility disruptor. I could say the same things about most DRUGS.
- EAT THE RIGHT FATS: Avoid TRANS FATS and make sure you are taking your PGFO. Cook with Coconut oil and use Extra Virgin Olive Oil to make salad dressings.
- YOU MAY HAVE HIDDEN DISEASES: There are many of these and I have already covered some. THYROID ISSUES are a frequent cause of infertility as is LEAKY GUT SYNDROME.
- TAKE THE CORRECT HERBS FROM THE BEST HERB COMPANY ON THE PLANET: Firstly, there are a host of pregnancy-friendly herbs such as Chaste Tree, Dong Qui, Vitex, Stinging Nettle, Red Raspberry, Red Clover, Maca, Alfalfa, Oatstraw, False Unicorn, Saw Palmetto, and others. Secondly, you need to get them from a reputable company such as STANDARD PROCESS / MEDIHERB. You should be able to find many of these combined into a tea as well.
- HAVE MORE SEX AT THE RIGHT TIME, USING THE BEST POSITION(S): A few weeks ago my kids and I took the APPLESEED PROJECT'S rifle shooting course. In order to qualify as a "Rifleman", you had to hit very small targets a certain number of times in a certain amount of time. Needless to say, the more shots you could get off in the shortest period of time, the better your chances of qualifying. This is true of conception as well. Figure out WHEN the best time for conception is, use the Missionary Position with a pillow underneath your rear end to assure that semen gets to the cervix, and by all means, make sure your husband is putting a lot of lead downrange (have lots of sex during that time).
- GIVE IT TIME: We have all heard the saying, you are what you eat. While this is true, it is not completely true. It would more accurately say, you are what you ate last year (or ten years ago, etc). For instance, the half-life of Trans Fats is nearly two months. Do not think that dietary and lifestyle changes made today will result in a pregnancy tomorrow. Give your makeover a year to work.
In-Vitro Fertilization techniques (IVF) are not only expensive (and not covered by health insurance), they are notoriously difficult to control. You could just as easily end up with multiple births (think "Octomom" here) as ending up failing to get pregnant at all. There are also a growing number of POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS
. As you will notice from the quote below, it takes on average about three sessions of ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) for a woman to become pregnant.
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According to CDC’s 2011 preliminary ART Fertility Clinic Success Rates Report, 163,038* ART cycles were performed at 451 reporting clinics in the United States during 2011, resulting in 47,849 live births (deliveries of one or more living infants) and 61,610 live born infants. Although the use of ART is still relatively rare as compared to the potential demand, its use has doubled over the past decade. Today, over 1% of all infants born in the United States every year are conceived using ART.
My biggest issue with ART / IVF is that it does not address any of the numerous underlying causes of infertility as listed in the body of this post (there are others as well). By following the Fertility Makeover
protocol, you are more likely not simply to end up pregnant, but to ultimately end up with a healthy
baby. In this day and age of rampant sickness, disease, and AUTOIMMUNITY
, why would you not be interested in something that could not only positively affect your ability to conceive, but positively affect the health of your embryo, as well as the health of your newborn?
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Turkey season is over, but I just got this video of a gobbler looking at his reflection in a window. It was shot by my sister in law a couple of days ago. Enjoy.
COCA COLA TRIES Ben Franske
TO MAKE GOOD
If you are a regular reader of my column, you realize that SODA POP
is bad for you on many different levels. Much of this has to do with the fact that it is arguably the leading reason for the wide variety of health problems associated with UNCONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR
. And in case you were not aware, soda is now the number one source of calories for the 15 - 25 crowd and is being directly linked to America's obesity epidemic --- an epidemic that is starting to show itself worldwide. In fact, blood sugar regulation issues are the root of almost every single health problem you can name. It seems that public pressure has finally got to Coca Cola and
forced them to at least pay lip service to changing their marketing strategies. And it's not only Coca Cola
. It seems PepsiCo and other beverage giants are succumbing to public pressure as well. CEO of Coca Cola, Muhtar Kent went as far to say that, "the key here is to ensure that in every market where we operate to have no- or low-calorie beverages of our main brands available
". The push is to diversify into fruit juices (most of which are 90% sugar water), diet soda, and SPORTS DRINKS
. But is this really beneficial? Hopefully, you read my recent piece on DIET SODA. Several recent studies have shown that diet soda is actually responsible for more obesity instead of less.
When are people going to wake up to the fact that calorie count doesn't mean much? Processed sugar is bad all around, and even natural sugars should be consumed in moderation. Then there is HFCS
. But the truth is that the diet versions of all of these are worse --- much worse. It is important to educate your children about this from an early age.