January 24, 2017

Metformin and Diabetes: Trouble in Paradise

Popular Drug Damages Your Cells But Fasting Delivers Energy

by Dr. Scott Saunders, M.D.

Jessica came to see me because she had been diagnosed with a condition that is becoming more and more common – PCOS. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a problem of the adrenal glands that causes:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Obesity
  • Easy fatiguing
  • And even diabetes

Jessica was prescribed a diabetes medication called metformin (tradename Glucophage) that seems to help metabolic problems. It also allows people to burn fat so they stop gaining weight.

This drug is a first-line therapy for Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) and has been used for many years. It has the effect of making the body more sensitive to insulin and blocking the liver from putting out more sugar. The net effect of this is to lower blood sugar levels.

However, metformin’s specific action reaches deeper into your cells. It blocks the mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cells of your body, from using sugar efficiently. When cells are unable to use sugar, they must switch to fat-burning mode. With the ability to burn fat, the body has lower sugar levels and can actually lose weight!

The effect of metformin has been trumpeted for many years. Metformin:

  • Decreases blood glucose
  • Increases fat use
  • Prevents kidney problems
  • Improves PCOS in women
  • Prevents diabetes
  • Lowers cancer rates [1]

Because of these effects metformin is now being considered and used for many conditions including:

  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Cancers of all types
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic Syndrome X

Indeed, as one of my professors stated, it seems that metformin should be “included in the drinking water.”  Everyone would supposedly benefit.  Many without diabetes, PCOS, or even pre-diabetes are taking it to prevent diabetes and cancer.

Beware of Treating Disease with Metformin

All of the symptoms and diseases treated by metformin have one thing in common: they are all diseases of metabolism, or energy production.  These conditions actually result when energy is not properly made in the body.  Adding metformin to those cells that need sugar makes them less efficient. They can’t make energy!

This is why people with diabetes develop Alzheimer’s disease, kidney failure, amputations, and nerve damage.  In spite of having lots of sugar, they are unable to metabolize it.

The problem with taking metformin is that it blocks the proper use of sugar.  Some tissues need sugar to function. So when your body is already impaired, withholding cell energy can cause further damage to the liver, kidneys, brain, vision, and muscles.

The list of “side-effects,” or better said, toxic effects, of metformin include:[2]

  • the problem with taking metformin Stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, or constipation
  • Headaches
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Taste problems
  • Trouble breathing
  • Chills
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fingernail and/or toenail disease
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Heart throbbing or pounding
  • Muscle pain
  • Redness of face and neck
  • Increased blood acidity due to high levels of lactic acid
  • Low blood sugar
  • Megaloblastic anemia

These are just the symptoms of the toxic effects of metformin; the underlying cause is the lack of energy production. Basically, cells treated with metformin become energetically inefficient. As a result, your mitochondria, which manage your cell’s energy, become poisoned. Lead, mercury, arsenic, and cyanide, are known to have similar disturbing side effects on your cells.

Not all who take metformin have this unique set of horrible toxic side effects. But it is important to know that there is a risk to taking it. Much of the time, patients with diabetes or other conditions are given the medication without being told about its toxicity.

Metformin and Type 2 Diabetes

The hallmark of T2D is an overload of sugar, which makes it toxic.  Anything we get too much of can poison the systems of our body. Yes, we can get too much of a good thing.  When we eat more than we need for the day, we store the extra as fat and glycogen. Eventually the energy production of the body gets sluggish. The systems designed to regulate and manage your body become inefficient. We feel weak, fatigued, tired and listless. Even though every cell stores millions of calories and many pounds of fat are reserved under the skin, metabolic energy is inaccessible due to overload of sugar.

Many blame their thyroid because low thyroid can cause similar symptoms.  However, these symptoms almost always point to an overload of a sluggish energy system.  This happens because the sugar system is inefficient, and extra insulin blocks the fat system.  We call this “insulin resistance.”

