Salutations!

As the cost of "Sick"care skyrockets so to do the cost associated with every aspect of the sick care industry (insurance premiums, co-pays, pharmaceutical drugs, sick leave, etc.). The time to act and take care of ourselves while jealously guarding our health has come. We can no longer afford to hand over our health or our wealth to others and hope to live happy, productive lives. The goal of this blog is to wade through some of the more mundane as well as a few sensational health issues that affect us today and how to get over them.







Monday, November 10, 2014

Diabetes - A 21st Century Scourge: The Beginning of Healthy Eating for Diabetics (Phase 1)



Now that we have a little background knowledge how can we be practical in its application and where do we begin? Let us start with eating right for diabetes. Emphasis is given to eating plans as opposed to diets. The reason for this is a diet is done for a short period and is usually rigid and therefore intolerable to maintain for greater lengths of time. Eating plans are lifetime changes that are maintained or modified without stopping. Eating plans tend be less rigid as adjustments from less desirable eating habits are made gradually but for diabetics gradual adjustments might be a little to slow depending on the nature of the condition. With that said the first phase eating plan is not meant to be for the long term but is intended too jump start healthy habits while encouraging weight loss. Careful consideration has been given about the necessity to jump start your diabetes reversal protocols. Dramatically reducing the consumption of inflammatory foods and ensuring equalized and stable blood sugar is imperative from the start. As you move from phase one to phase two the restrictions will be relaxed and more emphasis will be placed on establishing an eating plan for life while seeking diversity in your food choices.

This initial phase will usually last for 4-6 weeks depending on your needs and should consist of meals that are 1,000-1,250 calories per day (caloric intake should be adjusted higher if you are involved in strenuous work or activities).

     Choose organic fruits, vegetables and meats as often as possible. The chemicals from herbicides, pesticides and fungicides in addition to growth hormones, antibiotics and grain fed cattle all causes toxic build up and inflammation in the body. Neither of these conditions are conducive to reversing diabetes and actually helps to promote it.
     Meats should be the leanest cuts since animal fats store toxins you do not want in your body.
     Clean pure water is the preferred drink (at least 2 quarts daily) with occasional tea or coffee during the day. Coffee and tea should be made with clean pure water and only lightly sweetened with stevia.
     Absolutely no artificial sweeteners. In addition to slowing your metabolism artificial sweeteners are broken down into toxic substances that increase inflammation thwarting your efforts to reverse the diabetes condition.
     A high quality fiber should be consumed daily. Fiber slows the absorption of carbohydrates which helps maintain level blood sugar.
     If you experience light-headedness increase water consumption and consume high quality fiber with every meal
     Any listed fruit eaten between meals should be consumed with fiber.
     Do not consume all of your bread and fruit ration at the same time. This would have the potential to elevate blood sugar levels too rapidly.
     Food from one day cannot be saved and eaten on the next. Maintaining the same number of calories and the correct proportion of foods to blood glucose ratios is imperative.
     Meat variation: Occasionally you may substitute 3 1/2 ounces fat-free cottage cheese or one whole egg and three egg whites for a meat portion.
     Eat only the meats listed and be sure all fat is trimmed by the butcher before purchase.
     A list of approved foods will be given to you. If it is not listed do not eat it in any quantity
     Consume only fresh white fish low in mercury (Tongol tuna, cod, haddock, wild caught tilapia, white fish or whiting)
     Fiber will be an integral and extremely important aspect of this entire protocol (phase one and two). It is imperative that you find a quality fiber that is natural and works without chemicals or being harsh.
     Salad dressing cannot contain any oil. The light use of balsamic vinaigrettes is recommended.
     A sweetener can be used sparingly and the only one allowed is stevia.
     The only allowable dairy is fat-free cottage cheese. All other dairy must be avoided.

Preparations

     All meat must be broiled or boiled
     Vegetables must be raw or steamed
     The juice of one lemon is allowed for all purposes (seasoning, cooking, etc)
     A small amount of salt, pepper, vinegar, garlic and spices (e.g. thyme, parsley, sage, turmeric, rosemary, basil, etc.) can be used for seasoning but absolutely no butter, oil or dressings of any kind
     Convection ovens would be very helpful (microwave as little as possible or not at all)

Other Considerations

     No creams, synthetic oils, chemical based astringents or lotions should be used on your face, skin, or body during this program. This will allow the body to take a break from xenoestrogens and other chemicals found in personal care products that create inflammation in the body. If you need a moisturizer use extra virgin coconut oil.
     Get a pedometer. You should be walking at least 10,000 steps per day every day.

