BRAIN BASED THERAPY MISSOURI
“Miserably Failing”. Two words that none of us (including me) enjoy hearing. But hey ---- it's the truth. The real question we should all be asking is why. Why are so many different approaches to treating FIBROMYALGIA and other Chronic Conditions, “failing so miserably”? Let's investigate.
For years, the question I asked myself was why some of my Fibromyalgia patients got better, and others did not? Why weren't all (or at least the vast majority) of my Fibromyalgia patients getting dramatically better by following a few simple recommendations --- cleaning up their diet, decreasing at least some of the stressors mentioned in the paragraph above, taking a HIGH QUALITY OMEGA- 3 FISH OIL, supplementing with a good adrenal support formula, and getting adjusted on a regular basis?
Until I started studying the work of Drs. Datis Kharrazian and TED CARRICK, I truly had no idea ---- no idea that Fibromyalgia, along with numerous other Chronic Conditions, are frequently Brain-Based Metabolic Problems that cause the various body systems (neurological, cardiovascular, digestive, etc) to malfunction in ways that don't show up with standard medical testing. And unfortunately, most therapeutic interventions for Chronic Conditions do not focus enough (or at all) on the brain. Like Gray's Anatomy says, the brain controls every function of the body. Ignore it to your own detriment! When the brain is malfunctioning, it causes other areas of the body to malfunction as well. The problem begins to feed itself and become a self-perpetuating, vicious cycle.
Follow along as I lead you on a journey through the brain. Learn why Fibromyalgia and numerous other Chronic Conditions frequently have their roots in brain dysfunction. But be warned: Fibromyalgia is not a pathology / disease process that is going to show up on an MRI or Brain Scan ---- it's a "Functional" Neurological / Endocrine / Metabolic problem (HERE). See how a misfiring brain can cause Fibromyalgia as well as all sorts of other Chronic Conditions. Stay with me for a few minutes and learn how Brain-Based Therapy might be the very thing that could reboot your brain, bring it back to life, and make it fire properly again. And help you get better in the process.
The truth is, almost every health problem you care to mention has the potential to be (or at least become) brain-based. If you want to see lists, HERE are the Autoimmune Diseases, HERE are the Chronic Inflammatory Degenerative Diseases, and HERE are some of the Chronic Pain Syndromes. In fact, if you take just a moment to look at our CHRONIC PAIN PAGE, you can begin to understand how some of these problems "Centralize" to the brain.
PRONG I: Neurology
How Does the Brain Work?
The most well-known of all medical textbooks, Gray's Anatomy, tells us something that we learned back in fourth grade health class --- that every single function of the human body is controlled by the brain.
"The Nervous System is the most complicated and highly organized of the various systems which make up the human body. It is the mechanism concerned with the correlation and integration of various bodily processes and the reactions and adjustments of the organism to its environment." Henry Gray from the 1918 edition of Gray's Anatomy
When functioning normally, the cerebellum, or "lower brain," which sits in the back bottom part of the skull, fires off messages to the opposite side Cerebral Cortex. This in turn, stimulates the brainstem (Mesencephalon, Pons, and Medulla). This feedback system is called, appropriately enough, "The Brain Loop".
The Brain Loop
The brain's ability to function is enhanced by increasing the frequency of firing to specific nerve cells called neurons. In many ways, these neurons are similar to other body tissues, including muscles. The more they are stimulated the healthier and stronger they become. To a point. But just like muscles, neurons can be abused, injured, or over-stimulated as well. This leads to all sorts of problems, including a form of Neural Deterioration called Trans Nerural Degeneration (more to come shortly).
When everything works in synch, your brain and the various cells, organs, glands, and tissues of your body, are connected by optimally functioning nerve pathways. The brain acts as the conductor or “Maestro” and directs the music, while The Body acts the part of the orchestra and plays the music. A properly functioning nerve system is like one of Mozart's masterpieces. The Maestro feeding off of and directing the orchestra, and the individual musicians interacting with each other to weave their various and diverse parts into a beautiful symphony.
But when certain nerve pathways become over or under stimulated, a brain imbalance begins to take shape. And like many other feedback loop deficiencies, it can quickly become self-perpetuating. When the Brain Loop's feedback mechanisms fail, the orchestra (the body) can no longer follow the conductor (the brain). The conductor fails to grasp that the orchestra is quickly turning the masterpiece into a muddle. Mistakes become the norm. The once beautiful music sounds increasingly tortured, distorted, and incoherent.
As you can imagine, when this kind of failure occurs in the brain, all sorts of neurologically-based health problems begin to arise and perpetuate themselves. The body itself becomes increasingly tortured, distorted, and incoherent. Chronic Pain and dysfunction become the norm. And why has your doctor not been able to help you? Largely because while doctors understand gross pathology, they do not understand the intricacies of the Brain Loop.
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“The longer the individual has had Fibromyalgia, the greater the gray matter loss, with each year of fibromyalgia being equivalent to 9.5 times the loss in normal aging”. McGill University Centre for Research
Think about this for a moment. Every single year you or someone you love lives with Fibromyalgia (or other Chronic Pain Syndromes), is the equivalent of nearly 10 times the brain loss seen in one year of the normal aging process. Re-read this paragraph until it sinks in! You will never again wonder why people in Chronic Pain age so rapidly.
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THE BRAIN LOOP
NORMAL -vs- ABNORMAL
If you have read this far, you are an amateur neurologist and probably know more about the subject than your family doctor. The question now becomes, what can be done about it? I realize that you have already tried just about everything that you thought you could try. It's time for a very different approach. How about increasing the neruroplasticity in the brain and the nervous system!
Brain-Based Therapy concentrates on locating the deficient nerve pathways which are creating the neurological imbalance. The neurological examination is designed to locate imbalances in the cerebellum, brain stem, and cortex. A brain-specific treatment protocol is then created with the goal of strengthening or rebuilding these injured or deficient nerve pathways.
This is done the same way a person learns to ride a bike, or play piano, or speak the Chinese language, or become a better free throw shooter --- by repetition. Only instead of shooting thousands of free throws, frequency of firing is increased by providing Fuel and Activation (we spoke of these things earlier). This comes in the form of Fuel and Activation. These include:
- Pathway-Specific Neurological Activation & Exercises
- Nutritional Therapy and Proper Blood Sugar Levels
- Oxygen Therapy.
THE SECOND PRONG OF BRAIN BASED THERAPY
Functional Neurologists Datis Kharazzian and Ted Carrick have shown that numerous Chronic Conditions can be dramatically improved if the treating physician will simply reset the body's neurology, and balance the body's metabolism. This means that there might be nutritional supplements involved in the process. It also means that depending on how inflamed the brain is, what foods you are sensitive (or allergic) to, and just how well (or poorly) you eat; you may have to modify your diet. We will delve into this subject in more detail shortly.
- FOOD SENSITIVITIES / ALLERGIES: Two of the most common are GLUTEN and DAIRY, although people can be sensitive to virtually anything. There are any number of different tests for this, but I have found that a good old ELIMINATION DIET works as well as anything.
- BLOOD CHEMISTRY READINGS: If you want to understand why this is critical (even though you've probably had all sorts of blood tests in the past, just Google "Functional Blood Test". One of the most common of these is ANEMIA. This is also where you might do a complete THYROID PANEL.
- AUTOIMMUNITY: Failure to deal with underlying AUTOIMMUNITY is a deal-breaker as far as getting well is concerned. It is also important to figure out which part of the Immune System (TH-1 or TH2) is not working properly (HERE).
- GUT INTEGRITY: Do you have INCREASED INTESTINAL PERMEABILITY? If so, all bets are off until you deal with it. Once you realize that 80% of your entire Immune System is found in the Gut, this becomes that much more important.
- DYSBIOSIS: DYSBIOSIS is typically caused by ANTIBIOTICS as well as the ANTIBIOTIC-LIKE effects of virtually all drugs, and then fed by the HIGH CARB LIFESTYLE. Take a look at the bullet point below for the tests. Tons of information in my GUT HEALTH posts. This could mean things like MOLD and CANDIDA --- which many people believe are intimately related to CANCER. It could also be an issue with HYPOCHLORHYDRIA & H. PYLORI.
- PARASITES: All too common HERE in America.
- ADRENAL INSUFFICIENCY: The Adrenal Panel is critical for those who might have Fibromyalgia (aka ADRENAL FATIGUE). This is a saliva test called an ASI.
- HORMONE LEVELS: Although this could mean almost anything, it is most frequently dealing with SEX HORMONES and specifically ESTROGEN DOMINANCE something called .
- WHOLE BODY / BRAIN INFLAMMATION LEVELS: INFLAMMATION is one of those words that everyone throws around, but no one really understands. Figure out what's driving Inflammation in your body and you've just figured out how to get well.
FIBROMYALGIA or ADRENAL FATIGUE?
WHAT IS FIBROMYALGIA?
(FIBROUS or KNOTTED)
MY or MYO
(MUSCLES or FASCIA)
History of widespread pain that has been present for at least three months. Note that pain is considered “widespread” when all of the following are present:
- Pain on both sides of the body (Right & Left).
- Pain must be both above and below the waist.
- Axial skeletal pain (midline pain ---- NECK PAIN, front CHEST PAIN, mid back pain or LOW BACK PAIN) must be present. (Low back pain is considered to be below the waist)
Official Definition of Fibromyalgia: Pain on palpation with the fingers, must be present in at least 11 of the following 18 tender point sites (these are not necessarily TRIGGER POINTS): Note that the points listed are shown in the diagram at the top of the page or just below this list.
- OCCIPUT (2) - at the muscles that lie where your neck MEETS YOUR SKULL (see HEADACHES).
- LOWER CERVICAL (2) - at the lower part of the neck (HERE).
- SUPRASPINATUS (2) - at origins, above the shoulder blades near the spine (because the SS muscle is the most commonly injured of the four Rotator Cuff Muscles, see ROTATOR CUFF).
- LATERAL EPICONDYLE (2) - 2 cm below the the top of the elbow (see ELBOW TENDINOSIS / LATERAL EPICONDYLITIS).
- GLUTEAL (2) - in upper outer quadrants of buttocks (see PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME).
- GREATER TROCHANTER (2) - just behind the hip bone on the outer portion of the upper thigh.
- KNEE(2) - at the inner portion of the KNEE. (Be aware this is at the attachment point of the Sartorius Muscle, which is usually associated with TIGHT HIP FLEXORS)
IS FIBROMYALGIA A 'REAL' DISEASE?
Like all of us, doctors like to get paid. In order to have a 'disease' whose diagnosis and treatment is found in the ICD-10 BOOK and reimbursable by the health insurance industry, there has to be a specific set of symptoms that define and characterize the said disease. So, in 1990, The American College of Rheumatology stepped in and saved the day with the diagnostic criteria listed previously. This allowed for more tax dollars to be spent doing Fibromyalgia research, more people to be diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, and best of all for the HMO's, and PPO's that employ almost 100% of today's medical community (try finding a self-employed doctor today), the chance to make way more dollars treating Fibromyalgia. Oh, as you can imagine; BIG PHARMA was thrilled as well. Learn more about Lyrica (Pregablin) and Neurontin (Gabapentin) HERE.
With Fibromyalgia; although there are frequently any number of comorbites, standard laboratory testing and diagnostic imaging typically appear normal. Other than the tender points listed above, there is usually little evidence of objective diagnostic findings (fatigue is considered a subjective finding). This is why many members of the medical community question whether Fibromyalgia is a disease at all. On top of this, many of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia mimic those of other conditions (ARTHRITIS, DEPRESSION, joint pain, impaired memory, fatigue, ENDOCRINE PROBLEMS, etc).
Please note that I am not for one moment insinuating that Fibromyalgia is not real. For many people Fibromyalgia is all too real ---- a living, breathing, nightmare. However, due to lack objective findings, Fibromyalgia is easily faked, becoming, along with spinal pain, the disease du jour for America's rapidly expanding I-don't-want-to-work crowd. FYI: The American Medical Association (AMA) first recognized the symptoms of Fibromyalgia as a disability-causing illness in 1987. People have figured this out, and gaming the system has become an easy thing for those who understand the diagnostic criteria, which can be found all over the internet (including this post).
Before you fly off the handle and accuse me of calling people with Fibromyalgia, "fakers," let me reassure you that Fibromyalgia is real. It's just that it is not what you think it is, or what your doctor has told you it is. Speaking of doctors, let's take a look at the opposite ends of the spectrum as far as what the medical profession saying about Fibromyalgia.
WHAT ARE MEDICAL EXPERTS
SAYING ABOUT FIBROMYALGIA?
"The diagnosis of fibromyalgia itself worsens the condition by encouraging people to think of themselves as sick and catalog their pain. These people live under a cloud, and the more they seem to be around the medical establishment, the sicker they get." Dr. Nortin Hadler, a Rheumatologist and professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina Taken from a 2008 article in the New York Times called, Drug Approved. Is Disease Real ? Dr. Hadler is right on the money with his second sentence. Shortly, I will show you how popular medical treatment actually makes fibromyalgia worse.
"Some of us in those days thought that we had actually identified a disease, which this clearly is not. To make people ill, to give them an illness, was the wrong thing.” Dr. Frederick Wolfe, the director of the National Databank for Rheumatic Diseases and the lead author of the 1990 paper that first defined the diagnostic guidelines for Fibromyalgia. He says he has become cynical and discouraged about the diagnosis, and now considers the condition a physical response to stress, depression, and economic and social anxiety. Taken from a 2008 article in the New York Times called, Drug Approved. Is Disease Real?
If I wanted to, I could have given you dozens --- probably hundreds --- of quotes on both sides of the argument. Although the vast majority of the medical community has not realized it yet, understanding Fibromyaliga is simple. Fixing it is another matter altogether. And you cannot even begin to grasp what it really is or how to effectively manage it without first understanding Adrenal Fatigue.
For over forty years now, the medical community has been playing a game with those who truly suffer from Fibromyalgia. How so? Any time a disease is named according to its symptoms as opposed to being named according to its cause, you automatically create tremendous confusion. Again, how so? You see, Fibromyalgia has been around as a medical diagnosis for decades. However, it was known by several different names --- names that almost always pointed to the offending culprit ----- fatigued, overworked, or burned out Adrenal Glands. Thus, the problem was named according to cause, and not symptoms: Adrenal Fatigue, Adrenal Stress, Adrenal Insufficiency, Adrenal Exhaustion, Sub-clinical Hypoadrenia, etc, etc, etc.
About four decades ago, the medical community started noticing an exponential increase in patients with the symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue. They had a big meeting. They changed the name of this group of symptoms from Adrenal Fatigue to Fibromyalgia. This in itself begs the question of why --- why would the medical and pharmaceutical communities feel that it was absolutely imperative to change the name of this health problem from Adrenal Fatigue to Fibromyalgia? Part of the problem had to do with what we talked about above; the fact that there were and still are no standard medical tests that can definitively (key word here is definitively) diagnose Fibromyalgia.
But let's think about this situation a different way. If your doctor said to you, "Mrs. Smith, you have Adrenal Fatigue," what are the first two questions you would ask? Think for a moment ---- we would all ask the same two questions.
- Doctor; how did my adrenal glands get fatigued?
- Doctor; how can we "unfatigue " my adrenal glands?
The Medical / Pharmaceutical community realized that if they could simply change the name of the disease from something describing underlying cause, and shift it to something that instead described the symptoms (painful knotted muscles), they could convince millions of patients that no one really understands this mysterious illness that's sweeping America in epidemic fashion. Oh, and by the way, because there are no objective findings, the only hope as far as treatment is concerned is to address the symptoms with drugs --- LOTS OF DRUGS --- for the rest of your life. And don't even bother looking for a cure, because there is none. Thus the birth of Fibromyalgia / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (these are often used together or interchangeably).
What was the payoff? Far fewer people ultimately ask their doctors those pesky questions that cannot be answered simply by pulling out a pen and writing a prescription for MUSCLE RELAXERS, PAIN KILLERS, NSAIDS, ANTI-DEPRESSANTS, NERVE PILLS, SLEEPING PILLS, CORTICOSTEROIDS, or who knows what the latest Fibromyalgia drug du jour is. And don't kid yourself. The Pharmaceutical Industry is specifically targeting you! Long ago, they realized that if they could play this thing right, they were sitting on a gold mine. Oh, I see. You're one of those people who still believe in Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, and a Pharmaceutical Industry that puts your health and well being ahead of profits. You probably also believe in the veracity of "EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE" as well.
To truly grasp the intensity that Big Pharma is trying to separate you from your hard earned dollars, and the fact that they will go to any length to do so, read the story of Pfizer's nearly 3 billion dollar fine (yes, billion with a "b") for fraudulently touting two of their drugs (Neuronitin and Lyrica) for, among other things, Fibromyalgia (HERE). When I first heard of this, I figured that a fine of this magnitude would bankrupt the company. That is, until I found out that Pfizer brought in over 70 billion dollars that year. Three billion was just the price of doing business.
When a person is stressed, the body reacts by mounting a response through the stimulation of the SYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM. As we have discussed already, this is also called the "fight or flight" response as the body arms itself to face what it perceives as danger. When this happens, epinephrine (adrenaline) is secreted by the adrenal medulla, and the hypothalamus-pituitary axis is stimulated to release ACTH, which in turn causes the adrenal cortex to increase production of the anti-stress hormone cortisol. In small amounts, Cortisol is fabulous stuff. However, when you get overstressed (emotional stress, mental stress, physical stress, dietary stress, etc), your cortisol-making machinery kicks into high gear.
When a person experiences chronic stress, the cortisol level may rise to such a high level that its production diminishes as the Adrenal Glands fatigue, and eventually become exhausted. With chronic stress, there is decrease in DHEA levels with a rise in cortisol. As a result, the ratio of cortisol to DHEA increases. As with most hormonal systems, there is a negative feedback loop that limit the production of each hormone once it hits its target level. The same occurs in the case of cortisol, with one exception.
During prolonged or acute stress when the body perceives that its survival is at stake, the excessive cortisol output actually diminishes the feedback response. In other words, instead of the feedback loop shutting down cortisol production when the levels get high, the body reacts 180 degrees opposite. Because cortisol is the body's primary anti-stress hormone, it will interpret a very high cortisol level as impending and life-threatening danger. When this happens, there is actually a blunting effect on the feedback loop allowing it to spin increasingly out of control. More cortisol will therefore be produced even though your body becomes increasingly' resistant' to it.
This is the body’s way to ensure that we can cope with the on-going stress that threatens its survival. This is OK for brief times of very acute stress. But if it goes on very long, the body (including the Adrenal Glands) begins to fatigue. The result of Chronically High Cortisol Levels include......
- Diminished Immune System Function
- Frequent Infections / Colds / Illness / ULCERS
- Hypothyroidism/ Low Energy Levels (HERE)
- High Blood Pressure (HERE)
- High Blood Sugar & the subsequent Reactive Hypoglycemia that follows (HERE)
- Obesity (particularly BELLY FAT and the upper back -- like a "hump")
- High LDL Cholesterol ("bad" CHOLESTEROL)
- Increase Incidence of Cardiovascular Disease (heart attacks, strokes, etc)
- Female Hormonal Issues including PCOS
- Depression / Anxiety
- Muscle Weakness
- Osteoporosis (READ THIS)
- Increased Pain Sensitivity (HERE)
- Acne (HERE)
IMPORTANT NOTE: Rarely are we talking about full-blown Cushing's Syndrome here --- a diagnosis that is easily made via standard blood tests. Cushing's Syndrome is a condition caused by dramatically elevated Cortisol levels in the blood, whose symptoms are similar to those seen above and include elevated blood pressure, Diabetes, pink / purple stretch marks on the abdomen, Fatigue, Depression, Moodiness, and accentuated fatty tissue on the face and upper back (the dreaded "hump"). Women with Cushing's Syndrome may develop irregular menstrual periods and develop new facial hair growth, as well as a decrease in sex drive. Sometimes the line between Adrenal Fatigue and Cushing's Syndrome is very thin.
As Cortisol levels continue to rise, a tolerance to the hormone ('resistance', similar to INSULIN RESISTANCE) begins to take place. Although there are increasingly high Cortisol levels circulating in the bloodstream, it does not work as effectively. Thus, the body calls for even more Cortisol to be produced. This vicious cycle causes things like:
- Diabetes and Problems with Sugar Metabolism: Reduced insulin sensitivity, or Insulin Resistance as it is often called, causes increased levels of both insulin and sugar to be circulating in your blood stream simultaneously. Not only does this cause you to gain weight (Insulin is a storage hormone that takes sugar from the blood and stores it as fat), it always leads to DIABETES. If you have not figured out by now, diabetes will kill you in a way that is often slow and painful (HERE ARE MY MANY POSTS ON BLOOD SUGAR). The bigger problem is that almost every disease process on the planet is now being tied to uncontrolled Blood Sugar. No; just because your Blood Sugar levels are in the "normal" range does not mean that they are controlled. Click on the link if you really want to understand this. By the way; you show me one woman suffering with Fibromyalgia without a pathological SUGAR ADDICTION, and I'll show you 100 that would kill you for that Snickers Bar in your purse.
- Immune System Dysfunction: Secretory IgA (the main cellular defense factor), natural killer cells (NK), and T-lymphocyte activity are all reduced with Adrenal Fatigue and high cortisol levels. This leads to increased chances of getting DYSBIOTIC INFECTIONS, yeast overgrowths, fungal infections, bacterial and viral infections well as parasites. These are all well-known causes of Fibromyalgia in the Alternative Medicine community. By the way, the main reason that people get Dysbiosis other than HIV or other pathological Immune System Deficiencies? ANTIBIOTICS. As I have told you about a thousand times, Antibiotics are arguably the number one destroyer of Immune Systems in America (HERE).
- Osteoporosis: Increased loss in bone mass occurs as calcium absorption is blocked and demineralization of bone occurs (HERE).