When given metformin, it blocks the cells’ ability to use sugar and stimulates the use of fat.  This allows more sugar into the already bloated cells.  It also prevents the muscles from getting energy from their stored glycogen, which can cause them to die of starvation.  It might seem to make sense to treat the overload of energy by starving the cells. It may work temporarily, but ultimately these cells die of starvation while swimming in energy.  It would be like a person dying of thirst in a swimming pool because he was afraid of drowning.

Metformin and Type 1 Diabetes

A deficiency of insulin does not allow sugar into the cells and they starve of energy.  Before the discovery of insulin, people died of starvation from T1D (type 1 diabetes).  They couldn’t use the sugar so they would switch to fat-burning.  When they ran out of fat, they started burning protein, and when there was no more protein, they died.

Long ago, people with “honey urine” (type 1 diabetes) ate high fat diets to keep them alive. Now we can give them insulin and they can live an almost normal life.  However, some are saying type 1 diabetics should take metformin to block the liver from making sugar and help keep their sugar down.  While this sounds good, it would be a disaster on the cellular level!  With the imminent threat of starving cells, it is unwise to use a chemical that can further disturb energy production.

Studies indicate that metformin side-effects, especially hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), are more likely in T1D, with hardly any blood sugar benefit.[3]

Metformin and PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome is primarily a hormone abnormality that is commonly inherited.  The adrenal and other glands have abnormal responses to stimuli that cause either too much or too little of certain hormones.  Cortisol tends to be excessive, as is testosterone. High cortisol and testosterone hormones prohibit other hormones from being produced or used. The net effect on the metabolism is insulin resistance (because of excess cortisol) and even diabetes.

Metformin has been a first-line medication for this problem because it effectively blocks excess cortisol.  However, it is important to note that it works only on the symptoms of cortisol excess, while allowing the disease to progress.

In women with PCOS, high insulin levels can cause the ovaries to make more androgen hormones such as testosterone. Metformin affects the way insulin controls blood glucose and lowers testosterone production. As a result, ovulation can return.

On a side note, the goal to reverse PCOS is to use nutrients to:

  • Decrease sugar cravings
  • Improve insulin sensitivity
  • Improve carbohydrate metabolism
  • Balance blood sugar levels
  • And balance hormones

Meditation, mindfulness, gratefulness, journaling, and any other mind-body techniques can be used to lower cortisol levels.

Metformin Worsens Alzheimer’s Disease

While laboratory studies indicate that making the brain more sensitive to insulin should help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, clinical studies show the cognitive problems actually get worse.[4] It turns out that the ability to use fat actually helps the brain to function better and to repair. However, the toxic effects of metformin on the body’s ability to use sugar lessen this benefit. The brain needs a constant supply of energy from sugar even when the body is burning fat.

The Optimal Alternative to Metformin

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Repair Your Immune System to Heal Lupus

By Dr. Scott Saunders, M.D.

What is Lupus?

What do Luisa May Alcott, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, Ferdinand Marcos, Tim Raines, and Lucy-in-the-sky-with-diamonds have in common?  All are reported to have suffered with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, also known as “Lupus” or SLE.

SLE can affect the heart, joints, skin, lungs, blood vessels, liver, kidneys and nervous system. The autoimmune disease is variable and unpredictable, often having periods of illness called flares, alternating with remissions. It is nine times more common in women than in men, and especially affects women in child-bearing years between the ages 15 to 35.  Also, it is more common in people of non-European descent.

The disease is so variable because it is a condition of the immune system where antibodies are made against your own proteins, causing inflammation.  It most often affects the joints, causing a painful arthritis.  About half get skin problems, such as the characteristic “butterfly rash” on the face due to exposure to ultraviolet light.  Fatigue and muscle pains are also common.

lupus program Image Credit U. of Minnesota

The antibodies attack the cell nucleus, most often the fibroblasts that make connective tissue.  This is the tissue that holds the body together.  For this reason, lupus can strike anywhere in the body.