If you experience constipation during these phases increase water intake. 

The next article will contain the approved foods list for phase one along with a helpful sample eating plan.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Diabetes - A 21st Century Scourge: Nutrients for Weight Loss in Diabetics



Every excess pound above your ideal body weight makes developing diabetes or pre­diabetes extremely easy and reversing the condition exceedingly difficult. There are several imperatives regarding diabetes and weight loss. One, movement equals improvement. In order to reduce inflammation and burn off glycogen released when stress hormones are present you must exercise moderately (when able) otherwise weight management will not happen. Second, your meal plan must meet the demands of reversing diabetes. Finally, taking the right supplements in adequate amounts will help you on your way.
Keep in mind that there is no magic bullet out there to get you where you need to go. Depending solely on supplements is a sure way to not meet your goals. Be sure to think of these recommendations as Sherpas helping you up the mountain of diabetes reversal.
The goal here is to nourish the body in such a way as to trigger your body’s natural ability to reduce fat storage and induce fat cell destruction. Supplement recommendations will be divided into sections: Fat burning, appetite suppressants, increased satiety and energy production.
Thermogenic (fat burning):
      Green tea (or green tea extracts): used for thousands of years for a range of health benefits green tea and its extracts profoundly increases thermogenic activity in the body. This helps your body increase fat burning over a sustained period of time with no side effects (unless you are extremely sensitive to caffeine). 3-­4 cups of green tea daily and/or 100 milligrams of green tea extract is recommended.
      Fucoxanthin: a component of fucoidan it is derived from edible seaweed. Asian cultures have used and consumed seaweed full of fucoxanthin for thousands of years and have experienced wonderful health benefits as a result. In recent years it has been gaining more and more interest for its thermogenic powers with new human studies supporting this claim. It is also noted for its ability decrease the body’s ability to store abdominal and liver fat. 5 milligrams three times daily is recommended.
Appetite Suppressants:
      L-­tryptophan and 5­-hydroxytryptophan (5­-HTP): these amino acids help to control carbohydrate and sugar cravings by helping the body produce more serotonin which naturally deters these cravings. 50­-100 milligrams one to three times daily or 100-­300 milligrams before bed. Serotonin Max may be a good place to start. *Special note: if you are taking a SSRI antidepressants or triptans for migraines please consult with your physician before taking these supplements.
      N­-acetyl L-­tyrosine: a naturally occurring amino acid that helps the body increase
dopamine and norepinephrine which decreases appetite and improves mood. 500-­2,000 milligrams daily taken on an empty stomach usually does the trick. Avoid taking in the late afternoon as it may interfere with sleep.
Increase Satiety:
      Fiber: fiber does so many wonderful things for the body like help control sugar levels through various mechanisms but the focus here will be on feeling full. Both soluble and insoluble fiber play a significant role in this process.  It is recommended that most people consume at least 30 grams per day (most only get about 14 grams per day). A high quality fiber supplement split up over the course of the day (10 grams 3x daily) will assist with feeling full, reduce cravings and moderate blood sugar levels.
Increase Energy:

       Acetyl L-­carnitine: supports, protects and regenerates mitochondria and mitochondrial functions. It is also able to cross the blood­-brain barrier to support and energize brain cells and increase the number of neurotransmitters in the brain. Increased energetic output and mitochondrial function (where energy is produced) helps to reduce weight through desiring to move and then doing so!

*Before beginning any supplement regime it is best that you consult your primary healthcare practitioner or doctor.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Diabetes - A 21st Century Scourge: Nutrients for Blood Sugar Stabilization



We covered a substantial portion of the "doom and gloom" associated with diabetes whether it be grim statistics or the physical ailments it causes. With that being covered we have finally come to the portion of this series where we can bring light, hope and great health to those who are most afflicted and their loved ones. 

We will start by identifying three key areas that will assist greatly with stemming the tide of this scourge. These areas will include nutrients for blood sugar stabilization, nutrients to assist in weight loss and important tests to consider if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic. The test will provide important information that will help you figure out what nutrients are most relevant in your fight and what foods to focus on once dietary concerns are addressed.