- Weight Gain; Particularly Increased Belly Fat: Increased cortisol leads to increased fat accumulation around the waist. Although some of this is due high blood sugar and a corresponding inability to control insulin levels, much of it is caused by increased protein breakdown. This leads to muscle wasting an inability to lose weight. Although many women who end up with Fibromyalgia / Adrenal Fatigue are often rail thin (at least at first), they will often have disproportionately large bellies (SKINNY FAT). This is not normal, as women tend to naturally put on fat in the hip area. LARGE BELLIES on women provide an almost 100% certainty that they are dealing with some degree of underlying Adrenal Fatigue.
- Bloating, Puffiness, and Edema: Increased cortisol causes increased water and salt retention. This leads to high blood pressure. Warning: Simply cutting back on dietary salt does not help this (SEE HERE).
- Estrogen Dominance: Increased cortisol production leads to PMS, uterine fibroids, breast cancer, and numerous other female problems. WARNING: Once Estrogen Dominance has kicked in, progesterone, a female hormone produced by the adrenals (as well as female organs) is stopped in favor of cortisol production (they both use the same metabolic precursors). Insufficient progesterone production leads to an imbalance in the estrogen / progesterone ratio. With reduced progesterone to offset increasing estrogen levels, the body may experience ESTROGEN DOMINANCE (or HERE) and a host of undesirable side effects associated with excessive estrogen. It is no coincidence that we see a proliferation of conditions associated with excessive estrogen such as PMS, fibroids, PCOS (the number one female problem in America) and pre-menopausal syndrome when a women reaches their mid thirties and early forties. DO NOT TAKE PROGESTERONE CREAMS ! Although these can provide almost miraculous relief for many women, they tend to accumulate in the fatty tissues of the body leading to all sorts of female problems as they are converted to --- you guessed it ---- Estrogen.
WHY DO I HAVE FIBROMYALGIA
The Adrenal Glands are two small glands that sit on top of the kidneys. Each adrenal gland has two compartments. The smaller inner compartment (medulla) affects the SYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM (the fight or flight response). It is responsible for producing two hormones, epinephrine and norepinephrine (aka adrenaline and noradrenaline). They play an important role in helping cope with physical and emotional stress.
The larger outer compartment (cortex) is responsible for producing more than 50 different hormones in three major classes - glucocorticoids, mineralcorticoids and sex hormones. The most important glucocorticoid hormone is cortisol. When cortisol output is too low, then the body is unable to appropriately deal with stress. In fact, Cortisol is the single most important stress hormone in the body. We learned earlier what high cortisol levels do. However, cortisol is not bad in and of itself. It performs numerous vital functions in the body, including........
- NORMALIZES BLOOD SUGAR: Cortisol increases blood sugar levels in the body in response to stress (and when an overworked pancreas cannot keep up). It helps to provide cellular energy in the form of glucose. When the body is under stress, it requires more energy. In Adrenal Fatigue, more cortisol is secreted during the early stages, but in later stages (when the adrenal glands become completely exhausted), cortisol output is reduced, and blood sugar balance becomes a problem. This is why people with Fibromyalgia often have severe (pathological) sugar cravings / addictions. It is also why people who have burned out their adrenal glands, also burn out their pancreas (or vise versa).
- ANTI-INFLAMMATORY RESPONSE: The word "Cortisol" sounds suspiciously like cortisone, and is itself a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. When we injure ourselves, one of the things that happens is INFLAMMATION and swelling. A certain amount of inflammatory mediators in the body actually aid injured or damaged tissue (HERE). These chemical compounds that we collectively refer to as Inflammation actually attract swelling to the area. The objective is to remove and prevent the chemicals that are causing the inflammatory response from accumulating. Because inflammation is considered to be an immune response, cortisol is considered to be involved in........
- IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPRESSION: We know that people with high cortisol levels have weak immune systems. Cortisol suppresses most cells that participate in the immune reaction, especially white blood cells, natural killer cells, monocytes, macrophages, and mast cells. However, never forget that without cortisol to dampen your immune system response, it would tend to run like wildfire. But, as you can imagine, too much suppression of your Immune System is never a good thing (although many of our DRUG THERAPIES are based on it).
- BLOOD VESSEL CONSTRICTION: Cortisol contracts mid-size arteries. People with low cortisol (as in advance stages of Adrenal Fatigue) have low blood pressure and reduced reactivity to other chemicals that constrict blood vessels. Cortisol tends to increase blood pressure that is moderated by calcium and magnesium. RAGLAND'S TEST: Take your blood pressure while sitting down. Then, stand up and take your blood pressure again. Your systolic number should have increased by 8 or 10 points. If the number dropped, then you probably have Adrenal Fatigue.
- STRESS REACTIONS: In the right amounts, and in people who are not stressing their system all day, every day; cortisol is a wonderful hormone. However, people suffering with adrenal fatigue cannot tolerate stress and will eventually succumb to severe stress. As their stress increases, progressively higher levels of cortisol are required. When the cortisol level cannot rise in response to stress, it is impossible to maintain the body in optimum stress response. You've heard that Stress Kills. Unfortunately it is true.
Interestingly enough, cortisol regulates the immune system in two different ways. Firstly, it activates the immune system by its release. Secondly, it suppresses the immune system as more of it is released. It is a delicate feedback loop, which, when damaged, can cause multiple body systems to spiral out of control. And although you might be diagnosed with some sort of BLOOD SUGAR METABOLISM PROBLEM (Diabetes, METABOLIC SYNDROME, HYPOGLYCEMIA, etc), THYROID PROBLEMS, female issue, etc; your Adrenal Hormones will almost certainly remain normal on the blood tests. It is rare that these ranges to fall into the area where they indicate full-blown Addison's Disease or Cushing's Syndrome. This is why the best Adrenal Testing uses saliva instead of blood.
Yes, that's right. Adrenal Glands can be tested. Even though I have been telling you that there are no objective medical tests that will show Fibromyalgia, this does not mean that there are no tests that show Adrenal Fatigue. Although Europe grasped this fact long ago, unfortunately, the American medical community has been ignoring some of the new Adrenal Testing that is done in the same manner as DNA Testing is done (saliva testing). Hair mineral analysis is another way (albeit not as good as saliva) to evaluate adrenal function.
****** WHY DO YOU HAVE FIBROMYALGIA? *****
In a word, the reason that you have Fibromyalgia is "stress". I realize that this sounds like a huge cop out. It's not. Although mental or emotional stress can certainly be a large part of the picture, this "stress" can come in many other forms as well. What about the physical stress caused by burning the candle at both ends or an incredibly physical job? What about dietary stress? Like I showed you earlier, it is all but impossible to find a person who suffers with Fibromyalgia / Adrenal Fatigue who is not seriously and pathologically addicted to sugar, SODA, junk food, fast food, refined / processed carbs, etc. But that is not all.
One of the chief ways that the human body and immune system are stressed, is by Gut Dysfunction. Because 80% of the immune system is found in the Gut / Intestines (HERE), it is impossible to be healthy while dealing with a DYSFUNCTIONAL GUT. It's why if you have Fibro, you likely have a serious case of "THE LEAKIES" --- something else that is easily tested for.
Detailed interviews of 40 Fibromyalgia patients from three countries (United States, Germany and France) showed that with Fibromyalgia, fatigue is the second most severe symptom after pain. The interviews were conducted with non-leading queries, such as "Tell me about your experience of having fibromyalgia?" The average duration of Fibromyalgia symptoms for the 40 participants was 6.6 years, the average age was 49, and 70 percent were female. When asked about their experiences with Fibromyalgia, these were their reported symptoms:
- pain (78%)
- fatigue not relieved by sleep (43%)
- sleeping difficulties (18%)
- mobility problems (10%)
The participants then described their fatigue as follows:
- Overwhelming feeling of tiredness (43%)
- Fatigue not relieved by resting or sleeping (38%)
- Fatigue that is not proportional to the amount of effort exerted (63%)
- Feelings of weakness or heaviness (28%)
- Difficult to get motivated or get moving (83%)
- Difficulty doing the things they want or enjoy doing (60%)
- Having to do things more slowly (38%)
- Difficulty to concentrate, think, or remember things (Fibro-Fog) (68%)
MORE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT FIBROMYALGIA
- PAINFUL, KNOTTED MUSCLES: Fibromyalgia is primarily characterized by widespread muscle pain and tenderness. Interestingly enough, Fibromyalgia does not cause inflammation or damage to the joints, muscles, or other tissues. However, Inflammation, particularly that from chronic Gut Dysfunctions such as Dysbiosis can cause Fibromyalgia. Be aware that although Fibromyalgia, literally means "Fibrous" "Muscle" "Pain" (Painful, Knotted, Muscles), this is the farthest thing from the truth. It is always associated with some sort of subclinical hypoadrenia (Adrenal Gland Dysfunction). "Sub-clinical Hypoadrenia" describes diminished adrenal function that is not to the point it actually shows up on blood work. There are, however, excellent tests for evaluating Adrenal Fatigue. It's just that our medical community continues to ignore most of them.
- HEAVILY ASSOCIATED WITH AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES: Fibromyalgia can occur as a primary or secondary condition. Fibromyalgia can occur as a primary syndrome characterized by muscular pain, or as a secondary syndrome to other diseases. Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis, lupus, Ankylosing Spondylitis, or any other of the multitudes of AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES that affect 60 to 100 million Americans, are at increased risk of also developing Fibromyalgia (the link provides a list of these). Many of these people end up with overlapping symptoms. Autoimmune Diseases are almost always accompanied by Leaky Gut Syndrome. HERE are my posts on Autoimmunity.
- MISUNDERTOOD & MISDIAGNOSED: Fibromyalgia is typically misunderstood by a medical community who on one hand either denies its existence, or, on the other hand, has no idea what causes it or how to treat it. Symptoms often go unrecognized for years, and are frequently confused with other conditions. According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, it takes about five years on average to get an accurate diagnosis of Fibromyalgia --- and in the end, all it really means is that your doctor will prescribe you more drugs. Usually way more drugs!
- INSOMNIA & CHRONIC FATIGUE: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (a name often used synonymously with Fibromyalgia) and insomnia are so ubiquitous to Fibromyalgia, that over 90% suffer with these two problems. Because of this, other problems develop because of poor sleep. These include cognitive problems, memory lapses (Fibro Fog), and a complete lack of energy that is not relieved by sleeping. These people are literally exhausted all the time, but unable to sleep well. This is why they are one of the main group who takes SLEEPING PILLS. It is also common for them to deal with SLEEP APNEA.
- MIND AND BRAIN: As you have seen, there are psychological as well as physical aspects associated with fibromyalgia (DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, memory issues, Fibro Fog, etc). Dr. Yanus reported to a meeting of the American College of Rheumatolgy that an 11 year study of 307 patients evaluated over an 11-year period, showed both physical and psychological problems are commonly associated with Fibromyalgia.
- RIDICULOUS DIAGNOSTIC CRITERIA: Because the standard medical tests for diagnosing fibromyalgia are not so hot, diagnosis focuses on tender points. This means that the medical diagnosis of fibromyalgia is solely based on symptoms; making it a very easy thing to fake for those who would rather collect Social Security Disability than work for a living. In 1990, the American College of Rheumatology established a definitive criteria to diagnose fibromyalgia:
- A history of widespread pain: The pain must be in all four quadrants of the body (e.g. above the waist on both sides; below the waist on both sides of the body) for three months or more.
- Pain at 11 of 18 tender point sites: (the same points that are seen on our site banner at the very top of the page)
- MEDICAL TREATMENTS OFTEN MAKE FIBRO WORSE: Although drugs are the treatment most often used to manage fibromyalgia, scientific research tells us that these frequently wind up MAKING PEOPLE WORSE. That's right. Did you know that Anti-inflammatory drugs actually contribute to LEAKY GUT SYNDROME --- a component of Fibromyalgia shared by virtually 100% (one hundred percent) (all) (the whole enchilada) of its sufferers.
- ENDOCRINE SYSTEM PROBLEMS (FIBRO INCLUDED) AFFECT FAR MORE WOMEN THAN MEN: Although the prevalence of fibromyalgia is thought to be slightly less than five percent of the population, the vast majority of those suffering are women. This is because women seem to be more susceptible to virtually every single endocrine problem on the planet including Adrenal Fatigue, Stress, Blood Sugar Dysregulation, Thyroid Problems, Estrogen Dominance, and Autoimmunity as well. On top of this, women seem to have more GUT DYSFUNCTIONS than men.
- TO HAVE ANY HOPE OF TRULY MANAGING YOUR FIBRO (NOT JUST MASKING IT), YOU'LL HAVE TO TAKE A LEAP OF FAITH: Stepping outside the box can be frightening. Ask yourself a real simple question: How many people do you personally know to be suffering with Fibromyalgia that are getting any sort of real / tangible help from their doctor? Not many. In fact, you can probably cite many who have been made worse by their treatment (see previous two bullet points). If you want to conquer your Fibro (NOT JUST "MANAGE" IT), you will either step outside the box or wither on the vine!
Fibromyalgia is associated with additional symptoms which seem distinct themselves but are actually included in "Fibromyalgia Syndrome ". Other than muscle pain and fatigue, fibromyalgia patients also may struggle with:
- Headaches / MIGRAINES
- Irritable Bowel / Bladder Syndrome / (HERE)
- LEAKY GUT SYNDROME
- Memory Problems ("Fibro Fog")
- Brain Dysfunctions (HERE are several)
- Diffuse Pelvic Pain / INTERTSITIAL CYSTITIS)
- Noise Sensitivity / Light Sensitivity / Temperature Sensitivity (commonly seen with neurological problems of almost any sort)
- Restless Leg Syndrome / Neuropathy (HERE and HERE)
- Depression / Anxiety / Addictions (particularly sugar and junk food)
- Other Endocrine Problems (BLOOD SUGAR REGULATION ISSUES), Estrogen Dominance, Adrenal Insufficiency, POOR THYROID FUNCTION)
- A Predisposition to AUTOIMMUNITY (Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Eczema / Psoriasis, RA, Lupus, etc, etc, etc.)
- Food Sensitivities such as dairy or GLUTEN
DESTROY MIGRAINE HEADACHES
You feel like you have tried everything there is to try. You have had more tests than should be legal. Everyone tells you that other than these "Migraine Headaches" there is really nothing wrong with you. You feel like you cannot go on. Allow me to give you some hope. I believe that there is an answer to everyone's problem ---- it is just a matter of finding it. Find what is causing your headaches, and you can begin to take your life back from the thief.
Believe me; you are not alone in your suffering. An estimated 1 in 6 Americans suffers from regular (daily) HEADACHES, with MIGRAINES affecting nearly 10% of our population. And what does the medical community have to offer you besides drugs? How about more drugs? How about "new" drugs or "different" drugs? But the problem is, you have already tried these drugs. In fact, you have tried just about everything there is to try. Maybe it's time for a new approach.
What about an approach that attempts to uncover the cause of the headache instead of simply covering symptoms? Makes sense, does it not? It's time to start taking your life back from the thief.
WHAT ARE MIGRAINE HEADACHES?
Like almost all NEURO-ENDOCRINE / IMMUNE SYSTEM ISSUES, women are affected much more frequently than men (4 to 1). When symptoms strike, they usually last for at least 4-6 hours and can hang on as long as several days. Although there are a wide variety of symptoms associated with Migraine Headaches, there are two that stick out above all the others; throbbing pain, and relentless nausea. A list of other common Migraine symptoms includes:
SYMPTOMS OF MIGRAINE HEADACHES
- Pain (Frequently Throbbing, and often on One Side of the Head Only)
- Nausea & Vomiting (Sometimes Vomiting will Relieve the Headache)
- Photophobia (Increased Sensitivity to Light)
- Phonophobia (Increased Sensitivity to Sound)
- Odor Sensitivity
- Temperature Sensitivity (Heat and / or Cold are both Common)
- Hypersensitivity to Touch (often seen in FIBROMYALGIA --- a Problem Frequently Associated with Chronic Migraine Headaches)
- Blurred Vision or Other Visual Disturbances
PRODROME, AURA, POSTDROME, AND TRIGGERS
One or two days before a migraine strikes, many people notice subtle changes that might tip them off that a Migraine is on the way. These include, but are not limited to:
- Constipation / Diarrhea (IBS)
- Food Cravings
- Neck Stiffness
Although most Migraine sufferers experience their headache without an "aura," about 30-40% of the Migraine community experience this phenomenon. Auras are usually visual disturbances, but can manifest as sensory, motor, or verbal dysfunctions as well. Each of these symptoms typically begins gradually, builds to a crescendo over several minutes, then lasts up to 30 minutes. Examples of aura include:
- Visual Phenomena (Various Shapes, Spots Before the Eyes (Usually Bright), Rings / "Halos", Flashes of Light
- Vision Loss (Usually not a Total Loss. Could be Loss of One Field of Vision or Peripheral Vision)
- Pins and Needles (Usually in Arm, Leg, or Face)
- Speech or Language Difficulty
Note that many of these symptoms are the same that you will see in a stroke. If you feel anything out of the ordinary ---- particularly a significant worsening of motor function, call 911 immediately.
This is what happens after the Migraine Headache is gone. In the same way that people who have been through a seizure feel exhausted, people who have had a Migraine Headache may feel drained and "washed out" as well. As you can imagine, the whole cycle is not only physically draining, it is also emotionally exhausting; frequently leading to anxiety over the next headache that the suffer knows will be coming soon.
Be aware that a "trigger" is not necessarily the same thing as the "cause". It is the thing that sets the cause, whatever the cause may be, in motion. Common triggers are stress, anxiety, hunger, fatigue, lack of sleep / insomnia, certain chemicals, smells, female hormonal issues, as well as numerous others.
WHAT CAUSES MIGRAINE HEADACHES?
It is critical to remember that the "official" names of headaches and their symptoms are often blurred together ----- i.e. "Cluster" migraines, "Stress" Migraines, "Hormonal" Migraine, "Opthamologic" Migraine, "Retinal" Migraine, and on, and on, and on. Some of these are considered to be "true" Migraines, some are not. Although practically every doctor under the sun will tell you that no one really knows what causes severe headaches (whether they are technically "Migraine" or non-migraine headaches), this is not totally true. We know that people who suffer with severe headaches will almost always have one of their two components ---- sometimes both.
Understanding Inflammation is a huge factor in managing headaches, as well as Fibromyalgia and numerous other Chronic Conditions. If you can control the amounts of inflammatory chemicals coursing through your body, you can frequently control pain and overall health (HERE is a great example that leads us into our next bullet point). However, in the case of many Migraines Headaches, there is a very different underlying cause....
Many times, people fail to hold adjustments due to Microscopic scarring of the Elastic, Collagen-Based Tissues (chiefly FASCIA). In fact, the "SCAR TISSUE" is a major, but almost universally overlooked, cause of Headaches that I would categorize as being under the "Neurological" heading. I am not going to quibble about whether these headaches are, according to "official" classification schemes, truly Migraine Headaches or some other kind of severe headache. Like one of my professors used to say, "Call it Banana Boat for all I care". All I can tell you for certain is that I have been very successfully helping people with all sorts of severe headaches using a form of advanced / intense Tissue Remodeling.
To say that the brain and nerve system are complex is to make an understatement of absurd proportions. When Tissue Remodeling along with appropriate Chiropractic Adjustments do not provide a quick and simple solution to Migraine Headaches, other things must be looked at. The first of these is the Brain and Central Nervous System. In order to understand the battle between your Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nerve Systems, as well as the "Brain Loop", and the relationship to Migraine Headaches (not to mention numerous other health-related problems), please visit our BRAIN-BASED THERAPY page.
As we have already discussed, headaches (including Migraines) have lots of different triggers and causes. However, many researchers believe that the main culprit in many headaches (including Migraines) is Inflammation. SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION is a group of chemicals that make up part of your normal immune system response. When these chemicals are found in normal amounts, everything seems to cruise along just fine. However, when your body begins making too many inflammatory chemicals, an array of bad things begin to happen --- one of which can be Migraines.
Another common trigger of massive Inflammation is Food Sensitivities --- very specifically GLUTEN. AUTOIMMUNITY is another major roadblock to understanding the cause of many Migraine Headaches. This is especially true considering that a minimum of 1 in 5 Americans has an underlying Autoimmune Disease ----- their body is actually attacking itself! Some of the other common ones include BLOOD SUGAR DYSREGULATION, MOLD, CANDIDA, DYSBIOSIS, LEAKY GUT SYNDROME, POOR GUT HEALTH, PARASITES, HEAVY METAL EXPOSURE, HORMONAL IMBALANCES, THYROID PROBLEMS, etc, etc, etc.
My best advice to you would be to get your life in order. No; I'm not talking about making out your will or anything that radical. I'm talking about a complete lifestyle makeover. If you are really interested in getting your life back, HERE is a great starting point. While it certainly may not provide all the answers, it will give you a good foundation to move on from.
COLD LASER CURE
Maybe you think like I used to --- a hopeless Sci-Fi fan since my youth. When I thought of lasers, I thought of James Bond in Goldfinger ---- about to be cut in half by a steel-melting super laser. Or I am reminded of Captain Kirk, Spock, and Bones setting their phasers (lasers) for “stun”. Or maybe I recalled Han Solo blasting his way across the galaxy aboard the Millennium Falcon. Although these are all pictures of lasers, these are definitely not Laser Therapy.
My goal with this website is to give you the straight scoop on Therapeutic Lasers --- Cold Lasers if you will (sometimes referred to as Low Level Lasers); how they work, what they do and do not do, as well as what kind of problems they might help with, etc. So sit back and enjoy the ride!
WHAT IS A LASER?
A source of high-intensity optical, infrared, or ultraviolet radiation (light), produced as a result of stimulated emission maintained within a solid, liquid, or gaseous medium. The photons involved in the emission process all have the same energy and phase so that the laser beam is monochromatic and coherent, allowing it to be brought to a fine focus.
Wheeewww! That was a mouthful! And unless you were a physics major in college, the technical definition above is probably so much gibberish. Forget technical definitions! It is the last part of the last sentence of the definition that I want you to focus on. “The laser beam is coherent, allowing it to be brought to a fine focus.”