How is Lupus Diagnosed?

Lupus can be brought on by:

  • Food sensitivities
  • Drugs
  • Antibiotics
  • Infections
  • Toxin exposures
  • Other, unknown causes

The lupus diagnosis is very difficult because so many people suffer for years not knowing what they have.  The tests that best characterize the symptoms are not exclusive to Lupus.  The Lupus tests that should be done include:

  1. ANA (anti-nuclear antibody)
  2. Anti-DS DNA (antibodies against DNA)
  3. Anti-Smith (antibodies against nuclear proteins)

These tests, along with the characteristic rash on the face will detect about 92% of cases.

Natural Lupus Treatment Program

Loren came to see me in her 40s.  She had suffered with rashes, all over pain , fatigue, mouth sores and arthritis for over ten years.  She was unable to take care of her children and required help in the home.  Worst of all, she was unable to predict when she would be functional.

She had been diagnosed with Lupus several years before, and had tried medications to suppress the immune system and relieve the pain.  These helped a little, but she was still fatigued much of the time.  She had difficulty sleeping, and was still in pain most of the time.

She was told she was incurable and could get kidney failure, psychosis, heart failure, restrictions of the lungs and many other manifestations.  Of course, with several young children she was always fearful of these things.

Systemic Lupus has been characterized as an incurable illness, as with all autoimmune diseases, but in the 21st Century we have come a long way.  There are no medicines to cure Lupus, but there is a healing program that works well for most cases.

The foundation of this program requires repairing the digestive system.  Over three-fourths of our immune system comes from the intestines.  It is an extremely complex and fascinating system of our own cells, bacteria, yeast, parasites, food, hormones and tissues that help our immune system to be able to distinguish “self” from “not self.”

Purple Lupus Steps by flickr andreasnilsson1976

It seems simple, but all organisms use the same proteins to function on a cellular level, while these proteins all have to work the same, they all are different, and the immune system has to be able to know the difference!  When it doesn’t, we get diseases like Lupus.

How can we reprogram the immune system to work right?

The answer is in the bacteria of the intestines.  We need the right mix of bacteria that produce certain organic acids that allow the immune system to function properly.  In this case, “YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!”

Every time you eat, you are feeding bacteria, the ones you feed the most are going to grow, whereas the ones you feed the least are going to diminish or die.

The healing program is simple:  Change your diet. Change your life.

Step 1: REMOVE

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Taking Back Your Life From Adrenal Fatigue

Sick and Tired by Flickr Khya

Karen is in her forties, very active at work and play.  Over the past several years since her husband died, she has had a lot of stress with the loss of their home and many other problems.  For several months, she has not been able to sleep well and she is tired all day.  She laments, “I feel like I’m half-awake all night and half-asleep all day! I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”  What is worse, she is gaining weight and feeling hopeless.

While the complaint of fatigue is among the most common for visiting a doctor, there are many reasons for it.  One of the most common is “adrenal fatigue.”

This term conjures-up images of the adrenal glands working as hard as they can and just getting pooped-out.  However, the glands don’t really get tired. Rather, the cells in the body react to long-term high levels of stress hormones by blocking their effects.

Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, affects every cell in the body.

  • Over time it suppresses the immune system, allowing more infections
  • Changes the neurotransmitters in the brain, causing depression and anxiety
  • Causes insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes
  • Prevents the use of fat for energy leading to easy fatigue and hypoglycemia

With all these effect. it is no wonder people with chronic stress have such a multitude of symptoms!  Often, these symptoms are vague and general, but abnormalities don’t show up in the usual tests done by doctors.  The patient then is told, “There is nothing wrong with you.” and goes home discouraged.  Many people come into my office just hoping to have some terrible abnormality on the test so at least there will be something wrong.