In this article will begin with nutrients for improving and supporting blood glucose (sugar) stabilization. As we begin to expound on these supplements it is important to remember that no supplement can replace a healthy eating plan, physical activity, and stress reduction techniques.

Vitamins

A good multivitamin is a must. Even if you are following the meal plans and consuming organic or natural products chances are you are not receiving enough vitamins for optimum health. The key word is ‘optimum’ because the government standards for vitamin and mineral intake are for minimum health outcomes. When choosing a multivitamin ensure the vitamins are natural (not synthetic). Synthetic vitamins are not readily bioavailable (able to be absorbed by the body) and can create inflammation which is to be avoided as much as possible. Below are a few vitamins to focus on but all vitamins are important.

o   Biotin - this B vitamin is instrumental in preventing and overcoming insulin resistance. Reversing insulin resistance will cause a decrease in blood sugar levels which should be monitored closely.

○    Vitamin D3 - this super vitamin acts more like a hormone and has a host of healthy responsibilities. In particular for diabetics D3 reduces blood glucose levels and increases sensitivity to insulin making insulin more effective. The optimum range for this nutrient in the body is 50 -­ 100 ng/ml so you may be required to take 2,000 ­- 10,000 IU of D3 daily until optimum levels are reached.

Minerals

Mineral deficiencies is a significant issue for diabetics and prediabetics. Without the proper minerals the body cannot utilize enzymes that control many bodily functions and also help control blood sugar levels. Below are some of the minerals we need to focus on in the fight to reverse diabetes.

o   Chromium Picolinate - this stealth mineral assists the body in the metabolizing of carbohydrates, fats and protein. Most importantly for diabetics is that it is the mineral that causes blood cells to “receive” glucose essentially overcoming insulin resistance. An optimum range for chromium levels is 35 micrograms for men and 25 micrograms for women. However, for most diabetics it will be necessary to consume 200 ­- 1,000 micrograms per day until optimum levels are reached. The form taken should be a picolinate. Highly refined and processed foods rob the body of chromium since these items requires heavy use of chromium for metabolization.

o   Magnesium - essential for pancreatic repair and support. Magnesium assists in stabilizing blood sugar levels by increasing the number of insulin receptors on blood cells. It also restores or repair beta cells (responsible for producing insulin) in the pancreas.

Other Essential Nutrients

o   Cinnamon - cinnamon has been well established as a blood sugar lowering nutrient. 3­6 grams daily have been shown to decrease fasting blood sugar levels by 18­29%. A high quality cinnamon extract is recommended at 250 milligrams twice daily.

o   Omega 3 Fatty Acids - omega 3’s decrease inflammation, lower triglyceride levels, may help prevent insulin resistance and improve glucose tolerance. Those with impaired gallbladder function or had their gallbladder removed will need to supplement with ox bile to sufficiently breakdown fatty acids such as omega 3’s. 500 - 1,000 milligrams of omega 3 fish oil three times per day is recommended. Those with high triglyceride levels should take 4,000 - 5,000 milligrams daily.

o   Alpha Lipoic Acid - this acid reduces oxidative stress which is very important to diabetics. It is both water and fat soluble allowing it to work in all areas of the body. It also reduces insulin sensitivity and impedes oxidation of LDL cholesterol. 300 milligrams twice a day.

This short list is by no means exhaustive but should give some insight on where to start. As always be sure to consult with a medical professional before starting a supplement regimen.


No recommendations or dosages in this article should be construed as medical advice (because it is not).

Friday, August 8, 2014

Diabetes: A 21st Century Scourge - The Facts and Figures



The causes of diabetes and how it ravages the body is sobering. The shocking reality of diabetes is that despite all of the medical advances and its worldwide prevalence it continues on a skyward rise into the stratosphere. As if that is not sobering enough the facts listed below will help bring the point home.

  • Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States (nearly 8.5 % of the population) have diabetes
  • 79 million Americans are thought to be prediabetic
  • 1.9 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year
  • Nearly 10% of the entire U.S. population has diabetes, including over 25% of seniors
  • As many as 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes in 2050 if present trends continue
  • The economic cost of diagnosed diabetes in the U.S. is $245 billion per year
  • 1.9 million Americans aged 20 years or older are newly diagnosed with diabetes                each year (5,205/day)
  • Compared to non-Hispanic whites the risk of diagnosed is 1.2 times higher among Asian Americans, 1.7 times higher among Hispanic Americans, and 1.8 times higher among African Americans
  • Diabetes is the primary cause of death  for 71,382 Americans each year
  • Diabetes contributes to the death of 231,404 Americans annually (combining death certificates that list diabetes as the primary and a contributing cause of death)
  • $245 billion annually attributable to diagnosed diabetes, including $176  billion in direct costs and $69 billion in indirect costs (disability, work loss, premature mortality)
  • People with diagnosed diabetes have health care costs 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes
  • About 60% to 70% of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of neuropathy
  • More than 60% of nontraumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes
  • About 65,700 nontraumatic lower-limb  amputations are performed in people with diabetes annually (180/day)
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, accounting for 44% of all new cases of kidney failure
  • Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about 2 to 4 times higher than adults without diabetes, and the risk for stroke is 2 to 4 times higher among people with diabetes
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 20–74 years
  • The prevalence of diagnosed diabetes in the U.S. increased by 128% from 1988 to 2008
  • Diabetes kills more Americans every year than AIDS and breast cancer combined
 In the next few articles in this series we will strike a happier tone by covering some of the ways diabetes can be mitigated or reversed. There is plenty of hope and good news so there is no need to despair despite the statistics. We will also discuss the psychology of diabetes and its effect on the lives of those that have it and the people who help care for them.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Diabetes: A 21st Century Scourge - The Ravages of Diabetes Continued

Uncontrolled blood sugar levels is the calling card of Type II diabetes that eventually leads to circulatory issues that are life changing. Foot ulcers, peripheral nerve damage and the accompanying pain, and blindness can result when blood vessels are weakened by the inflammatory action of unregulated blood sugar. Nightmarish as those conditions may be the complications of diabetes can worsen overtime leading to renal failure, heart attacks and stroke.




Diabetic Nephropathy

Silently and slowly high blood glucose levels damages the kidneys of diabetics and pre-diabetics takes its toll. The kidneys help filter the blood and flush the body of unwanted toxins. Overtime high sugar levels cause the thickening and scarring of nephrons. The process eventually leads to renal (kidney) failure. To make matters worse it can take anywhere from 5 – 10 years before the symptoms of acute kidney damage are experienced. Some of the symptoms include nausea with vomiting, swelling of the legs, headaches, chronic fatigue, and poor appetite. Kidney damage is a leading cause of death in diabetics. As it is kidney function can be a direct correlation to the quality of a person’s life.




Strokes

High blood glucose levels create all sorts of negative domino effects in the body. One part of the domino effect is the scarring and deterioration of blood vessels that occur. The body attempts to repair these blood vessels that are constantly under attack. In doing so the material used to make the repairs “builds up” in the blood vessels creating blockages. Sometimes these blockages occur in arteries and blood vessels that supply blood to brain. When the blockages are severe enough a stroke soon follows. The result of the stroke could lead to paralysis, speech loss, inability to coordinate movement or even death. Smaller strokes could lead to dementia or senility.




Heart Attacks

Diabetes and cardiovascular diseases seem to go hand in hand. Primarily because of the circulatory issues created by having diabetes in the first place. From there it becomes much easier for cardiovascular disease to gain a foothold especially if poor lifestyle habits and predisposition to these diseases exist. Diabetics experience heart attacks more frequently than non-diabetics. Diabetics are also twice as likely to die following a heart attack as non-diabetics.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Diabetes: A 21st Century Scourge - The Ravages of Diabetes

So far we have discussed some of the causes of diabetes mellitus (aka Type II diabetes). Now it is time to look at what diabetes does or can do to the body if reversal or proper mitigation is not undertaken (*Note: I did not use the word “management” purposefully which will be discussed later). Diabetes has a methodical way of slowly shutting down very important body processes. At first it is a silent thief roaming the body undetected causing painless harm. Later the harm becomes great enough to cause discomfort, outright pain or worse. The silent portion of the process can take years and could remain undiscovered for much of that time. The resulting complications are life changing.