Let's say I have a real nice flashlight ----- an expensive Maglite, that can be focused down to a fairly narrow beam. It is a great flashlight that is capable of focusing its light down to a narrow point. But unfortunately, no matter how hard I try to keep the light focused on one particular spot, the light scatters --- a lot. The further the light gets from the flashlight, the more spread out the central beam becomes.
A laser beam is different. It is “coherent”. This simply means that the beam has the ability to remain focused over a distance, as in the picture above. We have all seen this effect with a laser pointer, or in my neck of the Ozarks, a laser projection gun scope. But right now, I know that you are not interested in Laser Pointers, you are wondering about Laser Therapy.
HOW DOES COLD LASER WORK?
MITOCHONDRIA AND THE RELATIONSHIP TO ATP
I know, I know, I know. You have always been told to eat your peas and carrots because they will give you energy. This is only partially true. Just remember that whatever you eat (carbohydrates, proteins, or fats) must first be completely digested and then converted to ATP in order to extract any energy from it. Interestingly enough, the same is true of plants that create ATP from sunlight in a process called photosynthesis. Suffice it to say that without adequate amounts of ATP, living organisms simply cannot get done what they need to get done in order to survive and thrive. On the contrary, abundant supplies of ATP mean that cells have adequate energy to do all the things it must do to stay alive ---- and some leftover for "less critical" functions as well.
It's kind of like being on a strict budget ----- and then winning the lottery. When you are on a tight budget, you plan for each and every expense. You pay your utilities, your rent / mortgage, your vehicle payment, insurance, etc, etc, etc. And at the end of the month, if you have any money left over, you can use it for something other than absolute necessities. You could go out to dinner and a movie, or you could buy yourself a new TV. Or you could do something more practical. You could use extra money to make improvements on your home, or purchase a new set of tires for your vehicle. The bottom line is that extra money at the end of the month is a good thing. After taking care of the essentials, there is still something left over for things considered to be less important as far as survival is concerned. Win the lottery and you not only do not have to worry about the essentials, you have spending money for whatever you want.
Stop for a moment. We have already told you that ATP is the "energy currency" of the cell. What if there were a way to give specific parts of your body some extra spending money, so to speak? What could your body do if it could create more ATP in a local area --- lots more ATP?
More ATP would obviously, at least for the short term, be a great thing. Think about the implications for a moment. More ATP in specific cells means more cellular energy, and more cellular energy means that those specific cells can do all the things that they must do for daily survival ---- and still have energy left over to do other things that go beyond simple survival. Extra energy in the form of ATP can be used by cells, tissues, and organs, to "clean house" (detoxify themselves of accumulated waste products and toxins), repair themselves, regenerate / rebuild themselves, and do all sorts of other things over and above simply "Staying Alive". But how in the world can we make cells create more ATP? Cold Laser Therapy, of course!
NEUROSCIENTISTS LIKE COLD LASER RESEARCHER DR. JUANITA ANDERS SHOWS THAT COLD LASERS SPEED HEALING PROCESS OF INJURED NERVES
"The field of photo therapy, once called laser, is blooming right before our very eyes. There have been multiple studies at NASA that even show that retinal damage can be reversed by photonic stimulation... I know of no other modality that even comes close to the myriad of physiological changes that take place with the laser and yet no adverse effects" Joseph Kleinkort Ph.D., was a founding member of the American College of Orthopedic Medicine as well as serving as the Liaison Officer to the World Safety Organization under the umbrella of the United Nations.
“Light energy has been used for healing since the earliest recorded medical history, but has gone out of favor in Western medicine with the advent of the existing paradigm of a more surgical and pharmacological basis... (Cold Laser) has been an essential part of therapy for practitioners around the world for almost 20 years, but it is only recently catching on in the United States. Still, the vast majority of students of medicine and allied health practices in this country are not being taught its efficacy and use... I have had the opportunity to assist multiple patients with pain management, wound healing and physical recovery… This modality has been the best new technology I have had to offer my patients in the last decade. It is my hope that others will latch onto this technology and bring it forward, for it is a completely non-invasive option that provides so many physiologic advantages with no apparent side effects.” Dr. Jeff Nelson, Director of the Burn and Wound Center at St. Mary’s Hospital in Tucson, Arizona
LASER LIGHT AND INCREASED MITOCHONDRIAL FUNCTION
- There are receptors for neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, acetylcholine, etc)
- There are receptors for hormones (Insulin, various Thyroid Hormones, Estrogen, etc)
- There are receptors for light (AKA "Photo-Receptors")
When the infrared light of a Cold Laser (it is called "cold" because it produces light without any heat) is applied to the spine or affected body part at a frequency of between 600 - 900 nanometers, it causes the cell's Mitochondria to dramatically increase production of ATP. How deeply do Cold Lasers penetrate? Our Cold Laser actually has 5 diodes in the head ---- two that penetrate approximately 4-5 cm (1.5 - 2 inches) and three that penetrate less than that. In an average sized person, there are very few body areas that cannot be reached with the light from our Lasers.
IS COLD LASER A MIRACLE CURE?
NOT EXACTLY; BUT CLOSE!
It is not that Cold Laser Therapy is, in and of itself, a miracle. However, anything that has an ability to "turn on" the power-making machinery in energy-depleted portions of the body so that there is an excess of energy for things other than basic survival, has the potential for producing earth shattering results. This brings us to our next page.
WHAT KINDS OF HEALTH PROBLEMS CAN COLD LASER POTENTIALLY HELP WITH?
European and Japanese doctors have been using Cold Laser extensively for decades. They have the famous Hungarian physician, Dr. Andre Mester to thank for this. During experiments with cancerous rats in 1967, Dr. Mester discovered that certain physiological changes were taking place in the rats treated with lasers. But his lasers were big, bulky, and incredibly expensive. Thankfully, by 1980, the Laser Diode had been invented, making the application of Cold Laser Therapy less cumbersome, more affordable, and much more practical.
In 2010, I decided to purchase a laser for rather selfish reasons. Sure, I had read lots of research and talked with colleagues who had been using them for years. However, I was not convinced that it was something that I really needed in my practice ---- until my hands started hurting. Although I am in excellent physical condition, my hands have taken a real beating from 20 years worth of running a busy chiropractic clinic. I had spoken with Chiropractic Radiologist, Dr. Gary Guebert of St. Louis, about his experience with Cold Laser Therapy (he was cured of a longstanding and frequently debilitating case of PLANTAR FASCIITIS after just one Cold Laser treatment) and became convinced that it was something I needed to do for my hands. Although I was a "Doubting Thomas", within 2-3 three two minute treatments I could tell a dramatic difference.
Then, early in the spring of 2011, my son and I were at one of our local sawmills hauling firewood for our outdoor wood furnace, and I twisted my knee. I honestly thought that I had torn a meniscus (maybe I did). I began searching the internet for information and protocols on using Cold Laser Therapy for knee problems and found the website of Dr. Alexandra Schnee in Dallas, TX. I could not believe the difference that three or four 3-5 minute treatments made! I am finding out that the Cold Laser is truly the perfect complimentary therapy for the Scar Tissue Remodeling work that I have been doing for the past twelve years.
GENERAL EFFECTS OF COLD LASER
Increased Cell Growth: Laser light accelerate cellular reproduction and growth. Amazingly enough, there is a great deal of research showing that Cold Laser actually has the opposite effect on cancer cells ---- slowing down their rate of division.
Increased Metabolic Activity: Laser photons initiate a higher outputs of specific enzymes, immune cells, oxygen, and nutrition for blood cells. I does also mediates a greater production of the only source of energy source for all cells --- ATP.
Pain Relief: Pain Relief is due not only to accelerated healing processes, but is also the result of increased release of endorphins. Many acupuncturists actually use a Cold Laser to treat acupuncture points instead of needles!
Faster Wound Healing: Light from the Cold Laser stimulates cells called fibroblasts, which can speed up collagen synthesis in damaged tissue. This is a bigger deal than you might imagine because Collagen, the most abundant protein in the body, is the building block for muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia, bones, skin, and several other connective tissues. This is why I sometimes recommend Cold Laser follow up for our Tissue Remodeling Treatments.
Increased Cellular Detoxification: Increased ATP is known to provide increased cellular energy for "cellular housekeeping". Clear out the cellular toxicity and the body heals so much easier.
Increased Immune System Function: Numerous studies show that coherent light from a Cold Laser actually stimulates the immune system.
Better Blood: Numerous studies show that Cold Laser is very beneficial to increasing both the amount of blood, as well as increasing the blood's function.
Increased Vascular Activity: Laser photons induce temporary dilation of local blood vessels that can increase blood flow to effected areas. One way it does this is by increasing the good form of NO (Nitric Oxide). Bodybuilders love this stuff because it dramatically speeds up muscle regeneration. But more importantly, Cold Laser has been shown to actually increase the numbers of capillaries in treated tissue, thus bringing more blood (hydration, nutrition, detox, etc) to the treated area on a longer term basis.
Reduced Fibrous Tissue (Scar Tissue) Formation: Lasers have been shown to reduce the formation of FIBROSIS following tissue damage from: cuts, scratches, burns or surgery. If you think that scar tissue is no big deal, think again. The major thrust of my practice is dealing with Chronic Pain Syndromes that are either caused of affected by Scar Tissue Formation.
Stimulated Nerve Function: Laser photon exposure speeds the process of nerve cell reconnection, and helps bring numb or dysfunctional areas (neuropathy) back to life.
Increased Tissue Oxygenation: Laser has been shown to increase oxygenation via increased levels of cellular ATP. For more information on the importance of Oxygen in the healing process, visit BRAIN-BASED THERAPY, MISSOURI
Anti-Inflammatory Actions: Cold Laser Therapy has been shown in numerous studies to decrease inflammation. Be aware that although many people believe it to be true, inflammation is not synonymous with swelling --- it's much more serious than that. Inflammation is a largely "systemic" chemical issue that causes all sorts of problems (swelling is one of many). This probably helps explain why Cold Laser Therapy can help so many different problems.
Laser Acupuncture: Be aware that there are dozens of studies touting the fact that Cold Laser Therapy actually stimulates acupuncture points in a similar fashion to needles or other methods.
SPECIFIC CONDITIONS THAT MAY BE
HELPED BY COLD LASER
- KNEE PROBLEMS: This could mean anything from a Torn Meniscus to a post-surgical rehab (if you have actually "blown out" your knee, you will most likely still need surgery). Cold Laser Therapy has even been shown to help people suffering with pain due to degenerative arthritis. There are over 25 studies on this specific topic. It is more critical than you ever believed to AVOID KNEE SURGERY.
- PLANTAR FASCIITIS: If you have first-step-in-the-morning-pain, you have Plantar Fasciitis. This stuff can be debilitating! And if you have tried the cortico-steroid injections and anti-inflammation pills, you already know that they do not work. Board Certified Chiropractic Radiologist, Dr. Gary Guebert, of St Louis told me of his experience with Chronic Plantar Fasciitis and Cold Laser Therapy. He was one of many subjects in a research project at Logan College of Chiropractic. Although he had a very longstanding and chronic case of Plantar Fasciitis that he had literally tried "everything" for; a single Cold Laser treatment actually fixed his problem permanently.
- TENDINOPATHIES: Tendinopathy is the generic name given to various tendon problems. Far and away, the most common tendon problem we treat is tendinitis (which is actually now known as "TENDINOSIS"). Cold Laser Therapy is tremendous for tendon problems; particularly in conjunction with our clinic's specific work with Tendinitis / Tendinosis.
- CHRONIC NECK PAIN: Although Chiropractic Adjustments and breaking FASCIAL ADHESIONS are extremely effective for getting rid of (or at least dramatically diminishing) the majority of CHRONIC NECK PAIN, Cold Laser Therapy is an excellent adjunct for the extremely stubborn cases.
- CHRONIC LOW BACK PAIN (DISC HERNIATION) & SCIATICA: Disc Herniations are epidemic in the United States. And let's face it. How many people are shouting "Halleluiah" because their back surgery went so well? Cold Laser is always part of our SPINAL DECOMPRESSION THERAPY PROTOCOLS.
- SHOULDER PROBLEMS: I treat lots of various SHOULDER PROBLEMS with Tissue Remodeling Work. However, the Cold Laser allows for far deeper penetration (nearly two inches) than any form of body work that I am aware of.
- HIP PROBLEMS: Hip problems, including arthritis are dog common. Scientific studies show that Cold Laser Therapy helps.
- DEGENERATIVE ARTHRITIS / RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS: DEGENERATIVE ARTHRITIS is not hereditary! It is caused by a combination of poor nutrition and abnormal biomechanics over time (abnormal or loss of joint motion). Although there is no "cure" for Degenerative Arthritis (often called "Osteoarthritis" or even erroneously, "DJD" -- Degenerative Joint Disease), there is a boatload of Scientific Research showing the effectiveness of Cold Laser Therapy for Degenerative Joints. I have heard it said that there are over 170 different types of arthritis. The plain truth is that Cold Laser helps speed up the Regeneration Process of Collagen --- the building block for all connective tissues, including bone and cartilage.
- BUTT PAIN / SCIATICA / PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME: This website's number one page (several thousand visitors a week) is about PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME. Even though it is almost universally ignored / misunderstood by the medical majority, it is an epidemic (especially in the female population) that causes or contributes to as much as 40% of all sciatica.
- BURSITIS: For the past decade I have been telling people that the vast majority of what is diagnosed as bursitis by the medical community is actually TENDINOSIS or FASCIAL ADHESIONS. However, I occasionally see real cases of bursitis. These are the people with hugely swollen joint bursae (the small fluid filled sacs that protect bones and tendons from each other).
- OSGOOD SCHLATTER'S SYNDROME: In ten years of doing Tissue Remodeling Treatments, I have never once had a case of OSGOOD SCHLATTER SYNDROME that could not be resolved quickly and easily with this form of treatment.
- CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME: Sometimes CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME is a local problem that can be solved with our Tissue Remodeling Treatments, and Cold Laser Therapy. Sometimes it is just a small component of a greater systemic Autoimmune problem that may require Brain-Based Therapy to correct.
- POST SURGICAL PAIN & REHAB: Wow! This topic covers a lot of ground. Suffice it to say that if you read about the way that Cold Laser Therapy works, you will totally understand why it should be part of every post-surgical rehab program. Period! I am not the only person saying this, as there is an abundance of research on the topic. There is a large amount of peer-reviewed medical research on the subject as well. There is also a significant amount of research talking about the ability of Cold Laser Therapy to increase the number of blood vessels in tissue, decrease inflammation, increase osteoblastic, fibroblastic / chondroblastic activity (increased capacity to build / repair bone, tissue, and cartilage), and numerous others.
- FACE PAIN & TMJ (JAW PAIN): If you suffer with TMJ, you know how tricky they can be. Sometimes Cold Laser Therapy works. Sometimes our Tissue Remodeling Treatment works well for TMJ as well.
- DeQUERVAIN'S SYNDROME: DeQuervain's Syndrome is really just a Tendinosis of the thumb extensor muscles. I have never had a case I could not fix or at least make a huge change in (See our DeQUERVAIN'S SYNDROME PAGE).
- DENTAL ISSUES: Wow! The amount of research on Cold Laser Therapy for Dental Problems and healing of the mouth, is off the chart! If you are having an inability to heal something in your mouth, consider Cold Laser Therapy.
- PROSTATE: How many men out there are suffering terribly with BPH (Benign Prostate Hypertrophy)? I know several men personally who have had their lives turned upside down by this problem. Be aware that for the majority of the male population, the application of this therapy is not exactly a "pleasant" experience.
- ILLIOTIBIAL BAND SYNDROME: This can cause pain on the lateral leg, the hip area, or the outer knee. OUR ITB PAGE.
- FIBROMYALGIA & CHRONIC NON-SPECIFIC PAIN: Fibromyalgia is serious stuff! McGill University recently published research that stated, For more on Fibromyalgia, visit DESTROY FIBROMYALGIA.
- CHRONIC TRIGGER POINTS: TRIGGER POINTS are marble-sized, bundles of knotted muscle tissue. Sometimes they are related to Fascial Adhesions, sometimes they are not. If they are, they can be treated with Tissue Remodeling.
- DUPUYTREN'S CONTRACTURE (HAND): This is a Myofascial Contracture of the palmar aspect of the hand. See our DUPUYTREN'S CONTRACTURE PAGE.
- SPORTS INJURIES: Think of it like this. Huge numbers of Sports Injuries involve PULLED OR TORN MUSCLES, LIGAMENT INJURIES, FASCIAL TEARS AND ADHESIONS, and / or TENDON PROBLEMS. These are a few of the things that our website is specifically about. However, if you have been paying attention, you should realize that Cold Laser Therapy is a beautiful modality to improve the healing process. Lance Armstrong credits his Chiropractor (Dr. Jeff Spencer) with helping him win a record 7 times. The only piece of equipment that Dr. Spencer brought with him was a Cold Laser.
- BRAIN-BASED THERAPY / NEUROLOGICAL INJURY or DISEASE: To truly understand our Brain-Based Therapy, you will have to go to BRAIN BASED THERAPY MISSOURI. Needless to say, there is abundant research on Cold Laser Therapy for everything from DEPRESSION to NEUROPATHY and almost everything in between.
- CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE & CANCER: Sure, CANCER is scary, but the #1 killer in America is Heart Disease / Stroke. There are several studies on both. Just so we are clear on this, Cold Laser Therapy is NOT a cure for either condition!
- SKIN PROBLEMS / RASHES / SCARS / ACNE: This is truly a mind-bender! How many kids have tried all sorts of expensive and dangerous treatments for acne (including long term antibiotic use)? The skin is the largest organ in your body. SKIN PROBLEMS almost always reflect a lack of health in other areas as well.
- MALE & FEMALE INFERTILITY: SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION is absurdly common in America. This is another tool in the toolbox for solving it.
- WHIPLASH: Please realize that Whiplash Associated Disorders (WAD) are not relegated solely to Chronic Neck Pain and Headaches (although they can certainly be a big part of it). WHIPLASH causes FASCIAL ADHESIONS which, by restricting joint motion over time, actually leads to DEGENERATIVE ARTHRITIS. Be aware that more serious whiplash injuries are going to require Brain-Based Therapy.
THE SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH ON
COLD LASER THERAPY
Because they do not create heat, Cold Lasers have been deemed safe by the FDA. Due to their relatively lower power output, Cold Laser Therapy with a Class III Laser Device does not cause tissue damage that can occur with the higher powered Class IV devices used for surgery that do produce heat. The main concern with Cold Laser use is not to shine it in the eyes. Although you can see in David Rindge's Cold Laser Research Library, there are dozens of studies on treating eyes with Cold Laser Therapy, it must be done in a very specific manner so as not to burn the retina. We might have the patient wear a special kind of sunglasses and have anyone with them leave the room for a few minutes during treatment.
Cold Laser Therapy has been in use since 1967 in Eastern Europe. Although it is rather "unknown" in America, Cold Laser Therapy has been researched and used extensively by Europe's medical establishment. It has also been embraced by both the Chinese and Japanese as well.
I assure you that if you ask your doctor about Cold Laser Therapy, one of two things will happen. He will either have a glazed over, deer-in-the-headlights look because he has no idea what you are talking about; or he will get visibly upset and start throwing around words like "Voodoo", "Pixie dust" or "Witchdoctor". Pay no attention to either reaction. The truth is that there is enough Scientific Research on Cold Laser Therapy to keep him reading for months if he cared to do so. In fact, current estimates are that between 250 - 300 peer-reviewed Scientific Studies on the effects of Cold Laser Therapy are being published each year!
Although I have seen several websites that contain large numbers of Scientific Studies concerning the use of Cold Lasers, David Rindge (RN) of Healing Light Seminars website takes the cake. Rindge has done everyone a huge service by compiling and organizing by topic (in alphabetical order) an absolutely amazing Laser Research Library that contains literally hundreds (probably thousands) of peer-reviewed scientific studies from around the world on the various benefits of Cold Laser Therapy. Not only that, but the site is updated weekly. If you have any doubts about the efficacy of Cold Laser Therapy, or if you are wondering if it could potentially help you with a specific health issue, simply visit the Cold Laser Research Library! By the way, every claim made on this website about the ability of Cold Laser Therapy to be able to accomplish a certain thing is backed up by peer-reviewed studies from this site
COLD LASER RESEARCH
WHY I LOVE BEING A CHIROPRACTOR
You see, in 1979 Dorpha and her husband were hit by a milk truck. He was killed outright and she was nearly killed --- the entire right half of her body a mass of broken bones and crushed body parts. Dorpha eventually discovered just how much adjustments could help her and comes to see me when she feels she needs that "tuneup". She is one of those people who always brightens my day.
At Schierling Chiropractic, LLC I have the privilege of treating people with a wide variety of problems (HERE). The thing that I love more than anything else is giving hope to the hopeless. So many of the people I see have been given up on by the medical community. They are often told that there is no solution to their problem --- that is, no solution other than taking lots and lots of drugs. Or often, they are just told that their problems are all age-related. I realize that all of us are getting older a day at a time. I also realize that drugs are harmful whether pushed or prescribed.
We help people climb out from under their seemingly "no-win" situations. I have several patients who, believe it or not, are being helped with neurological problems like Parkinson's ---- just because they changed their diets and went Gluten Free (HERE). Like I tell my patients --- I do my thing but it's God who does the healing. Relieving pain, restoring health, removing despair, and replacing it with hope. It's not just my job, it's my life's mission; my purpose --- the reason I was called to do what I do.
And along the way I get to meet people like Dorpha.
HOME OF THE BRAIN-GUT-HORMONAL-IMMUNE SYSTEM CONNECTION
The body should function like a world-class orchestra that is being directed by a famous maestro --- the Brain. As long as it is all working together, life flows forth like beautiful music. But just like a musician who is playing a wrong part ruins the entire orchestra, body systems that are out of sync with each other throw the entire body into disarray. The once-beautiful symphony can quickly disintegrate into an unlistenable cacophony of noise.