Distinguish the Difference

There are a variety of reasons for being tired.  Some of the more common ones are adrenal fatigue, low thyroid, chronic infections and metabolic disorders, such as diabetes.  The difficulty is that these may overlap in any individual.  Some ways to distinguish them are:

ADRENAL FATIGUE Low Thyroid Chronic infections Metabolic disorder
Caffeine causes heart racing Slow, not sleepy Pain Headaches
Feeling overwhelmed Hair falling out Muscle aches Easily fatigued
Anxiety Constipation Poor sleep Better with food
Depression Dry skin Intermittent Worse after eating
Weight gain around the middle Cold hands/feet Weight loss or gain Sleeps well
Hypoglycemia Low body temp. Fevers Weight gain
Not rested with sleep No weight gain Chills
Intermittent infections Sweats

Turn Around Fatigue

It probably took a long time to get to the point of fatigue, so it usually takes a while to overcome it.  First and foremost, it is essential to reduce stress and then general lifestyle changes are necessary. Lastly, supplements and herbs will be very helpful.

Medications

All stimulants affect the adrenal glands.  Medications are especially hard on these glands.  Avoid sleeping pills and medications for ADHD, depression and anxiety.  All of these change the neurotransmitters in the entire body.  Most of them affect the adrenal glands directly through this mechanism.  Pain medications are acceptable, but generally don’t work for the pain associated with adrenal fatigue.

Stress reduction

The most important part about stress reduction is to live in the present.  The large majority of the things we worry about never happen after so much energy and time is wasted on them.  Further, and most important, we too often hold on to things in the past that hurt us.  The ability to forgive everything in the past is essential to be able to live in the present.  This may take some time and counseling, but is well worth the effort.

Another important aspect of stress reduction is to have goals and be working towards them.  You must have several areas of growth in your life: business, spiritual, family, hobbies and so forth.  Recognize your potential as a child of God and all the good you can do in the world.  The only limits are the ones you place on yourself.

Exercise

It cannot be emphasized enough that exercise is important for the treatment of adrenal fatigue.  Many studies have shown that exercise is the only mode of treatment that consistently helps.  Daily exercise in some form is best if the type of exercise is varied.  Mostly, heavy exercise to sweat three times per week is sufficient.

Food

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Fermented foods like cheese, mushrooms, and pickled foods can also cause your adrenal levels to go down. When you need a snack, choose one with protein in it. Kelp, sprouts, green and black olives, peppers, spinach, celery and zucchini are also excellent choices.

The foods that increase insulin production also affect the adrenal hormones.  It is wise to avoid[am4show guest_error=’noaccess’ ] sugars, starches and artificial sweeteners.  Stimulant foods should also be avoided: coffee, tea, soda and energy drinks are counter-productive.

High-fiber foods are helpful for the regulation of blood sugar which helps smooth-out adrenal function.  Burning fat produces “ketones,” which help stabilize the nervous system.  Therefore, a “meat and vegetable” diet with little starch or sugar is best and the more raw vegetables, the better.

Vitamins

The vitamins that help the adrenal glands include:

  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) – this is best taken in a B-complex (B-100)
  • Vitamin C –  500 mg three times per day is best
  • Trace minerals – a good quality mineral supplement will have the right combinations and amounts

Herbs

The herbs that help the adrenal glands are called “adaptagens.”  This means they help the glands and tissues of the body “adapt” to the stress.  There is a normal “circadian rhythm” of the glands that secrete the cortisol on the morning allowing people to wake up with lots of energy. As the hormone declines in the evening, people get tired and go to sleep.  This rhythm is usually lost when people get fatigued.  The following herbs help to restore this rhythm:

  • Ginseng (Korean, American, Siberian)
  • Ashwaganda
  • Licorice Root
  • Eleuthero
  • Rhodiola Rosea

Most herbal adrenal products will contain some combination of these.  Some of these preparations may also contain “adrenal extract” of some sort.  These “glandular” supplements are the actual adrenal hormones from cows or pigs.  Some people find this to be helpful, but others have a bad reaction.  It isn’t dangerous, just be aware that if you don’t seem to respond well, then find an adaptagen without the glandular extract.