Our Poor Eyes

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness affecting 4.1 million adults in the U.S. The blindness is caused primarily by a condition called diabetic retinopathy. One of the most devastating aspects of diabetes is how it affects blood flow and circulation. As blood flow to the retinas decrease due to diabetes the body attempts to compensate by creating new blood vessels. Unfortunately these blood vessels tend to be weak and they rupture. Bleeding in the retina obstructs vision and the laser treatments used to stop the bleeding often destroys portions of the retina. Retinal hemorrhaging and treatments for it can separately or in combination cause permanent blindness.  



On Pins and Needles

Circulatory issues figure prominently with Type II diabetes. It can cause blindness and it can also cause another condition called neuropathy. Neuropathy occurs as blood vessels that supply the peripheral nervous system begin to weaken. The peripheral nerves, starved of nourishment, begin to degenerate creating pain. At first it could feel like being pricked by pins and needles as numbness begin to set in. A downward spiral ensues with ever decreasing circulation causing ever increasing pain.



Ulcers and Infections

Foot ulcers, because of poor or insufficient blood supply, can become a common problem. Blood vessels have the tendency to become clogged in diabetics especially in the extremities robbing them of nourishment and proper attention from the immune system. No nourishment causes tissues to degenerate causing ulcers. In addition, simple cuts or bruises can result in life threatening infections. Both conditions can lead to the onset of gangrene and require amputation of the infected limb. There are approximately 185,000 amputations per year in the U.S. with more than half of those (54%) attributed to vascular diseases (either diabetes or peripheral arterial disease). Diabetics are cautioned to take good care of their feet paying close attention to them. Most practitioners would advise diabetics to never go barefoot and to keep their feet warm, dry and clean.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Diabetes: A 21st Century Scourge - Causes of Diabetes Continued



As we continue to discuss the causes of diabetes there are two significant contributors that must be discussed. Seldom mentioned in most dialogue regarding this scourge are the massive amounts of medications that is consumed the world over and the staggering result of unmitigated stress on our bodies.



Medications

Watch most any pharmaceutical commercial and you will likely notice that about 20 seconds of a 30 second commercial is about all the terrible things the medicine may do to you. Of those 20 seconds a few sound something like this: “Be sure to tell your doctor if you have a liver condition or poor liver function” or “Liver test may be necessary to check liver function”. There are a multitude of reasons why these pronouncements are important but for the sake of this article we will stick with the diabetic angle.

Poor liver function is a death sentence. This may sound ominous and a bit over the top but consider what the liver does (e.g. cleanse the blood, regulate metabolism) and the picture becomes clear. A Poor liver leads to a poor life and possibly diabetes. Medications can slow liver function by creating the need for continuous cleansing of highly toxic substances. These substances may be specifically toxic to the liver breaking down cellular function which decreases the organ’s efficiency.

Also, some medications can actually slow down metabolic processes in the liver causing it to become fatty and sluggish. A fatty liver has great difficulty controlling fasting glucose levels. A fatty liver also increases the incidence of insulin resistance. It is estimated that some 80% of people suffering from Type II diabetes have fat in their liver.



Stress

When it comes to silent killers stress, in my opinion, is second only to inflammation. Chronic stress is a major health issue these days and it comes from multiple sources. Family and other relationships, traffic jams, even video games can induce stress responses in the body. One of the chief responses is elevated cortisol levels. Cortisol is released into the blood stream to give the body a boost of energy to accommodate the “fight or flight” response to stressful situations by increasing blood glucose levels. When cortisol is constantly released it increases blood glucose constantly and insulin resistance is not far behind because the cells do not actually need the energy. Once insulin resistance sets in Type II diabetes rears its hideously ugly head.


In addition, because the body does not actually need to fight or run the extra glucose in the blood stream has to go somewhere. That is when the body produces visceral and abdominal fight to store the unused glucose. This type of fat is extra special and not in a good way. It tends to adversely affect the metabolism essentially becoming its own endocrine system and affecting the hormones that either stimulate or decrease hunger. The net effect is a downward spiral alternating between unmitigated stress, increased abdominal and visceral fat, and increased appetite. All this leads to continuous elevated blood glucose levels and increased insulin resistance. Combined with the cumulative effect of chronic stress we are left with nothing short of diabetic trouble.