The fact that humans recognize a precision balance within the body is nothing new. It was the Psalmist, David (yes, the same David that killed Goliath), who wrote, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made". Whether CREATIONIST OR EVOLUTIONIST, today's highly educated medical community realizes this as well. The problem is that they are all too often asking the wrong questions. For example, it's all too easy to look at a blood test and make a diagnosis of "hypothyroid" (increased blood levels of TSH). The real question though is why? What is it that is causing TSH levels to increase? Restoring health has to be understood in terms of uncovering underlying causes, not just treating (covering) symptoms. Face it, if covering symptoms worked, you wouldn't be reading this post at 3 am.
Yes, modern medicine realizes that the patient above is loosing Thyroid function. But "why" is the fundamental question that seems to remain perpetually unasked. And while it's true that replacing hormones will sometimes restore blood levels of certain hormones to so-called "normal" values, this approach does not address what is causing the gland(s) to malfunction in the first place. The best approach involves attempting to figure out why the gland is malfunctioning, and moving forward from there.
It's easy to prescribe HORMONES, ANTIDEPRESSANTS, PAIN PILLS, MUSCLE RELAXERS, NSAIDS, CORTICOSTEROIDS, and who knows what other kinds of drugs, but are these really addressing the various things that can either suppress or over-excite Endocrine or Immune System function?
What about some of the things that are known to adversely effect the neuro-endocrine system? VIRUSES, MOLD, YEAST, BACTERIAL OVERGROWTH, poor ratios of the various organisms found in your Gut (DYSBIOSIS or PARASITES), AUTOIMMUNITY, ANEMIA, LEAKY GUT SYNDROME, food sensitivities / intolerances (think GLUTEN here), CHEMICAL EXPOSURE, ALUMINUM TOXICITY, HEAVY METALS, HEAD INJURIES, etc, etc, etc........ All these can cause various degrees of Endocrine Dysfunction --- some of them debilitating. If you have dealt with chronic health problems of any sort, you probably realize that many of the things on this list are all but ignored by today's medical establishment. But should they be?
Dr. Aristo Vojdani wrote in the foreword to Dr Datis Kharrazian's "Thyroid Book" that, "The idea that environmental factors, in particular, infectious agents, may cause severe thyroid disorder has been in the literature since the 1940's". Wow! If Drs. Vojdani and Kharazzian are correct in their premise that "environmental factors" and "infectious agents" can in fact cause severe disorders of the body's various Endocrine Glands (including Thyroid), can the vast number of Americans suffering with their vast array of Chronic Conditions ever hope to gain relief and restore health within the confines of the "Medical Box"? In order to answer this question, stand in a public place and simply look around you. Despite untold amounts of public and private monies being poured into the sieve we call "HEALTHCARE"; and despite billions upon billions of dollars being poured into MEDICAL RESEARCH, the answer to this question is painfully obvious.
WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH THE INFORMATION IN TODAY'S POST?
I will warn you. The information in today's post will be a shock to many of you. For others, it might provide a small glimmer of hope. But the question remains, what will you do with it? There are several different paths you could follow.
- Some of you will play the "Ostrich Game" and bury your heads in the sand. It's just easier to keep moving in the same old direction. I understand ---- change is far too difficult.
- Some of you will discount what you are reading outright. After all, it's being written by a durn chiroquacktor --- an Ozarker at that!
- Some of you will question your doctor. Great. I tell everyone to question anything and everything that any doctor tells them ---- including me! Just be aware that unless your doctor is actually staying current with the latest cutting edge research, he / she will not likely agree with much of this. That's OK because....
- Some of you will do your own research. Even better! I not only suggest you do this; I provide some excellent resources to get you started. Knowledge is power, and if you want to have any hope of regaining your health, you will make yourself an expert on your particular problem. I truly love patients who research.
- Finally, there is a small group of you who will embark on a journey ---- a journey that will start moving them out of the "Medical Box" --- the box they have been living, floundering, and suffering in for far too long. Tremendous! I applaud their courage! These individuals will soon start to see the singularity of the Nervous System, Endocrine System, Gut, and Immune System. A "singularity" simply means that these all related and intertwined at such a deep level, you cannot always tell where one system ends and the other begins. Thus, the odd name of this Blog Post, Endogut.
DIGESTION & ABSORPTION
ENDOCRINE HORMONES MANUFACTURED IN THE GUT
Unfortunately, this is all too common here in America. Furthermore, your weight is only one of many aspects of your health ---- albeit a visible one --- that will go south as digestion goes south. As you read this post, you will quickly recognize that dysregulation of BLOOD SUGAR. In fact, some of the most cutting-edge research on the planet is now pointing to the fact that Dysglycemia is not only the root of most endocrine / gut problems, it is the root of most health problems period (HERE)!
- SECRETION: Delivery of enzymes, mucus, ions and the like into the lumen (the inside of the tube), and hormones into blood.
- ABSORPTION: Transport of water, ions and nutrients from the lumen, across the epithelium and into blood. This is where INCREASED INTESTINAL PERMEABILITY occurs.
- MOTILITY: Contractions of smooth muscle in the wall of the tube that crush, mix and propel its contents through the tube that is your Digestive System.
OVERVIEW OF DIGESTION
Digestion is simply the process of food being broken down into small enough particles so that they can be absorbed by the body. Digestion is a somewhat different process for the three types of foods --- proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
Don't panic. We are not going to go into a lot of crazy detail here. Just remember a few simple facts. One of the most important is that the products of digestion (Amino Acids, Glucose, and Fatty Acids) are then used by the body as building blocks for everything it makes.
- AMINO ACIDS: Amino Acids build proteins. Things like muscles, collagen, many hormones, neurotransmitters, immune system antibodies, etc, are made of proteins. In fact, proteins are what the majority of the solids inside of your body's cells are made up of. Because of this fact, lots of potential health problems can be either solved or avoided altogether by consuming enough protein --- something that can be not necessarily impossible, but exceedingly difficult to do as a vegan. It takes a lot of very (emphasis on very) strong stomach acid to properly break down proteins.
- GLUCOSE: Glucose is the simple sugar that your body uses to convert into cellular energy in the form of ATP. The Glycemic Index measures the speed at which various carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, as indicated by their "Glycemic Load". You want to eat carbs that are low and slow (namely VEGETABLES). For the record, 25% of your body's entire glucose production is used by the brain.
- FATTY ACIDS & LIPIDS: Fatty acids & Lipids can be broken down into glucose, but are also used to make cell membranes as well as things like nerve sheaths, steroid hormones, CHOLESTEROL, (not the demon it's usually portrayed as) and others. Cell membranes are made up of a lipid bi-layer (a double layer of fatty acids) that is selectively permeable. This means that it lets certain things in the cells while keeping other things out. It is important to remember that TRANS FATS create "stupid cell membranes" --- membranes that are no longer as "selective" as they should be.
How and where does digestion occur?
Digestion begins in the mouth. Chewing breaks food into smaller particles so that chemicals and enzymes can begin to work. Enzymes in saliva begin to digest starches, and mucous helps lubricate and hold the chewed food in a clump called a bolus. The tongue then pushes food to back where it can be swallowed. Swallowing is accomplished by reflexes that close the opening to the trachea (the windpipe) so that you don't end up with a cheeseburger and fries in your lungs.
When the food hits the stomach it triggers stretch receptors that tell your lower brainstem (Medulla Oblongata) to begin secreting Gastrin. Gastrin begins mixing with Hydrochloric Acid (HCl) and tells the stomach to start making digestive juices. This mixture is churned by the muscular walls of the stomach into a mixture called chyme. Be aware that HCl is what makes the stomach acidic ---- extremely acidic. As I said earlier, it is virtually impossible to have too much or too strong stomach acid (it happens in people that have a specific kind of brain tumor).
Strong stomach acid does several things (according to Guyton, it should be less than 1 on a pH scale). It's a major line of defense against pathogenic bacteria, viruses, molds, yeasts, parasites, etc. It also converts something called pepsinogen into the chief digestive enzyme for digesting proteins --- pepsin. Be aware that the stomach has a mucous lining that keeps you from getting burned by HCl due to ulcers.
Ulcers are caused by gastric juices and Hydrochloric Acid penetrating the mucous lining of the stomach or duodenum and actually beginning to digest the stomach itself. Although it has been common knowledge to followers of Standard Processes' Royal Lee since the 1920's (HERE), even the medical community has recently been forced to admit that ulcers are actually caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. This bacteria cannot live in the extremely acidic environment of the stomach. However, when the acidity of the stomach begins to wain and its pH goes up, the bacteria can take hold and even thrive (HERE or HERE). Once the colony of bacteria is large enough, it takes over portions of the stomach lining, preventing it from secreting mucous, which causes the stomach to become susceptible to the digestive action of pepsin.
Chyme (the slurry of partially digested food) then enters the duodenum --- the first part of the small intestine --- in tiny spurts, through the Pyloric Sphincter. At this point, proteins and carbohydrates are only partially digested and fat digestion has not really started. The pancreas kicks into high gear, producing both Pancreatic Juice & Insulin.
Pancreatic Juice is dumped into the duodenum and neutralizes the acid from the stomach. It contains digestive enzymes (Amylases) that are used to break down starch. Pancreatic Juice also contains the Digestive Enzymes, Trypisn and Chymotrypsin for the digesting of proteins, as well as an enzyme (Lipase) for breaking down fats. The Duodenum is also where the bile that is manufactured in the Liver, but stored in the Gallbladder, is dumped into the system. Bile "emulsifies" fats (creates more surface area by separating large globs into lots of tiny droplets) so that it can mix with water and be acted upon by enzymes.
Side Note: Be aware the if the chyme does not contain strong enough HCl, the Duodenum senses this and does not allow the Pyloric Sphincter Valve to open and let the chyme pass into the Small Intestine. The lack of HCl also prevents the food from fully digesting. Instead it goes through a process called "Puterefaction" (a cross between rotting and fermentation). Because the mash is itself is extremely acidic, as it is churned by the stomach (reflux) it tends to burn. As you can imagine, there is frequently foul-smelling belching and bloating (gas) associated with this process, along with heartburn and copious prescriptions of ACID BLOCKER DRUGS KNOWN AS PPI'S.
- The hormone, “Secretin” is stimulated by acidic chyme from stomach. It's twofold function is to stimulate the pancreas to produce sodium bicarbonate to neutralize the acidic chyme. It also stimulates the liver to secrete bile.
- The hormone “CCK” is produced when the presence of food stimulates production. It then stimulates the gallbladder to release bile and the pancreas to produce pancreatic enzymes.
- Food in the duodenum stimulates certain endocrine cells to produce GIP (Gastric Inhibitory Peptide). It has the opposite effects of gastrin; it inhibits gastric glands in the stomach and it inhibits the mixing and churning movement of stomach muscles. This slows the rate of stomach emptying when the duodenum contains food.
- The liver detoxifies blood from the intestines that it receives via the hepatic portal vein.
- The liver stores glucose as glycogen (animal starch) and breaks down glycogen to release glucose as needed. This storage-release process maintains a constant glucose concentration in the blood (.1%). If glycogen and glucose run short, proteins can be converted to glucose.
- It manufactures blood proteins.
- It destroys old red blood cells and converts hemoglobin from these cells to bilirubin, a component of bile.
- Ammonia produced by the digestion of proteins is converted to a less toxic compound (urea) by the liver.
The small intestine is approximately 27 feet long. To create more surface area (just like in the stomach), it contains numerous ridges and furrows (wrinkles). These wrinkles contain numerous finger-like projections called villi that function to further increase the surface area of the intestine. Individual villus cells are also covered with finger-like projections microvilli which increase absorptive surface area many times over (HERE). Digestive enzymes are embedded within the membrane of the microvilli. The total absorptive surface area of the Small Intestine is equivalent to 500 or 600 square yards. Each villus contains blood vessels and a lymph vessel, as this is the point where digestion ends, and absorption begins.
The junctions between the individual cells in the small intestine are said to be "tight". If for any reason they are not tight (usually a byproduct of Inflammation run amok --- remember the previous list), partially digested food particles, bacteria, viruses, mold, fungi, and all sorts of other "nasties", are allowed to enter the blood stream. This is called Leaky Gut Syndrome and is practically endemic in modern America (more to come in a bit) --- especially in those with chronic health conditions.
Absorption is a critical function of the small intestine. Glucose and amino acids are actively transported into the intestinal cells, where they are picked up by capillaries (small blood vessels). Glycerol and fatty acids produced by the digestion of fat enter the villi by diffusion, and are then reassembled into fat (triglycerides).
LARGE INTESTINE (COLON)
The colon receives nearly 3 gallons of water per day. Half a gallon comes from food and the rest comes from the various secretions into the gut. Ninety five percent of this water is reabsorbed. Be aware that even slight dehydration can adversely affect digestion (think about why ---- HCl is Hydro [water] chloric acid).
The large intestine also absorbs sodium and other ions but it excretes other metallic ions into the wastes. According to some researchers, a properly working and healthy Gut contains bacteria that can actually produce most of the vitamins your body needs (HERE). The last 8 inches of the large intestine is the rectum. Feces is composed of approximately 75% water and 25% solids. Believe it or not, one-third of the solid mass is intestinal bacteria. The rest is indigestible food (FIBER).
It is important for the person dealing with Chronic Conditions to at least have a general understanding of digestion / absorption. Knowledge is power, and if you really want to have any hope of getting better, you have to take the bull by the horns and become proactive. Taking charge of your health has to be something that YOU do for yourself. Not something that you let your doctor do FOR you.
IMMUNE SYSTEM FUNCTION
"HEALTHY FLORA" -vs- "UNHEALTHY FLORA"
If you have followed my blog, you are aware of how important the "Good Bacteria" are when it comes to health. Your whole body contains about 100 Trillion cells. Believe it or not, your gut contains about ten times that number of between 500 and several thousand species of bacteria. The majority of these bacteria are not only "Good", they are critical to your immune system function and overall health. Let's see why your Gut Flora is sometimes called "The Forgotten Organ".
- THEY MANUFACTURE VITAMINS: They make Biotin -- one of the B vitamins as well as Vitamin K. As I said earlier, many researchers believe a healthy MICROBIOME can produce all the vitamins you need except Vitamin D (which you get from the sun) and Vitamin C.
- THEY PRODUCE ENERGY: Good Bacteria can utilize energy from unused materials via the process of fermentation. Some fermentation is great. However, too much fermentation and you have a problem on your hands. In a Dysbiotic Gut, food will tend to be fermented as opposed to digested. Cancer is a fermenter as well (HERE).
- THEY "TRAIN" THE IMMUNE SYSTEM: Research published in the Jan 2010 issue of Nature Medicine, from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, shows us that the gut's good flora keep the immune system locked, cocked, and ready to rock. Senior author Jeffrey N. Weiser, M.D. likens this process to the performance differences between cold engines and warm engines. If the Immune System is already warmed up by "good bacteria", it can better cope with the various attacks against your body. As you might imagine, antibiotics prevent an immune system from "idling". Be aware that many people see Childhood Diseases (measles, mumps, chicken pox, etc) in the same way. They actually "train" and develop the Immune System (HERE).
- THEY PREVENT OVERGROWTH OF PATHOGENIC ("BAD") BACTERIA: There are so-called "bad" bacteria that live in harmony with the good bacteria. Keep in mind that we have to have certain amounts of all these bacteria in our system in order to stay healthy. The problems start when the two sides get out of balance. Too many bad bacteria is called Dysbiosis. Experts are showing us that we are killing off our good bacteria so fast, we are wiping out entire species ---- forever (SEE HERE). There are severe consequences for doing this. THIS and THIS help explain why simply taking Probiotics is not always the simple solution it's been made out to be. It's also why you need to avoid antibiotics like the deadly plague they are (HERE).
- THEY PREVENT OVERGROWTH OF OTHER PATHOGENIC ("BAD") ORGANISMS: There are a host of critters out there that we do not want in here. Some of these include Yeasts (Candida is a biggie), Molds, Fungus, Parasites, Protozoa, etc. Good bacteria actually keep these in check. Women understand this better than anyone (vaginal yeast infections after using antibiotics). The real problem, however, is not vaginal yeast; it's Systemic Yeast (blood-borne yeast infections). What do you think happens when yeast (or the toxic chemicals yeast produces) get into the blood stream? How about a Leaky Gut or some Fibromyalgia?
- THEY CONVERT 20% OF YOUR BODY'S INACTIVE THYROID HORMONE (T4) TO THE ACTIVE FORM (T3): Hypothyroidism affects a minimum of 10% of America's population (some experts claim the number is double that). Dysbiosis is a huge contributing factor in this because it inhibits the rate of conversion of Thyroid hormones.
- THEY DEGRADE METHYL MERCURY --- THE MOST TOXIC FORM OF MERCURY: MERCURY is the single most toxic non-radioactive element on the planet. To get it out of your body, it must be converted into a form that cannot be stored in your fatty tissues. Good Bacteria do this.
Although I heavily promote restoration of the Normal Gut Flora in my clinic by taking PROBIOTICS (HSO's -- Homeostatic Soil Organisms; the same bacteria found in organic soil), for many people, simply taking probiotics is not enough. One of the reasons that it can be difficult (impossible) to think that you can simply take probiotics and restore good bacteria has to do with bio-films (see next link). Bio-films are microscopically thin membranes that are thrown up by colonies of bad bacteria to be used as a barrier or wall against anything trying to destroy it.. These membranes make it exceedingly difficult for the Immune System cells to get at them in order to kill them.
There are natural treatments that can disrupt the biofilms enough to kill the overgrown pathogenic colonies, but some of these can be temporarily harsh and may provoke something known as a "HERXHEIMER REACTION". This is the body's reaction to too many toxins being released into the system all at once. No, it will not kill you, although it might leave you with cold-like (or even flu-like) symptoms for a few days. The Herxheimer Reaction is caused by an overload of your body's filtration systems (primarily liver, kidneys, and lymphatics) as it struggles to get rid of the toxic residue of quantum amounts of dead bacteria. The bottom line is that effective treatment of Dysbiosis can sometimes leave you feeling temporarily worse.
HOW DO PEOPLE DESTROY THEIR GOOD BACTERIA & END UP WITH TO MANY OF THE BADDIES? ANTIBIOTICS!
Although there are numerous factors that cause imbalances in the Good Bacteria - Bad Bacteria ratio (NSAIDs, the pill, HRT, Systemic Inflammation, Chronic Stress, weakened Immune system, systemic infections, poor sleep habits, not eating healthy foods, vitamin / mineral deficiencies, etc), the primary culprit is using Antibiotics. And although Antibiotics start the process and get the Dysbiosis ball rolling, the thing that feeds it and keeps the ball rolling is the massive over-consumption of processed carbs, GRAINS, SUGAR, and even high Glycemic Index fruits (HERE).
The Centers for Disease Control admits that approaching half of America's hundreds of millions of yearly antibiotic prescriptions are completely unnecessary. Many experts say that the actual number of unnecessary antibiotics is higher than that --- much higher. I have seen estimates that the number is closer to 90%. Antibiotics were invented as a stop-gap measure to save lives when all else had failed. The more you use antibiotics, the weaker you make your own immune system. If you go online right now, you can find study after study that proves the scientific community is worried ("freaking out" might be a more accurate term) over the fact that we are causing extinction of various strains of good bacteria, and causing the rise of "SUPER BUGS" at the same time! So why aren't the prescription habits of the doctors in your town changing. Ask them, not me.
THE BRAIN-GUT CONNECTION
GUT / BRAIN CONNECTION:
- ENTERIC NERVOUS SYSTEM CONTROL: The Enteric Nervous System is the Digestive System's own private nerve system that regulates the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and colon. It helps push food along with peristaltic contractions as well as controlling the absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream. And, as we talked about previously, it protects the body against harmful bacteria, yeasts, parasites, fungi, undigested particles of food, heavy metals, and toxins of all sorts, that can enter the blood stream along with completely digested food. By the way, when the body can no longer control this situation, it is referred to as Increased Intestinal Permeability or Leaky Gut Syndrome.
- CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM CONTROL: The brain does not give up total control of the of "The Gut" (digestive tract). One of the cranial nerves (Vagus) comes off the Medulla Oblongata of the lower brainstem to control the parasympathetic innervation (the part of the nervous system that promotes good bowel moments and good digestion) to the gut. To see why this is important, read on.
- FIGHT OR FLIGHT -- SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE: The body has two nerve systems --- sympathetic and the part we talked about in the previous bullet, the parasympathetic. 99% of the time, your body should be in parasympathetic mode -- relaxation. Due to constant stress (emotional stress, dietary stress, physical stress, etc), many people end up with their Adrenal Glands in the "ON" position, and the body in a constant "Fight or Flight" (sympathetic) response. The body will not only not digest food, it will either expel it (diarrhea / vomiting) or shut down the digestion process to the degree it can (constipation). For more on this phenomenon, see HERE.
- THE GUT TRIGGERS ACUTE IMMUNE RESPONSES: We are learning that the gut is important for immune response via the good bacteria that make a home there and provide the vast majority of your body's Immune System power. However, we must also be aware that the gut can trigger mast cells in the lining of the small intestine and colon to release histamine. This causes an Inflammatory response that attracts immune cells from the blood stream into the area.
- NEUROTRANSMITTERS: Acetylcholine, norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin are all found in the gut. And not only are they found there, it is estimated that as much as 95% of the body's serotonin is made in the gut (HERE). Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps give people "good" feelings --- feelings of well-being. It plays a critical part in the communication between the brain and the gut (this is why people who take Prozac and other SSRI ANTIDEPRESSANTS will often experience digestive problems like diarrhea or constipation that can be stimulated by excessive serotonin).
ALLERGIES, SENSITIVITIES, & LEAKY GUT SYNDROME
A Food Sensitivity, on the other hand, is frequently defined as being milder than an Allergy because it is said that the Immune System is not actually attacking the offending food. This, however, is not completely true. Food Sensitivities affect at least 1/3 of the population, and do so via Immune System reactions. These reactions are not typically as immediate as they are in a Food Allergy, but they can be just as severe, affect any and all body systems --- often in ways that are seemingly unrelated, and last for days (even weeks). Because they do not happen immediately, people will often live a lifetime suffering from a Food Sensitivity and never realize what it is. Why? How many doctors are talking about this? Fortunately for the general population, a few are. The most common food sensitivities include:
Although I tend to use the words "Sensitivity" and "Intolerance" synonymously, this is not technically accurate. Food Intolerances are best understood in terms of Lactose Intolerance. People do not have the enzyme (Lactase) to deal with Milk Sugar (Lactose), so they react. The reactions are typically characterized by bloating, loose stools, constipation, diarrhea, and gas. Give people the proper enzyme and the problem is solved.