Sleep

Adequate rest is essential to repairing the effects of stress and fatigue on the body.  During the times of sleep the brain chemicals are restored and neural pathways are created.  Moreover, the adrenal gland itself has a rest time, which produces the circadian rhythm of the body.  The problem is too much adrenal hormones prevent sleep.  Here are some suggestions that often help my patients to sleep:

Angel Sleeping by Flickr planetchopstick

  • Go to bed earlier
  • Get up earlier, even if you are tired
  • Don’t take naps
  • Exercise every day to sweat
  • Use melatonin, between 1 and 6 mg about 1 hour before bed time
  • Take magnesium, 400 mg before bed
  • L-theanine at night may help
  • Do not watch television  1hour before bed, but reading is OK

Armed with the above tools, you should be able to work out a program to get back to a healthy, vibrant life.  Karen did.  She found that the herbal adaptagens helped her to sleep much better.  With a change in diet and increased exercise, she is now doing well off of all her pain medications and sleeping pills from adrenal fatigue.

Remember, the body is made to heal.

As long as you provide the right environment and resources, the body will always heal.  It may be hard, especially at first, and it may take a long time, but the rewards are definitely worth the effort!

Helping others overcome natural health obstacles is what brings us the most joy!  What obstacles are you facing?  What brings you the most joy?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Scott D. Saunders, M.D. (Ask-an-MD) is a practicing physician, specializing in preventative healthcare, who utilizes eclectic health care for the whole family, including conventional, orthomolecular and natural medicine. He is also the medical director of The Integrative Medical Center of Santa Barbara in Lompoc, CA. He went to UCLA medical school and is board certified in family medicine. View natural remedies with Dr. Saunders at http://drsaundersmd.com/

 

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HOLY TOAST – Adrenal Fatigue and the Church

Exhaustion by Flickr Lee J Haywood

As an itinerant minister, I have the opportunity of meeting people of varying color, creed and country.  In the last 10 years, I have found one over arching commonality… exhaustion!  Let’s look at the Oxford dictionary’s definition of exhaustion. It is, well…exhaustive!

Exhaustion:

  1. Tired out, worn out, weary, dead-tired, dog-tired, bone-tired, ready to drop, drained, fatigued, enervated; (informal) beat, done in, all in, bushed, zonked, bagged, knocked out, wiped out, burned out, pooped, tuckered out, tapped out, fried, whipped.
  2. Exhausted reserves used up, consumed, finished, spent, depleted, empty, drained.

As I was reading this amusing, lengthy definition, it dawned on me that it was merely a list of symptoms, not the root cause. This “old school” term, exhaustion, was missing a prefix that explained everything… adrenal exhaustion!

The adrenal glands are two small glands (about the size of a walnut, weighing less than a grape) that sit atop the kidneys. So, when these tiny glands are depleted by physical or emotional stress, overwork, fear, trauma, etc, the body experiences, chronic fatigue, poor sleep, inability to deal with stress, B vitamin deficiency, difficulty concentrating/brain fog and even food or environmental allergies.

God’s Safety Net

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Recall the story of Elijah, after he had successfully defeated the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel. There was a huge display of the power of God. But when Jezebel, who was just one person, threatened to kill him, Elijah panicked and ran. He had just had a high stress situation, and he was depleted of all strength. So, even though he had a victory, his body could not handle any more stress. Consider the possibility that he was undergoing temporary adrenal fatigue!  God had to take care of him by a brook and sent birds with food to feed him, until he recovered.  You, too, will recover with God’s help! He knows exactly what you need!

Considering the genius of God, I find it amazing that He has left Man, His “crowning achievement,” totally vulnerable to a pair of tiny glands. As with everything our Heavenly Father does, love is the motivator for this vulnerability.