How do you know if you have Food Allergies, Sensitivities, or Intolerances? To know for certain do an ELIMINATION DIET. If Food Sensitivities (or other triggers) continue unchecked, the result is going to be unbridled Inflammation. As you know from previous links, Inflammation is not simply swelling. It is a group of chemicals that attacks your body from every conceivable angle. One of the chief areas that is attacked is the Gut.
Any time the gut is over-run by inflammatory mediators, you will have problems ---- big problems. The leader of the pack, so to speak, is Leaky Gut Syndrome. Leaky Gut Syndrome (along with Leaky Brain, Leaky Lung, Leaky Cord, Leaky Nerve, etc) is characterized by an "Increased Permeability" of the mucosal layer of the small intestine. Increased Intestinal Permeability (The medical community's word for Leaky Gut Syndrome) means that things that should not get into the blood stream do get into the blood stream. When this happens, huge problems are created.
Leaky Gut Syndrome (along with Leaky Brain Syndrome, Leaky Lung Syndrome, and other similar "LEAKIES") are huge roadblocks to getting healthy. When the Immune System chemicals that we collectively refer to as "Inflammation" build to critical mass, they start wreaking havoc on the body. Unfortunately, most of the medical community does not admit that Leaky Gut Syndrome even exists despite the fact that there are over 10,000 studies on the subject. Why not? They don't have a drug for it.
- THE HYPOTHALAMUS:
- THE PITUITARY GLAND:
- THE PINEAL GLAND:
The Endocrine System is complex. No, I take that back. It is really complex! Realize that although the pages in the above links are short, I do not expect you to remember all of the information. I have these pages to show you what can happen when certain parts of the brain become imbalanced due to over or under-stimulation. The result is a wide variety of all sorts of health problems due to stress, injury, illness, immune system compromise, chronic infections (bacterial, viral, parasitic), low levels of oxygen (HYPOXIA), poor diet, emotional trauma, etc, etc, etc.
The focus of BRAIN-BASED THERAPY is to find these areas and use metabolic testing and / or specialized neurological / metabolic management techniques to either slow down or speed up whichever part of the brain needs.
- Controls numerous metabolic processes and other activities of the autonomic nervous system.
- Controls body temperature.
- Controls hunger (see previous link)
- Controls thirst
- Determines fatigue
- Controls sleep and circadian cycles.
- Synthesizes and secretes certain neurohormones, often called hypothalamic-releasing hormones,
- Stimulates or inhibit the secretion of pituitary hormones.
The Hypothalamus makes a number of Endocrine System Hormones. These include Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone (TRH), Dopamine, Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone (GHRH), Growth Hormone Inhibiting Hormone (aka, Somatostatin), Gonadatropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH), Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone (CRH), Oxytocin, and Anti-Diuretic Hormone (ADH or Vasopressin)
THE PITUITARY GLAND
- THE ANTERIOR (Front) PITUITARY, aka "Adenohypophisis": The Anterior Pituitary makes eight different hormones. These are Human Growth Hormone (HGH), Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH), Adrenocorticotrophic Hormone (ACTH), Beta-Endorphins, Prolactin, Leutenizing Hormone (LH), Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH), and Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormones (MSH's). What I really want you to grasp here is the mechanism for increased Cortisol production. Stress (emotional, dietary, chemical, immune system, etc) triggers the secretion of Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone (CRH) by the hypothalamus. This, in turn, triggers the Anterior Pituitary to release ACTH, which is carried by the blood to the Adrenal Glands, where it triggers Cortisol Production.
- THE POSTERIOR (Back) PITUITARY, aka "Neurohypohpisis": The Posterior Pituitary makes two different hormones. Oxytocin and Anti-Diuretic Hormone (ADH or Vasopressin).
THE PINEAL GLAND
PANCREAS / BLOOD SUGAR REGULATION
We know for a fact that most cases of Adrenal Dysfunction as well as the majority of Thyroid Dysfunction cases are rooted in an inability to control blood sugar. If you cannot get blood sugar under control, you will never be able to get other problems of the Endocrine System (Fibromyalgia for instance) under control. This also means that if you are not able to maintain an optimal weight, you are not properly regulating blood sugar, despite the fact that your blood may be within the range that your doctor says is fine --- a common situation in America.
The pancreas is part of the Digestive System. It secretes a digestive juice that contains digestive enzymes that helps to break down and digest the three types of food: fats, carbohydrates, & proteins. However, its most important function is as an Endocrine Gland that secretes several hormones. We are going to cover two of them; Insulin & Glucagon.
Glucagon, on the other hand, works opposite to Insulin. It takes stored fat and converts it into blood sugar that can be burned as energy. Just remember, a failure to control insulin is the root of a huge percentage of the illness and disease that commonly affect Americans --- including numerous problems of the Endocrine System.
THYROID / METABOLISM
- Weight Gain (even on a low cal diet)
- Morning Headaches
- Hypersensitivity to Cold
- Poor Circulation or Numbness in Hands or Feet
- Muscle Cramps / Spasms
- Easily Sick / Difficulty Recovering from Illness
- Slow Wound Healing
- Tired all the Time / Insomnia (The December 2013 issue of the World Journal of Gastroenterology published a study (Sleep, Immunity and Inflammation in Gastrointestinal Disorders) saying that, "An estimated 70 million Americans suffer from some form of sleep disorder.")
- Poor Digestive Health
- Dry or Brittle Hair / Dry Skin
- Edema / Swelling (especially facial)
- Loss of Outer Eyebrow
Your Thyroid Gland is a small gland in the throat region that controls metabolism. As we talked about just a moment ago, the root cause of much (probably even "most") Thyroid Dysfunction is an inability to properly regulate blood sugar. Note that this is likely true even if your doctor tells you that your fasting blood sugar is "normal". This occurs because the blood sugar ranges that are considered to be normal by the medical community are actually far too liberal. This same phenomenon is routinely seen in Thyroid Dysfunction as well.
At least 10% of the population has thyroid problems. I have seen estimates that actually double this number. And interestingly enough, a huge segment of this group has "normal" thyroid levels on their blood tests. This is because 90% of hypothyroidism (decreased thyroid function) is actually something called Hashimoto's Thyroiditis --- an autoimmune condition of the thyroid. Be aware that treating Hashimoto's as a thyroid problem will frequently not bear good results --- at least over the long haul. This is because autoimmune problems are not problems with the gland, organ, or tissue being attacked by your own immune system; they are problems with the immune system itself. If you fail to address the immune system, you will never get the thyroid issue under control for the long term, and your symptoms (not to mention your blood work) will bounce around all over the place.
The Thyroid Gland is also intimately linked to Gut function. A peer-reviewed scientific journal published a study in 2008 stated that at least 70 million Americans have Gut Dysfunctions. The same article went on to say that besides Hashimoto's itself, Gut Dysfunction is one of the most overlooked medical problems in America. This begs the question, though, of why. If Gut Dysfunctions are so rampantly out of control, why aren't doctors talking about this phenomenon? The reason is twofold:
- #1. Like I said earlier, many Immune System / Gut dysfunctions begin with antibiotics. Medical Doctors tend to prescribe lots and lots of antibiotics, despite huge amounts of peer-reviewed scientific evidence to the contrary. Fortunately, even the medical community is being forced to at least talk about this phenomenon (SEE HERE).
- #2. In All honesty, it is the rare doctor that has any idea about what to do with the various problems that make up a Dysbiotic / Dysfunctional Gut. In fact, many will deny that some of these problems even exist at all (Leaky Gut Syndrome for instance) because they do not show up on standard blood work or typical medical diagnostic testing. Be aware that there is now enough medical research on both of these topics that the medical community is finding it increasingly difficult to ignore.
Let us take a moment and briefly review five of the most common Gut Dysfunctions. These various Gut Dysfunctions often travel like wolves ---- in packs. It is common for testing to verify several of the following in chronically sick individuals.
- DYSBIOSIS: Understanding Dysbiosis is critical for Thyroid Health. This is because 20% of the body's T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) is converted to the active form of thyroid hormone (T3) in the presence of "good" bacteria in the Gut! Be aware that poor flora actually creates toxins that can severely affect the liver, causing hydrogenation (creation of Trans Fats) of healthy unsaturated fatty acids. Some of these toxins have repulsive-sounding names ---- "Scatol" and "Cadaverol" are two that come immediately to mind. As you might imagine, the smell produced by these two bacteria is absolutely disgusting. Could be the reason that one of the most common symptoms of Dysbiosis is bloating and smelly gas ---- the kind of foulness that could gag a maggot! If you have a true "Dysbiotic Gut", you will not be able to fix this by simply taking probiotics. A perfect example is the bacteria Yersinia Enterocolitica. Those who test positive are 14 times more likely than the general population to have the Autoimmune Thyroid disease we call Hashimoto's Disease. Want to fix Dysbiosis? Read THESE POSTS.
- HYPOCHLORHYDRIA: Several major studies cite poor digestion as a leading cause of Autoimmunity --- the very thing that causes 90% of this country's hypothyroidism. Hypochlorhydria is decreased stomach acid. Although most people are told that the reason they have indigestion, heartburn, gas, etc, is because they have too much or too strong stomach acid, the truth is probably 180 degrees reversed. They do not have enough stomach acid or it is too dilute (weak). Make sure to go back and read my earlier links.
- H. PYLORI INFECTION: Heliobacteria Pylori is the name of one of the bacteria that lives in the gut and commonly overgrows the stomach --- especially if Hypochlorhydria is present. There are ways to deal with this bacterial overgrowth that do not involve the thing that probably caused it in the first place ---- antibiotics.
- VARIOUS PARASITIC INFECTIONS: We live in America. We are clean. We don't get parasites. Wrong! Parasites are common ---- dog common. If you have an underlying parasitic infection, it could be completely derailing your health. By the way, this is one of the common factors associated with developing Adrenal Fatigue (Fibromyalgia).
- LEAKY GUT SYNDROME: Leaky Gut Syndrome is caused by out-of-control Inflammation, which itself is caused by many of the things above (particularly Dysbiosis and Parasites). The various dysfunctions of the digestive system work together like a pack of wolves to attack from lots of different angles. This can produce a vast array of problems in the Gut (as well as the rest of the body) as particles of undigested food (or even small parasites) are allowed into the blood stream to be continually reacted against by the Immune System. This causes massive Inflammation, which not only feeds the cycle but exhausts the Adrenal Glands and subsequently drags down Thyroid function. When the "gut" and digestive tract are not working properly, how in the world is the rest of the body going to function properly? It cannot! No way! POOR GUT HEALTH is where numerous other health problems begin!
ADRENAL GLAND, IMMUNE FUNCTION, STRESS, & FIBROMYALGIA
When we were young, many of us believed we could handle sugar overload (I CERTAINLY DID). After all, who doesn't know people that used to (key words here, "used to") be able to eat an entire pizza, follow it with several Krispy Kremes, wash it down with a 55 gallon barrel of soda, and still maintain an acceptable weight --- or even remain DOWNRIGHT SKINNY. If you are living like this, trust me; it won't last. It can't. The proof can be found at your next high school reunion. When the pancreas is perpetually overtaxed, it recruits the Adrenal Glands to take up the slack, and Katie bar the doors because what happens next is a perpetual grab-bag of dysfunction.
Have you ever noticed that you tend to get very tired after a heavy meal (particularly a meal high in refined carbs --- potatoes, pasta, bread, sugar, etc)? This is due to insulin doing its job. We eat a high carb meal, which rapidly increases blood sugar. Because blood sugar must be kept in a constant range, the body releases insulin to move sugar out of the cells to be used as energy or stored as fat. The result is often a rapid drop (sometimes more like a "plummet") of blood sugar. It actually "reactively" drops below normal causing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). This is "REACTIVE HYPOGLYCEMIA" and is always a sign of Dysglycemia ---- an early step on the road to Diabetes.
Dietary stress causes the Adrenal Glands to secrete Cortisol --- the body's chief stress hormone. One of the many jobs of cortisol is to increase blood sugar. The constant yo-yo'ing caused by meals or snacks high in sugar and refined carbs, not only burns out the pancreas (leading to Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Syndrome, and Diabetes), it exhausts the Adrenal Glands and Hypothalamus as well (HERE). On top of that, increased cortisol levels can actually shift active thyroid hormone (T3) back to the inactive form (T4), causing further symptoms of Hypothyroidism. It also exhausts the brain's control centers for cortisol production (chiefly the Hypothalamus and Pituitary).
CONSISTENTLY HIGH CORTISOL LEVELS CAUSE:
- Diminished Immune System Function
- Frequent Infections / Colds / Illness / Ulcers
- Hypothyroidism/ Low Energy Levels
- High Blood Pressure
- High Blood Sugar & Reactive Hypoglycemia (subsequent rapid drop in blood sugar)
- Obesity (particularly abdominal fat and the upper back -- like a "hump")
- High LDL Cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol)
- Increase Incidence of Cardiovascular Disease (heart attacks, strokes, etc)
- Female Hormonal Issues
- Depression / Anxiety
- Muscle Weakness
- Increased Pain Sensitivity
IMPORTANT NOTE: Rarely talking about full-blown Cushing's Syndrome here. Cushing's Syndrome is a condition caused by dramatically elevated Cortisol levels in the blood whose symptoms are similar to those seen above and include elevated blood pressure, diabetes, pink / purple stretch marks on the abdomen, fatigue, depression, moodiness, and accentuated fatty tissue on the face and upper back. Women with Cushing's Syndrome may develop irregular menstrual periods and develop new facial hair growth, as well as a decrease in sex drive. Sometimes the line between Adrenal Fatigue and Cushing's Syndrome is very thin, but Cushings can be diagnosed via blood tests --- Adrenal Fatigue is subclinical.
And here is the final kick in the teeth as far as your gut is concerned. A 2007 issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology published a study that described a relationship between perpetually high cortisol levels and increased incidence of Chronic Inflammation, Chronic Infections, and Gut Dysbiosis. That's right. Even though the American medical community continues to play the "ostrich" and deny the problem, the Europeans are completely aware of this phenomenon and are light years ahead of us in trying to deal with it, as well as educating both their doctors and the general public about this crisis.
Not only will increased dietary stress lead to increased cortisol production, which in turn leads to a weakened Immune System; it leads to all sorts of other problems including Fibromyalgia (Adrenal Fatigue) and OBESITY --- particularly "Central Obesity" (BELLY FAT). Trailing just behind our country's epidemic of Blood Sugar Regulation Dysfunction and Gut Dysfunctions; ADRENAL GLAND IMBALANCE is one of the most common (and least diagnosed) health problems facing Americans today. Oh, if you want to find out how healthy or "burned out" your adrenal glands are; you need to do a salivary ASI test.
IMMUNE SYSTEM CENTERPIECE
The Thymus Gland sits between your heart and chest wall, and is made up of cells whose purpose is to both to produce and "train" T-Lymphocytes --- white blood cells that are otherwise known as T-cells (see link below). These cells are part of what we call "Cell Mediated Immunity". Cell Mediated Immunity is the part of your immune system that is involved with THE TH-1 PATHWAY, which is the part of the immune system that carries on the work of destroying invading pathogens. THE TH-2 SYSTEM ("Humoral Immunity") is involved with making the antibodies that "mark" invaders for destruction by the TH-1 System.
The T-cells made and trained by the Thymus Gland make up what we call the "TH-1 PATHWAY" and include....
- HELPER T-CELLS (AKA CD4 CELLS): This class of cell is responsible for "helping" other immune system cells to mature, as well as with immune system processes. Once activated, they divide rapidly and produce Inflammatory Chemicals called "Cytokines", which are part of the body's natural Inflammation process. When too much Inflammation is present it drives all sorts of ugly and debilitating health problems.
- CYTOTOXIC T-CELLS: These cells go after cells infected with either Viruses or Cancer.
- MEMORY T-CELLS: These cells hang around long after an infection is resolved. Their job is to recognize (from memory) the pathogen that caused the problem in the first place, and then rapidly replicate itself into other T-cells capable of dealing with the pathogen.
- REGULATORY T-CELLS (TREGS) / SUPPRESSOR T-CELLS: This group of cell's duty is to both slow down or halt Immune System processes, as well as suppressing T-Cells that have been deemed "unfit" by the Thymus Gland (HERE). All of this prevents your Immune System from becoming a runaway train.
- KILLER T-CELLS: These do exactly what their name implies; they kill pathogens. These cells have aspects that make them similar to Inflammation.
- POORLY REGULATED BLOOD SUGAR:
- LEAKY GUT SYNDROME:
- FOOD ALLERGIES / SENSITIVITIES:
- CHEMICAL EXPOSURE:
- HEAVY METALS:
- ENDOCRINE DYSFUNCTION:
The key to understanding Autoimmunity is firstly realizing that it is not a problem with the tissue, gland, or organ that is being attacked. It is a problem with the Immune System itself. Secondly, you must realize that it is a scientifically proven fact that 80% of your entire Immune System resides in your Gut. Re-read that statement. Let it sink in for a moment. Scientists in Australia proved something back in 1998 that much of the scientific community has postulated for decades. Why do you think that if you go back forty or fifty years ago, every single person that was admitted to the hospital for any reason, first received an ENEMA? Doctors had not yet become TOTALLY BRAINWASHED. It was still realized that cleaning out the bowel helped the Immune System work better and the patient heal faster!
A common trigger of Autoimmune Disease in women is pregnancy (remember that women suffer from Autoimmunity at a 10 times greater rate than men). During the third trimester a woman typically becomes TH-2 dominant, and then after having the baby, becomes TH-1 dominant. When you combine pregnancy with the other risk factors commonly facing today's women (Gut Dysfunction, Antibiotics, crappy diets, Obesity, sedentary lifestyle, Hormonal Issues, Blood Sugar Dysregulation, etc), you have a recipe for disaster as far as Autoimmunity is concerned. Not only are Autoimmunity and PREGNANCY intimately related to each other, infant Autoimmunity is now thought to be at the center of the AUTISM CONTROVERSY as well.
Many children are born with immune systems that are already so weakened by mom's poor habits that they simply need the trigger (Heavy Metals, ANTIBIOTICS, Parasites, VACCINES, etc). This is because mom got pregnant while dealing with one or more of these very problems herself. The result? A child that is born with Autism, eczema, psoriasis, IBS, ASTHMA, reflux, food sensitivities, as well as a whole host of others.
- MULTIPLE GUT DYSFUNCTIONS (Including DIGESTION, NEUROLOGICAL, & IMMUNE SYSTEM Functions)
- BLOOD SUGAR REGULATION PROBLEMS / SUGAR ADDICTION (Borderline Pathological ---- or maybe not so borderline)
- ADRENAL FATIGUE / FIBROMYALGIA
- THYROID DYSFUNCTION
As men age, their bodies naturally decrease TESTOSTERONE PRODUCTION. It is also clinically proven that men with Blood Sugar Regulation Problems such as Diabetes, Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome, and HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, tend to have both poor sexual function as well as diminished testosterone levels (women often end up with "INCREASED TESTOSTERONE LEVELS"). How does this affect the rest of the Endocrine System?
For those who have not been keeping score, Dysglycemia is the starting point for most Endocrine System problems. If you cannot regulate your blood sugar, eventually you are going to have problems --- with just about everything. Although men do not generally have as difficult a time with this as women, you can tell by the epidemic of ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION, Obesity, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, and INFERTILITY, that American men are not regulating blood sugar very well either.
AN UNSOLICITED PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME TESTIMONIAL
It has been just over three weeks since my husband brought me in and you treated me and I wanted to give you an update. When I traveled to see you, I was in bad, bad shape. I had to use a wheelchair through the airports and could hardly even stand. I was in an immense amount of pain. Sitting or standing made it worse. If I was lying down, it would take the edge off of the pain, but it never went away. I could tell immediately after the tissue remodeling, that I was getting some relief. I was able to sit in the car for the two hour drive back to the airport and then able to walk through all three airports without any assistance. (I was moving pretty gingerly though.) We were praising God all of the way home. I was off for the next five days and did the stretching as directed and iced when I could.
Even after I went back to work on that Saturday, I stopped and stretched as often as possible. I also have been taking the Ligaplex as well. During the first few days back at work, I moved very carefully. I was able to stay at work my whole 8 hour shift, though! Week 2, I continued stretching and the ligaplex. I also started to alternate using moist heat and cold therapy. I started to feel even better. Week three, people at work couldn't believe how much better I was moving. I'm not back to my old self, yet, but I would say that I am feeling about 55-60 percent better. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised that I was seeing improvement even into week 3.
I want to thank you so much. Your website is full of so much great information. It was a true blessing that I came across your sight on one of my many days that I was bed ridden on my back. I know everyone thought that I was borderline crazy for doing it, but I had a calmness in my soul that told me that with the Lord's help, that you were the one who was going to help me! I have directed many people to your site, now that they have witnessed with their own eyes what your treatment has done for me!
Blessings to you and your family and staff!!!!!
I appreciate your kind words "D". Your story is why I do what I do! And by the way, thanks for directing people to our site. Other than the website, I literally do not advertise --- never have. Everything we do here is word-of-mouth. My mission in life is, by the grace of God, is to help as many people in your shoes as is humanly possible. God bless you until I see you again in a couple of weeks.
WHIPLASH AND THE
REVERSE CERVICAL CURVE
OUR FULL-SIZED SILVERADO AFTER A 2005 RUN-IN WITH A DRUNK
In 2005, we were coming back from a Saturday spent with friends on the CURRENT RIVER. On the way home, a full-sized Chevy Duramax Diesel Crew Cab ran a stop sign at a blind intersection (Hwy M & Old 60), and we T-boned it going about 60 mph. Even though I always fancied myself a "safe" driver, I barely had time to touch my brakes before crunching him. My wife broke her arm and I still have the scars (friction burns) on my forearms from the airbag exploding in my face. Malachi's head was lopsided for awhile, but all things considered, by the grace of God we came through it relatively unscathed.