Let me explain; have you ever looked at the back of your office computer, copy machine, printer or flat screen television? There is a tiny little fuse or circuit breaker that protects the machine from damage due to power surges, lightning strikes or polarity issues.

In the same way, our adrenal glands function as a circuit breaker that when depleted, slows the body down before any permanent damage is done.

Christians find this hard to believe, but there is just as much “burn out” within the four walls of the church as there is without. As I mentioned earlier, it is an over arching commonality, truth be told, that the world is full of “quick fried Cretans” and  “crunchy Christians.”

It is extremely difficult to get a chronically fatigued unbeliever to listen to you, if you are a chronically fatigued believer. People are looking for answers, not more questions. Lets examine some of the reasons why Christians crumble even though Jesus lives in their heart.

Works

With all the need in the world, it is important that we “stay in our own lane” and be faithful to the work God has given us to do. Remember, just because something is “good” doesn’t mean it is God!

Illusion

When we assume that because we are Christians, our bodies are impervious to overwork, stress, vitamin deficiency and exhaustion.

Remember, our “earth suits” are not glorified bodies, they are simply carriers of His glory.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

Self-righteousness

We would do well to remember the prophet Elijah’s trip to Horeb. Elijah did not flee to Horeb because God called him, he ran because he was afraid. Elijah was afraid Jezebel would kill him, he also thought he was the only righteous prophet God had left. When Elijah reached Horeb, God asked him a question, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Elijah answered,

“I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” 1 Kings 19:14

When God asks you a question, He expects a truthful answer! If you read the whole story, after a powerful demonstration of power (tornado, earthquake, fire and a still, small voice), God tells Elijah He was only in the still small voice.

Then, God gives Elijah another chance to answer His question; “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Sadly, Elijah gives God the same self-righteous answer as before and it spells the end for Elijah’s earthly ministry. God ends the conversation with this statement,

”Yet, I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” 1 Kings 19:18

Remember, self-righteousness and fear can take you on a perilous journey you were never called to, such as adrenal exhaustion.

The Turning Point

Now, lets find a prescription for our disease.

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13 Anti-Aging Remedies

Life span is ultimately determined by the fact that cells can only replicate a certain number of times a genetically predetermined cut-off point that prevents physical immortality. Understanding this, most researchers still believe that humans should live 120 years or more. Why then is the average life span hovering around age 70?

We deteriorate mainly due to damage from free radicals, produced as a byproduct of normal metabolism, or created by various toxins, pollutants, allergens, heavy metals, etc.

Additionally, 75% of Americans are not getting enough free radical fighting antioxidants, such as vitamin E, selenium or even vitamin C. These are quickly used up under stress, while adrenal, hormonal, immune and neurological imbalances further accelerate aging.

A number of herbs are highly prized and renowned for their anti-aging and longevity-promoting effects. Science has extensively verified that these complex plant medicines have the definite ability to prolong the duration and quality of life. Many of these anti-aging herbs are adaptogens and tonics, normalizing metabolic, adrenal, hormonal and neurological systems and stimulating cellular regeneration. Others have more focused effects on the brain, heart or immunity. They are safe for long-term use and disease prevention.

13 Anti-Aging Remedies

1. Ashwagandha

  • Tonic that slows aging, rejuvenates tissues throughout the body
  • Clears the mind, strengthens the nerves, promotes restful sleep
  • Improves memory, cholesterol, sexual ability; lessens hair graying

2. Fo-Ti

  • Chinese tonic herb that promotes longevity, strengthens the blood
  • Improves vitality, sexual vigor and fertility and can reduce hair graying.
  • Lowers cholesterol, improves arteriosclerosis, regulates blood sugar

3. Garlic

  • Protects nervous system, improves brain function, memory, learning
  • Prevents/treats arteriosclerosis, reduces clotting, lowers cholesterol
  • Increases life span in animal tests; inhibits viruses, bacteria, parasites

4. Ginseng

  • Rejuvenating, stimulating adaptogen, yet helps calm nerves, increases vitality
  • Reduces exhaustion; increases stamina, speeds wound healing
  • Enhances immune system; balances metabolism and stress response

5. Gotu Kola

  • Rejuvenating, longevity herb in the Ayurvedic and Chinese traditions
  • Increases intelligence, memory, creativity, learning ability, reduces mental fatigue
  • Strengthens nervous system, adrenals and immune system
  • Improves wound healing, reduces scar tissue, increases circulation

6. Green Tea

  • High in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and flavonoids and especially polyphenols
  • Decreases cellular and tissue damage incurred with aging
  • Protective against cancer, heart diseases and is an immune stimulant

7. Hawthorn

  • Heart and circulation tonic; normalizes blood pressure, heart rhythm
  • Slows aging process, protects connective tissue and blood vessel walls
  • Reduces atherosclerosis, helps adaptation to physical and mental stress, protects against radiation, improves digestion and assimilation

Licorice by Flickr Accidental Hedonist

8. Licorice

  • Traditional Chinese longevity herb
  • Stimulates adrenal glands, balances
and conserves cortisol and energy during stress
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Has potent antioxidants that protect the digestive tract, liver and other tissues from the damaging effects of aging
  • Inhibits atrophy of thymus

9. Maca

  • Ancient Peruvian herb that increases vitality, strength and stamina
  • Invigorates libido and is a sexual restorative in both men and women
  • Alleviates signs of decreasing hormones in middle age and menopause

10. Reish

  • A traditional “elixir of immortality” in Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Treats a wide range of conditions, including heart disease and cancer
  • Normalizes blood pressure, cholesterol, platelet stickiness
  • Enhances immune and liver health, helps indigestion, eases tension, improves sleep

11. Rhodiola

  • Increases immunity, prolongs life span, increases exercise capacity
  • Clears toxins, strengthens nervous and digestive system
  • Reduces fatigue

12. Siberian Ginseng

  • Called the “king of adaptogens,” has a wide range of vitalizing effects
  • Increases hearing, improves eyesight, supports immunity and stress adaptation
  • Increases mental and physical work capacity

13. Suma

  • An adaptogen that is antiviral, antibacterial and immune stimulating
  • Increases muscle mass, protein production, overall physical endurance
  • Balances hormones, reduces blood sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides
  • Reduces fatigue, promotes liver and kidney regeneration, skin healing

Is Stress Stealing Your Energy?

 

stress by flickr bottled_void

Hundreds of medical studies-including research reported by the Mayo Clinic – show that uncontrolled stress is the greatest cause of chronic fatigue – and a leading factor in numerous serious diseases.

How does unchecked stress cause fatigue? The answer lies in two small – but very important – glands, called your adrenals.

Every single time you experience any stress, your adrenal glands release the “energy hormone” known as adrenaline. The more stress you’re under, the more burnt out your adrenals get…leading to chronic fatigue and a host of serious health problems.

Does this sound like you?

  • You can’t seem to get going in the morning without coffee or a strong energy drink.
  • You sputter out mid-morning – yawning, tired, and unable to concentrate.
  • You spend the day guzzling colas … coffee … or more energy drinks.
  • And when you get home, you collapse on the couch exhausted
  • Yet, at night you toss and turn – and simply can’t fall into a deep sleep.

If this does sound like you, keep reading to learn the secret reason you’re so stressed, fatigued, exhausted and a remarkable new way to “recharge” your body.

Learn more about natural ways to recharge your adrenal glands for lasting energy.

Product Review: DHEA for Adrenal Support

What is DHEA?

DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It’s a precursor to both testosterone and estrogen in the body, although it may play other physiological roles, as well. It is sometimes called the, “mother hormone” — the source that fuels the body’s metabolic pathway.