NATURE OF THE WHIPLASH INJURY
Most people think that when you are rear ended, your head flies back. Although that is the logical way to think about the injury (it is also how I will talk about it most of the time), it is not technically correct. What actually happens when you are rear-ended is that your body is driven out from under your head. Although there is a great deal of soft tissue stretching that occurs in the soft tissues (LIGAMENTS, TENDONS, MUSCLES, and particularly FASCIA) as your body travels forward at a significantly higher velocity than your head; at some point, these "soft tissues" cannot stretch anymore. This is the first point at which microscopic tissue tearing occurs. Just realize that this is only the beginning of the injury process. The head will eventually catch up to the body, and subsequently overshoot it at an extremely accelerated velocity --- all in a tiny fraction of a second.
The head is now accelerating forward faster than your body. When the body comes to a stop (i.e. your vehicle slams into whatever is in front of it), the head will continue to travel forward. This is actually where the term "whiplash" comes from, and where it occurs. It is the same principle of physics that causes the tip of a bullwhip to 'crack' as it breaks the sound barrier. Bullwhips are really cool. Whiplash is not. When this type of 'whipping' motion occurs in the neck, it can cause a great deal of soft tissue damage and subsequent formation of Fibrosis and Scar Tissue (HERE). It can also cause a great deal of occult (hidden) brain and nerve system trauma as well (MTBI) ---- a topic for another day.
The picture below comes from Gray's Anatomy. When the neck is extended backwards (the opposite of flexed forward) we can see a 'V' with the Adam's Apple in the middle. This V is made up of the two large STERNOCLEIDOMASTOID MUSCLES. Although this muscle has a big name, let's break it down to something that is easier to digest. This muscle is named for its attachment points. Sterno (sternum -- breast bone), Cleido (clavicle -- collar bone), Mastoid (the large knob of bone directly behind the ear).
Stop and think about the far-reaching implications of this nasty combination for a moment. The most pain-sensitive tissue in the body cannot be diagnostically imaged with commonly-used technology. Let this sink in for a moment. It's a recipe for disaster --- a potential "PERFECT STORM" of Chronic Pain. This is why standard E.R. procedure for the average whiplash injury involves being sent home with PAIN MEDS, MUSCLE RELAXERS, and ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES after being told, "Thank God Mrs. Jones. Nothing is broken! You'll be just fine after the soreness wears off in a couple of days."
But the problem is, Mrs Jones isn't fine. In fact, her pain might just be starting to kick in (HERE). It's hard to fathom the incredible numbers of people who are injured in a manner not consistent with our medical community's ability to accurately diagnose (HERE). We have come to the point in Medicine where if the test says you are sick, you are sick. And unfortunately, if the test says there is nothing wrong with you (HERE), you are fine. The problem is that when you throw Fascial Adhesions into the mix, you not only have a recipe for disaster ---- the disaster may be permanent! This is because the known cause of DEGENERATIVE ARTHRITIS is abnormal joint motion over time.
Surround your neck with tissue that looks like the picture below right, and there is no way that your neck will move like God designed it to! Unfortunately, abnormal joint motion causes degeneration, and degeneration causes abnormal joint motion. Repeat ad infinitum. Ladies and gentlemen; start your cycles ---- your vicious cycles. Whether or not this cycle was started by an MVA is immaterial at this point (HERE). The process leads to Chronic Pain and despair. Some of you might feel like "DESPAIR" is too strong a word to use in this context. It's not. In fact, if I could think of a stronger word without running to the thesaurus, I would use it! Those of you who are living inside of this vicious cycle know all too well what I am talking about. Same old tests, same old drugs (the despair is why ANTI-DEPRESSANTS are now routinely prescribed as part of the "BIG FIVE"), same old crappy results.
WHIPLASH AND THE STERNOCLEIDOMASTOID MUSCLE
A person gets whiplashed. Their fascia is torn as their head slams backwards (I told you I would describe this incorrectly). Sooner or later the person begins to have headaches, pain, and a loss of range of motion in their neck. They go to the doctor to find out what is wrong with them. According to all their tests, everything is fine. The problem is that the Fascial Adhesion in the SCM is pulling on their neck 24-7-365. If you realize that Scar Tissue is synonymous with the term "adhesion", and that adhesives 'glue' things together; what do you think a lateral neck x-ray is going to look like if a person has been through this, or any type of head / neck injury --- even subtle ones? Think logically here. A restriction (Fascial Adhesion) in the SCM is going to pull the head forward (HERE or HERE).
CURVES DISSIPATE AND REDISTRIBUTE MECHANICAL FORCES
ABNORMAL CERVICAL CURVES
Abnormal curves of the cervical spine (neck) come in two forms. Firstly, you have the loss of cervical lordosis. This is the "Military Neck" you see in the x-ray on the left. Secondly, you have a complete reversal of the lordotic curve (x-ray on the right). These are some of the first steps on the road to Degenerative Arthritis. In the middle pic you can see how flexion and extension are both affected.
THE PLATYSMA MUSCLE
For those of you not quite understanding the nature whiplash injury and the NEW MODEL of Tissue Healing and Repair, this picture of the PLATYSMA MUSCLE should help. The Platysma is a large thin muscle that covers the entire front portion of the neck. It is likewise covered in Fascia. This is just one more piece of the puzzle as far as explaining the Chronic Pain so many people struggle with after a whiplash injury --- pain that is not explained by diagnostic imaging which is virtually always negative. And like injured SCM Muscles, it helps to explain the abnormal cervical curves as well. As it restricts, it pulls, and as it pulls, the head will come forward.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF HAVING THE HEAD TURNED AT IMPACT, OR OF BEING IN A SIDE IMPACT ACCIDENT
"A head-turned posture increases facet capsular ligament strain compared to a neutral head posture — a finding consistent with the greater symptom severity and duration observed in whiplash patients who have their head turned at impact."
Forget the fact that the quote above that tells us there is more pain when the head is turned. Let's attempt to answer the question of why there is more pain. If you have your head turned all the way to the left when you are rear-ended, there will likely be Fascial Tearing of the opposite Sternocleidomastoid Muscle, as well as "jamming" or compacting of the same-side facet joints --- the small joints located on either side of the back of the vertebrae. This not only causes Fascial Adhesions and VERTEBRAL SUBLUXATIONS, it leads to FACET SYNDROME and DEGENERATIVE ARTHRITIC CHANGES of the spine as well.
If you want to study this and related issues in more depth, please visit our WHIPLASH INJURIES PAGE. You may be interested in THESE POSTS as well (they will help you understand some of those "Bizarre and Seemingly Unrelated Problems" you have been having since the injury. Oh; and HERE is a list of the main factors that make whiplash injuries worse. On top of all of this, some of you are not getting better because you have unbridled inflammation running roughshod throughout your body. HERE are some steps to start dealing with this.
MEDICAL COMMUNITY RESPONDS TO THEIR OWN RESEARCH ON ROUTINE CHECKUPS
"Ten buck says that if you ask your doctor about this issue, he / she will argue for the merits of the regular checkup. It's not hard to see why. Checkups account for a huge portion of all doctor visits. Like I always say, follow the money."
METABOLIC ADVANTAGES OF PALEO
There are great numbers of books on Low Carb eating. The question we need to answer is what makes the Paleo Diet different from any other form of Low Carb diet. Supposedly, the Paleo (short for "Paleolithic") Diet is what our ancestors ate. In other words, it is a diet based upon the theory of evolution. Notice that I said "theory". I realize that many of you will think I am crazy, but I am not buying the whole EVOLUTION THING. I believe it is one of the biggest hoaxes ever perpetrated upon mankind ---- particularly in view of some of the new information coming out of the field of molecular genetics. Anyway; just realize that you can get the benefits of a Paleo Diet without goosestepping along with the evolutionists.
The Paleo Diet basically consists of eating things that prehistoric man would have hunted or gathered. This includes meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, berries, and nuts. The Paleo crowd is big on totally avoiding certain foods and drinking only water or maybe green tea. You'll see why shortly. Some of these foods on the to-avoid list include GRAINS, beans & legumes, MILK or milk products, and alcohol. Just understand that no two lists will completely agree with each other (I recently saw a Paleo list that said it was OK to drink DIET SODA --- gulp!). I realize that some of you reading this are going to disagree with the whole "Low Carb" thing. That's OK. It's a free country.
Yeah, I know. I've seen Forks Over Knives just like you have. Sorry; the research I have seen for Vegan eating is not convincing. Not to mention, I know how much better I feel eating closer to Paleo than eating Vegan. I used to follow Dr. McDougall back in the day --- back when I though that "Fat Free" was great. Although some of what he says is spot on (processed cow's milk, for instance), he needs to enter the 21st century as far as the research on protein is concerned. Despite the fact that I myself do not strictly follow a Paleo Diet (I like beans, sweet potatoes, and natural cheese too much), there can be many advantages --- particularly to the person who is trying to regain both their weight and their health. Let's look at a few of these advantages.
SPECIFIC ADVANTAGES OF THE PALEO DIET
- THE FOOD EATEN IS UNPROCESSED: "Cavemen" could not go out and purchase fast food. They could not run down to the store and buy prepackaged or JUNK FOOD. There was no such thing as preservatives, additives, MSG, or other such things back then. A PALEO DIET is all about eating this way.
- IT REVOLVES AROUND EATING FRUITS AND VEGETABLES: About the only thing that experts in the field of nutrition can ultimately agree on is that eating fresh vegetables is good for you. Everything else is up for grabs. When you look at the traditional Food Pyramid prepared by the USDA nearly 30 years ago, you'll see that its foundation was grains (8-11 servings a day). After three decades of eating this way, we should be aware that as a nation we look suspiciously familiar to grain-fed Missouri beef. And in case you had not yet seen it, the latest government offering as far as dietary recommendations go --- THE DASH DIET --- might just be worse.
- YOU WILL BE ABLE TO CONSUME PLENTY OF GOOD FATS: INFLAMMATION is a chemical problem that is driven by several things, including the quality and type of the fats we eat. We are easier able to overcome a not-quite-perfect diet if we are consuming plenty of high quality Omega-3 Fatty Acids in our diets. The proper ratio of Omega 3's to Omega-6's should be about 1:2 or at the most, 1:3. Study after study after study puts the average American at closer to 1:30. If you are eating a diet heavy in TRANS FATS and not eating enough good fats (Omega 3's, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, etc) or supplementing with PHARMACEUTICAL GRADE FISH OIL, getting healthy will be nigh impossible.
- YOU DO NOT HAVE TO STARVE YOURSELF: Some of the latest diet fads are simply amazing. My favorite diet for absolute absurdity is the HCG diet (Human Chorionic Gonadatrophin ---- a hormone of pregnancy that is used by roiding athletes to 'restart' their own testosterone production once they go off their cycle). All you are supposed to do is take HCG and eat 500 calories a day. Wow! 500 calories a day. Sounds more like Stone Soup to me! With Paleo, as with all true 'Low Carb' methods of eating, you can eat a lot of food and should never feel hungry.
- PALEO IS HIGH IN FIBER: One of the knocks against the Atkins Diet and some of the other Low Carb diets is that they do not contain enough fiber. Much of this belief is either due to not understanding what Atkins himself was promoting, or not following his regimen ---- or both. I have heard Atkins' Diet called the "Meat Diet". This is unfair. The people saying this are the same people saying that Atkins, a cardiologist, weighed 280 when he died. They fail to mention that he fell on an icy sidewalk and hit his head, causing a total shut down of all organs, including his kidneys. They also happen to be the same group of people touting bread as a good source of fiber (HERE). When 'Low Carb' is done correctly, you will have no trouble getting more than enough fiber. This is particularly true of the Paleo Diet.
- PALEO IS HYPO-ALLERGENIC: I like going to chiropractic seminars. Lately, I have been attending the series of 30 seminars created by DATIS KHARRAZIAN for Apex Energetics. The people teaching Datis's classes are some of the most brilliant physicians on the planet ---- FUNCTIONAL NEUROLOGISTS with advanced degrees in nutrition and expertise in Functional Endocrinology. Because they can easily prove that almost all really sick people have food sensitivities, they put almost everyone they treat on a modified Paleo Diet. Paleo is GLUTEN FREE and Cassien Free (milk protein). In order to understand why this is such a big deal, read about GLUTEN CROSS-REACTORS as well as the COMMON CAUSE OF ALL MODERN DISEASE.
- PALEO NOT ONLY WORKS, BUT WORKS QUICKLY: In a study done by Dr. Lynda Frassetto's team at the University of California - San Francisco School of Medicine and published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, we saw just how fast a Paleo Diet began causing the physiological changes that are required for health. How about 10 days! Researchers took sedentary individuals who were "non-obese" and put them on a Paleo Diet for a week and a half. Guess what happened? There were significant changes in BLOOD PRESSURE, BLOOD GLUCOSE LEVELS, Glucose Tolerance, SENSITIVITY TO INSULIN, and BLOOD LIPID PROFILES. Ten days. If you have read THE NUMBER ONE HEALTH PROBLEM FACING AMERICANS TODAY, you will understand why. Yet we still have a medical community telling us that meat and fat consumption are the things that drive most health problems --- even though this has been disproved time and time again (HERE). In an interview related to this study, Dr Frassetto stated, "In two weeks, everybody's blood pressure went down and everybody's cholesterol and triglyceride levels got better. The average drop was 30 points, which was pretty amazing. It's the type of drop you get by taking statins for six months". And in case you are not aware how dangerous Statin Drugs really are, I have another major post on this topic in the chute.
TWO MORE VIDEO TESTIMONIALS
PSORIASIS DRUG EASES CROHN'S DISEASE
(Inflammatory Bowel Disease)
A SMALL SECTION OF DISEASED (CROHN'S) INTESTINE
The reason that I am writing about this is not to tell you how many side effects this drug has (there are many; some quite severe). Or that the research was rife with conflicts of interest. You should realize that with Big Pharma, these things are a given (HERE are a few examples). Dr Sandborn and several of his co-authors reported receiving various forms of monies from Janssen (the company that actually funded the study), Johnson and Johnson (most of the co-authors were employed by J&J), PFIZER, Lilly, GLAXO SMITH KLINE, Boehringer Ingelheim, UCB, Abbott, and Prometheus. Sandborn also happens to hold patents on various drugs used to treat IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME. Nope; for this blog post, none of that is really relevant. I want you to notice something about this study that I think is even more interesting --- the thing that caught my eye as I was reading this morning.
Why would a Psoriasis drug possibly help people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease? In other words, what is the common denominator between Psoriasis (a skin condition) and Crohn's Disease (an Inflammatory Bowel Condition). I see a couple of things right off the get go. First, they are both INFLAMMATORY DISEASES, and if you have been paying attention to my blog, you already know that Inflammation is the common factor in practically all disease processes faced by Americans (HERE).
Secondly, they are both AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES. For reasons that are each day becoming better understood, Inflammation from various sources is what ultimately drives Autoimmunity. Throw GLUTEN SENSITIVITY into the mix and you have a living, breathing, nightmare on your hands. And here's the kicker --- once you are autoimmune, you are autoimmune forever. Sure, you can control it naturally. But it is not easy. This is why people who are autoimmune tend to have multiple autoimmune diseases (HERE IS A LIST OF THE COMMON ONES). In order to understand how all Autoimmune Diseases are related to each other (not just Psoriasis and Crohn's) all you need to do is read this short article (HERE).
WHAT DOES THE LATEST EVIDENCE SAY ABOUT ANNUAL PHYSICALS?
HINT: THE SAME THING YESTERDAY'S EVIDENCE SAID
My brother and his wife (both M.D.'s) were visiting us about three years ago. We were sitting on the front porch when I asked them both about a piece I had recently seen on the local news. The story was about the fact that yearly physicals were no longer recommended by numerous medical organizations and groups. The story did not go into a great deal of detail as to why this was true, so I asked the medical experts themselves. Their answer --- straight from the proverbial horses mouth.... They said that there is overwhelming evidence that regular physicals lead to way too many False Positives and False Negatives. False Negatives tell your doctor that you're fine when you're not. False Positives tell your doctor that something is wrong with you when, in fact, you are fine. It's the False Positives that are driving this latest wave of research.
There is good reason that False Positives are the force behind the medical community's message that many of our current 'do-or-die' medical tests are not good tests to have done on a yearly basis. What are some of these tests? PSA tests are not a good yearly test for detecting Prostate Cancer. Neither are yearly mammograms a good thing. Or yearly colonoscopies. In fact, in recent years, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended against broad-based testing of any sort in the general population on a yearly (regular) basis.
You see; when a particular test tells the examining doctor you may have a certain disease or health problem, other tests are immediately ordered. Not only are these tests usually expensive, they are often invasive --- sometimes very invasive. One of 'Medicine's' dirty little secrets is that many of these tests are so invasive that they are a actually themselves a threat to human life and health. And because of the massive numbers of False Positives associated with all of these tests (another dirty little secret), people end up going through expensive and invasive treatments that were never needed in the first place.
Think about it; although you are perfectly fine, the test / physical exam says you are not. More tests are ordered. These tests open a whole can of worms, that once released, are impossible to get back in the can. People are frequently led do do more testing and treatment that is expensive, dangerous, and even deadly. Does this sound like a good combination? Didn't think so. Again, when I asked them about why the newscast was recommending that people forgo yearly exams, this was the answer they gave. It seems that this (old) idea has wheels. It has to do with a phenomenon widely referred to in the medical community as 'OVERDIAGNOSIS & OVERTREATMENT'.
In a recently published study, the Cochrane Library (an online medical journal) released the largest study of its kind to date ---- a meta-analysis of sixteen studies involving nearly 185,000 patients. What did we learn from this study? Only that those who visited their doctor for "Regular Checkups" died of CANCER, heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular events at the same rates as those who did not go for yearly Checkups.
Not only that, but when looking at secondary endpoints such as decreased numbers of hospital admissions, doctor visits, disability, missed work, referrals to specialists, follow-up tests, or surgical procedures, the two groups were identical as well. In fact, the study's authors concluded that, "general health checks did not reduce morbidity [sickness] or mortality [death], neither overall [all diseases] nor for cardiovascular or cancer causes.... considering that cardiovascular and cancer mortality were not reduced, general health checks [Checkups] are unlikely to be beneficial." Wow! What they are saying --- in a politically correct way --- is that regular checkups are a waste of time and money. They are worthless.
Interestingly enough, in an editorial on this study, Dr. Stephanie Thompson and Dr. Marcello Tonelli from the University of Alberta's (Canada) Department of Medicine agreed that "Checkups" are a waste of time, resources, and money. The two doctors wrote:
Although general health checks are popular [19 of 20 US doctors strongly recommend them], recent debate [the past decade] has focused on their unintended consequences, including overdiagnosis, which is the detection of disease that (if left undetected) would not have affected the quantity or quality of an individual's life. Abnormal screening results can also lead to further investigations and accompanying risks: anxiety or psychological distress; lost income due to work absences; difficulties securing insurance; and increased healthcare costs.
The results of this review are consistent with a previous systematic review by Boulware et al [a government study (AHRQ) that was published in 2006, but started in 1989] that also evaluated the benefits and harms of general health checks. The Boulware review differed in its definition of the general health check, included observational studies, and analyzed fewer randomized trials. Despite these differences, the authors of both reviews reported that general health checks had no effect on mortality, disability and hospitalizations compared with usual care.
HOW TO RAISE A HEALTHY CHILD
IN SPITE OF YOUR DOCTOR
When I started Chiropractic School back in 1988, I was assigned a book. Along with the many big and expensive medical tests that I had to purchase, a 5 dollar paperback; Robert Mendelsohn's How to Raise a Healthy Child... in Spite of your Doctor was on my required-reading list as well.
Needless to say, when you are 21 years old, single with no children of your own, taking 30 credit hours per trimester, and working part time; reading a book like this is not at the top of your priority list. At the time, it was a book that I skimmed to get the information needed to pass the class, and then forgot about ---- that is until Malachi was born in 1998. Like all parents do, I quickly realized that there is nothing scarier than a sick child ---- a fact echoed by Dr Mendelsohn himself. Needless to say, I pulled the book off my office shelf and began reading.
In this easy-to-read book, Dr Mendelsohn lays out the medical issues that you need to be worried about (a short list) and the things that you needn't fret about (a very long list). He has chapters on protecting your child before they are born, NUTRITION, FEVER, headaches, stomach aches, colds / flu, strep throat, EAR INFECTIONS, skin conditions, orthopedic conditions, ASTHMA, ALLERGIES, ADD / ADHD, CHILDHOOD VACCINATIONS, choosing the right doctor, and many others. Amy and I found this book so valuable that for a very long time, it was what we gave young couples as a wedding gift, or for their baby shower.
I will admit, some of the information in his book is out of date (it was published during my senior year in high school). There are also some things that I would not agree with. My guess is that if Mendelsohn were alive today, he himself would argue against some of the things he wrote about nearly three decades ago. Just remember that reading this book is an exercise in logic and common sense when it comes to thinking about and taking care of sick children. If you are into numerous examples of EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE, I would suggest you take a look at his other famous book, CONFESSIONS OF A MEDICAL HERETIC.
DR MENDELSOHN'S BIO:
Robert Mendelsohn, America's most beloved Pediatrician, earned his medical degree in 1951 from the prestigious University of Chicago School of Medicine. In addition to several decades of seeing tens of thousands of children in his thriving practice, he wore many different hats. Some of these included......
- Instructor at Northwest University Medical College
- Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Community Health and Preventive Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine
- President of the National Health Federation
- National Director of Project Head Start's Medical Consultation Service
- Chairman of the Medical Licensing Committee of the State of Illinois
- Appearing on over 500 television and radio talk shows
- Author of several books.
Although Dr. Mendelsohn died a few short months before I was assigned to read his book, his legacy lives on. If you have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or friends, I would STRONGLY suggest that you buy a copy of this book for yourself, and one to loan out or give away. Amazon still carries it. And while you are at it, read a few of the Customer Reviews. It's really a shame that more doctors are not bucking the system and carving their own trails like Medelsohn did. Great man. Great book. Thanks doc!
THE LOW GLUTEN DIET
AND OTHER GLUTEN MYTHS
MYTH BUSTING WITH OBAMA
There are a lot of myths floating around about GLUTEN. Think about it for a moment. Have you ever heard of a "Low Gluten" diet? Although there are a few websites where you'll see a "Low Gluten" diet mentioned, there are not many. The term used is always Gluten Free! To understand why, you have to have a cursory understanding of Gluten Sensitivity. Yes, I'll get to that as we move along.
Gluten Sensitivity or "NON-CELIAC GLUTEN INTOLERANCE" as it is sometimes called, is a rapidly growing problem in America. In plain English, Gluten Intolerance means that your body is making antibodies to wheat protein (Gluten), and attacking it as if it were a foreign invader. And in the same way that every time you get poison ivy, the reaction tends to be worse than the time before; your body tends to mount increasingly harsh Immune System responses to Gluten as well. This is because your Immune System has a memory. Just how much Gluten is enough to cause a reaction? Try this on for size; for people who are really sensitive to Gluten, it can take less than 20 parts per million to set off a reaction. Gulp! To top it all off, if you've followed my blog, you are aware that the vast majority of people (doctors included) do not recognize most of these Immune System Responses as being related to Gluten.
The 'Low Gluten' diet is one of the many myths about Gluten. There are lots of others. Here are just a few of them.......
- JUST BECAUSE IT'S GLUTEN FREE IT'S HEALTHY: This is absolutely false. The truth is that a large percentage of the so called 'Gluten Free' foods are as heavily processed as their Gluten-containing counterparts. The only difference is they are made with processed rice flour, processed corn flour, or some other heavily processed 'Gluten Free' grain --- most of which are Gluten Cross-Reactors (keep reading).
- GLUTEN FREE IS THE SAME AS LOW CARB: Hopefully by now you understand why a PALEO DIET or other form of Low Carb eating is the foundation of good health (HERE). Just don't fall into the trap of thinking that 'Gluten Free' has anything whatsoever to do with eating in a low carb fashion. I was looking at some 'Gluten Free' noodles the other day that had a whopping 42 grams of carbohydrates per serving. Wow! This and the information in the previous bullet point are just a couple the many reasons that I think that many (maybe even most) of the foods in the grocery store's "Gluten Free Isle" are bad news ---- really bad news to those who grasp the next point.
- IF YOU ARE GLUTEN SENSITIVE, ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS GO "GLUTEN FREE": This is a myth that not only has the potential to produce devastating consequences, it leaves people in total confusion as to what their problem really is. For those going "Gluten Free", it is imperative to understand what GLUTEN CROSS-REACTIVITY is. The 'Gluten Free' wheat substitutes that you will see recommended on most GF lists are almost always full of Gluten Cross Reactors. Because all grains contain proteins that are analogous to Gluten (many of these proteins are all but totally identical to Gluten), you are fooling yourself to think that eating "Gluten Free" grain-based substitutes is a safe alternative! In fact, the medical community exploded this myth almost two decades ago when the November 1995 issue of Clinical and Experimental Allergy, stated that, "The allergens in rice, corn, millet, and buckwheat [as well as several other "Gluten Free" grains that they were not knowledgeable about back then] should be better studied before they can be recommended as alternatives for cereal [wheat] allergic [sensitive] children [little kids]". If you or your family has Gluten Intolerance and do not understand Gluten Cross Reactivity, all I can say is that I hope you are preparing yourselves for PARKINSON'S DISEASE or some other ugly neurological problem (HERE).
- NO ONE REALLY KNOWS WHY GLUTEN SENSITIVITY HAS EXPLODED IN RECENT YEARS: Hooey! While it is not always known why a specific person develops a specific sensitivity to a specific food, you better believe we have a good idea of why this epidemic of Gluten Intolerance is taking place. If you are curious, you can read about it HERE.
- I ONLY EAT SPELT OR OTHER "HEIRLOOM" VARIETIES OF WHEAT THAT ARE GLUTEN FREE: I hear people make this statement all the time. Stop and listen to me for a moment. If you are Gluten Sensitive, and you are eating any form of wheat, you are fooling yourself. Once you are Gluten Intolerant, you are always Gluten Intolerant (more on this in a moment). Wheat --- even "Whole Grain" heirloom varieties such as spelt --- contain Gluten. And remember this; if you are Gluten Sensitive, it takes only a minuscule amount (20 ppm) of it to set an Immune System reaction in motion and cause INFLAMMATION --- the catalyst that drives the vast majority of disease processes and health problems faced by Americans today (HERE).
- THE BREAD I EAT IS "SPROUTED" (EZEKIEL BREAD) OR SOURED (SOUR DOUGH): See the previous bullet point. In no way does the sprouting or souring process remove all the Gluten. Sprouted grains are unsafe for anyone with a Gluten Intolerance or Gluten Sensitivity ---- including Celiac Disease! Sprouting grains is good, and for many of us will not only prove safe, but healthy as well. But sprouting the wheat does not mean it is completely Gluten Free. The truth is, many people who are severely Gluten Sensitive cannot tolerate even the juices of Gluten-containing grains (wheat, barley, etc). This also goes for people who believe that soaking their grain in buttermilk, salt water, beer, or other liquids can somehow remove or transform the Gluten.
- I CAN'T BE GLUTEN INTOLERANT; I DO NOT HAVE ANY OF THE GASTROINTESTINAL SYMPTOMS THAT ARE SO COMMONLY ASSOCIATED WITH GLUTEN SENSITIVITY: Buying into this myth could lead you to what for many (self included) might be a fate worse than death (HERE). Think I'm kidding? Read THIS!
- THE ONLY ACCURATE TEST FOR GLUTEN SENSITIVITY IS HAVING YOUR SMALL INTESTINE BIOPSIED: While this used to be true, it is certainly not true any more. Unfortunately, the medical standard for determining Gluten Sensitivity involves only looking for Celiac Disease, while ignoring that fact that the majority of people with Gluten Sensitivities exhibit mainly (or only) Neurological and Endocrine signs and symptoms (HERE). While the Gold Standard for diagnosing Celiac Disease has always been an Intestinal Biopsy, many doctors have come around to the fact that this test has many drawbacks, not the least of which is its high level of inaccuracy as well as its invasiveness. So what do they do in its stead? They resort to ordering Anti-Tissue Transglutaminase and Anti-Gliadin Antibody testing to determine if the person has Celiac Disease. All you have to do is look online and see how poor of a job these two tests are at determining the presence of Celiac Disease, let alone Gluten Intolerance. Again, it is critical that you understand that most people with Gluten Intolerance do not have Celiac Disease. Unfortunately for most of these folks, the average doctor will tell you that if the blood tests above are not positive, then wheat has nothing to do with your problem. If you read the link above, you should be starting to realize how severe this mistake can be. You can get tested via a company like Cyrex, or better yet do an Elimination Diet.
- CONSUMING GLUTEN-CONTAINING FOODS IS THE ONLY WAY THAT GLUTEN SENSITIVE PEOPLE ARE EXPOSED TO GLUTEN: One of the main uses for Gluten is as a thickening or anti-caking agent. It is used not only in foods, but in spices, makeup & other cosmetics, soaps & shampoos, lotions, sunscreen, toothpaste & mouthwash, and who-knows-what-else. I know a young woman --- a school teacher, who literally turned her life around a few years back by going 100% Gluten Free. However, she is so Gluten Sensitive that any physical contact with her students (young grade school children) causes her to have minor reactions throughout the school year. In the summer she does fine.
- THERE ARE WAYS TO OVERCOME GLUTEN SENSITIVITY SO THAT YOU CAN CONSUME GLUTEN AGAIN: While this is theoretically true, it is not practically true. From all I have read and heard in lectures, it takes about 30 years for a Gluten Sensitive Immune System to lose it's reactivity to Gluten. That is, if you NEVER expose yourself to even a smattering of Gluten during that time. I have read about various techniques (mostly bio resonance and various forms of acupuncture) that are supposed to be able to rid people of Gluten Sensitivities ---- I've never seen them work for more than a very short time.
These are not the only Gluten Myths out there. To learn more about Gluten and Gluten Sensitivity, simply go HERE.
ONE YEAR LATER
LEFT: This was a picture taken as soon as I walked in the doors of the orphanage (Acacia Village) for the very last time ----- when we actually got to take the girls with us. BELOW RIGHT: Grace at the Baptist Guest House in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia.
DO BETA BLOCKERS PREVENT
SECOND HEART ATTACKS?
Although Beta Blockers have been hailed as, "one of the most important contributions to clinical medicine and pharmacology of the 20th century," the truth is that there are many problems associated with taking these drugs --- not the least of which is just plain feeling like crap. Because so many people are on these drugs (they usually end in "ol", i.e. Propanalol), I hear a lot of complaints. Beta Blockers tend to drain your energy, change the way that you matabolize fats and sugars, cause several different mental problems, and alter one's ability to have have sex - or even want to have sex (HERE). Some of the more common side-effects of Beta Blockers are nausea, diarrhea, trouble breathing, cold hands and feet, low blood pressure, slow heart rate, dizziness, hair loss, and trouble sleeping, among others.
For decades, the standard medical line was that if you have already had a heart attack, you have to take Beta Blockers. Period. Or you'll die! Now, a picture is starting to emerge that tells a completely different story. Kind of reminds me of the whole HRT debacle that we have been through twice previously and are getting ready to go through again (Gee, isn't that EVIDENCE BASED MEDICINE just great!). Contrary to popular belief, Beta Blockers do not reduce the chances of a second heart attack or stroke, whether fatal or non-fatal. In fact, recent studies have revealed that these widely prescribed drugs actually increase the risk of both heart attacks and strokes. Gulp!
In a recent review of studies found in this month's issue of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), Dr. Sripal Bangalore and her team from New York University School of Medicine showed that the rates of heart attacks and strokes were no better for those taking Beta Blockers than those not taking Beta Blockers. Not only that, but the results were the same in patients with Coronary Artery Disease as well. Because of this, the both the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology have downgraded their recommendations for these drugs. Don't expect this memo to get to your doctor any time soon.
Commenting on this research for MedPage Today, Dr. Steven E. Nissen, Chairman of the Robert and Suzanne Tomsich Department of Cardiovascular Medicine of the Cleveland Clinic concurred with the study's authors saying that Beta Blockers are, "overused as antihypertensive [high blood pressure] therapy without strong evidence for benefits." Dr. Cam Patterson, professor and Associate Chair of Research in the Department of Medicine and University of North Carolina's School of Medicine said that, "I might think twice before prescribing a beta-blocker to someone with hypertension and other risk factors because I expect to get additional cardioprotective benefits." In a similar vein (no pun intended), the past president of the American Heart Association, Dr. Gordon Tomaselli, stated that, "side effects are fairly common with beta-blockers, and if there are evidenced-based alternatives, those are better treatment options." And finally, Dr. Howard Weintraub of the New York University Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease stated, "I think they are useful to treat angina, but other medications may be as good and possibly have fewer side effects".
Do I think you should go off Beta Blockers today? No! Never go off any medications without first consulting your doctor. However, I do think you should be looking for an exit strategy as far as this dangerous and over-hyped class of drug is concerned. How would you go about going off Beta Blockers? The same way you would prepare your body to go off virtually any drug (HERE).
THE ALL-ENCOMPASSING THEORY OF MODERN DISEASE
Some of this information is way oversimplified. Some of it is probably not quite technically correct. And you should be aware that the various steps in this cycle can be in a different order than I've shown, can overlap each other, or can be skipped altogether. Regardless, this model is accurate enough (and hopefully understandable enough) to get you in the ballpark as far as recognizing the roots of chronic illness. Just remember that in the same way that there is no "Universal Cure" for all physical ailments, neither is there a single cause of these ailments. However, this is great information that will give you something to think about if you or a loved one are struggling with chronic health problems.
STEP 1: INFLAMMATION
Although these chemicals are good (even vital) in small amounts; in large amounts they promote a veritable Pandora's Box of health problems, and can be the result of many different things (GLUTEN, MOLD, YEAST, PARASITES, HEAVY METALS, THYROID ISSUES, a wide array of ENDOCRINE PROBLEMS, SUGAR), but at least in the Westernized world, is almost always tied to poor diet choices in some form or fashion. Just be aware that SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION (large amounts of Inflammatory chemicals coursing through your blood stream) eventually leads to..........
STEP 2A: THE LEAKIES
I would guess that at least half the American population ---- maybe more, have some degree of this problem, and occurs when the Small Intestine's "tight junctions" --- the gaps between individual cells ---- become loose. In healthy individuals, these tight junctions are just big enough to allow fully digested food particles to get through so they can be absorbed into the blood stream. As Inflammation increases, it destroys the compounds that hold the cells tightly together, allowing the tight junctions between the cells to become looser / larger. This then allows the Small Intestine to become increasingly permeable (leaky) to substances that should never be allowed to get through.
Just remember that this is not only happening in the Gut. Once this junk makes it into the blood stream where your body will invariably recognize them as foreign, it will begin to make antibodies against them. These "foreign invaders" include everything from parasites, to partially-digested or undigested food fragments, to bacteria, to viruses, to yeast, to heavy metals, to chemical toxicity, to medications, etc, etc, etc. The process of getting sick causes even more Inflammation. Do you see the vicious cycle starting to churn? Oh, and just remember this can happen in the lungs, as well as the BBB (Blood Brain Barrier), not to mention the similar layer of epithelium that protects the nerves and spinal cord. There is, however, another aspect of GUT HEALTH. A flip side of the coin if you will....
STEP 2B: DYSBIOSIS
STEP 3: FOOD SENSITIVITIES, INCLUDING GLUTEN
It is absolutely critical to realize that despite most people thinking of Gluten Sensitivity in terms of "Gut Symptoms" (bloating, gas, diarrhea, etc), the majority of the symptoms of Gluten Sensitivitiy will manifest as NEUROLOGICAL problems --- many of which show few (or even no) overt digestive / GUT SYMPTOMS. One of the best examples of this phenomenon is the outlandish number of Americans dealing with THYROID PROBLEMS. As you can see from THIS POST, this part of the process is a well known mechanism for developing.........
STEP 4: AUTOIMMUNITY
"Celiac Disease is what the average doctor thinks of when they think of Gluten Sensitivity. This is not really accurate. Celiac is the manifestation of Gluten Sensitivity as seen in the Small Intestine. But Gluten Sensitivity manifests very differently in other tissues and organs. For instance, in the Brain and Nervous System, Gluten Sensitivity / Toxicity manifests as clusters of symptoms we refer to as Multiple Sclerosis, or ALS, or Parkinson's, or Alzheimer's, or Seizure Disorders, or Neuropathy, as well as Sympathetic Dominance."
In other words, thanks to inflammation and a FREAKED OUT NEURO-IMMUNE SYSTEM, our bodies start picking fights against themselves. Dr. Noseworthy used out-takes from dozens of scientific papers from the most prestigious biomedical journals on the planet to prove his point. To be honest with you, it was shocking seeing so much proof in black and white. And although this idea is certainly not embraced by practicing physicians (yet), it is currently being touted by some of the world's most brilliant doctors ---- particularly the experts in FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE.
Once people's immune systems begin making antibodies to Gluten; for reasons that are not yet clearly understood, these same immune systems begin making antibodies to self (HERE). This is called AUTOIMMUNITY. Unfortunately, once a person is Autoimmune, they are always Autoimmune, although there are some very cool things that can be done to dramatically dampen an overstimulated immune system. Autoimmunity leaves people susceptible to a whole host of ---- you guessed it ----- AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES ---- diseases that tend to travel in packs like wolves. In other words, if you have Psoriasis, you are 'Autoimmune' and will likely end up with many more of the diseases listed in the previous link if you do not get the situation under control.
This is because, as strange as it may sound, your problem is not the disease itself, it's the fact that your body is making antibodies to itself and will likely continue making antibodies to itself until you dry up the source of Inflammation, fix the Leaky Gut, and get the Dysbiosis under control (this includes SIBO as well). Fixing a Leaky Gut will take anywhere from 1-2 months (in some cases longer) and require real effort on your part as far as what foods you eat and supplements you take. HERE is an example of someone who followed our advice to the letter and did it with a condition widely considered "incurable". HERE is a person who successfully addressed five autoimmune diseases and lost 100 lbs in the process, all in about seven months.
STEP 5: RECOVERY
If you want to begin addressing some of the root causes of your health problems, you can start by reading HOW TO SOLVE JUST ABOUT ANY HEALTH ISSUE. The great thing is that no matter what is wrong with you, there are universal steps that must be taken by everyone in order to dry up their volcano and get well. Fortunately, some of you will be able to do much of this on your own (WE EVEN ADMIT THIS). Be aware, however, that depending on the severity of your particular situation, you may need to see a physician who will help you step out of the box.
If you are honest about it, you have to realize that the new paradigms of health and disease have bypassed the average doctor's office, leaving them in the dust. The problem is that most of them are so far behind the curve that they still think they are in the lead. Most are still using the "Better Living through Pharmacology" model (HERE) because, well, that's what pays the bills. The problem is, this model is not only not helping most of our population's chronically sick people get well (HERE), it is often times a significant contributing factor to the development / propagation of Leaky Gut / Leaky Brain Syndrome. But hey; it makes a heck of a lot of money for a heck of a lot of people. Drugs might mop up the inflammation, but they never turn off the faucet where it's pouring out of (HERE).
There is not another profession on the planet with a wider gap between the scientific research community and the professionals in the field (HERE). These two groups within medicine are often 180 degrees opposite of each other. This blog post should more than alert you to this fact. Just more proof of the myth of EVIDENCE BASED MEDICINE. What does it all mean to you? Only that if you care about your health and the health of your family, you had better do some simple research into what it takes to get healthy and stay healthy! I realize that it's a tough revelation to swallow, but the truth is, it's all up to you, and I've given you a starting point. Nope, it's not a "cure," but a place to start making a plan to get better (HERE).
HEALTHY DOCTORS vs UNHEALTHY DOCTORS
Although I have my share of pet peeves, few things irk me more than unhealthy doctors. I am of the opinion that one of the job requirements for being a physician is to live a healthy lifestyle ---- to be an example for a sick and dying population --- to live the life and walk the talk. We all have a tendency towards hypocrisy. "Do as I say, and not as I do" is a favorite message of pastors, parents, policemen, and politicians everywhere. Unfortunately, it is also the message of far too many physicians. I realize that most doctors can never be the sort of example that Dr. Jack was, but is it really too much to ask for us to practice what we preach? A am of the opinion that whether they realize it or not, most people want doctors they can look up to. Can you trust an unhealthy physician to provide quality healthcare? We'll address that question in a moment (my guess is that you already know the answer).
The word doctor means "teacher". How in the world can I have any degree of credibility with my patients if I am being a hypocrite or HEALTH PHARISEE? Plainly stated; I can't. Oh sure, I could go about the business of adjusting my patients --- but having any real creed with them in regards to truly changing their lives.... Forget about it! At the very least, an unhealthy doctor has just made his / her job much more difficult. At worst, unhealthy doctors are actually contributing to the very problems they are supposed to be helping. Who are these unhealthy doctors I am talking about? They are not just MD's, but DO's, DC's, DDS's, DPM's and even certain Ph.D's. They are those who are not living up to the standards they have been entrusted to help foster in others. I would lump them into three broad categories.
- Doctors who smoke.
- Doctors who are overweight or regularly eat unhealthy foods.
- Doctors who do not exercise or take care of themselves physically.
DOCTORS WHO ARE OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE:
We all know that America is in the grips of an OBESITY EPIDEMIC. About 70% of our adult population is overweight (children are closing the gap every day), with around one third falling into what is often referred to as "obese". Although definitions vary, a BMI (body Mass Index) of 30 or greater is considered to be obese (18.5 to 25 is considered normal) as is being 30% over your ideal weight. If you are 50% over your ideal weight or 100 lbs overweight, you are, by definition, "Morbidly Obese" (sometimes called "Grossly Obese"). Bottom line; obesity is a public health crisis that is not only costing millions of lives, but speeding along the process of national bankruptcy.
In a recent Medscape survey, nearly 40% of male doctors reported being overweight, with just over 5% admitting to being obese. As for female doctors, nearly 30% said they were overweight and 35% of these were obese. These results were almost identical to previous surveys; suggesting that little ground is being gained on this particular issue. And my guess is that because these results were gleaned via a self-reported survey, the results are not nearly as accurate as if they were reported by an independent third party. In other words, if you think that all overweight doctors are above fooling themselves just because they are doctors, you do not understand human nature very well. This is borne out by a recent Gallup poll showing that 13% of physicians are obese, as well as a January 30, 2012 Med City News column where Diana Pogoreic quotes research stating that, "Fifty three percent of physicians in the U.S. are overweight or obese."
Some of you think I am being harsh or unfair when I say that overweight doctors contribute to the Obesity Epidemic. I am being neither. It's time for doctors to step up and lead from the front! A recent study co-published by the prestigious Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the equally prestigious Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine led to some interesting conclusions. Chiefly, that a doctor’s own body weight determined what sort of recommendations he or she made to their overweight and obese patients. Doctors were almost half as likely to discuss losing weight with overweight patients if they themselves were overweight (18% -vs- 30%).
Even more intriguing was the fact that 93% of all physicians studied, failed to "diagnose" obesity in their patients if they believed they themselves weighed more than their obese patient. And when obese doctors did diagnose obesity in their patients, they were much more likely to prescribe weight loss meds (various forms of amphetamines) than to recommend lifestyle changes. This reflected the fact that while 72% of all doctors thought that being a healthy role model was important in the doctor / patient relationship, only 56% of the overweight or obese doctors thought this way. The bottom line in this study is that only 37 percent of overweight doctors "strongly believe" that they are competent to as much as merely offer advice about eating and exercise to their overweight patients. And we have not even addressed the smoking issue, which Forbes Magazine now says costs our country less than obesity.