Beginning at about age 30, levels of DHEA in both men and women begin to decrease, and by age 80, it’s estimated that approximately 95% of the hormone has been lost.

Some believe that this decline is responsible for the adverse consequences of aging and tout DHEA supplements as a sort of “fountain of youth.” DHEA, however, is not a general anti-aging solution. The trends associated with DHEA supplementation include the following health benefits:

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Fibromyalgia Syndrome – “Doctor, I hurt all over!”

Fibromyalgia is not a disease; it’s a “syndrome” which means that is just a collection of symptoms.  The problem is that there may be many different causes of the same symptoms so it is very difficult to diagnose and treat, but when the cause of the fibromyalgia symptoms is known, then the treatment can be very effective.

Marilyn is in her 50’s, an interior decorator and very active in her community. Over a year before she came to see me, she suddenly “got sick.”   She had been to many doctors trying to get her health back.  She was in pain all the time and felt such a profound fatigue that she could no longer function in any of her activities.  Her hormone, liver, kidney, and metabolic tests were all normal so her doctors told her it was all in her head.  However, when we did further testing she was found to have a significant amount of mercury and lead on a provoked urine test.  She started a chelation protocol and gradually improved.  Though her heavy metal tests are now normal, she is still not.  However, she is on no medications and is able to continue most of her activities.

In this case, a fibromyalgia cause was found.  Heavy metals can prevent the production of energy in cells to create the symptoms of fibromyalgia.  Nerve cells are especially sensitive.   Moreover, it has been found that certain combinations of heavy metals, like mercury and lead, may have ten times the effects of either one alone.  The symptoms don’t all resolve immediately upon removing the metals because damage has been done that need to be repaired, which can take years in the nervous system.

There are many other potential causes of fibromyalgia syndrome besides heavy metals. This is by no means a complete list, only a sampling of possibilities:

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The Eating Plan for Managing Fibromyalgia

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a common syndrome, not a disease, in which people experience long-term, body-wide pain and tender points in joints, muscles, tendons and other soft tissues.  Fibromyalgia has also been linked to fatigue, sleep problems, headaches, depression, anxiety and other symptoms.

Since it is not necessarily caused by any one problem, fibromyalgia sufferers will benefit most from an overall healthy and balanced diet.

Eating Plan for Fibromyalgia

While there may not be a single set of dietary guidelines that are right for all fibromyalgia sufferers, there are certain foods, or food groups, that appear to make a difference for a significant number of people.

As important as sticking to a balanced diet and choosing foods wisely is, when dealing with fibromyalgia it is even more important to not choose the wrong foods. Certain foods and drinks could be causing you more pain then you can make up for by eating right.

It will take some trial and error to find what helps and what hurts, but with a little planning and diet management you can be on the road to managing your fibromyalgia.

Foods and Beverages to Avoid:

  1. Alcoholic beverages
  2. Artificial Sweeteners such as aspartame (NutraSweet) and saccharine
  3. Carbonated beverages such as colas and soda pop
  4. Coffee and caffeinated teas
  5. Dairy
  6. Food Additives such as preservatives, salt and MSG (monosodium glutamate)
  7. Fried foods
  8. Fructose
  9. Gluten
  10. High fat dairy foods
  11. Nightshade Plants such as tomatoes, chili and bell peppers, potatoes, and eggplan
  12. Red meats (especially salt cured, cured bacon, smoked, or nitrate cured)
  13. Simple carbohydrates
  14. Some acidic foods
  15. White flour
  16. White sugar
  17. Yeast

Control Inflammation

In many cases, inflammation is the leading cause of the underlying symptoms that lead to your pain. Like any inflammatory diet, people who suffer from Fibromyalgia Syndrome should limit intake of foods that are associated with typical allergies (gluten, milk, peanuts, shellfish and wheat). It is also important to add omega 3’s, antioxidants, lean proteins, fiber and water. These foods will help restore your immune system and help reverse chronic inflammation.

The Fibromyalgia Diet

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