DOCTORS WHO SMOKE:
According to our government, cigarette smoking is responsible for over 200 billion dollars in health-related economic losses, and over 5 million years of lost life here in America ----- each year. A comprehensive 2007 study of the smoking habits of physicians world-wide, stated that, "some may be surprised to hear that as many as 5% of US doctors smoke". Although this is far better than China and certain European countries where as many as 40% of physicians are smokers, it is still unacceptable. The good thing, however, is that the numbers of smoking physicians has dropped significantly over the past several decades. And thank God 3 out of 4 physicians no longer recommend Camel's (HERE) ---- now it's Medical Marijuana. Oh, and one more thing. Although I cannot find statistics, it seems that there are probably a fair number of doctors who chew tobacco. As amazing as it sounds, there are several large physicians groups whose stated position is to actively promote their patients moving from SMOKING to dipping.
DOCTORS WHO FAIL TO EXERCISE:
An Auburn University study from the early 90's stated that, "Seventy percent of the physicians did not develop exercise prescriptions and fewer than one in four were familiar with the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines related to the development of exercise prescriptions." Exercise is another area where there has been a degree of improvement by healthcare professionals. According to research, they are both doing it more and prescribing it more.
The latest Medscape survey shows that physicians do better than their average patient in this department. A bit fewer than half of the under-30 doctors exercise at least twice a week. And believe it or not, this number actually goes up with age. But just under 10% of the doctors surveyed are not exercising at all. This is far better than what researchers wrote in the December 2, 2008 of the British Journal of Sports Medicine almost 4 years ago (could 'self reporting' be the culprit here as well?). In this British study, the government determined that only one in five doctors are getting the recommended 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days a week (44% of the general population claims to be meeting this goal, which I am not buying --- at least here in the Ozarks). And although the study looked at British physicians only, the author stated that she believed results in America would not be any better. (The best form of exercise is THIS)
A UNIVERSAL PROBLEM:
Although other country's physicians are far unhealthier in certain categories (smoking for instance), America's doctors are falling far short of the goal of being role models for health ---- particularly when it comes to weight. Believe me; this blog post is not meant to pick on Medical Doctors only. Just look around you the next time you enter a medical facility. There are lots of unhealthy nurses as well. It's always sad to see health professionals congregating around the side entrances of the hospital to take their smoke breaks, or physicians eating donuts and pizza on a regular basis. And when I see these sorts of things going on inside of my own profession, I am doubly troubled. No one should take the calling to model health to their patients more seriously than those of us within the chiropractic profession!
A UNIVERSAL SOLUTION:
Doctors following the guidelines laid out below would certainly not "cure" Americans of all their physical woes. However, these guidelines would undoubtedly make them much more effective role models. What are these guidelines and where did they come from? Recently, two Johns Hopkins medical students started a grassroots program designed to help student doctors and nurses, as well as those already in practice be healthy role models to their patients. Medical practitioners who are so inclined, sign something called The Patient Promise. The stated goal of this program is, "To lead by example and practice healthy lifestyle behaviors comparable to those I would ask of my patient." It is only fair. As a student of history, I can assure you that most of history's truly great military leaders were men who would never ask those under their command to do something that they would not do themselves. The Patient Promise is a step in the right direction. The checklist of The Patient Promise, includes the following worthy goals --- goals that all physicians could help their patients achieve by living by. Sure; some of these could be taken to the extreme in our overly 'politically correct' society. But at face value, the list looks solid.
- I will engage in regular physical activity.
- I will consume a balanced and nutritious diet.
- I will refrain from the use of harmful substances.
- I will diminish personal stressors and look after my mental well-being.
- I will encourage my patient to adopt these healthy lifestyle behaviors.
- I will work alongside my patient as a partner in this journey.
- I will identify and guard myself from potential prejudices against my patient based on unhealthy behaviors, recognizing the often complex origins of these habits.
- I will respect and seek to understand the beliefs and traditions of my patient that affect his or her health.
- I will do my part to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors within my community.
CONFUSING WEIGHT AND HEALTH
Combinations like this make height / weight charts meaningless as far as determining someone's health status is concerned. In this case it's easy to see what I am talking about. In many cases, the truth is much less obvious.
The New Testament is loaded with examples of Jesus ripping the Pharisees. Pharisees were the religious leaders of that time, and believed that the thing that made them righteous before God was keeping the law. In order to keep the law, the Pharisees would go to great lengths to live their their lives according to hundreds upon hundreds of rules that God handed down to Moses in the book of Leviticus.
But Christ blasted them, calling them snakes and children of Satan with mouths like whitewashed graves. You see, Christ knew that despite their outward appearance of righteousness, their hearts were black and full of pride and hatred. He was (and still is) not only interested in people's actions but in the motivations behind those actions. When the Pharisees claimed to uphold the Law, Christ said that if they had harbored hatred in their heart, they were guilty of murder; and if they looked at a woman with lust, they were guilty of adultery.
How do we typically like to think about the way that we live our lives and about the things that we do? We like to tell ourselves we are "good" people. The easiest way to convince ourselves of this is to compare ourselves to others. When we compare ourselves to other people, it makes it much easier to think we are better than we are. After all, it's always easy to find people who are "worse" than us. We even make lists.
- I helped a little old lady across the street today.
- I don't cheat on my taxes.
- I donated to the Save the Whales campaign.
- I didn't eat that second piece of chocolate cake.
- I am not overweight.
- I am healthy.
In living our lives, our standard is to be Christ. Not our pastor. Not that person on TV. And certainly not our politicians. When it comes to health, our gauge cannot simply be whether or not we eat better than most people we know, or that we fall into that perfect spot on the chart at the top of the page. You see. I know how this game is played. I used to be a health Pharisee.
MY LIFE AS A HEALTH PHARISEE
I used to think that as long as I had athletic ability, low body fat, and a 'six pack', everything was good ---- I was "healthy". In other words, in my mind, my health was intimately tied to how my body looked and the fact that I was good at sports. When I was younger I could eat copious amounts of anything and everything and not gain a pound. I was that "hardgainer" in the gym who constantly struggled to put on weight.
Higher education did not help me solve this problem. While working on the dual degrees of Kansas State University's Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Program in the mid 80's, I fell under the spell of the LOW FAT / NO FAT CRAZE. It was all the rage and what all my nutrition professors seemed to be promoting. Thus, I began eating mass quantities of carbs. And like so many others of that era, I bought into the idea that DIETARY FAT was the "Great Satan" of health ----- the thing that made people fat. Thus; the thing that made people 'unhealthy'.
Unfortunately, I carried this thought process with me into my first few years of practice. But after awhile I came to the realization that "Fat Free" did not seem to be working for the general population --- and it was certainly not working for me. After several years of this "healthy" way of eating, I noticed that I was loosing some of the extremely high energy levels that I had always been blessed with. I also noticed, after seeing a couple of photographs (pictures don't lie like mirrors do), that I was starting to gain a few pounds around the midsection ---- something I had never before had to be concerned with. Remember; I was the guy who for the longest time had trouble gaining any weight at all. And now I was gaining weight in all the wrong places without even trying. Wondering how my paradigm could be failing me, I began to study.
As it was the dark ages ---- the days prior to the internet ---- I began reading books on the topic. After reading reading several books including Dr. Atkins earliest offering, I began to see how my pea-brained thinking on this matter was almost 180 degrees opposite of what it should have been. Shortly after that, I ended up taking several of Dr. Janet Lang's courses on FUNCTIONAL ENDOCRINOLOGY and WHOLE FOOD NUTRITION. As I changed my eating habits, the extra pounds came off and my energy levels returned. Although I did not do "nutrition" in my office in those days, it troubles me to think of the people I gave bad advice to during that time, as well as the damage that I caused myself with those years of eating the way I did.
It's not like I shouldn't have known better. Although I could not tell you the name of the class at Kansas State, I recall the two or three weeks we spent covering the hormone INSULIN. I well remember my professor calling insulin a "Storage Hormone" and saying that it was the single most anabolic (makes you bigger) hormone in the body. I wondered at the time how this could be true when everyone "knew" that fat is what made people fat ---- not sugar or starchy carbs (a friend and I were actually contemplating the "beer guts" so commonly seen on college campuses). The truth is, it's downright embarrassing that with my background in biochemistry and nutrition, I did not do a better job of figuring some of these things out on my own. Bottom line; I hate to see others making the same mistakes I did, whether purposefully or unknowingly.
SO; HOW SHOULD WE BE EATING?
If you are one of the 100 million Americans with an AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE or serious NEUROLOGICAL PROBLEM, you are going to have to take it a step farther. If you want to get your health (not just your symptoms) under control, you are probably going to have to go GLUTEN FREE. You're absolutely right. It's not easy. Healthy eating is a habit that takes some getting used to ---- particularly if you're really used to eating poorly (HERE).
When it comes to health, it's just too darn easy to fool ourselves. Especially if you're still young and active. But don't be fooled. The appearance of health won't last if you are regularly loading up on sugar, processed foods, and starchy carbs. First you'll burn out your ADRENAL GLANDS and your pancreas as your body fights to bring down your constantly-spiking blood sugar levels. And it's all downhill from there. INSULIN RESISTANCE & HYPOGLYCEMIA are sure to follow. They are two sides of the same coin ---- the prelude to full-blown Diabetes ---- a real nightmare ---- the 7th leading cause of death here in America. It's important to remember that when one hormone of the ENDOCRINE SYSTEM is out of whack, it's only a matter of time until the others follow suit. The health problems that flow from this scenario are almost unlimited in number and severity. This scenario is so common that I refer to it as THE NUMBER ONE HEALTH PROBLEM FACING AMERICA TODAY.
So; it's OK to be concerned about your WEIGHT. But not at the expense of your health.
SUBSTITUTING ONE SOURCE OF SUGAR FOR ANOTHER SOURCE OF SUGAR IN THE NAME OF HEALTH
"THE SUBSTITUTION GAME"
The 12 ounce can of "unhealthy" Coke has 39 grams of SUGAR in it. The 8 ounce glass of "healthy" orange juice has a whopping 25 grams of sugar. This would put it at just over 31 grams for 12 ounces. Crazy, isn't it? The OJ has about 80% of the sugar content that a soda does. And although "fresh squeezed" OJ is good for you, commercial OJ (whether it comes from concentrate or not) has been chemically treated and pasteurized. These process kill heat-sensitive enzymes and vitamins leaving you with ---- sugar. And because people so often believe that their substitutions are healthy, they end up consuming far more than they would of had they stuck with their original food (in this case, soda).
SUGAR ADDICTION & SUGAR SUBSTITUTION
(Two Sides of the Same Coin)
People fool themselves with all sorts of crazy "substitution" schemes. One of the biggies is fruit. People frequently tell me that they have fruit for breakfast. Unfortunately, many fruits are extremely high on the Glycemic Index. The Glycemic Index is a chart that tells you how quickly starchy or sugary foods (carbohydrates) are broken down to glucose --- the only sugar your body can ultimately convert into energy. Foods that have a listing closer to 100 are considered high Glycemic Index foods. Because these foods are broken down into glucose very quickly, they result in a sharp "spike" in blood insulin levels as well as DOZENS OF SERIOUS HEALTH PROBLEMS associated with this process. If many people have problems eating certain kinds of fruit, you can imagine the insulin dump taking place after consuming many of America's traditional breakfast foods (cereal, toast and jelly, pancakes, waffles, syrup, B&G --- the Ozarker's Breakfast of Champions ---- croissants, sweet rolls, cinnamon rolls, etc, etc, on and on and on). There is nothing like starting your day with a heavy dose of INSULIN.
Unfortunately, too many Americans cannot give up their sugar. This is because for many people (particularly women with ENDOCRINE / HORMONE issues or FIBROMYALGIA) sugar is like heroin or cocaine --- highly addictive (HERE). People sometimes realize that they are addicted to certain things (soda, for instance) and vow to get off of it. So instead of really getting off the sugar, they quit drinking soda. But in its place they drink a half gallon of OJ. Or maybe they're drinking lemonade. Or sweet tea. Or Gatorade. Although these may better than drinking soda; they're certainly not much better. And typically, the group of people engaging in this "substitutionary" behavior will do anything ---- and I do mean anything ---- to get their sugar fix! If you have ever spent time around an addict, you already know that their excuses will flow in a veritable avalanche.
So; if you have realized just how smart it is to control your blood sugar by eating in a LOW CARB fashion, stick with it. Don't fool yourself with substitution scams (latte-frapachino for fresh roasted coffee). Eat healthy and the rewards will be great! If, as you step on the scale, you think that because you are seemingly getting away with your poor eating habits (HERE), just remember ---- you will not get away with them forever. You are fooling yourself if you think otherwise. Come back tomorrow because fooling yourself with food is the topic.
ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE IS ON THE HORIZON
Who knows; maybe our government knows something we don't? In an early summer Blog Post for the CDC, Ali Kahn posited the question, "Where do zombies come from and why do they love eating brains so much? ......Zombies would take over entire countries, roaming city streets eating anything living that got in their way. The proliferation of this idea has led many people to wonder - How do I prepare for a zombie apocalypse?"
No, no, no. Our government is not really saying there is going to be a Zombie Apocalypse. They are using pop culture to sell us yet another PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT ---- this one on "preparedness". And in all honesty, their message of being ready with emergency food supplies, water, tools, etc, is not all bad. In its own watered down way, it is the message that hardcore survivalists have been preaching for years. But when the chips are down, who do I want on my side? Some kid who thought the CDC's Zombie article was "cool", or a curmudgeonly old ex-marine who knows how to live off the land and take care of himself in a firefight? Not surprisingly, this article failed to mention the need to arm yourself against this coming Zombie Invasion. We don't wonder why. The current administration is unarguably anti-gun. But I guess we shouldn't worry. One of the article's headers says, "Never Fear --- CDC is Ready!"
Kahn's piece goes on to say that, "If zombies did start roaming the streets, CDC would conduct an investigation much like any other disease outbreak. CDC would provide technical assistance to cities, states, or international partners dealing with a zombie infestation. This assistance might include consultation, lab testing and analysis, patient management and care, tracking of contacts, and infection control (including isolation and quarantine)".
Does anyone remember Stephen King's 1978 epic novel, The Stand? If I remember correctly, only about 1 in 300 people survives a government-induced (bio-weapons) plague. The survivors form up into two large groups (good guys -vs- bad guys) and follow their respective leaders (a sweet elderly black woman rocking on her front porch in rural Nebraska, and bad man with dark eyes and cowboy boots) to Colorado and Las Vegas, where they will eventually battle each other for control of the country ---- or what's left of it anyway. Intriguing concept. And interestingly enough, if my memory serves me, the book began with a government quarantine. If you understand how government quarantines work, you might begin to wonder about the above statement from the CDC. If you try and break quarantine, soldiers (or UN policemen) will eliminate you on the spot.
All of this begs the question of whether the CDC or any other governmental agency has any sort of credibility in this sort of thing. When it comes to real life disasters, the only organizations that seem to be getting it right are the faith-based (church) groups. They were on the ground almost immediately, bringing in water, food, clothing, and medical supplies to devastated people. But the government shut many of these down --- even before they started supplying disaster relief themselves. This and the known fiasco-rate of other government-run endeavors tells me that we should be very leery of trusting the government to take care of us when the chips are down. So; if we can't trust the government to protect us in the case of a disaster, what should we do?
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF IN A DISASTER
(WHETHER NATURAL OR MAN MADE)
- FOOD: What you do here really depends upon how much space you have. Can you put a deep freeze full of meat in your basement? Can you power it if the lights go out? Do you have a garden spot and know what to do with it? Can you stock up on some extra canned goods? Do several weeks / months of freeze dried foods or military rations (MRE's) sound like a good investment to you? Have you got some heirloom seeds stockpiled (the seeds of most plants raised from store-bought seed packets will not grow ---- they are purposely sterile). These are all things to think about. Do your own research.
- WATER: Water is a basic necessity. Although I would suggest that you do store some water, storing water is not easy because it takes up a lot of space. There are all sorts of ways around this --- gizmos that you can purchase for the emergency purification of water --- many quite inexpensive.
- GUNS & AMMO: Few people are aware of just how quickly a situation (particularly in urban areas) can degenerate into chaos, anarchy, and mayhem. Does anyone remember the Rodney King Riots in LA (over 50 people killed and over 2,000 injured)? What about New Orleans after Katrina? How about the Michael Brown Riots in the St. Louis area? Any time the power goes out, your chances of ending up in an anything-goes situation --- particularly if you live in the city --- increase dramatically. And although the CDC did not mention the need for firearms in their article, taking advantage of your 2nd Amendment rights could prove to be the difference-maker for you and your family. I really don't care what your personal beliefs are on firearms; when the SHTF and the "zombies" are beating at your door, do you want to trust your wife and daughters (not to mention your sons) to your ability to talk your way out of a desperate situation? Few things speak louder than a 12 gauge pump loaded with 00. Better to have dependable firearms and never need them, than to need them and not have them (and don't forget the ammo).
- TOOLS & EMERGENCY SUPPLIES: There are all sorts of things to have on hand. Do your own research and plan accordingly.
- EMERGENCY PLAN / EMERGENCY KIT: Do you know how to turn your water off in the event that the power goes out during the winter months? Do you know your neighbors? Do you know how to garden? Do you have seeds? What about extra blankets? Do you ave any sort of backup cooking or heat? Did you know that you can get inexpensive radios and flashlights that run via hand cranks?
The truth is, you can really go overboard with some of this stuff. But then again, in the event of a real disaster, no matter how much you have prepared, you will wish that you had done more. I am not convinced you need to live your life like television's "Preppers". However, some internet research, a bit of simple planning, and some common sense could literally be the difference between life and death for you and your family.
What are the odds of a disaster happening to you? I'm no statistician so I am not sure. But as a student of history I can tell you this. No nation in history has taken on the amount of debt we have taken on without crumbling. When it finally happens, it will happen all at once --- just like it did a little bit over 80 years ago. All it takes is a plunge in the markets, a total loss of confidence in our government-backed (paper) currency, and a run on the banks. Once people realize that there is nothing but thin air and government IOU's backing their dollars, the panic will set in.
The difference between then and now, is that back in the late 20's and 30's most people did not have much of anything to begin with. For many people, the Great Depression was just another day in the life. Folks worked hard and most of them lived hand-to-mouth with few conveniences or luxuries. People made do with whatever they had and could repair or fabricate anything. There was much deeper 'community' back then as well. People went to church and helped each other through hard times.
It's a very different society we live in today. On top of that, there is nothing (gold nor silver) backing our currency like there was back then. Add in the fact that we have a huge (and rapidly increasing) segment of our non-elderly population being completely supported by the government, and you might begin to see the potential for a Zombie Invasion after all.
OSGOOD SCHLATTER'S SYNDROME
The day before he was to leave for boot camp, he came to see me and I found out about it for the very first time. So, I treated him --- one time ---- seven or eight years ago ----- for a problem he had struggled with for the better part of his life. Needless to say, the one treatment solved his problem and it never returned. Thanks for the memories Michael (not to mention the testimonial)!
"The condition is caused by stress on the patellar tendon that attaches the quadriceps muscle at the front of the thigh to the tibial tuberosity. Following an adolescent growth spurt, repeated stress from contraction of the quadriceps is transmitted through the patellar tendon to the immature tibial tuberosity. This can cause multiple subacute avulsion fractures along with inflammation of the tendon, leading to excess bone growth in the tuberosity and producing a visible lump which can be very painful when hit. In more detail, activities such as kneeling may irritate the tendon."
MORE PICTURES OF OSGOOD SCHLATTER SYNDROME
The picture on the left shows the front right thigh (Quadriceps Muscles). These (4) muscles make up the most powerful group of muscles in the entire body. And although these four muscles have upper attachments that range from the pelvis to the thigh bone itself (femur), the lower attachment is the same for all of them. It is the Quadriceps Tendon. Just below the Quadriceps tendon is the short Patellar Tendon which attaches to the lower leg at a place called the Tibial Tuberosity. If you simply reach down and feel
Wolf's Law says that,"Bone grows due to mechanical stresses placed upon it, whether the stresses are normal (good) or abnormal (bad)". This is valuable information. It is why people who have broken a leg are put in a walking cast as soon as they can tolerate it. It is also why people develop Degenerative Arthritis in joints that have been injured or do not 'move' like they used to move. Abnormal mechanical stresses on muscles, tendons, joints, or bones, are going to cause problems in one way or another.
Let's think about this for a moment. What is one result an overly tight quadriceps muscle is going to produce? It is ultimately going to pull like crazy at the Tibial Tubercle. If you understand Wolf's Law, you realize that this is going to cause the Tibial Tubercle to increase in size as new bone is laid down. As the earlier quote from Wikipedia says, "repeated stress from contraction of the quadriceps is transmitted through the patellar tendon to the immature tibial tuberosity." When this happens, you will get varying degrees of, "avulsion fractures along with inflammation of the tendon, leading to excess bone growth in the tuberosity and producing a visible lump." In the case of Osgood Schlatter Disease, there will always be a degree of TENDINOSIS. However, treatment that is geared at the tendon itself will frequently fail ---- especially in more severe cases. The tendon problem, the repeated avulsion fractures, and the extra-large Tibial Tuberosity all have an underlying cause.
To the best of my knowledge, I have never seen a case of Osgood Schlatter Syndrome that I was unable to resolve ---- quickly. The thing that I find somewhat odd, however, is that despite the fact that it is dog-common, few people have heard of it and the medical community has no real idea how to address it other than the methods mentioned above. If you or a loved one has Osgood Schlatter's, call Tracy at (417) 934-6337 and schedule an appointment to let me take a look. Dealing with this common mechanical problem now, can potentially save a lot of time, grief, and money in the future. We will never make that ugly over-sized Tibial Tubercle go away ---- no one can. Unfortunately, it will be with you forever. But we can stop the abnormal bio-mechanics that are causing it to grow, as well as helping prevent future knee problems. It is my experience that doing this will stop the pain of Osgood Schlatter Disease dead in its tracks!
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Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).
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